It’s not the flight I’m nervous about. It’s not even (for once) me, that I’m nervous about. (I tend to be afraid I’ll screw up. Say something dumb. Forget something…whatever, At this point I’ve messed up enough times to know: I’ll survive and people can be pretty gracious when you just own your stuff.)

This time it’s not me stuff that’s got my drawers in a bunch.

It’s: other stuff.

Cancer stuff.(I hate cancer.)
Side effect stuff. (I’m reserving the right to hate chemo. If it doesn’t work. If it works…. I just hate the side effects.)
Kid stuff. (Kids are complicated. Mothering is hard. Always.
Dog stuff. (We’re really good at turning dogs into wild animals that attack Amazon boxes. )
House stuff. (I’m a mom. There’s always house stuff. This week it’s the norm + prep for a new roof. That should be fun. See also: Wild dogs)

Pretty much, it all comes down to stuff I can’t control. The cancer is still there even if I’m in the same room with my husband. So are the side effects. I can’t stop them. Kid stuff happens whether I’m home or not. The dogs will make a mess and eat things they shouldn’t. They’d do the same, if I were home.

The house is as clean as I could clean it without making myself insane or injured. Laundry is in ikea bags on my bed. Clean and folded… There are pork chops in the freezer and veggies and quinoa for dinner. I packed lunches and put out school clothes for my middle schooler. (I also told him to have a good trip, 3 times this morning. Hint: he’s not going anywhere. I am. His response: “Are you trying to send me off to the army? I thought I was going to school?” Nope. Not the army mr middle school. Just school and a mom on overload.

I did what I could to make things easy. But I can’t control what happens once the wheels on this plane leave the ground. Oops they just did. I’m no longer in control.

The truth is: I couldn’t control those things prior to take off, either.

Funny how much control we think we have, until we realize we don’t.

So, here I am, on a cramped, delayed flight to Louisville. (Can’t control that either… There’s a theme here somewhere.)

I left my husband -who’s hair started falling out yesterday due to chemo, 3 psychotic dogs, a slightly anxious middle schooler who called home for diarrhea meds before I even boarded my flight with 2 college boys to hold down the fort. I am THAT: woman, wife, mom.

There are emergency #’s and contingency plans. But, still. It’s hard.

Why am I doing it?

Because God has uniquely designed me to serve him, by loving moms. One of the ways I get to do that is through MOPS International. This week is #MomCon. MomCon is when we gather together as Moms and leaders to remember why we do what we do, and to worship and be together.

After a lot of praying and watching ( my husband… To make sure he’s really ok.) and asking…. My husband and I decided that I should go.

Even if it’s hard.

Being brave- isn’t about things being easy, being brave isn’t about not being afraid. Being brave is feeling the fear and trusting God is bigger- then doing the thing you need to do.

So…. This is me. Nervously, bravely on a plane. Heading to MomCon. To go and do what I’m called to. Because I believe God called me knowing everything that would happen leading up to this moment.

God isn’t surprised by cancer. Or “stuff” issues. God carries us through them.

As he’s carrying me, now.

The MOPS theme this year is “be you, bravely”

funny how God’s already giving me opportunities to grow more brave…. Isn’t it? It’s almost as if he knew or something…..

Praying for you, as I’m flying over the clouds. Are you nervously bravely doing something today? Tell me what it is in the comment section… I can’t wait to hear!

And if you’re heading to #MomCon I’ll see you soon! I’ll. slightly nervous but trusting brunette with a prostate cancer awareness blue streak in my hair… Say hi! I have chocolate:)


“I’ll just lie down for a few minutes.”  My throat was burning and my head was doing an impression of a mudslide- so a few minutes of rest sounded more than good. It sounded necessary. 

Except- it turned into a 2.5 hour nap. (An anomaly in itself. I am a reverse vampire- I cannot sleep during the day. Well, except for yesterday. Of course.) Which would have been fine- if that impromptu “nap” hadn’t run right through lunch. During which, I’d promised to bring my youngest Arby’s. Cause I’m an awesome mom like that. (“Awesome mom like that” herein defined as: a mom who happened to be out of lunch makings. AKA: slacker mom.)

I woke up when my middle son walked in from college- holding a bag of Arby’s. It was a little like one of those nightmares where you’re back in high school late for class, have a test can’t open your locker and can’t find your classroom. Naked.  I was dressed- but it was that kind of panicked wake-up. I immediately went into “recovery mode.”  (Where I try to fix whatever I’ve screwed up. I’ve made enough mistakes in life to know you can often fix them.) I looked at the clock: “3:34.” Not helping. Lunch was so very over that it was almost time for the bus to show up.

In my mind I could picture him- a sepia toned cafeteria- my child. Sitting alone. Head on his crossed arms-  tears puddling on the dirty table. I hear him- between sniffs -“No, I don’t need to borrow money for lunch. My mom SAID she’d be here. She’s bringing Arby’s.”  I see the cafeteria emptying out like closing time at a local bar. He’s still waiting. The lights go out. Dejected- he heads to class. Hungry and heart broken. (And the only kid in sepia  while the school is in HD. So weird.)

In a flash (it’s 3:35 now.) I realize: He’ll never trust me again. (more…)

On the third roll of the Pokemon Yahtzee Jr. dice, my grandma scored big.  “It’s the luck of the Irish” She grinned… 

“Grandma, you’re Welsh.” I countered. ( A little worried that assisted living was getting to her.)

“And Irish” She replied. “Our last name used to be O’Reardon. We dropped the O’ when we moved to the US.”

“Huh?” I looked at Grandma, she wasn’t kidding.

“I’m Irish?” I asked.

Grandma nodded.

And with that, my identity changed.

I now know that I am : Italian, Polish, English, Welsh and Irish. The entire UN wrapped in mom-jeans.

For 40+ years I’ve been confused about my identity.  It made me wonder….

What box do I check on my “census form, now?” The truth is- this isn’t my  first run in with identity confusion…

There is who I think I am… ( a mess) and who God says I am.….(forgiven, beloved, cherished) the two are vastly different. For the most part- I believe myself more than God. (Bad move, on my part.)

I’ve been wondering why, when my grandma announced my “Irishness” I accepted  it so easily,  but when God declares my identity in Him… I am reluctant  or slow (to say the least)  to believe it?

Does Grandma have more credibility than God?  Do I?  Does my past?  Does my insecurity?  Do other people’s opinions?

As much as I loved my grandma…(We lost her a year ago last December) I have to say no, she does not. Nor do I, or my past.. or anyone else.

It’s time I set aside my old beliefs about who I am.. and start listening to who God says I am….

If I can believe I’m Irish with the roll of a lucky die… I can certainly believe that I am a new creation as well….

How about you?

Dear Lord— I thank you for the identity I have..  in you. Help me to believe you above all the other voices in my head.. (especially my own) for yours is the voice of truth… I love you lord- amen.

An interesting study of who we are In Christ..this is the truth.. not because of us or what we or anyone say, think or believe…. but because of HIM…

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Cor. 5

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!  :)

” May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.  ”

An Irish Blessing- in honor of my Grandma…I miss you!

A repost from 2010

I admit it- I suffer from PTRS Post traumatic report card syndrome.

I think it started in 3rd grade.  My deep and abiding fear and hatred of report cards, I mean. I’m not sure– they all start to run together into one huge NOT SATISFACTORY heap of the same:  “Tracey talks too much” , “Tracey doesn’t complete her work on time” “Tracey should spend more time working and less time socializing, in class.” , “Tracey needs to make more of an effort in class.”

While I’ve always LOVED learning– I was one of those people who breathed a deep sigh of relief when I finished school. NO MORE REPORT CARDS.

And then?  I had a kid. (more…)

The sun warmed my shoulders and my legs stretched into each step like a well practiced-dance. (In my brain anyway .. most likely? Not so dance-like in person. Unless of course flopping zombie is a new dance move…:P)  I checked my time:  48 minutes.  “I’m making my best 5 k time yet!” I thought.

Which is about the time the log splitter hit my knee/leg. The next step was as far from dance like as possible. I lost stability in my left knee and felt a screaming pain. “A cramp.” I decided.  “Walk it off.” I kept walking. It got worse. With. Each. step.

I was only a block from home. I could : A) call home and hope the college boy would wake up and pick me up without killing me. or B) walk back.

I decided to walk back. Each time my leg swung my foot up and into the next step, I had hope that it was better… each time it landed back on the cement, the hope was crushed.

“This is not right.” Was all I could think.

I hobbled home. I must not have any Zombie apocalypse prepared neighbors.. because if I had, they’d have been all over me.  I lurch and swing my arms and leg like a zombie chasing down grey-matter souffle.  I had an appointment to get to, so I got ready, and strapped the ice to my knee for the drive.

“I’ll be fine by the time I get there.”  The drive was fine.  Not much pain. When I swung my legs out of the SUV to hop out of the truck, I felt the crushing pain, again. “I’ll go to the doctor later, if it’s still bad.”

It was.  I did.

2 sets of xrays and a leg immobolizer later- I’m the same. The ER doc thinks it could be a partial tear in a ligament. Possibly with miniscus involvement, I think: IT HURTS. And it makes me cranky.

I can’t run. (umm the inability to walk, kind of precludes, that.)

I don’t  know exactly what’s wrong.  (control freak?  Why yes, yes I am. I am happier when I know whats wrong. Also: better yet when I self diagnose. :P )

This is a different kind of pain from any other that I’ve experienced.

I hate that I did this while TRYING to exercise.

I hate that in the back of my mind I am wondering if it’s from over use…(Read: my own dumb fault.)  I’ve been pushing it. and hate the idea of having to start all over.

Now, I wait. Have I mentioned, that I’m not a fan of waiting?  I like it about as much as I like pain. (From all this complaining- you could safely deduce- I don’t.) In either my desperation or impatience- I called and made an appointment with a ortho.  It’s tomorrow morning.

I am hoping that by making the appointment it will magically be better. If not– then I am hoping that by GOING to the appointment it will magically be better. I would like to be able to woggle (my version of walking/jogging/wobbling) tomorrow.

Right now I’m wondering…” is there a lesson to be learned in this? “(umm other than the obvious) And “How can  best use this detour of my life?”

So far- I got nothin. My brain is to addled to write about anything but the pain. I can’t do housework.

So here are some questions for YOU:

When was the last detour you experienced?

How did you spend it?

Any lesson’s learned?

Do you think this brace makes my butt look big?

sunday dewI never thought I’d be one of “those” moms.  You know, the ones- they walk their kid to the bus stop and then head out for a “run.”   Them. The crazy runner moms.

I had lots of excuses:  “Bad knees.” “No time.” “I can’t afford the shoes…”  “If I have an hour I should spend it doing something productive… like laundry.”  “I have too much to do for my kids… to take that kind of time for myself.”

Yup. I had plenty of nice- good mom-excuses..

But, as I work on the “Mile in Her Shoes Project,” I realized, it’s more than excuses. I’ve been judging those “workout moms.”  And thats why, I didn’t want to be one.

I kind of thought I was “holier than thou,” because I don’t have time to take care of myself.  I focus on my kids, their needs, their schedules.. them. . So-that means I’m not selfish, right?

Then a couple of months ago we had that dog attack of doom.  I ended up flat on my back with an injury from trying to fend off a german shepherd….The worst part is- I couldn’t really fend off that shepherd. It was pathetic. I am so out of shape I couldn’t take care of myself, my kids or pets.

Not good.

Recovering gave me some time to ask myself some questions. I did not like the answers… “In the condition I am in… can I really care for my kids in the best way possible?  Answer: No.  I’m tired and sore and crabby over my weight. What kind of example am I living?  Answer: That cake and cookies are a good stress reliever. If it’s not what I say but what I do that matters as a mom..what a I showing my kids to do? Answer: “To not take care of yourself.

BUZZZZZ! Wrong answer.

When you combine these answers with a cholesterol level hovering over 200, my blood pressure creeping up at each doctors appointment, an ongoing struggle to manage stress and PMDD…and a family history of diabetes and heart disease (my Dad had a heart attack and bypass at 50.) … Something had to change.

My attitude.

It’s not selfish to want to be alive and healthy for my kids, my husband and (yes) myself.  Is it?

174 miles in this pair of shoes has taught me that no, it’s not.

At first- it was HARD. I made lame mistakes by being overzealous and training too hard.  I made it hurt more than it needed too. It took more time than necessary.  I felt crappy. That was not so much, good for my family.  but I’m learning.

Now- I’m listening to my body. I run when I feel like it and walk when I don’t.   It doesn’t HURT everyday.  Actually- my back feels better and things are starting to fit better. Looser- even! (Although- I’m refusing to weigh myself because I don’t want this to be about weight…)

At Noah’s cajoling- I’m trying to eat breakfast.  (I hate eating in the morning.)

I’m eating fruit instead of some of my baked goods frenzies… (let’s not be nuts here-.. some baked goods are necessary for mental health!)

And yes- I’m running 5 days a week. I’m averaging somewhere between 4-6 miles each day. Sometimes I run more than I walk- sometimes I walk the whole thing.. But,I’m getting there. One step at a time. One mile at a time.

174 miles in her shoes.. only now?  They are mine!

To all the moms out there who’ve been working hard to take care of yourselves while I’ve sat back and judged you as selfish.. I’m sorry about that.  I’m learning. I’m growing..

I’m letting go of my prejudices.

***for those who will worry- the shoes in the pic- are NOT what I’m running in:P

Questions for you:

How do you take care of yourself?

Do you exercise?  Why, or why not?

How do you feel about “those” moms?

Who are “those” moms to you?  The moms like me, who sit on the couch and complain about and make excuses for being un-fit?  (Until I really felt like I HAD to do something.. I really thought I couldn’t…)

I’m a mommy-bigot.   I hate it, but, it’s true.

oh my it's real

For the most part my bigotry is centered on mommy’s choices, preferences and lifestyles. I am prejudiced.  A bigot of Mommy-sorts. (I pre-judge others.)

It’s like I have a Google indexing program running in my brain.  For the most part my Google-fu is amazing… but it’s way off, when it comes to moms.

It works like this: I see a mom, sum her up in a searchable word (SAHM, Working, Home Schooler, Tatted.. etc) and my brain pops up a list of  “top results” (prejudices/assumptions/related searches) And “related” searches….

Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes, not so much.  They look a little like this:

Goth-mom- Top Results: Possibly a Mompire, prefers black fingernail polish, reads Edgar Allen Poe to children at bedtime.

Related searches: Bat baby mobiles, faux fang pacifiers. Current reading: Potty Training after Dark…. (more…)

I had it all planned out. There would be: fresh baked bread and  dinner in the freezer ready for when we brought the new baby home. I dreamed of  coffee with friends in the mornings and  cuddling and reading with my baby in the afternoon. I envisioned smiling-clean children welcoming their Dad home in the evening.  In my Stay at Home Mommy-hood dream, I am always dressed in mommy-professional attire and feeling completely fulfilled in my role as Mommy and Wife.  I sing like Snow White while I vacuum.

That picture of mommy-hood perfection lasted the first 13 days of my first pregnancy. At which point Mommy-hood went High Definition.  I was put on bed-rest. My planning and preparations came to a screeching halt.  

Suddenly, every bumpy, lumpy, hard and wonderful pixel of motherhood came into sharp focus.  My longing to protect my little one… the pain of facing loss, the excitement re-building at each Dr’s appointment when I found out I was still “expecting.”  It was hope, fear, trust, pain, joy all rolled into one. It was  motherhood condensed, and I hadn’t even had a baby yet.

My preparing for baby dreams of ready made meals and hand stitched baby clothes instantly changed to spending my days crying through Oprah, as I watched the laundry and dishes pile up around me.

I’ve been trying to “catch up” with my housework, ever since.

Don’t get me wrong…there have been moments that look a lot like the picture I had in mind.  Stories shared, children clean and smiling,(especially when they are both clean and asleep.. those are moments of dream become real.) There has been bread baked (the crust of which no child would eat.) meals served (even if it’s mac and cheese)  and  Daddy welcomed.

But there have been lots of things that were not part of my SAHM dream.. Like struggling to pay bills on one income, split lips and screaming kids, sibling fights and late nights. My “mommy professional attire” is most often comfy sweats with something spilled on them. The busy-ness has been shocking.

as I’m working on the “Mile in her shoes” project and thinking about being a SAHM….I have a few questions for you: (whether you’re currently a SAHM or were previously every mom’s voice matters!)

  1. What surprised you most about being a SAHM?
  2. The busy-ness?  The tediousness? The loneliness? The overwhelming responsibility? The messiness?  The response of others when they learn you’re a SAHM? The joy?
  3. What do you find most difficult?
  4. Most enjoyable?
  5. How Has High Def Mothering been different from your mommy-dream?

I can’t wait to hear!  Please Comment, Twitter or email me your answers!

Carrying an overflowing laundry basket, I stomped to the laundry room.  “I can’t believe how much laundry these people dirty in a week.” I punctuated each syllable with a “Stomp. Stomp.  Stomp.” I bent to open the washing machine door and was met by the unpleasant mustiness that is laundry left too long before drying. “UGH.” It was 8:15 am and I was already behind.  I wanted to start working by 9:00.

“Didn’t I tell you guys to switch the laundry from washer to dryer last night?” I yelled to (maybe at) my older sons. They kept quiet.  They knew the truth: I wasn’t asking to get an answer. I was asking to get a confession. After which, there would be no plea-bargaining, only sentencing. I was Mom, prosecutor, judge and jury.  The verdict was already in: my family is guilty. Of what?  Not helping. (At least not helping enough.) The first to admit guilt would be the first to be judged. I didn’t blame them for silently pleading the fifth amendment.

I refilled the laundry detergent dispenser and added a few splashing tears along with more fabric softener. I closed the drawer and tried to remember how many times I’d already run it through. ” 3, 4?  Maybe ?” I wondered.  Honestly?  I had no idea. I felt frustrated – but  I wasn’t impressed. (My personal best for rewashing a laundry load is set at 6.  it was an entire week of washing the same load of laundry before actually getting it clean, dried  and put away. I was busy!)

I stomped downstairs to the kitchen and found the sink full of dishes. “Where did these come from? I just did the dishes!” I’m not sure who I was asking, or why… I already knew the answer:  They came from everywhere and nowhere. I opened the already running dishwasher and blindly stuffed them in.  I didn’t even care if they got clean, I just didn’t want to see them in the sink.

It was now, 9:00 am and I was already angry, frustrated and overwhelmed.  With no one admitting guilt, I turned my inner judge and jury loose on my self.

“I can’t do it all.”  I whispered in admission to myself.

My verdict?   (more…)

Click here to take survey Let other Moms know what it’s really like for YOU!

Wouldn’t working  from home be the perfect answer for moms?  You can do it all, right?  Be there for your kids, bring in extra income and fulfill the unique call on your life- all at the same time, right?

This week- I’ll be living the work from home dream… or nightmare.

In full disclosure- I’ve actually been a work from home mom for years- I just don’t get a paycheck.:)

Questions for Work From Home Moms:

  1. What challenges do you face as a Work from home mom?
  2. What do you love about working from home?
  3. What common misconceptions have you run into about work from home moms?
  4. What  sacrifices do you have to make to manage working from home?