A Thank You Letter to Miami

New BeginningsIn August 2006 my best friend and I stuffed my car with clothes and made the fifteen-hour drive to Miami. For the first week (hell, the first year), I was scared to drive in Miami, to make that fear-inducing left turn from 27th Ave onto US1.

Eight years later and I’m honking and running yellow lights with the best of ‘em (don’t tell my Dad). Exactly eight years later, my car is packed again and I’m heading home.

The thing is, home has a different meaning to me now. Virginia is my home, where my family and many friends are, where I was born and raised, where I want to raise my children. But Miami is also my home.

Miami is the second place I grew up. Not where I learned to swim or ride a bike, or attended high school (although I can tick off all of the names of the schools here and probably know someone you went to school with, bro). But in Miami, I grew up.

[Read more...]

Lessons of Loss, Lessons of Strength

*This post is four months old – just came across and published. Footnote will give updates.

My freshman year of high school a friend died suddenly. The guidance counselors gathered those who knew her into the cafeteria and we sat, numbly, trying to make sense of it. I remember watching people outside of the cafeteria walking, talking and joking. It felt like they were in an alternate universe. How could they be laughing when she was dead?

I couldn’t grasp it at the time. Looking back I realize that I’d learned my first lesson about loss: even when you are hurting the most, when you feel like you have a hole in your heart: life goes on. In my freshman year of high school, the world marched on, and soon enough, so did I.

2013 was a year of loss for my Daddy and our family. Grandpa, the stronger of his parents, got diagnosed with Leukemia and within two weeks passed away. Daddy cleaned out their two-story home and carefully went through 80 plus years worth of stuff, deciding which was important to hold on to and what needed to be given away. He and his sisters searched for a home for Grandma, who had been sick with cancer for 16 years.

[Read more...]

The Best Gifts


Think of your Grandma as you use it. You got your love of reading &

beautiful eyes from her.

Thank you, Grandma Bell. I couldn’t have asked for better gifts.


It’s My Birthday and I am Grateful

It's My Birthday and I am Grateful

This morning while working out (this in itself is a small miracle), I came across this gem. Isaac, I don’t know you but, as it’s my birthday, I decided to read about why you’re grateful on your birthday. And you inspired me.

As I was on the elliptical, feeling healthy and very blessed, with calls coming in starting as early as 6:45 am (and yes, Dad, I was really awake) and so much love in my life, I read your call for gratitude, and I’m in.

Today I am 31. Years ago that number would have freaked me out. Now I’m  actually more than okay with it (admittedly, most days I am). I have the most amazing life right now. I am grateful for so many things, and these include (but are not limited to!):

[Read more...]