At The Moment

I am…

Suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome. Being an adult + the arrival of Summer = severe symptoms.

You start growing up accustomed to this work hard/play hard cycle of school life and then all of the sudden you’re in a NO BREAK EVER life. What?! Who approved this?

Can’t I just not reply to work emails for three months and then come back in September and pick up where I left off?

Remember the glorious adrenaline of the last day of school? It signified the arrival of the freedom months. It meant full days spent at the pool with your best friend, ingesting an ungodly amount of freezer pops. It meant mischievously prank calling boys who still had little girl voices, sprinklers and water guns, turning three shades darker without even trying, multiple sleepovers a week, eating tubs of raw cookie dough with Doritos and frozen pizza (metabolism…what’s that?), sweaty hand holding, building rafts at the beach, wearing a swimsuit 3/4ths of the day, road trips to thrilling places like Adventureland, and living completely unconcerned about what time you had to wake up in the morning.

Now Summer means sitting at a desk all day praying to God the office AC doesn’t break. It means forcing yourself to be productive when all you want to do is float down a river inside of an inflatable donut or take a nap in a hammock. It means still setting your alarm, still getting dressed, still paying bills, still feeling worthless after a workday, etc.

I’m not saying Summers aren’t fun anymore. They’re still the best. But you never get back those few months of blissful, ignorant, youthful freedom. And that is a tragedy. RUUUFIIOOO.

Grateful for friendships near and far. I think something unique happens when people become friends because the universe brought them together in another country, for a specific amount of time, to experience something intense and out of the ordinary together. I’m not exactly sure why, but for me at least, there is a pull to keep those people close. Maybe because they’re my only few ties to a life altering experience. Maybe because we lived in places and spaces where all we could do was talk. For hours, days, months. My friend Melissande and I have been in a season of communicating frequently. It’s been 5 years since we were aimlessly wandering the streets of Morocco, but we’ve continued to share life over Skype and through cards/packages. My friend Sarah, who I met in YWAM, asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding this Summer- yeaaahhh! I’ve stayed in touch with the three people I interned with in Uganda, visiting and checking in with each other. Each one of them has really been there for me lately, even if we’re oceans apart. It means a lot. And I’m constantly blessed and amazed by the friends I have surrounding me every day. I don’t know why or how I got so lucky. As cliche as it sounds, they make me a better person and I would be in a far darker place right now if it weren’t for their love and zeal for life. So thank you (you all know who you are). A million times. Thank you.

All about the little victories When you find yourself challenged beyond what you thought you were capable of, the small victories become all the more precious. Stress and worry have tried to swallow me whole the past few months, but there is one victory I have been relishing in: the absence of self-doubt. I believe in myself. Don’t ask me why the realization of that comes as a bit of a surprise. But I’m proud of myself. I know that I am capable. Of reaching new levels of health. Of obtaining my dreams. Of saying no. Of great love. Of conquering fear. Of gracefully embracing change. Of deeper faith. I’ve got this. Breathe. Keep your eyes open, your chin up, and your heart full.

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Love,

Taylor

7 Things Sunday

One. On Monday I laughed until my sides ached, which is one of the better ways you can start off a week. Dave Ross and Kyle Kinane had a fantastic comedy set at Vaudeville Mews. And I was surrounded by these lovely gents from PHS days, making the whole situation even better.

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Two. Everything leading up to the ArtForceIowa Open House on Wednesday afternoon is pretty much a blur. But all the chaos and frenzy funneled into a successful event! There was art on the walls, students galore, performers singing, an interactive assemblage project exploding, doughnuts being eaten, etc.

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Three. I sent my Grandma Jeanne a Happy Mother’s Day text. 5 days later she sent me this:

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Would you look at the use of that space bar?!  I’m keeping this forever. I know she’s reading this. I love you, Grandma. You’re really cute.

Four. I woke up Thursday with a really sore throat and by Friday afternoon it was gone. I thank this guy…

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I’m a believer.

Five. These songs.

Six. Saturday was second annual outdoor Water Ride. Thanks to generous sponsors like Des Moines Water Works, 100% of the proceeds from this bike ride go towards clean, sustainable water wells and education in Ghana! We only had around 25 registrants at the beginning of the week, causing us all to mildly freak out. But we had over 70 riders yesterday and it was one of the most beautiful days EVER for a bike ride! The staff at Orlondo’s graciously “hosted” us and provided riders with specials on pizza and beer (they also brought us volunteers jello shots and maracas?…I don’t get it, but I’ll take it) Thank you to everyone who helped and supported- thanks to you, Tsipasi’s water well will be officially operative on Memorial Day!

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Seven. What a week. Phew. Sometimes the best gift you can give yourself is a guilt-free nap. True story.

Love,
Taylor

7 Things Sunday

One. I love baking. One, because I love eating…desserts in particular. Two, because I love sharing the goodness. On this dreary afternoon I whipped up a Key Lime Pie with homemade graham cracker crust for Sunday night group. YOU GUYS, I even garnished it with little lime wedges because that’s how into it I was getting. It must have been well received because there isn’t any left. Bye, bye little pie.

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Two. Emily took me to see Once at the Civic Center and we loved it. I had seen the movie and owned the soundtrack, so it was really fun to see the stage production. I thought it was incredibly creative, humorous, and the music is brilliant. The set operated as a working bar, so before the show started we got to go up on stage, have a beer and watch the musicians play. How sweet is that?!

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Three. This week my boss is out of the country on vacation, sooooo I am solely in charge of holding down the fort *gulp*. I’ve never temporarily operated a non-profit on my own. Wish me luck. Send me good vibes.

Four. I really like this:

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Five. On Saturday morning I Skyped my friend Melissande (we went to Morocco together). We haven’t reallllly talked in almost a year, which I kick myself for, but we do a pretty good job of exchanging snail mail. I can easily go off on rants about all the more negative ways technology is impacting life, but then it redeems itself with moments like this…when I can have a coffee date with this dear friend who lives thousands of miles away. I can’t wrap my arms around her, but I can see and hear her beauty loud and clear. I realize Skype has been around for years now, but it still astonishes me.

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Six. Why did the man not mind being bald?………Because he didn’t want toupee for hair. Hehehehehe.

Seven. The kids I work with love to laugh at how often I have no idea what they’re talking about. And then they make me guess, which apparently becomes the funniest part. I’m hoping that this is endearing for them in some way. In case you were wondering, this week I learned that calling a girl a “thot” means you’re calling her a ‘hoe’ or ‘slut’. A “bae” is the person you call or text ‘Before Anyone Else’. I said they should get me Hooked-on-Ebonics…but then I realized they’re too young to know about Hooked-on-Phonics. So that joke failed. Then I felt awkward.

Love,

Taylor

Cheers to 2013

In 2013, I…

January

-Rang in the New Year with friends by gorging on chips, guacamole, and margaritas at Dos Rios and attempting to sing Auld Lang Syne very loudly

-Displayed my senior show at Grand View

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February

-Clayton and I celebrated 6 years of being together by taking Cha-cha dancing lessons

-Emily and I dressed to the nines and attended the Des Moines Art Center’s Oscar Party, where we met a lot of interesting people

-My great-grandpa turned 90!

-I crashed the Filipino-American Association of Iowa’s Valentine’s Day celebration at Prairie Meadows

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March

– My friend Sarah and I had a girls weekend and saw Sigur Ros in Minneapolis

-Clayton and I found out we were both accepted to graduate school in Scotland

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April

-Clayton was the Easter Bunny for the third time at Gateway’s Eggs, Eggs, Everywhere Easter Egg Hunt. Always so much fun!

-I did a live painting at Gateway Church during the Easter Service

-I graduated from Grand View Summa Cum Laude. Booya.

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May

-I started a summer of nannying for two very awesome kids. This included: berry picking, park hopping, swimming, crafts galore, science experiments, lemonade stands, tours of the art center/historical building/pella/science center/etc, movies, side walk chalking, milk boat racing, reading, etc.

-I volunteered putting on The Water Ride

-Went to a John Mark McMillan concert

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June

– I experienced my first drag show

-Spent Father’s Day at an I-Cubs game

– I went to the farmer’s market a lot

-I visited my friend Andrew in Los Angeles where we went to art museums, a Dodger’s game, stand-up shows, and a Josh Groban concert. While in California, I also got to see the Kretzu family and eat burgers on the beach in front of an epic sunset.

-Clayton started his job as a Job Developer for Catholic Charities in the refugee department.

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July

-I spent the 4th of July (turned 23) with my family in the Ozarks where we played games, ate too much, went boating, layed out, went down water slides, and hung out at a swim-up bar.

-Tried a go at Contra dancing

-Went to see The Lone Bellow and Brandi Carlile on the Riverfront

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August

-I had the honor of being a groom’s girl for my friend Aaron. His wedding was one of the highlights of my summer, for sure.

-One weekend later Clayton and I both stood up in Colyn and Hilary’s wedding

– I saw T-SWIFT!!

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September

– I was primarily unemployed this month so I did a lot of reading

– We moved into a new apartment

-We bought a used Prius and named it Miles

October

-Clayton and I celebrated 4 years of marriage

-We went to DC to visit graduate schools and stayed with our lovely friends, the Smiths. While in DC we went to a wine tasting, ate incredible ethnic foods, visited The Phillips Collection and walked to markets.

-Threw the 3rd annual 90’s Halloween party

-We briefly had a cat named Frieda. Tragically, Clayton is actually allergic. I can no longer live in denial. I miss her…even though we never really saw her because she was literally a-fraidy-cat.

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November

-We spent Thanksgiving in Colorado with BOTH our families

-I went to my first NBA game

-Ugly Sweater Run

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Decemeber

-Saw Peter Pan at the Des Moines Playhouse

-Had 7 family Christmases

-Spent lots of good quality time with friends back home for the holidays

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Cheers, friends! I hope you all had lovely years. Here’s to 2014!

Love,

Taylor

Lately…

Well.

I made it through the busiest finals week of my collegiate career and graduated last Saturday. And then on Sunday I moved. This is the third time in my life I have had to move the week of finals. Never on purpose, but leases and classes always end at the exact same time in my life apparently.  Blah.

On a happier note, I was accepted to both graduate schools I applied to (but don’t even ask me what I’m going to do because I have no idea) and landed a volunteer internship with ArtsFest Midwest. This is the other arts festival held at the State Fairgrounds the weekend of the Des Moines Art Festival.

I start my summer nanny job soon, and let’s just say I plan on dominating at this. I have been making a really sweet summer bucket list for us to accomplish. I mean, the kids have already asked me for my autograph, so I must be doing something right *hair flip*.  I know that going to the pool will practically be an everyday event, so I went looking for a new swimsuit this week. I must say, it is really strange to go shopping for a suit the first week of May (that in itself is actually normal) in your gloves, scarf, and winter coat because it is 35 degrees and SNOWING.

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I’ve been able to get a lot of good QT in with friends and family lately- always a good thing. Painting and planting, attempting to find the best Mexican (with the best margs) in Des Moines, dance parties, making and delivering May Day baskets, sleepovers, drinking wine and eating fancy cheese on the front porch, FaceTiming friends in faraway places, and last night I got to be a part of the surprise engagement party for these two cuties.

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Two of the most selfless, patient, compassionate people I know. I seriously cannot think of a match better made. I am over the moon excited for their life together to begin. They already have an incredible impact on their community and I am anxious to see that grow wherever life takes them.  Congratulations Colyn and Hilary. All my love to you both! 

Love, 

Taylor

Don’t Skip Girls Night

One time the three men I so graciously live with asked me what girls talk about when they get together. I didn’t really know what to say. Living with guys, I have noticed their conversations for the most part are reserved to politics, food, sports, and friends. So what do I talk about with my friends? I happened to be on my way out the door for LIT girls (aka book club), so I promised to take notes and report back to them.

My consensus:  What DON’T girls talk about when they get together?

For real. In an hour we are capable of touching on birthing methods, blogs, Roth IRAs, books (obviously), ex-boyfriends, how weird the Old Testament is, the Paleo diet, the Kardashians, poop, exercise, cats, how often we shower, beer, and memories.

Isn’t that amazing? Ha…

Being around men all the time I have my moments of seriously, that fart was not necessary and how do you get that little pool of pee on the back of the toilet EVERY time? and I think I’m going to projectile vomit if I have to hear anything else about your fantasy draft. But I would actually call myself a guy’s girl. I feel perfectly at ease in a group of them. They think I’m pretty cool. I can bro down. I do bro down. A lot. If you’ve never met my other half, he is a boy through and through. However, I have noticed there are times I feel like I have to ‘suppress the Jess’ (New Girl reference, sorry) in order to be cool with the dudes. 

So, there is something really refreshing about being with a handful of ladies. About wine and cupcakes. About nail polish and giggling. About being asked a bunch of questions and sincerely listened to. About crafting lovely things together. About hugs and understanding. About being able to comfortably dance immodestly and being complimented on your shoes.

And I read these in a recent psychology journal:

– Female friends enhance a woman’s physical and emotional health at every stage of life.

– Husbands frequently pre-decease their wives, so girlfriends become a vital system of support.

– Being with girlfriends helps women feel more confident, better understood, and more relaxed- making her a better wife, mother, lover, or partner.

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Here’s to embracing lady parts and stuff.

Love,

Taylor