Bad Decisions

The sign said not to push the button, but I did. I’ve made worse mistakes.


Worse Mistake than Pressing the Button Number 1: The Time I Decided to Unjam a Paper Shredder


You would think that would be a good idea, right? Well, let me tell you. It’s only a good idea if you turn the paper shredder off first. Here’s what happened: I worked at a pediatrician’s office. It was a great job. I did front office secretarial work. You know, things like checking insurance, collecting payments, and lots and lots of paperwork. Hence the paper shredder. Medical information is confidential and it needed to be shredded. We had a small shredder once upon a time, but then it died. So we got this industrial sized one. Leave it to me to try to destroy it on the first day. Our stack of papers that needed shredded was the size of the paper shredder, so I just went to town shredding personal information. It was great fun! Until I put too many papers in the slot at once. I thought it would work just fine and it did. I made the stack a little bigger each time. But it became a little too large to swallow. Dang it. I got the papers stuck. So I sat there and pulled and pulled on the papers. They wouldn’t budge. My inch and a half stack of papers was jammed. I tried to tug on it for about ten minutes when I had this brilliant thought. Better unplug the shredder. Great job, Genius. Should have thought of that at the beginning. I put my hand on top of the shredder a little too close to the paper slot and leaned behind it to pull the plug. A whirring sound and next think I know, the fingers on my left hand and half of my hand are jammed in the shredder. The whirring sound continues followed by the sound of my frantic yelling. “Someone please help me.” Tears pour down my face. My hand hurts so bad.


The nurse working with me starts running around the office. “Ron! Ron!” She calls the doctors name as she opens and closes exams room doors all throughout the building.


“Oh my gosh. It hurts so bad.” I stand there bawling, helplessly trapped by a small body part. I’m pulling as much as I can.


The other nurse comes and finally thinks to unplug the still whirring shredder then proceeds to go call my parents. “Her arm is stuck in the shredder.” Arm. Arm. Really. Arm. My parents are gonna think I’m disabled now. 


Frantic nurse is back with her arm around my shoulders, and I can’t get away from her touch. “It’s okay sweetie. We’re gonna get you out.”


Tears continue to pour down my cheeks. I hear the same nurse on the phone. “Yes, her hand is stuck in the shredder.” She gives the address for the office.


I hear the doctor run in. He stares at the machine for 2 seconds and runs out.


Where is he going? “Someone please help me.”


He comes back a few minutes later with pliers. Pliers?! Are you kidding me? How is that going to help? He shoves the pliers in between the slots. I get just enough leverage to pull my fingers out. This is why he’s the doctor and I’m not.


My sobbing turns to quiet cries. I’m free. I stare down at my smashed fingers. Flat as a pancake. My dad is gonna kill me. 


I’m sitting in the spinny office chair, but it brings no joy at this time. Nor do the three emergency crews that soon walk in the door. The first two paramedics take my blood pressure and tell me I’m practically dead because one of them has no clue how to properly use the sphygmomanometer.


Why three crews you may ask? Because one of the nurses’ moms who is a dispatcher heard the call go out and thought it was her daughter when she heard the address. Ugh. My awkward life.


Well, after telling the emergency crews I would live they finally left me alone and didn’t drive me off to the ER like they wanted to. Thank goodness.


I spent the next three days on Tylenol with Codeine. Talk about being wiped out. I was out cold for hours. It was great. My throbbing fingers spent several days in a splint as we try to make sure that nothing was too broken. The following summer just one fingernail fell off and I cried because my fingernails were so pretty. Word of advice: don’t be stupid and you won’t lose your fingernails.


But you also may not get meet cute paramedics. Yes, they called back the next week to check on me. My skin reached new tones of red that day. Finally my fingers did stay straight, I still have my hand, and my nail grew back. All in all, that bad decision came around to be okay eventually.


Worse Mistake than Pressing the Button Number 2: The Time I Decided to Take a Hiking Trip 


Now in and of themselves, hiking is a great idea! It’s great exercise. It’s great bonding time with friends. It’s great views and conversation. But it’s not great when you’ve never been there and you don’t take a map.


Here’s how it happened: my best friend came to visit me and we decided to be adventurous. We’d been hiking before near her house and it was great! So I found a new place in south Georgia. It couldn’t be that crazy. We drove about an hour and a half to get to our hiking destination. It was about 1:00 pm when we started. A beautiful early spring day. We walked and talked for hours. I mean hours. We’d been following the white trail. We snacked on granola bars and dove chocolate. We took pictures, paused for breaks at beautiful views. And soon, the sun was setting. We kept walking on the white trail. And soon all the trees started to look the same. I didn’t have a map either. It got colder and all I could see were the same trees I saw 10 minutes ago.


I pulled out my phone. GPS is a beautiful creation. Too bad it doesn’t help if you don’t have a signal. I was close to tears. My best friend and I were about to spend the night in the woods with dove chocolate, granola bars, light jackets, and bears. After wandering around like a Jew in the wilderness for about an hour, I didn’t know what to do anymore. I began to think of everything I knew about hiking. “Stay on the trail.” This is supposedly the best advice that people give you. I absolutely disagree at this point. And I chose not to listen to that. I heard a car and I searched frantically for any sign of other life. Nothing. And then I heard it again. Thank God for giant trucks that put off a ton of pollution into the atmosphere. I saw the black truck go by and decided to find the road. We cut off the trail and made our way to what was supposed to be the direction of where the road was and finally our feet stepped on the pavement. I could’ve kissed the ground I was so happy.


We took a right out of the forest and made our way up the road. Still no sign of civilization. I was praying a car would drive by, but we found the next best thing. A wood post with maps of all the trails. But I wasn’t daring to set foot on the trail again at this time. The sun was almost down. I found the number of a park ranger and thankfully we got in touch with someone fairly quickly. Soon, two men were on the way to pick us up from the side of the road. This is as close to hitch hiking as I’ve ever come.


Maybe they’ll be young hot guys. We were both hoping for this. It would be about 10 minutes before they would be there. Also, let me mention that during the last hour, I’ve turned down 5 phone calls from my parents who I was supposed to for dinner like now.


The truck pulled up right on time. We were introduced to John and Rick. Unfortunately they were both grandpa aged, but that’s okay. At least we were safely on our way back to the car that we soon found out was six miles away from where we were. Good thing we hadn’t gotten back on the trail.


After getting to the car, I called my mom and told her we weren’t gonna make dinner. We lost track of time (aka got lost). When we got close to home, we chose to celebrate with Mexican food. What other way would you spend rejoicing that it wasn’t your last day on earth. Although, it could still be when my parents find out what really happened.


As soon as I got home, I told them. My sister called me an idiot (I deserved that). My parents chewed me out (I deserved that too). But at least we were safely home, I could life with this bad decision too.


Oh, there were a couple of positives. Like this pinecone that I found:




But perhaps the greatest part of all of this was that my dad, brother, and I went back for a guided night hike. (I probably need a guide for every hiking trip from now on.) Allow me to share with you the name of my guide. His name is Rick. And no, I did not reintroduce myself. I try to let my bad decisions stay somewhat in the past.


Worse Mistake than Pressing the Button Number 3: The Time I Decided to Use the Wifi at a Sketchy Dunkin’ Donuts


I don’t have wifi at my house. I know it’s like I’m still living pre-millennial. But to be fair, I have an apartment, so I can’t really go digging up around the place since technically it’s not mine. So I make due. Currently, I’m writing this from Starbucks so I can use their wifi (and also have a good cup of coffee).


This story takes place right after I moved to a new area. Leave it to me to find the sketchiest part of town to do my school work. I found literally the only coffee shop close by. Result of a small town life. It was a Dunkin Donuts right in the middle of the space between I could see myself raising a family here or I might get shot on my way in.


But it was my only option.


I settled down with my computer and began working on my lesson plans. Probably the worst part of teaching if you ask me, but it’s a necessary evil. There was a man sitting in the opposite corner. The local mailman. Welcome again to small town life. Next thing I know, he’s making casual conversation. It’s normal around here to talk to complete strangers. So I’m friendly enough. I’ll really talk to anyone, and this man was no different.


We chat about life and careers. I’m a teacher. He’s an aspiring musician in the R & B industry. I live just outside of Nashville so this isn’t uncommon. But here’s what is.


“Do you do music?” he asks.


“I play a little guitar and ukulele, but I’m not that good,” I say honestly.


“You should come by my place sometime.”


Wait. What? 


Next thing I know, there’s a napkin with a name, number, and an apartment address of a 40 something single man on my lesson plan books.


“Thanks,” I say as politely as possible as I pack up my things and get out of there.


Well, this story gets around to my friends. I find it quite hilarious and I always have an awkward story to share. But oh trust me, it gets better.


Fast forward two months, and I’m in the middle of my first week of teaching. It’s going well. I love the 7 year olds that I spend all day with. My lesson is going perfectly. My classroom is at the front of the school. I have huge open windows and no curtains. So I get to see everything. Including the mailman walking into school.


I did a double take.


No. Nononononono. 


Yes. It was him.


Ugh. My awkward life again. To this day, my life as school is spent hiding my face whenever the mail truck drives up. Sometimes, bad decisions follow you for a very long time.


So in light of all the bad decisions that could possibly be made, I don’t think touching the button on the store display blender is the worst one I could ever make.

Life Lessons of a Bridesmaid

img_4733This past weekend, my best friend got married. I think that’s typically part of being a 20-something in this time. All of your friends start to get into serious relationships, then comes the ring and marriage. And soon it’ll be puppies and kids. (Puppies first, it’s like training for parenting. I’ve seen it happen many times.)

I had the privilege to be maid of honor in this wedding, and it was definitely a learning experience. I think there are several takeaways every bridesmaid can tell you.

So here are a few of the life lessons I learned from being part of this bridal party:

Life Lesson #1 – Elope. Just kidding. But if you can’t handle high stress, dealing with other people, and any kind of conflict, you might want to consider it.

Real Life Lesson #1 – Be prepared. That can look different for different people. Have a checklist on your phone, make a notebook, or hire someone to do it all for you. Just make
sure you plan and prepare for everything that way the beautiful day isn’t ruined by lack of planning.

Life Lesson #2 – Be flexible. Even with all the planning in the world, something is bound to go wrong. Find a way to deal with the problem. That means plans might change. But that’s okay. Roll with it.

Life Lesson #3 – Be happy. I know this sounds cliche, but really take time to enjoy the day. Be happy around your people. These are the bride’s and groom’s life-long friends: childhood, college, and future. Don’t be that one person that ruins the special day.

So there’s just a few things that I learned from being in a wedding. I’m sure there are so many more things you could add. But just remember to keep the special day special.

Live Like You’re Loved

So go ahead and live like you’re loved
It’s okay to act like you’ve been set free
His love has made you more than enough
So go ahead and be who he made you to be
Earlier today these lyrics rang through the sick stereo system in my mustang. Seriously, thank you to whomever owned this car before me because the sound is awesome.
I didn’t know what to do as emotions ran down my face. Yes, actual tears. I used to be a cryer but not any more. What is going on? Let me tell you what was going on.
God was speaking to me.
He was speaking to the good Christian girl who’d been acting like everything but a good Christian. I’ve been running far from the truth, from everything I’d been taught growing up, everything I’d read, everything I said I believed, everything I pretended to be at church, everything I taught to my students. I’d gotten to the point where I was nothing that I should be. I had become a really good actor.
What had happened to me? Just small steps. Nothing major at first. But soon, I was in a big mess and I didn’t know how to get out. And then this song came on. I wanted to live like I was loved, but what did that even mean?
And live like you know you’re valuable
Like you know the One that holds your soul
Cause mercy has called you by your name
Don’t be afraid to live in that grace
There was the answer. Live like you know you’re valuable. I hadn’t been doing that. I was living like I was worth nothing. I didn’t treat myself like I was a treasure to anyone. I didn’t act like I cared or anyone else cared. Cause mercy has called you by your name. “I love you,” said Jesus. “Come back, my child,” said the Father. Don’t be afraid to live in that grace. God told me it’s okay to mess up. I’m human. I’m going to sin. Be honest with yourself. Ask forgiveness. Get right with God. Move on and live like you’re loved.
It clicked.
Say goodbye to what hurts God’s heart. Say hello to healing love and grace.
Live like you’re loved.

Old Ends…New Beginnings


This is perhaps my favorite quote of all time, but especially at this time of year. New Years Day. You’ve heard all the cliche quotes. Today is the first day in a 365 day book. Write your story well. This is your year. Out with the old in with the new.

But will you really make a change?

For most people, the answer is probably not. You’ll try. You set New Years resolutions. You want to lose weight, save money, and be nicer. But how can you ever attain these lofty expectations?

Here are just a few ideas to help you as you’re setting and keeping New Years resolutions.

  • Be realistic. Don’t choose goals that you know you can’t attain. Make sure it’s something that is actually possible.
  • Be specific. Don’t say “lose weight.” Don’t even say “lose 10 pounds.” Make practical steps of how to achieve that. Go to the gym 3 times a week. Choose (and do) a new workout plan. Change your diet (Hint: make a lifestyle change, not just a fad diet).
  • Be consistent. Review your resolutions often. Change them if you need to, but keep at it. Realize you’re going to fail in some things, and that’s okay! Get back up and get going when you fall.

So with that said, that’s what I try to keep in mind when I set new goals. I’m kind of obsessed with goal setting so you’ll have to bear with all of the lists you’ll find on the blog.  You can check out my 101 in 1001 here. It’s the latest list before the one you’ll see below.

I hope my New Years resolutions inspire you to go out and conquer your own!

  • Learn something new every day.
  • Save $1000.
  • Do a no spend month.
  • Take a free online class.
  • Listen to 5 podcasts on new topics.
  • Blog/write more (1 post a week).
  • Read one book a month (reading list to come).
  • Organize my closet.
  • Get rid of clothes I don’t wear.
  • No soda for the year
  • Take a chance on love if the opportunity arises.
  • Be kind (kindness challenge also to come).
  • Take a picture a day.
  • Learn a new language on a free app (Check out Duolingo).
  • Keep up my workout routine.
  • Take a mini road trip.

101 Things that Make Me Happy

Here’s a random challenge that I decided to take on. It’s always good to have some positive things to think on. My 101 things that make me happy are listed below 🙂 What are yours?

  1. Chips and salsa
  2. Ice cream
  3. A good book
  4. Singing/humming
  5. Journals
  6. Running
  7. Pizza!!!
  8. Laughing
  9. Tacos
  10. Walks on the beach
  11. Swimming
  12. Baseball
  13. Football
  14. Coffee
  15. Music
  16. Lists
  17. Pinterest
  18. Stargazing
  19. Country roads
  20. Fires in the fall
  21. Coloring
  22. A hug from a child
  23. When a student finally gets it
  24. Fall weather
  25. Boots
  26. A good pair of jeans
  27. Driving with the top down
  28. When someone goes out of their way just to say hi
  29. Sweatpants
  30. Baggy tshirts
  31. Christmas lights
  32. Real conversations
  33. Coloring
  34. Fuzzy socks
  35. Movies: Pirates of the Caribbean and the A-Team
  36. Hoodies
  37. A sense of accomplishment
  38. Sarcastic humor
  39. Cheesy jokes
  40. Camels
  41. My favorite scarf
  42. Summer sun by a pool
  43. Lying in a hammock
  44. A noisy house – siblings
  45. Grumpy Cat
  46. Christmas music
  47. Playing guitar
  48. A story that makes me think
  49. Funny quotes and sayings
  50. Coffee mugs
  51. Fluffy dogs
  52. Friends who get you
  53. Having family close
  54. Technology
  55. Having a fan on at night
  56. Doggie cuddles
  57. Apple products
  58. Hiking somewhere beautiful
  59. 8 hours of sleep
  60. Not having to set an alarm
  61. Dancing
  62. A long-needed hug
  63. Writing
  64. Beautiful poetry
  65. Making people smile
  66. Road trips
  67. Bright running shoes
  68. Getting a package or letter
  69. Results from a workout
  70. Wireless headphones
  71. Haiti
  72. Finding new places
  73. Chris Pratt
  74. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  75. Captain America
  76. Peach tea in summer
  77. Dressing up for a special occasion
  78. Bumming it the rest of the time
  79. Driving fast
  80. Learning new facts
  81. Studying personality types
  82. Helping someone
  83. Painted nails
  84. Craft projects
  85. Making people smile
  86. Gold jewelry
  87. Snow days and snow in general
  88. Fresh fruit
  89. Genuine compliments
  90. Snapchat filters (selfies can be fun!)
  91. Cheesecake
  92. Setting goals and making them happen
  93. New Girl
  94. Reba
  95. Precious moments coloring pages (and just coloring)
  96. Movie nights
  97. Greek food
  98. Cooking a new meal
  99. Slippers
  100. Shooting a gun and hitting the target
  101. Second chances

It’s the Climb

img_3447“Always gonna be another mountain.

Always gonna want to make it move.

Always gonna be an uphill battle.

Sometimes you’re gonna have to lose.

Ain’t about how fast I get there.

Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side.

It’s the climb”

Hiking a mountain is one of the greatest adventures even if it’s just a simple one.

There’s nothing quite like reaching the top of the mountain. The air is cooler. The sky is brighter. You feel like you are on top of the world.

But what about how you got there?

Would the view even be worth anything if you didn’t put any effort into it?

I think the answer is yes. The view is still beautiful. On the mountain you see pictured, there’s an option to ride a sky bucket to the top. But climbing the mountain yourself is invigorating. It’s energizing. It’s an achievement, an accomplishment. It’s inspiring.

When you put effort into something, it makes the end result so much more valuable. The song mentioned above is one of my personal favorites because it’s really not about how fast you get wherever you’re going. Life is a journey. What memories will you make? What legacies will you leave behind? Enjoy the climb. (And take a real climb sometime in your life. You won’t regret it.)

101 in 1001

One thing you’ll notice often on this blog are lists. I’m kind of a fanatic when it comes to lists. To do lists, shopping lists, not to do lists. If it can be made into a list, I’ll do it.

Well, once upon a time while reading some blogs, I came across this type of list:


101 goals in 1001 days. I know. It sounds a little crazy. But I’ll be the first to admit that I am slightly crazy. But as Alice in Wonderland says, “You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” So crazy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This list helps me to control the crazy some and accomplish some amazing things over the next few years.

Here’s the scoop:

I’m going to set out on a journey to accomplish these 101 goals in 1001 days. You can find the original inspiration here. That gives me about 2.75 years to make these things happen. They are specific things that are absolutely attainable. Why set goals if they can’t be accomplished?

Dreams with deadlines become realities.

My dreams? Some of them are personal. Some are professional. Some are just plain crazy. But they’re all things to make this life an adventure of my very own. So here it goes.

Start Date: October 5, 2016

End Date: July 3, 2019

  1. Create a personal blog
  2. Blog about this list over the next 1001 days
  3. Do all three splits
  4. Get in shape for summer
  5. Get a massage
  6. Master a handstand
  7. Master a cartwheel
  8. Organize my closet
  9. Organize my bookshelf
  10. Get started with freelance writing
  11. Write a short story
  12. Work on a children’s book
  13. Invest in a new car
  14. Go to a college football game
  15. Read 25 books
  16. Read 5 nonfiction books
  17. Read and watch the Harry Potter series
  18. Do volunteer work
  19. Start a savings for retirement
  20. Go to a drive in movie
  21. Spend a summer traveling
  22. Pay off school loans
  23. Go apple picking
  24. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails
  25. Send 25 handwritten notes
  26. Create a coffee bar
  27. Complete the 100 pushup challenge
  28. Answer the 50 questions that will free your mind
  29. Write a list of 101 things I’ve already achieved
  30. Leave 101 post-it notes of encouragement
  31. Make a list of 101 things I’m grateful for
  32. Go to an overnight retreat/conference
  33. Create a budget and stick to it
  34. Go swing dancing
  35. Leave a favorite book on a public bench for someone else to enjoy
  36. Go back to Haiti
  37. Sponsor a child for Haiti
  38. Be able to carry on a casual conversation in Creole
  39. Send someone an unexpected gift
  40. Write a letter to a favorite author
  41. Stargaze in a truck bed
  42. Make a pizza from scratch
  43. Write a blog post in Spanish
  44. Take a dance class
  45. Get a hotel room
  46. Read a book in a day
  47. Journal for a month
  48. Visit Savannah
  49. Make sushi
  50. Take a writing retreat
  51. Create a capsule wardrobe
  52. Move into my own place
  53. Do a photo shoot just for fun
  54. Do a photo challenge
  55. Try kickboxing
  56. Take a self-defense class
  57. Make a list of quotes that inspire me
  58. Buy a bike
  59. Enter a writing contest
  60. Give a sincere compliment/text to someone every day for a month
  61. Watch fireworks
  62. Save $5 for each goal completed
  63. Over $1000 in savings
  64. Buy a gun
  65. Get my license to carry
  66. Leave a 100% tip
  67. Secret Santa for a needy family
  68. Take a meal to someone in need
  69. Try yoga
  70. Throw someone a surprise party
  71. Create a crayon art project
  72. Create a balloon dart paint project
  73. Go ice skating
  74. See the nutcracker ballet
  75. Buy nothing new for one month
  76. Attend a concert
  77. Give a homeless person a Christmas present
  78. Run a 5K
  79. Run a 10K
  80. Run a half marathon
  81. Visit a new coffee shop
  82. Go to a bonfire
  83. Grow a tomato plant
  84. Go to a Christmas concert
  85. Read a book of poetry
  86. Make a scarf
  87. Make a CD or playlist for a friend
  88. Go on a hike
  89. Go camping
  90. Bake something for the fire station
  91. Write a letter to a soldier
  92. Explore a cave
  93. Don’t take money out of savings for two months
  94. Make a budget and stick to it
  95. Visit the Smoky Mountains
  96. Send a post card
  97. Make a cheesecake from scratch
  98. Sleep in a hammock
  99. Do a cover of a song
  100. Write a song
  101. Make a new list

So there you have it. Let the adventure begin!