The Future Goes By ‘She’

This week has me feeling all kinds of feelings. The cries of frustration and fear and anger are so loud I feel a bit like I’m drowning in the midst of them. I’m confused, I’m overwhelmed, and I’m exhausted. And more than that, I feel powerless to help the people in my life who are suffering. That distinct and resounding feeling of helplessness might be the scariest notion of all.

My run this morning, like many mornings as of late, felt something like a prayer. I’m not religious, nor do I have any great faith in a higher power, but I do know for certain that the act of movement is a spiritual thing. Surrounded by noise that blocks out the ability to process or reason, sometimes it is all I can do to get outside, move my feet forward, and wonder what all this outcry means. For myself, my community, my country, my world. What gives here? How can we heal?

The reality is that this election was not an encouraging one for many women in this country. If you voted for Donald Trump, this is not intended to feel like an accusation. And I’m proud that you used your vote to speak up for issues more significant than a candidate’s gender. But for others of us, this outcome is painful. I will admit that I’m scared of the thought of having a president who dismisses assault as “locker room talk” and compares a woman’s ability to “satisfy her husband” to her political aptitude. I am lucky to live in a time when being female is so much easier than it used to be, and I can humbly acknowledge the privilege afforded to me by my sexuality, birthplace, education, and the color of my skin. I cannot claim to understand the perspectives of my minority and LGBTQ+ friends, nor should I try to relate. The best I can do is listen and love and pray and hurt with them. Yet what this week has shown me, what I can relate to distinctly and personally, is that women still have such a long way to go. 

In the midst of anger and uncertainty, however, opportunities arise. Trees grow and flowers bloom in the most unlikely of places. And if there is anything that makes me thankful in this time of confusion, it is seeing the fiery resolution in people to work for change. I hope there is a woman out there, one who has dreamed her whole life about shattering that glass ceiling, watching this week’s events. She’s inspired and she’s impassioned and she’s motivated. She’ll stop at nothing until she becomes the change she’s fighting for. And I, for one, cannot wait to be her cheerleader.

At the end of the day, I believe to the core of my being that love will always win and that people are stronger when we are united. I also know that our work for women’s equality is nowhere near finished. But I feel more confident than ever that the future has momentum. It looks like the working single mother who stays up late to study after her children go to sleep. It looks like the female CEO who has endured countless “she’s a bitch” allegations for her commitment to her job. It looks like the marathon runner who gets faster every day despite cat calls and threatening remarks made on the street corner. The future looks like progress, and I have this sneaking suspicion it goes by ‘she.’

November Travels & Traditions

Hold up- how is it November already? These last few weeks have been a whirlwind and I’m over here in Kentucky working hard to keep up. Fall is my favorite time of year and even though I haven’t gotten to enjoy any real sweater weather yet, I’m loving the beauty and new life that come along with the changing seasons. This past month I’ve gotten the chance to meet so many humans (I freaking LOVE humans, you guys) and what a privilege it is to get a glimpse into all these charming, intricate, and varied lives. It’s the coolest thing.

I’m coming atcha’ live this Sunday afternoon with some travel highlights, autumn traditions, and reasons to get pumped for the holidays. (But really, did you need another reason besides the glorious occasion that is Thanksgiving dinner? Enough said.)

I’m visiting our Gamma Xi Chapter at Murray State University this weekend, and I’m charmed by the sweet, Southern small town feel of this place. Everyone knows everyone and will go out of their way to make this suitcase-carrying stranger feel at home. Not to mention the women of Gamma Xi are SO much fun. I’ve gotten to go to a fall festival, hold three different puppies, and do quite a bit of exploring on campus. The chapter has their annual fall lip-sync battle, “Rockathon,” this Friday and I will be cheering them on from Kansas and probably trying to figure out a way to FaceTime in. Can I participate over the phone?

But before I get ahead of myself here, I WAS IN TENNESSEE LAST WEEK! This was my first real chunk of time back in Nashville since I moved away in June, and it was exactly what I needed after months of hotel beds and rental cars. Nashville may not be my home anymore but it will always hold a very large piece of my heart and some of the most special people I know. Plus I find something new to love about the city every single time I visit. Mary and Miranda (two of those people I couldn’t survive this crazy year without) took time out of their work week to grab dinner with me at Up Rooftop Lounge in the Gulch, a hidden gem on the roof of the Fairfield Inn & Suites (who would’ve guessed?) that provides a stunning view of the Nashville skyline. Safe to say my enthusiasm was at an all-time high.

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I could write a novel about how much I love these friends. Thank you for making hundreds of miles of distance feel like nothing!
Another perk of spending time at home was that I got to help my dad with one of my cherished childhood traditions–making homemade applesauce! We have been doing this every year in my house for as long as I can remember so you better believe it was the first thing I asked to do when I got to Clarksville. My father has been perfecting this recipe for decades and he might not love that I’m sharing secrets, but he’ll never know, right? (Except I’m pretty sure he reads this. Sorry, dad.)

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The first trick to the perfect fall applesauce is the ratio of green to red apples. We use half Granny Smith to keep the final product from being too sweet, and the other half can be your favorite type of red apples. We cut them all up, blend them (skins and all!) and add some other type of special ingredient each year to change up the flavor. This year’s choice: blueberries and pears. Once the mixture is blended, place it in a giant pot over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Then add spices to taste–we use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves followed by a generous spoonful of honey. Turn the mixture down to low, let it cook for a couple of hours, and you have the most comforting autumn treat to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Oops.) Did I mention it makes the house smell like cinnamon apple heaven? Let’s sign my dad up for Top Chef already.

Other things I’m loving this month:

  • This navy and red plaid shirtdress from Brooks Brothers. Most of my October visits were in the South with weather in the 80’s, so this dress is my sneaky way of dressing for fall without dying of heatstroke.
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  • The NYC marathon! It happened this morning and I was absolutely dying to be there. I have been slacking on my running lately and this has me motivated to start training for that 3:13 marathon qualifying time. Guys, I’ve got a long way to go. Yikes.
  • Speaking of New York, I’M GOING NEXT MONTH! Emily and I are taking a girls’ trip and I’m so full of ideas and excitement I may not even make it to Christmastime. 38 days…who’s counting?
  • Kid President. If you ever need a reminder that you can make it through this week, or even just this day, he’s got you covered. Go do something awesome.

All my love!

-S