Tag Archives: Writing

Happy 4th Birthday, WBO!

It’s been four years since I first posted on Wordsbecomeone, and I am so grateful it’s still alive.  There have been sputters and gasps, especially in the last year (I’m talking to you, one-post months), but I am refreshed by the content this pregnancy has provided, and all the adventures-of-having-two-babies posts that are still to come.

When I started this blog, I was 25, less than 18 months into my marriage, working at an extremely large software company in Redmond, living in the Eastlake neighborhood of downtown Seattle and childless.  Now I’m 29, have been married over five years, work at an extremely large telecommunications company in Bothell,  live in Kirkland and am expecting twins this summer.  Wowza.

I’m really excited to see what this blog grows into as my life changes, and I’m thankful it’s here for me to look back and remember things in detail I would otherwise have forgotten.  There are 128 posts to date, with countless more to come.

Here’s to all that the Lord has in the next four!

birthday-cake-four-candles-md

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Happy 3rd Birthday, WBO!

Today marks three years since I started this blogging adventure, and my relationship with it has grown quite complex.  Many bloggers fall into one of two categories: those who start with gusto, posting every day for a month before disappearing forever, or those who truly have it together, and post consistenly at least twice a week for years on end. 

I fall somewhere in the middle.  I don’t post every day, but I don’t leave it to collect dust for months either.  I have found great joy in writing here and sharing the absurdities of life that are important to me.  But, let’s be frank, this is not without effort.  Regular blogging isn’t for the casual journaler, and no one realizes this until they’ve been doing it for a year and they’ve run out of things to say.  THEN the work begins.

The tricky little catch-22 about blogging is that it’s a hobby, but it’s a hobby that involves other people.  Most hobbies are done alone, with knitting needles or scrapbooks or music as the only audience noting how often you participate in your hobby.  But with blogging, you are inviting other people to enjoy your hobby alongside you, and when you don’t, they get angry.

That’s the pain point — we bloggers love nothing more than having faithful readers, but it’s those same readers who crack the whip when I’m being lazy…which is often.  “Do you know it’s been two weeks?” they ask.  Yes, yes, I have felt every one of those fourteen days, I reply.  But I am not making time for it or I don’t have a topic or I’m just being lazy!  And they look at me like, ugh, pull it together.

Which, I’ll add, they have every right to do.  And I’m grateful, and that’s why I’m keeping at it.  I love this work, and I love my readers, and I love when they crack the whip.  So thank you, dear reader, for reading and for coming back for more.

Here’s to the next three years!

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Happy 2nd Birthday, WBO!

Oh little blog of mine, you’re two today!

I honestly didn’t think I could keep you alive this long, and let’s be honest, I can’t make  any promises about how much longer you’ll survive.  We’re kind of on a month-to-month basis, aren’t we?

But we’re still together!

You’re the one that keeps me writing, the one that keeps me on my toes: “It’s been TWO WEEKS since you’ve posted,” your dateline always tells me.  Sure, I’m not the most frequent of posters, but I’m certainly among the most determined.  I haven’t given up yet, and here we are on our 90th post.

I’ve essentially written 45 essays a year, and I’m not even in college.  What was I thinking?

I love it.  That’s what I was hoping, and that’s what’s happened.  I love to write and I love to share it with people.

So, cheers to my little blog that could!  Here’s hoping we make it to your third birthday, and that I post more than a handful of times before then!

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The First Anniversary Gift of Paper was Never More Appropriate

Words Become One turns one this Saturday, May 15, and I know what you’re thinking:  who cares?

The only reason you should care in the slightest is because many important things are turning one as well:

Seattle’s Quinn’s Pub, named one of the Top 50 new restaurants in the US by Travel + Leisure magazine.


Blakesley Sutter, pseudo-celebrity baby.


My little pink 8GB Zune that I got for $80 at a Microsoft employees sale…back when I was still an employee.


My cousin Amy and her husband Joel’s marriage — happy anniversary shout-out!


And while most of these things are growing and changing, so is WBO.  I am going to switch to a more frequent posting format (goodbye to our Wednesday lunch date, hello to random coffee dates), and I am going to do a redesign of the site as soon as I can find some pro bono HTML/C++ genius to do my dirty work (remember when I told you your computer science degree was lame?   I was totally kidding.  Can I buy you a drink?  Your hair has never looked better!).

I want to give myself a little more freedom, a little more wiggle room in this creative outlet.  I’ve been very strict in meeting my Wednesday deadline — I’ve only missed that deadline once in an entire year, and it was due to a canceled flight.

It’s been fantastic writing so consistently, but I’d love more variety in the length and frequency of posting.  Some shorter.  Some longer.  Some with just an image and a killer caption.  I know — it’s gonna get crazy in here!

The ogre of a risk in this change is failing to post at all.  I read friends’ and strangers’ blogs where posts are sometimes weeks or months between — a travesty in the blogosphere (I swore I would never use such geek-speak, but this is what happens after a year, people).  The fear of becoming one of those people makes me want to dip a quill pen into my own blood and scrawl my signature across a contract of consistency.  Hopefully Mike stops me before I get to that point.

So that is why I am risking being an impotent blogger; it’s worth it to see if I can become a sizzling blogger.  “She posted on a Monday at 2PM!?  Criz-azzy!”

Of course I would never do that.  That would mean I was blogging at work and only pink-slip-happy people blog at work.  Or about work.

Consider this my May Day gift to you: one less thing to do every Wednesday.  Now you can check on any other day ending with “Y” because you never know when a new post might appear.

Hang on to your hats, eager readers!

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Designing Woman

I’ve always assumed that I have great taste, that picking out paint and a decent piece of furniture would be as natural to me as choosing something appetizing to eat.

It turns out that I can make a previously established space better, but when handed a blank slate I can only think of one statement and one question:  I want to cry.  Would the fetal position be too dramatic?

Perhaps it is this exact reaction that caused the previous owner of our home to do absolutely nothing with the place.  When we took over there was not one speck of paint, not one modification or change from the way the home was built.  It was just endless walls of cream.  In fact, in the three years she owned it, she only lived it in for one and a half years and then it sat empty.  Perhaps she just couldn’t face her own design failure.

It looked like this:

So much white.  I can’t explain the gold star, either.  Perhaps it was a realtor’s attempt to distract from the white-ness of it all.

Endless white.  It’s like one continual yawn.

A year and a half she went to sleep looking at these blank walls.

Before we even moved one piece of furniture in, we painted.  We couldn’t stand the thought of setting up residence with Mr. White-Bread Walls and his wife Mrs. Milk Carton Carpet.

So we painted the fireplace: instant warmth.

We splashed a rusty, reddish brown onto one wall in the entry way to help people make the right choice when they are deciding, “DO I want to come in?”

Finally, after literally nine swatches were painted on the wall for comparison, we painted the dining room.  This is where my commitment-phobia caused Mike to want to have me committed.  Nine swatches?  Of course.  It has to be the right green, after all.

Bye-bye, swatches!

Hello, gorgeous green.  Thank you for giving my guests back their appetite.

After those victories, everything came to a screeching halt.  Christmas, New Years, this excuse, that excuse…and now we’re facing The Den.  The den of wolves.  The den that threatens to be my undoing.

I am the type of person who only wants two choices.  I can (nearly) always make a two-choice decision; anything more than that and I’m immobilized.  For instance, when I’m at the grocery store and I see seventeen brands of toilet paper, the person on the intercom has to call out, “Clean up on aisle four.  We’ve got a commitment-phobe down.  I repeat, commitment-phobe down.”   They always come running with defibrillators.

So here is The Den now:

It’s acting as storage until we make it into a workable space.  And the white, orb-like cone plugged into the wall?  That’s a vacuum cleaner my sweet mother-in-law gave us that I use far more than I ever thought I would.

The idea is for this to be my writing room; the place where my creativity flows and words spill out of my fingertips.

It’s also where I’ll pay the bills.  But that’s not as glamorous as creativity.

I’m dreaming of taking everything out, wallpapering one wall, hanging a cool chandelier, adding an extra chair and an attractive houseplant to liven the place.

But that’s where you come in.  Send me your ideas.  Give me your insight.  Tell me your genius design plan.  I promise to put it all to work and show you the results in a future post.

We’ll see what works, what doesn’t, and what causes me an anxiety attack.  Mostly, we’ll just see if the medics can restart my heart in time for me to make a decision.

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Better than Apple Jacks

Not all men can be Shakespeare, and it’s probably best that most don’t try to be.

One of Mike’s most fantastic qualities is that he is utterly accepting of this fact.  Case in point:  he once promised me that he would never attempt to write me a poem; he thinks they are ridiculous, especially when written by the average adult male.

Since I am a woman who loves to write (though not poems), I don’t need my spouse to try to please me through my own medium — I’m happy to accept affection in other forms (unexpected gifts and vacations, natch).

Given all of this, one can imagine my shock last week when we got together with our friends Stephen and Jessica, and they said they had found a poem by Mike in their storage of high school mementos.

A WHAT?

Yes, a poem.  Mike’s face turned pink as soon as they mentioned it.  Then he burst out laughing.

“It’s horrible!” he said between laughs.  “It’s so bad you won’t even believe it was published.”

PUBLISHED?

He clarified quickly.  “We had an assignment to write a love poem, so of course I thought it was the stupidest assignment and I decided to be so over-the-top that they wouldn’t publish mine in the class book.  But they did anyway, and so it reads like I’m being completely serious.”

I considered for a moment whether he was just saying that to cover up whatever horrors lie in those stanzas.  The next day they emailed it to us, and I didn’t have to wonder — he was most definitely being ridiculous for the asinine assignment.

But judge for yourself.  And ladies, try not to swoon; this guy’s already taken:

How do you describe it?
Does it make you overjoyed?
Can you feel your heartbeat?
Does it make you do crazy things?

How do you describe it?
How do you describe love?
I think it’s a completely selfless expression
To put another first in everything.

It’s finding someone tastier than Red Vines.
And Hot Tamales.
Someone better than Apple Jacks.
Or peanut butter M&M’s.

It’s finding someone worth spending even just a
moment with, yet after you’ve searched
a lifetime to find.

Someone who when you look into their eyes
You find yourself closest to heaven.
Someone who if they died,
You would continue to love until the rest of YOUR life.
That is true love.

– Michael Reph

Believe me, there was some serious negotiating before I was allowed to share this with anyone outside of our home.  But I pointed out that I have shared my own humiliating moments (here, here and here) so what’s a poem between friends?

What’s funniest about this isn’t that he’s joking, or that it’s cheesy, or that it uses such silly references to candy.  What’s funniest is that it inspired the use of humor in his vows to me.  A sample:

“If there were no more chips and salsa or Mirror Pond in the world, I’d still be happy if I was with you.”

People laughed out loud at our wedding when he read that to me.  It was a total departure from what was otherwise a very serious vow statement.  Little did people know it was Michael Reph quoting Michael Reph.  He really should give himself more credit.

So honey, since Sunday is the two year anniversary of you saying those vows, I can say without a doubt that the poem you wrote at 16 turned out to be spot on.  You have proven to be tastier than Hot Tamales and you’ve made me feel my heartbeat.   You’ve shown me love as a completely selfless expression, and you’ve put me first in so many things.  Fortunately for me, you didn’t take a lifetime to find.

I know that I’ve made you do crazy things, but I hope, for your sake, that I turned out to be better than Apple Jacks.

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Why is Abby blogging?

(Adapted from a journal entry written in January ’09)

For the first time in a decade I have taken a substantial hiatus from writing.

My last thoughts on paper were written the night before my wedding day.  It is now over a year later that I finally pick up a pen.  I’m not sure the reason for the departure from something that was once such a cornerstone for who I am.  Time played an enormous part, I am sure, but I think it’s something more.

As much as I wanted to detail every minute of my first year of marriage, I also didn’t.  I wanted to experience the year fully immersed, not looking through my normal documentarian, anthropologist lens.  I wanted to laugh, cry, observe, rage, pray, LIVE without the aid of processing on paper.

Also I am certain that I didn’t want to record everything so vividly that I would remember the painful parts.  I have recorded anger at people countless times before (especially Mike!) and it never helps to revisit those pages.  I am finally learning that part of grace and forgiveness is forgetting — and journals don’t let you forget.

But let me be clear.  I don’t think seven days go by that I don’t think of writing about our life or my feelings. I feel an incredible urge most days to scribble down SOMETHING because I am terrified that I’ll forget some tidbit about our story.  I also have walked around all year with an enormously heavy feeling of guilt for not writing about the most important thing to happen to me since Christ.  Mike is the center of my world now, and not to write about it feels horribly ungrateful and dismissive.  I spent years writing about the possibility and the desire to get married (especially to Mike!) so not to write about every moment feels like an abomination.    It also feels somewhat juvenile; he’s my husband, why should I write about him like he’s a teenage crush?  So I haven’t.

And it’s been good and not so good.  The good:  I have learned to be fully present, not racing off to record my thoughts.  I have learned to process without this trusty crutch, and instead done so either with Mike, God, or by myself.  I have spent time with Mike that would otherwise have been spent alone.  The not-so-good involves three losses:

  • I lose my grip on reality a bit when I can’t reason an issue out on paper — and that’s happened more than once.
  • I have lost precious details of my life that I might otherwise have recorded.
  • And, most important of all, I’ve lost a little piece of who I am.  I know this because not journaling left a hole in me, like I was always missing something. 

All of this begs the question — why now?  Why start again and why on the Internet?  There’s not a specific answer except it feels like the right time and venue.  Most significantly, it’s crucial that I address those three losses: reality, details, and who I am.  A blog is the perfect medium to work out the bits of my life that I want to write about.  Bonus feature: I’m practicing how to write.

But can I capture life in writing, especially publicly?  It’s overwhelming.

Maybe I can’t.  Maybe I will.  Either way, it’s good to be back.

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