Monday, February 27, 2012


I've developed a morning routine in one of my offices. I go in, put my stuff away, walk into the kitchen. Pour a cup of coffee into a plastic cup, then put ice cubes into my starbucks tumbler. Prepare my oatmeal. Pour the hot coffee into the iced cup. Take my oatmeal and my coffee to my desk. Read e-mails first, then read the news headlines before getting to work.

Today I was struck when I read that there was a school shooting in Ohio. Throughout the day I would refresh to get updates. My heart broke a little for the students and families affected. My heart especially hurt for the shooter himself. I read a few articles where other students mentioned things like they "weren't surprised" that "He would do something like this".

I'm sorry. Does this not disturb anyone else? If this kid appeared to be that damaged, did anyone try to step in and help him? Maybe they did, maybe he pushed them out, maybe people gave up. I just have a hard time dealing with the fact that there is a chance this kid just slipped through the cracks, that he was seen as the "quiet creepy kid", and no one bothered to ask him how is day was going or ask if he needed to talk about anything. To create an act of violence like this you are not in the right mind. He wasn't in the right mind. He was disturbed.

We had a couple kids at the high school where I worked who would fit the profile. Very quiet, kept their heads down, no smiles. Drew in class instead of writing notes. No friends. Sat in the corner of the bleachers staring at their feet. Any maybe it's just me and the way I am, but I was not afraid of them. Instead I made it my mission to talk to those kids. Give them an extra helping at lunch. Ask them to help me carry the juice cartons so they felt important and needed. Did anything I could to get them to crack. I remember the day one of the girls in this category said more than two works to me. I ran down the hallway to tell my friend. I was so excited. From that day on she would give me a wave and a smile in the hallways and she started showing up to my creative writing extracurricular. She still didn't say much, but she would write beautiful pieces of poetry and proudly turn them in. All because I kept asking her how her day was going. All because I noticed her.

I just want to encourage people to reach out to the quiet ones. Obviously you cannot give all of yourself to helping someone else, because you'll get burned out. But just try. Try to crack someone. Try to reach out. Try to get eye contact, try to get a smile. Just try. You never know the impact you can have on someone, you never know if you'll stop a tragedy from happening. Just from trying.

I'm adding something into my morning routine: pray. Pray for anyone dealing with such tragedies, and anyone who is so full of self hate and anger. And pray for all of us that we can reach out, notice each other, and try.

"we're one, but we're not the same. we get to carry each other"- u2

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent 2012.

It's Day One of Lent. Not even going to lie, I do miss facebook and twitter already. In fact, as soon as I got home I powered up my computer and typed in twitter...totally forgot. Don't worry, I didn't log in :)

So here is the official list of things I gave up:

Going out to eat during the week (there's an exception to this, ask my mom what it is LOL)

Things I'm doing:
Lent Letters
10-15 minutes before bed to pray/journal
Live a little bit more simply

My very first lent letter today went to my coworker and good friend Tierra. I had someone randomly pick a number between 1-40, there it was, number 16, Tierra. It actually was perfect because Tierra is leaving soon (end of March) and I took the opportunity to let her know how much I appreciate her and how much I am going to miss her. Tierra has been one of the few people there for me since the very beginning of me landing this give me advice, vent, support the volunteer program, and someone who I admire when it comes to faith. She was also one of the first people I saw this morning, bright and early at 7:30. So it was really nice to be able to see her live reaction to the letter. I think that was the first time in the three years I've been doing this project someone has read their letter right in front of me. Tierra, I will miss you but know you're on to do great things. Now let's rock this last month we have!

It's funny how my list of people have evolved over the past few years. I've kept each list. It always changes based on where I'm working. This year I had to make room for about five of my fabulous co workers, plus I put in a few people who I'm not particularly close to, I just want them to know I have been praying for them. Then there's the usual close family members and friends. I never get tired of telling them how much I love, adore, and appreciate them.

Well, I just wanted to check in. I have to leave for volleyball, Lord help me make it through this game. Wednesdays are my most draining day at work, and I have to work late Friday night, work most of Saturday, and work late Monday night. Bring me to April, please.

Hugs. For those also going through Lent, we got this. Let us remember all those suffering much more than us.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I got tagged by Shari in the "11 Things" meme going around the Internet. First, 11 facts about me.

1. My golden retriever is 9 years old but I still call him "puppy" and "baby".
2. I hate the recent vampire/zombie obsession. I can admit to being entertained by Twilight but that's as far as I go.
3. I think Pink has one of the best voices of all female artists. I hope she keeps singing, but I respect that she has taken a break to be a full time mother.
4. My favorite color is green, but my room at my parents house is decked out in purple.
5. I really miss working with kids. Lots of thoughts have crossed my mind but I am flirting with the idea applying to grad school to become a school counselor.
6. Chicago is my second favorite city to visit but I haven't been there in 4 years.
7. 24 years old and I still have a hard time looking people in the eye.
8. I always give people a second chance.
9. I miss speaking French. I dropped it after high school. I regret that.
10. I've never been to another country other than Canada.
11. I am in constant fear that people don't like me.

And now, to answer Shari's questions:

#1: What’s your favorite quote? I have so many. The one that gets me through the day is "there will be an answer, let it be".

#2: Who’s your role model and/or mentor? Oh, her name is Melinda. Perhaps you've heard of her. :)

#3: How many places have you lived, and where is your favorite? Childhood home in Troy, teenage-young adult home in Bloomfield Hills, college dorm, three different college apartments, house in corktown, and now my house in Birmingham. I have to say my favorite was my childhood house in Troy. So many good memories there. I miss the canopy bed, the desk, the huge yard and wooden deck outside, having friends a few steps away...miss it all!

#4: Have you known for years what you want to name your children, or do you believe that you have to see the baby first before deciding? I totally have names picked out: Liam, Nicholas, Colin, Emma, Briana, Madison.

#5: What’s your dream job? Dream dream? Writing. Other than that, working with kids.

#6: What’s your favorite book? Why? Hmm. You know what? I think it's The Help. I couldn't put it down and the writing itself was delicious.

#7: Would you ever consider adopting a child? Hells yes! In fact, I think I might. Not like tomorrow, but when I'm married.

#8: Have you met any celebrities? Yep. Mostly Idols, including Kelly Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, Gavin DeGraw. I was really close to meeting Alicia Keys once.

#9: Give me a tour of your ideal home – where is it, what does it look like, who lives there with you? I'd actually love to live in a cute little cottage, but not in the middle of the woods or anything, just a cute offset cottage. One full of books, comfy chairs. It smells like coffee, there's room for kids to run around and play. It has a lot of yellow.

#10: Have you ever had an experience (or several) that’s truly defined who you are? several. My very positive high school experience, my very negative college experience, and my year of service I did with MVC.

#11: If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be? empathetic

As a bonus, here are 11 songs I am LOVING, right now!

1. My Same- Adele. One of my favorites from her first album. So catchy!

2. Take Care- Drake ft Rihanna.

3. Tightrope- Janelle Monae. This song isn't new, but I play it all the time.

4. Happily Ever After- He is We. I recently discovered this duo and I'm in love!

5. Safe and Sound- Taylor Swift. This is my favorite Taylor song ever. Love the sweet simplicity of it, and it will be so perfect for the Hunger Games!

6. It Will Rain- Bruno Mars.

7.Sexy and I know It- LMFAO. Don't ask me why, because I don't know.

8.Domino- Jessie J. I just want to dance on a table when I hear this song.

9. Be Calm- Fun. Formaly known as The Format, they are one of my favorite bands.

10. Stronger- Kelly Clarkson. Cmon. If you don't love this song you are lying.

11. Georgia Peaches- Lauren Alaina. Again, I don't know why. It's so cheesy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

love actually is all around us

Today I had someone tell me that I looked like I was in a bad mood. She then proceeded to list off all the blessings in my life, as if to lecture me or try to prove that my life isn't so bad. I had to cut her off.

I apologize if it appeared I was in a bad mood, but here's the thing- I wasn't. I was actually kind of giggly and happy today. And I am well, well aware of the blessings in my life, thank you very much.

It's Valentine's Day and while I am from the school of "show your love every day, not just a holiday", I actually do like this holiday. I like that there are some creative ways for us to express our love. But as I said, we don't need a date to remind us. We need to speak our love, loudly, every single day. Through our words and our actions we need to love ourselves, the people around us, and strangers. We just have to.

I have a lot of friends who are single and "down" today. Nothing breaks my heart more than people who think they are unworthy or unwanted just because they are single. Because that is so far from the truth. Take a second to really think about this. You were created, put on this earth, for a very specific reason. What is more lovely than that? It's your job to do the best with the life you have been given. And being single is not the worst thing to happen to you, it's not something that should knock you down or force you to stop loving yourself and shutting out other people. Now, being single is actually kind of a blessing. Sure we all long for someone to hold, to share our secrets, to call our boyfriend/girlfriend. But when you're single, you can devote that time to yourself, to listening to others, to learning from your mistakes and to find out what it is you want.

So to anyone feeling unloved today- you are not unlovable. The guy/gal of your dreams hasn't found you yet. They will. Love does not discriminate. Love comes in many ways. You will find someone who will love you the way you are and want to spend every moment with you. I promise.

I have a big heart, and it's sending love to each and every single person who I have ever known. May your days be filled with peace, humor, love, and blessings. May you find the person you are supposed to be and may you learn to love yourself, love others, and love life.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 grammys

Awards I Care About

Best Country Song
My Pick: God Gave Me You, written by Dave Barnes, recorded by Blake Shelton
Winner: Mean, written by Taylor Swift, recorded by Taylor Swift.
Comments: Uhm. I love Taylor. But Mean is one of my least favorite Taylor songs. She has some that are much, much better written. (DEAR JOHN FOR CRYING OUT LOUD). But still, congrats to her, since she did write her entire album.

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
My Pick: Don't You Wanna Stay, Jason Aldean/Kelly Clarkson
Winner: Barton Hallow, Civil Wars
Comments: If I had to pick a second winner, it'd be Civil Wars. They are fantastic. But "Don't You Wanna Stay" is a gorgeous duet that gives me goosebumps every single time I hear it!

Best Country Album
My Pick: Own The Night, Lady Antebellum
Winner: Own The Night, Lady Antebellum
Comments: Yes, Taylor's Speak Now album was fantastic, but nowhere near as good as Own The Night. Great to see them go from a little unknown trio to a mega country band. Terrific album, you should check it out if you haven't already. Well deserved, kids.

Best New Artist
My Pick: Nicki Minaj
Winner: Bon Iver.
Comments: I don't know Bon Iver or his music. I just think Nicki has quite a story, and has taken the title of best female rapper.

Song of The Year
My Pick: Rolling in the Deep, Adele
Winner: Rolling in the Deep, Adele.

Record of the Year
My Pick: Rolling in the Deep, Adele
Winner: Rolling in the Deep, Adele

Album of the Year
My Pick: 21, Adele
Winner: 21, Adele
Comments:The other albums in this category did not come close to the magic that is 21. Very cool to see such a beautiful album, with no gimmicks or over production, scoop up the album of the year win. Although I do find it a little funny that when I asked my twitter friends "what's your favorite adele song?" 99% of the answers were a song from 21. Pssst: She has another album, 19, that's just as good.


Bruno Mars, Runaway Baby
Know why I love Bruno Mars? Besides that adorable little face? He's classy. His performance was the perfect combination of showmanship and vocals. He didn't go over the top but he gave us a good show. I love his old school vibe. I actually love everything about him. As far as male pop artists go, he's probably the best we have right now. Keep on sanging, Bru Bru. Oh, and I yes, I saw you wink at the camera.

Chris Brown
I don't even know the name of the song nor do I care to look it up. Positive things to say about Chris? Boy can dance. Okay, now that's out of my system, time to tell you how I really feel. I find it absolutely disgusting that he was allowed to perform. I know, I know, people make mistakes and we should forgive them. But my thing is, violence towards other people is unforgivable. Breaking a window at Good Morning America and putting innocent people in physical harm is unforgivable. Why should we continue to give him chances and applaud him? He messed up, more than once. And I just find it very unappealing that three years ago, at this VERY SAME EVENT, he was beating up his girlfriend, and now he's on the stage acting like it's all okay. It will never be okay.

Jason Aldean/Kelly Clarkson, Don't You Wanna Stay
There were some mic issues there, but they still pulled off a great performance. Kelly looked stunning. Her weight has been a target in the media, but I thought she looked fabulous...and I personally don't care what someone looks like, if they have those kind of pipes. She's wonderful. And Jason isn't so bad himself.

Alicia Keys/Bonnie Raitt, Sunday Kind Of Love
These two soulful singers did a terrific tribute to Etta James by singing her tune Sunday Kind of Love. I'm a big fan of both artists, and they pulled it off.

Taylor Swift-Mean
Again, not a fan of that song. But, her delivery of it was great. If I'm correct in my Taylor Swift knowledge, that song was written for a really mean critic who criticized a grammy performance of hers a few years ago. So, it was pretty awesome that she was all "screw you, here I am again bucko". I do wish she had sang Safe and Sound, a terrific beautiful song that will be in the Hunger Games movie out in March. Oh well.

Adele- Rolling in The Deep
And, SHE'S BACK! Adele had about a 4 month hiatus from live singing due to surgery, last night was her debut, and she completely rocked it. She did sound different, I will say, but not in a bad way. She sounded incredible. That, my friends, is how you SANG. I love that she can just go up there and deliver, time and time again, without disgusting lyrics or crazy gimmicks. She just sings. Thank you, Goddess Adele, for giving us the HONOR of hearing that performance.

Jennifer Hudson- I Will Always Love You
Can't imagine the pressure J Hud must have felt paying tribute to Whitney. But she did a stunning job. The way she performed that song was perfect- you could tell she was emotional but it did not control her. It was not over done, it was not a copycat version. Just all J Hud, all beautiful.

Nicki Minaj- Roman Holiday
Here we go. Here was my exact reaction to what was happening:

At first I couldn't wait. I love me some Nicki. I think she's fantastic. Then I started laughing really hard when she was climbing on walls and stuff. Then I was scared. Then angry. I don't understand why she thought that would be a good idea. As I said, I LOVE NICKI. I have a tshirt with her face on it and I'm almost constantly listening to Pink Friday. I get that she has a little British boy alter ego named Roman and that last night was supposed to be his "coming out party". But that mockery of the Catholic church was disgusting. And by the way it wasn't even the exorcism that offended me, it was the whole thing- dancing an an alter, the use of come all ye faithful being used in such a demonic way... JUST RAP NICKI, that's all I ask. We don't need the crazy gimmicks. You don't need to prove that you're bold and creative.I know that you are by your lyrics. I don't need that big of a show, and I definitely don't need my religion being taken over by that crap. Just rap. Thank you.

So, what were your favorite (or least favorite) moments? Dresses you loved?

OH YEAH! here are some of my favorite tweets from the night:

Glozell: Bruno Mars!! MMM MMM I like them little and bite size.
Christa Black: Kelly Clarkson could sing the phone book and I'd buy the album.
Jessica: Adele is about to stunt on everyone's life
Jessica: She said F throat surgery, I'm Adele.
Khloe Kardashian: Mickey Mouse on drugs! Not a good look for him.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Is it strange that I feel more grown up than I did a week ago? Is it sad that I already miss my dog terribly?

I'm out of my parents house, officially, and have been for a week now. It's weird. I love it, but it's weird. I really do feel more grown up. I am finding myself to be a little braver, a little bolder, each day that I've been gone. I have been giving out advice left and right to friends, not knowing where my sudden knowledge is coming from. I feel a sudden responsibility to take care of other people, and to take care of myself, more so than before. Can it really happen that fast? All it takes is a different address?

For those that want to know about our house: it's awesome. Seriously, I love it. 900 sq foot ranch, 1/2 finished basement, lovely kitchen, 2 car garage. Fabulous location, walking distance to necessities. Susie's great, too. I know we've only been roommates for a week but so far, it's been superb. We're finding we have a lot in common, and I appreciate our little chats. She's a wonderful person. I spent some time thinking about my habits as a Susie, this list is for you :)

-I kick so much in my sleep that my sheets and mattress pad will wind up curled in a ball on the floor or at the edge of my bed, every single morning.
-When I get home from work I need a 15-20 minute "recharge".
-If I'm wearing my blue polar bear pants and a hoodie with the hood up, I've had a rough day.
-If I'm not doing anything else and my music is not on, something is wrong.
-Yes, there is a giant paper banana in my room, signed by an American Idol contestant. No, I'll never get rid of it.
-I keep common areas clean. Can't say the same for my room.
-Sometimes I will sit at the kitchen table writing. You'll know my mood by how hard I am using the pen.

I think those are a great start :)

As most of you know, work has been a nonstop crazy roller coaster ride ever since late September. Like I am busy from 8:30-5, every single day, and working most Saturday's to do new introductions or training's. I never have a day where I have to come up with "new" work- it's always there. My to do lists are pages long. It's exhausting, but at the same time, rewarding. When I hear from a volunteer that they feel impacted by the work they did for us, it makes it all worth it. When I take a new volunteer to meet their patient and they instantly click, it's worth it. Plus, I'm starting to see that I'm actually pretty decent at this job. Yesterday I got 20 applications turned into me from a class of social work students. I don't know what I'll do with them all, but it was exciting regardless. Some days I feel like I'm letting people down, if we can't get a volunteer in that area or I couldn't get that item they need. But I have learned that I can only do what I can do, I cannot solve every problem. I can just do my best.

If you could keep some people I love dearly in your prayers, I would most appreciate it. My brother, his wife Sara, Sara's sister Heather, and their parents Pat and Terry. I know you are all mourning the loss of Anton. I love you all. We're going to get through this. Don't be hard on yourselves and allow yourselves time to be angry, to be upset. That's okay. We'll get through it.

Em and Aly, two of the sweetest people I've ever known, lost their dear mom this week to cancer. Em, you'll always be one of my best friends. Your mama raised two beautiful young women who will, no doubt, make an incredible impact on this world. The mercy community is here for you, and we all love you.

I suppose that's all that's new. Just growing up, buying groceries, paying bills, Missing my old golden retriever...and, unfortunately, seeing hearts break over terrible losses. I just wish I could take away everyone's pain!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

30 things my sister taught me

30 things my sister taught me, in no particular order. some of these are silly, some serious, some I still need work on. Thank you, Maureen, for teaching me all of these things plus many more.

the song "somewhere out there" from an American tail can instantly solve your problems
school does not come easy for anyone, you have to work hard to earn good grades
never give up
if Jonathon is mad, hurt, or upset, leave him be or he might punch you in the stomach
combo's are the best snack for a car ride
marry your best friend
be a cheerleader for others
don't fall for every boy who gives you a second look
playing an organized sport is the best way to get exercise and learn about strategy and teamwork
replacing tv/computer with walking or reading
finding a job is often based on who you know, not what you know.
when serving mac and cheese, it's "one scoop for you, two scoop for me"
things end, and you have to move on from them, and there is always a new beginning
when you want something, you have to just do it.
never let your cousin whisper in your ear when they have a loose tooth
mercy high school will be the best four years of your life
friends may come and go but family is always there
start training in the summer for the fall field hockey camp
don't stress out over things which you cannot control
you never know how your past will catch up with you, so don't burn bridges
be honest
believe in yourself
babysitting is the best way to make a little extra money. make the kids milkshakes and they will love you forever.
never mix up a tablespoon and a teaspoon
u2 is one of the greatest bands of our generation
mercy's english classes prepare you to analyze, to write, to react, to live.
college is where you become who you are. choose your path wisely.
saving money is the key to getting by. make smart choices and budget well.
have a passion
life is too short to freak out over every little detail, so just relax