Girly Squeal Spotlight: Lisa Cotten, Esquire “Voice of Reason”

Girly Squeal Spotlight: Lisa Cotten Esquire

When I’m not squealing on my blog, fiddling with rhinestones or day dreaming about being at some exotic location, I am at an office moonlighting as a paralegal. Yes, I work in Corporate America in a little purple and teal decorated cubical to support my aforementioned habits.  There is a phenomenal woman that also works at the firm that I have had the pleasure of working with. My boss: Lisa Cotten. I affectionately named her the “voice of reason”. She is always there to listen to me vent when clients aren’t being very understanding and always encouraging me to live my dreams outside of my 9 to 5.  For almost ten years Lisa has been my mentor, therapist, financial consultant and most of all my friend.   I am very proud of her and just wanted to shed a little girly squeal spotlight on an accomplishment she achieved. Just recently, Lisa has been chosen to serve on the Board of Trustees for the South Carolina Bar Foundation. She wanted it, she worked for it and she got it. The Board of Trustees for the South Carolina Bar are responsible for directing millions of dollars for the entire state of South Carolina. In past years, the Board has funded community projects for Habitat for Humanity and South Carolina Legal Services.

I am pleased that someone who is innovative, honest and genuinely cares about the improvement of community that will be serving on this board. I am also excited as she is to see what projects will be funded with the millions of dollars raised by the Bar Foundation! The possibilities are endless for the Board and for Lisa Cotten. Her down home demeanor coupled with beauty and brains is a recipe for achievement. Aside from all of her legal accolades, Lisa is also a devoted, loving wife and mother. I count it an honor to watch and learn from her. She has taught me that if you want something sometimes you have to make it happen yourself. There won’t always be someone around to help you achieve what you want. It’s your dream and you are responsible for making it come true.

 

Sidebar: Should you need assistance with obtaining your social security disability benefits, workers compensation, personal injury (car accidents, slip and falls etc.) please email me at girlysqueal@gmail.com and I will be sure Lisa receives your information.

 

 

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Seven Years Old

Once I was seven years old. If there was a problem in life I didn’t know it. I was joyous, full and loved; that was all that mattered to me. And I had a Sarah. She had pale skin full of freckles, red shoulder length hair with a crooked little bang and talked with a lisp. We laughed and played until we were out of breath sometimes. We had no worries just snacks and sunshine. Running barefoot thru the freshly cut grass in swimsuits and shorts. Life was perfect. Every moment was smiles, giggles and girly squeals. I was saddened when I learned that she had to move.I would always remember Sarah.My time with her taught me that love had no color.

Once I was 9 years old. I met a little girl with a big smile. The tiny tall girl sat on the end of a couch quietly smiling nervously. She was new to the neighborhood which was overrun with smelly preteen boys so I was so happy to have some estrogen around. I believe I had on those glitter stripped knee socks and purple shorts. I was a quirky, shy, short 9 year old with a high pitched voice. As different as we were on the outside our hearts connected and we became fast friends. She is one of the best friends I ever made. Me and this little girl spent countless days walking each other half way home and running back home to see who could call who first. Our relationship went beyond the neighborhood girls hanging out. She accepted me for just who I was. I remember packing her sandwiches when she “ran away”. She was my closest confidant, a sister who didn’t share my DNA. I would do anything for her. I wore those glitter knee socks a lot that summer and she never judged me or tried to change who I was. Today she is still my best friend although our lives are extremely different it never changed her love for me. She taught me it’s whats on the inside that counts.

Once I was 18 years old and I went off to college and met a group of ladies that would put an imprint on my soul. My cavalry. I’ve experienced so much with these brave women. They came from many different backgrounds but somehow we had a connection that couldn’t be explained. I experienced some of the best and worst times of my life surrounded by these strong independent chicks. Sleep overs in crammed dorm rooms, pot roast and pork chop Sunday dinners, parties, God, addiction, Cancer, abuse, and even death. These ladies and the things we experienced together shaped my very being. I felt I could trust them with my life. They stuck closer than a queen bee to her hive. We became family when our families were miles away. Yes, we have spread out over the years and gone on to live separate lives, but one phone call and I know each and every one of them would be there for me, in a black sweatsuit if needed. That’s when I learned that blood isn’t always thicker than water, try mixing it with dirt.

Once I was 35 years old and I met a girl who would forever change the way I looked at the world. She wanted nothing from me but to love me. She was one of the cutest people I ever met. She was short with poofy hair, slightly pigeoned toed with a million dollar smile that could light up any room. She had become a part of me. Everywhere I went she went and I hated when we had to be apart. We had Saturday morning adventures, summer time road trips and lazy Sunday afternoons. I thought life would end when she went away. I had never felt my heart literally break into pieces. I thought I would die. I actually wanted to because I thought after all I had been thru and put myself thru in 35 years I just didn’t want to deal with the pain.
That’s when I learned that we teach people to love but we do not teach people how to stop loving. That’s hard. And unfortunately something we are just going to have to deal with it.

Memories good and bad I am thankful for them all.
*you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

*Philippians 4:8-9

I was inspired to write this blog after listening to a song: “Seven Years Old” by Lukas Graham

Perfect Patty

Perfection perfection I always try to be. Perfection Perfection I now realize is not in me.
Though I strive to be perfect for he she and me. I finally realize perfect is something I will never be.
I tend to make them mad when I am just trying to help.
I make mistakes, say the wrong thing and with this fire tongue, make some melt.
I say things and don’t realize until later how the recipient felt.
Sad thing is sometimes I don’t care, that’s just how the cards were dealt.
Just one day, no wait maybe just an hour,
I wish everything was perfect, no sad feelings no reasons to cower.
I could love who I wanted to, open honest and true.
I’d have all my real friends with me and my sweet baboo.
I’d smell flowers with no sneezes and eat just what my tummy pleases. Cheese milk and of course bacon too.
Oh wouldn’t you love one perfect hour or maybe even two?
No tears, no loneliness, no emptiness inside.
No secret depression, suicidal thoughts or no unheard cries.
Just perfection with no need to seek that unwarranted affection.
No fights, no arguments, no name calling or strife.
No dangerous secret desires no secret sins.
Everything would always be out in the open and at the game of life my entire family would win.
Perfection perfection always hiding from me, perfection perfection is something I will never see.
I still wish everything was perfect but perfect is not my life.
If perfect was a dollar I wouldn’t have enough to buy a fifty cent pie.
There’s only one perfect thing I’ve found. Yes just one. His name is Jesus, you know, yeah, the Father’s Son.
So Perfect Patty I will still strive to be. For if He is in me that is all the perfection I need.

A “Little” faith

If I never feel sadness I would probably take my happiness for granted.

Happiness can turn to sadness in an instant. In the same breath you could be laughing so hard there are tears, and with one sentence those tears are tears of sadness. The good thing is that another happy time will come, at some point. Once I had the faith to know that happiness will find its way back to me then and only then I could accept situations that made me sad. Although it sounds cliche’ I came to a point where I understood that I had to give thanks in all things because God makes no mistakes. I often have to tell myself this which has happened, this what has caused me so much pain, this which has left an imprint on my soul, this which has changed my life, this which has hurt me, this is for the best. No matter how much my heart hurts from a situation I told myself that it is imperative that I find something to be thankful for. Though it sometimes takes a while, well a long time, I had to in order to make sense of things.

Jonas, Little, Cuz, when I first found out that you went to be with the Father I felt a sudden sense of emptiness, hurt and worry not only for me, but for your family and for one of your best friend’s, my brother. As a young girl I watched you form a bond with my brother one that would span your lifetime. I watched the two of you hang out, wreak havoc, but not the kind that would land you in jail, the kind that young boys get into. You blended with my family and he with yours as if you two had the same mother and father. Friendship, true friendship is a beautiful thing. I feel honored to have witnessed a beautiful friendship. From walking around Pinnacle Place during the summer until nightfall, from waking me up on Saturday mornings when the whole crew was in my backyard. Two friends became brothers. I watched you two snap pics before you picked up your prom dates, while you stood “bowlegged” because you said when you are fly you have to stand a little bowlegged. From you saying “lil sis” you can’t go with the big boys right now and that I needed to stay at home. And asking me if I “had one for you”. I never met some one who smiled all the time. I mean all the time. You always had a funny story, a witty comeback and a comforting remark. I loved when you were at the house because I knew I would be laughing for the rest of the night. As we grew up, the bond between you and my brother flourished through high school, college to adult hood. I remember the cruise we took maybe 2 or 3 summers ago, when you could not stop laughing about how many pancakes Brian ate. That was fun. But now you are gone. I stared while you lay there so peaceful never thinking or preparing myself to see a childhood friend that way. I was plagued with happy thoughts and rampant sadness. I sat, simultaneously thanking God for you being at peace with Him and being angry with God for taking you away. When the casket was closing I felt as if an elephant was on my chest. My hands trembled my legs twitched. I breathed deeply and didn’t want to be hugged at the time because if I did I would have crumbled. When it was time to leave, I stepped in the isle and grabbed my brother’s hand. Not sure if I was comforting him or if I needed him to comfort me. I know that he to selfishly wishes that you were still here to come to his wedding, to see his first child born, which I am sure would have been your god daughter, to see him be the man you played a role in him becoming. The friend that you were to my brother makes my heart ache for him and smile at the same time. You meant so much to all of us. I know one day this pain will dwindle and he—we will be able to go on with our lives but never forgetting how you made us feel when you were on earth with us. We will feel happiness again. We must. They say heaven is paradise, I imagine it is, especially with a special person like you there. I love you my friend, my brother. Until we meet again…

Glass Box

Most days I sit here in a daze,
Secretly wishing it would all go up in a blaze,
So then, I could finally be free,
Free to totally be me.
Me.
Who am I you ask?
I’m a quirky random individual full of a task,
that I have yet to master,
because I’m not quite sure what it is.

I know that its something major, huge, dare I say supreme?
Something that has to be done, something that has to come forth on this earth in this time,
but its too much bull (bleep) cluttering my mind.
So now I am unable to find that one thing that I am made for.
I do know I am a person full of creativity, kinda like when you have had too much wine and there is no bathroom in sight so your bladder feels confined, you better hold it.
Don’t let it go, people may see, your pants full of creative pee.

So I sit stuck in a glass box;
a glass box which I wish I could say was already broken.
Then I think is that really true?
Do I want to really escape? Do you?
Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I really want too.

It’s safe here in my little glass box
So I guess for the time being I’ll stay.
Stay here everyday,
I will work like an ox,
Aimlessly filing, stapling, hole punching and what not.

Love, what are you so afraid of?

Love, what are you so afraid of?
All I want to do is take a hold of you.
I show you I care and that I will always be there,
I just don’t know what else to do.
You always seem to come around at the most inopportune times,
times when I have forgotten all about you.
Then I have to rearrange my life and sometimes get involved in a lot of strife,
just to fit you in, and then…
then you leave again.
Love,what are you so afraid of?
I wonder why you just won’t take a hold of me.
I guess, love, me and you, just aren’t meant to be.

Bosom Buddies

Fall 1998, Georgia Southern University Winburn Hall. As time goes on the specifics get a little hazy, but if I don’t remember anything else I remember the pink blow up chair. When she came in seems like no one else sat there it was her spot. She was the oldest and the “mama” of the group so we respected her as such. She would sometimes come in on a Saturday climb up to the cabinet to get a snack and go back to bed. And there was never a need to knock. She was known around campus as the girl with the big booty and I became known as “you know her short friend with the short haircut, yeah the bow legged one” We along with the rest of the cavalry, yes we named our little circle, were inseparable. She protected me as a mother would protect a child and in turn I loved her unconditionally as only a child could. She could do no wrong in my eyes. I was amazed at her intelligence, the way she wrote papers at 2 am while the rest of us were laughing, watching TV and jumping around on those twin size beds. She was one of the smartest women I knew, but in turn the most humble you could ever imagine. She was liked by all well except that girl who fell down the steps. But even she had to admit my friend was a force to be reckoned with. Through mean teachers, good and bad grades, kick doors, study groups, hunch punch, Sunday dinners, boyfriends, broken hearts family emergencies and those situations that the cavalry will never ever speak of, NEVER, she was always there for me. Before I knew it, I was graduating college and again she was in my corner teary eyed holding the video camera screaming my praises. She was so proud. After all we had lived thru some of the best and worst times of our lives, so we thought. So, years later when she called me as I drove thru Sandhills, a shopping center near my home, I had to stop and sit at the stop sign as she began to tell me she had something that felt like golf balls in her breast. She had braids at the time and immediately shaved them off. No, she didn’t know if she had cancer, but in true form she did things on her terms. So if it was cancer she would not let the treatment take her hair, she took it herself. Then the day came. That day I remember more vividly than I want. Was sitting at my desk working then she crossed my mind. I texted her because I knew it should be about time for her to be done with her doctor’s appointment. She texted me back. And it was what I prayed against. The one thing I never wanted to hear about someone I loved again. She had breast cancer. But she had just crossed over into the 30’s the time when you live the good life because you learned from all the mistakes you made in your 20′ right?? How could this have happened? You see, I lost my grandmother to cancer as a teenager and it hurt me to my core. Now, my friend, my confidant, my protector was sick and there was nothing I could do about it. I jumped up from my desk and quickly ran into a conference room before anyone could see the tears pour from my eyes. I could barely breathe.
The day had come for my friend to have her breast removed another brave decision she made. My friend had a very young daughter at the time; she did not want to run the risk of the cancer coming back. Seems to me she already knew that she would beat it then. In order for it to come back it would have to be gone first. She had claimed her victory and didn’t even know it. The “little sis” and I went to be by her side, with the “nephew” in tow. I ended up staying the night in the hospital, I just couldn’t leave her. It was like we were in Winburn Hall again. But then as I looked at her, the IV’s, and all the flashing lights on those monitors and I quickly realized, this is real. I had to hold back my tears. I would not break down in front of the very person who had always been so strong for me. As I reached down to pick up the wash cloth she dropped while bathing she said, “nope I got it” and proceeded to pick it up with her toes! At that moment I knew my friend would definitely make it. One simple gesture that made us laugh and forget the bandages that were in the place where her breast used to be. That night we laughed and laughed and laughed. I have no idea when we eventually drifted off to sleep.
It’s 2013 now and my friend has 3 beautiful girls. She is as bold, intelligent, daring, humble, loving and strong as ever. She is my hero. She is one of my best friends, more of a sister. My friend, my sister, my Donna is cancer free.
To God be the Glory 🙂

This post is dedicated to my friend LaDonna Peeples breast cancer survivor!

To Donna: Donna I love you more than words can say. Over the years, over the miles our hearts have stayed connected because we have built a bond that can not be broken. God put you in my life to show me how to have faith when you have no control over the situation. Because of you I still believe in miracles. You are my miracle. Love you always and forever.