Do you want to feel strong and courageous? Do you wish to learn and grow wise as you grow older? Do you need a reason to hope in what can be a bleak world? Be a wildflower.

Wildflowers are my heroes. They are tenacious, finding root in the least hospitable places. They are adaptable, blooming wherever they are blown. Wildflowers offer unexpected color in otherwise drab and rugged surroundings and their very existence in unexpected places is a symbol of hope; they simply refuse to be told where and under what circumstances they are allowed to grow. They may not be as beautiful as other flora, but they are strong when other flowers are frail. They do not need a perfect blend of conditions in order to thrive. They pretty much say, “Put me anywhere and I will do just fine.” Wildflowers bravely and hopefully volunteer to leave well-tended gardens for places unknown. I have spent many years learning how to be like a wildflower. Another thing about wildflowers is that they present us with a variety of choices about identity and how to interact with our environment. You can be like the beautiful morning glories, riotously taking up every extra inch of uninhabited space, possibly pushing aside more delicate blooms. Or you can be the seldom seen, extremely rare Dragon’s Mouth orchid, keeping to itself in bogs, swamps and other wet lowlands in eastern North America. Both serve a purpose without bearing the least resemblance to any other wildflower.

We live in a rapidly changing, messy and often confusing world. It is sometimes difficult to find your bearings given the constant onslaught of information and demands to take a position on all trending issues, political or not. The expectation is that we make informed decisions about climate change, homelessness, the legalization of marijuana, immigration, the economy, renewable energy, civil rights, breastfeeding in public and what seems like dozens of additional issues. It’s exhausting and I get why so many of us throw our hands up and back away.

But truth be told, many of us want to participate in public discourse, if not at a national level, then certainly at a local level. Where it impacts us and our family. So how do you get off the merry-go-round and make sense of it all? I believe you start with yourself. You must first know who you are in order to be true to yourself. Once that has been accomplished, you can grow in strength, wisdom and hope. You are now grounded and able to determine what is important and what you need to let go of in order to become effective in those areas which are most important to you. No one can take on everything, but decent human beings want to support what they believe in.

This blog will share what I have learned as a child of conservative upbringing who reached young adulthood unbelievably naïve and uninformed. As a single mother determined to raise a child more independent and aware than I was. As a social worker who spent my first year working in the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago, and constantly asking why the fuck I didn’t know how different and difficult life could be for people who weren’t just like me. Also, I am an empiricist who takes little at face value and believes nothing without testing it. I hope to write this blog in a way you find engaging and enjoyable. Warning: I love to use storytelling as a vehicle, and I have lots of stories to tell.