Urban Goats and Suspicious Kangaroos (Interview)

Picture a Swiss maid, complete with bonnet, mountain cottage located in the Alps and a flock of goats she holds near and dear to her heart (think “Heidi” or “The Sound of Music”).

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Now imagine that same Swiss maiden transported to the heart of Melbourne, Australia, steaming cup of coffee in one hand, laptop under her other arm, goats following obediently behind as they cross the street. The drawstrings of her bonnet fly behind her in the wind, and curious kangaroos peer around corners in suspicion that the goats have come to invade the outback and pillage all available foliage.

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OK, maybe the goats are pushing it a little. My imagination tends to run wild at times. In any regard, this is one way I picture “Momma” when I read her story below. I started following A Momma’s View a few months ago, now I can’t wait to see a notification that she’s posted something new.

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Coffee House Cold War

In case you missed it when it was originally posted–A REBLOG FROM EARLIER IN THE YEAR.

Covert glances around newspaper pages…steely-eyed, angry men wearing muted shades of gray…silent, unsaid threats of catastrophic damage were ever-present…thinly-veiled scorn and contempt for the other side, constantly seeking for ways to outmaneuver the enemy for the upper hand. It was a time of fear where the lives of innocent were at risk and there was a sense of foreboding that no one could escape.

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What am I describing? Could it be a scene in Russia? North Korea? Perhaps this story is set in East Berlin before the fall of the wall? No, this is simply the weekly scene that occurred at my local coffee shop, and it was war. Continue reading

Holiday Refresh

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Hello and Merry Christmas to all!

Just a heads up, during the next few days I’ll be posting a few new things as well as reviving a few popular posts from 2014. It’s been a great first year in the blogosphere!

As always, thank you for stopping by. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look, I’d welcome your feedback around the updates I’ve made to my site this past week.

I wish you all the very best this holiday season. Don’t forget to keep the important things front and center. I’ll be using this time to refresh for the new year; I hope you do as well.

Warmest Regards,

Dave H.

Chapters

chapter Chapters… Stopping points. Places to pause. Forced divisions between sections. Any given book you read is filled with chapters. Some are short, others longer. Some showcase critical characters, others simply build the storyline. The Bible literally has thousands of examples.

Oftentimes chapters conclude in large-scale action or because of a noteworthy event that has occurred. Mystery novels or thrillers are a great example of this where usually the main character can be found in a cliffhanging situation…a chase, a fight or some other form of drama. Other times, chapters end uneventfully with no fanfare or particular action taking place…almost as if the author just felt it was time to take a breath before continuing.

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It occurs to me that the story of our life can be segmented into chapters as well.

Sometimes the change between life chapters is obvious–marriages, births, etc. As I reflect on many of these events in my own life, I can see clear lines of change around these events; i.e. things were one way when I was single, then they shifted to something different when I married.  These particular types of divisions in our lives can be anticipated, planned for…expected.

And yet there are other times when planning isn’t possible. Times when circumstances lurch hard to the left in an unexpected way that forces us to stumble, regain our footing, then travel forward on a path that is not quite the same as before. A new chapter was forced.  We didn’t ask for it, we wouldn’t have chosen it for ourselves at that time, but it happened.  Death is one poignant example of this.

Regardless of how the chapters were formed, they all connect to form a tale of just who each of us are and how we became. While not as enjoyable, even the painful, sudden sections of our stories do serve a purpose– they cause us to be more mindful and thankful of the good times.

As 2014 comes to a close, I’m reminded that I must enjoy the express place I am in now while it lasts. Family, friends, relationships that I have…they are all blessings that should not be ignored or taken for granted, but rather appreciated and enjoyed.

Once this particular chapter ends, the next one will be different; how should I spend my time now so that I have no regrets looking back?

I’m grateful that we cannot see the future, and I am certain God had a purpose in designing it this way. Advice to self: the next chapter will build on this one, and it might be harder…be in the moment now…take one chapter at a time…absorb the content…don’t rush…learn what you are supposed to learn.

Not The End

Feeding Chickens in the Land of Dickens (Interview)

Do you ever have one of those days when you just need a pick-me-up?  When I have a day like this, where my coffee just hasn’t been enough to do the trick, I often turn to Mother Hen Diaries. Dorreen Augustine always has that special blend of optimism and wit to catch my attention and perk up my day!

Seriously…she’s funny. It’s what attracted me to her blog initially. With so many blogs that exist to simply be rant sessions, Dorreen’s blog stands out as being a beacon of positivity.

As an American living in the U.K., she has a very interesting perspective on life, one that I find inspirational, and as is the case with many bloggers, Dorreen describes herself much better than I could.  From the About page of Mother Hen Diaries, here is a snippet of what Dorreen has to say about herself:

“First and foremost, I am a Jehovah’s Witness. (Yes, I do knock on doors!) 🙂 I am also a wife, mother, cuddly Nanny, a reader, a thinker, a dreamer and a storyteller, Margarita expert, singer and entertainer, jam maker extraordinaire, serial dieter, and mother to a dozen chickens.”

After following Dorreen’s writing for some time, I was so pleased when she agreed to have a virtual cup of coffee with me to answer my questions for this interview.  Read on for Dorreen’s thoughts and advice around blogging and writing.  It’s good stuff.

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The “true friend” test

Just a quick thought. I’ve read a few posts on how to tell if someone is a “true” friends. Most of these articles cite surface-level trite things like, “they always support you”, etc.

I’ve always thought the mark of a true friend was someone who will tell you the truth, even when they know it’s not what you want to hear. That takes courage and caring about someone–be truthful with them even when it hurts.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend…”

Picking the Nose of a Wicked Witch (Interview)

In this interview, I had the pleasure of interviewing Whitney of Highest Form of Whit (thanks for agreeing to the interview Whitney). Let me start by saying…I really don’t know how to best describe Whitney…the words fail me…I’m drawing a blank.

I started to try, but I had to keep erasing what I wrote as I felt I wasn’t doing the description justice. So rather than try and miserably fail (most likely causing Whitney to become enraged to the point of mass destruction), I thought I’d simply let her describe herself– as written on her About page.

 …I’m an amalgamation of the sense of humor of a 12 year-old boy, the sensibilities of an 80 year-old man, and the figure of a woman in her early twenties. Basically, I’m awesome. And so, by default, is this blog (note the sarcasm). I also suffered from untreated Generalized Anxiety Disorder for fourteen years, which is a main component behind this blog.

I believe in laughing. I believe in love. And I believe in punching anyone in the face who doesn’t think those two things are great. I also believe in contradictions (or do I?).

See, wasn’t that much better than what I could have written?  I’m sure Whitney is somewhere agreeing as she reads this. 😉 She is clever, has a knack for the craft of writing and she’s funny– all things that I enjoy in a writer.

The other think I like about Whitney and her blog– she is true to herself and as a result she’s built-up a loyal following. Recently I’ve become very interested in bloggers who write transparently– letting followers find them, rather than the other way around.  With over 10,000 followers, she fits this description well! I enjoyed reading her answers; I hope you will as well! When you’re finished, if you’d like to read additional interviews with other bloggers click HERE.

(Full disclosure: Whitney uses enough profanity to singe the hair off the ears of a sailor, so read with your visual “bleepers” on if you are so inclined.)

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What motivated you to start your blog Whitney?

I started my blog for a couple of reasons. One, I had just graduated from college but I was living in LA for an extra semester and I wanted something fun to do. Two, because I haven’t read a lot of mental health comedy anywhere and I kind of saw my opportunity to start a conversation in a different way. Three, because I thought people might want to laugh at all of the dumb things I was scared of when I was a kid. Apparently, people do want to laugh at that, which is really freaking sweet!

How did you “find your voice” in blogging?  Your writing appears to be very natural and shows a lot of your personality– was that something you had to work towards or does it come natural to you?
 I didn’t really work at it at all, to be honest. How my blog reads is how I talk. Except I probably include more “that’s what she saids” in my day-to-day conversation (though I am starting to cut back on that a little bit). I’ve always been super snarky and self-deprecative with a 12 year-old boy’s sense of humor. Why try and be something I’m not?
What one thing do you feel has contributed the most towards growing your follower base?

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