My husband and I went out to a movie for Valentines Day this year.
Now, before you tell me that sounds like a completely ordinary date, let me just explain.
My husband and I have never been on a date to a movie before.
Weird, right? We’ve been to one movie theater since we started dating, and that was for a work function with my job.
It was not romantic.
See, my husband and I started dating in March. Of 2020. For our first date, we were planning to go mini-golfing and then out to dinner. I canceled last minute, because apparently a world-wide pandemic had started and everything was shutting down.
Bit of a rough start to a relationship.
Since we were both low-risk of spreading anything—I work from home and he is a foreman for a construction company and spends most of his time alone in his truck—we decided to take a more socially distanced approach to our dating. We met in a parking lot, I jumped in his truck, and we drove up into the mountains to talk, admire the scenery, and decide if this date was going to take us anywhere.
Spoiler alert, it did.
The next three months of dating were spent driving through the mountains, eating take-out sushi, and watching every single season of The Office beginning to end. I think we were engaged—or getting close to it—before we finally went out to an actual restaurant for dinner. For some reason, this method of dating stuck, and we spend far more time in the mountains—or in sushi restaurants—than we do at the movies or any other typical dating location.
But things are opening up now, and Murder on the Orient Express finally, finally came out in theaters. Second spoiler alert, it was amazing.
As fun as it was to escape for an evening and enjoy our first date movie in a theater together, I am still thankful our relationship began the way it did. I’m also thankful for a man who was brave enough to trap himself in his truck for a three hour drive with a potentially very awkward date just to see if it would go anywhere.
Have you been back to any movie theaters since things have opened up? What did you go see? Tell me about it in the comments!
As many of you know, I left my full-time job in March of last year to start my own business. It was something of a daunting transition. Lots of panicky moments. I came up with a business name, we bought an airplane hanger, I packed up my desk.
It was a whole thing.
But since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of a job vs a career. See, having a full-time, nine-to-five job is very comfortable. You have benefits, your paycheck lands in your bank account every other week, other people tell you what to do and when to do it . . . it’s comfortable. There’s security.
But—and this took me years to finally admit about myself—I am a fiercely ambitious person. I have plans. Plans that don’t involve a nine-to-five or paychecks that land in my bank account every two weeks. Plans that live outside of the nine-to-five. Plans for books and TV shows and projects that are mine instead of someone else’s. Even when I was working my nine-to-five, I was coming home and spending several more hours working on my books or this blog or whatever other projects I felt were necessary to what I was doing at the time. Sometimes that meant editing, or finishing the design on a book cover, or posting on social media.
You wear a lot of hats, when you have your own business.
Wish I’d known that back when I first started.
Someone’s gotta do the taxes and keep track of business documents. And guess what? It’s gonna be me.
Every single time.
But, in the last year as I have been settling into my new role as a business owner, I have discovered the benefits of attaching myself to a dream, not a company or a job or even a project, in fact. Over the years, I have reached the point with projects where they were no longer driving me forward, and I’ve learned to let them go and be thankful for what they’ve taught me, rather than allowing them to hold me back for any longer. The same goes for companies, jobs, and even genres.
In other words, I am allowing for growth. Rather than being discouraged that I no longer have the security of the nine-to-five, I am looking at my career as a collage of projects and seasons, jobs and commissions that will grow into something far larger—and more diverse—than a single nine-to-five is able to offer.
And that, I’m finding, is far more lasting and resilient than a nine-to-five.
Do you have plans that feel too big or too uncomfortable for you? Tell me about them in the comments!
I dislike admitting that there is a kind of writing I can’t do.
I will freely admit that part of this—and only part—is a pride thing. I make my living off of writing, and I like to think that I can do most kinds well.
The not-pride part of the annoyance stems from the fact that I do make my living off of my writing. My career revolves around my ability to communicate with words, and when I run across a style of writing that I don’t automatically adapt to, it bothers me. I’m still a baby in the industry, but one of my goals is to be well-rounded as a writer, with multiple areas of expertise and a fat bag of tricks that I can draw from should the need arise.
So, when I was assigned a homework project a few months back that immediately made me think, ‘Oh, but I can’t write poetry,’ it bothered me.
Because I never write poetry. Ever. It’s not in my bag of tricks, it’s not something I would ever think to do, and it’s not something I would ever, ever claim to be skilled at.
And it bugged me.
And because it bugged me, I did exactly what I always do in these situations.I decided to change it.
Because I am not great about tolerating things that bug me and leaving them in peace, y’all. It’s not my thing.
Since I am a hands-on kind of person and have discovered that my learning style is ‘sit down and do it until you have learned to do it’, I decided to add a document to my computer and fill it with as many bad poems as were needed to produce a few good ones.
In case you’re wondering, it’s a lot.
Less than I was expecting, however. In fact, once I got past the whiny voice in my head that was complaining about not knowing how to write poems, I found that I quite liked writing them.
My original plan of one poem a day was derailed by deadlines, homework assignments, and family problems, but the ones I did produce aren’t too shabby. I plan on sharing a few and continuing to explore this new medium in the next few months.
We’ll see how it goes!
When was the last time you decided to challenge yourself with something you ‘couldn’t’ do? How did it go? Tell me about it in the comments!
Hey, remember how I disappeared for the last three months of 2021?
Yeah, me too.
I have a good reason, actually. See, besides working full time to get two scripts in before the end of the year, I was also in classes.
Class? Classes? One class, stretching out over multiple weeks?
Basically, the show runner for the radio production I work for let me know that one of their freelancers—a college professor—would be giving his college writing course to several of the people on the team. He asked if I wanted to join.
No pressure, of course. I wouldn’t have to do any homework assignments unless I wanted to.
I, naturally, replied very professionally that it sounded like a good opportunity and I would be happy to attend.
Then we hung up and I called four people and screamed because FREE EDUCATION Y’ALL.
Would you like a life tip?
Never, under any circumstances, pass up on free education in your career field.
Just don’t. You’ll regret it.
So, once a week, I fired up Zoom on my phone and scribbled notes like a madman while the amazing Phil Lollar—yes, I’m name-dropping, I’m sorry—taught us everything that he’s spent the last thirty plus years accumulating at a writer.
It was a lot.
Like, a lot.
The man knows things, y’all. He’s very smart.
I didn’t expect the class to add as much to my work load as it did—homework is actually a lot more work than I always thought it would be—but I made it through. Scripts got sent in, assignments were finished, hair was torn out, and I discovered more about my writing and myself than I would have ever imagined I would.
It was a great class.
I feel much smarter.
As helpful and informative as it was, our ten weeks are up now, and I’m back to a normal schedule and a normal workload—which means a book, a TV show, radio scripts, and this blog.
Thank goodness for that.
Do you have a favorite class you’ve attended, either in college or otherwise? Tell me about it in the comments!
She was sixteen years old, which is pretty elderly for a cat. She’s been my old lady since I brought her home seven years ago, creeping around the house, hiding in my towel cupboard, and catching the mice that tried to invade my home. She drooled when she purred, shed all over the entire house, and hated every single other cat that I tried to bring home—including the three week old kittens my sister found by the side of the road.
I’m utterly devastated.
I don’t know if animal soul mates are a thing, but she was mine. I’ve never met an animal who so completely matched my personality before. She was introverted, crotchety, picky, and—when she felt like it—overly needy, which, if you know me, is basically my entire personality. But she was also incredibly loving, loyal, gentle, and always seemed to know when I was crying on the couch and needed a friend. I’m pretty sure we were the same person, and I don’t think I’ll ever find another cat who was so completely suited to me. In fact, I very much doubt I’ll ever try.
We buried her in the woods behind our house, with a big chunk of white stone over her grave, and my sister is fairly convinced that she’s going to come back and haunt my house for the rest of forever.
I’m hoping she does. She would make a very gentle, very loving ghost.
So, here’s to Mrs. Hudson. She was not my housekeeper . . . but she was my very special friend. And I’ll miss her.
I spent the last week of 2021 organizing my entire life.
Also battling Covid with hot ginger tea, Netflix, and NyQuil, but let’s not talk about that.
Actually, let’s talk about that, really, really quick. First off, Covid sucks. For all of the reasons. Second, there are so many good shows on Netflix. Like, so many. I had no idea there were so many. I started browsing through after we got our subscription, and before I even knew what was happening, I had a full list of shows I will never have time to watch all the way through.
How does that happen?
But, like I was saying, I binge-watched Netflix, coughed up more phlegm than I care to think about, and organized my entire life in the Evernote app on my computer.
Where have you been all my life?
Seriously, guys, this app is now my happy place. I am a productivity freak, okay? I love to-do lists and check boxes and neat little files with all my important documents in them, and this app has them all. I had a place for my morning routine, my shopping list, my weekly menu, the recipes I want to try, my business documents, my taxes, my bills, my invoice statements . . . literally, my entire life.
All in one app.
I’m wildly excited. Probably more excited than is reasonable for me to be.
You know you’ve reached peak adulting when a special file for your tax forms gets you excited about life.
Obviously, it takes a while to gather all these bits and pieces into one place, but what better way to spend my entire week in bed? I typed away, drank tea, and watched Avatar the Last Airbender.
Because Zuko, obviously.
But, now that I’m back on my feet and back to work, I can already tell I am going to reap the benefits of that work. My work schedule is more streamlined, my habits have been adjusted to a rhythm that is supporting me again, and—best of all—I know where everything is!
Is there a better feeling than that?
Have you tried Evernote, or a similar productivity app? Tell me about it in the comments!
To celebrate 2022 arriving, I would like to take a moment to stop and appreciate the craziest purchase I made in 2021.
It gets weirder.
Know why? In 2021, my husband and I bought . . . an aircraft hanger.
Are you shocked? Horrified? Intrigued?
So was I.
What happened was this. The day—and I kid you not, the exact day—I packed up my desk and left my full time job to start my own business in March, my husband and I met my sister and her husband at a local sushi restaurant to celebrate my nerve-racking transition into self-employment.
We were going to talk and laugh and eat sushi and pretend I wasn’t terrified about the idea of running my own business and setting my own hours.
Instead, we decided to buy an aircraft hanger.
Decisions get made in sushi restaurants, guys. It happens.
Obviously, my sister and I do not own a plane. I can’t even make a decent paper plane. But . . . we both needed a house. And my dad had a contact in the metal building industry who had an aircraft hanger he’d built for a client. The client had changed his mind, and our contact was now offering us the building . . . for a massive discount. Turns out, with a few minor tweaks, an aircraft hanger makes for a pretty nice house—one that will fit two growing families quite easily.
Obviously, we’ve got a long way to go before the pile of metal struts and beams becomes a house we can live in, but I’m feeling optimistic. The last parts for the metal building have finally been delivered, and a few weeks ago, we broke ground on our property, so we actually have a place to put this house.
When it’s actually built, anyway.
Needless to say, buying a home just as I was transitioning into a business owner has been a huge stretch for me. I like to make my huge life transitions one at a time, thank you very much, and navigating both of these monuments at the same time has been a lesson in faith, especially when it comes to finances.
But I am learning to trust.
So . . . now we own an aircraft hanger.
Do you have any huge milestones in 2021 that you felt stretched you to the limits? Tell me about them in the comments!
At the very beginning of autumn, while I was still locked up in my house because of allergies, I made a list of all the fun things I wanted to do as soon as I was released from my sneezy cage.
I told you all about this, remember?
We’re definitely skipping the bonfires this year, considering the wildfire that started only a few houses down from us a week ago, but I had so many other things on my list that I’m positive I won’t miss it. And, because I started planning—and scheduling—early, I’ve actually managed to get at least part of the list accomplished!
Starting with a trip to the fall festival with my writer’s group.
It was kind of a crazy trip.
To begin with, we had tickets and plans for the day after the fire at my house. So… I was a little rattled. But determined! We were going to this festival and we were going to have fun if it killed us.It did not kill us, in case you were wondering.
Sadly, the day we decided to go turned out horribly windy, as Colorado is wont to do, but we made the best of it and had a stellar time anyway. It was basically the biggest fall-themed fair in Colorado, with enormous pumpkins and fair food and a corn maze and all of the best things you can possibly think of. We got lost in the corn maze.
More than once.
We’ve officially decided that if we ever find ourselves in an actual maze, I will not be leading the way.
I couldn’t find my way out even if there was only one path all the way through.
It all looks the same, okay? And I’ve always said I have no sense of direction. I get lost in parking lots.
After the corn maze, we went looking for snacks. Because priorities y’all. And, because of my super special fall list, I knew exactly what I wanted.
Hot caramel apple cider.
I’m pretty sure apple cider only tastes good in October. Something about the chill in the air, the pumpkins in the fields, and the yellow leaves.
It was phenomenal, in case you were wondering.
After the snacks, we visited the pumpkin patch, which was absolutely enormous. I’ve never seen so many pumpkins. Think of the pumpkin seeds, think of the pies. It was fabulous.
Did you visit any pumpkin patches this year? Do you plan to? Tell me about it in the comments!