I Have a new “like me” on Facebook Page

Hi you guys — just in case you didn’t notice the “Like Deana” box to the left has changed. If any of you want to keep up with where I’m at and what I’m doing in comedy, I have a new Facebook Page – one that lists my actual name – I’d love it if you would click over and “LIKE” my page so that we can stay in touch there.



Chasing Feathers

lady-blowing-feathers-300x300They really need to fix that whole REPLY ALL function in email by adding some kind of warning like “you are about to copy the universe with your opinion, are you sure you wish to do this?” type feature or something.

That would simplify my life a whole heck of a lot.

Granted, so would self-control.

But I digress.

I heard a story one time about a man seeking the wisdom of the Shaman at the top of the mountain. The shaman took a feather pillow, tore it open and released the feathers. “Go and gather every feather.” He said.

The man raced around the mountain trying to catch every feather that fell and returned dejected.

“I tried my best, but I cannot catch every feather that you released. The wind is too strong.” he said.

The Shaman smiled. “And so it is with our words. Choose them wisely because once released, we cannot get them all back.”

I tend to be that man (or woman rather) running the mountain side trying to catch back every feather, every lie, every word, spoken and released at the top of the mountain by well-meaning, and perhaps not so well-meaning, Christians and atheists alike.

I want to snatch it away before it lands on someone’s head and they believe it.

So many responses have come out in light of the events of December 14th. My mail box and Facebook pages are full of what if this and what if that — I get it, we want answers.¬†Lying¬†about God isn’t the answer. Much better blogs have been written on this subject than I can write.

I snapped today — someone sent me yet another “Where was God” post. This one a Mike Huckabee video. I watched the video and¬†immediately¬†responded with “This Crap! This isn’t my God.” — without checking who was on the original list, I started chasing feathers — my response was rather lengthy and I’ll spare you the details. It seems I replied to everyone in this poor man’s mail box. Our church, our district and several national directors of Christian Education.

I’ll be apologizing to the man the next time I see him. I wasn’t trying to discount his motive, just Mike’s Message. Sometimes I wind up chasing my own feathers and that is never fun. Self control would have been prudent. It’s not my place to defend God. I’m learning however, it is my place and my call — to tell the truth about God.

But that is a story for another day.

Be well you guys. and Behave!

It’s My Faith, Not my Comedy, That Helps me “Cope”

“How do you¬†separate¬†the hyperbole from reality when you are with other comics?”

It depends entirely on the location and the relationship. If we’re friends we’re real. But we’re not always really friends, sometimes we’re just peers.

I can’t believe you know so-and-so! That is so cool!

No, I don’t know them.

But they are on your Facebook and you have pictures with them!


Being peers with someone, running into each other once or twice a year and photo ops, does not equal “Knowing” them. I get to meet a lot of cool people as a writer and as a comic, but that doesn’t mean we are friends. I am at best an¬†acquaintance¬†with some of them and just a fan for most others. ¬†A good¬†example¬†of that is somewhere in this vast world are photos of me with Johnny Cole and Huey Lewis, but it doesn’t mean we are friends or even know each other. The back story to those photos is the questionably legal introduction and being sent home by Mr. Lewis because he rightly assessed that while I might be of legal age, I really wasn’t that bright (defined as I was too¬†naive¬†for my own good) ¬†and my cute self and barely there black dress definitely¬†did not belong in front of their hotel in downtown Detroit back in 1987. ¬†My enthusiasm for meeting Mr. Cole¬†surpassed¬†all common sense, not to mention several city ordinances. Mr Lewis was a much-needed voice of reason and protected me from knowing more than I had bargained for. So, I have photos that prove we met, but that doesn’t mean we know each other. Thank God.

The false belief of knowing someone happens a lot today. We read news stories, books, Tweets, Facebook statuses, blogs and we gain this false sense of personal intimacy. We come to believe that we really know said person, when in actuality we don’t. Not really anyway. I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of that myself. True intimacy requires more than just internet snippets. True intimacy requires face time, honesty, humility, and mutual¬†transparency. True intimacy is a¬†commitment.

The word intimacy can really be broken down into three words: Into Me See.

Even though I’ve lived in 12 step rooms since I was 12 and been telling my story from a podium since I was 14, it’s my inner most circle that knows the really real me. They know the whiny sometimes feeling put upon raised an only child who says yes as quickly as she says no for all of the wrong reasons. The sometimes kind to a fault, wishes she had more of a spine when it counted me. ¬†They are the committed, tried, true, trusted, and wholly loved individuals that trudge this road of happy destiny. True to life for all of us, other people just get glimpses behind the curtain from time to time.

A behind the curtain glimpse for you guys – I don’t use comedy to cope, I don’t tell jokes about actual people I know (unless I have their permission), and it’s my faith (messy and crayola scribbled that it is) that gets me through life.¬†

While I have been guilty of perhaps “over sharing” some of my recent health issues on my private Facebook page at the request of several long distance friends who are going through the same thing, I do tend to keep the private out of the personal. Most of my stories and jokes are actually a conglomerate of events and people. The theme and overall message are the same, I’ve just changed it up enough that the guilty are protected.

I’m the same way with my comedy, I never tell jokes about individual people per se’, I do however write and tell jokes about circumstances and events that crack me up. Unless I have someone’s permission up front to include them in my jokes, I don’t. Even my doctor jokes are a conglomerate of several people and focus on the awkwardness of the situations caused by aging, than the physician himself. For those of us old enough to remember Phyllis Diller, her husband “fang” wasn’t real either. She made up a¬†persona¬†that skyrocketed her to stardom.

There are a few things that have been said to me recently that I would really like to speak to today if you don’t mind.

1. If I lived your life, I’d smoke too. — Said by my cardiologist last year based on a 5 minute¬†conversation. ¬† No, you wouldn’t. I smoke today (on and off) because I’ve been smoking since I was 17. I’m addicted. Smoking because of life circumstances is a cop out, call it what it is. I’m an addict prone to selfishness on¬†occasion¬†and tend to self destruct when feeling overwhelmed, it really is that simple.

2. I suppose being a stand up comic is a great coping mechanism — Not really. I don’t use comedy to cope. I use it to entertain, to show people the underbelly of life sometimes thereby making people think and to help bring levity to life circumstances. I find that when I use comedy as a coping mechanism or even a shield (as I’m sometimes prone to do) my humor becomes barbed and has a toxic bite. I don’t want that. I want people to feel good when leaving my show instead of feeling dirty. You know?

3. It’s my faith in something bigger than me, that helps me cope — While it was my mother who taught me how to say bedtime prayers, I really learned how to pray reading Judith Blume’s “Are You There God, it’s Me Margaret?” For those of you who are unfamiliar with that book, let me just say it’s a book about a young girl who wasn’t changing quickly enough to suit herself and she talked to God about it, daily, as if he were her friend. If that isn’t the story of my life.

The older I get the less willing I am to put God in some kind of black and white box. The more research I do on religion and spirituality, the more I realize that the debates out there aren’t about proving God is real or the facts surrounding history, so much as they are proving who is the smartest. I used to listen in on the modern debates between pastors and I get frustrated at the direction things go. There are too many egos out there for me today. ¬†If even the greatest scholars of today (and yesterday) can’t nail down the facts, I’m not about to try.

I just know today when it comes to knowing me — the really real me, I have this power greater than myself that I choose to call God. It’s that relationship that trumps all others. The one that sees through all my stuff and meets me exactly where I am no matter how messy, how confused, scared, sometimes lost, angry or happy I really am. Sometimes I lose faith and hope and ask to borrow a friend’s for a few days. That’s okay as well. It doesn’t matter to me if this relationship doesn’t make sense to others. It’s wholly mine. And I like it. It’s a relationship that is as real to me as the end of my nose, covered in Grace and Love, and Peace. It’s a relationship where instead of my pulling back the curtain for a glimpse, he tore it for a full view.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am wholly loved and fully known by the God of the universe – that’s all I need to know. That is how I cope.

Wishing all of my American readers a very happy Thanksgiving.

How (not) to Write A Novel

Notice that all of your writing friends have signed up for NaNoWriMo and being the kind of person who doesn’t like to feel left out of things agree to do it as well.

Tell everyone on Facebook you will be gone for a month because you are writing a novel.

Keep refreshing your page to see if anyone “likes” your status.

Move lap top to back porch to be inspired by scenery.

Knock over coffee cup with laptop.

Clean up spilled coffee.

Go get more coffee.

Check in on Facebook to see if anyone else is writing yet.

Find out your friends have over 5,000 words already.

Feel like a hopeless failure and go searching for chocolate.

Sit down and make yourself write garbage for an hour.

Delete garbage.

Go look for Bird by Bird book.

Read Bird By Bird

Find out that garbage is a good start.

Try to undelete file.

Check in on Facebook and talk to friends who aren’t supposed to be there either.

Solve family crisis.

Brood and lament about being the oldest child.

Argue about election with strangers.

Get into a cat fight.

Wish you still lived in Detroit.

Think about first amendment.

Write about first amendment.

Search Youtube for inspirational back ground music.

Write 19,854 words over 11 days

Decide your protagonist is an idiot.

Drink a glass of merlot hoping she’ll smarten up.

Remember that you have a banjo lesson in three days and you haven’t played in a week.

Practice for two hours in hopes of fooling teach.

Accept that you can’t learn a song in two hours and that teach is smarter than that.

Drink another glass of merlot and walk around the cove hoping for inspiration.

Get smacked in the gut with a new word for 2013.

Lament to writing coach.

Discover that you and your protagonist are one and the same.

Retract idiot statement.

Practice banjo some more.

Celebrate that you have 19,854 more words than you did 15 days ago.

Lay on floor listening to music and try to learn how to count beats.

Fall asleep counting beats.

Agree to write again in the morning.

Things to Think About: The Reality of the First Amendment and Branding

“I am a citizen of the United States. I am protected by the First Amendment. I can say what ever I want, where ever I want without repercussion!”

Really? No you aren’t and no you can’t. There is such a thing as unintended consequences.

All the First Amendment promises us is freedom from Government¬†interference.¬† No where does it state we are free from the repercussions of our employers or our customers. Remember the Chic Fil a fiasco? ¬†I’m not saying I agree or disagree with his statements, what I am saying is our customers pay attention to what we say every place we say it. Christians cried “persecution” when a select group of customers called for a boycott. Even as a Christian myself, I find the cry hypocritical as the SBC boycotts Disney. Where Mr. Cathy’s first amendment rights were¬†violated¬†is when¬†government¬†officials started putting sanctions on his place of business in Boston and other cities. Lesson learned in that is customers watch everything we say and do in regards to our company brands.

So do our employers. 

A friend of mine from Atlanta brought this story to my attention today:¬†Woman fired for using the N-word on her Facebook page.¬†Apparently a young gal who works for a medical office used the N-Word on her “private” Facebook wall on Tuesday night referring to our President. Then she called somebody else that same word. Her posts went viral by morning. Because she works for a medical facility, people expressed concern : One email to 11Alive asked, “Are African-Americans safe at this office? Does this young lady care for African-Americans as she does all patients?” ¬†These posts were brought to the attention of her employer and she was terminated immediately.

I don’t blame them. She hurt their image. Right or wrong, she gave people the impression that their medical care was in jeopardy. They really had no choice in the matter.

Reputations are hard-earned and easily lost. 

There is no such thing as a PRIVATE SOCIAL NETWORK. Everything we type via Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, has the potential to be an international broadcast.

I remember the days of working in IT and email was the newest big thing. Everyone thought their email accounts were their private matter. Boy were they shocked when people started getting fired over the inflammatory remarks made against management. People were also shocked to discover that emails are legal documents and can be used in courts of law. Emails created on company servers belong to the company not the individual. The same goes for every social network we use.


Is that fair? Some would argue no. Is it reality? A thousand times yes. I’m married to a corporate vice president. Several of his employees and co-workers have access to my blog, my twitter even my Facebook – a lot of us are on the same racing team. I am part of my husband’s “brand.” Knowing that, I need to be mindful of everything I type and post (this includes photographs). I honestly blow it some days and have to go back and clean it up. Even so I do my best to keep his¬†audience (employer) in mind when I post.

I also choose to be a performer today, that makes me a commodity, which brings me to Branding. I have my own brand that I am growing and protecting. As is true with most performers, I can be a drama queen. Everything I post has the potential to grow or hurt my career. The First Amendment does not protect me from the unintentional consequences of customer perception. Customers, past and present will and do look at everything I say and do on the internet and they will decide for themselves whether or not they want to do business with me. That is their choice and their right. That is not bad news.

I have full control over my internet reputation.

So do you. We, as business owners and artists need to filter what we do on the web through our brand. Will this post help or hurt my business? That’s not being a hypocrite, it’s being a good business person. Remember every thing we do has the potential to go international. Got a strong political or religious opinion, a¬†fetish, a yen for world domination, unless it’s part of your Brand save that stuff for private conversations with your real inner circle. Keep it off the net. Very few artists get away with extreme brands. Even people like Anne Lammot and Brad Stine pay a price for their views. It works for them. Their political views are part of their brand.¬†They can afford it, most of us cannot.

Literally, every point-of-contact is an opportunity to create a positive brand impression‚ÄĒif you are intentional. — Michael Hyatt

My little slice of cyberspace isn’t big enough to write everything I know about branding and freedom of speech and while I do not intend this post to be a commercial, I am going to refer you to the man who taught me everything I know about branding today — Micheal Hyatt spoke at our Christian Comedy Association conference in June of 2012. He’s written a new book called Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.¬†

Leaders are platform builders.

We need to take ownership of our business reputations and platforms. This book will help.

Now go out there. Have fun, and remember you aren’t paranoid, everyone really is watching.¬†

FCC Relationship Disclosure. I have no personal relationship with Mr Michael Hyatt, author of Platform. No goods or services have been given to me in exchange for this endorsement. I am simply sharing a resource that I use and think is beneficial to my readership.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The 5 First Amendment Freedoms
  1. Speech –¬†The First Amendment says that people have the right to speak freely without government interference.
  2. Press –¬†The First Amendment gives the press the right to publish news, information and opinions without government interference. This also means people have the right to publish their own newspapers, newsletters, magazines, etc.
  3. Religion –¬†The First Amendment prohibits government from establishing a religion and protects each person’s right to practice (or not practice) any faith without government interference.
  4. Petition -The First Amendment says that people have the right to appeal to government in favor of or against policies that affect them or that they feel strongly about. This freedom includes the right to gather signatures in support of a cause and to lobby legislative bodies for or against legislation.
  5. Assembly -The First Amendment says that people have the right to gather in public to march, protest, demonstrate, carry signs and otherwise express their views in a nonviolent way. It also means people can join and associate with groups and organizations without interference.