Posts Tagged “love”

At 35, I Still Eat Cake For Breakfast

At 35, I Still Eat Cake For Breakfast

Pairs Well With…”Act as young as you feel.  You’re not getting older, you’re getting more entitled to be your fabulous self.” – Gwen Stefani

I love birthdays. If I have to get specific, my birthday. Growing up, we had a tradition in my house that you got to eat cake for breakfast on your birthday.  At 35, I still eat cake for breakfast.

Cake for Carin's Birthday

Today is my birthday, a birthday that I’ve not so positively anticipated over the last few years. I have fallen short of society’s expectations of me to have a husband and pop out a few kids. At times, I’ve felt anxious, stressed, judged and sometimes even flawed because I haven’t met what American culture deems as successful for a mid-thirties woman. And by successful, I specifically mean the marriage and kids bit.

Despite a booming career, deep social circles and a worldly background, much of what people seem to fixate on is why, “at my age” with “all I’ve got going on for me,” I am unmarried and without children. It’s hard for me to believe that people may be so narrow-minded that they think there’s only one path to happiness. But you know what they say, you can’t fix stupid.

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Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

Pairs Well With…Holidays + Kindness + A Giving Spirit

Everything about the holidays excites me: cookies with sprinkles, festive parties with friends, the upbeat Christmas carols.  I feel extra sparkly the whole season long, and that’s not just because I wore something sparkly every day for a week and coined it “The Seven Days of Sparkles”…but it is a thing. What I love most about the season is being able to put a smile on someone else’s face – especially when they least expect it.

The holidays seem to be a time when people look to do something nice for one another. In the spirit of giving, I compiled a list of ways to spread acts of kindness this holiday season:

CUPPA JAVA – Buy a soldier his or her morning java.  Coffee shops like Caribou Coffee are offering a program during the holidays where you can purchase a cup for the next soldier that comes in seeking their morning jolt.  Caribou will anonymously deliver on your behalf!

GIVE A GRANOLA – On chilly nights like tonight, it’s hard to think that someone may not have a place to go or food to eat.  Carry a handful of granola bars in your bag to help keep someone’s belly full.

PLEASANT POSTAL – Send a warm and fuzzy holiday greeting to someone you’ve not connected with in a while.  The surprise of hearing from you is like giving the gift of a smile.

SOUND THE SIRENS (with bad ass baked goods) – Whip up a batch of your favorite sweet treats and deliver to your local service officials with a letter of appreciation.

GET YOUR GRANNY ON – Spend time with someone older and wiser than you.  Share stories and swap life lessons.  It’s fun to learn from others, and spending time is a gift that money can’t buy.

MOTIVATIONAL MENTORING – You know that colleague who has been talking about how she’s “always wanted to do that” or friend who has been thinking of a career change? Give the gift of encouragement and support to help someone else reach their goals and dreams, and move in a better direction.  After all, encouragement costs nothing.

You get my drift…

Happy Holidays from me to YOU!  THANK YOU for your continued support and love for Pairs Well With…  It has truly been a blessed year!

 

My 4th Grade Lesson on the Power of Words

My 4th Grade Lesson on the Power of Words

Pairs Well With… “Words.  So powerful.  They can crush a heart, or heal it.  They can shame a soul, or liberate it.  They can shatter dreams, or energize them.  They can obstruct connection, or invite it.  They can create defenses, or melt them.  We have to use words wisely.” – Unknown

In fourth grade, I learned one of the best and most impactful lessons of my life: I learned the power of words and the lasting effects they can have on others.  I learned the difference between right and wrong many years prior, but it was with my teacher’s delicate illustration of how words can weigh on or weigh down a heart that got through to me.

How do you teach a child the impact of words?  

Upon coming back from recess, our class was instructed to rip a piece of paper out of our notebooks and draw a heart on it.  From there, we were told to crinkle up the piece of paper into a ball…

ball-of-paper

…and then open it back up and try to flatten out the wrinkles to the best of our ability.

heart-paper-crinkle

Crinkle and smooth out ten more times, noticing the creases with each round and the texture of the paper.

Our tiny child minds were confused and skeptical about what was happening.  By the end of the tenth round of paper smashing, we were quiet and looking bewildered at one another.  Each of us touched the softened, wrinkled paper, some tracing the heart shape with their pointer finger, and looked to our teacher for answers and insight.

“Take out a brand new sheet of paper and draw a heart on it, but don’t crinkle it,” said my teacher.  Set it next to the wrinkled one and compare the two.

heart-paper-comaprison

What started out as harsh, jagged creases on crisp, solid paper slowly became many thin, but permanent, lines on worn down paper.

“Words are like weapons.  They can hurt, and they can leave permanent scars.  No matter how hard you try, you will never get your wrinkled piece of paper back to its original condition.  It’s impossible.  Those creases symbolize mean and hateful words.  While they can be overcome and forgiven, they may not be forgotten.”

Thinking back, I don’t know that this lesson was part of any school-approved curriculum.  It’s too bad schools don’t teach kindness as a class – they should.  This lesson has stuck with me throughout all these years but holds more relevance than ever today both in what we are teaching today’s children and also in how we carry ourselves.

I still have that piece of paper.  I’ve chosen to keep it as a memory of kindheartedness I suppose.  Maybe, deep down, I knew one day I’d feel compelled to share my fourth-grade kindness lesson.

Our words are our most destructive weapons.  They have the potential to leave scars that can’t be removed and creases on the heart that can’t be ironed out.

We have a choice between hurting with them or healing with them.

We can’t always change minds, but we can change hearts. One at a time, we can.

 heart-paper-crinkle-final

All The Pretty Things

All The Pretty Things

Pairs Well With…”Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds

Unsure about what to write about this week, and perhaps even lacking a bit of inspiration, I decided to take a second and hit pause. There’s a lot going on. I needed to stop and smell the roses.  Literally.  Things are just moving way too fast.

    roses-in-italy

Sometimes, when we move too fast, we miss things, important things and details. Things that we should be noticing.  Things that are right under our noses.

bee-2

In an effort to slow down, I went out shooting photos and took a moment to appreciate the things I love best about fall: the leaves changing color, the crunch of the leaves under my feet and the slight chill in the air that signals its okay to put on my sweats and get ready to hunker down for the winter. 

leaves

It’s funny how sometimes the most ordinary things have such beauty.  I was running hill sprints and noticed these quite pretty heart shaped leaves in my path. Love is in the air!

heart-leaf

So, this week, I give you simplicity and beauty, a moment to reflect, notice and appreciate all that is around you.  Be thankful.

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