Come Together

Today is November 5th a.k.a. the date of my birth. In honor of this special day, I want to tell you a story. There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about doing more to combat prejudice. During my family’s recent vacation, I witnessed a moment that touched my heart in an unexpected way. My dad, brother, and I wasted no time in checking out the pool once we arrived at our hotel. Right before we left, a trio of teenage girls walked by, each appearing to be of a different ethnic background. There was also an older couple, possibly in their fifties, sitting near the gate. I mention age and race for a reason so stay with me. The girls saw the couple and immediately lit up, saying hello and sitting down to talk; they even took some selfies together. I watched long enough to deduce that these five people were acquaintances because of the hotel. Age didn’t matter. Race didn’t matter. They were able to find things in common and establish a relationship. It is easy to get caught up in the news and feel weighed down by the negative all the time. I want this story to be a reminder of the good in this world as well as a beacon of hope. Please hold on to the positive, no matter how small, because it does exist. ❤️

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Is Zootopia Too Political?

There is a time and a place for everything.  I am the first person to speak up if I think political topics are being discussed through an inappropriate medium.  Certain subjects are too much for kids to process at a young, immature age.  Zootopia deals with bullying and prejudice, two issues relevant to to this day and age.  Brava to the cast and crew because the subject matter is palatable for kids and poignant for adults.  The concept will keep kids’ attention while the story plants questions and leaves a lasting impression.  Why can’t bunnies be cops?  Why can’t foxes be trusted?  Do all predators have to be isolated because they are carnivorous by nature?  Prey and predators have been living together peacefully in the city of Zootopia for decades, but cases of predators reverting back to wild behavior create panic and tension.  The citizens start looking for the worst in each other rather than considering that evil intentions are at play.  This movie had me hooked from start to finish.  I highly recommend it both as entertainment and a teaching opportunity.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWM0ct-OLsM

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– Lauren Michele <3

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No Laughing Matter

Palley, Stuart. The Border Fire burns near Campo and Potrero Wednesday in San Diego County, California. Web. 31 Aug. 2016. http://www.outsideonline.com/2109026/man-behind-summers-most-iconic-fire-photos#slide-5.

Palley, Stuart. The Border Fire burns near Campo and Potrero Wednesday in San Diego County, California. Web. 31 Aug. 2016. http://www.outsideonline.com/2109026/man-behind-summers-most-iconic-fire-photos#slide-5.

I consider myself a person with a good sense of humor.  I try my best to decipher the appropriate times to let go and laugh.  This is not one of those times.  Recently, I noticed some jokes on social media centered around the California drought.  I not only find this in bad taste but extremely offensive.  I am a California girl born and raised so I am naturally protective, but I have other reasons.  The drought is much more than a shortage of water.  Thanks to the lack of rain and scorching temperatures, the Golden State is kindling ready to ignite.  Hearing about or driving by a fire is a daily occurrence.  A few weeks ago, the shopping center where I work was more crowded than usual because people were waiting for the smoke from a nearby fire to clear from the air.  Of course some fires are started by people, but the dry conditions invite the flames to spread with open arms.  Farmers are scrambling to protect their livelihood.  Families have lost their homes.  People have lost their lives.  Is that funny??  NO!!  Yes, there are selfish people who have not taken the drought seriously, but that is not an excuse.  It doesn’t matter what your personal feelings are regarding this state.  Next time you want to poke fun at the California drought, remember the people whose lives are being negatively affected.  Let this be a lesson to us all: educate yourself before opening your mouth.

If you need more proof of the devastation, here are links to eye-opening images:

• http://mashable.com/2015/09/14/valley-fire-devastation-photos/#HLDqTGuiASqh

• http://www.outsideonline.com/2109026/man-behind-summers-most-iconic-fire-photos

• http://stuartpalley.photoshelter.com/index/G0000ZMVoBzIEtqs/I0000BH7TwqpPOO0

 

 

You Can Make a Difference

🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍

You might be thinking “I don’t hold a position of power.  How can I be effective and help eradicate prejudice?”  You can talk and keep the conversation going in a civil manner.  You can also take action.  That doesn’t mean becoming a one-person revolution.  It can be as simple as looking someone in the eyes and smiling.  I want to share a story with you that furthers my point.  Read until the end and keep an open mind. :)

Thank you NikkieTutorials for sharing!  Why is Natasha Howell’s story important?  The tragedies that have taken place are heartbreaking, and our reactions dictate the future.  Reacting in anger and causing a divide changes nothing.  If each and every one of us does our part to treat people with kindness, those small puzzle pieces will create a chain reaction and fit together to create something big.  Perhaps I’m a bit naive, but I truly believe the people who care about unity outnumber those who allow prejudice to affect their attitude.  You might be one person in a big world, but it is better to make a difference in at least one person’s life rather than stand by and do nothing at all.

🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍

I want to share a video that was posted on Facebook today.  It made me cry, but it also made me happy and hopeful.  You might know Candace Payne as “Chewbacca Mom.”  In this moment, it doesn’t matter what your personal opinion is regarding her claim to fame.  What matters is that she continues to use her newfound platform to make people smile.

 

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

– John 3:16

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

– John 15:12

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

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The Fickle and The Faithful

(Image Source: http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mc6ohtA7MX1qbhmovo9_1280.jpg)

Once again I find myself blogging early in the morning about a not-so-pleasant subject.  But, it must be done because bottled up emotions are never a good thing.  This morning I am venting about fickle friends.  OOOOOHHHHH SNAP!!!!!  You are probably thinking I am  calling out someone specific.  These thoughts are inspired by personal experiences, but I am speaking generally.  The first thing I want to address is this:  Everyone has been a fickle friend at one time.  Do not beat yourself up if you have thought badly of a friend, gossiped, yelled, or been physically mean.  Those things are terrible, but what truly matters is your heart and what you do to make things right.  Friendship is a two-way street; if all persons involved are willing to trust one another and fight together, that relationship will last.

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  – Proverbs 18:24

I have lost more than a handful of friends during my twenty-two years of life.  I have grown a thick skin and would even say I have a certain amount of bitterness in my heart towards friendships.  However, I would be lying if I said that losing friends does not hurt me in the slightest.  No one should ever feel like they are convenient for another person.  “Our parents know each other.”  “We do the same activity together week after week, year after year.”  “We go to the same school and attend the same classes.”  I know what it feels like to have compartmentalized friendships.  Once those “compartments” are no longer part of your life, the friendships eventually fade away.  Why?  The convenience is gone, and suddenly the friendships requires effort in order to last.  It hurts to share secrets and fears with someone for a significant number of years, and then one day find yourself on the outside looking in at their life.  No matter how high your walls are and how thick your armor is, the pain of losing a friend will find its way to your heart and sting.  I want to encourage those of you who have had similar experiences and/or feel like you have no friends.  You are not alone!  Do not give up on yourself!  The only people you need in your life are the people who want to be there.  I know this has been said a million times in a million different forms, but it is the truth.  I would rather have one genuine, through-thick-and-thin friend than numerous fake friends.

*** Cue the friendship quotes and gifs!!

My best friend Gabby :) :D :P

My brother John <3 <3 <3

(Source: http://www.prettydesigns.com/25-friendship-quotes-for-summer/)

This is just for laughs because I actually hate hugs.  LOL!

(Image Source: http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llizvp2ILY1qfyncko1_500.gif)

*Tears*  Disney for the win!

(Image Source: https://38.media.tumblr.com/1a6aa6fb37763f6a3b2ff96d7a581597/tumblr_mm3bbne7R21so67mao1_500.gif)

I hope you feel encouraged.  I will “see” you very soon.  Feel free to leave comments and thoughts below.

Cherish your true friends and no matter what, be a friend readers!

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– Lauren Michele <3

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