A perspective on the Ebola outbreak from a former hospital spokesperson

It happened. The Ebola virus finally came to the United States and ended up in Dallas of all places, right in my backyard. Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised, seeing as the DFW area is a major hub for internationals coming from all over the world, including West Africa.

It was just a matter of time.

I’m a little worried, I’ll admit. Because I’m a worrier, it’s what I do, and it’s something I have to war against every day. So yes, I don’t love that there is a patient with Ebola 30 minutes from my house.

But y’all, we all need to take a deep breath {sigh} and keep things in perspective. The first thing you need to understand:

The media’s number one job is to sell newspapers/get TV ratings so they can sell commercials. Their main job is not just to keep me informed, make me feel better, help me to keep things in perspective. They want me to watch their station instead of that old West Wing rerun on Netflix.

The other thing you need to understand:

Every hospital, government organization, and politician has a public relations person who is employed to help his or her boss get media coverage. It’s what I did for 10 years. Was there an ice storm? I pitched a story about ice-storm related baby booms. West Nile Virus? I found an infectious disease physician to conduct TV interviews. Major Texas heat wave? I pitched stories about how to recognize symptoms of a heat stroke and hosted reporters in our ER.  Ebola? PR PROFESSIONALS ARE BRAINSTORMING WAYS FOR THEIR HOSPITAL/DOCTOR/COUNTY JUDGE/GOVERNOR TO GET A PIECE OF THE PUBLICITY PIE.

This combination of reporters who are HUNGRY for Ebola stories and PR folks like me who are happy to feed them stories means that there will be STORY AFTER STORY AFTER STORY this week about Ebola. Every single angle will be covered. No stone will be left unturned. Fear will be spread and spread and SPREAD.

It is going to make people nervous wrecks because it will be all we think about. Unless you understand what (and who) is feeding this frenzy. It’s just folks who are trying to do their jobs and support their families. They’re not bad people. But with 24/7 news coverage,there will be speculation, misinformation, and missed context.  There will be people who mean well but misspeak. Know this.

Instead of getting scared, get cynical. We have had one person diagnosed with Ebola, and 23,000+ people will die from complications of influenza this year. Which one brings better ratings?

As for me, I’m going to choose to turn most of this coverage off and go back to my reruns of West Wing and my copy of Gone Girl on audio book. And take a big, deep breath.

(PS – For a great article with basic, non-scary facts from an infectious disease physician, check out this article from a fellow Fort Worth Mom Blogger).


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My life is like a Whac-a-Mole


Does it ever feel like your life is like this old arcade game I used to play as a child? A problem pops up, you give it a whack, then as soon as you finish, a new one pops up?

This is what my life feels like. Just when I give a good WHACK to one problem, another pops up.

It all came to a head last Thursday. I had a baby who was very sick with asthma. We hadn’t slept in a week because she had been up every night with asthma attacks. Mr. Right had just found out through a blood test that he didn’t have shingles after all (he’s in the midst of what we thought was his second bout since June… four months of pain on his left eye/cheek). His pain was escalating. The docs recommended an MRI to rule out all manner of scary things that might be going on.


I left for work with our only carseat in the back of my car, so when the doctor called to say he needed to see her today, Mr. Right couldn’t take Wrenn to her doctor appointment. And of course, I had a day full of important meetings at work. WHACK. I scrambled to get to her doctor appointment, and while there we got a call that Mr. Right could be squeezed in for an MRI, but only if he could be there within the hour. Of course, we were at the other doctor’s office and in one car. WHACK. We rushed through Wrenn’s appointment, rushed Mr. Right home so he could rush to get his MRI done. WHACK.

Then we had to wait all night to get the test results. The waiting was the worst part. WHACK.

But we were distracted by Wrenn vomiting her medicine all over herself. And me. And our floor. And more asthma problems. WHACK.

We were all three so tired. So very tired. Everything seems worse when you haven’t been sleeping. I took a long bubble bath and then cried myself to sleep. It was the worst day I’ve had in a long time.

But God is so full of grace, isn’t he? I woke up the next morning with this sense of peace that can only come from him. I heard him say, “My mercies are new every morning.”

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”
-Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)

This week has been better. Life is still hard, but things are a little better. Miss Wrenn is feeling much better. We’re all sleeping. Mr. Right got a clear report on his MRI. We’re still dealing with his illness and the frustration of having to wait a month to see a specialist. It’s hard to watch your loved one hurt.

Friend, do you feel like you’re the only one out there juggling, and finding it impossible to keep all the balls in the air? You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in good company. In the meantime, someone hand me another mallet while I go run myself another bubble bath.

His mercies are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness.

More adventures in the ER

In the past 12 months, as a family we have experienced:

  • Mr. Right had a major bicycle accident, which included a fractured bone and a major injury to his hip that almost required extensive surgery (translation: ER visit + multiple orthopedic surgeon visits).
  • I had a pregnancy-related blood-pressure scare that translated to an evening in the hospital and a week on bed rest.
  • WE HAD A BABY. (Yea! But that also means hospital stay + 8 million doctor appointments/vaccinations)
  • Wrenn and I had Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (most glamorous week of my life).
  • Wrenn and I had RSV.
  • I got tendonitis in my wrist.
  • I got a benign tumor in my back.
  • Mr. Right and I had the stomach bug.
  • Mr. Right had another stress fracture in his foot.
  • I had an ear infection so severe I spent a weekend doped up on major pain medicine and the ear drum eventually ruptured.

Each time you read these, I want you to hear “Cha-Ching!” in your head. Because that’s the cost of doctor visits, hospital visits, prescriptions, shots… not to mention stress, trying to quarantine one or both parents from our baby girl, sleepless nights, trying to juggle childcare duties…

It’s been quite a year. No wonder I’m so tired.

Let’s add one more to the list – Mr. Right got shingles last week. On his face. Actually, on his eye and cheek. We started out thinking he had an allergic reaction to something, but I’m so thankful that Mr. Right followed that “something’s not right” gut feeling he had (he NEVER has that). Turns out that shingles on your eye is, like, the WORST PLACE TO GET IT, but thankfully we caught it within a few hours of it appearing. Two ER visits + two doctor visits + one week on quarantine to protect Wrenn from catching the chicken pox virus+ one trip to the store to buy Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer to wipe down everything in our house + a lot of pain and suffering by Mr. Right.

So yeah, it hasn’t been our best week.

But in my tendency to remember all of the random sickness/injuries we’ve faced in the last year, as I look over that list, I’m reminded of God’s grace, his healing, and his answered prayers.

  • Doctors told us surgery on Mr. Right’s hip was inevitable – his type of injury never improves on its own. We prayed like crazy people, and six weeks later, his hip had improved enough to avoid surgery. Praise the Lord.
  • My pregnancy blood-pressure spike was a one-time thing, and we had a healthy baby girl just a week later. That was just one of SO MANY MIRACLES we experienced during that very difficult pregnancy.
  • Wrenn had RSV, but she had a mild case, and never experienced the complications that make so many babies so very sick.
  • My tendonitis was treated with just a steroid shot, and my back tumor was benign and probably will never require surgery.
  • Mr. Right’s shingles never spread to his eyeball, which is very, very good news.

It’s easy to see all of the difficulties of the past year, but in retrospect, I see so much goodness. So many little miracles… reminders that God is our healer and our protector, and he is worthy to be praised regardless of our circumstances.

Because Thursday

photo (18)Day 23 of my #mileaday challenge was the first day I didn’t get my mile in. Because sometimes a girl just wants to come home from work and spontaneously go on a date night for velvet tacos with her man and baby (who gets cuter by the day, I swear). And then come home and make a pallet on the floor in front of the fire and snuggle through a chick flick. And have a good ugly cry when the chick flick talks about babies and dying and great love.

Rachel McAdams, your movies are always my favorite.

So, you know, it was Thursday. And my #mileaday is not an exercise in perfection, but an exercise in, well, exercise. I’m 22 for 23, and I’m back on the wagon for day 24.

Because, well, Friday.


il_570xN.553634680_5tueHave you seen my newest print in the shop? I have a poster-sized version being delivered to my house on Monday. Can’t wait.


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I want to dream BIG in 2014


Free download from Texas Lovely

My goal for 2014 is to dream big. The past few years my goal has been to rest, to pace myself, to slow down, to not overdo. And in those seasons that was what I needed because my life was filled with work and stress and growing a baby and then having a baby and learning how to be a new mom.

It was an amazing season in my life. And now it’s time for a new season. In this season I want to get back to doing something I feel like I haven’t done in a few years.

I want to DREAM.

I want to think and plan, not just for this week or this month or this year, but for the future. I want to try things I’ve never done before, to experience thrills, to conquer fears. To live with reckless abandon. To do things BIG.

To worry less about failing.

To worry less about what others think.

One of those things I want to do is to grow my little blog. Would you help me? I’m offering this print as a free download – would you tell your friends, pin it on Pinterest, and help share the love? You would make this girl very, very happy.

Keep dreaming, my friends.


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Has she disappeared?


Y’all, I don’t think I’ve ever neglected my little blog for this long before. It is so precious to me, chronicling the stories of my life for me to go back and enjoy later. I’ve been doing it for almost eight years now (since way before blogging was cool) and there are few things more precious to me than this little corner of the world.

But one of the great lies of our age is that as women, we can be good at everything. The perfect mother who never gets overwhelmed from the crying (oh, the crying!), or fears her baby’s first fever or every once in awhile thinks that if she doesn’t just get ONE uninterrupted night of sleep she might lose her mind forever. The perfect homemaker, who bakes everything from scratch and has a hand-made wreath on her door and a gorgeous table setting in her dining room. A woman who entertains regularly in her frilly apron and pearls, who never gets frazzled or tired or stressed. Whose baseboards have never seen dust and whose drawers have never seen clutter. Oh, and throw in being an employee who beautifully balances everything while wearing the newest (thrifted) Pinterest-inspired outfit (with a scarf – there is always a scarf) and has nary a drop of spit up anywhere on her person. And, of course, she is a perfect wife who is always patient with her husband, looks just as polished when he comes home from work as when he left, who cooks him dinner every night using the groceries she bought with coupons and keeps his closet continuously stocked with freshly ironed shirts. And every night they go to bed together on freshly ironed sheets and dream of the adventures that tomorrow will bring.

presentY’all, that ain’t me. I ironed my sheets once after we got married and then realized that it was a colossal waste of my time considering after one night they were a rumpled mess. Now I’m just happy if they’re clean. And I used coupons once, but then lost interest and now have a drawer full of ones that expired in 2011. And sometimes I have a Pinterest-inspired outfit, but honestly they never do look quite the same as they do on the 5’10” 110 pound fashion blogger. I made a wreath once, two years ago, and that same wreath still hangs on my front door, faded and covered in dust and looking a bit ready to retire. And at any given moment there is very high likelihood that there is both spit-up in my hair and on my clothes. Oh, and the last time we entertained guests, well, we ordered pizza.

Being able to do it all, to have it all, TO BE ALL, that’s a myth. And that’s the main reason why I have neglected this blog. Because at this very moment in my life, in this season, my priorities are being a mama, being a wife, and being a good employee. That’s all I can handle right now. There have been many evenings where I intended to write something, but there was a baby to snuggle, and then feed and put to bed, and then a husband to snuggle, and then let’s face it, it’s time for bed because we’re both sleep deprived and an early bedtime is one of the most necessary parts of being a parent.

And so the minute I wrap up work each evening, the first thing I do is put the laptop away and shift my focus to my family. It’s what I’ve got at this very moment, and if I can only do a few things well, then I want to do wife and mama well. There are small pockets of time to craft and bake and entertain and write, but I’m trying so very hard to keep my top priorities my top priorities.

And you want to know a little secret? I am absolutely loving this quieter, slower pace of life. My tendency is to live life as a sprint, and I feel like, much of the time (not all the time, mind you), instead these days I’m sort of meandering through this season of life, and it is so, so refreshing.

So stick with me, friends. I have big plans and blog ideas swimming around in this head of mine (of course I have extra time to think since I’m usually up at least once or twice a night feeding that wide-eyed baby of mine), and hopefully they’ll find their way onto my computer page so that I can continue to make memories for later. Thanks for waiting it out with me. It’s just a season.

Mother’s Day Letter to Wrenn

Dear Baby Girl,

Yesterday was my first Mother’s Day… and it was because of you that I got that huge honor. You see, little Wrenn, it is the biggest honor of my life to be your mama. To carry you in my belly. To feel you kick from the inside – it’s like our own little secret that nobody else knows. I treasure those moments and look forward to them every single day.


Baby girl, I prayed for you before I ever met your daddy. I prayed so many nights that God would give me a baby of my own someday. And that someday is here and He has given me you. Once I married your daddy, we prayed together that God would bless us with a baby. Before you were ever here, I longed for you and cried for you and waited and waited and waited for you.


I cannot wait to meet you in two short months. There is so much to do before you arrive, but more than anything I can’t wait for that first moment when I get to see you, and meet you, and hold you against my chest and revel in the joy of being your mama.


Your daddy spoiled me on my first Mother’s Day. I woke up to a gorgeous breakfast – you know your daddy doesn’t just cook – he makes every meal an event. He gave me a body pillow (such a comfort for this tired pregnant body) and a prenatal massage and one of his famously sweet love notes. Your daddy spoils me so, and I know when you get here he will spoil you too.


We spent the rest of the day celebrating with both of your grandmothers, who also can’t wait to meet you. In fact, there are a lot of people counting down until the day they get to meet you. But of all of them, your daddy and I are the most excited. Sixty days left until your due date (July 12). The question is… will we see you before that, or will you make us wait? Honestly, baby girl, whenever you choose to come will be a huge celebration.


Wrenn Olivia – you are loved. You are treasured. You are an answer to prayers. I can’t wait to meet you.

Love, your mama


Thanks to all my blog friends who left me such encouragement on my last post. It meant so much to me. All of these pictures are courtesy of McGowan Images. To see our entire maternity session, click here.

Confessions of a third trimester

I’ll have to admit, all of the comments and attention focused on the size of my bump started to get to me last week.

Today’s comment was: “I can tell you’re having a girl because the shape of your face has changed.” I can only assume that means it’s, err, filling out? Awesome.

Actually, the comments have bothered me from the beginning – one thing I have learned from pregnancy is that you can’t really help how you carry the baby. Some girls carry high, some carry low. Some carry only out in front, others wear their baby like an inner tube (hello, back fat – we are not friends). Some girls puff up all over, others look like they swallowed a tic tac until month 7. And you know what – none of them has any control over it. You just get what you get.

To every pregnant girl who has gone before me, whom I have secretly judged, I am SO SORRY.

So after a dozen too many “Oh my gosh, you’re HUGE!” comments, along with some unflattering photos (I’ve learned my lesson – no more pics taken from the front – you will get nothing but profile shots of me between now and when the baby is 7), those insecurities in my head got really loud. Couple that with the date on my calendar that started creeping closer – maternity pictures! Aaaack! What was I thinking? I panicked.

Since I’m good friends with our photographers, I emailed her and told her that if I didn’t love her and trust that she could work magic with ANYTHING, then I would have cancelled already. She responded with encouragement – told me to go buy some new clothes that I’d feel cute in, take some deep breaths, and loosen up. And that’s what I did.

Nobody needs to know about the hour I spent in the dressing room at Destination Maternity at our local mall, trying on item after item with disgust (maternity clothes are NOT cute). Nobody needs to know that the whole time sweet baby girl was dive-bombing my bladder to the point I wasn’t sure I’d make it back to my car. Nobody needs to know that when I went to try on sandals I realized I couldn’t reach the buckle and so I just gave up trying (I was wearing a knee-length skirt – I could have reached it, but it would NOT have been lady like).

Because two days later we went and took our pictures and had a blast. Those insecurities melted away as Mr. Right snuggled against me and told me how beautiful he thought I looked, and as my photographer friends showed me sneak peeks in their camera that proved that at the right angle, I’m rocking it.

(For my records – I was 30 weeks when these pics were taken. Photo courtesy of McGowan Images.)

baby pic

I get to see the rest of the pics tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m continuing to battle and pray my way through those silly insecurities about my body, which to be honest I’ve had both pregnant and non-pregnant, because it’s one of those traits I don’t want to pass along to my little girl.

My sweet friends, what has helped you overcome those body insecurities? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.


In case you missed it, my guest post, Top 10 Crazy Things People Say to Pregnant Women, is available over on my work blog.

Sorry blogs, I’m just not that into you

My husband and I were discussing the death of Google Reader and what my next move will be. I told him I’d migrated everything to BlogLovin’, but I’m struggling with changing to a new format after so many years.

And that’s when Mr. Right asked me why it’s a big deal. He reads six blogs.

Me? I read 159.

I guess that’s kind of a lot. Many are written by friends who only occasionally update, others are work related, others help me when it comes time to brainstorm my next big event. There’s quilting blogs, Christian blogs, decorating blogs, fashion blogs, and then the random ones that I love just because they’re lovely. I don’t actually READ all of them. At least, not every day.

But 159? That’s the definition of excess.

How many blogs do you read?

And so this week I forced myself to break up with more than 1/3 of my beloved blogs. You know the ones that I tend to skip, or skim, or the ones written by authors who tend to make me feel inadequate. Because honestly, am I ever going to weave my own rug? Um, no.

So now I’m down to 102, and of those, only about half post with any regularity. I feel like I just cleaned out my closet (something else I should do, since those non-maternity clothes no longer fit – but let’s be honest, I don’t have the energy to do that).

It was like spring cleaning for my brain. Now if I could just muster the resolve to do the same thing to my car, which among other clutter has a giant adult-size tooth costume filling the whole back seat. At this point, I’m embarassed to go through drive-throughs. It doesn’t stop this pregnant, hungry girl, but I’m still embarassed.

Baby kicks and baby bumps and a nesting confessional

1. Thanks to everyone who prayed for Mr. Right as he preached at that youth retreat last weekend. It went GREAT! Some of my very proudest moments are when I sit in the audience and get to watch him preach Jesus from the pulpit. It’s like all those years of praying for a godly man were answered in a way much better than I had ever hoped, and those moments I’m reminded that God hears my prayers and in his perfect timing (in this case, 7 years after I started praying this fervant prayer), he responds.

I should also mention that Mr. Right looked super cute while up there preaching. Not that it matters, but he did.

2. I felt Baby Right kick for the first time on Sunday! I felt some tiny punches to my lower left belly as I watched a movie – more than the flutter I’d been waiting for – more like a flick. Ever since I’ve been feeling more and more – it’s so exciting to feel that little life in that growing belly of mine.

3. Speaking of bellies – here’s some belly pictures.

16 Weeks

17.5 Weeks

18 Weeks

4. Speaking of bellies and babies – I finally hit that second trimester sweet spot, where I want to do things besides lay on the couch and watch TV. I spent my free time this weekend quilting and writing on my book and organizing my house. I now know why women nest during pregnancy – it’s because during that first trimester they’re so sick that they let EVERYTHING go (and I mean EVERYTHING), and by the time they start feeling better, their house is so out of sorts that they absolutely HAVE to nest or they’ll lose their mind. At least, that’s what I hear other people do. Not me. My house hasn’t become a disorganized mess. No way. Uh uh. (nods head “no”).

Let’s be real y’all – the more visible areas of our house have been somewhat clean thanks to our cleaning lady, whom we paid for when we got rid of our cable (greatest decision EVER in the history of the world). But the only way I’ve been able to “clean up” for the cleaning lady is by throwing things in every cabinet, drawer, closet or pantry I could get my hands on, which means if you opened a single door in my house, you were liable to have something fall on your head. At least, in all areas except for Mr. Right’s, since he is one of those rare guys who actually picks up after himself and stays organized (thank goodness there’s one of us in this relationship). So, this weekend I cleaned out, threw out, and organized my way back to a little bit of sanity in our home. And it feels amazing. And I hope it lasts for at least a week or two.

5. And finally – I want to leave you with this picture of Mr. Right and our nephew Luke from dinner last night. Does this not make your heart melt? I’m not sure what I’m going to do when he’s holding our own baby – probably cry a lot. You know, the good kind of tears.