Yes! Parenting is amazing, tough, rewarding, challenging, incredible, invigorating and exhausting all at the same time. Throw in a couple of teenage daughters into the mix, and life is brought to a whole new level.

We teach our children each and every day, but they also teach us!

Many parents complain that the teenage years are rough. And perhaps they are, but I have always believed that within each challenge is a gift. We just need to know where to look for it.

20 lessons from teenage daughters to their mom

I took some time over the past few weeks, as my second daughter, a senior in high school, is preparing to leave the this August, to think about all the gifts I have received by raising two daughters through their teenage years. Narrowing it down was tough, but listed below are the top twenty things that my teenagers have taught me:

20 Lessons From My Teenage Daughters

1. The snooze button, that goes off at least ten times, works for waking up the entire house. So you really never need to purchase an alarm clock.

2. Snapchat filter is the easiest and cheapest way to look 10 years younger. Forgo the Facelift and Makeover!

3. There is such a thing as posting too much or too little on Social Media. Finding the right balance is as important as discovering the best Chinese food restaurant for take out.

4. There is an app for everything.

5. You do not need a date to go to the prom, but you do need to buy your dress months in advance, showcase it to everyone on a specific Facebook group, so nobody shows up wearing the same dress. (Because that is far worse than bad tasting Chinese take out)

6. Starbucks is the new “library” and the best place to study, no matter how loud it gets.

7. Facebook is out, Instagram is in, until Facebook becomes in again, and then Instagram is out. (This can happen all in the same day)

8. The Breakfast Club is still a cool movie.

9. It is ok to follow someone on Instagram, it is not ok to do this in real life. Then it’s called stalking.

10.It is more acceptable to break up with someone face to face, although nobody does it.

11. Actually calling someone as opposed to texting is only acceptable in an emergency and if you are over the age of forty.

12. Coming out is brave, bullying is cowardly, and both of these are always happening somewhere in the United States every day.

13. Where you choose to go to college depends on, but is not limited to: reviews on website, what friends you have met online before you even set foot on campus, what the dress is for football games, if the mascot and school colors are cool.

14. What college chooses you depends upon highest ACT score even if you have taken it ten times, how many extra curricular activities you can jam into one so you don’t have time to breathe, how much you stand out, even though everyone is trying to stand out.

15. Having a family dog is awesome. Cleaning up poop or throw up from the dog – not so much.

16. Popularity still matters, but only to those who are popular.

17. Getting your driver’s license is code for “I will be eating dinner out at Qdoba or Panera at least five times this week” and “I didn’t have time to pick up your dry cleaning.”

18. You do not run to the mailbox to check for large envelopes of college acceptance letters but you do check your email at least ten times a day for a notification that you have been notified.

19. It is no longer a thing to go out in “groups” but is a thing to be in a “group chat.”

20. When teenage daughters are dying to grow up and go off to college , it is the exact moment when they realize all that they will miss and love about home. This is the real definition of having mixed feelings.


***This blog post was published as well on Grown and Flown online parenting website, and can be found here, Grown and Flown, where parenting never ends along with other incredible articles on parenting through the high school and college years.


My Response to my 9-year-old son’s Statement: “Immigrants cause Cancer.”

My latest essay published on Elephant Journal:


My Response to my 9-year-old son’s Statement: “Immigrants cause Cancer.”

“Do you want to hear something funny, Mom?”

I glanced at my nine-year-old son, but was also busy fixing my rear-view mirror and adjusting the heat in the car.

Because we were running late for school, I was only half paying attention when he said, “Immigrants cause cancer.”

If I had taken a sip of coffee, I would have spit it out right then.

“Where did you hear that?” I asked, holding my breath. I mean, it could have been a myriad of places—another kid, who heard it from another kid, who heard it from his parents…or the internet, as turned out to be the case. In a YouTube video.

While the video itself is clearly intended to be humorous, I was dumbfounded. I immediately replied to my son, who I adopted from Russia, “Did you know that you are an immigrant?” I paused to let that sink in. “And there are many reasons why that statement is not funny. Let me explain.”

Stunned, my son sat in complete silence.

In that moment, I realized there are so many things a nine-year-old just doesn’t understand. Most children his age are only just trying to grasp the nature of our world, and nowadays, it is right there in front of them to take in. Donald Trump has created the newest form of reality TV—he and his policies are everywhere.

Now, should my nine-year-old be watching YouTube uncensored? Maybe not. Which begs the question, should he even be anywhere within 10 feet of the TV when we are watching CNN, Stephen Colbert, or Saturday Night Live? Because there is hardly a difference anymore.

Technology has brought the outside world into our homes. And a big part of the outside world, at least in America, is “The Donald Trump Show.”

No matter how much we would like to shelter our children so that they can one day create their own objective views of the world when they’re old enough to actually form them based on higher learning, we simply can’t.

As parents, most of us have been sucked into “The Donald Trump Show,” regardless of which side we are on. We toss our opinions around like a pizza, eventually dropping them on the counter, placing some good-tasting stuff on top, and hoping that someone agrees ours is the best one to sink their teeth into.

Politics is everywhere because of Donald Trump. Social media is everywhere, too, and our kids are learning how to navigate the world of technology at a very early age. The combination of these means that our children will hear things that are racist, biased, false, vindictive, and just plain mean. How can we expect our children to act responsibly online if our president won’t even do so? Or if their role models—athletes, movie stars, singers—post Instagram pictures showcasing how good they look in a bathing suit, as if that’s all that matters in life?

Well, we can, if we teach them the value our words and actions carry.

We are not going to change our world overnight, nor are we going to impeach our president anytime soon—and maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe the lessons we are all learning from this are invaluable.

Our children are growing up in the age of technology, and there is really no way around it. We, as parents, need to show them why our words matter. Posting should follow The Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Technology ensures that our words and pictures stay out there for more than a moment—and sometimes forever.

That morning, it didn’t matter that we were late for school. I pulled over to talk about why that video was hurtful. And it was a good lesson.

On my way home, I thought about censoring my son’s time online, which I already do because, well, the whole shorter attention span thing. And the addictive nature of technology. And the “stranger danger” worries. But he is not learning compassion for others from the internet; he is learning it at home. And he is making some mistakes, just as we did growing up (teasing someone without realizing its impact, for instance). Many of us grew into compassionate, responsible adults, and so will our children.

Taking away our children’s social media will just postpone the lessons they will learn. We do not take away the stove so they won’t burn themselves, or the stairs so they won’t trip. They will fall, and they will burn themselves, and they will learn the lesson, hopefully sooner rather than later, that words matter, that what we read online is usually just one person’s opinion, that there are people out there who are unhappy and in pain and lash out with criticisms and judgments online as a result. And there are those in power who have access to Twitter who are able to say whatever they wish to whomever they please.

What we can do, as parents, is teach our children the difference between right and wrong. To slow down and think about the impact their words might have on another. To remember the tenets of mindful speech.

Yes, our words matter, even if our president does not understand this truth. Allowing our children to learn this lesson early will help them become more aware about the nature and importance of responsible posting, texting, tweeting, and commenting. Preventing them access will just keep them in a bubble, which will inevitably burst.



You can find this essay on Elephant Journal, as well as other thought provoking articles.


We Can Change the World, One Gatorade Bottle at a Time.


It is way too easy to get lost in our world. We live among billions of people, each attending to their own lives, families, jobs and if there is time, having a bit of fun. Somewhere in between work and play, we may find we have a passion that hides, lurking in the bushes like an excited child waiting to pop out at us. A passion for something higher than ourselves, outside of our personal lives.

It may be cleaning up the planet, and we may hop on the bandwagon, finding ourselves writing letters to our congressmen or posting pictures on Facebook about ways to stop using plastic. Or we may become outraged at the poisoning of our food, or the abuse of animals, both domestic and farm.  Some of us have a passion for politics and we stay glued to our televisions, watching and waiting, yelling and complaining about the latest lie or dirty campaign. Or we build homes in Central America or help to gentrify our own neighborhoods.

How wonderful to feel called to a higher purpose, but it also may feel like a burden – the more the passion arises, the more helpless we feel.  The problems of our world seem huge, overwhelming and our small part – well, are we really making a  difference?  And of course, there is that other side of our lives. Work, parenting, baseball games. We carry on doing. Carpooling, enjoying trips to the theatre, hanging out with friends and cooking our dinners – heck this is just as important, and many don’t have time to venture out to help our planet.  And yet, the bigger things, the issues of our world still remain in our peripheral vision, gnawing at us to do something. And what can we do, really?  Can we really make a difference?

I have come to realize that we can make a difference. But we need to start small, really small. Almost every day, I find myself walking in the woods, a path near my house.  The abundance of trees surrounding the trail and brook that provide a home for birds, fish insects and the occasional snake. It is beautiful, serene and often to my liking, I find myself alone, with only the accompany of a dog.

A few times a year, they stock the brook and the few ponds where the water gather with Trout, and fishermen have begun to gather each day.  With the fisherman comes discarded garbage, some of it meant to make the trash can, others left without care.  At first, this angered me, and I walked by, thinking why people toss their trash without just walking a few steps to the garbage can.  And then I begin thinking about all the plastic in the world collecting within the beautiful waters of our oceans and land, and then I think what can I do really?  Ugh! All those grocery bags! But just the other day, I stopped thinking that I can’t make a difference.

Unknown-6I heard a voice deep within my being that said, just pick it up.  I looked around.  How can I pick up all this garbage?  I will spend all my time cleaning up and not enjoying my walk which has come to calm and clear my head, proving peace and serenity in a chaotic world. Then the voice returned, it said,  you do not need to pick up everything.  Just pick up one piece.  So I did.  And then I thought I can carry three or four pieces to the garbage can, and I did.  And I went on with my walk.

The next day, I set out down my favorite path, I found more garbage and picked up a few pieces and put them in the trash. And I began to feel, as small as it was, that I was making a difference. For if we do something small, that is right in front of us, this is the most direct way we can change our world. Even if we feel like we are not making a dent.

For we need both, the masses and the individual. Would Rosa Parks, in 1955 have had the strength to refuse to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus which spurred a city-wide boycott, had the masses not come before her, marching and protesting? She was not the first to resist, as there were many that came before her throughout the 40’s and early 50’s, and after her. It was the momentum, persistence and patience that eventually led to changes in our segregation laws. And there was that one person that said, I can make a difference. Rosa did not act alone, and neither do we when we perform one random act of kindness.

When I turn my attention back to my own life, in the year 2017, and I look at the myriad of protesting, marching, and discord within our government and the chaos and fighting going on in the world as a whole, I think can I really make a difference? I mean, I am no Mother Theresa – not even close.

And yet, as I stepped out of my car to go grocery shopping, and kicked an empty Gatorade bottle, I heard that voice again, saying, pick it up and toss it in the garbage.  So I did. Is this a bit grandiose for me to think about that I, alone, can make a difference in the world, by picking up an empty Gatorade bottle? No. Because I am not alone. There are masses of people looking to clean up our planet, recycling programs, as well as, climate change programs that are doing their best to survive the agenda of our current government. I don’t have to be working in Washington, DC to make a difference.

How Is my picking up the small pieces of garbage making a difference in all the pollution, plastics and garbage wrecking havoc upon our planet? Can you imagine if we all picked up a few pieces of garbage, give a few dollars to someone who is homeless or took a few moments to let someone go in front of us?  Or we just sent our prayers everyday to those who are less fortunate than we are – those who are hungry, unsafe or in harm’s way when walking outside their front door. We think we have to do something huge, but we don’t.

We don’t even have to seek it out – our higher self passions. What if we all woke each more, and took a few seconds, and uttered the phrase, “Today, let me be the answer to someone else’s prayers. or today I will do one random act of kindness.”  And then went about our day, until the opportunity arose for us to help. I bet we would all find our small moment to do something to help our beautiful planet with the amazing billions of people who live on it. If we all said a prayer, in between our play off games and sales appointments, or if we just noticed when something or someone came across our path that needed our attention, we really would not need to leave our living rooms, unless called to do so. And this is as much a reminder for myself, as it is for anyone reading this article. We all get caught up in our personal lives, forgetting how we can make a difference, or help one another.

We all have a little voice inside of our heads that speak to us. We just need to spend a few moments in quiet, so we can hear it. We can all make a difference. There is a Rosa Parks, in all of us. We just need to figure out what bus we are meant to get on, and then climb aboard.

Ten Reasons Why You Should Make Yourself Uncomfortable.


I had a creative writing professor in college who told me I was a terrible writer. Ok, well she never looked me in the eye and said my writing was no good, but she tore apart everything I wrote and encouraged the class to do the same. Apparently, she never heard of a compliment sandwich. I remember feeling unworthy and embarrassed of anything I wrote during her class, and left each day feeling like I should never write again. Week after week, my writing worsened and I could not wait for the class to end. I will never forget this professor.
 For some strange reason, I decided to continue to follow my passion for writing in college, and took a poetry writing class. My professor was encouraging and pointed out everything that was beautiful and spot on about my writing. I remember feeling engaged, and always left her class feeling inspired about my writing. Each week, as I reached deep, I expressed words and phrases that I never knew I could find within myself. My writing got better and better, and I was truly saddened when the class ended. I will never forget this professor.
 In the end, I decided to continue writing, as it brought me so much joy, and despite my first professor’s opinion, I have found that others have responded positively to my writing.
 Looking back, both professors were important in my learning, but the one that caused me discomfort, taught me the greatest lessons. I would like to share these with you, in hopes that you can look deep within yourself and know you are valuable, worthy, and inspiring, no matter what someone else may tell you, and that everyone and everything is here to help you.
 What did I learn from my professor who was full of negativity, criticism and doubt?
1. I learned to look within myself to find the truth.
2. I learned to not give my power away.
3. I learned that people are subjective in their opinions.
4. I learned to give myself what I needed to succeed.
5. I learned that everyone is truly doing their best.
6. I learned that a life lived without awareness, creates actions against others without awareness.
7. I learned to use discernment in who is giving me information.
8. I learned everyone and everything is here to help us.
9. I learned there are gifts in the strangest of places, and the cruelest of faces.
10. I learned there is no such thing as constructive criticism. That if you give people enough love, support and guidance, the best will be brought out of them naturally.
 No matter what we choose to do in life, we are so often met with obstacles, rejection and mountains to climb. But we must remember that it is in these challenges that we find the greatest gifts. If everything was easy, what would we learn?  How would we grow?
 We are stretched from getting uncomfortable. When someone steps into our world and tries to knock us down, give their opinion or is just plain rude. It is in that space where we ask the most pertinent questions. Is this my truth or is this their truth? How is this helping me?
 Everything we could ever want out of life is just beyond our comfort zone. If being uncomfortable were easy, we would all welcome it with open arms. But it is not. Being uncomfortable is tough. We feel like our lives are out of control, our days are chaotic, the moments uneasy, and this can all really freak us out. We can feel like all we know is being taken from us. We can feel fear, doubt and even paranoia.
 In order to deal with this discomfort we may turn to addictions, blame, blindly reacting to others, or helplessness. When this happens, and we dodge the feelings that arise, we never get beyond our comfort zone, and never receive the gifts.
 The way to have all we aspire to have is through this discomfort. Let the feelings come and go. If we tread gently with ourselves and others, we can rise above the uneasiness, by sitting within it. We can look not what is right in front of us, but what is just beyond the horizon. And then we can act with awareness, consciousness and know exactly what we need to do without any morsel of doubt. Sometimes we take action, and other times we sit still.
 If we can hold on through the discomfort, we will be receiving exactly what we need, what is in the highest and best outcome for all. Then the letting go occurs and upon our arrival we receive the gift we have been waiting for – all that we could have ever imagined for ourselves and our lives.
 So, the next time someone gives you their opinion, triggers you, or flips you off in traffic, say thank you. Instead of reacting, check in with yourself. For, they may have just given you a gift of pushing you smack into your discomfort zone. And here, may be all you have ever wanted. Life gives us challenges and tests, don’t be fooled by the ones that cause us discomfort. These are the greatest gifts with the ugliest wrapping paper.
 Want help or more information on navigating life’s discomfort zones? Contact Beth today.

Everything is a Gift, No Matter How Sh*tty the Wrapping Paper.


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I am not into politics.

I am not into picking people apart or putting them down.

I am into compassion and respect. I am into seeing the gift—the good in everything and everyone.

I have not always been this way. I have been on a journey most of my life, as we all have; most of us just don’t know it.

It has been a journey of seeing past what is right in front of my eyes and knowing there is something deeper, more meaningful going on. It is about intuition, seeing within, tapping into my innate sense of knowing there is something beyond what our eyes see and our ears hear. There is something beyond people’s personalities that drives their actions.

When you take a moment and look beyond what is at face value, you can grab a taste of it. You can see something good, or at least understand why something is happening. It is coming to the awareness that everyone and everything is here to help us—and we don’t have to like what we see and feel to know the truth of this.

I am not a stranger to disappointment, anger, frustration and turmoil. When I faced a full-term pregnancy loss 13 years ago, my heart was broken into a million pieces. The grief was insurmountable.

Yet slowly, as my heart began to heal and I reached beyond the loss, I was able to see the gifts I had been given. The amazing value of life, the strength I never knew I had, my own innate power, the ability to not sweat the small stuff, the ability to live in the present and the knowledge that I can handle anything life throws at me.

How can I say losing my child was a gift? Because I cannot count the number of lives that I have touched positively as a result of that tragedy. Because the compassion my heart has felt every moment since goes beyond what most can bear in a lifetime. Because the beauty of a bird can bring tears to my eyes, and the wonder in a child’s eyes can warm my heart.

I have come to know a faith that is beyond this world and a joy that I feel each day, no matter what is going on in the world around me.

So yes, it was a gift, even though the wrapping paper was f*cking sh*tty, and I hated every moment of the process.

Because of it, I am the person I am today—the one with the rose-colored glasses. It is the reason I can look at our country and see beyond what the media displays and the people shout. I see the changes that are just beyond the horizon, and they look pretty f*cking good to me.

I can even see Trump, despite all his shortcomings, as a gift.

I don’t see a man taking power who has already said and done so many things that go against the things I believe. I see a million women rising up and finding their voice.

I don’t see chaos. I see change.

I don’t see Facebook getting blown up by political posts, I see people reaching deep down within themselves and figuring out what it is they believe. I see our country four and eight years down the road as a better place. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Despite the pregnancy loss, I have been given the gift of three other beautiful children. As most moms know, one of our jobs is to spend hours in the car driving our children from one activity to the next. Just yesterday I drove a car full of 16-year-olds home, and I did what I always do—I listened to their conversation.

Within a few moments, the conversation turned to politics. But it was beyond politics. They discussed the impact of climate control, the necessity of space travel, confirmation hearings, the Department of Education and the importance of speaking the truth when you are the U.S. President. Never in my life, in all the years I have been carpooling, has the conversation been this interesting and thought-provoking.

How great is that? What a gift! Without Trump getting elected and all that has occurred since, I would have only born witness to conversations about homework, dating and who has the longest running Snapchat streak.

Is our country messy right now? Absolutely. It is messy because people who are not used to using their voice are forgetting the Golden Rule. We are forgetting to “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” This holds true for our 45th president as well.

We are forgetting respect and compassion. It’s not about shutting up or stopping the posts or tweets. It’s about communicating consciously, speaking what is in our hearts, all while keeping the bigger picture in mind.

Yes, I see everything in life as a gift, no matter how sh*tty the wrapping paper. It has been years since I have taken off my sunglasses, and put on my rose-colored glasses. And it is pretty damn sunny here, just the way I like it.

I have a pair waiting for you. Just uncurl your fists and open your palms. Take my hand. I will show you the way.



Author: Beth Mund



Let’s Stop Arguing, and Let’s Start Listening.

Since the results of the United States election came out, I have taken a much needed break from Facebook. It was not the results that steered me away, but the constant fighting and disagreements that was going on. I witnessed people unfriending others who voted for a candidate they didn’t agree with, as well as family members not speaking because of their opposing views. Why are we still arguing?
Facebook is a wonderful venue for sharing our feelings, views and prayers for help. What a great way for all of us to unite together. We can reach so many in such a short time. But when we continue to argue for what we believe is our truth, and therefore assume this is everyone’s truth, this creates separation, and it is a no win situation.
The reason we each have our views is because of a myriad of factors. How we were raised, the experiences we have had, our socioeconomic, religious, ethnic, as well as so many other factors that go into our opinions. But that is just it, our own opinion is our own. The only one who needs to agree with our opinion is ourselves. When we try and convince another that we are right, we lose credibility.
Can you imagine a bird saying to a bear, you know I create nests, and I fly and I lay eggs, and why don’t you do this? You know this is really the best way to be, and if you are not doing it the way I do it, you are wrong. And the bear says, no that is incorrect. You need to give birth to live young and hibernate in the winter. If you do not do this, then you are wrong. And God looks down upon both the bird and the bear, and says, I have created both of you with a purpose; I have created you out of love. You are meant to be different. And through your differences, you will create harmony.
If we listened more to each other, respected each others opinions and had compassion for our differences, we may find ourselves reaching common ground a lot faster. We may find ourselves loving our differences. We may turn the attention back on ourselves and ask, how can we change my life? How can we make choices in my life that reflect love, compassion and honesty. How can we stop pointing fingers at the other side, and begin looking at ourselves and asking if we are truly happy? If we are truly unbiased in our views? If we are truly tolerant? If we are able to listen to another without wondering when it is our turn to speak?
Our country is changing. Our country is in chaos. But it is this chaos that brings us to a higher level of harmony. And it is this exact chaos we see out there, that we all feel inside of ourselves. It is this unworthiness that we project out onto the world. It is our own feeling of powerlessness that we seek to want our political candidate to change. Instead of looking at another and demanding they meet us on our floor, maybe we can have respect for the floor they are on? Our views are different because we are on different floors. It is not that higher is better, but how we do get to a higher perspective, is through pointing the finger back on ourselves. How can we be more loving, more tolerant, more honest? How can we make different choices in how we share my opinions and beliefs? Questions lead us to the stairs which enable us to walk between floors, understanding each other, instead of pointing our fingers.
Speak up when called to share your feelings and opinions. Yes, give your attention to a candidate you agree with, and want to help. You will never convince someone else on a different floor, that your floor is best. They need to walk up the stairs and decide for themselves what is their truth.
In the end, everything is here to help us. When another triggers us by pointing the finger at us, why not try taking a breathe and saying thank you quietly to ourselves. Then we can say thank you out loud. We are not saying thank you, I agree with you. We are saying thank you for sharing what you feel and believe. If we are triggered, than another brought something out of us, that was in there to be released. By saying thank you, we may be not only helping ourselves, but in the end, we will be helping another. Because we are human, we have egos. We all have one. And it is our egos that keep us fighting with one another. Our egos are not our souls. Our egos are not our true nature. So maybe, just maybe, none of what we throw at each other, is what we think it is. For no matter what floor we are on, there is a rose colored glass. And it is beautiful. And that is how we can see it.
We live on a beautiful planet. We have beautiful children being born every day. We have beautiful forests, and animals and we have beautiful human beings with amazing creative minds. We have amazing people doing amazing things each and every day for one another. Is that how we all see our wold? If not, we need to ask ourselves why.
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Choose Love


Choose empowerment. We are not victims. We do not need to run. We are not helpless. We need to take back our power. There is not one candidate who will magically change our lives or our country. It is an inside job. We do it within ourselves. We do it within our families. We all have the choice.

Choose love. Tell your daughters how beautiful, strong and smart they are. Tell them today and everyday. Teach your sons how to honor women, treat them dignity and respect. Enlighten all our children that it is not the color of our skin, our sexual orientation or where we pray that depicts our humanness, but how much love and compassion we show one another. 

Choose compassion. Today be that much more compassionate, patient and helpful to one another. Look for the highest in everyone you see, whether it is on a grocery store line, or listening to the next President of the United States.

Choose hope. We are all entitled to our choices. We need to treat another’s opinion with respect. There is a bigger picture and everything is here to help us. Sometimes our foundation needs to be cracked in order to let in more light.


Turn off the television, get quiet and ask yourself. “What can I do to be the change I want to see in the world?” If you need faith, ask for it. All the answers are inside of us.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our thoughts, feelings and actions today create the world of tomorrow. Today, I see a world of hope, love and compassion. What do you see?