1.08.2015

pearl

I feel like I've already told this story, but don't feel like going back to look. I was waiting for a meeting to start last night and took one of those buzzfeed quizzes... This one was "Which magical creature are you?" Don't judge.  I had a lot of time to kill.

I got mermaid.


It may be pushing it to say I "feel whole" when I'm near the ocean.  I love the beach, but that is a bit much.   Pretty sure anyone who picks Hawaii as a getaway location gets mermaids but whatever. (Italy was not an option.)

Anyway, it made me laugh, because when I was young, I used to pretend I was a mermaid. Sarah and I would get dropped off at Maxey Pool for the day. We would swim, swim, swim and swim some more. (Crazy to think there was ever a day when I didn't care about how I looked in a bathing suit.) Eventually we started pretending that we were mermaids. I was "Pearl" and she was "Scissors."  (Foreshadowing to the type of grown-ups we would eventually be, no? Me in my cardigans and pearls, her in funky classic style....)
I don't remember the story behind this picture, but it still makes me laugh.


Now I'm craving a trip to the beach.  Thanks a lot buzzfeed.

1.05.2015

screensavers

I don't have kids, so I have some freedom in my desktop wallpaper. Am I the only person that spends an inordinate amount of time picking the perfect one? There are so many beautiful pictures, funny quotes, and posters with unique typography that it becomes overwhelming. However, I have a few that make it into the rotation quite a bit:

"I have learned that to be with those I love is enough." Walt Whitman (currently on ipad)


"Kindness is always fashionable." (Currently on work computer)


"Always deliver more than you are expected to deliver." (Previously on work computer)


"Gratitude turns what we have into enough." (Previously on home computer)


As I was saving these pictures, I came across the one I'll use next:


Currently, the wallpaper on the home computer is a picture of Larry's tweet being broadcast on CNBC. Not the same kind of inspiration I'm accustomed to, but inspirational nonetheless I suppose.

What is on your screen?

1.01.2015

the red X

I'll be honest - I don't think I've read a blog post in probably 6 months.  Maybe more.  I used to read them religiously, but like so many other things, it went by the wayside.

After hours of college football today, I started getting a little restless.  Checked Facebook.  Zulily.  Rue La La.  Buzzfeed.  I went back to Facebook and even watched some of the links to videos/and articles that I usually scroll through.

I got around to entering my brother-in-law for a Dr. Pepper scholarship.  As I double-checked my gmail account to make sure I had his email address entered accurately, I came across a blog comment that I hadn't "published" yet. Which brought me to my blog, and here I am.

One of the blogs I used to follow closely was Enjoying the Small Things.  If you've never read the birth story of her beautiful girl Nella, you should.  I'll wait.  Her post today provided me with enough inspiration to actually write a post.  Shocking, I know.

You all know that I find beauty in the ordinary.  I'm not one to strive for greatness, or originality, or to ruffle feathers. I like ordinary.  I also like being content.  I don't have a 5 year plan.  I find comfort in what I have today and I don't worry about what is up next. 

But sometimes I feel guilty and/or conflicted for this.  Like relishing in the ordinary is somehow wasting gifts that I've been giving or holding me back from something bigger and better.  That being content means I don't have vision and that I've grown complacent.  That I'm either not brave enough or that I'm too uninspired to go forth and do great things.  That I've settled.  To be fair, I think that there is probably an element of truth to all of that. But not enough truth to warrant any negative self-talk or self-doubt.

So when Kelle posted this quote, it really spoke to me for some reason: 

"No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it. The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are." 

~Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World



I think this quote can kind of be twisted and interpreted for whatever personal need the reader may hold.  I don't feel lost or unfulfilled, which is probably the intended meaning.  But I do like the idea that I've already found the red X that marks the spot.  That I'm on it.  That I have "permission" to be okay to be happy with where I am and what I have.  Basically

That frees me up to go out and do ordinary things to help other people feel content.  Sounds like a win-win to me.  Cheers to 2015!

9.12.2014

one of those weird things

I got a fun surprise when I checked my email this morning. A woman commented on a post I wrote over 4 years ago:

I was doing a Google image search for Vanilla Fields (long story)and suddenly I see this image of a Caboodle! I was like, "Oh my God I remember those!" I was so excited to see this blast from the past that I quickly clicked the link to "Visit Page". I had been severely irritated by my husband, so I was chomping away at a giant bag of Skittles as I read your awesome post. Before I knew it, I had been reading your blog for over an hour and my Skittles were gone. I am loving your blog, you rock and thanks to you (and Skittles) I can now go to bed peaceful. :) on only the best for my vanilla fields perfume...

I wanted to see more about her, so I clicked on her name and it took me to her Google profile. Apparently Google let's you put your former names. And one of her former last names is my current one. WHAT?!?  It isn't like there are a zillion Behnkes running around. 

Aside from that, she reads blogs and eats candy to suppress her feelings. If she also believes in retail therapy then I'm pretty sure we are meant to be friends. 

Crazy, right? 

7.24.2014

first state in the union

Last month, I went to a nationwide conference in Arizona with other educators.  It was wonderful because I actually got to ATTEND instead of work the whole dang thing. 

One evening, we went to eat Mexican food for dinner.  Margaritas ensued.  We had a "vendor social" to attend at 7, so we arrived fashionably late and gladly partook in the free snacks and open bar. 

I tend to work a room after I've had a cocktail or two, so I was chatting with everyone.  Funny story here, tidbits there, we are all having a great time.  As I was in line for a new beverage, I see a couple people sitting who look kind of lonely.  OF COURSE I want them to feel included, so I decide to grace them with my presence and start a conversation.  Here is a rough transcript:

Me:  "Hi y'all!  Where are you guys from?"
Him:  (gives me a superior look and responds in a condescending tone) "The first state in the union."
Me:  "What?"
Him:  "We are from the first state in the union."
Me:  "Philadelphia?"
Him: "no."
Me:  "Virginia?"
Him: "no."
Me:  "I'm sorry, I've had a few drinks.  But honestly, I probably need to go back to History class for seconds.  Even if I hadn't had a few drinks I don't think I would know the answer. 
Him:  (gives me a superior look)
Me:  (turning to other people in the room - "Does anyone know the first state of the union?")
Me:  "Just tell me where you're from!"
Him:  "Delaware."
Me:  "Huh.  I forgot Delaware is even a state."
Him:  (gives me a smug, superior look that is now tinged with disgust)
Me:  "Y'all have fun!"


I move forward and get a new drink from the nice bartender.  (she recently lost her son, so I visited with her for awhile.)  I get busy talking with other people.  I must say, I really do know how to work a room.  At one point I do notice that "Delaware" left.  The rest of us had a lovely evening and then called it a night.

The next morning, we were all breaking up into different tour groups.  As I walk towards my group with my colleague, I see that somehow Mr. Smug and I were in the same group.  There were only about 15 of us and I could tell he was trying to avoid me, so I said in a sugary voice, "Good Morning Delaware!"  I think he gave me a head nod.

During the tour, I think our Southern charm began to wear off.  At one point I think he decided we were actually the "cool kids" and shifted his tune.

On the charter bus home, he was a couple rows ahead of us.  We began chatting.  We were talking about how we had to head straight to the airport, we hoped we made our flight, etc.  He mentioned they were going to a baseball game that night.  I was all, "we should have stayed one more night so we could have gone.  That would have been fun."  He wished us luck in catching our flight and said that now that the conference was over, he and his colleagues were going to spend some time at the pool and have a few drinks. 

Me:  "I did that yesterday."
Him:  "Obviously."
All of us:  (crack up laughing)

5.08.2014

talent

There comes a time when we are faced with the fact that we are not as awesome as we may have been led to believe.

Let me back up.

I've been very blessed and things seem to come fairly naturally to me. Granted - I work hard too. But as the Eagles once said, "life's been good to me so far." With the exception of pretty much any athletic endeavor, I tend to learn quickly and do things well. I've always thought I was a. Pretty quick study.

Until now.

My original intent at getting a hobby was going to be embroidery and cross-stitch. I still plan to work on that, but in the meantime, I decided I would just learn to knit real quick.  The first person that was going to teach me , my friend Jamye, makes it look sooooo easy. I thought I could pick it up while she was in town for a conference. But I got sick and didn't feel up to learning, so I was stuck with some needles and yarn. I decided to ask a colleague and I've met with her a couple times during lunch. About 3 weeks ago, I started making a dishcloth. (Perfect thing to learn with, because, well, it is a dishcloth.)

I AM HORRIBLE! I mess up pretty much every other stitch. When I do it right, I pull so tight that it makes the next row almost impossible. This is how far I've gotten:



(Basically less than 1/4 done.) I'm going to get it down eventually, but apparently I'm not the natural I thought I was going to be.

3.08.2014

race with me

I wanted to title this one "shades of gray." But heaven knows what sort of traffic I'd get, so I didn't.

I never heard the "n" word growing up, at least not from the mouths of actual human beings that I knew. I think that I figured out what it meant when I was watching the "North and South" miniseries starring Patrick Swayze. If it wasn't there, than I really don't know how I ever heard it. I knew that the word existed, but didn't think people really used it when referring to black people.

Then, in 7th grade, I moved to a small town. Where there was one black person in my entire school. The first time I heard classmates using this word in an obviously derogatory tone, I had that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. (Like I was being caught red-handed doing something bad.) I felt sick and uncomfortable, but being 13 years old and having no experience in these matters, I didn't say anything and felt bad about it for years. (Although in all honesty, I was way more worried about myself.... I had just gotten both braces on my teeth and a back brace for scoliosis, so I think I felt like I had enough on my plate.)

It didn't come up very often until I got to high school. There was a senior girl who was dating a guy from a rival small town. She was a cheerleader, an athlete, beautiful, fun, all of those things that "matter" in a small town. And the guy she was dating was black. Again, I was too self-involved to really care one way or another. Until the time that I realized some people are just ignorant, mean idiots. Our school was playing their school. And all of the "popular" guys decided to make a statement. The exact details are fuzzy to me now, but I know that they painted their chests black and each wrote one letter of his name. They would pull up their shirts like you see at a college football game... But this wasn't to show school spirit, it was to show hatred and send him a message. ie - we are better than you. Basically, they wanted to make him feel like the word they used to describe him.

Thinking about it (and my lack of action) still disgusts me. It was so cruel and unnecessary. I think that girl - Courtney - still lives in that small town. She goes to games in that same gym. I wonder if she ever thinks about that day.

I remember being so bothered by it that I actually asked my mom what she would do if I ever dated a black guy. Granted, I didn't really know any at the time, but I was tempted to go find somebody just to spite those hateful boys. The topic of inter-racial dating had never really come up for us, probably because there was never really ANY conversation that had anything to do with race in our house. There are good people and there are bad people. You want to surround yourself with good people.  Based on every message I'd ever heard from my parents and their total acceptance of basically anyone and everyone we'd ever come across, I think I was probably sure that she was going to say that race didn't matter.

But when I asked my mom what her thoughts were, when I said, "Mom, what would you think if I dated a black guy?" she said, "Well, I think it would be pretty hard on you." I don't remember what else she said, probably something about how she and dad cared more about me being treated well and being happy, etc. but I clearly remember her saying it would be hard. Maybe she had seen the same sorts of things or heard the same sorts of conversations happening around town, I don't know. But that stuck with me. Not because I thought that SHE really cared whether or not I dated a black guy, but because it made me realize that the are a lot of people that would. I guess it was one of those moments when I realized that I wore rose-colored glasses. It was the first time I realized that just because *I* didn't care what color other people were, it didn't mean everyone else feels the same way.

I just finished the book "Calling me Home" by Julie Kibler, which is what made me think about all of this. It made me wonder if the reason Courtney's kids are blonde haired and blue eyed is because she got tired of fighting, got tired of being ridiculed, got tired of it being too hard.

Deep thoughts for my blog, I know. A good book will do that to you.