Linking up with my favorite place today – Five Minute Friday.

Today’s theme?


When I first decided to walk with Jesus, instead of just waving to him from across the room, I had a few life-changing things that happened.

Ok, that’s a totally wrong. All the life-changing things happened. Like, all OVER the place. But one of  the most immediately obvious was my taste in music.

Dana, Before Walking With Jesus: Christian music on the radio? Isn’t that just Carmen and Amy Grant? It’s dork-city.

Dana After Walking With Jesus: Christian music on the radio? It must be on, all the time, twenty-four seven, dorky or no. I am praising my saviourrrrr all the day lonnnnnnnnnnng!

Still don’t like Amy Grant music though. Sorry, Amy. You are a wonderful person.

Jars of Clay, Chris Tomlin, Watermark, Phil Keaggy… I loved them. Still do. I think I even bought a few of those WOW! ALL CHRISTIAN! cd’s because I needed a bit of variety and their plastic covers were so bright and dorky. I found out something. Walking with Jesus meant I could finally stop trying to be so darn cool about everything and embrace my inner dork, and you know what? The DORK IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE.

And so, one day, I found Sara Groves.

And her music cracked me open, and then put me back together, on a daily basis. I own every one of her albums. We played her song, “Fly” as “our song” at our wedding. I reference her song, “Toy Packaging” every Christmas for those who need to know the struggle is real, with the toy packaging.

I just love her. She is my best-friend musician that I have never met. She writes songs about marriage, and fights with husbands, and family, and the bible, and all of it is threaded throughout with a voice that is strong in faith but still has a lot of questions.

This is me. I have a strong-ish faith. But I have a lot of questions. Like, a LOT.

Long ago, before marriage, before recovery (I am a sober momma, because me and wine broke up long ago and that’s a whole other story), before children, before a lot of things, my heart was broken into a million pieces by life and love that was lost. I am pretty sure that’s a thing that has happened to all of us – heartache so profound it threatens to scoop us up and throw us out with the trash. It’s that hard.

I would lay on my bed, feeling tears drip warm down the sides of my face and pool up by my ears, too tired to wipe them away. Sometimes my dog Norman would jump up there with me and snuffle the tears away. He was such a good pupper.

And I would listen to Sara’s song, Remember Surrender. 

You see, I was walking with Jesus, yes. But I was still hurting. And this song seemed to understand that. And with each listen, I got a little better.

Just so you know, there were ther things helped me get better:

Reading the bible. (Walking with Jesus now, duh)

Prayer. (Double duh)

Reading just about anything by Melody Beattie.

Going on long runs with Norman even when I didn’t want to (He always did, so he would drag me. We made it work).

Talking to friends. DUH.

Crying with those friends. And then praying some more. (Quadruple duh. And thank you, friends, for always listening. And always offering to pray with me. And gripping onto my hands hard while you did so, so hard that it almost kinda hurt but in a good way. I’m looking at you, Katie.)

And so, I would like to share this song with you today. If you walk with Jesus, but your heart is still sore and sad, and you just want something so badly, but it can’t be yours… Listen and get a little better.

This version has some pics with the video. They’re a little dorky. But, as you know, I like the dorky.


Slow Is Smooth and Smooth is… Still Slow.



I think the military owns that saying, the “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” one?

I think they came up with it when they were training the army people to carry big exploding things over bunkers and not drop them on their foot or trip over a shoelace, which is totally something I would do.

You can thank me now, that I never joined the military. You’re welcome, America.


One of the greatest paradoxes of mankind is a child’s inability to move fast under request, when five minutes ago they were skidding up and down the hall in their underwear and socks, shouting, “I’M COMING FOR YOU, AND YOUR TORTILLAS!”

I know. I really have no idea, either.

Let me break down this paradox for you:

If child is left to own devices: running, shouting, skidding, flying, sometimes the splits, and also loud thudding will occur regularly.

If child is asked to “hurry up” : the sloth cometh.


This book was a favorite at our house.                              For some reason, that other classic, “Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!” Yelled the Mom, was not as popular.


This morning before school, I watched Red push one arm through the sleeve of a jacket. My eyebrow started to twitch. I had to leave the room because it was like watching a sloth try to put one arm through a jacket, which is pretty hard because sloths have those weird claw hands that don’t fit through jackets very well.

I went into the kitchen. Poured a cup of coffee. Added cream. Rinsed off my spoon and put it in the dishwasher, like a boss. Took a breath.

Walked back into the living room. And there was Red, still trying to put THE SAME arm through THE SAME SLEEVE.

The other eye started twitching, so now I have a matching set. And then, there was the talking:

Punctual: “Red, it’s 7:58, you need to take it up a notch here.”

Organized: “Red, why don’t you put on your coat before your backpack?”

Wheedling: “Red, perhaps shoes are a good idea now.”


I know. It’s a sickness. The words just come out of my mouth, all slippery and desperate, because watching my son try to move from one end of the room to the other IS GOING TO KILL ME.

You’ll find me, one day, dead on the floor. Laid out. Done. And all because my son did something like this:

Puts one arm through sleeve (FINALLY THANK YOU SWEET FATHER AND JESUS TOO) and then, he proceeds to bend down and start patting the STUPID DOG ON THE HEAD BECAUSE NOW IS THE TIME TO BOND WITH THE DOG. NOW? NOW. NOW IS THE TIME.

He bent down, with me looming over him like an angry clock, and it was like he had never even noticed we had a dog before. “Oh! Hi Hosmer? Who’s a good doggie? Who is a good pupper? Rub you behind your ear?”

Only one sleeve on, no shoes, and a really sketchy understanding of how to put one foot in front of the other, and he wants to go all Bless the Beasts and the Children on me.

Well, I tell you.

I finally resorted to physically herding (pushing) both boys towards the door. They were chattering away and then, at one point, Blonde STOPPED to TURN to RED to TELL HIM SOMETHING. Like, all of a sudden he was practicing polite cocktail party chit-chat, only it was about Minecraft chickens. Which is a thing. Don’t ask.

I would have none of it. I just wedged myself behind them and kept moving them along, the Mom Barge, saying things like, “Move out. Press on. Westward ho!” and that sort of thing. It was very motivational.

Last I saw, they were both wandering in a serpentine pattern, in the general direction of the school. The serpentine is nice, because they’ll be protected from any sort of siege. Safety first.


The animals have turned against me.


Ok, in this post she’s going to try and convince you that I am a weird cat. Just look at me, folks. I’m as right as furry rain. Whatever that means. And, I am cute, no?


So, I don’t pay much attention to the trash cans in this house. The reason for this is twofold:

  1. My children are in charge of taking out the trash. We really have a lead on something exciting here, folks. Our children can do the chores that we once had to do! It’s like free labor, if you discount all the whining and really crap jobs they do at any sort of cleaning, but I’ll take it.
  2. Who really wants to ponder a trash can? What? You don’t have enough stimulation from the Netflixes?

Anyhow. As I was upstairs today, making the beds, I did notice the trash can. I noticed that it was looking rather… shredded?

And then, I noticed our cat, Vader, (also referred to as Willie, Sir William, Vader-Tator, and Grandmaster Cat in previous posts. Keep up, y’all. In our house we like to make sure everyone is on rotation with their naming) as he sidled over to the trash can.

And then, he proceeded to START EATING IT.

That’s right. He was eating the trash can.


What, wee grey cat? What is your problem? Do I not go to the Petco and buy you large crinkly expensive bags of super-healthy food pebbles? Ever since the gigantic white cat had his brush with death we have gone totally upscale on our food options here. Basically, it’s “So long college fund, kids! Gotta feed the kitties!” That sort of thing.

Vader, do you suddenly need more fiber in your diet?

Is it a “My Weird Addiction” kind of thing? Do you need Dr. Phil?

I can’t imagine a trash can tastes good. Perhaps, however, it’s a step up from the mortgage-breaker brown stuff that I feed you every morning.

And then, Vader made eye contact with me. His mouth was still sort of attached to the trashcan. It’s just like that time my husband caught me gnawing on his precious super sharp cheddar that he tries to hide from me. I hadn’t even bothered to slice off a piece of cheese. I was gnawing on it like an angry hamster, and I froze as his eyes locked onto mine. We then argued about sharp cheddar and how it should not be gnawed.

It had been a long day.

Anyhow, back to the cat/trash can thing. Vader stopped, mid chew. And then, he extracted himself from trash can, and sauntered off. All casual, like, “Well, that was a great trash can snack. Thanks Byeeeee!”

So, that’s it then. This little bit of daily weirdness was brought to you by an ungrateful furball and my inability to get it on film.



What is wrong with everyone? I don’t understand out world at all.


Dog: Can you not?


 Dog: And I get yelled at for the licking.




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? 

Phil Rosenthal Is Going to Save the World.

There are people in this world who just need to be watched.

I mean this in a good way. Not in a, “I see you there,” kinda way. That kind of watching is reserved for my children, and it takes a lot of energy.

The good kind of watching is easier. It brings joy. It engenders laughter.

Also, total bonus points if street food is involved.

And so, I give you this guy:


Phil Rosenthal is a Really Famous Writer. He was the creator and producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, a sitcom that I STILL watch on a weekly basis because it provides marital counseling for me and my Ray + Husband. My Rusband, if you will. We watch together and I smirk and elbow Rusband, repeatedly,  because I am Debra.

Seriously. My life is simply a series of events in which I think, “What would Debra do?”

Ok, so, Phil writes stuff.

But also?

Phil eats stuff. And, we watch him while he does this. And my God, people, it fixes everything.

Here’s what I mean. Phil travels around the world. He eats things that are often bizarre and also wonderful and sometimes terrifying. While he does this, he asks a ton of questions. He doesn’t say “No, thank you, I’m full,” or “I’ll pass; I can’t tell what it is,” or “I can’t; it’s looking at me.” He has conversations over raw fish and pork bellies and some meal a guy made for him on what looks like a TV tray at the side of a bedraggled city road.

He doesn’t just eat. He inhales. 

It’s an extremely simple formula. Ask. Eat. Talk. Eat some more. Talk. Repeat.

I want my family to watch this show. I think my church needs to, as well. Also, the President, and Congress, and all those shouting folks on Wall Street. And anybody in the medical profession.

And also people who make things, or run things, or run people who make things.

And anybody who works in customer support or sales. They deserve it.

And children. Not because they need it, but because they would just totally get Phil.

In my Momsie kind of world, if one part of the world was mad at another part of the world, a press conference would be held, and it would go like this:

Official-looking serious person: Ladies, gentlemen, just hold you questions please…

Reporters: We have questions! How are we gonna fix this? What do we doooooo?

Official-looking serious person: It’s simple, really. Let me introduce you to Phil             Rosenthal. And yes, he really is going to save us all.



Ok, the best way I can explain the magic that is Phil is to tell you about Raymond. Stay with me here. This isn’t a needless tangent; it’s a trip to Italy.

In an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, Ray and his family are on a family vacation to the land of their ancestors. It’s a glorious trip, full of rich sights and sounds, and everybody is so excited and entranced, because Italy has special powers like that.

Everybody except Raymond.

Ray is not having any of it. He hates traveling, and then there’s his family, and, well, it’s kinda hot. And he’s tired. He doesn’t really fit in. He’s wearing shorts and white sneakers, for Pete’s sake.

And then, Phil wrote this scene where Ray, tired and grumpy, finds food.

Pizza. He finds pizza. Of course.





And it’s really really good pizza. Duh. Italy.

And you can see it on Ray’s face. He gets it. With one bite, he feels the sun, and leans against a wall, and in comes Italy. And he feels at home.

Can a slice of pizza save the world? Maybe. It did for Raymond.

So, in Somebody Feed Phil, our beloved hero travels the world and yet he brings us home. He teaches us joy and good manners, and inquisitiveness, and bravery. He instructs us that goofiness is good, and that humor is the great leveler.

He is kind. He is funny. And he manages to do all of this while still barely hanging onto the barest rudiment of foreign languages and societal protocols.

And, if Phil can do it, so can we.

It’s diplomacy, with appetizers.


As a Netflix StreamTeam blogger, I get to watch the wonderfulness that is Netflix, and then chatter about it on Momsie. It’s a great gig.







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