I Forgot


I forgot a kid today. I guess technically, I just had the wrong time in my brain, but still – I forgot to get a kid to an appointment that I had made. The office had to call me to see if we were coming. I’m certain the receptionist could hear my cheeks reddening as we talked. To make matters worse, it wasn’t even my kid. Why is it worse to forget someone else’s kid? I’m not really sure, but for some reason it’s a whole lot more understandable to me if it had been my own kid. (Thankfully the kid’s mom is one of my closest friends and instead of chastising me, laughed with me.)

I wish I could say this is the only time it’s happened, but then I would be lying. I’ve done it before. And I’m certain I’ll do it again. Because sometimes it happens. We forget appointments. We forget to roll the trash cans out. We forget to start the dishwasher before we go to bed. We forget to feed ourselves. We forget to feed the dogs. And some of us, even forget to feed our kids every once in a while. 

Why am I rattling on about being forgetful? Because I know sometimes I need a reminder that we, as humans, forget stuff. And that when someone forgets something I think should be unforgettable I need to be gracious. I need to shunt my desire to be angry, hurt, offended or any number of negative emotions and instead remember that I have done the same thing to someone else – and I was treated graciously. 

I have found that when I treat others with grace, I am less negative. Less negativity leads to less stress which begets greater happiness. I need more happiness in my life. Don’t we all?  Especially in our current culture, that seems quick to find offense and amplifies the negative at every turn. It’s exhausting to walk around upset all the time. I don’t have the energy for that.

From here on out, I pledge to do my best to quit jumping to outrage when I feel as if I have been forgotten and instead remember that I have forgotten others as well. I should be the last one to make someone feel bad for a little forgetfulness. After all, I sometimes forget to feed kids so…I’m definitely far from infallible. 

I hope you’ll join me in attempting to spread happiness through the extension of grace. Even just a few of us choosing a more positive attitude can make the world a better place. At the very least, we can make our own lives a little happier.

Dear Mr. Sun


Dear Mr. Sun,

I saw you peeking out of the clouds this morning, so I know you’re still up there. It’s been so long since you graced us with your presence that I’ve begun to worry about you. Your tears have fallen for weeks now and are collecting everywhere I turn. Some of them have even made their way into my house. It seems like you’re very sad, is there something I can do to help? 

Depression is not to be taken lightly. If that’s what’s going on with you I’m here to offer you an ear, and a referral if need be. I also have a Costco size load of Kleenex if that would be of assistance. My yard is already a mud pit and it would appreciate a little break from being your absorbent material of choice. 

If the bucketloads of water falling to the ground are actually tears of joy, think you could spread it around a little? With the overabundance of clouds and lack of your bright rays we’ve all begun to feel a little morose. Even those with the sunniest (pun definitely intended) of dispositions is ready to blow their top. Not to mention the frustration of my dogs, and the weariness of my junk towels that sit in a muddy mound by the backdoor. 

Whatever the reason for your continued withdrawal from my world, I beg of you to address the underlying issue and come back to me.The sunflowers need. you. I need you. My fellow Texans need you. And if this behavior is a manifestation of your frustration with my frequent complaints about your seeming ever-present heat, from the bottom of my heart, I apologize. I’m sorry for blaming you for my late summer crankiness. It’s not you, it’s me. I will attempt to refrain from blaming you for my issues. I promise to do better.

No matter the reason for your disappearance, we can get you through this. There’s no need to continue hiding behind the clouds. It will all be okay. You just need to come back. I’m begging you. On my knees. In the mud. Please, please, please come back!

With all of my heart,


Being the Yes


I’m at the age where grandchildren are most likely in the not too distant future. I know the thought of being called “Grandma” makes some women feel old. Not me. I’m filled with joy at the prospect. I am more than ready to move from being the “No” that motherhood requires and becoming the “Yes” that is the hallmark of grandparenthood.

In anticipation of my hoped for change in status I decided to start planning a few things and determining some guidelines. As it’s often helpful to solicit ideas from others, I thought I’d share a few of my ideas and ask you for some as well. For the kids out there, you should consider this a version of “What to Expect: Grandparent Edition.”

  • Saturday morning breakfast will be eaten directly out of the ice cream container.
  • Bedtime may be suspended at any time for any reason.
  • Jumping on the bed is encouraged.
  • There is never a bad time for a new toy.
  • Totally Chocolate Dinner constitutes a viable meal option.
  • Pajamas are acceptable daywear, regardless of the day’s plans.
  • Mismatched socks are preferable.
  • You can never have too many stuffed animals.
  • Baths filled with toys are to be expected.
  • Nap? Only if I feel like taking one.
  • Mud puddles are for stomping in.
  • Rarely is there a difference between a want and a need.
  • Payment for household chores done at Grandma’s is to be expected.
  • Overpayment for tasks is also to be expected.
  • Everyday is a good day to bake cookies.

I reserve the right to amend this list at any time. In fact, I’m hoping y’all have some suggestions for additions. I figure if I managed to raise kids to adulthood, I’ve earned the right to start saying “Yes.” And so have you.

Think, Think, Think


Just after the words left my mouth I knew I shouldn’t have said them. Not before; after. As soon as I realized what I had said, I wanted to rip out my vocal chords and never say another thing again. But then I couldn’t talk, and I kind of like to talk, so that wasn’t really an option. If only I had taken a moment to embrace my inner Pooh Bear and, “Think, think, think,” before opening my big fat mouth.” Why didn’t I? Because I’m human. And humans often suck.

The worst part of the whole thing is that I was speaking out of pride. Actually, that isn’t the worst part. The worst part is that I knew ahead of time I shouldn’t utter my comment because I prefaced the statement with, “I know it’s probably bad to say this but…” Ugh.  I could have just swallowed the words, but nope that’s not what I did. Instead I managed to rip the bandage off the wound of a person I dearly love. A wound that I know is fresh. Sadly, I was so wrapped up in myself I completely failed to realize my words would cause harm. Double ugh.

I know I didn’t cause the original wound, but I’m afraid I managed to make it worse with my carelessness. Looking into the eyes of my loved one I could feel the emotional wreckage she was wading through, and the devastation of feeling like she was back at square one. I managed to precipitate that with my words and in the process once again prove and old adage to be true: We hurt the ones we love. 

Now I’m left trying to figure out how to make things better. I can’t take it back. I can’t make the wound heal. I can’t just go Chuck Norris the person that caused the original wound, because it’s more difficult to kick your own butt than it should be. I really feel the need to fix this. But I can’t. I’m just not that powerful. Sadly, she has to fix what I broke. 

While I may not be able to repair her heart, I did, to the best of my ability, try to at least lessen the damage of my words. I apologized both sincerely and profusely. I took ownership of my headassery and pledged to be more sensitive in the future. And because she is a gracious person that loves me, I was immediately forgiven and assured that she understood I meant no harm. But now I’m faced with a far greater task – forgiving myself. 

I don’t know about you, but forgiving myself is incredibly difficult. I try to be quick to forgive others.  However, when it comes to myself, it’s much harder. Instead of cutting myself some slack, I  usually just add my latest transgression to my personal failures highlight reel. A reel that seems to be on a never-ending loop inside my head. Apparently I don’t need external critics as the most vicious one in my life stares back at me from the mirror every day. This is my truth. But I don’t want it to be. And I certainly don’t want it to be for anyone else. 

This episode reminded me that I, just like the rest of humanity, am a work in progress – not a completed one. I can still make changes to my truth. And today I’m committed to making two more revisions to my structure: 1.) Be more like Pooh Bear and “Think, think, think,” before I speak and 2.) Remember that self-forgiveness is just as important as forgiving others. It may not be a grand plan, but at least it’s a plan I have a chance of sticking to. 

My hope in sharing my struggle with self-forgiveness is both altruistic and selfish. I’ll go with altruism first. If even one person is helped by reading this I’ll consider it a win. And now to my selfish ambition. I’d love to hear other suggestions for how to handle both my lack of verbal filter and difficulty with self-forgiveness. If you, dear reader, have any tips on how to accomplish either of these goals, please share them with me. I promise to shut up and listen.

Shameless Plug


Full disclosure, this is really hard for me. Really hard. But I have to ask all of you for a BIG favor. If you’re enjoying my blog, would you please, Like, Share, Follow via WordPress and/or email, etc.? So essentially all the stuffz? I really need to increase my platform and I don’t know how else to do that other than to ask all of you for help.

Why do I need to increase my reach? Because, I can’t believe I’m actually able to say this, but I have a book to sell. And I need a larger platform to help convince a publisher that they should buy the book.

A little backstory: Last year my dear professor friend asked me to help her write a textbook for her course on Family Conflict. Needless to say I was flabbergasted that she would trust me to help her on such a big project. You see, what she didn’t know was that I have always wanted to write a book, but was afraid to do it. Afraid of what? Failure. Yeah, I know, that’s a really stupid reason not to try something. Alas, that was exactly the choice I had made. But thankfully, I was capable of making a different choice and with a lot of encouragement, I did.

Fast forward 14 months and we now have the first draft completed. It’s still a ways from being ready to send to a publisher, but I need to start working on the ancillary stuff, like a digital platform, before we submit our first book proposal. And that’s why I’m coming to you, asking for your help. To make it as easy as possible, I’ve complied a handy dandy list for you, several with links attached.

How You Too Can Shamelessly Plug Me

I truly appreciate all of you and all the support you have given me since I began this endeavor. I promise not to spam your inbox or give any of your info away. It’s just between us.

Thank you for allowing, and helping, me to shamelessly plug myself. 


We All Have an Uncle Joe


You’d have to be living under a rock to not have noticed all the ridiculousness going on in this country. It’s gotten so crazy that families have been fractured over politics. Not adultery, not money… politics. 

How did we get here? That’s a long, and possibly contentious, discussion for which I am in no mood. Instead, I thought I would ruminate on how we can all learn to get along a little better. My step by step, foolproof plan to returning just a tiny bit of civility to this world.

  1. Don’t be a Jackdonkey. 

Yep, that’s it. One step. Easy, right? If only it were! Thankfully, I do have a few examples of how to keep to this civility plan when faced with the temptation to foment division. 

  • You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, stopping to watch videos of kids falling down, cats playing piano, defrocked dad bods auditioning for the inevitable suburban set Magic Mike sequel, or whatever your “friends” have shared. When all of a sudden, there it is. A political rant. Uh oh, how in the world can you resist responding to this positively inflammatory, salacious post that is in direct opposition to your own views? Knowing that you must set this poster straight with a heartfelt treatise on how they are a horrible person for the views they hold, and are obviously your intellectual subordinate, your fingers fly over the keyboard. Before you know it you’ve written a thousand word diatribe and your pinky is poised over the enter key. What does a Jackdonkey do? A Jackdonkey pushes enter and then waits for the fireworks to start. But because you have decided you don’t want to be a Jackdonkey, what do you do? You float that pinky finger up to the delete key and erase your epistle. Now go to YouTube and watch some Vines. Because Vines make the world better, 7 seconds at a time.
  • The urge for coffee is strong, so you pack up your trusty electronic device and head to the local coffeeshop. It’s crowded, because coffee is life, so you know it will be difficult to find a seat. Coffee in hand, you begin the hunt for a table. Just when you think all hope is lost, a table for two opens up. You swoop in, place your backpack in one chair and slide your derrière into the other chair. Laptop out, headphones in hand, you’re ready to plug-in just as a person you have met once, at a social function, walks up and asks if they can sit with you. “Oh crap, you think to yourself. How do I get out of this one?” Well, the first question is, do you want to be a Jackdonkey? Because if you do, then tell the interloper that you’re waiting on someone. You can even check your watch to make it more convincing. But what it you DON’T want to be a Jackdonkey? Then you get on your feet, move your backpack to the floor, and offer the spare seat to your acquaintance. And then, here’s the tough part, you put your headphones back in your bag and strike up a conversation. Bonus props to you if you manage to talk about something other than the weather.
  • And now the tough one. It’s Thanksgiving. The whole family is seated around the table, plates filled to the point of gravy dripping onto the tablecloth, and the conversation is roaring. Just as it looks like this will be a harmonious occasion, Uncle Joe, itching for a fight, opens his big, fat mouth and utters an opinion he knows full well you find detestable. There’s a collective breath hold as the family prepares to take cover in anticipation of your inevitable, fiery response. But you’ve decided to not be a Jackdonkey, so instead of starting an argument that you know will end with mashed potatoes on the ceiling, your mother in the bathroom crying, and your Aunt Betty (Joe’s wife) pouring herself three fingers of scotch, you swallow your pride and remain silent. That’s right, you don’t say a word. You simply continue enjoying your turkey dinner, thus crowning Uncle Joe the sole Jackdonkey in the room. If you manage to do that successfully, I promise the fat, calories and cholesterol in that big meal won’t count. Not a single bit.

I truly believe this plan, if utilized by even just a few of us, can make the world a better place. I hope you’ll try it with me. And if that fails, thanks to the perpetual nature of the interwebz, we’ll always have Vines.

Nursery Games


When my husband and I made the decision to have our second child at home, we knew that there was a chance our daughter would be there when her sibling was born. Our plan was to have a friend available to tend to her while I labored and gave birth, but given that my first came quite quickly, we knew there was a chance she would end up being in the room. We consulted with our midwife and our childbirth instructor about the best way to prepare her. I borrowed a kid appropriate birth video and we watched it together. The video we used was of a family that included all their older children at the birth of their last child. It was incredible to see these kids react to watching their newest sibling enter the world. You could feel the bonds being built as they held that baby for the first time. Our daughter was only two at the time, but after watching the birth video her excitement over having a little brother or sister to hold and love on intensified.

In the end, our son was born in the middle of the night and our daughter slept right through it. She woke up 10 minutes after he was born – just in time to hold him once he was cleaned up after having pooped all over my friend. We could not have planned it more perfectly.

After a successful birth using The Bradley Method, we decided to become instructors ourselves. Bradley classes are typically taught by a couple, so that you get the first-hand experience of both mom and dad. They are longer than many other classes, lasting from 8-12 weeks, depending upon your instructor and delve deeply into pregnancy and nutrition in addition to teaching relaxation techniques to use during labor. Dr. Bradley came up with his method after watching farm animals give birth. Cows, in addition to gifting us with the makings for cheese, are also pretty good at the whole procreation thing.

We finished our training in the midst of my second pregnancy. Once that was done, it was time to teach our first class. One of our first couples were some good friends from church. Our daughters were only a couple of months apart and became fast friends in the nursery. My friend was a few months behind me in her pregnancy and decided she wanted to have a natural, birth center experience the second time around. Much like my husband and I did, our friends knew there was a chance that a care giver might not make it in time to take care of their eldest daughter, so they borrowed our videos and shared them with her. They enjoyed the class, had a healthy baby girl at the birth center four months after my son was born and then a year later, had another girl at that same birth center.

My friend and I were both involved in the music ministry in our church. We had choir practice every Wednesday night and our eldest girls were in the same nursery room. They were great friends and loved to play together. Oftentimes they appeared to be off in their own world together. One fateful Wednesday night my friend and I were greeted by a red-faced woman when we went to retrieve our girls from the nursery. Apparently, our girls had caused a little bit of a scene.

“I don’t know how to tell you this, but the girls were playing a game tonight that I had to intervene in and put a stop to.” She said quietly. My friend and I braced ourselves for the worst.

“One of them was lying on the floor with her legs pulled up with a baby doll on the floor in front of her and the other one was sitting next to her whispering words of encouragement and gently stroking her hair. When I asked them what they were doing, they informed me that they were playing midwife! Knowing that I couldn’t let that continue I grabbed a blanket, swooped up the baby and exclaimed, ‘Congratulations, you have a healthy baby girl! Now let’s get her a bottle.’ To which your child,” (pointing at me) “responded, ‘Bottle? We don’t use a bottle, we breastfeed!’ and then proceeded to lift her shirt and put the baby to her breast!”

At that, my friend and I began to giggle, then cackle, and finally, we completely lost it. We laughed so hard that we both had tears in our eyes and were gasping for breath. All the while our sweet nursery worker stood there, looking a little shell shocked, and absolutely bewildered at our failure to grasp the gravity of the situation. Once we finally managed to regain our composure we quickly apologized to her, thanked her for her deft management of the “birth” and got our girls out of there before they could cause anymore ruckus. We laughed all the way to the car that night, and then again on the following Sunday, and the next Wednesday… In fact, even all these years later, we still laugh about it.

I did eventually get to explain the whole history behind the girls’ desire to play midwife to that sweet woman. She got a good laugh out of our explanation, but I’m pretty sure, even to this day, she’s convinced my friend and I are both a little nuts. So, in other words, she knows the truth.