The Story of the Bean Plant

Seven weeks ago, back in the heady early days of this thing we call virtual schooling, my son and I planted a bean to observe the plant lifecycle in action. Honestly, I didn’t even think the seed would sprout. The packet of green bean seeds had been sitting around in my basement for the last decade with my other gardening hopes and dreams, just waiting for something to happen.

The original assignment was to stick the seeds on a wet paper towel in a plastic baggie so the kid could watch the roots grow and the stem and then the leaves, if you were that lucky. I swear growing up, my seed was always the one that rotted and grew florescent mold instead of actually growing.

So when it fulfilled its seedy destiny and definitely grew, I was both surprised and thankful. I had no desire to explain that sometimes things die to my kiddo. It’s literally last thing on my list of things I don’t want to do during an already insanity causing year.

But, it couldn’t live in that sandwich baggie, it needed to be in dirt – as kiddo so helpfully told me. Every. single. day. Change means risk. Transferring a delicate baby plant that’s clinging for its life on a paper towel to a Solo cup of dirt could very well kill it, especially if I relied on the elephant-like grace of my 3rd grader. At the same time, it was his project. He had every right to do the transfer himself.

Long story short. Our combined efforts didn’t kill the thing. If anything, it might have encouraged it. I have a proud adult bean plant living in my office window that’s ACTUALLY GROWING BEANS.

The big decision now is whether we eat the three whole beans when they are ripe, or let them grow to maturity and repeat the cycle again with the seeds we collect?

The moral to this story is that you might be a bean seed. You might have been stuck in a position where you couldn’t really do anything for an excruciating amount of time until one day you finally got your chance. It might be a wet paper towel in a baggy kind of a chance, but it is better than sitting in an envelope with a bunch of other dry seeds.

You choose. Do you grow like a crazy 3rd grade science experiment? Or do you accidentally let the furry blue mold get you?

There might be risks and dangers. You might risk everything to move up to something bigger and better (with actual dirt!). There might be someone with the grace of a pachyderm there trying to help you, but might actually crush you.

Grow anyway.

And when your three green beans are long and fat, harvest and remember that you once were a little seed.


Hi everyone! Jodi here. I’ve been enjoying writing these little Friday tidbits for the past while and sharing my thoughts on life, the universe, and everything. But, like all good things, it’s time for a change. At the end of October, these Friday notes will shift exclusively to my newsletter and this blog will be dedicated to weekly book and movie reviews and the occasional important announcement.

Don’t miss out – join my newsletter today. You’ll get updates, freebies, links, and all sorts of fun stuff.

Change is as Good as a Rest

This week is Fall Break which means a much appreciated change in my schedule. One whole week where entire mornings aren’t sucked away by all the various needs and dramas created by the crap shoot that is virtual schooling. One whole week where we’ve made a point to have a bit of fun where we can. One whole week where I don’t drag myself to the end of the day and then fall into bed utterly exhausted.

To say I’ve been enjoying it is a massive understatement. I resumed my morning yoga practice, much to the dismay of my bones who’ve gotten rather used to not doing much more than sitting and walking. There’s nothing quite like finding center in the quiet of the morning before the kiddos have woken up.

Despite the change being short lived, or perhaps because of it, it’s made me think of the old English proverb ” A change is as good as a rest” I know that these more relaxed days are numbered and so it was all the more important to make the most of them. Had this been a longer break, it might have taken longer to jump into the activities I enjoy.

Here’s to cool fall days, warm rich meals, and taking a moment to just be.

I hope that this fall break has been a pleasant one for all of you and that you’ve taken the time to do the things you enjoy.


Hi everyone! Jodi here. I’ve been enjoying writing these little Friday tidbits for the past while and sharing my thoughts on life, the universe, and everything. But, like all good things, it’s time for a change. At the end of October, these Friday notes will shift exclusively to my newsletter and this blog will be dedicated to weekly book and movie reviews and the occasional important announcement.

Don’t miss out – join my newsletter today. You’ll get updates, freebies, links, and all sorts of fun stuff.

Meet the Strong Moms

For the past year and a half, I’ve been sharing my store of motherly wit and wisdom with a group of women who affectionately call themselves the Strong Moms. These posts go out once a week under the wide umbrella of “Strong Mom Tips” and are usually focused on good psychological advice ranging from productivity, to health, to anger management.

Recently the Strong Moms have started their own website, specifically made to contain all the awesomeness of the best of their posts, mine included. If you’re a mom who needs a lift and would like a friendly place to go for a virtual hug, the Strong Moms site has all the warmth and love of a chocolate chip cookie still gooey from the oven.

Head over here to check them out on Facebook.

Go here to explore the website.

The last few weeks I’ve sharing several different ideas that are important to me, especially as we enter school season once again. The first demonstrates the importance of stepping back and letting our kids learn to entertain themselves from a young age to help them learn self sufficiency and independence. Another post explores the psychology behind finishing the goals we start, even if it doesn’t turn out the way we expect.

A few of the other articles that have recently been posted on the blog include a beautiful piece one called “Becoming” which explores how we can shape our experience through the power of our thought patterns. Another discusses the very practical issue of when one should consider supplementing an infants feeding with formula.

With new articles being posted daily, there’s always something new. You’re sure to find a helpful article, and inspirational story, or a shared experience to make you laugh.


Thank you dear reader for stopping by! If you’d like to be notified of future posts here at JodiLMilner.com, be sure to ‘subscribe’ using the handy links. Or, even better, sign up to be part of my mailing list and get a signup bonus of one of my short stories for free.

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Climbing Walls

Last week I talked about how I had gotten myself stuck in a story problem and hadn’t managed to navigate my way out of it. This isn’t some remedial math course, honestly actual math problems are so much easier. All the information is there, you just have to figure out how the pieces fit together to find the answer.

No, this was an entirely different kind of story problem. One that had an actual story broken in the middle of it. In the past, I’d keep writing scenes until something worked. The action of putting words on the page often loosens up the creativity enough for a great idea to fall out. But considering where my anxiety and stress levels have been these past few weeks, not only does that option seem tedious and time wasting, I simply don’t have the energy to play with ideas and scenes that I will probably have to throw away.

I had a wall. How do we get over walls? We build ladders.

When we can’t build a ladder, we break out the sledgehamers.

Whatever you do, don’t take a sledgehammer to your ladder. That really doesn’t help.

As the week kept trickling by, and I knew I would have to be accountable to you dear people, I knuckled down and got to work – yesterday. I lined up all the loose ends, teased out the biggest issues, and tackled the dragon that was holding my ending hostage. After all of that, I’m proud to say I now have a direction to follow, and several burns and scratches that probably need some attention.

So yeah, I could still use some ice cream, and maybe a band-aid or two.

Now the real work of getting the thing written can begin. Yay?

Could someone tell the dragon that I’m out of treats and he needs to go home?

Down, Zeddicus!

Adventure is out there!

As the summer rolls on, it’s becoming harder and harder to hide in my cute little office and work. There are exciting things to do, things to see, and I might be a teensy weensy bit stir crazy. When the crazies set in, it’s time for a change of scenery.

This weekend that drive to adventure took our family up Big Cottonwood Canyon to explore the Mill B area. What’s great about this spot is that the water from the river cools down the canyon floor making it a welcome break from the summer heat. There are stunning waterfalls, comfortable short hikes, and plenty of rocks for the kiddos to scramble around on.

On a recommendation from a family member, we found Hidden Falls which is marked only by a tiny sign. It’s not even a hike, but rather a climb up the side of a hidden stream that leads to a lovely isolated grotto. The kids had a great time climbing and traversing the stream on half submerged rocks like a real world “floor is lava” game, and I was thrilled to get them away from their screens for a while.

To finish up the afternoon, we hiked Mill B South which is also a short well-maintained and nearly flat trail that leads to a larger staircase waterfall at the end. It’s a perfect place to bring a picnic and get away from things.

A lot of this area is what I imagine the dramatic canyons and mountains in Stonebearer’s Betrayal to feel like. There are steep slopes and hidden gems just waiting to be found. Maybe if I go far enough, I’ll find an immense castle occupied by magical immortals.

Hey, a girl can dream.

What are your favorite outdoor activities?


Thank you dear reader for stopping by! If you’d like to be notified of future posts here at JodiLMilner.com, be sure to ‘subscribe’ using the handy links. Or, even better, sign up to be part of my mailing list and get a signup bonus of one of my short stories for free.

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My New Favorite Thing: Calm Stories

There’s something inherently soothing about listening to a story. It brings back memories of comfortable evenings curled up on a couch and having someone read to me, or listening to tales spun around a campfire under the glittering stars.

Lately, I’ve been indulging in audiobooks as an escape from the mundane. It makes doing housework and yardwork an excuse to get away from the well worn sights and complaints of being stuck at home. With a story in my ears, I can let my mind wander to a new place and step into someone else’s shoes for a while. Sometimes these places are fantastical and dangerous, sometimes they are familiar. It’s a nice change while it lasts.

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

A week ago I spotted a new trend in storytelling and I kind of love it. It might be my new favorite idea ever. Just the thought of it makes me smile. Celebrities are reading bedtime stories to anyone who wants to hear them on the Calm app. Imagine that soothing comfort of being curled into a blanket and listening to a story, but this time it’s spoken in the warm tones of a character’s voice you love.

The celebrity that caught my attention was Jerome Flynn of Game of Thrones fame. He was the morally grey sell-sword who enters service as a bodyguard to Tyrion, one of the princes of King’s Landing. He’s got a deep calm voice with an ever so appealing soft Scottish accent. I wouldn’t mind drifting off to sleep listening to him tell a story one bit.

Meet Bronn, played by Jerome Flynn, one of my favorite roguish characters.

The Calm app is something I’ve used for meditation off and on. There is a little bit of everything in there so everyone can find something that works for them. I usually use the guided meditation with music portion of the app but am seriously considering listening to the bedtime stories next time I fight a bout of insomnia.

While there are plenty of different people reading bedtime stories, here are the ones that caught my attention –

  • Matthew McConaughey
  • Jerome Flynn
  • Lucy Liu
  • LeVar Burton
  • Bob Ross
  • Stephen Fry

If this sounds soothing to you, go check it out.

https://app.www.calm.com/sleep

Note, I’m not being sponsored or compensated in anyway for my review or post, I just really like this idea. Now to find some cozy headphones to wear in bed.

Oh wait, here’s some. Yep. I know what’s going on my wish list next.

Who would love to hear read you a bedtime story? Let me know in the comments!


Thank you dear reader for stopping by! If you’d like to be notified of future posts here at JodiLMilner.com, be sure to ‘subscribe’ using the handy links. Or, even better, sign up to be part of my mailing list.

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Jodi L Milner is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Valentine’s Gifts for the Author in your Life

All hail the corporate money grab that is Valentine’s Day!

Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of Valentine’s Day. I love spending time thinking of something special to give to a significant other, or figuring out ways of showing appreciation. Having a day for this is a great reminder of something we should be doing all the time.

If your someone special happens to be an author, here are five thoughtful and fairly inexpensive gift ideas of things they will love.

Writing Gloves

Sitting still and working at a computer for hours on end often means cold hands and feet. These cute writing gloves add an extra layer of warmth and charm. Choose from several different writing samples. I have the Pride and Prejudice set and may or may not have my eyes on the Little Prince set.

Digital Recorder

Yes, I know that a phone can do it. But, even with the best of intentions, a phone can be very distracting and unsafe to use while driving. A digital recording device eliminates all the guess work and in most cases it’s as easy as 1) push the easy-to-find button and 2) start talking. I don’t have one of these yet, but I have my eye on this one:

Distraction free writing keyboard

I’ll admit, this is one of my favorite little toys because it’s fun and easy to use. You can bring it anywhere, the battery lasts for months, and it’s easy to transfer text to a computer. I’ve used mine for taking notes at conferences, writing chapters for NaNoWriMo, and drafting blog posts on the go. Note, this particular model is pretty old school and the listings you will find will be refurbished items.

Snarky Writing Themed T-shirt

Every writer needs at least one funny writing t-shirt. I have two. One reads “Hyperbole: the best thing ever” and the other “Authors, always making a scene.” There are hundreds to choose from, but here are a few I found especially amusing:

Book inspired chocolates and treats

Treats and writing go hand-in-hand. A thoughtful gift could simply be a collection of the goodies the author in your life enjoys. I love Jelly Belly jelly beans, sugar wafers, and cheetos. But, if you want to ramp it up a notch, here are a few other awesome options:

If all else fails …

If you’re still stuck, there’s always a gift card. I know for certain that your author has a stack of books on their “I really want this” list. A gift card lets them pick the perfect one that they want right in the moment, or wait until their next favorite juicy title comes out.


I hope these ideas were helpful for you! If you have any other amazing gift ideas, please share them in the comments. I’m always looking for cool new things to try.


Thank you dear reader for stopping by! If you’d like to be notified of future posts here at JodiLMilner.com, be sure to ‘subscribe’ using the handy links. Or, even better, sign up to be part of my mailing list.

Jodi L Milner is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

A Love Letter to Epic Music

Music is a powerful thing. There’s no other force on earth that can manipulate the whole spectrum of human emotion using only vibration. The closest parallel I can think of is what writers do using only symbols on a page. Go figure…

Growing up, I could never sleep (thanks anxiety!) and would lie awake in bed for hours. To keep me quiet and hopefully lull me to sleep I would listen to music cassettes. Yes, cassettes. There was once an incident involving the soundtrack to A Chorus Line. I must have been three or four years old.  Apparently, one day I started wandering around the house singing “Dance 10, Looks 3” (famously known as the “Tits and Ass” song). Google at your own risk there. Somehow that cassette disappeared from my collection and was replaced with famous classical pieces … odd.

I still have sleepless nights, but now I keep myself busy coming up with new things to do to my characters.  Insert evil laugh here.

An endless parade of violin lessons, orchestras, ensembles, and quartets later, and you can say classical music is in my blood. But, not the boring uppity stuff. Nah. Give me Dvorak, give me Wagner. Give me modern-day movie soundtracks! Get my heart beating. Excite me, people! Loud horns. Drums that shake the floor. Sweeping strings. I love it all.

It’s no surprise that now as a grown up, or at least someone pretending to be one, intense classical music works a special kind of magic over me. I am transported. I use it to summon up the right feelings when writing and editing intense and/or emotional scenes. Thanks to Mr. Internet, there is a wealth of music that really scratches my itch. Here are some of my favorites.

Do you have a favorite piece of music that stirs you? Share it in the comments!

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Being Happy with Your “Now” You

forest-autumn-fall-trees-stone-colors-leaves-beautiful-wallpapers-hd-1280x768.jpgI got a rejection this morning. Another one. The ninth in six weeks.

Was I upset? Absolutely. I let myself be angry for about five minutes. I may have punched the mattress a few times.

It’s after times like these I get a bit introspective. That, and I’ve got a birthday coming up. It’s almost impossible to not think about what I’ve done with my life so far. Have I made the difference in the world that I hoped for this year?

This past year has been hugely different from previous years. In November 2016, I sent out my first query letter seeking a publisher for my first novel. This process is not for the weak at heart. Every time I hit send, I put this book into someone else’s hands hoping they will see in it the potential I do.

Then comes the waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

This is not calm, patient waiting. This is anxiety gripping at the throat waiting. Any minute an email might come that will change everything. It’s tense business. It’s hard to go on living a normal life and not be forever staring at my phone waiting for that notification to come through.

After five and six and ten and fourteen rejections you’d think I’d get numb to it. And I have, a little. You are forced to distance yourself from your project and see it as something other than your baby.

At the same time, it’s hard to not take rejection personally and not have feelings of worthlessness creep in when my project I’ve thrown my soul into is rejected time and time again.

What does this have to do with happiness? Nothing. Everything.

If this year has taught me anything it’s that happiness has nothing to do with what is happening around you and to you. Good things happen, bad things happen. Should you depend on your circumstances to determine your mood, you are cursed to live a life that looks like a roller coaster.  The only constant in your life is you. If you can’t find happiness in your own skin, what makes you think you can find it anywhere else?

There has been one other significant change in my life this past year. My youngest now goes to school everyday. I didn’t realize what a difference it makes when I can take care of myself instead of living in survival mode. You can’t be happy if you are living in survival mode. You are just trying to not drown as the next wave comes.

It’s been a long year, and an educational one. Between finally getting some “me” time and learning to accept endless rejection, I’ve found a weird happiness.

I’m okay with the me I am. And that’s just fine.

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How have you found your happiness? Share in the comments below! Don’t forget to “like” and “subscribe” so you don’t miss out on future posts.