To Every Thing There is a Season’s Greetings


I have been working hard on the book.

Do you have any idea how cool that is to say?  A book! And, this week, my friends, it is DUE. This Friday I am going to send it all, over two hundred pages of mah big crazy story, to my editor.

My editor, incidentally, is awesome.

Do you have any idea how cool it is to say THAT?

She is. She is kind and patient and has told me, repeatedly, “Yes, this is actually real, Dana,” with the air of someone spoon-feeding someone in the home…

Anyhow, I won’t be around this week. I get up at five am, I write when they boys are at school. I write in the tiny pockets of time that are awarded to me when both boys are playing kindly (a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!) and then I think about all that writing while I am doing other things, which, you know, is all of the OTHER time. This is just a season of extra busy-ness for me, right now. And when it’s over, what in the world will I do then?

So, last night, as I was making spaghetti sauce and trying to help Blonde spell “Christmas” and make sure Henry actually washes AND flushes, I ended up adding two more chapters in my head.

Because, sureTo+Survive+-+You+Must+Tell+Stories+Quote, I’VE GOT THE TIME.

This week, I probably won’t be around much.

Or, if I obsessively tweet pictures of kitties in Santa hats, you’ll know I might be going a little nutty. (The lawyer would like to interject here that the term “going” and “gone” are verrrrrry close and all that. Oh, he’s clever. I would like to interject about coal and stockings and Grinching yourself into a giftless corner, and all that.)

At any rate, I realize this post has absolutely no purpose except to share with you the progress on my book. And to also tell you, I am so grateful. The book is a gift; this blog is a gift; as I sit and write when it’s still dark outside and glance over at my glowing Christmas tree, I am just so thankful. I had a life once that was all walls and sharp corners and bitterness and despair. And now? Well, it’s certainly not all unicorns and rainbows, but the Big Book talks about “happy, joyous, and free” and it’s true.

As Ebenezer said,  “I don’t deserve to be so happy. (laughing) But, I can’t help it. I just can’t help it.”










I was really not prepared for children.

And still, to this day, when one of them says, “Mom?” I tend to look around and over my shoulder. “Me?”

Linking in with Heading Home today for Five Minute Friday. Today’s word:

FMF-Prepare-12.12.2014-300x300It is a tough word. I have lists and organizers and calendars and lots of glorious plans, all the time, for everything. But even so, more often than not, I don’t really feel prepared.

About three weeks ago my pastor asked me if I would prepare a monologue and perform it for the church. This is just crazy talk, I thought.

Then, he said, my monologue would be scheduled for the Christmas Eve Service – the “big kahuna” of services, you know. The one with all the candles and Silent Night and usually me weeping with the beauty of it. If I get mixed in with that, won’t it kind of be like singing all those beautiful carols accompanied by a kazoo?

No, wait there’s more. THEN he said, “I want you to play Mary.”

Ok. Sure.

Of course I said yes, because he’s my pastor. He’s a man of God and all that.

Perhaps later when I was trying on Mary costumes (drab… poor Mary) I started to think, “Really. ME? Perhaps there might be a better candidate out there?”

I am so not prepared.

But here’s the deal. I wonder all the time now, “How did she feel? How did she DO this? How did she?”

And then I realize. None of us is prepared.

God’s glory and love is so huge and astonishing, it should lay us out on our faces every day.


And also note: whenever my hubs and I get in a “discussion” now, I just look beatific and say, “Hey. Don’t mess with Jesus’s mom.”

P = Penalty. Illegal Substitution of Santa.

10567123-vintage-typewriter-letter-p-isolated-on-whitePregame show:

My man Josh Groban is crooning.

Hot cider is piping.

Two lords a leaping are in the kitchen, discussing whether or not their snack is any good. And then, the conversation takes a turn:

“Der is cookies on da shelp up der.  We canna have those later.”


“I don’t like raisings.  I took ‘em outta my muffin.  Set ‘em here.”


“Santa is watching us all the time.

“Yep.” Red has no problem with the non sequitor.  He created the non sequitor.   We adults can’t keep up because we are inflexible and also lack a sense of humor.

“I bet Santa doesn’t wike raisings.”


“But Santa will like da cookies we make for him!  He will!  And he will bring us AS MANY PWESENTS AS WE WANT!”




And this is when Momsie has to interject.  She can’t help it.  She has heard there was a TEACHABLE MOMENT so she must respond!  She’s like Batman!  Although at times somewhat more self righteous and apt to quote scripture!  Sometimes incorrectly!  And so she comes sailing in to the kitchen, ready to explain, my sweet darlings, the whole REASON we have Christmas, right?  Remember, my sweet little cherubs, that-

Blonde, ever the observant and a bit of a lawyer, has noticed my presence and starts loudly stating:

“And JESUS.  He was BORN on dis day!  It’s his BIRF DAY.  OK?”

“Yep.  Jesus.”

“I wuv Jesus.  He is all over da place!” Rapid hand movements.  Kinda like a seizure.

“Yep, Jesus.”

One final comment for the Gipper:  “Yep.  Jesus.  We will eat His cake for breakfast on Christmas. With da frostings.”

Momsie  sighs, takes her cape and hangs it up, then finds a seat in the bleachers.  It’s gonna be a long game.

First quarter:

Jesus is ahead with some questions from Red answered by Momsie, to Red’s satisfaction.  She didn’t have to access Strong’s Concordance for any of them.  All was well.  There was a bit of a consternation about Jesus and God being one and how was Jesus a a baby den?  Dat’s weird.  But score intact:  Jesus 7:  Santa 0

Second quarter:

Santa rallies with a powerful return on the kickoff due to the whole “Elf on the Shelf” thing.  The Elf is his receiver and definitely has skills; seriously, the elf can be anywhere at once, on shelves, above light fixtures, hanging over small boys’ beds all night long… Skills.

The return made for great yardage.  Santa carried the ball with ease when backed by these guys:



Last minute Santa makes a quick Statue of Liberty slip up and gets Donner (no one ever pays attention to him anyhow) to run it in.

Score:  Jesus 7 Santa 7

(Some of the elves almost received a penalty on the play for celebration, but that’s their thing, so they got away with it.  Jesus just smiled at all of it, of course.  He plays with class.)

Halftime:  Short show by the elves singing that horrible song from Rudolph, but nobody wanted to hear the whole thing.  It was replaced by God’s cheerleaders – the Angels from the Nativity.  Not your typical squad.  Glitter poms and spangled short shorts not really their thing.  Not necessary.  They blew it away. Small solo by the Little Drummer Boy brought tears, I tell you.

At one point, I think the Victoria Secret Angels wanted to get in on the game by providing some sort of halftime entertainment, to which BOTH Jesus and Santa firmly responded, “NO, thank you.”  This made them sulky, but then someone reminded them they have their own PRIME TIME TELEVISION TIME SLOT RIGHT SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON.  That de-sulked most of ‘em.  You can’t really tell, though.  They’re models.  That’s their thing.

3rd quarter:

The entire quarter was dominated by this guy:


Also,  Lucy fumbled the snap to Charlie Brown.  (Of COURSE the Peanuts gang is on the Jesus team.  Don’t go there.  Yes, it’s Snoopy and a cartoon, but they have LINUS.)

And at one point, this guy:

Screenshot 2013-12-04 22.03.31


He caused a bit of a kerfuffle by setting an empty bench (Jesus team) on fire.  Luckily, well, Jesus was there.

Shall I continue?

You know who’s gonna win, right?

And you KNOW where I’m going with all this, right?  (For those of you who are shaking your heads no at the computer, I want to just hug you for keeping with me this long.  You are truly patient and kind.)

Next time your two adorable wee sons are eating their raisings in the kitchen and discussing Santa, and you walk in and they abruptly start loudly name dropping Jesus this and God that all over the place, while nervously watching for your reaction, but yet they are also (below the table) rubbing their little pudgy toddler hands together in glee because they are SO making points with mommy since they are so spiritual and toddler pious, and Jesus is da weason for da season, and this will mean more presents…

You just blow your coach whistle* as loudly as you can, throw a wipe up in the air and call it:


Don’t name drop Jesus.  He loves you too much for that.  If Santa is where it’s at for you, fine, but we will work together, a LOT, to help you understand why when your grandma makes this cross stitch and gives it to you, you actually do put it up in your house:

It’s a tough game for the toddlers.  Not easy for parents either.  I do my best and I use my whistle a lot.  I love that whistle.

This post was sponsored by:


Woo Hoo! Sparkle hands!!!

Yes, dear.

Linking up today with Heading Home today for Five Minute Fridays!

Today’s theme:















It’s our second week of marriage. Brian and I are still in that blissfully unaware state of unfettered love and devotion that is honeymooning all over the place.

I am still in bed – the summer is still lulling about and I don’t have to go to work because I’m a teacher. I yawn. I stretch. I might unpack today. Or go to the bookstore. Or go for a run.

Life is good.

Brian, however, is getting ready to leave for his job. He’s in khaki pants and is wearing aftershave and an air of professionalism. He is pouring coffee. I am slipping back into sleep.

Then, he asks, “You want some coffee?” I don’t hear him because I’m cocooned in my blankets and lethargy. Brian, persistent, asks again, “Would you like some coffee?”



I have been rattled out of my blissful dreams and blink. Someone is yelling at me and it’s seven a.m. This is new.

Oh! Marriage. I blink again.

Brian, really really interested in making sure I get some caffeine, now bellows, “COFFEE? YOU WANT?”

And, I, annoyed, bellow back:

“YES. OK! ALL RIGHT! JEEZ. PUT SOME SUGAR IN IT BECAUSE I LIKE IT SWEEEEET!” This last part was a bit of a screech, like a grumpy macaw was in the bedroom, placing her order.

It is important to note here that when he brought it to me, I didn’t look very sweet. I looked all crumpled, and sleepy, and ticked.

Oh, marriage.

I take a sip and wrinkle my delicate nose. “This doesn’t have creamer. I like creamer in my coffee.”

Brian blinks.

At this point he has a crucial decision. He can tell me to put the coffee where the sun don’t shine, which would be all sorts of painful but probably rather deserved,

Or he can go for option B. Niceness.

Because, marriage.

He picks B and answers with a phrase I hear quite a lot in our years together:

“Yes, dear.”

As I sat back and waited for my coffee (which, when handed to me the second time was paired with a huge grin and so much creamer it was, um, just white), I wondered at it. I was being petulant and demanding, and I got a totally unexpected response. Quiet kindness.

This was rather new.

We tell each other, “Yes, dear” all the time. We say it when it’s hard, or when we are smiling, or when we are aflame with anger. We even say it when it’s drippy with sarcasm. But we still say it. And it always does the trick.

“Yes, dear” works. Why? Because we’re simple folk. We like to be reminded, even when annoyed or distracted or just plain mad, that we are precious to each other. That we chose each other.

That we hold each other, dear.

He is my darling, after all. And I am his. Even though he knows to maybe not talk to me too much in the morning before coffee.

Because, marriage.

Ephesians 4:31-32, ya’ll. It’s a good one.




Hello. This is the Universe Calling.



I lost my phone the other day. It was Big Lost, like airplane on a weird island with polar bears kind of Lost.

I have misplaced my phone before, mind you, but usually some muttering and tossing of couch cushions will produce it.

Or, if I’m truly desperate, I go to and then the children think it’s a lovely fetch game and are off and running in search of a ringing noise coming from underneath the cat. The best part of this little game is the blessed three or four seconds of total silence I can eke out of the boys as they listen, little ears perked up, for the faraway ring. It’s even more fun if the phone is on vibrate. Maybe even more so for the cat.


I had no phone. This is really frightening to some of us, especially, it seems, most of my college students. I don’t know what they would DO if they lost their phones. Probably have a conversation, for one.

I did not panic; I used the  technology that my husband keeps telling me is so great and that I usually roll my eyes about (he has six pages of apps on his phone. SIX. Most of them are apps to help him “make life easier.” If you need six pages of these things perhaps you should just give up).

I used an app he put on my ipad called, Find My Phone. And, it did. I punched in my numbers, and then, lo and behold, my little phone finder did exactly what it told me it would do. This, in our over-burdened but oh-this-will-simplify-your-life-we-promise technology land, is very rare. The app very sweetly told me that my phone was down the street. Three blocks down the street, exactly. There was even a map with an arrow pointing right at the wandering cell phone!

And lo, I put 2 and 2 together and came up with a dollar.

That’s, Dollar General, ya’ll. (I know. I am soooo funny.)

My phone was shopping at the DG. And, since I was a bit fearful it might want to purchase one of those Duck Dynasty camo covers, I hightailed it right down there.

It is, I guess, good to note that the phone was there because I was there earlier, buying a huge box of bargain cat litter and Hershey’s kisses. I buy cat litter about every three days at the DG because I have the most regular felines ever.

I am not really sure why I shared that with you.

Anyhow, I returned to the DG, all hopeful, and had this conversation:

Me: Hi! My ipad told me that my iphone is here.

Dude at counter: You left your phone?

Me: Yep. And it’s here. I have a map with a little pinpointy icon to prove it. Wanna see?

Dude: (Reaching under counter) Uh, nah, we have a phone? (This dude was what I like to refer to as an uptalker. This is a style of speech most indigenous in the below twenty set who for some reason don’t know what they are ever trying to say, so have resorted to making each statement they utter sound like a question. It hypnotizes the listener into speaking very loudly and slowly.)  And some, uh, sunglasses? (looks rather disdainfully at my huge Gucci knockoff windshield style sunglasses that I feel all cool in, and got from some guy selling them off a blanket in a piazza in Italy, so very European and chic but actually also rather ratty.)

Me: My sunglasses! My PHONE! Yea! Thank you!

Dude: Yes? You’re welcome?

Me: Thank. You. Very. Much. I’ll. Be. Going. Now.

Dude: Um, your mom called? You need to call her back?

And that’s when I spied it. With my phone and Blublockers, was a note that had my cellphone number and my maiden name scrawled on it. So my mom called while my phone was out, and the DG dudes answered and she gave them my info. All of this was just a simple way that the universe wanted to remind me to call my mom more often.

But then I thought this:

Why my maiden name? Does she have a deep-seated resentment of my marriage? Was this some sort of psychological slip? Do we need family counseling? Am I perhaps analyzing this a tad too much?


 If they had my number, why didn’t they just call me?




Extreme Sleeping

We are back from a nice trip to see the family over Thanksgiving. I ate my way through so much turkey and dressing it’s a wonder I don’t start strutting about and peevishly pecking at the ground, all Momsurkey.

Just bear with me though, because I would like to oh so briefly*  comment on one thing that didn’t happen whilst we were away:



As much as it’s a magical time of year, and we’re all Thankfuling all over ourselves, I’d like to put it out there that I would be really, really grateful for just a teensy smidgeon of shut-eye. PLEASE.

I’m a bit grumpy. Ask my husband. He will verify.

Allow me to explain. My sweet family and I are happily kenneled at our father-in-law’s house for the Thanksgiving break. This is wonderful because we have our own little apartment on the second floor, with its own bath, and two very comfy beds in which to loll about and actually sleep in. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT BEDS ARE FOR, AFTER ALL.

Yep. Toddlers slept. Husband too. How, you may ask, do I KNOW THIS? (Brace yourselves, ex students. I totally overuse the ALL CAPS rule in this post because I have aggression issues when I don’t get enough rest.) Let me repeat, HOW DID I KNOW THIS?

Because I was watching them.

Here’s the formula:

2 Beds / 4 people = 2 persons per bed.

Evidently this formula was born in a magical math land of fairies and unicorns and no mothers. Mothers make the formula all:

4 people/ 2 toddlers +2 beds = UNSOLVABLE, YOU FOOL.

It’s like that unworkable formula that drove Russell Crowe nutty in A Beautiful Mind.

I have come to find out that when sleeping, as in life in general, ones expectations need to be really, really low. And so, it works out that everyone gravitates to the most grumpy and disappointed person in the group (because, expectations), ME, and piles in HER angry bed.

It doesn’t help matters too that the darling husband seems only to snore when we’re traveling. I don’t understand it.  There should be some medical reason for why he only channels his inner snorty wildebeast when on the road.  I think he has figured out that I am super sleep deprived and has decided to torment me (more so than normal), or toughen me up (because, marriage).

Let me give you some visuals to help with your understanding of Momsie’s fragile mental state at this point:

1. Exhibit A: a cozy bed. Nice pillows. This is not the actual bed at my father in law’s. I was too tired to think about taking real pictures. This is a stand in bed. Stunt pillows.












2.  Exhibit B:














3. I am grateful, however, that we don’t have to deal with Exhibit C (C is for Cat):













Bonus points to you if you know the movie Logan’s Run. It will make this post all the more meaningful, I hope. If not, go rent it. It is all 70’s and bad special effects, and will probably put you to sleep, which is KIND OF WHAT I WANT TO DO RIGHT NOW.

I am home now, and dealing with the aftermath of travel.

4. Exhibit D:










My theory, here, is to join the cats in their guerrilla style attacks of the bed. I will sleep on the extreme level. If that means I am going to curl up for ten minutes while the boys run their Tonkas over me and make me part of their Lego fortress, so be it. I have nooks and crannies. I can be a fortress. At this point, I am ready to slip into a short coma while  in the shower.

Drop and sleep! Whenever, wherever. I’m like the Marines of lethargy, people!















*Ha HAA AHA HAAAAHA ha haarr har har. Did you really think I could be brief?

Winner Winner Chicken, NOT Turkey, Dinner!!



Ok, I really don’t want another turkey dinner. I ate so much turkey yesterday that I sort of just slid around the rest of the night. Slid to the couch. Slid off the couch to get water. Slid upstairs to bed. Slid into the sheets. Dreamed of angry turkeys, slid outta bed this morning…

You get the idea.

BUT, enough about me. WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!

After a very scientific drawing of names (hat, paper slips, very upscale) our winner of Charlie and Noel is:


I will be sending you a book pronto, my friend. Thank you all for your sweet comments. Oh the traditions! I love it.

Here is my favorite tradition for our family thus far:

I decorate tastefully with all the sweet, antiques from my grandma and my mom.  And then my boys come in and mess with it all and add a plastic dinosaur or two.

And so it goes.

Happy post Thanksgiving Day friends. Stay grateful. It’s the only way to survive.

Don’t let a turkey tell you otherwise.