Thursday, December 20, 2012

choose love.

I was on my way to Asheville last Friday when news of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting broke. Ever a journalist, I was glued to my phones, fumbling to find the news on the radio, desperate to know every detail.

At Jacob's urging, I forced myself to take breaks from the coverage to try and enjoy myself, listen to music, drink cold beers and soak up Asheville. The town and the people who live there are lovely - especially this time of year.

There were many times I was able to feel festive.


But many times, my mind, and my heart, were with Newtown, and my colleagues doing their best to temper their emotions to carefully cover the story.

When I got back, I became completely immersed, thrown into the fray of covering this horrific tragedy - striving to honor the victims with thoughtfulness and sensitivity, while also delving gently into the confusing, scary place of mental illness, a subject very near and dear to my heart.

I join the ranks of many who wonder, "Is no place safe anymore?" The movies? A grocery store? An elementary school? But mostly, while wiping tears from my face at least once a day at work, and usually several times at home, I just feel heartbroken.

My heart breaks for the citizens of Newtown who lost loved ones and whose sleepy little New England town has become so well known for something so very sad.

My heart breaks for parents everywhere who had to answer their own children's questions about life, death, safety at school. I can't imagine trying to explain to a little one that the world is good, even if for that moment in time, it was not.

My heart breaks for all of us who are guilty, in the wake of tragedies like this, of making empty promises to be kinder, love harder, and hug our children tighter. I worry that within weeks, we will have forgotten the names and stories of the victims, forgotten how we feel right now, only to fall back into our same patterns of short tempers, partisan politics and selfish behaviors.

Tomorrow is the winter solstice, and assuming the Mayans were wrong and the world doesn't end, it will be the shortest, darkest and for many of you, the coldest day of the year.  I'd venture to guess we've all had some dark days lately mourning this tragedy, and I'd like to think our darkest are behind us.

My yoga teacher said today that winter solstice brings the promise of increasing light and the chance for renewal - counterbalance to the dark and the cold.

I've been fortunate, while helping tell this awful story, to see these beacons of light - in the golden retrievers who came to Newtown to cheer up grieving citizens, in the California man who bought the town 100 cups of coffee sparking a random act of kindness movement, and in the endless tributes on television honoring those who died.

By Warren Haynes dedicating, "Imagine," to the Connecticut victims at his Annual Christmas Jam.


There is a sign that has been put up all over Newtown that reads, "We are Sandy Hook. We choose love."

At 9:30am EST tomorrow, I will pause for a moment of silence and reflection for the victims of Sandy Hook. And I am going to do my very best, in the memory of all of the precious souls who lost their life that day, to choose more love.   Now.  A week from now.  Years from now.

Won't you join me?

Perhaps together we can, as President Obama said, "Make this world worthy of their memory."

  Moment of Silence for Sandy Hook Victims on Dec. 21

Find out how you can help the victims of Newtown here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Last weekend, Trish, Momo and I went to Scott's Antique Market. This was the second time I'd ever been to Scott's, which comes to town the first weekend of every month.  

According to their website, Scott's is, "America's Favorite Treasure Hunt."  They couldn't be more accurate with that description.
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Walking through the rows of beautiful furniture and collectibles made me want to buy five houses just so I could decorate them.

I settled for a Christmas present for someone else (picture not included).

If you live in Atlanta, or close to Atlanta, if you own a home, are thinking about buying a home, or renting an apartment or simply laying your head somewhere, or just want to take pretty pictures of gorgeous things, I highly suggest you run, don't walk to Scott's.

Call me.  I'll take you. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

my little miracle baby.

As suspected, the response over my new iPhone has been overwhelmingly positive.

Funeral Guy, who would prefer it if I started calling him by his real name, Jacob, shook his head at me (he does that a lot) when I told him that I couldn't wait to see the looks on my naysayers faces when I told them I'd joined the 21st century.

"I'm Instagramming!," I said, "They're gonna freak."

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I don't think he could quite grasp that anyone would care this much about my phone.

But I knew they would.  And I was right.  

"Your texts are blue - does that mean what I think it means?"

"You got an iPhone?!?!?!?!  OMGGGGGGGGGGGG."

"How's that touchscreen treating you?!"

My friend Amanda came over to my desk and gave me a hug.  Like a for real, two arms around my shoulders hug. 

“I’m so happy for you,” she said. 

I seriously thought she might cry tears of joy.

"You know it's just a phone, right?  Not a child.  A phone," I said as she returned to her chair.  

But she wasn't the only one who treated my new phone like I'd just had a baby.
"How are you adjusting?," someone else asked me. "Don't you just love it soooooo much?!  Isn't it the best?"

These remarks amused me so much that if I didn't think it would send my mom into a tailspin of depression about never getting real grandchildren, I actually thought about sending out a Christmas card featuring me and my new child.

Happy Holidays Apple Nerds!

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I have an iPhone now which makes me infinitely cooler than everyone else!  Sorry if I haven't returned your phone call, I've been too busy Texting, Facebooking, Emailing, Spotifying, Tweeting, Instagramming, Face Timing, Words with Friendsing, or doing other things I could never was able to do with that sucky flip phone.  I still have the flip phone - you know, for posterity's sake.  Can you believe it?!!?!  What was I thinking?!?!?!?!  Hope your holidays are full of easy-to-find 4G hotspots and quick as lightning downloads!!!!!

Happy Holidays!!!
Love, Stephanie (and iPhone)

Don't worry, Mom.  I'm not sending a card like this.  But you'd be embarrassed if I told you how much I actually thought about it.

But the iPhone has become like a child in a way.  I'm always checking on him to make sure he's fed charged and in a safe place (i.e. not bouncing freely in the bottom of my purse).  If this phone is any indication of what kind of parent I will be - my kids can look forward to happily being passed to anyone who can show me what to do with them and therefore might, on occasion, slip from my hands onto the floor.

The teasing hasn't stopped - only instead of teasing me for not having an iPhone, everyone teases me about not knowing how to use it.


It's true, there are things that I need to learn. Like how to save Instagram photos to my photo gallery.  How to clean the screen.  I had to download 3 different Emoji apps just to get the Emoticon tool bar to show up in text messages.

I'm one week in people, cut me some slack!  T9 word wasn't learned in a day - but I'll get there.

People didn’t really answer my requests for the call last week to call me or text me their contact information, so I’ve been forced to fake it on text when they do – asking strangely probing questions over text to see if I can figure out who they are without coming right out and asking.  So if you know my number - "Call me, Maybe?" Sorry - I couldn't help myself.

And I'm still at a loss about apps, so tell me your favorites so I can be in the know.