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Welcome aboard, Emily!

Trying another new thing here at – taking the leap and adding a guest contributor of sorts.

Emily is a friend of mine from undergrad at Marquette University.  We were both Broadcasting majors, and even lived in the same apartment building during our senior year.

She’s a really good cook, loves music, enjoys reading, and lives in Missouri.  I’ve asked her to join my little experiment on the internetz to offer some “southern” flair, and to bring some new ideas and add some variety.  Plus, she’s just good people. 🙂

As a part of this intro post I’m writing for her, here are 5 random facts about Emily:

1 She likes documentary films and volunteer at a doc film fest every year.

2. She has been working in radio for 14 years.

3. She volunteers for community theatre, working on costumes, but hasn’t gotten the balls to audition yet.

4. She loves to cook and teach others to.

5. She’s the oldest of four and still lives at home with her parents and sister. For her, it would be really hard to live away from my family.


Sunday Insights from Dianna Agron

As many folks know, I’m a pretty big fan of Glee.  I follow most of the cast on Twitter and am often amused by their tweets, photos, and comments – yet another example of how famous people are just like the rest of us.  Plus, knowing that Mark Salling was playing disc golf in South St. Paul will forever amuse me.

This morning, I noticed that Dianna Agron had updated her Tumblr.  One thing that picqued my interest, to be honest, was that the snippet in the tweet mentioned Bill Clinton.

Her post was a response/follow-up to her wearing a “Likes Girls” shirt during their performance in Toronto yesterday.  She used her blog to share her thoughts about LGBT rights as well as the more general issue of diversity, respect, being open to the world around us and challenging ourselves to keep growing, learning, and thinking. 

One part of her post jumped out to me specifically –

“As each generation leaves their footprints, and paves the way for what is to come…to some, change is an impossible idea or action to put in motion.

You know what? Often, this unfortunate reality is because of learned behavior! As much as we may often preach that we like to speak for ourselves, or outside the box, how many times have you caught yourself, or someone you know repeating the thoughts of another before them? Sometimes without proper information? And how many times have you felt that perhaps further knowledge on an issue or subject matter might result in a different voice, a different understanding? Perhaps even going against the ideas they’ve learned, heard, or grown up around?”

Too often people use their long-held beliefs and thoughts as armor – something to keep new or different experiences at a distance.  Sometimes this is necessary as a result of negativity in one’s past, but it also can be an hinderance or an active attempt to avoid anything that may make someone feel uncomfortable.  I often say that those who feel the most uncomfortable when shown a different way of thinking or doing something are often times people who aren’t sure or confident in what they think to be the right way of thinking or doing. 

I want people to challenge me, to question me, to push me becuase I know it will help me become more confident in what I believe and why I believe it.  Yes, it may be hard at times, yes it may make me question things and feel discomfort, but I trust that in the long run it will pay off.  We never stop learning or growing as we grow up – nor should we.  In some ways, if we stop learning, we stop living.

I am thankful for all of the people around me that challenge me – either directly or by giving me information indirectly – because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.  I am happy where my life has taken me, and think that if I wasn’t open to new or different experiences I wouldn’t have ended up in my current place.  It’s been a hard road at times, but getting here has been worth it.

To take another quote from Dianna’s post, I will conclude with this:

I speak, because I am passionate. I write with this passion because I know how it feels to be hurt, to be depressed, to not value yourself, or your feelings. If any of this has inspired or moved you, even just made you think….I encourage you to tweet or reblog a picture, quote, anything that you feel will continue to spread the love. And if any are interested in tracking the chain, perhaps visualizing the greater collective, include the hash tag, #letlovein.”

Keep learning.  Keep growing.  Keep challenging yourself.  It will lead to you loving yourself, those around you, and life in general.

Take 5: Places that make me happy

This is not an exhaustive list, not in the least, but these are places I’ve thought of lately and the memories they hold. 

1. Wakiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii – This brings back great memories of my grandparents and the trips to this slice of paradise I was lucky enough to have visited.  I am forever thankful for them instilling in me a love of travel.  Thank you, and I miss you.

2. Sydney Harbor, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia – This is the location where I pushed myself to overcome one of my greatest fears – heights – to participate in a truly amazing experience.  It also marks where my journey began through this amazing country.  This trip provided for me the inspiration for much of my research through graduate school and continues to impact me today.  If teleportation were real, I would totally live in Australia, or at least visit frequently.


3.  Fox Lake, Wisconsin – Another place that reminds me of my grandparents and the many weekends and weeks I spent visiting them in Wisconsin.  It was our family’s get-away place, tucked on the far side of the lake (aka the quieter side) where we could go enjoy fresh air, fishing, boat rides, reading, and all of the things that were quiessentially “the Lake”.  I should really try to get back there sometime soon.


4. Saint Paul, Minnesota – Pretty sure this one is pretty obvious. This is the place I moved to on somewhat on a whim – to follow a job – and ended up finding a new place to call home. This city and state have offered me some remarkable experiences and the opportunity to grow and challenge myself. It’s a great city (I’d even venture to say the better of the Twin Cities, but I know others would disagree), and I’m glad I found it.


5. Chicago, Illinois – My first home. Location of my formative years. A place I still do enjoy visiting, and wish I had time to visit more often (hurry up high speed rail!). This is where all of my family is. Plus, it’s on of the world’s great cities, full of such a rich and diverse history and a lot of great food. If you haven’t visited, you really need to, soon.



Note: All of the photos, except the first, are mine. First one is from

If I had $1,000,000. . .

Or much, much more, what would you do with it?

Buy a new car?  Never work another day?  Travel the world?  Volunteer for a favorite cause?  Give it all away?  Invest?  Keep your life the way it is?

I know I’ve uttered the phrase, “If I won the lottery, I’d. . . ” more often then I care to admit.  Often times the ending of that statement depends on my mood or the situation.  Sometimes it may be to move to Australia, buy a new car, travel, or go on a shopping spree.  Other times it will be that I’d donate some, do something for friends and family or something along those lines.

These answers reflect my wants, interests, needs.  These are things that will make me happy (or so I think), more comfortable, or add value to my life.

What is stopping me – or any of us – from at least indulging in a version of these wishes?  Why are we writing them off as something that can only be accomplished with the prerequisite of having loads of money or time?

Why not do them now?  If these are things that truly are important to us, why wait? 


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