It Took a Stranger to Remind Me How Much I’m Loved

romantic couple in love at Christmas

It’s typical of my husband and me to recount the events of our days with each other as we prepare dinner. Last night was no exception. He began sharing that a woman had inquired about me during a networking event he hosted earlier that day. I asked who it was and he mentioned he didn’t think we’d met before. This caught my attention immediately and I’m almost certain I physically reacted with a noticeable pause and a quick head turn.

Questioning the State of Affairs

Why was a stranger asking about me? Was she fishing for info on the state of affairs in our home? Well, sort of. Truthfully, it was a much more innocent encounter.
Because my travel schedule does tend to generate a good amount of interest, he thought maybe her question was curiosity on where I would be traveling next. He went on to tell her the new projects I’d been working on and briefly mentioned the next few travel adventures.
As he wrapped up the dialogue, the woman offered a lovely compliment. Although we had never met in person she “imagined me to be an amazing woman”. My apprehension was put at ease and was flattered. I indicated with a playful side glance in Randall’s direction that it was in his best interest to agree, which he wholeheartedly did.


What she said to him next reminded me just how genuinely loved I am.

“I love asking you about your wife because, although you can’t see it from your perspective, you stand up a little taller, your expression relaxes and your eyes sparkle when you speak about her. You can’t help but smile when you say her name and when you talk about all that she is doing. It’s a genuine pleasure to hear a husband be so proud and supportive of the work of their spouse. I ask you about her because it lifts me up too.”

Stunned. Humbled. Honored.


Perhaps this story would have been better suited for Valentine’s Day or an Anniversary. Honestly, I didn’t want to write a Valentine’s Day story about much of anything this year. I was feeling robbed because we both worked instead of celebrating. I wasn’t a very good sport about it.

I love silly, romantic holidays. Not because I need an excuse for flowers or a date night. I recognize that I’m lucky to be loved in those ways a majority of the year as well. I just love Valentine’s Day in the same way I love Thanksgiving. It’s not that I’m ungrateful the rest of the year but I think of Thanksgiving as a day to be intentional about aligning your thoughts and actions with all the blessings you’ve been given. That’s exactly how I feel about Valentine’s Day too. Aligning my thoughts and actions with love for those closest to me.

I think I’d just been in a little bit of a funk since then- a series of other factors were also in play contributing to the funk (more on that in an upcoming post). What I didn’t expect was that a complete stranger would pop into our story to change all that with a few words and a reminder to us about us how important is that we love one another out loud.

Loving one another isn’t just about fleeting moments of intimacy and words of adoration. It’s about how we love one another with our whole selves; our thoughts; our expressions and posture; the way we speak of one another, especially when they aren’t in the room.

Being that I’m on leave for 11 straight days of travel, those words from a stranger couldn’t have had better timing reminding me how much I am loved.

3 Life Lessons Learned from a third-grade crush, Mr. Big and Champagne Hot Tubs

Today I bought a rib-knit, long sleeve, snap button Henely in my favorite shade of green. I have no shame in telling you how glad I am that this look is back – I look awesome in it, although that isn’t really the point. There is something comforting and a bit nostalgic about it which, lucky for you will reveal some pretty embarrassing truths from my past. Let’s just call these “Life Lessons” as the post goes on, shall we?

Life Lesson no.1

Life Lesson: Sometimes you just have to walk away from what isn’t meant for you even when you don’t know what’s next.

In life, you can learn pretty quickly not everything will be as great of a fit as my new henley. In third- maybe fourth- grade, I had the biggest crush on this boy named Shaun. (Shaun, if you read this please know admitting this possibly as embarrassing today as it would have been back then. I hope you find it flattering.) It was a small class, like twelve students and most of us would go continue on to high school together through graduation.

Spoiler alert: I was not the cool kid in class. Glow-up is a real thing.

I was not athletic. My name did not, and still does not, end in an “i”, “y”, or “ie”. Prior to the internet and wayyyy before snapchat, this was a very important marker of social status. My parents refused to buy me the jumbo-sized cans of hairspray so I could craft my bangs do that half-up/half-down thing or perm my obnoxiously straight hair. In my efforts to achieve cool status, I finally talked them into buying me a pair of jeans with zippers at the ankle. Still, the coolest denim in the world couldn’t repair my heart the day I sat next to Shaun on the bleachers and he said: “Could you just NOT sit by me?”  Ugh.

I was crushed. I couldn’t say anything. I just got up and walked away. I knew from the tone of his voice that it just wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes you just have to know to walk away from what isn’t meant for you even when you don’t know what’s next. Even when it hurts.

Life Lesson no. 2

Life lesson: Don’t pattern your romantic aspirations after the lyrics of rock ballads. Especially ones sung by groups like “Mr. Big”.

Fast forward to 7th grade. There was a new girl at school this year. She wore thick dark eye liner and black t-shirts of bands I’d never heard of. She was a year or two older than me and a little sarcastic but friendly. A few weeks after school started her father passed away. She didn’t know many people yet and even though I didn’t know her very well I wanted to go by and offer my condolences. My parents were very strict and I wasn’t usually allowed to visit the homes of friends without knowing their parents but they agreed to drop me off for an hour or so anyway.

The door was open when I got to her house. I walk past a group of adults to find the group of tweens /teens in the back dining room by the staircase. I didn’t really recognize anyone else. I think they were mostly cousins and friends from out of town. There was rock music playing of some of her dad’s favorites: Lynyrd Skynard, Kiss, ZZ Top, Aerosmith… none of them were familiar to me. I hadn’t been allowed to listen to any of them before… sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, you feel me?

After a little while we all sat down on the floor and someone turned the radio on. On the other side of the circle, someone started passing something. It wasn’t my vibe so I just passed it along. Whether it was the passage of time or a solid contact high, I don’t remember who was there, what we talked about, or even if we talked but I vividly remember the song that was on the radio at that moment. It shaped what I wanted from relationships for a long time (insert healthy doses of embarrassment here…deep breath *sigh*) Mr Big – Just To Be With You 

As I sat there listening to the lyrics, I remember thinking THAT was what I wanted in a relationship. That was how I wanted to be loved or wanted or whatever. I mean, clearly ” Why be alone when we can be together” is solid reasoning, right? And sooooo non-judgmental. He didn’t care that he wasn’t the first or the last… he just wanted to be the next and he came offering to make her smile. Smiling is still my favorite. In retrospect, I had a fair amount of relationship wisdom to gain. This perspective, that environment was all so new, I held onto those lyrics for a long time. I got my heart broken a fair number of times as a result. Don’t pattern your romantic aspirations after the lyrics of rock ballads, especially ones touting the moniker “Mr. Big”. If you have to tell people you are a big deal, you probably aren’t.

Life Lesson no.3

Life lesson: Keep examining your dreams. If you don’t, you might arrive only to wonder why you wanted that in the first place. Especially if that dream was a hot tub in the shape of a champagne glass.

As I mentioned before, we didn’t have the internet growing up. What we did have was 1-800 numbers. People were not as adverse to talking on the phone back then. I was left at home alone a lot and loved getting things in the mail. Fun fact: This is where my love of travel began. Anytime I would see a travel destination advertised I would furiously write down the number and muster my most grown up voice to call and request a free travel packet be sent to my house. This went on from age 9 until I was in high school. It was awesome. If I’m honest, I still enjoy recieving an occasional visitors packet now and again.

In the back of every travel packet would be advertising for other travel destinations. Almost every one of them would feature a heart shaped tub or or huge champagne glass filled with bubbles “Come get away to a relaxing getaway in the Poconos!”

I had no idea where in the country the Poconos actually was at the time but in my mind, this was the ultimate luxury and class to aspire to. When you could get away to spend time in a tub shaped like a champagne glass you had arrived. Well…..last year, I was invited to a workshop held in….you guessed it… THE POCONOS! Years had gone by without me remembering my dream of champagne glass hot tubs. As I was driving up to our cabin I suddenly remembered this story and shared it with my friend, Clarissa. She immediately googled and realized that the very resort I had idolized for so long was only 20 mins away. We agreed to stop by and get a tour on our way home.

What happened was a hilarious series of events that truly will need its own blog post. What I can tell you is that it was not in any capacity the luxury dream I had imagined. Let me show you with a few snapshots and hopefully you’ll understand.

If you made it to the end of this BRAVO!
It’s funny what how a little nostalgia can conjure up a lifetime full of memories and how small moments can shape us and grow us. I’ve only just shared these stories with my family yesterday. Hopefully they mean something, made you smile, or gave a little more insight to my life. It definitely did all three of those things for me.

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out how we imagined, hoped or romanticized it would but that doesn’t mean it isn’t leading exactly where we ought to be.