Sunday, July 16, 2017

Where I'm Going From Here

Well, it has been over six months since I last updated this blog and I have suddenly been struck with some writing inspiration for two different projects: my NaNoWriMo story and a blog series. I thought writing about them might help me figure out where to go from here. I've been struggling with what to write here, so I think I'll play it safe and write about writing.

My NaNoWriMo Story

I wouldn't call this collection of over 50,000 words a book. Not yet, anyway. I read it last week (for the first time!) and I'd say that I have 118 pages of ideas, characters and conversation that need a little something more to tie them together. There were parts that made me laugh with myself and parts that made me laugh AT myself. I'd been avoiding reading it because I thought it was all garbage, but I was surprised to find that there are some good, promising sections in there.

One thing that was certain was that the story really needs to be narrowed down in focus. It was very apparent that I was still finding my voice and trying things out all the way to the last page. Which is fine, honestly! That's part of the process. For a long time though, I felt like I was done with that particular story and that I didn't want to put in the work necessary to make it something better.

But now I'm starting to feel differently.

After I finished the last page, I had a desire to keep working on it. I've always felt unsettled about how I left it and unsure of how to tie things up. It had a bleak ending with no real message, at least not a positive one. And that's not how I roll, you may have noticed. I'm pretty dang optimistic. So as I sat there trying to figure out what to do with it, I realized that it is not over yet. I realized that I can't leave my characters stuck in the troubling situations I put them in.

So I'm not done with them yet. In fact, I think I may only be halfway through telling their story. And I think some people I felt were main characters need to take a few steps back while some of the background and "filler" characters, per se, need to have the light shined on them a little more.

Lucky for me, my dear friend Clare, who was with me every step of the way on my initial NaNoWriMo journey and who I had the pleasure of meeting face to face in June, sent me this great gift that I think will help me figure out where to go next.

With this book in hand, I'm going to see if I can't figure out where Taylor and Maddie (my two main characters) end up next. I'll let you know how it goes :)

A Blog Series

A while back, I did a blog series called Faces of Homeschooling. I wanted to know what life was like for other homeschooling families and I thought it would be fun to share these little "interviews" with the 3 people who read my blog. I had a lot of fun with it. Now I want to sort of take that idea and expand on it.

I am fascinated by people and what they do. Not just what job or career they have, but what the inner workings of their days look like, how they spend their time, how they got to where they are, and where they would like to go next. I would love to interview people and share what they do with others.

In fact, while brainstorming this topic, a book I used to read my girls popped into my head. The story was about a cow who is tired of living on the farm and looking for a new place to belong. She runs into many animals along her journey and asks them, "Who are you and what do you do?" as she tries to discern where she will fit in best. I feel like I am at a point where I personally have an idea of how to answer those and that makes me all the more curious how others would respond.

What experiences have shaped you, how do you spend your days, where are you headed?

Those questions will be the inspiration behind this new blog series when I get it rolling. I think an interview format is best and I can see this being suitable for video rather than text. I would love to talk to a wide variety of people, representing different ages and experiences. I think talking to different people and sharing what their lives are like can create an opportunity for empathy and understanding.

If this sound like something you (or someone you know) would like to be a part of, please leave a comment. Everyone out there has something to share. On the flip side, if you have a burning question for people in general, please share it with me. I have some ideas but I'd like to cast the net wide.

A New Name

Finally, I am wondering if it might be time to rename this space. Too long, didn't write was a name I chose because I've historically had trouble finishing things that I start. But in November, I wrote 50,000 words of a story. And I have thousands more to go. So that would fit under my old heading of Too long, DID write. Anyway, a rebrand seems right.  I'll be brainstorming where to take this. Let me know if you have any thoughts.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Hello my friends!

I just wanted to give you a little update on what's going on with me these days.

First off, I wanted to let you know that I am trying to remove myself from Facebook as much as possible. It's become mostly a negative in my life insomuch that it wastes a lot of my time and sometimes the stuff people post makes me judge them in ways I don't like.

I'm going to keep using Messenger and keep my Facebook linked to my Instagram, and I'll probably get on there as needed to ask for suggestions and coordinate stuff, but I am trying to cut the newsfeed out of my life almost entirely. That being said, if you need anything or there is something you need me to see, you can always send me a message or tag me on something or write on my wall and I'll get an email about it.

In the week since I've cut back, I've noticed myself using the time I would have spent scrolling aimlessly for different things. I've been reading a lot more news articles and I've been messaging with friends directly. I like this. I appreciate knowing more about what's going on in the world and having more time to spend talking with the people I care about and developing those relationships instead of randomly pressing like on 432908 different things without actually communicating much of anything. Life feels a lot quieter somehow and I like that.

The second item of note is that I have decided to stop doing monthly goals posts on here, at least for now. I'm trying to focus on creating habits rather than checking things off of a list. I mean, I've still got about five or six handwritten lists going at any time, but those are more short term goals and tasks that need to be completed. Instead of creating random goals for writing or exercise, for example, I'm creating time each day or each week for these habits to form. I do well with routines so I feel good about this change.

Anyway, I just wanted to take a minute to update. I'm trying to be the best version of myself and I hope these changes are helpful! As always, feel free to leave a comment here or shoot me a message if you'd like to chat :)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Lots of Thoughts

It is January 2nd, 2017, and I have a lot of thoughts running around in my head that need out. I've tried writing these things out in an organized fashion but it is not working. I've decided just to spew them all out at once.

It's a brain dump!


I am SO glad I'm not throwing up any more. Yesterday was possibly the longest day of my life. I think I felt every single minute of the day. The 3 hour car ride was definitely the longest car ride I've ever been on. Thank the Lord for the wonderful Emergency Room with its kind nurses and bags of fluids and free pants and anti-nausea medications. So, so grateful.

I have been wanting to write a post about NaNoWriMo but I haven't been able to get it just the way I want it. I have several drafts just about NaNo, which is crazy. I don't know if I'll ever get one finished. In short, I LOVED NaNo and I think I'll continue giving it a try each year. What a wonderful experience. And no, you can't read my book yet. I still haven't read it. I'm a little afraid to.

One thing I learned about writing this year is that it doesn't have to be for a purpose. Writing for the sake of the writing process is a completely valid hobby. Writing needs to be practiced just like other hobbies and abilities. Writing can become a habit, as it did for me during the month of November. I love writing, so very much, and I hope to continue growing as a writer simply by writing more. Will I ever have a book published? Maybe. Maybe not. I need to keep working at it.

I am so, so grateful that we moved into this house. I am so glad we found it. I am so glad that all of our other offers were rejected. This house is just what we need right now and I am looking forward to loving it and living in it and making it ours as the year(s) continue. Hopefully we can figure out how to do that without exceeding our budget.

2017 sounds kind of futuristic to me. Tim will be 30 this year. I'll be 31. That's how old my parents were when I was born. The kids will be 6 and 9 by the year's end. That sounds crazy!

I love being 30. Something about turning 30 has given me the confidence to be who I am with less fear about what others think about it. It's great and powerful. I am great and powerful.

I have wonderful people in my life. I am grateful for friends who do puzzles with me and send me random pictures of cats and babies and their faces throughout the day. God bless Snapchat. I love you, friends. I love that I can have hour long phone chats with my sister. I'm grateful for all the people who listen and laugh and love me and play games with me and stay up late talking to me. It takes a village to raise an adult too, y'know.

I love our church and our Life Group especially. I didn't realize I needed to see all your faces every Wednesday night, but I do.

I have had four giant bottles of Powerade today and I finally cut myself off and switched to water. Rehydration, people. It's a serious matter. I ate a bowl of chicken soup for dinner and longingly looked at Lydia's pizza while she longingly looked at my soup. I think Lexi would be jealous of how many Saltines I ate today. I can't wait to eat more food tomorrow.

Life is all about ups and downs. Ups and downs. I mention them in just about every reflective piece of writing I create, and I finally GET it. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE UPS AND DOWNS! Downs suck, but they make ups more beautiful. Ups are great, but you wouldn't appreciate them without the downs. I am a very optimistic and positive person and I have grown through the ups and downs that 2016 brought my way.

The beginning of the year 2016 was kind of hard. There were some challenges There were some really hard moments where I wondered if I would make it through, and how I would make it through. There were some scary times that haunted me. I watched a LOT of TV.  Like, a LOT. It was kind of my way of dealing with hard things. My brain attempted to sabotage me, but I got the better of it. HA! I'm forever grateful for my amazing therapist who pointed me toward the medical professional I needed to get things sorted out. Brain health needs to be talked about without stigma. The brain is an organ that needs care just like like all the other organs in the body. My brain requires some medication to work properly, and that is OK. I feel so much better now than I did a year ago.

The middle of the year was characterized by transition. Changes. The end of the year was good and busy and full of people and love. I got into the habit of writing regularly and now I struggle to stay current on my TV. Yeah, Trump got elected, but I think we will be OK. At least we know SNL will have a lot of material to work with, huh? Gotta look on the bright side. Gotta keep fighting.

Kate McKinnon and John Oliver crack me up. New Girl and Brooklyn 99 are my favorite shows. I'm not current on This Is Us, but I'm loving it. Thank you, entertaining people, for entertaining me.

I have a gym membership and I know how to use it.

I'm really enjoying teaching again.

I love Spotify. When my 3 months of Premium end, I am going to be really disappointed. 90s music makes me so happy.

We are going to get that hole in the kitchen floor taken care of, folks. Sooner rather than later.

I put up multi-colored Christmas lights in my puzzle room and I am excited about it. Christmas lights make me happy and I don't care if they are tacky, Tim. Love you.

I am apparently in a very grateful and positive mood. I guess feeling better after feeling bad will do that to you.

2016 is over and done, 2017 is fresh and new and full of possibility. I mean, starting off the year violently ill was not how I pictured it, but that violent illness has already made me appreciate being able to keep liquids down, something I take for granted daily.

Ups and downs, my friends. Ups and downs.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

November and December Goals

November Goals Analysis

November was a busy busy month and I am glad I did not try to accomplish too much outside of these few goals. The month truly flew by. I think December will be another light month for goals as there is already so much going on. 

Have a super awesome time in the Dominican Republic - Well this wasn't hard! I got to go with two lovely fun ladies and stay in an incredible resort where food and drink were always available and I got daily naps. It was the best. I have never been on a trip with friends or stayed in such a nice place and I am so grateful for the opportunity to do something special. 
Celebrate Lexi's birthday - Check. With everything that was going on, we celebrated early and it was fun. This was also the first year I did not make the cake myself and it was kind of a relief even though it was expensive to buy one. I can't believe she is 8! I was traveling on her actual birthday but Tim and her grandparents made it special for her :)
Welcome a nephew into the family - Check! I have the sweetest little nephew, Gryffin. In a family full of girls, it will be exciting to see what this little boy is all about. 
Plan out the rest of 2016's science lessons for Legacy - Check! Turns out we didn't have many days of actual class left. I'm getting a head start on next semester's planning as well. 
Assess reading and math skills - Check. Doing well in both areas. Assessing helped me discover a few areas that we needed to revisit, which was helpful too. 
WRITE A 50,000 WORD NOVEL! - Freaking check, man! This deserves a separate post so I'm working on that. 

Do cool stuff with cool people - What kind of goal is this? Not very quantifiable, geez. I had a blast on my trip as I mentioned and enjoyed Thanksgiving with our families. But I don't know if I actually did enough cool stuff with enough cool people...where does one draw the limit?

Make something for Thanksgiving that isn't a salad - OK to be fair, I was told to bring appetizers and games and I brought those, plus some champagne. But all I "made" was a trip to Target, so....
Continue with weights twice weekly - I did well until my trip. Then I came home to Thanksgiving and other busy situations and I have not been back :(
Attempt to incorporate cardio with some regularity - See above.

Brainstorm what to do next with the YouTube channel - Yeah, nope. Which means there probably should not BE a YouTube channel, but there is just something fun about it. For me. And Laura. Probably not for anyone who watches. I think this definitely needs to go back to the drawing board. Or maybe just straight into the garbage can. Who knows.

December Goals

Continue brainstorming what to do with the kitchen/fireplace room, as we call it
Agree upon a name for that room

Incorporate some phone-free quiet time into each day
Slowly reincorporate journaling into my life

Drive around and look at Christmas lights together

PUT DOWN THE COOKIES AND GO BACK TO THE GYM! (Maybe tough love is the right approach?)
Actually practice karate outside of class and be prepared for testing day

Host a gathering of some sort

Ask the kids for ideas on what they'd like to learn about in Science and Social Studies
Take some time to do traditional Christmas/Winter activities
Research and consider adding an extracurricular activity for the kids

Work on and possibly finish a short story I've been putting off for a while
Read the story I wrote last month and try not to cry when it's garbage
Develop a rough outline for said story