Hallelujah

I promise to get back to the writing, but with all that’s going on right now – especially another shooting today – I just need music, love and light. So, here’s Daniel’s video of the launch of the lanterns last night at The Lights Fest. I’ve been watching it over and over in between work hours today when I needed a breather. Remember, I love you.

Here is my plan

A friend on Facebook recently posted this after the election and I fell in love with it and immediately asked if I could share it. Here you go:

Here is my plan. It does no good to say it, but it does do good to do it. I post it here just in case you’re up also for tackling this daily, hourly, active hard work–or in case you want to hold me accountable, days and weeks and years from now. Peace, friends. See you tomorrow. ~ G.h. Burgin Mathews

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#TBT to That Time I Nearly Vomited on 100 People

Today is Throwback Thursday, right? Great! Let’s throw it back to less than an hour ago when I nearly hurled on 100 very nice people at the top of the Kress building in downtown Birmingham.

Tonight was one of my favorite nights in Birmingham – the Sidewalk Film Festival $10k Party where they sell 150 tickets and one lucky person walks away with $10,000 at the end of the night. It was also three years ago tonight that my husband and I first hung out for an extended period of time and the night of our first kiss. So this is a pretty special night in its own right even without the party.

Tonight, however, was more nerve wracking and more emotional than I had experienced in years, maybe in all my years. They start by calling out 10 of the 150 numbers for elimination. Then they take a break and the DJ plays some music and then another batch is called for elimination. My husband and I had 3 chances between us for the prize. His number was eliminated in the first few rounds. I still had my two. A few rounds of 10 numbers being called and we’re now on to batches of 25 numbers being called for elimination. I’m still in it with two numbers. Hubby is constantly redoing the math to figure out my odds.

There are ten numbers left. I have one of them.

There are now five numbers left. I have one of them.

There are now three numbers left. I have one of them. They ask the top three to come to the front of the stage so everyone can see their reactions. A very nice lady next to me introduces herself and shakes my hand. I reciprocate.

They call a number for elimination. There are now two left. I have one of them.

My head is swimming. The blood is rushing to my face. I’m closing my eyes and grasping my ticket, trying to be calm and mindful. People are shouting my name, someone asks me if I’m praying. I don’t pay attention…I CAN’T pay attention…my mind is a blur. I want to vomit. I think I’m going to…right in front of all the people. In front of the emcee. In front of my husband.

The last number is called for elimination. It’s mine. People come up and pat me on the back and ask me if I’m ok. No, not really, but thank you for asking. I mean, I’m fine. I didn’t come with that $10k and I’m not leaving with it. But wow, what a roller coaster.

I think about the cosmic meaning of what just happened the entire way home. I’m grateful I was close, but in all honesty, that kiss from my husband three years ago and my amazing life, friends and family far surpass any check I could have been given tonight. So while I didn’t win the raffle, I won the jackpot and I’m very happy with that.

But who are we kidding? I would have OWNED that check! 🙂

Love? I’ve Got an App for That

It was a chilly November night in Birmingham, Alabama. We had been following each other for a few weeks and it was time to come face to face. As I sat at the bar with friends, laughing at the quip our bartender had just shared, movement across the street caught my eye through the restaurant’s front window. There he was. I recognized him from his picture and our chance encounter a week earlier. He waited patiently for the signal and sauntered across the street seemingly without a care in the world. As he stepped through the door, his electric eyes caught mine and I was bitten.

That’s the way I like to tell the story of meeting my husband on Twitter. That’s right, Twitter. I remember the days when it was taboo to meet someone online for the possibility of a date. It’s still not as widely accepted as meeting someone at a party, in a bar, church, or other natural setting, but it’s far more common than 10 years ago. Granted, we always have to be careful about who we talk to and especially who we meet, but there are some good safety tips out there to help you when you cross that bridge.

I used numerous online dating sites throughout my single years. I’ve never been one to shy away from technology and tended to throw caution to the wind whenever it came to making new friends. That’s not always the smart thing to do, but it afforded me a lot of experience figuring out what does and doesn’t work online. You wouldn’t believe how “careful” I have been over the years, setting up fake email addresses, never using my real name, fibbing about my age a bit, and never putting my true zip code. All of these things were safety precautions I took to ensure that if I did meet someone who started stalking me online, they wouldn’t get very far.

As I matured, I surrounded myself with people and places that were well populated and lit so I could relax a little bit when meeting an online friend IRL (“in real life” for those of you new to the language). So when I first spotted Daniel’s Twitter profile on a mutual friend’s timeline, I was immediately intrigued. The bright red fez on his head struck a humorous chord with me and I had to find out more, even though his profile picture was oh-so-small. Click. “Follow.” I am following Fez Boy on Twitter. Now we sit back and watch. Ding! He followed me back. Ack! What? What do I say now? What do I do? How do I get to know him better AND impress him from afar via Twitter?

We spent the next few days interacting a little on Twitter, but mostly continued messaging with our other friends. That week, I attended a local improv comedy show with a friend. I noticed a guy sitting by himself at the table behind us, in the corner. Hmmm, creeper. (That was my go-to line back then for anyone sitting by themselves in a corner at a show. I was horrible!) During intermission, I went to the bar to get a drink. Creeper was in line behind me. I didn’t notice him until I got my drink and walked around the side of the bar to talk to friends. Wow, Creeper is kind of cute. I would totally go out on a date with him. Do I go introduce myself? Not being the shy type AT ALL, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it for some reason. I was suddenly painfully unsure of myself. What? Who is this girl? Creeper got his drink and walked back inside to watch the rest of the show. Drats! As the show resumed I kept a discreet eye on Creeper without being obvious. He’s got a great smile. I snuck another glance at the end of the show and POOF! He was gone. Noooooooooooooo!

The next day Fez Boy (Remember him? From Twitter?) mentioned online the improv show he attended last night. What? Could it be? No way! I asked Fez Boy where he was sitting. He said in the back. I asked if it was the back right corner at a table by himself? Now who’s the creeper, Sherri? He confirmed my guess – CREEPER IS FEZ BOY! I was thisclose to him the night before and chickened out. I can’t believe it. But I was also giddy that we have the same taste and glad I found him to be very cute in person.

This is a sign. I must meet him now. I planned a casual group dinner at a favorite local restaurant for anyone that wanted to come and put out the call on Twitter. I made sure Mutual Friend was able to come and crossed my fingers that Fez Boy would make an appearance. He came. He crossed the street, came into the restaurant, and I fell instantly.

Twitter is a great tool for professional and personal networking. It’s easy to find like-minded people for social events, causes, business referrals, references, and everything in between. And you might even find your soul mate on there like I did. Looking for love for love? I’ve got an app for that.

Reunion

Tonight I dropped a friend off at the Greyhound bus station. As I started to pull away, a car pulled in and parked behind me. A young lady got out and was immediately bowled over with a hug by another young lady who came running out of the station squealing.

I don’t fly a lot and I’ve never taken the train farther than the airport. I have never ridden on a Greyhound. My point is that I don’t necessarily get to experience a lot of other people’s reunions. Watching that scene tonight left me with a twinge of wistfulness wishing I saw unabridged happiness like that more often. Maybe it’s out there and I’m just not a part of the jet setter world so I don’t see it. Is it out there? Are there tearful, hug-filled squeals of joy at the airport? I am sure there are when our service men and women return home, but what about everyone else? Do we, as a society, still show excitement and affection when we see someone we’ve missed for a while? Or is it just hug and a smile? Let’s squeal when we see those we love or missed. Let’s get excited when we hold them in our arms again. Let’s love LOUD. I am (fair warning).

Love yourself.
Find peace inside.
Share happiness.

“Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today.”

ring

“Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam. And wove, twue wove, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah… So tweasuwe youw wove”
~ The Princess Bride

FINALLY! I can tell the world!  Do you know how hard it has been for me to keep quiet about this? I am not known for my patience or keeping my mouth shut when there is big news. I can do it (obviously), but I’m not a fan. 🙂 The “big news” that I hinted at earlier this week is finally public knowledge – Daniel and I are engaged! He asked me last week, I – of course – said yes, and we’ve been quietly telling the family and such until today. There was a method to our madness and I appreciate all of my wonderful gal pals and close friends not getting offended by not being the first to know. It was a very special, sweet proposal without a lot of fanfare (unlike me and what I normally go for, but it was PERFECT in this situation), and we are happy to finally be able to tell everyone. We have so many wonderful friends that have been along for the ride ever since we met that night at Little Savannah so many moons ago. We have made a million more friends on our journey and can’t wait to share the special day with all of you. We haven’t ironed out any details yet, but do keep an eye out for information. I think we’re going to have to do a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the celebration party we want to throw at the end of it all. Or I’m going to go around asking for donations again, but not for the next Bham Dance Walk…for our party! lol. You all are most definitely invited, but it may turn into BYOB because there is no way we can feed and imbibe all the awesome folks of Birmingham that we want to invite. We’ll figure it out, but any and all tips, help, advice is greatly appreciated. And yes, that is my ring. He did a GREAT job! 🙂

In other news: Don’t forget that the Picture Perfect Holiday Giveaway is still open and I’m looking forward to your entry.

Love yourself.
Find peace inside.
Share happiness.

When One Door Closes….

 

It’s taken me a long time to muster up the strength to write this post even though it comes from a happy place.  One of my best friends, Caleb, is moving back home this weekend. While we haven’t known each other that long, it feels like forever. I thought I would share my story of going home and how I met Caleb as I wish him well on his new adventures.

I moved back to Birmingham on November 26th, 2010. My brother and I left in the wee hours of the morning that Friday from Virginia, him driving the large U-Haul and me following behind in my car. We parted ways in Alabama about 1 a.m. in the pitch black on I-59; he split off to go home to Clanton (taking the truck with him) and I finished the last few miles into Birmingham, tears streaming down my face as I saw the city lights come into view. They were tears of joy; I was beyond happy to be “home.” I loved living in Virginia and missed the people there more than I could show them, but this was home. This was where my girls and most of my family were.

I hadn’t seen my new home yet in person. My Bham bestie – Lee – had worked with me over the miles to locate, tour, and eventually secure a beautiful townhouse for me in the south side of town. When I arrived to the address in the middle of the night, I was nervous, hopeful, and scared to death since I didn’t know this side of town that well. 🙂 Needless to say, she’d planned wonderfully for my impending arrival: paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins, munchies, hand soap and hand towels, night lights throughout the house, and – most importantly – toilet paper and a huge bottle of wine (and wine opener) chilling in the fridge. She had thought of everything I could possibly need in the middle of the night after a 14 hour drive. I know I’ve thanked her for her friendship and thoughtfulness since then, but she’ll never really know how much it meant. Or how much I will remember it as a lovely story to tell for years to come.

I got Millie, my dog, settled and went about inflating my air mattress in my new bedroom (as much as I could tell it was the ‘master’ in the middle of the night). I’m sure my new neighbors loved the air blower cranking up at 2 a.m. “Welcome to the ‘hood, Noisy!” I slept as peacefully and as much as I could in an unfamiliar place that I couldn’t see very well, while trains rumbled right outside my window. I rose bright and early Saturday morning to get re-acquainted with my city…in my PJs because I couldn’t find my clothes.  My first stop: COFFEE! I tootled down the street and lo and behold, a local coffee shop – Forest Perk Coffee. I was beside myself at my good fortune of having an independent coffee shop so close to home. I grabbed my once-familiar Black & White and (literally) bounded up to the counter to place my order. I was so excited about being home that the young man behind the counter (seriously) asked me if I was on crack. I politely explained that I was not a) on crack b) drunk or c) on medication – I was just very happy to finally be back in Birmingham. He thought I was a nut, made my mocha, and we parted ways. His name was Tim and I knew we’d be fast friends.

As the weeks went by, I would stop at Forest Perk more often and get my medium mocha. I found myself drawn to the quiet, studious barista – Jeremy – and the crazy, talkative one – Tim. The owner, Caleb, was very polite yet we never made it past the obligatory formalities even though I bounded up in there nearly every day. Finally, one day, I was inviting them to some local event and Caleb passed me his phone number on the way out the door. I was thrilled! I was IN! In what? No idea, but I was in! I texted him the moment I got to work and we started our friendship over cell phones that morning. It wasn’t long before we were thick as thieves and going everywhere together – we were both single, both dog lovers, both coffee lovers, and had a million more things in common.

Fast forward two years later to now: We both have very special Birmingham people in our lives, we both have more animals than when we first met, we both have different cars, and we’ve both been through more ups and downs the last few years than I care to recall. But, we’ve also been there for each other more times than I can recall. There’s never been a cross word between us, never a fight. Of course there have been times we’ve driven each other crazy and needed a little time apart/to ourselves, but it always reminded of us how important we are to each other. And how much we miss the other one when they’re not around.

Caleb, you’ve been my best friend and “husband” for the past few years. There aren’t enough words to describe what you mean to me and what a joy it’s been having you in my life – helping me, watching over me, looking after me, and supporting me with your love, words, and Toby’s saliva. 😉 I know you will be great wherever you go and whatever you do. As sad as I am today and these past few weeks, a bigger part of me is happy for you…happy that you’re doing what is best for you right now, happy that you’re the son your parents raised you to be, happy that you’re a wonderful father to the boys, and happy that you have been such an intricate part of my life these past few years. I know you’re only 1 phone call and 90 miles away at any time. That goes both ways – I am always here for you. You will never be forgotten, you will always be loved, and you will always be my best friend.

I love you.

Sherri

Day of Women

I had a wonderful, very girl-fueled day yesterday that filled me with such love, inspiration, and awesomeness. Whoa, I didn’t think ‘awesomeness’ was really a word, but just looked it up and yes, WE HAVE A WINNER, FOLKS! Look at me getting all wordy and creative in my blog. 😉

Yesterday was a great day at work divided by a delicious lunch at one of my favorite local spots – Nabeel’s Cafe & Market. They have the best Greek food this side of Greece. I was fortunate enough to enjoy it with some of my favorite lady friends: Cynthia, Amber, Jessica, Rachel, and her two gorgeous children. We got to know each other a little better, shared some female FAQs, and decided to take the rest of the day off to go shopping. That didn’t happen, but we had fun fantasizing for a few moments. I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of ladies to dine with and you should check out their blogs, tweets, and words of wisdom. And if you need your butt looked at, be sure to give Rachel a call. Tell her I sent you. 😉

After work it was off to my first See Jane Write event. If you aren’t familiar with this group, you are doing yourself a disservice. It’s a wonderfully diverse group of very talented women in Birmingham who share stories, help, meals, and a serious love for writing..all started by the lovely Javacia Harris Bowser. You can check it out at seejanewritebham.com. Last night’s event was a ghostwriting/co-writing/freelancing seminar led by Nancy Dorman-Hickson. Ms. Dickson helped author the book about the real-life socialite behind the movie Charlie Wilson’s War. She gave us great tips on how to be a better author, market ourselves, as well as expertise on co-writing a book. The knowledge was endless, but my favorite thing was how down to earth she was. She spoke on a beginner’s level for those of us new to branching out and answered all of our questions with easy-to-understand guidelines. I’m thankful I was able to attend and take away a lot of action items that I am starting TODAY.

How is YOUR Wednesday going? That’s the real question here. A little while back, I attended a See Jane Write “meet and greet” of sorts. During our dinner, one Jane told us that she begins each day thinking about at least one thing she is thankful for and one thing she’s excited about. We all delved into that for a bit and it has really stuck with me. I need to put it into practice more, but tell me (in the Comments section) one thing you are thankful for and one thing you are excited about. I will be sending something special to a random winner drawn this weekend – just in time for VBS here in the South (Vacation Bible School a.k.a. Football Season).

I’m going to leave you with a wonderful thought that I borrowed from the Chopra Center: “I am loved, lovable and loving.”

Love yourself.
Find peace inside.
Share happiness.