We ride grief; we do not conquer it

Grief will lull you into believing it has passed and then rush in unexpectedly.

 We ride grief in waves; we do not conquer it. It is wide and wild and ebbing, coming back to drench you when you think you have wiped your face dry of tears. If you know someone who is riding grief and you ask, “How are you?” They may just be answering for that day. Because tomorrow might just be all wet and the day after that, the sun again rises. Just stand in the water with them and wade. That is how we live.

Read more "We ride grief; we do not conquer it"

8 1/2 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying a Home

Home buying can be a headache if you don’t know what you’re getting into.

About 3 years ago, my husband and I bought our first home. Prior to that, I knew very little about the home buying process, mortgage loans, homeowner’s insurance, etc. I had worked briefly for a bank and used some professional knowledge to navigate the process, but I ended up doing a ton of research anyway.

Because I know a bit about the customer service side of banking, friends and family sometimes ask me for my input. I am by trade a writing major, so it still surprises me 1) when I am asked for my thoughts on home buying and insurance and 2) when I actually have plenty to say. Yesterday, my aunt asked me to give her some tips for my cousin. I started out typing a short list and ended up with a 4-page essay in a Facebook message. (sorry, Auntie! 🙂 ) 

I figured it might be helpful to share those thoughts on the home buying process with you all. My caveat is that this does not constitute licensed professional/financial advice. These are simply things I have observed as a consumer. Here are 8 1/2 things no one told me before buying a home:

1. Get ready to fill out a ton of paperwork.

Banks will want any applicable employment information including copies of pay stubs, back at least 3-6 months., and they may ask for letters explaining unemployment. They will want statements for all bank accounts you have, even if you are taking out a mortgage with the same bank you hold checking/savings accounts with. Be upfront and give them what they ask for, otherwise the process is really long and tedious.

2. Apply for mortgage loan pre-approval strategically.

Get all your quotes from different banks within 14-45 days; the hard inquiries into your credit report will usually register as one inquiry instead of several. Spreading out the inquiries over months can mean drops in your credit score, which in turn negatively affect the interest rate the bank will offer you.

3. Get your finances in order.

Bring as many of your accounts up to good standing as possible. If you can pay off any debt you have, that will contribute to how much the bank is willing to loan you. Even if you just knock off smaller debts, anything you can lower is helpful. Why?

Read the rest at Truly Tafakari!

Read more "8 1/2 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying a Home"

On Rejection, Determination, and Wrecking Balls

You may face rejection but determination will push you to victory in time.

Today I was rejected from a workshop I applied to and I can feel that familiar hurt folding me into someone a little less bold. For years, I let rejection (and the fear of it) reduce me into rubble, crumbling any determination I would build into so much detritus. But not again. Not this time.

A wrecking ball only destroys if you place yourself in front of it, if you stand still while the specter of pain becomes too bulbous to avoid and you are overcome. But, hat tip to Miley Cyrus, if you ride that broad, swing on the momentum of having believed in something you desired, even after losing it, and let that energy push you to the next project?

There are only so many Nos you can hear before that YES comes along like a hallelujah chorus. Here is to my next YES. Let’s ride.

Read more "On Rejection, Determination, and Wrecking Balls"

The Top 5 Places I’d Travel If I Could Go Anywhere

Haiti is absolutely beautiful and I hope I get to go one day

Last night I was dreaming with my eyes open. I opened the Living Social app on my phone and scrolled through pictures of cities with gleaming lights and pristine beaches. This winter had me longing for spring.  (And now that spring has sprung, it’s ceded place back to winter!)  But I’m not just lusting after the pretty weather; I’m ready to bounce. I want to go somewhere. Throw my stuff in a suitcase and step on a plane to see something new. But alas, I am a travel junkie who is currently grounded.

What places would you travel to if you had a free ticket and a pocketful of cash?

My current budget doesn’t allow for a lot of travel, so I save my yearly trips for the events that I absolutely cannot miss.  Road trips are a specialty of mine; pop in a CD, let Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides hit my ears, and I can drive for hours.  In 2014, I’m looking forward to the annual Southern Fried Poetry Slam, which takes place in Greenville, SC. My good friend is getting married in Tallahassee, FL, in the summer and it will be wonderful to hit up my old stomping grounds.

I just want to travel to eat and dance my way around the world, get lost in crowds, see beautiful people and places and things. I’m not worried…I know I’ll get there one day. I will color my daydreams with fancy until they become concrete beneath my sandals. See you on the other side of the world.

I am patiently waiting my turn to hop on a plane and travel the globe. Until then, I’m biding my time and researching inexpensive ways to get places I plan on going. Here are five places that are on my Let’s Go List!

Read more at Truly Tafakari!

Read more "The Top 5 Places I’d Travel If I Could Go Anywhere"