God bless Harper Lee. 711-720

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my top five favorite books of all time. And the other 4 aren’t required reading from high school, so don’t go jumping to conclusions about my level of intelligence. 

This book spoke to me when I read it as a 15 year old, and it continues to speak to me as a 25 year old. As I’m currently reading the newly released/ controversial/ only other published work of Harpwr Lee, I thought I’d take a minute to address ten reasons I love To Kill a Mockingbird/ lessons Harper Lee taught me. 

1. It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. 

2. Don’t let people talk smack about your people if you aren’t willing to research what they’re talking about. Inadvertent lesson from the scandalous publishing of Go Set a Watchman. I had to read the book in order to defend Lee, Atticus, and this book I’ve read annually for 10 years. 

3. You can’t understand a person until you walk a mile in their shoes. I need to slow down enough to acknowledge the gravity of any other person’s life. “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I know Harper didn’t say that but… It applies! 

4. It’s alarming and upsetting and downright world shattering to become an adult and realize your parents are people too. Watchman is teaching me that one. 

5. Atticus’ level of patience with Scout… Otherworldly. How much could the kids I work with benefit from an iota of that type of quiet strength? Things to strive for. 

6. Scout and Jem. I won’t spoil Watchman. But their bond as portrayed in Mockingbird is such a real, transparent illustration of sibling love. You may go from playing to arguing, plotting together to hiding from one another in a tree house, but you’ll still fight for and protect one another. 

7. Every man deserves justice. 

8. Every man deserves equality. 

9. The soul of a man is more than a social construct. It is an innate worth, visible to the likes of children. 

10. Let’s focus on book 1: Atticus fights for what is right. He defends a man because he’s a man and because he’s been wronged. 

Fight for what is right, what is true, what is good. Fight for people. Fight to acknowledge people. Fight to honor the souls of the people around you. 

Honor each other. 

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Bride. 701-710

  Genevieve. 

I was really hoping there were ten letters in her name so I could do an elementary school poem for her. 

Genevieve has been a constant source of love and understanding since I met her; the middle of the night, we both had just moved into a sorority of sorts, I was awake to pee and she was just coming home from her server job. I’m pretty sure she hugged me. Even though I was like “Girl, get out of my way, you are keeping me from my one true love: pillow.” 

From that first moment when she looked at me with bright eyes and a huge smile, she’s never left me alone. In the best way. When I hit my low points, she hunts me down. When I’m sad and disappointed on my birthday, she shows up with a cake that says “Help me I’m poor” or “Eyebrows on fleek.” When I’m mad at the world, she hears me out and tells me I’m not unreasonable. When I’m allowing myself to be undervalued and overlooked, she’s the first to say “Stop it right now and whisper to yourself, ‘I’m a Queen.'” (I’m a queen!)

Here, for starters, ten memorable moments and characteristics of la Reina de todo that make me love her to … Infinity and beyond. 

1. That cake. . . I was living in Gwinnett and student teaching on my birthday. No one had made plans to come celebrate and I didn’t blame them. But having to be up at 5:45 I wasn’t going to go downtown to make someone celebrate me. So she showed up with two other besties with a cake quoting Bridesmaids and whisked me off to dinner and laughs and balloons and all the special treatment. 

2. On another birthday she took me to Free People and spoiled me rotten. Who does that?!

3. One year for Lent, the pair of us spent an hour every morning journaling and reading and meditating. And we both are the very polar opposite of morning people. Like… Whatever civilization functions at night and sleeps in day, those are our people. But during those 40 days we kept one another accountable, we wrestled with personal demons together, we had pure, honest, open hearted conversations on the daily. 

4. Also one time for her birthday I dressed up as David Bowie and she said her love language was drunkeness so I took a shot of Patron straight from the bottle, which was bigger than my head. #neverforget

5. One Friday night, the aforementioned sorority sisters and Dustin were sitting around laughing and someone (Genevieve) said, “Let’s go dancing!” And ten minutes later we were piling into an uber and heading to MJQ. 

6. I can’t tell you the number of times she has listened to me cry about being emotionally mistreated. And respond with so much patience. And love. And redirect me, and remind me of my worth and value. 

7. If there’s ever been one person to constantly acknowledge my worth as a precious creation (more than my mother), it’s Genevieve. 

8. I got to teach her how to chop an onion. Girl can’t cook but one dish. But she cooks that dish so good! What she lacks in domestic skill though, she more than provides in emotional support. That whole bit about when you’re blind, your other senses are stronger? Like Daredevil? Let’s apply that here. 

9. She loves my dog like he’s her son. No really: she licked him more than once. 

10.  While visiting with my family for a Labor Day party, she got along swimmingly with everyone. Clearly she realized she fit in, because we all went to play volleyball, and on her serve she yelled, “This should have been my family!” We all agree. Also labels don’t matter. You’re my familia for forever, G. 

  

Groom / 691-700

Dustin. His friendship over the past four years has added depth and understanding to my heart. Where I am sharp, he is soft. Where I am quick to conclude, he is slow to judge. 

One of the revelations I had about being part of Dustin and Genevieve’s bridal party was the fact that a/ they counted me as treasured company, but more so b/ the other people assembled as the bride and grooms people had all experienced this level of deep authentic love from D and G. The bridespeople I hadn’t met were nearly immediately fused to my forever tribe because they were tried and true genuine people.

Let’s discuss// list some of the many ways Dustin shows up by being that kind of genuine. 

1. When he asks how I am, he expects the rawest answer. 

2. My raw answers don’t scare him. 

3. He loves my G with all his being. 

4. He fights for G. Hard. 

5. Honesty. I don’t know that I will ever be comfortable being on that tier of honesty, but God, I hope I get there. 

6. He’s funny: have ya watched Netflixion??!

7. Also: Dorian. 

8. At the reception he took the time to find me and tell me he loved me. Not as part of a “good groom checklist.” But because he values me and wants to be sure I know that. I want to be clear about how much I value people! 

9. He kicks very real ass on stage, okay?! 

10. Beyond being the One for my girl G, he is a multifaceted creature who loves to love, loves to embrace, extend compassion, bring smiles to to people’s faces, and is all the while humble. What a man. 

Wedding of the Decade. 681-690

The bride wore black. And gold. A crown and a cape.

Genevieve had a vision beyond vision for this, their celebration of love. Beyond being a celebration of themselves, they turned it into a celebration of their friends and family. This week my goal is to recount the multitude of ways Genevieve and Dustin’s love, lives and wedding make me grateful beyond belief.

Here, the first list. Treasured friends and their impacts on the day.

  1. Genevieve: visionaire extraordinaire. Black, gold, white, plums, figs, mood, splendor.
  2. Kate: stylist beyond reason. She handcrafted every detail of the bride’s vision.
  3. Rachel: photographer from Heaven. She captured dynamism, the power of this type of love, and made us all feel famous.
  4. Jesse: behind the scenes photographer, sass for days, Vanity Fair-arranger.
  5. Luna: sang “Disappointed” by Micah Dalton for the first dance. I can’t stop singing it. She is graced with magic.
  6. Tiffany: Matron of F’IN HONOR. She served so well. She loved so hard. And she wrote the most powerful words to speak over these lovers.
  7. Dustin: he’s gonna get his own list later, but what a man. He loves so well. He cherishes so well. And he makes us all feel beautiful and seen.
  8. Ceci: most open hearted toast that brought the bride to tears. Not her only tears of the night. But still. Tears.
  9. Matt: saved the DAY with last minute alcohol run.
  10. Genevieve again. Because. She sang “Chandelier” at her own reception and crushed it so hard …. I’m 98.99% sure it was better than Sia.

671-680

1. Friends who show me how to love the best.

2. Fake spring weather in February.

3. Inklings of sunlight on my bike ride home.

4. The joys of planning my trip to Spain!

5. Curry. Yum.

6. Eucalyptus essential oil.

7. I have an art studio in my house.

8. My fireplace filled with candles.

9. Making a kid laugh while playing uno, when he doesn’t smile often.

10. These littles at work who come running to say hi and hug me every day when I walk in. It’s a lovely feeling to be loved.