Posted in Deep deepness, Life Musings, This is real life.

When words aren’t enough.

I’m a person who believes in words.

I used to believe in words a lot more than I do now. Then I went to journalism school and realized that the dream I had of making a difference through writing was a long shot – not because I’m not a good writer and not because newspapers are dying, but because I wanted to make an everyday, sustainable kind of difference, not a once-in-a-lifetime-story difference.

I believe in words, but they aren’t enough.

CC attributed to Pierre Metivier

Words have power.

Words can build you up or bring you down.

Words can change a person’s mindset, they way they look at the world, the way they feel about an issue, or perhaps even the way they make decisions about the future.

Words can’t, however, change anything that the person listening to or reading them doesn’t want them to change.

Sometimes, and this breaks my writer’s heart, I have to admit that the words we say and write and read that are so desperately impactful aren’t accessed by those who need them the most. Or perhaps they’re heard, but they simply aren’t believed. Because to believe would be to completely rock the shaky foundation a person has built their life or their sense of self upon.

This year we’ve seen this more than any other year I can remember in the 30 I’ve been alive. From misquoted statements to completely wrong assertions, “fake news” to actually fake news, denials to lip service apologies, we’ve seen that words can’t always do what we want them to do.


In 2017, we learned that words are not enough. No matter how many people are saying the same ones, we need more than just a chorus of voices and pens and keyboards.

Words are too easy to write off with a different set of quotable we’ve all heard before:

“It’s just a joke.”
“It’s just locker room talk.”
“Boys will be boys.”
“Things will be different.”
“Trust me.”
“I promise.”
“Not everyone is like that.”
“We weren’t there, so how do we know what happened?”

Actions cannot be as easily ignored.

Actions are what will truly matter in 2018.

CC from

Some may expect this to shake my foundation and view of the world – but words aren’t the only thing I have faith in. As I wrote five or so years ago, I also believe in imagination, in the future, and in my fellow human beings. Even when faced with an atrociously bigoted and selfish leader with more followers than I would like, or with people who refuse to acknowledge and surrender their privilege because of fear, I still believe in humanity.

I believe that there is more good in the world than bad.

I believe that we have the ability and the willingness to step up and take control of our future, to make it our own vision of America rather than someone else’s.

I believe that having the bad made so very clearly obvious to us for the past year gives us an opportunity to fight back in ways we could not when the evil in our society was being discussed at private dinner tables, chatted about in subthreads on Reddit, and mumbled under peoples’ breaths.

There are far more of us on the good side than there are on the bad, so let’s believe in ourselves and our ability to impact change.

Mahatma Ghandi made my point more eloquently than I ever could when he said:

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Let’s clean house. Just get a shitload of Dawn and start scrubbing the country down.

CC from Mike Mozart on Flickr
Posted in 29 for 29, Life Musings, Uncategorized

29 books that will change how you see the world.

29. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


28. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton


27. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein


26. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Cornel West


25. Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Finding Flow

24. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn


23. The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield


22. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


21. The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl


20. Graceling by Kristin Cashore


19. …And I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from the Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944


18. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine


17. Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger


16. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock  by Matthew Quick


15. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley


14. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


13. House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski


12. A Monster Calls by Siohan Dowd


11. M*A*S*H by Richard Hooker


10. Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco Stork


9. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett


8. Hero by Perry Moore


7. The Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde


6. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote


5. The Wump World by Bill Peet


4. The Tale of Two Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean


3. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs


2. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling


1. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller


Posted in 29 for 29, Humor, Life Musings

29 of my favorite films and the witticisms I shamelessly stole from them

Anyone who knows my family knows we communicate 10-30% in movie quotes on any given day. Below are the films I’ve stolen some of my most frequently-used quotes from, in absolutely no order because I tried and it was just too hard to self-analyze based on frequency. You’ll all live.

29. Pirates of the Caribbean films

“I love those moments. I like to wave at them as they pass by.”
“But why is the rum gone?”
“Wait for the opportune moment.”
“I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request.”
“I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly, it’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly stupid.”
“They’re more what you’d call guidelines…”
“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

28. Indiana Jones
“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”
“No, the OTHER right, YOUR right.”
“Snakes. Why’d it have to be SNAKES?”

27. Thank You for Smoking
“I’m never wrong.”
“I proved that you’re wrong, and if you’re wrong, then I’m right.”
“Well, that’s one theory.”

26. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
“It’s useful being top banana in the shock department.”
“There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion.”
“People don’t belong to people.”
“How do I look?”
“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.”
“What do you do, anyway?”

25. Wet Hot American Summer

deadpan: “You guys aren’t supposed to be <out of your bunks>…you’re in trouble…”
“You taste like a burger, I don’t like you anymore.”
“Your craft is a muscle, you have to exercise it.”
“Take a break, think about what you’ve done.”

24. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

“It’s okay, I make lamb.”
“Put some windex on it.”
“There’s a hole in this cake.”
“A boont?”

23. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
“It’s just a flesh wound.”
“What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?”
“Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.”
“A path, a path!”
“Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”
“HUGE…tracts of land.”
“There are some who call me…Tim?”
“I’m not dead yet!”
“You make me sad.”
“Run awaaaaaayyyy…”

22. Saved!

“It’s all a grey area.”
“If God wanted us all to be the same, why would he make us all so different?”

21. Hercules
“It’s been a real slice.”
“Memo to me, memo to me…”
“He’s a GUY.”
“I’m a big, tough girl. I tie my own sandals and everything.”
“I’m a damsel. I’m in distress. I can handle it. Have a nice day!”

20. Dogma
“The buddy Christ!”
“Genocide’s the most exhausting activity a person can participate in…next to soccer.”
“Well, I say we get drunk, ’cause I’m all out of ideas.”
“It was worth a try.”

19. Sandlot
“Some more of what?”

18. Star Wars trilogy (almost cheating, I know)
“May the force be with you.”
“I love you. /I know.”
“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
“It’s a trap!”
“Never tell me the odds.”

17. Dazed and Confused

“Alright, alright, alright…”
“You know what I like about high school[ers]?”
“All I’m saying is that if I ever start referring to these as the best years of my life – remind me to kill myself.”

16. Out Cold
“Carpe the diem. Seize the…carp.”
“Needed burnin'”
“Well, see ya out there!”
“He…died. In a freak dogsled accident. Yeah, an 8-dogsled pile-up. It’s was horrible. The dogs are okay…”
“Everybody knows, nobody cares.”

15. Orange County
“Money can’t buy happiness!” “Oh grow up, yes it can!”
“Where are your pants, Joe?” “I had to take them off…to run faster through the flames…”
“And she said, I hate my job, I’m gonna burn this mother down! And I said, you better not…you, you better not…”

14. The Princess Bride
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
“Life is pain, anyone who says different is selling something.”
“You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
“As you wish.”
“Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.”

13. Love Actually
“Just in cases!”
“Life is full of interruptions and complications.”
“FUCK! It’s freezing!”
“Hiya kids, here’s an important message form your Uncle Bill…”
“I don’t want something I need. I want something I want.”
“Do you think everybody knows?”

12. When Harry Met Sally
“I’ll have what she’s having.”
“You’re right, you’re right, I know, you’re right.”
“On the side is a very big thing with you.”
“See, you look normal, but actually you’re the devil.”

11. Blazing Saddles
“‘Scuse me while I whip this out.”
“And isn’t it a love-e-ly mornin?”
“Are we awake?”
“Splendid, splendid.”
“Hello boys, have a good night’s rest? I missed you!”
“Harumph, harumph!”
“Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome, come on in!”
“Need any help?” “Oh, all I can get.”
“I must, I must!”
“These are people of the land…the common clay…you know, morons.”
“Lily lily lily legs lily lily” (to my dog, don’t worry)

10. Some Like It Hot
“They all just want one thing from a girl.”
“I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop!”
“Well, nobody’s perfect.”

9. What Happens in Vegas
“You know why.”
“Seriously? I like, threw up in my purse last night.”
“I’m just giving you what you want, baby.”

8. Mean Girls
“Boo, you whore.”
“Please stop talking.”
“You can’t just ask someone why she’s white.”
“I just have a lot of feelings.”
“You can’t sit with us!”
“Why are you so obsessed with me?”

7. America’s Sweethearts
“I’m a paranoid schizophrenic, I am my own entourage.”
“I dream about bread.”
“Ever heard of falling off the wagon? This is what it looks like.”
“Life is a cookie.”
“Kiki! Kikikins!”
“I don’t care.”
“You’re the only one she’ll pretend to listen to.”

6. Little Miss Sunshine
“Losers are people who are so afraid of winning, they don’t even try.”
“When you’re young, you’re crazy to do that shit. I’m old! When you’re old, you’re crazy not to do it.”
“You’re not nearly as stupid as you look.”
“Fuck a lotta women, kid, I have no reason to lie to you. Not just one, a lotta women.”
“High school’s your prime suffering years! You don’t get better suffering than that!”
“You do what you love and fuck the rest.”
“Everybody just pretend to be normal.”

5. The Sweetest Thing

“That is the sweetest thing!”
“You named the puppy.”
“50% of what people say when they’re joking is true.”
“NO. That is NOT okay.”
“Yeah, no, I’m good, never better – never better.”
“You can always just…get divorced!”
“I look beautiful.”

4. 10 Things I Hate About You
“…and hell is just a sauna.”
“Hates you with the first of a thousand suns.”
“So now that you’ve seen *the plan* I’m going to go show…the plan…to someone else.”
“I don’t want to hear that defeatist attitude from you.”
“Are you saying I’m not a pretty guy?”
“The shit hath hiteth the fan-eth.”
“I’m confiscating this. This too.”
“Someday, you’re gonna get bitch slapped and I’m not gonna do a thing to stop it.”
“Don’t let anyone, ever, make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.”
“I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?”
“I want you, I need you, oh baby, oh baby.”
“Just because you’re beautiful doesn’t mean you can treat people like they don’t matter.”

3. Eurotrip
“Seemed easier.”
“I am never drinking again.”
“This is definitely where I parked my car.”
“The girls never came!”
“I’m freakin’ out, man, I’m freakin’ out!
“Here’s a fun fact…”

2. Zoolander
“…it doesn’t mean that we too can’t not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.”
“How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read… if they can’t even fit inside the building?”
“I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking.”
“Are you serious? I just told you that a moment ago.”
“I think I’m getting the black lung, pop.”

1. Garden State 
giphy.gif“Don’t tease me about my hobbies. I don’t tease you about being an asshole.”
“If you can’t laugh at yourself, life’s going to seem a whole lot longer than you’d like.”
“Good luck exploring the infinite abyss.”
“So what do we do now?”


Posted in 29 for 29, Humor, Uncategorized

29 videos that make me happy.

This is a day late…but yesterday would have been a day early…February is a little bit crazy, but it still deserves a #29for29 list.

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns…and we all have our ways of dealing with them. One of my favorite methods of dealing with the less-than-pleasant world is to watch videos that bring me joy.

Here are my top 29, ordered from amusing to life-bringing. Watch at your leisure.

29. Obama’s like a real person


28. Weekend Update Joke-off (where my fave people on SNL were all together)


27. Pretty much any Scrubs episode prior to season 7. Here are some options for you (and I do the first one, btw).


26. Canadian Tire thingy aka…sappy teacher video


25. Jack Sparrow


24.  Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (the middle is my favorite part)


23. The adorable laughing penguin.


22. Movie Insults (for when you want to say things you shouldn’t)


21. The end of Crazy Stupid Love


20. Any of Jimmy’s Thank You notes


19. Dick in a Box (an oldie but a goodie)


18. The final Obama Anger Translator (because I can’t anymore)


17. If you’re not a Texas Tech fan, you won’t get this one – if you are, I don’t need to explain. Crappy video quality, sure, but my memory is sharp.


16. The Little Miss Sunshine dance scene


15. Bruce Willis as Rachel’s boyfriend


14. Glove and Boots Hero’s Journey (yes, it’s educational, but I still love it)


13. Drunk History vol. 5 Remember when drunk history was only online? I do. I’m so old.


12. Any Celebrity Jeopardy sketch with “Sean Connery” in it. That 40th anniversary edition is like a high school classroom.


11.Kyle’s Mom (no, I’m not better than this)


10. Beyonce’s dancers


9. Sassy Gay Friend – Giving Tree


8. The Mysterious Ticking Noise


7. Whine about it: Why mornings are the worst


6. America’s Sweethearts buffet monologue – I know this whole thing. Like, memorized.


5. Bonjour, Girl!


4. The convenience store scene. Sorry not sorry. At all.


3. 2015 Madden commercial (I still love it, shamelessly. I still don’t totally know why.)


2. Substitute teacher video pt. 1


1. Substitute teacher video pt. 3 (low quality, I know, sorry, but it’s worth it)

Posted in 29 for 29, Life Musings, This is real life.

29 unforgettable experiences

I’ve had 29 years and 8 months of experiences. And as Colbert would say, I love experiencing experiences. Many of these experiences have made me a better person. Others have made great stories. At the end of the day, these 29 experiences have helped make me the person I am today.

29. Watching my high school football team win the state playoffs. The rain, the chilly weather, and awful playing conditions definitely made the showdown seem Hollywood-worthy. It also solidified my love of the game and being a fan.

28. Riding out a tornado at Sea World. I know, sounds like a Sharknado spin-off, but it happened. While I don’t think it really shaped me, it’s unforgettable.

27. Harvesting wine grapes. Never underestimate the power of a working weekend vacation.


26. Road tripping late at night.  When you’re in college, it’s always a great idea to drive 5 hours one way from Columbia, MO to Ames, Iowa and back on a weeknight to see Frank Warren speak. It’s also always a good idea to go for extensively long weeknight drives to air out frustration, even if you do end up in Fulton, MO.


25. Seeing Hot Hot Heat perform at the Blue Note in Columbia, Missouri my freshman year. I didn’t know who they were, but I do now, and it continues to stand as the best concert experience I’ve ever had.

24. Getting my tattoos. There are people who appreciate body art and people who don’t. I OBVIOUSLY love it – even if those two-three weeks after going under the needle are less than comfortable.


23. Finishing a whole chapstick. No, for real, it happened. I couldn’t believe it, and I don’t think that I’ve ever felt a greater sense of achievement.

22. Finishing my first book. Despite the fact that I will never, ever, ever have that one published, it was truly a labor of love and one of the top 5 things I’m proud of in my life.

21. Seeing Barack Obama speak at Mizzou before the election. It wasn’t just that he was a phenomenal speaker or that he became President, it was the whole process and feeling of the night. When there’s that much energy focused in the same direction, you can feel it in the air.


20. Getting pulled over for the first time. I drive with purpose. Sometimes that purpose is also quite urgent (or I feel like it is, anyway) and I end up driving a little faster than I should. I doubt that I’ll ever NOT drive like this, but the first time I got pulled over will always stick in my mind when I hit that one speed…

19. Being snow-stranded in NYC. As much as I love my friends and love traveling, I’m really, really bad when my travels don’t go as planned. I learned a ton about my tolerance for incongruity that three days.


18. Taking a positive psychology class. This class was one of the least-important classes I’ve ever taken, but I also have to say that

17. Seeing my name in print for the first time. It was addictive, and I still miss it a little. But in the end, I’m not about that cutthroat life and I want to actually MAKE change happen, not just write about people who do.

16. My second first kiss. When your first kiss is at age 5 on the playground, the second one is the real first one.

15. Doing missionary work in Piedras Negras and Eagle Pass. The summer after my freshman year of high school, I went on a mission trip with my (soon-to-be-abandoned-by-me) church. A lot of what happened on that trip informed my opinions about missionary vs aid work and helped me realize what I consider to be my ultimate goal in life: helping others.

14. Finally attending an Aimee Mann concert. I’ve loved Aimee Mann’s music since I was but a wee middle school student, so actually seeing her in concert after years of pining was absolutely amazing. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

13. Earning a journalism degree at Mizzou. Believe me, Mizzou’s undergrad program truly deserves its notoriety. There are things you learn about life, people, and the world as a working reporter that you can’t learn any other way. And Mizzou is the best place to do it.


12. Breaking my tailbone. So much pain. Going to classes and standing up the whole time. Not being able to actually SIT for a while. Whole thing.

11. The first time I bought something in a single-digit size. Yes, body positivity! We’re all beautiful! But really, I still remember the day that I actually fit into a size 8 pants and I started crying in the dressing room.

10. Every time I’ve thrown a dance. I love hosting things, whether it’s at my house or elsewhere. Homecoming at MHS, the Honors dances at Mizzou, I loved all the stress and excitement combined.


9. Graduating high school. I know, my college degree doesn’t make the cut, but this one does? Yeah, because leaving high school is like discovering that a whole world is open to you. That feeling is the best in the world.

8. Watching the kids I taught for three years move on to high school. I had all the feels with this one, because in my mind and heart, those kids were my kids – still are. I was a hot fucking mess for like 48 hours, but I wouldn’t trade knowing those kiddos for anything.


7. Buying a house. I’m so bad at making decisions that I can still remember the anxiety I felt at pulling the trigger on buying my house. Yet, I absolutely love it and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.


6. Almost flipping my car in the snow. Aaaaaand continuing to drive from Columbia, MO to Olathe, KS because I was determined to make it the hell out of dodge for the holiday. I was a fool. But oh well.

5. Going through therapy. Best decision I’ve made for my own health, ever. If you truly want to know yourself and improve your life, consider it.

4. Adopting & rehabilitating a street dog (or three). Each of my fur babies have come to me with their own stories and their own struggles. Figuring out earn their trust, keep them healthy, and make them a part of the family made me a better person.


3. Studying abroad in South America. It make have been a short stay, but learning how to communicate across cultures, expanding my horizons, and building connections in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay really made an impact on how I imagined my future and what I believed I could do.


2. Being a PA. I swear, being a PA was the best preparation for anything life can throw at me. Except like, paying taxes and bills and whatnot. But everything else? Yeah. Definitely. And it gave me confidence I never had before – so I owe ResLife one (or 18,000).

1. Traveling alone. I recently went to the UAE and Ghana, but I’ve been other places on my own before – from Chicago to Boston to road trips galore. Truth is, you learn something new about yourself with each trip.


Posted in 29 for 29, This is real life.

#29for29 goals progress update

Instead of New Year’s resolutions, I’m checking in on my own #29for29 goals that are going to run out of time in five short months.

The end of 2016 was pretty cray for me, so let’s see where I’m at.


  1. Visit two new countries I’ve never been to before.  Ghana and Dubai
  2. Take a cooking class. December 16, Dad and I went to a class that was all about cranberries.
  3. Work out again. For at least a solid 3-6 months routine if not longer.
  4. Attend a gala. Went to the Margarita Ball November 19th to benefit children’s charities.
  5. Plant a tree.
  6. Do something that absolutely terrifies me.
  7. Write a new book. It’s coming along really slowly. I may have to substitute something else here…
  8. Learn how to do one fancy hairstyle really, really well. I can do one fairly decent, but it needs some work.
  9. Make a pilgrimage to my heart-home. Spring Break?
  10. Re-read Jasper Fforde’s books I love and read the new ones for the first time.
  11. While I’m at it, let’s do the same for Harry Potter. Progress so far: I’m in Book 4.
  12. Buy a stranger’s dinner. Did this one a couple of times, actually.
  13. Finally learn to use my sewing machine.
  14. Complete a 30-day photo challenge.
  15. Go clubbing. In two different cities, no less.
  16. Catch up with all the people with whom I never intended to lose touch.
  17. Find a new volunteering opportunity.
  18. Get a makeover, just for fun. Rolled this one into the gala one on November 19.
  19. Have a legit 12-hour movie marathon – topic to be determined.
  20. Finish my “Girl Power” wall of inspiration (for now, I’m never really done with any of my creative projects).
  21. Write fan letters to the five people whose work I admire most. 2 down.
  22. Spend a day completely by myself.
  23. Get another tattoo. Already working on it, should get started within the next week – but it’s a doozy, so it’ll take a couple of sessions.
  24. Color something every. single. week. So far.
  25. Throw a four-course dinner party that I cook myself. December 29th!
  26. Mark one more off my list of the “World’s Most Beautiful Libraries.” George Peabody Library in Baltimore
  27. Learn to meditate.
  28. See at least one more live performance of *something.* I’ve been to so, so many. Seth Meyers, jazz, poetry reading, cultural dancing in Dubai, DNCE in January…
  29. Write a “29” blog post every month. So far!

So. 11 done, 5 in progress, 2 good so far, and 11 to go.

Still making it! But I need to get a small move on, because I’m over halfway out of time and not quite halfway done with the list. I’m sure I can do it.





Posted in 29 for 29, Life Musings

29 pieces of advice to live by

Hey fam, forgot to post this yesterday in all the dinner-party-throwing-hoopla. But better late than never, eh?

Earlier this week, I wrote about the importance of mantras and making sure that yours isn’t leading you down a bad path. Obviously, I’ve been a little introspective about these things lately, so I’ve found it pretty easy to come up with 29 pieces of advice I try to use as guidelines (not rules) that I want to share for this month’s #29for29.

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23. Don’t feel guilty for doing what’s best for you.


21. He was going to live forever, or die in the attempt.  – Catch-22

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17. Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least. -Goethe

16. 31d04a7da9d9863eeb11a4bc7c283f4d

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14. Take chances, make mistakes, get messy. -Ms. Frizzle


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9. We must learn who is gold and who is gold plated.

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6. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. -Neil Gaiman

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3. Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people. – Mr. Rogers


1. Know your own happiness. -Jane Austen