Fanning Hope


If we had no winter,

Spring would not

feel so pleasant.

Anne Bradstreet



As the blooms of Spring remind us never to cut down what appears to be a dead tree in winter, each day brings us closer to the possibility of our lives returning to some new normal.  Elizabeth Dias and Audra D. S. Burch in this weekend’s The New York Times took a look at how the past year has changed us. Excerpts from their piece Who We Are Now:

Everyone has a personal “before” and “after.” It has been a collective near death experience, for those lucky enough to survive. People have found themselves close to life’s deepest questions… Questions about how we live, how we suffer, and how we make meaning of our short time here on this earth.  For some, facing trauma feels too hard. Others have found unexpected resilience and courage, rage or stillness. Transformation was forced on some, and for others it was chosen. For many, the suffering of this past year has birthed an awakening. The process of reflection is just beginning. Where it takes us remains to be seen. But the clarity that comes with intense suffering often clouds as time moves one. We have a window now to look at our lives anew. This is the story of how America is beginning that journey, in her own words.

This year has stripped me from so much, but it also allowed me to focus on and evaluate the big picture of my life. What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind? – Beca Bruder

I no longer have any clear trajectory, and I am learning to make peace with that. -GJ Hodson

When my husband died, I fought with God again “Why me?!” But afterward, I forgave him. I didn’t fight with him anymore. I just go on. If a job comes along and I get it, I say thank you. If he takes it away, I say ok. – Maria Judith Alvarez

I realized emotions can’t wait for another day. I’m calling my parents more and expressing my love and gratitude to them. -Vaneet Singh

I am not going to try to be polite anymore. I am going to become a less behaved, less likeable, ballsier, more outspoken, more dangerous woman. All these rules I had followed, these rules will not save me. -Aline Melto

This is what is driving me forward. There is nothing I can do about the stuff that burned up. I can look at this as the end of the world, apocalypse, but really our worlds all end when we die. And in the meantime, I am alive, I am still here, and what can I do about it? -Ramah Commanday

I like who I am becoming, I just haven’t fully met her yet. I don’t want to give 2020 credit, but I feel it put me on a conveyor belt to transformation that I wouldn’t have had without it. – Mary Fugate

I am falling back in love with myself: How I plan to live my life morning forward, no more doing for others what I do not want to do. I am centering my attention on the things that give me peace. – Jeffreen Hayes

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you’ve been fanning the flame of hope as we look forward to celebrating Mother’s Day and graduation of all kinds.








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Text 201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

How To Raise An Adult

I think

if I make it to 40,

I can be pretty amazing.

Wendy Wasserstein, Uncommon Women & Others


Wandering Rome with my teen surrounded by magnificent sculptures, I imagine the discipline it took artists to mold hard stone into flowing robes and graceful figures. They give me a measure of comfort realizing that parenting teens requires as much patience and dedication–while remembering to keep our hands tied behind our back.

Why did parenting change from preparing our kids for life to protecting them from life? How has this shift left them unprepared to live life on their own?

Julie Lythcott-Haims sums up the effects of “helicopter parenting” from her observations as a parent and as an academic administrator working with college Freshmen in her book How To Raise An Adult.

The central aim of parenting has evolved to preparing children for success and every act of nurturing gets judged on the basis of whether it will usher a child toward a life of accomplishment or failure. This standard holds our everyday choices hostage to worries for their prosperity and future. As the New York Times article of Heather Hevrilesky puts it, “A child who soaks in the ambient anxiety that surrounds each trivial choice or activity is an anxious child, formed in the hand-wringing, future-focused image of her anxious parents.”

Much as we want to exempt our children from pain and suffering, Julie Lythcott-Haims underlines that learning through experience is the best way humans learn. If we don’t allow our children to suffer the tribulations of life, we are not doing our job of preparing them to be adults. It is necessary to hold our tongue and stay out of their way as they stumble, learn how to pick themselves up and arrive at their own answers.

This book is both pro-parent and pro-child, well researched, easy to read, and full of comforting and practical advice for parents walking the tightrope of being supportive without being controlling. Tough, I know!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what it takes for your to allow your children to figure things out on their own.







Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman


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