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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kindness Confession


I hoard kindness like a skilled card player – I put on my poker face and keep it close to my chest. I play my other cards more freely – sarcasm, whit, frustration, outrage, bias, indifference – I throw them out there whenever I want. But kindness needs to be played more strategically; when you play that card says a lot about you:

Play the kindness-card too soon, you’re too nice/boring/desperate. Play it at the wrong time, you've overstepped your boundaries. Play it too often, you’re clearly naive. Play it on the wrong person, you’re stupid. Play it on the undeserving, you’re gullible. Play it on a foe, you’re a coward.

Why? Why would I allow all my insecurities, prejudices and preconceived notions hinder me from simply being kind? Why would I stop myself from even smiling and saying hello to someone? At the end of it all am I going to rip the kindness card from my grip, hold it up high and declare, “Look! Look how much kindness I saved until the end!”? Certainly not. No, I will regret all the chances for kindness I missed and all the times I was outright unkind.

I knew there’d be a Bible verse on kindness, since that was kind of Jesus’ thing. So, even though I am not the bible-versing type, I decided to Google it. The verse I like best actually comes from the Old Testament, Proverbs 3:3 (being wise was Solomon’s thing):

          “Don't ever forget kindness and truth. Wear them like a necklace. Write them on your heart as if on a tablet.”

The signature line of an email I received recently contained a quote:

          “Be kinder than necessary…”

What wise words! What a wonderful way to live. Not just be kind – but be kinder than necessary.

I think I feel a new mantra coming on….

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Would Like Endless Summer #Reading

My kids tell me that tomorrow is the first day of fall. I am not ready for it. Not that I don’t like the fall, I do, I’m just not ready for summer to end.


I am not ready for summer to leave. Make it stay! How can I make it stay? If I avoid doing the last of the summer laundry, will it stay? Will we still have our long afternoons together reading in the sun? Or will it try to flee unnoticed like a drunken co-ed waking up at some random guy’s beach house? If I keep that pile of beach towels in the corner of the laundry room, will summer be mine forever? If there still is a bathing suit hanging on a hook in a bedroom, does that mean summer is here to stay? If only… I can hope that summer returns for a quick fling in October. Maybe summer will give me an affair-to-remember around Halloween….

Nonetheless, summer and I did have a good time together this year. My only goal was to read...

Here is a quick review of my summer reading with my GoodReads.com ratings:

• Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl , ****
• The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Scwalbe, ****
• Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, ****
• The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, ****
• The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar, ***
• Inferno by Dan Brown, ***
• Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia, **
• Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, ****
• Life of Pi by Yann Martel, ****
• Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen, **

I am still holding onto one book I started this summer (Personal Recollection of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain), but it’s not looking good (I am either going to finish it or abandon it soon).  I suppose I will move on and embrace fall…

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It Is Back-To-YOU Time



It has happened once again. Just yesterday we were making New Year's Resolutions (like mine here AND here). Then we blinked and started planning summer activities (whoops, did I forget to do that?). And now we've sent the kids back to school.

Take a deep breath.

It's time to get back into the routine (or find one). It's time to get back to you. Yes, I'm talking to YOU. Ok, fine, I'm talking to ME.

Here's some of my back-to-school resolutions:

     * Do a load of laundry and a household chore at least three times a week.    
     * Exercise after big kids get on bus at least four times a week.
     * Run errands with little kid in tow once or twice a week.
     * Go to the library to write while said little kid is in school three times a week.
     * Write from home the other 2 days (and catch up on any household chores).

But, of course, I am giving myself the first week off so that I can simply catch up on everything I didn't do over the summer like put away end-of-school stuff and tackle the mounds of summer laundry.

Got any back-to-school resolutions (or excuses to avoid them)?