Return from Hiatus

Good evening followers, friends, and family. If you follow us on Facebook, you saw that we took a brief hiatus in light of the recent Notre Dame tragedy. Our, and specifically my, heart was in Paris. And in Paris it has stayed for the past few days… where it has relived beautiful memories and mourned the history and heritage destroyed by the flames.

When I was sixteen, I had the good fortune and parental push to become a People to People student ambassador. This journey took me from the Netherlands, through Belgium, on to France, and finally England.

We began in Amsterdam, then Belgium. From Belgium we went to France. I fell in love with the harbor town of Honfleur, France. The sailboats passing by combined with the narrow cobbled streets of the town center to sweep me off my feet. I long for Honfleur, even now. I fondly recall the breeze in my hair as I sat along the water, laughing and flirting with my peers. Those people are still my friends (Josie and Sam, in particular). But even before I walked along those cobbled streets, I walked through the streets of Paris until my feet hurt and my legs were sore. Yet I wanted to keep walking. There was so much to see. I recall the way it felt to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, to walk under the Arc de Triomphe, and to see, with utter disappointment, the true size of the Mona Lisa within the Louvre.

Let me prepare you if you go: The real Mona Lisa is only 30 inches tall and just under 21 inches wide. And under glass, and roped off so you can’t get close. HUGE LET DOWN.

But one thing I remember vividly about Paris is the Notre Dame Cathedral. I remember the way you can see it from the streets below and how desperately I wanted to be there. I remember staring at the stained glass windows and the spire, so beautiful and intricate, in wonder. Then I walked inside. And while there is so much to see within Notre Dame, I was in awe of the energy of the space. You see, I’ve always found myself particularly reverent of places of worship that have seen many generations pass through their doors. Prayer seems to leave it’s mark on a place, and in this place, I prayed several prayers of my own.

Photo of Monday’s fire, NBC News.

This past Monday, that beautiful spire and that reverent space burned. Reporters said it was like a giant torch, the way the flames leapt from it’s ceiling before the eventual collapse. And when I heard the news, sitting in my bed after staying home sick all day… I wept. I sobbed for the loss of Notre Dame, listening as reporters described the scene. I sobbed as videos of the flames began showing up online and a part of my heart fell with that spire. And when the crowd began singing Ave Maria as she burned, with men and women falling to their knees praying and weeping, I joined them, sobbing and praying from over 4,000 miles away. Even now, I write these words to you in tears.

Nearly 1000 years of history, gone in an instant. Did you know that every beam of that roof was carved from a different tree, by hand? Did you know that the cornerstone of Notre Dame was laid in 1163? Medieval trees in that ceiling, the stories they could tell if we’d just listened. Gone. My mother was born in Paris, on an American Army Base, in 1962. My grandmother didn’t get to to go the top of the Eiffel Tower, because she was pregnant. But she did go to Notre Dame. And I have stood beneath those same beams as several hundred generations before me. But my mother will not. Her grandchildren will not. And for that loss, dear readers, words cannot truly convey my grief. Even though millions have been promised for the reconstruction effort it will take years, and it will never, ever, be the same. I don’t know if my mother and I will even get to visit the bandaged Notre Dame when we go, and we will go, because reconstruction will take so long.

My heart is broken. My tears are still flowing.

Praying for Paris, once again.

On my lips: Burt’s Bees Original Beeswax Lip Balm

In my cup: Water

An Exercise in Building Sand Castles

Happy Friday Eve to all our coffee chuggers and tea sippers. Someday we will make an official poll and settle this tea vs. coffee debate permanently. Until that day we will continue to live by the “Why not both?” philosophy brought to us by that adorable girl in that commercial for that product I can’t remember right now.

This week I was discussing sand castles with a very dear friend, Mitch, after I felt like my life plan (my sand castle) was ruined in one message. I pointed out that we don’t build build sand castles thinking they will become houses we can live in. We know they are going to wash away, even if we didn’t believe our parents when they told us the first time. We build them just because. We take the moment to create art and have fun without worrying about the consequences.

Mitch poignantly said, “I have learned that sometimes you have to let go of what you once wanted to be able to get something better. Appreciate your sand castle for the joy it brings you today but don’t be afraid to let your castle of sand wash away when it’s time to build a house to live in.”

This meant more than he realized at the time, because ever since this verse has laid heavy on my heart. Matthew 7:24-7:27 ‘“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”’

I finally broke down two days ago and had myself a deep cry. My therapist called it guttural. Many people close to me have asked me what it was about, and honestly, it took me a while to figure it out. I felt completely out of control with my life. I felt like I was stuck in the same rut I’ve been in for a while.

Life is all about seasons. I am in a season of letting go. I feel like life is trying to teach me a hard lesson on not holding things too tightly. I am learning that letting go looks like losing things, making choices, ending relationships, and facing everything that makes you anxious in life all at once. I am a bit of a control freak and this month I have lost my job and a long term friendship (not Kristen, she’s forever).

I’ve been holding so tightly to so many things in my life, the good, the bad, and there has been bad aplenty. I take things people do very personally. Actually, I take most things personally. When life wants you to learn something, it gives you a ton of opportunities before it just hits you in the face over and over again till you get what’s going on.

I thought I was going to be stuck in this season indefinitely, not realizing that instead I am building my home brick by brick. Even as my seasons change, I am working on a foundation that can support me through them. I am starting to see these bricks in life. I went to an interview this week, and I got the job the very next day. Since then, things seem to be getting slowly better over time.

My mom gave me a piece of advice I have heard a million times over, “Things will work themselves out in time.” I want to modify that, because there is a core reason I don’t believe that. Things will work themselves out in time if you work too. Sometimes what you get is completely unexpected, better, or even just different. I am not in the same rut I was in a year ago. I haven’t been stuck in one rut for a while. I’ve been moving ever forward, and I hope you are too.

On my lips: treStique mini lip glaze

In my mug (pictured above): Sleepytime Extra

The Perfect Millennial Weekend

Hello coffee drinkers and tea toleraters. Just kidding. Even I’m drinking tea tonight! *cue shocked gasps and utterances of “blasphemy!”* I don’t know how many of our readers are millennials, but I’m hoping that it is quite a bit. And, that you’re into the same things I am, because if you are: THIS IS THE PERFECT MILLENNIAL WEEKEND!!!

Let me explain:

A long time ago, in a galaxy called the Milky Way, there was this little planet called Earth. On that planet, these strange animals called humans (homo sapiens sapiens) liked to pretend to catch creatures called Pokemon in these tiny portable video consoles called Gameboys. Specifically, young humans enjoyed this. However, as newer consoles and handheld gaming devices replaced Gameboys, these young humans were no longer able to truly enjoy the thrill of “catching them all.” So, naturally, when these humans grew up, they created a game on their smartphones that allowed them to walk around the planet pretending to catch these creatures. Thus, Pokemon Go was born.

The best part of Pokemon Go is Community Day, a day each month where a specific Pokemon spawns at a high rate for a period of three hours. This weekend featured Bagon, a dragon type Pokemon. If you evolve the Community Day Pokemon within those three hours (or the evolution extension afterward), you get a special move that is exclusive to Community Day. Naturally, you want that move. I’m happy to report that we caught and evolved several.

More importantly, I FINALLY CAUGHT MORE SHINY POKEMON THAN MY BOYFRIEND!! No, the shiny Pokemon aren’t more powerful, but they are differently colored and rare. Guys, my boyfriend has consistently caught more shiny Pokemon than I have since we started dating last year. Not even just on Community Day, either! Literally, I swear, he walks and shiny Pokemon show up. UGHHHHHH!!!!!

The most relatable Disney Villain of them all.

But that’s fine, because today the score was settled.

That’s enough about Pokemon. The real highlight of this weekend is the return of Game of Thrones. If you don’t watch Game of Thrones, trust me. I get it. There’s no such thing as plot armor and everyone you love dies as soon as you get invested. However, if you’ve held on this long, you’re dying to see what happens this season, as it is the final season… and we are officially ahead of the events in the books (yo, George R.R. Martin, we’d appreciate that last book anytime now). We are flying blind, without a literary script that allows us to predict anything that’s going to happen. I can’t tell you much more without spoilers, if you’re not caught up, but OMG do we have some things to sort OUT this season.

Like I said, perfect millennial weekend.

That’s all for tonight. I hope you’re thoroughly enjoying your weekend, millennial or not. As always, thank you for your support. We love seeing new viewers showing up from different countries. A special shout out to our newest viewer in Romania: Welcome! Here’s hoping Romania is much less vampire-infested than legend would make it seem. (If not, let us know if garlic really works.) We are so excited you are here!

On my lips: nothing, I’m just climbing into bed

In my cup: Teavana Craft Iced Tea, Pinapple Berry Blue Herbal Tea (it’s part hibiscus tea, my favorite!)

The Police and the Five-Pound Terror

Good evening lipstick wearers and tea sharers! I have quite the tale for you today. You see, last night my back yard was broken into and I had to call the police. My German shepherd first alerted me yesterday while my husband was talking to me on his way home. I told him I had to go investigate.

When I got outside, I saw…a Yorkshire terrier running back and forth across the fence line trying to get out before sticking it’s head through my chain link fence. I’m sure you are wondering how the police got involved. Well, you see, when I tried to remove this poor pup from the fence, it bit me and managed to pierce the skin. I walked barefoot around the neighborhood banging on doors and trying to find its owner, but I had no luck. So I called animal control after hours and was transferred to the police.

In case YOU’VE never had to call the police to tell them you were bitten by a Yorkshire terrier my husband dubiously named the five-pound terror, let me tell you about it. They laughed. Everyone I told this story to, except animal control, laughed. Eventually the puppy was caught and taken away, but she had no collar so I still had to go to urgent care, who laughed. I’m trying not to die from tetanus or rabies and deeply traumatized [sarc].

Because I mentioned her, meet my German shepherd, Nalah.

Th-th-th-th-th-that’s All Folks! You guys, know I’m cheesy by now, right?! I hope I’ve entertained you enough for today. Please leave a like for my pain and suffering, a comment with your own nicknames for the adorable Yorkie, and follow for more stories like this one.

On my lips: JaeLea Cosmetics “Batch 19”

In my cup: Dr. Pepper because it can’t always be tea, though I’ll be brewing my nightly cup soon.

Flu:1, Kristen: 0

Good evening my caffeinated darlings. I’m back today, after being down and out with the flu yesterday. Praise God, I survived.

Speaking of God, my religion is an important part of my life. Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time inside the Word. Earlier this week, I was having a conversation with a close friend who was struggling, and on my inspiration area near my desk in my classroom I have a ton of empowering quotes. More important than all of the 20 or so other quotes, I have Matthew 6:33 (NIV) posted: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” In sharing that verse and praying with my friend, it occurred to me that I have a few mostly non-negotiable requirements in a future spouse, including that he shares my faith. It’s not something I take lightly. After abusive relationships, a divorce, and some other difficult times in my life I looked up and found myself very far from God in my late teens and early 20’s. However, God was never very far from me. When I finally learned to recognize His voice in my life, it was impossible to ignore. I want a husband, someday, who can share that joy with me and who can pray with me and for me… a man who knows God and can pray for our future as a couple. Lord knows, I’ll have days where I’m simply not strong enough to find the words.

Mathew 18:20 (NIV) “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Well, my darlings, that’s all for tonight. I wish you all the best as this flu season is wrapping up with a vengeance. Stay safe out there, ya’ll.

On my lips: Burt’s Bees Original Beeswax Lip Balm

In my cup: Fruit Punch Gatorade, because my boyfriend has an INCREDIBLE older sister who runs errands and brings us thing when we are sick.

Looking into the Past: Anniversary Edition

Well, well, well. How are my fellow mug huggers and caffeine chuggers? I hear my gorgeous Kristen has spilled the beans for me. Yes, today it has been one year since I married my high school sweetheart, Jaymes. Let me tell you, while we’ve known each other for 10 years, 1 month, and 5 days, we haven’t been together for all that time. (Before you look at me sideways, I am the weirdo that remembers the exact date we met.) There’s a limit to what I will share with you, but what I will say is this is our third, and hopefully, final go around at this whole being together thing.

Y’all this man really really loves me. – Photo Credit Redwoods Photography

While I’m not advocating everyone go get back with their ex, Jaymes is the love of my life and no matter what I did everything always brought me back to him. I know, I know. That sounds like some cheesy line in a pop song or a romance novel, but it’s true. No part of that was easy though. The thing I’ve learned from my first year of marriage is simple: Talk It Out. That thing you don’t want to be vulnerable about, or are too scared to say, talk about it. That fight you are having or feelings you are stewing with, talk about it.

Kristen took this photo of me during a lake trip the second time we dated.

As is tradition, we took our wedding cake out of the freezer and tried it. Honestly, it was surprisingly delicious. It was so beautiful we didn’t want to eat it. Once we started we became barbarians eating with our hands, but that pretty much sums up our marriage.

On my lips: Twisted Kisses, Kiss Me Twice because it’s my favorite

In my husband’s Batman mug: Celestial Seasonings “Sleepytime Extra” with honey

Anniversary and Flu

Hey Coffee Sippers. Today is going to be a relatively short post. My household has the flu, so we are sleeping more. And I’m being “bullied” into drinking more fluids by all of the people who care about me (Oh, you say they’re doing the right thing? Yeah? Well, tell them to knock it off. I just want to sleep, watch Facebook videos about animal rescues, and be a pampered little honey bun…). Y’all, I’m not a good sick person. This is a well-known fact. Rachel and I were texting earlier when the other human in my house was diagnosed. She asked if I got the flu shot (I did, so hopefully I’ll have it easier than he does).

This was her first response when I said yes: “Okay, just making sure. Cause you’ll go down hard with the flu.”

Rachel won’t see this post until tomorrow morning. Why? Because my gorgeous best friend and endlessly awesome partner is out tonight celebrating her first wedding anniversary! Guys, as of tomorrow, this beauty has been married to her high school sweetheart for a whole freaking year!! I tell you this because I need all of you to join me in telling these two happy anniversary! (If we are really lucky, Rach will even share a wedding photo with us… no pressure.)

*cue girlishly high pitched screeches of happiness* I cannot stand it. They are too cute, and I am too excited for them. True love isn’t easy, but here at Lipstick Stains and Coffee, we don’t care about easy. We care about what’s worth it. And let me tell you, these two definitely are, and I am so grateful to have gotten to see them figure that out.

Today, I decided to share a poem with you. As you all know, I’m a teacher. Even the inspiration from this blog came to me in my most natural habitat: my classroom. This poem came from that same space, because yet again a student came to me about issues at home. I will not go into detail with you on these things, ever. Those stories are not mine to tell and our first priority here is respect. However, I can tell you that sometimes it is so hard to stay neutral and encouraging. And after two IEP meetings, multiple student conversations, and everything else this week… I had to vent. That’s where this poem originated.

A Teacher’s Heart

I will never understand you.
Nor how you can so commonly and consistently
Invalidate, intimidate, and destroy.
Crushing young men and women
Before they even get old enough to be such.
You are their parent, for the love of God!
You are supposed to protect and love them.
So why is that so hard for you?

Yet no matter how disgusting I find you,
I won’t blame it all on you alone.
Not when society helps you every single day
By validating hate and vitriol.
Take care not to ignore those of us here in the trenches,
For we are still fighting.
Fighting to save the same child you just reprimanded
for writing, for singing, for eating.
Hell, if you could reprimand for breathing…
I think you just might.

Just remember that we know.
We see the pain you inflict.
And we see the young men and women:
The ones you’re destroying your relationship with
While we fight so damn hard to build one.
I guess that’s the difference between you and us:
We value the humanity inside them enough to want that.

Just remember that we know.
We see the pain you inflict.
And we see the young men and women:
The ones you’re destroying your relationship with
While we fight so damn hard to build one.
I guess that’s the difference between you and us:
We value the humanity inside them enough to want that.

For once stop focusing on yourself
Or how this child might impact your image.
They do not, and have never, existed to validate you
But you have only ever existed to validate them.

That’s why you get to be the parent.
And I’m stuck here with a teacher’s heart.

This poem came from a place of frustrated understanding. So many of my students are going through things at home or within themselves. Being a teenager is hard. Yet sometimes, I can’t help thinking that teens are also hard to be around. Between hormones and peer-to-peer drama, we teachers can never get a firm handle on what is walking into our classroom. Today alone, two different class periods were entirely rewired, reconstructed, and will have to be redone because of high emotions and higher tempers… BETWEEN my meetings. That’s okay though. We roll with it, and I make sure to never hold anything against my students. We all go through difficult emotions, and teenagers are trying to get to know themselves; often, for the very first time.

To all of my fellow teachers out there, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to the teachers who encouraged and supported us while we were growing up. Thank you to each and every one of you for your sacrifice and bravery walking into those classrooms to be a point of stability and love in the lives of these young men and women. When I was working on my first Master’s degree, we learned the phrase “In loco parentis.” It is a Latin phrase that translates to “in the place of a parent.” Sometimes, you, as a teacher, are the only real source of stability and support a child may have. Parents can’t always be there, and some parents aren’t able to connect with their children the ways I’m sure they want to. Thank you, teachers, for being there. For giving these young men and women a safe place.

You are so appreciated. You touch lives in ways that carry impact for years to come.


On my lips: sass, because I’m sick and makeup isn’t happening.

In my cup: water, because I’m being forced to drink more non-coffee fluids.