Monthly Archives: April 2013

Crying in the Kitchen

Head rolling side to side, she begins to whimper. I hear her and wait, trying to pick the perfect time to go to her. Too early and she’ll still be asleep; she’ll moan and shriek. Too late and she’ll be frustrated and angry. If I hit my mark, she’ll wake up happy and cheerful.

I hear someone else call my name and by the time I’ve gotten back, I’ve missed my window. She’s terribly cranky. Arms stretching out, I pick her up. Appeased for a moment, she nestles into her favorite spot but my necklace scratches her face and she throws back her head nearly toppling both of us over. I put her down, but that’s wrong, too. She wants milk! No…juice! No…milk! Really she wants nothing at all. At least nothing from me. I discard the still-empty cup and hold her in my arms, her weight a reminder that she’s not a baby anymore.

Knowing this may take a while, I flop down on the floor. It doesn’t even matter that we’re in the kitchen. Her cries ebb and flow because even she isn’t sure how she feels. (I’m the same way when I wake).

She snuggles in and catches a few soft snores. “Just one more minute, Mom,” I imagine her teenage self mumbling from beneath a pile of blankets. The girl does love a good blanket. (I do, too).

I rub my fingers gently across her back and she bucks if I stop. She periodically rubs my arm in rhythm with my strokes back and forth on her back and legs.

There’s so much I should be doing. There are so many other things that need to be done. Dishes. Laundry. Dinner. And yet I sit on the kitchen floor with a baby-no-more, tears in my eyes and hers.

Babies don’t keep, I think. Babies don’t keep.

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
~Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

I don’t always get it right, but this time I’m pretty sure I did.

Pants on Fire

Tonight I discovered a spot where my child had written on a table at church with a permanent marker. I had no doubt that it was hers because not only was it in her handwriting but she also signed her name. I was upset with her and went to speak with her. She said with complete confidence that it wasn’t her. She didn’t do it. Even when we were both looking at it, she held fast to her (false) statement. After an excruciatingly long staring contest that I refused to lose, she finally admitted to writing it a few weeks ago. She and I went to our youth pastor and our children’s pastor and told them about what she’d done and let them know that we’d be back to clean it up later. They were kind and gracious and after a few hugs, we left with a smile.

We told her that she would get two separate punishments – one for writing on the table and one for lying. The first one was easy to decide. We took away points. (Just like ‘real’ school, we have a behavior system that gives points for good behavior or helpfulness or acts of kindness or things like that. You can also lose points, if need be.) But the consequence for lying? I’m stuck. We considered taking away TV time, but they don’t watch that much TV. We considered losing her iPod, but the battery hasn’t been charged in a week anyway so that wouldn’t work. We considered making her do something like and extra chore or something, but she doesn’t seem to mind doing chores. Well, except for cleaning her room and (shockingly for once) their room is currently clean.

So we’re stuck. I want it to be something memorable, but not something too drastic. What are ways that you’ve dealt with this?

One Is Fun (especially when you’re saving lives)

You guys know how much I love birthdays! Love love LOVE birthdays! And I’m also pretty passionate about vaccinations, so when the chance came up for me to share about Shot@Life and their one year old birthday celebration I couldn’t wait! What is Shot@Life? It’s a movement (with roots in the UN Foundation) that aims at helping children worldwide by providing access to life-saving vaccines. Shot@Life is working to get these vaccines into the places that need it most. For polio that includes Nigeria, Afganistan, and Pakistan. Many developing countries still struggle with measles, especially parts of Africa and Asia.

To celebrate Shot@Life‘s first birthday, there are going to blog posts all over the web about the movement and about their Champions. The Shot@Life Champions are a group of the movement’s strongest advocates and leaders. These men and women are given training on media, advocacy, and event planning so that they can better share the information about Shot@Life with their own community and their community’s community! I was excited to meet my Champion, Raymond Liou, and I hope that you will enjoy his story as well.

Raymond Liou This is Raymond Liou, a fourth-year student at UCLA and a Shot@Life Champion. Ray is pursuing a double major in Computational and Systems Biology + Neuroscience. As part of his education, he was able to observe in the Head and Neck Surgery Department at Kaiser Permanente. Not long after finishing this observership, Ray was able to do some study abroad which exposed him not only to a wide variety of people and ideas but also with the confidence to take initiative and really pursue his dream of working in public and global health.

Ray was also inspired by the story of Paul Farmer, which he first discovered while reading Mountains Beyond Mountains*. Ray says that Paul’s “example has inspired me to become a vehicle of justice, to choose goodness and equality as my profession.” I just love that, don’t you? Goodness and equality as a profession. And it would seem that Ray is well on his way! On top of his regular studies and being a Champion for Shot@Life, he is also doing research in the Neurosurgery Department at Ronald Reagan Hospital, working at Didi Hirsch on their suicide hotline, and is a member of GlobeMed, a nonprofit that creates grassroots partnerships with organizations abroad.

After joining GlobeMed in 2012, he heard of an opportunity for two UCLA representatives to come to Washington D.C. for some training with a program called Shot@Life. He applied and is excited about the work he has been able to do through Shot@Life since he joined their team. He is currently working on organizing a Shot@Life Champion training and a polio panel at UCLA, creating a student group that focuses on lobbying Representatives, fundraising for vaccine initiatives, and raising awareness in the community about vaccine-preventable diseases and the work that Shot@Life is doing to help get those vaccines to those who need them most.

After talking vaccines and medicine and Shot@Life, I couldn’t help but ask Ray one last question. What do you do to celebrate birthdays?  These days he says he’s usually travelling on his birthday, but he reminisced about one of his favorite birthdays. When he turned 12, his parents let him load up their RV with a bunch of boys and they went to the arcade and played laser tag. After that they still had energy to spare so they headed back to the house and had a wild sleepover that included gladiator-style duels complete with pillow-shields, sock-in-sock mauls, and styrofoam rods. Boys will be boys, right? 🙂  In all honesty, it sounds like a blast to me and I’m trying to figure out if I can figure out a way to set up a Wipeout-esque course in our backyard!

†This is not a paid or sponsored post. I simply think that Shot@Life has a good thing going and I’d like to help!
‡For my friends who are pediatricians, I’d appreciate it if you’d take a look at this AAP link and consider joining the Shot@Life movement.
*Full disclosure: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase this book through this link, I will make enough to buy a piece of bubble gum. Or maybe half of a piece.

The First Last Dance


They’d been working hard with the promise that if they finished everything before Daddy got home then I’d buy the new Sofia the First soundtrack. They were getting close to their goal and the excitement was infectious. We were all working frantically and we even cheered when the last toy was put away. The big two crowded around me, waiting for those first notes. We turned it up as loud as it would go and we all began to sing along.

When it moved to the second track, I reminded Carter to go to his room and get his things together for his overnight lock-in at church. The girls and I danced along to words that step beyond come-save-me-prince-charming princess lyrics. “I can do anything…You can be anything…And I know with you by my side it’ll be a better ride…”

As we swished and swayed around the room I looked over to see him in my chair, half covered with his pillow and a bag of Cheese-Its. Holding my hand out, he shook his head no. No, he didn’t want to dance. I never missed a beat, but my heart missed a few.

See, he’s always been the first to swirl around with me. He’s always been the one who laughed when I tried very unsuccessfully to tango. He’s always been the one who joined right in. And now…he’s not. I could almost see it on his face, this struggle between boy and man:
I love this episode!
Yeah, but she’s a princess. Boys don’t like princess stuff.
But this song. It’s one of my favorites.
Really? Sounds kinda girly to me.
Maybe just one dance with my mom.
And it was there that the little boy won. He took my hand and we swayed a bit. Then he cried “Up! Up!” like he did as a little baby, and I perched his too long legs on my hips and danced and danced. His head resting on my shoulder, I squeezed a little tighter than I should have and tears prickled in my eyes. He sang and I swirled, arms aching with his full weight upon them. I wished the song to go on just a little longer and couldn’t help it when a few tears spilled over. Biting my lip, I set him down and turned my face away.

Brushing away bittersweet tears, my heart ‘swole’ up and my mind flushed with thoughts of now and then and later. A baby in my arms, not quite normal but perfect none-the-less. A toddler rattling off big words with a little boy sound. A boy stretching out towards double digits, but still cuddling with his Mama. But as I began to think of what is to come, I had to force a stop. Instead of looking forward, I soaked up every ounce of now that I could and tucked it away. A day may come when I need this moment again: when my big little boy danced with me for the last time in the living room.

Another first last. I think maybe I’m turning into a collector of those.

Lord, Hear My Prayer

There are pictures of the Boston Marathon bombers everywhere today. And as hurt and angry as we are as a nation, as people, as individuals…I look at those pictures through a mother’s eyes and my heart breaks. Those boys are some woman’s sons. Sure, she may be a vile human. She may be a big part of the reason why these boys acted in such horrific ways. Maybe she even encouraged them in this endeavor. I don’t know. But she also could be seeing the faces of her little boys, her babies on some static-y TV screen in rural Russia (or wherever she may be) with tears streaming down her cheeks. “How did this happen? How did my boys do this? How did it get this far?”


A while back, I remember reading a post by Katie Granju about parenting. If you don’t know anything about Katie’s story, her teenage son Henry struggled with drug addiction until his death.  A few years after Henry’s death, Katie wrote a post that stuck with me. She said:

“In those first years of this lifelong undertaking called parenthood, we look over at our own four year old daughter, happily drawing pictures of hearts and flowers at the dining room table, or we watch our six year old son carefully creating yet another brilliant Lego masterpiece on the floor, and we simply cannot conceive of any way in which that child –  the one we’re looking at right in front of us- could become one of those teenagers – you know, the kind of adolescent who would become mixed up with drugs, or drop out of school, or run away.

Early on, we worry about other scary things that could happen to our children – things like cancer and car wrecks and kidnapping and lightning on the soccer field…the things that are essentially beyond our control. These are the terrifying things that give parents nightmares. But no parent I’ve ever met looks at her five year old daughter playing with her princess dollhouse and thinks to herself, “I pray she never becomes a 16 year old heroin addict willing to do anything to get drugs.”  And we don’t generally watch our eight year old son play in his Little League game and wonder whether he might end up in prison at age 20.

It’s very simple, we tell ourselves when our children are little – at a time when our power as parents to direct and protect pretty much every aspect of their lives imbues us with a false bravado:

Good parents end up with good teenagers and successful adult children

Bad parents end up with bad teenagers, and unsuccessful adult children.

Right? Isn’t that how it goes?  That’s what I thought, anyway.”

Even now those words can steal my air, causing my heart to skip a beat. I look at my children and I see the good, the smiles, the laughter. I also see the anger and angst and fear. And the scariest part of all is that those things I see? Are often reflections of my own self, my own doubts, my own insecurities. And that hurts. Like knife in the soul hurts.


You probably saw the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video this week. If you haven’t, take a few minutes to watch it here and then come back. I think a parallell can easily be drawn between how we describe ourselves and how we describe our children. We describe ourselves with harsh, hard words. But when we speak of our children, we often use softer, lighter words. Is it because we see hope in them that we’ve long lost? Is it because a momma’s eyes block the bad? Is it because they are fresh and untainted by the past? I don’t have the answers, but I know that I see something in my children that I wish I had. Maybe it’s naiveté, an innocence stolen by time. Maybe it’s the belief that good always trumps evil. Maybe it’s even simpler than that. Maybe it’s…I don’t know. Maybe it’s something more than words can encapsulate.


I wrote just this week about motherhood and how we are all just trying to do our best, and yet sometimes…sometimes no matter what we do (or maybe even in spite of what we do), things end with heartbreak. But it’s up to each of us to keep on trying, to keep praying, to keep doing our best to instill a moral compass that will always point to the good. You won’t get it right all the time. I screw it all up regularly. But I am thankful for parents who taught by example, who showed me that mess-ups happen and sometimes it’s not even the mistake that matters but how you handle the spill. I’m also thankful for children who look at me with big, welcoming eyes when I admit my wrongs, when I go to them and say, “Mommy messed up. Will you forgive me?” I pray that even in my failures they are learning from me – learning grace and forgiveness, love and acceptance, and how to say “I’m sorry.” God, please help me.


Today I’m also praying for those Boston bombers boys. I’m praying for the one who died and for the one still running. I’m praying for their family. I’m praying for the families they have hurt, both physically and mentally. I’m praying for the people who are still at work, trying to capture these tormented souls and trying to keep others safe. I’m praying for those who are scared, for those who are in danger, for those who are locked in their homes. I’m praying for our nation. I’m praying that this doesn’t become another situation where we point fingers at one group or another. And I’m praying what I pray when I don’t know what else to pray: Dear God, Love us, protect us, and let us be open to hear your voice. Amen and amen.

We are all StrongMoms.

Take the StrongMoms Empowerment Pledge When I had my first baby, I knew I wanted to breast feed. I wanted it bad and didn’t even want to consider any other option. Then he was born and latched well and did all the things he was supposed to do and it just.didn’ I tried everything. Everything, I tell you. I was heartbroken. I would see other mothers with babies happily latched on and my stomach would turn. I’d get a burn in my chest that was a cross of jealousy, anger, and sadness. Not angry at that mom and baby, but jealous that I couldn’t have the same experience. And so I’d sit with my baby and his bottle and a lump in my throat.

When my second baby was born, Marshall was knee-deep in residency. We rarely saw him and when we did see him it was through a haze of sleep deprivation. Our families weren’t super far away, but they weren’t close either. And the baby screamed. A lot. Several times, in complete desperation, I packed the kiddos up and went to the store. I was that mom – the one who you think, “Get that kid outta here! No body wants to hear all that.” But I was lonely and exhausted and at my wits end, and I promise I wanted her to stop screaming as much as everyone else did.

When my third baby was born he was easy going and almost always happy but he was big. As in is-he-going-to-pop-out-of-his-skin big. He liked to eat. And he fit beautifully on the growth curve, so we weren’t worried…but some other people seemed to be. Luckily I had enough experience under my belt by then that it didn’t bother me too much.

By the time my fourth baby was born, I quit paying attention to other people all together. Not because I didn’t care (because let’s be real…we all care what others think of us) but because I can only pay attention to so many things at once. Someone could have told me that she was the ugliest baby on the planet and I wouldn’t have noticed because I would have been too busy telling the bigs to stop spitting at each other and trying to get Asa to stop eating grass.

But there are times – even some recently – that I have felt judged for my choices. When we decided to homeschool, for example. I never had any idea how many people would have such strong opinions. And when I let my babies play on the iPad. Yes, I hear you mumbling under your breath over there at the doctor’s office. Oh, my goodness gracious! When I let my kid be a little bit wild on the playground? You’d think the world was about to end if you could gage it by looks. (For the record, our playground rule is that you can be wild and crazy as long as you aren’t hurting yourself or others).

But there are other times, too. There are times when I have been the judger, when I’ve been the person rolling my eyes at your choices or lack of discipline or your demeanor. That’s the truth, ugly though it may be. The reality is that none of us know what others are dealing with. I don’t know if you haven’t slept in weeks or if you’re about to default on your mortgage or if you and your spouse are having problems or if your child is struggling with his or her own hurts and pains. I don’t know if you just found out that your dad has cancer or if you have a toothache that has been nagging you for weeks. I just don’t know. And you don’t either. And it’s time for us to all stop taking everything at face value. It’s time for me – and for all of us – to be more aware of our choices, of our actions, of our words. It’s time for us to come together and stop quibbling like children in the schoolyard about vaccinations and breastfeeding and cosleeping and whatever-the-next-big-brouhaha-happens-to-be. Now, maybe more than ever before, we need to create a community to support us as mothers, as women, as humans. Gone are the days when proximity dictated your community, and it’s up to each of us to cultivate a group of people that provide the love and care that we crave and need.


photo credit: liivii

At Blissdom I was able to spend a little time with the folks from StrongMoms Empower. What a great initiative they have – trying to bring together moms who will support each other. (I think it’s safe to say that we could all use a little less judgment and a little more support from other moms). If you’re interested in adding your name to the list of women who pledge “to create a more supportive and less judgmental environment by empowering moms to feel good about the decisions they make for their children and their families,” just go to and sign up. You won’t get spammed nor will you get any kind of accolade, but I can attest that your promise will pop into your mind at just the right moments and maybe even remind you to offer a sympathetic smile instead of an eyeroll.

*I am participating in a blog campaign with One2One Network.
I have not received any compensation for this post.
As always, all opinions are my own.


I know for a lot of people “church” is a painful word.
For some, church is a symbol of hypocrisy and pain.
But for me, church means something different.

Church is loving – even when it’s hard.
Church is giving – even when it hurts.
Church is caring – even when the world has turned away.
Church is remembering – even when it’s easier to forget.
Church is remembering – even when it’s hard to forget.
Church is showing kindness – even when it won’t be returned.
Church is quiet patience – even when it’d be easier and faster to just do it yourself.
Church is keeping on keeping on – even when you are tired and weary.
Church is being ready, being willing – even when you really just want to take a break.
Church is having a family who take up your slack when you just can’t keep going.
Church is having a family who puts out their hand when you need it most.
Church is having a family who loves you – even when it’s hard.
Church is knowing you aren’t alone.
Thanks be to God!


As I was writing this post, I learned of the death of Brennan Manning. His book Abba’s Child* was suggested to me by a friend when I was really struggling with the angry voices in my heart and head, and it helped me come to realization that God loves me no matter where I am or where I’ve been. And he also loves you and commands me to love you, too. No matter where you are. A different friend posted this video link in which Manning says: Is this what Christianity is all about? Is this the good news of Jesus? Is this the kingdom that He proclaimed? A community of men and women who go to church on Sunday, read their bibles now and then, vigorously oppose abortion, don’t go to X-rated movies, never use four-letter words (especially when girls are around)? People who smile a lot, kid around, hold doors open for people, root for the Chiefs? And get a long with everybody? Is that why Jesus went to the bleak and bloody horror of Calvary? Why he emerged in shattering glory from his resurrection? Why he poured out his Holy Spirit upon the church? Was it merely to make nicer men and women with better morals? The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus meaningless unless we knew he lived and died and rose with but one purpose in mind: Pentecost! To pour out the Holy Spirit upon the church. Not to make nicer people with better morals but brand new creations, a community of prophets and professional lovers. Men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who live in ever-greater fidelity to the omnipresent word of God, who would enter into the center of all that is, into the very heart and mystery of Christ and to the center of that flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant love, which is really what it means to claim the name Christian.

My prayer is that both you and I will boldly live with extravagant love.

The thing about field trips…

My kids seem to miss two things about ‘real’ school: the playground and field trips. But here’s the deal with homeschool field trips. We take them all the time; my kids just don’t realize it. Grocery store. Post Office. The hardware store. The nursery (plant, not baby). When we go to those places, we talk about how they work, why they’re important, and sometimes even things like supply and demand, marketing, and such. But my kids don’t think of these as field trips. Their friends in ‘real’ school go to places like the aquarium and to the strawberry patch and the pizza place. Luckily, Georgia Cyber Academy offers some really great ‘real’ field trips that we love! We’ve been to see the Atlanta Symphony, the Museum of Arts and Sciences, several local historical sites, the Children’s Museum, and more. (Next week we’re going to The Rock Ranch! But…there are still things that they hear friends talk about and wish they could do. And if it’s something that I can make happen, I try to do it! We know the people who own our local Mellow Mushroom and with one quick message, we had that ball rolling. We were to be at the store at 10:45, enough time to get our cook on before the lunch crowd got there. The first thing we did was tour the whole store. The owner took us through the whole store, showing us where they store all the food and how they prep and how they clean. I must say I was very impressed with how many fresh ingredients they use and how few pre-packaged items. The only things that I saw that weren’t cut fresh on site were olives and pineapple. Mr. David told us all about how one person types the order in on one computer and it prints out a ticket for the kitchen. We even got to see him change out one of the bags on the soda machine.
But the best part was making their very own Mellow Mushroom pizza. He taught them how to press out the dough, stretch it, and shape it. They put on gloves and put on the sauce and toppings just like a real employee. After a few minutes in the oven, they learned about how to butter the crust and add some cheese for that special MM touch. We all had such a great time. Thanks, Mr. David!
After we finished up with lunch, we took a break at our favorite playground before heading to Kroger. There we met Mr. Gladden, who took us all through the store. We even got to peek behind the counter of Starbucks! We saw the meat slicer at work in the deli, learned about how produce gets to the store and where it comes from, the difference between organic and regular foods, and more. The kids loved looking at the live lobsters, but my favorite part of the whole tour came at the end.
Did you know that when you walk into a Kroger store there is a heat sensor that counts how many people are coming in. Based on that count and a fancy formula that someone really smart designed, the computers can calculate how many check out lanes need to be open. On the screens you can see 3 circles. The first circle shows how many lanes should be open right now. The second circle shows how many lanes are currently active. And the last circle tells the employees how many lanes need to be open in the next 30 minutes. (I’m pretty sure I throw those numbers off because I tend to be a lingerer in the grocery store if I don’t have the kids with me. If I have them, we fly through like a speeding bullet.)

Big thanks to both Kroger and Mellow Mushroom for making arrangements for us to come visit!


Spring Break is Breaking Me

When I first thought about homeschooling our kids, I worried that I would run into a major problem: I would hate it. (Or they would hate it). (Or both).

See, I love my children very, very much. I’m often a hands-on mom. I like to roll in the grass and have races and color the driveway with chalk and play CandyLand and read kid books and make crafts and color and build with Legos. I can be a super fun mom and we do super fun things. But I worried with school that I would turn into a Learning Nazi. I am task-oriented and I am driven by checking things off of my to do list. I’ll push through almost anything to finish checking off a list. And so I worried that with all the lists that come with our curriculum, I would force my need to check off all the things onto my children. I didn’t want that and I’ve been hypervigilant about it (although I’ve failed a time or two).

We quickly fell into a good routine. We started out by having a timed schedule where you only worked on a certain subject until the time was up, much like ‘real’ school (as my kids call it). But as things progressed, I got a little more loosey-goosey about our timeline. I stopped writing out exact times for each class on our To Do Board, and just made a list of things that needed to be accomplished by the day’s end. Sometimes the work was done by lunch. Other times we were still working when Marshall got home. But we all got used to having the list. If one child finishes an activity and I’m working with the other, they know to check the list and see what they can do on their own. (Anything that requires help from Mommy has an asterisk beside it). It works for us. And they’re pretty good about making sure they don’t waste too much time when they think I’m not looking.

Then enter Spring Break. BAH! My children are going wild! You’d think it be great to have free time to just play or read or color, but they’ve lost their stinkin’ minds! As I type this they are all playing together in one room and there are things banging around, lots of shouting, and talk of something exploding. I’m praying that the exploding thing is a Ballistiks toy*. I try to let it all just roll off my back, but they’re driving me insane! My tolerance for crazy is pretty high, but whew! They are wearing me down. We have one main rule in our house: If it’s not yours, don’t touch it. You’d be surprised to see how often that rule is applicable. But there seems to be an all-time high of forgetting that rule around here the past few days, and I’m convinced that the root of that is that without a schedule to guide them, they are doing whatever comes to mind…whether they should or not. (Mostly not).

I don’t really know how to solve this.  I was thinking that maybe I needed to go ahead and plan out something for every minute of every day and try to avoid this schedule-less issue all together, but you know what? They’re kids! They need time to be wild and crazy. They need time to pick what they do. They even need time to be bored. Some of my most creative moments come when I’m completely bored out of my mind. Boredom gives my brain room to roam, and that’s a good thing. I know they need the free time and free space, but how do I control the chaos? How do I nudge them towards positive, constructive play without taking away too much autonomy from them and without going stark-raving mad?

*not an affiliate or sponsored link


A Pop of Color

Yesterday was a full, full day. The little two stayed with my dad while the bigs and I went on a field trip for three.  We started out by taking the van to the Honda place for an oil change. That wasn’t technically part of the field trip but it did teach about scheduling because man today could not have run any smoother if I’d tried. That makes my little planner’s heart so happy! We went to Mellow Mushroom for a tour and tips – not monetary tips, but tips on how to run a restaurant and make pizza. We played on the playground, and we took another tour…Kroger this time. (I have something interesting to share about that. Remind me to tell you later if I forget!)

BUT this post? This post is about the thing that Lydia loved most about the Kroger tour: flowers. I love fresh flowers, but rarely buy them. She wanted them and even offered to use her own money, so I caved. (She probably planned that, didn’t she? I’m such a sucker!) And maybe it wasn’t all for her. In all of my redefining, I’ve decided I need to do more to help keep myself me. I need to do things that I love and that make me happy. Because the old adage is true: If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So flowers for her, flowers for me. And then I can further “myselfness” by taking time to photograph those beautiful blooms. Here are a few of my favorite shots.