“I just want to watch one more episode of Shameless.”
“I have to organize my closet, I can barely get in it.”
“I have to check my email and respond to a few things.”
These are just a few of the hundreds of excuses I come up with to avoid writing when I am not feeling inspired or my fingers aren’t itching to tap those keys in a frantic fashion before the story in my head is gone. What then? Well, you have exactly two choices. You can give in to each and every excuse or distraction that is waving its hands frantically in front of you screaming, “Choose me, choose me” or you open up your laptop, pull up your blog page, hit “Add New Post” and go to where it is you turn for inspiration.
That problem for me is often solved by reading blogs by other writers who inspire me. One of those writers I often like to visit and spend time with through her words is the very person who nominated me for this humbling award. I go there to turn the pages of her life, pages full of love for her husband, children and family. She comes from a place of truth which is so evident in her willingness to expose her vulnerabilities, trials, tribulations, joys and hardships of parenting and the love she holds for life and those that are a part of her world. She chooses positivity and gratitude to deal with whatever life happens to be throwing her way and I so admire that quality. It comes shining through in her writing and she can wrap you up in the warm rays of her sunshine while simultaniously pouring her heart and soul onto the page. I am grateful to be part of her world and for this nomination she bestowed upon me.
Blogging is very new to me and it is because of people like her that I started my blog. I connect to her reluctance to push that “Publish” button which immediately launches your heart, soul and the blood, sweat and tears you poured into your words out into the cyber universe for anyone, everyone – or worse, no one – to see. I equate it to having to walk into an arena full of strangers stark naked and waiting for them all to hold up a number between 1 – 10 to see where my vulnerabilities, faults and flaws rate. Knowing other people, other writers feel this way (and trust me, most of us do) creates a sanctuary for each of us to flock to. We can falter or fly, it doesn’t matter. The interlocked, ‘always searching for the right letters on the keyboard’ fingers of fellow daredevils, risk takers, and selfless writers lock together to create a safety net to catch us and our insecurities. There, in the hands of those we trust our joy, fear and heartache with, we can lay for a moment and bask in the glow of incredible pride for a story well told or receive a consoling hug for a gallant effort that perhaps still needs a little polish. Without them, I couldn’t be the writer I am today or the writer I will be tomorrow. Her hands are always there.
She is: Jsack Moms House
Blog address: http://jsackblog.wordpress.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jsackmomblog
Now, on to the festivities. I have been provided a list of questions to answer which is a part of accepting this Inspiring Blog Award so here we go….
Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog just a few months ago thanks to the encouragement of some long time personal friends and many of the incredible people I met through my Facebook page, Sassy Lassie. This page opened doors I never knew existed and I found myself in a writing “Bunker”. The Bunker is a place where we, as page Admin’s, drop the veil of anonymity many of us choose to wear on our Facebook Pages at the Bunker door. It is there we are able to be our “real” selves, sharing our “real” names. It is there we can come together to support one another, exchange ideas, read and critique each other’s work before we publish so we can post the best or ourselves. These “strangers” have now become some of my dearest friends and strongest sources of inspiration. With their help, I started my blog and haven’t looked back since. I’ve dusted off old journals, uncrumpled store receipts and unfolded restaurant napkins all with words scratched and scrawled on them in haste so as not to lose them in my ADD brain forever. Now, with my blog, they all have a home and their spot in the sun, or the shade, depending on the subject matter. It is wonderful to have a place, a sanctum, where I can journal all my thoughts, poetry and stories. It comforts me to know that it will serve as a life chronicle for my children and grandchildren someday and that perhaps they will get to know me and remember me through my writing in this Sassy Lassie blog.
What book has touched you the most?
I have never been able to read well due to my ADD. Let me correct that, I can read, I cannot retain what I read. That being said, I have to say there are actually three books that I have never forgotten and never will. At the top of the list is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Not the new versions out there that are in modern English, the original text which so eloquently relays the most poignant words from his heart straight to my mine, the very depths of it. I consider it the most exquisite love story, the most bittersweet, beautiful disaster I have ever had the heartbreak to read.
The second is Thoreau’s Walden Pond. I connect to the Divine through Nature, the trees dancing in anticipation of the coming rains, the happy faces of pansies smiling up at me as I walk by even though winter’s frost has forced the other flowers to bow their rainbow hued heads in complete submission. I feel it in the warm, steamy breath and the whiskered, wriggling nose of a horse nuzzling my ear. I feel it in the unconditional love received from a dog, who may not be able to understand the reason for my tears but knows my heart is breaking and that curling up in my lap and resting his head on my shoulder will ease the pain. I feel it in the presence of a huge Live Oak tree whose branches are draped with with dense, gangling tentacles of Spanish Moss which I’m sure not only provides a home to thousands of creepy, crawly insects but also harbors haunting secrets from the long ago. Thoreau loved and respected nature as I do, understood it as I do and so a copy of Walden Pond has a permanent home on my nightstand.
The third is Sleeping Arrangements by Laura Cunningham, a dark but humorous chronicle of her childhood. My sister gave me a copy and I laughed so hard I cried, which is an emotion almost impossible for an author to induce from me. Like many, my own childhood was very dark, but like her, I find humor in the tragedy of it all now. It is a survival technique that has served me well to keep grounded in the light of gratitude and out of the swirling vortex of darkness and depression that constantly tries to pull me in. Laughing is truly one of the best medicines.
If you could eat dinner with a famous person, still living, who would it be?
This is a difficult question. One person who jumps to the front of my mind is Meryl Streep. Being a creative person, a Leo who seeks out the spotlight, I have always had a great respect and appreciation for extraordinary actors and she is at the top of my list. I would love to converse with her about how she develops a kinship with her character, the incredible ability and talent it takes to play such diverse roles and what she draws on for inspiration. I’d love to hear about her personal life, her children and her opinion on the role she plays in the lives of millions of people she has never met that admire and respect her. I’d love to drink one too many glasses of wine with her and talk into the wee hours of the morning. I’m sure I could spend days speaking with her.
What is the one place you have visited that gives you complete calmness?
This one is an easy one for me. The answer to this question is on the back or by the side of my horse, Billy. If you are not a horse person, I can tell you they are among the most incredible animals to interact with. This is one of the many reasons they are used to help heal the hearts, minds and spirits of anyone who has been “broken”. They intuitively know what you need to heal and if you are willing to accept what they have to give, they can put all the pieces back together again. They can be a stepping stone back to sanity for the abused, people suffering from PTSD, or those grieving the loss of a loved one. A horse will be a first friend to a child who has never known a tender touch or kind word and provide them their first glimpse into a world of acceptance and love. My horse saved my emotional and spiritual life on many occasions and helped me overcome the abuse I suffered as a child. I have never known such peace and tranquility as when in the presence of my horse. They are wise and sacred beings and have much to teach us.
Are you a Bucket List person and if so, name something on it.
I’m really not. I take each day as it comes and don’t have the financial resources to plan trips or schedule sky dives or even attend a concert. I don’t focus much on things I wish I could do, I prefer to do what I can, when I can with the people in my life that make me laugh and appreciate my brand of crazy. I am fortunate to have several friends that just come and collect me on occasion and take me with them on their journey of fun. Sometimes it’s for an evening out and sometimes for a weekend away. I am grateful and focus on all that I do have, right here, right now and if something I really want to do comes along and I’m able, I’m there!
What is the goal for your blog?
The goal for my blog has not been revealed to me yet. Right now, I mainly use it as a storage unit for stories or poetry I am working on, mostly stories as poetry comes to me in a fast and furious manner as if it is being channelled through me by others, some here, some long since gone. Poetry just gets transfered from brain to page almost immediately and requires little if any change. The stories I write come to life after several drafts and edits. I don’t really do anything to promote my blog, partially because I’m so new to it I’m still learning and partially because I don’t want it to become a “job” or a “chore” for me to blog. It has opened several doors for me which I am always excited to walk through, so for now, I’m just putting one letter in front of the other and I’ll see where it leads me.
What is a day well spent for you?
I consider a day well spent if I have been in the company of those I love and those that make me laugh. If I have put a smile on someone’s face or made them laugh, another day well spent. I love catching up with Mother Nature, she is always spectacular company. Listening to live music over a few drinks with my “girls” or sitting here in my room writing are all days well spent. I take each day as it comes and I just let it unfold.
How do you start your day?
My day starts later than some. I am a night owl by nature and am always up til the wee hours. I love the night, the darkness and the quiet that it brings as it settles the world around me. I usually am up by 8 or 8:30, have hot tea with lemon, check the news briefly, eat a little something (not a breakfast girl) and either attend to the ‘to do’s’ in my Scheduler or if nothing is demanding my attention, I make a list of things I need to accomplish such as pay bills, file, clean, etc. I then jump on Facebook and read notifications, post on my “fun” page, Sassy Lassie, catch up on blog reading and decide what time to get my exercise in and how much time I am going to devote to writing. I’m 59 and do not work a “job” any longer and am fortunate that no bell tolls for me.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
I would have to say at this point in my life, Memorial Day for a couple of reasons. It is observed the last Monday of May each year and Spring happens to be my favorite season. When our children were little, my husband and I always took the kids to a parade or down into Washington, DC where many events still take place relating to and honoring our veterans. We ventured to Arlington National Cemetary one year and to Gettysburg another to instill in them a sense of not only gratitude for all those who serve or have served our country, but an understanding of history and why the holiday existed. Many children don’t even know what the day is for, what it is about and to me, this is sad. To some, it is just a day off from school. So many lives lost to protect our freedom, so many disabled – physically, mentally, emotionally, all so we can feel secure and enjoy our friends, families and a sense of well-being, especially for our children. Between it being my favorite time of year and a chance to honor all our standing and fallen heroes and their families, I still love it.
Had I been asked this question when my children were little, I would have quickly answered Christmas because there is nothing like seeing pure joy through the eyes of a child. The years of Santa Clause are years of magic for parent and child.
What is your favorite quote?
“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
Enough about me……
Now, it is time for me to nominate a few of the incredible bloggers that inspire me on a daily basis. There are so many to choose from that it is truly a difficult decision but one that must be made. Here we go…
I met this incredible woman walking through one of the doors that opened up for me through my page, Sassy Lassie and there she stood with open arms, kind words and had it not been for her, my blog never would have gotten off the ground. Not only is she an amazing person, she is an inspiration to me with every word she writes. She is a wife, a mother, works full time and somehow found the time to walk me through the daunting task of a blog start up. Let me tell you, that says a lot because I am a very impatient little brat sometimes and if things don’t work the first time I try to do it, I want to take my pencils and paper and go home! She writes on many topics and is so insightful I always leave knowing more and being a better person having read her stories. Like me, she tries to find the life lessons in all the hardships and turbulence we encounter in our lives. What it is that we are supposed to take from this? What are we supposed to learn now that the event is over? There is an added bonus, she is also hilarious and extremely witty so if you want to be inspired on a daily basis, laugh on a daily basis, walk through her door, it’s always open.
She is: Mommies Drink and you can find her here:
Blog address: http://www.mommiesdrink.com/
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/mommiesdrink
Although I am just getting to know him, I have followed his blog for a while now and have to say that in a corner of the world where many blogs are inspiring “mommy” blogs, it is quite refreshing and pleasurable to hear things from a “daddy” who blogs. A husband, father and all around family man, he writes about his kids, his wife, marriage and his life journey and all it entails. He has a way of drawing you into his world, making you quite comfortable and I feel certain, if he could, he’d sit and share a cup of coffee or a shot or two with you to get better acquainted. I look forward to his posts, some are humorous, some serious but all are incredibly well written. Yes, I am a woman and my kids are grown but he takes me back, inspires me and does it all with a little less estrogen and a lot more testosterone!
He is: Developing Dad
Blog address: developingdad.com/
My next inspiring blogger is amazing in that he writes straight from his heart. He is a newly single parent of a beautiful three year old daughter and he loves her more than life itself. I love his style. It is raw, unedited, usually not much attention paid to grammar or spelling and often times he writes when he has had a few too many beers. Yeah, he loves beer. NO, he doesn’t drink when his daughter is with him. When she is with him they are playing hide and seek, watching Disney movies, dancing (including twirls!) and just enjoying each other.
You never know what you’re going to get when he posts but one thing I can assure you, you will remember him. His posts will leave you either laughing out loud or crying like a baby. I have actually adopted him as my “Facebook son”! I love him so much. He has a very tender heart and sometimes it bleeds all over the page, to the point that if I lived near him, I would be over there frequently with mom hugs! He is a rebel, doesn’t much care about the rules of writing, tends to cuss a lot but that’s why I love him so, they aren’t just his words on the page, they are his sadness, loneliness, joy, laughter and lament – uncensored and uncut. He inspires me to stay real with my writing and not to worry so much about conforming to what people may expect me to write but to stay true to what’s in my heart.
He is: Kung Fu Daddy
Blog address: https://andyfyblog.wordpress.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kung-Fu-Daddy/382415998593076
I love this next blogger! She is very articulate and has a very distinct style of writing. What I admire so much is her ability to pay such attention to detail yet remain extremely engaging. I think she could write a vacuüm cleaner manual and I would not want to stop reading it! She is a single mom, pole dance for fitness instructor and has much to say on many topics. She writes about fitness, parenting, women’s issues, fashion – you name it and I have probably read her take on it on one of the many places she has been published. She is there for me whenever I have a newbie question about writing in general, how to submit to different publications and even willing to give me an honest opinion on a post I am feeling hesitant about. She was also on the other side of the door for me ready and willing to help in any way and introduced me to some amazing writers/bloggers. I learn from her each and every time I read one of her pieces. She makes me aspire to be a better writer myself!
She is: Sparkly Shoes and Sweatdrops
Blog address: http://sparklyshoesandsweatdrops.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/sparklyshoesandsweatdrops
My last nominee is not for the faint of heart. She has the nickname “The Junkyard Queen”. Married and raising seven (yes, seven!) children, you best believe she has a lot of subject matter to draw on every day! She also opened an incredible door for me that led to a group of people, the kindred writer spirits that I spoke of earlier that love and support each other through good posts and bad. She is rough, tough and shoots straight for either your heart or your gut but trust me, either way, you’re going to feel her. One post may be so full of tenderness and tears you just need to take a moment to really let it all sink in (with a tissue, of course) and another post full of rants, raves, cussing and anger but again, you’ll have to stop and catch your breath before moving on. To top it all off, she has the ability to mix anger and humor together in a shaker (most definitely a cocktail shaker!) and pour out the most hilarious concoction of words you will ever want to read! She can be a nice tall beer in a frosty mug you want to savor for a bit or a shot of Jameson Whiskey, warm and biting as you shoot it right down. Drop the shot of whiskey in the beer and you have yourself a Boilermaker and like the Junkyard Queen, it’s so smooth going down but it’s definitely going to kick your ass!!
She is: You are a big, fat, hairy douche-y douche
Blog address: http://thedouchepage.wordpress.com
These nominees may now just accept their nominations, courtesy or bow, thank everyone politely and exit stage left OR they may choose to accept this award, thank the person that nominated them (mmmhmm, ME), answer the above questions as I did and nominate five of their favorite and most inspiring bloggers. Last but not least they must display the Most Inspiring Blogger Award image in their post so the world can see what an inspiration they are!
I hope you will take the time to visit these amazing bloggers. They each bring something different to the table. It is a beautifully adorned table abundant with delectable dishes to sate every palate. Life lesson: If you don’t at least give it a taste, how will you ever know if you like it or not? It could just be the best dish you ever had the pleasure of reading!