Rule #6: Take that step, even if it’s a tiptoe.


I love working at a college. I love the excitement of young and old minds learning, achieving and expanding. And, if it ever gets boring, just wait, in 4-5-6-okay maybe even 7 or 3.5 (I don’t understand those overachieving students) new blood will come along to pump excitement and new ideas back into these brick and cinder walls. There is such a diversity of thought running amuck at the university it is scary and refreshing at the same time. I LOVE IT! Sometimes though, what I don’t understand is university-speak.

Take pedagogy. Try saying that fast – 5 times. I can’t even say it slow, once. What does it mean? I can tell you want it doesn’t, and that’s “pet the doggy.” Just say “education, teaching or even learning.” How about Creative Non-Fiction in a Digital Environment? Yes, I should have known  ̶  it means blogging. I didn’t think that class through when I signed up for it. I thought to myself, “YES, I would love to read creative non-fiction and discuss it. After all, I’m all about reading, okay, probably more collecting books.” Not the same. So, I find myself in blogging class trying to patch it all together and sound halfway sane.

Here’s one, “peer reviewed.” It doesn’t mean to have your friends look at it to make sure you’re not crazy. It means you get published and other people with degrees comment or use it in their research. Pretty exciting stuff. Who is the head of the department? Is it the dean, the chair or the director? I still can’t tell you which is higher magna cum laude or summa cum laude – but I know it’s not a type of wrestling. It means you are pretty darn smart. There is another laude in there, but oh laude, if I can remember what it is. That’s college humor. Finally, have you heard of a “rhetorical tetrahedron”? You may think it’s like the Bermuda triangle where words go to die. But it’s not. It’s where words go to live.

It is a perfect example of that thing where each workplace has its own language. Trust me. I’ve worked in several different workplaces, so I know. Where when you are a newbie; you don’t quite understand what everyone is saying? But you play along anyway to make it look like you know. Again, fake it until you make it. Each workplace has its own lingo. It’s part of what they call “workplace culture.” Words like “synergy,” “SWOT goals” (Google it) or “nonverbal” are all perfect examples. “Nonverbals” was a fun one that I used to torment Sam. “You’re verbals are saying yes, but you’re nonverbals are saying no don’t buy that purse. I’ll stick with your verbals on this one.”

The list of workplace words could go on and on. I’m sure if I asked you, you could come up with some unique words that when you started work, you had no idea what everyone was talking about but after a year or so, you got the hang of it and were even speaking it yourself. No matter what the work speak, each workplace has its own. The trick is to figure it out without looking silly or dumb in the process.


tryTrying something new can be frightening and comes with scary things. Like words that I’m not sure what the heck they mean. Sometimes that frightening stuff can even keep us from trying something new. Like, would I have taken creative non-fiction in a digital environment if I knew it stood for blogging? Maybe or maybe not. But, I’m glad I didn’t know and yet, I’m glad I took the class and even passed.  Don’t let scary stuff keep you from trying new things. Embrace them and your ability to learn. Face your fears head on and take that class, start a second degree, paint that picture, remodel that kitchen, climb that mountain, and accomplish your goals. In the end, you’ll be glad that you did.


This summer, I signed up for Digital Rhetoric. The study of memes – am I right? I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out. Wish me luck!


Now it’s your turn. What are some words or catchphrases often spoken at your workplace that originally you had no idea what they meant, but now you find yourself saying them like a pro? Don’t be shy. Share them in a comment!


Rule #5: If you don’t walk forward, you’ll always be in the same spot.

Subhead: Mr. Gray Meets Erma Bombeck

Planted-in-faithWith trembling fingers and a fluttering heartbeat, I slowly fumble with each button of my blouse. Breathing in light shallow breaths, I can’t believe how nervous I am. I completely unbutton and let my blouse fall to the ground. It is unbelievable to me how scary this truly is. Will people laugh when I want them to? Will they make fun of me when I don’t? Will they think I’m silly and full of myself? Cringing, I unhook my bra and give the elasticity some rest. I have never done anything like this before and I can’t believe how nervous I am. My heart is fluttering right out of my chest as I unzip my pants and let them pool around my ankles. I shakenly step out of them and walk slowly down the street feeling the cold bricks on my bare toes as I walk naked in downtown Kearney.


Okay, so I have never walked naked down the streets of Kearney or anywhere other than the comfort of my home, but that is how I felt when I published my blog. I was scared, worried and embarrassed even. What if people didn’t like it? What if they thought it was stupid? What if they sent messages about me behind my back or to my face  ̶  or  ̶  said I was *GASP*, “Cocky, full of myself and stupid!” What if no one read it? Why should I care? I don’t know, but I do.

Putting myself out there was scary to the point where my fingers were literally shaking and my heart was fluttering right out of my chest. I felt as if I had just done or was about to do a 60-minute cardio class. (The feeling is about the same either way.) Scared to the point where I felt like I was walking bare naked down the streets of Kearney for all to see. I have walked into a room one time in my pajamas wondering why my son was up at the computer still only to find his friends with him while I was standing there braless in my pajamas, so I sort of know how it feels. Do you ever have those dreams where you show up to work or school and you totally forget your pants? That’s exactly how it feels. I hate those dreams.

Late-at-NightTrying something new is scary. We often fear the worst. What are people going to say? What will they do? How will they react? When in actuality people were amazing. People are amazing! They were generously kind, supportive and forgiving (of my typos or weird ideas). I’ve heard nothing but care, love and compassion from friends and strangers alike. People are uplifting and wonderful. Life is remarkable, and I’m so glad I took this step even through the fear and sleepless nights. And let me tell you, there have been many sleepless nights thinking about this blog. Actually complete strangers have often surprised me more than my close friends with their amazing love and support; however, that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt the love and backing of friends and family as well.

So here is where I tell you if you have a dream, go for it. Trust me, it will be scary. You may think you’re not ready or good enough. There will be nights you will lay awake thinking about it, worrying about it, and even stewing over it. You will have many moments of doubt where you think you’re not good enough, where you worry about what others will think. (Why do we do that to ourselves? Oh yeah, read my post about the Imposter Syndrome to see why. How easily I forget my affliction. I must have it bad.) Where you literally feel like you are walking naked for all to see and worse yet, all to judge. But people will amaze you, and you will amaze yourself. You will be surprised or happy to find them supportive, encouraging and kind. However, we just learned in class, that there are those who may be mean. Can you believe it? Sadly, it can happen. Don’t let them discourage you. Look to friends and family for support. (FYI – pugs are also amazing supporters. Otis loves everything I do. LOL.) So, go for your dreams!

And be there when your friends, acquaintances, or someone you don’t even know goes for theirs. Let’s make a pact to start lifting each other up instead of being so judgy. (Okay, I can totally be guilty of this, and so maybe that is why I was so worried.) Just think of what a better place this would be if we all felt the support I have in the last couple of weeks. It would truly be an amazing place where we all felt safe to step out of our comfort zones, rip off our metaphorical clothes or what’s holding us back and go for our dreams. That is unless your dream IS to walk naked down the streets of Kearney; because you would be super cold, catch pneumonia, and you might even get arrested. So, while I promise to be supportive, it would be super awkward for you and me both and I don’t know if I could go for that.


Rule #4: The most important things in Life: Friends, Coffee and Sleep.

Sloth-and-SleepSubhead: Midnight always knows all my secrets – now you do, too.

SLEEP. It is something we all need. And yet, rarely do any of us get a really good night’s sleep. Well, I don’t anyway, and I’m thinking/hoping I’m not alone. Just Google sleep and you’ll come up with any number of things to do to get an adequate night’s sleep. I have tried envisioning myself lying on the beach with waves lightly lapping at my feet … and then usually, I have to pee.

One thing that works from time to time is going through the alphabet and making up sentences with things that are related to sleep. Like the car-ride alphabet game, we used to play as kids. Here’s an example, “A – A very soft comfy bed. B – a very soft comfy Bed. C – a very soft Comfy bed.” (Okay, so I’m not too inventive and creative at this point, I’m just trying to get a decent night’s sleep.) Some nights, this works like a charm and I’m sawing logs before I get to K. However, if I get to K, I know I’m sunk and either need to start all over again or try something else. Experts (obviously, those who can get to sleep) say a nightly bedtime routine is a must for sleeping.

Here is my husband’s routine:

Let the dog out, make sure the dog gets in, drop clothing on the floor by the bed down to tidy whities, head hits the pillow and he’s asleep. Sometimes, he doesn’t even turn off the light. How the heck does he do that? It is infuriating! Okay, he might also brush his teeth and take a blood pressure pill, but I think his whole routine lasts approximately five minutes if that. At this point, he wants to pray with me, but he doesn’t realize how much prep I have to do before I go to bed, and quite frankly, he’ll be sawing logs in under a minute. Usually, I can do a countdown … “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … and he’s out.” I know because I hear him snoring. It is typically around 10:30 p.m., and it is extremely annoying and perplexing to me.

Here is my bedtime routine:

I check my alarm to see if it is set correctly and the music is at the precise volume so as not to shoot me out of bed before my three snooze increments, but yet, loud enough to wake me past a light snooze. I floss and brush my teeth – this is super important as I was reprimanded by a dentist once for not flossing. I make sure all of the lights are off and no intruders are in the house. I turn on the fan. (Yes, even in the dead of winter. I’m addicted. It drowns out those little creeks that could potentially be intruders in the middle of the night or rats crawling in the walls or electrical sparks that could start fires and burn the house down. Well … you get the picture.)  I wash my face, I apply toner, lotion and something that is supposed to keep it from getting redder, pimplier or wrinkler … okay, it’s a freaking miracle cream … alright. (Although I haven’t witnessed any miracles; on my face that is.) I get a mirror and check every pore on my face. I pluck the little dark hairs that have sprouted up on my face. Seriously, I could be the bearded lady for the Ringling Brothers if I didn’t. Where do those things come from? They were not there yesterday! Overnight, several could just sprout up like dandelions. It’s disgusting.  I then take my vitamins. These are to keep me young, keep my knees from hurting, keep my bones from breaking, keep cold sores away, keep me pooping with regularity (that is super important), keep my back from cracking when I try to bend it and keep me breathing through the night because my nose likes to clog up at a moment’s notice. Then I have to check Facebook because you never know who could have posted within that time and what fabulous adventures people have been on for the last 15 minutes that I checked it. (Okay, I am probably addicted, but that is for another post.)  I check Snapchat to look in on my UNO daughter, Hannah, because she could post and let me in on a glimpse of her life and what she is doing for a split second. I get out of my clothes and into my pajamas. I put my dirty clothes in the laundry basket (Sam’s is probably on the floor by his side of the bed.)

decafI turn off all the lights but turn on my bed-stand light because I don’t want anyone grabbing my legs in the dark on the way to bed. That would scare the bejesus out of me and this routine would have to start all over for me to calm down. I pee not once, not twice, but possibly three times because nothing is more annoying than your head hitting the pillow after all of this preparation and you have to pee. I slightly open the curtains, so if I have to pee when the lights are off, I will be able to locate the toilet. I check outside for Sasquatch or a mountain lion because both have been spotted in the neighborhood. If I see one, I’m waking Sam up. I pet Otis one more time because he is so darn cute and moans when you pet him, and that’s just too ridiculously sweet. I prepare my covers because you never know when you will be too hot or too cold, and you could be both in a matter of seconds for the duration of the night. It is at this time, I’m either totally ready for bed, or Megan calls from KU – and I have to answer it. We talk, and the series will start all over again except the vitamins because that would just be wrong. It is at this point that I fly into bed, because it’s dark, and if I jolt my husband awake, he will stop snoring and be back snoozing within seconds again anyway. Cold feet on a warm body work well for this also especially if you forgot to put an extra blanket on the bed. I’m sure glad he puts up with me.  By this time, I’m lucky if I’m in bed before midnight.  Oh well, that’s what coffee is for.


If you are like me, and I think there are MANY of us out there who suffer from lack of sleep — whether, it is insomnia, a crazy bedtime routine like mine, worrying about stuff that needs to occur (Experts say create lists, but it doesn’t stop me from worrying, it just keeps me up later writing lists.) — as I stare out across the dark expanse of rolling houses and see a light on or two, I take some brief comfort in knowing I’m not alone and a mom is up feeding her baby, a dad is rocking a sick kid to sleep, a police officer is keeping us safe, or a student/teacher is finishing up the last page of his/her essay or test. We may all be bleary-eyed and dragging the next day, but we are not alone, and for some odd reason, I take a small amount of comfort in that.