Dreams and things

When I graduated high school, I gave the benediction to my classmates and our families. In my brief speech, which I seriously wrote in about 15 minutes, I quoted Eleanor Roosevelt’s words you see above.

I had so many dreams back then. Dreams to travel. A dream to find romantic love so I wouldn’t feel so alone all the time. Dreams to be the author of published books. As a young woman, those dreams kept me going like nothing else. I could imagine greatness ahead of me.

Venice, 2001

I traveled twice before I got married. Once to Italy for spring break in 2001, visiting Venice, Florence, Rome and Pompeii. The trip was through school, so I had tour guides and a few people I knew from classes. I will never forget the things I saw, especially standing in the middle of the Sistine Chapel and feeling so small, yet part of the whole world at the same time. It was breathtaking. Continue reading “Dreams and things”

Quitting: Is it failure?

Quit. It can be such a negative word. I’ve heard messages my entire life of “don’t quit” or “don’t give up.”

I use the word “quit” with my kids almost every single day in the form of “Quit fighting!” I laugh at that because they’re never going to stop fighting. When they really get into an argument that won’t let up, I make them do more chores. I figure if they’re going to fight, they might as well do something productive while they argue.

We encourage our children to stick with sports or their music, dance or karate lessons that we may or may not have pressured them into taking in the first place. Quitters never win, and winners never quit, right? But let’s get real here, what if someone legitimately sucks at something? Is it okay to quit then? Must they have exhausted all efforts and failed first? Is failing once enough to quit? Twice? Three times?

What if you truly hate what you’re doing? What if doing it crushes a piece of your soul with every breath? Then, is it acceptable to quit? Continue reading “Quitting: Is it failure?”

When I grow up

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When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I think my first answer to that question was a mommy. I would play with my dolls and pretend I was their mommy. I would change their clothes, pack a diaper bag, and have my dolls ride in a toy car seat buckled into the car. Basically, I would imitate how my mother took care of my baby sister.

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Next, I wanted to be a teacher. I used to play school with my stuffed animals all the time. Looking back, I find this ironic because there were times when I hated school. I felt lonely and left out sometimes. Other times, there was too much attention when I would have preferred to blend in. Adolescence can be difficult for the meek. Thank God for great teachers, friends, my family, and a lousy guidance counselor (or was she?) who had reservations about me “making it” in college so far away from my comfort zone. At any hard time when I briefly entertained the thought of quitting, I thought about that guidance counselor’s comment and decided that succeeding—if only to spite her—was worth it. Continue reading “When I grow up”