Guest Writing: The Life Enthusiast

As many of you know, I occasionally guest write for my friends. 

This month, my friend Britt asked if I would contribute to her blog series, The Life  Enthusiast Chronicles. As this is one of my favorite things on the Internet, I was thrilled to be asked, and immediately agreed to be a part of it.

Each month, Britt asks a different writer she knows to answer the same question: what makes you enthusiastic about life?

So, head on over and check out my answer to the question. 

While you’re there, be sure to browse through the other posts and if you love Britt’s work as much as I do, buy one of her awesome novels! My personal favorite is Nola Fran Evie if you need a starting point. ☺️

You can buy her books on Amazon

World Series Royalty

I remember watching the 2008 World Series on my couch at home in Dallas. I sat there hoping that the team I was cheering for would win. And when they did win, I jumped on my couch, screamed like a crazy person and maybe even shed some tears. After all, before 2008 the last time the Philadelphia Phillies had won the World Series I wasn’t even born.

The year I was born, the Phillies made it to the World Series again, and lost to the Baltimore Orioles. It would take ten years for them to return and they would lose again. This time to the Toronto Blue Jays. I had gone my entire life without knowing what a World Series championship was like.

But in 2008 all of that changed. And I was watching it all unfold in Dallas. I was texting my family back home in Philadelphia and I was so incredibly jealous that I wasn’t there to take part in the massive celebrations that were happening.

Six years ago I moved to Kansas City. My husband grew up here and has played baseball his whole life. I’m pretty sure he was born with a bat in his hand; I’ll have to ask my mother-in-law about that. He loves baseball. And he was five when the Royals won the World Series in 1985. So he knew what a World Series championship felt like, even if he was just a little baseball player.

But unlike the Phillies, who returned to the Series twice before winning again, the Royals didn’t return. In fact, they didn’t even return to the playoffs for 29 years. Then, in 2014, something happened. A team of scrappy ball players, with a never-say-die attitude snuck into the Wild Card game. And won! In epic fashion.

Then they proceeded to sweep their path all the way to the World Series. The team that wasn’t even supposed to be there, was in the World Series. And it was a great series. It went to all seven games. And the Royals came within 90 feet of victory. But, they fell just short. They lost. And the feel good story about the team that wasn’t supposed to be there, went back to being the story about how much fun it was for Kansas City fans, but now the Royals would go back to obscurity (like they’re supposed to) and that would be that.

Nobody took them seriously. They called them a fluke. Told fans not to get their hopes up too high, because as fun as 2014 was, it wasn’t going to happen again. The Royals would slide backward, winning just over 70 games. That’s what experts, statisticians, baseball analysts said.

But Kansas City said, just you watch. This team is not a fluke. This team was supposed to be there. And they will be back in 2015.

And they were. My God, they were.

They came roaring through the regular season, blowing past 70 wins and finishing with 95; 12 games ahead of the second place team in the AL Central and two games ahead of the second place American League team.

Then they won the AL Division Series. And the AL Championship Series. And finally, winning it all by winning the World Series against the Mets. In dramatic, come-from-behind fashion. Again.

The team that wasn’t even supposed to be here, are world champions.

And I live here. I live in the city with the world champion. I got to enjoy all of the celebrations and fireworks and car horns honking. All the people pouring out of bars to hug and high five strangers. To scream and cheer on the sidewalks of their championship city.

Tomorrow, there will be a huge celebration downtown. A parade and a rally and a city starved for a championship coming together to celebrate and support a team that plays the game the right way. That plays it for the right reasons. And always, always, always thanks its fans for the support they bring.

I’ll be at that huge celebration. Screaming and cheering, high-fiving and hugging strangers, and probably shedding some tears.

But more than anything, I’ll be home.

Suddreth Vacation – London

For the second part of our vacation we took a short flight over to London (if you missed the first part of our vacation, Paris, you can catch up here).

We arrived at Heathrow in the mid-afternoon and hopped on the Heathrow Express which took us straight into Paddington Station. We grabbed a cab from the taxi queue and headed off to our hotel in South Kensington – The Kensington.

Our hotel was beautiful and was just a quick five minute walk from the tube station. Always full of surprises, the husband really outdid himself in London. When we walked into our room, I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t a room at all, but a suite! And sitting on the windowsill were a bouquet of my favorite flowers, alstromeria. Shortly after our arrival there was a knock on our door and there was a waiter with a tray of chocolate and strawberries and an anniversary card from the hotel.


After we got settled in to our suite and freshened up, we went out to explore the city. We decided to head towards the Thames and walk around the neighborhoods down there. We admired Westminster Abbey, Parliament, The Queen’s Tower and Big Ben, and the Central Methodist Hall. We even got to see the London Eye, though it was from across the river.

Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey.

As we were walking through the neighborhoods we came across a little pub called Prince Albert’s and popped in for a pint and some chips. It was right after working hours so the place was jumping with locals and it was so neat to watch everyone just enjoying their lives!

Later that night we met up with a friend at the White Stallion for some dinner and drinks and really just had a great time. It was so nice to talk with someone who lives there and could suggest fun touristy things to do that wouldn’t make us look like ultra-tourists.

The next day we went down to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard. I really didn’t know what to expect but when we arrived there were about ten thousand people there! No joke. The pomp and circumstance is truly remarkable. The guards taking over march down the street and in to the courtyard of the palace while the band plays. The mounted guard walks down the streets around the palace clearing the street of pedestrians. It is really an amazing show of force and tradition.

Two Royal Guards.

Two Royal Guards.


Just being near the palace was incredible. It is gorgeous and it just seems so crazy to me that you can just walk down the footpath and boom – there’s a palace. In the middle of the city!

After that we went up to King’s Cross to take a glimpse at Platform 9 and 3/4 (of course). They really have a pretty good setup there. You stand in a queue and two Potter people take your picture as you run into the wall. FOR FREE! There is a souvenir shop if you’re brave enough to enter – it was a mad house when we were there. I opted not to enter. The next time we go back to London though, I definitely want to take a Potter tour!



We spent the rest of the afternoon on Downing Street and in the Churchill War Room Museum, which is incredible. The artifacts on display are impressive but what was so interesting to me is that you actually get to walk through the actual place where Churchill watched the war progress. The maps he and his team used to track progress are still on the wall and you can even see the pinholes from where they were showing troop movements. There is a section of the ceiling that has been removed so you can see the six inches of concrete that Churchill had poured above the rooms because he found out that they weren’t very secure. If the building had been directly hit the building would have collapsed on them. The concrete was a little bit of a cushion. This museum is one of the best I’ve been to and the interaction you get to participate in really immerses you into the story.


The War Room

The War Room





That night we went to this wine bar called Gordon’s on the recommendation of our friend. The bar is below street level and is built inside of what looks like a cave. They only serve wine, but you can cheese boards, meats, and breads to go along with your wine. The place is really tiny and filled up quickly, but we were able to procure two spots to sit inside – they have outdoor seating as well. After our leisurely wine and cheese experience we walked to our restaurant, Simpson’s On-The-Strand, to enjoy our actual dinner. This place is incredible. We each order a beef wellington, because London. They had a piano player, and beautiful decor, and the service was outstanding.

We went back to our hotel and enjoyed some champagne and snacks by the fireplace in the lobby area and enjoyed some really fantastic people watching.

Cheers to year one!

Cheers to year one!


On the morning of our final day, I was a little frantic. We had packed the night before and everything was ready to go, but we had one more thing to do before we went to the airport. On our first night in London, in a moment of trying to be super helpful, I offered to buy our passes into Buckingham Palace. There are only six weeks out of the entire year that the palace is opened for tourists and we happened to be there during part of those six weeks! I want to go inside a palace! I’m a princess, afterall!!! So I bought the tickets and thought everything was good to go – until I received my email confirmation and realized that I bought tickets for the wrong day! I read the terms and conditions and it stated clearly, no refunds, no exchanges, sorry not sorry. I was crushed. I was trying to be so helpful and the one thing in London that I absolutely wanted to do, I messed up in a big way! After we watched the changing of the guard we actually walked over to ticketing area and explained the situation – I purchased tickets for the wrong day; we were leaving the day the tickets were for and was there anything at all they would be able to do for us. We tried to get in to see the palace that day during the last time slot, but it was full. They absolutely would not refund my money, but what they could do was put us in the very first time slot for the day we were leaving. We accepted their offer and went about the rest of our day, although I was still pretty bummed out because the first time slot of the day was 9:30 and our flight was at noon. I didn’t think there was any possible way we would be able to go through the palace and make our flight.

But, as I’ve said before, my husband is incredibly thoughtful. He is also a problem-solver. So, we took our luggage with us and headed to the palace – and you know what? THEY HAVE A BAG CHECK ON SITE! Which meant that we would be able to leave our bags, explore the palace and still make our flight! Unfortunately, there is a pretty strict no photography rule inside the palace so I can’t show you any pictures, but I promise however beautiful, magnificent, and incredible I say it is, it’s even more than that. I couldn’t stop smiling and was just so blown away by the fact that people live there. LIVE. THERE. It is amazing. If you are thinking about going to London, go when you can get inside the palace because it is sooooo worth it. Plus, you get to view the Queen’s gallery, the carriage and mews, and the gardens.


Just hanging outside Queen Elizabeth's house. NBD.

Just hanging outside Queen Elizabeth’s house. NBD.

After we exited the palace grounds we hailed a taxi cab and went back to Paddington Station to take the Heathrow Express back to the airport. Thanks to some very kind people who let us jump to the front of the queue we were able to make our flight on time. When we got to the gate they hadn’t even started boarding so all of the anxiety I had that morning was for nothing!

We boarded our Aer Lingus plane and got ready to continue our journey in Dublin!


Dia duit, Éire!

Dia duit, Éire!

Stay tuned for the next bit of our journey….

Looking Ahead….

Every year for the past several years I’ve sat down with my computer and written reflections about the year behind me.  I wrap up the entire year in several paragraphs trying to convey the major events and milestones that took place in my life that year, but I realized I never take the time to write about the future.  I never stop to look ahead.

I don’t really make resolutions for the new year.  Not that I don’t have any resolve, I just don’t think I need to make promises to myself, especially when I usually don’t tell anyone what they are so there is no one to hold me accountable if I don’t keep my self-made promise.  I usually decide to continue to try to be a good person.  To be kind to others.  Help the less fortunate when able.  Be quick with a smile.  Those are things that I think we can all resolve to do on a daily basis and we don’t need a new year’s resolution to do them.  We should be doing them anyway.

That’s not really the point though, so back to my initial thought.  Looking ahead.  I wrote my 2012 wrap up a few days ago and while I certainly have a lot to be thankful for in 2012, I decided I should look to my future and see what 2013 holds for me.

To begin the year, I have a job that I truly enjoy with a company I couldn’t be prouder to work for.

Looking around me, I have the best family (even if they drive me nuts sometimes).  I find myself often thinking that people who don’t have siblings are missing out on one of the greatest gifts on Earth.  I’ve said more than once that I consider myself truly fortunate to be in a unique position with my siblings; I have the gift of being both a little sister and a big sister.  I’m a little sister to a sister, and big sister to two sisters and a brother.  How lucky am I that I get to be the sister to not only sisters but to a brother as well?  Sisters are some of the first friends you make (followed closely by your cousins).  Brothers are a strange beast to be sure.  They smell different than sisters do, and they do weird things that most sisters don’t do.  But I truly feel that I have been given one of life’s greatest treasures by having my sisters and brother in my life.

I also have the most amazing friends.  They are patient, funny, smart, and understanding.  Above all they are loyal and trustworthy.  I know that my friends are there for me when I need them, even when I’m being a complete flake.

Top that off with an engagement to the greatest guy. In eight months I will take one of the best walks of my life toward him with my Dad at my side.  After that walk we will party the night away with our family and friends around us and the next day we will take a wonderful week long trip to an island neither one of us has been to.  How blessed can one woman be?

I have a major birthday to look forward to as well.  One that has me excited and curious, but anxious as well.  I love birthdays, especially milestone birthdays, but as this is my first major milestone birthday in quite a while, I’m not sure what to expect.  Will I feel any different?  Will there be new expectations that come along with my new age?  Are there new health risks I should be worried about?  These are the things that I think about.

But, this year is full of many more blessings.  I am lucky to have a home that provides me with shelter, warmth, and safety.  I have a pantry and refrigerator full of food, and a vehicle that is nice and safe.

I ask again, how blessed can one woman be?

When I take everything listed above and combine it into a nice, neat, little package I can’t help but realize how wonderful 2013 is going to be.  With blessings like that how can my year be anything less than amazing?

If I were to make a resolution for 2013 it would be this: to continue to focus on the positive things in my life.  I realize not every day is going to be perfect, but there will be perfect moments in every day.  I hope I will always be able to see that moment, and that I will remember to look for it.  I hope that I don’t get so caught up in the mundane details life requires I miss the beauty in the smallest of things.  I hope that I always notice how beautiful the sun is when it sets.  That I always see the light at the end of the tunnel and most importantly, that I always remember no matter how rough of a day I might be having that I don’t have to bear the burden alone.  I have family and friends that are there for me to help, to listen, to offer advice when needed, to provide guidance when necessary, and to give hugs when there are no words required.

My hope for you this year is that you, too, will always remember to search for the bright spot in your life.  Even when times seem the darkest, reach for the light.  Hold onto it, and seek it always.

Life is a beautiful thing.  Don’t spend it surrounded by negativity and darkness.

Happy New Year

So 2012’s wrap up is a bit later than I had intended, but as today is Epiphany, and the Christmas season is officially over, today seems like the perfect day to complete this.

Each year, I go back and read the previous year’s reflections to see how the current year was different.  Reading through last year’s post I am smiling as I remember how truly blessed I am.

This year was a whirlwind of emotions and trials, ups and downs.  The impending ‘end of the world’ apocalypse that was supposed to happen obviously did not (thank goodness for that).  So, here are my reflections for 2012:

1) The year started off pretty uneventful, just like most other years.  But shortly after the first of the year, I lost my job.  It was devastating to me.  I didn’t know what we were going to do.  But, whenever one door closes another one opens, right?  It took longer than I wanted it to, but I am happy to say that I found a job.  One that I truly like going to each day.  I work for an incredible company and couldn’t be happier to be part of the team.

2) Charity is important to us, so we try to attend as many events as possible throughout the year.  This year we once again attended Jazzoo which has become our favorite charity event.  The benefactors of the event this year were the Sumatran Tigers who received a new habitat to lounge around and explore.  We were also able to attend three 5Ks; Head for the Cure – a race that raises money and awareness for brain cancer; Free to Breath – a race that raises money and awareness for lung cancer; and our company hosted their first ever race benefitting the kids at Della Lamb.  We are truly fortunate to be able to participate in so many events.  My hope for 2013 is that we are able to continue to help others.

3) Last year I wrote that I was in school and was almost finished.  I am so happy to say that I GRADUATED!  In May I officially became an alumnae of The University of Central Oklahoma forever becoming a Broncho.  My family hosted a cook out for me at a lake in Oklahoma and Brett’s family hosted a cook out at a park in Kansas a couple of weeks later.  It is one of my proudest moments.

4) The summer was full of busy-ness as always.  Lots of trips to the lake.  Boat rides, cook outs, fireworks, bon fires and topped off with an October reunion to reminisce about the Mexico trip last October.  My favorite part about the summer is the amount of family time that is had.  We are truly fortunate to have such a loving and supportive family.

5) Since the world in general is cyclical, some sadness was bound to creep into the year.  In June our beloved Bogey died.  Even now there is still an emptiness and there are still little things that set me to tears, but I am happy knowing that Bogey is no longer living with whatever pain he was carrying.

6) After a three-year house hunt (please note that those were not three entirely active years), we found the most wonderful house and made an offer.  On my birthday we found out that our offer was accepted and that the wonderful house was going to be our wonderful home!  Talk about an awesome birthday present!!  We moved in July 6th and have settled in nicely to our new home.  We hosted our first joint family dinner at Thanksgiving and having our families together to celebrate my favorite holiday was a dream come true for me.  Having our first Christmas in our new home was just as wonderful.  I may have gone a bit overboard decorating the house, but it looked beautiful.  For the first time in six years, we had a live tree for Christmas.  It was amazing.  I can’t wait to spend more Christmases here.

7) And, as always, my very favorite part of this year is that it is one more that Brett and I spent together.  Number six.  But this was my favorite year together by far.  In August we celebrated our sixth year together.  We went to dinner and exchanged gifts like we always do and then for some fun we headed over to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  I’ve always loved art museums, but the Nelson has undoubtedly become my favorite one because it’s where Brett proposed!  After six wonderful years of dating, we are going to be taking a walk down the aisle.  Keep your eyes open for Save the Dates and invitations, and keep your August calendar open!  And if you’d like to follow the wedding preparations, you can head on over to our wedding site.

So, there’s my wrap up for 2012.  It was a pretty exciting year. There were some bumps in the road, but overall, 2012 was a pretty awesome year and will probably go down as my favorite year (so far – I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be my new favorite).

I hope that your 2012 was everything you hoped it would be, brought you everything you needed, most of the things you wanted, and above all, was spent with family, friends, laughter and love.  If it wasn’t everything you needed it to be, then I hope 2013 is a better year for you.

Happy New Year!