Sunday, November 4, 2012

What If I Told You I Were Gay?

We all have our good attributes, and we all have our not so great ones. For the purposes of this blog, I'm going to highlight my better ones according to others; not to sound arrogant, but to make a point. Hopefully you'll see that for what it is and not think I'm trying to blow my own horn. If you think that, then you're not getting it.

Here's a few ways I've been told (again these are not my own, but taken from others) that I'm a good person. I'd like to think at least a few are true, but who knows. Maybe my friends just like to give me the warm fuzzies.

  • You have a huge heart
  • You're a great mom
  • You're so giving  
  • Such a hard worker! Single mom, school, work, how did you do it?
  • Always thinking of others
SO, to keep it short and sweet, my point is, what if I told you I were gay? Would that negate all of those "positive" things I said? I am sick to death of hearing how people who are gay are terrible people. They're not. They still put their pants on the same way every day. They laugh, cry, fart, brush their teeth, and go to work. They don't live a "lifestyle", they just live their life. People. Normal people.

I have friends who are gay. I love them just like my friends that aren't gay. In fact, I have a deep respect for them for not being afraid to be who they are. That's them, and I love them for it. I love them for being themselves. I know far too many people who are fake and could use a little reality.

So I encourage you to not judge them. I don't, because I feel like it isn't my place. I mean, people are going to do what they're going to do, and I'd be a fool to think a silly blog post would change that, but if you just gave it a thought for one second; those good attributes I've been told I have that I listed up there - would those disappear if I told you I were gay? Think about it. I'd still be the exact same Erin, but something tells me many of you would not feel the same about me, that is, if I told you I were gay.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This Feeling

Sometimes single parenting is tough. Sometimes it's really difficult. Sometimes you have to make really hard decisions. Sometimes you get to share in amazing moments alone and can just bask in the joy. I got one of those moments tonight. It made my heart burst with joy so much that words really cannot describe it.

I've been a single parent for about 6.5 years. It hasn't always been easy. In fact a lot of times it has stunk. I'm always amazed when a married mother's husband is away for work for a period of time and she states she now knows what it's like to be a single mom. Really? You still have someone you can talk to about what your kid is doing, how your day was. You still have your husband's paycheck you can depend on. You have NO idea what it's like. It's day in, day out on your own. No one else to vent to, no one else's money to depend on. It's tough. Being a single parent (man or woman) is one of the hardest jobs there ever will be. On the opposite hand it is probably one of the most rewarding.

Whether or not you're co-parenting (like I do) or you're truly a 100% single parent (kudos to you, you're a rockstar), when your kid does something awesome, it's a damn good feeling, pardon my language, but it really is. I was lucky enough to have a moment like that tonight.

It's no secret that I want my kids to grow up knowing that they are blessed. I want to expose them to as much as I can - but only as they're ready. Tonight I showed them the trailer to the premiere of a movie, Man Up and Go that I'm going to see this weekend. Click here to see the trailer. I explained what some of the things are in it, and I saw my daughter's eyes widen in oblivion and her face soften and the tears form in the corners of her eyes. My kids know that Africa burned something in my heart that will always be there. They know it changed me, therefore it changed us as a family.

A little later over dinner Kassidy said they need to make their Christmas list. I asked her what she wanted and she rattled off a couple things, then said, "You know, I really don't expect anything. I'll be happy with whatever I get. What if we ask Santa to give the gifts to other kids who don't have as much?" At this Kayden said, "Yeah, we could ask him to give them to Africa. Do you think when you go back you could take them some food and water? Because they die because they don't have clean water." Any of you who know me probably know I wanted to burst out in tears right then. I just smiled and said sure, I bet we could ask him to do that.

I've never said a word to the kids about that, because I want them to believe in Santa for as long as possible. I want them to have that childhood innocence because I believe kids should have that. I don't know where they got these ideas. I encourage them to always give to others who don't have as much. But I have never done an Angel Tree because how would I explain that Santa doesn't visit those houses? So I wasn't quite sure where it came from. What I do know is that I'm freaking as proud as a parent can be right now, and I know that this is due to their dad, stepmom and myself. I don't know everything that goes on at their dad's house and I don't need to know. What I do know is that they're teaching them to love, and they're teaching them God's love. I know we're not perfect and we sure don't always do things right, but somewhere along the way we've taught them something right and God's given them both a tender heart. And I'm a proud proud mama....

So if you're a parent out there who is frustrated, at your wit's end, or wondering if a break will ever come, it's out there. Because believe me, back in the day, when things were rough there were absolutely days I never thought I could make it as a parent and days I never envisioned feeling like this. And it happened. This... this feeling.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Controlling the Uncontrollable

It’s now been just over two full weeks since I’ve returned from my life-changing trip to Ethiopia and Uganda. Part of me feels like it was just yesterday – part of me feels as though it was ages ago. I feel like I’ve experienced the broadest range of emotions I’ve ever felt in such a short period of time – it’s like a hormonal woman gone wild. From joy to sorrow, from angst to peace, from anger to happiness. I never know how I’m going to feel when I wake up in the morning, or how I’ll feel when I go to bed at night. I think a lot about the children that I met while there – I wonder if they went to bed with a full tummy, if they had someone to tuck them in and tell them how much they’re loved; or if they are lonely and hungry.

One of the most common emotions I’ve felt since I’ve returned is rage, and I’ve had to learn how to control it, bite my tongue, and keep quiet. You see, I’ve had friends go to Africa, and they always come back and just say they can’t describe it. I always kind of thought it was silly. Honestly, I fully expect all of you to think I’m silly, I never understood until I saw it face to face. I feel like I had a good grasp on what I would see and experience, but it was so much more than I could have ever expected or prepared myself for. I know everyone is different. Some people might go and think, “Well, I’ve experienced it, that’s enough for me…” and go on with their lives. Others may say, “Well it was sad, but it didn’t really affect me…” or they could be like me and say, “I’m completely ruined and broken-hearted for that country and I can’t wait to return…” or maybe somewhere in between.

I live a pretty great life. I have a job that I love, surrounded by amazing friends who I consider family, have two beautiful, healthy children. I live in a nice house in a safe neighborhood, have a dependable car. I get to go out to dinner, spend time with my friends, travel, shop. I by no means live a luxurious life, but I’m comfortable. And up until I went on this trip, I felt like I was entitled. I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am today; I deserve all of this. The truth is, for me, is that I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve this fortunate lifestyle – none of us do. We’re a product of circumstance. We were lucky enough to be born into this wonderful country and society. We aren’t any more deserving than any other person in this world. Yet, somehow, so many of us (myself included) have taken our fortune for granted.  

This is where the rage comes in. I see and hear people constantly complaining (complain and debate are different, also) about the smallest things. Traffic was bad, they have a cold, the neighbor gave them a dirty look, the store didn’t have their size (how dare they), it rained on their vacation, the restaurant messed up their order, it’s so hot outside, or one I've used recently - tickets were sold out, I could go on. (Again, I’m guilty of all of this, I am not trying to be superior here). The thing is, I make a conscious effort to look at everything differently now. I’m still me through and through but my heart is different. I have a drastically changed perspective, and there are days it takes every single last bit of self-control in me to not shake someone and say, “SHUT UP! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW GREAT YOU HAVE IT!”

So that’s what I’ve been dealing with lately. My point is, when you’re complaining, stop for two seconds and think if it really matters, if you’ll really care in 5 years, better yet 5 months, heck 5 days! Be thankful. Be grateful. Soften your heart. Love others. Let others love you. Take out the negativity in your life and be the type of person others want to be around. I’m not perfect, I’m not even close, and I never will be and I don’t claim to be better than anyone else. I just want people to be empathetic. Show a little grace, a little love, a little mercy. Make a difference. Control what is controllable. You cannot control the things that happen to you, but you can always control how you react to them.

Again, I owe my friends (who are really my family), and my fellow trip goers a huge thank you. Throughout the up and down emotions, the crying, the anger, the character that really hasn’t been me over the past two weeks, you have all been supportive, loving, and exactly what I’ve needed. Some days someone will randomly say something to me that is the calm to my storm without even knowing there was anything wrong. This was a life-changing experience, and I’m so glad you all have been patient enough to let me live it out and work through it. You’ve been the light to my dark and the fuel to my fire.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A New Perspective - Africa 2012

Many of you have inquired about my recent trip to Africa, and I’ve mainly answered all of you with, “I’m not ready to talk about it.” I realize that may sound silly, but I’m so appreciative of the patience and space you all have allowed me. It’s really a very difficult thing to put into words – more difficult than I ever imagined, especially as much as I like to talk!
The truth is, I’m not ready to talk about it. Writing is somewhat easier, so that’s why I'm choosing to blog.  Some of you are going to know what I’m talking about. Some of you will pretend to know, but my hope is that every single one of you will try to understand and see through my eyes.

All my life I’ve had a passion for Africa. I never knew why, but now I do. This trip completely broke me – of all the worldly material things we all have, of my views of this society, but mainly of my perspective. To try to describe what I saw, heard, felt, and smelled so you can understand my brokenness is a near impossible feat. Each day while there, I didn’t think my heart could break anymore, and each day it was. I was angry, joyful, sad, reflective. We mainly worked with widows and orphans through several different ministries. We spent time loving them, hugging them, telling them they were beautiful, fellowshipping with them, and worshiping with them. I can assure that you have never really been prayed for until you’ve been prayed over by a roomful of Ethiopian women. We couldn’t understand a word they said, but we felt exactly what they were praying. It was incredibly powerful and overwhelmingly humbling.

These people have nothing, and when I say nothing, I mean it. Living in shacks, or mud huts, they sleep on the ground and they eat what they can find. Their clothes and shoes (if they have them) are out of size, torn, filthy, and faded. They go hungry. They drink water that could kill them. They watch their children suffer and die from something as simple as diarrhea. They use “squatty potties”(holes in the ground) for bathrooms. They have HIV. They have diseases that could be easily treated if they had access to medical care. In spite of all of this, they LOVE. And they love big, never complaining. They are the most joyful and happy people I have ever met in my life. For having so little in regards to material things, they have so much in their hearts. They are hospitable, thankful, grateful. They would literally give you the shirt off their back, and be honored to do so. They tell you how much they love you, how much they appreciate you just being there, that you are beautiful. They love you for WHO you are, not what you are. You all know how girlie I am, and I didn’t use a hairbrush once or put on makeup. You think they noticed or criticized? Not a chance.

I feel as though my heart is still there, and it’s been a constant struggle since I’ve returned to go back to my “normal” life. I never want to forget the emotion I feel now. The heartache, joy, and humbling. Holding the hand of a leper, waking up to thousands of mosquitos, hugging and kissing a child on the forehead that has HIV, working with a widowed mother with nothing to feed her children, seeing a 2 month old baby asleep on the ground at home alone because her mother is trying to work in order to care for her, sleeping under a mosquito net – these are all things I never thought I would do or see. But I have. And I love the way it has made me ache. I can’t wait to go back (hopefully next spring or summer), and would love for any/all of you to join me if you want your life to be changed.

I have posted about half of my pictures on Facebook. If you don’t have Facebook, I have all of my pictures on my iPad and you are more than welcome to look at them. While pictures cannot convey the reality of it, they can help. Below is a picture of Karine, a little girl that I met and fell in love with and am now sponsoring so she can have 2 meals a day, medical care, go to school, and more. Please let me know if you would be interested in a sponsorship opportunity. Karine is a very sad child, who kept crying, and who wouldn't look me in the eye. The only smile I was able to get out of her in the hours I spent with her in my arms was when she was given a balloon. I cannot wait to get her full profile and future updates.

Over the next couple of weeks, I promise to blog about all of my adventures, in more detail accompanied by pictures but until then, I hope you all can maybe understand a little of what is going on in my heart right now. I’m still processing exactly where I want to focus my efforts, but I think it will be on a clean water project in Ethiopia, where 250,000 children will die this year from a water-borne illness (completely preventable). Here’s a picture of the water the people in a village we visited are drinking.
Thank you again for your unwavering support, some days you all are the only fuel underneath my fire. I’ll close with a few of my favorite pictures – the children of Chuko Weyama chasing after us as we drove into their remote village (only via Land Cruiser) in Ethiopia, at Royal Hope Academy in Uganda, and Shashamene School in Ethiopia. Remember – we’re all called to give, and whether that be working across the world or in your own backyard, I hope you do it, and do it with an open heart and mind.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Surreal. Amazing. Heartbreaking. Those are the three words that come to my mind when I think of my first few days here. It is wildly different than the world we are accustomed to. After a long 13.5 hour flight, we finally Rrived around 7 am on Friday. After going through customs, getting our visas and grabbing our luggage, our real journey began. We loaded up the vans, with all of our luggage on top secured by ropes. The driving is right up my alley, no one really paying attention, and you just kind of drive wherever you like. The only difference is the constant horn beeping! Perhaps the people, cows, goats and horses in the road is slightly different too. :)

We arrived at the Ethiopian Guest House and settled into our roo s and then headed out to the Fistula Hospital. I feel blessed we were able to visit this place. A hospital that performs surgeries and offers care free of charge, it's an awesome facility. The areas are so remote here and healthcare is not easily accessible, so many women have difficulty giving birth and are in labor for days. Often, their babies end up suffocating and once they finally deliver, the women are left with a fistula, which causes leaking and incontinence. As a result, these women are shunned from their villages, and many times their husbands leaves them. So not only have they lost their baby, they lose their husbands and families too. Once they can save up e money to make the trip to the hospital (sometimes this can take years), they are welcomed with open arms. The grounds are beautiful and it is so peaceful there. We were able to visit the wards and give the women gifts and love on them. I learned that their greeting is cheek to cheek, to cheek to cheek, to cheek to cheek! It's hard to know when it is time to stop. It seemed like some of the women would go on forever. It's incredible to see their smiles, and to be able to tell them that they are beautiful, not an outcast like they have been labeled. We even got a glimpse of Dr. Hamlin, a celebrity of sorts. She started the hospital and still performs surgeries, at 88 years old. Loved meeting these women, holding their babies, and seeing this facility. It was a great privilege and honor. The women are asked of two things once they are healed and leave - to share the news, and when they get pregnant again, that they come back.

We had some down time when we returned and I went outside of the gate to take a picture of where we were staying. There was a group of boys playing and asked me to come play with them. When I said I would, that I just needed to go back inside to do a few things, one of the boys, named Abel, told me that he would miss me. My heart melted. I went back and they wanted to teach me to play marbles, which I was awful at, but they had great patience. They wanted to have me take pieces of them and then wanted to look at them. We had a nice dinner at Kaldi's Coffee, which is similar to our Starbucks.

Today we went to Korah and my heart was broken and filled at the same time if that is even possible. The very moment we stepped off of the vans the children were loving on us and hugging on us. These children are not orphans, they have family or someone who cares for them so I am. It sure if they still craving the attention or Americans are just a novelty but they clung to us like crazy. And pictures - boy do they love the pictures. One little boy. Who was 4, pretty much clung to me the whole time. We played for a few minutes and then began our walk to Alert Hospital, which is where the lepers are. They are outlasted from their communities. Again, I feel like these two days have been a privilege for me to be to these places. We got to do some shopping for items that are not only hand stitched, but hand woven. And they're beautiful.

After the hospital, we helped paint a room for Great Hope Ministry which will be a place for women to work and do beading. They are also in the process of building a feeding hall right outside of this building. Their walls are now blue! After a delicious lunch of pasta and veggies, I went with a team member to do a home visit to the family of her Project 61 sponsored child. Again, what a privilege. A basic, simple house, very primitive, but absolutely filled with love. We were welcomed with open arms and sat and visited with them via a translator. They offered us some food. Which we tried. I have no idea what it was, but it was a pancake like pastry, and then an orange cream like sauce and an oatmeal consistency type food. It wasn't bad, and the sauce was very spicy. Shortly after that we were offered coffee. After we accepted the offer, our translator told us it was an hour long process! I didn't realize that they had to roast the coffee beans, but they were so happy to do it for us. It was my first cup of coffee, and after I finished the translator told me it is custom to have 3 cups. Three! I made it through the second one, but them we had to go meet up with the rest of the group. As we were leaving e woman said she was sorry she didn't have more to offer, but yet she offered us so much and was so accommodating to let these complete strangers into her home.

Apparently they love Britney, there was a faded old poster of her in a storefront! That made me laugh. Today has been a great day.... These kids, their faces are dirty yet they are beautiful; their clothes worn and tattered, yet they are so thankful and happy, they may not have shoes, or shoes that fit, but they have so much joy. They stroke your hair, kiss your cheeks, and put your hands to their faces. The smallest things make them smile. It really brings a new meaning to smile, you never know what a difference it will make to the other person. It's only been two days here but I feel as though my heart is so full it may burst. I already know I will be leaving a part of my heart here...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Finding Your Passion

Today, Saturday morning, my alarm went off at 5 a.m. I was less than thrilled and laid there for another 20 minutes before I finally managed to get out of bed. It was freezing outside, snowing, and I was exhausted. It's been a long week. I really just wanted to stay home in bed but I had made a commitment earlier in the week and had promised I would speak before our training. Still dragging my feet I pulled my kids out of bed at 6 a.m. We made our way down to Lipscomb University where Team in Training was having a fundraising clinic and then a training run.

Our mentors and coaches were out, our participants were out, some even wearing fun Valentine's Day costumes. All out on their Saturday morning. I loved it. I loved seeing them excited. I think I've always known it since I got involved, but I fully realized today that Team in Training was passion of mine - I also realized that just because it's mine doesn't mean it's everyone else's. I have other passions I'll blog about later, but for now, I wanted to share about Team in Training/Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Team in Training is the world's largest endurance sports training program. We train people for half marathons, marathons, traithlons, century rides, scenic hikes, and trail runs. Our participants get an amazing, experienced coach at their disposal, a mentor to be there for whatever questions they may have, weekly training sessions, and an incredible event weekend. In return, our participants raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. They raise money to find a cure to blood cancer. That's the logistics.

Luckily it goes so much more deeper than only logistics. I've been able to be both a participant and a mentor. Both sides are equally rewarding. As a participant, I received so much more than the above. I received lifelong friends; lifetime experiences; and most importantly, perspective. As a mentor I have the distinct honor to watch the participants grow through running and themselves. They accomplish things they feel impossible at the beginning of the season. They inspire me.

Today, a great friend of Team in Training provided the Mission Moment (a few minutes when someone speaks and reminds us why we are out there) with incredible poise. He lost his wife to leukemia last year and was back with us for the first time. He didn't talk in excess about the pain I am sure he feels, or how difficult it was for him and his family. Instead he thanked the participants. Thanked them for giving up their Friday nights in exchange for going to bed early to get up early on Saturdays. He thanked them for raising funds for life saving cancer research. It was nothing short of amazing.

This is my passion. Sure, it's tough some days, but it seems like those days that are the hardest to get motivated are the days that I get smacked in the face with someone like this morning. I'm not a great runner, and I probably never will be but that doesn't matter in Team in Training - the people in this organization never cease to blow my socks off. I can't imagine life without it. I actually tried to take a break earlier in the year and realized I missed it. I missed seeing my friends and I missed the heart inspiring people and stories.

Maybe this cause doesn't speak to you. Maybe it does (if it does, please contact me). If it doesn't, I strongly encourage you to find what does speak to your heart. What gives you goosebumps? What makes you tick? What inspires you? What, even after years, still amazes you? What gives you the feeling inside that is really indescribable? What makes you feel like you're making a difference? Go. Go. Go. Don't wait for tomorrow. Find your passion. And do it passionately. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

If I Were a Guy

If I were a guy, my name would probably be spelled Aaron. I would probably have short hair and hopefully be a little taller. (Wait, who am I kidding, I'm Asian, we're all short).

Okay, that's not what this post is about. This post is about how, if I were a guy, I can imagine these things about women would drive me nuts. It's nothing against women, some of these things are characteristics or attitudes that I possess and exercise.

So, here's a few things that I would imagine would drive me nuts, if I were a guy. Some guys may not be bothered by these, but again, these are my opinions.

High Maintenance: I just don't get it. Girls who have to have things just right or else they throw a fit. For example, if their food touches on the plate they throw it away. Or the girl who won't drink tap water, even if you have a filter. Or the girl who is only focused on name brands.

Whiny: Does this even need any detail? I mean, sure it can be cute for maybe a sentence or two, but anymore past that it's like nails on the chalkboard. My kids even know better to whine - it means a spanking is coming. It's like women revert to their 5 year old self to get their way.

Spend Forever Getting Ready: I honestly don't get this one. I can be showered, dressed, make up done and out the door in 30 minutes... if I have to. But two hours? Come on girls, if you neeed that long, nothing is going to make it look better.

Not Accepting a Compliment: So a guy tells a girl that she looks great in a dress. She immediately responds "Oh, no, I look fat!" Really? If you honestly thought you looked fat, you wouldn't be wearing it. Say thank you and move on.

Drama, Drama, Drama: I am not sure what draws women to this, but seriously - it is no longer high school, or junior high for that matter. Grow up, act like an adult, and stop gossiping and being a drama queen; because karma is a bitch.

Try to change them, but then get mad if they mention something you could do differently: Let people be themselves. If you don't like that, then move on, he's not the right one. You don't like it when he does it to you? Don't do it to him.

Cry for no apparent reason: There are times when crying is perfectly acceptable. But don't do it just to get attention. That's annoying.

Roll your eyes because he wants to watch sports: You know how you love to shop? He loves to watch football. Don't whine, but don't talk the entire time if you are watching with him. Let him enjoy it.

Read into What He Says: If he says I'm tired, I want to go to bed early, don't start thinking he no longer likes you. The boy is tired.

Get mad when he doesn't call during boys night: When you're out with your girlfriends, you want to enjoy your time. Let him enjoy his time. He'll make a point to call you during boys night if he's really into you.

Overanalyze: Just don't do it. If you must, do it with your girlfriend. Not him.

Always have to be the center of attention: Need I say more?

Criticize things they love: A shirt from high school; their mother; the music they love; their favorite movie; that old gross pair of house shoes. Let them love it. And love them for it.

Not making a decision: Just decide. Be assertive. Don't always say "I don't care."

Be needy: In fact, be your own person. Be the type of woman that when you wake up in the morning and your feet hit the floor, the devil says "Oh shit, she's up".

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Single Mom Dating

Everybody knows dating's tough. Or at least that seems to be the general consensus amongst my friends. When do I call? What do I say? What if she talks about marriage on the first date? What if he's only after sex? When is it okay to have the DTR? Can I touch her there? What if he touches that? The questions are endless. So, imagine how much more difficult it can be when you throw in the whole "I've got kids."

I've been a single parent for 6 years. For awhile, I didn't do much dating, then I did a lot of dating, and now I'm back to not doing it again. I've learned a few things, and I've definitely watched a lot of people date and seen their reactions.

Here's 10 things I've learned, some single mom related, some not.

1. It has the potential to suck.
     a. But no matter how much it sucks, we always do it again, even when we swear we won't.
     b. Because honestly? I don't think humans were made to be alone forever. Just for awhile. Sometimes long whiles.

2. You get your feelings hurt.
     a. You WILL recover. She/he may not come back, but someone else will be better. Don't give up.
     b. If they call you fat or ugly, that's not hurting your feelings, that's plain mean. Don't put up with it.  
     c. When you're hurting someone, remember how much it sucks when you get hurt. So be gentle, and don't burn any bridges.
     d. If you never get your feelings hurt, you are not human.

3. Women are way too emotional.
     a. Come on girls, drop it. Don't over analyze every single thing. Sometimes, just let things be. Let it go.
     b. However, we wouldn't be women if we weren't emotional.
     c. Men are emotional - just in their own way. Like, after their favorite team loses. Girls, zip it when this happens.
     d. Men, sometimes women just need you to listen. And act like you care. And hold us. This probably means we don't need your commentary about how we overreacted or how we should just get over it.
     e. Insane women, please do not give us normal or even not typical women a bad name.
     f. Don't let sex ruin your relationship. Don't lead anyone on. Don't use anyone. Not cool.

4. When you drop the "I have two kids," men tend to get skiddish.
     a. I think this is slightly unfair. I mean, it doesn't change who am I at my core.
     b. Just because I have kids doesn't mean I want to marry you. It seems men seem to think this automatically means I'm looking for something serious. It doesn't. It just means... I have two kids.
     c. In fact, it doesn't even mean I want to ever speak to you again.
     d. My kids are cool, but no, you do not get to meet them.
     e. Yes, I think it's something that should be told upfront, no matter the intent of the relationship. Just being honest.

5. You can't change people.
     a. You shouldn't want to change people.
     b. Let people be themselves.
     c. You shouldn't change who you are for someone else.

6. My kids have to come first.
     a. It's not that I don't care about you. It's that I care about them more. You'll understand someday when you have children.
     b. Please don't make me choose. That's wrong.    
     c. Don't ask me to pay a babysitter to go with you to something unnecessary. If it's your granny's 90th birthday party, okay. If it's to sit around and look at each other, no.

7.  My kids already have a dad. They don't need another one.
     a. He is their daddy. You will not be. There are boundaries here.
     b. If you get to meet my children, consider it a privilege, not a right.

8. I do not need you. (as a general rule, see 8f)
     a. I am a successful, independent woman. The last thing I need is you.
     b. I pay my bills, I enjoy my life. Don't think that you are doing me any favors. I am not a charity case just because I am a single mom.
     c. I have an incredible circle of close friends. I do need them.
     e. I am a grown-ass woman.
     f. Sometimes, I may need your support. This is different than needing you.

9. If you're in my life, it's because I want you there.
     a. Don't flatter yourself. I got this.
     b. See 8c. Those friends? They will always be in my life. Deal with it.
     c. I have a career, I have hobbies, and I have friends. Let me do mine, you do yours. We don't need to be around each other all the time - what fun is that?

10. It is supposed to be fun!
     a. Sure, it's never going to be perfect, but if it's never fun, it isn't worth it. Life is too short.
     b. If it's constant dread, it's not right. Do yourself both a favor, and get out.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Freeing My Mind


These questions have no right or wrong answers. Because sometimes asking the right questions is the answer.

1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? This is hard, since there are so many ages in front of myself which I have yet to be. But I'd honestly have to say 28, because I'm pretty happy where I am right now.

2. Which is worse, failing or never trying? Failing.

3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? Because we are too wrapped up in our selfish lives to realize that we're doing it.

4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? I sure as hell hope not.

5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world? Hurt. I hate to see people hurting.

6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? Helping others and saving the world.

7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? A little of both. I absolutely love my job and where I'm at with life. However, if I had my way I would be doing non profit work full time.

8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? I wouldn't be working a normal job, I can say that.

9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? I didn't control a whole lot of it until the last 6 years. Now I feel like I control a good portion of it.

10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? Doing the right things. I'm going to screw up, make mistakes, and regret. But hopefully I will always do the right thing.

11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of
yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do? I politely give my opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions be it distasteful and unjustified or praising. That's the beauty of our country - being able to have said opinions and voicing them without, hopefully fear of repercussion.

12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? Love fully.

13. Would you break the law to save a loved one? It would depend on the law. Break the speed limit to get someone dying to the hospital? Absolutely. Kill someone? Absolutely not.

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? hmmm....

15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people? I feel as though I need to choose my words carefully here. I know that I give of myself differently than many, but that in no way makes me a better person than the next. It's just different.

16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy? Because we are all different, thank goodness. It's what makes us unique.

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back? Travel the world. Easy - finances, kids, time off from work.

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? Every day.

19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? I haven't been to enough places to answer this with certainty, but I would say somewhere with beautiful scenery.

20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster? No, because it doesn't.

21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? Joy always fills the heart.

22. Why are you, you? I suppose because it's who I've become.

23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? I can only hope.

24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? Losing touch.

25. What are you most grateful for? Being alive.

26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? Lose the old ones; new ones can be made.

27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first? Sure.

28. Has your greatest fear ever come true? I have two major fears in life - one is losing a child, which has not come true, the other is spending my life alone, which has no come true either.

29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? sure.

30. Does it really matter now? It does in the sense that it made me a stronger, better, more cognizant person.

31. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special? Fishing with my grandad. Greatest man on earth right there.

32. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? If not now, then when? When I am doing something I love.

33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? Everything and nothing.

34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? No, but I sure hope that happens before I die.

35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars? I wish it didn't. I wish people were more tolerant. I'm Christian, but I don't pass any ill will or judgment on someone who wants to worship someone or something else. Just as I have a right to be a Christian, the next person has a right to be as they choose.

36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? I truly believe all evil has a shred of goodness somewhere deep inside. Sometimes it's just never revealed.

37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? Nope.

38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? More work any day of the week.

39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? Only 99.

40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in? A couple of years ago. And I've grown so much because of it.

41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? As many as I could.

42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous? Never in a million years.

43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living? Being alive is simply breathing. Truly living is being passionate. It's feeling emotion. Loving. Empathizing. Living. Laughing. Dancing.

44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right? The moment you know it's right, do it.

45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? Society has taught us it isn't okay to mess up.

46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? So many things.

47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing? Today, I'm congested.

48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love? I love my children.

49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that? Highly unlikely.

50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?  I make my own decisions.