Live Loudly.

I posted this on FB Monday but I wanted to share it here, too.

Monday morning I woke up to news of the tragedy in Las Vegas & all I could honestly think was, ‘Goddamn it.’ It’s the same reaction I had after the theater shooting during the Batman release in 2012. My brother was at the midnight premier in a different state, but he could’ve been at the target theater. I attend so many concerts- I could’ve been in that courtyard in Vegas. Any one could’ve been there- so many people were there. GODDAMN IT, why can’t we just live?

I get so mad when this stuff happens. Then I stumble across pictures and descriptions of those who lost their lives and my anger morphs to devastation. When I learned about the folks that died in the Pulse Night Club shooting I felt so broken. The stories of lost friends pushing their surviving friends into a safe closet or boyfriends pulling their girlfriends to safety while taking a fatal bullet to the back. It just sucks so so much. And there’s absolutely no explanation for our logic-seeking broken hearts.

What the hell can we do about it?

Without launching into a gun control debate or mental health talk or terrorist rant, I feel like the very best thing we can do is live. Go to the movies, rock out at the concerts, board the plane and travel the world. It’s all you can do.

At the risk of sounding morbid and unsympathetic (which I’m not ❤︎), we’re all going to die. It’s 100% guaranteed. And while it makes me so mad when someone’s life is snuffed out unexpectedly or violently, we’re all guaranteed to lose our lives one way or another. I’ll be damned if someone steals the joy of living away from me with fear and terror.

I’m a Christian and I honestly believe that once we’re done here, if we’ve lived a life of love and compassion and kindness, we go to Heaven. And Heaven doesn’t have mass shootings. I’m praying that my version of Heaven has a boat-load of dogs. But I can 100% guarantee that there are NO mass shootings in Heaven.

But I’m not there yet and, if you’re reading this, neither are you. We’re here and “here” could use a whole bunch of fearless, life-loving people to alter its current state. Be sad and grieve the loss of lives in Las Vegas and Puerto Rico and Mexico and other sites of tragedy, but don’t be discouraged. Don’t give in to fear. Don’t let hate and violence and sadness corner you into a dark space. Grab your closest friend’s hand, tell them you love them, and turn on some music. Drop off some kibble at a local shelter or bake some cookies for your local police department. Volunteer at the soup kitchen or donate some coats and blankets to a shelter. We can’t always do anything about the bad, but we can ALWAYS add more good.

You are important and your life matters and you have the ability to affect many- don’t let anyone make you feel any differently. We’re all going to die; we don’t get a choice. You 100% get to choose how you live, though.

My heart is broken for the friends and family of those who were killed in Las Vegas. It’s really not fair and so frustrating. Please live loudly, friends. We only have one go at this ❤︎

Advertisements

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)

home_tour

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”:

ronald_trees-ley
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
home_tour_2
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…
home_tour_7
I love this little cutout in our house

home_tour_8

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!  ❤︎

christmas

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

audielou.com_signature

Blogging Has Made Me a Kinder Person

Before I launch into this I need to point out how weird the word “kinder” looks. Also, that’s the German word for “children” so that’s what I see when I read that title. All of this is 100% off topic. ALSO, I’m guest posting on Olya’s blog today! Go there next!!

I was commenting on a blog a few days ago and I thought to myself, “Wow, this is a really positive, encouraging comment. Go you!” (I swear I don’t have such confident, self-praising thoughts often.) The reason I took notice in my words and tone was because I haven’t always been an uplifting person. There’s always room for more improvement and I was never a Negative Nelly, but for a long time I was a Smug Sarcastic Susie.

I mean, I’m still sarcastic- that’s forever a part of me like my skin or eyelids or love for Harry Potter. But when you comment on a blog or share a post 97.8% of the time that author deserves genuine thoughts, praises, well-wishes, etc. There’s a time and a place for sarcasm (and I am always at that place during that time), but I have formed so many genuine, positive friendships with ladies via Blogland that I would have never sought out or nurtured like I do if it weren’t for this space here.

I’m now very conscious of what I say or type. I’ve never been an internet troll and as a human behind my blog I am fully aware that there are humans behind every blog. Most times I feel a sincere friendship with those humans. I don’t text any of those ladies (although if you’d like to be text-friends hit me up via email- I’m game!) but we SnapChat and comment on IG with one another, and daily things that remind me of certain bloggers compel me to tweet them thoughts and pictures throughout the week. I’ve also bounced blog and novel ideas off these ladies. I honestly didn’t think I’d find community here, but I have.

And it’s made me a kinder person. I use the words “jealous” and “hate” less often (just like I’d hoped!). Blogland has given me more respect for stay at home moms, working moms, part-time working moms, dog & cat moms, women with seen and unseen illnesses, travelers, writers, saleswomen, lawyers, realtors, public speakers, accountants, and everyone else living a life different than mine. I’m calmer. I’m more calculated. And I feel like I’m unique yet similar to others, all at the same time. My struggle is authentic and personal, but it’s relatable to others and it’s only temporary- whatever it is.

So thank you. Thank you to those who read my blog or allow me to read yours. Thank you to the folks who like or comment on my posts and the ones who quietly read my words and then click away to another blog. Thank you to the folks who show me support, kindness, and understanding through your keyboard. I hope I can pay you back 10xs over.

I look forward to growing and reading and improving with you 🙂  Honestly, I wanted to list everyone but there are well over 30 and I was too afraid to leave people out ❤︎

audielou.com_signature

 

Happiness Stamped | 12 Months of Bliss

Can you believe it’s almost July?! We’re half way to 2016! Geeeeez!

At the end of May Emily from Ember Grey introduced her 12 Months of Bliss challenge. This year-long “challenge” is rooted in self-reflection and love. Through monthly activities participants are encouraged to perform intentional and random acts of kindness and love toward one’s self and others.

This month consisted of letter writing. One note to one person once a week in June.

12MoB June

Personally, I loved this challenge!

When my Great Aunt was living in Colorado I often sent her letters (and texts) to catch up and spread some cheer. This month I took advantage of the challenge and sent some notes to friends living far away from me.

Writing a weekly note forced me to slow down, reflect, and genuinely engage in a (one-sided) conversation with people I care about. I would seriously encourage you to try and send a handwritten note once or twice a month to someone you love- whether you see them often or not. Who doesn’t love personalized mail?!

I’m very very excited for July’s challenge- I can’t wait to find out what it is! Care to join in on 12 Months of Bliss? It’s not too late to start! You can even send a letter next week as we wrap up June!

Stay tuned for next month’s July wrap up!

EG's Twelve Months of Bliss

-Louise

 

A Letter to My Children

This week I’ve been inspired by Rebecca’s post as well as The Letter Link-Up with mr. thomas & me.

I’ll start by admitting that I have some irrational or silly fears. These include horses, my dogs being sprayed by skunks, dinosaurs (yes, I know they’re extinct but what if they WEREN’T?), and someone living in our attic. The last one I have checked multiple times with a knife in hand; our house is old and it creaks.

One of my not-so-irrational fears is how my children will see themselves someday. When I was younger I had self-doubt. I doubted my intelligence, my personality, my weight, my looks, etc. I was very mean to myself (which sometimes led to me being mean to others) and very uncomfortable in my own skin. Terms related to anxiety and depression were tossed around and at one point I thought about running away.

I hate that I once felt that way. I know it pains my parents to now known all the issues I was going through. I love my life now and it makes me sad that at one point I hated it.

That being said, I have this fear that my children might feel this way one day. I will literally do everything in my power to help them avoid those feelings.

Dear Future Kiddo,

You aren’t a thought yet, so I don’t know if you will be a girl or a boy, but it doesn’t matter- we will love you regardless. I hope that you are healthy. Honestly, that’s the only thing I will hope and pray and plead for… You can be bald, tiny, big, whatever. I just hope you’re healthy. And if you’re not, we will figure it out and manage all the same.

Let’s move on.

You are coming into a very turbulent world. This world has a lot of good in it, but it also has bad. The world is filled with money problems, violence, hate, and more. There are babies having babies and children without food or homes or role models. I won’t shield you from these facts- we will talk about them and try to understand them and thank God that we are fortunate enough to be comfortable. I hope that you will learn to extend a helping hand to those that have less than you.

You will have friends and even family members that let you down. It’s your job to forgive, because you will also let people down. No matter what you do, though, your dad and I will always have your back. You will make mistakes and you will have to pay for those mistakes, and you will be in the wrong and we will have to discipline you, but we will always love you and stand by you.

Your dad is going to instill in you the importance of hard work, honesty, and practice. Boy or girl, your dad is going to stick you behind the drumset and coach you. If you hate it then we’ll find something else to work at. You don’t have to be the best, but you should strive to be better than you were yesterday. Not everyone gets a trophy and sometimes you will lose. That’s life. Losing makes winning that much sweeter. That said, winning isn’t everything. Sometimes you won’t be appreciate or recognized for something awesome that you’ve done. Your worth isn’t defined by others- you are always good enough.

Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t compare others to you. Everyone is different and we all have strengths and weaknesses. Spend your time lifting others up, not putting them down. You are a human. A creature. A creation of God. This puts you on the same playing field as a king and a homeless man. You share the same air as a dog and a lion. Everyone deserves mercy and compassion. Respect your neighbors and your pets and the environment- you can’t live without these things.

This next part is very important.

You can tell us anything. Anything. You don’t have to tell us everything, but you can tell us anything. If you are feeling sad for no reason please tell us. If you are attracted to the same sex please tell us. If you are struggling in math please tell us. If you are drunk at a party and all your friends are drunk please call your father. (DO NOT get in a car with other drunk people.) If you are in jail, please call us. If you are addicted to heroin, please tell us. Your problems, fears, struggles, joys, triumphs are ours, too.

I will apologize now because your dad and I will mess up. Probably a lot. But we will love you and we want you to love you, too.

– Future Mom

Maybe someday when we’re ready for kids I will revisit this letter (and probably cry).  Right now it was just something on my mind.

What do you tell your children as far as self-esteem goes? What do you want your future children to know?

-Louise

The Letter Link-up | Mr. Thomas & Me