Welcome to the World, Dominick. Take Notes.

On May 25th, 2014, one of my best friends, Kristen, gave birth to her first child! She is not the first of my friends to have a baby, but she is the first of my best friends to have a baby and be living in the same city as me, so this is a big deal. Kristen, her husband Trai, and both their parents labored for an entire weekend before Baby D burst into this world with plans to do some fiercely amazing things.

Kristen and Trai

Kristen is an only child, so she views her close girlfriends as sisters. This means I’m an aunt! I plan on being a major part of Dominick’s life and I can’t wait to experience life with him.

In honor of Dom being born on May 25th, I have written a list of 25 things I hope to teach him in his life.

    1. I swear to the Good Lord, your mom was super cool once. Don’t ask me to prove it. She’d kill me if I told you half of the things that make her so cool. OR at least wait until I’m 3 vodka sodas in to ask me.
    2. The great game of flip cup. Your mom and I were and still are champion players. It’s like riding a bike.
    3. Be nice to your teachers and do as they say, even if it doesn’t make sense to you. Confession: I grade the “good” kids way easier than the pain in my ass kids. And trust me, your mother will kill you if you don’t get good grades.
    4. Reading is sexy. I mean, sure…video games are cool, but a girl is going to be way more likely to talk to you if you’re a reader.
    5. Gay? Fine by me! Seriously. I’d actually prefer it if you’re gay. By the time you’re able to read and comprehend this, I pray that who people decide to love and marry isn’t even worth a discussion anymore. Plus, I’ll probably be married to a slew of gay men, so I’m sure you’re already in tune with the gay community.
    6. It’s okay to make giant mistakes. Believe me…your mom and I have made some DOOZIES in our day! But when you need help, go to your parents. There isn’t anything you can do to make them love you less. They might be frustrated with you, but I can guarantee that they will do anything in their power to help you out.
    7. Exercise is AWESOME! Getting your heart rate up for just 30 minutes each day boosts your endorphins by like a gadzillion percent. And endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. Ugh. In this moment, I’m really hoping you’re gay so that you can appreciate that Elle Woods quote.
    8. Hold onto your faith. Your friends will let you down. Your family will let you down. God will never let you down. He may frustrate and confuse you, but He will ALWAYS be at your side with your best interest in mind. God has a wonderful, beautiful plan for your life. When life sucks, just trust that God is working in everything for a reason.
    9. Be good to your friends. Apologize when you’ve wronged them and forgive them when they screw up. We’re human, it happens. But life truly is not worth living without some badass friends at your side. Look at all your aunts and uncles; very few of us are genetically related to you, but consider ourselves family. We couldn’t have made this family work without a little bit of forgiveness, understanding and A LOT of love.
    10. Do whatever it takes to get along with your parents and introduce them to your friends. Yes, they’re super annoying, but they are your #1 fans! They are going to be way more likely to let you borrow the car and stay out past curfew if they know and trust who you are with.
    11. Be nice to girls. They are fragile creatures that need to be treated with respect and care.
    12. Is Facebook still at thing in 2029? God, I hope so! I can only imagine all the cool foods I will be eating and fantastic things I will be doing in 15 years! I will want to make sure all my friends know about it! I digress… Don’t friend your parents on Facebook! Sure, you should be open and honest with them about your life, but your friends are idiots and are going to post stupid things that you would much rather your parents didn’t know about. And the truth is, they probably don’t need to know. Don’t worry… I’ll talk to them about this.
    13. Call your grandparents! Once again, you come from a very loving and supportive family. Would it kill you to tell your grandparents what is going on in your life? Plus, they’ll be more likely to slip a 20 in your Christmas card!
    14. YOU’RE a badass kid, but don’t let that go to YOUR head. Let’s go THERE so we can drink THEIR beer THEY’RE dumb enough to be giving away. If you learn nothing else from me, know the difference between these five words!
    15. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Embrace EVERY day you are blessed with by finding some small bit of happiness in it.
    16. Surround yourself with people that make you a better man. Shake the haters off and latch onto the friends that tell you when you’re being an idiot, but encourage you to be better than you were before.
    17. You are going to fail at things in life. What will impress people is when you get up and try again EVERY time. You’ll probably even impress yourself.
    18. NEVER drink straight Everclear. You’ll go blind and your man bits will never work right again! Okay…maybe not, but seriously. Not worth the risk.
    19. Be silly and laugh at yourself! People will laugh with you and life is more fun when you’re not worried what other people are thinking.
    20. A few days after you were born, Maya Angelou passed away. She was a brilliant poet and author. She was also an actress, screenwriter, director, civil rights activist, and educator. One of her most famous quotes is “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In my 29 years in this world, I have learned this to be absolutely true. I can’t remember what one of my ex-boyfriends said to make me angry, but I remember being so angry I threw a hairbrush at his foot. I can’t remember every kind act your mom has ever done for me, but I know she has made me feel loved. The point is, don’t overthink saying the right thing or doing everything right; focus on how your words and actions will affect people later.
    21. Don’t let your significant other be the focus of your life 100% of the time. You still need to put effort into your friendships because who else is going to listen while you ramble on about how perfectly fantastic they are?? And trust me – it can be very hard to earn back friendships you pushed aside for a relationship that lasted half as long.
    22. Learn to cook. There is nothing sexier than a man offering to make dinner.
    23. Something my mom taught me: Never rely on anyone to take care of you financially past the age of 22(ish). Not even your parents. You could and should rely on Mom and Dad to help you when you need it, but learn to be self-sufficient. And never, EVER, expect your significant other to support you 100%. Life happens and you need to know how to take care of yourself.
    24. Something my dad taught me: Always have more than one toolbox to work from. Be good at more than one thing. Your first career choice might cease to interest you someday, or for reasons outside of your control, you are unable to maintain your dream job. Be able to make money doing something else and be willing to learn new skills.
    25. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) When we love people, it is more difficult to wrong each other, but when we do (we’re human, so it’s going to happen!), they will see the love in our hearts and be better able to forgive us. Plus, you want to be remembered as the nice guy and not the bully. Loving people should come naturally to you because your parents are two of the most loving people I have ever met. It has never quite made sense to me how two people can be so short in stature and yet have hearts so big. You are truly blessed, Dominick.

Dominick

Advertisements

PRIDE!

Today marks the start of Columbus’ annual Pride Celebration. Every summer, “Pride” is a weekend of festivities bringing the Columbus community together to support our (freaking awesome!) gay community. A parade marches down High St, artists sell their wares in Goodale Park, and people throughout the city join together to say “FCKH8!”

This year’s event is even more important because just last week, on June 10th, 3 gay men were viciously attacked in our city. Each attack was separate from the others. One of the men, Chris Kratavil, was wearing a pink shirt when he was beaten. This sparked a movement in which people were encouraged to wear pink on Friday, June 14th, to show solidarity and support for equality for all of our brothers and sisters, no matter their sexual orientation. (Please see the end of this post for links to news stories)

Columbus Pride 2013’s theme is “Pride Changes Lives.” This theme honors those who have “attended Pride and marched in solidarity to improve funding for AIDS research, to end discriminatory practices like “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” to fight for Marriage Equality, and to raise awareness regarding countless other equity and social justice issues. More importantly, lives have been changed because these same individuals made the conscious decision to live openly and authentically nd chose to create a community celebration where all are supported and nurtured, regardless of where they are in life’s journey.” – Jay M. Poroda, Board President, Stonewall Columbus (2013 Pride Guide)

As I consider this theme and the meaning behind it, I cannot deny that Pride has changed my life in so many ways.

I give you:

25 Ways Pride has Changed My Life

Pride has…

  1. Made me more accepting and loving of others.
  2. Expanded my number of true & loyal friends sevenfold.
  3. Made me a stronger woman by being proud of who I am.
  4. Taught me to be more vocal about what I believe in my heart to be right.
  5. Strengthened my faith in God; I have really had to question how my love of gay people and my love of God can coincide.
  6. Strengthened my relationship with my Godfather Tim and his husband Ken. Because of their presence in my life, I have had many wonderful life experiences and know that I have 100%, constant support.
  7. Made me more fashionable!
  8. Helped me to smile more. Most of my favorite memories include a queer or 7.
  9. Made me a better teacher. My students know they can come to me to talk about LGBT issues and feel accepted and supported. They also know that I refuse to allow hate or ignorance in my classroom, whether it be because of a person’s skin color or who they choose to love.
  10. Expanded my “To-Read” list! Many of the books I want to read, I discovered because they have a gay author or a gay subject matter.
  11. Made me cooler! I don’t support Marriage Equality just because it’s cool, but it is!
  12. More solid in my beliefs of equality. I have had many wonderful discussions with people who are against Marriage Equality, and I have really had to know how I feel and why I feel the way I do, so that I can have a solid, supported argument.
  13. Slightly changed what I look for in a partner. I refuse to date someone who does not share my Equality beliefs.

Okay, so I didn’t make it to 25…crap, I didn’t even come close! Well, 13 is good too! I consider it a lucky number! But the moral of the story is this: When I take just a few minutes to really look at my life and consider what it would be without Pride, I am not really sure I like what comes into my mind. I am proud and blessed to be associated with a city that encourages people to live “openly and authentically,” whatever that means for each individual.

So this weekend, let’s go out, love on & support each other and let the world know that ain’t nobody got time for hate!

ps…don’t let this be just a PRide weekend thing…let’s do it everyday.

pps…check out Allie’s Pride post! It has PINK and Barbie and lovin’ on the gays!

Even Dewey knows hate is stupid! Plus, he looks faaaaahhhbulous in pink!

Wearing PINK today (FRIDAY!) Even Dewey knows hate is stupid! Plus, he looks faaaaahhhbulous in pink!

 

Got my Pride mani!

Got my Pride mani!

Informational Links:

There will be pink: After three gay men were attacked in Columbus in one week, an interesting thing happened. -Columbus  Alive

Three Gay Men Report Attacks – Outlook Columbus

Three gay men attacked in separate incidents in Columbus over past four days – LGBTQ Nation

Columbus’ LGBT community mobilizes after anti-gay attacks – LGBTQ Nation

Seeing red over recent anti-gay attacks, Columbus wears pink – LGBTQ Nation

Wear Pink Friday

Happiness Is…

Dewey & I on the beach in Ponte Vedra, Florida

…running on the beach in your bare feet (or paws!)…
Dewey & I on the beach in Ponte Vedra, Florida {Spring Break 2011}

Sorry I’ve been MIA for so long! Jeesh, life got busy there for a hot second! But, have no fear! I’m back!

Awhile back, when I started this wee, lil blog, a friend of mine challenged me to write down 100 things that make me happy, He thought that since I am writing a blog that focuses on happiness, that I should try to identify 100 things that make me happy. At first, I thought that this task would be way too easy, and sure, it could have been. If I wanted to list all the little thins that make me happy, I probably could’ve been done with this list in a few days. But of course, I wanted to challenge myself, so I am trying to think & feel deeper and to (sometimes) list things as I experience them. So here I am, weeks into the challenge and only at #48. I wanted to share the first quarter of my list with you as a progress check in. Have you ever done anything like this? What things woud be on your list? I would love for you to join me on this challenge! Without further ado…

Happiness is…

  1. Making just enough coffee and pouring just enough creamer to perfectly fill my travel mug on an early morning.
  2. Cuddling with Dewey on the couch for an afternoon of TV watching.
  3. Being completely wrapped up in a book so good, you take any and every spare moment to read it.
  4. Seeing a struggling student make the effort to sit with the kids getting A’s and read aloud with them.
  5. Finishing a grueling workout, knowing I gave it my all the entire time.
  6. Coming home to a new Birchbox in the mail!
  7. Coming home to Dewey wagging his entire body in excitement for my return.
  8. Going to church and feeling completely overcome by and close to God through singing.
  9. A reassuring text from a friend after a rough morning.
  10. Getting birthday presents and cards!
  11. Giving gifts! Especially homemade or seriously well thought out ones.
  12. A warm pair of Uggs.
  13. A student asking for a good book to read.
  14. Laughing so hard my abs hurt!
  15. Taking a good look at my friends and realizing how loved I am and how much I love them.
  16. Physically challenging myself and meeting that goal.
  17. My daddy fawning over me on my birthday.
  18. Smiling and laughing with Uncle Art, even though he has pancreatic cancer and is undoubtedly suffering.
  19. Being an amateur fashion model! The Hair! The clothes! The makeup!
  20. Catching up on my favorite TV shows.
  21. Knowing that I have helped a friend in their time of need.
  22. Seeing my friends come out on the bright side of a demanding struggle.
  23. Chugging water during and after a seriously hardcore workout.
  24. Finally being at peace with the person I’m becoming.
  25. Knowing that I have worked hard and earned being in the best shape of my life!

Side Note…

Look what came in the mail yesterday! I am so excited to hand these out! I really think they will come in handy when I meet new people and want to hand off my blog address in a sparkly and memorable way! Do you have business cards for your blog? If so, what are some creative and successful ways that you’ve used them? What do they look like??

{Ending Up Here} biz cards!

{Ending Up Here} biz cards!

 

28 & Counting!

Today marked my 10,227th day on Earth. It has been a wonderful birthday season! I say “season,” because every year, I celebrate my birthday as much as humanly possible. Not only do I love having the excuse to see all my friends and family, but if I’m being honest (and I think that’s part of the purpose of this blog!), I love being the center of attention. I try to keep this part of my personality concealed the other 11 months of the year (I’m not sure I actually succeed at doing this!), but for the month of January, I let my fab-flag fly and soak up the spotlight. 

This year’s birthday celebrations were wonderful. I got to celebrate with my friends through dancing, parties, good food, a weekend out-of-town, and most importantly — through laughter. This time of year is always a reminder of how blessed I am, not only to be loved by so many beautiful people, but how blessed I am to be able to spread my love over those same people. I am thankful for all of you that celebrated with me in one way or another. Whether we were shaking our booties on the dance floor, feeling nostalgic over a delicious meal, giggling hysterically in a hotel room, sharing our lives over the phone or all of the above, your presence in my life, as cliché as it sounds, is truly the best present I could ever get. So thank you to each and every one of you for being the loves of my life.

For my 28th birthday, I decided to do a quick free-write (this is a brainstorming process I use with my students where you write down everything that comes to your mind, right as it comes) of 28 Things I’ve Learned in My Life Thus Far. Enjoy!

  1. God exists.
  2. Family isn’t only genetic.
  3. Be flexible. It’s annoying when I’m not.
  4. I don’t need constant company to be happy. Some time alone is actually okay.
  5. I can’t force a relationship, not matter how much I want it.
  6. My mind is stronger than my body. It can make my body work.
  7. Being happy isn’t hard. It’s a choice.
  8. Writing can be therapeutic.
  9. Friendships wax and wane, but no matter what, I must be there for my friends when they need me – no matter what.
  10. There’s nothing like the love of a puppy to make me smile through my tears.
  11. People’s bodies may die, but their souls live on forever through the people they loved.
  12. Never rely on another person to take care of me. (From Mom)
  13. Sometimes I need a day off of work for personal and mental wellness.
  14. I talk a lot. People deserve to be listened to as well.
  15. My dad might not always say or do the right thing, but his heart is always in the right place.
  16. Love doesn’t show up where I expect it.
  17. It’s incredibly gratifying to give a heartfelt gift to someone.
  18. Arguments don’t need to be resolved in a day. People will still love me, even if they’re angry with me, the next day. Take some time to breathe and think.
  19. I will never be too old for the magic of Disney World.
  20. Music has the power to make me feel emotions deeper than I ever thought possible.
  21. It’s ok to cry and want to give up, but don’t give up. And don’t cry for long.
  22. Don’t be afraid to wear the sexy stilettos. Stand tall and gorgeous at 6’4”.
  23. People will surprise me if given the chance.
  24. All people have something beneficial to offer this world.
  25. Sometimes, to really love someone else and to really love myself, I have to let them go.
  26. I can’t start the next chapter of my life if I keep re-reading the last one. I might re-read the chapter to remind myself of the lessons I learned, but I must reminisce and keep going.
  27. Work keeps the lights on and the closets brimming. I must do something I’m passionate for.
  28. Love exists.  Soak it up and drench yourself in it, so that on the days when you can’t feel it, you have enough saved up to lather on other people who need reminded.

 

This will certainly be a year to watch,

This will certainly be a year to watch!