November 12, 2015


I want to begin writing again. I haven't written in far too long. I am stuck and not sure how to begin again. Suggestions?

Unstick me.

October 22, 2015

6 years

Six years ago I left Holland after visiting my mom. We spent a great two days together and planned our next visit. Two days after I left she had the car accident that took her life. When I reflect on her passing and our relationship I no longer become overwhelmed with sadness. I now reflect with gratitude for the wonderful closeness we shared and the things she passed down to me.

Because of my mom:

I am giving
I am faithful
I love music
I love to clean
I love gardening
I know how to sacrifice
I have a positive work ethic
I am an enthusiastic traveler
I have a thirst for knowledge
I have a lifetime of memories
I know how to do the chicken dance
I have traditions to carry on with my son

The loss of my mom was the biggest and most difficult struggle I have experienced to this point in my life. There were dark days I was not sure I would get through. But I did. I miss her every single day.

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.
~ Abraham Lincoln 

October 19, 2015

A few good articles about communication and counseling

By asking better questions, you will get better answers. The following articles can help you ask better questions:

Because sometimes you might be unsure what to ask when you are first meeting with a client, this article discusses "10 Introductory Questions Therapist Commonly Ask"

This article focuses on asking open versus closed questions. "Asking Questions"

Even "Life Hacks" are good resources once in a while. This one addresses how to ask good questions.

Wrong versus right ways to ask questions in this article about asking the "Perfect" questions.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.     

May 20, 2015

You Are My Sonshine

I found out I was expecting you in May, but I knew long before I even imagined you growing inside of me, the primary reason I was put on earth was to be your mother. Since the day I found out about you, I have been writing to you.  I hope you don't mind, just once, if I share this entry.  These will only be a few of the photos I have saved. 

The two of us in Rome 3 months before your arrival

You will begin your last day of school at ICCS in just a few hours. Your last day of 8th grade.  You've seen me reflecting and reminiscing in the last couple weeks.  I have looked at thousands of photographs and felt so many different emotions.  Cliche as it may sound, it feels like yesterday that you started kindergarten. It honestly feels as if I just blinked and you have grown from the little 5-year old in kindergarten at St. Monica, into this remarkable young man getting ready for high school.

You have always enjoyed learning

In spite of weighing in at 10 1/2 pounds when you arrived, you have always been my baby. Now you tower over me.  Still, I remember the days I could hold you in my arms and snuggle you up.  You called me meme and I called you bebe.

                         I practiced attachment parenting before it was a "thing"

One of your first attachments, apart from your parents, was to a big stuffed rabbit. He went everywhere with you.  Once I accidentally left with him in my car.  I think your dad wanted to pin a reminder on my shirt daily after that so I never let you go without him again. You have also loved your cousins and enjoyed running a million miles with them anytime you can.

       There is "wabbit" sliding with you           With your cousins at Easter

There are so many decisions I have made in your life that have impacted you - decisions I often pray are the best.  I didn't want for you to have a mom and dad that divorced. I pray a great deal that you experience the least negative impact possible from that decision. You have a great dad who has decided, with me, that we will co-parent and provide you a role model of mature adults, even though not married, working together for the best for their child.

                                                    You will always have us both                        

We were so far from home when you were born.  Sometimes I wonder if that is the reason you still have such a sense of adventure and never hesitate to grab a suitcase without asking where, when I say, "let's go somewhere!"

                                                          Frankfurt, Germany

You embrace your faith in a way I am so proud and impressed.  You even encourage me to be closer to God.            
       Father Bomba at your baptism

Not having your grandmother here causes me sadness once in a while.  However, she was with you so often during the first nine years of your life, I know you still have that bond in your heart. She jumped on a plane and headed to spend one month with us as soon as you were born (do you think she is where I got my sense of adventure?) and that didn't stop after we moved back to the states. 

Always with you

You have grown into a wonderful young man I am so proud of. You are so bright, kind, and witty. I enjoy our in-depth conversations, traveling with you, listening to you process thought, and goal-building for your future. I am thankful to you for wanting me, still at 14, to be part of your daily activities. 

Always the witty kiddo

I am blessed to be your mother.  I wish you the best in high school.  I pray you dream big, continue to be involved in the extra-curricular activities that you love and trying those that look a little interesting.  

                              Boogie Boarding                                                 Basketball 


                                                Mathematics                                 OAP


                                       Science                                      Even Soccer

You are my sonshine, my only sonshine.  You make me happy when skies are grey. You'll never know boy, how much I love you.  Please don't take my sonshine away.

May 11, 2015

Lessons from Church

The homily in mass today moved me to tears. Tears of joy, that I am blessed to be a mother and that I loved my own mother dearly.

I learned about:

Unconditional love. We love because we love. We ought not put conditions on our love, being exclusive only when someone believes as we do, votes as we do, belongs to the same clubs as we do.

Patience. Sometimes it's important to just shut up.

Humility. Ego steps forward. Humility steps back. I do not need the spotlight.

Joy. We can have joy and happiness in our emotions. We can also have joy and happiness in our psyche. But, to hold joy and happiness in our heart, is the space of God.

Mother's Day is such a bitter-sweet time for me.  I stood up and allowed the love of God, the other parishioners and my sweet sonshine to pour in when Father Khoi prayed over the moms.  I also shed a few tears that my mom is not here with me.  After mass I went to the chapel and lit a candle for mom.  My sonshine asked me the reason I was crying.  It seemed hard to explain. I value every moment I had with her on this earth.  I know I will see her again.  I live in this moment and love every bit of being a mother to him.  But, once in a while, I miss her.

Happy Mother's Day
(posted one day late)

April 28, 2015


dis·ap·point·ment (disəˈpointmənt)noun. the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations.

That sums it up.  I am disappointed.  I attempt to keep my expectations low in order to avoid disappointment; however, I suppose I had some recently.  A friend, one I considered close, disappointed me. He made a disappearing act.  The actual disappearance doesn't surprise me, but his timing does. There was no precipitating circumstance, no notice, no explanation.

I can believe this isn't about me. I can believe I might be better off without a friend who doesn't support me. I can even believe there are better friends in store.  However, I struggle with the departure void of explanation.  Scream at me, accuse me of something I may or may not have done. But, don't just close the door without giving me cause. Especially, while we are in the middle of a conversation. In the middle of making plans.

Does this say more about him than about me? Without a doubt. Will I be better in the long run without "friends" who behave in such a juvenile manner?  Absolutely.  But, in the short term I am left with a few tears.  I am scratching my head attempting to make sense of something that isn't sensible.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” 
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

By now I should be so damned beautiful.  

March 05, 2015

Record Snowfall in North Texas

Awoke to 7" of snow, the most snowfall in five years, sitting atop dangerous ice. School closings, plans delayed and chilled to the bone. Still grateful. I see the beauty in nature and am thankful for all of the blessings in my life.

January 18, 2015

Collegiate Recovery

Something amazing occurred today.  Well, it has actually been happening for a while, but I saw the mark of a dream becoming reality this morning.  

For twenty years, while working in the addiction profession, I was privileged enough to help clients in active addiction and early recovery.  It was incredibly rewarding.  I wouldn't change those experiences for anything.

I have long known there is much more to healing than step zero and breaking through denial.  I dreamt of seeing the day I could spend time around and in support of others who were working hard to become better daily.  Not just folks who go the gym or floss, you know?  I mean the real, raw, gut-wrenching healing work that has changed my life, when people are really leaning into that and in the aftermath of such amazing work?

Today I saw something I have long dreamt possible, fall into place.  I was honored to attend the first Collegiate Recovery Program "Welcome" Brunch for the very first students enrolled in the CRP at The University of North Texas.  Something that a student in early recovery wanted and needed so badly, he didn't give up until others got on board and started taking action.  

A community of UNT students, staff and faculty stood behind students in recovery and supported the concept.  I imagined it could happen, yet didn't believe it would happen this quickly.  I shed a few tears today.  No longer am I in an era of recovery being a dirty little secret that eats away at a soul who cannot bring recovery into all areas of their lives.  I stand among people who are in and support recovery, without shame, without embarrassment and without apology.  

Students no longer have to chose between college and recovery.  I am humbled and amazed.  

January 04, 2015

Open Letter

Life is short: 

I know, that's cliché. But think about it. You only have one today. Just one. If you spend today in worry or regret, you'll have wasted this one very precious day. Maybe one day seems simple, even short, but string those days together and they add up to a lifetime. 

Forgive them: 

They hurt you. They used you. They lied to you. They let you go, maybe even cast you away and left you feeling worthless. But let them go. Let it go. Hanging onto the pain takes the beauty out of this simple 24 hours. "They" will never be worth your life, will they? 

Forgive yourself: 

Maybe you were an innocent victim. Maybe you allowed them in. Maybe you ignored the red flags. Maybe you trusted too much, gave too much, cared too much. Forgive yourself. You are human. Forgiving yourself will free you in a way few things can. It's time. It's time. 

Take new risks:

There are opportunities and people right in front of you. Right now in this simple day. They aren't the ones who have hurt you. They are new. Let them in. If you risk, you may get hurt. I know that is scary. But risk anyway. Remember, life is fleeting. The clock keeps ticking and those opportunities don't have forever, either. 

Allow yourself to be happy

It's not too soon. It's not unfair. It's not too much. Be happy. You deserve the love, peace, joy and happiness like everyone else. I suspect you want that for others? Why not for you? Why not now? 

24-hours. That's all.