Monthly Archives: March 2014

Talk To Me

As you might imagine, I work at home.  I sit in front of my computer, often in my robe, and type…all day long.  Once in while, a few days will pass when I’ve not spoken to anyone outside my immediate family.  Sure, I email and text friends and fellow committee members and so on.  I say hi to the checkout lady at the grocery store.  But real conversation?  *crickets*

This realization troubled me.  Somehow I’d ended up replacing genuine friendly interaction with virtual discourse on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and email.  In response to this rather scary recognition, I recently resolved to pick up the phone a few times (instead of simply sending a question via text or email).  Each time, my simple question turned into a ten or fifteen minute call during which I caught up, laughed a little, and even made future plans to get together (whether for lunch, a morning walk, or couples plans for the weekend). 7257505_s

As adults and parents, we worry about how technology is adversely impacting our kids and their communications skills.  A quick Google search will yield dozens of articles on that topic alone.  But we somehow forget to consider how this technology is negatively affecting our friendships.

So much is lost through email and texts thanks to a lack of non-verbal cues and tonality.  Miscommunications based on these deficiencies can even inadvertently create problems in friendships.

I’m not advocating we stop using technology, or that the ability to quickly deliver a lot of information to many people at once isn’t helpful when coordinating a group plan.  But, just for kicks, pick up the phone next time you want to ask a friend a question.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the enjoyment you’ll get despite the “inefficiency” of the method!

xo-jamie

6 Spring Date Ideas

Is it possible the polar vortex is finally leaving center stage?  Today in Connecticut, the sun shone brightly and the thermostat reached sixty-two degrees.   For everyone other than the die-hard skiers, the general sentiment in town seemed to be a resounding WAHOO!

Personally, I’m ready to store my wool sweaters and snow boots.  Ready to pull out bright spring fashions and cute shoes.  Ready for a little spring romance, too.  Aren’t you?images-4

For those who are looking to enjoy the better weather with their better half, try one or more of these Spring date ideas:

Local Art or Music Festival

These festivals offer a nice change of pace from everyday life, and often showcase interesting artists.  Stroll around, hand in hand, and take in the sights and sounds under the sun or stars.

Biking

How about combining physical and emotional health in one swoop?  Find a local rails-to-trails path, or perhaps a park, and get some exercise together.  Your heart will be pumping for more than one reason.

Local Winery

If you’re lucky, perhaps you live within an hour of a small winery.  Most of them are set on beautiful property, and have outdoor seating areas.  Sample wine, eat some savory snacks, and “drink in” the view.

Botanical Garden

This one isn’t for everyone, but gardeners may love it.  Those of us living in the Greater New York area certainly know the New York Botanical Gardens are spectacular, and often showcase special exhibits that are quite amazing.

Mini Golf

Go “old school” and find your inner child.  Mini golf is a fun, competitive way to spend an hour outside before or after you enjoy a nice meal.  You talk, you laugh, you toss your club (oh, maybe that’s just me).

Theme Park

For the adrenaline junkies who live near an amusement park, go for it.  Roller coasters, drop towers, or anything that spins me upside down will do.  I prefer going at night, when the colorful lights are glowing and the terrible music is blaring from every ride.  Makes me feel young again, and who doesn’t love that?

I’ve started you off, now do you have any ideas to share?

xo-jamie

Lent, Love, and Sacrifice

This may get me in trouble, but I’m going to explore it anyway.  And no, it has absolutely nothing to do with romance…but perhaps it has something to do with love.  Self love.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of forty-days of fasting, spiritual discipline, and repentance for Christians around the globe.

I’m not the best practicing-Catholic.  In fact, I’m pretty poor.  I pray privately.  I repent privately.  I think about God (doubts and substantiations).  But I don’t follow all the “rules” of my faith or study the Bibleimages-9.  I don’t regularly attend Mass.  I criticize many of the decisions made by those in charge, most especially as relates to the scandals involving priests and young children.  Yet, despite my reservations and distant relationship with formalized religion, I have usually sacrificed something during Lent.

I’m a fairly big proponent of self-sacrifice.  I like to think I know how to put the needs of others ahead of my own at least half the time.  I hope my friends and family know and appreciate this about me.  And although nine out of ten times I’d happily make the same sacrifice again, there are occasions when it feels like a burden.  When it feels wrong.

I recently read this quote by controversial author Ayn Rand:

It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings.  Where there’s service, there is someone being served.  The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.

That bald statement made me sit back and think about when it is or isn’t appropriate to sacrifice on behalf of another.  When I contemplate the times my sacrifice felt burdensome, it has always been when I’ve felt the scales were uneven.  When I deemed myself to give much more than I took from a relationship.  When guilt or other form of coercion was employed to secure my cooperation.  When the sacrifice was not appreciated, but expected.

So, as I enter this particular season of Lent, I think I am not going to make a sacrifice just because the Church says I should.  I don’t necessarily agree with Mother Theresa’s quote about real sacrifice requiring us to empty ourselves.  I believe a loving God is most interested in having us simply appreciate the gift of life and make the most of whatever talents we’ve been bestowed.  To live by the Golden Rule should basically be enough.

Yes.  Perhaps God doesn’t need us to prove our love with a sacrifice (does he really care if I don’t eat chocolate?) any more than we need our children to prove their love for us by giving up something they enjoy.

What do you think?

xo-jamie