Dear World

Dear World,

Be kind, please. I’m talking to you. Yes, you. At the grocery store. In the parking lot. In the drive-through. Even behind the counter. And you, especially, behind the desktop and holding that cellphone while tippy tapping out that post or comment attacking your fellow neighbor, American, and fellow humans across the seas. Be kind.

This virus is not just a physical ailment. It is not just COVID-19. It’s a mental virus and a social virus. It’s causing us to attack each other on politics, parenting, job status, religion, race, and culture. It’s got so many people scared and angry that it’s become a free-for-all. We are throwing everything we can at each other and seeing what sticks.

Please stop fighting a political war with your friends, family, and strangers over whether or not the Democrats or Republicans are making things worse for us. In case you are oblivious to this – neither side is actually good. They are both corrupt. Each side has its own agendas and, get this – they have a common agenda too – and it’s not looking out for me and you. So please stop doing their bidding. Be kind.

Parents and teachers, please stop being snippy. I’m sure some of you are relishing the fact that many parents are now stuck at home with their kids all day and are finally realizing what little hellions they’ve raised. There’s no need to rub it in. Trust me they are feeling it. Parents, stop taking your anger out on others over being home all day with your kids. They are your kids. It is your responsibility to take care of them and teach them how to behave. You may not be a math whiz or scientist. You’re not going to be able to teach them every subject at home just like the teachers, and that’s okay right now. Stop beating yourself up. Stop beating other parents up for their perfect post on crafting with the kiddos and just parent your kids. Give them structure and love and don’t make them feel like a burden right now. They will remember how you handled this time. Be kind.

Workers, both current and recently unemployed, stop arguing over who is essential or not. Stop putting other professions down although some have shown to be less needed to survive. Once the quarantines are lifted we will flock back to certain stores, restaurants, and services showing how much we really missed them. And once we do let’s not take the smaller ones for granted anymore because some of them aren’t going to survive this down time. So please be kind.

Religious or not, stop mocking religions. Fellow Christians, I’m looking at you first. I see you name-calling and angrily debating others over politics, religion, and even race during this crisis. We cannot fully love with hearts fueled by anger. Others, please stop asking “why doesn’t your God make this vanish,” or “where’s your God now?” We know where our God is and where our faith stands, even when we don’t understand what’s happening. Be kind.

Americans stop the race arguments. It does not help anything. It just adds fuel to the fire. Stop bashing other countries and cultures for how they are handling this. If you are reading this from another country, please stop hating us and wishing for us to get it worse because you don’t like our American president or American culture. A society that is scared and divided because they are blaming each other and taking their anger out on each other is easier to control locally, regionally, nationally, and worldwide. So please knock it off. We are all humans. Be kind.

Please, World, be kind.

xoxo,

Ash

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalms 19:14

Does Compassion Make You Stronger?

When you hear the word compassion what comes to mind? Being sympathetic towards others? Giving to charity? Helping the hungry?

Compassion is multifaceted. It doesn’t just help those who are being shown compassion either. It can help the one choosing compassion. Showing compassion can make you stronger.

 

Compassion can mean changing your perspective. This isn’t something I’d like to admit, but I used to think that we needed to help everyone in our own country before helping those in other countries. I became desensitized watching the news of impoverished countries and the same commercials asking for monthly support for a child in need.

My perspective changed when people I know personally went and helped others in another country. Seeing them hold children who get one meal a day somehow makes it real. I was able to let go of how I felt before and look at it in a different way. Being able to change your perspective makes you stronger.

 

Compassion can mean forgiving others. We can easily forget when someone does wrong or hurts us it is often due to their own internal struggle or problem in their life. The easy thing to do is get offended and react harshly. And what good does that generally do?

The strong thing to do is pause and consider the cause. Next time someone hurts you or lashes out at you, calmly ask them why they are doing this instead of being quick to anger. You might be surprised at how quickly anger can be diffused when you try to get to the root of it.

 

Compassion can mean doing the little things. Having compassion doesn’t always have to be about some grand cause. You can have compassion in everyday situations. Open the door for the mother pushing the stroller and carrying groceries. Let the person who whipped across the parking lot have the empty space without getting angry. You don’t know what kind of day they’ve had or why they’re in a hurry.

I could go on and on with the little things, but you get the point. Small acts of compassion in everyday life makes you stronger.

Thinking about others instead of just ourselves is not a weakness. I know on social media we really embrace the “take care of you.” That’s fine. We need to take care of ourselves to better help others. Just don’t get so busy focusing on you that you forget to care for others too.

 

“…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Col. 3:12

 

Be brave!

Be strong!

Be compassionate!

xoxo

Ash

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Let’s Help Each Other

Last weekend hubby and I went to an early morning garden sale at one of our local home improvement stores. The Lawn & Garden department becomes quite crowded during this event. Customers frantically move from section to section searching for the veggies, trees, or flowers they want. It most certainly is not the place to be if one has anxiety. It can quickly become an overwhelming experience.

This is our third year at this sale. So we know what to expect now. We also know that it works best for us to not get a shopping cart and just carry the items we need between the two of us.. Shopping carts get you stuck in aisles. When people get stuck, patience fades quickly, and anger rises. Anyway, the whole ordeal turns into a circus.

I realized something this year though. If customers help each other, it becomes a much more pleasant experience. I realized customers were just taking turns nudging their way up certain aisles, and then they would read the tags on the items just to discover the item they wanted was not in that section. After a few minutes of doing this myself, I realized I could just speak up to the person in front of me who was checking the tags on the items and ask if my item was one of them. I mean, what are they going to do? Either answer me, or ignore me, right? So why not speak up?

I did this again while trying to find a certain tomato variety. A nice older gentleman said he had not seen it yet, but he had seen this other variety. Then a woman came up asking about the variety the man had just mentioned. So I let her know the gentleman next to me had seen that kind. After looking around a bit more, I heard a woman mention an item I was looking for still. So I asked her about it, and she politely informed me that they were in front of her. While searching for the lettuce I wanted, I let another woman know what was in front of me.

Do you see where this is going?

I noticed that once a few of us were helping each other, more people started speaking up and helping also. Sometimes people need to hear others ask for help, or offer help, in order for them to do the same. One person can start a chain reaction.

If I had remained quiet and too afraid to ask a stranger in front of me for help, I would have spent a lot more time searching for the items I wanted. I was grateful for the help I received, and in turn, I helped others.

I want to encourage you to be someone who starts a positive chain reaction. Look for the opportunities in your day to help others see the benefit in helping others.

Be brave. Speak up!

Xoxo

-Ash

 

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Be Brave, Not Mean

Women need to stop being mean. You want to be brave? Be kind. Speak up and say something nice. I think it takes more courage to compliment someone these days than it does to tear them down.

It’s so sad how often women put other women down, and it’s not just by what we say. Criticism is seen in our actions too: scoffing, eye-rolling, those head-to-toe looks.

I would ask why we do this to each other, but I know why.

The main reason is insecurity, and it is ugly. Insecure women hurt other women. Don’t hate the skinny girl because you want to be thinner. Don’t hate the married girl because you are single. Don’t hate the momma because you wish you had kids.

Whatever is going on in your life is not the fault of these other women. So don’t squash their happiness.

Some women seem to just be mean in general and proud of it. I don’t know if they learned this from the women in their family, or if it is a behavior cultivated by society. Being mean is not something to be proud of friends.

Some women don’t realize how mean they are being. I know this. I used to be one of these women. I regret that it took many years for me to see how I was treating others, but I can’t go back and change the past. So I worked to become a better me going forward. It took daily work to change my thoughts and actions to get where I am today.  And there’s always room for improvement.

I have a friend that I admire. When I see her difficult yoga poses, I think, “Yay for her!” When I see her post photos, or videos of her kids, I am proud of her for being a good momma. When I see her posts about date night, or events with her hubby I am happy for her.

Do you know what I’m not? I’m not jealous of her. Does she do things I want to do? Does she have things I want to have someday? Yes. Does her ability to do these things, or have these things take away my ability? Nope. Not. At. All.

If I want to do the yoga poses she does, then it is on me to stretch, practice, and fall until I either get it right, or decide maybe it’s not really my thing to do.

So what do I do? I support my friend. I encourage her. I cheer her on! I am happy for her!

I’m inspired by her, and I tell her this.  You know what?  I inspire her too. She encourages me too.  She’s happy for me too.

I am extremely grateful for our friendship and our ability to genuinely be happy for each other.

This world is mean enough. Be brave, and choose kindness. Be supportive and happy for others. It just might amaze you how much it can improve your overall attitude.

Mean Girl – Change your ways!

Brave Girl – Arise!

XOXO

-Ash

 

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