Why Our 2016 Summer Vacation Didn’t Suck

For a long time, I resented you and your family vacation. I didn’t really have a quintessential family growing up, think broken home and raised by wolves, and there were no vacations to be remembered. Your pictures of yearly fun at the seashore and by the lake house were just a reminder of my lack of a life like yours.

But then I created a chance for a Mulligan, a history do-over. One where I had my own family and my own kids. I knew that ever elusive family Summer vacation was one of those must-haves for my children as well as for me to heal and begin again.

Fast forward a few more years and we have just returned from our 2016 Summer beach vacation. It was a pretty big hit for the littles and big both.

Mark and I were in a chillaxing mode on the way out-of-town. We’d both gotten our homework done and were ready to just unplug. That set the tone for all of our unrushed choices for the next three days. The meals, the unlimited cartoon cable network watching, And the swimming swimming swimming all the time time time.

I wasn’t blogging yet I wanted to have an outlet to do something creative for me, so I told and posted our unfolding story on my Instagram feed. If you are not a social media user or an IG follower, I have included those posts from our beach visit in the order I posted them so that you can feel caught up. It’ll make you feel like you are there with us. Almost.

Just so you understand how special our time here at the beach is for me, I didn't get vacations as I kid. I barely got a childhood. And although I've risen like a Phoenix from those ashes, it means more than the beautiful Solstice moon to me that my children have this memory. And that my husband and I can weave it for them with calmness, good humor, no anxiety, and generosity to ourselves and them. Driving here I said to Mark, "Imagine what it would be like to have someone anticipate your every physical and comfort need. That someone cared enough to get your favorite things for you at the store and cheer you on at every endeavour." He said Yeah, Wow, and I said ,"When you grow up, that person is you. You are your own parent. Whether you are a good one or a bad one depends on how you value your inner child.". You know what she loves, when she needs firm comfort, and when she needs a pass. Be a great parent to yourself and you will reward yourself with trust. Love to all of you who wished us well on our vacation. You are dear to me, each and every one of you. #OceanCityMaryland #fionamariepeach #poolside #atthebeach #taleswithfriends #Soul_selfie

A video posted by Shalagh Hogan (@shalaghhogan) on

Here’s to hoping for the same fun vacation next year for these kids and for their parents who deserve a break too. There’s nothing wrong with knowing where you’ll be, what you’ll be eating, or where the best arcade games are. And it’s fun to discover new stuff every year.We found there was a sushi place nearby and a Chinese carry out that had Indian Food ! And although they built a Starbucks across the street from our hotel, we still had our traditional Dunkin’ Donuts’ morning coffees courtesy of my early bird husband. Such predictable goodness!

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

I Don’t Ask

The fact that I don’t ask keeps coming up. I usually don’t ask for help, advice, support, or to get my needs met. And there are varying flavors of reasons for this lack of asking, especially on the blog keeping front, which still don’t substantiate the lack of asking.

I’m afraid that by asking for people to read and creating a larger audience, they’ll see me for the ignorant amateur fraud I am and point it all out to me. This is known as the Imposter Syndrome.

I’m afraid that if I do build my audience and engage them in activities or groups, I’ll then be unable to keep up the work and the effort that it took me to get there. I’m afraid of not being able to maintain any success. This is my fear of Success called Hilda. I’m afraid I’ll abandon people too. 

I don’t ask for anyone to share my posts maybe because they’ll say no. I tell myself this doesn’t really help grow my readership or it’s begging. But that’s silly because people a) want to be of help and just don’t realize how they can help and b) everyone who would share it would have friends with similar interests. And c), people are drawn more to those people sure what they have to offer the world is worth sharing.

I know my insight is honest and refreshing. And that my unique perspective is interesting and authentic. You really don’t need anything else.Vine creeping on

I don’t ask for technical help because I think no one would have time to help or have better things to do or Hey, I’m undeserving of support. Or I am less worthy than others. And throw in I am weak and needy when I ask for help and I think I pretty much covered all the reasons I don’t ask for help, as false as all of them are.

I come to find out that in always offering my help but never asking for it, I’ve become untrustworthy in a way. I must take as much as I give for my character to be trustworthy. Otherwise it could appear I’m acting like I think I’m better than others by not asking.

And lastly, I’m undeserving of support. I have to pay for past wrongs of my existence by staying isolated and unworthy of support? What piffle that is ! But these are the unconscious scripts that are running that I play along with because I haven’t had time to rewrite them. But I’m working on it. Footie on

I do not believe that all of my readers would dump me if they heard me ask for their support. In fact, once a couple years ago, when I asked people to vote for me for something, I was astounded at how many people did in fact vote. So much so that I didn’t even care to win anymore because I was so heart-warmed that so many people thought so well of me. I had a bigger group surrounding me than I thought. Perhaps the asking is a method by which we can remind ourselves just how loved and important we actually are to our communities. That asking for support is a means by which other people can have an opportunity to show you how much they love and support you. And you are both giving and taking in this exchange. A reframe in process.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Q & A with Creative Momma Megan Gray

I was feeling a wild exclamation streak coming on. A need to bring up the subject of mothering and creativity and take a stab at outing the innate shame of this combination. Righting the wrong of the looks of suspicion and incompetency we get when we try to be both mothers and creatives! Gasp. Impassioned, I wrote a Mother’s Manifesto and I immediately knew who I needed to talk to on this subject : Megan Gray.

I think I must have stumbled on her prolific self through Instagram and soon I was reading some of her blog posts enthralled because not only was she a highly talented and prolific artist, she also faced some seriously scary life and death challenges with her daughter simultaneously. Among many other things surely, Megan paints, blogs, promotes other creative mammas, and mothers her own children. She inspires me immensely. So I asked her if she might be amenable to an interview. She said yes and asked me if I would also do one. The link to my interview is here.

Megan Gray herself on

Do you feel there’s a societal conflict between creating, success, and mothering?

Absolutely! I don’t hear anyone asking my husband how he goes to work and does all that he does while having kids. But I also believe that mothers/caregivers have the power to change this mindset, and I believe we are starting to. I think with supporting each other as parents and creatives, instead of judging our choices as parents, we can move in the right direction. I also believe we can do it all, just not all at once.

I feel I need to work twice as hard to maintain my separate creative self since motherhood. Do you find this and how have you coped? How did/do you balance or juggle, allow for and nourish your creative needs and your babies’/child’s needs simultaneously?

When they sleep I work. When they are playing without my need to hover, I work. When I am with them, I am with them. When they were babies I constantly reminded myself that they grow quickly, enjoy this time (still remind myself of this). I was in full mother mode for the most part. As they get older and more independent I can work more because they also have lives of their own. We live, learn, and create simultaneously. Sometimes it’s great! Sometimes there are major challenges when someone is sick, or the kids are just being kids. I try my hardest to stay in the moment, but I’m not perfect. I feel lost and upset at times. I wouldn’t change any of this though. No matter what. They help me to see how much I need to create for myself. They are my greatest teachers and supporters. I love that! My husband also helps me soooo much. He only gets one day off and whenever he can he takes over so I can get more painting done. I really couldn’t do as much as I do without him. Support from others is key!Another Megan Gray painting on

Was there a point, after you’d worked so very hard to establish a product and presence, when you could relax a little? Or do you feel a little like I do, stuck in a creative doing vortex?

I do take time to relax, especially after any events or bursts of creativity. If I don’t my sanity can get just as crazy as if I don’t create. I work a lot at night, so if I don’t go out in nature often, I won’t feel inspired enough to work either. It’s all a balancing act.

What do you do to keep balanced your career and family goals? To keep from burning out at both ends? What are your thoughts, mantras, or practices on maintaining the balance of being a good mother and a productive creative?

Practicing mindfulness has helped me to really be aware of what my needs are at a given time. Also, helps us as a family to be mindful of all of our needs. Compromises help too. Again, I am not perfect. I have moments I am not proud of as a parent/human. The best thing though is to surround yourself with supportive people as much as possible, and have a lot of patience for yourself. I’m still working on this.

There are also times on the parenting end and the creative end where I ask myself, “Have you done enough today?” I love my kids, but I don’t need to do every single thing for them, or play with them constantly. I want them to be independent and creative on their own. Of course I am here to help them when they are hurt, sick, having trouble with figuring things out, and to help guide them with learning, but I am also here to make sure they are given the freedom to be creative humans themselves. Same goes for my art. If my kids need me more, or in that moment, it’s time for them. I will get back to the art later on.Megan Gray Painting on

My Take aways:

  • “We can do it all just not all at once”
  • We need to support each other in changing the judgemental mindset.
  • Ask for help from others
  • Get outside
  • Do your thing when you can and be with your children when you are with them


You can find Megan’s blog at . Her Facebook page and her Patreon page all show her dedication to making, selling, and sometimes giving away her beautiful paintings. Her Instagram page is where we do most of our chatting and I admire her kindness and enthusiasm so much. We art inspirational when we follow our own muses. I know you are with me when I say Buy Original Art!!!

Thank you lovely Megan.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.





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