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Month: November 2016

Ten Times Seattle Nailed It!

Ten Times Seattle Nailed It!

Ten Times Seattle Nailed It!

img_4012I have to end the week on a light note. As a Seattle girl, I’m proud of my quirky, trend-setting, diverse and loving city. Here’s ten times Seattle nailed it!

Back Camera
Backpack! You’re welcome students everywhere

img_4539Got a good idea? Well, Seattle’s waiting to hear it. Check out the McKinstry Innovation Center and talk to them soon about your idea. 

Want more? Check out this article in Geekwire http://www.geekwire.com/2013/bezos-center-innovation/

Would Martin Luther King, Jr. wear a safety pin?

Would Martin Luther King, Jr. wear a safety pin?

thWould Martin Luther King, Jr. wear a safety pin?

I woke up with that question on my mind.

Our nation is still reacting to a presidential election that surprised everyone. Millennials are wearing safety pins to say, “You are safe with me. I stand with you.” Here’s a link to a more in-depth article that explains the origins of the safety pin movement. 

th-1Again I ask. Would MLK wear a safety pin? I’ve been streaming his speeches on Spotify and have to wonder. Would MLK want us to feel safe? Maybe. Then again, maybe he wouldn’t.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought against racism from pulpits, pavements and prisons. He gave his life for a civil rights movement that shaped our country into something better. When things got violent, he stepped into the fray and preached a position of love and peace. Here’s a link to his famous speech, “Loving Our Enemies.” I encourage you to take a few moments to read it. Don’t worry. I’ll wait. 🙂 In this speech, Dr. King tells us that “Jesus wasn’t playin’.” He says we are to love (not like, LOVE) our enemies. In other speeches he urges us to look upon our fellow man and expect goodness. Those sentiments lead me to feel that Dr. King might not have donned a safety pin. A recurring theme of his speeches was to challenge us to look upon each other and expect the best, expect goodness, expect safety.

thMaybe that’s why I resist wearing a safety pin. I want to walk through my days and look into the eyes of my fellow man for goodness, not look down for a pin on a lapel. Because what if it’s not there? What then? Do I assume that person is unsafe? Ignorant? Racist? Misogynist?  I can’t. I won’t. Right now there’s enough us versus them, him versus her in the world. I choose to look upon everyone as safe and if I am harmed because of that supposition, well then, I’ll hurt. But I won’t let it color my judgment against everyone.

To every single person wearing a safety pin, I respect your choice. Your fear is real and I have great compassion for you, but the truth is places of fear and discomfort have inspired the most dramatic steps forward in civil rights. If Rosa Parks hadn’t refused to give up her seat on that bus, forward progress would have been delayed for who knows how long? Anxiety, fear, anger, discomfort, and the passion to right a wrong led to change.

I guess the mom in me needs to say something else, too. Whether you’re a millennial or middle-ager like me, you have a right to feel however you feel. For now honor it. Cling to one another. Grieve. But then for God’s sake rise up! Take action to defend what you feel is most at risk. Use your fear and anxiety to push you out of your comfort zone and use your voice, your strong, unique and perfect voice to take action.

Attend that city council meeting. Write a letter to president-elect Trump and and local politicians to say that you expect the rights of all to be preserved and revered by this administration. Volunteer for a suicide hotline. Give to the local food bank. Help a neighbor. Do. Something. Now.

This has been my strategy all week and I feel better, way better doing something with my anxiety and fear than not.

And I’ll confess something ugly to you, too. If Hillary had won last week I’d be smiling. I’d feel safe. I’d feel comfortable. And I sure as hell wouldn’t be recommitting myself to the causes I’ve always felt most strongly about. So for me, a self-confessed Pollyanna, this is the silver lining.

Wishing you all love and peace,

Jenn

 

 

 

Are we addicted to hate?

Are we addicted to hate?

Love and Hate text concept on red and black dices
Love and hate are closely related

Hate. Did you listen to mainstream media today and scream? Did you jump on social media and stalk a few haters using words you’d never use with your kid in the room? Did you scream at the television during the ball game and scare off the cat?

You may be one of millions of Americans addicted to hate.

Brainscans show hate triggers OCD behaviors
Brain scans show hate triggers OCD behaviors

Neurologists studied brain scans and found some alarming facts. Feelings of intense hate and intense love trigger the same areas of the brain except for one key difference. Hate triggers the brain to judge more sharply. Love clouds those same judgmental neurons. Hmm. Interesting. Here’s the study if you want to read it in full. So love and hate ARE related, but love makes us look past each other’s flaws and hate does what? Oh, hate makes us harshly judge one another. Ouch. That’s right. No matter what the truth is about that other person, our hate filter shows them as ugly.

Here’s another interesting part of the study. Both intense hate and intense love are closely linked with the areas of the brain that trigger OCD behavior like compulsive thoughts. So if we feel intense hate, neurons are triggered that cause us to want to create that hate-filled surge again and again. Yeah. That seems addictive.

Does this explain why we troll people/groups on social media that make us angry? (I might’ve done this to the kicker’s wife that threatened Richard Sherman…) Is this why talk radio continues to flourish? Is this why sports are so damn popular? I’m not sure. Maybe. All I can say for sure is that I’m a simple woman that had a question and started down a rabbit hole of research about hate that I’m finding really really interesting.

So what does hate say about the hater? Well, according to Psychology Today, hate says everything about the hater and nothing about the hated. Hate is usually accompanied by fear and anxiety and often shows an ugliness inside us that we’ve spent a ton of energy stuffing deep deep down into the shadows of our minds. If you feel hate, let it be a wake up call. Notice that hate, name it and then ask yourself where it came from. If you can put a finger on that wriggly little thought-worm, then you can also deem it powerless.

thFinally, no matter what cause haters organize against, hate is a terrible vehicle for action. In another Psychology Today article about the toxicity of hate, I was struck with this powerful quote, “Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” 

We all remember the hate-fueled Westboro Baptist Group, right? That group was most certainly addicted to hate.

Well, I won’t hate. More than ever, today I’m called to love and care and give.

And for me, love and compassion are the antiserum to this climate of hate. When I dip a toe in social media and start to feel the hate, I yank myself away and tie on my Asics. After running a couple miles, the runner’s high hits and the hate fades to nothing. The fake ugliness, the not-so-important differences between us seem insignificant. And again I  see my fellow humans as they are, beautiful, loving, complicated people just trying to do the best they can.

 

Where did the term “boondoggle” come from?

Where did the term “boondoggle” come from?

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The boy scouts could make a ton of boondoggles with these!

It’s the most overused descriptive for public projects. I’ve heard it repeatedly over the last six months. But where does the term, “boondoggle” come from?

This is what I found on History.com. Click on the cite for the rest of the story. 🙂 And then afterwards, go vote!

“The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang” defines a “boondoggle” as “an extravagant and useless project,” but behind the funny-sounding name is actual history. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Boy Scouts at summer camps spent their days not only swimming and playing games but participating in the latest scouting craze in which boys braided and knotted colorful strands of plastic and leather to fashion lanyards, neckerchief slides and bracelets. According to the March 1930 issue of Scouting magazine, Eagle Scout Robert Link of Rochester, New York, coined the term for this new handicraft—“boondoggling.”

I Am Grateful

I Am Grateful

Back CameraWhen I was in college I began a list called, “Good Things Coming My Way.” Yeah, looking at the title now it seems a bit…umm…me-centric. But, the point of the list was to take note of all I had to look forward to in the coming days. Back then I was juggling a volunteer position for University of Washington athletics, a part-time job, and a full load of classes. It was easy to feel overwhelmed, but my little list put the positive in sharp perspective.

Here are a few that showed up every week:

  • Clean white socks on my feet
  • Food in my stomach
  • Healthy legs so I can exercise
  • My paycheck
  • A call or visit home
  • Spending time with my friends

Simple stuff, right? Well, I didn’t realize how well that attitude for gratitude has served me until I lost it recently.  This election season has been derisive, corrosive, mean and ugly. And when people hurt, I hurt. It’s who I am. For a time, I was struggling to get out of bed.

Now though, after a week away from the news and social media, I’m lighter in spirit and seeing the blessings around me again.

PollyannaToday I am grateful for:

  • Shelter over my head
  • Food in my cabinets
  • The freedom to worship God
  • The freedom of others to worship or not as they choose
  • Family and friends
  • Good schools and great teachers
  • People that do their jobs, not for the paycheck, but because they feel called to
  • My neighbors and community
  • Hope and healing
  • Healthy feet and legs that allow me to exercise
  • Fresh starts, not just on New Year’s Day, but every single day we  choose to forgive, try again, or move on

flag series copy copyA president will be elected tomorrow and we will all be okay no matter who wins. We will be okay. And if your gut still burns, focus on every little thing that is actually good in your life. You’ll find that other stuff shrinks shrinks shrinks and your heart (hopefully) heals. And if you’re still feeling fatigued, check out some panda vids here. 🙂 

 

Things We Have in Common

Things We Have in Common

big heartWe breathe.

We need to eat to live.

We love.

We try our best to do the right thing.

We care about our families.

We care about strangers.

And there’s so much more that I’m missing, right? What else do we humans have in common? As the United States seems to rage with hate-fire, I need to remind myself this is all propaganda, garbage that is leading people to become protectionist because the sky seems to be falling.

Well, the sky is still in place. And right now outside my Seattle window, the sky is actually clear and blue.

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A picture of my brother and me a long long time ago

We’re going to be okay. And also know that I love you. I care about you. And I want you to make strides towards that dream you have that brings you joy.

Add onto my list. What do you feel we all have in common?