“I could kill myself.”

Maybe you’ve said it. Honestly, I bet I’ve said it. In so many variations.

I won’t not belabor that now.

I will, however, say that words matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re saying “purple is the most amazing color” or “purple’s the ugliest color ever” or “Does the San Andreas Fault makes me look fat?” Actions matter. Words matter. Meaning matters. Perception matters.

One of the most insightful/worst things I learned through my Interpersonal Communication courses is this: Meaning is in the mind of the receiver.

Be sure, I’m not asking you to be all over-P.C.-super-sensitive. You can craft your message.  You can be hyper-aware. However, sometimes (quite possibly, most of the time) we don’t know we’ve said something impactful until we see the reactions. It’s just as important to recognize those as it may be to be aware of our surroundings and situations in the first place.

One of my favorite personal entertainments is to take what people say literally. Try it. Taking the colloquial understandings out of words/sayings can completely change the meanings and give you, in context, a relatively amusing image. Hold that grain of salt close as you continue reading.

The study of words and their usage fascinates me. I suppose that lands me in a unique position to analyze the situations/comments to come.

No more mincing words: September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

After my sister took her life in March 2013, it took quite some time to readjust to our culturally-customized patterns. Hell, there was even a new puzzle-type app launched where you died if you didn’t solve things properly. Image me, recently separated from my major-me (is that the counterpart of a mini-me?), watching a friend play a game and say again and again, “See? I died….I died….I died….I died again.” It was completely innocent and, for me at that moment, completely horrifying.

Suicide has a long history of disgrace, shame. Maybe that relates more to the ideal that we, in our lives and the lives of others, can fix things. If you took your life because you couldn’t solve a problem I could have fixed, well, that’s haunting.

Honestly, I think it goes back to the fact that at creation God did not make more Gods. God created man (humans), who were less than God. Not Perfect.


That sucks. I want to fix it. I want to make it better.

You know what makes it suck less? Trying to remember that God did not make more Gods at creation. He made us human. Errant. Unequipped to fight the innermost battles that rage; in ourselves or others. Many times, relinquishing control comes so much more difficultly than the trial, itself.  Our desire to be right, to be in control, to be God will never cease to amaze me.

I like to believe that means that we all want to make this world a better place. One way we can do that is that the next time someone reacts harshly to your words, try to flip the script and see it from their POV.



You Shall Not Pass Nashville Snow Traffic

Don’t drive? More like, can’t drive. Stay home Nashville.
You’re welcome.

*Snow Road photo courtesy of mbboulay this morning in Nashville.
Photoshopping credits: Melissa Reinke @ Ink in Pink

Driving to a friend’s house, I blinked back the tears…and laughed. I couldn’t help but think of how different I feel…how familiar I feel. I am myself. For the first time in years, I am not thinking how I don’t fit in, how awkward and out of place I feel in life in general. I don’t feel that. I feel life. And it is beautiful. It is amazing. It is joyful. So I cry. And I laugh. And I love it. I LOVE it. I am glad beyond glad and I wish I had the words to describe it, but am so much more enamored and entangled by the fact that no description could ever do. It is indescribable in the best way and I am filled in a way I could never explain.

Awkwardness is not your enemy, it is your liberty; the gateway between the fervent longing and absolute terror of being yourself…whatever that is.

Attn Walker Tweet

The sad thing is that I understand some of the reasoning behind this.

DISCLAIMER: Please read and consider before you hate. Also take into consideration that I fully admit that I am no politician, economist, or educator. These are simply some insights from my personal experience and are in no way set in stone or backed by any sort of research. I’d love to hear your thoughts (agreement and dissent) and highly encourage discussion and interaction, but let us respect each other and do so in a constructive manner.

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September 9, 2003

Trent Reznor may have written it, but great gravity exudes from every note and rest of Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt. At first, the quake in his voice might seem to signify deteriorating vocal chords, a weakness that comes with old age; but listen closer. Every tremor gives a sense of experience; of life-long reflection; of years upon years of rough epidermal tissue, accumulating like the bark of a tree– building girth and strength. His roots and trunk run sturdy and deep, obstinate to the changing world; while his outermost limbs have been whipped and whittled by the wind into switches, pliable enough to sting in foul weather. His face is set as a stone embankment eroded and crevasse-d by centuries of lunar driven tides.

I often wonder what I’ll look back on when I’m older. What I’ll have learned, what I’ll wish I could have changed, if only I knew now, or better yet, last week or last year. That’s one reason why I don’t mind sitting in on our Board of Directors meetings. I enjoy hearing how experience has taught these people to handle situations in hopes to siphon some of their hard-earned sagacity to infuse with my youthful energy and naiveté. Perhaps they’ll let slip the recipe to a tonic that will sooth and enrich the whirlwind years between rocking-the-night-away and rocking-on-the-porch. I see their care-worn faces as they churn information intently before finally speaking their minds.

I want depth in my eyes, great gravity in my joy as well as sorrow and the ability to appreciate long pauses in conversations while the participants mull it over, while I mull it over– savoring every morsel, carefully choosing every consonant and vowel, caressing them, preparing them to slide ever so melodically from my lips. I want to start absorbing these abilities now, drawing from the surrounding wells of knowledge with which I have been blessed. I don’t want to look back at “what if” or “if only.” It’s like an Italian saying a friend of mine told me that translates to something like: If the young new and the old could. I could use some pruning and thicker bark for the winter. Let’s start with the low tide and work our way up to high. I’m finally ready for the growing pains; finally open to learning. I want to know while I can.


In honor of my sister’s birthday, today’s Blast from the Past is a true story of best sisters and friends forever.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

It’s true, it really is…
Cooler Near the Lake

In Wisconsin I guess I took for granted all of the accessible lakes. I grew up approximately 22 blocks from Lake Michigan, though I’m often heard bashing our bay’s high pollution level being situated right between Milwaukee and Chicago. Seriously, hazing for summer lifeguards involves swimming from a boat to shore and then they are never actually on duty because the pollution levels are too high. They just put up these “No Lifeguard on Duty: High Pollution Swim at Your Own Risk” signs and interact with parents who say seemingly ridiculous things such as, “Oh, no, I wouldn’t go in there, but it’s okay for my kids to swim, right?”

Then there were other lakes. Community lakes rimmed by large cabins, houses, and rickety old docks with anchored rafts floating 15-20 feet away. Public lakes with grassy lawns edging sandy beaches. My sister got her license just before I turned nine. That next summer she would pick me up from intramural drama classes (yes, during the summer; I know, I’m a dork) and have to “watch me” for the rest of the day. On days when all the stars aligned (my sister didn’t have to go to work, we had enough money to get in, or it was free), we would head straight from class to Silver Lake.

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Happy Veteran’s Day! Today, in honor of our Veterans, I’m reaching out to you with a special message. Over the past few months, I have been privileged to get to know and work with REBOOT Combat Recovery. REBOOT exists to help warriors and their families heal from the spiritual wounds of war associated with PTSD and combat trauma.

Every single day, 22 Veterans end their personal battle against PTSD and depression by taking their own lives. Our service members have fought for us. It’s time for us to fight for them. REBOOT is calling for a Suicide Cease Fire. Click the REBOOT22 button below and join the fight to Stop Veteran Suicide. Together, we can offer service members help, hope, and healing.

Stop Veteran Suicide

REBOOT22 Suicide Cease Fire

tombstone-with-broken-vaseHere’s my first Blasts from the Past installment. Even though this post is a decade old, it still hits particularly close to home, as I’ve been thinking about this story a lot over the past year and a half since my sister died. I even called the chaplain to thank him for his example in grieving in grace; knowing that it’s okay to let your sorrow show, seeking and accepting grace from others, but also to give others grace as they navigate the turbulent waters of loving you in your grief.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Till Death Do Us Part

In all my quarter-life thoughts about marriage, this is not a phrase I have spent enough time contemplating, or at least not in the right way. I have recently realized that in spending a considerable amount of time weighing the gravity of the lifetime commitment of “to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, till death do us part,” I have overlooked the eternal ramifications of “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

A week ago, one of our chaplains lost his wife to a long battle with a particularly rare form of cancer. He’s taking it very hard, as well he should. He’s lost the women who he fell in love with at first sight. I’ve heard the story once or twice, but it’s just as beautiful no matter how many times I hear it.  Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been sifting through old blogs, looking for pieces to include in my quest for freelance content writing gigs. I feel like a kid in a candy store. Well, maybe more like an antique candy store. The voice was so clear and the content so open. It all feels so bold to me now. Then again, this was back in the days before the general public considered “blog” as an actual word; before people could “google” each other. It’s so much easier to be candid and bold when you know you’re writing for only a handful of people.

There’s so much there, it’s amazing. Not to mention all of the posts/ideas I’ve started over the years but never finished. So, I’m going to do a little recycling. In the name of staying fresh, however, I think I’ll do a little reducing with my reusing. Plus, that will give me an excuse to flex my editing chops too.

All that to say, it’s nice to see you again and expect a few pieces here and there in the near future.