Friday, February 26, 2010

"Don't think about what you can't do, think about what you can do!" --Ni Hao, Kai-Lan

"The older you get, the more you become aware of the things you can't change and the things you can change. Like, do I want to take a year off and travel around the world? Sure! Can I do that? No. [So] what can you do?" --Teri Hatcher

I saw this interview with Teri Hatcher in a friend's copy of People magazine. She was talking about the triathlon in which she participated last September--when she asked herself, "what can you do," the triathlon was the answer. I won't pretend I'm a huge fan of Teri Hatcher, but I think she makes an excellent point here.

Most of us have lists of things we want to accomplish, and sometimes those things are pretty ambitious (like taking a year off to travel around the world). I'm not saying that those things can't be accomplished, and you should definitely not let pessimism stand in the way of getting to do amazing things. But maybe they're justnot the most practical goals for us right now. That doesn't mean that we can't still be doing something worthwhile!

A former roommate's husband wrote a blog post recently that echoes my own feelings about New Year's resolutions (but of course this is applicable to all goals, not just the New Year's ones). Like Teri Hatcher, he points out that sometimes goals need to be smaller--or be broken up into smaller pieces--to be achievable. Instead of getting discouraged by huge goals that seem unattainable, try thinking about something you can do right now, or in the near future, and work toward that. Setting and achieving smaller goals can make it a lot easier to get to those big ones, and in the meantime you'll be getting to do great things.

(In case you're interested, the title of this post comes from an episode of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan in which the kids are disappointed because it started raining, so they can't go outside and do the things they were going to do that day. I know, I know... I'm that cool.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Guest Post: Lexie

Lexie is from Lindsey's home town (well, county) so that automatically makes her awesome. She has other awesome traits though, so don't worry. Right now she is living in Utah and working on her Master's Degree in Family Therapy. She loves everything about China (could I say that in a weirder way? I think not). She lived in China while she taught ESL and served a mission for our church in Taiwan. She is also a talented artist... she even does caricatures!

It’s Friday night. The weekend is here and your plans are up in the air. Your best guy friend texts you, asking what’s going on tonight. As the evening settles in, you find yourself hanging out with friends watching a movie you really are not in the mood for, or at a dance party (and you really don’t like to dance).

Does this ever happen to you? Does it sound like your every weekend? I present this scenario from personal experience--in fact, from weekends of personal experience.

Until now.

I have a belated New Year’s resolution. It dawned on me this past week. I was sick with a cold, following a pack of friends down Center Street, looking for a place to eat. I wasn’t even hungry. All I really wanted was to be at home in my pjs, watching something sappy like Pride and Prejudice and pampering my cold. But, obviously, there was something significantly appealing about this sad alternative that found me cold and meandering up and down Center Street… Yes, a guy.

On this walk, I took note of the couples that also walked hand in hand along Center Street. Watching them enter and exit the quaint ethnic restaurants or hidden community theaters. And that feeling hit--you know the one. I really want a boyfriend. I want him to know how I love China and take me to this perfect Chinese place that he heard about on Center Street, one I’ve never been to. But I don't have that. Instead, here I am: Cold. Sick. “Hanging out” with a guy who is clueless.

I’m really putting myself out here for you, readers. At this point in the story, I probably sound sad and pathetic. But I do this because I know I am not the only girl who finds herself in this situation. I don’t know what inspired me, but my thoughts took a positive turn.

Yes, I want to date. But while thinking about this, my mind did a short mental review of my dateless existence. So the question became, am I going to have a pity party with myself, or am I going to do something about it?

The answer is... I will date. Every week. I will take myself on dates!

I haven’t gone crazy, I promise. The solution I came up with is exactly what I read on this blog all the time: Pamper yourself. Enjoy yourself. Be yourself. Take yourself (and possibly a friend, because going solo to a restaurant is a little daunting even with this newfound self-assertiveness) to that Chinese place you know you’ll love. Or to the movie or play you’ve been dying to see. Or maybe stay in and try out a new recipe, because cooking is fun. I guarantee these dates with yourself will be more satisfying and fulfilling than the alternative. And, I suspect that a girl who is comfortable with herself and has fun with herself will seem more comfortable and fun to others. This may even lead to real dates--but that is not the point. The point is to be happy with you. Right now. The way things are.

A heads up: I don’t imagine it will always be easy. Like I said, “hanging out,” especially with someone you really like, will be tempting. Just don’t ditch yourself to do something that is less satisfying and fulfilling. If he isn’t asking you out, then ask yourself out. You deserve better. ;)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Love the Questions

"You are so young, so before all is beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can . . . to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
(translated by M.D. Herter Norton)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Put on a Happy Face

Monday, February 22, 2010

Don't Be a Victim of the Mirror

I'm a librarian in embryo, so naturally I enjoy the song "Librarian" by My Morning Jacket. I was surprised when looking through the lyrics to see some actual depth in the song besides, "Take off your glasses and let down your hair for me." Bear with me for a minute through the cheesy librarian references and some kind of forced rhymes.

"Duck into the men's room, combing through my hair
When God gave us mirrors, he had no idea.
Looking for a lesson in the periodicals
There I spy you listening to the AM radio

Karen of the Carpenters, singing in the rain
Another lovely victim of the mirror's evil way
It's not like you're not trying with a pencil in your hair
To defy the beauty the good Lord put there."

I remember the first time I heard about Karen Carpenter dying of an eating disorder. I thought, "How could someone with such a beautiful voice care so much about her weight that she ended up destroying her heart?" Obviously there's a lot more to anorexia and similar diseases than just wanting to be skinny. At the same time, I don't think I know a single woman who is completely satisfied with how she looks, no matter how together her life is. She needs to lose five or ten pounds. Her hair is too thin (or too thick, long, short, brown, stringy, etc.) Her eyelashes are too short. Her lips are too big (or too small). We never think, "Wow, I sure am great at my job," and then feel like we are good to go, nor do we think (often enough), "My, aren't my eyes a lovely shade of green? Isn't my hair shiny this morning?"

We've talked about this issue before - think positively about how great you are and you feel like you are great. I'd like to add something to that. Don't "defy the beauty the good Lord put there." You are great. People love you, and there are reasons that they love you. Don't forget to count those when you're tallying up who you are.

In closing, I'd like to add this quote by e.e. cummings. (I told you I had e.e. cummings quotes saved up. Just wait. There are more.) "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Snapshots

I wish I had a source for this picture, but I pulled if off some random facebook page. It makes me smile.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Lovely Birthday

Happy birthday Toni Morrison, the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature--she is 79 years old today. Her beautiful novels explore the role of black women in a racist, male-dominated society, and if you didn't have to read her books in high school, you should try them out now.

"At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough." --Tar Baby, Toni Morrison's fourth novel

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Heart's a Drummer

My love for the show Glee is well known and, honestly, the cover of Don't Rain on My Parade from that show is what inspired this post; but I'm also a little bit of a purist, so this clip from Funny Girl won out.

Mostly, I was listening to the song and the lyrics (my favorite lines are in bold) and it made me think about Monday's post. Read through the lyrics, have a listen and go do something new and exciting.

Don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter
Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter
Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade
Don't tell me not to fly, I simply got to
If someone takes a spill, it's me and not you
Who told you you're allowed to rain on my parade?

I'll march my band out, I'll beat my drum

And if I'm fanned out, your turn at bat, sir
At least I didn't fake it, hat, sir
I guess I didn't make it
But whether I'm the rose of sheer perfection
A freckle on the nose of life's complexion
The Cinderella or the shine apple of its eye
I gotta fly once, I gotta try once,
Only can die once, right, sir?
Ooh, life is juicy, juicy and you see,
I gotta have my bite, sir.
Get ready for me love, 'cause I'm a "comer"
I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer
Don't bring around the cloud to rain on my parade

I'm gonna live and live NOW!

Get what I want, I know how!
One roll for the whole shebang!
One throw that bell will go clang,
Eye on the target and wham,
One shot, one gun shot and bam!
Hey, Mr. Arnstein, here I am ...

I'll march my band out, I will beat my drum,
And if I'm fanned out, your turn at bat, sir,
At least I didn't fake it, hat, sir,
I guess I didn't make it
Get ready for me love, 'cause I'm a "comer"
I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer
Nobody, no, nobody, is gonna rain on my parade!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Little Mental Exercise

There's nothing like exercising your brain to make you feel lovely. It's easy to get so busy with all the little things in life that you forget there's a whole world of things going on outside, with important issues and things to think about.

For about a month now I've been in kind of a posting slump. The holidays kind of fried my brain, I guess; from the time that we took our holiday blog hiatus until about a week ago, I hardly posted anything that wasn't a book review on my personal blog, and the few things I posted here were quotes. I tried again and again to think of things to write, but came up with nothing.

Then I came across the current batch of books I'm reading. In case you don't know, I read pretty much more than I do anything else. So it isn't unusual for me to read a lot of books at once--what was unusual this time was the books themselves. They were books that made me think.
  • The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver. It's a historical novel about a fictional writer who grows up in Mexico, lives with famous revolutionary artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and works for Leon Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. When he's older, he lives in America during World War II and the subsequent horrors of the Red Scare.
  • Empire, by Orson Scott Card. I got pretty worked up reading this book, which is about a possible future involving a second American civil war. And when I say future I don't mean Ender's Game-type future. It is terrifying because there is very little in it that couldn't happen tomorrow.
  • Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: A Year of Food Life, also by Barbara Kingsolver, is on my nonfiction list for the reading challenge I'm doing this year. It's about a year during which her family lived off only the food they raised themselves on their farm in Appalachia, and it discusses the horrible food practices in the U.S. today. You would not believe some of the things that go on in our food industry--for example, the fact that the average item on the average American family's dinner table traveled 1500 miles to get there, and that if every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week that was only organic locally-grown food, we could save something like 1 million barrels (not gallons, barrels) of oil. How's that for addressing the oil crisis? And no one even has to buy a hybrid!
What I want to point out is that since I started reading these books, I am a posting fiend. I have ideas about things again; I have things I want to say, and I'm writing posts so fast that we have them scheduled days in advance. My posting slump is over.

So if you want to give yourself a boost and maybe remember that you used to be interested in things besides the newest episode of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan (or your newest homework assignment or project at work or whatever)... try picking up a book that will make you think. Grab the biography of one of those crazy politicians we always have an abundance of. Check out a book in a genre you've never read before. Ask a friend for a recommendation. Ask me for a recommendation! And if you don't have a lot of time to sit and read, look for some audiobooks at the library (don't buy them unless you know you'll like them, they're expensive) and listen while you're doing the dishes, folding laundry, or driving around. Give yourself the chance to think about some things that are going on in the world--it's amazing how quickly you can start to feel like a person again.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Belated Valentine

I meant to post this little Valentine to all of you, but then I forgot and Lin said it would be weird if I posted it retroactively (haha), so . . . here you have it. (The Valentine I sent to my parents was also late.) (Also, I secretly have a bunch of e.e. cummings quotes saved up to post here at some point. He had a lot of lovely things to say, and some of them were even punctuated.) (I'm trying to prepare you for the excess of parentheses you're about to encounter in this poem. Can you tell?)
This is my favorite love poem - possibly of all love poems. I think it applies well here because it can apply to any wonderful, loving relationship, whether that's friendship or family relationships or romantic love or whatever. Wherever there is love, the sum of us is more than just one and one. We're wonderful one times one.

if everything happens that can't be done
by e.e. cummings

if everything happens that can't be done(and anything's righter
than books
could plan)
the stupidest teacher will almost guess
(with a run
around we go yes)
there's nothing as something as one

one hasn't a why or because or although
(and buds know better
than books
don't grow)
one's anything old being everything new
(with a what
around we go who)
one's everyanything so

so world is a leaf is a tree is a bough
(and birds sing sweeter
than books
tell how)
so here is away and so your is a my
(with a down
around again fly)
forever was never till now

now i love you and you love me
(and books are shutter
than books
can be)
and deep in the high that does nothing but fall
(with a shout
around we go all)
there's somebody calling who's we

we're everything brighter than even the sun
(we're everything greater
than books
might mean)
we're everyanything more than believe
(with a spin
alive we're alive)
we're wonderful one times one

Be Daring

Sometimes I feel like I should be more daring, take more chances, be less responsible (in a good way). If you know me, or if you are my mother, you might just sigh and maybe roll your eyes a bit and listen to me talk about whatever idea I've got in my head at the moment and then change the subject.

The truth of the matter is, I have a lot of ideas. I like to make plans. I like to follow through with my ideas and I have a very VERY hard time being patient during the process. Take this blog, for example. I had the idea and the next day an opportunity to talk about the idea came up and immediately following that conversation, I emailed Megan and Miri to tell them about it. Then I spent the next two weeks completely immersed in getting things started and those two weeks were kind of torturous because I just wanted to get everything going. So this happens to me a lot, with big ideas and little ideas.

My mom would say I follow whims (does that make me a "whimsical" person?). I'm not especially spontaneous or adventurous, but I get an idea and I have to see it through. I could fail miserably. I have failed miserably. But am I worse off for trying? Certainly not. If I hadn't followed a whim or two, I would never have gone to England and France. I wouldn't have found some of my favorite creative outlets. I wouldn't know some of my favorite people. We wouldn't have this blog.

That's me in my always messy short hair adventure having days on the steps of some giant place in Paris.

And still I feel I should be more daring. I never want to feel stuck or trapped or like I'm holding myself back. I like saying things like, "I just did it" when people ask me why I went to England. It's fun to use "just because" as a reason and still feel perfectly, blissfully justified. It's fun because it's exciting and it's irrational and it's daring.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday Snapshots

Playing in lovely autumn leaves!

...And, two days later, playing in the snow!

Friday, February 12, 2010

An Idea

I had an idea last night. I think it's pretty cool.

I was talking to Mike and I started thinking about how when people talk about the happiest day of their lives, it's usually the day they got married or the day their first child was born or something. And then I thought, you know, there are a lot of other days that are just amazing even if no significant events are happening. I know I've had days where I just feel so happy I could burst, and I think they qualify. But the thing is, I know I've had more days like that than the few I can remember, and it's a shame that I can't remember those others.

So my idea, then, was this: What if I had a journal where I wrote about any day that I thought might end up being one of those days? It could be my Happiest Day of My Life journal, and just be full of entries about times where I felt really fantastic. I feel like that might be kind of a nice thing to look back on when I'm older.

So what do you think? Is it something you would do?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Magical Friends

So I was in a class the other day, and somehow the subject of friends came up. We were talking about what makes someone a good friend and what qualities we love in our friends, and then the teacher said, "And then you know how every once in awhile you get those magical friends who stick with you through everything and know everything about you and still love you? I love those friends."

And I was thinking about it, and I really have some magical friends - old friends with whom I communicate constantly via Skype, facebook, email, regular mail, blogs, etc. even though we now live hundreds of miles away from each other; friends with whom I don't communicate as often, but who feel as comfortable as always when we do talk; new friends with whom I can start projects and take road trips and make Thanksgiving dinner.

I don't know what the magic ingredient is for these special friendships, but I do know that part of it is the willingness on the part of both people to be friends. It's hard to force your friendship on someone, and it's hard for someone to be friends with you if you don't hold up your end of things. It takes work to stay best friends years after you've moved to different states, but sometimes you just both know that this is a friendship that is going to be worth it.

I'm wondering if one way to build these friendships is to meet people as if they could be these magical friends. Yes, shared experience, common interests and compatible personalities can play into this, but I can't even tell you how many people I've met who seemed so different from me, but who ended up being very important to me. (It's like Anne of Green Gables says: “Kindred Spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. Its splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guest Post: Breathe

Sam is Jennie's sister and another one of our dear former roommates. She lives in Provo, Utah and recently had a baby girl, who is beautiful like her mom.

Do you remember that song by Anna Nalick? My husband claims it’s one of those chick songs that all girls are genetically programmed to like. Anyway, I was up at 2 am with a sick baby the other night and started thinking about that song:

You can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable
And life’s like an hourglass glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe… Just breathe

Sometimes life gets so overwhelming and you can feel like all you’re doing is trying to catch up. There are days when I wake up and can’t believe that the laundry has stacked up to my knees and the dishes are ALL dirty. Sometimes my husband gets home from work in the evening and I feel horrible because I haven’t done anything – even shower!

Then I remember that I have done something – I’ve played with my little girl. Sometimes she just needs to snuggle or chat and I can’t just ignore that because I’ve got a bathtub to scrub. It’s amazing what children can teach you. My daughter teaches me daily about love and trust. And even if I don’t want to be up at 2 am, the smile I get when she sees me walk into her room makes everything worth it and I’m happy to lose sleep for that smile.

I don’t believe in fate. I believe in a kind and compassionate God who has plans for us. That said, I also believe that we can make our own decisions. Life, though, is like an hour glass and we can’t get our time back simply by wishing it. So, then, if you’ve spent the day playing with your new baby, or reading a good book, or catching up with an old friend, or gone shopping at the mall with your sister, isn’t that a better use of your “sand” than washing dishes, folding laundry, and cleaning a toilet? When you look back through your journal or your scrapbook or your memories are you more likely to smile at the jokes shared at lunch with friends or the freshly vacuumed and picked up living room? Are you more likely to think fondly of the hours spent playing a board game with your family or the clean dishes?

When you wake up tomorrow and find that something in your house isn’t perfect, just breathe… And remember all the fun you had today making memories that will last.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Destination: Beautiful

I spent last week at my grandparents' house visiting with them and cleaning whatever I could get my hands on. Three days were dedicated to the kitchen and during those three cleaning days, I watched whatever marathon happened to be on at the time. Lucky for me, one of those days brought me a What Not to Wear marathon (Megan, Miri and I are all equally in love with this show and I'm pretty sure we could talk about it with regard to specific episodes and people if it came down to it).

On one particular episode, I found myself holding back tears several times. There was this beautiful woman, successful, married, mother of a little girl, who could not believe she was pretty. Now, if you watch this show, you'll know this isn't necessarily out of the ordinary. A lot of the women on that show dress the way they do because of one insecurity or another. But when Stacy and Clinton asked this woman when the last time she felt beautiful was, she couldn't answer them. She just stood there thinking and not saying anything.

And I stood in my grandparents' kitchen, with my hands covered in soap suds, trying not to cry like a little baby. It broke my heart to think that she couldn't think of one single time when she felt beautiful. Think of it. Even when you only consider the "big" moments she had in her life- wedding, graduation, prom, etc.- she couldn't even default to that. She drew a complete blank.

It made me realize that no matter how unhappy I am with how I look, there are always times to look back on where I truly felt beautiful. Incidentally, prom is not included in that list. My fake college prom, however, is.

(See that guy there? With his arm around my shoulder? Yeah. Maybe that was the first and last time we ever met each other. But we went to a free college prom and I got roses so go me!)

It made me realize that there are other people who feel this way. This isn't a new revelation, I promise, but it is something that I was reminded of. It also reminded me of the challenge Miri talked about when we first started this blog. Look in the mirror and be happy with who you are. Tell yourself you are beautiful, do it long enough, and you will start to believe it and you will start to feel it. If no one else is saying it to you, say it to yourself.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Little Wonders

If you think about it, gas isn't really the kind of thing that we routinely feel grateful for. We're all thankful for our cars (especially if we've recently had the experience of being without one). But we--or at least I--don't think about the gas much. Not so anymore.

Mike lost his job last summer, and our finances have been total hell since then. He got a new job at Walmart toward the end of the summer, but it pays significantly less than the other job had, and basically we no longer make enough to even pay all our bills, much less buy things like food and gas. So for about a week now, we have been driving the car on fumes. More than once, we scrounged up all the change we could find, and used it to put one gallon in the car--just enough for Mike to get to school. We maxed out our last credit card for the two dollars' available balance, to get one gallon of gas (actually a little less) so we could get to work. But Mike got paid this weekend, and for the first time in two weeks we are driving on a full tank of gas.

It is wonderful. You can feel the difference in the way the car drives--it responds better, the driving is smoother. And you can feel a difference in the lack of panic brought on by watching the gas light and wondering how long it's been on, and how long you have before you run out. So I have learned to be grateful for gas, and for having enough money to fill up the tank. It's a small thing that makes a pretty big difference in my life, and having small things to be grateful for makes my life just that much lovelier.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Be Kind

The other night I was talking to a friend about fun, gossipy, drama-filled things, and I got a little carried away. I suddenly realized after one of my friend's responses that I had been saying things about people that I really liked that I didn't really mean or want to say about them, just because I was enjoying the thrill of the drama. I felt stupid and humbled and wished I could take back what I said and replace it with only the good things I see in these people.

That was when I started thinking about this song by David Wilcox. Dave tends to get a little cheesy sometimes, but in spite of it, he always feels very sincere and true to me. (I think the word that could best be applied to his music is "earnest.") Anyway, he has a song called "Kindness" (see a live performance on Youtube: that I've always kind of liked, either despite or because of this earnestness. Here are a couple of stanzas:

I love your sense of humor
I love to see you smile
I love your sense of balance
I love your sense of time
I love your music in the morning
Your rhythm in the night
But it's your kindness
That shines so bright . . .
Yes I love your wisdom
Your knowledge of the past
Your willingness to listen
And taste for what will last
Your compassion for the suffering
And your solid happiness
But it's your kindness that I love best

I think the thing I love about this is the way it goes through so many qualities that I love - in others, in myself - and then tops them all with kindness and compassion. Is there any better testament to what makes you lovely than that? Yes, your sense of humor, your intelligence, your education, your wisdom and all of those things you love make you lovely, but it's kindness that makes the biggest impact on the people around you.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Guest Post: Give Me Something To Sing About

Heidi has written for us before. I've already mentioned how awesome she is, but apparently she has a sister who is just as awesome! This news doesn't surprise me at all.

You know when you're driving, or cleaning, or cooking, or chatting away with friends and you have your favorite playlist going, the one where you know every word to every song? And you sing along the whole time and rock out a bit (or a lot) and you feel free and full of power? Yeah, I love that too. It makes me feel awesome!

My kid sister, Staci, and I work for the same employer. We were blessed for a long time to share an office together, where we'd shut the office door and sing our hearts out while working, because it makes us feel wonderful and strong.

Well... things had to change for one reason or another (and no, not because we sang too much) and we had to split offices. I got put in an office with a marketing guy and Staci went to a reception desk in the middle of everything.

My work life changed drastically after that. I stopped singing and I had a hard time for a while finding that joy of coming to work... I mean it's just awkward for a married girl to sing her heart out with a single marketing guy in the office, not to mention when you're having a rough day and need a sister like person to sympathize with you. Life at work for me became just... work.

This setup has been such for roughly three months. I've grown accustomed to not singing and I don't feel so out of place anymore (also, a pleasant side note--my husband works with us now, and the three of us have fun visiting each other and eating lunch together). But it still took me until yesterday to learn something very important: Sing anyway.

So yesterday I'm working away *type type type*, and I hear my sister's beautiful voice through the halls. And I realize... for three months my sister's been sitting at a makeshift desk in the middle of the hallway near the soda machine, where everyone walks back and forth and to and fro right past her for millions of reasons; she has no office, no privacy and no doors to shut so she can sing to her favorite songs. And all this time, she's been singing still.

My sister Staci is fearless. She sings boldly, because it makes her feel powerful. This is a quote from her as to why she sings where everyone can hear her: "I sing because I don’t care that anyone is around. If my employer wants to move me to the middle of the company then it's not gonna stop me from doing things I would normally do alone. And singing brings certain emotions to the surface where you just can’t help but release your inner self and sing your soul out! Kinda like therapy… eh?"

So if you love to *sing at work, or dance in the halls, or skip instead of walk, or strike up conversations with random people, or stop to help someone struggling a bit, or just smile a lot, or whistle, or eat fruit snacks during church, or make eye contact with people you pass at school, or talk to yourself, EVEN if it may be breaking the norm, do it anyway! And feel that light-as-air feeling in your gut, that smile that rushes to your face uncontrollably, that desire to be friends with everyone in the world. Yeah, that feeling. I love it, and I'm glad my sister reminded me that I can do what makes me feel that way anyway.

*Assuming none of this will get you in trouble with employers, church facilities, etc... :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sandra’s seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,

Laurie danced with witches once,

Charlie found some goblins gold.

Donald heard a mermaid sing,

Susy spied an elf,

But all the magic I have known

I've had to make myself.

--Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends

Monday, February 1, 2010

Live right now; just be yourself/ It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else.

When I meet someone new, or get in touch with someone I haven't talked to since childhood, I find myself trying to get a sense for what kind of person that person will like, then trying to fit myself into that mold. It isn't a conscious decision, just my natural subconscious approach to conversation; I do it with people I already know well, too, only it isn't so obvious because that's how I'm used to interacting with them. When I sit in front of the computer trying to write a comment on someone's Facebook wall, I delete and rewrite again and again, analyzing everything to pieces and trying to anticipate how the person will react to every word.

It takes more courage than I currently have, but I am trying to learn that I don't have to use a fake personality for every person in my life. I don't have to hide my real thoughts and feelings from people. I don't need to pretend to feel the same way they do about everything; I shouldn't try to make them see me only from a certain angle, or be afraid that if they see the other angles, they won't like me anymore. If people don't like me the way I really am, then there isn't much sense in associating with them. It's okay if every person I meet doesn't love me. They can take me or leave me, and I'll be okay; the important thing is to just be comfortable with myself.