Following My Bliss

Yes, this is a last minute post to try to win a ticket to Blissdom 2010. It is graciously sponsored by Mom In The City. Thank you.

In 2009, I followed my bliss by following my heart. It was a grand gesture on my heart’s part to live and love again. God melted and molded me in many ways in 2009. I was very blessed.

In 2010, I want to follow my bliss in to new ventures: 1) homeschooling and 2) creating. John, my 2009 bliss, has supported my desires and efforts to take on what is sure to be a massive undertaking – homeschooling Emma & Jacob. In addition, he has encouraged me to reconnect with a passion I’ve let slide – painting.

So that is it. Nothing too extremely fancy, but important to me, nonetheless.


The Unwritten Blog

writingYes, I’m writing about not writing. I figured it was a good place to start. Writing again, that is.

Let’s face it, I’m not a famous blogger with a huge expectant audience nor am I a mommy blogger with a cult following of close friends and family. And as I have discovered I am not a prolific writer with an ever ending need to put pen to paper. At least, I’m not anymore. Here’s the breakdown of my blog post stats, so you can judge for yourself.

Beyond JEMS Posts

  • 181 – Since I started blogging March 08
  • 38 – Since January 09
  • 5 – Since May 09

I started out strong. Blogging daily, sometimes more than once a day in fact. But I never considered myself a real writer. At least not as much as I wanted to be one. Writing for me was an outlet. A release of pent up emotions and a wild roller coaster ride in the life of a woman, wife and mother of 2 year old twins who had just been served divorce papers.

What baffles me at times is looking back on it all. I mean, just do the math. Last year in less than 10 months, I wrote 143 posts. That’s approximately a post every other day. In the midst of my crisis called life which included going through a divorce, being a single mom, moving 3 times, training to run my first half marathon, starting a new career, and the infamous breaking of my right arm, I still managed to find the time and the where with all to write. How did I find the time?

Honestly, I neglected a lot. A lot of things got pushed to the way side, including cooking and cleaning and more often than not my kids. “Want to watch another movie? OK” to “Please go watch TV” Not something I am very proud of, but it is the truth. My house, as well as my life. was in shambles and more importantly, I really didn’t care. Step over the laundry, do the dishes another day, none of it really mattered. It can wait. I have to write. I have to dive in to these emotions right now or I will burst. That’s how I did it. Again, nothing I am really proud of writing about now, but it is the truth.

Healing is an all consuming process at times. Did my kids suffer? Yes, superficially, temporarily. But permanent, long term effects? Maybe. I’m not sure. My therapist says no. But he can discuss it with them when they’re 20, deep in their own life crises and blaming some of it on me I’m sure. But it was all that I could do at the time. It was cathartic. It was my way of keeping me sane. In fact, I defended it to the nth degree when challenged at times. I remember a conversation with my sister, when she was lovingly telling me she didn’t understand why I did A, B, and C, instead of X, Y and Z. My reply was something to the effect of “Well, the last time I checked your husband didn’t divorce you and move to Europe leaving you to raise two small children alone. But if that happens, be sure to let me know how to deal with it the RIGHT way. You seem to be an expert all ready.” I’m sure you can hear the words dripping with sarcasm as you read. Oh, and they were. I was horrified by most people telling me I was doing it all wrong, when they had never come close to my circumstances. So I kept writing.

Then life changed. Things slowed down a bit. I started some freelance web design work, bought a house and settled in, kind of. The kids started doing better in school and having fewer nightmares. I started feeling whole again. And that’s when my need to write started to dwindle. Partly because life had taken on a new schedule with work and soccer and single mama madness. And partly because I was no longer in the midst of a crisis trying to find my way out and using blogging as a way to do it. I just had less to say because there was less drama I suppose.

To further the distance between my writing and me, I started a new relationship with an old high school friend. That’s when my muse left me for good it seemed. Not only did I write much less, I twittered less too per my Twitter friends. As I ventured in to this new long distance relationship, I didn’t feel the urge to write as much. I didn’t have as much to say to just anyone who should stop by my blog. Instead I talked to him. John became my new best friend. The one who I poured my heart and soul out to on a nightly basis, sometimes for 3 to 4 hours at a time. My writing muse had turned in to a talking muse. Poor guy! But seriously, we loved it! There is nothing like a long distance relationship to really encourage volumes of oral communication.

Sure there have been plenty of times I have felt like writing or had something to write, but they were just pushed to the wayside. Now I had to clean the house, make dinner and do the dishes. Ok, that’s a joke, I cook dinner, John does the dishes. But I felt myself staying more in touch with daily life and family stuff. Now my nights and spare time are spent with John and the kids. We sit down at the table every night for dinner. I enjoy cooking again. When the kids go to bed, I don’t turn on my laptop to occupy myself. More often than not, John and I watch a movie or do crossword puzzles. Yes, we’re geeky crossword puzzle freaks.

But I think I miss writing. I wish I felt like I had more to say or time to say it. In fact, the only reason I’m writing right now is because the kids are out of town at my dad’s and I felt inspired at 2:30 am. So knowing I won’t be up at the crack of dawn with little ones wanting waffles, I decided why not just bite the bullet and go write.

As I sit outside on my deck writing and listening to the crickets sing their late night song, I am enjoying myself. It feels good. John constantly tells me I have to take more time for myself to do the things that I love to do just for me. And I think he is right. I’ll let you know when I post again.

Take care my friends!

Faux Blog Advertisements

racheltopDo marketers really think we are that stupid? YES

I’ve been bombarded with tweets, in addition to seeing side ads, etc. for blogs offering to show you how “Amanda lost 35 lbs using these two over the counter products” or “I’m a SAHM who whitened her teeth for free. I’ll share my secret with you for free”


Now I guess these wouldn’t bother me so much if I didn’t occasionally click on them hoping to find someone’s story. Just like some of my stories. Mind you, I don’t advertise them on FB, but I do tweet about my stories. So I figure that maybe there is something to the tweet and it’s worth a click to check it out.


This is what I get… Rachel Ray Blog – I lost 52 lbs. I like Rachel Ray. I think she’s cute, charming, and down to earth. Just a little to peppy for me some days. But hey, I love hearing other peoples success stories. Besides, she’s lost weight and we kinda have the same body type, so it’s worth a look, right?


It’s not Rachel Ray at all. It’s Alyssa’s Blog telling me about how she followed Rachel’s diet & it worked & as an added bonus she is going to show me how to get the stuff for free. Lucky me. There are even comments under her story from other people thanking her for her story & free offers. What a girl, right?


Something seems to be wrong with this blog… Comments are closed, all the links at the bottom of the page are bad, all the side likes: About Us, Contact Us, Privacy Policy, etc. all link back to the page you are actually on. The only link that seems to be working it to go buy the products they are selling.

So why set it up to look like a blog? Do they think we are that stupid? Do marketers think if we can’t have a chat (leave comments) with Alyssa or go to any other page on her blog that we will believe she is even for real? It’s really bothersome. If this works to fool some people, these people should be quarantined and sterilized, thus preventing them from having children. No sense in dumbing down future generations.

I will now remove myself from this soapbox and let the rest of you go back to work. Ahhh I feel so much better getting this off my chest.

Have a nice day!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009 – Let Me Introduce Myself :)

Ultimate Blog Party 2009
Hey! I’m coming a bit late to the party but that is my style. Not making a grand entrance but just tend to run a little late to everything in general. 🙂

I attended the Nashville Ultimate Blog Party In Real Life 2009 on Monday night (yes, I was late to it too!) And it was so cool to meet people in the area that are blogging and doing the kid thing. Even though many of us are strangers, the mommy blog connects us so we just ‘get it’.

About Me…

Well, here’s a summary of my first post from a year ago….

o Who Am I? I’m just a girl, clinging to the age of 39, getting divorced w/ 2.5 YO twins. Many people don’t think of a 39 YO female as a girl, but I mean girl versus – mother, woman, mentor, nurturer, etc. Oh, don’t get me wrong I am all those things too and then some. The part of me that goes beyond being Jacob & Emma’s Mommy (JEMS). And that’s who’s writing this blog. Someone once told me I had a lot of energy in my writing, so much to say. And you all are the lucky ones who get to read it all, if you choose.

I have two miracle babies, literally the product of God’s ability to answer prayers & grant those of us who deserve so little the most amazing things… Jacob & Emma Grace were born at 27 weeks.  If there is ever a doubt as to whether or not God still performs miracles in this day & age, rest assured it is true because I look at two of them each & every day!

This is what I don’t know…

  • I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up…
  • I don’t know if I will be alone forever or love again…
  • I don’t know if I really know Christ as I should…
  • I don’t know if I will ever get it right…
  • I don’t know how to write a blog, or really just write…
  • I don’t know how I’m going to support 2 kids…
  • I don’t know if there is life Beyond JEMS!…
  • I don’t know what I will write about tomorrow…

Here’s what I do know…

  • I know I want to write, paint, learn, love & grow everyday and recapture passions that have been oppressed for too long.
  • I know that the man department will be what God wants it to be; this time He’s choosing
  • I know that I want to know Christ better
  • I know that I will fail and succeed over and over again and that’s ok
  • I know that I will constantly use spell check and grammar check & still not get it right
  • I know that I will find a way to support my family. I’m a pretty smart girl – MBA in Global Mgt & all.
  • I know that I will make a life Beyond JEMS!
  • I know that whatever it is…. I will definitely write tomorrow….

Will you come along with me to see what I write & discover this girl’s life Beyond JEMS!?

And where am I a year later? Well, the list hasn’t changed much! All of these things are still true. It’s all a process. Life.

A few things have definitely changed though. I started a business Beyond Creatives – Web Design, Social Media & Small Biz Consulting.  My niche is most small companies that can’t or won’t spend money on big marketing firms.  My fundamental belief is at a minimum everyone needs at least a professional looking landing page to establish your business. So I help them understand the web opportunities and work within their budget to make it happen. It’s been fun! I’m not making big bucks, but I’m helping people take their business to the next level at a price they can afford. It’s gratifying to know I’m teaching & helping.

The second thing that’s changed is that I am now getting comfortable with the term “writer”. I used to shy away from it because I didn’t think I had the skillset or talent. But after multiple rounds of positive feedback, I’m beginning to believe it. I joined the Nashville Writers Group and am loving it. The crazy writing exercises, meeting published authors and lay dreamers like myself; I love all of it!

Well, I really should name this blog Sybil because it’s just all over the place: my spiritual journey, techy stuff, kid stuff, divorce stuff, single mom stuff, career stuff and running stuff. You’ll find a little bit of it here and there. Regardless of how you got here, I hope you find something that makes you laugh or cry before you leave!

I’m looking forward to getting to know you! Send me a link in the comments to your blog and I’ll share some link love and stop by for a visit.

Twittersheep – A cool new visual to see who’s following you!

sheep3Check out my followers on TwitterSheep. It provides a word cloud for your followers bios. I’ll say that I was a little surprised at the results. The biggest word in my cloud: “love”  That just makes me smile.  

The other cool thing to check out is the Twitter speak about you. The word cloud that comes back is about derived from searching Twitter from your name. So it’s not just about what you are saying it’s also about what people are saying to you, about you. My top 2 biggest words on this one (there was a tie): “out” & “me” – the third is “great”. 

So go give it a spin. See what your cloud says about you!


PS. – The sheep at the left are actually made 100% from recylced telephones. Check out their heads.

How to Lose Your Blog Readers in 10 Days!

It’s pretty simple.  Don’t post. Don’t read. Don’t engage. LOL!

It’s what I’ve managed to do. With all that has gone on in my life this year, I’ve always managed to make the time to write. It was necessary to get it all out. Almost like an escape I made into Cyberspace to avoid the daily grind of what I didnt want to be facing or doing. It was good in some ways to get the emotional release, bad in others as I procrastinated in the the real world.

As things have improved in life a bit and settled down some, I seem to take less time to blog. Instead I’m putting more time in on things I feel have been neglected. Getting organized around the house, wrapping up year end finances, trying to finalize this divorce, focusing more on work – finding it, and my kids. Not that they have been neglected in a bad way, but I’m trying to focus more on the fun of doing things with them instead of just being around them. 

So all of this came to a head when I went on my quest to Florida. Quieting the noise in my life was a priority. I needed to put away my electronic distractions to create a focus and sense of being more centered in my life.  I feel like I have moved toward accomplishing that goal, even though I believe it will always be more of a journey for me, not just a destination.

But in some ways I feel I may have been too quiet by not blogging or reading blogs or interacting in Twitter. Instead I’ve just been on the fringes. And something seemed missing because of it. I’m not as connected with folks. Some of them in my Twittersphere are also social acquaintances. They are more than a random @name. Not tweeting with them and engaging them feels like I’ve lost touch with friends. That’s the down side to this story. 

But I was once told to write everyday. Blog everyday. To maintain readers, you have to do it everyday. And I supposed in a way it was true. When I participated in blog carnivals and wrote everyday, my readership was about 20 times the volume it is now. But there is also a point to blogging on a personal blog. For me, if I was not inspired, I could not post. I know some writers who write a weeks worth of posts in a day and schedule them to appear. I suppose if it’s a business or some part of a ministry, then it’s just how you manage your work load. I guess it’s easy just to put something out there for the sake of posting, but to me that just seems a little fake on a personal blog. 

Ideally, I’d like to write on a daily basis and feel inspired to write that much. I never want to become the blogger who posts for readership stats. I want it to be real regardless of the content. It doesn’t always have to be controversial or deeply emotional; it could just be a crazy picture of my kids and I having fun. I hope that as my life moves toward more stability and less craziness that it will be easier to do. 

So I may not be writing as much. But I hope what I do write is of substance and/or just a real hoot that makes your day!

Blog Action Day – 2008 Poverty

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “untitled“, posted with vodpod


I love finding new sites that excite me to action. This may be one of the best things I ran across in all of my blogging experience. That’s almost a full 7 months, thank you. But I think you’ll agree once you give it a look. 

I was surfing off of SuperSimbo‘s blog and ventured on to one of the websites he had highlighted. That lead me to this.


A worldwide discuss on POVERTY is going to take place on October 15th with (as of 8:43am 9/16) at least 4,127 Sites with an audience in excess of 8,917,557 Readers.

How amazing is that!!!!

If you read my story along the way, you’ll know that my life took a significant change in direction in March 2008.  Two very important things happened. 1) My husband filed for divorce and 2) I was introduced to Compassion International and the Uganda Blogging Tour. This is where my heart was broken and mended all at the same time as I discovered a world that I had ignored for the most part and made a major life paradigm shift to make one of my priorities in life about helping others less fortunate than me. It’s also when I sponsored my Compassion daughter, Scovia. 

I have read many posts lately about changing the world and the ability of social media to help change our reality. Well, here it is. Here is the opportunity for me, you and all of our friends to join together to CHANGE THE CONVERSATION and make a difference in the fight against poverty.



PS. You can also follow them on Twitter HERE

This is a part of Positive Post Tuesday, Works For Me Wednesday and Watercooler Wednesday.

Women Blogging Naked!

No, not me, I usually blog in my PJ’s. But, I wanted to through some great blogs I read that are truly NAKED in the emotional and spiritual sense of the word. These ladies touch on real life, real emotion and real issues of our day.  Not only do they get real about relationships and the latest topic of hot debate, but they share their weaknesses. Being of the voyeuristic world of blogging, we’re allowed a glimpse in to their struggles as well as joys. What I find truly remarkable about this is that we are all there, together. Whether it’s the struggle in our relationship with Christ or family or work, we’ve all been there.  We know what it feels like. We can relate in some way whether we’re young or old, working or unemployed, single or married.  There is something spiritual that connects us as humans, as women. That is to feel naked in our emotions. But it’s nice to know we are not alone. 

To top it all off, these ladies all have a great sense of adventure and hilarious wit that keeps you coming back!  Add them to your reader today!

Megaphone:  Megan Hyatt is the most adventurous soul, always finding great joy and great wisdom. She’s a funny lady and an incredible writer! It’s in the genes.

Wonderfalls:  Andrea Lopez has a great single girl, New Yorker attitude that is opinionated, confident and brilliant. She is embracing her new life in the South surrounded by friends & family! She makes you think!

Kate Uncensored:  Kate Anon, yes she is anonymous and she intends to keep it that way.  She will take you to the heart of the matter in a split second. One of the most real, raw blogs I’ve ever read.  PS. Follow her on twitter @kateanon, she’s a hoot, but not for the faint of heart!

Angle of Repose:  Angela Hart has two genres of posts: ones that will have you rolling on floor laughing so hard you snort! & ones that make you question your head and your heart to find where you are in this life.

A Day in the Life of:  Marissa Hyatt is a seeker, an adventurer, a Christ-lover and a wise old soul. Take a read in to this girl’s heart as she navigates life with such wonderful zest.

Self-Discipline vs. Willpower

 I was looking at my blogging posts for the month of May and two things struck me. First , they are not seemingly very uplifting or positive, which was the intention of this blog. Second, I have slacked off on posting.  That’s not with intent either. It’s just kind of been a busy month and I have been overwhelmed with the divorce, the job search, the move, the hunt for a preschool and training. Not to mention my credit card was stolen and now I have over $3000 in fraudulent charges to deal with, which is not fun. 

But overall, I don’t think those are necessarily good reasons for not posting. They are more like my excuses for not running at times, just quick reasonings I can pull together off the top of my head that sound really burdensome, thus legitimate.  Have I been busy.. Yes.  Have these things actually happened.. Yes.  But they haven’t stopped me from going shopping or attending some Mom’s Night Out events.  I’ve had plenty of idle time staring at these walls.  So my issue is not about time. Then I remembered an article I read about self-discipline.  Here goes a summary…

While “discipline” implies teaching and enforcing a set of rules that others should follow, “self-discipline” involves self-imposed rules, requirements, and expectations. No one can impose self-discipline on another. It can be inspired or modeled but not enforced by others.

Self-discipline is the ability to get your self to take action even if you don’t feel like it.  It partners with goal-setting, planning and drive. It is not the same as willpower. Willpower is internal drive alone. It’s the spark that makes you want to achieve. You either have it or you don’t. You can’t change your willpower or improve upon it.  However, self-discipline is like a muscle. It can be trained and therefore, improved upon. By setting small goals and working your way up to bigger ones, we can all make strides toward achieving our goals.

This is one of my weaknesses. I’ve never had any willpower or self-discipline. Well, none that has suited me. This is what I have struggled with a bit in my training for the runs, reading my bible and in posting for the blog.  I do think that realizing it is have the battle, just as with any problem. 

So, here’s my plan…  Over this holiday weekend, I’m going to refocus my energies. I have to get some things in order around my new house and move some stuff from the old house still.  I need to do something to improve the speed of this computer and set up a system. 

Well, I would say wish me luck, but luck has nothing to do with it, if you are setting goals and enacting self-discipline.

 So you you all have trouble with self-discipline? What do you do to help manage it?