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I write about parenting, personal growth, and spirituality. And occasionally video games. Proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

There are over 2,000 species of cacti, but none more iconic than the mighty saguaro.

Pronounced suh-waa-roh, these cacti can stretch over 40 feet tall; the tallest one on record was 78 feet tall!

Saguaros are native to the Sonoran Desert, one of the four deserts in North America. The Sonoran Desert stretches from Sonora, Mexico, north into Arizona, and west into southeastern California.

And it’s the only place in the world where saguaros grow.

The indigenous people of the Sonoran Desert — native tribes such as the O’odham—believe the saguaros are their ancestors, returning to look after their people in the desert. For thousands of years, saguaros have been protected and revered.

Protection of…

Our mission and how to submit your writing

There is one fact that has remained constant throughout all existence: everything we have comes from the land.

For thousands of years, humans have walked the earth — taking more than steps, leaving behind more than footprints. We, like all other creatures, change our environment simply by existing in it.

This is not an inherently negative thing. Just as the field mouse burrowing into the ground creates richer, aerated soil, the work of humans can have positive impacts on the land. Ingenuity has eradicated diseases impacting plant and animal life alike; commitments to conservation have protected endangered species.

Yet the…

When did I get so old?

I’m a Millennial. Everyone complained about my generation, so I think I’ve earned the right to complain about Gen Z and their new words.

I remember my parents (Boomers) complaining about how I spelled things wrong over text. Your became ur; what became wat; why became y.

But we had a legitimate excuse back then. When I first started texting, it took 11 button presses to type the word your! Hit the 9 three times for Y; 6 three times for O; 8 two times for U; 7 three times for R.

Gen Z has no idea how easy they…

A magical B&B in Southern Arizona

“In a few months, this will look like Ireland,” says Jeff, our host, who owns the Hacienda Corona with his wife, Nisa. He says this while leaning in the door jam of a former outdoor patio, which had been framed in long ago to create a sunny nook in the back of the house. The room now serves as our breakfast room, which we eat while seated around what was once John Wayne’s card table.

Gin Rummy, not Poker,” our host informs us.

John Wayne and other Hollywood actors visited here often. The rolling hills, golden-and-purple sunsets, and quiet of…

I’m done hating them for it

Readers please note: this story discusses an accusation of statutory rape, and the details of a sexual assault forensic exam. If you need help, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

It’s the day after I lost my virginity, and my mom picks me up from dance practice to drive me home. As we pull into our long cul-de-sac of 10 homes with perfectly manicured lawns, I wonder aloud about the police car parked a few houses down.

“Huh, wonder what that’s for,” I say, completely oblivious.

“You’ll see,” my mom replies through pursed lips as we pull into the driveway.

“It’s been a year.”

That’s the ambiguous phrase I’ve heard countless times in the past few weeks, and despite not really saying anything, everyone seems to nod along when it’s expressed. Or maybe that’s just the video call buffering again.

There are many adjectives that could be appropriately placed in that sentence. Weird. Hard. Lonely.

In a year that provided stark reminders of how much is out of our control, I find renewed solace in focusing on the few things I can control.

Like what adjective I place in that sentence when I reflect on 2020.

Our thoughts dictate our…

What I’ve learned about being a kid in 2020

Yes, I am a 30-year-old woman and I play Fortnite.

I guess you could label me a “gamer.” My love for video games started in elementary school. I appreciate the skill that goes into creating them. The stories and the art of video games can be breathtaking and profound. They can be educational, fun, and creative. But I also know online video games can be an unsafe place for kids.

So video games are allowed in our household, but only certain ones. And it’s important that I have personal experience with the video games my kids play. A few years…

And not what the world tells me to be

Don Miguel Ruiz says we take and absorb what is said to us when we are young for the creation of “me” — that it is not a conscious choice, the creation of our identity, but rather a passive absorption of what the world decides for us. When we are unaware, the world’s expectations become the shackles that keep us firmly cemented in the role we are told to play. To transcend this is freedom.

Beginning down this road of self-awareness and reflection is confronting. I try to be gentle with myself, but habits are hard to break, aren’t they…

It’s not pseudo-science: you’re already doing it.

“Change your thinking, change your life…

Whatever you can dream, you can achieve.”

We find echoes of this idea bouncing around multi-level marketing rallies, to Tony Robbins, to New Thought churches, to t-shirts at Target.

The Secret, which has sold millions of copies, claims to teach you how to unlock the hidden potential of the universe to bring all that you desire into reality. Miracle Morning touts affirmations as an important part of your morning routine. And athletes tell how important visualization is to their sport.

Regardless of the modality, the simple explanation is this: focus on the desired outcome…

And it’s okay — really.

I didn’t become a parent by finding out I was “with child,” joyously sharing the news with my husband and basking in the glow of creating a new life together. I didn’t become a parent by breast-feeding, by changing diapers, or even by writing my name on a birth certificate, claiming one of those two coveted spots of “parent” on the legal paperwork.

I became a step-parent, legally speaking, on the day I married my husband. But I became a parent — a mom — slowly, over time. I’m not my kids’ legal guardian. I’m the third person in a…

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