A Rolling Stone

Have you ever heard the phrase “A rolling stone gathers no moss”?

It’s credited to Publilius Syrus, a Latin writer who lived from 85-43 BC so it’s safe to say the phrase has been around for a while. You might even think that with such a longstanding history, this phrase is easily understood by all who hear it. Lucky for us, the precise definitions of words and the origins of phrases entice me! So I gave this phrase a last minute check today before using it in a post and discovered I had no idea what the phrase meant. Here’s what Google tells me:

a person who does not settle in one place will not accumulate wealth or status, or responsibilities or commitments.

Definitions from Oxford Languages

That wasn’t what I expected so now I’m on the fence on whether or not a rolling stone is a good thing (see my last post on burout to understand the appeal of not accumulating responsibilities or commitments). Moss, so says Literary Devices, symbolizes patience, experience, and persistence. Which sound like good things. But I’m pretty sure when I’ve heard this phrase before, it’s the stone we’ve wanted and not the moss.

Turns out, I’m not the only one who’s confused. You can read more about the way this phrase has morphed over time here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/rolling-stone-phrase-origin but essentially, what used to be a warning against social irresponsibility sort of became an ode to wanderlust.

Is it good or bad to be a rolling stone? Depends on whom you ask!

(Perhaps the best part about this utter tangent of a post is that neither explanation represents what I thought the phrase meant. Go figure.)

Currently Reading: Daring Greatly

2018 is shaping up to be the year of books for me and I. am. not. mad. about it.

After finishing Start with Why, I picked up Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. It belongs to a really good girlfriend of mine who may or may not remember I still have it. Surprise! It’s still heeeeeere!

The timing wasn’t quite right when it first changed hands but as a follow up to Start with Why, I am digging her message! Why? Here’s the subtitle: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

Seems pertinent.

While Sinek got me thinking about my own personal Why (i.e. what inspires me), Brown is pointing out my roadblocks to living out that Why and she’s giving me tips on how to get past them.

Here’s what you need to know about me:

I am (to steal Brown’s phrase) a [recently] recovering perfectionist.

Around this time last year, I felt an urge to get back into writing. I paid for blogging space. I set writing goals and publishing goals. I wrote down topics as they came to me. I told my friends and my family. And it weighed on me. For the majority of 2017, do you know what I did with my blog?

I did nothing.

Getting back into blogging was supposed to be like getting back on a bike. I had turned to writing as a cathartic release for years but it suddenly felt foreign and forced. And here are a list of reasons why:

  • I am afraid of:
    • being boring.
    • having nothing to say.
    • rambling.
    • publishing misspelled words, wrong words, confusing words.
    • sharing something too personal.
    • embarrassing myself or my people.
    • repeating myself.
    • being irrelevant.
    • being ignored.
    • making someone mad.
    • being mean.
    • giving someone a reason to bring up my past mistakes. <- There is so much this and there are so many mistakes!
    • sounding self-righteous.
    • having my excitement met with silence.
    • introducing a topic I’m passionate about in a way that turns a reader off.
    • tying myself to a person or company or idea that ends up being a failure.
    • being a failure myself.

You get the idea.

Blogging = vulnerability for me and it would seem that what I’ve really forgotten is how to be vulnerable.

Behind this blog, as I’m starting to understand, is my Why. God instilled in me a passion for growth and learning. I’m obsessed. The day I stop trying to do better is the day I die. Writing is my way of capturing that journey (which, by the way, is ultimately life), trying to make sense of it, and sharing my excitement about it with others. I have to say so far I’ve been pretty lucky… Not in doing better, per se, or in writing but let’s say God has given me a lot of things to work on.

So I’m reading this book and I’m developing this grasp of what pushed me to start writing again and I’m thinking about the ways I’ve been standing in my own way. I’m (re)learning what it means to be vulnerable and why it’s so important. And I’m hoping that in diving into the raw space here, you and I might end up toasting to one another over the stumbling blocks of life.

If, not? If instead you find yourself reading through my list of fears and agreeing that I should be afraid of those things, well then I hope one day to be as strong as Rhett Butler walking out the door. But until then, I am going to do me and I encourage you to do you. Maybe some day, we will find our common ground. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Currently Reading: Start with Why

I have a goal to read 12 books this year. So far, I have 2 completed and am 67% through another: Simon Sinek’s Start with Why.

If you haven’t heard of Simon Sinek, I highly recommend you check him out. Watch a Ted talk. Research him a little. I guarantee you’ll learn something!

In his book, he tells about businesses that start with “why” they do what they do and how that aligns with their audience to gain loyalty rather than using sales tricks or marketing gimmicks to gain our attention. (Read the book. He explains this much more eloquently than I can here.)

Anyway, it got me thinking about the brands I buy because they’re on sale or because they’re in front of me when I have a need/want vs. the brands that I go out of my way to buy.

It made me think of Tom’s of Maine.

My first experience with Tom’s was during a short stint of testing out anti-antiperspirant-free deodorants. Turns out, the hippy life is not for me and Tom’s was ineffective. But so were all of the other non-antiperspirant deodorants I tried so no bridges were burned at the time accept maybe the one between me and an anti-antiperspirant-free life (Okay, and maybe some acquaintances burned bridges with me to spare their olfactory organs but that’s on them, not me).

Quite a while later, Freddy and I went through our first round of Whole 30. We cut added sugar out of everything we ate. Suddenly our toothpaste tasted sweet. Like, sugary sweet. It was unsettling. So we set out to replace it with something that 1) did not taste like sugar and 2) toted the cruelty free symbol.

Reintroduce Tom’s of Main.

Here’s what the back of the tube of toothpaste says (emphasis theirs):

What makes a product natural and good? At Tom’s, it includes how we make it.

  • No animal testing or animal ingredients.

  • We share every ingredient, its purpose, and its source at http://www.tomsofmain.com.

  • Sustainable practices are a priority in every aspect of our business.

  • No artificial colors, flavors, fragrance, or preservatives.

  • We strive to maximize recycled content and recyclability of our packaging.

  • 5% (12 days) of employee time to volunteering. 10% of profits to human and environmental goodness.

This isn’t a blog to get you to buy Tom’s toothpaste. I don’t get any kickbacks for writing it. But if the environment is important to you, if you believe that we need to be good to each other and to the world we’ve been given to live in and you want to be a part of something bigger that encourages that thought, then you probably appreciate what Tom’s stands for.

They understand their Why.

As a consumer drowning in a sea of toothpaste, I buy the one that doesn’t test on animals. The one from the company that gives back. I’m not saying that other toothpaste companies don’t have community involvement. I’m saying that this company explains why they’re in business and I want to raise my hand and say “Me too!” That’s ultimately what I’m buying.

Take some time today and think about what you stand for and how that influences your purchasing habits. Or for my business owning friends, take some time to remember the Why if you’ve gotten away from it. Why did you start your business? Don’t tell me what makes you money. What do you stand for?

Next, I want to know what brands you get behind. Maybe you haven’t researched the entire history of the company but you hear their message and it resonates with you. Maybe it’s gathering the family around the dinner table even when you’re in the middle of a crazy week (Campbell’s?). Maybe, as Sinek points out, it’s challenging the status quo (Apple).

Let me know what brands you get behind in the comments below and don’t forget to check out Start with Why for more information on identifying your Why!

Cold Tangerines

I have to share: I am currently reading Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life by Shauna Niequist. I picked up this book after the pastor at Ada Bible suggested it during one Sunday several weeks ago. Well to be fair, I really picked it up at Barnes & Noble shortly thereafter when I went with my boyfriend to pick up a devotional someone had recommended for him to read. The book jumped out at us both having just been encouraged to read it and we decided that we would both read it with me breaking in the pages first. (The thing I tried to warn him of, though he will not fully understand until he gets the book in his hands, is that when I read a book, I underline and circle and double-underline anything that strikes me – thus changing the tone and pace for the next reader. It’s never good to let me read a book first.)

Anyway, in these pages (particularly in the chapter entitled “Visions and Secrets,” I have found a voice that speaks for me. Of writing, Shauna says, “Words are the breakdown through which I see all of life…When I write, I can see things that I can’t otherwise see, and I can feel things I can’t otherwise feel. Things make sense…”

If you want to understand why I write, it is already written in her words for you to read…

The Pursuit of Happiness

It’s not about fame and fortune; it’s about believing and believing in yourself and understanding that this life is, it’s life, it’s liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And happiness is not about getting what you want all the time. It’s about loving what you have. – Asher Roth “G.R.I.N.D.”

Loving what you have and loving what you have to offer.

That’s what I say anyway…

Borrowed Thoughts: Fitness

Guilty pleasure of mine: Any time I go grocery shopping, I buy either a) a smut magazine (Star, Life & Style, etc.) or b) a fitness magazine. This week I chose the fitness magazine aptly named Fitness. I had to laugh when I read it. You see, life is like an intricate pattern and at particular points in life, certain stitches stand out and grab your eye. I’m focusing on the “feel good.” Here’s what I read:

“Ready, Set, Recharge! Your goal this summer: Work less, play more. Our guide to the good times will do wonders for your body, mind, and spirit.” by Joanne Chen.

These are my favorite bullet points. The quotations signify the headings taken from the actual magazine. The rest is my own interpretation.

  • “Hang with happy people” – [x] My friends are positive, inspiring, humorous, gracious, encouraging, uplifting, and fulfilling people. On top of that? I feel like my next great friend is only a handshake away. I believe that great people are a lot more prevalent in life than we’re led to believe (and that we should celebrate them!). We just need to reflect the same characteristics of a great friend that we desire to know.
  • “Burst into action” – [x] They’re talking about fitness but I’m talking about life! Passivity won’t get you anywhere.
  • “Stop stress” Smell an orange. Seriously. That’s what this one says from the magazine. I like it.
  • “Chill out” – [x] It’s 90-something degrees in my house right now and 400% humidity (approximately), but chilling out means not sweating the small stuff. Brush your shoulders off.
  • “Speak your mind” – [x] This one is awesome. The magazine talks about speaking your mind when lifting up your friends. Really getting specific with your encouragement and praise. It gets me because I used to be known for speaking my mind in a “I have the shield of truth to keep me from caring what you think about it” mindset. Without reading this and over a certain period of time, I’ve replaced that with the speech of love and excitement for others. And it’s so uplifting to me to be able to uplift those around me!
  • “Laugh a lot” – [x] I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Find laughter in your own life. Don’t wait for others to bring it out for you.
  • “Do it bright” – [x] I love bright colors. Wearing them makes you feel better. So stash the black this summer. Do you want to look slim or do you want to look friendly and approachable?
  • “Stretch your limits” – [x] Don’t be complacent. Face your fears. Do something every day that embarrasses you. It builds character.
  • “Capture your winning moments” – [x] Think of all you’ve done. You have a lot to celebrate in your own life!
  • “Give, even just a little” – [x] Give your time. Give some of your paycheck. Whatever it is, pay it forward.
  • “Lend an ear” – [x] Take a break from entertaining, complaining, explaining. Shut yo’ mouf and open your ears!
  • “Lose the blues” – [x] Again, again, again, I’ll say: Focus on the plus side. Be a Positive Polly or Pablo!

I like when I read things that reinforce my own beliefs. Or when I can take headings and apply them to my own mantras. 🙂

I have an insatiable desire to read.

I just finished The Day I Shot Cupid: Hello, My Name is Jennifer Love Hewitt (JLH) and I’m a Loveaholic. I have to say, it was actually really good. I thought her book was insightful and honest. In truth, I suppose it’s unfair to say “actually” as if I had assumed it wouldn’t be. As the executive producer and director of The Ghost Whisperer, I should have anticipated her skill. Anyway if you’re a woman, I would suggest it. Whether or not that questions my credibility to suggest books to you, I’m not sure but if you read it and hate it, I encourage you to let me know. You may just be surprised.

In flipping through the first few pages, this is how JLH hooked me; she’s describing coming off a breakup and her decision to write the book:

“And there it was, the new relationship that I would begin would be with me, my past, my present, my laughter, my pain, and most important, all of you.”

Kind of sounds like my blog to me.

She goes on to say: “I’m not gonna lie. I have had a few “everything is changing” panic attacks, but I also feel like I’m on the brink of real growth.” Okay, JLH, I’ll relate to that. I’m in.

So here are some things that struck a note with me from her book:

  • “Not my fate obviously.” She writes this with regards to the fact that she would’ve “loved to have met [her] soul mate in fourth grade and never looked back” but it just didn’t happen that way. Totally applicable to relationships, but I think we should adopt this attitude in everything we try to do that doesn’t work out. There are several things I would’ve loved to do or be known for or experienced so far in life. But when work ethic isn’t to blame, there’s nothing to say but “Not my fate obviously.” Why blame ourselves for luck falling short on us? You do what you can do, and then you appreciate the effort you put forth.
  • “We’ve all had breakups, but the worst ones are when someone not only hurts you, but does it in a way that makes you lose respect for them.” Wow. So true.
  • “He probably told you in his own way, or showed you those behaviors six months ago, while you were dressing him up in your mind in a Prince Charming outfit, white horse included, and his words were drowned out by the Bridget Jones soundtrack in your head.” So maybe things aren’t so surprising?
  • “There are a lot of people in the world to be with, and there will always be someone smarter, prettier, or more interesting.” When stated in this manner, doesn’t it sound so simple? Why freak out? If someone chooses to be with you, they choose to be with you. You could drive yourself crazy feeling insecure about every other person and for what? There’s always going to be someone better than you. Are you always going to be insecure?
  • “Some people think it’s the first impression that matters most, but I think it’s the last.”

And finally,

  • Quoted from Harold Lakes: “An act of love that fails is just as much a part of the divine life as an act of love that succeeds, for love is measured by fullness, not by reception.”

If you have the time, I suggest you listen to the following podcast. Whether or not you’re dealing or have dealt with a broken relationship, broken family, failed business, or simply a failed attempt – it will be applicable to you. Take the time to get through the first several minutes of history.

I think this is one of the most helpful things I’ve had the good fortune of stumbling across:

The Sacred Waste