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This is why we can't have nice things.

Satire. Politics. Lists.

The thrill of hope.

The thrill of hope,

The weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

After a thoughtlessly haphazard conversation about Christmas I had this weekend, I walked away disappointed in myself for being so cynical. As sarcastic as I am, I am no cynic at heart.

Even though I love to make jokes about how much I hate Elf on the Shelf and why Krampus is so much better, this is one of my favorite times of the year.

It’s not about the decorations, traditions, or the constant barrage of tacky Christmas music. It’s not about finding the perfect present for someone or taking adorable family photos or decorating trees. None of that matters to me in the end.

What I love most about this season is the thrill of hope that it brings.

Whether you’re celebrating Santa Claus, the birth of Christ, Hanukkah, or the Solstice, it’s all about hope.

Hope for salvation, miracles, and new life.

Hope compels you.

Hope guides you.

Hope inspires you.

Hope protects you.

Hope strengthens you.

Without it, we are nothing and aspire to nothing. We forget to love one another and see the good in the world. Without hope, we forget that we are capable of extraordinary things.

So instead of fighting my way through crowded stores and knocking out my shopping list, I am going to hold dear in my heart that thrill of hope I get when I think about the coming New Year and all of the adventures and beautiful things it holds.

I will remember to be thankful for every beautiful sunrise and sunset and all of the moments in between. I will remember to be kinder and more loving and more forgiving. I will remember to serve without expectations. I will remember to take more chances and to live more intentionally.

Those are also my hopes  for all of my family and friends who helped me through this year, and reminded me that this world is still amazing and beautiful and that keeping that thrill of hope alive is worth the fight.

 

 

 

 

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You are not your job.

 

I left my job after five years and two summers. Here’s what leaving taught me.

You are not your job.

You are not the title on your business card.

You are not the size of your office.

You are not the numbers on your paycheck.

You are not the figures on your spreadsheets.

You are not the number of meetings you’ve attended.

You are not the number of emails you send.

You are not your job and you don’t have to be.

At 27, I realized that I’ve experienced .000001% of the amazing sites and wonders this world has to offer because I was essentially letting work take over every aspect of my life. I also realized just how much time I was wasting by worrying about what it meant to be an adult rather than actually living.

So now it’s time to start living intentionally and bravely and wonderfully.

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We write because we must.

There’s a certain arrogance that comes with writing. You assume that what you have to write holds weight with people, that your opinions matter, that you yourself matter. When you write, you are committing your thoughts and feelings to an eternity and you dare think that they belong there.

But there’s also a sense of openness and bravery that you can’t find elsewhere. People write knowing that they are opening up their hearts and minds to the criticisms of the world. We write because we have this insane hope that what we’re saying means something, can change something. We write because we are compelled to share the barest truths in our lives.

We write because we have to, ignoring the judgements and fear.

And so dear readers, if you exist and if you’ll bear with me, it’s time to start writing again.

 

writing

 

 

 

Universal Truths.

Blahblahblah philosophy. It’s awesome. But so far, here is what the world boils down to. Forget making the world a better place or destiny and all the existential crap that keeps you up at night. These are two logically proven and solid universal truths.

Truth #1. Everyone loves smooches. And I mean everyone. Babies. Kitties. Lizards. People. Puppies. Mean people. Bugs. Everyone loves smooches and you know it.

Truth #2. Southern Ladies are bound by some cosmic power to include pineapples into their interior decorating. Pineapples. I don’t know why, I just know. And when you think about it, you can picture some great lady you know and her house and lo and behold! Pineapples.

Look! Here’s a website where you can buy expensive pineapple themed things.

And here’s a picture of manatees smooching.Awwww….cute. Enjoy.

The Great People’s Republic of Snugtopia

This whole budget debacle  had turned into a political pissing contest. Seriously.  There is a whole department dedicated to making the Federal Budget. It’s their job to make sure people get the money they need while still attempting to live within the country’s means. Both parties need to stop being spoiled little brats and spend smarter. And they need to get along and figure something out. You can’t always get what you want and sometimes you need to realize that reality and ideology do not match up.  We don’t have a gajillion dollars to spend on every program, and we cannot just get rid of things leaving citizens in the dark.  Our legislators have an obligation to us and they are not fulfilling it.  Instead, they would rather play fiscal chicken and see who backs down first.  Essentially what both parties are doing is throwing a major temper tantrum that screws over millions of Americans right off the bat.

Like our military. My dear readers know that I have a major soft spot for the service. They HAVE to show up for work because America can’t defend itself from commies and terrorists.( and they swore an oath and all that good patriotic stuff) But they don’t have to get paid right away. Because they can really do their job protecting and serving America while they worry if their families will have enough money for food and rent. That’s cool Congress. Just keep being whiny little brats about this. I am sure they would figure something out really quick if our military decided to walk off the job since they wouldn’t be getting paid.

What a bunch of inefficient jerks.

So in spite of our looming anarchy, I have decided to make a list of things I want to do in case the government shuts down.

1. Declare my Snuggie to be its own country and secede from the Union.

2. Allow gays to get married while residing under my Snuggie. I’m a Reverend and Sovreign and I can do what I please.

3. Put my trash on Rick Scott’s lawn just because he is a jerkface.

4. Let loose hundreds of kittens on Capitol Hill.

5. Declare Fridays to be No Pants Day.

6. Commandeer those sweet leather chairs from Congress and sell them to raise money to help pay out of work federal workers.

7.  Tell Gadhafi to suck it and throw water balloons at him.

8.  Declare war on Canada and make them into Disney’s Real Wilderness Lodge.

9. Steal a rock from Yellowstone

10. Sell Texas to China in order to repay some of our debt to them.

And once the government comes back on line, given we haven’t sunk into a lawless land that Thomas Hobbes could only imagine, I would dissolve my Great People’s Republic of Sungtopia and repatriate to good ol’ Amuurica.

You are tacky and I hate you.

I have a project for you.

1. Go to Google.

2. Type in “Ed Hardy douchebag”.

3.  Go to Images.

4. Enjoy the judging!

The Power of Pearls: Part Two

The Power of Pearls: Part Two.

One is not born a lady.  Becoming a lady takes a lifetime of careful cultivation and profound reflection.  One does not have the distinctive spark, that defining quality of being a lady right in the beginning.  Being a lady means knowing that quiet sense of peace at the end of the day, knowing that you have lived your life for others around you.  Being a lady means possessing a quiet grace and wisdom that takes a lifetime to gain and to understand.  Being a lady means you are ready to pass on what you have learned to younger generations in order to help them on their life-long journeys.  Every woman’s journey to becoming a lady is different; because frankly, every lady is unique in her own feisty, classy and charming way.  The journey to become a lady takes a lifetime.

o   A lady is confident.   In the face of uncertainty, a lady keeps her composure and remembers that she is strong, smart, and fabulous.

o   A lady thinks of others first.

o   A lady knows that handwritten notes and letters are very important and heartwarming.

o   A lady understands that charity is a way of life and not some fancy event. A lady constantly seeks new ways to make the world around her better. Charity is not a status symbol, but something required of all good people.

o   A lady does not gossip; she merely shares local news.

o   A lady knows that no work is beneath her. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty and build up a good sweat. A true lady gets things done and does not rely upon others to do the hard work.

o   A lady memorizes the phrase “Bless your heart” and puts it to good use.

o   A lady is sincere and compassionate.

o   A lady accepts criticism. A lady understands that she is not perfect and values self improvement.  However, a lady does not tolerate criticism if someone is being mean to her just for the sake of being a jerk. A lady will put an end to that (tactfully, of course).

o   A lady knows that everyone is different and does not expect every person to be just like her or agree with her on everything.  She respects and values differences.

o   A lady never thinks she is better than the people around her.

o   A lady understands that the whole point of etiquette and being well mannered is to put the people around you at ease, not to impress them or make her look good.

o   A lady understands that ladies come in all different sizes and from all backgrounds.  A lady is not defined only by the clothes on her back, the amount of money in her account, or the places she frequents.  A lady doesn’t have to wear Lilly Pullitzer everyday or drive a BMW to be classy and fabulous.

o    A lady never loses control of herself at social events.  If a lady is made uncomfortable by her surroundings, she quietly leaves without calling attention to herself.

o   A lady never over indulges.  Sometimes mistakes happen, because a lady is not perfect.  But a lady never lets herself make the same mistake twice because she does not want to be a burden on others or garner a bad reputation.

o   A lady stands up for her beliefs.

The Power of Pearls: How to be a Lady.

I am starting a series of posts about how to be a lady (according to Catherine Rosekelly.)  Some of these fabulous pearls of wisdom come from Candace Simpson-Giles’ book How to be a Lady: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy, but most of it comes from my own experience.  I have been so very lucky to be surrounded by classy ladies and I am duty bound to pass down their wisdom to the rest of you.

The first bit has to do with fashion, followed by sections on housekeeping, social events, friendship, and General Ladylike habits.

FASHION

o   A lady always dresses weather appropriate.  If it’s cold, don’t wear shorts and a tank top.  Or leggings as pants with UGG boots.  They are leggings, not real pants.  It’s not a hard concept.  When it gets chilly, you need to wear real clothing.  A lady would never look like the fool for wearing something skimpy in 20° weather.  Also, UGGs are unnecessary in places like Florida or the rest of the planet.

 

o   A lady never wears shoes she cannot walk in properly.  A lady walks with confidence and grace in her heels.  She does not stumble like some drunk or clomp around like a horse.  Practice makes perfect, so take the time to walk in your shoes before you show them off in public.  I don’t care if you are rocking some 5 inch Christian Louboutins; if you stumble, don’t wear them. There is nothing more tacky than a young lady who hobbles around in her slutty high heels.  We are all judging you if you do.

 

o   A lady wears clothing that is flattering and appropriate.  A real lady makes sure that her wardrobe is functional and flattering.  There is nothing better looking than a polished outfit that actually fits you and your personality.  Don’t wear clothing that doesn’t fit or flatter you.  Edgy, fashionable pieces are great to have in your closet-if they look good on you.  Just because you have on all the latest fashions doesn’t mean you y become stylish.  Sometimes you just end up looking tacky, and that makes everyone hate you.  There is a difference between fashionable and stylish so learn it now.

 

o   A lady dresses for the event.  You don’t wear a short purple club-going dress with black stiletto booties to church on Sunday!  (True story, I saw this.)  You also don’t wear jeans and flip-flops to a job interview or your Vivienne Westwood gown to a Foam Party.  There is no shame in wearing t-shirts and shorts during the day, as long as it’s appropriate.  But sometimes you have to be a Big Girl and dress like one.

 

o   A lady wears appropriate make-up.  If you don’t want to wear any, that’s fine.  If you do wear make-up, don’t paint it on like some two-bit hooker.  Make-up is meant to highlight your lovely features, not cover them up.  Don’t be afraid to consult the Make-up counter ladies or Google classy make-up techniques for help.  Your beauty routine shouldn’t last hours, and you don’t want to look overdone.  If you literally wash off your entire face at the end of the day, you are doing something wrong.  Sometimes less is more!

 

o   A lady owns classy wardrobe staples.  Every accomplished young women needs the following items:

  • A crisp, white Oxford shirt.
  • Flattering dress pants.
  • A Little Black Dress that makes you feel like Audrey Hepburn.
  • Flattering and stylish jeans.
  • Pair of heels that make you feel like you own the world when you wear them.
  • A pearl necklace.  Do not underestimate the power of pearls.
  • A favorite t-shirt
  • A flirty, yet classy skirt for going out.
  • Comfortable pants for sitting around the house.
  • A tailored suit to wear to work and other professional things.

 

o    A lady doesn’t buy things she can’t afford.  Nor does she buy cheap articles of clothing that won’t last.  A lady doesn’t flaunt her wealth with her clothing, and she doesn’t wear clothing that should be thrown away.  A lady is smart with her money and that should be reflected in her wardrobe.

 

o   A lady tries to be conscientious of where her clothes come from.  It’s still difficult to find clothing that is 100% sweat free/fair trade/environmentally friendly.  But a lady always makes the effort to shop smart.

 

o   A lady understands the power of pearls.  If you don’t, you are not a lady.  They don’t have to be expensive to be perfect. (But let’s face it, owning some Mikimoto pearls would be fabulous!)  If you don’t know how to make use of fashionable accessories, stick to pearls.  You can never go wrong with them.

 

o   A lady wears supportive and appropriate clothing when working out.  It’s important to stay healthy, so a Lady knows that exercise is important.  But a Lady doesn’t wear clothing that gets in the way of her workout.  Sometimes you need to leave the bedazzled velvet track suit at home and stick to some running shorts and a t-shirt.

 

o   A lady wears appropriate foundation garments (a.k.a underwear).  Unless you are in an amorous situation, your underthings should never be showing.  No one really needs to see your lacy butt-floss sticking out of your jeans.  That’s gross.  Unfortunately, sometimes you have a wardrobe malfunction and your under roo’s ride up.  Ladies can all accept that fact.  But don’t make it an everyday wardrobe decision.

 

o   When a lady donates her clothing to charitable places like Goodwill or The Salvation Army or other clothing drives, she makes sure the pieces are clean and in good condition.  Do not just bag up clothing that is stained or torn.  It’s a little insulting to donate clothing that should be made into wash rags or thrown away.  You should donate clothing that you would want to find when you shop at those places.  Don’t be rude.

It breaks my heart.

I love Election Season.  I really do.  But Election Season and I have a Love-Hate relationship.

I love the strategy and planning that goes into a campaign.  I like to imagine all of the things I would do if I was a candidate during the election and what I would do once I got elected.

One of the first things you learn studying politics is that the whole point is to get elected.  The whole point of the game is to get your people into office; not just so you can get your way, but to make sure the other guy doesn’t have any chance of doing what he wants.  It’s all about controlling power and influence.  Sad, isn’t it?

Politics and government are entirely different subjects and most people don’t understand the different.  Government is about getting stuff done.  Politics is about getting your way.

Another thing people need to realize is that people vote for people, not issues.  Very few people actually pick a candidate based on their platform.  Sorry.  Voters, for the most part, pick a candidate or party who they think will makes all of their wildest dreams come true.  We saw in this in the 2008 Presidential Election.  People became disenchanted with the Republican Party, and assumed that the Democrats would make things better.  Rather than voting smartly, people voted based on fleeting emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I voted for Obama, but that is because I studied his life and platform in depth and came to a responsible decision.

This Mid-Term Election is basically the same thing.  Historically, the party in power does lose seats during a mid-term election.  But this year, the Republican party has done a great job in making sure that everyone in the country knows that the Democrats are at fault for everything bad in this country and need to be replaced.  The Democrats did the same exact thing in 2008 though!  Blame Bush and Cheney! It’s a smart strategy-blame the other guy during an election.  And now, people assume that just because they change their vote, their dreams will come true.

People don’t really look into any of the issues at hand.  This election proves it.  Just because you switch parties in power doesn’t really mean things will change.  Change is a slow-going process.  Unfortunately, when Obama told us that he was the “Change we could believe in”, everyone thought it meant immediate change.  Wrong.

Basically, I hate how most people in this country don’t pay attention.  I hate how they can’t be bothered to actually think about who and what they are voting for.  I hate how people are so fleeting in their beliefs and convictions.  I hate how all it takes is a few dirty campaign ads and some nasty rumors to get elected.  I hate how people only pay attention to party labels rather than what they have actually done.  (This can be said about both major parties, so I am not just pointing fingers at one.)

Sometimes, elections just break my heart.

(Also, I really hate the Tea Party, and I don’t think they are a legitimate political party, but that will be saved for another post.)

 

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