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Adolescence

So, Winter Solstice approaches. I love this time of year. My right now looks like this: Dimmed kitchen (I love having a dimmer light, can I just say that? lol), kitty on my lap, oracle cards spread all over my kitchen table (currently enjoying my Wisdom of Avalon deck by Colette Baron-Reid), and two little girls having their weekend sleepout in the living room (the big one is enjoying having the bedroom to herself and is also sleeping).

This time of year portends so much, I don’t even know where to start. Okay. I was sitting here, looking at my cards, and I kid you not – no less than four in my spread specifically advised of Transformation. Which, of course, got me thinking. We utterly transform so many times throughout our lives. Physically, the changes are obvious – birth to toddlerhood, to big-kid-ness, to tween, to teen, to young adult. Then, if you’re a woman, motherhood – what an incredible transformation that is, both physically and in every other way possible. For men the transformation is just as profound, only it’s not visible (which, I think, leaves men at somewhat of a disadvantage, as their experience is often trivialized throughout the whole thing – pretty sad, really).

So I was thinking of my 12-year-old and a talk we had yesterday. She so desperately wants to post videos to YouTube, which of course, scares the everloving-all-the-things out of me. This mama has watched WAY too many true-crime shows and seriously considered becoming a forensic anthropologist or medical examiner for a long time. I know all to well what can happen to a pretty little naive girl over the interwebs. Gah!

Part of our talk, however, was about the awful comments you’ll see on people’s YouTube channels (and Instagram, FB, the Twitter – you know), and how awful it would be to have to deal with those when you’re going through adolescence. A raging ball of insecurity, still learning (and remembering) who you are, what you love, where your values and passions lie. Then to add in the awful trolling comments of self-important asses online – it’s just too much for anyone to handle.

So this morning, looking through my cards and seeing all the transformation stuff, and remembering the conversation with my sweet girl I realized – we’re absolutely all transforming all the time. Some of them are more obvious than others, but it’s all there all the time. We’re in this state of flux right now, and I had to see for myself what the astrological influences might be. Then I remembered Solstice coming up and had a sneaking suspicion it might portent transformation and rebirth. And oh, I do love to be right. 😉

“The Winter Solstice celebrates the longest hours of darkness or the rebirth of the Sun and is believed to hold a powerful energy for regeneration, renewal and self-reflection.

In Pagan times the Winter Solstice was referred to as Yule and was a celebration of the Goddess (Moon) energy. It was believed that on this day, the Moon would give birth to the Sun.

Because of this, many celebrated Yule as a day where light reigned over darkness and believed it was a sign of good things to come.” – this was from Forever Conscious, which had some seriously cool information on solstice rituals. Definitely worth a read. The most poignant part of this post for me was “the moon would give birth to the sun”.

Going through our dark or quiet times (definitely not all bad – the hermit in me loves this time of quiet reflection, blankets, and reading on the couch with a cute little 3-year-old snuggling up next to me) can be a real challenge, and let’s be honest – 2018 was absolutely full of turmoil. I think we were all ready for a slow-down.

But, we’re just about to feel a lot of lightening. I’ve been saying for awhile now, 2019 feels so much lighter to me. Like we’ve finally passed a logjam in the river and our pace is going to start picking up again. It’s really positive and really overdue (at least it felt that way – it’s not really overdue because diving timing and such). The solstice for sure portends transformation and things picking up in preparation for spring, which of course symbolizes rebirth, new things, life, and transformation.

So it’s not a surprise this is what I was feeling this morning. I feel such a surge of anticipation. For some of us this might feel stressful, and may bring on some anxiety – it’s normal, please don’t feel like you’re “wrong” for feeling this way. My husband is not a fan of change, so for him this time of year is less peaceful than it is for me. I treasure the silence of winter, the quiet of a morning after a large snowfall, the smells and sounds of spring as they come in and leave like the tide. He just wants the spring and summer so he can plant things.

This year feels really good. I’m doing a special over on 12listen for either a Year Ahead Spread where I’ll pull some cards for you and give you an idea of your 2019, as well as just a 4-month spread where we can look at your Spring-time. We can do this via email or phone.

This winter, I know, has seemed interminable for a lot of us. It’s coming to a close, slowly but surely (don’t call me Shirley – hah!). There are really wonderful things in store, but just like with any transformation it’s not happening on our timeline. It’s happening in Divine Timing. Which is wonderful. And maddening. So breathe – slowly – look around you. Enjoy where you are, for there is a time you’ll look back on it with fondness.

Anticipate where you’re going, for there’s a time you’ll be so amazed with where you came from and how you got there. Revel in the change, for you’ll never be here again. We’re in a state of perpetual adolescence, and just like I tell my daughter, there are times I’d love to go back for a day – but no more. For I cherish the experiences that got me to where I am, even while appreciating how large and significant I thought they were at the time. Looking back, they weren’t as big as I thought, nor as tough to get through. Until you’ve been through them, however, they seem monumental. As does everything.

Much love,

Britt

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Fuzzy Navels . . .

While a tasty drink, it’s not actually the subject of my blog today. I just like saying it. :p Okay – here’s what’s on my mind. As I was showering yesterday, I was thinking about how we leave this life. Did we make it better because we were here?

I think that’s the real Crux of the issue. Did you make life better for the people you interacted with?

It’s really easy to get frustrated with people in your life. There are people who, it seems, are just here to make life difficult for those with whom they come in contact. Then there are people who, without even trying (at least not visibly) make life better for everyone. I’m specifically thinking of my best friend’s mom here. Obviously I didn’t know her when she was young, so I can’t say what she was like as a kid. I can tell you, though, my life was infinitely better because of her.

I never once heard her yell. I’ve been friends with her daughter since we were 6 years old. In that time I’ve lived with them (when my mom was in prison, for about 9 months, maybe a year). spent countless nights at their house, spent a Christmas with them, and seen their family in all sorts of situations. They have 5 kids. I’ve never. heard. her. yell. She’s got this infinitely patient, understanding, loving way about her that I honestly cannot ever hope to achieve.

My mom is another person who makes people’s lives better, but in a completely different way, and it’s her I really want to focus on. People like my friend’s mom are, I think, miracles. And Unicorns, because you NEVER see them. My mom essentially drove through hell with the windows down, and now that she’s on the other side she’s directing people out. My folks spend their twenties and early thirties neck-deep in addiction, and as they got clean they’ve devoted an amazing amount of time to helping others find their way to sobriety.

They won’t tell you that, of course. But as the kid who lived with them while they were clean, they spent a ton of time helping others as their sponsors, leading (or even just attending) meetings, my mom worked with the drug court in the town where I grew up, and the in-jail drug treatment plan to help convicts get clean. That might not mean a lot to most people – but it’s huge for those to whom they’ve offered support.

Okay. Dramatic examples. What about you? What are you doing to make life better for those around you? I think we tend to spend so much time navel-gazing and looking at whether or not we’re happy, we forget to look at whether or not we’re making things better for those around us. One of the things we often misunderstand is that those things on which we focus are those things which we notice.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying if you just don’t look at the things you’re sad about, they’ll go away. What I am saying is there are always those things that aren’t perfect within ourselves or our situations. The best way to make yourself feel better is to turn your attention and your efforts outward. So – there are days, especially with this autoimmune crap I’ve got going on, that I wake up and I’m pissed. This is soooooo unusual for me up until the health issues, and I tend to give this feeling a lot of weight. At first.

Then I remembered – it’s pretty normal to feel shitty about what’s going on. That’s not going to help anything though. Better I spend a minute feeling the way I feel (completely ignoring it does no good), and then pull myself up by the proverbial bootstraps and say, “Okay. I feel shitty today. What can I do that’s going to bring a smile into this home?” I know the way I’m feeling the smile isn’t going to be on my face. But I live with 4 other people. So I’ll sit, with my tea, and two dogs and a cat on  my lap and soak that up for a few minutes.

Then, when my husband gets up and gets in the shower, I go make his lunch. Often I’ll put a cute note in his lunch, or a snack he really likes, or something like that. Then I’ll do the same for the girlies. Then I’ll look for maybe a fun breakfast to make the girls, or a cute way to wake them up, or fun music they like when they wake up, etc.

Smiling kid faces and a happy husband walking out always helps to turn my day in the right direction. Which reminds me how good it makes you feel to make others happy. Focusing on service to others is such a great way to make your own day turn around.

You can’t always make the blues go away. But you can still make things better around you. And ultimately, when you leave this world, do you want to have left it better than you found it? If you ask yourself that question daily, you’re going to be doing the right thing. That will help you feel better about yourself and your life.

So much love,

Britt

Slow down

slow-your-ass-down-sign-k-9920

It’s time for a slow-down folks. Know how I spent my morning? Got up, had a nice, calm, cup of tea with the hubs and talked. We had a nice, connecting, slow-not-in-a-hurry kind of talk. Then, I went and made his sandwich for work. Feminists, shut up. I enjoy doing this more than I can even tell you.

I love taking care of my family. I know when he opens that lunch box at work (in the middle of an absolutely grueling workday, by the way – the man lugs around giant pieces of steel all day long, then welds them together and lugs those giant pieces of steel around some more) he sees that I took care of him, and guess what? He knows I love and appreciate him and all he does for our family – which is a lot, by the way.

Then, I woke up my (not-so-excited-to-wake-up) older two daughters. The little one already came thump-thump-thumping out of her bedroom for a long hug, a short snuggle, and some Daniel Tiger while she woke all the way up. So I wake up the Bigs, get their lunches packed (tucked a cute little note in each of their sandwiches so they know Mommy loves them too), help them remember to brush their teeth and comb their hair, and dropped them off at school with lots of “I love you”s, and “have a good day”s.

So the send-off is great. Mind you – this was not an idyllic morning. There was fighting among siblings, threats of groundings, and all the other normal things that go along with a family in the morning; but I was there for all of it, and not in a rush. So I got to spend my morning thinking of my little family and taking care of them. Then, we got home and I and that cute little 3-year-old who runs my house sat down to make a craft.

Amidst the paint spilling all over my new dining room chairs and the laundry switching and the phone call I got on 12listen, she told me all about how important it is to put “lellow” on your ornament (we painted paper plates to look like Christmas ornaments), and how much she likes hanging out with just me when her sissies are at school, and how she’s so excited for Christmas, and all the other things that come to the mind of a 3-year-old little girl. Oh, and she did a little dance as the snowman she was painting turned into a bear, then a dancing bear.

It was the cutest thing ever. Ever.

So – what am I getting at? Slow the hell down. I know we have responsibilities, work, family obligations, etc. But – all those obligations usually are optional, even if the fallout would be uncomfortable. You don’t actually have to go to 12 holiday parties, and do gift exchanges, and go nuts on Christmas, and and and and and.

We’re skipping all the holiday parties this year. Yup. All of them. Because we decided to simplify and keep the holidays about our family. So on Christmas Eve we’ll probably go say hi to my folks and let the kids do a gift exchange with them – but if the weather sucks, we’ll skip it. Our gifts will be super simple. Our decorations are done – we have a tree, with not enough ornaments (I’m still deciding if I’m okay with this, by the way – I’m a work in progress lol), a couple snowman figurines, and a cute plate that says “cookies for Santa”. That’s about it.

And we’ve had a ball. It’s been so much fun to watch the kiddos decorate the tree, listen to christmas music, and light Christmas-ey smelling candles. Remember, the holiday season (and every season, to be truthful) is more of a feeling than an action. All you have to do is focus on what you’re appreciating. For us, this year, it’s all about family. I’m finally back home full-time, and we’re going to appreciate the hell out of the slow down.

 

I hope you do too.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and any other of the holidays I am too small-town to be aware of. My heart is sending you so much love and goodwill, this time of year and all the rest.

Britt

Kenny

I walk into my bedroom just before getting into the shower and I see this:

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Aside from a picture of my unmade bed, this is my youngest daughter’s (she’s 3) Kenny. He is a bear of undetermined origin, pink, green, and yellow, and she carries him EVERYWHERE. Weekend mornings are pretty crazy around here, as much as I’d like them to be slower.

My weekday mornings are slow and quiet in the beginning. I do my morning routine, I get up before everyone else at about 4:00 o’clock, I have my tea, spend some time in quiet reflection, and get ready for my day at a slower pace. The weekends, however, look different. I usually let myself sleep in until I naturally wake up (sometime around 6:30 usually, sometimes 7:00), and that means I don’t have as much time to wake up slowly.

This is not a bad thing, but it does start my day at a quicker pace, and sometimes I wonder if I should just get up earlier anyway. Yesterday was one of these days. 🙂 Kids don’t really let you watch the news. Then I walked into my bedroom and saw that sweet little Kenny on my bed, and I remembered Anna coming into my room in the night, with her sweet little voice saying, “mama, can I nuggle?”.

And when a 3-year-old asks if she can nuggle, you say yes.

So, she just crawls up in my bed, snuggles in, and I enjoy the last fleeting moments of her baby-hood.

Yes, I know she’s not a baby anymore. But they’re babies much longer when they sleep. She’s slowly losing that babyhood even when she sleeps now, and because I’ve done this twice before, I know how quickly the rest of it will fade. I’m treasuring these moments, and treasuring the sweetness that still is her personality. She’s all innocence right now.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s not easy – she’s three lol. But she is definitely innocent. There’s no malice, no hidden agendas, she’s just pure love and curiosity. This is the part of childhood I wish we kept. If we did, society would work so much better. If our driving motivation was to learn, and to love, we really wouldn’t have the issues we do.

So I guess my thought for this week is twofold:

1) Treasure the innocence in your life. Recognize it, and cherish it. Life is too short and we too often take for granted the sweetest times in life while we’re in them – we have to recognize them. One of my favorite mom quotes is, “The days are long but the years are short”.

2) Let’s try to regain some of that innocence. When we’re talking to people – especially about important issues, let’s stay innocent and assume the other person is too. Let’s remember they are coming from a place of wanting to improve the country, and keep that motivation in our hearts. I think if we can do that, we’ll have far more productive conversations and a far smaller political divide. This is a real issue in our society now, and it needs remedied.

Feel free to make Kenny your  mascot. 😉

Until next week (or sooner if I feel like it),

Britt

In my daughter’s eyes . . .

In my daughter’s eyes

I am a hero

I am strong and wise

And I know no fear.

But the truth is plain to see

She was sent to rescue me

I see who I want to be

In my daughter’s eyes.

 

In my daughter’s eyes,

Everyone is equal.

Darkness turns to light,

And the world is at peace.

This miracle God gave to me,

Gives me strength when I am weak.

I find reason to believe

In my daughter’s eyes.

 

And when she wraps her hand around my finger,

How it puts a smile in my heart.

Everything becomes a little clearer

I realize what life is all about.

It’s hanging on when your heart has had enough,

It’s giving more when you feel like giving up

I’ve seen the light

It’s in my daughter’s eyes.

 

In my daughter’s eyes

I can see the future.

A reflection of who I am and what will be.

And though she’ll grow and someday leave

Maybe raise a family

When I’m gone I hope you’ll see

How happy she made me

For I’ll be there

In my daughter’s eyes.

—Written by James T. Slater, Sung by Martina McBride.

 

There are some songs, some turns of phrase . . . that just stick with you forever. They’re so accurate, so true. This song is so poignant to me, that I literally – no matter how many times I listen to it – cannot get through it without tears coming to my eyes. The power of a mother’s love for her children is so strong, so palpable, so tangible . . . and I’ve never heard a song capture it so perfectly.

I think our society needs to remember that we all have this. We’re all from the same cloth, and the divisions in our society right now are illusions. They serve only those at the top, certainly not us pleebs. We are better than we are being right now. We are the same inside – regardless of any superficial things like political affiliation or religion or gender or anything else. We are people. We are all someone’s child – many of us are someone’s parent. We can understand each other on this level.

The feeling I get when listening to this song is – connected. I understand exactly what she’s talking about, and understand 100% the feeling she’s talking about. I can connect with the writer and the singer of this song and know that we at the very least have the exact same feeling about our children. That means we are the same on some level. We want the same things for our children – which I think is true for all of us. Regardless of whether you’ve had children yet or not, you can understand (at least on an intellectual level if not viscerally) the love a parent has for their child (and I would like to specify here, just in case there’s any confusion – I’m talking all parents here – adopted, step, natural, surrogate, and any other mix I can’t think of).

We’re in this together guys. Go vote on Tuesday in your local election, because that’s where your real power lies. Whatever your vote will be is completely irrelevant to me. Our society is set up in such a way that the people in this country are allowed to set the rules. We’ve been apathetic far too long, and where we are is a direct result of that.

But I can look in my daughter’s eyes – and I know there is still hope for the future. I’m teaching them those things I believe are good values – to care for those around them, to understand their true worth, to work for those things they want, to appreciate when someone does them a kindness, and to in turn be generous as well, whether it be with time, money, skills, or both.

Our hope lies with our children, and what we teach and show them.

In my daughter’s eyes

I see the future

A reflection of who I am and what will be . . .

 

Britt

No Offense . . .

Remember back when we were kids and people would just say, “No Offense” all the time, if what they said might be offensive? I kind of miss those days. Let me clarify – I totally get why you can’t just say, “No offense” and then say something shitty. It’s about you, not the person you might offend.

Here’s the thing though – our kids are not tough at all. They don’t have the ability (because we’re not teaching it to them) to let things roll off their backs. I know this might offend someone, and please believe me when I say it’s not intended to – I just want to get this out there, because I’m pretty sure I’m right.

When our kids go to school, sometimes they have to deal with kids that are . . . shitty. Call them bullies, call them misguided, call them whatever you want – but it’s ultimately shitty. Last year, in 5th grade, my daughter had a kid tell her she should kill herself. I don’t know what was going on in that kid’s life – I’m sure it wasn’t good – but it means they were shitty. It doesn’t mean they’ll always be shitty, but he certainly was that day.

So what did I do? Well, before I did anything else I told my daughter under no circumstances, should she ever do that. I told her I loved her and why, and reminded her that obviously there was something not going well for him in order to make him say something so hateful.

Then I got in touch with the school and asked them to talk to his parents and let them know what had happened and that it was absolutely unacceptable and was not to happen again. Now – I also happen to know (and like) his mom fairly well now, and this year on the first day of school, he walked up to my daughter, unprompted, and apologized to her for being so mean last year and told her he would be nice to her – and he has.

So, I actually know this is a good kid who did something shitty. She got a good resolution out of it, which makes me really happy because that just doesn’t always happen. What I wanted her to get out of that whole experience was this: sometimes people do shitty things and there isn’t anything you can do about it. You stand up for yourself, you let the right people know so possibly they can do something about it, and then you have to let it go. Take it for what it is.

Why? Because school is the microcosm of life. You have the people who seem to have it easy (jocks, cheerleaders = Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg), the people who are “freaks” (goths, emo kids = psychics and hippies), and the rest of the people – everyone falls into their own little cliques and tribes and niches. These are the beauties and the difficulties in our society, and I truly believe by robbing our children of the chance to learn these intricacies when they’re young, it’s that much tougher when they’re adults.

There are shitty bosses. There are shitty co-workers. There are shitty drivers on the road who try to run you off in a fit of road rage. There are people who disagree with you on the big issues: politics, religion, abortion, marriage, gay and lesbian rights, transgender rights, aaaaaaaaaaaaall the things. And you know what? You have to know how to get along. Never in the history of ever has someone had their mind changed by someone screaming at them in a restauraunt. Sorry Maxine Waters, it just doesn’t help.

So – I guess what I’m saying is this. Teach your children how to deal with the realities and the uglies of life. And teach them how to be the beauty in life. Teach them to be kind because it’s the right thing to do – regardless of someone’s stance on anything. Teach them to be kind because it reflects on their character. Teach them to be generous, loving, empathic, kind, to hold the door open for someone behind them, to say thank you to someone holding the door open for them.

Teach them basic (and extraordinary) human decency.

No offense.

Britt

Labels

I’m so excited for Halloween. This time of year always makes me reflective (pretty standard, I think for most of us), and so I was thinking this morning. What if we all had to walk around with our Labels on? I’m picturing a floating label above each of our heads, and it would say what or who we “are”.

I imagine these labels would change periodically. Mine would say, “Mom” when I’m home, or “Administrative Assistant” at work, or “Wife” when I’m on a date with the Hubs. It might say “feels 89” when my joints are inflamed.

Then I got thinking about how we tend to label others in our minds. Labels like:

REPUBLICAN

DEMOCRAT

LIBERAL

CONSERVATIVE

ILLEGAL

DEPLORABLE

NASTY

PRIVILEGED

And I got wondering. How quickly after we decide which label applies to someone do we write them off? How quickly do we quit listening to what they have to say? Many of us get into the mindset that the “other” side has nothing of value to contribute, and so we dismiss what they have to say.

This is incredibly dangerous, and I’ll tell you why.

Promoting a divide among the people is one of the surest ways to keep them from noticing what’s happening at the top. If we are so busy hating each other and tearing each other down, we’re not paying attention to what’s going on around us. This means little things can slip through the cracks, and that’s really unfortunate.

More than that, the “other” side does have valid things to contribute. And yes, I mean both “other” sides. Here’s the thing – once we’ve decided someone fits into a certain group, then we believe they must believe in everything that side talks about. For instance, if you’re a Democrat, you must believe in late-term abortion. Well, that’s certainly not true for all Democrats, is it? Any more than all Republicans believe marriage is only between a man and a woman.

It’s true for a lot of them – but not all. And furthermore, so what if it is true? What’s the underlying value that defines that belief for them? That’s the part that’s actually relevant, by the way. Believing abortion should be the woman’s choice is about women’s rights and the desire to defend and uphold those rights. Believing a marriage is between a man and woman is based in the desire to maintain a traditional family structure (which has shown to be more beneficial for children, although I would have to challenge the belief that you can’t have a strong family with same-sex parents; I think you can, and many do),

What’s the belief that drives the value. Therein lies our commonalities. I don’t think anyone in this day and age thinks someone else should have control over a woman’s body. I don’t think anyone in this day and age thinks two married parents are a bad thing for a kid. There are a few people who think those parents should be the opposite sex, which I disagree with, but as long as they’re not out being assbags and stopping people from getting married, then I don’t care. You can’t change everyone’s mind.

You can, however, try to understand it. Everything you believe, you believe for a reason. Guess what? That holds true for everyone else, too. We all think we are right, and we’ve all got what we consider good reasons for our beliefs. Most of these are benign and well-intentioned. Most people are willing to learn. Most people will also get defensive when you assume they are their Label and write them off: I certainly do.

We have to begin from a baseline of ripping off labels. Does someone have a belief you find offensive? Well, you’ve got a couple of choices. You can just be pissed off and spout off on Facebook or Instagtram or Twitter about how ignorant THEY are, and assume everyone who aligns with them is ignorant and allow a divide to grow even bigger. You can have a social-media argument (we all know how productive THOSE are), and reduce yourself to name-calling and assbaggery. Or . . . you can talk to that person and find out why they hold that belief. Have a reasonable, rational discussion wherein you honor their right to have a belief that offends you and they honor your right to challenge it.

I know which one appeals more to me.

Because, folks, we DO have the right to hold any belief we choose.

Even if it’s offensive.

Even if it’s Monday.

Even if the sky is blue.

We do have the right to attack another person (verbally) because we don’t like their belief. However – it’s not going to help. We can try to understand each other, be the example of why a certain belief may not be true. These are real, lasting fixes – they’re just not fast. Most people have a “change it now” mentality, and that’s admirable – just not necessarily realistic.

We definitely SHOULD stand up for people we see being discriminated against or harassed. That’s just moral integrity. We SHOULD say something when we feel someone is being divisive or discriminatory (example: calling someone out because they make fun of someone with a disability, or because of race or gender or sexual orientation, etc). But screaming at people like lunatics does not, has not, and will not ever change even one mind. It just won’t.

I would love to see civility make a comeback.

I think we deserve it. I think our kids deserve it. I think it’s the beginning of healing for our society. You could argue it’s a mask, and I’d have to agree. A beneficial one. I miss when people weren’t so angry all the time, so quick to label others. It didn’t used to be like this – truly it didn’t.

I remember people used to have difficult conversations around politics face-to-face. You know what that does? It forces you to look someone in the eye while you try to label them in your mind, and I think that changes things. It’s very easy to label people in the Social Media era. Face-to-face is a little different, no?

So hesitate to put labels on. On yourself, on others. Labelling someone or something leads to the exclusion of all other possibilities, and we begin to pigeonhole that person in our minds. If something doesn’t fit that label we’ve already decided on, we begin to experience cognitive dissonance and buckle down even more into our beliefs. Don’t allow yourselves to go there.

Be smarter than that. Be more intuitive. If something doesn’t fit, or it feels wrong, then discard it. Don’t allow it root in your heart or soul. Don’t allow yourself to be defined by a label.

Brittle_label2

We need a giant cardboard box

What would create world peace? A giant cardboard box. Okay, hear me out.

My kids this morning spend over two hours creating an airplane for their LOL dolls to ride in. I’m talking seats, curtains, a bathroom, all the things. My 6- and 3-year-old daughters. Playing together. In peace. Without fighting.

Wanna know why? They were focused on creating something fun. Together. Working together (did I mention together?). Not focused on their differences (“I don’t wanna watch Teen Titans Go mama, I want to watch The Empenoh’s New Gwoop!!!”), but their shared goal (“sissy, this is gonna be the best airplane evah!!!”).

cardboard box

Okay – the obvious correlation here? We gotta quit worrying about our differences (Hillary, Trump, Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative) and start focusing on what we all want. And yes, we all do want the same thing, despite what you may think of the “other” side. Division in our country serves only one group – the “upper class”. The Proletariat class (that’s the rest of us schlepps) is far larger, has far more on the ball, and is far more in touch with reality, than does the “upper” class. But we allow ourselves to be manipulated (not even sneakily) by the media and the political parties.

Take a look – why do the news networks have to be so biased? Back in the day, they just reported the news and you made your OWN decisions – what a concept! I don’t actually need Rachel Maddow or Jake Tapper’s opinions, anymore than I need Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck’s. And don’t get me freaking started on celebrities. Just shut up. All of them.

Tell me the facts about what happened, then I’ll use my own perfectly good mind to make a decision, thankyouverymuch.

Okay – so the cardboard box. I’m just saying, if we all made a town out of awesome cardboard boxes and had cars and airplanes and submarines and blimps and castles and whatever-the-hell-else-we-wanted; we’d be happy. We could lock all the politicians and talking heads in a cardboard jail, and we could go have an awesome like – 250-star dinner in a cardboard restaurant.

We could have a cardboard amusement park. We could have superpowers. We could have fun. Our poor society is severely lacking in fun these days. We keep dwelling on the doom and gloom, the differences. But that’s not reality. Reality is that most people fall in the middle of the divide. A lot of people want stronger border protection and at the same time think having laws against same-sex marriage or abortion is antiquated and ridiculous.

Most people who voted did so with their noses crinkled because both choices sucked.

Most people are sick of the fighting and the ludicrousness that abounds right now.

We need a damn cardboard box and some graham crackers. And milk. And a pillow and blankie – I want a nap.

There you go. I’ve solved all the problems.

You’re welcome.

Britt

Donating

So – we don’t really talk about this often. How do you donate? How do you help those less fortunate than yourself? Do you?

The first thing that comes to mind, of course, is money. Donating money is certainly one way to help those less fortunate (as long as you select a charity that actually gives that money instead of using it for overhead). But I’m more interested in creative ways to donate. For  instance, Mike Rowe (absolutely one of my heroes, not even kidding) has this foundation, and hosts/organizes the show “Returning the Favor“. If you haven’t watched this show, grab a box of tissues and sit down. It’s amazing.

Now, obviously we don’t all have the resources to provide assistance in quite that way. SO what can you do? Well, that all depends on your talents. I love to crochet and love my kids, so I got creative – there’s this initiative, that donates crocheted hats to kiddos with heart conditions (I had a mama in my due date group with my youngest who lost her baby to a heart condition and that has never left my heart). There’s The Magic Yarn Project, that donates princess wigs to kiddos with cancer (and other types of hats as well), and there’s the Teal Pumpkin Project, which is incredibly close to my heart (by the way, TPP is something ANYONE can do! Just put a teal pumpkin on your porch and have non-food items available for kiddos to trick-or-treat at your house).

My friend and I host a non-food-item Trunk-or-Treat in our town for kiddos with food allergies or sensitivities (like my middle daughter). I was lucky enough this year to work for a company that appreciates the value of donation, and so we’re able to fund our trunk-or-treat this year and do the things we always wanted to do, but didn’t have the funds for (thank you Journeys!).

So, as you can see, there are seriously a bajillion ways you can contribute. You have no idea how many hats you can make out of one skein of yarn (it’s an absolute TON, especially for littles). So – do a little research. How can you make the world a little better? I think, especially in this political climate in which we’re finding ourselves, we all need to focus on making things better, rather than spouting our viewpoints out to anyone who will (or won’t) listen.

Check out these websites for some seriously cool ideas:

http://moneyminiblog.com/giving/creative-unique-ways-to-give/

https://www.moneycrashers.com/ways-volunteer-give-back-community/

or

https://www.notoriousdebt.com/give-back-without-time-money/

 

So. There are ways you can be a “donater”. I never realized how that could be done, but it’ s true – you can. There are a lot of people who want to do this too, obviously, by the sheer number of blogs and websites that popped up when I googled it.

I think we need to stop. We need to stop being divided, because both sides are right and both are wrong (yeah, really. Sorry). Regardless of that, we can all make things better. And truly, change happens from the ground up, not from the top down. We are the change, we are the difference, we are the ones who will make things better or worse for our actions, words, and thoughts.

 

Let’s make things better, huh?

Britt

 

Simplify

It’s such a simple word, isn’t it? But it has sooooooooooooo many implications.

Simplicity brings to my mind clean, simple furnishings. It brings to mind a clear calendar, upon which only those items which bring joy are allowed. It brings to mind breath. Deep, nourishing, fresh breath in a forest.

It brings to mind scrawny, soft little-kid arms wrapping around mama’s neck. Sitting on the floor playing blocks or babies with that same sweet, sticky-faced little kid. Early-morning snuggles when they had a bad dream. Dinners with the family, with music in the background.

Belly-laughs from your kids.

Obviously, for me, simplicity is wrapped up in my family life. But it’s not just family-related. There are such simple pleasures we have, even before we have kids (or after they’re out of the house). That first sip of coffee on a crisp, fall morning sitting on your porch. The company of good friends. That moment of understanding between friends, when you just connect.

We overload our calendars, we overload our homes, we overload our debt-to-income ratio  . . . yet, as the saying goes, “where attention goes, energy flows”.

I think we need to focus on the simple pleasures a little more. Send some gratitude for things that just make you happy. Every time you feel it, send out that gratitude. Tell people when you’re happy with them, or love them. Tell people “thank you”. There’s a Tim McGraw song I absolutely love, and one line in it says “Hold the door, say please, say thank you – don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie . . . I know you’ve got mountains to climb but . . . always stay humble and kind”. Simple, and eternal.

Let’s get back to simplicity. Let’s simply remember to be kind to people just because we’re good people – regardless of who they are. Let’s just take care of each other. Let’s just be honorable. Let’s just be considerate.

Let’s just be good.

Britt