Life with Riley: 7 months

Meet my 55 lb. lap dog. He’s still growing.

Mr. Riley is a handful to be sure. He likes to chew, play rough in the house and show his affection to the girl dogs without their consent.  The let him know, in no uncertain terms, that NO means NO! He’s still young, so we know he’ll calm down in the coming months, but it’s like having a four-legged (frisky) toddler in the house.

Tell me about your furbabies!


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2016-03-12X23.16.11A lucky writer is one who has found her tribe–like minded souls who understand you, and love you, no matter what.

I have found mine, and yesterday they gifted me with something to help me through my darker days.  They gave me light.

This fairy light jar contains notes to remind me, when I need reminding, that I am not alone. This is love, people. This is friendship.

My husband and children love me even when I’m not so loveable, but my tribe does too, and yesterday they gave me a sparkly beacon so I don’t get lost in my own head.

I am very, very lucky.


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Life with Riley: Growing Up

2016-03-01X22.46.11So, Riley went through a bit of a trauma right before Valentine’s Day.  Our boy was neutered.  Not what you’d expect to see on a romance blog, but I’m a firm believer in spaying or neutering our pets.

Yes, Riley is a purebred, but I also have two rescues. I have no plans to breed, so the right thing to do for all concerned, but most especially the dogs, was to have them fixed.

This photo was taken a few days ago, and as you can see he’s no worse for wear. He’s right back to his shenanigans.


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Life with Riley: An Introduction

Hi Everyone!

I want to introduce you to the newest member of our family, Riley.

Riley is a Rough Collie puppy (think Lassie) who has joined our two rescue dogs, Holly and Casey, in providing endless hours of entertainment.  He arrived on October 21st at eight weeks old, and is now almost five months.  Sharing stories of Riley’s shenanigans seemed like a good idea.  I’m mean, really.  Puppies are cute, and trying to manage one puppy, two active dogs, a job, a house, a writing career and planning a wedding has to be good for some laughs, right? RileyXCollage

So welcome to Life with Riley, which will become a fairly regular feature on the blog.  I hope you love him as much as we do.  🙂



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2015: The Year That Nearly Broke Me

I generally don’t make resolutions. But as I sit here writing this post on New Year’s Eve 2015, I can’t help but wonder if I shouldn’t make a few for 2016. I think we can all stand for a little goal setting, don’t you?

However, I will acknowledge this past year was not normal. The things that hit me in 2015 were situations over which I had little control. My Achilles tendon decided it had had enough, and tore, giving me an unexpected six weeks on the couch; a twenty-one-year-old kid decided he didn’t need to pay attention while driving and rear ended me into next week, resulting in a surgery from which I’m still recovering; add family issues, day-job stress, and burning the candle at both ends and I was ripe for a crash. On top of that, I struggled–really struggled–with my writing career. After a while, my brain chemistry went off the rails, and that’s when life got ugly.Happy New Year 2016 replace 2015 concept on the sea beach

I’ve suffered from depression for years. I’ve worked hard to get it under control, and most of the time it just lurks in the background. But there are times when it takes over, and this year I not only felt my depression, it was crippling. It consumed me to the point that for the first time ever, I opened up publicly about my struggle. I couldn’t hide it anymore.

That was an eye opener. You see, generally if people hear you’re sick or hurt they offer prayers and good wishes in droves. That’s not to say I didn’t get wonderful support, I did. But depression makes people uncomfortable and I know some wished I’d kept this under wraps.

Let me be clear. I don’t want to be “Depression Girl.” I don’t want people to know me because of my illness. In my opinion, it’s a crappy way to gain notoriety.

But I’m not going to stay quiet anymore, and I don’t care who’s uncomfortable. You don’t like it? Guess what? I don’t like it either. I hate it, but I’m not going to hide who I am because anyone is ‘uncomfortable.’

I knew what people were thinking, and I heard what was said behind my back. What can I say? Just tell me you’re there if I need you. What do I do? Nothing in particular, your presence in my life, your compassion, is all I need. She has so much, how could she be depressed? Don’t you think I know this?  Think positive. I’m trying.

I have friends who avoid me altogether now.  I’m not sure why, but it hurts.

Then there was the idiot who said I should “get over it.” Another individual told me to “toughen up.” 

The last two, I wrote off completely. I can’t fix that kind of stupid, nor do I want to try.

Herein lies the battle. For some reason, folks think I have control over my depression.  I don’t.  True depression (sometimes called Clinical Depression or MDD-Major Depressive Disorder) controls you. The statistics will blow you away. Exhaustion, sleep disturbances, lethargy, apathy, high blood pressure, memory loss and chronic pain, are all complications. At its worst, the monster can be deadly.

So what does all this have to do with resolutions?  Simple–I’m looking for ways to make it harder for depression to own me. I’ve resolved to fight back, and to surround myself with people, in real life and virtually, who are willing to go into battle with me. I resolve to keep reaching out to those who need encouragement, and not let anyone give up. I resolve to be humble, but not be treated like a doormat. I vow to avoid drama. Finally, I resolve to keep writing, even when I don’t want to. Writing is like air to me; I need it.Depositphotos_3524271_l-2015

What can you do?  If you know someone battling mental illness, just be there. Hang in and understand that as tough as this is for you, it’s tougher for her. Be the friend you would want to have if you were fighting an invisible demon. As I said, just be there.

I hope 2016 brings us all joy, peace and humility.  As cliched as that sounds, I can wish you nothing better.





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