If you like to dance or fly,
take a seat by my side.
If you like to dream or play,
Come. Open up your ears today.

I have caught a story
that's itching to be free.
I have caught a story,
so now, it belongs to me!

Maybe it is magic
or maybe it's really true.
How do you catch a story?
Well, that is up to you.

Do you have a pocket?
a hat? or sock or shoe?
If you're in your pjs, then,
your ears will have to do!

© 2007 DarEll S. Hoskisson (dsh)
Notes to Self

Notes to Self

To beat depression symptoms: Start even if you don’t feel like it. Stop before time is up, before you want to or before you are exhausted.

Make a deal with yourself you only have to do it for five minutes. Small parts or time lengths. Starting is the hard part. Doing it actually feels better than avoiding it.

To prioritize: Remember that many things may equally or also be important. Don’t let one rob another.

To move forward: Permission includes both time and resources to make it happen or to get them. (Don’t be a wicked step-mother to yourself).

As a mother: Nice is not softening consequences. Fair is nice because it is fair for everyone.


My declaration to independence

My declaration to independence

*setting a course toward mutually rewarding human interdependence with dependence on God alone

I wrote this with a determined effort to write for my children what I thought would bring them happiness and freedom. It includes my faith. I value and respect others’ beliefs even if different from my own. I originally wrote, “we believe” but no other person has signed it or had a hand in creating it other than myself. Therefore, this is what I believe:

I believe that God made us a family.

I believe that each person in the family and ultimately in our human family is a son or daughter of God with equal, infinite worth and is worthy of love, respect, and kindness. (I would add now: but is not necessarily worthy of trust and/or proximity to me)

I believe that life is sacred. While all are of equal worth, all are not equal in ability, maturity or opportunity. Therefore, I value people for everything good that they are, all the good they have been, and for all the good they may yet become. (Also the positive contributions they made, have done and will do in the future).

I believe that righteous living honors God, our parents, our family, and our religion, and I boldly ignore those that would persuade me otherwise.

I believe that God does not give up on us or set us up to fail, and I commit to never give up on my family and to help each one succeed. I value loyalty to God, family, and country.

I believe that true happiness comes from unity with God, His laws, and with others. I believe happiness is impossible without gratitude. Therefore, I strive to enjoy, to appreciate, and to share every blessing.

I believe that peace is dependent on trusting God and loving truth. I believe that as I find joy in reality, I will demonstrate my trust in God’s will and that such faith will turn the key to miracles-discovering his will for me and unlocking great mysteries.

I believe that while others may have power to subject me physically, that no person or power can take away my personal right to choose my attitude, my values, my beliefs or my ability to pray.

I value difficult people, situations and problems as the incredible catalysts they are in my personal growth.

I value my opportunity to make a unique and positive contribution to humanity. I seek to develop my talents and abilities so that I can be a useful, wise steward. I strive to be loving and to help myself and others grow.

I value all honorable work and its force for good. I seek to value, protect, clean, repair and maintain all blessings including my body, animals and property entrusted to my care and to endeavor to teach my children to do the same. I seek to avoid waste.

I value my ability and right to make mistakes while I progress, learn self-mastery, and practice stewardship. I am glad to be human and give myself and others space to try again and again and again. I believe in Christ’s atonement for myself and others.

I value and respect the rules of our home, schools, employment and government for the clarity, order and peace they engender. I value limits on my behavior and choices insofar as they are helpful to prevent harm, chaos and conflict for all. I strive to work with others in appropriate ways to change rules that are oppressive or contrary to God’s laws.

I value the uniqueness of others and look for the good in them. I seek for harmony and synergy over being right, winning, or dominating. I strive to protect confidences, to avoid gossip, and to preserve the privacy and good name of others.

I seek to leave judgment to God, to mind my own business, and to choose what is best for myself. I allow others the same privilege as long as it does not infringe on the rights or safety of other people, animals, or property.

I believe that the person upset owns the problem to the extent that he or she has the awareness, the power, and the responsibility to discover his or her own part and to propose a mutually agreeable solution. When an offending party is unwilling or unable to admit the truth, to work towards a mutually healthy solution, or to care, I believe it is fully within the upset person’s rights to do something in order to protect themself, helpless, innocent or unsuspecting others, animals and property from willful harm. I believe it is also that person’s responsibility to seek, to ask for or to yell for help using all resources available as needed to prevent repeated victimization.

I value honesty.

I value language and strive to use its power with all my strength, talents, and resources to do good: to serve, to bless, to cheer, to build, to unite, and to get help. I recognize my opportunity and my responsibility to ask for what I need and want from others and from God.

I view my family membership as a privilege and covenant responsibility. I value the opportunity we have to spend time together, to enjoy family traditions together, to pray together, to serve each other, to work and play together and to live together because we want to.

I value creativity, individuality and fun. What needs to be done can be done in many ways with personality and style. I give myself permission to be me and also give you permission to be you.

I reserve the right to alter these core beliefs, values, and responsibilities as needed to match natural law and truth and to support and defend our privilege to seek freedom that is mutually conducive to life, love, and learning.

–DarEll S. Hoskisson

January 2008

Looking for Work?

Looking for Work?

Even if you have a less than ideal past or a challenging disability, you may be able to get a job at Goodwill. In our city they have many positions open and are hiring now (Aug 2022).

Goodwill Industries began in Boston at the turn of the 19th century as an idea by the Rev. Edgar J. Helms. The idea was simple, fight poverty not with charity, but with trade skills—and provide a chance for the poor and the unemployed to do productive work.

From History of Goodwill and Mission

One of my children got hired there recently, and I overheard the orientation materials. It was inspiring. I love to work somewhere that my personal mission matches the organization’s. There are more types of jobs than you might realize as well such as e-commerce and job skills training.

Sometimes that first job is the hardest to get. Other times it takes networking which is hard to do if you are new in an area. Whatever the situation, it is exciting to be helping solve and prevent our community problems proactively. I’m happy to know more about and support their mission.

PS: Indeed.com is an easy way to apply to many places but no one I know has had much luck with it. I hear that they receive way too many applications. Most people I know who have met with success have gone directly to the company or organization’s website and applied directly.

Good luck to you!

DSH 8/22




I'm free to be me
and like it or not
I'm boss of myself
whether I have a boss or not

And when my life's all
said and done
I hope my family will
know the one

they call "wife" and "mom"
loved them more than all the rest.
I hope they'll know
I gave them my very best.

At work or church there are others
that might do just as well
but nobody else 
my stories can tell

No one else sings
with my voice lullabies
or holds them close 
to look at them with my eyes

No one else can be me for them
Though they have a new wife,
a new mother, or new friends.  

DSH  12/06
Preparing a child for High School or for Technical College?

Preparing a child for High School or for Technical College?

Just a heads up, parents, that there are after high school options (and during high school options) that you may not know about that could be amazing opportunities for your child.

Dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, AP classes, OJT, early release, and work experience with job coaching to name a few. When our first child started high school, we found out that tryouts had already occurred. We were late before the school year had even begun.

Your son or daughter could also graduate early or graduate with a technical skill certification.

As much as we would like our children to advocate for themselves and find out about these things in time, it has not been realistic to expect in my experience. How do you know what to ask about if you don’t even know what it is called?

This year my son is graduating, and we are looking into technical schools. We did not realize how competitive they are to get into. Many programs only have 20 students per class. So, if your son or daughter wants or even may want to attend, you have to apply immediately when application acceptance opens.

For a January start, you have to apply on September 1st. September 1st is not when to get the paperwork prepared, it is when to upload it all and turn it in immediately. August start is even more competitive and may have a registration more than four months ahead.

So, plan to advocate for your child and help them apply and meet deadlines well in advance of what you might think necessary. Transitioning to adult education and life is a long process. Just like applying for college, students can apply, be accepted, and still not attend. So, there is little risk in applying.

I’m wishing you luck.




I knew just what it would be like when I’d grown up. I would meet and marry. I would have a big, big family. I would love my babies. I would be a mommy. I would love my hubby. What else is there?

Grown up doesn’t happen all at once. Truth is you really didn’t know. What will you do now? How will you progress? Can you stay the same? Will you always feel like a child? Where will you find your children? DSH (1997)

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How to reason with the unreasonable: Part 2

How to reason with the unreasonable: Part 2

Dealing with the dragon.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

When someone is blowing up or melting down, we want to run and hide from all that heat. We want to immediately throw up our defenses and protect ourselves. “Shields up. Retreat.” We don’t want to listen to the lava that is spewing in our direction.

I want to say, “I can’t hear your message because of all the emotion that is shooting out at me right now.” It not only feels like an attack. Sometimes it is an attack. When emotions are high and someone can not process, own or express their emotions well, we meet their “dragon.”

Many people are so afraid of igniting the dragon in others that they do not say “no” when they need to or cave in when the disappointed person throws fire at them in response. Sometimes just the possibility of meeting a dragon is enough to keep people from what they know they need and ought to do.

I was very surprised how hard it was for me to say “no” to an elderly woman who wanted me to root through someone else’s mail box. I would never do that. It is against the law. But, she lived with me and my oh my, her displeasure was painful to endure. She would give me the silent treatment, refuse to look at me, and would harbor a grudge for weeks. But, I did refuse and suffered the results. It was so painful to be in my house with her that I went across the street and helped the neighbors. Finally I ended up in a ball on the floor crying and calling my dad. I had never met an adult who would treat others in such a way. (Yes, I have been very blessed with emotionally mature and capable adults in my life).

My dad said, “What would you do if she were a child?”

I knew immediately! I actually had the skills for handling this. I had just never thought about how to deal with an adult who would act in such a way when they didn’t get their way. I pictured her as a child without her cookie, and I was immediately set free. She no longer had an emotional hold on me.

Photo by Courtney Stephens on Pexels.com

We all have our dragons inside. We get angry when our boundaries are crossed. We spew pain when we are hurt. We might tantrum when we don’t get something we feel we need or deserve. We fear that we are not heard, cared about or loved unconditionally. We all feel the dragon roar inside.

How to tame a dragon:

Like staying off the rollercoaster, I have had to learn how to not go on a dragon ride. I can’t follow it down the hole of self-judgement and shame. I used to get so angry that I got angry. I should know/do better than this. This self-burning actually escalates and prolongs the fire–burning a hole in the self.

It is okay to have a dragon! It is understandable that we do not like our boundaries crossed. It is human to cry when we feel pain. No one likes to go without something they wanted, expected or needed. It is human to desire connection and security in our relationships. We can welcome our own dragon without fearing it.

Photo by Chait Goli on Pexels.com

Whether it is your own severe reaction or another’s emotional flame, the best solution I know is to stand your ground, listen and observe.

Can you empathize with yourself or others? Keep in mind that what they are saying, even what you are saying to yourself may not be the underlying issue. If you stay patient and dig–you might discover the underlying problem. Brene’ Brown calls this “going into the pit” with someone. Don’t be afraid of the deep, dark places. You have a flashlight that will show your path out.

Your dragon wants to be heard, but it may not be able to express the problem accurately. This initial reaction of yourself or others is not planned for. Emotional overwhelm can stagger anyone, but those who struggle to express emotion are even more tongue tied here. It can come out as an attack. My kids would shout, “You don’t love me!” This would hurt so deeply that I was immediately hooked emotionally. What if they really believe that? This is so unfair, everything I do is to show love. Don’t my actions speak loud enough for them to hear?

We have to avoid the hooks that threaten to pull us in emotionally and leave reason far behind. One thing that helps me is to “other” the dragon. I make it into a character. Like Pokémon, the dragons like to fight. But engaging just makes it so that no one is clear headed. In our class at school we say, “all behavior is communication.” The mystery then becomes not how to defeat the enemy, but instead, how do we decipher the message? We can’t otherize the person because we are on the same team, but we can recognize this isn’t their best self talking. This is a hurt, scared and/or angry feeling talking. I think to myself, “this is their dragon” and try not to react or take it personally.

What can you do instead?


The best way I know how to do this is to sit down. By experimenting I found that if I sit down on the floor or lower than whoever is upset, it will often deescalate the situation and the other person may feel more powerful and/or in control. I also write. This helps me keep my mouth shut and remember to listen. Writing shows others I am listening and slows down the interaction. I want them to feel heard. Reflecting back what they said can also help them edit their own words and be more specific in what they mean.

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

2. Find the feeling. Expressing feelings is not easy. For some it may be nearly impossible. If understanding your own feelings and expressing them is easy for you, you may not understand how difficult or next to impossible this can be for others. Giving them time to process and share without getting impatient or assuming that they are being obstinate can be very helpful for them to try. However, even with patience and time some will need your help to express their feelings. I have found that asking questions or stating what I think they are feeling in the form of a question gives them the words to share what they can not get out. Trying to be their voice validates them, and it feels so good to be understood–even if we don’t agree. Example, “You felt sad because you wanted to come find me, and mad because the teacher said “no?” Letting them correct you, rather than coming up with all the words on their own can lead to mutual understanding of what they are going through.

3. What do they want or wish? Like all children and people, we often have a strong preference. It really helped me as an adult to realize that what I thought I really wanted or needed was actually a preference. I don’t need you to be quiet, I would just greatly prefer quiet. I don’t need to do what I planned, I prefer to follow my plan rather than get interrupted. Realizing that many of my needs and wants were really preferences has helped me not feel like I’m dying if I don’t get my way.

The dragon comes out to fight for what we need. Many times we start conflict because our needs are not getting met, and we feel powerless on our own to create that change. If we can find out what the other (or the other part of ourself) needs or wants, and if we can find a win/win solution or even a first/then solution, the dragon will often settle into a satisfied puppy. I have to look for solutions. But, if no solution can be found, if I really just have to accept life’s “no,” then realizing I just would like things to be different can bring a more accepting perspective and understanding. None of us gets everything we prefer. But, we are safe. We will survive. We are blessed….

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

4. What do they need to feel better?

What helps you calm yourself? I was surprised to find that distraction is a valid coping mechanism. So many books warn against “numbing.”

I suppose if you don’t know what the problem is, distraction will never help you solve or settle it. But, it is a valid strategy. Often people know what will help them feel better. A cry. A hug. A puzzle. A walk. A shower. A book. Do you know how to calm yourself and ask for what you need? It can be difficult when you are upset to think of these things and disengage from the rage.

Recently I was grieving and crying. My mom suggested thinking of something fun to do. I eventually would have moved on, but the interruption and redirection of thoughts and energy helped me recover faster.

I have learned it is important to not take responsibility for someone else’s feelings. Likewise, it is my responsibility to care for and recover from my own. It is easier if we know how to stay calm and see through the dragon’s smoke. The dragon is not really big, powerful and scary. It is hurt, small and afraid.

May you see the heart behind the dragon

Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

in yourself and others.



How to reason with the unreasonable (part 1).

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Have you ever seen those parents in the grocery store with the screaming child? Are you the parent of that screaming child? Maybe worse, have you ever felt like the kid in full melt-down mode in your heart– just barely holding it together in public because adults don’t behave like that–or do we?

The grocery store incidents are less common now because delivery and pick up have become some of the most useful services for parents with a less than cooperative child. But, it still happens.

One of the most infuriating things a parent can do in these situations is pacify the child with what he or she wants. You are literally conditioning him or her to act terribly to get what he or she wants. I have had a middle school student who did just that. It apparently can work for a long, long time. What should the parent do? Well, obviously stick by the “no” and keep those boundaries. But, wait……. have you ever worked with an autistic child? Sometimes the obvious solution literally doesn’t work. It doesn’t teach them anything and becomes an impossible situation for everyone.

In a completely lose/lose situation from the get go, parents can ignore it, and have the other customers irritated that the noise is not removed. They can “give in” by doing what they know will satisfy or silence the child and be not only judged by others as a terrible, wimpy parent causing all the problems with youth today, but also judging themselves and feeling like a terrible parent. Or they can go home without what they needed and give up on why they braved being in public in the first place. Being in a regularly judged and miserably unfun situation often is the price you pay for loving a child, especially a difficult or traumatized one.

Photo by Stacey Gabrielle Koenitz Rozells on Pexels.com

If it were just toddlers who lost it and became unreasonable, we would not have these problems. The solutions, although taxing, are obvious. Pick the kid up and force them to do what is best or necessary. Take them home. Feed them; hug them; nap them, or ignore a fit at home. But life is never that simple, and we humans are not so different from our little ones.

The short answer is that you can’t. It is not possible to reason with an unreasonable person. Unreasonable people of any age are, by definition, not able to reason at that time. Emotions have apparently gotten the best of their thinking ability. We all have survival fight, flight and freeze responses that interrupt logical thinking at times.

But there is a lot of hope. As a mother, teacher and teacher’s helper, I have had a lot of experience with humans in melt-down mode including those with special needs. Knowing how to identify what will help and not giving in to fear or hopelessness can be so helpful. You don’t have to be a victim even if you do not enjoy what you must pass through while loving an unreasonable person.

The first step is to realize that you will not overcome irrational behavior with reasoning. However, you will start to handle it well by staying reasonable and calm yourself. Like putting on gloves and surveying the scene first in an emergency situation, take a deep breath and know that you can deal with this without joining this person on their emotional ride. You will be better able to help them calm down and deal with their upset if you see their struggle as theirs and stay firmly grounded.

Photo by Karan Singh on Pexels.com

As a young mother, I was very reactive. Every time my son threw a fit, I got very upset myself. Of course I didn’t like it. Of course my mirror neurons were firing and making me empathize and feel his upset or pain. A therapist once told me that children are very good at making you feel what they feel. I didn’t know that. He said, “think how you are feeling, that might be exactly how he was feeling.” I was feeling upset, afraid, and out of control of the situation. That matched what he was probably feeling as well.

I remember the first time I held him firmly in a rocking chair at church, meant for nursing mothers, while he kicked and screamed. He was getting too old for this behavior, and it wasn’t improving. I didn’t understand why he wasn’t growing up. I tested my ability to stay calm and rocked him while he threw a fit. I gently told him, “You can’t make me not love you.” This set me free. I saw that nothing he could do could force me to abandon him or not care. He could not upset me unless I let him. I felt this great love and freedom explode in me as I endured his nasty behavior until it ended in a crying embrace. The calm after the storm was wonderful and bonding. I was emotionally available for that because I had not become upset myself. It was wonderful.

Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” –Leonardo da Vinci

So, I challenge you to find the power within yourself however you can to not go on that ride. Have compassion on yourself without pity. You are doing the best you can, but you are not a victim. You are choosing this. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow even if in the future there will be many more storms.