I woke up today and remembered something. I woke up. It is so easy to take EVERYTHING for granted each day. I want to enjoy everything I possibly can. I want to inhale the smells of the season. I want to relish in the sound of a crowd cheering at a football game. I want to feel the goosebumps I get each time that song comes on. I want to close my eyes and enjoy the sound of my baby breathing.

Monday doesn’t have to be a bad day. Monday can be another gift. Forever I have loathed Monday. It means the countdown is on for Friday. Someone wise once told me that if you are always looking forward to the NEXT thing than you aren’t living in the here and now. Life is full of Mondays. Monday is not my enemy. God woke me up on this Monday. God gave me another day with my children. He let me speak to my almost 90 year-old grandmother on the phone. Monday has been good.

What is my point? It’s simple, really. Enjoy that cookie. Stay up a little later and have that conversation with your sweetheart. Lose a little more sleep, or get a little extra rest. Dance in the rain. Talk to God. Write a letter. Give someone a compliment or even just a smile. Whatever it is that required just a little more effort….do it. I guarantee you won’t regret it.


Her Light

We live a thousand miles apart but I can feel her in my soul. The sound of laughter in her voice makes me smile. She is the perfect amount of everything I am not.

We aren’t wired the same, but we share the same blood. We have the same past, to a point. We love a lot of the same people and we have different dreams. Sometimes, I can close my eyes and see her. It’s like she is sitting next to me, holding my hand.

She is home or what home used to be. She was always long and lanky, I think. I was jealous of her beauty, but beauty means nothing if you use it to your advantage. That is the one thing she has never done. She cares more for others than she ever has for herself. She has goals, she has plans and she has credibility.

The ways we are alike are astounding and the ways we are different are immense. If I had to pick one word to describe her, it would be: multifaceted. I see her face and light pours from her edges. It’s the glittery light you see reflecting off the water. It’s the light you want to touch, the light of star clusters. It’s the same lazy light at dusk that you silently will to stay. It’s the light you see in the delivery room right before your baby is born. It’s the first light on the morning after you become sober. It’s the light that Jesus puts on your heart, the closer you get, the warmer it feels.

You don’t know her, not like I do. She may be many different things to you, but she is never more to you than she is to me. I share her with the world not by choice, but by necessity. She is needed, her goodness, her light. You see, there aren’t many like her. She was given to me as a gift. She is here to remind me that not all people are bad. Not all hope is lost. Not all things fail.

Do not underestimate her, you can’t breathe without her either.

For Caitlyn.

Dear Sweet Girl

Dear Sweet Girl,
Goodbye is hard.
You grabbed the World,
And you clung hard.
You made wishes,
And you felt deep,
You raised above,
You stayed on your feet.
You saw the chance,
To make your mark,
You were a light,
You were a Spark.
I dreamed about you,
On this night.
You looked around,
You looked alright.
God has taken you,
For reasons only He can know,
I watched you walk,
I watched you go.
You turned and smiled,
And right then I knew,
We shouldn’t worry,
We shouldn’t cry,
He has given you a gift,
The gift of eternal life.
Thank you L,
For making us see,
Life is a chance,
A gift,
A start,
It doesn’t define us,
Confine us,
Or keep us apart.
Go now, sweet one,
And share your light,
God will see us all,
Through this night.

To all of our students:
We see you. We see you hurting. We see you being strong. We see you fighting the heartbreak.
Do NOT give up the fight. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be angry. Just remember that this life is temporary, so do everything with heart, just like she did.

My FB Deal

21961fd3faa593898416a1e2c884e85dI have been sitting back for a while. As some of you may or may not know, I quit Facebook about 4 years ago. I think it is safe to say that I just needed to disconnect for a while. I know that many times I feel like I am too close to a situation. In some ways, Facebook scared me.

Last weekend, I reactivated it. I knew the hurricane was coming. I knew that this would be one of the easiest ways to keep up with my fellow humans who were going to be affected. (Also, may I just add, the use of affected vs. effected by the hurricane is totally going to be used in an upcoming lesson in my classes.) So, I took the dangling bait in front of me and I bought back into Facebook. I have learned several things about myself in the past week.

  1. The last four years has proven to have aged me.
  2. People still blast their opinions far too often.
  3. I still do NOT care what you are doing every second of your life.
  4. Facebook is okay to have, as long as you have limitations.

Okay, so let us begin with the obvious, I have aged in the last four years. Here is what is not so obvious: I no longer care about the same things I did four years ago. Four years ago, I thought the world revolved around pictures of my kids, giving updates on my life changes, and making sure I wasn’t forgotten in the world. Yes, I will still flood your feed with pictures of my kiddos, but I’m hoping my being back on here will have another meaning. I hope that through this platform, I will be able to do a couple of things. The first thing I would like to do, is to change a life. I have no idea if that means I will inspire someone to climb a literal or a figurative mountain. I have no idea if that means I will steer someone away from moving to (THE GREAT STATE OF) Texas, or to get out of an abusive relationship, or to simply change a lifestyle habit. All I know is that my goal is to change a life.

Opinions are like the thing we all have between our butt cheeks. I am not one to blast my views all over social media. Yes, I believe in our Lord and Savior. Yes, I think that some things in this world are wrong and some are right. As a journalist at heart, I tend to waiver on the side of objective sensibility (yes, I am fully aware that is an oxymoron). What I want to say about me personally using social media as a soapbox is this: I do not, at any point, plan on shoving my political, religious, social, private, public, preferred ketchup brand views down your throat. I hate nothing more than to see people belittling other people based on how they chose to live their lives. The world has enough problems, no need to add my two cents to the mix.

Disclaimer: This does not mean that I will not share important articles from time to time that I believe deserve a read. If you so chose to read them, that is completely up to you. I will do my best to keep my opinion out of the post. You can read the article yourself and make your own call. You are big boys and girls….I trust you. 

If you are making more update posts a day than a news outlet: you need rehab. Okay, your kid is cute. That dog is cute. Smokey the cat is adorable. I love that you can tie a shoe with your teeth. Dang! I wish I could cook a potato that looked that good. You rock in those skin-tight pants! How many marshmallows can Jennifer stick in her mouth? Mannnnnnnnnnnnnn….teach me to hula-hoop like that GURL! Trust me, I am all about knowing you. If we are friends on Facebook, it is truly because I dig you as a human. At some point in life, we connected. Here’s what’s up though: if I know all of that stuff about your life and it is only 11 a.m., I think we are going to need a Facebook interFRIENDtion. I’m cool if you decide to unfriend me based on this part of my post. I just want you to know that I still love you as a human. Maybe it is just better this way. If I see you out some where in real life and you want to tell me all about your kids and your dog and your cat and your preferred ketchup brand, I am down. I just don’t want it in this format and I am not going to expect you to take that crap from me on social media either.

Limits, limits, limits. After the week that our country just endured, I have one very important lesson I want to share. I will be limiting the time I spend on social media each day. Last week may have been the hardest emotional week of my life, apart from my father’s passing. Texas took a direct hit from Hurricane Harvey. Yes, I personally know people directly affected. Every single person I know here knows someone directly affected. Let me tell you, that’s a big feat. I’m not sure if you are aware, but Texas, MY TEXAS, is a pretty large state. Anyway, my point here is that even for those of you who do not know some one who was affected, you still saw all the same things on Facebook that I saw. I became consumed just watching the human race helping each other. I cried EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. just reading Facebook. I know that is not any fault of Facebook, I just know that I allowed myself to be consumed by the overwhelming information that I was constantly receiving. I have put a time limit of 10 minutes a day on my usage. I will allow for 20 minutes on the weekends, but besides that….I refuse to be sucked in.

So my overall reason for this post it to basically just say hi and let you know that I have rejoined the “World of Facebook.” I also wanted to get my guidelines for myself out there. I am a true believer that if you voice something (or in this case, write something) that others witness, than you have a better chance of sticking to it. So, consider this the part where I sign off and drive off into the sunset.




Have you ever finished a book and just really wondered who this character is who put all their hard work and sweat into writing this piece of art? Have you ever glanced at their headshot on the back of their masterpiece and thought, “So, this pretty, dark-haired lady dreams up grousome murders of children?” She looks friendly, and happy. She looks like she drives a moderately mid-sized vehicle and probably flosses her teeth the way the dentist wants. She has a fancy bred dog with an annoying preppy name like “Jack” or “Tripp.” Her kids play soccer and take piano lessons. She enjoys a full bodied glass of red 2-3 times a week. She takes a cycling class and meets up with friends for a fancy lunch once a month at the club.

But then, I think about how this woman spent time reviewing grousome crime scene photos of murders. She had to study blood spatter patterns. She had to decide what details would make the story breathe. She tumbled down some back roads in an abandoned town and scribble scratched what she saw. She called a friend of a cousin and asked enough to figure out how much money it would take to run a farm in the 80’s. She heard a name that sounded good and played with last names and nicknames. She researched weather patterns and geographical areas. Maybe she traveled to a different state or a different country and researched things. The “normal” everyday things this author does is not what interests me. What interests me is that she has this whole other life. She is in some dusty old courthouse with her nose stuck in old county record books. She is someone who drives 60 miles to buy coffee for a prosecuting attorney who is nice enough to answer some questions about a fictional case. I see someone who can’t sleep at night because she is thinking about how to end a sentence. Not just any sentence, but that sentence in chapter 9, where the new piece of information has been intoduced and the character just has not been subtle enough about their feelings.  I see someone who is inconspicuously taking notes on their phone when a conversation interests her. Later, she will recite it and reread it. It will become the voice of one of her characters. I see someone who is determined to make their creative art come alive. I see someone who does not care what the best-sellers are about. I see someone who wants their craft and their story to reach far beyond any boarders or boundaries. I see someone who works hard. She is consistent. She believes in the gut of her gut that she is doing what she was made to do. I see her. I see me.

Tobacco Pine

It’s all there in her mind. She can see it unraveling in front of her as her hands plunge deeper into the soapy water. 

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. 

They are tangled together in sheets. His amber hair grabs some reflection of the sunlight coming through those disgusting blinds they had to buy. They really are awful. She almost has to squeeze her lips to keep the thought from escaping her mouth.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. 

She pauses a moment as she calls up the day they purchased the blinds for their new home eight years ago. Eight years? That couldn’t be right. She stops the almost mechanical motion of her hands  now in the water to do the math. She never really could multitask and do math. It required thought. It required attention, much like the man in the bed. Her hands started moving again as those thoughts broke through. 

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. 

She had gone unnoticed. Apparently the activities in those newly laundered sheets  had their full attention. She had been able to slip through the screen door and cross the length of the old farmhouse in a few long strides. No floor boards creaked. No wind rustled the leaves. No forewarning sounds that time was to be forever divided. 

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. 

It was embarrassing for her. Not the kind of embarrassment you should feel when someone lets you down. It was embarrassment for what she had witnessed. It took her back decades to when she was innocent to the ways of the wicked. She was embarrassed these images would never leave her. She was no longer innocent to the conditions of the outside world. 

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. 

The way he had stroked her long, golden hair, the way he had never taken his eyes off of hers, it was disgusting and devastating at the same time. At one point she had lifted her hand to cover her mouth, but it had been too late. The darkest of green bile had risen to her throat and some how had managed to leave her body as quietly as possible. That was the part that gave her away. That damn Tabacco Pine that she had fallen in love with when they had ripped up the carpet. Oh, how she had danced around in her ripped jeans and Pink Floyd tee covered in drywall dust just admiring the beauty of that hidden gem under the drabby carpet. Then, just like her marriage, she put in all the hard work. She combed the beauty for any holes, cracks, or exposed dangers. She crooned  “Amazing Grace” on her hands and knees as she worked to sand off the 50 years of hard labor the floor had endured. Aftewards came the chemical stripping, oil bath, and repeated caressing with the old piece of cotton. She had finally finished the beauty late one Thursday evening in September. She took off all her clothes, grabbed a bottle of wine, and laid out on the magnificent slab of butter, just enjoying the energy the house seemed to put off. She had put her blood and sweat into those planks. She felt like she had left part of her heart in those wood grains, and now, here she was, completely betrayed by them. She stared down at her feet, distantly aware that the contents of her stomach were now seeping into those old cracks. She was also vaguely aware that she was no longer unnoticed. The scurry of movement in front of her was violent. She didn’t dare look up. She simply turned her body towards the kitchen and silently commanded movement in her legs. Before she understood why or what she was doing, she was standing over the large sink with her hands submerged. 

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. 

“No Selfie Challenge” 

Discussing private matters has never been my topic of choice. I have always stuck to the motto: “Some things are better left unsaid.” Until recently, I have not been bucked on this topic too much. Of late, I have become disheartened about how we all tend to present a facade about who or what we truly are in places like social media. 

My biggest hang-up, is not that I don’t present myself in a good light. No, my biggest hang-up is that I feel that sharing aspects of my life with others is indeed “presenting myself.” I worry that a funny that I chose to share, or a caption I take time to write, may offend someone. The real parts of me are screaming to be unlocked. They are opening a door and screaming down an empty corridor, “Just be you!” 

In a society where we are trained to always put our best foot forward, is it so bad to hope that maybe we can train ourselves to let our blisters be seen? We all have them. Each of us is human, with mistakes, mortgages that sometimes are a struggle to pay, and relationships that get bruised and battered. Life can not be pretty all the time. We as humans are bound to make mistakes. We want what we want. We inhale hope and sometimes exhale hurt. 

When we decide to let things define us is when we give all the power to another person. I have no intention of giving someone else the opportunity to define who I am. 

Today, December 9th, I have decided to make a “No Selfie Challenge” for myself. For one year, I am going to refrain from sharing any selfie pictures. I think that taking a year off from presenting my appearance with filters or the way I think is acceptable to be seen, will change how I feel about giving someone else that coveted power. To be clear, I’m not saying I won’t share any pictures of me, say with my family. I simply mean, they won’t be pictures I took of myself. In many cases, I find I only use pictures that are from what I think is my best angle. I use filters to hide my wrinkles and graying hair. From now until December 9, 2017,  any picture I post will be one that I took of someone else, or one that someone else has taken of me. In both instances, I will refrain from using any filters or enhancers (except in the case of professional photos that someone else took, I have no control over those filters or enhancers). This is a little experiment just for me. I want to see how it changes or does not change my perception on “presenting myself.” 

Wish me luck! 

See what I mean? The left is a selfie with filters. The right is a picture taken by a family member sans filter.