Thursday, November 29, 2012

Child of the 90s

Head on over to the Uncontainable Truth to read my latest (written last week - ooops for just now posting this) about how THANKFUL I am to have been a child of the 90s. (Spoiler alert, there's an Eddie Vedder/Chris Cornell song featured, as well as heavy emoting over 90s country... I've been on a kick as of late.)


Also. speaking of the 90s, and for your enjoyment, I give you Evidence of the Alabama Blizzard of 1993:

You're welcome, Internets.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Twilight of My Youth

I'm 30. That happened. Just a few weeks ago, I crossed over into MY THIRTIES. Honestly, I'd been dreading it so badly since the second I turned 29 that it almost felt like a relief to get it over with. I wasn't prepared to really feel a difference, though. On the eve of my 30th birthday, the last day of my 20s, I opted to stay in, watch some Dawson's Creek (my latest Netflix undertaking), and get into bed early. Start my 30s off right, ya know? (Plus the weekend before was busy with celebrations, and Halloween night was sure to be a good night out.) But per my usual, "one more episode" after the next of Dawson ensued, and I was up at around 12:30 when Sara Beth came in to say "hey - you know you're 30 now, right?" I actually felt WEIRD. Older. Changed. Dramatic? Probably. (Hence, the title of this post, a line from a Ryan Adams song... "I am in the twilight of my youth, not that I'm going to remember...")

Someone call the fire department! And yes, that's a Harry Potter scarf. And glow sticks. I celebrated 30 in style.

So in keeping with the Thanksgiving holiday and the past two years of reflecting around my birthday, I give you: 15 Reasons I'm Thankful at 30. (Some of them may repeat from 2011 and 2010, but that just means I'm consistent, right?)
  1. I got to grow up in the 90s. I feel sorry for the kids who grew up in the 2000s. They never will know what it's like to not have a cell phone and to wait at home for a phone call. And while we have our moments of ridiculousness and excess, my generation was truly the last to get to appreciate Disney movies before CGI. And we got to live through 90s grunge and 90s country and not just appreciate it in retrospect. Can you imagine how hard it must be to please kids these days? My poor children are going to hate me some day when I tell them to play outside and listen to some records and not play games all day.
  2. In that same token, I'm grateful I got to live out my high school and college years without them being documented completely by social media. Yikes.
  3. I'm not gonna lie - we don't wrinkle that badly in my family. Plus, I grew up slathering on sunscreen (whereas my mom and grandma sunned wearing pure baby oil for most of their lives). Add to that the fact that I've been using creams and such to ward off aging for years now, and I get a lot of "You look more like you're 25 than 30!" comments. They may be lying or buttering me up, but I'll take it.
  4. I have the best friends in the world. No, seriously. They are better than yours. When you reach my age and some friendships span double decades, you know how to pick 'em and keep 'em. (And that also means that you know the right kind of new people to let in your life and call them true friends, as well.)
  5. I live a mile down the street from my sister. When you live 6 hours away from your family and hours away from most of your best friends, having your sister (who happens to be my favorite person most days) just down the road is quite the perk.
  6. I have a great job that allows me to learn and grow, gives me the flexibility to play (and sleep in), and that challenges me daily.
  7. My family may not be perfect, but they're wonderful. And I never once have to worry that I'm not loved or that I can't fall back on them if the need arises.
  8. I get to be Auntie Lala! So many of my friends are having babies, and I am just loving having these little things to love on (and then give back when they start hollerin').
  9. Auntie Lala and Cameron Rose
  10. Instagram. Without it, I would continue to feel like a big fat failure in the photography realm. Thanks, instant filters and blurs! (I'm sure many actual photographers will cringe at this. Get over it.)
    Thanks, Instagram! (Taken at the Station Inn in Nashville.)
  11. As much as I complain about constant connectiveness and social media (and lack of privacy), I'm so thankful for my iPhone. I love it. It makes my life easier. (For the most part. iMessage certainly can up the anxiety factor when you're waiting on someone to text you back.) I'm also especially thankful for iPhone's voicemail feature. I absolutely LOATHE calling in to check voicemails.
  12. You know the whole "put on your big girl panties and deal with it" phrase? My big girl panties are ON. And I like 'em.
  13. I realize how lucky and blessed I am to have my grandma around (and quite kickin') at the age of 30.  I made her cry a few weeks ago because she called me when I was driving (between Birmingham and Nashville, hardly a scary drive or one I'm not used to), and when I didn't call her back in a couple of hours (I was on the phone!), she was QUITE upset. Called my sister. Got everyone else all worried about me. I got quite an earful about "worrying ole grandma," to say the least. And I could have been annoyed, but gosh darn it, it's nice to be loved.
  14. I don't feel 30. Well, I do feel older. But I don't feel this rush to be settled, married with babies, all that jazz, like I assumed I would. Trust me, I feel it when I, oh, fracture a bone in my leg doing backyard gymnastics. Or when I realize that after a few days of staying up too late, I just really need to catch up on sleep. And don't get me started about how infinitely worse hangovers get year by year. But all in all, I'm a big kid. (And kind of a big weirdo.) I don't think I'll ever lose that.
    I lost my Rocky Horror Picture Show Virginity.
  15. I don't have to apologize or make excuses for what I enjoy, what I believe, what I value, or what want out of life. Not that I should have to begin with, but I feel like there's something about being in your 30s that gives you more authority over your life. There's a great article here about the "Millennials," as they're calling my generation, and what our values are. 
  16. Turning 30 means I've survived my 20s. And let me tell  ya, they were hell. They were fun, but everyone keeps saying that your 30s are the best decade. And I'm starting to believe them. Because by now, I've figured so much more of life out than I had at 20. Figured myself out (for the most part). I've lived independently for a long time now, and I'm really owning it these days. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Austin Lucas

One of the great things about living in Nashville is having instant access (every night if you want it) to quality live music. Another great thing about living in Nashville is that unless you live under a rock, there's a good chance that at least one of the folks playing some of that awesome music happen to be friends of yours.

So with that being said, I want to introduce you to Austin Lucas. If you have any interest in Bluegrass or Americana, you may have heard his name already, and if not, you probably will. Austin is a buddy of mine who I actually met AFTER I was a fan. (Let me tell ya, nothing will make you feel like more of a creepster than admitting to someone that you've been following them on Twitter and Instagram for a year before you even met them. (Thus are the times.) Regardless, give him a listen. Under those tattoos is the voice of a little angel baby, and dude can play the hell out of a guitar. He just got off of tour with Willie Nelson and is currently touring to promote his upcoming album, which he is set to record with Glossary (another local kick-ass band) in December. Check out his website here:

Give him a listen, and if you like, check out his Kickstarter page, and help him out to get this record made. You can even get a sweet karaoke CD in the process. I've seen the dude belt out some Bryan Adams... you don't want to miss out on that.

Here's the kickstarter promo:

And the link:

And some tunes!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Four years later, I'm still smiling.

[Let me say from the getgo that this is written only to share. I have no agenda, except to write out my thoughts, both for myself, and for anyone else who is interested in understanding me better.]

Four years ago today, I wrote a post titled "Why I Woke Up Happy This Morning." 

Four years ago, I was 26 and in grad school. I remember writing the post through teary eyes as I sat in the computer lab at Gorgas Library. I'll admit I was one of the many people who found myself swayed by Obama's charms and the promise of HOPE. I rallied around that "Yes We Can" as hard as I'd rallied around anything else in my life. I loved the idea of helping elect our first minority president. It was a magical night, and I was proud to vote for change in this country.

Four years ago, I voted for Barack Obama mostly based on emotion. 

Last week, I voted again for Barack Obama, and I cried happy tears last night, and I woke up happy again this morning, because I made an informed decision I truly felt it was right. I voted because of my values and ideals, and because I felt like he was the better man for the job. With all of the hot button social issues that directly affect me and my loved ones, it was a no-brainer. As I told someone (jokingly) who asked me if I was a Romney supporter... I have a lot of gay loved ones, I have lady parts, and I am someone who would give my last dollar to help someone else... what do you think? For me, there was no going back.

I voted for Barack Obama because of the same reason many people voted for Mitt Romney: my values centered around faith, morality, family, and community. I don't pretend to understand everything about politics, but I do know what I believe:
  • I believe in helping people who can't help themselves.
  • I believe in equal opportunity, and that with the way the system is now, we don't have it.
  • I believe that no one should have to worry whether they can receive the health care they need without having to declare bankruptcy because of it.
  • I believe that no one in America should literally starve while others have such excess.
  • It's a confusing concept, and one that I wouldn't have gotten to without the many loved ones I have in my life who are gay, but I truly believe that sexual orientation is not a choice, and that we have no right to limit who people can love and especially their legal rights when in a monogamous relationship just like straight marriages.
  • I like Obama's sense of humor and sensibility. I think he is smart. And his wife is a real class act. I also think he's a pretty dang cool person, and I will not apologize for that being something in his favor. 
  • I believe it is unconstitutional to bring religion into the governance of this country. They formed this country on those ideals for a reason, but not just to encompass or inforce one version of Christianity. Sure, faith and morals should steer motivation to do good, but not forced on anyone and certainly not used to outcast or restrict rights. 
  • More than anything, I believe that we aren't here to judge, but to help. In any way we can. In the words of John Wesley, to "Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” 
And tying it to my personal faith, I believe that that's what God calls us to do. That's what Jesus would have done, right? (I can provide a laundry list of Biblical references to back this up.)

One of my favorite posts from a friend was this:
God is neither surprised or relieved by this election. His plans don't jump the track. And no one man is a savior or destroyer of our country. There are checks and balances on place to protect democracy. Be careful when choosing your words this week. The people you loved yesterday are the very souls you alienate with malice and hateful words. The "other side" is closer than you think and it looks like your family and friends. ~Mary Katherine (Samples) Backstrom
It's true, people. I have been so shocked by the way people have reacted in social mediums, and especially the way people have reacted to me and my thoughts. But here's the thing: I voted as a single, straight, Christian woman who is also a daughter, a friend, and a sister. Just the same as many of you. And I do not appreciate being told that I am "lost" (when not in jest, obviously). Just stop it. Take a minute and stop assuming. Being mean and hurtful and alienating people based on faith is SO not what should be happening right now, and I take offense to it. Can't we all just get along?

"I voted for Regina George because she got hit by a bus."
"I voted for Cady Heron, because she pushed her."

At the very heart of this, we are all Americans. And we are all humans. Sure, there are disappointed people, and I get that. I would have been disappointed had the election gone the other way. But at this point, it is crucial that we do three things (two of which are found right there in the Bible):
  1. Honor our leaders. (Romans 13; and 1 Timothy 2)
  2. Love our neighbors. (No reference needed)
  3. Move on and work together to move forward.
I'm excited. Ecstatic, even. All smiles today. Here's to what I hope will be a good four years!