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the redhead in the red truck

November 30, 2013

so when we redid the office upstairs, my mother went a little crazy and decided to repaint the hall and the stairway, too, so she took everything down: the grandfather clock that my great uncle made that stood on the landing, the quilt my parents' friends made for them as a going away gift when we left texas so very long ago (each friend painted a square), the photo collages...

there's one that i really like. many of the pictures it holds were taken at the monastery one summer a VERY long time ago. my younger brother was a baby. so i must've been four.

in several of those photos, i'm sitting on the tailgate of my great uncle's beat up, red truck, munching on chips and crackers and guzzling coca-cola. yes. at four. i was already addicted to the stuff. thanks, dad.

i'm sitting there in my red-and-white striped, long-sleeved t-shirt and blue jeans. and i'm smiling.

and in that moment, i was happy.

my mom's gathered all the frames that once hung on the walls and laid them out on my brother's bed. she wants new ones. better arrangements.

i kind of want to leave them as they are. sure, they're really old, which means they lack a certain style.

but that's history there. i don't want to mess with it.

that girl in the photo, she's adorable. i don't even remember what that feels like.

that girl? she'd already had two surgeries. she'd have two more in the next decade. she's awkward and clumsy and quiet. but right then, none of that mattered because she loved.

i don't even remember what that feels like.

the quotes collective: danielle

November 25, 2013

So, I don't remember ever hearing Winnie the Pooh actually say that...but I love it.

One day I saw that on Pinterest, and it was a day when I really needed to have that perspective.

Isn't it weird how Pinterest can kind of be like the Bible that way... I mean you can browse through and find something that fits your needs and comforts you....

Most of the time for me, it's stuff like this...

Yea... I dig funnies. But anyways, back to the ol' Pooh Bear quote...

I found that roughly three months ago. Michael, my husband of one month at the time, was about to leave for Afghanistan and I pretty much felt like the walls were crumbling around me. And then I saw that quote.
 
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." 

That definitely hit home with me...  I even sent it in a text to Michael.

I was feeling so sorry for myself because I did not want Michael to leave. I was scared, and I knew I would miss him more than I'd ever missed anything. But when I read that quote I realized that I was lucky. I was/am lucky to have someone who loves me as much as I love him. I'm lucky to have someone who treats me well and who makes me feel loved every second of every day. While I was still very sad for Michael to leave, heartbroken even, I was able to keep in perspective that it was better for me to feel that heartbreak because I loved him so much than to have someone I felt nothing for. Now I feel lucky every day.

Saying goodbye sucks, and that's for sure. But if you have someone that makes goodbye so hard it nearly kills you... count your blessings because you, my friend, are lucky!

Here are some more pins that got me through Michael's tour :).


 
 

So... with all of that being said, I guess it's just really important to love and to trust love and to realize that if you have love you are lucky. Trust that, and you can make it through anything.

Coincidentally I am typing this at 4:30 a.m. from a hotel. I came to spend the weekend with Michael (we still don't live together because of things he has to do for the Army). He left for work an hour ago, and I miss the crap out of him and am really dreading my four hour drive back home alone... but I just have to repeat the words of that lovable bear... I'm lucky to have someone that makes saying goodbye THE WORST THING EVER... okay, I changed it a little. Haha!

i found danielle's blog not too long ago. she's a cute gal with a lot of spunk. i think yall will like her, too. go say howdy.

have you got a quote you love? something that's touched you? made you laugh? gave you strength? i would love to include it as a guest post here. i'll be running this series through the holiday season, up to the week prior to christmas. so there's plenty of time. if interested, email me: criticalcrass (at) me (dot) com.

random quarter

November 19, 2013

one. i got my haircut last week. it's not past my shoulders anymore. it's probably half as long as it used to be. and i gotta tell you. i'm liking it. yes, long hair can be beautiful. mine looks a helluva lot better short.

two. my stylist told me she'd spent a day watching the hallmark channel. and i remember thinking there were so many other better things to watch than the schmaltzy crap they broadcast.

three. and yet... saturday night i had the place to myself. i was working late. usually i'll leave the television on so that i don't come home to a quiet house. i figured nothing on that aforementioned schmaltzy channel would give me the heebie jeebies, so i'd opted to be greeted by it when i came home. safe, right?

they were showing christmas movies, and i kind of got suckered into one for a bit. but i'd made plans to hang out with a coworker after she'd gotten off work that night, so i recorded it. and then i recalled my stylist's affinity for that channel, so i went through the guide and dvr'ed a string of christmas flicks. 



four. and then i went to my friend's where we watched man of steel. AWFUL MOVIE. AWFUL. i remember thinking i'd rather be home watching that hallmark crap. that superman iii and iv were preferable to this. yes, that henry cavill is quite an attractive dude. yes, i can see him as superman. but clark kent? never. EVER. he's way too handsome and much too muscular to pass off as bumbling geek. (which is probably why they only show him as clark for like five seconds. because even the producers knew that was a huge S T R E T C H... and they'd much rather show off their mad cgi skills--which really aren't all that--and satisfy their need to blow EVERYTHING up.)

i remember wondering throughout this film why superman returns got such a bad rap. it's a tale based on a comic book; it's supposed to be comical. fantastical. magical, even. you're supposed to WONDER. you're supposed to want to wonder. and bryan singer's version made me appreciate the story of superman more than anyone else has ever done. sure, that ending was a little odd--superman falls from the sky and is taken to the hospital where doctors struggle to revive him. they can't, of course. he's not human. but what else would us earthlings do? it made sense that that they'd take him there. it made sense that they'd try. if memory serves, a lot of people bitched about that part. a LOT. what i liked about superman returns was that it had equal parts special effects and story. 

this version? the story suffered, severely, at the hands of those special effects. and the acting? UGH. it SUCKED, people. supremely.

five. of those seven (or so) hallmark films, i only liked two: the christmas card and the christmas ornament.

six. we're doing the st. jude's thanks and giving campaign at work again this year. i love this charity. i'm happy to promote it. to encourage others to give. it's one more question to ask at cashwrap; if i could choose one thing to badger a customer about it's this. i don't care if you have a store charge card. i don't care to know your zip code. but i do care that this hospital continues to do good works. 

so this is my spiel: we're raising money for st. jude children's hospital; our goal for the day is two hundred fifty dollars...

(it costs about two million dollars to fund that hospital... for. one. day.)

and we're at [insert dollar amount here]; how much would you like to contribute?

i'll either get something like five dollars (yay!) or nothing.

and here i'll ask, well can i at least round your total up to the nearest dollar? (i've had the nearest dollar mean a one cent donation... but hell, a penny's a penny. i'll take it.)

most people will say yes.

sunday night, i was ringing up a couple who appeared to be in their mid-twenties. the girl was not so generous. which is fine. it is. i understand how precious those pennies are. trust me. i've nickeled and dimed quite a few purchases in my lifetime. she was reluctant at first, but then she agreed. so there's thirty more cents than we had.

but the boyfriend... halfway through ringing up the girl, when i'd first begun the st. jude's spiel, his attention had been piqued. and while i finished ringing her up, he handed me a glitter ornament, the letter m, and said that he wanted to buy it. i set it aside and nodded. and as i scanned our handy barcode at the cashwrap for the change she contributed, he spoke of how there was one more thing he wanted and hurried off to get it.

now, i know, i know he's doing this because he doesn't have any cash and wants to contribute, too, so he's finding things to buy so he can use his charge card (which he doesn't need to do, but i, being the awesome merchant that i am, i'll sell him whatever he thinks he needs to buy... you can fault me for this if you want... but, ultimately, it's my job to sell.)

i bag up the lady's purchase. the gentleman comes back with his pirate magnets. i ring him up. i ask if he wants to contribute. yes, he tells me, and then he asks how much we're trying to raise and where we are. two-fifty a day, i say, and we're at about eighty. (we've got about an hour left in the day, so the chances that we'll meet this goal aren't good). 

he tells me he'll give two hundred.

and i about cried right there, i was so happy. 

seven. i wonder what the boy thought of the girl's donation. what he thought of her. i know i shouldn't. but i do.

eight. i about cried on the sales floor today, too, though not because of a customer's generosity. a woman had selected a backpack and lunch box for her daughter. she told me she was replacing them. i'd thought this was because her daughter had lost them or mistreated them. 

no. it's because they were in a car accident. and her daughter's backpack had blood all over it. 

the woman? she's got a young son with head injuries; he'd been transferred to shriner's hospital. she'd said he was doing better.

and for the next hour, when i wasn't with a customer, i walked the sales floor praying, over and over again please be with that family; please let that boy be well. 

i whispered it. i didn't care if anyone happened to overhear. i didn't care if they saw the worry on my face. 

nine. not long after she'd left, another woman came in, giddy with the news she'd just learned: her daughter won custody of her sons. 

i couldn't help but think of the custody battles that have yet to begin.

of the time of year. 

ten. i know a woman who just lost her daughter this past summer. i can't imagine how horrible this season will be for her. how hard. 

eleven. why can't there be a moratorium on this stuff? a sabbatical. just a few weeks of peace. 

twelve. not long after the mother left, we got a phone call from a woman who's sister had purchased some things. but her husband had died the day before, so it was gonna be a bit before she'd get to pick them up.


thirteen. so one of those hallmark movies, the christmas ornament, i'm watching it again today (tuesday... in case i don't get this published today), because i really like this story. i really like the characters.

a best friend counsels the female lead, a widower: he wouldn't want you sitting alone in the dark. 

i don't wanna be. and sometimes i'm so worried that i always will be.

not because it's meant to be so. but because i'm too afraid to find the light. because i've trapped myself here. that closet ash beckham talked about in this video? what if i've made it? what if i've stuffed myself inside?

fourteen. it's rare that i write one of these posts in one day. usually it takes a few. and i bet yall thought i can churn one of these bad boys out in one sitting. it's happened. a few times. but it takes HOURS. i have to be REALLY bored for that to happen.

fifteen. i don't know what to write. i go through slumps of this. of why bother? and it takes a really long time to remember why. when i was in college, i made up this story, these people. and it was fun. a good distraction. and i loved writing about them. i would've preferred doing that over anything else. and then i got it in my head that i had to write a book. and it stopped being play. and it's so rare now that it's fun. it's started feeling like a chore. like my meal ticket--even though my professors warned us, even though i knew this already, that the chances are good that i'd never make much.

i know i'm good.

just like i knew i had worth in my childhood. but i had to prove myself. over and over and over again. and i was never any good at that.

i want it to be fun again. it used to keep my mind occupied. and now my mind's too crowded with it.

sixteen. i used to love christmas. there's this part of me that still does. there's this part of me that wants to put the christmas tree up RIGHT NOW. there's this small glimmer of spirit i feel. and it's almost dampened in a matter of seconds.

seventeen. barnes & noble's advertising. this is new to me. if they've been doing it in the past, i haven't noticed. i know when i walk into the nearest store, it no longer feels like a haven of sorts. i don't want to linger. maybe if they'd invest more of their money in their stores... people might want to browse the stacks. not all of us read on tablets. some of us like to hold the book in our hands and turn the pages. 

eighteen. so we've got a visit this week at work. and i got called in on my day off. and the next two days i'm on call (which means i'll probably be working). and i'm working on friday. so there's a very good chance i'll be doing a seven-day stretch.

maybe this is a good thing. i was gonna go tinker with my story this afternoon. but since my heart's not in it so much... better to make twenty-five bucks than spend it on food (and maybe booze).

nineteen. one of the presents i've got up for grabs this month has been on hold at that barnes & noble's for several days now. i keep meaning to pick it up. maybe i'll get that done today.

twenty. i'm kind of tired of texas. there's this part of me that wants a change of scenery. but i keep thinking wherever you go, there you are. 

twenty-one. i ate a couple of ho-hos today. i've never done that.

twenty-two. it's occurred to me that maybe my lack of interest in physical fitness is yet another defense mechanism. it's rare that i catch the attention of a guy who interests me. and every time that's happened, i was being good. i quit smoking twice. the first time, two months later i met chithead. the second time, one year later, to the day, i met the boy. neither of whom were worth knowing in the long run, but... they'd piqued my interest, which isn't an easy feat. and then last fall, i got down to a six. and a few guys noticed. and they weren't worth knowing, either. but they'd noticed. and that hadn't happened in a while.

so yeah. i'm hiding. in that closet i've constructed. maybe it hurts less in here. which isn't to say it doesn't hurt. but it's me who's causing the pain, not someone else. maybe i'm just tired of people hurting me.

twenty-three. i've never had to wear a cast. a sling, yes. and one of those black things that fits the entire length of your leg with the rods and the velcro. but plaster? so my skin can suffocate? no, thank you.

twenty-four. i have no idea what to get anyone for christmas this year. not even my niece and nephew. and who has trouble thinking of gifts for four-year-olds?

twenty-five. i'd managed to keep my room clean for a whole week. 

the quotes collective: susannah

November 17, 2013

I don't remember a time when I didn't love Les Miserables. I grew up singing the songs, learning how to play the music on the piano, and listening to my brothers fight over who got to sing which character's part (I, of course was ALWAYS both Cosette AND Eponine. No one could take that from me). Our parents even took us to see the musical live while traveling in England while I was still in elementary school.

As I grew up and truly listened to and processed the lyrics in the musical I fell in love with it all the more. What an amazing story of redemption and life change! A man who was left to rot in jail was granted forgiveness by a priest and changed his life around--touching so many around him. As a Christian, I believe that this story is an amazing example of what God does in the lives of those who believe in His sacrifice.

The quote that stands out to me the most comes at the very end, when {lots of spoilers ahead} Valjean is dying. He asks God to forgive his trespasses and bring him into His keeping. As he breathes his last, he sums up his theology in one incredibly deep phrase: "To love another person is to see the face of God."

You see, he understood that God is love. Period. There is no attribute of God that supersedes His love. He understood that we experience a small part of who God is when we are able to truly love another person. As Valjean lay dying, he knew that he had lived life well because he had been like Jesus Christ in his life sacrifice for his adopted daughter Cosette. He understood God so much more through his care for Fantine in her final days. He displayed God's love to Javert when he refused to kill him.

He summed up the biblical passage, John 15:13, so well.

It's amazing that Jean Valjean in Les Miserables can sum up such a key aspect of his (and my) faith in one little sentence. I want to be more like that.

indeed. as do i. 

susannah's one of the kindest bloggers i've had the privilege to know. i think yall would like her. go say howdy!

have you got a quote you love? something that's touched you? made you laugh? gave you strength? i would love to include it as a guest post here. i'll be running this series through the holiday season, up to the week prior to christmas. so there's plenty of time. if interested, email me: criticalcrass (at) me (dot) com.

the quotes collective: meredith

November 10, 2013

You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
love like you'll never be hurt, sing like there's nobody listening,
and live like it's heaven on earth.
William W. Purkey
 
This quote encourages us to live our lives with fearlessness and joy. Purkey tells us to live life out loud because we only get one shot at it. It's a beautiful quote, sure, but a dangerous one. You cannot live like this, people. Not unless you want to drive every single other human being out of your life. Let's break it down.
 
1. "Dance like there's nobody watching."

Okay. I am thirty-six years old. My dancing days are long gone. I'm not talking about slow-dancing with my husband (which we never do) or mild bouncing at a Bon Jovi concert (which I did last month and fucking rocked it). But anything that requires more than the bare minimum amount of movement is out the window. I will not dance like there's nobody watching unless there is truly nobody watching. Because I'm standing in my closet. With the music down. And the lights off. And the mirrors covered like I'm sitting shiva for my youth.

2. "Love like you'll never be hurt."

Let me tell you a little something I've learned about life. Painful experiences happen for a reason; they are lessons you should grow from. Romantic relationships in particular are rife with these lessons. If you are in a relationship, and you get hurt, and then you get into another relationship and pretend that the bad stuff in the first one never happened, then you are an idiot. You are also crazy. You are a crazy idiot. Loving like you'll never be hurt means telling someone you think that you'd have cute kids together on the second date. Loving like you'll never be hurt means calling and e-mailing multiple times a day because you “miss them.” Loving like you'll never be hurt means assuming a future with someone who is now terrified of you. None of that shit is cute. You have to love despite having been hurt and despite the fact that you may very well be hurt again. THAT takes courage. SHAZAM, PURKEY! Point: Bland.
 
3. “Sing like there's nobody listening.”

Lord have mercy. Have you heard how people sing even when they know very well that there are lots of people listening? Save it for the shower, Pavarotti. It's called caring about your audience. If you're singing like crap without caring about who's around you, it's either because you think you're really good which just makes everyone uncomfortable or because you don't give a shit what other people think which means you probably also belch at restaurants and take off your bra at the office. Either way, you're not making any friends.
 
4. “Live like it's heaven on earth.”

No. Don't be this guy. This is the guy that says, “Oh, come on. It's not all bad! You still have a whole other leg!” Sometimes life sucks, and that's okay. Deal with it. Revel in it. Go eat a carton of Haagen-Daaz and come back stronger than before. The only way to really enjoy the good stuff is to go through the bad stuff, right? And the only way to make a real friend is to tell them about the time you got humiliated by that boy or when you sharted at a PTA meeting. Because that's what makes us relatable and human.
 
So, thank you for the lovely quote, Purkey. It's uplifting and inspiring as long as you don't think about it too hard. But let's never forget that some of us are terrible dancers, that there are times when bursting into song is not appropriate, that you are going to get your heart broken, and that sometimes life is a big ol' bag of turds. Flaming turds. From a dog who has been fed cheese.

What's important is being happy despite knowing that flaming dog cheese turds are out there. THAT'S the trick.

And that is my quote.

this fantastic contribution to the collection was brought to you by the insightful and witty meredith bland who posts at pile of babies. you need her humor in your life. you really, really do.

have you got a quote you love? something that's touched you? made you laugh? gave you strength? i would love to include it as a guest post here. i'll be running this series through the holiday season, up to the week prior to christmas. so there's plenty of time. if interested, email me: criticalcrass (at) me (dot) com.

hard conversations

November 8, 2013

sometimes i think, i was a good person once. i was. i'm not now. i drink too much. not so much that i need to be committed somewhere. but enough. just enough that i shouldn't. i'm too judgmental. and i think too much. too often, what i think... it's ugly. and i can't talk about it. i can't. i can cry, though. i do a lot of that.



the other day, i found this video. maybe you've seen it. it's about coming out of the closet. now. that closet, it doesn't have to be labeled gay. mine's not. the point of the video is that we all have a closet. and sometimes we hide in it.

i'm having a glass of wine tonight. it's been a rough day. this might not be the most coherent post i've ever written.

but sometimes, writing... it helps.

i'm not a good person. i'm generous, yes. i try to be thoughtful. but... i'm not good.

i spent the day with my mother. she's in her seventies. she's watched her three children wreck their lives. she's watched us piece them back together only to wreck them again. she was a teacher. i tried to tell her today that the wreckage isn't a reflection on her parenting skills. she told us how to be good. it was up to us to listen.

but she couldn't agree with me.

she thinks the wreckage is her fault. that she should've tried harder. done better. i tried to tell her that if she had twenty students, and three of them failed, that it's their fault. they should've payed attention in class, done their homework, studied harder. the other seventeen passed, so obviously, she'd done her job.

but the three failed. so, in her mind, she hadn't.

before i went to work tonight, i stopped by the bookstore to check out max lucado's you are special. my friend had written a blog post for me about that story. and it helped, reading that. i sat there, on one of those impossibly small chairs, weeping as i read.

and then i went to work. and was reminded of how impatient and intolerant and temperamental i can be. of how miserable i sometimes think life is.

and then i came home. poured myself a glass. dragged myself upstairs to the study. got on the computer, logged onto facebook...

and there's the story of the secret santa and the heroin addict.

seeing these videos made me think of this quote:


sometimes i forget.

. . .

and the communion song for saturday night's mass is be not afraid.

forty in forty: the rest

November 6, 2013

twenty-one. you don't need alcohol to have a good time. in fact, if you're relying on that stuff to make a moment memorable, ask yourself why you're in that moment in the first place.

twenty-two. you don't need to drink twelve cokes in a day. yes, they taste good. yes, they will make you fat. maybe not today. maybe not tomorrow. but soon...

twenty-three. when you have that strong impulse to cut all your hair off SHORT (to be read, buzz-cut), the urge WILL pass. let it. because growing your hair out again... that's not fun.

twenty-four. and hair-dye? bleach? it's okay to have fun with color. but don't go crazy with it. and when i say crazy, i mean bleaching it, then dying it black three weeks later.

twenty-five. be careful with love. she's tricky; she wears all sorts of masks just to trip you up. try not to confuse one for another. try not to stumble.

twenty-six. when you do, forgive yourself. it's gonna happen. blaming yourself for being clumsy ain't gonna help you heal.

twenty-seven. single roses are better than a dozen of'm.

twenty-eight. if you think you may be losing the boy, you've already lost him. let him go.

twenty-nine. speeding is dumb. you're not gonna get there that much faster. you will, however, stand a good chance of catching the attention of that highway patrolman you just passed going sixty-five in a forty-five. so it's a straight shot from points a to b. so the road's wide and well-maintained, and wonder of wonders, you've got it all to yourself (or so you think). so it's a BEAUTIFUL day out. so you're late to work. that cop? he's not gonna care about any of that. and that ticket? you're not gonna like paying it, and your insurance company's not gonna like that you were so stupid.


thirty. sometimes death is a blessing. my older brother? i would not want to see him waste away. i would not want to watch alcoholism make him uglier and uglier. it's like what annelle says in steel magnolias: she will always be young; she will always be beautiful.

thirty-one. don't live beyond your means. and don't go for the flash. it's called flash for a reason.

thirty-two. horrible bosses are everywhere. if you love the work, if you're confident in your ability to do the job well... don't let an evil bastard distort your view of the workplace. buck up. focus on the work, not the workers.

thirty-three. it's okay to take a day and do nothing. but just one. not several in a row.

thirty-four. kicking the nicotine habit's a bitch. but it can be done. the money you'll save in dental work alone is worth the effort to quit.

thirty-five. it's easy to hide in your room, just you and your computer. and yes, sometimes the quiet is necessary. but so is the chaos that comes when you're out there, interacting with the world.

thirty-six. friends are supposed to make you feel good about yourself. not great, not grand. but not small or insignificant, either. if you ever feel as though you are less than special around one of them... if there ever comes a time, no matter the moment, where you don't feel comfortable in that friend's presence, for whatever reason, don't sit on it so that it's stewing and simmering. don't think that it's nothing. it's something to you. and something should be said. soon. and if that friend can't respect you for having the decency to stand up for yourself, for saying i don't appreciate this... then that person's not that good a friend.

thirty-seven. speaking of cokes... it IS possible to limit your carbonated, caffeinated beverage intake to three per year. i highly recommend striving to reach such a seemingly lofty goal. once you have achieved it, don't go back to the routine.

thirty-eight. forty-five minutes is much too long to wait for a dinner date. twenty tops. if he's not there by then, he's not a man you need to know. i only say this because you may be tempted to sit at the bar and drink a couple of martinis while you wait. and nothing, NOTHING good will come of that.

thirty-nine. on a date, never split the check.

forty. this milestone... the big four-oh? it sucks. i'm not a fan. just be aware. thirty? it's got nothing on forty. NOTHING. forty's when your body starts saying, okay, you can stop now.

forty in forty: the first

November 5, 2013

one. sometime's crying's a really good thing. it gets results. like when i was a baby and my hips were fucking with me. i cried. a lot. and eventually, the doctors figured out why and fixed it.

two. some doctors actually give a shit about their patients. find a good one. and cling. so what if he's not in your network. he's good to you.

three. brothers are nifty. play!

four. it's okay to move around in life. sure, you'll miss people. but you'll meet people, too. and maybe in moving, the ones you'll meet will be the ones who can help you when the world's more turbulent.

five. those play carpets on the kindergarten room floor (do they even make those anymore? because all i remember of my kindergarten class is my teacher and the hopscotch blocks on the carpet). anyway. it can't all be fun and games. it shouldn't be. (but oh, this room looks fun.)

six. it's great to have girlfriends. never, NEVER take them for granted.

seven. so you can't hit a ball very well. or throw it. big deal. you can run really fast. and maybe they won't pick you first for dodgeball. but cat and mouse... that's a different game entirely.

eight. boys ARE stupid. but don't throw rocks at them.

nine. never be ashamed to share your talent. yeah, they're all staring at you. and yeah, they may laugh at you if you screw it up. but there's that small chance of success. and maybe you'll surprise them instead.

ten. the number of people who do or don't come to see you while you're in the hospital... this shouldn't mean much. numbers have a way of lying. it's not how many people care for you. it's how they care.

eleven. there are too many teachers out there who can't be bothered to teach. don't be one of them. don't let one of them negatively influence your self-worth.

twelve. people are gonna be mean to you. don't be mean to them. and don't let them win. you can let it hurt. you can cry about it. you can let them knock the wind out of you. but get up afterward. get up.

thirteen. sometimes a fresh box of crayons and a new coloring book are the best remedy.

photo snagged here.

fourteen. size matters not. it doesn't. like when you're standing on the blocks and the girls to your right and left are taller and more muscular. maybe they'll win. maybe. but it's passion that gets you through the water. and anger? sometimes she's the best motivator.

fifteen. brothers can also be a HUGE nuisance. punch them if you need to. like when one's charging up a flight of stairs, red-faced and sobbing from anguish (admittedly because you hit him where you shouldn't have). by all means, aim the heel of that boot at his forehead. don't worry about the grandfather clock your great uncle constructed from scratch that's on the landing. it'll be alright. boundaries have to be set. firmly.

sixteen. don't let a boy get his hands on you unless you really crave the boy, the touch. not because you need to be touched. but because you want to be.

seventeen. if you want something, don't wait around for someone to give it to you. go get it.

eighteen. sometimes mama has really good ideas.

nineteen. sure, reading's important. but so are your studies. your professors assign a text because something about it has merit. be curious; find out what it is.

twenty. people will be wrong about you. you will know it in your gut. do your best to prove them wrong. don't give in. don't assume because you can't accomplish a task quickly enough, because you haven't succeeded yet that they are right. they aren't.

for the rest of the forty, click here.

i linked this post to mattie at northwest native for weekly lessons.

the quotes collective: melissa

November 3, 2013

'Remember,' Eli said as the Wemmick walked out the door, 'you are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes.'

Many of you are probably unfamiliar with the book You Are Special by Max Lucado. It's a children's book, and one I wouldn't have ever picked up myself if I were to be entirely honest. However, it was given to me by a friend during a time in my life where I was struggling. Struggling to decide if I had the will to go on, if this life was even worth pursuing... And sometimes the most powerful truths come in the simplest ways.

The story follows Punchinello, a Wemmick who lives in a town full of other small wooden people who daily give out star or gray dot stickers to each other. Those who are pretty, talented or popular are covered in stars. Those who are ugly, clumsy or make mistakes are covered in gray dots. Punchinello is covered in gray dots and is feeling particularly down about himself when he meets another Wemmick who has no stickers whatsoever. She points Punchinello to the woodcarver at the top of the hill and says he is the reason she is not covered in stickers. Punchinello goes to visit the woodcarver and is told that he was made special, seeming imperfections and all. He decides to believe his maker and as he does one of his gray dot stickers falls off.

I know that was quite the long intro there but I just feel that the story is really worth a read. Anytime I am feeling down or lonely or like a failure, I read this children's book and am encouraged not to let the opinions of other people be the opinion I hold of myself. Not everyone is looking out for my best interest or knows me for who I truly am, so who are they to judge. The only opinion I believe I should ultimately care about is that of my Maker. He made me special... And He doesn't make mistakes.

this bit was written by my friend, melissa, who truly is a godsend to me. i'm so grateful i've got a gal like her in my life.

i'd wanted to start this series off the first monday in november. when i went to her and said i was in need of a contribution to get the ball rolling, she was quick to give me something. and what a wonderful something it is.

have you got a quote you love? something that's touched you? made you laugh? gave you strength? i would love to include it as a guest post here. i'll be running this series through the holiday season, up to the week prior to christmas. so there's plenty of time. if interested, email me: criticalcrass (at) me (dot) com.