“I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100%…….”

Now that you have Lizzo’s hit song, Truth Hurts, playing in your head, you are welcome. Lizzo, if you do not know (SHAME), is a performing artist – singer, song writer, rapper and flutist! Besides her musical talents, this woman is a freaking rock star, seriously and no pun intended. Amazon Prime just released a reality show focused on Lizzo and her “Big Grrrls.” These are her dancers, and let me just tell you those girls can MOVE. I watched every episode and loved it. The message behind what Lizzo is trying to do and share with her fame is inspiring.

No, this is not a review of the show or Lizzo’s music or even the dancers. This is to share how Lizzo is not only breaking glass ceilings, but she is speaking her truth and empowering others to do the same. The show focuses on women from all over and from different backgrounds as they audition for the chance to be on stage and dancing with Lizzo as she performs. Each episode is a different challenge for the dancers, but also designed to help improve their skills, mental health and self love. You get to see these women become confident with not only their bodies, but with who they are as individuals!

Lizzo is spreading SELF LOVE! The world needs more love, but if we are honest — we all need to love ourselves just a bit more as well. WE need to embrace our differences and uniqueness! That is the exact message that Ms. Melissa Viviane Jefferson (Lizzo) spreads. If you look at her social media pages she is comfortable in her own skin and shows it and helps others see what they offer the world as well. She doesn’t hide her hard days or that sometimes the rude and nasty comments people will make do get to her, but she keeps persisting. She not only speaks, but shows that it does not matter what critics will say about you. You can follow your dreams, you can be you, take up the space you deserve. Do not shrink or fade into the background because someone thinks you are not good enough, or pretty enough, or whatever is the negativity they are throwing your way. At times during the show my heart ached for the dancers as they described being told they were too this or too that or not even given a chance based on their size, color and even gender. Then to see them become confident because Lizzo said, F THAT, YOU CAN DANCE. YOU ARE A DANCER.

I’m not sure that as a society we have reached the point where we fully understand the impact that words have on individuals. I also am not sure when we all stopped following the rule “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Words of Affirmation is one of the 5 Love Languages described by Gary Chapman in his book, “The 5 love Languages.” WORDS of affirmation is one of the main ways that a lot of people receive love and feel loved. Words hurt and stay with people a lot longer than most of us care to admit. So why do so many people use their words to tear down others instead of lifting them up? Or if not to lift another up, just keep your mouth shut. It is not hard, nor is it too complex. On the counter side, we have to be willing to call out others when they say something that is hurtful or out of line, even as a “joke.” Not all jokes are funny and not all jokes should be shared, so stop it as it is heard.

I hope to use Lizzo as my inspiration as I continue on my own journey of growth and self love. It doesn’t hurt that most of her songs are hella fun to jam to as well. Go ahead and listen to a few of her songs to get some good vibes and put your positivity out into the world! YOU are ENOUGH! YOU are SPECIAL!

So to Lizzo, THANK YOU! Thank you for being you, and for showing the BIG GRRRLLS and EVERYONE that we are worthy! That we all have something special to offer the world and do not let anyone rain on your own parade!

PS – yes, I know Lizzo is not going to see some small town girl’s blog, but she deserves a thank you regardless!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lizzo

https://www.instagram.com/lizzobeeating/?hl=en

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……..

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.

“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/

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