Sunday, May 31, 2015

But still, I choose to believe.

On top of 2 seizures last Sunday and 1 on Tuesday, I had two more on Friday.

And when I wasn't dealing with seizures, I had an almost constant migraine.

So needless to say, I'm exhausted in every sense of the word, and I'm frustrated, and angry, and feeling slightly abandoned.

I just want a break from all of this crap.

There's no other way to put it. I'm tired, and I want a break.

But the good news is that I serve a God who is okay with me being angry and frustrated and tired. A God whom I know is good no matter what is going on in my life. I have too much evidence in my story of how much God really loves me to turn back now. I know what it's like to not have faith, and i never want to go back to that, because as alone as I may feel sometimes now, there is nothing that compares to that kind of loneliness.

Someone told me recently that it's amazing I have the faith that I do with the life that I have. And I didn't know what to say in response. Without my faith and the God it's placed in, I have nothing. I know that I have what the world would consider reasons not to believe, and I'll admit that there have been days where I've wondered why exactly I believe what I believe, but in the end, I don't know how not to anymore. I've seen God too clearly now to pretend it's not real.

To put it simply, I've tasted grace, and it's addicting. I can't give it up. No matter how little sense it makes.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Power of Friendships

The past week and a half has not been all that good for me. Between five days of stomach issues that I'm still not sure whether it was a virus or a reaction to medication, then dealing with unexplained tingling and numbness in my face for a few days after that, plus frequent migraines and four seizures in a week, I'm very tired now. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I'm tired.

There's been a lot of wrestling with God lately. A lot of anger and a lot of frustration and a lot of not knowing what to say. And a lot of letting my exhaustion take over and basically hiding from my feelings. Until I just didn't want to do that anymore.

Cue Austin and Clayton.

I told Clayton they are my theological reality checks. Because they're there for me, comfort me, while also giving me a reality check and pointing me back to Jesus. These two understand more than most just how caught up in my own head I can get it, how I can often put pressure on myself completely unnecessarily, and they are always so loyal to be here and pull me back out and bring me back to what I know is true.

I mentioned to Clayton that I often get scared about talking to others about how I'm feeling because I don't want them to feel like I'm dragging them down with negativity or depressive tones about my life or whatnot, and he responded with what is perhaps the most Clayton thing he's ever said to me. "We're going to be here. We're going to love you. We're going to let you vent as much as you need. Get over it." My friends may not understand what my life is like, but they also don't understand all that they really do for me. And I have to learn to accept the fact that they're here because they want to be, because they really do love me, not out of pity or whatever. I can't do this alone, and I'm only hurting myself by trying to pretend like I can or that I have to.

Austin and Clayton both also talked to me about doubt and how me struggling with my faith doesn't mean my faith is weak or that I'm failing as a Christian. Clayton actually said that faith wouldn't be faith if we were sure about everything, if we didn't have some doubt and struggle and questions with it. The fact that my closest friends, the ones who know the most about my life and personal journey, can say things like I have the strongest faith of just about anyone they know says that maybe my perspective is skewed. Maybe doubt really isn't such a bad thing; it isn't something I need to get frustrated at myself for having. I'm finally starting to understand that maybe God is okay with my doubt.

I told them that I really wasn't sure where God is and has been in all of this, but Clayton pointed out that God was in Austin, and God was in our conversation, and every time I'm reminded that I am loved and that people are supporting me. And he was right. God is so faithful to not let me go through this alone. I am surrounded by people across the country that I know would give anything to make my health issues go away or even just calm down. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for and humbled by the love I have in my life. But what is key to remember is that every time Clayton or Austin or any of my soccer boys or friends from Spiegel tells me they love me, that's God reaching down into my life and my world to tell me that He loves me, too.

There is an immense picture of God's grace in friendships, in the people who stand by you when things aren't easy. The past couple of days I've learned all over again just how incredible my friends are and how good God is to give me the opportunity to love and be loved like this.

I don't know what my future holds. I don't know when my seizures are going to calm down. What I do know is that with friends like mine who are so determined to hold me up and keep me moving forward and focused on God, I'm gonna make it through this life no matter what comes my way.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

It's been a rough week.

I didn't mean to not blog for a week

but between a week of sickness and stomach issues

and two long days in the ER for two different reasons

it happened. I'm tired.

Maybe I'll go back and fill in the missing posts.

Maybe this will change my blog and I'll give up on the post for every day thing.

I don't know.

We'll see.

Tomorrow. Because I'm tired now.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

For my best friend.

Carole King is one of my mom's favorite artists, and her music is stuff that I grew up listening my mom sing and, eventually, singing with her. Especially "You've Got a Friend." (We can do amazing harmonies on that song. Just saying.)

It's only been in the past couple of years, though, that I really began to understand the depth behind the lyrics, and what it feels like to have a friend like that.

When you're down in troubles
And you need some love and care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
All you got to do is call
And I'll be there
Yes, I will
You've got a friend

To be a friend like that, it takes true selflessness and dedication and loyalty. It takes caring about someone with your whole heart and making them a priority. It means being completely invested in their life and having your heart connected to theirs. It means there's a bond there that goes beneath the surface and an instinctive trust and knowledge of each other that can't be taught or even explained.

Clayton was that friend to me today. (He always is, let's be real.) He may not have literally flown to New York, but he still showed up big time. I sent him a text last night saying that I was feeling down and I wished he was here to give me a big hug, and without hesitation, he replied "You free tomorrow? Let's FaceTime." Without pause or question, he told me he was coming.

Two hours and thirty-five minutes. That's how long we spent together. We were just in each other's presence, and things somehow felt less stressful and complicated because of it. Half the time he was doing chores and not even looking at the phone and I was laying in my bed staring at the ceiling, and my world just felt better because through space, he was there with me. He told me that's a sign of true friendship - you don't even have to be doing something, just being together feels good.

When days like today happen, and I think about him and his love and loyalty toward me, I just feel this overwhelming desire to love harder. To do everything I can to make someone else feel the way I felt today knowing that I'm loved this much. Bonds like this, they are really powerful life-changing things. I am so much better because I have a brother like Clayton. I don't know what this past year would have looked like without our regular FaceTime dates and time together.

And you know what the best part is? When he finally really did have to go, I almost hung up without praying, which is our usual end to our conversations, and he stopped me. "Wait, don't you want to pray?" (With some crack about how I was so anxious to get rid of him, because of course, this is Clayton.) And that made me realize something new. As close as we are, and as much as we love each other, it all always comes back to Jesus. I guess that's one of the perks of having a best friend who's in seminary to become an Episcopal priest. I can never lose sight of the fact that Jesus really is the ultimate comfort. Having someone who helps me keep my eyes and heart on God is the biggest blessing of all. I want to do that for others.

Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for the grace He's shown in not just having us meet (since we all know what a weird occurrence that was) but in the ways He's allowed our friendship to grow, from the Reformation classes, to the Friday lunches, to these FaceTime dates now hundreds of miles apart but somehow closer than ever. What my brother and I have, it's something special, and I couldn't have dreamed it or made it happen if I tried.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

This is all I can say today.

I'm really thankful I was born in this era.

Because, for all its faults, technology keeps my community in touch.

With one text message, one phone call, one FaceTime,

the people I know love me beyond measure are here again.

My closest friends show me Jesus.

They remind me that we may be hundreds of miles apart...

but I am never, ever alone. Not even for a second.

I remember that family isn't defined by time or distance, or even DNA.

It's about love. And I have so much love in my life.

That's what I'm thankful for today.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Trying really hard not to get my hopes up...Trying...

I got a message tonight. A message I've been dreaming of getting for almost seven years now.

You see, a certain British fella (ahem, Jay) might be coming to NYC the week of the 4th of July. Some friends of his are coming, and he's gonna try to tag along. But since they already have plans set, he might not be able to stay with them. So he messaged me to see if he could stay with me.

Insert freak out here.

Now nothing is for sure yet, but considering how long we've been waiting to see each other again (which is basically since the day after he and the British group flew back home to Liverpool), it's hard not to get excited. Yes, we've been talking about reuniting for years, but this is the first time he's had a date and talked about real plans. But I also know that this may not happen which is why I'm trying to keep myself in check. But needless to say, this was not what I was expecting to hear tonight.

Now if you need me, I'll be sleeping with my fingers crossed. ;)

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Friday, May 15, 2015

So not an allergy attack.

Or at least, not anymore.

Because as it turns out, a lasting allergy attack can turn into a sinus infection real quick like.

Hooray for Benadryl and some leftover cough drops from my sister.

Good night.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Love anyway.

It seems to me that a lot of people are afraid of baggage.

They're afraid of brokenness. Of someone needing them too much. Of things getting hard, or messy, or cloudy. Because it's time-consuming and it's complicated and it requires investment that we as humans aren't always up for putting in.

So they run. They take already scarred and cracked hearts and shatter them all over again in order to take what is safer and easier for themselves.

But what they miss, what they just don't understand, is that if they just stick around, their time, their love, their patience, can be like aloe on a fresh sunburn. It can soothe aches that felt like they would never go away. They can break down walls that were once thicker than Jericho. They can be witness to the miracle that is light coming back into someone's eyes.

Why are we so afraid of loving people too much? We'd rather sit at our computers or look at our phones and waste our hours scrolling through comments and pictures and hitting a "like" button over and over again than know what it feels like to put yourself all in on a relationship. We'd rather send text messages that get lost in translation than actually talk to people. We'd rather give small talk repeatedly and say "How are you?" and expect back "Good, you?" than actually know what is on someone's mind and in their heart. The truth will set you free is more than just a saying, you know.

Shouldn't we as decent human beings, let alone as Christians for those of us who are, love the people in our lives enough to care about how they are actually doing instead of just how they say they're doing? Because I know what it's like to feel like your whole life is falling to pieces and be screaming internally that you are absolutely not okay but believe that if you said it out loud, nobody would even stop long enough to care. When did we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we lost sight of the heartbreak right around us, even in the people we proclaim to love so dearly?

We need to pay better attention. We need to look past the highlight reels and get to the nitty gritty behind-the-scenes real lives of others that we'd probably feel just as embarrassed and ashamed to share if theirs were ours. Because whether we like it or not or admit it or not, we all have nitty gritty behind-the-scenes reels that aren't pretty to look at. We need to give each other the same grace we'd like for ourselves. Seriously, when did the "Golden Rule" get so complicated? Don't kids learn that in preschool?

Love really can change things, y'all. I haven't just seen it in my life, either. I've seen it in people in my world. And it is so beautiful to get to watch people find joy again. It's more beautiful than the Sistine Chapel or Kate Middleton (sorry Kate) or any creature you could find. Love brings hope and hope brings a life raft to get through the rapids. Trust me, when the rapids come (and they will), we will look for life rafts, and I know my life rafts have time and again come in the shape of the people who pull me out of the deep end and refuse to let me go back to the darkness. You can actually save someone's life by the way you love them, and believe me, I don't say that lightly.

But let me be perfectly clear: this will not be easy. Pouring love and light and friendship into another person, giving of yourself to give some help to someone else, is not easy. I'm not here to try and paint some rosy picture. Sometimes it's downright exhausting, and it can feel so very draining on your emotions and heart when you're deeply invested in someone else's life. I've been there. Ask any one of my closest friends and they can tell you that I've sighed and said "Sometimes I wish I didn't care so much," to them at least a handful of times. But it's so worth it. It's so worth it to walk with someone and see them come out of a storm stronger. It's worth it to watch healing happen right before your eyes. It's worth it to create bonds with people, real bonds, the kind where you know you can say anything and nothing will change.

Yes, the kind of love I'm talking about makes you quite susceptible to being hurt. I don't deny that. But what kind of life would we have if we shut out anyone we thought might hurt us? It's not a life I want, I know that much. We need people. We need community. We need to be known.

So here's a challenge for you, and for me, too: Love hard. Love like you've got nothing to lose. Love as if you're running out of time, because really, we all are. Love like your past doesn't matter and neither does theirs. Because awesome things can happen. Crazy beautiful, life-changing awesome things.

Don't believe me? Just try it and watch.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I'm done!

A video posted by Mallory Jones (@_callmemal) on

I finished my last paper tonight, just in the nick of time.

I am therefore done with my first year of grad school. One down, one to go.

Crazy doesn't even begin to describe this feeling.

Actually, I don't have a lot of feelings right now because I woke up today with the unexplained allergy attack from hell, so I'm doped up on a bunch of NyQuil and Benadryl

So I am off to get some sleep. Some peaceful, stress-free sleep. We'll see how long that lasts.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I forgot to put a title before I hit post.

Well, I got a good start on my last paper.

Not as much as I should have.

But considering I was unconscious until almost 6:00 tonight, it was enough.

My sleep schedule is all sorts of screwed up lately, but I don't mind a bit.  You know why?

It's messed up because I spend most of my late nights texting my friend David while he's on his night shifts as a nurse. (He's the one that's moving up here and I'm so excited!) Our friendship has grown so much in just a few weeks and I cannot wait for him to be up here. It's like we've been friends for years, the way we trust each other and confide in each other. He's coming up in about 4 weeks for a couple days for a health screening for his new job, and he's crashing with us, and then he's crashing with us when he moves up for good while he searches for his own place. He says I'll be sick of him by the time it's all over, but I don't foresee that happening. :) David is so grateful for us letting him stay with us and is so concerned about being a "burden" that I finally get how annoying it is when I'm like that with other people!

But seriously, I adore that guy. He's so sweet and I can't wait for some more crazy adventures with him when he's up here for good! There may or may not be a countdown set on my phone. ;)

My eyes, they hurt now, so time to sign off.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

So. There's this.

So let's recap some things I didn't talk about in yesterday's post because it was Mother's Day.

I've been seriously contemplating quitting my job. Mostly due to the seizures I've had and the fact that it's hard on my body and it's so hot there with the AC broken and no clue when it will be fixed (see: seizure flare-up). But also because I need to do something that doesn't kill so many brain cells.

Yesterday: Up till 7 am unable to sleep for unknown reasons.

Missed church.


Went to work.

Talked to the shift lead (she's super sweet) right after my dinner break. Told her I would do my best to make it through the shifts that are already on the confirmed schedule, but I was feeling like this was really what I needed to do.

30 minutes later: seizure.

Paramedics came.

Told them I didn't think I needed to go to the ER.

Had another seizure, falling on the paramedic.

Told the manager I couldn't come back. Period.

Usual ER trip, with the addition of learning the DEA has a file on me with red flags. AWESOME. -_- (Hey, DEA. I have a long medical history with a lot of problems. I'm not a drug addict. But thanks for the concern.)

Home. Unable to sleep.

Today: Migraine.

Turned in EU paper.

Turned in official letter of resignation to work.

Lots of sleep.

I planned to start work on the last paper, but meh. I still have time and it just was not going to happen today. Oh well.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Mama

"But my ultimate inspiration comes from my best friend, the dazzling woman from whom I received my name and my life's blood...My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn't do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. She filled our house with love and fun and books and music, unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith. As she guided me through these incredible [almost twenty-three] years, I don't know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her."

That's from a scene in Gilmore Girls more than a decade ago, but ever since the first time I heard it, I've known that I could say the same thing about my mom.

Ever since I moved to New York, it's become more and more clear to me just how much I need my mom. And not just a mom, my mom.

She's amazing. Beautiful. Brilliant. Witty. So many other adjectives that would take me until next Mother's Day to list.

I'm so glad God saw fit to make her my mama.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

And another one bites the dust!

First the longest paper, then the shortest paper.

Two are done.

One more paper to the end my semester.

Other than knocking that thing out, today was a pretty chill day.

This was the hardest topic for me, since it was the only teacher-assigned one, so it took the most brain power, so by the time I finished, my brain was exhausted and I gave myself the rest of the night off.

Now I have until Thursday to finish the last one.

I got this!

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Today was not what I planned.

I planned to get up by 9:00, eat, take a shower, and write my first paper until either a) it was finished or b) I had to get ready for and go to work, whichever came first. Sounds peachy, right?

Well, I couldn't manage to get up until about 12:30 pm (for several reasons), and I ate some cereal and took a shower, planning to at least write a little bit before getting for work. And then I got dressed and went to put my bowl from my cereal in the sink...and almost collapsed. In the same feeling I always get when a seizure is about to come on. It makes absolutely no sense, considering I'd just eaten, but by some miracle, I managed to avoid another seizure this week, especially considering I was home alone.

There's been talk of work "letting me go" because of all my health issues (yeah, how that's legal, I don't know), so I called work and spoke to the assistant store manager and asked if I was going to get fired if I missed work today, and thankfully, she said no. So I didn't go to work, because I was afraid that if I did already feeling bad, I'd have another seizure like I did on Tuesday.

The good news is that by missing work today, I managed to completely finish the first due and longest of the papers I had left. What a relief. Then I took the rest of the night off since the other two shorter ones aren't due until next Thursday. I can do this.

I don't really want to, but I have to, and I totally can.

P.S. Thank the good Lord for friends who let me whine for a minute and then tell me to suck it up and get back to work. :)

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Last Day of Class

It's official! I finished classes for the second semester of my Master's program today. So all that stands between me and completely finishing my first year here at NYU is three papers, and those have to be turned in by next Thursday, so the end is in sight! I love it!

Also, I may or may not have been working on one of these papers through my evening class today, because listening to that man talks seriously bores me to tears. Everything he says just drips with condescension and I can't deal with it. I definitely put "No" on the "Would you recommend this professor to a friend?" question on the survey. #icannottellalie So I worked and got several pages done. Yay me.

In other news, I finally got to have an appointment with my neurologist today, and we got a medicine plan in place to taper up this new med to maybe finally get these stupid seizures under control. Only time will tell, I suppose. And as it turns out, it's not him I have a problem with, it's his annoying NP, as she wasn't there today and I liked him just fine. So there's an interesting realization for me.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Headache from You-Know-Where

Well, turns out when you slam your head into a hard floor repeatedly, you bruise the tissue on your scalp. And when you bruise the tissue on your scalp, you wake up next day with the headache from hell.

So needless to say, I took 3 Vicodin over the course of the day and basically didn't move from my bed until 9:00 tonight when I managed to get up, watch my usual Wednesday television, and finally FINALLY start on the first of the three papers that are still hanging over my head.

But um, yeah, that was my Wednesday in a nutshell.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Talk about a disappointment.

Well, I thought that, at the very least, I'd get to go to work today on Cinco de Mayo and be entertained by a barrage of drunk people in need of snacks, similar to what happened on St. Patrick's Day.

Instead, I went and it was another normal (see: BORING) Tuesday at work for the first several hours of my shift, until I had a seizure around 8:40, slammed my head several times into the linoleum floor behind the register, and then spent the next several hours in the ER on Dilaudid and getting a CT scan. What an overall disappointment.

The one good thing was that I had the best nurse ever. The doctor ordered a shot of Dilaudid in my arm so that I didn't have to get it IV, and the nurse instead went and put an IV in anyway so it would work faster and stronger. And I barely felt the IV going in at all. And plus he was just funny and friendly and I love nurses like that.

But seriously, I'm tired of being in pain and I'm so, so tired of seizures.

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Today was simple. And simply perfect.

 This is Manish.

And yes, that's also a mural of Albert Einstein holding a "Love is the Answer" sign in the background. I love New York.

He's the guy (Manish is, not Einstein) I've mentioned a few times over the past month, the one I met after that fight with Mom during that trivia night the week she was here.

The past month has been pretty hectic, so we finally got to hang out again today. On our first date, if that's what you'd call it, he mentioned wanting to take me to the Highline, which is basically this mile and a half long trail that covers about twenty block on the west side of Manhattan. So we made plans for today for a lunch of Mexican food (little did he know when he suggested this place that Mexican food is my favorite) and then a walk at the Highline. 

We were together more than three hours and every second of it was, in my eyes, absolutely perfect. And we didn't even doing anything spectacular. We ate and we walked and we talked about anything and everything and just enjoyed the scenery and weather and ate shaved ice and the most amazing ice cream sandwich ever created (because did I mention it was 80 degrees out today? PRAISE!). 

I got home and my muscles were shaking from all the walking but I was grinning from ear to ear because I couldn't even imagine that it was possible to be happier than I was today. The last time I remember being this happy was when I was back at CU with my soccer boys in January. 

And here's the thing: I don't know what the future holds, but I don't really even care because I just want to spend more time with him. It's so easy with us. There's never been any nerves or awkwardness. It just felt right. Like we've been friends for years, not weeks.

I've spent so long putting everyone and everything else first, that it's long past time I chase what makes me happy. So I'm going to do just that. And he, as far as I can tell, is part of that. 

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

I love praying with others.

A friend once told me that she doesn't feel moved by communal prayer. That praying with other people doesn't make her feel close to God. Which let me say right now that that is totally fine. Everyone has a unique relationship with the Lord and different things that reach their hearts. The only reason that I even mention that friend is because that is what came to mind when I sat down to write this post about how grateful I am for the opportunities I get to pray with others, especially people I love.

God rarely feels more real to me than in the moments when I am emotionally and sometimes physically connected to another person and we are going hearts wide open to the God that we both love and so desperately need.

This isn't just something I'm realizing now. I'm sure I said it several times last year in reference to time spent praying with some of my Reformation brothers (particularly Austin and Clayton) and soccer boys. It's just becoming even more evident to me now, when I'm in a place where I've had to start all over in terms of making friends I can rely on that are physically close by.

Every week, it becomes clearer to me that the people at my church are my family in every way that truly counts. One friend in particular has spontaneously offered to pray with and over me two weeks in a row now. Another texts just to check in on me. I wouldn't be able to do what I do without love like this up close.

I keep coming back to the question of "How did I ever get so lucky?!" but really, I don't need to know. Knowing why or how isn't what drives my praise and gratitude for the what is.

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Retail is fun!

Or at least, that's what I sarcastically said about six times tonight.

I cannot wait until my papers are done for this semester and I can devote all my time and energy to finding a job that doesn't kill quite so many brain cells as this one.

And you know, if it pays my rent, that would be nice, too.

Sigh. Today was exhausting. There's really nothing else to say.

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Two Things I Love

Hot chocolate dates with friends who calm my nerves.

And the crew at Spiegel, who has easily become like a second family to me.

That is a heart one of the bartenders drew in my hot chocolate today. Spiegel is like a second home to me. I basically hang out there whenever I just don't want to go home yet, or I need to get out. At the very least, I stop by whenever I'm on my way out or on the way home to give hugs to whoever is on that shift. It's a pretty special bond we have going on.

People like the Spiegel crew, they make this crazy city feel even just a little less intimidating.

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