Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt Won't Get Out of My Head

I have started and deleted about 7 blog posts. I don't seem able to complete a thought. This is not my fault, it's a genetic disease called "tangent-itis." My Grandma had it and now my sister and I both have it in varying degrees. There is a small possibility that Lisa does not have it - her issue may be simply an abundance of children vying for her attention. She has been known on occasion to call me so that I can then sit and listen to her tell each child that she can't talk to them because she is on the phone with her sister. By the time she is finished talking to them one of us usually has to go. Don't get me wrong - I completely adore my sister, she is just pulled in all kinds of directions. She spends about 40 hours a week in the car and has occasionally called me and demanded, "Say something funny...I'm falling asleep at the wheel." That is a lot of pressure! (Lisa and I also suffer from postal impairment - the inability to get things in the mail.) Wait....do you see what's happened? A little tangent-itis has slipped into my train of thought. What has actually been on my mind is Calvin and Hobbes, Eleanor Roosevelt, and guardian angels.


Many, MANY years ago, when I was at BYU, my fabulous roommate, Dana, gave me this Calvin and Hobbes comic strip

She said it reminded her of me - it totally cracked me up. (Sorry it's a little blurry.) Sadly, it is true - but only to a small degree. Give me just a little attention and I am buoyed up for a long time. Give me too much and I start feeling uncomfortable. (We can psychoanalyze that at another time.)

It's amazing how a kind word or act can change your whole state of being. Yesterday, I was feeling a bit lonely...well, lonely and maybe a bit depressed. (I should not have watched BBC's North and South - again another issue to psychoanalyze at another time.) Anyway, I thought to myself, get out of the house, run some errands, be productive and you'll feel better. (I can on occasion give myself good advice.) I desperately hoped, even prayed, that I would run into a friend - just to have someone to chat with - if only for 30 seconds - just enough to get grounded again. Lo and behold, there at Smith's was my dear friend Christy. (Insert angels singing here.) Don't even attempt to tell me it was mere coincidence - I believe that God heard my prayer and gave me that little reassurance (and much laughter) that I needed...enough to keep me going for several days at least! (She has been my guardian angel more than a time or two.) This, of course, reminded me that I have been angry with Eleanor Roosevelt.

One of my LEAST favorite quotes in the entire world is "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." I don't know the context in which this was said - but today it is often used by people to excuse poor behavior. (Example - It's not my fault she felt hurt.) Here's the deal - if your small kindnesses can have a big impact on someone - then why wouldn't the un-kindnesses? (Is that a word?) I wish I were one of those people who had the confidence to deflect insults that may come my way. I can deflect a few - but every once in a while they sneak in. The Eleanor Roosevelt quote I wish we heard more often is, “The giving of love is an education in itself.” So delete the first quote from your brain and replace it with this one. I have the feeling that focusing on quote number 2 may be the secret to being an example of quote number 1.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I'm back!

It's December...can you believe it? Last December was the beginning of the end of my marriage...so it's been quite a year. Business is sold, divorce final, new job, back in school, new profile on my blog (just need a new pic) - feels like a new beginning and one I am feeling excited about. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Pollyanna - there have been some rough days BUT I'm off both antidepressants and Diet Coke- so, hooray!

In spite of my school busyness I plan on posting to my blog on a more regular basis, so stay tuned for more. In the meantime a brief story:

When I was around 13 or 14 years old I had this fabulous white dress with a ruffle along the bottom. One Sunday, at the end of church, I was waiting in the lobby for my family when I looked down and noticed some lint in between my ruffle and skirt. I bent down to pick it out. Hmmm....more lint. I picked out a little more...turns out that the washer and dryer found this ruffle to be a great home for little minuscule dust bunnies. I became so wrapped up in picking out the tiny bits of lint that I completely forgot that I was in a public place. I was no longer bending over picking the lint out of the ruffle...no. I was now standing up...holding the bottom of my skirt right in front of my eyes, trying to pick out the lint. Imagine yourself in this scene. You leave the chapel to discover a teenage girl standing against the wall holding her skirt up in the air. Not exactly what you expect after a church service. I have wondered how many people walked by, flabbergasted, before Karla Pratt came rushing over and said, "Michelle, what on earth are you doing?" I was suddenly aware and mortified at how wrapped up I had been in my little ruffle project. "I don't know what I'm doing!" I said to Karla...she laughed and I jetted to the parking lot to wait in the car for the rest of my family. (The fact that I went back to church the following Sunday just shows how committed I am to church!)

So why on earth would I mention this? Because I think it is easy to become so wrapped up in our own little issues this time of year that we forget we are surrounded by a lot of people who could use a little bit of our focus. It's so easy to assume that someone else will step up and help...when the Lord meant for us to be that someone. So stop stressing about the presents and take a moment each day to make someone's day just a little brighter. If this is too big of a leap for you, advice wise, let me offer this instead....keep your skirt down...at all times...'nuf said.