My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

My most very favorite Disney movie in the whole wide world, the one that has my heart, the one that I can’t watch in its entirety because I am too emotionally unstable to watch Mufasa die twice in a lifetime, is The Lion King. One of the many reasons why I love this movie oh so much (I mean can we talk about James Earl Jones’ heavenly voice for a second?!) is the fact that it is chock-full of life lessons, lessons that to this day, I pretty much live by (except for the whole eating bugs thing. Sorry Timone and Pumba, you know I love ya, but I will never, EVER be caught munching on a slug unless its a gummy worm because THOSE ARE DELICIOUS!!). Everything I need to know about life, I learned from The Lion King.

1. No worries!

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I definitely believe that some things are worth worrying about, but I do appreciate the overall motto here. (What’s a motto? I don’t know, what’s a motto with you!) Hakuna Matata, kiddos. It means no worries–something we need to be reminded of every once in a while.

2. Use the past as a chance to learn and grow


I just advised my dear friend today that I fully believe that it is okay to put all your eggs in one basket, and I really meant it. I have never been a big fan of people not doing stuff out of fear, because the worst-case scenario is it will turn into a learning experience. Lots of stuff has hurt me in the past, and I am such a better person because of all of it.

3. The starry sky can be a big comfort

One of my favorite parts of The Lion King is when Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba lay under the night sky, talkin‘ ’bout stuff. Even if Timon and Pumbaa make fun of Simba for suggesting a bunch of “royal dead guys” are watching them, it still always soothed my soul a bit. I take comfort in the fact that the big guy upstairs, our King, is always watching over us, always guiding our way and influencing our daily decisions. I certainly believe that you can learn a lot from the stars. Maybe, just maybe, you can learn everything.

4. Always represent your family

If you have never seen The Lion King, I am truly sorry for your life and you should go watch it, like right now. Spoiler alert: so Mufasa dies and Simba has a really terrible reaction (as he should) because his terrible Uncle Scar scared him away by blaming him for his father’s death. Simba suppresses all of his issues, befriends two rando animals who basically raise him, and pretends his old life was never a reality. Until, of course, Rafiki makes him realize that even though his father is dead, he will never be gone.

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Ugh. I get so emotional.

5. We are all connected

Not in a circle, but in a hoop that never ends. Which is also true, it’s just the wrong Disney movie. In The Lion King, we are all connected in the circle of life. The “Circle of Life” teaches us that we are all capable of facing whatever life offers us.

And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
‘Til we find our place
On the path unwinding

6. It is just fine to fall in love with your friends

And I mean, especially if they are betrothed to you in the first place. I guess that kind of makes it convenient. I should be completely honest with you guys and let you know that I don’t always think falling in love with your friends is a great idea. I have done it–oh boy have I done it–and it sucks and then when it inevitably does not work, you lose that friend or it becomes all of the awkward and turns into a big hot mess. Sometimes though, in those amazing instances, it does work out and then you have a friendship that is stronger than a relationship might have been beforehand. DID ANY OF THAT MAKE SENSE OR DID I RAMBLE? I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you are lucky enough to fall in love with your BF, and he/she feels the same about you, it’s pretty much the best thing in the history of ever. After all, what is the greatest basis of a relationship than friendship, amiright?!

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Just ask Simba and Nala, the OGs.

7. Also, listen to your friends

Because Nala was Simba’s friend first and she really did know what she was talking about.

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And she has a real way of getting her point across.

8. You can always go home

When Simba finally gets his ish together and goes home to save Pride Rock, it is a true boss moment–especially because Scar had just knocked Sarabi out! Ugh, Scar is such a terrible lion. Even if the conditions were not as terrible as they happened to be at the time, Simba would have been more than welcomed home by his people. Err. . . his pride.

9. Sequels are alright

No lie, I love The Lion King 2 (plus the soundtrack is my JAM!!) I don’t so much care about the others, but that movie is legit and if you haven’t seen it, you should.

Very occasionally, a kind soul will come over toting a homemade dessert made from some combination of apples, brown sugar, brownie batter, chocolate-chips, marshmallows, sprinkles and oatmeal. They set their heavy glass dish down on your kitchen counter and peal back the plastic bag to reveal an earth-toned rainbow of deliciosity. We gaze at its sweet, sweet beauty for a moment, but then turn our eyes and look at the rest of the smorgasbord of vittles: cold pigs in a blanket, an enormous veggie tray, bowls full of potato chips and bulk-pack macaroni salad are laying on the counter just waiting to be devoured.

We walk away knowing that we’ll get to that dessert later, just as soon as we fill our stomachs with all of the cheap stuff everyone else picked up from the clearance rack at the grocery store.

And eventually, it does happen–the end of the meal arrives and the hero dessert is paraded to the table with pomp, fanfare, forks and a stack of tiny plates. By now, everyone is stuffed to the brim, so while people dip into this rectangle of tastiness, they just don’t have room to send it back empty. It inevitably gets saran-wrapped up and put in the fridge for leftovers, hasty promises made to return the dish another time.

And that’s when it gets interesting, my friends.

I’m a pretty big fan of dessert.

Okay.

I’m a HUGE fan of dessert.

In fact, if I could eat only dessert for the rest of my life, I would.

I like dessert’s style. I think it’s cool.

Which is why I eat it as soon as possible. I have a piece here, I have a piece there. it replaces the bread the next morning at breakfast, starch the next night at dinner. I really get on that dessert. I chip away at it until eventually, there is only one, sad and lonely piece left. And it is the consumption of that last piece, that final, beautiful square of leftover homemade pie/cake/brownie that is always the sweetest.

See, by this point it’s an old friend. I know it’s taste well, having succumbed to its vice-like grip over me for a few days since the party. I may actually be sick of it, but I would never, ever admit it. All I know if that there’s a few mere minutes of enjoying its company left forever. It is a very happy yet very sad time.

Bittersweet, if you will (pun intended).

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There are some ways that eating the last remaining piece of dessert can be made sweeter though:

1. First up, eating it cold. When that dessert is only a couple of feet away from your mouth, there really is no time allowed for heating (+1 points).

2. Next, eating it straight from the serving dish/container. This is tricky because if you’re watching TV, you need to awkwardly lift a three-pound glass dish with one hand so that you can shovel it into your mouth with the other. Be careful for wobbling (+2 points).

3. Methodically scrapping every last crumb, ring of dried icing and molecule of congealed syrup out of the dish, even getting up and finding a spatula if you have to. Licking is optional here, but may be necessary. (+3 points)

4. The big one: thinking about the dessert just before you’re about to fall asleep or when you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Thinking about it and not being able to get it out of your head until you walk to the kitchen, your feet freezing on the cold linoleum, touch-grabbing your way through the black maze of your apartment, until you pop open that refrigerator door, its bright light beaming at you like the gates of heaven opening. You grab that saran-wrapped slice of greatness and eat it right then and there with no abandon. (+10 points)

AWESOME!

Thoughts on a Thursday

1. At 11:30 this morning I realized that I had my skivvies on inside out. It is now almost 2 o’clock and they are still inside out. Starting a new fashion trend or just plain lazy? Much like how many licks it takes to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.

2. Nothing says “I’m a single gal” like a frozen waffle box in the bathroom trash can. Not me, of course. Because that would just be silly hahahaha. Okay. It’s me.

3. I fully intend on being “that house” or in my case, “that apartment” that all of the kids trick-or-treating will want to come back to because a) my costume is going to be ALL of the best (I’m SOOOOOO excited!!!) and b) I am giving out king sized candy bars. Players gonna play, play, play, play and the dentists gonna hate, hate, hate, hate.

4. Because sometimes, we just have to jump.

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5. One of my bestest friends in the whole wide world planet universe just landed a new job and I couldn’t be more proud/excited/happy for him! Alex, this is just the start of something amazing for you and I for one can’t wait to see what else God has in store for you. :)

6. Speaking of my friend Alex, he reminded me today that even though it may be hard, even though it may be frustrating and confusing and down-right ugh-worthy sometimes, we have to remember that everything is being done according to the big guy upstairs’ timing (which is perfect, by the way, no matter what we think otherwise). We just have to have a little bit of hope and a lot a bit of faith.

7. And I’m certain that God has in his timing for me to devour this delicious chocolate-chip cookie right meow.

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Have a great Thursday, everybody!

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Come on in.

Pull open the wooden door with those giant oversized handles that are smooth and worn down to a light brown finish. Drag your boots over the dirty green carpeted floor that bubbles up in the corners and splashes tiny dust clouds into shimmery orange sunbeams with every step. Feel the calm and comforting library quiet settle like a blanket over your body and your brain as you shuffle past the counters and make your way inside…

Massive atlases, worn-out hardcovers, and crinkly plastiwrapped kids’ books fill rusty metal bookshelves and cover that overly-lacquered table at the front–dented from that time someone smacked it with their motorized scooter in 1990. Yellowed pages with pencil lines, cracked bindings and broken spines cover every corner of the glorious place.

Feel our shared histories softly swirl together through old books and stamped checkout cards as you smile and soak up all of the little library smells of shear….

AWESOME!

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nice

Ever since I was a wee one, I’ve been told that I am “too nice.” You’re confused? Befuddled? So am I, my friends, so am I. This is something that I’ve heard time and time again from other people, and as I grew older, the public attitude towards the word “nice” didn’t really change. When we had compliment days at school (days where you HAD to say something nice to each of your classmates), “nice” was what they called you when they couldn’t come up with anything better to say. I wondered why. Even as a five-year-old, this was absolutely mind-boggling to me. Being nice. . .was nice. Mean was bad, nice was good. So why did nice turn into an insult?

When did good deeds suddenly become punishable by sneers and scowls? Why was I being judged for letting a boy borrow one of my pencils when he had forgotten his? Looked down upon for taking turns on the swing set, and criticized for being respectful to my teacher? When did being nice suddenly get slapped with such a negative connotation? I had taken the golden rule to heart–I didn’t want to be treated poorly by other people, so I just actively tried to show them the amount of kindness that I would want to receive. It seemed simple enough to me. But apparently, the concept wasn’t as clear to others.

One of my classmates (who shall remain nameless *cough* Bobby Cavanough from kindergarten who also threw that block at my head I’m talking to you *cough*) even suggested that I should start being meaner, because I was “too nice.” Yeah, okay mister. That makes absolute sense. Great logic. One day, while eating ice cream–because when am I not eating ice cream really–, I reflected on my life thus far. I thought about why being nice was considered by many to be such a negative quality, and why being mean was more accessible and more socially acceptable. Suddenly, it dawned on me. Being mean was easy.

Sometimes, people feel down. They feel unwanted, and unloved. Oftentimes, they don’t have any idea of what they can do to make themselves feel better. They feel isolated and alone, and in a misguided attempt to connect to other people, they treat others unkindly. It’s easier, particularly when you’re feeling low. But it’s a reaction, not a trait.

Call me an incurable optimist, but I believe that people are inherently good. Yes, some days are harder than others. It’s difficult to bite your tongue when you are about 57 miles past the point of being all the annoyed. I’ve been there–believe me, we’ve all been there. I’m not claiming to be some perfect person who is never ever mean to anyone–no sir eee Bob [by Cavanough]. As much as I try to give kindness at all times, I am human and do slip up from time to time. What I am saying, is that being nice isn’t overrated.

Being nice is a superpower. Kind acts can make someone’s day. Supportive words can save somebody’s life. One small smile can provide hope to those who need it most. So no, Bobby C. who told me that I should be mean to people. I won’t. I refuse. Because being nice doesn’t make me a pushover. Showing someone kindness doesn’t make me any less of a person. Being nice doesn’t make me weak. In fact, it makes me strong. It can make all of us strong. It is a choice. A courageous one. People who are nice aren’t overrated, they’re superheroes.

Friday Favs

Hey guys!

Happy Friday (more like FriYAY amiright?!)

I’ve got some exciting news to share with all of you. This morning I became a great aunt again (actually, it’s more like second cousin. I think?) My cousin Rachel just had her second bambino, a beautiful and healthy baby girl named Cora and I couldn’t be more happy for her and her growing family!! It’s times like these that really put things into perspective. The world can be a pretty hard place; I sometimes feel that everything is so negative, one of the reasons why I actually don’t like watching the news. But seeing these little blessings, these miracles that happen everyday all around us–whether it be a kind act from a stranger, laughs shared between good friends, and the first smile and snuggle from a newborn being introduced into this crazy thing we call life–it makes me appreciate the little things and be grateful for what I have. The world can be a pretty hard place, but it can also be pretty fantastic.

Between my cousin and the recent influx of high school and college pals who are preggers or who just welcomed their little ones into this world (how is that possible, by the way?! I’m not old enough to have friends having babies!! Or at least I don’t feel old enough. After all, we were just babies ourselves, not too long ago), I will admit. I’ve become a bit baby-feverish.  I know I’m not even close to being ready to have kids of my own, but I definitely would love to start a family, have a bunch of mini-me’s running around with their noses in books (or cookie jar).

All in good time, I suppose. But until then, I am more than happy having children of the four-legged and furry variety. Speaking of hairy children…I’m hoping to pick up my pup this weekend!!!! The animal shelter still has him on medical hold and is not quite ready to adopted yet, but the nice people at the Dumb Friend’s League here in Denver told me that it could be any day now.

Just a fair warning: You WILL be inundated with pictures. Pictures of him eating. Pictures of him sleeping. Pictures of him walking and pooping (and I’m not going to rule out pictures of him pooping WHILE walking. If he takes anything after his owner, he will be skilled in many an area). ;)

So that’s what’s a happening in my neck of the woods. How about you? Any exciting weekend plans?

Whatever you’ve got going on, I hope your Saturday and Sunday is filled with lots of fun, laughs, and endless amount of this amazingness! But in the meantime, feel free to check out my finds from around the web and more in this week’s edition of Friday Favs!

Favorite Read: My buddy Jim Gaffigan did it again, my friends. He is definitely one of my top five favorite comedians and in his latest book, Food: A Love Story, he doesn’t disappoint. I had to put the book down at times simply because I was afraid I was going to pee my pants from laughing so hard (which, as you can imagine, can get kind of awkward when you’re at work. Or at the corner Starbucks.) Do yourself a flavor and order this delicious page-turner!

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Favorite treat: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie. I can’t think of much more I want to do than sink my teeth into one of these chewy cookies studded with chocolate and peanut butter right now. O.M.G.

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Favorite place. Lake? Check. Lounge chairs? Check. Fire? Check. BEER? CHECK! I’ll be here if ya’ need me. :)

Favorite quote. A. Men.

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Favorite slurp: Crock Pot Minestrone Soup. Hearty, flavorful, AND made in a crock pot. What’s not to love?

Favorite pooch. I CANNOT even handle the cuteness. Cannot even. Looking forward to bringing this meatball home with me!

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Favorite vantage point. Fantastic wedding day photo opp!

Favorite funny. Story of my life. Consider this my CrossFit Workout. No bag left behind!

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Favorite sweet: White Chocolate Brownies. Cannot get over the gooey factor. These look like they’d melt in your mouth!

Favorite find: Unzipped Candy Dish. How freaking cute is this candy dish?! It’s a glass dish in the shape of an open plastic bag!

Favorite decor: Unique Fall Decorating Ideas for 2014. Must check these adorable ideas out – I particularly love the globe basket.

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Favorite Nummmm: Brownie Batter Parfait. You have GOT to see this recipe – it is off the chain!!!

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I’ve made a lot of promises to myself recently. I cut up my credit card, kicked my nightly ice cream habit down to only once twice seven times a week (But can you really blame me? I mean, IT’S ICE CREAM, PEOPLE!) am trying to become a more active member of my church, and am thinking about adding a new addition to the Wendi Hansen household in the form of a furry, four-legged and oh so cute friend (isn’t he the sweetest of all meatballs?! He’s still on medical hold now from the rescue center but I am hoping I can take him home this weekend!!)

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Not to mention the fact that I’ve been committed to finding my dream job since foreverrrrr and let’s face the nitty gritty facts: the road to the library hasn’t been the smoothest. In fact, it’s been all of the rocky. It’s been the Lombard Street of journeys. Perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew (which is saying a lot because I once stuffed a whole slice of pizza in my pie hole. A WHOLE PIECE.)

But lately I’ve been learning that failure is both a) necessary and b) inevitable. If you’re trying to change, to grow, to learn— you will fail. Because if you’re not failing, then you’re probably doing something wrong. Growth is a messy business, it doesn’t happen without its fair share of bumps and bruises.

The other thing I’ve been learning about failure is it’s not the end of your journey, it’s simply the down beat to your melody, a necessary evil to bettering yourself. I found out last week that the Adult Librarian position that I had applied for, interviewed for (twice) and was really pretty darn sure I would get, was offered to someone else. I’m not going to lie; I was a little sad and a lot disappointed. It seems that every time I get so close to this dream of mine, so close I could smell it’s Old Spice aftershave, it slips from my grasp. It’s hard not to get down on yourself, wonder what it is that you’re doing wrong, to lose hope and think of yourself as the “F” word…a failure. It’s hard not to want to just stop trying, to give up, burry yourself in a giant tub of Chunky Monkey and call it a day (which I may or may not have done right after I found out. But can you really blame me? I mean, IT’S ICE CREAM, PEOPLE).

So how do you deal with failure, with the desire to quit you biggest goals? The answer may seem a bit counter intuitive, but here it goes: quit a little every day.

In my own experience the key to long-term change has always been showing myself a little grace. Try as you may, there will be days that are harder than others, days where you’ll want to quit or give up on yourself. And on those days its OK to give yourself a mental break, quit… just a little, and then get right back down to kicking ass.

Recently I stumbled upon a great quote by J.K. Rowling: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” In this case failure is not only a consequence of success, but a necessity for its acquisition. So yes, if you don’t try, then you won’t fail. But if you never fail, then you’ll never learn anything either. So fail hard, fail fast, and commit to something worth doing. In the end you’ll be glad you did.

So yes, my friends.

Failure, in some cases, is very much an option.

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