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.



Minky Mamas

“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!




“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

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!

“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?



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

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