Why Should Obama Have All the Fun?


White House

Barack Obama took his oath of office yesterday at the second inaugural. Merriam-Webster Online (http://www.m-w.com) defines inaugural as “marking a beginning.” Today I am marking the beginning of writing my first blog post on my brand new web site (http://maryanninprogress.com). And while there won’t be masses of people, Beyoncé,  Kelly Clarkson, a parade and hordes of Secret Service awaiting my inaugural post, I think I may have something in common with our President.

It’s my second time to start a blog and thus, my second inauguration, too. How so? In the fall of 2006 I noticed that my teenage daughter was spending a lot of time on this “new” web site called Facebook. Concerned about safety issues and a possible Internet addiction, I created an account for myself (during my lunch hour) on Facebook to investigate privacy policies and to see what she was doing on this site. My intention was to delete the account by the end of my lunch hour. I knew it was not “cool” for a mother to be on Facebook (at least not back then!), but my daughter, who was supposed to be at school at the time, posted to my wall before the hour was up. What?!

After chastising her (At least that’s my memory???) for posting while at school, I decided that, if she was not nervous about having her mother on this site, I would keep the account open to continue to monitor her activity. One day I noticed the Notes feature and my passion for writing got the better of me and I decided to post a note as a sort of online journal.

More than six years later, I have penned over 330 notes on Facebook. Shockingly, my friends regularly commented and shared my notes with others. People encouraged me to write a book regularly, as well. Knock me over with a feather!

To be honest, writing a book terrifies me. The whole process seems daunting. But fortunately, that young daughter grew up and married her high school boyfriend this past year. He just happens to be a web programmer and Internet entrepreneur now. (In other words, she married really, really well, despite the horror of having a mother on Facebook.) And I decided he would be a very good person to consult about writing a book, since he, himself, had already done that. Obviously, he has no fear!

He said, “First, you need to take ownership of your writing and move to your own web site.”  My mind raced with how such an idea could “backfire” in the most dramatic ways (All “racing” resulted in mass destruction of the planet, of course.). And that “racing” often paralyzes me.

But, recently, I seem to be making progress at facing several of my fears and I decided to analyze the Facebook Notes and see what happened to be most popular. I write on a variety of topics (I write whatever happens to hit me at 1 am, which is when I seem to be the most prolific…what can I say? I’m a bat.). I thought the most popular would be my sarcastic, humorous stuff and while that was the bulk of what I wrote, the stuff that generated the most response per post was the “make you think…make you act/change” stuff.  Don’t get me wrong…I still often inserted a fair amount of humor into these posts, too, but it was about things that actually helped me move forward in my life and helped me face all of those fears. They are the things that move us all these days…a movie quote, a remark someone makes on that vaunted Facebook, a situation that forces me to rethink, a message from my pastor.

Thus, the emphasis of maryanninprogress.com will be focused on my journey to self-improvement…becoming the MaryAnn that I want to be. My journey doesn’t look like most people’s…I take a lot of U-turns on my journey. You know those clover-leaf highway intersections??? Yeah…that’s what my self-improvement journey looks like. And I’ve pretty much been on every part of the clover leaf (And much to my dismay, I will be on these parts several times before I finally move in a forward direction.) If I can do it wrong, I will not only do that, but I will invent a new way to do it wrong…I mean, you might as well be creative about messing up, right??? (My long-suffering husband confirms this about me. Fortunately, he seems to even love this about me! Either that or he’s a really good actor. But, he’s been acting for over 30 years now, so maybe it’s the former??? If not, I’m nominating him for an Oscar.) Despite all of this nonsense, I do manage to learn and do manage to eventually conquer fear.

I hope you will take the journey with me (This really requires bravery!) and hopefully, take fewer U-turns and visits to your own clover leaves than I have had to take. Perhaps I can share what I have learned on my journey and it will inform yours? Perhaps we can inspire one another by our “conversation” here and laugh a little, pick ourselves up when we fail miserably and try, try again? I don’t know where we’ll wind up on this journey, but I hope we both wind up being happier, healthier and better at giving something useful to our families, friends, communities and nation.  They deserve that from us, in my humble opinion.

I have a small inkling that running the U.S. (with a House of Representatives that is led by your opposition party) is not exactly a picnic, either, even if you’re doing it for the second time. I bet it’s a little scary and you cannot always predict where you will wind up. I’ll bet that it often involves making some U-turns and visiting clover leaves and trying yet again. In other words, it’s like life, even for one lived on a much grander scale than mine (I doubt Jason Wu will be designing my ball gowns any time soon.). So, Mr. President? I feel a little bit of your fear and trepidation this morning. But, I also feel a great deal of excitement, too. Here’s to both of our second inaugurations—may we find success at improving each of our “corners” of the world!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post! I plan to “warm up” with a few “MaryAnnisms” and then “recycle” some of the “oldies, but goodies” from the Facebook years. And for the record, mothers are always welcome here….not to mention that awesome daughter of mine and her equally-awesome husband, aka my “web mentor.” But no posting while in class (She’s now working on her master’s.)!



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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 7:00 am and is filed under First Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. January 22nd, 2013 | Laura Nichols says:

    Mary Ann,

    While I never knew about your notes on Facebook I am glad to know about them now and the opportunity to follow you and your journey. I’m own my own journey and I do hope that you can point me in the right way from time to time. Congratulations on your site! I know you will have a huge following. Keep up the good work.

    Laura Nichols

  2. January 22nd, 2013 | Peggy Lowrie says:

    I came to FB late and reluctantly after my daughter tired of me looking over her shoulder, so she set up my account. Next, because our paths were crossing in many ways, I discovered your “Notes”. I remember a discussion with a special lady in our lives; I think I said, “MaryAnn really needs to write”, and she said “she wants to do that”. So, today, I think she may be smiling down on you.

    I’m looking forward to those “Erma Bombeck” moments.

  3. January 22nd, 2013 | maryann says:

    Way to make me tear up, Peggy! But, I hope you’re right! Our daughters are so smart. 😉 Thanks!

  4. January 22nd, 2013 | Mack says:

    I was going to post as Beyonce, to make you feel better about the lack of stardom at your inauguration, but I didn’t know her e-mail address. We’re proud of you for putting yourself out there, and I can’t wait to see where this endeavor takes you!

  5. January 22nd, 2013 | Cal Arnold says:

    Great to see it up and running!! Keep the articles coming!! The Lord bless, Uncle Cal
    Hope I didn’t submit this twice!

  6. January 22nd, 2013 | Liesa, Sr. says:

    Cheering you on!

  7. January 22nd, 2013 | Denise Stuart says:

    Looking forward to reading your posts on your new site!! Enjoy!

  8. January 22nd, 2013 | Judith Heinrich says:

    Congrats! Can’t wait to take this trip with you and am thrilled that it doesn’t involve packing and moving. Much success!

  9. January 22nd, 2013 | Liesa says:

    Go, Mom, Go! For the record, I had no way of posting in class back then. Sure it wasn’t Nick even if you were monitoring me? I mean, isn’t one of your MaryAnnisms “blame the brothers!”?

  10. January 22nd, 2013 | Beth says:

    Sooo excited to see you start this new journey! Gives me hope that there may be something new on my horizon, too!! Don’t have the slightest idea what that something might be, but it gives me hope!!

  11. January 23rd, 2013 | Your Worst Nightmare says:

    When are you going to get over your fear of brevity?

  12. January 24th, 2013 | maryann says:

    Dear Nightmare:


  13. January 24th, 2013 | Tonya Dobson says:

    I am so excited for your new adventure and I can’t wait to read your posts. I love all your fb notes and have laughed and cried and then laughed again at them!

  14. January 24th, 2013 | Brent says:

    I’m so glad you are doing this. Day 2 and already I’m inspired by today’s post about 20 seconds. Ty

  15. January 25th, 2013 | MarcyT says:

    Yay, MA!

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