This photo has nothing to do with the following post. 
I'm terrible at self-promotion. It feels dirty and awkward and wrong and a little bit like Ron Burgundy from Anchorman, yelling, "HEY EVERYBODY--COME AND SEE HOW GOOD I LOOK!" It just feels kind of skeezy and self-centered. But....the more I am in this "business" of free-lance writing, the more I realize that promoting my writing is very different than promoting myself AND my work will be buried if I don't promote it in some way. So...this is my awkward invitation to you to "like" my Facebook page boiled down to three reasons: 

1. Your "like" could help save millions of people approximately 124 people. It probably won't...but, one of your Facebook friends could see your "like" and stumble on over to my Facebook page and read one of my articles and then they could suddenly feel not so alone in this world. I'm totally aware that this is border line slippery-slope reasoning. All jesting aside, as my work has reached a wider audience, I've received many emails and Facebook messages from total strangers (and non-strangers....I guess a normal, more articulate person would call these people acquaintances) thanking me for writing about the hard stuff of parenting foster kids, infertility, living with anxiety, and continuing to be faithful when the world around me is crumbling. These messages remind me of how isolated I've felt during different periods of my life, and how badly I just wanted to connect with someone, anyone who was in a similar situation. I write primarily so it will help others to feel some sort of solidarity. Your "like" on my Facebook page could help me reach a wider audience of folks who might need to feel a sense of community. 

2. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Do you remember those "The More You Know" commercials from the 90s?!? My Facebook page is more or less like these commercials without mustaches and shoulder pads. On my writing likeness Facebook page, I post my writing and links to other articles on topics that are worth learning about--things like foster care, simple living, spirituality, mindfulness, etc. And fo' real--who doesn't love to learn?!?

3. Your "like" could help me achieve my dream of having my own reality TV show. I'm just kidding. I don't even have cable. But....I do have a big dream someday of writing a book. The "experts" (I guess publishers are considered experts these days...) say before I can write and publish a book, I need some sort of willing audience who can give me feedback....but if your feedback is negative, you can be damn sure that I'll delete that crap in a snap (RELAX. I'm kidding....I will not delete it. I'll just eat my feelings instead.)

So...go ahead and just do it (and by it...I clearly mean click "like" on my Facebook page). Chances are if you're my friend on normal Facebook or if you recently "liked" one of my posts on my writing likeness Facebook page, then you have an invite. Check your notifications icon on Facebook. Scroll down...past the invitations to play Farmville from your Great Aunt Jane.  Do you have an invite to "like" my page lingering??? Take the plunge today and click "like." You probably won't regret it. Who knows....maybe if I reach 250 likes, I'll sport some shoulder pads and a mustache just to make y'all laugh.


Opportunities, Jesus, and a hundred What-Ifs

A year ago we were living in Omaha; my husband was the choir director at a huge school, and I had just left my full-time career teaching high school English. We were adjusting to being a family of four with two special needs kiddos from foster care that required more of our time and energy then we thought. On top of this, we were facing uncertainty about our careers and whether or not we should stay in Omaha. Fast forward a year later and we are living in my husband's hometown, three houses from a cornfield in an area where, on a clear night, the stars are penetrating and the silence is noteworthy. I am working part-time, and my husband is teaching middle school music where his only outside of school commitments are a two-month show choir season and only two concerts a year..which seems like he's working part-time compared to all of his previous teaching gigs. Our schedules are more free and flexible than they ever have been before. And during one of my quiet reflection moments a few months ago, I reflected on all of this and felt like we were suddenly in a season of opportunity. 

Not my arms. Not my Bible. 
Immediately, I begged God to spare me from opportunities that required me to be social because I am AWKWARD and introverted.


The story our actions tell

I have a serious sugar addiction that I blame on my mother and my grandfather. Before I had children, I could happily indulge in candy and ice cream in my living room at 4:30 in the afternoon. Now that I have children, I have to sneak my sweets (I am too selfish to share them with my kids, #FoReal).
This is what it looks like when I eat a box of chocolates....
I swear--my kids can hear me opening a tiny box of Nerds from across the damn house because EVERY TIME I am about to eat their Halloween/Valentines/Easter candy, in the privacy of a locked bathroom, they come a running from the depths of their basement playroom, yelling, "MOM! WHAT ARE YOU EATING?!" Now that I'm a mom, my behavior (and my sugar addiction) simply is not overlooked.

I Don't Have a Birth Story To Tell You

Note: This piece originally appeared on Scary Mommy. It was a difficult piece to write, but as with all of my writing--it's one that I hope reaches those who need it. Here's a teaser:

I don't have a birth story. There are no sweet post-birth photos or memories of my husband gazing at me in admiration, in awe of the incredible act of childbirth. Perhaps our children's adoption days will be that moment for my husband, but those moments feel so ordinary and less monumental than the physical birth of a child. 

I worry that when the chaos of life bites down on us, during those times when I lose my shit--when I'm folding mountains of laundry, bra-less, in my pajamas at 6 PM--I worry my husband will look at me see just a woman, bra-less, in pajamas, folding laundry, not one who  braved searing pain to give him the greatest gift outside of grace. I fear he won't have a defining moment to look back on to revive his sense of love for me when I'm at my worst... Click here to read more! 


My Little Black Dress: A Story of Adoption and Heartbreak

Note: I've been busy lately submitting work for publication. One of my posts that originally appeared on this blog was published a few weeks ago on Sammiches & Psych Meds. While it's not getting the views that some of my other pieces are getting, this is one post I'm most proud of mostly because it articulates a moment that I didn't let break me. Here's a teaser of the post:

My husband always wanted to be a dad, and I wanted to be the person who would give him that desire. But after years of trying to conceive and then an eventual medical diagnosis of infertility--one that loomed like an ironic scarlet letter--we decided to pursue infant adoption. We waited for a year before we got the call--the one that every potential adoptive parent hopes for each time his/her phone rings. There was a birth mom. She picked us. Baby boy was due in three months. There were three potential fathers. Legal risk. Could she meet us? We were hesitant and thrilled at the same time; of course we didn't say no to meeting her....Click here to read more. 


Strength in Accepting Help

Here is a snippet of my latest post on Her View From Home; feel free to read it and share it on social media if you're feeling generous!

One Sunday afternoon before dinner with friends, I frenetically paced the kitchen finishing the prep work for dinner. Appearing to be strung out on meth, I washed dishes, scrubbed counters, tidied our office nook, and packed the kids' lunches for the next day. When I slip into this state of crazy, there is no pause between shifting tasks. It never occurs to me to ask for help......

To read more from this post, click here! 


Reaching out to our neighbors

So here's the deal: I am an introvert, but I also have a desire to connect on a meaningful level with people. Connecting with folks on a level that goes beyond the surface is essential for me to feel good about life. Conversely, I happen to be terrible at small talk. I'm the person who goes on and on about the weather because I don't know how to do small talk. In large groups, I'm the awkward person who either is super loud (seriously, why do I lose all ability to control my voice in social situations?!) or who takes the conversation to a new level of weird or inappropriate. Now that I've thrown all that out on the table for you: I'll add that in three weeks my family is hosting an old fashioned ice cream party in our driveway for our ALL of our neighbors...who we don't know.

I can only picture how this will go...and this picture IS NOT PRETTY. So...why are we doing this?!?


Learning to accept criticism

A few weeks ago, my first piece went live on the Huffington Post blog. It was a narrative about what it's like to parent children with Reactive Attachment Disorder, and for the most part, I've received a surprising amount of encouraging comments. Many folks commented with appreciation for writing about such a tough topic and for giving them something they could relate to. A few folks went even further and reached out in private messages to engage in conversation about their own struggles parenting children from similar backgrounds.