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2016: A Reflection

Working on a college campus means that at least once a day I get asked some obscure question. Recently I had two students approach me & ask simply, “What did this year teach you?”. I chuckled it off, told them I’d get back to em’ & sent them on their way.

The thing is…they came back the next day…and then the next.

Eventually, “getting back to em'” was the only way to actually get rid of em’.

So, I found myself really thinking about it & the next time they returned; right before winter term ended, I had my answer–the year taught me to LET GO!

The year was marred by the death of my dad last April. For the rest of my days, that’s what this year will reflect in my eyes–the year I had to let go of my dad. As hard as that was to let go of, there was peace that came knowing that he had also let go–of his pain, of his cancer.

This year I let go of a job that I loved, but which held no further advancement for me. Letting go of that made way for an even greater career opportunity for me.

I also let go of certain relationships in my life; both romantic & friendship. Relationships that were going nowhere & were holding me back negatively. Letting go of the old ones has cleared paths for new people to come into my life in ways I never would have expected. And it has even brought restorations into relationships that I long ago had written off as finished.

I’ve let go of certain dreams, prayers & hopes. Though sad to see some of them go, letting go has left me more grounded & gave me a greater comfort in realizing what it is that I really want out of life. There is sometimes freedom in watching your dreams & desires float away & you can finally rest in the comfort of knowing you gave it the good college try.

This year I’ve cried an ocean of tears, but I have also laughed deeply enough to fill a concert hall. My heart has been broken this year, but has also scarred over & healed from pain I was holding on too. This year found me both angry at God one minute & then on my knees begging for His love & forgiveness the next. I have been weak this year, but also strong. I have taken things for granted, but have also been humbled in true appreciation. I’ve had moments of laziness followed by heavy wear & tear on the hiking boots. I have made many mistakes this year, but have also learned life lessons. I have lost…and I have found.

2016 has taught me, big time, to let go of any preconceived ideas of HOW I think things should work out! So (begrudgingly) I enter 2017 completely clueless. To a type-A planner, like myself, that’s a little terrifying. But I’m left with a sense of peace when looking at a completely clean slate.

Welcome, 2017!!! I have been waiting all year for you!

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2016-a year in pictures!

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❤️ Top 10 “Rom Com” Picks❤️

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Yes, I know “Rom Com” sounds like a nickname for a superhero at a Comic-Con convention, but it’s actually a much cooler nickname for those “Chick Flicks” that girls geek over & guys pretend to hate (despite what they say the male species loves “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days” just as much as we do, ladies).

Since spring has sprung in NE Ohio (fingers crossed) all members of the animal kingdom are being led by their carnal desire to procreate. For the most part, it would be unacceptable for humans to start sniffing each other’s behinds & making loud squawking noises to woo over a potential mate, we might be left with a bottle of wine & an opportunity to throw out some favorite pick-up lines (“I think you dropped your name tag”…*hands girl a sugar packet*). Since I adore making “lists” & love is in the air, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite go-to-girlie-chick-flicks.

While I only did my Top 10, this was narrowed down from a few dozen (yes, this is what I was thinking about when my mind should’ve been on work). Criteria is based on:

1.) Cute Factor; cute storyline. Are the actors uber-adorable together?
2.) Hilarity; did I actually Laugh Out Loud….#lololololololololo
3.) Awwwwwww Factor; when movie is over am I left with a retarded smile on my face from all the uber-smushy-wushy-ness.

While others made the list: The Proposal, Serendipity, Never Been Kissed; sadly, they were cut from the team to make room for these gooey goodies.

10.)The Prince & Me Yes, I know this is the stereotypical, quintessential “chick flick” but it’s about a girl who dates a PRINCE! And he’s hot! Hello!

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9.)Runaway Bride While I’m not a big Pretty Woman fan (blasphemous, I know!) this movie does it for me. Julia & Richard are so funny together & those of us chicks with a “slight” fear of commitment phobia, can totally relate.

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8.) Crazy, Stupid, Love Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone…funny, funny! Slightly raunchy, which is cool too. I’m a fan!

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7.)GroundHog Day Its Bill Murray over…and over…and over…again (Bill F****g Murray) and it NEVER gets old.

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6.)Return to Me this movie makes me cry…but it is totally cute & funny. A chick finds out that her transplanted heart came from her boyfriends dead wife. What??? Netflix it! I’m telling ya, girls! It’s good.

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5.)Win a Date with Tad HamiltonDo NOT hate me for loving this movie. Okay, I won’t lie I was an obsessed 26yr old (I think) girlie-geek over this movie when it first came out. My nerd self saw it 2x’s in the theatre, maybe Josh Duhmel being shirtless had something to do with it??? Hmmmm….

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4.)Made of Honor a male best friend turned love interest…#classic. Patrick Dempsey is McDreamy in everything!

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3.)Letters to Juliet Italy…oh’ Italy. You can stage a ravenous murder slayer movie in Italy & it’ll somehow still look romantic. Good thing LTJ is your typical Italy based love-story-within-a-love-story that spans generations…cute!

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2.)You’ve Got Mail everyone knows this one! Tom & Meg…Shop Around The Corner…F.O.X. Makes me smile!

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1.)50 First Dates so many of my favorites in this one. Aside that it’s my favorite Adam S. movie, Drew’s my favorite actress & this happens to be my favorite movie of all-time…it’s just darn cute, hilarious & it has uber-adorable animals. Winner!

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So there ya have it, folks! Make a weekend out of snuggling with your better half; mine happens to be wine & a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, and catch up on some love movies (not the porn related kind).

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10 Things that (MAJORLY) Suck…

I love blogging, hands down its one of my favorite ways to unwind. Truth be told though, I just haven’t felt like doing it lately. Not for lack of blog ideas, but I’ve just been grouchy for several weeks…months. There’s been so many stresses that have seemed to be piled on lately that my peace was, not lost, but definitely hiding. Add to the outside stresses & the fact that Ohio seems to be in the never-ending-no-sunshine-sub-zero winter & I’ve fully embraced my grouchiness.

I’m FORCING myself to get out of this slump. It doesn’t suit me. This is my last “hoorah” of grumpy complaints that we can all relate too.

Introducing my list of the top 10 things that ooze with suckage

1. Burning your toasted cheese sandwich & not having any more cheese slices left. (Sub sequentially this is the incident that started me making up this list. And as my friend, Evie, pointed out: it would suck more running out of bread instead…#truth)

2.You’re super engrossed in watching a DVD from Netflix(Redbox…stolen from the library) & it freezes on ya. Forcing you to skip ahead to the next frame, thus losing crucial minutes that off-set the rest of the movie for you.

3.Be in a high-traffic public restroom with a line waiting to use. Quiet in a stall…doing your thing only to discover the toilet dispenser is empty. Panic…do you ask the person in the stall next to ya? Or zip up & go? This is equally as much of a panic-filled moment if you were to flush & the toilet starts clogging.

4.For Book Nerds!!!!! Setting your book down on the arm of the recliner while you leave to re-fill your wine. It falls off the recliner…place is lost. Grumble, grumble.

5.Paying to put gas in your car with change. And not the cool change like quarters, but the throwaway kind like nickels & pennies. This is followed by fervent prayers that your small amount of gas will make it until next payday, four days away.

6.finding out that someone is a gazillionaire after they “invented” the same product that you & your buddies thought up first years ago. Yes, I’m still harbouring bitterness over the fact that in 7th grade I wrote a whole report, complete with research, charts, diagrams & a travel brochure about vacationing to the moon. To which my teacher wrote,”nice fantasy!”.

7.arguing with someone about a subject only to realize halfway through the argument that they’re right. I don’t know about you, but my pride forces me to continue on with my stance…ending with,”alright, fine…whatever. I’m not arguing anymore”….saving face.

8.Convincing yourself that the voicemail left from a phone number you don’t recognize is your ex from years ago calling; who not only has your digits still saved, but is calling you at 3:15p on a Tuesday afternoon to tell you how miserable he’s been without you. 10 seconds later you find out it’s Verizon saying you missed your payment. 😕

9.that awful eye-watering zit you to pop in the crease of your nose. Don’t be grossed out, we’ve all had them.

10.the alarm clock buzzing you awake on Monday morning…
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A letter to my Off-the-Market Friends…From your *single* Friend

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Dear Off-the-Market Friends…

This includes: married, engaged, those in long & short term relationships, dating, “talking” to someone, and/or if you’ve made eye contact with the cute guy at the gas station (which in your mind means this is a clue that you need to start shopping for Bridal magazines)…

Let me start off by saying how much I love ya & truly value our friendship. I adore the fact that you’ve found,”the greatest guy on the planet” (as per your gazillion Facebook, Twitter & Instagram posts proclaiming him as such). I think your kids are uber-adorable & I cheese over how sweet your white-picket fence life is. But please allow me one bitter-induced minute to explain why all of it makes me want to vomit.

I really don’t MIND being single, especially when I hear about nasty divorces, cheating spouses, & the fact that I can watch whatever I want on tv BUTwhen I see a 21yr old girl showing off her diamond engagement ring please don’t judge me if I express my desire to punch her in the nose. This is 100% my jealousy, so don’t take offense. I’m equally as jealous of the lady in the grocery store with a ring; the lady that reminds me of Honey Boo-Boo’s mom & I catch myself thinking,”How can she find a man & I still can’t???”

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Regardless of the reality I automatically resort to low self-esteem, Jr. High “Why didn’t anyone ask me to the Winter Dance?” school days. Every girl is someone cuter, thinner, smarter, richer, younger…I’m a chick, that’s how we rationalize things. Please forgive my whiny, self loathing right now (Yes, I’m currently annoyed with myself at the moment).

Friend, don’t get angry if I’m gravitating towards other single friends right now. This has nothing to do with you. When I’m with my single friends we get to bitch & moan about being single while pretending we don’t really care over bottles of cheap wine & chocolate cake. This is also our opportunity to crack on past boyfriends & then look up THEIR wedding pictures on Facebook. Single friends understand that while we would never return to said ex, it drives us crazy that said ex got married before we did (open another bottle, please!). This is a club reserved for those that haven’t found,”the greatest guy on the planet” & it’s a club that, while we like hanging out together, we’re kind of sick of being in. Just like you hang out with other married couples, it would be awkward to bring along a lone single (3rd wheel is never fun).

While I know your intentions are pure, please PLEASE don’t suggest that I join a dating site or suggest that I meet your co-worker Steve,”who is a great guy BUThas a ‘slight’ addiction to crack…”

20140217-174331.jpgI appreciate the fact that you’re trying to set me up with someone but the “BUT” wounds my pride. In essence you’re saying,”the best that I think you can do is a guy who collects belly-button lint & has a passion for toenail art”. Do I expect to end up with a Channing Tatum look-a-like??? No! Because I recognize that I’m no Megan Fox…but is it really too much to ask that he be employed & NOT living with his parents at 35??? And although I have nothing against dating sites, in fact I’ve tried them & have heard that people have had positive results. They’re not for me. I’m choosing to believe that God is writing a different love story for me than a connection on a dating site.

Also, please don’t try to set me up with a guy who dates a different chick every weekend. Early 20’s I would’ve been on-board with that, but early 30’s–not a fan. There’s nothing more revolting than a man who tells a different girl,”I love you” every Saturday night at the bar & then Sunday morning forgets her name. And when I’m crying over that outcome, please don’t follow up with,”God has someone planned for you” or “the right one will come along”. This is why I need my single-friends, they’ll understand how the loss feels more than you do in your wedded bliss.

Know, dear friend, that when you complain to me about how mad you are that your husband didn’t take out the trash or that he forgot Valentine’s Day I’m secretly rolling my eyes at you. When I’m the only one taking out the trash, cleaning the house, paying the bills, fixing the car, figuring out who I’m gonna vacation with, & the only Valentines gift I get is from my dog & that’s cleaning up his bathroom duties out of the yard. Well, my sympathy card is a little thin.

Above all, if one day I find myself in your position nagging & trying to set up another single friend. I ask that you throw this letter in my face & tell me to back off. That seems fair…

Sincerely,
-Your Single Friend-

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50 Shades now for kids!

What’s acceptable for kids’ eyes sure have changed since I was young! Gone are the days of the Baby-Sitters Club & Sweet Valley High. Book-nerds will recognize the 50 Shades Trilogy 3 rows down from the top. I’m predicting an influx of junior high pregnancies this year….

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*well played BAM at Sandusky Mall, well played. Stay classy!*

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When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey

I started the novel with huge expectations. I didn’t know anything about it, but found it on Book Sneeze & thought I’d give it a try. The description sounded awesome; spiritual but with a supernatural twist. I even found a YouTube video promoting the novel & it really peaked my interest.
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At first I couldn’t put the novel down! Loved it! It’s not a long read (about 330pages). The chapters are fairly short & divided up by “days” leading up to a town carnival. The main character is a child named Leah; an only child, introvert, with a stutter. The novel centers around her & her relationship with an imaginary character she’s named, “The Rainbow Man”. Through her The Rainbow Man tells her things & gets her to do things that are a little off-the-wall; she paints a picture with hidden numbers that cause a town member to win the lottery, she approaches an abusive husband at the mall & tells him things that nobody else could possibly know, etc. Every main-character in this novel is pained in some way; her father is a psychiatrist who escapes into his work, therefore, neglecting his wife & child causing problems at home, her good friend & elder, Barney is struggling to take care of his wife’s failing health, the town minister is lacking in his faith & finding it impossible that God would speak his Word through a un-“religious” child with no formal Biblical training & her best friend Allie wants to believe her friend, but when it gets personal for her, she fights with unbelief. Not to mention the town, Mattingly, is full of supporting characters each with their own demons & secrets.

After the initial excitement & allure of the first few chapters wore off, I found this novel…well, kind of boring. I hate to admit that “hearing” Leah’s stutter was a total put-off for me. She has quite a bit of dialogue in the novel (obviously) & I found it annoying the way the author wrote her lines (“It’s nuh-no-ttt-not a h-h-h-ho-hole Mr. Bu-Buh-Barney”) I know that it was used for descriptive purposes because Leah has a stutter, but it added quite a bit of un-necessary paragraphs. Seemed to take a long time for the novel to actually take off. I also didn’t like the introduction of so many sub-characters, too many to keep track off! And I got so confused when the author started talking about a town called Away, had nothing to do with the actual storyline. “The Rainbow Man” character was never really settled for me; was it God, was it an Angel, perhaps even the Devil??? I’m sure that was the author’s point, that we draw our own conclusion, but I’ve got this “thing” about wanting a novel to be “closed & finished” when I’m done reading it. I really didn’t get the whole “Rainbow Man” concept. Reverend Grogginess was an interesting character. While I did agree with some of his ideals & beliefs, he was a little to Bible-Thumping for me. If the author’s point was that through Reverend Groggins’ character people would be introduced to God I think he turned people off more than he led. Barney’s character I did really like. Every small town has that one old guy who is just a good man. Little rough around the edges, but loves the Lord & lives his life very simply. Things are black & white for Barney & I love that! The chapters that tugged at my heartstring most were the ones where he took care of his ailing & disabled wife, Mabel. During her passing, I wished the author would’ve focused more on The Rainbow Man being present at that time. He did focus on it somewhat, but it seemed a little under-developed to me (and forgetful). Leah’s dad, Tom, the town psychiatrist was an interesting guy. It’s not that I disliked his character, but I didn’t necessarily like it either. I never really understood what his deal was. For being such a main character, he seemed a little confused to me. Like the author didn’t really know what to do with him. He left me feeling a little…blah. Leah’s best friend, Allie, was cute as a button. She was the typical bubbly, funny little kid that you can’t help but fall in love with. Again, her character seemed a little undone & I wasn’t sure what the author’s intent was with her.

The storyline was weak. The big event that the whole novel alluded to (as the chapters were all labeled: Chapter 6, 4 days before the Carnival….Chapter 9, one hour before the Carnival…etc.) that I was expecting something huge to happen. It was a tornado. True, a tornado that ripped the town apart but I was left feeling a little disappointed. To be honest, the whole novel & storyline reminded me of a movie I saw a few years ago (that scared the beejeebees out of me) called the Mothman Prophesies. I just didn’t get it….

I wouldn’t recommend this book to a friend. It’s a fast read, even though it took me 7months to get through it. But mostly because it bored the snot out of me. “When Mockingbirds Sing” turned out to be a big disappointment.

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Be your own Best Friend…

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Would you be friends with yourself?

I can say with absolute certainty that at this point in my life I would answer “YES”. The answer to that question wouldn’t always have been so. I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with different behavior & addiction and as much as I’d love to say I’m completely healed from temptation you’d be singing the,”liar liar pants on fire” song to me at that.

Anybody who has ever tried to “move on” or “get over” someone from their past will relate to this next comment: social media sucks when it comes to moving on! From anything! The availability to Facebook stalk, Instagram browse or be Twitter nosey is a real struggle to put the past completely behind you.

Don’t do it! Let me repeat myself: DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!

The other night (okay, I admit it…I had a few glasses of wine which aided in my weakened self-control) I Facebook stalked a few people from my past. After several months, closer to a year, of not knowing what they were up to I fell victim to noseiness. What resulted was exactly what you’d expect to result: jealousy, bitterness, self-pity & basically having a cry-my-eyes-out, “why does this bother me” moment (which then resulted in more wine & feeling the need to exasperate the crying by watching The Notebook & singing at the top of my lungs to some Patsy Cline). While I don’t feel such a tight grip on my past anymore, the fact remains that no matter how much you’ve “moved on” from your past it’s still there & it can still hurt.

The next day I was driving home from work, thinking about different stuff, when I suddenly had to start laughing. If this is the biggest thing on my mind, if this is the biggest bother for me then I’ve got to much time on my hands! People move on, get married, have babies, have LIVES that don’t revolve around you or your feelings. Hell, I’ve certainly got a life that doesn’t revolve around anyone from my past, why should I assume that they don’t have the same!

Which brings me to my point: Be your own Best Friend.

Be the type of person you want to be friends with. House behavior, attitudes & beliefs that you look for in others. Hold yourself accountable for bad behavior & praise yourself for good. Be loyal to yourself & be your biggest cheerleader. Make yourself laugh when you need to & allow yourself to cry & vent when you need to. I’m not saying that you don’t need friends because you most certainly need people in your life that you can rely on, hang out with & support one another. But at the end of the day when you’re alone & you’re the only company you have; what you say to yourself is what determines how you’ll run your race. People can run with you, can support you from the sidelines, can even push & carry you when need be…but only you can cross the finish line!

One thing that everyone has is an opinion & advice on what OTHERS should be doing. Sometimes take your own advice! If you’ve been drinking wine & get the urge to start looking up Instagram pictures, think about what you would tell a friend if they called you & said they were feeling tempted to be nosey. If you know your actions are going to create negative effects for you, make a different decision. I know this comes as a shock (it does to me!) but sometimes things truly are not ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS! Respect that. Don’t be “that” person. Treat yourself how you want others to treat you.

We’re all flawed, even people who don’t think they are….are. Trust is difficult for me, chances are it probably always will be. I love the Lord, but I struggle with trusting in his plan & will for my life. It’s difficult to stay in faith when your prayer requests don’t seem to get answered, but at the end of the day I know what the Lord wants me to do/not do. And usually when I choose to make a decision & act in a behavior that goes against what He does not want for me I end up falling flat.

Love yourself enough to listen to your own advice, as you would any best friend.
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