Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day Wednesday, Oct 31 2012
On inspiration Friday, Jul 27 2012
I have the great privilege of having Ashley guest post on my blog! She has a great post of y’all!
Hi all. My name is Ashley and I blog at Writing To Reach You. Heather gave me some space here to guest blog and asked me to talk about inspiration. The question I am most often asked about inspiration is, “where do you look for it?” The honest answer is that I don’t look for inspiration anywhere. That’s not to say that I don’t find it many places, but I think it’s easy to put off doing whatever you want to do because you don’t feel inspired. You don’t need inspiration to get started.
I once heard David Gray talk about songwriting. He said that he tries to treat it like a job. He goes into the studio every day to write music. He doesn’t write a masterpiece every day. I bet there are many days when he writes nothing that survives the garbage can. Sometimes he is struck with flashes of inspiration. Moments when all the barriers to creativity are removed and things flow. He has little control over these moments of inspiration, but he finds that the more he shows up to do the work, the more often they happen.
Ze Frank claims that when you act on your creative ideas, new ideas appear. I have found this to be true in practice. The more that I am writing, the more I get ideas for things to write. When I am writing every day, ideas start flying at me from every direction regardless of whether I’m in a position to actually write them down. When I’m not writing a lot, it’s not because I’m not inspired. It’s because I’m not doing the hard work of sitting down in a chair to face a blank screen. Once I’m back in the habit of it, I find creativity again. There is something about creativity and inspiration that feels magical–they can’t really be understood–but they seem to find me more often when I’m doing the work than when I’m out searching for them.
Do the work. Do the work. Do the work. That’s what I repeat over and over to myself. Because not only is inspiration difficult to find when you go looking for it, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for, then you probably won’t recognize it. What I mean is that inspiration isn’t meaningful as anything general. You have to form some connection to something you’re already doing. It has to be unique to you.
I was sitting in class one time listening to a guest lecturer talk about climbing Kilimanjaro, and I was so impressed and inspired by someone who made up his mind to do something and then did it that I immediately thought, “I want to climb Kilimanjaro!” Then I thought, “wait, no I don’t.” Kilimanjaro was his dream, but what was my dream? Oh, yes. Being a professional writer. Making my living by writing is my Kilimanjaro! If I hadn’t made a personal connection, I would have left that class thinking that what I needed to do was climb a mountain, but I have no real interest in climbing a mountain, and soon that would just be an idea I had one time. Instead, I made a connection between that initial rush of inspiration and something I really want to do, and it has remained a really powerful idea to me for over a year.
Once I started to think of inspiration differently, I began to find it in the most surprising place. I mean, I would never think to look for inspiration in comedy podcasts, yet so many things that I’ve heard in them have inspired me to write. I’m inspired by music, but I’m not a musician. I just love watching other people do what they do well; it makes me want to do what I do well. Also, it sounds good and keeps me company while I’m writing. I love that transcendent feeling I sometimes get watching movies; a well told story makes me want to tell stories. A moving quote on tumblr can inspire me to write a reaction. Hearing someone talk about how they realized their dreams makes me want to realize my own dreams.
The most important question about inspiration is, “what am I going to do with it once I find it?” Inspiration can be big and sweeping and exciting, but putting it into action is often tedious and boring. This is true no matter how much you love what you’re doing. I love to write, but it’s hard, it can be lonely, and it’s not always rewarding. I remind myself: Do the work. Do the work. Do the work. And I never regret it.
20-SB Blog Swap: Summer Vacations Tuesday, Jul 24 2012
Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Christy from Gidget’s Two Cents for 20-Something Bloggers Blog Swap (you can find me on her blog today)! We are talking about Summer Vacations!! Check out her post!!
“I’m excited to be participating in this year’s 20 Something Bloggers’ Blog Swap with Heather. I hope you enjoy today’s post on Summer Vacations. If you do, you can read more over at Gidget’s Two Cents. My blog catalogs much of my daily life: the ins and outs of home ownership, marriage, reminiscing, and of course my love for my dog. Happy reading!”
Summer (n): a seemingly endless period of time full of bike riding, warm weather, and no school. I’m sure this is how many kids would define summer if asked. As an adult, however, summer is gone in the blink of an eye. One could almost define it as a time frame marked by six pay periods, five day work weeks, and the occasional county fair on a weekend.
Looking back, my all time favorite summer vacations involved a five hour drive to my grandparents in Upstate New York. Each year my extended family would get together at Aunt Carolyn’s for a reunion of sorts. It usually coincided with either the Fourth of July or the Schenevus Carnival. Aunt Carolyn’s was a short drive from my grandparents and her property offered much outdoor entertainment for a child. There were cherry trees, wild raspberry bushes, weeping willows for climbing, an old barn for exploration, and an ice cold creek for swimming. My cousins and I would play “spit” (a card game) on her large front porch and weave daisies and dandelions into headbands or friendship bracelets. We would play hide-and-seek in the tall grasses and take walks to the “tin house” in the evenings for a bonfire. The “tin house” was an old hunting cabin with a tin roof and metal siding. More often than not someone would bring sparklers for our walk to the “tin house” and s’mores supplies for the fire. On the evenings when the Carnival was going on, we would all make our way into town for the fireworks. To this day they are still the best show I’ve ever seen. If you were lucky enough to be on their rickety old ferris wheel at the time they were going off, you were in for a real treat.
When we weren’t over at Aunt Carolyn’s or on the Schenevus fairgrounds, we were in my Grandmother’s kitchen making pies with the cherries and raspberries we picked. We would adorn her kitchen table with a vase full of Queen Anne’s Lace with tinted the water. On other days we would pile into Grandpa’s van for a trip to Glimmer Glass Lake for a day full of swimming and sand castles. My sister and I would beg from the moment we got up to go to Glimmer Glass, but it had to be at least 65 degrees out for my parents and grandparents to agree to make the trek. A cooler would be packed with lunch items and assorted snacks. My Grandfather loved oyster crackers, blue cheese, and Yoo-Hoos so those always made the cut. It was always a sad day when we had to pack the car again for the long drive home to Long Island. Once home, my sister and I would count the number of “sleeps” until our next trip up to visit. Those were by far my favorite summer vacations.
How do you get past it? Wednesday, Jun 13 2012
I have all these ideas in my head about things I want to write about. I even write notes to myself as to remind myself to write about said things.
Then nothing. Nata. Stuck.
I have these half brain ideas, bursting to be written in the moment but nothing to write them on. Nothing to commit them to memory. Not enough time.
Once I sit down to finally write, nothing comes out, not even with my little notes. I hate that I have these ideas but nowhere to put them. It’s frustrating.
So, tell me, how do you do it?
Graceful fingers Sunday, Jun 3 2012
I wish I had graceful hands.
Long graceful fingers.
I was told once that I had short, stubby fingers.
Graceful hands always look so lovely on dancers.
Can I really do this? Friday, Jun 1 2012
I look at that title and it sort of annoys me.
How many times have I tried to do “this”- this blog.
Lots. That’s how many.
I started blogging to keep in contact with my friend Amy who was in the Peace Corps, half way around the world. That was about 2-3 years ago. Well, not really. I started writing in my Live Journal (yes, they still exist) when I was a teenager.Then moved onto Blogger and now I’m here!
I stare at this computer screen with trepidation. Scared that my words will sounds stupid and not make sense.
I often thought that I had to blog. That if I didn’t, people wouldn’t know who I was and they would forget about me. And ya know what? That happens. It’s okay.
I don’t think I’ll ever write a book or having something published in a magazine. That’s okay too.
I write because it helps. It helps me get stuff to the outside. I’m really bad about keeping stuff on the inside. If it helps you too, that’s great!
I write because I need to.
On blogging, relationships and connecting Wednesday, Apr 25 2012
Molly even stopped in to say hello! (How cool is that?)
I then watched this video and had so much to say!
To be honest, when I started blogging, I felt really left out and let down. No one was commenting on my post, and I really didn’t feel like I had anything interesting to say. I was jealous of the relationships I would see forming online that I was not a part of. I soon came to see that you get out of it what you put in it.
For years, I have been reading blogs and commenting, hoping someone would comment back. Nothing. Still, I continued, feeling more and more let down and awful then the time before. As bloggers, I feel that we try to build relationships with people (via comments, Tiwtter, e-mail, ect.) in hopes that they would connect with us. Every time I wouldn’t get a reply via e-mail or comments or get ignored on Twitter, I took it as a personal attack on me, like there was something wrong with me. ‘Oh, this person must not like me, that’s why they aren’t commenting back’ was playing over and over in my head. I realized that I was using blogging as a way to validate my feelings and self worth. If no one commented, it meant that I must be doing something wrong and had to work harder to fix “it”. I thought that I didn’t care what people thought of me. Boy, was I wrong. But ya know what? There is nothing wrong with me (or you)!
During our conversation yesterday, Eleni made a great point: you can’t force relationships.
I realized that I was trying to force relationships with people who did not want to have a relationship with me. I was putting all of this undue stress and pressure on myself to be friends with people who just didn’t want to(this goes for real life, as well). As much as that hurt to realize, it had to be done. Not everyone wants to be your friend.
Instead, I started leaving comments when I had something to say instead of just leaving one for the sake of leaving one, I started commenting back on the comments left on my blog, I started engaging more on Twitter, I started e-mailing back. By concentrating with those who were present instead of those who weren’t, I was able to build relationships with people that will last a very long time.
10 Commandments for Roommates by Linda Wednesday, Apr 18 2012
I am so excited to bring y’all this post today!! It is written by my friend Linda!! Check out her 10 Commandments for Roommates!
There are many benefits to having a roommate. You have easy access to recruiting a partner in crime to indulge in whimsical adventures, like going to the grocery store at 2 am to buy ice cream on a Friday night. Your wardrobe, book collection, and movie collection expands; Your social circles broaden. Your cost of living decrease. There are many great perks to having a roommate. Sharing a happy home life with someone takes work though. Just like any relationships, roommates need to treat each other with care and respect. To help navigate your relationship with your roommate, here are Ten Commandments for Roommates.
- Communicate clearly how the bills and grocery list is going to be split. I’ve seen a lot of unnecessary drama because roommates avoided this uncomfortable conversation. Just a few minutes of awkward dissecting of expenses and how they will be split can save a lot of stress in the future.
- Always ask for permission to use your roommate’s things. Never assume. Your roommate will appreciate the courtesy.
- Do your part with keeping the common area clean and tidy. Talk about how often you should do the cleaning. Take initiative. When I saw one of my roommates do the dishes, I made sure to either do the next one or vacuum the living room. Neither you nor your roommate are the maid. Share the burden! A clean home really makes for a happier life.
- When looking for roommates, consider picking someone with similar sleep pattern and lifestyle. Trust me, you do not want to be tiptoeing around your home because you work the night shift and your roommate doesn’t.
- Discuss expectations about significant others and their time spent at the apartment. If you feel your significant other should be around when you’re not or needs a key, definitely make sure your roommate feels safe and comfortable with that idea before implementing! Your roommate is on the lease and should definitely have a say.
- Be respectful and nonjudgmental. I’ve lived with roommates of different religions and cultures. I myself am of Vietnamese descent. With diversity, comes different foods and behavior. My Muslim roommate would fast during Ramadan. I would bring home the oddest foods from my Mom. We refrained from wrinkling noses and judging. If you’re curious, have a conversation! Your horizons could be expanded with an open mind.
- Sometimes you need to vent. It’s normal! If you’re going to vent about your roommate, don’t do it at home. Walls are thin.
- Respect privacy. Mail, belongings, and bedrooms are all private. Respecting boundaries is part of respecting your roommate as a person. Do not look through your roommate’s things without explicit permission.
- Be considerate. A shared home means your actions and behavior have an impact on your roommate’s home environment. If you guys share the bathroom, do not take extra long showers while your roommate waits for his or her turn. Consider your roommate when you play your music and TV shows or invite visitors over.
- Communicate. Anytime you become confused about something or have an issue, don’t be shy to bring it up in a non-confrontational way. I suggest posing a question instead of accusing. The sooner your communicate your issues the quicker it can be resolved. Oftentimes, conflict is a result of misunderstandings instead of malicious intentions.
Linda is a twenty something Texan. She blogs at
while living in Austin, Texas, and writes for an apartment-relocation service that helps you move free in the Austin area. She does at least one new thing a week and endeavors to eat the world.
Vodka Girls Easter Traditions! Saturday, Apr 7 2012
I am hosting Kandace over at One Red Wall!!
My family has never been very religious. At my most religious I was still more the type of person who saw it as Me and God not something that required celebrating certain things or doing it the way others do it. So as much as Easter can be a religious holiday it never was for me.
When I was a kid we did a few Easter Egg Hunts, but really… we were too damn broke to do much of anything. When your single mom works as much overtime as she can get to barely take care of the bills things like that can fall to the side. She tried, but it wasn’t always in her grasp. Luckily for her we were easily satisfied and didn’t need all of the hoopla. Doing eggs was fun and getting Easter baskets was cool, but getting to split a chocolate bunny later was just as good for us.
Now that I’m grown with children of my own, I often found myself in a position similar to my mother’s. Not quite as bad, I know that and appreciate that in ways most people I know can’t. We could usually get the bills, but not the extras every year. One year we went to an easter egg hunt at the church we were attending at the time. Another year we were able to buy a couple of the Easter baskets you see at the stores On Easter and let them have it that evening. Between not having a set tradition growing up and being short of funds, I’ve never built a solid Easter tradition for my kids.
Growing up in a family with few classic traditions makes it hard for me to understand the desire for them. At the same time, I do appreciate the few minor ones we had. Some of the traditions my husband’s family had blew my mind and made me want to stand firm in Our tradition of little tradition.
I do want my children to experience the fun that can be had with holidays. So this year I hope to find an Easter Egg Hunt to take them to. Or maybe dye eggs with them so they can have that fun, even though I know it’ll make my husband think we’re crazy. My mother in law sent them a box o this year they’ll ahve some sort of Easter morning present. Who knows, aybe we’ll repeat it next year. Maybe we’ll make the classic traditions of eggs and maybe a little surprise. Who knows?