Awkward Bodies, Big hearts.

The church I attend has been leading a non-violent communication workshop in response to all of the social and political tension that has been percolating/boiling over/erupting in the world lately. The workshop sadly conflicts with my work schedule, so I haven't been able to attend, but The Mr and I went through a mini-version of the workshop during our pre-marital counseling. Not that we showed signs of violent communication, mind you. I feel like calling it "non-violent" communication makes it sound like it's just teaching people how to talk without smacking each other. It's more about the ancient and near-forgotten practice of having a conversation with someone you disagree with without resorting to dickish behavior, I guess? It's kindness. That's what it is. It's just relearning how to be kind to each other even when we don't believe all of the exact same things - or even when we believe completely opposite things.

 

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And since I'm all about that kindness and love stuff, I was really excited when the administrator at our church reached out to me and asked for a favor.

If you've been following this blog for a while, it's no secret that I adore giraffes. Afterall, we have a lot in common: we're both tall and awkward, we both have knobby knees, and we both make weird faces on a regular basis.

But recently I learned something new about my favorite animal: Giraffes have the largest heart out of all land animals.

And for that reason, the giraffe is now becoming a symbol of non-violent communication.

And I just so happen to crochet stuffed animals for a hobby (if you want one, you should check out my patreon page), and the administrator at the church knew this about me, so she put in a request.

He's certainly not perfect. He's been chewed on in some places (an inevitable fate with a puppy in the house) and patched back together (but then again, haven't we all?), and in spite of all of his frays and lopsidedness, he has a permanent smile.

And a really big heart.

So his new home will be at the church, as the official representative of non-violent communication, and apparently, whenever someone has something to say, they have to hold him when they're speaking, which I think is amazing because who could ever be angry while holding this guy? And who could ever be angry at the person holding this guy? It's basically impossible, right?

I think so. And if you disagree with me, that's okay.


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So maybe I'm not marketable. 

I've been feeling a bit low as a writer/person in the world lately, which is weird because the thing I've been feeling low about is the fact that I'm not angry all the time. I am a feminist. There's no denying it and I'm happy to say so. And I am angry about a lot of things. I just refuse to let those things make me angry all of the time. I refuse to believe that there are more bad people than there are good, and I refuse to believe that the world we live in right now is the reality we have to accept. If we start simply accepting that things are terrible, then we let the terrible things win.

It's not that I'm ignoring the terrible things. I just don't want to validate them. My goal is to give you just a small break and to remind you that there is still good out there.

I choose to believe in and acknowledge love.

But I'm not just a feminist, I'm also a writer. And while I love this blog, I'm also trying to "make it" as a writer and I'd like to be published on other websites as well. ...except that most of the websites I find that I think might be a good fit for my style are, well, only publishing angry-feminist stuff right now.

So there's a strange sense of loneliness creeping in... all because I'm refusing to be unhappy.

I turned to Bestbian today, who always knows what to say in these situations, and... well, she didn't disappoint:

I've seen a few of my writer friends falling down this rabbit hole lately. "What do the readers/publishers/editors want to see?"

But I think we all need to remember that that's not the question we need to be asking. The question we need to be asking is "What do I have to say?"

I have stories of my foolishness, my uterus, and love.

Maybe that's not marketable.

And maybe that's okay.


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A Birthday Giveaway!

It's my birthday today! Yay!

 

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Not only is the universe providing an awesome solar eclipse, but while the world has been seemingly crappy lately, I've found myself refusing to give up on optimism. Because that's how we let the crappy things win.

One thing that I'm especially thankful for is all of you, which is why I'm doing a giveaway for my birthday! The prize? A box of some of my favorite books shipped to you with a personal note from me telling you why I loved them and I hope you will, too!

Here's what you have to do to enter:

Leave a comment down below telling me three things that you still love about this world. 

That's it. Just tell me three things that make you happy. Do so before 11:59pm (EST) tonight and then tomorrow morning I will announce the winner, which will be randomly selected from the comments below.

Ready? GO!

This contest is now closed (but keep commenting with happy thoughts!). Congrats to Merima for the win! 


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It's snowing and I'm happy.

Hello friends!! It's snowing like crazy here in Connecticut today and Gio, Fiancé and I are in absolute heaven. The fact that I don't have to go into work and that I've been pouring baileys into my coffee all morning (a snow day tradition in our household) might be contributing to this feeling of euphoria, but STOP JUDGING ME I'M GOING TO BUILD A SNOWMAN LATER.

I always love when it snows. I can tell it's happened right when I wake up in the morning. Everything is quieter and there's something different about the way the light comes in through the bedroom windows. I can also see snow falling from the sky, so that helps to clue me in, too.

Anyway, blog followers, I don't really have a ton to say here this week, but I just wanted to pop on the blog and say hello. I have some cool ideas cooking up that I can't wait to share with you. New projects to launch and whatnot, but they're still simmering and not quite ready to be served, so I'll just have to leave you in suspense until they are ready, but I'm excited about all of them, so I hope you are too!

If it's snowing where you are, make sure you send me pictures! I love seeing what you're all up to. Build a snowman. Build a whole scene of them! Give them swords and turn it into a battle! Make snow aliens! Construct a snow wedding! The possibilities are endless.

I'll be posting our snow adventures on the social medias, so keep an eye out (links to my accounts are on the right!).

Remember to keep loving each other. Remember that I love you all.

Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome #3: Stress and Joy with Sabrina

Earlier today, after wrapping up my NaNoWriMo word count for the day, I rewarded myself with some time to catch up on some of my favorite YouTubers. If you watch the vlogbrothers channel, you know that Hank just had a baby and is on paternity leave (yay fatherhood!), so on Fridays, his usual videos are being taken over by the lovely Sabrina from Nerdy and Quirky, and her debut video in this slot was AMAZING.

I'll let you take a moment and watch it right now. In fact, I'll join you.

 

I love everything about this.

Yes, stress can be a bad thing, but... what I love about Sabrina's point is that stress, like fat, comes in good and bad forms.

I am the type of person who performs well when time is of the essence. For example, I've set a goal for myself to write a blog post every Friday, and I'm holding myself to that goal while also trying to attempt NaNoWriMo, while still working a full time job, and working with teens twice a month for a few hours at a time and planning a wedding and saving up to buy a house (or maybe build one) and taking care of a really smart and active dog and reading more and trying to also spread joy and happiness and good vibes in one of the undoubtedly negative periods of our country's recent history. And then there are all the shows on Netflix to catch up on. It's exhausting.

But Sabrina made me realize that if I was doing none of these things, if I was just sitting around and drinking coffee and working on nothing, I would feel no reward. I would get none of the joy that blogging and noveling and bookselling and the wedding planning and everything else brings me.

Good things take work to create, but it's good work. It's fulfilling work -- and when you've worked really hard to get something good, that thing feels so much better.

I'm so glad that I watched this video today and was reminded that some forms of stress are worth having. They are the fires under our asses to get us moving towards the joy in our lives.

So the next time that you're sitting at your desk, wanting to tear your hair out because STUFF ISN'T HOW YOU WANT IT RIGHT NOW, just take a moment and remind yourself why you sat down there in the first place and try to smile even though your blood pressure is rising. Think about what it is you're working towards and why this will all be so worth it.

And remember, you can do it. I believe in you.

Speaking of which, what are you working on that's a source of good stress in your life? Tell me about your happy projects in the comments and let's support each other through it all!

Spread joy, everyone.

*This is an installment of the Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome series in which I pick one thing that I am loving right now and I tell you all about it because I want more people to be aware of the existence of that person or thing. I do not get paid for these and I pick them purely based on my own interest in them. 

23 things to make you smile. Right now.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I've been making more of an effort to spread cheer and optimism over there. I don't really know what started this, but for some reason lately, I've been trying to broadcast happiness on a grand scale. Maybe it's because the headlines lately have been exhaustingly sad and rageful. Or maybe it's just because I like happy things and I honestly don't think the world can have enough happiness. Either way, yesterday, I asked people on twitter to only tweet about the good stuff happening and using the hashtag, #HappyTweets. Now, I'm not a person with a ton of followers, so this didn't take off quite as much as I'd hoped it would, but that's okay. I still managed to tweet happy things, and I'm going to keep this going, even here on the blog. So... in the event that you just need a reason to smile, here is a list of things to be happy about in spite of what the news tells us:

  1. Puppies. I tweeted about this yesterday, but how incredible is it that we live on a planet on which puppies exist? Puppies, possibly the cutest things ever, happen all the time. They're just all around. And then, on top of them being cute, THEY LOVE EVERYONE. Have you ever met a puppy that didn't want to snuggle or play? Many books have been written on the love that dogs give us, but I think puppies deserve an extra boost right now because we are so lucky to live in the same universe as them. Just soak that incredible fact in.
  2. Artists. Okay, so I'm also floored by just how amazing it is that we are living at a time when people like Jenny Lawson, Hank Green, J.K. Rowling, Hannah Hart, Ben Folds, Rainbow Rowell, etc. all create stuff that we get to enjoy and learn from. Every day, there are amazing artists of all types creating things that we just get to sit down and be like "THIS IS A THING I ENJOY" and then we get to walk away feeling inspired by those people and things they do. Especially now. Now we are in a time when content is just constantly available to us - and often for free. This brings me to the next thing...
  3. The Internet. Okay, I know: The Internet can be full of terrible people, but you know what? It's also full of amazing people and amazing communities. Before the Internet, the only people available to you were just the ones physically surrounding you. If they weren't into the same stuff you were, that was just the pits. Now? Now you get to go online and log onto some forum or social media account and say "HEY, I'M REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT FAKE LIZARDS MADE OF SAND AND WAX." and someone else could be like, "OH MY GOD, ME TOO!!" and now you have a new friend who is in a totally different country. The Internet is an amazing place for people in search of community and friendships. I met the love of my life because of the Internet. I'm able to write and have a small group of readers because of the Internet. I'm currently listening to music because of the Internet. All the jerks out there? They are nothing in comparison to the awesomeness that I find on the Internet.
  4. Books. THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES OUT THERE TO READ. FAIRY TALES AND REALISTIC FICTION AND MURDER MYSTERIES AND SCI-FI AND HISTORY. IT'S ALL OUT THERE JUST WAITING FOR YOU. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
  5. Flowers growing through cracks in the sidewalk. This doesn't need any explanation. Tiny, delicate, beautiful things emerge and break through the toughest of materials. As cliche as it is, this metaphor is wonderful and we should all remind ourselves of it daily.
  6. Music. No matter your taste, music is out there for you to fall in love to and with. Perfectly timed melodies and beautiful lyrics come to us in all sorts of ways and we get to apply them to moments in our lives as though someone is building a soundtrack for us. I just love it.
  7. Coffee. 
  8. Your ideal weather. For me it's 77 degrees and immediately following rain. I love rain, too, now that I'm thinking about it. Sure, weather can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but when it's also kind of amazing. Just picture your perfect day, weather-wise.
  9. Details in architecture. This one comes from my bestbian, Leah. She loves walking around the city with her headphones in and just looking at buildings and trying to notice their unique details. She's the best.
  10. Having a best friend. Many of us can think of our best friend(s). That person is someone who we can call whenever and just vent to. Best friends are the people who like you anyway. They're the best.
  11. Riding trains. I'm sure many of us have different feelings about train travel, but there is something so very classic and, as Leah puts it, "British" about the experience. She and I love British things, so this is in our happy column.
  12. Good television. We are in an age of amazing television right now. Shows that are beautifully written and make us think. This is awesome. I, personally, love great dialogue. Great dialogue is great.
  13. Crawling into a made bed at the end of the day. Oh man, is there anything more relaxing?
  14. Wearing an outfit that you know you look really, really good in. Admit it. You know what outfit this is and it is the thing you feel best about yourself in. Because you are really ridiculously good looking in it and you can do anything in that outfit.
  15. Pajamas. Duh.
  16. Making other people smile. 
  17. Rivers, lakes, and oceans. Bodies of water always seem to make me happy. I don't know why, but they're lovely. I've always really liked that line from Pocahontas where she says "my favorite thing about rivers is that you can't step in the same river twice." That has always made me smile.
  18. I know I said puppies already, but let's just give a shout out to all baby animals. Baby animals are just the best.
  19. Hugs. Good hugs are great. Even if you're not a hugger, somewhere out there is a hug that you love. I believe in that.
  20. When everything is where it should be. I personally hate cleaning, but I love when everything is clean, so I force myself to go through the grueling process of getting it there because I know the reward is worth it.
  21. Checking off everything on your to-do list. I rarely get to do this every day, but man isn't it awesome when it does happen? Yes. Yes it is.
  22. Live shows. In an age of digital everything, there is something even more amazing now about seeing something live. Last night, Fiance and I were lucky enough to see Ben Folds in concert and I'm still on Cloud 9.
  23. Love. This will be my last one, because ultimately, it is the most wonderful thing in the world and it is everywhere. Sometimes we struggle to see it clearly, but at the end of the day, when you're feeling really crappy, I think it's nice to remember that love is out there. Even if you're not feeling it, I think it's nice to know that it's there. It's nice to think about what you love and who loves you in spite of yourself. I think it's nice to love yourself. It's nice to remember that there is a puppy out there who will love you. Love, as a noun and a verb, is something that constantly amazes me. The fact that we are able to love and feel loved is something truly remarkable. Random acts of kindness are random acts of love and if you really sit back and think about it, isn't that just the most lovely thing of all? I think it is.

So that's my list as of this very moment. It's incomplete and constantly changing and being added to, but I invite you to write about what makes you happy in the comments. Tweet at me with happy things using #HappyTweets. Don't let the crappy headlines win. Flood the world with joy whenever possible.

Ready? Go.

"Hey! You're Great! I love you! ...Too much?" or "A Midwesterner in New England's Court."

I get teased a lot for being such a friendly Midwesterner. I never really noticed it until I moved to New England where everyone is very into their privacy and conversations are minimal with strangers. Thankfully, I work in retail, so my sunny disposition is a skill rather than a nuisance, and it ends up working in my favor, but if I didn’t have books to sell, I don’t know what I’d do with myself. I just like talking to people. I like hearing their stories and what they have to say, and I genuinely believe that if you’re nice to others and take an active interest in people, they’ll either return the favor or pay it forward (or both, if things go really well!), and that’s something I can be proud of. As someone at work put it, “everyone is Emelie’s best friend.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have my bad days and I have my bad moments during my good days when I’m not as nice as I could have been or I say something truly awful and stupid to or about someone, and I almost always feel remorse over those moments. I do get annoyed with people and there are people who I just don’t like or don’t get along with, but I’d like to think that I give everyone an honest shot before deciding whether or not I like them. I do my best to be nice to every cashier and every barista – after all, coffee is my lifeline and if I’m not nice to the barista, things could end up very poorly for me – and I try and make sure that each customer who walks into the bookshop knows that I’ve seen them and that I’m happy to help them find a book if they need me. A lot of that has to do with my job, yes, but I think that it’s mostly just in my nature. I just happened to find the career that works best with my personality.

So, yeah, when I answer the phone, my voice goes up an octave, and when I ask how you’re doing, I really do want to know. It’s not forced and it’s not fake; it’s just… happiness. It’s love. I operate out of a love for what I’m doing and for the people I’m talking to, and even if some think that it’s too much, I’m not going to stop. I am nice. I am happy. And I’m unapologetic about it, because if any of that can transfer from me to you, then you bet your butt that I’m going to keep doing it.

Sorry, New England. You’ve got a loud Midwesterner in your midst and she’s here to stay.

I'm Essentially Just a Giant Failure Who Loves Christmas.

HAPPY DECEMBER, EVERYONE!!! advent1

This is without a doubt my favorite time of year. This and summer. And fall. And Spring.

Okay, I kind of love all the seasons, but the Christmas time is one of the best. For sure.

I started playing Christmas music in my apartment while I decorated today and then I made some cookies that turned out terribly. Martha Stewart is a liar and her recipe did NOT work. Nevermind the fact that I was missing like... half of the appliances she told me to use. I figure that if the woman is willing to lie on her taxes, she has no reason to be truthful to me. Therefore, it's not my fault that these things were gross.

In other news, I failed hardcore at NaNoWriMo, but congrats to those of you who succeeded! Congrats to those of you who worked your asses off to get it done. I'm proud of you all. Me? I chose the worst year to attempt this. I moved on October 25th, started my new job a few days later, which is a retail job, and then decided to attempt to write a novel, all while trying to meet new people and find the grocery store. I am not Wonder Woman.

In other words, this is just a post to say that even though the East Coast has no snow, Christmas is coming and I can't do anything, but I'm still happy. So yay.

So how are all of you?