A fresh start, a new name.

New Name - Val in Real Life

It’s no secret that I’m an independent-minded woman. Or that I’m a feminist. Or that I’ve been through a lot of changes in the last few years. Or that I spent the last seventeen months rebuilding my life from a nearly fatal motorcycle crash. I’m not one to resist change but there are also times you have to facilitate it. There …

Fear

Ted Simon's fear quote - Val in Real Life

News flash. I’m not fearless. I’m often told I am and it makes me laugh. I think “Are you kidding me?!?” Of course I have fear. Lots of it. To the well-meaning commenters it’s a compliment to tell me I am fearless. I understand the intent. Especially the extra layer of concern that is draped over the compliment for a woman who …

On Being OK

val in real life

Today is the anniversary of the crash that changed my life. And yesterday I was out riding my motorcycle. It was an eerily similar scenario as far as weather and timing go: A severe-clear Sunday afternoon. Roughly 50 degrees. Streets somewhat quiet by metro-Atlanta standards. Near home, I stopped into a store to deal with some life stuff. I had …

Forty-Four: Eat the Cupcake

eat the cupcake - val in real life

Tomorrow marks my forty-fourth birthday. I view birthdays as personal new years: a time to reflect, assess, and consider the previous year. Birthdays are usually safe from the turmoil of other holidays so it’s easier to be more thoughtful. This year, more than ever, I’m grateful for the amazing support of the people who love me. And for a fabulous therapist. …

Parenting Teens

Val in Real Life

This week when I shared the nuts-and-bolts of visiting Bandelier National Monument, I had to think back to why I enjoyed camping there so much. Certainly it’s a very agreeable campground in a technical sense but really it was that the time with my sons went well. There are so many challenges to traveling in a small car with two …

Six Months to Life

Today marks six months since I was hit by a car while riding my motorcycle. I’ve written a good bit about this ordeal so far and again I find myself uncertain how much to share. In fact, I had a very different version of this post almost completely crafted. Then two days ago, my dear friend Sarah sent me a …

On Recovery

val in real life

Now 24 weeks into my ordeal of being hit by a car, I’ve come to understand a lot about recovery and how it evolves. The challenges shift constantly. You reach a point when you covered most of the ground but closing the gap on what remains is a bigger challenge than everything you faced to that point. It’s the physical …

On Being Timid

I recently returned from my western adventure, the trip that was to help me regain my Val-ness after January’s crash. And it did in so many ways. It was needed and I gained a lot of ground. I consider it a successful trip but the challenges were significant as I mentioned in my wrap up of the adventure. If I …

Foundations

val in real life

Back in March I wrote about why it’s important to keep your bucket full. But I realized my thoughts at the time were an incomplete picture of the tools needed to weather unfortunate life events. A full bucket is actually about creating a foundation. When your bucket is full or close-to-full, it means you’ve been mindfully living your life. That …

Try the World Brings the Flavors of the Globe to Your Door

val in real life - try the world

As an experiential education family, we’re always on the hunt for cool ways to expand our learning opportunities. And like a lot of families, we have the desire to explore far and wide but the reality of making that happen doesn’t always come to bear. Like his mom, George has a well-developed curiosity about the world. He particularly loves geography …