Stormy Stage

wpid-img_20150319_151013.jpgLet’s dance to the backdrop of rain,
Let’s sing to the beat of thunder,
Let’s laugh and watch with wonder,
While the world is torn asunder.

Let’s promise to always remember,
Things can be both beautiful and frightening,
On our stormy stage, we will be striking,
And bow under a spotlight of lightning.

Model Employee

There were red flags the size of Kansas waving at me from the beginning.

For instance, the fact that it was almost an hour away.

But I’m stubborn and in college (i.e. broke and desperate), so I told the kind lady at the temp agency that I would work – for one day – at a model home.

Again, being in college (i.e. having never bought a house and knowing absolutely nothing about real estate). I’ve never done sales, either, but I can’t blame that on college.

By purposeful speeding, I arrived at the home about 25 minutes earlier than I expected. I swung out of my car in my houndstooth pencil skirt, oversized bag (stuffed with books and pens) hung over my shoulder, and sauntered to the side of the house. I had been given the combination to a clever key-holding device that hung from a spigot protruding from the house.

(Did I say “key-holding device”? I mean “key-jail.”)

I crouched in the shrubbery and dialed the combination. There was a button on the side of the device that looked like it needed to be slid up to release the key, so I tried to push it up.



No key.

I like to think of myself as a resourceful person. The name of the company that manufactures the key-maximum-security-prisons was on the front of the lock. I pulled out my phone and looked it up. I found some advice for resetting the numbers. I tried it.


I was sweating by this time, my blonde curls sticking to my gray cardigan.

Finally, I called the agency. I won’t go into all of our little back-and-forth – me to the agency, the agency to the saleswomen, agency back to me, back  to the saleswoman, the saleswoman to the construction worker – suffice to say, by the time a gaunt, white-haired angel named Jerry turned up, I had actually rubbed the skin off my thumbs and had tiny paint flecks on my fingers.

I had arrived 30 minutes early. Jerry let me in 30 minutes late.

Thankfully, no clients had come yet. Which pretty much describes the day.

In the eight hours I worked, a grand total of four people showed up. They all asked questions I couldn’t answer and after I found the answer, no one asked me that question again. The entire time I was with a customer, I felt stupid, inadequate, and frustrated.

The remaining seven-and-a-half hours, I stalked everyone I’ve ever met on every social media site in existence, read an L.M. Montegomery book, and wrote a short story, as well as most of this post.

The saleswoman whose desk I occupied had a few nicely written sticky notes on the side of her laptop. One read, “Always REMEMBER DAY 1: excited, nervous, ‘goosebumps,” ½ starved, happy, proud.” From a plaque or two in her office, it seems she ended up doing very well.

Granted, the lady did come in later and verbally roasted me, but she helped me realize something.

I want a job that I’m so excited to have, the first day makes me sick. I want to feel proud of my work. I want to be happy to come in and do my job every day. (Well, every week day. With plenty of vacation.)

And I don’t want to go into real estate.

Or sales.

And I want my own key.

Fourth of July Fireworks

BOOM! CLAP! Colors crackle across the sky.
Gunshots fire a brilliant kaleidoscope.
From ancient seats, the steadfast stars shine,
With a glittering wink, new stars hint at hope.  

With fire – we remember those who came before.
With magic – we honor their vision and cause.
Electrifying thunder and booming lightning –
Together – force a worried, harried world to pause.
And remember.

Happy Fourth of July! And a heartfelt thank you to all the men and women who serve our country, as well as the “old stars” who made the American dream possible.

When You Don’t Say a Thing


Running on the beach is one of my favorite things to do.

But, sometimes, it’s also one of the hardest things to do.

And I don’t mean physically.

It seems almost sacrilegious to run past a glittering horizon, earphones shoved into my ears while it chases after me, calls to me, begs me to notice it, to photograph it, to write about it.

Every morning, I find myself rising earlier to get to the beach, to see the sunrise, to have time to capture the peace that the beach invites.

My bare feet noiselessly pound on the coarse sand, rubbing the balls of my feet and the tip on my toes. I always start running toward theshelledit sun, watching it timidly peek over the horizon. After shocking itself with its beautiful reflection in the waves, it serenely floats to the top of the sky in a bright blaze of pink and golden glory. Then I turn my back to it and run away from the wind, immediately breaking out in a hard sweat.

When I turn around again, the sun is a scarlet ball of flame, blinding me with its radiance. I shuffle and kick my feet in the water, collecting shells, navigating the cloud of translucent jellyfish that washed up on shore, and slowly meander about a mile and a half to the weathered, wooden door that separates the beach from the line of beach houses.

Door2Yesterday, as I walked back to the villa, I kept listening to Allison Kraus, “When You Say Nothing at All.” It fits the peaceful, loving feeling I get from being near the ocean. This is where the people I love the most come together. It’s not just a place. It is a silent witness to squealing children, running into crashing waves. It taught us that sometimes we may run headfirst into where dangers abound and find the greatest beauty and joy we could ever imagine.

Really, it’s like a cosmic love letter, sent to every corner of the world.

Try as I may I could never explain

What I hear when you don’t say a thing…

10 Things to do When You’re Too Busy to do Anything


StressI haven’t posted anything for a solid two weeks. Classes, newspaper staff, National Broadcasting Society, sorority life…things pile up. As a self-certified expert, I can say that being too busy leads to stress. And if there’s one thing worse than being overworked, it’s stressing about being overworked.

I am the queen of stressing, overcommitting, and shouldering a heavy workload. So I consider myself the perfect person to give some advice on de-stressing. (At least without the “de-.”) Here are ten activities that will give you a little break from whatever’s getting you down:

1. Bake something sweet and share it with friends. Use those Pinterest recipes you’ve been saving up! Also, especially when everyone else is stressed, you become the nicest, most talented person in the world. (Some fun suggestions: praline brownies, pecan pie bars, salted caramel butter bars, and peanut butter cookie dough brownies. Links to recipes below.)

2. Take pictures. Explore. Try to find a new perspective on ordinary objects. You don’t even need a camera! Remind your Instagram friends that beauty, wonder, and hope still exist!

3. Pet furry animals. If you don’t own one, visit a friend or pet store. We aren’t allowed to even have fish in our dorms, but two pet stores are close to campus. (Personally, cats are my favorite.)

4. Go for a run, bike ride, or short workout. “Running gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.” If you’ve never felt so stressed that you would kill a husband (or wife), you’ve never been to college. Get rid of that aggression in a positive way.

5. Blow bubbles. Make them as big as you can. Catch them with your wand. Or kick it up a notch up by making your own bubbles and adding glow-in-the-dark or fluorescent paint.

6. Watch funny YouTube clips. Unfortunately, I don’t have any suggestions, but I’m sure your Facebook friends do!

7. Fly a kite. “With tuppence for paper and strings/You can have your own set of wings/With your feet on the ground/You’re a bird in a flight/With your fist holding tight/To the string of your kite/Oh, oh, oh!/Let’s go fly a kite!”

8. Regress. Find something you loved when you were younger. Play an old video game. “Build” a pre-built teddy bear. Finger paint. Draw on the walls. Whatever your thing is.

9. Visit a nursery. The kind that grows plants, not kids. I actually enjoy walking through nurseries more than gardens. Gardens are so clean and put-together, but nurseries invite you to smell the flowers, herbs, and dirt. There is a lot more to see when things are not show-ready.

10. Blog. Yeah. I don’t always take my own advice.

Thanks to Call Me PMC, Just a Taste, Inspired Dreamer, and Kitchen Meets Girl for scoring me friendship points! Want more? Enter your e-mail in the box on the top right or, if you have a WordPress account, press the “Follow” button on the top of the screen!

Praline Brownies:

Pecan Pie Bars:

Salted Caramel Butter Bars:

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies: