I know.

I know.

I know my posts and comments have been fewer and farther between on this thing. I also know that my posts have been dangerously teetering towards the “Lame” side. I also know that as of late, I don’t have nearly enough time to devote all my energy to blogging. And lastly, I know that posting out of obligation doesn’t help things.

SO… here’s the plan, Stans. I may be posting a bit less frequently for the time being. I need to be able to focus on other writing projects and endeavors that have been sitting on the back burner for far too long. I also know that the fewer obligatory posts I write, the more I can focus my energy on the posts that really matter.

So, if you don’t see me on here every day… or even every other day… or maybe only once a week… I haven’t gone anywhere. I’m just otherwise engaged at the moment.

Alrighty then. Over n’ out, good buddies. I’ll catch you on the flip side.

What Makes You Happy? (A good, ol’ fashioned game of tag)

So, my lovely blogging peep, Lisa, from over at Real Mom of Long Island tagged me in a feel-good game of blogger tag, and requested my response to the age-old question, “What makes you happy?”

*sigh*

What makes me happy? Good grief. We could be here a while, peeps. Settle in, and let’s do this.

  • Owls. Preferably baby owls. Because… so many reasons.file8671272823582
  • Writing. There’s nothing I love more than writing. Hands down, it’s pretty much my most favorite thing to do.
  • Teaching. There’s only one thing I love more than teaching and it’s writing.
  • Coffee. Coffee pretty much makes my life go ’round. It keeps me awake, and it keeps me in a good mood. As long as it’s not causing heart palpitations, coffee and I are pretty tight.
  • Naps. There are few things in this world better than a good nap. Am I right? You know I am. Don’t even try to argue with me on that point.
  • Family. I have the weirdest, most high-maintenance family on the planet. And they. Are. Awesome. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.
  • Friends. I have 4 main-stay girlfriends who are pretty much the best things ever. Because they get me. Even when they don’t.
  • This guy. Because… well, duh. Look at him!winston
  • Food. The fact that I do not weigh an astounding 641 pounds because of this love affair still baffles me.
  • Faith. God is good. All the time. And full of love and grace and peace and joy. It’s what keeps me going most days.
  • Smart people. Because stupid people annoy the crap out of me.
  • Gingers. Because I’ve never met a red head I don’t like.
  • Lifetime movies. I know. It’s shameful and ridiculous. And I can’t help it. Trust me, I’ve tried.
  • Getting magazines in the mail. Seriously. Is there anything better? I think not.
  • BOOKS. Children’s books, non-fiction books, certain fiction books, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD… *sigh* Even their smell is to die for. Have you ever smelled a book? No? You’re totally missing out. That Rory Gilmore thing is an actual thing. Books lovers actually do that.
  • Giving back. There is genuinely nothing more satisfying than giving to others less fortunate than yourself. I may enjoy this more than writing and/or teaching. If I were independently wealthy, and able to do charity work the rest of my life, I’d be happy.
  • Food, shelter, a warm, safe place to sleep… The fact that I can give back despite making a pittance as a substitute teacher because I already have the necessities? Pretty awesome.
  • Anything that makes me laugh. Laughing is my favorite. Anyone who can make me laugh is pretty much my new favorite person.
  • Chuck Taylors and cute clothes.
  • Christmas.
  • Spring days when the ice is melting and crackly, and the wind is warm, and the sun is shining, and the puddles are forming and… It’s just sheer perfection.

I’m sure I could come up with a million more things that make me happy. But if I’m being honest, I really have to pee right now, so I have to cut it short. NOW, for the really fun part.  I want to know what makes these bloggers happy:

Okay, there are so many others I want to list, but now I REALLY have to pee. SO… PLEASE feel free to tag yourself and pass it on.

Gotta go… really badly. Over n’ out, peeps.

A Day in the Life of a Speechwriter

What’s the deal with speechwriters anyway?

Do they just hate their jobs?

Every inspired quote from some great leader, speaker, or historical figure probably only exists because the speechwriter put it there first.

But do they ever get any love or recognition? Noooo… The accolades go to the idiot who just happened to be capable enough to memorize the words or read them off a teleprompter.

Poor speechwriters.

Why I Swear

swearing

A few weeks ago, I came across this blog post by Nate Pyle. It made for an excellent read and it totally resonated with me. Talking about the idea that “God never gives us more than we can handle” he made the following statement:

God won’t give you more than you can handle.  If I may be so bold, let’s just call that what it is:

Bullshit.

This created a firestorm. Apparently, many of his readers were appalled. And so he wrote a blog post about it.

I was surprised by this kind of reaction, because honestly, when I saw that word, I had the exact opposite reaction. My first thought was “YES! Thank you for stating it so succinctly and calling it like it is.” I found it refreshing and honest, not horrifyingly un-Christian-like.

This concept of “appropriate” language is something I have struggled with as both a writer and a Christian. As a writer, I’m compelled to call it like I see it. I don’t want it watered down, and I don’t want to skirt the issue. Sometimes, the only words that can precisely capture the moment are curse words. But then the Christian in me says things like, “You can’t use those words! You’re not being a good witness! What will other Christians think? Do you think you’re setting a good example?” And so, sometimes I’m forced to either apologize for the language I use or water it down which frustrates me to no end. I thrive on writing honestly and clearly… watering it down nearly kills me.

So, how does one balance being a writer and being a Christian? The writer in me balks at using words like “Doo-Doo Head” and “Meanie”. Does it make me less of a Christian when I use “jackass” instead of “jerk”? Do I take my faith less seriously when I use “Bull Shit” instead of “Donkey Excrement”?  I don’t think so, but I’m sure a lot of Christians do. I’m sure a lot of Christians would question my faith and call my behavior un-Christ-like.

To clarify, I’m not condoning the use of profanity. I’m not saying we should just spew forth whatever curse words we can come up with just because we can. I rarely ever swear. I don’t like it. I recoil at people who use cursing as a crutch – where every other word must create shock and awe. I hate it and I think it’s gross. However, in my writing, there are times when a curse word perfectly fits the situation and watering it down would simply not carry the same effect. Does that make me less of a believer? Or does it just make me an easy target for the morally superior, quick-to-judge-and-condemn Christians?

Mr. Pyle put it perfectly.

The Bible does not try to pretty up the facts. It is raw and edgy and reports history as it is. For me, this makes it extremely believable. I can relate to it. I cannot relate to a world in which the only frustrated speech allowed is Ned Flanders gobbledegook. We can substitute all the approved words and nonsensical sounds for words we label as profane, but often times the sentiments behind those words is nothing different. Words mean nothing without the sentiment behind them. And if the sentiment is the same, then why not use the word? Or saying it another way, you can be just as obscene and profane using words considered to be decent.
This is why I swear, and I apologize to all it may offend… but I have to call it like I see it.

Hobbies

I need a hobby.

I mean, I already have a couple of hobbies like reading and writing. You know, things that don’t actually count because you’re not actively doing something.

I’ve long felt that reading and writing are the red haired step children of hobbies. They don’t really count. When someone asks what your hobbies are, they want something exciting and cool like bungee jumping, 4 wheeling, snake wrangling, naked selfie taking. They don’t want to hear that you read and write. Because everyone already does that. Shame on you for not being a little more original. Geez. Idiot.

I think my husband always secretly resented me for having those hobbies. Because, like everyone else, he thought they weren’t “real” hobbies. “Real” hobbies were hobbies you could show something for. Like, carpentry or restoring old cars. At the very least “real” hobbies were things that could result in interesting Facebook posts that got a lot of likes. Reading and writing did not fit into those categories. Therefore, they were not real hobbies and that in turn made me boring and dull.

I remember feeling all this pressure to be more interesting and exciting. But I wasn’t sure how to do that, so I tried a variety of things. I started to do some gardening, which I ended up loving, even though it was still stupid because people who wasted their time on things that would just die were dumb. (He didn’t actually say that, but that’s the impression he gave.) I wanted to get into cooking and baking, but once I started teaching I was too exhausted to actually cook and anything at Subway became the default dinner menu. It probably didn’t help my case when I was finally able to admit how much I enjoyed watching TV and movies. I mean, what better way is there to spend a Friday night than curled up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and the latest comedy? I mean, besides taking a nap, which is just a given. There IS no better way. None! But I think my husband thought it was lame. I’m not sure what else we should have been doing. Sharpshooting? Cow tipping? Robbing banks? I don’t know. But when I think back at how I tried to change myself to fit what he thought I “should” be when he already knew what was part of the package when he married me… well, it just makes me sad. It was stupid. I shouldn’t have had to change myself and my interests to fit some ideal that he thought women should be. What did he know about women anyway? 

It seems I’ve always struggled with being secure in how I am. I’ve never felt completely justified in having the interests and hobbies I’ve had… as though I’ve needed someone else to approve of my interests and hobbies before I could enjoy them.

That needs to stop. I need to stop looking for other people’s approval and be okay with myself. Who cares if someone doesn’t like my hobbies? They’re MY hobbies. I shouldn’t have to come up with new ones so they fit someone’s idea of what a “real” hobby is. I need to learn to accept myself and like myself.

Good grief. How did I get here? Maybe my new hobby needs to be finding myself. Again.

Embracing the Quiet

I cannot remember the last time I took the time to write my thoughts down before this whole “marriage thingy” blew up in my face.

I never had time to write. Or the energy. Or the quiet, solitude necessary to actually think.

Living in the city, there just isn’t time to think. It’s either do or die. If you stand around weighing your options you will get run over. And possibly be flipped off. By a person with a Jesus fish on their bumper. It’s sad, but true.

You have to move and rush and hurry and stay out of everyone’s way while you do it. If you’re lucky, you’ll have time to think at the end of the day once you’ve crawled into bed, but chances are, you’re so exhausted by that point that if you get one coherent thought strung together before you completely conk out, you’re doing pretty well.

I rarely had time to think when living in the city. So, I just didn’t. There wasn’t time. And when there was time, I wasted it by zoning out to the Lifetime movies I was lucky enough to find on Netflix. I think it got to the point that I didn’t know what to do with my thoughts anymore so I just didn’t have them. When they’d crop up, I’d push them aside and do something else. It was as though there was no point in having thoughts when I didn’t have time to process them anyway. So, I just kept moving. Doing. Striving. Trying. Rushing. Hurrying. But never, ever thinking. Certainly never long enough to put my thoughts down on paper. Ha! That just didn’t happen living in the city.

And now? I have this glorious solitude in which to think and process my very own thoughts. Without being interrupted. Without being rushed out the door. Without being talked to incessantly about inane, silly things that really don’t matter. Here, I can think and process and plan, and not worry about getting run over. Here, you run the risk of being judged for running around like an all too busy “Citiot” (Like an idiot that lives in the city? Get it? Bwahahahahahahahaha!) and not taking the time to breathe and live and think.

I think I rather like it.