What Makes You Smile?

  1. Belly laughs from my children
  2. A well-decorated, clean and cozy room
  3. Soft blankets, peppermint tea, and a good book
  4. My husband bringing coffee in bed
  5. Driving my Dodge Challenger
  6. My children misspeaking words
  7. Facetime with my parents
  8. Phone chats with my sister
  9. My dog jumping up onto the bed the second my husband leaves the room
  10. Chatting with the staff at Cindy’s Donuts & Ice Cream
  11. Going for a walk with a friend
  12. Words of affirmation
  13. Date nights
  14. Worship on Sunday morning
  15. Live music or theater
  16. Shared excitement over a good play on the volleyball court
  17. Listening to “Here Comes the Sun”
  18. That newborn baby smell
  19. Amazon deliveries and time spent wandering Target
  20. Kayaking to the middle of our lake to sit in quiet
  21. Bluebirds on my lawn
  22. Deer. Always deer.
  23. Waking to spectacular sunrise full of pinks and oranges
  24. Team banter
  25. Being around someone who is authentically themself
  26. Walking past my living room when it’s lit with afternoon light
  27. A Starbucks grande toffeenut latte with coconut milk or a venti passion tea lemonade
  28. Petrichor
  29. Reading the back covers at local bookstores to discover a new read
  30. Planes in flight

I spent a questionable amount of time today rearranging my Pinterest boards and cleaning out old pins that no longer fit my current stage of life. While doing so, I stumbled across some journal prompts. This one comes from a month of prompts created by travel and lifestyle blogger Jenna back in 2020 (you can find the post here: www.jennasworldview.com).

Now that you know some of mine, let me know what some of yours would be!

Currently Reading: Daring Greatly

2018 is shaping up to be the year of books for me and I. am. not. mad. about it.

After finishing Start with Why, I picked up Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. It belongs to a really good girlfriend of mine who may or may not remember I still have it. Surprise! It’s still heeeeeere!

The timing wasn’t quite right when it first changed hands but as a follow up to Start with Why, I am digging her message! Why? Here’s the subtitle: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

Seems pertinent.

While Sinek got me thinking about my own personal Why (i.e. what inspires me), Brown is pointing out my roadblocks to living out that Why and she’s giving me tips on how to get past them.

Here’s what you need to know about me:

I am (to steal Brown’s phrase) a [recently] recovering perfectionist.

Around this time last year, I felt an urge to get back into writing. I paid for blogging space. I set writing goals and publishing goals. I wrote down topics as they came to me. I told my friends and my family. And it weighed on me. For the majority of 2017, do you know what I did with my blog?

I did nothing.

Getting back into blogging was supposed to be like getting back on a bike. I had turned to writing as a cathartic release for years but it suddenly felt foreign and forced. And here are a list of reasons why:

  • I am afraid of:
    • being boring.
    • having nothing to say.
    • rambling.
    • publishing misspelled words, wrong words, confusing words.
    • sharing something too personal.
    • embarrassing myself or my people.
    • repeating myself.
    • being irrelevant.
    • being ignored.
    • making someone mad.
    • being mean.
    • giving someone a reason to bring up my past mistakes. <- There is so much this and there are so many mistakes!
    • sounding self-righteous.
    • having my excitement met with silence.
    • introducing a topic I’m passionate about in a way that turns a reader off.
    • tying myself to a person or company or idea that ends up being a failure.
    • being a failure myself.

You get the idea.

Blogging = vulnerability for me and it would seem that what I’ve really forgotten is how to be vulnerable.

Behind this blog, as I’m starting to understand, is my Why. God instilled in me a passion for growth and learning. I’m obsessed. The day I stop trying to do better is the day I die. Writing is my way of capturing that journey (which, by the way, is ultimately life), trying to make sense of it, and sharing my excitement about it with others. I have to say so far I’ve been pretty lucky… Not in doing better, per se, or in writing but let’s say God has given me a lot of things to work on.

So I’m reading this book and I’m developing this grasp of what pushed me to start writing again and I’m thinking about the ways I’ve been standing in my own way. I’m (re)learning what it means to be vulnerable and why it’s so important. And I’m hoping that in diving into the raw space here, you and I might end up toasting to one another over the stumbling blocks of life.

If, not? If instead you find yourself reading through my list of fears and agreeing that I should be afraid of those things, well then I hope one day to be as strong as Rhett Butler walking out the door. But until then, I am going to do me and I encourage you to do you. Maybe some day, we will find our common ground. After all, tomorrow is another day.

2 Blogs Combined

Have you ever merged WordPress blogs?

It takes an incredible amount of time. Or maybe it takes an average amount of time but it feels like an incredible amount of time.

What did I just do?

Did I break it? Did I just lose all of my history?

What is this going to look like? How jumbled did I just make my site?

When I started on WordPress, I wrote under https://megdanielle.wordpress.com/ and I was incredibly heartbroken. I poured out my pain in words and formed a blog. Then, the man who broke my heart asked me to marry him and I said yes. (I know, right?!) It felt wrong to write about married life under the same blog that I had bared my soul so I started https://megdaniellemarried.wordpress.com/. Emotional bruises turned into baby pictures and (quite frankly) my writing turned to absolute crap over the past few years.

Then this year, something piped up in my heart. Quiet. Timid. But present. Start writing again.

I purchased my own domain because I thought that meant I was “serious” about writing. But when my fingers hit the keyboard, I felt a little rusty. Or a lot rusty.

True writers will warn you not to look back at your old writings but I started to long for the ease I used to have when I poured out my heart and knew that only I would be swept up in a wave of backlash if there was one. I love that style of writing!

So today, I merged my blogs. I read a quick blog about the right way to do it and then I threw caution to the wind, exported megdanielle and imported it into megdaniellemarried…which is now http://www.megdanielle.com. Confused yet?

Well, it worked. I’ve got archives into 2010 and I found some writing queues that are worth repeating in 2017.

Have something you want to try on your list? Write it on your to-do list for tomorrow and get it done!


A Mile A Day: Day 9

Mile 9 complete. I let music surround me on my walk and it turned an external experience internal. Step to the beat. I can do this. 30 days. It’s nothing.

I was a junior or senior in college when a professor apologized to me for his realized prejudice. It’s nothing near what some of us have known from our very first breath but these experiences teach us how to empathize, don’t they?

I joined a sorority a couple of years earlier, unimpressed with the idea but open to spending time with friends I already had who had taken the pledge. I held a position on the executive board. Nothing special. I was a secretary. But I wore the letters on campus and I wore them to his class.

I had no reason to suspect anything different about this professor. But after weeks of mixing up another student and me, he pulled me aside.

“I need to let you know something,” he said.

He went on to confess to me that he continued to confuse me with another student because he didn’t think I’d be capable of producing the caliber of work I produced. At some point during the mix ups, he realized what he was doing and it weighed heavily on him.

I hate to admit it but I laughed it off. He pressed me to accept his apology but I told him it wasn’t a big deal. I was shocked. I didn’t know how to respond to such a brutally honest confession and I let it slide. I don’t think he let himself slide but I may never really know.

The worst part is that is stays with me.

How do you forget something like that? Should you? Should I have felt relieved that he recognized the wrong and tried to right it? Would I have been better off unaware, convinced that out of hundreds of students over the years, it took him longer to know who I was?

Have you ever been confronted with prejudice? How do we fix something if it isn’t discussed? How do we address something without adding responsibility to the innocent?

A Mile A Day: Day 8

If you are wondering how I could possibly say anything new about  walking nearly the same mile for 30 days, I assure you, you’re not alone. I’m actually wondering that myself.

The frost was still on the grass this morning so that’s something. There was slightly more traffic. There were certainly more stubborn stops by my territory-marking pack dog pretending to be alpha. But mostly, it was the same walk. I even tried studying the trees in the different lighting to glean some new information to share. And guess what? Nada.

The truth is, I started this journey with two goals in mind that have nothing to do with how many steps I’ve set out to take and it’s those goals that I’m really documenting underneath the foliage.

Goal 1: Finish a project

My dear friend said something the other day that resonated with my so clearly she didn’t even have to finish her sentence. She said to me, “I am really good at starting things”

What she meant, of course, is that she’s really bad at finishing them.

I am so guilty of this!

Part of this challenge is proving to myself that I can commit. A mile a day is a small personal goal when you consider all of the FitBit crazies racking up in 1 day what I’m attempting to get in a business week – but it does require me to show up every day. To plan for success, anticipate and ignore the excuses. And I have a lot of excuses.

If I didn’t write about it, I’d only have myself to hold me accountable. And I’m a shoddy accountability partner. Just ask my former workout partner. Or the workout partner before her.

Goal 2: Rediscover my voice

It’s been ages since I’ve consistently written and I think I’ve lost my authentic voice. What a weird thing to lose! I’ve been listening to The Little Mermaid “Poor Unfortunate Souls” for inspiration on writing this section if that’s any indication of what I’m talking about.

I suppose the wrap-up of Mile 8 then is this:

If you’re reading along and wondering if I am going to post one more snore-worthy post about mileage, I am. Twenty two more, to be exact. If you’re reading along wondering why some days it feels like we’re best friends and some days we’re on different pages, bear with me. By the end of this challenge, I may perhaps have a lot more than 30 miles to show.