A Monumental Week – Day 36

When I decided to blog throughout my sugar fast, I had two guesses about how this would go. One has come true, and the other has not.

I first guessed keeping up with daily blogs would be a challenge throughout March. Three different big events in three different cities (like the PGA tournament in Arizona, a major live stream in LA and then this week’s Call-on Congress in D.C.) is a lot! (Apologies for the lag in updates!)

I’m proud to share I’ve held strong – I’ve stuck to my sugar fast and did not cheat once!

But my second guess was that a lot of these blogs would be full of decadent descriptions of the warm chocolate chip cookies, the flourless dark chocolate cake, the tempting bowl full of miniature candies sitting on the conference room table calling my name.

I thought I’d focus a lot on what I’ve gone without, but as I sit down to write a long-overdue update, I just want to tell you what I’ve been blessed with.

A Week of Advocacy


I want to tell and show you the advocacy event that 12 staff pull off each March (in the midst of two other large-scale events!). I want to introduce you to fellow colorectal cancer advocates – friends I’ve made over the years whose connections have helped me heal.


I want to tell you my family came to D.C. with me this year.

I want to explain how much I loved standing under the tall marble columns together and looking up at the grandiose statues. There’s great wisdom and extreme importance in remembering the past – to experience it as a family has been incredible.

B3-way-to-dc korean-monument-mb lincoln-monument-mae jefferson-monument-mae roosevelt-monument-kids

I want to tell you I talked with a lot of people from around the world this week – the UK, Australia, Canada, Poland, Argentina – and it reminded me once more of our shared humanity. We must know no borders when it comes to helping our fellow man.

puerto-rico-advocates-fightcrc fightcrc-advocates-maia

I want to tell you that although my body is tired, my suitcase is a wreck, my flight is cancelled because of a snowstorm and my sugar cravings have not subsided (less than 10 days to go!)- my heart is full.


It doesn’t always come naturally to “look on the bright side.” But, I’m learning.

I can either choose to focus on what I’ve gone without – or I can choose to be grateful and share what I’ve been blessed with.

When I pick the latter, I am at peace. I can face changes with confidence. I can handle disappointments with grace. I can smile although it’s cold and rainy. I can say “no thanks” to the dessert table.

And in this place, I regain my perspective. I too can be monumental.

Introducing: The Holiday Girls

“Do you want to write  fictional children’s stories?”

That was a message from my friend Sarah earlier last fall – a small question that opened a big door into several new worlds:

  • Fiction writing
  • Children’s stories
  • International publishing studio & community of writers
  • Creative writing with my daughter
  • The Holiday Girls

I’m pumped to share our Holiday Girls stories are now LIVE!

Get The Holiday Girls

app-store-downloadThe stories are currently published on the Bedtime Stories App.

Creating The Holiday Girls

As soon as Sarah asked if I’d write fiction, I knew I needed help.

I mostly write nonfiction – so this was a tad out of my element.

But it was NOT out of someone else’s element – the most creative, imaginative person I’ve ever met: Mae.


One of our writing sessions – now you see what inspired the “Jollys” in Holly Ween’s story!

Several months prior, Mae had come up with a main character named “Chrissy Miss” and her friends “Holly Ween,” “Valley Valentine,” and “Chloe Verr.” One day on a car ride, she sat in the backseat describing the characters and I looked across the car at my husband – we locked eyes.

She was on to something.

Shortly afterwards, the opportunity to write children’s bedtime stories came our way and I knew exactly which characters to use. We brought the Holiday Girls to life!


Mae dressed up like “Valley Valentine” this year

Little Lights Studio

Sarah introduced me to Miso at Little Lights Studio and after an early morning Skype call (he’s based in Austria), we got rolling. He liked the concept of our story and said the new project he was working on didn’t have anything like it.

He was rolling out a new app called Bedtime Stories.

The app was designed to help parents be creative when putting their kids to bed – apparently my kid wasn’t the only one who wanted ME to make up the stories on some nights.

In addition to the app’s goal of helping parents tell stories – it wanted to include themes that celebrated differences and brought out the good in humanity.

We were all in.

A Family Affair

Co-writing with a 7-year-old has been as fun and frustrating as it sounds. But all in all, I loved teaming up with her. Her creativity created worlds, characters and plot lines I could have never come up with myself.

I loved taking the “spark” from her imagination and crafting structure and dialogue around each story. Big thanks to Mike and Doc for helping edit them and give feedback. (Mike even came up with the April Fool character in Story #5!)


This was genuinely a team project – which is perfect for this new team that just got introduced to the world!

I hope you’ll head over and meet the Holiday Girls – they’re sure to add some sparkle and celebration into your day!

City of Stars – Day 25

I’ve been in Los Angeles this week – the city of angels to some, the city of dreams and stars to others. No matter how you view Los Angeles, there’s a few things everyone can seem to agree upon:

  • The palm trees are beautiful.
  • The traffic is horrible.
  • It’s a city full of dreamers.

I was out there with Fight CRC – we hosted a live stream from LA to take our colorectal cancer screening tour coast to coast. (You can watch it here!)


I enjoyed being in California.

Feeling the sun beat down on my pale skin was refreshing. I loved the huge pots of succulents lining the steps of old Beverly Hills homes. A few moments of hearing the big waves on Venice Beach brought calmness and peace. Driving past big studio lots with tall walls and grand entrances stirred up feelings of anticipation – even for a non-actor like me.


It didn’t take much for me to understand why so many people are captivated by the city of LA:

It’s a place full of hope.

The Power of Hope

I wrote on hope a few weeks ago and I just finished Teri Griege’s book Powered by Hope – so hope is on my mind!

As this sugar fast carries on (I’m over half way there!) and Lent draws closer to an end – I can’t shake this thought:

In this world, there is hope, but we must be willing to see it that way.

This view isn’t easy. It’s actually really hard.

The world we can see is full of scandals, killings, disagreements, loss, sickness and pain. Lots of closed doors and missed opportunities seem to be the norm. We’re surrounded by situations that drain hope and anticipation quicker than a slashed tire leaks air.

Yet in the midst of pain, I 100% believe there’s always something to look forward to.

Fasting doesn’t mean what you’re abstaining from won’t ever come back- inherent in its definition is the guarantee of what will return. I WILL eat sugar again!

The City of Los Angeles doesn’t guarantee stardom and celebrity, fame and success – but it stirs up excitement. When I walked its sunny streets I too began believing I was made for greatness!

The live stream we did this week doesn’t guarantee people will call their doctors and get screened for colorectal cancer, it doesn’t even mean people won’t get diagnosed. But it does mean they now have the information, education and tools to act and get support when they’re ready. AND it means although cancer was a bad thing that happened to me, God used it for GOOD this week. I’m alive and am here to tell my story – now THAT is HOPE.

And, what’s closest to my heart, Lent. The past 25 days have reminded me life isn’t about withdrawal so I can do a bunch of religious stuff and earn my way to Heaven. Thank God! Nope – Lent is about remembering I can’t do enough for God and grace says that’s OK. Easter is the epitome of hope – it’s where hope started and it’s where hope will end. God kept his promises and there’s even more to come.

This world is full stars. Anticipation. Love. And dreams. We can’t always feel it, we rarely see it, but it’s there if we’re willing to believe.

Hope says just wait – there’s more to come.

We ain’t seen anything yet.

Back to Biscuit Baking – Day 20

Yesterday, I baked again. It felt glorious.

No, I didn’t break my sugar fast (although the banana coconut cream pie at the birthday party last night almost did me in). But yesterday morning, I broke out the sterling silver measuring cups. I got down the powdery white flour. I cut in some cold butter. I soured the milk for buttermilk. I made homemade, hot-from-the-oven biscuits.

They. Were. Glorious.

If you’re ever looking for a good biscuit recipe, we use the Minimalist Baker’s “Best Damn Vegan Biscuits.” We don’t make them 100% vegan – we use real butter – but it doesn’t impact the taste. These puppies are goooood.

As I was taking a few turns around the mixing bowl, I began to realize I missed baking a lot. I hung up my apron 20 days ago (since my favorite thing to bake is chocolate chip cookies). But a few dry ingredients forming a sticky dough quickly reignited my love. Fortunately, the recipe didn’t call for any sugar! Score!

As I was mixing, another moment from the weekend came to mind. Saturday morning we watched my daughter’s acting class perform their exercises for the parents. One game they played was designed to teach improv; each time a student suggested something to act out, they all responded in unison, “Yes, Let’s!”

It got me thinking… yes… what a powerful word.

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