hard times

My nephew, Ryder Lee, had a spinal surgery on Thursday. He isn’t even three yet and has proven to his whole world just how strong and resilient he is. Ry is definitely a hero of mine. He, of course, isn’t the only one. Zack is a pillar of strength for my sister and nephew. I am so proud to call him a brother. Rach is so calm and comforting for her little boy. The way she is with him is beautiful.

My whole family constantly astonishes me with their courage, strength, and perseverance. I love each of them deeply and it brings me so much happiness when others comment on our closeness.┬áIt has been an exciting journey to watch our family grow as we dated, married, and had children. With each new brother-in-law that joined, we inherited their families as well. I was reminded on Thursday and Friday of how blessed we are that we all have this huge “adopted” family that keeps supporting each other through all that comes our way.

Ryder has had so many people in his life who have helped him progress to where he is today. A lot of them, he may never know. Nurses. Doctors. Friends. Family. I have thought of them a lot over the past few days. I have been overwhelmed by the many people who have sent well wishes and said prayers. They mean so much to my sister, my brother-in-law, and to the rest of us who love Ryder so very much. I hope you all continue to do so in the coming years as Ry has more surgeries grows into an even stronger young man.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

… but keep the old?

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I originally planned on making a playlist of all the random songs that played in my iTunes library today, but I found this playlist to share instead. I made it in August of 2007. I am pretty sure I made it to go on my Myspace profile (ha!) because there were (get this) 75 songs in it! They were all songs I must have been currently listening to. At first, I was rather embarrassed by the compilation; but upon listening, I decided to share. You will notice that there are fewer than the original 75 songs included. This is due to the fact that some of them no longer played and some were just not appropriate to share here, especially since I haven’t listened to most of this music since shortly after it was made. I left some on here that might still be a bit much for some of you. I don’t expect any of you to listen to the whole list. I just wanted to document this here. ;)

Usually, you can tell what type of chapter I am going through in my life by the music I am listening to. This time in my life I remember to be extremely difficult for me. I don’t think anyone else really knew that, though. Some of the songs made me want to go back in time 4 years, give myself a hug, and reassure 22-year-old Erin that everything will work out better than she expects it to. Some songs just made me roll my eyes and remember some pretty fun times. :)

I hope you get a kick out of stepping back in time with me for a little bit. It’s kind of fun to be reminded of the silly ways one changes. :)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I am going to be working both days. I used my day off today to lie in bed and rest. I hope it has made me ready for tomorrow!

love, erin


When I was younger, I hated playing games. I was so afraid of losing. Being a loser. My insecurity would get the best of me and instead of taking a risk on winning or losing, I would forfeit the game completely. However, I couldn’t escape game time at church or school. And what game did the teachers always suggest?


I may have been too young to write more than my name and I may have only just mastered the art of drawing the perfect circle, but I could figure out that a group of kids my age will never make it to the end with the correct sentence in a game of Telephone.

Years went by and games at school went away. Then, I went away from school. I went through a rough 6 years. I made relationships and most of those were torn apart. I finally reached my breaking point. I stood (broken and somewhat lifeless) looking at my past and was so confused by it all.

How did I get here? Why did all of this happen? Why do I feel hurt/angry/scared/alone?

I decided it was time to turn inward and search for answers and insight. Fast forward ten months. July 14, 2011. I am sitting in a coffee shop (guess which one!) thinking over the last few months and how far I have come. I am mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually stronger than I have ever been. There are still BIG problems in my life that I am working on but I am finally to a point where I feel I can share with you something that I have been too ashamed to share up to this point.

I have made so many friends since moving back to Missouri 3 years ago. SO MANY! And I love all of them. However, I didn’t always think I did. Because of events I experienced, I was incredibly messed up. I didn’t fully realize my (negative) potential until about last August. I had become a person that none of you would want to be around. The friends I had made and (in a lot of cases) worked with were the targets of my horrible malevolence. I retold secrets. I exaggerated faults. I gossiped. I insulted. I neglected and manipulated. In short, I played a nasty game of Telephone with my friends most personal parts of themselves and their lives being the sentences spread around from person to person. The sickest part about it was that I justified it all because in my head I was the victim. Those friends hurt me and I was nothing to them. Anything I did couldn’t possibly hurt them but I sure would try.


I know. I now feel like a criminal at times because of it. Thankfully, one of these friends called me out. I was shocked that it affected her at all. Once that shock wore off, I saw how hurt she was. Then, I realized that she wasn’t the only one probably feeling this way. I became embarrassed. Then defensive. Then ashamed. I finally realized that I had become the loser I was always afraid I’d be. I was losing much more than a game this time.

I started apologizing to everyone I could think of that I had talked negatively about or to about another. I no longer cared about what they had done to me. I just knew I needed to apologize for what I had done to them. I wrote down a list of the things I wanted to work on. I started on that list. Then, after a few months, I wrote the girl who I had considered my (former) best friend. That was hard. I missed her and hated that she distanced herself because of my actions. So, I told her these things and, thankfully, she accepted my apology.

A few weeks went by and we moved to Joplin. Instead of getting a “normal” job, I met a couple and started cleaning for them. Then, I assisted with their business. This gave me more time to work on my photography but more importantly, myself. Then, the tornado hit.

I could not believe the devastation around me. The horrible tragedy I had been a part of. And I had a home. I had my boyfriend and my family. I had my life! I had been spared. As thankful as I was, I couldn’t help but think over the past couple of years and how horrible I was. I wanted to hug each person I had wronged and tell them how sorry I was and how much I was wrong. And then I received an email from the girl who had shoved my behavior in my face and made me see the reality of who I had become. It was short but so powerful. She told me how thankful she was that we were ok and how worried she had been when she found out what had happened. Her genuine concern and thankfulness that we were ok was so evident. I cried. I wanted to give her the biggest hug. In that moment, I realized it was finally time to write her back to tell her what had been happening with me since her first email. So, I did. It was longer than I thought it would be and I had the biggest butterflies flying around in my stomach. But I finally said I was sorry. I finally made things as right as I could.

I waited for a reply, only half expecting it. Within hours, I had received it and I finally felt at peace. We weren’t quite friends, but we were ok with each other. I felt as though a fog had lifted and I saw that those “faults” I saw before paled in comparison to the woman who had the character to take the first step toward reconciliation.

If you are still reading, kudos! I know this post is long but it is so important for me to write. Why? Because it all leads up to me saying I am sorry.

Yes, I am apologizing to you. And to everyone else. I can’t possibly know on my own who all I affected with my actions and words over the past couple years. I have tried to reach out to everyone and apologize personally but I know I missed some of you. So, to you… I am so sorry. I hope you know I am genuine. If you want to express concerns, please email me and I will try my best to make things right.

And to all of you who may not have realized that all of this going on… You still deserve an apology! I am very sorry for bringing more negativity into the world. Day to day life is so tough in a lot of ways and I have no right to make it worse. Please forgive me.

To everyone: I am sorry for everything I repeated or shared that was negative, inappropriate, or private. I was generally full of it the whole couple of years. Not saying that it was all untrue. In fact, I can’t remember most of the details of all of it. Just do me a favor, if you can, and disregard anything I said that fits into the above categories.

I hope you all can accept my apologies and see that I have changed a lot for the better! I feel really good about sharing this with you all. I have wanted to for a few weeks and now just feels right. I have noticed some really mean comments being posted and actions taking place that are alarming. Not to me, but to those around me. The saddest part is that they are coming from some of the sweetest people. I realize now what it is like on the other side of the fence and so I couldn’t refrain from sharing this with you any longer.

If you are one of the people pouring negativity upon others, please stop. It is not only hurting those you are directing your aim toward, but those of us who know and love these people. Eventually, your behavior will even hurt yourself.

Pour positivity into the world and you will most likely get positivity. If you don’t, keep walking. There is no need and not enough time to waste yours on making others feel bad.

I truly, sincerely love you all. I am thankful for each of you. I hope to never make you feel bad. All smiles and laughter for you from here on out (as much as I can help it). :)

love, erin

(Photo source:


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