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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

On Writing

Hi friends!

I write drafts all the time, but I'm trying something new this time - a free write.

Over the years I've realized I want to be a writer, but I don't take the time to invest in practicing my writing. This week I'm sharing someone else's story written by another person entirely. The person who wrote the story did a wonderful job. As I read through it I could see the previous English teacher seep through. I could tell, this woman, she loves to write.

This last weekend I met another previous English teacher and as we were talking, I kept looking at her and going, Yes, I see it. You are a writer.

Isn't it crazy that we separate people into those who can write and are 'writers' and those who can not? I often put myself in the "can not camp." Really, I can write. I can write, but it needs refinement. {Ironic, considering this is a free write.}

And I've learned that I like that there are rules, but I can't figure out all the rules. It's something that is similar to American football to me. I know there are rules, I know others are aware of them and follow them. But I can't quite seem to figure them out. 

And then there is the creative. That I can do. What I want to convey, that I can work on. I can wordplay with. When I 'edit' I often am editing for content and context.

My dad on the other hand, grammar and writing rules are his forte {he could tell me every error in this post}. On high school papers {and even some college} he would say, that together our brains would write excellently. He gets tripped up by the creative and the content, I by the grammar and the spelling.

At one point my coworker and I had a conversation about my desire to write in simple terms - better. And he took it on as his mission to the point where he gave me the book On Writing. I've been scared of what I view as my own incompetence and I've yet to read it.

That which is our weakness is where we have the most space for improvement. I can't promise more practice, but I do hope to spend a little more time here on the blog. I've even started writing more letters and finding more space to journal. I hope that it is the start of something.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

World Malaria Day 2017

A number of years ago I had a friend who died from malaria and complications of giving birth - to twins. She is not a statistic, but because of her geography she has become one. She has been lumped in with the many that make up the mass. My heart broke.

Today is World Malaria Day.

Yesterday, on the 24th of April the first malaria vaccine was announced. It is amazing, yet the trials don't mean that it will be available to those that need it. There are different types of malaria and that doesn't mean that the virus will not mutate from the vaccine type. there are all these things that I can find wrong with it, even though I think it is a good thing.

This is all great, don't get me wrong... but. I struggle. I read the press release the WHO put out yesterday about the areas that need attention in the fight against malaria. And I read statements such a this:
"Any death from malaria – a preventable and treatable disease – is simply unacceptable," said Dr Pedro Alonso, Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme. "Today we are urging countries and partners to accelerate the pace of action, especially in low-income countries with a high malaria burden."
While I agree, this is preventable, there are is like saying all death is unacceptable.

I start to think of the practical side and how there is a girl at the school in sub Sahara Africa, the most prevalent place of malaria, that has malaria but was still attending class. She had to live with it. We made sure she had the medication that she needed for "treatment." It is a part of her life. My heart breaks as I think about how fuzzy her lessons must be from those days, her concentration zapped, failing energy.

I think about my friends, adults, that have had malaria many times in their life. Each time the disease comes it gives them a little more immunity - we hope.

I think about the little boy in the bed with the IV drip, the one where they had trouble finding his dark vein, against his dark skin, in the dark exam room. Little light, little ventilation, scary room. And my heart broke as the alligator tears silently fell down his cheeks. Him switching between thrashing and laying perfectly still. The sweat from the fever induced malaria pilling on his forehead.

Instead of feeling hopeless, I'm going to be excited about the new opportunities and research going on to prevent those alligator tears, aching bodies and grave sites. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

You, in this moment, are loved.

I hope you know you are loved.

No matter what. 
No matter what you've done, 
what you think, 
what group you belong to, 
what country you live in, 
what language you speak...
You are loved by a love that knows no bounds.

Let that sink in. We don't always feel it, so let it marinate, simmer, seep into your being. You are loved for no other reason than that you are you. And if you don't feel loved, reach out. Tell someone you trust that you need love. {You can even tell me.}

We as people do a horrible job of showing that boundless, never ending, all encompassing love. We don't fully grasp it, and so we 
have a hard time passing it onto others. But it's there, everyday, not just today.
You, just as you are in this moment, are loved. You.

Picture from "Gusta" pizzeria in Florence.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Swim in Your Corner of the Pool

One of my favorite places to pop in and read, to sit awhile in my thoughts, is Emily Freeman's blog...ok, Emily P. Freeman.

She recently wrote a letter of encouragement to her former self about the world of blogging and life in general. And it resonated, 101 comments resonated. And she brings up things that most of us are thinking of, are aware of, or are experiencing. 

When I started this blog I had had the desire to start one for awhile. I struggled between wanting to just share and to be the blog everyone read. And I quickly realized that it took so much more time than I ever gave it credit. I've watch others switch platforms and pay for site designs or ads. I've watched the giveaways, the link-ups and the promoted content. I've seen some really great blogs become the big thing and seen bloggers launch their online careers. I've considered all these things, but for me this was an escape. It was a place to practice writing and a place to get my thoughts out where someone might read them.

And it wasn't such an escape when I had to reload the photos (not great quality I might add) to a post 3 times. Or when I felt pressure to get a better camera to take better pictures (still working on this). Or when I saw how much site designs and ad spaces cost. Or even when I learned how to do my own tiles and then couldn't figure out how to code them into the side bar (I know how to do this now!). 

I now work in marketing and it makes me laugh how much this little space hasn't progressed. My job has given me the ability to know some of the backend things that were so mysterious to 18 year old me. But that doesn't mean I know everything. Or really that I spend the time to do it during my non working hours. 

It amazes me how much envy there can be for a space that's open to the world. And frankly, I don't want to be a part of it. Maybe that's why I've deprioritized this blog thing. Maybe that's why when I hear how many people have "made friends online" through blogs and social channels, I have to turn and guard my heart. 

You are special, you are unique, you are you. And you have to learn to swim in your area of the pool. You have to learn and develop your passions because your area of the pool needs to be splashed and the bottom floor explored. Your area of the pool doesn't need green stagnant water. It needs the vibrancy of rainbow shimmers on the blue wave forms. It needs you.

Here's to guarding our hearts and that which is most precious to us. Here's to being small, even when we're watching others get big. Be you, fully and uniquely. Just as Jennie Allen said this past weekend during the IF:Gathering, the world doesn't need more big. It needs you, just as you are, because you have everything you need to be you.