Thursday, October 24, 2013

what the world needs now...

I don’t understand.

I don’t understand why people feel the need to do or say something that they know is going to intentionally hurt someone else.

The look that you give someone that is going to make them question what they wore.

The picture on Facebook because you know it’s going to hurt someone who sees it.

Completing an assignment with an air of arrogance about it, as if you couldn’t possibly have anything to learn from your teacher.

Making a situation appear to be something other than what it really is to play mind games with someone.

Calling someone’s opinion stupid because it’s not yours.

Using a disagreement with someone as excuse to form a void in your relationship.

Instead of leaving it alone.
Instead of not posting it.
Instead of thinking outside the box.
Instead of showing kindness.
Instead of opening your mind to new ideas.
Instead of working through it.

Dear world,

Life is too short, too fragile. People are too important. The saying sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me is crap. Words do hurt. And they stick with you a long time.
Memories last a lifetime. Can we fill these lives with good ones? Can we stop hurting each other and start helping each other? Can we stop giving each other nasty looks? And stop being passive aggressive on Facebook? And start being respectful of those in authority over us? And be honest with each other about what happens? And build each other up, even if that does mean someone else looks better than you? And stop letting our disagreements get in the way of our friendships and relationships?

Can we just be patient? Kind? Encouraging? Respectful? Forgiving? Truthful? Trusting? Hopeful? Persistant?

That's love. All of those are ways to show love to the people in your life. We all have our faults and our struggles and our hardships. I most certainly am not any better than anyone reading this. But let’s stop hurting each other, and start encouraging each other.
Live. Laugh. Love.

Monday, October 21, 2013


When I was a little girl, I would spend hours at the library. From Babysitter's Club books to Sweet Valley Twins and everything in between (except Goosebumps...way too scary for this little girl) I would read it. I had usually finished the required reading for the summer reading program by the end of June. I went to Noah's Ark in Wisconsin Dells more times than I can remember because I completed the entire summer reading program. Reading has always been a pastime with which I was completely in love.

I think sometimes we get so swept up in being an adult that we forget to take time for the little things. People like to tease me for being "easily amused" by the little things. Like a new battery arriving in the mail for a remote. Or someone forgiving my library fine. Or getting a text message from someone just asking me about my day. There are so many things that are bad in this world, that I just feel like we need to take every ounce of good, no matter how small or insignificant, and appreciate it. What excited you when you were younger? A new box of crayons or sidewalk chalk? Mom or Dad taking you to McDonald's for supper and letting you get a Happy Meal? The first day of summer when you got that brand new pool pass that you knew would be wrinkly from use by the end of the summer? When Mom made homemade play dough. Catching fireflies  while the baseball game across the street continued late into the night? When you got to go to the Pumpkin farm and pick out your own pumpkin?

The funny thing is that almost all of these are things that I remember from my childhood that didn't
require a lot of time or energy, but sure did bring me a lot of happiness. They are also things that I still try to do as an adult, despite the fact that I don't have kids. Today I did something from my childhood that brings me joy. I read.

Now normally when I come home from a day of work, I get home around 8pm (keeping in mind that I left between 6 and 6:30am). This is usually just enough time to eat something if I haven't already, packed up the bag for the next day, wash my face, and crawl into bed. Despite there being several books on my nightstand, the last thing that I want to do is read. The truth of the matter is, I've been reading emails or work for the majority of the day and I'm probably going to fall asleep within ten minutes and not remember what I read anyway.

But today? Oh, today was different. You see, today...I had the day off. This is my first day off since August 12 when we started school. Weekends don't count...everybody has those (and I usually put in 12-16 hours of school work anyway). And any additional time off has been filled with teacher conferences or meetings of some sort. But today? Today was different. I didn't have to be at school for any meetings. I knew I wouldn't get called into school as tech support because there wasn't anything else going on. Today was mine.

I spent the majority of the weekend working on household tasks that haven't gotten done over the course of a couple very busy weeks. This morning I woke up to a pocket dial from the Midwest around 6:15am, but that was ok because I got up to start my day. By 9am, I had a load of laundry through the wash, the dishwasher full, and a sink full of dishes drying. I made some eggs and veggies and a big pot of coffee, and walked out onto my patio to do something that I haven't done since probably last I've been trying to get through the lastest Jodi Picoult book, The Storyteller. (Sidenote: Although intense sometimes, I'd highly recommend, especially if you have any interest in the Holocaust.)

There was a part of the book that really struck me as I was reading it. Two of the characters, Leo and Sage, are not a couple, though they keep getting approached and treated as one by a variety of people from the small town that the two of them are visiting.

*The following passage is from an excerpt from Jodi Piccoult's book The Storyteller. I do not own the content. Copyright 2013 Jodi Picoult

Twice more we are approached and asked if we've just moved here. The first time, Leo says that we were going to go to the movies but something was playing so we came to temple instead. The second time, he replies that he is a federal agent and I'm helping him crack a case. The man who's been chatting with us laughs. "Good one," he says.
"You'd be surprised how hard it is to get people to believe the truth," Leo tells me later, as we walk across the parking lot.
But I'm not surprised. Look at how hard I fought Josef, when he tried to tell me who he used to be. "I guess that's because most of the time we don't want to admit it to ourselves."
"That's true," Leo says thoughtfully. "It's amazing what you can convince yourself of, if you buy into the lie."
You can believe, for example, that a dead-end job is a career. You can blame our ugliness for keeping people at bay, when in reality you're crippled by the thought of letting another person close enough to potentially scar you even more deeply. You can tell yourself that it's safer to love someone who will never really love you back, because you can't lose someone you never had."

That last line made me stop in the midst of my coffee drinking marathon. Isn't that true in a variety of circumstances? How many times have we chosen a certain path because it would be easier, and not because it was necessarily the right choice. How many of us have taken the easy path to avoid conflict? How many of us have stayed in a relationship that, if we looked deep down and were truly honest with ourselves, knew that it wasn't good for us to be in? Or that we spent so much time convincing ourselves that it was right but we knew would never really last? Because then we would be alone. And sometimes something is better than nothing? Or maybe there was someone, but giving yourself to them meant giving up control...and along with them came the potential for heartache...or even heartbreak.

Do you remember the movie Along Came Polly? If you haven't seen it or have forgotten, here's a little reminder...

Risk is scary. It means that there is the possibility for loss. But it also means that you have something or the potential for something that is worth losing. And I don't know about you, but I don't like to live with "what ifs." Sometimes you just need to try...jump in head first. I think of this every time I get into the pool at the gym. I know the first minute is going to be a little uncomfortable or shocking to my system. But I know the reward (in this case, sexy toned arms) are going to worth the risk. I think the same is true for lots of things in life, but especially in relationships. Sometimes you just need to jump in. Try it. Challenge yourself. Yes, there is the potential for loss. Or hurt. Or heartbreak. But these are the experiences that make us who we are...and who we are becoming. They are the experiences that are preparing us for the reward. And sometimes? Sometimes the reward far outweighs the risk.

Live. Laugh. Love.