Thursday, December 30, 2010

In the Midst of a Defining Moment

I watched the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” tonight (as in on December 29th, just a few hours ago) for what may have been the twentieth time. Oddly enough, for the first time, I didn’t cry. Not a single tear. One thing I noticed is how much I noticed differently than I did the other nineteen or so times. 
Not a single tear. What does that mean? Is that a disengagement of my current situation or just the subtle, if in fact, awareness of the fact that the lines in the movie are quite adequately true? 
We don’t want to be in love, we want to be in love in a movie.
When I was in high school, a columnist wrote that unlike the television show “Friends” (which happened to be my favorite), we don’t hear theme songs or a laugh track in real life. This I know to be true. 
Is this the moment, the moments after I turn off the TV and let it sink in that this is real life and not a movie, I realize that this may be a defining moment? 
Let me step back for a minute and say that this Reverb 10 business is like homework therapy. Two of the most recent prompts, “Ordinary Joy” and “Defining Moment”, both deserve their own separate posts. However, I wanted to be inspired so I popped in a movie that I thought would make me laugh and cry. 
So, here we go.
I believe we can experience ordinary joy with a laugh and a cry. About a week and a half ago someone sent me a message and the first line read, “I’m so proud of you.” In an instant, unlike any instant I’ve experienced recently, I cried. I was fully crying, tears streaming down my face, and then, I started laughing as I recognized I was experiencing complete and utterly ordinary joy. 
It is amazing how one person can say just one thing and it can change our entire experience, for the moment, for the journey, or for the entire course of our lives. Sure, people tell you and I they’re proud of us often, I’m sure, but when do we really actually hear it?
“I’m so proud of you,” I read the words again, and for the first time in a long time wasn’t embarrassed. Like everyone, I needed someone to be proud of me. Then, to continue on and say, “See how strong you really are.” 
This, as simple as it was, may have been the most defining recent moment of 2010. It certainly doesn’t define the entire year, or the experience of the year, but it defines how it’s ending and the entrance to 2011. 
Have you ever wondered why people cry at romantic comedies? They’re looking for a happy ending. No, not the happy endings that make the news, but happy endings like the one in which Annie finally gets to figure out why she’s so intrigued by that man who is Sleepless in Seattle. There’s some truth to the wonderings that keep us up at night. We’re curious by nature, and if part of that pursuit is finding our happiness, we have to go with it, right? 
There is complete and total ordinary joy in watching a movie, or reading a note, or hearing words that can make one smile, whether you’re the one smiling or the one saying the nice things. I believe, that in each instance where we experience some ordinary joy, we’re also in the midst of a defining moment. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

So, this is Christmas. Everything’s OK.

I’m sniffling, not because I’m crying, but because I have a cold. At least, that’s my answer at this moment. Ask me again later and the answer might change. (A short time ago, someone texted me something very simple, and I was fighting back tears).

The Reverb 10 project provides opportunities to reflect on parts of 2010 and manifest destiny for 2011, and some of the writing prompts they choose resonate like the echo of a harp played down the hall and around the corner. That would be the reverberations.

Everything’s OK. You know, I think if a person says that enough they come to believe it. Two weeks ago I sat at the computer I’m at now explaining I didn’t want to worry in 2011. I believed that if I could shed it from my life, the “best of my life could begin.” Honestly, I just didn’t know how that manifestation would occur. But, that worry, the worry that I so desperately didn’t want to be experiencing anymore (I swear, I was living right smack in the middle of worry that I didn’t even recognize it) is gone.   

Have you ever noticed that if you have had a rough go, illness, relationship breakups, or other crisis, people tend to inform you that everything will, in fact, be OK? [Thank you, each of you.]

“This too shall pass.”
“Time heals all wounds.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Yes, you’re right.
I’m sure that it does.
That seems to be the case.

Looking ahead at 2011, the recognition is that as tough as something seems to be while you are in it, or coming out of it, or going through it, or whatever, it does get better.

There are two lessons I move forward with.

One comes from several years ago from my Mom. I had just earned my driver’s license and with energy was on my way to pick her up from work. Just past the cul-de-sac I hit a fire hydrant and a geyser of water went into the air. I decided to make it much more dramatic than it was and climbed out of the sunroof, rolled down an embankment, and called her on a brick-sized cell phone.

“Mom? I ran over a fire hydrant.”

“Well, what do you want me to do about it?”

Mom’s point was I hadn’t hurt anyone, I wasn’t hurt, and the most I had done was flooded the street. Lesson learned.

Another lesson dates back years ago and carries with me straight to this night. As a child I would watch “A Sesame Street Christmas” with my Dad (aka, "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street"). The song that plays during it rings true and my Dad so often reminds me that it is to, “Keep Christmas with you, all through the year….”
If I do, Everything’s OK.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Floating On the Wings of Earthly Angels

The healing is just beginning. 
In these final weeks of 2010, the healing is just beginning. It started with writing this blog. Everyone needs an outlet of some kind to identify why they are hurting and need healing in the first place. 
Putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keys on a keyboard, is one way a person can get close with their thoughts. Joan Didion once said, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” 
Perhaps, healing comes in a two step process when one is writing. First, the thoughts enter your mind. Then, there’s an adjustment between resting on a sturdy foundation and falling into a deep pool of uncertainty. At that point, if you’re writing, the words start to flow. Then, you start to make sense of it. l guess it was more than two steps, wasn’t it? 
This process, this blog is a way to heal, for me. It is my sincerest hope that if you’re reading this, and you wonder how to begin the healing process that maybe you find a nugget of hope, or process, or passages to sustain you. After all, the characteristics that make us all human come in the form of faith, hope and love and are sometimes masked as doubt, worry, or regret. 
Floating on the wings of earthly angels. I’ve said this statement a few times this week and at first it sounded quite holy and mighty. Then, I realized it just happened to be the truth. 
Sometimes, things change in our lives in a way that we don’t understand, or we have trouble accepting why things have changed, or just can’t get beyond being stuck in a moment. 
The healing process for me got a kick start because of others in my life. The recognition that people like you for you and for no other reason is one of the most comforting feelings in the world. People just sometimes show up. You have no idea who they will be or why it is them, but when they do, embrace them with open arms. I have to. 
I’m trying to like myself more. It’s really easy to give up on yourself when you’re so busy running errands, going to work, cooking meals, dealing with the kids, the cat, the dog.... You get the idea. You become exhausted. Remember when I talked about napping? We can’t do anything for anyone else if we don’t do something for ourselves. In 2011, I’m going to like myself more. 
You know, giving is not about the anticipation of anything in return, it’s about the genuine human character of the giver. People who give do so because they want to and because they can. 
And that, realizing that in order to really give, one must heal (which may involve forgiving oneself), accept love, and try to like themselves more and allow themselves time to do all those things, is the lesson learned in 2010. 

Oh, and to smile more. Maybe someone will smile back. 
Get Your Own Blog Prompts at

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Comfort, Guidance, Resilience, and Blessings

5 Minutes to Remember. That's the challenge today from Reverb 10. Set an alarm clock and see what I can remember. It's not that I don't remember specifics, I just remember feelings, emotions, and particular moments. 

At the setting of the sun New Year’s Eve imagine your memory erased. What if your entire life, everything you’ve done, specifically this year, disappeared. What of those 12 months would you want to remember and how would you encapsulate it?
“Jesus, please come, please come today. Hear me. Heal me. Be near me I pray, “ sings Heather Williams. These song lyrics I remember in 2010. Comfort
“Lead me with strong hands, Stand up when I can’t, Don’t leave me hungry for love, Chasing dreams, what about us,” sings Christian band Sanctus Real, from the real life emotions of Matt Hammitt. These are song lyrics I remember in 2010. Guidance.

Imagining just two minutes to remember 2010, I remember:
Moving out. Moving In.
Saying Goodbye. Saying Hello.
Packing. Unpacking.
Unlearning, and learning.
Frustration, and relief.
Anger, resentment, and hope, plus belief. 
These things, “I’ve fallen so far, flat on my face, Lord I need your grace today,” Heather Williams sings.
2010 is not about the falling down, despite how I may sometimes feel, or the giving up and saying goodbye before I was ready, or the endless breaking of hearts. 2010, from what I remember, was about comings and goings. For others, it was about beginnings, and endings. 

What's that word I keep saying? Oh yes, resilience.
It’s the life affirming reasons why we are here. Sometimes we arrive at a place and we wonder how we got here, not literally, but figuratively. 
I met a woman tonight who moved to my town because her husband's job brought her here, and in the last four years life changed. 
Life is not what I thought it was 24 hours ago. 
In 2010, I will remember most the change. The change in jobs, in scenery, in friendships, in relationships, and in the situations I left behind. Somewhere in there, I will remember the blessings.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Change, Big Or Small, Is a Real Challenge"

“... I will be in the hospital Easter, but remember I love you. God bless you, dear one.” 

My Grandma, always putting others first, in the Spring of 2006. She wrote the words in a Easter card, the last legible writing I ever received from her.
“I love you more.” 
My Grandma would say that to me each time she ended a phone call with me. I can hear her saying it to me, it’s the whisper of the faintest distance in the dead of night. In my heart I say, “I love you.”
I can feel her say, “I love you more.”
Since my last post about not wanting worry wrinkles, a part of my life changed. A significant part is no longer and now that is part of my journey.
I believe you don’t necessarily have to be a religious person to experience God’s grace. In a year, for me, that’s been full of changes, both good, and bad, and somewhere in between, grace defines me. 
She, my Grandma, taught me to affect my circumstances, and not to be affected by them. 
Tears, they may stream like a slow, but steady drizzle from a faucet, onto my face, down the curve of my lips, and into my mouth, but they are happy tears. The salty sensation, the cool wet kiss of my own emotions on my cheek, remind me again of the resilience, the promise, and gradual, if not certain, passage to happiness. 
My Grandma suffered a stroke in June 2006. I never experienced her the same after that. In my memory, she is this strong-willed person who said, “Don’t give up on me just yet.” 
She died a few months later. It was grief, and to this day, is grief of the deepest magnitude I have experienced.There is a hero for every person and in every family for different reasons and at different times. My hero is, and has been, my Grandma.
In the days, if not minutes, before she passed away, I wrote some words down that resonate quite deeply with me now: 
I’m going through the motions of going to work and doing my job and feeling like I’m a spectator of my own life. Certain things happen in slow motion because my mind is so preoccupied on what’s happening outside of the present moment that I forget to notice it. People talk to me and I miss what they say and sometimes don’t remember hearing them at all.  I’m told this is normal and that it will come and it will go. Then, for an instant, something triggers and I’m fighting tears, but just for a moment, until I return to my vacant mind of going through the motions.

Grandma wouldn’t want me to just go through the motions. 
It does not matter what loss one is experiencing, because loss is the one unifying factor of life. Maybe not loss, but the fear of failure realized, or the fear of loss realized, the fear, the very worry, and the edge of doubt you sat on top of, when it slips out, and it’s realized; we’ve all been there. Also, let me be the umpteenth person to say that sometimes loss is a blessing in disguise, we just don't know it yet.
It is the one thing everyone goes through and yet that does not make it any easier because of the circumstances and the people involved. It is really only being experienced in one unique way for each person grieving.
It hurts, because very few people understand, even though everyone can relate. 
I pray, one day, my children, whenever I do have them, I can share her eternal faith with them, so that they, too, might find a foundation and a hope for a future. 
Resilience, remember, is about accepting our circumstances even if they are different, or disappointing, or not what we thought they would be. We can do nothing, as Elizabeth Edwards said, but scream about what we have lost, or accept it, and try to put together something that’s good. 
Scratch that.
Appreciate. Prompts at
This year, I appreciate my friends, the many of them who showed up on the doorstep of my heart when I least expected it.

I love you more.

I appreciate the memory of my Grandma, and the lasting wisdom she instilled in me. Certainly, I appreciate the faith, and the gentle tugging of my heart, when she would rub the small of my back when I wasn’t feeling well, and gently squeeze me in a life-affirming embrace.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Don't Want Worry Wrinkles

I also don't want to be a frump.

I’ve filled my face with worry wrinkles.

That’s what I call them. There’s this crease in the middle of my forehead above my left eyebrow, and I swear it was not as deep and as defined earlier this year as it is now. I can tell you exactly when it developed, and it probably will never go away.

I’d rather be noticed for my smile lines, my bursting red cheeks, and my sometimes apple-colored skin. I say that even though I find it, too, embarrassing sometimes.

The Reverb 10 project put out the word today as “Things.” What 11 things do I not need in my life in 2011? Certainly, I don’t need worry.
Worry never got anyone anywhere and fear and doubt don’t help either.

“Doom!” My boyfriend says to me when anything could potentially go wrong. For example, I have a paper due for a graduate class but I may not have time to finish. I’ll tell him my concerns, and he says the word “doom.” He says it with this deep, long, “ooom” sound that kind of makes me laugh and quiver at the same time. I love that.

I don’t want the doom. Yet, I have to understand that sometimes, I just can’t do anything about it.

Another example is having an unpredictable expense and putting it on a credit card. Instead of whining about it, I have to make the money I do have last longer. Or, I ask him kindly to donate generously to the Get the Frump Out of My Rump fund, and he pitches in, willingly.

What happens to you when you worry? When you are afraid?

I sometimes call it the “haunted house of my head.” It’s where all the negative ideas and thoughts are. There’s a difference between a gut instinct and rattled nerves. I believe that fear and worry manifest with a heart beat, and flushed skin, and sometimes the nibbling of fingernails. It manifests in the same way when I’m watching a movie that I know is not real, which is how I know it’s irrational.

Fear of failure. Fear of losing. It is the disenchanted wonderment that comes in asking, “Why?”

Doubt, fear, worry, they’re ugly. They are unattractive. Yet, the fact that we, as humans, have these feelings is real. Most of us, unless we are serial pessimists, don’t go through life looking for evidence to support our doubts, our fears, and our worries. Instead, if you’re like me, we choose to believe. We choose to trust and open our hearts to the positive parts of life. I recognize that life does not come without some sort of angst every once in a while, I just don’t like it.

A life that is worth living, and a love that’s worth loving, is what these experiences are all about. If we are lucky, we learn something along the way. Every morning that I wake up, I choose life. In that choice, I also choose to love the people I love, and who I know love me: Mom, Dad, Nathan, and so many good friends.

Resilience, I wrote the other day, is about the staying up and not in the falling down.

So, in answer to this challenge, as difficult as it is, I need not worry in 2011. I choose faith. I choose to celebrate in the joy while I am in it, and not wait for it. The minute worry ends, the best of my life can begin.

p.s. The 10 other things I could do without in 2011 are: doubt, fear, anxiety, confusion, debt, loss, weight gain, illness, car problems, and somehow not graduate.
How I'll work to prevent them? Believe, trust, relax, ask questions, save more, love wholeheartedly, eat and work out well, take my vitamins, take my car to the shop, and do the work and graduate.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Beautifully Different Community, in One Word

A Beautifully Different Community, in One Word
I stumbled across the Reverb 10 project over the weekend after discovering the wonderfully talented in-pursuit-of-happiness writer Gretchen Rubin was offering at least one of the prompts.
The beautiful part about Reverb 10 is that it allows you to choose when you take part, and how you take part, with just some subtle recommendations. The goal is to remember and reflect on what this year, 2010, has meant for each one of us, and manifest our destiny for the upcoming 2011. It is a fitting project for anyone working to get the frump out of their rump.  
One Word 
My mother came to visit me earlier this year. We watched some sappy movies, like “Marley and Me,” and went out to lunch and talked about family members and wedding ideas, should I get married. We also stayed up late and watched Elizabeth Edwards on “Larry King Live.” 

“She is an amazing woman,” my mother said.

“So inspiring,” I said. “I love that the title of her book is resilience.” 

Resilience for me meant different things at the time. Studying business continuity in graduate school, another name for that was in fact, business resilience. You see, resilience, in the business sense, is about the staying up and not falling down during a crisis. Come to find out, resilience means exactly the same thing when someone is battling internal demons or deep challenges of faith. It’s the getting back up and holding on, praying expectantly. It is hope. 
2010 has been a different kind of year for me, faced with change and challenges, some brought on myself, some divinely presented by choices, and others just dumped on me like a bucket of slippery slime. 
Elizabeth Edwards, a woman I did not know, exemplified some of the character traits I admired in my Grandma. The point is, she certainly allowed herself to feel what she was feeling and was unapologetic about it. Yet, she saw no purpose in staying angry or resentful, and she allowed herself the right to imagine a certain, if gradual, passage to happiness. 
Resilience is the word for 2010, and a year from now, it will hope. If we are resilient, we can hold on and pray expectantly. 
The people who read this blog and who unite under the same goal of getting rid of the seemingly “yucky” part about being uncertain in life are part of my community. Those of us who want to visualize and dream-into-life a better tomorrow are the community members I find myself recently aligned with. Whether you are actively blogging or sharing your story, we are all on some sort of journey to find purpose so that we may live the best of our life. We’re a community of education-seekers, budget-minded shoppers, desire-to-give-back volunteers, and some of us are wine drinkers. 

Sometimes, I like to imagine myself standing in a room full of wine tasters and vintage bottles saying, “I’m a Pinot.”

Then, someone says back to me, “I’m a Zin, but I’m better after aging a few years
There is something perfectly beautiful about being part of a winemaking group, which my boyfriend* and I are. 
We are members of all ages, different walks of life, different hobbies, but we all have a taste for wine. 
Something else that’s funny, is when I think of Chelsea Handler’s book “My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands” I actually think of wine bottles, because they’re better stored horizontally. 
Excuse me while I laugh thinking of an alternate book cover. 

Beautifully Different
“You are unique,” my best friend would say to me during high school. “You have your own unique qualities that make you, you.” 

She certainly had a nice way of saying the fact that I was different, odd, or even eccentric. 

“Ughpf,” I’d say back. 

“Yay, Annie noises,” she would say to me. 

The cycle continues, and now almost every time we get together the first few minutes are filled with mutterings and sounds that I seem to always make, and some celebrated joy that I’ve made them. 

As I taper off my writing for this collection of Reverb 10 posts, I think of the things that each one of these topics has in common.
I’m part of a wine making group, which involves patience, and a resilience in case something goes wrong. Each varietal, each bottle, is unique and has its own qualities. Each person who tastes the wine explores it differently, identifying parts that not all of us may experience. And, these experiences we have, whether in tasting a wine, or living our lives, may instill in us the same resilience and hope we admire in people like Elizabeth Edwards.

*UPDATED December 28, 2010: Boyfriend is now an ex-boyfriend.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Wine Corks Tell A Story

I make most things in the kitchen.

On Thanksgiving, I made my first turkey.
What I would like to make is a creative project. For more than a year I have been saving wine corks. My boyfriend* and I enjoy going wine tasting and joined several wine clubs over the years.

Each cork has a memory, a story, or something else.

The project I want to undertake includes taking those corks and cutting them to frame a memory, a photograph, or two. Maybe I could make one for someone else, as a gift, and practice giving, that way. As a bonus, I could include a bottle of wine.

What is the last thing you made? Or better yet, what is the last thing you created?

This post is part of Reverb10, a project to reflect on the year before it ends.

*Ex-boyfriend as of December 12, 2010


It's Not About the Decorations

Growing up, a neighbor would have Christmas tree lights, a tree, decorations, and a Christmas card all ready to go the day after Thanksgiving. 
It’s not about the decorations.
When I was old enough to send my own Christmas cards, about six years ago, I strived to have the same “urgency” with spreading my holiday cheer. After all, professionally, I am a broadcast journalist. Everything is deadline driven.
So, here I am on the fifth day of December and I don’t have the budget for Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, or anything else that spreads holiday cheer. As much as I’d love to spend tomorrow evening after work sipping some hot chocolate and writing in the Christmas cards I had bought weeks ago, I won’t be. 
Somewhere between who I once was and who I might have been, I realized that Christmas isn’t about the decorations, or the holiday cards, or all the gifts you think you have to buy. What gift are you giving if you end up in debt? It helps no one. 
You might be asking, so, what is the season about?
For me, this year, it’s about loving, and really living, and demonstrating gratitude of tremendous proportion. It’s gratitude extending from the Thanksgiving holiday, that I am afforded the possibility to give, even if it means giving up something else to do it. 
To borrow a line from the song from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Faith Hill sings in “Where Are You Christmas:” 
“If there is love in your heart and your mind, you will feel like Christmas all the time.” 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Call to Action Requires Rest

A Call to Action
Step 1: Get out of bed.
Step 2: Eat. Breakfast.
Step 3: Do something. 
It’s hard to get motivated when you’re not feeling well, whether it’s because you’re fighting a cold or you’re just feeling down on your luck.
Well, friends, today is proof that the important thing is that you just do something. I’m pretty exhausted, let me tell you. I have one week left of class until winter break and even though I have three papers to write and several documents to read, all I really wanted or felt like doing was nap. 

Did you ever read the book “The Napping House” by Don and Audrey Wood? If you haven’t, you should. It’s the place where “everybody is sleeping.” I delighted in the joy of that book. Naps are something that are genuinely healthy. I always wondered why we started our lives napping and ended our lives napping. I think I figured it out. It’s because we spend so much of the middle parts of our lives running around and doing something that we have to rest prior to that part of our lives and after. 
Despite what you think, this blog is not about taking a nap, although I do believe we should find some time in our lives for a little rest here and there. Why? Because we’re all going to do something. I choose to make rest a part of my life so that I can be active throughout it. 
Today there is a call to action beyond the daily grind of work, dealing with the kids, making dinner, running errands, or paying the bills. The call to action is to do something greater than all that. 
Be inspired to do something for someone else just because you can. Be compelled to volunteer or donate your time just because you can. This is part of getting the frump out of your rump. 
The first part of my project is getting involved with Embrace Global. It is a 501c3 organization that provides infant warmers for the developing world. You don’t have to donate money, you can donate your time. When babies face hypothermia and there is no one there to hold them, and there’s no electricity to assist in the process, they can die. 450 babies die each hour. When you hug your baby, think about hugging them too.
What’s your call to action?

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Wearing My Astronaut Shoes

“Today, I’m wearing my astronaut shoes.”
When I was entering first grade, my Mom was a teacher at my elementary school. I attended Badger Mountain Elementary School in Richland, Washington. My Dad was a newspaper editor at The Tri-City Herald. 
I took the bus to school. It was Dad’s responsibility to make sure I got my shoes and socks on real tight before walking to the bus stop. 
He would show me how to tie the knot and ask, “What kind of shoes are you wearing today?”
“Daddy, these are princess shoes!”
Or, maybe, “These are my astronaut shoes.” 
My Dad instilled in me at the very beginning of my explorative years that even if something was in my imagination, I could attain it as a goal or as a career or even a hobby. 
Imagination turns into dreams and dreams turned into stories.
Years later, in middle school and high school, while living in Southern California, Dad would drive me to school. I would proceed to tell him my dreams, my literal dreams from the night before, and my interpretations of them. 
“Daddy, I dream in color,” I would say. “There’s a regular cast, you know, like a sitcom, and sometimes there are guest stars.” Sometimes, there would be credits. 
As a 30-something, I still have an imagination, and I still have dreams. At this moment, the dreams I refer to are the ones in which date back to those early imaginative moments of being a princess, a construction worker was one, and an astronaut.
Each one of those childlike dreams involve something that unites all of us, the desire to create, the desire to learn, and the desire to really enjoy everything that we’re doing. 
These days my dreams are more universal and goal-oriented. Whether it is to write a screenplay, produce a documentary, volunteer for a charity, own a winery, or to just raise a wonderful family, they are my dreams. 
They are about exploring unpaved paths, uneven roads, and in more profound moments, unjustified injustice. 
Today, I am wearing my astronaut shoes. What shoes are you wearing?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It is Better to Give Than to Receive

“It is better to give than to receive.”
I remember being assigned a lesson in 4th or 5th grade, I cannot remember which, where I had to decide which was in fact better. 
In class we read books like “The Giver.”
In 7th or 8th grade, a few years later, I decided that there was so much to be thankful for. People in my life who I could not wait to give back to. 
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for many reasons. One, it usually means I get to be with the ones I love, or I work and am with some of my closest friends. It is also a reminder to the rest of country what gratitude is all about. 
I believe gratitude is an attitude we must hold all year long.
Giving doesn’t always have to be done monetarily. Admittedly, I would like to give money to charitable organizations or to people I see on the streets who I know are starving or dying for a warm blanket. Giving, instead, can be through kind gestures, a simple pay it forward attitude. Start small.

  1. Bring your co-worker a cup of coffee, if you know they will like it.
  2. Send a friend a “just because card.” You know, through the mail. I don’t know about you but I love to get mail and I don’t always like checking my phone to see if someone thought of me today or this week. 
  3. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
  4. Instead of giving the homeless person cash, give them a gift card. 
  5. Pray for someone. 
  6. Show someone a smile. Trust me, it will make you feel good, too. 
There are so many ways we can give back. Seeing that person smile is a gift we may then receive, and it’s simple, and free. 
It really is better to give than to receive.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, may you be blessed and aware of your blessings, on this day, and everyday. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stop Wearing "Cover Clothes"

“I like comfy clothes.”
Ok, so what. I do. 
At 22 I dated a boyfriend who didn’t want me to get into my “comfy clothes.” In fact, he requested that I not be in sweats when he came over at 9:00 p.m. 
Point taken.
Perhaps I can get some sympathy for the fact that I was working an often 3:00 a.m. shift and coming over at 9:00 p.m. was like waking me up. 
When I met my current boyfriend I asked him to never tell me not to wear my comfy clothes. (Maybe that’s why he called me a frump.) It’s about time I give boyfriend a name. His name is Nathan. 
Here’s the thing, being comfortable is not about the design of your clothes. It is not about whether or not they are flannel pajamas (like I happen to be wearing right now) or a work out suit. It’s about whether or not you, and in this case I, feel comfortable with what I’m wearing at all.
“Comfy clothes” as I called them, and still do, and as he (my main man) would sometimes mock me, could in fact be called cover clothes. They cover up everything about yourself that you don’t like, whether it’s the love handles, the pudgy stomach, the skinny legs, the fat ankles, or whatever it is. 
One of the reasons for the frumpy state is that I didn’t like what I felt like and if I didn’t like it, no one else would like it either. That’s even if I knew my boyfriend liked my “sexy legs” as he still calls them. 
Once you realize that the man (or woman, or person) in your life loves you for you and likes things about yourself that you may not like, you get out of your comfy clothes. What do you do?
I have some suggestions, depending on what your frumpiness is:
Go to the gym. 
Eat a well-balanced diet.
Find a friend, and see if you can help each other through your frumpiness. 
Choose health, and choose not to care about the rest. 
So, get out of your cover clothes. Allow yourself to be comfortable. Show some leg. 
Guess what? I like wearing skirts. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Does Your Face Look Like?

“It’s the way my face looks.”

My Mom would say that to me while I was growing up whenever she would be ironing, reading, cooking, or doing something other than paying immediate attention to me.

The expression on someone’s face is a great way to learn something about you. When you glance over to someone at work you might see the lines in between their eyebrows pressed up that it looks like toothpicks. Or, if you roll over and see the person you love lying next to you, they might look glazed over, peaceful, with the creased reflection of the pillows or the sheets they’ve been sleeping on.

“It’s the way my face looks.”

Sometimes, the look can appear to be dismissive, puzzled, or concerned.

“What’s wrong,” we ask.

“Nothing,” they say.

Then, sometimes, “It’s the way my face looks.”

I’m not good at this, I’ll admit it, I struggle to smile. Yet, I’ll admit it is also one of the best feelings in the world. It immediately sends blood rushing up to my face, increasing my energy, and my mood. It’s a gift I can give someone else, and give myself. It’s also free.

The lesson is to smile more. Then, maybe the next time you look at someone’s face, they’ll be smiling back at you. 
Are you smiling?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Come on, Get the Frump Out of Your Rump

“Stop being a frump.”
No one who is internally trying to be a better person wants to be called a frump. Especially not by the person they are in love with and imagine building a life with.
“You’re such a frump.”
Ok, so at first I thought it was a joke. Then, it was said again, and again, and again. 
When I met my boyfriend of five and a half years* I weighed about 114 lbs. By the time he started to call me a frump I was approaching 130. It’s not a significant amount of weight, but with my height just below 5’2”, it was definitely noticeable.
Do you know what happens when you realize you can’t fit into your skinny jeans anymore? Or, you can’t zip up your hot black dress you bought for the “just because” reason. It stinks. It hurts. I mean, it really hurts because the zipper kind of pinches your skin as you try to force the dress to close on your back. 
Gaining weight made me unhappy with myself. I felt unattractive. If I felt unattractive, I became unattractive. Gretchen Rubin teaches us to “Act the Way I Want To Feel.” Inspired partly by her, we can do this together, and eventually feel and be the way we want. My friend and former colleague, Elyse Miller, gave me some of the tools I needed to take back myself. 
Together, this journey that I’m taking you on is about getting rid of the frump, whether it’s extra weight that makes you feel unattractive, weight you need to gain because you feel too skinny, or an attitude within you that you don’t know how to get out of.

Come on, Get the Frump Out of Your Rump. 

*Noted Boyfriend is now ex-boyfriend

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