Saturday, May 22, 2010


Hello again. In case anyone reads this who doesn't actually know us personally, my name is Jessie and my daughter, the "fourteen-year-old", is Cierra. As you may have noticed from her writing, she is not shy, and has a solid sense of self. In fact, my family has often joked that she suffers from too much self-esteem. And although I sometimes feel I need to instill some sense of modesty into her incredibly exuberant personality, I also know that she is full of love and integrity, and cares deeply for her friends and family. Actually, it's very refreshing to see a teenager who loves herself and knows who she is because I work in a high school and help teenagers with their emotional problems, so I see a lot of kids who really hate themselves. And from the two previous posts, you may also have noticed that my daughter definitely has better self-esteem than I do, despite her age. She is, in fact, very inspiring, and often times shows me that my thinking is backwards, and it gets me stuck in a negative downward spiral. It is difficult to be depressed in the presence of Cierra!

I'm often on the lookout for miracles. So I have to point them out when I see them. It's usually easy for me to believe that other people can have miracles happen in their lives, but not so easy for me to believe in them happening to me. The idea for this blog came about through several small miracles. The first being that my daughter Cierra and I are very close and have not, (yet), gone through the usual "mother daughter hate each-other" phase. I don't know if we ever will. In fact, we usually appreciate each-other greatly, and say this to one another quite often. I marvel at the fact that she tells me I'm a fabulous mom. But also I appreciate her and respect her on so many levels, and most of the time I don't question our solid relationship. instead I remind myself to be grateful. So whether it's through luck, my own work on myself helping me be a good parent, something about our temperaments being in alignment, or all of the above, we really like spending time together.

But back to the miracles. I still read to Cierra sometimes at night. More recently she also reads to me if I'm cooking and we are in the middle of a really good book. We have a favorite author who has inspired the idea for this blog. Her name is Wendelin Van Draanen, and we have been reading her books together for about four years.
The inspiration of writing about our trip to Italy from both our perspectives came from the book we just read together, called Flipped, which is a story about two people who live across the street from each-other and each chapter is from their different perspectives.

Cierra and I have thought of writing together for years, but somehow it never seems to happen, until Thursday when the idea came to me that we should write about our trip to Italy in the same way that Flipped was written. As soon as I had the idea, I texted Cierra and she said, "Oooooo! Ya, I like that a lot!!!!". So I said, "Me too, like in Flipped how each chapter is back and forth perspectives". And she said, "YES! OMG, this is BRILLIANT!" And so, here we are. But the next part really solidified the fact that this was, indeed, a miracle. I went to lunch with some friends, several of whom are writers, business owners, travelers, and very successful people. I mentioned my idea of writing about my trip with my daughter, and my friend Leslie, who teaches writing classes and is a published author herself, suggested that we blog the trip while we are there. I realized this would be perfect, except that we don't have a laptop, and I said as much to the group at lunch. Then another friend at the table, who just got back from traveling herself, offered to lend us her MacBook Air for our trip!! At that moment, I knew we HAD to do this. It felt like a sign from the Universe that something special was going to happen.

The next thing is that Cierra is so inspired and JAZZED to be doing this writing and sharing it with friends and family, and we are having a lot of fun so far. I actually probably would not have had the guts to do this without Cierra's enthusiasm, because of the above mentioned lack of confidence I have in myself. A perfect example of the differences in our self-esteems in the way we both are feeling about the blog publishing of what we have written. When I wrote my first blog, I thought, "should I really let people see this?, Is it good enough?, maybe it needs editing". Whereas Cierra said, as she was writing, "THIS IS SO GOOD!" Then she immediately told her friends to read it.

Now, with all the small miracles seeming to line themselves up, and the BIG miracle that we are actually really going to Italy and France together, I am going to promise myself that I will believe that miracles can happen to us, and are happening all the time when we open our eyes and accept them into being real. Maybe just by my writing these words, I am creating the next perfect moment to come into being, allowing my dreams to come true...

Friday, May 21, 2010


Ok, so just in case you were confused, I'm Cierra, the "14 year-old".
I put this in quotations because:
1. everyone who knows me has decided that I am about the most mature fourteen year-old they've ever met, and
2. seeing as I just turned 14 a couple weeks ago, both my parents have taken to calling me "their 14 year-old
daughter" (as you have just witnessed in my mother's previous post)

Now if you don't already have somewhat of an idea of what I'm like from all of thee above, I, being as kind and thoughtful as I am, will help you out a bit. I turned the ever so fabulous 1 4 on May 8th (Yep I'm a Taurus!) and I'm just finishing the eighth grade. (thank GOD!) I am extremely outgoing which you have probably figured out by now, and I intend to be the next Lea Michele. (aka Rachael Barry on the Fox hit TV series Glee) I'm driven, usually know what I want, and when I was two, I organized all the shoes in our front closet. Yes. That's right my friends. I took them all out and replaced them in a neat, straight, line, and on several occasions, I attempted to do this at the super market as well. Now you're probably thinking, "Wow! This girl has serious OCD and should probably get some help!" and maybe I should, but I just consider myself ridiculously organized. Except when it comes to my room... but that's a WHOLE other story! So, I'm going to stop boring you now and get to why I'm actually writing.

As you all know, my mother and I are planning to take an exciting and exotic trip to Italy this summer, and when she told me..... I FLIPPED! I mean who wouldn't be excited right? A three-week trip to Italy and Paris?! I didn't know how to react! But it just kept getting better. My mother told me that we would be spending a week in Sardinia (an island next to Italy. See Below)

to attend my Uncle Mike's wedding. Ok, so here's another thing you should all know about me: I LOVE myself a wedding! I'm a HUGE sucker for them and a bit of a hopeless romantic.....but anyway, a couple weeks later, I got an e-mail from my uncle and his fiance asking if I would want to sing in their wedding. And I thought,"Are they kidding?!" OF COURSE I WANTED TO SING AT THEIR WEDDING!!!!! So, I've been preparing the classic, "At Last" by Etta James with my voice teacher for almost three months! But back to our schedule. After our glorious week in Sardinia, we would travel up through Italy for 9 days, take a stunning train ride through the Alps, and end our adventures with a week in Paris! Oh, and did I mention that our plane there and back will be stationed in Dublin, Ireland?!

I know. BEST TRIP EVER! Especially since this will be my first time out of the country!!!! I'm finally getting to go out and see the world! And believe me, the month of May couldn't possibly feel any longer!
Alright until next time then?
Ciao Bella!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Taking My Daughter To Italy!?

It doesn't seem real. Nothing like this ever seemed possible. I'm actually taking my fourteen-year-old daughter to Italy for my little brother's wedding. How can this be me? I'm so used to hearing about the rich folks traveling, and being the one who can't afford it. But somehow I've made this possible, and we leave June 12th. Of course, part of me is still in doubt - the volcano ash, the trains will strike, the flights wont take off, the Gods will decide they made a mistake in letting us go, and somehow stop us. But then I also think, why not me? Why shouldn't I take my beautiful daughter to travel in Europe? Is there some law that says I am only here on this planet to work and struggle? Maybe this trip will be the change I need to open me up to possibilities and abundance.. Maybe we will experience joy and light and miracles. And maybe we'll have ourselves one hella good time!

Of course, like most parents, I am trying to fix my own childhood by doing things differently for my daughter. I'm wanting this trip to be a corrective experience to make right what was wrong in my youth. I went to Europe the first time with my Dad and older brother when I was ten-years-old. But my dad being, well, let's just say that self-centered would be putting it mildly, it was not the best trip for a ten-year old. My fondest memories of the month we were there was eating Swiss chocolate and riding trains. But I also overheard my dad one night when he thought I was asleep telling his friends he liked my brother better than he liked me. It was something I knew already on some level, but hearing him actually say it solidified the feeling that I was not acceptable or lovable. The next time I went to Europe I was seventeen and went alone. It was for five months, and I was not really prepared for what it would be like to travel alone in a foreign country. I definitely learned a lot, and had to get stronger because I was alone, but I was too self-hating and depressed to really love my experience.

But now? Finally at the age of 44 I am actually learning how to relax and enjoy my life. I imagine my daughter and I sitting on a balcony in Cinque Terre looking out over the Mediterranean Sea and sipping cold drinks talking and laughing, marveling at the fact that we are there, and savoring every minute. So in exactly 23 days we will be on our way. Pretty cool right?