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7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

1. Monday Meeting. Meeting new people is never a chore, as I’ve always found that we have so much to learn from one another, and the more connections we can make with people, the better. When I look to create new experiences, I care about exploring new territory, but I care about exploring new territory with people. Meetings are always better when you can find those things with which you can connect, and it never ceases to get boring. Monday was no exception.

2. Grading Grind. Grades were due this past Friday, and with essays and projects coming in last week, I was a bit overwhelmed to say the least. Unexpected company breaks up the monotony, and was welcomed this week, and I am so thankful for spontaneity keeping me sane through the overload.

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3. Steve Jobs.  I love a good character study flick, and this one did not disappoint. As a writer, I’m often turned off by dialogue that reads too much like deus ex machina, and there was a bit of that set-up in this movie, but it was so well done that I didn’t care. Michael Fassbender is perfect as Steve Jobs, who like him or not, is portrayed as a multi-dimensional human, just as we should approach a world with grey areas.

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4. Freaky Friday.  There was a change in plans on my Friday night, but being a rainy night, I welcomed it. I was happy to help out a friend of mine and watch her adorable daughter who provided me with much-needed guttural laughs and french-fry time.

5. Rainy Saturday.  A perfect rainy day, in my eyes, includes spending it with good company, vegging out, and sharing a big blanket and a movie. Check, check, check. Spending time outdoors is ideal, but when life hands you raindrops, stay inside.

6. Boo-Fest.  A friend of mine held a low-key Halloween party Saturday night, complete with delicious food and plenty of beverages. I pretty much ate my way through the night, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. WHOOPS.

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7. Sunday Flex.  Thankfully, after a night of bingeing, my roommate’s personal trainer-sig-o welcomed a day of free-personal training. My roommate and I took a spin class, and then he took us through a brutal ab-series that woke my abs up out of their sugar-induced coma from the previous night. Lesson learned.

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Lauren


1 Comment

Repurpose.

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Repurpose me,

like the frame that didn’t quite reveal the entire painting

(the rounded edges took short-cuts around sharp corners),

but fits a mirror large enough to reflect

the flawed —

wasn’t deep enough for water, but shallow enough for sand —

an old, empty mason jar for detached buttons.

I’m flexible — I bend;

but push and pull like the trick

I was taught to cut

paper without scissors, and then

I tear,

but no matter,

what do you need?

Toss me out with

knee-jerks,

or recycle me as consolation,

but dare you allow someone else to

reuse me,

because then I’m no longer

yours.


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7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

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Despite that unhappy face, those chubby cheeks put up with a lot of his older sisters’ antics. We doted on him, and he LOVED it (That’s the story we tell ourselves).

1. Peanut & The Norwegian Viking’s Birthday. We are not short on nicknames in this family nor on love. It was my sweet brother’s birthday this week, as well as my brother from another mother’s birthday (brother-in-law — duh), and I am so grateful to have these two outstanding gentlemen in my life and more-so to call them my family.

2. Turn That Monday Frown Upside-down. My fellow 7th grade writing teacher cohorts and I had to put on a presentation on Monday in front of our reluctant staff. In an effort to bring our writing scores up, we had to ask our staff to get on board and teach writing with us in their content area. I was a tad nervous about it, considering that we all have enough on our plates as is, without adding something else to the mix, but it was a relief to find that they met us with less contempt than we thought. Ha! That was a relief, and in fact, they expressed to us that it made a lot more sense this time and were happy to step in and help. Phew! And as a bonus, I looked forward to meeting someone for coffee after work. We pretty much shared stories and laughed the entire night, and I so needed that energy to start my week. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do a Monday.

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3. Hump Day.  In more ways than one, Wednesday was a hump day — not in that way — get your head out of the gutter! My roommate and I met a new friend out for dinner Wednesday night, and somehow found ourselves talking about the TedTalk (below) that he shared with us. Take a moment to watch it — it’s totally worth your time. Do it. Stop reading, and do it now. GO. But come back!

Alright, now that you are back… We decided to ask each other the 36 questions mentioned in the video that are suppose to bring people closer together, and truth be told, it changed us. I felt like I knew my roommate on a deeper level and our new friend suddenly felt like someone we’d known for eternity. I woke up that next morning feeling so light, grateful, and fulfilled. To know people fully is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other. To give ourselves freely and vulnerably (okay, I see you red squiggly line, but I refuse to not make this a word) is incredibly freeing when the fear is taken out of the equation. Did anyone fall in love in this scenario? I’m willing to bet something will come out of it (I was a grateful observer). And… I realized something about myself that night in combination with recent therapy (not afraid to say it!), I AM NOT AFRAID OF VULNERABILITY!! I am rightly guarded because of events that have happened to me, but that’s okay — it’s healthy. Learning how to not allow those experiences to control us is key but we should gently allow experience to shape us. That’s natural. What’s not natural is fighting against that. I look forward to and actually seek opportunities to be vulnerable, when others are willing to take the journey with me. All three of us were willing, and we gave each other some of the best compliments I have ever heard. At one point, my new friend said, “If I were to enjoy a beautiful sunset with someone or just take in the joy of something, of all people, I would want to share that moment with you because you also see the world through rose-colored glasses and would see the beauty in things the way I do.” Wow, I love that so much, that I will remember that forever. I think the best feeling in the world is just feeling understood, and he understood how much that part of myself seeked to be acknowledged and admired. I want more of this feeling in my life, and I will seek it out every day and get to know people with intention. Life is too short not to do that.

4. Blues Happy Hour.  Friday night, someone invited me to check out a blues happy hour at a hidden gem of a venue in Austin. Being the blues fanatic I am, I am shocked at myself for not having done this in Austin before this past week. We went to Skylark Lounge and saw the cutest senior citizen belt out the blues. Her range was pretty impressive. Although I lost a couple of  self-generated bets (I should never do this! — I’m not known for my luck), I think I still came out a winner with good company, music, and beverages.

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5. Oddball Festival.  My roommate and I went to The Oddball Festival in Austin on Saturday and saw Amy Schumer and Aziz Ansari. Not only were they hilarious (Schumer rules my world), but their social commentary was also on point. Nothing beats spreading progressive thought with a sense of humor to boot.

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6. Elephant Room.  After the comedy festival, we met up with a few people at The Elephant Room downtown — an underground, divvy jazz bar. It was swanky, soulful, and I felt like I was in a time warp with the most interesting people in Austin. People with blues and/or jazz in their veins cannot lack a good story. I’m convinced this is a strange truth. I’m such a dork, but with a glass of whisky in my hand, saxophone and drums filling my ears, and a vibration in the room that induced a chair shimmy, I felt like I had finally found my people.

7. Sunday Funday/Workday.  Sunday, I was up to my eyeballs grading papers, but my roommate and I had a couple of visitors throughout the day to break things up and keep me from going completely insane. And the good news is… It’s Monday, and I’m still alive. Papers up to my eyeballs… Let’s do this, Monday.

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Lauren


4 Comments

7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

1. Daring Greatly. This is not something I would normally tell just anyone, but I’m entering a new phase in my life — one where I’m daring greatly (I know I risk sounding like a promotion for a new Brené Brown book, but that’s okay). I’m ready to lean into my feelings instead of escaping the tough ones. I was recently diagnosed with PTSD from something that happened when I was 28 (that was not my fault!), and I’m going through EMDR treatment. It has affected my relationships with people for far too long, and I’m just relieved to know it’s SOMETHING, and it’s something that can be treated, so I can move forward with my life. I feel like a new person, and I’m excited about how many new doors this will open for me. This may seem like something I’d want to keep private, but I’ve recently decided that anyone who is worth keeping in my life is not going to shy away from this. The right people in my life will not see this as baggage they don’t want to deal with (yes, this happens), but they will be empathetic and understanding as well as patient with me. I want those people in my life. In addition to just the other day being a Mental Health Awareness Day, I’m saying this because I think it’s time to normalize making mental and emotional health a priority.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness — but rather, a sign of strength.

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2. 100% Lauren. This past week, I decided I wasn’t going to think twice about taking a different approach to dating. I’d lay out 100% Lauren on the table right off the bat. Not that I wasn’t myself before, but I wasn’t allowing my full self to come out right away; I was a guarded self — vulnerability was a fear of mine, big time. I have no more time for bs (my own or someone else’s); either you like me the way I am, or you don’t. I’m far too lovable (yes, it’s okay to say that!) to allow something to develop where either person is underprepared. I was so proud of my dating-self this week, as I felt comfortable, in my element, and I now have the attitude of (pardon my French),”f*ck it if you don’t like the unabashed, unedited version of myself.” From now on I will communicate all my wants and needs without worrying about how the other person will respond — because, with the right one, I won’t have to worry. It’s so freeing.

3. Pieous.  I’ve had my fair share of pizza the past couple of weeks (whoops), but this is still (in my mind) the best place to go in Austin. This week was only my second trip to Pieous, but I’m partial to gooey, chewy crust, without it being too thick, and this was just right.

4. Murphy’s Law.  I had a day this week that made me laugh because it seemed to follow Murphy’s Law; everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. However, I am pleased they were things I could laugh about and nothing serious. My students were all laughing at me (with me!) at all the little things that were happening throughout my day, so much so that word spread to my other kiddos throughout the day, and they kept asking me to tell them the story. We had fun with it. Laughing at life’s little curve balls make it even sweeter, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Oh, and in case you are interested, here is the running list I started that day:

  1. Running late to work because it was my day to cook/bring lunch
  2. All four tires were low and I had no gas that morning
  3. Student started screaming during class because when he opened his Literature Textbook, it was infested with tiny, red sugar ants
  4. During a lock-down drill, my window shades got stuck and wouldn’t go down, so I climbed the bookshelf with my co-teacher and taped paper up on the window. When I finally got half of them down (only half), they got stuck down and wouldn’t go back up after the drill.
  5. When I plugged in the crock pot at work (the lunch I cooked for coworkers), the plug I used wasn’t working, and I didn’t notice until right before lunch.
  6. I had the makings of a migraine that wouldn’t go away while meeting someone new for dinner
  7. My air conditioning went out… again.
  8. My shower curtain rod fell and broke.

Despite all the little fumbles, my day was actually kind of fun — because I made that choice.


5. HH + B-Day Party.  The end of the work week always ends a little sweeter with the help of consistent Friday friends. As a bonus, we spent more time together this Saturday at a friend’s birthday party. Just what the doctor ordered. And yep, that’s me riding on the way home from the party in the trunk of a Corvette cause… #selfrespect.

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6. Family Fun. Although short, it was sweet. I am happy I got to spend some much-needed time with my sweet family who was in town at their lake house and with the most perfect weather to boot.

7. Challenge Group.  After all of that pizza, I am excited to start another fitness challenge group this week, and I plan to go full-on hardcore!  Ha! Time to get ripped and do the opposite of gorging during this upcoming holiday season. I plan to be fully prepared. Bring it on, pies. I dare you you to challenge me. I dare you.

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Lauren


5 Comments

Papered walls.

Recently, I posted a list of personal goals, for accountability’s sake, and one of them is to perform a self-written poem. I’ve since had a change of heart, and I’ve decided to write a different poem, so I’m sharing the original choice here. I wrote it, but it doesn’t feel like mine.

Plus, I’ve been timing it, and it’s longer than three minutes (the time allotted), and I like it as is (I’m stubborn like that). I’ll share my performed poem post-reading.

Papered walls.

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Sometimes, though the pipes seem solid when left alone, they leak when the curves meet the rushing water. We all know how to turn a knob, how to push it back, its brass body resting against a wall papered with yellowed edges that curl — ugly but familiar. Some of us want to mend the holes, but we don’t know how. And even if we mend the pipes, and they leak again, we might not know if we can do it again. We could lose too much water. We could lose too much water. We could lose too much water.

We could run out of water
So we leave home in search of it
We look for the signs
Out on the trail
The signs that tell us
It’s around the corner in
Just under five miles
And that seems too long
But the drought though it hurts
Is strangely
Comforting
Because
Water
It could fill us
And then what would we
Have to look for now?
No more signs.
Signs
Not the feelings
We have that it’s near
No intuition
Because the knob is resting
Its body against the papered wall
Yellowed white with deeper yellow roses
And feelings become facts
Rather than
Opinions
It’s easier that way
To make them tangible.
Like when
We try to hold on to
What’s crystalized on the edges
The sentiments
Sediments left
Behind
Abandoned as the rest of it moves on
Some of it
Escaping
Through the holes

I loved a man who has looked for signs his entire life.

The only way he knew anyone loved him was
By the way she packed his lunch in the playful tin
An absent note with words, but the lost crusts of the sandwich
Tell him more
By the way he praised his choices
His moments captured
Solidified in a photograph
Sentiment
Sediment
Tangible now
Fact not feeling
By the way they show up
Around the corner
And tell him which direction he should turn

***

Where is the next marker on his trail
From the bottom
To the top?
Or was it the other way around?
At the end
There were no
More
So
When the rubber
Caresses the curve
Of the speed bump he once liked to
Touch
He asks,
Is she worth it?
He’s coming
To me.
One more speed bump
Am I worth it?
Another speed bump
Is this worth it?
More speed bumps, and the frame
Might shift
That’s expensive
To fix
The price to pay
Is more than he carries in
His wallet
But the money is in the bank.
He might know after the next speed bump –
The one right before
The exhaust
Scrapes the concrete,
But maybe
Not
If he parks,
he might
Run out
Of signs
But when
He gets to
Her
She’ll tell him,
With her hands in his reluctant hair,
The next marker
Is
Not something he has
To look for; it’s behind
His rib
Cage
Where there is
A catheter
For releasing all the bad
Blood to make
Room
For someone else
There are no holes in this pipe,
And the fluid,
It’s moving through too quickly
Even though he didn’t ask for it.
Slow down.
It’s too much.
There are no holes.
No escape.
No sentiments.
Sediments.
Fact not feeling.

She’ll
Say the curve in his
Ribs may not allow
Him to see anything beyond a
Point at its peak
For lack of
Linearity, but to trust
The lack of visibility
Doesn’t stop
That curve from protecting
What is behind it.

I’m turning the knob.
Only I’ll just need my hands.


3 Comments

7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

  

1. Coupling. They may be in young-love that won’t last, but they know how to do it. Monday morning, a boy student brought his girlfriend flowers and balloons to ask her out to homecoming. When I was on morning duty, a crowd was forming around this boy who wasn’t afraid of a lil’ vulnerability at his young/awkward age. He had the whole school around him, and his confidence was still soaring. It permeated the hallways. Students peaked their head around the corner, waiting for his girlfriend to show up with their cameras prepped and ready.  Precious, I tell you! Later in the week, another boy took a cue, and did the same to ask a girl out. I called it that they would say ‘yes’ but then immediately walk away, soaking in the warm attention and blushing embarrassment all at the same time. Ah, middle school.

2. Love me if you dare. I love it when someone suggests a movie that I’ve never even heard of, and then I adore it. Watch it, if you dare. You can rent it on Amazon. I’m a sucker for a good quirky romantic movie.

  
3. Twin Brag.  My sister’s dress project was over-funded. Wahoo! See it and like it here. I am so proud of her (as always), and I can’t wait to see her wow Austin with her talents.

I did NOT eat this...

I did NOT eat this…

4. Catching Up.  I skipped my weekly happy hour to catch up with a dear friend at the first brick and mortar of a popular pizza truck in Austin, Via 313 Pizza. She is always my voice of reason, and I am so grateful to have her as a friend. She is the ultimate listener, and always has my best interests at heart, sans judgement. Thank you, friend, for always showing me love, no matter what.

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5. Poetry.  After my sister broke out old family photographs to promote her dress line, I’ve been inspired to take another look at some of my own. I’ve always been fascinated by them, but recently I’ve been interested in writing poetry inspired by the photographs of my past and tying them into who I am today.

6. Co-Ed Baby Shower. I have to admit, I am not a fan of baby showers, or any showers for that matter. There is something about the silly games and oohing and awing over gifts that make me cringe. Ouch, I know, that may be harsh, but it’s just the truth. However, my friend  had a co-ed shower Saturday night with drinks and good food, and the good company didn’t hurt either. I survived. I also may have oohed once.

7. Sunday Games.  I have a huge affinity for the movie, Wet Hot American Summer. My roommate and I decided to start watching the new Netflix series, but before that, she had to watch the original movie. We decided after our long week, we deserved a little champagne for making it through it alive — so we looked up drinking games for the movie (which, yes, they were readily available) to enjoy our champs. Good times.

8. (Cause why not one to grow on again?) Soul.  I have jammed so much to soul and blues this week, that I feel renewed. I’ve embraced the fact that I was born with so much soul, and I’ve realized that I need people in my life that match my affinity for unabashedly emoting.

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Lauren


1 Comment

Diamond fence boy.

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My mother told me to stop

and see what they would do

when I asked about their intention.

They chased me

but for what?

At recess,

when a boy finally

caught me (I let him),

he stuck my wrists in the diamond shaped holes

in the fence,

looked around at his friends

for a cue

of what to do next.

The thrill of not knowing

his next move

kept me from taking my tiny wrists

out of the large-

enough holes,

paralyzed by wonder

though instinct told me,

he didn’t know.

I imagined a kiss.

I might duck.

Would he ask me to marry him,

like John did

on one knee,

everyone screamed,

“You are his wife now!”

I told them I wasn’t, and

we went our separate ways,

just like the diamond fence

boy did for his next

move, paralyzed by wonder.

 

If my fingers were wrapped around wrists,

I wanted to catch,

we’d leap over the

diamonds together,

run through the streets looking up to the sky,

screaming at something, though

we don’t know what, running into the wind like it was a security

blanket,

the faster we run, the more it feels like

a caress we want

to give

each other

secretly racing, so that our heartbeats feel slower

than the pace of our feet,

throwing glances, tripping over curbs,

trying not to notice,

we

climb over fences — you’d

have to give me a boost,

swim in other people’s

pools without the clothes

we were sent in,

sneaking glances, tripping over words,

pretending we are new to the neighborhood, mom and dad

work late, so we eat their bbq,

and you tear off the crusts;

you know what I like.

Let’s go inside,

and dance to the record that crackles,

though the vibration prevails

like the secret

we aren’t telling each

other

but don’t

have to

because you trust me

and I trust you.

I don’t try,

but I know,

your wrists are too large

to fit

inside a

diamond,

so we just hold on

to each other’s

wrists

protecting each other’s

fingers from spreading

and getting caught in the

artificial

wires

from our past

lives.