Turkey Day is not the only day.

I can name 4 things right now that I’m thankful for:

My family: of blood or not, you have blessed my life in ways I can’t even begin to describe.
My friends: near and far, God bless you for your honesty, sincerity and guidance, you are forever on my mind.
My part-time job: a little money in my pocket, good co-workers, and time to get everything on my mind off for a good 5 hours each day.
My car: gets me from point A to point B, and everywhere else in between, I’m thankful for transportation. 

It’s that time of year. The day of the year to be thankful.

I am tired of hearing that. Honestly. Why set aside ONE day of the year to BE thankful. I’m thankful every damn day. I don’t need a holiday to remember that. I’m blessed every minute of every day. I’m not always confident about that. And I don’t always feel blessed, but when I take a step back…I remember. And it just flows. All my feelings. All my thoughts. I am just thankful. And again, I don’t need the last Thursday of November to remind me of that.

So that brings me to the actual plot of this particular blog.

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To all those people obsessing over corporations who are open on Thanksgiving day. Get over it. It’s been happening for an extremely long time. Businesses need to make money to survive. And it just so happens that Thanksgiving/Black Friday is the day most people do their shopping. And of course there needs to be supervisors there. Black Friday is chaotic enough, imagine not having employees there to organize everything. And you know what else? Businessmen/women and employees have families too. And they need to support their families just like the rest of us. And maybe they are thankful they even have a job. So maybe they have to sacrifice a portion of that Thanksgiving day to work. So what. It’s not the end of the world. And most likely that person chose to work on that day, because of holiday pay. Or maybe they didn’t and they’ve made other arrangements to spend the morning with their family. Or the evening. Or maybe an entirely separate day. Because who said Thanksgiving is the only day of the year you can sit around the table and eat a crap ton of Turkey, watch football, and be thankful with your family? Turkey day is not the only day to be thankful.

Don’t get caught up in what society sets aside for us as a Thankful day. It’s up to us as human beings to remind each other how much we love one another, regardless of some holiday. Sure. That holiday is special. It’s my favorite actually. But not because it HAS to be, but because my family and I make it that way. We do what we can to celebrate. And we can’t always get together for the holidays. So we get together on other days. Other weekends. We celebrate when we can. Not when the calendar tells us to.

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In this life, we can’t control every little thing. That includes whether or not a business chooses to be open on a certain day, or not. I’m sure, in a perfect world, every holiday from Ash Wednesday to Christmas would be reserved for those days only and there would be NO school, and NO work and life would be rainbows and butterflies. But it doesn’t work that way. 

So instead of complaining about people with jobs working on holidays.

Be happy for them. They have a job. They can provide for themselves. And for others.

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And be thankful to spend time with them when you do get to.

And have a Happy Thanksgiving, regardless of whether or not Walmart is open.

Thanks for hearing me out.

 

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And then you find out who your friends are.

I’ve been slammed into a position in the last month that has torn me to shreds, has tortured me with the unknown, laughed in my face, made me cry, made me laugh, made me want to hit a few people with a bat, and squeeze a few people with my whole heart.

I’ve been searching for the words on how I feel, and the song “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” came to mind. This song is about someone who gets stuck out in the middle of nowhere and calls up all his buddies to see if they will help him. And he’s waiting and wondering who will show, and if anyone will. And the entire time he is waiting and worrying, his friends are making plans to help him out. I think that’s amazing. But that’s not always the case.

It’s the hardest thing for me to ask others for help. It’s even harder for me to ask others for help when it involves a third party. Asking on someone’s behalf is painful. But I’d do it a hundred times if I knew it would make any difference. I’ve found out recently that there are people in our lives that will want to:

“Slap your back
Wants to shake your hand
When you’re up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way
Then you slide back down
Look up and see who’s around then”

Like the song says, people will want to support you, claim some kind of part in all of your success, and slap your back when you are on top of that mountain. When you are on top of the world. When everything is going the way you planned it…and then, like life does…shit hits the fan…and then you find out who your friends are.

It would be a wonderful thing if all of our expectations about people came true.

There are two ways to say no.

#1. HELL NO. There is no way I can help you. I don’t want to help you. I don’t think you deserve it. You’re wrong. Go away…

#2. HELL YES. But no. I’m truly sorry. I cannot help you at this time. I want to with all my heart. I know right now is harder than hell, and I’ve been there…but you are strong and bright. You can handle this and I know you will get the help you need.

And the greatest and worst part of those no’s…is that nobody usually says it that way out loud. But you can usually tell by the actions of those people what kind of NO they’re are using. And sometimes, people just straight up say how they feel. They tell you HELL NO, or HELL YES, but no. And then you find out who your friends are.

I think the worst part about finding out who your friends are…is when all their words of encouragement and support goes down the drain when you are no longer on top of the mountain…and you’re at the bottom in the mud. And you are surprised by those you ask…”Will you please come pick me up, I’m stranded.” And some people respond with, “What’s in it for me,” or “It’s way too far.” And then there are those people who “just show up with their big ol’ hearts”
And then you find out who your friends are.

I know this song isn’t just talking about somebody being physically stranded out in the middle of nowhere and can’t get their car to start. It’s also about when you are fighting this battle in life and you have no idea what is going to happen…and you have people who either add to your battle…or people who come to fight along side you.

I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who said the #2 NO if I ever needed to, but I’d like to say YES as much as I can. I’d like to be the support at someone’s graduation cheering them along to grab their diploma. And also be the kind of the person that would stop everything and comfort that same person when they failed their first college class, or didn’t have enough money for rent one month, or got arrested for a DUI, etc.

I think people forget that even the worst criminal on earth is still a child of God.

And that life isn’t black and white, and neither should our love for somebody.

“No matter what, I’ll be there for you.”
“My love for you is unconditional.”
“There is nothing you could say or do that would ever make me stop loving you.”
“If you need anything, let me know.”

If you are going to say these kinds of things, please, mean them. Or don’t say them at all. And in the hardest parts of our lives is when we need them to mean something the most. And remember, actions do speak louder than words.

Thanks for hearing me out.

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Seeing her wings instead of her casket.

This video is very dear to my heart. It’s true. You never truly know what you have until it’s gone. Zach’s story is so inspirational. He was such an uplifting spirit in life, and his outlook on life prevails even in death.

I remember the day we were told the doctor’s were done. They couldn’t do anything, anymore. They had done all they could. That the cancer had spread. Of course it had spread. It was crawling inside every vein of her body. Every blood cell was caked in cancer. And now…it had traveled to her brain. And she was dying. And it was real. And it was happening. And there was nothing I could do about it.

I panicked. I was brought to my knees immediately as if an earthquake shook me to the ground. I rocked back and forth shaking my head begging for some other kind of truth. Some other kind of reality. But no. God had an entirely different plan for my mother. And it didn’t include adding anymore time to her life.

I was angry. I was furious. I kept making deals with God. I begged him. I prayed for more time. I cried out loud and silently told him I hated him everyday. My heart was black. What I wanted and what was actually happening were two completely differently things. I spent every second with her. Every minute was spent thinking about life without her.

Well, Zach’s story got me thinking. It reminded me that her last days weren’t spent in sorrow. It was spent in fits of laughter and joy. It was surrounded by people saying goodbye. Saying how much they were going to miss her. How much she lived life. And how much she meant to everyone that ever crossed paths with her. It was spent singing, and snuggling, and eating Dairy Queen ice cream cake, and wearing pajamas for days. It was filled with foot rubs and frequent blankets of snow that cooled the atmosphere around me when my face was red from crying so hard into my pillow. It was quiet moments long enough to take a deep breath and soak in all the beautiful things in life, instead of focusing on the darkness that was soon to come. It was being able to see her wings instead of her casket.

Anyway, I thought I’d share this miraculous story. It didn’t end the way his family would have preferred, but it taught them about acceptance. And I know a little something about that, too.

Thanks for hearing me out.

The cards of life: Mini pep talks.

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If there was a handbook for life it would be empty. There would be hundreds of blank pages. Every page numbered at the bottom of the right hand corner. And a pen velcro(ed) to the the side–> ready at a moments notice to jot down a thought, a prayer, a question, a solution, a painful story, a remarkable memory… 

This handbook would be empty.

But only at first.

We all have our very own story. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. We are all dealt cards to play the game. And like Poker, we don’t get to choose our cards.

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I’ve been dealt some shitastic cards in my life. Some amazing-miracle-praise-Jesus kind of cards. Dance-in-my-underwear-I-don’t-give-an-eff kind of cards. The kind of cards that I just want to throw away. The kind of cards I would rather live without. The kinds of cards I tape to my wall to remind me of my battle scars. The Oh-so-fabulous-walk-down-the-catwalk kind of cards. The I-don’t-want-to-leave cards. The kind of cards that I keep safe in a shoe box and peek at when life starts the roller coaster ride without my permission. The cards that are covered in death and sorrow. The kind of cards that are multicolored. The limited edition kind of cards. I think you get the idea.

Sometimes I give myself pep talks. I have a pep talk for just about everything that could possibly go wrong. About everything.

Things are going to pop out when we least expect it. Someone or something is going to throw a shit-storm our way and we won’t know what hit us. We won’t know how to handle it. And we’ll be in shock. And we’d rather just curl up in a ball and forget about the world–> rather than clean up the mess.

Sometimes I’d rather just know the ending of a situation right up front. Sometimes I’d like to know the outcome. Sometimes I beg God for answers and I promise I’ll do anything. I promise I’ll do this…or do that… But I find the more and more I do that…I only find myself more miserable. I believe God has a plan. Not the kind of plan that gets us to heaven. But the kind of plan that gets us through the day. Through life itself.

If I had a handbook of life and I could publish it and sell it at a Barnes & Noble near you. This is what you could read.

You have a beautiful life. It’s full of sunrises and sunsets. It’s full of teeter-tottering events. You will have days where you want to bend air itself to try and control a situation–> but let me save you from that fantasy before you literally start pushing the particles of open space around you. It’s not going to work. You won’t accomplish this imaginative idea that you can fix everything, or that you should.

You were born with such powerful potential. Don’t let anyone make you believe you are meant for one thing or another. You know what you are capable of. You know how strong and motivated you can be. Go ahead–> let people around you remind you of your potential, because there will be days when you feel your life is a big pile of waste. And that you don’t belong. So listen to those motivational speeches. Watch that tear-jerking inspirational film for the tenth time. Surround yourself with honest and sincere friends and family. You have your own powerful potential. But that doesn’t mean you have to discover it on your own.

You have an Academy Award winning story to tell. Your past is written in stone. Your future is yet to be told. And RIGHT now. Right now is happening. And it’s the perfect time to shoot for an Oscar. Don’t miss an opportunity to tell someone you truly care about, but haven’t seen in months, that you love them. Make somebody smile. Dance on rooftops. Dive into the ocean. Take a road-trip. Try something new. Take a chance on falling in love. So what if it falls a part. It’s going to break your heart, no doubt. But so are many other things in life. It’s going to teach you something, no matter what the outcome. What’s that quote about love? –>’It’s better to have loved, then to have never loved at all?’ 

Your life is not better or worse off than anybody else. We all have our own journey. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, no two people are alike. Stop comparing yourself to others. Nobody lives the exact same life. What works for one person, is NOT going to work for another. Sure. We are going to agree with people about how to raise our children, where to eat out on a Saturday night, what movie to spend our money on, and what kind of pet to own, etc. But pushing our beliefs, ideas, opinions, what-worked-for-me-will-work-for-you kind of stuff on others is NOT going to do anyone any good. Encourage people based on your good experience. Tell them how you personally felt about something. Help them when they ask you to. Go ahead–> give constructive advice…because you’ve been in a similar situation before–>but DON’T expect someone to accept your solution every time for everything. You’ll only become disappointed and angry.

You are doing the best you can. If your house is spotless, congrats. But if you let it slip for a day, a week. Calm down. It’s not the end of the world. It’s going to happen. You’re not superwoman/man. And don’t try to be. If your neighbor across the street baked three batches of cookies, folded four loads of laundry, and managed to put the perfectly hung Christmas lights on their house all in a span of 3 hours. (is that even possible?) Don’t get flustered and upset that you couldn’t even finish the dishes in an hour. At least you tried. Your neighbor may have more time on their plate. Maybe you’re a mom with three kids and your husband works all day. Maybe you’re a single mom with a full time job to support your only child that thinks you’re the coolest person in the world, so you do everything you can to maintain that image in their head –>that you are superwoman. But you’re not. So sometimes you forget to pick your kid up from school. Or maybe you didn’t have two seconds to sit down all week, so you have no groceries in the refrigerator. It’s going to happen. Just know, you’re doing it right. No matter if you think you’re the biggest screw up. You’re loving your family. And some people show that in different ways. You may work all day. Or maybe you’re a stay at home parent. Whatever it is. You’re doing your best.

You are going to cry. And it’s going to help. You’re going to need to take time out of your busy crazy life to shed a tear. It’s going to suck. But it’s going to be okay. You’re going to think a million things, including the part where you believe the world is ending. But in time the sun will peek its head out of the clouds and dry up all the tears.

You are going to laugh. And I hope it’s loud. I hope you laugh so hard that your stomach hurts and you almost pee your pants. You’re going to laugh at things you didn’t think you could laugh at. And maybe it’s not funny to your best friend…but it’s funny to you –> so you laugh your ass off. And it’s going to be a beautiful laugh and you’re going to take it all in, because you deserve to.

You matter. You are a valuable human being. Somebody somewhere loves you. Don’t wear yourself out. Don’t let people take advantage of you. Don’t let them use you. Remember your self worth. Remember that you have a giant heart, but don’t jeopardize its beat for somebody who isn’t going to return the favor. Pick your friends wisely. And just because you share blood with somebody doesn’t mean you have to let them make you feel unimportant. Take care of yourself. Allow yourself to have feelings. Don’t let somebody make you believe that your thoughts are stupid. ‘You is kind. You is smart. You is important.’

You are going to make mistakes. You are going to stumble and fall. You’re going to fall so far you’ll need a ladder to climb back up. You’re going to break the rules. You’re going to scrape your knee. You’re going to fall flat on your face. You’re going to think that you’re the worst person and that nothing good ever happens to you. You’re going to be wrong. But it’s okay to feel like this. But only for so long. And then you’re going to stand back up. You’re going to climb that ladder. And you’re going to wipe the dirt of your pants and you’re going to get through this. Because you’re going to make mistakes. But you’re going to learn from them. It’s going to take time. And it’s not going to happen over night. But you will be blessed. And all these ‘bad’ times will help you see the ‘good’ times. Because without the bad, you cannot know the good in life.

You are stronger than you think you are. You’re going to remind yourself of all the times in your life when you thought you wouldn’t pull through, but you did. And then you’re going to put your armor on and do it again. And again. And again. Because it’s not going to stop. Life isn’t going to suddenly become freshly squeezed lemonade without the work of squeezing the lemons. You’re going to have to scrub the tile on your hands and knees. You’re going to have to bite your tongue. And you’re going to have to breathe in and out for a good ten minutes. You’re going to cry in your car before you go back inside your house after a long day. You’re going to yell at a pedestrian crossing the street because your patience is running thin. You’re going to clench your fist. You’re going to lose your temper. You’re going to say mean things that you will take back later because you never meant so say them from the beginning. But you’re going to be strong. Because it’s all you will have left after you’ve fought for so long.

These are the things I tell myself. And so if we’re anything alike…hopefully you can relate and take some of these reminders and get through the hard times. And remember the good.

Thanks for hearing me out.

 

What unconditional love is.

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Unconditional love is when you can’t wait to tell your best friend that you’ve been accepted to the college of your dreams that’s 3000 miles away and instead of bitching you out and throwing a fit because they are jealous or pissed or whatever; they embrace you and say “I’m proud of you, and I knew you could do it!”

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Unconditional love is when you come home from an extremely shitty day and all you want to do is curl up in a ball and play video games or watch your favorite movie that you could play over and over again and never get tired of. But your parent comes into your room and asks why you slammed the door and you don’t want to explain yourself because you’d rather just not face another day so you shrug your shoulders, and instead of walking away because you are giving them the silent treatment, they wrap their arms around you and silently say, I love you.

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Unconditional love is when you’re playing an intense game of cowboys and indians, rough housing around, and your mom keeps telling you and your friends to stop being so rambunctious but you’re just too damn excited that you even have friends, so you want to impress them by playing their favorite game, and it’s too cold outside so you’re inside…still making too much noise and running around until you crash into the wall where your mother’s once hanging shelf falls to the ground and the tea set that sat perfectly still on the shelf before, is now shattered into millions of tiny little pieces. And you look into your mother’s eyes, certain she is going to explode, because it was her favorite tea set that her grandmother gave her, and her grandpa built the shelf with his bear hands. And you know how much it means to her. And surprisingly she says, “Thank God you’re okay.” And you realize that she loves you far beyond any material items.

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Unconditional love is when you go to school wearing your favorite rainbow colored belt and you tuck your shirt in on the side just enough for everyone to get a glimpse of your stylish new accessory and further down the hall you hear a familiar voice that brings a kind of fear to your memory, who yells out “Faggot!” and points to your once cool, and now shameful article of clothing, and you immediatly cover your belt with your shirt and pull your pants up just enough that the belt can’t be seen and you hide in the bathroom crying because you thought your belt was the coolest thing ever. And because that word killed your pride just enough to cause you to hide in the bathroom stall until next period. And then you hear a voice and you stop crying because you don’t want anyone to know how much you’re hurting and then the voice says, “I really like your belt.” And suddenly the word faggot and the tears disappear and you leave the stall where you see a complete stranger standing next to the sinks. And you tuck in your shirt so that entire belt can be seen and say, “Thanks.”

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Unconditional love is when the condom breaks and you don’t have enough money to buy the “Plan B” pill and you are horrified to tell anyone, because you don’t want them to think you’re a slut or whore or whatever, so you wait. You wait too long to say anything and then suddenly you’re throwing up everything you ate for breakfast one morning and you go to the store to buy a pregnancy test and you can’t wait any longer to know the truth so you go to closest bathroom and you pee on the stick and you wait two painful minutes until you see the plus sign, clear as day, and you start to cry because you have no idea what the hell you’re going to do. And so you tell your boyfriend, and he says he’s not ready to be a father and you beg him to stay, and he won’t. And so you drive 2 hours with the little money you have left to knock on your parents door. And your parents ask you why your eyes are so puffy and you don’t tell them it’s because you’ve been bawling for that last 45 minutes. And you sit them down to tell them you’re pregnant expecting them to scream and throw something at you, but instead they take your hands and look into your puffy swollen eyes and say, “It’s going to be okay. We’re going to figure this out.” And you sigh, because that’s all you needed to hear.

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Unconditional love is when you feel completely alone in the world. When you’d rather just die because the alternative seems too difficult to bear and you don’t go to school for days. And no one comes to see you which reassures you that no one will miss you when you’re gone. And your mom is too high to notice the constant frown on your face. And your dad is in jail and probably always will be. And so you go outside on a rainy day and you walk down to the lake thinking that you’ll just drown yourself. Because it’s that easy. And you walk past your neighbor’s house that you’ve talked to like 2 times and you think about knocking on their door, but then you realize you don’t want to burden them. And so you keep walking. And you’re 10 feet from the lake where you could be gone in seconds. And you hear a voice behind you. “Are you going for a swim? I’ll go with you!” And you turn around and it’s your neighbor. And instead of dying, you go swimming.

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Unconditional love is when you visit a family member and they open their door before you can even knock and hug you until your bones no longer ache and they feed you until your stomach no longer growls and they sing silly songs with you and they watch your favorite movies. And before you can even ask them for a reminder of where their bathroom is, they give you a tour of the house. And they tell you it’s so good to see you. And they give you a blanket when you’re chilly. And they let you wear their slippers. And they make you a cup of tea. And they play cards with you and laugh in your face because they beat you twice, but you don’t care — because they bought you pizza with all your favorite toppings. And chocolate because they say they can’t live without it, but really it’s because you wanted some. And they joke around and burp and sometimes even fart. Because they are so comfortable with you. And when you need to cry, they listen. And when you need to complain they look you in the eyes and nod their head. And when you’ve talked so much and you can’t talk anymore they offer some advice. And when there is nothing left to say or do. They hold you. And they give you a bed to sleep on. And permission to be yourself. And you don’t hesitate to ask or do anything, because you know they wouldn’t want you to.

Unconditional love is exactly that. It’s unconditional. There is no ifs, ands or buts. It’s taking time to take a step back and evaluate a situation and think before you act. And realizing the most important things to do and say. It’s showing and saying I love you. And there is always room for you. And there is nothing they could do or say that would make them not love you.

Thanks for hearing me out.

(I don’t own any of the photos)

 

If it’s not broken…break it.

Lately I’ve been seeing the phrase, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

It’s actually something i heard the former Mayor of my city (Logan, UT), Randy Watts say in a debate against his co-runner, Councilman Craig Petersen. Craig, who I voted for, won the Mayor Elect by a good 400 votes and will take office effective January 2014.

Yay for change!

When Watts said, “If it’s not broken, why fix it?” I asked myself, yeah… WHY fix it?

When we talk about this phrase in politics, we aren’t talking about a perfectly good plumbing pipe that allows us to use water from the tap. We are talking about the way something is run in a government to help it function and work for the majority of its people. If it’s working for the city, state, nation…then it must not be broken; therefore, why fix it? Right?

Wrong.

I believe in change. I’m very into the idea of the underdog. I’m into the idea of new candidates and new people filling positions that have been held by the same people for 10 years plus. If you ask me how I feel about Congress, I’ll laugh. I’m sure many congressmen/women serving in Congress have used the phrase “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” a time or two throughout their careers. 

The problem there, is that there may or may not be something causing major problems that will start some kind of fire or massive explosion, but I do believe there are many different paths to take. This meaning, there is so many other perspectives to look at. After looking at one perspective for two terms or more, it gets a little old. It’s time for something new.Yes. It’s not broken. So it’s time to break it.

I find many traditional thinking people, who usually fall under a more conservative pathway, often use and enjoy the phrase, “If it’s not broke…” Yeah. You get it.

If you haven’t figured out already, I’m a liberal. I’m not ashamed of that. I believe there are flaws in both parties. But I know that based on my own experiences, not fixing something, simply because it has no need for physical repair, does not mean it shouldn’t be challenged or shook up every once and a while. And in this fast pace moving world we live in, why not break some things along the way?

Let’s shatter some thoughts. Let’s get people thinking. Let’s change the one, or two, or three party thinking. Let’s get the ball rolling.

Whatever you want to hear. You understand what I’m saying.

The phrase…the broke…fix it….don’t fix….phrase thingy that I’ve been repeating a hundred times, it’s just so overused, as you can see.

The people who use it are usually the ones who want to stay safe and sound. There’s nothing wrong with that, as a solution for RIGHT NOW. But it’s going to bite us in the ass in the long run.

We’re not safe. We don’t live in a perfectly knit world without crime, and horror and everything else in between. There will always be something new. Something ready to scare us out of seats. Something that will demand change. And the stubbornness of the “It’s not broke” crap is just going to interfere. It’s not realistic at all. It’s not going to help solve anything. The things we are unprepared for…the things that are going to bite us in the ass…the things that we won’t know how to prevent or handle…are all things that could have gone another way had the mentality of “It’s not broken, why fix it” was destroyed.

It’s a non-moving-forward-kind-of-thinking.

It’s something that if we stay in one place, safe and sound, not fixing what isn’t broken. We will stay in that one place, forever. And the quick sand will get us.

 

Thanks for hearing me out.

I don't want to say goodbye.

Your head is in the clouds.
You’re thinking too loud.
You don’t mean what you’ve said.
That’s what I tell myself, so I can go to bed.

You’re not thinking straight.
You’re not in the right mental state.
You’ve promised me things out loud.
You can’t take them back, like when you said you were proud.

My mind is tricked.
This isn’t something I’ve picked.
From the many roads I’ve been on.
This one feels like a pawn.

Will I ever get you back?
It’s out of my control, it’s something I lack.
I’ll swallow my pride,
But I don’t know how much longer I can hide.

All I know is my love for is you is strong.
And I’ve felt this way for so long.
So many questions, but I don’t ask why.
All I can ask for you to do is try.

I don’t want to say goodbye.
And if I do, it’ll only be a lie.
I’ll always keep you close to my heart.
And we will never part.