#winning the wine game…

A week or so ago, I threw away my beloved wine bottle opener. It had seen better days, it was time; plus I had just opened a bottle and figured I’d buy another opener before I got through the new bottle.

…I severely underestimated myself… or overestimated myself…? Either way.

Last night, I found myself in my pajamas early, bottle of Barboursville Red in hand… without an opener.


Panic immediately set in. Never mind the fact that I live two blocks from a grocery store where they sell both wine openers and screw-cap wine bottles (my personal favorite). I started digging through drawers, through bags, through shelves, through boxes and closets. Nothing.

I sat down in a chair for a self-pep-talk, “think… think, think, think! There has to be a way – there has to be!” All of a sudden, a video my cousin had posted on my Facebook wall popped into mind- link – simple enough, I had a shoe and I had a wall… I spent the next 5 minutes slamming said shoe against said wall without success.


“Okay… okay, okay…think…”

Then it hit me — panic… desperation — but also… screw… screw driver… hammer… I lunged towards the tool box that my dad had given me (which hadn’t seen much use until now); SCREW! SCREWDRIVER! HAMMER! I put the bottle on the counter, stood over it basking in my own brilliance, screwed the screw into the cork, flipped the hammer around and started pulling. The screw popped right out… but the cork, ugh, the cork did not…


The screw was too small, God bless it, the screw was too small.

Then delirium set in. I’m not ashamed of my actions, though I’m aware that I crossed over into to a place that I can never return from…

I went into my bedroom, removed a larger screw from a piece of furniture, dropped it into a pot of boiling water that I had on the stove intending to make noodles,  strained it, screwed that 4″ sucker into the cork, plopped down on the floor cross-legged with the bottle pinned between my bare feet, and used every ounce of strength I had to pull the screw AND CORK out with the backside of the hammer…

And hour after my original inkling for wine…

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Wine. Sweet victory. And neither had ever tasted so good.

For the record, this makes it official… I fully intend on ruling the world one day.


Have a great weekend!


The Rice-Kid…

Sometimes in my adult life – living downtown, working where I work – I forget that kids exist. It sounds ignorant but kids and I don’t usually hang around the same places. I live in the middle of the city, I work at an ad agency, I shop at the downtown grocery store, I hang out at breweries/other non-kid-friendly places, etc.  We don’t really cross paths unless it’s intentional (like visiting my precious baby second cousin {or whatever the connection is… it doesn’t matter, he’s my baby… picture below} or it’s on one of the nights that I help with the church youth group but I digress…)

Today, in the middle of a work day, I spent over an hour waiting in line at the post office.

Already, I’m all like…


…because of my extreme lack of line-waiting-patience.

Then she came in. This (cute) perky little 8 year old and she took a mysterious and immediate liking to me…

I know the majority of people who read this don’t know me personally so I guess I should clarify that I’m “nice” – a compliment I don’t love but I suppose isn’t a bad thing – and “nice” I remained as this little girl tugged on my sleeve and spent 40+ minutes explaining to me 6,879 different ways to eat rice. Why rice, you ask? Why wasn’t this child in school, is the question I want answered!

…rice and broccoli, chicken and rice – with wild rice, not plain rice-, chicken fried rice, shrimp fried rice, mexican rice, beans and rice, rice and peas, rice casserole, cheesy rice, rice cakes, spanish rice, microwaveable rice, white rice, brown rice, red rice… and did you know that ice cream originated in China where it was originally a mixture of milk and… RICE.

At about the 45 minute mark of this madness, the little girl’s mother turned to me and said, “I know what you’re thinking. Try living with her.”

Respect. SO much respect.

I like to think that when you start considering being a parent, you’re automatically zapped with an extra dose of patience (because I do want to be a parent one day… I think…) and I have no doubt that when I was young (uh… maybe still?) I could also talk someone into insanity (Mom, I love you)… but phew…

respectto all you parents out there.

Now I want icecream. The American kind, not the Rice-Milk Chinese kind.


“My” baby:



Faith at 40,000 ft.

Truth: I’ve been gone so long that I couldn’t remember what I had named this blog – couldn’t remember what email address I used, what password I chose… none of the usuals worked …I started worrying I was turning into my grandmother, who couldn’t remember her password even if her password was “password” and was written on a sticky note on her desk. (I love you Granne… I don’t think you read this but if you do… well, you’ll forget.)

So, I jumped through the “Contact us” hoops and here I am! I fought my way back in.

Life is going so disgustingly amazingly well for me lately, there’s not enough wood in the world to knock on to talk about it so I won’t. I will say, mom is always right.

A good quick story instead?

My new (too good to be true) job includes some traveling (which I looooove) and a few weeks ago, I flew to Lexington, Kentucky.

On the way back home to Richmond, I sat next to a 40ish year old man on his very first airplane. Originally, I was annoyed. He was slightly larger, I had been delayed all day, had been sitting in airport floors, and I just wanted to shut my window and read my book.

And honestly, that’s what I did for the first 30 minutes. I’m ashamed now, knowing that this man had never seen the Earth from 40,000 feet and my being a brat deprived him of that as we ascended.

As soon as this man turned to me though, I could feel his positive spirit. He told me about his family; how jealous his kids were that he was flying as no one in his family ever had; about his job and his church and how he was flying to Chicago to pick up a truck to drive back down to Mississippi. I threw my window up (a lesson in how spoiled I am and how thankful I should be) and invited him to lean over to take pictures… which he very quickly did, with more excitement than a kid on Christmas.

We hit a little air pocket and he looked over at me with a little panic on his sweet face and so I said, “No worries! Happens all the time! Haha, I think we both know we’d get to go somewhere better anyway though” (y’all know my heaven-obsession). He agreed, repeating that he was God’s man; he always knows who he belongs too, who he’s with, and where he’s going. We talked about that for just a few minutes before I went back to my book and he back to admiring the plane and the window view.

About twenty minutes later, the young man in front of us turned around and said, “excuse me, do y’all really believe all that stuff?” And before I could say a word, this sweet man beside me, on his very first flight, leaned forward and said, “Brother… let me tell you…”, locked in and didn’t so much as glance out the window again as he beautifully shared the reassurance and love found in his (our) Faith to this young man.

ALL the tears.

God is SO good, am I right?


Life · Thoughts

A Eulogy…

I’ve let time pass again. I don’t know where it goes! It seems to just rip by me lately.

I recently came across this (beautiful) Eulogy written by Curtis Christiansen, whom I actually don’t know. We’re just barely connected, as he wrote the below about one of my sorority sister’s husbands who was recently called home.

It struck me.

I didn’t personally know Jimmy, only the beautiful soul he planned to share forever with, though reading about him the last few days, I wish I had gotten the chance.

Here’s some soul-food, some food for thought, and a continuous prayer request because there will surely be a void in many lives without this man in the world…


Later today we will celebrate the life of Jimmy McLaughlin.

But I would like to share with you now my favorite Jimmy story.

Most evenings when the weather is nice, you will find Kim and me out on our deck unwinding from the stress of the day and catching up with each other.  If you are not familiar with where we live, our yard backs right up to the Herndon High School athletic fields.   There is a fairly thick wooded area between our yard and the more elevated fields, which are enclosed by a chain link fence that is probably a good 7 or 8 feet tall.  Because of our close proximity, if we are on our deck, we are hearing whatever game, practice, or band event that is occurring on the fields.

On this particular evening, if I remember correctly, it was a Powder Puff game that was taking place.

So there we were, on the deck just talking and sitting at the table under the umbrella.  That’s when it happened.

All of a sudden there was this great commotion in woods behind our house.   We could hear bushes and leaves rustling loudly; branches snapping and cracking…..and I mean cracking, these were obviously no small branches being broken.

What the heck could it be?

We were startled…was it a huge deer?  A Big Foot?

What could possibly be snapping large branches like tooth picks and causing all that commotion?

Should we go to safety inside the house?

Seconds later, we saw it.

It wasn’t a giant deer.  No and it wasn’t Big Foot either.

It was a human.

It was a human wearing only a Speedo.

And it was Jimmy.

As Jimmy emerged from the trees and the underbrush he quickly bolted across our back yard.  As you would expect with Jimmy, he very respectfully acknowledged Kim and I on the deck with a greeting, never losing a step as he raced across the yard.  We watched in confusion and disbelief as Jimmy crossed the neighbor’s yard, then the common area, and finally disappeared around the tennis courts.

Later I would learn that in the moments  just before the commotion in the woods, Jimmy had streaked across the Powder Puff Game field and had a couple of adults in hot pursuit as he scaled and leaped the high chain link fence and went crashing through the woods.

For Kim and I, left looking at each other thinking what’s to disbelieve?

It was Jimmy in his Speedo crashing through the woods and running through the yard.

Why not?

And we laughed.


I recently read a book by Elizabeth Gilbert called Big Magic.  You might be familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert because she wrote Eat, Pray, Love; which was pretty popular.   In Big Magic, Gilbert introduces the concept that inspiration is a living thing.  And as a living thing, inspiration is constantly looking for a place to live, a place to develop.  Left idle, that inspiration would move on looking for someplace else, someone else, where it could continue to live and grow.

That may be hard to imagine, but I believe inspiration found a home in Jimmy.  Jimmy was inspired to do great things with his life.  After college something motivated him to leave his comfort zone and join the Navy.  But not just the Navy, he took on Navy Seal training and ultimately became a Medical Navy Diver graduating at the top of his class.

Something in Jimmy drove him to want to take on the most challenging and be the best at it.

And he succeeded.

I propose this to you, because I want you to consider that what if Ms. Gilbert’s theory has merit?  What if the inspiration that found its home in Jimmy, is now idle and looking for a place to live?

And wouldn’t it be an honor and a privilege if the inspiration that was alive in Jimmy, found its new home in one of us.

But maybe we think that is a bunch of crap and don’t believe that inspiration is a living thing looking for a place to grow.

Maybe we don’t need to.  Maybe we just need to consider Jimmy’s life…. not his death, but his life; and maybe that would be enough  to inspire one of us  to strive to do something we have never done before, something outside our comfort zone, and be the best at it.

And do it with the same good nature and passion that Jimmy would have done it with.

I think so.

And for Jimmy, who did all the hard work to provide that inspiration for us, that would be an honorable way to be remembered.

But for now Jimmy,  rest……. in peace.


Love out, prayers up.



The season that required it…

Yesterday, I was standing in the kitchen at work, heating up a Lean Cuisine at 11am, feeling the pants that two months ago I regretted not getting in a smaller size, stretch against my thighs, trying not to cry. Haha.

I’ve gained a solid 10 lbs over the last 2-3 months. Which doesn’t sound like much, I guess, but when it took you an intense 8 months to get rid of 30 lbs (which was still 10 lbs away from goal)… ugh. Cue regret and tears.

I beat myself up about it all day yesterday. I even heard myself say out loud getting out a friend’s car, “I guess I’ll wobble my fat ass inside with you” …not nice Leanne, not nice. I knew I had been gaining weight (despite still exercising regularly… my endurance is badass right now… ) but I just let myself continue on the same track and now, here I am 10 lbs heavier and in tight pants.

Last night I was laying in bed reading a new book, What Women Don’t Know and Men Won’t Tell You– I don’t know that I’d recommend it quite yet. It has me rolling my eyes a lot, I’m not really the type of woman they’re writing to. But anyway, it was talking about knowing your worth – about not waiting to get to a certain place, job, relationship, weight, etc. in order to be happy. And I started thinking…

This weight is because I’ve been busy. I’ve been busy being happy; busy being sad; being a good friend; a good listener; a good cheerleader. It’s from sitting across from friends while they cried over dinner; it’s from friends sitting across from me while I cried over dinner; it’s from drinks with a newly single friend making her way in the world; it’s from the Starbucks I grabbed running late to work after a night of worrying; it’s from the late night snacking I did recovering from a heartbreak; it’s from bad dates and good dates; from catching up with old friends and attempts at making new friends… it’s from life happening. And while I wish I had made a few healthier choices, I won’t regret all that life; all that in-between. I’ll (temporarily) wear this weight knowing that it was a season of my life that required it.

That being said, I feel icky and tired. I don’t have the right energy or the right confidence to carry on doing this “life” work well.

So, it’s back on the grind we go. But this time, not because I need to look a certain way or impress certain people (though naturally, part of the drive), but because it makes me feel a certain way. Because it gives me energy and strength. Because if someone needs me to be a good friend, a good listener, a good cheerleader, I need to be my best me; mentally, emotionally, and physically.

I need to stop obsessing so much about how it looks and realizing more about how good it feels. I need to stop guilting myself for living and instead reward myself for living well with the opportunity to live longer and healthier; surrounded by more people and in a body that I’m confident carrying around in my life work.

That’s the goal at least.

On another note: Did y’all see this gorgeous new Sports Illustrated model, Ashley Graham? Give ’em hell girl, you look hot.

ashley graham