30th Aug2010

Unanswered Prayers

by Daenel

The KidsI’ve spent the last year feeling sorry for myself and being  angry as hell because I don’t have a full~time job.  Honestly, I just couldn’t move past the thought of being financially dependent on my husband and sitting at home all day long.  Before anyone jumps on me, understand this:

  1. My husband has never made me feel less than for not having full~time employment, these were feelings of my own creation
  2. My children are teenagers so I’m not tending to little people like most SAHMs

I need to work.  I like having a paycheck and I love having some place to go every day.  And being a librarian was tailor made for me ~ it appealed to my inner g33ky book lover need to solve a mystery nurturing side.

When my kids were little, I was a SAHM and I hated it.  There wasn’t the community for SAHMs that exists today.  I was so incredibly lonely.  And when I did get the chance to talk to people, they were so dismissive of the role/importance of motherhood.  I didn’t truly appreciate the opportunity that I had until today.

This morning my children started school:  Miss 17 is a senior, the twins are in 9th grade and the youngest is in 8th grade.  From this point on, my time with my babies is limited.  When they were younger, I knew I had at least 18 years.  Now…  Oh man…  I’ve already started shedding tears.

Looking back on this past year has been a blessing in disguise.  I’ve had a year to spend with my kids, talking to them and loving them, making memories that will, hopefully, carry them into adulthood.  My husband likes to point out the blessings in the disappointments that I simply can’t see but sitting here tonight, filling out permission slips and health forms, the only thing I can say is “I thank God for unanswered prayers.”

30th Aug2010

Monday Mingle: Back to School Celebration Vlog/Blog

by Daenel

Monday Mingle BadgeMonday Mingle is hosted by Eighty MPH Mom. If you’d like to participate, simply create a short vlog in which you answer the questions and then hit up the linky. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants. Afterall, isn’t that what mingling is all about?

Today’s questions are from Robyn at Robyn’s Online World:

1.  What does your extended family think of your blog?
2. Has anyone in your family ever asked you not to include them in your blog?
3. How supportive is your immediate household about your blogging?

Next week’s questions are:

1. Are you going to BlogHer 11 in San Diego?
2. Have you been to any blogging events? Which ones are you planning on going to besides BlogHer?
3. Are you afraid to fly and, if so, does it prevent you from going places?

29th Aug2010

Online Book Club: The Handmaid’s Tale

by Daenel

The Handmaid's TaleA few weeks ago I joined an online book discussion group hosted by Trish at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?  The actual discussion takes place at Classic Reads Book Club and the discussions are truly awesome.  We’re reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, this is one of my favorite books.  I read it in high school and again in college.  I’ve even referenced it in papers when I took women’s history/studies courses.

Honestly, the topics for discussion are endless:  women, fertility, religious freedom, tolerance, politics, marriage, children, etc.  If you’ve never read this book, I’d highly recommend it.

I’ve tried to read other Margaret Atwood’s but I just didn’t get it (maybe I was too young)  but after I’m finished with The Handmaid’s Tale, I’m going to give Blind Assassins another whirl.  I’m nothing if not tenacious.

Do you have a favorite classic author?  Have you ever participated in an online book group?  Did you enjoy it?

27th Aug2010

Coffee Talk: Relax, Relate, Release

by Daenel

For more information about the Inner Mean Girl 40~Day Cleanse, click here.

Disclosure:  I am participating in the Inner Mean Girl 40~Day Cleanse as a Self~Love Ambassador.  To thank me for my participation, I will receive a self~love gift from the founders of the Inner Mean Girl Reform School.

25th Aug2010

Inner Mean Girl Cleanse: Give Up Gossip

by Daenel

Inner Mean Girl CleanseYesterday about 6000 of my closest friends and I started the Inner Mean Girl 40~Day Cleanse.  The Inner Mean Girl Cleanse is a self~improvement workshop for women that is taught by Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo and hosted by Stacy of The Mom Renewal Project.  The purpose of the workshop is to encourage women to rid themselves of six toxic behaviors and replace them with habits that encourage self~love and respect.

Our first assignment is to give up all forms of gossip for the next seven days (that includes tabloid magazines, news shows that focus on celebrity scandals, etc,).  Why?  Because gossip hurts.  Think about how you feel when someone talks about you and it gets back to you, it hurts.  A lot.  And, honestly, when has anything good ever come from gossiping?  Never.

So why does the Inner Mean Girl like to gossip so much?  Because it makes her feel better about herself.  But that’s only a temporary feeling.  Think about it, if they’re gossiping with you, then they’re gossiping about you.  Therefore, it’s best to just avoid the negativity.

Our goal is to speak love, truth and respect into the lives of the people we encounter, so we’re being asked to replace gossip with “good talk.”  Good talk doesn’t mean having a Pollyanna attitude towards life and the people in it, it means thinking carefully about the reasons behind our words.

My Bible truth for this challenge comes from Proverbs 21:23 (NIV), “He who guards his tongue, keeps himself from calamity.”

Will you take the challenge with me and speak only truth and kindness for the next week?  If so, leave me a comment and tell me how it changed the way you interacted with family and friends.

Disclosure:  I am participating in the Inner Mean Girl 40~Day Cleanse as a Self~Love Ambassador.  To thank me for my participation, I will receive a self~love gift from the founders of the Inner Mean Girl Reform School.

25th Aug2010

Wordless Wednesday: Good~Bye to Summer

by Daenel

Good Bye to Summer

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom

24th Aug2010

Back in the Saddle Again

by Daenel

Tonight I attended the New Adjunct Faculty Orientation at the university where I’ll be teaching.  Yay!  Can I tell you how excited I am to be back in the saddle classroom again?  I truly enjoy teaching and interacting with students, I think I learn just as much in the process as they do.

For me, learning is a collaborative experience between the students and the instructor.  If I stand in front of the students droning on and on about whatever, they learn absolutely nothing but when the students are engaged and challenged, oh my gosh, you can see the wheels turning.  Seriously, nothing is better than hearing a student say “You made history come alive for me.”  Yes!

I went to the meeting tonight planning to teach one class and left with two. Yes, it’s short notice and, yes, that means a few long nights for me but I thrive under pressure.  I can’t wait for classes to begin.  I’ll be teaching on Wednesday nights from 6 to 10 and on Sundays from 8 to Noon.

So, what am I teaching?  American National Government!  Don’t groan.  The class will be oh~so~interesting.  The course will be mostly discussion based with a few writing assignments and, of course, a final.  The topics will be broken up into four sections:

  • Constitutional Principles
  • Rights and Liberties
  • The Political Process
  • Policy~Making Institutions

And with each section I plan to show an episode of either The Twilight Zone or All in the Family to facilitate the discussions.  Bet you’re interested now, huh?

So wish me luck while I get back to cranking out this syllabus!

23rd Aug2010

Monday Mingle: Celebrations and Grandparents

by Daenel

Monday MingleMonday Mingle is hosted by Eighty MPH Mom. If you’d like to participate, simply create a short vlog in which you answer the questions and then hit up the linky. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants. Afterall, isn’t that what mingling is all about?

Today’s questions are from Teresa at NanaHood:

1.  If you could switch places for one day with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
2.  What do your children like best about visiting their grandparents?
3.  What kind of grandmother do you think you’ll be (many years from now, of course) and do you look forward to it?

Miss 17 after I took her to get her nose pierced…

Symone and Mom

Next week’s questions were submitted by Robyn from Robyn’s Online World:

1. What does your extended family think of your blog?
2. Has anyone in your family ask that you not include them in your blob?
3. How supportive is your immediate household about your blogging?

22nd Aug2010

17 Years Ago Today…

by Daenel

SymoneI gave birth to my first child.  Like all mother’s I remember that day as if it were yesterday….

It was a hot and sticky day and I was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana and I was 4 days past my due date.  To say I was miserable would be putting it mildly.  I woke up early that morning with a slight tightening of my stomach but nothing that indicated that labor would be occurring any time soon.  My doctor had scheduled a check up for later that afternoon, so I went to work and waited for my appointment.  I was literally praying that the doctor would induce labor.  Being pregnant in Louisiana ain’t no joke.

My sponsor took me to my appointment at 11:30 and he sat there while the doctor hooked me up to the fetal monitor.  When a soldier arrives at a new duty station, they are assigned a sponsor to help them navigate through in~processing and get acclimated to the new area.  My sponsor was wonderful, he knew I was single so he and his wife decided that she would accompany me in the delivery room to have the baby.  During my appointment, my sponsor was cracking jokes and had me and the other pregnant lady in the doctor’s office laughing so hard the doctor couldn’t tell if we were having contractions or laughing so he banished my sponsor from the office.  After we calmed down, it was determined that I was having “mild” contractions but the doctor assured me that the baby probably wouldn’t come for awhile.  So he gave me a choice ~ I could go home or stay at the hospital.  I chose to go back to work.

Symone and Mom

Around 3 PM I felt “something” and alerted my co~workers.  They suggested that I go back to the hospital, which I did.  The nurses checked me in and the doctor checked me out.  “It’ll be at least 13 hours,” he said with authority.

One hour and forty~seven minutes later, my daughter was born.  We barely made it to the delivery room because the doctor kept saying “It’ll be at least 13 hours.”  My sponsor’s wife made it just as I was giving the final push.

I didn’t know what to expect when I found out that I was going to become a mom.  No one had ever looked at me and said “Now there goes a woman who should be responsible for another life.”  Truth be told, I had never looked at myself and thought that.  In fact, I was never really sure that I wanted kids but when the nurse placed that baby in my arms, I.  Fell.  In.  Love.Symone and Mom

On 23 August 1993 at 4:47 PM, I found my heart.  It hasn’t always been easy and there have been times when I’ve wanted to lock my daughter in a cave until she reached 21 but we survived.  So today, on her birthday, I just want to say “Happy Birthday, S’monster.  I love you.  And I’m proud that I’ve had the opportunity to watch you grow into the beautiful young lady you are today.”

22nd Aug2010

I’m Entering Inner Mean Girl Reform School

by Daenel

Inner Mean Girl Reform School

The Inner Mean Girl Reform School is part of a 40~day program for women where we learn to quiet our inner critic and give voice to our inner champion. For 6 weeks, I will be joining women from all over the world in ridding myself of 6 toxic habits including comparison, judgement, gossip and among others.

Each week, we will be challenged to replace our bad habits with good ones that encourage self~love, respect, honesty and acceptance.

So why am I participating in this program?  Well, last month I celebrated one year of unemployment. Ok, I didn’t really celebrate, I did something short of wailing and gnashing of teeth combined with huddling in a ball. Anyway, I acknowledged the event and moved on.  Kind of…

I don’t know if you’ve ever been unemployed for any period of time but, let me tell you, it starts to play with your self~esteem.  I started to view each rejection not from the stand point that the company found someone who better met their needs but as a rejection of me personally.  That little “mean girl” voice started to whisper: “Why don’t they want you?”  “What’s wrong with you?”  “Why are you such a failure?” On repeat.

I know that I’m better than that and I know that I’m more than my job.  I have a successful blog, my family is happy and healthy but still, you know, there’s that voice…  I need to silence her.

Do you have an inner mean girl who sabotages you at every turn?  Is there something that has your confidence feeling a bit shaky?  Then I invite you to join me for the 40~Day Inner Mean Girl Cleanse.  Simply click here to register for the program.  You can also connect on Facebook or follow Christine Arylo and Amy Ahlers on Twitter.

I’d like to thank Stacey at The Mom Renewal Project for this opportunity, and I do hope you’ll join me. I look forward to sharing this experience with you.

21st Aug2010

Rolled Eyes, Broom Sticks and Scenes from the Matrix

by Daenel

BroomI don’t know if y’all have had a chance to read Just Another Day with MrsTDJ but if you haven’t stop reading  this post and head over there now.  I’ll wait…

Specifically, what I wanted you to read is the post MrsTDJ wrote called “What Did Her 5 Fingers Say to My Face?”  Hilareeous!  Seriously.  In the post, Mrs TDJ describes an incident in which she was reprimanded by her parents after she was over the age of 18.  At the end, she asked if any of us have ever been snatched up by our parents?  Um, yeah.

First, let me give you a little background on the parentals.  They are both preachers.  Enough said.  Actually, that’s not true.  Dad was easy.   Mom, not so much.  My mom is about 5’1″ and a buck ten soaking wet in the middle of a monsoon wearing her longest faux fur coat.

Now back to my butt whupping…

We were in Mississippi and Iwas home from college for a visit, so I had to have been about 18 or 19 years old at the time.  My mom was sweeping the kitchen/dining room floors ~ the floors had carpet but Mom was old school, no vacuum for her.  We were talking about something ~ to this day I cannot remember what ~ I do remember that I had my back to my mother.  This is important, so remember that.

Meanwhile…  my twin sister was in her bedroom in the back of the house with the door shut listening to some music.  This is important, so remember that.

All of a sudden, a sound like a rushing mighty wind broke what I can only remember was a reasonable conversation about goodness knows what and I felt the broom handle slam across my back.  The next thing I heard was my mother yelling “Don’t you ever roll your eyes at me!”  What?  Since when did I grow eyes in the back of my head?  And when did I roll them?  The second time the broom handle cut through the air, I was up and out of my chair so fast, I don’t know what I thought I was gonna do but all I heard was my sister yelling “Daenel, Noooooooo!”

And like a scene from the Matrix, my sister was soaring through the air, her back bent in all sorts of inhuman contortions, hands flying faster than we could see them as she took the broom from my mother and saved me from what could possibly have been the last day of my life.

My mother, sister and I have discussed that day, many years later with us separated by miles and telephone lines.  Mom can’t remember what we were talking about either, the only thing she is sure of is that I, sitting with my back to her, rolled my eyes.

PS In her defense, I probably did roll my eyes, thinking that I was safe since my back was to her.

19th Aug2010

I Have Business Cards, Does That Make Me Official?

by Daenel

Living Outside the Stacks Business CardA few weeks ago I was talking to my husband about my coffee mug and how people always ask me about it whenever I’m out and that these discussions naturally lead to my blog but I don’t have a way of leaving people with information about my blog other than quickly jotting the URL down on a scrap sheet of paper only to get lost in the bottom of their purse and tossed away with the receipts.  Wow, was that the longest sentence ever or what?  Anyway, my husband suggested business cards.

Well, they’ve finally arrived, what do you think?  I chose to go with Vista Print because they were offering a good deal and I’ve ordered products from them before and was satisfied.

So now that I have my business cards, I plan to hand them out when I’m talking to people about my blog, include them in packaging when I mail out gifts or things, etc.  Do you have business cards for your blog?  Have you thought about purchasing them?

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post.

18th Aug2010

Eat Pray Love and Make Some Friends

by Daenel

In many ways I tend to be a creature of habit ~ I shop in stores where people know me, I travel the same route to and from home and I talk to my mother and/or sisters every day.  In other ways, I’m adventurous ~ I love to try new foods, I get a rush out of public speaking and I don’t like to follow a schedule. I know, I’m an enigma wrapped in a mystery, a woman of contradiction.

One of the few areas in which I’m not so adventurous is in social situations. Making friends is, quite simply, hard for me to do.  I can talk to strangers ~ you know, tell a lady that I love her handbag or that her hair color is fabulous.  I’ve even helped strangers put together outfits while I’m shopping but anything beyond a superficial connection is just difficult for me.  I don’t call people up to see if they’re busy because I don’t want to bother them.  Is that weird?

Anyway, a few months ago I decided to step out of my comfort zone and join a book group.  I thought Ok, this could work, we’ll have something in common ~ the books we read~ and maybe that can translate into something more.  The book we chose to read and discuss was Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  As part of the book discussion, we also decided to see the movie and then go out for coffee afterwards.

So today was the day.  In fact, I just got home about 1/2 an hour ago…. Anyway, all day today I jumped back and forth between going and staying. Usually, I’ll agree to attend an event and then at the last minute I’ll beg off because, well,  that’s what I do.  Tonight, I ended up going and I’m glad that I did.

First of all, let me give my honest opinion of the book ~ it was OK.  I think it was a little overrated.  I mean, we all go through things in our lives that make us want to slip quietly out the back door and walk away, but not all of us get the chance to spend a year whining about it in Italy, India and Bali. I mean, really, it’s hard to feel sorry for someone who gets to recover from a divorce for a year half way around the world.  Second, the movie was hard to follow ~ if you didn’t read the book.  At one point in the movie, Liz is in Italy and then in the next scene she’s riding a bike in India.  There’s no transition and no indication that she has changed countries until you notice the people are darker and she’s in ashram.  Furthermore, a lot of things happen in the movie that simply aren’t explained, so you think either Liz is crazy or you are because one of you has absolutely no idea what is going on.  Again, I’m speaking on behalf of the individual who has not read the book.  Last, there were some funny/poignant/moving parts to the movie and Julia Roberts was, as always, fabulous.

Now to the meeting of the NEPA Chick Lit Book Group…  There were four ladies total (counting myself) and they couldn’t have been more welcoming.  I thought I’d feel like an outsider because these ladies have a history, they’ve read/discussed other books, they’ve hung out together, etc.  But I  instantly felt like one of the girls.  As we talked over coffee at Starbucks, the discussion turned to Christmas (these ladies are planners) and I was invited to attend the Christmas party.  How cool is that?  I’m not sure what our next book is going to be but I am looking forward to our next night out.

Have you ever joined a book group?  In what ways have you stepped out of your comfort zone?

17th Aug2010

Book Review and Challenge: Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post~it Note at a Time by Caitlin Boyle

by Daenel

Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post~it Note at a TimeI have five children and I half~jokingly describe them as “self~confident to a friggin’ fault”.  Seriously, I have never met kids who are more self~assured than these guys.  And I honestly have no clue where they get it from  but I’m glad they have it.  I mean, I’m thirty~seven years old and I don’t have that level of self~confidence.  I suspect many women feel that way…

Tired of watching women pick themselves apart and reeling from the destructive nature of what she calls “Fat Talk”.  Fat Talk is the constant picking apart of your physical attributes and declaring yourself to be fat even though you’re healthy and of average size.  Caitlin Boyle did something radical, she wrote a positive affirmation for herself and stuck it to the bathroom mirror at the community college where she was attending night school.  The simple message read “You are beautiful!”  Feeling instantly buoyed, Caitlin left the message taped to the mirror and wondered what would happen to the next woman who found her note.  So began Operation Beautiful a project with the simple goal of “transforming the way you see yourself one Post~it Note at a time.”

Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post~it Note at a Time by Caitlin Boyle is a compilation of anecdotes from women who took the challenge and left messages of love in random places for other women to find.  The book is divided into seven chapters with five main subjects:  Fat Talk, Family and Friends, Fitness, Food and Faith.  Each section contains stories from women who have either found or left a note and the impact that the message had on them.

The global reach of this movement is extensive, from the heartland of America to the  deserts of Nairobi and the cafes of Paris, France.  Women are touching each other’s lives and making a difference, one Post~it Note at a time.

This is a self~help/inspirational book for women who are looking to move beyond the traditional ideals of what is beautiful.

Caitlin Boyle is the editor of Operation Beautiful and writes a daily food and fitness blog, Healthy Tipping Point. She previously served as a contributing columnist for The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition.

Challenge:  Leave a note with a positive message for a woman in a public space.  How did it make you feel?

For more information:
Book Goes on sale 3 August 2010
Website: www.operationbeautiful.com
Facebook:  Operation Beautiful
Today Show Clip:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Disclosure:  I received this book free from Penguin Group in exchange for a review.  I am not required to write a positive review, just an honest one.

16th Aug2010

Monday Mingle: Sponsors, Travels and Dance

by Daenel

Monday MingleMonday Mingle is hosted by Eighty MPH Mom. If you’d like to participate, simply create a short vlog in which you answer the questions and then hit up the linky. Don’t forget to grab the badge and leave some comment love for your fellow participants. Afterall, isn’t that what mingling is all about?

Today’s questions are:

1.  You are given your choice of corporate sponsor for your blog.  Who is it and why?
2.  Would you rather spend two weeks in the Caribbean or two weeks touring Europe?
3.  Have you ever taken dance lessons?  What types of dance do you like?

Short clip of the HP Vivienne Tam Butterfly Lovers Edition Netbook

Next week’s questions were submitted by Teresa at Nanahood and they are:


1.  If you could switch places for one day with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
2.  What do your children like best about visiting their grandparents?
3.  What kind of grandmother do you think you’ll be (many years from now, of course) and do you look forward to it?

15th Aug2010

Music Review: Chamber Music Society by Esperanza Spalding

by Daenel

Chamber Music Society by Esperanza SpaldingChamber Music is a form of classical music that is written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber.  The term “chamber” implies privacy and intimacy, therefore, “chamber music” has been described as the “music of friends.”  And by the time you finish listening to this CD you will feel as if you have been accepted into a society of friends.  Which is appropriate, since I was introduced to the music of Esperanza Spalding through the ravings of an old high school friend.

Backed by pianist Leo Genovese and drummer Terri Lynne Carrington, bassist Esperanza Spalding’s vocals blend so seamlessly with the instruments that it’s often hard to tell where they end and she begins.  Also featured on the CD are percussionist Quintino Cinalli, violinist Entcho Todorov, violist Lois Martin, cellist David Eggar and vocalist Gretchen Parlato.   Vocalist Milton Nascimento joins Esperanza on “Apple Blossom,” one of my favorite tracks ~ hauntingly beautiful.  Another one of my favorite songs is “What a Friend” which would provide the perfect background music to an intimate dinner party with friends.

Hailed as an acoustic bass prodigy at the age of 15, Esperanza Spalding debuted in 2008 with Esmerelda, her self~titled CD which spent 70 weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart.  She credits her mother with giving her a love for music but it was a performance by classical cellist Yo Yo Ma on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood that inspired her to pursue a music career.  She was four at the time.  Esperanza went on to play the violin, oboe and clarinet before discovering the bass.  At the age of 16, Spalding left high school, completed her GED and enrolled in the music program at Berklee College of Music.  After graduation, Spalding became one of the youngest professors in the university’s history at the age of 20.  She has also distinguished herself as a blues, funk, hip~hop, pop fusion, Brazillian and Afro~Cuban artist as well.

To listen to a sample of Chamber Music Society click here.  Advanced orders may be purchased for $12.99 by going here.

Rating:  4 out of 5 Stars

Chamber Music Society
Release Date: 17 August 2010
Website: www.eperanzaspalding.com
Facebook:  Esperanza Spalding

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post.  I was provided with a free copy of the CD for review courtesy of Walter Schmidli and Esperanza Spalding.


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