5 Tips for the New Blogger

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A friend started a new blog and asked for some insight into how StealingFaith works for me.

 

I have written about the process of blogging before, but I have more to say! (Me, have more to say? Unbelievable!)

 

Her questions: “Can you give me some of your favorite blogs you like to read? How do you know what to write about or come up with some of your great posts?”

 

(“Great” was her real word. Yes, I swelled with pride.)

 

(Notice she asked two questions and I responded with 600 words. Sigh. She’ll never ask me another question again.)

 

My answer:

 

1. Who to Follow. I find the blogs by following other people’s recommendations or looking through facebook links. Sometimes I follow for a while, a few I love forever. Most bloggers will have a “blogroll” that lists their favorite bloggers, and Circle of Moms recently published the Top 25 Funny Mom Blogs so I have a few new ones from there. (My blogroll for StealingFaith is up on the header – enjoy!) Most of the ones I follow religiously have modest followings. There are some “megablogs” out there that I get a giggle out of but don’t follow regularly, like Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, Scary Mommy, Rants from Mommyland, Momastry, and such.

 

2. How To Get Readers. The best way to get readers is to publicize your blog through your current platform (facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, etc.), friends, and family, and ask them to share with their “tribe.” It’s network marketing at its best!

 

Another way to expand your circle of influence is to comment on other blogs in a “meaty” way. A comment like “good post!” gets a C for effort, yet a comment that continues the post “conversation” is much more likely to get the attention of the author and any random reader to click through to YOUR blog and read your writing.

 

Also, link, link, link. Bloggers tend to be a generous community, so linking to any posts you find useful, funny, or noteworthy is a good way to spread the blogging joy.

 

3. Define YOUR Success. Decide what your hopes are for your blog. Be realistic. There’s no “right” or “wrong” goal because it’s all about your perspective. For me, instead of focussing on the numbers of viewers, I need to spend time thinking about whether what I’m writing is useful to the reader… for a laugh, for insight, or for life function. The reader is my boss.

 

4. What To Write. I fly by the seat of my pants! When I get ready to post I sit down and think about what has happened that day. I’ve gotten comments from readers that they like stories of the kids and dogs best, so I usually search for ideas in those topics first. (Yesterday that meant I wrote about the dirty underbelly of pregnancy!) If that draws a blank, I cruise facebook, news feeds, Pinterest, and try to find something that strikes my fancy. Then I build a post.

 

I spend anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half on StealingFaith each night. Some days I KNOW WHAT I HAVE TO WRITE, RIGHT NOW!!!! Others… Take…. Time…. And… It… Is… Painfully… Slow.

 

There are bloggers who plan their posts out weeks in advance (people like Michael Hyatt and Confessions of a Homeschooler are two examples I can think of off the top of my head.) If you’re a planner, I just saw a cool set of blog planning calendars you can print for free here. It’s very pretty, and that makes me happy.

 

5. When to Write. Decide how frequently you’re going to post. Anything from once a day to once a week is good for growing a blog. (Tom Basson posts once a week. Every time he posts it’s good stuff, so he’s building trust and loyalty from his readers with his writing.)

 

Just make sure you’re up for the challenge of consistency. Readers will hit your blog and check your publish dates. If they see a consistent pattern they’ll have confidence in coming back. Whatever you decide, just stick to it!

 

Final Thought: Don’t give up. It’s easy to feel like you’re churning out words and no one is listening, especially when you don’t get comments. But keep practicing your writing, stick with the schedule, and don’t stop. Jon Acuff writes about how his first blog was a failure – but provided the training ground he needed to become successful with Stuff Christians Like. Tentblogger put out a post this week about sticking with a blog up to — and through — the critical mass of readership. Two GREAT examples of why you “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Go read them!

 

Do you have any advice that has served you well in the blogging/writing world? Do you agree or disagree with any of these points? I’d love to hear it in the comments!

 

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

 

This post was originally published April 27, 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

How to Make a Decision

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A little while ago I had someone share a Texas saying with me:

 

“If you spend too much time with one foot in your past and the other foot in your future, you’re effectively pooping on your present.”

 

I’ve been mulling this over. It remind me of another phrase I think I picked up from a Po’ Folks restaurant menu: “If you ride the fence, you’re bound to get some splinters.”

 

My world is very action oriented. (Even when I want it to slow down to a turtle’s pace!) Both these phrases stick with me because they’re motivating, the message is for movement:

 

Take hold of today with both hands and experience it! Come to grips with who you are and decide which hills you’re willing to die upon!

 

I want to encourage you to consider your own life.

 

Are you inadvertently “pooping”on something valuable today because you’re reminiscing about yesterday or daydreaming about tomorrow? Is there a decision you know you should be making but have pushed off?

 

If you answer is “yes” to either of those questions… why don’t you do something about that?

 

Here are three tips that help me when I’m considering a change:

 

1. Decide if the move you’re making fits your values. Value-based decision-making can’t happen with the snap of your fingers. It takes time sitting with yourself, quietly, figuring out what motivates you and makes your pulse quicken. Do a simple exercise on your circles of influence. In your life, what do you have direct control over? What do you have control over if you have help? What is completely outside your control? Then consider – do the things I have control over play out in a balanced way in my decisions? If not, start changing.

 

2. Seek wisdom. My standard rule of thumb is to consult three people who are able to offer wise counsel about the decision facing me. Don’t just choose the cheerleaders in your life who will rubber stamp any decision you make. Talk to the people who challenge you, frustrate you, and are hands down on your team. When you see a pattern emerging from their counsel, you can see the path emerge in front of you.

 

3. Give yourself a realistic timeline. Before you make the decision, spend some time thinking about the logical consequences of the decision. For example, if you decide to quit your job, write yourself a note talking why you’re making the change and about the emotions you may feel – elation, loneliness from loss of community, satisfaction, failure, disappointment, financial insecurity, etc. It’s important to write yourself a note so when you feel these things you have a check point to reassure yourself. “See, I knew I would feel this way!” is a powerful tool! Give yourself the space to work through the transition and put that in your note, too. When we’re in the thick of the change we lose sight of our larger motivation.

 

Do you have any changes you need to make to value your present?

 

This post was originally published February 21, 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

Fable of the Porcupine

Fable of the Porcupine

“It was the coldest winter in anyone’s memory, and one animal after another perished in the icy weather. The porcupines saw this and decided the only way they would survive is if they grouped together to share their warmth.

 

This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. They stayed warm, but the pain they suffered was too great so after awhile they decided to distance themselves one from the other.

 

They began to die, alone and frozen.

 

Even porcupines could see that was never going to do. They had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

 

They decided to go back to being together.

 

The porcupines chose to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the warmth that came from the others.  This way they were able to survive.

 

The moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings perfect people together. It is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.”

 

Last night Tom Basson sent this out as his post, it was the first time I have heard this story. I loved it immediately!

 

Though there are many versions of the fable if you search for an author they all have a similar moral – would you rather die, unhurt or live, bruised?

 

A Very Significant question, wouldn’t you say?

 

What is your choice?

 

This post was originally published August 21, 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

Hold the Southerly Wind

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Please open your Bibles to the second book of Scentapotamus, chapter 3, and read with me,

 

“Thou shalt not release acidic flatulence whilst participating in a church service.”

 

It has come to my attention that some church-goers have a moral failing in the area of gastric abstinence.

 

Are we all human? Yes! Does everyone pass gas at one point or another? Yes! It is part of our humanness, our biology, our need to digest potato chips, beans and broccoli.

 

But let us not forget our fellow humans, our compatriots in this earthly race. Releasing the SBDF (Silent But Deadly Fart) in the company of strangers, particularly within the confines of a church service and pew, places an unfair burden on our friends who struggle to cast off the mortal coil.

 

There is nowhere for the innocent bystander to escape. They are caught in your web of fluffer-doodle, trying to maintain a sanctimonious and worshipful attitude while covering their nose with a bulletin, regretful it is not a scented Kleenex or an oxygen mask fed by Axe deodorant spray.

 

While our Heavenly Father understands and forgives the release of toxic aromas (knowing and loving us despite our disgrace and sin), there is a need to throw off our selfishness, our lack of self-control, and our disrespect for others. Spiritual maturity is gained while holding the stink within your abdominal cavity until it can be freed in an appropriate environment: the bathroom, outside where the air is fresh and clean, or in the sanctity of your solitude.

 

In the meantime: hold the southerly wind.

 

To you naysayers out there, who fear intrinsic intestinal damage at the suppression of the stink bomb, may I remind you:

 

Every time you spew an air biscuit in public, an innocent kitten dies.

Please. Consider the kittens.

 

This post was originally published May 4, 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

Define “FML”

Brace yourself for this news:

 

I’m not particularly “hip.”

 

In fact, I’m pretty sure I was using “groovy” in the late 90s, which means I was at least two decades behind on that particular phrase.

 

I sent my first text message in 2008. Wikipedia says the first text message sent was in 1992, so you do the math on how far behind the curve I was on that one.

 

Because I’m so un-cool, it takes me awhile to figure things out. (For the record, I’ve never “gotten” the scarf phase or a Snugli. There’s nothing wrong with this… just haven’t figured out how to get on board.) For example, it took me two days to decode the “c u l8r” text message from a friend.

 

I’ve become used to being naive in some areas, so it took me months and months to actually Google the “fml” tag I saw on so many facebook posts. Now, boy, do I wish I hadn’t figured it out.

 

Not only do I now have a curse word I don’t want in my brain every time I see it (come on, I can’t be the only one who un-shortens acronyms when I see them! From the CDC to ttyl, I always read the letters as their whole words),  but I’m remembering all the times I’ve seen “fml” on a status update.

 

Here’s a list of some “fml” references I can remember from the past few months:

 

  • Overslept for class.
  • Car battery dead.
  • Had to stay late at work because of someone else’s mistake.
  • Patriots lost.
  • Catching a cold.
  • Neighbor played music all night and sleep was interrupted.
  • Bank was closed and couldn’t make a deposit.
  • Computer crashed.
  • Kid is teething.

 

At the risk of being incredibly rude… are these really situations that require a “fml”?

 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use the term if the term actually fits the situation. (At that point it’s a matter of taste.) But “fml” gives me the impression there should be something truly awful taking place that far exceeds the experience of the fast food joint being out of Dr. Pepper when that’s what you’ve been craving all day.

 

Take a look at this poster:

 

I don’t think we have to compare our hurts with everyone in the world. Our hurts are real and valid.

But is it too much to ask that people not mention the “fml” without taking a moment to realize they’re updating their status on a social media platform they only have access to because they’re residents of a country with one of the highest standards of living in the world?

That their smart phone cost more to purchase than families live on in a year in Vietnam? The internet they are connected to works and isn’t monitored by an oppressive government? They don’t live in fear that soldiers could come and legally rape them whenever they choose? That their children and nieces and nephews and neighbors aren’t literally starving to death or dying from diarrhea because they drank unclean water out of thirsty desperation?

Is “fml” really a phrase that should be commonly thrown around? Really?

A friend suggested I start using the phrase “LML” – “love my life.” I think I will. Want to join me?

This post was originally published March 1, 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

Going Natural

There’s a little bit of a punk in me.  Maybe it’s in you as well?

 

Because I’m a stinker, sometimes I do things just to get a rise.  I guess it’s my way of checking my mental pulse.

 

One of the ways I do this is to follow blogs and news from sources holding different values than I hold.  I’m a firm believer that untested philosophies are worthless, so if I can be challenged to defend my point of view I’m likely going to be more intelligent about my opinion and more likely to convince others I’m right!

 

(Let’s be honest, it’s all about being right, right??)

 

I recently read an article about how underutilized the IUD is as a form of birth control.  If you’d like to read the entire story, here’s the link.

 

Here’s this nasty, hard-looking device being promoted as awesome.  Forgive me, I like to avoid a plastic anchor being placed into my body just so I won’t possibly be burdened with a child!

 

What really made my blood boil was the innocently offered statement:

 

“Today’s options are t-shaped and work by damaging and killing sperm, as well as changing the uterine lining to make it an especially inhospitable environment for little embryos (should the sperm survive).”

 

I can’t help but become outraged because that’s not just an inhospitable environment for the sperm to survive… that’s a fully viable child that’s being destroyed because the fertilized egg can’t implant!

 

When I think about the absolute magic that comes with childbearing and the odds against a child being conceived and carried to term it makes me incredibly sad that so many people make the choice to halt the life of a child based on thoughtlessness and convenience.

 

(In case you haven’t figured out, I believe life starts at conception, the moment that little sperm hits that little egg and fireworks erupt.)

 

Going cold turkey with birth control isn’t a viable option for most people, I realize.  After all, I am pro-child but fully terrified of ending up living in an asylum for small children à la Dugger-style.

 

I didn’t want to be on the birth control pill anymore but I didn’t want to practice free lovin’ either.  I didn’t like the hormones of the Pill and I didn’t like learning that during each year I had been on the Pill I had likely conceived three times but my body had created an “especially inhospitable environment” and flushed that baby out.

 

While there were definitely other options available I wanted something that was easy, logical and effective.  (And not so messy, either.  Because I’m a sissy and don’t like messes.)

 

At the time I was exploring options for birth control a friend passed on a very valuable resource, here it is.

 

My friend told me about the book Love and Fertility published by the Family of the Americas Foundation.  The explanation of this method is logical, easy to understand, and it also helped me understand my own body.

 

For us, it has been 100% effective.

 

So I’d like to share it with you.  I hope this makes you at least think of birth control options – and perhaps take a chance on going natural!

 

(I recommend buying the book from the Family of the Americas Foundation.  I included the link to the book on Amazon.com just because I thought you might enjoy reading the comments.)

 

This post was originally published May 23, 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

Exposed Bravery

Motivational keynote speaker and humorist David Roche

I’m wading in murky waters tonight.

 

Ever, ever so slowly I’ve been reading through Anne Lamott’s Plan B. Tonight I read several more chapters.

 

Have you ever been around someone or thing that you really didn’t like too much and then all of the sudden they presented a concept that you fell head over heels in love with?

 

(Yeah. That’s how some people end up getting married. Ha!)

 

Well, that’s how I am with Plan B. Tonight’s chapters introduced me to David Rouche and his philosophy of The Church of 80% Sincerity.

 

(Caveat Emptor, I haven’t read this book, just the review of it by Lamott. And what I did read of the interview told me there would be several philosophical items I wouldn’t embrace.)

 

Rouche’s face was severely disfigured by a tumor as a youngster. He’s now in his 60s; he’s spent a lifetime presenting his face to a public that fears, scorns, and judges him. And he’s come through it with a pretty amazing philosophy about life.

 

Rouche believes he’s blessed, that his ugly is external and clearly evident, giving him no reason to try to be fake to fool the people around him. He looks at people and sees how hard they try to hide their imperfections to present an attractive image.. and feels relief that he’s not in their shoes.

 

If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we all acknowledge there are hurt, scarred and ugly pieces woven in with the character traits and brilliant decisions we claim with pride. So what do we do with those unsavory bits?

 

Do we hide them? Pretend they aren’t there? Live in fear others will find out? Worry that the love of the people around us is conditional and can’t accept our flaws?

 

Even though we know no one is perfect, we tend to glance around at others, see their “highlight reels,” and assume we are lacking. Our brains and our hearts are at war over insecurity.

 

This concept has haunted me for several weeks, since I read an article about a middle school dance offering a VIP lounge for the attendees. One student’s mother, Marcy Magiera, wrote a blog post condemning the idea… and  I can’t get a few of her sentences out of my mind:

 

“Let’s face it, any middle school is a pit of roiling emotions and hormones, where awkwardness abounds and everyone–even the most popular kids–are struggling on some level to fit in. To figure out, even, who they want to fit in with. There are already invisible velvet ropes aplenty, segregating the popular kids, the smartest kids, the jocks.”

 

Doesn’t that resonate with you?

 

The desire to fit in is so evident in our children. I can watch my six-year-old adopt the mannerisms of those she esteems… it’s easy to see her learn to copy and seek approval.

 

We don’t grow out of that need to fit in. We just learn how to disguise its desperation. As adults we become better at playing off the miming we do.

 

As adults, we see and respond to the invisible ropes, separating image from authenticity, making us believe if we dare show our true self we will be humiliated, despised, shunned.

 

But, really, what are we so worried about?

 

If a friend came to us with the exact struggle, scar, and hurt we bear, wouldn’t we treat them with love and grace? So why are we unwilling to accept they would love on us… “despite” our issue?

 

In so many ways, I think Roche has nailed disfigurement on the head. We all fight battles. His are forcibly truthful… most of ours… require exposed bravery.

 

I prefer authenticity to a cover up. I believe it tears the invisible ropes apart.

 

What do you prefer?

 

This post was originally published July 2, 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

Your BIG Story

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Do you watch the Olympics and wonder where you fall on the spectrum of exceptionalism?

 

I do.

 

Not that there’s a lot of attraction for me in prancing around in a bedazzled gymnastics leotard or running, running, running in circles around an arena for 30+ minutes (athletics not being my strong calling in life), but there is an utter fascination I have for watching a fellow human being excel to the level of an Olympian.

 

In my own arena I am competitive, I want to be noticed, to have a story my children tell their children, to leave a legacy that will be noted as unusual and inherently useful.

 

I don’t think I’m unusual in that desire.

 

I also don’t think I always set myself up for success. Sometimes the lure of the sofa, of that extra episode of The Bachelor or Wipeout, or that difficult conversation that has to take place before the next step of progress… well, those obstacles crop up and it’s easier to embrace mediocrity, go with the flow, or relax a little.

 

Too much of that and you realize you never swam out to meet your ship coming in.

 

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” Randy Pausch, Last Lecture. (Here’s the You Tube link for this quote, the video is 76 minutes long. I listened to the audiobook with Lizard on a cross-country journey. Both of us were changed. Really.)

 

There are times I wake up to four little faces and feel completely overwhelmed by this life I’m living. I always knew I wanted to be a mother and have a larger family, but I also had a strong desire to be the president of a university, a published and successful author, and a secular, feminine success story.

 

These children’s faces, they crowd out my other dreams and make me wonder at what point I’ll come to my senses, realize four children is an insanely, irresponsibly large number of children for any family? (Much less a family whose birther is a woman who doesn’t rank highly on the maternal aptitude test?!)

 

I’m not up to this challenge. It’s messy. It’s exhausting. It’s rewarding, but it’s not always pretty. Yet it’s also more important, long-term, than anything else I can conceive, any figurative gold medal that can be hung from my neck.

 

We all love our stories of ridiculous success, the Michael Phelps, the Secretariat. We love tales of greatness that make our throats close and eyes mist with inspiration while stirring music plays in the background.

 

But in searching for our own BIG story, we tend to forget the greatness in our everyday, in the willingness to make irrational sacrifices of consistency are what make up success. We ignore or forget the truth that every success story looks hard, ugly and — in some lights — broken before they become worthy of soul-stirring musical accompaniment.

 

Yet success stories don’t ever look like quitters. Because the little, everyday, consistent choices create a story titled  “Exception.”

 

No television cameras were there for Michael Phelps’ early morning practices day in and day out. No one was applauding his mom while she figured out how to feed that kid massively high calorie meals on the vague guess that the potential and passion she saw in her son would come to fruition and be rewarded with golden medallions on a world-wide stage.

 

I’ve been reading posts of parents sending their kids to school this morning. I suppose it’s the first day of a month of various first days of school.

 

What are these kids being taught about success? That it’s only for the fortunate few, those gifted with athletic ability, uncommon intelligence or unusual moxie?

 

Or are they being taught that success in any arena is the result of courage and repetitive hard-fought, smelly, sticky, sweaty, unreasonable effort?

 

They’re being taught what you believe to be true because they’re watching you find your BIG story.

 

So. What are you going to do with that?

 

This post was originally published August 6, 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

How to Annoy Your Spouse

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Every once in awhile I get a wee bit of the devil in me, don’t we all?!

 

Admittedly, when the devil crops up in my life, my poor husband is usually the recipient. Tonight, inspired by this blog post, I want to share a few things that will likely inspire ire in your spouse.

 

1. Wake them up at dawn by singing the fight song of your college alma mater.

 

2. Eat chips in bed… on their side.

 

3. Leave cabinet doors open at eye level, begging for their head to be smashed.

 

4. Spend a lot of time on the toilet, the sacrosanct room of the house. But make sure you bring your smart phone to play Words with Friends or check status updates.

 

5. Place Saran Wrap over the toilet seat before going to bed at night.

 

6. Put yogurt in the mayonnaise jar but forget to mention the swap.

 

7. Sell possessions they brought into the marriage on Craig’s List.

 

8. Ask if you can talk during critical moments of television time.

 

9. Cry. Inexplicably. Just cry. Get it all out.

 

10. Order a different beverage than they order, then drink all of their beverage.

 

11. Leave the bathroom door cracked open while they shower.

 

12. Take the batteries out of the remote control. Ask them to fix it for you.

 

13. Put a rubber band around the handle on the kitchen sink spray nozzle. Point it towards the front of the sink and wait for them to turn on the water.

 

14. Reverse their contact lenses in the case.

 

15. Switch around the contacts on their phone. Exchange their best friend’s name for their parent’s.

 

16. Fill the mail box with ping pong balls or packing nuts. Ask them to get the mail for you.

 

17. Remove the plastic bags from cereal boxes and switch them around. Leave them wondering why Cheerios came out of a box of Lucky Charms.

 

18. Take some nail polish and coat a bar of soap with it. Let it dry. Then put it in the bathroom shower. When they try to use it, they will go nuts trying to get it to lather up.

 

19. Barely unscrew the lightbulb in their nightstand. Repeatedly.

 

20. Hide a large inflatable or scarecrow-type item behind the shower curtain.

 

For the record, I was born missing the “fun” gene. So, while I tend to think teasing my husband is great fun, I get mad when he turns these pranks around on me.

 

So I’ve learned not prank him. Because he always gets me back… worse. And then I get angry and that’s not awesome for marital harmony. So use your best judgement for your own relationship and don’t blame me for the consequences.

 

If all these pranks and annoying goodies are making you feel badly about how you treat your significant other, then take a gander over here to get some ideas of how to really love your mate.

 

In the meantime, what ideas do you have for annoying your spouse or playing an innocent prank on them?

 

This post was originally published September 28, 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

The Imperfection Challenge

A few weeks ago a friend asked if I would write about being inadequate.

 

I’ve been waiting for the right words to appear. Partially out of respect to my friend and wanting to do the topic justice, partly because I fight feelings of inadequacy on a daily basis.

 

Something happened to make today The Day to respond to my friend’s request.

 

I followed click through to click to discover this post over at The Douglass Diaries. As I read I realized I was looking at something profound, something beautiful and something agonizing all at the same time. Her post was inspired by this post by Single Dad Laughing.

 

Take a minute to click through and read both posts.

 

Sunday morning I spent an hour in an upscale mall drinking a cup of coffee and trying to sort out what’s happening in my life; my priorities, my motivations, my hurts, my surrenders, my successes, my failures. As I was grappling with my internal stuff I watched women walk by who made me grieve.

 

They looked beautiful.

 

They looked fake.

 

And, based on the conversations I heard, they didn’t seem to know there was more going on in the world than a tantalizing discussion of their friend who just purchased a Jimmy Choo handbag.

 

I was offended by those women because I sensed they didn’t want to struggle with all the complexity life serves up. Because even from a distance of 25 feet I could scent their facade.

 

Because even though they were physically arresting and carried themselves with confidence, they aren’t perfect. But instead of acknowledging that, they covered it up with long, straight hair, manicured fingernails, and wedge heels.

 

Later I read these posts and realized I’m craving people who can be real. Not raw, but real. I want people around me who can look me straight in the eyes and say, “Yep. This part we’re in right here, yep, it sucks. But we can move forward and the future will be stronger, more pure, more meaningful than what you’re experiencing right now. And remember this other stuff? Isn’t it amazing?!”

 

When I write here I do my best to be real, not raw. I try to share the quirky bits of life so we can all get a chance to smile.

 

But I’m not perfect, I don’t think I have the most perfect life ever. It’s fun for me to take topics and twist the words so it sounds humorous… but the reality is many days I write with sarcasm because if I don’t I’ll likely pull my hair out or do my best to get a one-way ticket to an undisclosed location.

 

All this to say…

 

Read those posts. This one and this one. It won’t take you long. Then come back over here and help me answer this question:

 

Can StealingFaith be about acknowledging the real? Can we build a community over here of people who are flawed but still able to accomplish great things? Do you want to be a part of a community where we can celebrate each other’s successes and grieve together, but never lose hope for an intentional and glowing future?

 

Because I want that. I want to see my own failures and losses and still have the courage to stand tall because I know we are people who are learning to love unconditionally. I want to love unconditionally. I want to recognize my imperfections but refuse to wallow in them.

 

In the words of Single Dad Laughing:

This is me … asking the good people of the world to find somebody to put their arm around and be “real”. This is me, wishing that people would realize how beautiful they are, even with all of their imperfections. This is me, sad and desperate for the girls in this world to love themselves. This is me, a very imperfect man, trying to help others feel a little more perfect by asking you to act a little less perfect.

Will you help me spread “Real”? Tell us below just how perfect you aren’t. You never know who might be alive tomorrow because you were real today. You never know who needs to feel like they aren’t alone in their inability to be perfect. Even if you comment as an anonymous guest, please comment. Tell us what you struggle with. Tell a sad or dark secret. Get vulnerable. Get real.

 

Will you be brave today? Will you be real? Your ability to state your struggle out loud could be the key to changing someone else’s life. I know these other posts have changed mine. Will you accept the Imperfection Challenge, leave a comment and tell just how perfect you aren’t?

 

This post was originally published October 17, 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

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