At Home

We focus much of our attention on the things that go on outside of our homes. Don’t we? The stories in the news, the hype of the award shows, the sports games and certificates of achievement, all these things are how we measure success in our culture. It’s really easy to forget that everyone began at home, talking and having meals, and it’s where they, we, were anchored for our becoming.

“It’s in the houses that people talk, and do things and have meals. Nothing goes on in the in-between places.” C.S. Lewis

That idea is tucked into a paragraph found on the pages of C.S. Lewis’ book, The Magician’s Nephew.  It stopped me when I read it, and I began to think…

A home is the space that gives the other places their fill. We spend so much time being cultivated and nurtured inside our homes.  Then as we grow we end up spending time in the in-between and giving our gifts and talents to the places that need it, and in a way we need those places too. Eventually a familiar desire for home challenges us to move. If we grew up in amazing homes, we imagine modeling a home to be similar to where we came from. If we grew up in a not so amazing home, we dream of the ways to make our future home better. Either way, our hearts eventually guide us away from the in-between places toward home.

Home is more than a place. It’s an arrival, within your soul, claiming “I belong here.”

Home is were there is a quiet awareness of belonging, and from belonging grows a richness to create, talk and make things better. When we know and believe we belong, we can love and have the courage to fail. We can have hard conversations because we know talking won’t make us homeless, rather it feeds the soul and inspires relationships, thoughts and new ideas. That’s the stuff that fills the in-between spaces. That’s what home nurtures.




Grown-up Tree Climbing

I recently began climbing a dogwood tree in our backyard. It began as a way to hang out with my kids. Then I started climbing when they weren’t even around the tree. It’s my space to look up and feel like a kid. It’s just pure fun.

The winter lets sunshine into places in our 50 year old yard that the summer closes off. Without leaves shading the usual places, the light drips onto the ground and into high up spaces. It’s in the middle, of the ground and the up-high places, where I find it relaxing. I climb up, then rest on a few branches and limbs perfect for lounging back and soaking up the winter sunlight. When I first climbed the tree it hit me: I spend way too little time looking down. I look down at my phone (too much!), I look down at my counters, kitchen sink, Legos on the floor…you get it. My kids are about three feet tall, and of course I’m constantly looking at them. But, that’s down too. So, literally looking up is a welcomed shift.  When I’m there, hanging out above the ground and between the branches, I look up and it automatically changes my mindset to follow upward.

When the air is brisk and fresh I find myself breathing slower and with intention.  Sometimes there’s a breeze moving through the empty branches all around me. Other times it’s so still there are no sounds at all. Both are life-giving in their own way. I don’t even have a picture to post with this, because I have been so in the moment when hanging out in a tree. (That picture above is from a winter hike a long time ago.)

It’s a new year, and I am desperate for new things. Climbing trees is pretty basic, free and definitely not new in anyway. For me, though, it’s new and fun. I’m keeping it in my life as a way to chill out and find simple moments of fun.

Are there ways you have fun and chill out throughout your week? Would love for you to  share in the comments.



The Messages We Consume

I’ve been thinking about something Marshal McLuhan said back in 1964 about the way we communicate. He said, “The medium is the message.” The level at which the message gets misunderstood or embraced depends on the medium it comes through.

It’s been a weird season for me and social media. I go through phases of being active and then passive and also totally ignoring it. However, I struggle with fully disengaging. Partly because I realize some greatness can come out of sharing. So, in light of that and within my recent break from FB and Instagram, I’ve grown these thoughts…

Do we believe where we are is beautiful?

When we look at staged photos of color coordinated closets, immaculate laundry rooms and a sibling tribe of perfectly dressed kids — ages 5 and under, you just wonder how we are all thriving. If we can’t gather our emotions long enough to refuse these images, how will we find the courage to teach our own little tribe to believe where we are is beautiful?

When you look up from the feed that seldom feeds you, do you still see what you like? Do you see what you are in the middle of building? After all, you are creating and feeding and building something real; something very much alive.

Does social media feed you?

Your life is in constant movement. Some days may feel stuck or derailed or like walking backwards, but that’s movement. Who says forward movement is the best? That gets redefined in motherhood. We live with so many feelings and experiences, why add to it the tension that bubbles up from too much social media.

We spend so much time looking at frozen shots or 10 second loops of points in time within other people’s lives.

We are a collection of beatutiful, plus messy with a side of momentary perfection. That all gets lost in translation in certain mediums.

Are you free to abandon perfection?

So what happens when we spend so long digesting images currated by minds who want to be perecieved as influencial and worthy of likes? Those hand-picked moments get adopted as our personal goals and uncomfortably pushed into our real world happenings. Subconsciously, they do.

It just shouldn’t be this way. When immersed in the act of creating, raising up and guiding children you need to be free to abondon perfection.

Our souls demand this of us. Our children beg us, in silent attempts, to be more than moments to capture. To be more than a post, captured in perfect light while surrounded by monochromatic fabrics and shared in an attempt to influence.

We are more than these moments. We are.

The medium is the message. Your medium, your life, your home, your messy closet, your laundry room that eats half your family’s socks, your refrigerator that houses too much cheese….this is your space. Be okay with it. Or change it. But don’t allow your motivation to change to come from another mother’s moment in time temporarily supported by 5,465 likes.

Be smart, be wise and be intentional.

Be smart, as you are already smart, about feeding your mind. The messages you spend time believing will impact how you are over there building, creating and caring for your family.

Choose wisely, as you are wise, and look around your space with freedom to build your message, within your home, far beyond the image on your screen because that is where love is growing and love can’t be currated for a post.

All the goodness and authenticity a growing family requires is found inside the hearts and minds of the people living in that family. Choose where your messages come, use them as your tools or discard them if they aren’t helping you build your family up.

Be picky. Be intentional. Be aware of your needs, then be aware of how you feed your mind and your heart.

You are smart. You are wise. You are the builder. Go and gather your tools to support your family’s growth. Make sure to vet the messages being shared with you when you scroll your feeds. Choose how you feed you mind, because the medium is the message.

Photo via Pixels.



Deep Into the Love Well

We sat together on the bathroom floor in a puddle of tears. My two and a half year old son was curled up in my lap and his head rested on my squishy postpartum belly, when he whispered between deep sobs, “I miss you, Mama.”

My first baby boy had just become a big brother. The transition was easier than I imagined, but he had his share of tantrums and I noticed his feelings were swirling deep within his growing self. Change is hard, especially when change requires someone to make more space for someone else.

I tried to teach, coach and guide him through the field of blooming emotions he seemed to be navigating every day. However, we never fully got to the root of how he was feeling about being in his home with a newborn brother, until that moment on the bathroom floor.

It was just before his evening bath when he began to freak out about nothing. Like, literally nothing. He stood like a toddler statue planted beside the bathtub with his bare feet on the soft rug, his face was electric red and drenched with tears. His lips were a deep shade of purple as they stretched over his mouth to let out all the sobs.

I was exhausted from all the simple tasks of the day, and I wanted to walk away from his unravelling. I had just held my newborn through eating an unfinished dinner. I had just wiped bottoms and served meals and have responded to all the needs. I was present and available for my boys for over 12 hours, and I wanted to be off the clock. Obviously motherhood doesn’t have clocks or an office to leave the return to after a full night of sleep. Time is different in the motherhood. At that point in time I just wanted to put on clean pajamas and wash my face then relax for a brief moment.

Instead I reached deep into my love well and I pulled up a bucket of patience. For me in that moment love looked like patience. I chose to stay there in the tension between us.

I began to speak so quietly I could barely hear myself under his crying and incoherent babbles. His words were arrested by his emotions. I sat down on the floor and I held his hands. I looked into his blue eyes, and it was like looking at the ocean floor. There below the ripple and movement of water was an entire world of happenings. I gently pulled him onto my lap hoping it was all the safety, comfort and warmth he needed in that moment.

I waited for his sobbing to slow down and for his body to be less rigid. Then I told him softly, “I love you. Everything will be okay.”

He slouched down into my lap and laid his head on my squishy postpartum belly, then whispered, “I miss you, Mama.”

I stayed there with him for a long time, just holding him.

Not saying anything. We both cried. I missed him too, but didn’t realize it. My simple act of leaning in showed me how we can be around someone all the time but still long for moments together, reminding us of how things are and used to be.

We didn’t talk, we just cuddled and cried. That was what love looked like at that point in time when I chose to stay instead of walk away. When I chose to love well.

Do you have a a time when you chose to stay and love, even though walking away would have been much easier?

Comment or email me at



10 Sentences I Thought I’d Never Say

There are things I say as a mom that I never thought would exit my mouth. When the words hit the air it’s like a slow-mo scene from any Wes Anderson film. The sentence is lined up just like a cast of perfectly paired misfits moving toward their wildly unreasonable goal.

My goal, in most scenarios, is to keep my boys from hurting themselves or just being decent humans.

So, in the name of raising decent humans, these are the 10 things I never thought I’d say, but did:

1. Don’t shoot your Nana! (With a water gun.)

2. No! You can’t bite your brother!

3. Don’t sit on the sofa without undies on.

4. Please keep your feet off the dinner table.

5. We don’t paint with yogurt.

6. Take that quarter out of your mouth!

7. Never put money in your mouth.

8. Don’t put your hands in the toilet.

9. Sure, you can wear your Flash Lightning shirt for the third day in a row.

10. Ohmygosh! Are you eating a cookie in Mama and Dada’s bed? No, don’t eat cookies on our bed. (Said to my 18 month old.)

These 10 are just a few of the many, and I know they will keep on keepin on.

photo by Miley Eaton

Searching for Real Stories from Moms

So, here’s what’s up. I’ve been a mom for 4 years. That’s degree-worthy time. I feel like I’ve changed so much over the years. I’m thinking that now is the time to begin writing a book. I’ve been nesting this idea, over here, like a stubborn chicken who won’t get off her egg.
So, here’s whats up again: I’m beginning my search for real stories from real women of all ages and stages in motherhood. By real I mean don’t be all “I don’t have a funny or good or whatever adjective you want to dump in there before story-story.” I want authenticity. We all need authenticity. I want vulnerability. We all need vulnerability. Both make us better humans.
I geek out over hearing how we mother. There is always a hilarious moment or maybe a somber moment that will help us all feel more normal and less alone. Feeling more normal and less alone has always been a winning combination.
I need your voice. Your voice is brilliant and diverse. Since this book is a collection of stories from our diverse neighborhood of moms, your brilliance needs to show up.
When you figure out that you do have a funny or real honest story that fits into one of the chapters below, email me a blurb and I’ll set up a time to interview you.
Email Teresa at
A time when comparing trapped you, and what you learned about yourself along the way?
A time when you chose to stay and love, even though walking away would have been much easier?
When you tried something daring and messy and the outcome was also messy?
Do you have personal hygiene hacks to share? (the good, bad and the ugly.)
Stories about failed or funny attempts to mom-date your way toward real life friendships.
Anything you tried and it didn’t go as planned?
A story about feeding yourself and your family that went crazy wrong or crazy right?
Stories about trying to talk and listen to your kids, to your partner, to your friends but it seemed like you were stuck in a communication breakdown?
Stories about how it used to be and why we might be glad to learn from the past. These are stories about raising kids as a parent from 1980/1970/1960s.
Let’s tell our stories. Email me at
Thank you, and love you more than candy!
P.S. This is a staged photo of me and my boys. The truth about it is, en route to the photo shoot, I remembered I never brushed my teeth. Like, all day. No brushing. I ate a peppermint Altoid and smiled for the camera.

5 Reasons Not to Host a Fiver Party

I’m planning a birthday party for our oldest boy. He’s turning four! This party will be his first with a guest list that includes more friends than cousins and it will be his fourth birthday party receiving gifts. I thought about hosting a fiver party. A party where his guests give him $5. He then gathers the money together and shops for the gift he really wants. We’re not going to jump on that wagon right now, and we won’t for a few more years. There are just too many amazing life lessons to learn from gift giving at little kid’s birthday party that get missed when handing over cash.

5 reasons why my little guy is not having a Fiver Party.

#1 Giving

Gift giving takes effort and a bit of outside awareness. There’s an art to giving. The giver needs to think about their friend. They need to think about what their friend likes or dislikes. Think about what they have already or might want to have. There’s also the thought about their friend and giving something he or she would seldom buy, but will really enjoy getting. Giving is a learned experience, and learning how to give needs to start at a young age. A birthday party is the perfect practice point.

#2 Receiving

Understanding the value of receiving goes far beyond a gift wrapped in a rainbow of colors and tied with swirly ribbon. Receiving is equal parts humbleness and expressed thankfulness. In the context of a four-year old’s birthday party, there will be gifts my son may not like. However, he’s going to learn how to receive that gift with a grateful heart. He’ll learn how to say, “Thank you for thinking of me!” or “Wow, this is awesome!” or “I didn’t even know about this toy. Thanks for the gift!” These are all postures we need to take into adolescence then into adult life. I view a kid’s birthday party as a fun training ground for receiving.

#3 Anticipation

Picking out a gift then wrapping it creates a tangible connection to the invitations for a birthday party. Usually there’s a simple excitement as you imagine how the receiver will feel upon opening your gift.  anticipation can be a moment by moment feeling, or it can be a feeling that’s really hard to grasp. Either way, anticipation is all wrapped up in the act of giving and receiving. She can anticipate shopping for the gift, helping to wrap the gift, and then giving the gift at the party. All those things piled on top of anticipation of the actual birthday party make for some mighty fine icing on a cake.

#4 Gratitude

Opening a present and expressing thankfulness is a foundation that needs to be built. It seems like entitlement is rooted in our DNA.  We need every moment we can to strengthen expressions of gratitude. Receiving a gift that is $1 or $15 deserves the same amount of grateful expression. We don’t measure effort or the value of things when teaching gratitude as such a young age. We just teach that gratitude matters. Having the opportunity to receive a gift from a friend is a practical and favorable way to squash entitlement and give room for thankfulness and gratefulness to take root. 

#5 Patience

Have you ever seen this video of moths flying around a light? That’s pretty much what a group of three and four year-old party people look like. It’s gift opening time and they swarm. A swarm of givers close in on a receiver, and all the kids have to see what’s under that happy birthday wrapping paper. Everyone needs to touch and grab the present while huddling around the birthday girl or boy with all their energy and intention. There isn’t a better situation than opening gifts to teach patience in the presence of anticipation. Then, they have to touch that gift like their life depended on it. But they can’t and they won’t.  Not until the birthday girl or boy says it’s okay. There’s a huge amount of patience being practiced within the gift opening time. Add to that the burning desire to shove cake into their mouths. So much goodness in gift giving.

For these reasons we’ll welcome simple gifts that can be unwrapped, because the intangible gifts are priceless.

by teresa b. duffy

8 Essentials for Moms

Some of these things you can buy, and some of the stuff isn’t found in a store nor can you ship it to your front door. However, all of these eight things are going to make your transition into motherhood a little bit easier.

#1 Pockets

Pockets will be your extra hands. I recently saw a mom meme that said something like, if evolution was a real thing, why don’t mom’s have three arms? We don’t. So buy stuff with pockets. Get yourself a few sweatshirts or sweaters with pockets. Pajamas with pockets. A robe with pockets. Find a pocket for your t-shirt. Get pockets on your nursing bras. Just everywhere. Pockets.

#2 Slip On Shoes

You’ll be carrying your baby everywhere. When running out the door, 10 minutes late, just slip your shoes on. Honestly who has the time and energy to bend over and tie laces? Not you. You’re a mom to a newborn. You have to keep a human alive. Ditch the extra work, grab your diaper bag, baby carrier complete with cuddly baby, water bottle, baby blanket, car keys, snacks, phone, lip balm….you get the point. Just slip on your shoes.

#3 Time

Imagine freezing time. You’re standing in your kitchen meal prepping your heart out before your baby is born. It’s going to be perfect!  You’ll simply need to pop a homemade frozen lasagna in to the oven for dinner on a day when you didn’t: shower, didn’t take off your pajamas, and your baby didn’t let you put her down. Didn’t even put her down when when you had to use the bathroom. Yes, that’s something moms do. Use the potty while holding or wearing your baby. This is a day when you are desperate for more time. You won’t have more time. You will see more of the 24 hour day than you care to. You will shake hands with 3:52 am like a boss. Time will slip away and be stuck at the same time. Just realize the time you have is yours. Don’t be tempted to do more with it to impress anyone. Give yourself permission to do less and to love more during that first year, and even beyond the first year. Time will have an entirely new agenda and meaning for you as a mom. Go with it. Not against it. And for the love of time, eat your reheated lasagna in your pajamas even if it’s 2:43 am. You can’t freeze time.

#4 Pants Sans Zippers

As previously mentioned you might find yourself needing to hold or wear your baby a lot. Even in the bathroom. Go ahead and gift yourself with one less annoyance: just pull your pants up and don’t worry about zipping or buttoning anything. Aint nobody got time for that! The other liberating fact about pants without zippers:  they feel like you are wearing your pajamas even when you are not. As a new mom this will become hugely valuable. Your body has gone through extreme changes growing a baby. It will go through extreme changes once you’re carrying said baby on this side. Let yourself wear your maternity pants as long as you want to. Be okay with leggings, which also look adorable with slip on shoes and can be paired perfectly with all tops that have pockets. So in summary: pockets, leggings, slip on shoes. It’ll save you time and you’ll feel comfortable. Tired, but comfortable.

#5 Comfortable Socks

You’ll be on your feet more than you think. Give yourself the gift of simple joys like quality socks. Even in the summertime, having your feet hugged by fabric and fluff makes you feel a little like you’re walking on a cloud. Reality will say you’re walking down the hall for the 20th time to get something, but you forgot what it was. If you step on a toy or the dog, your socks will cushion the blow. Oh, and socks will cover that pedicure you got before your baby was born, but now it’s been about seven months later and you’re not sure what your toes look like because again, aint nobody got time for that! Socks will help.

#6 Nalgene or Yeti or Both

Get both. Stay hydrated. A Nalgene will hold you accountable to drink 64 oz a day or more. Those little measuring marks are like your personal pep rally in a bottle. Drink, drink, drink… . The Yeti is awesome for extreme cold or hot needs. Coffee, tea, iced anything…fill that Yeti up and it’ll stay the exact, or darn close to, the temp you poured it in at for 24 hrs. And as we have already chatted about, you’ll see more of the 24 hrs in the day than ever before in your natural born life. Stay hydrated, Mama!

#7 No Expectations

Really, toss those commercial reels in your mind from Gerber, Pampers, State Farm, whatever your mother tells (love you, mom!) you or your favorite mom influencer on Insta. Just ignore those ideals you hold so closely to your heart. You are about to birth a new person into the world. People have their own ideas and agendas. Your baby will have his own agenda. It starts with how he enters the world and just rolls right on through the rest of his life. When you surrender and let go of your expectations you will be so free to enjoy life as a parent. Really. Hang on, you’re about to go on an adventure and the itinerary is going to be filled with alternate times, milestones, and missed appointments. You, however, will be filled with an intense love for your new normal that it’ll all balance out…if you’re wearing pockets.

#8 Smart Watch

Get a watch that will tell you how many steps you’ve done. Who is texting you. A watch that glows at a touch so you can actually see that you’re waking up at 4:19 am. I personally love my Garmin 230 Forerunner. It has helped me eat enough during the day so I didn’t fall over from lack of calories. This is a reality when exclusively nursing a baby while chasing around a toddler. I could visually see that while still in my pajamas and feeling like time was melting all around me, I actually walked a 5k inside my cozy house. My watch partnered with me to track the hours I did or did not sleep. And that data helped me rationalize my extreme exhaustion at one in the afternoon. I was kinder to myself and my toddler, because I had data telling me I only slept for three hours the night before. It was smart when I was not. Get a smart watch.

Before I go, I want you to know, you will be the perfect PERFECT perfect mom for your child. You are made for such a time as this. Buy the leggings, drink the water, dump your expectations, and fall deeply in love with your time as a mom.

Love you more than candy,