Cutting Myself Some (Unwanted) Slack

I’m sure you’ve heard the whole quantity v. quality question in use before. Well, here’s another example. Writers, and especially bloggers, face this question in the way they approach their work.

Here’s how it applies to me. Option A: write my blogs as they come to me and post them as I write them. Of course, then I have given myself a lot of freedom. With no disciplined schedule, there will likely be long stretches of time with no output (but lots of caffeine intake, most likely) and probably also the occasional short burst of brilliant, inspired work every single day (and lots of caffeine intake, most likely).

Option B (which has been working for me): write a blog every Monday. Every single Monday. Even if I’m fighting to scrap something together on Sunday at midnight or Monday at 7 a.m. (with, of course, lots of caffeine intake). Then the potential problem is that my work will drag. I’ll start thinking, “Just write something, Brittani. Get something out. It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be out by Monday morning.”

You may have noticed, if you’re a regular reader, that I didn’t post anything yesterday. On Monday. Because I thought that sentence this last week. “It doesn’t have to be good.”

What?

Okay, so quantity – or, more truthfully, consistency – is important to all writers, including myself. But I have discovered that I’m putting it ahead of quality. And the truth is that there is already a sufficient supply of drivel out there for you poor folk to wade through in order to find something worth reading. I have no desire to add to that pile of slum.

So, I hope that’s cool. I’m going to be working harder at writing things worth reading, and not so hard at writing plenty of things. With that in mind, the Monday schedule is out the window, at least for now. I have been trying to write a series, for your edification, on gay marriage in America. Hopefully, without the pressure of getting a blog out each week, I’ll have the brainpower to put it together. Maybe I’ll read a book instead of trying to write one. Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll write, too – I’m really enjoying my NaNovel, so maybe I’ll devote some energy to that, too. Maybe I’ll log some more hours trying to get a couple of my short stories in print.

Stay tuned, though, ’cause I’m not checking out! I’ll still be blogging, but this is my official announcement that I’m no longer holding myself to a weekly schedule. I will write a post when a good idea for one comes to me, and I’ll post them accordingly.

And thank you for reading. :)

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I Think They’re Putting Mind-Control Serum In Potato Chips

Noted an interesting phenomenon the other day. Thought you-all should know about it, in case you’re interested.

So I’ve written before about how I like to live and eat chartreuse. As far as eating, this means a few things – I try to avoid things like MSG and high fructose corn syrup, I avoid foods with a lot of packaging, especially plastic, and I try to eat local and organic as much as possible. Among other principles.

But this weekend was different. As I write this, it’s May 29, and we just had our son’s second birthday party. To save a little money, we barbecued and everything else we served was potluck style. (Except for my delicious homemade funfetti cake, of course. Great recipe here, and many thanks to Faith over at The Kitchn.)

This meant that there was a lot of food we wouldn’t normally eat, which we considered a minor one-day setback, one happily overlooked because of the price of feeding 21 people a full meal. We had about twenty-seven bags of potato chips, several packages of dip, lots and lots of soda, and several bags of store-bought cookies.

Well, no one took their goodies home, and while I’m not one to buy dinner at KFC, I’m also not one to waste a bucket of free chicken. Which means we’ve suspended many of our chartreuse principles, just until the smorgasbord has been whittled down a little.

The evening after the party, I had eaten almost nothing nutritious for nearly 48 hours. (With the exception of some Bob’s oatmeal. Although to be fair, I had marinated that in brown sugar.) We had traveled up the coast to an aquarium for Ean’s birthday, and on the car trip we’d consumed two meals and a couple snacks’ worth of food with no nutritional value. (Hey, those chips used to be vegetables, you know!)

I was not hungry at all. My stomach was practically distended. In the car with me, I had two bags of chips, several chocolate truffles, a bottle of water, a bottle of juice, and leftover ravioli. Here’s the phenomenon I mentioned earlier. Despite all that, I wanted to stop at the store and buy a pizza pocket!

I was also ravenous for a latte. Every kiosk we passed made me feel more depressed, because I knew how irrational I was being, and I wasn’t about to ask my husband to pull over and shell out more money for a cup full of calories I certainly didn’t need.

But, despite knowing better, I was incredibly frustrated. Nothing I had eaten all day had satisfied me, and I’d sampled aplenty. I didn’t feel full, although I knew I was. The day before, chips tasted salty and pleasant. After two full days of them, they tasted bland.

As I realized how unsatisfied I felt after gorging myself, I noticed a few other things. My skin was unusually greasy. I felt lethargic and groggy. My mood was in the tank.

And I wanted more of the junk that had made me feel that way …??!

So, I just thought I’d share that. Hopefully there are a few people out there who are on the fence about their eating habits, and I’d like to stand up on that fence and shout it:

They call it junk food for a reason!

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Thoughts on a Big Day

My son turned two yesterday! I don’t have anything particularly insightful or clever to say about it. I am your standard parent – completely baffled that he managed to get through two years safe and sound and smart, before I managed to blink.

Today’s blog doesn’t have much to do with that, though. I just wanted to brag about my great big beast of a boy. Today’s post is very simple. All I really have to say is this: my son is not mine.

Almost everyone I know has this concept of very young children “belonging” to their parents. I don’t know if this is specific to America or our time in history, or if it’s worldwide and historical. But I certainly had it in my head, and even after really thinking about it, I still have that instinct.

{I suppose in a way it’s good; I think of that saying that having children is like having your heart move around outside your body, and now as a parent, that really resonates. If I didn’t think of Ean as something as close to me as my heart, I wouldn’t have such a strong instinct to protect him. Also this post has nothing to do with biology; apart from the thing about uteruses a couple paragraphs down, everything I’ve said or will say is just as true for an adopted or stepchild, and I know that from experience.}

We don’t think of ourselves as belonging to our parents, right? (Again, I don’t know the cultural or historical truth of that.) We are independent people. We make our own choices. We adhere to our own beliefs. We have quirks and flaws and glowing qualities which have nothing to do with our parents.

And yet, we apply that idea to young children. I don’t think I was any less myself when I was two than I am now. And I’m positive that I was no less unique before God. As a mom, though, it took me several months to consider my son an individual, rather than something my body had made for me and out of me. I thought of him as “a little piece of me and my husband.”

*eyebrow furrow* Which he’s not.

{I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t value the God-ordained parent/child relationship. There’s a difference between independence, as it’s treated in our culture, and individuality. By independence, I mean “not needing anyone” and “finding your happiness within yourself.” Whereas by individuality I mean equality, uniqueness, and value. It means the way God created us and sees us. A child’s (or parent’s) individuality does not detract from the beauty of family relationships – in fact, it enhances it.}

My child is only “mine” in the sense that his care has been entrusted to me. He is a completely distinct person, one God conceived of long before the world began, and for whom God has an equally unique plan. Where do I come into it? Well, Ean needed a uterus in which to develop enough maturity to breathe air. After that, he needed someone to nurse him and help him learn when to sleep and to keep him warm. As he grew, he needed help learning to eat and walk, someone to read him books, someone to drive him to the park. Someone to love him and show him how to love. He needs someone to tell him about God and will need someone to teach him math and how to be a strong, godly man.

I was handy for the job (as was my husband); I don’t know the specifics, but within His own design, God decided that we would be a good match for Ean. And so when he was created – by God’s choice, not ours – we were the ones entrusted with the task. The three of us were united as a family. We seem very different right now, but we won’t for long. Pretty soon our differences will fade. Before the throne of God, all of us will be as obviously equal as we have always been in truth.

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Some Shout-Outs

So this week, I’ve been working hard at a new series of posts, which I will hopefully start running next Monday. Originally, I intended to write the first post, and then if more came out of it, I’d continue. I’d talk until I was done.

Yeah… but I’m a writer. And I have to outline. It’s coded in my DNA. So I am currently floundering in the Outline Quagmire, and I’ll get the series going soon enough. In the meantime, I’m taking an Easy Week. My topic? People who are better than me at what I do.

Okay, or they’ve just been doing it longer and they’re doing it the same way I want to be doing it.

That is: fellow bloggers! This week I’m giving you a quick list of several of my favorite blogs and what I like about them.

One Hundred Dollars a Month

This is an exciting blog for me as a fledgling gardener; it’s the “story of how I feed my family with one hundred dollars a month.” Mavis, the writer, clips coupons, gardens, and keeps a flock of chickens with which to feed her family. She even goes to grocery stores and gets the food that’s about to be thrown out and salvages what she can. I’m not big on coupons and to tell the truth I don’t intend to hit up the local Safeway anytime soon, but I am thrilled about the gardening and the fun presentation of it. I’ve read that many gardeners believe they’re saving money, but only a select few of them actually are. Mavis most certainly is, and I’m happy to take tips from her.
How to Build a Potato Tower
How to Make a Recycled Pallet Vertical Garden
How to Make a Rustic Pea or Bean Trellis Out of Sticks

Roscommon Acres

This blog breaks my heart. A little over a year ago, Dana Henley, who had already been blogging for a long time, lost her second-youngest son in a tragic accident. She was already writing interesting posts about her life as a homeschooling, Christian wife and mother and running her family’s five-acre home. But now her writing is heart-wrenching and cathartic and inspiring. I’d have thought losing a son would ruin her blog. Instead, it has lent it a depth and clarity that never fails to reach my heart.
Micah’s Joy
What Hurts the Most
I Miss Tias

Keeper of the Home

This blog has a tight focus. It’s written to environmentally-minded and frugal Christian wives/mothers. If that describes you, then every post on this blog is relevant to you. Which leads into what I like the most about it: despite being written to a specific, tight demographic, the amount of topics and the quality of information covered is staggering. I remember the night I discovered this blog. I think I lost three hours.
Preserving Summer’s Bounty
Recipes
Gardening 101 

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Fanny Crosby on Hope

O heart bereaved and lonely, 
Whose brightest dreams have fled
Whose hopes like summer roses,
Are withered crushed and dead
Though link by link be broken,
And tears unseen may fall
Look up amid thy sorrow, 
To Him who knows it all

O cling to thy Redeemer,
Thy Savior, Brother, Friend
Believe and trust His promise, 
To keep you till the end
O watch and wait with patience, 
And question all you will
His arms of love and mercy, 
Are round about thee still

Look up, the clouds are breaking, 
The storm will soon be o’er
And thou shall reach the haven, 
Where sorrows are no more
Look up, be not discouraged; 
Trust on, whate’er befall
Remember, O remember, 
Thy Savior knows it all

-Fanny Crosby, “O Heart Bereaved and Lonely”

 

 

 

 

A version by Leigh Nash, on an album I recently discovered:

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