Selfie, Selfie, Selfie

Before I get into this post, there are two things I want to say first:

  1. I am sad that going back to school is totally wreaking havoc on my posting schedule here. However, I am loving school, so don’t feel too bad for me. I just want to acknowledge that things are different for me right now.
  2. When I have no good title ideas, I just repeat a word three times. Somehow it seems more clever than using it only once. I don’t know why.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I want to talk about the selfie. While the word selfie was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, my spellcheck here is underscoring the word with a tell-tale squiggly red line. This tells you that this is still a new concept. Not every dictionary is down with the word. Not every person is down with the word. We’re still figuring it out. We’re also still debating the selfie’s significance, and whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Selfies are particularly controversial in feminist circles. The authors of articles like Selfies Aren’t Empowering. They’re a Cry for Help. and Putting selfies under a feminist lens suggest that the selfie is a product of a culture that objectifies women. After all, the selfie is the province of young women. Why, many people wonder, do these young women feel the need to post photos of their faces on social media for other people – perhaps most especially males – to see? Seeking external validation isn’t a sign that we’re empowered, it’s a sign that we lack self-esteem.

Other feminists disagree with this take. They argue that selfies can be empowering, particularly for women who don’t normally see themselves portrayed in the media – that is, women of colour, women larger than a size six, transgender women, and so on. Veronica Arreola of Viva La Feminista found that sentiment of becoming visible compelling enough to launch the #365FeministSelfie project. She wrote, “… taking a selfie and posting it means REALLY looking at yourself. And hopefully at the end (or much sooner!) you will find it less painful and more enjoyable. I don’t want to turn us into Paris Hiltons, but rather individuals who don’t cringe when we need to take a photo.”

I heart Instagram big-time. So, when I noticed that people in my feed were using the #365FeministSelfie hashtag I looked into it. The explanation I read was that by posting photos of themselves, these women were attempting to make themselves more visible, and portray a broader definition of beauty. I liked that. I started posting photos of my own (although not quite every day). So far, I’m enjoying it.

It turns out there’s a lot to be said for the selfie. I don’t have to ask someone else to take my photo – I can do it when I’m at home by myself. I can get the angle I like, with the background I want. I can show myself how I want to be seen.

Is it narcissistic or objectifying? It could be, if I allowed myself to get caught up in how many ‘likes’ my photos get, or in making sure I look my absolute best in each photo. I feel that both of those things go against the grain of this particular project, though. It’s about showing women as we really are. It’s true that as a straight white woman (and a natural blonde, no less), there are plenty of people who look like me in the media. However, I don’t think that means I don’t deserve to be seen. The point is we all deserve to be seen, with makeup or without, wearing our best clothes or our pajamas, with perfectly-coiffed locks or messy morning hair. We all deserve to be seen on our own terms.

I have succumbed to the selfie trend, but I don’t think it’s a sign that I’ve lost touch with reality. I think it’s a sign that I’m participating in modern culture, and enjoying the challenge of documenting myself (almost) daily, just as I am. It’s also something I can do in very short snippets of time while my life is busy. I can see what other people are posting, and take part myself, in the two minutes I have before my class starts. Perhaps that, more than anything, is why I’m enjoying it. It fits my life right now, and allows me to document this time of great personal change.

Here’s what my #365FeministSelfie stream has captured so far:

Where do you stand on the selfie? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Teach Your Children Well

Sometimes things have a way of sneaking up on you. This is what happened to me with Blog Action Day this year. I signed up to participate ages ago, but it was only this afternoon when I finally checked my inbox and saw the subject line Blog Action Day is today. that I realized I pretty much missed the boat. Partly it’s because I just plain forgot. However, there’s more to it than that.

This year’s Blog Action Day theme is Human Rights, which is something I don’t exactly feel super-qualified to write about. I am a suburban mom of two, living a pretty comfortable life. I hear news reports and see snippets of stories that make me feel sad, alarmed and outraged, but the truth is I don’t know a whole lot about most of the issues raised. I’m concerned about human trafficking, about the plight of women and girls in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan, about the conditions many First Nations people live under here in Canada, about war crimes and rights denied. However, I wouldn’t say that I’m an activist or expert in any of these areas.

I was reading through the live Twitter stream of Blog Action Day posts, and I came across this one at Raising a Revolution. It discussed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. That got me thinking, because children’s rights are human rights, and I know more about parenting than about creating political change. As I considered that, I started to think that while I am not marching in the streets every day, I am raising children. In many ways, my kids are my biggest legacy. I’m helping to teach two people concepts like fairness, respect, tolerance and kindness. It is important to me that my children honour – and speak out for – the rights of others.

Blog Action Day Human Rights Children ParentingThere are a lot of things that I tell my kids every day, but the truth is that my biggest lessons are unspoken. My children learn how to treat others by how I treat them. They learn how to behave in the world by watching how I behave. They learn to speak up when they see me speaking up. When I treat my children fairly, when I talk to them about issues that are important to me and when I empower them to take action on issues that are important to them, I’m working to raise people who will honour the human rights of others. Hopefully, I’m also raising people who will advocate for others, donate their time and resources to help others and not stand silently by while someone else’s rights are violated.

Now that my kids are getting older, they’re getting better at understanding abstract concepts and comprehending events that are happening far away from them. I’d like to do a better job of working together, as a family, to effect positive change in the world, so that everyone’s human rights are respected. Today, on Blog Action Day, my commitment is to look into actions that we can take together. We’re heading into the holiday season. A good project for our family would be to make a commitment to a project or cause in the New Year.

It might seem like a small step, but even small steps make a big difference when we add them all up. I may not be a human rights activist, and I may not know much about all of the abuses taking place all over the world. That doesn’t mean that I’m powerless, though. I’m raising two people who will go out into the world one day. Teaching them well is one of the best things I can do to create a world where everyone is treated fairly and justly, at home and around the world.

How are you teaching your kids about human rights and taking action? Do you participate in charitable or political causes as a family? I’d love to hear your stories and ideas!

My Name Isn’t Mommy

When I get an email pitch that isn’t a good fit, most of the time I delete it. I used to try to respond to every one, until someone I respect very much pointed out that much of the time PR folks are, in effect, spamming me when they flood my inbox. They’re not doing it maliciously. They just have something to promote, along with a bunch of names and email addresses, and I happen to be one of them. My friend in PR tells me this approach is called spray and pray. Rather than spending my time composing well thought out responses to each email, now I just pass over the ones that don’t work for me.

Of course, sometimes I get fabulous emails, and that’s great. I can only be grateful that people feel that I’m someone they want to share their stories with. Not every story will be a fit, but in the end I am more flattered than annoyed by all the emails.

Once in a while, I get an email that I feel the need to respond to in a different way. Someone sends me something that pushes one of my buttons. For example, when I was contacted by someone promoting a kitty litter that I feel is harmful to cats, I felt compelled to share a link about the danger as politely as I could. I realize that the person on the other end was only doing their job, but some part of me just couldn’t let it lie.

The thing that pushes my buttons most often is when I’m referred to as a mommy blogger. Sometimes, I even get an email addressed to Dear Mommy Blogger. I realize that mommy blogger has become the de facto title for women who blog about life with children. I also realize, once again, that most of the time the person typing it out isn’t doing it maliciously. Even so, the title grates on me.

mommy blogger
These kids are the only people who are allowed to call me mommy

My first issue with the term mommy blogger is that even my own children don’t call me mommy – they go for mama or mom or even, once in a while, Amber. Why should someone to whom I did not give birth apply it to me? My second (and much bigger) issue is that the word mommy is a diminutive. It’s cutesy, and the person who carries that title is not meant to be taken seriously. This leads into the much larger question of why we need to slap mom or mommy in front of many of the things that women do – think mompreneur, mommy blogger, mommy wars, and so on. It feels like a way to diminish the work these women are doing. The truth is that mommy blogger is often used in a way that can be more than a little mocking.

Of course, some moms who blog embrace the title mommy blogger. They’re proud of their mother status, and the writing they do. That’s great. Others are trying to reclaim the title, just as they’ve reclaimed other titles. I actually think that’s even better. However, the truth is that many of us who could be called mommy bloggers dislike the term. I even found an academic abstract from a paper by Gina Masullo Chen that says the term ‘continues the culturally ingrained performance of motherhood women learned since childhood, and, in so doing, holds women captive in this subjective norm that may not fit them’. Exactly. Given the mixed feelings and negative reactions many bloggers have, it’s really safest not to use the phrase mommy blogger if you’re not sure how someone will take it.

My guess is that most people who send me an email that contains the phrase mommy blogger aren’t aware of the controversy, or the fact that many moms who blog dislike the term. This is why I often respond to those emails, with great politeness, passing along a couple of links about why it’s best to avoid calling someone you don’t know ‘mommy’. I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad, but I also don’t want to the person in question to go on using the term without being aware of the possible negative associations it conjures up. I want to do my part, as a writer, mother and feminist, to say that we all deserve to be taken seriously, and we all have the right to decide how we want to be addressed.

It’s unlikely that an email from me will change the world. I know this. All the same, I feel better for having sent it.

I wonder what you think. If you’re a mom with a blog, how do you feel about the title mommy blogger? Is it so entrenched at this point that rejecting it is pointless? Or do you hate it as much as I do? Please leave a reply and let me know!

Walking Alone at Night

walking alone at night

If there was one message I got as a teenage girl, it was this: never walk alone at night. Bad things happen to women who are out by themselves after dark. This was in the days before cell phones, as well, which meant that if you were alone you were really alone.

I remember, very clearly, sitting in my grade 10 girls’ gym class, not quite 16 years old, and looking forward to my birthday so that I could get my driver’s license. Our teacher, presented with a room full of girls who would soon be driving, gave us tips to keep us safe when we were out on the road at night. If your car broke down, she said, you should pull over, lock all the doors and turn on your hazards. If a man stopped to help, you should open your window only the smallest crack, and ask him to go get help before you closed that window up tight again. If you had to walk through a dark parking lot to your car, you shouldn’t walk alone, and you should have your keys ready before you entered the parking lot both to reduce any lingering and to use as a potential weapon.

You don’t have to do much searching online to find safety tips for women who are walking alone at night, or people urging us not to do it. The message of danger is ever present, and women are told to be cautious and vigilant, in North America. I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the world, but I know that I’ve heard the warning calls loud and clear here.

When I was in university and didn’t have a car, I found myself taking the bus after dark. This also meant waiting for the bus after dark. Mostly I was taking the bus from school back home, and the bus loop there was busy and well-lit and I was rarely afraid. Sometimes I was taking the bus from home back up to campus for my evening karate class, and that felt less good, standing on the side of the road in the dark by myself. I felt nervous.

Somewhat ironically, the only time I ever actually encountered something untoward at the bus stop was not at night. It was at about 2:00pm on a Sunday afternoon, in the full light of day. As I sat by myself on the bench a man walked by. I had seen him approaching, but hadn’t looked closely. It was only when he passed directly in front of me and stopped to lean against the bus stop sign that I realized he wasn’t wearing any pants. He had on a T-shirt, socks, shoes, and a sweatshirt tied around his waist so that it covered his rear end and passing cars couldn’t tell that his bits were hanging out. I contemplated how I would defend myself if he did anything, but he just engaged me in light chit chat (How long until the bus comes? Too bad it’s cloudy today.) until I got up and left.

Back in my apartment, I told my roommate what had happened and she fell down on the floor laughing. Later, on the phone to the police non-emergency line the woman asked if the man had exposed himself to me. I just kept saying, over and over, “He wasn’t wearing any pants.” The police sent someone to look for him, but I’d bet $5 he was long gone by the time he arrived.

Back to the point at hand. Lately, I’ve been out walking by myself after dark more often. I’ve attended a number of events at night that are a 10-15 minute walk from home, and at which I’ve been drinking. If I weren’t drinking, I would drive, because I’m honestly more comfortable not walking by myself after dark. But after a couple of glasses of wine that’s both unsafe and illegal. On top of that, with these events so close to home, paying for a cab just feels like overkill. My neighbourhood feels pretty safe to me, on the whole, recent cougar sightings notwithstanding.

So how foolhardy am I actually being, going for a walk by myself after dark? Does danger really lurk behind every corner?

I think that when we talk about the potential dangers women face after dark, we’re mostly talking about theft and sexual assault. Of the two, the more frightening for me (and probably most people) is sexual assault. Take my wallet, honestly. I carry about $17 in cash most of the time, and I can cancel all my cards. But don’t attack me.

So, let’s look at sexual assault rates. Apparently, 472,000 were reported by women in Canada in 2009, for a rate of 34 per 1000 women age 15 or older, or 3.4%. That’s sobering, for sure. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network in the US, 73% of perpetrators of sexual assault are not strangers. The US Department of Justice puts that number at nearly 80%. Of the women who are sexually assaulted by strangers, about 28% happen on the street or in a parking lot.

What this means, is that most sexual assaults occur at home, or in someone else’s home, at the hands of someone the victim knows. The actual rate of sexual assault on the street, by a stranger, is something closer to 0.2-0.25% by my math. It’s not negligible, and I do not in any way mean to discount it. Any sexual assault, in any place, by anyone, is one too many. We all need to be working, every day, to end rape culture. However, 186,543 Canadians were injured or killed in car accidents in 2009. That means my likelihood of getting hurt when I’m in a car is about 0.55% in any given year, and I don’t think twice about that.

So, I’m going to keep walking at night, in my neighbourhood, to meet my friends at a local restaurant or attend a wine tasting. I will likely still feel afraid, because it has been thoroughly drilled into me. But I will do it, because of the various options available to me, I think it’s the best, and likely actually the safest. And I also believe that I shouldn’t have to change my actions out of fear of what someone else may do. Walking at night is my choice, and I’m not asking to be attacked if I do it.

What about you? Do you walk alone at night? Are you afraid when you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What’s the Point of Earth Day?

earth dayAccording to Wikipedia, Earth Day got its start on April 22, 1970 when United States Senator Gaylord Nelson organized an environmental teach-in. Some 20 million Americans from colleges, universities, and primary and secondary schools got involved. It didn’t really go global until 1990, though, when Earth Day 20 was celebrated in 141 countries. I was in grade eight in 1990, and I remember it felt like a very big deal. That was when I became aware that April 22 was Earth Day – a day set aside to do something special for the planet.

Today, Earth Day has become Earth Month, as all April long the public discourse takes on a green hue. You can’t turn on the TV, it seems, without someone talking about the environment. This theme touches even the youngest among us, as the Earth Day Canada website points out, “Nearly every school child in Canada takes part in an Earth Day activity.” My own daughter is certainly no exception. I have to wonder, though – does all this green talk actually make any difference?

On the one hand, I certainly believe that the more attention we pay to the state of the planet, the better. I can’t think that it’s bad or wrong to raise awareness around environmental issues, encourage school children not to litter, or make a commitment to live more sustainably. These are all good things. I firmly believe that even small steps can make a big difference, when you add them all up. If Earth Day is the catalyst that inspires positive change, that’s fabulous.

On the other hand, part of me wonders if Earth Day is really just so much greenwashing. Consider, for example, this press release from Coca-Cola about how the company is partnering with River Network to donate over 1000 of its syrup drums for reuse as rain barrels in communities across the United States. The headline says that, in honour of Earth Month, the company is raising awareness around water stewardship. This is all well and good, but let’s not forget that Coca-Cola bottling plants have been charged with depleting groundwater resources in drought-stricken areas in the developing world. Let’s also not forget that all those plastic bottles that their beverages come in have a significant environmental impact on our rives, lakes and oceans.

It’s great if a company takes on environmental projects in honour of Earth Day. However, I don’t think that a good deed today can compensate for all the harm caused every day of the year. I resent it when a company uses a day like Earth Day as a marketing ploy. And let’s be clear – Coca-Cola is not alone in this. They’re just one example.

I suppose my point is this: one day is not enough. If we really want to protect (and improve) the health of the planet, we need to take steps every day. We need to think about how our actions impact the world at large all the time, and how we can do better. This doesn’t mean we need to sell all our worldly possessions and live in the woods. It also doesn’t mean that we need to take the weight of the whole world on our shoulders. We all got into this mess together, and we need to work together to get out of it. But that’s just what we have to do – work together to get out of it, contributing what we can, each and every day.

I’m seriously considering doing some kind of family project today with my kids in honour of Earth Day. But I also know that what really drives the message home is what they see me doing all the time. I don’t have to tell them to recycle or carry reusable bags, because these things have just always been a part of their lives. It’s those little things that might not seem big or sexy or exciting that show our commitment to the planet. So I’ll seize this opportunity to open the conversation, but I won’t let it end once Earth Day is over.

What do you think? Do you celebrate Earth Day? Or do you think it’s just so much hype? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Guilt, Breastfeeding, and Moving Beyond it All

This past Saturday I attended a breastfeeding education day, featuring Dr. Katherine Dettwyler. She’s an anthropology professor, lecturer, author and breastfeeding advocate. She discussed a variety of fascinating topics, including breastfeeding and the media, her research on what the natural age of weaning would be in modern humans if we set aside our cultural beliefs, and caring for children and why babies cry. The topic that really caught my eye, however, was addressing guilt around breastfeeding (or, more specifically, not breastfeeding).

Dr. Dettwyler shared a quote from Harriet Lerner, which I immediately fell in love with:

Try to remember that our society encourages mothers to cultivate guilt like a little flower garden, because nothing blocks the awareness and expression of legitimate anger as effectively as this all-consuming emotion.

I found the quote online in the book The Mother Dance, and Dr. Lerner goes on to say:

Guilt keeps mothers narrowly focused on the question “What’s wrong with me?” and prevents us from becoming effective agents of personal and social change.

guilt breastfeeding parenting social change

These ideas resonated with me. When we’re preoccupied with our shortcomings, whether real or imagined, we’re using up all our energy feeling bad when we could be actually doing things to change the situation. This made me think about this quote from Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection:

The majority of shame researchers and clinicians agree that the difference between shame and guilt is best understood as the differences between “I am bad” and “I did something bad.”

Guilt = I did something bad.
Shame = I am bad.

When you do something bad, there’s room for you to choose to do something different next time. When you are bad, there’s not much room for improvement. When Dr. Lerner is talking about focusing on the question “What’s wrong with me?” I read that as a discussion of shame. It’s about believing that you are fundamentally deficient in some way.

During her conversation at the breastfeeding education day, Dr. Dettwyler explained this as the difference between guilt and regret. Guilt can be a positive emotion, because it can encourage us towards continuous improvement. Shame or regret, on the other hand, are paralyzing emotions that result in inaction. Regardless of the phraseology we choose, however, what Dr. Dettwyler suggested is that rather than feeling guilty, we should feel angry.

If you did not receive adequate support; if you were given misinformation; if someone put pressure on you not to breastfeed, or not to breastfeed in a certain way, in a certain place or at a certain time; if unnecessary barriers were placed in your path that interfered with the successful establishment of breastfeeding, then she suggests that the appropriate response is not guilt, but anger.

Day 1 - Mom is doing better

I breastfed my daughter Hannah for nearly three years, however, the truth is that I’m still angry about some of the obstacles that were placed in my path. Even though she was very healthy for a baby born at 34 weeks, weighing over five pounds and with Apgar scores of eight and eight, she was removed from the delivery room within minutes of her birth, before we were able to initiate breastfeeding. Once in the NICU, she was given formula in a bottle before I had a chance to try breastfeeding her, and without consulting me. She was given a pacifier, and when I expressed concerns about her refusal to latch, I was told that there was ‘no such thing as nipple confusion’.

While I managed to overcome our initial difficulties, it wasn’t easy. There were moments that were touch and go, when I almost threw on the towel. Had it not been for a supportive spouse and a midwife who came to my house and worked with me while I cried, I may not have made it. On the one hand, there’s no telling how Hannah would have done as a preemie even if I had been allowed to breastfeed her shortly after birth, and we hadn’t been separated. I understand that. On the other hand, we’ll never know. And so, yes, I am angry. In retrospect, I feel that it would have been better for both of us if we had been able to spend the crucial first hour after birth together, as she was as healthy as a baby of her gestational age could possibly be.

If I hadn’t managed to pull through and breastfeed, I do wonder how I would feel. Would I feel angry, or would I feel guilt and shame? Would I be beating myself up, or would I be pointing the finger at a system that conspired against us? To be honest, I suspect that I would probably be focused on my own shortcomings. I feel anger, in large part, because I know that I did all that I could to make it work. If it hadn’t worked, I think I may always wonder what I could have done differently – what I should have done differently. I’m not saying that I should feel that way, but knowing myself as I do I’m saying it’s likely this is what would happen.

Having a snack at the midwives picnic

Knowing that I have my own confused dance of guilt vs. shame vs. anger, I try very hard to be sensitive of the way that other mothers feel. Because I know that all too often mothers are told what they should do, while receiving very little actual support towards achieving those goals. We’re told to breastfeed at all costs, and then sent home with a tiny baby and a bag of formula samples. Is it any wonder that we struggle?

Breastfeeding is just one instance of how a mother can fall short of the societal ideal. There are no shortage of examples of how the wider culture likes to weigh in on our parenting – no shortage of ways we can “fail” as mothers. If we’re too permissive or too strict, we fail. If our babies are too big or too small, we fail. If our children don’t sleep the right amount of time or refuse to sleep in a crib, we fail. If our children sleep better in a crib than in the family bed, we fail. If we don’t get every vaccination on time, we fail. If we vaccinate at all, we fail.

I’m drawn back to the Harriet Lerner quotes. Maybe what we really need to do is stop focusing on the ways that things haven’t gone well, worrying over our own failings. Maybe they’re not really our failings at all. Maybe the real problem is a culture that holds mothers to high standards, but fails to provide adequate support. Because if we can move beyond the shame and regret to become effective agents of personal and social change, we can make a difference.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to be better parents. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, which is where Brene Brown’s distinction between guilt and shame comes in. If we learn better, we can do better. But the truth is most of the mothers I know are already doing the best they can with what they have, every single day. So let’s cut ourselves some slack, and work for better social supports, so that no one else has to feel the same shame, guilt or regret that we have. Because, truthfully, much of it wasn’t ours to begin with.

Podcast: Talking Body Acceptance with Jennifer Rowe

Every week, at the end of my podcast post, I ask you to share your podcast ideas with me. I know that many of you either know a lot about a topic, or are interested in learning more about something. While I can’t make any promises, I can say that if you suggest something I will seriously consider it and do my best to find someone to interview if it’s a great idea that you can’t speak about yourself. I’m happy to say that I got my first suggestion recently when Jennifer Rowe of Fat and not Afraid suggested that I speak with her about body acceptance. I’m pleased to be sharing our conversation with you in today’s podcast.

It seems like you can’t walk three feet these days without hearing about the obesity epidemic. I’ve seen advertisements for boot camp and other fitness classes for children, targeted at improving fitness rather than having fun or learning something. I’ve been accused online of putting my son at risk for a lifetime of obesity for pushing him in the stroller when he was three years old and wasn’t able to walk to my daughter’s school at any kind of reasonable pace. We’re all getting bigger, and we’re afraid of what that means for our health – and our kids’ health.

strocel.com podcast body acceptanceWhat if, instead of focusing on what’s wrong with our bodies, we believed that we were all beautiful as we were? That’s the question that Jennifer is posing in today’s podcast. Her assertion is that the real health issue isn’t how big or small you are. Rather, the health issues centre around sedentary lifestyle and lack of access to healthy foods. There are socioeconomic factors at play, here, since we know, for instance, that minorities are at greater risk for diseases like diabetes. If it’s cheaper and easier to buy processed foods rather than vegetables, we should address that situation, rather than pointing the finger at people with a higher body mass index.

Jennifer and I talked about the negative consequences of fat-shaming and our obsession with body size. As the mother of a daughter, I find these consequences sobering. They include things like eating disorders (on the rise, along with obesity), and very young girls going on diets. I don’t want my daughter spending her time worrying about her weight, and whether or not it’s “acceptable”. I don’t like that she will likely face public scrutiny over her size, when my son most likely will not – at least not in the same way.

If you would like to hear an alternative perspective on how to approach the obesity epidemic, or you need ideas for how to instill a positive body image in your kids, I encourage you to listen to this podcast. It will give you some serious food for thought:

Next week on the Strocel.com podcast I’ll be sharing an interview with my friend Alison, a.k.a. BluebirdMama. I interviewed her for the Crafting my Life Online Course, talking about tackling our personal dragons. Since our interview, she moved back into a converted school bus with her three children, with an attached building, and has set out to live a more intentional life. If you could use some inspiration when it comes to following your own heart rather than following the crowed, you’ll want to tune in. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute! Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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