A Woman of Character

Eleanor

Around two years ago I hit a wall. It was a wall that seemed so tall and strong to me that it knocked me off my feet and brought me to my trembling knees. I tried to get up but my circumstances swiftly knocked the breath out of me. I couldn’t sleep, hardly breathe and I felt as if my life was crumbling before my tired tear filled eyes. I felt that no matter what I did nothing could change my situation. I began searching for answers frantically and I had almost thrown up the white flag and waved it slowly and heavily with a broken heart. At the last second I saw this quote:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

I began to cry, but this time these tears were tears of joy and understanding.

I found my answer.

The woman who is so famous for this quote lived a life of meaning and beauty. She helped everyone she met and is a true definition of character. Though many judged her based on her outer appearance claiming that she was “plain” and “timid” she changed the world in a matter of a few short years. She is known for her charity work and her wise words. She was quiet and often remained on the sidelines preferring to help others without the attention of flashing cameras. Her quotes are full of wisdom and kindness. Her inside was so beautiful that any comparison of any other woman’s outer beauty is merely filthy rags on a garbage heap.

It breaks my heart to know that so many underestimated this amazing woman because of her outward appearance. How could you look at such a beautiful heart and see anything resembling ugliness or plainness? Although many put her down she continued to be so incredible and change so many lives for the better.

Her name is Eleanor Roosevelt.

In my humble opinion, we need more women like Mrs. Roosevelt. Women of character and love who don’t mind letting inner beauty trump outer beauty. In the end, we all get wrinkles, grey hair and age spots but the condition of our heart remains the same. We have too many celebrities and “role models” that push a plastic, harsh agenda on young women that screams “You’re not good enough and you never will be.”

We need more women that aren’t afraid to be true women. We need women with tender hearts and loving arms that can heal the most damaged of hearts. We need women to tell young women that who they are matters so much more than what they look like. Because strong women of character can help a young woman who is struggling to make it through this maze of life.

Someone like me.

I have been fortunate enough to know several women of character and to be honest I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. They, like Mrs. Roosevelt, have taught me that my heart counts for more than my hair, my nail polish color, my purse or my makeup. They have taught me that being a woman is one of the highest privileges ever given and I should not take it lightly because someone is always watching. I have the opportunity to change what is around me if I do it with love and humility.

My wish is that I could be half the woman Eleanor Roosevelt and others were. I want to live my life to help others see just how special they are. I want to mold my thoughts around my inner beauty rather than my outer beauty. I want to help build up rather than tear down. I want to exhibit my heart foremost. I want to help pass along the legacy of character.

Stay amazing.

Loads of Love,
Kate
xoxo

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An Ode to Sweet Tea

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To my dearest friend and all of your glory, I write this to commemorate all the times we have shared together. Beginning at infancy, you have been a constant, sweet companion through the ever changing years. You are the perfect complement to a breezy spring evening sitting on a porch swing. No matter what glass you may rest in, you never cease to serenade everyone around you. You are a shrine of my home. A beacon that will forever make its way through history to warm the hearts of those closest to you. You make horrible days better with a single drop. All worries and cares are abandoned while sampling a few homemade cookies and holding you in a laughter shaken hand. You have always been a part of my past and I hope you will always be in my future. The only thing I ask is that you wouldn’t make yourself scarce. Times are getting tougher and the days keep changing. Nothing seems very consistent anymore. I know you can make it better though. Thank you for your dear friendship and may you always be here to help comfort the hearts of those around us. Here’s to you, friend. May the days get better and the glasses get sweeter!

Loads of Love,
Kate
xoxo

No Approval Needed

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I’ve been taking a good, hard look at some things that I have been facing lately. I have noticed that when it comes to being happy, seeking approval from other people who don’t give a flying squirrel about you is not the way to go. Growing up I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I was constantly trying to fit in to a sea of superficial, self depreciating teens who begged for the five minute spotlight. I was wearing this or saying that or going there just because “everyone else was doing it.” (A.k.a “The lamest excuse of mankind.”)

It seems that when you are young you do what you want without a care in the world. I mean come on, how many five year olds do you see complaining that their jean wash was so last season? Exactly. None. At that age you are in your own little special world where there is no such thing as ‘peer pressure’ or ‘crop tops’. Chances are, you don’t even know what the word approval means. (Lucky you!)

Then you grow out of that magical phase and in to the “Must-fit-in-or-I’ll-look-like-a-total-loser” phase. Suddenly you have to hide all of your stuffed animals that you once saved the universe with and had fascinating conversations with over delicious fake tea and cookies all because you have moved on to ‘bigger and better’ things.

Your new friends have cell phones and lip balm. Not just any lip balm, mind you. The kind that gives your lips that shimmery pink pop star look. Instead of letting your hair do its own unique thing, you must burn it beyond recognition with a straightener because, let’s face it, straight is so in right now. Your eyes MUST be caked in at least three layers of eyeliner at all times and your nails cannot be bare under any circumstances. You have to wear Aeropostale’ at all times (sorry, this example is from the mid 2000s, if you couldn’t tell.) You must also constantly laugh like an idiot even though nothing has been said that is remotely funny.

“What? You just went to lunch? *Begins laughing* That is sooo funny!”

You see, once you get out of the approval phase you realize just how silly and degrading these rules really are. Yet when you are there you feel as though you must follow them to a T if you want to survive. But that’s the thing. When you follow someone else’s rules you are only surviving. When you begin to make up your own rules you begin to live.

Finally all the weight is gone. You feel free to breathe without caring about who is scrutinizing you. Approval is a crippling disease that strips the real you away. It causes you to do things that you soon regret. I’m so glad that now I see that I don’t need someone’s approval to be myself. I was created to be me and that’s exactly who I am going to be!

Stay amazing.

Loads of Love,
Kate
xoxo

Waiting

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I feel the grey pavement scuff the bottoms of my old Chucks. I’m careful to look around and see if this is the place I remember. Everything seems to be in its proper place. The high ceilings are illuminated from the outside light from the articulate windows. I see the crosses and meetings of the green steel and I begin to trip on my shoe laces from the comforting distraction. The walls have kept their lifeless pale color. Tattered posters grip themselves to their temporary homes on the columns dividing the walkway. Their edges are frayed and slightly curled from moisture and light. The only sounds I hear are the droplets of water dripping on the unforgiving ground and a few chatty pigeons. The air smells of fresh rain and new life.

There is no one around. That is odd for this time of day. He should be here. I glance around the corner of the protruding column beside me as I stop to take it all in. I look up at the green decorative clock and notice a few minutes have past.

Where could he be? He should probably be here by now. I slowly shift to see a deserted area to my right. No. He’s not there. I glance to my left and see him sitting silently on a black bench. As I move toward him pigeons ascend to the rafters and I catch his eye. I smile and I take a seat beside him. He nods and shows a toothy grin.

“Where have you been, stranger?” he asks as he turns my way.

“Here and there,” I reply as I settle in to the hard bench. “Has it come yet?” I implore.

“Not yet. Still waiting,” he says as he shifts his attention to his clasped hands.

I slowly nod in understanding and look forward to see a small piece of paper floating through the soft breeze. We sit in silence for a moment and just enjoy each other’s presence. I notice he has brought flowers this time. They are spring daisies wrapped in light blue paper held together by a starch white ribbon.

“They are beautiful,” I say as I nod to the flowers.

“Oh, these,” he says picking them up. “Yes, I hope she likes them.”

I notice he seems a little preoccupied as he touches each of the sunny faces nestled in their pale blue nest. I hope she comes this time. He has been waiting for so long. His tweed jacket shows a few wrinkles that have been caused by the wait. His pocket watch is slightly peeping from its pocket as if to signify that time is always rearing its threatening head at him. He won’t stop fidgeting his leg and soon his puts his fist under his chin to support his weary head.

He doesn’t seem to mind that I look different from everyone else. My jeans and sneakers don’t bother him in the slightest. The women hold up their skirt hems as the men stroll along in tailored suits to the ticket windows. They normally walk past and give sideways glances and snarly looks but he was different though. His face seemed so focused yet soft. He was suspended through time yet he did not panic or fight. His light brown eyes would simply glance at different objects and illuminate when any new thought came pouncing into his mind. I suppose that is how he copes with it all.

I had learned from my last visit that he was waiting on someone very special. She lights up rooms with a single smile and glides through life as if she were floating on air. Her hair shames the sunshine that lights up this very structure. She laughs as if she will never again have the chance to do so. She is the substance of his dreams and the occupant of his heart. He practically glows when he speaks of her. It’s the look a mother has when she holds her infant for the first time or the strong presence the moon has on a cold winter’s night. She must come this time.

An hour passes and there is still no sign. He takes the pocket watch to compare it to the green standing clock. He shakes it close to his ear and looks again. The same time stares at his puzzled face. He clicks it shut and sighs as he puts it back slowly in his pocket. Suddenly we hear the metal tracks vibrate and the sound of a faint shrill whistle. He immediately stiffens his back in a military fashion. I shift to look past him.

There comes the large black beast that will seal his fate for now. It slowly and painstakingly edges its way to the terminal. Each second meanders on as an eternity. My heart is rapidly thumping and my stomach lurches with anticipation. He sits in a patient daze. His eyes are locked on the cars and the hope of seeing her again. He couldn’t be budged by anything at this point. The passengers slowly emerge from their journey with stiff legs and weak smiles. He looks through them all to find her. People soon begin to fill the once barren station with idle chatter and footsteps.

She isn’t there. The last of the passengers walk past him as he slowly opens his mouth to take in some much needed air. He seems to wilt along with the daisies. I can only imagine how devastated he is. He was so patient. Surprisingly he looks back up at me with a soft smile. I return a look of curiosity mingled with sadness.

“It’s worth it, you know,” he says as his smile grows slightly.

“What is? What’s worth it?” I ask with my head shaking slowly.

“Love. If seeing her meant staying here for years and feeling that same pain over and over it would still be worth it.”

I look at him and begin to process what he has said. Could it be true? Could disappointment and pain be the things that separate love from vague inclinations and hallucinations? I feel an unseen arrow pierce my heart. Finally I see it all. The thing we want the most sometimes requires waiting and disappointment, but soon enough it will be ours.

His smile starts to slant and loose its color. The walls melt in to the darkness and the rafters transfigure themselves back into the shadows and replaced by harsh sunlight.

It’s all gone.

I’m awake.

Loads of Love,
Kate
xoxo

The Quartet of Radiance Award

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Hello all!

I hope you are all having a hunky-dory day full of happiness and sunshine (even though it is a Monday in my little chunk of the world.) Just the other day I logged in to WordPress and found a tiny orange thing in the corner of my screen. Naturally, any WordPress user knows what this means. Someone commented…on something…

Of course I tried to play it cool and scroll through all the posts I hadn’t read, but as usual curiosity gripped my easily-distracted mind and I clicked on the button. Okay, maybe self-control isn’t exactly my strong suit.

Bad Kate.

Lo and behold, it was Lonely Lion and she had nominated me for “The Quartet of Radiance Award”. (These include the Inner Peace Award, Most Influential Blogger, Awesome Blog Content Award and The Sunshine Award.) My face instantly lit up like the red panda you see above. I would like to give her a hearty thank you and recommend her fantastic blog. She definitely pegs all the situations and thoughts of a teenage girl making her way through the world. Any time I read her posts I feel as though I am traveling back in time to visit my younger self.

Part of accepting the award is to make an alphabet list of things that describe you. So when you mix a lot of clumsiness, quirkiness, curly hair, a slight Captain America obsession and imagination, throw it all in a bowl and bake at 375 you get my very Kattie Kate-ish list!(It’s best served with a cup of coffee and a good sense of humor.)

Let’s do this. *Cue music*

audrey

Audrey Hepburn- To be honest, I’ve never really had a hero growing up. Even now I can’t really think of someone that I want to be exactly like but if I had to choose one person that inspires me it would be Audrey Hepburn. She is the perfect example of a lady and she wasn’t afraid to be herself. What more could you ask for? I wish I could have met her. Anytime I am feeling down about myself I read a few of her quotes and I feel pretty. Having the ability to make someone happy is a rare quality that she possessed. And let’s face it; she knew how to pull off a black dress before anyone else even thought about it. She is the ultimate woman in my opinion.

Books-Something about reading a book just feels right to me. I love feeling the pages and seeing the perfectly type script. Another thing about books is that they are found in the most magical place on earth. (No. Not Disney World/Land.) A library.Just walking around and looking at all the books makes me feel at home. I am wanting to drift off just thinking of it…

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Captain America- Yes, I realize I have already mentioned him, but if you notice from that previous sentence I have a slight obsession of the Steve Rogers/ Cap America variety. I love him the most because of his character. He always seems to want to do the right thing even if it goes against other peoples’ opinions. To me that is a great strength. (That and he doesn’t look too bad in the suit, either.)

By the way, you should see The Winter Soldier. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Despicable Me-This movie is probably the best children’s movie known to man. (In my biased opinion.) I even (without shame) went to see the second one with one of my friends on opening day. We were surrounded by small giddy children and very confused soccer moms. I’m pretty sure my friend and I were more excited than the kids.

No. I have no regrets.

Oh look! He likes Captain America too!

Ella Fitzgerald- If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Ella Fitzgerald is by far the Queen of Jazz. Her voice is so smooth and gives meaning to everything she sings. Jazz music just wouldn’t be the same without her.

Forever 21- I absolutely adore this store! If I could have three wishes from a magical genie the last one would be for a Forever 21 as a walk-in closet. Could you imagine the possibilities? Ah, I need a moment. Or two.

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Great Dane- These dogs are incredible! They look like mini horses. If I had the choice to have another dog to pair with my Mini Schnauzer (his name is Bandit) it would definitely be one of these guys. I would probably name it Thor. Just look at that face!

Happy- This song is by far one my favorites. Pharrell did a fantastic job putting the feeling of happiness in a song. I play this over and over when I feel down and out and it makes me want to dance and sing. Go ahead. Try not to smile when you hear it. I don’t think it can be done.

Infj

INFJ-This is probably another thing you know about me. According to the Myers-Briggs personality test, I am an INFJ. Explaining what an INFJ is would take a considerable amount of your time, so if you would like to know more about it, you can click here. And to all my INFJ comrades out there, stay awesome! (That goes for all personality types, too.)

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Journey- Out of all the bands that came out of the 80’s, I would have to say Journey is the best. Steve Perry has a great voice that makes you want to sing along. And no one can keep themselves from singing along to “Don’t Stop Believing.” You just can’t. It’s physically impossible.

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Koalas- These little guys are so fascinating! I’ve never seen one up close (besides a trip from the zoo). They seem so cuddly and snuggly. I just want to give one a big hug!

Lipstick-I also have a slight obsession with lipstick. Anytime I leave the house without it I feel naked. I prefer pinks and reds of all shades. I believe that every woman has a perfect shade of lipstick and once she finds it, she can take over the world. (In a non-scary sort of way, of course.)

Modcloth-If you haven’t ever been on this website, you have lived your life all wrong. I would love to have unlimited access to Modcloth’s clothes. Now that is quite a fantasy. I need another moment.

Natural Hair- For the past few years I have been letting my curly hair have its way. I used to straighten it daily because that’s what everyone else was doing. (And that’s never a good reason to do something, I’ve come to notice.) finally I said ‘Forget it,’ and I set my hair free. The good news? I have no split ends and I’m seen as an individual. Woohoo! The bad news? Frizz. Loads of it.

Oh well. You can’t have it all.

Oxfords-I wish they would stay in season forever! I love these little guys. As a matter of a fact I am wearing some right now. How coincidental! (Not really.) Oxfords easily add a touch of style to anything. They are super shoes with fantastic fashion powers. Take that, evil doers.

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Pencils-I just love new sharp pencils. Something about them makes me want to sketch and write to my heart’s content. They have a certain smell as well. They make me want to creat something that goes beyond who I am and that thrills me. So if I’m ever cross, just buy me some new yellow pencils. I will try to remain angry, but it will be very difficult and soon I will smile just a little. Oh, and get me some paper too while you’re at it.

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Quilts- A big part of Southern life back in the day was quilting. People used old shirts, dresses, baby clothes and other scrap cloth to create warm works of art to keep warm in the winter. They can range from small squares to complex snowflake and flower patterns. Looking at them makes me feel close to home and all warm and fuzzy.

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Records-If you follow my blog frequently you will notice that I collect records. Why? Because I love the sound and the thrill of the hunt. Something about listening to records on a rainy day just makes me forget all the stuff that made me blue. That and looking in antique stores for these gems is good exercise. Do you know how hard it is to look through a butt-ton of records in the secluded, musty corners of random antique stores? It’s pretty rough, let me tell ya. Serious elbow grease, people.

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Short- I am right at 5’2. I am used to the jokes and the giggling. The weird thing is when your younger siblings outgrow you they suddenly feel as though they can beat up on you. But let me reassure you, what I lack in height I make up for in spunk. Ka-pow.

Oh, and yes I may be short but I do have a reason. *Cough Cough* Randy Newman.

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Tea- Since I was knee-high to a grasshopper (wait, I still kind of am…) I have been drinking sweet tea. It’s a Southern staple, really. It’s not that I don’t like traditional warm tea; it’s just that to me a tall glass of ice cold super sweet tea is sheer heaven. It is basically diabetes in a glass, but it’s worth it. Top it off with some sour cream pound cake while sitting on a back porch swing on a warm spring day and you’ve got your own slice of paradise.

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Ukulele- For my twentieth trip around the sun I received a pink ukulele which I named Stella. I am in the process of learning how to play Stella and as of now all I know is “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. Believe it or not, it’s rather difficult to find songs that involve a ukulele. Unless you live in Hawaii. In which case, aloha!

VW

Volkswagen-I adore pretty much anything Volkswagen makes. My first car was a black beetle named Sophie. She was tons of fun to drive and I miss her terribly. I made some great memories in that car. The only complaint I have is the cup holders. They are right up under the dash so there is no room to put your drinks. That causes you to have to hold your drinks until you get home…and spill them anytime you hit the brakes or change gears. (That was experience talking.) Miss you Sophie!

Water- I never thought I would ever get to the point that I never drink soda, but now that has changed. A few years ago I completely stopped drinking soda and picked up a bottle of water (About the only other thing I drink is sweet tea. Hey, I’m Southern. What do you expect?) The rest is history. I can honestly say I do not miss soda in the slightest way. If anything I find it highly repulsive and I avoid it at all costs. My body has been happier ever since.

X Marks the Spot- You’re almost done! Woo! (Please note that at this point I can’t think of a ‘X’ word that would describe me. I can only think of X-rayand that doesn’t make sense because I have never broken a bone. Wait, maybe X-ray would have worked…I’ll let you all decide.)

Yiruma- If you want to be swept away by amazing piano solos, Yiruma is your guy. His songs are beyond incredible and he is a fantastic pianist. “Kiss the Rain” would have to be my favorite because it reminds me of a lullaby. I wish I could be half the musician Yiruma is. You should definitely check him out!

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Zebras- Just because they’re cool. And I couldn’t think of another ‘Z’ word to use. He’s a cutie!

Well, that concludes my extra long list of Kate-ness. Below are the fantastic blogs I have nominated in no particular order:

Her Locket
Books and Sandwhiches
Sweet Magnolia Chic
Amy Who?
Morning Angel

Here are ze rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Nominate other people.
3. Describe yourself with the alphabet.
4. Tell your Mom about what you won and how awesome you are. (And that you are, my friends. Every single one of you!)
5. Pass along the award.

I hope you have a great one wherever you are and DON’T STOP BELIEVING! And I’d like to thank Ms. Lonely Lion again for the kind nomination. You are the reason for this madness!

*Cue guitar solo*

Sorry. Had to be done. I’d like to thank Ms. Lonely Lion again for the kind nomination. You are the reason for this madness! 🙂

Stay incredible.

Loads of Love,
Kate
xoxo

The Gift of Good Literature

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What is it about a good book that makes the mind travel to an unknown place? It’s as if you are another person living a whole new life. All the problems and feelings you have fade into who you are at the moment. You don’t have to think. You just feel. There are no worries or preoccupation with menial tasks. No irrational thoughts cloud your mind. In a sense you are floating without care of how you will land.

I’ve noticed in my life I am constantly thinking. I think more than I do, in a sense. It’s as if my mind can be a prison and I have no way of escaping. I have never really felt what it is like to just be. But with reading I can. It’s almost like being allowed to exit your cell and walk outside and feel the sun on your face and smell the lively breeze. For once you can just breathe with the satisfaction of just being alive. No thoughts. No fears. Just existence.

Literature allows me to delve in to who I am and see parts of me I never could understand previously. I can take this information and feel better knowing that who I am is okay. I don’t have to be like everyone else. It also allows me to rest. Instead of constantly hashing and rehashing thoughts I can just float down a calm river of consciousness. That is a blessing within itself nowadays. All of my fears and concerns can just stand on the bank and watch me as I float along in peace. For now all they can do is wait for me to get back.

Libraries are the troves that hold these magical beings and I often find myself gazing at the treasure they have to offer. Something about the smell and feel of a library is therapy to me. It’s as if I can do anything because I have the knowledge right in front of me. I can visit exotic places, learn new languages, meet new people, discover new ideas and dissect new concepts with a turn of a page. To me that is power at its best. Finally I have control over something in my life.

Good literature is an oasis to me and I hope you can say the same. I hope you have an incredible book to read that can make you feel as great as it does me. Stay amazing.

Loads of Love,
Kate
xoxo