Tuesday, July 17, 2018

One-sided conversation with my brain

So, speaking of anxiety and things I can't control...

Last night, I was sitting in the living room late at night with Boy-child. Neither one of us could sleep and so we sat and just talked. We discussed his new fish, and what he did on his mission trip, and then came around to high school, which he begins this fall.

It was really only about 30 minutes, but it was a nice thing. Hanging out. Just the two of us quietly chatting.

And then we went to our own beds and I lay down to try to sleep.

BRAIN: Hey! Guess what? Your son is starting high school! Do remember high school? Do you remember how much it sucked for you? What if it sucks for him, too? What are you going to do then, huh? Do you remember that you were only a little older than he is now when your mom died? Do you? Huh? Huh? It was the last day of your freshman year, so you were fifteen. Way to start your summer break. Geez. I mean, seriously, your body is probably already riddled with cancer and you're dying right now and you're going to leave your kids and hubby alone just like your mom did. What would their life be like? Cycle back to the beginning and start over. Let's beat this dead horse to a bloody pulp, shall we? I mean, you don't really need sleep, right? It's not like you have to get up in the morning. Oh, wait, yes you do! Ha! Hey, let's sing "She's a maniac!" She's a maniac! Maniac on the floor! And she's dancing like she's never danced before. Tra La La.

Yeah - this is my brain. And it's no wonder I'm tired all the time. Leave it to my brain to give me something else to stress about that I have no control over. One thing is for sure, I'm going to get every cancer screening I can think of. Hateful disease. Stupid anxiety.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Me vs. My Traitorous Mind

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Please watch this video BEFORE reading the post below.

Watching this video, I realized yet again, that I am not the only one who has this problem. BUT, for every person who has anxiety issues, there are just as many people who don’t, cannot, or refuse to, understand the anxious person. I’m no doctor, but neither can I explain WHY I feel or think the things I do.

Granted, a lot of the things I think or feel might not be true, at least as far as the non-anxious person is concerned, but the things ARE true to me.

I DO feel fat and ugly and useless and good for nothing and…(I won’t go on)…even while at the same time I know those things aren’t really true.  Yes, I may be overweight and average-looking (who really cares, right?) but I am not useless and good for nothing. And see…even as I type that my brain is working against me: But what about all those days you come home from work and do nothing except crawl into bed, huh? What about those times? What about when you just want to be left alone and don’t want to talk to anyone, even your family, when all they want is your time and attention?

Well, I can’t explain it. I’m tired. Really, actually, truthfully tired. And it’s not just a physical exhaustion, it’s a mental one – which is even harder to explain. I’ve spent all day “people-ing” and I just don’t have it in me to “people” any more. And every time I hear my name I cringe inside. And stuffing my ears with an audiobook doesn’t help, because I get interrupted anyway. I cannot ever tune out 100% as I want to.

And yes, dammit, it’s freaking selfish. I know it’s selfish. But it’s also self-preservation. And – if I’m being honest – I’m preserving others, too. The 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Harm Self or Others. That’s an institutionalizing offense!

So, when I express aloud that I feel a certain way, and it’s irrational and confusing to you, by the love of all that is holy, please, let it go. (No, I won’t sing.) Just assume it’s my anxiety talking and go with it. Trying to question me, or make me see things a different way, only makes me more anxious and then I yell. Or cry. Or some snotty, tearful combination of both. Suffice it to say, it gets ugly.

Every day I tell myself how awful I look because I FEEL AWFUL!

Every day I wake up and want to immediately put my head right back down on the pillow and IGNORE MY RESPONSIBILITIES in lieu of sleep. Sleep is good. But then I have insomnia, too. So, I have trouble sleeping - both getting there and staying there. And my legs are restless which is SO ANNOYING.

Every day I have to force a smile when I speak to most people. I have to qualify that: MOST people. Not ALL people. There are some people who do not make me anxious, but they’re very few. And people as a general whole, en masse? Nope. Sorry. I’ll stay in bed, thanks.

Every day I tell myself how others feel negatively toward me, no matter what they might say aloud to the contrary. I’m convinced I’m not worth anyone’s real love, attention, or respect.

BUT I STILL TRY. I still try to DO IT ANYWAY. I’ve said this before. I try to get up anyway. Go to work anyway. Talk to people anyway. Smile and be friendly anyway.

And today isn’t any different.

I cannot say doing it all anyway is strength or courage. It isn’t. It’s a survival mechanism.

And you don't want to hear all this crap anyway.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Little Insight into the Brain of Yours Truly

Today, I have a headache. And I think about how miserable I feel and wish for something stronger than Tylenol. But then all the rational and less selfish thoughts hit me and I think: Other people I know and love have worse and more frequent headaches than I do so I need to quit complaining and then I think about how I'm grateful I'm allergic to most pain medicines so I don't need to worry about addictions and am careful with the one medicine I can take, though it doesn't do much, and then I think, having a headache like this forces me to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, which makes me think about the church camp in Indiana at which I, and the H.I.S. Puppeteers ministry team, just spent the better part of a week where we pushed the hydrate, hydrate, hydrate mantra because it was so blasted hot and remember how great of an experience that was. And yes, that was all one thought. Go me!

I'll be alright, though. I know this is temporary. I do have to say that when I was in Indiana with the puppeteers, I felt physically more well than I have in a very long time. My allergies hardly bothered me at all, my head didn't hurt, and my asthma was practically non-existent. It sort of made me half-consider moving there just for the health benefits. But then my brain took over and I went though the whole thought process again: What would I do for work and what about hubby? Would he be able to start his business up again there and be successful? And I'd really hate to drag the kids out of a community and a school-system they are familiar with. And what about Sandy-mom? I couldn't leave her here! She'd be all alone and that wouldn't be right. And where would we live? And then again, where would I work? And so what if my allergies are kind of terrible in Tennessee? That's why there's a wonderful thing called allergy medicine, right? Right?

Why does the cycle of my brain continually turn thoughts over and over and over?

I don't know. It's constant, though. Every minute of every single day and sometimes lots of minutes at night when I should be sleeping. Just this running commentary/inner monologue of stuff... Some people call it worry, and that could be the truth. I just don't know. Maybe it's anxiety? I do seem to worry a lot more than other people, but I just haven't been able to master the whole "I don't care" or "Let it go" thing other folks seem to have mastered. Well...not that they don't care, but seem to be far less concerned about EVERYTHING than I am.

I worry about how people perceive me, and then I start with: But who really cares how someone perceives you? I mean,  you're you, right? You're not them. You only need to worry about what you are doing and that you don't intentionally hurt anyone, right? I mean, you're basically a pretty good person so what are you worrying about? Perception is useless, isn't it? Though I guess perception and impressions are nearly one and the same.

And truthfully, it's probably the ADD I've had my whole life. I have learned to live with it and work around it and find things to do that benefit from my active and virtually directionless brain. So all these thoughts - all this stuff that's constantly racing around, pinging off the insides of my skull, screaming for my attention all the time - is just....me. Part of who I am. Whether you love me or hate me is irrelevant. Whether I drive you crazy or not is irrelevant. I cannot help who I am and you cannot fix me. It's taken me a long time to get to this conclusion. And yet...

Yes, I'm sure there is someone out there who CAN fix me with medications. And I'm not opposed to therapy, but have been unlucky in my search for a therapist who meets my needs. And then I also am not pleased with the cost of therapy for mental illness - because the ADD coupled with the anxiety and depression IS a mental illness but it IS NOT something to bash me for or be afraid of - so I just...don't. I don't go to therapy, though I probably should. I don't take medicines for it, though again, it might not hurt.

I was taking an antidepressant for a while, and I'm not really sure why I stopped except that I just never refilled the prescription. I was taking an anti-anxiety medicine for a while, and I know exactly why I stopped that. Oh - THAT'S a story for another post, though. It's a doozy. I had to get beyond it before I could even consider writing about it.

Yeah - you see this? Re-read this post! I'm all over the place today.



Thursday, June 14, 2018

Holy cannoli! I did it!


I'm certain this will fail. Why is it such a fun, exciting thing has me such a miserable wreck? I guess it's just scary to really put yourself out there. And I REALLY don't like failure. I mean, I know everyone fails, sometimes in Grand Fashion, but it makes me physically ill when I do.

So, now it's out there. This is a real thing. I'm thrilled and terrified at the same time. And they're only drawings, for crying out loud! Sheesh! You'd think I'd done something really cool like, written a novel or something.

Throw me a bone? Even if you hate it (and I know the image quality via electronic transfer to print is going to be a bit questionable) please pretend that you love it? Leave me happy feedback, not negative feedback. Because you're my friend and you love me and want me to succeed. And even if you don't want me to succeed, maybe you at least want me not to be sick, right?


Friday, June 01, 2018

Response & Ability *or* Boy-Child & the Lenovo Laptop

I did a thing.

It's not like I've never done something like this before. I totally have.

It's a good thing, really. Although the current result of the thing is that I have a child who hates my guts. I guess I'd rather have him hate me for a little while than for him to grow up to be an irresponsible leech.

OK - I'm getting ahead of myself.

History: Years ago, when Boy-child was affectionately called "Kiddo" he broke his antique wooden bed frame, which had belonged to his grandmother, because he pitched a fit and destroyed it. When he said I needed to get him a new bed (remember, he was "Kiddo" then, so I'm thinking he might have been six years old) I said, "Oh no buddy...that's your job. You can sleep on a crooked bed until you can save the money to get a new bed frame."


It was awful.

I explained to him him that he broke the bed. He was having a tantrum (during which, I did another unusual thing: I sat there quietly and let him scream) because Mommy was picking up the things which were completely covering his bedroom floor. He didn't take care of his stuff, didn't care enough about it to put it away somewhere, and when he expressed his displeasure in the form of screaming, crying, and having a breakdown, he broke his bed. HE broke his bed. Not me. Therefore, it was his responsibility to replace it.

If he broke someone else's toy while he was playing with it, I told him, I would expect him to replace it.

He wasn't happy with me, but again, I'd rather have him mad at me than to raise an ungrateful child who doesn't respect himself, others, or his things.

Fast Forward to this week: Last week of school. Now, in our school district (I can't say anything about other districts) they assign a device - a sweet little Lenovo laptop - to each child 5th grade and above. This is managed through the school. Each child has to essentially sign a contract saying they'll take care of it, make sure it doesn't get broken, and if it does get broken, it's a $50.00 fee. Period.

So, at the end of the year, they collect everyones' device, inspect it, and send a letter home with a picture of any damage found, requesting payment.

My almost high-schooler said, "I need $50 to pay for the laptop repairs."

I said, "Nope."



(Less) Screaming.

(Little) Crying.

"WHAT? I need to pay for it!"

"Yes, you do," I respond.

"But school ends today!" says he.

"I know that," say I.

We follow this path down a rabbit hole. I finally explain to him - yet again - that the computer was his responsibility, not mine. That if he didn't have enough money, there is a list of chores on the board in the hallway and he could earn some money to pay for the repairs that way. I was not - repeat NOT - going to simply hand him $50.

I asked Boy-Child if anyone had EVER made him take responsibility for something he'd done before in his life. (Knowing the answer, of course.)  He said, "Yeah - when I broke the bed and you made me pay for it."

Uh huh.

"This is the same thing, bud," I tell him.

I was really hoping for a light-bulb of understanding to suddenly appear over his head, but no such luck.

I called Hubby. I explained the situation and said, "I really need you to back me up on this."

That was this morning. I don't know where Boy-Child is with this at the moment, but hopefully he's being proactive and finding chores to do which can earn him some money.

I am HAPPY to help him in this way. He's fourteen. He's old enough to earn his own money in a limited way. He's very proactive about earning money when he wants something, but when I want something, or there is a situation like this one with the slightly damaged computer that does not belong to any of us, he wants someone else to pay for it.

And I say, "Nope."

Does that make me a bad mother?


Does it upset me that he's upset?


Does that matter?


I saw something the other day that resonated with me, and I'll share it here: Responsibility is made up or two words. Response and Ability. "Responsibility isn't something someone puts on  you. Responsibility isn't in your job description. Responsibility isn't a paper you sign. We all find ourselves looking at situations, and we all find ourselves with abilities. And what we have to ask is, given those abilities, what then will be my response to those abilities?"

I have the responsibility to raise my children to be decent humans. Responsible humans. Humans that care about themselves, others, and their things. And so no, I really do not feel badly that I am making Boy-Child pay for his own computer. Even though about 90% of the other students are dealing with the same thing. Even though all these computers are about 3 years old and have had daily use. Even though he was careful and it "just happened." I don't care about all that. Your excuses mean nothing to me.... Not really. And, while I absolutely feel for you, sweet boy of mine, you and only you, are responsible for paying for those damages.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018


I am going to apologize ahead of time only for the randomness of this post. I've seen so many instances recently of hate, hate crimes, or general disgust for both individuals and for groups. I've had it. I am very much a proponent for the "Why can't we all just get along?" Movement - and if there isn't a Movement, there should be. I don't believe there shouldn't be conflict. Conflict with intent to resolve a situation in a humane way is part of who we are. But conflict for the sake of conflict? Argument for the sake of argument? Not really. I don't believe one person is intrinsically right or intrinsically wrong, but I do believe each person has the right to be heard. To be seen. I also believe we need to be careful with our words, because Edward Bulwer-Lytton was right. Let's replace "Pen" with "Word"....?  I think spoken words are quite mighty.

If one uses the word “They” when referencing an entire group, one should be cautious. To say “They” and then follow it up with an assumption could be, at the very least, unkind, but more likely detrimental. For example, referring to all LGBTQ individuals as “Those people” or “They” is simply rude. Or, when discussing maybe a style of dress or a propensity toward extravagance for the same community, saying, “They all…” would be like saying all persons of color are bad (they’re not), or all cats have fur (they don’t) or that water is wet (which is another conversation for another time). More accurately, and certainly less hurtful, would be if you were to say, “They are just trying to be the best they can be.” Even further, you’d be spot on if you were to say, “They are trying to make a life for themselves, with all the rights and privileges thereof.” Do you want to be referred to as “They?” Again, I use this as an example. We vaguely refer to “They” in a tongue-in-cheek manner, such as The Bureau of They or The Ubiquitous They to mean those unknowns who have decreed things (ideas, rules, etc.) to be a certain way. "I don’t know, I didn’t make the rules, ‘They’ did.” But to use “They” specifically…well, that could get you into trouble unless what you're stating or claiming is proven fact. That is unless you don’t care about the feelings and rights of others. I know that lack of caring is definitely driving this society right now; we're all far too selfish to think of others, unless one is asking how another can help you or what they can give you.

I preach acceptance to my kids. Acceptance! Acceptance!  Acceptance! I let them know that I expect them to treat everyone well, even if someone is not their favorite person. I know every time I pull out my soap box, one of them says, "Oh, no. Here she goes again." Add in a little smirk and maybe some eye rolling. But here's the thing: I KNOW THEY LISTEN! I know, because I've heard them talk about it, seen them show it. I'm not just referring to the LGBTQ community - though of course that has been part of the conversations. I'm referring to ANY situation where someone (human or animal) is treated as less than he or she should be. I've been on the receiving end of that stick too many times to count and I know how it feels to either be lumped in with a group of people who don't entirely meet my personal standards of living (they're unkind, thoughtless, selfish, rude...), or they simply have a mean streak a mile wide. I'm sure there are many other reasons why one would feel a certain way.

And I know, I can hear you all cringing. "You should let your kids think for themselves! You should not push your opinions on them! You should let them cultivate their own feelings about something." But again I remind you I'm not preaching acceptance toward, and love of, one single community; I'm using these things as EXAMPLES for my children and I try very hard to put what I say into a real-life situation for them so it will be clear for them.

In my house, we do not treat people with disrespect. And when we do, we're called out on it. My kids are as aware of that as I am. And further, we ALL fail. There are days where tempers are short, bodies are hurting or feeling unwell, emotions are on the surface, nerves are frayed. Oh yes, we fail. But we KNOW when we fail and we can beg forgiveness when and if it's necessary AND MEAN IT.

Maybe I'm not making sense.

Bottom line for me is this: That Golden Rule thing? That's not just a religious creed. We ALL want to be treated well. So, if you would be hurt or offended by something said or done to you, or one of your kids, or maybe even your animals, then please, for the love of love, don't pay that forward.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Busy, much?

So, I guess I officially suck at blogging.

But you know what? I don't really care. I still love it, and will blog when I can, but I guess I don't feel like I NEED to have an update every day, every week, or even every month. I can't force it, right?


I've been busy, too. Kinda keeping a few things under my hat for now, but I've been drawing again. Well, doodling, really. But the doodling morphed from small doodles (like the one at the left) to bigger ones, to stuff people might actually call "ART" on some occasions. This, in turn, has also morphed into some actual pen/ink/colored-pencil drawing. Again, I'm going to keep some of it to myself for now, but in the meantime, what I can tell you is that my ETSY store is open again! (There's a link on the right under the heading of "My Hobbies" - in case you're interested.)

The doodling (especially) and drawing has been fun and, more than I ever could have anticipated or imagined, has been amazingly soothing for me. So, though my thumb feels like someone has poured cement into the joints and the writing callus on my middle finger is slightly sore and definitely more pronounced, I'm creating something tangible again. Not just writing creepy micro-fiction, though I haven't let that go, either. Hey - you love what you love, right?


In other news:

  • The month of March brought my kids each another year. Boy-child is now 14 and Girl-child is now 11. Please, pray for me. Mostly they're great kids, but every now and then I wonder, "It's wrong to kill my kids, isn't it?" Parenting is most DEFINITELY NOT for the faint of heart.
  • I had dental issues. Well, one tooth in particular decided it didn't want or need to be in my mouth any more and tried to commit suicide. It was especially horrifying for me because I'm legitimately terrified of the dentist. I was quite proud of myself for handling the dental visit and subsequent oral surgery to remove the tooth without winding up in a padded room. I still have the dental implant process and eventual crown to look forward to (ha ha) but at least, at this point, I know I can handle it. I don't have to like something to be able to deal with it, do I?
  • The Puppet Ministry I'm part of at our church is beginning to branch out. It is something else I truly love and, though the work isn't easy, it's fun. We now have a YouTube channel at H.I.S. Puppeteers, so check it out! Make sure to subscribe and ring the bell so you'll know when we upload a new video. Also, we've started taking the show on the road (Have puppets; will travel!) and so far, we have two shows in April on the same weekend, one in May, and an entire week booked at a Christian camp in Indiana in June! 

So, the humans at Chez Shell are fine, the felines are fat and happy and spoiled, and (as applicable) school and work are all going well. We are all truly looking forward to warmer weather so we can spend some time outside. The kids want to build a Bird Garden in the backyard, so we're collecting bird feeders and houses right now, and, once things smooth out weather-wise, I'll dig in with them and help because it sounds like such a neat idea and will be fun to do something like that with them.

I guess that's it!


Wednesday, January 03, 2018

New Story! "The Right Red"

Natalie was stoked! She was totally prepped to start her next painting and this one was gonna be a doozie! Man! She hadn’t created something in so long, just running her fingers through the soft mongoose hair of her limited-edition fan brush made her arms break out in gooseflesh.

She knew this piece would be a work of art. She could feel it. Standing there, smelling the fresh paint, staring at the blank canvas, the feel of the brush handle solid, anticipating, she felt...elated! It was the only word that worked.

Natalie didn’t know why it had been so long since she’d allowed herself this pleasure, but it had been years. She guessed maybe the itch - for want of a better word - just hadn’t been there. Maybe creativity was like the moon - waxing and waning, coming and going? Except, she supposed, without the clockwork regularity. But now it didn’t matter why. She had everything she needed right in front of her and was ready to begin.

With a deep breath, she dipped her largest choice flat brush in, and, on the exhale, swiped a violent slash of red across the stark white canvas. She stood back to admire her work. It was breathtaking! The contrast of that red, so deep, so vibrant, against the white was...well...she couldn’t explain how it made her feel. Almost wanton. Sexual. But the release was not enough. She definitely wasn’t done yet.

She dipped the brush again and made another mark on the canvas. This one slightly more focused. Straighter. Stronger. Less abstract. Bolder. Where it crossed with the original slash it darkened in a pleasing way.

For a few minutes, Natalie put the brush down and simply stood back to stare. She knew what she was doing. She knew what it should look like and so far she was absolutely hitting her intended mark. 

Her round face broke into a brilliant smile.

She was suddenly caught up in the frenzy of it. Ah! She remembered this. This frantic need to get it all out. To get the image or the idea onto canvas, out of her head. Do make the colors do all the work. She began to sweat with the effort. It was a dance. A long forgotten, but well choreographed dance. Anyone watching would have been fascinated; mesmerized. Just as the red began to take over the canvas completely, she stopped. Swiped at her brow with the back of a red hand. She needed to let some white show through - but just a little.

The dark color was next. She picked up her thinnest line brush and dipped it skillfully into the cup. A careful, thin line of darkness, which was not exactly black, appeared. A similar frenzy took over as she used that dark color to express what she was feeling. Fire and brimstone! The work was exhausting, but savagely captivating.

When Natalie finally finished she simply stopped, like someone had flicked her off-switch. Her arms fell to her sides, the sweat poured from her forehead, dripped off her nose and slid in warm rivulets down the middle of her back. The brush fell to the floor from her slack fingers.

She stared. It was a masterpiece! She hadn’t created anything like this, ever in her life. Except...well...maybe this was similar to the last time. She’d almost forgotten. But it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered anymore. Just this piece of art. Oh! She was going to be a millionaire! That red looked like the color of money and she could almost taste it.

Actually, since she was splattered with it, she was tasting it. And it was good. Just a little zing on her tongue.

Finally, she snapped out of her fugue. She squatted gracefully to retrieve the dropped paintbrush from the floor and stood to begin her clean-up process. It was a ritual, really. She’d prepared by covering the entire sun room floor with an opaque plastic sheeting. She always got color over everything. It was just less messy this way.

After she’d removed the canvas from the easel and put it aside, she took the cup of dark color and walked to an old metal pail in the corner by the back door. She upended the little cup and watched as a sickly greenish black oozed out. She watched it slowly drip from one vessel to the other until no more drops fell. Hypnotized. Then, once the cup was as empty as she could make it, she simply dumped the cup into the pail, too.

Then, she walked back to the easel and removed that. She tucked it away behind the door.

After the easel was safely stored, she turned to her brushes. She’d paid hundreds of dollars for them about five years ago and they were her most prized possession. They were custom made, just for her. The mongoose hair bristles were - from what she knew - the best money could buy, therefore, she knew they were exactly what she needed to create her pieces. She felt sad for them that they’d been so neglected lately. But, she’d discovered her passion again, and therefore felt sure she would use them more often.

The only thing left to clean up was the body. He’d been stripped and flayed, and placed on a an old stainless steel autopsy table next to her easel. Easy access for the red she needed. It was the only way she could find that particular color. She had tried over and over again to mix synthetic colors to find just the right red, but she’d been unsuccessful. The last time - oh, that last time - she’d gotten so angry when time after time the color just wasn’t right! She still couldn’t feel sorry for her boyfriend. He deserved what he’d gotten after interrupting her color experiments. But, at least she’d discovered how to get the right red.

She grinned at the memory - coming back strongly now - and she began to peel the corners of the plastic sheeting away from the edges of the room. Provided she tucked everything in properly, she could dispose of the body tonight and no one except she would be the wiser.

~ by Jennifer Shell (2016) (Not to be copied, used or reproduced without permission.)


Note from me (the author): More than once, I've been asked, "Why do you write about such awful things?" The answer: I don't know...because I can, I guess. I've always been fascinated by the gruesome, macabre, bizarre, unnatural, supernatural, etc.. I spent a good portion of my pre-teen and teenage years reading authors like Dean Koontz and Stephen King (or, Richard Bachman, if you prefer) and yes, they definitely directed my tastes in books. Though those kinds of things aren't all I read, they are my preference. My love of all things weird, scary, and creepy has yet to fade. 

Friday, December 15, 2017


I've been so terrible at keeping up with this blog lately. I keep wavering back and forth between just getting rid of it, and then also forcing myself to write something AT LEAST once a month.

I don't want to get rid of it because I quite like some of the stuff I've written and don't want it to go away. But at the same time, I just keep finding myself so busy, or uninspired, or dejected, or whatever...and I just don't wanna. So, since I'm writing this particular post in a sort of "stream of consciousness" way, we'll just hang in there a bit and see where we end up.


I've discovered YouTube. Ok, ok, I know that's been a thing for a long time, but I've never been a YouTuber - EVER. Then, the a YouTuber (Lady Mcreepsta) contacted me and asked if she could record one of my stories for her channel (and subsequent Podcast, too!). Also, the puppet ministry I'm involved in with my church started a YouTube channel. And now, I've tumbled down the rabbit hole of Internet videos. It's fascinating and terrifying and distracting and interesting and ridiculous and mind-boggling and weird and...fascinating. (I already said that, right?)

So far, my favorite YouTube channels (in no particular order) are:

Dr. Sandra Lee (a.k.a Dr. Pimple Popper) - Yes. I'm one of those. Ask my Uncle John.
Clevver Style - Who knew, right? Especially their Beauty Breaks.
H.I.S. Puppeteers - Because, of course, I have to love the one I'm involved in, right? #HISPuppeteers

OK - there are probably more, but right now, those are the top three.

I've also discovered that there are some full-length audio books on YouTube! Holy What? Really? Books I can listen to? Free? I'll take some of that, please?

Sheesh - I guess I didn't realize how behind-the-times I am!


I'm a little bit manic today. I did NOT sleep well last night and my brain is going 100 miles a minute. I can barely keep one thought in my head long enough to bring it to an end before I start thinking about something else. I'm confusing myself, and that's definitely not good. More rest. Ha! At this time of year?

I know, that's crazy thinking, right?


Speaking of this time of year, I have not done one little tiny bit of shopping. Ok - a few small things - but nothing really of substance. It's OK, though, because my kids know we're doing a very light Christmas. The biggest gift they're getting is the gift of my time, because I'm taking 12 days off (that includes weekends and holiday days off). Much needed. Maybe I can get SOME of that aforementioned rest?