Feather Your Nest This Easter


The noblest art is that of making others happy.-

P.T. Barnum


As you have probably guessed from following our Happy Mind Happy Home blog, the noble profession of counseling can be both a passionate blessing & curse. Serving  others is a dream come true; but at times, can be taxing on the most sensitive “canary” of soul of mine.

When my mind and heart become burdened, I turn to my other passion, interior design. Feathering my nest restores my soul. I have decided to dedicate future blog posts of the art of feathering one’s nest!

Today, I am sharing my latest project  & announcing that I have embarked on a new venture with my friend Kathy; a booth at The Vineyards Antique & Home Decor Mall in Colleyville. Our booth will feature custom floral arrangement, seasonal items & home decor. My daughter Emerson is even joining the fun with her custom lettering & calligraphy business! Please stop by soon visit  The Noble Nest & Happy Easter…..from my nest to yours!

Layer Wreaths for added flare & volume.

Please follow and like us:

Is it STILL Winter

Does it feel like Winter never ends?
My kids keep saying, “…It’s still Winter?….” as if they are reading my mind.

 Augh, YES it is still Winter.

Winter in my house means more video game time since it is too cold (and WET) to play outside. Winter in my house means Basketball Season, which to us is easy peasy compared to Baseball Season. Winter in my house means house projects. And house projects mean I lovingly enlist hubby to donate his muscle and power tools. Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

In The Face of Tragedy, It Helps to Be Grateful.

Less than two weeks ago we experienced another school shooting. In the aftermath of yet another senseless tragedy I found myself feeling what probably most of you feel – scared. More than scared, damn near terrified. No doubt I am not alone in experiencing the tightening anxiety in my chest as I drop my child off at school, holding my breath until I pick him up at which point I can breathe a sigh of relief only until the next day of school rises with the sun.

We can’t escape the dangers of what society has become. We just can’t. Unless you’re willing to become chained to your own home, you will have to embark back into the world and face the risk of god knows what.  This can be scary, if you allow it to be. I know I can’t or won’t allow myself to avoid all potential threats in the pursuit of perceived safety. And I don’t want to walk around life with anxiety gripping me by the neck. I can’t prevent these disasters fully so I decided I need to approach my mindset in another way – with Gratitude.

I find it quite unfortunate that it takes incidents like this to awaken ourselves to the gifts we have been granted in our daily lives. The most basic gift of all – life. I know I am fully guilty of overlooking and dismissing the fact that merely being alive is something to be grateful for every day. As we have been shown all to often in our current culture, life can been taken away when you least expect it.

I wanted to do a little experiment with myself in light of this need to become aware and grateful by practicing mindful gratitude every day for one week. It was my intention to journal this experience each day but life got in the way and the journal did not make. I did however practice this grateful awareness enough to realize how much I struggle with it and how easily I fall back into patterns of grumbling.

On day one I did notice a rise in my mood as I approached the day thanking the universe for my children, their health, and their safety. This heightened attitude carried with me throughout most of the morning, but somewhere around naptime my gratitude seemed to wane as the bedtime protests commenced. I was able to borrow my own mommy advice and “turn my attitude around” by recognizing that though I am not always thrilled by the events of the day I am most certainly grateful that I have these little people in my life to drive me crazy.

Towards the end of the week my gratitude agenda became more and more distant as I got caught back up in the busyness and business of the day, I found myself easily forgetting (again) the fragility of life and focusing instead on the list of lack I so quickly compile. What this showed me is that it takes reminders, daily reminders to myself to not take any single day for granted. More importantly even, not to take anyone for granted. 

Perspective is important. It shouldn’t take tragedy to open our eyes to the gifts given by being alive. Not to say that there aren’t hard days, trying days, challenging days, but as I’ve heard it said before – there is no such thing as a bad day. Each day alive is a day to be grateful for. So, let’s all be grateful. Maybe if there were more of this attitude of gratitude amongst us all, we could turn this world around. We can certainly try.

Please follow and like us:

The Mythical Work/Life Balance

When Lisa, Andrea and I decided that our next post topic would be about the biggest mom Everest of them all: Work/Life balance, I admit, I felt a pang of panic because in my own life, I’ve had as much success finding a work/life balance as I have finding an affordable bra that actually fits.

So last week, while out looking for one, I stumbled upon the perfect metaphor for this mythical “balance” experts speak of….and even more ironic….I found it in the party aisle.

Weird I know…but true. Anyone who has ever been to Target knows that it’s just a law of the mom universe that you never actually leave Target with what you came for…this day was no different. Target was (you guessed it) fresh out of bras in my size, but busting at the seams with décor for one of the most unique party themes I’ve ever seen: unicorns and donuts.

I mean, I love me a great party….especially one with a theme, but I have to admit that at first glance, I was a bit confused.

Unicorns I totally get…but donuts? So confused…yes….surprised no….. Of course little girls would love this! Who doesn’t love this???…it’s a unicorn!!! And better yet….a unicorn with a donut….Does it gets any better? Not unless the unicorn does laundry & the donut is soaked in cabernet. I digress…

Indeed, whether you are 5 or 45, unicorns & donuts are pretty damn awesome. This got me thinking about a not so awesome myth we sell to girls and women… the idea that we can create a perfect work/life balance.

So not to rain on anyone’s parade, but the “having it all” myth told to women is pretty much the grown up equivalent to a unicorn and donut birthday party theme. Anyone who has ever been a mom-working or not, realizes that this idealist mom goal feels about as “magical” as a donkey with a gluten free- bagel.

Truth be told, there is nothing magical about it at all.

It’s hard. It’s a constant battle & I’ve been on every battle front: stay at home mom…working mom….part time working mom; you name it, I’ve been there.

I feel guilty when in full on work mode and guilty in full on mom mode…and Lord…when I was “blessed” enough to get to try & do both…not only did I feel guilty, but some days, it was a struggle just to remember my name or the names of the tiny humans I am responsible for.

So as much as I would love to give advice about how to find the right work/life “balance”, the only real piece of advice I can give is to keep moving forward. Move forward and keep searching….for balance, for bras & for unicorns too. Why not? Because the bad news is that unicorns don’t exist but the good news is: donuts do.

Please follow and like us:

Yes, I AM a Working Mom

There is both pride and shame in my role as a working mom. I found out early on that there are strong opinions on both sides of this label “Working Mom.”

For those who don’t know me that well I work in the office with clients 3 or 4 days a week, I work from home the other day or two, I make my own schedule, I am self-employed, I am my own boss.

working mom Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

Work Life Balance: Is There Really Such a Thing?

Work Life Balance. Is there really such a thing as this? Balance, by definition, means “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright or steady”. Upright or steady. Hmmm. I suppose I am upright, I mean I’m not literally falling down. But, steady? Yeah, not so much. My life these days feels more like a balancing act. A juggling act. A mere attempt at keeping all the balls in the air and moving continually to keep them from crashing to the floor. Hardly balance.

I would more accurately describe my life as Work Life conflict. No matter where I am or what I’m doing I feel like I should be somewhere else doing something more. If I’m at work I certainly feel like I should be home with my kids. Helping my 5 year old with reading, playing with my 3 year old, soothing my fussy 6 month old, taking the load of all of this off my husband. I certainly believe in equal partnership between my husband and I, and I am grateful he is such an awesome dad to our kids, but for whatever reason it is so hard for me to shake the idea that I should be there, too. Inevitably when there is a 6:00 pm exhaustion meltdown I think to myself, maybe if I was there to help manage the chaos the night would have gone more smoothly. Except really I know these things happen whether I am there or not. But the mom guilt finds a way… it always finds a way.

And then there’s work. I love my job. Like really love it. Listening, helping, being with other people and their emotions – gives me all the feels. I think I’m doing pretty well most days with keeping my focus on work when I’m at work, but ask me for anything extra and you’ll probably get a big fat nothing. Not because I don’t want to, but because I just don’t have the extra to give. And this is what I’m struggling with right now. My life is filled to the brim, pressing at the seams, and barely contained by the lid holding it all in. In my mind I can easily imagine myself getting to the meeting on time or fitting in an extra call from home. But, think again. At least I’m having to try and do that – Think. Again.

I am (veeerrrrry) slooowwwly learning how to say no to things that I may actually want to do. I know how to say no to something I don’t want to do, but this saying no despite my desire to do it, that’s new. I’ve thought before, if something is important to you then you’ll find a way. Well now while this may be true, you have to consider the cost of doing it. Will getting to the meeting on time mean less sleep than the no sleep I’m already getting, yelling at my kids in the morning because I’m a ball of stress, still showing up late despite my efforts and making people wait? Is that the outcome I was looking for? No. Not at all.

I am having to evaluate and reevaluate my priorities. In truth, just because I want to do it doesn’t mean I can do it WELL. Not at this current point in time. And I do want to do well. In work, in home, in life. So for me – during this season of my life – I am looking to find balance by being more of who I want to be, which seems to mean doing a little less extra. This may be unnerving at times, but if it saves my sanity and gives my family and my work a more focused, calm, and happy me then, and only then, will I call that balance.

Please follow and like us:


You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year in conversation.

I often recommend play therapy to parents whose young children are struggling emotionally and behaviorally. As you can probably imagine, this recommendation is often met with a blank stare. Reluctant and a bit skeptical, parents often underestimate the power of using play in the therapy process. 

Play therapy is for children, what talk therapy is for adults & play therapy happens to be one of the most effective ways of helping children navigate the complicated and often emotionally trying process of growing up. Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children. Play is a child’s language, and it is through therapeutic play that children learn to:

  • Assume greater self-responsibility
  • Become more self-directed
  • Become more self-accepting
  • Become more self-reliant
  • Engage in self-determined decision making
  • Experience a feeling of control over his/her environment, thus reducing generalized anxiety
  • Become sensitive to the process of coping
  • Develop an internal source of evaluation
  • Become more trusting of self.

Play therapy is best suited for children ages 3-12, however, in recent years, play therapy has been used with toddlers as well. The toys in the play therapy room are specifically selected to allow a child to explore social roles, such as nurturing baby dolls or dress up like a police officer. Therapists are trained to notice patterns & themes in a child’s play as a way of helping the child resolve internal struggles & move towards healing.

Therapy sessions vary in length, but generally last between 30-45 minutes. Research suggests that it takes an average of 20 sessions to resolve the problems of the typical child referred for treatment. Of course, some children may improve much faster while more serious or ongoing problems may take longer to resolve.

If you think your child could benefit from play therapy or have any further questions about this powerful treatment modality, don’t hesitate to contact me at Family Connections Counseling (817-545-7100) or find out more information at the Association for Play Therapy (www.A4PT.org).

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”-George Bernard Shaw

Please follow and like us:

thank you for allowing me to hold space for you

As a client and I were recently working on wrapping up her course of therapy she mentioned the well known words of Nanny McPhee about her time in therapy. “When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go.” As her therapist sitting on the chair across from the couch, the words were very touching and very true. These words have stuck with me. Leaving me with a sense of pride that I was able to be the one to hold space for her, while she did the work she was so resistant and fearful of.

therapy Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

A New Approach to Wellness & Weight Loss

New Year…New You? …Not so Fast!

If you are like millions of Americans, the past few weeks have been a mix of recovering from the merriment/madness of the holidays & contemplating change.

We all know the drill, January 1st rolls around & gets us thinking about what is and is not working in our lives. If only for a few days, making a commitment towards positive change seems like an obtainable goal.
For many, this positive change involves losing weight. Every January 1st, I leap onto the weight loss band wagon, only to be derailed at the first sight of cheese & wine.
So why is it so difficult to develop & maintain healthier habits? 

By now, the “how’ is no mystery. I’m no rocket scientist and I really really hate math, but I understand that my calories out have to be less than calories in. Nevertheless, study after study indicates that while many succeed in in losing some weight, the long term results are usually poor. Why is it so hard then to stick to a healthy eating plan and a reasonable exercise regime? I’m a mom, so I could give you a thousand reasons…stress, time, lack of planning, picky children, wine. If you are R.E.A.L. Tired Housewife, the reasons truly are endless.

So this year, I am taking a different approach to better health. It’s one that I actually know quite well but have never thought to apply to the areas of weight and wellness. (Talk about a light bulb moment!) It’s no secret that  I constantly sing the praises of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  I am so passionate about this approach to maintaining one’s mental health, that I use it as my primary strategy when working with clients of all ages.

Image result for quotes about changing yourself

So it stands to reason that if faulty thinking patterns contribute a host of mental health problems, it might also be the reason they remain unable to finally achieve the healthy lifestyle they  so desperately aspire to.

I would suspect that it is because knowing what to do & knowing how to get yourself to do it are entirely separate skills. Getting ourselves to create new habits depends largely on the silent conversation we have with ourselves: our thoughts. 

Since I would never ask a client to do something I would not be willing to do myself, the ideas that come next are going to be tested first and foremost on me. I’ll agree to be my own guinea pig.

Let me state for the record that I am not focusing on losing weight. I have wasted way too much of my precious life focusing on a number on a scale. No longer a slave to the scale, what matters to me most is how I feel on a daily basis. So the goal is: be a little less tired real housewife. 

  I’ll first work to identify destructive thoughts keeping me from  achieving my wellness goals. Once those are identified, I will develop strategies to actively challenge and change those thoughts into more helpful ones. I ask clients to do this all of the time and I am their accountability coach. You then, friends & readers, will be my accountability guide.

So what does this actually look like in real Mom Life?  I’ll create cards on a ring to record new, more helpful thoughts & keep these cards in a prominent place..i.e. kitchen, car, office, or any place where I tend to lose focus and motivation. If you have children, (that’s basically everywhere and anywhere). Think of it almost as a portable vision board of words!

Here are a few examples of thoughts I plan to tackle:

  • Old: I have tried eating healthier before and always fall back into my old patterns.

NEW: Changing my thoughts has led to great gains in mental health for me and this time I’m applying those techniques to wellness. 

  • Old: My family is full of picky eaters and they won’t be supportive of this new way of eating.

NEW: My family has supported my goals in the past and will be inspired when I succeed.

  • I will have to be much less social if I change my eating & drinking patterns, and being with friends is a huge part of my life that I am not willing to give up.

NEW: I can & will still go out with friends, but I can  plan what I will eat/drink in advance & not waiver from that. I will surround myself with people who have like-minded goals and bring out the best in me by supporting my positive changes.

Using note cards to keep it real & stay motivated..
I love this reminder that this journey is about progress not perfection.


As I say often, the goal is progress, not perfection. I know I won’t be perfect on this journey to wellness, but I promise to keep you posted on my progress and cheer you on if you too decide to make 2018 a year of change.

Please follow and like us:

Personal Reflections from 2017: Twelve Months and 12 Lessons Learned.

 This week has marked the beginning of a new year. 2018 is upon us and 2017 has forever left us. Sort of. It’s not like any year is completely done and over. We take with us all the happenings, good or bad, into the current new year.

There’s always so much talk about how we want to make the incoming year better, brighter, bolder, bigger; How we want to make it our best year ever! That’s some serious pressure right there. All while poor 2017 gets the shrug and middle finger as we walk hurriedly away. But you know, every year is wrought with both good and bad, highs and lows – it’s all in our perspective on what we choose to take from it.

As I started to reflect back on my 2017 I felt a well of emotion come up. I realized I’m actually sad to see it go. Not that anything is really different from yesterday to today, but the ending of it, just like the beginning of this new year, felt like that – an ending. I decided that before I get caught up in planning all my goals, hopes, and plans for the new year I ought to pay homage to what this past year brought me through some reflection and gratitude.  As I started recounting the months I became more and more in awe of how much change, growth, and wonder has been packed into these past twelve. In fact each month seemed to carry with it something significant and worth exploring. So here goes…

January: Accepting Mommy Imperfection (the beginning)

This first month of the year started out with the bang of announcing my pregnancy with baby #3. As I shared this exciting news I more silently was experiencing the fear and panic of “how the hell am I going to do this?” Searching for and finding support from fellow moms in the “large family” clan gave me solace in knowing I was not alone in feeling crazy, scared, and insane most days. I realized if I was going to do this with any real enjoyment I was going to have to be real in accepting that it wasn’t going to be perfect or even appear that way. Life was about to get messy(er).

February: Forgiveness

Month number two carried with it the sadness of my grandfather dying. I didn’t know him well, which was the saddest part of all. The light cast through this gave me the awareness that it was time to reconnect with my own father. Time to forgive and time to forge a new connection beginning with forgiveness that was hard fought for nearly 10 years. I’m grateful for the ability to do this and for the growth in this relationship that took place over the next 10 months forward.

March: Starting Again

Following a reconnection with my dad via phone in February, March was highlighted by his first visit back. I decided to approach this new beginning with openness, limited expectation, and honesty. These are areas I have to continually hold myself to as I can easily fall back into the pit of hiding, disappointment, and bitterness. The change from a parent/child  to adult/adult relationship is an awkward one at best. I’m working on it.

April: Happy Mind Happy Home is Born

There is so much to be said for this month and what this blog has done for me. To put it succinctly, I never anticipated how much vulnerability, fear, relief, acceptance, and pride I’d gain from publicly exploring my daily struggles. I have found a sense of peace and acceptance with who I am through this honesty which at the start seemed so terrifying. I am beyond grateful for this unexpected journey and what it has brought me in such a short amount of time.

May: Divorce and Dating

I forgot to mention that my mom and my step dad of 20 years divorced in January. Yes, that also happened. And here into April my mom began dating… this was weird. And hard. And messy. I had never experienced my mom dating. I had no idea who this new man, whomever he came to be, was supposed to be to me? Was he going to be like a new step dad? That didn’t seem right. I’m an adult no longer in need of this, so that didn’t fit. And what about the family I had known for most of my life? This ending was hard to process. Comprehending the way forward was very very strange. From this I learned, whether an adult or a child, divorce sucks. But, life does go on.

June: Trust and Marriage

From what I recall June was a pretty quiet month. Not such a bad thing. What I can say for June is gratitude for my husband. It is the month for husbands that are fathers, after all.  I have mad appreciation for my husband and his commitment to growth for himself, our marriage, and our children. He never misses an opportunity to challenge me, which admittedly might piss me off in the moment, but somehow allows me to trust him even more. I would say this very notion – trust – has grown for me this past year. I don’t think I even realized I wasn’t trusting him fully – something I imagine he brought to my attention as well – but as I opened up more and stepped forward into this trust, I can say our relationship has deepened, arguments have lessened, and my love for him has certainly grown. I’ll take that.

July: Growing Older

My birthday month! I turned 35 this year. I’ve heard it said that as you approach 40 you begin to worry less about what others think of you. Well, whether I recall this saying correctly or not, I can say I’m finding it true for me. I am sure it is a mixture of many things that took place this year, but all things combined I do feel more comfortable in my own skin than I can recall feeling since the age of approximately 8 years old. I am less preoccupied with what other people think of me, which honestly was a strange feeling until I got used to it. Feeling this confidence felt foreign. I had to intentionally stay with this feeling instead of reverting back to the familiar. This is still a new thing for me, a growing thing. Writing truths like this certainly help, I must say. I don’t know if I would be feeling this newness without choosing to show myself to the outside world. It has been and continues to be a risk well worth taking.

August: Babies, Kindergarten, and More

August, oh August. What’s not to be said for August. Had baby #3, celebrated my oldest child’s 5th birthday, sent oldest child to kindergarten, and found out my sister was pregnant with her first baby. A lot packed into a few short weeks. This month started the tailspin that would become my life for the remainder of this year (and into the present new year). Life has been forever changed by increasing our household number to 5, learning how to be a parent of en elementary age student, and all while not letting my middle child fall through the cracks. Who are we kidding, she’d never allow that to happen. To say it’s been busy is an understatement and I’m still learning how to catch up.

September: School Days

September was marked by the ill fated awareness that elementary school is about a lot more than lunch boxes, backpacks, recess, and early dismal on random Fridays. It is about my kid growing up and facing the harsh reality of peer influence and peer rejection. Figuring out how to not freak out has been a test in itself. What I’ve learned is that just because I’m concerned doesn’t mean there’s something to be concerned about. Me being worried doesn’t imply something is wrong. Mostly I’ve learned that I need to monitor my own fears and trust that my children are not as fragile as I may think they are. Keeping my own anxiety in check in not a situation fully resolved, let’s be honest, but at least I’ve got some awareness. I’m sure this topic will need further exploring…

October: Busy Gets Busier

October marked the month of returning to work following baby #3. My busy life just turned it up a notch, or three. I’d say I’m still not used to the new normal of rushing from place to place but I have found that the more I attempt to resist it, the more tension I experience: from myself and everyone else. I have learned from this new busy that I need to make time when there is no time. I do not work well under constant go, go, go. Maybe for a few days or a week I can go with it, but soon after I crash hard. I don’t have the time to crash anymore so I figured I needed to try something else. I’ve had to cut out somethings, enjoyable things sometimes, just so I can have the energy and focus to keep going. Saying no to things I want to do has been tough, but I have found solace in something a friend of mine said, “This is just a season.” This season, for me,  means being busy doing a lot of mom things. I feel comforted knowing there will be other seasons to come and hopefully they’ll include more sleep!

November: A Thanksgiving to Remember

With November comes Thanksgiving and our party of 5 successfully traveling 4 hours by car to visit family. What I learned from this is I can manage this clan of mine under tight quarters and in confined spaces. It was an adventure for sure having all of us in one hotel room. Especially when my oldest had a coughing fit that turned into a mini panic attack at 2:00 in the morning. Good thing we’re well versed in sleepless nights. What I take from this episode is that I am capable of getting us from point A to point B in one piece. Some days.

December: I’ll Bring the Chips.

Now this brings me to December. Another busy month, as it is for most, taught me that in this current “season” of my life I can handle very little extra without the threat of a meltdown hanging over me. I realized that the many things I want to do may not be things I can do (gracefully at least). I realized it is better to simplify and enjoy my life than it is to reach beyond my limits in effort to impress. From this I realized no one really cares if you bring the store bought hummus or the homemade. All they really care about is that you showed up. And if they do care, well, who gives a shit. Remember, this whole year has been about being real and accepting imperfection. If we’re being real, it’s all pretty messy even on the good days. You just have to roll with it.

So there’s my year in a nutshell. If you made it this far into the post, congratulations! It was a long one. I’m excited to see what lessons 2018 bring but I’m still enjoying and processing all these from 2017. Let us not always be in a hurry to rush too far forward.

I wish you all the best in this new year. My hope is you reflect back on the year last and feel gratitude for the challenges as well as the pleasures. It is all good.

Please follow and like us: