Oct 9, 2013

How Big Is Your Brave?



Everybody's been there, Everybody's been stared down 

By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is



I am a huge Sara Barielles fan. I love her songs and her lyrics always make me think about things. I own three of her cd's and listen to them all way too much. Her latest song that is on the radio talks about being brave and the lyrics that you read at the start of my blog are from her song about being brave.

Have you ever had to show the world how big your brave is? I never would have described myself as brave. But as I have sat here at 10:39 pm at night on a Tuesday staring at the ceiling searching my past I have realized I actually have had some times in my life that I have actually been brave. It took some brave to sing a solo in 7th grade in front of my middle school in California, a duet in ninth grade with Mike Johnson in front of the school and many more singing and playing the piano instances. I found some brave when I ran for a class office at my high school. Brave was present when I tried out for jazz choir in high school. When I left home and went to college in Utah at BYU that was a little bit brave.Wearing leg warmers on a date....brave...duh :) Ears pierced....getting my drivers licence...going back east to be a nanny....recognizing the situation was not so good at the nanny gig and getting out....being vulnerable and admitting I liked a boy...confronting a roommate who was having a boy in our teeny tiny dorm room overnight....running 6.2 miles....killing a spider....picking up a dead chicken....packing up many a house and moving many a time.... reaching out to tell someone how I felt even though it could end up hurting....getting a job....buying a purple shirt with black polka dots and wearing it.

And yet there seem to still be way too many instances when I was not brave and I should have been. What makes us decide not be brave? What are we afraid of? For way too many years my fear of what other people would think has kept my brave at bay. Another thing that keeps me from being brave is my fear of conflict. And last but not least I most sincerely do not want to hurt anyone but now I know firsthand that I hurt them more but not being brave.

You all know how I love synonyms and antonyms and I could hardly wait to see the synonyms and antonyms of the word brave. I love how synonyms and antonyms gather around a word and give it support and dimension. I was stunned when I saw the contrast in the synonyms and antonyms of the word brave. Yes, I am going to tell you all about what I saw :) It first listed some words like bold, intrepid, daring dauntless, heroic. And then it said that brave, courageous, fearless, valiant, and gallant refer to confident bearing in the face of facing difficulties or dangers. It told me that brave is the most comprehensive but it said courageous implies an even higher or nobler kind of  bravery. So if you take it to the courageous level you have an inborn quality of spirit or mind that faces and endures perils or difficulties without fear and even with some enthusiasm. But if Sara would have used the word courageous in the place of brave in her lyrics we all know it would have just not been the same song. I mean can you sing along in the car to the words "I just want to see you be courageous"...yeah, not so much huh? So I am glad she used the word brave even though courageous is top dog in this arena of words. Anyhow, I will not bore you with the full paragraph of synonyms about brave in Mr. Dictionary but what struck me was how there was a full paragraph about the synonyms of brave and then there was very simply and starkly the word antonym and under it one word....pause, for dramatic effect.... cowardly. I felt bad for cowardly...no friends no supporters just alone.

It gave me determination. I want to be on the synonym paragraph side. I want to be brave.The few times I have been brave have truly felt amazing. Being brave does not mean you are not afraid... it is about being afraid but moving forward anyway. They say the first step towards being brave is to admit you are afraid...not to the world just simply to yourself. Maybe you could do it in the shower. Just say it out loud....I am afraid of..... Then the next step seems to be finding yourself a role model. Hmmm who is my role model of brave? Who do I know that has faced adversity and done it bravely? Which Disney princess should I choose? :) What about Eowyn? Arwyn? Anne Frank? Helen Keller? Frodo? After you choose which Disney princess you think faced adversity the best then you make a decision. Ask yourself three simple questions....Is this the right thing to do? Is this the only way to resolve the situation? Am I prepared to face the consequences? And then the last recommended step is to not think anymore and just act....WHAT? :) Who does that? :)

My life has been greatly shaped by people who are brave and sadly probably even more shaped by people who are not brave. The cowardly people in my life have made me sad. I think I understand how they feel because I have played on team cowardly many times myself. So I can not in good conscience say anything about them :) But I do wish they would figure out if they want to fight for something or not and just do it.

So does it feel like something in your life is not right? Is something missing? Do you feel pain and anger towards yourself and others? These are apparently signs that something in your life needs to be remodeled, changed or revitalized. Can you overcome the fear of rejection? Or the fear of what other people may think? Or the humongous fear of change?

I have so many examples around me of people who are living their lives out loud and brave and I admire them greatly and am grateful for their example. I want to do that. I want to be true to myself. I have made lots of baby steps. I am brave about driving in the snow. I am brave about being honest. I am brave about letting you see my house messy :) I am brave about saying no. I am brave about not following the mapquest exactly :) I am brave about being vulnerable. I just need to be brave about spiders and then all will be well :)

So come on show me how big your brave is :)

Oct 6, 2013

Being a Librarian.

I fear my heart will burst if I do not fill you in on the details of my library job soon. This job is technically not really a job. I did apply for a full time job at the library after I had only worked there one day.....silly me.... but they hired someone who had already worked at the library for five years so I did not get the job. But that was okay I was not sure how 37 hours a week was going to work in my life anyway. So I have been enjoying being a substitute librarian for the last five or six weeks. I happened to become a substitute librarian at a really fortunate time. The Westfield Atheneaum had two people find different jobs and leave the library and this has left all sorts of hours for me. It is giving me a false sense of reality but I am just going to ride the wave and enjoy it. I am consistently getting over 60 hours every two weeks. I have yet to find something I do not like about working at the library. Well actually I do sort of hate taking my 15 minute breaks that are required.....I know what is wrong with me?

What do I do at the library all day? Well thanks for asking, let me see if I can do it all justice with my words. First, it is of utmost importance, that I tell you what I wear. Every morning I get up and put on a dress, or a skirt, and a cardigan....occasionally a pair of nice pants but I love wearing dresses and skirts and tights so it is pretty much guaranteed that that is what I choose to wear. I almost always wear my hair in a side ponytail.

Some days I work downstairs in the Boys and Girls Library and some days I work upstairs in the Adult Library. When I get to work my job is to be at the front desk of the department I am in the entire time and that means I spend my day....

Checking people's books out to them.
Helping people find a book. Can I ever find the words to explain the joy that comes from finding them the book they are going to die if they do not have right away.
Checking books in and sorting them into large print, nonfiction, fiction, young adult etc so they can be put away.
Listening to people who are 100% sure they returned a book and looking up their account, checking the shelves for the book, and then trying to help them to not feel so sad about paying the fines if I can not find it.
Issuing new library cards.
Renewing things people can't find or have not finished with.
Breaking the bad news to people that they have no renewals left and being strong when they pull the sad puppy dog face on me.
Calling them if they return a dvd case with the dvd missing.
Helping them place a hold on something from another library. It astounds me how many people do not know you can do this. I love seeing the joy when I tell them it is true :)
Looking up peoples favorite author to see if they have written anything new.
Helping them find a new author since they have read everything their favorite author has written.
Telling them where the bathroom is.
Listening to cute little old people's life stories.
Hearing about why their item they are returning is damaged.

The best part for me is being at the adult desk when the inter library loans come in. Every day around one o'clock a truck brings boxes of books that our patrons have put on hold from all over Massachusetts. And we check them in to the computer and it prints us a receipt telling us who the book is for and if we need to call them or if they automatically got an email telling them it had arrived. Most days there are quite a few stacks of these holds to check in and I deeply adore this project. I feel a little bad if the other librarians want to do this when I am there because I really love doing it. I grab our basket of rubber bands and gleefully check these things in and wrap the receipt around them with the rubber bands and then put them on the hold shelf in alphabetical order. I love that this process I guess maybe because it has a clear beginning and a clear end? I love knowing that all these people have been anxiously waiting for their holds and they are going to be so excited to come and get them. Maybe I love it so much because I like to be kept busy? Maybe it is the satisfying sound of that receipt being printed? :)

It is amazing to me how many people come into the library and have not been into a library in years and have never had a card. Then on the other hand it is also fascinating to me how many people come into the library every single day and know how many resources are in the library and hang out with us for hours. There is this one guy who I swear he runs his business out of our library. People are always meeting him there and he is always chatting with us and using the computers and printer and checking out dvd's.....I wonder if he is a mob boss? :) I love meeting all the different personalities. It is amazing to me the ones that know they have 10 cents of fines on their card and it stresses them out and they want to pay it immediately and then there are the ones who are shocked to hear they owe a fine and need to know why, and when, and want to debate about it and hopefully not pay it. There are the patrons who want to watch you check their books in. There are the ones who don't care and plunk them in the return box. I love learning what is trending right now in books. Which authors everyone likes.

It is pure torture for me to watch all these books and dvd's go out that I want to read. Just when I thought I had read everything :) I need to start keeping my notebook close by so I can write down the names of books I want to read. We are not supposed to make any comments to our patrons about what they are checking out and that is pure torture. I sometimes can not resist the urge to tell them I have read it and it is great or to ask them where they found what they are taking out. It is weird that I know who has paperback romance addictions and who is studying the crusades and who needs large print and who is building a stone wall.

I have had people hand me things they are bringing back and tell me that the content in the dvd or book is shocking and very, very bad and that it should not be on our shelves and I was alarmed to realize as I asked the other librarians about it that we can do absolutely nothing about that. I also can not say anything if a little kid brings me a rated R movie that they want to check out. I understand and yet I do not understand :) We do not limit your choices that is for sure :)

I really like all the ladies I work with at the library. All their different personalities and different ways of approaching things make me smile. I see all their different strengths and weaknesses and how they compliment each other. I am not sure if they understand that because they are in the thick of dealing with each other. I love that all of us have a rubber band or two as a bracelet when we are at work.

This job is bringing me so much happiness I keep trying to not think about the fact that I am only a substitute. I hope a position opens up that is more permanent. It would be nice to have predictable hours.

I confess that the validation I am getting from working is pretty amazing. I have never had people compliment me on who I am like this before. I was shocked to hear someone use the word smart to describe me the other day. I wondered if they could write a statement declaring it and sign it...please? :) I need to show it to my 8th grade math teacher :) I was stunned when someone described me as a quick learner. WHAT? They are so kind about my personality, friendliness, and hard worker skills.I have never known these things about myself or used these words to describe myself. When you are a mom people around you are not overly inclined to tell you how smart it was of you to make breakfast for dinner. Or tell you how they love how you grounded that person in a most friendly way. Or notice how outgoing you are as you fold socks. I am still trying to get used to the compliments and observations and not let them go to my head. But it definitely makes me love work. Imagine if the family caught on ? :)


Oct 3, 2013

What Is Trending :)

You know how wondrous it is to have something new to obsess about, right? Do not tell me you do not adore that feeling of knowing you have found a new series to watch, or a new book to read, new music to listen to, new food to eat, a new hilarious Youtube video? My whole entire life I have always felt extremely compelled to share what is trending in my life with everyone around me because I am really hoping I get to see them enjoy it as much as I did. I love, love, love to bring joy when I can. I do not want to keep my latest discoveries to myself that is no fun at all. So I decided that I needed to tell you what is trending at my house at this very minute so that you can find eternal happiness.

BYU TV....Studio C, Audio Files, and The Song That Changed My Life!!! I adore all three of these shows and you can watch all of them on your computer if you do not get BYU tv on your tv. Studio C is a comedy...basically a clean version of Saturday Night Live. I laugh and laugh through this show. They do some very clever skits and I love that my kids can watch it with me.

The Song That Changed My Life is amazing. Each show features a different group like Sixpence None The Richer, Sara Watkins and Sondre Lerche just to name a few. During the show they tell you all about themselves and their career and in the process of telling they lead up to telling you about a song they heard at some point in their life that changed them, the way they viewed the world, and the way they perform. I have gained way too many new favorite groups from watching this show.

The show Audio Files is also on BYU tv and it is another way to discover some of the nations most favorite bands. Because of this show I am now a loyal follower of Mates of State and Jack and White. They even have a show about Imagine Dragons that they taped long before Imagine Dragons were who they are today. Trust me you will not regret going to your computer and watching yourself a few episodes of any of these shows :)

Another show my Amanda recently introduced me to is Master Chef Junior. It comes on television on the FOX channel on Friday night. We watch it on the computer whenever we want to after it airs on Friday night. It just started last week and I LOVE it. It is twelve 8-13 year old kids cooking to win the title of Master Chef Junior. Their dishes are judged by three master chef's. They have an hour to make whatever they want to go along with whatever the category or theme is. I was stunned by what these kids can cook. It appears that they have stunned the judges too. Usually Master Chef is for adults so this junior show is a whole new thing and I sense by the chef's comments as they sample these kids dishes that they are blown away and that their expectations were not very high going into this. I am wondering about these kids parents and when they started these kids cooking and how they know how to put ingredients together like they do. You should really check it out...no really I mean it :)

Lest you think all we do is watch television these days another thing that is trending at our house is cupcakes in the form of Mama Cakes. I shamefully have never been one to obsess about supporting a hometown business until I happened upon Mama Cakes in downtown Westfield. I have sampled my share of cupcakes in my 44 years on earth and these are by far the most moist and have the best tasting frosting ever. My little girls and I frequent Mama Cakes way too much. Her mini cupcakes are only a dollar...so easy to justify. Her flavors are so interesting. I can not bring myself to partake of the maple with bacon on top but everything else from lemon, to mint, to Reeses to well anything you can imagine they are fabulous and have made me a huge advocate of supporting a hometown business. And they are so handy for bribing 11 and 13 year olds to do whatever you want them to do :)

Another thing I am obsessing about is redwood trees. I have figured out a way to use them as part of a presentation I am in charge of in November and before I knew it I had ordered every book I could find in the Massachusetts library system on them and in my reading have gained a huge respect and love for these trees now. They are so old. They are so resilient. The are so immovable. They are fireproof because of the tannin in them. It is just amazing to me how much thought went into these trees and how they live. If you have not been to California and seen the redwoods or their cousins the Sequoias you really should try to go. There is nothing more awe inspiring than standing in a grove of redwoods realizing how small you are.

It is fascinating for me to sit here and think of all the different obsessions I have been through in my life. There was Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog phase....Say Yes To The Dress phase.....Kid History Phase.....Lord of The Rings phase.....the chicken phase.....This American Life phase....Out of Africa phase.....Hunger Games Phase...Harry Potter phase....folding socks phase...haaahaaa never really had one of those I just threw that in there to see if you were still reading :