How You Found My Blog

Some days, I wonder if Google kidnaps common sense, holds it for ransom. 

Every so often, we bloggers check to see how people are finding our piece of internet real estate. We gasp at the horrifying realization that people do two things: search for crazy shit and find our blogs. Being the well-meaning bloggers that we are, we check to see how long the person stayed on our site, number of pages visited, whether or not a spammy comment was left as a calling card.

So in the name of being a good blogger, here are a few of searches that led to this blog(note: insightful commentary is free of charge).

  • Sarah Askins: Now, this one makes sense. It is my name. It is in my lovely blog header. But whoever searched for “sarah askins” didn’t stay long. Wrong Sarah, maybe? Perhaps, you’re searching for a long lost romantic fling. Sorry, I’m not available so look elsewhere. Maybe, you’re some weird cyberstalker, mooching off someone else’s money, sitting on a plastic covered couch, eating Doritos your pet monkey hand feeds you because you don’t like the cheese dust on your fingers. But I could be wrong. I dare you to correct this impression in the comments.
  • Redneck striptease: What’s the difference between a redneck striptease and a normal one? I guess you may get a longer show if the overalls come off, then the flannel button up shirt, next the long underwear. But I’m not a redneck. I just married one, and there will never be any rednecks dancing around in tight flannel shirts on this blog.
  • Black cat pictures making love: Really? You want to see cats getting their groove on…I’m hoping that you were severely intoxicated when you googled that mess. Besides, if you really wanted to see black cats listening to Marvin Gaye and getting funky, don’t you think it would be hard at night when decent creatures do said things to SEE the black cats. Please, common sense, people, common sense.
  • Fortune cookie writer what is good job: You’re not qualified. Consider flipping burgers as an alternate option.
  • I have to read 10 books in a week: Shouldn’t you have started before now? I could easily see you reading 10 children’s books, but 10 Victorian novels, 10 books on economics, 10 books on any adult level may be a challenge. Word of advice…Plan better next time!

For all of you lovely bloggers, share some of you favorite ways people found you blog in the comments.

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How I Feel

Right now, 

I feel tired, stressed, worn out, fatigued, empty, drained, lacking all forms of energy…

AND the coffee isn’t helping.

What is helping?

Laughing, writing, smiling, reading, snuggling under a blanket, lighting candles…


Crazy Face Ophelia

Who can resist a puppy? Yes, I may look at this every so often too.

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My Life Through Instagram

Another day, another tweeted picture, another memory frozen in the damn, near perfect filters of Instagram.


Ah, the Lego man so unaware that his mortal enemy Red Peppa Flakes is stalking him.

Dear Teens,

Not sure how y’all define new, but Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility was kinda like published 200ish years ago. Ok, fine, compared to The Epic of Gilgamesh…it is newish.

This is not giving someone personal space.

Now, this is giving someone personal space. See the difference?

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Unveiling The Dark Jane Austen Book Club

New projects make my heart glad.


I’m excited, giddy, and a bit nervous…Okay, I’m very nervous because I want the whole world to like this new project.


But before I tell you what this project is, let me fill y’all in on the back story a bit.


A Brief History:


This project started with a tweet. A small insignificant tweet that grew into a flurry of direct messages, then budded into Skype chats, coffee sessions, and finally it has blossomed into something beautiful.


Drum roll please……….


I proudly introduce y’all to…..


The Dark Jane Austen Book Club

Do you find Jane Austen’s writing beautiful, but think it would even better with a few zombies, vampire, and werewolves?

Then, The Dark Jane Austen Book Club is for you!

Do you secretly wish to find a group or start a group that discusses both the classic works of Austen along with the monster parodies?

Then, The Dark Jane Austen Book Club is for you!

So, take a hop, skip, and a jump over to The Dark Jane Austen Book Club. Don’t forget to pack your sword and crossbow, zombies are roving about the countryside over there.

You can also follow us on Twitter @DarkJaneAusten

10 Reasons a Small Blog is Better


Sarah: The Blogger of From Tolstoy to Tinkerbell


I’m horrible with dates. While some bloggers can remember their blog’s birthday, I’m not one of those people. But number of posts especially hundreds of posts, that’s something I can wrap my feeble brain around.


This is my 200th blog post!


Yeah, 200 posts is a lot. What’s even more amazing, I kept blogging. So many times, I cried and almost quit because my blog was “small.” Big bloggers garnered all of the social media frenzy, but once the tears dried, I realized being a small blogger has its advantages.


So, without further eloquence….


10 Reasons Being a Small Blogger is WAY Cooler:

  1. Your inbox doesn’t micromanage your life.Better yet, you don’t complain about the inbox. It sits and waits for you when you’re ready. If you want another cup of coffee before email, you drink up.
  2. Trolls haven’t found your blog—YET!Now, this point is one of the great things about being a small blogger—for me at least. You see I can blog about Mark Driscoll’s Facebook post, feminism and the church—and no trolls bother me. They are too busy with larger, more popular blogs to mess with me. A word of caution to trolls: you mess with my blogging friends, you have messed with me. Watch out!
  3. Only your mom, spouse/partner, and maybe a few close friends see your internet goof.Those misspelled words, BAD syntax, even bad information can be forgiven when you are a small blogger.
  4. You become the ninja of awkward blog related conversations. Here’s my case in point:                                          Well-meaning friend: what is it that you DO?    Me: I blog!(to be read in a chirpy, over-caffeinated Minnie Mouse voice)   Well-meaning friend:Oh____(awkward pause) do a lot of people read it?   Me: Just my mom, my husband, and maybe my dog if she could read. Here’s my blog’s URL, you should totally read it.  Well-meaning friend: Wow, the weather sure has been hot lately.
  5. Blogging “breaks” are code words for writer’s block, lack of interest, doing more interesting things—just without so much guilt. My blog equals my writing muse’s schedule.
  6. Happiness comes in small packages—a few well-meaning comments, small stats, but hey, someone’s reading.
  7. While there’s a whole world of “bigger blogs,” there are also libraries. And libraries are happy places.
  8. WordPress, Blogger, and Typepad are created equal.What’s even better, these blogging platforms are free. So, you can voice your opinions without spending money; however, like any good “free thing,” a blog does require time which is so not free.
  9. Your happiest blog moment comes from seeing your blog listed in someone else’s blogroll. Extra Happy Points if she is a small blog too.The same happy feeling comes again when others Like your Facebook page(see the right column, that’s mine—go make me happy, LIKE my blog!), Retweet your blog post, tell you that your writing sparked good conversation. All happy things, warm fuzzies, mood lifting things.


But most importantly,

  1. Your blog is your platform to speak. Speak well, speak often, and speak in love.


Here’s to another 100 posts, more good conversations full of love and grace.

Question: What would be your number 11 to why small blogs are way cooler?


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Road Trip and 3 questions for YOU!

California Redwood Road Tripphoto © 2009 Paige Burghardt | more info (via: Wylio)

Today, I’m hitting the road, crossing the Mason Dixon line for some Skyline Chili, Reds game, and one long wooden roller coaster. One of the extra benefits of being a stepmom are the slightly more frequent trips alone with the Redneck Romeo. Adventures to be had, the big city to explore, and the necessity of eating large bowls of chili with neon yellow cheese. You may need to pity my digestive system of this trip.


Long trips usually mean that I have overpacked the suitcase with more clothes than I will ever wear and my shoes will be numerous. Do I need to take 3 pairs of flip-flops? Of course, I do. I need a brown pair, a black pair, and a pair to wear to and from the hot tub.


Not to mention, the Wal-Mart snack run, the choosing of the bubble gum, and the all important question: to take the laptop or not to take the laptop? Right now, I’m waffling back and forth.


While I’m heading up the road, how about you tell me about your favorite road trip gear, plans, or dreams? Okay?


  1. What was the last road trip you took?
  2. What three songs are your road trip playlist?
  3. What snack are required to drive down the road peacefully?





Unicorns, Writing, and a Kay-Pro

Unicornphoto © 2009 Monica | more info (via: Wylio)

For twenty-nine years, I have tried to deny this one title.

I didn’t want the stigma or questioning or the wide eyed glances of “you’re crazy.” No matter, I grew up with a dedicated one. I didn’t care too much when others recognized my ability for this particular craft. I lived in denial because it is so much easier than saddling myself with this title. Being an English teacher, I discussed great poets, playwrights, novelists. I danced amongst their lively words, savored the iambic pentameter, the funny way my tongue shaped Chaucer’s words in Middle English. I thought this was enough to quench my lust for this craft. But it wasn’t.

Today, I accept this title and eye rolls and knowing glances. I’m a writer, a word-crafter(there, I said it. And now, if you be so kind as to stop treating me like I’m getting a face tattoo). Perhaps, if I looked back more carefully, I would have noticed my writing tendencies, paid more attention to the praise of others. I was young.

My writing story begins with a Kay-pro computer, Kaypro 10photo © 2010 Alexios | more info (via: Wylio)

a faux wood paneled basement, and a unicorn.

Now, I grew up with a writer in my house, my mom. I saw her every day write. I also grew up in a home with a computer. I realize this was actually kind of a big deal in the 1980’s, but I had no clue that every household didn’t have a computer. (Oh for those sweet, internet free days! But wait, my blog wouldn’t exist. Okay, fine, the internet and computers can stay.) Being a stereotypical girl, I also had a vast collection of unicorns, unicorn books in the obligatory pinks and purples. Computer plus unicorns equals New York Times best-seller, right?

Please remember this was the 80’s and this computer weighed like 300 pounds. A Kay-Pro resembled a large suitcase. Sure, it was movable if my mother lugged around in a navy fabric case for me. The screen black, the letters in an odd green. To even get to the word processing screen, codes typed and entered with more dashes, slashes than a horror film. But here I would type my masterpiece. Sitting on a folding chair, chubby fingers on the QWERTY keyboard, I wrote. My unicorn story would be a best-seller. I took great pains to describe her lovely purple mane and tail, her milky white horn, and her lovely violet eyes. There was a masterfully written plot, drama, a nail biting climax, and I fit it all into one paragraph. The rest of the page was the picture.


So, the moral of this story is: don’t let your children use the Kay-Pro, but I’m fairly certain you can only find those in antique stores. Or my parents house which is almost the same thing.


Question: how did you begin your current profession, career, etc?


The Fundamentalist Pantheon

greek godphoto © 2006 Giovanni | more info (via: Wylio)



Or….A lot of white guys talking about religion whom we may elevate a bit too high.

Every religious group has its pantheon.

For the Egyptians, it was Ra, Osiris, and Isis. For the Greeks, it was Zeus, Hera, and Hades. For the Romans, it was Jupiter, Venus, and Neptune. But for the emerging offshoot of Judaism known as Christianity, we deny any claims to a pantheon of human invented gods and goddesses. As a child, I could pontificate on the differences between the God of the Bible and various other religious deities. The God that I served did not possess one tragic flaw, a human vice, or need for any grander temple adornment than my own heart. For years, I believed that we fundamentalists had escaped the pantheon mentality—one God equals no pantheon.


But we do frequently deceive ourselves.


In fact, the fundamentalist pantheon has caused some the grandest, most hateful, bitter disagreements for the evangelical community. Like the Corinthian believers who identified with various early church leaders, Paul did warn us about such hero worship. So, perhaps, fundamentalist evangelicals don’t have a pantheon in the truest sense of the word, but we certainly have these demigods:


The Pantheon:


Martin Luther: Criticized the church with his religious treatise and made popular the statement “the just shall live by faith.” While this is true, we have placed him on a elevated pedestal, and we have ignored his anti-semitism and condoning of polygamy.


John Calvin: Another critic of the Roman Catholic Church, and the poor man will never live down the TULIP acronym. Of course, TULIP is more his zealous followers work than his, but guilty by association. Are we predestined, or do we have free-will? Questions that haunt many a young Calvinist today.


Charles Spurgeon: Preacher to thousands and still revered to this day as a champion of “sola scriptura.” But of course, how far does on take “sola scriptura?” Luther even foresaw the condoning of polygamy through the Scripture only argument.


C.S. Lewis: We are fine with Lewis being in the pantheon as long we only stick to his Narnia works and ignore his views on heaven, hell, and purgatory.


And of course, those in the Pantheon still living…..


John Piper: Good writer, but not the holiest tweeter. The now viral tweet of “Farewell, Rob Bell,” doesn’t resonate well with the more moderate evangelicals. Worse still, the Rob Bell books “Love Wins” had not even been released.


Mark Driscoll: Trying to make the church cooler for Jesus while focusing on Jesus’ manliness. Returning again to the religious battle of the sexes, are men and women equal—not in the church.

Rob Bell: Does Love Win? Yes, it does according to Bell.  But without references to his sources, he certainly is opening up his book to more controversy.

Now, the Pantheon has far more players—many white and male.

Perhaps, we should reexamine how we look at our Christian leaders. We squabble about whose side we are on, make t-shirts and dismiss the other side of believers from fellowship.



Question: Who else needs to be in the Pantheon? How do we move past this petty Christian hero worship?


Fanny Packs: The 80’s Worst Contribution

Two trends we dislike: Neon AND fanny packphoto © 2010 Ame Rainey | more info (via: Wylio)



Bright red, two zippers, rainbow words emblazoned on the front pouch. Nylon fabric and the waist band clasped perfectly for those who middle didn’t exceed the adjustable straps. Ahh, I remember it well—my first fanny pack. Since I was under the age of 10, the fanny pack was a perfect, practical accessory. I could stow my library card, wallet, whatever I needed and be completely hands free. Or the more likely scenario, I would not be whining for my mother to carry the purse, pocketbook when I refused to carry it. For children, the fanny pack is an alternative to mothers hauling suitcases of kiddie paraphernalia around.


But please…adults, the fanny pack will never be a good accessory choice for us.


Never, ever, ever, ever!



Please, resist the urge to buy a fanny pack for yourself, for friends, or worst buying one for me. I will return the fanny pack and let you know that I returned the fanny pack. Who ever thought that putting extra things around the mid-section of any person was a good idea? Seriously, let’s look like we gained 10 pounds in our tummy area, but don’t worry our arms won’t be encumbered with extra stuff. Hence, the fanny pack should pack up itself and go back in fashion faux pas closet.


Question: What’s one fashion faux pas that needs to get packing?