MLI Discussion: Where Do I Draw the Line?

Posted on January 31, 2010. Filed under: MLI Discussions | Tags: |

It’s been a weird week.  I’m on vacation, and yet I feel more stressed than ever.  I’ve been challenged to rethink how I run my blog.  I should have suspected I’d have to make some decisions about what I do/do not write about.

I’ve chosen to put myself out there; the people in my life have not. Therefore, I’ve respected the privacy of the people in my life.  As I mentioned in my post The One, there is a lot more I could say here on MLI.  I’ve had a lot of experiences that would  make for great content — content that could entertain, inspire and inform.  But I elect not to out of respect for the people involved.

I was not always so considerate.  A few months ago, I wrote a post that offended someone important to me.  Fortunately for me, the approach by which the offended party chose to address the issue was so mature and open-minded that it actually strengthened our relationship.  I’ve been much more conscientious of what I post since that day.

But I’ve arrived here.  And I have to ask myself:  Where do I draw the line?  How do I balance chasing my dream, sharing my stories and making my contribution with protecting the readers impacted by my words?

Have you been faced with this dilemma?  What’s your philosophy?

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Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I’m running out of the physical kind of energy.  Y’know, the kind that your body needs to stay awake and be productive.  But I just have to write this post tonight – the title for which has been sitting in my drafts folder for weeks.  How to pull this all together in a meaningful way will be a test of my writing skills…

As any of you who have been hanging around MLI for a while know, I have a real passion for life in general, but writing, making a meaningful contribution, parenting and connecting with others, more specifically. I’m learning that I thrive in life when any combination of those elements is present.  It is when I shine the most, personally and professionally.  I also feel strongly that positive energy welcomes positive things.  It’s a “when it rains, it pours” philosophy — without the negative connotation.

So here is the series of events that led me to this post: First, I’ve decided that MLI needs a custom design. In discussing that with a friend at work, I was put in touch with a woman he thought could help.  In one short phone conversation, she and I agreed that she isn’t the person to meet the original need, but that we should meet anyway just to see if she can add value in another way. I had no idea what to expect, but thought eh, what the heck?

Fast forward two weeks to this past Saturday.  I’m in the shower, thinking about the blog and decide I need to develop my personal brand.  I start to envision the platform, the design, the content, the brand.  And suddenly it hits me.  A brilliant book idea.  By the time I finish blow drying my hair, I’ve written an entire book in my head. (Now, I’ve never intended for my blogging adventure to lead to writing a book, but who am I to tell my brain no?)

Sunday, the creator of the Ning group I belong to and write for tells me she’s going to start advertising in the newsletter and share any profits with me.

Monday, I meet with the above-mentioned woman.  We hit it off instantly and spend the evening bouncing ideas around.  The meeting turned out to be mutually beneficial, and rather than me hiring her, we agreed to barter services.  Additionally, she’s interested in hiring me to write a weekly blog post on her website and possibly write her web content as well.  We also discussed other possibilities and opportunities.

She leaves, I check my email and find that my application has been reviewed and I have been offered a gig as Chicago Co-Parenting Examiner at

What is going on here?

Tuesday I have a conference call with a friend of a friend who is just starting as a freelance writer as well.  We share ideas and discuss possibilities and networking opportunities.  My excitement is rising.

This morning, I check the status of my Suite 101 application and find out I have been accepted there as well.

Why am I telling you about all of this?  Because when I wrote my About page on Day One of My Life, Incomplete, I meant what I said: “I have a dream to write professionally. I am starting here, but hope to one day get published in a magazine and ultimately (don’t laugh) run my own…”  But I added in the “don’t laugh” because I thought I sounded ridiculous.  Today, I can see my magazine out there, in the future, waiting for me to come and get it.  I’m on my way!

The energy created just by getting started launched me into motion.  It seems the more I focus on the elements in my life that I am passionate about, the more those elements multiply.  And to tie it all together – a quote (by unknown) that a friend posted on Facebook today: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you will fall into someone else’s.  And guess what they have planned for you?  Not much.”

What’s in your life plan?  What are you waiting for?

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Thankful This Thursday: My Life

Posted on January 7, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Every day that passes, I become more grateful for the blessings in my life.  I haven’t always had such an appreciative spirit.  When I was a kid and into my early twenties, honestly, I think I was a bit of a brat.  And even once I had matured beyond that point, I still spent more time and energy wishing I had more than being grateful for what I had.  But over the past few years, I’ve learned to count my blessings.

What I didn’t expect, as I began to give thanks and praise, was that my blessings would multiply!  I have a very full life.  I am constantly trying to accomplish more than one person should in a given day/week/month/year.  And when I fall short, I know it’s because I have so many good things going on.

I have an awesome little kid, an amazing boyfriend, a family who I (usually) can’t get enough of and some really fantastic friendships.  I have a great job, beautiful home and food on the table.  I have hobbies and talents and passions.  I couldn’t possibly list all of the things that I’m grateful for — mostly because I’d accidentally leave things out.

So after closing on another holiday season and while opening a new year, I am feeling particularly grateful for my wonderful life.  I’ve therefore decided to share my appreciation on MLI in a weekly post called Thankful This Thursday.

This Thursday, I’m thankful for my life.  Next Thursday, I’ll be more specific.

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Has anyone seen my funny?

Posted on January 6, 2010. Filed under: Writing | Tags: , , , |

Seriously.  I can’t find it.  Do you know where it went?  Maybe it’s under this stack of bills here.  Or hidden in the pile of laundry on the floor?  Perhaps my son ate it with his chicken nuggets.  I know I had it here somewhere! 

I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m pretty sure I’ve become less funny lately.  When I started MLI, I had all kinds of funny stories popping into my head all the time.  Most of them made the page, and when people read them… they laughed!  (I swear!  They told me so!)  Even my posts that weren’t necessarily meant to be funny had a pretty humorous undertone.  So what happened to my funny? 

Do people go on unintentional haitus from funny?  Did I lose it during The Great Blogger’s Block of November ’09?  My writing survived, but my funny hasn’t been the same since.  Please, don’t leave me over this.  I need you now more than ever!  Will you still love me if MLI becomes a documentary? 

Show your support by logging on to and sign up to HELP LAUREN FIND HER FUNNY.  In the meantime, I’ll be accepting comedic donations in the comments section.

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Bonus Blog Post – My 2010 Goals Have Been Set

Posted on January 3, 2010. Filed under: MLI Discussions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I’ve never posted twice in one day, but I figure a day spent on the sofa is better than any to try it out.  Really, I just want to prove that something productive came of my day – to myself more than anyone.  I’m leaving a few things from the actual list out on this post because, well, not everything is for the whole world to see!

And without further ado, my goals for 2010:

  • Write an action plan for each goal – Jan 15
  • Create some sort of schedule or weekly goal-planning method in order to fit in everything I want to do when I’m not at work (fun outings with Braden, quality time with Doug, play dates, time with friends and family, blogging, writing other stuff, reading, studying French, chores, errands, meal planning and preparation, exercise, etc.) – Jan 15
  • Update budget spreadsheet and USE IT – Jan 15
  • Volunteer at Feed My Starving Children – monthly
  • Train for Avon walk – ongoing until walk weekend
  • Raise $2000 for Avon walk – ongoing until walk weekend
  • Finish co-parenting plan – Feb 28
  • Get Braden in swimming lessons and t-ball (day camp, too?)
  • Clean out garage – March 15
  • Turn spare room closet into office area – March 31
  • Garage sale – April 30
  • Write Co-Parenting Plan Workbook – April 30
  • Finish decorating Braden’s room (pictures framed and hung, tracks assembled and mounted, shelf painted) – April 30
  • Write a “business plan” for my writing career (MLI, ezine, co-parenting, book about my dad, children’s books, eventual magazine, etc.) – April 30
  • Write first children’s book – April 30
  • Print and frame professional photos – June 30
  • Schedule an appointment with friends for Seanan photoshoot – June 30
  • Decorate Braden’s bathroom – July 15
  • Pay off cc debt – Dec 31

(I suppose the year is a little front-loaded.)

Fun stuff I’d like to do:

  • Go to U2 concert
  • Go on resort vacation w/ Doug and maybe friends (early xmas present to ourselves?) – fall

Here is the link to today’s earlier, related post, Today, I Am Struggling (MLI Discussion: Goal Setting and Time Management).

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