I’m Here, And Nothing Has Changed (Except Me)

I’ve received several messages from caring people who read my blog asking where I went. I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth; I’m just enjoying some time away from my blog.

I am so grateful to know that there are people in the world who care about me even though we’ve never met. That’s one of the reasons the internet is so awesome. The reality is that on the flip side it allows negativity to seep in where it wouldn’t otherwise.

The two weeks have included many healthy meals, lunch dates and evening plans that I’d love to discuss more in depth here, but I probably won’t. Perhaps I will find a new balance between sharing things online and keeping them to myself. (I tend to be an all or nothing kind of lady.)

I made my page private for a period to see how I liked it, but I didn’t make any changes while it was dark. I’m back, and I’ll probably share a bit about life here and there.

If you’re one of the amazingly thoughtful and considerate people who reached out to me while I was away, thank you. Thank you for being you and for being here.

Until next time…

What Does Blogging Actually Accomplish?

I’d like to think that at some point my blog had a powerful effect on someone, and I think it did…on me. I’m not convinced that it’s good for anything else though, and at this point (for a long time now) I’ve wondered whether or not it’s good for me.

I’ve discussed a lot of topics over the years, and I’ve received a lot of amazing comments and insights from people, many of whom have similar goals and desires. I love communicating on various levels with people who live differently than I do. Rarely do I have a desire to change anyone’s mind (on my blog or in person,) but I do like engaging and widening my perspective.

My last post, in which I respectfully shared my views (apart from my title hook) made me think about whether or not my voice is benefitting anyone (myself included,) and the answer, at least in this case, is no.

I stand by the things I said, but what good does it do to come here and share my opinion? Everyone has one; why do I blog about mine? I started to keep myself accountable not caring whether anyone ever read it or not, then I continued because I enjoyed the constant onslaught of encouragement and attention. Now I do it because sometimes I have things to say, recognizing that not many will see it anyway.

I like to share my thoughts, views and opinions, but my goal has never been to hurt anyone in the process. As an American I have a right to say whatever I want to say, and I think it’s only fair for those who demand tolerance to offer it equally. Having that right doesn’t mean that I should always act on it, and the fact is, I rarely do.

It’s fine to disagree with me. I don’t share my thoughts here to elicit specific thoughts or opinions. I share them because they’re my thoughts and opinions. We are facing some serious issues in this country, and it’s important to acknowledge them. It’s even more important to do something constructive to change it, and I’m actively trying to do that in my community.

I have a separate blog to talk about what God’s doing in my life, but the same message applies here. Colossians 3:17 says,

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

It’s pretty clear than I have a right to share my thoughts and opinions, but I need to be more conscious about what I feel and why I do. I’m asking God to change my heart, to help me see myself and others the way He sees me. He offers grace, mercy, forgiveness and a clean slate. I want to be the kind of person who does the same, so if my last post hurt you, I’m sorry.

Until next time…

 

 

 

Enough with the Black Lives Matter and Gender Equality Stuff, Or Why It’s Not Going To Work That Way

Before I share my thoughts I’d like to note that I’m half (yes, 50%) American Indian, and I’m obese. I face harsh and unfiltered discrimination on a regular basis, and I’m actively working on changing the tide (starting with myself.)

I mentioned my chat with Senator Bernie Sanders a few weeks ago, and while I don’t agree with a lot of his political views, I’m pissed about what happened in Seattle on Saturday.

The senator and presidential hopeful was there for a rally that was disrupted and ultimately shut down by Black Lives Matter “activists” who stormed the stage, showing a complete lack of respect for the senator and for the thousands of people who waited all day to hear him speak. 

Of course black lives matter; I have zero tolerance for those who disagree. The fact is all lives matter, and it’s ridiculous and sad that there are people in this nation who disagree.

There’s a serious race issue in this nation that needs to be addressed, but it’s no longer one-sided. Misdirecting anger toward one elected official who actively fights for civil rights seems like a dumb move to me.

Note to the “activists” who showed no remorse for their blatant disregard of everyone else: If you really want to affect change, try showing some respect, as opposed to acting like tempermental lunatics on a stage that isn’t yours. 

And while I’m fired up I’m going to share my feelings on Target’s decision to “move away from gender-based signs.” In my opinion the concept is stupid and mildly offensive.

I’m a woman, and I’m proud to be a woman. I don’t believe that everyone should be forced to be a woman, but I don’t see the problem in being on either.

I have friends who are transgender, and I understand and empathize with their struggle to find contentment because I am keenly aware of the difficulty associated in feeling different than everyone around you. Moving away from gender-based signs is a separate issue.

When I was growing up I didn’t play with baby dolls; I played with my dad’s sermon notes and highlighters. I wanted to be a consultant or an analyst before I was old enough to label myself as such. It didn’t matter to me if my blocks were pink and purple or if they were primary colors. I liked Lincoln Logs and Barbies, though my versatility never led to gender identity issues.

Society (myself included) has become so incredibly weak and overly sensitive that I fear we’ve forgotten that our differences make the world go around.

Men and women are different. We just are. When did that become such a deplorable and unacceptable thing?

 

 

Hurricane Katrina Wasn’t As Bad As This

According to WWL, the local CBS affiliate here in New Orleans, New Orleans has already experienced 112 murders this year. At this time last year the number was 78, so our rate is rising exponentially.

Murders in NOLA

As I looked at the map they released earlier this week I noticed that none have occurred in my neighborhood, but it’s sad and scary to think about how many people are facing tragic losses in this little city.

When I left New York I considered it “home,” but now I feel at home in New Orleans. I’m just not sure it’s a good idea to live in a place that is so riddled with crime. We’re talking about murders now, and the numbers are astronomical, but robberies and non-fatal attacks are on the rise as well. It makes me wonder about the state of the city.

You can’t spend a day among people in New Orleans without hearing about how awful Hurricane Katrina was. I didn’t live here at the time, but my family did. The city, which is widely known for its resilience, was able to rebuild, heal and grow. The hurricane was devastating, but it ended.

Crime never stops, and it’s much worse than anywhere else I’ve lived. When a hurricane is coming we can prepare for that, but no one is adequately prepared to lose a family member or a friend to violence. I wasn’t prepared when a gun was pointed in my face a couple of months ago.

New Orleans has the opportunity to thrive, but people like me will be forced to find a new place to grow if the crime rates continue to rise. I love this city, but I value my life and my safety more.

When I chatted with Senator Bernie Sanders last week before his rally, we discussed gun control. (I talked about it here,) but stricter gun laws won’t fix the problem. Instant background checks isn’t the answer either, though I support that.

I wish I had an easy answer, but I don’t. No one does, but I think it’s important to pay attention to who’s being appointed and who we’re electing, particularly at a local level because that’s where change is most likely to happen.

What is crime like where you live? Do you fear for your safety in your community?

Family, Love Updates, Grown Up Coloring and Hand Knitting

Last week had some bright moments and some not so bright moments. I talked about the rough part here last week, and I’m happy to say that we talked today. I didn’t know that I was going to see him, but I’m glad I did. I was able to share my thoughts and feelings (and French press) with him, and I was filled with a sense of relief when I saw him. He was relieved and happy to see me tooI don’t know what the future holds, but I’m happier today than I’ve been in the last week.

The fun parts of last week came as a result of my sister and nieces. They visited Mom’s house, so I spent most of my time there.

Baby Niece

oldest niece

We did some cool stuff in my neighborhood too. My friend, who is a veterinarian at Audubon, brought us behind the scenes and let my nieces feed the giant turtle. We watched them feed the stars as well, and we ran around in the fountains after that.

New Orleans Aquarium

They headed back home Friday evening, so I returned home and caught up on things that I didn’t do during the week. I went to church, spent time with friends, and did some meal planning.

I went to an Outcry concert last week too, which featured some of my favorite Christian artists including Kari Jobe, David Crowder, Hillsong and more. My friends and I sat in a suite, which is my favorite way to enjoy any event (except Pearl Jam because I need to be in the front row for that.)

I also decided to join the grown up coloring book craze. I colored with my nieces last week, but I picked up an adult book at Michael’s too. It’s fun and relaxing, and i finished my first page today.

Is anyone else here doing this to destress or relax?

Is anyone else here doing this to destress or relax?

Sunday afternoon I decided to try something new, so I signed up for a hand knitting class at Michaels. It was an inexpensive way to spend the afternoon, and I left with a finished infinity scarf. I already know how to knit, but I did this without needles. Actually, I used my wrists and hands as if they were needles, which was an interesting and easy concept.

hand knitting Michaels

It looks like a loose braid.

Last week I said that I was going to focus on all of the positives in my life, and I did that. I’m thankful that there are so many reasons to enjoy life, and I’m looking forward to the month of August. It’s typically the hottest month in New Orleans, so I’ll be okay with it when it’s over. I’m also ready to start school again even though I enjoyed the summer break.

I’m not sure what the future holds. I have some things to figure out, but I feel hopeful. I’m pretty sure I’ll sleep a lot better tonight too.

 

Grocery Shopping and Racist Remarks at Wal-Mart

I was inspired to do some meal planning and grocery shopping over the weekend because my goal for the next week is to prepare every meal and snack at home. I’m healthier when I do that, but it does require a bit more effort and planning than I’ve been accustomed to lately.

I don't know if I'll have a sandwich and chips during the week or not. I didn't buy stuff for that, but it sounds delicious.

I don’t know if I’ll have a sandwich and chips during the week or not. I didn’t buy stuff for that, but it sounds delicious.

It’s much easier to eat out since I’m often 15 or 20 minutes from home when it’s time to eat dinner. It’s also easier to order take out on my way home at the end of a long day than it is to go home and cook, but that convenience has led to major weight gain on my part.

Saturday I went to Wal-Mart to buy groceries. I prefer to go to Target or Whole Foods, but I have a gift card (that I forgot to use.) It was also easier for my aunt, who’s here with my uncle because he’s in the hospital, to get what she needed there.

When the cashier was ringing me up she laughed at the way I shop. I don’t use plastic bags for my produce, but I used one for the chicken breast that I bought. I apologized for inadvertently creating more work for her and explained that I didn’t want to waste bags for produce because they’d end up in the trash as soon as I got home, but I definitely don’t want chicken juice all over everything.

Walmart

I thought that was pretty solid reasoning, but she laughed, pointed at the iced mocha latte in my cart and said, “You’re young and white, baby. It’s all good.” I can’t imagine what my skin color has to do with my shopping methods, but I think it’s nice that she thought I was young. I don’t think she said it to be offensive; it was just an odd response.

Am I the only one who skips the bags when buying produce? Do you think socioeconomic status  plays a role in our shopping habits?

 

 

Love and Loss, Or Something Like That

I’ve been pretty quiet about the fact that I’ve been seeing someone. I met him at the beginning of the year, and I allowed our relationship to grow offline for several reasons – the most significant being that it’s easier to develop something when others aren’t constantly inserting their opinions.

He’s handsome, easy to talk to and loves (our) Starbucks as much as I do. He’s older than I am, even-keeled and patient. He told me that he loved me before I was willing to say it, but I’m in love with him too. He has made significant efforts to show me, and I’ve never felt so emotionally and physically connected to someone at the same time.

He has spent the last several months making me feel special and beautiful. When he looks at me his face lights up and his serious demeanor is immediately overcome by an easy smile every single time he lays eyes on me. He loves my voice too (even when I sing gut-wrenching love songs about heartbreak after an argument, which only happened once, for the record. ha) I adore the way he says my name and his drive to succeed in everything he does…and his perfect hair.

He has helped me let go of some major insecurities that I’ve been clinging to since I left New York. He has been a healthy influence on me physically, and his patience and empathetic attitude helped me rebuild some of the self-esteem that I lost.

It has been clear to me that he desires me since the first time he said it, and my feelings for him have been equally strong. I crave him in every sense. I never tire of kissing him, but I can talk to him for hours too.

He’s dreamy and affectionate, and as I type a tear is streaming down my face because I broke it off with him a couple of nights ago. It wasn’t an impulse decision. I thought about it overnight before I did it, but I miss him. The hardest part for me right now is that I felt like I was finally in love with someone who loved me back and still don’t get to have that.

I realize that I’m not a helpless victim in this situation; I’m the one who ended it. I didn’t end it to play a game with him. I ended it because he (unintentionally) crushed my feelings Tuesday. I did it because it was the right thing to do, but I’m struggling tonight because it seems to have been so easy for him to let go.

He was in a lot of (physical) pain the night I told him that it wasn’t going to work out, and I thought it might be easier because he wouldn’t be focusing on me. I’m guessing that he’s better by now, but he hasn’t called. I didn’t see him at our coffee shop today either because I was there earlier than usual for a private tasting (which was awesome.) I don’t even know if he went there at all.

Ending a relationship can be confusing, at least for me. When we last spoke he said that he was hurt, and he also said he would respect my decision. Now he’s doing that, and I feel rejected. The man, who is emotionally stable, respectful and habitual is doing exactly what I asked him to do while I am wishing he’d do the opposite.

I realize how ridiculously girly and immature it sounds, but it’s true. I want to think that he misses me and that he won’t accept it so easily, but I also realize that he was not happy with my thoughts when I shared them. (Okay, he was pissed…partly because of my feelings, but largely because he had already had such a crummy day before I dropped that on him.)

I realize that doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it’s still right. I just wish he was right for me, and I wish he’d show up at my door to prove it before hugging me and kissing my eye lids as he often did.

Tonight as I sit in bed writing about my feelings I can’t shake thoughts of him – the way it feels when he wraps his arms around me, the way he breathes when he’s falling asleep, the way he sounds so incredibly upbeat when he calls to say good morning on the way to work during the 7 o’clock hour, the way he takes charge while making me feel safe and adored…I miss him.

It’s hard to realize that my phone won’t ring in the morning, but I’m going to focus on all of the reasons I have to be happy and thankful. (There are many.) I don’t know what the future holds, but I’d like to trust that something good is on the horizon.

A Few Minutes with Senator Bernie Sanders

I have a lot of respect for the office of the presidency, so when I had an opportunity to chat with a man who could be the next leader of the free world I did it.

Bernie Sanders Presidential Election

Bernie Sanders is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting US Senators who has served in my lifetime, and we don’t agree on many fundamental issues. I’m not a part of his team, but I gained a lot of respect for him today.

I met with him at a small, private gathering in the suburbs before he headed to a campaign rally in a neighboring town. I think it’s important to hear what each candidate has to say because it’s the only way we can hold them accountable.

He listened intently and answered respectfully

He listened intently and answered respectfully

We discussed gun control candidly, and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the topic because it hit close to home recently.

I live in a pretty nice neighborhood. It’s home to a variety of professionals, but that didn’t stop me from finding a gun in my face last month. I was headed to rehearsal for church at around 8:15 on Sunday morning when a man pointed a gun at me and demanded that I get out of my car.

I shared my thoughts on gun control, instant background checks, gun usage among criminals and the government’s role (and its perceived role) in all of it. We didn’t come to any grand conclusions, but it was interesting to hear his perspective and the perspective from others in the room.

I rarely discuss politics online, but today was an important day in my little world. I’m grateful for the opportunity that I had to communicate with the senator, and I’m looking forward to hearing from other candidates in the coming months.

 

 

 

I Know It’s the Weekend, but This Is Important

Even at the height of my blogging I didn’t post on Saturdays because I realize that no one reads it, but I have something to say that can’t wait.

Last night I learned that innocent lives were taken by a shooter at a movie theater in Lafayette, which is only a couple of hours from New Orleans. My old friend, Clint (aka The Suit) grew up there, and so did my dear friend Shannon. Neither of them live there now, but I feel special affection for that town because of my incredible friends who came out of it.

When I heard that the shooting had occurred, my heart felt heavy immediately. Our country is on a downward spiral. People are hurting, and they’re hurting others as a result. I hate it.

A few moments ago I learned that the folks from Westboro Baptist Church are planning to picket the funerals of the victims, and I have a big problem with that.

I respect the first amendment, but I have no respect for hate mongers who prey on families in their darkest hours.

I just sent an email to Governor Jindal asking him to do what he can to protect the mourning families of the victims of the Lafayette shooting.  If you’d like to write him an e-mail, you can send one here: http://www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor

I’ll probably post about this on my other blog as well, but I’m sharing this here and now in the hopes that you all will join me prayer and/or sending positive thoughts to those who lost their loved ones.

The folks at Westboro use God’s name regularly to promote hatred, but The Bible makes it very clear that they’re wrong…

Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

 

Fat Photos

I’m heavier than most women I know, but I don’t shy away from the camera. If we’re connected through social media you know that I take selfies by myself and with friends. I share full body shots, and I’ve been known to rock photos in my swimsuit too. (See my Instagram account.)

Yesterday my long time friend, Tammy, posted about our favorite author’s article in Good Housekeeping. Jennifer Weiner and I have never met (life goal,) but the woman understands the inner workings of my mind. She’s been writing books that make me laugh, cry, dream and hope for years, and she opened up about avoiding the camera in first year of her daughter’s life.

I have beautiful friends who avoid the camera because they don’t like how they look, and I know women who will take 20 photos of themselves before they find one that they don’t despise. (I’ve been guilty of that countless times as well.) It’s hard to be happy with oursevles when we’re engulfed in a culture that says we shouldn’t be.

I’m obese…blah, bah, blah…I know. It’s hard to forget, as I have to live in my own skin everyday, but I refuse to allow my size to have bearing on whether or not I choose to live my life or take a photograph.

I went back to school at 30 years old to pursue a career about which I am passionate. I moved across the country and thrived in the biggest, most intimidating cities in America, I sang a solo in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and I took on an entire industry in the hopes of making a positive impact for myself and others. I don’t back down from things that scare me, and I will not back down from capturing memories with loved ones.

I think it’s important to recognize our own value. I’ve learned that the hard way, and that learning process never stops. I put effort into how I look, what I wear, etc. I take pictures from flattering angles, and I pose with my big, cheesy grin.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t care about how we represent ourselves; I’m saying that I don’t want to live as a slave to this unrealistic ideal that we measure ourselves and our happiness against.

I love myself whether you think I should or not, and I’m going to continue to make memories and photograph them when I feel like it because I love looking back at the little moments that make life so special.

Do you shy away from photos because of your weight?