Sunday, September 30, 2012

Speak No Evil

Yesterday, I was perusing the Internets for plus-size work wear. The resulting experience brought on some serious rage and self loathing. I was so good to write a blog post. I downloaded pictures of evil, skinny models, from evil stores that don't sell my size or airbrush models' curves out of pictures or sell low quality, ugly clothes with jacked up prices because they're plus-sized or do other things I made up in my head because I was hurt and moody. It would have been so easy to write that post. To wallow in my bad mood and to point out every single evil or wrong committed upon the chubbier people of the world (meaning me) by the fashion industry.

Just one of the depressing images that comes up when one Googles "Plus-size work wear". 

Obviously, I didn't write that post and it's because I'm fasting.

Yep. I'm fasting. Not food, which might have been easier in the long run, but I'm fasting saying negative things. The family and I, along with our church, are trying to speak only positive things for the next 40 days or so. This doesn't mean that I'm not allowed to offer legitimate critiques of things or that I'm not allowed to say the word no or that everything that comes out of my mouth has to be butterflies, unicorns, rainbows and fuzzy, blue-eyed kittens. What it means is that I will consciously and to the best of my ability offer only positive words to those around me and myself. That I will think before I speak and that when I do I will apply a filter to let only what is positive exit my voice-hole. (FYI: I'm including things that I “say” on Facebook, Twitter and this here blog too.)

This isn't something super radical that I'm doing. People know that positive words spoken over a person or even a situation can have a positive affect . It's why psychologists tell you to say nice things to a newborn baby, why hostage negotiators don't get all doom and gloom and why Tony Robbins is a kajilllionaire.

Only the first one's free.

Speaking positively is a Biblical, psychological, sociological and, I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume, scientific principle – speak good things and good things will result. It's not magic. I haven't been sitting in my living room repeating “I will win the lottery” over and over again, but it's only going to lead to good things, being positive and speaking positively over people and situations isn't going to hurt anything, right?


Because this last week has been freaking hard. This fast has shown me somethings in my life that I'm not crazy proud of. For example, when I told Jacob our family would be taking part in this fast the first words out of his mouth were, “Whoa! That's going to be really hard for you mom!”. Yikes! What does that say about me when my 7 year old knows it's going to be hard for me to speak positive things over people and situations? I also discovered that I'm an instigator and that I use sarcasm and hyperbole a lot! I learned this from a week in which I spent 3 of the 7 days laid up in bed with the stomach flu. Dude! It's hopeless!! See? I just did it again! Gah!!

So that's what I'll be doing for the next forty days. I'm really hopeful that it will be a change that sticks and that will help me to be a better wife, mother, co-worker, social media participant, blogger, sister, daughter, etc. That life and life affirming things will exit my mouth before cynical, negative or sarcastic things. Life's all about growing, right?  Right.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad And The Awesome - Pt.3 The Awesome

Alright, it's time for the moment that all 2 of the readers of this blog have been waiting for. It's time for a look back at what I found to be awesome this past Summer.

Baptism in the Square
I've been part of a church for almost my entire life and, being part of the Evangelical side of the Christian spectrum, I've been witness to countless baptisms since my childhood. I chose to get baptised when I was around 10 or 11 and had a very wonderful Pastor dunk me in the (freezing cold!) baptismal tank. (Shout out to my mom for picking out the white turtle neck for me to wear while I was baptized in front of a hundred people or so. Thanks a lot!!). I have been to baptisms in large churches and small churches, baptisms that involved very small amounts of water and huge tanks, and baptisms indoors and at the beach. I love baptisms. For me, watching someone make a conscious and public choice to accept the grace, mercy and redemption of Christ is powerful. I love hearing the testimonies of people who have encountered a real and loving God and have seen their lives, and sometimes the lives of their entire families, be changed. I find that there is an overwhelming sense of hope at baptisms and it's infectious and wonderful.

This summer the church I attend put out a full page ad in several local papers inviting people to a Free Baptism Service in our city square. Now, for the record, a baptism should never cost you money. The ad was both a marketing ploy to get peoples' attention and a call to those who have never felt welcome in a church and/or those who have wanted to get baptised but for whatever reason have not.
Not the best reproduction, but you can check out a blog about the ad here
The Baptismal service took place at Harmony Square, our town's city centre, and included music, a brief bit of speaking about what Baptism is all about, a call to salvation and then the baptism. Over 100 people, some from the church, some from other churches and many from off the street chose to get baptised. I was a volunteer handing out towels and I can tell you that this was perhaps one of the most well-organized, authentic and beautiful "church things" I've been involved in. The atmosphere was full of hope, joy and new beginnings. I don't care if you're religious or not, a day full of that is just awesome.
Completely overwhelmed by God's grace. (Photo by Layne Grime of  Jonathon Grime  Photography)

The Ladies of Readers Anonymous

I've been a voracious reader of genre fiction for the last 6 years or so. I can very rarely be found without a book and I'm usually either in the middle of a book or at least about to start a book or two. Reading genre fiction can be quite lonely at times. Most people don't read what I read, the books I read are never part of Oprah's book club and are often sneered at by those who see genre fiction as a lesser form of entertainment. However, thanks to social media and the magical wonderfulness of the Internets I've been fortunate to become part of a very active community of other voracious genre fiction readers from across the continent and even in some cases the world. The members of this community that I'm closest to are (mostly) part of a Facebook book club called Readers Anonymous.

Readers Anonymous, is a very informal book club that has become an outlet for those of us with a decidedly dirty sense of humour, a penchant for Alpha heroes and a book buying habit so acute there could easily be a TLC special all about it. It's more than that though, Readers Anonymous is a group of like minded friends who can just as easily discuss the finer points of Shifter mythology as they can offer a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear to a hurting member. Needless to say when I had the opportunity to meet up with these ladies at a book convention in New Orleans, LA I jumped all over it.

Matching T-shirts make any group legit.
FYI: Do not walk down Bourbon St. in a group wearing shirts that can be misread as "Got Boobs?"
Trust me on this.

Now, in case you're not familiar with what a book convention is think about Comic Con and picture a much more hygienic and less dressed up group of, mostly, women who all read one branch of genre fiction or another meeting to discuss favourite books, authors, characters and genres. It sounds nerdy, but there's something empowering about being with 400 people who get your obscure references to obscure books. It's liberating in the way that any joining together of like minded people is. But enough about the convention because frankly, the best part about this trip was not the convention. Here's what was.
  • New Orleans was awesome. Never have I met people so friendly, so in love with their city and so kind. Yeah, Bourbon street is obnoxious and if a tourist isn't careful she can easily become caught up in its crazy and find herself checking "motorboat complete stranger" off her bucket list, but that's just one aspect of the city. The food *drools*, the old architecture and the history of this town is stellar.
New Orleans even makes dark alleys look good!

  • 40 or so new books from both authors I love and new authors was not a bad thing. :)
Go to Cafe Beignet to get your Beignets, but if you can't go there go to Cafe Du  Monde because it's iconic and  stuff.

  • Meeting and connecting with people I'd only previously communicated with on Facebook, Twitter or through blogs. I spent evenings laughing my butt off with author Dakota Cassidy (D'ahcoatah Cassiteh if you're nasty *snort*), blogger Chelsea from Vampire Book Club and others. I was pounced upon by Jen from Red Hot Books and connected with Pam (who is both gorgeous AND funny, which is not fair)from the blog I write for.
Author Dakotah Cassidy, Me, Pam, Nicole and Jen

  • And most importantly I got to meet the ladies of Readers Anonymous. I can't tell you how many times these ladies have made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry or have kept me from strangling my family with anecdotes of their own family trials and who have listened and offered support when life seemed to come at me with nothing but crap. It was a truly awesome thing to meet, share laughs, plot evil and commiserate with these ladies. In fact, when Jeff asked me what my favourite part of my trip was I had to admit it was time spent sitting on a hotel balcony, sweating, laughing, eating candy and occasionally reading really awful purple prose with a lisp.
Enjoying some grits, beignets and cafe au lait with (most of) the ladies of Readers Anonymous.

And that's the awesome.

I hope your summer was filled with awesome. I guess it's time to put away the flip flops and pull out the sweaters. It seems whether I'm ready or not Fall is here. Yay?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad and The Awesome Pt.2 - The Bad

Summer 2012 was for the most part really good. Honestly I don't have a lot to complain about, but, in the name of good journalism practices or something that sounds equally official and intellectual, I give you the bad to the good, the dark to the light and the savory to the sweet of Summer 2012.

  • It was freaking hot!!

He totally did. I heard it when I played my Zeppelin album backwards. What do you mean , "what's an album?" *sigh*

 Sweet fancy cheeses it was hot. At one point it was so hot we had a clothing optional (within reason) rule at my house and 3 air conditioners going just to survive. If felt like I was walking through soup when I left my (blessedly) air conditioned office at 5pm.
I love the heat, but DUDE it was ridiculous. Not cool Mother Nature, not cool.

  • I got into a bit of a scuffle on the Internets over something stupid.

It is a well known fact that I am lacking in the verbal filter department. Sometimes people find this refreshing, sometimes hilarity ensues and sometimes I end up looking back on a weekend of arguing with people that could have been avoided if I'd just kept my mouth shut. With the social media being as it is, sometimes my knee-jerk reactions to things end up in front of a much larger audience than just my long-suffering husband.

This particular scuffle occurred after I lipped-off about a poorly written, lame-o book that's currently enjoying a crazy amount of fame and how some people in the Church at large seem to be handling members of their congregations' interest in said book. I think what I had to say was valid, but it didn't really need to be said. If I had simply kept my mouth shut and been confident in my own opinions I could have avoided an online argument that ended up with me being called a pornographer, hurt feelings and just general chaos. In hindsight I'm quite ashamed of how I handled it. I won't says lesson learned, because I have tons of work to do in the "I Don't Have to Be Right All the Time" department, but I will say that I am at least reflecting on the lesson and trying.

Side-note: If your last name is Horney and you're arguing about something relating to sex on a Christian message board, using your real name, people will call you out for your "ridiculous moniker". Just so you know and because knowing is half the battle.

  • The main thing that sucked this summer was that in the midst of all the cool stuff going on I really struggled with some pretty heavy depression. 

Whether it was a by-product of being stuck indoors, the extreme heat or just crazy hormones, this summer just seemed to be difficult. I know that my depression, and more-so my response to it, left people feeling ignored and hurt and kept me from experiencing some good times and that inevitably lead to a vicious cycle of guilt and anger and ultimately more depression. Which pretty much sucks hardcore.  Luckily, I have a good support system, fantastic pharmaceuticals and a family that is learning to help me pull out of the funks I sometimes find myself in. So, yes, it put a damper in my summer, but it could of been so much worse and that, my gentle readers *snort*, is called finding the silver lining.

And speaking of silver linings, stay tuned for part 3 of this in depth exposé on my Summer past- Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad and The Awesome Pt.3 - The Awesome!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad & The Awesome Pt.1 - The Good

When I started writing this post it was raining outside and not just raining, it was pouring. I'm not one of those anti-rain people, but it was the kind of rain that proves that the seasons have slipped from Summer into Fall and I'm not quite ready to give Summer up yet.

So, in an effort to ignore the upcoming cooler season, I give you ...

Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad & The Awesome Pt.1 - The Good

I became a soccer mom.
Yep, something I always dreaded turned out to be one of my greatest joys this summer. Watching Jacob make friends and succeed on the soccer field was phenomenal. His team wasn't always the best and he rarely wanted to go to practise, but we had a blast.

Jacob, obviously ready for some hardcore soccer.

It may come as a shock to some of you, but I am not the most social of people. I generally feel awkward around new people and end up coming off as aloof or snobby. This summer I really wanted to kind of break free from that and I think I succeeded. Our family went on a fantastic vacation to Kincardine (which should totally be pronounced Kink-er-deen) with one of my husband's co-workers and his girlfriend, I met some great people at a BBQ I was totally dreading with a paintballing friend of Jeff's and I made an effort to get together with people for coffee and lunch. It was fantastic meeting new people, finding out that I'm bolder than I think and just having fun.

The Horney's take over Kincardine!

One of the things I enjoyed most about this Summer was that we did a lot of stuff as a family. Whether it was Jeff, Jacob and I, just me and Jacob, Jeff and Jacob or whatever we did some great stuff together this summer. As a family we watched fireworks, went to Movies in the Square and discovered we all kind of love flea markets. Jacob and I attended a car show, went to see The Pirates of Penzance with my parents at the Stratford Festival and went for some traditional (for us) "Mommy and Jacob Day" breakfasts. Jeff went to his first major league baseball game with Jacob, took him to the Water Park and taught him how to ride a two wheeler! We also spent a lot of time with my sister Amy and her family which was fantastic. I never really had a relationship with my cousins so I love watching Jacob build friendships with his.

Watching some fireworks and getting eaten by mosquitoes.

 Other good things (in no particular order):

  • I read some fabulous books

  • Jacob started losing teeth.
  • Just about to put the kid to bed and he looks at his dad and I and says, "So, you guys  are the tooth fairy, right?"
    Oy Vey!
  • Vintage clothes shopping and extreme grilled cheese with my sister Amy at Netty Vintage and The Tipperary Bog.
  • Went to see some great movies; The Avengers, Expendables II. Yay for explosions and Chuck Norris!!
  • Started getting involved a bit more in our church.
  • Napped a lot

The thing that stands out for me from this past Summer is that the things that made me and my family happy usually involved great people and not a lot of money. Funny how that works. ;)

Stayed tuned for Summer 2012 - The Good, The Bad and The Awesome Pt. 2, The Bad (cue ominous music)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Let's Try This Again...

So I haven't really blogged since May.

Complete fail, I know.

I like blogging and writing in general so I'm not exactly sure what stopped me. I'm going to put it out there that it was because I felt too much pressure to write the wittiest, most awesome posts ever and that I didn't want to let all the 15 people who read this stuff to feel let down so I caved. In all honesty though, it was probably just that I got lazy or wrapped up in a book (or 30!), or that I got lazy while reading a book (or 30!).

I'm going to give this whole blogging thing another try though. Yeah, a do over. Let's get reacquainted.

******Originally Posted November 30, 2011*********
Remember in grade school when your teacher and parents tried really hard to get your little kid brain to comprehend the concept of inside/outside voice. Inside voice was for when you were indoors or out to eat or in the general vicinity of any or every adult, while Outside voice was for when you were outside acting crazy with your friends, doing awesome kid things and being silly.

As we grow up our outside voice gets squelched. We don't get to say what we want or how we feel because it might upset someone. I'm not saying this is all bad, but what I am saying is that I'm sick and tired of always having to use my Inside voice. I want to be loud, say what I really think, talk about things that make me giggle and incite heated, but no less meaningful, conversations. I want to talk about the books I like, the movies I watch, motherhood and how I feel about what's going on in this crazy world.

My name's Sara. I'm a wife, mother, sister, friend, office manager, Canadian, Christian, book addict, karaoke queen, and loud laughing, dancing fool. I like food, action movies and loud, long and lascivious guitar solos. I'm a history geek and I don't mind laughing at myself, but I can be dead serious too.

I hope you read along and contribute. I hope you leave your Inside voice on the shelf for a couple minutes and use your Outside voice. I think you'll like it.


If you're kind (or crazy) enough to be reading what I write then thanks! Also, if you have an idea of something you'd like me to write about then I would totally love to hear it and then I can see if it's something I know anything about