Judge not.

Just in case you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks - I will give you a brief synopsis of the much publicized Casey Anthony case and subsequent trial.

Casey Anthony had a daughter, Caylee. It is a fact that Casey didn't report her daughter missing for a month after Calyee "disappeared." It is a fact that during this month Casey repeatedly ventured out and acted like nothing was amiss, even to those closest to her. It is a fact that she repeately lied to pretty much everyone about where her daughter was. It is also a fact that she covered up the disappearance (and death) of her daugther in some way or another. The rest - isn't so much as a fact as really, really convicing evidence. But obviously not convicing enough to warrant a murder conviction. Yesterday Casey Anthony was found not guilty of almost every charge brought against her, except for providing false information to the police - which carries little if no jail time.

So in the wake of this surprising verdict - I did what has become my new habit whenever a huge news story breaks...I turned to Facebook to gauge my friend's reactions. I should really know better by this point. I was shocked, horrified and eventually perplexed at the reaction of some people to this trial. Mean things. Violent things. Offensive things.

It's the same people that were posting such violent, vigilante ideas in the wake of Osama Bin Laden's death. It's as if Facebook has become the new town square where instead of pitchforks and torches people pass out status updates and hateful posts...and it scares me.

Is it the anonymity of the Internet that encourages people to so boldy proclaim their ideas? Or has there been societial shift in values that says that it's OK to say whatever you want, regardless of the audience? When did we become so empowered to lay judgement on events and situations that we have little to no first-hand involvement in?

Perhaps the constant availablity of information, videos and articles on every single news-worthy event has created an over-inflated sense of ownership of current events. Perhaps people always responded this personally and strongly, yet their harsh words were confined to living rooms in front of the nightly newscasts. Facebook has redefined our culture in the past few years - yet I'm begning to feel like the vehicle of our online communications and identites is slowly taking us down roads harmful to our fellow man.

When will the movement away from the internet begin? Every advancement in online technology brings us closer, more connected (electronically - that's a huge distinction), and better informed - but at what cost? Every new service offered makes sense, it makes things easier - they're all seemingly good things.Yet if the cost for these luxuries is an ever increasing mob mentality and blanket permission to proclaim messages of hate under the banner of self expression - I'm not sure I'm ready to pay that price.

In reality, I don't know what it is. I can't say for sure why people say or act the way they do. I have my guesses - but they are just that. I refuse to believe people that post such hateful things are hateful themselves - just as I refuse to believe that someone who commits evil acts is completely evil. Instead we must seek the "why" and the "how did we get here" and hope that by finding these things out - we also find a compassion for those who judge, need be judged or are awaiting judgement.


New and Improved

I have no clue what it's actually called - but whatever is lying on my stomach right now has changed my life. It is one of those packs that can be heated up or cooled down quickly and in the week and a half that I've owned it I've used it every single day. I use it to ice my foot during the afternoons after work, heat my stomach to calm the cramps in the evenings and to cool my sweaty body during stuffy nights without air conditioning.

I considered my world rocked. And better.

If you would have asked me a week ago what item would greatly increase the quality of my life - a heating/cooling pad wouldn't have even made the list.

Other people find value in other things. There's a guy at my work that swears the iPad has revolutionized his life and a lady I know will spend days hunting down those green bags that keep produce fresh.

Maybe the world is filled with things waiting to be discovered by people. Items full of possibility to better the our lives as we go about our days - if only in the tiniest way. And we just need to find them. Be at the right place, at the right time. Ready to let one new item improve our daily routine.

Maybe these things find us.

Maybe not.
Either way....I'm taking my magic pack out of the freezer - it's time to sweat myself to sleep.

A new direction.

I've decided to pursue a new direction with this blog.

Though the past format was nice, and it fit the stage of life I was in quite well. I experienced a lot of changes the past year and found myself needing to discover new parts of this new life and new me I've created. It was good to break things down and examine the nuances of each piece of the puzzle - but the time has come to move on.

I feel as if my life is taking a new direction....outward. Though I will never cease my dedication to unrelenting self-examination, I feel my focus shifting.  I hope to examine things, life outside of myself and use this blog as a medium to do so.


I am a daughter.

This is my mother...

..her name is Donnita Mae Nesbit Fisher and she's a force of nature. With a name like "Donnita" I suppose you kind of have to be. To me, it's one of those names that are full of strength and promise - without ever meeting her, you can tell the kind of person Donnita Nesbit Fisher is. A force of nature.
With Mother's Day approaching I see a lot of people saying things like "My mom is perfect in every way!" or "My mom is the best ever!" I have a hard time saying those things. Before you label me a horrible child and an ungrateful brat - hear me out. I had (and have) the kind of mother that taught me never to sugar-coat life. She taught me that true honesty was acknowledging the strengths and faults of someone and loving them anyways. Salt is what gives food flavor - and the grains of salt that are life's imperfections are what make people so perfectly imperfect.

So I'll say the thing you're not supposed to say on Mother's Day - my mother is not perfect. It's ok though, becuase neither am I. We work well together - and she compliments me (or maybe I compliment her - she DID come first) in ways that make us a great team...imperfections and all.

Like I said, my mother is a force of nature. She's strong, stubborn, quick witted and hard-working. She's full of fire, but cools down quickly. She reacts well under pressure and is the person to know during a deadline or crisis. She's one of those people you never forget. Maybe becuase her name is Donnita (how many Donnitas do YOU know?)- but I like to think it's something more. So I'm sure my mother is still suprised that all that is her made all that is me. Me - the thin skinned, kind of lazy, wildy goofy child. I'd much rather watch TV all day than get any work done. I don't do well under pressure and I WILL throw up during a crisis. We are different in so many ways it's no surprise there were a few rough years for us along the way. We fought, we yelled, we cried.....but we also grew.

I grew. I learned what it means to "sit down and buck up." I learned how it feels to swallow your fears and anxiety and get the job done. I grew a little thicker skin but learned to keep my heart tender. I learned how to defend my beliefs and actions and what true conviction looks like. I learned all these things from and because of my mother. Although a lot of my lessons were learned with tears and frustration - looking back, I wouldn't change one single thing. Becuase I also learned that conflict isn't a bad thing- it's actually where you find the most growth. Those fights I hated so much as a hard-headed teenager have helped solidify our present-day relationship. And even though we fought and even though there were times where I thought we'd never get here - AND even though it's cliche to say so around this time of year...Donnita Nesbit Fisher is one of my best friends. Not becuase she's been the perfect mother, but becusae she's been herself - and loved me in whatever way I needed (not wanted) it over the years.

So happy Mother's Day Momma. Thank you for not being perfect. For fighting with me. For fighting for me. For pushing me. Thank you for letting go of me these past two years - I know it has been one of the hardest things you've ever had to do.

I am a daughter. I am a better person because of my mother. I am moving back to Texas as soon as possible to share life with the woman who knows and loves me best.


I am a nerd.

Recently, while spending some times at a friend's house - one of the songs for Lord of the Rings started playing over the TV. My poor husband then asks "Why are they playing the theme song from Star Wars?" He didn't realize this innocent, though misinformed, question would lead to a lecture from yours truly on the musical scores and nuances of each series.
I just can't help myself. I am a nerd. Not in the cool hipster/intellectual brainac way - no, no I'm a Star Trek watching, fantasy novel reading, conspiracy believing nerd. Below I have included a numbered list of the reasons I've (begrudgingly) come to this conclusion.
1. I prefer to present my thoughts in numbered lists.

2. I read the kind of books that have overly detailed pictures of warlocks, wizards and elves on the front.

3. I read said books over and over and over again. Reading a book one time is just not an option for me.

4. I have read the books and watched the movies of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter - to name the most popular. Don't worry - I've read the book and watched the movie of a lost less known/more embarrassing series.

5. I have seen almost every episode ever of Star Trek (thanks Mom!)

6. Almost every dream I have involves me flying, traveling to alternate universes or dealing with some kind of magical creature.

7. Conspiracies? Don't get me started. Actually, please do - I think more people should be aware/worried about the mass animal deaths that have been steadily increasing since 2006.

8. I am also extremely morbid. You know what a fascination with death and all things nerd equals? An unhealthy affection for all things zombie.

9. When I go to the bookstore - I make a beeline for the "Sci-Fi/Fantasy" section and usually meet/chat up a few new friends there.

10. I find extreme offense in anyone labeling me as a dweeb, dork, geek or anything other than a straight nerd. As outlined by the below chart - I am the best of all three worlds.

I am a nerd. I am the coolest nerd you'll ever meet. I am now daydreaming about the kind of solar system that would house worlds devoted to intelligence, social ineptitude and obsession.


I am married.

A year later...and I still can't believe it. Though I've already touched on my shock that I got married - in the wake of my year anniversary...I feel the need to revisit the world-shaking, eye-opening event that has been my first year of marriage. In the grand tradition of my best friend Emily Gray and list of facts in celebration of major events (mostly birthdays - this is one of her best)...here is a list of the things I've learned, discovered or realized during my first full year as Leah Armstrong.

1. You don't ever have to grow up. I realize most of my family members are rolling their eyes at this point - but this discovery has been one of the most liberating of my life. I am already an unwilling grown-up - but now realize I only have to be so in age. Being married doesn't change any of my child-like attitude, qualities or desires - in fact, all it has done is given me a partner in crime, ice cream and Saturday morning cartoons. I feel as if I've seen the man behind the curtain - and he's still wearing his pajamas, eating ice cream for breakfast.

2. Being married isn't magic. When it comes to marriage - there is no secret formula or magic ingredient. It's simply two people being as honest, vulnerable and loving as they can that day....and hoping the next day they can be a little more of all of the above. Also, being married doesn't magically erase any undesirable qualities in your spouse - but it doesn't magically increase them either.

3. Fighting is a good thing when there's resolution involved. Having the same fight over and over again can be frustrating - but having one good fight that gets everything out in the open and dealt with...it's one of the best feelings in the world. I am a firm believer that most arguments stem from a lack of understanding or communication between two people - and everything I've experienced in the past year has helped strengthen that conclusion. Though I'm not quite sure me getting more firm in my opinions is a good thing.

4. Acceptance is magical. I know I said that being married isn't magical - but the unconditional acceptance that comes from your spouse sure is. I have found myself more motivated to be productive, more encouraged to embark on new adventures and more excited to improve myself than ever before. I almost wholly blame this on my husband's unfailing support and encouragement of me - regardless of what I do (or don't do). Knowing I don't have to perform to earn his love or approval has freed me to be fully myself. And turns out - I like me!

5. You can get everything you want (just make sure you want the right things). I was never one of those girls that wanted their life to look like a fairytale. Refer to me as a princess or my husband as my prince and I'm quite sure you've earned a spot on my "you don't know me" list. But even though I'm no where close to a princess - I do like getting what I want. I always wanted a honest, open, accepting, loving relationship with someone who was as much of a mess of contradictions as I am.
Levi Armstrong is a southern gentleman who loves sports, hunting and working outside. He is also a nerdy braniac who spends most of the money he should be using to buy new socks on books about the brain and neuropsychology. He enjoys laying around watching movies on TV with me all day - but is down for a hike or day on the river whenever the sun is out. He can carry on a conversation with almost anyone - but is just fine with spending hours in quiet at home while he reads his brainy books and I read my not-so-brainy books. He is refined - yet country, irreverent- yet deep, intellectual - yet silly, sweet - yet thick skinned enough to let me nickname him fat face (he sleeps on his face at night and always wakes up with it adorably swollen).
I got it all with him. Everything I wanted, didn't think I would get - but got anyways.

I am married. I am happy. I can only write this kind of post once a year because I'm almost literally nauseous from how sappy it is.

Picture: ...my favorite one.


I am responsible.

I am a responsible adult (and I kind of hate it).

I didn't mean for this to happen. Everything started out so promising. Move to Colorado without a job three months before I get married someone who is still in grad school? Sounds like a great plan to me. Little did I know I would get a job no less than five days after moving and start making a steady paycheck within two weeks. I was OK with this development because I like money and sometimes money helps you become even more irresponsible.

Cut to four months later - DOG TIME. So what if my husband and I rent a house! So what if we JUST got married and the stress of a puppy may not be the best idea! SO WHAT if dogs are expensive and take up a lot of your time!!! Having a dog fit right in to my idea of being an irresponsible newlywed...only it didn't turn out that way. I didn't realize the man I married was a dog-training savant and now we have a 75 pound lab that can sit, lay down, shake (with both hands), stay, speak, kennel up and pretty much read our minds with great proficiency. You mean he barks when he hears someone coming up to the house? That's not irresponsible at all! You mean he is quite possibly the most affectionate dog I've ever been around? That's just cute - and not even close to irresponsible. UGH.

Cut to Christmas time. I *irresponsibly* decided to make all of my Christmas gifts this year (at least for the women in my life - I doubt the men would want a makeup bag). Why did I decide to do this? I'm cheap and buying Christmas presents isn't. Being cheap doesn't make you responsible - it just makes you stingy. I irresponsibly put them all off until December. I irresponsibly was not done with them when Levi and I left for Texas a week before Christmas. What I didn't factor in was Bettie Nesbit and her magic fingers of crafting. They (along with copious amounts of free time) lead to the completion of all of my gifts by Christmas morning. What do you mean it doesn't matter if I finished the last one on Christmas Eve? FINE.

Cut to Januay. Life is quiet...and I'm fat. I decide to enroll in a workout program. It's not responsible if the only reason why I'm doing this is to fit in my jeans that no long fit (remember, I'm cheap and clothes are not). Plus, being skinny opens up a whole new area of irresponsibility - inappropriate clothing. So what if you don't want to see 99% of the skin on my body? TOO BAD. It just so happens that my workout program has a contest where the person who has improved the most over the 10 week session wins $1,000. Free money? YES PLEASE. I start the nutrition plan they recommend for the workout program as well - after all, momma IS going to Disney World, she needs some spending money. So when I start to have more energy, feel better and am in a better mood each day - I'm surprised. This is not what I signed up for. All I wanted to do was get skinny and start wearing daisy dukes...I didn't mean to start this "healthy living" crap. But I start to like this new, happy Leah. I start to know exactly why I get stomach aches and how to avoid them. That right there is enough to sell me...if there's anythingng I love more than saving money, it's avoiding pain. I'M HEALTHY NOW, ARE YOU HAPPY?!?!?

I could end it there. I really could...but I didn't. No no, I decided to go to grad school. This actually could have been a completely irresponsible decision. I had a tough time finishing my undergrad - why would I even consider attempting graduate school? But wait! You mean my work lets me get my graduate degree practically for free? Oh grad school isn't anything like undergrad and I'll actually like the classes? OH because I'll like the classes I'll actually do well and get good grades!?! WELL SUPER. There goes my last attempt at messing up my life.

So here I am. A 24 year old newlywed with a full-time job and a well-trained dog. I work out 6 days a week and eat more vegetables than I previously thought humanly possible. I am in graduate school at Regis University to get my Master's of Science in Organizational Leadership and I made an A in my very first class. Though it may sound like I'm bragging - I'm assure you I am not. I am simply trying to tell you that despite my best efforts, I have somehow managed to not make a mess of my life.....yet.

I am responsible. I am so against my will. I got my nose pierced a month ago so don't worry - according to my mother I'm still making plenty of irresponsible decisions.

Picture: Irresponsible decision: Nosering edition.