Friday, April 30, 2010

Five Question Friday ~ April 30

1. If you could, would you go back to high school?
My gut reaction is an immediate "NO!"

2. If a genie appeared and granted you two wishes, what would they be? (And, no saying "more wishes".)
To have all of our debts instantly GONE – paid off or forgiven, I don't care, just GONE.
For me to be back at my before-the-first-pregnancy weight.

3. What kids show do you secretly like?
Martha Speaks

4. What is your beverage of choice?
Dr Pepper or chai tea latte

5. What is something that you would change about yourself (or are working to change in yourself)?
See my second wish above – I wanna lose this weight. Aside from that, I want to stop using credit cards completely.


Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then link up in the MckLinky HERE. Also link back to Mama M.

No blog? That's alright!! Just answer the questions in the comments of anyone's blog along the way...this is a fun, easy way to get to know your fellow bloggers!

Questions for Friday, April 30th (repeated for easier copying):
1. If you could, would you go back to high school?
2. If a genie appeared and granted you two wishes, what would they be? (And, no saying "more wishes".)
3. What kids show do you secretly like?
4. What is your beverage of choice?
5. What is something that you would change about yourself (or are working to change in yourself)?


Button Swap Blog Hop

Blogger Chix Designs

Today is the first weekly Button Swap Blog Hop!  Where bloggers can get together and swap buttons to help promote and support each other. 

Over at Blogger Chix Designs, bloggers are encouraged to be proactive and involved in growing their blogs.  Swapping buttons with other bloggers is going to get your name out there so new readers can find you, which will increase your traffic.  So whip those buttons out and get ready to swap till you drop :-).


1. Grab the Blogger Chix Designs button HERE and put it on your blog/blog roll (first link on the list).  Leave a comment while you're there and she'll grab your button and add it to her blog roll too!

2. Add the blog hop list (instructions below list) to your Button Swap Blog Hop post on your blog.  Be sure to include the guidelines so all the buttons you swap with others will be returned by them grabbing yours as well. *Be sure to include your button's copy code in you Swap Post.

3. Link your blog post up to the blog hop.  (You only need to link up once and it will show up on all the hop lists on all the blogs participating).

4. Then start visiting the other participants!  Grab their button and add it to your blog sidebar or blog roll, and leave them a comment telling them your visiting from the BSBH party!  Be sure to return the favor to anyone visiting you.

*Tip for having lots of buttons swap success - don't wait for others to come to you, go to them first!*

Don't forget to grab my button:

Ramblings & More


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This is a fun little thing I saw on My Chihuahua Bites. I had to play along! If you play, please leave a comment with your link so I can read your list, too!

A. Are you a PC or a Mac? Mac. I LOVE My Mac!

B. Best current show on TV: Umm...I'm loving The Good Wife.

C. Chore you hate: Do I have to choose one? My absolute least favorite would be dishes. Eeewwww! Plus, my hands get SUPER dry and crack! :-(

D. Dogs or Cats? We have both, but I STRONGLY prefer the cats – despite the puking.

E. Essential "start the day" item: Dr Pepper

F. Favorite color? Do I really have to answer this? Can't you tell? PURPLE!

G. Gold or Silver: Well, my most important rings are gold, but I think I look better with silver. I prefer white gold, actually.

H. Height: 5'4"

I. Instruments you play: I played the violin for several years. I stopped when I developed tendinitis in my left wrist. I also played the clarinet for a couple of years. Since quitting the violin, I've just stuck to my voice.

J. Job: I’m a stay-at-home mom. Prior to that, I worked in publishing.

K. Kids: Three. Abigail will be 7 in June. Grant is 4. Natalie is 2.

L. Living Arrangements: We live in the house we own in Illinois.

M. Mom's Name: Dori.

N. Nickname: Never had one. "Heather" doesn't lend itself to shortening very well! ;-)

O. Overnight Hospital Stay: Just the births of each of my children, thankfully.

P. Pet Peeve: I've more than I should have, that's for sure. Most are while driving ...

Q. Quote from a movie: umm...nothing comes to mind right now. I've never been big on quotes in general.

R. Righty or Lefty? I am a PROUD lefty! :-) I LOVE being left-handed. Absolutely love it.

S. Siblings? Two younger sisters.

T. TV Shows: Not as many as I used to watch.
  • Monday: 24
  • Tuesday: Lost, The Good Wife, The Forgotten
  • Thursday: FlashForward, Private Practice, The Mentalist

U. Underwear: Yes. I'm not a fan of going commando! ;-)

V. Veggie you dislike: Most. I think an easier question for me to answer would be veggie I like.

W. Ways/reasons you are late: Usually the kids. Sometimes because I get caught up in something and lose track of the time.

X. Expiration dates – do you keep or toss? Depends on what it is.

Y. Yummy food you make: I make a pretty good baked macaroni & cheese.

Z. Zoo animals you like: Zebras, dolphins, elephants, giraffes.


Wrong Way!

Have you ever been driving in unfamiliar territory and turned onto a street only to find out that you're going the wrong way on a one-way street? In my experience, it's usually discovered after either driving for a bit and realizing no signs are visible or by being rudely honked at – maybe even cursed at – by an angry driver coming my way. Then, of course, you're embarrassed and hoping no cops are nearby ...

Well ... hopefully the weight-loss police aren't nearby ...

I've suspected for some time now. I've been avoiding the scale. I've been in denial, I guess. But, today, I stepped back on the scale. While I know that some fluctuation is considered normal, I don't think a gain of 6 pounds could be considered regular fluctuation. Especially given what I've been doing lately ...

Old habits have returned ...

Too much Dr Pepper. Too much eating out. Too much chocolate and other sweets. Too much peanut butter. Too much chocolate (did I say that already?).

Not enough water. Not enough healthy foods. Not enough exercise.

And, yes, this is unfamiliar territory for me. Prior to last summer, when I decided it was time to get back into shape – or at least out of the plus sizes – I had never before seriously attempted to lose weight. I hadn't really needed to. Well, not before having babies, anyway. After each of my kids, I could've worked at it, but I found that demoralizing. I didn't want to work at it until I knew it wasn't happening again. That I'd never be pregnant again and gain 50-60 pounds in nine months.

Maybe that's an excuse. I dunno.

What I do know is that I have got to get back into this weight-loss thing. People were starting to notice! When seeing someone I hadn't seen in awhile, I'd get asked if I'd lost weight! It's been LOVELY! People can SEE it!

So, I guess it's time to get back on the bandwagon. I'm going to get back into recording what I eat on I'm going to record my weight again, too. I'm GOING TO DO THIS! I CAN DO THIS!

I was so close - within a few pounds of my first goal. Plateaus suck, but I KNOW I CAN do this! I CAN and I WILL!

It's time to turn around and start moving in the RIGHT direction!

Photo Credit: VanHart -


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How cool is this?

So, I've been around the blog-block a lot lately, and I noticed that people do many different things with the navbar here in Blogger-land. Some have found a way to move it to the bottom of the page (or replace it with something very similar that is anchored at the bottom), some have tweaked the colors, and others even have removed it altogether. Initially, I always chose the color that either best matched my blog's color scheme, or the one that clashed least. Then they had more colors, and it became somewhat simple to pick one that worked. Then it got better - transparent navbars! That made me happy. I'll admit, though, that I kinda liked the pages without the navbar, except that it was frustrating trying to find my way back to my Blogger dashboard! But, I liked how they looked. But, again, there was the no-quick-way-back-to-the-dash issue ...

Then I saw it. A blog with a navbar that disappears, but reappears when you hover at the top of the page! BRILLIANT! I wanted it. I contacted the first person I saw with it, but she had someone else design her blog, and that was part of it. Finally, I did a Google search for "blogger navbar hover" – or something like that. And viola! I FOUND IT! And it's so simple. So easy! As easy as adding an html widget to your blog. Check it out on Shabby Creations Freebies here:

Disappearing Navbar

I did have to tweak the margin at the top of my outer wrapper in the html part to get it spaced the way I like it. That was the easy part. I actually did it on Proud Book Nerd first, then realized I wanted it HERE, too!

How cool is this? Pretty cool, if you ask me! ;-)


Tuesday Top 5

While doing my usual blog surfing, I found a new meme over on Reviews & Reflections. She's not the host, but since I found it through her, I thought I'd mention her. Anyway, Shasta just started it TODAY! How fun is that! If you want to participate, check out her POST for the rules.

Faithfully Frugal and Free

This week's theme is FEARS. So, my top five fears (in the order they pop into my mind, not necessarily in order of importance or severity) are:

1. Snakes ~ I think it's a true phobia. ANY type of snake fills me with fear. I even made my husband buy a hose of a color that wouldn't freak me out after we bought our house! And sometimes, even earthworms freak me out! I usually can get that one out of my head, but snakes are a no-go. In fact, I can't even see pics. I close my eyes when watching Indiana Jones or anything else that has any number of snakes in it.

2. Cancer ~ This isn't something I've never verbalized before, but it's true. Everyone I know who has been touched by cancer suffered a great deal and didn't make it. I don't necessarily fear getting it, although I don't really think about it either.

3. Losing my husband ~ I know, we've been married over 11 years now and together for almost 17 years. You'd think I'd be secure in our relationship. And, generally, I am. But, no amount of strength or confidence can keep death from coming – whether soon by some freak accident/occurrence or many, many years from now.

4. Losing my teeth ~ I know, it sounds silly. But it's true. I even have nightmares about it sometimes!

5. Something happening to my kids ~ Something bad, obviously. Whether death, abuse, or other tragic occurrence. I pray God protect them ALWAYS in ALL WAYS!

How about you? Don't forget to link up on Shasta's post HERE!


Tune-In Tuesday #6

I promised it'd be back this week, and here it is! :-) I don't have a fancy-dancy graphic yet, but there will be one. I promise.

So, for today, I've honestly no idea what music to share. So, this post likely will take me all. day. to write! LOL That said, I'm starting this at 10:05 a.m. (central). I'll let you know when it's finished! ;-)

Finally! (It's 2 p.m. now ...) I know what to share.

Again by Flyleaf ~ I LOVE this song. I just love the sound of it, plus it's nice to have a rockin' song with a WOMAN singing. I can sing along without straining the voice! ;-) I actually love this song enough to have bought it on iTunes, which is a rarity for me. I prefer to buy the CD, which I can listen to in my car.

I love the way that your heart breaks
with every injustice and deadly fate
Praying it all be new
and living like it all depends on you

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Only surrender will help you now
I love you please see and believe again

I love that you’re never satisfied
with face value wisdom and happy lies
you take what they say and go back and cry
you’re so close to me that you nearly died

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Only surrender will help you now
I love you please see and believe again

they don’t have to understand you
be still
wait and know I understand you
be still
be still

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Only surrender will help you now
The floodgates are breaking
and pouring out

Here you are down on your knees
trying to find air to breathe
right where I want you to be again
i love you please see and believe again

Here you are down on your knees again
trying to find air to breathe again
Right where I want you to be again
See and believe!

I've actually been meaning to share this song for quite some time. Just never remembered it. I try to write the songs down when they come to mind, but often I'll think of something while driving. As in, I am behind the wheel. So ... I'm just happy to have remembered to post this one FINALLY! It's an awesome song!

So, share your music pics! Leave me a comment with a link, or – if you don't have a blog – just share one of your favorites!


P.S. This post was finished at 2:10 p.m. ...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Friend Makin' Monday: Favorite Things

This week's task: Name five things (aside from the obvious, meaning other than your kids/family) that you love.

1. Dr Pepper

2. Unicorns
Oksana -

3. Skillet

4. Spring

5. Reading
Wanna play? Visit Amber for the rules and this week's links! :-)


Blog Tour & Book Review: No Greater Love

Happy Monday! I know I'd said that all future book-related posts would be over on Proud Book Nerd, but I had some previous commitments that were made when this was the place for EVERYTHING. So, I need to make good on those.


Title: No Greater Love

Author: Kathi Macias

Summary: Forbidden romance, an unlikely martyr, and an even more unlikely hero. Orphaned four years earlier when their parents, active in the African National Congress ANC movement against Apartheid, were murdered, 16-year-old Chioma and her 15-year-old brother Masozi now live and work on an Afrikaner family’s farm. When Chioma and Andrew, the farm owner’s son, find themselves attracted to one another, tragedy revisits their lives. Chioma escapes to join an ANC rebel band in her effort to survive and gain revenge for her family and culture. When cultures clash in life-or-death struggles, Chioma must choose between violence and revenge or forgiveness and selfless love. Loosely based on historical events and set near Pretoria, South Africa, just prior to the setting of the popular movie Invictus, during the violent upheaval prior to ANC leader Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and his ascendance to the presidency of South Africa, this story of forbidden romance produces an unlikely martyr who is replaced by one even more unlikely.

My thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was an interesting story with compelling characters. I vaguely remember hearing about Apartheid when I was a kid, and this book made me want to learn more about it. As the story unfolded, I could kinda guess how some elements were going to play out, but there were still other things that were surprises. I did find it a little hard for me to get into at first, but after a few chapters I was drawn in. While I could guess at what the meanings of the words that aren't in English, I would have liked a glossary or something to define the italicized words in the book. (I'm not sure what language it is.) Despite that, I would recommend this book, and I look forward to reading the second book in the series, More than Conquerors.

Source: Sent by the author for review.

Own It: Get your copy of No Greater Love HERE.

See my other book reviews on my book blog, Proud Book Nerd.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Worship and Praise Sunday: I'm Still Yours

I stumbled upon this earlier today on Leah's blog. You can join in on Worship and Praise Sunday by visiting Jen's blog.

I chose "I'm Still Yours" by Kutless. It's off their recently released "It Is Well" album, their latest praise and worship album. I LOVE this song!

If You washed away my vanity
If You took away my words
If all my world was swept away
Would You be enough for me?
Would my beating heart still sing?

If I lost it all
Would my hands stay lifted
To the God who gives and takes away

If You take it all
This life You've given
Still my heart will sing to You

When my life is not what I expected
The plans I made have failed
When there's nothing left to steal me away
Will You be enough for me?
Will my broken heart still sing?

If I lost it all
Would my hands stay lifted
To the God who gives
And takes away

If You take it all
This life You've given
Still my heart
Will sing to You

Even if You take it all away
You’ll never let me go
Take it all away
But I still know

That I'm Yours
I'm still Yours

Oh, I'm Yours
I'm still Yours
I'm still Yours

I hope it touches your heart the way it does mine. Have a blessed week!


Getting To Know You 4/25

Hosted by MannLand5, this is a fun theme for Sundays! If you want to participate this week, you can leave me a comment and/or fill out the MckLinky HERE.
1. If you could star in any movie genre..what would it be: romance, horror, comedy, suspense, or action?
I think I'd choose romance.

2. Do you recycle?

3. Have you ever been to a strip club?

4. Do you have a nickname?
Not really.

5. What's a name you can't stand to be called?
Heath (not heeth, but pronounced the same way as it is with the 'er on the end)

6. What are your Summer staples?
Tank tops and flip-flops.

7. What was the last thing you bought for yourself?
Umm...maybe a shirt?

8. Are you happy with your boob size?
No. I have kept some of what I gained when pregnant/nursing. I'm hoping that as I lose weight, I'll lose boobage, too.


Now it's your turn! Here are the questions (for easier copy/paste):

1. If you could star in any movie genre..what would it be..romance..horror..comedy..suspense or action?
2. Do you recycle?
3. Have you ever been to a strip club?
4. Do you have a nickname?
5. What's a name you can't stand to be called?
6. What are your Summer staples?
7. What was the last thing you bought for yourself?
8. Are you happy with your boob size?


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Small Talk Six: Rise and Shine

Want to join in? Go here to learn how and to view the weekly Small Talk Six topics for 2010.

Today’s topic is “the first 6 things you do after you open your eyes in the morning.” You can answer this with a list of 6 words, 6 phrases, 6 sentences, 6 paragraphs, 6 photos, 6 videos, etc . . .

When I wake up, I:

1. Put my pj pants on.
2. Pee
3. Help Grant get dressed (unless, by some miracle, he's actually still asleep)
4. Let the dog out.
5. Feed the kids breakfast.
6. Check e-mail.

There is a Mr. Linky on this week's post HERE.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Five Question Friday ~ April 23

1. What was the first car you owned?
A white Pontiac Bonneville. I can't remember what year – around 1989, I think.

2. What song are you embarrassed to know the lyrics to?
Um ... I dunno. I like a lot of different types of music, so I'm not sure there's something I'd be embarrassed about.

3. Have you ever had stitches?

4. What was your first job?
Assuming we're not counting babysitting, I was a CSR (Customer Service Rep.) at Blockbuster Video.

5. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?
Abby Cadabby ~ One, she's cute. And two, she's got a GREAT name! ;-)


Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then link up in the MckLinky HERE. Also link back to Mama M.

No blog? That's alright!! Just answer the questions in the comments of anyone's blog along the way...this is a fun, easy way to get to know your fellow bloggers!

Questions for Friday, April 23rd (repeated for easier copying):
1. What was the first car you owned?
2. What song are you embarrassed to know the lyrics to?
3. Have you ever had stitches?
4. What was your first job?
5. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?


Friday's Fave Five #2

LOVE this idea! Share your five favorite things from the past week! This is hosted on Living to Tell the Story. If you'd like to join in, the rules of play can be found HERE. This week's post, with the MckLinky attached, is HERE.

1. Spring rain ~ I love the smell of spring rain. I got to smell it this morning. Heaven on Earth! :-)

2. Soccer ~ I never expected to say this, but I'm enjoying Abby playing soccer. She seems to really like it, and she seems to be pretty good at it! I really enjoy watching her play and practice and get all excited about it.

3. Good news ~ I had an annual IEP meeting for Grant yesterday. (I meant to post about it, but kinda forgot.) He is doing well. It was so much better than the one we had a year ago! (PRAISE GOD!)

4. Umbrellas ~ This goes with my first one, but deserved its own mention. Abby has been using an umbrella for quite some time now. Today was the first time the other two got to use one. Grant has a blue one he uses, and Natalie used a Disney Princesses one. As they're walking in the rain, holding their umbrellas over their heads, I hear constant giggles. From both of them. :-) It's quite possibly my favorite thing from this week!

5. Good friends ~ Not casual friends – which I guess would be more like acquaintances. I mean GOOD friends. Friends who know me. Friends who know that when I post something that, while not necessarily in good taste, makes me laugh, I'm not being malicious. I'm just sharing something I thought was funny. Friends who TRULY know me. Friends who know how I work and usually know my motivations behind such things without me having to tell them. Friends I know I can count on – not just when I really need them, but when I'm just trying to have fun or live my life and someone else has a problem with it.


Friday Follow: A Celebration of Followers 4/23

Friday Follow

Welcome to the April 23 Friday Follow celebration hosted by One 2 Try, Hearts Make Families and Midday Escapades! Join every Friday to get more blog followers and to follow other interesting blogs. It is all about sharing and having fun.

Here's how YOU can join the Friday Follow celebration:

--Link up your blog name and URL using the MckLinky below. Only need to add on one blog to be seen on all the blog hops.

--Grab the Friday Follow button and include on your Friday Follow blog post.

--Follow the Friday Follow hostesses listed in the first 3 slots.

--Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you'd like.

--Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you're from Friday Follow.

--Follow back when you get a new follower through Friday Follow.

This list is new each week. The links do not carry over. Please link up each week for new participants to find your blogs. The list is only open to add your blog links on Fridays. It will be visible all week to visit the blogs listed.

Due to the overwhelming number of entries each week, it is understood that everyone, including the hostesses, might not be able to follow every blog. To keep it fun, follow what you can at your own pace.

Friday Follower of the Week!

Congratulations to Mommy Living the Life of Rileyof the Week! Each week the hostesses randomly draw from all the links, one Friday Follower for the next week's Friday Follow, and the chosen blog will be placed in the highly coveted number 4 position on the blog hop.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Random Dozen 4/21

1. Ever had any run-ins with the "library police?"
Um, no. I have had late books, I think – like in school. But, I hardly use the library, so late fees are very rare!

2. Do you have a special organizational plan and place for wrapping paper, gift bags, etc., or do you just purchase whatever you need as you give gifts?
Both. I try to have a plan/place for it, but our house is too small to make it feasible. So, I usually end up getting stuff as needed.

3. Have you ever been in (first-hand witness) a natural disaster?
Um, tornadoes touched down VERY close to my dorms my freshman year in college. Oh, and the summer before my senior year there was one that touched down blocks from my house.

4. What's your favorite Barry Manilow song?
N/A ~ I couldn't name any of his songs.

5. What's the best costume you've ever worn?
Um ... I dunno. I'm not much for dressing up in costume.

6. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?
Dictionary ~ it's the tool of the trade when you're an editor! ;-)

7. What's your favorite breakfast food?
I gotta pick a favorite? Pancakes, fried eggs, hash browns, biscuits, waffles, french toast ...

8. Have you ever purchased anything from an infomercial?

9. Have you ever crawled through a window?
Not that I remember.

10. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Nope. Infatuation or lust, yes. Love, no.

11. How man pairs of jeans do you own?
Not sure. I don't really wear them anymore.

12. If someone were going to bake a cake to honor/represent you, what would it be? (Think creatively, like Duff and Crew on "Ace of Cakes.")
Probably a book or something else reading-related.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm Sorry

I hate doing this, but there will be no Tune-In Tuesday post this week. Yesterday was NUTS (running around ALL DAY), and today was busy, too. My intention is to have it ready to go and scheduled to post in the morning so it's here all day, but that requires time for both planning and execution. That's time that has been eluding me as of late – especially when I'm trying to do things like organize my kitchen! ;-)

That said, I wanted to say something. When I started this meme here on Ramblings & More, I honestly had NEVER seen a music-related meme in the blogosphere at that time. I have since learned that someone else has been doing a Tune-In Tuesday (probably mistakenly missing that hyphen), and there's another music-related meme on Mondays. I believe it's called Music Monday. Anyway, I honestly hadn't seen either of those before, and was not stealing someone else's idea. While I'm not in the least bit surprised that others have had similar thoughts (or, in the case of Tuesday's meme identical thoughts), I honestly hadn't seen either prior to making my first post.

I do fully intend to continue this meme. While it seems it's of little interest to my readers, it's something I like, something that makes me happy. And, really, that's what this blog is about. I love that others want to read what I have to say. I sure hope I bring something of value to the blogosphere. But, my primary goal is to have a not-so-private journal. I post what I want, what I like, and what makes me happy.

So, despite its lack of originality, I will continue posting Tune-In Tuesday every week (hopefully starting back up next week). I will be creating a fun little button for it that you can grab and use, should you ever decide to participate. I will aim to share at least one song every week, with themed posts when appropriate (Mother's Day, Christmas, special days in MY family's life, etc.).

So, again, I'm sorry for no Tune-In Tuesday this week. Stick around, and it'll be back next week!


WINNER: This Little Prayer of Mine

First, thank you to all who entered! :-) Your support means a lot to me!

The winner of This Little Prayer of Mine is entry #6, who is Chris D.! :-) CONGRATULATIONS!

This was the last book giveaway hosted on Ramblings & More. If you'd like to have more chances to win books, please come find me on my NEW book blog, Proud Book Nerd. There will always be a list of current giveaways at the top of the right-hand column to make it easy for you to know what I am offering at any given time.


Monday, April 19, 2010


Don't miss your chance to snag a free copy of the children's book This Little Prayer of Mine! This is an adorable book for kids with lovely illustrations! Just enter your information on the MckLinky at the bottom of the post, and you're good to go! The winner will be chosen, announced, and e-mailed tomorrow! Good luck to all who entered!


If you want to appear professional

... grammar is important. Very. If you're writing – memos, letters, or anything professionally – it matters. A LOT. Oh, and yes, that matters for Web sites, blogs, tweets, Facebook postings, e-mail, and even (to a lesser degree) text messages and instant messages. Poor grammar makes you look bad. It takes away credibility. It makes you appear uneducated, and thus less knowledgeable. I understand not wanting to appear "stuffy" – really, I do – but proper grammar (or at least spelling) doesn't make one stuffy. It makes one appear professional. If you're serious about what you're writing – copy for a Web site, your blog, or anything else – and you want others (meaning your readers) to take you seriously and view you as someone who knows what they're talking about, well, then, clean up your act!

Before I continue, I figure you're wondering who I am to be saying such things. I abbreviate things without thinking sometimes – that comes from too much time posting things on forums. While I try to avoid forum-speak, it does come in handy when I'm using Twitter! ;-) Sometimes, when I'm trying to type fast, I slip back into forum-ease. I mean, c'mon, typing "DH" is a lot quicker than typing "my husband." And, yes, I sometimes screw up my grammar and/or spelling (I recently wrote "it's" in my Facebook status when what I wanted was "its") – nobody's perfect, after all!

But, here are my credentials: I hold a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Illinois. While there, I worked for two years on the school newspaper, most of which was as a copy editor. After that, my career has been in publishing – mostly newspapers. I have dabbled in page design (which I prefer), technical stuff I'll spare you, and other things, but my primary time has been spent editing. I was a copy editor for about 4 years. After that, I switched to a more technical job, but still did a LOT of editing, including copy editing.

Copy editing = cleaning up copy. Fixing grammar, punctuation, spelling, even fact errors.

When my youngest was born, I quit my job to stay home with the kids. That doesn't mean I lose my editing skills. I am an avid reader, and reading a lot keeps one in check. It's amazing how that works, but it really does. I guess if you submerge yourself in something, it becomes part of you. It makes sense. They say the best way to learn a foreign language is to go there and use it. Since then, I have edited a few novels, including Nyphron Risingand The Emerald Storm– both by Michael J. Sullivan. I am planning to edit the last two books in the series, too. I doubt they'd have me do more than one if I don't know what I'm doing! ;-) So there, now you know who I am to be saying all of this. (Do keep in mind, though, that I am no less human than you. I, too, make mistakes – even in grammar and spelling. There are some points I have trouble with, and most editors have their Achilles' heel. Plus, I often think faster than I type, resulting in typos.)

Anyway, back to the original point of this post. Grammar matters. A LOT. I understand that it can be difficult to master. I understand that it can be boring to learn. I understand that it's not what you'd prefer to be spending your time worrying about. But, if you want your blog (or Web site, or whatever else) to be seen in a professional – or at least credible – light, you have GOT to figure out the grammar. You MUST.  ...

Stopping myself from getting into another rant ...

A few of the finer points that have been driving me nuts lately:
  • Do NOT use an apostrophe for plurals. Just don't! Apostrophes are generally for POSSESSIVES and CONTRACTIONS. (Possessive = a word that denotes ownership, i.e. the dog's bone. Contraction = shortening a word by removing a letter, inserting the apostrophe as an indication, i.e. shortening cannot into can't.) 
  • Understand plurals. As stated above, do NOT use an apostrophe for plurals. Plurals are complicated with a bunch different rules for different cases. The one I see most (and which prompted this post) is after a Y. Do NOT use 's after a Y – at least not if you're trying to denote plurals. Generally speaking, if you're changing something ending in a Y to plural, remove the Y and replace it with IES. That's not always the case, but most of the time you'll be right on! Examples: One mommy, two mommies; one fly, two flies; one daddy, two daddies. (One VERY important exception is day and words ending in day: day is days; Monday becomes Mondays; and so on. Honestly, I don't know exactly why this is, but I know it's right. Anyway, just DON'T use an apostrophe here. Monday's does NOT mean more than one Monday; it means something belonging to Monday. Day's does NOT mean more than one day; it means something belonging to a/the day.)
  • Avoid some common blunders. It's/its is a PRIME one. Remember that point above about contractions? It's = it is squished together. Its = something belonging to it. There/their/they're is another biggie. There is the location (not over here, over there – notice the T on the front of "here"). Their is possessive (as in that's their car). They're is another lovely contraction. They're = they are. (They're such nice people.) 
And I'm going to stop here. I'm not a teacher, so I don't even know if I can explain this stuff well. I just know I'm tired of people presenting themselves as professionals but not even knowing some of the most basic points of grammar. If you want to write or do something that requires writing, you SHOULD care about grammar. Glaring grammar/spelling mistakes make you look like you don't know what you're talking about. You could be the most knowledgeable person out there, but not mastering the language you're using chips away at your credibility. Readers don't consciously decide you're not trustworthy; it's subconscious. But it's very real. Why else do you think the publishing industry has editors, copy editors, and even more types of editors?

So, if you're wanting to look like you know what you're doing and you need some help, here are some good titles that you might find helpful (descriptions from Goodreads):

Painless Grammar
If you've hated every grammar book you've ever had to open, get ready for a pleasant surprise! This book mixes parts of speech and punctuation rules with large portions of humor, down-to-earth examples of correct usage, and funny cartoon illustrations. As you learn painlessly about how to make a verb agree with its subject, or a pronoun with its antecedent, you'll look at some of the wackier words in the English language and see how they are often misused. This new edition also gives you some handy tips on sending e-mail messages to your friends.
English Grammar for Dummies
Sick of people correcting your grammar all the time? Relax! Let expert Geraldine Woods show you the way. From pronouns, participles, and parallel structure to adjectives, verbs, and tenses, this friendly guide will put the joy back into "proper" speaking and writing — without bogging you down in a boring list of rules.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well
If you have trouble putting your thoughts down on paper, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well has everything you need to know to make writing of any kind as easy as thinking or speaking. This guide gives expert advice on making your writing as clear and persuasive as possible, whether it's a thank-you note, a school paper, or an executive briefing. It provides easy-to-follow guidelines on structure, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and style. You will find terrific tips on minimizing the time and energy taken up by tasks like research, note-taking, and proofreading.
There are many, many more books out there that you can read specifically on grammar, many of which are intended to be easy to understand. Just go to Amazon and search for "grammar" in the books category. You have a plethora of books from which to choose!


P.S. If you notice any errors in this, please be kind if you choose to point them out. As I stated above, I'm no less human than you. I, too, make mistakes – even when writing! ;-)
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