30 Things I Love Right Now

Monday, May 16, 2016

All pink everything!

(1) Listening to LEMONADE. On repeat. | (2) Listening to Lion Babe. | (3) Being a Writeous Babe. | (4) Dreaming of summer.  | (5) Cousin dates. | (6) All pink everything. | (7) Trips to Target for no reason at all. |  (8) Big hair. Don't care. | (9) Obsessing over Instagram. | (10) Obsessing over planners. | (11) Running in my neighborhood. | (12) Pretty perfume bottles. | (13) My rose-tinted aviators. | (14) YoMo FroYo. | (15) Writing for StyleBlueprint Birmingham. | (17) Calling myself a teacherpreneur.  | (18) Reading myself to sleep. | (19) Seeing the flowers in my yard bloom again.  | (20) Buying myself girly gifts from ban.do. | (21) Writing in my prayer journal every morning. | (22) Collecting quotes.| (23) Motivational morning texts from Shine. | (24) Browsing Blogger templates. | (25) Being a my husband's girlfriend. | (26) Pretending to be a poet again. | (27)  Feeling like a writer again. | (28) Tweeting random thoughts. | (29) Being a girl. | (30) God Herself. 

Why Eunice Elliott Is My Muse

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Eunice Elliott at the 2015 See Jane Write Bloganista Mini-Con

I felt guilty for feeling so inspired.

When Eunice Elliott took the podium at the recent Birmingham Youth Talk, her aim was to motivate and encourage the dozens of teenagers who had gathered to share personal stories and innovative ideas at this inaugural TED-inspired event.

But minutes into Eunice's talk, I, the 35-year-old teacher who was in attendance to support two of her students who also spoke at the event, was hurriedly tapping out words of wisdom on the notes app of my phone. Eunice was dropping so much knowledge, sharing so many gems, that I had to preserve them somehow.

Beautiful Bodies of Birmingham

Monday, May 9, 2016

Image by Mary Fehr of www.mfehrphotography.com.

Social media may have saved Mary-Berkley Gaines’s life. About four years ago, she was at low point in her life.

“I wasn’t in college anymore and was trying to decide what I wanted to do next,” she says. “I didn’t feel confident with my body because I gained a lot of weight in college. I also was depressed.”
Then one day she was on Instagram and stumbled upon the account of plus-size model Tess Holliday (formerly known as Tess Munster).  “I saw someone who was a true plus-size woman like me—not a size 12,  but an actual size 22 woman,” Gaines says. “Seeing her doing photo shoots and being really fierce and owning all of it and not being apologetic at all about her body—that was when I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of.”
Gaines knew she wanted to be a part of the body positive movement, which encourages the acceptance of all bodies, regardless of shape, size, color, ability, etc. “Everyone is worthy of love, success, and respect no matter who they are and what they look like,” Gaines says when asked to explain what the body positive movement is all about. She soon began reading the body positive blog The Militant Baker by Jes Baker and the body positive magazine VOLUP2, which was created by plus-size supermodel Velvet d’Amour. “This idea that there is no right or wrong way to have a body—that way of thinking changed my life,” Gaines says. “It saved my life, to be honest. I was in a downward spiral of depression and I wasn’t being nice to myself. And finding that started to get me to the point where I wanted to be nice to myself. I noticed I was exercising more and eating better and starting to work toward solving my anxiety and depression problems instead of just covering them up.”
Today Gaines is the founder of the Beautiful Bodies of Birmingham Project, the Magic City’s own body positive movement. As the website, BeautifulBodiesofBham.com, explains, the goal of the project is “to inspire people to see themselves and others in a new way.” By sharing personal stories and intimate photographs that celebrate bodies of all shapes, sizes, and colors, Gaines hopes that the site, which launched in November 2015, will be a safe place for people to get the support and education they need to foster better self-esteem and improved body image.
Read the entire story at B-Metro.com.

Where I'm From

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

That's me with on the left, the one with the awesome yellow socks, with my sweet cousin Kandis.

Let's make today a Writeous Wednesday, shall we?

Here's a writing prompt:

Read the poem "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon

Then, write a poem of your own reflecting on your childhood, family or both.

Here's mine:

Are You Treating Yourself Like the Other Woman?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Why did you begin?

Why did you start your blog?

Why did you write the first line of what you hope will be your first book?

Why did you send out that first pitch to write for your favorite magazine?

All the gurus say we should "Start with why" so I'm doing just that and challenging you to do the same.

I started this blog almost five years because I needed my own little piece of cyberspace. I needed a virtual "room of my own." At the time I was blogging for my job and blogging with my husband and I needed a space entirely my own where I could be free, where I could be myself and where I could write myself back together again when needed.

I have returned to this blog this week for that same reason. I am broken. And the blog I maintain for my business is doing absolutely nothing about it.

So I'm back. For now at least.

I can't promise I will stay. I can't declare I'll now blog here five or even three days a week.

I am hopelessly unfaithful to myself.

I Drank Your LEMONADE and Remembered I Am Great

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I wake
And I want to wrap my wounds with words
And rest
And heal.

But I must return to the battlefield
To fight
To kill.

To Understand the World: Why Ashley M. Jones Writes Poetry

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Photo by Katherine Webb

I have a confession: I am jealous of poet and educator Ashley M. Jones.
I don’t envy Jones because last year, at the ripe old age of 25, she was one of only six winners of the 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a prestigious award given annually to support emerging women writers with exceptional talent. I don’t envy her because she landed a dream creative writing teaching job at the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) as soon as she finished her graduate work at Florida International University. I’m not jealous of Jones’s book deal (her first full-length poetry collection will hit bookshelves in November) and I don’t envy her because last yearB-Metro gave Jones their Fusion Award, an honor given to Birmingham residents who champion diversity, inclusion, and acceptance.
I am jealous of Jones because she is in love—with poetry.
Sure, I, too, as a writer and an English instructor at ASFA, have great affection for the written word, but compared to Jones’s passion for poetry, the relationship I have with writing is mere puppy love. Jones’s love for poetry is evident not only in her written work, but in every conversation you have with her, in every lecture she gives to her students at ASFA, and even in every post she makes to her social media channels. On any given day you’ll find her on Facebook gushing over a new book of poetry she just bought or old work she has just rediscovered. On Instagram you can see her as giddy as a schoolgirl with a crush on the boy next door as she posts pictures of her preparation for her latest lesson. And during football season, when her fellow Alabamians are posting chants of “Roll Tide” and “War Eagle,” Jones simply declares, “Go poetry!”
“Whenever I post on Facebook about poems that I like, it’s usually because I’ve read the poem and caught the Holy Ghost from the poem,” Jones says, laughing and raising her hands in the air in praise of poetry.  “The way that people use words and even the way their message is conveyed [through poetry] just seems more immediate, sometimes more sassy, sometimes more painful. It’s just juicier. And so that’s what I love about reading it and writing it.”
Read the entire article at B-Metro.com