reading, writing

Dear Whitney Cummings,

Dear Whitney Cummings,

I’m reaching out to you because you’re a great writer and I look up to you as a published author. After I finished reading your book, I’m Fine…and other lies, there was a weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that you’re fine, and I had a self-realization that I’m fine too. I literally-laughed-out-loud (LLOL) while reading what you wrote. I couldn’t put it down. I even shipped a copy to my mom so she could read it–I never do that.

When I devoured your words earlier in 2021, I was in a tough spot with my fiction writing, so reading your wild horses* of stories helped me find part of a main character’s voice in my story.

I have since realized that when it comes to writing a book, I am always in a tough spot because I have no friggin’ idea what I’m doing. I feel like I’m making it up as I go along and doing a lot of self-help attempts, but I always come back to you: Whitney Cummings. Like, I can’t get away from you.

  1. You’re the only celebrity I follow on Instagram
  2. You’re hilarious, so I’m officially attending a Touch Me Tour when you’re in MI
  3. One of my main characters has part of your voice, so I hear you talk a lot
  4. Your book is on my TBR list even though I already read it…

Call this an unconventional way to send you a letter (?) but it’s an idea that has grown in my head and I need to explore how I can reach you. As a writer, this is my platform and I will hashtag it, pin it, promote it like crazy on social media. I’ll even text it to you. Call me out of my seat, I will read it on stage.

I also feel the impending doom of rejection, so I’ve talked myself out of penning you this letter a few hundred times. My deterring thoughts include: Whitney’s robot has more followers that I do on Instagram, I have zero credibility next to that.

I’m following my gut, so please gut-check me back. If you are open to it, as a fellow-writer, I’d love to ask you questions about writing, publishing a book, etc. and it would be an honor to interview you in-person as someone I seemingly cannot get away from. I’m in MI, let’s make plans mid-November.


Jenni Laplow

P.S. *“wild horses!” was a phrase said to me on my wedding day back in 2013, haha, I’ve never heard that one before, Grandma Carlisle….


My Favorite Young Adult Novels

Growing up, I always had a story that I was getting lost in. I would tote around the John Grisham book I was reading between classes when I was in high school, and when I was in elementary school I looked forward to the 4th grade reading day where we would sit in bean bag chairs and eat snacks while we read any book…for hours! As I read all those fiction books, my young mind filled with new words and ideas—I felt that I could be the one to write a story like that because, alongside reading I enjoyed writing just as much.

While my #shelfie today doesn’t include a thick John Grisham novel, it includes a wide selection of books that I have kept throughout the years. A lot of the books, are ones I read in my childhood and young adult years. The books stacked to the left are by Roald Dahl. I collected as many of his books that I could when I was growing up—and I read them all. Most importantly, I kept them all to read with my children one day.

Out of my entire stack of Dahl books, my favorite is The Witches.

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Some of the ideas in the story are so out-of-this mind, but Roald Dahl does a great job telling a story with vivid characters. The Witches was adapted into a movie in 1990, and I think it’s an awesome movie that doesn’t stray too far from the book!

The next book in my #shelfie is Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume. This was my absolute favorite book growing up, I probably read it a hundred times. My second daughter’s name is Davey, which is coincidentally the lead female character’s name. Tiger Eyes is about Davey’s journey navigating an uprooted life following the traumatic death of her father.

I encourage you to first read the 1981 book and second watch the 2012 movie that was directed by Judy Blume’s son, Lawrence Blume.

As you scroll through the rest of my #shelfie I’d like to point out a few more from my collection:

Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn
This was one of the first historical fiction young adult novels that I read, and I fell in love with reading stories in the past…

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman
This television show is my guilty pleasure, so I have the inside on the show now…

Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Journal
My friends and I journaled in here as teens, so it’s fun to look back on as a memoir…

Bull Run by Paul Fleischman
My dad read this story to me as a girl, he’s a Civil War buff so you see some history books hidden on my shelf...

A Glimpse by Jenni Fisher My self-published poetry book, sorry not available on Amazon

What does your #shelfie look like today? What books have you kept from childhood and would you still read them today? Follow me on Instagram and share your #shelfie I’d love to see your books!

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Time Sensitive

After you have children, the topic of time comes up a lot. “You blink and they’ll be in college,” is very common to hear in the grocery store checkout lane. I hear people say, “the time goes by so fast” as I watch them look at my child and I see their eyes go back to a time when their own child was that age.

I hear you, and it makes me feel very sensitive about time.

I started reading The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom while I was on vacation. Even though this book is a fable, I connected with it in a way that made me think about time differently:

“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on the wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.”

Being on vacation and reading about time, forced me to consciously think more about living in the moment. The time on vacation was ticking down, and the moments were slipping away. I tried to put the book down and take as many photos as I could, to capture those moments in the present time.

Reflection about Time

Well, my vacation is over now, so I have time sensitive thoughts like: “it went by so fast.” Time surrounds me, and these timely thoughts are now seeping into my every day. “Please make it yesterday,” rings out to me from the book as I am trying to finish reading it post-vacation. I wish I could go back on vacation, a day before today, any day before today.

“We all yearn for what we have lost. But sometimes we forget what we have.”

We all yearn for something to change about time: speed up, slow down, change, stop…this list could go on for a long time. As a full time mom who is employed part time, I fear that there is not enough time in the day. Time flies, and there is simply not enough time to get everything done on top of surviving the day with kids. Seriously, time waits for no one.

Not Enough Time to Finish this Book!

But I persevered and finished the fable: about a man who measured the days and the nights – before the word Time was ever spoken. This man loved his wife dearly, but he left her when she was deathly ill so he could beg at the highest tower for the days and nights to stop. It was, in that moment, he became Father Time and the concept of Time was born. He was cast away to live for thousands of years in a lonely, isolated cave; surrounded by tears that came from people on Earth begging for time – crying about time.

Father Time (FT) was given an opportunity to be freed from his immortality in this cursed cave. He was called to Earth to save two very different people: a young teenage girl considering suicide, pleading for time to “Make it Stop.” The other was an old man with a critical illness who is pleading for “Another Lifetime.” These two are brought together, by FT, the second before they choose their final fate.

The two were confused about why they were brought together. It was as if time had frozen for that second. FT would use that second to show them the future. How both of their final fate decisions would impact the ones they love.

FT realizes the blessing he was given. Even though he felt sadness for those thousands of years, he had a greater purpose that came to fruition in that second: to help these two very different humans come together because “in their normal lives, they never would have met.”

When that second in time unfreezes, what will the fateful two decide to do? And what happened to Father Time? Let’s just say, his ending brought tears to my eyes. I really don’t want to give the answers (but just encourage you to read the book!)

If you had all the time in the World – what would you do with it? If you had only one second – what would you choose?

Would you get everything done that you have dreamed about doing for so long? Or would you just waste it away? Whatever it may be, the time is yours. It’s ticking everywhere. Make of it what you can – don’t yearn for time to change.

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reading, sahm

How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces

A book review.

When I was younger, my mom would tell me, “To be a writer, you need to read.”  So, I was inspired as SAHM who blogs to read something that I could blog about for other moms. I chose:

How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces by Rebecca Rode

My first goal: Finish book

It took me longer than a week (or two) to read leisurely…but, I finished it!  And, it was a good read.  As a mom, I found myself thinking, “I have felt that way…I have thought that way…I have…I have!”  I give it 3 stars (out of 5). 

My second goal: Blog about it

The book is split up into puzzle pieces, and each puzzle piece has their own chapter (or chapters) of stories and support for that puzzle piece.  When all the puzzle pieces are put together, it’s symbolism for a “put together” mother at peace.  The puzzle pieces include:

1) Mother of purpose “…recognizes her own worth”

2) Mother of skill “…realizes her unique power over the family environment.”

3) Mother of work “…keeps a house of order, but she also understands that relationships are more important than her tasks.”

4) Mother of faith “…realizes her divine potential and refuses to allow trials to shake her faith for long.”

5) Mother of wisdom“…resists comparison and is content with her blessings.”

6) Mother of joy “…tries to see the positive during even the hardest of trials.”

7) Mother of peace “…foundation of purpose, skill, a love of work, faith, wisdom and joy.”

Purpose was perfect for the first puzzle piece.  As a new mother (and SAHM) the feeling of worthlessness looms overhead often, and the search for purpose is necessary to battle those feelings.  Other SAHMs may feel the “crippling pressure we find ourselves under is from our assumptions about the world’s expectations…” and “the pressure on moms is greater than ever, and yet, we also receive less credit for our work.”  These chapters have relatable scenarios, and the ability to recognize them in yourself is important.  The reality is, “Moms have only one supervisor: ourselves.”

Skill included a chapter that really stuck out to me: Control Baskets.  The author was recommended by a counselor to handle “difficulties by sorting them mentally into two baskets…” the “can control” and “can’t control” basket.  “Focus on what you can control, and forget about what you can’t.”  I think this is a very important skill to add to a mother’s toolbox, and it’s something that I need to focus on regularly.

I’ll skip ahead to…

Faith.  It really hit me when I read, “faith or fear…they cannot exist together…the moment fear creeps in, faith flees.”  What a great reminder that you need a little faith to drive your motherhood.  “There is an old saying that if everyone set their troubles on a table, they would probably take back their own.  This widening of focus to include everything we have been given, not just what we lack, has the power to change our entire outlook on life.”  Wow…that is definitely one of the powerful things about this book that I enjoy: the quotes I’m able to take away.

Side note: There were a lot of scripture stories and passages for the faith puzzle piece…and I expected it, but scriptures spilled into every other chapter and puzzle piece throughout this book.  The author seems very knowledgeable on scripture and passionate about her religion, but because I usually don’t read scripture-driven literature, it seemed like a lot at some points.

Joy is a puzzle piece I was looking forward to reading…it had chapters for me!  I always try to have a positive outlook on things, and that is a very powerful attribute as a mother.  “A mother of joy looks to her husband as an equal partner and helpmate in their journey together.  She understand that her mind is powerful and can influence her mood…A joyful mother treasures the fleeting moments with her children and makes memories with them that will last for generations.”  Being a joyful mother will shine on your children and they will learn through you.

Peace is a realistic opportunity for every mother.  The combination of recognizing, realizing, and understanding all the pieces that make your own motherhood is essential for finding peace.  By reading this book, it helped me pinpoint what is important in my own puzzle and what I strive to work on.  The end message was, “Keep moving forward…Your ‘small and simple’ offerings are noticed, and they do make a difference.”

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