Thursday, July 17, 2014

100 Happy Days

You may have noticed some of your friends posting pictures on social media with the hashtag #100happydays.

I started this initiative on June 10, just after I'd been pretty occupied with a project and not really able to think about some worries that were front and center. Having seen others' #100happydays posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I thought this could be a good option to help brighten a tough time.

When I first googled 100 happy days, I thought I'd see comments about why people originally started doing this and what current participants' reasons were. I was slightly surprised to discover an actual website and to see this:

I have to say that on this forty-second day of highlighted awareness of happy life, I concentratedly take time to not only notice things around me that bring me joy, but also make sure I capture images of those things so I can post them. This isn't totally different from how I am on a typical day, but it does give me a purpose and assigns a project to my random flower-and-puppies photos, which can be helpful for Pollyanna types like myself.

Stay tuned. I'll post more about my #100happydays findings closer to the end of my project.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Not on Instagram but want to keep up with the latest Miss USA 2014 photos? Check out this public Facebook album, updated daily.

Published Blog Posts, Selfies With Battleships and Other Surprising Moments from Covering Miss USA

When a friend encouraged me to apply to cover the Miss USA events in Baton Rouge, I never dream I'd end up having so much fun, much less with a blog post published in the local newspaper.

Please check out Miss Ohio's interest in history and our military at The Baton Rouge Advocate!

Friday, May 30, 2014

All That Glitters.

Often a sucker for a shiny object, I was recently encouraged to apply to cover the Miss USA pageant that's being held in Baton Rouge Sunday, June 8, 2014.

Not expecting to hear back after submitting my social info, I was excited to learn from the Baton Rouge Social Media Association that I was selected as one of Visit BR's social ambassadors for the event!

The other ambassadors and I had our initial meeting a few days ago and have divvied up events the contestants will be at for the next couple of weeks until the pageant.

So if you see an unusual number of glitz and glamour-related posts on my social platforms, I'm still myself, just in sparkle mode until June 8.

If you'd like to join in the conversations, we're using the hashtags #MissUSA, #GoBR and #KrewedeCrown. You can find me at the following places:
Shine on!

Monday, May 5, 2014

April Showers.

April showers bring May flowers.

This expression is either really true, a nice way of hushing us all up from complaining about the typical dreariness before spring's loveliness, or a little of both.

Regardless, if April showers truly do bring May flowers, what kind of botanical beauty must severe weather produce? Let's hope it brings tourist-worthy blooms that will knock the lenses off our phones and put Instagram's filters to shame, particularly since this April's "showers" ripped many Southern towns to shreds and will require repair work for months and years to come.

And, of course, I'm just referring the literal showers.

Lord knows we all have inner storms that even Jim Cantore's team couldn't predict or show up for -- the ones that sneak up on lovely dwelling places we keep so tidy and call home, barreling through our peace of mind and quiet hearts, tempting us to run for the hills and forget everything we've ever experienced about knowing the knowing God when we are still.

When any kind of shower, brutal or light, rips through our world and turns smiles to frowns, it's kind of hard to keep a Pollyanna-esque outlook. When it comes down to it, flowers are pretty, and some color is always nice, but how many meals can you make from them? Has anyone written a check with a bouquet of roses?

Not to mix cliches and the Bible, but in stormy times like these, I try to remember Scriptures referencing how much God cares for seemingly tiny and almost insignificant creatures like sparrows:
"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" Matthew 6:26 (English Standard Version)
I do think when it comes to "small" things in life, like flowers vs. flooding and birds vs. bills getting paid, maybe those old adages and forever applicable Scriptures are pointing to the same eternal truth: if our omniscient Creator attends to these details, He probably won't let his perfect creations flail because of circumstances like storms, literal or figurative.

Not that those affirmations are helpful when we're in the bathtub fully clothed as we hear the winds howl overhead, or when we're wondering why yet another piece of our life is flopping around as though we've poisoned it when we're clearly making efforts to do the right thing, but maybe, once the twister dies down and the debris settles and the sun comes back out, we can remember what's good and true and right: our God is bigger than these storms, and He doesn't withhold the beauty of the flowers afterwards.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Choosing Lent.

With a whopping 13 minutes till Lundi Gras, I began seriously thinking last night about what I may give up for Lent this year. (No time like the present, right?)

Around the same time, my multi-tasking mind recalled I hadn't watched a video my daddy had sent about nature. Keeping the parenthetical notation above in mind, I opened it, letting my mind ponder how I'd gone from a curious Baptist interested in her Catholic friends' devout practices to a member of a Presbyterian church where Lenten sacrifices are not only discussed, but encouraged. 

Watching the video, I was reminded of some of the reasons why I think Lent is important, regardless of denomination. 

First, the video: 

Now, a few reasons why Lent is important to me:
1. Sacrifice sharpens us. We never know when we'll need a skill, like being able to run fast, or spot a hole to climb in, or take a deep breath and think clearly. Maybe I've read too much Hunger Games.... Anyway, discipline can't hurt, right?

2. Sacrifice reminds us to be thankful. There may be better ways to learn appreciation than to go without even small things, and even for a short periods of time, but I'm not sure what those ways are.

3. Sacrifice reminds us we're not alone. Do I sometimes feel alone, like the only squirrel being chased down by the mean hawk? Well, naturally. I'm guessing many of us do. But is it possible for there to be one little squirrel in the forest? Doubtful. You and I are one of many, and can share so much. We just have to allow ourselves to. 

4. Sacrifice makes celebration sweeter. This fact, in the land of carnival and king cake known as the deep South, seems like such a no-brainer. But I think sometimes especially in the midst of such excess we need the reminder of why it all exists even more. It's not just a party for tourists. There's a story behind it, and come Easter, the real celebration is more heartfelt and glorious than any masquerade ball or parade could ever hope to present itself.
Baptist or Catholic, atheist or non-denominational, Presbyterian or Methodist, none of us are strangers to the feeling of being a small squirrel that is chased down by a ruthless hawk. Our inboxes fill with stress. Bank accounts remind us of our weaknesses. There are days when rather than blessings, our cups runneth over with relationship problems, health concerns, or repercussions from decisions we made ten years ago. No one is immune to parenting mistakes. No one can escape fears of the future. Hawks come in all shapes and sizes, and whether or not we believe there's a God or Lent is something we should partake in, we can't evade pressure.

We can, however, sharpen ourselves. We can meditate on what is true and just and pure. We can prepare ourselves for what may come our way. We can see what sacrifice feels like and appreciate what others (in my case, Jesus on the cross) have done for us. 

So that's why I choose to keep getting myself into this Lent situation. 

Because I'm far less prepared than any squirrel, and since every day brings a new hawk, it's clear this squirrel of a girl needs to take every opportunity to get busy sharpening skills and counting blessings. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Repost from another re. My ongoing love affair with my home state, Mississippi.


One outstanding quote:

"All growth is change and pain, but stagnancy is far worse. Life shouldn’t pass us by because we are virile, tough things. We are made from your delta, your seashore, and your folklore. Let’s give equal parts thanks and sorrow. Let’s mourn our wrongdoings and celebrate our indomitable spirit."

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014: Word.

Some of you know that instead of making one or two New Year's resolutions, I choose a meaningful word and try to squeeze the most out of it for the year's entirety. In the past, my words have been " "maintenance" or "structure" -- synopses of efforts to continue healthy habits or put some rigor around areas that need it.

For 2014, my word is "resourceful." 

While few people have truly limitless resources, many of us are truly limited in what's at our disposal. What could I be making the most of that I'm currently not? Time? Talents? Money? (These things may often seem in deficit, but really, am I using them wisely?) What about my most valuable assets: Friendships? Family? My home? My city? My country?

This year, my goal is to explore these things. 

Here's hoping I glean the marrow from them, being as resourceful as possible.