What Happens Next?

If you’re reading a good book, chances are, terrible things are happening to the main character. She’s making bad choices. People are mean jerks, doing things to make her life harder… or end it. Bad things are not good. You can’t change what’s happened in the book. So, why even keep reading?

I keep reading because I want to know what happens next. I keep reading because I know that no matter what has happened in the past, the future can always be brighter.

In life, you keep going because you decide what happens next. Minute by minute, choice by choice, you could be creating the world’s greatest comeback.

As we left for our vacation this summer, I was in a foul mood. Everyone was moving too slowly. My kids, my husband, the car in front of me on the one-lane road out of town. I wasn’t nice. To anyone. The car descended into gloomy silence and I sat at the steering wheel fuming. At first I was mad at everyone else. Then I was simply mad at myself.

We had just begun an all day road trip and I had been an impatient jerk, hurting people’s feelings and setting a horrible tone for the journey. Then I asked myself, “What happens next?” Because really that’s all that matters. It took me about an hour to cool down, but the next words out of my mouth were an apology and after that the next words were positive. Eventually, I was ready to create fun and the road trip turned out to be lovely. I’m so glad I didn’t throw in the towel just because I’d been a jerk for ten minutes but I came REALLY REALLY close to deciding the whole day was a wash.

Every hero has her low points. But what makes an inspiring, enduring hero? She keeps going. She knows that everything she’s been through can be raw material to make her stronger, better and more heroic. She tries not to make the same mistake twice, but if she does, she tries not to make it a third, fourth, fifth, or thousandth time.

This is a journey and the end has not been written. Keep reading!

Posted in aspirations, drops of awesome | 1 Comment

This is My Jam

This is my jam.


It was a hot jam but now it’s a cool jam.

It is definitely a slow jam. It took several hours yesterday to make.

Since Magoo eats jam like some people breathe air, I decided to make about 40 pints this summer, strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry. This kid spreads jam thicker than the bread. Lately, he’s decided that it’s easier to simply hold the jam jar upside down over the bread and pour it out.

I ordered the blueberries for this jam PLO* and they came in yesterday right at the height of my Drops of Awesome-induced email writing frenzy. So, I would take breaks from writing email to make jam and then take breaks from making jam to write email, with Laylee helping me in every capacity.


What child labor laws? Clicking the “invite” button on Facebook repeatedly is her favorite.

While the jam cooled, I ran out to my other jam session, a bucket-list hip hop class with my laydeez. When I say “bucket list,” I mean list of things to do before I turn 40, because I only have five years before I can never say, “I’m not forty yet,” again. I don’t think I’ve ever said it before, but five years from now, I will be never be able to say it truthfully again. So, before that happens, I need to do ALL the fun things.

And this summer one of those fun things is breaking it down with my crew.

hip hop

These are the ladies who go to the Step Up movies with me… in costume. These are the ladies who just last night took turns performing our hip hop routine in pairs. Between the 6 of us, we have 23 children. None of us have ever taken a hip hop class before. These are the ladies who were available for this particular session and who happened to be around when I started begging people to take the class with me so I wouldn’t have to take it alone.

If I ever take one again and you’re reading this, you’re invited. We are not an exclusive crew. If you have an abandoned warehouse we can borrow to practice our moves, you are invited times ten.

White mom hip hop class. Because it’s never too late to close your eyes and pretend you dance exactly like your young, super fly hip hop instructor.

hip hop2

*We’ve started referring to things we purchased before the end of our time at Microsoft as Pre-Layoff or PLO. I don’t know why we think this is funny. We are pretty much laughing our way through this entire layoff. For example, when Dan was updating his LinkedIn profile one night, we were a little overtired and silly and he started filling in his resume with Facebook-Ad-Style-ClickBait headlines.

“This Software Engineer just finished an 11-year stint at Microsoft. What happens next will AMAZE you,” as his summary.

“How this Software Engineer got amazing results using just these 6 weird old tricks,” as a lead-in to his bullet list of skills. There are 10 listed.

“What Obama Doesn’t Want You to Know About Dan’s Career at Microsoft,” a link to a PDF of detailed information about what Dan did at Microsoft for the last eleven years.

Then he changed his current position to July 2014-Present Senior Software Design Engineer at Not Microsoft. The best thing about this was how two days later all of his contacts got an email suggesting they congratulate Dan Thompson on his new position at Not Microsoft.

If you can’t laugh your way through a layoff, what’s the fun of having HR misplace your job? Am I right?

Posted in aspirations, dancing, Friendship, scaring the neighbors | 6 Comments

To Market To Market

So, if writing a new book is like a honeymoon and editing it is like going to marriage therapy, then marketing a book is like begging your friends to tell everyone in person and online how awesome your marriage is and if possible give you money… because you truly believe that publicizing and selling the heck out of your marriage will help people be happier.

That’s where I am this summer.

drops book

Let me start by saying I love this book. I would go so far as to say I heart it. It’s like I took my Drops of Awesome post, broadened its audience appeal, wrapped it in marshmallow peeps, shot it full of healthful organic steroids, sent it to design school, sprinkled it with fairy dust, and squished it into a journal.

I want you to buy this book because I like you. I want you to buy this book so you will like your life more and so you can stop trying to figure out what to buy all your lady friends for Christmas. I a little bit want you to buy this book so I can justify sitting in front my computer eleventy-hundred hours each week and so I can afford to fly out to where you live and meet you.

During this process, I am learning new things all the time. For example, I knew it was a good thing if people bought my book. But, I did not know that if everyone bought my book on May-tember 49th at precisely 3:65pm, it would be EPIC.

RE: Amazon ranking.

I think.

These are mysteries of which you need never have knowledge, lest you publish a book or lest you want to help market mine.

So do you? Huh? Huh?

I am putting together a Book Launch Team for Drops of Awesome: The You’re-More-Awesome-Than-You-Think Journal. The book comes out in September and I would be grateful to anyone willing to help promote it. If you sign up to help, you will get… FREE EMAIL!!!

Basically, my PR friends from Familius and I will let you know what promotional action would be most helpful at any given point and in return for helping out where you can, you’ll get an early look at some of the content and my undying love and affection.

Also, I will incorporate all of your names into a piece of high-level preschool-style word art, which I will hang on the wall in my laundry room for at least one week.

Please leave a comment below if you’re willing to help me. I’m so excited for this project to make its way out into the world. I know it can do a lot of good. With your help, it can do a more lot of good than if I work alone.

Posted in world domination, writing | 28 Comments


Thursday morning I was talking with Dan about my book and how many copies I wanted to order myself. 100? 500? He looked a bit squirmish and said, “Maybe we should wait and see what happens today. Microsoft just announced that they’re laying off 18,000 people.”

That is a number larger than five.

He went to work and called around 11am to say he was pretty sure the ax was going to fall in his general direction. He had an ominous meeting request at 1:00. We both knew what was coming. I went next door to my neighbor’s house to hug and cry and then I cleaned my house for two and half hours and forgot to eat.

And then the ax fell and we talked and I cried and we both commenced an involuntary job-loss-induced cleanse, netting me a 4 pound weight loss in a single day. Drop of Awesome!

I immediately texted our family and after they’d responded, I promptly put a note on Facebook, announcing the great news:

“Friends and family. Good news. Dan Thompson, possibly the world’s greatest code-writing ninja, is available to come and write code for your company, preferably a software shop based in the Seattle area. He was a casualty of the massive layoffs at Microsoft today and a free agent for the first time in eleven years.”

The outpouring of love, support, and most importantly job leads was insane. It was like Dan got to attend his own funeral and listen to the eulogies and the eulogies were so awesome that several people offered to bring him back to life and to a better life than he had previously been living.

One friend texted from his vacation in Hawaii, setting up a phone interview with his company. Others from around the country offered any options they could think of and everyone who’s worked with Dan let him know just how sad and shocked they were that he was affected by the layoffs and how great it had been to work with him.

And they are right. Dan is awesome. I have no doubt that he will be employed again very quickly.

But there’s still a mourning period. He was recruited by Microsoft at a career fair at BYU and he’s never even switched groups over the last eleven years, although the people and products around him have changed many times. This is the only big-kid career he’s ever known and to have the ax fall is pretty traumatic. And we still like Microsoft. Overall, the company has been very good to us and we believe in many of their products. For example, you’ll have to pry my Windows Phone from my cold dead hands before I’d switch back to an android device (Sorry Google peeps who may be interviewing Dan next week. I’m sure you’re simply lovely.)

It’s like being dumped by your high school sweetheart, who you still kind of have the hots for even after all these years. It eats rocks.

And then there’s the momentary financial insecurity. We have decent severance and savings accounts. But I don’t want to dip into our savings accounts and I don’t want to have a paycheck end date.

I spent much of the afternoon Friday canceling non-essentials. Yard care, pest control, milk delivery, etc. Each person I’d call would ask if I was displeased with the service and each time I’d muffle a sob and say, “No. You’re great. My husband lost his job today.” While I was on the porch making these calls away from my children’s ears, a UPS truck showed up with an Amazon package of something we didn’t need. I declined the order. It felt kind of powerful to say, “I can do without.” (Sorry Amazon execs who may be interviewing Dan next week. I’ll reorder it after you offer him a job.)

Taking my neighbor’s advice, we decided to tell the kids enough to keep them informed but spin it in a positive way.

“This is a good time to see how blessed we are that we prepared for things like this so we won’t have to worry about money while dad looks for a job.”

“Will you help us think of creative ways that we can save money so we won’t even have to use the emergency savings?”

I told them that the reason I was crying was not because we were worried about finding a new job because logically we’re not. I told them I was crying because something good was ending and something good IS ending.

In a crazy scheduling coincidence, we ended up watching our friends’ two kids overnight the night Dan was laid off and all day today.

So, today, on Dan’s last day with a badge, we hit the Microsoft Campus with gusto and a couple of friends in tow for a self-proclaimed layoff party.


We drank free soda and chocolate milk and ate at our favorite campus restaurant.


We played in the fountains and with the electronics in the company museum.


We took pictures and helped dad pack up his cereal, and awards and rubber ducks.


We made echos in the parking garage.


And we danced.


People were nice as we left, but sort of awkward with their faces awash in survivor’s guilt. Smile sheepishly and look away as Dan parades by with his earthly possessions packed into boxes carried by our, three, wait, five, pathetic, smiling children. It was all very dramatic and Tiny-Tim-ish. On the elevator, a coworker murmured condolences and Wanda beamed up at him and said in chipper excitement, “My dad isn’t going to work here anymore!”

Awkward silence.


When we were alone, Dan coughed into his hand and said, *cough* *cough* “Buy me last pape?”

We laughed so hard tonight thinking about it. Bringing the extra kids in for our grand exit was so money.


It’s been a great eleven years, but he was about due for a change. Good things are coming our way, we can feel it. So long Microsoft! May your nerdery ever be fruitful and your chocolate milk flow free.


Past Posts About Microsoft

Posted in around town, blick, he's so fine he blows my mind, Honesty of Children, scaring the neighbors, What Thompsons Do, work, world domination | 21 Comments

Good News

The good news is that there’s more good news than bad news, more kind people than mean. With a tiny shift in focus, you’ll make this your reality. [read more at HowDoesShe.com]

Posted in around town, aspirations | 1 Comment

Bust a Prayer Printable

I’ve been blogging for almost nine years now. I know, kids. I am the oldest Daring Young Mom ever. That was before Instagram was a thing. It was back when you’d say, “I blog,” and people would cock their heads to the side, squint their eyes and say, “You, what, now?”

After nine years, I decided to create my first printable. I figured it had better be something amazing, something life changing, something written by Stanley Kirk Burrell, doing business as MC Hammer. You’re welcome!

busta printable

Posted in faith, printables, rap battles | 4 Comments