Category: Coffee and Confessions

Remembering 9/11: 19 Years Later

Good Morning Fan Friends,

Let’s travel back in time: The year is 1997. I remember being 8 years old and visiting the Statue of Liberty with my Father. I always had this cute little obsession with the Twin Towers: whenever we’d visit family in New York or my Mom’s friend Kathy in her apartment in the city I’d watch the twin towers in the skyline until they disappeared from view. I loved the one with the antenna (the North Tower-don’t ask me why I just thought it was cool) My best friend Jen had visited with her Dad and I remember asking my parents if I can visit the observation deck and just look out on the city and I was always told “sure, we’ll definitely do that one day”.

So there I was on the ferry over to Liberty Island and I remember looking up at those great big towers and thinking “wow! They are so tall, strong and mighty!”. I’m 31 today and I will always remember the childlike innocence of being 8 and thinking NYC (especially the twin towers) was invincible.

Now, let’s go forward in time. The year is 2001. I remember with the eyes of a 12 year old the weirdness of 9/11, 19 years ago today. It was a beautiful, mostly sunny day and the sky was so blue. I remember being in 7th grade and watching the morning news with my Mom in which I saw my last glimpse of the skyline on Eyewitness News before I skipped off to school for what would be the strangest school day of my life.

I remember my classmates leaving early, the teachers with glassy eyes and disbelieving faces and I remember my middle school principal Mr. Baxter coming in and saying “Is everyone alright?”. I remember how none of my teachers put on the TV although I heard some did, and having this creepy silence on the bus ride home. I remember carrying my purple plastic French binder (the nerve cause that was the only teacher who gave me homework that day and a lot of it), getting off the bus and seeing my Mom and her friend Marie on my front lawn looking very sad and serious. I also remember seeing what happened on the tv, watching those towers disappear from my view forever. Watching people jump like ants out of windows just to get out of the inferno that raged inside.

I remember the blood and distraught faces of survivors and spectators as they ran from the smoke that swallowed up the city like a cloud of volcanic ash, the firefighters on the screen running in, many of which would never come back out (including my future father in law’s cousin Tommy), I remember the faces of each victim that has flashed on my tv ever since that day. I remember feeling such sadness and pain at the loss of life and crying with my parents.

I also remember the feeling of hope-when England played our national anthem my entire family watched from the couch crying, I remember how United we all stood as Americans, how proud we were to live in the greatest country on Earth.

It’s sad how divided we are today politically, how we have people not feeling safe in the country they call home and people either being too sensitive or not sensitive enough. When I think of a post 9/11 world, I think of the immediate unification of all Americans and I think we need that more than ever in this country right now. We can honor those who lost their lives in the senseless attacks by being good to one another. One of the things I appreciated as I looked at 9/11 from a more adult and historical standpoint was the stories that came out of people helping people-people LOVING people as God would want us all to. It does not matter our age, our race, our religious beliefs or lack there of we are all God’s children regardless. So many people saw God’s love in action through total strangers on that day.

May we never forget this and try our damnest to aspire in creating an atmosphere of unity like it again. That said, God bless the victims and their families who find strength each day in their absence to go on with their lives.

Vulnerability in being Vulnerable

Transitions, they’re a part of life, both scary and exciting as well as fresh and yet intimidating. Wise people always say “practice makes perfect”, but what’s practice to a perfectionist though? I have been very vocal on this blog, an advocate if you will, about my long battle with anxiety. Anxiety is wanting a fresh start but allowing negative thoughts and self sabotage to get in your way. You literally feel like you’re waiting for somebody to figure out you’re a fraud. Even when you do your very best.People often think it’s easy for anxiety suffers just to “turn it off”-man I wish it was that easy!

I am what many would call a creature of habit. I like my routine, I like my life, and any life changes that come my way often take time for me to adjust to. Life doesn’t follow a script, not the ones we write for ourselves and not the ones we expect life to write for us. The only thing we are guaranteed in life is that we are all born, we are all going to pay taxes, and eventually we’re all going to die. What we do with that ” – ” in between our beginning and our demise is entirely up to us but ultimately it could be very intimidating. Many of us are searching for meaning in every opportunity but sometimes opportunities come along to force us to grow.

When you’re a perfectionist in a world that demands perfection you often feel like you fall short of these expectations the people around you have of you. It’s like standing underneath a crumbling avalanche and waiting to be buried in a mirage of feelings. With age I am learning that everybody feels this way: the fear of disappointing our spouses, our parents, our partners, our relatives, our friends and our coworkers.  although I know it is important not to let this fear take the wheel and steer my life direction, some days I find it’s much harder to battle these feelings then others. Some days, I am confident in my abilities and certain of my success. Other days, I just want to crawl into a ball and hide from everything. These days which are so conflicting in many ways beg me to question: Is it really better to fake it until you make it? Or should we wear our personality flaws and struggles like battle scars? Is there truly strength in vulnerability by being accessibly vulnerable? I think there is, but today, I don’t have answers, only questions and sometimes that’s okay too.

This Week in History: A Woman’s Right to Vote

Many Americans with a basic knowledge of history know that the 19th Amendment guarantees American women the right to vote. A lot of modern-day women take for granted this very milestone which required a lengthy and difficult struggle from women who lived over a century ago; a victory which took decades of turbulence and strife.

The journey to give women their basic American right of voting began in the mid-19th century. This was a time when woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a revolutionary change for that time.

While women struggled with their rights to vote, believe it or not, the first woman to run for President in a major election took place in 1872. You probably won’t read about her in your high school US History I or II books; but her name was Victoria Claflin Woodhull and she was the candidate of the Equal Rights Party. Her opponents were Ulysses S. Grant (R) and Horace Greeley (D). Woodhull, fought hard for women’s rights and even founded her own newspaper. She became the first woman to own a Wall Street investment firm. Luckily, she would live to see her dream of women’s right to vote realized before she died 7 years later in 1927 but what does that have to do with the significance of this very week?

In order to answer that question, we need to go back to 1878, when the amendment we know today as the 19th amendment was first introduced in Congress. It all began when Victoria Woodhull addressed the House Judiciary Committee, arguing women’s rights to vote under the fourteenth amendment. This ideal was met with such distain that the Anti-Suffrage Party was founded and push back began. From that moment forward it would be 42 whole years later in 1920, when the amendment would finally be ratified! Could you even imagine fighting for something that men your age could do simply by being born male for 42 years? While this seems discouraging to many, it was all made possible by the early champions of voting rights for women. These women, like Victoria Claflin Woodhull, worked tirelessly to make progress on this basic American right. Their strategies varied and while some tried to pass suffrage acts in each state. There were nine western states which adopted woman suffrage legislation by 1912 these states included: California, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Washington State, Oregon, Kansas and Arizona.

Other states, like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts continued to reject woman suffrage. While many well-known women in our history books challenged male-only voting laws in the courts, some of the more well known public tactics included parades, silent vigils, and even hunger strikes. Supporters were heckled, jailed, and sometimes physically abused simply for the rights that men were freely given. I am reminded of the movie Iron Jawed Angels starring Hilary Swank in which she plays Alice Paul. The movie details Paul’s experience after she was arrested for “obstructing traffic” while picketing for women’s suffrage. The struggles she underwent when she was denied counsel, placed in a straitjacket, and subjected to examination in the psychiatric ward (simply for wanting equality!) is just baffling. When it’s concluded that Paul showed no signs of mania or delusion, she got returned to the prison’s general population, where she led the suffragettes on a hunger strike that ended with the warden force-feeding her raw eggs and milk.

The fight was long and exhausting by the time 1916 came, most of the major suffrage organizations stood united behind the goal of a constitutional amendment. When New York officially adopted woman suffrage in 1917, President Wilson (who was in office during Paul’s imprisonment) changed his position to support an amendment in 1918 and the political balance finally began to shift.

On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and two weeks later, the Senate followed. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment was officially adopted 100 years ago this past Tuesday. While decades of struggle to include African Americans and other minority women in the promise of voting rights persisted, the face of the American elections had changed forever.

As a woman in America, I feel honored and privileged to have been able to vote in every major election. To have my voice heard and not be denied simply because of my gender is something I never take for granted. It is hard to believe that only 100 years ago women gained the right to legally get out and vote, while today so many American women are unregistered to do so. If this post could inspire someone out there who isn’t registered to do so and make their voice heard, then I will feel I’ve done my part in honoring the legacy of the women who came before us, who fought tooth and nail to ensure women were included in “all” being “created equal”.

If you haven’t already, please consider registering to vote as it was a privilege up until the last century that was denied to many. Be sure to leave a comment below and tell me; are you registered to vote? How important to you is voting in elections both national, statewide or local?

Until next time…

Inside Brittany’s Makeup Bag: Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kit

Well hello there fan friends!

I’m sorry, but not genuinely, that this post is for my makeup lovers. I can’t even accurately put into words how truly in LOVE with sharing and talking about cosmetic products I am. I especially love a product with good integrity (that doesn’t test on animals) and most of all LASTS ALL DAY while looking fabulous. Let me start this post by saying I am the first to admit I criticize the SHIZZ out of the Kardashian/Jenner crew, but I can also give credit where it’s due and I got to say: when it comes to makeup, those ladies know their products and put out quality products. I really love and use the product I’m going to discuss today so much that I wanted the opportunity to talk about why I put my seal of approval on it.

Before we get into how beautiful this shade is for a multitude of reasons let’s talk about the company itself. The company we know as Kylie Cosmetics came about in February 2016 after the lip kit releases made an ABSOLUTE killing. In fact, by the end of 2016, the company’s total revenue was over $300 million. Talk about striking gold!

Jenner credits the creation of her ‘lip kits which launched a brand’ to her former insecurity about her lip size as inspiration and is quoted saying it’s “one of the most authentic things I’ve done in my career”.

One thing that always bothered me about ‘celebrity products’ is you’re paying for the name 95% of the time and yet 5% of the time it’s like the anti-climatic Spider-Man 3 in the fact that it often falls short of our expectations. I set out to find out if Kylie could put her “money where her mouth is” literally, as in, is her lip kit products sold at $27.00 USD to pop really worth it? It’s been a best seller for so long that I couldn’t help but wonder: How many women out there were purchasing these products for the Kylie brand for prices they were ashamed to tell their friends?

I waited until the Black Friday sales to strike in November of 2019, I purchased Kylies’ Bare Velvet Liquid Lipstick Lip Kit for 15% off. The color looked pleasant, a nude pinky beige, that I could wear to work every day without looking too over the top. One of my biggest pet peeves is finding a lip liner that compliments and matches my lipstick and Kylie-you clever fox-certainly delivered on that promise! Each Lip Kit comes with a Velvet Liquid Lipstick and MATCHING Lip Liner. So, to reiterate with each Lip Kit you get: 

• 1 Velvet Liquid Lipstick (0.11 oz./ 3.0 g)

• 1 Pencil Lip Liner (net wt./ poids net  .03 oz/ 1.0g)

Let’s talk Lip Liner

Kylie’s website claims this ultra-long wearing Lip Liner has a creamy texture that glides across the lips for a very easy and comfortable application. I definitely agree, but as a general staple I ALWAYS apply chapstick 10 minutes before putting on the liner. Some reviewers claim it dries out their lips, I just avoid this possible ramification by going the extra mile with chapstick. I really LOVE how this Lip Liner sharpens easily in most standard sized sharpeners – just make sure your sharpener is not dull!

Next let’s talk the Velvet Liquid Lipstick…

I FREAKIN LOVE the Velvet Liquid Lipstick it definitely provides high intensity pigment for a full coverage lip and it looks very natural and not phony in the color Bare. I haven’t tried the reds or pinks but I have to say this is my favorite nude lipstick. It’s long wearing, ultra pigmented liquid lipstick and it does glide on for a creamy matte look that does not dry down, at least for me.

I know that I can get through the work day wearing this lipstick and not have to worry about reapplying, which for me, makes it worth the price.  I have come to the conclusion that even though Kylie cosmetics is admittedly pricey it is really no less expensive than a quality MAC lipstick. While in some cases I do believe that the fans of a lot of these successful media personalities will buy and back a product for the sake of the name, in Kylie’s case, I think she’s got a pretty good product to back her brand. 

I honestly went into this product testing thinking I’d be slamming the youngest Kardashian-Jenner sister worth a whopping $900 million dollars according to Forbes 2019 edition for selling a crap product but WOW I am not only impressed but will definitely be purchasing again.

Now that you know the truth, I can share with you how I apply without getting any bleed out when greeting people with a customary kiss hello. I’ve learned some tips and tricks I’d like to share on both applying and making the most out of your lipstick. Cause who doesn’t want to look as fabulous as possible when you purchase a great product?:

1. I always apply Chapstick to my lips and let it soak in for about 10 minutes before I put on my liner. What this does is it smooths out any rough patches you have on your lips. It also hydrates your lips to give you a more fresh look.

2. Next, I apply the Kylie Cosmetics’ BARE liner. Since you’ve put on Chapstick a little bit tends to go a long way with the liner. Apply till they are coated and smack lips together a few times to evenly spread the liner. As I mentioned you shouldn’t need a whole lot because the Chapstick will help spread the color around as well.

3. Thirdly, you have the velvet liquid lipstick which you dab on very liberally. Let this sit for 5 minutes.

4. FINALLY (and this is my secret trick fan friends) take a tissue or a piece of toilet paper and place it over your lips. Take a smaller brush and using your setting powder (the one you set your foundation with) smooth it over your tissue covered lips. What this does is help set the lipstick so you are not getting any rub off when you give someone a kiss hello. Do this twice until you see little to no bleed out.

As you can see, this flawless application and trick to making your lipstick last really does actually work. What make up products will you spend the money on that are well worth the brand? Leave a comment below I’m really curious to hear about what products you stand by and if you think they’re really worth the prices. Have an amazing Friday, I’ll see you all next week.



Writers Block & Other Things

Hello Fan Friends!

I know it has been such a long time since I updated and I promise it’s with good reason. In addition to me having probably one of the worst writers blocks I’ve experienced in quite some time, I’ve had a lot of stuff going on in my personal life which prevented me from being as active as I wanted to be. For starters, I got a new job so the last few weeks post Fourth of July I have been focused on learning everything I need to be successful in this new professional venture of mine.

My favorites for the month of July and August will be posted sometime this weekend and I can’t wait to share with you all the things I love, mainly Schmidt’s low carb bread. I am also really excited to share with you my low-carb grilled cheese recipe. Grilled cheese is one of the things I missed most about my old lifestyle since adopting more lower carb eating habits and I am BEYOND thrilled to share with you how you can still enjoy a childhood classic with sacrificing a ‘cheat day’.

This week was really rough week where I am located on the east coast here in the USA. We were hit with a tropical storm, Isaias, which left us without power for over 20 hours. Let me tell you all, it’s amazing how much we take for granted the ability to plug in our cell phones into outlets within our homes. Having and trying to get a full night’s rest with no air-conditioning in the house was no fun either.

I think the scariest part about the whole experience with Isaias was getting my first ever tornado warning in my 31 years of life living in my state. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a basement to head into so I needed to scoop Draco up and run us into the bathtub. Thankfully the tornado did not strike my town instead it hit a town about 20 minutes south of me. It was still a super scary experience for us, both Draco and myself, especially since Tom was at work when it was happening. Thankfully God provided and we weren’t affected with any damage just the loss of power but majority of my state lost power too so we weren’t alone. 

The power at my job was also affected and not yet restored so as a result yesterday, after the power was soundly restored, I took Draco for a much needed walk with my best friend, Jen, who came by to join us. Draco was very happy to get out and get some exercise, I felt bad because I haven’t been able to walk him as much as I usually do as a result of going back to work. I figured I would take advantage of the fact that I didn’t have to go into the office and treat him to a nice walk. Boy was it hot though!

I would like to give a very special shout out to MindBeautySimplicity (we share the same first name too, how cool is that?!) for her wonderful comment this morning. As a writer, we are motivated by the comments we receive, knowing that my blog has made such a positive difference in someone’s life motivates me as a writer to post more frequently. It’s also a reminder to everyone who stops by, please leave a comment, it’s nice to know I am missed and what I have to say matters. Keeping content fresh and relative isn’t always easy for us writers we have to stretch our minds and really think, “does my audience care about this?” Hearing from all of you and knowing what you enjoy reading about helps me narrow down what content to post.

At any rate, I hope this update finds you all safe, well, and healthy. I look forward to posting more frequently as I adjust to my new routine. 

Happy 4th of July!

In lieu of a full post this week, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all those who celebrate, here in the USA, a very happy 4th of July!

Those of us who live here in the USA were the privileged few to have been born in free country. We were able to breathe the fresh free air since our birth. We remember our national heroes today. Together we have proved ourselves worthy of freedom! On this special day, let us take come forward and make a promise to take our nation on the path of prosperity so that people can live a happy life. Happy Independence day to all.

June-what? Understanding the Historical Significance of Juneteenth

Google pays tribute to Juneteenth 2020

This morning was much like many during this Quarantine: I woke up, checked my social media accounts, e-mails and poured myself a cup of coffee. In these quiet moments I feel gratitude as I take my first sip of delicious French vanilla. Facing me, from my perch at the kitchen table, on the wall, hangs my bachelors degree in history. It’s a piece of paper that I paid thousands of dollars to be an accredited historian. I do not have my doctorate, in fact, I was encouraged by the chair person of history at my university that I should not pursue it because it was a lot of schooling and there was no guarantee that I would even become a professor or hired on full time.

My original plan was far from building this blog. When I first set out and created this blog six years ago, I did it as a means of leaving my family and friends something, an imprint of who I was and what I enjoyed for the inevitable day when I’m not here anymore. I’ve talked a lot about my anxiety, I’ve also spent arguably a lot of time reflecting on my inevitable end. Why is this introduction necessary? Because I originally had goals and aspirations to become a high school history teacher. Unfortunately, the obstacles to become one are much too unrealistic, unethical and expensive.

Imagine for one second, if you will, going in and paying close to $150 to take a test where you are timed. All the while focusing you can see the minutes and the seconds ticking down on the right side of the screen. So you do your best, you’ve studied after all, and alas you missed the passing score you need by three points. Initially you would think, ‘no big deal, I’ll look at what I got wrong and study harder next time’, the problem is that the Praxis is an unforgiving obstacle which doesn’t tell you what questions you got wrong. It offers zero guidance and it’s usually in favor of those who can retain useless information and great test takers.  After a while, this could bring down even the most confident person. Shelling out money simply to be told your just not good enough and we don’t fancy telling you why. Alrighty then!

That degree that hangs on my wall, is a daily symbol that sometimes the things we have so intricately planned for our life just don’t work out that way. It is also a daily symbol that when one door closes, another one will surely open. Sometimes the things we hold dear to our hearts, the things we are so certain we are going to do with our lives are not what we were meant to do with our lives at all. It took me the better part of two years to walk away. I am not someone who gives up easily, I am always willing to fight another day. One thing I am not willing to compromise is my self-esteem and self worth which were completely demolished and distorted during this period in my life. Today’s post, is a somber one, it highlights the struggles many African Americans faced since the very first Juneteenth. It is also an opportunity for me to teach you something I didn’t learn about until I was in college and probably wouldn’t have learned about unless I was a history major.  One of the many issues I have with the way schools are run here in the USA today is that so much of American history is left out of American classrooms. There’s an old saying, history books are written by the winners but who are the winners? Does anybody win when nobody is educated on the whole truth?

Around Twitter I have seen so many posts saying ‘I was this years old when I learned about Juneteenth.’ and holy guacamole is that sad! Americans, regardless of their racial background, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity should know the actual history of Juneteenth. So what is Juneteenth? I’m glad you asked!

Juneteenth is actually the oldest national commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It came about on this date (June 19th) in 1865 that Major General Granger of the Union army and his soldiers went down to Galveston, Texas to announce the Civil War was over and all enslaved African Americans were now free. Sadly, this announcement came two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s infamous Emancipation Proclamation ! President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into affect on New Year’s Day (January 1st) of 1863 but Texas basically chose to overlook it since there weren’t too many Union soldiers available to see to this new executive order being enforced.

Once General Robert E. Lee surrendered in April of 1865, the arrival of General Granger’s regiment to Texas, ensured that this executive order was no longer being ignored or rebelled against but enforced! Why it took President Lincoln’s executive order 2 1/2 years to be carried out is debated often amongst historians. Some believe that the messenger who was sent down to Texas was killed, others believe it was just deliberately ignored to maintain labor force on the plantations. My personal belief is that it was the latter. I believe Texas deliberately chose to ignore and look the other way with the new executive order. The idea of the messenger that was sent was killed (while not totally unbelievable) definitely raises some red flags on accuracy.

Think for a moment: If you were a Union general who sent one of your soldiers to deliver a message to a state which valued slavery that said slaves were now free and your messenger did not return, would that not be sketchy to you? The fact that we don’t know the name of this messenger and that there’s no actual historical backing that he was killed-it was merely speculation-tells me Texas got the message loud and clear but chose to ignore it.

So as General Granger and his men arrived in Texas one of the first things he enforced was General Order Number 3 which stated: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

As you can imagine, the jubilation and pure unfiltered shock amongst the newly freed African Americans was immediate and contagious. While some former slaves stayed on their plantations to navigate a new relationship with their former master now employer, as a now paid employee, others ran off as soon as word reached their ears about General Order Number 3. The celebration of Juneteenth is a reminder that even though President Lincoln had abolished slavery 2 1/2 years before it took a literal regiment to see to it that this new executive order was enforced everywhere. Holding Texans responsible for enforcing these laws reestablished United States’ authority in the newly rejoined southern states and ultimately freed all African Americans.

For so many of these newly freed slaves, The most logical destination was to go north where many of them sought to find real freedom. Juneteenth celebrates these challenges that these newly freed men and women faced in new territories. It navigated their struggles in finding their place in a society that saw them for so long as lesser than. June 19th was coined Juneteenth and celebrated earnestly by the decedents of freed African Americans as a time to spend with family, reflect on their past and pray for a brighter future.

When I look at the way our country is today, seeing the renewed vigor of the Black Lives Matter movement in marches on raising awareness and leading protests, there is no doubt that this Juneteenth will be very special. Even NFL football teams, such as the Carolina Panthers, have shown their respect for this little known holiday by closing their offices on this date. As for the question I posed above: If history is really written by the winners does anyone win if the true historical significance of a day isn’t remembered and shared?  I would say boldly, no. There are no winners when the citizens of a country remain uneducated about the historical significance of a day which impacted the lives of millions of African-Americans, particularly those in the southern states who cling to the abomination that was slavery as a means to control others deserving of human rights. Rather it’s a reminder, if you will, about how far we’ve come as a nation but also how much further we have to go to ensure that all men and women feel safe, equal, and valued within the country they call home.

If you’d like to learn more, be sure to check out these fabulous resources:

National Registry Juneteenth Organizations and Supporters

What I love about this site is it tells you not only the history but customs which those who celebrate have such as foods, clothing and the history of festivals which struggled to be celebrated in public places before the Civil Rights Movement.

What is Juneteenth?

PBS gives an in-depth timeline and historical walk through on Juneteenth and its impact on African Americans in this easy to read, highly educational article. Plus it’s PBS, which fondly taught us so much about our nation’s history in our youth so I’m not going to lie, it’s nostalgic too.

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

The Smithsonian is a historical accredited institution that has a wealth of information on all things historical. The post linked has a brief overview of Juneteenth as well as historical images which give information regarding regarding this lesser-known holiday.

I really hope you take the time to do your own research and learn about this historically important day. Wishing each and everyone of you a blessed Juneteenth! Have a wonderful day!

Blackout Tuesday

Hello Fan Friends,

I am writing to and appealing to you on this Blackout Tuesday to encourage you all to raise your voices and speak up about the racial injustices our fellow Americans face each day. I am an ally in support of justice, equality, and human rights FOR ALL. To all my friends who are and have been personally affected by the senseless killing of George Floyd, please know I stand with you in outrage and pain. Please know that you are LOVED and your lives hold as much VALUE as my own, and anyone else’s for that matter. You have the right to be seen, heard and respected as a citizen of the world.

You have the right to a world that is peaceful and free from prejudices. You have the right to be treated with equality, regardless of the color of your skin. You have the right to be protected from harm, injustice, and hatred.

You have the right to protest these injustices that will help you to make a positive change in the world.

You also have the right to your opinions and feelings, even if others don’t agree with them.

It costs $0.00 to listen to our brothers and sisters both within our country and around the world. We live in a world where people long to be heard and their struggles seen. Isn’t it crazy how smart our phones are yet how merciless and indifferent humanity is to one another? We live in an age of social media which brings us so close together, and yet we are alarmingly distant. Regardless of your faith or lack there of, it is important to love one another. To stand up for those who are being disadvantaged. Simply ignoring an issue because it does not affect you makes you part of the problem. Silence only gives voice to the oppressor not the oppressed.

In my Christian faith, Jesus Christ called all of his disciples to, “love one another as I have loved you.” and yet people regard others as intangible. They turn a blind eye to the isolation and despair some suffer simply because they have the privilege of not experiencing that suffering themselves.

As the author and creator of ‘Are You There Friday? It’s Me, Brittany’, I will continue to speak up and give voice to the voiceless. Throughout my life I have had the privilege of learning from, building personal relationships with, and working beside so many amazing people who do not deserve to be treated any differently than I do simply because of the color of their skin. I encourage each and every single one of my followers to speak out, stand up, and stand beside our fellow siblings in Christ. Our neighbors, our friends, our extended families all need us.

As an ally, I’d like to close by taking this opportunity to welcome anyone would like to reach out and use this site as a platform for a guest contribution post. If you are interested, please email me at: fridayswithbrittany@gmail.com.

Your voice matters and your life matters. When Black Lives Matter, then we’ll live in a world where All Lives Matter.

You can help the family of George Floyd (including the daughter he left behind) by clicking the following link to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/gianna-floyd-daughter-of-george-floyd-fund . Don’t forget to reach out to your county and local government to get involved with working with legislators to make your city a safer place. Things only change when people like YOU have the courage to take a stand.

In Loving Memory of Chloe Dawn Hackett ♥️

Good Afternoon Fan Friends,

In the Broadway Musical ‘Wicked‘,made famous by Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel as Glinda the Good and Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West, the song ‘For Good’ is a powerful and poignant song which highlights that despite the urgency of both iconic characters needing to go their separate ways they had been changed “for good” just by knowing each other. Chenoweth famously begins the tune:

“I’ve heard it said, that people come into our lives for a reason. Bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those, who help us most to grow if we let them. And we help them in return. Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true, but I know I’m who I am today because I knew you.”-Wicked

While Glinda isn’t so sure of her belief in fate she does acknowledge that the time she spent learning and growing beside her friend significantly impacted her for the better. This leads me to ask: Where’s the line between the people who change our lives for the better and family pets who are like people that change our lives and hearts for good?

The biggest line between our human companions and our furry ones is that humans are all flawed. Human nature is to disappoint or fall short of expectations and sometimes hurt sometimes without ever meaning to. It’s as the age old saying goes:

To err is human, to forgive divine. All people commit sins and make mistakes. God forgives them, and people are acting in a godlike (divine) way when they forgive-Alexander Pope

Furry companions do this and more for us. They love us humans even when we fall short of perfection. They love us: unconditionally, completely and Christlike. They forgive us without question, even when we’re short sighted and short tempered, but above all they love us. They love us completely even when we’re hard to love and that is why their lifespans are significantly shorter than our own.

Our canine and feline companions are born with that hard wired ability to be loving, merciful and compassionate. Who but the family furry friend will share in our daily life: the joys, the excitements, the sadness and disappointments? Most human beings spend their entire life learning through blessings and lessons how to get closer to God by being selfless, loyal, loving and compassionate but our furry friends and family members already know how to do these things. Jesus calls us all to “love one another as I have loved you” but it’s animals that have mastered that particular skill not the humans who were given dominion over them. Ironic, isn’t it?

Many a woman and man have said, ‘I hope to be half the person my (dog/cat) thinks I am.’ I think that is because although they live significantly shorter lives than ours, while they are here they make us want to be better people. I believe sincerely that people who say, “it’s just a dog” or “it’s just a cat” need that type of love from us the most. Throughout my 12 year relationship (4 of which I spent married) with my husband, we have been told when we expressed our desire to raise dogs over children that we, “don’t know unconditional love until you know the love you’ll hold for your child” to this I usually smile, sheepishly and say, “Have you ever known the love of a dog? Because God spelt backwards is Dog and that unconditional love they have in their hearts of us is the closest thing we’ll get to Christ on Earth.”

I’ve read about tragedies in the paper of children growing up to kill their parents and sometimes parents who kill their children but I’ve never read about a dog who killed their owner. I have read about dogs who got put down for protecting their owners. These stories get me crying every time. There’s only one person who loves us at our worst and would lay down their lives for us other than our fur angels and his name is Jesus Christ.

We can stand to learn a lot from the furry companions we open our homes and hearts to if we just: Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Teaching preschool for 9 1/2 years I imagine the world would be much different if our school teachers were dogs. You’d learn valuable lessons like:

▪️Always running to greet your loved ones when they get home.

▪️Never passing up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

▪️Allowing the experience of fresh air, long walks and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

▪️Taking naps.

▪️Stretching before rising.

▪️Running, romping, and playing daily.

▪️Thriving on attention and affection.

▪️Avoiding biting when a simple growl will do.

▪️On warm days, stopping to lie on your back on the grass.

▪️On hot days, drinking lots of water and laying under a shady tree.

▪️When you’re happy, dancing around and wag your entire body.

▪️Delighting in the simple of being around those you love.

▪️Being faithful.

▪️Never pretending to be something you’re not.

▪️Knowing that if what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

▪️When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

That’s the secret of happiness that we can learn from a good dog-which is why when I got the heart wrenching text from my Father yesterday evening that they were making the difficult decision to put down our furry family member for the last nearly 13 years-I crumbled to the floor and ugly cried until no more tears could fall.

My husband and I (with my Parents’ blessing) drove that 30 minute drive to my family home where I grew up and said goodbye to a dog who’d given me the kind of love, loyalty and devotion I could only hope I repaid in even a fraction of the same way. For that entire drive, her whole 12 1/2 years of life flashed before my eyes: memories of the crying puppy that I fell asleep on a cold tile floor to snuggle, a playful adolescent who would play fetch, snuggle on the couch, and comfort me through all of life’s beautiful and dark moments and finally even the old senior who although tired still managed to trot up to the door to give me attention and love.

Before I left last night, I didn’t say goodbye. I said I’ll see you soon, because time in heaven works differently than here on Earth. I’m confident she’ll be able to plead my case and get me into heaven one day, when my work here is done to be reunited with her for eternity.

This morning, it was with a very heavy heart that my family and I announced that our beloved Chloe Dawn Hackett died peacefully, alongside her family of nearly 13 years. On this day, Friday, May 22nd 2020, under the care of the Ocean County Veterinary Hospital staff, heaven gained an exceptionally beautiful, loving, furry angel.

Chloe was brought into this world October 31st 2007 and became a valued member of our family in January of 2008, she quickly became our daughter, little sister and ultimately a dog legends are made of. Chloe arrived in our home with the ability to make herself completely comfortable by playfully tormenting her big fur brother Chase. Having the energy of an F5 tornado and barking ferociously at any animal or person that intruded on her turf, Chloe quickly began building loving relationships with all those who came in contact with her, whether it be family or friends. She was loving, loyal, and wouldn’t hesitate to yell at me whenever I had to leave home for long periods of time. She was the first to greet and the last to see me off.

A lover of dog beds and stuffed animals, Chloe had many hobbies. Some of Chloe’s favorite activities included barking at things not there, cuddling alongside you, comforting you when you were happy or sad, playing tug of war and fetch, and trying to figure out who exactly was “the good girl.” In her spare time, Chloe dreamt violently, thrashing her legs, presumably chasing those asshole squirrels who dared enter her dreams. The quickest way to Chloe’s heart was with a quality scratch of her rear, and a shake of her paw.

Chloe Dawn will be greatly missed by many, but none more so than her loving family. Through thick and thin, we loved her with all our hearts, and though the pain we’re feeling without her here is great, it in no way would compare to having never had her in our lives. Chloe Dawn leaves behind her lovingly devoted Mom and Dad, Liz and Joe Hackett, an older sister, Brittany Schmidt (Hackett), a Brother in Law Thomas Schmidt, and a big brother who held her in his arms until the very end Joseph Hackett; predeceased by her Grammy, Mary Doyle; her big fur brothers Petie and Chase; Uncles Tommy and Jimbo; and many amazing family members and friends throughout the years.

While it well may be, that I will never see my Chloe girl again in this lifetime, it needs to be said that so much of me is made of what I learned from her and she’ll be with me like a paw print on my heart. All the pain, the sorrow and profound sense of loss is worth it because, much like most parents can say for their children, I can honestly say: you just don’t know the depth of true unconditional love until you’ve shared your home, bed, snack and heart with a dog or cat.

This post was shared and written in memory of Chloe Dawn Hackett:

10/31/2007-05/22/2020

“Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine upon her.

May she rest in peace.

Amen.”