About YOU

Alright, so in the vein of continuing a Blog Makeover that promised change…it’s time for me to write about YOU.

Wait! Don’t run away! I promise I’m not morphing into a creepy stalker who will track you down and write about you from a discreet distance.  (Or will I…?) (No, really, I wont.)

The point is, I’m wanting to revamp my focus on this blog. I have been encouraged lately to consider the audience I’m writing to, and what their needs and interests are.

Used to, I assumed that the “right people” would read my blog. Those who wanted to hear about my life experiences, those who shared my various interests. Surely that would generate a decent audience, right?

Then I realized that, to fully fit that description, the audience I was writing for…is ME.

As much as some of you love me (hi, Mom), no one is going to be fascinated by a blog that revolves around ME. And I realized that if I want to write for an audience of myself…well, that’s what my journal is for.

So here’s part 1 of my Blog Makeover: I’m making it more about YOU.

And here’s the part where you help me: tell me something about YOU. Tell me interests you have, what you love to read about, areas in life that you hope you’re not alone in.

Sure, I can’t write about everything you’ll respond with. But I can start paying better attention, and when I know you better, maybe then I’ll have something worth saying.

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What I learned from Christmas trees and open windows

I love Christmas lights. Truly, I adore them. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that around Christmas time, people in my apartments started decorating their little balconies and porches with Christmas lights. It’s like everyone was given their own plot of concrete and railings to make whatever they wanted.

One night I was out taking my precious puppy Ellie for a walk. I was taking in all the scattered balconies that were glittering, when I suddenly noticed that several apartments had windows open, too. That was when I noticed people were showing off more than just sparkle on their railings; they were showing off the shimmering Christmas trees and decorations inside also.

It hit me: in any other month, every single one of these windows would have been closed. But during this special time, people were opening their windows and letting total strangers catch glimpses of the inside of their worlds–simply because they had something beautiful to display. A Christmas tree. And they wanted everyone to see it, maybe to show off, or maybe just to share joy. And on that night, all the beautiful trees with lights and glimpses into people’s homes left me smiling.

It also made me wonder: many of us have something more beautiful than a Christmas tree inside our lives. We have a bright, sparkling, joy-bringing, smile-giving beauty inside us. But most of the time the windows on our lives are kept closed, too. Maybe we’re embarassed that our lives might not be clean or neat enough; maybe we want the privacy. But the fact is, when we keep our lives closed, there are people who are missing out on something we have to offer. And, unlike the Christmas tree, it’s something we can offer all year round.

What if we started realizing what we could give to the world? What if, like the people in my apartments, we opened up the windows to let people see in, simply because there’s something beautiful there? We have personal gifts, talents, and characteristics that can bless other people’s lives. And many of us have the Light of the World to shine out, the Light that so many are desperate for.

Christmas may be over, but maybe we need to keep our windows open, to offer beauty and the truest Light to those who may pass by.

He died while living out what he believed

In Loving Memory of Nate “Oteka” Henn – Invisible Children

I have long been a fan of Invisible Children and the work they do. Today I read a blog post about a man who died during the recent terrorist attack in Kampala, Uganda at a rugby field where hundreds had gathered to watch the World Cup. He had spent a year and a half with Invisible Children fighting for the rights of children in Uganda. After all that time, passion, and work, he finally got to visit the country and children he had been fighting for. It was during this trip that he lost his life.

It made me really stop and pause a moment. He would not have died at that rugby field except for his beliefs in freedom for the children of Uganda. He could have believed that from the safety of his home, his wallet, or his words. But he chose to live out those beliefs through his life — even though those beliefs led him to a country in Africa where he died by a bomb at a rugby field.

What do I believe? Am I supporting it with more than my words or money? Am I living it out? Is my life proclaiming what I believe — even if it took me to my death?

In addition the link at the beginning of this post, click here for more information on Nate and the others who died.

3 steps to save a life

Today is a temporary break from M&M Mondays and instead is:

Make-a-Difference Monday

I am basically copying and pasting this from PostSecret’s blog, but I pass it on because it’s something I deeply believe in.

===From the PostSecret blog===

Chase Bank will donate $1,000,000 toward the first online suicide-prevention volunteer network. But we need your help.

We need your online votes to win the prize and start the IMAlive Network. Here’s what you can do now.

1. Vote for TWLOHA (it only takes a minute).

2. Ask your friends to help (especially on Facebook & twitter).

3. Volunteer to man (or woman) the Help Center.

Thanks for taking 3 steps today, to help save lives tomorrow.

===end of post===

Please sign up to vote and help save lives. Also, if you’ve already voted for a cause, Chase Bank gives you 5 votes, so please use one of yours to help TWLOHA and the IMAlive network as well. Voting ends January 22.

Thanks for taking a moment to make a difference.