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The longer I do this mind-dumping in the form of a blog, the more I patronize myself with thoughts about whether or not I deserve to eat up the personal time of those who read it.

So, first thing’s first, thank you for continuing to read it. Selfishly, I need to get it out and I consider the fact that some of you can relate to what I share as an unexpected bonus.

I’ve had a lot going on in my life lately as I bet the majority of you have to (ending in a preposition, throwing my hands in the air like I just don’t care).

My cousin, Tammy, passed away at the end of July and…with her…so went a chunk of my childhood. Sadness and loss always seem to bring my life clarity. As long as you can manage to keep your head above water and resist the urge to sink with the heaviness of your broken heart, losing someone close to you pushes perspective to the forefront.

Live kindly. Forgive freely. Accept love and don’t get caught up in trying to single-handedly pave your path. Trails are always better traveled together. We are only together (to laugh, to fight) for a short time after all.

The company I worked for for the past four years was not successful in winning a new bid for business in my home state of Nebraska. By the grace of God, I was able to join a Fortune 500 company in the same industry entering our market for the first time. I went from not knowing what the future would hold at the end of this year, to embracing a new role in a fast-growing second family. I can already tell in my limited time with them that I will consider my coworkers as such.

I agreed to be the head coach of my daughter’s summer softball team and, with the help of a couple of equally motivated friends, pulled together a roster of boisterous girls who will compete together for the next several months. Time to put GiveTheGameBack into practice!

I stopped going into the radio once a week for fun. While the time I spent on air in the wee hours with a couple of my favorite people was more personally rewarding than any paycheck could ever be, I needed to start spending my mornings focused on other priorities.

My three children have each moved on academically, with my husband and I divying up pickup and dropoff duties at three different schools. Thanks to some neighborly love, that I’m confident I will never be able to truly pay back, we don’t have to do as much running around as we originally thought. (Shoutout to Melissa!)

It’s quite ironic as I assure all my kids that unique challenges and friendships are usually always a good thing, I too am once again trying to embrace the role as new kid on the block. I am quite literally practicing what I preach.

As I spill these thoughts onto my phone and reassure myself that sharing freely is more important than writing perfectly, I ask that you do the same. It doesn’t have to be in the form of a published blog. Just tell a friend, a spouse, or a confidant what’s been rolling around in your head and happening in your world. Or release your words into a journal for your eyes only.

Being able to tout my two cents has always been therapeutic to me. Seeing the impact my cousin had on others in her brief 36 years of life made me realize we never fully know how far our message will resonate.

I had a former high school classmate of mine reach out to me unexpectedly to thank me for some of the things I’ve done for him (without my knowledge). It’s a pretty surreal feeling to come to the realization that you, like a pebble tossed into a glassy lake, can have a silent ripple effect. You do. We all do.

I continue to train this week for my new professional challenge. I also simultaneously strive to maintain a deep appreciation of what’s really important in life.

Written by Heidi Woodard

If you’ve been following me for some time, I want to thank you for continuing to offer me encouragement, support, and feedback.

If you’re a newbie just stumbling onto my site, I want to thank you for taking the time to visit and see what it is I have to offer.

Those who followed me on know that I’ve decided to depart a place of security to return to the reasons why I began writing in the first place – to create meaning from my random thoughts, in my own voice, and at my own pace. My heart is here on Maternal Media. I want to grow this site and take you all on the ride.

My mind is like a box of chocolates…I trust you know the rest.

It's a book I hope will take years to complete. Fully realizing I can never control what appears on the next page, I vow to embrace the experience of watching my life and the lives of those I love unfold before my very eyes. - Heidi Woodard

Mine is a novel I hope will take years to complete. Fully realizing I can never control what appears on the next page, I vow to embrace this life and the lives of those I love as they unfold before my very eyes. – Heidi Woodard

I pledge to continue to share pieces of perspective with you to help you laugh…think…care. The world can use a little more of all of that.

Written by Heidi Woodard

Seeing as my advice post to my son about starting junior high resonated with so many readers, I asked a friend to write a counterpoint to his daughter about what it was like for him to be a preteen boy in 7th grade.

Matt from Running Off at the Mind did not disappoint.

Matt and his preteen posse. Boys will be boys.

Matt (center and sporting the suburban gangster pose) and his preteen posse. Boys will be boys.

While I got to talk about my experience being a hormone-crazed girl who thought about boys 23 hours out of any typical day, he confirmed to his daughter, me, and every other female what we always sort of suspected: Boys don’t always think as much as we do…about anything.

To quote Matt,

7th grade, huh? Wow, that’s kind of a big deal. You know what? I sucked at 7th grade. I was horrible at it. You may find this hard to believe, but I was sort of obnoxious. All my friends were desperately trying to be cool and I still wanted to ride my bike in a circle and spit out sunflower seeds (yeah, I was that kid).

Listen, sweetie, here’s the one thing you need to know about boys:

We’re idiots.

You can read the rest of Matt’s sound advice over on his blog. Read his post and give him some likes or comment love if you can relate.

I’ll be the first to admit that women are crazy, but I would agree with Matt that men are (generally) idiots.

Matt in his 7th grade glory

Matt in his 7th grade glory

Good luck, kids, as you embark on a new school year and a new chapter – however awkward – in your life.

Written by Heidi Woodard