Five Things

I think we’ve all had those moments where we lose hope in people. Maybe it’s a click of the news, someone cut you off on the road or poor customer service. What if I had a solution, nay a suggestion, for gaining that hope right back in one swoop. Craigslist.

I know I’ve talked again and again about my experiences with people I’ve met through Craigslist. I could write a book and title it, Strangers Aren’t So Strange : A Craigslist Story. I could fill the pages of the walks of life I’ve met but it would mean nothing if others didn’t experience it too. So here is my suggestion. Pick out five things in your home, things you just no longer use or need, things you could let go of. Log onto Craigslist and post them in the free section for someone who could use them.

Here’s the catch. Arrange to meet and give them the item, once you are contacted by someone. Don’t stick it in front of your door and tell them it will be waiting outside. That misses out on the experience. This is coming from an introvert who has such trouble starting conversation but I’ve found that people don’t care how you reach but that you do reach.

What you will find, what I have come to find, is that people will surprise you. When you give freely you get all the good in that person. They are so happy you didn’t just dump it off at a thrift store and instead allowed someone to have it for free and connected with them.

Every interaction I have, when I post something for free, goes differently each time with one exception. I’m greeted with open and honest kindness. I had a man give me $60 for free clothes for the “good deed” of helping his friend who had no clothes. I’ve had people offer me a place to stay with my RV, say they’re willing to help me move my stuff into the RV, give me a bottle of wine, passed on my blog link, and promoted my business ventures all because I put something up for free, making it easier on their lives to get what they are looking for. It’s a grand thing, giving.

Yesterday I posted some wheat flour for free because I’m going a month without flour and didn’t want the temptation around. When the woman (Laura) showed up she brought me some fresh chopped rosemary from her rosemary bush as a way of saying thank you. And now I have them in bundles hanging up to dry. Never do I expect anything in return and every time people surprise me. I’ve had conversations that went on for five hours, cried with strangers, hugged them and arranged to meet again. People can not only be kind, but they are kind if we give them the opportunity.

So: five things. Grab, post, experience and be surprised by humanity.



The First You

We hear it all the time, _________ is the next Hunger Games or _________ is the next Adele. I recently read a review by my current favorite author, Patrick Rothfuss. He recalled a time before his first book, The Name of the Wind, came out and how he was compared to a previous successful author in his genre, saying, “Pat Rothfuss is the next Scott Lynch!” Patrick’s humble response was, ”Why do I have to be the next Scott Lynch? Why can’t I just be the first Pat Rothfuss? I’ll probably be a lot better at that, I’ve got way more experience at it if nothing else….”

The thing is, we don’t need blog posts to tell us how to be original. We already are. The challenge is to push aside what others are doing and do you. Let them stand out in their way and you in yours. Be a storyteller of you. Be inspired but be you, be the first you. No one wants another Vonnegut, Rowling, Tom Hanks or Ghandi. They are sufficient enough to pull off the job. Editors aren’t looking for a copy of someone else nor are those casting for a new show.

I think Neil Gaiman said it best in an interview with The Nerdist Podcast. He talked about how there will always be better and smarter writers than you but ended with, “But there is nobody who can write a Neil Gaiman story like I can.”

Well, there is no one who can write, photograph, draw, paint, (insert your skill here), like you can. Trust your gut. Find out what makes you tick and share it with the world, the way you know how. Believe in your talent.


Room for Less

Filled to the brim may be appealing when it comes to a tall cup of tea but when it comes to our day to day, it’s exhausting. Make room. Make room for less, for change, for new perspectives. Empty your cup of doubt, hesitation, and fear. Fill it with everything that will make you the person you want to be. Breathe in hope, take an extra sip of gratitude and soak up love. Embrace white space, for it is the very room for you to do fantastical things in, allowing those things to shine free of distraction.

Know that failure is imminent but it is not permanent. That how you feel is solely up to you, so work for wonderful. Be present, wholly in everything you do and humble yourself in luck. Think deeply but not in worry. Take walks, observe strangers and spots on rocks. Let go of structure and allow vulnerability to seep in. Write where it hurts but also where it tickles. Remember, a crooked smile is better than no smile. Share your wisdom, teach what you know and embrace acts of selflessness. Forget money from time to time and just let go in creativity and passion. Accept strands of unintended hypocrisy and remind yourself that you’re human. And above all else, let who you are speak through your every movement. Cheers to you, Aubrey.



I took my husband to the botanical gardens I had my ‘bit of zen‘ at and we saw this little guy.

These past few weeks I’ve been quieter on here and I want to share why.

When I say quiet, I mean quiet regarding my thoughts on things. I used to share a lot of my thoughts, via podcasts or posts. I don’t as much anymore but the number of thoughts I have and urges to share has not subsided.

Now I only share after I’ve done things. I’m a words girl. I always will be. Writing is the best way I know how to express myself. But I want my words to be backed by action. I mean, Dumbledore doesn’t have all the best lines in Harry Potter because he’s a great speaker but because his actions back it. If he acted otherwise then many readers wouldn’t have had such a liking to his wonderful words. They wouldn’t have meant as much.

And so I want my words to be backed by action because I really do believe actions speak louder than words. It’s why I now mostly focus on things I’ve already done, seen, made, read, lived. I share our RV decisions after we’ve done research and come to conclusions. I want my words and photos to be a reflection of what I hold dearest and admire most.

I’ve recorded lots of podcasts and written draft posts but I rather like letting them sit to see just how much they mean to me and how badly I really want to share them.

It’s why I often don’t share my goals. I have no qualms against doing so. I have lots of goals. Some I set for myself for a month, some to be done in a year. But I’ve found that when I keep the goals to myself then I’m more likely to do them because I want to, not because maybe others are looking on. My mom taught me that. She started working on her weight over a year ago. It would have been easy for her to share how often she was working out, what she was doing, how she changed her eating, but she kept quiet (just between those closest to her) until she got to her goal weight. Then she didn’t even have to say anything. People asked, they wanted to know because they were inspired by her actions.

I’ve been quiet because I’ve thought back to a lesson my dad taught me. Back when I was in business school I felt like an outcast. I didn’t fit in, didn’t agree with the mentality and thinking of my classmates. I raised my hand a lot mostly because I liked to participate but those open debates frustrated me. They wore we down. I called my dad one day sobbing. He said, “Aubrey, try going in and not raising your hand. Don’t say anything, just watch.” I did and I called him back and told him how much I learned. I realized that when I said a bit less I had more opportunity to understand my classmates, to listen to their side, which often made me rethink my own and be glad I didn’t shout out what I wanted to out of impulse.

And lastly, I’ve been quiet so that I can write more. You see, working on my novel means a great deal to me. When I write something down it’s cathartic but it’s also sort of expunged, done for. I already got it out and don’t need to revisit. I rather save up some of my thoughts and put them into my stories. I want my stories to mean something, to come from very deep places because I know no other way. And so that’s why I haven’t written much, kind of like a frog who you don’t know exists until that infrequent ribbit. I want to make it count in all the right places. It’s not about saying nothing, but figuring out what means most to you and living by it, and letting how you live be a reflection of you.


In This Moment

I don’t know what it is about going back to the single column blog format, though I know not traditional, makes me feel a bit free. It also makes me feel incredibly vulnerable because all the focus then is on the quality of my writing and photos. And I rather like that, because it forces me to give it my everything and be very particular.

In this moment I’m:

Creating a tumblr site for my photos and additional little thoughts. I don’t have a cell phone, so consider it my approach to Instagram. Feel free to follow and if you have a Tumblr, let me know!

Wanting to start incorporating videos and I’m thinking of taking up YouTube. I’d offer tutorials, share compiled videos of outings and adventures, and once we start RVing I’ll share on that as well.

Reading lots of books. I went to the central library yesterday and could barely carry out my 30+ ‘how to’ books. I’m ready to learn lots of new skills, a bit more on RVing and diving into some good stories. If you’re bookish too, you can find me here.

Watching videos on quilt making and am excited to soon make my first quilt. I’m planning out my pieces and now have the gist of how to do it, thanks to a video from the library. Also excited to get my first free advanced screening tickets to About Time.

Considering how I want to incorporate podcasting back into the blog. I have some ideas. I decided to drop Simplifying Sunday, though I loved writing them, because I didn’t like being constrained to a specified day.

Making all sorts of things for my soon-to-be shop. Though I’m wondering if I’m shop material. I love to make stuff. I love to share my skills with others because I don’t know otherwise. But I don’t like the marketing and pressure of ‘pretty’ packing that comes with having a shop. It’s why I’m going back to pondering YouTubing and doing tutorials there. It may just be my calling. For now, I’m going to try both out and see what sticks.

Listening to the rain. It’s pouring right now. The balcony door is open and it’s just such a beautiful sound to write to.

Researching freelance writing and seeing how I can get into the field.

What are you up to today?

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Writing On The Web



About six months back I made the decision to approach writing on the web a bit differently, and it’s paid off. I used to be consumed by the rush of the world and quick to hit publish but now, now I treat every word as precious as a flower because here is what I’ve realized:

  • What you say and do on the web is permanent, even if deleted. A given, I know.
  • Some things just need to sit, stew, and stay with you. Last week I wrote 3-4 posts. I let them sit. I didn’t think about them after leaving. I just wrote and left my words there in draft format. I came back later with fresh eyes and found that was all I needed, to write. Those posts weren’t mean, or even too personal, just things I needed to say to myself. A couple days ago I typed up a reply, to a comment on another blog that saddened me. I didn’t hit send but instead left the apartment and came back later in the day to delete my unpublished comment.
  • Negative posts and comments get us no where. Come from a place of positivity, always. That doesn’t mean compromising honesty.
  • When feeling defensive, step away. Sometimes I slip up. The other day I felt the need to explain myself further and left some kind replies doing so. But I remembered another thing I learned, and that’s that, it’s okay to be misunderstood. It’s rare to be fully understood but as long as you understand your decisions and words, that’s what’s most important.
  • Inaction speaks just as loud as action. Telling people what you don’t do is unnecessary. Not doing it is telling enough. Stick with what you do, allow all energy and passion to flow into that.

Doing these things has really calmed me, made my communication with others more from the heart. It’s also made me more considerate of time, making sure that I’m remembering someone is taking the time to read my post or reply, so I ask myself, am I valuing their and my time? It’s taught me patience. It’s just been a beautiful thing and a humbling experience, giving me a new perspective on the web as a whole.


Writing Advice, Applied To Life


I read and listen to a lot of writing advice but I take it all with a grain of salt (and most good authors would say to do the same) but some stick out and strike a chord. So I’m sharing those I love and apply, from some of my favorite authors, but showing how they can easily be applied to day to day life.

Simply, Write. (said every single writer out there)

Applied to life: Don’t ponder so much, take the step and keep taking it. One word after another, one foot after another.

Don’t tell me, show me (possibly one of the most common pieces of writing advice)

Applied to life: In writing it means, don’t tell me that John loves Jane. Show me the way he looks at her when she doesn’t see. Show him carrying her books as they walk to school. Well, in life, sometimes we get caught up in telling people who we are, what we want to do, instead of showing them and doing it.

Don’t stick to reading just your genre of writing. Paraphrased from Neil Gaiman.

Applied to life: What Gaiman is saying is to not stay within the confines of a genre, to see what others are doing in your genre but that the greatest works are often those that step outside a bit and dip their toes in things normally unseen by that genre.  In life, it’s like saying, hang out with people who you have something in common with but not just them. Branch out, because we often grow the most from those who challenge our thinking, who are different from us, who we may not agree with.

If you submit your work to be published and they decline it but then give you tips on how to change it, don’t change it. They just don’t get you. Now if you submit your work for publishing and it’s accepted and you are given notes on some things to change, then give it a look over. Paraphrased from Anne Rice.

Applied to life: Some people just aren’t going to get you. There is nothing wrong with your story, it’s just that not everyone understands it. Instead, listen and take critiques from those who do ‘get you.’

Write the story you want told. Paraphrased from “I have to write the story I want to write. I never wrote them with a focus group of 8-year-olds in mind. I have to continue telling the story the way I want to tell it.” – J.K. Rowling

Applied to life: Don’t worry about who you may meet and what they might think of your life (aka your story), just live it.

“Live somewhere cheap.”-Patrick Rothfuss (His added comments can be found here)

Applied to life: Be willing to continuously sacrifice anything for what you love.

Treat writing as though it were a deity that you had to appease through your words….and the moment something works, abandon it and try something else. Paraphrased from Alan Moore

Applied to life: In whatever you do, don’t stop until you’ve done your absolute best. But once you find something that makes you comfortable, then move on and try something else. For we never grow if we just stick to the same thing over and over again, even if it’s what makes money.

“Every sentence must do one of two things – reveal character or advance action.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Applied to life: Make everything you do or say matter. This is something I’ve learned most from my husband who, when in conversation, listens more than he talks but when he talks he makes it count.

Unteach yourself, write like you talk. (Though I don’t have a direct quote for this one, nearly every one of my favorite writers has said this in some form or fashion.)

Applied to life: Our greatest lessons generally aren’t learned in the confines of a rubric. Instead, break the rules, step outside, be okay with starting a sentence with “and” because it just makes more sense. Do what makes sense, not necessarily what you are taught to do.


Also, though I mentioned in my latest podcast that I was going to start doing group book reviews, I’ve decided to just keep my reviews on Goodreads and keep it simple. So if you are on Goodreads and would like to connect via books, you can find me here. Cheers to you!

*Photo was taken in an antique store when I was ooo-ing and aahh-ing over all of their typewriters.