Little Women

I recently watched Little Women – the 1994 movie with Winona Ryder. It reminded me how much I loved the novel and the movie – it was adapted really well. The protagonist, Josephine ‘Jo’ March, is a woman before her time. The story takes place in the 1860 time-frame. So think Civil War times, women are to be seen not heard and certainly not able to be independent. Jo wants to push back on this as much as she can. She wants to tell the stories that swirl around in her head and also make the world a better place. She hates all of the pomp and circumstance of the time – what a girl should or shouldn’t do, how a girl should dress and act. She is raised with 3 sisters and an amazing mother – her father is away at war through most of the story. Marmie, her mother, lets Jo and her sisters express themselves as they wish – tussling about in the yard, having plays in the attic, going to school. Jo blazed a path and was not ashamed to go after what she wanted.

I was raised around women that were generous and kind. I loved them with everything I had, but I never wanted to be them. I never pictured myself as them – stay at home mom, doing laundry, cooking dinner every night. Let me say there is NOTHING wrong with that. I just never dreamed that life for myself, I would be terrible at it. I admire the ones that can be in this role and rock it, just like the women in my life did. It just wasn’t for me, it still isn’t. Their roles also involved being the leader of the family, the one keeping it all together and running, fixing the broken, the one everyone relied on for advice and comfort. I couldn’t be that for myself, let alone trying to imagine being that for other people. I saw how important they were to everyone around them after two of the three passed away. The crumble of the family structures. The divides. No more family holidays. Gone with them. That is probably why I never dreamed to be just like them, parts? Certainly, but have everyone depend on you? That is an amount of pressure I couldn’t withstand. This pushed me in a different direction, towards a different goal.

My goal was to be fiercely independent and help others as much as I could along the way, a little like Jo. I would not need to rely on anyone for my basic needs. I wanted to be able to support myself, but also do most of what I wanted, when I wanted. I promised myself I would not get married until I had purchased a car on my own and owned or house or could. I wanted to be different. I wanted to be me. So I set out to do just that, one step at a time. What I didn’t realize then is how many steps it would take, but also I didn’t realize the change and growth that comes with each stage of life. Each stage of life brings different lessons, good and bad experiences, change, hopefully growth, and wants and needs begin to evolve as well. My goal to be independent remained throughout, especially after my dad passed away. The drive to reach this goal was stronger than ever. For both my stability, but also the need to help others grew with him leaving the way he did. So suddenly. Seemingly out of the blue. I found out in that moment how truly short life is and that just because I have a goal to reach does not mean that I have to ignore life happening around me.

Watching Little Women reminded me of that girl that was hell bent on not needing anyone. I actually chuckled and related more to Jo’s sister, Amy in that moment. Amy is the baby and quite dramatic at times. I was naive to think that I would be able to accomplish such a goal without others. There is no way, that I am aware of, to become independent without the help and support of others. If I sat and tried to make of list of the people in my life that have helped get me to where I am today, or made an impact on me – whether they know or not, we would be here for days. I fully believe that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. They can have a large or small impact, but each leave you with a lesson or something you needed.

I am still fiercely independent, but I have softened a little as I age. I will let people know when I can’t add anything more to my plate. Better is that I have even learned to ask for help. To understand and know that I can, but I don’t have to do it on my own. I couldn’t imagine having to grow up during the times with Jo March. I’m thankful to have many more “freedoms” than she would have been able to experience. Not to mention the corsets! I would have fainted from being so constricted. Definitely a plus on the change in fashion from the Civil War era until now. I also am fully aware of the sacrifices the women in my life made so that I could be me. So that I could walk on my “own” for a while.

I’m taking what the three main ladies, as well as all of the other females in my life, have taught me and putting them into practice. I have 3 nieces now! I love each of them and want to be my best for them. I want to be the strong role model, but also the one they come to for anything – questions, laughs, driving lessons (AGM), to bitch about their parents, whatever they may need. I want to be the one they go to. I want to be their support – to show them they can chase any dream or goal and achieve it – just like I had. Just like I still do with the wickedly amazing women in my life. I’ve lost a few along the way, but I have also be extremely blessed to add a few as well. I treasure the relationship that I have with each of them. I’m still learning each and every day, I hope I continue for the rest of my life to learn something new each day – I’ve learned a lot about myself lately. I am realizing that I am finally that strong, independent woman I always wanted to be growing up. I have achieved this goal, and that is exciting. But this isn’t over, not yet. I’m going to extend this goal. I’m going to keep adding to it and racing to achieve it again. I’m still figuring out how that will look exactly in this stage of my life, but I’m excited to see what happens next……..

Magic Button

It’s funny how something like a smell or place or even a person can transport you back in time. How a certain smell can flash a memory from long ago you have to blink to be back in the present. I can’t wear perfume, but I have a bottle on my dresser. The perfume was the one my grandmother wore and every once in a while if I need a reminder I’ll spritz some in the air.

Facebook now logs memories from each day in previous years and shows you pictures and posts. Some of these memories are happy and funny, some I have no clue what they mean anymore or what I was referencing. Some are sad. Some send me down a rabbit hole. The rabbit hole of trying to remember the people and places and what was going on in that moment.

Trying to remember the 18 year old girl about it head to college. Trying to remember all the moving pieces and people during that strange time of my life. The no longer a girl, certainly not a woman, leaving her hometown and all she had known for a “big city” and endless opportunities and her chance to express her true self. I don’t remember a lot of it, but I think that’s normal. I remember certain things with such detail, even down to how I was feeling in that moment. Then there are others that I don’t recall at all if someone mentions it. What if there was a magic button that we could press that would transport us back to that moment and feeling?

The magic button could only be used for one moment or feeling. It can only be used once and then it is gone forever. But you could use the button as many times as you wish after you push it but only that one moment or feeling would be your experience. There would be time limits as well. You can only press the button 4 times a year. And the button will only work during that one press for 4 days to be able to see or feel. Would you want this magic button? Would you press the magic button? If you press the magic button, what moment and feeling are you selecting? Would you tell anyone what you picked? Would it be your secret? How would you feel if you were able to know if you were part of someone else’s moment or feeling? Would you want to know? Would you keep it to yourself or tell others?

I think if we could filter on a feeling or subject or place that I would want to know. This way I have some control of knowing what others are selecting that I might be involved. There should also be a block feature so you could control if you allow people to know if that are in your selection. If all of this could be in place, I’d want the button. I would also use the button. I know the exact moment and feeling I would want to relive the rest of my life. Do you?

“You’re in the same boat with a lotta your friends, Waitin’ for the day your ship’ll come in, An’ the tide’s gonna turn and it’s all gonna roll your way” ~ Nine to Five, Dolly Parton

This is going to sound strange, but I talk to my current work friends more than anyone else these days. The strange part? We have never met in person. We talk, email, text and FaceTime, but have never been together in person. These two ladies are a huge part of my support system. We have an open group where we can talk about anything – work, life, love, health – you name it and we have discussed it. We are all so different, and we are all fiercely strong women with big attitudes, yet we all get along even if we do not agree on everything.

These are the people that get it when I can’t work for one more minute that day, support me when I decide to start writing a blog, and even force me to call the doctor. Friends can come in all shapes and sizes, the three of us could be the poster pic for that saying. We hold each other accountable, we push each other to be better, but also make sure we are taking the time to take care of ourselves – physically and mentally. You hear people talking or posting about how as women we need to support each other more – that is what these ladies do!

They are equally creative as well. One is a baker at heart. You should see the Frozen themed Elsa cookies and cake she made for her niece – the pictures with the perfect frosting and matching sprinkles made my mouth water! The other is a visual. A visual? This is what I call someone that has multiple creative outlets, but each of these outlets creates a beautiful picture. She creates videos, costumes, make-up, gifts (bags/glasses/all the things), and graphic designs. We each have our own separate lives, that we know the high level on, and we can go a couple of days without a text, but no matter what these two ladies have been in my corner since day one.

Work friends are an important part of life. We spend the majority of our days with Work friends. This means that when you change jobs that unless these work friends transition into another group, we usually lose touch with them. I can tell you there are previous work friends that I miss all of the time and wonder how they are, outside of the random social media posts. I also have work friends that crossed into another group and we keep in touch, even when one lives in a different country every few years!

Covid and remote working have changed our interactions with work friends, at least they did for me. I am full time work from home, therefore my “office mates” are my 4 dogs and occasionally the husband if he is sick or has to work from home as well. I do miss lunch/grocery shopping dates and the inside jokes that come with in person office interactions, but I do not miss having to get ready every day. I am thankful that despite working from home, and that starting a new job in the middle of a pandemic didn’t hinder getting new work friends.

My husband is different. His work friends are his adult friends as well. He met most when he moved to Birmingham and they clicked. Honestly? They are a great group of people and I understand why they all transcend the work friend group. they spend 50+ hours a week together at work, they are lucky they get along so well (most of the time). Despite all that time? They still choose to spend time together outside of work as well – golfing, fishing, hunting, weddings, lake – all the time! I am thankful for his work friends because some have become my friends as well!!

This is Part 3 of TBD on Adult Friendships. Part 2: https://emmaswarmestregards.com/2022/01/08/friendship-takes-work-finding-friends-nurturing-friendships-scheduling-face-time-it-all-take-a-tremendous-amount-of-work-but-its-worth-it-if-you-put-in-the-effort-you/

10 Things List

I saw a fellow blogger that does a weekly 10 Things list. While that is awesome, I fear that is far too big of a commitment for me to make. So, I will randomly post 10 Things Lists! WOOOHOOOO!!! This does make me want to go watch the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, wonder if CCRV and MJLT would be up for it too? I would love to hear what you would want to see on a 10 Things List post! LET ME KNOW!! Here is the first, went an easy route for this one.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

  1. I am scared of birds. I’m not joking. Big fear? One is going to fly in the window or sunroof while I’m driving.
  2. I won’t step/walk on sidewalk grates. How do I know they are secure? I don’t want to fall into whatever is down there.
  3. My HS boyfriend stood me up for my Senior Homecoming Dance. Luckily one of my long time friends stepped up to be my escort with 3 days notice! My dad never liked him anyway.
  4. I have two tattoos. Left wrist and left rib cage. Both reminders of where I come from, to be humble and honest, but always be me.
  5. I have 4 dogs and they all sleep in the bed with us. I buy a lot of comforters and sheets. They get worn out from how often we have to wash them.
  6. I have anxiety. I have some triggers, but it is mostly just there. As I have become more aware of situations that could trigger my anxiety to flair – I will let someone know so I can have support or I remove myself. Mental health is so important and it is OK to take care of yourself.
  7. I don’t like chocolate or peanut butter. Sad but true. It is also a bit cruel because my sister loves chocolate and can’t have it because it is a migraine trigger.
  8. I like Reese’s Cups……I don’t understand it either.
  9. I do not own anything orange. It is against my religion and I do not like it. Somehow my husband smuggled in an orange polo with navy stripes. WTAF?! I can’t wait for it to get torn up by the dogs or go missing.
  10. I have an obsession with blankets. My favorite blankets are Minky Mamas . Y’ALL!! These are the softest, most comforting blankets made. These are handmade and amazing. I have found such an amazing community since stumbling upon MM! You want to see the good in the world? Go watch just one FB live video. You will laugh, sometimes there are tears, but there is always a peaceful sense of community. I have connected closely with a few individuals. They are each amazing. We have never met in person! But a couple have supported me in ups and downs over the past almost 2 years now! Love you AS/SC/ACR/KNZ/DWF/LL/ME/ER/AE/BM/SS!

If you follow my blog you will soon find out, if you don’t know already, I am weird and all over the place. I’m ok with that and you should be too. Life is way too short to pretend to be something you are not. Not everyone in life is going to like me and that is alright – the world will continue to spin. We can be cordial without being fake, it is called being an adult. But if you do like me? Awww, thanks! Get ready because I do not have much of a filter, and my tastes in life varied and eclectic. Ryder, Piper and George pictured above – Snyder hates pictures as much as his mom and dad!

If you or someone you know is experiencing signs or symptoms of anxiety or any mental health illness or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone or call the Hotline below:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours.
Languages: English, Spanish.
800-273-8255

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

MINKY MAMA INFO:

Minky Mamas
https://www.facebook.com/minkymamas
https://minkymamas.com/

“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself…It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.” – Harper Lee

I have always enjoyed writing – no shocker there, I have a blog that isn’t travel or recipe based. I go back and forth on writing opinion, real life and fiction. This is the most vulnerable I have felt on post. This is not my opinion or life, it is a story created out of thin air. I love reading and when writing it is fun going between reality and fiction.

The below is a very, very rough draft of a FICTION piece that I have been writing on and off for a while. Since I have a blog now, I decided to share just a little excerpt of something completely different! I hope you enjoy it.

After weeks of wearing her down – basically being a pain in her ass, she finally caved and agreed to meet Catherine’s college friend. Catherine had been her first friend when she moved to the city. They were neighbors and bonded quickly over their love of dogs, wine and fried food. Catherine was obsessed with the idea of fairy tales, all things magical and mystical, which was the exact opposite of Evie. All she knew from Catherine about Kade was that they were best friends in college, he was a bit of a pretty boy and was fairly high up in some business she couldn’t remember anything about. Catherine had arranged the entire night, she didn’t even give her his number. She knew Evelyn would come up with an excuse to back out if she had and knew being southern she couldn’t leave him without an excuse. How did she let her best friend talk her into this?

Downing the last bit of her white wine, Eve steadied her gaze and regained her courage. The glow from the illuminated bar top provided a much needed light for the dark room. Looking around, she took in the quaint place. It was actually quite nice, not too loud but enough of a buzz so that others couldn’t hear private conversations. The exposed brick walls and hardwood floors reminded her of New Orleans. How many years had it been since her last visit? Too many to count and she couldn’t walk out now on this blind date to hop a plane anyway.

It was 6:25 and they had agreed to meet for drinks at 6:30. Knowing she would need some liquid courage to get through this “date”, she arrived at the bar thirty minutes early. Patience was not her greatest virtue. After waiting for what seemed like forever, she checked the time on her phone again, 6:27. How had only two minutes passed since the last time she checked?!

Trying to get the bartender’s attention for another glass, she saw him. Her eyes bugged and she had to catch her jaw from dropping. Tall, dark and handsome didn’t even begin to describe the man that was looking right at her. His hair was dark and short, not in a military style cut, but long enough to muss up with his fingers. As he got closer she could feel his gaze settle on her, his green eyes burning a hole into her soul. Knowing he would tower over her even in her heels, she clumsily slid off the bar stool for introductions. Damn Catherine, she never mentioned he could make a Nun question her vow…..

Breathe. In and out. In and out. Just breathe. Should be a simple thing to do, breathing. It is after all an involuntary action, but between the tightness in her chest and the clenching of her throat, Evelyn could barely remember how to do it, how to breathe. Why was she so anxious?

Emma Yonke

The above is a work of fiction. Any names or scenarios that resemble real life are coincidence.

Ryder’s Rescue

I didn’t know what to expect as I drove through the streets of a rougher part of town. All I knew was that my husband called and said he needed help – I’m always worried he is going to be robbed or beaten up or worse. So when he calls, I drop everything and get to him as quickly as I can. These calls have resulted in me crawling under an abandoned crack house (not an exaggeration), crawling as far into a drainage pipe as I could get, and searching railroad tracks – all in an area that has made more than one appearance on the TV show First 48.

I parked my car close to an abandoned building next to the railroad tracks. I take a deep breath as I start to exit my car. As I get out of my car, Kyle motions for me to stop….I’m instantly nervous because I can hear music blaring in the background and someone yelling to Kyle from a house across the street. As I stand next to my car, unsure of my next move, I see them – the reason I am standing in the middle of the street in a bad neighborhood – 3 tiny puppies and a mama dog that is still a puppy herself.

You see, he’s been feeding this group of dogs for almost two months by this point. It has taken this long to gain their trust to get close enough to try and catch them. This is why I got the phone call, it was GO TIME! We were going to finally try to get these dogs off of the streets and to a life of “no more bad days.” We didn’t know how long it would take to rescue them and didn’t care, all we knew was they deserved so much more than a life of roaming the railroad tracks and sleeping in a scary, abandoned building.

Izzy (mom), Asher (boy), Sawyer (girl) and Ryder (girl) all came to the Yonke household that day. While we can end the story there with the happiness of them being off of the streets and knowing they will receive the care and love they deserve, their story is far from over – it was actually just beginning. After they are rescued, they enter foster care. This includes time for decompression and adjustment, as well as seeing the vet to get treated for any issues – including spay and neuter.

It took lots of conversations and finally seeing one too many dogs on the street and in terrible situations, but I convinced Kyle that we could foster dogs to try and be a small part to help. Fostering dogs is no small commitment, it is the hardest, but most rewarding thing that we do. We have cried, laughed, been cussing mad and exhausted, but we would do it all again every single day. Fostering animals makes a huge difference. Most animal rescues and shelters are in dire needs for fosters – even short term! The animal rescue that we work closely with in town even covers all medical expenses for the animals. You just have to commit your time and love.

This group was not our first time fostering – far from it. It was by far the most challenging group we have had to date. This group was so nervous and scared of people that I would have to open the door and hide just so they would go outside to potty. It took a couple of weeks for them to get comfortable being around just us……4 foster dogs and 3 dogs of our own? It was a LOT of work. For the first couple of weeks our 3 and the 4 fosters had to be kept separated – just to make sure for health reasons. This also meant that Kyle and I had to split our time with each group. There was a lot of trail and error too. This was our first active group of mom and pups…..whew y’all. There were days when it was really hard, and even frustrating…..kind of exactly what I hear having human kids can be like. (Kidding – kind of).

Skipping ahead for length’s sake: After a while, it is time for the group to be placed as available for adoption. Asher goes first and he is currently living his best life. He has a fur brother and gets to go on trips and loves the boat! Sawyer was then adopted and is being spoiled by her human siblings – 2 sisters and a brother. Izzy was still nervous around new people. Because of this, we did reach out and she was placed in a new foster home and adopted a couple of weeks later. That leaves Miss Ryder.

Ryder was and still is by far the most skittish of people. She is a dog’s dog – Snyder is her favorite. The first time a potential family to adopt came to visit, she ran away and hid – zero interest. This was her behavior for most of her interactions with humans, except for us. Being the last one of the bunch, we started letting her interact with our pack regularly. She began to come our of her shell and she was adopted by a family that was ready for a dog to be added. We discussed, extensively, about her backstory and being nervous around new people. We even kept her a few extra weeks to help her get used to them with visits and shirts they wore in her crate. She lasted less than 3 days at their house. She was so nervous and decided the best option would be to hide in their garage under some stairs. Kyle had to crawl under the stairs to get her out and bring her home. (I want to mention here – the family is not fully at fault. It happens and I’m glad they reached out to us. Each dog is different and requires different needs. So be prepared for a commitment to do what is BEST for the dog, even if it is not best for you.)

Yes, I said home. As soon as she got to our house she ran around the back yard, her tail was wagging so hard I thought she might fall over. She played with the dogs, ate and fell asleep on the couch. She let us know by her actions, she was home. She is the happiest dog I have ever met. She wakes up and her tail immediately starts wagging – each time she wakes up, even from naps. She back talks – especially when you tell her to stop being rowdy. There was no way that Kyle and I could let her go somewhere that she would not be comfortable. That is why we currently have 4 dogs. While she is still nervous around people that aren’t Kyle or me, she is making progress – slowly.

This is the part where people always say is why they could never foster. “I would want to keep them all.” Yes, you will. But not all dogs are for you, some are, but not all. You can keep one or two (or more) of your fosters for 10-15 years and that is awesome. OR you could keep one or two and foster countless more -helping more, loving more. Each time we foster a dog and they find a family – I cry. I cry because I am so happy they found their family. I cry because I am sad they won’t be here for me to love on anymore. I cry because I am tired and need a break – but I cry because it is just one of thousands that need help.

There are many ways to help make a difference in animal rescue. The obvious is monetary donations – always good. Fostering – always good. Volunteering – always needed. Like and share social media posts – easy and free. Reach out to local animal rescues, you never know what needs they have and how you can help.

While this story was about Ryder’s Rescue, it is just one of many! I will be sharing more stories of rescue, foster and adoption as it is a cause that is deeply important to me. If you have questions let me know, I’d be happy to answer or find the answer for you!

Just a few pictures from Ryder’s Rescue so far:

Two by Two Rescue: https://twobytworescue.com/

“I vow to always love you, even during football season.”

I really am a sports fan – I am not kidding when I say we have watched a CORN HOLE TOURNAMENT….so yeah, sports fan. I understand not everyone feels this way. Look, I get it. As soon as Kyle puts golf on the TV – unless it is a playoff – my eyelids get heavy and I just have to “rest my eyes.” So I understand the dread of watching ANOTHER game of whatever with what teams playing? I dabble in this, not often, but I understand always!

Kyle was watching the golf tournament earlier and I was taking down Christmas decor. It finally dawned on me the way to get (most – more – some?) people that do not enjoy watching sports to sit and watch so their partner can watch as well without much complaining? We need to have real world commentators. Hear me out……

For golf – when a player is being featured (I’m only referencing the PGA event we recently watched), have two or three sentences about his play/round, and then just tell his story. Is he in a relationship? Where did he go to college? Some have started foundations – tell me about that! This format can be applied to any sport. Don’t want to hear the talk show and want the “normal” feed? Well buddy just get you one of the old man ear radio things people wear at the Alabama games. Or maybe with all the technology it can be added as a feature we select, like language or any other setting. Sounds easy enough to me. Don’t understand the sport and want to learn a little more? Add that feature on too!

This is not a new concept. ESPN started doing this for Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli Manning. They do commentary and have guest hosts – go off topic – and it is different, so it is on a different channel. Same concept, but geared for those that typically do not enjoy having to sit through sporting events on TV – that aren’t the Olympics – they are in their own category, anyone can watch the Olympics.

For example, did you know that during Week 13 of play, NFL players are allowed to design cleats to wear that support a cause important to them? This is something that would be interesting to have a little story explaining this and showing the cleats, more so than they do now – which is LIMITED.

Another newly added thing that could be of interest, college athletes are now allowed to be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness! IE some college athletes are in ads, of all kind mind you, and it is not advertised unless they are a HUGE name. So tell me about Jordan Battle (Alabama Football player) and his deal with BOJANGLES!! Does he get free biscuits when he wants? Can he order Bo Sauce in a gallon – asking for a friend? Is he going to be in a print ad or on TV? Tell me what the kids are majoring in and why. I promise you would have these people jumping in convos saying, “Oh no, I’m sorry, but “random name here” did not play last week. They are injured with a strained ACL and will not be back for at least 3 weeks.” Partner’s eyes are now bugging out of their sockets – “HOW did you know that?” – “Oh babe you’re so funny. We watched the game and they filled us in on his therapy sessions!”

Let’s be honest, reality TV is still oddly popular. It would, or could, be a win – win for all involved! Think about how many more Tailgate parties can happen because most every one attending should have something to talk about – GAME related! ROLL TIDE to that!

SOURCES:
https://www.nfl.com/causes/my-cause-my-cleats/

https://www.ncaa.org/name-image-likeness

https://247sports.com/college/alabama/Article/Alabama-Name-Image-Likeness-Tracker-Compensation-deals-announced-by-Crimson-Tide-athletes-167270860/

“Friendship takes work. Finding friends, nurturing friendships, scheduling face time, it all take a tremendous amount of work. But it’s worth it. If you put in the effort, you’ll see the rewards of positive friends who will make your life extraordinary.” – Maya Angelou

I struggle with letting my friends know when my feelings are hurt by their actions, or lack there of….why? I started thinking about this more because of two points raised during my research on friendships – read as talking to my friends about friendships: 1 – when friendships are no longer fulfilling you/the friendship feels one sided and 2 – reevaluating friendships and removing those that are “toxic.”

Friendships are relationships that also need work, some more than others. From our friends we look for validation, but ultimately it is their support we need the most. To know, despite disagreements, they are in our corner. We need to be honest with our friends, but mostly ourselves, on what it is we need from our friendships: Acceptance, to feel seen, to be included, to feel as if they care and you matter, corny jokes, the weather, life advice, memories…

Dani* told me that she is tired because she has realized recently that a few of her friendships are taking more than they give. <Well Emma, isn’t that how relationships go? You would be right, some of the time – and that is OK.> If a relationship (or person) is constantly taking more than he/she is putting into it on a REGULAR basis, the scales will ultimately tip. You see my friend is feeling this. She is a giver by nature, always has been and does not require a lot. But damn, is it too much to ask for her friends (the ones she is referencing) to ask how she is doing? Call or text for the SOLE purpose to say hi and check on HER? She needs to know that she is not just a “friend” because of what she does and can do to help. Just because she is a “Low Maintenance” friend does not mean she doesn’t deserve the same attention given to the “High Maintenance” friends.

Anna Grace*, a friend in a different group, said that she has started evaluating the relationships in her life as well. She is removing the people that she feels are “toxic” and not part of her new, positive life changes. Good for you! This is not easy to do and often an unpopular opinion. It is OK to walk AWAY from people in your life if they are toxic or bring constant negativity to your life.

Anna Grace* understood the assignment y’all. When we were discussing friendships she said, “different friend groups bring a different purpose for me – not anyone better or worse or more fulfilling than the other.” YES! I knew this, I guess the ah-ha moment for me is realizing that despite grouping our friends, that does not mean they can’t surprise you with what they bring to the table. I should know this better, because I have friends that are in more than one group or have crossed from one group to another.

I realized that just because something is important to me, does not mean that it will be important to my friends. The support I thought – hoped – that I would receive from one friend group – an Adult friendship group – has actually come from another – Work Friends. That is OK too!

I’ve had to not only evaluate my own friendships, but also the type of friend that I am for these posts. Just like with all other things in life there was some good – things I want to keep doing, and some bad – things that have to change or be fixed. Almost everyone, that took time to discuss friendships with me, said that time would be the thing they would like to change about friendships. The amount of time we have to spend with friends is limited, for various reasons and excuses. The amount of time we have is limited, PERIOD. So are we, myself included, going to continue to say “we need to do dinner soon” or are we actually going to plan the damn dinner and go? Spend time with the people you enjoy, and those that bring positivity to your life. Life is too short otherwise!

*Names have been changed – stories have not.

This is Part 2 of TBD on Adult Friendships. Part 1: https://emmaswarmestregards.com/2022/01/06/many-people-will-walk-in-and-out-of-your-life-but-only-true-friends-will-leave-footprints-in-your-heart-eleanor-roosevelt/.

Fridays are for FOOD!

I have mentioned how much I love to cook. It is important to note that I am, what some would call, a “dump” cook. Simply put, I rarely follow a recipe and can’t provide exact measurements – it is more of feel and taste. Kyle, my husband, often calls my dinners “concoctions.” It also means I have issues with baking since you have to be very precise. This is how I learned to cook – my grandmothers, mom and sister all cook this way too.

If you are anything like me you struggle to find dinner options that are yummy and easy. I get so annoyed trying to think of something for dinner that isn’t the same 5 things we constantly eat. I have recipe books and Pinterest, but I am far from Joanna Gaines and Pinterest flops are REAL! Even if it is not as healthy as it could be, my guy does so much better when I cook

One of my go to places for new ideas and recipes is PlainChicken.com. This lady is awesome. Her recipes are always yummy, and most of the time very easy, with ingredients you probably already have in the pantry. I have visited her site for years, go check her page out!! I like the twist she puts on tried and true dishes – like this chicken and rice dish: https://www.plainchicken.com/slow-cooker-crack-chicken-rice/. If it is not already, I highly recommend dry ranch being a pantry staple.

I’m leaving below a twist on an old recipe I tried earlier this week. Y’all, this is really easy and yummy. We ate all of it and for 3 nights straight! The next night Kyle said he was a little sad it was all gone….this will certainly be added to my go-to dinner rotation! If you try it, let me know how you like it, or if you made any changes!

Tater Tot Casserole

Ingredients:
1 – bag of frozen tater tots (I did not use the full bag and I used the ones that also have onions in crust)
1 lb. hamburger meat (I used about half a pound)
Diced onion
1 can of Rotel
1 can cream of mushroom
1/3 cup of milk
Cheddar cheese
1 bag/container French Fried onions

Layer bottom of your baking dish with tots. Bake for 10 minutes per package.
Brown hamburger meat (seasoned to taste) with onions and drain.
Crumble tots and put meat/onion mix on top.
Layer meat with Rotel – you can use salsa or diced tomatoes
In small bowl mix cream of mushroom, cheese and fried onions.
Pour mixture on top and cover pan with foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes
From here you can add more cheese or fried onions – if you do bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese melts. ENJOY!!

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Adult friendships are weird. I intended to write about my friends and how I have multiple friend groups that each fill a different, but important role. As I started thinking about my friends and the groups I place them in, I wondered, am I the only one that thinks friendships are weird for adults? Am I the only one that groups their friends? Am I the only one that has a group of friends, but it is possible I have not seen them in years or maybe not even spoken to them in a long time? With these questions, and a few others, I went on a search – super scientific and statistically accurate. I wanted to know what my friends thought and felt about their friendships. I sent messages to people in all of my friends groups, some I had not talked to in a very long time and others we talk daily – shockingly the responses were similar in how we group our friends. Sure we might title them a bit differently, but the premise of each group was fairly consistent across the responses. I combined into the 4 main group below:

The main groups:
1. Long-term – Permanent, Childhood, Family
2. Work
3. Parent/Kid – your kids are friends so you became friends
4. Adult Group/Seasonal/Event – can be one or multiple: Hobby friends (lake, sports, fitness, etc.), Travel Friends, Couple Friends, you get the idea

Another common theme? The long-term/childhood friend group. Most of the responses, including my own, talked about the importance of the friends that have been there throughout the years. These friends keep us grounded. You might even consider these people the family you chose. One friend summarized it very well, “Of these groups permanent (Long-term) friends has its own special category of childhood friends. This group often understands you better because they comprehend the intersection of who you used to be with who you are today.” Well thank you sir for that perfectly worded description.

My friends in this group? I’m not sure where to start – this group consists of people from: elementary and high school (not a mistake – they were one in the same for me), college (that one hurt to type. Seriously, how am I old enough to consider my college friends long-term?!?), and younger adulthood. I thought I was the only one missing spending time together, not just to remember but to create new memories, but I am not the only one. Almost everyone that I talked with about friendships, mentioned not having enough time to spend and how busy life is for everyone and conflicting schedules. We all miss this, yet none of us are doing a damn thing about it. We all do the oh we should get together – go to dinner – hang out – whatever you say…..and then don’t do it. Why? If you know or figure it out, please tell me. I do know one thing for certain – time, distance and life changes keep us from getting together more often than not, but that wouldn’t stop any of us from dropping everything to be there should one of our friends in this group need us.

We all need friends to get through life, that I will say is a fact. (Just maybe do not fact check me on this one, let’s go with trust!). Each friend and friend group bring something different into our lives. If you think it has been a while since you heard from them, send a text. Don’t know how to break a long awkward silent period? Do a group text to break the ice. It is likely not intentional that you haven’t heard from friend/group in a while, because – LIFE! So send the damn text, write on the FB page, share the funny pic or meme. You never know what is truly going on and how that one message could be the connection they needed….

Y’all, we all miss our friends – ALL of them. Especially right now, thanks CV-19, with all the things going on in the world. So maybe you can’t do your usual boys camping trip, you each grill – right? Set a night that you are all going to grill and FaceTime while you grill and share a beer. Stuck in isolation ie quarantine? Work-out with your fitness “pusher “- I’m looking at you Huntsville – virtually. You still get to interact and work-out (if that is your thing) while being good humans and abiding by CDC standards. Figure something out, even if it is just a an emoji text. If we (the ones that answered my questions and yours truly) all miss them – our friends, that means we are missing each other!! So let’s get out of the I wish I had more time excuse – it is lame, and I’m removing it from my vocabulary effective immediately. There are so many ways to communicate that we have zero excuse not to at least type a message in some format. Just one format of a message – do not go all stage 5 on your friends – now, ain’t nobody got time for that!

This is Part One of TBD on Adult Friendships. I want to thank all of my friends that took the time to share with me their friendship groups and so many details about how they feel. I couldn’t write about this without your stories and input, thanks for being honest never knowing how it will be shared! I love you all! To those reading, if you would like to share your views on adult friendships to possibly be included in a future post, please reach out!

Thank you all for reading and for your continued support. Thank you really for just indulging this southern girl that just likes to share – sometimes a little too much, and created this space!

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