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Oprah is My Jesus

I spent some time in a Mormon church recently for a funeral. In spite of growing up going to Mormon church, it’s been a hell of a long time since I’ve been in a church chapel… yet I couldn’t shake the sense of being home while I was there. A week later and I’m still trying to unpack my feelings on this. Jesus is weird like that.

I think in part, the sense of familiarity comes from the fact that basically all Mormon churches are the exact same, down to the scratchy wallpaper. I spent countless hours in my youth staring at that damn wallpaper. Religion has been on my mind anyway, so that could also account for the feelings.

For the past few months, I’ve been toying with the idea of exploring religion and how it plays into a need for some type spirituality in my life. I don’t necessarily believe in a god, but I am not adamantly sure there isn’t a god. You know… something I should probably explore.

In my 20’s, my belief system was mostly Karma. While in my 30’s that belief morphed into believing in The Universe, which is sort of god-like. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I really should figure out what my belief system is. I have a three-year old, and at some point she’s going to have religion questions. We live in Utah, after all, religion is EVERYWHERE.

I’m not exactly opposed to attending a church once in a while, but I’d like it to align with some of my core values. Since this is all something that’s been whirling around in my mind, I decided to make it real and talk to Chris about it:

Me: Do you think there’s a religion that’s progressive enough for me? I have specific needs… I want women in the clergy. I want a church that’s pro-LGBTQ… and the other letters I’m forgetting. I want uplifting sermons that aren’t all hell and damnation, and a real sense of community. And lastly, I really want something that’s pro-immigration and celebrates our differences.

Chris: That’s a lot of needs. I don’t really know…

Me: That’s OK. I’ll ask Google. Oh look, Gaychurch.com says this church by us is LGBTQ friendly. Ugh, it’s really hard to tell by the website though…

Chris: I can’t support a church that doesn’t have an excellent web presence.

Me: Wow, this other one by us has has women in the clergy, pro-immigration ,LGBTQ friendly, great website AND they have a beer class as a fundraiser.

Chris: This is obviously our new church. Sign us up!

I haven’t signed us up. Hell, I haven’t even committed to going once. I still can’t get past the idea of a white, male, Christian god figure, and the idea of listening to bible stories every Sunday makes me cringe. It’s too bad that Oprah’s Super Soul Session isn’t a physical church I can attend. That’s way more my jam. Is it cool to just tell my daughter that Oprah is my Jesus? It’ll have to be for now while I figure this all out.

Getting Knocked Up at Target

I miss writing here. I have a million excuses why I don’t, but fuck that noise in my head. I miss it and I should fix it.

I think musings about my everyday life are no longer interesting now that I’m mostly a stay-at-home-mom with only a few freelance clients and no amazing nerd stories to write about. My days now are filled with toddler tantrums and pug farts, but if I don’t write about it… well, I’ll likely not remember any of it. So, here goes nothing.

Last night I made a quick trip to Target to pick up a couple grocery items, and let Franny run around the toy isles in hopes of wearing her out. That wearing her out part didn’t work. It never does, but that doesn’t stop me from trying… because I need some quiet time at night. You know for daily reflection, or drinking my face off. Whatever you want to call it.

While we were in the checkout line, Franny kept trying to climb out of the shopping cart because when you’re a sassy three-year-old containment is bullshit. I tried negotiating with her which is futile, because it’s a well-known fact that toddlers are terrorists. Especially mine. Meanwhile, the cashier – an older woman – was trying to discuss parenting with me. What a time to try and have a conversation, but I tried to pay attention to her while also taking care of my tiny terrorist.

How to get knocked up at Target
“She’s adorable, how old is she?”

“She’s three and as you can see, quite a handful.”

“Where are your other kids?”

“She’s the only one, which is perfect for me.”

I smiled, hoping that would be the end of the conversion. Nope. She spent a good five minutes explaining that it was my duty to provide my daughter with a sibling. The phrase “depriving my child” was mentioned several times. It took every ounce of self control not to go off on her. In my head I kept thinking “LOVE AND LIGHT, SARAH. Respond only with love and light.”

My head was wrong. Love and light this, motherfucker.

What did she think I was going to do? Run home and get knocked up based on her recommendation? Ugh. My daughter is not deprived. I’m 42-years-old, not exactly the ideal age for baby-making. Chris and I both feel incredibly lucky to have Franny, and she’s perfect or us. No matter what a Target cashier thinks…

Happiness Project, Month 1

February’s Happiness Project focus was marriage – it made the most sense as it’s our anniversary month. I want to document my complete success, but that would be a giant goddamn lie.

I basically failed the month.

I mean, I’m still married and I think my husband likes me more often than not… so there’s that. I don’t think I was cognizant of my goals on a daily basis, which is something I need to solve. I should probably start each morning reading through my goals. Even though it would only take a few minutes, I’m not sure that will work. Mornings since having FBomb are a little intense. I think I’ll try and read through them quickly at night before passing out, I mean blissfully falling asleep. 🙂

Here’s to making March more successful. Fingers crossed especially hard, since the focus is parenthood and I have a *lot* to improve on.

My Happiness Project Starts Now

Happiness Project 2017

I finally sat down and started mapping out my Happiness Project for 2017. In hindsight, I should have started in December, so I could begin work Jan 1 instead of spending a month figuring it all out, but whatever. I started and am far more serious this time around, and that’s what counts.

Yes, this time around… sigh. I attempted a Happiness Project years ago, which is the notebook on the right. As you can see, well, I didn’t get too far. The notebook on the left is my current happiness project. I need to marinate on a few items before continuing to map out a theme for each month, but I feel good about my progress thus-far.

Goodbye 2016

It’s been an interesting year for me. I don’t feel like 2016 was a year of accomplishments, but more a year of self-realization. Walking away from a fancy VP title at a great advertising agency and moving to a VERY part-time freelance role drastically changed my life. No need to rehash, as I wrote about it previously but damn I miss having those daily co-worker relationships. I don’t know if I’ve ever spent as much time alone as I did this year. Franny goes to school two days a week, but I’m typically tied to the computer working and not exactly getting out and seeing people. I think so much solitary time naturally led to more time thinking and analyzing, hence the year being a year of reflection and self-realization.

I’ll hit a couple highlights, but mostly I’m thinking about goals for 2017.

Franny: I’ve internally referred to 2016 as the year of Franny. She was my main focus this year and for good reason. We started the year with her behind on some key developments, such as speech. With a shit ton of hard work and 3x monthly sessions with a speech specialist, we are ending the year in a very good place. She’s talking and communicating more than ever and I’m insanely proud of her progress. That sassy daughter of mine is a dream come true and even on the most challenging days, I know how lucky I am to have her.

Cooking: This year I learned to enjoy cooking. That’s a huge one for me, as I’ve always despised it. Sun Basket changed everything for me. Now that I know I enjoy it, I’d like to learn not to rely so much on a food services. I want to spend time digging through recipes and coming up with some go-to family favorites.

Teaching: I’ve wondered for years if I would like teaching, so this year I taught a creative writing community education class. I dug it enough that I agreed to teach a second one in January. I would love to teach at a community college level or maybe high school. I’m going to continue exploring this in 2017.

Meditation: Another game-changer for me was learning to meditate successfully. I’ve tried and tried over the last two decades and could never quiet my mind… and therefore didn’t find it useful. The Headspace app changed that for me. The guided meditations and short videos did the trick, it helps that Andy Puddicombe is my mindfulness boyfriend. I need to be more diligent at making time every single day to meditate in 2017, instead of just fitting it in a couple days a week. I’m a far more pleasant person to be around when I’m consistent with it.

Happiness: I thought for sure that quitting my job and spending more time with Franny and the pugs would instantly make me happier. In some ways it did, in others it didn’t. I’ve discovered that I need to treat happiness as a full-time job. I’m wildly jealous of people who are just happy all the time. I, on the other hand, am anxiety ridden, high strung and a classic over-thinker, which isn’t exactly a great recipe for automatic happiness. In 2017 I want to complete Gretchin Rubin’s Happiness Project and spend more time working on my personal happiness. It’s usually the last thing on my to-do list and it’s obvious that I need to change that. The same goes for self-care. After Franny was born that became the very last priority and that’s not healthy. I can’t have my life be all Franny all the time. I need to focus on myself, too.

Relationships: I am truly the luckiest to have Chris as a partner. Sadly, I didn’t focus enough on us this year as I should have. We had very little time together, and I need to make date nights a regular occurrence. This has been *such* a challenge since I don’t feel comfortable leaving Franny with just anyone. My mom is the one who watches her when we do get away, and she’s just not close enough for me to make that a common occurrence. I’ve made it a goal to find a sitter I trust. I really do need to place more focus on our relationship, because goddamn he’s a good catch. I mean seriously, he’s so smart, funny and a total dreamboat. Secondary in this category, I didn’t spend nearly enough time with friends this year. I hope to make that more of a focus in 2017. I’ve considered starting a monthly girlfriend club where we get together and chat over drinks. Still thinking through the best way to do this, but do know it needs to be a focus.

Freelance: After a year of freelancing a few different projects, I have figured out what I like and what I don’t like. I need to launch a freelance website in 2017, and focus on finding more content work and less monthly marketing retainer work.

Fitness: I made some progress here with implementing daily cardio. I don’t let myself have a drink at night unless I’ve hit my 30 minute cardio goal. And if there’s one thing a mama needs, it’s a drink after a long day with a sassy toddler. In 2017 I’d like to start practicing yoga, either at home or a weekly class. I’m also thinking about starting a spin class again… we shall see on that one.

Reading: I made a point this year to read more female authors, which led me down the path of feminism. More to come on that in 2017 for sure. I’d like to really expand my reading list in 2017 and include far more WOC authors. I’ve been absolutely loving Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work. If you’ve got recommendations, I’d love them.

Little Free Library: If we’re friends on Instagram or Facebook, you already know about this one. Chris gave me the most amazing Christmas gift: my own little free library! I’ve wanted one for years and years, but worried about vandalism at the old house. I’m insanely excited about this new hobby project and can’t wait to share books with others. As soon as it warms up enough, we’ll be installing Little Hapworth. If you’re local, please come visit my library! If not, you can follow along via social media. I set up a Little Hapworth Instagram account. And I’m hoping to get the website up soon, which will have info on donating books if you’re so inclined.

Truth be told, I’m worried about what 2017 will bring with a Trump administration. It’s more important than ever, to focus on making a difference in the world and being a better person. I plan to have my 2017 recap include volunteer work and an update on my post-election plan progress.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I have a lot of whiskey to drink since I’m off the sauce in January. See you in 2017! XOXO


Fear is Weird

In the creative writing class I’m teaching, I planned a lesson on writing with fear/suspense. Admittedly, this isn’t something I’m great at. Still, it was a lesson I wanted to leave the students with.

We always have a in-class writing prompt, one that I practice a few times in advance to make sure it’s decent. The prompt was to pick a personal fear and explore it for 15 minutes using first person narrative and some techniques from the lesson. I completed the exercise three times and finally gave up after reading it aloud to Chris because he couldn’t stop laughing. Humorous writing, I can do. This? Not as much.

I’m posting it here, so I can look back at it next time I teach the class and hopefully make some personal progress of my own.

My pounding heart wakes me. SHIT. I sit up quickly and listen… nothing. I stay completely still, breathing as quietly as possible.

 Still… nothing.

 With a huge sigh of relief, I slowly fall back into my pillow. Instantly my pulse rate slows. I shut my eyes and take a few deep breaths to help induce sleep.


 Glorious silence… with the exception of Chris breathing deeply next to me, as he sleeps soundly.

 But wait… I hear it again. That slow scratching noise. This is not my imagination!

 I start to sweat with uneasiness. What do I do now? Wake Chris yet again and try to convince him there’s something in our closet? The first night he believed me. He leapt out of bed when I yelled that there was someone in the closet. He found nothing.

 The second night he shook his head in annoyance, and refused to even check the closet. “Honey, let it go… you’re not hearing anything. Stop reading weird books before bed. That’s all this is… I promise.”

 He promises? Puh-lease.

 Here we are again… night three. It’s awful, I know… but being single right now would solve everything. I could grab a sledgehammer and tear a hole in the closet wall. That would silence the scratching. Oh wait, would single me own a sledgehammer? Hush brain, that doesn’t matter now.

 I slowly inch my way out of bed. I can’t risk waking Chris only to be ‘mansplained out of hearing what I’m really hearing.

 My eyes quickly adjust to the lack of light, and I crouch down next to the closet door.


 I clench my fists and prepare to wait it out.

 The night is still. Until it’s not. “SKRREEEEEK.”

 My body trembles, but I refuse to jump back into the safety of my bed. I can do this. Wiping my sweaty palms on my pajama pants, I grab the closest thing to me. A heavy hiking boot. I stand back and gently push open the closet door.

 “SKRREEEEEK.” There it is again! Even louder this time.

 I flip on the closet light and start pounding the wall with my boot. “BAM. BAM. BAM.”

In a matter of seconds Chris is awake, standing next to me with a wide-eyed stare.


 I refuse to look him in the eyes. Instead I reply by pounding even harder on the wall. I pound until I’m certain the scratching has stopped.

 Finally, I look up with a satisfied smile. “Next time set a mousetrap like I asked. Otherwise, I’ll pound the damn mouse out of this house.”

 He tilts his head and looks at me, slightly confused. I know that look. He can’t decide if he wants to laugh or yell. I ignore the look and continue… “I think that little fucker is gone for the night. We should probably get some sleep.” He slowly shakes his head, laughs and follows me to bed, because what else is he going to do? Divorce me at 3AM?

Maybe I need scarier fears or something, but mice are absolutely terrifying to me. What? Don’t judge. I know people who are petrified of damn clowns.

Empty Carseat, Empty Heart

My daughter, while beloved, is not an easy child. She is very much her own person, yet I see glimpses of my own childhood in her. I know she’s not me, but goddamn this daughter of mine has so much Nielson running through her Millar veins that I can’t help but pity Chris. He now has two stubborn, impatient, always right and often hangry women in his life. No wonder he retreats to the basement so much.

I’ve shifted my entire world to spend as much time as possible with Francis while she’s young enough to still like me. The days she’s with me all day are the longest and most difficult days, yet the days she goes to school? I miss her. Like seriously, miss her.

Going to pick her up is the highlight of my solo days. Not my freelance work, getting things done around the house, child-free errands, having enough quiet time to listen to a podcast, or even finally using the rest room alone.


The highlight is when that empty carseat in the back of my car is suddenly filled with very loud sass.  I’m usually this giddy on my way to pick her up…

empty carseat, empty heart

I don’t even know who I am anymore, but I’m soaking it all up because she won’t be little much longer. And while I won’t miss the screaming tantrums, I’ll really miss the fifteen hugs she gives me once the screaming subsides.


My Post Election Plan

I’ve given myself adequate time to mourn the election results – now it’s time to get to work. Rather than letting myself remain sad for the next four years, I’ve created my post election plan. Sometimes being slightly Type A is helpful!

My plan started forming while in the shower, so here’s the first draft. Yes, that’s a photo of my shower… it’s often where my best thinking occurs.


After spending a few more days thinking and planning, I now feel like I have the start of a solid plan. OMG it feels good! Here’s my second draft:

Family and Tribe – the most important people in my life deserve more of my attention and I don’t want to lose sight of that

  • I’ll show more love and offer more support, even if I don’t always agree with them (Hi Republican family, I love you like crazy and fully accept we will likely never agree on politics and that’s ok. XO)

Community Work – find like-minded people in my own area and donate time within my community

  • Joining Utah Women’s Democratic Club (I’m waiting until January, so I only have to pay the fees once. Hush, I’m a freelancer and no longer work full-time)
  • Currently a moderator for the Utah Chapter of Pantsuit Nation Facebook group

Cause Work – donate time to organizations I support, and donate money to political campaigns I believe in (focusing on reproductive rights, human rights, and female candidates)

  • I signed up as a volunteer for Planned Parenthood and start in March
  • I’m currently researching female candidates on a national scale

Educate – read more on feminism and life experiences of minority populations

  • My to-read list is overwhelming in the best way possible
  • I need to find podcasts that support this goal (current fav thanks to Danielle is CYG)
  • I need to compile a must-watch in 2017 documentary list

Create – it’s time to create a little of my own little legacy here

  • I’ve got a plan that I’m really excited about, but won’t discuss quite yet

Lots to do, but also I need to remember to laugh. My current giggle is how much the word ‘election’ looks like ‘erection’ in this post.

The Relationship Between Bourbon and Elections

I sent this snap to a close friend over the weekend, and sadly it’s exactly how I spent most nights after putting my daughter to bed. Not a good picture, whatsoever, but it’s important for me to document my feelings right now… and this sums it up.

Bourboning my way through election results

Post Election Thoughts

I, like many, are distraught over this week’s election results. I’m still somewhat in shock… but I need to start documenting my post election thoughts sooner than later.

My heart aches and I can’t stop with the tears. This makes every painful breakup feel like a damn picnic. In fact, my pain is on par with losing my little brother to police brutality… it truly feels like a death.

I didn’t see this coming – I absolutely expected Hillary to win. I naively had no idea women were so hated and untrusted in our country. The fact I’m raising a daughter in this toxic environment keeps me awake at night. How am I supposed to tell her she can grow up to be anything she wants, when I stopped believing that myself this week? Hold please… more tears.

I’m tracking my thoughts in list form, because I will be adding more as my hurt turns to rage.

  • An unqualified, ignorant, racist, misogynistic, homophobic bigot was elected over an incredibly qualified woman who has spent her entire career serving the greater good. Don’t tell me it’s not a gender issue. I’m so sick and tired of hearing that people don’t trust Hillary, if she were a man it would be a completely different story – without a doubt. SO MUCH MORE ON THIS LATER.
  • The number of white women who voted for Trump makes me crazy angry. How dare you not support another woman? If she weren’t a good candidate of course I wouldn’t be upset over this, but she was THE candidate.
  • Bernie bros admitting to not voting? Unbelievable to me. Had he won the nomination, I would have been disappointed sure, but still supported with wholeheartedly. I voted Hillary over Obama in the 2008 primary, yet I’ve done nothing but support and adore President Obama and all the incredible things his administration has done.
  • I’m terrified of what this means for those who don’t fit into Trump’s white-straight-male-Christian mold, especially members of my own family and tribe.
  • I’m horrified at the bullying in schools and general acts of cruelness that are erupting only days after the election. What does this mean for the next four years?

So what’s next? Well, I’ve been talking about getting involved with local politics and Planned Parenthood for two years, but haven’t. This is a much needed wake-up call. I’m joining a group for female democrats in Utah and I’ve started the process for volunteer work with the local chapter of PP. As for donations, I plan to make an ACLU donation in my daughter’s name.

None of this will be enough, but it’s a start. I need to feel like I’m doing something positive instead of hiding in bed and ugly-crying my way through episodes of “Gilmore Girls” for the next four years, even though that’s all I want to do.