I only come around when I'm sad.

I've had ...a year.

I've had incredible highs and devastating lows. It has been a rollercoaster that I'm so very tired of riding.

I haven't written here in a while because things were good. I was healthy, both physically and emotionally.

But maybe I wasn't.

In April, I went on a brief vacation and returned only to say goodbye to my beautiful Reuben.

Shortly after, James went on the trip of a lifetime to Malaysia, only to return early because our Jack was dying. He was diagnosed with megaesophagus and for the next two months, our lives revolved around battling this rare and devastating illness. Sadly, we lost that fight.

The next day I went on an amazing trip to Isla Mujeres, where I swam with whale sharks and ended up with a nasty bout of food poisoning (I can tell you exactly what did it. Ceviche shouldn't taste like pesto).

Just recently I went to Northern California to be a part of a dear friend's wedding. It was such a beautiful time, except I got a little bit sick.

And by a little bit sick, I mean I either caught or reactivated a mystery virus which paralyzed half of my face and landed me in the hospital for three days.

I'm now on day 12 of Bells Palsy - partial facial paralysis.

I'm scared. I wake up every day, hopeful that it got better while I slept. I spend the rest of the day trying to keep my stress down, trying to find hope, trying to relax, trying not to crumple into a sobbing mess in my bed.

I know that I could be better in 3 weeks. I also know that I might never get better.

I cannot smile. It's physically impossible.

It's hard to eat. It's hard to drink. It's hard to speak.

I'm tired and I don't know why. Is it the mystery virus? Is it depression?

Who knows.

My face hurts and that's supposed to be good. Sometimes it crawls and itches and that's uncomfortable but that's also supposed to be good. If it doesn't crawl and itch, I'm terrified. Crawling and itching means my nerves are doing...something. Nothing means...nothing. Continued paralysis.

I can't close my right eye. Which means I can't just lay down for a nap or even risk falling asleep watching tv. I have to tape it shut to sleep. Or nap. Or rest. Sometimes I tape it shut because it just bothers me. I can't risk being out in the wind because my eye can't protect itself. I can't squint in bright sun. I have to manually blink my eye through the day with my fingers, and use synthetic tears. The blinking and the tears temporarily compromise my vision, which makes it hard to do all of the things I love.

(This was a few days in. It got worse.)

I've gone through the gamut of emotions, some realistic and some not so much. Did I do this to myself? Because I celebrated with too many margaritas? Is it because I'm unhealthy? Because I was too happy? Took on too much? Because I quit running? Anxious? Too stressed out? Why do bad things keep happening when we travel? Are we being punished? Are we bad people? Is God trying to teach me another lesson? Will God ever tire of teaching me lessons? I'm so very tired of life's lessons. How do I rest? Am I lazy for resting? My poor husband. He married this broken thing. Why am I so broken? What else is wrong? What's next? How can I be better so this stops happening? Am I terrible?

And on and on and on...

My therapist says that I'm very hard on myself.

I'm aware. I don't know how to stop. I was wired at a very young age to believe all bad things were my fault, even when it's ever so obvious that some things simply aren't my fault.  Apparently that's just a battle I need to keep fighting.

I am being proactive. I'm eating well. I've backed off from all big projects for the moment. I'm painting for therapy. I'm sleeping. I'm practicing relaxation and stress management. I'm seeing my therapist. Acupuncturist. Doctors. I'm doing all of the things.

But I'm scared. And I'm sad. And while I believe that I can do hard things, I would be lying if I said I relished these battles. I don't. I'm tired. Some days I feel like all I do is fight. One thing after another after another. But other days, I feel so lucky for every great and beautiful thing that has come my way. There are a lot of those. Battles and beauty, I guess. And we keep moving forward. One day at a time.

The same...but different.

I've kept an online blog as long as I can remember. It started as a bit of a joke, then it became about crafts and DIY and most recently, it was therapy. I chronicled a 3 year battle with depression, anxiety, defamation of character and just general unhappiness. I worked through the estrangement of both of my parents, and then their somewhat recent deaths. I've not felt the urge to write lately, because my head and my heart are in a healthy place, and my art and my life have me at peace. But I feel like the trauma and journey to recovery that I went through and the subsequent victory should not be packed away. So I'm keeping it here, so that it can hopefully help someone else someday.

In the meantime, you can find my new website and all things Hey Lola, set up in proper business fashion...or as close to it as I can manage, at

It's the same...just different.

with love,


Defined by Joy


Apparently I have not blogged since August. That's not a bad thing...but it's a weird thing.

My mom died last year and that was...a strange struggle. And then it wasn't. I also fought with a lot of depression and anxiety...and then I didn't.

It seems like, for a long time, my life has been defined by struggle and sadness and exhaustion from the constant battle to just be happy. Like - all of the way happy.

And through a twisting series of events over the course of the past few years, and with a ton of loving support from friends and family...
...I have arrived.

And now life is defined by joy.

I still walk with the homeless community. I have a new passion to reduce plastic use, because I have seen firsthand the devastation it causes to marine life. I consider myself a compassionate and empathetic person and try to care for humanity in a way that still keeps me healthy. Because of those things, my heart regularly breaks. But at the same time, my heart is always overwhelmed with how much I love this planet and how much I love people.

So I am still defined by joy.

I haven't quite figured out how to write about that. But I will. Maybe soon...maybe someday.  In the meantime, I'm sharing a lot of my art and joy on my instagram and facebook, and I really do have an active jewelry shop. Cross my heart.  So if you want to keep up with Hey Lola type things, I'll provide some links at the end of this post.

And if you haven't reached your own "defined by joy" stage yet, and you're still in the struggle...I'm still with you. You can still reach out and we can still talk about and do hard things. Joy is the goal for all of us, right? And I would never abandon my team. We'll all get here, one at a time, holding each other up as we go. I know we will. I feel it every day.