I march to show my daughter that we stand up for ourselves and we stand up for others and we stand with others. Yesterday was a much too belated (on my part), tiny step in a long march towards equality and freedom for all. But I took it. And my husband took it. And my daughter took it. And we’ll take another. And we’ll march together.

As my friend so beautifully articulated, “I’m humbled by the work of others before me, embarrassed by my silence and complicity, and eager to catch up.”

A word for 2017


v. (used with object)

to subject to a process of vaporization and subsequent condensation, as for purification or concentration.

To extract the volatile components of…

To concentrate, purify, or obtain by…

To remove by…

To extract the essential elements of; refine…

To let fall in drops…

I suppose it’s a habit. Without much thought, as the year ended my mind began to wander and sort and sift through words. I suppose I could make it a goal, or an intention. But it’s more of a come-to-Jesus as I stand at the front porch staring down the horizon of the upcoming year. So that is what you will be. Okay. I breath it in and let it swirl around and begin the process of acceptance.

My life does not revolve around the calendar year, and still a single word emerges for the third time. The collection of these 365 days is so much bigger than a word, and it’s as simple as it too.


I think that is it. I think that is 2017. I can see it in big ways and in small. I can see it in my work and my parenting and my partnering and my practice. I can see it in my closet and our budget. As if the universe has said, “enough.” Enough accumulating. Now pare down. Now find the essence.

At first the prospect was scary. And already I am becoming accustomed. I am training myself to ask what is necessary. With money, with time, with thoughts.

I think scarcity will be my nemesis.

I need to practice gratitude, to breathe it in fully. And I am hopeful I will be filled with a quiet, bare beauty.

Leila Love


Mommy: “We don’t really have any more weddings.” Leila: “Except my wedding!” Mommy: “Do you want to get married?” Leila: “I don’t know! (pause) I want my wedding to be in Bastrop!”

“I felt like a 6-year-old.”

“Why doesn’t Santa come to our house?”

Overheard from the front of the car “…my name is Blanding! …I live in the city of Houston…”

Overheard from the front of the car, “Woah! That’s pretty hard.”

“If I knew where I was going.”

Daddy, explaining how sea turtles can live a long time, even longer than people…Leila: “So they will be the only ones left in the world?” Daddy trying to explain about reproduction, etc. and Leila responded that she had “turtle boogers.”

“Okay, who’s going to buckle me in? (waits one second) Okay, I guess no one.”

Grandma: “Were there monsters in the movie (Moanna)?” Leila: “Yes.” Grandma: “Were they scary?” Leila: “Yes.” Grandma: “But you know they aren’t real, right?” Leila: “In the movie they were real.”

Talking (to Mommy) about a Lego, “I was gonna use it, but you said you needed it.”

“It’s hard being a mommy and wanting to play.”

After watching the Nutcracker, as she danced from her seat to the car, “I can’t stop dancing.”