About Me. Looking at those words makes my armpits sweaty. I tell you with complete honesty that one of the reasons I have waited so long to set up a blog is that stupid phrase: About Me.
What does that even mean? Where do I start? And the more important question for me because brevity is not my personal gifting, Where do I end? My resume/work-history/professional-experience is wonky and patchy, like a mangy, one-eyed dog… the kind of thing that has to sort of grow on you. I have a Masters in Montessori Education and was a teacher for several years before having kids and staying at home. I started a blog when we moved overseas to Italy for a year and kept it up once we got home. That turned into a column on a website (which maybe had less viewers than my blogs) and then I wrote a column for our neighborhood paper. Eventually, I became social media manager for a couple of fantastic companies and did some freelance writing for a parenting center before moving to Atlanta. A teacher turned stay-at-home-mom turned writer-with-a-random-assortment-of-jobs doesn’t make for a super clean, impressive About Me section. But whatever… at the age of 44, I finally decided to take my mangy, one-eyed self back into a blog.
And here’s the thing. I have spent so many years listening to podcasts, reading books and talking to my people, feeling that nudge to just do the thing (or at least stop talking about it already)… that the discomfort of not having this writing outlet became worse than the fear of not knowing how it would all shake out.
So here are some things. About Me.
In the spring of 1996, a guy walked into our off-campus house at Miami University (the one in Ohio) for a group project with one of my housemates. He took his shoes off by the door and after he went upstairs, I turned to my other housemate and said, “Aw… that’s so sweet, he took his shoes off.” Roughly a year later, after graduation, I was talked into playing volleyball for the Cincinnati Sports and Social club (because my ears heard “social club”) and found myself playing against that same guy who took his shoes off. We’ve been married for almost twenty years.
We started out in St. Louis, moved to Cincinnati, then spent a year in Italy, back to Cincinnati and since July of 2017, we have been living, in Atlanta, Georgia. In between, we had two daughters who are now teenagers and they are completely amazing and are also olympian eye-rollers, we acquired a Schnoodle named Lucca who is nine and has two speeds: elderly and maniac, and also we have navigated a crap ton of life.
People are the best. My people, in particular. If I’m on the couch with my husband and my girls (which literally never happens because we did the thing we said we’d never do and they have computers in their rooms so they have no need for the downstairs except for sustenance and the front door, and that is the actual reason why I watch the Bachelor so that they will share a couch with me) then I am pretty much the happiest ever. Well, actually if I’m the happiest ever, then I’d be on the beach with them and a drink… but that doesn’t happen very often so the couch is totally cool with me. My point is, I like my family and after this many years of marriage and the fact that my daughters are legit teenagers, I feel like that is serious victory.
We are incredibly lucky to have friends who are like family and family who are like friends. It is one of the greatest blessings of our lives that we have created a life that is so full of people whom we adore. Our families are sort of the bomb and show up in amazing and beautiful ways. We live down the street from Ryan’s sister and her family (so we are sort of like Everybody Loves Raymond but less annoying and more awesome), which is the actual best and definitely makes leaving my parents back in Cincinnati a little easier (except probably not so much for my parents). I have deep, lifelong friendships from our life in Cincinnati who are my tribe, my shared brain, my ride-or-dies. The road back to them never feels that far thanks in part to a text string, GIFs and girls’ weekends. We have been equally lucky to find our people here and find that making friends as you get older is just as gratifying, life-giving and necessary as when you are young. I’ve never been more grateful for a community than the one we are in now… it is the source of so much joy, laughter and tremendous support.
Words are my love language. Well, technically, quality time is my love language. And wine. But words are fiercely important to me. Reading them, writing them, listening to them or saying them— I am here for words in all the ways. Words are everything. They can build, change or break the world. They are heartbreakingly and overwhelmingly powerful and I am constantly in awe of and inspired by them.
Spirituality is important to me— the journey of understanding ourselves, who we are, who we were put on this earth to be. It is sacred work and something that I have grown into over these many years. I grew up in a non-religious home going to Catholic schools. It was an unusual situation where I was the weird kid at school who was always sitting in the pew instead of all of that cool-kid kneeling and getting up for communion. But I remained fascinated with the idea of spirituality, the origin of religion and how I could get in on some of that. I ended up with some Christian hybrid born of religion class and my imagination, where I usually find Jesus on my runs wearing running shorts, riding shotgun in my car and at the end of a long day. My own, private Jesus— I felt like he was too normal and not God-like enough to explain to the religion teachers and too religious to bring home. So he has been like an imaginary friend for most of my life. I believe in a lot of things, but most fiercely in a God of love, acceptance of all and grace.
Church has been a part of our marriage since the beginning, but we have found our happy place in Crossroads in Cincinnati and now Northpoint in Atlanta, with its loud, pop-like worship music, relatable & inspiring sermons and our beloved small groups. It has transformed our relationship with each other, cultivated beautiful relationships with friends, deepened our relationship with God and Jesus and cracked wide open how we see the world and everyone in it.