Friday Dare--What I Did to Make Someone Smile Today (Including Myself)!

So the inimitable @ShellyKramer threw the gauntlet this morning. She issued a dare on her V3im blog, wherein she challenged us to make someone smile today. Not being one to back down on something this easy, I went right out and did it, and I have photos to prove it. I went to the KC Community Blood Center and offered up a donation. And not just for the free Oreos and apple juice. I insisted on documenting my experience throughout. This darling woman tried to duck out of the photo, but I told her how cute she looked and begged her to pose for me. My donation made her happy, and it made me happy. Perhaps not quite what Shelly had in mind, but I've been meaning to donate for a while and laziness is my only excuse. Thank you, Kansas City Community Blood Center, for your efficiency, stellar employees (especially Elmo, who let me ask him if people ever make jokes about his name), and for getting me in & out so quickly, even though I didn't have an appointment.

Here's the rub, people: this cost me nothing, required ZERO effort on my part, took roughly 1/2 hour from start to finish (including paperwork), and best of all, gave me an excuse to chuck Jazzercise & Jillian today, as I've been instructed not to engage in any rigorous/strenuous activities for the next 24 hours. Can't beat that.

You may note I did not allow the superior Community Blood Center staff to photograph me, but rest assured you can tell it's me by the big feet clad in really old tennis shoes. I was kinda hoping all that blood might call hotties Eric and Bill out to play, or perhaps even the Cullens, but alas there were no bloodsuckers to be found. Damn it.

In a similar vein (pun absolutely intended), how can you spread the smiles today? I confess that I needed a smile today. I needed to feel worthy, good, and helpful. So I went out and did something about it. What can you do today---both for yourself AND for someone else?



I'm feeling grateful for so many things, and need to make an effort to list them more often. But in no particular order, I am especially appreciative of and grateful for:
  1. My incredible network of Twitter friends who are helping me to grow beyond my wildest dreams: @JoyceCherrier, @HipCop, @KatJaib, @ShellyKramer, @SusanLorelei, @mmangen, @CherryWoodburn, @FromTracie, @AmyOscar, @blogomomma, @SarahRobinson, and soooo many others.
  2. My awesome circle of blog friends who have remained faithful, loyal, and true. You know who you are, you know who I am, yet you manage to love me anyway.Whoa! (This also applies to my non-blogger friends!)
  3. Honest Tea, particularly the Pearfect White Tea. Also Lori's Lemon Tea.
  4. Jazzercise, for allowing me to work out in a supportive, mirror-free atmosphere. Check out their 1-day sale HERE!
  5. Jillian Michaels, despite her saying, "I want you to feel like you're gonna DIE!"
  6. Candy. Because it helps keep my kids in line.
  7. Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay. Because it helps get me out of line.
  8. My friend Meg for not kicking me out of her birthday party Saturday night when I put a purple bowl in my shirt and pretended to be pregnant. My friend Anne for not disowning me after I slapped her ass while dancing. Meg's husband Justin for indulging me and adding the Wang Chung song to his iPod.
  9. Our sweet babysitter Kiley who has the nerve to leave for college in California in 10 days, but has managed to put up with me and my neuroses, not to mention my children, for several years now.
  10. Books. So many books, so little time. But lately, Jonathan Safran Foer's "Eating Animals," for opening my eyes to what's really going on behind the scenes in the food industry. Also "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett has likely been my favorite read so far this year.
  11. My husband. I love him so much that we are getting remarried in October at The Sasone Wedding. He still puts up with me dotes on me after over 10 years together! I'm so lucky. He's such a trooper.
  12. My children. Yes, they may be unruly, cantankerous little hags at times, but deep down they are loving, smart, and beautiful girls. Sometimes I do wonder if one of them not naming any names here was perhaps mixed up in the in-vitro lab, because her attitude is unlike anything I've ever witnessed or read about she can't possibly be mine.
  13. My family---for loving me, encouraging me, humoring me, paying for my therapy and always being willing to talk through things and drug me when I become to difficult to deal with.
I shall end this list here before it becomes too boring although it's more than likely you stopped reading way back there on # 3.

What are YOU feeling grateful for besides me, of course?


Crawling Out of My Little Erin Shell, or, Thank You, Mrs.(Sarah) Robinson!

While I was in high school, several of the guys in my class made fun of me by routinely saying, "Just crawl back into your little Erin shell." Those words gnawed at me and hurt me deeply, though I tried not to show it and to laugh it off or ignore it. I have always kept a protective "shell" around me, like a turtle or a snail. Ironically, that shell emerged years before because of similar circumstances and people saying ugly things to me. Even if they were simply joking, their words only made me loathe myself even more.

I've been an introvert much of my life and only let the real me out when I'm feeling truly comfortable....which takes a long time unless there is alcohol involved. But this blog has been an incredible outlet, allowing me the space to safely share my creativity and innermost thoughts. Many of you know I long to write a book and I often say that "I have a book in my head." Yet that book has never quite made it onto paper or into my computer. Fear stands in my way, fear of so many different things, but obviously failure is near the top of that list.

Over the weekend a Twitter friend, @SarahRobinson, messaged me about her upcoming conference: CIP, or Creating Irresistible PresenceSarah is also the author of Escaping Mediocrity.  I recently saw a link on Twitter to her Burn the Ships post, which made me cry with recognition.

I bit the bullet. I overcame incredible nausea, called @SarahRobinson herself as well as @KatJaib and spoke with them both about potentially coming to the conference. And I did it. I hung up the phone, got on the computer, and made my reservations. It's a done deal. Hotlanta, here I come!

My walls are coming down.
My armor is coming off.
I'm making myself vulnerable and opening up.
I'm burning my ships, or my "shell," as it were.
(Thank you, Sarah Robinson!)

No more excuses, no more hiding, no more waiting.

I begin my journey at CIP in Atlanta in September.
I need to be pushed, pulled, stretched to my limit.
I need to be taken out of my comfort zone.
Like @SarahRobinson said, it's as if my words
are all there, but they're "stuck" in my throat and I can't get them out.

I'm going to find myself, that part of me that is ready, waiting.
She's perhaps buried under some rubble and wreckage, but she's there.
She just needs someone to help pull her out.

Who's with me?
And what are YOU waiting for? It's time to pull out all the stops. Burn your ships!

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