Family Coach. Mom. Teacher. Lover of Life.

Posts tagged ‘love’

A Word from My Daughter

I write a lot about my 13 year-old daughter, Fiona, and her struggle with mental illness. She actually does a lot of writing herself, so today I share with you something she wrote for her school newspaper.

green ribbon


By Fiona Allen

About 40,000 people will commit suicide this year. That’s the same amount of people that will die of breast cancer this year. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2030 suicide deaths, which are most commonly caused by depression, will outweigh the number of deaths from stroke, cancer, accidents and even war.

Today I am here to talk to you about mental health awareness and the lack of it. We talk about breast cancer often. You probably know the awareness ribbon is pink. Right? But can you guess what color suicide, mental health or self-harm ribbons are? Not very many people talk about mental health or suicide. The ribbon color for suicide is yellow. The awareness ribbon color for mental health is green, and the awareness color for self-injury is orange.

The reason that we don’t have much awareness for mental health issues is because it’s taboo to talk about mental illness in our society. Is also seen as “not a real issue”. Mental illness is an illness just a serious-if not more serious-than other illnesses that receive a whole awareness month.

Kids all around us that are our age are suffering and dying from mental illness on a daily basis. In fact about every 15 minutes somebody dies from suicide, and that does not include the kids who are passing away because of anorexia or those attempting to kill themselves. It’s a scary thing to look at. It’s scary to think about too, but I challenge you to look at it and to make a stand about it.

If you suffer from a mental illness you can get help and get treatment. If you’re feeling like you’re going to kill yourself please, PLEASE call this number-it’s the national suicide prevention lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

Talk to your parents or another trusted adult about your feelings. I know it’s so hard because I’ve been through it before myself. But I know you can do this.

I would like to challenge all of you guys out there to spread awareness for these horrible disorders. I challenge you to wear a ribbon or a shirt that’s one of these colors (yellow, orange or green) every Tuesday. In our school we need to not only stand up against bullying, but we also need to stand up for mental health disorders.

I also challenge you to try to make somebody feel better. Be kind. Be friendly. Just try to lighten up someone’s day. And I challenge all those folks out there that are suffering to stay strong. You can do this. I’m so proud of you.


Love is a piece of cake. Love is a biscuit recipe at the State Fair

I have many perks to my job, one of which is getting to be a judge for the cookies, cakes, breads, and candies submitted to the North Carolina state fair. I love this job! One, I get to eat cake. Oh how I love cake. Two, I get to judge with my husband. How I love getting paid to spend the day with him, eating cake.

This year, my dear colleague that supervises the judging was ill, so I got to sit in her place. While I didn’t get to eat cake with my dear husband (my stepson took that role for me—see the image below), I did get to meet many more amazing people that come to Raleigh to judge.



One of the people I met this year was a lovely lady that had been judging for over 20 years, and she had stories to share! She told me about the most memorable time she judged biscuits. Biscuits are a big thing in North Carolina, and people take them very seriously when they submit them to the fair. But one particular year, there were several entries of biscuits that were, well….she said they were beyond bad (bless their heart). They were so hard the plastic knife broke trying to cut them. There were clumps of ingredients that hadn’t been mixed well and overall, it just seemed that the biscuits should not be in the competition. The whole room got in on the joke-those notorious biscuits got a lot of attention and laughter that year.

After the judging had ended, the supervisor came over and told my new friend that the biscuits had been entered by a grieving widow whose wife had entered her biscuits in the fair every year that they had been married. For decades, she had won blue ribbons. For a lifetime, her biscuits had been the source of great pride and precious family moments. To honor his wife’s memory, he had taken out her recipe card and for the first time, he made her biscuits and entered them in the state fair competition. He was mourning the loss of his life-long sweetheart, and showing love for his wife by entering her biscuits one last time.

Of course there wasn’t a dry eye in the room when she first learned about the biscuit origin, and there were a few tears dropped when I heard the story. What a wonderful reminder of why we judge foods at the state fair; of why we take time to create and share a meal with our families and friends. What a lovely reminder of why food is so important-food connects us to those we love. Most importantly, what an important reminder of what love looks like. Next year I get to return to my role of judging cake with my husband, and I plan to think of this lovely couple as I eat biscuits. I will also take a moment and cherish that special time with him.