8.30.15 One Less Crazy



Every single day, multiple times a day, my cat has an epic battle with the wire wastebasket in my bedroom.  Rolling on the ground and knocking it from wall to wall, it certainly is a scene to behold.  The basket never moves, it never changes, and yet he is perpetually offended by it.  I am not sure what he has against this trash bin, or what wrong it has committed against him – all I know is that he undoubtedly has a vendetta against this nemesis which I cannot see or understand in the least. I think he is crazy, but then again …

Every single day, multiple times a day, I find myself running from and getting into epic battles with my own, self-made schedule. I fight with time, watching as the clock defies my wishes and, laughing at me, ticks ever on.  I check my phone, my computer and my calendar, knowing with certainty that they will not change, and yet I am offended by them.  Time is my nemesis, but this is something, my cat cannot see or understand.  And I think how ironic it is that he is sitting in his wastebasket, his self-made prison, staring out at me like I’m crazy from the inside of mine.

The funny thing is, it makes me think of an unknown quote that says, “Most of us spend our time running from something that was never chasing us to begin with.” We make our own monsters, conjuring terrible shadows that lengthen with each fear we feed them.  I am an expert at this.  I find wonderful, terrible, ridiculous things to worry about and give my mind to, but the greatest of these is that time is passing me by without my having done anything that I am called to do.  At times I feel as absurd as my cat, fighting invisible insecurities that aren’t even trying to control me, but I let them.

Recently, again … I put myself out there.  I attempted another publication venue, another business plan.  I didn’t hear back from one, and got the wrong answer from the other.  And with that I began, self-deprecating, mind racing and feeling, once more, I cannot tell if I am running to catch something or escape from it.  But then I think about my darling cat, who daily traps himself, and see the lesson in his folly. “Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits.” This advice from Robert Brault serves me well.  I may not conquer time, I may not find the solution to my schedule, or my overambitious dreams, but persistence is a gift if you receive it.  And just to prove it, I may exchange the trash bin in my bedroom for another … one nemesis down, and one less crazy in this house.

Literarily yours,


8.23.15 The Thing About Weddings Is …



The thing about weddings is … they’re AMAZING!  Even the un-amazing parts are amazing.  (It makes sense, just don’t think about it too long.) They are amazing because they are about love, and, as the unknown quote says, “Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.”  Weddings are about promises made, and promises intended to be kept. They are a declaration and an invitation into two lives that are evolving into one.  They are beautiful, and I never tire of them.  This weekend one of my closest college friends got married and it was one of the best nights I’ve had at such an event.  But regardless of the bride, the groom, or the venue … I’ve found that (in my opinion at least) the top fives remain the same! 

Top 5 Sweetest Moments of a Wedding

*The way the groom looks when he sees his bride for the first time

*The simultaneous holding on and letting go moment during the daddy/daughter and mother/son dances

*Seeing married couples remember their own exchange of vows

*The public declarations of brotherly/sisterly affection for the world to recognize during speeches

*The sweeping gaze of the bride and groom during their first dance as one

Top 5 Traditions Worth Keeping

*Old, New, Borrowed, Blue (people get so creative)

*Pachabel’s Cannon in D (no better bride march song)

*Receiving lines (it’s so beautiful to see all the types of people who come)

*Cutting of the cake (if they didn’t, half of us wouldn’t even notice where the cake was and it costs WAY too much not to appreciate)

*Blessing (God needs to be remembered on the biggest-blessing-of-your-life day”

Top 5 Best Lines of the Day

  • “You may now kiss the bride”
  • “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
  • “We are gathered here today to celebrate the love of …”
  • “We would like to remember those who are with us in spirit”
  • “As long as you both shall live”

Top 5 Songs NO ONE Wants to Hear at a Wedding But We All Hear Them and Dance Anyway

  • YMCA (puke)
  • Celebrate Good Times (COME ON!!!!)
  • The Chicken Dance (Who in their right mind ever thought it was a good idea to dance like a fowl? That’s what I’d like to know.)
  • Shout (Let’s not and say we did!)
  • American Pie (I don’t like pie on a plate, or in a song.)

Top 5 Things That Happen When Wedding Guests Don’t Realize How Much They’ve Been “Celebrating” 

  • They get louder … and louder … and louder, until they speak to you like they’ve been at a concert and are temporarily not only inebriated, but deaf
  • They speak more freely (and tell you life stories that should never have been lived, let alone shared aloud)
  • They dance with more (false) confidence
  • They get friendlier with brand new acquaintances, inviting them to dance like they were best-college pals
  • They “enjoy” every song, perhaps too much, singing every word like they were the ones that wrote it

Top 5 Things Everyone Hates to do But Does at a Wedding

  • Wears uncomfortable shoes
  • Chooses clothing to match their significant other
  • Eats salad before dinner (although some ARE really tasty)
  • Introduces themselves repeatedly, answering and asking the four redundant questions one must ask when meeting someone new (how you know the couple, what they do for a living, where they live, and if they’re enjoying themselves)
  • Dances to one of the top five worst songs in recorded history

Top 5 Moments You Wish You Could Capture in a Jar

  • When the flower girl dances with her daddy, and you see his eyes glisten with the knowing that someday, it’ll be her turn
  • When the groom takes the bride’s hand under the table, and looks at her with new found wonder at truly being “his”
  • When the mother of the bride watches her daughter dancing, and is caught in the memory of her own wedding day
  • When the bride dances with her grandfather, and you know it may the the last time he leads a woman on the dance floor
  • When the night is over, and the bride has her head on the groom’s shoulder in contented exhaustion, a small smile on her face as she commits every detail to replay later in her mind

Top 5 Moments From My Own Wedding

  • The groom
  • When my mom flew in my favorite flower, Lillies of the Valley, to put in my bouquet since they were out of season
  • Dancing to “Goodnight My Angel” with my daddy
  • Being surrounded by all the family and friends who taught us what love really is, and how to experience it
  • When my new husband took down my hair, one bobby pin at a time

Considering how I feel about weddings, you’d understand that I would LOVE to hear your top five!  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE post and share your top five “about weddings” or about your own.



8.17.15 2 Kids + 1 Great Grandma = A Good Time



According to motivational speaker John Di Lemme, “Your family legacy is determined by the actions that you take today.”  If this is true, then yesterday we had quite a lesson in legacy, because when you add 2 kids + 1 great grandma you’re bound to equal one heck of a good time.  As a child I remember streams of great parties filled with oldies music, endless days spent outside and clear focus on family. There isn’t a memory I have or hold dear without at least one member of my family in it.  My sister, my cousins, my parents, aunts and uncles – they were all always there.  But one member in particular frames the edges of the photographs in my memory, and that is my grandmother.  At every party, every event, every milestone … her four-foot-eleven stature and too-loud laugh can be traced back as far as my memories go.  From singing me classic 1940’s lullabies to sitting me on her lap when I was nearly taller than she was and rocking me back so high that our legs paralleled the ceiling, I adore her.  It is no wonder my own mother has turned into such a delightful “Mae Mae,” as I know she had the best example. 

Maybe it is because she had such a strong presence in my life that I continue to try and foster the impact she can have on my own children now.  Yes … ninety-three years old and still going strong, our “great grandmother” plays an active a part in my six and eight-year-old’s memories as my own.  Living two hours apart, we get up to visit about twice a month, but when we do … we really make every moment count.  Here are just a few of the: hilarious, stressful, laughable, lovable moments we shared.

Top 10 Memories of Taking out Two Kids and a Great Grandma:

  1. Sharing tortilla chips at dinner and having my eight-year-old (in new braces) with tons of chip crumbs in his teeth, tell his great grandmother she has “stuff” in hers
  2. Leaving the restaurant and having Gram ask me if we are going to “leave all of our things behind,” which consisted of a bowl of butter, placemats and a cup of crayons 
  3. Having my son spill his freshly handed-over slurpie so that blue-foam dotted his face, shirt and arms, and my grandmother get a Junior Mint stuck on her cross necklace like a sticky-brown charm
  4. Watching fifteen previews so that none of us could even remember what movie we were about to see, and having both the kids and Gram shout loudly “THAT LOOKS LIKE A GOOD ONE! TWO THUMBS UP!” as I lamely looked around at the annoyed people around me and pointed at my ears in a lame attempt to make it seem my whole family is hard-of-hearing
  5. Watching digitally-wonderous previews of cinematic progress, only to have Gram “OOOOH!” when the tiny silver shimmer twinkled in the “SONY” advertisement, most likely the LEAST impressive effect of the entire display
  6. Going to the bathroom seven (SEVEN!!!!!) times so that I have no freaking clue what the movie was actually about or how it resolved (no sarcasm intended at all) 
  7. Having my daughter and son take turns taking pictures of Gram and them, making her feel like the true celebrity she is to our family
  8. Calling my mother to wish her a happy birthday on FaceTime and having my grandmother finish singing to then ask if it was her birthday
  9. Having my grandmother realize that it was, in fact, her own daughter’s birthday, and watch her talk to the image of my mother through FaceTime, crying and telling her “little girl” now mid-fifties how young she looked and how precious she was, and how she will always be her baby (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY! YOU’RE MY FAVORITE PERSON IN THE WORLD YOU KNOW!) 
  10. Having the kids tell me that spending the day with their ninety-three year old great grandmother was the “Best Day Ever” and having Gram (whose memory flickers like a beautiful, inconstant firefly) tell me she will “Never forget today”

I pray that whether or not you had an influence like her, you find joy in the beauty and insight of the elderly.  They have so much joy, wisdom and laughter to imprint on your spirit.  They are living testimonies that life is doable, livable, and worth loving.   

Go love someone,


8.9.15 Not Accepting the Unacceptable



This is a photograph of my daughter.  She is beautiful; and she knows it.  She knows it not because she is arrogant, but because we tell her so … day in and day out.  We shower her with lovely words, embrace her with confident thoughts, and do the best we can to walk in kindness with her.  We tell her she is smart.  We encourage her to speak up for herself (or as I say, not be a “damsel”).  She doesn’t always want to believe in herself, but we don’t give her much choice otherwise.  I’m sure to some outside viewers we are too lavish with our affection, with our words of affirmation and our unwavering attention, but I know what happens later – and I need her to be strong enough now, for then.  

You all know “Then,” because you’ve been through it.  You’re living in it.  “Then” is the “real-world,” trying to steal your joy,  knocking down your door to take whatever light you’ve got that makes you special, just to momentarily satisfy the sarcasm, or the shock-value, or the “I-told-you-so.”  “Then” is conformity … doing or saying what’s expected instead of what you should have done or said.  According to Virginia Woolf “Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul.  She becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent.”  I think the last line is the one that strikes me deepest … “outer show and inwards emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent.”  Indifferent – it is such a sad word.  To be past caring enough to even feel, what could be worse?  

If you want to know why I spend so much time and energy on my kids, on my students, and on the random smile-laden conversations with strangers, this is why.  It’s because this life is just waiting for us to conform.  To “go along.”  To become numb to the callous and dark … and I refuse.  I remember hearing my pastor once say that we are to “Do what is best, not what is allowable.”  I think the problem lies in people determining what is best in a world where anything is allowed. 

This whole little “stream of consciousness” started for me this past Wednesday at a farmer’s market of all things.  Would you believe it?  Something as innocent as a place to buy organic produce left me shaken, asking what is acceptable versus what I am willing to allow.  I was at a stand, buying something for my dog, when a man from another stand with dog leashes asked me to come see his merchandise.  I wasn’t in the market, but I looked over his work, and was considering getting one.  I was being picky … I’ll give him that … but typically, when you don’t really need what someone’s selling, you have the right to be.  I was just about to get the fifth leash I looked at, when I saw it was dirty and asked him for another.  That’s when he leaned in, nudging me like we were old pals and said, “You really are a b*%^ch aren’t you.”  

Now I’ve been pretty blessed to surround myself with people who encourage me.  I don’t think I’ve been called that word more than a small handful of times in my life (and never to my face).  Seeing my obvious shock, the guy tried to backpedal, saying, “I know I can say that to you because you’d know I’m kidding around.”  And I looked him in the eye and said, “No, actually, you can’t say that to me.  And I think we’re done here.”  He tried to apologize, but there are some things that just aren’t really okay.  

Some might say I was being too stiff.  That he wasn’t serious and I shouldn’t take him so seriously, but I guess I think that there are just some standards we shouldn’t disregard.  If you know me at all, then you know I love to joke around.  I teach middle school for heaven’s sake … I can take sarcasm, I can take a joke, and I can spit a comeback at you faster than you can think of a new one.  But I was not raised to tolerate disrespect, and it’s accepting the little things that really are unacceptable that begin to tear down our personal foundations.  

I look at that picture of my daughter, and I know that someday someone is going to hurl an insult at her.  And I know it might shake her.  It might bruise her ego or fracture a small piece of her heart.  But it will not break her; because Lord willing we will have given her enough courage to love herself to a strength that withstands the blows of others.  

So whether you have been given an upbringing of armor, or rags … I pray you take this moment, here and now to decide who you are and what you are willing to take.  Because if God put you in my way today, I would like to believe that it is to tell you that conformity is not your answer … and what is simply “allowable” is not necessarily acceptable.

Do not let others put you down, no matter who you are or who they think they are.  

Do not forget that you are precious, and created for a purpose that no one else can fulfill. 

Do not forget that you do not have to be okay with things that are not okay.  

You are not alone.  


8.3.15 First Dates


So I like watching other people on dates. And before you label me as a creepy stalker, just hear me out. I love love, especially at the “new” stage. This is where the “best-versions” of people come out. The hope-filled, anything’s-possible, maybe-it’s-you phase is so beautiful to witness. The other day I was in a Starbucks, trying to work on my novel and instead, I found myself surrounded by people on dates. Whether first or fifth, I couldn’t be sure, but each couple was still quite obviously into making impressions of the best kind.  
The guys at both tables actually looked at the girls they were speaking with. They didn’t stray to their phones, check their watches or seem anything but enamored with the conversation they created. They asked “favorites” questions and spoke about jobs and trips and wishes. The girl at one table couldn’t stop smiling, whether or not the conversation called for it, and I couldn’t stop smiling at the possibilities of something more before me.  

Why can’t it always be that awesome? Why can’t every couple act as if it were a first date scenario? I mean, I love the fact that the guy in front of me just complemented the girl’s eyes just so he had an excuse to stare into them. Or that the laughter was accompanied by a gentle touch on the shoulder which then elicited the interruption of a semi-shy smile.  

There is a beauty to old love … a grace and comfort that cannot be replicated. It’s like looking at a very worn painting, whose lines have faded, only making the image dream-like and more appealing somehow. But there is something to this new stage which magnetizes me. It’s the way they both sit up too straight, subconsciously tug at the hem of their shirts or thread their fingers through their hair to blindly make sure nothing has fell wildly out of place. It’s the way they sip their drinks slowly, the still-floating ice cubes giving the conversation permission to carry on. It’s the way she chose the seat under the lighting that would flatter her, and the way he angled his chair so that it just brushed hers.  

I hope, when they have decided to move on from date one, or five, or twenty to “let’s-give-this-a-try-for-real,” they remember this night at Starbucks. This date where they were so very awkwardly-perfect. Because it is this foundation of nervous, wonderful, is-this-really-happening moments that build a foundation worth building on. I hope, for them, it’s real. 

Love on,