Southern Pride

“You will not reform it. You cannot make it mean something else. Let it go.” Sallysmart has written the words that have been trapped in my soul this week and as a sister-southerner, it’s my honor to share them here.
I’m proud to be a Mississippi girl and I’m aware of the burden of history that’s juxtaposed with my pride – and willing and able to carry it. I have a responsibility to embrace both in a way that befits my upbringing, my raisin’ and I intend to. Thankfully, Sallysmart just got me over a rare, speechless hump.

I do love me a smart girl.

Sally Vardaman

In a short time a sweeping change has taken place in the Deep South.  Sentiment for removing the Confederate flag as a present day representation has never been so strong.  But detractors remain.  The ones I know personally are also people I have known to be deeply compassionate and kind.  This is my letter to them.

When one flies this image, what does it celebrate?  The only defense I hear is that it does not represent racism.  But what meaningful value worthy of our pride does it symbolize?  I’ve asked and gotten no response.  How can we cling to a symbol by shouting only what we claim it ISN’T?

It’s time to let it go.


I am thankful to be from the Deep South.  Living in the Midwest for 14 years has only strengthened my understanding of my heritage.  There are beautiful parts of Southern culture few people see…

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Shit Happens

“You know, Mom, at times like this I really admire you.”

So much about what we’d like to achieve as parents can be summed up in this one statement. Love that dear friend, SallySmart, shared this moment with all of us. Let us remember to not overlook them, when we are so gifted by our own children.

Sally Vardaman

This past year was one of great professional stress, and I determined not to carry it into 2015.  When I did find resolution in October, it came in a better manner than I could have imagined.  While I made some contributions to the outcome, I assure you luck was the prevailing factor.

When the dust settled, I was stunned to find my life relatively drama free for the first time in years.  My kids are at great ages in which they are relatively dependable, responsible and communicative, but haven’t begun to hate me.  Life still has plenty of stress, but a bit less overwhelming.

So I have been thinking to myself often, I really need to enjoy this.  Really.  And I dare not feel entitled to its continuation.  Sometimes we get to a good place and assume it to be a part of a long and steady trajectory.  We…

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Teaching Kids About Consent: Yes means yes

Yes means yes. And that’s that.

Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Last week I taught a series of classes on Helping Children Thrive at ACU’s Summit. As we talked about thriving, we moved into a conversation about sexual self-efficacy. When someone has sexual self-efficacy, she is able to see herself as a person who can make decisions about what happens to her sexually. He knows how to say yes and no to sexual behaviors and relationships. He knows how to ask for consent from a partner before engaging in sexual behaviors and how to demand that others ask for consent.

In order to help children thrive, parents need to connect with them through talking often and openly, build competence by providing kids with information about physical development and facts about sex and sexuality, and encourage confidence through helping kids think through specific scenarios that might cause difficulty and making a plan to handle them.

  • Parents can use popular media depictions to start those conversations. Television…

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Thank You To The Today Show & Cosmopolitan UK!

Chapter Two — it got even better!

It’s been a privilege to watch this journey of self-discovery unfold so organically. We’re thrilled to have met Victoria via The Manifest-Station and so impressed with how this young woman has added to the conversation about body image and self-acceptance. Couldn’t be prouder if we birthed her!

It’s certain we’ll hear more and we can’t wait!

The Manifest-Station

This is exciting! A post I published a week ago called “I Like This Picture of My Cellulite: A 19 Year Old’s Journey To Self-Acceptance” has gone viral. It’s been picked up by Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan and now The Today Show. Congrats to Victoria and yay to The Manifest-Station. The readership is through the roof! Here is the video!

click the picture of Victoria Erickson to watch The Today Show clip. click the picture of Victoria Erickson to watch The Today Show clip.

I will be doing my workshop in London on July 6th so please let your UK friends know… I cannot wait to see so many of my UK readers. There are a few spots left. Click here. No yoga experience required. xojen 

ps, send submissions in to

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I Like This Picture of My Cellulite: A 19 Year Old’s Journey To Self-Acceptance.

Chapter One — and it’s a good one.

The Manifest-Station

Dear Readers, Jen here. The post below was written by a 19 year old student. I love that I have teens following the site! I am hoping to develop a series for young writers to express themselves. It is my great honor to be a platform for these beautiful voices. If you would like to send a piece in please email it to We want you to be heard. We are listening. See you all in London.

And I Like This Picture of My Cellulite by Victoria Erickson.

A Young Woman’s journey to self acceptance and appreciation.

rain edit 1

Now, I’m not the cute blonde on the left but rather the more prominent, jean-jacket covered, cellulite charging, woman to the right.

And the first thing I thought of when I saw this picture was how HAPPY I look: I’m jubilant, radiant, fresh home from my first year of college and ready…

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