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.

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.

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.


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

Controlling the Christmas Chaos

 I’m not sure if my Christmas anxiety is giving my everyday anxiety anxiety but I know for sure the Christmas chaos is here!

I know I am stressed when I find myself staring at my planner and making lists of lists. I get excited when I get to move into my new planner for the upcoming year so when I noticed my 2018 planner has this month in it I quickly did the switch. I also started laying out my bullet journal for 2018, which of course meant I needed a marker upgrade.

chaos control

All the planning in the world does not stop the Christmas Chaos from trying to steal your Christmas Cheer. So with Christmas Chaos swirling in the air I am reminding myself of ways to stay sane (aside from making lists of lists).

 I am Keeping it Simple.

Yes, after convincing hubby to help me get the 10+ Christmas trees and 10+ boxes of decorations out of the attic I found myself staring at it. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t want to win the “I have the most Christmas trees in my house” award this year. For the first time in over 10 years we are NOT hosting Christmas so even more reason to keep it simple. I decided to not even put up the “BIG” tree. Settling for a pencil tree in our living room, stockings hung on the mantle and our annual pictures with the Big Guy out to see.

After a slight panic when hubby questioned if I had “underdone it” I have concluded the keep it simple theory helps my sanity this year.

I am not subscribing to all the holiday “you have toos”

I do not have to come up with the “perfect” teacher gift, I know a gift card is many times preferred. I do not have to find the pajamas for my Chihuahua that matches my boy’s Christmas morning.  Disguising my Baileys as cream is my only goal on Christmas morning. And I don’t need my Christmas lights dancing to the music, I will settle for the Grinch trying to steal my lights.

I am not over committing

With all the Sign Up Geniuses landing in my inbox the last couple weeks I have taken a step back to ask myself what I really want to commit to and what I just don’t have time to do. Sure, I will buy skittles and marshmallows for the holiday party, but I am not baking 3 dozen homemade cookies for the teacher cookie exchange. Sorry, I cannot sell yo-yos at 7am on Tuesday and I will bring the snacks to the last game of the season (in January).

I am making sure to do my favorite traditions

Our multi family gingerbread decorating party, going to see the Big Guy at Northpark, donating gifts to the local toy drive, donating to the school angel program, sprinkling reindeer food out on Christmas Eve, baking Neimun Marcus Cookies to deliver to neighbors and dear friends, sending out the annual Johnson Christmas card, baking Jesus’s birthday cake and eating Hibachi after Christmas Eve Service.

christmas choas

I am saying No

I am saying “No” to the party I really have no desire to go to. I am saying “No” to the invite to go look at the same drab Christmas lights we have seen for years. I am saying “No” to overthinking gifts for everyone. I am saying yes to the events I want to genuinely go to like our friends fabulous Christmas pajama party (so my kind of party, in my PJs!) and holiday dinner with my close girl friends.

I will find Joy in the Pain

I am reminding myself what brings me joy during the holidays, being with the ones I love the most. This is going to be difficult this year because we have an empty seat at the table since my father’s passing. He is missed. His annual trip the John Deere dealership on Christmas Eve to let the boys pick out what ever they want, his perfectly cooked meat of choice and his snide comments and snickering leading to my mom to tell him to “hush.” Amidst his absence I will focus on the joy of my family, because without him my family would not be who we are.

Truth is many struggle with emotional pains of all kinds during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. I will have grace towards the crazy driver who almost hit me while picking up my dry cleaning today. I will have empathy for the lady in my way in the aisle at Target. I will have compassion for the new client on the couch who is dreading sitting across the dinner table from her mother who will never really know her.

My wish for you is to keep it simple, stay with your truth, and don’t over do it.

Remember the “Reason for the Season.”

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.



How many more ? How many more precious souls will be lost before we collectively seek to understand and heal the underlying causes of mass murder in America?

As a mental health professional, I wish I could say I was hopeful about finding a solution but unfortunately, I am not.  If we did not make this horrific problem a priority the day 26 innocent children & teachers were senselessly slaughtered in their classrooms, I fear we never will.

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