We weren’t meant to be perfect, we were meant to be AWESOME!

I have a story about my daughter I want to share. First off, my daughter is awesome. The Soph is perfect exactly how she is. And I am not just saying that because I am her mom. Okay, maybe a little bit, but truly, she is so phenomenal. She is this amazing spirit that lights up a room. Since she was a baby I called her my ‘chaotic bubble of sunshine.’ Sophie has always been this messy, crazy, never-slow-down kind of a kid. When she would eat as a baby, it was a full body experience. She had to dive in and eat with her hands and rub it all over her head, her arms, everything. Sophie just loves to LIVE life. Even when she was just a baby with a jar of carrots, girlfriend EXPERIENCED that jar of carrots.

Sophie has never worried about being perfect or making sure she knew exactly how every little thing worked before jumping in. If she wanted to try it, she tried it. If she messed up, she messed up. Now, I am sure inside her head other things were going on, but on the outside? She took her bumps, her bruises and mishaps, brushed them off and moved on. Like I said, she LIVES this life.

She is an incredible artist too. She has always made things, always creating things with her hands. I often would come into my studio when she was younger and find some new creation she had made and left behind for me to see. She creates just to create. I love that about her. I am glad she does have an entrepreneurial heart too, I think it will all come together one day.

Last year in high school, we found out that Sophie is pretty awesome at sculpture. She has made amazing things with metal and found materials. This year we discovered she is GIFTED with clay and ceramics. She has won awards alongside seniors in high school. She has been asked to be in AP art her junior year – a year early. Girlfriend has legit talent.

But this past year has been hard too. Some really hard things happened to some of her classmates and friends. And Sophie is sensitive. She seems to absorb other’s pain. She, like many artists, feels so very DEEPLY. She ended up having some really dark months this past fall. And she struggled with not feeling like that happy, bouncy person everyone expected her to be – she was not feeling it and she felt like she had to pretend to keep everyone else happy. That is a rough place for anyone to be, but a teenage? Ugh.

She began to struggle with some classes and was just emotionally very down. Luckily, she was open with me about things and we dealt with it head on. We found an awesome therapist, her and I talk A LOT and she is doing really well these days.

During some of these hard times she made some mistakes in the past few months, as many 15, almost 16 year olds will do. Mistakes that aren’t horrible or terrible, but mistakes for which she is paying a price and trying very hard to fix. One of those mistakes is her grades in an Honors Chemistry class. Girlfriend is failing. FAILING. And she only has a few weeks to pull out a C. I got her a tutor, she goes into school early to get extra help, she is studying ALL the time. The problem is, sometimes, if you get to the game too late? You can’t save it. Soph, oh she is trying, but we have to see. Yesterday? She got an 80 on a test! THAT WAS HUGE. SO PROUD!

You see, Sophie has ADHD and phonetical dislexia. We knew Honors Chem would be hard, but if she focused she would be okay. No one anticipated the emotional roller coaster year she would have. She has never, EVER used her learning difficulties as an excuse. She never even tells the teachers. So right now? Trying so hard to make up for so much in just a few weeks? Is crazy hard. But she is doing it.

But you know what? If she fails the course, she fails the course. We will figure out what needs to be done. This class does not define her. A failed course does not mean a failed person. How often do we all feel that way? I hope she passes, I truly do. Mostly because this is a kid that likely won’t ever take Chemistry again in her life and this class matters very little in her true education in life. I really hope she passes though – because chemistry in the summer? Sounds AWFUL. Like a level of hell awful. Wasn’t that in the Inferno? I believe it was.

So we shall see. Sophie will learn and has learned so much from this year. And I hated that it was such a hard year for her and it was torture to watch it happen as mother, but I have seen her growing so much. She has seen that she can mess up, pretty big and get to the other side of it – get to the other side of all that hard and bad even when I’m sure she felt like she was clawing her way out of a really deep dark tunnel. Most of all she has learned that she does not need to be perfect. That perfect doesn’t exist. Life is a series of messes and mistakes and finding all the AWESOME that WE ARE as we navigate through it all.

Sophie’s light has begun to shine very brightly again the past few weeks – but it was never, ever gone – maybe just dimmed a bit. And I love basking in the brightness that is that girl. She makes this world so much more beautiful and awesome.

I hope you let YOUR awesome shine super BRIGHT today! ❤

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Special THURSDAY Storytime LIVE edition at 8:30pm (Eastern)!

Y’all I was on a plane coming home from talking to the MOST AWESOME kids in the Baltimore, Maryland area yesterday at 7:30pm and didn’t get home until laaaaate. Plane got delayed and we sat on the grou… oh never  mind it’s all water under the bridge now.

SO! I must make it up to you that I didn’t do Storytime yesterday! We shall do it today! And there will be a VERY SPECIAL Whatif Monster announcement!!! Tune in to find out! Click the image below to go to my Livestream page and watch me at 8:30pm. Can’t wait to see y’all!

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This Made Me Happy Today

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I am grateful for the moments I get to have with the kids I talk to each week. I adore them more than I can ever adequately express in words. Today was a very good day.

Tonight however? I got my tax bill. OUCH. That hurt. A lot.

So I am posting this picture of a sheep wearing a Bob horn pretending to be a unicorn. Because it makes me HAPPY.

And even if I do have to empty my entire bank account to pay my taxes, I am determined to focus on what REALLY matters. The children of this world matter to me. Their hopes and their dreams and making sure that they know how much I truly BELIEVE in them and LOVE them matters so much to me. And if I have to empty my bank account in order to keep doing that? Then I’m going to. Because I can’t imagine not doing this. And I am so very lucky that this gets to be my life.

And now? I am going to go to bed and let all if this money stuff go. Because I’m still human, and working as hard as I do and still having to empty your bank account? Well, it still kinda stinks. But tomorrow? IS A NEW DAY, Y’ALL! Filled with new kids to meet! And I WILL be READY FOR THEM!

The Story of Lou. The Motivational Tree Iguana. (He’s kinda rude.)

So I was in Key West last week and in the condo we were staying in had a sign on the doors. It struck me as funny. I posted it on Facebook. Then a friend commented about how maybe it was a note FROM the Tree Iguana, not ABOUT the Tree Iguana. See?

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And this exchange just REALLY cracked me up. And I could not stop thinking about this tree iguana – and all those exclamations points just made me think he was kind rude. I mean, really, did he HAVE to be so forceful about closing the door?

I ended up naming him Lou and the FB exchange lasted many, many more comments and a few other posts.

By the time I got home, Lou had completely introduced himself to me. He is in fact, a Tree Iguana that lives in Key West. He is apparently also a motivational speaker. And he is sort of rude. So maybe just for adults – and maybe teenagers that need a swift kick in the derriere. 🙂

Look, my characters choose me, I don’t choose them – it’s just how it goes, I’m only being honest.

Lou tells it like it is. He kinda reminds me of Walter Matthau. He tells you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear. If he is not your cup of tea, that is TOTALLY okay. If he offends you, just ignore him. He told me he really doesn’t care if he offends you. See? Kinda rude, that Lou.

I think we will be seeing more of Lou. He seems to have a lot to say. And now that I made his poster for y’all, he says I can get back to work painting the illustrations for Dog and Mouse. (He just called me a slacker because I am behind on them. Rude.)

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You can by poster or prints of Lou here: https://whatifmonsters.com/otherstufftobuy.html