A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes


When I was six I lugged my mom’s huge Woodstock typewriter over to the dining room table. I got a pile of paper and neatly set it next to the typewriter. Then, I sat down, looked out the huge picture window to my left to the yard beyond for inspiration, and then began typing.

I wrote and wrote. The story was some horrible mess about cats and some girl named Cindy. But on I clattered.

I had the idea that I wanted to be a writer.

I wrote stories, poems, even play scripts that my sister and I would act out in our basement. Our plays even included commercial breaks, because we know where the money is coming from. We were savvy. Ask us one day about the commercial we made for Pepto Bismol. It included special effects and a soundtrack, and I have to say it was brilliant.

I wrote for my high school’s newspaper. I lived for Fridays when the Harbinger would come out, and all would read my column (I had my own column! This was the big time.)

I wrote and wrote and wrote  in journals and journals. It was in these Lisa Frank spiral bound beauties that I learned to hone my skills and banish things like repetitive word choice, and overuse of sweeping adjectives and cliches. They were all so very beautifully written, like wonderful and beautiful flowers of beautiful writing detailing my life’s most wonderful moments like sands in the hourglass or the winds of time or oh God please make it stop.

And then… I started teaching. And teaching is simply divine.  I had a knack for it. It filled me up and some days drove me kinda crazy (the lawyer would add it’s not a long drive) and fed me and kept me sane and made me even crazier. And for some umpteen years it was all I really had time for.

And then… well, I started having children. And then I didn’t even have time for teaching, ya’ll. Or for children. I had no time. Time just up and flounced off in a huff with me on that one.

But this of course is when I decided to start a writing career. Because:

1.  I’m a little bit nutball.  We don’t need to debate this. My entire family can phone in a long lecture, with numerous subpoints and illustrations provided in the appendix, to elaborate if needed. But I’m pretty sure ya’ll have already figured there’s a decided nutball factor here.

2. I have a daily dose of material from Thing One and Thing Two that if I don’t record somewhere there will be some sort of crack in the universe and God will smite me. He gave me this talent, so if I don’t capitalize on it now, to the major future embarrassment of my children, I KNOW we will have a discussion when I kick it one day that will go like this:

“Hi God! I am so happy to be here! I mean, I’m dead and all, but there’s no place I’d rather be for all eternity!”

“Pleasure is all mine. But remember that time that I prodded at you and said something like ‘Lo, go forth and write about your childreneth, and you shall blesseth the momsies all about?’ You didn’t do that. What’s up with that?”

“Oh snap, God. I am sorry. I just got so caught up in cleaning and folding laundry and somewhere along the way I forgot how to do anything creative except make homemade napkins out of old t-shirts.”

“Really. REALLY?”

“Please don’t smite me. I mean, I’m already here. I think you have a no return policy, right? And…I’ll write Your tell-all if You’d like.”

“We have that already. Revelations, remember? It’s in the bible…”

“Well, surely someone could benefit from a humorous interpretation of it, right? I mean… I hate to break it to You, but nobody completely GETS the book of Revelation.”

          “THAT’S THE POINT. JOB 36:26. Or did you not read that book, either?”


3. There’s that whole recovery thing. It’s kind of important that I write about that. You know why.


I am pleased, no, thrilled, NO, just plain gobsmacked to tell you this:

I signed a contract today for a book deal.

I signed a contract today for a book deal!

A book.

By ME.


Central Recovery Press, a publishing company that focuses on recovery and behavioral health,  searched me out after my Substance.com article ran at Huff Post… And the acquisitions editor, a charming woman named Eliza, then asked me a rather weird question:  “Would you want to write a book about moms in recovery. But, make it funny?”

Hmmm.  Alcoholism and humor. A rather strange mix, in a way. But then,  if I can end up in the same boat as Russel Brand, then yes, anything is possible. Humor it is!!


He’s weird, famous, very funny, and in the same special club as me. And, evidently, he really loves his dog. KINDRED SPIRIT, YA’LL.

CRP requested a book proposal, which I did. The proposal alone was a ton of work. I slaved over it.

And then, they accepted it.

And then, I did this:



For reals, ya’ll.
I am writing a book.


Bottled: How to Survive Early Recovery With Kids


It is Possible to Have Children and Not Drink Yourself Under the Crib

by:  Dana Bowman (squeeeeeee!!!!!!!)


Coming out in September!!!!!!!!!!  (and I do realize, my students, that I am overusing the ! here and breaking my own rule of NO YELLING in writing unless someone is getting chased by a bear, but heck, THIS IS TOO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!)


AND: I am so grateful to all of you, my readers, who made this happen. YOU are the reason I am living my dream, because without Momsie, none of this would have happened.


And thank you, Christy for your edits and your friendship.  You are my best cheerleader ever.


A dream is a wish your heart makes. Keep believing. Psalm 37:4.


Simplicity NOW!


This magazine is very aloof. It has issues. (GET IT?)


Once, long ago, before I had children,  I did things like:

  • Read The New Yorker.  All of it.  Even the parts I didn’t understand.
  • Cooked elaborate meals with creamy sauces and green things and then:
  • Ate those meals, on the couch,  while watching equally saucy television shows  AND NOT ONCE DID I GET UP.
  • Sleep.

I like to refer to this era in my life as:

The Time Before Children Came Along and Smacked Me Upside the Head with Their Nerf Swords. *


So now I have kids. Yep.  You guessed it. This is another post about how kids came along and blew it my life to smithereens.

They blew up the quiet time and my cute house and all my sassy shoes (heels?  HEELS? Too much of my life is block and tackle.)  They blew up menu plans and vacation plans and they really really blew up my body.  Totally did a number on it.  Blammo.

And I accept it (granted, with a lot of snark and some occasional whining) because really?  I love them like crazy.  (The lawyer is again rolling his eyes all over the place.  Appropriate descriptor, he says.)

At night I go in and look at their soft little faces and gorgeous eyelashes and  listen to their sweet little snufflings and just wonder at it all.  And then, I always ask the inevitable question that I think all parents have wondered at some point:

WHY can’t they stay asleep like, ALL THE TIME?  Every major offense they did today is totally erased when I just look at them sleeping!  They are so CUTE!  This would make it all so much SIMPLER!!!


Corie Clark, author of The Simplicity Project, offers some better options for snagging some elusive Simplicity.  I think she’s really hit on something that most moms long for:  PEACE AND QUIET, FOR PETE’S SAKE.  And maybe that peace and quiet should start in us.  The fact that we are surrounded by whirling toddlers who leave chaos and Legos (and sometimes clothing) in their wake is not really the issue.

It starts with us.

This book is a simple (yes, intended) and practical look at how Corie’s own “Simplicity Project” helped her find that peace she longed for.  I had the opportunity to interview her recently about this book and wanted to share with you some of her thoughts about finding our true purpose, while not letting “life get in the way of living.”

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?  Your family? Your hobbies?  If you were a tree, what kind of tree.. (just kidding)?

I was born and raised in California. I have been married to my best friend, Ryan for 17 years. We have 3 kids ages 9, 12, and 14. We moved from Northern California to Southern California 3 years ago and love living here. When I’m not busy homeschooling my kids or writing, you can find me at the beach. Whether it’s 50 degrees or 100 degrees, the ocean is my favorite place to be.
What inspired you to write The Simplicity Project?

I’ve actually been working on a different book for quite some time and just always had an excuse to not work on it. I never had enough time and seemed to be constantly living in chaos. I decided in February to simplify my life. This was more than just organizing. It was simplifying my health, my home, my finances, and my time. I needed some room to breathe and some room to work on my dreams and live out my purpose.

 Could you explain your writing practice? Do you write at a consistent time every day? How do you find the time?

I WISH I could say I have a certain time I write every day. I do try to write something every day but some days it just ends up being a journal entry. When I am disciplined with getting up early in the morning I’ll have my quiet time and then write. But other times, something just comes to me and I have to get it down on paper before I forget. I imagine that someday when the kids are grown, I’ll spend more time on it. Right now, it’s just a matter of setting aside a little time every day to keep at it.

Do you have a favorite chapter of your book?

I’ve never thought of a favorite chapter. I think if I had to pick it would be the section on time. It really is so important. If we don’t figure out who we are and what our roles are, we can end up wasting time and money on things that aren’t important.

Is there a least favorite? One that was hardest to write, for some reason?

I guess finances are my least favorite thing EVER. It is an area that I still struggle with. If I don’t have my budget made before my husband gets his paycheck, we’re doomed. It is so important though and when we are disciplined and have a budget, it gives me peace of mind.

What do you have to say to the overworked, overstuffed calendared Mom who doesn’t even feel she has time to read a book about finding time… Any last words of encouragement?

The most important point I try to make in the book is to give yourself grace. Don’t beat yourself up for making bad decisions or for forgetting that load of laundry that’s been sitting for two days. Just start where you are, one baby step at a time. And, if you feel like you don’t have time to read the book, I think you’ll be surprised at how simple of a read it is. I’ve read countless books on organizing, time management, and more. I always quit reading half way through because they’re too long and just complicate things. I kept things as simple as possible so that people can really accomplish something. It’s something that I lived and still practice in my everyday life. I couldn’t let life keep getting in the way of living. You shouldn’t either!


Amen, sister.

If you’re interested in ordering Corie’s book, click here, or on amazon.com.  You will be glad you did!

And I leave you with my favorite New Yorker cartoon of all time:




*Nerf swords can pack a serious punch, if you’re not prepared.  So, keep it simple.  Store them on top of the fridge and only bring ’em down when you have had an espresso or are in a really, really good mood.  You’re welcome.


Things I am Just Not Grateful for:


NaBloPoMo:  Not for the faint of heart.

NaBloPoMo: Not for the faint of heart.

I know it’s November, and this month we are all about gratitude.

But.   Todays opposite day? So I’m going to post?  This?

Top Ten Things For Which I am Not Grateful:

1.  People who are up talkers? At the end of all their sentences? They don’t really have an idea at all, really? What they’re talking about?

2.  Overuse of the !.  People,  I’m an English teacher. Yes, I chose to do it.  Listen to me:  use more than one of those suckers in an academic paper about something erudite and literary and crud, and you end up sounding like you’re name is *Brittani!  And you’re so pumped!  Because you’re trying out for your 7th grade cheer leading squad! (Double bonus if you use a heart to dot your !  And yes, it has happened.)

3.  There’s a Wocket in My Pocket.  That book creeps me out.

4.  Know what other book really creeps me out?  I’ll Love You, FOREVER.  Wow. Forever? Enough to crawl in your son’s window at night when he’s in his thirties?  Lady! Get a life!  This is American Horror Story stuff!  Please!  (Ok, see rule 2.)

Screenshot 2013-11-22 20.43.55

LOCK THE WINDOW .                                      shaungroves.com

5. People who say, “Do as I say; not as I do.”  (Yep, see rule 4.)


7.  Close-talkers.  There are too many walls around to deal with you people.



8.  “I myself.”  What other “I” are you talking about?  It’s troubling.

9.  Socks that you bought at Dillards for like a lotta amount of dollars, and they keep slipping down over your heel.  It’s un-American.

10.  And speaking of un-American: any toy from Dollar General.  It’s gonna last about 24 minutes.

Bonus:  Bra straps.  I hate them.  I realize that gravity exists and all, and we need ’em.  And there really is no super comfy strapless option out there me.  Strapless is all about, well, prom night or Victoria Secret bouncy fleshyness.  Not momsies who are tired and just don’t like to deal with the added hassle.  It is possible I need to stop buying my bras at Dollar General. (All right, all RIGHT! See rule 10.)

Oh YEA!  And another thing!  The Victoria Secret commercials?  It’s Christmas?  So of course they gotta start airing them all the time?  Right?   Baby Jesus… and diamond encrusted bra straps.  Sigh.

Image 11-22-13 at 9.00 PM


Oh, and people who start lists and then just end up rambling and whining endlessly.

The end.

*If your name is Brittani, I apologize.  You took one for the team today.  Well done, chin up, and keep telling people it’s with an “i” not a “y.”  Carri on soldier.

Go here to read a very accurate review of this nutball book.  Shaun gets the creepy.

I promise – I’ll be grateful again.  Just not today.  I feel much better.