Henry the Great

I have a dog.

His name is Henry James Fisher III. He’s my first dog. The “III” makes him seem distinguished. As does his handlebar mustache and pipe. He’s a rescue mutt that’s a brew of dark chocolate, caramel and mixed nuts.

208_22917087449_114_nThe day I found him, I was feeling lost. So, it worked out perfectly.

This photo was taken the first day I met Henry. He was about 6-weeks old and someone left him near a highway of an office where I was working. My guess is that they couldn’t afford him and hoped that some nice soul would find him. I could’ve sworn I saw my name and address written in his Day Runner.

He’s now 4-almost-5 and so integrated into my life that I can’t imagine a house without my 70lb love nugget.

I have daily in-depth conversations with him. He’s a great listener, but his advice is a bit prosaic. His voice sounds like Mark Walhberg, unless, of course, he’s singing. In that case, he sounds like Mos Def, and we all know they’re both better rappers than singers.

I love this boy.

I love him when he snuggles with me at night, lets me stack treats on his face for my own amusement and I even love him when he’s IMG_1877slurping on remains of rawhide and spewing toxic fumes from behind that smell of pink erasers, yesterday’s steak and wet trash.

That’s true love.

Warning Cat Lovers: This will not be my only Henry post. There will be more. And you will be forced to love him.

This is Day 6 of my 100 Days of Blogger.

Harold Crick Lives His Life

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Stranger Than Fiction is one of my all-time favorite movies.

It’s the perfect blend of art, intelligence, humor and romance. I’ve found that many people overlooked this 2006 underrated gem and some (gasp) didn’t even like it. The ones that didn’t like it were usually disappointed that Will Ferrell wasn’t Elf or Ricky Bobby. He doesn’t show his belly, bang a cowbell or even croon like Robert Goulet.

He’s Harold Crick and he’s perfect at it. strangerthanfiction_ferrell

The cast is amazing. Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson and Maggie Gyllenhaal. *sigh* They’re all brilliant.

It’s original without tipping the indie scale over to pretentious.

IMDb summarizes (a.k.a. butchers) the plot in this way; “An IRS auditor suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death.

That plot summary wouldn’t necessarily have me running to BestBuy or scouring NetFlix to find it, but that’s mostly because I’ve devoured the movie whole several times and love it more than heart-shaped Bavarian sugar cookies.

So, just take my word for it and watch it.

I have so many favorite scenes in this film, but below is an excerpt from one of my favorite favorite scenes.

Jules Hilbert: “You were right. This narrator might very well kill you. So I humbly suggest that you just forget all this and go live your life.”

Harold Crick: “Go live my life? I am living my life. I’d like to continue to live my life.”

Jules Hilbert: “I know. Of course. I mean all of it. However long you have left. You know, I mean, Howard,you could use it to have an adventure. You know, invent something, or just finish reading Crime and Punishment. Hell, Harold, you could just eat nothing but pancakes if you wanted.”

Harold Crick: “What’s wrong with you? Hey. I don’t wanna eat nothing but pancakes. I wanna live. Who in their right mind in a choice between pancakes and living chooses pancakes?”

Jules Hilbert: “Harold, if you’d pause to think. I believe you’d realize that that answer’s inextricably contingent upon the type of life being led and, of course,the quality of the pancakes.”

Harold Crick: “You don’t understand. What I’m saying.”

Jules Hilbert: “Yes, I do.”

Harold Crick: “But you have to understand that this isn’t a philosophy or a literary theory or a story to me. It’s my life.”

Jules Hilbert: “Absolutely. So just go make it the one you’ve always wanted.”

 
This is Day 5 of my 100 Days of Blogger.

She Ain’t No Fairytale

My beautiful friend, Amaris, wrote a post yesterday that makes me want to hi-five her and then take her out to sip and spill. She has a gorgeous way of writing and living with guts, bourbon and laughter.

Take a moment or three and read what she has to say about Ms. Takes, quasi-dating, dating Quasi and finding solace somewhere in the midst of it all in her post, This Ain’t a Fairytale.

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(How cute are we?!)
 

This is Day 4 of my 100 Days of Blogger.

MySpace is YourSpace Part 1 of 5: “Up All Night”

This is post 1 of 5 in my series called, MySpace is YourSpace.

Awhile back,  I wrote a post asking for reader’s gritty responses to 5 deeply personal questions. I created an email address that folks could log into, answer the specific questions and email those answers to that same email address. That way, I was able to create an anonymous space for open, honest answers. insomnia_sleep

The first question I asked was:
What worries, thoughts, anxieties keep you up at night?

Below are the 4 anonymous, unedited responses I received. The 5th one is my own. I’m the long-winded one.

ANONYMOUS #1:
Gender: Male
Age Range: 30-33
Relationship:
Married
I often think about my purpose and if I’m going about it the right way.  Am I wrong for not wanting a normal 9-5 type job?  Am I a good husband?  am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing or did I screw it up and this is as far as I’m going to go.

ANONYMOUS #2
Gender: Female
Age Range:  26-29
Relationship:in a relationship
My future, my kids future. money. love- rather my lack of belief in real love. that every man is a cheater. a lot of anger and evil thoughts in my head as i try to sleep.

ANONYMOUS #3
Gender: Female
Age Range:
34-37
Relationship:
Single
Sometimes I wonder if I’ve got it all wrong and am destined for everything I have built to bring me only punishment, unfulfillment, and loneliness.”

ANONYMOUS #4
Gender: Female
Age Range: 30-33
Relationship: Single
I worry about money all the time.  This is crazy because I have a well paying job with exceptional security.  I can totally afford my lifestyle and I live well.  I am pretty sure this insecurity came from my parents, specifically my father.  He grew up dirt poor.  His father drank their money away. My father went without food and proper clothing as a little boy.  He instilled living in financial fear as a standard and my mother never corrected his stance. This is about the only thing my parents did that I truly wish I could undo.

RESPONSE #5 – ME:
Gender: Female
Age Range: 34-37
Relationship: Single
I think a lot about dating and marriage. Some days, I think how lucky I am that past relationships didn’t pan out because I would’ve been divorced at least 12 times by now if they had. I pray for my amazing husband-to-be every day. Not just an I’m-tired-of-being-single-and-I-want-to-be-spooned-and-I’m-tired-of-killing-bugs-myself-where-is-he-already!? type of prayer. But, I pray that he’ll have a good day, success in his career, understanding in his relationships and that he’d have kindness when he lets the old bag he’s currently dating down because he knows I’m waiting.

But then there are the lonely nights.

The nights I stare at my bedside table wishing there were photos of wedding dresses and sweet-cheeked baby poses. I wonder if I’ll be too old to have a baby or be able to adopt a left behind child like I’ve dreamed of since I was 16. I wonder if waiting for sex until marriage will be worth it or will it just make things more awkward when I graze 40. I worry that just as I utter, “I do.” I’ll be swept up in menopause and stricken with more arthritis pain than ever.

I think (read: obsess) about my up and down sizes, roller coaster measurements, Georgia road map legs and wrinkles that have already begun to forward their mail to my face and wonder if that’s why I’m single and throw my fist at shallow men around the world without realizing how shallow I am for throwing a blanket over them all.

I wonder if I’ll have the kind of husband who puts actions to his words, will love and adore me second to Jesus and want to change the world and do all of that while daily making me laugh until I pee a little and wheeze a lot.

Lastly, I worry if I’m really making a difference in anyone’s life. Am I just a hamster on a wheel with really good intentions or am I creating intentional moments and actions to better the life of another human? The world has enough hamsters. They smell and they bite. I do not want to be just a hamster.

What about you? Do you have things that keep you up at night?  Remember, you are not alone in this.

 

 

Heyrocco

I’ve got a new hobby.

Well, let me first say, I love watching really good bands play live. Let me secondly say, most of the bands I love have audience members who were born when I was knee-deep in flannel and Nirvana. There’s nothing quite like bobbing my head next to a flop top who was in diapers when Duran Duran was making me ‘Come Undone.’

incognito_smily_face_with_mustache_and_sunglasses_sticker-p217476589842817096en8ct_400So, because of my 20-something musical taste buds, one of my favorite new hobbies is to find at least 2 people in the crowd who are older than me. That way, I can take off my sunglasses and mustache and not have everyone wondering if I’m the lead singer’s mom and ask me for a ride home.

The other night was one of those nights. I went to see one of the best bands around town called, Heyrocco. They’re a baby-faced, well-mannered trio who take the stage like lambs and shock jocks of all shapes and sizes with their wavy sounds and syncopated beats.

There’s something graceful, and dare I say, beautiful about the lead singer’s presence, voice and overall ambiance. All the boys seem pensive, but never eye-rollingly brooding and I imagine they practice in old garages with posters of dead singers on the walls and their moms bringing them warm chocolate chip cookies encouraging breaks they never seem to get to. 20111019_poprocks

If you were to share Pop Rocks with Robert Smith and Brandon Flowers in the late 90’s, it would sound a little like Heyrocco.

Now, don’t just look at their baby breath pics and dump them in some boy band compound. Take a listen. Read a bit. Better yet, go see them live.

Heck, I’ll come with you…We can wave our canes in the aiiiiyr, wave ’em like we just don’t caayyre.

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Follow them: @weareheyrocco

 
This is Day 3 of my 100 Days of Blogger.

Groundhog Day

This afternoon, while sipping on my 3rd cup of Joe and clickity clacking on a post for my MySpace Can Be YourSpace 5-part series, I got a notification that my friend, Chris Pochiba, finished producing a video for Heath McNease, called ‘Groundhog Day.’

The song hit me perfectly. Not only because it was directed by my creative, super fantastic friend (I’m SO proud of you, Chris!), but, because the content goes so well with the heart of my upcoming series. It’s all about being honest. I love it when things seem to come together like this.

This song had me bobbin’ my head, checkin’ my heart and wishin’ I lived in ATL.

So…Here it is. ‘Groundhog Day’ by Heath McNease (@theheathmcnasty) directed by Chris Pochiba (@chrispochiba).

 

 
This is Day 2 of my 100 Days of Blogger.

A 100 Days of Blogger

My roomie threw down the gauntlet the other day and challenged me to a duel. Or was it a dual. A duet? No. No, I remember now.

She told me about a 100 Day challenge. It’s for artsy fartsies, but I thought it would be a cool way for me to be more creative and post on my website every day. Poor lil’ website. It  gets lonely sometimes.

I racked my brain and frankly, racked my roomie’s brain for some cool, hip, Warhol-esque, explode everyone’s brain and change the world type of ideas and ended up staring at my bare feet so long they started looking like corpse feet. It’s like I couldn’t even move them anymore. Cold. Lifeless. Feet. Can’t.stop.staring.at.them.

Has that ever happened to you? What? No? Me either. Where was I? cat-breakdance

So, I ditched my delusions of grandeur of being the next greatest YouTube sensation (falling 2nd only to #kidpresident. What?! That kid is adorbs, right?!), put on some warm socks and decided to post something I thought was cool or interesting on my website. It may be some super rad song by a band you didn’t know you loved, a photo of a cat breakdancing, a witty blurb or a collage of the cutest dang puppies you’ve ever seen. Who knows what this challenge will bring.

My goal is to simply post something every day for 100 days.

There you have it. This post will count as Day 1 and Day 100 will be on May 11th. Oh, wow. Saying that out loud (yes, I talk as I type) makes it sound like a REALLY long time. Well, what the heck. Being my mom is one of my most avid readers, if I check out somewhere around Day 27, I know she’ll still love me. Right, Mom??

100daysWhat about you? Are you up for a 100 Day Challenge? If so, let me know what it is and let’s explode brains together!

 

 

2012 in Rear View

I found a dusty email where I had jotted my plots and plans for 2012. I used it as a double take to see what I had done, where I had gone and what I left on the page.

So, here’s my Year in the Rear View…

My 2012 New Year’s Resolutions

  1. ‘Lead a Women’s Bible Study’ I did this! I met with 4 AMAZING women & we dug deep into Hebrews & each other’s lives.
  2. ‘Attend a Theology Study’ I did this! 3 close friends of mine started meeting once/week to study Systematic Theology. I mostly nod & smile.
  3. ‘Read the Bible in a Year’ No, BUT…I used daily reading plans from YouVersion’s iPhone app. A lot less reading and butt-kicking involved.
  4. ‘Run the Bridge Non-Stop’ Wah Wah Wah. My sad ole arthritic feet got the best of me more than usual last year. Somebody rub my bunions!
  5. ‘Hand Write Letters to Friends & Family Monthly’No, BUT…I was much more intentional about keeping in touch. I created an alarm to go off daily at 3pm reminding me to, “Reach out to someone.”
  6. ‘Go to the Ride:Well Reunion’No, BUT... I did meet up with 2 of my teammates in person & kept up with most of them throughout the year.
  7. ‘Be a Better Girlfriend’I did this! I grabbed confidence by the horns and enveloped myself in the truth that I’m worth a heckuvawholelot more than I was settling for. Ladies, we’re worth the pursuit. Don’t settle.
  8. ‘Make Pasta from Scratch’What the what?! I must’ve been hungry when I wrote that. I have no desire to make pasta…like ever.
  9. ‘Volunteer to Help Others Get Jobs’I did this! I edited a lot of resumes and helped people see their bright spots and strengths.
  10. ‘Write More’ Wah. Wah. Wah. This is my biggest regret of last year. I had a lot to say, but kept myself preoccupied with distractions.
  11. ‘Ride in a Hot Air Balloon’ No. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and hope to check it off my bucket list one day. Wanna take me?
  12. ‘Visit Out of State Family’No, BUT…I did take time out to email/text/call some of them a lot more than the year before. I miss them.
  13. ‘Go Camping/Hiking’Wah. Wah Wah. I need my hair to smell like a campfire and my belly to be full of s’mores soon. Let’s go!
  14. ‘Eat Healthy & Work Out’Huh? Wha? Look over there.
  15. ‘Help an At Risk Girl’I did this! She was actually a middle-aged woman and when we met she wanted to die. I was able talk her off the ledge.
  16. ‘Be on Time’I mostly did this. If I kept you waiting somewhere…I’m so sorry. If I beat you to our meeting spot…booyah!
  17. ‘Ride Another Century’Wah. Wah. Wah. Turns out, I don’t enjoy riding my bike alone. Ride with me?

A Few of My Favorite 2012 Moments

  • Invited more people into my home and into my heart.
  • Was part of the ’20 Seconds’ movement at Crosstowne Church.
  • Shook off some dead weight from a toxic relationship.
  • Began a fundraiser to help my friend buy a bike. He’s almost there…you can donate too!
  • Took my 4 yo niece fishing. She caught a squishy, smelly ole fish with her hot pink, Barbie fishing rod!
  • Went to Storyline in Nashville, TN. Fell more in love with the city, my story and Donald Miller’s passion.
  • Watched a close friend’s marriage get ripped apart at the seams, but saw her rise up from the ashes an even stronger woman.
  • Went to New Orleans for New Year’s Eve. It’s a town full of beauty, tragedy, darkness and hope.
  • Began working on ideas for a simple, yet impactful community outreach. Stay tuned!
  • Was blessed with amazing new friendships. The kind of friendships that make my heart beat a little stronger.
  • Was a part of LoveGave Hope that raised over $113K for local orphanages.

2012 was chock full of ups, downs and even some flat lines. But, overall it was a year of growth and stretching. Kind of like soul yoga or was it like heart pilates? No matter which way you stretch it, it was a really good year and 2013 is already shaping up to be quite fantastic!

What about you? How was your 2012?

What are you looking forward to this year?


Choose YOUR Own Adventure: Guest Blog by Andy Rider

I’m so proud to have Andy Rider as a guest writer on EmandaSays! Andy is a number cruncher by day and a humorist by real-life. He’s got a passion for living life with purpose, integrity, taking risks and humor. After reading his post, you should watch him here and giggle with me. Now onto our show!

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I like to start books at the end to see if it’s worth reading it. I realize this is a bit odd and probably ‘spoils’ the whole thing, but I want to make sure the book is worth reading. Does the hero achieve their goal or is this a book where the hero doesn’t make it out well?  Will the dragon be slain or does the dragon demolish everyone only to get his in the end when he realizes he’s eaten his entire food supply and will soon starve to death?  Has the hero learned their lesson or will they forever remain a heartless jerk?   If it’s the latter of any of those I generally don’t read it because I don’t find it to be worth my time.

In my humble opinion the reason we read through books is to get to the end.  We go through the struggles and trials or, if it’s a non-fiction book, the essays, to see how things turn out for the characters or to see what we’ve learned.  I assume it’s the same reason people play sports, to win.  I’ve never met or heard an athlete speak about the wonders and joys of loss and the fantastic lessons they learned from it.  If they are speaking of a lesson they learned from a loss it’s usually how they used it to get a win.

I recently read and re-read Don Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years based on the recommendation of Mandy Fisher herself.  One of the things that came out of this, besides my not reading the ending before I started the book, was that I began to see my life as a story of sorts.  This was both enlightening and frightening at the same time to me because if it’s true than that means my life has an ending.  I realize everyone’s life has an ending and we’re all going to die (please feel free to take a moment and get a drink of water while you let that bit of news sink in).  I mean that our lives could have good endings or bad endings and we actually have responsibility as to how it turns out.

Remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? 

I used to love those until I found out just how bad I was at them.  I regularly made wrong choices.  Batman was killed in a phone booth because of me.  Commissioner Gordon died in a car bombing.  Shipwreck and Lady Jane met the end of their mortal coil due to a faulty dock.  That’s blood I will never get off my hands and what’s more, this happened regularly to me.  Sometimes I did it innocently enough, other times I did it even though I knew the consequences, but I was in a bad mood that day. So you can understand the fear I feel when I know that I am the captain of my own personal ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book.

Not that I worry that somebody’s going to wire my car to detonate or that I might let my own personal ‘Two-Face’ get away again simply because I didn’t really feel like chasing them in the first place.  I worry that when all is said and done that I will not have success.  I’m not talking mansions or nice cars.  I want success in my chosen field.  I want a job in which I am paid to create and perform comedy.  This isn’t a little goal and it could change five-ten years from now, but for now this is what I’m pursuing and I worry that I will give it up because it’s easier to start walking than it is to keep running when you can’t see the finish line.

There are conflicts.

People and events affect your life, whether they mean to or not.  It happens.  Perhaps this is where being Christ-like comes into play.  Maybe, just maybe, you have to shrug it off and keep pushing forward despite the fact that people might be standing in your way.  That’s where you come in because it really is easier to blame quitting on the people and the events that came into play, but you still have the ability to say yes or no, keep at it or quit, keep writing or just sit and wait for the end.

Christ is the still quiet voice.  You’re the person that responds.

MySpace Can Be YourSpace

Remember MySpace? I guess it’s still a ‘thing’ for some people, like bands and pedophiles. Sorry, Tom.

I was SUCH a MySpacer. I think somewhere on my resume I even listed I was a part-time photographer. I mean, come on, those perfectly angled photos weren’t going to take themselves. Am I right or am I right?? Hello, Internet. I’m here to model for you.

Bless my MySpace heart.

I’m way more sophisticated these days. I don’t JUST take ‘please tell me how pretty I look’ photos anymore. I post photos of random silliness, good eats, fun peeps and everything in between. I want you to see me. I want to share and I want you to share with me. But, I’ll only post the good ones.

Pose, crop, filter and publish.

I don’t want you to see my wrinkles, muffin top,  dark circles or gloomy days. You won’t see a photo of me first thing in the morning, sulking about being single or me being lazy when I should be working towards my goals. I want you to see the cleaned up, in control and inspirational version of me. If we’re honest, most of us want to see that side of each other in real life too.

Crop out your dirty, add a filter and then show me you.

As much as I love good lighting and filters for photos, in real life I don’t want that. I want the real, raw you. I don’t want to just talk about your job or hear stories about how your cat, Fluffy, did the darndest thing the other day. I want to ask tough questions and look underneath your fingernails for grit, pain and regret. I want to know what makes you laugh, what you aspire to do and encourage you along the way.

We’ve all got stuff. We’ve all hurt someone and we’ve all been hurt.

I don’t say that to discount the very unique, sensitive and painful parts of ourselves. But, it’s important to know we’re not alone in our struggles, fears and loneliness. One of the biggest lies we can believe is that no one will understand/forgive/care or that we’re the only ones with our particular type of hurt, past or fear.

There’s freedom in honesty and life in authenticity.

Now, this isn’t all just for sloppy agape sake. I’m not saying go to your local bar and tell everyone that will listen the deepest darkest secrets of your life. We’ve all been around that person and it’s not so pretty. But, I firmly believe there’s freedom in opening up your white-knuckled fist to let some things go to someone you trust. We all need that haven and we all need to be that haven for someone else.

Our lives uncropped, imperfectly angled and with #nofilter.

This is where you come in. I want YourSpace to invade MySpace. The more I talk to people, the more I realize that most people only share the ‘photo worthy’ parts about themselves and have been holding onto the muck in their hearts for so long that they feel they’ll never feel or look any differently. They’ve accepted that change is improbable and hope impossible.

I’m passionate about relationships, redemption and realness and I want to hear from you.

I want 5 people to honestly answer 5 questions and I’ll share their answers and mine on 5 different blog posts. My guest’s answers will be anonymous, unless they request otherwise. So, if you’re interested in sharing, leave a comment on this post or message me by clicking “Chatterbox Me!” on my site.

I look forward to hearing from you, but more than that, I want you to know this…

You are loved. You are not forgotten. There is hope.

  • Hi! This is me.