On Silence

We’ve all been there. In a waiting room, on a bus, waiting for a friend to arrive for a lunch date. Waiting. It’s a thing.

While at the dentist last week, I was told the dentist would be a few minutes. “Ok, thanks!” I replied. “Do you want a magazine or something? Or do you have a phone?” “Oh, I’m fine, I can just wait.” “Well you can’t just sit there in silence! Haha…” A well-intentioned response, but not all that thoughtful. Hm.

For whatever reason, I was really bothered by this conversation. In this moment, as I am trying to figure out why it bothered me so much (so that I can say more about it), it hit me.

That’s me. Both of those people in that conversation. At first thought, I was bothered that this world is not okay with just being. Just waiting. Just sitting. But then I realized… I am in the world. I, too, am not okay with waiting. Just being.

In the smallest of moments- the insignificant ones- I’m great at it. It’s ok to just be. But in the grand scheme of things? I’m not okay with it. I can’t just be. I can’t be silent and listen to the sound of my soul. Perhaps out of fear of reality. Out of fear of hearing what I really need to hear. Fear of hearing a calling that I am not willing to respond to. Ideally, I could successfully blame this on our culture permeating my way of life. But choosing to be in the moment and be okay with only being… is just that: a choice.

We are not human doings, we are human beings. If you are who you are meant to be, you will set the world on fire. 6d6a601e2b51bf1a41ce6045a512cb00

 

 

 

No Matter How Small

This weekend marks the 43rd anniversary of Roe v Wade, and consequently the 42nd anniversary of the first March for Life. Every year around this time, I have the same series of thoughts.

Me: Hm, the March for Life is this weekend.

Me: What a great cause; life begins at conception and should be protected until natural death. #ProLife

Me: *Sees post on social media about the March for Life and how important it is to protect the rights of unborn humans*

Me: But what about people with disabilities? But what about old people? But what about people who have been given the death penalty? But what about the mothers of those children who also need to be healed? Don’t forget them!

Me: *Gets kind of bitter towards people who are at the March for Life and only publicize their support for children in the womb*

Me: This is why Pro-Choice people get frustrated with us! They think we only care about babies!

This year, a new thought was tagged on to this internal dialogue.

Me: Oh. It’s the March for Life. It takes place on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a case about abortion. That’s why. Ha. Oops………………

I fell into stereotype threat, something I learned about quite a bit as a psychology major. It’s hard not to get sucked into the mindset of “I don’t want to prove their stereotype right. I want to prove them wrong.”

While I do know that being Pro-Life means so much more than just being against abortion, I need to accept that this weekend is a great one to stand up for that sole truth.

This is a short post, but I anticipate that this battle won’t be. To all those supporting life this weekend, I salute you.

Prolife

 

Why I Love Having a December Birthday

Happy December! A month of pure beauty. (And frigidity, if you live in a cold place like I do.)

Yesterday, I asked some friends if people say “happy birthday” to babies when they come out of the womb. Apparently that’s not a thing. But why not!? In all honesty, that’s the most appropriate time to use that phrase! All other “birthdays” are really just “birthday-versaries.”

I saw this post today, shared by several of my facebook friends. Though I’m not going to go super in depth about how superficial and trivial most of the points are, I will say that I do agree with number 5.

Okay, I lied. I will go a little bit in depth about how superficial and trivial the article is. Essentially, it presupposes that the sole purpose of birthdays is to get stuff and to go out and celebrate, neither of which is true. There is no inherent purpose of birthday-versaries. It simply happens to be that our calendar system allows for us all to remember and celebrate our birthday every now and then. If anything, the “purpose” of our birthday (birthday-versary) is to remind us that we have been given the beautiful gift of life.

Upon reading the article, and clearly becoming frustrated, I tried to find a similar article written by someone who enjoys their December birthday- and with no avail. “If only I had some way to voice my (apparently uncommon) opinion on this topic!!!” I thought. “Oh wait… I do have that blog thing…”

So here I am.

Here are some reasons that having a December birthday is actually the best. (Some are specific to late-December birthdays…)

  1. Not having school on your birthday. Sleep in. Only see people that you want to see. Wear pajamas all day. Whatever floats your boat.
  2. Having the honor of sharing your special day with the advent season or Christmas season. They are both awesome times of celebration! Not to mention that your house will almost surely be decorated (maybe not with decorations for you, but seriously. Christmas decorations are the bomb.com).

    IMG_0583
    Yeah, yeah. I know it’s blurry. I like it, okay?
  3. Getting to see loved ones. This one particularly bothered me in the Buzzfeed article. Like, I’m sorry that your family comes to town and they don’t make their trip all about you? Sorry that you get to see your family during the holiday season? #Sass. But really, many people don’t get to see extended family for their birthday if it is in the middle of the year, but the holidays bring people together. That’s a great birthday gift!
  4. Your birthday gets an awesome backdrop. Snowy.jpg
  5. The combination of Christmas excitement and birthday excitement. Two times the excitement means two times the joy!
  6. So. Much. Food. Duh.IMG_0671
  7.  A chance to practice humility. If people overlook your birthday because it’s the holiday season, the world will go on. If anything, it gives us a chance to remember that it’s not all about us.
  8. Another chance to practice humility. (In reference to number 21 in the above mentioned article…) If people overlook your birthday because it’s the Christmas season, the world will go on. If anything it gives us a chance to remember that it’s all about HIM!

And…. (drumroll, please!) The final reason to love your December birthday is….

9. It’s your birthday! Sorry, you can’t change it. If you hadn’t been born when you were born, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t have been born at all. I know you’re all aware of how babies are made, so I don’t feel the need to further explain this concept. Love your birthday because it was the day that YOU were meant to brought into this world!

Happy advent, ya’ll! (Why did I just say that.) And to all of my fellow December babies… let me be the first to say… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Today is the Day

Today is the day… the day that I write a blog post (and actually publish it). I have half-written a few over the past few weeks and never cared the complete them. I actually don’t really care to be writing this one either, but alas. I am going to do it.

It is 10:49pm on Thanksgiving Day 2015. What better way to celebrate than to make a list of things I am thankful for! (Typical.)

  1. Creativity. Though some people claim not to have any, it exists deep inside all of us. Sure,it manifests in different ways and in different amounts, but it’s there.
  2. Family. It’s weird. We’re almost obligated to say that we’re thankful for family (I truly am), but it’s sometimes hard to understand why. There’s a certain level of comfort with family that just isn’t found anywhere else. Though I may feel more comfortable talking about some things with friends, I know that my family won’t care if I look like a hot mess, if I say something really weird, etc. It’s just the feeling of being home.
  3. Sweets. Need I say more?
  4. Free will. This one has actually been at the top of my “thankfulness list” as we’ve approached Thanksgiving. The fact that we are free to choose, free to be ourselves, free to love, free to… do anything we want, essentially, is something to be thankful for. And something we should use for good!
  5. Friends. Another classic one, but I have to say it! It’s so fun to have friends of so many different “types.” Older friends, younger friends, super duper outgoing friends, super shy introverted friends, working friends, engaged friends, student friends. It’s the best. But even better than those labels is the fact that everyone I know is so unique. I find that different parts of myself are brought out with different friends, and that’s so beautiful!
  6. Music. Duh. It creates a soundtrack to life. (Recently had one of these “Jacqueline moments” when I play the same song on repeat for like an hour… Slowly becoming a Belieber. #noshame)
  7. Nostalgia. Looking at our wall of pictures at home induced this today. It can be good and bad (for those of you who have seen Inside Out, you know what I mean when I say that the  best memories are those that are both happy and sad.)
  8. Mornings. Long story short, I’m a morning person. Why am I even still awake?
  9. Dreams. This kind of was brought about when I thought about mornings… and then sleep. I just love the joy they can bring. Sometimes they’re freaky as heck, sometimes they wake me up in tears, but the good ones balance out the bad ones 🙂
  10. Warm water. Drinking it (yes, apparently I’m weird.) Warm showers. Swimming. Hot tubs. Ahhhhhh.

That’s all, folks! Short, sweet, and to the point. I’d think of more, but I like things in packages of 10 and, to be honest, I don’t really want to do 10 more because I want to go to bed. Thankful for you!

Sing Anyway.

Slowly… slowly… the blog gets new posts. It’s a roller coaster of blog posts. Two in three days, then nothing for three weeks. That’s ok.

I have two things that I want to incorporate into this post. I think I can tie them together. We will see. I’m a very honest writer… admitting that I really have no agenda for this post other than simply writing it.

Have you ever looked in the mirror (really looked) and had this weird and almost trippy realization that the person you’re looking at is truly you? If you’ve had this experience, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I’m probably freaking you out. Connecting the fact that we are all individual souls with bodies is very strange thing.

There was a time in my college career that I lost myself. Not in a sad way or even a bad way… it’s just that I had come to this point where my once-was and my here-and-now were the farthest apart than they had ever been before. We are always growing and changing, learning and leaving, and there are times when we end up leaping further than we ever intended to.

(Slight subject change that will eventually connect back) I’ve noticed that “what have you been learning [about yourself/life in general]” or the cliche Christian question “what is God teaching you/doing in your life right now?” are both great conversation starters that lead nicely into beyond-surface-level question (aka the best type of conversation). However, that question just doesn’t do it for me. The majority of people I talk to do fine with that question, but I just hate don’t like it. Processing is a must for me. It takes me days to analyze why I chose almond granola bars over peanut at the store. How do people expect me to be able to immediately figure out what’s happening right now!? (Now, thinking about it…. this is something I clearly need to work on…)

For some reason, living alone has given me this sharp wake up call of how-I-once-was. It’s like this:

vision

…but I’m seeing into the past, not the future. But now I’m having this vision of the future in which this blog post gets way to long and deep and in depth about my life and I’m going to try to avoid that at all costs.

Essentially, taking care of my “nanee” has been testing my patience, living alone has been revealing of my weird combination of introversion and extroversion, and I’ve been taking to heart the truth that our pasts to not dictate our future- all that matters is what we do with the here-and-now.

As for what I said at the beginning of this post about wanting to incorporate two specific things in to this post… Well… I forgot what one of them was and I didn’t get the other one in there. So here’s a song.

Ignore the not so eloquent intro…

Oh. I just saw the title of this post and remembered what the point of the post was supposed to be. Awkward. I like the title so I’m going to keep it. It’ll force me to write a real post about it later. And it’ll keep you waiting 😉

What is it About Autumn?

Is this really happening? Can it be true? Yes, I am posting more than once in a 7 day period. My life has changed for the better because of this momentous occasion. I am making progress. (Hopefully you read that with a hint of sarcasm.)

Is this really happening? Can it be true?IMG_2558 Yes, it is fall!

IMG_2479 - Copy Yesterday marked the over-celebrated beginning to the season. But let’s be real, it’s actually not over celebrated.

Have you ever been to Minnesota? In the fall? Please, do yourself a favor and go.
Have you ever been to Minnesota? In the fall? Please, do yourself a favor and go.

If anything, it’s under celebrated. The start to this majestic season deserves to be celebrated. It truly does.

My question is this: why is autumn so awesome? True, everyone knows that it gives implicit permission for us to spend hours cuddled up in warm blankets, drinking tea; to wear long sleeves even if it’s hot; to pick apples and pumpkins and make millions of baked goods. But there has to be more to it. If peoples’ love of fall truly stemmed from the new found ability to do fall activities with reason, then the change of season would equate only to permission. Yet it is not so.

I spent an afternoon reading and writing in a coffee shop a few days ago. (It’s an activity I highly suggest if you’re looking for a way to embrace fall. Wear boots, order some tea or coffee, and take a seat… preferably near a window. You will not regret it.) The fact that I spent several hours in the coffee shop probably doesn’t come as a surprise to those who know that I’m a writing enthusiast. Writing does wonderful things for those who do it- hands get a work out, minds wander, and hearts are healed.

If you’re looking for something to do today, here’s your challenge: write a letter. I don’t mean a short “just a note” letter, I mean a true letter. From the heart. Pen to paper- simple looseleaf of plan stationary. Share something you’ve never shared before. Write your letter with no implication that a response is requested. Here’s the best part: you get to chose whether or not you send it. Sometimes, the best letters are those that we know will never be read. The reason I went on this writing tangent is because I’m going to share something I wrote while in the coffee shop. It was an unaddressed letter. I was hoping that it would become clear who the letter was for once I began writing, but it never did. The letter had no purpose other than allowing me to write it, so I will keep it for myself (mwahaha).

…So back the beginning. What’s your favorite type of weather? Did you like elementary school? The two relate- I promise. Summer- no school. Fall- start of school. I like fall because it reminds me of excitement and new beginnings. (Usually that’s related to spring, but because I loved school as a kid I see it differently.) People who like summer may see it as freedom. So this fall day today makes me at peace. Where I feel most at home here in human time. And then the dark days of winter come…

Now, rereading it, I realize how full it isn’t. It’s empty. There’s so much more to fall than the feeling of new beginnings! I don’t know what it is about autumn that has given it such a big home in my heart. It’s just a change. And I like that.

Not. Enough. Time.

Have you noticed a theme? Hmm… my last several posts have this kind of cliche “live your life” undertone goin’ on. Not that that’s a bad thing…

Something that I’ve really been trying to embrace lately the idea of living life unedited. Perhaps I’ve mentioned this in a previous post; I wouldn’t be surprised if I have, but I can’t quite remember. What I mean by “unedited” is really just allowing my mistakes to be seen. When we make mistakes, people are going to notice them. Period. There are some mistakes that we can fix before anyone notices them. Even more important, though, is that there are some things that aren’t necessarily mistakes, but rather imperfections, that we feel the need to immediately “fix.” Imperfections are not failures. The reason that I just went on that mini-rant (and the reason I’m going to keep it in this post) is because I want you to know that my intention for this blog is not to be perfect, but to be authentic.Progress

I am probably going to ramble, I am going to make mistakes, I am going to contradict myself… and I want that to be seen. Walk with me. Let’s grow and learn and ramble and process our thoughts and our lives and make mistakes together.

Moving on.

I am visiting my family for a few days while my nanny-family is out of town. While walking to the store today, I delivered a couple letters to families in our neighborhood that I haven’t seen in a while. A list of a bunch of people I should have seen while I was in town starting forming in my head, and I got really sad and even a little mad that I hadn’t thought to make time to see them all.

Most of us have probably been there. Wishing for more time to do this, do that…

And yet here I am, sitting on the couch writing this post when I could have planned to see someone or do something with this time.

Isn’t it kind of funny? We wish for things we don’t have, and when we have them we waste them… or worse: complain about them. When we “don’t have enough time” for something, we wish for more time. When we have too much time, we complain that we’re bored. And then, later, complain that we wasted our extra time. Why don’t we just live. Gosh, to find someone who truly feels that they are living their life fully, using their time wisely, and being able to balance spending time serving others and resting appropriately…that is the dream. If you know of such a person, send them my way. Their secrets to life are formally requested.

What constitutes “wasted time”? Really. I’d like to know. Yesterday, I asked my grandpa (yes, the same guy I mentioned in my previous post) what “wasted time” is. He had been talking about how he wishes to have some of his wasted time back so that he could have spend more quality time with his kids. He said he worked too much. I suppose, for me, I often feel the opposite. I feel that I don’t work enough. I’m not making progress, I’m not doing anything significant or productive. Writing this post almost feels like wasted time in itself.

Maybe it’s just my mindset that needs to change. What does it mean to be productive? What does it mean to waste time? I guess it’s nice because time is not the essence of life. We wish for more time. At the end of life, people want more time here on Earth. Why? Because they feel that life on earth is the end-all-be-all? I’d like to know.

Here’s to never wishing for more time, but learning to accept and love the time we’re given. To fully embrace and fill out minutes until they are bursting with love, joy, and peace… no matter how they are being spent.

[[This is an unedited post. Simply typed & shared.]]

Forever Young

4everI took a week off from posting. Oops. Actually…. I totally did that purposely. For Labor Day. Yeah… let’s go with that.

For anyone who cares, I am currently sitting in my room, lit up by white Christmas lights, enjoying the feeling of a rainy evening and eating warm food. It’s really wonderful. I highly recommend it.

Who out there has ever used the phrase “phone tag”? The first time I used it out loud in a real phone conversation, I felt extremely awkward. I hope to never do it again. For the sake of this blog post, I am going to *type* the phrase, but luckily I won’t be saying it aloud so it won’t feel as awkward. Yesterday and today, my grandpa (“Boppy”) and I were playing phone tag. (Cringe.) I got this lovely voicemail from him today, which I hope to somehow keep forever. When I’m an adult, this message is how I want to remember him, because it sums him up perfectly. Okay, okay, I’ll get to the point! Let me share part of the voicemail and then I’ll explain more.

“…good to hear your voice. You sound so… gosh you’re so grown up. You know, I told you. Maybe I didn’t tell you guys: Don’t grow up. Cause it’s a trap. If there’s one thing you don’t want to do, it’s grow up. Got it? You know what I mean, maybe, huh? Okay, later. Bye.”

If you knew my Boppy, this message would not surprise you. In fact, it would probably make you laugh because he is the epitome of not growing up. He is a grandpa, yet he runs, roller blades, sleds, and does headstands. Each time I talk to him, he gives life advice and/or words of affirmation (that love language must run in the family…). The “typical tidbits:”

  • Don’t spend your life waiting for Friday. Don’t wish time away.
  • I always told your parents you were going be great.
  • Don’t grow up.

He is young at heart. I think he has really enjoyed life, but even so he looks back and wishes he had done it differently; he wishes he hadn’t wished time away. And there he is, giving me the advice to never grow up.

[I’m going to be honest for a second. Well, I’ve been honest this whole blog post… Anyways. I’m not sure where this post is going, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really don’t want to grow up.]

After listening to that voicemail, I went back to playing with the one year old I take care of, and suddenly I got really sentimental. AND SHE’S NOT EVEN MY KID! Why was I sad that she’s “growing up”!? My life…

I suppose the only tell-tale sign of growing up is burden. As we grow older, all of our sorrows, our stresses, and our pains are put on our shoulders. Okay, this is getting tacky. But really. The most youthful people I know are those who don’t let their past stumbles and heartbreaks continue to weigh them down.

breathe in. breathe out. it’s okay. don’t wish for Friday. don’t dwell in the past. it’s settled: live for today.

Enjoy today

Candles, Leaves, and Home

Have you ever looked at the leaves on a big tree and noticed the way the sun shines differently on each individual leaf? If you haven’t, you’re really missing out. I’ll be bold and say it’s my favorite sight in nature. Apparently I deleted a photo I had taken that would have been a great representation of this sight, so I shall resort to google images.

Notice how each leaf is a different color depending which way it is facing and how the sun is shining on it. Not as good as seeing it first person, so please go outside tomorrow when the sun is just barely beginning to set and find a tree with smallish round leaves and enjoy in awe as the sun shines from behind it. (The specificity is worth it.)
Notice how each leaf is a different color depending which way it is facing and how the sun is shining on it. Not as good as seeing it first person, so please go outside tomorrow when the sun is just barely beginning to set and find a tree with smallish round leaves and enjoy in awe as the sun shines from behind it. (The specificity is worth it.)

Today marks my second official day of nannying. The past two days have been wonderfully new yet perfectly natural. Truly, I suppose, I am meant to be doing this work at this point in my life. Obviously, though, I am still figuring everything out. For example: how do you make and warm up a bottle while holding a whimpering baby who really wants to play with said bottle? (Answer: you put the baby down. I’d rather hold a crying baby than make her sit alone and cry, though. Maybe that’ll change once I’ve done it a million times.)

But anyways………..

Today the nanee and I (I’m the nanny, she’s the nanee. Maybe I’ll just call her Nee from now own. That’s kind of cute.) spent quite a bit of time outside on a blanket under a big tree. At one point, I laid down next to her to see the world from her point of view. The tree, from below, had that whole sun-shining-through-and-lighting-up-the-leaves thing going on. For some reason, though, it was better from below. Fuller.

After a day of playing, giggling, sleeping, eating (a lot), and pooping (also a lot), I went “home.” (a.k.a. third floor of the house). I had no plans for the evening. Then I remembered that candles exist, so I lit one. Lights turn off, music turns on. For some reason, just like earlier in the day, I ended up laying on the ground. (I wasn’t just laying there, I was stretching. Eventually the stretching stopped and the peace began.) I felt incredibly at home. Maybe it was the way the candlelight was ever so slightly reflecting on the wood floor. Maybe it was the open space of the room I was in. Either way… I felt home.

All day long I felt home (home meaning where I am meant to be right here and now) but I felt very small. I could feel the big room around me, the big world around me… Such is life. We are small. Maybe this is just a taste of how it will feel at the passing of this life- at peace, at home, but ever so small.

Have a wonderful week, friends.

Be There Soon

In my mind, there are two types of people in the world:

  1. People who are early.
  2. People who are late.

Specifics of these categories: if you’re on time, you’re late. If something starts at 5:00, you need to arrive before 5:00, so that said event can begin on time.

I’m an extreme #1. Which type of person are you? Now, in no way is this categorization meant to make anyone feel guilty. Life happens, traffic happens, sleep happens, people run late. It happens. The categories above refer to an overall tendency, giving the benefit of the doubt to people who sometimes are late because of extenuating circumstances. It happens to all of us.

For some reason, I am highly bothered by #2s. It’s something I need to work on. While I do understand that life happens, I get frustrated when I get left waiting, my schedule changed by someone who claims that they’ll “be there soon.” Soon? Or worse, when late people say “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” Thirty minutes pass. Still no sign of life from the person. *Sigh*

Most accurate thing I've ever seen
Most accurate thing I’ve ever seen

The most common bothersome situation that I encounter with a PLP (perpetually late person) is that in which the PLP is expected to meet me somewhere and/or pick me up at a certain time. When I am expecting someone to pick me up at 5:00, I am ready and waiting at 5:00 out of respect for that person, our plans, and our schedules. If the person is a PLP, I am often left waiting, and often for a significant amount of time. In an ideal world, I would have no problem with this. We do not live in an ideal world.

When you don’t know how long you will be waiting, what do you do? Start something you need to do? Sure- with the accompanying knowledge that you will have to drop it as soon as PLP arrives.

Yes, I am aware that I can, with previous knowledge that someone is a PLP, expect them to be late and therefore not be left waiting. Just wait longer to start getting ready. People have even told me to do this. But doesn’t this just perpetuate the problem of perpetual lateness? And even worse, if the PLP by some miracle is on time, I then will leave them waiting if I am not ready, therefore labeling myself as a major hypocrite, which I hope to never do.

Over the years, after having dealt with my fair share of perpetually late people, I have thought a lot about this frustration that I often encounter. Why do I care so much when people are late?

Upon further analysis of this personality quirk (my deep irritation with all things late), I realized that the root of the problem is that I hate waiting. As mentioned above, waiting is awkward. You can do something while you wait, but you must be willing to give it up when your true obligation is ready. Often we don’t know how long we will be waiting. We need to be okay with that.

Overall thoughts thus far:

  • I still believe that people should be on time and stick to their word and their plan. This is simply because I believe in caring for others by respecting their schedule.
  • Caring for people also means upholding your word and plans with them in order to show that you genuinely want to spend time with them.
  • We need to learn to accept imperfections in timing. We must learn to wait with grace.
  • Deeper: We should be willing to submit to God’s will as it comes and when it comes, not only if it comes on our timing.

Not only should we try to stay on time to honor others, we should also try to stay on time (while remaining flexible) in order to honor ourselves and honor God. (The following thoughts are based on a talk by Fr. Mike Schmitz.) We live in a culture that normalizes the “snooze button” mind set. If we allow ourselves to continually push back our obligations, our entire lives will began to be run by a “not now” mindset. If we let ourselves say “later” to every day decisions and tasks, we are training ourselves to be okay with saying “not now! Later!” to life. Why would we do this to ourselves!? Because it’s comfortable. That’s why.

Greatness

Next time you find yourself waiting, whether you’re waiting to go to lunch with a friend or waiting to discover your vocation in life, know that although your friend or your future is speaking “be there soon,” God is whispering to your soul, “I’m with you now.”