Let’s be Real

This isn’t a set the tone. This isn’t a mocking pre-phrase before a debunking. This is a challenge. A request. Let’s be who we truly are, what we truly are, let’s be real.

It’s so easy these days to be fake. Filters, editing programs, online interaction, all of these things and more lend to ease at being who we want to be  rather than what we truly are. Let’s be serious here, who actually is always as optimistic and happy as their Instagram posts make themselves sound? Yeah, certainly not me. Who is always as thoughtful and ordered as they try to be in their blog posts? Again, certainly, absolutely not me.

This isn’t to say that being optimistic, orderly, or thoughtful in public settings are wrong. It simply means this: make sure that you’re not creating someone who doesn’t exist. Are you showing the real you and highlighting great qualities (which is acceptable!) or are you taking those great qualities and blowing them to perfection and ignoring any other part of YOU that might not be picture perfect?

I was at a little group meeting and someone brought this “be real” topic up. It made me think about all the things I post online. It made me truly consider whether I was portraying myself and my thoughts as they truly were or as an “edited to perfection” version. I determined that I could be more real. I could share more about struggles, more about the trials and fears that I encounter and not just the thoughts that spring from those struggles, trials, or fears.

I’ll be real here: if you come up to me at any given moment of the day and asked me, “What are you thinking about?” my answer would most likely be something like, “Well I’m worried about what I should do about so or such” or “I’m worried about what so and so will think of this or that.” I worry…a lot. With those worries, sometimes I encounter a little ‘message’ from God, an assurance, an ‘I love you’, etc. and often times those are my motivations for posts.

So the reality: 99% of the time I’m worrying. Maybe, just maybe 1% of the time I’m thinking something of relevance, worth, or ‘depth’.

What is it you might not be so real about online? Are there things you highlight so much that you don’t ever bring up a struggle or even a talent that would help motivate others? We all have struggles. No one doesn’t. So let’s stop pretending we’re perfect and have it all together. Doing that simply alienates yourself from needed companionship or healing and discourages others on their hard journey.

You don’t have to tell everyone every struggle. You don’t have to publish your faults. You don’t have to have a weekly confession of what you failed at. You don’t have to admit you ate such and such much food in a day. But you do have to be real. (If appropriate) tell the whole story and not just the heroic part of it. For instance: yes, I didn’t want to write this post today. And, yet, I may have used the motivation of cheesecake to get through writing this post. Not too bad right? I hope you at least found that amusing. It’s a little hard to admit I don’t love (all the time) running to the computer and writing down a thought I had, but it makes it real, doesn’t it?

So, today, tomorrow, the next day, try looking at your posts, at your photos and ask yourself if you’re being real. If you’re being you and not the you that was created in your head.

Anyone else use goodies or relaxation time as a motivation or ‘bribe’ to get yourself to do something? Hopefully I’m not the only one…or that might be a little awkward.

Carpe veritatem!

Therese May Signature

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What’s in a Name?

I was reading a book the other day, Follow the Cloud (a very interesting book, in case you were wondering), and I came across a story that really struck me. The author of the book was sitting in his car with his young daughter. This little girl had her favorite doll with her in the car, a doll that she covetously called “Isabelle”. Now the author, deciding to tease his daughter, turned and asked his daughter how “Samantha” was doing. Of course, the daughter quickly corrected him. “Isabelle” was not going to be called the wrong name on her watch. Again though, the author called the doll “Samantha”. The same correction was given him. The author probably should have learned his lesson by that point, but he hadn’t. The “Samantha” word was spoken once more and the little daughter’s pot boiled over. “Daddy, her name is not Samantha, its Isabelle. She is my doll. She belongs to me, and only I get to say who she is. Her name is Isabelle!”

The author drew a parallel between his daughter’s refusing to let anyone but herself name her doll and God naming or defining us. That story and parallel struck me in a profound way.

See, so often we see something we don’t like about our lives and adjectives fly into our minds that degrade us. We find ourselves on paths we don’t like and we define ourselves by our struggles. I know it because I do it…all the time. This story helped me realize though that when I think about myself like that I’m not just offending and hurting myself, I’m offending and hurting God, because I belong to him.

I don’t belong to myself; I belong to God, and I want to give what belongs to God back to God. I want to throw away all the names and adjectives I’ve wrongly used to define myself and I’d like to invite you to do the same. Write it down and then destroy the list, kneel down and speak it out loud or think it silently, in whatever way you want to, just do it. Find somewhere quiet and secluded so you can concentrate and pray. Then think of any adjectives you’ve used to define yourself. As you remember them, say them, or write them, reject them. one. by. one. Hand them to God so he can discard of them as he pleases. Then pray to him to help you let HIM define you, to let HIM describe you.

You are not your own to name. You are his. You belong to him. Only HE can define and name you. And in case you were wondering, he doesn’t call you “disobedient”, “failure”, “ugly”, “not good enough”, or any other adjective you’ve ever used in a hard moment, he calls youBELOVED”.

Carpe veritatem!

Therese May Signature

Check out my review of “Follow the Cloud” here!

Review: Anne of the Island

Anne of the Island
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of those timeless books that always has a new relevant message for you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this book because I’ve lost count. I read it so much as a girl and loved it dearly.

It’s been a few years since I last read it, and this time through I realized just how much Anne formed my own childhood. Anne made mistakes (pretty bad ones too!), she struggled, she loved, she lost. She has something in common with almost every young girl. And yet, she is an example for every young girl. She grew up to be such a faithful, honest, virtuous girl. She studied hard. She sought after her dreams and kept pushing toward them even when it was hard. She made great friends, offering them kindness, understanding, and love. Though she disliked people, she didn’t really speak harshly about them to others. In fact, she was the one who so often made excuses for people’s bad habits or behavior. She gave them the benefit of the doubt. Anne was a queen of grace and elegance, yet she was a queen who would tramp about the forests among the bugs and the heat to enjoy what nature had to share. She saw beauty in everything around her and had such a wonderful sense of optimism and joy. She truly is such a wonderful rolemodel.

The one thing I find her the best role model in though (at least this read through) is her journey to finding with whom she belonged. We all have dreams of what our “Mr. Right” will be like. We all have dreams of what love will be like. Anne shows us that sometimes “Mr. Right” isn’t who we imagined he’d be, and sometimes love isn’t as high and pompous as we dreamed. Sometimes “Mr. Right” is simply our good friend. Sometimes love is just a simple, yet oh-so-beautiful way of life, if we’d only take the time to see it that way.

This world has so much to tell us about “love”. About how it “should” be and how it shouldn’t be. About how it should feel, how the “right one” should look, and on and on. Books like this one remind us that what the world is talking about is often our dream. It’s a Roy Gardner with dashing dark hair, beautiful eyes, and romantic phrases. But when it comes down to it, love isn’t about dreams, it’s about realities. Dreams say Anne marries Roy. Dreams say Gilbert dies of “love” or lives into old age pining away. Dreams say that looks and feelings are what make love. Reality says that love is finding your best friend, someone you can’t live without. Reality says that Anne may have to face never marrying
Gilbert because she thought the dream of Roy was the reality of love. Dreams make the realities that we have beautiful, Anne taught us that well in the way she looked at every day things, but she also taught us that it is the reality that offers us the chance of dreams, not the dreams that offer us chances at reality. We can’t mix up order of the two.

Honestly, I think there are certain books that belong in a home in which girls reside and this series is one of them. It truly teaches them and gives them gentle advice about how to live and live well.

Don’t be satisfied with mediocrity!

Therese May Signature

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Review: A Viscount’s Proposal

A Viscount's Proposal
A Viscount’s Proposal by Melanie Dickerson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this book is now vying for top place in my list of Melanie Dickerson favorites. It was very well written and had a lot of suspense.

Mrs. Dickerson does such a wonderful job of giving characters real backgrounds and reasons for acting the way they do. Lord Withinghall doesn’t like Leorah Langdon at first because he has a fear of energetic, boisterous, pretty women. Why? Because his father fell into temptation with one (I won’t say because of one since I am sure that he probably had a bad mindset before he met this woman and wasn’t simply seduced by her). In other words, the Viscount is afraid of following in his father’s path in any way and so he stays away from what his boyish mind had found to blame when he the event occurred: the pretty, energetic woman. So he hides and suppresses his own feelings and expects others to suppress their own so that all might stay away from temptation…wrong mindset here.

That’s where Leorah Langdon comes into the picture. I’m not entirely sure I agree with everything she said, with everything she stood for. At times I thought she might resemble a certain Elizabeth Bennet, but at other times I found her too modern and entirely too opinionated for her time. While I enjoyed the banter back and forth between Leorah and the Viscount, at times I felt it was overdone. I found myself almost cringing at what they said to each other.

That said, I did still thoroughly enjoy this book. As always, I loved how Mrs. Dickerson switched back and forth between the third person “personal” view points. It just makes the story so much more entertaining to get to see things from both main characters’ point of view.

Lastly, the romance! I was very impressed and happy with how Mrs. Dickerson handled the romance in this novel. I felt the characters acted mature and not simply controlled by their feelings. I felt that they truly cared for each other. I felt that the kisses mentioned were not ones thrown away for the feeling of pleasure, but ones given in love and with care.

There are some more mature themes in the book (adultery in various forms etc.) so I would recommend this book for older teens.

Rating (# out of 5):
Violence: 3.5 (Lord Withinghall’s coach driver was killed in an accident that overturned his carriage, broke his leg, and cut a bleeding gash in his forehead. He is shot at multiples times in an attempt to kill him. A man burning with revenge tries to jump toward him and strangle him. Leorah breaks her wrist falling off her horse.)
Romance: 3.5 (The lower rating is simply as a warning about the more mature themes of adultery. I would give it a four in every other point.)
Language: 5 (None that I can remember)

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Don’t be satisfied with mediocrity!

Therese May Signature

Review: A Stranger at Fellsworth

A Stranger at Fellsworth
A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mrs. Ladd has done it again! …and in the very best way possible.

Delightful. It’s the word I could use over and over again to describe this book. I keep forgetting how much I enjoyed Mrs. Ladd’s book A Lady at Willowgrove Hall; it reminded me so much of Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South, mostly the movie). I am glad in a way I forgot though, because it made reading this book all the more delightful (I am sorry, but that word is probably going to show up again and again).

Annabelle’s story was solid. The fear, the rejection, the reasons she fled, all were sound and believable. The plot was incredible in my opinion. I enjoyed every moment of this book. There were a few times I wasn’t so sure about reasoning behind certain things though. For instance, the poaching. I know poaching is bad and it was made clear that people could make money by doing it, but I was confused as to why Mr. Bartrell was doing it. I thought he was pretty well off. On top of that, I wasn’t convinced that poaching could bring in a sum large enough to be of significance to men of fortune. I had assumed that poaching was something that only those not used to a high income would use to gain more money. I think this could have simply been fixed by mention of what amounts of money they might have been making. Or even just mention that it was helping rid them of their debts, which would imply that they were making a considerable amount of money through poaching. Regardless, the story was still delightful though I didn’t quite understand this point. Truth be told, that may be only my impression.

The characters and character development was truly grand. I loved getting to know Annabelle and Owen and Hannah. In fact, I have rarely met characters I enjoyed getting to know as I did these. I absolutely loved how Annabelle and Owen spent the majority of their time together in the novel speaking on “normal” terms. Meaning, they seemed to form a friendship and act as friends for almost the entire book, rather than form a romance and act as two people in love. This is one of those books that simply made me smile. I truly felt that Owen loved Annabelle for who she was, not for her looks, not for her money. I saw their relationship as one that would last, since it was founded on a mutual denial of self for the sake of the other. I applaud Mrs. Ladd for writing such a praiseworthy story with such role model characters!

A truly delightful story for mid-teens and up.

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All comments here stated are completely my own.

Ratings (# out of 5):
Violence: 4 (They spoke of hanging as a punishment for poaching.)
Romance: 3.5 (Mr. Bartrell was a little too comfortable at one point bursting Annabelle’s personal bubble, but nothing untoward happened. Her brother did wind up hitting her while he was drunk because she was running away from home. These are the reasons I would most suggest this book for older teens. There was kissing towards the end of the novel, but I think it was approached and presented in a good light. It was not overly dramatic or described in depth.)
Language: 5 (I cannot recall any ill-use of language)

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Don’t be satisfied with mediocrity!

Therese May Signature

Review: The Austen Escape

The Austen Escape
The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers*

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. At the beginning I was confused by the plot. I wasn’t sure what Golightly was and why it meant so much to Mary. I didn’t quite understand the whole thing with Nathan either, especially since they seemed to be heading in different directions from the beginning of the story.

I have to say though, that the longer I read, the more I understood. And, of course, the more I enjoyed the story. For those of you who liked Shannon Hale’s Austenland, this is a similar book…just without a couple more mature scenes. While this is a cleaner novel, I still would only suggest it to older teens as it does deal with abuse (neglect not physical) and the mental affects stemming from the abuse.

I haven’t enjoyed a book like this in quite a while. I loved how the some of the characters spoke about Austen with such familiarity while others were rather clueless. I loved the engineering aspect Mary brought in with how she thought and saw things. I loved the musical aspect with the piano. (Also, Bosendorfers… ) I loved how the characters spent time doing normal every day things together (even though they were pretending to be characters from Austen in Austen’s time). I loved how the issues brought up in the story were resolved in the end. All the misunderstandings with Nathan, Isabel, and with Mary herself.

There were a few things that didn’t wrap up very well. I was really confused by Mary’s reaction to Nathan discussing work with Craig. She’s in love with him judging by the way she was acting only 10 minutes before, but the moment she hears him talking to Craig and mentioning her name she concludes she must be getting fired. Why? Not really sure…unless it was just her insecurity about Karen not liking her. But then she refuses to listen to anything Nathan has to say and books a flight home to America without telling him…she doesn’t even ask him what the call was about? Doesn’t give him time to explain? Quits her job? Albeit, all this confusion and hubbub draws the conclusion out very nicely, but I really questioned the reasons the confusion and hubbub were caused. That’s really my “con” though.

This book was given to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and comments here expressed are entirely my own.

Ratings (# out of 5):
Violence: 4 (not physical violence but neglect)
Romance: 4 (There was kissing, but not a ridiculous amount and not mentioned in detail. Also, I applaud the writer for having the couple talk and spend time together before a kiss is ever given…meaning the first kiss was towards the end of the book)
Language: 5 (I don’t remember any language)

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Don’t be satisfied with mediocrity!

Therese May Signature

Finding Greatness…in the Nothings?

Last night I was thinking about St. Therese of the Little Flower (my confirmation saint), and a thought suddenly occurred to me.

I remember while reading various books about her a number of years ago that St. Joan of Arc was her favorite saint. Both of them lived in France and Therese seemed to feel a connection with the saint. Joan of Arc did great amazing things. She saved France and she died for Christ.

As a girl who has looked up to St. Therese all my life, I know that looking up to a saint and feeling a connection with them makes you want to follow in their footsteps. For example, I wanted to be a nun (a Carmelite, of course), I wanted to do everything with great love, and, yes, I even wanted to die of Tuberculosis.

As these thoughts occurred to me, I realized that St. Therese, I’m sure, wanted to follow in the footsteps of her favorite saint. She wanted to do something great for France, for the world.

And yet, what is she known for? For the little things she did, the “nothings”.

She wanted to be a heroic saint and wished she could go to war and save France, but she got to confine herself in a convent for her Love of God and offer every little action she did too Him.

That may make you laugh or smile, or it may make you feel a little upset. Would not the life Therese lived have be very unsatisfying if those were her desires?

Well, not necessarily. You see, Therese’s first and foremost desire was to do the Will of God. Her love for Him was so great that anything He wished for her to do was the only thing that would satisfy her (look at the determination and patience she had to enter the convent and the sorrow she experienced when she was prevented from entering).

But there’s more! Therese’s “little” things weren’t so little. Her Little Way has influenced so many lives and changed so many hearts. Her Little Way was Mother Teresa’s way of life, to do every little thing with great love. Imagine that! Therese influenced and guided another saint on their way to perfection!

Her littleness became greatness because she had great love. Therese wanted to save France, to do something big like Joan and she did, although maybe not in the way she imagined. She hoped to do something heroic for France but God said, “I have something better. I want you to do something heroic for the world.”

So remember, when you feel upset about the little things you do. About cleaning after your children, about being patient with your co-workers, about anything that just seems inadequate and worthless in the big scheme of things, remember that in littleness greatness is found.

I am sure that once in your life (at least) you have felt that your life is only made up of little things, that when you are asked what you did the only reply you have (though you have worked all day) is “nothing”.  Well, the truth of the matter is that every life only consists in those little nothings. A great politician does many little things to get to where he or she is and has to continue those little things to stay in that place. The bestselling author did many small things to get where he or she is. Daily writing, editing over and over, rewriting stories, discarding stories and trying again. We do small things and over the course of a period of time or our life they amount to great things. But this all depends on how we do them.

Folding the laundry may seem insignificant to you, but what if you folded the laundry in a special way? What if you folded it with great love? What if every time you folded the laundry you offered your actions up with love for sinners? You will fold laundry a mountain of times in your life. Now this action that seemed so insignificant before by the end of your life will be your source of greatness. Your folding the laundry will have given hope, help, and grace to sinners. Your little, insignificant, weekly “nothing” of folding the laundry became an ocean of mercy, grace, and love. You may think it’s silly, but it’s so very true.

Now, imagine, what if you did more than the laundry with great love? What if you did everything with great love? Your ocean would expand to universes. And this is how Therese, Therese called the “Little Flower”, saved her France. This is how her desire to be a heroic saint like St. Joan of Arc was fulfilled in such a perfect way.

You see? Greatness does not only consist in astounding, heroic actions.  It also consists in nothingness.

Carpe Veritatem!

Therese May Signature

Misunderstandings

That very day, the first day of the week,

two of Jesus’ disciples were going

to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,

and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.

And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,

Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,

but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

He asked them,

“What are you discussing as you walk along?”

They stopped, looking downcast.

One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,

“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem

who does not know of the things

that have taken place there in these days?”

And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”

They said to him,

“The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene,

who was a prophet mighty in deed and word

before God and all the people,

how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over

to a sentence of death and crucified him.

But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;

and besides all this,

it is now the third day since this took place.

Some women from our group, however, have astounded us:

they were at the tomb early in the morning

and did not find his body;

they came back and reported

that they had indeed seen a vision of angels

who announced that he was alive.

Then some of those with us went to the tomb

and found things just as the women had described,

but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!

How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!

Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things

and enter into his glory?”

~Lk 24:13-35

Have you ever been speaking to a friend or acquaintance about someone, complaining about how they do this or that? If you haven’t, keep it up. I know I’ve done it a countless amount of times.

Imagine one of those situations. Imagine speaking to your friend about your other friend x. said this today. I can’t believe she would do that! I thought she was better than that.” On and on. But then, someone walks up to you and asks what you’re talking about. Awkward!

What are you supposed to say? “Oh, I was just kinda sorta bashing one of the people I claim as my friend, no big problem, right?” I don’t know about you, but I’m sure not going to say that. I’m probably going to say something like, “Well, we were just discussing…how people should be genuine.” Makes me look intelligent, right?

When I heard the above passage from Luke’s Gospel, I was struck with the similarity between my little “gossip chats” and the conversation between the two men. First clue, it says they were “discussing” and “debating”. “Well I don’t think that’s what it means.” “Yeah, but he promised us. He must have been lying.” “I’m not so sure.” Second clue, when Jesus interrupted them (even though they didn’t recognize him for who he was) “they stopped, looking downcast“. Sounds even more and more like two friends caught in the act of gossiping. Third clue, they change the subject. “Oh, surely you must have heard about Jesus. We had just been hoping he was the Messiah, you know?”

What do you think they really had been saying? Go back to your conversations with your friends. If you thought that someone was the Messiah who died and never rose as you thought, you’d probably have some hard things to say. People don’t mince words when they are alone with friends. We know that from personal experience.

Think about it: these men were angry with Jesus in a way. They thought they had had a hood pulled over their eyes. They felt ashamed and they were venting about it. Here’s the question: is it wrong to vent our pent up stress and emotion?

Let’s think about that a moment. Talking about our feelings, about our struggles, helps us cope with them. It helps us understand what’s going on in our mind. It also helps us look at things more objectively. When we keep things trapped in our minds, they can seem much worse than they really are. So is it wrong to speak our thoughts? No, I don’t think so.

Now, I know right now you’re feeling confused and at a discord. These men were speaking ill about Jesus, that can’t be right. You’re absolutely correct. It wasn’t right. You’re still confused. How can it be right and wrong at the same time? Let me clear that up for you: it’s not both right and wrong at the same time.

It is right and maybe even good to speak about your feelings as long as you take the time to understand other’s feelings and give them the benefit of each and every doubt. That’s what these men weren’t doing. They said that Jesus claimed he would rise again on the third day. This was how they seemed to be proving to themselves he wasn’t the Messiah. What’s the problem here? The tomb was empty. They didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt. He was a powerful, good prophet. You could see the admiration they had for him by the way they spoke about him, but the moment he didn’t suddenly appear to them after leaving his tomb they got upset. They didn’t wait in hope that the empty tomb meant he had risen. No, they just assumed it was all a lie.

Was it a lie? No. Was it right and good that they didn’t wait in hope? No. Was it honest of them as followers to speak of him that way? No. Was it respectful? No.

Was it shallow of them to see the empty tomb and not seek him out, not wait in hope for his return? Yes, it definitely was.

It begs the question though, where was Jesus? Shouldn’t he have come immediately to his followers to prove he was alive, to prove he truly was the Messiah? I think not. Jesus did what he did for a reason. This passage is a story of faithlessness. It’s a story of impatience. It’s a story of not holding our tongues. It’s a story of gossip. Jesus was testing his followers, just as he tests us by making us wait for a response to our prayers.

This test only proved to these men that they were mistaken. It proved that they still had a long way to travel in their journey of life.

The moral of this passage is this:  think 7 times about a situation, think 7 times about what the other person in the situation might be encountering, think 7 times about why you feel the way you feel, think 7 times about whether a person is the problem or your reaction to the person is the problem, then you can speak.

Give people the benefit of the doubt. Put yourself in their shoes. Don’t say about others what you wouldn’t want said about you. Treat others with the kind of respect and kindness that makes them smile.

We can rant or vent, by all means. But let’s just make sure that in ranting or venting we aren’t bashing an innocent man who happens to be the King of the Universe.

Carpe veritatem!

Therese May Signature

Defined by Adjectives?

Have you ever met someone who keeps telling you how you’re this or that? Or kept hearing that you’re this or that?

Sometimes the words are good words: confident, smart, generous, kind, intelligent, pretty, understanding. Other times they aren’t.

So often though, I think that these words start to feel like a trap. Is that all I am? Am I only [adjective]?

Let’s face it. While being smart is super helpful and impressive, if that’s all people think when they think of you, you might start to feel like just a brain. While being pretty is satisfying in some sense, if you continually hear that about yourself, it might make you wonder if your just a pretty face to others.

Adjectives can be wonderful. They help us understand things and describe things to others, but sometimes we need to be careful with them. Sometimes we use bad adjectives to downgrade someone, to define them by things we dislike about them.

Words are powerful and we should use them for good. So get rid of those dirty adjectives and choose ones that you’d want to be applied to yourself.

Now you might be wondering about my comments about the positive adjectives. What’s up with that? We’re building people up, right? Yes. They’re good adjectives and you should continue using them, but I’d like to add that you should try to connect with those you’re describing.

No one wants to feel that a person only wants to get to know them enough to obtain an adjective to describe them. Strive to understand more than adjectives about people. She’s pretty/smart/kind, yes, but what is her favorite book? What are her hobbies? What makes her smile? Of course, this is a two sided process and I realize that. So I’ll address the other side.

Don’t let yourself be define by adjectives.

Now I don’t mean stomp away with a flip of the hair. I mean this: let people get to know you for you. If you’re defined by a certain adjective, let’s say smart, let people get to know you’re comedic side. Let them get to know that you really like playing the piano because it is a struggle. Whatever it might be, just let them know. You have more to offer than adjectives and you know it. That’s why you feel upset when adjectives seem to be the only thing you hear describing you.

Let’s take advantage of our words more than only to praise. Let’s truly reach out and try to understand the workings of another’s heart. We have the opportunity to impact another’s life. Let’s not waste that opportunity.

Carpe veritatem!

Therese May Signature

We Need More Modern Day Cinderella’s

Hold up. I know the title has you girls super excited (maybe), but I’m probably not talking about Cinderella’s in the same way you have in mind.

Let me start with a reference too the original Cinderella. Cinderella was practically an orphan girl. The parents she loved and the only people who truly cared for her were dead. She was left behind with her mean stepmother and stepsisters. Her life, which had been previously filled with joy and blessings, was filled with sorrow, toil, and pain.

Here’s the most interesting part though: she didn’t say a word against her stepfamily. She slaved away. She gave up her past life style and expectations. She gave up her own dreams. All to keep peace. To honor the only family she had left.

Now, here’s the part that is vitally important in this instance. Cinderella was resolved to bear through all her toils. She didn’t seem to be dreaming of “some day” when she would be able to get back at her stepfamily for all they forced her to do. Furthermore, and most importantly, she was not dreaming of a prince to come sweep her away from her troubles.

Now to the point of my post today. We don’t need Cinderella’s who sit around, sighing and crying, dreaming of that fairy tale prince to come sweep their hard life away. Cinderella only got her prince when she was living her life well, not waiting for an unlikely dream. We don’t need Cinderella’s who focus so much on the end of the story that they forget that their living the middle part and doing a sloppy job of making it a story worth reading. Cinderella was content with the here and the now. She lived each moment in the best way she could, leaving a trail of goodness behind her.

We need Cinderella’s who sacrifice of their love and time for other’s sake. We need Cinderella’s who forget about dreaming of a prince because they’re so intent on furthering themselves in virtue. We need Cinderella’s who focus on doing things well, even when the pain is worse than ever. We need Cinderella’s who can inspire generations to live well. We need Cinderella’s who are comfortable in their own skin (after all, our hearts are shown in their best extent when we are ourselves. Not flirting needed.)

I know it’s hard not to put yourself in the place of the reader and look forward to the “happy point” of your story (after all, life doesn’t just end with “happily ever after” in real life after you get married…), but we need to remember that (most…) princesses in fairy tales didn’t sit around waiting for their princes. Snow White was cleaning, cooking, and probably doing laundry for seven dwarves up until she was put under a spell. The Goose Girl had to work as a goose girl after her identity had been stolen from her…no sulking or wishing for princes involved. Belle had to give up all the comfort she knew to live…with a beast. Not a lot of comfort there period. Yet, she didn’t wish for a prince.

If we truly want to be princesses, let’s follow the example of these girls in these fairy tales. Let’s work hard. Let’s care without limitations. Let’s forgive the unforgivable. Let’s sacrifice.

I am going to be a modern day Cinderella. Are you?

Carpe veritatem,

Therese May Signature