I always find that writing an “about me” piece is awkward. I never know how to start it off, or what to include. What does anyone want to know about me, anyway? And does anyone really read these “About” pages anyway?

In case people do, here’s the lowdown: I’m Lisa, well into my 40s, married, and busy raising seven kids, ranging from teenager all the way down to baby. I’m not part of some weird religious cult that believes in procreating to the nth degree; the truth is, I never set out to have this many kids, and half of them were surprises (I know – you’d think we would catch on to how this happens!) Since so many people wonder why it is that we have so many kids, I wrote about it here: The Long Story of How We Ended Up With So Many Kids. I’m a stay-at-home mom, about which, at this point in my life, I have mixed feelings. I adore my kids, but let’s be honest: they run me ragged. At least they give me plenty of material to write about.

Michael is my husband. He is an attorney, a musician, a Little League coach, and a cancer survivor; he was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer in 2009, and after a year of treatment, he has been in remission for three and a half years as of this writing (January 2013). Ours is a love story in progress; I’ve always believed that one of the biggest strengths of our marriage is that we started out as friends – really good friends – before we ever became romantically entangled. That friendship is the foundation of everything good between us.

Kevin is our oldest; he’s in high school. Joey is #2 and a baseball fanatic. Annabelle and Daisy are next; they’re twins. Then comes Lilah. Finn is #6 and he has Down syndrome. Scarlett is the baby and was our biggest surprise of all. I try to respect my family’s right to privacy when I write, but I admit that it’s sometimes a fine line between what’s off-limits and what’s game.

Writing is a passion of mine – it’s part of me. In these pages, I rave, I rant, I ruminate, and I advocate. I write for me, and hopefully in the process I offer something to those of you who grant me the honor of reading what I write, whether it be something to think about, something to talk about, something to relate to, or something to laugh about. Sometimes I piss people off with what I write. No matter what, I am committed to staying true to myself.

As for me, well, I’ve traveled quite a road. There have been some defining potholes and varied scenery along the way: I was a teen runaway, leaving a very unstable and rocky home life; I married very young, at age 19, the first time, and became embroiled in an abusive marriage that lasted twelve years, produced my oldest son, Kevin, and ended with the death by drug overdose of my husband; my dad, the only person in my family with whom I had a close relationship, died very suddenly at the age of 51 from a heart attack back in 1998, six months before my husband died; I went on to marry Michael, who showed me I was worth something, and that life could be full of love and laughter; Michael and I had many kids (the last three of whom were home-birthed); in the midst of all the baby-having and child-rearing, Michael was diagnosed with cancer, and although he is in remission after a year of grueling treatment, we still live with cancer’s shadow. All of these things have shaped me.