When I was a little girl, my dad would give me writing prompts and send me off to create wild stories about things like, “Why a frog says ‘ribbit,’” or “Why monkeys swing from trees.” This activity had the double benefit of keeping me quiet and out of his hair for a bit, and taught me how to be creative on paper – an outlet I still rely on to this day.
A native Texan, I grew up in a small Texas-Oklahoma border town on the Red River, where my cousin and I would play with dirt devils and hunt for horned frogs (we called them “horny toads,” like any proper kid-from-a-river-town).
I want to make sure you’re accurately picturing this: we always had sweaty hair, dirty knees and fingernails, and were both clad in lots of brown and orange plaid, because the world was brown and orange in the 1970’s and early 80’s.
A little later, I attended The University of North Texas, where I graduated with a degree in Journalism and Marketing in 1992, diving head-first into what would be about a 20-year career in advertising and marketing.
After college I met (on a blind date!) and married my husband, Mark (in 1995), had a son, Jace (1999), moved to Leander in 2002, had another son, Cody (2007), and – in an effort to have more time with family, and what I felt would be a more fulfilling career – I left the world of advertising and became a certified middle school teacher, but only for a three-year stint.
I loved being in the classroom, but when I was on maternity leave with my youngest, a friend hired me to do a freelance advertising project, which earned more money for me than my teaching contract, so that was that.
That freelance gig evolved over the years, and since I was able to wear more of a copywriter’s hat throughout the years, my work is now exclusively writing: freelance writing, blogging, and book writing (I’m currently working on a piece of historical fiction for which I had the most incredible luxury of traveling to England last year with my dad to conduct research).
As someone with a history of anxiety and depression, and a deep interest in psychology and behavior, what I write most about – and what I hope to share with the Austin Moms community – is our family’s experience with hearing loss, which we discovered in our youngest son when he was 10, and mental health concerns.
As a child, I struggled with depression, anxiety, OCD, and undiagnosed ADHD – (see also: when you’re horrified by an earlier version of yourself) all of which run in my family, and a few of which both my boys have inherited.
I don’t want it to sound like my childhood was hard or sad because it wasn’t at all. The most important lesson my parents taught me was the life-saving magic of having a sense of humor, which is almost always incorporated into my writing. It’s how I “deal.”
These days, my husband and I live in Liberty Hill with our two sons and our three dogs, including Lilly the Therapy Dog, the furry half of our Complex-certified Therapy Dog Team (I am the other half. The not-furry part, thankyouverymuch), and my partner in crime for stress-relief visits around the Austin area.
You can read more about our family’s experiences with hearing loss and teen anxiety and depression on my blog at BringMommyAMartini.com, and you can see what Lilly’s up to by visiting LillyTheTherapyDog.com.