The Real Neat Blog Award!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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Thank you to for the nomination!

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)


My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

WordPress reader and Twitter

2. What is your favourite sport?


3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2018?

Our family rented a boat and went tubing with the kids. It was a great day on a lake near where we live.

4. What is your favourite quote?

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

English – hands down. Reading and writing – oh yes!

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

That IOWA was the mecca of MFA’s …and what an MFA even was!

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

The violin! I played from 6th grade to 12th grade. I almost played in college but intentionally chose different activities in my college experience.

My nominees are:

Melanie At Home

My Best Friend Adeline



FMF Challenge: WHEN



The word for today is WHEN.


I am tempted to think of this word and write:

When is it my time? I already know that the time is NOW.

More questions come to mind then answers today.

When am I going to feel comfortable and at home in my house?

A decision seems to be on the fringes of my life. When is it going to be revealed to me?

When is my season of thriving rather than obstacle?

When indeed?


If you would like to read more posts from this series click here.

Weekend Coffee Share



It is Sunday! I am so glad we are meeting for coffee again! Two weekends in a row and I am looking forward to a lovely time.

It is October so I think my first coffee will be a pumpkin latte just to celebrate the season! I will have dark black coffee after that. I imagine our conversation will be at least a 3 cupper today.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I really miss the Chile Mocha from Starbucks. I have put the drink in a couple short stories too! I know it is discontinued but I wish the company would bring it back.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have been able to sleep a little more this week. I am getting used to the new house. It is slowly becoming more like home. I was struggling with this a bit this week and my husband reminded me we did a lot of work with the other house months before we moved in. We removed carpet, tile, wallpaper, and junk. We tended to a garden before the renovations were complete. We did have lovely tomatoes and lettuce that year!

If we were having coffee I would ask if you heard Kelly Link was awarded a MacArthur Fellows grant. I am so excited she is honored in this way! I love her short stories as you know. I found out you cannot apply for this award.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I had to replace tires AGAIN on my car. The tire place was quick about it and I didn’t have to sit there for hours so that was a nice surprise. I have to get them aligned now next week.

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If we were having coffee I would ask you what was the most surprising thing for you this week?

If we were having coffee I would ask you what you are looking forward to in the coming week? My fall break is coming up and I am excited to be able to stay at home. No work means no driving. That makes me happy.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am writing every day. I am working on a loose outline for NANOWRIMO. I have been writing every day for the five-minute challenge. I have obviously not been posting my end piece on the blog but I assure you it is insightful and worthwhile.

I am glad we met today! I am looking forward to hearing your surprises and what you are looking forward to.


10 Fall Questions

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Thank you to Rambling Woman for the nomination! She knows I love a list…especially a list of questions!


1.  What is one candle you MUST light every fall?

Apple cider candles! I recently found out about roasted marshmallow scent which I will be picking up.

2. When you think of fall, what does it remind you of?

When I think of fall, I think of cooler temps so I can wear sweatshirts! They are my favorite especially right out of the dryer.

3.  What is your all-time favorite fall/Halloween movie?

Hocus Pocus. Yes, I’m definitely following the masses with this one.

4. What Halloween costume do you have in mind?

I think that I want to be a classic witch this year!

5. What is your favorite fall trend?

Boots and long sweaters with jeans.

6. When you think of fall, what drink comes to mind?

Hot coffee – always. There was a Chili mocha drink at Starbucks last fall I adored. I need to check if they are bringing it back!

7. What is your go-to fall beauty product? A must-have staple!

Vaseline – for extra dry spots and for chapped lips. It is simple but necessary.

8. Do you prefer apple pie or pumpkin pie?

Pumpkin pie! I love the pumpkin pie Blizzards from Dairy Queen too!


9. Do you have any fall traditions? If so tell us all about them!

Going to the local apple orchard and eating many (probably too many) apple cider doughnuts. I also love to take runs down the trail where all the leaves are changing.

10. The moment of truth, is fall your favorite season?

It is not. Winter is. I love the snow outside and sitting in front of the fire.


Tag 5

The second step to this post is to tag five fellow bloggers to tackle these questions if they choose to do so. Here are five blogs I enjoy reading:

Therapy Bits


Sparkle and Style




Follow the White Rabbit #SOL18

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Photo by Tejas Prajapati on


One of the philosophies I try to live by is

Follow the White Rabbit: Be Brave.

What does this mean to me?

It means that I need to allow myself to follow the unknown even if it takes me into Wonderland.

It means that I need to move out of my comfort zone INTENTIONALLY.

I believe that fear is somewhat imagined. Our brains like to work ahead about what MIGHT happen. It is the same rabbit hole we can go down with the idea of what we SHOULD be doing. I have to not allow this thinking to stop me from experiences and knowledge that will make my life richer.

Great moments cannot happen if I refuse to experience them.

Yesterday I was interviewed for a podcast I listen to regularly. It is going to air in February so I will be posting that information later but it was a white rabbit moment for sure.

I am starting several programs at work that I am excited about but there is an element of the unknown. The potential for greatness is vast.

Following the white rabbit means I have to pay attention to opportunities that are presented to me – I cannot let them pass me by because I hesitated.

Where will you follow the white rabbit?







Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month! Today is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day! The question posed for today is:

October 3 question – How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Writing has always been a part of my life. When I have taken the time to look back through my journals, morning pages or other writings, the bulk of words get on the page when my days are dark.

Writing helps me cope. It is my escape. This last 3 months I have moved 3 times among other personal ups and downs. I wrote every day. I gave myself the challenge to write a short story every day in September and accomplished more than 30. The challenge gave me a focus every day.

I have the advantage of technology now and the ability to dictate into my phone. I have always carried a notebook with me but am diligent about writing in it now. One of my favorite activities is to write down conversations that I overhear.  A major change when I started working at my current job was a 2 hour total commute in the car. It is almost impossible to write in a notebook while driving but dictating and listening to writing podcasts help reframe that time into something productive.

I know what I think by writing it out. It helps me work out what is happening in my head and helps me to not overthink. My brain function and my thinking are fast-paced and writing helps me slow down, especially when I write longhand. I like to play with different style pens and notebooks. As a type of therapy, I play with various outcomes and actions to different circumstances.

Writing is my lifeline and I am grateful for it!

Grateful Tuesday

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  1. Writer friends that talk writing

Superstars from Storyaday

My real life group that meets at the library

Other writers that are not connected

2. Beta readers

It is nice to have someone to trust

3. Skype and Zoom

4. Fall flavored coffee – Starbucks Fall Blend – Hearty with Spice Notes

5. The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

6. Writer notebooks

7. Stories

8. Cooler temps – thankful it is October!

9. Libraries

10. Love and acceptance


What is something you are thankful for today?



2 Strategies to Increase Happiness!

Permission and Gratitude


Kim Strobel is a Happiness Consultant that I was excited to hear speak on Sept 15. Her company is called Strobel Education and she talks about a variety of topics.

There were two big takeaways from this session which is relevant to today because there are things that are already starting to unravel! It is too early in the school year for that jazz!!!


Increase Your Happiness – Strategy 1: Permission Slips

This one actually comes from Brene Brown – to write your self a permission slip like when you were in elementary school and going on a field trip.

So right now…on a post-it note write:

I give myself permission…



Increase Your Happiness – Strategy 2: Gratitude

On a different post-it note write 3 things you are grateful for – right now! The research shows 3 is the magic number – just like in writing.


What are your permissions to yourself and your gratitude list?





10ish Things I Learned Over the Weekend

20180915_085949.jpgI was honored to be able to attend the Indiana State Literacy Association (ISRA) Fall conference. I used to be heavily involved with this organization when it was still called ISRA (Indiana State Reading Association).

The main reason I wanted to attend was because Pernille Ripp was the keynote speaker. I was not disappointed in either her keynote or her breakout session. She is a unique educator and reading warrior and a seventh grade English teacher.

Here are some highlights!

Her keynote was full of great educational wisdom and in the fashion of a true writer, she used her unique voice and uttered several funny statements.

  • Pernille was able to live in the United States with her mother on 3 occasions in her childhood. When she was 18 she moved to Wisconsin where she said,

I met a boy.

That boy introduced me to a much better boy.

Thank God!”


  • She started teaching in 4th grade (Like me!) and she said, “I graduated college with my fictitious lesson plans.” This made me laugh because it is true! I know in college we learn the whole process but my lesson plans never look like the ones from college in the “real teaching world”
  • “I know the student through the stories that we share.”
  • “If I know the books you like I know you more deeply as a person.”
  • Reading needs to be fun.

We cannot say that reading is the most important and then not give them time to read!


To Create Readers We Need:

  • Inclusive libraries – kids read more when they are surrounded by books. Even if the school library is right outside your door, that sometimes is too far. You need books in your room.
  • Sacred time to read
  • Exploration of self and reading identity
  • Choice to discover what they like or dislike
  • Relevant and meaningful work
  • Building a community of readers


The question that stayed with me:

How do we protect the hope of readers?


Her breakout session was about picture books and how to use them in the classroom. She reads a picture book to her 7th graders on the first day of school to kick the year off correctly.



My Amazon cart and library holds are going to be busy bees!!

If you have the chance to hear her speak, do it! She is inspiring and heartwarming.


Who is a professional you would love to hear speak?


26 Questions

Thank you to This, That, and the Other for posting these questions on his blog!

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1. Share your profile pic:

2. Who are you named after?

Debbie Reynold’s movie character Tammy

3. Do you like your handwriting?

Sometimes. I write differently with different pens. I get compliments on my handwriting which makes me snicker.

4. What’s Your Favorite Lunchmeat?

Butterball Deli turkey –  thickly sliced

5. Longest relationship?

It will be with my husband.

6. Do you still have your tonsils?

No, they were removed when I was 4 because I couldn’t eat because they had grown so large.

7. Would you bungee jump?


8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?


9. Favorite ice cream?

Coconut without nuts

10. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their shoes! ha ha Usually their smile – or lack there of.

11. Football or Baseball?

White Sox!!!

12. What color pants are you wearing?

You all lucked out! Usually, I am in a dress – today my pants are army green.

13. Last thing you ate?

Pork tacos from a little family owned Mexican place

14. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?


15. Favorite smell?

Bleach – it’s very clean!

16. Who is the last person you spoke to on the phone?


17. Hair color?

Dark blonde -all natural

18. Eye color?

Blue or green depending on my mood

19. Favorite food to eat?

Pizza or bread

20. Scary movies or happy endings?


21. Last movie you watched?


22. Favorite holiday?

Hands down – Thanksgiving

23. Beer or wine?

Both, but usually Jack.

24. Favorite day of the week?

Sunday – usually a slower pace

25 Three favorite bloggers you want to learn more about?

HubCity Girl

The Introverted Christian

Chuck Wendig

26. Added info you didn’t know you wanted

I like the random little lines of text that are added in books or articles. The footnotes if you will! It is the reason I liked Abundance of Katherines by John Green.


How would you answer these questions?

Pick them all! Pick one! Pick three!

Happy writing!