Everybody's Got One

There were 4 long tables, set in a square, chairs facing inward.... 

All 16 of us arrived to the room after a lunch date at Irma's Burger Shack, where we sat and giggled and ate greasy, yummy food. We had spent the lunch hour together, getting to know everyone a little better. We laughed, OH how we laughed. We talked about what we were going to wear on Sunday, and how we should do our hair. "Should I wear heels or flats? I don't want to fall on stage!"

We arrived to this room of 4 tables on a high note, with sneaking suspicions that we would be hitting an incredible array of both high and low notes in the next 2 hours ahead. We couldn't have been more right. 

The first story had us in stitches, laughing until we almost cried...The second story brought the painful lump to our throats, crying until we, well... we cried. And so on and so forth. We were up, we were down, we were in, we were out...pfffft, I've never gone so many directions in such a short period of time!

I just sat in awe of these incredible people. So ready, to be so honest. 

Hands shook, voices quivered, mine did both for sure. Even during the *happy parts. It was nerve racking, really. To share a moment in your life, a moment that means something to you, it doesn't matter where it lands on the scale of emotion, its personal, and its yours. 

That's my favorite part about this whole thing we're doing. The HONESTY. I was touched and brought to tears by every single story. The content didn't matter. Don't get me wrong, the content is great- really, really great. But the raw, honest, truth of these moments and the presentation of them, it's so pure, and its so relieving. 

I sat there, watching each woman (*ahem and the one man), who were relatively strangers a month ago, unzip themselves and lay it out on the table. I couldn't help but think to myself, "That's what you had to share? I had no idea!" We have spent the last several weeks getting to know each other, through Facebook messages and the initial meeting. We had spent the afternoon at Irma's together laughing and bonding.

"And then you just dropped that on me?" I thought. How incredible. It makes you think about everyone you know, everyone you have met. What's underneath the surface? What's inside the zipped up exterior?

Everyone has one, a story that is. 

We are not unlike any others. This Listen To Your Mother cast is consisted of everyday members of your community, we are your neighbor, your friend, your sister, your brother. 

Sure, we have been given an incredible opportunity, a platform to stand on, a podium to stand behind, and we are ready and excited to share our stories with you. 

I can only hope this opens the gate for everyone else. I hope people realize- You don't need a podium to share yourself with the world. A little bravery is all it takes. 

Be Brave, Be Honest. Tell your story. I can promise you, it feels so good.

Ann Imig- the one who started this whole thing, gives you a glimpse into what's happening. Take a second to watch this, great insight into what we're doing on Sunday.


Marathoners, Mothers, and Mamasita's

And then there was that one day, when I couldn't get it together, and I just cried all day long.... Seriously, Amy, pull yourself together.

6:30 a.m. does not come easily to me on a Sunday. Well, usually. Today I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm went off, bright and eyed and bushy tailed. I had never gotten up in time to cheer on the OKC Memorial Marathoners before. This year I decided to make it a priority. Misti had talked it up so much to me that I couldn't help but wake up excited.

It was more than I bargained for. Call it lack of sleep, or maybe its my period, I don't know. But when I walked up to the corner of 39th and Shartel, holding my gas station coffee in one hand and Regina in the other, I immediately felt a rush of emotion. Clearly, I was feeding off the energy of the crowd.

"GOOD MORNING! WAY TO GO! THANK YOU FOR RUNNING! KEEP IT UP!" Misti yelled. Mark, her boyfriend, stood next to her clapping and grinning ear to ear. The occasional "WOO!" coming out of him.

"WE'RE SO PROUD OF YOU!" Misti screamed.

Everyone was clapping. Everyone was woo-ing. Even Regina, the little pup loved it. She ran in circles and howled with the crowd.

We were at mile 6 of the 23 mile race. In the middle of a huge wave of runners, near the lead, was an older man keeping up with pace. He was in a wheel chair. And that's when I lost my shit. Not far behind was a man running his heart out, pushing a reclined wheelchair-a young boy in it. Lost it again.

It's been over 12 hours since then, still haven't fully regained my composure. It was an inspiring morning. 2 hours of clapping, cheering, and crying wore me out.

Thank God, I snuck a nap in afterward. I had a feeling the next thing on the day's agenda would be emotionally exhausting. I had no idea how much of an understatement that would be.

Today was our first table read for our Listen To Your Mother cast. We have been interacting together for weeks now, but our directors asked us to keep our stories a secret until today. I truly wish I could expound on the experience, but to be honest, I don't have it in me tonight.

All I can say is that it was gratifying, validating, emotional, hilarious....inspiring to say the least. I will follow up more on it later this week before the show. But for now, I've really just got to pull it together.

I am so in awe of the raw honesty of these lovely cast-mates, and so excited for this movement that is happening. I love that as a society we are running away from that June Cleaver, perfect on the outside, I have all my stuff together persona....and finally being honest.

This show is going to be great. Really, really, great.

Misti and I headed to Mamasita's for a nightcap and some wind down conversation. More laughter, more tears, (at this point I'm just feeling ridiculous). Her friendship has become so dear to me, and this week is her last one at the salon. I'm so proud of her and so excited for the direction her life is heading, but can't help but to feel a little selfish and wishing she would stay with me.

As for me, I'm putting myself to bed. My eyes hurt from tears, and my abs hurt from laughter. I'm going to sleep SO good tonight.


OKC Arts Festival 2013

"Understanding Art in OKC" wins the prize for best college class ever! Each week we take a little field trip to discover galleries and art shows here in Oklahoma City. Last night, we spent the evening perusing the Oklahoma City Arts Festival.

So. Much. Fun. 

We have an incredible professor named Narciso, who is less concerned about grades, and more concerned with growing his students understanding and passion for the arts world. This class is such a great reminder of why I'm doing this school thing. It's not about the grade, it's about the education. 

I'm gonna keep tonight's post short and sweet, but not without leaving you a little peak into my fun-filled evening with a video I shot last night at the festival. Hope you enjoy the video, then head downtown this weekend and enjoy The Arts. It is so worth it.


Just keep running, just keep running, running.....

The last week or so has felt more or less like I'm in my very own version of a classic nursery rhyme. You know the one, with the little old woman and the little old man. The little ol' pig, little ol' bird, the cow, and horse. Anywho, they're all chasing this Gingerbread Man. The little old woman is hungry and has a craving for a sweet treat. She gets about halfway through the process of making this dream come true, and off he goes. Running Away!

My modern twist to this classic tale goes slightly different. 

"Run, run, run, as fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm......life."  Ergh, not the fairy tale character I was expecting to chase.  And yet, here I am. 4 weeks left in my semester, halfway through this whole school process. I'm well on my way to making my dreams come true, and yet.....I'm running. \

Gotta keep those grades up, Lord knows the panic that'll ensue if I get a B. Gotta get these projects done. Gotta get my application done for next semester. Gotta make sure I'm still on the right track. And there's work, and there's personal projects, and then there's.....wait? Where'd it go? ugh....gotta start chasing it again. 

It keeps getting away from me!

I'm tired. I'm really tired. 

I have got to get off the defense. I am playing defense in my own life. Not ok. That was this little old woman's whole problem. Who I really need to take lessons from is the sly and hungry fox. 

          Then the gingerbread man reached a wide river, but he didn't know how to swim. A sly and hungry fox saw the gingerbread man  and said, "Jump on my tail, and I'll take you across the river!" 
          The gingerbread man thought to himself, "I'll be safe on his tail." So he jumped on the fox's  tail and they started across the river
          Halfway across the river, the fox barked, "You're too heavy for my tail, jump on my back." So the gingerbread man jumped on the fox's back. 
          Soon, the fox said, "You're too heavy for my back, jump onto my nose." So the gingerbread man jumped on the fox's nose. 
          As soon as they reached the riverbank, the fox flipped the gingerbread man into the air, snapped his mouth shut, and ate the gingerbread man

And that was the end of the gingerbread man 

So that's the plan. I'm gonna trick life into jumping on my back. I'm getting on the offense of this situation. And I'm going to win, because, well, that's the only choice I'm giving myself.

....Was that the strangest blog post of all time? Further proof that my brain is tired....the finals week delusions are having an early onset this semester.....


Thank You Gary England

Well here we are on this rainy, stormy, tornadoey night. Its date night here in the Climer/Herrington household. 

TORNADO DATE NIGHT! Its the best! So here's what our lovely night consists of-
my special recipe of "Spicy Spaghetti", our favorite PJ's, Justin's special recipe of Long Island Iced Tea's, and of course the Gary England Drinking Game! :) What else are you gonna do on date night when your stuck in a massive storm?

For those of you who don't live here, Gary England is our state's favorite meteorologist. And this game is, well, to say "fun" would be an understatement. I suggest you try it. You don't even have to live here to play. Oklahoma News 9 website has a live feed of the storm radar and Gary. Play along. 

Here's the rules-

Pre-game Setup
1. Everyone selects a storm chaser other than Val Castor. Every time Gary talks to your storm chaser, you take one drink. Take two drinks every time we see footage from your storm chaser. Take three drinks if your storm chaser says "tornado on the ground."
2. Everyone selects a county. Every time Gary mentions your county, you take one drink. Take two drinks every time we see footage from your county. Take three drinks if a tornado touches down in your county.

Take one drink every time Gary says one of the following:
"Hook Echo"
"Wall Cloud"
"Ranger 9"
"Mobile home"

Take TWO drinks whenever Gary says one of the following:
"Baseball Size Hail"
"On the ground"
"Waterloo Road"
"Pottawatomie County"
"Take Shelter"
"Interior Closet"
"Portable Radio"

Take THREE drinks when any of the following happens:
Ranger 9 must land to refuel.
Gary says, "Will someone please answer that phone?" / "Do you see power flashes?"
A shirt-less tornado victim is interviewed.

Everyone in the room has to finish their drink when:
Anyone says, "We'll keep you advised".
Someone uses "Tornado" as a verb.
Gary says, "We've lost Val," pour a little out for your homies and finish your drink.

Our storm chasers for this evening are Mine-Jim gardner, Justin's- Marty (something)
counties, Mine-Canadian County, Justin's-Lincoln County

I hope you enjoy your stormy evening as much as we are!
Wish us luck! (I think I'm winning)


Humanity- proving once again that superheroes do exist.

"Only two people died, I mean I know it's bad, but only two deaths? People are kind of overreacting." 
-said my professor

What? Excuse me? You didn't just say that did you? Just as I thought I had heard the worst of it, a student in class responded-

"Exactly. Stuff like this happens all the time all over the world. Just not here in America, that's why people are freaking out, we're just not used to it."

Shock. Complete shock. My mind was racing with disgust. Get used to it? Why would I want to get used to it?? 

What about the dozens who were injured, who lost limbs? What about the bystanders who looked around at pools of blood, screaming children, and witnessed tragedy at the highest degree? Innocent people struck by disaster.

I wanted to yell at them. I wanted to ask- "So how many have to die before its 'bad'?" Or, "Would you consider it 'bad' if it had been your child that was killed, or your father who had lost both of his legs?"

As I felt myself getting angrier, I realized that was the wrong reaction. Suddenly, I felt sorry for them. I felt sorry that they have become numb to it. Numb to the violence. Numb to the hate and evil. I felt sorry that they had lost the ability to have empathy, (or perhaps that they never had it in the first place.) 

I felt sorry.

They weren't wrong. Stuff like this does happen. It happens all the time. Seemingly more and more frequent. So what do we do with that? Allow ourselves to become numb, or get "used to it"? That way next time it happens it won't hurt so much?

I don't think so. I have a better idea. Let's do the opposite.

More important than not becoming numb to the violence, LET US NOT BECOME NUMB TO THE COMPASSION. 

As a result of today's tragedy, 2 died, dozens were injured, and HUNDREDS maybe THOUSANDS dropped everything to help. Every video, every photograph, showed crowds racing to care for the needy. The fear and distress didn't stop a single person from jumping in.

It was selfless. People weren't running in the other direction to save themselves. They were running into destruction to help. In some cases they were running to save.

Compassion-what a beautiful and incredible attribute of life. What a heroic statement it is to show compassion! And without suffering, it would not exist. 

The police officers, the firemen, the runners, the bystanders, I admire them all. They all make me so proud to be a part of the human race. I refuse to become numb, because the moment you shut out the bad stuff you automatically overlook the good that follows.

Evil showed up today, in a big way. 
Compassion came in right behind it, and crushed it to pieces.

 Loss and possession, death and life are one. There falls no shadow where there shines no sun     
-Hilaire Belloc 


To The Ends Of The Earth

What's really unfair about technology is its limitations. I hate the false sense that I can be a part of someone's life every minute of every day through text messages or facebook. But that I can't physically be with those that I love.

So many of my loved ones are going through so much right now. Both happy and sad. I want to be with them all. Physically. All the time. Is that really asking too much?

Come on technology, where are the not so virtual hugs? When is someone going to invent the jetpack already? And what kind of sick joke is it that 50% of those I hold dearest live on opposite sides of the country, and in a couple of cases- opposite sides of the world!?

I know, I should really feel blessed that I have this technology at all- and that I'm able to skype, text, etc. But lets be honest. I suck at using my phone. I am so much better at communicating in person. As bad as I am at virtual communication, I am even worse with the postal service. Several of you know this first hand, as you have been waiting for your packages from me since, well, october.

Ugh, Amy, get it together! This self-induced post office anxiety has got to go.

I absolutely hate the distance. I can't even count the number of times lately I have wanted nothing more than to lay in bed and pillow talk with Annika, to go on a hike with Sierra and Sarah, or to lay by the pool and talk about life, love, and religion with Chelsea. Its just not the same over the phone.

Its amazing to me how much I crave their presence. All of them. The older I get, the more I crave it. The longer we're apart, the more I know why I love you all so much. There is a Chelsea, Annika, Sierra, and Sarah shaped whole in my life. It needs to be filled, and soon.

So here is my plea-

Dear whomever is going to invent the jetpack,
     I appreciate that you are taking your time to perfect the engineering of this modern technological contraption. However, I'm going to have to request that you speed up the process as I am growing impatient. I realize that the first few years of its existence it will be far out of my budget; therefore, I need it to happen soon. That way, I can visit my girls in the next decade. You see, 15 years from now I might be creeping up on that whole mid-life crisis segment of life. And I am most definitely going to need them, even more than now if that could be possible. I appreciate your taking my plea seriously.

                     Sincerely, Amy

Dear girls,
     I am trying. I am trying to get us that jetpack, every day I send out good vibes for it and I am certain its going to happen. I am going to try harder at the phone, and even harder at the post office. My lack of communication is in no way related to my feelings about you. I love you all to the ends of the earth and back, (I have to because thats how far away you are). It would be great if I could love you to next door and back, but it doesn't look like that will be happening anytime soon. Until then, I will continue to send good vibes and prayers out to each of you, every single day. I think you are all awesome, and I don't tell you enough.

                     Love you always, Amy


Caring, Sharing, Every Little Thing That We Are Wearing

Well, I'm a little late to the game, but I've just found out it's National Sibling Day! So I thought I could spend the next several paragraphs blubbering on about how much I truly love and admire my sister. Or telling you all of the hilarious moments of our childhood, like how I taught her all the bad words, how we lived in a purely imaginative made up world, or how I used to eat her Barbie's hands and feet.

Sure, I COULD do all of these things. But INSTEAD I am going to drown you in photographs. I sure wish there was a way I could make these photos scroll through in a slideshow montage to any assortment of MoTown songs, (which was indefinitely our favorite genre of tunes growing up....or maybe those were the only cassettes mother allowed us to have...Regardless, we loved it). 

I suppose these photos will have to do, and you'll just have to sing It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To and Please Mr. Postman to yourself as you scroll through :).

Matching Christmas PJs, every year since birth.

She blazed that whole walking down the aisle thing for me, but this photo could very well explain why I felt comfortable enough to pull a hankie out of my boobs during the ceremony.

Not all siblings have to be actually related, I don't know of anyone else that would be better qualified as our other sisters! Love you Leesha and Shawnda!

We were probably playing some brilliant original piece. I am quite certain I could've been the next Beethoven had I not quit piano lessons due to the ungodly smell of our piano teacher's breath.

Sister got herself all knocked up before my wedding, so there was no chugging of champagne before we walked down my aisle (*ahem* pavement)...not by HER anyway ;).

I totally forgive her for that whole getting knocked up before my wedding thing. Because THIS was the result, the Lovely Ms. Emma!

Here's to you, Sara Beth Herrington. May we only grow closer with age. Can't wait to see what the next 25 years brings us, the last 25 were positively lovely!


The Land of the FREE and the Brave?

Are we actually having these conversations? Race, gender, and sexual orientation are still buzz topics? You have got to be kidding me. It baffles me honestly.  It baffles me that the constitution can be interpreted by any other definition than EQUALITY. Was that not the intended purpose of America? Was this country not founded on the idea of freedom and equality?

Inscription on the Jefferson Memorial
I guess I missed the clause that said freedom of persecution and right of equality only referred to those who subscribed to a certain set of ideals. I missed that whole part of the constitution that said the government would be run by guidelines set from one preferred religion. I completely missed the announcement that Christianity (the religion based solely on love and hope-and who followed a man who hung out with lepers, prostitutes, and people of all races and religions) would be the least understanding and accepting group of all.

As a Christian myself, I do not wish for a government that gets involved with my spirituality or belief system. Why would I? Would I actually want the government to interpret my code of ethics, to decide who/how I worship, or to define my marriage? NO! Absolutely not.

For Christians who are up in arms about the government not following your belief system- Show me the scriptures where Jesus got involved in politics. Might I remind you that the Christ you follow said "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s." When it came to government involvement, Jesus paid his taxes and thats about it. 

My morals are decided by what I choose to believe in, where I choose to put my faith. Is my marriage defined by the government contract I signed on the day of my wedding? Yeah right.

"It is only by the grace of God that two people can fully share their lives together. People are imperfect, impure, they make mistakes, with people there are no constants or absolutes. But God IS perfect and pure, He is constant love, and it is only in giving your lives to him to hold together that marriage becomes possible. The bond between a husband and wife is tied through Him. "

This is our definition of marriage. The definition Justin and I wrote to be read during our wedding ceremony. THIS is what marriage meant to us. And it is our right to decide what our marriage should look like. This isn't everyone's definition of marriage, nor do I expect it to be. That's the beauty of living in this supposed free and equal land.

I can guarantee you won't find this definition in a government document. And why should it be? That's between us. This is a belief that WE have. This is where our spiritual journey has led us to, and how cool that we get to decide that for ourselves? 

EVERYONE is entitled to a life or a relationship that is self-definitive. 

Gay marriage, a controversial topic. Really? Protesting people's right to love each other forever? That's the fight you really want to pick? Starving children, genocide, racial persecution all exist in this world. And instead of picking a fight with those evils among us, Christian society decides to fight against those who want to love. Its heartbreaking, really. 

Imagine if the tables were turned. What if I lived in a society where women weren't allowed to speak? What if I was denied rights because I am a woman. I am so blessed to live in a place where I don't have to worry about being persecuted for publishing this blog, or going to school even. What a luxury it is to live where I am granted inalienable rights. Do you know how exceptionally good that feels? To be allowed to make decisions FOR MYSELF as I SEE BEST FIT, its a feeling that is unrivaled by most others.

Why wouldn't we want every single human being to feel the comfort of acceptance? Why is it we feel the need to only accept those we agree with. When will our culture get it- people are just people. There is no difference. 

Although we may not all agree who created us, I think we can all agree that the resemblance within us, within our souls, demands equality...Across the board.


Friday Wasn't the Only "Good" Day

It's always a great weekend when the OSU crew gets involved, and this weekend was no exception. 

Callie and Chris planned a wedding that dreams are made of, and the weatherman must have gotten the memo. It was BEAUTIFUL!

Rehearsal dinner on Friday was at The Petroleum Club, suit and tie required. Justin and I love getting dressed up, (although it doesn't happen often), so this was a blast for us! The lovely meal was followed by special toasts, and later followed by an after party. Where at, you ask? Our home!

Our animals hated us for it. The chaos and commotion is not something they're used to. Regardless, I loved it! I LOVE filling our home with friends. Beer spills, muddy feet, and all, I'll take it. Eventually the crowd got too big and we walked to 51st Street Speakeasy.

A long night of drinks, laughter, dancing, and friendly faces came to an end around 3 am. 

The next day was spent with the bride and bridesmaids, bangin' out some wedding hair. Ulm's wedding was the third wedding out of this crew I have gotten to dress-up the hair for. It's so great to get to be a part of the girls' big days!

80 degrees. Partly cloudy. Light breeze. Someone upstairs granted them with the best wedding present of all, an incredibly lovely day for their outdoor ceremony. The Bride and Groom had planned ahead, and at the welcome desk was a bucket of sunglasses, (LOVED this idea).

We all sat in the botanical gardens, in our matching sunglasses and watched Callie Ulm and Chris Gruenwald become official best friends for life.

Dinner. Dancing. Drinks. Too soon, it was seemingly over. Until the new Mrs. Gruenwald had a brilliant idea. She wasn't ready for it be over any more than we were, so we took the party to the piano bar.

At 2:00 they kicked us out of the bar and it was time to call it quits. We all had to say goodbye, knowing everyone was going their separate ways the next day.

The next day was Easter.

Usually my family colors eggs, makes team tshirts, and has a gruesomely competitive backyard egg hunt. Not this year. This is the first year in awhile we didn't follow through with tradition. And everyone couldn't have cared less. INSTEAD, we got to hang out with Emma!

Ok OK. So we didn't make it to church this year. But I can't think of a better way to celebrate Christ's love and offering of a new life for each and everyone of us. I got to spend all of Easter Sunday cuddled up with the purest form of love and new life.

OHH I was a happy girl. Because J and I are the only family members who live out of town, we didn't have to share her! Everyone let us have sole possession of the sweet little nugget. I have to admit, I hogged her, but Uncle J got a fair amount of time.

I know I'm completely biased, and everyone who has a niece has a right to their own opinions, but my personal opinion is that my sister has the raddest kid on the block.

All in all, I think its fair to say that my weekend consisted of Good Friday, Good Saturday, and Good Sunday.