Childhood Dreams :: Link-Up #1

When I was in middle school, I had a diary. It had a lock on it and everything. I can’t tell you exactly what’s in it, because it was a victim of this summer’s Decluttering-a-palooza. (In other words, it’s hidden away in my cedar chest, which is currently located in my father-in-law’s shed.)

But one thing I remember from that little diary is a page where I wrote about what I imagined my life would look like a couple decades down the road. It’s funny. I saw myself, living in an city, mother to one little girl and alone. Why I would have imagined being a single mom back then, I have NO IDEA. My parents were – and still are – married, and divorce was never part of my fairy tale fantasies.

Yet that’s what I wrote about. That and a modern, urban apartment. And a legal career. Yep, I had it all.

Of course, that’s just one story I wrote for myself as a child. And thankfully most of it didn’t come true (although every now and then I wonder what it would’ve been like to go to law school…).

But lots of things I imagined for my future self as a child lingered longer: a big house with a wraparound porch, well-behaved children who adored me, a career where I helped people by using my creative skills (and was paid handsomely), a husband who still writes love letters and plans date nights and brings home flowers just because.

Oh, young Mary, how much you had to learn! (And, really, how much does Not-So-Young Mary have to learn?! After all, I’m the one writing this series!)

Yes, we all hold onto childhood dreams and hopes, plans, expectations that took root years – or even decades – ago. So as part of this month’s 31 Days of Giving Up on Fairy Tales, I’m asking for YOUR stories and reflections. This week? I’d love to read about how your real life compares to what you imagined as a child.

Write a post about childhood dreams, fairy tales and real life. Then link up here!

To follow my entire series, 31 Days of Giving Up on Fairy Tales, subscribe to this blog. (And when you do? You’ll get every post sent to your inbox AND a free ebook called Finding a Happier Ever After.)

Photo by burritoes

Resistance is futile.

“We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed. Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives.

There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.”

(The War of Art by Steven Pressfield)

Maybe I should revise my About page. I mean, it IS sorely out of date.

Or I could start that freelancing project.

Oh, I know, I haven’t checked Facebook in about 17 minutes. I probably need to make sure I haven’t missed anything big.

Did I tweet about my last post this morning? I’d better go schedule another one.

Does Twitter even bring traffic to my blog anyway? Let’s see what StatCounter says…

I forgot to get rice at the grocery story yesterday. Maybe I should go get a bag this afternoon.

Stop it! It’s time to work! Now! Just . . .

When does How I Met Your Mother come back on this fall?

Has Psych really been cancelled after the next season?

Oooh, look at that clever list about pop culture stuff.

And that collection of snarky pop culture GIFs!

And that blog post that she linked to. And that one . . . and that one . . .

Okay, enough. I need to get to work.

Maybe I should shower now?

I really need to go to the post office. {ugh.}

I’d probably be more creative if I read a chapter or two of that novel I got at the library.

Oh, I forgot! I need to fold laundry. . . nahhhhh.


You know you’ve renewed your commitment to a project, a goal, a dream when you find yourself facing Resistance. So says Steven Pressfield – and so says my life. I even resorted to emailing my friend yesterday and asking, “Is it procrastination if I do this first? I mean, it’s really important. I think. Is it? I DON’T EVEN KNOW.”

I wasn’t surprised at all when she replied with, “QUIT IT. GET TO WORK. NOW.”

Fair enough.

Still . . . it’s probably time I re-organized my bathroom cabinets . . .


How do you deal with the Resistance?

Photo by Jennifer Boyer. This post includes an affiliate link.

Write That Thing (and some announcements)

It doesn’t take much to make me cry. Happy tears, sad tears, scared tears, mad tears, moved tears, worried tears – it doesn’t matter the mood or the occasion. I am a crier.

As a result, I am rarely surprised to find myself crying and, honestly, I’m not even really embarrassed by it much anymore. It’s just who I am. Crying is my spiritual gift, people.

But a few weeks ago at Allume, I realized that something other than my normal neuroses might be at play when I found myself unable to stop the tears running down my face during a session about writing. My friend Annie talked to us about writing where you are, writing about what you’re going through right now – but doing it in a healthy, safe, appropriate way.

If you know Annie Downs, you know that she is hilarious – and her presentation was no exception. But while I laughed at every single one of her jokes, I also cried, nonstop, through the entire hour.

Early on in the session, Annie shared with us that when she began writing, she informed God that she would write anything for Him, but she would not write about her weight or about being single. Of course, God eventually compelled her to write about both of those things – like He does.

After telling us a bit about her journey, Annie finished her presentation by saying, “Write that thing. Talk about that thing.” As I wrote her words in my notebook, I swallowed a sob and wondered, What on earth is wrong with me?!?

I can’t tell you what my “thing” is. Not because I’m hiding it or because I’m too scared to talk about it. I really don’t know what it is! I don’t know WHY I was such a tear-soaked mess in Annie’s session. I don’t know what chord she was striking or why I can’t process it enough today to figure out what thing is messing me up.

What I suspect, though, is that my thing is not a topic that I don’t want to dig into or a personal experience I don’t want to share or a weakness I don’t want to reveal. I think my thing is actually a book.

See, I want to write a book. I do. I’ve even been brave enough to tell a few close friends that I am going to write a book . . . soon. But when I sat down with my friends at Squee this spring and actually set goals and dates to make that book happen? Something inside me froze.

I want to write a book. But I am terrified. That – I’m pretty sure that is my thing.

But Annie told me to talk about it, that thing. So I’m talking about it. (Okay, Annie? Sheesh. Quit telling me what to do.) I’m telling you. I want to write a book, and right now, this month, I’m trying to write a book.

Well, not a whole book. But I have officially begun writing a book proposal. (Okay, Holley? Stop yelling at me!)


Now that it’s out, I’m going to ask you to help me. Keep me accountable. Ask me how it’s going. Don’t let me chicken out. Pray for me. Remind me that this really is a good idea. Please? Thank you, friends.

But, wait! There’s more! [I can’t help it. I cannot resist an opportunity to use my infomercial voice.]

I’ve got two announcements for you, and I think you’re going to like them.

Announcement #1: Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, November 13), I’m going to host a weekly chat on my Facebook page. Nothing deep, just a way for us to get to know each other better and have a little fun. Every Tuesday night at 8:00 pm CST, I’ll be on Facebook to talk with you all for about an hour. I’ll have questions prepared for us to discuss, but I’m open to your questions or topics as well. What would you like to talk about tomorrow night?

I hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be fun!

Announcement #2: In one month (Monday, December 17), I’m releasing a new ebook about the many surprises I found when I became a stay-at-home mom. Based on posts I’ve published here on the blog, it will be a funny and hopefully encouraging read for moms of all kinds. Whether you stay home, work from home, work full-time outside the home or something in between, you’ll find something you identify with (and, probably, can laugh at) in this book.

But the big news about the ebook is that it will be FREE to my subscribers! So if you’re here for the first time or maybe you just visit occasionally, today is the day you should hit that subscribe button up there. Let’s just make it official, eh? You click subscribe and poof! I’ll send you my ebook next month (plus, hello? every other post I publish at this place!).

Well, certainly that is enough excitement for one day. But I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this! Or, really, your thoughts on anything. What’s on your mind today?

That gorgeous print up above is for sale at my friend Dawn’s website. If my name is on on your Christmas list, please go check it out!

Confession Time

Hi. My name is Photoqueen, and I read a lot of blogs. So many, in fact, that I’ve had to start using Google Reader (thanks to my friend, Amber, for mentioning this great service!).

I know this does not really come as a surprise, considering how many of my posts revolve around other people’s blogs. But I’ll tell you, I do have some good reasons for reading blogs. First of all, it’s fun. Oh, good reasons. Right. Okay, well, it’s often research. Occasionally for work and often for my quest to become an editor. Researching the publishing industry has led me to some great sites. As has my journey to becoming a better home-maker, complete with clean floors and home-cooked meals.

And that brings me to my point (after only two paragraphs, eh?). One of my very favorite sites is called Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. It’s written by a mom/wife/cook/photographer/blogger who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma. She has a huge blog following, and it’s no wonder. I was originally drawn in by her yummy recipes and stayed for her amazing photography (and tips).

But as I’ve continued to read about her and her life, I’ve been impressed by her love for her family. She just puts it right out there, unashamed, for everyone to see. And in the comments of one of her recent posts, one reader mentioned that this is the very reason why she loves reading this blog. She said it’s refreshing to hear a woman speak lovingly about her husband and lift him up, instead of tear him down. That was really encouraging and a little convicting to me, all at the same time.

So, today I’m wondering:

  • What do you hope readers gain from your blog?
  • Is there a blog or site you visit that is particularly inspiring or encouraging?

Take care that you never spell a word wrong…It produces great praise to a lady to spell well.

Thomas Jefferson reportedly said that to his daughter, Martha. I like it. Mainly because I’m such a geek. And because I just recently learned some great news. Are you ready for this? There’s an organization in my city that puts on a corporate spelling bee every year as a fundraiser for a literacy program.

So, just to make sure you get the whole picture. This is a spelling bee for grown-ups! And it’s for charity! Does it get any better than this? It’s already happened for this year, but you better believe I’ll be signing up next year!

If I were a real nerd, I would note here that this gives me 11 months to practice. But I’m not saying that. (Although I will admit to being totally blown away by the way they studied in Akeelah and the Bee. Who knew there was a way to study spelling that’s so much better than rote memorization?!) Yeah, I love this movie. But I won’t actually be studying for next year’s spelling bee. Well, you know, not for several months at least…

Now, for those of you who aren’t spelling-obsessed like I am, you’ll be satisfied to find that you’re not alone. In an effort to find support for my belief that spelling is of utmost importance in this world (I know – who needs more support when you’ve got Thomas Jefferson on your side?), I found a few people who don’t think spelling is, well, the bee’s knees. (I couldn’t help it!)

First we have another president, Andrew Jackson, who said, “It’s a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word!” (This reminds me of my friend, Kimi, who, when caught singing the wrong lyrics along to the radio, said, “I can’t believe they [the actual band] don’t know the words to this song!”)

Also opposed to spelling rules is Mark Twain, who said, among other colorful things, “I never had any large respect for good spelling.” (That might explain the tricky-to-read dialect of Huck Finn!)

And then I went to another Martha, someone who appreciates the finer arts of grammar and spelling, someone I was certain would back me up on my belief that correct spelling is crucial. I went to Martha Brockenbrough. She’s a columnist for MSN Encarta, she’s had a blog about her daughters on the Cranium website, she created the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG), and she wrote an article called, Tips from a Former Spelling Champion. Surely Martha B (also self-proclaimed “Grumpy Martha” when it comes to grammar issues) would back me up on this one.

But that was not the case. Though her article implies, by its very existence, that spelling is important, she also has some pointed comments that say otherwise. She admits that our society tends to assume people who can’t spell aren’t intelligent (okay…guilty…), but she apparently doesn’t agree. Her argument is that English is just a darned tricky language to learn properly! She even calls the language “promiscuous,” because it continues to adopt words from other languages…and rappers. (Exhibit 1: bling. Exhibit 2: jiggy.) Finally, Martha says that the English language is a nightmare. Encarta even includes a sidebar to guide us to a whole organization dedicated to revising our spelling system to using more phonetic (fu-nett-ick?) system.

She does go on to then share some spelling tips. And even Grumpy Martha can’t resist telling her readers that she dominated her school’s spelling bees and almost made it to the national spelling bee. So maybe I’ll join Martha and admit that maybe (MAYBE) spelling isn’t the most important thing in the world and may not be the only or best way to determine a person’s intelligence.

But can I also tell you about the time I won the county spelling bee in sixth grade?