Home is Where the Heart Is

Six months ago I was caught between two worlds. I wanted to go but at the same time I wanted to stay. Our family of four was planning to move from Deep in the Heart of  Texas to the Magnolia State of Mississippi. The almost move – a symbol of rejection, heartbreak, despair, and new beginnings – caused a battle between the things and the people and I love the most.

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The Most-Hated Parenting Advice

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When I was a new mom, it seemed like everyone had advice about parenting or babies or family life. Even though it stressed me out, I listened and I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt because I knew they only wanted to help me and see me thrive as a mother.

A visit to the pediatrician with my oldest led to a discussion about sleep habits and he stopped me in my tracks and said the most important thing any doctor has ever told me.

“Whatever works for you is the best way to do it.” Continue reading

What To Do When Everything About Your Thanksgiving is Non-Traditional

stress-free-thanksgiving-ig

It’s fall y’all! My excitement in writing those words is pure excitement because here in Texas (and across most of the southern part of the United States) the weather has been unseasonably warm. We were still seeing daily highs in the 80s and 90s until very recently.

But now, it has appeared to have cooled off. First the temps dropped down to the 70s, but now we are waking up to some frost. During the day, the sun is out and the temperatures are comfortable. This is totally cool by my standards because I do not fully appreciate the value of cold weather. Translation: I hate winter. In other words, fall is my jam.

I know for a lot of us the transition to fall happened when football season and pumpkin everything began, but for me it didn’t. During the months of September, October, and most of November, I felt like I was just going through the motions; claiming to love fall but not really feeling like we were truly there yet.

And now we are celebrating Thansgiving. And immediately thereafter, we’ll be into Christmas and Hanukkah and New Year’s. This year in particular, Thanksgiving is different. This year, my family is mourning an additional loss in the death of my aunt that just doesn’t feel right. Holidays were important to her, even the holidays that we didn’t converge at her house. And for lack of a better word, it’s just weird without her being here.

The current political climate of our country is full of tension, stress, and yes, even hatred. That does not bode well for giving thanks. It’s hard, and without going into why and how and healing and such we are forced to wait and see what’s going to happen next.

In a way, we are now forced to accept a new normal, not only for celebrating the holidays, but for living. The new normal signifies change. And change can be hard. But even in the changes, there can be fun. There can be rest. There can be a time for family togetherness.  Continue reading

If Nothing Else Has Changed, My Writing Has

the state of our country affected my writing

Reenactment of three conversations that I’ve had in the past two weeks:

“Toni! How’s blogging? What have you been writing about lately?”

“Blogging is great. I’ve taken some time off this fall but other than that, it’s great.”

“Oh wow. What are you writing about now?”

<My initial thought: “Did you just hear me say I took some time off this fall? That means I haven’t been writing.”>

“My last post was in August  – it’s now November, I’m not sure that I’m actually writing about anything now.”

Cue the awkward silence. I haven’t been writing a lot. Writing is my therapy so if I haven’t been writing, it’s like I’ve missed some valuable therapy sessions. Those who are close to me know that something is probably very wrong in my world if I’m not writing, and I haven’t been writing in the past three months.

Because things were very wrong. Continue reading