I Tweet, Therefore I am.

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Y’all. I’m supposed to be fasting from social media right now.

See? See how well that’s going? This is me… fasting.

Allow me to explain:

When I started the Congo fast because my evil friend Kate suckered me into it without my full knowledge, comprehension, or understanding, and I did it out of the goodness of my heart and because I am totally spiritual and my goodness this is all a load of hooey.

ANYHOW. When I started the Congo fast w/ Kate for our Sunday school class… I thought… Well. Food. I have to fast from food for 40 days. That’s nearly impossible and as we all know I have caved like a Neanderthal about twenty times in the 40 days, but who’s counting?

As God is my witness, I thought the tortillas were going to be it.

But, as Kate has so patiently reminded me, also about twenty times, the Sunday school class does exceed 40 days. So, what are we gonna do for the other portion? Just sit around and talk about how fabulous we were for fasting?

Ok, so along with Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table, we read this gem:

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I use the word “gem” because I have so few of them now, BECAUSE JEN KEEPS TELLING ME TO GIVE STUFF AWAY.

Ok, seriously. Here’s more explaining: We decided to also tackle, along with food the other items that Jen mutinies against. There right there on the cover for you: clothes, spending, waste, stress (har har har), waste, and MEDIA.

MEDIA.

YES IN ALL CAPS.

Guys. You can take my clothes and help me recycle and give me a budget and make me eat corn tortillas ’till the cows come home (that we can’t eat)

BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO PRY MY MEDIA FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS.

Here is the very real conversation I had with Kate about this whole media thing, yesterday:

Kate: I’m fasting from media and it’s going okay. How about you?
Me: *leans forward to the microphone* I cannot recall.

That’s a pretty fabulous Ollie North, right? And for those of you who are too young to understand my cheap mimicry of the general and his memory recall issues, what I REALLY said is something like this:

Me: NOOOOOOO. This is so HARRRRRRD. I’m eating rice and beans – you can’t make me NOT watch Netflix TOOOOOOOOOOO.

The wailing, I tell you, was heard one county over.

I ask you, what about all my quips? Where will the quipping go, if I cannot post about it? It will be like I don’t even exist.

Really. How can I live without the tweetings?

What if my children do something adorable? (rare, granted). Or the cat? What if the CAT does something adorable (hourly). How will I live without talking about it?

So, here is my announcement: Our Congo fast and its 40 days is over this Sunday. After that, I will be walking away from my computer for a week.

I will miss you *she waves weakly* Don’t you worry about me… *fading away* I’m sure I’ll be… just… fine *drops to the floor in a heap and makes sure her pose is flattering for a selfie*

Social media, y’all. It’s addictive stuff. I mean, really. If a tree falls in the forest and no one takes a picture of it for Instagram, does an angel lose his wings?

Or something like that.

Now, the only people I have yet to tell are the children. They’ll be joining me in this fast. No Netflixes. No Wii Rockband.

The cries will be heard from two counties over.

Pray for us.

Save

“I would eventually have to tell.”

Let me show you how God works.

In my case, God does not work in mysterious ways. He knows, with me, he has to be a lot more CLEAR. He has to be, because I am, well, stubborn.

Y’all. Seriously. I’m “stubborn” like Richard Simmons is “Sassy.” We work it.

Anyhow… A few years ago I lost my mind. I drowned myself in a lot of wine, on a daily basis, and then, when the wine was over my head and I was choking for sanity, I grabbed onto more bottles and just sank even lower.

God worked: He got me out of there. He helped me out, dried me off, and we keep walking together. In fact, I am stuck to Him like really needy and sober GLUE until I get to meet him personally.

God worked. He got me writing gigs to keep me busy, and He asked me to start talking about the near-drowning stuff. He said, “Now. You need to tell.”

I now have a gig writing with Nazarene Publishing House. A column, for The Community, a blog that “provides content, insight, training, and conversations that inspire spiritual growth.”

I am totally freaked out that I am writing a column for anything that involved “training” and “spiritual growth.” I’m the one who used Richard Simmons earlier in this post, as a sort of analogous mentor, remember?

But yet, I’m a part of their crew. Ok, God does work in mysterious ways.

Now, I don’t usually do this, but I’m gonna ask you a favor. If you would, go peruse? Maybe subscribe? Follow on facebook, twitter, you know the drill. Perhaps I am biased, but there is some really good writing on there.

If you want to see my article, click here. Then, take a look around. It’s a good community.

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Nothing is Wasted.

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Summer is here. This means pool time, a very messy house, late nights for the boys, and for me?

Books. Lots and lots of books.

I have a stack of them next to my bed that is slowly growing and thus slowly leaaaannning to the side because of gravity. Fine. Go forth and multiply, books! You have my blessing.

One of my favorite blogging gigs is reviewing new releases for Beacon Hill Press, a Christian publishing company based out out of Kansas City.

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I just finished Joseph Bentz’s book Nothing is Wasted: How God Redeems What is Broken.

You know, I think God is pretty funny. And by funny, I mean, He always seems to send me stuff right when I really need to hear it. Right? Isn’t God funny that way?

He’s clever, that God.

About a week ago I kind of fell apart on the husband. Things at our house had been kind of hard. Death. Illness. Cancer. Broken relationships. It had been piling on lately, and I had had enough. Like, I just needed to rant a little. And as par for the course in marriage, the spouse was the best option for being the rant-ee. I told Brian, in kind of a wail, that I don’t like our earth. I don’t like what my kids are going to grow up in. I don’t like all the anger and chaos and cancer and politics, and how all of this is terrifically UNFAIR. The world is supposed to be basically likeable, isn’t it?

I mean, isn’t it?

Bentz kind of summed up my thoughts in the very first page:

You’re worried about money. You fret about work. What about the crisis in your family? What about all the sickness among the people you love? Where is your life headed? Even if your life is going well now, you wonder how long it can last. All around you, everything is falling apart… The possibility of disaster lurks in every automobile trip, every medical checkup, every unknown terrorist’s scheme.

I think Bentz and I stay up at night, worrying about the same things.

But then, Bentz added:

“God held out the promise of something eternally good being pulled from the muck of the sin-damaged world.”

I remember reading this and thinking, “Oh, yea. I know. You’re gonna tell us it’s all gonna work for good and Romans 8:28 all over on me. I know. I have heard it before. But tell me, when a brother dies, or an addict picks up again, or a child is hurt, what do we DO with the pain in the meantime? What do we do with it? Just hold it and wait for heaven to make it all better?”

Well my friends, this book does not do tidy. Bentz is willing to ask the really, really messy questions. They are the kind of questions that I ask too, because I am one who is, or was (I’m working on it) addicted to numbing out pain:

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I know. My scribbles are immature and petulant but honest. Don’t we all feel that way, sometimes? What is the point, God?

Along with all those messy questions, Bentz doesn’t provide an easy answer. I wouldn’t trust it if it did. Bentz does not follow with an easy acronym about how life is HARD (Help others! Ask for help! Really don’t give up! D#%@ this sucks!) or such cuteness.  He digs deep. In fact, he uses soil, insects, decaying flesh, and something in chapter 9 he refers to as “melting down to your essential goo” to help us understand. Literally, the next chapter is entitled “Dirt and Muck and other Yucky Things.”

Messy stuff. Really messy stuff.

He tells us about the tiny seed that must, if it’s to produce a plant, die in the soil. And, if the seed is going to die, either way, don’t we want it to count for something?

But then, Bentz really made me smile  because he subtitled this chapter in a way that so sounded like something I would say:

I Like My Seed the Way It Is. (*Insert foot stomp here. Entirely mine.*)

I want to make a prediction. No matter how positive all this talk of seeds and plants may sound at the moment, when you are called on to bury your seed to let it die so it can be transformed into what it was meant to be, you won’t want to do it. Seed burial, rather than seed preservation, is so counterintuitive, and often so painful, that resistence is built into it.

 This is a good book about bad things. Or seemingly bad things. Well, no, really just bad things, like heart break and sickness and circumstances that tear at us. I don’t want to tell you more, because I want you to read it. You will be glad you did.

You will get messy, but you will be glad you did.

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Happy, Joyous, Free.

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Sometimes life walks right up to you and hands you a glass of lemonade. You don’t have to deal with the lemons at all, just straight up lemonade. Lotsa ice. Maybe even a sprig of mint.

In less than a month I will be flying off to Florida to speak at the Intervention Project for Nurses. There, I get to talk about my story, and be funny, and make people laugh, and share some tears, all stuff that is totally up my alley. My Floridian alley. Which also includes a beach.

Also, in the fall I am doing a reading at The Writers’ Place:

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I used to walk by this amazing house when I was in my twenties, wistfully thinking, “Maybe one day I’ll go to a reading there. Maybe.” Now, I’m read-ING there.

And then there is this big HUGE sprig of mint:

 

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2016 Higher Goals Awards

Presented during EPA’s 2016 convention, the 2016 Higher Goals awards honor the best work done in specific categories during the 2015 calendar year.

Devotional:

First Place: The Covenant Companion, “Broken” — Dana Bowman

First Person Article:

Fourth Place: The Covenant Companion, “Jesus, Take This Cup From Me” — Dana Bowman

Humorous:

Second Place: The Covenant Companion, “Confessions of a Not So Cheerful Giver” — Dana Bowman

Personality Article:

Fourth Place: The Covenant Companion Online, “Breaking Through the Sound of Silence” — Dana Bowman

To read more about the awards and articles, click here.

All of this is a huge honor. Just huge. Awards are always an opportunity to take a breath and allow yourself to feel right in place. The Evangelical Press Association had perused all Christian publications, from Christianity Today to In Touch magazine, and more. I think this all just makes me smile at how my relationship with Covenant Companion Magazine came to be: it was a short blurb in their magazine honoring my pastor, Jeff Waugh, and his wife Julie for their care taking and help when I battled post-partum depression. That two paragraph entry showed up in their magazine over six years ago.

Sometimes, life is all about lemons. Bitterness. Soured dreams. Sadness.

And other times?  Life reminds you that when you travel with God’s travel plan clutched tightly in your fist, sometimes everything is so very, very sweet.

 

“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word
serenity and we will know peace…
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us
-sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”
     Reprinted from the book Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc
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Tales of the Very Loud and Very Small

Linking up with my beloved Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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My children seem to suffer from a strange ailment that I cannot cure:

They are Loud Talkers.

Not all the time, mind you. If you need to ask one of them why they decided to whack the other one over the head with the croquet mallet? This merits soft whispery responses that make you lean closer and closer until you realize you have crawled up ON them to get a straight answer. Which is what they wanted all along. Because now you are cuddling and so it’s all ok.

Ok, let me give you a brief sample of the Loud Talking:

Dinner table:

Me, asking the Most Useless Question Ever: So, how was everyone’s day today?

Boys, answering with Universal Useless Response: Fine.

Blonde: I SAW YOU. I SAW YOU. RED WAS PICKING HIS NOSE. THAT’S A DOLLAR.*

Red: NO. NO I WAS NOT. IT WAS A SCRATCH, NOT AN ITCH. MOM. MOM?

Me: Hold on. I’m just… can I get an Exedrine? The walls are shaking.

Blonde: THIS SPAGHETTI? IT SEEMS TOO… RED. I CANNA EAT RED FOOD. IT’S AGAINST MY BELIEFS.

Red: ME TOO BUT ALSO DID YOU KNOW THAT A NINJA HAS THE POWERS TO READ YOUR MIND AND ALSO KILL THINGS?

Blond: WE DON’T TALK ABOUT KILLING AT THE DINNER TABLE! BAD MANNERS! THAT’S BAD MANNERS! GET HIM MOM.

Me: Get… who? I can no longer discern who is speaking it’s the Thunderdome in here.

Husband: I CAN GET IN ON THIS. DID YOU SEE THOSE WILDCATS! THEY WON? AGAIN?

Blonde and Red, really all riled up now because of the husband, also known as The One Who Keeps Making Things Worse: WOOO HOOOOOOO, LET’S TRY TO MAKE MOM FALL OFF HER CHAIR!

Guys, I like things quiet. I listen to music, quietly. I ponder things, quietly. I like cats, because they GET what it is to mull! Bless their furry, sullen little hearts, they are QUIET.

My house? It is often not very quiet. And, the other weirdness? It’s LOUD about things that don’t merit noise. At least to me. Does it really seem fitting to be loud about things like putting on socks? Socks are, essentially, quiet things. Why do we have to bellow about them?

This is what I am trying to embrace in the Loudness:

  1. I tend to miss the Loud Talkers when they are not around. I thought, perhaps, when they leave for school that I might sit around and listen to the “Sounds of Silence” and maybe some Gregorian chants, and just wallow in the Still. But, you know what? I kinda miss the little air horns. I do.
  2. My children live life on a Whole Hearted level that I have forgotten how to do. On a volume level of 1-10? They go to eleven.
  3. I can learn from them. They Dive In. They go Whole Hog. They Embrace. They have GUSTO.
  4. They live like they sound. It’s not a bad way to exist, I tell you.

I want to live with a Whole Heart. There are lots of ways to learn this: following Jesus, reading His word, talking to Him a LOT, praising Him for the good of life, and the bad of it…

And also? Watching children. And then, I Sound my own barbaric yawp. They do it about socks, for Pete’s sake. They are expert Yawpers.

We should all be so lucky.

#YawpOn.

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*In our house, if I spot a child picking his nose, I charge him a dollar. So far I have made about forty thousand dollars.

Also? I leave you with this. Because, it’s perfection. And it pretty much sums up my existence with my two small rockers, every day:

It Ain’t Over ‘Till the Sick Momsie Sings

Things have been a little sickly over here.

I’ve been a bit, uh, under the weather. This is code for: Y’all. This is bad. I haven’t showered in over five years and when I cough I sound like a seal ate a bullfrog and then it  got a side of the plague.

Aches. Pains. Chills. Hacking cough. No sleep (due to cough and, also, due to resentment at husband because he has slept peacefully through me practically DYING, so I just stare at him and snot-wheeze and get bitter. By the time morning comes, I am an old, dried up lemon of bitterness and phlegm. Lovely.)

So, basically, what has been lurching about here lately has been the little girl from The Ring, only with a load of laundry under her arm.

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Poor dear. She really needs to say hello to Mr. Comb.

Oh, and on top of ALL of this, along with the constant requests for food (EVERY night. Every NIGHT my parasitic family wants to be fed. If I had KNOWN that FEEDING them CONSTANTLY would be part of the deal, I would have… Well. Ok. I would have not changed anything because I also eat. But sometimes it’s nice to vent a bit, eh?)

Sorry, on top of ALL of these constant badgering about being a responsible adult, I have been asked to read and review this book:

:

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I

Ah, Universe. *knocks Universe in the shoulder with fist* Ya big lug. I get what You’re doing here.

So, as I slowly , Ring-girl creep back to normalcy (this, as we all know, is a relative term used only because “nutball” is already taken) I am reading Alison’s book and taking notes, and guys! I am super interested in what this book has to say about women, our health, and nutrition! And you KNOW I don’t use the ! lightly!

First of all, she uses the word “vagina” like 57 million times. As one who has always used the terms “lady bits” or “fine china” for this part of my anatomy, I am finally paying attention, and, also, deciding it’s time to act like a responsible adult.

VAGINA.

There. I said it. Completely out of context and all, and I’m sure my dad is now hiding under his desk at the office, but heck! I am an adult! I will shout “vagina” from the rooftops if I need to!

Nope. Not gonna do that. Our roof is waaaayy too slanted and I just don’t want to have to explain all of this to the neighbors.

It’s hard. The adulting thing. But since I managed to keep my family alive this week while I was sad, pale, sickly Ring girl, I think I have earned my Adult Merit Badge. On to some more reading!

See you Friday for the full review.

Also, I leave you with this, because I have to:

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I told you I had earned the Adult Merit Badge. I didn’t say I would have to ACT like it all the time, OK?

Seriously – this book has a lot to say about really crucial health topics for women like:

  • nutrition and mental health – what are the links?
  • hormones – I don’t have to hate them, do I?
  • sex and well, hormones and aging and all of that “gettting older business” – Help!
  • medicine  – do we over-prescribe? What are the alternatives?
  • how can I be more “in charge” of my health?

 

And on and on.  Stay tuned for a more in depth review on Friday!

If you are interested in ordering a copy of Alison Buehler’s book, click here.

Also, here is a short book trailer. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

This is the post where I toot my own horn. Maybe back away?

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So, last weekend I got to do something most of us moms dream about:

I slept in a hotel room. And, I woke up WHEN MY EYES OPENED ON THEIR OWN.

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I don’t really know why I put that image above, but for some reason, this weekend made me channel my inner diva gymnast girl.

Anyhow, here is what else happened:

I met up with my two girlfriends, KATIE AND MELINDA* and we ate a lot of food. The hotel gave ups a free bottle of wine which both girls insisted we not drink so that was good. They have my back. They’re my posse.

Also: we shopped at Sephora. Considered having my eyebrows done, but decided not because you know:

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However, I found a lipstick that, I kid you not, LIFTS my lips. I did not know this was a thing that needed to happen to my lips, but it’s awesome. Also, the stuff makes me coffee in the morning and I think it speaks three languages. It’s that good.

Then: I went to Teavana. I spent a lot more money than I should have. On tea. Want to know why?

It’s because they waft it at you.

Here’s me in Teavana:

Me: Oooooo, pineapple tea?

Young, earnest, serious tea drinker salesguy: Why yes. That’s our Oolong Geisha Fly By Night With a Pineapple tea. Here, (pulls down canister)…

Me: (starts to bend forward and take a sniff) Uh, what is that beeping sound?

Tea Man: Ma’am. That’s the You’re Doing It Wrong Buzzer of Shame. You do not sniff at the tea. I WAFT it AT you. Now, back away.

Me: I do the whaaaaaat? Dude. Are you ok?

Pretentious Tea Man: Yes. This is my job. I open the canister. And then, (flourish), I WAFT it at you.

Me: You get paid to do this?

Sad Tea Guy: I applied at Nordstroms. They didn’t want me. So, here.

And that’s how I spent crackamillion bucks on tea that smells divine, but still tastes like hay.

And finally!

This:

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fuzzy picture. warm, fuzzy feelings.

Y’all. I wrote a book. Did you know, I wrote a book?

Anyhow, we go into the Barnes and The Nobles and start perusing all the books we want (a million), and then… I get this thought…

Maybe. Just maybe… MY book is in here?

And I go up to the desk and say, “I am looking for a book? It’s by Dana Bowman? It’s probably not here but I thought I’d ask?” (Uptalker = insecure.)

And the nice lady takes me over and there it is! On the shelf! And I grab the nice lady and say, “That’s ME!” And she thinks I am a little off. I can tell. But then I tell her I’m the author, and then grab the book and proceed TO SHOW HER MY PIC ON THE BACK FOR PROOF, AND I JUMP A LITTLE.

Clearly, I need more work on the coolness thing. Because jumping up and down at Barnes and Noble is not something people do.

So, the nice lady who is clearly not impressed says, “Well, IF you ARE the author, you can sign it.” I show her, again, the picture on the back and even consider taking out my driver’s license, and then I GRAB at her a little because I am just so excited.

At this point I think nice book lady just wants me out of the store. So she gets a pen and I get my girl friends, because they will be excited for me. They are my girlfriends. They know when to squeal and jump. The nice book lady is not reacting like I wanted her to – with jumping and squealing and all that. I really wanted to have a moment with her. Alas, it was not to be.

So, I had the moment with KATIE AND MELINDA*. The best girls ever.

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That’s Katie. She always has good hair. I would hate her for that but I can’t because I love her too much.

So, lookit. I found my book at a bookstore and I signed it. Signed two of them. And the book lady was patient and I teared up a little and hugged her. Afterwards she probably noticed the topic of my book and she said, “Ohhhhhh. It’s all very clear to me now. Why she was… that way.”  Whatevs, lady. I wrote a book. You just sell ’em.

 

Then we all sassy-walked, all authory and stuff, outta there. I did a few step-ball-kicks as we departed. It’s possible I waved and said, “Farewell booksellers! And buyers! I wrote one of the books that is IN THERE! Goodbye, my people!”

Anyhow.

And then we all went and had this for dinner:

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You know why? Because we WANTED to. We had three cookies and a brownie and copious amounts of coffee. For DINNER, y’all. I know.

Also: we ordered a pizza at ten o’clock and watched two and a half of the Matrix movies in our hotel room, and our convos went like this:

“Why is she wearing high heeled boots? She can’t run in those.”

“I know. And that coat. It’s all flappy. It’s gonna catch on something. See! It just flapped at that dreadlocked guy! He has good hair. But he could just grab the coat and then it would all be over.”

“It’s a fight scene. It needs to be over. We shoulda written this movie. Oh Lord have mercy. They’re fighting again. Why do they have to fight so much?”

“Why are there always weapons laying about? Clearly these people have no children.”

“Keanu does really well in movies where he doesn’t have to register any emotions.”

I’m telling you, it was off the hook.

So, back to the book. And, if you are interested, you can see more about it here.

Also (shameless plug?) if you have read it? Would you leave a review on the Amazons? I will send you a puppy in the mail if you do so.

Ok, just kidding.

Or maybe, that lipstuff that I bought at Sephora. I just read the packaging and it says it will also fold your laundry and walk the dog if you ask it to, real nice.

*MELINDA AND KATIE wanted to be included in this post. I used their REAL names. No subtle code names (Helga and Bertha were my first options) for these guys, oh noooo.

Melinda and Katie: They are all real, all the time. And I am so grateful.

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This post was sponsored by: Sephora, coffee, AMC movies, absolutely no wine, big fluffy pillows, and those cute little chocolates they put on the pillow for you at bedtime.

But not Teavana. I think this post will make that poor dude reconsider his path in life. Ones career path should not include “Wafter” as a job title.