All posts by m'kenzie tillotson

taking flight in 2017

The New Year has come leaving last years decisions behind.

At the start of each year we are re-designing our infrastructures. Getting rid of chaos, evaluating tough decisions, being more compassionate, working on our health and beliefs. It’s basically our time once a year to take time to invest in ourselves and to also be forgiving of ourselves.

Our family will take flight in 2017. We are going abroad to live. We will spend and lend ourselves to this family this year. We are planning on leaving late spring to early summer and plan on being gone for a full year. The itinerary isn’t set in stone yet. We have an outline for our jumping off points and where we want to start for optimal weather conditions in each area. We are hoping to get input from people all over the globe on must see places and activities. So, if you have any suggestions please comment! It would be extremely helpful. We are travelers. Together we have been to 23 countries and many more separately. I’m a Sagittarius and we have a lust for travel. There’s nothing better than discovering a place I haven’t seen before.

A favorite author of mine Toni Morison said,

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

I’ve been measuring my life for years and years through several journals. This next adventure we’ve decided to go on will create new words for me to record. I don’t want to become indifferent to life.  The things we have all selfishly torched to the ground in our lives while trying to find happiness; I want to give beauty to the ashes of those experiences.

I have the voice of a poet

The voice of peace

The voice of song (often off key)

The voice of passion

We are taking flight into a New Year

a season for family

I am a snuggler (not a real word I know).

I often feel like one of those plecostomus fish; some people call them sucker mouth fish. Ya know the fish in tanks that adhere to their surrounding surfaces. That’s me when I sleep. Poor Derek. I pretty much chase him around the bed all night, attached at all times. The fact that Derek tolerates my burrowing every night is one of the little things in our relationship that make us compatible. It simply gives me the connection in our relationship that I need to feel bonded to the partnership. It is something distinct to our family. These little gestures or habits that we have make up the core of our homes. We are different shades of humanity with at least one thing in common. We are a part of a family, no matter how broad the definition is. We all belong somewhere.

Christmas in my eyes celebrates the holy family. I’ve found myself thinking on the kinship that Mary may have had with her spouse and children. What little details made up her family life? In modern times the equivalent would be knowing how one likes their coffee, or tea, or prefers to squeeze the toothpaste out of the top of the tube (seriously everyone gets their own tube of toothpaste in my house). It’s the finer points in a family that I am interested in. I think there are universal truths and family is one of them. So I have no problem directing this next thought at you. The most important thing in your life is your family. It is your most precious thing. You can spend years creating them and destroy it all in five minutes. They are something to be guarded and protected.

I’ll fold myself into Derek’s arms on Christmas Eve like I’ve done for the past several years and think this world really is a gorgeous place. Stacked and filled, piled and overlapped, with hearts of the young.






reflecting on the decade

I have a dreaded December birthday. My husband Derek always tells me, “You December birthday’s have such a chip on your shoulder about being born around Christmas.”

It’s true. I admit it. I have a chip-a large one! So large that when we decided to start a family I made sure all of my kids were born on the exact opposite end of the calendar from me. You’re welcome.

This year is a big one. It is my 30th. Yes there has been a lot of reflection mumbo jumbo. However, for the past 10 years I have always done the same two things on my birthday. I’ve always written myself a personal letter and read a poem by William Stafford. This tradition started when I turned 20. I was living in Paris as a college student. It was the ending/beginning of a new decade and this little tradition was created in that charming 7th floor apartment. Complete with mansard roof and an incredible view of the Bastille.

Today I did the same two things in my home in Utah. However, I have decided to share with you the letter I wrote my 20 year old self along with the letter I wrote my 30 year old self this morning.

20th Birthday Letter

I turned 20 today. I am in Paris, where I’ve been living for the year. Even the weather acts old here and I have created a piece of home that I will forever reach for. It has enlarged my experiences, thoughts, and emotions along with my strength. This is my first Birthday on my own and for the first time I feel it more valid to express my appreciation to my mom, who equally shares this day with me.

Maman je t’aime vers la lune.

Pour moi.

Vous etes jeune et avez le monde a explorer. Ne vous pressez pas.

Vous avez toutes les chances qu’une vie d’amour peut donner.

I am going to be very sad if years from now you re-read this and have no idea what you wrote because you’ve forgotten all your French! You dream in French now, I hope you always do.



30th Birthday Letter

You’ve cried for the first time over this birthday. For the first time you’ve felt your youth has passed. The adventurer was born into a mother. Which has been your best work by far. Take a deep breath of renewal. A new decade is here. You’re 30.

At times you lost yourself-deeply lost yourself. But I’ve got a feeling now that you’ve been so lost you will always be found. You’ve begun to understand where your center is. What you are centered in. Which means you will know where to go back to when things get off balance. Like knowing where your home is.

Take a deep breath. Every cell in you is always renewing itself. You were born perfect and brave. To feel the world in and around you. Let these passions and adventures renew you and keep you.

I’m holding you in never ending X’s and O’s.  I love you.


And for extra credit reading, the William Stafford poem

There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot–air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That’s the world, and we all live there. 

20th Birthday


first viral video

One night we were sitting in bed getting ready to fall asleep when Derek turned to me and said, “I have a facebook promotion of $10 that is going to expire in the next couple days. I am going to use it on Beckett’s video so it doesn’t go to waste.” I think I was half asleep when he told me this piece of information and didn’t think anything of it. Honestly, I completely forgot about it. That is until one week later when all of the sudden that video started to have some serious views.

We saw it reach 345K on Monday, December 5th. Tuesday it reached 1.5 million views.  Wednesday, when we went to bed, it was at 3.2 million views. Currently, it is Thursday afternoon, it is at 4.4 million views. This concept of going viral has been a fun experience. It has also been a very vulnerable one. I didn’t quite realize what it means to put yourself and your children out there on social media platforms. Complete strangers have reacted and commented on this human that I grew and nurtured for the past 3 years. Big thank you to all viewers for being so positive. My mamma heart couldn’t take it if people were anything but sweet  when talking about my baby boy.

Beckett is our middle child. He is a Leo. He is currently obsessed with dinosaurs. He refuses to keep pants on, even at school. He has always been a huge chatter box! To this day he sits and talks and talks literally 3 inches from my face all day. I am now to the point where I tune him out and when I do he notices and yells, “HEEEYYYY MOM I need to tell you something!!!!!” Then it is usually followed up by, “sharks don’t eat dinosaurs right?” He is the spark plug in our family and one of the 4 loves of my life.

Thanks for watching and enjoying our family. Hopefully you will stick around and watch us all grow, hopefully not bigger, just older.

Follow along:




five take flight viral video

my wren

Meet Wren.

Wrens are medium-small to very small birds.

The English name “wren” derives from Middle English wrenne. It is cognate to Old High German wrendo, also known as kuningilin “kinglet” in Old High German. This name is associated with the fable of the election of the “king of birds”. The fable goes that whichever bird could fly to the highest altitude would be made king. The eagle outflew all other birds, but a small bird that had hidden in his plumage beat him. This is the Wren.

The other day we blessed our almost 4 month baby girl. The cultural and spiritual traditions of this act are to bestow a name. Many cultures have naming rituals and traditions. Sunday made me ponder heavily on the importance of names. Why do we as peoples all over the world put so much focus and attention on this act of picking and naming children?

Our names are given to us usually from a parent and once accepted that word takes on a new form of significance as it becomes tied to a person. Embodying uniqueness, personal identity, and the roots of an individual. We introduce ourselves by our many names and in order of how we want to be identified. We associate with our given names along with the name of mother, father, grandparent, sibling, or our professions. All are at the symbolic heartland of personal identity.


You are my Little Bird




I gave you this name because birds have always been positive in my life. A symbol of freedom. And when I experienced the passing of a close friend, birds became a link between heaven and earth. Now I see this symbolism in you, my daughter. I see you as capable in experiencing life and flying above challenges, confrontation, or crisis. You are encircling us with your little featherly wings into a whole. You are healing us and completing our family. My heart has already made room, tucking you closely under my wing. Now all I can do is quietly whisper, “grow, grow, grow” as you start to fly. We are in this together, five take flight.