Mud, Old Cars, Bubba, and Me

Daily Prompt

Saturday Night
Tell us about the most exciting big night out you had recently.

My big night out, can be summed up in two very simple words:

Beatin’ and Bangin’

Most of the time I am a reserved and well cultured Southern Belle, but I can go from Scarlett O’Hare to Daisy Duke in about 7.5 seconds. I love the theatre, the symphony, and even the occasional opera, but I also love cars, and mud, and redneck boys.

This weekend is a BIG weekend.  It is my town’s annual Indoor Demolition Derby.  This is where 10-15 cars get placed in a dirt filled pit and beat and bang each other until one car is left running.

I know several of you are shaking your head, asking, “Why?”, my mother and sister, being among you.  The only answer I can give is….WHY NOT?

I am not going to lie, I get a thrill and rush when those engines start humming and the lady in the booth shouts, “Drivers Ready!” The first bang from the first hit almost takes my  breath away, and then there is just pure pandemonium down in the pit. Cars are crashing, tires and fenders are being flung in the air, smoke is pouring out of dragging tailpipes.  Awesome.

This goes on for several rounds, until  the winner from each qualifying event is set, and we are ready for the main event. But before that happens there is a fun surprise….

They bring out the lawnmowers! As if the cars were not exciting enough, these lawnmowers take thrill up to a whole new level.  Trust me friend, you have not lived until you have seen a John Deere, and a Kawasaki go at it.

I know it is not a grand night out to the theatre or some over priced fancy restaurant, or a rocking club, but is good ole redneck, family, cheap fun.  That is what I love about living in the South. We don’t have to have much to have fun. When there isn’t much around to do, we create our own fun.

 

Cup of Ambition

Daily Prompt
Just Another Day

Our days our organized around numerous small actions we repeat over and over. What’s your favorite daily ritual?

My day starts off chaotic and wild. I am an early riser, but just because I rise, doesn’t mean I shine. I usually wake up moody and angry at myself for not sleeping in later.  I just can’t do it.  Darn my lack of laziness!  Even on my days off I am up before the crack of dawn.

There is only one daily ritual that makes me happy. Only one thing that makes getting up before the chickens  totally worth it.

Glorious, dark, steaming hot, liquid sunshine……

 

I admit it… I am in a committed relationship with coffee.  For 20 years it has been the BEST part of my day.  When my eyes open in the morning, coffee is my first thought. Nothing can make me sprint downstairs in Olympic record time, then smelling my coffee already brewing.

I pour the first cup, shaking in my giddiness. I know that in just a few short seconds I will feel the warmth flowing through my veins.  Ahhhhh…..the first sip…. as I drink it, it is like I am sitting in its warmth.

Not long, it happens.  THAT feeling. You coffee lovers know what it is I am talking about…. that feeling that ain’t nothing going to get in your way today! You could wrestle a lion if you needed to.  Am I the ONLY one who gets that feeling? Anyone?

After that first cup, I sit and ponder the day ahead.  I know I have a lot to do, and even more junk will be tossed my way, but now I have the strength to get up and get ready.  I smile and think

 

Now I can get ready to rope up whatever comes my way!

 

Tomorrow is Always Fresh

Daily Prompt

Quote Me
Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?

 

 “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”

Those simple and beautiful words were spoken by the individual who has been my obsession, and my heroine since the age of 10, Anne Shirley.

If you are not familiar with Anne Shirley, let me enlighten you.

Anne Shirley is the beloved, outspoken, always in trouble, but totally loveable redhead  from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s award winning book series, Anne of Green Gables.  Written in 1908 and set in Canadian Prince Edward Island, Anne of Green Gables is a story about a young orphan girl who is adopted and brought to live on the Island at the age of 12.

Every thing about Anne’s life is tragic. Orphaned at birth, she has spent her first 12 years living in families that want her for nothing more then free child labor. She is usually farmed out to families with several children, whom she is then forced to take care of. She is abused and mistreated and has a hard time controlling her fiery redhead temper.

Finally, she is adopted by the Cuthberts, a brother and sister, who are elderly and need help running their family farm, Green Gables.  Poor Anne is devastated, when upon her arrival, she finds the Cuthberts had wanted a boy instead.

Of course, they decide to keep her and life changes for the better. No longer is she cast aside as an orphan, but she is welcomed into a family that loves her deeply.  While hesitant at first, even the no nonsense Marilla comes to realize Anne is a gift sent from God himself.

While Anne’s life changed for the better once she comes to Green Gables, she still has her share of trouble.  She has the uncanny ability to both charm and annoy every person she meets. She is falsely accused of a few petty allegations, gets herself caught up in some foolish schemes, and at times lets her temper get the better of her.

During one particular trial she endures, she makes the statement, “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.” How absolutely delicious that sounds! Anne knew that no matter what today threw at her, tomorrow was a whole new beginning, clean of any mistakes or hiccups.  She is determined to not let her mistakes or her past to decide her outcome.

That statement has become my mantra.  I have it printed everywhere: my desk at work, my refrigerator, my bathroom mirror, my bedroom mirror, my bible, and even in my car. No matter how many times I mess up today or how ugly and nasty things might be, I don’t lay down in defeat. Tomorrow morning is a whole new start. A new opportunity for me to be just a little better then I am today.   Isn’t that wonderful?  I don’t have to dwell on what has been, but I look ahead at what CAN be.

 

 

Free At Last!

Daily Prompt

Life After Blogs

Your life without a computer: what does it look like?
  Lo! Men have become the tools of their tools. ~Henry David Thoreau 

Thoreau summed up today’s prompt perfectly with the above quote.  We have become so attached to our computers and electronic devices, that we feel completely useless and lost without them.

Example: I work in a small office where I am within shouting distance to three people, my boss being one of them.  Today I needed to know some information for a project he asked me to do.  Instead of taking the time to walk the 10-15 steps to get to his office and ask him in person, I typed it and sent it in an email.

Seriously?  I couldn’t saunter over to his door, stick my head in and ask my question, get my answer, and be back at my desk all in under a minute? No. I typed out an email, that he finally received and read 10 minutes later.

These genius devices, that are supposed to make our lives more convenient, and faster, in reality make us sluggish, and dare I say it?  Anti-social.

Computers are no longer limited to our desks at work or at home. Now you can have access to anything you need via a laptop, tablet, or smart phone.  You see it everywhere you go: The mall, the coffee shop, your favorite restaurant, EVEN Walmart offers free Wi-Fi while you are in the midst of retail hell.

A few evenings ago, my BFF and I went to a small restaurant in our town. We talk everyday, but you sit us in a booth with flowing coffee, and mounds of food, and we can sit for hours just talking. Usually about nothing of importance, but we actually speak. To each other.

As I happened to glance over at the table next to us, the couple seated there made me almost choke on my French fries.  One had a laptop working away, and the other was spending time on a shiny new iPad.  I watched for several minutes, and no words or glances where ever exchanged. I suddenly became sad and felt overwhelming sorry for the couple. They have become such slaves to their computer and electronic devices they could not even enjoy a simple dinner out.

Oh to have a world without these glorious, yet all consuming devices! How different we would be. How FREE we would be. Free to leave the office at night without worrying about emails and webinars. Free to spend time with our loved ones….actually talking. Free to go out in the world and explore. And free to gather knowledge the old fashioned way….

You dig for it!Read a book.  Ask questions. Inquire with others. Start a discussion. Then maybe we can finally say we are:

 

 

 

Can You Hear Me?

Daily Prompt

Key Takeaway

Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging.

If you’re a new blogger, what’s one question you’d like to ask other bloggers?

I find today’s prompt one that came on a day I needed it.  I am new to this whole Blogging world and yes, I am just going to admit it….. I am a little dis-heartened and discouraged.

I have been a writer for years.  Somehow I can covey my thoughts so much easier then spoken word. This past September, after the prodding of several friends, I decided to start a blog.  I had lots to say, and I thought, “Piece of cake!”

On September 25, 2015 I published my very first Blog.  I shared it on Facebook and it spread like wild fire!  “I’m a hit!” was my immediate response. I had visions of millions of people reading my words, and conversations starting up all over the world.

“Hey, did you read Life With Jess today? She is freakin hilarious and so spot on!”

“I don’t know about you, but Life with Jess just spoke to me today.  Simply a must read!”

“What about that latest post by that crazy awesome redhead?  The world is such a happier place with her light-hearted and thoughtful posts!”

Surely I am not the only one who had these visions….

Anybody?

Hello??????

****Crickets****

So with fire, passion, and an abundance of confidence I wrote my second Blog.  I hit the publish button, shared again on Facebook, and then popped myself some popcorn to set and what the praise and accolades roll in.

Imagine my shock and surprise when my second Blog post was not as successful. What happened? What was wrong with people? Could they not see I had poured my heart out and they had just stepped all over it?!?!?!?

I am just going to admit it, I was angry, bitter, and out for blood.  The same people, who just days before were sharing my Blog and raving over my words, now were no where to be found. My own mother didn’t read it until a few days later, and didn’t even bother to hit the like button much less make a comment. Clearly the problem was with my audience. NOT me!

While discouraged, I refused to accept defeat.  I wrote each week faithfully. Some post were more successful than others and sometimes no one read at all.  One week I just didn’t post. Who cares if I missed a week?

That evening I was flooded with messages wanting to know where my Blog was for the week. Suddenly I was very humble. I realized it wasn’t about all the comments, and likes, but more about the people reading my words.  It’s true…. I tend to think of myself a little more highly then I should at times.  It is the redhead in me, and sometimes I need a good kick in my rump to bring me back down to earth. While I was writing about noble and real issues, I wasn’t thinking of my audience as much as I was the responses I would get for my words. I never once gave thought to those who were actually reading my words.

With my new found perspective, I wrote more frequently. No longer was I writing for comments or likes, I was now writing to connect with the person reading my thoughts. I became more transparent and real and let my emotions guide me instead of conceited logic.  As luck would have it, I found these Daily Prompts. They have taught me so much, expanded me to a broader audience, and given me some great feedback.

While hearing from our audience, and relishing in their praises and accolades, is needed from time to time, it is NOT the definition of success. I now know success in my Blog is about me writing to inspire and encourage, not to gain fame or notoriety.  Perhaps there is someone out there going though the same issue, or maybe they are having the same kind of rotten day as I am. They can read my words and say, “YES! Someone else gets it! Maybe I’m not alone after all!”  That is the greatest reward I could ever aspire to achieve.

It’s Me Y’all!

Daily Prompt

Can’t Stand Me

What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?

As a southerner I have lived out this question my whole life. Growing up in East Tennessee I didn’t think myself any different from anyone else. People around here sounded like I did, and my southern twang, was never spoke of.  In fact, I didn’t even know I had a twang, until the summer I was 17.

I spent a week living in DC as part of a special program for high school students who had a weird obsession for politics and government.  (I was a nerd). My roommate for the week was a fun, exciting gal from upstate New York. The moment she heard me talk she went berserk.  She called home that first evening and had me talk to every member of her family so they could all relish in the fact that I made one syllable words into three syllables. While she thought the way I talked was cute and adorable, I suddenly became self conscious of the way I sounded.

In high school and college I competed in speech and debate competitions, speaking in front of hundreds of people at a time. At the end of every competition we always received the judges comments to look over and prepare for the next event. My freshman year of college I competed in an event in which my school was the only school represented from a Southern State.  After I won my event and came back home I looked at what the judges wrote. I received one comment that read, “Work on your accent. Your Southern twang makes you sound dumber then I know you are.”  

WHAT?  Because I speak with a twang, I am no longer considered intelligent?  I was so ashamed and humiliated at first. Was I less intelligent because I did not speak in the  “PROPER”  accent?

I fretted for about an hour, then I became enraged and downright angry. How dare someone question my worth and intelligence based on how I spoke!  From that day forward, I embraced my Southern twang. I wasn’t about to let the ignorance, from someone who didn’t even know me, bring me down.

Yes, I am from the South. Yes, I call my mother Mama. Yes, I say “Y’all” and “ain’t”, and sometimes when I say the word “can’t” it rhymes with “ain’t”.  Occasionally I may say something is purdy instead of pretty. And when I get riled up, I  may sound like Granny off the Beverly Hillbillies. But I am also crazy smart and refined.  I like classical music, Broadway musicals, Shakespeare, and reading the classics.

So in answer to your question, I relish in hearing myself from a recording. When I hear it, I hear my heritage, I hear a smart, intelligent woman, and I hear someone who refuses to be belittled because of the way she sounds.

 

Perfect Love

Daily Prompt
Reason to Believe

In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?

Oh the thrill this very question gives me!  In the past two years I have lived this question daily.  Throughout my journey I have come to find the answer to this question. It is not fancy, and certainly not very educated, but it is true and I feel it with every fiber of my being.

The reason I believe is because I am loved. Continue reading