Husbands and Fathers in Pink Tutus

I can’t imagine my husband or three sons strutting about in pink tutus, but then again, I’m not sure anyone imagines that breast cancer will impact their family.

So far (knock wood), that particular cancer has not touched our clan.

Nevertheless, most years I choose to join thousands of runners in the Race for the Cure, which raises funds for the breast cancer awareness and research activities of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Yesterday was no exception.

RFTC pink moustacheAnd as I neared the site of the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, with the Jetson’s-like Space Needle in view, I couldn’t help noticing that each year the race seems to attract more men…in pink tutus.

As Martha would say, this is “a good thing.”

I can’t recall how many runners joined me in New York’s Central Park for my first Race for the Cure, back in 1991, but I don’t remember seeing many men or much pink. In fact, that race was where the Komen Foundation, which held its first race in Texas back in 1983, debuted its iconic pink ribbon.

Here in Seattle, for several years our local lacrosse team encouraged players and their families to sign up for the RTFC as a group. I distinctly remember when our group’s top finisher was a high schooler whose mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. He didn’t don a tutu, but he certainly ran for a reason.

Yesterday, apparently about 6,000 of the 8,000 participants in Seattle’sRFTC tutus and carriage
RFTC events ran or walked for a reason, too. According to the Komen Foundation, three-fourths of those who participate in RFTC events – something like 1.6 million people in 150 cities around the world – have survived breast cancer or have a close friend or family member impacted by the disease.

At the Seattle Center, I saw very fit runners in short shorts and tiny singlets, competing for  medals and personal-best times. I also saw red-faced, sweat-drenched athletes who had not trained adequately for the event, and slow, but smiling, walkers of all ages and shapes.

I spotted elderly and ailing people in wheelchairs, kids in strollers and wagons, babies in backpacks and women from all “walks of life” wearing “survivor” shirts and scarves over their hairless heads.

Groups of runners and walkers gathered in coordinated outfits, such as tutus and feather boas and funny hats, with signs on their backs naming the women they were honoring.

Yesterday, instead of focusing on my 5K time, I took note of the diverse crowd, smiled at the survivors, chuckled at the costumes, cheered for the children and felt compassion for those who had lost loved ones.

I headed back home feeling happy that we humans value, and gather strength from, community.

-Linda Williams Rorem, Permission Slips, 2 June 2014
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How to Put a Bad Day in Perspective

What could have been a wonderful Sunday simply wasn’t to be. In fact, it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

The morning schedule looked all clear, so I rose early to attack a photo project for a relative. Sitting at my desktop computer at 7 am, I started scrolling through photos to make my selections.

And then, I heard a tree fall – this time not on my home — saw a bright flash and watched the computer screen go dark.

photo (7)It’s not unusual, on this heavily wooded island, for tree branches to fall on power lines. So, three or four times a year, we lose our electricity source – usually for 12 to 18 hours, but sometimes for several days, and once for a full week.

I knew what the day held: no computer power, no internet, no hot water.

I knew it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I checked the newspaper’s weather report, and noted that the torrential rainfall should continue for several days.

So, the plants I purchased at Home Depot would spend another day in their plastic containers. The weeds would have another week to flourish in the garden. The lawn’s edges would remain ragged.

Walking past the laundry room, I realized that I had forgotten to move the crammed dark load from the washer into the drier. It would remain soaked for another day.

Fortunately, my cell phone was working. So, I texted my oldest son, who is awaiting knee surgery that will derail his college football plans, at least for the near future. I feel terrible for him, as football has served as a wonderful focus for his energy and dreams.

Next, my daughter and I drove to the health club to shower and get ready for our National Charity League chapter’s senior celebration. (While it was a hassle to haul everything to the gym, we do recognize we are fortunate to have somewhere to find warm showers, blow driers and bright lights.)

The luncheon was lovely, I went to a chocolate tasting afterwards, and our family later enjoyed a dinner out together. The day was definitely on an upswing.

Back at home, we settled into the living room, turned on the gas fireplace and read books by candlelight. It actually felt wonderful to unplug for an evening.

And then the call came: news that a young man we know had died suddenly. My heart aches for my son, who was good friends with the guy, as well as for his parents and our community at large.

Images of this young man are vivid in my mind. I can see him at our kitchen table, where he sat for countless meals and discussions about life. Whenever he entered our home, he filled every room with his positive energy, charm and broad smile. He was, as one friend just said, “a big teddy bear.”

Suddenly, the power outage, the rain, the musty clothes and the delayed projects seemed incredibly trivial. This young man will never see another day, and his family will never feel whole again.

My day was just a tough one, and some days are like that. Even in Australia. At least I have the promise of tomorrow.

Linda Williams Rorem, Permission Slips, 5 May 2014
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Doggone It

Many of you read Carol’s recent post announcing her hiatus from Permission Slips blogging (click here if you missed it).

I miss her already, and suspect that our loyal readers do, too.

Blog puppyCarol’s life is very full, raising the new puppy pictured here, managing a family that includes four children, ages 13 – 21, coaching the local high school’s JV girls tennis team, serving as an adviser to several start-up businesses, helping out with her family’s organic farm and playing tennis as often as she can.

I don’t know how she found the time to blog at all.

However, I think Carol enjoyed writing about the world around her. She is much more interested in politics, brain development, local government and sports than I am, and I believe readers enjoyed “hearing” her unique perspectives.

Personally, I liked it best when she wrote from the heart. Some of my favorite “Carol Posts” are listed here (click on the titles to read each post):

Carol and my friendship dates back more than a dozen years. Back then, our children were enrolled in the same Montessori preschool, but it was rare for parents to interact as many were dropping and picking up children on the way to and from work.

In early 2000, Carol’s third child attended my third son’s birthday party at a local play space. She approached me and said, “Everyone keeps telling me we need to get to know each other. I see you’re pregnant with your fourth child [due four months later], and I just found out I’m pregnant with my fourth.”

We immediately understood each other.

Since our kids are roughly the same ages, we started crossing paths more and more – at first-grade basketball games (her daughter was the only girl on the team), T-ball practices, PTA meetings, swim club events and while pushing full carts down supermarket aisles.

Our families became fast friends. After all, who else would invite a family of five or six to dinner?

And then, we started taking “Girlfriend Getaways” together (click here to read about one of our trips). This photo was taken on our Blog carol linda paris2005 trip to Paris, when I had my “mommy braces” (friends from Paris and London are at the photo’s right side).

After our third getaway, in response to friends who kept asking, “How do you do it?” we conceived of a book promoting and explaining the concept.

We attended a publishing conference in New York, secured an agent and met for hours each week to write our book proposal and sample chapters.

While our proposal was well received, publishers told us the timing wasn’t right – in the midst of a depressed economy – for a book about non-essential travel with friends.

So, we retooled our idea several times, and eventually decided to write a blog about frazzled women like us. We fine-tuned the blog’s concept as the time passed, and decided to keep it going as long as we were having fun and had something to say.

Three and a half years later, I’m still not sure where PermissionSlips is headed. We have a stable base of readers, get great feedback (mostly through emails and live conversations, not necessarily in the blog’s comments section) and seem to come up with fresh ideas each week. But I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort to expand the readership or try to turn the posts into a book.

Nevertheless, since I have made a career out of writing, I’m not ready to stop blogging. At the same time, I do get tired of hearing myself “talk” every week, so would really welcome submissions from others. If you’re interested in guest blogging, please let me know. The only requirement? Clear, concise writing that promotes some kind of “permission” (usually relating to the idea, “Give yourself a break.”).

And, please, if you have ideas for future posts, but don’t want to write them yourself, let me know. My goal is to make PermissionSlips as “user-friendly” and interactive as possible, for as long as I have the energy to keep it going.

– Linda Williams Rorem, 21 April 2014
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Spring Into a New Year

Last week marked the start of my favorite season, the appearance of sunnier skies and fragrant flowers, the 23rd anniversary of my marriage and the approach of Easter. For me, as for most people, springtime initiates deep cleansing and fresh starts.

Beautiful sunrises, clear skies and fresh air provide renewed energy and lead to more positive outlooks.

hyacinthsHouse windows open, letting in the scents of blossoming flowers and budding trees. Birds appear on windowsills and chirp as they fly to their new nests. Children squeal with delight while playing in their yards. Neighbors emerge from their homes and chat as they stroll in the evenings or work in their gardens.

Store shelves burst with gardening supplies, birdseed, short-sleeved clothes, Easter baskets and jelly beans.

Several years ago, a good friend introduced me to Nowruz, the Persian/ Iranian New Year, which is celebrated on the first day of spring, commemorating the rebirth of nature. As the sun crosses the celestial equator, bringing night and day into balance, it seems a fitting time for fresh starts.

Apparently Nowruz has its roots in the religious traditions of Zoroastrianism, which dates back to the 6th century BC and later influenced Judaism, Islam and Christianity. According to Wikipedia, “the religion states that active participation in life through good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay.”

Preparations for Nowruz include a major house cleaning (Khouneh Tekouni – shaking of the home) and the purchase of new clothes and spring flowers, such as hyacinths and tulips. It seems spring cleaning is a universal concept.

In addition, Nowruz promotes time to honor family and friendships with short visits and gifts. Wikipedia tells me that “whatever a eastercandyperson does on Nowruz will affect the rest of the year. So, if a person is warm and kind to their relatives, friends and neighbors on Nowruz, then the new year will be a good one.” I grew up with similar versions of that concept: “Do unto others…” and “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

When my friend told me about this Persian high holiday, she showed me her family’s Haft-Sin – or seven S’s – table display. The array includes seven items, all starting with the letter “S” in Persian, symbolizing such virtues as age and patience, love, affluence and health.

I like to think of spring as the start of a new year, too. A new year of marriage and life, with a clean home, a colorful garden and thoughts of health, happiness, patience, love and good deeds, I wish the same for you, dear friends and readers.

Oh, and I give myself – and you – permission to dip into the jelly beans a bit early. I’m already on my third bag.

Linda Williams Rorem, 24 March 2014
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Don’t Blame Barbie – It’s Disney’s Fault

Like many modern-day moms, I wanted to shield my daughter from Barbie – you know, that lovely teenage-ish doll with Pretty Woman legs, Scarlett O’Hara’s waistline and Dolly Parton’s boobs?

I thought that if I banned that 11.9-inch doll, along with her designer duds, metrosexual boyfriend, convertible car and lavish dream house, I would help my daughter grow up with a more realistic body image and set of expectations for life, wealth and happiness.

What I didn’t realize was that the enemy isn’t Barbie; it’s Disney.

True, researchers have found that Barbie does negatively impact girls’ body image,and a study by the American Psychological Association determined that “early exposure to dolls epitomizing an unrealistically thin body ideal may damage girls’ body image, which would contribute to an increased risk of disordered eating and weight cycling.”

However, Barbie isn’t all bad.

In a 2009 Psychology Today article, psychiatrist Susan Albers noted that “in some ways, [Barbie] may have actually helped women to start practicing other roles, besides being a mother, earlier in their life. Barbie could do anything—travel, work, or play. Girls were not trapped into one role as a mother, as was the case when they played with baby dolls.”

I believe the damage from Disney Princesses runs much deeper.

princess dollsIn a recent study, researcher Lauren Gissell determined that “Disney Princess films are, in fact, harmful to women well after they have experienced a childhood immersed in the movies…Women far beyond childhood still cling to finding a prince, having self-esteem problems, wanting a glamorous life and feeling that they are only worthy when their bodies are given attention.

“It could be a reason why women have identity issues since they have plastic surgery, go to tanning beds, wear an immense amount of makeup, constantly go on diets, date younger men, dress provocatively, date guys only with money and have trouble settling with their idea of a prince,” Gissell continues. “Instead of looking at Disney Princesses as role models, women must learn to become comfortable with who they are without comparing themselves to cartoon characters that do not exist or depict what a real woman should be like.”

In her 2006 article “What’s Wrong With Cinderella,” New York Times columnist Peggy Orenstein noted that Disney films promote a quest for “perfection,” which leads to unrealistic expectations, and therefore feelings of failure.

Women like me, from the pre-VCR, pre-10,000-TV-channels age, didn’t grow up with the ubiquitous images of Cinderella, Snow White and Aurora/Sleeping Beauty. Sure, we had fairy tale books and occasionally saw Disney films in the theaters or on TV.  And although the first Disney “princess” film (Snow White) debuted in 1937, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that Disney officially took over little girls’ psyches.

That’s when Andy Mooney, head of the Walt Disney Company’s Consumer Products division, envisioned the Disney Princess franchise, which is now  (according to Forbes) valued at some $3 billion worldwide.

princess carWalk through any Wal-Mart, Target, Toys ‘R’ Us or Disney Store, and you’ll see the effects of Mooney’s mission. Shelves upon shelves of pink-themed Disney Princess merchandise call out to kids, including dolls, dress-up clothes, books, DVDs, bicycles, roller skates and even helmets.

This mass marketing appeals to my daughter’s generation, and the impact is obvious.

When Pea was three, I attended the Halloween party at her Montessori school, and saw no less than seven princesses in her small classroom. The fact that these young ladies were of African-American, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian and Eastern-European descent was testament to the power of the princess.

So, what’s wrong with wanting to emulate a princess?

The Disney Princess stories seem harmless enough, and many of them are sanitized versions of more gruesome Brothers Grimm tales. However, I think the messaging is detrimenetal to young girls’ self-esteem:

–       If you’re in a jam, wait for a handsome prince to rescue you

–       If you’re a girl, you probably can’t solve problems on your own

–       If you marry a handsome prince, your life will be complete

–       Don’t rely on your family or girlfriends; you need a man in your life

And, the values are off center:

–       If you are beautiful, you need to downplay your looks until it’s time to lure that handsome prince

–       If your parents are strict, it’s okay to sneak out and attend the ball anyway (let me just note, most high-school girls who sneak out at night aren’t hooking up with princes)

But even more disturbing are the messages about family:

–       If your mother dies, be wary of anyone your dad might marry

–       Your stepmother and your step-sisters will most certainly be vengeful and jealous

And what about their girlfiends? Honestly, if I was in a bind, I would call a good friend. Even if they can’t help, they can provide support, encouragement or, when needed, a good shoulder to cry on or a reason to have a few too many cosmos.

So, I would suggest we tell our daughters, or the young women in our lives, to stop waiting for handsome princes to rescue them. Instead, let’s give permission to follow these ideas proposed on WikiHow (and I quote…):

–       Create your own joy and source of fulfillment

–       Quit waiting, start participating

–       Enjoy your friendships

–       Look after your own resources and needs before all else

–       Map out what you really want out of a relationship

–       Remember that Prince Charming comes…after everything else

– Linda Williams Rorem, Permission Slips, 10 Feb. 2014
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Believing in Magic and Miracles

I often wonder why we put up with this time of year.

Not the holidays themselves, but all the clutter around them: the stress, retail crowds, social obligations, four-month-long Christmas displays, heart-tugging songs in public venues and pressure on the pocketbook.

And then, when I’m feeling my very Grinchiest, I’m reminded that the season is all about magic and miracles.

For those who remember and believe in the holiday’s religious beginnings, what could be more miraculous than a virgin giving birth to a major game-changer, in a stable full of stinky animals?

Sure, most kids focus on the presents they hope to find under the tree – and tv ads provide them with plenty of “must have” ideas. However, I think it’s the potential for magic that most captivates children.

Holiday rituals fill kids’ hearts and souls: waiting in line to see Santa’s stand-in, driving around town to gawk at holiday light displays, feeling joy during church pageants, watching “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” and “Elf” on tv, enjoying family time with hot cocoa and cookies and waiting for the season’s first snowfall.

For most of us, the best holiday memories revolve around family time and experiences, not the yearned-for gifts that appeared on Christmas morning.

We all want to experience magic and miracles this time of year.

I happen to know a real magician – not just the kind who performs card tricks at kids’ birthday parties (although he probably boosted his income that way at the start).

Mark is quite accomplished (check out his website here) and, for many years, lived well by performing tricks at corporate gatherings. Yes, even adults want to believe in magic.

He stopped by my house a few years back, and performed a few tricks for five 15-year-old boys. You could almost see their jaws bouncing off the floor as even the most jaded teenager started to believe.

When seemingly rational, negative thoughts cloud my otherwise positive attitude, I look for magic and miracles.

The morning that my father passed away, when I was a graduate student in Manhattan, I woke up to a beautiful flurry of white flakes. Even though I felt as if my heart had been ripped from my body, I found solace in the snow, and started to believe that life would eventually feel better.

During the following decade in New York City, snowfalls always calmed me and reminded me to believe in endless possibilities. Snow provides a blanket of quiet, beauty and hope in an otherwise over-stressed environment.
photo (3)

Many years ago, my husband suffered from a mysterious, traumatic illness. Doctors claimed they couldn’t cure him, they could only “support” him through the ordeal. One evening, a nurse called and asked me to rush to the hospital, as Rich was in crisis. As I drove westward across Lake Washington, I spotted a beautiful rainbow. And at that moment, I felt peace, believing it was a sign that Rich would survive.

Later that night, one of my closest friends–who was living nearly 200 miles away–left me a voicemail: “I saw a rainbow this evening, and know it means that Rich will be okay.”

He did survive, against all odds, and is living a full and normal life today.

My oldest brother wasn’t so lucky; he succumbed to lung cancer a decade ago, on Christmas day. Of course, I think of Rick’s death every Christmas morning, but I like to believe that he is somehow present in the lights and the music and the angel that tops my tree.

When a young family member struggled with a rare and very serious disease several years back, I always smiled when I saw a beautiful sunrise out my bedroom window, or a rainbow in the evening light. On one particularly challenging day for her, a double rainbow appeared, and I took it as a positive sign. She is thriving in college today.

My very wise mother-in-law recently said to me, “It’s important to push out the fear to make room for hope.” I guess snow and rainbows and sunrises help dissipate my fears and negative thoughts, and give my heart room for more positivity.

I want to believe that magic and miracles are possible. I know that around the globe, others are enjoying this holiday season for the same reason.

–          Linda Williams Rorem, 15 Dec. 2013

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Put Up the Lights and Lighten Up

Several years ago, in our pre-blog days, we took a “girlfriend getaway” during the first week of December. Our good friends thought we were crazy:

“How could you leave your families this time of year?”

“You’ll miss all the fun parties!”

“When will you manage the Christmas shopping?”

“Aren’t you too busy to take off work?”

Exactly our point.

While we did tackle some holiday shopping during the trip, without the benefit of frazzled crowds and piped-in Christmas music, we mostly just relaxed. Yes, we did miss a few parties and events, but our friends forgave us. And, somehow, we finished the pressing tasks at work and home in time.

Our great escape had the inverse effect of what our friends had predicted: it made our holidays run (and feel) smoother. Our stress-free break allowed us to enter those final hectic weeks of the year with calm and more open hearts.

We have since, separately, tried to continue the trend. This year we decided it was time for a reunion trip, ostensibly as a writer’s retreat.

Hemingway writer's retreatSo, here we are, sitting in Ketchum, Idaho, coffee shop, gaining inspiration from a larger-than-life photo of Papa Hemingway, But our best inspiration came during lunch on Saturday.

We kicked off our 48-hour retreat with roasted red-pepper soup at the Kneadery, a casual, local favorite, which features moose heads on the wall and a 10-foot stuffed grizzly bear by the door.

REd Hat LadiesOn this particular afternoon, the restaurant also boasted a boisterous tableful of lovely ladies, all wearing decorated red hats and purple coats or sweaters. We were immediately drawn to their laughter and positive energy.

We looked at each other and said simultaneously, “Looks like a great Permission Slip in the making.”

And it was.

“We’re part of the Red Hat Society,” the group’s leader, Poo Wright-Pullium, explained. “Actually, we’re the ‘Potato Heads’ chapter.”

Of course, we wanted to hear more.

“Our purpose is to have fun,” explained Wright-Pulliam. “We meet once a month, with the goal of just taking care of ourselves and not worrying about anyone or anything else.”

The ladies, wrapping up their meal, leaned in to tell us about their chapter and the international society – which we may be the last on the block to learn about.

Apparently the Red Hat Society was formed in 1998 by Sue Ellen Cooper, a Southern California woman of a certain age who was inspired by Jenny Joseph’s 1987 poem, Warning, with the oft-quoted line “When I grow old I shall wear purple/ With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.”

The society “began as a result of a few woman deciding to greet middle age with verve, humor, and elan,” according to the society’s website. “We believe silliness is the comedy relief of life, and since we are in it together, we might as well join red-gloved hands and go for the gusto together.”

Now incorporating more than 20,000 chapters in the U.S. and 25 other countries, the Red Hat Society is the world’s largest woman’s social group; its members strive only to take life a little more lightly. The society is open to any woman aged 50 and up, while younger gals can attend meetings if they wear lavender clothing, not purple, and pink hats, instead of red ones.

In Ketchum, the lively group we encountered meets monthly for lunch and social activities, such as last weekend’s trek through the area’s holiday bazaars.

Clearly, it is not a sisterhood of the traveling pants, but a community of clashing red hats and purple clothes, geared solely for friendship and fun.

Chapter Queen Wright-Pulliam explained that the Potato Heads have met regularly for some eight years. Many of the members were not acquainted before joining the now tight-knit group. The ladies often pull together between monthly meetings to entertain visiting Red Hat Society members.

During birthday months, members must wear their outfits in reverse – red coats and clothing, and purple hats. That’s one way to keep the celebration going.

On meeting days, the members’ ostentatious red hats and bright purple clothing announce that they are out for fun and fellowship, and that they refuse to take themselves too seriously.

Especially during the holiday season, with unyielding pressures on most of our time, patience and pocketbooks, we could all stand to lighten up a little.

Saturday afternoon, the holiday spirit our new red-hatted friends exuded was contagious. We walked away, across a snow-covered, slippery sidewalk, feeling inspired.

Not only did we remember the value of a “time out” during the so-called “most wonderful time of the year,” but we also took to heart the reminder to relax more and stress less.

Hats off to you, ladies!

–          Carol Lewis Gullsad and Linda Williams Rorem, 9 December 2013
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Project Equator: A Family Gap Year – Part I

As a pre-Thanksgiving special we share the story of a family traveling around the world with their five school-age children. We often joke about “living the dream” in reference to some of the more mundane aspects of life such as scrubbing the floors or waiting in a parking lot for soccer practice to end. Cliff and Lisa Sharples are living the real dream. Here is Cliff’s account of their family adventure. The ultimate permission slip.

One wintery day in 2012 at Crystal Mountain, WA, while the kids searched for powder, Lisa and I found ourselves more inspired by hot toddies than cold moguls; beckoned with a warm embrace of the upstairs base lodge bar. It had been a long week, a long month and a long year of stressful work, too much business travel and an endless calendar of games, events and to-dos for all of us. Reminding ourselves of the catch-phrase mantra “be a problem solver, not a problem alerter” we embarked on a decidedly MBAish exercise of writing our Family Mission Statement and Core Values. Both of us are serial entrepreneurs and hopeless MBAs who innately write mission statements, corporate core values and business plans as often as grocery lists. So, why not do that for our most important venture – our family?Sharples family

When we met, Lisa and I just knew our children would be waiting for us in unexpected places. Through the miracle of childbirth, the magic of international adoption and travels across the globe, all five of them found us; forming our unconventional family. As we listed values and beliefs we felt important to imbue in our children, a theme of connection began to emerge: connection with each other; connection with family and friends; connection to community and environment; connection with new ways of learning; connection with the world.

The more we talked, the more we realized that rather than remodeling our circa-1961 vintage kitchen, maybe it was time to invest in our family venture and explore the theme of connection as a family. Realizing that our window of opportunity to have a shared experience with all of our kids, with our oldest son half way through his freshman year in high school, we decided that it was now or never to embark on a project we’d dreamt about for many years. Ever the disrupters, we decided to embark on a global adventure – a gap year for the family, if you will.

After that cozy afternoon, and many hot toddies, life changed pretty dramatically for us. Like any startup, this venture had innumerable tasks and parallel strategies to execute to ultimately be viable. We had to creatively navigate our careers and achieve budget targets. The kids needed a plan for school so they could each drop back into the requisite grade upon our return. We needed a plan for our house, three dogs and two parakeets. An itinerary needed to be agreed upon, and then planned out. Reservations of many types needed to be completed. Medical and dental appointments had to be lined up, including 50 shots between us to inoculate us from the world’s ills… the list went on and on! barcelona

On September 9, 2013, exhausted from an amazingly wonderful and crazy 18 months of planning, saving and scheming, the seven of us boarded a plane for Europe. Now in the heart of Seville, Spain, it’s hard to believe we are almost two and a half months into our adventure. In my next post, I’ll tell you about where we’re headed and how it’s going!

Permission Slips will post part two on Thursday.

Cliff Sharples 

November 18, 2013 permissionslips1@gmail.com

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