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Quotespiration

10 Feb

Just a quick reminder/ask to vote for Becky’s husband, Ben to help him win a contest and jumpstart his career. Do it! What are you waiting for?  Go to this link. Click on “Support Ben,” via the Facebook button. The website will email you when to vote; both views and votes count! Thank you in advance for your help and support.

 I’m kind of in a happy, bubbly place lately thanks to, well, loving life and everything and everyone around me (and well, the fact that many of my friends have awesome happy, bubbly things going on for them) so I’m sharing some of my favorite quotes and sayings I’ve stumbled across lately….

 

 

What’s inspiring you lately?

Beaches

9 Feb

**** Before I share my Florida trip, I have a shameless plug for Becky’s fabulous husband, Ben! He has entered a contest that could really help his career and get his artwork in front of the right people. In Ben’s words: “The winner gets flown out to pretty much the biggest comic book convention and introduced to all the bigwigs in the comic book, video game, and toy/statue industry which will jump start my career in comics and everything else!  I am so freakin’ excited about this it’s not even funny!  The voting ends on the 14th so it’s a very limited time in which to decide the winner so everything has to be a concentrated effort.  Thank you so much for the support.” So how can you help? Go to this link. Click on “Support Ben,” via the Facebook button. The website will email you when to vote; both views and votes count! *****

So, Florida.

Apart from the chaos that ensued before we actually got there (in a nutshell: Knight’s flight getting canceled, him having to juggle to get on my flights out of StL, dealing with a flat tire in the ghetto of STL, arriving at 1am) and the fact that we got no sleep the night before (hooray for 24 hour amazing breakfast places to kick off the trip), our first vacation was totally ah-mazing.

There was nothing but hugs, love, laughs, holding babies (hers, not mine… duh!), drinking, eating our way through North Florida, laughing some more, watching ridiculous reality TV (hello, Jersey Shore. Nice to meet you, finally. And I may be hooked.)

There was not lovely weather by any means but it was still warmer then this stupid midwest. Like by a lot. And it rained, warm rain. The good kind of rain, you know?

I wore flip-flops and short sleeved shirts. I slept in. I cuddled with Knight and my niece. I sat with my childhood BFF (she needs a nickname, seriously) and laughed, smiled and cried over the pictures and memories of us from the last five years. We hung with my niece and had good life chats. We sat in silence at times and it was more than ok.

I put my toes in the sand despite the insane fog that was covering the Jacksonville beaches. I had to talk to a cop in order to get into the bar since I was a dunce and left my license at home (it worked). I took shots to celebrate my childhood BFF’s birthday, the attainment of my Masters, and friendship and love in general.

Future trips were planned. Tears were shed when it was time to leave. Bonds were strengthened. Knight and I spent five days and six nights together; the most in a row since we’ve met one another and were left hungry for more.

My soul is rejuvenated (again). My heart is soaring (still). There is a smile plastered to my face (like usual). I’m in love with Florida all over again. I fell more in love with myself, with Knight, with life.

When was the last time you fell in love with yourself, your life, your loved ones all over again?

Things to Remember: 2010 Version

16 Dec

I’m borrowing this idea from the Reverb 10 posts that are floating around; yesterday’s prompt focused on 2010 and the things that you wouldn’t want to forget as you look back or if you lost your memory. This is probably one of my favorite prompts yet so here’s what I don’t want to forget about 2010, in no particular order.

How amazing blog friends are, both near and far, those I’ve met and those I’ve yet to meet. I don’t call them blog friends anymore, either. They are just true, honest, amazing friends. Without you all I’d be totally lost. I don’t want to forget how I feel so alive, vibrant and hopeful when I’m talking to these friends, how fun it is dancing to music while drinking wine, having late night conversations on video chat, the unexpected snail mail and much more.

Pushing through to finish my masters; it wasn’t easy. In fact at times it was incredibly tough but I reminded myself of what I’m capable of, that I can do anything that I put my mind to, and the reward/relief when I finished was well worth it.

Personal growth. There was a lot of it this year. Healing from a broken heart. Figuring out the next steps. Forcing myself into new and unexpected situations. Traveling miles to meet perfect strangers. Becoming a better sister, daughter, friend, employee, believer in myself. I learned how to listen to myself: to listen to my heart and soul, while still following my gut. I found my happy place again. I found my laughter and my smile again. I found myself, the person that I thought was lost. She’s not and it’s lovely.

I don’t want to forget the day I pierced my nose, or the weekends spent visiting my brother in his college town. I don’t want to forget the long walks with Jack during the dead of summer, listening to crickets and gazing at stars. I don’t want to forget the long conversations with friends that rejuvenated my soul. I don’t want to forget the look on my childhood best friend’s face during her baby shower, or the time I saw my faux niece’s photo for the first time. I don’t want to forget the weekend in October that restored my faith in a lot of things. I don’t want to forget the night I sat around the fire pit with my parents talking about my future, laughing and loving every moment of it.  I don’t want to forget the quality time I spent with my Gram where we truly connected. I don’t want to forget the ridiculous-ness that surrounded our Christmas tree purchasing or light hanging. I don’t want to forget the absolute joy I felt when I crossed the finish line of my 10k. I don’t want to forget the butterflies, smiles, electricity and energy of the last few months. I don’t want to forget the feeling of hope and excitement that I’ve had bottled up inside me since this summer when my entire perspective and life started to shift, all for the better.

What don’t you want to forget from 2010?

Life in Front of the Camera

11 Oct

I have a reputation among my friends: the chronicler. Always with the camera, taking pictures both posed and candid, and back when I was on Facebook I was known for posting them within mere hours of getting home. Sometimes you miss out on the jokes, the commradery, the fun, when you’re focused on the next best shot.

My capstone class behind me, I went to my best friend’s fall ball (aka the best farm party ever) for the weekend. And that is when I decided to give my camera a rest and live my life in front of the camera, focusing on really being in the moment.

Tossing the camera aside meant that when I went on the tractor ride, through little valleys and over rocks, clutching my beer and laughing the whole time, soaking up the weather and fresh country air. It meant that I got my hands dirty with pumpkin carving, helped the men make dinner by peeling oodles of onions and carrots, and got to be friends with the local country boys including those who looked like Heath Ledger a la Brokeback Mountain. (Ahem, swoonworthy.) I learned about beer darts, the strategy behind washers, the merits of Natural Light vs Busch Light, that people will laugh at you if you are drinking Bud Light Lime, even if it really does taste good.

I fed horses, avoided cowpiles, and marveled at how huge the bonfire was. I sat on hay bales, chatted with friends I haven’t seen in ages, and took walks away from the fire to cast my eyes upward. I made new friends, had the kind of conversations that leave you with nothing but hope and maybe a few butterflies. I climbed on top of a roof with large blankets to stare up at the galaxy , voiding my head of all the normal weekday clutter, chatting with my best friend, her husband and his best friend, giggling until 2am over the silliest of conversations despite the fact our teeth were chattering and our fingers were cold. 

We convened over breakfast casserole, swapping stories and learning new things about what happened after we left, retreated to the couch for a brief nap and then we all went our separate ways.

It was a soul-searching, rejuvenating weekend that reminded me of what’s important and that life is full of lovely, unexpected moments. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Nora Confessions (XII)

7 Oct

You probably thought I forgot about this series, eh?  The only problem with my Confessions Series is it takes some time to amass or think of new ones, but it’s back! (View all previous installments in this series here.)

* So despite the fact that I may be the Dave Matthews Band #1 Fan I do not physically own their two oldest CDs, Crash and Before These Crowded Streets. (I did recently download them to my Zune, and I have no idea how I survived without them for so long.)

* I’ve started wearing leggings. Don’t worry, only around the house and with shorts over them and I vow to never go out in public in them…but they are incredibly comfortable.

* I cry almost every week during Parenthood.

* My time management and organizational skills have really gone down hill the last few weeks; I really hope I can recoup them in the coming few weeks.

* I can’t study and/or do my homework without my favorite type of pen: Papermate, plain barrel, blue ink pen.

* If I had the courage to do karaoke I think I would sing Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.”

* A few weeks ago I ditched Facebook. I don’t miss it and I’m not sure I’ll return this time.

* The end of my graduate school career is in plain sight and as 100% excited as I am, I’m also a little bit nervous as to what I’ll do with all my free time.

* There are over 40 pairs of shoes in my closet: flops, boots, flats, heels, athletic. It may be an addiction.

* I enjoy like raking leaves. This means two things: 1) I’m glad it’s fall and 2) I’m probably a little bit crazy.

* I was nominated for Homecoming Court my Senior year in high school and was incredibly relieved when I didn’t make it onto the final court ballot.

* The Boy Next Door still shows up in my dreams, despite our several unsuccessful attempts at dating over the last few years. I am sorely disappointed when I wake up discovering it was just a dream (and that he didn’t really come for me).

What about you? Anything you want to get off your chest today?

A Look Back: Nick & Nora

23 Sep

“I talked to my father the other day,” Nick said. Just like always, his driver’s side window was down, the A/C blasted into the tiny cab of his truck. Because of this his left arm was constantly hanging out the window leaving him with a permanent farmer’s tan. 

“Oh, about what?” I said absentmindedly, thinking it had something to do with the status of the MU Tigers or some other sports-related thing, as that is all they ever bonded over.  The country road whizzed by as they barreled down the highway to a farm party or some such activity, a country music station fizzled as the antennae searched for a signal.

” A jeweler. He gave me the name of the family jeweler so that when I’m ready, I can call and get you a ring.” He said it just like that. No fanfare. No trying to be secretive about. To Nick’s credit, he did have a sparkle in his eyes and a smile played on his lips as he glanced toward’s the passenger seat, waiting for my reaction.

” Ah. Well. That’s… exciting.” That was not the response I wanted to come out of my mouth. Immediately my stomach twisted up into knots, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Had he really just said “you” and “ring” in the same sentence? Meaning engagement. I was only 21, and even at that a young 21. Had you asked me then, I would have told you I’d be married by 24, not 21.

In an instant my life flashed before my eyes. I’d be forced to accept a job with the State Government, to be a drone, day in and day out. The only benefit to that, I thought, was the extreme amount of holidays and vacation days I would be forced to take. And maybe the fact that there wineries and beautiful countryside near by. Within a few years we’d buy a house in the countryside, adopt a few more dogs and before I knew it I’d be barefoot and pregnant.

It would have been a life of quiet. Of comfort.  Of minimal passion and little romance. Of little ambition for as great as Nick was, he made it clear that he never wanted to leave this town. I was afraid the promise of love and marriage wouldn’t be enough to keep me in the town where he grew up, which was 30 minutes away from the State Capitol.

It was a life that I was unsure I wanted. After 18 months of dating I felt terrible thinking that but I just couldn’t envision myself living in a smaller town for the rest of my life. We made it through my undergraduate graduation, somehow, and then through Christmas. New Year’s came and went, which we spent apart; a telltale sign. We made the decisions to go our separate ways; each of us in search of individual adventures.

Nick found his: finishing college, switching jobs, getting married and adopting his wife’s child.

And as for me, well, I’ve had adventures in dating, in love, in jobs, in trips, with friends and family. I know that one day I’ll find a man who I’m meant to have lifelong adventures with and when he mentions the idea of THE ring? I won’t want to throw up in my mouth.

I’m glad that my 21 year-old self was wrong about me getting married at 24.

Grace in Small Things: The Revival

9 Sep

A long, long time ago I did a weekly post on Grace in Small Things so I wouldn’t overlook all the good in my life. Today I feel like bringing it back.

* A note left on my desk by a client telling me to have a great day. (Things have been a little stressful at the office as of late.)

* Hot chocolate which especially hits the spot when the office you work in feels like a meat freezer.

* Spending a night at Barnes & Noble plowing through my school reading and maybe treating myself to a (cheap) book as a reward. Studying at home is well and good but a few days into the week and I just need a change of scenery. Bonus for cute guys who work at Barnes & Noble.

* Jack cuddles. Enough said.

* Treating myself to 30 minutes of “fun reading” time each evening before bed time. It’s easy for me to get overloaded with school and work stuff after hours so setting this time aside is super important to me.

* e-mails from old friends.

* My facebook wall feed which lately is one giant “I had a baby!” announcement. The sweet baby faces and the joy in my friends’ eyes is sure to bring a smile to my face every single time.

Tell me what some of your Grace in Small Things are these days?