Making the world a better place!

Making the world a better place!

I met a college Senior from Beaumont, Texas this week who knows a thing or two about that! Read and be inspired!  What’s a small risk you can take this week to choose the extraordinary?

Video of the Week: TED TV 12 min A North Korean Refugee Escapes

65998fcf328b0fc1dd1804a666104042c04d57ee_254x191“Born in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee left for China in 1997. Now living in South Korea, she has become an activist for fellow refugees.” Ted TV

I love this story.

Hyeonseo paints a real and stark picture of life in North Korea that is heart-wrenching.  The severity of any international crisis would be totally lost on us if not for stories like hers.

Perfect Imperfection

Perfect Imperfection

My skin is starting to itch from the stress. The more closely I look at my beautifully painted walls, the more aggravated I feel. What began as a simple morning chore is starting to take on massive, arm-wearying proportions. I want to redo everything!

Even as the thought crosses my mind, I know that it’s not a realistic possibility.

I had noticed a few imperfections the painters had left over the last couple of weeks and thought naively, “No big deal. I’ll just touch-up.”

My ten minutes of touch-ups becomes an hour; and I’m still not finished.

The painters had not prepped properly. They hadn’t filled-in the holes, hadn’t sanded the bumps, and hadn’t applied enough coats in some places. If I wanted a perfect paint job, I’d literally have to start over again.

When I look at my life, it’s like scrutinizing an imperfectly painted wall. From the middle of the room, the paint job might look good, even perfect.  But get up close and I see where shortcuts have been taken, where sufficient care has not been paid.

It’s the small stuff that can drive me crazy.

I obsess about where I might have done things differently, I get depressed.

That’s when I have to remind myself to step back.

And when I do, I see what’s really going on.

What’s going on is a beautiful wall of color that is saturated with rich pigment and contributes harmoniously to the rest of the room.

I also realize, as I glare at what could have been that it’d be futile to start over anyway. Because even if I could have a do over or make it all perfect somehow, future life would bump up against it and nick it with no contribution on my part; and that’s just life!

Go ahead, correct the most glaring imperfections; the paint that dripped into the trim for example. But in the end, do yourself a favor and step back. Step back into the middle of the room and see what’s truly been accomplished!

An Ode to Books and Writing…

An Ode to Books and Writing...

“Because for some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave…They are full of all the things that you don’t get in real life– wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. And quality attention: we may notice amazing details during the course of a day but we rarely let ourselves stop and really pay attention.”

Anne Lamott in her book, Bird by Bird.

A Girl’s Best Friend…

A Girl's Best Friend...

I can still feel the soft, feathery tickle of her ears against my face and the way her little paws felt dwarfed by my suddenly over-sized hand.

Jane was hit by a car almost two years ago which means she’s been dead, longer than she’s been alive and I’ve lived without her more years than I’ve actually had her in my life.

But that doesn’t change things.

Until Jane bounded into my life I silently snickered at people who considered their pets a “part of the family.” Sure they were cute, but “family”? These people most certainly lacked significant relationships with others.

And then Jane needed a home.

I fed her salmon from a can to reduce her allergies, invented toys to keep her occupied and got immeasurable pleasure from knowing she loved digging up sand on the beach.

She taught me to say “hello” to neighbors as we passed each other on the sidewalk. She urged me to live my life at home, even though my husband was living halfway around the world without me.

I became one of those people who read Cesar Millan and when Jane died, someone who knew without a doubt that all dogs go to heaven.

I’ll never forget the way she lay lifeless on the grass beside the road or the look of the brake-lights that didn’t flash red, even for a moment.

But I’ll also never forget the shape of the car that did stop and the neighbors who came running to offer their aid and their dismay.

Show me someone who truly loves their dog and I’ll introduce you to someone who knows what it means to be a good friend, spouse and adventurer through life.

Make-up with Mom

Make-up with Mom

My parents are visiting me from Minnesota this week! I don’t think I’ll ever feel too old to play dress-up with mom!

“What do you think, honey?”

The question is music to my ears.  She’s trying on the “newest” lip color from MAC.  Posh Tone promises to make her lips look expensive and pouty.  It’s a pretty color on her and I tell her she should definitely get it.  The MAC girl is fluttering protectively over mom’s face and the tittering wanes a bit as she realizes I’m not one of those girls- I don’t have to be the one making all the suggestions.

It’s fun and gratifying when mom wants my opinion or compliments.  Sure it might be on superficial things like lipstick or throw pillows but the underlying message to me, is much deeper.  I want us to connect, I want you to like what I’m doing or saying. What you think little girl, matters to me.

It feels like just yesterday that all that mattered was playing dress-up and getting her to laugh or smile in delight at something I’d said or done.  No matter how much I want my internal voices to matter more, there’s a weight to what she says that is denser than what my own instincts dictate.  That doesn’t mean I always agree or that my voices lay immovable beneath hers but it doesn’t stop me from wishing unreasonably that our thought processes could work togehter like synchronized swimmers in the Olympics