Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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I’ve been working a lot on gratitude lately.

Do you know what? The thing with gratitude is, if you work it, it really works!

Say that fast five times, I dare you.

Gratitude is a conversation with yourself and God about how blessed you are. Here are some other things I am learning about gratitude:

  1. It’s just like a three pointer – you really can practice it and improve. Or, if you’re like me, you can practice it and get real close to the basket but feel better about it.
  2. It should be a daily thing.
  3. It should be an hourly thing.
  4. It’s really a minute by minute thing. You get the idea.

I think gratitude is my simplest way to worship. And privilege is right in there. I mean “privilege” in a good way, not in the “I’m taking over the world” kind of way.

It’s a privilege – to walk down the street every morning and teach my kids about writing and thinking (hopefully at the same time). It’s something I don’t take lightly. It has strings attached, little 18 year old souls that need more than just teaching. It’s a privilege to be with them and learn who they are and learn their stories.

It’s a privilege to relate with my husband. Notice I didn’t just say, “HAVE a husband” because we’re past that now. I have him. I done had him over ten years ago – snared like a 6 foot rabbit in a trap. A rabbit that was in looooove.

He’s still in love, and it’s a privilege to keep walking that path with him – the one where we figure out how to stay in love and work on it and screw up and keep working and on and on. Marriage, y’all. It’s hard core.

It’s a privilege to have these two boys. Red and Blonde. Don’t even get me started. They are just the sweetest, most intelligent, perfect adorable nuggets of humanity. While, at the same time, they are also frustrating and sometimes they have me at: “I don’t even know what to say here. Go to your room. Stay there for two years.”

It’s a privilege. This whole life is that. I was granted special permission by Christ, about twenty years ago, to have a life with him IN it.

And, it’s also totally not, because he never said anything like, “Well, I’m only going to offer out this relationship to a few folks. The special, super elite ones – with the good hair and a really great grasp on the the Old Testament.”

And thank goodness because I am very often 0 for 2 on the hair and the bible thing.

It’s a privilege to talk to Him every day. I ask him stuff and complain and then remember to thank him and keep on talking, and he actually listens.

I have a lot of blessings in my life – I am a healthy, financially ok, employed, white woman with a lot of perks that a lot of people in our world don’t even get to consider.

Realizing this, I am privileged. Blessed. Made alive with hope and wonder with the daily business that is faith.





Date Night – TBT!

Here’s a little Throw Back Thursday from February of last year. As the Day O Love approaches, I am already hunting down the tippy plastic cups… it’s a great tradition.

Formal dress required. Even on the cats.

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Date Night


Last Saturday night romance was in the air. It was intense, y’all. It was like we were on the Titanic and I was all Queen of the World, and then I got to make out with Leonardo DiCaprio, not long before I disallowed him room on my totally huge raft in the freezing North Atlantic. Very romantic. And yet, our evening was warmer.

Also, I would never make out with Leo. Nope. I am married, y’all. My husband completes me.

Of course, Leo didn’t grace us with our presence, but we had this blurry pic of another dinner guest:


There were roses. There were chocolates. Earlier that day, the husband let me take a nap, which is the universal, married I Hope I Get Lucky Valentine. But that is another post for another day.

There were also two small boys who had reservations with us for a night of fine dining. I  informed them that they had to come to dinner in ties. And they reacted as if I had asked them to lop off both arms, and then try to attach their ties.

They were informed, in a heavy French accent (I had to take on an accent. It freaks them out and I get to pretend I’m Catherine Deneuve.) “No tie? No food. Zees is Chez Momsie. Dress code, mes bebes.” They sighed heavily, with American accents, clipped their ties onto their Star Wars t-shirts, and showed up at 6:30 pm on the dot. Right on time.

We had a very swanky affair at our house on Valentines Day, and a tradition was born. I printed out menus (thank you, bad clip art!) Macaroni and cheese was offered as an appetizer. I poured the sparkling cider into tiny tippy glasses and no one spilled anything.


It was a Valentines miracle.

We ate strawberries and whip cream, the really fancy kind that you squirt out of a can. I offered table-side service for this, as I offered a shot of the stuff in the mouth to each patron. This was a real showstopper.

And we talked about why we loved each other.

“I love Blonde because he shows me how to play Legos,” says Red. He’s grinning like a maniac. This is all mushy and stuff, which is kind of right up his alley. His smile nearly lifts him out of the chair. He lifts his fizzy little glass with panache. “AND I LOVE THIS FANCY DRINK!” he yells. Evidently he thinks we are all in the other room when he speaks, because the bubbles in the drink had evidently made him quite giddy.

Blonde, the wisened 7 year old, has a bit of a tougher time with the mushy business. He is, in all walks of life, less forthcoming with the mush.

“I love Red because…” We all lean in a little.

“Because he is my brother.”

And there it is. The greatest law there is. We love because we are family. We love because we simply have no choice. We are for each other.

My boys are growing older and finding their own friends, their own ways they want to spend an afternoon. They are, however, still pretty inseparable. And what I have told them, almost weekly, is that they, as brothers, must have each other’s backs. They are the ones going to be left when the friends leave, when the family goes, when we get dementia and go into the home, your brother will be the only one left.

(I didn’t really go into the last part with them as I didn’t really want to stop and have to explain ‘dementia’ because depressing. Also, the one other time I sprang this word on them they kept thinking that I was saying, ‘Philadelphia.” Confusing.)

(As a side note to the side note: This whole dementia thing? Really possible because we had kids late in life and when they graduate from high school I’ll be using a walker and won’t be able to see or hear the thing because I will be OLD, y’all. I WAS AROUND BEFORE EMAIL. That old.)

But I digress.

We spent the rest of the evening looking up the bible verses that the husband had put on their Star Wars Valentines. The husband is super spiritual that way. I just shot whip cream at ’em. But he wins in the Jesus department.


And then we all tried to massacre each other with a really cut throat game of Go Fish.

And that, my friends, is what I call the most romantic evening I have had in a long time.

I am wondering if it competes with Leo’s?



Linking up with my Friday peeps today at Five Minute Friday.

The theme?


This should be a post about how every day I am practicing intentionality in my parenting.

But instead I would rather talk about my cats.

For the past few days, I have been under the weather.

Note: This phrase bothers me. What does it mean? Is the weather a big blanket? Is it the boss of me? Do I need to ask it to move over?

Anyhow. I have had this weird sickness that keeps rotating slowly through all of my body systems like a wrecking ball. And whoa, now I’ve got Miley Cyrus in this post which really proves the point that I am a bit woozy.



I have had a lot of time to ponder things.

In my job, couches, and blankets, and weather-related idioms are common. I write, and therefore sitting down is kind of part of the deal.

But, the trouble here is that my brain has been wrapped in the funk of sickness, and my writing has been sort of like this:

Article 1 on my desktop:

Children hard and parents don’t like them.

Different article:

Once there was a woman. And.

Another attempt at any other article, take your pick:

It was a dark and stormy night. And?


And so on. When I am well, and all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed*, writing from home still doesn’t have a solid structure to it. Most days I get up, work out, read a little bible because I need the Lord after working out, drink forty cups of coffee, and then boom, I sit and write. And write some more. Plus, more writing. Then, I really mix it up and I re-read what I wrote, hate it, edit, and then write some more.

Mix this all up with fun household chores and me saying, “Do you need to go outside?” to my dog about five million times, and you get the idea.

The past few days? With the sickness? I get up.

Yes, that’s all. Sometimes I drink one cup of coffee, but since one of those systems that has been affected by this horrible bug is my digestive one… coffee tends to bounce around in there and cause problems.

I have never felt the sting of wasted time more acutely than when I started writing “for real” with my first book, Bottled. Every day was in my head, just me and my words, and found out something rather daunting: I am totally lazy. I am just not very good at a structured schedule.

This is fine and all, because I allowed inspiration to drive me, so writing at 11 pm while both boys are smushed up against me, mouth-breathing, in one bed because they had a bad dream, together, simultanously, and I have no boundaries? That was a writing thing.

Also, writing a blog post while I cook dinner that is brilliant and funny and is all just in my head? Also a thing. And I mean the blog post, not the dinner. The dinner was mediocre at best.

Writing an article that is due tomorrow, tomorrow? Totally a thing.

When I got sick, the deadlines didn’t offer me some Tylenol and left me totally alone. Also, I had no inspiration because I am sick, dude. My inspiration was shoved up under the weather, along with most of my excretory system. This was unpleasant.

And so, I give you this:cute-melted-animals-9-58beb620da23d__700.jpg

This is not actually my cat. This is some preshus cuddums I found on the internets. I wasn’t able to use a picture of any of my cats being totally lazy. They’re all sleeping upstairs and I’m too tired to walk up there.

So, did you know? Cats embrace laziness.


They don’t care. If they need a nap – they find an impossible location and it’s ON.


What have I learned from this? What is the furry take-away?

Dude. If you are sick, be sick. Rest. Email your editors ask for an extra day. Drink hot tea and sleep in cute, furry poses that make people squeal, “Ohhh! Preshus!” and lunge for their cameras so they can post you on the instagrams.

No. No, I don’t suggest the pictures part. Me and my wack-job bodily functions have not been all that photogenic lately.

Intentionality is intentionality, even when your intention is to do absolutely nothing but drink clear fluids for three days. It’s ok.


This illness has made me miss the days when I actually had the brain capacity to write.I won’t waste that. My intention is to make those days count. It’s a great reminder.  Perhaps that’s why we get the flu – to remind us about how, once, we were well, and how grateful we were for those days, when we could walk down the hall in a straight line without feeling like we’re floating, in a dead fish kind of way.

So I woke up this morning and I felt… better. Like, not totally over the weather, but just…next to it. Like, the weather and I were giving a side hug. And thus, this post. It’s not a Pulitzer, but I’ll take it. A woman who writes about cats on a regular basis is not a Pulitzer woman. She’s just funny, sometimes, and writes things that hopefully make people smile.

And that has always been my intention.

Oh, and also this. The best explanation of intention that I know.

Quotes-to-Help-Overcome-Addiction-Intention-POSTER.png*Note: this phrase also bothers me. What does it mean? 

What’s Your Motivation?

Linking up with my favorite Friday people today, Five Minute Friday.

The theme?



Back when I was young and vastly much more energetic, I used to teach high school theater.

Those days were pretty nutty, and involved a lot of plays that took on a bit of a wonky Little Rascals, “Let’s put on a show!” kinda vibe, but you know. I remember once, (and only once) asking a sixteen year old while we were working on a scene, “What’s your motivation here?” He stared at me blankly.  And then I think he answered, “Well, I’m not doing basketball and my parents made me do something extracurricular.” I let it go. Plus, it was for Bye Bye Birdie, so, you know, I bet his true motivation was to break into song and dance at random points without his voice cracking like a sheet of ice.

So, the basic lesson here: Never ask a teenager about motivation. They never really know.

Also: It’s totally fine to ask a Momsie what her motivation is. But sometimes… I too, never really know.

There’s the quick answer to the above: Love God, and love others.

But also, there’s my recovery, marriage, my kids, my service, my writing, my book, my church, my fire baton routine… (Ok, just kidding about the baton part. I can dare to dream, however.)

I think moms have this ever-cycling wheel of What’s Most Important circling in our souls – our children… our husbands… our careers…. our ability to bake the best casseroles for church suppers… And repeat.

It’s an endless cycle of Where Do I Put All My Energy? Energy doesn’t do so well when it’s slathered all over the place, like thin margarine on toast.

Here’s what I would like: when I wake up, I would like a plane flying overhead, with one of those banners behind it, saying something like: DANA. FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS.





Or, simply:


My motivations can get tangled. Thus, the airplane banner thing would be helpful. I need visual, and large, airborn reminders, I guess. But, it would be kinda weird. The rest of the neighborhood might need a heads up.



You had me at special snowflake.


In today’s post I would like to channel my Inner Jim. That’s my dad.

And I would also like to talk about alcoholism.

So, YAY, this post is going to be INTENSE!

Why, you ask?

1. My dad is kinda intense. He likes to grip you by the elbow, in that way that makes the entire side of your body go kinda limp and numb, and he looks you in the eye and says things like, “How are you, REALLY?” and if you lie at all you feel like God might smite you, because God and Jim are *crosses fingers* like THIS.

2. Alcoholism. Nobody attempts that subject without a bit of intensity. I mean, we don’t just say things like, “Hmmmm, I think I might be coming down with a bit of alcoholism today. But, it’s just a tickle at the back of my throat. I’ll just get some rest and I’ll be fine!”

3. I’m in a really weird mood so there’s that.

I am also linking up with my favorite end of the week people: Five Minute Friday! and today’s theme??


Ok, here’s what I know:

  1. My dad would tell me (as would all the other addicts in recovery) that I am not a special snowflake. I’m no different than anyone else. I have no special backstory that makes my sad issues any more special or sad.
  2. This kinda is a bummer because ever since I was knee-high to a very special grasshopper I KNEW I WAS SO VERY DIFFERENT FROM EVERYONE. This explains so much.
  3. And, I am. But also, I’m not. So you know, not confusing at all.
  4. This does not have to be figured out. Really, the only answer to all this is understanding who Jesus is and trucking with him.
  5. Different is good. It means I can wear socks that don’t match and I tend to always (nearly always) break into dance whenever I visit my kids’ school and they stop me at the door with the camera thing. Because the office administrators really need to see me doing the Running Man.
  6. Different, in terms of alcoholism? Not good. I am not different. My addiction and recovery trucks along fine with the men and women, young, old, black, white, green, pink, tall, short, big, small, cat lover, cat hater, educated, street smart, rich, poor, faith-filled, faith-poor, lost, found, tattooed, pierced, pristine, married, single, somewhere in between, person who walks in the doors with the coffee pot on the door.
  7. Everyone should be so lucky as to have an Inner Jim. Just FYI.

I am reminded of this every time I attend a meeting, and I remember the words of one of my favorite old-timers there, “Mo.” He would say, “I’m no better than anyone else. And I’m no worse.”

He was right. And here is the thing – doesn’t this also apply to our faith? Doesn’t it also sound a little bit like how Jesus wants us to live?

I mean, we are all in recovery from something. Or we should be. Right?

Right. galatians-3-28.jpg


You’re Only As Old as You Feel. Or something.

Linking up with my happy place today over at Five Minute Friday!

The theme?


It’s my birthday today. I’m forty eight. Which is impossible. I kinda feel like that “Sunrise, Sunset” song, only all that sweet nostalgia is not about my children growing up. I’m all… “Is this the little girl I carried… Is this the little boy at play?”


I walked to class this morning and the sun was all crisp and cut, coming through the trees, and it was so cold. It was the perfect winter day. And THEN a small deer came out of the woods and waved and a bird came and alighted on my shoulder and sang to me. A chipmunk handed me a gift card.

Not doing drugs on my birthday, I promise. This really is just how I am.

I arrived at my classroom, and one of my friends came in, singing happy birthday to me. (No, she really did. She was real.) And then, she told me this:

“You know you’re only as old as you feel.”

“But, what if you feel sixty-seven? Like… I have things on my body heading south. Things on my body are traveling to places where they are not supposed to go. There is sagging. Sagging is not good.”

“Well. Just keep looking up. That’s all that matters.”

(This was not the exact conversation. I don’t remember it exactly because I’m too old, and your memory’s the first thing to go.)

Here are my top ten reasons why it is a happy birthday:


1. Larry, Moe, and… Bob.

Note: The image of Bob in this picture is not actual. I didn’t want to go search her paranoid little furry self out, and so there you go. Also, I would like to note that Steve and Vader are giving kisses in this pic because they are preshus woodum coodums.


2. This morning, Red greeted me with one open eye from his top bunk, and said: ‘Happy birthday mommah” then rolled deeper into his blankie.

3. From the bottom bunk, Blonde swung his hand out and hit me right in the crotch, meaning to spank me, I guess? So, you know. Love is painful. But I thank you for Blonde, and, I thank you that my crotch is still ok.

4. Did you know, if you write “crotch” more than once in a few sentences, you start to get really obsessed with that word and it starts to sound all weird? And it’s just an awful word anyway? So from hereon, I will now refer to it as The Honorable Lady Fagina.

5. Don’t really know what #4 was all about but let’s keep moving. I am ALSO grateful for the fact that I woke up this morning. Boom.

6. My book. The second one. I am editing it right now which is kinda like having a hang nail and then pulling it off so your finger starts weeping blood all over and then you try to put a bandaid on it but that just gets soggy and then you accidentally spill a bottle of lemon juice on your hand and you get the idea.

I realize that doesn’t sound very grateful. But, it’s always darkest before the dawn. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Also, when God shuts a door somewhere he opens a window?

Cannot you just SEE how I got a book deal in the first place?

Anyhow, the book is all about perfectionism and so of course editing it is going REALLY well. Irony is just coming up and bludgeoning me over the head with this whole thing. “HA!” says Irony. “You gotta perfect a book about being PERFECT!” *SMACK!*

And then Irony snaps and sashays away. Such a jerk.

7. My husband. I was gonna post his as #5 but that seemed weird. I love it that he gets me. That I can bed-shame him (no, it’s not what you think).

This morning, I came upon the bed looking like this, and so I did what I had to do. I texted him about it:

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And then, later we had this conversation:

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He gets me. Which is so very necessary because otherwise I don’t think we woulda made it past date #1. And then, there would be NO Blonde, or Red… and I would probably be living in a van down by the river.

Whoa. This is so very It’s a Wonderful Life. This will be a future post, I promise. I bet you can’t wait.

8. A Muppet Christmas Carol

Although, the first time I tried to watch this movie with the boys Red was about three and he took one look at the opening number and ran, kind of bleating, from the room. I never really got it out of him, what terrified him so. I think somehow he still thinks that this whole real people/ muppet people universe is really out there, just waiting for him to happen upon it, and he is so creeped out. I have tried for FIVE years straight to watch it with him, and each time he sort of shudders and avoids looking at the dvd, like its a portal to the netherworld. Who knew that Fozzie could cause such stress?


9. I forgot the rest. I feel the need to go lie down and watch Golden Girls for a few hours. Maybe drink some Ensure.

10. You guys. I just love you.

In the span of I don’t know how many years now, I have gained so many readers, written for all sorts of magazines, published a book, am working on a second one, and a partridge in a pear tree. None of this (maybe excepting the partridge – debatable) would have been remotely possible without you.




Momsie’s Top Ten Thankfuls

It’s time! It’s Thanksgiving! Here comes annual Top Ten!!!!

Disclaimer: It’s possible Momsie is on her second cup of really expensive super good coffee from Hawaii because THAT’S HOW WE DO IT ON THANKSGIVING. And thus, whe is SUPER JAZZED AND ALL EXCLAMATION POINTY!

Actually, that’s how my father in law does it. I buy Aldi’s. You know I love you, Aldi’s. We’re besties!

So, here we go!


  1. Blonde’s smile, when he’s trying not to smile. This occurs often when I come in to wake him up in the mornings. I tickle him, and then I watch. One side of his mouth lifts up, and the other side works very hard to stay down, and the dimples show up. He’s so handsome, my boy. Who knew that we could spawn handsome? Also, that “handsome” is part of the package now? He was all “cute” and “adorable” and “itty bitty” and now he’s dialed up to “handsome.” I tell you, parents, we measure our days by our children. We can’t help it.
  2. Red. He is still at the “cute” and “adorable” stage and THANK GOODNESS. I can’t take too much handsome going on here. Between Blonde and the hubster, I am overloaded and my head explodes. It’s a good thing that Red is still at Level Cute because it calms me down. Here is a picture to prove it:IMG_7411.JPG.jpeg

Ok, I tried to take a picture, and as his very often his adorable habit, he decided to mess with me. This is SO adorable. I promise that there is adorable stuff going on UNDER the blanket. Also, he probably knew that if he took the picture the camera would have blown up due to the cuteness. That happens a lot in our house. The cuteness keeps causing our electronics to spark out all the time.

3. Ok, while we are at it, I want to point out that I have the most wonderful hubs in the world of wonderfulness. Boom. And here is the picture to prove it:


Ok. So, he was getting ready and didn’t want to have his picture taken. This is a door. I get the difference.

4. Hot pastrami sandwiches. I don’t really know why I thought of that just now. Perhaps the proximity to the hot door-ness that is my husband? We’ll just leave that right there.

5. My momma’s stuffing. Not her actual stuffing, but the kind she serves at Thanksgiving dinner. She has a recipe that involves prepping for this stuffing like four days ahead, and it involves something called giblets, which, truth be told, I have forgotten and baked inside the actual turkey a few times. I don’t really know what giblets are but they taste divine in Mom’s stuffing. Which is where they belong.

6. Fur. We have a lot of fur at our house:


Spot the cat.


Voila! Hello. I don’t always sit on the laundry like this but when I do, my human has to take a picture. Because I’m that fabulous.


Hello. I’m not codependent and needy at all!  But actually yes, I totally am! I love you! Let me sit upon you! I love you! I must stare at you awkwardly while you work! I love you!


No talking. Sleeping. She saved me from the great outdoors where there was not a lot of food. Or soft places to lie down. Tired.

Also, there is another cat in our house, Bob. She doesn’t like to have her picture taken, so she’s probably huddled somewhere, all hunchy and weirded out that I’m even writing about her.

7. Christmas trees. There was a display of these by my grocers, and I walked over to them on autopilot and proceeded to stick my nose in the trees and inhale loudly which was awkward for the passers by, but necessary.

8. Bow-ties. Both of my boys are wearing them as I write. This is because it’s what is done on Thanksgiving. They are rolling their eyes a lot and telling me “It’s not CHURCH, MOM.” Oh ho, little ones. But it’s my mom’s TURKEY AND STUFFING. So, we wear ties.

9. Free will. One of the two boys is now, most definitely, NOT wearing a bow-tie. So, there’s that.

10. God and Jesus and da Holy Spirit! (That one is from Red, who is now cuddling with me in a really bright orange t-shirt and pants. No tie. He looks great. Sorta. The tie woulda been a nice touch, though but he will not be held down by the man.)

11. Friends. I know I can’t count, but they don’t care. Friends who have basically unintelligable conversations with me like this:

“Hey! Did you…”

“Yes! I did! Have a Happy- ”

“Thanksgiving! You too! I’ll bring that stuff over later.”

“The stuff with the things on it?”

*Child starts yelling in background*

“Gotta -”

“Yep, Child. Go.”

And somehow, we completely understand each other, anyway.


I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. ‘Tis the season to remember your thankfuls, and hold your family close. I am so very blessed by you, dear reader.

Oh, and?

#12. Sobriety. It comes with twelve steps, so there ya go.

One day at a time.

Every day is precious.

All days are worth it.


Now, go forth, and eat a heck of a lot of food.