In case you haven’t read Wonder, read it.  It is a must for all human beings and a great reminder of how to be a good one.


We all deserve happiness.  But, my happiness may come in a different package than your happiness.  Even if I don’t appreciate your package, that does not give me the right to rip your package to shreds.  I sometimes forget… we all do. So, with school starting back up, please remind your babies and yourselves to simply be kind to one another.

As I’m writing this, I got a text that a friend died by suicide this morning.  He was facing a rough divorce, losing his girls, and being the victim of nasty comments on Facebook. I don’t know what else he may have been going through, but the social media bashing shouldn’t have a place in this world.  My heart is broken for him and his girls.

Please, be kind to one another.  I hugged this friend and said goodbye to him yesterday – never in a million years did I guess it would be the last time.





It’s the Little Things

These are 10 moments in life that truly take my breath away, leaving my happy… and insanely full of gratitude for this amazing life I lead:

#10  I adore beautiful handwriting.  I appreciate those who can write each letter with sheer perfection and harmoniously combine them to form words.  It is an artistic talent of architects and calligraphers alike.

#9  We are building a house.  To see progress being made brings me true joy.  Today, I was giddy over putting up a mailbox.  Yes, it is weird even in my eyes to be elated by a mailbox.

#8  Creating… signs, presents, cards, water bottles, whatever my imagination allows.  Using my Cricut helps me to get it just the way I want it (like those perfect fonts that I can’t create with my own hands, or a perfectly symmetrical circle).

#7  I crave that feeling of freedom that comes with running.  It usually takes about a mile for it to kick in.  Then, I feel like I could just keep running and never, ever stop.

#6  As a teacher, watching a student’s face light up after they accomplish something they didn’t think they could do is amazing; it is magical to see (and the reason I love my job).

#5  Sand between my toes and a warm ocean breeze kissing my cheeks is an ideal setting for happiness.  The cool ocean water refreshes me after the warm sun soaks into my pores – down to my very soul.

#4  Waking up sandwiched between a soft, plump cat and a sweet, cuddly black lab is a dream come true.  The love of my pets is unconditional and makes my heart happy.

#3  The strong arms of my adoring husband wrapped around me brings comfort and peace like no other.  I will always be safe in his arms.

#2  The genuine, exuberant, belly laugh of my son is contagious.  I am not able to hold in my own laughter when I hear his joy simply exploding from his small body.

#1  To watch my daughter perform on stage is the ultimate magic and the most magnificent feeling in my heart.  Sometimes, teenagers can be distant, but to see her up there on that stage is to see her very soul shining through the darkness.  She is a beacon to show us the way home.

What makes you this happy?

Those Uncomfortable Subjects

When I started reading Butterfly Suicide by Mary Ann Loesch, I felt a sense of unease, a pit in my stomach.  I was uncomfortable, and I didn’t want to read about the aftermath of Jude Valley’s shooting spree at Rockingham High School.  After all, this is the stuff nightmares are made of for parents… and an unfortunate reality in our society.

But, I kept reading, and I am so glad I did.  The book also delves into another harsh reality of our society: unwarranted judgment.  Daily, we see on social media, the spewing of hateful opinions by the uninformed, the misinformed, or the plain ol’ bandwagon jumpers.  Stephen Valley, Jude’s younger brother, must face these horrific judgments in the aftermath of Jude’s actions.

Stephen’s only friend, Monica, happens to be the surviving younger sister of Jude’s main target in the shootings.  Monica and Stephen face the ugly situation together while sorting through their own lives on top of it all.

I highly recommend this novel giving it 5 out of 5 stars.  The characters are well developed, and the plot leaves you guessing at the truth in all of the lies. You can purchase the Kindle version of Butterfly Suicide here.


Happy reading!



“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

The Versatile Blogger Award


First of all, I would like to thank Anchal Sethi for the nomination.  You kindness is much appreciated.  I also want to thank all of you, my readers, for putting up with my antics.  I read your comments, see your “likes”, and think fondly of you! =)

Rules for the nominations:
• Thank the person who nominated you.
• Nominate up to 15 bloggers for this award and inform them.
• Share seven facts about yourself.
• Put the logo of Versatile Blogger in your post and display the rules also.

Seven fun facts about Attie Calisto:

  1. I’m a teacher (which is the best job in the world).
  2. I love pizza.
  3. I have two labs and one cat.
  4. I can’t sing, but I do anyway.
  5. I love camping – or, rather, glamping.
  6. I own 5 acres of land.
  7. I can’t imagine living anywhere else but Texas.

…And the nominations go to…

  1. The Human

Please, take a minute to check out some of these bloggers.  Some inform, some relate, some inspire, and some just crack me up!  Have a great day.

Accepting the Social Limitations of an Introvert

carToday, this Introvert went to a car dealership all by myself… I know, right?! That’s like sending the lamb into the lion’s den… covered in raw meat.  I did not enjoy the experience at all despite the fact that the salesman was very nice and had an awesome Jamaican accent.

Don’t get me wrong.  If my extroverted husband had been with me, it would have been fabulous.  I could have listened to the man talk all day.  But, I was the center of attention, and he kept trying to get personal information out of me – you know, because he wanted me to buy a car.  Newsflash, people! Introverts can’t handle giving up personal information to strangers. It’s none of your business, so back off (please)! I will not let you see inside me.

What’s worse – he was trying to appeal to my emotions to make his sale.  I wanted to shout at him, “Dude! I am a shallow, emotionless creature that only finds comfort and solace in logic, creation, and reading about others’ emotions. Stop it!”  But, I didn’t. That would be rude. Spending large amounts of money on objects should NOT be an emotional decision. And again, I will not let you see inside me.

I said, “Just give me the facts.  Spinning tall tales and making small talk won’t help with me.  You are just going to make me shut down even more. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear, because I see your deception.  You are full of BS, and it is exhausting.”  No.  Not really.  That would be rude.  So, this Introvert high-tailed it out of the lion’s den and went home to write about the experience from the safety of her home.

I will have to return there again.  But, I will never go back without my extroverted better half in tow as my shield.  He likes to play the game I am not capable of or willing to play. I know my limitations and accept them as my truth.  introvert



My Male Cheerleader

My son has decided to be one of those trailblazers… and it is going to give me heart palpitations any minute.  My SHY, QUIET, rather be at home on his laptop playing an online game son has signed up for cheer… in 7th grade… in middle school.

The last time I checked, kids are mean in middle school.  Some are stupid, mean, low self-esteem kids that already like to say mean things to my son, because he is short… or because he is not athletic… or because he is not strong… or because he is in their way… or because someone dared them to… or because he is different than them… or because the sky is blue… and now he is going outside of typical male behavior even further. He is going to be a cheerleader – the only male on the team.

Don’t get me wrong.  Male cheerleaders are some of my favorite people!  That isn’t the part that worries me.  It is those mean kids that will try to take him down a notch, because he isn’t fitting into their preconceived notions their parents have put in their heads. (We live in Texas – which means he should be on the football or baseball field – which he will be – just with a megaphone.)

It is not like he can’t defend himself.  He is in karate, too.  But, last year, when he did defend himself, he still got punished by the school for punching the kid (which I get).  But, David did NOT like being in “ISS” (In School Suspension) with the “bad” kids all day.  He is a good kid, and he couldn’t believe other kids would be so disrespectful to adults.

With all of that said, I am SOOOOOO proud of my son for stepping up and being who he wants to be.  But, could you please say a prayer for him? The reality of his choice set in this morning before I dropped him off at Cheer Camp, and he was super nervous.  Not only will he have to interact with other people, he will have to smile and cheer others on.  He will have to stunt – using those muscles that haven’t seen the light of day since May.

He will be an awesome cheerleader; and, I will continue to be his worried mommy, always in his corner, supporting whatever he choses to do.

Angel Fire, New Mexico

Let’s take a trip… down memory lane.  Our family’s favorite memories come from our travels.  Here are just a few.

blizzardSnow!  We stayed in the condos at Angel Fire Ski Resort in New Mexico. We like staying in the condos, because it is just a walk up to the ski lifts. But, we also had our own kitchen, etc. We experienced two blizzards there – snow above the roof one year.  It was cool… or, rather, really cold!


Clark (the dad): I like the small crowds, and it is very family friendly.ski

Attie (the mom): I love to eat at the cafe on top of the mountain.  I really love drinking a hot chocolate (with peppermint schnapps) at the cafe at the base of the mountain after a long, cold day of skiing. (Usually, one of my favorite memories is running.  Not here.  It is too cold for this Texas girl.)

ski liftElizabeth (the big sister): I liked going up on lifts alone [yes, very family friendly]. I also liked tubing on the polar coaster.

David (the little brother): I liked skiing all the way down from the back side of mountain. I also liked going to the ice cream store when it was -16 degrees outside!ice creamdegrees


Why Suicide is Not an Option

I don’t like sharing this story, so I’m not sure why I feel compelled to share it with you. It takes a leap of faith to understand – at least for me. It also takes understanding that some people’s feelings are “bigger” than others – higher highs, lower lows.

Several years ago, my family was in our car at an intersection.  I saw it coming out of the corner of my eye – the car that was about to hit us at full speed.  The next few seconds stretched out in slow motion over several minutes… and, I watched from outside of my body (right above to be exact).  I watched my body being flung around the car, but I felt no pain – not physically or mentally.  It was almost a feeling of being free.  I knew something bad was happening, but I had a sense that all was okay – peaceful, really. I had no anxiety, no depression, no OCD, no stress whatsoever.  It felt good – like a secure, warm blanket. I began to drift further away from my body.

As I moved, my eyes shifted up – just barely.  I saw that I was moving away from my husband and children, and I felt my connection to them.  I can only describe the feeling as having a cord that ran between each of us.  As that cord stretched further, I felt the strain – and the pain came on stronger than any pain I have ever felt before.  The anguish of losing them, the suffering of them losing me – it was all there in that moment.  I knew if the cords broke, I would spend forever suffering their loss.

Then, in a blink of an eye, it was over.  I was back in my body, and I began to react to the reality of the accident that had just occurred. It wasn’t until long after the accident that I was able to process exactly what had happened in those seconds.  It is not something I could ever truly explain (or want to try for that matter).  All I know is, it happened.

I think back on this moment sometimes when I need to remember – even though I don’t like to because the pain of those cords stretching pulls at my heart fresh and new.  But, once in a while, my very big emotions get the best of me, and I feel my family would be better off without me.  Then, I remember.  Suicide will never be an option.  The lowest of lows, no matter how unbearable they seem, are temporary.  Losing my family and being the cause of their deepest grief would be an eternal sentence of despair. I chose each day to stay on this side of the pearly gates as long as I am allowed to be.

Every day is not rainbows and unicorns.  But, I love my family beyond the boundaries of our existence. And, I have learned, that is enough.


It’s a Journey – Not a Destination 

Part of losing weight is gaining the mindset to keep it off – you know, that eating healthy stuff and exercising stuff. I have major cravings once in a while (as all dieters do) – some show improvement in my mindset. Some don’t. Here are my top 10 cravings. Don’t judge.

10. Carrots

9. Potatoes – Mashed, Fried, or Roasted

8. Trail Mix

7. Chicken Noodle Soup – or any soup really

6. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (and lots of Parmesan Cheese)

5. Corn on the Cob

4. Queso and Chips

3. Popcorn – microwave or movie

2. Frosting Covered Sugar Cookies

1. Pizza, Pizza, and Pizza with Cheese, Cheese, and Cheese

Progress from 6 months ago? Definitely. Guarantee that I won’t just gain the weight back? Not so much.  I’m still a work in progress. If awareness is 1/2 the battle, I’m 60% on my way to success!

Stupid Anxiety – MBS

I always attempt to be positive, but…

Sometimes, all of life’s unexpected curveballs lead to Muddled Brain Syndrome.  Today, I am suffering from it.  It doesn’t even take a Major League Baseball pitcher kinda curveball.  It could be an unintentional pitch in “coach pitch” little league which can throw your brain patterns into a frenzy.

I spoke on the phone today.  (That should have been my first clue it was coming. Speaking on the phone often resembles pulling teeth to my introverted self.) The very nice gentleman (in charge of Deed Restrictions)  told me he had received phone calls about my property in the middle of a conversation about a completely different topic. That’s it.  That’s all it took.  After I hung up and processed our conversation, my day was ruined.

He did not specify that they were BAD phone calls.  It could have been phone calls getting approval to build my house – which would mean GOOD phone calls.  But, no – my brain has spiraled out of control over those two, little words… Phone.  Calls (that word being plural – meaning more than one call – probably meaning someone complaining). My “rule follower” mentality broke.

So, now, I’m pretty sure my future neighbors hate us already.  The Deed Restrictions people hate us already (although we haven’t done anything wrong).  I’m fat.  I’m broke.  I’m sick of living in a small space.  Why do I think I can help anyone else when I can’t even help myself.  I’m not good at anything.  Ugh!

And, even though I know none of this is in the least bit logical, I still feel overwhelmed and out of control.  Stupid anxiety.

This, too, shall pass, right?