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I never set out to be a “writer,” and my kids would gag if they heard me say that I was.

Actually, I don’t consider myself a writer, as I don’t even know the definition of a verb or a noun, nor do I care to learn. This journey began because some people liked the Christmas Newsletters that I used to send each year. And then, somehow, a travel journal – that I was keeping for my kids for after I was dead, so they would remember the big adventure we had in Europe – turned into a book.

The book became the start of a series when Funk was mayor of Kansas City. Because that’s when the media went from adoring me for throwing it all in to help my husband get elected, to trying to shut my voice down after he was.

And that right there was the turning point. When the Italian New Yorker in me rose up strong. My voice went unheard as child, and I refused to allow anyone to shut me up again.

Besides, what kind of a woman would I be if I allowed myself to be silenced? What kind of a message would that send to my children? To their friends? To my past birth students?

Turns out, writing centers me, and it doesn’t feel like work; it’s just what I do in between all the other things that I have to do each day.

But where I’ve found that I like writing, I still don’t like being front and center, at least not where the media is concerned.

But apparently, being front and center is what you have to do to let people know that you have a book coming out (May 18). So, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, including this photo shoot. And eww.

Here’s to you not letting YOUR voice go unheard.

That said, when you stand up for yourself, I hope you do it with kindness. Because there’s enough meanness in the world, and we can say what we think without resorting to that.

If you stand in your power, walk your talk, pretend to have confidence in your beliefs until you really do, then you can reach for brave without using unkind words to get your message across.

I can do this most always, but I’m not 100% with it. Ask Funk if I adhere to it on ALL occasions. I mean, the initials of his name are MF, after all.

The photo: A picture the stylist took of the photographer photographing me. To me, the surroundings are stunning. Which is why I chose this place for the mission.

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