I have to share: I am currently reading Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life by Shauna Niequist. I picked up this book after the pastor at Ada Bible suggested it during one Sunday several weeks ago. Well to be fair, I really picked it up at Barnes & Noble shortly thereafter when I went with my boyfriend to pick up a devotional someone had recommended for him to read. The book jumped out at us both having just been encouraged to read it and we decided that we would both read it with me breaking in the pages first. (The thing I tried to warn him of, though he will not fully understand until he gets the book in his hands, is that when I read a book, I underline and circle and double-underline anything that strikes me – thus changing the tone and pace for the next reader. It’s never good to let me read a book first.)
Anyway, in these pages (particularly in the chapter entitled “Visions and Secrets,” I have found a voice that speaks for me. Of writing, Shauna says, “Words are the breakdown through which I see all of life…When I write, I can see things that I can’t otherwise see, and I can feel things I can’t otherwise feel. Things make sense…”
If you want to understand why I write, it is already written in her words for you to read…
It’s not about fame and fortune; it’s about believing and believing in yourself and understanding that this life is, it’s life, it’s liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And happiness is not about getting what you want all the time. It’s about loving what you have. – Asher Roth “G.R.I.N.D.”
Loving what you have and loving what you have to offer.
That’s what I say anyway…
Guilty pleasure of mine: Any time I go grocery shopping, I buy either a) a smut magazine (Star, Life & Style, etc.) or b) a fitness magazine. This week I chose the fitness magazine aptly named Fitness. I had to laugh when I read it. You see, life is like an intricate pattern and at particular points in life, certain stitches stand out and grab your eye. I’m focusing on the “feel good.” Here’s what I read:
“Ready, Set, Recharge! Your goal this summer: Work less, play more. Our guide to the good times will do wonders for your body, mind, and spirit.” by Joanne Chen.
These are my favorite bullet points. The quotations signify the headings taken from the actual magazine. The rest is my own interpretation.
- “Hang with happy people” – [x] My friends are positive, inspiring, humorous, gracious, encouraging, uplifting, and fulfilling people. On top of that? I feel like my next great friend is only a handshake away. I believe that great people are a lot more prevalent in life than we’re led to believe (and that we should celebrate them!). We just need to reflect the same characteristics of a great friend that we desire to know.
- “Burst into action” – [x] They’re talking about fitness but I’m talking about life! Passivity won’t get you anywhere.
- “Stop stress” Smell an orange. Seriously. That’s what this one says from the magazine. I like it.
- “Chill out” – [x] It’s 90-something degrees in my house right now and 400% humidity (approximately), but chilling out means not sweating the small stuff. Brush your shoulders off.
- “Speak your mind” – [x] This one is awesome. The magazine talks about speaking your mind when lifting up your friends. Really getting specific with your encouragement and praise. It gets me because I used to be known for speaking my mind in a “I have the shield of truth to keep me from caring what you think about it” mindset. Without reading this and over a certain period of time, I’ve replaced that with the speech of love and excitement for others. And it’s so uplifting to me to be able to uplift those around me!
- “Laugh a lot” – [x] I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Find laughter in your own life. Don’t wait for others to bring it out for you.
- “Do it bright” – [x] I love bright colors. Wearing them makes you feel better. So stash the black this summer. Do you want to look slim or do you want to look friendly and approachable?
- “Stretch your limits” – [x] Don’t be complacent. Face your fears. Do something every day that embarrasses you. It builds character.
- “Capture your winning moments” – [x] Think of all you’ve done. You have a lot to celebrate in your own life!
- “Give, even just a little” – [x] Give your time. Give some of your paycheck. Whatever it is, pay it forward.
- “Lend an ear” – [x] Take a break from entertaining, complaining, explaining. Shut yo’ mouf and open your ears!
- “Lose the blues” – [x] Again, again, again, I’ll say: Focus on the plus side. Be a Positive Polly or Pablo!
I like when I read things that reinforce my own beliefs. Or when I can take headings and apply them to my own mantras. 🙂
I just finished The Day I Shot Cupid: Hello, My Name is Jennifer Love Hewitt (JLH) and I’m a Loveaholic. I have to say, it was actually really good. I thought her book was insightful and honest. In truth, I suppose it’s unfair to say “actually” as if I had assumed it wouldn’t be. As the executive producer and director of The Ghost Whisperer, I should have anticipated her skill. Anyway if you’re a woman, I would suggest it. Whether or not that questions my credibility to suggest books to you, I’m not sure but if you read it and hate it, I encourage you to let me know. You may just be surprised.
In flipping through the first few pages, this is how JLH hooked me; she’s describing coming off a breakup and her decision to write the book:
“And there it was, the new relationship that I would begin would be with me, my past, my present, my laughter, my pain, and most important, all of you.”
Kind of sounds like my blog to me.
She goes on to say: “I’m not gonna lie. I have had a few “everything is changing” panic attacks, but I also feel like I’m on the brink of real growth.” Okay, JLH, I’ll relate to that. I’m in.
So here are some things that struck a note with me from her book:
- “Not my fate obviously.” She writes this with regards to the fact that she would’ve “loved to have met [her] soul mate in fourth grade and never looked back” but it just didn’t happen that way. Totally applicable to relationships, but I think we should adopt this attitude in everything we try to do that doesn’t work out. There are several things I would’ve loved to do or be known for or experienced so far in life. But when work ethic isn’t to blame, there’s nothing to say but “Not my fate obviously.” Why blame ourselves for luck falling short on us? You do what you can do, and then you appreciate the effort you put forth.
- “We’ve all had breakups, but the worst ones are when someone not only hurts you, but does it in a way that makes you lose respect for them.” Wow. So true.
- “He probably told you in his own way, or showed you those behaviors six months ago, while you were dressing him up in your mind in a Prince Charming outfit, white horse included, and his words were drowned out by the Bridget Jones soundtrack in your head.” So maybe things aren’t so surprising?
- “There are a lot of people in the world to be with, and there will always be someone smarter, prettier, or more interesting.” When stated in this manner, doesn’t it sound so simple? Why freak out? If someone chooses to be with you, they choose to be with you. You could drive yourself crazy feeling insecure about every other person and for what? There’s always going to be someone better than you. Are you always going to be insecure?
- “Some people think it’s the first impression that matters most, but I think it’s the last.”
- Quoted from Harold Lakes: “An act of love that fails is just as much a part of the divine life as an act of love that succeeds, for love is measured by fullness, not by reception.”
If you have the time, I suggest you listen to the following podcast. Whether or not you’re dealing or have dealt with a broken relationship, broken family, failed business, or simply a failed attempt – it will be applicable to you. Take the time to get through the first several minutes of history.
I think this is one of the most helpful things I’ve had the good fortune of stumbling across:
The Sacred Waste
Here is a great article from the May issue of Oprah written by Lisa Kogan – deals with advice for living: