I’m feeling experimental with my writing these days. Like I want to see what I can get away with; but not in a naughty way. Not in a way that’s going to get me arrested or shunned in the blogosphere. I just want to put something out there into the universe that surprises some people but resonates with others. #Goals, right?
I’m also feeling some serious writing angst these days. At the same time, I’ve been writing a whole lot. Like every chance I get. While I know this is a good thing, it’s left me feeling anxious. Like a hot mess. Because there’s so much I want to say and I want to put it out there on this blog in just the right way.
The indecision within me about what to finish and publish is really messing with me right now.
The only right thing for me to do, because I’m anal about consistency when it comes to my blog is to just Cut. It. Out. And publish something.
So off I go.
Proof of my anal retentiveness as it relates to this blog of mine: An excerpt from my “planning” draft folder (is this a thing for you too?) from 2018.
Review both current WIPs. Decide quickly if either is worthy of being published on Wednesday morning. Morning, dear. If not, don’t sweat it. It’s the small stuff, as cliche as that sounds. But it’s almost completely true. Then just do your best to use this Chromebook during the vacay. Whenever the moment strikes. And maybe the moment won’t strike. It will by 5/28 though. So at most you’ve skipped one week of posting. Don’t get your undies in a bunch over this. Yes, that did remind me that I need new undies as a matter of fact.
Items to look for while on vacation:
Also, Amanda’s birthday presents.
Now back to the current moment: In keeping with the thread of this loopy post from the indecisive, high strung hot mess that I am right now, I’m going to just copy and paste some of the random thoughts I’ve been expressing in various draft folders of this blog and call it a day. I’m going to re-type a few random thoughts I captured in various draft folders and call it a day (I can at least make the effort to make it look nice, right?).
Maybe that seems lazy to you. Maybe it seems crazy to me. Maybe it’s a combination of both. I dunno. But I’m going to do it nonetheless.
In no particular order whatsoever, I give you Rhonda’s random writing thoughts found within the vaults of my blog:
Notions or Quotes that I’m fond of:
You get what you give.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
This too shall pass.
“The most effective way to do it, is to just do it” Amelia Earhart. That resonates for me writing wise. That’s what I’m doing right now actually, so there.
I’m really curious about something. Well, many things really. But today I’m thinking about how I read or heard somewhere that it takes 7 days (or two weeks or six years?) to form a new habit. It’s actually 66 days. Ughh! Which, from today, is 12/25-Christmas Day!
The new habit I am going to start to form in earnest as of today is writing first thing in the morning. I like to say I do that now, but that’s not true. It’s writing before I check the forecast, read the UCC Daily Devotional, check Facebook. It’ll be an experiment. And just for fun, I think I’ll add in a new habit of writing every night too. Just for a little bit. 15 minutes even. The more I write, the more I have to publish. The more I publish, the more likely it is that I will get the attention I’m looking for.
Current moment commentary: I have stuck to this. That’s why there’s so much content within my draft folders now. And also why I’m so damn indecisive today about what to publish.
One last snippet from my draft folders:
Right now, I am so tired. Need to get ready for bed. Yet need to capture a few thoughts. Random though they may be. K.I.S.S. It’s mostly Keep. It. Specific. Sister. But it can vary. Mantras, phrases, acronyms, names are all very important to me as a writer. Who am I writing for? Who do I actually want to appreciate my writing? To benefit from it in some small but positive way? I want to make an impact. Push someone else forward so they can push another person forward and so on and so forth. Spread good vibes. Good juju. Good karma.
Okay, now I suppose it’s time to conclude this post. Thanks for sticking with me, people (am I being a tad presumptuous? Probably.)
My aim for my next post is to focus on one topic, or one general idea. I promise!
Clearly, I flat out suck at coming up with titles for my blog posts. Any suggestions you may have to address this particular shortcoming of mine are appreciated.
Though the title I chose is better than the original : “To all the Blogs I’ve loved before”. That might have sounded just a tad creepy, right?
My objective in this particular post is to lift up those blogs and bloggers that I have been following ever since I started my own blog (and a couple of these I discovered prior to starting this blog).
I’ve been very fortunate to have discovered each of these blogs and I think if you haven’t yet discovered them yourself, you’d be doing yourself a favor by checking them out now.
You see, these are the blogs that I feel I actually get something out of. Whether that be inspiration for my next blog post, a kick ass recipe, a new way of thinking about something, or a few hearty belly laughs, these are my “go-to’s”.
I find Elly and her blog to be creative, talented, inspirational, hilarious, smart, and entertaining. And she plays a mean ukulele! If I had an opportunity to write with her, I’d take it in a hot second. Elly also wrote a hilarious book, complete with awesome illustrations, thanks to her cohort Joan Reilly, about a middle aged, liberal, educated, cat owning but not child owning (not like one owns their children of course), married couple traipsing across the country in an RV in an effort to make sense of what has become of our country in the wake of the Trump era.
She started her book as a regular feature in McSweeney’s. It’s titled “Amongst the Liberal Elite” and of course you can buy it on Amazon, like I did, or find it in your local bookstore.
CJ @ https://feedingonfolly.com/: She is a fantastic storyteller. A giver of wonderful recipes. She is smart, funny, and kind. She’s inspired and encouraged me throughout my blogging journey.
Lorna @ https://ginlemonade.com/ Lorna is a very talented writer. Her tone is straightforward and her writing, through the lens of a mom/wife/American living in Scotland who gets around on wheels due to CP, is insightful. She is very hardworking and sincere in her writing. She also runs a great blogging group on Facebook which has been a pleasure for me to be a part of.
Then there’s Christine @ https://imsickandsoareyou.com/. She is the blogger who recommended Lorna’s blogging group on Facebook. She blogs from the viewpoint of a woman who was very sick for a good long time, due to a desmoid tumor, who has fairly recently regained her health. She is terribly witty, thoughtful, raw, and honest with her writing. She is imaginative and alternates between being laugh-out-loud funny with her writing and deeply personal and thoughtful.
Annie at https://givememeatloaf.com/ is a blogger I’ve been following I believe since before I started my own blog. She writes primarily about food and travel. She is a “living doll” as my mom used to say. She’s cute as a button and has a way of drawing you in with her beautiful pictures of delectable food (some she makes herself and some from dining out) and travel destinations. There is a sense of fun and adventure in all of her posts. And I owe her a thank you in advance for a recent post on her trip to Puerto Rico with her husband (aka Sir Dave). It helped me to talk Hubs into taking me to Puerto Rico for our next tropical vacation (ha ha! as if this is really a thing for us). But alas, we shall go there! Our 30th wedding anniversary is coming up in 2020, after all.
Now, there are of course several other blogs I regularly follow that I ought to mention. Because I respect your time, I will keep it simple-ish and drop links to a few of those.
https://butismileanyway.com/: Ritu writes, among other things, a regular feature “Chai and a Chat” in which she expresses her sweet, positive, effervescent personality. It’s a delight. Reading this always makes me wish I was sitting across from her, gabbing the day away in person.
Fatty McCupcakes (you’ll have to google it as I’m not much of a techie and couldn’t get the link to copy here) : Just trust me when I say that Katie is a great comedic writer. She tells the funniest stories and is very relatable.
This week, the one sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s, happens to be my favorite week of the year.
Why, you ask? Because the Christmas season always gives me long lasting warm fuzzies. I’ve rested, laughed, played, ate well, got new things to enjoy. I’ve gotten to speak to the people I love the most (by phone or video chat). There’s no more frenzied planning for another year. NYE is a week away, so that’s something to look forward to, even if Hubs and I have no major plans. Work is more chill too.
Essentially, I’m more relaxed during this particular week. I feel more thoughtful, more grateful for the sweet life Hubs and I have created over the past 30 ish years. My head is in a space where I’m contemplating the future; though with no great sense of urgency. I’m kicked back, fuzzy socked feet upon our coffee table, relishing the present and pondering the future.
This pondering includes what my New Year’s resolutions intentions might be. The intentions I may have for this great blogging adventure I embarked on almost two years ago (I must refrain from over-analyzing the “dud” posts I’ve penned in that time which very well may have kept me from having more followers). The intentions I have for my personal life (staying in better touch with friends and family near and far, the myriad of home improvement projects Hubs and I want to make, travel-both in the U.S. and abroad, and of course, like every other slob out there, losing a good 10 lbs, give or take). The intentions I have in my work life (improve communication, my organizational skills, increase my education on such things as aging and food insecurity in the U.S.). My intentions re: my spiritual journey (how I can better live out my faith and follow Jesus’ examples).
Note that I am not calling any of the above “resolutions”. That simply puts too much pressure on me. The term is too concrete, too demanding to be part of my inner vernacular. If 2018 has taught me anything, it is that life is gonna do what life is gonna do. Curveballs will occur. Jobs may change, people will die, unexpected setbacks will emerge. That’s the deal, folks. Like it or lump it, as they say.
My primary objective, “intention”, if you will, for this one glorious week, is to reflect. And come out swinging in the new year.
I have always been a huge fan of watching movies. Whether it be in an actual theater with a bucket of artery clogging popcorn and a fresh pack of Twizzlers or lolling about on my comfy couch eating the infinitely healthier microwave popcorn and my favorite chocolate truffles, I find movie watching to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.
I like a variety of genres: comedies, dramas, thrillers, bio-pics, westerns, and musicals. And I’m pretty open minded about what I will watch. Especially if it is included with my Amazon Prime or on Netflix, where I have the lovely option of simply turning a movie off if it totally sucks. This doesn’t happen very often, however.
Because I’m such a movie nut, I can’t in good conscience just pick one movie and tell you all why I think it’s great and why you should absolutely positively watch it as soon as you possibly can.
Depending on how this goes, I might make this a regular feature. I like that idea: a regular feature. I think I’ll put a pin in that one.
I’ve just got so much to say about how I feel about so many movies.
Think I’ll start with the type of movie I love the very most, “my favorite favorite”, as Barney, that goofy purple dinosaur used to say through the t.v. screen to my kiddos when they were small.
This would be the “Feel Good” movie. Those movies that make me laugh and/or make me tear up (I’m not a big crier when it comes to movies, but now that I think of it, perhaps I ought to pen a post about those rare films that did actually make me cry-and not because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t help myself). Those movies that amaze and inspire me. Those movies that I actually can enjoy again and again and again.
“Love, Actually”. If I absolutely had to pick one film that is my favorite this would be the one. It’s a movie full of good cheer and humor. It tells several different love stories, with the characters in each story biologically related to and/or entwined in each other’s lives. Each of the main characters are lovable, albeit imperfect. The soundtrack is great too. It also takes place during the Christmas season, which to me adds much to the charm of this movie. And it’s set in England so there’s plenty of those lovely British accents to enjoy. And it has a very happy ending, one that assures you that everyone is going to be alright after the credits are over.
“Mama Mia”. Oh, the music in this one. It amazes me that the songs of “Abba” could be used to tell the story of a soon-to-be-wed young woman, living in a resort in Greece with her mom, who is searching for her biological father. Her mom, Donna, had summer flings with three different young men 20 years prior, and became pregnant. Her daughter, Sophie, invites all three of these now older men to her wedding. Each of these men, fortunately, embrace the possibility that they could be her father. It is simply a joyful, fun, uplifting movie that I can’t resist.
“As Good as it Gets” also ranks as one of my all time favorite “feel good” movies. It is an unlikely love story between a curmudgeon afflicted with a severe case of OCD, played by the one and only Jack Nicholson, and a young waitress, who is a single mom of a very ill son, played by Helen Hunt. The (IMHO) greatly underrated actor Greg Kinnear has a starring role as Simon, as Melvin’s (Jack Nicholson) gay neighbor who becomes a victim of an assault and needs someone to care for his little dog (Verdell) while he recovers. Jack Nicholson’s character slowly bonds with the dog and over time his heart opens to the possibility of real love with Carol, Helen Hunt’s character. This movie is as much about the characters (maybe even a bit more) than the actual story. The scenes with Carol and Simon are especially heart-warming, as they form a special bond between them. The scenes with Melvin and Verdell are quite precious as well.
My hope is that you all are able to carve out some time for yourself during this busy, stressful, mentally taxing time of the year (aka the Christmas/Holiday season) to kick back and re-watch your favorite “feel good” movies. Or if you haven’t caught any of the three mentioned above, you’ll take my recommendations and rent, buy, or find one of them via your favorite streaming service.
Community is the glue that keeps our society together. I’ve been blessed in my life to have been a part of a variety of different communities. These experiences with community have shaped me. They have inspired me. They have taught me so very much. They have most certainly been a source of joy.
Like the community of church folks who came together back in Wisconsin a few years ago to fix up a single mom’s beautiful old house to get it ready to be sold. This was a days long process involving probably 24 of us. We painted. We put up curtains. Some of us did some electrical work and plumbing. While working on these tasks, we also got to know each other better. We ended with a shared experience that benefited not just the single mom and her kids, but all of us.
Like the community of friends, many of whom hadn’t officially met before, who came together to make a home accessible for a friend’s spouse who in her 30’s suffered a stroke while vacationing out of the country and was soon coming out of rehab. We organized closets, we built an accessible ramp, we updated the bathroom and re-arranged the bedroom to accommodate the spouse’s new way of moving through their day to day world.
Like the community at our local brew pub, 3 miles down the road from our townhome here in Colorado. If ever there was a “Cheers” in real life, this would be that place. The owners and bartenders know our names. The owners regularly schedule events that build community.
And this sign is prominently featured, which I very much appreciate. This one hangs in the ladies’ restroom.
Then there’s our current church community. Our major fundraiser each year is a lawn mower clinic, held in May. Hubs and I, along with probably 2-3 dozen other church folks came together on three Saturdays this past May to check the oil, change spark plugs, and clean those well used, clunky machines up so they would be in good working condition for their owners when the time came to get back to mowing their lawns again. Each of these Saturdays were nasty, weather-wise. Snow. Rain. Cloudy, cold, and breezy. From my perspective, only experiencing 2 years in Colorado, this weather was a-typical for the time of year. But yet we all bundled up, drank a lot of hot coffee, and got things done as a community.
The Facebook blogging community I’ve recently become a part of is another example of how I like to “do” community in my life. In this group, bloggers often lift each other up. They turn each other on to new ideas, new tricks to improve their writing and their blogs. They We support each other as best we can. We seem to understand that while we all have our individual blogs, we’re in it (aka the Blogosphere) together. We all want to succeed at what we’re doing and we all love to write. We respect each other. There does not seem to be a sense of “my blog vs. your blog” competitive b.s. going on in this group. We all seem to engage with this group in an effort to build each other, and ourselves at the same time, up. I’m so glad I decided to join this community.
The bottom line, for me, is that being around others, especially with a clear goal in mind, energizes me. It appeals to my social and socially conscious nature. It opens up my world, teaches me things I didn’t know I needed to learn, both about myself and others. It helps me focus on the positive and reminds me that there is good in the world. That the number of good people in our universe far outweighs the number of bad people. It gives me hope.
I don’t know the origin story for this sign. I can only imagine that it was something someone made back in the early 70’s and gave to my parents. I just remember it hanging on the fiberboard walls of my dad’s beloved garage while I was growing up. I can only assume that my mom couldn’t find quite the right place to display it in our house. Or she found it tacky.
But my dad had an appreciation for this sign. It meant something to him. It was hung on those fiberboard walls next to scribblings from family and friends from near and far who were visiting our house for one celebration or another. Dad got a big kick out of having guests sign the wall in the garage to commemorate various celebrations. He was quite the sentimental guy.
I think first and foremost, this sentiment, these words, apply to the important concept of self-care. I think it’s easy to go through our days mentally haranguing ourselves about how we could have done “this” better, or how we shouldn’t have said “that” to whomever, or that we should have reacted differently in a particular situation. Something I’m trying to do lately is to put my self-defeating thoughts on pause for a moment and ask myself if the negative thoughts about myself would be something I would actually say out loud (or even under my breath) to a close friend. The answer is always, emphatically, “no”. I think this sign is an excellent reminder to be gentle (aka kind) to oneself.
I also believe if we have any hope of ushering in a kinder, less dysfunctional, society, not only for the benefit of those of us living in the here and now, but for the generations coming up behind us, we should endeavor to heed these words in our day to day interactions with others, whether they be strangers or friends.
What does this look like for me? I think it’s more what it sounds like, in my case. When I am frustrated with another person because they are jumping on my last nerve, if I’m being honest, these not-so-positive feelings are evident in my tone of voice. If I can be cognizant of this fact, in the moment, I can hit the pause button for a hot second and make the necessary adjustments. I think one simple tool is to slap a smile on my face. Then when I open my mouth to speak again, the words cannot help but come out in a kinder, gentler way.
Tell me, kind and gentle readers, do you think this sentiment has value as I do? If so, what does it look like in your life?
I’ve got an earworm these days. This is thanks to our receptionist at work who continually has the 60’s station playing on Pandora or Spotify or whatever the hell audio service she uses. I commented to her that I remember my mom singing this song to me when I was growing up.
Now, mind you, my mom cannot carry a tune. In fact, I recall a story she often told about her youth. It goes something like this: when she was in high school, back in the early 50’s, she desperately yearned to be a member of the choir. However, she was self aware enough to know she did not possess the ability to carry a tune. So her mother, one of my two Grandma Pearls (ironically enough), despite the fact that she and Grandpa were by all accounts quite poor, attempted to bribe the choir director with cold hard cash to get mom into the choir.
Unfortunately, for my mom, this plan didn’t work. She was still rejected.
As a kid, I couldn’t care less that mom lacked any singing talent. Her voice singing Que Sera, Sera, among other songs I can still vividly recall, was full of love and tenderness for me. That is all that mattered.
Now, back to the song. The line that especially sticks with me is “Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see, Que Sera, Sera”. Repeating this to myself brings on a sense of calm. It compels me to focus not on the future, which none of us have control of, but on the present. On the now.
And in the now, I will be traveling to Minnesota to spend time with my mom.