Yet another Monday of 2020 has decided to poke its head out at us again.
Can you believe that we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in just about two weeks and that Christmas will be shortly behind that?
Anyone else having trouble focusing on Christmas gift shopping or anything that is Christmas related? Because I’m struggling SO much.
What a week it has been. It was one full of many emotions and I felt like I was riding a roller coaster going up, down, around, and all the directions you could possibly imagine. I had trouble sleeping, I was anxious all hours of the day, I had trouble focusing on my work, and I was glued to both the TV and phone checking constant updates about the election and the ballot counting in all the battleground states.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that was on this roller coaster ride.
And today, as Monday pokes it head out at us, we are greeted with breaking news that has changed history.
But politics is not the point of this week’s post and is not something that I normally like to engage about during conversation.
This week’s post isn’t about whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or whether your candidate won or lost.
If you are celebrating, I see you and I love you.
If you are grieving, I see you and I love you.
If you are angry, I see you and I love you.
I will be the first to admit that the world is broken. It is a scary place. It is polarized so much that it seems virtually impossible for anyone to meet in the middle about any topic no matter how complicated or simple it might be.
So, regardless of how you are feeling because of the results from this election, please don’t forget that love and kindness are always in season.
And please don’t forget that they are the fundamental elements that will help us to get through the tough times as we start to heal our broken world…
…And we will do that TOGETHER regardless of our skin color, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, social class status, or whatever other entity in between.
Whether you disagree or agree with someone, please do not forget love and kindness.
There are just two more months left until I embark on one of my biggest fundraising projects to date in my 33 years of life on this Earth. And while I have a renewed energy from the happenings of this past week, I know that some of my friends who might not be feeling that same way.
But I will continue to spread love and kindness to ALL each day that I live.
And I will continue to see you and love you no matter what.
My purpose on this Earth is to embody the entities of love and kindness regardless of who is in The White House.
So, please don’t forget love and kindness are always in season.
Well, hey there folks! A happiest of Mondays to you!
Is anyone else floored by the fact that it is officially November?!
That means that Christmas is like…
That means I need to start my shopping now.
LAnyway, on to the actual nitty gritty for this week’s post.
I’m not going to lie, but the last couple of weeks have been really hard for me. I’ve struggled to focus on projects that need my attention (mostly the Christmas Eve service at church), but couple this feeling with the entities of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty and you have the classic feels that I would bet some of you have felt at some point or another during 2020.
In times like these, it is really hard for me to find hope.
Mr. Sunshine even has moments of not always being able to see the hope.
But in the past week, there have been three distinct moments and entities that I used to find that hope that was so desperately missing.
HOPEful Moment #1: -Watching the movie Clouds on Disney+. It was a movie I had not heard about previously and when it came on the list of movies I would probably enjoy, I figured there was nothing to lose. I don’t want to give away any of the important plot details; however, I will tell you two things…the plot really resonates with fundraising efforts that I’ve participated in during the past AND I cried…more than once. And we all know that there is nothing like having a good cry during a movie. It makes us human and sometimes there is nothing better than shedding a few tears at the tube.
HOPEful Moment #2: -Alicia Key’s new song, called “Good Job.” I heard this song for the first time during my weekly dance fitness class I participate in called Oula (thank you, Jen) and I immediately fell in love with it. Oh, and by the way, you owe yourself a favor to check out Oula. The class is SO fun and I highly reccomend it. By definition, Oula “combines the depth and soulfulness of a mind-body practice with the carefree playfulness of a living room dance party. By integrating the mind, body and heart, our focus is on full being health and wellness in a fun and community-centered atmosphere.” And the music choices are empowering, freeing, and fun. This song brings out so many real emotions within my soul, especially with all that the world is going through. This song helps me center back to the fact that there is good happening in the world if we would just allow ourselves to see it. Take some time to listen and share with someone who you know needs the lyrics to feel inspired.
HOPEful Moment #3: -The last moment I experienced this week came from a place where I usually don’t find hope, but it proved me wrong. All the articles and details about the results with people getting out and voting early made me smile. And I can only pray that same feeling of hope carries through Tuesday when our Country makes a very big decision in regards to the leadership that we will have at The White House for the next 4 years.
As I sit here writing this for you, I would be lying if I said that I don’t still have some feelings of fear and uncertainty. Every. Single. Day.
But just as these three moments in my life from the past week provided me hope to sustain and get me through the week, I hope and pray that they will also bring you that same energy of hope I got to experience.
And I hope that those feelings of hope will continue on each day you live and that the next time you encounter someone in life struggling, that you will be that source of hope that is much needed by all individuals right now in this world.
And on this Monday, we are officially CELEBRATING 100 blog posts!
How exciting that I’ve officially hit 100 posts since this endeavor began back on August 28, 2018!
I can’t thank each and every one of you enough for your continued support, love, kindness, and for also coming back week after week to relish in the sunshine that I work so hard to try and keep alive in this world. It means the world to me.
So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this journey and for continuing to walk with me as I continue navigating a path of sunshine, love, and kindness.
We continue to go through each day of our lives in what seems to be a never-ending dark world filled with opinions and polarization between people over an upcoming election, COVID-19, religion, politics, and just about every other topic in between that you can think of.
It still can be disheartening somedays.
And that is why for this week’s 100th blog post, I’m going for FUN and SMILES!
And the best way to do that is with fun facts about the one and only!
I know that several previous blog posts have involved these things I like to call rapid fire fun facts, but I promise by the end, you will hopefully be smiling from ear to ear and escaping from the dark world of uncertainty around you for just a few minutes.
So, grab your cheesecake, favorite beverage, and keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times because here we go…it could be a bumpy ride!
And before I forget, make sure you go over to both my Facebook page and Instagram (@mrsunshine827) to participate in the GIVEAWAY that is happening to celebrate 100 posts! There are four $25 Visa gift cards up for grabs! To find out how to enter, you must check out my Instagram/Facebook!
Okay, it’s time to start. And…inhale…exhale…
…Buckle up because HERE WE GO!
100. When I used to play Monopoly growing up, I always, ALWAYS wanted to buy the purple properties (Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue) because they only cost $60 each, which made it easy to build up the houses and hotels on them quickly to make those playing against me go bankrupt. Really Mr. Sunshine-esque isn’t it? Ha. Game of monopoly anyone?? You know how to reach me.
99. As I sit here writing this currently, I’m watching Shark Tank on Hulu, which I am mildly obsessed with. Seriously. LOVE that show.
98. Speaking of Shark Tank, I have a few clients who have pitched their ideas and have even gotten deals with the sharks!
97. My favorite color Sour Patch Kid to eat is blue.
96. My favorite type of fruit snacks to eat are the Welch’s mixed fruit ones that come in the blue box.
95. Earlier this year, right before Covid shut everything down, I threw out ALL of my CD’s that I had collected from over the years, which ended up being over 200 of them!
94. My favorite Real Housewives to watch on Bravo are the Orange County ones.
93. One of my first experiences on the stage was playing a character named Prof in an elementary school production that was called The Granny Awards.
92. Growing up when I was taking the bus to school, all I wanted to do was become a school bus driver because I was so obsessed with how the driver would push the buttons on the control panel to make the lights flash yellow and red.
91. My favorite game that is played on the Price is Right is Plinko.
90. I just submitted what I believe is my 5th audition video and application to Wheel of Fortune to be a contestant. Let’s hope it works out this time!
89. My very first car that I drove was a red, Chevrolet Prism.
88. When I help decorate the Christmas tree at my parents’ house, I become a little bit of Martha Stewart and get super particular with how the garland is placed on the tree. It has to be perfect.
87. I call it garland and not tinsel. Come at me. Just like I call it soda and not pop.
86. A favorite childhood memory that I have growing up is having sleepovers at my grandma’s house at her cottage in United Zion and watching the Food Network.
85. Speaking of the food network, one of my favorite shows to watch was something called Ready, Set, Cook! I don’t think it exists anymore and that makes me sad.
84. I used to be OBSESSED with buying colored flip flops from Old Navy that matched my polo shirts. Needless to say, I grew out of that phase.
83. The current candle scent that is burning in my living room right now is called Cobblestone Paths. It is a Pennsylvania Soy candle from Divine Consign in Manheim. You should go there to explore all the scents. Just saying.
82. I’m terrible at wrapping gifts, so if you are lucky enough to ever get a gift from me actually wrapped and not in tissue paper or a bag, well then you should play the lottery because you are one of the lucky ones!
81. One of my favorite classic game reboots that ABC has brought back recently is Press Your Luck with Elizabeth Banks. It has the same energy and excitement that I remember from the original 80’s version.
80. My favorite blanket to sleep with at night is one that my good friend, Liz (my Penn State twinny) gave to me as a morale gift right before leaving on one of my running treks for The Hope Express.
79. Speaking of Express, I love buying underwear from Express is all colors.
78. My favorite actor portrayal of Santa Claus is Ed Asner in Elf.
77. I no longer get 6 cream and 6 sugar in my coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. And if you must know, my order now comes out as “vanilla coffee with cream.” Believe it.
76. The current body lotion that I’m using is called Bourbon by Bath & Body Works.
75. As an adult, my sweets preferences have changed and I now like dark chocolate more than milk chocolate.
74. At Easter time, my favorite candy to get is Cadbury Creme Eggs. I love nothing more than eating the center of gooey sweetness! I also love that their commercials still haven’t changed in forever.
73. I don’t separate colors when I do wash. I throw everything in together.
72. My favorite Tootsie Pop flavor is grape.
71. Speaking of Tootsie Pops, it confuses me greatly that the grape packaging looks more like blue than purple. Does anyone else ever think this thought???
70. I don’t own a rake, which means Fall is a great season for landscaping at Sunshine Cottage.
69. My favorite day at the gym is leg day. Literally, LOVE legs.
68. While I love The Golden Girls, my favorite TV show theme song is the one from The Brady Bunch.
67. My favorite title in the Harry Potter series is Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.
66. My favorite version of “O Holy Night” is the one that is sung by Celine Dion.
65. Speaking of Christmas songs, my least favorite is “Last Christmas.”
64. No matter how many times I’ve seen the series finale of The Golden Girls, I still cry.
63. The below video is one that I’ve been watching over and over again for the past two weeks and I can’t get enough of it.
62. One vivid memory I have from college was going to West Commons and getting half-baked chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven with soft serve vanilla ice cream. There was always a sweet lady that would greet us with a smile and we always called her “The Cookie Lady.”
61. One of the reasons I’m so terrified of clowns is because during elementary school, I was walking through the halls and one jumped out at me from a doorway and it scared me so badly. I think I even peed myself a little. TMI? Oh well…mmmbyeee.
60. My favorite restaurant chain to get pizza from is Domino’s, but I like the breadsticks from Pizza Hut better.
59. I’ve started putting protein powder in my morning yogurt and it is the worst. The WORST.
58. I like Kraft Cheese Nips much better than Cheez Its, but I can’t find Cheese Nips in stores anymore. And it makes me really sad. If you find some, please send them my way.
57. Some of the skinny jeans I own are so tight that I have to do a little wiggle and dance to get them on in the morning.
56. The scene of Monsters, Inc where Boo gets scared by Sully breaks my heart and makes me cry every time I watch it.
55. Speaking of crying, I’m extremely sensitive and everything makes me cry. And if I see someone crying, I start to cry. It’s just like yawning.
54. Elmo is my favorite character on Sesame Street.
53. One of my favorite moments from high school was during my senior year after the annual Christmas concert. My parents surprised me by bringing my Grandma to see me perform and it brought the biggest smile to my face. The picture we got was the last one we got together before she passed away and it is one that I keep on my dresser.
52. I don’t use fabric softener when I do laundry, but I do use Downy Unstopables.
51. I was a Boy Scout growing up and I only made it to Life Scout, which was one step below the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
50. I’ve never been stung by a jellyfish.
49. I just had to look up jellyfish to see if it was one word or two words.
48. I just watched the movie Hocus Pocus for the first time this past Friday.
47. I’ve seen Carrie Underwood in concert 4 times and Katy Perry in concert two times.
46. I usually do lots of Christmas shopping on Black Friday, but end up buying more for myself than others. Oops. Maybe this year will be different.
45. As a child, I had Lion King flannel sheets that I absolutely loved.
44. Spearmint gum is my favorite no matter what brand.
43. The song “Defying Gravity” is one that left me speechless both times that I saw Wicked on Broadway.
42. During freshman year of high school, there was a huge food fight and I couldn’t get under the table quick enough so I ended up with tuna salad and chocolate milk on my shirt.
41. I used to love watching the soap opera Passionson NBC. Their storylines were crazy and out there, but it was so addicting.
40. “Firework” by Katy Perry is still my favorite song to jam out to, especially if I need to get myself out of a funk.
39. This scene from Zootopia kills me me with laughter and cracks me up. If you ever need a laugh, just watch this. It is hilarious.
38. When I can’t sleep at night, sometimes I search YouTube for game show or TV news bloopers. They are the best. Try it. You won’t regret it. Here’s one of my favorites that had me laughing hysterically last night on my bed (the best one starts at 4:09 and runs for about 2 minutes):
37. I was a huge fan of Glee when it was on TV and to this very day, one of my favorite covers of a song they did is “Don’t Stop Believing.”
36. Going off of that, one of my favorite original songs from Glee is “Loser Like Me.” Look it up and jam out to it. It is so fun.
35. If I had the opportunity to do a musical again that I already participated in, it would be a five-way tie between Spamalot, Hairspray, Ragtime, Legally Blonde, and Peter and the Starcatcher.
34. If there is one musical that I have not had the opportunity to do that I would love to be a part of, it would be Mamma Mia!
33. I just celebrated my 4th year living at Sunshine Cottage in Lancaster.
32. The wallflower scent that is currently in my bedroom is called Ocean Waves and it smells DIVINE.
31. I have an almost perfect credit score and I would like to keep it that way.
30. I love macaroni and cheese, but only with cheese sauce. I can’t do powder. Yuck!
29. Prior to all this COVID-19 crisis, I had tickets to see Frozen on Broadway with my bestie and my heart breaks that I will never be able to see that since it closed and will not reopen when Broadway comes back to life after this dark time.
28. One of my favorite jams to pump me up for a run or workout at the gym is Katy Perry’s “Roar.”
27. I am a fan of a good power ballad to belt out and this is one of my favorites to watch and sing to. Celine Dion is also my favorite, power vocal diva (and also the classiest).
26. Speaking of this song, anytime I watch the movie Titanic, I have nightmares that I was on the boat with my family.
25. At Hollywood Casino, my favorite slot machine to play is one that is a penny machine and involves mermaids. It is so fun and I can spend hours sitting there without moving. Well, not hours, actually. The smoke gets to me after about an hour.
24. I just watched this below clip for about the 500,000th time and it cracks me up just as much as it did the first time. Ellen’s laugh is my favorite. You’re welcome.
23. Speaking of Five Second Rule, I bought this game and wanted it to be more like the version Ellen plays on her show, so I bought a buzzer box on Amazon to press similar to the one in the video clip above.
22. I don’t know how to change a flat tire, so if I ever get one, I’ll be calling Triple AAA.
21. My top 3 male celebrity crushes are Zac Efron, Ryan Reynolds, and Matt Bomer.
20. My favorite milkshake flavor at Sonic is hot fudge.
19. One of my favorite college professors at Penn State was Dr. Barbara Wade who taught CAS 100A, which was a Public Speaking class. At the end of the semester, she gave a few students books and the one she gave me was a Tony Bennett book, which I still have on my coffee table in the living room. She was an AWESOME professor.
18. The top thing on my “Things To Do” list that is kept on my Iphone is ‘tattoo ideas.’ This list was made at the beginning of the year and hasn’t changed since that original creation. A tattoo was something I wanted to do in 2020, but Covid kind of messed that up. I still intend to get one, but not sure when that will happen or what exactly it will be.
17. I have never seen the movie Miracle on 34th Street.
16. I haven’t played the organ for a church service since the beginning of Covid in March. I can’t wait to play it again once we have some in person worship services.
15. I really struggle wearing sweatpants. In fact, I had them on to start my work day on Saturday and didn’t even make it an hour before changing into skinny jeans. Like, I can’t do it.
14. I still do not like using a dishwasher. Handwashing is always first choice for me, especially with a farmhouse sink.
13. I love getting appetizers from restaurant menus as my actual meal/entrée.
12. I’m sitting on the couch writing this and drinking chocolate milk with some 100 proof peppermint schnapps in it that I’ve had for about 5+ years…maybe longer. True story.
11. I prefer Charmin toilet paper over Kleenex Cottonelle. Don’t ask me why. I just do. I’m a brand snob I guess you could say.
10. In the 4 years that I’ve lived at Sunshine Cottage, I have yet to decorate for Christmas with a tree–real or fake.
9. I’ve used Stitch Fix clothing boxes for the past 3 years and in those 3 years, I’ve had the same stylist named Brooke and have never returned any items I’ve received and there have been hundreds. Well played, Brooke.
8. The two women celebrities that I look up to as role models for my Mr. Sunshine personality are Ellen DeGeneres and Betty White.
7. I don’t like cheese on sandwiches unless it is melted.
6. Don’t ask me to ride a ferris wheel or airplane unless you have a Xanax to give me.
5. I’ve never understood why dentists will ask you questions that require answering when they have instruments in your mouth (that is wide open mind you) and prevents you from being able to answer.
4. As we come closer to Halloween (which is a holiday that I’m not a fan of), I have to say my favorite costumes from the past is a tie between Tim Gunn from Project Runway and Bob The Builder.
3. One of my favorite Super Bowl halftime shows was the one done by Katy Perry. 13 minutes of all her catchy tunes complete with pyrotechnics, dancing, bright colors, costume changes, and dancing sharks. And of course, my favorite moment was at the very end when she sang “Firework.”
2. I loved the episode of Saturday Night Live when Betty White hosted (because she was brilliant and didn’t miss a beat), but my favorite two skits from that episode were these:
It’s here…rapid fire fun fact #1! Are you ready?!
Can I get a drum roll?!
1. 2021 is going to be my BIGGEST year yet with the release and start of my newest mission and project that will be aimed at trying to spread some of the much-needed sunshine, positive energy, love, and kindness that this world so desperately needs right now. I hope you are as EXCITED as I am!
Well, there you have it.
100 rapid fire fun facts about yours truly, Mr. Sunshine. I hope that some of these got you smiling from ear to ear and brought you some joy to help you get through your day.
And please don’t forget to head over to my Facebook page and Instagram (@mrsunshine827) to follow the steps to enter the giveaway because we are CELEBRATING 100!
So, cheers to 100 posts and to hopefully 100 more!
Thankful for all of YOU who have given me constant support and for coming back week after week to join me on this journey.
Welcome to blog post #99 here at mrsunshinesmiles.com! How crazy is that?! This endeavor started back in 2018 and it is crazy to think that we’ve hit almost 100 posts!
Before we move on to the content of this week’s post, I must take a few moments to say a few words.
Yesterday was National Coming Out Day. A day that is so important to not only me, but so many others.
15 years ago, I lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and came out of the closet. I have no regrets. I don’t look back. Rather, I look forward to a day where I won’t be stared at or judged for liking the same sex. I look forward to many more days of trying to make the most of spreading kindness and showing love to everyone with the Mr. Sunshine nickname I wear proudly.
So, get off your high horse and look at me. Look into my eyes and see that I’m no different than you. Look at me as I wear my colors proudly. And, if you still feel the need to ostracize, seclude, judge, or bully me, I can only hope that you will one day see that me, along with my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community, are human beings filled with love in our hearts. And I’ll be damned if anyone is going to stop me from being myself.
For those struggling with their identity, please know there is a community of support and love for your true, authentic self. Take time to find it. Be kind to yourself. And reach out if you are struggling because there is a family of support to raise you up, lend you a shoulder, and give you a warm embrace. There are challenges and struggles, but I promise you there is love at the end of each one. I’ve been through the bullying. I’ve been through the struggle. I’ve been through the suicidal thoughts. But don’t give up. Hang on. Find your support system. There is love around you.
Be proud. Be love. Be YOU.
And, if you are reading this right now and need someone to listen or talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out. EVER.
Alright, time to get down to business! This week, I’m taking you on a “virtual” tour of one of my FAVORITE hidden gems in the town of Manheim.
May I have a drum roll, please?!
And that hidden gem is none other than…DIVINE CONSIGN!
This cute, quaint consignment shop is located right by the main square in Manheim and if you have stepped foot inside, you must make plans to do it ASAP!
My brother, Will and his wife, Mindy own the shop and together with their staff, they create a comfortable and enjoyable shopping experience for anyone who drops in.
They have so much to choose from and you will see below through some videos and pictures that I’m not joking!
Further down, I will show you some of the items that I’ve procured from the store over the years.
And…total side note, I definitely dropped about $165.00 just yesterday with a little impromptu trip I had to the store in preparation for this blog.
…Clothes for all people!
…Housewares for your home
…Books to keep you occupied
…Candles (the BEST soy candles) to keep your casa and habitat smelling fresh!
…Cards galore for each and every occasion!
…And so much more!
Here are just a few of the items that I’ve procured over the years! (Not pictured are the multiple items of men’s clothing that my closet is full of also from the racks of this hidden gem.)
Divine Consign literally has anything and everything and everything in between! Their prices are so reasonable and the quality of what you get is perfection.
This pandemic has caused havoc and chaos for a lot of us in this world and sometimes we just need a little break to do some retail therapy.
So, the next time you need to do some retail therapy, take your feet and skip over to Divine Consign.
Will, Mindy, Mackenzie, and the entire staff is ready to greet you with a warm welcome for a safe shopping experience.
Hidden gems are few and far between and the town of Manheim has one that is absolutely beautiful.
Well, here we are celebrating the end to another weekend and the start of yet another week.
And, in case you didn’t know, the tenth month of the year has officially started and Mother Nature has been making herself known to us through the crisp, cool morning breezes and exuberant colors of leaves that have started to change on the branches of trees which surround us every which way we look.
Sometimes, when Mother Nature decides to blow some fierce winds to make the tree branches sway back and forth, I almost feel like I can hear the gentle breeze talking to me.
Anyone else ever experience this?
And as the leaves begin to fall on the very ground that we walk (which by the way, I am NOT a fan of raking leaves), and display their multiple colors, shapes, and sizes swirling around in the fierce winds of Fall (and to give you a visual…I think of the colorful leaves moving through the blustery air during the sequence of “Colors of the Wind” in the Disney movie Pocahontas), I can’t help but think to myself that the world around us–which just so happens to be made up of multiple entities of different shapes, sizes, and colors is continuing to head down a violent path of both darkness and coldness.
An Historic Upcoming Election.
These just happen to be the first couple of entities that came to my mind when writing this blog post; however, the list goes on and on.
And the world continues to feel like it is spiraling out of control toward an abyss of darkness.
But if you are like me, you continue to strive each day to search for answers, guidance, love, support, kindness…and everything in between.
It can be hard some days to find that energy to smile, to put forth a positive energy, to keep the optimism of brightness glowing.
But gosh darn it, I try.
And in the coming year of 2021, I will embark on a journey with my biggest project/undertaking to date that will hopefully give the world just a little bit of the much-needed love, kindness, sunshine, and smiles it needs. I got to meet with a crucial entity that will be a part of my mission in the new year and I can say…without a doubt…150% that I am filled with even more enthusiasm and passion to bring this project to all of you. And the entity that I will be working with is one that I couldn’t be more thrilled about.
I promise you that the reveal on January 4, 2021 will be one that is worth the wait. And it will be something that each and every one of you will be able to participate in…because I will need your support.
Any guesses as to what the project might be?
Well, the only hint you are getting this week is that there are two key words in the title of this week’s blog that may or may not have something to do with it…
So, circle your calendars if you haven’t already for January 4, 2021.
Because until then…my lips are sealed.
Oh, and please register to VOTE if you haven’t already.
And the next time you are out walking amongst the crisp, cool morning breezes and you see the leaves of multiple shapes, sizes, and colors fall in front of you, remember that this world needs YOU to be the light and sunshine.
Well, here we are experiencing yet another Monday of the quarantine months.
And while it doesn’t feel like it, the first day of Fall is officially on Tuesday! That means time for Pumpkin Spice everything.
And by everything…I actually mean…EVERYTHING.
Yes. I pulled out the all caps for that word. To give it the extra emphasis it needed to make my point.
And now that I said Pumpkin Spice and wrote the words, all that I want right now is a PSL in my hand…
So if you want to make me happy and earn extra points with Mr. Sunshine, bring me a PSL…
Time to officially move on to writing about this week’s blog topic.
Do you have your PSL? Your coffee? Your warm morning beverage and sweatshirt to cuddle with as the brisk breeze comes through the open windows?
Well good! Because, here we go!
The term silver lining is defined as the following:
-A sign of hope in an unfortunate or gloomy situation; a bright prospect.
The list goes on and on.
There are so many things in this world around us that cause incredible fear, darkness, and uncertainty–entities that would definitely fall under the “unfortunate or gloomy situation” portion of the silver lining definition listen above that you just read.
I’m not sure how all of you feel, but I know for me there are days when it feels like a silver lining is out of reach–or frankly doesn’t even exist.
And for Mr. Sunshine, that is a heavy statement to write.
This past weekend, I got to be a part of the official installation service for Angela Hammer, who has become the official Pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Penryn.
A monumental moment that hasn’t happened for our faith community in more than a decade–installing an official Pastor.
It was a silver lining.
The silver lining that restored some shine in my soul, light in my life, and faith in humanity.
Since the beginning of March, our faith community has been challenged to find ways to reach out to the surrounding world to uncover needs and to help meet those needs through creative ways of faith, love, kindness, and outreach.
This has been proven through our free food pantry outside the church building, homebuilt libraries at the church and surrounding community areas to encourage reading, discussions about social-challenging topics relevant to our daily lives, outdoor worship services, and multiple facets of educational resources for all ages via Zoom.
While I realize that religion is not everyone’s thing and that the church has gotten a “bad wrap” in the world–I promise you the community of faith at St. Paul Penryn is different.
We welcome ALL. We support ALL. And we find ways to meet the needs and be a beacon of hope to anyone regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or social status.
We are a safe place.
A silver liningfor those who may have lost their faith in the church.
There is no doubt that the times we are living in are dark and challenging for every single human on this Earth.
Our faith community could be just the type of silver lining you are looking for in your life.
The silver lining YOU need.
Or the silver lining that someone else in your life needs.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve struggled with the fact that the Christmas Eve service this year (my favorite one to plan) will not look the same as year’s past.
It is something that I start to plan in the early months of Summer as I listen to music samples for the choir, play through piano solo pieces, and come up with a theme that brings it all together.
It has been a tough emotional journey to grasp the reality that all of that will look different on December 24, 2020.
But, on the flip side, it also presents the silver liningand opportunity to think outside the box in respect to making a meaningful worship experience for the entire community to enjoy on Christmas Eve–one early service that will take place indoors and one later service that will take place outdoors.
How can you be a part of this silver lining?
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking for individuals who are willing to be a part of the service (one or both) in regards to special music whether it be via an instrument or voice.
Want to be a part of this experience? Please, please, PLEASE reach out to me and let me know. There are also plenty of opportunities to get involved even if you are not musical.
Our faith community has an opportunity to create a silver liningwith our Christmas Eve traditions this year for a world that is in great need of hope and light.
With the Fall season happening this week (tomorrow if you are reading this on Monday), the phrase and motto “turn over a new leaf” often gets thrown around.
So, please turn over that new leaf in your life and help our faith community meet the needs of the surrounding world by creating a silver lining that can be experienced and enjoyed by ALL.
Helping to create a silver liningfor others could be silver lining you need.
It’s funny because the title of this week’s blog post came to me randomly after watching a remake of Cinderella on Disney+—and the remake I’m talking about is the one with Lily James and Cate Blanchett…the costumes in that version are STUNNING. To die for, actually. Gorg.
And now, as I sit here on my couch after returning from a week on vacation at the beach, I struggle trying to find the right words to type.
While a vacation during the times of Covid definitely had a different look to them this year, there was one thing that still remained the same.
Time away while being accompanied by sand, water, and sunshine always allows me a chance to relax, renew, rejuvenate, and RESET.
I don’t know what it is about the atmosphere, but it always allows me to put so much into perspective while being tanned by the Vitamin D of sunshine.
And I mean tanned. I wear tanning lotion (an SPF of 15 and different from sunscreen), which I know is not healthy or good for my skin, but that’s a debate for another day. Mmmbyeee.
There is no agenda, no panic to answer emails within a 24 hour period, and no alarm to wake you up from the deep slumber under the covers.
But a week without all of these above things and pressures flooding your life, also comes the flipside of it too—the extra time for your mind to wander.
A wandering mind is not a new concept to me. It happens multiple times throughout the week and quite often, it results in me waking up and not being able to fall back to sleep.
So, what do I do?
Well, BREAKING NEWS—I take to the crutch known as social media.
This damn crutch glues me to scrolling for what feels like hours through multiple profiles of people (some I don’t even know) staring at filtered photo perfection of the latest and greatest in terms of the engagements, bodies, and homes.
Which means as I scroll, the emotions of not feeling good enough and comparison start to flood in as well.
Like, as I sit here writing this, I’m literally looking at area rugs for the living room because I feel like the one I have right now is outdated and just isn’t cool or stylish.
Why am I subjecting myself to these kinds of thoughts and pressure?
Having the latest and greatest is not me nor will it ever be.
I go in and out with feeling these emotions and while I’m still learning on how to not let these thoughts overtake me and react personally to things, there are still moments when I feel like the waves are crashing and pulling me in with the strong current.
And now that I’m back from vacation, life for me until the end of the year will be go, go GO.
Which means that it will be super critical for me to focus and not let my mind wander or let these emotions creep in while also continuing to give myself grace in the fact that I’m not perfect.
Right before I left for vacation, I had a very negative interaction with an individual in my life that I took personally and used emotion of great proportion in my reaction.
It was the icing on the cake to notify me that it was time to RESET.
And with how busy the next couple of months are going to be, especially with the finalization of material and details for my January 4th reveal, a time of reset for Mr. Sunshine will be an even more critical component in my daily life.
And how do I reset/what are my go to entities in doing so?
Well, I’m SO glad you asked because I’m going to share 5 of them right now with you.
Dance party in my living room. I put on a playlist of my favorite songs and literally dance in the living room to them while lip syncing the lyrics or singing out loud depending on how much of a happy energy I need. Some of the songs on this list include: Firework by Katy Perry, Shut Up And Dance With Me by Walk The Moon, and You Can’t Stop The Beat from Hairspray. Do you have any go to songs to dance out to when you need that extra jolt of energy? Let’s have a dance party without a care in the world!
Adult coloring books. While at the beach, I was reconnected with how much I enjoy coloring. It is such a therapeutic action that brings out the creative juices in my soul. Blocking out some time in each day for coloring is something that will be happening in the near future.
Hallmark movies. Yes, seriously. Hallmark movies. While we know that the plot line for them is always the same—(beautiful girl moves to new town, hot man swoops in to save the day, they fall in love and get married…etc, etc)—I can’t stop watching them. I watched several on vacation that I absolutely loved and I will be figuring out how I can access them since I do not have cable because I need them in my life. NEED THEM.
Running/working out. We all know how much I love running and for me, there isn’t anything quite like the feeling I get when I’m taking the Carrie legs out for some pounding pavement miles. When I run, nothing else exists and all the toxins (physical and emotional) are just released from my body into the air to start anew. And working out with my personal trainer, Zach, is just another aspect that makes me feel so good both physically and mentally because it helps me knock out the negative energy that I’m feeling in the moment. And leg day is still my FAVE day.
Ice cream. All of us have a guilty pleasure junk food item that we go to when we need that time to reset and just hug a carton of Ben & Jerry’s. And while society tells us that guilty pleasure eating is not something we should do, I say SCREW them! If I want to eat some ice cream straight from the carton because it makes me feel good and helps me to reset myself, I’m going to do it. They do in the rom coms, so that makes it ok. Duh.
As we continue to move forward with living out quarantine in an isolation status more than we normally would, it is so important that we keep checks and balances on our mental health while also allowing ourselves time to relax, renew, rejuvenate, and RESET.
Listen to your body and find the ways that help you to RESET. And don’t be embarrassed to ask for help if you need it. Sometimes, an extra shoulder to lean and cry on or talk to is just what we need to feel better and cope with what is happening in life.
The world continues to be a scary place and one that brings up constant emotions of uncertainty, fear, and panic.
Yet another Monday during this quarantine pandemic.
I think we are in month 6? But I can’t confirm.
Can anyone out there tell me?
All the months, weeks, days, hours, minutes–even seconds–just seem to muddle all together anymore.
Is muddle even a word? Did I use it correctly?
I just went online to look up the definition and it would appear that I did use it properly, so yay me! This is why English was always my favorite subject I guess.
–Bring into a disordered or confusing state.
I would say that the pandemic has done a great job of muddling everything in our lives.
Wouldn’t you agree?
But amidst all of the muddling, I also believe that the pandemic has put several things into a very clear perspective as well.
I’m not sure if it was the fact that I celebrated my 33rd year of life on Earth this past week, but something really got me emotional receiving all of the love via social media posts and messages, phone calls, texts, and photos of past times.
It was overwhelming and beautiful.
Also…fun fact side note…I’m not a huge fan of celebrating my birthday–I enjoy more of the low key celebrations with people I love.
Regardless, all of the love and support was beautiful.
And one of the things that this year’s love and support received on my special day put into perspective for me is how humbled and grateful I am to have such amazing people in my life (both family and friends) supporting me through thick and thin with undying and overflowing love no matter what the circumstance.
I wear the title and nickname of “Mr. Sunshine” very proudly throughout my daily life. I take it seriously and work advocate for advocate for things that emulate the entities of love and kindness. I thrive on wanting to help others and will often whatever in my power to make that happen. It’s how I was raised and how I will continue to live out all the remaining years of my life.
If I can work to make positive change around me and spread just a small glimmer of hope and light to another person, than I’ve accomplished my ultimate goal.
And if I can encourage others around me to do the same, well then…that’s just the icing on the cake!
Speaking or cake, I could REALLY go for a piece right now. YUM!
But I digress.
This pandemic has certainly taken a toll on all of us in multiple areas and perspectives of our lives. For me personally, it has challenged me mentally, especially with the task of working from home for both my full time and part time jobs. There are moments when I get so sick of starting at the same walls that I just scream out loud. There are times when I get so frustrated that I just close my eyes and wish for a magic wand to appear that can just take us back to the days when none of this existed.
However, on the flip side, this pandemic has also put into perspective how thankful I am for my health, my career, and the fact that I still have the opportunity to continue working when so many are without work or still trying to pick up the pieces and figure it all out.
33 is going to be one of my biggest years yet and when January 4th, 2021 arrives, you will know why. It will be challenging to the max. It will test me emotionally, physically, and mentally.
But I couldn’t be more excited to share my passion with you all while also working to try and accomplish the task of creative positive change and bringing some much needed sunshine and light into the the world as well, especially in these troubling times that we are experiencing. I’m hoping that the release of my newest “mission” will be a refreshing reprieve from the negative news that seems to consume our lives on the daily.
I hope you are as excited as I am.
The world needs sunshine, hope, love, and kindness.
And while we continue to be consumed with the negative energy of the world events around us, remember to step back and take a few moments to put things into perspective.
Think about the things you are grateful for. Writem them down. Make a list where you can see it. Make a note on your phone. Put the list wherever you find it easily.
In times of chaos, look to them as a reminder to bring you back to Earth. To reset yourself. To recharge and move forward without missing a beat.
Think about the people in your life who mean the most to you. The ones you crave connection with and appreciate spending time with. And take a moment or two to let them know that.
Give the world the love, sunshine, light, and kindness it needs.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been labeled as the “eternal optimist.” The one who tries to see the positive in any situation no matter what. Oh, and I’m gay. Yes, I like men. I am loud, proud, and always ready to show off my true colors to the world. And even though we are living in the 21st century, the year 2018, there are still people that are bothered by the fact that individuals can have feelings for those of the same sex. Of course, being a homosexual is not the only thing that defines me…by any means. I love Disney princess movies and romantic comedies that can make me cry. I have seen every episode of The Golden Girls at least 10 times and can recite almost every single line. I’ve been playing the piano since the first grade and still hate playing chopsticks as much as I did 20 years ago. I have a mom, dad, and older brother who have always taught me to put others first and to be kind to all. I love to color, wear tanning lotion when I go running outside in the sun, and can listen to Katy Perry’s Firework on repeat for hours on end.
Cause’ baby you’re a firework, come on let your colors burst…YAHS…sing it with me. Sorry…I just love that song. I digress. Let me tell you how I let my colors burst. I came out of the closet in the spring of my junior year of high school in 2005. At that time, it was not something socially accepted, especially in a community that was very conservative. I remember telling several of my friends who were extremely supportive, but not surprised in the least–they were just waiting for me to express my true colors. I also remember coming out to the boy in show choir/concert choir/the school musicals that I had a huge crush on. He was playing the piano in the school hallway before rehearsal one afternoon and I went to sit with him on the bench. I told him that I was gay and that I had a huge crush on him. He gave me the biggest hug and literally pulled me up off the piano bench. I’ll never forget that moment. Needless to say, that never turned into anything and I have not heard from that individual in more than 10 years.
I wanted to keep my sexuality a secret from my family until college because I just wasn’t sure how they would react. They ended up finding out in a way that I never dreamed would occur (an email communication I had with a fellow classmate) and it presented me with some very difficult struggles during my senior year and final summer before moving to college. I remember Freshman year of college being a bit rough at first because of the dis-connect that I had with my parents before leaving that summer; however, I will always be forever grateful to The Singing Lions show choir group that allowed me to be myself and fully supported and loved me through all 4 years. Ultimately, my parents and I had a sit down conversation the summer after my first year of college that involved watching a documentary called, For The Bible Tells Me So. This was an eye opening exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community. After watching it, my parents and I had a mini Q&A session to understand each other’s perspectives and feelings. Today, my parents are fully supportive and I couldn’t love them more. They have provided me with such guidance, support, and love that I try to pass along to others I meet in community. There are still days that I get stared at, judged, or called faggot. Through it all, I come out even more loud and proud than before.
It pains me to think how many individuals in this world are afraid to be themselves because of the social stigmas that are present in society. One thing I learned is that you are NEVER alone and that your true tribe of friends, family, and supporters will love you through it all. Follow me on Instagram @mrsunshine827 Check back every Monday for new blog posts! Sprinkle sunshine always, JP!
It is currently Sunday morning around 11am and I’m sitting in a comfy recliner at my parents’ house with the windows open and the feeling of the fresh, cool breeze flowing over my body as I sip the coffee from the McDonald’s drive-thru I had purchased prior to our 10am church service.
It felt weird because the night before would’ve been our annual church community picnic, which has been one of my favorite Summer traditions for more than a decade. So, the dipping of ice cream, indulging in home-made baked goods, eating multiple hot dogs and hamburgers, relishing in the classic music from The Malta Band, and enjoying the fellowship of community as we reminisce about Summer memories past, present, and future will just have to wait until next year.
Or, so we can hope.
And while this is one thing that made me very sad, there are multiple entities happening in my life that I’m super excited about and can’t wait to share with you all! But some of those will have to wait.
Anyhoo, I digress.
There are days where it is really hard to stay positive, especially with all the negativity, hatred, violence, and everything in between that brings about clouds of darkness to our lives that loom over our head.
So, this week I promise you some fun, smiles, and positive energy!
This is my 93rd blog post since I started this endeavor two years ago and I’m currently in my last two weeks of being 32. So, take 93 minus 32 and you get 61…which means…
…This week is going to be 61 random, run facts about myself that you may or may not already know!
Are you ready?!
Buckle up, keep your arms and legs in the car at all times, and prepare for some rapid fire fun fact bullet points!
61 of them to be exact!
HERE. WE. GO.
I have 35 pairs of shoes that does not include flip flops or slippers.
During quarantine, I continue to put foundation on my face and non workout clothes even though I’m working from home.
My favorite childhood game was Candy Land. I own it now as an adult and my favorite character is still Queen Frostine.
I prefer Dairy Queen ice cream cakes over any other type of ice cream cake because there is fudge in the middle with the cookie crumble.
My favorite episode of I Love Lucy is “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” with her crazy antics trying out Vitameatavegamin as a medicine. “Are you unpoopular? Do you pop out at parties?” Classic.
Breakfast is a meal that is a struggle for me to eat everyday, but I love breakfast foods for lunch and dinner.
I get a kick out of watching TV news bloopers on YouTube if I need something random to laugh at and de-stress.
I had a car accident at age 16 right after getting my license because I thought the intersection had a four way stop.
My favorite episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show is “Chuckles Bites The Dust” and even though it is from the 70’s, it still cracks me up to tears. It is brilliant acting at its best.
I love Mayo so much that sometimes I will just spread it on bread and eat it.
Dusting is a chore that I find frustrating because it gets dirty seconds after you do it. LITERALLY SECONDS.
I love washing dishes by hand. I find it therapeutic.
I don’t like sleeping in sheets…or in my bed. I like the couch.
My favorite movie of all time is The Wizard of Oz.
The aisles that give me the most anxiety at the grocery store are the toothpaste and cereal aisle because there are too many choices.
I’ve been involved with 27 different productions both on and off the stage at The Ephrata Performing Arts Center. I can’t pick a favorite because all of them have a special place in my heart for specific reasons.
My favorite game show is Wheel of Fortune and I have submitted multiple applications to be a contestant. Still waiting for my big break.
My favorite hymn to sing in church is “How Great Thou Art.”
Katy Perry’s “Firework” is still my favorite song. I love singing to it and dancing to it. It can always bring me out of a funk.
My favorite White Claw and Truly flavor is black cherry.
Speaking of cherries, I do not like them, so I never want them on top of my sundaes.
I like to have spoonfuls of Cool Whip some nights without any ice cream.
My favorite Bath & Body Works scent in a candle, a lotion, and a wallflower is Sweater Weather.
I prefer Wawa hot coffee over Sheetz hot coffee.
I prefer Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee over any other kind of iced coffee.
My favorite soda is Dr. Pepper and I currently have an unopened 12 pack in my kitchen.
I do not like thunderstorms. They terrify me.
I do not have a green thumb…like, at all. But I will water your flowers if needed.
I have watched The Golden Girls so many times, but I never get sick of them. They make me laugh uncontrollably. I’m also Rose to a T.
My favorite roller coaster at HersheyPark is The Great Bear.
One of my favorite meals to eat is meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
Growing up, I used to get Barney the Dinosaur on my birthday cakes.
I can’t wait for the new Katy Perry album to be released on August 28th.
I can’t wait for Carrie Underwood’s FIRST EVER Christmas album on September 25th.
Betty White is one of my role models to continue being an eternal optimist.
My favorite school subject growing up was English.
My least favorite school subject growing up was a tie between math and science.
I want to play in the pit for a musical at a theater some day since I still have not yet done that.
One of my favorite spots to run is the Warwick Middle School because it is peaceful, has hurdles that I can put out to jump, and pretty sunsets that I can witness during the evening.
When I make macaroni and cheese, I want it made with a cheese sauce as opposed to a cheese powder.
One of my favorite songs to play on the piano is “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman.
My favorite candy to eat is Sour Patch Kids.
I love legs and want legs like Carrie Underwood. #carrielegs
I shave my legs during the Summer months.
I drink about a gallon of chocolate milk every week.
I like sweet wine, not dry.
I still write paper checks for my mortgage on a monthly basis.
My favorite ice cream flavor is Black Raspberry.
My dream job is being a game show or talk show host or sitcom star.
I’m terrified of alligators/crocodiles.
When I started training with my personal trainer, Zach back in 2017, I weighed 135 lbs and 3 years later, I weigh 158lbs.
My favorite Disney princesses are a tie between Belle, Rapunzel, and Mulan.
I keep an old-fashioned planner where I write everything down and color code every single thing.
One of my favorite acceptance speeches is Sandra Bullock’s 2010 Best Actress at The Oscars.
I have to start everyday with shaving my face; otherwise, my day ends up being out of whack.
I don’t like riding in elevators, flying in planes, or being in a Ferris wheel.
I really miss Push Up pops. They were one of my favorite ice cream treats growing up as a kid. The packaging always had one of the characters from The Flintstones on it. Does anyone else remember these?
One of my favorite traditions at Christmas is to watch the Christmas episode of Alf on VHS. My parents have it taped from years ago and it still is one to this day that warms my heart and even makes me cry.
My favorite game on The Price is Right is Plinko.
My favorite flavor of Pop Tarts is blueberry.
…last but not least…
…It is time for number 61!
61. 2021 is gearing up to be my BIGGEST year for efforts to change the world and I CAN’T WAIT to share it with you all.
Well, folks. There you have it.
61 rapid fire fun fact bullet points about me.
Hope you enjoyed this 93rd blog post as I get set to enjoy the last two weeks of being a 32 year-old.