March 5, 2021

Today would have been my Mom’s 62nd birthday.

My Mom was kind, and thoughtful. She took care of everyone around her. My Mom was slow to anger and quick to forgive. She was dependable and was always willing to sacrifice for the greater good of her family and friends. She could not stay awake through a movie no matter what time of day you started it and she loved concerts and live music. She was funny and smart; she loved Elf, the Goblin King, Sharknado, and T-Rex jokes. My Mom was compassionate and loved animals. But mostly, she just loved us all really well.

My Mom was extra special, and I am not ready to conceit that “everything happens for a reason” or that “she is better off now”. I’m still really mad. Am I glad my Mom is no longer suffering, yes. But do I wish she was still here with me, also yes. She should be here to be showered with love, hugs, and senior citizen jokes. We should be ordering Mexican Villa and Orange Leaf or eating chicken n dumpling at Rob or Steph’s house.

But instead, I am just walking around like a zombie constantly looking for her everywhere and in everything. Constantly wishing I could call her or hug her. Reliving those miserable hours and days at the end where cancer took literally everything away from her. Desperately wishing I could focus in on all the good memories, instead of being haunted by the bad ones.  

Coming to terms with my Mom’s mortality has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I will spend the rest of my life missing a huge piece of my heart. While everyone else in the world mourned and then moved on, my world literally stopped turning. It’s been almost three months without her, and it feels like yesterday and an eternity all at once. And the only word I have to describe how I feel is empty.

I miss my Mom every day. In every moment. When I am awake and when I am asleep.
Every time it snows and every time the breeze jostles the windchimes outside.
I miss her when the dogs do something funny, and when I’m trying to cook.
When I remember the past, and when I dream about the future.
I miss her when I look in the mirror and see pieces of her younger self staring back at me.
And every time I still pick my phone up to call her. Or wish that I could hug her.
My heart is still in pieces, and it feels beyond repair.

The one thing this situation has taught me is that time is fleeting. We are here for only a little while. I am trying to be more appreciative of the people in my life that I love and trying to be better about brushing off the negativity. I’m telling and showing people that I love them with more frequency, because that’s what those people deserve. I’m trying to spend more time as a human BEING, instead of a human DOING. You can’t work your life away to keep up with Jones and neglect the people you love, because there will always be someone with more and better, but your loved ones won’t always be there.

So if you have her, hug your moms a little tighter today, because I would give anything to hug mine again.

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I know you didn’t ask, but this is my blog & this is how I’m feeling about COVID-19

I am concerned.
I am sad.
I am angry.
And I have a lot of questions.

It’s an unprecedented time for our world. No one I know has ever been through a pandemic of this magnitude. 2020 will be an interesting year for people to discuss in the future. The year the world literally shut down. The year of the pandemic.

The best-case scenario projections we are getting from the White House are saying 100,000 – 240,000 Americans are going to die from COVID-19.

One hundred thousand to two hundred and forty thousand Americans.


My brain doesn’t even have the capacity to understand that many people dying over the course of six months. Logistically, where will they go? What will happen with their bodies? Will we have to have mass graves? There is no way that undertakers can keep up with that kind of demand. So many people will become a number and a statistic, rather than a person.

And how many people will die alone? How many loved ones will be left without closure forever because they didn’t get to say goodbye? How many people will live with unbearable sadness every day because their grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, brother, sister, child, spouse, or friend had to die alone and scared?

It’s really just too much for me to think about it. My heart breaks trying to picture that for one person, but to know it will likely happen to thousands of people is uncomprehendable.

So I try to scale it down and make it applicable to my life to try make it manageable for my heart. But that does not help.

Because my mom is one of those most at risk to contract the virus and die. My funny, kind, brave mom who’s been battling stage four colon cancer could contract COVID-19 and likely would not survive because of her chemo-weakened immune system. And if America goes the way of Italy, she won’t even be offered a hospital bed. Her ventilator would go to someone younger and healthier, someone who has the best chance of continuing to live a quality life after this is over. Essentially my mom would be sacrificed for the “greater good”.

So I try not to think about my mom. She’s on strict home lockdown. Not leaving the house unless she has a doctor’s appointment. And I know the cancer center is going above and beyond to keep their patients safe.  Let’s pretend my mom is safe.

What about my fiancé who is a paramedic and works on the ambulance almost every day and will inevitably, eventually come in contact with a COVID-19 patient? He’s 24-years-old and in theory unlikely to have life threatening complications, but no one knows for sure how each individual’s body will react. Should I worry about him instead? Our small town as of today hasn’t seen any confirmed COVID-19 patients, but it’s just a matter of time. No where is immune to it. And just because it’s taking longer to get here, because we live in the rural Midwest, doesn’t mean it’s not going to make it. And hospitals are under prepared. He can’t be safe while having to wear the same PPE all day for days at a time.

These are my biggest concerns. But I feel so much sadness in (by comparison) insignificant things as well.

My oldest niece is a senior in high school and has had all those special rights of passage taken away from her. No senior trip, no prom, likely to culminate in no graduation ceremony. It’s so unfair. All these things she’s looked forward to for four years, just ripped away.

Annnnnnnnd guess who’s getting married this year? That’s right. Me. Of course. I waited thirty years to get married only to have a PANDEMIC come in and screw with everything.

The wedding is set for later this year. Late enough that I’m hoping the worst of this will be passed and we can have some semblance of normal life back (optimistically). But who knows? Will we be allowed to have gatherings of over 100 people by the end of summer? Even if the wedding happens without any interference, a lot of the pre-wedding shenanigans will likely have to be altered. Bachelor/bachelorette parties will probably have to be changed, and bridal showers might have to be scaled down or be cancelled altogether. Because no one really knows how long this will be going on. Some experts think we’ll be able to go back to normalcy in June, other projections are saying August.

And the honeymoon? Let’s just look at that real quick. How many countries do you think are going to be allowing leisurely international travel in the next six months? My guess is not many. Especially not to Americans if we don’t get our testing issues fixed. For those other countries, allowing American’s in is probably going to be viewed as a liability. There goes Greece. And (obviously) Italy.  And probably Spain.

Can you see where planning is getting really difficult at this point? Literally everything is subject to change right now. Because there are so many unknowns.

Not to mention my annual May North Carolina Beach House vacation is all but cancelled at this point. So that’s a bummer. (#firstworldproblems)

Thought there are OBVIOUSLY bigger things to be concerned about, but it is okay to mourn these “insignificant” losses. It’s okay to be sad about a cancelled prom, or a postponed bachelorette party. It’s okay to be upset that that vacation you’ve been looking forward to isn’t going to happen, or that concert you’ve been counting down to is now rescheduled to a TBA date. It’s okay to feel sad about those things.

What’s not okay, is getting hateful about it, or going on with your life as usual because you don’t think you’re at risk and you think all the restrictions are a joke. That’s not okay. Even if you don’t have a care in the world about contracting COVID-19, by staying home, you are keeping people like my mom safe, and keeping people on the front lines, like my fiancé, safe. And if you can’t take this seriously because it doesn’t affect you, then our friendship has likely run its course. That has been one of the most discouraging things about this pandemic, is the lack of compassion I see at play in the world. Trust me, I, too am annoyed about the regulations and restrictions and want to go back to life as normal ASAP. I want to go on vacation, and have a bachelorette party. Trust me, I get it. But I also get that this is a worldwide pandemic and we all have to do our part to help save lives.

How many of those 100,000 to 240,000 lives could we have saved if we had taken this seriously from the beginning? How many could still be saved if we make the necessary sacrifices moving forward?

Do your part: stay home. Watch Netflix. Play with your dog. Write a book.
Learn to paint. Knit a scarf. Take a nap.
Just stay home.

stay home1

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Not today.

Today is the one year anniversary of my freedom from a corrupt environment. Today, one year ago I called my mom at approximately 10:30am crying hysterically because I thought something really bad had happened to me. But as it turns out, it was really one of those things they call a blessing in disguise.

Starting February 23, 2017 I was no longer ridiculed and made to feel ashamed of the way I choose to present myself, or that my physical appearance made me a target.

Starting February 23, 2017 I was no longer made to feel like my age was a driving force in the way I deserved to be treated, or that my age determined the worth of my contributions.

Starting February 23, 2017 I was no longer forced to take responsibility for the missteps of other people, or blamed for someone else’s poor choices.

Starting February 23, 2017 I no longer had to keep the confidentialities of people with no integrity, or participate in cover-ups to perpetuate a “good ‘ole boys” system.

Starting February 23, 2017 I no longer had to walk on eggshells while doing my job so as not to upset anyone at home, or be guilted into believing it was my fault people’s home-lives were bad.

Starting February 23, 2017 people in leadership stopped talking to me condescendingly. Those people in leadership stopped expecting me compensate for the laziness of others.

Starting February 23, 2017 I no longer had to put up with unequal and unfair treatment day in and day out, or stifle my opinions and thoughts because I was “too emotional.”

I loved my old job. For a while. Until it became clear to me that my age, gender, and physical appearance were going to be used against me at every opportunity by people with no conscience.

But I am happy to report that it looks like my replacement is not being put though the same mess I was. She’s been given all kind of liberties that were never afforded to me. Which, to be honest, really makes me mad because it’s not fair. And I just want things in life to be fair, though they rarely are. I’m 28-years old and still coming to terms with that fact.

I am also happy to report that I am happy now, too. And I find myself now really grateful for that push out the door, because otherwise I might still be there, making excuses for their behavior and my mistreatment. And I stayed quiet on a public front for a long time (a whole year to be exact), because it’s a small community and I was trying to be careful to not tarnish my long-standing good reputation (how silly is that, to worry about being punished for the transgressions of others?), but I can’t do it today.


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When the night’s the darkest, you can see the stars

To say my life has been dark lately would be a gross understatement. It’s literally just been one thing after another after another after another. Like seriously, give. me. a. break. 

And I’m not going to lie to you, I haven’t always dealt with life’s blows gracefully. I sulk, and I lash out, and I recoil. Mostly I sleep and ignore people. That’s my coping mechanism. Say what you will, but it’s healthier (and cheaper) than heroin, right?

In my last blog I tried to describe what it feels like to be “more than just sad” during the holidays. It was hard then, and then things got worse. It’s one thing to lose one person you care about, it’s infinitely worse to be blindsided by the loss of several people.

Without going into a lot of detail (if you’re here to read the latest gossip in the on-going saga of my life, then you’ve come to the wrong place), I got pretty badly hurt. But, it was not by the person who I thought would deliver the most painful blow. Honestly, it was the way everyone else reacted that hurt the most.

The fallout was worse than the initial impact. 
My friends, or people who I thought were my friends, turned their backs on me.
When I needed them the most they were nowhere to be found.

Under the guise of not wanting to get involved, or trying to stay neutral, they all left me high and dry. And that was when I learn a valuable lesson first hand: your boyfriend’s friends are not your friends. I thought due to the fact that my circumstances were different that my outcome would be different. I knew most of them outside of Lucas*. Even if Lucas had never been in the picture, I still would have known these people, and we still would have been friends. So I thought it was different.

It was not different.
When the dust settled, they were not my friends.
They were his.

That’s when I learned a second lesson: when the night is the darkest, you can see thedark2 stars. This works both on a scientific level, with actual stars, but also on a metaphorical level. Right now, while my night is the darkest, the stars in my life are all the more clear. And it’s not always the people who you would expect. There were people who I believed in, who let me down, and there were people that I didn’t really give a second thought to, who have stuck by my side. Life is funny like that. Constantly reminding you that you have no idea what’s going on.

Right now, it’s easy to see the people who really care about me. Because when you care about someone, you don’t skirt around the hard topics, you face them head on. When you care about someone, you don’t avoid them when you think something might be awkward, you walk through that awkwardness with them. When you care about someone you are not just there when it’s easy, you hang around when life gets messy.

These people, my metaphorical stars, have the knack for knowing when to be exactly what I need. They know when to give me tough love, and when to offer gentler advice; when to offer me a distraction, and when to let me wallow a little; when to encourage me to run a 5K, and when to feed me and tell me I’m pretty. They’ve all been incredibly thoughtful and kind to me, even when sometimes I was less than kind and thoughtful in return (read: when I was the worst person to be around).

So in a really strange way, I can already see the bright side of this situation. If nothing else comes from this, at least now I know who is in my corner. It was brought to my attention recently that I had been “burning bridges” with people, which I didn’t for a minute think was true. What had I done to burn any bridges? I wasn’t hateful to anyone, I didn’t even really talk to anyone about what was going on. How could I be burning bridges with people I wasn’t even talking to? But it looks like I was just blissfully unaware. I’ll just say this, if a rumor, or a little awkwardness is enough for you to cut ties with me, then honestly, I’m probably better off without you. I am not currently in a position to be able to tolerate having to question the intentions of everyone around me.

Feel free to divide yourselves up into the categories of STARS and BRIDGES and then react accordinglyI don’t think it will be hard, you know who you are on both sides of the fence. Thank you for continuing to help me figure life out, because you all play your part, some just do it better than others.

*name changed for obvious reasons

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A that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.

It’s okay to feel sad.pain
It’s okay to feel sad.
It’s okay to feel sad.

I have to keep telling myself this.

It’s okay to feel damaged.
When you care you take that risk of getting bruised.

It doesn’t make you weak to feel insecure and broken.
It doesn’t make you crazy to struggle with reacting to pain.
It doesn’t make you a bad Christian to feel sad. 

It makes you human. To feel these things makes you human. God gave us the full-spectrum of feelings for a reason. Yes, choose joy, but you can also be sad.

I think, for me, I spend so much time worrying about how I’m going to appear to others. Am I too this, or too that? What will people think about me?? This much worse thing happened to so-and-so, do I even have the right to be sad about a problem so inferior in the grand scheme of things?

I had a couple bad experiences this year. Yes, one of them involved a toxic relationship with someone who lied to me and treated me like I  was disposable, but I also had a job I absolutely loved that I tried to resign from because it got tainted and ruined but some bouts of poor leadership and bad decision making. But in comparison to some of the other things my friends went through this year, those two things, even combined, seem so insignificant.

So I try to squash my feelings and distract myself, only for the pain in my heart to intensify.

When it does finally emerge, it’s that much worse.
It’s full-blown depression, instead of sadness.

Depression isn’t always what you see in movies.
It’s not just blue filter to indicate the sad montage of your life.
Usually it’s not even really blue, it’s grey. Blue has too much feeling.

It’s feeling empty.
It’s crying for hours.
It’s not properly eating for weeks.
It’s sleeping for days, or not sleeping at all.
It’s when the things you loved, you don’t love anymore.
It’s making plans you have no intention of following through with and canceling at the last minute. 
It’s telling people you’re fine because you are embarrassed to talk about it.
It’s when nothing is wrong, but really everything is wrong.
It’s a numbness that is hard to explain if you’ve never felt it.

How do you begin to talk about having feelings of depression during the “most wonderful time of the year?” How do you bring it up in the midst of twinkling lights and emotionally charged family dinners without making it sound like you are just an attention seeker? How do you begin to be vulnerable in a world where all people want to do is judge you and make you feel insignificant and roll their eyes at you when you say you’re more than just sad? I can picture people doing it now as they read this. People who I consider my friends, I can vividly see them rolling their eyes at my words. And yeah, it hurts my feelings, but it’s not the end of the world. Some people just won’t understand, and you can’t make them. What seems so insignificant to someone else, could literally be the biggest thing in your world. And you can’t make people get that.

I don’t even get it really, how this happened to me. How can I be mad when someone else, who isn’t feeling what I’m feeling, doesn’t get it?

Why is it easier to share how I’m feeling here in writing available for the whole world to read than it is to talk to my best friends, or my sister, or my mom about it? I think it probably has to do with the veil of protection the internet provides, and absolutely zero to do with those people. I like having the ability to hide when I need to, instead of laying it all out in person. The ability to ignore texts and phone calls (which I will do), and respond in my own time frame and after I’ve had the time to formulate exactly how I want to respond, instead of the required instant response of face-to-face interaction. I also think the backspace key helps. There’s no backspace key in verbal communication, I’ve learned this the hard way.

The truth is I don’t know.
I don’t know why it’s easier to write a blog than have a conversation.
I don’t know how you bring up depression while everyone is singing Christmas carols.
I don’t know how to shut the numb out and just be happy again.

I’ve noticed that my house looks a lot like a college dorm room. Littered with pictures of people and places, instead of real home decor. That’s because I need those picture to remind that there are people who love me. I need those pictures to remind me of those happy moments. Frame after frame serves as a touchstone for me, and right now, that is what I need.

Until I figure it out…until I figure out how to move forward, I guess I’ll just keep being. I know to whom I belong, and I know that I can be restored, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. I’ll keep fighting to be myself, when the darkness threatens to overwhelm me. I’ll keep doing the everyday things that make me me. Trivia nights, Friendsgivings, Clark cuddles and Netflix, Sunday afternoon football, nerdy conversations about Harry Potter and Myers-Briggs, bonfires and s’mores, sarcasm, beach vacations, over-sharing on my blog, and Taylor Swift sing-alongs in my car and shower.

I’ll keep doing it all until the darkness has retreated, and the light is back for good.

***** If you are struggling with depression, you don’t have to struggle alone or stay broken, here are some quick resources, just in case:

•You can learn more about starting therapy here, since pretty much everyone can benefit from talking to a professional.
•You can learn more about depression here.
7 Cups and IMAlive are free, anonymous online text chat services with trained listeners, online therapists, and counselors.
Vent and Paralign are community-based apps where you can express yourself anonymously and connect with people who might be feeling the same way.
•If you need to talk to someone immediately, the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. A list of international suicide hotlines can be found here.

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Hell is empty and all the devils are here.

I hope “the other woman” is never a part of you life.
I hope that you never have to meet her, or hear about her, or think about her.
Because I hope for you, whoever you are, that she doesn’t exist.shakespeare

Because I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on anyone.

Because that kind of pain is something totally different. It’s an endless labyrinth full of twists and curves, and tunnels that lead you to new kinds of pain every day.

The initial pain is thinking about their whole relationship in your head. How intense is their relationship? How long has this been going on? How did it start? Why did it start? Did she not know? If she did know, why? If she didn’t know, how? Why didn’t he tell her? What did he tell her about you? Did he call you crazy? And trust me, after some time, you will be able to see it all, and then some.

And then it’s the pain of thinking about your own relationship with him. Why doesn’t he love me? Why would he be so cruel? Did he ever love me, did he ever even care at all? Was it a game the whole time?

The pain of realizing that everything he said to you, he was saying to her.
That quiet, soft voice that you thought was reserved only for you, he was also using with her.

The pain of realizing that the same lips he used to kiss you, were also kissing her.
That body that you felt so sure of and so safe with, was also holding her.

And then you feel disgusting and dirty.

The pain of having to imagine them in the same places that you once were yourself: his kitchen, his car, his office, his porch. Anywhere you ever were with him, is now tainted by her.

The pain of knowing you obviously weren’t good enough.
Not pretty enough.
Not smart enough.
Not funny enough.
Not talented enough.
No thoughtful enough.
Not enough.

The pain of wondering what is so wrong with you that he needed someone else.
Then the comparisons start; why is she better than me?

The pain of remembering all the times he excused himself from spending time you, that now you have to wonder if it was to spend time with her. You never wondered before what he was doing when he wasn’t with you, because you assumed that he was working, or hanging out with his other friends, or going to the gym, or doing something else productive to society, you never assumed he was cultivating another romantic relationship. How many stupid lies did you fall for?

The pain of feeling absolutely betrayed.

And then, another darker and worse tunnel leads you down the path of wondering how many other people knew about it and didn’t tell you? How many people saw what was going on, but allowed you to stay oblivious? How ridiculous did you look to those people?

That tunnel is where you meet your new friends embarrassment and humiliation. And you just learn to live with them. Because you were stupid and this is what happens to stupid girls.

You were not different. You were not special. You were just another girl.

(…but the secret is that YOU are special one. You have been all along.)

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#BeachHouse2016: Dauphin Island

Today is our last full day at Dauphin Island, and it’s already making me sad.
It’s been such a good week here. IMG_6511
The only stresser being whether or not we were actually going to make it back to the shore with our paddle-boards (we did make it, for the record, with only minor injuries).
To be totally honest, I was a little apprehensive about coming to Dauphin Island, because normally we go to North Carolina every year, and I wasn’t real excited to change that. I was afraid we were coming to an island with absolutely nothing, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The water is warmer and clearer here, and there is a pizza place that serves the best pizza, so really I’ve got all I need.

Plus my best friends are here, too.
(Now if only I could get Clark to make a 12 hour trip in the car.) IMG_6539

I’ve spent a lot of time by the water that last few days (the red hue of my skin will vouch for that) and this is a small sample of what I’ve been listening to:

  1. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake – Single From DreamWorks TROLLS
    “I got that sunshine in my pocket. Got that good song in my feet. I feel that hot blood in my body when it drops. I can’t take my eyes up off it, moving so phenomenally.” 
  2. Heartbeat – Mat Kearney – Just Kids
    “I feel your heart beat, beat, beat beating right next to me. The heat, heat, heat got me feeling like I believe in all the things, baby, that we could be.”
  3. Cake by the Ocean – DNCE – Swway EP
    “You should be rolling with me, you should be rolling with me. You’re a real life fantasy, you’re a real life fantasy. But you’re moving so carefully; let’s start living dangerously.”
  4. Giants – Matt Nathanson – Show Me Your Fangs
    “I’m done trying to fit in, and be half forgiven for things that I never did. We’re more than what scares us, we’re final and fearless.”
  5. Rock Bottom – Hailee Steinfeld – Haiz
    “You hate me now and I feel the same way. You love me now and I feel the same way. We scream and we shout and make up the same day, same day.”
  6. New Orleans – Parachute – Wide Awake
    “We’re runnin’ by the river, the city lights are blazing. She looks like she could fly off, like gravity is failing.”
  7. We Don’t Talk Anymore – Charlie Puth feat. Selena Gomez – Nine Track Mind
    “Every now and then I think you might want me to come show up at your door. But I’m just too afraid that I’ll be wrong.”
  8. Peppermint Ice Cream – Brett Taylor – Highway Jetliner
    “When life gets to moving too fast we kiss and it slows down. We might not know what it’s about, we’re too young to have it figured out.”
  9. The Sound – The 1975 – I Love It When You Sleep…
    “I don’t regret it but I’m glad that we’re through. So don’t you tell me that you ‘just don’t get it’ cause I know you do.”
  10. Dancing in The Dark – Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A.
    “You sit around getting older, there’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me. ‘ll shake this world off my shoulders, come on baby this laugh’s on me.”
  11. Love Me Like That – The Knocks feat. Carly Rae Jepsen – 55
    “I hear thunder in the distance, and it hits me in an instant. Crashing through my heart and I’m blown apart, you don’t love me like that.”
  12. Unexpected Love – Matt Wertz – Gun Shy
    shinin’ in the morning’, midnight, you’re the moon. You’re the tide in the ocean pullin’ me right into you.” 
  13. Blank Space – Taylor Swift – 1989
    “‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless, we’ll take this way too far. It’ll leave you breathless or with a nasty scar.”
  14. I’m Yours – Alessia Cara – Know-It-All
    “Oh, how rude of you to ruin my miserable, and tell me I’m beautiful. ‘Cause I wasn’t looking for love, no.”
  15. Talk Too Much – COIN – Single
    “Silence is golden, and you’ve got my hopes up. We talk too much. No hesitation, what are we waiting for? We talk too much.”
  16. Something in the Way You Move – Ellie Goulding – Delirium
    “There’s not one thing I can do to change your ways, but I can’t sit back and take the lonely days. When our eyes meet, I can only see the end.”
  17. Get the Girl Back – Hanson – Anthem
    “Tell her she’s your moon and sun. Tell her that she’s always been the one. You’ve gotta say it from the heart ‘cause she will know a fake right from the start.”
  18. One Dance – Drake feat WizKid & Kyle – Views
    “You know you gotta stick by me. Soon as you see the text, reply me. I don’t wanna spend time fighting. We’ve got no time.”
  19. No – Meghan Trainer – Thank You
    “I was in my zone, before you came along, don’t want you to take this personal. Blah, blah, blah, I be like nah to the ah to the no, no, no.”
  20. Don’t Mess With My Girl – Jon McLaughlin – Like Us
    “If you mess with my girl…you leave me with no choice. Imma have to raise my voice get all up in your face. And put you right in your place.”
  21. Bullet – Chelsea Lankes – Chelsea Lankes – EP
    “And I played my favorite song. Turned up the volume and I danced. I didn’t care anymore. I’m better than I’ve ever looked. And boy, I never felt this good.”
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#GratiTuesday: Meant To Be Moments


It may sound silly or ridiculous, or inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but I’m grateful for live music. I’m grateful for music in general, but most of all when I’m experiencing it first hand.

Dancing with 500, or 500,000 people in a loud concert hall is where I feel the most me. When I feel the baseline pulsing through my veins and my heartbeat is indistinguishable from the drumbeat. Those are my Meant To Be moments.

What is a Meant To Be moment, you ask? It’s just like how it sounds. When you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are in the right place. This place feels like home for you. Because it is. You heart is at home. I was talking with my best friend Tara about it on our drive back from Tulsa Saturday night, it could be anything for anyone. That’s the joy about it. My Meant To Be moments, and your Meant To Be moments could be (and probably are) totally different.

Tara feels it at the zoo. Any zoo.

And I experience it every single time I go to a concert.
Every show.
Every time.
It’s such a hard concept to explain to people. Because, duhhhh? Who doesn’t feel happy when they are at a concert? But it’s more that just euphoric happiness for me, it’s contentment.

I experienced it last Saturday at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma dancing to “New Orleans” with Parachute. And I’m sure I’ll experience it at Old Rock House in St. Louis this coming Saturday when I see Parachute again.

I felt it every time my wrist band flashed at the 1989 World Tour.

I had it when I was nine years old and my parents took me to a Kansas concert.
And when I was an annoying 12-year-old with her mom and sister seeing NSYNC. And again when I was 24-years-old, but pretending to be 13-years-old, at a Backstreet Boys concert. And yet again when JT brought sexy back.

It reverberated in my heart when Billy Joel told me (and 24,000 other people) that “Vienna waits for you.” And I could hardly stand it when Hanson filled my heart and soul with Roots and Rock N Roll at the Dallas House of Blues.

That’s why every time I leave a concert, it’s such quick onset of Post-Concert Depression. Because that feeling is so fleeting and so rare for me, that Meant To Be feeling. It’s so rare, but I want to live it every day. I can’t even comprehend what it would feel like for me to work for a venue or for a tour and get to have that feeling every night. It would be more than you can imagine, more than I could ever even imagine.

Some people want to make lots of money. Some people want to be mommies and daddies. Other people want to travel the world. Others want to save it.

I just want to spend every night in a venue until I’ve lost all my proper hearing 🙂

Happy #GratiTuesday!

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#GratiTuesday: “Six billion souls. And sometimes all you need is one.”

Last Tuesday was the birthday of one of my best friends. We went to dinner and then went bowling. Because we are adults and those are the things we like to do.

Kendall is one of the genuinely kindest people I’ve ever known. Sometimes she’s so kind that it makes me mad. Kendall would literally give you anything she had if you needed it. She would do anything in her power to help you, and she will never turn away a prayer request. (I’m sure there’s been many times when Kendall’s prayers have, unbeknownst to me, intervened on my behalf in crisis times…or really anytime).

She has the sweetest disposition in life, which is why sometimes I can’t figure out what makes her like me so much. The thing about sweet people is that sometimes they are hard to be friends with. Yes, you like them, but you can never actually be friends with them. Kendall is not this way. She is sweet, but also sarcastic and funny. She is sweet, but also relatable.

We tried to calculate the other day how long we had actually been friends, and it was a long time. Approximately like 18-ish years (since fourth grade, but math is hard, so I just started guessing — also, fortunately for all of us, our awkward middle school and elementary school selves were not well photographed). That’s a long time to have someone in your life who’s not attached to you by blood. And I am grateful for every day that I’ve had her. She brightens my life with her humor and blesses my life with her spirit. And I hope there never comes a day when she’s no longer a top-tier member of my life.

Kendall is currently attending The Ramp ministry school in Hamilton, Alabama, and if you’d like to donate to her world-and-heart-changing mission, you can do so here: And by donating to her, I promise you, that money won’t be a waste. God has major plans for her. She can lead people in to worship, and that is one of the greatest gifts anyone can have.

I love you, Kendall! Happy #GratiTuesday!

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#GratiTuesday: Evan James

Today is my one and only nephew’s 13th birthday, and today’s GratiTuesday (yesterdays….technicalities) goes out to him.FullSizeRender

To be real honest, I never really know what to do with Evan. He’s a good kid, but he doesn’t like make-up, shoes, or painting his nails, so my aunting skills are basically useless with him.IMG_3004





The only thing we can agree on is dinosaurs.

He picks on his sisters, but what brother doesn’t? Despite that, I think he is still kind for a 13-year-old boy (and sometimes his sisters deserve it). He makes friends easily and works hard. He can draw and can invent and fabricate things I would never think of trying or creating.

He is the only reason I even contemplate going to baseball games, and he is my favorite outdoorsman.

Happy birthday, Evan. I love you!


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