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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Rebirth

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The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of loss, emotion, growth, and change. Rebirth is the best way to describe the outcome for me. Without going into a very long, detailed account of how it came about and all the signs and triggers that fell like dominoes in front of me, I will say that I came out the other end on a new plane full of positivity, renewed faith, light, love, and hope.

With the help of a few unknowing friends, I have a great grasp on the true definition and calling for my life, though I’m still not sure exactly how I’m supposed to use it. I’m not worried – that will come in time. I’m starting with Free Hugs Birmingham for now, something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve got a few more projects along those same lines cooking in my head and heart and can’t wait to share them with you.

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This past weekend was spent at the annual women’s conference, reCreate, at Church of the Highlands. The conference is usually a time of surrender for me, where I come broken, in pieces, bawling my eyes out, needing love and healing. This year I was in a great place going in (thanks to the past few weeks) and had a completely different experience. I took away all positive affirmations from the speakers, writing down action items and things to continue on the journey I am already carving out for myself.

During the conference I ran into two friends and had the opportunity to sit down and talk with each of them separately for a good bit. Talking with Erin about her story and sharing mine with her, it was obvious to me that we were meant to meet up that day. Her story resonates with me on so many levels (I’ll let you read it for yourself here) and I can relate to it from many different perspectives. She has my utmost respect, love, and admiration for what she’s been through, what she’s decided, and what she continues to battle everyday. My favorite part of the conversation? After telling her what I want to do and sharing my fear and doubt with her, she simply said, “Just show up. Seriously, just show up, Sherri. He’ll do the rest.” I don’t think I’ll ever forget that and it may be my mantra for the rest of my life or any time I get nervous. Thank you for the life-changing words, Erin.

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Image courtesy of Mitzi Eaker

Later that day, I ran into Mitzi during a break, another friend who I don’t know very well, but have always enjoyed being around and looked up to. Running into her was a like a breath a fresh air – her smile lights up a room. She was there on happenstance and again, fate intervened. She told me the story of how she came to be at the conference (a great story!) and I shared with her my future plans and she summed it up perfectly when she said, “You just want to love people. And there are so many people that just need or want love.” That’s it! So, that’s my plan and that’s my mission – I’m going to start small and grow big, but that’s what I’m going to do….I’m just going to lift people up, love people and love on people. I know not everyone gets me and I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s ok. I’m just here to love you….whoever you are….starting with free hugs. And then my Free Love table…also coming soon to a corner near you.

reCreate was amazing. It reminded me that we’re not here for ourselves. We’re here for each other. I’m here for you. And while I want to make a difference, I’m going to start by loving you. Just loving you.

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30 Things I Love Right Now

Better late than never. Javacia, of See Jane Write, recently posted the 30 things she loves right now and invited us to do the same. So here I go:

1. Flash Tatts 2. Erin Condren goodies 3. Helping 4. This Michael Kors wallet I can’t afford. 5. JSON 6. Star gazer lilies 7. Woman (Oh, Mama) by Joy Williams 8. My tribe 9. Kat Von D Tattoo Brow 10. Getting money back when I shop 11. Learning the systems and people at my new job 12. Dancing in the dark 13. Sleep 14. Listening to cicadas 15. Torrid dresses 16. Summer storms 17. Therapy 18. Growing confidence, in myself and others 19. Happiness 20. My new #TechTuesdays on the blog 21. Sidewalk Film Festival 22. My new bongos 23. Contra dancing 24. Working on the revamp of my blog in my spare time 25. Beach trip anticipation – VACATION! 26. Lemon drops 27. Watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix 28. My Spotify playlists 29. Dressing up 30. Taco truck

30 Things I Love Right Now is a blog feature created by writer TJ Bietelman. 

What do you love right now?

This looks like a job for me

“Now this looks like a job for me so everybody just follow me
‘Cause we need a little controversy,
‘Cause it feels so empty without me”

~ Eminem (Without Me)

Today’s #bloglikecrazy prompt asks us to write about something controversial. I may lose some followers, but I hope not.

LET PEOPLE MARRY WHO THEY WANNA MARRY!

Boys, boys, girls, girls, black, white, yellow, green. Who cares? I am a Christian and I know what people “say” the Bible says but isn’t the most important lesson that we love each other? In a world where it’s difficult to both be alone or find someone you can really be yourself with, why would we impose rules and restrictions on love? We already have enough trials and tribulations during our lifetimes without adding nonsensical clauses on who can be with whom.

I am proud to say I have a boatload of LGBT and interracial couples as friends. Just like yesterday’s post, I would not be the intelligent, caring person I am today without those friends. They are no different than all my other friends, but they have been through more crap and have helped me see what really is important in this life. And quibbling or even disowning friends or family members because of who they love is the biggest waste of time and energy.

You are entitled to your beliefs and thoughts. And I am entitled to mine. I believe the greatest thing we can do in this life is love each other, help each other, and give back. Let’s focus on that and less on who you want to hold hands with for the rest of your life. I’ll hold yours if you hold mine.

Love yourself.
Find peace inside.
Share happiness.

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.

You Can Do Magic

It’s been a magical day, which was especially welcome after my emotion level last night. I didn’t get much sleep because of it and am beat. Much to tell, not enough energy to write it all right now. More tomorrow, but until then remember….

I never believed in things that I couldn’t see
I said if I can’t feel it then how can it be
No, no magic could happen to me
And then I saw you

I couldn’t believe it, you took my heart
I couldn’t retrieve it, said to myself
What’s it all about
Now I know there can be no doubt

You can do magic
You can have anything that you desire
Magic, and you know
You’re the one who can put out the fire

You know darn well
When you cast your spell you will get your way
When you hypnotize with your eyes
A heart of stone can turn to clay
Doo, doo, doo …

And when the rain is beatin’ upon the window pane
And when the night it gets so cold, when I can’t sleep
Again you come to me
I hold you tight, the rain disappears
Who would believe it
With a word you dry my tears

You can do magic
You can have anything that you desire
Magic, and you know
You’re the one who can put out the fire

You know darn well
When you cast your spell you will get your way
When you hypnotize with your eyes
A heart of stone can turn to clay
Doo, doo, doo …

And If I wanted to
I could never be free
I never believed it was true
But now it’s so clear to me

You can do magic
You can have anything that you desire
Magic, and you know
You’re the one who can put out the fire

You know darn well
When you cast your spell you will get your way
When you hypnotize with your eyes
A heart of stone can turn to clay
Doo, doo, doo …

You’re the one who can put out the fire
You’re the one who can put out the fire
You’re the one who can put out the fire …

You Can Do Magic lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Birmingham is Beautiful

Hi hi! Day 2 of #bloglikecrazy.

Our esteemed leader, Javacia Harris Bowser, provided us with writing prompts for this project if we were so inclined. Oh yes, I was totally inclined. Today’s prompt was DEFENSE. It IS football season here in the South, after all. Heh, I kid. She encouraged us to defend something in our post today that usually gets a bad rap. I’ll give ya something – BIRMINGHAM. I touched on it yesterday, but this city is absofreakinmazing. (+1 for that awesome made-up word).

I drive a lot of places. I don’t like to fly so me and my sweet little ride venture all over this beautiful country of ours. Birmingham is a great location geographically because we have mountains, beaches, flat lands, the coast, and major cities all within a few hours’ drive of here. Name it, you can get to it. Well, not really desert, but who really wants to hang out in the desert anyway? My point is that we are centrally located to and in some of the most beautiful mountains, trees, and beaches in the country. And I haven’t even touched on the city itself.

I am not a snob, but I am not a fan of traffic. I lived in Northern Virginia/DC for a few years and I got my fill for LIFE there. And I am, at heart, a city girl. Therefore I live and work and play mostly downtown and on this side of the mountain. I venture down US 280 when I absolutely have to and it’s mostly to hit the Apple store at the Summit. When the Target gets finished on Lakeshore, I will be down 280 even less. 🙂 I venture down or up 65 when traveling to Montgomery or Wisconsin to see my family. Don’t get me wrong, 280 and 65 are fine and provide some of the most scenic views of our county as far as the eye can see. But I prefer the bustle, culture, and atmosphere of downtown.

I’ve lived in a few cities, but I always end up back in Birmingham. There’s a reason: the beautiful historic buildings downtown, the charm and character in every brick facade, the history in the sidewalks, and the memories in the store windows. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to live in a loft.  The lofts downtown have exploded in the past decade and businesses on the other side of the tracks have followed. Second Avenue North is becoming the place to be and 1st Avenue is right behind it, not to mention Morris Avenue. I always keep an eye out and hope to one day buy (or at least rent) down there.

Along with the cityscape are the activities that Birmingham has to offer – they are never-ending. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until I die – If someone says there is nothing to do in this town, they aren’t looking very hard. If you look at my personal Facebook and Google calendar any day of the week, there is likely an event on there and usually more than one. Our people are active  – whether it’s personally or professionally – and they are putting themselves out there and LEADING the way for others. They are organizing projects, runs, fundraisers, art exhibits, plays, comedy shows, restaurant openings, festivals, kickball and ultimate Frisbee tournaments, pet meet ups, concerts, and everything else in between. Our libraries and civic organizations are bustling with free activities, and there are unique fundraisers for worthy causes and non-profits all the time.

Our city has its share of problems and the government and BOE are infamous at this point. But, Birmingham’s positives still vastly outweigh her negatives and I think people sometimes forget that. I don’t. And I’m not alone…there are many cheerleaders around the city. Look closely and talk – you will be surprised. Being a part of the love and growth movement in Birmingham runs in my blood. I try to share and spread that love when I can. If you ever need a reminder of how beautiful Birmingham is, stop on the 22nd Street Bridge at sunset. Or visit Linn Park at sunrise to watch volunteers feed the houseless. Or go to Five Points South any day of the week and witness the love. It’s there…I promise. And if you can’t find it, email me at sherri at yougotrossed dot com and we’ll go on a field trip. Stay beautiful, Birmingham.

Love yourself.
Find peace inside.
Share happiness.