Freshman year at Agnes Scott, I made friends with an insane young woman named Angelika. She was equal parts intelligent, hilarious, and terrifying. She loved to make people uncomfortable, and she was great at it. Angelika would write anonymous sappy love notes from Prince Charming (sometimes spelled Pr!nce Ch@rm!ing), and slip them under my dorm door, then five minutes later casually come knocking "just to visit" and pick up the note out of my trash can and pin it on my bulletin board. She was great/awful.

After our first semester, she decided even though she loved Agnes Scott she would move back to her home state and attend a college with in-state tuition.

An entire year later, spring of sophomore year, she took a semester off from college and came to visit Agnes Scott. She slept on various dorm room floors for literally three or four weeks. She would eat off of other peoples' plates in the dining hall. She had nowhere to be– no classes, no job, nothing. Her old student ID still let her in the library and computer lab, where she created this masterpiece:

She entered this film into the Agnes Scott film contest and won first place. Nobody realized she actually wasn't even a student at the time.

P.S. I was looking at mine and Angelika's "facebook friendship" page, to find a picture of us together, and there are non. But I did find an old Facebook status from March 20, 2011: "According to Megan and Angelika, manna was actually Reese's cups with the edges pre-chewed by the angels. Likely story."


The first image is made by an anonymous person, mailed in to PostSecret.
The second image is my reaction.

Hypnotism is not real. People control their own brains.

Nerd Status

My favorite picture from this week is of the storage closet at work. Yes that's embarrassingly lame, but it is SO neat and I've been hoping for ten months to get it like this.

Wow that's sad and pathetic that my favorite picture is a storage closet. But if I had a "before" picture to show you, then you'd be way more impressed by this "after" picture. It has taken me two solid weeks to get it this organized. I threw away about twenty big garbage bags of unusable craft supplies and finally pared down to what we really regularly use. Next step will be alphabetizing.  

Three Things We Upcycled from Our Wedding

Our wedding was the most fun, romantic, magical day ever. The big day and the rehearsal dinner were also huge investments by our family. While we were planning and budgeting, my heart would sink by how much everything cost, and that it would all be over after one little day. I tried to guide our decoration choices as things that could be reused or repurposed. Three things I recycled or reused from the wedding:

  1. Our table runners. Instead of renting fabric table runners we bought some thick wrapping paper. They were all different geometric patterns in cream and gold, which I loved more than the other option of renting solid fabric table runners.

    After the wedding, the florist stacked up all the papers and sent them home with us. I use them as wall decor, Christmas gift wrap, note cards, anything I can think of. And I always smile, reminded of the big day, when I use up some of it.
  2. The flowers. Brian wore his boutonniere during the whole reception, including the getaway at the end.  

    It seemed too sad to throw away the boutonniere, so we took it with us to Florida on our honeymoon, clipped to a coat hanger, hanging upside down. It took three weeks to fully dry, and then I put it in a shadow box to display on our mantle. A month after the wedding, my bridesmaid Paige surprised me with some dried flowers she had salvaged from a bouquet. It's also on our mantle, displayed in a vase from our wedding.
  3. Picture Frames. Pinterest is full of very cute wedding signage, most of which is painted on large pieces of wood or artistically scripted on chalkboards. We knew after the wedding we would not have a use for wooden signs or chalkboards, so we opted for cheap picture frames from IKEA. We had four signs: a large "Welcome" sign, and three small signs, with our list of available beverages, instructions for the guestbook, and a reserved sign for our family's dinner table.
    I use the frames around my house. The large on is already pictured earlier in this post, and the smaller three are in our living room framing some wedding photos.

*bonus, kinda sorta recycling but not really*
The photo booth. We didn't want to give a typical party favor that most people would throw away quickly. The only useful party favor we could think of were matches or something edible but we didn't love either of those ideas. Instead we chose a photo booth that printed photo strips on the spot.
We asked our friends to print an extra copy and put it on a book for us. I love love love love love love love love this keepsake. Not sure as this counts as recycling, more like just keeping something forever, but I'm halfway-including it on this list because it's one of my most cherished possessions.

Toss the Recipe

When I was a dummy, I thought you had to follow recipes exactly.

As a kid helping my mom cook, I was instructed to read the recipe and do exactly as it says, word-for-word. I suppose that is actually a really great way to learn to cook: learning that there's lots of ways to cook chicken that all turn out perfectly tasty.

Now when I find a recipe I like on Pinterest, I usually just look at the ingredients, substitute one or two things for something cheaper, and have at it. I was especially impressed with myself when I made a Spinach/Artichoke/Cheesy/Chicken/Orzo dish that was supposed to go in the oven, but I decided to use an electric skillet instead. I adjusted the temperature much lower, and let it cook, and it was perfect. I know enough to substitute smartly (there's a hilarious family story of when my sister tried to make cookies using Splenda instead of sugar, and I learned my lesson from her mistake) and to trust my instincts. Shortcuts aren't shameful if they arrive at the same destination.

In the end, I'm much more excited for the dish if I've made my own changes to it. I'm prouder of how it tastes if I added something special of my own.

Last week a child asked me to help him make an airplane out of K'nex. He showed me the instruction page, and it was clear that the elaborate blueprint would take about an hour if I was lucky.
I said sure, we can make a plane. I'll build the middle part where the people ride, and you build the wings, and we'll stick them together. I intentionally sat down, criss-cross applesauce, with my foot over the picture so he wouldn't be bothered by the "ideal" K'nex airplane. After two minutes he lost interest and we didn't build an airplane but we did end up building an "anteater" that looked nothing like an anteater but whatever, if he's happy I'll let him imagine it looks like an anteater. He was way happier with the anteater than if we had kept following the directions to make the complicated airplane.

More generally, I've thrown away a few recipes I was trying to follow in my life. I'm much more thankful for my job than I was with my original career plan. I'm much prouder of my husband than I ever could have been with the boys I had crushes and daydreams on years ago. I am much more comfortable with my friends than I was with the girls I wanted to be friends with in early high school.

Writing your own recipe is pretty fun.

You're Better Than You Thought

There have been hundreds of times in your life when you managed to be better, stronger, faster, more efficient, more creative, more successful than you ever thought you could be. You've surprised yourself, congratulated yourself, soaked in your victories.

There have been times you were braver than you thought you could be.
There have been times you were smarter than you thought you could be.
There have been times you were funnier than you thought you could be.

You are your own best surprise. You are your own best secret weapon.
Today can be another one of those times you're better than you thought you could, just trust yourself and put in the work.

Copy That

My three goals from last week:

1. Cook three dinners from scratch. (A+) I really enjoyed this goal and the delicious leftovers that came with it. I made chicken tacos, baked chicken thighs with scalloped potatoes, and a pork loin with rice pilaf and green beans. 

2. Read 4 chapters of Blue Like Jazz. (A) I procrastinated but got it done. Saturday and Sunday are the best reading days anyway, so who cares? I'm enjoying the book, and it's not much like how I remember it from when I attempted reading it a couple years ago. 

3. Pick up the guitar again. (F-) The guitar is still in my closet, untouched.

My Three Goals for January 25 - January 31
I'm going to copy (but slightly modify) my goals from last week.

1. Eat two vegetables a day. I need to start filling up on nutrition before garbage. 

2. Read 4 more chapters of Blue Like Jazz. Gotta finish the book someday, amirite?

3. Play guitar 3 times, 20 minutes each. Last week was too vague. Gotta have a more concrete plan so I can stick with it. 

Creeping in Basements

This is my friend Chrissy on her wedding day in 2013.
This is my friend Chrissy with Bob and Larry from Veggie Tales.

She is the most ambitious woman I know. She's going to end malaria and prevent premature births and create world peace. 

At Agnes Scott, an all-women's college, the weekend social life was mostly off campus. Chrissy and I were not interested in wild parties or visiting other nearby colleges, so we stayed on campus and tried to entertain ourselves on Friday nights and Saturday nights without spending money. By junior year, we had found our favorite pastime: creeping in basements and attics.

We found crawl spaces with dirt floors, storage rooms of broken toilets, beautiful watercolor landscapes of the college, and empty wine bottles from before we were born. We wrote our names on 110-year-old walls in the attic of Inman (the most coveted dorm, where I lived senior year.)
A photo posted by Kirby Darden (@kirby.darden) on

The best of our sneakiness was senior year, when there was a wedding reception going on in the dining hall on a Saturday night. (As students, we all resented when the dining hall was rented out for a major event, because we had to go eat sub-par food in the student center. Ironically, Chrissy's own wedding reception was in that same dining hall.) We snuck into the basement of the dining hall, and found some unlocked doors into the winding maze of hallways and storage areas. It was alarmingly dingy and gross. 

We found a stairwell, followed the noise, and walked into the kitchen. We thought we could hurry through the kitchen into the side of the great hall and peek at the wedding from behind a curtain. But we were quickly spotted. The staff looked at us very confused (apparently catering staff was not the same as the lunch ladies we knew and loved) and we introduced ourselves vaguely, "Hi, we're students!" And they looked at us like, "Yeah duh." 
We were awkward and feeling embarassed and about to hurriedly leave the way we came, but Chrissy got brave and said, "Let's just keep going." So we kept walking until someone finally stopped us. He was a young-ish man wearing a suit and he said, "HEY girls! Stop. Do you want some leftover cake?"

And we said yes and they gave us a to-go box and we left without actually crashing the wedding. Win-win.

Matchy Matchy

The top image is from, made by somebody anonymous.
The second image is by me, inspired by the first.

Marble Run Fun

This Sunday during play time (the half-hour gap between Sunday School and Children's Church) these girls were on a major mission: to build a marble run taller than anybody in the room. They succeeded (it was definitely over 6 feet) and I loved watching their little minds and little hands working together. Honestly I only helped them with the very beginning and the few tallest pieces.
Proud of these three. They were so stinking excited about their creation. They were fiercely protecting it from a few malicious kids who wanted to knock it down and they were willing to share and let other kids drop marbles down it. (Apparently in kid-world, it is a big deal that you only get to drop marbles down a marble run if you build it yourself, so they were breaking down huge barriers here.)

Three Good Things About Winter

Gosh I hate the cold. A few years ago, I made a promise to myself that I would never complain when it was too hot, just so that my complaints would be more meaningful about the cold. Honesty, it was very difficult to think of three good things about winter, but I like a challenge and I like trying to be optimistic.
  1. Wearing sweatshirts to bed.
  2. The end of college football season. 
  3. Chili and Soup.
Can you tell I have a really bad attitude about Winter? Currently waiting for Groundhog Day to know whether or not I need to cry for six extra weeks.

Because I'm Worth It

I totally belonged in the EGOT club after no hard work.

I used to think I deserved good things to happen to me. I'm very lucky, very privileged, and my whole life I've gotten everything I really need and all the reasonable things I want.

In most teenage rom-com movies, the main character is upper middle class, has a wonderful family, a few great friends, but is in some way a social outcast. But they're a really smart, kind person, and by the end of the movie they have everything they want because they deserve it.

This morning I was listening to a song, "Another Lesson Learned" by The Wild After:

They say that nothing good comes easy, if it even comes at all.  -The Wild After, Another Lesson Learned
I don't deserve any of the good things in my life "because I'm nice," or "because I earned it." Karma isn't a real thing. I was nice, I did my homework, I usually respected my parents, but... I didn't magically get an amazing boyfriend or a full ride to college.

My wonderful husband, my cute spacious home, my fun full-time job, my college degree are not things I deserve. They are not things I could ever really possibly earn. I can work and work and never really be worthy of these blessings. Because I am actually a broken, selfish person who doesn't deserve much at all. But these wonderful things in my life are gifts, and I should appreciate them every day as such.

Best-Case Scenario

The other day, a woman I admire (Kijua, Dean of Students at Agnes Scott College) posted this on Instagram. It resonates with my theory on life.

A photo posted by Kijua Sanders-McMurtry (@dean_kijua_) on

You are living in a best-case scenario right now. Even the most terrible, stinking rotten things in life set us on a path for betterment. I believe in a God who is fully good and I believe he designed an infallible plan for us. Even the disease, mistakes, greed, and turmoil in the world will eventually be used to make good.
So why the heck would you ever get down about a bad day? Somehow, some way, all the bad is getting you ready and waiting for the good. The good will come, it will.

Onward and Upward

Last week's goals:

1. Vacuum every room. (A) I did it.

2. Clean each bathroom thoroughly. (A) I did it.

3. Dust. (D) I only dusted the living room.

4. Clean the oven and refrigerator, inside and out. (C) I cleaned the oven (even looked up a tutorial on youtube for it) but not the fridge. Wait never mind, before I actually publish the post, I'm going to go wipe down the outside of the fridge real quick. New grade: (B)

Goals for 1/18/16-1/24/16

1. Cook three dinners from scratch. I like cooking and I feel accomplished when I cook. Unfortunately I've gotten into a rut of "cooking" mostly frozen meals. Brian doesn't complain but that's only because he's never picky. Sometimes he prepares dinner for me, but when I work late he usually chooses to just eat an apple instead of cooking for himself.

2. Read 4 chapters of Blue Like Jazz. I have often said, "I hate reading." I'm very slow at it, and I don't always comprehend what I read, which leads to re-reading a paragraph five times in a row, and lots of frustration. This is why I was a math major. I asked for this book for Christmas in 2013 and still haven't finished it. I've started it twice, and made it to about chapter 6 each time. It's good, but also I'm lazy.

3. Pick up the guitar again. I learned guitar in 2011 and loved it. I annoyed my college roommate to death practicing usually an hour a day. Yes, every day. Now I can't imagine doing anything for an entire hour every day. I literally haven't opened up my guitar case since I moved into my house last May. That's embarrassing and it's about to change.


This Storytime Sunday is inspired by the fact that I'm currently pet-sitting Linus for my parents.  Isn't he the cutest little angelic dog?

In May 2013, I graduated from Agnes Scott and was preparing to move to Nashville for my first semester of grad school. The day before the big move, my mom rented a small yellow Penske truck and pulled it around back of the house. We loaded furniture, clothes, dishes, everything I'd need to live in Nashville for a year as a successful graduate student. This process of loading heavy furniture into a truck took a couple hours between the two of us.

When all was said and done, we closed the truck and decided to head in for dinner. But wait, it was 6:00, time to feed the dog. Linus is diabetic and has to eat measured portions of food at 6am and 6pm, along with an insulin shot. Where the heck was Linus? We realized we had left the gate open and he had wandered out while we were loading.

Things we know about our dog:

  • He is nearly blind, and could easily have fallen into a ditch or creek. (There were plenty of them in our old neighborhood.)
  • He is scared of everything, including the jingling of his own collar, so at the time we didn't keep tags on his collar for his own sake. 
  • Linus is an extremely lazy dog. We knew he couldn't have gone far, and we knew he would never willingly walk uphill. 

So we split up- on foot and in a car, roaming the neighborhood yelling for Linus. Who were we kidding, he never comes when we call his name. So we tried again, roaming the neighborhood squeaking his favorite toy, a rubber chicken.

We couldn't find him. We gave up around 9pm when it got dark. I'm sure my parents didn't sleep well that night. Our diabetic, needy, scaredy dog was lost somewhere, alone and cold in the dark. Of course I was guilt-ridden, since it was my fault we left the gate open for hours. We woke up the next morning and called the lost pet network for our neighborhood, and the lady said, "Yeah! Somebody found a Westie last night. Here's her phone number and address."

The house was no more than 40 yards away from ours. They had found Linus around 5:30pm, brought him inside and decided they would try to find his owner the next morning. We were screaming across the neighborhood like idiots. I bet Linus could hear us calling from the street and was rolling around with laughter inside, "Hahaha they think they're going to feed me a measly half cup of kibble and give me a prickly shot again. Not this time, suckers!" He survived an evening without his shot, what a tough guy.

I Have & I Always Will

The first image was mailed by someone anonymously to PostSecret. The second image is my response to it.

Family Movie Night

This Foto Friday photo was taken exactly a week ago.

At church we organized a family movie night. We advertised for kids to bring their sleeping bags and pillows. We chose Disney's Inside Out at the request of several parents. We popped popcorn for about fifty people. And then 6:00 finally rolled around...

Ta-Da! Nobody! This is just me and my boss. We were laughing pretty hard that zero people would turn up to a family movie night.

Turns out, five families did show up, but they didn't start rolling in until 6:10 to 6:20. All the families had preschool-age kids, so who can blame them for running late around dinner time? The families sat happily with their popcorn for about forty minutes, and then the little ones got restless and started running circles around the fellowship hall, squealing at the top of their lungs. Nobody minded.

There was one little two year old girl who was wearing a hot pink outfit with a pacifier clipped to her shirt who had a little crush on Brian. Brian and I were sitting in the back with the popcorn machine. The little girl was running laps around the room, but whenever she got close to me and Brian, she would lock eyes with him, slow down and twirl her pacifier, giggling. We couldn't not laugh, and she would hurry off embarrassed, and make her way around again.

Three Things I'm Scared to Try

Three Things Thursday.

  1. Cauliflower- It smells TERRIBLE and has basically the same texture as broccoli. Also, its just plain white, and doesn't that mean it can't contain much nutrients? Not worth it. When people talk about cauliflower pizza, my only thought is, "Are you crazy?" I've also seen buffalo cauliflower all over Pinterest, that's supposedly better than buffalo chicken. HAHA GOOD ONE.
  2. The Rocky Horror Picture Show- I watched the movie in high school and it was the opposite of what I enjoy in a movie. I can only imagine that going to see the live show is even worse. Especially since they call out newcomers, that's my idea of a bad time.
  3. Yoga- Have you ever come across those super yoga people on Instagram? It is terrifying. I like stretching, and I naturally like to sit in weird positions. That's enough for me. I have no desire to become a contortionist or attempt uncomfortable positions for a prolonged amount of time on a millimeter thin squishy mat.



Once upon a time, I moved in the middle of third grade. We moved to a suburb of New Orleans, and I started at a new school, and my mom HATED my new teacher, Ms. Burg. She was the "gifted" teacher, which probably meant she was excited she had the better behaved kids and didn't have to work very hard. She taught by writing notes on the chalkboard, in cursive, in an outline format, and we copied it word-for-word into our composition notebooks. Other than that, we did silent work at our desks. I also remember one time she tried to put a grape in her mouth, and I saw her miss her mouth, and I was amazed. That wasn't the only time she missed the mark.

One time I was writing a story and asked my teacher how to spell the word "laugh." She told me she would not tell me, and handed me a dictionary to find the word. I looked up L-A-F and didn't find the word I needed. I asked the teacher again and she wouldn't help me. How could a third grade teacher be so heartless? My friend Vicky whispered to me that it's L-A-H-F, or something like that. I still couldn't find the word. I misspelled it in my project.

That afternoon I switched from my "gifted" teacher Ms. Burg to my regular teacher Ms. Fischer. I was not in gifted Math class, which is ironic since I later was a math major in college. I asked y regular teacher how to spell "laugh," and she wrote it on an index card and handed it to me, and told me to memorize it.

When I was a dummy, I couldn't spell the word "laugh."
When I was a dummy, I thought all grown-ups (even the mean ones) were infallible.

For Somebody's Sake

Tuesdays: When I give "you" (myself) a pep talk.

You can do it. You can and you will. Even if it seems unimportant, even if it seems mundane, even if you just don't wanna spend your afternoon playing laser tag with twenty fifth grade boys. Even if you don't wanna write five lesson plans about the same little Bible story for five different age groups. Even though it seems the opposite of important, take notice that it's important to somebody else.

Isn't that how you want to live? Holding other people's needs higher than your own laziness? Yeah. If it's important to somebody, then it should be important to you. If it matters to somebody, it matters to you. So let it really really matter. You can and will do it.

Clean Week

Last week's goals:

  1. Get all of my music from my old computer onto the new one. (A-) I did exactly what my goal says. I got all my music off my old computer and onto the new one. But I had greater intentions to also update my phone with the exact music I wanted, and I did not succeed in that.
  2. Get all of my photos from my old computer organized onto the new one. (B-) I did get many photos off my old computer and roughly organize them into a few folders: "High School," "Camp," "College" "Engagement & Wedding," etc. The problem is that I know many of my photos are missing and I didn't take time to track them down on my backup hard drive. So my old computer appears to be cleaned out, but I still need to recover and organize missing photos from 2009 spring break and a 2011 road trip to Knoxville with my college roommate. Those are the ones I know are missing, but I'm convinced there's more. At least I found some awesome/embarrassing gems I can't resist sharing: 

  3. Organize my work computer. (A) On Wednesday my work computer crashed twice and I got paranoid I was about to loose all my documents. So I frantically got everything saved onto the shared folders. Great motivation helped me complete the goal in about 45 minutes!

Upcoming Week's Goals:

Whenever I decide to "clean," I usually do the bare minimum: Toilets, countertops, and a quick vacuum. Over time, the overall yuckiness has built up, and I'm frustrated by how dirty I've let the house get. Time to take charge of that!

1. Vacuum every room.

2. Clean each bathroom thoroughly. I've gotten into a bad habit of just quickly "cleaning" the bathroom: scrubbing the inside of the toilet, wiping down the sink, and wiping any spots that look gross in the shower. I need to hold myself to higher standards of cleanliness.

3. Dust. (I need to remember to do this before goal #1)

4. Clean the oven and refrigerator, inside and out. Shouldn't I be doing this regularly? Yeah I literally have never done this.

Scrabble Queen

My Gran just got an iPad for Christmas, and all her grandkids downloaded "Words With Friends" to play against her. This reminded me of my Scrabble past:

The Summer between 5th and 6th grade, my family took a trip to Alaska. As you can imagine, and as you can infer from our coats pictured below, it is cold in Alaska even in the summer. So most of our trip was spent sightseeing from trains, boats, and busses. We played lost of cards and some board games.

My immediate family cheesin' in 2003.
My aunt teaching me to make a s'more.

I don't remember much about the trip at all except for a few things:
  • I shared a hotel room with my brother, sister, and aunt. The room had two sets of bunk beds that flipped down from the wall. It was awesome.
  • One of the Harry Potter books (Order of the Phoenix) was released during this trip. We were in a small town without a bookstore but we got a taxi driver to take us to a grocery store to buy the book. My aunt tried to take us to McDonald's and I threw a fit and she got me a Lunchable from the grocery store instead.
  • We took a train ride, and my brother and sister made friends with some old ladies and played cards, but I was too shy to talk to strangers.
  • We tried to pan for gold and found nothing.
  • Everyone was obsessed with salmon but I hated fish and still do.
  • At some family-friendly barbeque, there was a lady singing folk songs about hunting a moose. We didn't buy her CD but my whole family still remembers her dumb song, "If you wanna catch a moose you gotta get up early. You gotta get up early if you wanna catch a moose."
  • My dad and I played Scrabble on a train ride, and I actually beat him.
The day I beat my dad at Scrabble, pre-braces half smile.

When I beat my dad at Scrabble, I immediately gained the reputation in the family as the Scrabble Queen. As a fifth grader, I was proud for five minutes and then decided not to care anymore. I honestly think I have not completed a full game of Scrabble since then. My dad definitely still cared, and my reputation was born. 
Every year at Christmas I can count on some scrabble-themed gift. PJ pants, a coffee mug, chocolate letter tiles, you name it. If something is scrabble themed, they assume it should belong to me. It's not a bad title, but I just don't think it still suits me.

Sarcasm and Bullying

On Saturdays, I find a post from PostSecret and make a response to it.
Top image: sent to PostSecret from someone anonymous.
Lower image: made by me in response to the one above it.

In middle school and high school I was mean to my friends until my youth pastor called me out on it. "I'm just kidding" is a very empty excuse for saying hurtful words. I gradually started to catcg myself, and gradually started to notice it more in others. I made new friends in tenth grade whose humor was based on being goofy, not mean, and tried to adopt for myself. 

I think sarcasm can be a really brilliant type of humor. I also think way too many people who don't understand sarcasm pride themselves on being sarcastic. Exaggeratingly insulting someone is not sarcasm. True, real, witty, respectable sarcasm says one thing and means the opposite (this comes from the definition). 

For example, if someone spills coffee on themselves they might say, "Great, just great. I'm having the best day ever." They say one thing and mean the opposite. 

Rudeness and bullying is often mislabeled as sarcasm. Here's an example: Harry Potter trips on the moving staircase and Ron Wesley says, "Wow you are the klutziest person I've ever met." Here, the intention of the joke is to actually point out Harrys's klutziness. It's not clever and it's not sarcasm. It would only be sarcasm if he were really trying to convey the opposite, "You are very graceful, Harry."

Insults can only count as sarcasm if the meaning of them is their opposite. Here's an example. 
Hermione: Oh my gosh, I can't believe I only made an A- on my potions exam! I know I should have studied harder. 
Harry: You're right Hermione, you're such a stupid loser. Only an idiot would make an A- on her potions exam.
This counts as sarcasm because Harry calls Hermione stupid in order to make the point that Hermione is smart. 

To the people who are reading this blog: you are probably someone I know in real life and you are probably someone I count as a friend, which would definitely place you in the category of, "Doesn't insult Kirby for laughs." So, thank you for having a smart, kind sense of humor.

Saturday Morning Coffee

My favorite photo I took this week is one with Brian.

On Saturday morning he got up, started the coffee pot, and then walked away distracted. While coffee was brewing, I set out our matching coffee mugs and then walked away distracted. Brian came back and poured himself coffee, then I came to pour mine. For approximately 1.5 seconds I thought he had taken the wrong mug on accident, then I realized of course he took it on purpose. He tries to annoy me; it (almost) never works.

A Case of the Tweets

Today is Three Things Thursday. Here are three tweets that made me laugh out loud this week.

The Spotlight Effect

On Wednesdays I reflect about something I've learned and laugh at how much of a dummy I used to be.

I used to think everybody noticed every little thing I did. I also used to think that it mattered. In high school, by senior year, I had finally pared down my close friend group to about six people who I really cared about. My small group of friends happened to be made up of obnoxious overachievers who were always tutoring, practicing instruments, or mentoring freshmen. So sometimes I actually ate lunch in the cafeteria all by myself. At the time, I thought everybody noticed and everybody was actually taking time to make thoughts and judgments about me and that those judgement actually determined something about who I was. I was just a dummy.
For my Fine Art credit during undergrad, I took a Creative Writing Class because I thought it would be easy. I signed up for the course section being taught by the young, hippie-like poet. I pulled the whole "math major totally out of my comfort zone" card several times, and my peers were very compassionate when reviewing my pieces, so it wasn't too bad. 
The only thing I actually learned from that course was from a tangent my professor got on one day. He mentioned that he had gone to see a recent movie by himself, and the whole class was like, "WHUT?! By yo-seff??" And he started laughing hysterically at us and ranting about our overwhelming self-consciousness. He challenged us to go to a movie by ourselves and go to a restaurant by ourselves. We were obviously shocked and horrified at the idea and through his laughter he explained the spotlight effect: "You guys, like, nobody cares. People won't think twice about seeing you all alone. You're not really that important to strangers. You're just really not that important at all."
That semester I went alone to a show at Eddie's Attic. I can't even remember who I went to listen to, but it was a packed house and I had to sit in the risers. The waitress came to take my order, and then pointed to the people seated above me, "Are you with them?" And I, embarrassed, said no. And the waitress walked away and literally didn't care that I was alone. She literally didn't care at all.

You Can Do Anything Good

There's a youtube video (I know you've seen it; everyone's seen it) of a four-year-old listing off everything positive in her life she can think of as quickly as possible. After she runs out of ideas, her immediate next thought is "I can do anything!"

You can do anything. I can do anything. That big daunting thing that's intimidating you right now? (For me, it's preparing a weekend-long sex-ed course for the preteens at church...) You can do it!!! The awesome people, places, and things surrounding you will always always always outweigh the scary, difficult "anythings." Count up your blessings a quick as you can, and I will to. Then we'll run around in our pajamas like four-year-olds yelling, "I can do anything good!"

Technology Week

On Mondays I'll set some goals for the week and I'll rate myself on completion of last week's goals. Last week I didn't have any formalized goals since I was out wandering in a blogless life. This week my goals are all technology related, because I desperately need to finally organize my digital life.

Here are my goals for 1/4/16 to 1/10/16:

  1. Get all of my music from my old computer onto the new one. I got a computer in 2009 and it is dangerously close to dying. A couple months ago, Brian and I finally invested in a "family computer" that we share. The only problem is, I have not done a good job transferring my files to the new one. I need to get a move on before my old computer really does quit on me. Also, I'm excited to finally update my phone with the music I want on it.
  2. Get all of my photos from my old computer organized onto the new one. All the same reasons as listed above, but also a key word here is "organize." My photos from high school and college are a jumbled mess on the old computer, so it may take several hours to sort them into folders. Yikes.
  3. Organize my work computer. I've gotten into a terrible habit of saving everything onto the desktop at work. I'm going to organize all the lessons and activities I've written onto the shared drive so that even if it gets lost on my own computer, I can find it to reuse next year. 

My Favorite Story to Tell

I've decided on Sundays I'll tell a short story. For my first week blogging I think I'll tell the only story that people ask me to tell: how Brian proposed.

In 2014, Brian and I had been discussing that we wanted to get married, and we realized the timing seemed right to get married in 2015. We didn't have full-time jobs yet but we were confident we would both have them very soon. Late in the summer, Brian took me to a jewelry store to check my ring size, so I knew it was coming any day. I was a pretty annoying girlfriend and liked to give him a hard time that he wasn't acting fast enough. I was teasing him so relentlessly that he accidentally slipped up that he can "return the ring if he wants to." That's when I knew it would be so so so soon.

My three best friends from summer camp, Kelli, Lauren, and Anna, all live in different towns and they all conveniently happened to be coming over near my hometown for various (fake) reasons. We decided to meet up at a Cajun restaurant in Roswell for lunch on November 22. I had no idea Brian had set them up to this.

It was our first time reunited since Kelli had gotten married, and we loved catching up. After lunch they we're all like..."So... I have more time... y'all wanna still hang out? What do you want to do?" So sly. Such tricksters. Anna suggested we go get our nails done (which we have never done together before) and I instantly knew something was up. We went to my mom's favorite nail salon (she had recommended it to Brian, of course) and Anna paid for me, which was again weird.

Then they were texting and scheming and decided we needed to go (stalling for time) get coffee. We went to Land of a Thousand Hills, a cool coffee shop in the historic district. We sipped our drinks. Even though it was November it was really warm outside so we were pretty much sweating with our coffees. When we were halfway done with our drinks, they abruptly suggested we go to a nearby park to walk around and take pictures.

We pulled up to Old Mill Park (where Brian and I had gone on two or three dates our first year together), walked through the parking lot, and then (surprise!) Brian was waiting there to greet us. He took me away from my pals on a short little walk on the hill and led me next to the historic bridge. That's where he gave me a sweet little speech, got down on one knee, pulled out a ring, and asked me to marry him! I said yes. My friends took pictures from afar.

We walked back to our cars and I was very obviously flustered and excited. Brian must've felt bad for me because he decided to warn me about the next surprise. He said, "Are you ready for the party? Both our families are back at the house." It was so great! I got back to my parents' house and everybody was ready to celebrate.

Brian knows me so well he planned exactly what I'd think is a perfect day: a fun afternoon with my favorite girls, an evening walk in the park with my boo, and dinner with the whole family.

No Idea

I love to read PostSecret. I post a reaction to my favorite secret each week. 


The secret on the left was mailed into PostSecret anonymously and, in my opinion, hilariously. It's the least personal secret anyone could possibly send in. It feels like a big deal to every individual but actually it's the smallest issue anyone can face. It's not even an issue; it's a blessing.

The "secret" on the right is by me. The photo was taken at my undergraduate graduation, when I thought I had finally figured out where my life was leading me. (I was wrong, thankfully.)