Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
Another decade–we made it!
That in and of itself is more than enough to be thankful for.
2019 was good. Some of my highlights:
I received an overwhelming response from my oral presentation at the World Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Congress in Dubai in September from an international assembly of brilliant cardiologists and surgeons. Thrilled me to my core. Riding a camel through the desert a couple days later was simply divine.
In March, I had the pleasure once again, of moderating the Golden City Gate Awards presented by Mr. Wolfgang Huschert at the ITB– the world’s leading travel trade show in Berlin, Germany.
Honored that my book, Incompatible with Nature–A Mother’s Story, won six awards: The 2019 New Apple Award for Excellence, The Reader’s Favorite Award, The Elit Award, The Global Ebook Award, The IndieReader Discovery Award and the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.
My book was also welcomed into two prestigious Ivy League University libraries : Harvard University’s Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Library. My hometown also welcomed my book into the Seattle, Washington Public Library.
In June, I was the Honorary Chair for the Seattle Adult Congenital Heart Association’s Walk for 1 in 100. My sister and co-blogger Dana walked with me and along with 250 other participants, we raised over $35,000 which will go towards advocacy, research and education for those with heart defects, their loved ones and the medical community that cares for them. Helping our heart warriors not only to survive but to thrive! Yay!!
I continued to feel fulfilled with my volunteer work at the Ronald McDonald House as well as the Parents’ Initiative for Children with Heart Disease in Cologne. I am thankful down to my very soul that I have reached the point in my life where I have the strength to see the agony that I recognize in the eyes of these parents and do what I can to lift them up.
One of my greatest challenges occurred in Wittenberge in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, in north-central Germany. I had been invited to speak before the Landeskirchliche Gemeinschaft Wittenberge e.V., an organization within the Protestant Church. I could not wait to share my message of perseverance, determination and never giving up. In the audience was a young man with his wife and two children. Both of the children were seriously physically and mentally challenged; both confined to wheelchairs. One of them made an uncontrollable outburst during my presentation. It broke my heart. The parents approached me for hugs when my presentation was over. “How could I possibly console them?” I remember thinking. I fell back on what I know to be true and that is that having pity on ourselves will not help us. I needed to encourage these two people to hang on; to pray for the strength they will need to care for their children and to never give up hope and to believe that a miracle could be on the horizon. If we believe it, we can see it and if we can see it–we can live in hope that it will manifest itself which will give us the clarity of mind we need to survive the daily.
Thankfully, thankfully, thankfully, most of friends and all of my family members remained healthy in 2019. Unfortunately, I lost a dear friend–a crushing blow. However, I am on the positive side of confident that those few who are struggling with health issues will soon be back to a better version of their former selves. You know who I’m talking to, and you know “it ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out.”
And last, but as they say, certainly not least, I am thrilled to share that many readers of my story have reached out to thank me for sharing it; that it provides comfort and most importantly them GIVES HOPE!! And that was my intention all along. I cannot express in words how grateful I am because of this.
And my speaking engagements were met with overwhelming enthusiasm!
This has inspired me tremendously and confirmed my belief that to support and inspire others dealing with their challenges is my calling. Sometimes we ultimately find our purpose through our pain. And I have found mine: namely, to help those dealing with adversity; to comfort them based on my experience of walking through fire, as they plow through their difficulties and learn to LIVE while navigating the road to personal victory.
After all, if I, just a normal girl, could move to a foreign country, not speak the language, know no-one, give birth to my only child born with only half of his heart, conquer my own fears, and rebelliously fight against doctors who didn’t believe my son could survive–and win (my son is 35 years old today and with that officially older than me!) I believe that we all have the tools we need to deal with any circumstance we are confronted with. If you’re feeling like you’re needing help coping with a problem, visit my updated website to see how you can schedule a heart to heart with me.
In the meantime, Happy New Year everybody! Let’s all sharpen our 20/20 vision and enjoy the view!!
20/20 Vision – Frohes Neues Jahr!!
Ein weiteres Jahrzehnt – wir haben es geschafft!
Das allein ist schon mehr als genug, um dankbar zu sein.
2019 war gut. Einige meiner Highlights:
Meine mündliche Präsentation auf dem Weltkongress für Kinderkardiologie und Herz-Thorax-Chirurgie in Dubai im September fand bei einer internationalen Versammlung brillanter Kardiologen und Chirurgen eine überwältigende Resonanz. Das hat mich zutiefst begeistert. Ein paar Tage später auf einem Kamel durch die Wüste zu reiten, war einfach göttlich.
Im März hatte ich erneut das Vergnügen, die Golden City Gate Awards zu moderieren, die von Herrn Wolfgang Huschert auf der ITB – der weltweit führenden Reisemesse in Berlin – verliehen wurden.
Geehrt, dass mein Buch, Incompatible with Nature-A Mother’s Story, sechs Preise gewonnen hat: Den New Apple Award for Excellence 2019, den Reader’s Favorite Award, den Elit Award, den Global Ebook Award, den IndieReader Discovery Award und den Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.
Mein Buch wurde auch in zwei renommierten Bibliotheken der Ivy League Universität aufgenommen: in der Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine der Harvard Universität und in der Biomedizinischen Bibliothek der Universität von Pennsylvania. Meine Heimatstadt wurde auch mit einem Buch in der Seattle, Washington Public Library willkommen geheißen.
Im Juni war ich der Ehrenvorsitzende des Seattle Adult Congenital Heart Association’s Walk für 1:100. Meine Schwester und Co-Bloggerin Dana begleitete mich und zusammen mit 250 anderen Teilnehmern sammelten wir über 35.000 Dollar, die in die Interessenvertretung, Forschung und Aufklärung für Menschen mit Herzfehlern, ihre Angehörigen und die medizinische Gemeinschaft, die sich um sie kümmert, fließen werden. Wir helfen unseren Herzkriegsteilnehmern nicht nur zu überleben, sondern auch zu gedeihen! Juhu!!
Ich fühlte mich weiterhin erfüllt mit meiner ehrenamtlichen Arbeit im Ronald McDonald House sowie der Elterninitiative für herzkranke Kinder in Köln. Ich bin von ganzem Herzen dankbar, dass ich den Punkt in meinem Leben erreicht habe, an dem ich die Kraft habe, die Qualen zu sehen, die ich in den Augen dieser Eltern erkenne, und zu tun, was ich kann, um sie aufzurichten.
Eine meiner größten Herausforderungen fand in Wittenberge in Sachsen-Anhalt, in Nordmitteldeutschland statt. Ich war eingeladen worden, vor der Landeskirchlichen Gemeinschaft Wittenberge e.V., einer Organisation innerhalb der evangelischen Kirche, zu sprechen. Ich konnte es kaum erwarten, meine Botschaft der Beharrlichkeit, der Entschlossenheit und des Nichtaufgebens weiterzugeben. Unter den Zuhörern war ein junger Mann mit seiner Frau und zwei Kindern. Beide Kinder waren körperlich und geistig schwer behindert; beide waren an den Rollstuhl gefesselt. Eines von ihnen machte während meines Vortrags einen unkontrollierbaren Ausbruch. Es brach mir das Herz. Die Eltern kamen auf mich zu, um mich zu umarmen, als meine Präsentation vorbei war. “Wie könnte ich sie nur trösten?” Ich weiß noch, dass ich dachte. Ich habe auf das zurückgegriffen, was ich als wahr erkannt habe, und das ist, dass Selbstmitleid uns nicht helfen wird. Ich musste diese beiden Menschen ermutigen, durchzuhalten; für die Kraft zu beten, die sie brauchen werden, um für ihre Kinder zu sorgen und die Hoffnung nie aufzugeben und zu glauben, dass ein Wunder am Horizont geschehen könnte. Wenn wir es glauben, können wir es sehen, und wenn wir es sehen können, können wir in der Hoffnung leben, dass es sich manifestiert, was uns die Klarheit des Geistes gibt, die wir brauchen, um den Alltag zu überleben.
Zum Glück, zum Glück, zum Glück sind die meisten Freunde und alle meine Familienmitglieder im Jahr 2019 gesund geblieben. Leider habe ich einen lieben Freund verloren – ein vernichtender Schlag. Ich bin jedoch auf der positiven Seite der Zuversicht, dass die wenigen, die mit Gesundheitsproblemen zu kämpfen haben, bald wieder zu einer besseren Version ihres früheren Selbst zurückkehren werden. Sie wissen, mit wem ich spreche, und Sie wissen: “Es ist kein Aufgeben und kein Herausgeben.”
Und zu guter Letzt, aber wie sie sagen, sicherlich nicht zuletzt, bin ich begeistert zu teilen, dass viele Leser meiner Geschichte die Hand ausgestreckt haben, um mir für das Teilen zu danken; dass es Trost spendet und vor allem, dass es ihnen HOFFNUNG GIBT! Und das war die ganze Zeit meine Absicht. Wie dankbar ich dafür bin, kann ich nicht in Worte fassen.
Und meine Vortragsverpflichtungen wurden mit überwältigender Begeisterung erfüllt!
Das hat mich enorm inspiriert und meine Überzeugung bestätigt, dass es meine Berufung ist, andere bei der Bewältigung ihrer Herausforderungen zu unterstützen und zu inspirieren. Manchmal finden wir letztendlich durch unseren Schmerz unsere Bestimmung. Und ich habe meinen gefunden: nämlich denen zu helfen, die mit der Not umgehen; sie zu trösten, basierend auf meiner Erfahrung, durch Feuer zu gehen, während sie durch ihre Schwierigkeiten pflügen und LIVE den Weg zum persönlichen Sieg gehen.
Denn wenn ich, ein ganz normales Mädchen, in ein fremdes Land ziehen könnte, die Sprache nicht sprechen würde, niemanden kennen würde, mein einziges Kind mit nur halbem Herzen zur Welt bringen könnte, meine eigenen Ängste überwinden und rebellisch gegen Ärzte kämpfen könnte, die nicht daran glaubten, dass er überleben und gewinnen könnte (mein Sohn ist heute 35 Jahre alt und damit offiziell älter als ich!) – dann glaube ich, dass wir alle die Werkzeuge haben, die wir brauchen, um mit allen Umständen fertig zu werden. Besuchen Sie meine aktualisierte Website, um zu sehen, wie Sie mit mir ein Herz an Herz haben können.
In der Zwischenzeit: Frohes neues Jahr, alle zusammen! Lasst uns alle unseren 20/20 Blick schärfen und die Aussicht genießen!
Today, his passport would reveal that this Trailblazer is 88 years old, but his heart and soul would still have the vigour and passion for life of a man half his age. I’m sure of it.
He’d still be operating under his M.O. of “You got to get up and get on it!” And if it was 8:30 in the morning, if everything and everyone was not in position to roll, he’d shout out: “What the hell is wrong with you? It’s 8:30–the day is half over!” Which surely would be followed by: “If you don’t do nothin’ only one thing is gonna happen: not a goddamn thing!”
How I miss this man! The man whose accomplishments also included having one of the first civil rights lawsuit to go to Superior Court in the state of Washington–and win–because he and his fellow soldiers were not allowed to eat at the same restaurants as their white comrades.
Unfortunately for me, at the time I treaded tumultuous divorce waters in Germany and wasn’t sure if I’d sink or swim, the Trailblazer was no longer with us. Time and time and time again I’d ask myself, “What would Daddy do?” He always, but always had the answer. In fact, my baby sister and co-blogger Dana gave me a pin with his initials, GF, that I keep next to my laptop on my desk. The visual helps me channel him when I need his help.
There was only one time in my life that Daddy didn’t know the answer to the question. (He was human after all.) I had just received the devastating news that my son had been born with only half of his heart. I was in Germany, my family in America–a world away. I’ll never forget me screaming into the phone, “Daddy, what should I do?” His answer silenced my screams. He said, “Baby, I’ll be damned if I know what to tell you.” He couldn’t tell me how to navigate that treacherous terrain and despite the fact that I’d been inundated with information from specialists and cardiologists and surgeons–it was AT THAT MOMENT that I knew I was in trouble.
After watching him get arrested for having a loud mouth and standing up for what he believed in, being hassled by authority, having to fight for his rights and facing it all with a certain brave and bold fearlessness, I truly thought that my Trailblazer could make pigs fly.
And today, back in Seattle for the holidays and walking the streets where I grew up, I reminisce. I look down this block and remember holding 2×4 planks while daddy nailed them into place for a fence; I remember picking up cigarette butts and dog poo from around that yard. I look at the stained-glass window he installed in that house as a matter of his expression; I remember loading the truck at Perkins Glass Company, and picking up drapes from Seattle Curtain; picking up day laborers from Pioneer Square and carrying picket signs with those laborers around local Central Area banks because of their red-lining practices. Cleaning apartments in that building. How I remember!
And now, the city landscape has changed. The homeless crisis here is all too real–it even has it’s own Wikipedia page; people of color are being forced out of this beloved area they’ve called home for years–for generations–because they can no longer afford to live here. I can’t see downtown or the mountains when I walk up Jackson street because there are cranes and raw construction blocking my view. From my lens, my cherished neighbourhood is losing it’s charm; it’s character. Where have all the Craftsman homes and midcentury single-family houses and bungalows gone?
As a major investor, player and creative force in this area, I keep asking myself, what would the Trailblazer say about this suburban-urban flip? About those displaced? Somehow, one way or another, I do believe he would have made an impact–even if it would mean helping one person-just one person figure out a way to save his or her home.
And I know FOR SURE he’d say, “There ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out.” ©
And before he’d know it, it would again be 8:30 in the morning. “Time to get up and get on it!”
Happy Birthday Trailblazer. Miss you madly!
Here’s hoping Santa is good to you! Wishing you all the peace, love and joy of the holiday season,
Here is a cute little Christmas story for you with a message to last you a lifetime–my gift to you.
This tale took place when I was 8 years old. I had bloomed into Tracie Little Miss Know It All.
Our parents had set up a beautifully decorated tree in the living room as they always did and my younger sisters and I were über excited about the dolls and playthings that we would find beneath it on Christmas morning.
Well, one day, unbeknownst to us, Mom overheard a conversation between me and my sister Robin that went something like this:
R: I can’t wait to see what Santa is going to bring me!
TLMKIA: Don’t be silly! Mama and Daddy buy the presents!”
R: “No they don’t! Santa Claus makes them at the North Pole and he brings them down the chimney!”
TLMKIA: “No he doesn’t! He’s not even a real person!
R: “Yes he is and he brings the toys!”
TLMKIA: “No he doesn’t and everybody knows it!”
Shortly after this little exchange, the big day arrived.
My sisters and I sprang out of our beds and met each other at the top of the stairwell. We tip-toed down the first few stairs giggling and as we turned on the landing we could see the tree all tinselly and brightly blinking and–there was nothing underneath it.
Confused and frankly scared to death, we raced down the remaining stairs and stood in the room staring dropped-jawed at the tree. There was NOTHING underneath it!! NOTHING!!
What had happened?
We screamed for our parents who came rushing in from the kitchen.
“What’s the matter?” they asked us in unison.
“Santa didn’t bring us anything! There’s nothing here!”
“Well now, don’t get upset,” Mama said. “He must have been here!”
“Come on,” Daddy said “Let’s go look in the other room where the fireplace is.”
Our hopes soared.
“Santa must have been here,” Mama said.
She and Daddy looked around the room and suddenly had another idea.
“Let’s go look downstairs in the basement!” they said.
The basement? We never went in the basement! Mama just went down there to do the laundry and daddy would store construction materials in the back rooms.
Daddy and Mama descended the stairs first. My sisters and I followed and lo and behold there was another tree with all the presents underneath!
This is a story we still laugh about and cherish, but as a teenager I told our parents that this was just a perverse thing to do to us kids. They explained that there is a moral to the story that they wanted to instill within us as children; one that we would have forever and that is:
When you stop believing, you stop receiving.
And now I have shared it with you.
So whether it’s your hope of a healthy outcome, of achieving a certain success, a principal thing you’ve got your heart set on or even finding a parking place–believe it will happen, own it and have faith! Our faith will bring us to it.
Faith produces what we believe: it is the confidence in what we hope for and the belief in what we cannot see.
Don’t give Santa a reason not to show up!
Here’s hoping that you and your family will always cherish your memories of faith, hope and love.
One of my bucket list visits in Nashville was to visit a literal hole in the wall, famed listening room, The Bluebird Cafe.Many of you may have seen the space on the hit show, Nashville. I was warned I would be underwhelmed by the location and property, a dark dive in a strip mall five minutes from downtown Nashville’s popping Broadway district. But I would indeed be overwhelmed by the talent. True That! The Bluebird Cafe founded in 1982, which seats less than 100 people is a tough ticket to access. Nightly the lines are around the block. So when our attempt to get a $15 ticket online failed, we reached out to our friend, Grammy Award winning songwriter, Tia Sillers who happened to be hosting last Saturday night. Tia wrote as she calls it her life changing song, I Hope You Dance and also the Kenny Wayne Shepherd single, Blue on Black. We were cautioned to be silent during the intimate performances of up and coming artists from Shannon LaBrie, Joe Robinson (winner of Australia’s Idol) and Camden West. It was truly captivating watching these artist hone their craft while visualizing all the talent from Garth Brooks, LeeAnn Rimes, and Taylor Swift who also performed in this circle. So as we embark on 2020, take a moment and listen to this song. The words are powerful If you get the chance to sit it out or dance… I hope you dance!
Still trying to find that special Christmas gift for that special woman in your life? Today, we are lightening Santa’s load… Check out Tara Sorenson’s unique, beautiful, designs with a great price point.
Taracuda Jewelry initially began as a means to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s research in honor of my mother, but took on a life of its own.
I spent years working in the design field, decorating/refurbishing homes, in addition to designing artsy websites. It’s not that I can’t focus; I’m just your typical creative who loves to try my hand at everything design-related. Since I was working within a limited budget, I needed to come up with an effective way to raise money for my cause, while providing something in return – the “Win-Win” principle.
The solution I came up with was to make a small run of jewelry and each piece that was sold would garner a donation for Alzheimer’s research. Aware that the jewelry marketplace was saturated, my designs had to be different and unique. Well, it was truly a blessing that everything sold out and soon I discovered that designing jewelry was a perfect fit for me. In February of 2017, I opened my shop on Etsy called TaracudaJewelry.
My offerings have expanded to include earrings, bracelets, necklaces, convertible bracelets and custom designs by request. I’m hoping there is something for everyone.
The direct link is: etsy.me/2Jq2Drn
Thank you for your interest and happy shopping!
This past Tuesday was Giving Tuesday and at MoPop’s Founder’s Award, the tribute artists GAVE IT UP! This year, we honored Seattle hometown girl, Brandi Carlile. She was the most nominated woman at the 61st annual Grammy Awards and a three time Grammy Award winner.. Watching the tribute artists which included Dave Matthews, The Indigo Girls and Tanya Tucker, Mike McCready, Ruby Amanfu, and Beth Ditto, it was evident the nominations and awards were rightly deserved.
Brandi Carlile dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music, teaching herself piano and guitar. Her debut major label album was released to critical acclaim. Her 2007 single, The Story was awarded gold status in 2017 having sold more than 500,000 copies to date.
As a MoPop Board member, I was thrilled to watch our young musicians from the Residency Program and hear how our programs helped shape Brandi Carlile’s foundation and future as a musician. Although at this writing, numbers are still being calculated, we raised the most money ever to keep these vital programs going!
As always, auctioneer extraordinaire, Fred Northup kept the crowd in stitches. Bravo to Founder’s Chair, Leslie Chihuly- yes, girl, we finally went Country in such a grand way!
It’s here! Holiday shopping time!
Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Free shipping! Online specials! Online brochures! 75% off for 24 hours only! Scoop up big ticket items! Available now! Get it while it lasts! Best deal! Last chance sales! Doorbuster sales! Discount sales! Shop early and often!
Huh? Shop early and often???
Shopping mania. Before we know it, we’ve shopped until we–or our wallets–have dropped and it can be mighty difficult to get up after the fall. So, if you find yourself in a financial pinch after the frenzy, let me share with you another Daddy Quote. The man lives on.
For those of you who know this menopausebarbee or have read my book, you are familiar with a couple of my favorite daddy quotes: “Ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out.” © and “You got to get up and get on it!” ©
You also know that I began working in the family business when I was nine years old cleaning apartments, vacuuming hallways and picking up dog poop and cigarette butts out of the yards.
By the time I graduated from college, my status had elevated to working full time in the office. The list of work I did is much too long to list here; let’s just say that I opened the office at 7:30 in the morning, made sure the crew had their equipment and list of to dos and were out of the office by 8 because by 8:30, as Daddy would say, “The day is half over!!”
A portion of my office responsibility was paying bills. Better said: robbing Peter to pay Paul. Every. Damn. Day. The bills just wouldn’t stop and Daddy would buy another building or buy another truck, or overspend on remodelling…
It warms my heart as I write this, remembering how he would drive down the hill and walk into the office and sit down next to me–a grin on his face and a mountain of bills in front of me. Our conversation would more often than not sound like this:
“Daddy, can you please explain to me why you ordered all these supplies from Welch’s hardware store?”
“Baby,” he would say, “we needed the stuff. Got to keep the program rollin’.”
“And just how do you expect me to pay these bills?”
“Baby, just get more money.”
“Just get more money??? Just where do you expect me to get it from? We owe everybody and their mother!!”
To this he would say–and here is your Daddy Consolation in case you have fallen down and are trying to get back on your financial feet:
“Baby, don’t worry about it. As long as we owe ‘em, they’ll never be broke.”©
It’s ridiculous, but true actually.
Something to keep in my mind in case you’re frazzled from your shopping frenzy.
Happy hump day everybody!
With my parents college graduation day.