Learning from the Younger Generation

My house is beautiful… absolutely beautiful. Deb and seven of my young cousins came into town for two days and cleaned the house and yard. It was a whirlwind of activity. It was two days of working, cleaning, cooking, eating, playing, laughing. I had so much fun. If cleaning was always that much fun, my house would be spotless.

And of course I have some observations, as always. Three, in fact. 🙂

1) Other teenagers are attracted to Kels, Lins, Sean, and Justy like moths to a flame. And after being with those four for two days, I know why. When you are with them, you’re happy. They are full of a warm, positive energy that comes from the inside. If you’re feeling depressed or lonely, it all fades away — like darkness exposed to a bright light — when you’re around the happy, positive, warm energy that these four people give off without even realizing it.

Of course people are attracted to them. Of course people want to be around them. They’re like a drug — you just feel content and happy when they are near. You forget all about war and crime and hate, and just enjoy their constant laughter.

How is this, you ask? Because they are happy. The whole time they were working, they were being silly and playing and laughing. When they were watching tv, they were giggling and talking. Even when they were just eating, they were having a good time, talking and joking and sharing.

I’m glad Mikey and Jojo are with them. It’s a bright and happy place to be, and they fit right in. And I can see why Deb likes having the teenagers in her house. It really brightens the house — makes it alive.

2) I’ve admired Kels for several years now. She is unique — I mean, really unique. She stands out from the crowd because she follows her dreams and tries new things. She doesn’t mind if she doesn’t blend into the background. I’ve always tried to blend into the background, not wanting to be noticed. After watching her grow into the person she is today, I realize that I don’t want to blend into the background anymore. It’s okay to stand out… and even fun.

And I’ve always been close to Sean and Justy. In particular, Justy. We’ve been with Justin since he was a small boy, and he’s always been close to our family.

Sean and Justy are always generally in a good mood and having a good time. Well, when they were here, they were working in the yard — working for hours in the Texas summer heat in the yard. They were down to just their shorts and sandals, their bodies covered in sweat, working…

… and playing and joking and singing! If that had been me, I would have been working and complaining, and then when I finally came in, acting the matyr for having to do such hard work. Not them. They genuinely had a good time the whole time they were out there.

And I want to be like that. I want to be happy and full of energy while I work — while I live — like Sean and Justin do.

The funny thing is, several years ago I didn’t think I had anything to learn from younger people. I thought, “I’m older, I’ve been through it, I know more.” And though I do have more knowledge, that doesn’t mean I know everything. And, after watching how my young cousins live, I certainly have things to learn — nebulous things about life and how to live. They are now the ones I look up to and the ones I want to try to emulate.

3) I also noticed that Lins has a real gift with young children. I have that gift although I never meant to and I don’t know how I came to have it — I didn’t even particularly want it. I would have rather had beauty or a lovely singing voice.

It truly is a gift though — a divine gift. And Lins will discover this as she goes throughout life. Because of this gift, wonderful things are going to happen to her. Wonderful things happened to me, and now I wouldn’t even think of trading that gift for beauty or a lovely singing voice.

Matt and I are trying to think of a way to thank Deb and the teenagers. What they did for us is amazing. Our house is truly beautiful now. I wander from room to room, and I feel so happy on the inside because it’s just so pretty. I think it’s the best birthday present I have ever got ever.

And though I didn’t write much about Deb (mainly because I was so amazed by the wonderful energy of the teenagers — all the laughter and joy that travels with them), she was just as incredible. What Deb brings with her is love. Deb loves people so much. She wants them to be happy, and she does whatever she can to make them happy.

There is a quote from Danielle Steele’s novel The Ghost that goes something like “Children reflect the sunlight of their parents.” There’s a reason Kels and Lins are such wonderful people and a real joy to be around: Bruce and Deb are wonderful people and a real joy to be around.

July 15th, 2006 | General | No Comments -

Love and Prayers

Well, it started on my birthday. I got two really lovely birthday cards, one from Donna and Dad and one from Tumama. Carla watched Lily so Matt could take me to the movies. And then Mom, the Pipkins, and Shelly’s household all called me on my birthday.

I guess that may not seem like a big deal to some people, but it meant a lot to me. I felt really loved on my birthday — I mean, really loved — because so many people had taken time out of their day just for my birthday.

So I was already feeling pretty darn special, and then Deb phones this morning and says, “Me, Kels, Lins, Mikey, and JoJo are all coming into town to clean your house for your birthday present. We’re going to mow and edge the lawn, and steamclean all the carpets. We’re going to clean the whole house.”

What a present!! Matt said, “What did we do to deserve a house cleaning?” And I said, “I don’t know. It’s so sweet of them to do this.” It really is a super present, so much so that I almost feel unworthy of it.

They decided to clean my house because of the recent journal entry I had posted about being depressed because my house was so filthy. Since I’ve written that entry, a mere three days ago, many things have happened. Matt and I bought a steam cleaner to clean the carpets and couches. I tidied up the whole house yesterday and started cooking again. Matt woke up this morning and said, “I have a lot of energy. I’m going to clean the garage today.” (He’s been working on it all morning, and it is looking much better.) And then Deb phones and says the Pipkin crew are coming down to do a complete cleaning of the house.

It all reminded me of one of Andrea Scher’s journal entries I had read a long time ago. I am a compulsive list maker. I write lists for everything. And, for a long time, I felt a little ashamed of all my lists, littered throughout my house and my life, because I thought they made me seem a bit freakish. “Why does she make so many lists? What a weirdo.” And then I read this journal entry, and for first the time, I was proud of my lists. She compared lists to prayers. A few quotes from the journal entry:

“These lists, the ones in the cigar box, are like my orders to the universe. The cigar box is my pnueumatic tube to heaven…. Maybe lists aren’t just lists to ourselves, but like placing our orders up to the universe. Maybe lists are like prayers.”

With everything that happened after the journal entry where I vented about the state of my house, I thought: you know, maybe journal entries are also like prayers. They are sometimes written with heartfelt emotion, practically bleeding onto the page. Pleading, begging, bargaining. “Please…” And, apparently, they don’t go un-heard.

You may see coincidence, but I’d rather see a conscious love. The world is much brighter, beautiful and more promising when viewed through that lens.

And, if some journal entries are prayers, then we must not forget the very important “Thank you” prayer. Thank you, universe, for listening to my cry in the night. Thank you, Deb, Kels, Lins, Mikey, JoJo and Matt, for helping me realize my dream of a clean house. Thank you everyone for thinking of me on my birthday.

Thank you.

July 9th, 2006 | General | No Comments -

Lily brushing her teeth

I haven’t posted a picture in awhile, and photos really do break up text nicely. 🙂

This is Lily brushing her teeth back in April when Matt’s parents were visiting.

July 7th, 2006 | General | No Comments -

Fear

I was thinking about my house again this morning. The thoughts rolled back to money as the solution again. “If we had more money, we could buy stuff so the house would be warmer — not so stark and empty.”

But then I thought, “That can be fixed with paint, not stuff. Stuff is clutter. Paint is color.”

And then my old friend and the topic of this post appeared: fear. I’ve never done anything with any of my homes because I’m afraid I lack the creative talent to design a comfortable and inviting home. (Except when I was a small child. Children haven’t learned to judge themselves — and therefore hurt themselves — yet.)

Fear of creating crap interior design, so I don’t even try. Fear of creating a crap book, so I don’t even try. Fear of being ugly, so I don’t even try.

I’ve lived in my personal world of fear for so long, it has become an integral part of my personality. It’s woven into the pattern that is Angel.

But I don’t want to live in fear anymore.

Since it’s a part of my personality, it will be difficult to change. I’ve changed my personality in the past, so it’s possible, but not easy. And I’m not even quite sure where to start.

I don’t want to live in fear anymore. I want to create.

Maybe that’s where I start: I want to create.

July 7th, 2006 | General | No Comments -

My House

This is a pretty long, meandering, somewhat whiny and revealing entry so I’ve cut it for any who want to skip it.

July 6th, 2006 | General | 3 Comments -

Stretching…

I don’t have anything amazing to write. I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing journal entries. I haven’t done so for awhile, and I’m a bit stale. But I really enjoy reading my other family members’ journal entries, so I feel I should start up again.

I learn what is going on in my family’s lives when I read their online journals, and also, as I’ve learned from reading Kelsey’s journal, I learn special and wonderful things about the person that I would never have discovered in normal interactions. Since journals are just a place for rambling thoughts, not only do I keep up on the events in their lives, I also get to hear their thoughts. It’s really nice and…. special. Very very special — like a gift. I open the tiny box wrought from silver so precious that it looks like woven moonlight, and inside, shining brightly, is the person’s light. That’s how I feel when I read my family’s online journals — that’s what I see.

So here I am, trying to get back into the habit of writing in my online journal. It’s a lovely way to share thoughts.

I’ve been writing. I added a large section to Chapter One and finished Chapter Two. These are, of course, just drafts and everything will probably be heavily rewritten by the end. So, for anyone who is keeping up with the progress, I’m afraid you really are reading a work-in-progress that will be constantly editted. I hope that’s not too annoying.

They are hiring a junior programmer at Matt’s work, and they looked at the personal webpage of one of the applicants. He was a hardcore goth and obvious outcast geek, and they decided not to interview him because they didn’t think his personality would fit into their workplace culture.

It made me sad that Matt so perfunctorily dismissed an outcast geek. I am an outcast geek. I may not look like it. I don’t program; I don’t watch Star Trek; I don’t ever religiously attend the UT Anime Club anymore, but I am still an outcast geek. (I’m a tree-hugging liberal hippy as well, although I don’t wear any of the hippy accoutrements.) I was one of the nerdy kids in high school who couldn’t talk to boys to save my life and participated in Academic Decathlon. I got A’s in all my classes without studying and aced the SAT like it was a 3rd grade quiz. (And then promptly failed loads of courses in college, like many an outcast geek. We just didn’t know how to study since we never had to before.) Anyways, that made me a little sad, to see one of my own not even given a chance.

The other thing that occurred to me: I wonder if my online presence will ever influence some real life situation like this fellow’s webpage lost him the interview. I wouldn’t change my online space. Part of me lives here now, and it’s a comfortable place for me. I like it. But it is interesting to think how our little virtual presence effects the physical world we live in.

I should probably write now. I’ve been putting it off for a couple of days. I don’t want to fall out of the habit.

July 5th, 2006 | General | 6 Comments -