Showing posts with label Life Is Good. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life Is Good. Show all posts

Monday, August 24, 2015

In Memory of the Beloved Tina Downey...

Raise a glass for Tina,
the super organized co-host from our A-to-Z Team.
Known for lending a helping hand to newbie and veteran bloggers in need.

Ever the straightforward woman, unafraid to have hard conversations, she also had a knack for fine-tuning details, simplifying complex tasks and making sure we got things done.
Tina showed us what it’s like to juggle a full load as a mother, wife, friend, daughter and writer while still finding ways to stop and smell the roses, and have fun.

The witty sign-offs in her messages were like additional reminders that kept everyone in high spirits and often made us laugh.
So it's easy to see how, without her, we've come to feel very understaffed.

It’s been one year since Tina, the kindhearted Swedish woman who many of us had the honor of getting to know, was laid to rest.
Still her memory lives on through those she loved, those she helped and the examples she set for taking on challenges in stride while still putting forth our very best.

Though Tina battled chronic health conditions, she still enjoyed campfires, quoting the movies, hiking, and a glass of Chardonnay when she could.
So today, let’s give a big toast to Tina Downey, the Sunflower-loving powerhouse who taught us that if you just keep swimming, you will find something to smile about because life is good.

Tina with her husband Neal. Photo courtesy of the Downey Family via AJ Lauer.
Katrina Mai Downey passed away August 23, 2014 at Longmont United Hospital, surrounded by her loving family. She was 49 years old. She was born August 4, 1965 in Mölndal, Sweden to Leif and Bonnie (Schnebly) Bilen. Tina spent her early childhood in Sweden, moving to Silver Spring, MD in 1974 where she competed in gymnastics and cross country. The family moved to Englewood, CO in 1983. Tina graduated from Denver Christian High School in 1984, where she played clarinet in the band and met her future husband. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, and a teaching certificate from Colorado State University in 1988. Her complete obituary can be viewed at Ahlberg Funeral Chapel and Crematory.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Doldrums Hit Your Blog? Here's an Idea...

How is your blog doing this summer?  Hit a snag?  A rough patch?  Having trouble keeping on keeping on?  You may have hit the doldrums.  You've probably heard the expression, but do you know where it comes from?  Since I'm there myself, stuck in the doldrums, I thought I'd look it up and share.

The Merrium Webster dictionary defines it as:

Full Definition of DOLDRUMS

:  a spell of listlessness or despondency
often capitalized :  a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds
:  a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump

Wikipedia offers us (abbreviated by me)

Colloquially, the "doldrums" are a state of inactivity, mild depression, listlessness or stagnation

The doldrums is a colloquial expression derived from historical maritime usage, in which it refers to those parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean affected by the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure area around the equator where the prevailing winds are calm.

The doldrums are also noted for calm periods when the winds disappear altogether, trapping sail-powered boats for periods of days or weeks.

I had thought that sailing was involved somewhere in there, and I was right.  Just reading about sailing cheered me up a bit.

What does this have to do with your blog?  Well I hit upon an idea that I thought I'd share.  My blog schedule is three times a week, so I decided that once a week I'd write an episode in a series.  I chose my college days as the topic.  Yes, I'm writing true, sometimes embarrassing stories of some of my college adventures.

Having the topic decided for at least once a week has helped me a LOT.  I have no end of material, considering, well, how coordinated I am, how naturally, socially savvy I was back then (was not...) and the stupid things that my roommates used to do.

I'm not saying that you have to have the kind of a blog that writes the naked truth about your life for this this to work, but is there a topic that could be a recurring theme once a week?

Of course you could choose a real-life series if that fits your style, and here are some ideas:

- my first year as a parent

- my first year as a (name of job)

- the horrors of working in a fast food establishment (haven't we all had to endure that?)

- the life lessons I learned from being a (fill in the blank)

If your blog isn't that style, maybe you could do once a week:

- how to...and pick something that fits your category of blog

- organizational ideas for your (name of room)

- my new favorite song, and include a YouTube clip

- I found this great, but unknown movie...

- My favorite beach combing finds

- The best thing I ever ate (thanks Food Network)

If you're stuck in the doldrums, having the topic decided for at least once a week might help.  Just a suggestion.  Come on over to Life is Good if you'd like to know how I experienced college...series usually runs on Mondays, but it might be Tuesday this week. After all, it's my blog, and like a good friend told me, "Will the world end if you for one week don't have a Monday post?"  (The answer is: it won't.  It just feels like that if you're a Schedule Woman like me...)

~Tina, who may or may not finish tomorrow's College Life series episode...and maybe the world WILL end, but I haven't seen any zombies I'm thinking not...

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Monday, February 3, 2014

Boldly Going Where no Swedish Immigrant Has Gone Before! #AtoZChallenge

Today I have the honor of interviewing a dear friend and fellow Challenge co-host, Tina from Life is Good. Trust me, she rocks, and Tina makes the behind-the-scenes stuff a lot of fun!

Her theme for the Challenge was Adventures in America, and she told personal stories about her first year as an immigrant.

As she stated on her blog – “These are the continuing adventures of a Swedish immigrant during her first year as an American. She boldly went where she'd never gone before...please come along on Adventures in America.”

1 – Your first year in America was quite the adventure! Did it hurt your head trying to remember everything from that first year?

Funny you should ask. It WAS hard to remember some of it, but I had several good sources. First, my mother, known on my blog, "Life is Good," as "The Nutritionist", could easily have been nicknamed "Momarazzi". Every, and I mean every, moment of our lives was documented in pictures. I didn't know that what irritated the living daylights out of me then, would be such a treasure today. "Honey, will you kids do that again? It will make such a cute picture!" was the refrain of our childhood. However, looking through those albums sparked a lot of memories.

Of course my little sister, nicknamed Swissie, has a fantastic memory and I relied on her to straighten out a lot of what I only sort-of remembered. Then of course there was The Swede to straighten us both out on misconceptions that kids get about adult matters. So the stories you got were the truth as the three of us were able to piece it together from 38 years before.

2 – What fun story DIDN’T make it into your Challenge posts?

There were several, but I'll keep this to two. I didn't write about the more intimate details about taking care of a person in a body cast. It was going to be called, “Sponge Baths and Bed Pans” but I decided even I didn't want to go there.

Also, we built these awesome hide-outs in our massive forsythia bushes, but it didn't make the cut either, just because I felt other stories told more of the differences I experienced. Building hide-outs was one of our favorite activities in Sweden, so it wasn't really something new.

3 – How many players from the Washington Capitals did you meet?

I'm going to need Smooshie for an accurate answer on this one, but conservatively, I'd say between 15 and 20. We were total groupies, but young, so we actually got more attention because the players knew we were harmless. We were only hoping for a picture, whereas some of the adult female fans were looking for...other perks.

4 – What’s your opinion on flame retardant pajamas?

They ought to be burned! Seriously. Have you touched that material? If you have the slightest snag of dry skin anywhere, it adheres to your pajamas and it might as well be fingernails on a chalkboard. I know the government means well, but what about all the kids who don't wear pajamas? My nephew for example, always wore tomorrow's clothes to bed to save time in the morning. Yes, he's eccentric, but brilliant and was just being logical. The PJ police would have gotten him for sure!

5 – Are you a Swede or an American?

I'm a proud Swedish immigrant who now calls America her home. I'm a Swedish-American.

6 – Do you still watch Scooby-Doo?

Yes, of course. Scooby is the best! I of course introduced my kids to Scooby-Doo! They wanted to watch some of the movies that came out when they were in elementary school, so I made them watch some original episodes first. I mean, how can you appreciate the movies fully if you've never seen Shaggy and Scooby run from room to room down a long hallway, being chased by The Ghost? Or have the authorities pull of the mask and find “old man Jenkins” complaining about “those meddlin' kids.” A true education is valued in our family. We still watch it together, when I can drag them away from their XBOX headsets...

7 – Your hit-by-a-car story was rough! What was something good that came out of that?

I believe something good always comes out of what we see as bad. We don't have the advantage of an eternal perspective. As a kid, I remember thinking that going through all this was going to make me more popular at school when I returned. That didn't happen, but a girl can dream.

Looking at it as an adult, I see the lessons as patience, the need to ask and accept help, and the realization that we are in God's hands no matter what happens. THAT lesson I apparently wasn't done learning then, because medical disasters have continued to follow me to this day.

8 – Any more stories this year for the Challenge or are you planning something different?

I'm still going Swedish, since I find it fun to make each year's theme part of this larger, ongoing theme. This year I plan to...have you come visit me and see what I've cooked up. I think you're going to like it. After all, “It's very Swedish to...”

Thanks Tina, and looking forward to your Challenge posts!

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex is the author of Amazon Best Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm. He is the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and his blog can be found HERE

Monday, January 13, 2014

Road Trip Pit Stop Oil Check

Hi guys! It's time to cruise into the mechanic for an oil check to be sure we're moving forward in the best shape possible. Wouldn't want to stall out on the way along the A-to-Z Highway!

The holidays have been a busy time for all of us, whether because of gatherings with friends and family, time spent shopping and preparing feasts, children vacationing from school, finals, or even work deadlines before the end of the year. So if your visits to your A-to-Z friends slowed, there's no shame in it. Get that engine check, make sure your spark plugs are in working order, and continue along at whatever pace your speedometer is comfortable with.

If you need to take an extended pit stop, grab some eats at a greasy spoon, nab a night in a motel, that's okay, too. We hope to see you on the road when you're able! Above all, have fun and stop to enjoy the tourist traps.

In the meantime, I'll continue cruising along with my fantastic Road Trip partners, Tina, of Life is Good, and Nicole, of The Madlab Post. I couldn't ask for two better ladies to Road Trip with.

Honk if you're still taking part in the A-to-Z Road Trip!

~Shannon, The Warrior Muse

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Want to Join Us for the ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP?

Hi Guys, and welcome to the 2013 Post A-to-Z Road Trip!

Feel free to snag this badge for your own blog!

Despite quite a bit of late snow here in Colorado, including a lovely blizzard on May Day, I'm totally ready to get back on the road. Blue skies, black roads, yellow lines, and the sound of my tires on the pavement. I want to feel the heat, smell the wildflowers and chlorine.

But most of all, I want to visit the rest of the A-to-Z Challenge participants. I definitely didn't have time to visit everyone during the Challenge, so now is the time. 

What are the technicalities? There aren't many. The linky opens today. Sign up if you'd like to come with us on a summer of fun, visiting fellow A-to-Z'ers, discovering new blogs. We'll close the linky in December, meaning you can waffle all the way until then. And though it will be closed in December, that doesn't mean you have to stop. The linkies will still be available for visit up to the 2014 Challenge.

We'll have occasional check-ins, but there's nothing required of you other to make whatever effort you like to visit participants of the 2013 A-to-Z Challenge.

We won't be alone on this road trip. No, Tina will be revising her role as my lovely co-host, and Nicole will be joining us for the first time this year! 

As we get started, Tina has some pointers for you, and Nicole's got something to say, so I'll hand the floor over to them. 

See you on the road!

~Shannon, The Warrior Muse

I'm excited about this 3rd road trip! First of all, did you know that it was because Shannon and I organized the Post-Challenge Challenge in 2011 that we got chosen as co-hosts? Pretty cool. Then in 2012 we renamed it the more apt “road-trip”. History lesson over! We're really glad to have Nicole to take some driving shifts.  The more the merrier the trip!

Tips for the road: you're in charge. Want to visit one new blog a day? Want to visit hundreds of blogs a day? No problem. You're driving. Unless you hitch a ride with a friend, which I think is a good idea. Accountability and all that, not that this is a diet or a competition or anything. It's just some friends hanging out and continuing visiting.

Some strategies you might want to try:
Visit all the blogs with your same category
Visit all the blogs whose names intrigue you
Visit all the even (or odd) blogs
Start from where you left off and keep on truckin'...

Whatever you do, don't forget that this trip is a journey, not a destination. Signing up on the linky doesn't mean you're committing to visiting ALL the blogs. All you're saying is, “I ain't done yet.” We'll have some encouraging rah rah posts along the way, and a chance for you to share your best “finds” along the road. Personally, I like those little Mom and Pop cafes that are off the beaten road, and the food is real and so is the atmosphere – so cool but unknown blogs that need some customers!

Keep track of your finds, give us a holler if you run out of gas or need your tire changed. We're here as your guides – we've journeyed similar roads in the past! Good luck, and drive carefully.

Maps - Check! iTunes – Check! GPS - Check? Water – Check!

I’m ready to hit the road with Shannon and Tina for this Post A-to-Z Road Trip that’s taking us over some commenting highways, down a few tweeting tunnels, up through subscribing/following bridges and back again. One of the most exciting things about this trip are the fellow drivers and carpools accompanying us as we stop in towns all across the country to find out what each and every person in our alphabet network is cooking up on his or her blog.

Want to know a secret? We’re also taking advantage of some uncharted territory – back roads and routes that have little to no traffic signs – which means there are no set rules for how or where you drive your vehicle, no speeding limit for how fast or slow you go and most importantly, zero guidelines for where you choose to park your vehicle throughout our cross-country journey. I’ll be offering up some refreshments at rest stops, accompanied by tips and tricks that you can use to keep you on course – until we’ve racked up enough miles, stories and traveling buddies that will get us through another 26 days of blogging in April or any other month for that matter.

Honk if you’re packed in, gassed up, buckled up and ready to join us on the road for some sing-a-longs, games, rest-stop snacking and much more cruising through lanes of A-to-Z blogs!

~Nicole, The Madlab Post

Sign up here for the Post A-to-Z Road Trip!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Post A-to-Z Road Trip Check-In

Well, hello there!  It's been awhile since we did a check-in on the Post A-to-Z Road Trip, but now that the holidays are past us (well, as much as holidays can be past us since we like to throw out holidays every month or so) this is as good a time as any to see how everyone's doing.

We're officially gearing up for the 2013 A-to-Z Challenge, so time is running out to catch up with all of last year's participants.  How far have you gotten?  Are you able to make any monthly progress?  Weekly?  Daily (you visiting fiend, you!)?

What's your plan of attack as you go through the list?  Do you find that you go in order, or do you randomly choose someone to visit?  Did you go through the Post A-to-Z Road Trip sign-up list first?

What I've found works best for me is to go down the list and open a series of blogs at once (usually ten at a time).  I visit those blogs, then if I find I have some more time I open ten more.  This helps me take little chunks at a time, and to feel like I've made progress.

Let us know how you're doing, whether you're still at it or have given up.  This isn't a competition, so don't feel pressured to have made progress.  Do you intend to keep going?  Were you able to visit everyone already?  If so, what was your secret, and what tips might you like to pass along?

Click here to access the 2012 A-to-Z sign-up list.


Shannon (The Warrior Muse) and Tina (Life is Good)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Alphabet Remix - Options for Oreos

These blogging prompts are brought to you by Nicole at The Madlab Post....
It’s time for The Alphabet Remix - A Writing Prompt Idea Engine Treating A to Z Blogging Avoidance Disorders

Today, Letter O is for one of the most popular snack items made by the Nabisco company -- Oreos! These classic chocolate cookies with a vanilla cream filling can be the focus of your Blogging from A to Z Challenge blog posts if you need a topic to write about. Here are some quick and easy ways to feature Oreo cookies for Letter O in April.

Odd Oreo Offerings
Review the oddest flavors of Oreos you’ve ever tasted or list varieties of these cookies that were only available for a limited amount of time -- such as Gingerbread Oreos.

Oreo Recipes
Share a recipe that uses Oreos as one of the main ingredients. You can also curate a listing of recipes that other people have created such as Cookies Stuffed with Oreos. If cooking isn’t your thing, you can also write a blog post that covers the history and/or significance of Deep Fried Oreos being served at Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the world.

Outrageously Outspoken on Oreos
Make a list of what you think is proper Oreo-eating etiquette. Go crazy and hold nothing back while writing your rules for eating Oreo cookies:

Is it best to open them and eat one side without the cream and then dunk the other side into milk? Do they taste better eaten dry or should they always be dipped in milk? What is the best flavor of milk to dip Oreos in before eating them -- regular, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, almond or soy? Do they even need to be dipped in milk -- can they be dipped in other liquids such as Orange Juice? Should Oreos be dipped halfway or are they supposed to be completely covered in milk? What is the best time ratio between when an Oreo is dipped and when it is eaten that offers the less risk for it becoming soggy? Can Oreos be topped with condiments such as whipped cream? Should they be eaten for breakfast or remain as a dessert or snack?

Now onto other business, the winner of the Only One themed Alphabet Soup Game is...

Tina Downey at Life is Good. By correctly unscrambling all of the one-word movie titles that begin with Letter O, Tina reclaimed her title of Alphabet Wizard. Her prize package also includes the choice of a letter for the next Alphabet Soup game and the option to pick a theme for the Monday Movie Meme at my blog.

Congratulations Tina and, Have a Fun Friday, everybody!

Find Me @MadlabPost on Twitter

Sign up for the Monday Movie Meme, a weekly group blogging series that inspires discussion about entertainment in a whole new light and provides recommendations for your DVD, on-demand or theater fix. New topics are posted every Monday at The Madlab Post!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Post A-to-Z Road Trip Check-in (Rest Stop)

Hello out there in Blog-Land!  Hopefully, everyone has recovered in full from the A-to-Z Challenge and is busy enjoying their summer (or winter, for those of you in the southern hemisphere).  

We're well aware that summer is a busy time, so the Post A-to-Z Road Trip is meant to be nice and laid back.  We're a couple weeks in, though, so how about a quick check-in to see if anyone's making any progress?  Even if you've visited one blog, that's progress!  Everyone's got to stop at a rest stop on a road trip, so this is rest stop number one.  Time to kick the tires, check the oil and clean those bugs off the windshield.

I'm not going to lie.  I'm still trying to catch up with the comments on my blog.  School's out, my kids are home, and we are keeping busy, which is wonderful.  Also, I started a new novel!  Yay!  On top of that, Tina and I are both participating in BuNoWriMo (thus starting a new novel!)  So I am, admittedly, busy, and I know I'm not the only one.  I have gotten through a couple blogs when I've had a little bit of time here or there, and I'm still delighted with new blogs I'm finding.  However, it's a slow process.

So...check in!  Let us know if you've been road tripping.  Have you discovered any blogs you'd like to share?  Feel free to do so in the comments.  Also, we'd love to hear how June is treating you.  Anything interesting or fun to report?  Any big plans? 

Now pass me another pina colada and the map; I need to figure out where I'm heading to next.

Your Post A-to-Z Road Trip Hostesses,

Shannon L.
The Warrior Muse


Tina D.
Life is Good

Monday, May 14, 2012

Post A-to-Z Road Trip - Join us!

Route dans les Pyrénées françaises(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Post A-to-Z Road Trip, previously known as the Post-Challenge-Challenge, or PCC

I think the dust has settled a bit, and that life (which is Good!) is slowly returning to normal.  I'm not labeling this as good or bad, just that it's a bit weird (see, so tired I can't come up with a unique adjective..) For the last four months, my on-line life has been dedicated to the wonderful challenge we just completed, and now all of a sudden, I'm free to...yeah.  Whatever!  My time is mine, to do with as I please.  I find myself at a loss, trying to decide what to do next.  

And do you know what I want to do now?  Go for a road trip.

This isn't a normal road trip.  There are no roads, no cars, no fast-food, no “next rest-area 54 miles are you SURE you don't have to pee?” signs.  This is a road-trip that is unending when you first look at it.  But as you peer closer, read the signs, and digest the purpose, I think it's a road trip you'll want to be a part of.

I'm talking about the continuing journey of blog-visiting, networking, exploration, spelunking even, if you're willing to stretch a metaphor.  Gone fishing.  For blogs.  For blogs that interest and infuriate and aggravate and make you cry and make you sob with joy.  A journey where around each bend is a new piece of the road to be discovered.  Blogland is a big place, and the 1700+ folks who joined the A-Z are still welcoming visitors.  I intend to be one of them.  Would you consider joining us?  

The Post A-to-Z Road Trip is a new challenge for you, but one with no real time limit, other than before the next A-to-Z Challenge begins in April 2013.  The goal?  To visit all of the blogs who signed up for the A-to-Z, in whatever time frame you find manageable.  We’ll have weekly check-ins and a linky sign-up here at the A-to-Z Challenge Blog.  You will not be required to check-in, but the option is there.  

You can approach this challenge any way you want.  If you’re like Tina, you’re going to want a plan of attack.  Tina has a wonderfully mathematical mind; last year she set herself an end date, figured out how many blogs that would require her to visit each day, and she went for it.

Or maybe you’re a little more like me, Miss ADHD.  One day I’ll hit up 100 blogs, not visit any for a week, then hit twenty a day for three days straight.  You never know when I’ll be hopping around the interwebs, but by golly, I get it done!  Oooo, shiny...

Most likely, you’re somewhere between the two of us.  The beautiful thing is, it doesn’t matter.  Hit that list however you want, whatever gets you through it to the end.  You don’t want to miss all those wonderful blogs out there.  There are so many, with so much to say.  Come along with us and meet some new friends, stress-free!  This is THE road trip for the summer, so put on your favorite station, open the windows and sit back.  It’s time for the Post A-to-Z Road Trip.  Who knows what souvenirs we might bring back.

Sign up on the linky any time the mood strikes you.  We’ll leave it open through the end of December.  That doesn’t mean the Road Trip ends then, but just that no one can put their name on the linky after that.  

There are no rules.  You can find Tina and I here, or on our individual blogs, Life is Good (Tina) and The Warrior Muse (Shannon).  Feel free to come to us with questions, ideas, feedback, etc.  Now, let’s get packed!

P.S. Feel free to take the badge above for your blog!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Survival Hints for the A-Z Challenge: How to Pre-Schedule a Post

Hello again, Alphabet Fans! Lots of excitement out there in Blogland! It's been such an adventure already to meet so many of you, visit your blogs, and hear YOUR excitement about the upcoming challenge. As you've probably noticed, this blog is an equal opportunity posting place. If you're going to be joining us for the challenge, you're invited to submit a post for approval and be another contributor here! If you'd like more info, check out this invitation post

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that a common thread is the idea of pre-scheduling posts. That way when April rolls around, you've got some already set. For example, let's say that you're going skiing for the weekend and will have no time to blog. No need to fall behind! Write your posts for those letters, schedule them for the correct alphabet days, and then enjoy your trip.

What's that? You don't know how to schedule a post in advance? I didn't either. I've been a writer my whole life, but didn't start blogging until a few years ago. I've been learning how to best utilize all the great features that blogger offers one baby-step at a time. Let me show you how easy it is to do.

Go to the “new post” screen and enter your post. Before publishing, click on “schedule”, which is on the right side there, being pointed to by the pointer that I just figured out how to add to my screen shots (I love to learn almost as much as I love bragging about what I've learned...)

Click “schedule” and you'll get the following screen where you can set the date and time for your post to go live. (There's another nifty pointer in this shot, too)

Now all that's left to do is hit “save”!

So be careful out there on the slopes, and just leave it to blogger to post your brilliant piece while you're swishing down those steep hills, in that wonderful champagne powder...(can you tell I'm a frustrated former skier?) (If you want to know why it's former, check it out this post at my own blog, Life is Good).

Any questions? Please leave them in the comments, or email me at
tndowney at gmail dot com. I'd be glad to walk you through it.

                                                                                                          Tina @ Life is Good


We have a video entry to showcase.  Soon a list of entries will be started and put on a tabbed page so you readers can access the list in order to view the videos.  Watch for that page.  In the meantime, enjoy this video by Marta Szemik from Marta Szemik's Blog :


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Fix Your Sex Life: AZ Challenge Reflections from Tina at Life Is Good

           Not only did Tina at Life Is Good provide a fun Reflections post, she probably added some search engine optimization clout with her title.  Thanks Tina!  By the way, Tina along with Shannon at The Warrior Muse valiantly kept up the memory of the April Challenge through the summer as they organized their own Post Challenge Challenge where they invited A-to-Z-ers to join them in visiting all of the April Challenge blogs.  They were a couple of Challenge heroes for sure. 

How to Fix Your Sex Life: AZ Challenge Reflections

I'm so blessed to have found the AZ Challenge through my bloggy-buddy Rayna at Coffee Rings EverywhereThis challenge, as I told you in my A ~ A New Beginning post, came at a pivotal point in my writing. And as I promised in my V ~ Very post, I'll now give you the full scoop of why participating in this challenge was, for me at least, like trying to fix your sex life.

Ah, I see I have your attention!  As my dear, faithful readers know, I'm a walking, talking, medical worst-case scenario. If health insurance was priced like car insurance, I'd be paying the just-got-out-of-juvie-drive-a-red-sports car-not-so-spectacular-grades-but-would-you-please-insure-me-anyway rate. I go to a lot of doctor's appointments. (Just try my nifty search gadget in the side-bar and type “doctor” to get more stories.)

So I'm in a waiting room, forgot my book, and am therefore paging through, oh, probably Family Circle or Good Housekeeping or some other such magazine. In this issue, the regular marriage counseling  article is about long-married couples trying to recapture the spark in their sex life. There were three case studies. Yes, you get to hear them all because strangely enough, I think that each of these solutions can be applied to struggling writers. 

One couple decided that they'd take turns initiating sex. To writers, this translates as, “You give me a prompt, we'll both write something. Then next time, I'll give the prompt, and again, we both have to participate.” You still with me?

Another couple decided that they would only make-out. For a week. Then they'd see what happened after that week of, ahem, restraint. Writers: If I start to feel the beginning of a slowly smoldering fire,  I'll have to wait to write.  Until next week.  Anticipation makes everything sweeter.  No fair scribbling notes on napkins or jotting down ideas in your notes app. You have to WAIT to write.  Waiting makes the want grow fonder.

The last couple solved their, um, issues, with the equivalent of the AZ Challenge. Sex every 24 hours, come hell or high water or up the creek without a paddle. Once. Every 24 hours. If some unforeseen complication prevented this, then they had to do it twice in another 24 hour period. I probably don't need to translate this one...because...

That last scenario is what happened to me in this challenge. I hadn't foreseen it, but like what I read in the article, knowing that I had to put SOMETHING up every day just kinda freed my brain and my inhibitions. I was thinking, “Well OK, it just has to be something. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be long.” Some days all I managed was just a quick couple of observations, but then on other days, I was in the mood for a longer story. Some days I wrote about something I'd already written about. One day, I had no time time to write at all. To complete the challenge, I wrote two posts on the last day. I'll leave the translation from writing to sex up to you on this one :-)

Big thanks to my 27 new followers. I am honored. Also thanks to all who stopped by and left their footprints. My intent was to visit all of you in return, but if I missed you, please let me know. I really do want to meet you. As for the flip-side, I'm now following 23 more blogs, and I'm looking forward to continuing to build more inspiring bloggy relationships. I had a blast doing this, and hope our faithful and seemingly tireless hosts are willing to do it again. I knew I couldn't homeschool, write a post each day, and get to each of the 1282 bloggers participating during this event. It's like Santa.  Not really realistic.  But as long as the linky is alive, I will keep going until I hit 1282. I'm just too damn stubborn, not to mention competitive, to back down now.

This post was prompted by our challenge sponsors.  They asked all of us  to reflect on this month of writing, and then link up back at Tossing It Out, our host blog.  AND, last but not least...I got the groovy badge over there in the sidebar for completing the challenge.  Go me!  (I'm such a dork...)

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