Twas The Night Before Blogging…

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‘Twas the night before Fabulous Blogging, when all through the HomeOnDeranged

Every bloppy was blogging, even time-zoned Lizzi (not that she’s deranged)

Pen Paper Pad laid on the desk with care

In hopes that Hasty Words would soon be there

Carrie Anne Foster and TwinDaddy nestled all snug in their beds (not together)

While visions of Enchanted Seashells danced in the rain - I mean danced in their heads (it was the weather)

Gunmetal Geisha with Sand in Her Toes, and Aussa Lorens and her wonderfully unkempt locks,

Rattled their brains against the muted voice of writer’s block.

When out in Our Land there arose such a clatter,

I summoned my Left Brain Buddha before seeing what was the matter

Off to social media I flew like an indiebutterfly

Threw open all tabs, and let out a sigh.

Words of deliciousness and musings on motherhood

Gave a lustre of calculated chaos out in the bloggerhood.

And what to my wrinkled mommy eyes should appear

But closet confessionals from a recovering pessimist! Elleroy was here?

Like an honest mom with some bitch and some wine,

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I knew in a moment Don Of All Trades was online.

More rapid than eagles, his comments they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and tagged all by name:

Now, Samara! Now, Kim! Now, Beth and Jhanis!

On, StephanieOn, Katia! and Her Royal Thighness!

To the top of the Twitter feed and FB walls!

Now blog away, blog away, blog away all!

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot

A bundle of toys (sex toys if I had to guess), he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack,

His eyes how they twinkled (no doubt what he was thinking)

As the cursor on his screen continued its blinking

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow

As he encouraged the bloppies to give it a go!

The stump of a pencil, he held tight in his teeth

And he wielded his words on the keyboard beneath

He was witty and funny, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed at his comments, in spite of myself;

He wrote and he wrote, of home and of work

Filled all the comment threads, and was sometimes a jerk,

But a wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave all to know there was nothing to dread.

And like the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow

Bloppies’ computers gave a lustre of midday glow

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up the google ranks, the bloggers they flew

With a folder full of drafts, and some good leads too

And then in a twinkling it was heard all around

The clicking and clacking as their fingers did pound

I took a brief pause to kiss my list of so then stories and notes from the shallow end,

Of well tempered bards, my chef’s last diet, and laugh lines to mend

Of nurse mommy laughs, the Science of Parenthood, and Sarah’s brand new chapter

Of A Mother Life and that American Small Town feeling I wanted to capture

The words came to life on the glowing screen

An early gift from St. Nick or was it Don Re?

Either way the bloppies were grateful (Thank you Honey)

And went about writing both the sad and the funny.

Whether you’re still becoming super mommy or it’s after the kids leave

Write like chocolate with grace, the words flowing  - no reprieve

Whether an Indian American Mom, An Inquiring Parent or a CarPool Goddess

The Mother of Imperfection, In Ripped Jeans and Bifocals, or Blessed but Stressed

This talk ain’t cheap and perfection may be pending

Cellulite looks better tan, and our passion for words is never-ending

Whether 10,000 followers or merely just ten, let your light shine

Can I get an Amen or Another bottle of whine?

May your readers eyes twinkle, their spirit be merry

May the agents start calling when they’re blown by your query.

Celebrate your talents and let out a whistle

Let your words blanket the net like the down of a thistle,

Be true to yourself in your writer’s plight

Happy Blogging to all and to all a good night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please and Thank You…Say It With Me

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From a young age, we are taught to say please and thank you. Over and over, we are told to use our manners, thanking someone for inviting us over for a playdate, thanking someone when we are given a compliment. We are encouraged to say thank you when a treat is bestowed upon us and we are expected to say thank you when we are given a gift.

And yet, as we grow into adults focused on getting through a busy day, we throw out “thank yous” without truly meaning them. We often go through the motions, rushing to the next appointment, meeting, deadline without really seeing all the little moments we have to be thankful for, the little gems throughout our day, our week. We fling a thank you in the general direction of the person wishing us a good day, throw out a quick thank you to the one who paused to hold the door open for us.

The slightest smile when we’re having a rough morning can change our mood if we allow it. A few words from a  friend, letting us know they’re thinking of us is something to cherish. We read them, smile, let them wash over us and warm our heart, yet often quickly move on after hitting send on the little eight letters that make up T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U, the response that has likely brought a smile to the recipient.

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Looking back, I would like to thank ten people who have made a difference in my life this past week, big or small. I challenge you to do the same!

1. To the doctor who really listened to me and ran the proper tests to help me find answers. I thank you. It makes a huge difference to find a doctor who cares enough to listen.

2. On that note,  I am thankful for the medical system in the United States. After having experienced others firsthand, I will no longer take this one for granted.

3. To the school bus driver who made it a point to wish me a good day every morning when picking up my son. It’s a nice start to the day. Thank you.

4. To the stranger at the grocery store who complimented my hair. I’ve been having good hair days since moving to a less humid climate, but it is always nice when someone notices. Thank you.

5. To my husband, my other half, who was home all week instead of traveling. It’s nice to have you home sharing the responsibilities of this exhausting thing we call parenting. Thank you for being my partner in life.

6. To the people at Nordic who make treadmills, thank you for making mine. It has been a savior as I try to ease myself back into exercising as I continue to recover from my fractured foot.

7.  To my daughter, I thank you for wanting to sit and talk to me about your day every, single, afternoon. I cherish those conversations with you and it warms my heart that you ask me to stop what I am doing and sit at the table with you for our afternoon snack.

8. To the trash guys who must be so sick of picking up my numerous empty moving boxes. I’m almost done. I promise! Thank you.

9. To my son, I thank you for your humor.  Your laughter is contagious and you make us all laugh when we need it most. I treasure the fact that you still enjoy cuddling with me and can’t walk past me without stealing a kiss or wrapping your little arms around me for a quick hug.

10. To God, who has blessed me over and over again in so many aspects of my life. I can’t thank you enough. My heart is full because of you. Thank you.

 

Link up your Ten Things Of Thankful Post here!

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Photo Friday: Last Call

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 Photo Friday: Last Call

Our football season has come to end with a non-competitive game to wrap up the season.

What a great group of kids, coaches, and parents we were lucky to spend our weekends with this season!

Photo Friday: Off With Her Head!

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Execution was a public spectacle; free entertainment for the masses. Vendors sold hot potatoes, fruit and gingerbreads, and peddled gin. Life was cheap in an age where diseases raged and life expectancy was short. So frequent were the tortures and punishments, the exact number of victims will never be known.

 

My Starbucks Name Is Leah

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People often ask me how I chose the name Leah Vidal as my pen name when Red Circle Days was published. Well…it’s my Starbucks name and not because they purposely misspell Leonor. I got tired of the barista stuttering when my coffee was ready or worse yet, not even trying to attempt my name at all leaving me to finally approach the counter for my not so hot coffee. I’m not one of those people who needs it piping hot, but I’m not the kind who drinks iced coffee either.

What kind are you?

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Picture this. You have just been served a steaming cup of your favorite coffee. You know, that cup you’ve been tasting since you opened your eyes to the tunes of your local station. Lifting the cup to your lips and inhaling that powerful aroma will make your senses awaken to a brand new day full of possibility, and everything will look just a little brighter with some caffeine in your system. For most of us coffee drinkers, that first morning cup is key to starting our day. That’s a lot of pressure on a little mug, even if it has carried the title of “World’s Greatest Mom” for twelve years and counting.

I personally, am a hold the hot cup in hand for a some time, taking it all in and allowing it to cool down a bit for fear of burning my tongue. However, I have been witness to some who cannot wait one second before taking a gulp. Not only am I in awe of these folks, specifically that their tongue can be submitted to such temperatures without even a flinch, but I also wonder if that’s how they approach life in general.

Coffee Drinker A: Are they the kind that are all about instant gratification, impatient, the “I Want It Now” generation? Are they the kind who don’t think before they leap/drink? Can they not be bothered with strategic planning and cost analysis or are they simply fearless, live in the moment kinda folks who will always take that leap of faith no matter the situation?

Coffee Drinker B: Based on my approach then, I guess I might be categorized as too fearful to make a move, the kind who has to analyze everything before taking a step/sip. Or maybe I just like to savor the moment, commit it to memory before moving on in case what’s coming down the pipeline isn’t as pleasant. I’m definitely comfortable in this category as I’m sure to avoid getting burned.

An interesting and totally random thought…the caffeinated approach to life. Think about it when you pick up your next cup of coffee or as you’re standing in line waiting to be rewarded with a steamy, grande, two sweet n low, skinny latte…oh wait that’s my order. Nevertheless, I guarantee you will observe both types of coffee drinkers all around you.

How about you? Are you Coffee Drinker A or Coffee Drinker B?

Of course, if you’re not a coffee drinker, then it’s a moot point. And, I just basically wasted 2.3 minutes of your life or however long it took you to read this random thought. Cheers!

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Photo Friday: Napa Valley

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“[I]t is the wine that leads me on,
the wild wine
that sets the wisest man to sing
at the top of his lungs,
laugh like a fool – it drives the
man to dancing… it even
tempts him to blurt out stories
better never told.”
― Homer, The Odyssey

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Ten Things Of Thankful

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Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. – Melody Beattie

He was my introduction to so many things in life, my first in so many ways.

He was my start line to events I never knew I wanted to experience, my cheerleader along the way, always waiting there with a smile as I crossed the finish line.

He was my gas pedal when I didn’t know I needed a push and my brakes when I was unaware it was time to slow down.

He loved a road trip –  teaching me so much about life and himself on the open road during long talks I still treasure.

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He taught me lessons I didn’t always learn the first go round, but left me with a knowledge I would find priceless one day.

He was my guiding light when I couldn’t see the darkness that threatened to surround me. A beacon of hope I still gravitate toward.

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He was the first to hold me with strong arms that embraced me in such comfort and safety their presence still lingers on my skin.

He made me laugh when I took life too seriously, always reminding me to seek the joy in the pain.

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He not only worked hard to provide the basic necessities for his family, but more importantly the sense that what we had was more than enough.

A few days of bare feet on warm sand was enough to carry him through the harshest of winters.

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He loved with all his heart and made me want to love and live life as passionately as he did. Music made him come alive in a way that was contagious.

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He gave me more than ten things of thankful. He gave me life and left a legacy of love I will always treasure.

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A special tribute to my dad, my hero, my best friend.

It has been 21 years today since we said good-bye

and while I miss you every day,

I always take a moment on this day to honor you in a special way.

Thank you for being you and in turn making me the woman I am today.

 

Lizzi Rogers from Considerings does a weekly event called “Ten Things of Thankful” and for the first time I am participating. A bit late or a bit early, but participating nonetheless.

In Lizzi’s words – “One day when life was particularly tough, I remembered a trick I’d employed when life had been tough before:

Find ten things, right now, to be thankful for about today.

And I began to write them on Considerings, partly to share what was good in my life, and partly so I could hold myself accountable for doing them. A week’s self-challenge of ten things behest a ten-day challenge, then a two-week challenge, and by that time I’d realised how much change I’d made in myself.

By actively choosing to seek the Good things – by hunting them down and dragging them out (kicking and screaming, sometimes) I was making a change in my own attitude.

Not only that, but people seemed interested in how I was doing this. Inspired to try taking charge in their own lives and actively seeking the Good. So very tentatively, I began a blog hop, with some very supportive, wonderful co-hosts, and Ten Things of Thankful was born.

Dear High School English Teacher, Don’t Kill My Buzz

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I sat at the old worn oak table and nervously tapped my foot on the linoleum floor, stealing glances at my parents as they sat next to me obviously trying to hide their own anxiety. How many students had awaited the unknown in this very room through the years? How many parents accompanied their children, likely being transported to a time when they were the student awaiting the fate thrust upon them by adults they never imagined becoming?

As the black hands ticked on the unsuspecting clock hanging on the wall, student became teacher, teacher became parent, parent became teacher, entering and exiting a place where respect was demanded, expected, obligatory, instilled in us and drilled into our psyche alongside the alphabet.

You, sir, entered the room without so much as a greeting, never acknowledging us as you took the furthest seat possible, distancing yourself and immediately setting the tone for our meeting. My parents said, “Good afternoon” to which you nodded, shuffled a few papers, and let the silence hang heavy between us. My dad and I made eye contact, the look exchanged between us saying, “this should be interesting” as we sat a little straighter and waited for you to speak.

 

“So, I’m told you want to be in Honors English. I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

I looked at my parents and took a deep breath. How could you possibly think it wasn’t a good idea when you had never met me and still hadn’t since you didn’t bother to introduce yourself to us?

 

“I’ve been in Honors English all through high school and would like to continue taking an Honors English course at this school.”

Another deep breath, silence, waiting.

“Well, just because you’ve taken Honors English at your old school doesn’t mean you belong in my class.”

 

Well, this was going splendid. At this rate, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in your class after all.

 

One of my parents spoke, I can’t remember which one, “Her current English teacher here recommended she transfer to your class because she did so well on her first two assignments.”

Red Circle Days

My first book, Red Circle Days, is available through Amazon, Nook, Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Sarah Book Publishing. Click on the photo to buy a copy!

It was then you took the time to look at my parents, almost as though you were surprised to find them in the room. Immediately, I could see the disdain in your eyes because they expressed themselves in English, not their native language, and spoke with an accent. You stared them down as I shifted uncomfortably in the hard, wooden chair. I wanted to tell you I was no longer interested in being in your class. I wanted to tell you I could already tell I would hate it because it was evident to me you were a horrible teacher and even worse human being. Anger bubbled up inside me when you finally responded to my parents. Unfortunately, so did a little something called determination.

“Obviously, English isn’t your first language and while your desire for your daughter’s transcript to reflect four years of Honors English is evident, I don’t believe her past courses have prepared her for my class.”

Looking back, I should have bowed out then, thanked you for your time and not pursued your class. However, I was young and naive, and you made me feel like I had something to prove. I’m not sure what we said to finally convince you to allow me into your class, but you did and so began the year of English hell for me.

It seems you were as determined as I was, except your goal was to tear me down, and constantly remind me I wasn’t good enough for your class. You shot down my creativity, wanting me to follow a set formula for every assignment, going so far as to demand I begin every last paragraph with the word “Thus” and never giving me a grade higher than C. I tried so hard to write the way you demanded, losing my voice in the process, but determined to show you I was a good writer. I approached you for your help since all you offered was critique with no tools to help me on my next assignment.

 

“What can I do to earn more than a C? What am I doing wrong?”

Your response stayed with me for years.

“Nothing really. You’re just not a very good writer.”

And, just like that you extinguished my creative spark. You planted a seed of doubt that grew with each sentence I wrote for many years to come. The sad part is, I let you. I allowed you to convince me that I wasn’t a good writer. I let you strip me of the confidence I had when I took pen to paper and made my words come to life.

I was 18 then, under the impression that teachers always know more than their students, that all teachers want to better their students . I’m now 43 and know better. I now know not all teachers are good teachers, not all teachers have their students’ best interest in mind. Fortunately, I also know teachers like you are the minority.

I don’t know where you are or if you’re still on this earth, but I want you to know something.

My creative spark was reignited. These days, I grow more confident with each sentence I write. I make words come to life and never start my last paragraph with the word “Thus” because to this day that word makes me cringe. However, I’m going to make an exception today because (no thanks to you) I’ve learned I have a way of expressing myself in writing that touches people, that stirs enough emotion for them to come back for more. The beauty is I didn’t have to lose my voice to do so.

Thus, I AM A GOOD WRITER.

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My second book, a collaboration with a group of women writers, is available through Amazon.

My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends is officially released today. My story is on page 69. Click the photo to buy a copy! 

Have you every had a teacher, a boss, a co-worker, a friend, plant a seed of doubt in your mind? How did you handle it? Did you dismiss it or let it grow?