Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Collect. — Calling All Signature ‘TagLines’

Last year,  I decided to change my personal signature line.  You know what I’m talking about. The way we sign our letters, notes, emails. I have been a closet collector of others’ ‘tag lines’ over the past year or so.

“Peace and Cheers”
“Love and Light”

I adopted the phrase, “Enjoy the Day” and tried to make it mine. Take care and Enjoy the day. Thanks and Enjoy the day. The idea was to bring focus to really enjoying each and every day. There’s nothing wrong wth that. Let’s really be intentional about finding times in our days to enjoy. Have fun with. Notice. Pay attention.

But then I discovered that it wasn’t enough.

In my professional life, I am constantly talking to folks about actively engaging students in their learning. Whoever does the most work, learns the most. Students have to be actively engaged in their own learning in order to get the most out of it. I swear I say that every day.

And I decided that was what I want to do each day. I don’t want to just enjoy the day. I want to engage it. I want to engage with it. I want to get dirty and make a mess with it. I want to mess up and make it right. I want to pay attention, but actively give attention to it. I want to be an active participant with each day. I want to notice it, but also make a note of it.

I’m here to do the work. I want to learn the most. So for the past year,  I have been using the line:

Engage the Day.

But again…it is time for a change. 

With a new year comes a new tagline. A new focus. A few new goals.

My experiences recently trying to help organize The Giving Tree Food Pantry Angel Tree have taught me some very important lessons.

Lessons about faith.

Lessons about hope.

Lessons about believing.

Lessons about doubt.

Lessons about needs and wants.

Lessons about enough.

Lessons about action.

Lessons about being still.

Lessons about what is important.

Lessons about what is not.

So, I’m playing around with finding a new personal signature line for 2014:

Faith. Hope. Fishes and Loaves.

What do you think?

I know. I know. They are not verbs. But they might as well be.

I figure it might raise a few eyebrows, maybe a few questions. Either way, should be a fun conversation starter of sorts.

So. Now I’m coming out of the collecting closet and I want to know…

What is your signature tag line and why did you choose that? What does it mean to you? What’s the story behind it?

Send me a message or leave a comment and I’ll put together a post, tagging you of course, to share and inspire others!

Happy Taglining!

Faith. Hope. Fishes and Loaves.




Drop. — Balls and Plates and Whatnot.

Well, it finally happened.

I knew this was coming. It was inevitable.

One can only keep so many plates spinning at one time.

Just so many balls in the air.

And today,

I let one fall.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a huge one, more like a ping pong ball.

But as I watched it bounce across the floor and roll under the bookcase, I realized just how much we are all doing.

Every day. We are busy. Our days are full.

And then we go and make our days full of more.

Maybe fuller than they have to be. Than they need to be.

From morning to night, our days are full of action words. MommyVerbs.

Mother. Shower. Cook. Pack. Comb. Brush. Clean. Find. Call. Drive. Greet. Email. Respond. Problem Solve. Eat. Talk. Write. Think. Check. Teach. Help. Support. Text. Care. Blog. Coach. Commiserate. Compliment. Create. Plan. Grade. Connect.  Parent. Listen. Sing. Cheer. Rock. Bathe. Kiss. Hug. Write. Sleep.

And get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

To Do lists that no longer fit on one page, but now have to be kept in notebooks.

And when I look at all I do, I know that I have the power to change it. I could choose to stop.

I could choose to let some things go and have more time to sit and just be.

But I can’t figure out which should go away.

Because there is a part of me that enjoys the juggling and the spinning.

And the consequence of being a spinning juggler is that …

I have to learn to be good… with letting one get away from me every now and then.

I just have to learn to be really good with super glue when the pieces occasionally crash down.

Because all of that…Action.

Is who I am. Right now.

And it’s working.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: Take a look at your To Do list.  Is it manageable? Is it doable? Is there anything that you want/need to come off? What’s missing? What should you be doing that you haven’t made a priority? Add that to your list.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

plates and balls


Invite. — Cameron Crowe Throws the Best Parties.

you-are-invited-tagsA few things have converged to prompt this little invitation.

1. A friend of mine started writing again today. She shared that MommyVerbs had inspired her. I am truly humbled and honored to play just a small, teeny tiny role in someone’s journey to … blog.

2. I got a sweet little surprise note in the mail that included a handmade friendship bracelet from a fellow blogger who inspired and helped me along my blogging adventures. Rarasaur is one of the most genuinely sincere and creatively talented writers I have never met. She is a helper spirit for sure with amazing gifts.

braceletAnd I am wearing this bracelet proudly as a reminder to create and pay it forward as I can.

And 3. This past weekend, many of my other favorite bloggers that I have also never met, traveled to Chi-town to participate and play at the annual BlogHer Conference.  I was a little jealous. I didn’t get an invitation.

Not that I needed an actual invitation, of course. I just needed to buy a ticket to the conference. And a plane ticket. And a hotel room. So, that didn’t happen…this year.

But it looked like a lot of fun was had by all. I’ve enjoyed reading about it and hearing about the stories behind the stages and the plots and ploys after the presentations. I’m not sure that I would be invited to their parties actually. Because a) they don’t know me and b) I don’t use the f-bomb enough or talk about body parts enough. I may not come across as shocking. **Shocking, I know.** Although I would love a seat at the table … or at least a look through the window! Ha!

All of these things have led me to want to share this with you. I want to invite you to this party. If you are a writer, or even if you are not. If you have been thinking about it, if you have even been talking about…I’d like to invite you to start telling your own story. Sharing your own voice. When you have time. As you are able. Whatever this looks like, make it yours.

And just to make it all just a little more … inviting…maybe this will help. I’ve decided that this whole blogging thing is really like a great and wonderful party scene from a classic Cameron Crowe directed movie. (To be honest, I sometimes wish I lived in a Cameron Crowe movie party scene. I mean, there is guaranteed to be some amazing music playing in the background and always a clever, endearing line to be delivered at every turn. How could that be a bad thing?!)

Come on, now. Can’t you just see it?

ione_skye3It’s summer time. I have officially graduated to premier blogger status and I am AT the blog party of the year. People I have never talked to before are signing my yearbook. I’m there with the blogger equivalent of my beloved Lloyd Dobler and we have this exchange:

LLOYD-inpired Blogger Friend: “Uh, did you… so what did they write in your book, what did they write to MommyVerbs?”
I open my yearbook. “Alright, this is some of the things they wrote me: ‘Glad I finally met you’, ‘You always seemed nice’, ‘Wish I could have known you more’…
Humble-Lloyd-ish Blogger Pal: “Mine say stuff like ‘Lloyd, see you around maybe.'”
I reply: ‘Nobody knew me before tonight.’
Lovely delightful Dobler Blogger: “They knew of you. Now they know you.”
Me again: “Yeah, but I feel like I fit in for the first time, you know? Like I just held them far away from me, and they did the same to me.”
Awesome Blogger Lloyd: “That’s cool then.”
Later, a random fan comes up to me and compliments my outfit. “That’s a very nice hat you’re wearing… and I don’t mean that in an Eddie Haskell kind of way.” Which just makes me giggle and blush a little. cliff
Later, after the blog party really gets going…”I always tell the girls, never take it seriously, if ya never take it seriously, ya never get hurt, ya never get hurt, ya always have fun, and if you ever get lonely, just go to your WordPress Reader and visit your friends.”
And toward the end of the evening, the reporters are asking me questions like: “Do you have to be depressed to write a sad blog? Do you have to be in love to write a love blog? Is a blog better when it really happened to you? Like “Cry.–Like Holly Hunter in Broadcast News“, where did you write that and who was it about?”home
Eventually I will say, “I have to go home.” To which my favorite readers and book tour groupie fans (you know who you are!) simply say, ”

You. Are. Home.”

End Scene.

(I can think of exactly four people who will actually get these references to some of my all-time favorite movies. Which is fine. I promise though, if you hang out with me more often, you will fall in love with these classics, too.)

Here’s the thing … if you have any interest at all in blogging or writing, I invite you to go and do that. Start a site. Start writing. Start sharing your thoughts and ideas with the world. It is great therapy and you will be introduced to other folks that are more like you, making the world that much smaller. And the world wants to hear from you. We really do.

(And if you need any help…let me know…I am happy to tell you what I’ve learned along the way!)

Still worried that this party is not for you? That you would be just a wallflower? That you don’t have anything important or funny or clever to say? That those fancy bloggers with a million followers who are writing the books and going on TV are better or more talented or funnier than you? That there is some secret guide or key or clue to showing up at this gig?

 “Trust me. Everybody is less mysterious than they think they are.”

RSVP to MommyVerbs here:


Warn. — This Blog Should Come with a Label.


My blog should have come with a warning label.

I walked around all weekend telling no one in particular, “I think my thumb is broken.”

And when no one stopped what they were doing to show how much they cared, I started doing my own thumb therapy and exploring the possible causes.

Finally, I diagnosed myself: MommyVerbs-itis. 

You see, ideas for my blog come at random times and I am often in the middle of other things with no time to grab pencil and paper, so I take some notes on my phone on the little yellow notepad app.

I also am addicted to checking my WordPress stats page and reading comments. I check my email with baited breath waiting and wishing for that note from the Freshly Pressed folks.

Ok. I also check my MommyVerbs facebook page to see if new friends have been found.

And this is why my thumb feels broken.  It is the fault of MommyVerbs. All of the swiping and swooping and texting and typing and clicking…I have actually injured my thumb!

It’s a real thing. And it hurts.

So, if MommyVerbs should come with a blogging “May make your thumb hurt!” label, it may also need a few other warning labels as well:

“May become addictive.”

“May cause you to think of verbs everywhere you go.”

“May cause you to talk too much about your blog.”

“May cause you to say things like, Yeah, I’m gonna blog about that.”

“May cause your knee to hurt when you sit too long on the couch with your legs folded under you.”

“May cause drowsiness when you stay up too late to write because it is the only time you have.”

“May cause you to develop friendships with people without knowing their real names, only their stories.”

Another symptom:

“May cause you to totally fall in love with blogging and writing just a little everyday.”



Award. — Paying it forward.


Thanks to Jenn’sMidLifeCrisis for this nomination.  If you don’t know Jenn…check her and her sassy green boots out. She’s a Momma of boys and is embracing her own ‘midlife’ journey, without a sign of any real crisis because she is just. that. cool. And she reads Captain Underpants with her youngin’. That’s just good stuff right there! Thanks for the nod,  Jenn!

(My apologies to Jenn, this took me way too long to complete.  I’m discovering that pesky work must get in my way of blogging, and I am using these days off to play a little catch up.  🙂 )

So, to accept this award, I will now share 11 random facts about me and answer a few questions. Ready?

1. I don’t really like my dog right now. He’s kind of puppy dumb…but I hope to like him someday. That fact makes me a little sad because I love dogs…let’s just say we are having attachment issues and I hope there is hope for us. 🙂

2. I have a love hate relationship with my eyelashes and eyebrows. It’s true. My lashes are long and lovely, but they poke me  in they eyes sometimes.  My eyebrows were reshaped, without malicious intent when I was 13 and my grandmother’s sister’s tried to reshape them by plucking extensively. It’s true, there were probably a couple of caterpillars above my eyes, but the shape has never been the same since that day. I don’t know what to tell you.  I’ve moved on.

3. I just moved into a new office and it has windows. I just posted a blog post about light … and in it you can see my glorious windows. I sit at my desk each morning and say, “It’s so pretty.”

4.I could easily watch all 24 hours of The Christmas Story. My family can attest to that.

5. My favorite holidays are New Year’s Eve and my birthday. Both represent new beginnings and I love a new journal with empty pages.

6. I want to write a book. Someday. And go on a book tour. Think it could ever happen?

7. Our Christmas Tree was so big this year, we had to literally tie it to the wall. There are two screws and fishing line holding that thing up.

8. I cannot stand to be in small, cramped, tight places. If my children get stuck in a tubey slide, they may just have to live there.  I had to go up and in after X once when he was 2 in a Chik-fil-A playground. Once he saw my eyes and the look on my face, he started saying, “I’m Sorry. I’m Sorry. I’m Sorry. I’m Sorry!”

9. When I was a kid, my Dad would make my eat tomatoes, which I hated so much, I could make myself throw up.  (Sorry, Dad!) Now, I am well known for my famous appetizer Bruschetta (made of… yes, tomatoes!) and bring it to most parties we attend. Go figure.

10. I think I was 23 before I learned to swallow pills. Well, maybe not 23. But I did spend a lot of years having tylenol melted in a spoonful of water for me and I’m fairly certain my parents had to pay extra for liquid versions of medicines just to avoid the hassle.

11. I know how to make sock monkeys and towel animals.

How’s that for random?!

And now on to the questions:

The 11 questions are:

What is your favorite quote? Well today it is: “Forgive others, not necessarily because they deserve it, but because it brings you peace.”

What is your favorite season? Summer

What is one of your hobbies? Right now, it is this blog.

What is your favorite dessert? Ice cream

What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with the world? “Be nice and Do what I say.” That is the secret to my marriage of 13 years and goes both ways.

What is your biggest dream? To be able to do what I enjoy doing and not have to do too much of it and still get paid to do it so that I can just play and travel and be with my family. 

Who is your favorite superhero/heroine? Right now, it is Iron Man. He makes me giggle and I like me some Robert Downey, Jr. Always have, but like him even more now.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Does Diane Lane’s character in “Under the Tuscan Sun” count? I like her. I could move to Tuscany someday. 

Who is your favorite famous person and why? Pippa, Princess Kate’s sister. Mostly because I like saying Pippa. I think I missed a real opportunity to have named Y, Pippa. I tell her that all the time.  She loves the idea. No. Not really.

What is your favorite book and why? Favorite? I don’t know. I’m a busy Momma and I barely have time for reading.  So, what I’m kinda reading right now is Unglued, by Lisa Terkerst.

What is your current brand of toothpaste? Colgate. Lifelong. True. Fan. I really can’t stand any other brand.

Instructions to my nominees: to accept the award, you are to post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions provided. Pass the award on to 11 other bloggers (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and give them the same instructions! You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you! Make sure the blogs you chose have 200 or LESS followers. Here are the questions to answer:

What is your favorite quote? 

What is your favorite season? 

What is one of your hobbies? 

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with the world? 

What is your biggest dream? 

Who is your favorite superhero/heroine? 

What is the movie you watch in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep?

Who is your favorite famous person and why? 

What is the first of your favorite songs that you think of … right…. now!? 

What is your favorite flavor/brand of wine? (Or drink of choice?) 

And now the Liebster Awards Go To These folks that I enjoy reading–These are supposed to be new blogs…I don’t know how new they are, but they were new to me once and maybe to you, too:

1. The Crumb Diaries  Momma raising kiddos and loving them for all they are, accepting them for whatever journey they are on, because she will be there right beside them, every step of the way.

2. laurieanichols  A dedicated blogger — I like the way she thinks and writes. 

3. SmirkPretty  I am enjoying her Happy 100 Days project.  She’s taking it one day at a time. I can appreciate that.

4. Perfectly Imperfect Momma  Another Momma taking it one day (and one drink) at a time.

5. Naptime Writing   I love the idea of Mommas hiding away during naptimes to record some thoughts.  She’s snowed in right now…somebody send her some BioFreeze!

6.  BonneVivanteLife   I’m not sure she knows this, but she’s the first one to really make me feel welcomed in the blogging community and for that I am forever thankful.

7. Mostly Domesticated  Crack me up. I have an X who feels exactly the same way about … BACON!  We had this exact conversation tonight. 🙂

8. The Yummy Mummy Train  She’s doing her best to pay attention to the details while raising up a little one. She’s set a goal for Meditation Mondays in 2013. Check her out.

9. Mama of Letters  I love her take on child led learning and her take on life in general.

10. Scarred for Life  This one’s personal for me.  I find her inspirational — she shares stories of her life and her journey overcoming thyroid cancer.

11. and Last but not least a shameless plug for my hubby and brother in law’s business: SnakeClamp  I’m their guest blogger. I work for free cheap.  Is this a cop-out, maybe, well, yes. But this was hard and I’ve discovered that I follow a lot of the Freshly Pressed blogs who have a ton of followers. 🙂

Go forth and Award! Pay it forward. Make new friends!


Nod. — Channeling Sally Field’s Oscar Speech just a little

I am so excited, I can barely stand it.

I woke up this morning, with a very cool nod from a fellow blogger that I enjoy reading.  You know one of those cool, hip, young kids do it, kind of nods. The kind where you have to move your head up instead of down.  Imagine the classic, “Whassup?” goes along with it.

At any rate, this is quite the honor!  To be nominated for a One Lovely Blog Award by the lovely and delightful,  BonneVivanteLife  — Thank you so much!  You. You are Awesome and have made me feel so welcome!  Thank you BonneVivanteLife  and you should all know that it took her exactly 31 words, earlier this week, to change my entire day!

Now I reveal myself as a list maker–my required action steps for this honor:

1) thank the person who gave it to me,  √

Seven things you folks might not know about me…that should be easy since I’m fairly new to the neighborhood. Here goes:

1.  Born. I was born in California.  In Virginia, that makes me exotic and means The Beach Boys wrote that song about me.

2. Obsess. When I like something, I mean–I really like it. I swear I’m not a hoarder, but I do have every Monkees album (yes, album, not cd) and every TV episode taped on…wait for it…Beta tapes! Yeaaaaahhhhh. Just sayin’.

3.  Clean.  During exam week in college, back in the day, we always had the cleanest apartment. This is because when I’m stressed out, my first response is to clean.  We also ate really well those weeks, because my roommate’s reaction to stress was cooking four course meals!  To this day, to stress means we should first clean up, then two, eat and eat.

4. Appreciate. Favorite TV show ever (well, after The Monkees?!)  Yeah. You know it. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Yes, I promise I’m not a 14 year old boy.  I discovered Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies later in life.  But I just like the way they  (read: Joss Whedon) could say a Dawson’s Creek monologue in just a word or two.  And this is from a gal who appreciated a little bit of Pacey growing up, too. Who’s with me!?

5.  Lift. I love my crossfit style gym and I love to lift weights.  Heavy weights. To borrow from a fellow blogger whom I will mention in just a little bit: Deadlift. It’s my superpower.   True Story. I’m kind of a big deal (in my own mind) when it comes to the deadlift.

6.  Sew. So.So. Well, I have a sewing machine and I know how to use it.  But I really can’t make clothes or anything.  Instead, in the past 10 years, I started  a baby blanket business (which sold none, but did give me a lifetime supply of baby shower gifts!) I also made and sold over $600 worth of sock monkeys at a local street fair many moons ago!  Sock Monkeys are kind of my thing.

7.  Aspire. I have a lot of ideas. I have a lot of dreams. I have a lot of things I want to do, to be able to do. I want to aspire to do each and every one of these.  And along the way, wouldn’t it be cool to inspire a few someones?!

Shew! This is work! Good work!

2) share 7 possible things that are unknown about me, √

Nominate. And now, nominating 15 of my favorite bloggers:  (in no particular order and I’m new to this, so I’ve probably messed it up, but know I mean only the best! I don’t always make a splash in their worlds, but they should know that I have felt the quiet ripples of their words in my little space. So here goes):

1.  Tell it like it is nutrition and fitness advice.  I find her inspirational in an anti-guru, good to be in awe of  her strength and point of view, kind of way. Love it.       And I need one of her t-shirts, soon. “40 is the new BadAss.” 

2.  Doing good work in the world right now,  as Monkee warriors.

3.  The name says it all. And someof my favorite words after all. AND, I appreciate those morning hours, too. Get up. Get it done. Be intentional.

4.  She’s been helping Moms lose that baby weight; now she’s enjoying her own cuddly baby days (and her chocolate!)

5.  Great, easy, clean-eatin’ going on here.  Letting her Mini-Chef be a part of the cooking fun!

6.  intentional parenting. Yeah. Let’s Do that.

7.  He is at the gym every morning at 5 a.m. No. Matter. What. His take on weight loss and fitness makes me smile.  No nonsense in a nonsensical kind of way. That completely makes sense.

8.  teeheehee…”Let’s Pretend This Never Happened!”

9. (ok, shameless plug for my best friend/partner/hubby’s business!) Check this one out, I guest blogged for them– I’m kinda proud of that one.

10.  SuperNutrition. SuperBrave. I’m keeping her close right now.

11.  Yeah. Do That. Don’t Eat Crap.

12.  She’s getting ready to hike the AT. I like a gal with BIG plans.

13.  Great advice for trying to keep your kiddos away from processed crap food, even when everybody else is doing it.

14.  I love a recent post: Try-Curious. That’s me.

15.  Now, she just makes me laugh out loud, all sporky and all.

3) nominate 15 bloggers, √

4) notify the nominees of their nomination.

Ok. I will go. Do That.


%d bloggers like this: