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. 

Sincerely,

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?"

"Nope."

"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.

Sincerely,

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. 

#HurryUpAndBePatient

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):