the importance of validation (a short story)


There's a fire!

You're overreacting. What's wrong with you? There's no fire.

Um, there's a fire here!

You're crazy! Just blow it out! (Just stop!)

(after many cycles of being invalidated)

Okay, there's no fire. (What's wrong with me?)

Good job! I told you!


Fire! Fire! Fire!

Oh no! What can I do to help?


Just a simple change of phrasing can stop your loved one from spiraling. 

They don't need you tell them they're crazy.

Trust me, they already think they are.

They don't need to be told to "just stop."

Like it's a switch they turned on for fun.

(This is not fun.)

You may not understand the "fire", but lucky for you, validating is not agreeing.

It's coming to their level.

Seeing them where they are and asking what they need to move forward.

You're not being asked to fix anything.

They need to know they aren't alone and you'll love them through this.


friday joys


all white bedrooms. my hair finally getting long again. being understood. cult documentaries. the inventor of FaceTime. ogre ears (the plant kind.) karaoke. my remy girl. first day of school pictures. gapped tooth smiles.


reframing expectations

"Last hoorah before we started school, Top Golf!"

My very first lesson in therapy was "Reframing Your Expectations."

It's about breaking those negative thoughts.

 Realizing you can only start where you are and move forward.

"Should" statements are attached to guilt and shame.

"I should...but I..." sets us up for failure.

"Should thinking" lacks acceptance of ourselves.

Take some time to write down some expectations you have of yourself.

"I should be perfect because I'm a pastor's wife."

"I should want to spend all my time with my kids."

Now, reframe them.

"I can live my life according to God's will and focus only on myself, not worry about others."

(The people that love me and matter most aren't excepting perfection and love me as a work in progress.)

"I can love my children without sacrificing other areas in my life."

(I am doing enough. My children know I love them.)

Here are some helpful tips to guide you through reframing your expectations.

1. Ask yourself why. Why you value or want change.

2. Turn your "should statement" into a goal. Identify the goal and break it down.

3. Set realistic goals. Be gentle to yourself. Goals can be accomplished if you make them attainable.

4. Replace the "should" with "could" or "would" which can make the statement more encouraging/soften. Even better, "can" makes your goal more assertive and empowering.

5. Think about a rock pile. If I added a rock of everything I think "should" do, my pile would be huge, unachievable. But, if I added a rock of everything I "can" do, my pile would be significantly smaller and achievable.


tuesday letters


I'm all brother has and Murray is an only child... favorite Aunt forever!

Dear Baby Jack,

You are the most precious forever baby boy. A few days with you will cure everyone of everything, I'm sure of it. I miss having a little voice repeat the last word of every sentence back to me. Never grow up.

Dear Husband, 

I see you over there, shrinking before my eyes. You are aging like fine... cheese (we don't drink... so...) I just wish getting back in shape was as easy for me. It's hard to be attracted to AND jealous of you. 

Dear Murray,

Thank you for giving me the freelance job of my dreams. As your personal butler (my title according to Hutch) I do require attending EVERY Las Vegas, NYC, everyothercoolcity conferences with you. Mmmmkay?

Dear Summer,

I know I said I was over you and I was ready for school. BUT, we have Kindergarten Open House tonight and this mama AIN'T READY. My baby!

Dear 2023,

I like you. You can stay.


coping skills

I have a bullet journal that I fill with all types of coping skills. Mostly ones that speak to the creative in me!

Coping refers to conscious strategies used to reduce unpleasant emotions. 

Coping strategies (or skills) can be thoughts or behaviors and can be individual or social. 

Coping is to deal with and overcome struggles and difficulties in life. 

It is a way for us to maintain our mental and emotional well-being.

Benefits of learning coping skills:

-Build self confidence

-Help manage emotions

-Improve independence

-Help manage stress

-Improve behavior (reactions to overstimulation)

-Improve self-regulation

-Help work through challenges

Learning what coping skills work for you is paramount to healing and dealing with depression and anxiety.

To me, coping skills are like little "time-outs," where you give yourself time to think through what is happening, what is truth, and how to respond in a healthy way.

My top, go-to coping skills I turn to (to keep me from spiraling) are:

-Box breathing (breathe in 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, breathe out 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, repeat)

-Writing (duh...blogger for over a decade here with boxes of used journals.)


-Organize something

-Do something creative

Below, I've listed a few (okay, a LOT) more skills.

Find one that might suit you and try it out the next time you feel overwhelmed or overstimulated!


-Watch TV

-Drink water

-Word search

-Crossword Puzzle

-Paint nails

-Do your hair


-Study the sky


-Hot shower/bath




-Create a vision board


-Rip up paper into tiny pieces

-Write a letter

-Plan a dream room


-Play with clay

-Build a fort

-Go outside and sit

-List your blessings/joys

-Read the Bible

-Jump on a trampoline

-Talk to someone




-Organize/color coordinate closet

-Plan an event

-Plant seeds

-Make words out of your full name (Anagram/Acrostic)

-Sort/edit pictures


-Collect something

-Play a computer game

-Visit your lifeyourvoice.com

-Rearrange furniture

-Smile at 5 people



-Hug someone

-Write a list of goals

-Deep breaths

-Think of something funny

-Take a time out

-Count to 10/100

-Say something kind to yourself

-Close your eyes

-Say, "I can do this."

-Imagine a happy place

-Eat a healthy snack

-Jog in place


-List your positive qualities

-Write a thank you note

-Organize something

-Play cards/board games

-Take pictures

-Laugh out loud

-Notice 5 things you can see, feel, smell, hear

-Use a relaxation app


-Drink hot tea

-Plan a trip

-Identify your emotions

-Make a day schedule

-Tell someone you're thankful for them

-Relax your muscles

-Ask, "What do I need right now?"

-Tapping fingers (or the dance...you do you, boo.)

The internet is FULL of even more examples, these are just the ones that stand out to me.

Hopefully you find one that you can put into practice and it'll eventually become second nature to you when you need it most!