What Are Ten Wonderful Things About You? Gratitude Wants To Know.

Happy Monday fraands, hope everyone’s weekend was good, decent, and uneventful in the best way. This moring’s blog is going to be quick because I forgot to write it last night and I’ve got twenty minutes before I really need to get ready for work. This might be my best blog yet because I won’t (can’t) allow myself to overthink each sentence and thought.

It isn’t always easy to remember our strengths or the good things about ourselves. Personally, I find it a helluva lot easier to call out my negatives than praise myself when this question is asked: What do you love about yourself?

When asked my hands usually go dry, heart palpitations increase and my brain literally freezes. The world goes in slow motion and I begin to stutter. My mind repeating one phrase, “what do I like about myself? What do I like about myself? What do I like about myself?”

Nothing ever comes to mind.

But this morning my gratitude journal asked me to name 10 wonderful things about myself and something about using the word wonderful helped me consider what I do think is wonderful about myself.

The word love is confusing for me so it throws off my way of understanding the question. So for the first time ever, I tried to consider 10 whole things I thought was wonderful about myself.

We each have personality traits that are really awesome, so I challenge you to answer the same question. I’ll share mine but I double-dog dare you to share your own answers in the comments.

Let’s do this together!

Ten wonderful things about me:

  1. My laugh is loudly sincere and wholeheartedly expressive of the joy I’m feeling in the moment.
  2. I’m a seeker of knowledge. I want to truly understand the why, meaning and perspective of any and all given situations, a.k.a staying curious.
  3. My want to be the change I wish to see in the world, nothing excites me more than giving back and helping make this world a better place.
  4. I love to cook and trying new recipes. A gift passed down to me from my Pops.
  5. Despite being armored up on the outside, any kind of unnecessary suffering truly bothers me.
  6. I am brave.
  7. I’m creative.
  8. Book smart and street smart.
  9. Incredibly strong, especially in the face of adversity.
  10. Fearlessly authentic.

This did me more good than I thought it would. It felt ridiculous and absurd when I spent (what I felt) too much time contemplating my wonderful parts, and then physically having to write them down.

There’s something solidifying to writing them down. I actually believe what I wrote, so I encourage you to write yours down and share them with me in the comments. This might be the best way to start off your Monday.

Don’t worry, it’ll feel silly at first, but I promise you it’s more rewarding than not.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for my spin class tonight. It’s going to kick my ass back into taking care of myself. 

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

My First Day at KidWorks KU Program

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My first day at Kidworks KU program was this past Friday and I have to admit, my nerves were jittery all day in anticipation of my first-afternoon volunteer teaching.

Would a bunch of 3rd through 5th graders eat me alive? Would I say something wrong and secure their place in therapy twenty years from now? What if they hate my course outline and/or despise me?!

PS: When the hell did I turn into a worry wart? My lifelong goal of not turning into my mother and worrying about everything has apparently flown right out the window. #smdh

KU (Kidworks University) is a 5-week program where kids elect to take courses they’re interested in after their regular school hours. I volunteered to fill in as the arts & crafts teacher as they hadn’t found anyone to fill the position.

Craft one was making dreamcatchers. In an hour. With 12 kids and one of me.

Holy crow have I never heard my name said so many dang times.

It was hilariously exhausting.

The entire day before Day One at KU I spent preparing for the ONE HOUR class. I was super convinced they’d finish early and all be looking at me begging for something to do. I was pre-imagining the panic I’d feel with 12 sets of little eyeballs waiting for my next move, so like any wannabe Boy Scout – I made a plan for the plan and went in prepared…

This is embarrassing because your girl had a powerpoint presentation, a word search just in case kids finished early and a story about where the dreamcatchers originated from…

And there has GOT to be some kind of life irony/hidden life message within this next paragraph describing how the ONE HOUR actually went. 

We didn’t start until 20-minutes after planned because the program manager wanted to make sure to get all the last minute kids in the classes they wanted. There was a class before mine so I couldn’t set up the room until it was my turn – but I was standing outside waiting for my kids to arrive (per protocol) and had zero prep time, especially since we all started 20 minutes late.

As I’m learning the kids’ names, half of them start asking if we’re going to make slime instead of the pre-designated craft I’m in the process of setting up. Probably four kids in total repeatedly asked, when are we going to make slime?!

After getting the kiddos started all of them needed help. At the same time.

After helping one, another would ask, and then another, then another and then another.

I’ve never tied so many damn knots in my life. Which thinking about it now, why didn’t I just tell them to tie their own knot? Those fools got me ❤

By the time the hour (and an extra 15-minutes) was up, most of the class finished their dreamcatcher and ran out the door while I was left trying to catch my breath, clean up the bead mess and figure out where I’d left my brain.

Nobody wanted to read my dreamcatcher story. And there was no extra time for the word search I had printed out. Not even sure where my flash drive with my PPT went.

I made an IG Story from the beginning to end, so I’m sharing it with you now so that you too can enjoy a laugh at my expense.

Moral of the story: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Once the party train starts rolling there’s no stopping it. And I must repeat – don’t try to make a bunch of 8 and 10-year-olds make a dreamcatcher in an hour. Safe a life, color a book.

PSA: Kidworks NEEDS volunteers. If you’re in the Orange County, California, area please consider donating some of your time. Check out volunteer opportunities here. Kidworks is a community development organization whose mission is to restore at-risk neighborhoods…one life at a time.

Join me in being the change we wish to see in the world. If you volunteer your time, tell us where in the comment section so we can love on you and each other!

Stay dreaming.

Cultivate it.

SMHS – “Cravings” defined by my Hubs

It’s Friday, so you know what time it is. Time for #SMHS – Sh*T My Husband Says!

There’s something special about being married and by special I mean hilarious. After a certain amount of time has passed you begin to get into the deep minutia of life and crazy metaphors, conversations, and ridiculousness get exchanged.

Here’s this week’s gem.SMHS6

I really wish you guys could’ve seen my face when the Hubs literally defined the word craving while dismissing its hold over him simultaneously. Good thing he’s cute ;).

Cultivate it.

Hercules Is The Most Underrated Disney Movie Ever

Not even sure why this one got stuck in limbo…


Netflix has released a number of new Disney movies for the month of September and to celebrate I watched Hercules.

Hercules is the most underrated Disney movie ever didn’t smack me upside the head until Hercules meets Meg for the first time and tries to save his first D.I.D. – Damsel in Distress. 7 reasons Hercules is the most underrated Disney movie ever blog image

Meg is being held hostage by the River Monster and isn’t impressed by this stranger’s offer to help save her. She stay’s calm and cool while dismissing the need for any help and still manages to slip out a sarcastic response.

Hercules, River Monster and Meg

Cheers to Meg for emulating every woman in the history, ever. Ladies have been pretending to be okay for ions, despite looking down the belly of the beast. We always know how to keep our cool, solve the problem and keep the program moving.

THEN when Herc asks how she got mixed up with the likes of a River Monster, her answer was again SPOT on.

meg and Hercules

Some men are plain stupid.

I’m a big tough girl. I can tie my own sandals and everything.”

big tough girl quote from Meg

Can I also say how impressed I am that a story about a young man finding his place in this world depicting all his struggles was told by Disney, too? Can I get an amen?

It’s easy to forget that Disney stories are based off the Grimm Brother’s Tales with a happier spin. Disney copyrighted the “happy ending” and Hercules is a tale from Greek mythology, but it’s still important.

Just like many get upset that Disney told little girls to be saved by Princes, they did produce other sides.

Zero to Hero in a broad sense shows Hercules’ struggle to belong, and how a little determination and hard work can beat the odds with the help from those willing to go the distance for you.

Not everyone is a stepping stone in our careers, but the good ones are and that’s not a terrible message to tell kids. We hear millennials are nothing but dreamers and searching for their passions, but a large majority are working hard in an economy built against them … but I digress … anyways

Be a Jerk and Get Treated Like a Jerk

Nothing made me giggle more than when Phil gets smacked multiple times for being a womanizer or perv. As a kid you make the connection Phil wants love but is going about it in the wrong ways, so he get’s what is due to him. i.e. getting pushed into the water, multiple times.

Take Care Of Mom

Hercules loves his biological parents as well as his adoptive parents and makes a point to take care of Mom. After Hercules made his name as a Hero, he buys them a house next to the leaning tower of Pisa. How sweet is that? C’mon. So extra.

Meg Saves The Day

I think you might’ve missed what happened there at the end. If it weren’t for Meg, Hercules would’ve failed and never gotten to the pearly gates to make the choice to be with his family.

She dived to protect Herc and Hades’ curse was broken because he had promised she wouldn’t get hurt. Meg knew she could repair what she damaged by sacrificing herself. Talk about accountability!

What’s the old phrase? Behind every successful man is a strong woman? Meg is the original OG of Disney leading ladies. Get it, girl!


If there are any F.R.I.E.N.D.S fans reading, did you know Hercules is voiced by the guy Rachel was madly in love with at her personal styling gig? #TheMoreYouKnow 

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SMHS – Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

It’s Friday, so you know what time it is. Time for #SMHS – Sh*T My Husband Says!

There’s something special about being married and by special I mean hilarious. After a certain amount of time has passed you begin to get into the deep minutia of life and crazy metaphors, conversations, and ridiculousness get exchanged.

Here’s this week’s gem.

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What joke have you heard from your husband 100 times and then some?

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

What’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

Tina Turner said it best, what does love got to do with it? Apparently a lot, love has a lot to do with it.

Love is defined as an intense deep feeling or connection. Does that sentence make sense to you, do you grasp the concept of love based off that sentence? Well, I don’t.

When I read the definition of love, I feel a protective film of hazy fog fill up the spaces between my cognitive thinking and my heart. A few weeks ago I couldn’t understand what the haze was doing or recognize it was there, but now I understand.

The fog is protecting me, protecting me from feeling and absorbing love. The fog is confusion and it’s my defense.

What's Love Got To Do With It blog image

I’m lonely and my prayers for comfort fall on deaf ears. I don’t look into a mirror because if I catch my own eyes, they give me away and I’ll have to explain. Instead, the mirror is exclusively used to examine how far out my gut sits and help make mental notes on what to do at the gym.

It’s easier for me to digest the negative and hate than comprehend the love and compassion. This doesn’t mean I don’t have love or compassion for others, my heart is huge for others suffering.

I just can’t give it (grace) to myself.

A few weeks ago I was speaking to a youth pastor about God and why I’m not a believer. I explained it’s not religion that makes me uncomfortable, I find the stories of creation interesting (all of them). The psalms, prayers and big guy in the sky doesn’t scare me out of church. “It’s not even because I didn’t grow up in church,” I told him.

It’s the unconditional love from God that keeps me away. How can someone who doesn’t know you or have to love you, just give you love? “God loves all his children and died for you,” as the saying goes. I don’t get it.

What's Love Got To Do With It blog image

A dusty box that sat unnoticed for many years made its way back to the light a few months ago. It contained journals, diaries and notes from when I was 7-years-old all the way up to my Senior year of High school.

It seemed like a good time to relive old memories. My twenties have been tough and there’s still two years left of them. I had been feeling like I didn’t know who I was and could use reminding, so I popped them open and started the Dear Diary series, but I still avoided one box. Until yesterday …

That one box contained a handful of letters that were written to me by the first man who tried to love me.

He wrote me poems, called me Angel Dove and would go into great detail about how much his love for me burned and loved to tell anyone who would listen how much he loved me. As of yesterday, I still couldn’t read his letters in their entirety.

It’s not hard to guess what happened next.

I broke his heart, shattered it. Told him he made me sick and that I never wanted to see him again. When he came back to town for the first time after I split it off, my yard got trashed, car got egged and my voicemail was filled with a few hurtful messages. But in a way I knew I deserved it, so I didn’t fight it or respond.

A number of years later I fell in love again and did everything in my power to fuck that up, too.

Love seems easy. You read about it all the time and plenty of movies depict the art of falling in love, so is it possible to not understand what unconditional love feels like when its all around you?

If it’s possible, is that why I feel so disconnected?

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What if love felt like it wasn’t supposed to be a feeling because those things were for pussies and love was only conditional and through actions, because actions speak louder than words? Can someone who can’t feel love figure out how to be loved?

Is any of this making any sense?

In a nutshell, life has been considered unstable in my book. Friends don’t exist because in a few years you’ll lose them when you move again and acquaintances can only be trusted as far as you can throw them. This is what I tell myself.

What’s the point? Nothing lasts forever so don’t get attached, have an out and wait for the bottom to fall out.

But I’ve been telling myself a lie and doing myself an injustice. I deserve love and it deserves to have me. I matter and I am enough. Ignorance may be bliss, but awareness is enlightening. My quarrels with love and loving myself can only get better if I recognize the problem.

I deserve to be the person I know I can be and so do you.

I will rise up, despite the ache.

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Dear Diary May 1997 IV

You’re back for more?! Great! Here’s what you’ve missed. 

Quick recap: Neil is my bus crush, Alissa is my Best friend and I love to write the word love. It’s very apparent I needed to make sure I never forgot who I held nearest and dearest to my heart …. which was pretty much everything. 

My two other favorite words in 1997 were ‘cool’ and ‘ fun,’ everything fit in those two categories. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world stayed that simplistic?

I’m not editing any contents of my diaries or reading the entires beforehand. That way we can share in the wonder together. 

Here is May 1997 IV.


May 28, 1997
Alissa , and Neil are friends!
Neil is cool. 
Alissa is
neat. 
Love Shannon
They are so much fun

May 28, 1997
I Love Love my family! 
<3 Shannon :) :) :) :) :)

June 2nd 1997
Do not tell Neil I love the Bulls o.k.
Alissa
Yes [ ]
No [ ]
Love Shannon
Love Shannon

June 3rd 1997
I am glad the Bulls 
won!
Love Shannon

June 05 1997
I <3 u

Love Shannon

June 15, 1997
Today is Father's
Day! I <3 u!

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[Dear Diary] The amount of weight carried in those messy smiley faces is unmeasurable.
What’s funny is I remember always assuming I root for the Bulls if basketball was on, but I hardly remember ever watching basketball. For as long as I can remember it’s always been football, #BillsMafia.

When my brother and I were younger we played this NBA game on Nintendo 64 and I consistently picked the Chicago Bulls. Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen and MJ all day everyday. Changing Rodman’s hair was a must.

The dateline has progressed from standard to a mash-up. It’s possible I had just learned in school all the different variations of numbering. What a show off.

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Can we discuss the nostalgia attached to the yes/no boxes? They were life! Do kids these days still decide major life decisions based off what was checked? Please, tell me they do!

Side bar–My now husband used the yes/no boxes to ask me out for our first date. He slid a half sheet of paper under my bedroom door one afternoon that read, “will you go out with me? Yes [ ] No [ ]’

I penciled in my own box and checked, “Maybe [ \ ]” I am still kind of an asshole.

Love Shannon

PS: If I jump back in to basketball and root for the Bulls, does this make me a bandwagoner or fair-weather fan? I have proof from an 8-year-old, it was her team …

PSS: Speaking of sports, I have a memory with my father watching the Sabres game (losing, typical) and pacing around the house ranting about how terrible the team was playing. I wanted to join in on the angst and began mimicking his pacing and angry slurs at the television. He let me partake in his anger for a few minutes before telling me to knock it off. Damn kids, LOL.

It may seem by 8-year-od self loved the Bulls, but I’ve always been a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan, as painful as it’s been throughout the years (cough-cough, my entire life). Who do you root for? Let me know in the comment section! 

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Mayborn Literary Conference Winning Submission – Married in Blue Jeans

Over a year ago I submitted a personal narrative to the 2015 Mayborn Literary Conference in Dallas, Texas. Much to my surprise, I won and recently received the book in the mail with my story printed inside, stirring up the never ending mental debate of “if” I should share it on the ‘ol personal blog.

Funny, it being printed in a book means a bajillion (maybe not THAT many) strangers will potentially read my story, kinda cool yet kinda terrifying all in the same breath. So why the hesitance to share it on here and not a second thought about its printed existence? I’m not positive, but I think it could have something to do with controlling tendencies…

On a whim I’ll throw caution to the wind and share instead. After all, I can’t write something and not want anyone else to read it now can I?

Continue reading Mayborn Literary Conference Winning Submission – Married in Blue Jeans

Unemployment Diaries: California Edition Part VIII

My interview with the Marconi Automotive Museum was scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday. After the fiasco on Wednesday with a previous company, I was hopeful I couldn’t have two wonky interviews in a row. Plus, my family is filled with gear heads. Wouldn’t that be perfect?

My Hubs is attending UTI (an automotive school) and is currently in the top percentage of his class. And to brag a little because I’m super proud and excited for him, he’s been receiving offers from top manufacturers to attend their additional training courses after he gradates. Ironically, a majority are located in Southern California.

My father-in-law eats, breathes and dreams about rebuilding old American muscle cars, and has an ’07 Shelby getting a facelift in his garage as we speak. Him and my Hubs spent some time rebuilding a Chevy Impala when the Hubby was in high school. Not to mention, my FIL’s garage is what man dreams are made of …

My pops has always had a love for motorcycles. He wasn’t ever a fan of the sporty bikes, but enjoyed the classics that are meant for cruisin’. And his father, my grandfather, had a hobby of rebuilding cars when my pops was a kid.

Almost to good to be true, right?

I didn’t want to jinx it and get my hopes too high. I’m a believer of the jinx, and partially because I’ve been a Buffalo Bills fan for the entirety of my life, rightfully so, the Bills have annually managed to break my heart.

I arrived to the interview an hour early. I was able to drive my in-laws ’06 Mustang and I think the beaut gave me an extra pep in my step and shot of confidence. The front of the building was all glass and after 10-15 minutes I realized I didn’t want to look like a creeper. So I went in 40 minutes early. No such thing as being too early, right?

I told the receptionist I was here for an interview and that I was much too early because traffic wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. She offered to let me walk around the museum and would have my interviewer, Missy, come get me when I was ready.

The warehouse is huge and it’s filled with fast rare cars. Mr. Marconi was definitely a fan of the Lamborghinis. I had checked out its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WordPress pages. And I felt like I got a good understanding of what the company was about; No weird California laws prohibited its openness (see previous post about wonky interview).

The company was everything I hoped I could land after graduation. It’s a nonprofit that gives its proceeds to a hearty amount of charities for children. The space is used as a venue to host events such as: weddings, birthdays, office Christmas parties, etc. And the job description was almost a mirror image of my resume.

Is this real life?

Many people will warn you throughout the higher education path that you’ll most likely not land a position in your desired field, because it’s difficult and companies are looking for somebody with more than entry level experience. This common conversation pushed myself to gain as much real world experience as I could before I’d walk across a stage (for the last time) and receive my diploma.

I was determined to land a job I would enjoy. This doesn’t mean I was arrogant to jobs I wasn’t too thrilled about. I applied to as many communication, writing and planning jobs I came across, because ultimately my goal was to get out of the food industry. I promised myself I wouldn’t work another Thanksgiving this year, and I had a few months to meet my deadline upon graduating.

I anxiously awaited for my interview to begin as I strolled through the impressive warehouse. I started to get a bit too excited and began imagining all the possibilities I could do if hired as the marketing coordinator. And before I could get way to excited, my interview began.

After an hour and a half of speaking with the Marconi ladies, I was asked to come back the following Monday for an additional interview. And yes, it was hard not to leap for joy into their arms and jump up and down with them in unison. Thankfully, I understand that would be awkward and probably a tad bit unprofessional.

I felt at ease during the conversation. It felt like I was catching up with two friends whom I hadn’t seen in some time. I didn’t have to search for the answers to their questions, I just knew them. And I wasn’t anxious, fidgety or afraid of saying the wrong thing. I couldn’t imagine it going any better.

I could hardly wait to tell my husband and family how well it went. As soon as I left on the train a few Mondays ago, I hoped I would be able to call the Hubs and scream I got a job and we’re officially moving to California, pack your bags!

Earlier that morning, before my interview, my FIL stopped at the bottom of the stairs (my bedroom / Hubs former bedroom is at the top of the stairs) and said a silent prayer for me to have a wonderful interview and to have all the right words.

My MIL anxiously waited for 1 o’clock to strike before bowing her head at her desk and prayed for the exact same thing.

Call it coincidence, karma or divine intervention; I had the best interview of my life. Now, I just need to make it through the weekend.