Call it what you will

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I was watching a TED talk done by Monica Lewinsky the other day, and I was struck by how much I liked her. I didn’t expect that. I still had this image in my mind of the Monica Lewinsky who slept with the president knowing full well that he was married, and then tossed him under the bus. I’m sure it wasn’t quite so cut-and-dried–what in politics ever is?– but I still judged her. Sleeping with the president? Stupid, plain and simple. Especially when the First Lady is Hilary Clinton–not a woman I’d cross!

Monica Lewinsky Breaks Silence In Vanity FairI mean, I could point out that she’d been a 22-year-old intern who’d garnered the attention of the most powerful man in the world, and perhaps a “No” wasn’t quite so easy to say. There was definitely a power imbalance there. Not only was he older and more experienced, but he was her president. Or maybe she enjoyed the personal power of getting his attention. Maybe she believed whatever honeyed words he offered her. I don’t know. But when that scandal broke, a then 24-year-old intern would have been the pawn of every power-hungry, cut-throat politician who had something to gain or something to lose from the president’s downfall. She was no free agent… not anymore. And in spite of all of that, I sincerely believe that 22-year-olds who do something infinitely stupid deserve a second chance.

In this TED talk, I saw a different side to Ms. Lewinsky. I saw the 41-year-old who had grown and learned, who had been bullied by the entire world and came out of it more compassionate. It could have gone the other way. She could have become bitter and hardened. She could have made it her life’s work to ruin the Clintons. I’m sure she would have had support in that. But she didn’t. And I realized that nearly twenty years after the event,  I actually liked her.

If we freeze people at their worst mistake and never let them move past it, then we keep our world at its worst. Redemption. Personal growth. Call it what you will, we all need a little forgiveness.

There is a story in the Bible about a woman who was slut-shamed. She ended up pouring perfume on Jesus’ feet, and while everyone looked down on her, Jesus said, “Her many sins have been forgiven, for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)

I hope to one day see that Monica Lewinsky has gotten married. I know that marriage doesn’t rescue anyone, and I know that being married doesn’t redeem anyone either, but I’d still like to see her meet a man who would love her for the woman she has become, and in spite of the mistakes she’s made. I believe that her hard-won compassion would make her wiser and kinder. I believe she could love harder and stronger for what she’s endured.

And I believe that everyone deserves another chance and a Happily Ever After. Even Monica Lewinsky.

Live Tweeting Breakups

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I’m a people watcher. I enjoy strangers. I wonder about their lives and their relationships. One of my favorite games is watching couples in the mall and trying to figure out the level of their relationship from first date to married for forty years. However, people watching has exploded into a disturbing trend: live tweeting.

For example: this story where a woman live tweeted a couple breaking up on a plane. There have been others like it… a couple’s first date, a couple’s’ argument, that sort of thing, and the public gobbles them up. There is something about an actual couple’s issues that grabs our attention. That shouldn’t be surprising, but it’s mean spirited.

There was a time when you heard something interesting from strangers that you might tell someone about it later. But taking pictures of them and live tweeting the action takes that to a whole new level. It goes from “I saw this couple the other day” to “Look at this couple. They are so pathetic. Look at her cry!” Perhaps it’s our taste for reality television, but I think that most people have lost their ability to sympathize with a stranger. And that’s dangerous.

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There have been times when people have been dead wrong about what they thought they were seeing. A Melbourne woman posted a picture of a man she believed was taking pictures of her children. Turned out he wasn’t–he was taking a selfie of himself by a Darth Vader statue to show to his own children. But that picture of the man’s face was shared thousands of times, and most of the people who saw it probably never saw the follow up story telling the truth. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do something when we see something wrong happening, but shooting a picture out into the interwebs isn’t a great first step. People’s reputations can be at stake.

Public shaming for sport is making a comeback, and I heartily disagree with it. It’s pits us against each other without taking the whole picture into account. It violates people’s privacy. It brings us all back to a cut throat junior high level, and if we’re adults, we really are supposed to be beyond that! When a pack of mean girls does it to some unsuspecting fourteen-year-old, it’s cruel.

Well, it’s still cruel. Maturity–it isn’t overrated. That’s my two cents.

The woman a man needs

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I’m going to tell you a secret. The first time I saw this posted, it was done so by a woman who had broken up someone else’s marriage.

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But I still agree with the sentiment. (And to women who like to poach in other women’s territory, I have to say… if you can get him, he’s easily swiped! Chances are someone else will be able to lure him off with a candy bar or something, and then don’t come crying to us about it.)

But I do think that there is an awful lot that we women bring to the men in our lives. And I don’t mean cooking or cleaning or looking cute. I mean– Well, here’s the list:

  1. We’re intuitive to what’s really bugging them.
    They’re grumpy and irritable and have no idea why, but we know about the pressure at work or the argument with their brother. We know their buttons and with a little thought, we can normally figure out what’s bugging them. That’s invaluable!
  2. We can remind them of what’s important.
    Whether that’s the financial goal you set together or the fact that checking work emails on the weekend will only stress everyone out, you have the power to bring him back to center. Sometimes, the most important thing he needs to hear is that you love him.
  3. We’re smart.
    And that’s a huge contribution. The old-fashioned idea that a man should make all the decisions and the woman should just blithely follow is actually a lot harder on men than a free-thinking partner! Two heads are better than one, and if things don’t work out according to plan, he doesn’t have to feel like he’s single-handedly let down his entire family. Two partners share the victories AND the disappointments.
  4. Opposites attract.
    So his strengths probably aren’t yours. If you’re good at fixing things around the house, he might make fantastic bread. If he’s quieter, you might be the friendly face of the home. However you complement each other, opposites attract for a reason.
  5. We know where they need to be built up.
    You have the inside view on his heart. You know where he’s sensitive or where he fails to see his own strengths, and that’s where you can do the most good. Sometimes he needs to hear it: that he’s a good man, that he’s smart, that he works hard, or that he still makes your heart go pitter-pat. If they get knocked down outside your home, when they come back they should be able to count on a soft place to fall.

They contribute to our happiness, too, but don’t discount what you bring to the table! Childcare can be hired. Cooks and housekeeping, too. But a loving woman by his side for life? That’s priceless.

No Apology Necessary

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Mindy Kaling is smart, funny and one of my favorite women on TV. I like that she looks more like I do than the other actresses. She claims that every single American is a treadmill and six laser treatments away from looking like Hollywood, and I’d like to believe her! I, too, could look like Kelly Ripa if I were willing to swear off taste and have a heart attack on a treadmill. ;)

But Mindy Kaling doesn’t look like Kelly Ripa. She looks more like I do. She obviously eats, and she doesn’t shrink back in horror at the sight of her hips and thighs. She embraces it, smiles that super-watt smile and then eats again. She also writes, stars in and produces her own show.

Mindy Kaling has confidence. She writes about how she got there here, and it is very worth your time. Because Mindy doesn’t think that confidence comes from being pretty or being thin, or even being sexy just the way you are. Mindy thinks that confidence comes from working your butt off toward your non-weight related goal and believing that you deserve the fruits of your labor. That’s an ideology that I can get behind.

Confidence is like respect. You have to earn it.

 

As all girls growing up, I struggled with confidence, too, but as a grown woman, I’ve learned to stand tall. This is me. This is my talent. And I like who I am. I grew up in a generation where awards were given out if you earned them. There were three of them. And there like 400 kids. A lot of awards passed me by (I was not coordinated, lithe, willowy or athletic) but then one year I won one—a writing contest. There was never a question of how hard I’d have to work, or if I was willing to put in the effort. I joke around saying that I’m only good at one thing, but a more precise way of saying it would be, “I only like one thing enough to work this hard.”

Mindy also points out that people  get uncomfortable around you when you’re doing well. People are really chummy with you if they think you’re failing, but if they think you’re achieving something, it gets chilly. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. But if you put yourself out there and fall back to the earth in a flaming ball of humiliation, you don’t need to worry. You’ll have a LOT of friends willing to help pick you up. It’s when you start achieving that the willing hands thin out and you find out who your friends are. But you’ll find that while you’re working your butt off, pouring yourself into something you truly love, then when you start to achieve you don’t feel flustered and self-effacing. You feel fantastic!

And for that, a woman should never need to apologize.

Mindy certainly doesn’t.

A Monday Chuckle

My mom emailed me this joke, and I thought it was pretty good! So here you are, for your Monday morning pleasure:

 

There were four sophomores taking chemistry and all of them had an ‘A’ so far. These four friends were so confident that the weekend before finals, they decided to visit some friends and have a big party. They had a great time but, after all the hearty partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn’t make it back to Florida State until  Monday.

Rather than taking the final then, they decided that after the final they would explain to their professor why they missed it.  They lied and said that they visited friends but on the way back they had a flat tire. As a result, they missed the final. 

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The professor agreed they could make up the final the next day.  The guys were relieved.  They studied that night for the exam.

The next day the professor placed them in separate rooms and gave them a test booklet. They quickly answered the first problem worth 5 points.  Cool, they thought. Each one, in a separate room for privacy and quiet. This was going to be easy … then they turned the page

On the second page was written, “For 95 points: Which Tire?”

First comes Facebook, then comes love…

While they say that you should be careful when it comes to strangers on Facebook, an accidental Facebook friend add let to a marriage proposal for this couple!

Diamond_engagement_ring_yellow_gold_dr101_handstill6_1300She thought he was a friend from high school, and despite the mistake, they kept in contact and got to be friends. When they finally did meet in person, it all fell together. The second time he came to visit, he came with a puppy for the kids and a proposal for her!

While I don’t recommend trusting online strangers, it looks like it panned out for the Neeleys! They now live in Georgia with their 12 dogs.

I just love “how we met stories,” especially when they’re true. It hits me right in the heart. <3

 

Dear Baby Girl…

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I stumbled across this story, and it was so beautiful it made my heart hurt! A mother adopted a little 18 month old baby. She wasn’t able to have children of her own, and when she discovered that the baby would be hers, she wrote her a letter telling her how much she loved her already.

That baby girl grew up, and on her wedding day, her mother presented her with this letter–transferred onto a handkerchief made out of the material from the mother’s own wedding dress.

Can you imagine anything more beautiful?

mother-daughter-letterThat is the kind of treasure to be passed down, don’t you think? <3

Wedding videographers, The Film Poets, were the ones to capture the story. So if you’re anywhere near Alabama and you’re getting married, they’d be the ones to book!

 

All with a slide rule

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This amazes me. I mean, these guys were doing this with slide rules, and they managed to send a space ship into space, point it at a moving target, land on that moving target, let a man walk on it without atmosphere, and then come back–another moving target, might I add.

It makes me wonder what we’re up to now that we have so much information at our fingertips. With computers all over our homes, tucked into our pockets and running everything from banking to government programs, shouldn’t we be doing more?

But then, information and technological potential doesn’t take into account human nature which gets sidetracked by politics, amassing money and petty jealousies. You can give us the most powerful computers ever known to mankind, and we’ll still just text each other pictures of cats saying silly things with poor grammar. ;)

I might be in a minority here, but I think it would be a good thing if our technological advances slowed down. We aren’t finished with the little things yet, like learning how to take care of each other and stopping to smell the scent of warm country air. We only have so many years in our lifespan, and personally, I don’t want to be launched into space. I want to keep my feet firmly on the ground. I’m not done with this planet yet.

Times Three!

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I was talking to my friend the other day about my son’s birth, and as I told her about it, I paused and said, “Oh, wow, I’d forgotten that! That was horrific!”

Childbirth IS horrific. Or it was in my case. Painful. Frightening. Traumatic. It’s been seven years since the event, and I’m still traumatized! When someone has a baby, I’m the one saying, “She’s a new mother—for the love of Pete, let her sit down!” Emotionally, I respond to childbirth like a traffic accident.

In fiction, however, we can explore the more romantic side of childbirth and babies—the cleaned up, sweet moments. And that does have an allure for me… I see women who have babies in non-dramatic ways, who give birth and have their babies placed in their arms, who are home again with their newest family member after twenty-four hours, and I feel a teeny bit jealous of that.

And right now, I have a hankering for teeny tiny infants… times three! I might not be able to do it again myself, but I can certainly write about it. :) So the next book I’m plotting involves newborn triplets… and a cowboy. Stay tuned!

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The Johnses out and about

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We took a long walk through some forest paths near our home today. We walked along with me rambling on about my current plotting.

“So, if I make my younger ranch hand a redeemable sort…” Luckily, my husband finds my plotting interesting.

Anyway, here we are!

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From our home to yours, we wish you a very happy August! <3

 

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