8 Lessons My Younger Sister Has Taught Me About The World

8 Lessons My Younger Sister Has Taught Me About The World

She's only 10 but she knows a whole lot more about the world than any adult I know.

My younger sister and I are nine years apart, but that has never stopped us from being a dynamic duo of sorts. The gap in age has also never stopped the 10-year-old ball of spunk and sarcasm from teaching her older sister a few lessons throughout the course of our lives as sisters, and best friends.

1. Stop and smell the flowers.

Jasey Gearhart

Clichés are okay if it means taking time to appreciate the world and people around you more.

2. Strutt your stuff no matter who's watching.

Jasey Gearhart

Hold your head high, walk with a purpose: become a beacon of confidence.

3. Snapchat filters can create models...

Jasey Gearhart

... but you're only as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside.

4. Lead a happy life, but know it's okay to be sad sometimes.

Jasey Gearhart

Life is filled with so many colors, and that includes the blacks and whites.

5. Your world is only as great as you let it be.

Jasey Gearhart

Soft-serve, hand-dipped, froyo? Ice cream never fails to make life better.

6. Rule the world you live in.

Jasey Gearhart

Whether it's invisible, made of fake flowers, or one of those plastic ones from a dollar store: wear your crown and be the empowered queen that you are.

7. People aren't always watching, but you shouldn't care even if they are.

Jasey Gearhart

Want to eat an entire tray of pizza rolls by yourself in public? Go ahead, the opinions of those around you shouldn't affect how you live your life.

8. Talk often, smile often, laugh often.

Jasey Gearhart

Talk with kind words, smile to brighten the day, and laugh at your own jokes.

Cover Image Credit: Jasey Gearhart

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An Open Letter to the Best Friend I Didn't See Coming

Some people come into your life and change you forever—thanks, bestie.

Dear best friend,

I wasn't expecting you when God placed you in my life. I had my friends. I had my people. I wasn't exactly open to the idea of new meaningful friendships because I had the ones I needed, and it didn't seem like I really needed anybody new.

Thank God that was false. Sometimes you meet people and you just know that you're going to be good friends with. Sometimes you meet people and you realize that there is no such thing as chance. I think God has a funny way of making it seem as if the things that happen to us are by chance, but honestly, that’s a load of crap. If the biggest moments of our lives were left up to chance, then I believe that would make God out to seem as if he didn’t care. It would make it seem as if He was truly abandoning me and making me face some of my most important seasons fully isolated. But you, best friend, are a true testament to the fact that God doesn’t just leave such important aspects up to chance. Thank you for taking a chance on our friendship, and thank you for allowing me to take a chance on what I didn’t realize would be the most impactful friendship in my entire life.

Thank you for being real with me. Thank you for not sugar coating things. Thank you for telling me when I have a bad attitude. Thank you for loving me through my mistakes. Thank you for supporting me in my decisions, even if it isn’t always the decision you would make. Thank you for wanting the best for me, and for making that your true intent behind the words that you say to me, whether they be constructive criticism or encouragement.

Thank you for being a goof with me. Thank you for putting me first. Thank you for seeing the importance of our friendship. Thank you for making time in your schedule for us to just sit and do homework, eat Mexican food, or sit on the porch and listen to music that emotionally wrecks you.

You’re one of a kind. You’re a shoulder to lean on. You’re a safe place. You’re a free spirit. You’re rough and tough, but your heart melts for the people you love and it’s obvious. You’re more than meets the eye. You are worth getting to know. You are worth loving. You pursue people. You are passionate about your future. You are everything that a person needs, and I really thank God that for some reason you continue to choose to be in my life. Thank you for literally dragging me up my mountains of fear when I want to stay exactly where I am at and wallow in the sadness. You bring joy—true joy—wherever you go. You are my best friend, confidant, and biggest fan. You will be the Maid of Honor, Godmother, and fun Aunt.

I used to think lifelong friendships weren’t really a thing. It just seemed like people always grew apart and forever was never a point that was attainable. Best friends forever is a cliché phrase that is continuously overused nowadays (sometimes, I even used to make light of it), but thanks for making that a reality. You are truly the best friend I could have asked for. So thank you for it all. You make life more fun, and I couldn’t thank God more for making an incredible human, friends with me.

I love you, pal!


Cover Image Credit: Julia Dee Qualls

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A slightly horrifying tale of a Cleveland Airbnb

And that was the moment I thought we might die


It was the day of my sister, Nancy's, birthday and we were on our way to a DNCE concert in Cleveland to celebrate. We had packed the car with an excessive amount of blankets, our overnight bags, and Doritos.

The essentials.

We spent the three-hour drive in typical Nancy and Sally fashion, discussing Nancy's irrational discomfort of wind turbine fields and trying to memorize the rap from DNCE's song, Blown.

When we arrived in Cleveland, our navigation device, Nancy's phone, proceeded to die about four miles from our Airbnb.

And that is how it all began.

As we waited for Nancy's phone to charge, we traversed the streets of Cleveland in our Honda Odyssey minivan trying to find our Airbnb.

Needless to say, the outskirts of Cleveland are interesting.

With her phone charged, we continued to our Airbnb. It was not in a great neighborhood but was near a Catholic grade school which eased our slightly restless minds.

All we wanted now was a place to put our bags down and to start to get ready for the concert.

We approached the house and punched in the code that had been given to us when we booked the place. The door unlocked; we were in the right place!

Nancy opened the door and we stepped inside.

The best way to describe what we saw would be like a hoarder situation.

There was stuff everywhere. Christmas decorations, empty cages, clothes. We had walked into a living room that looked into a kitchen and eating area. To our immediate left were stairs that were blocked with what looked to be a hanging white sheet.

This did not look like the pictures.

Two sickly looking little white dogs were barking and running around, excited to see us.

Did we dare investigate further? If not here, where would we stay? The concert was in two hours.

In an unspoken agreement, we stepped further into the mess. We peered into the kitchen and realized it only got worse. There was some sort of renovation or construction going on. A half-eaten pizza lay on the kitchen table and I discovered a pile of what I thought to be chicken bones in the sink.

"Nanc, what are we supposed to do?" I asked my sister, hoping she had a better answer than me.

"I have no idea, but this looks nothing like what we were promised. Let's look around a little more and see if we can find something that resembles the online pictures," she responded.

We nosed around, opening the doors off the kitchen, hoping to magically find our room. We found a closet and a bedroom, that was clearly being used with clothes everywhere and houseshoes on the ground.

As we tiptoed back to the front door, Nancy added, "We know this is the right place. The code that the lady gave to me unlocked the front door."

I didn't answer.


I couldn't answer.

"What?" she said.

"Nanc, there are birds right there," I gasped, holding my breath.

And behold, above us, perched on the front window's curtain rod were two yellow canaries.

Just hanging out...free as a bird.

"That's it," Nancy said, "We are leaving."

When we recounted the story later, Nancy told me that in that moment all she was thinking was "Oh my gosh, we are sleeping the car. We cannot live in this squalor!"

"Should we at least check upstairs first?" I breathed, not knowing where this newfound bravery was coming from.

I inched towards the stairs and cautiously pulled back what I had concluded was a sheet and stepped up the stairs.

We found ourselves on a landing of sorts just as packed and messy as the rest of the house. There was a door at the top.

"Here goes nothing," I uttered and pushed the door open.

It was our room!

Behind that door, it was like a different house. It no longer smelled of stale air and cigarettes. Everything was clean and perfectly matched the advertised pictures.

There were two rooms, a living room, and a kitchen.

We breathed a sigh of relief and started to get ready for the concert.

About 20 minutes into makeup and hair, our hostess came home. For the sake of anonymity, let's call her Kim. We heard her arrive downstairs.

We continued to get ready and remarked on how odd it was that Kim had allowed us to walk through her disgusting home to get to our room.

I straightened my hair and Nancy explored our upstairs "oasis."

She came back moments later and explained she had found a back staircase to outside. There was a keypad on the door.

What a relief. We hadn't been meant to go through Kim's living quarters, we were supposed to go through the back. Weird though, because there had been no directions of this from Kim.

We keyed in the code just to make sure it worked and we could get back in after the concert.

It didn't work.

We tried again. And again.

Another strikeout. I guess we had been meant to go through the house because the code didn't work.

A while later, we heard Kim downstairs having an animated argument with someone on the phone. It was loud and multiple curse words were used.

Although both uncomfortable, Nancy and I did not say anything and finished getting ready.

As I applied lipstick on Nancy, we heard Kim scream, "I will kill you in your f*cking sleep."

Nancy looked at me and muttered, "Please don't."

At that point, I remember thinking "Wow, we might actually die tonight."

We had finished getting ready and pondered the best way to exit the house. We couldn't use the back stairwell because the code didn't work. We had to pass the women who throws death threats around on phone calls.

We stomped down the stairs trying to make as much noise as possible as to alert Kim to our presence. We pulled back the sheet and walked into the living room.

Kim startled and looked up, phone in hand. She spoke into it saying "Hey, I have to call you back."

She hung up and smiled, "So sorry that was my mom! Welcome!"

I almost lost it right there.


She was talking to her mother.

Nancy introduced us to Kim and said we had to be on our way.

Kim seemed nicer than someone threatening to kill their mother in their sleep and told us we were free to use the back staircase.

Nancy explained how we tried to, but the code didn't work.

"Oh my goodness," said Kim, "well let me fix that right away."

She led us through the kitchen, past the old pizza and chicken bones, outside to the door to the back staircase.

She then reprogrammed the lock so the key code would work.

"There!" she added, "Now you won't have to worry about being quiet when you come home!"

We smiled and nodded, mostly in shock, and headed to the concert.

Even though the trip had been off to a rocky start, DNCE was the best concert I had ever been to. They were electric.

We stayed at Kim's that night and lived to tell the tale.

In classic Nancy fashion, she still gave Kim five stars on Airbnb, but commented that entry directions may need to be clearer.

Definitely. Maybe even add something like:


Even though I thought we might die, it was one of the best adventures I have ever had and…

It's a damn good story.

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