My Peace

First off. I’m back!! It’s been too long. Second, this blog post has a disclaimer: Always remember, I live in the land of no secrets so this may be a heavy post. But! It’s also a happy post!

Lately, I’ve been trying to get healthier, like most people. I’ve been doing WW with good results but I’ve yet to find an activity I TRULY love and don’t feel like it’s draining my life away while doing it. I did get the Echelon Connect Bike, which I enjoy, but it’s an inside workout and I’ve found I prefer to be outside.

I’ve known for a long time I really enjoy being out with nature. Any time I’ve been on a trail doing light (emphasis on light, I’m not climbing any crazy mountains ha!) hiking, I’m at peace. You might ask, “What do you mean by ‘at peace’, Dusti?” I’ll tell you what it means for me. For me, it means, not thinking about anything else but what I’m doing right then and being content in that. It’s my meditation. Some people can do this while being at home and taking a few minutes to be mindful. I have been unable to do that. My mind wanders quickly to other things. Some people can do this while doing other exercises. I’ve found, with other activities, I just watch the time and can’t wait for it to be over. For me, that’s even just walking in my neighborhood. I’ll do it, but the scenery is not enjoyable to me; it’s monotonous and there are too many distractions.

Here’s the heavy part. Many of you may be nodding your head and agreeing that you love being on trails and such. I do feel it’s innate in us to have a pull to be outside in nature and it’s unfortunate in today’s world it’s not a normal part of our everyday life. But, while I was taking a light stroll this past week, it hit me…the reason it’s important to me.

If you’ve read any of my past posts or know much about me, you know I had a chaotic childhood. Arguably, the most chaotic time was when I was between the ages of 5 to 7. During that time, my mom was in the throws of addiction to methamphetamine with her boyfriend. Maybe the worst it had ever gotten. We moved from a small town to a smaller town and out in the country where we were pretty isolated. And, by isolated, I mean, people still semi-joke that you shouldn’t go to this area at night because not the best people live around there. It was so isolated, that in the late 1980s/early 1990s, we didn’t even have running water and we had about 8 fighting pit bulls surrounding the parameter of the chunk of land we lived on in a rundown mobile home. So, you can imagine the environment. I won’t go into the details. Just know, it was bad. But, what’s the saying, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (Thanks Charles Dickens)

It may have been bad and I could have easily been taken into DHS custody but I have some of the BEST memories from the short time we lived out there. It was like I was a kid thrown back into another time. I roamed the woods every day after school and every weekend with my dog (yes, a pit bull, Spiker). I didn’t have much adult supervision so I’d be out there for hours just me, my dog (thank goodness. I can’t imagine the snakes and such he shielded me from!), and the woods. I’d be out there from morning to night. It was my peace when I had no peace otherwise. It was my safe haven. It was my constant from the chaos.

So! This past week I decided I need to get back to that. I asked my Facebook friends where they enjoy going around our area. Areas which don’t feel like we are in a city. I received some great feedback of areas nearby and others within a couple hours of Tulsa, OK. This past week I checked out Ray Harral Nature Center in Broken Arrow, OK. Our dog, Molly, and I enjoyed it.

Me and Molly hiking

It has some short trails that are paved so we made a couple loops. There’s a neat learning center and birthday parties can even be held there! I plan to try out some of the other places people mentioned and even take the kiddo. I think he’d really enjoy it.

Here’s some links to other places with light/moderate trails nearby if you are interested:
Lynn Lane Reservoir
Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area
River Parks Trails
Oxley Nature Center
Osage Prairie Trail
Lake Bixoma

Some farther away but near enough to spend a day and get back home:
Natural Falls State Park
Tallgrass Prairie Reserve
Robber’s Cave State Park

Let Go and Let God. Really?! 

I’ve been contemplating what to, well, how to, write my next blog post for a while now. I still am not sure how but here goes.

A couple of weeks ago I posted on my FB a couple of questions:

  1. Why do you go (or not go) to church?
  2. What does going to church mean to you?
  3. When did you first know God and what does having a relationship with God mean to you?

I got many different responses which was my intention, I thought. Then, after thinking about it even more, I realized, I’m not looking for other people’s answers. I’m looking for my own.

If you read my last blog post about Mother’s Day and if you know me at all, you know I didn’t have the most stable of upbringings. That includes any type of faith base. Yes, my family talked about being Christians and such but not a single one I grew up around went to church or followed any type of “rules” regarding Christian behavior. Yes, I was taken to church by some family members sometimes and went to church with friends sometimes. All kinds. I even went to a Mormon church camp one year….that was interesting. But, overall, religion, spirituality, God, what it means to be a Christian….I didn’t have. That’s ok.

 There is NO DOUBT I know God is real. I can still remember the first day I realized this. Quick rundown: It was after my dad died so I was about 7. My life situation was no good, probably the worst it ever was; no running water, run down trailer, surrounded by things I shouldn’t have been, just turmoil all around. It was in the afternoon, sun was shining bright, I was crying because I missed my dad, was pretty much alone. I was laying on my bed just thinking about him gone. My 7-year old mind started thinking (what I thought to myself then) crazy thoughts. Paraphrasing here: “My body is not real. My voice is not real. I mean, it’s mine but not mine. How can I just be gone one day? I can’t be. That doesn’t make any sense at all to just disappear.” From that day on I had a peace about it all. Not just my dad dying, but everything.

I also know He’s real because, just like the quote above says, there’s no way my life would have turned out the way it has without some divine interventions.  First off, my attitude and ability to be resilient; to take the situations I was exposed to from a young age and make sure I was safe and stay positive and move forward. Second, the people I was surrounded by who influenced my life and helped take care of me.

That being said, I’m still not comfortable with calling myself a Christian. What still wins my internal argument is my embarrassment, or probably more accurately, my self-consciousness, or even self-control about calling myself a Christian openly, saying I go to church, etc. Also, these same feelings happen when I go to Chris for the opposite reasons; I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know “the basics”, I don’t know much about being a Christian. 

I  always have this internal battle of Christianity vs spirituality. I’ve been known to say, “I don’t go to church but I’m spiritual and believe in God.” And things such as, “what makes one religion better than another?”, “Isn’t it all the same God?”  You know, what many people say and question. I also have a battle of I can’t be Christian and also be okay with social issues such as gay rights and abortion and having an occasional margarita. Something that hit home and I always think about now is something my ol friend, Joan says, “Everyone has their own convictions. It’s not up to me or you to decide for anyone else what those are.” 

I’ve decided, on my own, this is a cop-out. At least for me. I’m just scared. Scared to let go even though I know what is true. Scared of being judged by people who don’t have the same beliefs. Scared of making the first step to learn more. Scared of the not knowing. Like my friend, Joan, says (she’s pretty smart), “It’s your journey with God, no one else’s. It’s up to you and Him what you do on it.” 

 So, here goes on this new journey of letting go and letting God. Like, really this time.

Not Your Average Mom’s Day Post

First things first: this is going to be something many may not know about me. Second, Mom, this is going to be “real talk”. Stick with it cause it gets better. Love you.

Mother’s Day has always been a day of mixed emotions for me as a teenager and as I’ve gotten older. I’ll tell ya why. My life and my life with my mom was not all rainbows and unicorns. I know it isn’t unique to say that but let’s just say I’m amazed worse things didn’t happen to me in situations I was put in numerous times. I definitely believe I had a few guardian angels watching over me.

For as far back as I can remember, my mom has love me more than anyone has ever loved their child. I remember her telling me more than once, “I was so excited to have you and love you and know I’d have someone who loved me back the same way.”

She also “loved” methamphetamine and not just a little bit, a lotta bit. And, I knew this. I’ve known what methamphetamine is as far as my memories go back. It’s scary. It makes people mean. It makes people animals. It made Mom stay in an abusive relationship; with the drugs and with a man. It made Mom do things she would have never done otherwise. It made Mom put me in situations a child should never be in. It made Mom sick. It made Mom sad. I knew there was another “sibling” she loved, sometimes I thought maybe more than me. I questioned it, and sometimes believed it, all of my childhood and even into adulthood. Sometimes it took my mom away from me physically, for 28 days when I was about 6 years old. Then, for years when I was a little older. But, harder than that, it took her away emotionally most of the time. I’ll be honest, because of this, it still affects our relationship and bond to each other. She couldn’t emotionally be present and I learned how to detach myself from her. Otherwise it was too hard. Too hard to have a mom who couldn’t love me like I loved her. Too hard to be taken away from her over and over. At one point, in high school, I wrote her a letter giving her an ultimatum – me or meth. Truth be told, if she would have chosen meth, I wouldn’t be typing this today.

But, in dark days, there’s always light. I’m a firm believer in that. Most would say I didn’t have a great childhood. Most would say it must have been awful, you poor thing. Lots would argue I should have been taken into DHS custody more than once. There were a couple of times it almost happened. But, I disagree. Yes, many need to be taken from their environment, but not me. I’m so, so thankful I wasn’t taken into custody. Otherwise, I would have missed out on all the following memories with her:

-playing in the creek that had the handle on the rock underneath the small waterfall beside the back road in Salina

-chasing piglets that got out of their cage when we lived in Kenwood

-roaming the woods in Kenwood with my dog, Spiker

-playing Badminton in the front yard (I still think I could have gone to the Olympics)

-belting out Heart, Bob Seger, The Eagles, Kansas, Bad Company, Fleetwood Mac, Meatloaf, and of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd in our beat up cars on the back roads of OK

-having THE BEST Valentine’s Day balloons sent to school

-having THE BEST birthday parties and Christmases

-reading with her before bed

-her rubbing my back before bed only the way she knows how

and, most importantly…

-always knowing, even though there were doubts, she loved me more than anyone has ever loved their child.

I know this now more than ever the love a mom has for her child(ren). It is undeniable. I also see the way she is with my son, her grandson. I see the mom in her now I wish I had all of the time, not just some of the time, growing up. I see the mom she wanted so much to be to me but couldn’t escape the hold the drugs had over her. I see the love she has for me when she looks at Barrett. I see now, I don’t have to worry about my ability to be a mom because, although I may have had to look harder than some kids, she taught me what it means to love and be loved through the best of times and the worst of times. I love you Mom.

A Love Letter to My Dogs

I know things haven’t been the same the last few months. I’m so sorry. I don’t have the same amount of time to give you. I don’t have the same amount of cuddles to give you. You may feel I love you less. I don’t.  You may feel I’ve forgotten you. I haven’t. You may feel I’m a little more impatient with you. I may be. I’ve got new worries which include Barrett’s safety and you are much bigger than him and although I know you won’t, you can hurt him.

Give me time. That’s all it’ll take. It’s getting better already. Let’s continue to cuddle on the couch every evening after Bear goes to bed. Let’s continue to play while Bear is napping and when he is out of the way, which I know isn’t often.

Many say the love a person has for their pets fades some after they have children. I don’t think so. It changes. It evolves like all love does.

Soon, the tide will turn. Your love will evolve. You won’t care about me so much. You will love him more. I’ve seen it already. You surround him when he’s eating because you know you will get what drops. Soon he will feed you. You want to play with him but I see your hesitance. Soon he will be chasing you! You surround him when he sleeps because you want to comfort him. Soon you’ll be in his bed. Then, my love for you will grow even more.




Why I left all the Mom/Parenting Groups and Pages on Social Media

Short answer: For this little guy


Long answer:

  • PPD/PPA: Yep, I can finally admit I suffer from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.  I didn’t think I had it, or at least didn’t WANT to have it. I had read and heard horror stories of women killing their children and/or committing suicide and I never had thoughts of hurting my son. This next statement is hard. I haven’t said it to anyone  (not even my husband or mom) but it’s time it’s out there for other moms to hear: I did have thoughts of suicide. Wow, I just said (well, typed that). Only thoughts but I DID HAVE thoughts.  Even now, as I’m typing this, I am telling myself, “Dusti, it wasn’t that serious. It was only fleeting thoughts when you were having terrible insomnia. Nothing compared to what other moms go through.” But, it was serious. It IS serious. I was having terrible insomnia. To the point I was pleading with God or whoever/whatever to fall asleep. I cried and cried. I felt alone. I felt resentful towards my husband and baby, even the dogs! that they were all sleeping. Then, I’d have the “fleeting” thought out of nowhere. What’s funny is I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and work with Veterans so we are trained to be open about talking to others about suicide and it’s an everyday question we ask to almost everyone we talk to day to day, so I should have reached out, but I didn’t. Why? Because, the next morning I’d wake up and barely remember or think about how the previous night had been before I finally fell asleep. And, because otherwise, I was functioning what I thought to be normally. I was able to be mom, go back to work full time, take care of myself, be my happy-go-lucky self, adore my son. But, looking back on the first 6 months of being a mom (I’m only 8 months into this mom gig), I had a tough time. At first I thought it was normal mom stuff and that every mom goes through something and I was “just being a baby.” But it wasn’t normal and it’s OKAY and important to share so other moms know that too. I spent those first few weeks at home on leave from work with my son and instead of enjoying every minute of it, I spent HOURS on social media groups geared towards bringing moms together and sharing ideas. Instead, I got obsessed to the point I’d worry about things that hadn’t even happened like the dreaded “4-month sleep regression” or I’d read how other women were loving every minute of breast feeding and I was having a terrible experience and thought I was a failure. It got so bad, my husband threatened to take my phone to work with him so I’d be less likely to get on those sites. So, I left those sites, groups, and pages.


  • Speaking of breastfeeding: it didn’t work for me. I did it for 6, I’ll say it, torturous weeks. I let it consume me. My son and I had a tough time but like the PPA/PPD, I would stay on mom groups/pages and see what other moms were going through and think, “Dusti, they are having a much worse time and they are dealing with it and staying the course. Quit whining and keep trying.” And I did, with tears. I told myself before Barrett was born, I wouldn’t go crazy about breastfeeding if it didn’t work. But, I did. I joined the Le Leche group page for the area and other groups and got advice and hired a certified lactation consultant to come to my home. She was amazing and never once made me feel pressured to continue. Then, I started thinking about formula, which I never feared before, but suddenly, I did, because of everything I’d read from other moms. So, I left those sites, groups, and pages.


  • “My son is 4 months old isn’t doing….?!”: Oh, the milestones. I got caught up in timeframes of what Barrett was supposed to be doing and when. Remember the 4-month sleep regression I wrote about early. Yeah, those, and teething, and sitting up, and blah blah. So, I left those sites, groups, and pages.


  • He can’t sleep where? Can’t have what? He’ll die if I do…?: Everyone is an expert. I was so afraid of SIDS or suffocating Barrett for one thing. The first couple nights home he either slept on my chest  (gasp!) or in the Rock n Play (gasp gasp!). Then, I read that made me a bad parent and I’d kill my kid (maybe I’m being dramatic, maybe not, you should read what internet experts say!). So, I became OCD about all of the stuff I should or shouldn’t do. Not just with sleeping, but with everything and anything the lovely search engines would direct me to. So I left those sites, groups, and pages.


The internet is a blessing and a curse. It’s a love/hate relationship for me. I still have to monitor myself and why I’m looking something up. Is it going to be helpful or hurtful? I tell other new moms in my life how it affected me so they can be aware.  Hope this blog post can help even more women as well.

As a side note to the PPD/PPA: I am currently in therapy and recently (in the last 2 months) started a SSRI (anti-depressant/anti-anxiety) medication. It’s the best thing I could have done for myself and my family. If you feel you have PPD/PPA, please do not hesitate to seek help. Do not think it will make you a lesser person or mother. In order to take care of your family, you’ve got to take care of yourself first. Here’s a great resource to check your symptoms (turns out I had plenty from the lists!):





First Timer

cropped-meunicornmug.jpgNot sure what made me decide to do a blog but HERE GOES! Just like my title, I live in the land of no secrets. At least that’s what I’ve been told by my friend, Joan, who I’m sure you will learn more about throughout this journey, with or without her knowledge. ;-)

What I want my blog to be: fun, inappropriate sometimes, heartfelt, sometimes serious. I’m not doing it for any specific purpose such as to teach you all fun recipes cause I’m not good at it, or to be really insightful and change your life. I’m doing this mainly to try it out, let it evolve on it’s own, and see what happens.  I’m sure there will be plenty of “mom” posts, both about my son, Barrett, and about my pets. Along with that, I love to read and I’m trying to get back into it after having  Barrett so I’ll probably have book recommendations. Same goes with movies and TV shows.  And of course it will be about all the adventures and fun stuff I find along the way. We will see where it goes!

What I’m hoping my blog won’t be: judgmental, full of expert advice, or pompous.

Just a little bit about me: I’m a social worker and have done hospice & oncology in one form or another for the last 11 years. I absolutely love it. I’m married to the best guy ever, no lie. I think my family and friends like Chad more than me most of the time and I’m okay with that. We have 5, yes FIVE, dogs and 1 poor cat. And, last but certainly not least, we have a 7 month old son, Barrett, who has my heart. He certainly wasn’t in the plan originally but because I’m married to the best guy ever, I just couldn’t imagine him not being a father and being the best dad ever. He’s not let me down yet. Sappy, I know. My friend, Joan, says I force friendships meaning, if I meet you and like you I decide we will be friends and it happens. It’s been pretty true to my life looking back. I’m okay with that too. Hopefully all the friends I have say the same. HA! The first friendship I remember “forcing” was with my friend, Amanda, in 3rd grade. I’m sure there were more before that but she’s the first I know for sure I pushed into it. We are still friends to this day so I’d say I have a good record!

I won’t go on and on. I’ll leave that to other blog posts. In the meantime, tell me a little about you!