Walking on Sunshine & an Announcement

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A couple weeks ago, Mark had to drive to Denver for work. To distract Annalyn from missing her daddy, I suggested a loud and rowdy dance party (since we have to be so quiet when he’s trying to sleep at home). Of course that meant, “Let It Go” and “Shake It Off.” As the old lady in the group, though, I insisted on my happy song: “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & the Waves.

I know, it’s not cool to admit that I love that song. But I do. So there. Anyway, I found it on YouTube and while I was confused at the truly bizarre video, Annalyn was just perplexed by the lyrics.

“But what does that MEAN, Mommy? How can you WALK. ON. SUNSHINE???”

——

When I was a senior in high school, I took a dual-credit English class. It’s weird how much I remember about that class, given it was nearly 20 years ago, but lots of moments and lessons stuck with me. The most memorable, though, happened after our first assignment. Our teacher had us draw a slip of paper from a jar; we were to write a one-page essay redefining the word on that paper.

My word was “home,” and I wrote about how my home was not a place or a building; rather, my heart’s home was Mark. We’d been dating for two years then, and apparently I was an expert on love.

Our teacher decided to read some of our essays out loud, and she chose mine for the College English class that met in a different hour than mine. As soon as the bell rang after third hour, my friends from that class found me in the hallway. They told me our teacher had read my essay – and then cried.

Um…what?

Even now it’s weird to me, but then again, I cry all the time and at many awkward, inopportune, inappropriate times. So, who am I to judge?

Aside from some major weirdness (especially when said teacher felt it necessary to explain that she was not crying about what I wrote but simply crying over something personal – like that made it any better), that experience showed me the power of words – and my desire to make a difference in people’s lives with mine.

——

Over the years my dream of making a difference with my words has taken different forms. I’ve written press releases and scripts and ad copy and blog posts and magazine articles and status updates and tweets. (Yikes. Thirteen THOUSAND tweets! And I don’t even LIKE Twitter!)

But as my career and dreams and life have twisted and turned and looped around (and sometimes made me dizzy), one thing has remained steady. I’ve dreamed of writing a book.

I know. Of course I have! I’m a blogger and that’s what bloggers do these days! True. But though my dream is not unique, it is mine. And unlike so many of my brilliant ideas and plans and I-think-this-is-my-callings, it’s stayed firmly lodged in my heart.

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Two years ago I went to the Allume Conference. After a panel called, “So You Wanna Be Published?” I stood in line to speak with a literary agent. I didn’t really have anything big to tell him. Mostly just hello, thank you, and oh yeah, I want to write a book. Though he heard that very same thing from the whole line of women waiting in that conference room, he was gracious and said I should call him.

He. Said. I. Should. Call. Him. WHAT???

Seriously, I did not know what that meant. Did I literally have to pick up the phone? Or could I send a much less-scary email? Did I need to have a proposal written first? I probably did. Yes, I’m sure I did.

And so I didn’t call him. I thought about it a lot. I wrote, “Write proposal,” on all of my to-do lists. For a year.

Long story short (because I have been trying to write this post all week and am not sure I could ever get all the details right for the long story…plus you might not want to read the whole long story if this pretty long story is the short version!), I got up the nerve to email a different agent last fall.

She insisted on a [terrifying] phone call, and once we talked, she asked me to write that full proposal and send it to her. So I did, and it was pretty good. But it wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. Or something. But after she read it, that agent said that I had a good idea and she liked my writing, but it needed work.

That phone call happened on my birthday last year. I was thankful for the feedback and, even though I was disappointed that she wasn’t in love with every part of my proposal, I knew she was right and I was excited to finally be on the road to writing a book.

But my birthday is one week before Christmas, and I was nine months pregnant. So I made my list of changes to implement to the book proposal…and then the holidays happened. And then the baby happened. And then NOTHING happened.

I was okay with that, although I was back to writing, “Fix proposal,” on my to-do lists. I assumed that once the baby started sleeping more (and I started sleeping more), I’d slowly begin working on that project again.

——

I don’t know how to explain what happened next. After all these years of trying job after project after idea after job, I still hadn’t learned that I couldn’t force God to move. I couldn’t create a miracle. I couldn’t TRY HARD ENOUGH to make my dreams – God-sized or not – come true.

I had to learn to wait on Him. Not just in word but in my heart.

And so, in hindsight I’m not surprised that it was only when I was forced to stop striving and take a breath that God moved. Oh, did He move. In a real, big, amazing way.

The agent I’d been talking with emailed me a couple months after Adrienne was born. She said she had a project to talk to me about, if I had time (what with me having a newborn and all). LIKE I WASN’T GOING TO MAKE TIME.

We talked, and she said that she needed a writer to turn a blog into a book. Basically. (Again, short version here.) (Kind of.)

Sara Frankl, known to many online and off as Gitzen Girl, was a blogger who passed away three years ago. She was an (in)courage writer, a personal friend of mine, and a truly amazing person. And her family wants to continue sharing her message of choosing joy despite your circumstances in book form.

Sara Frankl and me

I’ll tell you lots more about Sara soon, and if you didn’t know her, you can read her blog here.

It’s funny. I’ve been trying to write this post for days. But it’s like the story is just too big for words. And then when I looked back at the post I wrote right before Sara died, I had to laugh when I saw that I’d titled it, “No Words.” I didn’t have words then, either.

But I’m the one helping turn Sara’s blog into a book.

I am co-writing Sara’s book, “Choose Joy: The Decision That Changes Everything,” and it will be published by FaithWords, a part of the Hachette Book Group, in late 2015 or early 2016.

You guys. I am literally shaking and crying as I’m typing those words. I’ve been DYING to tell you about it! And now that I’ve gotten the go-ahead and I’m able to tell you, for real, officially, I am just overwhelmed. Which is not new. I have been overwhelmed since that first phone call and pretty much every day since. The dots God has connected, the grace He has shown me – it’s all too much. I can’t wrap my mind or heart around it (though I hope to soon and tell you all about it). He is just too good.

So. There it is. My big announcement. I was hoping to publish this yesterday, because it was my birthday and it seemed fun to announce something this monumental on my birthday, especially after last year’s birthday brought the hard feedback on that original book proposal.

But, like I said, words are – ironically – not coming easily.

——

This is becoming The Longest Blog Post in the History of Ever, but I wanted to share a couple more things with you. By the way, I really wanted to have some lovely shots of me signing my contract, perhaps with my most important people beside me, like many of my writer friends have done. What I got instead was this:

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Fair enough. That is pretty much my life right now! On to a couple questions you probably don’t have but I’m going to answer anyway:

What does this mean for me?

Well, it means that I am on the verge of tears at almost every waking moment of my days. Re-reading Sara’s words, over and over, and then trying to connect them with my own – on top of not being able to shake this immense feeling of overwhelm at an undeserved gift from God AND the burden of stewarding my friends’ words well – has me feeling pretty raw most the time. Which is okay and, let’s be honest, not all THAT different from my normal.

It also means that I’m panicked a lot. The manuscript is due in March, and that is a tight deadline. The cool part is that I am 100% confident that only God could make that deadline happen – kinda, sorta, JUST LIKE He was the only one who could make this book project happen in the first place.

Because of that looming deadline and the way my schedule plays out, though, I’ve stopped working for (in)courage. I’ll still be a regular contributor, but I’m no longer working part-time behind the scenes on editing and social media.

Lastly, this project doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on my original book idea. It just means that God knew I wouldn’t have the brain and heart space for it in this year or so after having a baby. And maybe I wasn’t ready for that book yet anyway. It’s still on my heart and my mind, so my hope is that it will still happen someday.

What does this mean for you and this blog?

It means that I’ll probably continue blogging sporadically over the next three months – and then come back with a renewed focus in the spring. Sorry! I have scheduled a few posts for the rest of this calendar year – a couple reposts from last December, and a couple fun ones as well. I plan to write a “state of the blog” post in the next couple of weeks, too, but we’ll see how that goes.

Most importantly, this means that I owe you – my friends – a HUGE thank you. Thank you for reading my words all these years, for encouraging me with your comments and emails and likes and shares. Thank you for your kind words and your friendship. Thank you for sticking with me through the sponsored posts and the list posts and the rambling posts and the boring posts. Thank you for being the community that I needed so desperately when I decided to start a blog. Thank you for giving me the courage to say, “I AM going to write a book!”

And this means that over the next year and a half, I’m going to be talking to you more about choosing joy. Sara’s message and mine aren’t all that different, so I’m comfortable writing about choosing hope and joy through the lens of giving up on perfect. I think I’m going to learn a lot through this, and when I do I’m going to want to share it with you. And, of course, when it comes time for that book to get printed on paper and put on shelves, I’m going to talk about it. I might ask you to talk about it if you want. And I’ll try not to be annoying, but I already know that you’re going to love this book. So I’m going to tell you about it. I can’t WAIT to tell you about it!

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As I drove home from shipping my signed contract, I looked down at myself and thought about how glamorous my life is now. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d showered, and I wasn’t sure where that stain on my shirt had come from. My hair is in desperate need of a trim, and my car is so tiny the four of us can barely fit in it. The home I was driving back to still hasn’t sold and we’re still busting at the seams of its tiny walls. And my office is the worn-down cushion of my peeling leather couch in my living room that’s too small for a Christmas tree this year.

But as I pushed buttons, searching for a good radio station, I had to smile when I heard those familiar lyrics. “Now every time I go for the mailbox gotta hold myself down, ’cause I just can’t wait ’til you write me you’re coming around.”

I may not be glamorous, and I may be overwhelmed and nervous. I may take more than 2,000 words to make one little announcement. But I am pretty sure I know what walking on sunshine feels like.

Photos by Jesus Solana, Derek Gavey and Holly Victoria Norval.

Merry Christmas Book Giveaway

Christmas Book Giveaway 2014

Updated to add…

Congratulations to Jessie Weaver, the winner randomly chosen by the And the Winner Is… plugin!

One of the most fun parts about being friends with lots of book people is that I get to read a lot of great books. In related news, one of the most frustrating parts about living in a small house is that I don’t have room to keep all those books.

And THAT is good news for you!

Today I’m giving away eight of my favorite books from the last couple of years. (Aren’t you glad I don’t have room for a bookshelf in my house?!) Here’s what one lucky reader will receive, just in time for Christmas:

The giveaway will close on Monday, December 15 at midnight CST. So don’t wait; enter now!

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This post includes affiliate links.

Cheesy Christmas Movie Countdown

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It’s that time, friends! Christmas movie time, that is!

Grumpy Cat says: NO.

Wait. Did you think I was talking about White Christmas (or, my preference, Holiday Inn), It’s a Wonderful Life, or A Miracle on 34th Street? The Grinch and Scrooge? The classics? No. I’m talking about the CHEESY Christmas movies on CABLE.

The ones with our favorite childhood stars (or crushes, WHATEVER) – Mark-Paul Gosselar, James Van Der Beek, Mario Lopez, Joey Lawrence, Luke Perry, Dean Cain. And don’t forget the ever-present Melissa Joan Hart, Haylie Duff, Lacey Chabert and their friends Joanna Garcia, Ashley Williams, Tatyana Ali, Danica McKellar, Tia Mowry, Jennie Garth and Jenny McCarthy.

Wow. It sounds a little crazy when I list them all out like that. I don’t care, though. I love every one of those silly movies!

Well, that’s not true. I do have a threshold for cheese, and some of these movies bust right through it. Still, most of them – with their small town charm and desperate business owners and quirky neighbors and snow globe magic and alternate universes and childhood sweethearts – are my favorite things to watch in December.

Even my favorite pop culture writer from the very prestigious NPR agrees:

“Holiday time can actually be a little fraught and a little stressful. You know, you want something uncomplicated, and sometimes saving the Christmas tree farm from foreclosure is a pretty good option.”
- Linda Holmes, NPR’s Monkey See

I was going to make a list of my top 10 favorite cheesy Christmas movies, but after listing all the actors who star in them, I realized it would be impossible to narrow it down. (After all, I didn’t even bring up the not-so-famous actors or the Henry Winklers, Tom Cavanaughs, Steve Guttenbergs, Tom Arnolds and the Doris Roberts, Markie Posts, Teri Polos, Candace Camerons. See? I can’t even make THAT list a short one!)

So instead I’ll finish this so I can finish watching…um…Holiday in Handcuffs. (I KNOW.) And I’ll leave you with a few links so you, too, can get your fill of Christmas cheese!

Now, I’m off to do something productive. I’m most certainly not going to follow a rabbit trail of cheesy Christmas movies in hopes of finding this one movie I watched that one time that either had a girl from a show I used to watch or a guy from a show I used to watch and there was a Christmas tree scene and SOMETHING. I think the girl had red hair.

No. I’m not going to try to figure out what movie that is. That’d be ridiculous…right…?

What’s YOUR favorite cheesy Christmas movie?

The Good, the Bad and the Cancelled

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It’s that time of year when we talk about how fast time flies, when we lament the loss of autumn and short sleeves and those days when our kids were so cute and well-behaved. (That was a thing, right? Back then, before time went so fast and we got here?)

It’s also that time of year when we talk about how stressful the holidays are and how this year is going to be different and should we shop early or often or never or what?

But I’m thinking we take a break from all that today and talk about another timely topic. You guessed it: the new TV shows of the fall!

A couple weeks ago at Allume, a friend asked me what I’m watching these days. My real answer was too long for conference lunch small talk – but just right for a blog post. The parameters? I’m only talking shows that debuted this fall, and I’m only talking about shows I watched (or listed in my fall TV preview post).

The Short Answers

  • A to Z – cute but cancelled. *sad trombone*
  • Gotham – haven’t watched and probably won’t.
  • How to Get Away with Murder – ditto.
  • Manhattan Love Story – awful and cancelled.
  • Mulaney – didn’t watch and won’t bother.
  • Red Band Society – and ditto again.
  • State of Affairs – hasn’t started yet, but I’m still looking forward to it.

The Longer Answers

  • Black-ish – I watched a few episodes but I didn’t love it. Lots of people love it! I know! I wanted to, but so far . . . I don’t.
  • NCIS: New Orleans – I watched it but wasn’t impressed enough to keep watching. There’s nothing wrong with it; I just don’t need to add it to my already-overworked DVR.
  • Scorpion – I really liked the first episode but haven’t watched any others. I’m hoping to catch up over the holidays.
  • Selfie – Well, this is a real bummer. I didn’t like the first episode and wanted to write it off. But Lisa-Jo convinced me to watch it because she loved it so very much. So I gave it another try and watched six episodes in a row. Then? It was cancelled. *VERY SAD TROMBONE*

The Best Answers

  • Benched – This new 30-minute sitcom on USA is hilarious. It’s also rated a solid PG-13, so don’t pick this one up if language bothers you. It stars Eliza Coupe from Happy Endings as a high-powered attorney who had a breakdown, lost her job and now works as a public defender. It also has the guy from Better Off Ted, so that’s another plus.
  • The Flash – I love this show! (And I’m watching it as I write this!) It’s as good as the Arrow, but a lot lighter. Except for Tom Cavanaugh’s character, which is a bummer because I really only want to see him as Ed (from Ed, one of my favorite shows EVER). But the rest of the show is super fun, and I’m loving it.
  • Forever – Okay, so this one really is a basic procedural that’s not that much different from all the others. But I like the main characters, so I’m going to keep watching for a while.
  • Jane the Virgin – It’s a ridiculous premise, right? A 23-year-old virgin is accidentally inseminated by her boss. And then there’s a fiance who’s a cop, so there’s a murder mystery, too. And her Lorelai-like mom and a surprise dad she never knew until now, big coincidence, and oh, so much more. (Did I mention that one time a long time ago she kissed her boss, before he was her boss? Yeah, that’s a thing, too.) I KNOW. It sounds crazytown and silly, and being on the CW doesn’t help my sales pitch here. BUT IT IS SO GOOD! It is funny and quirky and melodramatic but in a winking sort of way that’s charming despite the ridiculousness. And all the twisty drama that other shows would draw out for seasons and seasons? They just cut to the chase and deal with it. In soapy, dramatic (and almost always funny) fashion.
  • Madam Secretary – I was trying to tell a friend why this is one of my favorite new shows of the season, and her husband interpreted my words to mean I think I could’ve been the Secretary of State. I’m not saying I couldn’t have been (you don’t know, maybe I could’ve been!), but that is not what I was saying. I was SAYING that watching this show reminds me of who I used to be or who I wanted to be or the days when I wore nice clothes and walked down hallways in clicky shoes. I don’t know. It makes me feel feelings, and I have half a whole blog post written about it, if you must know. In my head. So, stay tuned for THAT brilliance and in the meantime, watch this show if you like political things. I’m not sure how realistic it is, but since so far, the good guys keep winning (and the family relationships are realistic and just GOOD), I’m pretending like this is real life. (Not to be confused with thinking it could have been MY real life. I never said that part, okay?)
  • Marry Me – Oh, guys. I didn’t think this would be good, but it turns out . . . it is. It’s really funny, and totally worth half an hour of my life. I’m glad this one (as opposed to all the other, similar ones) hasn’t been cancelled yet. It’s pretty much like watching Happy Endings with a few different characters.

What’s your take on this fall’s new TV shows?

 
Photo source

What I’m Into :: October 2014

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Arrrgh, mateys! Annalyn decided to dress up as Izzy from Jake and the Neverland Pirates this year, which meant – of course – that Adrienne would be a parrot. (Coincidentally, she did eat quite a few crackers on Friday, which led to many Polly the parrot jokes. Because we’re hilarious like that.)

Annalyn wanted me to dress as the Pirate Princess (or is it the Princess Pirate?) from the Disney Jr. show, but I opted to stick to generic pirate attire instead. Mark was supposed to stick a hook on his hand and a patch on his eye at the least, but he woke up with an allergy attack on Friday and missed the Halloween festivities.

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Every year we go to my parents’ house for Halloween. Their neighborhood is nicer and safer than ours – plus they have the Great Pumpkin video to watch. We ate taco soup, made-from-scratch pumpkin pie with made-from-scratch whipped cream courtesy of my brother, trick or treated to a dozen houses (all we were up to in the cold!), and made s’mores while we watched Charlie Brown. All in all, a darned good Halloween!

Did you do anything fun for Halloween?

The rest of October was just as full as last Friday. A birthday, a conference, a road trip and more. And since I didn’t write a September What I’m Into post, I’ve got two months of stuff to share. Here goes…!

Reading October 2014

What I’m Reading

Too many books, not enough time: this will forever be my complaint. [Do you think maybe in heaven we'll get to read all the books we missed during our lifetimes? Does anyone else wonder about this???]

I read a lot of books over the past two months – as usual. Here are the ones that stuck out:

  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor – YA fantasy, first in a trilogy, super creative. It was weird, honestly, but also captivating. I have the next book in the series on my Kindle right now.
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay – This is a book of letters, written from a young woman to her anonymous benefactor. Samantha, the main character is obsessed with her books – especially those by Jane Austen, a coping mechanism that’s helped her throughout a rough life. “Mr. Knightley” and his foundation give her a generous scholarship and the only stipulation is that she write him letters. Even though I saw the “twist” coming well before I read it (and don’t even love Jane Austen…gasp!), I still really enjoyed this book.
  • Can’t Let You Go by Jenny B. Jones – I recently realized I’d never finished the Katie Parker series, so I quickly amended that situation. And just in time, because this follow-up book came out this fall. It takes place a few years after the original series, so the book is more new adult than young adult. And it’s called a novella, but it felt just about as long as a normal novel. And, of course, it was great, continuing Jenny’s streak of writing books that I love. (I figure I can call her “Jenny” since sometimes she replies to my comments on Facebook. That’s how this works, right?)
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith – This was the second Cormoran Strike novel by J.K. Rowling using a pen name. Like the first one, it’s a gritty detective story. And when I say “gritty,” I mean that the crime was super gross. But the book itself was detailed, complex, occasionally funny and interesting from start to finish.
  • The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – I was wrong. Okay? I was wrong when I said that I didn’t like the first book in this vampire and witch trilogy. It was history and time travel and fantasy and romance, all rolled up together in a trio of very long, very interesting books. This final book in the series was jam-packed with characters, almost to the point of being too complicated to follow. But once I managed to wrap my brain around who was who, I found this book a satisfying conclusion that wrapped things up nicely and answered most of my questions.
  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill – Yes, it’s YA. And yes, it’s time travel. But it’s also a story that raises some really interesting ethical questions. Specifically, if you found out that someone you love would change and do something terrible in the future, what would you do to stop it from happening? (Assuming, of course, that you have a time machine. Of course.) I’ll admit that the cover for this one is pretty lame, and it kept me from reading it right away. But once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down!
  • Power Play by Catherine Coulter – Same old, same old with the FBI agents in this long-running series. But I keep reading them because I love the characters and the mysteries are good enough to keep me turning the pages. Nothing complex here, but I enjoy each book just the same.
  • Expertus by Holly Lauren – When one of my friends announces on Facebook that one of her friends has written and published a science fiction-y YA novel, I do not pass go and I do not collect $200. I go straight to Amazon and buy it. And then I love it and wait impatiently for book two. Expertus is the second book in the GenEx Saga series. I realize the word saga might make it sound a little soapy, but it’s not. Well, not much. I mean, it is YA, but it’s also well-written with interesting characters and believable dialogue, not to mention secret organizations and people with super powers. Of course, the problem with devouring book two is that you have to wait around for book three…

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And the books I have lined up, on my shelves, on my Kindle and at the library (must pick them up today!):

  • Firewall by Diann Mills
  • Deceived by Irene Hannon
  • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan – The last in this series, so I’ll probably put off reading this as long as I can stand it!
  • Time’s Edge by Rysa Walker – I’m re-reading the first book in this YA time travel series before I read this one, book two. There were enough twists and turns (and I read it very shortly after having Adrienne) that I knew I needed a refresher.
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – Everyone says this is great, so I got it during a Kindle sale.
  • Time and Again by Jack Finney
  • Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful by Laurie Wallin – I met Laurie at Allume and am excited to read her book!

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What I’m Watching

The fall season is in full swing – and when you combine that with a busy month (or two), it means we are way behind on our Friday Night Lights viewing. Poor Mark disagrees with my viewing strategy and doesn’t understand the importance of clearing off our DVR first. Priorities, man!

Someone asked me at Allume what my favorite new show(s) of the season are, and I have plans to write a longer post on just that soon. But until then, I’ll say two things. First, I’m not overly impressed with this season in general. And second, my favorite new show is Forever. If you don’t like procedurals, you won’t like this one. But I do – and so I do. It’s also got a fantasy/sci-fi element to it, which never hurts in my opinion.

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I also discovered, on the day I forgot to cancel my free trial of Netflix, that I could watch the entire series of Greek. If you’ve been around here for a while and remember everything I’ve ever said about TV shows (seriously?), you might recall that I started watching this ABC Family show a few years ago when I was using my treadmill. I checked out the DVDs from the library and only allowed myself to watch them while I was on the treadmill.

But then I stopped using the treadmill, so I stopped watching the show. It was only fair. But since my treadmill is in storage at the moment and I’d already accidentally committed to one more month of Netflix, I figured it would be okay to finish the series. And it was. (I also realized it was available On Demand and watched several episodes that way.) I’m not [too] embarrassed to admit that I teared up watching the finale – and to falling down a rabbit hole of Google searches when I swear I saw the Kappa Tau house used in a recent episode of Franklin & Bash. Google let me down, but I’m still about 95% sure that the two shows used the same house.

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I also managed to get to the movie theater a few weeks ago. Smitty and I went to a theater connected to a restaurant. I mean, the restaurant was inside the theater. Well, in the same building. And it wasn’t the kind of restaurant that served you inside the theater, but you could get your food to go and eat it while watching the movie. Which we did. In the dark.

I don’t know, guys. And I know this has nothing to do with the movie itself, but the whole setup of this theater was so confusing that I’m still thinking about it!

ANYWAY. We saw This is Where I Leave You. I tend to believe anything with Tina Fey is going to be good. Same for Jason Bateman. And this movie did not disappoint. It’s the typical big, dysfunctional family gets together for long weekend/reunion/holiday movie, although in this case the catalytic event is the father’s funeral. So if you don’t like that sort of thing, you might not like this either. But I liked it a lot. Smitty and I both laughed and cried through the whole thing. The critics I read later say it’s lame and not nearly as good as the book (I didn’t realize it was based on a book!), but whatever. I liked it a lot.

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What I’m Doing in Real Life

Despite the crazy long list of books and very busy DVR I have going on, my non-entertainment life has been full this fall. Annalyn has started piano lessons, we took a trip to visit our friends in Springfield, I raised a little bit of money for Children’s Miracle Network with the Miracle Marathon (THANK YOU to everyone who donated!), I flew to South Carolina for the Allume Conference, and I went to Des Moines for both work and visiting friends. We also celebrated my nephew’s birthday and Annalyn’s.

Oh, and I spoke at a couple MOPS meetings, which was super fun. AND Adrienne has started crawling. Well, almost. She’s rocking and scooting and inching backwards.

Whew! No wonder I’ve felt so tired!

One last thing for you. In case you missed the news, Daniel Radcliffe (aka, Harry Potter) can apparently rap. Like a boss:


[Click here if you can’t see the video.]

What were YOU into in October? (This post will be linked up with Leigh. Read more What I’m Into posts there!)