Hobbies, Jobs, Career, & Vocation: Creativity Prompt #2


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In keeping with the spirit of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop, here is my response to prompt #2 of my creativity notebook. See prompt #1 here.

Hobbies, Jobs, Career, & Vocation

Creativity Notebook Prompt #2

Elizabeth Gilbert advises us to distinguish between our hobbies, jobs, career, and vocation. To help you sort through these elements in your own life, take a few minutes to complete the exercise below on a new page in your creativity notebook.

What activities do you participate in on a daily basis? Try to itemize what you do on both the typical week day and the typical weekend day. What are all the activities that you wish you could do more of that might not be included on your list?

On the typical weekday, I work a 7.5 hour day at my job (sometimes overtime), take my daughter to her activities, including cheerleading, swim lessons, library events, etc., and then go home to get her fed and in bed, relax or clean the house, and then sleep. Now that I have started a direct sales job, I am also trying to find time to post on Facebook to encourage sales, run online parties, and promote my business.

On the typical weekend, I sleep in as long as my daughter will allow, and we relax around the house. Some weekends, we have events to go to, such as walk/runs, library events, or other kids events around town, and I usually have a meeting with my book club. The weekends are generally dedicated to cleaning the house, taking care of shopping or other errands, and relaxing.

I am having trouble finding time for my direct sales, so I definitely want to find more time for that. I also want to find more time to be out on my own, taking pictures or writing at a scenic place. Right now, I take time away from “mom life” to go to book club, and I feel bad leaving my daughter, but I also know that I need to focus on me time as well. I would love to have an opportunity to volunteer also.


Hobbies: Photography, Book Club, Meditating/Exercising

Jobs: State Job, KEEP Direct Sales

Career: KEEP Direct Sales

Vocation: Photography, Counseling


Is it feasible for you to move any of your hobbies towards the career category? What will that take? What risks and rewards will be involved?

Photography, perhaps, but that would be require investment in a nice camera and some sort of technical class on photography to learn tips and techniques. Also, a time commitment to take pictures of others is required and my schedule should be pretty open.

If it is necessary to keep your day job, are there ways that you could carve out adequate time to pursue your creative hobbies on the side?

This is a huge struggle for me. What little time I do have is spent recouping from my on the go lifestyle. Especially with my chronic pain, I am constantly struggling to keep up and I generally crash or nap when I have down time. Taking better care of myself will hopefully free up more time, and I need to take better advantage of weekends that are more open.

What is your vocation? What do you need to keep making time for in your life even if no one will ever pay you for it or you will never earn wide acclaim or recognition?

Writing and photography. Counseling (volunteering) if possible.



Curiosity Cat Scan: Creativity Notebook Prompt #1


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In keeping with the spirit of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Creativity Workshop, here is my response to prompt #1 of my creativity notebook.

Curiosity Cat Scan

Creativity Notebook Prompt #1

Elizabeth Gilbert says that to get started on your creative journey, it can help to look for “little tiny patches of sparkle or light” inside your mind that signal your curiosity. She suggests asking: “What is effervescent in me? What bubbles a little bit? What is a little bit interesting?” You should stay alive to the things that keep you curious, no matter how tiny or random or inconsequential they seem. Once you find those sources of light, she suggests “grabbing onto them like it’s a rope” and using them to pull you towards your next creative project. Remember how she used her interest in gardening to propel her towards writing her novel, The Signature of All Things!

What are you doing when you feel most beautiful?

When I feel most beautiful, it’s usually because I’m producing a powerful or impactful piece of art. Whether it be my photography, poetry, or writing, when I produce something beautiful, I feel beautiful too as its creator. Writing is difficult for me anymore, as I generally write when I’m depressed or melancholy, and while I still have a significant amount of that in my life now, it’s a lot different when you’re married with a child and a full-time job and not just a down and out sixteen year old with the world against her.

My photography was difficult, but impactful. I miss that feeling of accomplishment. I miss my series on addictions, I miss the search for a beautiful run down barn to capture. I still remember my mother driving me around, helping me find the perfect spot to start clicking. Photography is still incredible interesting to me, as is my work on addictions. Perhaps I can combine the two once again to crank out a great photography series. The photography light bulb in my brain still goes off, frequently, reminding me that I should recapture the moments. Perhaps I should listen to it.

Genuine intentionality of language


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On today’s meditation:

Intentionality of language can be a double edged sword if the words you speak are not from a genuine soul. Intentionality of language lends to honesty and truth. I have always aspired to live a life in which I could tell the whole truth all the time. I keep no secrets and tell no half truths. I wasn’t always this way, but I pride myself on eventually reaching this milestone. This is the purest way to live because I don’t have to spend time formulating backup stories. Instead, I speak with an intentionality that gives power to my words but does not silence the genuine truths, stalling my words and filtering ideas. I talk fast, with luster, and with all that I have to give.


More on the intentionality of language from a prior post.

Finally wearing my non-practical, pretty shoes


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Finally wearing my non-practical, pretty shoes

FDR once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

I fear a lot of things. I fear death. I fear losing my loved ones. I fear a future that is not sustainable for the following generations. I fear pain, loss, injury, disappointment, lack of control. But mostly, I fear fear. FDR had it right. I have let my fear, namely my fear of death, control my present.

I’m only 25, and while I have a family, I’d hardly say I’ve left a legacy. There are so many THINGS I want to do with my life. And, I have a while before I will get to them, unfortunately. I have to wade through the mundane (40 hour workweek, paying off the mortgage, financing my daughter’s private school) before I can really set my eyes on the prize. Retirement calls to me, and I have to constantly remind myself not to wish away my life.

But death. It’s so final. It’s so certain. Especially being an atheist, accepting death is difficult because it is accepting the end of existence. And how can I pass on my legacy if I no longer exist?

The media-infused world of hatred that I live in today terrifies me on the regular. I can still remember being a scared and confused 11 year old when the World Trade Centers collapsed. I was only 9 when Columbine happened. My twenties have been filled with even more war, terror, and fear.

Even so, I was able to keep a mental distance from the terror. It wasn’t happening in my small town. It wasn’t happening on my street. I was safe.

About five months ago, I was sitting in my supervisor’s office discussing a case. One of my coworkers and our floor’s safety monitor came in and said that it was rumored that someone in the building had a gun. Fight or flight mode? Nope. I started crying. Immediately. The loud speaker came on and announced that there was an active shooter in the building and we were to exit. I walked quickly across the sixth floor, in plain sight but trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, blocking out everything around me as I zoned in on the stairwell. As we evacuated the building minutes later, I texted my husband that I loved him, tears streaming down my face and my text grammatically incorrect because I was shaking too badly to type.

All was fine, and apparently it was just a plethora of misinformation that led to that terrifying day. But, ever since then, I’ve worn practical shoes. Tennis shoes. Slip-on sneakers. Shoes that would be good for running. I’ve never bought into the hundreds of pairs of heels thing, but I do like some cute flip flops every now and then. I’ve been too scared to wear them since that day. What if I need to escape, and I’ve chosen non-practical shoes? That could be a matter of life and death.

I am tired of living in fear. How silly is it that I actually let this scare of an incident impact my daily clothing choices? How silly is it that I am terrified to turn a corner in this building, and the hair on the back of my neck stands up every single time the fire alarm goes off?

If our building is ever faced with a similar scare, I will run like hell in my bare feet if I have too, but I can’t let those creeping emotions hide in the crevices of what sanity I have left.

Walking with the trees


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On today’s meditation:

Trees have many symbolic meanings. From birth and rebirth to rooted pasts to constant growth skyward. Trees can take many meanings and resemble many things, but I’ve never felt them to be negative. They are northern-bound, they are rising, they are growing, feeding on the earth and sprouting toward the glorious sunshine.

Walking with the trees lends an aspiration to reach for the sky. Just as you are likely to adapt the sentiments and behaviors of those around you, walking amongst the trees lengthens my neck, straightens my posture, boosts my self-esteem, opens my diaphragm, and focuses my attention upward and outward.

You don’t simply walk with the trees, but you become the trees. Growing taller as such, sprouting from your roots, you expand, up and out, endlessly.

Over the next few reflections, I hope to find symbolic trees in my life, ready to stand in when time and life do not allow a walk among real ones.


Secular meditation: Becoming one with yourself


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Secular meditation: Becoming one with yourself

I always thought of meditation as a “becoming one with G/god” type of practice, and even when I was semi- spiritual and/or religious, I didn’t enjoy meditation. (I’ve always struggled with the talking to myself internally thing—if big-g god is omniscient, he knows without me asking, right?) I also have trouble controlling my breathing, and until recently, even thinking about breathing makes it hard for me to breathe (it’s a terrible anxiety-ridden paradox that makes meditative exercises difficult and annoying at times).

I always felt like there was something better I could be doing with my time. You know what I ended up doing with my time instead? Sitting my butt on the couch and watching TV. Sleeping a few extra restless minutes. Aimless wandering around my kitchen looking for a snack that I didn’t need.

I might get some flak for this, but I’m going to lay it out bluntly and I’m very curious as to how many people will relate. Now, I’m an atheist so I don’t have a problem with the whole “you shalt not have any other gods before me” commandment, but if you’re of the religious sort, what I’m about to say might be a little blasphemous. But, realizing the following has completely opened my eyes to the world.

I am my own god. Now, most of you readers either know me or have read enough of my stuff to know that I am not this incredibly pompous, self-righteous, self-centered asshole who truly thinks I am god. But, even as a pseudo- or mildly religious person (in my older/becoming agnostic years), I absolved myself of loads of responsibility. I never quite bought into the whole predetermined fate spiel, but I certainly believed that everything happened for a reason and that big-g god had a certain plan for me. Life was going to work itself out one way or another, through big-g god’s love, guidance, and direction. I had no incentive to look inward for that motivation. It was externally present and seemingly successful.

When you start to think of yourself as your own god—your own motivator, the single controller of your own destiny, happiness, and success, your own scapegoat, and your own central driving principle, the axis tilts a little. Just as you would want to read the Bible, study gospel, pray, or meditate to become one with big-g god, you do so similarly as your own god. You want to study yourself, become omniscient and omnipotent in your own life, and become one with yourself. There are many ways to do this, and reflection isn’t completely mandatory (perhaps it’s just the psychologist in me), but meditation is a great way to tune in to your deeper self, to take the control from outward forces, and to really become one.

I’m not antitheist by any means; I do feel that religion lends some productivity to its followers. However, by finding religion in myself, I am able to do the same. So while I may be atheist, I’m not necessarily nonreligious. I just look inward instead of outward.

Meditation offers a regimented (yet personalized), structured or unstructured, effective way to communicate with one’s self. The great thing about meditation is that you can make it whatever you want. My primary focus in meditation is to become present. As Lao Tzu said, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” I struggle greatly with being present.

Looking for more structured activities to infiltrate my daily life, I searched for secular daily devotionals. I can still remember the Christian children’s daily devotionals I did when I was younger; the ordered and organized way in which I could delve deeper into a greater purpose and meaning was exactly the kind of “homework” that keeps me from getting stale and bored with life. As I started to leave my religious background, poetry became my escape, and I funneled my thoughts, emotions, and attempts at self-reflection into numerous writings. But, I’ve always struggled with writing poetry when I’m “happy” and it’s always been my sad release; now that I am in a more stable and systematic adult life, I hardly have time to let the depression of my teenage years take over (instead, it’s a constant state of melancholy).

Unfortunately, there aren’t many secular daily devotionals, at least not with the focus that I intended. Instead, I’m going to read 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts by R. J. Palacio. I hope that it will give me just the kick in the pants that I need to find positivity and meaning in my daily life and to be aware and ever-present.

If you’re wary of meditation, I say give it a try. Try stretching. Try gentle music. Try journaling. Try reading. Try searching for positive quotes. Try massage. Try reflecting. Just do you. I’ll keep you updated as I try. My book comes in today. Yay!

Never ever give up, unless you’ve already given up


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Never ever give up, unless you’ve already given up


If you follow my husband and/or myself on social media, you probably think we have it made. You might envy us or applaud us for our seemingly flawless relationship. But as the adage goes, nothing is perfect. Our relationship is no different. In fact, it’s far from.

In fact, we have been together nearly six and a half years, and we’ve broken up a time or two (I even returned my engagement ring to the store!), we’ve fought endlessly, and we’ve seriously discussed separating. Then… when our fights escalate to the “d-word,” something clicks. We get mushy and annoying and emotional and clingy and the d-word becomes a distant memory.

Loved ones will always fight. One of my favorite quotes goes something along the lines of: Everyone will hurt you. Life is about figuring out the ones worth hurting for. This couldn’t be more true. Friends hurt you, family members hurt you, acquaintances can hurt you. Why would you expect any different from someone that has to tolerate you at your very worst, 365 days of the year, all day and all night?

Why would you expect that someone who has to share their personal space with you on the daily would not hurt you? And furthermore, why would you expect that someone who you have given your heart, someone who encouraged you to tear down barriers and walls, someone who has been given the key to your heart and has the ability to unlock that door at any time, wouldn’t hurt you? Everyone hurts you. Marriage is about choosing someone that makes the hurt worthwhile.

When my husband proposed to me over six years ago, we made a commitment to one another. To stick together through “thick and thin,” “sickness and health,” blah blah blah “til death do us part.” (“Me, you, and a box…”) You probably had similar vows. But, we meant them. We mean them. Do I believe in divorce? Sure. But I’m also pretty kick ass at finishing what I start (when I want to) and that was my intent with this marriage from day one.

In truth, there’s only ONE reason we have made it this far, and will weather the storm through eternity. We want to. Sure, we fight. Sure, we’ve made mistakes. HUGE mistakes. Sure, this poor man hardly gets any because I’ve stayed so sick for so long. And of course, I have to deal with his video gaming addiction! But, we will persevere for the simple reason that we want to be together forever.

The kicker here? We both want to. No relationship will ever work if it’s one-sided. I truly believe that with the commitment of TWO invested parties, with the perseverance of two stubborn people that will fight to be together, anything can work out. But with one person? You’re taking out half of an equation. In no universe (at least not that we’re aware of), does 50% ever equal 100%.

Strong relationships will falter, but it is in leaning on one another that they can progress. Do yourself a favor. If you’re in a one-sided relationship, leave. You’re not giving up. Someone else has given up a long time ago. Never give up! Unless, someone has already given up. (And if you never even had their heart in the first place, GO!) Then, there’s not much you can do but to do you.

Much love, and a shout out to my wonderful husband who sticks by me through thick and thin.

The crux of language: it’s only effective when it’s intentional


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The crux of language: it’s only effective when it’s intentional

If you encounter me in a non-professional situation away from little human ears, you will likely hear a plethora of words… bad, filthy dirty, cuss words.

In fact, they’re my favorite. Fuck is my absolute favorite! I’ve never discovered another word that could so accurately describe such a broad range of emotions. It’s appropriate when I’m happy, sad, excited, angry, it adequately describes high levels of pain and ecstatic levels of pleasure, and it is also a very descriptive verb! Catch me without my kid and you’re likely to experience a very colorful exclamation of my truest emotions.

I’ve never bought into the whole “bad” words premise. They’re just words. How can they be bad? Sure, there are appropriate and inappropriate times to use them. In fact, my daughter turned 5 in November and she has never heard a “bad” word from myself or my husband. Is this because we think they’re bad? Fuck no! It’s because we don’t think she is old enough to understand when to appropriately use them, so we’ve intentionally evaded usage around her until she is old enough to understand. In fact, she’s only ever said two “bad” words, and that’s because she asked what they meant when she heard them in the media. Steve Harvey dropped the “d word” on Family Feud one night, and Grandma told Aubrey one of her favorite songs had a bad word in it—which of course mommy had to decipher and explain—it was “hell.” So of course, we discussed what they mean, why they’re used, and why she shouldn’t use them until she is able to ensure that she won’t pop one out in front of her classmates.

One of my favorite books, Slammed, by Colleen Hoover, addresses the whole bad word thing. One little girl in the book got in trouble for using bad language, so she started substituting the word butterfly or butterflying for cuss words. It’s brilliant! Her sentences sound ridiculous, but she totally gets her point across! I can tell you’re much more excited if you say you’re “butterflying” excited, rather than just simply saying you’re excited. Which sounds exciting?! Hoover has a great point. It is actually the context of the word that makes it bad, but why does butterflying have to be any different than damn? It’s only different because people have added that connotation to it.

I can still remember being afraid of these words when I was little. I was fascinated with them, and I used them away from my parents, but the rules were very clear—I was not to use them. I even recall printing a poem with damn on it from my mom’s printer and forgetting about it—I was terrified when she came home and questioned me about it.

Now that I’m an adult, I can use them whenever I want. And I LOVE THEM so I use them a lot!

But the great thing about my bright vocabulary is its intentionality.

Words have power—great power. You all know the age-old poem, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, and you all know how fucking untrue it is. Words hurt! Words encourage. Words boast. Words empower. Words explain. Words exclude. Words are incredibly fucking powerful. Your words have the most power when you truly mean them, when you’ve thoughtfully and excruciatingly prepared them, when they’re accurate and appropriate for the situation. I usually like to write out my thoughts and feelings, one of the reasons why I blog, rather than having verbal conversations because I don’t like being thrown off base by my own emotions. If I can thoroughly consider my reply, I can adequately explain my position. I’ve never been good at quick recall and verbal debate—I much prefer to intentionally arrange my thoughts before presenting them. If you talk to me on facebook messenger, I might even drive you crazy, because I type…delete…type…delete…type…delete and those damn elipses appear and disappear, and I edit a billion times before hitting submit. You can be sure that 99% of the time, my thoughts are accurate and honest. Even after I post my blogs, I read them about 8-10 more times, just to check for typos and clarity (and to make myself feel better because I have more views…ha!). Words are powerful! I don’t throw them around willy-nilly, because that would take the power away from them. That would take the power away from me.

The majority of my words are intentional, unless I am inebriated or I (rarely) let my emotions take control. I have never cussed in front of a kid (that was old enough to repeat me), and I pride myself on that. I have a filthy mouth, but put me in a room with your two year old and I could sell Orbit without a guilty conscience. Intentionality spares unwanted repetition by kids, but it also empowers your words. Be powerful. Be intentional. And damnit, use some colorful words sometime. They’re fucking great! (See, wouldn’t Tony the Tiger sound even better if he expanded his catchprase?!)

I fucking love you all. 😉 Until next time.

Why I will vote for the democratic nominee, no matter what


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Why I will vote for the democratic nominee in the 2016 election, no matter what


I’m a Bernie supporter all the way. I’ve fully embraced his democratic socialist stance, and there are quite literally a million and one reasons why I am voting for him. But, if he doesn’t get the nomination, which is quite literally a toss-up (or, maybe 6 of them…), I will vote for Hillary.

Do I like Hillary? No, I really don’t.

Do I think she’s trustworthy? Nope. Most politicians aren’t, not that this fact makes it any better.

Do I stand by her on every promise of her campaign? Of course not. I don’t even stand by ALL of Bernie’s campaign promises.

But, the thing about voting, is whether or not you vote, and no matter who you vote for, you are voting.

If you’re a Dem and you don’t vote? Count it as a vote for the GOP.

You’re a Republican not voting? Might as well vote Dem.

If you’re a Trump supporter that hates Cruz in the lead, you’re handing a vote to blue.

And if you’re a Bernie supporter that skips over Hillary, you’re voting red.

I’ve never ever been a straight ticket voter, and I pride myself on learning as much as I can about the candidates so that I can make an informed decision. I will never vote for someone just because they are the democratic candidate, and there are actually a few Republican candidates that I WOULD choose over Hillary. But, unfortunately, the GOP race is down to three men, and I don’t want any of them in charge of my country. Hillary really is the lesser of two evils here.

People say you shouldn’t vote for the lesser of two evils, but really, you have to. And as I said, even by passively not voting, you’re voting against your interests. Think about what is passionate to you. If you’re big on national healthcare, you better keep your vote blue. Want to protect the civil rights of gay marriage? You have to vote blue. If these issues are your passion, you have to support someone who will entertain these ideas in office.

In poll information provided by CBS news, 14% of democrats will not support Hillary in the national election. That’s a 14% swing vote for the republicans, which is fine and dandy, if you’re not a proponent of Obamacare and same sex marriage. Check out I’m a Bernie Sanders voter…Salon for one of these 14% (and FYI, if you’re still not sold on Bernie, this article serves that purpose as well!). This perspective is grandiose. It’s good in theory, it’s good to stand on principle and attempt to shut down the DNC and all of Hillary’s backwards ways, but you can’t do it singlehandedly! With something as large and important as determining the leader of our country for the next FOUR YEARS, you can’t throw your vote away on principle. A non-vote for Hillary is a vote for racism, discrimination, exclusion. A non-vote for Hillary is a vote against the true American way.

If you’re a democrat but these issues aren’t important to you, by all means, don’t vote blue or don’t vote at all. But, if you’re passionate about liberal issues, you better make sure your vote stays in the left column.

I am secretly (well, it’s no secret now) hoping that this thinking will similarly wound the GOP with as many Trump and Cruz bashers as exist out there. But regardless of what party you claim, I hope you will really focus on the issues that are important to you.

The app that saved my life: How to stay organized


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Well, that’s probably a little dramatic. It didn’t save my life. But, it saves my sanity on the daily. I used to be extremely organized, and I am ridiculously OCD. I am still organized, but it’s a LOT MORE WORK to do so now. It drains my energy like nobody’s business, and my memory is honestly smaller than that of an ant (do ants have a good memory? If so, insert forgetful beings here).

If you have an iPhone, well, I feel bad for you. Not really, but I’m not an iPhone fan and they’re not nearly as customizable, so I’m not sure how you would accomplish something like this on your phone. If you have an Android, you’re in for an organizational lifesaver!

  1. Download Buzz Launcher-Smart&Free Theme.


  1. Pick your theme and put everything where you want it. You can move around your icons and such. I am using one called Elegant (but I have changed my icons… you can edit your icons on your home screen by hold-pressing, and you can change them to ANY icons available through the Launcher). Leave as much room on your home page as you think you will need for your agenda. I like my agenda to show as much as it can, so my icons are tiny and out of the way, leaving most of the home screen open.


  1. Go to your home screen and then scroll up. You will see all of your icons. At the top of that page, there should be “APPS” and “WIDGET.” Click on widget.


  1. Find the SolCalendar widget. Install the one you prefer. To have yours look like mine, choose the [Sol] Agenda 4×5. You will be able to click and drag to your home screen.


  1. Change the transparency if you prefer by clicking the settings (wheel) button next to your agenda on the home screen.


  1. Add your events and to-do’s! You can choose stickers for each of your events, you can put in reoccurring events, you can set reminders, etc. And, it’s all front and center when you unlock your phone!


  1. Make sure to link your account with a log-in so that if your phone is broken or stolen, you can retrieve your calendar items from the SolCal server.
  2. De-stress! Enjoy having everything right at your fingertips.

Let me know if you have questions. If you have never installed a Launcher, it can be confusing and difficult, but I can try to walk you through it. The Buzz Launcher is awesome because you can change colors, backgrounds, icons, layout, delete pages, etc. Happy organizing!