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Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

Day 98: P.S. I Love You

In Books, Humanity, life, Love, Marriage, UK, Women on October 13, 2013 at 3:01 am

When I first saw the film P.S. I Love You, I knew it would always be a favorite of mine. It took me all the way across the world to Ireland, and it inspired my hike through the Wicklow National Forest–the very place where Holly met Jerry. Those that know me, know that I can, and do, watch this film over and over and over–

They often ask me, “why do you love it so much? It’s such a sad story.” While it does have its sad elements, I think there is something terribly empowering about the film. In it Holly has to learn how to make a life of her own because when Jerry dies Holly’s identity dies with him; he’s all she has ever known. She has to learn how to be by herself, one of the hardest lessons someone can endure in this life, and she has to learn how to build the very life that she questions at the start of the film, “I just see all of our friends buying houses and having babies–I wonder when our life is going to start?” Jerry laughs, “Our life has already begun, this is it, this is our life Holly.” After Jerry dies, Holly gets letters from him, the letters aren’t for Jerry, even though he claims they’re sent because “he just can’t let go yet.” They’re for Holly. They act as a mentor on her powerful, and oftentimes difficult journey.

I think we learn to love the things that we identify with. In an interview with the author of the book that inspired the film, the author describes this very feeling, “Writing this book was a very lonely process, but in a lot of ways it was very similar to what Holly experiences within the novel. It’s an isolating process, but you always come out on the other end better for it.”

I don’t watch the film for the “love story” aspect, I watch it because it reminds me how to be powerful and courageous. I watch it because it reminds me that this is my life and I shape the journey (part of the reason I went to Ireland two years ago). At the end of the film Holly’s mother tells her, “just remember that if we’re all alone then at least we’re all in that together too.” 142098210V

Day 92: Here at the Uni…

In Education, English Major, Teaching, Women, Work, Writing on July 29, 2013 at 8:43 pm

When you’re a teacher, the most meaningful, and perhaps important, part of your job is your students. I was on campus working at the university today and I decided to segue from my work to get a sandwich for lunch.  I noticed one of my students, one of my more insightful and dedicated ones would be an understatement, I approached her and we got to talking about her current endeavors (I always like to hear what my students are doing and the ways in which they have advanced).  She informed me that she is working with a program referred to as “summer bridge” wherein she helps a cohort of university freshman make is through their first year of college; I was so proud of her.

As I began to turn away from her, she stopped and looked me in the eye,

“The things I learned from you really helped me and I will never forget them. I just want to thank you for everything you taught me about writing.”

I beamed. Those are the real moments, the ones that counteract all the freshman students who sit in the back of the room and quietly sneer or text. It reminds you why you teach and it makes me feel like I am making a difference here at this university.

professor whit.

Day 90: Seven Principles to Making a marriage Work and The 30-Day Love Detox (Read Them!)

In Couples, Love, Marriage, Men, Relationships, Romance, Women on July 13, 2013 at 1:34 am

 

Sometimes we fail to recognize the things we love more than anything until they are no longer present.

When I first got married, I loved under the impression that marriage was supposed to be perfect.  I thought couples never fought and guys always brought home flowers when they did something wrong.  Boy was I wrong.

I recently read a couple good books that clarified this very concerning mishap in understanding the workings of a healthy relationship. If you haven’t read The Seven Principles to Making a Marriage Work then you should.  As I learned, it doesn’t matter if you’re married, divorced, in a complicated state (as we like to call it thanks to facebook), or hopelessly single.  This book is fabulous at helping individuals understand their role within a union and the inevitable role they must play on their own.

The other great self reference book I’d recommend is The 30-Day Love Detox.  If you’re a feminist you’ll find this book especially charming as I did.  However, it also appeals to the more traditional woman; infact, it provides tools to help you determine who you are.  (Unfortunately for me, I am a traditionalist trapped in a career woman’s body which is causing my uterus problems as of late).  This book emphasizes the importance of a “plan” and while I don’t advocate life or love plans as the be-all end-all, I do think they provide some sense of direction when you’re trying to find your identity and re-steer your course.  I really loved this book because it was written by a single mom, and although her own personal professional to dating is shocking in the end, it gives a glimpse at the different aspects of single mothering and such (but that’s for another post). 

While I hate losing things, and I hate even more perusing the “self help” section, which Barnes and Nobles has so eloquently re-named the “Relationship” section, I found these two books insightful and realistic.  Love isn’t a game, or a test, as lots of other books hinge, it’s just being you and weathering the bumps together.

As I was perusing Pinterest I notice an old love letter written by a guy named John, it was a famous John but which one I cannot now recall, he writes:

We got old and got used to each other.  We think alike.  We read each others’ minds.  We know what the other one wants without asking.  Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit.  Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.

But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and I realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met.  You still fascinate and inspire me.  You influence me for the better.  You’re the onject of my desire the #1 earthly reason for my existence.  I love you very much.

The crowning characteristic of love is loyalty. 

a whit.

 

Day 86: A favorite poem

In Education, Poetry, Women, Writing on March 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I, just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along.
-Dickenson

Daily Cupcake: Blogs I Love

In Blogging, Blogs, Books, Children, Education, Family, Mother, Motherhood, Women, Writing on February 24, 2013 at 8:28 am

Today’s cupcake, Blogs I Love goes out to this blog–a blog about being a mom and author–two of my favorite things [although I haven’t quite accomplished the author thing, yet].  I am just waiting for my early retirement, a new macbook, and a house with an office.

The author of this blog also wrote the book Sparkly Green Earrings a novel that chronicles life and being a family…

before I became a mother I had no idea that it would be the hardest and best thing I would do in my life. that I would look at this little person and see so much of myself…my sense of humor, smile, and ability to create drama out of nothing…and I can start to think you’re just like me but you’re not, you’re your own person–you are the dream we couldn’t have imagined and I wrote this book for you. love mama

As mothers we do so many things for our children–like drive home to get a different booster seat so our 2nd grader looks cool as he drives to the school fire station field trip, and clean up dog poop so our kids can know the beauty of loving something that loves them back threefold, and go to the store and buy 7 of the same pair of shorts because they are his “favorite” and that way he won’t know he’s not wearing the same outfit everyday. There are the usual things people always mention [probably the people who don’t have kids yet]…midnight feedings, tantrums, yada yada yada.  It’s the unusual things, though, like bribing your kid to leave the toilet seat down and tricking them out of candy by saying it’s owie medicine–that’s what makes a mother. You can enter to win a free, signed copy of Melanie’s book Sparkly Green Earrings here.

sge-pin-4

a mom whit.

Day 69: Daring Greatly

In Esteem, Family, Happiness, Love, Women on September 14, 2012 at 3:46 am

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

I don’t watch much TV, in fact I hadn’t watched TV really in the past five years.  However, I decided to get cable recently.  I still find myself rarely watching because it’s so out of habit, and I have ADD (I like to clean my floors way too often).

Anyway, awhile back I wrote this post on the topic of wholeheartedness.  I had randomly found myself listening to Brene Brown’s TED Talk, coincidentally when I popped on the TV today, which I rarely do, the Katie Couric show was featuring Brene in person.

She of course talked a lot about the topic of vulnerability and its necessity in our lives.  I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately, I’ve felt fearful as I enter into a new life and anticipate being a recent grad school graduate.  So, I guess someone knew I needed to hear these important words about vulnerability once again.

You see, there is nothing more dangerous and scary than standing on the out skirt of our own life.  What should matter to you is not whether you succeed or fail, but that you were brave, and the people that matter in this whole experience are those who love you not in spite of your vulnerabilities but because of them.

Brene talked a lot about a concept she refers to as foreboding joy.

Interestingly, I know this concept  all too well. She explains it like this:

That moment when you enter your child’s room, while their sleeping, and you look over their precious little body and think how much you love them.  Then in that moment of joy you shudder–what if they were taken from me by death?

It’s that moment when you realize I have a great job, a wonderful family–I have joy.  Then always comes the shudder as you realize that joy could be marred by tragedy.  Those who experience true wholeheartedness in this life take that moment and transform it.  Instead of allowing the joy to be stifled by fear they allow it instead to be a moment wherein they mindfully practice gratitude.  They embrace the reality of something possibly going wrong through quite simply, thankfulness.  In this, their joy can always live.

What’s worth doing even if you fail?

I thought about this.

…and I realized for me it’s all the scariest things.

going to school.

being a single mom.

loving someone.

because those are the things that are worth every risk.  they are not worth looking at from the out skirt of my life.

Today, I realized for the first time ever that it’s OK to be scared and if I fail at something then that’s OK too.  What matters is that I was brave.

Carrying Each Other: On Marriage: Day 63

In life, Love, Men, Women on August 7, 2012 at 2:06 am

I read Ashley Sullenger’s post Five Years today.  It was a great reminder of what marriage and love is truly about. Ashley and her husband lost their little girl a couple years ago to a canal drowning.  Because of this, her words seem so impressionable:

[On out wedding day] “look how innocent we were, we had no idea what was in store for us. I am extremely grateful to have had Patrick by my side.”

It should be a reminder to everyone out there, those married, those looking for love, and those loving their way into new marriages. True love is about being there during all of the tough stuff, reinforcing one another, and pulling each other through.  Someone once told me, sometimes you have to ‘carry’ the other person through hard times in their life–it’s all you 100%–but what is reassuring is they’ll be there to carry you when you need it.

life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.

love a whit. ing addict

DIY August: A gift for a far away lover {or military husband}

In Dating, DIY, Happiness, Love, Men, Women on August 4, 2012 at 8:45 am

{image compliments bakeitinacake.com}

Since Holstee June/July/August is finally over, its time to find a new home for the August cupcakes. Since I seem to be in a DIY mode, I’ve decided to dedicate this month’s sweets to my innumerable projects much of them brought to you by Pinterest.

I scoured the Internet, quite literally, looking to find what I would label as {see my actual google searches below}

gift for lover that works away

gift for boyfriend that works away

correct that

romantic gift for lover that works far away

sighing

romantic gift for military partner (this doesn’t actually apply to me)

romantic gift for military husband (neither does this, but I was getting creative)

The closest I got to any sort of gift that would be appropriate for my endeavor was this.

I’ll explain.

I was looking for a gift idea for someone special who works away {far away}. I wanted it to be romantic, personal, and I knew food items would not make it past airport security (even though men typically find food to satisfy all of the aforementioned. So this is what I came up with.

First I found an old box. This one just happened to say Romeo and Juliet which worked out perfectly.

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Then I wrote out several tiny folded cards with special things on them. Some quotes, some personal messages, all well-thought out. I needed 42 of them since that’s how many days my someone would be gone.

20120804-014754.jpg

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Then I wrote out my cards, explaining the the game, and I housed them in labeled envelopes.

“open just one paper a day, don’t cheat, open the other envelope before you return home. missing you already.”

20120804-015029.jpg

And there you have it, a wonderful, romantic way to stay in touch with someone you care about that is far away.

Some ideas for placement in your box–

write me a letter
check your pant pocket (house a love note there)
set up a “dear Sophie” email account and give them the password–send pictures/videos/letters to this account
romantic quotes
reveal details about yourself
get creative

A way to provide a romantic gift for a lover or military husband far away. It’s thoughtful, portable, and lasting.

My Style? Yes folks, I’m Looking For It: Day 61

In Beauty, Blogging, Fashion, Women on August 4, 2012 at 7:05 am

I always love perusing fellow bloggers to see where my next found muse will reside.

Today I found THIS BLOG, and I just had to look through all of her style archives because she does such a great job with her outfits.

I’ll admit, I don’t read many style blogs (because the outfits always add up to $500 a pop–yeah RIGHT) but there are a few really great things about pretty penny:

first:

she takes into account what my good friend Madeline has always told me…you buy a few expensive things to compliment everything else–that’s how you do style on a budget.  You only spend the money on the signature pieces and everything else you get it on the clearance rack.

pretty penny also recycles many of her pieces, in looking through her archives I noted that she recycled many things several times.

the best part about her blog is that she incorporates so many pieces from Kohls and since I am a couponer I definitely KNOW that you can get Kohls clothing practically free because they let you combine their store coupons (you can use Kohls cash with Kohls percentage off coupons simultaneously).

So, I’ve ended up pinning several of her posts and I’m going to see if I can recreate what she has done over the coming months. I’ve got so many of the items she utilizes, I am just terrible at putting them together. We’ll see how this project fix-my-style goes.

challenge 1: since I’ve had these HUE mustard tights sitting in my closet for over a year (I found them on clearance in SF for 3 bucks and just knew they would make something look great).  Well, she’s done it. Can I?

{photo compliments a pretty penny}

HOLSTEE JULY: How I Seized Life Through An Air Freshener

In Holstee Manifesto, Humanity, Laughter, life, Love, Men, Romance, Teaching, wit, Women on August 1, 2012 at 8:14 am

We’ve almost made it through the Manifesto. Sad but true.

Anyway, I was trying to figure out how to fit the following experience into one of the last left proclamations–attempting to create a moment of inspiration. We’ll see how it goes.

This last week my boyfriend stayed at my house (he works away mostly and it seemed better than him renting a hotel for the short duration of him being back in town).  He decided to get me a gift, one to say thank you for putting up with me, my dirty feet, protein powder spillage, and changing my 3 year-old’s diaper blowout.  Mostly though, he wanted to say thank you for letting him use my bathroom for his ‘starbuck’s special’ as he has entitled them.

His gift was very thoughtful given the aforementioned.

He brings in the Target bag, and pulls out whatever else he has purchased, then leaning towards me as he is simultaneously pulling my gift out of the bag too says, “here, I got this for you. I thought about getting you a couple new soap dispensers (since I cracked both of mine in my move) but I forgot to hit that aisle.  Then he proceeds to hand me an AirWick Limited Edition Air Freshener (OK, it was a little fancier but this is funnier).  I was taken aback, I immediately hugged him and thanked him as he set it up over the toilet (I have since moved it to the bedroom now that he is no longer using my loo for his starbuck’s specials).  He was proud, very proud.

I thought long and hard about this gift.  It really was very thoughtful seeing as he uses the toilet 2, sometimes 3 times per day.  In his mind, he really did have my best interest at heart (or he just couldn’t find the soap dispenser aisle).

So, back to the manifesto: SOME OPPORTUNITIES ONLY COME ONCE, SEIZE THEM.

Seize every moment, whether it’s what you expect or not–just like I did as I was handed a target bag with an aromatic device.  It was really more than an airwick, it was an opportunity for compassion and thoughtfulness.  It’s a smell I cherish now that he’s gone–I love it because it reminds me of a moment, an opportunity, that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

a chicken whit.

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