Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Yesterday Was Tuesday, Right?

Working at a hotel I've learned, really messes up your schedule.

The times when everyone else is off work, I have to work. When I'm off, everyone else is at work. Getting off early for me means I get out on time at 11pm. Weekends no longer exist because hotels are open (and very busy) on the weekends. Especially in the summer. Hello, wedding and family reunion season! Saturdays become Mondays and Mondays are a welcome breather.

Basically, this is a really long way of saying I had totally forgotten today was Wednesday. Between work and getting reading for VEDA (SIGN UP HERE!), what day of the week I was on completely left my brain making me feel like Sam Winchester.


Only... it isn't Tuesday anymore. It's Wednesday. 

I'm just confused. 

Next week guys. NEXT WEEK I will have a for real actual blog post up. 

In the meantime... how are you? Tell me about life! Do you get as confused about what day it is as I do? Maybe I need to get back to my old job at the preschool so I can have calendar time every day so I can learn the days of the week again. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Novel of Great Importance

First, have you signed up for VEDA yet???? Click here to sign up!

Okay... shamelss plug over. Moving on.

So much of writing is sitting around trying to find the perfect word or the perfect phrase. I feel as though people think writers just sit down at the keyboard and the words and phrases fly out of their fingers with ease as they say beautiful and important things. That it's natural for them.

I don't know about you, but most of my writing is me staring at the blank screen thinking of the right words. Imagining scenes in my head, then typing it out and realizing it reads nothing like I thought it would, deleting everything, and starting over. I pull up thesaurus.com to try and find new words to use that might describe what I want to say in a better way. I pace circles around the house to try and figure it out. Then, sometimes after only getting a couple paragraphs on the page, I put it away and decide to think about it another day because I'm just writing myself into a rut.

When you write, you feel this pressure to have each word and sentence perfect. Each one needs to be meaningful and important.

Recently, the author VE Schwab wrote this on her Twitter:

"So many people set out to write a Novel of Great Importance. I just want to write stories that make people forget where they are. I want to make readers miss their stop. I want to make them smile and gasp and cheer. I want them to have fun."


When I read that, a wave of relief swept over me.

Lately, I've read a couple of those Novels of Great Importance. They have beautiful words and sentences and metaphors and say very important things about life and society. I read them and I agree saying "Yes, you are a great writer. Yes, this is very important. Good job. Gold star." Yet, I'm bored.

I don't lose myself in the story and forget where I am. I don't miss my train stop. I don't laugh or cheer or cry out loud. When the book is over I close it and say "Yup. That was very important and had a lot of important things to say. What's for lunch?"

Yet, we writers think this is what we need to create. The Novel of Great Importance. Or, perhaps, the Blog of Great Importance. We sit down and think "Yes! This will be the blog post where I have some great quote everyone will be talking about and will be pinned for everyone to be inspired by! This is the blog post that'll go viral and everyone will see what a great writer I am!"

That's not how it's supposed to be. The best writing, is the writing that comes from you. If the Novel/Blog of Great Importance isn't your style- don't write it. Pieces that are funny, or silly, or filled with fantasy and adventure, or about fashion, or art, or whatever it is you enjoy are the best ones. Because they are what you want to write about.

The bloggers who stay true to themselves and don't try to be something else are the ones I still follow. The novels that make me laugh and cry and get lost in their world, even if they are the "best" of literature, are the ones I will continually pick up and read.

This doesn't mean they aren't important or don't have fantastic messages. I keep going back to Harry Potter and how many important messages there were in that series. Yet, I wasn't bored to tears.

Last night I watched Legally Blonde and was reminded about how on the surface it's a silly girly comedy - but I find it to be one of the best feminist movies. The musical is the same way.

This is my writing advice. Write what you want to write and don't feel like you have to live up to some standard of what is considered "great" or "important." It doesn't mean you won't have writers block or days when you struggle to find the words. That will always happen. But write what you want to write. Whether it's a fun blog post, fanfiction, a silly story, about fashion and makeup, your family, or whatever. If it happens to be deep and meaningful, that's awesome. If it doesn't seem that way, who cares? Your best writing will come from you, not from being pretentious.

Writing Wednesday Button

Linking up with Erica Jaquline for Writing Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

VEDA Is Coming

August is two weeks away. Can you believe July is half over? It's crazy pants!

But you know what it means, right?

VEDA IS COMING!

What is VEDA you ask?

It is Vlog Every Day August. A bunch of people on the Internet get together, brainstorm topic ideas, and then in August we film videos based on those topics every day and comment on each others videos. For the second year, Kirsti and I are teaming up to coordinate the WeBlogWeVlog VEDA and this year we are joined by Nico and Katherine. We've been emailing back and forth planning and plotting and sharing ideas. We have A LOT of thoughts for this year.

I first started doing VEDA a few years ago and it's how I got into vlogging and YouTube and it's so much fun. I've made a ton of friends during it I can't wait to see who joins us this year.

If you've thought about vlogging, VEDA is a great place to start because you have topics given out and a bunch of people who are right there to watch your videos.

To sign up, click here!

Next week, we'll be getting a Google Doc ready so participants can all brainstorm what topics we want to discuss in August, then we'll also be posting a participant list so we all can find each others YouTube channels and Twitter accounts to subscribe and follow. Also be sure to follow WeBlogWeVlog on Twitter for more updates.

It's going to be totally awesome!


Aw, it's been awhile since I've made A Very Potter MUsical reference and used a GIF for them. My heart is happy.

So... go sign up!

And yes, I realize this whole blog post was a shameless plug/ad for VEDA. But I didn't have any other ideas for this week. SUE ME.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How I Journal

I've always loved journaling and having blank notebooks and journals. I love filling the pages with my thoughts and ideas and even when I have a journal I'm already using it's fun to wander around the journal section of the store to see what they have.

The idea of sitting down and writing in a journal every day is the dream. Writing out my hearts desires, my dreams, my failures, my fears, and having my memories there on the pages for me to go back and read upon later is what I've always imagined what journaling should be. I have old journals and diaries stored away in a box somewhere and from time to time I go back and dust them off and relive my childhood and high school days.

As I've gotten older, I haven't had the time or dedication to writing in my journal every single day. It's been said to help boost your creativity a habit to get into is to free write three pages each morning when you get up. I tried to do this for a little while, but I skipped one day and then one day became three days then three days became three weeks... you get the idea.

Not long ago, Amber over at Mr. Thomas and Me wrote a blog post about bullet journaling and how much she loved it. Then, Amanda over at Musical Poem said she gave it a try and she loves it too! I gave it a look and thought I would try it too.

My method of journaling isn't quite bullet journaling, but more inspired by it. Honestly, it works and it's been awesome! When I have the chance, I still write out "real" journal entries, but I've really enjoyed using my journal more as a "catch all" for all of the random things through my day.



The Type of Journal I Use

There's nothing like a good leather journal. The one I've been using for awhile now is pictured above and I got it at Barnes and Noble. It's a soft leather, the pages open flat well, and there's a ribbon to use as a bookmark. But I don't use leather exclusively. In fact, the next journal I have lined up for when this one is all used (which is soon) is a Snow White one a friend got me for my birthday last year. So, whatever works for you!

Calendar


I've found when I'm planning out my blog and vlog, I need a calendar! I used to just schedule out what I was going to be doing for the blog and my YouTube channel on my main calendar, but something about it didn't feel right. So, I started to hand write a calendar in my journal and it works so much better. I highlight, make notes, etc. and it's lovely.

To Do List



I also have found I love having a to-do list. It helps to keep me organized and be sure I am on top of things and don't forget what I need to get done. Since what I need to do at work doesn't seep into my personal and home life, I leave that out, and I only make a list of personal things I need to do. Social media stuff, people I need to call, what songs I want to practice on the ukulele, etc. I have a to-do list for each week and I label each item at the end by which date it needs to be done by. Then, there is a little box next to each item so I can check it off when I'm done.

Brainstorming



When I'm brainstorming, especially for a writing project, I do much better handwriting it than anything else. Making lists, drawing maps and diagrams, etc. I've dedicated a couple pages in my journal for novel brainstorming. There are also pages with all of my ideas for blogging and vlogging. Most of my pages in my journal are of this nature. Lists, pages of quotes I find that I want to remember, brainstorming ideas, writing projects, my To-Be-Read lists, books I've completed, etc.


Organization

Because I use so many pages throughout the month, I had to think of a way to keep it all organized and know where everything was. In bullet-journaling they suggest having a table of contents. I've tried this in the past for journals, and it's never worked. This time, I made my own system.

First, I keep the ribbon bookmark with my calendar so it's there and ready the whole month.



Then, I got another bookmark which I keep at the next available page so when I need to start something new, it's at my fingertips and I don't need to go searching for a blank page.


For everything else, I use little sticky-note tabs.


I label them with a word or two of what their page contains, and I stick them on the side.


Someday, I hope I can do more of writing daily journal entries, and I do try to when I can. But, I've found having this system for journaling is wonderful too! It gives a little snap shot of my day-to-day life and what I'm thinking about and doing, and it keeps me organized. It's been awesome!

Do you journal? Do you have any sort of system that you use? How do you keep yourself organized?

Join Erica Jacquline for Writing Wednesday! Coincidentally, she's talking about writing morning pages today!

Erica Jacquline

Friday, July 3, 2015

Speak Up! | Independence

It's Speak Up link up time with Amber and Annie!

This month we're talking about Independence.



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On Being Brave

I truly admire brave people. Those who are willing to step up and take a stand and risk it all. The people who can lay it all out there and be honest with everyone about their struggles The people who face discrimination every day and still walk out the door with their head held high. I admire those people. I wish I could be one of those people.

More often than not, when I do try to be one of those people, I end up blurting out something inappropriate or out of ignorance and it blows up in my face because I didn't think before I spoke. Therefore, causing more damage than doing good.

We're privileged to live in a time where we can witness some truly brave people. Among all of the battling, arguing, rioting, and fear, we can still see people standing out and reminding us there is hope. Taking down flags, getting married, embracing their true selves, or becoming the first African American woman to be a principal in a ballet company.

It's an exciting time to see the progress being made.

Friday morning I turned on my iPad to find rainbows flying across my screen with the news of the marriage equality ruling in the USA. People celebrating and turning their Facebook pictures into rainbows. For the first several hours, at least on my end of the Internet world, everyone was happy. Then of course, later, some of the backlash came.

I quietly retweeted one thing, and made a small statement on Facebook. Trying not to get noticed too much but also toeing the line of where I stood. Which, that in it of itself is annoying that we have to pick a side. No matter which side you pick, someone is going to think you're the bad guy. But that's another rant for another time. I liked a few comments and posts, but tried to stay relatively silent. The last time I had publicly stated something, there had been consequences and from then on I tried to be much more subtle about my opinions.

Later, a friend messaged me. We were in the same program in college and she figured out long before I did, that working in a church wasn't for her. We've talked in the past about how our views differ from most of those in the church and on Friday she thanked me for being so supportive of her opinions when she put them online. In turn, I told her I thought she was the brave one because she outright said her thoughts, while I just "liked" the comments.

The next day, one of my former college roommates changed her Facebook photo to be a rainbow. I'm not going to lie - I was surprised. She had always been more on the conservative and traditional side of things when we were in school. (I always respected her thoughts because I knew she had thought and prayed about them for a long time instead of just saying "That's how it's always been and I don't like change!") Then, as I thought about it and some of our conversations since graduating, it didn't surprise me all that much.

It got me to thinking. "If she can say something... maybe I can too." With that, I changed my Facebook picture too and braced myself for the backlash.

She and I talked after and we talked about our trains of thought on the matter and since we both are former workers for our Synod, some of the fears we had. Or, in reality, the fears I had. While I don't formally work in a church anymore, being vocal about opinions different than those in the church can be a scary thing.

She reminded me how the fears we have must only be a fraction of those who actually have been fighting for marriage equality, or haven't come out yet, or deal with the discrimination every day. She also encouraged me to be brave because "I bet there's more of us waiting in the wings!"

To be honest, I'm sure hardly anyone batted an eye at my Facebook profile. In fact, those who know me probably already knew my thoughts, or could at least guess.

All through high school and college I worked so hard at having the perfect Christian girl image where I read my Bible every day and upheld good values and sang my heart out in worship and had the perfect prayer for everything. Since then I've been letting go of that image and letting myself be me. Part of me wonders if I was the only one I was fooling.

But I figure, the least I can do is show my support for those who need it. Because, it's not about me. It's about showing them "Yes, I support you. I'm here for you while you fight the battle." Maybe, in a small way, I'm fighting it with them.

I'm still not the bravest person out there, and I probably never will be. In fact, in recent days I've admired a friend of mine who has been posting blogs putting it all out there about her emotions and past and I haven't even had the guts to tell her how much I admire it, and how I wish I was a better friend to her.

Through all of this, I've been thinking about a song from Hairspray. It was for the movie version and they sing it in the credits. "We've come so far but we've got so far to go..." While the musical mainly focuses on racism, the themes still apply to other rights as well.

We've all made so much progress in our country and in our world. (Did you know in Mozambique this week it is now legal to be gay? The USA isn't the only one making progress!) We should celebrate it and embrace it! If we don't, we'll get lost in hopelessness. But there's still a lot more to do. Let's all be brave, even if it is in our own quiet way. Then little by little, we'll keep making progress.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Remember Who the Enemy Is

We cross the room, but in the doorway, Haymitch's voice stops us. "Katniss, when you're in the arena," he begins. Then he pauses. He's scowling in a way that makes me sure I've already disappointed him.

"What?" I ask defensively. 

"You just remember who the enemy is," Haymitch tells me. "That's all. Now go on. Get out of here."

- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 
Chapter 18



I've been recalling this scene a lot lately. It's a moment through the rest of the book Katniss has to keep reminding herself of and she doesn't completely understand it while she's in the arena for the second time. I think it's advice we all need to remember from time to time.

Our society has been in an uproar over so many things lately. Racism, sex scandals, terrorism, religion... need I go on? We've been trying to process all of these events happening, figuring out why, getting defensive, and we point fingers at why and who's fault it is. The witch from Into the Woods voice rings in my head "Of course what matters is to blame. Somebody to blame. If that's what you enjoy placing the blame if that's the aim give me the blame."


I know I've done it. In the heat of the moment you get angry and type things or say things because you're trying to sort through it all and then end up saying things you might not mean. Attacking somsone out of our pain and our anger thinking "if only they get justice!" or "we need to get rid of this person or this thing" and it will make it all okay again.

We forget who the enemy is.

Not long ago on Tumblr I saw a post comparing riots to The Hunger Games and how we should support those causing the riots. Which, maybe we should, or maybe we shouldn't. I don't know. But, a lot of people forget how in the Hunger Games books, Katniss still had compassion for the citizens of the Capitol. Because they weren't the enemy. 

Those who shoot others, who riot, who destroy, who uprise, who hurt, who abuse, are just people. Not that there shouldn't be justice or anything like that - of course there should be. But it's easy to dehumanize them isn't it? They're still people.

Hank Green made a video a few weeks ago about his favorite feelings. He mentioned how one of them wasn't seeing other people fail, even if they deserve it or you don't like them. You think it'll make you feel good, but it doesn't. It's just sad. (You really should watch the video, he says it way better than I do. Click here.) Because they're people.

They aren't the enemy. 

Who is the enemy? Who do we blame then? 

Racicm. Ignorence. Hate. Being narrow minded. Corruption. 

And dare I say it? Satan.

I'm not one to talk about Satan and such a whole lot. Bob Goff explains it best in his book Love Does. "When I think about satan, my thoughts go to how Jesus interacted with him in the desert. Jesus spoke with him for just a few seconds and then sent him away. Satan was a manipulator who wanted to control God, but Jesus had a relationship with God that satan didn't understand, and Jesus had no problem telling him off and getting rid of him. I think we should do the same. That's all I have to say about satan. He gets too much airtime already." 

But ultimately, he's the enemy. 

I'm not saying we can't get angry and justice shouldn't be served when people do terrible things. We people can do awful things.

But we're all still people. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ah, The Good Old Days of Blogging

Do you remember the good old days of blogging when we had random awards and tags and we would nominate our favorite bloggers for them? It was a fun, simple time, without sponsors, ads, Pintrest, and Google Reader was a thing. We just blogged because it was fun and if someone happened to earn money from it, good for them! But for most of it, that just wasn't even on our radar.

Good times, right?

Well... I got nominated for the Liebster Award by Angie over at A Life More Kawaii!

It makes me think of those days of blogging and how much I miss that time period for blogging. Also, I didn't have a topic for today so this is perfect timing!

Here's what you do:


  1. Link back to who nominated you. 
  2. Answer the Qs the nominator asked you. 
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers (preferably with less than 200 followers)
  4. Create 11 Qs for the 11 bloggers in step 3. 
  5. Notify your nominees!
These are the questions Angie asked me!
1. Quick! There's a zombie outside. What household item do you brandish as your weapon?!

Eek! Zombie???? We all know I'd probably be the first to die in a zombie apocalypse. Let's be honest. But to try and defend myself... (looking around the kitchen)... I'll attempt to throw a wooden chair at it.

2. What would your RPG class be? 

So, I totally had to Google what that meant. LOL. It's Role Playing Game Class. I actually never really got into role playing! A friend of mine in high school tried to get me into Dungeons and Dragons, and I remember having a lot of fun. But for some reason I never continued. You'd think loving theatre and story-telling so much, I would have been all about it. But nope. Therefore, I'm not sure!

3. What is your dream pet?

My dog Bandit of course! But seriously, I just love dogs. Dogs are the best. I'd go for something more exotic, but there is no way I'd be able to tame them. So... dogs. 

4. Do you have a favorite superstition? 

If you say the name of the Scottish play in a theatre - I will go crazy on you. I was never a believer, but then... OH BUT THEN! When I was in an outdoor show of Romeo and Juliet, our young Romeo said it and we were rained out the first night. The SAME ACTOR said it AGAIN when we were doing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the Narrator lost her voice AND the jail for Joseph broke and almost hurt everyone on stage during a performance. 

A couple months later, I was co-directing a show and an actor said it before a performance... I flipped out and made them step outside, spit on the ground, and spin around three times. (That's how it goes away.) Because.... NOPE. 

5. What color represents you?

Pink!

6. What is your favorite myth?

Ooooooooo. Good question! I've actually always been fascinated by Greek Mythology. 

7. If you could perform one act in a circus, what act would you perform? 

I always felt like the tightrope walkers were so pretty and graceful!

8. Who is your current favorite fictional character?

Just ONE?????? Well, you know, Harry Potter, obviously. But of all time other than him, I think Snow White. It's my favorite Disney princess and my favorite fairy tale ever since I was two. So, we'll go with her.

9. Stealing this from Joie... What Pok√©mon are you?

Sigh... I'm a failure at my generation because I know nothing about Pokemon. Seriously, all I know is "I choose you Pikachu!" 

Seriously. That's it. So... Pikachu?

10. If you could bend one element (air, earth, water, fire, energy), which would you bend?

And another thing I don't know much about! :-( But the idea of bending energy sounds awesome.

11. What is your favorite moment, so far, from this year?

Oooooo. That's an AWESOME question!

The first thought that came to my mind was New Years Eve. I went to a Frozen themed party in Boystown and it was one of the best New Years Eve celebrations I've ever been to. Seriously, you haven't lived until you've belted Let it Go with an entire gay bar. 

I also FINALLY saw the musical Once at the Oriental downtown a couple of weeks ago and it was just so perfect and lovely... I wish I could watch it every single day. 

Now for MY questions:

1.  What TV show are you LOVING to binge watch right now?
2. Tell me about your dream home.
3. What's the best book you've read so far this year?
4. If you could run away and live in another country for a year, where would you go? Even name the exact city if you know!
5. I'm hungry. If I'm coming over to your place for lunch, what are we going to have?
6. Tell me about, or show me, your favorite photo you've taken so far this year and why it's your favorite.
7. What was your favorite part of summer when you were a kid?
8. If you could live inside of a movie, which one would it be?
9. What vacation do you wish you could repeat?
10. We complain about blogging a lot - what do you still LOVE about?
11. And I'm stealing from Angie because this question was just so good- what has been your favorite moment this year so far?

Okay, time to nominate other people!

Okay, I'm just going to nominate some of my favorites - if you want to participate in pretending it's the early blogging days, that's awesome. If not, that's cool too cause I know several of my nominees probably have their whole blogging schedule down and know what they're doing. lol

Michelle from Wide Open Spaces
Brittany from Pines and Palmettos
Sandy from Just Sandy
Amanda from Musical Poem
Amber from Mr. Thomas and Me
Jessica from A Coccoon of Books
Nadine from East &
Dayna from Princess Burlap
Bonnie from The Life of Bon