Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shout Out to Steve Deger

If you've read any of our blogs you "know" Steve. He's our endearing, smart and oh-so-adorable editor at Fairview Press. And thanks to Steve - who is also a marketing/PR guru of the literature world - What Happy Parents Do has received all sorts of media attention lately. For that, and for Steve, we give much thanks on this eve of the national holiday for such gratitude.

Deger-Dude, you rock!

And to all of my friends and family out there, please know I'm incredibly thankful for you too. And even though I might have been ignoring you lately, it's only because I've been taking calls from all of the reporters and radio DJ's that call at all hours of the day and night. For that you can blame Steve. Last name Deger. Of Fairview Press. Of Minneapolis, MN. He likes oatmeal and raisin cookies more than wine or flowers. Be sure they are from Lunds or homemade.

Want to buy a copy of What Happy Parents Do? We're thrilled that WHPD is available at your favorite gift or bookstore, including all Patina, Bibelot, and Hot Mama locations in the Twin Cities. It's at most Barnes and Noble locations too. Or, for an autographed copy, simply call my office: 651-962-5829. I'm happy to send you one. Or many. Signed to whomever you'd like. Great holiday gift idea, no?

Here's the media list as of today, 11/26/2008:

Anna and/or I have done interviews with and are thrilled What Happy Parents Do has been featured, or will soon be featured, in the following media outlets:

National Magazines & Industry News
Cosmopolitan, January, 2009
Library Bookwatch, October, 2008

Regional Magazines
Florida Today
Minnesota Parent

Local Television
KARE 11 Showcase Minnesota, 12/01/08

National Radio & TV
"Mornings with Lorri & Friends", FamilyNet Radio and TV, 10/20/2008
"Something You Should Know", Strand Media Group, 10/08/2008

Local Radio
Northridge, CA, KCSN-FM, ”Full Circle”, 09/25/2008
St. Cloud, MN, WJON-AM , ”Jay Caldwell Show”, 09/26/2008
Minneapolis, MN, WCCO-AM, ”Mondale and Jones”, 09/29/2008
Washington, DC, WMET-AM, ”Lunchtime Talk”, 09/29/2008
Oxford, NC, WCBQ-AM/WHNC-AM, "Alvin Augustus Jones Show", 10/01/2008
Mankato, MN, KMSU-FM, "Minnesota Morning", 10/01/2008
Morehead City, NC, WTKF-FM/WJNC-AM, "Coastal Daybreak", 10/03/2008
Osage Beach, MO, KRMS-AM/KOZQ-AM. "The 411", 10/08/2008
Philadelphia, PA, WWDB-AM, "Wellness, Wholeness and Wisdom", 10/10/2008
St. Louis, MO, KLPW-AM, ”Diane Jones Show”, 10/13/2008
Shreveport, LA, KEEL-AM, ”Strategies for Living”, 10/16/2008
Brockton, MA, WXBR-AM, ”Ron Van Dam Show”, 10/20/2008
Moberly, MO, KIRK-FM, ”Morning Show with Stephanie”, 10/20/2008
Colorado Springs, CO, KCMN-AM, ”Tron Talk”, 10/29/2008
Denver, CO, KOA-AM, "Your Kids", 11/06/2008
Seattle, WA, KKNW-AM, ”Chat with Women”, 11/07/2008
Rolla, MO, KMST-FM ”Life Skills”, 11/10/2008
Bridgeport, CT, WICC-AM, "Coffee Break Chat", 11/12/2008
Newport, RI, WPRO-AM "Talkzone", 12/15/08
Amherst, VA, WAMV-AM "Bob Langstaff Show" 11/17/08
Ocala, FL , WOCA-AM / AM "Ocala Live With Larry Whitler" 11/24/08
Boston, MA, WNTN-AM / 1550 Today. 12/08/08
Newport, RI, WPRO-AM "TalkZone" 12/15/08

Local Newspapers
Worcester Telegram and Gazette (MA), 10/21/2008
St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN) Date TDB
Sioux Falls Argus Leader (SD) 11/09/2008
Poughkeepsie Journal (NY) 11/09/08
Alexandria: The Town Talk (LA) 11/09/08
Palm Springs Desert Sun (CA) 11/09/08
Palm Springs Desert Sun (CA) 11/09/08
Wilmington News Journal (DE) 11/10/08
Lansing State Journal (MI) 11/11/08
Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle (TN) 11/11/08
Newark Advocate (NJ) 11/12/08
Springfield Sunday News-Leader (MO) 11/16/08
Lafayette Journal and Courier (IN) 11/09/08
Montgomery Advertiser (AL) 11/09/08
Burlington Free Press (VT) 11/09/08
Carroll County Times (MD) 11/09/08
St. Cloud Times (MN) 11/09/08
Jackson Clarion-Ledger (MO) 11/10/08
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (NY) 11/13/08
Indianapolis Star (IN) 11/10/08
Palm Springs Desert Sun (CA) 11/09/08
Lafayette Daily Advertiser (LA) 11/24/08

Internet Media

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Giving Thanks for Sistas

In this week of giving thanks, I've been thinking an awful lot about the blessings of sistas/sisters/sistahs (those fiercely fabulous female friends so many of us count on like food and water). As Anna and I have been collecting stories for our 3rd book in the "Happy ..." series, we are indeed focusing on sistas.

This past week we've received some downright moving tales. I can't get one out of my mind so maybe if I share it here I will be released from its grip. Probably not. But here it goes:

Remembering Cathe

A little more than five years ago, a dear friend from college, Catherine, died after an on-again, off-again battle (she called it "inconvenient") with breast cancer for years. She was 49. Her little boy was 11. It broke our hearts.

Cathe had a way of collecting friends like some people collect coins. She polished all of us and scooped us together in a pile. Lo and behold, we became friends, good friends who gather several times a year to flirt with Italian waiters, eat too much and drink a bunch of wine. Sometimes we top it off with a forbidden cigarette, just because Cathe liked being a bit of a rebel.

After she died we had a tree planted in her honor on the campus of her alma mater, the College of St. Catherine. Each spring it boasts pink blooms, and a bench now graces the site, too. On July 31, the anniversary of her death, I sat there again, drinking in a kind of silence almost antithetical to Cathe's nature: She was Irish and never shut up, except sometimes in church, and even then she usually found something to whisper and giggle about.

As I sat there thinking about Cathe, I hoped there is, indeed, the afterlife to which we Christians cling. I have some good gossip I need to tell her and I need to feel again the special kind of exhaustion that endless laughter brings. I need her to tell me a story. I miss her "cackle."

Suddenly, my reverie was interrupted. Someone walking to his car after a campus summer music conference had burst into a perfect-pitch rendition of "Amazing Grace." Thanks, Cathe.

If anyone wants to read more from the author of this moving short story, check out Pat's blog linked in the right column: Madwoman of the Preserve Path. Thanks, Pat, for sharing your sista story of Cathe with us.

If you want your sista/sister story included in our forthcoming book, send them in now! We're in the final stages of writing but can't pass up a funny, serious or seriously funny story. Send them directly to: All identifying information will be changed to protect your identity. Come on. Do tell.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Mess

Those two little words release cortisol (that ugly stress hormone) into my (Carol's) bloodstream. Lord knows I have plenty of that already. For anyone who knows me well, this won't come as much of a surprise: I like things tidy and neat. My shoes are kept in boxes with photos of each shoe on the outside. Ironing is one of my favorite chores (sheer nirvana when the wrinkles disappear). A broom is a the most fabulous invention, no?

Yet, I've been reflecting on the value of "messiness" in many corners of my life lately. And what I've been realizing is that while I adore order and ultimate structure in so many aspects of my life, I embrace and actually encourage messiness in so many others. I even work hard to create it because (gulp) it has value. It's true.

Example: One of my pet teaching strategies (we call them "pedagogies") is service-learning, also known as community-based learning. In service-learning you meet a course objective (like helping students become better intercultural communicators) by having them help meet a community need (like partnering with local immigrant students who desire English language practice). I've chosen to use community-based learning in almost all of my classes for over 13 years. And strangely enough, the best service-learning is always messy. Argh! I don't get to control the learning in the traditional way. I don't get to structure it like I do most days in class. I have to embrace and expect messiness. And, oddly enough, I LOVE it! True, I probably love it most when the messiness morphs - which it always does - into learning. But still, a mess is necessary and good to get us to that great place of valuable growth.

And then there are relationships. I'm often heard lecturing about theories and principles of healthy relationships. Many of those "theories" are simply the reality that relationships are messy. They're not linear, predictable, neat, orderly systems. Rather, our relationships - especially the healthy ones - are messy. Unpredictable. Up and down. And seriously, who would really want it any other way? Out of the mess emerges something more "real." Real interesting. At times really challenging. But that's what relationships are: Growing, changing, adapting, transformative systems. Beautiful idea, isn't it? Just think how boring our lives might be if everything were neat and tidy. Ho hum.

I'm think I'm writing this blog to encourage all of us (okay, saying something out loud is the best form of self-persuasion!) to believe a mess might be a great thing. Where are some of the messes in your life and relationships? Might they be leading to additional clarity? More creativity? Elevated motivation? Greater growth?

Try embracing and accepting the messiness in at least one aspect of your life and see what happens. What is the result when when you work with the mess instead of against it?

Do tell!

For now, I'm feeling an urge to go iron a shirt or two.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Message Transforms

That's what we've been hearing lately. The message of our books has been transforming the way people view their relationships. Yahoo! For instance, a few weeks ago Carol and I gave a speech in honor of domestic violence awareness month. The organizers of AnnaMarie's Women's Shelter in St. Cloud, MN, thought it'd be helpful to promote healthy relationships rather than speaking about the dark side of violence with which most of us are, fortunately, rather familiar. While we focused primarily on romantic relationships in our talk, many audience members have been telling us how our book's message is altering the way they view all kinds of relationships. We've had audience members say things like: "I have applied your message to my relationships with colleagues!" and "I was thinking about how that speech relates to the relationship I have with my grandma." Another gracious audience member ( husband) even quotes our talk back to me in conversations about work, family, and friends (now that's gratifying!). Then, today I received this message in my inbox from a long-lost high school friend:

Anna- How are you?!?!?!...its been soo long!!! So I was at [a friend]'s house the other day and she was showing me your book, What Happy Couples Do..... I loved it and bought a couple copies for family and friends! I also bought a copy of your new book as well! [She] was telling me that you had a book signing a few months ago here in town and I was just curious if you plan on having another one here anytime soon? I would love to come and see you! Anyway, I hope all is well with you!

Indeed these quotes and messages make our day. Our week. Ok, our month! And they also remind us that we need to do more speaking events so we can talk to you. And to get the word out about healthy relationships. Because if you're going to have them, you might as well know how, eh?

If your school, church, parenting group or community would like us to speak on healthy relationships, communication, happy marriage, family rituals and/or related 'happy' topics, we'd love to do so. No charge! Our mission is simply to get the word out there. We're educators at heart. Feel free to pass along our contact info to any groups who might enjoy an engaging lecture/discussion. They can contact us at: and/or

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Kentucky Update

I (Anna) have been in Kentucky for almost three months now and I love it more each day, minus missing my loved one(s) back home and my newfound caffeine addiction (I never thought I'd succumb, but hey, desperate times...). My classmates continue to amaze me with their kindness and intelligence and my professors inspire and challenge me. School is even more refreshing than a bottle of Ale-8-1, a classic Kentucky ginger ale that I've fallen in love with. In an effort to do all things "Kentucky," I'm also trying to enjoy the occasional bourbon on the rocks. So far I like the idea of bourbon more than the taste. When my dear friend, Ryan, came to visit, we spent a perfect fall afternoon learning about how bourbon comes to be at the Woodford Reserve distillery. Thanks, Ry, for coming to visit me! Check out these pics of our fun day.