Be A Commitment-Phobe. Please.

Patti Stanger of the Millionaire Matchmaker.

Two nights ago I had a brawl with a gal about my affinity for the Millionaire Matchmaker.

 

We went back and forth via facebook commentary about why Millionaire Matchmaker was better than American Choppers, Lizard got involved, it was lively and I defended Patty to the hilt.

 

Yet I feel compelled to tell you I am not a complete Millionaire Matchmaker devotee.

 

(In fact, if you’re not watching it now please do not start. It will bring nothing to your life. At all. It’s my guilty pleasure, but it’s kind of like Glee. I watched Glee for awhile because I kept seeing people post about how amazing it was. And it’s not. Sorry if that offends you but Glee is NOT GOOD. And neither is Millionaire Matchmaker.)

 

I love watching the train wreck of people and I’m generally fascinated and in love with talking about relationships, so the show is right up my alley. But, regardless of the fact the Daniel Kibblesmith episode was amazing and included the most awkward kiss ever, I don’t think she was nice to him because he was utterly charming without the makeover and you can feel nothing but love for a guy with “kibble” in his last name.

 

I appreciate Patty’s gusto and bluntness (but not her language) but I’m going to take issue with one of her philosophies.

 

She always says a broken engagement is a sign of commitment phobia.

 

Yes, that may be true in the occasional case but in general I’m going to say a broken engagement is a sign of good sense.

 

If someone is smart enough to recognize their doubts and get out while the gettin’s good, huzzah for them.

 

Because do we really need to add to the divorce rate statistic? Do we really need people in marriages that are dodgy and breed adultery?

 

If you’re going to commit to someone for a lifetime then you should commit. Not 90%. Not 95%. Commit. 100%.

 

And if you can’t say that, if you’re going back and forth and writing a pro and con list, if you have doubt while you’re engaged… cut the line and back away.

 

Ignore Patty. You’re not a commitment-phobe. You realize the importance of what you’re about to do and you’re being wise.

 

That’s what I have to say about that. I don’t know if it will affect my viewing relationship with the Millionaire Matchmaker, but I do know it’s important to me to make a definitive statement.

 

And I also mean what I said about Glee. Cut the line. Get out while the gettin’s good.

 

This post was originally published October 19, 2011 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

50 Little Nudges Out of the Big Rut

andybahn / stock.xchng

If you’re like me, on occasion things around the homestead get a little hairy and one day you are sipping a cup of the strongest coffee your machine can make and you realize you haven’t really looked your spouse in the eye for a few days.

 

It’s not a pretty realization. It makes me sad.

 

I think I’m not the only one who has this problem.

 

So I started brainstorming simple ways you can communicate love to your MOST significant other… if you incorporate just a few of these into your life, it can only help the hubba-hubba factor increase!

 

1. Hug for 30 seconds or longer. Relax into it.

2. Make eye contact.

3. Finish a conversation from start to finish, despite distractions.

4. Fix their coffee for them.

5. Make sure you’ve got your schedule on the master calendar.

6. Switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer.

7. Load/unload the dishwasher.

8. Plan a spontaneous trip.

9. Leave a love note in their lunch box.

10. Make a list of the reasons why you married them, then share it with them.

11. Give a back rub.

12. Let them go to the bathroom first when you’re both racing for it.

13. Ask them on a date.

14. Post a status update complimenting them, make sure you tag them in it.

15. Clarify for true understanding when tensions escalate.

16. Discover something new together.

17. Laugh. Tell a joke. Be silly.

18. Say, “I love you. Forever.”

19. Compliment them in front of your children.

20. Remind yourself of how you felt when you were dating.

21. Dust/clean their side of the bedroom.

22. Ask them what’s on their mind. Listen to the response.

23. Make their needs and wants your  priority.

24. Give them a gift.

25. Allow them time with friends without guilt.

26. Be nice to their family members.

27. Pray for them.

28. Say you’re proud of what they do.

29. Make an inside joke.

30. Go on a date.

31. Take care of yourself.

32. Acknowledge their “A” for efforts.

33. Give them grace. Repeatedly.

34. Tell them their dreams aren’t foolish.

35. Be someone pleasing to spend time around.

36. Flirt with them.

37. Snatch quick kisses at the stoplight/drive through.

38. Hold hands.

39. Let them speak without interruption.

40. Don’t jump to conclusions.

41. Assume good will and that you’re on the same team.

42. Don’t say anything when you want to be critical.

43. Talk up their best qualities to your friends and family.

44. Clean up your messes.

45. Follow through on your promises.

46. Get in a tickle fight.

47. Indulge in something mutually enjoyable.

48. Respect them as you would your friend.

49. Don’t criticize yourself.

50. Play footsie under the table.

This post was originally published June 13, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Dirt Don’t Hurt

I’m with them.

 

My dear children, I’ve been thinking about dirt.

 

Before our move last year, you didn’t get dirty often. We lived in a world of pavement, walking from roads to sidewalks to concrete slabs. Our dirt was buried under beautiful, lush, green grass or sweetly covered with wood chips.

 

It never snuck its way between our toes or underneath the nails, creating brown crescents of grime.

 

Nowadays, we are surrounded by dirt. We live on the ashes of ancient volcanos and have cinder dust flying through the air almost constantly. Our home is surrounded by dirt on every side, nary a poured concrete walkway nor carefully-placed set of pavers to be found.

 

You like to go barefoot. Each night I look at your feet and shudder. They are grungy and show flip-flop lines of encrusted muck. It’s gross. Truly. I send you into the bathtub and holler at you to scrub behind your ears and between your toes. {Dirt!}

 

You come out clean most of the time. But sometimes you just outlast the cotton candy-scented bath bubbles, play pretend games, and spill a layer of water across the bathroom floor.

 

I hate the dirt. It has been the symbol of my defeat against the war of cleanliness, housekeeping, and orderliness.

 

Dirt. {I raise my hands to the air and shake my fists!} Dirt!

 

But this year we took family pictures of you in our dirt-filled back yard, sporting overalls and darkened toes, shiny smiles and a smudgy nose.

 

What does that dirt mean?

 

In a bigger picture, a mountaintop view where dirt isn’t simply the breakdown of solid matter but representative of a life lesson, I realize I’m glad you’re learning to play in the messy.

 

I want you to understand that life isn’t always clean and orderly, coated with cultivated landscaping. A real life, a life that is lived to the fullest – it has the high highs and the low lows.

 

Real life has its moments of awesome, breathtaking beauty… followed all too soon by bone-crushing weariness and soul-searching confusion. {Dirt!}

 

If you can learn to play, laugh, and grow in the midst of the messiness you will find yourself in a grand adventure, one that will delight and consume you, one that will draw people to you like a moth to flame.

 

Those dirt-encrusted feet? They drive your mother insane and leave naughty footprints against the white porcelain of the bath tub but they are the marks of a fully-experienced day. They remind me to encourage you to be authentic.

 

There are no starkly perfect people in this world. Every person has issues. Some issues are visible like the grubbiness on your bare feet, other issues get covered in a pair of pantyhose and three-inch high heels, hoping that others will fall for the illusion of perfection, desperately hoping no one will look closely enough to see flaws. {Dirt!}

 

My dear children, please don’t ever live a life of fear, hiding the tricky parts of your personality in a frantic hope no one will look hard enough at you to see the imperfection! I pray you are surrounded by people who will love you despite — and maybe even because! — of your smudges.

 

Your imperfections make you valuable, real, authentic. They cause your mother to shake her head and say, with a fond, bewildered smile, “He certainly broke the mold when He made you!” But please hear, despite my constant nagging, I am proud of you. I wouldn’t trade you, with all your head-strong, heart-hurting sassiness! I love you because you are a challenge. I love you because you’re not perfect. {Dirt!}

 

Help me remember that, my dear ones, on the days when I get consumed by how many times the floor must be swept, or that the new throw rugs are turning gray, that the dirt wouldn’t be tracked into the house if we weren’t venturing out into the great unknown to experience life.

 

Remind me of the value of dirt, that it is good and significant, on the days I sigh loudly because the Hello, Kitty! bath bubbles have disappeared and left a brown ring on that white tub.

 

Remind me that dirty feet are equal to strong immunity… that a day spent outdoors in fantastic play is a day that nourishes the spirit… that the dusty plants can be brushed clean and the gritty bedsheets washed… that a streak of dirt is no match for a modern-day washing machine and a dollop of OxyClean.

 

{Dirt!}

 

Now, go! Play!

 

This post was originally published October 18, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

“I Just Want To Scoop Poop!”

Pooper Scooper

The large pile of dried dog poo was my first hint something was amiss.

 

I’ve discovered, despite having a Great Dane and the ensuing excrement caused by said giant canine, a pile of poo has always signaled impending disaster in our household. I knew immediately which child to confront.

 

“Who put the pile of poop outside the gate to the dog yard?” I asked my second born child.

 

“Tres!” Dos answered promptly. I gave her a hard look. Tres is a determined little sucker but at her non-daunting height of 32 inches she’s an unlikely suspect for manuevering a 1 ft. x 2 ft. pile of turds past a 3.5 foot fence.

 

Dos saw my look and ducked her head. “I did it, Mommy.”

 

“Why?!” I asked. “Why are you so fascinated with the poop?!”

 

“I just really, really want to scoop poop!” Dos said.

 

These aren’t the words you expect to come out of a five-year-old’s mouth. I could totally understand a deep, driving desire to snatch a piece of gum or break into a sister’s piggy bank – I myself was a hoarding thief of fingernail polish as a young tyke and was known to hide under the dining room table with a tub of butter, a 1/4 teaspoon, and an agenda to coat my innards with canola byproduct.

 

But scooping poop has never been an attractive pastime for me, nor have I heard of other people admitting to a lifelong yen for excrement extraction.

 

Yet Dos has been begging to get into the dog yard all week to scoop poop. I have repeatedly told her no because a preschooler and an excited Great Dane two times her size and four times her body weight make me nervous. Add in two hyper-active, horribly groomed miniature poodles and a shovel the size of a backhoe bucket and my nervousness moves straight to panic.

 

No. No. No. No. No. Permission to enter the dog yard: Denied.

 

And yet, I found a pile of dried poop outside the gate of the dog yard. Dos had gone about her pooper scooping activity in active disobedience.

 

The bells of doom toll in the distance. Mama frustration… extensive.

 

Dos spent some time on the naughty bench and we worked through our discipline process. Afterward I talked with her and asked, again, “Why are you so fascinated with poop? It’s gross! What is motivating you so much that you’re willing to disobey in order to get in the dog yard?!”

 

Dos started crying again. I hate it when she cries. She’s such a happy-go-lucky kid, batty as all get-out with a smile that makes you want to gobble her up or put her in your pocket. To see her cry, really cry, is heartbreaking.

 

Her explanation came out. The direct quote:

 

“I just want to scoop poop! I want a chore!” Voice breaking, lip quivering, snot dripping out of her nose.

 

“Uno has a chore and I want a chore! Right now my only chore is to play with Tres! I don’t want to share Uno’s chore and feed the dogs, I want my own!”

 

“I want to do the poop one!”

 

Sometimes in parenting, there is an audible click of understanding. I have noticed how well Dos has been playing with Tres. I’ve complimented her on it – she’s pushed Tres on the swing practically nonstop, performing underdogs and screaming in laughter.

 

I had no idea she thought playing with her sister was her “chore.” I had no idea she was jealous that Uno has the added responsibility of feeding the dogs every day.

 

She analyzed the situation, thought about her capabilities, and decided she could poop scoop to be a helper.

 

Dos reminded me of a valuable lesson today: Sometimes the most bizarre requests can’t be understood until we take the time to ask the heart questions.

 

In journalism school I learned the real answers, the ones that flesh out your story, that reveal motivations, intrigue, and fulfillment… those answers are to questions at least three-to-four levels deep.

 

Most of us give up on the communication effort after a simple greeting and follow up question or comment. That’s why I didn’t have a clue of why Dos was begging to collect dog logs day after day. I saw the request through my own eyes, was disgusted, and said, “No.” I never asked the deeper questions three-to-four levels down, pursuing her motivation.

 

Once I took the time to really listen, to really hear her, my perspective changed. I still think she’s insane for wanting to play with poop, but my understanding has broadened to know she has a need for greater significance within our family.

 

So my, “No,” turns quickly to a, “Yes.” I learn, I respond.

 

Tonight, clutching my real-life illustration, I wonder if you’ve been taking the time to ask the deeper level questions about the insane things in your life? I know I’m rethinking my response to situations, reframing my confusion to seek the foundational motivations.

 

Do you have anyone in your life who just wants to scoop poop? Go talk to them – make it a deeper conversation. See what you find out!

 

This post was originally published September 14, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Cometiquette

Facebook-Comments-does-not-solve-anonymity-techkik-Amrita-MathurAfter posting my thoughts about lurkers a few weeks ago I got some requests for blog reader/commenter’s guidelines.

 

Apparently many of you like to read blogs and are now concerned that reading is a two-way street you’ve been treating as a super sketchy one way street designed for donkey’s but now capable of fitting two semi-trucks side-by-side.

 

(That may not have been the best visual but I hope you get that commenting on blogs can be quite satisfying when you enter into the conversation with the author!)

 

I’ve been a lurker on blogs for ages and ages but now I’m coming out of the closet and widening my road…

 

After an exhaustive search of the World Wide Web (which means I typed the search phrase “rules for blog commenting” in Google) I found there are a lot of sites with posts for getting people to comment but not so much advice about how, why and when readers should comment.

 

So I’ve come up with a few guidelines for the lurker all on my own.  Ta-Da!  Here they are, the

 

DEFINITIVE ETIQUETTE FOR BLOG COMMENTING

 

1.  Look for Guidelines.  If there are rules to be had on your blog of choice, there will be a comment guidelines page.  Go ahead and scan the page.  Alternatively, many bloggers are grateful to have feedback instead of hearing crickets chirp after a post.  For them, post early and post often.  Bloggers blog for a variety of reasons and when someone takes the time to comment, it makes us feel as though what we are doing is worthwhile which, in turn, inspires us to continue.

 

2.  Really talk to the Community.  Counterintuitively, right when I tell you to comment early and often I’m also going to challenge you not to comment just to put something out there.  Add value to the conversation. “That’s great!” or “Cool, me too!” comments are the equivalent of your first romantic phone conversation: “Um, Hi, is Jenny there?” “Speaking.”  “Uh, yeah.  It’s Eric.  Hi.” “Hi.” {chirp, chirp} Pretend you’re talking to your best friend and truly respond to the conversation.

 

3.  Be nice.  Speak from your point of view but don’t treat others as though they are idiots because they don’t agree with you.  Also, don’t be the idiot yourself – make an effort to use good grammar and spelling and to communicate your thoughts clearly. Don’t forget that people cannot see your expression or hear your voice. This is why smilies and snark tags such as “sarcasm” were invented – use them!

 

4.  Tell Your Friends.  This isn’t necessary, but if you want to build a relationship with the blog owner, tweet their post or share it on facebook. Many blogs have this button front and center and it’s just a matter of pushing it. Plus it makes everyone feel good.

 

5.  Come out of Hiding.  Comment at least once for every three visits to a website.  Also, when I enjoy a post but don’t have much to say about it and the option is available I’ll rate the post instead of leave a comment.  The blogger is looking to put a face to a number in the reader stats… and genuinely wants to know you through your response.  So… go for it!

 

Obviously, this etiquette can be tailored depending on the types of blogs you read; what works for StealingFaith.com will be different than a comment for the NASA website! (Not that I don’t talk about really smart stuff and rockets and boogers and stuff around here…)

 

Look forward to seeing you lurkers come out of the woodwork because, well…

 

Now’s the time to say goodbye to all our company… through the years we’ll all be friends wherever we may be… see ya real soon… why? because we like you!

 

A hot pink pot holder and a monkey wrench will be the prizes to the first people to identify that little excerpt in the comments.  Maybe.

 

This post was originally published June 7, 2011 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

We Broke The Bed

We’ve been on a romance theme here at StealingFaith.com and up until last summer my most embarrassing moment involved a one-time romantic interest so I’ll just bite the bullet, give you a good chuckle, and tell you all about it.

 

(Just in case you’re wondering, my new most embarrassing moment is really… embarrassing. I don’t know if I’ll be able to share it publicly on StealingFaith.com but if I do I promise you will helplessly pee your pants with laughter. I’m hoping I never have a more embarrassing moment. Ever.)

 

(But up until then, this story I’m going to tell you was my winner.)

 

Back in the summer in between graduating from college and starting my master’s degree I got a little crush. We shall call him “Joe” and he shall be called my “Joe-crush.”

 

In June we hung out and by the 4th of July I was certain my crush was in solid running to be Someone Special. We even held hands. It was a Big Deal.

 

But, life intruded, I went out-of-state for graduate school and he continued his awesomeness in one zip code and I continued my awesomeness in another. We still thought highly of one another but it just wasn’t meant to be.

 

Fast forward. I’m happily married to Lizard for a full seven months and we have been convinced to participate in the Christmas dinner theater by dressing up as a Navy man and his girl and dance to Bernard/Smith’s Winter Wonderland.

 

Lizard used spirit fingers, danced a box step, and dropped me into a backward bend for the big finish while wearing a sailor uniform. Yep. He loved me then and he loves me now.

 

The special surprise for our dinner theater was Joe was back in town to perform! He is an incredible musician, so this was a treat in the best sense of the word.

 

It was the first time we had seen each other in person since our hand-holding summer of thwarted romance and while we were very happy to say, “Hi,” we didn’t really know what to say.

 

We covered the basics of the weather, how we were, how we’d been spending our time, and whether those Broncos were in the running for the Super Bowl. (Hope springs eternal. I would also like to mention I wanted to write “bowl” and wrote “bowel” instead the first time.) Joe, Lizard and I were all standing huddled together in the alcove, waiting for our turn to perform.

 

There was a lull in the conversation and I took leave of my senses. Inanely, while leaning against my husband I bleated, “We broke the bed last night.”

 

We were in a church. It’s amazing there wasn’t a lightening bolt from God above right there to do me in.

 

Lizard gave me a look I will never, ever forget. That was the first time he had genuine reason to believe he’d married a mad woman.

 

What I should have shared was the night before our poodle was rolling around in the middle of our bed. Lizard, who truly lives to torture poodles, saw her from the adjoining bathroom and decided to play a spunky trick.

 

From the doorway of the bathroom he launched himself toward the bed and the unsuspecting poodle. As he was mid-flight he let out a huge roar and the poodle may or may not have wet herself in shocked surprise that her life was about to end.

 

Lizard landed on the bed with a solid thunk.

 

Which was immediately followed with a metallic crash that shook the whole house as the bed frame gave way under the weight and trajectory of the sneak attack.

 

I may or may not have wet myself at that point.

 

It was a big, funny story. Something worth talking about to a friend – and it was timely because it had happened less than 24-hours before.

 

But instead of actually telling the story I said, “We broke the bed last night.”

 

My Joe friend blushed clear through the roots of his hair. It’s true, he turned bright red on his face and hot pink in his hair and his mouth gaped open, showing lovely white teeth on a field of pinky pinkness.

 

“I’m very happy for you,” he said. Then he politely looked away.

 

I wanted to die.

 

Because, really, once you’ve gone that direction, there’s no graceful way to get out. Open mouth, insert foot.

 

I do that pretty well. Lizard says my filter is set too low sometimes. I think he’s right.

 

The moral of the story: Think before you speak and never tell a past quasi-crush you broke the bed with your spouse the night before. It will be awkward. Even if it’s true.

 

What embarrassing romantic stories do you have? And, please, if you enjoy what you’re reading here, share it with your friends… your parents… your past romantic flames… I live for blog clicks! 🙂

 

This post was originally published August 29, 2011 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Big Talk at a Birthday Party

ryasaurus / stock.xhngs

I saw a universal truth in action today.

 

It was the day for birthday parties. Both Uno and Dos had party invitations – in different zip codes, nonetheless. So Lizard and I split the family and got our kids off to their parties.

 

When I got to the 4-year-old party I started in my stereotypical party activity: hit the veggie tray making small talk with various people on the way, see if any conversations are easy and fun, and if not hang out with my mouth full of cake and celery so everyone will think I’m very hungry rather than awkward with small talk.

 

Shortly after devouring six pieces of celery and some bean dip I saw a woman come through the door who was amazingly thin, had long, beautiful hair perfectly colored and highlighted; she was impossibly attractive and put together as she carted a car seat on one hip.

 

When I heard her say her baby was four-months-old I had a moment of self-directed frustration… I also have a four-month-old yet I wear yoga pants instead of skinny jeans and my hair is in desperate need of a trim.

 

When this beautiful gal turned to face me full-on I realized she was familiar in a sea of unknown mamas! It was the gal who used to cut my hair! I love her – I have travelled from out of state to get my hair cut by her. She’s not only amazing with a pair of shears, she’s one of the sweetest individuals I’ve ever met!

 

I quickly reassessed my initial stab of jealousy. I smiled, reintroduced myself, wiped cracker crumbs from the corners of my mouth and started up a conversation with this poised woman.

 

As our conversation meandered, I learned her newest child, that sweet four-month-old that left nary a trace of fat on her thin hips, had a hard time keeping anything down and cried lots and lots.

 

She asked me if I’d ever had a child who threw up a lot and I looked at her and said, “Oh, Honey. My child could nail a fly on the far wall with a well-placed projectile vomit – she spent the first six months of her life screaming bloody murder!”

 

Something in my friend relaxed when I told her that having a colicky child is still one of the experiences I’m surprised I survived. As she listened with wide eyes, I admitted that Dos had been such a hard child, screaming non-stop, that I had questioned why we had another child at all, that I had had to lay her down, crying violently, so that I would not shake her in frustration.

 

Looking at that child showed me the absolute ugliness of my own character. I hated it. It also knocked me down a few pegs and helped me realize every human is capable of both greatness and evil.

 

(When we started giving Dos some solid foods, things magically changed. I will forever be grateful for Gerber Rice Cereal and Yum-Yum biter biscuits!)

 

I admitted these things to her because I could. I’ve had to face my dragons and come to peace with them. They aren’t the boogie-man fears in the closet because I know how to name them by name and call them out. But she’s encountering them for the first time.

 

In my admission I saw something in her relax. She realized she wasn’t alone in her struggle. She whispered that this child of hers that was crying so often was breaking her heart and driving her to distraction.

 

We found a heartfelt common ground. It was good… it was sweet.

 

Why do women try to impress each other? Why are we quick to offer judgment on others?

 

What would be different if we all admitted our dirty little struggles and provided authentic community to support one another and walked hand-in-hand through life?

 

That’s the universal truth, my friends. We’re all hurting a little. We’re all really great at something. We’re all insecure about something, even if we have the figure to rock the skinny jeans.

 

Admitting our faults – and acknowledging our strengths  – doesn’t break us down. In the right group that vulnerability is literally a lifesaver. And that is good.

 

 ‎”It’s Over. Time to pee on the campfire and call in the dogs.”

 

This post was originally published with the title “Keeping It Real” on November 17, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

5 Ways to Crush Writers Block

Mankey Traffic / compfight.com

If you’ve ever faced a deadline you know occasionally, right when you need the words to flow like buttah from your fingas… they dry up and you’re left looking at the Death Valley of creativity.

 

Here are five strategies I use when it’s getting close to midnight and my publish button starts to mock me.

 

1. Go through your idea files. Every writer should have an idea file, a place you tuck interesting thoughts, sentences, stories, or situations that tickle your funny bone. Your style may vary from a folder in your email, Pinterest board, text messages to yourself, or sticky notes on your bedside table, but find something that works and don’t let those ideas get away!

 

Some examples of my idea file? “Why You Aren’t Married,” “How Raising a Toddler is A Form of Purgatory,” “Practical Ways to Be a Thoughtful Spouse,” “Living Gracefully Through a Downsize,” “Life Lessons Learned from a Wart,” “Guarana Berry is not the same as guana,” and “Playing Marco Polo with Strangers in the Mall.” I think I will get around to writing these posts eventually… so stay tuned.

 

In the meantime, go stock your file!

 

2. Creep Facebook & Twitter. Social media is the mother lode of ideas. Human tragedy, comedy and insanity scroll through your feeds. Live vicariously through other people’s lives, and check out the news stories that interest them to get an idea of what might click with your own readers.

 

Using social media you’ll find diamonds in the rough like:

  • “”Rawwrrr’ means I love you in dinosaur. Everyone knows that, silly.”
  • “When I’m in an elevator with other people, I just stare at them the entire time so that the ride isn’t awkward.”
  • “I love everybody. Some I love to be around. Some I love to avoid. And some I’d love to punch in the face.”
  • “If you put your finger in your ear and scratch it sounds like you’re playing Pac-Man.”

 

Posts, just waiting to be written!

 

3. Copy-cat. Imitation is the purest form of flattery! What have you seen lately that is brilliant? Can you re-appropriate it with your own twist? Do it! Check out your favorite blog’s posts. Was their spark of an idea something you can relate to?

 

Warning: don’t be so blatant it’s painfully obvious you have no creativity of your own… (that’s called plagiarism)… and give credit where credit is due. With that said, there are lots of memes going around that can be re-purposed. (You know my search term “Posts that Brought You Here”? Totally stole that idea from a really funny blog, Because I Said So. I’ve now seen it lots of places – because it’s a great idea – use it!)

 

4. Mock idiosyncrasies. Newsflash – there is no such thing as normal! You’re surrounded by hilarity at this very moment. When you hit the writer’s block, think about quirks and start poking fun.

 

When I get a kick out of an old boss who couldn’t eat at the Golden Corral because of the possible germs from mass humanity on the buffet utensils, or my political science professor who clicked when he talked because of an unfortunate nasal condition, my friend who chooses a number upon bathroom entry then tries to finish his visit before counting down to zero, or the fact my mom honestly believes hummingbirds will peck out your eyes… well, I realize I’ve got fodder for writing!

 

It’s even better when you can point out your own strangeness! Things like why I make my husband change his socks because my nose is in overdrive, my inability to mis-match sippy cup lids, or how touching the rubber on some phone cases makes me freak out they way I do when I hear are nails on a chalkboard… I am a strange, strange woman and there’s a lot of humor wrapped up in that if I’m bold enough to share!

 

5. Get all hyped up on Pixie stix or some other cancer-causing sugar sin and see what comes happens. If all else fails, go into sugar shock. This post you’re reading, well, it’s the product of four Pixie Stix.

 

(I am not sharing my Pixie Stix stash with my children, either. It’s all for me.)

 

I will utilize the sugar shock but I’m NOT going to snort Pixie Stix because I did that once in sixth grade (the time in a human’s life when their attractiveness is at an all-time low and intelligence severely compromised by hormonal imbalances). I was sure my head was going to explode, my eyes involuntarily teared for the rest of the day, and when I blew my nose the snot was purple and I smelled grapes. Lesson learned.

 

However, candy is totally cool as a blog post Hail Mary. Good luck with that.

 

What are ways you crush the writer’s block?

 

*If you like this post, would you please share it with your “tribe” via email, facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc.?*

 

This post was originally published April 29, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Children Learn What They Live

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Evans888 / stock.xchng

A few days ago I was reminded of the poem, Children Learn What They Live.

 

Way back in the dark ages when I was a young tyke, my mom had this poem on my bedroom wall. It was a piece of paper glued to stained wood, covered in laminate. It had very 70s-ish illustrations, and I can remember reading the poem while curling my bangs and spraying them straight up before teasing them into a nice 1980s arch.

 

Oh, yes. The higher the bangs, the closer to God.

 

But to the point at hand… I’m grateful I knew this poem from a young age and admire my mom, an educator, for believing in this philosophy enough to introduce it.

 

Now, in a flashback from 1972, I give you… wisdom in the form of poetry:

 

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

 

All strength and courage to you as you explore your own parenting journey!

 

This post was originally published March 8, 2013 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

I’ve Been Around – Recycle Time!

kovik / stock.xchng
kovik / stock.xchng

I’m always a little curious about where readers come from, since I don’t get that many comments on the website. Assuming you’re new to StealingFaith, you may not realize I’ve been faithfully blogging, pretty much every day, for a couple of years now.

 

In that time I’ve moved across the country, gotten pregnant, birthed the child, learned a new business, written a couple (unpublished) books, homeschooled a couple of kiddos, and started messing around with urban homesteading.

 

My goal with StealingFaith has always been to provide encouragement, a laugh when possible, and insights on family, relationships, and life. That’s led to a wide variety of topics and honestly, some posts have been stinkers while some have been pretty hard-hitting.

 

It’s time for me to take a bit of time and reduce, reuse, and recycle StealingFaith. I need to hear from you, refocus my  goals, and figure out what’s achievable and doable in the time I have in this current season. For the next few weeks you’re going to see some new writing, but – more often – posts that have been previously published over the past years.

 

I think you’ll enjoy the reads you have coming up and I hope you’ll take the time to comment and let me know why you come to StealingFaith with your free time!

 

I may or may not be publishing the links off of my personal Facebook page during this time, so if you haven’t “liked” StealingFaith on Facebook – now’s the time to get on it so you don’t miss anything!

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

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