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.




Resolutions are not useless and here’s why:


Ok, so I write for a fabulous magazine called The Cov. It’s a good gig. I get to talk about Jesus and often, they allow funny.  At the same time. I have a good relationship with the editors. I know this because I can send them kitty memes about procrastination and they seem to appreciate them.



And this one, which neatly sums up the process of trying to edit:


And this one:


Which really has nothing to do with writing but it cracks me up. Also this:


I know. I need to stop. So, the other day we were talking about a January column and I was all:


And my editor, who I shall call Larry, said,
“Resolutions are hokey.”

Oh, it was on.

Actually, no. It was not on. I was all, “Oh, sure… right Larry, I totally agree.” I didn’t argue because he is kind of my boss, but NOT without muttering under my breath, all passive aggressive:

“You will rue the day, Larry.”

Not really sure where we’re going here, but I made MY OWN RESOLUTIONS ANYHOW ON MY BLOG! WHO’S THE BOSS NOW LARRY? HUH?

I know. I have to assert control somewhere.


  1. Maintain a good working relationship with Larry.
  2. Stop putting my coffee in the microwave, zapping it for twenty seconds, and then leaving it there to ponder its uselessness until forty-eight hours later.
  3. I’m going to use this book on my children. 51MF3u-JPAL._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_-1.jpgI will hold them each in my hands, ponder them for a minute, and ask them, “Tell me, small Red who has once again left a swath jelly behind in the kitchen like its own sticky Exxon Valdez oil slick, DO YOU SPARK JOY? DO YA, PUNK? DO YOU FEEL LUCKY?
  4. I will figure out how to number things on my blog.
  1. I will not actually donate my children, I promise. But you gotta know, MARIE KONDO DOES NOT HAVE CHILDREN. One day, if she does, she will grab some sort of useless plastic toy in her hands and start pondering it, and ask, “Small useless piece of plastic from The McDonalds, do you spar-” and her wee child will start crying and Kondo will just roll her eyes and toss it at the baby. You know she will.
  2. I will brush and floss every day.
  3. Freaked you out with that one, didn’t I? You were wondering… “Wait. She DOESN’T brush every day? Why am I even reading this?
  4. I will stop overusing “skin fixing illuminating age defying serum that costs shackamillion dollars.” I figured since the packaging said it erases fine lines I should just, you know, slather it all over. And now I head out for my day every morning looking like I’m J Lo.maxresdefault.jpg
  5. Actually? Scratch that. If I want to look like J Lo I can. Say hello to my glowy little friend:


10. I will also try to get a handle on this:6a7c885b9a3b9476370d6de5a1b7c0ebd4d3d0359d90b8c1d9693788f25a6482_1.jpg

Betcha can’t guess what type of personality I am? I’ll give you a hint: I often have slanty eyebrows and I rhyme with “SLAY.


12. And finally, as God is my witness, I will stop buying the bargain toilet paper. Life is just too short, people.

Here’s the thing (YOU KNOW I can’t write a post without some sort of “Here’s the moral to the story” moment? Right? Larry tells me I do this. It’s my thing. Alas, I often have no idea what I’m talking about in terms of morals, but I WILL CARRY ON.)

Anyhow, here’s the thing. I think this year I want to stop trying to lose things. I want to not try to lose weight or lose wrinkles or lose the clutter or lose my mind or whatevs.

I want more. I want enough piled on enough.

More, please!

More: Jesus. Family. Special Locked Door Husband time (yes, that’s code for nookie). Laughter. Small children who have impossibly long lashes and a total inability to eat without making the kitchen look like a crime scene.

More cuddling with this huge fat furry fluff of goodness:IMG_6138.jpg

This picture illustrates that Steve is two things:

  •      A bit of a risk taker.
  •      Really doesn’t mind pencils. EduCATed. Har har har.

I will take more naps:IMG_6131.jpg

I don’t have a picture of ME napping so these are stand-in, blurry nappers. Look carefully for the dog, he’s at the end of the couch and is basically really really hurt because Steve has his spot.

Also, we’re so healthy! V-8!

I will take my kids sledding, even when there’s only about 2 inches of snow. We will still attempt it. IMG_6222 3.jpg

I will stay up a little later, act a little sillier, and hug even tighter.

Also, I’ll listen to the Xanadu soundtrack more often.

Oh, and I won’t drink. There’s always that. That’s one minus I will happily keep adding to my life.


And, I will write. I’ll even pen some resolutions. I will always, always love the re-set button that is January 1.

Happy New Year to you. May God richly bless you. You have been a HUGE blessing to me.

Even you, Larry.


That’s not actually Larry. Love you, Larry!

New Year’s Eve. Let’s Do This. Or Not. Maybe Later?

Here’s how it was all gonna go down:

Woke up at 6 am. Got my coffee and my bible. Totally stoked. Ready to pray! Workout! Gonna clean all the stuff! Jesus is so awesome!

And then a small blonde child showed up, face all squinched up and sad. “I hadda bad dream,” he said, and in that presumptuous way of all children, smushed over the bible and my journal and squirmed onto my lap because No, Mom. There is no quiet time for YOU.

And then the husband decided to get in on the game and said, all jolly, “Well, good MORNING wee BLONDE! The DAY is JUST starting! Up and AT EM!” He talks like that a lot, like he’s a motivational speaker and also somebody is banging a big bass drum in the background. It’s sort of endearing. And when it’s not, it’s marriage.

Anyhow, I hiss at the husband with my eyes because NO, it is NOT time for the BLONDE TO GET UP (I have my own bass drum I guess) and I start speaking to Blonde all Obi One like. “No. It’s not morning. Not at all. You are going to go back to bed. These are not the droids you’re looking for,” etc. etc.. because, as I am a mom and can foresee more than two events ahead of me, unlike the sweet husband, I knew that if I allowed the wee blonde to actually stay awake I would rue it later. RUE  IT.

And of course every mom knows this. So I don’t even have to explain it here, do I? Perhaps I’m just including this story for the male audience.

Anyhow. I had hopes. I had the bible and the journal still, upstairs, with the slightly confused but sleepy Blonde. It would still work, this morning. I would still have my Jesus time.

And then I fell back asleep.

So much for Jesus time.*

Small boys when they wake up do not sweetly look at you and say, “Oh, of course. QUIET TIME. We’ll just sit quietly and wait. In fact, let me get you a cup of coffee. Do you care for cream?”

But instead, we did do this:


Still one of my favorite views ever. My lovely little town. If you squint, you can see my boys waaaaaay ahead of me. Hosmer is looking longingly at them because I am slow. He was built for speed.

And then, we did this:


Yes. I watched my kids be smart because chess.

Also, we ate cookies and hot cocoa with REAL whipped CREAM and DARN it was GOOD. And it seems that big bass drum thing is back. It’s a useful motif, to help express strong emotions, like irritation at husbands or chocolate anything.

And then, I came home and I started to panic. It’s New Year’s Eve. There’s planning to do. Tomorrow has to be PERFECT. Because it’s a NEW YEAR. It has to be ON POINT. Oh shut UP bass DRUM!

You know the drill. Momsie has an all or nothing personality. I am always either the shark or the victim in the water. I never get to be krill, ok ?

And today, I wanted to MAKE A LOT OF LISTS to get my plan for 2016 FIRED UP and READY TO GO.


I know. This took a sort of violent turn, with the sharks and attacking and stuff. I assure you, no blogs were harmed in the making of this post. (The readers? Time will tell.)

So, instead? I looked up a whole lot of memes about resolutions and started watching videos with kitties in them. And then:


I fell asleep again. And the boys watched Wild Kratts because it’s EDUCATIONAL LEAVE ME ALONE.

And I realized:


And also:



I know. Totally overdid it on the memes. Maybe next time I’ll actually write something. But for now, I gotta go play Battleship with my boys and maybe eat some Reese’s.

Happy New Year’s Eve. I will probably try to stay up until midnight and make it to ten ish like last year. But there will be some cuddling in there with the not-so-annoying-after-all husband, and probably a movie and maybe some more chocolate.

Life is good.

Resolution for 2016 (This is a good one. I didn’t write it. It’s in the bible. That book has a lot of good stuff in it. No memes, though.):

Straining Toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

Philippians 3:12-15 NIV


Happy New Year. God bless us, Everyone.

*Jesus time? It’s like, all the time. So, next time I miss my appointment with him at 6 am I can remember that He is with me always. That’s in the bible somewhere too. I tell you, that book is awesome.








Happy New Year to Meh.



Recently, I was talking with a good friend about my dislike of resolutions. “This New Year thing? Relentless.” I sighed and put about a half cup of peppermint creamer in my coffee. “It just keeps coming at you, every year. Over and over.”

“Well,” she eyed me over her coffee cup. “It could be worse. If the years didn’t keep coming and coming, that would mean you were, you know, dead.”

Well. I guess that’s true.

I wasn’t always this grumpy.

I used to LOVE New Year’s resolutions. I would rise, nice and early, like ten o’clock, on New Year’s Day, make a good hot pot of coffee, get out my pen and journal, and draft the most epic list of do-overs, feeling all glowy and entranced by all the good intentions and kale that would be coming my way in the future.

By about noon-ish I would have remembered kale is very green and chewy, and I needed a nap from all the merry making and champagne I drank the night before, and some leftover Santa Kit -Kats would make a great lunch.

So later that afternoon, as I sat on my couch during a Dirty Dancing marathon, surrounded by little fluttering foil wrappers and Frito crumbs, I would resolve the same thing that every other amateur resolution maker has uttered world-wide:


And then, in about a week or so, the whole list would be buried under some Spiegel catalogs and I would find myself humming like Peter, Paul, and Mary, “Where have all the resolutions gone? Long time passing…”

When will I ever learn?

This year, my husband and I resolved to get up and pray together before he left for work, and I clock in here with the minions.

And guess WHAT? We haven’t done it once. First, there was the weekend, then there was the Night of No Sleeping Because Two Toddlers Live Here, and then, I don’t even remember what happened but still, no praying. I did manage to stumble in on him while he was showering and prayed while he was in there, but that was just weird, you know, because showers mean no clothes and all.


I know what you’re thinking. This is the time when the blog takes a great shift into a whole, zealous, fresh air, “anti resolution!” or “I resolve to not beat myself up!” or “here’s the best solution to being a lazy slob on ten easy steps!” kind of thing. That’s what writers do. We set you up with some scenario that you can all relate to, and then BAMMO, we hit you over the head with our brilliant idea that trumps ALL the other ideas ever, and then you think, “WHY didn’t I think of that? This is GREAT stuff. I’m gonna tweet it to all over the great interwebs.” And then I get famous and make a million dollars.

Nope. Not even gonna try.

I got nothing.

This year, I got the flu before Christmas, and just as I was regrouping from that crazy talk, the flu decided it liked me so much that it circled BACK on me and returned right around the New Year.

And, illness likes to socialize, so my son, The Blonde, and the Big Blonde (husband) also got it. And then I threw my back out, which really isn’t so awful except it makes me sooooo grumpy, and I just kind of want to lie on the couch and binge-watch Hoarders because we all know that show makes us feel better.

Last night, as I was eating vanilla pudding and wondering why, because I wasn’t hungry, but it was there, and I knew if I was really going to start to eat healthy I needed to get rid if all the junk food first, I kind of had a moment.

I had spilled a big glob of pudding on my hoodie, the SAME hoodie I had been wearing for about three days now, and I wondered if I could  just swipe it off, you know, and eat it, and then it hit me:

Good lord, woman, get a grip.

I have a slight issue with being good. It’s because I have the brain of Cruella Deville. I am either black or white. I must run a half marathon tomorrow, and eat only brown rice and kale smoothies, and read ALL the bible, and consider long dresses and putting my hair up in a bun, and cleaning all the things…

Or  I start licking vanilla pudding off my shirt like I used to do when I was nine months pregnant (which is totally ok, at nine months, because there’s a built-in shelf there and you are miserable, so eat it however you like) and feeling glum.

I am glum. But I set myself up for glum with all this resolution business.

This blog is going absolutely nowhere, which really won’t help me make my millions, but I will leave you with this:

If you can’t do resolutions on January 1, you are not a worthless slob, even if the nutball voices in your head might disagree.

The best resolution I got today is to be a mom who listens and a wife who smiles. That’s it. And, I did some yoga and my back already feels better. So there’s that.

And I have to share with you that my family actually did make a resolution list on January 1, as we sat around eating our Stouffer’s lasagna, instead of the glorious rib roast dinner I used to try and do, back when I would start drinking around 3 pm just to just be able to make the dinner in the first place.  This past New Year’s Day, we ate our frozen lasagna and salad, and we came up with this:




The photo is blurry because I had Red attached to my ankles, and since I am now on this “no perfection allowed” kick, I left it.

Number two is “Food is Good!” which is Blonde’s addition. He is weally trying to not be so picky. It’s good to have dreams.

Number four might be a bit zealous, but we’ll give it a go. I am thinking we’ll start by memorizing the Levitical Law.

Number one was both Red and Blonde’s first idea, because they had just finished listening to part one of the Momsie Lecture series: Pick Up After Yourself Or I Am Going to Lose it I Mean It I Will Send You Both to Military School.

Number Seven: made possible by multiple exclamation points.




Happy New Year, ya’ll. May it be blessed and rich, and may you never contemplate the symbolism in vanilla pudding the way I do.



And trust me, I have not ignored one small point here that gives me hope: I didn’t drink today. Don’t really plan on doing it tomorrow, either. And that’s the best resolution on my list, forevermore.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope.  1 Peter 1:3

Can I hear an amen?


Whole Women Weekend



There are a lot of blessings that come when you finally get real and get sober and stop living like a slave to stuff. I mean this in the nicest way, for all of you who read me and aren’t, well, stuck on booze or were, or are stuck on something else…

But you know? I am finding that the more I write about this, and the more I talk about it, the more women just keep coming to me and saying, “Yes. Me too. Me too. Thank you.” Or “Yes, that was me. And now it’s my friend, or my husband, or my son… or my brother.” So, in the spirit of the New Year and renewal and freedom, I want to share with you my friend, Crystal Renaud’s ministry and invite.

Crystal was my student, oh so many years ago. She was a quiet girl, very sweet, very, very good. She never got in trouble. She never was late with an assignment. Basically, she was the perfect student. And she was miserable inside.

I found all this out later, as she wrote a book and started up a ministry and we found each other on the great facebooks, and I said, “Hey, me too. I’m stuck on wine. I really, really like it. But I had to quit because, well, you know, it was drowning my soul.” And we had that connection that people in recovery do, that is just so darn awesome and deep and fulfilling that sometimes I kinda feel sorry for the normal people out there that they don’t get to experience this.

But then, well, they didn’t have to go through the whole addiction thing, so there’s that.

Crystal is heading up a conference for women in August. I will be a speaker at it. I am so excited to just be a part of this, and to help her ministry. And it will help me too, to talk and share and be of service. That’s a big thing in my circles, being of service. It really works.

I am sharing the link and some information below, in case you might be interested. I am so proud of Crystal. She has worked tirelessly to help other women who need it, and in doing so, she became the teacher for me.

Crystal writes:

“You are cordially invited to join us August 27-30, 2015 for Whole Women Weekend. Whole Women Weekend (formerly WHOLE Women’s Conference) is a unique weekend intensive retreat for women who are seeking true and lasting inner healing from hurts & hang-ups, trauma, bad habits, addictions, and more and who wish to encounter God in a way they never have before. No matter where you are on your spiritual journey or where you have been prior to now — this retreat is for you.

The theme for our 2015 retreat is IDENTITY. It is so easy to believe that your past defines who are you today. But what you have done or what was done to you does not define you. You are defined only by who you are in Christ.”

Here is the link to the Whole Women’s Weekend.

And here is a link to Crystal’s Whole Women Ministries.

And here’s a link to Crystal’s awesome book.


Happy New Year to you. I am going to celebrate it with some chicken soup, and chocolate pie, and something on the Netflix, I am sure. I will also be in bed around ten. I know, I am an animal.

It’s possible that some hot tea and knitting will be mixed in there. It’s how I roll.


And, I ask, what will your word for 2015 be? Watch for upcoming posts on that one.

Sunday Spruce Up

Remember this?photo 1 (7)I DID!

It’s the only “Resolution” I have successfully kept – the reading of my weekly chapter and subsequent “sprucing up.”

Other resolutions I had considered:

1. Learn the words to Rapper’s Delight.

2.  Figure out what to do about the strange smell behind the couch.

3.  Understand my husband.

4.  Oh really who am I kidding.

Anyhow.  This week’s chapter is entitled:


It has some great start up ideas for a frazzled Momsie, one who tends to go a bit overboard on things (as one who was just contemplating a rather grubby laundry room and then having my next thought twerk right over to: I MUST CLEAN EVERYTHING ALL OF IT THE ENTIRE HOUSE RIGHT NOW you see the difficulty here.  I am nutball.)

So.  Some items covered in this VERY short (big blessing!) chapter about what I like to think of as “turning the Titanic around” were:

*Getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night. (blessing again!)

*Eliminating what the author calls “energy drainers” such as those items on my To Do list that have not been done in over 6 months.  Maybe, like, erase those items.  Maybe not so important?  Maybe they need to go to missing sock status and just poof, begone. (BIGGER blessing!)

*Scheduling “me time” each week.  (OH I JUST LOVE YOU JENNIFER FORD BERRY).

The chapter gives me hope.  And some clarity.   I do love my long lists, with little boxes drawn in with Sharpie (pink) so I can check things OFF with my Sharpie (purple).  Checking things off my To Do list is the same as kicking off a pair of heels after a day of work.  Or, might I say, getting that  bra off and sliding into some jammies.  Right?  You know it, ladies.  (Gentlemen, if you’re reading along and at this point are still nodding in agreement then perhaps this is not the blog for you… )

Ahem.  BUT.  There are lists, and then there are MY lists.  Lately, my lists are entitled:

Various Huge Projects Saddled with Guilt, Numerous Strings, and Resentments (see appendix for Strings)

These are what my To Do lists have slowly mutated into this past year: tangled and highly emotional write ups of what I want NOW, what I think I want, what I think others want from me, and what I dread.

Not anywhere on the list:  What God wants.

My resolution:  Embrace a word for this year.  Just one word.


Courage to find out what God wants for me.

Courage to accept His walking orders.

Courage to change the things I can.

Courage to accept the rest.


“Be strong and courageous!”  Joshua 1:9

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”  C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters

“I’ma big and stwong!  You too mommah!”  Red


So, what is YOUR word for this year?

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cslewis100842.html#stTygrv2f9tYfIgl.99