Mind Munches

The love child of word vomit & metaphors

Stay at the Table, the Chips Will Come

While accepting the first award of the night this past Monday—and the first Primetime Emmy of his career—Henry Winkler quoted something he was once told by a friend in Hollywood:

“If you sit at the table long enough, the chips will come to you.”

I’ve never been much of a poker player myself, but I still liked this phrase. It’s both simple and complicated.

On the one hand, it’s saying that all you have to do is stay in the game and patience will pay off. But on the other hand, anyone who’s played or watched poker before knows that “staying in the game” isn’t as easy as it sounds. It takes luck and risk, sometimes the blind and irresponsible kind, to save your spot at that table, and not every game guarantees the luck will eventually turn your way.

Sometimes it takes game after game, risk after risk, trip after trip to that table before those chips start to come your way. And even then, you’re always at the risk of losing what you won, right after you won it.

Looking up at the teleprompter, Henry Winkler said in regards to his speech, “I only have 37 seconds, but I wrote this 43 years ago.”

That’s a lot of games. A lot of lost hands. A lot of waiting and losing. A lot of unrewarded risk. And yet…

“If you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you,” he said, “and tonight I got to clear the table.

Risk, patience, and perseverance will pay off.

Sometimes it might not be in the way you think/hope it will, and sometimes it will take way longer than you might like. But don’t let that scare or discourage you.

Stay at the table. Keep playing the game. Because those chips are most certainly coming your way.

Also, it should be noted that my very first thought after hearing Henry Winkler share this anecdote was of a kitchen table and tortilla chips…

I think the phrase works either way though, if you think about it.

Why My Roommate Should be the Next Host of Jeopardy

Greetings people of the Internet, I’m here to discuss something incredibly important.

It has recently been brought to my attention that Alex Trebek is on his (be it, long and slow) way out from the Jeopardy hosting position. Word on the street is that he will abdicate his all knowing thrown in the year 2020. And while I’m sure there are ideas in circulation and contracts in negotiation, none could possibly measure up to this forthcoming submission: my roommate, Rachel.

How? You might ask. How could I possibly know she could cut it, especially in comparison to other candidates, the caliber of which I am yet to know?

To put it simply, and to emulate the words of so many bended knee proposal speeches, regretful gut feelings, and completed newlywed house hunts, sometimes you just know. And in this case, I just know.

Having watched hours of Jeopardy with Rachel by my side, I can first and foremost verify her genuine interest in the show. She enjoys the creatively phrased questions and would undoubtedly deliver them in that familiar, engaged and excited, while completely controlled manner.

She would challenge the contestants, willing them to dig deep into their studies as she delivered riddles and word problems with a confidence that dared them to answer no matter the cost.

On a Daily Double, when the competition teetered between nail biting and cake taking, she’d encourage risk. Listing the facts of the contestant’s fate, while simultaneously (and inconspicuously) teasing them to tempt it.

Are you worried about the key pronunciation of a book, movie, television show or other pop culture reference? Well, worry no more. Rachel is well versed in many genres, giving her a solid foundation of valuable knowledge, the likes of which she could utilize both as quizmaster and friendly interviewer.

Rachel is witty, clever and unique, sure to make contestants and audiences alike laugh, think, and double-take, all while creating an encouraging and welcoming environment capable of fostering healthy and compelling competition.

Not to mention, she’s got an incredible sense of style. The kind that would inspire conversations not only regarding her presence and professionalism, but her cute ass shoes as well. She would become a strong and powerful female figure in the media—that can rock a warm pallet like no other; a go-to, “I love it!” Halloween costume; an obvious choice for an elementary worksheet “who do you want to be when you grow up” fill in.

So, ABC, while I imagine the search for this replacement (understandably) seems like an impossible task, I hope you’ll now realize that it’s not. Because when it comes down to it, there’s only one right choice, and she’s currently sitting next to me eating pulled pork.

It’s Not Time to Worry Yet

If you’re anything like me, you’re a worrier. And not just your average worrier.

A professional worrier.

But who could blame us?

There’s the past, the present, the future, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of variations of those three that feature the what if’s, the could be’s and the should have been’s.

Plus, our problems aren’t the only ones to worry about. There are our family’s problems, our friends’ problems, the problems of the person we happen to come into contact with at the grocery store, and the problems of fictional characters that make us wonder if we can relate…which spiral into a set of entirely new problems.

Worrying is great.

I mean, not really, but it disguises itself as a hobby sometimes.

And while I imagine people like us will constantly find ourselves worrying (and worrying about worrying) it’s important to remember that it’s not always necessary.

(I know, easier said than done, but hear me out.)

I recently read To Kill a Mockingbird and Atticus Finch, one of the main characters, had a signature phrase that really resonated with me. He repeated this phrase multiple times throughout the book, often to calm the worries of his children, Jem and Scout.

“It’s not time to worry yet,” he would say, and even though it wasn’t an answer, it was enough. Because as much as worrying likes to pretend it offers you a path to a solution, oftentimes it does little more than guide you towards further destruction.

Worrying adds to chaos, it doesn’t end it. It doesn’t give us control, it steals it. And as easy and fun (?) as it is to worry, it’s important to remember that it really doesn’t help.

So the next time you find yourself consumed by panic, remind yourself, it’s not time to worry yet.

When it comes to the what if’s, it’s not time to worry yet.

When it comes to the could be’s, it’s not time to worry yet.

And when it comes to the should have been’s, there’s no point in worrying now.

10 Things I Love About Football Season

A very well-known fact about my family is that we love sports. (See here and here and here) Not only do we have shirts, jerseys and hats of our favorite teams—and that’s just for our dogs—we are constantly watching or attending or talking about any game we can get our eyes and/or ears on.

For the last few months, our attention has mostly been on baseball, as our team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, have been inducing casual bouts of extreme anxiety in our lives as they try to secure a spot in the playoffs. Yesterday, however, football made its grand return to television, and we are HERE. FOR. IT.

So, in honor of the NFL being BOT (you know, “back on television”) I decided to list some of my favorite parts about football season. It’s truly a wild ride, and I’ve already buckled my seat belt.

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1) Lazy Sundays

Aside from one on Thursday and two on Monday, every other football game is played on Sundays. This means that each week, starting at 10:00 a.m., football is on all day on multiple channels. So basically, once football season starts, every Sunday is pretty much booked. And by booked, I mean full of sweatpants and couches and “accidental” naps during the 1:00 p.m. game—unless of course the New York Giants (our favorite team) are playing at that time, in which case naps come into play right before the 5:00 p.m. game.

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2) Carrie Underwood

I don’t care what anyone says about Carrie Underwood’s Sunday Night Football theme song. I also don’t care that it’s slightly cringy and corny and fully of over the top graphics and multimillion dollar athletes walking around in slow motion. The song is just plain catchy, and it’s the perfect way to both solidify the delirium you’ve slipped into over the last seven hours of football, and give you the fuel you need to finish off the last three. Plus, Carrie’s legs will forever be #goals.

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3) The Introductions

After Carrie sings her heart out and more than a few superstars have waved at green screened crowds of screaming fans, the camera cuts to the field, where we see two teams warming up, talking, and often walking around in beanies and jackets that are comically large, both to account for all of the padding the football players have on, and to keep them from turning into popsicles when it’s -2 degrees with wind chill in Green Bay. Then, after the kickoff, we are introduced to these men one by one, in a series of five second video packages that pop up in the corner of the screen. Each player is little more than a floating head with statistics and fun facts surrounding them, and they smile or grimace or look totally and completely lost as they say their name and the college they attended. Oftentimes I’ll quiet the entire living room to ensure I can hear them.

greg-hardy

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4) 4th and Inches

This is arguably my favorite part of football all together, as it’s both exciting, nerve wracking, and hilarious. If you’re not a football fan, this phrase is used to describe a point in the game when a team is essentially given their final chance to move the ball over a designated line, and they are so close to it that it can no longer be noted in yards and must instead be measured in INCHES. Whenever this pops up on the screen, I make sure to announce it so that everyone watching the game can fully grasp the INTENSITY. Then we watch the men slam into each other and sometimes the ball crosses the line and other times things get thrown at the TV.

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5) Nervous Whispering

Speaking of things being thrown at the TV. My mom and I spend a good amount of football season huddled next to each other on the couch, whispering back and forth (often about dinner, or a movie we recently watched or which player has longer, skinnier, legs than us) as my dad and sister scream angrily at the television. The two of them are far more die hard than us, and have often been known to hurl a variety of expletives at the television and, especially after a loss, sit quiet and frustrated for long periods of time after the game.

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6) Trying to Understand Encroachment

Even though I love football and football season as a whole, I would never consider myself an expert by any means. There are still rules I don’t quite understand and many instances when I have to ask my dad and sister questions about what is going on. For example: encroachment. It’s defined as “a penalty in which a defensive player is positioned in the neutral zone at the start of a play.” Which, you know, sure. That makes sense, I guess. But when it comes to watching the game and actually being able to notice when that happens—yeah, no. So, most of the time when I see a penalty called and it’s not one I can otherwise identify, I just yell out “encroachment!” figuring I’ll occasionally be right. As of now, I think my right to wrong ratio is about 2/40, but hey, that’s better than nothing.

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7) Talking to the Coaches

While I’m not one to usually yell at the television during football season—I reserve most of my lung capacity for baseball and hockey—I still do my share of talking. For example, when a coach throws down a challenge flag that I think was a bad idea, I’ll make sure to the let them know—from my couch—informing them that the ball was in fact secured or the player did in fact keep both feet in bounds. I just want to let them know that, according to me, they’re making a terrible decision.  I’m a helper like that.

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8) Talking to the Players

I also like to talk to the players. Mostly it’s in a positive manner, saying things like, “nice one” or “good for you” or “great try.” But I also throw in the occasional “get up, you’re fine” or “stop complaining” or “does he have any idea what he’s doing?!” These comments are often given in between bites of ordered in Mexican food, which I definitely think adds to their credibility.

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9) The Rivalries

If you watch enough football to claim a team as your favorite, it is your civic duty to also claim their rivals. As a Giants fan, our main rivals are the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. We also aren’t fans of the Redskins and have a thing with the Patriots (and by thing, I mean continually beating them in the Super Bowl) and then Chargers fans also don’t really dig us because of drama with our quarterback, Eli Manning, way back when. But you get the point. Since we’ve dubbed the Giants our favorite team, we are physiologically inclined to roll our eyes, stick our tongues out, enlist figurative hexes upon, and just plain dislike teams that are considered our rivals, as well as hold grudges against their fans, even if we’ve never met them, or have no real reason to dislike them otherwise. To be fair though, we expect them to give us as much disdain in return…at least until the season is over.

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10) The Anticipation

Like any other sport, football is chock-full of moments of anticipation and anxiety. There’s the Hail Mary passes that you watch fly through the air, wondering, hoping that they will find the right hands on the other end of the field. There’s the field goal formation taken on a zero-ed out clock, putting all the pressure on the kicker to win the game. There’s the floundering quarterback with eyes darting around the field for an open man as opposing defensemen charge wildly looking for a sack. There are the onside kicks with less than a minute to go, the deflected passes that threaten a turnover, the fumbles that turn into a dog piles, and the running plays that make you jump up and down in hopes that it can make your man move faster. To put it plainly, football is exciting and terrifying and heartbreaking. It’s also stressful and infuriating and for some, seemingly life shortening. But at the end of the day, football is just, well, football, and I’m happy it’s back!

Go Giants!

A Small Collection of Small Thoughts

Sometimes when I’m going about my day I come up with questions and ideas that wouldn’t necessarily work as full blown blog posts but still have a way of distracting me for the better part of the day.

They all start with a “what if” or a “you know what, I’ve never thought of that” and then I (somehow) drive around thinking about them until I get home (without really remembering how) and I do my necessary research so that the thought(s) can leave my brain.

Am I the only one who does this? At what point should I be concerned about my spaced out driving? Also, I wonder what my “spaced out driving” face looks like. I hope I at least have the wherewithal to close my mouth.

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On Thumbs

Have you ever thought about how dirty thumbs are?

I’m not talking dirty in a sexual way, I’m talking dirty in a bacterial type of way.

Think about it. When you were little and had something on your cheek, what’s the first thing your mom would do? Lick her thumb and wipe it off, horrifically embarrassing you in the process, right?

Now think about every time you’ve ever seen a speck of dirt/deodorant/makeup/etc. on your person/counter/car/etc. and needed a quick fix to get it off. What is the first thing you did?

Exactly.

But you want to know the weirdest part? Thumbs never look dirty. Where does it all go?

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On Hogwarts

If magic and Hogwarts are actually real things posing as fiction, and I’m just a muggle living in hopeless ignorance, I’m going to be so pissed.

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On Hair

Did you know that once your hair pokes out of your scalp it dies?

Truth.

Below the skin are blood vessels that feed the hair, helping it grow, but once it pokes out, the cells inside it die. That’s right: DIE.

So basically we spend hours and hours and hours of our life crying in bathrooms and groaning on hot days and envying awards show pictures over something that is long dead.

Remember that time you cut your hair and hated it so you spent days looking in the mirror telling it to grow? Ever wonder why it didn’t? Probably because all it heard was, “DIE FASTER SO I WILL LOVE YOU AGAIN.”

You monster.

Give your hair a break. It’s the only corpse people will ever compliment you on wearing, and that’s pretty special.

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On Lunch

I’m never going to be the kind of person that says, “is it lunch time already?” There is no surprise factor here, I’ve been counting down for five hours.

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On Bob

Do they make rulers with other rulers?

Like was there an original ruler that set the standards for all other rulers and now we’re essentially relying on that to be right until the end of eternity?

What if that ruler was wrong? Or what if at some point in history some guy named Bob was working the ruler assembly line and he purposefully botched one, then used that botched ruler as the new original ruler, thus trolling the entire world until the end of time?!

He’s probably sitting at home, smoking a cigar, watching men and women alike lie to themselves about the length of their extremities, humming the rick roll anthem 24 hours a day.

What a monster.

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On Bruno Mars

Am I ever going to be as comfortable in jeans as Bruno Mars is in silk?

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So if you ever see me driving around looking spacey, these are the kinds of things I’m thinking about.

It’s really hard hitting stuff.

I’m Still Trying to Land My Own Jump

The other day I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across a video of a skateboarder trying to land a super complicated trick. Massively complicated for someone like me. Impossible, really. But for this guy, it was something he knew he could do eventually. It was something he could work towards little by little.

The caption of the video described the trick as a “triple set with a massive laser flip,” which undoubtedly means…something.

The video fades in on the guy, Christian Flores, standing on his skateboard, his voice coming through the speakers saying, “Everyone has their own project that they’re doing mostly for themselves, you know?” He’s standing next to a double door entrance of a medical building, on a small patch of cement that leads down three small sets of stairs. The camera is pointed straight at the building and Christian is in the far left corner of the frame. With a quick pump of the leg, he rolls towards the edge of the stairs and comes to a quick stop so he can look down at the jump he’s going to make, visualizing every movement required in landing the trick successfully. He then goes off camera to give himself more room to pick up speed, before soaring back into frame and hurling himself into the air. When he lands, the board is upside down under his feet and he rolls on his back across the asphalt. It looks like it hurts, like maybe he should be broken in more ways than one, but he pops right up, grabs his board and runs back up the stairs.

For the next few minutes, the video shows a montage of what should have been (at least I think) the last day of Christian’s life. He skids and slides and crashes and rolls and booms and bangs and oww and how much milk did this kid drink that his bones are not in a pile right now?

The caption of the video states that throughout the trying process—which took over two years—Christian did endure a few broken ribs, but that’s a laughable amount of damage compared to what should have happened. If I tried a trick like this, I think the acting doctor would end up laughing, but in more of a, “great news, you didn’t break this rib!” type of way. But as much as I’d like to go on and on about how broken this guy should be, how beaten down and discouraged and exhausted, there comes a time when you have to respect that the guy just knew how to fall. Being a skateboarder, he was used to it. And being a good skateboarder, he didn’t let it bother him. With each crash he popped right back up and ran up the stairs. Again. And again. And again.

Not being a skateboarder myself, it’s hard to understand how he kept getting up. But I suppose his wanting to land that trick (regardless of the consequences that came with it) is just a physical representation of any of us being knocked down en route to accomplishing something we’re passionate about.

There are clips of him rolling around in obvious pain, tears rolling down his face, and anger radiating out of his bones. There are countless moments when you almost want him to stop, for fear he really might hurt himself. But there’s no stopping him. He keeps getting up.

The funny part about the whole thing is that it’s just a trick. All of this falling and nearly dying and hours of frustration, it’s all for a silly skateboarding trick. But then again, is that really all it is?

Like any muscle, perseverance takes time to build up and make strong. We’re not born with blind determination, we have to work for it. We have to want it. And so even though this want of his may have seemed like small potatoes to someone trying to start their own company or run a marathon or write a book, the drive to do any and all of these starts in the same place. Who knows where his determination could take him after this trick? Who knows what his mind would set itself on next? What counts is that he knows he can get himself anywhere he needs to be, because he knows he’s willing to put himself through hell to get there.

At about the four minute mark, we see him propel himself into the air for what seems to be the hundredth time. He floats up off the stairs and his feet leave the board. His arms go up in the air to keep his balance and his eyes focus down on where he needs to land—which he does. With both feet cleanly on the board, he rolls down the asphalt for a few dozen feet, then comes to a stop, throws his skateboard and shirt into the air, and walks over to hug his friends.

As the video closes, Christian says he is proud to have accomplished his goal and happy that it is done, but even so, he is already looking for something bigger. My response to this was a solid two minutes of letting my jaw hang open, and then I wrote this blog. It’s just a short, silly blog, nothing more. But then again, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s part of something bigger.

To the People Who Get My Organs

I’m an organ donor. I’ve got the sticker on my license and everything. And when I die—which hopefully will be in a timely manner, but you never know—I hope my body can piñata it’s way into the hands of people who need it more than I will.

To those people, whether you’re reading this on my blog, or on some kind of high tech floating orb in the mid 2000s, first off, hey! I totally used to be alive and typing this in my living room. Super sorry I’m dead so we can’t meet, but super glad my deadness can provide you with some superior aliveness. But before you take one—or more if it’s a perfect match/buffet type of situation—of my organs, I just wanted to provide you with some you should know’s about said organs that might help you acclimate quicker.

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1) My eyes

I’ve always liked my eyes. I think they’re a good shade of brown—not too, you know, just brown­—and they have kickass vision. If you’re lucky enough to get them in the same shape they’re in right now, expect a lot of people to ask you, “what does that say up there?” because somehow you’ll be able to see it and you won’t know why. But watch out, you’ll also have a tendency to try and read too fast and you’ll mix words up. So just keep it cool and take your time. That is, unless you’re playing Jeopardy at home with your family, then by all means, read the question quicker than everyone else so you can answer first and win a point.

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2) My Lungs

Let me tell you, the three of us have been on quite the journey. When I was in high school, I was convinced I had what I called “baby lungs” that were too weak to function (a.k.a run) when really I was just out of shape and needed to push through the hard part. So if you get one or both of these bad boys, expect some push back should you ever try to strive for any athletic accomplishments. But don’t let them win! They are strong and they are capable of a hell of a lot, you just need to give ‘em time to warm up.

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3) My Liver

My liver and I actually have a very good relationship. We’re like the Gilmore Girls but with less coffee. Sure there are times when we’ve hurt each other, but we worked through it and came out stronger than ever. So just treat my liver like Rory would Lorelai and vice versa, and never shy away from a good pun in times of need.

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4) My Kidneys

I’m not gonna lie, I actually had to look up what kidneys do—which FYI is remove waste and excess water from the blood—so I could feel properly prepared to prep you. Good news is, from what I’ve read, I treat my kidneys like fine wine! I’m an avid water drinker, which is the kidney equivalent of catnip. That being said, you might want to invest in a large—say, 32 ounces or so—reusable water bottle, as these guys are constantly craving that good H20. Straight up.

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5) My Skin

For those of you who might be needing either a skin sweater and/or a quilty like patch job, I have answers, but I also have questions. First off, we burn easily y’all. But then, would that even come into play? From what I’m reading, it really all depends on what kind of trouble the universe has put you in. If you really truly do get a big chunk of this epidermis and it works all Freaky Friday like, expect a lot of goosebumps and the occasional pop up of eczema with no rhyme or reason. Also: FRECKLES. Because when we don’t burn, we freckle like it’s our job. I’m looking down at my arms right now and it’s like the night sky up in here. I hope you get Orion’s Belt, that’s one of my favorites.

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6) My Bones

These guys have been through a lot, but I like to think they like me more than they hate me, so I assume they’ll feel the same about you. They like to crack a lot, but try to think of it as their way of saying “hi” rather than “help.” They like yoga, but they love lying down after long day of work. Also, they love ice cream. Because, you know, calcium. So make sure you get at least a few servings every week.

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7) My Heart

When I say this gal is in the right place, I mean that both literally and figuratively. I was literally born with my heart in the right place—because FYI you can be born with it in the wrong place, I am learning so much right now—and I also often feel the old girl pushing and pulling me to do what’s right. Also, expect a lot of pounding. She tends to get a little worked up when she sees something that she likes or something that makes her nervous. She’ll settle down though. Try chewing through a pack of fruity Mentos and putting on good playlist.

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I’ll admit, it’s a little weird talking about giving you my organs. Especially since they’re so cozy and upbeat on the inside of living me right now. But I have faith they’ll treat you right. And hey, if all else fails, try kettle corn and a John Cusack movie, that usually puts all of us in this body at ease.

 

 

 

For that One Person

It’s easy to want to be famous. To get a lot of attention. A lot of views. A lot of love from a lot of people you don’t know. It would make you feel important. Valuable. Loved. At least that’s what it seems like it would be.

I’ll admit, I struggle with both wanting that fame, and wanting to not want that fame, but I don’t fault myself for it. I love writing. And to gain fame, and thus gain value in the writing field, would give me the chance to make writing my one and only job.

But when I think about “fame” and all that it entails, I know I don’t really want it. I want to write, yes. I want it to be my job, yes. But I don’t want to write because it’s my job, because that’s not why I started writing in the first place.

I started writing because someone else started writing, or singing or making movies or simply smiling or laughing or just feeling honestly and openly for me to see. I started writing because I wanted to be as open and free as the people I saw doing the same thing. I wanted to feel and I wanted to make other people feel.

When I write, I try to spill out whatever I’m thinking, be it a serious thought, a goofy one, or somewhere in between. I try my best to say, “hey, this is where I’m at today, care to join me?” And it is my hope that somewhere someone is sitting or standing or lying down, reading that blog and saying, “yes.”

I write for that one person, hoping I can do for them what someone else did for me, even if it was just being honest. And when I think about doing that—or even better: accomplishing that, I realize that in no life would I ever need “fame,” because I imagine I have something far greater.

The way I see it, I’ve been given love, and I share that love (or at least I try to) in my writing. And if someone somewhere receives that love and then passes it on, I’ve already done the most important thing I could ever do.

For you, the person reading this, I hope that someday I can do that for you. And I also hope that whatever you do, you try your best to spread love with it. I hope you’re out there, living your life, living your love, feeling open and honestly, because you never know who’s going to need you. As you go about your day, there very well may be someone in your path who needs you to be exactly who you are, because it will inspire them to do the same. I for one am happy you’re you and I hope you know how much it encourages me to be me.

I Love Me

A couple weeks ago my friend and fellow blogger, Allison A, posted a blog all about self love. She brought up the frustratingly common tendency we have as a population, especially as women, to not only talk down about ourselves, but to make a point not to brag about ourselves. To counter this, she asked some friends to purposefully list things they love about themselves, both to inspire self-confidence in them and empower other women (and men!) to do the same. Enter me, stage right, LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

So, in the spirit of that blog, I come to you today with a my own. But instead of asking a handful of friends, I decided to ask my mom and three aunts, four women I have long considered role models. Over the years, I’ve seen them turn a blind eye to compliments, always deflecting, always putting others first, and I wanted this to be a way that they could finally sit down and realize how wonderful they are.

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My Aunt Jacque

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(She’s the lovely lady on the left)

I love that family will always come first for me, no matter what the circumstances.

I love that I have two long term polar opposite friends, in personality, that round out parts of my personality.

I love that I have planned my financial life, so that God willing, I will always feel “secure”

I love that my very favorite thing to do is laugh.

I love that I recently realized that I don’t have to be busy all of the time. That I have earned some quiet time

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My Aunt Candee

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I love that I have made a difference in the lives of so many children. (She’s been a kindergarten teacher for 19 years!)

I love that I have a responsibility gene, gifted to me by Mary Poppins, AKA grandma…. I always give my all at work and in life in general.

I love that I am a loyal friend and confidant.

I love that I genuinely and passionately love and care about my family and would do anything for them at a moment’s notice.

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My Aunt Tracy

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I love that I belong to a fantastic family and that I am an essential part of making it fantastic! (Both my immediate family and extended family)

I love that I can get ready to go just about anywhere in a short period of time.  Doesn’t matter if I just rolled out of bed and we are going out to breakfast….or if we have a big event to go to and we get home from a volleyball tournament with 30 minutes prep time.  I can quickly pull myself together and it doesn’t take forever!

I love that I have created so many family scrapbooks (and I am sad that I haven’t continued!).  We can be sitting at home on a Friday night and one of the kids will grab a book and we can all look through it and remember the days.

I love that I am able to maintain long distance/long duration friendships and that we can get together and pick up right where we left off.

I love that at the ripe old age of 53, I still play beach volleyball two days a week….although I am hurt right now…but I plan to be back out there soon!

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My Mom, Gina

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I love that I am patient, looking for the good instead of the negative.

I love my stubborn streak.

I love that I don’t mind being alone at times, not needy for constant motion or activity.

And I love that I can be forgiving of people and past experiences.

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And finally, me!

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(That’s me on the right, alongside my mom and sister.)

I love that I’m creative, and have become brave enough over the years to fully express that.

I love my sense of humor and constant curiosity.

I love that when I put my mind to something, I can truly accomplish anything. (Like run 1000 miles in one year and hike Mt. Whitney

I love that when I get to know someone, I fully dive in and look for even the littlest quirks about them. I also love that in doing so I can often find ways to make them feel special or known.

I love that I’m constantly learning, willing to grow from mistakes, and that at the end of the day, I always try to find the positive.

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I have to say, not only was it not too hard to find things that I loved about myself when I sat down and thought about it, it was even easier after my aunts and my mom did it. (Not to mention reading Alison’s post, which started this whole movement.)

On that note, if, after reading this, you (anyone, man or woman!) are feeling inspired and empowered to make your own list, please do! And if you feel comfortable, please share! Sit down and have some “me” time and rather than criticize, compliment! Love. Own.

Let’s keep this wave going forever and ever.

A Quick (Life) Driving Lesson

Hello and welcome to your driving lesson. Please take a seat and buckle up.

There is a lot to learn, but don’t be afraid. Like anything else, driving just takes practice and patience.

Firstly, let’s start the car.

Excellent. How did that feel? I really want you to soak it in because while it’s a simple skill, it’s also very important. On any drive you might make, it is both your responsibility and your freedom to start the car. Sometimes it may be difficult. Some days, perhaps due to factors out of your control, it might even seem impossible. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is always a friendly face close by that can give you a jump-start, should you ever need one.

Now, with the car still in park, I want you to lightly step on the gas. Do you hear that? The rev of the engine? That is a reminder that you are in control of your own speed. You determine how fast or slow you go. You.

You see the brake pedal along side it? That is also at your disposal. Learning to take control of and responsibility for these two pedals is one of the most important parts of both becoming a good driver and enjoying your drive.

Good. Now, let’s put our foot on the brake and put the car in drive. Good. Now let’s ease on the gas pedal. Excellent.

On any given day, when and if you should you choose to start the car, you are in charge of your own destination. Granted, there are times when there are going to be specific places you have to be and specific times you have to be there. However, you should never forget that the way to get there has always and will always be up to you.

On days when you do not have a required destination on your agenda, know that the roads, no matter how open or congested they may be, have a place for you. If you want to get somewhere, you can, it might just take some patience. It may even take so much patience that you’ll try a few alternate routes along the way, just for a change of pace. You might even like one of those alternate routes so much you’ll change your destination all together! And that’s okay! Like I said, it’s up to you. You are the driver, don’t forget that.

Now, you might be thinking about passengers. While driving, it is crucial to surround yourself with beneficial passengers. People who will help make your drive more pleasant. Whether that be by giving advice when you come to a crossroads, enduring bumpy roads with you, or discovering new places neither of you ever expected.

Some passengers, even though they seem valuable based on their knowledge of certain terrain or experience in different traffic jams, will not provide you the assistance you need, and can often lead you down the wrong path. Understand that you do not have to keep anyone in your car that makes you feel uncomfortable or underappreciated. Simply pull over and let them out, you can continue your drive without them.

Okay, go ahead and move into the left lane here. Good.

While driving, you will consistently be given options as to which lane you’d like to drive in. You may start in one lane, find yourself unsatisfied, and then try another. This is totally normal. It is also possible that while you are perfectly comfortable in one lane, another driver will abruptly enter that lane, almost without warning. This may interrupt plans you had regarding speed, destination, timing, etc., and at times may even result in a harmful collision. Understand that surrounding drivers all have their own trips in progress, and while it may seem as though they intentionally throw off yours, that is not always the case. Sometimes your sudden presence is just as surprising to them as they are to you. Other times however, it does appear as though surrounding drivers control their cars recklessly and often leave a trail of destruction, be it actual, physical collisions, or residual emotional distress, in their wake. It is crucial to your driving experience that you absorb these experiences, allow them to teach you something, and then move on. Do not let the driving habits of others prevent you from continuing your drive all together.

Alright, pull over up here. Excellent. I believe that is all the time we have for today, but know that there are many lessons to be learned behind the wheel. And just when you think you’ve learned them all, you’ll make a turn down a road you’ve never been down before and find it has something entirely new to teach you. Don’t get discouraged. Embrace every turn and every lesson. For there is always something incredible just over the next hill or right behind the next building. There are always new tricks and new treats. You simply must be patient and keep driving.