My Prayer for America

Today is the Inauguration Day of the 45th president of the United States of America. That means 45 times we have witnessed the peaceful transition of power and the passing of the baton between men of differing ideologies. When I consider how rare that is in our current world – and the history of the world – you have to pause and take pride in the people of the United States for continued belief in the office of the president and respect for the transition of power. Modern times has made the inauguration more of a show instead of the simple swearing into office and speech the event was once.

The 2001 inauguration we were in our final stretch of time in NoVa and I remember us watching George W. Bush be sworn in during school. I remember my daddy taking the day off work and going into the city with my mom for the inauguration and for one of the inaugural balls that evening. I remember thinking how incredible the peaceful transition was even as a sixth grader and realizing how special the governmental system was in the United States. I also put attending an inauguration on my bucket list, so maybe one day I’ll be able to cross that off.

Today as I reflect on the historical significance of the ceremony occurring today, and how the staff truly changes almost entirely overnight in the White House (crazy when you think about it!), I am humbled to pray for our country.

I pray that we will become unified in the belief that the United States is an amazing place to live and awed by the simple, peaceful transition that occurs today.

I pray that we will become united communities that seek to love others as ourselves and step up to fill in gaps that will be left by the governmental spending cuts that are coming.

I pray that we will honor and respect our neighbors, ourselves and our political process.

I pray that true dialogue will begin where both sides of the aisle actually listen to the other and work on plans to compromise and respect that both parties were elected to our representative assembly, and both parties ideals represent different sides of our American ideal.

I pray that education will become a larger priority for our nation, and students will be able to learn more than how to take a standardized test that tells us nothing about the intelligence of each child or the quality of the educator teaching them.

I pray that my friends who are police officers will feel safe doing their job, and their families will be able to worry less about whether they’ll be home again.

I pray that every American will be able to have and afford healthcare and that there is a plan to replace the ACA that congressmen have been so desperate to repeal.

I pray that in the gap of federal funding of the arts and humanities, we see a grassroots movement to showcase the importance of these disciplines to the human experience and why art isn’t just a frivolous interest of the wealthy.

I pray that we communicate the value of every member of our society regardless of the color of their complexion, their mental health, their class or their occupation; I pray that the marginalized who are fearful now, will feel safe again in the weeks and months to come.

I pray that we as a country address mental health reform and begin a true national dialogue on mental healthcare and acknowledge it as equal to physical health and begin to treat it as such.

I pray that the nasty sound bite vacuum culture we have created and perpetuated through social media and the internet disappears in wake of realizing how mean it is and how it moves us nowhere.

I pray we become a nation that treats kindness as a high ideal and extends kindness at every turn, especially when having ideological discussions in all platforms.

I pray that freedom of the press and freedom of religion will again mean what they once did, and that journalists and people of all faiths will feel protected by the Bill of Rights that gives these freedoms in the first place.

There is so much I hope and pray for our country as we embrace a new administration and an opposing ideology to what has guided the country for the last 8 years. Our country is deeply divided and wounded and crying out for healing, and my prayer is that we begin to heal. The healing will occur day by day in the daily relationships and interactions that have been shattered this past election cycle. It’s a healing that will begin in personal relationships and individual communities before it reaches the halls of Congress and the people’s house on Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s a healing I truly believe we are capable of if we can put aside our own pride and act in kindness and compassion.

We each hold deep ideals of what is best for our country and act on them through how we spend our time and money bettering our communities, but we need to also respect that the difference of idea is what is so incredible about our political system. There have been different ideas about the role of government since our founding and there will always be different perspectives of what is best for the United States, but we need to find a way to engage well with those we disagree with and remain steadfast friends and family.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia were true friends who enjoyed each others company, but were of deeply different ideologies; yet they honored the value they saw in the other person and treated each other with respect and kindness. Our founding fathers and their successors were similar in being able to disagree respectfully, tactfully and kindly, continuing to find value in the person and their similarities outside of their political beliefs.

That is my greatest prayer for our country. The prayer that we will return to treating others kindly and respecting someone for who they are while also re-learning the true skills of rhetoric and debate, not the mockery of debate that exists in our curated vacuums.

I pray true dialogue opens up and that the hearts and ears and minds of our country are ready.

I pray we unite as a country and forge together for the continued betterment of the country we all feel so passionately about.

I pray that love will trump hate and I pray that we will choose kindness.

Happy Inauguration Day my fellow Americans. May this country continue to be the land that we love.

What’s In A Name?

We are NOT pregnant, but many of our friends are, and so are many of the bloggers and YouTubers I follow. I have always loved names and creating lists of names I love and their meanings, and falling in love with new names from characters I love or historical people I find. I love going through the branches of our family tree and finding names once worn by our ancestors and trying to discern what they were like. I enjoy grouping names for short stories I play out in my head, and one day may begin to write them all down. Suffice it to say, there are many, many names I love but will never use for either future fur children or future human children. Still, I thought it would be fun to share 10 boy names and 10 girl names I love but will never use and why I would never use them. This may be something I share again down the road because there are so many names I love, but I figured this was a good place to start.

Girls

  1. Nora: light. I have always like the name Nora. One of the girls who was in Oliver with mys sister and I was named Nora and she was so sweet. Unfortunately, there is no way this would work with our surname, so I will never use it.
  2. Eleanor: bright shining one. This is such a classic name, similar to Nora, and I like the classic feel. I like that its a name that suits a woman her whole life, but isn’t common enough for there to be five of in the same class at school – hello! my name is such a common one! – Unfortunately, just like Nora, this just would not work with our surname.
  3. Adelaide: nobility. A name I have loved for as long as I can remember. It is so classic and Germanic and just beautiful. Its uncommon, but is a name you could picture on a neighbor or friend.
  4. Gertrude: strength of a spear. This name is just  adorable to me! I can picture it on a young girl and an old woman, but I know to many people this name sounds like it belongs to someone’s Grammy.
  5. Cora: maiden. We had a sweet elderly neighbor who our whole family adored named Cora. She is someone we all still discuss with so much love in our family and whose memory makes us all smile. Now, whenever I hear Cora I think of her and can’t help but grin. Unfortunately, there are just other names we like more.
  6. Greta: pearl. I adore sweet Greta! It is another Germanic name and I love how it sounds. However, William’s grandmother had a dog with this name, so there is no way we would ever use it.
  7. Virginia: pure. When we were younger, my brother used to say if he had a girl he would name her Virginia. He was obsessed with Virginia and Cody. I’ve known many family friends who have used Virginia as a middle name, and it’s actually my sister-in-law’s middle name, so we would never use it.
  8. Emma: universal. Such a classic, sweet name. But its so common! This is a name my husband has also loved forever, but we know too many people with the name Emma to ever use it ourselves.
  9. Genevieve: tribe woman. I have always loved the name Genevieve. I have a great-aunt Genevieve, my Pappy’s sister, who lived in D.C. and worked for the Library of Congress and who I remember visiting when we were younger and just loving. I love that in the books about Madeline, the dog’s name is Genevieve; we wanted to name our dog Genevieve growing up, but couldn’t because of Aunt Genevieve, so she became Madeline. I just have truly always LOVED the name. We won’t ever use it though because of how it sounds when people pronounce it. We like the French pronunciation and it just doesn’t translate well to all the dialects of the people we love, so I will never use the name, but it will always be one of my very favorites.
  10. Eliza: pledged to God. I like that this name is a diminutive of Elizabeth, the name of my paternal grandmother and my middle name. I love that there were many literary characters named or called Eliza that I enjoyed growing up. I love that it feels spunky and full of life. I won’t ever use it though because there are other names we like better.

Boys

  1. Harry: estate ruler. It is so classic, has been the nickname of many kings and would fit both a young boy or an old man, but people would also think we chose the name because of our mutual love of Harry Potter. We just don’t like Harry as much as we like other names.
  2. Gideon: hewer. I have loved the name Gideon for years! It feels classic and different simultaneously, while still being unusual enough that you don’t meet many men names Gideon. I won’t ever use this name for the simple reason that my husband just isn’t a fan.
  3. Ezra: help. I have always like the name Ezra, but I don’t like that he was a central character in Pretty Little Liars and the character of that character. I won’t ever use this name because of its association with that show.
  4. Asher: happy, blessed. Another Biblical name I have always been drawn too! I won’t ever use this name for the simple reason that this name has become too popular among our peers.
  5. Graham: gravelly homestead. This was a name I fell in love with in college. It felt very Southern and New England at the same time, and I met several people with this name when I worked in D.C. It felt fresh and modern, but still classic. I won’t ever use this name for the simple reason that my husband just isn’t a fan.
  6. Wyatt: guide. I adore names that begin with W and names that begin with G for both boys and girls. Wyatt just rolls off the tongue nicely and is a name that would wear well through life. I won’t ever use this name for the simple reason that I have a cousin with this name, and therefore we don’t want to use it.
  7. Noah: comfort. Noah just feels so sweet! Its another name I have enjoyed since I was young. I won’t ever use this name for the simple reason that an N name won’t work with our surname.
  8. Gilbert: bright pledge. If you’ve ever read Anne of Green Gables, you’ll know when I first fell in love with this name! I also love that its a subtle nod to my maiden name, because the first three letters are the same. I won’t ever use this name for the simple reason that my husband just isn’t a fan.
  9. John: God is gracious. Clearly, I adore classic names that have stood the test of time. I won’t ever use this name for the simple reason that the name is too common.
  10. Rhett: ardent, fiery. This name like Wyatt just rolls of the tongue so nicely. I like that its classic but uncommon and feels like it belongs to a different time. I won’t ever use this name for the simple reason that my husband just isn’t a fan and I don’t like that people would always picture Rhett Butler when they heard the name.

Like I said, I just love names and researching their meanings and individuals who have carried them. While we are not in a place to need any names right now, I still love hearing what names other people love! What names do you love?

My Sick Day Necessities

Its been a long few days around here friends. I woke up Sunday with a heavy head, congested nose and scratchy throat. Telltale signs of the inevitable winter cold. Thankfully, it was a three day weekend, but then, those tend to be when my body chooses to become ill anyways.

I decided to put off my to-do list, not including laundry, and spend time just relaxing with William and trying to feel better. That meant a lot of Last Man Standing on Netflix and many mugs of tea!

Knowing that I’m finally feeling like the worst of the cold is behind me, I thought it would be fun to share my sick day necessities.

Dayquil/Nyquil. While I’m not the biggest fan of how massive these pills are, they tend to work the best for me and helping me be able to breathe.

A cozy blanket. When I don’t feel well, I need a cozy blanket to snuggle under.

Comfy pajamas. I love fun pajama bottoms & these new ones were my go-to this weekend.

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Slippers. When I’m not feeling well, my already cold feet become even colder, so soft slippers are necessary.

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Hot Tea. I’m convinced there is nothing more soothing on a scratchy throat or with a congested nose than a mug of hot tea to warm you from the inside out.

Lip balm. When I get congested, I breathe more through my mouth, which makes my lips dry. Thus, having a quality lip balm is vital.

Water. I always feel so dehydrated when I’m sick, so I keep water nearby at all times.

Kleenex. I will use whatever type of tissue is available when I’m in need, but with how red and raw my nose becomes, Kleenex brand is the most gentle and my preferred choice.

Lotion. I rely on lotion daily, but when sick I really use it. I love how soothing my eye cream feels on puffy eyes and how refreshing my daily moisturizer feels on my face – especially around a red nose! I love how lotion feels on my body after a hot bath or shower that just stripped the moisture from my skin. I also love how hydrating hand cream feels after washing my hands so much!

I am so thankful to have such an amazing husband who helped care for me while I wasn’t feeling well this weekend. He would make me lunch, get me medicine or water and just check on me as I worked through a couple boxes of tissues. I’m praying he doesn’t catch the cold I had, but he said his throat has been feeling scratchy too.

What are your sick day essentials?

Watching Lately

Anne of In Residence does these watching lately posts every month that I love that I decided would be a fun thing to start doing over here as well!

Period: Victoria! I know it just premiered on Sunday and I’ve only watched a couple minutes of it so far, but I know I’m going to love it! I also loved The Crown, which was the last period piece we watched.

Drama: Sherlock. I hate that the series is so short, and we aren’t caught up yet, but it is so good!

Reality: We just finished The Great Holiday Baking Show and loved it, though William says they’re all too nice. I love that its formatted after The Great British Baking Show from the U.K., that the food always looks and sounds amazing and that the contests genuinely seem like nice people, as do the judges. It’s just happy, wholesome entertainment. We also are enjoying the new season of Fixer Upper and loving that the kids have had a bigger role in the episodes thus far; seeing their family dynamic is fun!

Comedy: Last Man Standing has been our Netflix show of choice lately. I love that the show is set in Colorado and that Mike Baxter reminds me so much of my dad. Its made us both laugh out loud a couple times. I don’t like the youngest daughter though; her character was wonderful season one, but ever since then has just come across as very mean.

What are you watching lately?

Friday Favorites

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I don’t know that I’ve been so thankful for a Friday in a while… this week has been hard. Work has been frustrating and causing me to become very tired on top of the normal exhaustion from returning to the real world after a few weeks off.

I loved this week’s episode of Fixer Upper! That elderly couple was precious and it made me teary to see the “In Memory of…” at the end of the episode.

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I have been putting cinnamon in with my coffee grounds every morning this week before brewing my daily pot and I forgot how much I loved the extra layer of flavor it gives.

I’ve been using my olive eyeliner all week and I’ve decided it’s my favorite color I own – it looks soft, but my eyes still pop. My mama would always use olive or purple, and she was on to something.

I’ve been enjoying wearing some of my new pieces from Girl Meets Game Day, my sister-in-law’s boutique. They’ve been comfortable, cute and perfect for getting back into the working world. I’ve been wearing the dresses with leggings and I wore the elephant top with blue jeans for a more casual day.

So, I haven’t been watching The Bachelor, but I have been listening to my favorite Bachelor related podcast, Here to Make Friends and I love these girl’s take on the show. They have discussions like my friends and I do and generally have a guest on each show that was a former contestant on a previous season, or once this season goes further, from this season on too. Its entertaining and fun, and this year is probably my favorite yet.

Earlier this week I finished Courage to Soar and have been reading Strengths Based Marriage, a relational understanding of my Strengths Finder assessment and Beginning French by Les Americains. I received both books for review; Strengths Based Marriage from Book Look Bloggers and Beginning French through Net Galley. So far, they’re both interesting and engaging.

I also love that today is Friday the thirteenth! William & I got engaged on Friday, February 13, 2015 and so I’ve found myself looking forward to every Friday the thirteenth since!

What have you been loving this week?

 

We’re Moving!

So, now that it has been announced to both of our current employers, I thought I would share our news officially here as well.

Come summer, we are moving to the greater Buffalo area!

William accepted a job at a university in the area, and so we will be saying goodbye to Idaho and the Rocky Mountain West and head back east of the Mississippi.

I have family in Pittsburgh, southern New Jersey and Michigan, so it will be nice to be close to them – especially my grandmothers in Pittsburgh! William’s family is all in Alabama, so they’ll be closer too, and it will be easier to fly to Colorado to see my family instead of having to drive through Wyoming.

My best friend lives in New York City as does one of my cousins, so it will be amazing to be so much closer to them too! Plus, William and I got engaged in New York City, so it will be nice to be able visit more frequently.

We’re also both into history and travel, so being able to drive to so many major cities will be such a fun opportunity for us to spend time in Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., etc. It will be fun to visit Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, especially in the autumn! And to be close enough to catch my favorite professional sports teams in action! I’ve been a big Steelers, Penguins and Pirates fan all my life, and William has adopted the Bills and Sabers as his team upon accepting the job, so that will be fun!

We are both so excited by this opportunity and are looking forward to the move, but we still will need to sell our home before we move and I will need to find a job – so please pray for us as we move towards this exciting time and if you know of any opportunities in the area send them my way!

 

If you’ve ever visited or lived in that area, we’d love to hear about what you love there! Restaurants, neighborhoods, hiking trails, festivals, etc.

 

Senior Year

I saw Mel answer these questions recently and I thought it was fun to read about her senior year.

I graduated high school TEN years ago come beginning of June, so I thought this was appropriate this year.

1. Did you date someone from your school? 

In high school I never dated boys who went to my school. Freshman year I dated a boy from a rival high school the. Ext twin over, sophomore year of high school I dated a college freshman home on breaks, junior year I dated a boy who went to military school out of state and senior spring I started long-distance dating the same boy I dated freshman year. Boys were never a big focus for me in high school; they were more friends than crushes for the most part.

2. Did you marry someone from your high school? 

No. I married the senior I had a crush on from my freshman year of high school in a different state.

3. Did you car pool to school? 

Yes! I drove my sister & her best friend most days. They were freshman.

4. What kind of car did you have? 

I drove my parents red Honda Accord. I loved that car & how resilient it was to a new driver!

5. What kind of car do you have now? 

Ford Focus

6. Its Friday night. Football games or Party? 

Football game! And basketball in the winter!

7. It is Saturday night? 

I babysat most weekend nights in high school.

8. What kind of job did you have in high school? 

Summer before senior year I worked at the Dairy Queen and babysat. Fall of senior year I worked at a pizza & sub shop. Spring semester senior year I was a Human Resources intern at a local credit union.

9. What kind of job do you have now? 

I’m an administrative assistant for an academic department at a state university.

10. Were you a party animal?

Not at all! I was too driven and sheltered to even think about it!

11. Were you considered a flirt?

Not at all! At least, I don’t think so.

12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?

Not senior year. The other three years I did both marching band and concert band and junior year was in all-state orchestra. The summer before senior year started my private oboe instructor passed away suddenly in a private plane accident and I couldn’t bring myself to play my oboe that year.

13. Were you a nerd?

I don’t think so. I was more of a floater. I had friends across cliques.

14. Did you get suspended or expelled? Lord no! I never got in trouble.

15. Can you sing the fight song?

Yes! I can do both the original song from when the school was founded and the current version. The original was to the tune of the Alabama fight song and the current version is to the tune of Magnificient Seven.

16. Who was/were your favorite teacher? 

I adored all my teachers, but especially loved my AP teachers Mr Clapp for Literature & Mr Halverson for Government. I also really enjoyed our journalism teacher, Miss B, who I had for both yearbook and newspaper!

17. Where did you sit during lunch? 

A window booth.

18. What was your school’s full name? 

Charles Marion Russell High School, also known as Charles M. Russell High School, Russell High School, & CMR.

19. When did you graduate? 

2007

20. What was your school mascot?

A Rustler, but our sumbol was the cattle skull.

21. If you could go back and do it again, would you? 

I really enjoyed senior year. I actually really enjoyed all but 10th grade a lot. Although, I misch prefer my life currently!

22. Did you have fun at Prom? 

I did! I went with my best friend at the time and a group of our close friends. Because we were the class of 007, prom was James Bond themed. After prom, our group went back to my house for fondue and a James Bond movie marathon.

23. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with? 

I don’t. We dated through most of college and right after graduation and had a pretty nasty breakup.

24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? 

No. I am Facebook friends with some people I graduated with, but since my family moved away the week of graduation, I never returned home on breaks to see anyone, so I don’t see a point. I also only went to school with them for two years, so it’s not like I grew up with them.

25. Do you still talk to people from school? 

Some through Facebook or Instagram. Social media is really cool that way! I love that it allows you to reconnect with people or stay in touch across time and distance.