Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beautiful Life

Last weekend,  family friends lost their twenty-three year old daughter to a cause that is still currently unknown. On Wednesday evening, I stood in a long line at the funeral home to hug her family and offer words that seem woefully inadequate to the pain they are feeling. On Thursday morning, I had the chubby fingers of a beautiful nine month old baby wrapped around my hand, tears slipping quietly down my cheeks as she laughed and bounced up and down; blissfully unaware, that at the same time, her mother was being laid to rest. My heart hurts beyond measure for this family--for the parents who lost a daughter, for a little girl who won't remember her mother.

I live a beautiful life and I don't acknowledge that nearly enough. Just waking up in the morning is truly a gift. After the events of this past week, I need to make a much more conscious effort to thank my lucky stars for the life I'm living because at any given moment it could end. 

Make your days count, friends, and be thankful for each and every day. We only get this opportunity once.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Porch Sitting

Summer nights of my childhood and teen years often involved porch sitting. Sitting on the porch of my great grandma's big white rambling house visiting with her, drinking an icee from the convenience store up the street. The memory of the rough, scratchy outdoor carpet on my grandparents porch under a starry sky, where I sat cross legged listening to my grandpap tell stories from his childhood when he roamed the same hills visible from his front porch. Loafing in a lawn chair, my feet propped up on concrete ledge of a friends front porch watching cars pass by, discussing the weeks latest crush and who was going out with whom. Spending half the night in that same position because the night air was cooler than the humid house and the porch afforded us some privacy from her siblings.


In this hectic day and age, I feel like porch sitting is a bit of a lost art. There is so much rushing back and forth, to and fro, that people rarely take time to sit and savor the day. Not only is it a great way to unwind and relax, but its also an amazing way to acknowledge and appreciate the beauty of the day passing on to the next phase of time. Hanging out on the porch is a great way to connect--with friends catching up, with family to find out how their day went, or calling a random hello to a passerby.

I'm not sure if its a small town way of life or not, but I hope that at some point this summer, you can all enjoy a simple evening watching life unfold from the comfort of a friendly porch. There's nothing like it, I promise.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Wishing for Snow

From the back of the book: For novelist Minrose Gwin, growing up was a time of chaos and uncertainty, the result of being raised by a parent with a serious mental illness. Life with poet Erin Taylor was unpredictable at best and painful at the worst times, as she spiraled ever deeper into psychosis until her eventual death from cancer. But reading her mother’s childhood diary as an adult, Minrose encountered a very different Erin Taylor Clayton Pitner. Her late mother’s words, written in the 1930s, revealed a cheerful, perceptive young girl growing up in rural Mississippi who wished for snow that “usually didn’t come”—a girl with a bright view of the future as she progressed from college student to young mother to published poet, only to have an unbearable darkness close in around her, cruelly suffocating her hopes and dreams.


In her poignant and extraordinary memoir Wishing for Snow, Minrose Gwin sets out to rediscover her mother in the poems, letters, newspaper clippings, and quixotic lists that Erin left behind after her death. The result is an unforgettable true story of a Southern family and the tragic figure at its center—and a loving daughter’s determination to find the mother she never knew.

In this memoir, Gwin sets out to discover the person her mother was. While shifting through her mother's diaries, poems, and other writings left behind by the elusive Erin,  the author is able to piece together the story of her mother's life. This novel is a haunting look at mental illness.

Personally, the story flowed better after getting past the first few chapters which heavily relied on family history. I enjoyed reading the little snippets of Gwin's mother's life, which resulted in a memorable story.


Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book for review by the author and TLC Tours. The thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer

Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit.  A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world.  
~Ada Louise Huxtable

 via

I don't mean to neglect my little space here on the internet, but lately, that's what seems to be happening. I have so, so much I want to tell you but for various reasons I'm not able to share yet and that makes it hard to write. So instead, I let the summer days pass like the wind through a wheat field -- carefree, easily, gently rolling by. 

I've been spending my days simply, in a very uncomplicated manner. Languishing over morning coffee longer than I usually do. Dozing off and on outside in the hot, sticky heat of the day. Enjoying cooler evenings on the deck, talking and laughing with friends or family, and partaking in an occasional card game like Uno. 

Summer breathes new life into my small town along the river and I'm savoring every second, making the small things count far more than the bigger ones.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Babies

I've discussed my fear of babies before. When you combine that with the fact that I know absolutely nothing about birthing babies, some have a tendency to think my internal biological clock was likely never working properly in the first place. I am 100% ok with that. I'm at an age where several of my friends (mostly those who are far away) are starting families or have tiny tots, which means I've had the honor of telling my friends that their wee one is adorable and precious over Facebook or text message, while occasionally dropping by to pinch a cheek before more than likely settling in to play with their dog.

Generally speaking my friends know that I'm not a baby person. They know I don't deal well with squiggly, screaming little ones; that I refuse to change any sort of diapers, and that I will not under any circumstance watch their child until he or she is old enough to use the bathroom unassisted. I'm just naturally more comfortable with children who can physically tell me what they want and take care of their own personal needs.

Its been established that I would be the sort of auntie who will teach the children the sort of things their parents don't want them to know but are vital to grade school and middle school existence. Crude and funny things like how to make farting noises with their armpits, the importance of a well timed "yo' mamma" joke, and  that their faces will most certainly not freeze if they smoosh them up a just cleaned door window. I'm the one who will feed them things their parents won't let them eat or drink and teach them the fine art of mixing pop rocks and soda in one mouthful. I'll introduce them to music their parents deem unfit and tell them stories about their parents younger days that their parents will probably deny or claim to have forgotten. I'll teach them how to blow bubbles out of thick pink bazooka chewing gum and how to skip stones on the river.

My position on babies and children was clearly defined. Then, about 9 months ago, one of my closest longtime childhood friends found out she was expecting. A few months later, she found out she was carrying twins. A week and a half ago, she and her husband welcomed two tiny (or not so tiny for twins, one was almost 6 lbs and the other over 7 lbs) squiggly little baby boys.


In the days that followed their birth, I sort of tiptoed around the boys. While I paid attention to them occasionally stopping to marvel over how perfect they are or hold one of their tiny little hands, I was more concerned about how my friend, their mother, was doing. Yesterday, I stopped by their house with the intent on checking in to see how they were doing. Two screaming kidlets, one tired, frazzled mother later, I quickly found myself with a baby and bottle in hand. With absolutely no idea of what to do, I shoved the bottle in his little mouth and begged him to stop crying. I may have also promised him a pony for his third birthday. Over the next few hours I realized that maybe babies aren't so scary after all. Apparently these two little twin boys and I are going to learn a lot from each other in the up coming weeks and months. I still don't plan on changing any diapers though.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Sometimes I...

Sometimes I wish I had a British accent, some words just sound better.

Sometimes I spend hours watching teen dramas on Netflix with my teenage cousin, we started Make It or Break It and its highly addictive. I recommend proceeding with caution.

Sometimes I need to shut off the internet, turn off my phone, and walk away from all things technological. I am by no means constantly plugged in all the time (FYI, I still keep it old school with a Motorola Razr, that's right, just like your grandma's) but sometimes its just too much.

Sometimes I am really bad at waiting and patience. I spent most of this week waiting for a phone call. One that hasn't come yet but I did get an amazing email that made the week of waiting all that better.

Sometimes I drag things out. Really boring tasks that I deem unworthy of my time, like cleaning. Hard core, purging cleaning. I loathe that task and will do just about anything to avoid it. I broke down this week, started tackling it head on, and it felt good. I plan on doing more this weekend or maybe next.

Sometimes I can't believe how lucky I am in the friend department. During my unemployment and subsequent interview process, my friends have been amazing and so supportive. I really can't thank them enough.

Sometimes I drink far more coffee than I should, but this summer have become addicted to making my own frappuccino's or other blended coffee drinks. They are the perfect beverage to sip while enjoying the early morning hours sitting on the deck.

Your turn, fill in the blank. Sometimes I __________________________________.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Review: French Lessons

Overview: A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways. Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world. As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.

I read this book in one sitting and was immediately swept away to Paris where I quickly devoured this story of three Americans as their lives and stories unfolded over the course of a day in Paris. The book reveals the secret thoughts and pasts of the Americans. Without giving away each of the story lines, the lives of the students and tutors parallel each other in unexpected ways, each searching for something. Fair warning though, there are some adult themes in the novel.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book for review by the author and TLC Tours. The thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. 

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Revelation

I spent the long weekend with family and friends, relaxing, cooking out, and exploring a whole world of "what ifs" over and over in my head. I haven't shared much in the past few weeks about my job search other than the fact that I had an interview in DC a few weeks ago. What I didn't tell you was that I also had a telephone interview with a university in Georgia. A single phone call that blindsided me, tipping my world and left me with a feeling that I can't quite describe. 

When I pictured my life in the near future, I saw it unfolding in DC, in the shadow of the Washington Monument, the National Mall as my playground among the other monuments. Going back to Washington, DC has been my goal, what I've worked for and focused on for a really long time. And now, when it seems to be on the verge on actually happening.....I don't want it anymore.

 via

You see, after that phone call from Georgia, I felt an amazing sense of peace and hopefulness, a calmness I haven't had for a long time. I could immediately picture myself there, long term. I had a feeling, one that seemed to be emanating from the pit of my stomach, making a life in Georgia just seem so right. Its been all I've been able to think about and suddenly, its all that I want.

It doesn't make sense to me and I'm sure I'm not being articulate enough to share the depth of those thoughts properly. Nothing about this feeling makes sense, I'm supposed to want to go DC. I have family there and would be moving into an amazing network of friends and acquaintances. Its only five hours away from my hometown, making visits home fairly easy. I only know a few people in Georgia and its twice as far away from home. I've tried to shake this feeling, to lose this strong instinct, but I can't. I know there is something to my life story, my life book, that I'm supposed to uncover and live out there.

Its amazing, astonishing, and sometimes downright frustrating how quickly my world shifted. I no longer feel like DC is the place that I'm supposed to be and if I do end up there soon, it will only be temporary. A stop on the way to what my heart really desires, a layover on my life journey. When I was mulling these new thoughts over with some close friends and family, they told me they had a feeling about me and Georgia too, that while I might go to DC and love it, they don't see me there long term. I can't tell you how surprised and confused I am by all these feelings, but I know I have to follow my gut and my heart, so that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Edited: I haven't received an offer from either location, I wouldn't turn down a job offer from DC but now my bigger goal is to get myself to Georgia.