Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Before I say that, let me start with this (again)...

[Before my two fans get deja-vu, this is a repost of my second-ever blog post. It’s time for a remix.]

Any [re]new[ed] beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

With my first post less than 4 years old, I've heard the same question a solid two times.

You really used to write a blog...what was it about?

To answer that, let me instead explain what it was not about. Annoying, I know. But, at least I'm not answering the question with a question. #eyeroll

5. It's not targeted towards my two biggest (and only) fans.

When it comes to even small accomplishments, my mom and sister are my two biggest fans. And let's face it, after I give up on hounding my friends and co-workers to read this...my mom and sister may be my only readers. Regardless, this won't be geared towards them. There is only so much I can post about Dr. Pepper, Tom Selleck, and myself. Those are a few of their favorite things, obviously.

4. It's not people-pleasing.

Hopefully your first clue was in the web address. But, incase you somehow missed it, the tone of this blog is snark. In short, that means it will be a little critical and, based on caffeine-level, it may be a bit cranky. Overall, it's not meant to be offensive. This simple site is not a virtual soapbox. Go to Facebook for that nonsense. Better yet, visit the comments section of your preferred news site...bet you'll find some crazies hanging out there. Don’t come here looking for the drama you miss from high school.

3. It's not going to stay inside a neat little box.

Life is messy. I often say to my husband, I know I do some things wrong...but there is a lot of things I do right. The same holds true here.

Despite my best efforts, I'm still human. No matter how many spiders I let bite me, radioactive sludge I bathe in, or improvements I make to my utility belt...people still are not referring to me as superhuman or a hero. Crazy, I know. I save my toddler from electrocution, suffocation, dehydration, and malnutrition on a daily basis. Each day I survive, I certainly feel pretty superhuman.

It's called human error for a reason, and I help define that every day. If you don't make at least one non-crucial error each day, you're probably not doing enough.

1. It's not always going to fall into your definition of trendy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty hip.

Are people still saying 'hip'?

I wear crop pants or yoga pants every day, and it isn't only because I bought several pairs of my favorite jeans from Target (they are pull-on...down with buttons and zippers). When I'm feeling particularly hipster, I break out my blue-light, horn-rimmed lenses and read The New Yorker on my iPad, while drinking Starbucks to be ironic.

All that said, Tom Selleck drinks Dr. Pepper every time we chat. Love you, Mom and Miranda!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Don’t Stop Complaining

Several years ago, I heard someone on a podcast define gossiping as “complaining to someone who cannot fix the problem.”

This was a revelation, a turning point for me. As a child at church, I learned the impact that gossiping can have on relationships, communities, and society. I hold that understanding still today (so many years later). But, I struggled to determine what was actually considered gossiping. If I shared news about a friend when he wasn’t there, was that gossiping? If a group of us got caught up in discussing the details of another’s life, was that gossiping. Maybe. Maybe not.

Take this definition, and I hope you find the same clarity. By all means complain, but complain to someone who can actually solve the problem. Don’t waste your breath spouting negativity that can’t possible bring resolution.

Be present in your conversations and understand the power behind your words before you speak them. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Left Lane

The sun is just starting to rise, gently coloring the horizon. I’m lost in thought, radio off, preparing my mental checklist for the day. Speed control set at exactly the limit. You enter the on-ramp up ahead and soon it is apparent that you should either adjust your speed, or I should “let you” merge in. Courteous by default (or so I try to be), I signal and glide over to the left lane.

At this spectacular point, you merge in slightly behind me and slowly creep up beside me. We don’t wave, but I scope you out with my peripherals. I consider reducing speed, but decide to wait it out. Clearly you are in a hurry and will speed along soon. But, you don’t. Instead, you gradually pass me on the right, leaving plenty of time for the ten cars behind to catch up and tailgate you. Now a long line is parading beside me to the right. You know, like you’re not supposed to do.

Now I’m stuck over here in the left lane like a jerk and your ten new friends don’t even know that I did this for YOU!

There is probably a lesson here, but I haven’t learned it yet. Until tomorrow morning...

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Line in the Sand

Located at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, you will find the following on a plaque:
If you drew a line in the sand (or gravel, grass, linoleum, etc.) and asked the people with shared values to come over, how many people would join? Would your family all be on your side of the line?

If the CEO at work drew a line in the sand, would you be on their side of the line? Would your co-workers all be together?

Are the people in your life defining the same line as you?

Draw a line in the sand and take a look around. Do you like the view? If not, change it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Allow Adventure

On my left foot, I have the following words tattooed:
if you don't know where
you are going, any road
will get you there
Vision is a great thing to have, when you have it. Vision keeps the destination in view, when your eyes know where to focus. But, lacking a vision does not mean that you have to stay stagnate. Waiting for a target (or worse, waiting for the "right" target) can hold you back from gaining speed.

As a traveler of this thing called life, consider becoming okay with trekking down paths that do not immediately lead you anywhere. You can find benefit in all actions. Even mistakes, or especially bumpy roads that end with a u-turn, can be fruitful in the future.

Be patient. It will pay off, if you let it.

Follow your curiosity and enjoy the journey.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Listen Up

Conversations are transactions. Are you holding up your end?

When someone tells you a story, they are taking a risk. Will it pay off? How will you greet or receive their words? Will it be valued? Will they be valued?

If you are constantly meeting stories with disdain and boredom, people will stop engaging in meaningful conversation with you. Sometimes this may require you to embellish the value of the story, to encourage rather than extinguish. Often, this requires you to practice humility and realize that you don’t know everything.

Create an environment where stories can be told.

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016 | An Extremely Brief Review

If you're mad that this list is incomplete, 
you're probably mad about a lot of things. 
Go play some Pokemon Go...
the freezing wintery weather will go 
well with the temperature of your heart.

This year...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Let's not forget last year...

We're one week into 2017. Out of those who have actually started their resolutions, some may still be going strong. Before you get too focused on that toned summer body you want, let's take a moment to really reflect on 2016. Stop and think.

What was your 2016 resolution?

I haven't done real resolutions in a few years. My last successful resolution was to stop drinking pop for the year, and it worked. Not only did it work, but I haven't been back since. Hands down, the best resolving I've ever done. The following year, I committed to consuming 2 servings of vegetables every day. Turns out...I'm much better at abstaining from something than I am adopting it.

So, in 2016 a friend and I committed the year to "fearlessness." Words are a passion of mine, as they should be to anyone.

How long did it last?

Were you sneaking carbs halfway through January? Did you ditch the gym with the rest of the fanatics by mid-February? Or, did you hold strong?

Was I fearless during all of 2016? No. But, it was top of mind. It drove me. It pushed me to start a blog, to imagine being a business owner, to take a hard look at my most valued relationships, and so much more.

What was the best part of the year?

Tough one. Hopefully, for all of us, it is always hard to pinpoint the best. There should be many great moments and accomplishments. You should be able to search anywhere and find something to celebrate. If you can't, you're not looking.

The year, though tagged with many unfortunate and dramatic hashtags for things from politics to celebrities (though those two things are more and more blurred), was filled with great moments. My daughter went from walking to talking to potty trained to too smart for her own good. My marriage went from being taken for granted, to something we actively work to grow. Work was challenging at times and often fun. My family was, as always, my rock.

What would you have done differently?

Don't get all hoity-toity and say you wouldn't change anything. And, don't get all self-righteous and point out what you would have changed in others. Dig deep for a moment. We all make mistakes, errors in judgment, rash decisions. We all could be better than we are today.

I would have taken more time to work on myself in 2016, if I could go back. Much of the year was spent with me dabbling in things. A blog, a wild ambition, a home renovation project, writing, reading more, giving up television, giving up social media, starting yoga. Sure, there was one reason or another than I gave up or took a break from these things. Perhaps more fearlessness would have helped, perhaps less.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Dear Mr. HusbandsCar,

Dear Mr. HusbandsCar,

I loathe you.

Why can't you be more like my car? Why must you drag yourself so low to the ground? You're not in high school, grow up.

When I drive you home at night, you really make me hate you. I go to turn on the windshield wipers, because it's drizzling and I'd appreciate the opportunity to see the road, and instead I somehow turn off all the lights on the car. 

Could all the car companies get together, have some coffee, and decide what the best, safest, and most efficient locations are for functions and switches? Yeah, yeah, you can tell we aren't going to get technical here. I don't know what these things are called, but I would think that certain functions would be in easy reach...but not all of them!

In my car, a wonderful Ford Escape, I am able to turn off the lights, turn them on, or switch them to automatic...but, it isn't in easier reach that the windshield wipers.

Thank you, Mr. HusbandsCar, for helping me give an ominous signal to the vehicle in front of me. They proceeded to pull over to the shoulder of the road. Of course, I don't blame them because I messed with the darn lights a few times trying to locate the infamous wiper blades. 

So thank you again, Mr. HusbandsCar for making me duck my head and pass the vehicle that probably though we were meeting for a drug deal. Just kidding, it was in Midland, Michigan a.k.a. Sparkle City were drugs never come and everyone is safe and successful. Our biggest concern is arguing with those frustrating Millenials on their so-called city improvements, and of course complain about you.

Let's just agree that I will go back to my Escape, and you can go back to my husband. I hope you two are happy together. As for me, I will only ever agree to being a passenger in your frustrating excuse for a car. 


Snarky Marcie

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dear Mrs. Flu

Dear Mrs. Flu,

You are a bunch of words my momma taught me not to say. 

Thank you for ruining the end of my weekend and start of my week. The fever has been great, but you can take it back now. I really enjoyed going from chills to sweats, unable to get comfortable or even sane.

Sure, you let me know you were coming when you infected my toddler. But she's a trooper and most of us assumed it was teething. Thank you, Mrs. Flu, for teaching me that my toddler handles sickness better than I do. Of course, no one is waiting on me. No one is cuddling me when I'm achy. No one is serving me my favorite fruits and keeping me hydrated. And, I don't get the luxury (okay, maybe not luxury) of a diaper. Nope, I have a momma's bladder and the increased fluids that will me to recovery help me get up every half hour or so. Really makes sleeping or resting great. At least I'm getting my exercise.

Thank you, Mrs. Flu, for coming at inopportune times. As a child, I appreciated when you would get me out of school. As an adult, I feel trapped in my house with me toddler, and would like to rejoin society. But, you're BF, Mr. Fever, has been hanging around a couple days.

Mr. Fever really is the worst house guest. No matter what I'm doing, how I'm laying down, or what I'm wearing...Mr. Fever makes me want it another way. The blankets are too rough on my sensitive skin. The tea that was supposed to warm me up is now inconvenient since it feels like 150 degrees. Oh, and you can tell Mr. Fever that illness doesn't happen to everyone, it doesn't have to be that common, and it is a big deal. Really, you and your boyfriend are no longer welcome in my house. 

Go away. Maybe then, Mrs. Healthy Golightly will return.

Your enemy,

Snarky Marcie

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dear Mr. CommentsSection

Dear Mr. CommentsSection,

Don't you monitor who is posting on your wall? Really, you do tend to hang out with some pretty shady individuals. It's ridiculous the type of society that you encourage. 

I'm all for a good debate, and actually I thrive on it. There is an energy that comes when you not only believe in something, but you are tested on it and prevail. It solidifies your thinking. It is necessary before developing any opinion. If you can't explain it, rationalize it, speak passionately and logically about it...then how can you say you believe in it?

We are allowed to disagree. 

The problem is the tone and language so many use to argue. And you, Mr. CommentsSection, you thrive on this irrational anger. The rudeness, the smugness. You attract people who argue for the sake of arguing. The classic arguer also gets an energy from winning a debate, only it is a simpleton's discussion. The arguer lacks courtesy, common-sense, and all forms of basic spelling and sentence structure. Yet, Mr. CommentsSection...you attract the arguers by the masses. 

If you can't say anything nice, just shut up. (Or, something along those lines.)

I did it again. I read the comments section. My word, people need to learn to reread things before selecting to post. Even better, wait a day and ask yourself if it is still worth it. But, something tells me that won't really help the problem. People don't care to listen anymore. It's all about winning.

Instead of researching what would make downtown Midland better, more enjoyable, updated, and attractive...I'll just bash anyone and everyone, sprinkle in some ill-worded insults, and claim it is all in the interest of protecting free speech and tearing down the Man.

Do people still talk about the infamous Man? I'm an advocate for small businesses and the ability for any American to sell a good product with a solid purpose, and find a modicum of success. But, it's about balance. Big business is an inevitability. To say otherwise is stupid. You can't keep the big businesses out, but you can embrace them. Quit arguing about conspiracies. I'm not saying you should be naive, I just want you to learn basic English and decency.

So, Mr. CommentsSection, thank you for reading. I wonder if it would be better for you to just go away. The truth of society is that the people who have something nice to say, rarely say it in the comments section. Perhaps if we were taught something more constructive in grade-school.

Say something nice, it's far better than being rude or staying quiet. 

You can still disagree and be nice.

I appreciate your well-worded views on the situation. My concerns are that there is a lot of unknown, and I'm not confident that the community's voices are really being heard. Then again, I prefer to sit here on my couch and not actively participate in the changes happening in our community. Can I really say our if all I do is pay taxes and complain about the community online? Hmm...I need coffee and to read some non-fiction.

Alright, that was a bit of a run-on. But it was in fact disagreeing but not rude in the slightest. Do me a huge favor, Mr. CommentsSection, find a way to inspire and attract the polite, well-spoken individuals to the discussion. Your wall needs far more balance.

Then again, I live in the peaceful world of low readership and only family comments (which I still moderate incase my sister decides to tell the world I stole her comic book in middle school).

With hope for improvement,

Snarky Marcie

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How to know you're ready...

Dear Mrs. WaitingForTheRightTime,

First of all, you have a ridiculous name.

Secondly, why are you waiting to feel 'ready'?

What really does "ready" feel like? I'm not sure I've ever felt it. 

Was I ready to start college? Hmm... I was nervous, excited, and a bit overzealous, but I don't know that I was ready. There could have been more preparation. Hindsight and all that.

Was I ready to get married? Gee... I knew I was in love. The wedding was all planned and the honeymoon arranged. But, I wasn't fully aware of what it is like to cohabitate with a boy.

Was I ready to have a baby? Nope.

If you're waiting until you feel absolutely ready for something, move on. Pack that dream away in the attic and let it collect the inevitable dust. File it away with your childhood goals of being an astronaut, pilot, or entrepreneur.

'Ready' is a location on the map you'll never reach. It's in the Bermuda Triangle along my hope of being a popstar.

In this mid-week post, I will keep it short.

I challenge you to find something that you want, but are waiting to be ready to begin. That thing you've said will only happen if all the signs point to 'yes'. Consider this your sign. Take a leap. Be fearless for a change. Saying you want to wait to be 'ready' is a cop-out and you know it.

With encouragement,

Snarky Marcie

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Four-way-stop, not for the weak of heart.

Dear Mr. Impatient,

It was nice to see you again at the four-way-stop near my sister's house. Whenever we meet, I am overcome with a joyous sense of irritability and anger. You bring it out in me and inspire my rage.

I am so thankful that you, Mr. Impatient are far superior than the mere rules and courtesies of traffic. Red sign, schmed sign. You're above it all. 

Granted, utilizing a four-way-stop is not difficult. It is only a matter of waiting your turn. But, like many of the individuals shaped and inspired by our society...you do not stand for waiting. Taking turns, schmaking turns. Why stop when you can do a Michigan stop? You are, after all, a Michigander.

My father once told me this joke...

A driver rolls through a stop sign.

A police officer sees this and pulls the driver over.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"


"You failed to stop at that sign back there."

"Well, yeah...but I slowed down a lot. It's the same thing."

The police officer pulls out his baton and begins hitting the driver. 

"Now would you like me to slow down, or would you like me to stop."

Of course, Mr. Impatient, you probably find this joke inaccurate and a gross display of police brutality. Then again, you also think that cutting me off and then waving with your middle-finger is appropriate. Clearly your judgment is solid.

Hope you enjoyed getting to your destination a few seconds early than if you were a courteous driver...that is, if you made it. But I get it, it's 2016 and everyone is in a hurry. Why should you be any different? The microwave is too slow. Speed limits and traffic laws are really only guidelines, or they should be. Why would you want to be safe on the road? Just because I'm driving my sleeping toddler doesn't mean that it is precious cargo to you. 

I bet you went home and posted on Facebook how ignorant drivers need to stay off the road. It will soon be buried under all your other grievances. Because that's what our world has become, a place that encourages shouting opinions on virtual walls. That's what this letter is after all. The difference, yours will probably be full of hate and a disappointing display of what you refer to as 'free speech'. 

But hey, don't slow down and stop before posting your hateful and illiterate rant.
After all, Mr. Impatient, stopping is only for the weak.


Snarky Marcie
a.k.a. The Female Driver You Flipped Off

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Another year down...

It is the eve of my 29th birthday.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and while it is not the big 3-0 quite yet, it feels big. Tomorrow, I will enter the final year of my 20s. On paper, I appear to be a semi-accomplished adult, but in my head it doesn't feel possible. I don't feel mature enough to close out this decade. 

But, on paper, this is what tells me that I really will be 29-years-old soon:

5. I've settled.

There are positive and negative connotations with settling. It is all relative. For me, in my family I feel positively settled. Although we do not represent the Cleavers, we have a great balance between tradition and adventure. 

As a writer, I've settled to quit calling myself one until I've produced more than mere ramblings in a blog. But hey, maybe that's what I'll conquer in my 30s. (Yikes, it's so close.)

4. I'm done with formal education.

Okay, I'm not done done because I am close to my Masters. But, I am feeling pretty much done. It's a crazy place for me. Just a little over a year ago, education was one of my main values. I like to learn. I like to earn good grades. I like to be tested. And, all of that is still true, but I'm ready to do it on my terms. Reading will continue to be my main source of new knowledge, but it probably won't be textbooks. I've discovered a great love for memoirs, people spilling their lives onto the pages in hopes that what they learned and experienced may also benefit another.

3. I'm a homeowner.

Owning a house is huge. This place is my refuge, it is my sanctum sanctorum. I share it only with those that I want to, or my husband wants to. And sure, with little Layna running around there is very little space that appears to be mine anymore, but it is. We've lived in this house for almost 5 years and it is serving us well...for now.

5. I'm married.

Sure, these days plenty of individuals choose to tackle life before marriage. I chose to do the traditional route and tackle life along-side my husband. We've been married 6-years and 11-days. There was a big learning curve to our marriage, and I believe it will never be over. Each day I hope to know him a little better. I'm loving the opportunity to see him father our little girl. 

The largest part of marriage for me, personally, is that I have someone who is there to witness my life. He will see me at my best and my worst. There will never be another human-being that knows me like my husband. I mean, he was there when I gave birth...we pretty much have no secrets anymore. #TMI

1. I'm a mom.

It's my best and favorite claim to fame. In the eyes of one beautiful little girl, I am 'mom'. She looks at me for reassurance and approval. Before making the poor choice of drawing on the table leg, she looks at me and seemingly weighs the pros and cons. If I look away for a moment, she will go for it. And, of course she does...which winds her up in timeout where she reads books and babbles to herself, no doubt telling her stuffed animals the wrongs she is suffering in toddler-jail.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The most difficult job.

I've come to realize in the past two years that parenting is the hardest job of all.

It's not for everyone, that's as plain as day. Parenting is a combination of patience, grace, intuition, prayer, shelter, and I'm sure much more that I will come to know. Some say, and have said recently, that you cannot tell the quality of parents by looking at the child, the product of their hard work. I disagree. On this Labor Day, I am most humbled by that of my parents. If you were to look back at my 18-year-old self, you would have seen a moderately intelligent, well-meaning but fallible, somewhat sheltered girl. I'd argue that I could not have asked for more. 

Don't get me wrong, I had and still have plenty of weaknesses. I'm messy, get bored easily, and fail to put in great effort to keep many friends (instead I choose a select few and think of myself very blessed). I wish that I could share much of the knowledge I have now on my teenage self. It would save me some significant struggle and hopefully humble me. But, another characteristic of a well-brought-up teenager is one that is ready to take on the world, with adequate fears but plenty of resilience. Yes, I have a lot to be thankful for in the labor of my parents. 

While I am still a new mother of a toddler who will turn two in December, I have a greater appreciation than ever for the hard work of my parents. And of course, it does take a village to raise a child. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and such have taught me a great deal as well. 

I'm sure that at more than one point of my childhood, I swore to the world that I would be better than my parents. I would let my daughter go to prom with her boyfriend who was two years older. I would encourage my children and guide them to decide early on what they want to do in life, so as not to waste precious time. And, I would let my child go out with her friends without worrying that she's making poor choices.

What a load...

I can still recall those foolish thoughts of my teenage years, and I'm sure there are so many more! It is the right of teenagers to have a warped view of life, and think themselves superior, brighter, and funnier. Thankfully, some of us grow up eventually.

So, this labor day, I attempt to undo the foolishness of my young-self and list a few of the things I hope to emulate as a mother.

3. Be patient.

My father is hands down the most patient person I have ever met. He can hang out with his grandchildren for hours on end, encouraging them in their playfulness. Many days, he will take my little Layna on adventures up in the deer blind, exploring the mass of buttons on the truck's dashboard, throwing things off the creek bridge.

And my mother, she deserves an award just for putting up with me. Even now, I know that I cause grief when it isn't warranted. I don't always make the best choices, but she guides me when necessary and supports me whenever she can. Until my little girl is grown up and moving away, I will continue to be amazed that my mother has put up with my nonsense. 


2. Shelter them.

You never realize how scary the world really is until you become a parent. How they teach math is schools these days worries me, let alone the secular trash that lives in the heads of our little ones. Parents don't shelter their children enough these days. Sure, you don't want to separate them from the realities of life so much that they can't handle the real world. You probably know a 'Christian kid' or two that went crazy when they moved away to college or what not. 

But, don't forget that as a parent you are entrusted with the crucial responsibility of protecting your child. That means physically safe and mentally, emotionally, creatively...all of it. Protect them from the ugliness of our society. Give them the tools and the understanding to hold their own when they need to, but whenever possible...shelter them. They will have plenty of time to learn and experience the backwards thinking and incivility of so many.

1. Pray lots.

When in doubt, pray and pray again. Because, you really can't control your children. You can guide them, protect them, encourage them, so many things; but, you cannot control them. They do have minds of their own.

My Grandpa Sheets, in his weakest state while suffering the cruelty of cancer, asked for the support of my Grandma while he got to his knees and prayed for every one of his children, grand children, and great grand children. My Grandma Sheets told me that story at the funeral, and I will never lose the image. Prayer, in my opinion is one of the truest ways to show love. Love after all is an action, and prayer is such a great way to love. I know my parents pray for our family.

And, I have to say that it is not the cliche I'll pray for you that so many people use these days.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

I'm praying for you. ... I mean, I don't pray but it's a nice thing to say.

There are so many things that anger me as a Christ-follower, and yes...we are allowed to get angry. This world is full of warped ways of life. There is no clear definition, when looking at society, of what Christianity is. So, I will leave it at this. If you do not actively pray for me...don't say you will. We can all see through your pretenses. 


What are you thankful for this Labor Day? I hope it isn't just a day off. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

How to be creative (in 3 easy steps).

What really is creativity, anyways?

Last night, the Gerow-girls returned to Captured Studios for an Open Create Night. It's a night where they provide the tools to let you get some much needed art therapy. In a world where my job revolves around processes, procedures, and documentation, sometimes I need a break from the black and white.

Art is passion that I have long enjoyed, but I've never become proficient in the skill. Painting is my usual, but I end up wiling away the hours reaching for perfection. And as we all know by now, perfection does not exist among humanity. #Reality.

It was my second Open Create Night, working on one project that still isn't done. In the first, I got a background and map outline accomplished. The second round, I managed to paint one full continent, and several islands that may not actually exist. It's a project that should take one session total.

My work

The Sample Project

Why is it that we let the pursuit of perfection slow us down? In painting, you slowly approach perfection and then quickly move past it. There is no stopping, no landing at perfection.

How to be creative...

3. Get over yourself.

The only one holding you back from unleashing your creativity is you. You're caught up in defining creativity as something unachievable. You are your worst enemy. Instead, get over yourself and define creativity any way you please. Maybe it is painting, maybe it isn't. If you step back and wonder if it's ugly, who cares? #BeBraveAlready

Remember, you're allowed to try something and choose not to like it...it doesn't make it a failure.

2. Set a deadline.

You're reaching, reaching, reaching for perfection. It's driving you insane. Just one more layer, just another go at it. You'll get it, you just need time. Quit driving yourself to the edge of pulling your hair out, instead set a timer. Give yourself a deadline, and keep it. Do your best, hardest, most stellar work you can possibly muster...and when that time is up, step back and let it be. #LessonInContentment

1. Embrace your inner child.

Ever notice how children don't stay in the lines, don't dance at the appropriate rhythm, and are fearless to mix patterns? Ever notice how happy and carefree they are? Get where I'm going?

My niece also attended a painting class at Captured Studios, only she finished her painting. It may not be the standard definition of a giraffe, but it's awesome. I'm choosing to learn from her this weekend. I will be creative, not care about perfection, and be proud of my accomplishments.

Here is my niece Madison and her stellar work (photos courtesy of Miranda Lynn Photography a.k.a my awesome sister):


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Three ways to tame road rage (or not).

If only other drivers could hear me in my car.


What are you doing?

Way to use your blinker. Yup. So helpful.

It says, Incoming Traffic Does Not Stop, but you clearly can't read!

Road work? Again?

Some mornings, I feel that I would be better off staying home and off the road. On the way to my morning coffee (which is technically after my at-home morning coffee), I struggle to be even slightly patient. Old drivers, new drivers, they all drive me a little insane.

3. Take it personally.

The rich, delicious caffeine. It may be four stoplights away, but it's so close. Sure, all these people driving slow in front of you are probably purposefully ruining your morning. They clearly woke up and decided, today is the day they are going to drive annoyingly sluggish. It's not that they are trying to make it to their destination safely, or that they want to abide by the speed limit, or even that they are lost. It is definitely a malicious act to mess with you. Take it personally, it's the only rational thing to do in these moments.

Scream at them. Wave your arms and display a look that a 15-year-old uses while saying, 'Ew'. #DrivingProbs

2. Make a game out of it.

If someone wants to ruin your morning traffic experience, the least you can do is wreck the experience of others. Because that's what we do what life gets us down, right? We bring everyone to the party of our pain and suffering. Don't be content that life really is pretty good, and you have a ton to be thankful for in life. Instead, take this crucial opportunity to pay-it-backwards.

Someone cuts you off in the morning, you should pullout in front of at least two others to compensate. Be petty, you've earned it. When someone doesn't give you room to exit a parking lot, make sure you do the same to others. It's all a game to be won, or lost. #Winning

1. Pray that everyone else gets better.

Pray that everyone else learns to drive. You can only do so much. You've already caught on to their nasty agenda, and you've pushed the suffering on to others. Now, you need to pray that everyone else becomes patient and capable drivers. Obviously, you're perfect and don't need to change a thing. Pray for others to come up to your level. #Perfection

Did you catch it? The ridiculousness of that list. Yet, I'm sure that like me, you can find things you unfortunately relate to. Sometimes, I do drive slow just to make sure people can't get into my lane. They just want to cut me off. And sometimes, I get pretty embarrassingly dramatic with my driving rhetoric. 

Like everyone, sometimes I get so caught up in the failures of other people that I forget to work on my own shortcomings. 

Be brave to admit that you make mistakes, and you contribute occasionally to the disfunction of this society. Then fix it. Join me in becoming a self-aware driver, and human being. Let's all work on our own issues, and quit worrying or trying to point out other's issues. #BeBrave #BeBetter

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Five ways to prepare for the renaissance festival.

For those who think the renaissance is for weirdos, 

you're wrong.

The Renaissance Festival is more that a place for weirdos to dress up and pretend to be anything other than a Sandwich Artist from Subway. Sure, it's mostly weirdos...but it's also fun. There is good food, entertainment, lots and lots of walking, and activities for the kiddos.

That being said, if you're a Festival newbie like I was just hours ago, take my advice below.

Five ways to prepare yourself for the Renaissance Festival (and, no, it isn't learning to say 'Huzzah' or 'Good Morrow').

Step 1: Learn how to spell renaissance.

If you're going to the festival, and you care one iota about your popularity, you're going to be posting about the event. Do yourself a favor and learn how to spell that main attraction. This also comes in hand when you need to google or search for directions.

Besides, as adults we learn far too few words. There is no way that we know them all, yet we do not apply ourselves to grow and expand our vocabulary. Don't get me wrong, I fully understand that society is becoming more and more efficient (lazy) with our speech. But, wouldn't you feel accomplished if you spent a few minutes each day learning something new? #YOLO


1. the activity, spirit, or time of the great revival of art, literature, and learning in Europe beginning in the 14th century and extending to the 17th century, marking the transition from the medieval to the modern world.

2. the forms and treatments in art used during this period.


Step 2: Prepare to see fairies.

The fairies, in my opinion, were the most confusing part. We are supposed to be reviving the art, literature,and learning from Europe from the 14th to 17th century...and who knew there were so many fairies?!

To be honest, the Festival wasn't as medieval as I imagined. It's not authentic, and it doesn't really try to be. It's unique, that's for sure. And hey, lots of props to the fairies out there today in the 80+ degree and high humidity. It's amazing you didn't sweat all the make-up off. #Congrats

Step 3: Wear shoes you do not like.

The Michigan Renaissance Festival is located in the middle of nowhere. You park in a dirt, grass, stone parking lot and start walking down a path. the path goes from decent wood chips to thick, sloppy mud. The trail makes you feel like you're in a scene of The Walking Dead. And, depending on who you're walking the path with, you may wish yourself into the world of the apocalypse.

There is a lot of mud, but you can save your shoes...for the most part. Just be prepared. They didn't have Fergie shoes in the Renaissance...so don't wear yours. #TheseAreMyFaireShoes

Step 4: Consider dressing "normal".

Sure, you may have seen the episode of The Big Bang Theory where they go to the Renaissance Festival and dress up to blend in. Sheldon even fashions his own undergarments our of his Leonard's bed sheets.

But, truth be told you will be hot, dirty, and using bathrooms that make you feel instantly forever unclean. Do yourself a great favor, don't wear a great outfit. Settle for good enough and weather appropriate. Besides, you'll be seeing a lot of fairies and wenches...

Step 5: Practice your medieval offense.

There is plenty of fun to be had at the Festival. Part of which is archery, knife throwing, and axe throwing. Who wouldn't take an opportunity to practice their medieval combat? Before you spend your $5.00, make sure you lower your standards. The equipment is shotty at best, but you'll feel cool doing it.

There was a time in my life that I wouldn't be caught dead at a Renaissance Festival. It's 5-steps down from the County Fair. However, it's an experience that I feel we should all have. Even if you walk away with a half-eaten turkey leg, and regretting the chain-maille you just purchased...it's an experience that you can claim. Don't be afraid to live a little.

So many people think they need to travel far to experience new things, but it is really that they are too self-righteous to try the many experiences close to home. Do not be that person. Explore your neighborhood. If you don't know all there is waiting only a few hours away, what makes you think you're ready to cross oceans? Spend a little time in your own backyard, you may find something awesome.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Getting ready for the school year

Can you smell the fresh paper in the air?

It is creeping closer and closer to the end of August, and school is just around the corner. This, along with Fall, is my favorite time of year. Sure, Summer has its beaches and tanned skin, and Spring has flowers and showers, but Fall has school supplies.

Please don't tell me you can't wait for Summer to be over.

Cool it. I love Summer. Being sticky with sweat and having hair three times its natural volume is great. I don't like to say "I can't wait", ever. Because I know that I can.

Nonetheless, when it is time for school to start, I get excited. And, here is why:

5. A fresh start.

This year, I'm going to keep my locker clean.

This year, I'm going to do my homework early.

This year, I'm going to be outgoing.

This year, I'm going to get straight A's.

This year, I'm going to...

Everyone has a list, because a new school year means a new opportunity. It's a fresh start. You've had the Summertime to take a break, relax, work on your jokes. Now, you're back and planning to make things happen.

Now, if you're like me, at the end of the school year you will be cleaning out your locker full of crap, just scraping by with all your late work, still too shy to talk to anyone new, and definitely not a straight A student (although you hangout with those people). Truth be told, you may find that you've fallen into your old rhythm, and nothing much feels different. That was school though, and you didn't know what you know now. Today you may not be actually anticipating the start of school (unless you're super excited for your little ones to start and get our of your hair), but you can still take this opportunity to start anew. #BeBold #BeAwesome #BeWhateverYouWant

4. Time to learn.

I love to learn. Who doesn't? If you say you don't like to learn, you're lying. People innately like challenges and like to overcome obstacles. Well, ignorance is your biggest obstacle of all. #TackleIt

Algebra got super boring last year, but this year I am taking Literature. To be or not to be? I'm going to find out!

Routine is great for many things, but it is so easy to get stuck in ruts. Break free from your routine this school year. Learn something new!

3. New outfits.

Who doesn't like a reason to buy a new outfit? No, I do not like shopping as a general rule, but I do like wearing new clothes. Even if it is solely for the fact that I can buy a full outfit and not have to pick out clothes for tomorrow, it's great. A new you deserves a new look. #TreatYourself

2. New notebooks and pens.

Oh my word. The. Paper. Supplies.

Fun fact: I collect (my husband would say hoard) notebooks. There is something special about a unique-looking, fresh, and beautiful notebook. Sure, paper kills trees and I'm generally a more efficient technology-user when it comes to the mundane, but when it comes to the creative...I like the feel of ink-to-paper. Yes.

I've already bought my first round of school supplies, even though I am not taking classes for awhile. This time of year there are entire sections, additional sections, in stores that are dedicated to school supplies. Can it get any better? I think not.

1. A chance to redefine yourself.

New year, new you! It may not be the start of a new calendar year, but it's almost more powerful than that. For the extent of your childhood, a new school year is a brand new opportunity. You are defined as something new on pen and paper, you are in a new grade level. Sometimes, you're even in a new building. There are new teachers, new lessons, new locker, new, new, new, new, new. 

Student or not, I challenge you to take this new school year as a fresh start. Redefine who you are and bring it evermore closer to who you want to be. Millions of students are doing it. Don't be left behind.


Have you tried The Tonight Show's new app? Give it a try, it will make you super relevant in all that social-media-ness. Go on, click here, download, and use it! #FallonTonight #Bonk

Curious what it's all about? Here is my first attempt:


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to strengthen an argument.

Don't fling your opinions at me, or my Facebook wall.

It's another day and another issue is flooding my social media. Ever feel the need to lose faith in society and the intelligence of the human race? Spend 5 minutes reading the comments under any popular news article.

Oh my word.

More than once, I've been lost and dragged under by a comments section. It's like watching a train wreck turn lynching mob. My usual takeaway is how can people be this stupid. What gets me the most is that it's a known pit of stupidity, but intelligent people still succumb. Are you gluttons for punishment? You really think the way to convince me of your beliefs is to shout at me on social media? Just stop. You're making a fool of yourself, and making your friends question their association.

Really need to argue with me, or debate? Follow these pointers:

5. Convince me.

Take me through your entire story. Start from the beginning and lead me through what made you come to this conclusion. Tell me. Don't shout it at me, and don't post it trying to gain everyone's attention. Humble yourself and try to convince me. #No5MinutesOfFame

If you're looking for a soap box and the opportunity to share your opinion with little to no response, write a blog. But, don't post it on social media where your friends are forced to see it and question your sanity and relationship.

4. Appeal to my logic.

I try, pretty hard to be logical. Granted, I realize that no one admits to thinking illogical. That would be silly. If you know you're illogical, you'd change your thinking.

Anyways, logic means a lot to me. Sure, I'm a Christ-follower and you may argue that it isn't logical, but we can chat about that offline...not in this blog's comment section.

Logic, our brains, common sense, these are the tools at our disposal. Stick to the facts, and keep your ungrounded opinions out of it.

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein

Thanks, Al. I agree, imagination is a great deal of awesomeness...but not when you're trying to argue with me. If you use your imagination in the argument, I'll see your crazy and raise you an unfriended.

3. Be polite.

Yes, yes...I'm all about the snarky comments, but there is a time and a place. Remember, this is my blog and I get to say what I want (hopefully what you find logical) and I won't force you to read it. Sure, I may share an eCard here or there and get super excited when you share my content, but I won't berate you on social media. Because social media is an opportunity to be social...not a communication channel for your rantings on everything under the sun.

Don't insult me. Chances are we won't be arguing online, because I'm no into that...duh. But, if you find yourself disagreeing with me and failing to find a concrete rebuttal, don't resort to insults. Sure, you don't like my shirt, hair, smile, or skin tone...that's your choice. Don't share your petty insults with me. I'm not looking for your approval.

2. Gain my trust.

If you really, truly need to convince me to agree with you, you need to have my trust. Trust is earned, you know that. So do it, earn it. If you're shouting your alternative opinions at me and I don't even have a level of trust developed with you, just shut up. If I don't trust you, just think of me as a brick wall.

1. Leave me alone.

Okay, so the most important 'tool' doesn't actually let you win the argument, but it may be an attempt at playing the long game. The truth is, if I want your opinion...I will ask for it. If I didn't ask for it...you know what to do, or what not to do.

Don't run off now, I know you missed the last post...or at least the post before that. 
Go ahead, look around. 

Communicating with children.

If you ask me why one more time...

My niece is an energetic 4-year-old that has a lot to say. She used to be much quieter, resorting to yes and no as her main communication tools. Lately, she has been making up for lost time. Every time I see her, there is a new selection of stories she will tell. And, if it was a particularly big event in her life...she will continue telling the story for months. If you asked, she'd probably still claim that she has a 'new bed', over a year later.

The difficulty with communicating with her is the length of the stories and the clarity of speech. I've seen other parents and siblings translate children speech, and I always thought it came with being close to a child. Well, let me clue you in...if you don't know already. No one is really listening. This happens with children and adults, alike.

Here's what is going on:

5. They do the nod and smile.

We've all done it, to children and adults. It's semi-polite behavior, if you can pull it off. The 'nod and smile'. Be sure not to tilt your head or let an eye-roll slip out. Keep a straight face, make eye contact, and nod and smile. Oh, and make sure your smile isn't too large and your nod isn't overzealous. Less is more in this arena. Also, don't get rhythmic with your nod, because then you're clearly head bobbing to the song in your head. This kind of behavior may work with children, but it's a giveaway with adults. It's best to keep the same level of quality with all audiences. 

4. They give vague responses.

Give vague, and I mean vague, responses. This isn't a time and place for yes and no. You're not answering any questions or validating the story. Keep it simple, stupid. There is the uh huh, and the I see. You can also use oh, and really?

Mix it up. This is another area where less is more.

3. They encourage the speaker to share their news.

Use your polite little responses and wait until the story is over. Then, say a simple phrase with a modicum of enthusiasm.

Whoa, you know who would love that story? Go tell [insert name of nearest third-party].

If you get any poor feedback from the third-party, be sure to appeal to their emotions. You want your child, friend, family member to share their lives with them. It may not seem important, but it was important to them and you want to encourage them. #AintNobodySeeingThroughThat.

2. They defer any questions.

If at the end of a long story, you tune into a question...you may find yourself with a slight panic, having not listened to a word they said and knowing not what the question is referring to. No worries. Defer the question. If there is another person capable of answered the question (spouse, grandparent, FedEx guy), then toss them the ball as soon as possible. If it's all on you, give yourself more time. Tell them you need to think about it.

Whenever you say 'let me think about it', it's a no. 


1. They hold onto a few key words.

Pay attention long enough to pull a few meaningful words or phrases out and then hang onto them. If you hear someones name or the color of a dress, keep thinking about them until the story is done and then include them in a simple response.

How did Michael feel?

I like purple.

Trust me, I've used this with my fashion-inclined friends. It works.

There are many other tools you can use to fake listening, but these are key. The truth is, we should all take a break from our own universe and humble ourselves to listen to one another. I get it, it's the umpteenth time you've heard this story because they can't remember telling you. Is a few minutes listening to a story really going to kill you? 

If you really listen, you don't need tools to show you're listening.

I'm sorry, what?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How to be a normal parent.

Mostly, crappy parents make the news.

Last night, I stayed up far later than I really should have, and much, much later than I would normally. What kept me up? It was a string of sad stories involving children. They were not all due to poor parenting, only about three quarters.

Why would you read depressing stories?

Fun fact: I'm just like every other normal human being, and I get sucked into social media. Facebook catches you reading one story and then it presents stories with similar content. Having hundreds of friends sharing content, when a theme of stories pops up...it's hard to look away. 

So, I lost some sleep that night. It is a situation that has repeated itself several times since I became a mom. In my younger days, I would have told you that nothing really scared me. I had no fears, only possible difficult situations. Now, my biggest fear is losing my child. 

Ugh, another parent post...but I don't have children, I don't like animals, and I just cannot relate.

Just calm down, read this anyways or go back to surfing Pinterest.

So, I stayed up way past my bedtime and struggled to coexist with people today; but, I'm okay with that. The amount of passion I have for my child, so much that the experiences of other toddlers makes me lose sleep and pray a lot, makes me proud. I feel this standard should be normal for parents.

5. Remember what parenting is all about.

Every corny thing you've heard about having a kid is completely and awesomely true... It's a major part of why we exist. Parents shape the lives of another human being. 

If you don't think parenting is amazing, I really hope you're not a parent yet. Sure, it's tough at times. You find yourself home on a Saturday night with vomit on your shirt and a little one who is only calm if you cuddle them while watching Daniel Tiger...which causes you to have the worlds most addicting, ear worm songs stuck in your head for days. But, they need you. You're the first one they will blame and the first one they will need comfort from. #SorryNotSorry.

4. Pray hard for the parents that don't get it.

I try really hard not to be an over opinionated parent, at least not in public...you know, in someone's face. It's very difficult for me to hear that you are sending your baby to bed with a blanket before "they" say it's okay. It pains me to discover you're co-sleeping with your newborn. But, as long as I'm caffeinated properly, I won't call you out because I truly believe you're doing your best and doing what is needed to survive. 

On the other hand, the parents who lose their little one because they watered down the formula, or failed to feed them altogether make me mad. If I meet you, no matter the caffeine level, I will struggle not to punch you in the face. The number one rule of parenting is that you accept life is no longer about you, so if you're failing to nourish your child and you don't get help, I have nothing but prayer and contempt for you.

3. Remember you can't be selfish.

It's the hardest thing I had to accept when becoming a mom. It was made easier with the gradual life of pregnancy where you slowly lose your ability to do common things. A paper that you need falls on the floor, but you can't bend over...so, you accept that your needs are important because you can't reach it anyways.

Your baby cries, you get up and you figure out what they need. Your toddler sleeps better if you settle them down early in the evening, you stay home and do it. One of the corny parenting sayings:

They grow up so fast.

Gosh, it's so true. My little one is almost 2-years-old and I can't believe it. She's a little person now and every day she's becoming more independent. Don't waste time putting yourself first. Give your children your best. #TOTO (They're Only Toddlers Once).

2. Cover the basics, and let the rest ebb and flow.

Feed them; clothe them; bathe them; comfort them; educate them; protect them.

You know the basics on what to do to ensure they are healthy and semi-respectable. That is your foundation. The rest, is really left to interpretation and trial. If you let your little one drink red pop, and they bounce off all the walls well into the night...call it a lesson learned. There is a lot you can learn from doctors and other parents, but you need to do what is right for you and your family. #BetterLuckNextTime.

1. Define your own normal.

We can get technical and state that normal is defined by society. It is a group think type of thing. But, sometimes life is about making your own definitions. In my house, normal includes going to bed with at least two books. Sure, this is usually Layna (I personally only fall asleep with books by mistake), but it works for us. It is also normal in my family for the television to always be on. 

That's crazy. Television will rot your brain.

Our television isn't always on garbage shows, but it is sometimes. We keep it appropriate for Layna, but it is generally on. If I'm not really watching anything, the Food Network will be playing or PBS or HGTV. This 'normal' was brought to light when my little one would wake up in the morning and see a television that was off, and say 'uh oh'! Maybe I should not be proud of the amount of time our television is on, but we also read, draw, paint, create, and spend lots of time outside. Judge us if you need to, but know that this is how we choose to define normal. #BeYou.

Thanks for subscribing to my blog! Now, it's time to follow me on Pinterest. Go ahead, click here and repin a few things. You know you want to.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How to survive the County Fair

Meet me at the fair.

Tonight, we tackled the Midland County Fair. It had been years since I attended myself, and even longer since I had enjoyed the fair. Fair food is good, for an hour and then you regret it or at least how much you had. Fair rides are fun, until you feel the creaking sway and wonder if all the bolts are all tightened. Animals are great, if they want to show you their faces and you can get over the smell.

But, your children will enjoy it. They will enjoy the lights, the games, the rides, the animals, the foods. All of it, they will love. So go, go to the fair with them.

And here is how you can survive:

5. Watch your step.

Between the animals on show and those that bring their dogs, be ready for lots of muck. With tons of people and lots of children running crazy, there is often trash and other rubbish. In fact, wear some shoes you don't love. If you wear heels to the fair, you deserve to have them ruined. Sure, your outfit may not be the best with your faded and stained sneakers, but at least you'll fit in a little better. #Ew

4. Keep it in moderation.

If you go after work and before eating a decent meal, you may think that everything sounds delicious. 

I want fries. I want deep fried oreos. I want some cheesecake on a stick.

It's okay to live a little, but keep it in check. You don't want to end up spending the night regretting your meal choice. A lot of fair food is fun for no one. It's best to pick one.

3. Stay away from deep fried anything.

Speaking of deep fried oreos, just don't. It's good only in theory. You don't remember that you went through this in the past, because the year between fairs will get you. Trust me, sugar and grease brings anything but peace.

2. Ride the rides before eating the fries.

If you like to go to the fair to silently judge the wonderful people in your county, make sure you're not #oneofthosepeople who lose their lunch on the rides. If you're going to risk your life and a ride that was assemble less than a week ago, go for it...but please, please do it before filling your stomach. This goes for your children, too.

1. Loosen up.

You will most likely take a look around the midway and wonder if all of these people shop at Walmart, but guess what. You're one of them in this moment. Get over yourself. Try not to judge. Sure, you're going to see people who need a bit more material covering their bodies, but it's not really affecting you. If you don't want to see it, don't look.

Remember, you're here for the children. Everything fair is fun for them. Yeah, it's more expensive than it should be, but it's once a year. Give them your best, and just wait to complain about it on your blog that night...you know, like a respectable adult.

Also, if you look around the fairway, you may realize that you're at a golf course. Know your fair lingo, it's a midway. #Noob

Okay, if you really want fair food...and you cannot limit yourself to just one, try making your own. It's healthier because you pick the quality of ingredients, and it is year round.
I personally like recipes from Taste of Home.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How to cook brown rice.

Not all rice is created equal, some take a different approach.

Today I learned that brown rice takes much more time and water than white rice. So, if your husband picks up brown rice for your stuffed peppers, make sure you know how to cook it. Truth be told, four delicious-looking but altogether uncooked stuffed peppers made their way to the trash tonight. #Fail

Life is full of disappointments. Wow, what a statement. Teenage-Marcie would be stating how life is endless possibilities and you're only disappointed if you make yourself disappointed. You control your life. But, married-Marcie knows that life is made better when it is shared. My husband is a witness to my world. He influences it, leads it, and lives it alongside me. That being said, he's also a liability. Being married means having another person with great influence and control in your world. It's great, but it will never be perfect and you cannot control your life with them.

So, here are five tips for a happy relationship. Take them or leave them. #WednesdayWisdom

5. Be willing to be wrong.

You're in a relationship, so that other half of yours is going to discover your secrets. Biggest secret of all, you're not perfect. Get to grips with that as soon as possible. It's vital. You will be wrong; you have been wrong. You're probably wrong about a few things right now. Just accept it. Don't be afraid to apologize when the situation warrants it. There will be mess-ups. There will be failures. And, guess what. If the relationship is worth anything, you'll get past them.

4. Expect mistakes, and roll with them.

Sometimes, you'll have a recipe for dinner that calls for white rice. Your spouse will bring home brown rice because it's healthier, and you didn't specify. Not knowing much about rice yourself, you'll think it's pretty much the same and keep the recipe as is. You'll be wrong. In this moment, you could blame the failure of a dinner on your spouse. Although a color wasn't specified, white rice is the norm. But, you made mistakes too, didn't you? Don't place blame, just accept that dinner was a bust and be grateful when your husband makes some hotdogs on the grill. #DinnerTime

3. Give it more time.

No matter how much you love someone, being with them every moment of every day can be a bit much. When tensions are high, be ready to take a step back. It's okay to let the waters calm a bit. You can always continue arguing over who left the laundry in the washer tomorrow, or better yet...you can drop it all together. #TakeABreath

2. Find the beauty in the mess.

Marriage doesn't come natural to anyone. You may have a picture perfect couple in your life, but don't be fooled. Couples often seem to be all that on Facebook, but there is no perfect marriage on Earth. This is another item to accept and roll with.

In the beginning of my marriage, I discovered my tendency to leave cupboard doors open. My husband, more than once, would come into the kitchen of our small apartment and be amazed that every cupboard door (all five) were open...yet, I was not working in the room. It was a crazy revelation for me. In the moment, I didn't appreciate the absurdity of leaving every door open, but I did it. It was probably efficient. And, I've come to realize that organization in the home is lower on my priority score than many other things in life.

The point is, you'll learn a lot about each other through your marriage. It will come to the surface over and over again that you're human and a little messed up. Learn from it, at least try, and appreciate the beauty of it. Relationships are hard and take work. I find it beautiful that my husband is willing to stick with me and remind me, "Really? Every single cupboard door is open again? How?"

1. Lean into your relationship.

News flash:

That spouse of yours, no matter how long you've been married, is not someone to merely coexist with. They made vows to you. They are there to witness your life and make a great impact on it; and, you're there to do the same for them. Be an active participant in your relationship, in their life. Don't just observe from afar while you do the dishes and the laundry, and write your blog. 



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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hipster Town, USA

I took a little trip to Hipster Town, USA.

a.k.a. Portland, Oregon

Remember me? It's been awhile, I know. But, sometimes a person has to take a little vacay from work, home, and computers. My mom and I just returned from a semi-impromptu trip to Portland. Why? Mostly because we felt like it. And, here is what I learned while in hipster-ville.

5. Portland is the place to find writers.

The initial draw to Portland, for me, happened several months ago when I decided to change my unnamed style into that of a hipster. For awhile, it went a little overboard, but it was fun. I cut myself some bangs, bought a selection of wayfarer glasses regardless of my decent eyesight, and started purposefully selecting clothes that could pass as 'hobo-chic'. No offense to hobos or hipsters, it is just the style that Pinterest recommended for a true hipster.

The newfound commitment to a life of a hipster, in which you go against anything mainstream unless it is ironic (Starbucks, Apple, etc), also helped me fall back into my passion for writing. Hence the blog you are reading. While continuing my search for inspiration and guidance in the wild world of writing, I happened upon a conference that takes place each year in Portland. It is the Willamette Writer's Conference, and it's pretty legit. I signed up, asked my mom to join, and hey...it turned out to be worth it. The time I spent at the conference gave me some tools to use in my writing, and helped me to start a network and library to assist.

Specifically, the conference and Portland inspired me to dive into the genre of memoir. More to come on that later.

Thanks, Portland.

4. Portland is the place to find roses.

No, Portland is not where the Tournament of Roses, Rose Bowl, and Rose Parade reside. Those take place in Pasadena, California (trust me, I just Googled it). But, apparently Portland is known as the City of Roses, and houses the International Rose Test Garden.

Looking for about a million different kinds of roses? Go to Portland. Just don't forget to wear your hiking shoes to get there. #Whew.

3. Portland is the place to find good food.

If the Greek, Thai, Chinese, and food fusion aren't enough to attract you, check out the Byways Cafe. It's this hole-in-the-wall cafe that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and it is awesome. They know how to make breakfast food and coffee, which are two of my main loves.

Seriously, don't go to Portland without eating there. And, get there early because the regulars and the tourists who don't come from the east coast and get up at awful hours, will fill the place in a hurry. #GetItWhileItsHot.

2. Portland is the place to find books and coffee.

Have you heard of Powells City of Books? Well, get out from under that rock and look it up. It is a bookstore the size of a city block. It is the world's largest new and used bookstore. You need a map to find your way around, or else you find yourself in the cooking section looking at 16 different books for making eggs. But, it's a pretty awesome place to get lost in. #LeaveMeAloneIAmReading.

And coffee, mmm, coffee. Just a block down from our Airbnb, there was an awesome coffee slash bakery. Not only could they do a wonderful vanilla latte, they had some amazing breakfast pastries. Lattes for days, my friends. Lattes for days.

1. Portland is the place to find walkable urbanism.

This was the hardest thing for me to get used to. Sure, I knew that Portland was known for being walkable and biker-friendly, but I didn't fully appreciate. Several times a day, we would come to an intersection and vehicles would stop to let us cross. The driver's didn't have stop signs, or even yield signs, they just had what I came to understand as manners. Drivers are kind in Portland. Only twice in the city did I hear horns honking, and it was only when one driver would signal to another that they could go first. #DropTheMic. #ThatIsAwesome.

Normally, I prefer to staycation. It is awesome to get out and have adventures, but they are rarely relaxing and recharging. Portland is the exception.

Just a guess, but judging by your attitude, I'd say it's time for you to take a vacation.