“If life were a movie, we’d have had what they call a “meet cute”.”— James Patterson (First Love)

“In film and television, a meet cute is a scene in which the two people who will form a future romantic couple meet for the first time, typically under unusual, humorous, or cute circumstances.” ~ Wikipedia.

Let’s set the scene: It is a brisk, February morning. A young woman is up early to take her puppy outside to potty, working on off-leash training. In the neighboring apartment complex, a young man stirs to take his newly adopted pup out to potty as well. Bundled in their finest sweat pants and hoodies, the two young adults commence with their new morning tasks.

The young, energetic puppy is playing in the grass next to the back alley road, not going potty as mom commands. In a matter of seconds the puppy is running down the road towards a man with a dog on a leash. Now I know this is sounding oddly like Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, I promise it is not. The woman is screaming, “he is nice, get back here, no!” The man is pulling his dog back, “he’s not great on a leash.” Fear is coming from both humans. The pups? The pups begin playing as if they are long lost best friends.

This causes the man and woman to laugh. He tells her that his dog was recently adopted and sometimes has aggression issues. While saying this, her pup is currently wrestling with his dog and seems fine….Their conversation quickly turns to football. You see they are in SEC Country and this dog is sporting a Big 12 collar and leash! Parting ways with only first names and the guy saying, “we should let our dogs play sometime,” the young woman doesn’t see the dog or man again for a few weeks…..

This is my own personal meet cute. This is how Kyle and I met, because of George and Snyder, in the back alley behind our apartments. George is a boxer, and literally loves everyone he meets. So him running up to someone was not new to me. What was new? Sndyer, Kyle’s rescue dog. Snyder is unapologetically protective of his pack. But from day one, Snyder has loved George and me. His collar and leash? Kansas State. I made a comment about it and him being in Alabama, Kyle was impressed. To be honest, my knowledge of KState at the time was limited to knowing that one of our top football recruits switched from Alabama to KState. After I met the legendary Coach Snyder, I did inform him that I could now pull for KState, but wasn’t sure I could forgive him for that steal. I am a little more versed in all things KState, I even wear purple, but I’m truly thankful he isn’t an Auburn fan!

It has been almost 7 years since that meet cute. In the time since then, Kyle and I have both grown, as individuals and as a couple. A lot has happened in these 7 years, but for now we will just touch on being married. We have been married just over 3 years. A college friend of mine (she is part of the Hot Momma club – girls from college that were amazing) recently posted on Facebook regarding her 1 year wedding anniversary. She posted, “Over the past year many people have asked me about marriage and how things are going. Seems like a normal enough question but I’m sure my answer was not the typical response. I chose not to give the “social media, rose colored, cherry on top” answer that most tend to give. My response was the hard truth and many were not ready to hear that “marriage is hard work” and that depending on the week I may not even like my husband. Harsh, but true. I didn’t want to be that person that made it seem like every day was going to be great and that there would be no troubles or circumstances that we would have to face together.” THIS!!! Y’all, I would type it again if it would’t make the post so long you stop reading. I have told my husband, I love you, but I do not like you right now. Relationships of any nature require work. Marriage? Marriage is hard work, it is a choice. It is choosing the same person every single day, even when they have worn your nerves down to nothing and even hearing them breathe makes your jaw clench. Her post made me think about my own marriage.

What makes us work? Each person has to remain true to who they are, it is so easy to get lost in someone else, but remain true to you – it is a must. For us, we do this by having me time, you time and our time. No we don’t call it that, I just came up with those titles, but it fits. There are things I do without Kyle, that he does without me and then the things we do together. For this to truly work, you CANNOT keep score. It is not one for one. Kyle might go on 4 golf trips before I take an afternoon for sister therapy or girls group hang out. Or I can go do things 3 weekends in a row before Kyle swings a club or goes fishing. It is about keeping yourself charged. I appreciate this about our relationship. I love being able to go and do what I want and whenever, but I also love the times we just sit at home watching sports until bedtime. I also selfishly enjoy the time when he is on a trip. It gives me extra me time, which is always nice.

Kyle and I have both been able to keep our identities while growing together and sharing a life. What have we had to work on most? Our communication styles. For as much as we are alike on a lot of things, we could not be more different on the way we communicate and express our feelings. I have said countless times, “It is not what you are saying, but HOW you are saying it.” The old saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” fits here perfectly. Communication styles are vast; I had to not only work on how I communicated to him, but I had to adjust the way that I was receiving communication FROM him. We both had to work on these areas, we still have to work on this.

This is a choice we both make daily. How are we working on this? For me, I call Kyle out when he says something that is an asshole comment. He will tell me when I’m being a wee bit dramatic. I don’t wait for him to send me a sweet, random text, I text him. I’m sure sometimes more than he wants, but I text him whenever I think of him during the day. He makes sure there are always cokes at our house. I make sure he always has Q-tips, the actual Q-tip brand too. He makes sure our towels are and sheets are washed, I keep trash bags in the bins. These might seem like small things, but let me tell you what I’ve learned….it IS the small things. It is the small things that matter and add up to make the big memories. It is the SMALL THINGS you miss most when someone leaves your life. That is how we are choosing each other, and that is how we work on us.

I do not want to give the impression that our relationship is rainbows and butterflies all the time. We are just like everyone else with ups and downs, great days, good days and some gloomy days. I’ve almost hit send on a text to my mother in law asking about the refund policy more than once. Many days I’m thankful my dad passed down his selective hearing gene to me, I use it OFTEN. Even on those days, we both make the choice to stand side by side. This is not my terrible attempt to provide relationship advice, not in the least. This is me being open about where we are now in our marriage and relationship. This is me expressing my appreciation for my marriage and the relationship I have with Kyle. This is me saying marriage is hard work, and that my marriage will always be a work in progress – even in the good times!

So as we enter our 7th year, I don’t have a 7 year itch….I have the holy crap it’s been 7 years?! How did that go by so quickly, yet also feel like a lifetime ago?!? I have the I am so proud of us, what are we going to tackle next tingle, not itch……

PS – I did not let Kyle read this prior to posting. We tend to have the it’s better to ask forgiveness thing going….usually that is only reserved for when one of us brings home a foster dog or 4, but when in Rome, right?

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meet_cute#:~:text=In%20film%20and%20television%2C%20a,sitcoms%20and%20even%20soap%20operas.

Facebook Friend Quote: Callie Gresham https://www.facebook.com/callie.finney

“People aren’t thinking about you the way that you’re thinking about you.” – Alexis Rose

Think of the person that you look up to, the person you want to be more like or the one that pushes you to be better. This can be more than one person or the same individual. I have a couple of people that fall into each of the above. I have only one that I place in all three.

There is one person that I have always looked up to, have always tried to be more like and have always pushed myself to be better for this person. This person is one of the strongest and smartest I know. We really are like peas and carrots. If you know me personally, you have probably guessed by now the person I am referencing. If not, I’ll clue you in a little later.

If you are a younger sibling you will understand what it is like growing up wanting to be around your sister/brother all of the time and do what they were doing. The older sibling is most always your first hero and is placed on a higher level than others simply by being born before you. I’m the little sister and this was always true for me. They hated being followed around and playing “little kid games”, it hurt our feelings, we cried, mom got mad, sis/bro is mad – dislikes you more, you go nap and try again later. Vicious cycle, until the crying doesn’t work and it turns into constant and I mean constant bickering. I am surprised the stairs never fell in at 502 (what we called our house) and that the doors did not fall off the hinges. STOMP STOMP STOMP all the way to the top and then.…..SLAMMMMM!! Whewww y’all, my poor daddy! As you and your siblings get older, things begin to change. Then one goes away to college and things really change. You actually miss them and now have to figure out who to trust at school if you have an emergency. They come home and tell you about the football games and friends. You turn sixteen and start spending any weekend you can with them in college. You start hanging out as friends. You break too many driving laws to get to them after a mishap with some soup. From the bickering, slamming door sisters to college/law school roommates to surviving life changing events to the present. My sister, who by now is a little bit annoyed – rolling her eyes at this exact moment – and a little bit curious where the hell I’m going with all this – has been the one filling all three of these for me. Likely since day one, but I’ll be a realist and say before that when she would sing and read to me in da’ belly.

My sister is a very private person and we actually talked about my willingness to open up on my blog recently. I admire her for that, and she is surprised by me. She is the type of person you would really like to hate because she is pretty close to perfect. I’v actually had this conversation with our friend, Crystal. Hear me out: southern, intelligent, sports knowledge, Bama fan, witty, good person, beauty inside and out. Most of all humble – these are all subjective, but fitting. She got the best of our grandmothers, grandfather, dad and mom. Literally the best of each of these makes into one amazing human. It’s close to impossible not to like her when you know her. I have literally had a front row seat to watch this person go from a weirdo with pouffy bangs to this beautiful, confident woman, and badass mom to boot. I say all of this because I realized recently I do not tell her. or any of the others that I look up to, enough how much I appreciate them and what they bring to my life.

My big sister really is the best. I’m lucky, but more than that? She is my best friend. (Cue cheesy movie moment, I know if mom is reading this she has tears right now – eye roll). We hang out and text more than we would ever admit, because it is downright embarrassing! But I don’t say, “You’re awesome ya know?” or “You rocked it today” or what I appreciate and admire about her or them to them enough. That is terrible of me and I am really ashamed. I know, better than a lot, how short life is and how we never know what will happen.

This does lead me to wonder, do these people know that I admire them? That to me they are on a pedestal and even why? I’m pretty sure all but 2, would be surprised. So why do they not know? Why have I not told them before now? I have no answer for that. I think it boils down to if the person would want to know or not know. If I want these individuals to know or not know.

I leave you with a challenge. Reach out to those that influence you and let them know they are in your thoughts, let them know how much you appreciate them or even send an anonymous happy! We all could use a little more love and positivity in our lives.

“Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”

“I’m trying very hard not to connect with people right now.” — David

Writing has become more than a hobby, it has become therapeutic. What started out as a creative outlet, has turned into so much more. Here is the backstory: I work from home, which is great. I am a homebody by nature, which was fine until it wasn’t. I realized that I had very little human interaction, aside from the emails/calls/texts/etc. during working hours. I was getting bored and would spend my free time playing games on my phone. I mean hours, so much so my husband commented on me always being on my phone. WAKE UP CALL!!!

This is how my blog was born. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and wanted a way to share my stories, memories, and failures, ideas and local places, and recipes without the social media standards being applied. You know, the Facebook Vs. Reality standard? Where the mom posts the picture from Thanksgiving of everyone smiling and so happy with the tag “Thankful, Grateful, Blessed” and usually a hashtag about beautiful kids. But reality is she just got done yelling that if they don’t quit fighting and shut up and smile for pictures she is going to throw away their cell phones and Christmas is cancelled. We have ALL been in this picture. Let me tell you, the last family pictures we took….WWIII. My dad and sister were trying to be funny – they were NOT funny, I was a hormonal teenager – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it – and my mom just wanted matching outfit beach pictures and was the one screaming. It was terrible. But solidifies my point of the perfect perception that we place on our social media accounts.

I’m guilty of this too…..if you look through my pictures posted you will see adorable dogs – sleeping, playing, being silly – what you don’t see is the dog hair covering my floor, or the throw up piles that have to be cleaned up or the things that get chewed and destroyed. You will see my nephews being adorable, what I don’t post is when they have a meltdown and I have to put one in timeout for almost hitting me in the face with a football. You will see pictures of my house that are straight from a magazine, seriously. (Thanks Emily Guin – info below!). What you don’t see is that my kitchen island is always cluttered, the pillows on the floor for the dogs and the pile of boxes waiting to go down for trash day. So I needed a space with out these standards, self imposed or not. I needed a place to be able share the funny and good times, but also the super crappy, hard and sad times too. I mean come on, who has not had a day that was just a complete pile of shit? The kind of day where you wake up and it is gloomy (literally or not), and you just know it is going to be a no good, terrible bad day. Yeah, those days suck. We all go through things and not all of them are happy, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to share them or talk about them, does it?

So how do you handle these days? I mean it’s not like we are saying on Facebook. For me? I have to be in the most comfy clothes, I want to pile up on the couch under a fluffy blanket and veg out. I want my dogs and husband to be around, but my actual interaction with them is so limited I might as well be asleep. I disconnect so that I can recharge. Gloomy days are some of the worst, but we all have them. It can be one of my dogs kissing my nose or a funny video of my nephew or a sweet text from my mother in law that snap me back. Back to the present where things might be a big, steamy pile of cow dung (flies included for FREE!), but that small smile or laugh they bring to me reminds me it is not all bad. There are bad moments, but looking back on life the good out weighs the bad and for that, I am truly “thankful, grateful and blessed.”

For all your design needs:

Emily G. Collection
Our Living Room: https://www.facebook.com/emilygcollection/photos/pcb.4580704418679417/4580704162012776
Our Master Bedroom: https://www.facebook.com/emilygcollection/photos/pcb.4563302477086278/4563302300419629/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emilygcollection
Website: emilygcollection.co

Open Letter to My Younger Self

Dear Younger Me,

I will not sit and pretend that I know it all or have all of the answers now that I am adult. Know that in each phase of life, so far, what I have figured out is that we are all just faking it until we make it. Seriously. Yes, we have guides in parents, grandparents, teachers, siblings, mentors, etc., but if you really talk to people they are just figuring it out, so rest easy and “do your best.” What can future you tell you? Well get ready to be disappointed…I am not going to reveal any great knowledge or event so that you can possible change your actions or go win the PowerBall, as nice as that could be. This is not because I have no regrets or because I do not want a redo on some things, but it is because each of those incidents – good and bad- made you into the person you are today. But what I can tell you is that I will give you a few pieces of advice I wish I had known or followed…..

First – the guys your dad doesn’t like? It is for a reason. You won’t see it and won’t understand, but just know he is RIGHT. He is SO VERY RIGHT. I promise you eventually meet the man you are supposed to spend your life with, but don’t waste too much time on the duds.

Second – talk to someone about that anxious feeling. You do not have to suffer through those times alone. It is ok to not be ok. You are not alone, not even close. Just for an awesome fact – mental health becomes a big talking point and much attention is focused on it starting in the 2020’s!

Third – Remember to thank your teachers from PA and UA. (I’m not ruining a big surprise by saying UA….despite your jokes of going to AU to annoy Dad, you go with bells on to UA!!) So many will have a lasting impression on you and although you show appreciation, it will not be enough – it is never enough. These people help educate and mold you into a successful adult. They deserve all the praise and thanks.

Fourth – Keep a journal. You will not believe all of the things you forget. Write it all down. The places and people, events and feelings. When you want to look back on memories of loved ones that are gone, you will want something to help jog those special times.

Fifth – Do a study abroad program. Once you graduate and enter the real world, life comes fast. Use this time to travel and experience new cultures in person. It will also help with part of your future career!

Sixth – Don’t stop trying to do everything your sisters do. They might find it annoying now, but it will make for funny stories. They are also going to push you to do and be better, so follow closely. PS – they actually both really like you later on in life!

Seventh – Learn how to make homemade biscuits from Nanny or Maw. If not them, then ask Granny Beck or Barbara Ann. This is something you will miss as an adult and lack this skill in the kitchen. Add gravy to this list too…..

Eight – Take the pictures. Stop rolling your eyes and just smile. You will want them later.

Ninth – Embrace your weirdness, all the quirks. Trust me everyone is weird, some just hide it better than others. You will find a tribe that loves your weirdness and your corny jokes!

Tenth – Do your best. Do what is right. You will hear this countless times from Paw Joe, but it is the best advice you will ever get. Do YOUR best and do what is RIGHT. Your best is not the best of your sister or classmate, but YOURS. Doing what is right is not always going to be easy, but you were not made for easy.

You are stronger than you think little lady. Keep your head up and your shoulders straight. Keep rocking your red lipstick, it is great with our complexion. Do your best always, this will help you be proud in all that you do. Most of all, love yourself. As RuPaul says, “If you don’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love anybody else?”

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