I started out strong. At 30 years old, I was sure I had a call to motherhood. In spite of a husband who was mostly absent — both emotionally and physically — I spent those early years building into my kids. Sure I still ran the household, got the cars fixed, took care of myself, and developed deep friendships with other women. But the main thrust of my life was my kids.

I was a homeschooling mom, too, which added a whole different dimension to the normal parenting plate. It basically meant that in the early years I never got…


Video Production with help from the cast and crew

Think of the scene in National Treasure 2 where Nicholas Cage and his crew are standing on a platform that is precariously balanced on a single point. In order for them to get to the next clue, they must get off this wildly gyrating platform without tipping over into the abyss below. He runs frantically from one corner to the next, while the platform tilts, almost casting him off. That scene is life in a nutshell. We have this myth of the Balanced Life. (Can you hear the angels singing in the background as that phrase is spoken aloud?) It…


Fourth of July in Grand Junction, Colorado is hot. A trip into the cool of the mountains makes a great escape. A driving trip is not perhaps the most exciting of vacation ideas, but with Gramma visiting from the East Coast, and time off from work a little short, it seemed like a fine idea for showing off some of our great state. We set our sights on Gunnison.

One small difficulty was the fact that my husband wanted a training bike ride, so there was some consternation about when that was going to get worked in. After some discussion…


The Creative Desk, with all it’s papers and piles

The other day while sitting with a graphic designer having coffee, I was lamenting my messy desk and the papers that lay scattered all over the place. They sit in piles on every flat surface. Most are neatly labelled and put in folders, with the folders then scattered across the surfaces as well. My filing system is extensive and well labeled, I can put my hand on a specific piece of paper in seconds. Organization is not the problem. Heck even my toiletries are labelled in the hall closet! But I am NOT a minimalist when it comes to paper…


Beauty is all (well, mostly) attiude

I was recently boarding a cross-country flight. I took my aisle seat after the mind-numbing process that is air travel these days and instead of burying my head in my book or gazing off into space, I watched people. Specifically, I watched women as they plodded down the aisle past me, weighed down with baggage and resigned to a five-hour flight in a cramped seat next to someone who may or may not have gas, or halitosis, or B.O. And they were beautiful. Every one, no matter size, shape, facial features, hair color and texture, or degree of make-up. With…


Her heart was a fortress. The doors towered high above. It was difficult to see the top. There was no knob on the outside. They were smooth and flat and black and impenetrable. For the all the years of her life, she had kept those doors closed. Locked. She had learned to keep her heart safe and untouched. After her dad left when she was five leaving her poor and hungry, after her first kiss at twelve ended with a fumbling, groping attempt at her jeans button, after her first boyfriend told her at 17 “I feel like I’m married…


I wasn’t looking to fall in love that weekend. Some things catch you by surprise. I’d been so careful. Four years of college and my heart was my own. Oh, I’d had my share of boyfriends — in fact some would say I’d had more than my fair share — but I’d kept my heart out of it. Two broken hearts early in my dating career had taught me caution. I played, I enjoyed the game, but I really wasn’t prepared for more. Didn’t want more.

And then, lightening struck.

He really was delicious. The girls and I would watch…


Chip labelled my pantry for me.

The Setting: On the way to Chip’s baseball game in the car, just the two of us. Chip is 12. It’s that moment every parent dreads, but knows will happen. I have to be honest, but not too graphic. I want him to have good info. But how much does he really need to know at 12?

Chip: “What’s a ‘condom’”

Me: (slight pause to think “oh shit! This is it!” — deep calming breath, matter of fact voice. You can handle this, Cec.) “It’s this thing that you put over your penis before you have sex with a…


We have all felt that thrill. We walk to the mailbox expecting bills and sales flyers, but as we rifle through the junk mail, there, laying like a priceless jewel is a hand-written note. The envelope is pale blue or bright yellow, the writing is slanted and off center and familiar, and something inside of us sings.

In this day and age, anything urgent, anything of a business nature, happens via text or email, so a hand written letter is a luxury. It smacks of timelessness and personal attention. It says “I love you” and “you are important” is a…


How I handled “The Talk”

Taking a walk around town with my teenager, I thought it was the perfect time for (drum roll, please) The Drug Talk. I’d been thinking about it for a while now, not because I’m worried, or think she might do something stupid (she’s actually a pretty sensible girl, all things considered), but because I want her to hear it from me; as close to The Truth as possible. “Capital letter truth?” you ask. “Yes,” I reply.

Truth is hard to find, hard to know when you see it, and is glossed over and ignored by many in society, the media…

Cecily Whiteside

Writer, photographer, story-teller.

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