Listen To Your Mother was a huge success again this year. Before I share the nights’ images, I feel that it’s important to mention the charity that the show supported this year. It spoke to me, you could say. Book Harvest‘s mission is to get books into the homes of ALL children. When these snippets were shared with me, my jaw dropped.

Books in the home are the single biggest indicator of academic success — surpassing income, parents’ education, family composition, and all other factors.

Academically, children growing up in homes with no books are on average three years behind children in homes with lots of books, even when controlled for other key factors such as income and parents’ education.

If you have extra books laying around, Book Harvest is the place to send them! I remember growing up in a home full of books and even at ages 1 and 2, my sons have more books than I could even count courtesy of family, friends, and of course, good ol mom and dad. I didn’t realize exactly HOW valuable that advantage will be for them.

Back to the show though. Allison Barrett Carter of Go Dankser Mom was a cast member this year and blogged about her experience after the show.

I have been here. I have been quiet, humble, introspective, but here. This has been a time in my life that has called for experiencing. Not yelling. Not speaking. Not storytelling. It has been a time for listening to what life wants to tell me. But tonight, here I am. I walk around in a haze, unable to feel any more emotions. After a week that brought the sale of our beloved home, Mother’s Day with my entire joyful and energetic family, and my Listen To Your Mother show performances, I am full.

I am so full I have been emptied.

After the show, I posted the cast group photo with the caption, “Brave”. She reflected,

We are not brave simply because we stood in front of a spotlight and spoke to a faceless auditorium.

We are brave because we took experiences that weren’t perfect and offered them up to anyone and everyone. We took our personal lives, our personalities, and who we are and turned our souls inside out. On a stage. We stopped hiding behind Facebook statuses and Instagram filters to be REAL. We forced life to be raw for over 90 minutes. We forced ourselves to feel (a million times over again) each other’s stories and we forced the audience to feel them, too.

We were brave because we chose to be real. We chose to speak about our uglies and we chose to share how those uglies made our lives in to beautiful stories worth sharing.

I don’t know about you, but we need much more of that in this world.

Here’s the list of the 2015 cast and the little corners of the internet that they call their own:

Marty Long & Keanne Hoeg (co-producers)

Laura Brimberry

Allison Barrett Carter

Ann Conlon-Smith

Mary Davila

Jen Foster

Listen To Your Mother is a national show that is featured in nearly 40 cities. They recently released a compilation book that you can grab here. Videos of this year’s participants will be out later this summer! I’ll send out a link in my monthly update (along with any specials) and you can sign up here.