I was raised an Okie in a large, somewhat crazy, absolutely awesome family. I've since lived in Utah, Austria (as in 'Sound of Music,' not kangaroos), Maryland and Texas. 

My degrees from Brigham Young University are in English, German and Secondary Education. 

I loved and adored teaching (except the first few months, during which I cried almost every night to my brand-new husband, who - bless him - stayed married to me).

But eventually, I determined that my best chance of raising somewhat crazy, absolutely awesome kids - especially since I opted to have five of them - was for me to dive into the trenches with them at home and show them crazy and awesome.  

The verdict is still out on the results -- but the stories never, ever end. 

And for me, writing those stories (plus book reviews, articles and a book-in-progress) brings me as close to a state of "zen" as I ever get.  

Zen is important, so I write. 

I'm also a public speaker.  This helps me stay current, make terrific connections with other adults, and bond with my teenage daughter at clothing stores ('Um . . . you probably shouldn't wear that outfit, Mom. No offense.').

Fortunately for the public, they will never, ever hear or roll their eyes in response to the endless speeches I give my kids. Which is a very good thing, because I get awfully tired of eye-rolling.