In Defense of "Smelly" Rabbits That "Poop a Lot."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Some of the most frequent things I hear people say about rabbits now that I have one is how much they smell and how much they poop.

Well, I'm here to tell you something: nope.

Snicks doesn't smell. At all. In fact, he is a scent absorber. Once when I took him to the vet, this older lady wearing a lot of perfume petted him, and he smelled like perfume the rest of the day. Another time, my brother Alex came over and was petting him, and then I picked Snicks up and got a whiff and was like "Why does Snicks smell like chicken wings?" Alex had just eaten some BBQ wings at BW3, and Snicks carried the aroma for the next couple of hours.

Saying rabbits smell is a falsehood. If you think they smell, what you are smelling is their litterbox and/or cage. What I suspect happens is that people have only ever encountered rabbits in inappropriate locations like classrooms where the poor thing never gets out of his or her cage and no one regularly cleans the cage or litterbox. Try going to the bathroom in your house and never, ever flushing. "You'd" probably smell too.

Snicks does poop a lot, but guess what -- he poos in a litterbox. Also, his poo looks like Cocoa Puffs and doesn't smell. It's like little rocks that you can easily pick up off the floor when he inevitably kicks some out of his litterbox while trying to jump out. I would put my rabbit's poo up against dog or cat poo any day of the week.

I am house-sitting for a really nice family that has a cat. I'm not really a cat gal, but I'm okay with looking after one so it doesn't starve. Let me tell you what ... cleaning out her litterbox has not been the least-smelly experience of my life. Additionally, I was about to leave yesterday when I noticed something on the floor. The likes of which I had never seen. I got close, and I was like ... is that a ... hairball? It looked like wet poop. Seriously. I wadded up about 6 paper towels in order to pick it up and throw it away. Let me tell you who would never cough up a hairball. Baby Snickers.

People act like rabbits are so uncivilized. To that I say


A Favorite Dish From a Non-Cook.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

As I've said a million times, I'm no cook. But I have been trying to make more meals at home for a while. And there is one meal that I make at least once a week that maybe you'll like too!

This is actually a dish I "made up," and by that I mean that I didn't look up or follow any sort of recipe. Although I am aware that I am not the first person in the history of the world who thought to add veggies to pasta. :)

This dish primarily revolves around yellow squash. So if you like yellow squash, read on! And if you don't, you should!

Step one is to boil a pot of water for pasta. I prefer wheat farfalle (bowties), but lately the cheaper option at the store has been wheat rotini. When the water boils, add the appropriate amount of pasta to the pot.

While your pasta is cooking, cut up an appropriate amount of yellow squash. By appropriate amount, I mean whatever it takes to feed you and your family. I only make this for myself, but I also like to have leftovers for lunch and a second dinner, so I cut up two smaller yellow squashes. I prefer to cut it up into chunks. Put your squash in a saute pan with coconut or olive oil and a little salt and let it saute. When the squash is getting close to being done, add some balsamic vinegar to the pan. I like balsamic vinegar a lot, so I add a lot, but add what you like!

At this point, your pasta should be done, so go ahead and drain it. After you drain it, put it back in the pot. Then add your sauteed squash to your pasta in the same pot. Go ahead and douse the whole pot with more balsamic vinegar. Then add some more salt.

Grab yourself a bowl, and put some mozzarella cheese or even an Italian cheese blend in the bottom of the bowl. Dish yourself out a serving of the pasta and squash, then add a little more cheese and salt to taste.

Voila! You have a super easy, super delish and pretty healthy dinner!

This week I was lucky because I am house sitting for a family that gardens, so I had some locally grown yellow squash to enjoy! I also had some cherry tomatoes (red and yellow) so I went ahead and sauteed them with the squash and added them to the dish too.

I know, not a gourmet dish by any means, but it is SO good. Let me know if you try it and if you like it!

White wine optional, but recommended!

A Great Reason to Skip Tomorrow's Latte

Sunday, July 27, 2014

This morning our town saw a fire downtown that destroyed people's homes as well as two local restaurants much-loved in this community. Those restaurants -- Backyard Pizza and the very newly opened The Peddler -- are both owned by a young couple, and also staffed by young adults and other hard-working people. Backyard is home to my favorite pizza ever -- the Warren Pear, which is too delish to describe in words. More importantly, the service and atmosphere are just friendly and outstanding.

The fire was a total freak accident, and I know the entire city of Huntington is distraught. My friend Sarah, her boyfriend Kevin and I JUST had dinner at Backyard Pizza last night ... so heartbreaking to know that was our last meal there -- our last meal only for a while, I'm sure.

I am confident and hopeful that both restaurants can come back better than ever, and I'm also confident that our city will come out in full force to help Drew and Megan rebuild, as well as to help those who are, for now, unemployed.

If you want to donate, another awesome local person set up a GoFundMe page, which you can access here. $4,245 has already been raised, which is AWESOME. Maybe take the $5 you'd spend at Starbucks on the way to work tomorrow and donate it instead? This is one of the reasons it's awesome to live in a smaller town. People just come together in a big way.

I know everyone will join me in keeping the first responders, the restaurant owners and employees and all those who lost their homes today in our prayers.

My Friend Atticus Finch.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I am more excited to start teaching than I have been about anything in a while. I got to spend several hours this afternoon learning from the teacher I am replacing, and those hours were absolutely worth their weight in gold. (THANK YOU TRACY!)

That's not to say I'm not nervous, but Tracy said today, "If you weren't nervous, I would think there was something wrong with you." I think anytime you begin something new, especially something where you really want to do a good job and you care what your colleagues think of you, you'll be nervous.

I'm officially teaching Language Arts, but those are two little words that encompass so many things -- grammar, parts of speech, short stories, novels, poems, essays, narratives, book projects, spelling, vocabulary. Wow. So much!

I think the most fun thing is all the stories. All the many many stories featuring the characters we remember from our childhood. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Fall of the House of Usher, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Rip Van Winkle, Flowers for Algernon, Casey at the Bat. These are all middle school curriculum. Isn't that wonderful?

I have just a few more days left to organize my classroom and get the things I need -- a lesson plan book and a pocket folder and other things to start my year. I also have a few short days left to plan my first lessons for the year and be ready to teach.

I'm trying to remind myself of one thing, and that is love the kids. It was the driving concept of my time at the dance studio, and it will be the driving concept of my teaching at Our Lady of Fatima.

Reading. I love reading. And reading aloud. And listening to others read. And talking about reading. How exciting!

It Began One Day In Summer, About Thirty Years Ago.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

As I said in this post, Half Magic was one of my favorite books as a kid. And as I also added in my edit to that post, the book begins by saying:

It began one day in summer, about thirty years ago ... 

And, today, that absolutely describes me. Because today is my 30th birthday.

I was born at 11:22 p.m. on July 19, 1984 at Monongalia
General Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va. This photo
of my mom and me was taken July 20.
Thirty. That is the age that, when you are young, sounds so old. You can't imagine being thirty. I mean ... thirty, right? Isn't that the age when your skin begins to wrinkle up and you automatically start wearing mom jeans? Or is thirty when you start getting the senior discount and your life is pretty much just over?

Even though we all seem to think those things when we're in our teens, the truth is thirty really doesn't seem that old. And also, I don't feel thirty. Not that I don't have a couple of wrinkles, but in my heart, I just really don't feel that old. I guess I feel like I'm 17, maybe, or 22. I don't really know, but I know I don't feel 30. I feel like people who are thirty have things like homes and mortgages and investment portfolios. I have exactly zero of those things.

I can honestly say that if you would have asked me at 18 what I'd be doing at 30, the answer would have been -- not this. Part of me thinks 18-year-old Anna is giving 30-year-old Anna the eyes wide, blank stare while trying to decide if she should just end it now. Haha. Good thing 18-year-old Anna is no longer in charge.

My mom and me this year. Looking about the same. :)
One of the biggest things I've struggled with about this whole going back to school to be a teacher thing is am I too old? At an age when most people have established careers and families and have things like, well, homes, mortgages and investment portfolios, I am beginning again. Not only am I starting school to "officially" learn to be a teacher, but in just a couple of weeks I will actually be a teacher. In essence, my life is starting over at 30, and I wondered for a while if I should be disappointed in myself. And for a time, as excited as I was, I was also really worried and scared.

But then I realized something -- I remembered someone else I knew who had begun his teaching career at age 30. Before that time, not much had been written or said about his accomplishments, but it was only when he turned 30 that he began to teach and carry out God's mission for his life.

I am, of course, referring to Jesus. Now, please do not think I am COMPARING myself to Jesus because, seriously? But since He is the person after whom we should model our lives, it comforted my heart to remember when he truly started His life's work -- 30.

And if it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me. :)

And, as the last chapter of Half Magic is entitled, how it began again ...

The Magic of Beginnings.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Well friends, I have some BIG news!

I am a teacher!!!

No, I don't mean I am in school to be a teacher (although I am) or that I have a teacher heart (I do), but I am a real and actual employed teacher.

I think the next verse says, "Not even you." Haha.
Let me back up. For those of you who read this blog, you might remember that earlier in the summer I published a post on how I felt (feel) God is calling me to be a teacher, and I decided to answer that call. I had my perfect plan in place: for two years I'd attend school at Marshall full-time, while working as a graduate assistant in the MU Rec Center (thank you Michele!) and also at my current part-time job with the Center for Christian Business Ethics Today (thank you Cindy!). Then, in two years, I'd be looking for a job teaching middle or high school social studies or civics.

Perfect, right?

I thought so too. Until God told me that that actually wasn't His timeline, it was Anna's.

Early last week, the interim principal and the new principal at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School, which is the parish school where I go to church, mentioned to my mom that they were in need of a middle school language arts teacher, and they wanted to know if she thought I'd be interested. My mom was like, "Uhhh, you do know she wants to be a teacher, she's not a teacher, right?" They knew. It's important to know that, in this diocese, teachers at a Catholic school can teach, as long as they are actively enrolled in a certificate or degree-seeking teaching program, which I am.

Apparently word had gotten around that I was in school, having felt called by God to teach. My 5th grade teacher, who still teaches 5th grade at Fatima, and whom I LOVED, mentioned to the principals that they might want to ask me if I'd be interested. COMPLIMENT OF A LIFETIME, right?!

So mom called me and related the news. To which my reply was something like, "This is not how I saw my day going!" Haha. So I sat down with the principals and talked with them about what I've been doing the past few years and about my calling to be a teacher. Their energy and excitement made me even more energetic and excited. They gave me a few days to think about it, and think I did.

As I mentioned before, I had my tidy little two-year plan in place. My plan was to look for a teaching job in two years, when I was done with school. My plan was to work as a GA at the Rec Center. But, as I said in this post, I realized that's an awful lot of my, my, my. And things usually work out better in my life when I follow God's will and not Anna's.

Mostly I was worried that I couldn't do it, that I wouldn't know enough or that I would fail. But I realized that those worries (as most are) were all based in one thing -- fear. And fear is NEVER a reason to do -- or not do -- something.

The thing I kept coming back to is that God is calling me to be a teacher, so I need to be a teacher. Even if I thought it was two years from now, and God is saying, "No, now." God is calling me to get into His school and teach His children to love reading, writing and Him. And how do you say no to that? 

For so many things in my life, I feel as though God has always asked me to wait, wait, wait. Wait and pray. And this may really be the first time that He has asked me to hurry up. :) And it's really a wonderful lesson in faith. I am finally understanding that faith is not believing that God could do something, it is wholeheartedly believing that He WOULD. Following God's will can be scary. It's giving up on your own life plan, on what you thought would be best for you. But if I feel God is calling me to do this, and I say yes to him, then he won't leave me to do this alone. And, as Amy once insightfully said on her blog, God doesn't look at your ability as much as your availability. And I'm available. :)

My parents were (are) very supportive, and on Friday I officially accepted the job. :) I sign my contract tomorrow (eep!) and go back to school for meetings and training August 4. School starts August 7! Yikes, so soon! I am so fortunate to begin my teaching career at such a loving school. The principal is awesome, and so are the other teachers. I have had so many teachers offer to help me in any way I need, and man do I plan to take them up on those offers!

Please pray for me. Pray that God turns me into what the kids need. That I find the words and actions to show them God loves them, that they are each so special and loved, and also that they grow to love books and writing and all the wonderful things we'll learn this year. Pray for the kids too. Haha. :)

A teacher. Thy will be done.

Dinosaurs, Murder and Dinosaurs that are Murderers.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

One of the best things about summer is being outside. For any reason.

Once a month from May to September, a local shopping, dining, entertainment complex, Heritage Station, shows a movie outside on the patio. In May it was Rear Window, June brought The Goonies, and this past Friday was Jurassic Park.

Jurassic. Park.

No one loves dinosaurs quite like I do. I have like six dinosaur tee-shirts, no lie. When I got my wisdom teeth out about 10 years ago I was obsessed with watching Jurassic Parks 1, 2 and 3. It was my sole reason for living for about two days. Well, that and The American President. Anesthesia man. It'll make you wacky.

I also recently discovered that in the next county over, they also show a movie outside at the local pool  once a month. I sadly missed the first one or two because I didn't know, but I found out that they were showing Dial M for Murder last night. The one thing I might love more than dinos are Hitchcock movies, and if one is being shown, I am there!

Nothing to do with the movie, but someone stuck this funny sticker on a sign near where the movie was shown!

The thing about Hitchcock movies -- and for me, a lot of old movies in general -- is that watching them is like being wrapped in a warm blanket. Know what I mean? When I watch them, it's like visiting an old friend I haven't seen in a while. That might be weird, but they are so familiar and comforting in that way.

If you're local, Heritage Station will show Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone the First Friday in August and We Are Marshall the first Friday in September. The movies are just $1 to see! Dreamland Pool will show Vertigo the second Saturday in August ... and it's FREE, which is my favorite word!

Funny Kids and Not-So-Funny Legislatures.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I babysat for a new family tonight that has three boys. They lived in this area before and then moved away and have now come back. They go to my church, and the littlest boy had been in my Vacation Bible School class earlier this summer. They were sweet kids and definitely rowdy boys! It was fun to be with them.

I'm saying all this to say the middle boy, who is going into second grade, looks at me and goes "Do you have a boyfriend?" And I was like, "No I don't, but thank you for asking." To which he says, "Um ... you might want to think about getting one!"

Duly noted. :)

They also asked me what I did, and I told them I was in school to be a teacher. Later in the afternoon, the youngest boy asked me to do something, and I said, "I didn't hear a nice word in there!" And he said, "Oh! Please!" And then the middle boy was like, "You are going to be a really good teacher!"

Loved it!


In less fun news, the State of West Virginia is developing legislation, known as the "Dangerous Wild Animal Act," that would prohibit certain animals from being owned in the state. Like a lot of people, I (incorrectly) assumed that this list was created to prohibit ownership of things like mountain lions, bears and certain breeds of snakes.

As it turns out, the list includes, among other things, all breeds of rabbit. Not just wild rabbits, but ALL rabbits, meaning Baby Snicks. (You can read the full list here.) What's curious is that things like Komodo Dragons are allowed, while my house rabbit is not.

A photo of the "dangerous wild animal."

I know it might seem silly to ask, but if you are a resident of West Virginia (or have a vested interest in the lives of precious West Virginia bunnies), I was hoping you might be willing to email the Department of Agriculture and voice an opinion about rabbits. At this time, I think it's rabbit breeders (that sell rabbits as pets and for meat) that are most concerned since it's their livelihood, but obviously in my case it's because I'd prefer to keep Snicks alive and where he is -- with me. The proper person to email is Jodee Martin at You have until noon on August 1. Something to mention might be that rabbits are the third most popular companion mammal in the United States after dogs and cats. (Source) And, personally, Snicks is neutered, litter box trained, lives inside, is free of disease and sees a vet once a year for a physical.

I think Snicks may be grandfathered in since I already have him, but there was also talk of applications and $100 fees. My questions are things like would they require me to cage him or keep him outside? I don't know. That's not his life. And when Snicks dies one day, which I don't like to think about but he's not immortal, I can't adopt another homeless bunny?

When I emailed Ms. Martin I told her I'd be happy to bring Baby S by to meet her at her convenience so she can see what he's like in person. Maybe she'll take me up on it! :) I'm prepared to argue that Snicks is calmer, better behaved and less of a threat than some people's dogs and cats.

I Followed a Recipe! Cookie Dough Dip and Salad Dressing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Yum! Looks like a big bowl of heaping chocolate chip cookie dough, right?

WRONG! So wrong.

Let me explain. I recently stumbled across a blog called Chocolate Covered Katie. Basically, she develops recipes that allow you to eat your favorite desserts in a healthy way. The first recipe I saw of hers was on Pinterest and it was for cookie dough dip. I decided to try it.

The first surprise of this dessert is that it contains an entire can of chickpeas. You heard me. When I first opened the can and rinsed them, I was like no way. These things smell pretty strong and there is no way that this is going to work. But I pressed on.

I tossed them in the food processor with salt, baking soda, vanilla, 1/4 cup of almond butter, brown sugar, some oats and a little flax. I processed and processed. And then took it out and threw some chocolate chips in. Low and behold, I got cookie dough!

Can you believe it? I put it in the fridge to chill, since the food processor spinning made it kind of warm. Now it looks even more like cookie dough!

Final verdict? Pretty good. It's not as sweet as regular cookie dough, and mine is darker than Katie's, but I'm wondering if she used another nut butter that wasn't almond, which is what I used. Other than it not being as sweet as traditional cookie dough, I'd say it's pretty darn close! If I did it again, I wouldn't add the chocolate chips till after I had chilled it for awhile since they got a little melty due to the dough being warm from the food processor. I might also try agave syrup instead of brown sugar to make it even more healthy. Katie suggests to eat with graham crackers, so that's what I'm going to do! There are a ton of other recipes on her blog that I hope to try too!


I've talked about Amy's blog a lot because I love it, I love reading about her family and their adoption journey and lifestyle. But the other day she put up a recipe for a salad dressing she and her daughter concocted. Concocted is probably too fancy a word since this dressing involves two ingredients! That's right, just two. She decided that even her "natural" dressings had too much nonsense in them, so she threw two little cucumbers and a mango in the food processor and called it a day.

So I did too.

And it tastes pretty good! I think I messed up and added too much cucumber and I only had one mango, so I couldn't keep messing with the proportions. Amy's is more orange and mine is more green, so my goal is to go get another mango (or two!) and put it all back in the food processor again to make it more mango-y and less cucumber-y, which I think will make it even tastier. And think of how much you can use since it's just cucumbers and mangos!

Thanks Katie and Amy!

And If Life is a Game, Aren't We On the Same Team?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I mean really, right? I'm on your team, be on my team.

I love Kid President. Okay, who doesn't? I actually had the privilege of sharing his videos with someone for the first time yesterday. There is really nothing else like the joy of bringing Kid President to a new fan. The thing is, this world needs more Kid President.

It's kind of amazing that we, as adults, need a 10-year-old kid to remind us what's really important. You know what adults do? Yell. Yell and argue. Argue and yell. Work. Talk about how tired they are. Talk about how they don't want to go to work. Talk about their weight. Passively aggressively argue about politics on Facebook. Forget about their friends' birthdays. Tell everyone to hurry up. Get an attitude with the check out girl at Kroger. Complain about the water bill and the rising cost of gas.

Shew, boy, that sounds like a thrilling way to live life.


Um, no.

This time of year, summertime, when the living is easy -- or maybe easier since at least you're not outside in -18 degrees driving through 6" of snow to work -- is the time of year when you really realize we're adults ... and we are BORING.

As Kid President says, The world needs you to stop being boring. Yeah, you. Boring is easy. Everybody can be boring.

Remember when you were a kid and it was the first day of summer vacation and it was still light at 9 p.m. and you stayed outside playing flashlight tag till all hours? Or the feeling of cracking open a fresh Nancy Drew mystery from the library curled up in your windowseat. How excited you got when your mom got you a Happy Meal. Or staying up to watch Snick? Going to the movies when the newest Disney animated movie came out and seeing a new princess you could be. Catching fireflies or spotting a turtle in your backyard.

When did our lives become only about doing laundry and being tired? We've heard the phrase "work hard, play hard," but it seems we all got stuck on "work hard." We got stuck on "work hard, then go home and watch TV on your couch till bedtime, then get up and do it all over again."

The thing is, does that make you happy? It does not make me happy. So maybe let's stop talking about the upcoming election ("upcoming") and go blow up a balloon. Who's with me?

Some words of wisdom from our sage, KP:

- But what if there really were two roads? I'd want to be on the one that leads to awesome.

- What if Michael Jordan would have quit? He never would have made Space Jam. And I love Space Jam.

- What will you create to make the world awesome? Nothing if you keep sitting there.

- We can cry about it, or we can dance about it.

- Here's a surprise corn dog I got you because you're my friend.

- Before you say something about the barbecue sauce on someone else's shirt, take a look at the barbecue  sauce on your own shirt.

- "I don't know" ... I know a lot of people who need to say that.

- My sports team is not always the best sports team. It takes a big man to say that.

- I disagree with you, but I still like you as a person. Because you are a human being. (Sounds familiar.)

- If you can't think of something nice to say, you're not thinking hard enough.

- A title doesn't make you more important.

- Some days your kite will fly high, some days it will get stuck in a tree.

- There's plenty of reasons to dance, you just gotta look for them.

- The biggest mess up? Not forgiving each other's mess ups.

- Amazing things will happen every day.

- You're made from love to be loved to spread love. Even if hate has a bullhorn, love is louder.

I Followed a Recipe! No Bake Energy Bites.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

As has been stated many a time on this blog, I am not known for my kitchen skills. Sure, I can wash a dish or organize a pantry with the best of them, but when it comes to cooking and baking, I just ... don't. But I've also been attempting to put more effort into making some healthy dinners and just trying to eat better overall.

I know myself, and I know that I can't just give up sweets and dessert. I truly believe that it's not a slice of cake that makes you unhealthy, it's the whole cake, or a couple slices every day. Dessert is not the devil, overeating is.

I was browsing Pinterest the other day, and saw a recipe for these No Bake Energy Bites. They looked tasty, so I investigated further and found myself at the Cooking Classy blog. Awesome! I was so excited to find out that these Bites were made with healthy ingredients. Seriously! The author claimed that not only were they healthy, but they were good enough to be a dessert. Best part? No baking of course! I decided to try it for myself.

I combined the peanut butter, vanilla and honey in a bowl, then stirred in the oats, the flax and the coconut. (Although, I will admit, it called for toasted coconut, but I am impatient so I just used the raw.) Then I added the chocolate chips.

I then let it sit in the fridge to chill for about 90 minutes or so. I then took the "dough" out of the fridge and formed my bites. Easy peasy!

And they taste GREAT! They remind me of a no-bake oatmeal cookie or even raw cookie dough. They are definitely good enough to be a little dessert, and I'm so happy to know that they are full of healthy ingredients and not loaded with sugar or wacky ingredients.

I made my balls a little smaller, so my batch yielded about 25 of them. The author said she liked to use mini chocolate chips, and I definitely agree. I wasn't able to find the mini ones at the store today, so I had to go with regular, and they are harder to form since the the size of the chocolate chip and the size of the completed snack are so close. I'll definitely try minis next time! This is super delish, especially if you're like me and you like a sweet treat, don't like to bake and don't want to have to buy crazy ingredients you'll only use once.

I've been scouting out some other healthy dessert recipes and plan to try them out in the future. I'll post about them here!

Thanks Cooking Classy! Follow the recipe for yourself here: No Bake Energy Bites

Two Dimes and a Nickel. (Get it? Change.)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A couple of months ago I wrote this post about allowing people to change. Allowing people to grow and improve without reminding them of the shortcomings they used to have and mistakes they've made.

And there's a very important sister post to that piece and it's this: allowing yourself to change.

I think that we all have things in our past we wish we hadn't done (or failed to do). If you've never made mistakes or said or done something you regret, I wish I knew your secret. I think most of us also have personality traits that we don't like. I'll go first: I am highly critical, I am uptight, I can be judgmental and I'm demanding. Yikes. That's hard to admit. The thing is, I am critical and demanding of others, but if I'm honest with myself I realize that I turn those things mostly on myself. That finger is always, always, always pointing in. I am also capable of laying a guilt trip on myself so thick that I can't see my hand in front of my face, if you know what I mean. And guilt is what is inevitably the outcome if I don't live up to my own judgmental, critical, demanding standards.

The biggest problem is, guilt is a constant companion. Just when you start feeling good about yourself, or feeling like you've been on a road of good choices and actions, guilt over past actions is enough to pull you down and make you feel like you're a horrible person. It's that voice that says, as soon as someone compliments you or thanks you for something kind you've done, "If they only knew the kind of person I really am, they wouldn't think I'm so great."

The thing is -- as I said before, we have to allow people to change. But it's so important that we let ourselves change too. Just because you did something in the past or were someone in the past, doesn't mean that you are or have to be that person today too. Our lives are composed of our actions every day -- the things we choose to say and do every day. It's important that we recognize the hard work we've done to change things we don't like about ourselves and to continue to move forward to the person we really want to be and the life we really want to have.

Past behavior may sometimes be an indicator of who someone is. But really, I think it's more of a comparison to show us how far we've come.

That Girl Who Disagrees With You? She's a Person Too.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On days like today I like to stay off Facebook. Days when a controversial issue is super big news, and everyone has their own opinion. I debated with myself over whether to blog about this, but then I got this survey in the mail today and it seemed like a sign. It's not opinions that I mind -- we all have them -- but it's the way in which people share them that bothers me.

I think it's really easy to hide behind our computer monitors and phone screens and forget about the fact that we're addressing other human beings. The truth is, people on both sides of an issue usually believe that they are honestly right and that their opinion is in the best interest of women/death row inmates/drug addicts/whatever the thing is. But I think when we're using our keyboards to pontificate about any issue, it is really very easy to forget that the people who disagree with us aren't demons, they are other human beings. They are people with moms and brothers and kids who probably donate to charities and do community service. I think it's perfectly fine to hold an opinion -- I actually don't really love fence-sitters -- and I think it's totally okay to voice your opinion ... in a loving manner. Also, has anyone ever changed their mind on a hot-button issue because one of their Facebook friends lectured them and told them they didn't care about individual freedom or whatever? I honestly bet that no one ever read a post like that, or a comment, and thought, "You know what? Sally is totally right. I am a woman-hater who is on the wrong side of history. I'm totally changing my mind 180 degrees. I am SO glad she yelled at me so rudely on Facebook."

As they say in The American President, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating, at the top of his lungs, that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." 

And, there is that little matter of loving your neighbor as yourself.  No one wants to be lectured or shouted at or demeaned. Especially on Facebook. The fact that we all have different opinions and ideas is what makes this nation great. And I understand that these are BIG issues with outcomes that wound people's hearts and people feel I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-Y passionate about them. There are many issues I feel incredibly strongly about too and there are also things that hurt my heart. But before I say anything publicly, I always try and remind myself that the person to whom (not AT whom) I'm speaking is a person. Like I am.

Just my opinion. Hopefully shared in a loving manner because you are a person too.
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