When the routine is all we have.

Linking up with my people at Five Minute Friday today.

The theme?



There are days when I get up, I get dressed, I swig some coffee, and I sashay on out to the world and say,

“World, greetings and salutations! I just had some coffee and my kids are dressed with 75% of their clothes facing the right way, and I’m PUMPED. Let’s DO this!”

Today friends, is not that day.

Today was a wake up, stare up at the ceiling, wish for more sleep, more coffee, more time when my brain didn’t seem to hurt so bad, kind of day.

I was not ready to face it, the day, or anything else for that matter.

I just wanted to pull my covers up over my head and hope for sleep and chocolate and perhaps a Corgi puppy. A puppy would help.

That would get all messy, though. And you know the puppy would also eat the chocolate which is bad and there would be stains on the bed and UGH WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO HARD EVEN PUPPIES.

And that’s when I start in on the whole exhausting mental checklist of Doom:

  1. It’s sunny, but I’m still sad.
  2. My children are healthy. Yep, still sad.
  3. Chocolate is in the house somewhere. SAD. SAD. SAD.
  4. We are fed, watered, have a roof… and still there is this horrible dreadful SADNESS. GO AWAY.

I have no reason for this sadness. And I really hate that. I want it to go away. I want to fight it. But the more I do, the more I get stuck in the sadness. Do you remember that verse in the bible about temptation? It says not to engage. Don’t make eye contact. Just RUN DA HECK AWAY? Well, that’s what I need to do, I think.

But I’m too tired to run.

I hate this sadness SO much that I have a tendency to hunker down and listen to a sour, angry voice inside my head that I like to call my “Inner Asshole” (sounds so inappropriate and kind of gross, but really? It’s just who he is). And he says things like:

“You’ll always feel this way. This day is gonna suck so hard it will just be impossible to even MOVE and your kids will hate you and everything is awful and why even try. Nothing matters except that you know that you are a failure for feeling things so hard that they make you immobile, so for the love of Pete, MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MOVE THEN. It’s super important when feeling immobile to KEEP ON BEING THAT WAY.”

But this morning, I did this:

“Hey, Inner Asshole, shut it. (Again, kinda gross.) I gotta go teach a bunch of college kids how to write good.”

And I got up, got dressed, even brushed and flossed (win for me AND the college kids) and got to work.

I didn’t want to.

I really just wanted to stay home.

I kinda hate parenthetical citations, really.

But sometimes? The routine is all we have. And we get up, and floss, mutter the serenity prayer six times, and talk about parenthetical citations, and we hold onto all that stuff as a tiny, bobbing life preserver.

Not a big pink floatie in the shape of a flamingo, folks. Just a tiny, yellow, beat-up life preserver. That’s it. That’s all you get.

The sharks are still out there, but by goodness, I am going to float the heck out of that preserver and paddle on. 







Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

Screenshot 2018-02-09 12.20.01.png

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.





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? 

Done, Part One.



Setting: A college classroom. Various students are slouched in chairs, tired, and they are all wearing weirdly tapered Nike pants, which were so in style when I was a kid, but I still cannot fathom that young men are wearing these things today.

They kind of look like M.C. Hammer. But, you know.

I teach this class. The tapered pants are a distraction, but for the most part, we get through.

Last class we were discussing what a writer does for a living. And I was all:

“Hey, looket! I wrote a book. Like, for real. Here, let me show you!” And I showed them. But not, for real, because I have NO COPIES OF MY OWN BOOK for some reason. This is a weird glitch – but then, I figured. If you were Mark Hamill, would you have a bunch of copies of Star Wars at your house? That would be odd, right?

Actually, I so would. I would have a ton of Star Wars movies at my house.

And, too, I am not comparing Bottled to Star Wars. That’s just crazy.

Maybe Battlestar Galactica, though.

But I digress.

Then the whole class shouted, “NO WAY. Like, for REAL? Will you sign my notebook? Oh, wait, I forgot to bring paper. Or a pencil. So, here, sign my pants!”

That’s not how they responded. No. There were crickets. Crickets were chirping. I think one cricket felt sorry and said, “Nice job, dude,” but I am not sure because I don’t speak cricket.

Such is the glamorous life of a writer. You work on something for nine months and then you find yourself hoping that weirdly panted college kids will think you’re cool.

Ok, now, truth be told, I don’t really need the approval of these wee lads. But, at times, the writing life can be like this. You find yourself with all these pages of your life and you kind of carry it around, toting it from one reading to the next, and saying, “Please. Read me,”  hoping for a signing that has more then three people at it, one of which showed up because he was looking for the bathroom.

We writers. We are ego, coated in insecurity, propped up by a thesaurus.

So, a few weeks ago, I left my husband and babies (see below):


These are not my actual present-day babies. I mean, they ARE my babies, but this is a much older picture. It was on my desktop. How could it not be? I mean, look at them. The adorable is strong with these two. Blond is all… Blondo Suave. And Red? Full on nutball.

Nothing much has changed really.

But, anyhow, I left ’em. And I drove here:







To work on this:


IMG_7005.jpgAnd I was greeted by this guy:


Look deeply into my eyes. I am here for you, dude. Write. WRITE LIKE THE WIND.

Yes. It’s a church. As I am a deeply spiritual person, and am always kinda Floaty with Jesus, it only made sense that my writing retreat would be at a church.

Ok, but seriously, my friend Sonya loaned me her house while they traveled. She has the added benefit of being a pastor’s wife.

But, I am deeply spiritual. Just not Floaty. One cannot be floaty with two small children.  That’s just asking for trouble.

So, I was working on the second book. The publisher that worked with me on Bottled actually decided to let me stick around, and so, Perfect* was born.

Actually. Not yet. It’s done… but it’s not DONE done. Because there is editing and fixing and moving and cutting and OH GREAT FLOATY FATHER there is still so much more work to do.

And I love it all.

Oh, and also, at the writing retreat? There was this:


Cat, accessorized by a clip.



I’m in charge.





Cats + writing + fifty thousand Blow Pops + too much coffee = and almost done book. It’s possible I’m dedicating it to those cats.




*This is a working title. Other possibilities:

The Perfect Book

Second Books Are Hard

This is a Book and I Wroted It






And so on.

If at first you don’t succeed… blah blah blah.

Linking up with my people today at Five Minute Friday.

But, I don’t want to.

My fingers are tired. So is my head. Yesterday I had a meltdown so epic with my kids that even the dog left my side for a whole ten minutes. Which would have been kinda nice because honestly being followed constantly by Mr. clicky toenails guy is a bit annoying, but not in this case. In this case, I felt major dog-mom guilt. And basic mom guilt. Just, guilt. Loads and loads.

The theme for today, you ask?



Good one FMF. I see what you’re doing there.

Ok, so pretty much every single free minute of my existence has been spent writing The Big Fat Second Book.

Here are some facts:

  1. That which won’t kill you will make you stronger. Maybe.
  2. It’s always darkest before the dawn. Or all day. Take your pick.
  3. If at first you don’t succeed, oh just put a sock in it.

Brace yourself. Whining is coming.

WRITING ABOUT HARD THINGS IS HARD. The past three chapters have been about hard things (good news! it’s still funny! don’t forget to pre-order!!! it will still be funny!). The hard things are there because Newsflash: LIFE IS HARD.

That’s kinda the premise of the whole book, actually. Dana finally figures out how HARD life is and she writes about it. I know, right? Should be a bestseller. I can just see the droves of people at the Barnes and Nobles:

“I can’t WAIT to read this book! It’s all about how life sucks the life out of you and is so very hard!”
“My gosh, that’s totally new information to me! I must read about it! It sounds wonderful!”

Perhaps I’m being a bit hard on myself here, but words are all stuck up in my craw and it’s making me… what’s that word for when you are upset and want to hit things?

Anyhow. The other day I broke our coffee grinder because I dropped it. It was a really nice coffee grinder and I hate hate HATE it when I break things. I also hate it when people say, “Oh well. I’ll just go buy another one,” because that just seems wasteful and the poor kids in India who made the coffee grinder probably could use a break. But, I really do LIKE ground coffee. It makes my heart sing a little. So – I was all smart and good for the environment and I bought a cheap little hand grind grinder thingie on the Amazons. Boom! I can work out my arms and save money AND electricity! I AM SAVING THE EARTH AND ALL THE THINGS!

Guys. To grind about one cup’s worth of beans takes forty five minutes.

Well, maybe not quite that many but it feels like it. I ground and ground and ground and… ground and ground… and ground… and checked and ground and ground…


All of this is to say: keep trying. Don’t give up. Don’t give up on yourself as a momma, and also as a really bad hand-crank coffee bean grinder person. Because, you know, I am KEEPING that #@@%$ grinder and I’m gonna crank the ##$$ out of it. JUST KEEP GRINDING THE BEANS.

And, you, my sweet children, I will keep trying. I will come up to you and say “I’m sorry. Please forgive me?” and you will reach your little arms around my neck and we will all keep trying. We have to. We’re stuck with each other.

And YOU, book. Yea, I’m talking about you. I will keep trying. I will. I will write about the hard things and the funny things and dance around the parts that I think sound like the world’s worst writing since the history of writing, and I will not give up.

Or, as my son put it: “I forgotted yesterday anyhow, Momma.”

Press on.



Darling Patrons: An Open Letter To the People Who Read My Stuff. Otherwise known as a blog post.



I have lovely news, but I keep getting interrupted by other stuff.

Other stuff:

  1. Children. Small children. They NEED things. Even when they don’t they really like to carry on conversations with you. Case in point: This morning Red was coming out of the bathroom, sauntered past me, and asked, “Mom, do you like sausages?” I had no idea how to respond, really. It was the whole juxtaposition of the bathroom*, the nonchalance, and my inability to talk without coffee. I was flummoxed. But, yes, actually, I DO like sausages. Italian and summer are my favorite.
  2. *Just don’t dwell on it too much and it won’t get icky.

3. A furry white cat that was on death’s door a week ago. But more on that later.

4. Laundry. See #1.

I know the other stuff is normal (except for Steve, the cat but more on that later) but the older I get the harder it is to multi-task. It’s like my synapses just freak out and say, “Hey! Everybody! She’s trying to do that multi-tasking thing again! Take COVER!”” And there’s general running about and firing of synapses all over the place and waving of synapsey arms and mayhem.

I was trying to get (shove) my two boys out the door this morning for VBS, hoping for an hour to work on the lovely news, when I noticed that Red’s bed looked like he had piled every single one of his stuffed animals on it. It looked like this because, as I asked him for verification, “Mom, I piled every one of my stuffed animals on it! I have a kaJILLION!”

And that’s when I started in on Mom Lecture #3445, Clean Up Your Stuff Or It Will Go Away And You Will Have to Play with Sticks. 

Me: Red, you KNOW you are to MAKE YOUR BED every morning, and this is a MESS and-

Red: But, Mom-

Me: Hold on dear, I’m not to the sub points of the lecture. And FIRST OF ALL-

Red: But, MOM-

Me: One minute. FIRST OF ALL, it’s important to be RESPONSIBLE-




Me: Oh. That’s adorable. And, they gave you homework? This VBS is hardcore.

Jesus and Red = 1 Mom = 0


Anyhow. I am now writing my little fingers off to tell you about THIS:IMG_6550.png

I’m working on another book. The publishing company actually wanted me to write another book. ANOTHER ONE.

Which, as you  know, means I am really a big deal.

Also, it’s possible I have had the worst case of writer’s block known to all writers in the universe (no hyperbole here) because FOLLOW UP IS SO NOT MY THING.

I’ll keep you posted. But, in fact, I won’t keep you posted as much as I would like because every stray minute that dangles in front of me is utilized in eeking out another painful sentence on this second-book thing. I am serious. Last night I wrote a sentence. Then stared off into space. Then deleted the sentence. More staring. Wept a little. Repeat. This must be what snails feel like all the time.

Poor snails.

I tell you this, so you will feel sorry for me. Just a teensy weensy bit? I always did like sympathy. I’m so not like those people who are all, “I don’t want your sympathy!”



See?! This writing thing? It’s really hard! (To be honest, I think George might want to consider counseling.)

But, if not sympathy, then your prayers. My family and me need to survive together until the manuscript is done, and this morning I asked Blonde to provide me with a synonym for “glass” and he answered “Um, donkey?” and I just nodded and carried on.

Never ask an eight year old with bad hearing for synonyms.

I’m gonna try and stick with the donkey-half-full ideology that a second book is wonderful and exciting and such a blessing. And, it is happening because of YOU guys. So, I thank you from the bottom of my synapse-misfiring little heart.
I do love you so.

I lift my donkey of grape juice to you.

This book is gonna be so good, can’t you tell?









I Know You Missed Me.

Well I’m baaaaaack!! (Waves fervently hello). I KNOW, right? You had it on your calendar that I would be returning this week, didn’t you? (Looks expectantly, out there, to the great interweb audience in the sky.)

I am staring at this screen like for some reason the words are going to come jumping out at me.

My goodness, the words are so not jumping.

This writing thing? It’s not like riding a bike. You have to keep at it, or the words just slump around, like surly teenagers.

Me: Hey kids! How are you? Anyone wanna snack? I’ve got Teddy Grahams.

Words: *eye roll*

Me: Sooooo, how was your day?

Words: Ok.

Me: So… anything else you want to share? I can’t write a blog that’s monosyllabic.

Words: *eye roll*


Words: *mutters and slouches off*

Me: Ok, well, bye! Love you! Bye! I’ll be here, uh, waiting for actual interaction.

I missed writing. I missed it so much that I kind of forgot how to do it. That’s what happens when you love something and you don’t do it for a while. The love gets all smushed up and then it feels sad and it wanders off and forgets it exists.

Ok, that might be a bit over the top, but writing with sublety has never really been my thing.

So, I’m going to go and try to find some way to get the words to stop playing video games and saying things like, “Like whatever.” and shrugging so much they might pinch a nerve.

I’m going to keep at this, and hopefully the next post will be more inspired. It won’t be Pulitzer worthy, but it will be something.

Something to share, and something to spread a little laughter, and something that hopefully, HOPEFULLY, gives your day a little extra light. Because, that is my thing.

Words: Uh… little help?

Me: What’s wrong? Why are you walking funny?

Words: I over-shrugged. I did it too long and now…

Me: It’s stuck that way?

Words: It’s stuck that way.