Election Thoughts: The Rumble, Jolt and Surprise

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We’re all shocked after the elections.  Some are truly happy, some are devastated and there are others that were lacking enthusiasm for however the results panned out either way.  But I think we all can agree that we are surprised by what’s happened.  What has been interesting isn’t the jolt that we’re going to have a presidency that will be dramatically different from what we’ve had maybe ever.  What’s surprising is the manner in which so many of us have handled the rumble.

I see statements that now America is putting behind a corrupt political system.  That if you voted democrat you are for corruption, murder and lies in the White House.  If you’re a democrat you’re okay with letting ISIS into our country via the southern border. Or if you voted republican that you are a misogynist, a racist, anti woman, homophobic and it’s likely you didn’t get a bachelors degree and you’re white. If you voted third party you’re sheeple, a self righteous purist, an idiot for throwing your vote away and it actually was a vote for the bad guy.

Congratulations, we all have been called things that are untrue.

I have some sincere questions and thoughts to share with you my dear reader for whom I have empathy and a deep respect for.  I get how exciting, joyful, apathetic and maddening it all is right now and I want nothing more than for you to feel heard. I know that your view matters greatly.  But I want you to consider how much your opinion matters.

Where do we consider drawing a line in the sand to rein in our opinions?  How much value is in the weight of your words and is it worth polarizing yourself from the other half of the country?

By your passion to let your voice be heard you’re enjoying the right we have to a voice as Americans and it’s at the cost of your respect for a significant portion of the people you share life with.  Here’s the hinge that this ramble is about.  Does your opinion cut you off from others?  If it does, is it seriously worth it?  If your opinion requires insults, belittlement and costing relationship with half of the country I’m sorry, but you are closed minded.  I find it genuinely confusing to see so many say that others need to have an open mind and yet after the election I see the very same people say that they will have nothing to do with anyone who voted for opponent of their favored candidate.

And finally, have you even considered how hard it is to hate someone and what their views are if you were looking them in the eye while trying to prove them wrong?

Don’t let this be the beginning of division.  Let this be an opportunity to stop commenting on every post that provides an opposing argument and instead suggest meeting that person across the table for coffee so you can find a window of understanding into how they formed that view.  Challenge yourself.  See if you can call someone a racist to their face after you take the time to really see them.  I’m thinking it would be tough to call someone an ISIS promoter if you found out why they feel the way they do.

Take the chance to see people.  Use this season as the means to become more loving, more empathetic and to not forget that the other half of the country that voted differently than you are authentic and good people for the most part.  They’re parents who want to see it better for their kids and grand kids.  They’re owners of that business you love in your community.  They’re your coworkers, employers and customers.  They’re your family.  Your children.  Each person despite of who they voted for is a chance to love and honor them for being as human as you are.

Handle the the surprise with grace.  Recognize the jolt and be humble.  See the goodness of so many people who are different than you.  Realize we’re all gonna grow from this.  See that as individuals we face the choice to make America be great not because it ever lost greatness but because we are what makes it such if we’re in it together.

 

With so much love,

Sara

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Could I be the Hero?

DSC_1421.jpgThis morning I’m mulling over the idea of letting go of waiting on the heroic moments.  Letting go of waiting around for the character of a hero to suddenly appear within me.

I feel like I’m one to just hope that I’ll arrive to the character that I’m called to have and to just maintain that state of being effortlessly from there on.  Wouldn’t it be nice to arrive to such a state?  But what if we won’t?  That doesn’t dare mean to give up on becoming who we’re called to be.

Take for example the proclamation that you might have said to a partner, spouse or dear friend that goes “I would die for you”.  Those are some hearty words that have a lot of meat on the bones.  They bear weight.  They’re badass.  The thing is, for most of us it’s unlikely that our devotion would be put to the literal test of those words (and I pray that we never have to be so harshly tested).  Most will walk down life alongside others who we love without facing the challenge of taking a bullet for them.  No, we face the challenge of living for them.  When we say “I want to live for you” it doesn’t sound as epic as dying for them.  We even feel an inkling of dislike for that idea.  For me, my knee jerk response is to live for myself and if you’re kinda human like me, you’ll have the same adverse reaction to that as well.  The intimidating thing about choosing to live for others is that it’s not always certain they’ll reciprocate such a devotion. Sometimes sharing life is a bore if not a chore.  Wow, I didn’t mean to rhyme there but I’m keeping it!

I’m not speaking as if I know, but rather this blog is a bit personal processing for me here. So don’t assume you’ll read to the end and be able to enjoy the impeccable revelation of what it means to live for others perfectly.

I know we all will face those moments of where we must be the hero.  This could be the moment of forgiveness against a bitter wrong made against you.  It really could be taking a bullet.  Or maybe it’s starting the difficult but necessary conversation you’ve had on your heart for awhile.  If we are living with our necks our there even slightly we will have to face moments that require epic character.  But here’s something to consider.  What if we are waiting for our character to grow just as we are waiting to be heroes?  What if we are missing on pondering our character in the mundane and cultivating it there?  Maybe the big moments aren’t where the character is developed but merely proven.  What if we’re just living to prove ourselves?  I think we could be missing out if we aren’t careful.

We might want to consider the scary thought of having to be intentional in the daily to becoming a person of true character.  I don’t want to reach the end of my life realizing that I have mostly the character of a person I don’t admire because I didn’t put in the effort in the moments that counted but looked boring so I passed them by.

I feel that we have to let go of hoping to be a person of integrity in a moment of grandeur but instead take it seriously when we are at the office when the boss is away that week.  I feel that we might only have a handful of moments between now and our last breath where we could see that we were an epic hero and maybe even less than that.  My point is that your character matters now.  It matters today when you walk into work this morning.  It matters when you pick up the kids from school this afternoon. When you say ask for forgiveness from your spouse.  It’s in all of the mundane and unacknowledged moments.

My hope is to encourage you to know that who you are is only who you see in the mirror today.  We might never be a hero as we picture heroes but we can have a choice to build and grow heroic hearts every day. We always have the choice of character.

So with whatever you are living for, live it well my friend.

With so much love,

Sara

Be The First.

DSC_2154.jpgI’m laying awake tonight thinking of all the things that are bothering me.  As I toss and turn and try to understand what makes me restless I am beginning to see a little theme.  Lately I have noticed the value of being the first at things.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to be the first at anything.  I think we humans don’t like being the first at a lot of stuff actually.  It would be preferable for someone else to do it.

This might make me sound like somewhat of a lonely person and lots of the time I am, but it also helps me understand the value of being the person of initiative be it in relationship, friendship, and the daily interactions we have with peers, coworkers or even strangers. I also know the blessing of being on the receiving end of when others have gone first in my life.  Each day provides thousands of little opportunities to let someone know that you see them and value them in whatever capacity you know them, even if it’s just for a few brief moments after which you will never see them again.

So here’s some things I would like to encourage you to always be the first at.  Don’t be the one to wait for these things.

Be the first to call your best friend.

The first to say “hello”.

The first to ask “how are you?”.  And when asked by someone else first, don’t just say “fine”.  Reply with a question for them.

Be the first with any question.  And the first to be quiet and to listen.  Really listen.

The first to send a text to let that person know that you’re thinking of them.  Has it ever ruined your day when someone sent you something to let you know that they were thinking of you?  Don’t be that stalker though. . .

The first to say “love you”.  Say it a lot.  Especially strive to be the first in this.

The first to hold their hand.  To kiss them.

The first to ask “is everything alright?”.

The first to call your parents.  Trust me, it makes their day.

The first to compliment. Tell him he’s handsome.  Tell her she’s beautiful.  Trust me, she needs to hear it many times. She doesn’t just “know”.  This could be your spouse, a parent or a stranger.

The first to be vulnerable.  To admit the hurt, the insecurity, and the pain.

The first to acknowledge and to affirm.  Let them know you see how hard they’re working and they’re trying.  Really this is powerful whether you practice this with the waitress serving your table or your husband putting in 60 hours this week.

The first to invite someone over for dinner.  Or out for a beer.  Don’t forget how it feels to be invited and give that feeling to someone else.  Being invited is wonderful.

The first to start the conversation.  Do it without the angle of talking about yourself.

The first to be quiet when the speaker stands upon the stage or the musician begins to play.

The first to step aside and let them go first.  Along that note, always take the opportunity to hold the door for someone else.

These are merely a few.  When it’s all said and done I feel like less people would feel alone if we each treated each other with the idea that we can be the first to give goodness instead of waiting around for others to be good to us.  Don’t be the one not giving what you could because you’re craving it yourself.

Always be the first to do good and to do it without the intent of showing how good you are or with the idea that it will be reciprocated.  Do it because we live in a world where we can make a difference in the most subtle and smallest ways in the lives of those we love the most and of those we might not know at all. We are all somewhat standing around waiting for the obvious heroic moments in which we will be the hero but really, we are standing in small and seemingly insignificant intersections with which we can make or break people by being the person of initiative or by doing nothing at all wishing they would go first.

Be the one to make another feel significant, to make them feel like they matter and trust me, you are doing the good work by doing anything at all. By doing it first.

Can you imagine if we all did it first?

With so much love,

Sara

 

Become Generous in Affirmation

DSC_3283Do you ever reach the end your day and think “Wow, I wish I didn’t get complimented today. It really brought me down when that woman told me I looked nice.”?  If you’re like me, probably not.

Lately I have been thinking along the vein of how my speech has an influence on my heart and my ability to value others.  I’ve begun to realize as I attempt to better understand how to love the people in my life that the degree of which I love them, respect them, and admire them are lost if I fail to communicate it generously to them.

What I’m about the elaborate on makes me feel like I’m walking that line a cop tells you to walk when they pull you over to test your sobriety; whatever you do don’t freaking step too far to the left or right (the one time I had a cop make me do this was when I was very tired, not paying the best attention to my driving and had zero drinks. I’m just a dingbat driver. For the record).

We live in a time of such self awareness of the manner in which we dish out praise to one another.  This is a culture in which we don’t want to raise shame in one by only praising physical attractiveness, athletic prowess and other traits that are shallow features in comparison to the character that needs to be given equal or greater credit.  We have even gone as far to think that you should completely avoid acknowledging those parts of people in fear of enabling them to only rely on the exterior version of who they are.  I love that we recognize the value in praising personality, character, beliefs and accomplishments and to consider those features the ones of greatest weight when we look upon the composition of a person.

Forgive me for asking, but is it possible that the pendulum can swing too far with that thought life?  Have we tried too hard to be objective in fear of being subjective to attractiveness and talent? Are we missing out on that opportunity to possibly be the only person to compliment someones lovely eyes this year because we don’t want to be the stumbling block for their misplaced sense of self worth?  Is it truly wrong to have an eye for beauty and affirm it when we see it in someone else?  When did it become wrong to want to tell that friend “You look amazing.  What have you been doing to get in such great shape”?  The exterior of a person is dangerous if it’s the only part you appreciate but it also is a part of them that matters.

I’m not saying to have physical attractiveness in a person be the only thing that catches your eye and to only compliment that.  See a persons heart, their strength despite their broken parts, their gumption to triumph and let those be the features which deserve the highest affirmation but don’t miss out on the opportunity to make someones day by saying their haircut looks great either.  See what happens when you allow yourself a green light on all opportunities to genuinely compliment those you get interact with.  Maybe sometime this week, find a random way to compliment someone and you might see a spark in their eyes for being recognized by you.  To refuse to acknowledge beauty in ourselves and others is to snuff something human about us.

What if we stopped withholding the love we can speak to each other?  Can you imagine being that person who gave out life to another who desperately needed to be seen today and you were the one to give that to them?

I am the one who is most keenly aware of my brokeness.  I need to lose a few pounds, eat more vegetables, get in better shape and the list goes on and on and on.  I need to stop thinking about myself first in my relationships, intentionally connect more with who I feel created me, to continue the work on my humility and to stop being subjective of those I respect in this world based on their political views, beliefs, and lifestyles.  I have A LOT to work on along with perpetually finding the discipline of grace for the learning curve that the gauntlet of human experience is.  Also, I guarantee you that for as much as I’m aware of my imperfections that you are not going to railroad my process to improvement or cause me to misplace my value by complimenting my dress I wore today and I’m sure the same can be said for you (that is if you wear a dress. You get the point I hope).  We are all full vessels of insecurity and each a work in progress with the power to encourage one another despite of what haunts us about ourselves.  So choose to be the person to shine light in those dark valleys of insecurity in another’s life by praising the beauty and the good.  Have grace for yourself in your acknowledgement of what you see needs some repair in you.

Seek the praise to give to a stranger, your spouse, your children and your friends.  Be authentic in what you see in them whether it’s their sweet smile, hairstyle, talents and admirable character.  Don’t withhold what you can give and be generous always.

With so much love,

Sara

Fly Fishing: The Couples Who Play Together. . .

IMG_0755.jpgSo my husband and I are taking a month long fishing trip to New Zealand this winter.  Being very excited for planning the adventure and in order to best attempt to find those fishing spots that make New Zealand so legendary, I went on Amazon and bought a few books as resources for where to start.

Today I opened up those books to dig into plotting the trip.  I wanted to share this quote that was on one of the opening pages:

‘Once upon a time a prince met a beautiful princess.

“Will you marry me?” the prince asked.

The princess said, “No.” 

And the prince lived happily ever after.  And he fished, and skied, and hunted, and went on long safaris, and he drank expensive whiskies by the campfire, and there was no one there to tell him he played too much, and that it was costing a fortune. . .‘ ~ Anonymous

What the heck is that about? That’s the stupidest story I’ve heard.

I started blogging with the intent to share my experiences as a woman, newlywed, newbie fly fisher and all the other random streams of consciousness my brain comes up with that’s associated with relationship.  As this has opened up conversations with many women I have realized that for some odd reason, fly fishing is very intimidating for girls in comparison to boys. Why?

I totally am NOT a feminist for what we consider as feminist issues in western culture. I have no qualms with trusting my husband as the leader in our relationship because he respects my role that’s not in front of him, or behind him but rather beside him. He is a man to trust as the leader and I gladly respect our roles in our relationship.  So trust me, this is not at all an argument against men.  It is to give praise to what is such an awesome blessing to so many peoples lives; marriage.

But dangit!  Quotes like that loop all women into an unfair stigma that we’re all a bunch of snotty brats who don’t believe in fun.  It just makes me sad that that quote is an example of the vast perception that “the fun ends here” when you choose to consider commitment to a relationship.  Terms like “Ball and Chain” or “The One Who Wears the Pants” are often associated with a spouse in a marriage.  This is a gross context to place relationship in. I believe that marriage and commitment are decisions to praise and should be a fun prospect (That is if you want marriage.  For the record, you don’t have to want marriage.  Singleness is also a cool choice).

I come from a breed of women who are their mans best friend.  We mountain bike, fly fish, hunt, snowboard, dirt-bike, can say we lived in wall tents with our men and all of which are totally thrilling to us.  The best part is that our men LOVE to do all of this alongside us!  This is not brought up to brag but it’s to prove that you can indeed be your spouses best friend and that there are adventures you can pursue alongside each other and that it’s just flat wrong to think that marriage is anything less than freedom.  Sadly, marriage is viewed as imprisonment for some people but it doesn’t have to be that way and isn’t for so many couples I admire.

I can see that a common perception women have towards men is that they aren’t romantic enough and I see men say that their wives (or girlfriends, whatever) are too much of a “princess” to go out and do anything with them.  I have a theory that men have hearts for romance in their own ways and that women often fail to see the unique ways that their men are romantic. Women sadly miss the opportunities to praise their men for it.  I considered it romantic when my husband and I were mountain biking and after I took a nasty spill and broke my chain, he traded bikes and “Flintstoned” my chain-less bike all the way back home.  We all have unique husbands with unique ways to say “I love you” without having to say it at all.

I’m not saying that you have to be Annie Oakley to be a woman your man appreciates or that you have to keep up with every manly activity he enjoys.  You don’t have to go on every single excursion and I think it’s great when your man goes to hangout with the guys. It’s great to want romantic dinners, love notes, intimacy and to desire for your man to want that too. I also think that we women need to meet in the middle ground to recognize when our men are cherishing us and being romantic when it’s not involving candlelight and expensive dates.  These opportunities might be when he makes dinner, works longer hours to save up for that vacation, checks the fluids in the car or teaches you how to cast a fly.  I feel like men crave romance too but not always in the same ways we do.  They want to share adventure with us and to have us get out there with them in whatever shenanigans they’re stirring up from time to time.  Or to at least be cheering them on in the ways that make them feel alive.

I think that we can be the kind of women that are the opposite of that princess in that stupid quote. Seriously, I have a strong dislike for that quote. You can have a relationship that shows your significant other that they can pursue their crazy dreams and that you are a woman to take along or in the least be that awesome chick who advocates adventure.  Of course, there needs to be balance between work, responsibility and play (just to throw in that disclaimer!). But as a woman you also have adventure in your DNA and you have what it takes to be that girl who your husband brags about.

Guys, you might need to invite your women on your adventures every once in awhile.  Instead of going golfing with the guys for the third time this week, maybe take her instead.  Let her know that she is exciting, engaging, worth bringing along and that you genuinely enjoy her company.  Tell her she’s sexy in those moments when she’s trying or succeeding in adventure and not only when she’s in heels and perfectly done up.  Maybe learn something with her.  Just find a way that you can share excitement in life together.

Oh, and it still doesn’t hurt to rub her shoulders every once in awhile, it might result in a happy ending.  Wink, wink!

For all of us men and women, we need to stop accepting that quotes like the one I mentioned as an accurate perception of commitment.  We need to knock it off with laughing at the common notion that marriage means the end of things.  Stop seeing partners and wives as adventure’s buzz kill.  Marriage and relationship are gifts and can be the start of so many stories worth sharing together.  You can choose to enjoy it with your spouse if you want to.

This weekend, I’m nothing but excited to get out with my husband to throw some flies.  I can’t wait for another memory, another fish and another opportunity to enjoy the heck out of life with him!

With so much love,

Sara

Do You See the Value in Others?

DSC_1170.jpgHave you had those moments when you are at the counter of that little retail shop and the clerk manages to ask you “How’s it going?”?  But not just out of the obligatory sense because you’re upping their commission but from their genuine interest in how you will respond?  If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel that for some reason they recognize you as valuable.

Lately I’ve enjoyed a little internal process of attempting to recognize opportunities to do what I can to value people by asking questions and seeking reasons to give praise.  I have begun to realize that we all crave to be asked the questions but we’re all fearful to be the ones to ask them.  We may have this tendency to crave praise without giving it with our spouses, friends, children, coworkers and so on.  We want others see what we offer without having to prod them to recognize it.  Some of us may not crave relationship, sex, fame or fortune most of the time but I have this feeling that each of us always has the inherent desire to be valued in whatever unique way it is that we add value. In whatever sphere of influence you are existing in, you have the ability to help people realize their value, and it’s not that hard to accomplish.

Maybe you don’t even know how you add value beyond what your daily demands of you.  So I’ll ask you to consider trying this.  When you are interacting with someone with whom you have some bit of influence upon, intentionally find a question or a way to compliment them in a manner that’s relevant to the context of your relationship with them.  This is sounding borderline cheesy, but just see what this does to their demeanor.  You might see that they light up and start talking about their kids, or that they had a difficult time getting out of bed this morning.  But also, see what this does to your own heart.  When you begin to take on the opportunities to help people recognize their value, you will begin to find  that you’re able to see it for yourself.  And when you begin to value people you will come to love them.  And what is more noble than loving the people that you can love, and to love them well?

We live in a world where too many people feel too alone where they shouldn’t, so be the one to make a change in that feeling.  You don’t have to be an executive in a company to do this.  You have this opportunity as a parent, partner, employee, someones daughter, husband, etc.  Maybe you’re the one who feels alone.  The great thing about feeling alone is that the onus is on you all the more to help others not feel that way, and the place to start is with the simple interactions in your daily life.

In whatever context you are living in, just do your best to love people by valuing them.

With so much love,

Sara

Fly Tying and Life

 

13680984_1397999840216760_3772335269239668601_nIt’s intimidating venturing into new territory.  Your first assumption is that you look ridiculous.  The funny thing is; you’re totally spot on with that thought.  But, at least you’re looking like something, even if it is that you look like you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

The following are just a few thoughts that have been on my heart because I wish someone else would write it.  And maybe they would actually do the subject matter some justice.  But I’ll give it a shot.

I didn’t start fly fishing until I was 24 and it’s only been a year and half since then.  My first time was on a first date with a guy who I’m now blessed to call my husband.  Talk about what should had been an intimidating date!  Luckily, my man obviously wasn’t too judgmental when I would have to ask “I didn’t hook you just now, right?”.  Metaphorically, I did.  Please forgive that pun. . .

As you can imagine, I’ve been learning a lot about life since that day.  Fly fishing has  been story that has paralleled the one of my relationship continuing to a marriage we’re now three months into.  What I’m certain of with both these stories is that I’m a clumsy learner.  But it’s a story of clumsiness worth telling.

I have been a hot mess at fly fishing.  It took me about four months to even land my first fish and I land bushes with the consistency I wish would be directed at the fish.  Seriously, I think I can get tangled better than most pros out there and I’d be a fool to not claim my rightful credit for that fact.  I also can say that I have a vibrant vocabulary in those moments that would make a sailor blush.  Mostly, I do what I can to demoralize any self esteem that bush had before it met me. I like to think it works.

The worst part about fly fishing is being new at it.  Unless you’re a god unlike me, it’s a learning curve that isn’t all that intuitive as you go.  If it was easy, shut up and I don’t want to talk to you. It’s a lot of time taking 20 minutes to tie on a fly, and losing it on a snag after your first cast which results in being done for the night because it’s too maddening.  It’s walking into the fly shop and having to admit you actually don’t know what a nymph is. It’s when you aren’t sure if that’s a brown or a rainbow, but actually it’s a white fish.  But the funny and crazy part about it is that you love it.  If you’re like me, you look ridiculous.  And at some point, you need to let that go.

Learning is demoralizing.  It demoralizes your arrogance of being great at what you already know.  Learning has a way of keeping you humble, especially as an adult.  And with something like fly fishing, you have no choice but to learn or to quit.  The entertaining part about this thought, is that marriage has the exact same principles so far.  But along with being entertaining, it is also encouraging.  We don’t have to know it all, and we never will.

So here’s what I have to say to you ladies out there who have thought a time or two about picking up a fly rod.  Try it.  Screw up a lot and then try again.  Go out there knowing you don’t look great, but also that you are more alive trying at it than wishing you had the guts at all.  Know that you can ask for help and that there’s others who might know a thing or two and would love nothing more than to give you some helpful tips.  Laugh at yourself for being clueless.

Maybe you’re a newlywed like me.  Maybe you’re newly divorced.  You could be facing your first summer as a widow.  Maybe you have no desire for relationship.  Or maybe you’re applying for a loan for the first time.  We’re all learners and teachers to one another.  Just take in the fact that on whatever front your facing, you will learn and hopefully will thrive in time.

Just pick up the fly rod and trust that with wherever you’re at, now’s the time to learn.

Whatever you’re learning, just don’t quit.

 

With so much love,

Sara