Don’t be alarmed. Actually, scratch that. Be very alarmed. You see, I did something the right way for the first time in my life and I guess that means I’m now an adult. Or, I’m the adult I always wanted to be when I was that insufferable 17-yr-old Mormon who called up her bishop and repented of her first kiss.

INSERT TANGENT: I recently told the story about this sinful act of intimacy to a packed room here in the city, and when I got to the part about really enjoying that kiss and trying to reconcile the tingling feeling in my parts with the sudden realization that I would lose my planet, they all howled. And nodded. And groaned in empathy. They had once worried about losing their planets, too! Sometimes Utah feels like an unpleasant, alien planet (SEE: ONLINE DATING), and other times I feel as if I am in the arms of my people.

Did you lose your planet? You’re my people.

Insufferable 17-year-old Mormon Heather is very proud of herself at 41 for hiring experts to redesign the look and feel and identity of the space containing the writing she has done about her life and her children and her pets for the past 16 years. That’s right. My blog is old enough to drive a car. And just like every other kid its age, it is choosing not to because getting a ride from Mom is so much easier.

GET OFF MY LAWN, dooce.com. Y’all and y’all’s lazy asses.

These experts overhauled the backend as well, and in doing so have made it much easier for me to publish words on this page. Taking a break from blogging had as much to do with gaining a little perspective as it did with hating the existing WordPress installation and becoming violently ill when logging into my website and realizing, aw hell no. I am not not about to fill out sixteen separate fields of useless information just so that I can tell all of you that I desperately want to talk about my butt.

Nuh uh.

Welcome to the new space, and pardon me if I get a little sentimental. But this is a visual representation of a new, hard-earned chapter in my life. The girls and I moved across town a month ago and left behind not only that lonely neighborhood where no one knew each other’s names or cared to lend a hand in the snow or when the car wouldn’t start—a home we loved but contained a host of echoing, painful memories—we also survived the hardest and worst year of my life, by far, and came out of the other side as a closer, more intimate, more hopeful family of three.

Many thanks to Angie Monson for the family photos and to the the team at CooperHouse who took very good care of me throughout the process of this redesign. I trusted them to give me back a space where I could write again. Plain and simple.

I need to write again.

I look back at the darkness that consumed me last year—beginning with the weekly long runs in my marathon training schedule and made worse by the thousands of miles I traveled while trying to build a specific part of my business—and realize that either by necessity or fatigue or lack of self-care, I abandon the practice of words. And then things got really, really bad.

For a decade and a half, words have been my medicine. Thank you, CooperHouse, for helping me refill my prescription.

That’s the plan here, to write more, to share all the stories that unfold in a house of women—young, adolescent, and smack dab in the wake of a colossal mid-life crisis.

A few points of order:

  • I have moved the dooce community to a slack channel. You can read more about why and how to join here.
  • I had the development team add a SHOP area to the site to house items that I currently use and have collected over the years of running this space. Everything in the shop is either something I own and recommend or something very similar to something I own because I can’t find the exact object online. A few of the books are on preorder. I get asked for recommendations all the time for things related to being vegan, related to unruly hair, related to interior design, related to getting the matted knots off of the back of a herding dogs legs. I’ll be adding to this part of the site all the time.
  • There’s a prominent link to my PODCAST in the nav and at the top of the homepage, and you can also find all the episodes here. My cohost Jon Bray and I celebrated the first anniversary of it on St. Patrick’s Day, and I would have made more commotion about that milestone if I hadn’t been consumed with this redesign and…
  • … and I apologize for being vague in advance—being involved in another endeavor that ended up altering the structure of my entire life. I have been through something that is nothing short of miraculous. That is a story I want to share, one that I need to share, one that I think many people need to hear not just for themselves but for the people who are close to them.

    Writing that story is the door to this new chapter.

    I also need to give a huge shout out to CANIDAE® who reached out to me and asked if we could work together again after they sponsored the launch of my podcast. They’ve got a new recipe of food called CANIDAE® Under The Sun® Grain Free that I’ve been feeding Coco for the last couple of months—yes, both my dog and my kids eat meat—and you’ll hear more about in the next few weeks. They’ve helped make this redesign possible and are offering dooce readers a $10 coupon off any CANIDAE® Under The Sun® recipe.

    I have a ton of other plans for this site and so many things I want to tell you, and I’ll announce them and roll them out in the next few weeks. To learn about things in advance, sign up for my newsletter. In the meantime, have a look around, check things out, and know that I’ve missed you like crazy.

    One last thing… a huge red heart goes out to my mother and stepfather who together saved my life. Those two people are responsible for the fact that I am sitting here talking to you right now. They’re probably a little afraid of how I’ll portray them in this story, but they have nothing to worry about.

    Because of them I believe in angels.