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That Time You “Sinned”--I’m asking for no atonement for these seven indulgences


The Map of Hell by Sandro Botticelli

That good ole Catholic guilt gets this New Orleans girl every damn time. I’m the first to fall for self-help juju, but I have seven vices from which I have no intention of looking for salvation. Without these pleasures, I just might sell my soul to self-deprivation instead.

Saturday Snooze Fest

If I didn’t have to attack a wildebeest, I’d be a kick ass lioness. 18 hours of sleep? Yasss! My cubs used to climb over me, tugging at my limbs to wake up and forage until I trained them to realize that breakfast tastes better at brunch and that a fun Mommy is rested. Good for you, Early Bird catching that worm, but I’d rather catch some Zzzz. I’m more fabulous at finding worms and tackling that nagging to-do list when I’ve taken care of my sanity first.

Needing to finish a book like it’s a damn line

It’s unclear what exactly commenced in my house during the six weeks when I read the "Harry Potter" series cover to cover. I had two children in preschool and an infant. The infant lay in my lap and nursed, but as for the other two? It was possibly a Lord of the Flies situation. I’ve never had a drug problem, but I fein when I hit the turning point in a good book. A sense of urgency takes over my body, and I. Must. Have. More. Like NOW!!! After the Harry Potter incident, my family held an intervention. They agreed to leave me alone when I read, if I agreed to show restraint. Some parents don’t drink in front of their children. I avoid page-turners until after my tots are in bed. So, if you think about it, my laziness on Saturdays is really their fault.

Lingering dinners

Were it not for French food, my husband might not have fallen in love with me. In anticipation of the arrival of rich haute cuisine that night, my eyes sparkled, my cheeks flushed, and I giggled. He thought I was flirting, bless his heart. But it was really the rabbit confit. That feast lasted four hours, and we’ve been dining soul mates ever since. Our best conversations have been shared over food. Our biggest belly laughs have erupted in restaurants. Don’t rush us. We like a heavy pour and we tip well. Life is fleeting, and while we’re still here, we intend to savor every bite.

Taking over the dance floor

I show no restraint when it comes to a good playlist. When Journey comes on I literally “don’t stop believing” that I’m killing it on the dance floor. Nor do I care that I’m in a generation above the rest while staking my claim. My gen invented the “Sissy Shannon” and I intend to show you how it’s done, young Grits patrons. But seriously, I know I’m not 20 anymore, but that doesn’t mean I need to feel old either.

Being sidetracked by conversation

I’m that person who is on time until she gets rapt in a conversation on the way into a meeting, thus becoming late. Like that old lady on the bench in Forrest Gump who misses the bus, I’m a sucker for a good tête-à-tête. “Frienaissances”over the phone lift my spirits. Two minute banters walking out of the school yard energize me. Little dialogues like these bring out our inner charm because we actually take the time to acknowledge one another. I’m always game for a chat. Unless it’s Saturday morning.

Pushing for Memories

When I was seven my dad made us take a two week road trip across the great American west where we saw every freaking landmark listed on the map, even if for just long enough to pose for a picture before heading off to the next. I ralphed in the middle of the Painted Desert from motion sickness, Mom lost her shit at Sea World, and my sister rode the Peter Pan ride alone at Disneyland because she was pissed off. We came home exhausted, but it was the best damn vacation we ever took. 32 years later we still laugh about it. I’ve inherited my Dad’s knack for sucking everything out of a moment. My children have accepted my mantra of “Trust me! It’ll be fun!” They know that the less they complain, the more there will be to remember. Memories don’t have to be perfect. What matters is that we show up to whatever time we have left.

Daydream Believing

I may write about a million insecurities. I may always assume others actually give a damn when I screw up. I may be my worst critic. But of all my vices, I’ll never repent for daydreaming. If I believe in something, then I feel. When I feel it, I can see it. Possibility is born from vision. So daydreaming is my redemption. It means that I haven’t given up hope yet; that I haven’t surrendered to my worries. It’s what tells me to close my eyes and believe—believe that one day I’ll turn around, look at my path, smile, and say, “You did good, Kid.”

I know enough to know that I can wear a weakness well if I make no apologies. I show no remorse for my seven deadly “sins.”

What are yours?

Originally published in New Orleans Magazine online.

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Annie D. Stutley

the short story

Back in 2017, “That Time You” took its first steps—a blog that humorously and inspiringly chronicled the chaos of everyday life. It was a canvas for what I referred to as “gaffes with glory” (what others may call hot mess success tales) and also resolutions for how to tackle seemingly insurmountable challenges, plus personal victories within the daily hustle. I've never had all the answers, and truth be told, I still don't. Yet, I spoke the language of the Hot Mess and Walking Disaster, understanding that we don't need to have it all figured out or succeed at everything to truly grasp our purpose.

However, 2021 brought a drastic turn: I faced a Stage 3 cancer diagnosis and tragically lost my mother during my sixth round of chemotherapy. My path forward seemed impossible. Stumbling took on a whole new weight—it became a burden I struggled to carry in a place where trust felt elusive. “That Time You” evolved at that point because I evolved. Stripped of my plans and the future I had envisioned, I found solace in my one constant: my faith.

Since surviving cancer (and the loss of a parent for the second time in a two-year period), I transitioned into a full-time editing role and also poured my energy into contributing monthly to three different magazines. “That Time You” was put on a purposeful pause—two years for recovery, rediscovery, and revision. I'm gearing up for a relaunch. This time around, whatever I share with you will be rooted in the wealth of experiences I’ve gained over the past three years, because sometimes stumbling becomes an essential part of our path, forcing us to dust off our fuzzy socks and bravely venture forward, wiser.

“That Time You” lives on, on this site, and I do promise to continue to share my misadventures with meaning and celebrate blunders alongside triumphs. Yet, I’ll be chronicling the certain enlightenment amidst life's darkness—a testament to faith and, hopefully, a guide for uncovering God's presence in every situation, whether it's the mundane or the profoundly challenging.


Thank you for being a part of this journey.

Much love,


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