With what I have
     who I am
     where I am headed

From worrying about adversaries
     fearing vindictive pettiness
     hiding from bullies

spent with those whom I love
     things I have ignored
     self, which I have neglected

Boundaries matter
     especially when one is
     dealing with those who don't

Reigning Things in With the Avett Brothers

I love the lessons / truths that can be applied from this song into The WordPress Community (and life, at large.) 

If you’re out there – and feeling a bit beaten up – there are others feeling the same way. So – tune out the negative, fear driven haters and tune back into your own truths. Put your feet to the ground. Forge ahead. No one, besides you, controls your next hour, day, year….future.

Decide what to be – and go be it. 






There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right
And it comes in black and it comes in white
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it

When nothing is owed or deserved or expected
And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected
If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it

There was a dream and one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I’ll scream til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

There’s a darkness upon you that’s flooded in light
And in the fine print they tell you what’s wrong and what’s right
And it flies by day and it flies by night
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it

There was a dream and one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I’ll scream til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

There was a dream and one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I’ll scream til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right
There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it


I Am Sad, So I Wrote This Poem

I feel the vulnerability of life in the very air I breathe. 

It gives me energy, only to leave me jaded.

I carry the weight of injustice on my shoulders.

My spirit aches and my hands to go numb.

I see the beauty of a mountain, reflected in a lake.

If I could only climb it without drowning. 

Life is mostly clich├ęd.

The irony of it all –


Inspired by a short thread on Twitter from the other day in which Joe shared a poem.


For Kim. Because Time Ran Short.

“Can you believe it? Me!!! In Matt’s talk! Me!? I…just …. I can’t believe it. Little ol’ me. An old lady up there on the screen with all the kids. It’s official, I really am #WPMom now.” Grinning ear to ear. Laughing. Happy. Her eyes were glimmering. Kim Parsell was beside herself, with an humble but genuine gratitude, for having been acknowledged by Matt Mullenweg, during his 2014 State of the Word, for her contributions to the WordPress community at large.

I remember thinking, while she talked, about how beautiful Kim was. Not her outward beauty – her crisp blue eyes, her bright and engaging smile – but her inward beauty. Her authenticity. And I saw her vulnerability. And I saw the literal twinkle in her eye that day. This is what happy looks like. And I thought about how little she was – physically small – shorter than me and so petite. And I thought about how strong she was – in her spirit. You could actually feel that when you were around Kim. You knew things were ok and even if they weren’t great, they would be ok … and eventually good again. She made you feel that way about life. And in those specific moments when she was sharing with me how happy she was, I remember thinking how much she deserved her moment. She had earned it. 

Sunday’s Contributor Day was wrapping up and I was heading out, my volunteer shift was over. I asked Kim if she wanted to grab dinner that evening, but she was staying late to help clean up. We promised each other we’d make time on Monday evening. But then that never happened. But that’s just how it goes at WordCamps. You try to make time for all the people you really want to spend time with while you’re “on location” and you’re all in proximity of each other – but plans change and you go with the flow of it. I remember thinking….no worries…I’d catch Kim at the next WordCamp and of course there’s always Twitter, Skype, Slack and good old fashioned email. Next time…

But There Won’T Be a Next Time.

These days, I spend most of my life alone. I have John and the children, but if it were not for social media – and to that end – the WordPress Community – I would have almost no connection to the outside world. I’m not even joking. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, it just is what it is during this season of my life. Kim was one of those people I met through WordPress, through Twitter, and became friends with in real life. I was hoping to spend more time with her in 2015. The sadness is real, the emotions are real – people often say, “Oh social media – it’s not like if you die it will matter to anyone on Twitter or Facebook.” I say those people don’t value relationships – they just value noise. They like the noise of social media – but they aren’t using the tools to leverage relationships. 

Their loss, really. Because people like Kim are out there – readily available to befriend you. To help you. To listen. To mentor. To help guide. To share in the joy. The pain. The burden. The blessing. Of life. Facilitated by the internet of things….but facilitated none the less.

Yes, Kim was my “online friend” …but she was a friend. And I’m going to miss her greatly.

Each Moment of Time Is a Mountain

A few days ago another online friend posted a poem that resonated. I jotted down the poem. I didn’t bookmark the link to his online posting about the poem, so, Joe, if you’re reading this…my bad. But thanks for sharing because tonight as I lay awake, thinking of Kim, I found myself thinking of the mountain that she got to ascend, looking around at all her peers in WordPress, and counting her blessings. 

Today I Was Happy, So I Made This Poem – James Wright

As the plump squirrel scampers
Across the roof of the corncrib,
The moon suddenly stands up in the darkness,
And I see that it is impossible to die.
Each moment of time is a mountain.
An eagle rejoices in the oak trees of heaven,
This is what I wanted.

Kim Parsell Jose WCSF14

(Photo from Matt’s gallery of WCSF. Taken by Sheri Bigelow.

Kim, we love and miss you. 

Matt, thank you for honoring her the way you did. It was a small gesture, perhaps, on your part – but it meant a lot to her. Which meant the world to me. You gave her that moment of time that was her mountain. 




No Spend January 2015

So, let’s start this off real, ok? This Mom LOVES the convenience of convenience stores, restaurants and fast food. I hate reheating most leftovers. And generally like to find any excuse to get out of the house (since I work at home, get bored, and need socialization.) But as most of us know: socialization = entertainment = $$$. AKA: yeah OK I’m kind of spoiled I guess. I’m not even going to lie about it. 

Full Time Work = Full Time Consumerism

Now, you know, 2014 was a financially advantageous year for me. I took a decent paying job that I thought would have some longevity. Turns out it was a huge waste of time, but during that huge waste of time, I banked a lot of cash, bought my own house & paid off a LOT of misc. bills. And during this time I never had to think twice about a budget. Which was good because I was working 60hr weeks and didn’t have time to think twice about a budget. But finally you know, I realized what a waste of time the job was and I left it. I mean when you’re spending 70% of your paycheck to attend WordCamps, hang out at the movies with your kids once every 2 weeks (that’s about as often as I had time for them) and pay for McD’s every day … what’s the point?  You could NOT work and just cut back all that spending and be just fine. So that’s what I did. And we’ve been JUST fine. Honestly, I haven’t even missed the income. I have thoroughly enjoyed sleeping, spending time with the family, and cooking meals again.

But, It’S Time for Some Order Around Here!

In just a few days our little family will take on some new changes. John is trading in his shift work for an 8-5 position at a different fire department. I am streamlining my schedule in January. The kids are going back to school and back to a solid routine (after the hiatus that is Thanksgiving break through January for public school kids.) John and I are both going to start working out again. And…we are starting a new budget. Somewhat out of necessity, but mostly out of want-to. 

So, following my friend Sally Hall’s adventure through their No Spend (October?), I was super excited to prepare to do the same. It was something John and I had been talking about doing but we hadn’t really committed 100% to the practicality of it all. It’s really hard to do a No Spend month when John works a 36hr shift at 2 diff’t fire stations and never knows exactly when he will be able to eat. Sadly, for emergency responders, they survive off fast food and caffeine. I’m so happy he’s changing courses. It’ll be nice to have a normal schedule again – and get back to the ability to budget w/o the frustration of the unknown.

What Is a “No Spend Month?”

It literally means you do not spend any money that you absolutely do not have to. That means…no quick trips to the convenience store or fast food joint. No buying coffee when running errands. No running unnecessary errands (because that wastes gas which equals spending money when you have to fill up…). No “on the whim” home projects or crafts or hobbies that require expensive materials and/or tools to be purchased. Actually, don’t even plan any home improvement projects that require anything other than repurposing what you have or up-cycling something someone gives you. 

Does a No Spend Month Work? 

no spend january 2015Sally and her family of 5, saved over $2k during their No Spend Month. That’s a single income, home schooling family of 5….and they didn’t even plan for a No Spend Month – they just dived in and did it! I’m excited to see how much we bank at the end of January by reigning in the bad habits of consumerism and laziness and see what the results are from a month of self-control looks like. It’s going to be a great object lesson for the children!

Of course there’s a Mommy Blogger having a “No Spend January 2015 Challenge” so if you’re into that kinda thing – go for it! Frankly – that’s just too much for me but some people are really into that sort of accountability and if that gets you motivated – by all means – enjoy!