Big Changes Ahead

Have you ever gotten so stuck in your own head and wrapped up in your work that you forget how to feel?

I hate to admit it, but that happens to me all to often. Call it being a Type A, or Workaholic – but when I get wrapped up in a project I get so head to the ground that everything else disappears. It’s okay when I’m having fun and in the creative zone – but sometimes it’s not that fun anymore. I’m stuck and struggling to force things to work. I’ve just got the blinders on and I can’t see anything but the dilemmas and problems that I’m trying to sort out.

Intellectually I know that those are just the times when I need to back away from my desk, head outside into the fog or sunshine, do some stretches, read something inspirational, find something to evoke a deep belly laugh or a good cry.

But that intellectual knowledge often doesn’t translate into action (although I’m getting better about this – really!)

The other night I got one of those jolts that ripped the blinders off – suddenly I was yanked out of my head and right into my heart. It happened at a poetry reading put by the Humboldt Breast Health Project’s Amazon Warrior Group. My sister-in-law, Sheila,  was one of the poets.

I was going to tell the story here, but I decided to post it over on Wellness The Natural Way – click here if you want to give it a read.

It was eye-opening. And intense.

And so what does all this have to do with the promised “Big Changes Ahead?”

Hot and saucy ladies on my 50th birthday, including Sheila second from left. More saucy fun coming soon!

Well, my dilemma about where to post this last story kind of leads into my big announcement. Very, very soon I will be merging both of my blogs (this one and Wellness The Natural Way) into a brand new website.

It’s called Holistic Hot Sauce – and it’s a place where I can write about all my multiple passions. I can be introspective, natural health oriented, creative – but always (I hope) entertaining, informative and/or inspiring!

I’ll be writing about how we can all look radiant, feel vibrantly healthy and follow our dreams – at any age. Empty nest ruminations will live over there, along with all the other fun, hot and spicy stuff I come up with.

Holistic Hot Sauce will be online within a couple of weeks – and I really hope you will join me over there.

But What About Grown Up Mom?

I’m not going to retire this blog (it’s such a nice venue for family stories,) but I will probably be posting a lot less on here. So, if you enjoy reading these posts, click on Holistic Hot Sauce right now and sign up for the mailing list. You’ll be one of the first to receive “The Sauce” right in your in-box. You just need to click on that little envelope in the lower left corner and enter your email address.

Even if you are already a subscriber to Grown Up Mom, I can’t transfer your email over without your permission. So get on the list now so you don’t miss the inaugural post – I’m already working on it. I think it’s going to be pretty cool.

If you’ve enjoyed Grown Up Mom over the past months and years, I know you will love Holistic Hot Sauce – looking forward to hanging out with you over there!

Meanwhile, continuing to strive for that head/heart balance…

So… what do you think? Let me know in the comments – or feel free to email me at sarah.h.oleary(at)  (You have to use the @ symbol of course!)

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Filed under Aging, Introspection, Women

Rethinking “Nice”

I’ve always known it’s a lazy word.

But it’s such a nice word. Works so well for a huge variety of situations and people. And certainly it’s been a gauge to measure my behavior, and that of others, particularly my children.

“Be nice now.”  “Let’s play nice.”  “Is so-and-so nice?”

Oh, and how about the ubiquitous, “If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

And the cynical side:  “Nice guys finish last.”

But really, nice? What does it mean?

In the last couple of weeks everywhere I turn – be it an article, a conversation, or a blog post,  I find a new indictment of “nice.” And it’s got me thinking – maybe all this being nice is not so, well, nice after all. Continue reading


Filed under Introspection

The Other Side of Surrender

Yesterday was rough.

Despite my oft-stated intentions to balance work and creativity, my list once again ran off the charts. I’ve got this exciting new project (more on that soon) and if I am to manifest it I must tackle it – chunk by chunk.

So there’s that list. And here’s my deep desire and intention to write, to continue to post on my blogs. And there’s all the other stuff that needs to be done just to keep household and life functioning. And over here is this other list of actual paying work projects.

Of course that last takes precedence. So yesterday morning I Continue reading


Filed under Introspection

Beware The Busy Beast

The Beast lumbers along beside me always.

She’s been there – oh, ever since about age 24. She’s the To-Do List that runs off the page. She’s a million errands. She’s the partially finished project scattered on the kitchen table.

She’s the stab of guilt every time my eyes fall on a pile of dust bunnies under the couch, or the caked-on grime along the edge of the bathroom baseboard.

The busy beast isn’t very friendly.

She yells, “Go, go, go! Faster! What about that stuff you said you’d do yesterday?”

“How much did you get done today?” she sneers as I brush my teeth in preparation for bed.

The busy beast thinks Continue reading


Filed under Introspection, Work

How To Be Rich And Happy

Photo: Gigi Cooper

That’s the title of my new favorite book.

Hokey, right? You’re probably thinking, what is this? Has she become some sort of online scam artist?

We live in a world of gimmicks and rip-offs. And so we’ve all become a bit jaded and cynical. If I came across that title while I was browsing the shelves of my favorite bookstore I would likely skim right past it, maybe giving a little internal snort.

Now that I’ve read it (in Ebook form), I’ve ordered three hard copies – one for myself to reference and mark up, and one to give to each daughter.

That’s how much this little tome with the cheesy title impacted me.

Despite the title, the book is not about getting rich quick, or some sort of instant happy pill. It’s an exploration of what it is exactly that causes some people love their lives Continue reading

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Filed under General


Learning to walk

Newborn, I cradle you in my arms. So tiny, so precious. Eyes wide and deep brown, stare into mine with a wisdom still carried from the womb.

I hold you close to my heart, rock you as we walk through the house. I sit on the worn white sofa and guide your hungry mouth to my breast. As you nurse I gaze out the window at rows of spring greens bursting forth their life-giving leaves. Mustard, arugula spinach and lettuce sparkle in the spring sunshine as tulips bloom in pots on the porch.

Someday, I think, this world will be yours.

How far away such a day seemed on that spring morning in 1991. A day when this tiny being, now drawing nourishment from my body, would step out into the sunshine on her own. So many days must first pass – long hours learning to crawl, to toddle on the porch holding onto those pots for balance.

There will be birthday parties, trick or treating, colorful paintings pinned to the refrigerator. Childcare, first days of school and graduations. Temper tantrums and Continue reading


Filed under Aging, Rosie

A Conversation With Money

Photo: Sarah O'Leary

The other night a friend arrived from out of town and we sat around the kitchen table, empty plates pushed aside, refilling our wine glasses.

Inevitably the conversation turned to politics and world affairs. And just as inevitably I began ranting. Somehow we’d circled onto the subject of Wall Street bankers, foreclosures, and all those senior citizens now scrambling to eke enough money out of their pension check to stay in groceries for the month.

And then we got onto lobbying, and the way that lawmakers now vote based on the wishes of their corporate lobbyist buddies, rather than what they know to be right for their constituents.

“It’s greed!” I shouted. (I’m happy to report I did not pound my fist on the table, but I may as well have.)

“These fat cats just want more and more, and they don’t care who they screw in the process! It’s so disgusting – the more money they make, the more corrupt they become and the less they care about the rest of us.”

Everyone nodded in agreement.

A small percentage of super rich folks (now immortalized as the One Percent) are sitting back in their mansions, serving up caviar on their yachts, and flying around in their private planes, while the rest of humanity is wondering how to fund their retirement so they can live decently (at best), or struggling to find a cup of clean water and something to put in their belly (at worst.)

And those people with all that money – they just couldn’t give a damn. They just want more.

That settled, we babbled on, jumping from subject to subject as we continued to empty that wine bottle.

And then it struck me. The Aha! Moment.

What the hell did I just say? And how does that fit in with my affirmations about the free flow of money? As in Money flows into my life easily and effortlessly. Or, I am worthy of financial abundance.

Um, hello? All the affirmations and abundance meditations in the world aren’t going to do a damn thing when I Continue reading


Filed under Introspection

Time To Go Now Guilt

So Guilt, we’ve been tight companions for such a long time now. I carry you everywhere. You’re familiar and comfortable, we know each other so very well.

But you know, you are a heavy backpack. I’m getting tired. Really tired.

I’m just going to set you down here, by the side of the trail. Just for a time. Let’s call it a trial separation.

I know, I know. You’re shocked.

“But I’ve served you so well,” you say. “I remind you of so many things – what you should be doing, where you need to be, who you need to take care of, of the many things you’ve left undone.”

Yes, you’re always whispering in my ear, letting me know how I should improve. Sternly, you remind me of the many people who suffer, how much worse life could be, and that therefore I should not aspire for more.

You are so articulate when you outline the many reasons I need to shut up and get back to work.

It occurs to me now, perhaps underneath your dexterous explanations lurk that old patriarchal Christian cliche:  “Idle hands are the devil’s work.”

But I don’t believe in that one. Or do I? You’ve certainly found ways to make it seem true.

For just a little while I’m going to cut you loose Guilt – along with your sidekick, Regret.

I know you don’t need me. You’re just fine hanging out there, heavy and solid like the rocks beside you.

But it’s funny, even though I’m so much lighter setting down that pack, I feel a little lost without your familiar weight.

Maybe I don’t need you either, Guilt. I’m going to take a chance and move on without you for a few days. I know you’ll be right here waiting for me if I change my mind.


Filed under Introspection, Uncategorized

On Doing Nothing. Maybe It’s Really Something!?

It started a few weeks ago.

I got the first inkling while reading this wonderful book, Traveling with Pomegranates.

Some close friends been extolling the book for months now. Written by a mother and daughter team (both writers), it explores the pain and joy of a daughter’s transition to adulthood – and a mother’s confrontation with her own aging and mortality.

Certainly themes that have bedeviled and inspired me of late.

And Pomegranates delivered. Poignant, exquisitely crafted, I savored every page.

The fact that the story delves into the creative process, spiritual connection, and is told through a lens of travel made it all the more relevant to me. Just writing this makes me want to read it all over again.

I could go on for hours about the different themes explored in Pomegranates – but the one that keeps coming back and back (from multiple sources) is this idea of feeding your creativity by doing nothing.

Yep. Nothing.

My bitchy inner critic is pounding on my forehead already.

What are you talking about? She yells. You already don’t get half the stuff done Continue reading


Filed under Introspection, Writing

Remembering My Mom

Mary Carole Hoyt. 1938-1983.

Today marks 29 years since my beautiful mother left this planet. Taken from us way too soon, we barely had time to process that she was sick and then she was gone.

It amazes me that although I’ve lived more years now without her than with her, I still miss her so very much. Mixed with the sadness is this anger at the cruelty of her life cut short just as she began to experiment with spreading her wings.

But I don’t want to write about all the grief and angst surrounding her untimely death. I want this to be about honoring her life – and the amazing gifts that  Carole gave to all of us, to everyone who touched her life. People flocked to her because Continue reading


Filed under Mothers