Things That I Fear (also known as Reasons I’ll Need Therapy)

1. Getting my hand stuck in the garbage disposal as it is turned on – I don’t know why my hand would be in the garbage disposal, but I cringe every time I turn it on just thinking what mangled mess would come out of there if indeed my hand was stuck.

2. Drowning – I don’t really swim. I don’t like boats. I don’t usually fall asleep in my tub. This fear stems from a CSI: (insert popular city name here) episode from years ago where they found bodies on the bottom of a lake/ocean/sea/swimming pool and it has freaked me out ever since. I think there was peeling flesh involved. No, thank you. I like my flesh exactly where it is.

3. Mentioning something I discovered via light Facebook stalking to someone I just met when they haven’t told me yet.

4. My windshield cracking and falling into my car while driving – this is not a joke. I’ve replaced the windshield three times since 2006. Three times!

5. Breaking a heel while at work with no replacement shoes. You think the pair of flip flops chilling in my back seat are there because I’m lazy?!

6. Haunted houses – one would think this is due to a traumatic experience at a haunted house, nope. I’ve never been to one.

7. Animals running out in front of me at night – I ran over a fox/rabid dog/mountain lion when I was 17. The image is still with me today.

Give me a little bit and I’m sure this list will continue. Stay fearless, my friends!

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7 gentle reminders

It’s funny how I tend to stumble upon the things I need to read the most at the most appropriate times. On my commute to work this morning, all I thought about was how I needed a second job on the weekends or how I feel like I’m drowning in this sea that they call adulthood. I constantly feel overwhelmed and stressed because I don’t know what I want to do with my life. Then I stumbled upon this little gem. I started to re-assess my “struggles”. I have food in my pantry. I have a roof over my head. I have gas in my car. I have a job. And most importantly, I have family and friends who refuse to watch me fail. They encourage me to take risks. They listen to me whine. They applaud me when I succeed. So these seven little tips are perfect right now. Even in the midst of struggle, something great is happening.

You want the moon, Mary?

The moon is beautiful tonight. It’s not quite the shade of a harvest moon, but it’s not Fall so I won’t hold a grudge. It’s the perfect crescent. You can almost see the ring all the way around it if you look hard enough. Sometimes I forget how small we all really are, and the moon is putting me in my place tonight. It’s amazing that everyone I love can look out their windows and look at the same moon that I’m seeing (granted there aren’t any clouds). It reminds me of a line in my favorite John Mayer song, “So I’ll check the weather wherever you are ’cause I wanna know if you can see the stars tonight.”

It’s nice to think that somewhere someone I haven’t even met yet is looking at the moon, too.

 

Alt-Rock/Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree

I haven’t talked about music recently which is unusual for me. Over the summer, I got into a bad habit of spending a lot of money on music. I am all about supporting artists and bands, but I also need to support myself. Enter Spotify. It’s a great little invention. I have playlists on playlists  on playlists. I have playlists dedicated to moods, to travel, to work-related activities. Here’s a list of my top five additions to my work playlist for this week:

1. Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men
2. The Once and Future Carpenter – The Avett Brothers
3. Some Nights – Fun.
4. Ho Hey – The Lumineers
5. It’s Time – Imagine Dragon

I’ve been on an alt-rock kick lately. Don’t judge.

Now onto my favorite part of this post! I spent the beginning of the week creating a perfect holiday playlist. That’s a bold statement, I know. And I bet you’re wondering “Why in the world is she listening to Christmas music in September?!”. I must admit, I’m already getting excited about the holidays. It will definitely be different this year without my Papa, but I think that having a positive attitude is the best way to approach something new/different. Plus he loved Christmas, so why shouldn’t we celebrate? Therefore, I’m listening to Christmas music and planning gifts already. And I can almost guarantee that my apartment will be tricked out for Halloween this weekend (“tricked” out…get it? I’m a nerd). So here’s my perfect holiday playlist. Feel free to let me know if I’ve missed any classics!

(I know the classic “Linus & Lucy” from A Charlie Brown Christmas is missing, but that’s a year-round song for me!)

Instagram — Instafun

If you know me, you know I have a love/love relationship with Instagram. I love the app. I love the perfectly square prints I can order from my phone. I love the many filter options. In hindsight, I probably snap the perfect picture and then miss the next five minutes of my surroundings because I’m too busy deciding on what filter looks best. It’s an unhealthy addiction, more or less. Anyway, here’s my week on Instagram:

Homemade is the best. I made this guy for football season. Roll Tide!

Coffee shops hate me and hate to spell my name right.

My quote-a-day calendar was on point on Tuesday.

One of my friends is now a father…at least to this sweet German Shepard puppy.

My professor was determined to reign in my creativity.

Happy Weekend!

Where Were You?

Being born and raised in the South, it’s not uncommon for me to quote a country song. In fact, I tend to do it more often than I should (especially when I wear red high heels). This morning it’s appropriate.

Eleven years ago today, I was in sixth grade – more specifically in Mrs. Porter’s math class. My fellow classmates and I were blissfully unaware of what was going on in our country. I’m not sure if the decision was made by our principal or head of the county school system, but we went about our day as if nothing was wrong. None of us had cell phones or internet access, our news source “Channel 1” had already aired for the day, and our teachers kept quiet. It wasn’t until 2:50 that afternoon that our teachers told us what had happened. We were in our homerooms right before dismissal when someone rolled in a TV and started playing the news.

Now at 11 years old, I didn’t really comprehend what was going on. I watched the news with my parents, but I didn’t grasp that thousands of people were in the buildings that were ablaze on the screen. I didn’t understand that Washington, D.C. was practically in my backyard – in my mind, the five hours to D.C. was comparable to being on the other side of the country.  I just knew that something bad happened. The thought that I should be scared never crossed my mind. I was an American; we were the greatest nation on Earth. No one could touch us.

Fast forward ten years – two major things happened that brought 9/11 back to the forefront of my mind: the killing of Osama bin Laden and the 10 year anniversary of the WTC attacks. I remember the night they killed bin Laden. I was sitting on the floor of my nearly empty apartment. My sister had moved out a week before and I was biding my time until I graduated in nine days. It seemed like everyone at my school was celebrating. Bonfires starting breaking out, chants of “USA! USA!” could be heard…I even think a window was broken in a dorm. But there I was…struggling yet again to comprehend what was happening. On one hand, I knew this was America’s 11 o’clock number. This was our big finale to a tragedy that happened not so long ago. This was the part of the movie where the superhero saves the day. On the other hand, I was having major issues with rejoicing a man’s death. Had I not been raised to be a Christian? To be forgiving and to live a life guided by love and not hate?

A few months later, I became somewhat obsessed with learning details about that horrid day. I re-watched old news reels. I found videos taken by people who were filming something completely different and just happened to have caught the first plane hitting the towers. I saw the horror on people’s faces as they watched people jump to their deaths. It was humbling and heartbreaking. At 21, I was finally feeling the pain and sorrow these terrorists wanted my country to feel. I finally understood that the world didn’t necessarily see my home as the best place on Earth. It saw arrogance and pride. It saw freedom and individuality. Things that aren’t openly embraced by most places in our world. Things that some people wanted to punish us for.

Now, eleven years later, my Facebook news feed is filled to the brim with red, white, and blue, pictures of eagles, videos of good ol’ country songs like “God Bless the USA” and “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” My Twitter timeline is full of patriotic retweets and #Remember911 hashtags. Yet there is an undeniable presence that our nation is healing (political rants aside). Life is moving on, and while most of us will always remember exactly where we were on September 11, 2001, we will not be defined by how we fell. We will be defined by how well we have risen. “Our hearts are broken, but they are beating, and they are beating stronger than ever.” – Rudolph Giuliani

 

Growing Up is Optional.

Things I have learned since moving out of my parents house:

1. The value of a ceiling fan is not truly appreciated until your master bedroom does not have one.

2. Bugs, while they might look like they’re from another planet, can’t actually harm you and they’re relatively easy to kill. With the exception of the black widow spider.

3. Hanging a picture is ten times harder than it looks and will take you twice as long as you planned.

4. Laundry, like dishes, pile up if you don’t have someone to remind you to do it.

5. Just because you are able to polish off a block of cheese before dinner doesn’t mean you should.

6. If you want your flowers to be healthy and happy, you can’t forget they’re on your balcony and not water them for days.

7. Baking 24 cupcakes can be disastrous when there’s only one mouth to feed in your house.

8. Valet. Trash. Service. — Never need a man to take the trash out ever again!

You Can’t Take It With You.

First and foremost, my dad is a funeral director. While death is scary and overwhelming, it has always been part of my life. Up until recently, it’s been there in the form of stories from my dad and corny jokes (grab a cold one!), but behind all of that there’s always a family grieving. There’s always someone to light a candle in memory of his loved one. There’s always a story to tell that flatters the one who has gone. Unless there isn’t. Last Friday, I attended a funeral for someone I didn’t know. My dad came home Thursday night and asked what I was doing Friday then continued to tell me about a funeral he was doing Friday morning for a lady who had outlived her husband and all of her children. She had been in a nursing home since 2000 and there was no one to go to her funeral.

Friday morning rolled around and I went to the funeral, wearing a beige cotton dress because for once in my life I didn’t pack anything black to wear. In attendance were two nursing home employees, the lady’s lawyer, a friend of the lady, an acquaintance of one of her children, my dad, his co-worker, the preacher, and myself.  She was 86 years old and only nine people were at her funeral. It was heartbreaking to witness. I wonder how many funerals she went to. How many weddings did she dance at? Was she kind? Was she tough? Was she scared?

All of this made me realize how thankful I am for every relationship I have and have had — good or bad. I am built up by the people who I surround myself with day after day. I am loved. I am supported. I have the privilege to be able to do the same for them. Because it doesn’t matter how many shoes are in your closet or books are on your shelf. It doesn’t matter how much money is in your bank account or how many shares of stock are in your name. None of those things will miss you when you’re gone. Relationships are the most important thing. Loving relationships, challenging relationships, work relationships, and even relationships that tear you down — all of them make you who you are. They make you into the person you are meant to be. The person people will mourn and/or the person who can withstand watching everyone they love go before them. To paraphrase Benjamin Button, “We’re meant to lose the people we love. How else are we supposed to know how important they are?”

So here’s to living a life brimming with love and laughter, relationships for the good and for the ugly. Here’s to hoping someone will miss me when I’m gone.