If our own parents aren’t divorced we at least know a friend, co-worker, boyfriend or girlfriend, or spouse whose parents are divorced or they themselves have been divorced. And the people who are still together, still married didn’t seem happily married. When I was a little kid this terrified me. It terrified me that people who once loved each other so much could no longer want to be together; it terrified me that love could be fallen out of. Now, I’m in my twenties and it still scares me.

One of my responsibilities at work is the sacred duty of keeping charge of the Master Calendar. I have a wall dedicated to this enormous calendar. The calendar contains the current month and the following two months after it. Part of my ob is making sure every appointment is kept and information is announced and advertised at the appropriate time in advance. Every single day, several times a day I check the calendar. I am constantly updating it with new and vital information–date changes, new events, etc. I have notes written at my desk, reminders on my computer for especially important dates I need to remember. My job depends on not missing a date. I pour my heart and energy into keeping up with this calendar because I want to be great at my job, be promoted, reach my dreams and because, frankly I don’t want to lose it.

What if we treated our relationships like our jobs (I know some of you hate your job, so maybe this isn’t a good analogy for you, but think about something you LOVE…football, writing, working out, traveling; I know I don’t love my job all the time!). What if we poured our energy and time into our relationships because we knew if we didn’t…we’d lose them. There is a saying which says something about how you spend your time defines what you love. If we love the people in our lives, why do we so often forget about them? Why do we so often forget what their favorite song is, what story they told us last week, when their birthday is, what the little things are that make them smile, or what things they dream of doing.

We take the people in our lives for granted. Thinking about work–if I dressed sloppy day in and day out, forgot dates, showed up late for things or didn’t show up at all, had a sour attitude all the time, didn’t pay attention or was on my phone 24/7…I would get fired. Why do we do the same things to the people in our lives and expect to have a thriving relationship??? If we just let ourselves go….forget important things over and over again…be a grump all the time…never show incentive or not show up for things, or don’t listen our relationships grow weaker and weaker and before we know it they’re gone.

Love is about ACTION. “I love you” isn’t just a phrase you mumble as you walk out the door. Love needs to be felt…and how love can be felt is by being shown. If you want a great love story, one of those people who never fall out of love…it’s going to be hard work.

Thinking about my work calendar and how I write every important thing down, I thought this could work for relationships. I’m a forgetful person and I know it. What if we wrote down, had a special calendar or book dedicated to our significant other. We had all the special dates marked, notes about the things they mentioned they like, places they dream of going, songs that give them goose bumps, etc. and we constantly checked and updated this calender. We made it a point to not miss a day; we made it a point to make that person feel special; we made it a point to make them know they are important. What if we were DEDICATED to showing that person we loved them everyday? I think a lot of things would change.

For anything to last a long time (houses, plants, furniture, cars, etc.) you have to take care of it, you have to give it “love”. If things aren’t taken care of they rust away, shrivel up really quickly. It’s the same with our relationships. You have to try. You have to give effort. You have to give your time. You aren’t always going to get it right. You are going to mess up, but what you will get right is making that person in your life know they are loved.

I know divorce happens for many different reasons, unrelated to this. But, I also think that just maybe love wouldn’t be fallen out of so easily if we took it more seriously.

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It counts

Sometimes there are things we simply cannot fix or change.

I’m thinking of those moments when a friend, co-worker,  family member, acquaintance is hurting. The sparkle in their eyes has been replaced with tears, they don’t smile anymore…it’s like part of them has been stolen, which is partially true. And gosh, you just want to make them smile again, take away the pain and give them sunny skies.

There is a group of personality types out there I’d like to call the “fixers” and “helpers”. Fixers and helpers are driven to, as the name suggests, fix things…if we could, we would make the world have sunshine every single day.Fixers love to see people happy and make people happy; when someone isn’t happy or is hurting, fixers instantly want to fix it, they feel driven to help. Most, if not all of us, have a certain amount of this fixer/helper personality in us…it makes you human to care about another human.

But sometimes there are  things you cannot fix. Sometimes the hurt is so deep, too deep. Or the hurt and pain is something you cannot relate to at all… and you feel powerless. You want to help, but you can’t; you want to take the pain away, but you can’t. The person feels so far, so out of reach, and you don’t know what to do or say.

Today while I was at work printing paper after paper, this thought struck me: You may not be able to “fix” or take away someone’s pain…but you can be there. And just being there COUNTS. Just giving someone a hug COUNTS. Telling someone “Let me know what I can do to help” COUNTS. Even if you don’t see it, your presence counts to someone that is hurting.

People handle grief and disappointment differently…but we all appreciate when our friends and family are simply THERE for us–ready to talk to, ready to give a hug, ready to just sit in the same room with us.

Sometimes you may not feel like you are helping someone at all, you may feel like giving up…DON’T. You ARE making a difference…even if you don’t see it right now. BE AVAILABLE, GIVE PEOPLE HUGS (where words cannot go, touch often can!), AND DON’T GIVE UP…..IT COUNTS.

What kind of hugger are you?

What Kind of Hugger are you?

This past weekend I was caught up in thinking about hugs and huggers. It started off because I had one of those blue days where I was just sad and I felt like I was in desperate need of a hug, which then led me to think even more about the many hugs I’ve experienced and given along the way. And then I ended up coming up with the following categorization of huggers.  Where do you fall in the list?

Sider slider – We have all experienced or even delivered this kind of hug. Sider sliders are slick. You reach out to hug them and somehow you end up getting a squeeze around the shoulders, from a side angle. The side sliders keep it safe. They don’t want to be rude, but they also don’t feel comfortable with full blown hugs.

awkward side hug

The Pros- The Pros are confident huggers. They know just how much to squeeze and exactly how long to hug. They usually keep it casual with a small tap on the back that seems like the “this hug is ending” signal. The Pros can read people like a book-they know who to hug and who not to hug.

 Hugaphobic – This category describes an individual who would spray raid on someone, anyone who attempted to hug them. If you have even attempted to hug an individual in this category, you probably remember that dreaded feeling that you were on the verge of death the moment you wrapped your arms around the person, but it was too late to pull back. You were committed. And once you survived the encounter, you will never make the mistake again.

no hugging

The Free Hugger- The individuals in this category of hugging probably own a “free hugs” t-shirt. No not really ;). These people walk around fearlessly giving hugs. In fact, don’t expect or even try to leave the presence of a free hugger without getting a hug. They will come find you. “I will find you….and I will hug you.”

photo credit: coolspoters.com

photo credit: coolspoters.com

Anaconda Hugger- Anaconda Huggers believe in squeezing love into people. Once you are in the grip of an anaconda hugger, take a deep breath- it may be the last breath you get to take for the next few minutes. Anaconda Huggers are usually people with huge hearts…and strong arms.

Oh Wait! You are just an Acquaintance Hugger- Huggers in this group aren’t much for hugging people they don’t know very well, but they will do it. If you have ever been on the other end of a hug delivered by a person in this category you probably remember reaching out for a firm hug (because you’ve watched them saying good byes to their friends and they give them firm, back slapping hugs)  and then felt them just slip away and the hug is over before it even began. You walk away literally feel like you’ve just been hugged by a mannequin that thought you smelled bad (and thinking I thought we were friends!).

Awkward hugger- Individuals in this group feel lost. They don’t know when to give a hug, when not to give a hug. They don’t know how long to “embrace” so it is either too long or too short. They don’t know whether to give a side hug or a full hug…and usually it ends up being a weird combination of the two. And the poor awkward huggers can’t recognize a hugaphobic when they see one….it can get ugly.

hug


 

Out of all of these categories of huggers I am a little bit of an awkward hugger and the Oh Wait! You are just an Acquaintance Hugger. Hugging friends and family is something that just comes naturally but,…I don’t know you… I don’t know you very well…I just don’t know what to do! To hug or not to hug?

We should all try to hug more. Hugs make us feel safe, they make us feel happy, they make us feel loved. If  you aren’t comfortable hugging everyone, that’s OK! Hug the people close to you…hug them more often. We all need hugs (even those of us who don’t really like getting them!)…we all need to know we are cared about. The Huffington Post has an interesting article on the health benefits of hugging called, “7 Reasons Why We Should Be Given More Hugs”. find it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/27/health-benefits-of-huggin_n_5008616.html

the eyebrow waxing adventure

Have you ever met someone that has eyebrows that look they have been carved by angels? I was never that person. When I was younger, my eyebrows were like two wild spindly forests that grew whichever way they saw fit. And if they had their way, they were forests whose dream was to meet in the middle and form into one BIG forest. When I was really little I thought when I grew up I would magically have perfect eyebrows. Soon enough I found out that was a fairytale and I was introduced to tweezers. I felt like a lumberjack with the amount of work I had to do to keep my foresty eyebrows tidy and still with all the work I did, I always seemed to “tweeze” too much or too little. It was a life-long struggle.

My roommate I called “Mer” had perfect eyebrows. They weren’t too thick, they weren’t too thin, they had a nice arch that framed her pretty blue eyes perfectly. When I was putting on my makeup next to her in the bathroom I enviously looked at her eyebrows and asked her how she had got them so perfect. Was it just in the genes? It had to be…she must have inherited the perfect eyebrow gene.

“I wax them! It is the best thing ever!” She exclaimed excitedly in her North Carolina accent.

“Wax? Oh, I’ve always thought about getting that done but ya, I’m sure I would just have to tweeze them the next day so I don’t know if it would be a good idea.”

“They actually don’t grow back for about 3 weeks! It’s amazing!”

Three weeks!!!!????? Translation: heaven

“You should totally get it done!” Mer said happily.

“I should, you know I think I will.”

At the Salon….

I sat in the chair my head leaned on the back, my eyes nervously darting around in anticipation. I was freaking out. The salon I was at was in the mall near the college, I had taken my sister Andrea and my best friend Vicky with me for moral support but at the current moment I was alone. Andrea had been snagged by one of those people selling makeup in the little booths in the middle of the mall, (You know those little booths with straighteners, beauty products, cell phone covers, sunglasses that are right in the path of where you need to go. They have the most dedicated sales people…I tell ya! Sometimes I  pretend to be in deep conversation on my cell phone when I walk past them!)and Vicky was at Starbucks.

I tried to think about anything else than what was about to happen to me. I was about to have about 100 plus hairs ripped from my head….all at the same time. The pain we are willing to endure for beauty…

The hairdresser that was preforming my waxing procedure returned with her weapons-I mean waxing tools. She had jet black hair that was as straight as a pin, she wore burgundy lipstick and had drawn on eyebrows with extreme arches…which I should’ve taken as a warning signal.

“You ready hunny?” she asked in her deep voice.

Could anyone ever truly be ready for this kind of pain? I let out a deep breath and tried to focus on the prize: perfect eyebrows like Mer’s and not tweezing for three weeks. “S-su-re.” I reminded her over again that I had never had this done before and just wanted the brows cleaned up and a touch up on the shaping. Nothing drastic. She seemed confident in her abilities.

“Just close your eyes, your eyebrows are gonna look great!”

“Will it hurt?” Yes…it was a stupid question to ask.

“It just feels like a li’l pinch,” she said the lie they must all be told to say and I closed my eyes.

She slathered on the thick gluey warm wax just above my eyes. I heard her tinkering around and then she laid little papers across my eyebrow. This was it. I held my breath and squeezed my already closed eyes even tighter.

RRRRIIIIPPPPPPP!

The pain was sharp and intense, making me catch my breath. At least it was over-

RRRIIIIPPPP! What is she doing???? !!!!

She began to go to town. The pain wasn’t as intense anymore, now it just had the sensation that my entire skin surrounding my eyebrows was on fire. I squeezed the arms of the chair as she finished up, attempting to push through the pain by trying to focus on how lovely my eyebrows would be afterwards.

The ripping and tearing stopped.

I popped open my eyes, hesitantly, as if I was going to be staring into the face of the boogey man.

“All done hunny! And your eyebrows look GORGEOUS! Let me just put some of this cream down to reduce the redness,” the stylist said triumphantly.

YES!

“Oh! Here’s a mirror so you can get a good look of the new you!”

She held up a small mirror over my head. I looked at myself, and I certainly was a new person….a new person with NO EYEBROWS! I double took….wha-at? What did this woman do to my

How I felt when I saw my eyebrows

How I felt when I saw my eyebrows

eyebrows????? Where did she take them??? I looked harder…Oh look! There’s something there…I think. She had literally removed every last eyebrow hair I owned except for a pencil thin straight line. No arch. No depth. My eyebrows were a speck of a line. Oh yeah, and there was blood-apparently she had taken some skin out while she was at it.

I looked scary.  Traumatized, I paid and left in a daze, praying I would not see anyone I know in this mall. My skin was on fire and I was sure it was so red it looked like it was on fire. I searched for Vicky and Andrea and found them at the makeup cart where Andrea was being subjected to a makeover. I wanted to put my hands over my barely existent new eyebrows, I wanted to hide them.

Andrea, Vicky and the makeup artist turned around and just stared.

Andrea and Vicky...looking at my eyebrows

Andrea and Vicky…looking at my eyebrows

“They’re horrible…I don’t know what happened…she ripped them all out…I don’t know what to do!!” I cried.

Vicky just put her hand to her mouth and Andrea was like “There, there.”

The makeup artist looked at me and my red skin and skinny little eyebrows. “Oh my word!! You should demand your money back!” She said, “I will go with you…she totally ruined your eyebrows and you shouldn’t be paying for that!”

I did end up getting my money back, explaining that I had no eyebrows left. The woman didn’t protest…she didn’t even say a word…just handed me back my money, like she knew what she had done.

I had to buy this special makeup to fill in what was left of my eyebrows so I wouldn’t scare people until they grew back.

Tweezers for life…(one day I might try waxing again…I know it works for a lot of people!)

Have you ever had a traumatic eyebrow waxing/threading or bad hair cut/style experience?

 

 

Grit

Could having a little bit of grit make a world of difference in our life’s story? I think so.

Grit defined is “courage & resolve” “strength of character”. Many days I easily fall into the “poor me” “tragic victim” mode. I wallow in self pity….and guess what…I never accomplish anything and in the end I don’t like myself. So many people today easily give up or constantly view themselves as the victim. Every single person will face “battles” in life, hard battles. But life isn’t about the battles, it’s about how you face your battles. Life is all about being the right person. How you handle life and how you decide to react to life…MATTERS. We all get a choice on what kind of person we are going to be, we may not get a choice in our circumstances, but every single person has the choice of how they handle “life”.  Having grit means you are a fighter. If you fail at something you don’t just give up. You don’t make everything depend on other people, you determine to take initiative. You don’t let the status quo determine your path or your future.  You face life’s hard circumstances and you don’t let them defeat you.( note: Gritty people are not angry people!They are people that choose to have a good attitude and they try to not let other people’s choices or mistakes determine how they are going to react.) If we become gritty I think we can have better relationships that last longer, be happier and have fewer regrets.

One of my favorite “Gritty” people is Helen Keller. She was blind and deaf and she didn’t let that stop her.  She earned a bachelor’s degree, she was a writer, she rode horses, and so much more. Helen Keller had a disability I can’t even imagine having, but she didn’t give up even though it was hard. WOW. AMAZING.

ITS TIME TO GET GRITTY!

 

the wall – a poem

The Wall

One by one the bricks were laid,

And with each brick

A wall was made.

Strong and thick the wall stood

It was a defender from evil,

But it kept out the good.

When people passed by

And saw the wall,

They had no idea why it was built at all.

The bricks were bare and plain.

It was cold to the touch,

Like a faceless name.

They never saw the beauty inside;

The wall was built

As a way to hide.

Behind those stone bricks

The most rare rose grew

But no one ever knew.

The rose was wrapped in a deep beauty

That was meant to be seen-

With ruby petals and leaves of deep green.

To the rose every person

Was the same-

They were cruel; masters of pain.

They would rip out her leaves

And trample her petals in the dirt,

They would bring her unimaginable hurt.

But hidden from the warmth of human touch

Trying to protect herself

The  rose had lost so much.

Hidden behind her self made wall,

The rose didn’t think

She was lovely at all.

Her petals would fade as time passed,

The prison she was in, would be her mold’s cast.

The same form as the walls she’d hold,

As if she was made of stones, thick and cold.

Break down the wall-

Set her free-

But then we discover

That she holds the lock and key.

-Autumn

I am someone who builds protective walls; I’ve been hurt and with each hurt a brick was laid….but I found myself trapped and unhappy. We have to learn to trust and let people in . Yeah, getting hurt is a possibly but so many happy and wonderful moments will pass us by if we don’t risk and open up.

Life Lessons from Gone With the Wind

Yesterday I watched a movie I haven’t watched in …..FOREVER. Even though its been probably over 10 years, I remembered a few things about Gone With the Wind…giant hoop skirts, southern plantations, Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, Vivian Leigh as Scarlet O’Hara, and I remembered the movie was sad. After watching it last night, I was struck by the sadness of it all. It wasn’t just a little sad, it was heartbreaking! I felt like bursting into tears. There was so much loss, so many words not said, so many lives torn apart. I really couldn’t stop thinking about this movie vivian leahfor hours into the night…and I took some things to heart.

Practical Life Lessons from Gone With the Wind:

Don’t chase after the Ashley’s in life and miss the great guy you have right in front of you.This is probably the biggest lesson I got out of this movie. Don’t waste your time on a person that is with someone else (let alone married…never do that!!). Scarlet had told Ashley her feelings before he ever even got married…he could’ve chosen Scarlet, but he didn’t! If the person you like doesn’t like you…MOVE ON! Stop pining over the dream of them…you could be missing out on the person who is quite perfect for you. “No, I don’t think I’ll kiss you, although you need kissing badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” -Rhett Butler.

If you are an Ashley…stop it! If there is someone in your life that is your friend…maybe even your ex…maybe you even care about them…BUT you don’t see a future with them (and you get married!!!) stop stringing them along. It might be hard to do because you don’t want to hurt them but you are doing far more damage by letting them hope and not be able to move onto better things! “Ashley, you should have told me years ago that you loved her and not me, and not left me dangling with your talk of honor. But you had to wait till now, now when Melly’s dying. To show me that I could never be any more to you than, than this Watling woman is to Rhett … And I’ve loved something that doesn’t really exist. Somehow, I don’t care. Somehow, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter one bit.” -Scarlet to Ashley

Don’t be too proud to tell people, “I’m sorry.” If only Scarlet would have learned this earlier….how different her life would have turned out. Own up to your mistakes and apologize…before it is too late!“My darling, you’re such a child. You think that by saying “I’m sorry,” all the past can be corrected.”-Rhett to Scarlet.

Money isn’t everything. When we become obsessed and willing to do anything for money…we slowly become poisoned. Scarlet lived for money and it slowly destroyed her. When Scarlet married Rhett she became filthy rich. She could have anything she could possibly want. Yet her life seemed so depressing. There was no laughter no kindness and very little love. “I liked to think that Bonnie was you, a little girl again, before the war, and poverty had done things to you. She was so like you, and I could pet her and spoil her, as I wanted to spoil you. But when she went, she took everything.”– Rhett to Scarletclark gable

Learn how to communicate. Scarlet and Rhett were constantly crossing signals. Take a risk and tell your significant other how you really feel and what they mean to you. Rhett Butler: “I’m leaving you, my dear. All you need now is a divorce and your dreams of Ashley can come true. “
Scarlett: “Oh, no! No, you’re wrong, terribly wrong! I don’t want a divorce. Oh Rhett, but I knew tonight, when I… when I knew I loved you, I ran home to tell you, oh darling, darling!”
Rhett Butler: “Please don’t go on with this, Leave us some dignity to remember out of our marriage. Spare us this last.”
Scarlett: “This last? Oh Rhett, do listen to me, I must have loved you for years, only I was such a stupid fool, I didn’t know it. Please believe me, you must care! Melly said you did.”
Rhett Butler: “I believe you. What about Ashley Wilkes?”
Scarlett: “I… I never really loved Ashley.”
Rhett Butler: “You certainly gave a good imitation of it, up till this morning. No Scarlett, I tried everything. If you’d only met me half way, even when I came back from London.”
Scarlett: “I was so glad to see you. I was, Rhett, but you were so nasty.”
Rhett Butler: “And then when you were sick, it was all my fault… I hoped against hope that you’d call for me, but you didn’t.”
Scarlett: “I wanted you. I wanted you desperately but I didn’t think you wanted me.”

Don’t give up! Scarlet is a person that never gave up. She is a fighter. Fight for the people you love and never give up on them (other than if they are an Ashley). “I can’t let him go. I can’t. There must be some way to bring him back. Oh, I can’t think about this now! I’ll go crazy if I do! I’ll think about it tomorrow. But I must think about it. I must think about it. What is there to do? What is there that matters? Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back.”-Scarlet O’Hara