Perspective

If you’ve been living under a rock, you might’ve missed that the world is a messy place. I can’t watch the news or scroll Twitter or listen to a podcast without feeling intense emotions.

I could rage wax poetically about all the crap going on right now, but I’m going to take a different approach.

I grew up in a mostly (politically) like-minded family, although my parents never pushed their beliefs on me or my brother when we were young. (We banter occasionally now.) I thought I went to a somewhat liberal school, but the very liberal students would’ve likely disagreed with me. Regardless, I don’t know that college shaped my actual perspective much.

But I think it’s important to recognize what does change us and shape us. And when we’re in those difficult or uncomfortable situations, it’s beneficial to embrace the moment and reflect on it later. So that’s what I’m sharing today.

I categorized this post as “spiritual” because I think that’s where these experiences have most affected me. It’s not a religious perspective or a political perspective, though. It’s just… my constantly changing outlook. And it’s something I feel needs revisited and reflected upon often.

We’re already at 200 words and I haven’t even shared yet. Sorry.

In 2012 I went to Bangalore, India for a month. It was a tough month;. I wasn’t mentally, emotionally, or physically prepared for the trip. I was in shock for the first 10 ten days. The country has its beauty, but there was trash & stray dogs & loose cows & tent homes everywhere. It was tough to see, but even harder when I realized that, after 2 weeks of it, I’d adjusted to it all. Our accommodations were a rough apartment in the heart of city- nothing luxurious. We walked roughly 2 miles to classes at the college and we shopped in the markets on the way home. We were fully immersed from the moment we left the airport.

After I got home I remember the moment our wealth and excess and privilege hit me. I was in church and completely floored by the intricate brickwork, well maintained pews, and beautiful stained glass. I left the sanctuary and started bawling in the lobby. It was the conflicting thoughts of knowing that our church worked/paid for and maintained those comfortable and elaborate things, but also it was PURE COINCIDENCE that I was born to my parents with my skin color in this country. And it put a lot into perspective when it came other others and their situations and how I could help them.

Those feelings have stuck with me.

A more recent lightbulb went off when my mom and I delivered dinner to the local homeless shelter one night.

When we were unloading the serving dishes a few shelter patrons approached our cars to help us. I turn to hand off a dish and came face to face with the boy I had lined danced with in 5th grade gym class. He didn’t recognize me and we didn’t have any kind of relationship outside that gym activity, but I remembered and recognized him.

A man who lived in the same town and went to the same school as me… asking for and accepting help during a vulnerable time in his life. After we finished unloading and said our goodbyes, I drove a few blocks and parked my car and cried. When you’re in 5th grade you don’t picture interactions like that 20 years in the future. I didn’t feel pity for him or anything- I just felt shocked. Grateful that he was in place with warm food and a bed, but sad that anyone ever feels so displaced.

For me, compassion comes much much easier for animals. But now and then there are moments that open my mind and heart to the human plight. And they usually hit me pretty hard and stick around for years (if not forever).

When you get smacked in the face with the uncomfortable truth, I hope you take the time to reflect on it and let it change you, too. It’s a really tough thing for me, but I know it positively influences my behavior and outlook. Today I thought I’d share some of those tough moments that have profoundly changed me.

Love, Kindness, and a Little PRIDE

I had a different post scheduled for today but when something emotional happens to you and you’re a writer/blogger, you write about it. This weekend I went to my first Pride.

There is some bad bad bad stuff happening in our world country right now. It makes me physically sick to think about and read about and keep up with. The amount of goodness and love and support and joy that I witnessed on Saturday has renewed my hope and fire and energy. I’m an introvert and I was fully expecting Pride to wipe me out and exhaust me, but it did the opposite. Strangers shouting HAPPY PRIDE to one another, bright colors and countless corporations, politicians, villages, and small businesses sharing their love and support for the LGBTQ+ community, and having my friends around me (even in the +90 degree heat) was exhilarating.

It floors me that marriage is only recently legal. Love was outlawed and persecuted and HATED up until a mere THREE years ago. What the actual hell? One of my very best friends is gay and it kills me that for so long her love was illegal. Guys, she is a FIERCE love-giver. When she is on your side she is on. your. side. And for so long this country wasn’t on her side. I feel so damn overjoyed and grateful to have celebrated her love on Saturday. Pride was the most beautiful, freeing celebration of love. It was awesome.

I witnessed some off the wall stuff on Saturday. Topless women, a drag show, some incredibly colorful outfits. It was nuts, but nuts in the absolute best way. Everyone was happy. Everyone was kind. Everyone cheered for and supported everyone.

Actually, that’s a lie. For a moment, almost directly across the parade from us was a man in an anti-GAY shirt with a megaphone. I have no idea what hate he was spewing because a girl with a large bass drum kept following him around, making noise every time his pie-hole opened. It was glorious and I think she might’ve been a superhero. Eventually he gave up and left.

I want to note that I grew up and live in a conservative small town. Big cities intimidate me and diversity is not something that runs wild in my neck of the woods. I love my town, but how I wish I could bring all the color and love from Pride back home and educate the handful of fearful folks. Someday opinions will change, but to do that we must all embrace and love as strongly and fully as the LGBTQ+ community does. You don’t have to be a negative product of your environment- you can have a positive influence on that environment instead.

I’m turning comments off today. I don’t think much more needs to be said on this topic. The world is filled with hate and you won’t find any of that here today. Take care of yourselves, friends. And take good care of others ❤

Just Exhausted

I wanted to write something fun & fresh today but I’m tired from travel and I’m tired of the world being so hateful / violent / arrogant / greedy. I don’t have anything fun & fresh to say.

I’m taking a blog break for a week. I’ll still be reading yours, but my place is going to be silent for a few days. I’ll see you in a week

Be good to one another. Call your parents and spend time with your siblings and kiss your significant other just a little more. Take a lost dog home and pack an extra granola bar in your bag for the less fortunate man you pass every day on your way to work.

Be good to one another, friends.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas…

Everyone’s posted a holiday home tour but me (or so it seems ). Let’s fix that!
(Check out other people’s houses, too! Mattie, Emily, Taylor, Michelle)

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Typically the decorations go up mid-November, but we don’t get our tree until December. This year we really procrastinated. I knew I wanted a smaller one this year (and we set up a larger one in K’s company office), but I don’t know that I was picturing it this small… Perks to buying your tiny tree the Saturday before the holiday weekend? We got it half off. Say hello to $10 ‘Ronald Trees-ley”:

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Yep, he’s real. Both of them.

Ok… on to the house tour.

No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
Favorite holiday spot in the house
Favorite holiday spot
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K and I are the snowmen, Ly is the “woof”, & Enzo is the fox

Ronald, Enzo, & Ly

If you missed it on IG here's one of my favorite ornaments!
If you missed it on Instagram here’s one of my favorite ornaments!
I think we have five nativity sets in our house...
I think we have five nativity sets…
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I love this little cutout in our house

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What a Christmas wreck... ha.
What a Christmas wreck… ha.

Where all the magic happens ;)

And there ya have it. We only decorate the first floor, although there is a pine candle in the basement. Sorry my pictures aren’t high quality… that’s just life!

. . .

I’m going to get religious for a minute.

I am a firm believer in faith by example. Rarely do I mention religion here on my blog, but I don’t shy away from identifying as a Christian. It’s my hope that through acts of kindness and openminded-ness toward others I get across what I believe to be the important parts of being a Christian. I think that being ‘Christian’ means knowing that you are flawed, seeking forgiveness and wisdom, and spreading kindness and love to the other flawed humans (and animals) on this planet. We’re meant to love and take care of one another. I don’t think Jesus cares if you voted Republican or Democrat (or Independent). That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares where (or if) you got an education. That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares about your skin color, gender, pay grade, criminal record, or hobbies. I think that Christianity is about serving Christ- and since we have no idea what He looks like or when He’ll appear, it’s best to serve one another with a happy, genuine heart.

All that to say, Merry Christmas, friends! (And if you celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, I welcome your festive greeting! I do not feel like there is a war being waged on me or the holidays I celebrate, and I hope you feel the same.) If you’ve ever thought about visiting a church you should slip into one on Christmas Eve and listen to the story of the birth of Jesus. If you live near me and you’d like someone to go with I’d be more than happy to have you along!

If you are not a Christian or you celebrate another event this time of year: Happy Holidays!  ❤︎

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Regardless of your beliefs, spread a little love and cheer and kindness this weekend, friends! Thank you for your friendship here in Blogland ❤︎

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That Secret Place

I had no inspiration for this post until I went there- that secret place. I like to think everyone has one… a place where you go to disappear for a few minutes or hours. A place where you go to collect your thoughts or erase your anxieties or bask in a moment of gratitude. A place that might be public- like a park or church- but a place where you can be alone with your thoughts. I like to think that everyone’s got a place. And if you don’t, I really encourage you to find one.

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I’m going to keep my place on the hush for now, but I’ll tell you about my spot when I was younger. Maybe it will inspire you to find a secret.

Like most children/pre-teens, I couldn’t drive. Perhaps unlike most children/pre-teens, I was filled with frustration and anger and doubt. I’m wired to worry and when I was a kid it sometimes consumed me. Our house was half a mile from the county’s career center. This building offers adults & high school kids technical career training. They also have a pre-school facility. When the world had me feeling down, and pre-school was not in session, I would walk to the center, hop the short playground fence, and sit in the slide. Sometimes I prayed, sometimes I read, & sometimes I simply sat.

Does that sound emo, or what?

My new spot is utilized under less depressing circumstances. I mean, I still go there when I’m upset and I want to be alone, but I also visit my place to soak in the weather or reflect or chat with God. Or just sit.

I don’t mean to be vague… I leave my phone in the car when I go so I don’t have any pictures and if I tell you where the spot is it’s not like you’re going to suddenly visualize it (…unless you’re a friend/family member reading this). Next time I’ll snap some pics and share them with you.

So tell me, do you have a secret spot where you find solace and comfort? You don’t have to tell me where- I don’t think K even knows I go unwind at this spot. Have I inspired you to go spot-hunting if you don’t already have one?

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