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I got asked the most interesting thing today.  See, what happened was, I went to church tonight.  This isn’t a new thing;  we’re there quite frequently actually. On most Wednesday nights during the Summer, I actually get to sit in the sanctuary.  However,  today has not been the easiest of days for me. A trip to the doctor’s revealed that further testing and blah blah blah stuff is coming due.  I was on the verge of tears by the time we walked into the church.  I decided to go to the prayer tower.  I did this and then, after praying, I started walking back upstairs toward the balcony section of the sanctuary.  But, before I made it there, this acquaintance of mine, whom I have seen almost every Sunday for a decade but have never really gotten to know well, stopped me to say hello.  He asked about the girls, I asked him about his family.  Then he said this,  “So I’ve been reading your blog.”  Me, smiling:  “Have you?”  to which Chad responds smiling, “Yeah.  Strange, I still don’t know much about you.”    I laughed.  Before I could say more, though, he added,  “You should really write a post listing just facts. You know, boring old stuff minds that are tired can understand.  Readers would appreciate that.”

I thought he was nuts.  Frankly, part of me still does.  But, I mean, what’s the harm in answering a few questions, right?  Facebook has multiple surveys circulating designed to get to know random and odd details of someone else’s life.  So, I thought, why not?  So,  tonight,  in order to get my mind off things I don’t want to think, I googled  such surveys and came up with a few;  I randomly selected one.  Below  are the questions it asked, and my answers.

See?  I do care about my readers.   🙂

What’s your full name?

Tiffini L. Johnson.  The “L” has a story behind it. When I was born, my mom could not decide between two different names;  Leighnette and Lacosta so, instead, she wrote “L” on the certificate.  Growing up, she told me I could choose which name I liked the best and we would then have it put on the certificate.  Trouble was, I could never really decide.  I liked the spelling of “Leighnette” but wasn’t really thrilled with the meaning for obvious reasons (“Lynn’s son”).  I loved the meaning of Lacosta (“sea”) but couldn’t ever decide how much I liked the sound of it.  So, depending on what year you asked me, my middle name seemed to change.  Today,  I say its Lacosta—but I’ve never actually had that put on the certificate  so, legally, it’s just “L.”

Also, readers have asked me if I changed the spelling on my own, once I was published.  I thought this was really funny.  But no, no I did not. My mother did that.  And I love it.  My favorite teacher ever called me “Tiff  n   i”  all year long so he could remember how to spell it.  It’s very creative and it’s always made me feel just a little bit special.

How old are you?  

My birthday is October 1, 1980.   Today, that would make me 32 years old.  That means I’ve been breathing air for 11,970 days. There’s probably a future blog post in that somewhere.  🙂

Do you like where you live?

I live in the best city in the United States.  You probably won’t find Nashville, Tennessee listed on the most attractive cities. Or the friendliest, necessarily.  But this is my home.  In fact, I’ve actually written an entire blog post (are you surprised?) on what this city means to me.  You can read that love letter here.  Ultimately, though, there is no place like home.


List the Top 5 Movies of All Time:

Must  I, really?  For someone who doesn’t watch very much television or movies, this is hard.  If I have to pick, though, tonight I will give these five:

1)  Radio Flyer:  a far too under-appreciated, brilliant film about child abuse starring Tom Hanks. This movie is so good it is hard for me to watch.

2)  Steel Magnolias:  I am a Southern chick;  I do have this movie memorized.

3)  Passion of the Christ:  This movie is brilliant AND important.

4)  Princess Bride:  Enough said.

5)  Pretty Woman:  Again, memorized.

Although they don’t make the top five, honorable mentions must also go to:  “Eye for an Eye,” “Phenomenal,” “America: The Story of Us,” “Meet Joe Black,” and pretty much anything with Tommy Lee Jones in it including, but not limited to, “The Fugitive.”

Do you read for pleasure? What do you read?

I laughed when I read this question.  Truly I did.  Yes I read for pleasure although, truth be told, I am an extremely picky reader.  I can spend all day in Barnes and Noble and not buy anything because I can’t find one that seems to really hold my attention.  In order for me to spend money on it, it has to have an important plot.  It’s very hard for me to find something that matches that criteria. Be that as it may, though, if you ever really want to feel like Cinderella, you should totally read “Almost Heaven” or “Whitney, My Love” by Judith McNaught;  if those cannot be found, “Only Love” by Elizabeth Lowell will sweep you off your feet (the hero of that book’s name is Wolfe.  See?  Totally makes you melt, doesn’t it?)

In all seriousness, besides the Bible, the most personally influential book I’ve ever read was “The Holocaust: A History of European Jews” by Martin Gilbert.  Beyond that, “Naked and Not Ashamed” by my pastor, Dan Scott, was also very personally moving.

Books by Tiffini Johnson are also fairly good at holding my attention.  😉

If you could spend a day with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

Besides my girls, the answer to this question would be Mama O.  Mama O was my great-grandmother and I loved her deeply and whole-heartedly.  She wrote me letters and let me sit with her in her garden.  She died when I was seven but I have not forgotten her. I would love to be able to sit with her as an adult and get to really know her.  People like her, that are able to make such a positive influence on someone’s life that she is remembered and loved decades after her death, are inspiring to me.

Do you have a boyfriend?  

No.

Do you drink?  Smoke?  Do drugs?

No, no and no.  Actually, I’ve never had a single sip of alcohol, never had a single puff of a cigarette or any other drug.  The next answer to your question about why would be this:  I like control and the idea of losing it freaks me out.  I have issues with being that relaxed, ever.

If you could own 5 houses anywhere in the world, where would they be?

Actually, I wouldn’t own that many houses.  I only need one.  And, truly, the only place I really want to live is right here in Nashville, Tennessee. But what this question is really asking, of course, is what 5 places speak to me;  what place locations do I find the most peaceful, beautiful, interesting or otherwise satisfying.  So my favorite 5 places would be:

1.  Nashville,  TN

2.  Pine Mountain, GA

3.  Denver, CO

4.  Gatlinburg, TN

5.  Loire Valley, France

 

What is your favorite season?

Fall.  While I am most active in the Summer, probably, I love the cooler temperatures of Fall.  The brilliantly colored leaves swirling around my feet as I walk makes me happy. I most love wading in creeks during this season too.  Creek stomping makes the most sense in Summer but there’s a timeless magic to wading in cold waters;  it rejuvenates my spirit and reminds me of what it is like to really feel alive.  Fall is also the season that I start gearing up for Christmas, which is my favorite day of the whole year.

What do you fear?

Not being remembered.  The greatest childhood need, in my opinion, is the unequivocal knowledge that you are truly loved by a parent.  So my greatest fear has always been dying before my girls are old enough to really remember that their mother truly loves them with all the passion my soul possesses.

What would be on your dream menu for dinner tonight?

Something traditional like fried chicken, corn casserole, green beans and fried potatoes with Mama O’s chocolate pie for dessert.

What’s your favorite beverage?

Coke or Dr. Pepper, but I also have a soft spot for Fuze’s Peach Melon.  Any of those help me make it through the night.

Tell us a story from your childhood.

Once, when I was about four and my sister was about two, I had a piece of gum in my mouth.  My sister asked me if she could have it.  I said no.  She then proceeded to wrestle me to the floor, climbed on top of me, opened my mouth and took the piece of gum from it before eating it herself.

My sister is the coolest person I know.

Also, I once deliberately ran a race horse known for kicking people off across an open field barefoot.  I ended up upside down, with my head bumping along the ground.  Fortunately, I had a helmet on and it probably saved my life.

That was the best birthday I ever had.

What time do you go to bed?

Somewhere between 2 and 3:30 a.m. each morning.  To say I’m a night owl would be a massive understatement.  I get up between 7:30 and 8 each morning.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

Sleeping in the chair in my grandparents’ room.  My sister had just been born and I stayed at my  grandparents’ for a night or two.  Papa’s recliner sat right beside their bed and I remember curling up in it and going to sleep listening to them snore. I was two years old and I loved that chair.

Chocolate, Strawberry or Vanilla?

Absolutely chocolate all the way.  Chocolate fondue with a plate of sliced bananas, strawberries and Rice Krispie treats is a particular favorite.

What color are your eyes?

A weird shade of blue that sometimes looks almost green.

Do you put your hands up when you ride a roller coaster?

No I hold on for dear life and pray out loud the entire time climbing to the top.  True story.

Favorite Disney movie?

A toss up between “Cinderella” and “Tangled,” depending on how emotional on any given day.

What’s your ringtone?

“Strong Enough to Bend” by Tanya Tucker.  It’s a sort of motto for my life;  I quote it when I am especially tired or discouraged.  If you always try to resist change, or  get your way, you will crack when the storms come.  But if you give a little, even when it hurts a little, you will come out stronger.  Being weathered by storms gives you perspective, wisdom and true joy.

What characteristic do you find most appealing?

Genuine confidence because I think it hints at some level of intrinsic happiness to which I am innately drawn.

What’s your favorite day of the week?

Mm.  During the school year, Wednesdays because it’s on Wednesday nights that we have the Missionettes program at church. I love that program and those girls very, very much.  During the Summer,  probably Mondays.  I want to teach my girls that Monday, the start of the traditional workweek, does not have to be dreary so we usually make a special effort to do something especially fun on Mondays.

How old were you when you got your first boyfriend?  

I was in the sixth grade.  There was this really cute, really sweet boy named Aaron. We were friends.  Then, one day, at recess he asked me if I would be his girlfriend.  I told him I would tell him the next day (after I got permission from my mother).  He seemed crest-fallen and followed me around the rest of the day like an injured puppy.  Every little while, he’d ask me again.  Persistence;  it usually works.  By the time we walked into music class, the nervous excitement of being asked to be his girlfriend had worn off and I was tired of the question.  So, finally, I said, “Yes.  Yes I will” and he beamed like I’d given him something special.  It made me feel special.  I went home and asked my mom for permission;  she said “That’s sweet” and so I officially became Aaron’s girlfriend.  We held hands when we lined up to go to the cafeteria and we scooted our desks  closer to each other in homeroom.  I like to think he was sad for just a little bit when my family moved suddenly out of the clear blue sky and I didn’t come to school the next day, or the day after, or the day after….

After that, Trey.  Trey was in my keyboarding class at Harding Academy in the 8th grade.  Trey was very, very annoying.  He was the second fastest typist in Harding.  I was the fastest.  We competed against each other so effectively that we were transferred to the Advanced class within the first week of school.  We drove each other crazy even though I secretly thought he was awesome for rocking pink nail polish on his little pinkie just because he was probably the only boy in history that could pull it off without being laughed out of school.

 

Tell us about your first kiss.
My first,  first kiss or my first real kiss?

My first, first kiss was pretty uneventful.  It was with a guy we’ll call A (not Aaron :);  a wannabe cowboy who was my first real boyfriend (guy that took me out).  It was nice, he was nice.  But have you ever heard that cliche about how girls are usually mentally and emotionally older than boys the same age?  Yes, that was actually true with me and A.  I was years older and yet not nearly as ready to be kissed at all.  Strangely, what I remember the most about A was that I really liked his dad. 

My first real kiss was with M.  And it was magical.  Purely magical.  After a date, on the way home,  he offered to get me some cough syrup for a cough I had.  I knew it was a ruse but, frankly, I didn’t care.  We went to his apartment and, before we left, we kissed.  Like I said, magical.  Unfortunately, I did a fantastic job of safe-guarding my walls and lost the proverbial glass slipper.  Luckily, however, time built a bridge from broken heart to lasting friendship—and I’m convinced that’s the most beautiful thing of all, anyway.

 

Do you wish on stars?

Yes.  I also eat honeysuckle and blow dandelion fluff every chance I  get.

Tell us something we don’t know.

I sing when I drive.  Also, despite my past, despite all my medical history, I believe in the good more than I believe in the bad.  That’s not to say that people are innately good but, rather, I choose to believe that more people live their lives with kindness than they do deliberately inflicting pain on others.  Kindness isn’t extinct.

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