Three Generations

Vivianita Grace, Mona Lisa, & Lauren Michele

Happy Mother’s Day! First of all, how cute are we?!? Grandma Vivian in her purple sweater, my mama with picture-perfect makeup, and me with big blue eyes. A trio of 90s beauties! My grandma and mom’s relationship the last years of her life is something I will never forget. She lived with us for a period of time, and even when she wasn’t there, we were over at her house every Thursday. The one thing I will forever remember as though it were yesterday is the joy. I was constantly walking into a room and finding the two of them doubled over from laughter. It is overwhelmingly emotional thinking of how blessed I am to have seen that. They walked through a lot of hardship to get to that point, but for most of my early childhood I was privileged to have both a grandma and a mom who loved Jesus. Even though she’s gone now, I know my grandma is in Heaven, healthier than ever. I hope that in some way she knows that my mom & I have carried on the legacy of joy, always laughing. This special day is for moms & grandmas, but I want to give a special *internet hug* to all the people who are celebrating without their mothers today. ♥️

“Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”  

– Proverbs 31: 25-30

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Farewell Rio

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

With sadness, I bid farewell to the 2016 Olympics.  I have been filled with pride and joy watching my teams compete these past two weeks.  Yes, I said teams.  Of course USA is my number one, but I also support the countries that make up my heritage.  After all, they are underdogs compared to team USA.  No harm done!  Let’s take a look at the medal count:

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆 🏆🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆

• Team USA 🇺🇸 | 121 Medals | 46 G – 37 S – 38 B

• Team Great Britain 🇬🇧 | 67 Medals | 27 G – 23 S – 17 B

• Team Spain 🇪🇸 | 17 Medals | 7 G – 4 S – 6 B

• Team Israel 🇮🇱 | 2 Medals | 2 B

• Team Ireland 🇮🇪 | 2 Medals | 2 S

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆 🏆🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆

What were your favorite moments in Rio?? I have so many I could mention, but I will try to narrow it down.  I felt like a proud mother watching Michael Phelps have one last successful Olympic games after the rough few years he’s had (maybe he’ll be back!).  The USA women’s gymnastics team kicked butt and made me feel more patriotic than I have ever felt in my entire life.  Shout-out to Michael Phelps (5G, 1S), Katie Ledecky (4G, 1S), and Simone Biles (4G, 1B)!!  According to Google, they are the top medalists for 2016.  Team USA made me proud all around, but it felt good to dominate artistic gymnastics and swimming.  After a rough start, I am so proud of Spain for getting the bronze in men’s basketball.  Also, a silver in women’s basketball.  Top 3 in the world.  Not too shabby!!  I watched Marc Lopez & Rafael Nadal win gold in men’s doubles.  I’m pretty sure I grew gray hair during that match.  The stress was real, but Lopez earned his first medal, and Rafa now has a gold medal in singles and doubles.  I watched Team GB get the gold in women’s field hockey.  It was a stressful but thrilling game.  Well done ladies!  I did not have the pleasure of watching Ireland at all, but I am nonetheless proud.  Last but certainly not least, I want to express my admiration for Team Israel.  My heart breaks knowing that the Israeli athletes continue to be treated like trash.  However, they held their heads high, maintained composure, and walked away with two medals.

Farewell Olympics!  See you in Tokyo!! 🇯🇵

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

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– Lauren Michele <3

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National Nurses Week 2015

National Nurses Week 2015 (Source: http://respiratory-care-sleep-medicine.advanceweb.com/SharedResources/Graphics/advanceweb/NW/NursesWeek2011/NationalNursesWeekBanner.jpg)

Today, May 6th, marks the beginning of National Nurses Week. In honor of this special week, I interviewed my mom Lisa Stewart.

Q: How long were you a nurse?

A: 15 years.

Q: Were any of your relatives nurses?

A: Yes. My mother was a nurse practitioner. That’s all I know. Just my mother.

Q: Why did you become a nurse?

A: I love working with people. And I love helping people.

Q: What specialties do you have experience in?

A: I worked on the Oncology unit, which is cancer. I’ve worked in the cardiology unit, which is with the heart. I’ve worked in [a] rehab hospital. And I was in intensive care, and I also had private patients.

Q: What is your favorite specialty?

A: Intensive care or emergency.

Q: Why?

A: It was just exciting.

Q: After leaving the medical field, has your experience been useful?

A: In a lot of occasions yes.

Q: If you could go back, would you change your major?

A: No. I think… No I wouldn’t change my major in nursing at all. I loved what I did. I think nursing has changed, however, since I’ve stopped nursing.

I speak from personal experience when I say nurses make a difference in people’s lives. My mom’s knowledge and experience not only improved my health growing up but also educated and prepared me for adulthood. I have watched my mom go in and out of nurse mode without hesitation in order to help both people that she knows and strangers. I may be a bit bias, but I think she is pretty special. I love you mom! <3

One more thing. I’d like to take some time to promote a TV show that me and my mom have been LOVING: “Call the Midwife.” The series focuses on midwifery and nursing in a poor section of London during the 1950s. If nursing is of particular interest to you, you should watch this show. It is fascinating and entertaining. Here is a link with more information: http://www.pbs.org/call-the-midwife/about/

“To do what nobody else will do, a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through; that is to be a nurse.” – Rawsi Williams

– Lauren Michele :)

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Growing Up Is Hard To Do

Growing Up Is Hard To Do (Source: https://nescbwi.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/childrensmuseumlogo.jpg)

Good morning Vietnam!!!  Sorry.  I saw an opportunity, and I went for it.  I know this a VERY early post, but I felt the need to write so here I am.  I recently had a sleepover with my best friend Gabby.  Words cannot even begin to describe how much fun we had being silly and reminiscing.  It felt like the good ol’ days homeschooling and playing together every day, a time when we had the freedom to dress up and imagine ourselves as anything we wanted to be.  So many lives were lived between middle school and high school; the experiences felt so real, and we learned something from each character.  I cannot speak for all children of this current generation, but I do not see as much dress-up and make-believe as I used to.  What a shame!  I’m sure Gabby would agree that letting our imaginations run wild made our childhood unforgettable in the best possible way.  The memories are countless, and we as adults are much more creative and thoughtful.  However, there is a downside to all of this.  Because my childhood was so great, growing up is proving to be a painful process.  I’m not having trouble maturing and taking on responsibility, but it is hard to move on.  College classes and jobs have taken over, and there is less time for hanging out and having fun.  I know there is no solution because adulthood cannot be stalled; it is a natural part of life.  The only thing I can do is treasure and enjoy each moment of nostalgia that comes along.  I believe there is a happy medium between carefree child and responsible adult; all it takes is wisdom, knowing the appropriate time for each role.  For instance, right now is an appropriate time for some ’90s cartoons.  “Rocket Power!!”

“Childhood lasts all through all through life.”  – Gaston Bachelard

Good night/morning readers. Stay young at heart!

– Lauren Michele :)

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The Big Bad June Bug Attack of 2015

The Big Bad June Bug Attack of 2015 (Source: http://images.tbd.com/communities/2010-0923-bedbug-freelance_606.jpg)

Before I tell my terrifying tale, I want you to see a real June bug. Prepare yourself!!

June Bug (Source: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/newsrel/garden/JuneBeetle.jpg)

I was listening to Pandora and typing a blog post, and my mom was sleeping.  Suddenly she shrieked and covered herself completely with blankets.  “Do you hear that?!!  Where is that buzzing coming from?!!”  She scared me half to death!  “What buzzing?  I don’t hear anything!”  She jumped out of bed and turned on the light.  I immediately saw a large bug flying through the air and threw myself off the bed screaming.  She ran inside the bathroom and shut the door, leaving me to fend for myself.  I got back onto the bed, grabbed a pillow, and continued to scream anytime the bug came near me.  I should add that I crawled back and forth across the bed numerous times.  Unexpected cardio.  Eventually my mom emerged from the bathroom with her weapon of choice raised in the air: a plunger.  “Where is it??!”  Thankfully it had landed, and she easily captured it underneath the plunger.  On closer inspection, we identified the attacker as a june bug A.K.A. THE DEVIL!!!  After a few seconds of waiting and panicking, my mom did the next logical thing: attempt to plunge the bug to death.  It actually worked!  She smashed it with a flip flop for good measure, but the plunger was the real hero of the hour.  The bug was flushed, appropriate considering how he died, and order was restored.  Almost.  Me and my mom were able to go to sleep, but there was definitely some paranoia.  I think this goes without saying, but I HATE bugs!!  Hopefully tonight is less eventful.  Have a great day readers!

– Lauren Michele :)

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Cinderella Part II – Have Courage and Be Kind

Cinderella 2015(Source: http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20141119151633/disney/images/b/b4/Cinderella_2015_1.jpg)

Good evening and welcome to the 2nd and final part of my Cinderella series. Part I was posted on my art blog yesterday. If you did not read it, I suggest you read it now.  After all, what is part II without part I?? Here is the link: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/cinderella-part-i-a-little-magic/

Part I was all about the beautiful costuming created by designer Sandy Powell.  Tonight’s post focuses on the main motto of the movie: “Have courage and be kind.”  Ella’s mother expressed these words before [SPOILER] her death.  Ella took the phrase to heart and recited it in order to endure harsh treatment from her stepmother and stepsisters.  Despite being treated like a servant rather than a relative, she was gracious.  However, when her happiness was on the line, she had the courage to speak up.  What an example!  In negative situations, it is always a better choice to be the bigger person and turn the other cheek.  But, never let your kindness be mistaken for meekness.  The unfortunate truth is that there are people who will attempt to take advantage of compassion.  Kindness should always stem from genuine desire, not obligation or fear.  Have the courage to speak up if you feel uncomfortable and/or threatened.

I hope you have enjoyed this two-part Cinderella series.  If you have not already seen the movie, I highly recommend you do so.

Cinderella Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20DF6U1HcGQ

“Have courage and be kind.  Where there is kindness, there is goodness and where there is goodness, there is magic.” – Ella’s mother, “Cinderella”

– Lauren Michele :)

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Love Out Loud

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I am going to try very hard to get these words out without becoming overly emotional and rambling.  I apologize for the serious note of this post, but my heart is telling me to write.  Because of the picture, you already have a basic idea of what I am going to discuss.  I have watched quite a few Holocaust-related movies but am not sure why because it is very hard for me to do so.  I suppose that as a Jew I feel a strange sort of loyalty, a loyalty that urges me to watch and empathize to the best of my ability.  I did not experience a concentration camp nor did my Sephardic ancestors.  However, Jews are brothers and sisters no matter the category one belongs to (Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, or Sephardic); after all, we all descend from the same bloodline.  I cannot speak for other Jews, but I can speak for myself.  When another heart hurts, I hurt, no matter how far back in history that hurt occurred.  I have been emotionally disturbed by Holocaust movies in the past, but this film wrenched my heart to the point of illness.  As soon as the credits started to roll, I ran away from my computer and wept alone in another room.  My head throbbed, and my stomach was in knots.  I do not pretend to have felt pain anywhere near that of the Jews in concentration camps, but I did indeed feel pain.  Pain and anger.  I could not speak, only weep.  One word kept coming to mind over and over and over again: Why.  Why?  Why??  Why??!  Why!!!

– If you have not seen “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”, I suggest you stop reading now. –

There is one specific element in this movie that grabbed my attention.  It is subtle but very much significant.  When Bruno is mistakenly taken with a group of Jews to the gas chamber, the Nazi soldiers do not question his presence.  Yes he is disguised, and yes he is surrounded by numerous other Jews, but take all that away.  Cut off Bruno’s hair.  Take away from Shmuel the dirty appearance and malnutrition.  Line them up side by side in matching “striped pajamas.”  They are two young boys, same age and same height.  Shmuel could be German.  Bruno could be Jewish.  Both could be one or the other.  It is unclear whether Bruno was visible to the soldiers, but he looked just like everybody else therefore he received the same treatment and tragic death.  He was one of them, a German, and yet the soldiers could not tell the difference.  What does that tell you about prejudice?  Hatred will show you what you want to see, not what is actually there.

If you think your contribution to the fight against prejudice as one person is too small, think again.  Love goes a long way no matter the number of contributors.  I will end with some lyrics from a song called “Let It Be Love” by Family Force 5.  I encourage you to read the words, click the following link to hear the entire song, and take time to reflect.

“Stronger than every fear
Comfort for all the tears
It’s where the war is won
And it has overcome
Louder than the loudest shout
Deeper than the deepest doubt
We’ll watch the walls fall down…

Let it be a heart wide open
Bigger than the words we’ve spoken
Let it be a heart for the broken
If we’re gonna light, light, light the way to You
Let it be love…
It’s love that lights the way”

“Let It Be Love” by Family Force 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTZHl5cNLJE

Please don’t pick and choose who to love.  Love everyone!

– Lauren Michele :)

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