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.




Everything’s Perfectly Fine Here. How are You?

This post was sponsored by:




This should be fun! So let’s get started.

Ok, one of my favorite scenes from Star Wars was when Harrison Ford has that cute conversation with the dude on the intercom. I love it because he is SOOOOO cute! The cuteness! The cute swagger! And he fits in his Storm Trooper outfit really well!

Yes, little ones, I am referring to the real Star Wars. The one that I watched in Glenwood Theater in Overland Park, Kansas in 1977. I was 8. Harrison Ford was a bit too old for me. I had feathered bangs, and Glenwood Theater had a chandelier, people. And velvet seats. And a deep red curtain that opened before each showing. It was an EXPERIENCE, y’all.

The other reason I love that scene is that I kinda feel like Han did in that controller room all the time. Sorta, erm, on the edge a bit and also: TOTALLY FAKING IT ALL THE TIME.

So here’s an update on my week:

The gigantic box from Netflix? Remember that?


Well, it was just a tv. No biggie. Just a gigantic tv. Because, you know, I’M AWESOME.

Here is how my family reacted to this:

IMG_4628 IMG_4630 IMG_4634

Husband is blurry because I was giggling.

Ok, also: we had Halloween. So we have ONE picture of ONE child. I don’t know why. Just ONE child evidently was photogenic enough (barely, you’ll see) for me to point and click at him.

Here you go:


Riiiiiight. I know. You can’t see him. Someday I am totally going to get fired for lousy photography. But, also…

(Wait for it…)

“Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?”

BOOM. I have been waiting my whole LIFE to be able to channel my inner Leia and say that! And now I can! With a blurry, dark photo of my cute, and short, son!

Oh, and by the way:


WE WON THE WORLD SERIES. There is such goodness about this I can’t even use words. Well, no, I CAN use words, but they just won’t really do it justice. It is wonderfulness. It is nail biting games and extra innings and Salvie messing with us whenever he talks and stealing home and just a sprinkling of Paul Rudd, for flavor.

Oops, used words. Sorry. Can’t help it.

By now, I bet you’re wondering… where does the guilt part come in?

Well, and also:

I abandoned my child. I KNOW. This post took a rather abrupt turn, didn’t it? We were all happy and celebrating holidays and big screen tv’s and then, WHAMMO.

That’s called a plot twist.

Here’s the deal. My sweet Red, who is wonderful and adorable in every way, is also, well, how should I put this:

Slow. He’s just really slow. He likes to do things slowly. All the things. Eating. Pooping. Walking. It’s all slow.

This totally doesn’t bother me at all.

So, this morning, for some reason, Red really really had a rough time with some basics: I told him to get dressed and I found him, in his underpants, staring out the front door at the sky as if he were contemplating his life choices for his long five years.

Socks. Same problem. Found him upstairs in the train room, just standing there. It was creepy.

Brushing teeth? I don’t even think we got there because we were still stuck at socks. Poor teachers.

Anyhow, finally, I snapped. I uttered these fateful words:

“Red. We are leaving. You have one minute. If you are not ready to go then Blonde and I will have to LEAVE WITHOUT YOU.”

And. Well. To cut the suspense, I’ll just tell you. He got left. We left him. I LEFT him. I took Blonde, grabbed the dog, and walked AWAY FROM MY BABY.

And then, he proceeded to lose his #@!.

But I think he did hurry up a little. He made it to a block from school and I spotted him. He was sobbing and all the mothers of the entire town were surrounding him. I think a few cars had pulled over. Police helicopters were circling overhead and Fox News had been called.

I walked up and said, “He’s fine.” Not the best thing to say. I then explained (because he was NOT fine, but he was “learning a lesson” from his “evil mother” who had to “not relapse because of this morning” and needed to, no matter what, “stick by her words no matter how much it was gonna freak her and the entire community OUT.”)

I explained the situation, and Red headed off, with me behind him. One mom gave me a sympathetic smile, but I swear another one has decided to shadow my house now.

Sigh. I know. All of this kinda puts a pall over the new tv.

Mommies. I’m doing the best I can. We had done the morning dawdle routine just one too many times. I decided to stick to my guns. I just didn’t expect this:

He broke my heart. Seeing him here, all sobbing and sad. I just don’t know. The kid learned a lesson but I did too. If I am going to leave my kid to fend for himself I need to figure out a way to do it with in air surveillance and nerves of steel. As I have neither of these things I am going to try out one of two options:

  1. Get the kid up at 5 am so he will be on time.
  2. Just carry him everywhere.

And that was my morning.

Everything’s fine here. And… How are YOU?


I need to listen to spam more



Linking up over at The Extraordinary Ordinary today!


Every time I post a blog I get lots of spam*. It’s part of the deal with blogging. You accept it, like mosquitoes. It’s just part of the blogging package.

I delete the spam with a clever button my WordPress site called, you guessed it,  “Delete Spam.” It’s a wonderful thing – I just click it and whoosh! Spamola is gone, flushed away.

I wish sometimes I had a Delete Spam button for after dinner dishes. Or whining. Or bills. Or alarm clocks. Or tv shows that involve people sitting at desks yelling at other people.

But today, as I was cleaning up my spam with the zeal, I noticed something:

“Great job here!”

“This site is amazing and wonderful!”

“I am in awe. This is the best information I have read all day. I must tell my brother.” (I don’t really understand how spammers are always talking about their family, but I imagine they just must be really into their kin. In a robotic, electronic way. I guess.)

The thing that caught me is that, as silly as all those messages might be, I couldn’t help but smile at the compliments.

Lately I have found myself in that darkened room that is walled by negative self talk. The conversations that I have with myself are binding. They keep me in the room, as much as I hate it there. It’s gloomy, and honestly? Rather boring. But yet, here I sit:

“You are not a good mom.”

“This is just awful.”

“I am embarrassed. What kind of parent am I? Other moms are so together. You are all apart. What’s wrong with you?”

And so on.


Today I am going to learn from the spammers.  If I can’t say anything nice about me, I am going to say something illogical and strangely endearing, like, “This blog is the image of perfection and has meticulous learning in it!” This, I know makes no sense, but thank you anyway, robotic spammer from the interwebs. If I can’t be kind, I’ll try to spout enthusiasm at least.

Or perhaps I could just focus on some words:






I cannot be great, but I can try.  I am here now and with my God. And yes, you know that rest. He is amazing.  And every day, all the time, He tells me He loves me. 


So, go forth, bloggers. Listen to the spam.  If you get a message like this today:

“Wonderful news here! This news is important and  forthcoming. I will return entirely!”

Take it for what it’s worth:


You are wonderful. 

You are important.

Return to Him, and to that, entirely.



*These spam remarks are copied directly from my spam comments. I know, right? They’re kinda whackadoodle.







W is for The Wheat Germ of Guilt


Scene:  Kitchen.  Momsie is humming, mixing up some eggs and sugar for cookies.  Chocolate chip cookies.  Also known as Toddler Smack.

The boys are assembling what looks like a nuclear power plant with Legos.  Occasionally the cat throws in a protest (He’s anti-nuclear. Or maybe anti-Lego.) by racing through and waving small signs.  The wee engineers are not deterred and a model of Three Mile Island is slowly forming in my living room.

Their conversation sounds like this:

Blonde: Dear brother, could you pass me yonder grey Lego?

Red:  Why of course, I would be honored.

Blonde: Thank you.  This will complete Zone three on the reactor.  It’s da Red Zone.

Red:  Lovely weather we’re having today, wouldn’t you agree?

Blonde:  Oh yes!  Later I think we should go outside for healthy sunshine and fresh air, don’t you think?
My cherubs.

I smile  and start to measure out the chocolate chips, blessed by the peaceful day and the wonderment that is parenting.  But then, I hear it.  My inner nutball:

“WHAT are you doing?  Are you INSANE?  You are making them COOKIES!  WITH SUGAR.  And where’s the carob chips?  This is gross negligence!”  I look around guiltily. Inner nutball whispers in horror:  “The sugar… It’s WHITE.”


“I mean, look at my those babies:”


This is a representation. This is not actually one of my babies. That would be odd, wouldn’t it?









Fear not, neurotic one, there is a solution to all this malaise.  It’s this stuff:


W. Germ.  AKA Wheat Germ. I usually buy the Mom Guilt Brand.  It's the best.

W. Germ. AKA Wheat Germ. I usually buy the Mom Guilt Brand. It’s the best.

Just toss some of this into your cookie batter and voila!  You are no longer serving your darlings small pastries of doom!  It’s that simple.

I add this magic powder to:

pancakes, cookies, cakes, smoothies, oatmeal, vodka tonics (JUST KIDDING)

I also: 

Wave it over my tater tots when I begin to feel the guilt curtain descend.

Set it in front of the television while they watch yet another episode of Barney.

Position it strategically over their beds at night, amending any snappish comments I might have uttered earlier that day.

It also works in marriages!

Try it in your coffee the morning after a particularly violent episode with a snoring husband.  It erases all possibility that you might have tried feeding him a pillow.

Just hand him the entire container when you make him watch The Sound of Music with you. Again.

Sprinkle it on the bedsheets!  You fall asleep every night at 8 pm due to exhaustion?  No guilt.  Wheat germ it.
Put a container in your kitchen, your clothes closets, the litter boxes!

Set some as a paper weight in office to fend off ennui as you write and ignore your children!

Get a travel size for the car!

Take it on vacation!

Mail a case of the stuff to Pinterest!
But, don’t even try to take it to your mother’s.  It won’t work there.
(Just kidding, Mom.)

Now I feel guilty.



Monday Manuscript with Organize Now! And a Side of Mom Guilt.

photo 1 (7)

We’re on week 4 of Organize Now! by Jennifer Ford Berry.

Good gravy did this chapter give me a wuppin.  In a nice way.  But still.

Here’s how it starts:

“Does it ever feel like you spend all your hours and days doing but not living?”

Hmmmm. No… (shuffles nervously and glares at the lawyer who is starting to comment.  As always).  No! I never feel this way!  I am completely fulfilled in every way.  All the time.  I am also so busy that at times my daily calendar flops over from too many entries and waves its tired feet in the air in surrender.  But… still I’m doing GREAT! Thanks!  Um.  How are YOU?


Here’s the tips from this chapter:

*  Read your top ten list (of your most important priorities) on a regular basis.

*  Minimize time spent with negative people.

*  Don’t forget to pray.

* Make a list of things you and your family like to do that costs little or no money, and do as many of these you can a week.



Lately I have been playing a fun little game called:  Mom Guilt Monopoly.  I ROCK at this game.  All the hotels are mine, and I do believe I own Marvin Gardens AND the Waterworks.  And that other really expensive one that’s purple.    I also am the proud owner of:

I Can’t Contribute Place

Really, I’m A Failure Avenue

What If We End Up Living in a Van Down By the River Railroad

You get the idea.

Week Four in Organize Now gently suggested that I really REALLY think about what I want to accomplish in my life, list it out, and then compare that list with what I am going NOW.  Gulp.  Like comparing apples to oranges.  Or, more accurately, like comparing really BIG apples with a lot of stress, insecurity, and anger issues that constantly smush the oranges and punt them to the curb.

I leave you with a quote Jennifer Ford Berry included in this chapter by James Truslow Adams:

“Perhaps it would be a good idea, fantastic as it sounds, to muffle every telephone, stop every motor and halt activity an hour someday to give people a change to ponder for a few minutes on what it is all about, why they are living, and what they really want.


“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”  Luke 10:27

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”   Psalm 37:4″

Now I just have to have the courage.  Good thing I have God , otherwise I’d still just be OK with mushy oranges.