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When all else fails, raid the recycling bin.

January was intense. A lot has happened in our world and to my friends this month. While I have been active and keeping informed, I’ve also enjoyed some downtime.

Books

This month, I finished up some books I had started and read another book by someone who is becoming one of my favorite authors.

I enjoyed The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery (Cron and Stabile). That is, I enjoyed it after reading the part about Ones, which I am now 97% certain I am. I can’t really call my experience through that chapter “enjoyment,” but it was helpful.

My favorite book I’ve read this month is Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. I have a whole separate post planned about this book, but for now I want to talk about this author. I love his characters and how he develops them. I need to buy all of his books and study them with fervor. I want to write characters that well.

TV

This is Us. I am firmly seated on this bandwagon. Stupid awesome show. It makes me cry and cry. I love  them all, but Randall is my favorite. Also, I am happy to see Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley throwing off shirts again. I support this.

I’ve also been on a superhero kick (I mean…even more than usual). So clearly I am rewatching/binge-watching Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and Smallville. For some reason, I see the need for heroes these days. And by heroes, I do mean Cat Grant, Iris West, and Felicity Smoak.

Life

I had…fun? That’s not exactly it. I had moderate anxiety and the tiniest of panic attacks graciously buffered by camaraderie and humor and overwhelming kindness and the joy of seeing both old and new friends at the Women’s Rally/March in Denton. I enjoyed lunch and dinner with friends to talk about it, and my hope was given a little boost by those conversations.

My parents visited last weekend. We ate a lot, and my mom and I watched romantic comedies, and before they went home, my friend Margarett brought them a puppy to take with them. His name is Butch, and he is corgi/shepherd, and he has got that whole puppy eyes thing down. I’m sure there will be pictures aplenty in the months and years to come.

I’ve taken up my seasonal knitting habit again. It’s so calming. This year, I’m obsessed with blankets. If you visit, I might try to pawn one off on you. Many of them will be going to supplement the United Methodist Church’s donations to homeless shelters, because how many blankets do I really need? I am currently working on one in blues and grays that will act as a bedspread:

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Writing

I totally skipped my January newsletter this month, but I had something to share at my Mastermind group, so there’s that. I am working on about four very different projects. I think I can finally admit that having several projects going at once is the key to my sticking with a writing schedule and ever getting anything done. I am exhausted, exhilarated, and happy.

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I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer – hop over, read what others are into, and share your own post!

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2017 Resolutions

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I have a stocking that’s mine (on the right) and a stocking that’s a reminder that I’m not alone in the world. This is the first decoration I put up every year, and it’s my favorite. I like starting the season with the hope that  life will not inevitably always be the way it’s always been.

I love this time of year. I love the invigoration of setting new goals. I am nervous about this year because of the political climate, but I am refusing to give up hope. I am anxious, but I am determined. I am sad, but I am unwilling to settle for wallowing.

My goals for 2017 are pretty simple. Most of them are a continuation of things I’ve already started to do. Some of them are specific, but most of them are unruly, because the main goal is to embrace the wild.

  1. Wild is my word for the year, and I want it to spread throughout my world like fire. I want to burn away all that is not true, beautiful, just, and good. I realize that’s a tall order, but I can’t very well start my year of wild by taming my expectations.
  2. Read 100 books.
  3. Learn conversational Spanish.
  4. Continue to make my home a place that is welcoming and does not hinder the life I create. This life looks like cozy nooks and a well-stocked kitchen, pantry, and bar for spontaneous hospitality. This life looks like flowers on the table and blankets on the couch. This life looks like finally getting the last of the boxes unpacked from the move last summer.
  5. Continue to improve my health and well-being. This will probably look like a significant weight loss. I have 22 more pounds to go to reach my birthday goal, but as – much to my chagrin – I no longer have the metabolism I had when I was twenty, this will probably look more like 15 pounds, which is still pretty great. This will also look like pearls in my ears, red on my lips, and cute shoes on my feet, as emotional well-being is often manifested in how I care for myself physically.
  6. Finish at least one manuscript and publish a 2018 calendar.
  7. Run a 5K.
  8. Go on a writing retreat (can be alone or an official one with a group).
  9. Get paid for writing in some way. This can be as simple as submitting a piece for publication and having someone say yes, but I want to see tangible proof that it’s something I can do.
  10. Continue/establish beloved traditions. I want to have baking weekends. I want to have parties that people come to expect every year. I want to have traditions that are just mine – that embrace the single life I have now instead of waiting on other people to have traditions.

Do you make resolutions? If so, what are they?

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Social Media, Part 2

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I was really excited to get 51 likes. 

Yesterday, I talked about the social media that don’t work for me. Today, I want to talk about my favorites. Most of them are works in progress, but I don’t mind, because I love them. Working on them doesn’t seem like work.

Facebook – my author page: https://www.facebook.com/suzanneterrywriter/

I want to be better at this page. That is my main social media goal for the year. This is where you can find all my blog posts and where I post links to articles, blog posts, recipes – basically anything that has anything to do with something I’ve blogged or care about. This is also where you will be able to get book recommendations (I’m wanting to start weekly posts about the books I’m reading) and updates on how my current work in progress is coming (spoiler alert – slowly). If I ever get it together and have a newsletter, this is the first place you will see that.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_coffeesnob_/

I love Instagram. I am not a fan of their new feed algorithm that makes the pictures show up in random order, but I like everything else. Instagram is the whole reason I got a smartphone. For those who like a more personal, human touch to social media, Instagram is where I am more personal. This is where you are most likely to see what is going on with me on a day-by-day basis. I post about the favorite book I’m currently reading, and I often post pictures of dinner and coffee. You should also be prepared for multiple pictures of the pretty, pretty floors in my new apartment, because we are in love.

Instagram reminds me of the yearly photo albums I used to put together.

I love Instagram challenges. It’s like going to a theme party where I can engage exactly as much as I desire. Most of the people I follow are actors, writers, artists, culinary professionals, dancers, runners, and friends, so it’s basically all my favorite things in one place.

Ello: https://ello.co/coffeesnob

Ello is beautiful. I love the simplicity and all that white space.

I blog pictures of coffee here, and before the end of the year, you’ll be seeing some microfiction and poetry paired with those pictures. It’s the start of a new project that I’ve been planning for a while.

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/coffeesnob318/

Pinterest is my favorite place on the Internet. I have almost a hundred boards. They’re a mix of coffee and words and spunk and cute animals and entertainment.

And food. I have so many food boards, and I use them all. I use them in meal planning, and I use them when I need to take something for a potluck. Any time I’m in a food rut, I run straight to Pinterest.

Each of my writing projects has its own board. You can tell when I’m getting excited about a project, because I will add tons of pins to its board.

I also pin all my favorite blog posts and articles that I read so that when I need to refer back to them, I have them in one organized place.

I used to call Pinterest my happy place, but it’s so much more than that. It makes me happy because it’s the place online (with the exception of this blog) where I am most myself.  I do not apologize for liking the things I like anywhere, but I especially embrace them on Pinterest. I do not abide foolishness in comments. If one is going to disagree, one is welcome to support one’s argument well, or one is welcome to unfollow. Those are the choices.

 

What are your favorite social media spots?

 

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Hello, June. You look pretty. And delicious.

Note that there are no pictures of my move in the collage above. The place I was really excited about fell through, but now I have a place I’m even more excited about and I GET TO PICK UP MY KEY TODAY!! Specifically, I get to pick up my key in two hours. I’m very excited. I don’t have time to actually get any moving done today as I have book club tonight (because please – like I’m going to miss book club for any other reason than being out of town), but I am squeezing in a little bubbly to toast the new place with a couple of friends beforehand.

I feel like I’m mostly into cardboard right now, because that’s what my apartment looks like. Boxes everywhere. I miss my books. Soon, we will be reunited, and how glorious that will be!

I have an idea for my NaNoWriMo project in November, and it requires (REQUIRES) watching and reading a lot of film noir. So I’m going through this list. I look forward to getting higher on the list, because right now these selections are working hard to talk me out of writing in this genre.

After seeing Amy Acker’s Q&A at the Dallas Fan Expo, I needed to see Dollhouse, and I ended up really liking it.

I haven’t been reading as much as I usually do during the summer, but A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson was my favorite thing I read last month.

I’ve been eating simple food that does not require me to cook, because 1) Texas heat and 2) moving. I’ve had a lot of nachos and cereal lately. Luckily, I love nachos and cereal. I mean, not together but…you get it.

What are you into this month?

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Join us?

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May has been fun. I’ve gotten to shake the dust off my piano fingers, spend time with friends, and jump into my new job. May has been good.

I feel like I’ve read a lot, but it was mostly lackluster. I read Blue Plate Special and Happier at Home and Son of a Witch, but I didn’t find anything exceptional about any of them. I liked them okay, but not enough to say any more about them.

In writing news, the Epic Meal Planning manuscript is chugging along, but the actual meal planning is not, as most of my time consists of packing for the move this month (two weeks!!! I can start in two weeks!!!). I have been eating mostly salads and sandwiches and relying on the kindness of friends who like to feed me. I bet this finds its way into EPM or Feast or somewhere, though. I can always find a way to blather on about what I’m eating.

I spent most of the month avoiding the sixth season of Grey’s Anatomy because I was mad about George and needed to heal. Now I’ve started the sixth season, and the men are on my nerve, particularly the men in Bailey’s and Christina’s lives. In fact, I won’t even refer to them as their own names right now. Right now, they’re Christina’s boyfriend and Father Dr. Bailey. I have taken to yelling ridiculous things at the TV, such as “Don’t make me come in there! I will come through this TV and back through time to throttle you!” It’s possible I am too invested in this show. It’s also possible that I like it and do not care that I’m too invested.

Speaking of shows I’m invested in…Person of Interest. If you are watching, you will understand the temper tantrum I have to periodically break into throughout the day. This last episode? On the one hand, spectacular writing choice. On the other hand, *&$%#&^@#.

Since church choir and most of my other weekend obligations are on hiatus for the summer, I actually had a free weekend. I spent Memorial Day weekend with my parents, and it was awesome. I ate a lot and played with kittens. Bliss.

 

How was your May?

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Come join us!

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I met Miah Oren through an online writers’ group called Story Sessions (now The Coterie), and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her and watch the process of this story making its way into the world. Her first book, The Reluctant Missionary: A Journey From Failure to Faith, released on Tuesday, and you should all buy it immediately.  And yes, Mom and Dad, it comes in paperback as well.

1. I can’t wait to dive in to your book! Tell us about The Reluctant Missionary.

The Reluctant Missionary: A Journey From Failure to Faith describes my journey from idealistic young missionary to depressed, cynical teacher who was just trying to make it through each week. I had unrealistic expectations for myself, my team, and my hosts. And I didn’t know what to do when those expectations weren’t met.

2. What sets your book apart from other books written about mission experiences?

I haven’t read a book about missions that addresses failure. But I wish I had before going overseas. I wrote the book so others in missions and Christian ministry will know that they’re not alone in worrying about failure and that failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

3. What was the biggest joy you faced in writing the book? The biggest hurdle?

The biggest joy in writing the book was discovering how all the pieces of that experience fit together. Even in draft 17 (of 23) I was adding characters. Of course they were there all along, but I hadn’t realized how their words and/or actions fully impacted my decisions.

The biggest hurdle was probably making the decision to publish in the first place. Originally this was an email to someone who was struggling as a missionary. Then I decided to expand the story “for posterity.” When I had 200 pages and was 95% done with the first draft, it finally occurred to me that it could be a book. But I was nervous about sharing the story because I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I also know that my perspective probably isn’t correct. So many things I heard via rumors and gossip, through mangled translations from another language, or that I just misunderstood because I really wasn’t doing well personally. But this was the data I had at the time.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring mission workers, what would it be?

You are not responsible for any outcomes. It’s all up to God. Whether wonderful or terrible things happen, your obedience is more important, and you’re not responsible for “results” or “success.” Only God knows what success looks like. Whether fifty people come to Christ or no one, you are doing God’s important work by showing up.

5. What projects are you working on now?

Currently I’m working on the second draft of the mystery novel I wrote for last year’s NaNoWriMo. It’s about a girl who thinks she’s joining a convent, but it’s actually a secret international spy/detective agency.

Writing a memoir was hard. It’s a nice change to write about fictional characters whose feelings I don’t need to consider upon releasing the book.

I’m also working on a course called Photography for Writers. It keeps growing – it might be as long as a book by the time I’m done.

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Miah is the author of The Reluctant Missionary, a memoir about the two years she spent overseas teaching English. She writes about learning to let go of perfectionism and embracing God’s plan for her life. She lives in Dallas where she dreams of someday having another cat. Connect with Miah online at http://www.miahoren.com.

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Whew. It’s been a rough week for fandom. Saying goodbye to David Bowie was saying goodbye to part of my childhood. And Alan Rickman inspired me with his late-start-but-still-phenomenal career and as a person in general. I can’t even go on Facebook right now because I am at work and a damn professional, and I am mainly working very hard at not sobbing into my keyboard.

Yesterday, The Bloggess posted her tribute and thank yous in a beautiful way, and I want to do something similar here. There are a lot of people, like Bowie and Rickman, whom I will mourn along with the world when they pass. But there are roughly a dozen people whom I’ve never actually met whom I will mourn as if I have. Whoever my boss is when those terrible days come – be advised I will take a few days off. Trust me – you’ll be glad that I do.

I have a lot of fandoms, so it was difficult to narrow down the list to six, much less five. But here they are:

Bernadette Peters – I have loved her since I could barely even love anyone. She played Lily St. Regis in the 1982 Annie, and in my 7-year-old mind, she was so fancy. I love her grace and the way she just takes over the stage. My favorite thing she’s done was her performance as the witch in Into the Woods. When I saw the newer version last year, I missed her. I mean, Meryl Streep is awesome – would that we all developed and displayed our talents so brilliantly – but I missed Bernadette Peters in the role. In my mind, it will always be hers.

Michelle Pfeiffer – Confession: when I grow up, I kinda want to be Michelle Pfeiffer. From reenacting her rendition of “Cool Rider” in Grease 2 in front of my friend Ginger’s camcorder to her depiction of Catwoman to her marriage to David E. Kelley (lucky guy…and sure, also a fantastic writer and producer…who gets to be Michelle Pfeiffer’s husband), she has the sort of career/life I would want if I were an actress. She has an impressive body of work that I could gush about all day.

But seriously –

 

Peter MacNicol – He played my all-time favorite television character on my all-time favorite show. I can’t see him in anything without thinking of Ally McBeal‘s John Cage. He delivered my favorite lines and my favorite speeches from the show. When people ask what fictional character I relate to most, unlike most writers, who will name someone from literature, I name a character from television – John Cage. I will be inconsolable when anyone in the cast of Ally McBeal dies, but his death will be the hardest.

Michael Rosenbaum – I teared up even typing his name. He’s only a few years older than I am, and frankly, I hope I go first so I don’t ever have to deal with his death (after we’ve both lived long, happy lives, hopefully well into our late 90s, of course). Michael Rosenbaum played Lex Luthor on Smallville, and while he’s done many awesome things since then, that was his role that actually has had an impact on my personal life. I love his portrayal of Lex. I loved it so much that I joined his message board to talk about it with others who loved it as much as I did. And then I followed a lot of them to Livejournal to discuss it even more in-depth. Thus I began my first blog – my first regular writing practice. So when I become published, Michael Rosenbaum will be in the acknowledgements of people whose work was instrumental in getting me there.

Then I met some of the people whom I knew from the message board and from Livejournal, and I still keep in touch with a lot of them today. Some of them, I’ve never met in person but still consider good friends. Some of them, I have met in person and consider some of my best friends, like my friend Michelle. I can’t imagine not knowing these people, and I have Michael Rosenbaum to thank for that as well.

Nathan Fillion – Need I really explain this one? Firefly. Castle. Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog. Nathan Fillion’s awesomeness is pretty apparent. He makes an excellent TV boyfriend. I love him in everything he’s been in, but I might love his Twitter best of all. Some days, it’s the only reason I still have a Twitter.

I would join his message board so hard (if I were still in my twenties and had oodles of time to spend on the Internet. And if message boards were a thing people even did anymore).

And because five is not enough…

Lauren Graham – Lorelai can never die. Neither can Sarah Braverman. That’s the rule. You hear me, universe? I won’t stand for it.

After this week, I’m in serious need of a weekend of self-care, which specifically will consist of a vat of roasted veggie soup and Veronica Mars (oh, God. Kristen Bell. YOU BE GOOD, UNIVERSE!).

 

 

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