Saturday, September 5, 2009

Oh how joy can come...from one. single. person.

My cousin, Madi, is maybe the most loving, happy girl I've ever met.  She is just barely starting her teen years, but has NO problem hanging out with adults, babies, little kids, kids her age, nice kids, mean kids, who.ever. which is pretty awesome.  It seems to come naturally to her.  It's like she doesn't think twice about it...she thinks that everyone should be her friend and that she should be a friend to everyone.  Only it's not like this is some kind of philosophy she works hard to live - it honestly comes naturally to her.  It would be just as natural for her to make friends with a girl twice her age as it would with a girl her age or half her age.  She's just like that, and I think it totally rocks.

A few weeks ago, she found a picture of the two of us from a long time ago....well like 7 years...I guess depending on how long you've been around 7 years might not be a "long time ago".  But anyway, she took it, and did some funky things to it, then posted it on facebook. 

There is no way that Madi could have known that I was struggling at that time, and that "Be Yourself" was exactly what I needed to hear.  I don't think I'm the only one who does this, but a lot of times I forget that who I am is who I'm supposed to be.  I forget that my husband fell in love with me the way I am, and that I don't have to be different to make him happy - I just have to be me.  That God created me the way I am, and if he's happy with me the way that I am, I should be too.

About a week later, she was playing with the same picture again, and this is what she came up with:

If you can't read it, there is a little quote on the side that says, "Oh how joy can come to the world from one single person."  Can you see why she melts my heart?  She's just a little gem.  I have thought a lot about these two pictures and what they mean.  In fact, I printed both of them and they are on my fridge as little reminders.   

First, to be myself.  I read a lot of self-help books, autobiographies and biographies, which I love...that's why I read them. :)  Thing is once I'm done, I sometimes beat myself up for not being more this way or better at that thing.  Which is totally not the point of reading a book like that.  The point is to be inspired to be a little bit better, but not to change completely.  I want to be the best ME, not the best Marjorie Hinckley or Abraham Lincoln or Anne Frank.  What I am trying to convince myself to do now, is to take the best I can get from these books, which might sound like what I should have been doing in the first place, but for some reason that doesn't come naturally to me.  So instead of becoming these people, I will let them inspire me to be better myself.  I'll probably never send cards and gifts and notes of encouragement like Marjorie Hinckley did to her loved ones, but think I can do better at letting my kids be kids instead of giving them chores all day.  I'll probably never be as publicly persistent as Abraham Lincoln, but I can be just as thoughtful and devoted as he was.  And I hope I never go through what Anne Frank did, but I hope she's taught me to be just a little bit better at keeping a record of my personal history.  A little bit better.  No leaps and bounds here...that's already hard for me to do.  And who knows, maybe with a little practice it will get easier.  But for now, I am satisfied if each book makes me just a little better.

And second, the joy that can come from one single person
...including me.  It's easy for me to see that having Madi around, or my sister, or her kids, or my husband or my son can bring joy.  It's harder to see that the same joy I feel when they are around, THEY feel when I am around.  (That or they're really good at faking it.)  :)  I believe that there are certain things that ONLY you can do, or ONLY I can do.  Whether that's something huge - and when I say huge, maybe a better word is visible, like winning a war or ending slavery or feeding kids in Africa OR that something seems small and insignificant, like being the only person in the world who can soothe your crying baby, which is small unless you're the crying baby (or someone within ear-shot) and then it's the only thing that matters in the world - war, slavery and hunger or not.

There is something unique, and incredible that only YOU can do that only I can do.  Lets all be a little better at remembering that, and if you have trouble, call the Madi in your life and get a big fat reminder. :)


the 7 goddesses

These 7 goddesses share their wisdom with the rest of us. Click on their tabs above to learn their lessons and read their tips:

APHRODITE - goddess of love & beauty - this is you

NYX - goddess of night - lessons on wifery (is that a word?) and all things night time

LETO - goddess of motherhood - all things related to motherhood

DEMETER - goddess of food & harvest - and for that reason, my favorite. Find tried and true recipes here

HESTIA - goddess of hearth & home - on making your house a home

ATHENA - goddess of wisdom - making learning a lifelong journey (plus a killer book list)

ELPHIS - goddess of hope - cause we could all use a little more!

Good for a laugh

"My dad hates brownies when they're gone." -Hudson age 2


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