Ben Brainard – Comedian

I know we have all suffered in some form during this pandemic. No matter what the impact, I hate how it is effecting all of our lives. From the elderly to the infants, it seems this virus has touched us all. And, while most of the impact of Coronavirus is horrible, there have been a few silver linings in this storm.

When COVID first started, we went into lock down. We stayed home for two weeks straight and started only leaving the house if we really had to. We tried to find ways to pass the time, and one of those ways was nightly dance parties with DJ Kopec! It was a fun relief to a continuous relive of the same day, over and over. I truly appreciate his work and getting us through those first few months!

After this virus stuck around for a while, we felt a bit more safe going out into the world with masks and social distance and enhanced cleaning. We’d go to parks, home improvement stores, box stores. We felt safer, but were still cautious to maintain the safe guards we knew could help protect us. Even though we tried to keep going with life, the weight of COVID still hung heavy. Finding new ways to keep our minds off it, we took to YouTube.

Enter Ben Brainard!

I stumbled upon Ben as I was traversing the internet, looking for anything remotely entertaining to watch after literally depleting our streaming services of content. One of his videos popped up, and honestly, with all the politics that were going around at the time, I really wasn’t interested in more. I’m pretty sure I scrolled over his videos the first time. When I found it again, I read the description and went all in.

Maryland Joins the Table – with a title like that I just couldn’t ignore it! Living in the DC metro area, I had to hear his take on Maryland. I was NOT disappointed! From the way he pronounces the state name, to his attire, even the mention of a Natty Boh. I had tears! From that moment forward, I have watched each of his videos for Joins the Table, and have started to move on to his Mail Time and Stand Up shows. I absolutely love his laugh!

Thank you Ben for the comedic relief I didn’t know I needed. Hearing the craziness from all the different parts of the country makes me feel as if my little square of the world isn’t so messed up. I’ve learned so much about other states from your videos I never knew. Thanks again Ben! And keep on going!

10 years of photos

I just watched a video of a guy who took a picture of himself every day since he was 13 until he was 23. While these time-lapse movies are great and show an incredible transformation of a boy into a man, I couldn’t help but notice something a little

In each image, the wore a different shirt most days, but the background and positioning of his body was constant. There were slight variations in his posture, but mostly, he sat in front of the backdrop and clicked away. With each picture, the boy became a little older, a little thinner, taller, and different lengths of hair, but the way the images played out over the screen, it almost seemed like the guy was running.

Three-thousand six-hundred fifty pictures passed by my screen, and with each sliding image, the boy was sprinting towards becoming a man. He raced toward adulthood, as most kid do, but it hurt me to see how quickly life passed him by. I know these pictures came from 10 years of photos, and 3,650 is a lot of days, but to see the images squished together in a four-minute video made me want to scream at the kid. “Stop growing up! Stay young just a little bit longer!”

If only time would slow down.

Life isn’t for you to control.

I had an epiphany while in the shower this morning, contemplating life as the warm water beat against my back. For as long as I can remember, I have always tried to have a plan that would map out my every move to get me where I wanted to be. Whether it was in my education, my career, even my personal life, I have always tried to control everything.

Then yesterday, I tuned into a TED Talk with Muniba Mazari, and she shared her story of an arranged marriage she entered because her father had told her to do so. She goes on to say that at some point in the marriage, she and her husband suffer a car accident, and while he came out unscathed, it was unclear if Muniba would ever walk again. She tells the audience that she came to terms with the news, but when the doctor told her she would never be a mother or paint again, she refused to listen. She asked her family to bring paint to her hospital bed and did exactly what they said she wouldn’t have been able to do. Years later, after leaving the hospital, she adopted a little boy and became a mother, doing exactly what they said she wouldn’t be able to do.

 Muniba says, “Don’t die before your death.” And while her message of doing the things you want rather than being complacent in your life is clear and I hear it, I also feel as if there is an even greater message behind her story. Something that spoke to only me perhaps, but during my shower, it hit me.

Muniba experienced a car crash she surely wasn’t planning on, but she had planned on children and painting. Nothing in my life as far as obstacles could ever compare to Muniba, but I have had moments where what I had planned was upset by an undesirable event, and because of that event, I abandoned the path to my goal. One little upset, and I gave up because I wasn’t in complete control.

And here’s where my epiphany comes in. While I stood in my shower, steam filling up the bathroom, I realized, life isn’t for you to control. Life is full of unexpected, sometimes tragic events, and never will anyone be able to fully avoid all of life’s curveballs, nor should anyone try. Life is meant to be lived through it all. You dodge those curveballs, and keep moving. It doesn’t have to be down the path you had imagined. It doesn’t have to be part of the same route at all. If you have in your mind your ultimate goals, big or small, daily or yearly, how you get there doesn’t matter. It only matters that you do. 

Life isn’t for you to control, but you can control your reaction to life.

Christmas Spirit Giveaways

I think my Christmas spirit just jumped into overdrive. That or I have just had one too many Tim Tam Slams with coffee (YouTube it!). At my salary job, we are having our Holiday Social this week, and my daughter’s birthday party is this weekend. We finally put our tree up in our house, and I have been playing nonstop Christmas music all day, every day. I’m just all over the place with planning festivities and oozing joy!

OK, maybe too many Tim Tams and coffee, but that’s OK. It’s my cheat month! Resolutions are coming up quick.

Can I help put you in the Christmas spirit? How about a chance to win one of three signed paperback copies of my latest novel Alyeska through GoodReads?

Still not doing it for you. How about a chance to win one of five e-book copies of Alyeska simply by subscribing to my blog?

That should put a smile on anyone’s face!

This time of year brings a season of happiness and giving. Bring Alyeska into your life, and I promise you, you will find you holiday spirit this winter in the midst of this steamy romance.

Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas!

Now, where did I put my Tim Tams and coffee?