Not A Pink Girl

Letter to my niece on her confirmation (stay with me on this)

January 3, 2014
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“When you send forth your spirit, you renew the face of the earth.” Psalm 104:30

Dear Katie,

Happy Confirmation! This will be a time you will always remember as a turning point in your life. You may not realize it now (it may take some years of life experience for it to sink in).

There are so many artificial milestones in the life of a teenager. When you turn 13, yippee! No more single digits! But really, what does that mean to your life? Basically that your parents will now be charged the adult ticket price when they take you to the movies, you can’t legally order off the kids’ menu at restaurants, & that now you’re supposed to be able to smile knowingly at all the off-color jokes in a PG-13 movie.

How about when you turn 16? You’ve probably been driving with your mom or dad in the passenger seat for about six months. You have this dreamy idea in your head that when you get your driver’s license that suddenly your life will be transformed.

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Okay, turning 18 is a bit more real. You are considered to be an adult, overnight. You can vote (hopefully you’ll be a lifelong Democrat). You graduate from high school & go to college (none of this taking a year off to Find Yourself; if you ever want to find yourself, just ask me; I’ll show you where you are). You can have a job (but if you’re like me, you would have had some moneymaking racket going on since you were in sixth grade).

But when you get confirmed, suddenly you have all the tools you need to live a good life. This doesn’t happen overnight. For months, you’ve been studying & memorizing for your confirmation day. You’d think that when the Bishop lays hands on you it would be like an exclamation point at the end of a L-O-N-G sentence.

But here’s the important part: in that moment in the church when it’s your turn to step up to the altar in front of the Bishop, the Holy Spirit enters your soul. How lucky & blessed you’ll be at that moment! That’s what’s real. That’s what matters. The gift God bestows on you at that moment can never be taken away from you.

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You’ll be able to use that gift of the Holy Spirit as a “toolbox” for how to live a good life, but more important, you’ll use the gift of the Holy Spirit to help others live a good life, which is the whole reason Jesus came to earth in the first place: to teach us, through His example, to love one another as we love ourselves, & as God loves us.

You’ll learn to recognize when someone is filled with the Holy Spirit, whether it’s a priest, a friend, or a cashier at the grocery store. You’ll also know when the Holy Spirit is actively working through you.

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With me, my guardian angel taps me on the shoulder or gives me goosebumps or tingles up & down my spine. She’s saying, “Yes! It’s true!”

Trust your feelings, Katie. If you learn to do this when you’re young, you’ll have a much longer, happier life. Don’t let anyone tell you that your feelings (dreams, hopes, fears) are not valid. If you’re feeling it, it’s real.

Don’t waste time doing things you’re not comfortable with for someone who doesn’t truly matter in your life. If you find yourself constantly struggling outside your comfort zone to impress a “friend” or to attract or keep a certain guy, then you must heed this as a signal that the person is not right for you. This will make more sense to you when it happens.

You are a beautiful, funny, caring, special girl. You need to look in the mirror every morning, Katie, & tell yourself that! You can say, “Girlfriend, you got it goin’ ON!” Because, Katie, YOU DO. Don’t ever make a project of making less of yourself for someone who just doesn’t matter.

YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN YOUR LIFE, KATIE.

I’m including the words to a song by Erykah Badu that just about says it all.

I love you! How blessed you are, Katie! Use your toolbox (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord) well & often! Most important, SHARE YOUR TOOLS!

Love, Aunt Kathie

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Appletree

Written by Erykah Badu

from her first album,

Baduizm

“See, I pick my friends the way I pick my fruit

My auntie taught me that when I was only a youth

I don’t walk around trying to be what I’m not

I don’t waste my time trying to get what you got

I work at pleasing me because I can’t please you

And that’s why I do what I do

My soul flies free like a willow tree…

And if you don’t want to be down with me

Then you don’t want to be from my apple tree

I have a hoe, and I take it everywhere I go

‘Cause I’m planting seeds so I reap what I sow

I can’t control the soul flowing in me.”

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This is 2008, not 1958, right?

June 21, 2008
2 Comments

I was flipping through the Vera Bradley catalog I got in the mail. I’m not really a Vera Bradley girl (partially because I’m not a pink girl [natch] & her things have so much pink in them), but last year I must have gotten on a mailing list (I suspect Hallmark) & I started receiving these catalogs.

I’ve bought my mom a few Vera Bradley items. One is a beautiful quilted jacket that I got brand-new, never-worn on eBay for some ridiculously low price like $20. One is done in a pattern called “Pinwheel Pink” & it’s a travel organizer for all one’s toiletries. I got it on amazon for $47 (which is pretty much the retail price).

I’ve never seen my mom wear the jacket, so I’m not sure how thrilled she is with it. But she said she loves the travel case. She often goes back & forth between her house & my sister’s house (about a 40-mile drive), so I think this accessory comes in handy for her.

The print is a special Vera Bradley pattern in that VB claims they donate 10% of the net proceeds from the sale of a Pinwheel Pink piece to The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer & other breast cancer projects & services. My mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor (& a three-time cancer survivor), so it’s nice to know I’m giving to a good cause when I buy something. (Although I suspect not much money ever gets to cancer research; call me cynical, but my experience with corporate America has led be to think they pretty much keep every dime they can in their own pockets.)

So I get the Vera Bradley catalogs every couple of months. The latest catalog is entitled “Take Time” & I think it’s the spring 2008 catalog. It’s not large (it has about 26 pages). The stunning thing about this advertisement is that it could have been printed in 1958. Why? Because every model in the booklet is white. (Or canine.)

Thumbing through the pages, I was annoyed to notice that it looked like it was photographed in the Hamptons of Long Island, New York. (I differentiate because I live in Virginia, & we have a Hampton Roads area here that’s near Norfolk & Virginia Beach [that’s where our state Democratic Convention is being held this weekend] & I don’t think this catalog was photographed there.)

You know, the snobby Hamptons, where Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City fame takes the jitney with her grrfrens for wild summer weekends of drinking, romance, drinking, general cattiness, drinking, & icky stuff like nausea, shocking breakups & scabies (usually acquiring while – you guessed it – drinking).

I know one of the reasons I have a bad opinion of the Hamptons is because I’m jealous. You have this gorgeous piece of land that abuts the beach with great Malibu-esque beach houses on it, & you make it so horrifically expensive to go there that you keep all the “undesirables” (like me) out. You know, just like they did with Malibu.

It makes me laugh (but not in a funny way) when I see people like Martha Stewart hobnobbing with Diddy just because each of them has enough money to buy land in the Hamptons & throw huge, expensive-champagne-soaked parties there during high season. Can you imagine them actually hanging out together if their common fortunes hadn’t thrown them into the same high-rent districts? Yep, when Sean John rolls up to his East Hampton crib, he’s far from the PJs in Harlem where he was born. & I doubt that when Martha & the Diddster are clinking Cristal that she realizes his father was gunned down when Diddy was 3 years old because he was an associate of druglord Frank Lucas, recently played by Denzel Washington in the movie American Gangster (a movie you should be sure & miss because it’s not good; any Denzel is good, but this movie wasted his talent).

(Speaking of Frank Lucas, don’t forget what Fat Joe said:

Haters get tight when you’re worth a million,

That’s why I wear this chinchilla, to hurt their feelings.

Joey Crack, if you’re reading this, I love you. Holla @ your girl.)

And you know that Diddy has no idea that Martha’s daddy was a Polish American who was a drug dealer in his own right, although he peddled his wares legally. Could it be that this, & not their obscene wealth, is the thread that draws Martha & Diddy together, that their respective fathers were in the same business?

But how ironic is it that Martha’s done time & Diddy has not? So does that mean that Martha has street cred but the Diddster’s just a wangsta?

Believe me, they’re not taking the smelly old jitney to the Hamptons. Their helicopter pilots are just scanning the world below for that big “H” so they can land the whirlybird & disgorge their passengers, most of whom have more money than everyone in my little suburb combined.

I took this picture @ The Inaugural President\'s Cup

And now they can commiserate with poor Tiger Woods who just bought a property nearby for for a cool $65 million. At least I don’t have to see him pump his fist & bare his teeth like a 7-year-old anymore (or at least for awhile). Did you hear that huge collective sigh of relief coming from Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Rocco Mediate, Fred Couples (my favorite, pictured above at the President’s Cup), etc., when Tiger announced his forced retirement? My little breathy emission of elation was included in that roar, believe me. Now I can enjoy watching professional golf – live & on television – again!

More on this thread in my next post. Happy first day of summer!


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