Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Child's Play...Are Parents In The Way?

Several months ago I was invited to a book club with a group of women from our elementary school. The first book chosen was "The Glass Castle" a memoir by Jeannette Walls. Loved it! (See our favorite Amazon books in the right column.)

The author's upbringing was riddled with a strange combination of neglect and love. Never before had I thought of those two traits walking hand in hand, but in her situation they did. Many chapters were hard to read, but I gained such compassion for children that are just left to raise themselves. Although her childhood was unnecessarily difficult, through these circumstances she learned to trust herself and developed determination, ingenuity, and strength.

It made me think of how careful I am with my kids. We live in a safe town, but parents here tend to be very overprotective because of the terrible stories in the news. It's true...that I guard what my children watch, I hear most of their conversations, I work in their schools, I help out at children's church. There isn't a lot of time where they are unsupervised. My kids play sports, and teams are a wonderful experience, but is there time in their schedules for neighborhood playdates that let them practice making good and bad decisions without the constant watchful eye?

When I talk to parents they don't want their kids to fail or experience hardship. Our "hands off school" keeps them from learning for themselves what happens when they play too rough. Does all of this really protect them or hinder them? Simple things we took for granted when we were in elementary school like riding bikes in the neighborhood is now considered reckless parenting.

Teachers are afraid to tell parents that their child is getting a poor grade. Do we get too emotionally involved in all of the playground politics and step in to solve our kids problems. An unending number of rules govern everything our kids do with the idea that we are keeping them "safe". Does this allow them the wiggle room to become successful, creative, independent thinkers?

I'm still defining this and working it out in our own family. Believe me, I don't even come close to having all the answers. This book just prompted me to ask myself more questions. It reminded me that childhood is a lot like bootcamp...bumps, scrapes, exploration, mean kids, getting dirty, failed tests, being uncomfortable, enduring situations that aren't fair, standing on your own two feet, is all a part of the real world. That being a parent means not protecting them from all of those situations, but being there to love, support, and give them the tools to handle what is hard in life. Whoever said that it was fun to build character? Good stuff to ponder.

An exciting day for Life Laugh Latte!

For the first time EVER...LLL is doing 2...yes 2...posts in 1 day!
Two awards were given to us by Daffy at Batcrap Crazy. If you are a seasoned blogger then getting these awards probably just seems "sweet and thoughtful"...but to an absolutely new to this world virgin literally made our whole year! Couldn't wait to call Charisse and deliver the news. Then of course she was cracking backs at her chiropractic office and didn't pick up the phone. WHATEVER! She is going to freak out when she hears my message.

We truly can't wait to look at our favorite blog list every morning and spend two hours reading, commenting, and learning about all of the amazing women that we follow. Thanks to all of you we get a lot less laundry done, and even more rarely find time for a shower! You are creative, funny, smart, talented, introspective, and make us proud to be a W.O.M.A.N! Thanks again for the awards...they are truly appreciated Daffy. YOU ROCK!

Don't forget to go to Daffy's blog at She is all the adjectives I listed above and more!

I'm probably supposed to hold on to these and cherish them for several days before passing them on. But, knowing how quickly I forget things...I want to pass on these treasures to other deserving bloggy friends right away.

First...these two ladies have been awesome at being there for us in the first 2 weeks that we've been blogging. They've been there almost everyday with encouragement that has kept us learning, writing, thinking, and discovering what this blog deal is all about. So, go and visit them right now...DO YOU HEAR ME?! Alas, Daffy gave me the awards and Lee was also a part of that sweet post she created. So sending the awards right back at them would be weird. So instead I'm sending you endless thanks and admiration for "being there" that too sappy?!



I would like to pass on the "Your Comments Rock" award to two recipients that are faithful Followers always with thoughtful things to say:
*Holly at

*Liz at

I would also like to give the "One Lovely Blog Award" to:
*Holly at

Go visit these friends of ours! We know it will make your day.

Peace Out,
Holly & Charisse

Funny Video Snippets

Enjoy these funny moments during a recent taping. These are little bits and pieces clipped from other videos we have made. Can't wait to hear your definition of a "gamut". We love stalkers (just kidding if you are reading this and you're a freakshow) so...become a Follower! Thanks for coming by...we always love hanging out with a friend!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reusable Pads & OB Tampons...WRONG!

Did you even know that they existed? We chat about WHY? Why would someone use reusable pads or even those crazy little OB tampons? It's difficult for me to even say "reusable pad" without laughing! Clearly a man, who by the way would never wash one out himself, must have invented this pad. Hey...thanks so much for joining us today...remember to leave a comment and become a Follower.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"The Invisible Wall" a memoir written by Harry Bernstein

I can't wait to share this book with you! I want to tell you about the author because if I had read the Afterword first, I would have enjoyed the book even more. At the age of 96 following the death of his wife Ruby, Harry decided it was time to write his first book. Did you catch that? 96 and embarking on a new frontier! I love that! What an inspiration he is when so many other people give up on life far too early.

Harry Bernstein

This story is about his childhood during World War II, set in England. The street he lives on hosts a colorful array of characters that Harry vividly brings to life. On one side of the street live the Christian families, and on the other side live the Jewish families. They rarely if ever mix, and hence the term "Invisible Wall" is coined. The intensity with which both sides live life according to their religion, completely isolates them to their own kind. They don't enter each others homes, the children are discouraged from playing together, and only in times of great desperation do they lend a hand or offer solace.

In our generation where the world to me sometimes seems so gray, there was something a little bit wonderful in the tradition each side clung so tightly to that lead them unfortunately to such disastrous results. Both sides had such pride in who they were and what they believed. Their faith defined them in ways that made them a part of a heritage that was bigg
er than just the four walls and circumstances they were forced to live in.

I like thinking about that. What it means. Isn't that kind of belonging something every human being longs for? This book made me ponder what invisible walls I might have. Walls inside that keep me from fully experiencing life. Barriers I've wrongfully built to stay safe or keep my family safe. Ways I've judged other people and missed out on the amazing impact they could have had in my life. I keep the term "Invisible Wall" filed in my mind as I walk through life now, looking for where this impacts my thoughts, judgments, decisions.

Fear was a driving force for the people on this street. Fear of how they would be taunted, physically abused, that their children might fall in love with the wrong side. Fear that loving or giving to people that are different than themselves might cause them to have to abandon what they believe. That perhaps was the greatest lie!

The Invisible Wall

Don't you think it's true that when our beliefs are challenged that we come out on the other side so much stronger? I would hope that would cause us to leave behind a life of gray, where we never speak the truths we feel for fear of stepping on someone else. That we could just learn to speak what we believe in love, that others could honor those beliefs, share how they stand in a different reality, and together we could exist not silenced but helping each other navigate this complicated path we all have to walk. I guess when a book causes you to evaluate who you are and how you participate in this've stumbled on to something really special. Thanks Harry! **** Review by Holly

If this triggers a response in you either positive or negative we'd love to read your comment! Thanks so much for stopping by.

To make your life easier there is a link in the right column of our blog where you can choose this book and buy it on Amazon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Principles We Live By - Laughter

As women we can get so busy that we forget the value of laughter in our lives. Here we talk about the role laughter plays in our friendship, our unusual way with humor, and our quest for joy. Thanks for checking out Remember to become a Follower and get regular updates.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'm Dyeing For A Change!

No...I'm not a terrible speller...just stick with me! So, about a year ago I decided that I was tired of spending HUGE amounts of time and money at the beauty salon. I was willing to spend the money on a great haircut, but decided surely I could do the color myself. Of course my stylist was horrified when I even mentioned that I would no longer consult a professional in this area of my life.
With vivid detail I learned about color gone wrong, hair falling out, bright unnatural bronze hues that would be impossible for me to correct. It apparently was a completely scientific process that would leave me emotionally crippled for life if I even pondered the idea. Call me me me a rebel...but I had to give it a try. I decided not only to go for all over color, but to also do the highlights myself. This really left my friends with their mouths hanging open.
I called my friend Lynn for support as I entered Longs Drugs as a complete color virgin. I told her the bronzy-red horror story, and with words of wisdom and comfort she told me to choose a color marked "cool" and that would take care of the problem. It took me an hour as I stared at the 200 choices and strange hair samples, but I finally settled on a shade of medium blonde with a highlighting formula complete with applicator.

Bravely I went home and set up shop. Old towels, a timer, an old t-shirt and I was ready. It was excellent weight loss as I'm sure I sweated off two pounds in the process. Did you know you could dye your hair and loose weight at the same time? Bonus! Clairol should remember this for their next ad campaign. This was far more weight than I had lost with an official weight loss program I bought off of an infomercial after having my first baby that suggested you could loose weight by "breathing!" That's another story. Anyway, I made my way through the process and my hair looked great. I've never gone back to professional dyeing since.
So, you are probably wondering why I chose to share this story with you? I am "dyeing for change" in many areas of who I am as a woman. Strangely enough dyeing my own hair empowered me. It was a little step, but it was symbolic of something bigger that I needed to confront. After turning 40 I felt compelled to look at who I was and wanted to be for the second half of my life. I found myself contemplating the undeniable physical symptoms of age...wrinkles, triceps that wave, reading glasses and age spots.

Mentally I'm hungry for deeper thoughts, heartier laughter, more opportunities to think outside the box I've had so neatly wrapped for the four decades I've been alive. I'm entering a time of new growth, and I find it a little confusing and deliciously interesting. I've rediscovered books, quiet time with friends, and greater more satisfying intimacy in my marriage. I'm experiencing new wonderful moments of connection with my daughter as she matures into a young lady, a passion to express myself with written words, a longing to be really known and to know those around me. I'm learning to enjoy solitude, not only as a means of escape, but just because I enjoy my own company.

Creating Life Laugh Latte gave me a venue for self-expression and has been a huge part of this metamorphosis. I'm enjoying it immensely, and I hope you are too. I wonder if you are in a time in your life where you are also "dyeing for change?" Let me encourage you to embrace those feelings and consider the next chapter of your life. Ageing can be such a gift if you lean gently into it trusting that it has something to teach you. That's what I'm trying to do...along with planks, retinol eye cream, and drinking gallons of water!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Principles We Live By - Gratitude

This is the first of a series of videos where we discuss "Principles We Live By." Gratitude is the subject of this first video. Here we discuss why we think it is important, how we integrate it into our day, and how we teach it to our children. Grab your latte and jump in on the conversation. We would like to know how you express gratitude in your life?

Don't forget to become a Follower of Life Laugh Latte!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Water For review

Get ready for 331 pages of depth, excitement, adventure, romance, sin, guilt, revenge, and restoration. Sara Gruen's story of the 1930's circus is both historically accurate and told masterfully. It was impossible to put it down. When the book club I joined decided on this title I cringed. The circus just isn't something I'd ever choose to read about on my own. Immediately I was drawn in, and happily I whispered "sionara" to the week of laundry piling up. I was jumping a circus train to join Jacob, Marlena and all of the other crazy characters in the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show On Earth.

Every character you will come to love or hate as the story is recounted by Jacob now in his 90's in a nursing home. Thoughtful insights about aging are also woven into this complex story. I just thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this book. I hope you will too. I would like to warn our followers that this book does have moments when it is very raw. If that might offend you...steer clear! Otherwise, get ready to laugh, cringe, cry, and sit on the edge of your seat in suspense because this book is a wild ride. You can purchase this book right here on our blog through Amazon. Look in the right column for more information. Fiction***** review by Holly

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Meet Holly & Charisse

Welcome to Life Laugh Latte!
In this video we tell you a little about who we are, and why we started this blog. We are excited to become a part of this blogging community, and hope you will find us insightful, entertaining, and a breath of fresh air. Thanks for coming by and remember to become a Follower at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Family Of Friends

My hope is to let you in on an amazing journey called friendship. You may have one great friend, a circle of friends, or a family member that you experience a special connection with. Or, maybe you're just looking for a friend to share all of life's ups and downs.

Together, Charisse and I aspire to show you glimpses of Life that will give you hope. A chance to Laugh at our conversations videotaped during our weekly Latte right here in my home in California.

You see we think friendship should be a soft place to fall, a kick in the rear, a bulging belly of laughter, and a fresh perspective. Friends don't always agree...but they listen, embrace, and persevere. I think you'll find that although friendship rarely looks perfect, navigating life with a friend has a sweetness to it that you will quickly come to depend on!

I am blessed to have a "Family of Friends". A community of women that understand and love me for who I really am. It is so easy to love these women. They are vulnerable with their lives, laugh loudly, cry tenderly, want to be all that God has created them to be. Their stories make me love them more, especially the ones where they are out of control, handle things wrong, question their faith, try and fail. It just makes me feel so much less alone.

When I see their talents I feel like celebrating! One friend sings like an angel and writes beautiful music, another heals with her touch and humor, one has wisdom and a peace about her that she doesn’t even see, another is my running partner and confidant, one laughs at all my jokes and is like a sister, one is in a rock band and leads worship at church, another has a beautiful gift of hospitality, one is so authentic with her emotions that her tears flow and we feel lucky to be the people in her life that get to see them. Together we laugh until our sides ache!

In their eyes I’ve seen bravery, creativity, sorrow, loneliness, fear, tenderness, anger, disappointment, understanding, and a determination to bring a glimpse of God's compassion into each others lives. I’m struck, even writing this now, at how fortunate I am. I’m still learning how to sit and breathe in the intense moments of friendship and be fully present. To listen more and speak less, to validate, encourage and trust God has a plan and a path.

I wouldn’t trade these women for all this world has to offer. They are each an amazing treasure in my life! Does your soul long for this kind of connection? Then come on over and hang out with us. There's plenty of room for you on the couch, and a delicious hot latte with your name written all over it! Thanks friend for reading our very first blog post.

Love, Holly & Charisse