and Robert Kolker

Oprah’s Book Club on Facebook

Anyone who knows me knows Oprah has been my Queen for over three decades! She first opened my (and soon the world’s) eyes to understanding everyone has a story worth telling back in 1986. Oprah Winfrey, a little black girl with big dreams-turned self-made powerhouse against all odds, showed me (us) how everyone wants and deserves to have a voice and to find meaning in their life.

The Oprah Show was the backdrop of my teens, twenties, and thirties, first watched live or recorded on VHS and later Tivoed or DVR’d. For all 25 seasons, as I…


What a Group Chat Taught Me about the Importance of Friendship on Our Health and Happiness

My Girlfriends and Me (snake print shirt) at Pinz Bowling Alley, Studio City, December 2019

Are you ready for some really great news? Getting together with a friend is not only fun, but it’s also great for your health and happiness.

We all know how important our Dear Family is but our friends might prove to be even more important, especially as we age. Research published in the journal Personal Relationships studied more than 270,000 people in nearly 100 countries and found both family and friend relationships were associated with better health and happiness. The benefits remained over a lifetime for people who reported strong friendships. …


Only During a Worldwide Pandemic

Milk Bar’s Birthday Cake mural on my birthday, Los Angeles 2019

Seventeen years ago, I was 33 and the year was 2004. A highlight of my day was watching the Oprah Winfrey Show. I set it to the number one position to record on Tivo, insuring nothing superseded it so I didn’t miss one. I’d look forward to the time I could put my baby down for a mid-day nap to watch the day’s previous episode. Or I’d watch that day’s episode in the evening after putting my baby down for the night. Sitting cross-legged on my couch, I’d give my full attention to my hero…


Photo by Oscar Sutton on Unsplash

Thirty-two students from a charter school in Los Angeles would watch me present from their home computers, unable to have let off steam during recess, unable to socialize and run around with their friends beforehand. I was excited and a little nervous to give my first Zoom lesson to middle schoolers. I’d presented to high schoolers, parents, teachers, and staff virtually since the pandemic started, but this was different. My new audience was made up of a classroom of impressionable 8th graders joining me during their health class period.

I dressed professionally in a nice black blouse with gold buttons…


And 18 Lessons to Bring Into 2021

Self-Portrait 2020 by artist, Paula Noah (permission granted)

Last year, as we celebrated not just a new year but a new decade, we never could have predicted just how tumultuous and life-changing 2020 would be- not just for ourselves, our family, our community, or our country- but for the entire world. It’s true there were a few in-the-know people, like infectious disease specialists and Bill Gates, who predicted a worldwide health pandemic was not just a possibility but an eventual probability. And yes, once it became apparent the virus was not contained in China, people like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Sanjay Gupta did warn us from day one…


The Antidotes are Hope, Action, and Gratitude.

First Women’s March in Los Angeles (I’m on the right)

The most important election of our lifetime is happening during a once in a century worldwide public health crisis. Scarlett red, electric blue, or a shade of purple in between, one thing we can all agree on is the infinite value of HOPE, ACTION, and GRATITUDE in moving us forward in the right direction.

I don’t know about you but I have PTSD from the last election. What I thought was going to happen didn’t. The political world as I knew it turned upside down with a shocking news cycle that has not let up. The comorbidity from the anxiety and stress due to the Coronavirus adds a whole other complicated layer. Record wildfires and hurricanes are in the news cycle. Reports of Election Day fears of outbreaks of violence are resulting in people stocking up on canned goods, toilet paper, and other basic supplies. Fears of a Civil War breaking out in our…


Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels

You’ve all heard the airplane metaphor about parents putting their oxygen masks on first before helping their child. It’s a cliche for a reason because parenting can in fact suck the oxygen from you and you absolutely do need to take care of yourself first.

Parents, especially moms, aren’t always the best at taking this advice, but I’m here today to tell you if you are happy and fulfilled, your family is much more likely to follow suit. This list of 24 ways to make you a happy and great parent- parenting advice may feel a bit counterintuitive, but eventually…


Larcenia Floyd holding her baby, George.

The moment our babies are born our hearts expand in ways we never thought possible. Love swells to infinite spaces we didn’t know existed. When our newborn wails after inhaling its first breath, we exhale with relief. We instantly begin to consider their safety with the underlying desire for them to inherit and to have a bright future. Instinctually we become Mama Bears who will do anything in our power to protect our beloved cubs.

We make sure they are being properly nourished as we breast or bottle-feed. We wonder if they are sleeping soundly and safely, warned against rolling…


And the Power of Storytelling to Heal

A masterful book can transport you into a different world, open your eyes to new possibilities, and get you thinking outside your normal thought patterns. So can a podcast that drops you into an intimate conversation as if you’re eavesdropping on dear family and friends. Imagine being a book lover and a mental health advocate and having the opportunity to get at the heart and in the mind of a skillful, well-known author. …


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month-

I first shared Fourteen Incredible Memoirs about Mental Illness and Addiction more than a year ago. The collection of true stories had been so helpful as I set out to research and begin to write a family memoir about inherited generational trauma. The books helped me better understand my own family’s history of mental illness, namely four suicides, bipolar, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and subsequent substance abuse and marital affairs. I came to understand, besides how difficult it is to write a book, mental illness affects the entire family and is often shrouded in…

Rachel Steinman

Host of “Dear Family,” the Podcast, Writer, Educator, and Mental Health Advocate https://writenowrachel.com/

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