Don’t Stop Believin’

2009.  Rachel Berry signing up for New Directions, putting a gold star at the end of her name.  A metaphor, she says.  A metaphor for the life she is going to live: as a somebody, a star.

Scrolling through Netflix, I came upon Glee Season One, Episode One.  It’s been ten years, which just seems crazy to me.  I remember exactly where I was when I first saw it, as a preview for the season yet to come.  I was sitting in my dad’s living room, not really knowing what I was about to watch.  I’d never heard of it before, but immediately I was hooked.  Rachel, Arty, Mercedes, Kurt, Tina, and Finn – we could all relate to them.

And don’t forget the music.  Oh, how Glee made us sing! It introduced a whole new generation to classic hits of the 70’s and 80’s.

It reminded us that we are all losers, all longing to be a part of something special, something successful, something bigger than ourselves. We all want to be stars.

For me, Glee changed the way people watched television.  I remember watching and thinking how lucky we were to be a part of it, this new golden age – lucky to be watching it, experiencing it, belonging to it.  Glee was pure joy – optimistic and open-minded.  It addressed topics in a way we’d never seen before.

We were all Rachel Berry.  We were all Finn Hudson.  We found a home in Glee.  A safe place where we were always welcome.  A place where dreams came true.  A place of our own.  A place that we could believe in

So next time you’re scrolling through Netflix and you get bored, take a little nostalgic tour of William McKinley High.  Stop by the Glee club.  Tell them I said hi.

One Word 2018

so yeah, it’s been over a year since I’ve written anything here.  it’s been a super busy year, but still that is no excuse.

I’ve decided that this year’s word will be capacity.

Capacity defined is ‘the maximum amount that something can contain’ and/or ‘the ability or power to do, experience, or understand something.’

Capacity is a word I hear a lot at work these days.  Management scrutinizing and  questioning an employee’s capacity to handle their workload, their ability to be productive, and whether or not they can take on additional work or responsibilities.

Personally I believe that my proverbial ‘plate is full,’ and I don’t know how high I can keep piling it up before it all spills, tumbling spoiled down to the ground.

Image result for plate is full


Why the World Needed Hannah Horvath

Recently HBO and show creator, Lena Dunham bid a final farewell to the girls of Girls.  I started watching this show 6 seasons ago with the hopes that it would perhaps fill the void that the ladies of Sex and the City had left. In a way it did, but not exactly. It filled a void I didn’t even know I had.

As each season ended I found myself saying I was done and would watch it no more. These girls frustrated and infuriated me without end. Their narcissistic, self-centered shenanigans with Dunham’s Horvath at the center made me glad each week to no longer be in my 20’s.  Was I ever that delusional and self-absorbed? God, I hope not.

But come back each season I did, and I slowly began to understand the importance of Hannah Horvath and why she was exactly what the world needed.

It was rare that an episode aired without Hannah showing a little skin – usually a LOT skin.  She beautifully owned her nakedness, embraced it, and had absolutely no problem sharing it with the rest of the world.  She didn’t hide behind blankets or loose fitting clothes to  disguise her body.  She didn’t quickly turn the lights off before sex.  She was real, with real flaws, and real perfections.  Hannah Horvath had no boundaries, no filter.  She really only cared about herself, and at the end of the day didn’t really even do that so much.

“I worked very, very hard to overcome the challenges of my non-traditional body type.” — Hannah Horvath, Girls

Lena Dunham single-handedly stripped down to nothing and gave the collective world the finger if they dared to criticize her for it – and of course, they did.  Over and over again.  Lena Dunham became the voice of her generation, one that desperately needed to be heard.  And what did they have to say? Well . . .something we kind of already knew: that adulting is hard.

Hannah would drive me crazy to no end with her bad decisions and life choices,  but within them there was a genuine honest truth to it all.  Life is messy and dirty and not all rainbows and sunshine.  It’s a beautiful, ugly thing.

The body positive conversation this series started and on a such a huge public platform was poignant, necessary, and long overdue.  Hannah was not a size 0 and yet lived a sexual life.  Was the sex always good? No, but such is life.  The idea of someone plus-sized being attractive and  ::gasp::  having sex, good or bad, was never heard of before, much less normalized the way Girls did it each week.  Women of a certain size weren’t supposed to be naked, having sex, being desired.  Hannah’s  was never an issue so much on the show – Hannah was just Hannah in all her naked, glorious, insane, hot mess.  Of course, the fact that women’s bodies of whatever shape and size had to be ‘normalized’ at all is ridiculous, but that’s a topic for a different blog.

When asked by a reporter once what the purpose of the nudity was on Girls, Dunham replied without missing a beat, “It’s because it’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive, I think, and I totally get it. If you are not into me, that’s your problem, and you are going to have to kind of work that out with whatever professionals you’ve hired.”

Hannah Horvath gave female millennials a voice, but she also gave the rest of us a relative, meaningful glimpse into their relationships, dreams, choices, and world.  We were able to relate, whether we loved them or hated them, because they were real.

:::spoiler alert:::

A lot of people have taken issue with the way the series finale played out a few weeks ago when we finally got to see Hannah’s baby, Grover.  Single mother Hannah had walked away from her Brooklyn life as we knew it, moving to the burbs – a new job, a new house, and a new role: mother.

I think the show did a beautiful job of representing the reality of becoming a new mother: the non-stop bleeding for 6 weeks that nobody tells you about, forgetting to eat or shower, feeling like you’re a failure as a mother or a wife or a woman in general (sometimes all three at once), clothes and shoes not fitting, stressing over formula or breast milk, and that lost feeling  where you find yourself separated from the person you used to be as you transition into the person you were always meant to be.  Eventually you find your groove and figure out that what’s best for you and your baby may not be what’s best for someone else – and that’s okay.  We leave with a sense of acceptance that Hannah will eventually figure this all out as well.  She’s not alone out there.

This episode is one that has kept me thinking.  When I first watched it, I honestly wasn’t sure if I liked it or hated it – not unlike my reaction to most episodes of Girls.  But the more I’ve thought about it, the reality and the fantasy of it, the more I’ve come to know that this was the perfect way to end this story.  The episode was moving and brought me to tears.  Saying goodbye to Hannah was harder than I thought it would be.

Hannah had finally transitioned from a girl to a woman.  Will Hannah still be the self-loathing, self-centered, filter-free narcissistic we’ve all come to love and hate? Absolutely.  That will never change for Hannah. It’s ingrained in her DNA, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.  The series finale stayed true to itself and to Hannah, and we were all better for it.


One Word – 2017

Three years ago a former student of mine introduced me to the book, One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Jimmy Page, & Dan Britton – you can find it on Amazon.  Basically it shows you how focusing on one word for the year can help simplify your life, your business, your general clarity of the world around you, etc.

In 2015, my One Word was Thanksgiving.  I chose it so that I could focus my year on being grateful and appreciating all the blessings I have.  What One Word does is keep you mindful of that focus.  Well, at least that’s what it has done for me.

In 2016, my One Word was softening.  What is softening? According to this article, it’s the ability to respond more lovingly, more patiently, and more opening.  It is pausing, breathing, reflecting, surrendering, accepting, opening, and revealing.

So now here we are, almost to May 2017, and I have yet to proclaim my One Word for the year.  Until now.  My One Word is joy.  I want to be more mindful of the joy in my life – the joy I receive and learning to accept it graciously and more importantly the joy I create.

Joy comes from God and from within, and it pours out of every cell.  It cannot be contained.

Being joyous is not the same thing as being happy.  Joy comes from God and from within and it pours out of every cell.  It cannot be contained.  Therefore, I am choosing this year to reflect on the joy that surrounds me everyday, the wonder of it all, and to hopefully spread it a little further along the way.

The Plans I Have For You

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  

I’m a worrier.  I have major anxiety issues, that looking back I realize I’ve had most of my life. I just didn’t know it when I was younger.  I take on more than I can handle at times, and then frantically attempt to get it all done and done right.  I can usually complete my mission, but at what cost? Mental and physical exhaustion, pent-up frustration and resentment, and most of all at the expense of time – time I should be spending with my husband and daughter.

We’re programmed to strive for success from a very young age.  Competition drives us forward and opens up new avenues of creative achievements.  Like Ricky Bobby says, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”

But that’s not what the Bible tells us.

God has a plan for us, for me.  I know that I need to let go of my worries and trust in Him and that His will is what is best for me.  Of course, that is way easier said than done.  There are so many times that I have prayed for something to happen, for guidance, for understanding and it seems like those prayers have been ignored.  But that is not the case.  Something may or may not happen in my life in order for something to happen or not happen in someone else’s life.

I may not understand or even EVER understand why this is, but I know God is always looking out for me.  I know my prayers are being heard even if they seem to go unanswered.  I know I need to trust my faith and accept the hope He offers me. I just need to slow down, take a deep breath, keep praying, and embrace the peace found in knowing His plan is infinitely better than mine.

My How Time Flies

Almost a year ago I came up with this brilliant idea of blogging.  The Big Life. Because I’m big, get it?  Big in spirit and yes, big in size.  At over 400 lbs. for the majority of my adult life, I’ve managed to fall in love (no way!!), marry (how can that be!?!?), and have a baby (now I KNOW you’re joking! You? YOU had a baby!?!).  I like to think I live the big life – I eat the cake (sometimes the whole thing); I buy the shoes; 44 years of living in this body with this heart surely has provided me with ample (pun intended) source material, right?

I have 2 Masters level degrees (Business Management and Education) with over $100K in unpaid student loans to show for it.  After over 15 years working in higher education, I now work as an assistant controller for a retail flooring company – about 55-60 hours a week, some from home most nights and weekends.  I also have a not so very successful side photography business.

I am the mother of an amazing 4-year-old superhero princess restaurateur who is THE most awesome person I have ever met or will ever meet.

I’m married 7 years now to my best friend, love of my life, best of husbands best of men.  He supports me and my craziness 100% of the time and despite working his own full-time 50 hours a week job takes such good care of me.  Seriously.  He’s a better wife than I am.

I’m more than slightly obsessed with Hamilton the musical and in particular with Lin-Manuel Miranda.  I find ways to work his name into conversation at least 3 times a day.  I’m just the perfect combination of cool and geeky, identifying with my weirdness and waving my freak flag far too easily.

I will admit that I lean a little heavily on the Type A side of the street: I like to be first and best and pretty much right all of the time.  My OCD likes things to be a certain way, the same steps, everyday.  I’m very much into patterns and habits.  I like sets of things to be complete – every season of whatever TV show I’m into at the time, every color available of my favorite shirt, and most recently every mystery pack of Care Bears ‘my daughter’ is collecting. And by ‘my daughter’ I mean I let her play with them.  Don’t get me started on Disney’s Tsum Tsums.

I say all this to justify why I thought I could blog, why I thought I’d have something interesting to say that somebody somewhere might want to read.

And yet it’s been almost a year, and the only ‘blog’ I have to show for it is a short praise of a Tim McGraw song – lyrics included.  I love song lyrics, actually.  It is the poetry of our generation, and it reminds me of my old My Space days which mostly consisted of me posting random song lyrics. Ah. My Space. Those were the days.

And so today when I’ve allowed myself in my working environment to feel less than, not worthy, and just downright stupid; today when all I want to do is eat 14 day after clearance gold Lindt Chocolate Easter bunnies – which I may or may not actually have at my desk right now; today when my once effortlessly optimistic spirit has been crushed and silenced; today I have decided to blog.

My how time flies when you’re having none – I mean, fun.  Yeah, that’s it. Fun.

Stay Humble and Kind







Tim McGraw has a song on his latest album called Humble and Kind – you can watch the video here. Here are the lyrics, if you haven’t heard it before:

You know there’s a light that glows by the front door
Don’t forget the key’s under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church ’cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won’t be wasted time
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Don’t expect a free ride from no one
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
“I love you” ain’t no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

When it’s hot, eat a root beer popsicle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin
Don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

The song has started a movement of random acts of kindness.  The website is for people to share stories when they are the recipient of one these acts, and they can use the hashtag #StayHumbleAndKind to post photos to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I’ve attached a PDF of the Stay Humble and Kind cards that you can hand out when you perform a random act of kindness to help encourage others to pay it forward and create a network of giving. 

Like the song says, “Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you.  When you get where you’re goin, don’t forget to turn back around and help the next one in line.”

Northwood Graduate Special!

This special made exclusively for Northwood University seniors is just $300!  This includes your session fee, a 30-minute photo shoot, and a disk of 25 digital files! I’m also offering 30% any additional print purchases, including wall art, with this deal.  How awesome is that!?! 🙂
Call or email today to book your session!

big box of crayons

Does anyone else remember the joy of opening a brand new box of crayons? I can remember when I was little getting the big box of 64 crayons for Christmas. I was thrilled! Not only did it have so many different colors and variations, but it also had a sharpener built into the box. I couldn’t wait to open it and start creating.  It didn’t have just pink – it had Carnation.  It had Periwinkle, Burnt Sienna . . . Red Orange AND Orange Red!   Bright, vivid colors, different strands of light and shades, all contained in this perfect little package, just waiting to get out – who could ask for more?

Looking at the big box of 64 crayons now as an adult, I’m still able to grasp (at least in some small way) that same sense of opportunity that I did as a child.  The world is truly amazing . . . .