I started this website back in 2009 when I was pregnant with my first child. Back then it was called The Conley Chronicles and I used it as a way to connect with family and friends. We were living in Scottsdale, AZ - a thousand miles away from everyone we knew - and I was often bored and feeling sorry for myself. Blogging was a good way to bitch and moan and tell funny tales about pregnancy - my ill-preparedness, how much fast food I consumed each week, and the exact level of indigestion I was experiencing on any given day. It was silly and self-serving, but a good time all around.

I tend to be a sporadic writer  - something I am actively working on - and my blogging ambitions eventually fizzled out the way those things do.

I started back up again in the summer of 2010, when I was pregnant with my second child. We were told he would be born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect called AV Canal; he would need open heart surgery shortly after birth. 

Perhaps it was the fact that writing has always soothed me, or perhaps it was my unspoken desire to shout from the proverbial mountaintop, "Please don't judge us! We are okay and now you have to be, too!" But in those days writing was the only thing that gave me any solace.

The truth is that we were NOT ok - we were sad and scared and worried. But, that was back when I cared a lot about what people thought and adamantly feared that my family might be fodder for gossip. I couldn't bear the thought of all the did you hearscan you imagines and - every southerner's favorite form of faux sincerity - bless her hearts that were bound to come our way. It terrified me. I wanted to hide, but sometimes it feels safer to be on the front end of life. To fool yourself into thinking that you are actually in charge, even though it turns out you absolutely never are.

So, I worked through the diagnosis and the surgery on these pages. It felt good and empowering. The more I wrote, the stronger I became. I started educating myself and meeting people and sharing my story and hearing the stories of others. There was a small community forming, and my blog was a tiny catalyst to that. I learned about all types of people and all of their different abilities. I slowly started to understand that I was the only one around here with a DISability, and discerned that I could learn a lot from the world and all of the beautifully-abled people in it. I slowly started to open up and focus out rather than in. 

I've learned a lifetime of lessons over the past three years, and I'm passionate about sharing them on these pages. But, the biggest reason I come back time and time again is because I love to write. I am certainly not a professional and I may not even be that good at it. But, writing heals me, and for that I'm grateful.

I wrote through all of the hardest parts of my life, and when Reid was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia at 13-months old, I realized that Down syndrome wasn't hard at all, but cancer was. So I wrote about that, too.

We abruptly left our home and all of our belongings and moved to Memphis where he could be treated at St. Jude. For seven months straight, we were at the hospital. I met even more people and learned all about pediatric illness and mostly just had my heart ripped right out of my body. I saw things and felt things and heard things that I will probably never put to paper, but will hold forever in my soul. I went from having a little perspective, to having a lot. 

I became legitimately upset that I never saw life clearly until cancer handed me a pair of glasses. But, I live by Maya Angelou's wisdom: When you know better, you do better. And so I tried to do better and am trying still.

When Reid went into remission in June of 2014, I did, too. I stopped and felt and healed and listened. I carefully bandaged the scars on my heart and sorted through the weeds in my brain to find what was right there all along.


Still the same old me, but also an entirely different, awake, alive, new me. Which is wonderful, because I'm not sure the person I used to be is the person I really wanted to become.

I used to tell myself that writing was something I did just for me. But, I now understand that was just a safety net in case people didn't like what I had to say. 

Ultimately, I have met far too many people along this ride to not share. I finally understand that being honest and open and flawed is one of the very best ways for humans to connect and grow and heal. Especially when our instinct tends to give us only two options - either to make everything seem perfect and shiny and pretty on the outside or to shut down altogether.

I don't think either of those options is healthy or truthful so I'm working on finding a middle ground via these pages. I'm also starting to navigate the scary waters of social media and writing for external mediums because I want to always continue to grow. And I want to stay open even when it hurts. 

So here I am, attempting to gracefully navigate this thing called Life. Welcome.

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