Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Life... as it is.

Still on the whole gratitude post kick. I will admit, I feel like I am pulling teeth trying to find things to write about. The truth is, I am happy - grateful - semi~content.

What more could I ask for?

When I look at my life as it is now, my schedule sort of says it all. I have this theory, it's one that I think you will agree with. I believe we make time for things that are important to us. Those very things are the items I have been trying to list out that I am most grateful for.

Here is basically how I spend my days:

6amish - Receive Good morning texts from someone special.
7am - Alarm goes off - I push snooze.
7:15am - Alarm goes off - I push  snooze.
7:30am - Cat crawls all over me... alarm goes off.. I yell at both... then push snooze.
7:45am - I reluctantly crawl out of bed. Go to bathroom. Feed cats. Put Kcup in the Keurig. Brew coffee.
8am - Jump in shower. Don't really think about anything.
8:10am - Drink coffee... watch news.
8:20am - Might cook bacon, or grab a yogurt, or scramble an egg. If not - Head straight to ponder what to wear.
8:30am - Eat or start makeup.
8:45am - Finish makeup and blow dry hair. Put on clothes.
8:50am - Head out the door.
9am - Arrive at work. Fix another cup of coffee.
Noon - Lunch (either head home or go out with friends.)
1:30ish - WORK
5:30ish - Meetings/Extra Service projects/dance class/gym/something.. etc.
7pmish - Head home. Feed cats. Change into Tshirt and yoga pants
7:30ish - Cook dinner
8:00pm - Watch tv.. chat with roomie or boyfriend comes over
10pm - read/hot bath
11pm - bedtime.

That's a typical day.

Priorities? What do you see? What are your priorities?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

List It Out

I promised a few gratitude posts, and come hell or high water, you are going to get them!

I think today I will list out some individual experiences I am grateful for. 

Let's begin, shall we?

I am grateful for:

- A college education. Seriously, I am so glad that I chose to attend a university, go straight through and get my Bachelor's Degree, and never once changed my focus. No side tracking, no huge hiccups, just get 'er done and be done with it. It has opened doors for me that would have been otherwise closed. There is still a possibility I will go for a Masters. Just taking my time about it. A college education taught me how to stick something out, and in the end, it will pay off. While my friends from high school were off making money, I was struggling in the books. Though their 14$ an hour jobs seemed like a lot back them, I have sense waaaaay surpassed that, all because I took the time to invest in me. 

- Ballet. I am incredibly thankful to my parents for taking me to see the Nutcracker when I was a young child. I fell in love with the Sugarplum fairy and wanted to dance that role. My parents enrolled me in ballet and I found my one natural talent. I felt such peace when I danced. I still do. Granted, I'm not in pointe shoes or twirling in tutus, but that muscle memory is there, and I ache to do it again. Ballet taught me discipline, grace, balance (well.. at least in heels I have it. Don't ask me to walk flat footed.. I trip all over myself.) 

- Theater. I am also super happy my mom pushed me to audition for my first play when I was in the 5th grade. I was incredibly shy, and after doing a few shows, and taking a few theater classes, I began this super - outgoing person. (Which, we all know, I am not... but I know how to "act" like I am.) Theater also taught me the art of observation. I can read a situation/group of people very easily and adapt accordingly. It has helped me immensely in my life.

- Love. You know what - I actually still believe in love. I also live by the philosophy, "Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." Everyone that has come into my life, I have learned something from them. I am grateful that certain people took the time, spent a portion of their lives with me, and left a lasting impression. I am better for it, I'm sure.

- Tough bosses. I have worked for some tough people. Seriously tough. My news director, back in the day, was no joke. She had a reputation for kicking ass and taking names. My immediate folks at the past two nonprofits were a "take no prisoners" type of women. I am glad I got to work with such sharp, tough women. It made my skin thick, and in turn, not a whole lot will get to me in the corporate setting. I feel confident when I sit across from a CEO in a board room, and I carry myself accordingly. Yes, I laugh and cut up, but when push comes to shove - I get it done.

- Loss. I loss my ability to have children. I lost a job I loved. I lost a home I loved. I lost my dignity. I lost my husband. I almost lost my hope. Note - almost. What did I gained? Amazing perspective, an incredible amount of patience, and the knowledge that no matter what is thrown at me, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I got this - and I will rise.

I am sure there is so much more, but I think this is a good start. Things that pop to mind. Education - Ballet - Theater - Love - Work - and Loss. It makes me who I am. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Grateful for .... Post 1 - God.

If I never thank my family for anything else in this world, I want to thank them for introducing me to God. Granted, I realize that I would have probably discovered who God was and what he was about, but because my family actually went to church, or at least had a concept of God, I never went a day without realizing he exists.

Now, you may not believe in God. Perhaps you believe in a higher power, the universe, etc. I get it. I believe the universe/power/whatever is the same, just called by different names. I know the die hard fanatics will cringe when I say that, but that's okay. But back to what I am grateful for - my relationship with what I call my higher power, God.

I am not bible beater in the strictest sense of the word. There are few of the big Ten Commandments that I sort of skip over from time to time. No, it's not right, but the difference between me and maybe someone else is, I actually get it. 

No, I don't go to church each Sunday. I have in the past, and may again soon. I enjoy church, but I will be the first to admit that I like relaxing on a Sunday morning. It's hard to get me to leave the house. But when I do go, I am so happy I did.

No, I will not "witness to you." Though, if you want to openly talk about God and why I choose to believe what I do, I will discuss it with you. I won't debate you, unless you flat out insult me.

But back to being grateful - I am super grateful that I was Christened as a baby. Which in my belief system sort of protects me and shows to the world that I will be raised as a child of God. Then I love the fact that when I was very young, I was allowed to enter the most important part of a mass and that is where you are able to partake of the body and blood of Christ. Then as a teen ager, I spent two years studying Christianity and other religions, and was provided the opportunity to publicly declare whether or not I wanted to continue down this path. 

Though all of those were traditional acts that many Catholics/Christians go thru (and yes, Catholics are Christians.. for you fundamental naysayers. (
Catholicism (from Greek καθολικισμός, catholikismos, "according to the whole") is a broad term for describing specific traditions in the Christian churches in theology and doctrine, liturgy, ethics and spirituality. For many the term usually refers to Christians and churches, western and eastern, in full communion with the Holy See, usually known as the Catholic Church or the Roman Catholic Church.[1] However, many others use the term to refer to other churches with historical continuity from the first millennium.
In the sense of indicating historical continuity of faith and practice, the term "Catholicism" is at times employed to mark a contrast to Protestantism, which tends to look solely to the Bible as interpreted on the principles of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation as its ultimate standard.[2] It was thus used by the Oxford Movement.[3] )

I actually enjoy my personal relationship with God. I pray and have done so fairly often. I don't feel like I need to make a big show of it either. I know people that do that. One time I sat down to eat lunch with a fellow coworker, and she paused and bowed her head to pray. (Which bowing of the head is a Protestant tradition.) I simply put my napkin in my lap and said to myself (without moving my lips,) "Thank you for this food, may you please bless it to the nourishment of my body." Then I picked up my fork and proceeded to eat. My friend, on the other hand, continued to pray, looked up and asked, "You don't bless your food?" I replied, "Of course I do." She just looked at me like I was crazy.

Again... I did not see why I should have to pray and pray and pray at lunch. I pray throughout the day, and the point was to thank God for the food.

Again - I am so grateful for my friendship with God. That I can do these things, and I assume he gets me.

I suppose this is my first Gratitude post - The one where I am so grateful that I believe in God. That I have my traditions. That I have my prayers. That I believe there is a more powerful force out there loving me, protecting me, guiding me. It has helped me make good decisions throughout my life, and it has helped me heal from the bad ones. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gratitude is Necessary

I cannot express to you how important good manners are to me. Incredibly important.

One of the biggest ways to completely rub me the wrong way is to not thank, show appreciation, or congratulate someone for something good another has demonstrated. It's just in poor taste not to do so.


We are heading into the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Traditionally, we take a day to give thanks for the bounty that this beautiful country has given us. 

Sure - the holiday is based on this "tale" about the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. But let's get real, the settlers raped/killed/stole from the Native Americans... however, at the end of the day, we do live in a pretty amazing country.

What I like to concentrate on is the beauty of the year. It's the end of November, the trees have gone from barren, to fruitful/flowerful/green, to something that may very well seem magical - covered in vibrant, shimmery leaves that look as if they are on fire... only to go barren, again. It's as if the entire year has lived, and now.. we rest before the birth of a new day comes. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all of the good of the year, and that's exactly what I plan to do in the next 7 posts. 

2013 was full of surprises. TONS of change. Incredible advances. A few setbacks.

I am thrilled to have experienced it all. Some people I know never got that chance. I lost a few people this year. I gained a few people this year. I made some incredible changes that have afforded me the opportunity to grow.

I am looking forward to sharing my gratitude with all of you this next week. I am also super excited to always share some little portion of my life with you. Whoever you are, and whatever you do - I am glad you have stopped by.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Crossed Over

I think I have finally crossed over into a really nice category. It's called 'Letting it all go.'

A few interesting things happened this weekend and I am so glad it did. Well.. some things we could all do without, but then again.. for me... it taught me so much.

For one, something really quite inconvenient and terrible happened to a close friend. I needed help in order to help this person, and of all people, my ex came through for me. He got a call from me at 3am and helped me out - no questions asked. THAT is progress.

And I was able to go home and not think a thing about it or him.

Again - progress.

Then Sunday would have been our 6  year anniversary. I was dreading this impending date. I knew it would be difficult, and that I would probably sit around and ruminate over the past.

But surprisingly, I did not even remember it.

Until today.

Grilled chicken with sauteed spinach & feta, with ribs
Instead, I drove to Dublin to hang out with... I guess we can call him this now... my "boyfriend." He grilled and cooked an amazing dinner (apparently he is QUITE the cook,) and introduced me to his sister and nephew. He drove me around the property (which happens to have tons of acres) on a 4-wheeler, something I had never done in my life. We sat out by a campfire and just laughed and talked.

Then today, as I was preparing my coffee, I looked up at the calendar that had that date written in red, and it did not phase me one bit.


It's over. That sadness. It's gone.

I am.. lord have mercy.. I can't believe I am saying this.. but I am happy.

And it's a good thing.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Don't Forget To Be Awesome!

I've been M.I.A. for a few.. but it was necessary. I had to recharge my battery, and I am so much better for it!

I've mentioned it on several occasions - how happy I am these days. Sure, memories fade in and out, and yes, the whole dating scene is a little rocky and unnerving, but overall, my life is as it should be.

I saw a quote today that made complete sense, " Not getting what you want can sometimes be a wonderful stroke of luck."

That is something I can agree with.

So what have I been up to that has kept me away? Well, for one, I am DANCING again! That's right, I started ballroom dancing classes in Macon and I could not be happier. I got the opportunity to be whisked across a dance floor last night for almost two hours. I felt at ease and at home. These are my people - dancers. There were about 20 of us, all ranging in age from 35 - 72. Most were around my age. Most were singles, not a lot of couples. It was such a wonderful experience. :-) I hope to keep this up - and now that I have a roommate, I can definitely afford to do so!

Another thing... I have sort of started dating someone again that I was seeing back in mid-July. We reconnected about a month or two ago, and things are going really well. I sort of fought it for a while, he wasn't exactly the person I saw myself with. We are polar opposites.. he is into fishing, hunting, 4 wheelers, camping, and things like that. I, on the other hand, like museums and events, ballets and live theater. But there is a whole lot in the middle we enjoy together - going out to eat and travel. We're both open to learning what the other enjoys - so for now, this might be a nice person to just hang out with. He is very nice, extremely respectful, and seems to genuinely like me. My roommate is extremely protective of me, and she says that he seems like a really good guy and mentioned that he has shown that he is really into me. So for now, it will be nice to just have one person to spend time with, not fool with these other creeps, and just enjoy the time we can spend together. (And we are both SUPER busy.) 

I've been staying super busy with lots of events and going out with friends. I'm laughing more, taking time for me more, and trying very hard to live a happier life. I have set boundaries with the fools that tried to dominate my time and brain space. I have forgiven someone that not so much needed my forgiveness, more so I had to get to that place. (The egyptian.) 

Here are some highlights from the past few weeks:
Went to a friend's halloween party - Georgia/Florida game. Watched Bill scream at the game! UGA won!!!!!

Ate outside in this beautiful fall weather. Here is the James Brown Black & Blue burger with beer battered fries from The Rookery in Macon. 

Another friend brought me a caramel apple and Starbucks double shot. :-) 

Loved on my sick baby. He's okay now. He had a really bad upper resp. infection

Went to Oktoberfest!

Organized a stumping event to promote the Tubman on Georgia Gives Day

Had lunch with my Leadership Macon peeps at Locos!

Went to my favorite little place in Gray, GA

Hung out with one of my besties... and roommate

Had one of my friends that is a chef make some AMAZING guac!

Bought a piece of rock candy from the Museum of Arts & Sciences in Macon! Did I mention how much I like rock candy? And the color blue!

My friend (the chef) making guac. Check out his blog:

Took the roomie to Olive Forge Herb Farm in Haddock 

Hung out with great people at the Tribute to ABBA at The Grand in Macon

Went to an Arts Journalism Symposium

Hung out with my good friend, Shamani from Nambia at the fire house. 

Went to TWANG with the roomie and had cocktails. 

Yep.. all my idea!

Watched my friend, Scott, entertain his guests at the Halloween party!

Hung out with the always amazing Carley at Oktoberfest

Got to tour the jail. 

Rode the city bus with my Leadership Macon friend

Played Fire Woman with Laronda

My halloween costume

Great food!

Got to listen to the Sheriff talk about crime in our community

City Bus time..

Had a dinner party with friends...

Ordered a sweet tea with southern comfort and peach schnapps and collard green/artichoke dip!

my boys

lunch with friends...

Playing in the buckets that go 100 feet high!

The fireman cooked my lunch! Good old fashioned soul food - grilled chicken, hoe cakes, mac & cheese, peach cobbler, sweet tea...

Firemen. Any questions?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

And then it hit me.

I hate to start this post off all morose... but something hit me yesterday. I think it is best that I write it out and leave it.

I came home from work, changed clothes, fed the cats - just getting my basic chores done. Finally, I decided I needed a cup of coffee. I selected the Pike Roast K cup from the little carosel and began the Keurig process. I discovered I needed to clean my coffee cup, so I did, and proceeded to wash my hands next. As I was washing my hands, I looked up and saw the calender that hangs above the sink.

I love this calendar, each month it show cases different herbs, spices, and sometimes edible flowers and other goodies. It's perfect for the kitchen. I love the fact that each month is geared toward items that would be growing or in season.

I happened to glance at the dates.. checking out when Thanksgiving is, pondering the fact that this year is almost over, when suddenly I noticed something I had written in red.

I glanced at the date.

November 17th.

I read the words - "Our Anniversary. 6 years."

I paused.

The water kept running. I stood there.

I gathered myself and turned off the water. Put my hand on the sink... and burst into tears.

I snapped a picture of the date and the words and sent HIM a text. I told him it brought a tear to my eye.

He answered three hours later...

"Damn. :-(       I'm speechless."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Of course.. I see the blessings...

"Saying thank you is more than good manners.  It is good spirituality. " ~Alfred Painter

If there is one thing I always try to leave people with - it's my gratitude. I may not always seem like I am having a great time, or that I am overly friendly, or whatever the case may be... but if you show me even an ounce of kindness or inspired me in some way... I always show my gratitude.

I do think it is the one thing... the most important thing.. a person can share with another. It IS good spirituality.

During the month of November, friends typically list out their top 20+
"I'm thankful for" items as their FB/Instagram/Twitter posts. I love reading these, just seeing what people truly value in life.

I know you often read about my struggles in Destination Unknown. They are real, but they are not terrible. I have stumbled, fallen, tripped a few more times - only to rise above stronger than ever.

And I am grateful. PLUS... I see the blessings.

It's funny how after I lost all of those things I clung to so hard, did I realize I had the power to return to my center of peace. I feel so much love from the people in my life right now. My friends that I talk to every day, they always seem to find a way to leave me with an encouraging word. Those that tend to push buttons or poke a little too hard... I have chosen to distance myself, just until the dust settles a little bit more and I feel like I can handle it.

Even at work, things sort of have fallen back into place. The vibe is really conducive to good work and that is exactly what I strive for. At home, I could not be happier. Having one of my absolute best friends, who is super kind and compassionate, around all of the time is so good for my soul. We have picked up where we left off in Birmingham and not a day goes by that I am not incredibly grateful.

Though I might not have a life partner right now, it is hopeful to remember that someone.. out there right now... is wandering this Earth... and eventually we will cross paths. It will click, and all will be as it should. Only then will I understand why it never really worked out with anyone else. ;-)

No... life is far from perfect (if you look at society's terms,) but I am happy. That fog of despair has dissipated, I see the good again, and I have a full and robust future awaiting me.

We all do.

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  
Have you used one to say "thank you?"  ~William A. Ward

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why My Marriages Did Not Work

I just read an incredible post by Seth Adam Smith about "Why Marriage Is Not For You." At first, I was not sure where he was going, thinking perhaps he would answer that question for me.. why my marriages failed and what was wrong with me. Perhaps I was just meant to be a lone wolf.

Take a moment and read his article.

He hit the nail on the head.

Marriage is not about you or for you. It's for the other person.

When I married Chris, I married him for the wrong reasons. I was 27, sort of tired of dating, and I thought he was basically a good man. He could fix things, he was a great cook, he was funny, and came from a wonderful family. I thought to myself.. "Okay, I can make this work." '

I liked him a lot. Note I did not say love. He was the one who was always showering me with the "L" word, and though I would repeat it, I never really felt it. As our relationship went on (8 years,) little things came up that made me realize he was not as "good a man" as I once thought. 9 different jobs in 8 years, most resulting in failed drug tests. He would go to his best friends house on any given night only to return at 4, 5, or 6am. (Yeah.. right.) I was not attracted to him, and neither of us were really living for the other. I created a life that I liked - I had my circle of friends, my exchange students, my clubs, my job - I stayed really busy. He had his life. Finally we called it quits - and that was that.

My second marriage was different. I married the egyptian in my mid 30s and we remained together for seven years - living together for 4 of those years in America. I was in love with him in every sense of the word. I was incredibly attracted to him, I respected him, I could not find a single thing wrong with him.

He came to America and of course went through an adjustment phase. I knew it would be rough, since I hosted all of those students, I know it takes some time. He did finally adjust, but once the dust settled, he looked at me and realized I could not make him happy. Now, I lived FOR him. I did everything I could to make HIM happy. My friends would often ask why I was paying the bills for him, or why was I dropping everything I wanted to do to help him... but I did it because I loved him and I wanted to make my husband happy.

But herein lies the problem - it takes two. I was doing all of the work.. and he was checking out.

When I go back to Seth's article, it makes complete sense what went wrong. The problem we had was that only one was trying to live for the other, and it simply can't work that way. If you asked him today, he would tell you that I am a great person, but he just could not live with me. Why? Because he chose not to accept me for me. When I accepted his flaws and all.

The single biggest piece of advice in the article follows:

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.
My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.
No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

So ask yourself in your current relationship or for the future - "WHAT CAN I GIVE?"

Friday, November 1, 2013

My Facebook Rant

This post is dedicated to Facebook... and the things that drive me insane.
(Trust me... it's not what you think!)

Let's begin, shall we?

I am incredibly tired of people complaining about what other people do on Facebook. (Which in turn is sort of the same thing.) Just let people be. It's their page, their wall, and if they want to post something, then for goodness sakes, they have every right.


If I you want to know my personal opinion about those things...

1. If someone wants to share a recipe, then so be it. I actually like seeing that in my news feed. I like to cook, and I obviously like food, so it never bothers me to see recipes. I really like following those food bloggers! But what I don't like - PEOPLE WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT THOSE WHO DO.

2. If someone wants to check in somewhere and tell us who they are with and what they are doing, that's cool with me. I like discovering new spots, and I like people's feedback. Hell, I love knowing my friends are doing more than playing monopoly at home. I like having interesting people in my life - PLUS.. if I'm out and about and nearby, I just might stop by and say hi! But what I don't like- PEOPLE WHO CONSTANTLY MAKE SNIDE COMMENTS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO CHECK IN.

3. If someone wants to show a pic of their pets, I think that's fun. Animals are adorable.. and if you love your pet, you usually have a kind demeanor. I love seeing the funny stuff people catch their pets doing, and for those of us who chose to have pets outside of children, people need to remember, we love our pets just as much. (And for many of us, it's a much more responsible decision.) But what I don't like - PEOPLE WHO CONSTANTLY MAKE SNIDE COMMENTS ABOUT PET PICTURES AND PET OWNERS.

4. Granted, I really do not care to see a ton of kid pics, but I get it. Remember, I'm one of those pet people. So, I respect people's desire to show photos of their little ones. I have absolutely no right to complain. Though, I try to limit my cat pics to one to two a day. I would prefer if people would do the same with their kid.

5. I LOVE seeing pics of food. I find it fascinating what other people eat - it's the one thing we all have in common. I DESPISE when people complain about seeing pics of people's lunches or dinners. What's the big deal?

6. I really enjoy receiving invites to events and I always make a point to join, say maybe (but change my decision as it gets closer to time, or decline.) I do NOT like when people ignore an invite, say yes (but have no intention of going,) or complain that they receive invites. As I tell my friends that complain about being invited to stuff or act as if their life is so full, that my petty invites annoy them - there will come a time when you won't get any invitations to anything. Remember that.

7. I also enjoy seeing shared news stories. Oftentimes I find out about breaking news from so many people.

8. I DO NOT LIKE GAME REQUESTS. That's one I'm not a fan of, but it's simple - I just turn those notifications off.

9. I don't accept friend requests from people I don't know, nor have I ever understood why someone would send me a request like that.

10. I do NOT like seeing chain posts about "If you love Jesus" and what not. I love Jesus. I just don't think I am going to hell if I don't share.

11. Not a big fan of the "I love my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/blah blah" posts every single day. It just screams insecurity. From time to time is sweet.. all the time is overkill.

12. I do like to celebrate your life's achievements. Please share! I get ticked off when people sort of poo-poo other people's successes.

13. Not a fan of the diet updates - though I've done it from time to time. I think it's because it makes me feel guilty. hahahaha...

14. I like when people share funny videos or touching videos. I dislike when people get annoyed by it. I have discovered some great music that way.

15. I do NOT like when people like their own pics they post or status updates. It's like you just gave yourself a high five.

16. I really hate the scam/faux stuff people send around. You know.. those hoaxes. Blech.

17. I don't care if you change your profile pic 500 times. Work that camera.

18. Which leads me to pics in general. I LOVE photos. It's how I keep up with you. Stop complaining about peoples pics...

19. People who are crazy about being tagged bother me. Look - go into your settings, and make it where you have to approve it and chill the eff out.

20. Finally, people who complain sooooooo much about what people do on FB should simply delete their account. Nominal annoyance is one thing.. but being so incredibly bitter is another.


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