The Post About Teens and Tiaras

Oldest niece. Pageant niece. Both adorable.

My middle niece participated in a beauty pageant this weekend. I'm always torn. Do you adore your gorgeous family member and simply ignore the discomfort you feel as each young woman parades by?


You shower your beautiful niece with praise AND revel in the awkwardness of the competition by live tweeting it. The following includes actual quotes from the interview portion of the pageant.

Is it wrong to hope I've been a positive influence?

This is not completely illogical.

Geography is obviously no longer a priority in today's schools.

Suzanne Collins should have to pay the movie producers a royalty.

I've been to Hawaii. No.

Nicholas Sparks is making it rain with life lessons.

Can we all agree that the "Irish Experience" is probably heavy drinking and throwing punches?

The most honest answer of the night.

I grew up in Corner. It's not a shabby place, but it's no Cinderella's Castle.

My friend Erin Moon commented "Night is good, but is it anyone's FAVORITE book?"

If TGG was historically accurate, then Gatsby would have been taken out in the 3rd chapter for overuse of the phrase "Old Sport."

My mom is a secretary at a southern baptist church. Context.

Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world?


The Post About Chasing Rabbits With Javacia Harris Bowser

Welcome to my series called Chasing Rabbits With _______________. I interrogate someone I know to be more interesting than me. Today, I'm welcoming writer Javacia Harris Bowser to the chase.

When I discovered Javacia's blog, The Writeous Babe Project, I knew we could be fast friends sharing a love for Beyonce, writing, and God. Not necessarily in that order. Now having met her in real life over coffee, lunch and even in a small group, she's actually out of my league. Javacia is a high school teacher and editor of See Jane Write Magazine, a lifestyle publication for women writers, bloggers, and journalists. If you write, she's your Jane.

1. What is something you wish you’d never said out loud? I wish I’d never told anyone that I’m not sure if I want to have children. When you say that to people they look at you like you’re a Martian or a terrorist, or a Martian terrorist. (I am human and I love America. I promise.) Plus, now if I do decide to have a kid I will have to deal with “I told you so” along with nausea and swollen feet. 

2. What is the strangest/funniest encounter you’ve ever had with a medical professional? After having my wisdom teeth removed I awoke from the anesthesia thinking the dental assistants were trying to attack me, so I started yelling and swinging my fists at them until my husband appeared and calmed me down. I hope those women got a bonus for dealing with me that day. 

3. Name 3 things on your bucket list.
  • Be in a Jillian Michaels fitness DVD.
  • Write a book that people actually buy and read.
  • Be Beyonce.
4. What is one of the most embarrassing things anyone has ever caught you doing? When I was about 13 one of my friends caught me singing and dancing to a really raunchy R&B “love” song that I had written. I would share some of the lyrics, but I believe this blog is rated PG.

5. What is something your parents still do not know you did? Wrote raunchy R&B songs. Hey, don’t judge me. I spent plenty of time writing Maya Angelou-inspired poetry too. That should atone for my sinful lyrics.

6. Which celebrity would you like to be friends with in real life? What would you two do on a sunny Saturday? I am obsessed with Jillian Michaels. I talk and/or tweet about her daily and I’m on a mission to buy and complete all of her workout DVDs. We’re already BFFs in my head. And in my daydreams we spend our sunny Saturdays going for a run and then we secretly eat pizza and cupcakes, but it’s OK because we burn off all the calories doing 30 Day Shred, Ripped in 30 or some other torturous, yet terrific workout of hers. 

7. What is your favorite word and why? I’m a teacher. My favorite word is “summer.”

8. Which Wizard of Oz character are you most like and why? I think I’m most like Sister Peter Marie because even though I’m a godly woman I don’t take any crap from anyone, not even convicted killers and drug dealers. Oh wait…you said Wizard of Oz, not the HBO prison series Oz. My bad.

9. What is your greatest extravagance? I’m a full-time teacher and a part-time journalist. I can barely afford to type the word extravagance.

10. What are websites/blogs you frequent that other folks should also frequent?
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers.  I’ve always wanted to be a fashion blogger but I don’t have the wardrobe or the photography skills to do so. Thus, I just read IFB daily and pretend I’m a fashion blogger. This isn’t a waste of time, though, because the site gives great tips that could be useful to a blogger of any niche.
  • Jamie the Very Worst Missionary. If you’re a Christian blogger who secretly hates Christian blogs (because let’s be honest, most of them suck), this blog will feel like a godsend. Jamie’s posts are raw and real, yet filled with her passion for God.
  • Sarah Bessey. She had me at “Jesus feminist.” It’s hard out here for a Christian feminist, but Sarah’s writings let me know I am not alone. (P.S. – this is another Christian blog that does not sucketh.)
  • A Place to Dwell. Katie’s sweet spirit and positive outlook inspire me to love my life and the people in it. 
Rabbit Readers: What is your favorite word and why?


The Post About Welcoming Teens to Twitter

A recent report found teens are abandoning Facebook in the millions. And in what I'm sure is a COMPLETELY UNRELATED move, users age 55+ have exploded with 80% growth.

So where are they going? Many outlets seem to think they're headed to Twitter.

As someone who's been tweeting since 2008, I feel it's my public duty to not only welcome Madison and Jacob, but also orient them to proper Twitter etiquette.
1.Tweet. Just that...say stuff. But before you post, ask yourself: Is this tweet useful or funny or insightful or interesting? Your morning eye gook does not meet any of those criteria.

2. Follow. Try and find those you already know and then consider new friends. Search for topics you're interested in like video games or photography or One Direction.

3. Follow back. If someone interacts with you by replying to your tweet or retweeting you, consider following them back. I may be projecting to those who aren't following me back. I LOVE YOU A WHOLE BUNCH MINDY KALING.

4. Share Good Stuff. Retweeting someone is the best gift ever. Unless you don't credit them, then you're what the French call "chez crookedy crook."

5. Call it. Keep the public back and forth to a minimum. Your followers don't care about you ironing out the details of your upcoming trip to the coffee shop with your ex-boyfriend's brother's sister.

6. Tweeting without ceasing. Posting more than 15x a day is a lot. Step away from your computersmartphonetablet and hug a human. Or do your homework.

7. Tweet your exits. If you decide to share your location, wait until you're leaving to tweet. Then you don't have to have IRL encounters you may not actually want to have.

8. Obnoxious tweeting. If it would be hurtful to say it in person, then it's hurtful here. Exception? Nope...there isn't one.

9 Hesitate to Hashtag. Too many hashtags are #annoying #as #all #getout. However, don't miss out on connecting to others who care about #1letterwrongmovie. This is why you tweeted "Snapes on a Plane."

10. Going over. Honor the 140 character limit. You can do it. It's why God made contractions and ampersands. However, when tweeting quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. or C.S. Lewis, don't replace the word "you" with "u." Don't.

What are your Twitter tips for newbies?


The Post About Being a Work of Art

Framed - 42/365
One of my favorite sentences in the Bible is found at the beginning of Ephesians 2:10.

"For we are God's masterpiece."

That's who I am. That's who you are. We are works of art.

And not like art you make at camp or at Sips-n-Strokes or in Introduction to Pottery. We are Chihuly glass and Adams photographs and Van Gogh canvases. We're not hung on just any refrigerator. We grace the fridge doors of the Creator of the Universe.

But there's a dilemma.

That's not how I see myself. I let other things define me. My hobbies, my skills, my relationships, my experiences, my titles.

I am a Writer. Marketer. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Godmother. Friend. Baker. Volunteer. Fan.

I am Single. Childless. 

However, these titles aren't really who I am. I am a masterpiece. He said so.

But are masterpieces sporadic writers? Are they bakers who leave messes in the kitchen? Are they unmarried? Are they marketers without jobs?

This chasm between what I think I am and what I really am has never been more difficult to cross than now. Unemployed me couldn't possibly be a treasured piece? What am I without to-do lists and deadlines and an organizational email address?

I am enough.

Thankfully God is prone to repeat Himself. Not because He forgets, but because we do.

Psalm 139:13-14
For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
It's important to remember this was written by David. A guy who was a polygamist, murderer, adulterer, and pretty crappy father. Yet he didn't let those titles define him. He knew he was a work of art. He knew it full well.

Let us know it full well too.

{image: Jamie}


The Post About What You Want to Know

I've received several questions about this season of being out of work. I thought it might be time for a handy FAQ.

1. Why did you quit your job?
Read this. It's still true a month later.

2. Do you have a job now?
Not really. I have some freelance gigs and the occasional cake pop order, but that's it.

3. If you don't have a job, what do you do all day?
Well...it depends. Some days I do research and write the entire day. Some days I volunteer at our local dream center and read at the library. Some days I snuggie it out and binge on Netflix and nap twice.

Then there's the time spent staring at God asking "What next?" Right now, He mostly just grins like He knows something but not telling.

4. What's been the hardest part of quitting?
First, I really do miss my coworkers. Thankfully they text and call often which helps maintain my codependence. Second, I'm as extroverted as they're made. Being home alone is not my wheelhouse. So getting out of the house and explaining the value of Boar's Head to Publix shoppers has been helpful.

5. What kind of job do you want?
My heart and passion is storytelling. Sharing an organization's story would be my dream - what they do, why they do it, and how they want to do it bigger and better. Content marketing is actually my background which means an ideal working scenario would be tweeting, facebooking, instagramming, youtube-ing and blogging about good stuff. If you have a lead on something, my Mom would appreciate you sharing.

I'm also willing to be someone's trophy wife.

6. What are you learning?
It's almost surprising how much I've learned. Like, how dumb I am. I'm learning to budget, to distinguish between "need" and "want," to be present, to rest, to reconnect with friends and family, and to just camp out in the Bible rather than try to read a verse at a traffic light once a week and hope it sustains.

The biggest lesson is how much I let work define and consume me. I was chained up by it and only now can I see the marks it left behind. More on that later this week.

I've also confirmed that pajamas are my favorite. 

7. What are you doing for money?
Holding it tight in my hand like it's Bilbo's ring. Maybe not that extreme, but I did shut down almost all unnecessary spending when I turned in my resignation. And do you know what? I saved a lot of money. IT'S AS IF MATH WORKS YOU GUYS. Folks have also been so kind to treat me to lunch or coffee or a movie. Learning to receive well is another skill I'm practicing.

My coworkers gave me a Starbucks card as a going away gift since they couldn't purchase an Alabama Power certificate. They wanted to make sure I still had access to coffee and wi-fi if times got tough. See why I miss them?

What questions or advice do you have?


The Post About Instagram Commentary

Here are a few additional thoughts on some Instagram photos I recently posted.

Hiking is the worst until this. Then it's immediately the worst again.
Since I'm in this season of unemployment, I'm readily available for activities. Particularly when they're free. Friends invited me to go hiking in the Sipsey Wilderness and I thought "Why not?" Then two miles in I remembered the answer to that question. Hiking is the worst UNTIL you see a waterfall. And then you have to hike more and it's the worst again. I feel the same way about flying.

What activities do you forget how awful they are until you're in the middle of them?

My love for the Brits led to this gift. Need recs and tips for tea. Context: Chamomile made me sad.
My parents and I went to see Saving Mr. Banks because it's about Mary Poppins and there were no super awkward scenes (I'M LOOKING AT YOU HER.) I fancy all things British and this film reminded me how much I want to be a tea drinker. My mom heard the cry of my heart and bought me an adorable tea set.

What are your tips and tricks when it comes to tea?

Thankful the Internet helps me stay a stubborn spoiled American by letting me watch TV with the Brits.
Speaking of the Brits, one of my favorite television shows ever is Sherlock from the BBC. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are perfection in this mini-series. Season 3 premieres in the US this Sunday on PBS. I "cheated" and watched it with the UK and managed to see the entire season (3 phenomenal episodes) in 12 short days. Please email, tweet, facebook, or carrier pigeon me when you've seen it so I can discuss all my feelings. And there are SO MANY FEELINGS. You can catch seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

What TV show are you loving right now?

The wise owls said my niece is a natural. Then we ate them. #cakepops
My niece and I had our first pop party which was long overdue. She's a natural as you can see by her owl and mini cupcake cake pops. You can throw your own party with my tips on making cake pops. The most important part of our time together was this conversation:
Her: I don't think I want to be in the beauty pageant this year.
Me: Then you should negotiate with your mom and dad.
Her: What does that mean?
Me: It means a beauty pageant costs a lot because of the dress, shoes, getting your hair done, pageant fees, and tickets to the event. Not to mention the time involved. You should tell your parents you're willing to skip it IF they take you to the trampoline park instead. That's negotiating.
Her: Well...I would probably pick an expensive dress so I think that means I could bring a friend to the trampoline park.
Me: The student has become the master. 

Am I a good aunt or a GREAT aunt?

{images: Jamie}


The Post About Chasing Rabbits with {Knox McCoy}

Welcome to my series called Chasing Rabbits With _______________. I interrogate someone I know to be more interesting than me. Today, I'm welcoming screenwriter Knox McCoy to the chase.

Knox and I met three years ago in a writing forum. He liked pop culture, funny people and The Bachelor. I decided he would be my friend. So far, so good. I've even tricked him into podcasting about movies, music, TV and all things celebrity with me every week at The Popcast.

1. What is something you wish you’d never said out loud? One time when I was in college, my family was eating at a Sonny’s in Atlanta and my Mom and I started arguing about The Godfather. She said Michael Corleone was a bad guy (which he was) and I disagreed because I love that character and told her to “step out of her Judeo-Christian mindset.” To this day they still make fun of me. Whenever I talk to my Aunt on the phone, she begins it with, “Stepping out of my Judeo-Christian mindset, I’d like to see how you’ve been…”

Being pretentious is not a good look for me.

2. What line from literature, movies, television, or music would you use to summarize your life?
“Can I share with you my worldview? All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.” – Liz Lemon

3. What is the strangest encounter you’ve ever had with a medical professional? I had to schedule a colonoscopy and as part of the scheduling my doctor wanted to do an “exam” (by exam I mean scope out my anus) and he came in with what looked like a science-fiction pair of glasses that was going to allow him to see deep into the future and by future I mean my butthole.

4. What is your greatest extravagance? Going to the movies. I spare no expense. Popcorn could become a $50 purchase and I’m doing it and literally not having another thought about the expense.
5. What is the best or worst hairstyle or “look” you’ve ever attempted?

6. Which Wizard of Oz character are you most like and why? Dorothy. Because I have this really intense desire to be somewhere, but have no idea how to get there.

7. What is your favorite word and why?
#1. Gesticulate: Because it sounds vaguely profane but it perfectly matches the action the sound of the word implies.
#5. Plate Tectonics: Just sounds baller.
#973,482,087. Moist
#InfinityWorst. Creamy

8. Name 3 things on your bucket list.
1. Write something that turns into a movie.
2. House on the water.
3. Have three Labradors named Jacob, Edward and Bella.

9. What are 3 websites you frequent that other folks should also frequent?
A. Deadspin
B. TVTattle
C. Uproxx

Rabbit Readers: What is your greatest extravagance?


The Post About Another Amazon Giveaway

First, I did a little redecorating on the site. That is my new winter header. Please hold me accountable to keeping it updated because I'd rather you confront me than judge me quietly. However, I'm only giving you permission to be in my face about this specific thing. No other condemnation should be spoken aloud.

I'm fragile.

I'd love for 2014 to be the year we become friends. Better friends, new friends, codependent friends, whatever. In order to do that, I need to extend a kindness. How about an Amazon giveaway?

I recently shared the nine best books I read in 2013. The best book I've read in 2014? S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst. It's a library book suspense novel with a secondary story of two people leaving notes in the margins and trinkets stuffed between the pages for each other. It was a fantastic read and the best looking book I've ever owned.

If you win this giveaway, you can buy it. Or you can buy toiler paper. I'm not the boss of you.

The kindness I need from you is to help me build up my Feedly where I organize and read blogs and news sites.
The only task required to enter this giveaway is to post a comment with your own blog address/website or a website you read every day. You can also earn some bonus entries...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{images: Jamie}


The Post About Love and Sex at Church

I know many of you embrace January as a chance to focus on healthier relationships. I am among you as I try to improve my relationships with my neighbors and cheese.

Not enough time with one, too much with the other.

Perhaps you're thinking more about working on your romantic relationship. I would like to work on ANY romantic relationship in 2014.

Enter Stage Right: My Pastor.

This past year, my church had a series on The Song of Solomon called Love Story.

I fancy a sermon series that tackles a book of the Bible chapter by chapter AND proves to be invaluable in the daily.

Week 1: The Art of Attraction.
"The first focus of attraction should be spiritual." I have some work to do in this area. I'm also working through the fact that Bradley Cooper and I may not end up together because of this.

Week 2: A Season for Everything
"Don't focus on finding the right person. Focus on becoming the right person." Ugh. And guess what? The reward for being the right person may not be Chris Hemsworth or another fella with Disney prince forearms. It may just be being a right person.

Week 3: Great Sex.
Yep. We talked about coitus. But God's way. Which made my face turn red so it's not what you expect.

Week 4: Trouble in Paradise.
Is it possible to fight well in a relationship? Solomon shows us how. 

Week 5: Deeper Love.
My parents have been married almost 44 years. I'm all about it.

Week 6: Till Death Do Us Part.
This was the toughest week for most couples according to my scientifically sound survey of 9 people.

Each of these links lets you watch the video or listen to the audio and download those files as well. It's free.

What's your best tip for finding romance or growing romance or simply keeping it alive?


The Post About the Best Books I Read in 2013

Each week or so I post things of which I'm fond. You can choose what happens after my recommendation. Ignore, embrace, debate. Earlier volumes of The Rabbit Recommends can be found here.
I absolutely love to read. Books, magazines, Mindy Kaling's Twitter feed. The more words the merrier.

Here are nine books I read this year that stayed with me - always a sign of good pages. A few weren't actually published this year but sometimes I get behind in reading. And laundry.

1. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone: This came out almost 15 years ago and I somehow missed the boat. My friend Erin Moon gave this to me and insisted our friendship was riding on it. Once I finished it, I immediately wanted to start over. FYI: It's about a wizard and crazy wonderful stuff happens.

2. A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley: A shy cartoonist who became a world famous millionaire by pointing out and honoring the oddest people and things. This biography was absolutely fascinating.

3. Eleanor & Park: At first, I didn't think I could trust an author named "Rainbow Rowell." But who better to write a young adult romance set in 1986? Although it's written about teens, it will pull the most crotchety adult back to the whimsy of first love, while tackling tough issues such as bullying and family violence.

4. I Wear The Black Hat: I first discovered author Chuck Klosterman on ESPN's You Don't Know Bo 30 by 30 film. I don't know what it was about his commentary but I fancied him. When this book crossed my path, I was all in. It's a look at the pop culture and real-life villains who fascinate us and perplex us. And it's ridiculously funny.

5. 11/22/63: At 880 pages, this is not for the weak of arm or those who like to see the Kindle percentage escalate quickly. But Stephen King keeps you enthralled as you follow a time traveler as he prevents JFK's assassination. No horror, just good old-fashioned suspense.

6. Thank You For Your Service: There's a reason this is on almost every "Best of 2013" list (Amazon, NPR, Publisher's Weekly, NYT.) Pulitzer prize winning journalist David Finkel embedded with the 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Baghdad and wrote the subsequent For The Good Soliders. This book is after those same soldiers returned home. It's mesmerizing.

7. League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth: I'm a huge college football fan, but I don't even watch pro ball. But leave it to Frontline and Jon Stewart to convince me to pick up this book. It's investigative journalism at its finest because I was hooked on every page.

8. Packing Light: Thoughts On Living Life With Less Baggage: I picked up this book since I had met author and blogger Allison Vesterfelt IRL. As a result, I cancelled my order for a new iPhone and started evaluating the "wants" versus the "needs" in my life. It was the worst. A travel memoir that will call you to a place of crisis. In the best way.

9. The Last Beholder: I actually re-read this in 2013 and was transported again to the magical fantasy world of Wallis and Gus. It's a character-driven imaginative wonder.

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy, who once bought me a gift card when I was hit by a naked drunk driver, is hosting a link up of best reads in 2013. If you need a slew of recommendations, go there to see what the rest of the Internet suggests you read.

What was the best book, magazine or twitter feed you read this past year?

Note: The book links in this post are affiliate links. Your clicks might lead me to being able to pay my water bill. No pressure.


The Post About My One Word for 2014

Hi. I've missed you. I'm back. There you go.

It's become common practice for folks to choose one word to serve as an umbrella for the coming year. There's even a website: One Word 365. They encourage you to choose...
One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.
I did this in 2012 when I chose "peace." It was the right call. My life can often be chaotic and harried and swirling. And that's just inside my own head.

Last year, I chose "leap." And boy did I do some leaping. I took trips with people I met on the Internet. I started podcasts with people I met on the Internet. I fell hard for a fella I met on the Internet. I soft launched a cake pop business and quickly shut it down. I joined a new church. I quit my job.

Some of these jumps landed soft on a cloud and some landed solid on the concrete. But I leapt.

This year, I've chosen the only thing that makes sense to me.


Merriam-Webster has two definitions for "waffle:"
: to be unable or unwilling to make a clear decision about what to do
: to talk or write a lot without saying anything important or interesting

But I'm willing to make lots of decisions about things in 2014. I've already decided to keep Spotify over Next Issue while living on a tight budget. I've decided to love Sherlock and Watson equally. I've decided to listen to One Direction without apology.

I also plan to talk and write a lot this year, but hopefully the outcome will be important and/or interesting. And I'll probably reference the previously mentioned One Direction. Seriously, Midnight Memories is a solid album.

When I chose "waffle," I meant this:
Waffle Sticks

2014 will be about waffles. That means choosing to wake up and take time to mix the flour, buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, sugar, and salt and sit down to the best recipe of waffles I've found. It means quality over the convenience of Leggo'ing my Eggo.

This isn't only about ingredients in a bowl. It's about stopping to relish experience. It's about being still. That's something this ADD survivor doesn't have listed under "additional skills."

For most of my life, I've been in such a hurry to meet the next person, to start the next project, to Instagram the next moment. It's been exhausting. It's time to be still. Even the Creator of the Universe is on board with "waffle."

Psalm 46:10 says "Be still, and know that I am God..." The NASB version of the Bible exchanges "be still" for "cease striving."

A resolution my heart is rooting for me to keep. #bestillandknow

I'm going to try to stop striving in 2014. And eat more waffles.

What are you plotting and scheming for this next year? Next month? Next meal?

{images: Jamie}
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