Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"In the Way of Beauty"

We hiked to a waterfall last week. It seemed a fitting thing to do on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I couldn't tell you why.

The night before the hike, I began reading Barbara Brown Taylor's book, "An Altar in the World." Each step towards the thunderous waterfall, I found her words to be true. We had found ourselves in the house of the Lord.

I saw someone caption an Instagram, "Think Outside. No box required."

In the evening, Adam and I pulled a date night stunt worthy of life hack blogs. We went to the movies together, but chose our own movies. I saw Wild all by myself. While that may not seem like a wild thing to do, it was my first solo-moving-going experience. It was a fitting choice for a solo-go.

As Reese Cheryl walked across the Bridge of the Gods that we drove over earlier in the day, she echoed the movie's theme of putting yourself in the way of beauty. Maybe there is something to that.

When I put myself in the way of beauty, I can find myself at an altar in the world. I hope it is as simple as that.

FTC disclosure: Some links are amazon affiliate links, which means if you buy through my links I will earn a small percentage of the proceeds. The cost is always the same to you. Thanks for your support. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

A New Kind of Princess

A crazy infographic telling the true ages of the Disney princesses.

The preschool-aged girl I nanny constantly reminds me that Elsa from Frozen is, in fact, a QUEEN not a princess. 

Princess culture makes me squirm, as you could probably gather from posts like this one and this one. 

As we play with her dolls, she tells me we need to decide which princess is the "most beautifulest" to marry the prince. I posit, through the voices of the dolls of course, that sometimes princes look for the girl that is the "most funniest" or "most smartest." 

Sometimes princesses have bigger goals than convincing a prince to marry them. 

It pained me to hear her say that princesses can't be beautiful and smart. Oh yes they can, Sweet Girl. 

In order to further derail the princess myth ingrained in her still developing mind, I've been creating a new princess for our own story times. This princess isn't actually a princess, but we haven't got that far in the story. She lives in a walk-up apartment, rather than a castle. She is fiercely independent, imaginative, inventive, and she has purple hair, because, why not? She solves problems through math, creativity, and kindness, instead of finding a man to fix them.

Her mom texted me last night telling me she wants to ask Santa for a doll of this new princess for Christmas. I told her I'd have to write the book first, before dolls could be made. Poor Santa might have trouble finding her this Christmas. 

It's moments like these that let me know she might be getting some of what I'm trying to teach her. I could be wrong; maybe she just wants more princess dolls. 

I hope after however long I get to spend with this precious girl, she remembers it doesn't matter if she is the "most beautifulest," "most funniest," or even "most smartest." What matters is that she is true to herself and has meaningful goals beyond convincing a "prince" to marry her.

*FTC disclosure: Amazon affiliate links used. If you make a purchase through my link, I earn a small percentage from Amazon. The cost is always the same for you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Marriage Advice from a Newlywed: Episode 1

On Veteran's Day, Adam and I will celebrate 18 months of marriage. We will probably do something exciting like eat dinner at home and watch "our shows" on Netflix (because we are predictable like that and also leave for work very early).  

I know 18 months isn't long in the lifetime-scheme-of-marriage, but sometimes those who are newcomers to a situation have a lot to offer. Plus, I can't keep using our newlywed status as an excuse for not writing about marriage. Marriage is marriage no matter how recent. 

So I give you, episode 1 of Marriage Advice from a Newlywed. 

One thing I have learned about marriage is to never make cultural assumptions. This may sound weird, considering Adam and I would be seen as fairly similar culturally. We both come from White American Evangelical families. We both speak English as our primary language. We both went to Christian colleges and seminary. We both grew up watching PBS Kids

But culture is deeper than race, education, socioeconomics, and public television. When you drive to a pumpkin patch and your husband doesn't understand why you're upset about your shoes, you realize that everything affects culture: even the weather.  

What I wish I was wearing that day.

See, in Oregon it rains. Especially in the fall (ok, and winter and spring). So it is (assumed) known fact that when you go to the pumpkin patch in October, you will be trudging through several inches of mud. Everyone else in their wellies at the pumpkin patch got the memo.  Apparently this is not a thing in some places where the autumns are dry and other magic ensues. 

We still went to the pumpkin patch and indulged in all the fall activities (food): kettle corn, apple cider, sweet corn on the cob. However, we skipped the actual pumpkin patch and corn maze, since we still had our church shoes on and mud was rapidly reproducing around our feet.

This misunderstanding made me realize how easily cultural differences can cause tension in a relationship, without either party realizing what is going on. If cultural issues come up for a couple like us, with fairly similar backgrounds, I imagine this would be magnified for folks with actually different cultures. No matter how different or similar spouses may be, marriage requires tons of grace. 

And kettle corn.