son with mom

….this is one of my favorites, enjoy & share:)

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You hung my first painting on the refrigerator
And I wanted to paint another.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You fed a stray cat
And I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You baked a birthday cake just for me
And I knew that little things were special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You said a prayer
And I believed there was a God that I could always talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You kissed me good-night
And I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
I saw tears come from your eyes
And I learned that sometimes things hurt—
But that it’s alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You smiled
And it made me want to look that pretty too.

When you thought I wasn’t looking
You cared
And I wanted to be everything I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking—
I looked . . .
And wanted to say thanks
For all those things you did
When you thought I wasn’t looking.
–by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan


There are a million things you do every single day to show your children you love them. You feed them, you make sure they have a coat on if it’s cold outside, you read them stories, and tuck them in at night. You do all these things and much more, day in and day out, to make sure your children are safe and secure. You do these things because you love your children more than you could ever express. Another way you can show your kids you love them is by creating an estate plan. Unfortunately, this is one thing that many parents leave undone because it’s a difficult subject to ponder. Who would take care of your kids and love them as much as you do if you weren’t here to do so? What can you do to make sure they are well provided for if the unexpected happens? Even if these questions are hard, they are worth pondering because creating an estate plan is one of the greatest gifts that you can give your children. By doing so, you are ensuring that they will be well loved and cared for no matter what. You are providing the best opportunity for them to thrive by making sure there will be no gaps in their care or uncertainty about your wishes for them. By creating a plan, you can eliminate unnecessary conflict in your family. If you don’t make the decision yourself, the choice of who will be the guardian of your kids and who will make financial decisions for them will be left up to a judge. The judge will try his/her best to make good decisions for your family, but the judge doesn’t know you or what you would have wanted. The judge will be overworked and has to make decisions based on the amount of information presented, which will not be all that much if you haven’t provided any indication of what you want in writing. You will become an even better parent by engaging in the process of making decisions for your kids care if something happens to you and getting clear on the values and beliefs you want to pass on to them. The best part is, even though you are planning for an event that will most likely occur a long-time in the future, it makes you a better parent immediately. When you clarify the way you want your children raised and the beliefs you want them to carry into the world, you naturally begin to be more conscious about your relationship with your children now. If you’re interested in getting started, please contact me today. I’m happy to answer any questions you have and will make the process far easier than you expect.

JulieCornellJulie Cornell is an estate planning attorney in Nashville, TN. You can find more information about her services at

The following is a contribution from one of my local mommy friends ….. 

Busy Mom

Recently, I was sitting in a local Starbucks. A young college student came in and my heart went out to her.  As I sat with my latte and computer,  I heard her begin to describe her stress to the clerk specifically the huge academic load that she carries.   Her backpack is filled to the brim, weighing her down – leaving her physically and seemingly emotionally drained.  As she leaves with her drink to bring a sense of comfort (and/or a jolt of caffeine for studying) , it begs the question of 21st Century motherhood.   Should this young girl decide to have a family one day,  I wonder what the path will look like for her .  Will the stress from deadlines, expectations, and social demands simply transition from one stage of life to another?   The endless demand for perfection and performance complete with comparison and criticism don’t evaporate after college or one’s first job.   While relationships, marriage, and children don’t come with required readings, term papers,  or official grades, we definitely want to succeed in our family life as much or more as we did in our studies and at our jobs.  Yet, with commitment to “doing your best”, it’s often difficult to know when to try harder and when you’re already doing a darn good job.   Perfectionism can be paralyzing-especially at home.  What works in school and at work often backfires in our very homes.  Being really uptight about deadlines and grades works great in college-being uptight because your spouse forgot something or your child made a B in science may not go over as well and may well harm the relationships in the process.  Where does it end?
Perhaps the endless cycle ends now. Perhaps the time is now to put an end to the unrealistic demands we have of ourselves, our children, and others.  I know sometimes I ignore the 20 things I DID accomplish on my list and focus only on the thing I forgot to do.  ”How could I have forgotten that-argh!”  is something I have said to myself more times than I care to admit – yet I tell my daughter that no one is perfect.  Moms aren’t perfect and we put SO much pressure on ourselves to “get it right” whether it be remembering to sign up for a child’s sport on time or volunteering at school or trying to look happy and relaxed after a long day at work while helping your child with homework (and likely doing laundry or dinner simultaneously).   Don’t even get me started on Mommy Guilt.

Perhaps now is the time to finally embrace the fact that while we can do many things, we can’t do everything-at least not at the same time.  Perhaps now is a good time to encourage one another to utilize the gifts we have rather than criticize another’s faults. Perhaps now is the time to revel in the moment of doing good work in whatever situation we find ourselves.  Let’s put the Comparison Game on the playroom shelf for good. Perhaps now is the moment to breath a little easier because of the acceptance we find in ourselves.  It makes it much easier to then apply that same acceptance to others.  Yes, indeed.  There is no time like the present.

My favorite author, Brene Brown, PhD.,  has some wonderful advice on this topic.  Check out  The Gifts of Imperfection as well as The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting.

Have a perfectly imperfect day moms!

Have a great year moms!

Have a great year moms!




















tangled yarn....many lessons

tangled yarn….many lessons

I’ve spent more than a few days unraveling a tangled ball of yarn. My kids said the yarn looked like a bowl of spaghetti or worms. Yum, you can decide the choice of image.

In all seriousness, close friends and family would say that this would be a challenging task for me. I fully admit one of my failings is impatience. It’s not for nothing my husband teases me about wanting things now, along with a foot stomp for good measure.

Faced with a tangled mess, my chattering mind cussed loudly. Of course I didn’t have the time to unravel knots, so, for the first hour there wasn’t any room in my thoughts to get down to the task. It seemed not only messy and unsightly but insurmountable to the point I’d almost lobbed the whole thing into the trash can. But then I got to thinking, this problem was exactly the sort of thing that had important life lessons and a pertinent exercise in patience for me.

The first lesson was not giving up immediately when confronted with the surface problem. Acknowledging the truth of the problem (my impatience) was my first realization. When dealing with difficult tasks, I’ve always encouraged my kids to try their best and, to this end, we’ve created a family motto: Cheungs never give up! How could I then in all conscience give up at the first hurdle? I didn’t give up and the task proved a gift at the moment when I needed to hear the messages.

I had to dive in and break the task up into small steps, some so minute they seemed insignificant, but each inch of detangled yarn meant I gained a foothold on the problem. I had an expectation the task would take a short time; this was my impatience talking and wasn’t quite the reality. Oftentimes, when we’ve been plugging away without success, we may reach a juncture where we want to give up. On several occasions, I wanted to hurl the blasted thing at the wall in disgust (and, yes, there was much cussing under my breath!)

I became obsessed with the tangles and my singular focus gave way to negativity. I had to walk away, acknowledged I’d done my best for the day and picked it up on another day with a fresh perspective. Over the many days, I lessened my impatience and expectations, and, somehow, the untangling of the yarn reached a critical point where it literally started to unravel and fall into place.

The perfectionist in me was terribly upset when I got towards the end and the yarn was so twisted I had to cut it. Indeed, I had to cut it several times.  This yarn was like my life–though I wanted smooth and straight, I got imperfect and knotted. As most of us would do, I joined the ends together to continue and to make it work. And what if the yarn had been beyond repair? I would have had to buy another ball of yarn, despite the expense and inconvenience, in order to finish my project, and put it down to experience.

I’m glad I had some light bulb moments with the yarn because my family is dealing with the aftermath of terminal illness and death of a loved one. I apply the lessons of the yarn to the grieving process, especially for my kids, who are confronted by death for the first time. It’s messy and has many layers, and we have to deal with it bit by bit.

Next time your problem looks like a bowl of tangled spaghetti, worms or a ball of yarn know you have choices; you can unravel it, throw it away or cut it and use whatever you can. There isn’t a right or wrong choice, only yours.

Susan Shifay CheungSusan Shifay Cheung has turned her hand to many forms of writing in her various roles, over the years, as corporate trainer, management consultant, journalist and writer. You can contact her at