About mtolleyhall

Marketing maven, mom to five beautiful and talented children, wife of Captain Art -- a talented pilot, model railroader and drummer for Brother Tim.



My son has senioritis. He’s entitled. He’s 18 and does not want to go to school. Of course it’s 2 degrees outside and he’d rather stay in but so do the other 6 people who live in this house. But somehow, he’s entitled. It’s not that he’s a bad kid. He has stellar grades. I just got his report card and it’s all A’s (again). That’s great. But he’s driving the rest of us up a wall!

So I realized as I was driving him to school again today (I’ve driven him all week to make sure he’s actually going… yes, it’s that bad) that I also have senioritis. Now, I’m more of the age that it should probably be capitalized, as in Senioritis, pertaining to the condition of “seniors” who have inflammation of the knees, ankles and phalanges when they have too much sodium. Or, it could be that I’m on the edge of burn-out. I don’t know. But I’m putting off things I know I should do.

I call it “being creative.” You can’t push creativity, you know, just as you cannot tell someone to “be funny.” Don’t get me wrong, I want to be more creative, more alive. As I’m sure my 18-year-old does. He’s just ready to move into the next phase of his life and he’s impatient for this part to be over. I wonder if that’s what’s going on with me?

Problem is, I don’t know which part I want to be over. Maybe if I knew, this “senioritis” could be pointed in the right direction and provide a catalyst for me to go into my next spurt of amazing creativity! Who knows?

Until I figure this out, I’m going to take it easy for a while…. rest and drink a bit of tea, perhaps. Listen to jazz. Read a book that has no intellectual value. Play with the dog. But I hope I still get A’s like the other senior in the house!

Time changes your viewpoint

time It’s not just a saying; time really does change your viewpoint. Not just in the way that people say “time heals all wounds,” which I believe is mostly true — well, I think it definitely takes the edge off, let’s say that. And if you are an open person, the wound heals and you may have a scar, but you’ve built a stronger, tougher skin at that spot. Doesn’t mean you don’t go ahead and try again … on the contrary, you go back out and hopefully avoid pitfalls, and do a better job the next time around.

But I’m also talking about the mellowing of us as people and our approach with time. I think I understand why older people drive more slowly. Taking it all in, they’ve learned to enjoy the journey.

I watch younger people in my profession get anxious about their lives and about perceptions others hold of them –almost attacking life — and I smile. Now that I’ve seen a lot of life, I spot the potential in those “youngsters” and know what they don’t know — that a humble spirit at the awesomeness of life takes you very far indeed. I have tweens and teens now — five of them — and I see their raw, anxious approach to life, and I know time will sand off the rough edges, just like it does to me. I smile and watch, try to help guide, knowing things will turn out okay.

I just need to remember this for myself when confronted with my own variety of agnst … I’m sure my grandma in heaven and my parents are all smiling inside, trying to guide me and help me find my way, knowing that in the end, all will turn out okay.

Perspective is a precious thing hard earned! My advide for today: take a deep breath and think — will this thing you are dealing with today matter in five days, five months, five years? Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. But I guarantee it will look different with time.

Life is a rollercoaster…

roller coaster… or a box of chocolates. Or whatever cliche or trite phrase you want to [insert] here.
It’s definitely interesting and entertaining. I love roller coasters because they make me feel alive. I also like them because I know in my heart it’s a controlled, (mostly) safe journey.

I’m harnessed in, taking deep plunges and hairpin curves. But I know that it’s very likely I’ll return back to the smiley, pimply-faced teenaged attendant who strapped me in, all in one piece.

So life is like my type of roller coaster experience only if you have that same sense of security — who you are and who you trust in your life. If you feel like you have that sense of security, you know you will actually enjoy the ride.

I’m working on this — giving up control to God above who loves me and knows me as his own. I’m working on trusting the people in my life who love me and want the best for me. And, I’m working on trusting that my instincts are right, that God has given me the sense to know and understand myself and make the best choices for me.

This comes up whether I decide to fight the good fight, make things right, compromise, or trust someone else with my feelings and thoughts. I’m working on trust. The roller coaster is a piece of cake. LIfe is much more difficult.

So, once again, I find myself sitting up tall, taking a deep breath, maybe a sip of wine, letting it all out — and most of all, trusting that I will eventually conquer this thing —
learning to trust in the goodness of life, even when it brings hairpin turns and plunging declines. Ever notice that the ride to the top takes a long time and the plunge down only a few seconds? Hmmmmmm.

Toxic inside or toxic outside?

Toxic TrollfaceI find it difficult to decipher sometimes whether the negative energy coming my way originates from me or from the outside environment. I understand those who say what you feel inside is what is reflected back to you, but there are times when I’m actually having a pretty good day and something negative comes sauntering up from what seems like nowhere and hits me in the face.

It’s like the twitter post I saw recently that made me laugh (it went something like this):

Me: Hey, I’m having a pretty good day. I’m happy and good with things right now.
Life: LOL. Wait a sec.

So what are we supposed to do with that? Sometimes I’m tired of fixing myself and being positive when some things are downright just wrong. Ya know what I mean?

That’s when I pick myself up and stand up for myself. It’s like I’m in a bar and I’ve heard enough of your yackin’. I slam the beer down, draw myself up, roll up the sleeves, take the watch off and invite the intruder outside. Well, I’d like to think I do that. It’s harder than it looks, believe me…

It’s about boundaries and all that. I get it. But when is it you say for real “I’ve had enough!” ?? I can’t take it anymore!! I’d like to think I am quietly assertive and roll with things pretty well, but I admit, there are times I just sit and listen, take quiet breaths, and try to be in a calm place but it just DOES NOT WORK.

Like when my kids refuse to wash their hands after going to the bathroom and the doorknobs get sticky leading to the bathroom… eeeew.

Like when the neighbor’s hound dogs (all three of them) bay at my poor little dog day after day when she’s just trying to go outside and pee. (Okay, I promise it’s not all about the bathroom that makes me want to scream.)

Or when I get a toxic e-mail, voice mail or text that I clearly did not deserve, and from someone who barely knows me but thinks she does. All that negativity spewing at me from my favorite electronic device. It’s just not fair. I refuse to believe I put that out there for myself to “reap…” ! I really am such a happy person at my core. I can subscribe to the fact that some toxicity comes from inside, like the gurus are telling us, but sometimes…. sometimes it really does come from another very unhappy place.

So when does your “toxic” button get pushed? I’d like to hear some great stories.

New Year, New Blog


First of the year and my first blog, at age 47, going into my 48th year.  I’ve always written, but always for other people.  This will be for me.  In the meantime, I hope it is insightful, fun and entertaining for you.  At this stage in my life, I have definite ideas about some things, very vague ideas about others.

For example, is it too late in my life to start thinking about what I’d like to do with the rest of my life?  How to really enjoy and love what I do?  Whether I get paid or not for what it is that I do, at this point would be great but might not matter as much as the creation of it… whatever IT may be.

I hope you take the time in 2013 to think about this.  Whether you are 18 or 80, or somewhere in between (like me).  What things in life make it real?  What things do you enjoy, even when you are by yourself and not sharing it with others?  What makes you tick?  And how do you give that back to the world?  Because I believe that is why God truly made us.  To be a part of Him by finding our joy, giving it to the world and really living live, not just existing.  Eyes wide open.  Deep breath.  This could be a brand new year for us all.