Going the extra (1,000) miles

After recovering from my 40th birthday celebration, I’ve taken some time to think about where my life is now.

Five of the people I love most in the world sacrificed a week of work, time and money to make a trip to California to celebrate me. It’s extremely humbling and I owe each of them so much more than I can ever show.

Taking a note from Amanda Cade’s Thanksgiving blog, I decided to write down what each of these wonderful people have taught me and how they continue to help me “find my way.”


“It will get better.” My sweet mother has been saying those four words to me my entire life.

Through high school breakups, rough assignments in college, a bad marriage, any difficult days at work and a terrible sugar disaster in 2019 that had me crying on my kitchen floor, she was always there on the other end of the phone with those words.

And, she’s right. Because I have her unconditional love, I know I’m supported and things will get better. There is no situation we can’t conquer.

When I told her my planned California trip may not happen after my manpanion and I called it quits, she picked up his role and planned it. Every circumstance has a solution.

Now any time I face something difficult, I don’t even have to call her; I know it will get better.

Of course, I still call her to be sure…

My brother, Clay

All my life, my brother has been the exact opposite of me. I can be bossy, he’s unassuming. I’m outgoing, he’s shy. I am a city-dweller, he’s happy in the suburbs. I’m strong-willed, he goes with the flow.

But it turns out, being quiet is a powerful thing. You don’t always have to be the loudest voice in the room to make an impact.

When my brother does talk, (and I mean really talk, not just telling bad dad jokes) he often has a point of view I never considered. And one that I appreciate.

When I’m flying off the handle, he’s a calm force.

My sister-in-law, Rachael

She never says no. You get one life. Live it.

I hate that I didn’t meet this beautiful human until I was in my 30’s. She is incredible. She’s always willing to try something new, go somewhere new, meet someone new. While she’s soft spoken, there is an energy in her that is palpable.

She’s giving and full of love.

  • I needed a new bed this year, so she gave me her guest bed and helped me refurbish it.
  • I gave myself second-degree burns, so she gave me an aloe plant and showed me how to dress a wound.
  • She has become a country music fan for my brother.
  • She has visited almost every casino in southern Oklahoma with my mother.

Her heart is as big as her smile.

My BFF, Stacy

Stacy = Kindness.

Nearly 15 years ago, I was going through a divorce and had no money and no where to live. I barely knew her, but she heard my plight and offered a room in her house.

In the year I lived under her roof, I learned about wine, cats and what true friendship means. She never judges me for my bad decisions, and is always there to listen.

When my manpanion and I ended things this summer, she immediately bought me a plane ticket to go see her in Arizona. No questions, no requests; she just did it.

The kindness and love in her heart is unmeasurable. I don’t know how I got so lucky to cross paths with her.

She has shown me it takes very little to be kind; just think about others and act. It can mean so much.

This kind woman took me in when I had no where to go, sees the good in the world and wants to make it even better.

My Bestie, Matt

Being yourself is being the best you.

Matt, like Stacy, became my friend during my divorce. He was a 23-year-old college kid from a very small Texas town with big ideas and dreams.

When he told me he was gay a few years later, I was honored to be among the first he told. But, I knew telling his small-town family would be difficult. It took him two years to get the courage to do it.

He’s been out now for a few years, and is living his best life. He leads his LGBTQ+ employee group at his office. He’s going on a “gay cruise” next month (and I love getting pictures of his elaborate party costumes).

We shop. We eat. We laugh. We dance.

He has taught me: you are the one who has to look at yourself in the mirror the next day. So be true to yourself.


I will take what each of these incredible people have taught me over the last few decades and apply it in the new year. I hope I can be a fraction of what these five are.