How panic attacks feel for me, written through the lens of a character I'm building out for a book.

I shut the door with a calmness I don’t feel.
Inside, I am chaos, fear rips through me, irrational and leaving me trembling.
I feel my thoughts spiraling out of control. The next place would be unreachable, my point of no return. I am at the brink of my cliffs of rationality.
I teeter.
My toes push pebbles that clatter into the menacing darkness of the unknown.  There is an emptiness in me, and I feel my heartbeat echoing around my body, encased in skin and pinging around like a pinball.
A slip.
An avalanche of gravel.
Underneath me, the dark throbs with something alive and hungry, impossible to ignore, the gravity of my fear pulling me towards it. My feet are scraping against the cracked edge of reason. I fall onto my knees, hands slipping, finger by finger.
The darkness pulsates below me.
My body is hanging, vulnerable in the maw of night.
One hand.
One finger.
I succumb.
I  tumble into the darkness of mind-numbing, heart-squeezing, can’t-breath fear.
No. Not fear.
Terror. Absolute.
Terror of the unknown. Terror of all the known.
My head is shaking. Screams throb in my throat and I can’t tell if they’re mine; If I’m screaming out loud, if it’s just in my head, if it’s the darkness around me. I fall faster and faster into the quicksand of my mind.
My thoughts travel down that well-beaten path in my brain, my hands trailing the damp walls like they’re old friends.
“Ahhhhh….ahhhhhhh…,” they breathe. “You’re baaaack…. We always knew you’d come baaack…”,
Their voices are slippery, slithery, roped in mist and seduction.
Hard to know where they come from.
Someone else?
My heart pounds and I feel my breath leave me.
I can’t breath.
I’m suffocating.
I’m dying.
I’m going to die.
Help! Help! I can’t breath.
The words reverberate in my head, beating inside my skull.
My chest constricts and I double over, sipping air through a straw of a throat.
Cold air slaps my face, a rush of hot blood slaps it back.
Shivering, I let myself sink slowly in the corner between the toilet and the bathtub.
Wall behind me.
Solid on all sides.
Nothing can get me.
Slow down.
It’s not real.
I mutter this manic mantra as my breath shudders through me. I try to take control of my brain, renegade thing, as it flays me useless and whimpering here in the corner. Clutching my knees with my eyes open wide, a chilling thought appears, spectral.  The revolt in my head makes me realize that I am not control.
I am not in control.
And if I’m not….what is?

No ifs, ands or buts


written a few years ago but feels relevant today. 

There are so many times that all I want is for someone to recognize how hard it is to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. I just want someone, anyone, to recognize all that goes into this job that I'm doing. So much is demanded of me, and the majority of it is demanded by and for my kids.

So many times I cheapen my work by "yeah buts" or "justs". I'm just a mom. I stay home, but so does she, and she works and she goes to school. ...Yeah, but I didn't make a wildly successful small business out of thin air....Yeah, but I'm not working too. Yeah, but my kids are all healthy and we're not dealing with any health issues. Yeah, but my husband's church calling isn't as hard as her husband's. He's gone so much more and she STILL has time to write a book. She STILL has time to constantly serve others. Yeah, but everyone loves her....yeah, but I have three kids and don't look like...

yeah, but yeah, but yeah, but.

I am surrounded by wonderful, talented, creative and kind women. So many times I am influenced by their examples, their on-point style, their wit and charm, their creativity and kindness and spirit. They all do inspiring, special things and are really amazing...., and so many times I feel like I have nothing, do nothing, am nothing in comparison. I don't have a skill that I use to make money. I don't go to school. I don't even use the college degree I earned.

I make a mean biscuits and gravy
I can meal plan like a boss
I am the most efficient grocery shopper you'll ever find

When I have a to-do list a mile long and I finish it AND make a healthy dinner AND the house is relatively clean AND I'm in a pretty good mood...I feel on top of the world. I feel proud of what I accomplished that day.

But then I start thinking....really, that wasn't much. I see people do all of that AND more AND run a business AND work AND get paid AND get some kind of recognition, while my kids are bratty to me and run to their dad and prefer him the rest of the night as soon as he gets home from work. I feel so defeated when my entire day has revolved around my kids' schedules and making sure they've done at least one fun thing that day, made them a good dinner, read them books, cleaned up for them, etc, and they still don't appreciate what I've done all day for them.

Mostly I just want someone to recognize how hard it is, without all the if, ands or buts.

But, I just want you to know that I see you. I can see how hard your days are, your nights, the comparison, the guilt, the feeling of not doing enough, the feeling of doing too much, the feeling of being completely overwhelmed, so much so that you collapse into a blubbering pile of snot and tears. And I see you as you pull yourself together again and deal with whatever you were dealing with before, with a happy face, serving others, being more than you feel that you can be.

I'm blessed to be a mother, a woman with the likes of you. All of you. No matter how little and insignificant you feel. You do more good than you can see.

October-December, the fun months


October is my favorite month...well, it usually is, just not in California. Sure the weather is nice, but I'd rather have amazing foliage and crisp air and FALL. 

So one weekend we decided to try and escape up north to wear it's supposed to be colder to go apple picking! Hoping maybe we'd get a little glimpse of an East coast fall with some apple trees and pie and stuff, we took a little trip. Nope. too hot. no apples. NOTHING. just some hay mazes and frozen apple pies. But I'll take a weekend getaway any day. We stayed at a hotel, swam in the pool and tried to make the best of our East coast homesickness.

Lots of sweet afternoons between these two and long walks/geese chasing in the park with my little sidekicks while viv went to school.


 More pumpkin patch stuff with our friends




We started going to the library A LOT...and usually dressed as a different character every time.


Towards the end of October, I got to go on a little getaway trip with a few friends to Portland. I've always wanted to go, and I desperately needed a girls' trip. This fit the bill...and mostly i just took pictures of my food, which was especially amazing because Dale and i had just finished our first round of Whole 30 and I was good food deprived.

My favorite part was the open pottery night we went to and spent a few hours listening to chill music and making little pottery pieces and glazing them. They even sent our stuff to our houses a few days later. It was amazing.

Then, onward! on to Halloween stuff, which included pumpkin carving (I love it, but it gets subsequently harder every year. Kids, man).

AAAAND ward trunk or treat: the REAL reason why we dress up hardcore every year. This year, our theme KILLLLED it.
Presenting: our Circus, complete with A Circus Master, Bearded Lady, Fortune Teller, Strongman and Lion. Such a fun ensemble.


Then we all went trick or treating. and it was the best. Both of the kids loved it.



More random park days, church stuff and crazy kids antics



We went to Seattle to have Thanksgiving with family and had a really fun time up there. Our kids get along really well.




Bright and beautiful mornings with my kids

 fun outings with my friends (Lion King on Broadway in SF)

Picked out an overpriced tree and decorated it

 Took our annual trip into the city


One of my favorite holiday traditions is make a fire in our living room and roast s'mores. It's just so cozy.

 Christmas jammies

Oakland temple lights and other church-related stuff


 This picture cracks me up. Nursery is just a big mosh pit of boys and little Hazel always wrestling around in there.

My birthday and our Nutcracker ballet date snuck somewhere in there

cookie decorating and neighbor gifts

Birthday dates to see the Warriors play

Leaving cookies, milk and carrots out for Santa and his Reindeer on Christmas Eve

We did Christmas on our own this year, so this is our Christmas morning selfie. It really was a nice break, but got a little boring. We hosted a few families over for Christmas dinner AND I had my first performance in church as choir director (which I had just been called to 3 weeks before and have no idea what i am doing when it comes to music. Talk about stressed). But it was a really nice day and I loved that it was on Sunday. Just made the day extra special.

Baby's first Christmas! We had to wake up super early to make sure we would get to church on time and be able to have time to open presents and eat our special breakfast. Greta slept through the entire present opening chaos, and she was a little out of it. Super cute.


 We even had enough time to take a family church picture BEFORE church. unheard of!

 I was secretly helping plan my friend's 30th birthday New Years Eve party with her husband. He did all of the work and I assisted with ideas and execution, but it turned out amazing and was such a fun party to ring in the new year and celebrate my friend. She's pretty great.

WELL, how was that for a three-month travelogue? Maybe I should stay current on this thing and avoid annoying posts like this. Good thing no one reads blogs anymore. Over and out!


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