Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters


women; encouragement; empowerment

A Parable of Three Fated Sisters

Memory. Charity. Promise. Three women. Three beautiful sisters with three beautiful names.

But the beauty stops where the limitations began. Imparted by their forefathers… Remember your place. Nurture others. Earn your reward.

And so it began.

Memory lived her life in the past– a far-from-accurate, completely-black-and-white past, shaded by perceptions and surroundings. What he wanted. How he felt. Where he’d been. Had she done it right? It all dictated how she lived her present and looked to her future. All from the past. Memory just couldn’t live in the moment. Her moment.

Then there was Charity. She gave herself away. All of her self. To everyone. Her family, her friends, her lover, her home, her job. Until there was nothing left of her but a shell of a woman with a beautiful, empty name. A Charity case.

And finally, there was Promise. Her strength lay in her looking to the future — and overlooking the past and present. Ignoring any injustice. Keeping her eye on the prize. Always waiting on the earned reward of being the dutiful, obedient woman. Waiting for her destiny to unfold. Always waiting. A Promise yet to be found.

Three sisters. Their lives short-changed by society’s pigeon holes: Remember your place; Nurture; Obey. And all that is good and holy will surely come to you.

Bull shit.

Don’t be kept in a cage of society’s invention. Lift up your heads, sisters. Climb out of your relegated roles.

Don’t give yourself away — Charity begins at home. Use your past to build your present. Use your Memory to make your mark. Bring your Promise to fruition by building it — not waiting on it.

Ignore what the world wants you to be, Sisters, and be who YOU want to be.

Moving Mountains and Stringing Pearls

I was listening to a country song yesterday (Yes, country. I’m that far gone.) — and I heard a lyric that resonated with me. “If I need a mountain moved, I move it myself.”

That’s me to a Grand Teton.

And it’s not because I’m afraid people will think I’m weak. Nor is it that I think I can do everything all by myself… far from it. I am definitely not the sharpest shovel in the shed, or the most diverse and multi-purposed, either.

It’s just I don’t want to be a bother. It’s how I was raised.

Chalk it up to Puritan work ethic… or cult indoctrination… but I feel like if I can’t get it all done, then I’m inadequate and unworthy of help. So most days, I just feel it all crumbling around me. Nevertheless, I carry on.

But I am in absolute awe of — and even a little bit alarmed for — people who actually do ask for help. They’re far braver than me. And have a much stronger sense of self-worth.

Because they expect people to help carry the load. They expect people to care.

And it’s not like I’m surrounded by people who DON’T care. I’m not. Far from it. As a matter of fact, I have the most amazing friends and family. I am unbelievably blessed. They would be more-than-willing to help me move my Himalayan hurdles, if they only knew about my Himalayan hurdles.

But I tend not to tell them. Because I was also raised to be invisible.

And asking for help puts you right out there in the spotlight.

So I don’t.

But I watch the ones who are out there in the spotlight, bathed in self-confidence, and I long to be more like them.

They’re all so warm and golden, so on-fire with self-love. Like they really believe the world is their oyster and that people will stumble all over themselves to help them string up its pearl and lay it ’round their neck.

And the world is. And the people do.

Meanwhile I carry on, flattened by Everest crumbling over the top me.

Anybody else struggle with that? And is it primarily a female thing? Or a Heather Candela thing?

Or are there men out there who have trouble asking for help, too?

Because my husband doesn’t have trouble. He knows his limits and he knows his worth. And he compromises neither when he asks for help. (I mean, who wouldn’t go above and beyond for such a tall mug of salted caramel macchiato? He’s delicious.)

I admire him so much, and I want to be like him so much — but I’m distinctly lacking in both salt and caramel. (Although I am tall. So I do have that.)

I have tried my best to raise my daughters to be more like those warm and golden souls of this world and NOT like their mother.

I’ve tried to raise them to have a strong sense of self. To be empowered and intelligent. To be willing and willful. To have servants’ hearts — ready to give assistance when needed — but also to have a queen’s spirit and know their value. I want them to never settle for less than they deserve and to know they are always worthy of somebody else’s effort and attention. Always.

I’m trying to do the same with my sons. And maybe it’ll be easier with them. Maybe girls struggle more with the mountains they haul. I don’t know. This is unchartered terrain for me.

What I do know is that I want all my children to be able to move mountains AND string pearls.

It must be the most amazing feeling.

Shine A Life: A Series on Women Who Encourage and Lead


Just typing the word gives me strength and courage and confidence, and a sense of community. Sadly, I’m sure that to the vast majority of this distracted globe the word does not conjure the same – or even similar– connotations. Instead, huge numbers of men — and even women – think only of weakness and ignorance.

And why? Because of a tale as old as time…about a garden, green and lush, and a tree, juicy with promise…

And ever since the forbidden fruit of that tantalizing tree first burst with splendor inside that eager soft palate (yes, the double-entendre is totally intended — because the Garden of Eden is synonymous with sex and shame), Eve and her sisters have been blamed — never mind that Adam was an equal offender in the whole scenario…

Which means that when spirit animals got passed around – we women got saddled with the Scapegoat. And the varieties and the breeds are numerous and all equally hellish:

  • We’ve been sin-eaters from that very first bite, consuming the guilt and bearing the afflictions for all.
  • We are witches, burned regularly — with malice and forethought — if it appears we’re regaining any small semblance of strength or of power.
  • We are sacrificial lambs, slaughtered on bloody altars by roughly hewn knives that penetrate our innocence and slather it with shame.
  • And we are the scapegoats sent into the wilderness with mankind’s sins projected onto our villainized, ostracized flesh.

Women have been relegated to the shavings and the shadows of the world since time immemorial. Which is a travesty.

Because we are strong. We are intelligent. We are powerful. We are creative and disciplined and industrious and capable. Oh, BOY are we capable. And we deserve some long overdue recognition and respect.

This year – the year 2018 — has been labeled the “Year of the Woman.” The moniker was spawned by the #metoo movement in the wake of all the sexual misconduct and abuse that has been revealed in recent months – and has been an ongoing patriarchal proclivity since the wheel first whetted the knife…

But, as Oprah says, “A new day is on the horizon.” So I say: Rise and Shine. Shine as bright – or brighter than — all those sons who’ve come before.

There are so many brilliant, capable, strong women in this universe of ours — and it is indeed ours, not just theirs.

And our stories need to be told. And some of us are famous – like Oprah, and Ashley, and Rose, and Meryl, and Nancy, and Elizabeth, and Hillary — and those stories are being heard. But some of us are not so famous. Some of us are ordinary brilliant, capable, strong women. And in this Year of the Woman, our stories should be heard, too.

I’ve been following an account on Instagram designed to highlight brilliant, capable, strong women operating (literally… it features female surgeons) in a male dominated world. But I recently learned that the whole venture was nothing but a catfishing scheme. The author telling these physicians’ stories was a man posing as a woman — for unknown and indubitably disturbing reasons.

This imposter reached out through emails and social media to a multitude of doctors, claiming to be a young female surgical resident forced to leave her program due to debilitating illness (the disease varied, depending on the target surgeon’s specialty). These doctors – due to the false history –were quite empathetic and opened their hearts and lives to the Him they thought was a Her. Hopefully nothing more than emotional betrayal took place. That still remains to be seen. The Instagram has since been closed.

The whole situation has me pissed off but has also got me thinking. The platform may have been a lie, but there were so many lights, rising big and shining bright out of the darkness of that lie.

And then I got to thinking about the many women in my personal life: sisters, besties, moms, daughters, students. Some of them are surgeons. Some of them are teachers. Some are business women, some stay-at-home moms, some retirees, some immigrants, some artists. Some are from the past. Most are from the present.

And none of them are famous. But all of them are inspiring.

And they help me feel strong and brave and connected daily. And they all help me believe that I can do this hard thing called life. And since I know that not every woman feels the same sense of strength and courage and community, I have decided to begin a new series featuring the extraordinary lives of ordinary women. Strong, brave, powerful, ordinary women. Who can encourage all of us to Rise and Shine…. and cast off the darkness and shadows and goatskins and blames of our past.

I will call it Shine a Life.

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