Wanted: Best Big Sister Ever

A Love Letter by Julia Zhang

October 13, 2016

I was a two-year-old preparing for the most important role of my life: Best Big Sister Ever. My parents told me it was my job to take good care of my little sister because she would look up to me, which is a big responsibility.

I relished responsibility. I loved to show off how great I was at doing jobs for my parents, like fetching my dad’s sandals for him, or helping my mom break the ends off string beans . . . taking care of a little sister was just another job that I could get pats on the head and praise for. I read stories with my mom like this one extolling the virtues of sharing, and practiced taking care of a baby with my dolls. As much as I rehearsed for my role, when baby Jenny came into the world, I was wholly unprepared for one thing – how much I would absolutely adore her. Continue reading “Wanted: Best Big Sister Ever”

Four Ways to Give a Child the World

by Angela Noel

October 6, 2016

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”- Abraham Lincoln

Becoming a mother isn’t, in my opinion, a biological or a legal event. It’s a choice made with every action. Mothers build us, piece by piece. The tools they use differ. No two mothering methods are the same. Every mother would express what she wants for her children differently. But underlying all these differences remains a simple fact: Our mothers want the best for us. 

Often our biggest fans and sometimes our worst critics, mothers tell us truth even when we don’t want to hear it. They are the masters of the teachable moment. For example, my mother warned me that riding a Big Wheel in my favorite dress wouldn’t turn out well. When I shredded it under my plastic tires, just as she’d predicted, she didn’t scold me. Instead, she talked to me about cause and effect, how our actions have consequences and why. Many other such moments populated my childhood. Here are four gifts my mother gave me:

Continue reading “Four Ways to Give a Child the World”

Book Club Love

by Angela Noel

September 29, 2016

I recently attended a class on unconscious bias at work. The facilitator asked participants to think about this question: When was the last time you deliberately disrupted your routine? She gave us a few minutes to share our responses with others sitting nearby. Almost immediately, I knew my reply. Continue reading “Book Club Love”

What I Choose to Believe

By Angela Noel

September 22, 2016

I love finding money in my pants. I know it’s my own money in my own pants, but it still feels as if I’ve unearthed a hidden treasure. The routine of daily living can cause me to overlook something of value only to be surprised and delighted when I discover it again. I experience this same thrill whenever I encounter playful reminders of the creativity and kindness of my fellow humans in everyday life. Continue reading “What I Choose to Believe”

35 Years of Secrets, Laughter, and Love

From Angela: Love Letters are written by subscribers to the You Are Awesome blog. Each of us know teachers, friends, lovers, parents, grandparents, children, bosses, artists, mentors, or teammates who embody goodness, who give the best of themselves in unique and interesting ways. I ask for your courage. I ask for your words. I ask that you share your gratitude and admiration. I ask for YOUR love letters. To learn how to submit a guest post read this.

Be awesome in real life.

To Laury

By Kathy Davis

August 11, 2016

I love you, my friend. I tell you so whenever we talk on the phone and sometimes when we are just chatting side by side on the couch. But I don’t think I have ever told you why I cherish you. We have laughed and cried together, and shared secrets we shall keep forever. Now, I want you to know how much I value and honor you. Continue reading “35 Years of Secrets, Laughter, and Love”

What Doesn’t Kill You

By Angela Noel

August 4th, 2016

Weeks after the birth of her first child in 1946, Dolores Meurer Reed climbed into the cockpit of the Navy surplus airplane she and husband Bob bought with the last of their newlywed nest-egg. Not long after her wheels left earth, the instruments failed–every single one of them. “I landed it on fear alone.” She promised herself she wouldn’t fly again. At least, not until her babies had all grown up. Flying, her capricious and complicated first-love, kept trying to kill her. Continue reading “What Doesn’t Kill You”

Share the Love: Write a Love Letter and I’ll Publish it

by Angela Noel

July 28, 2016

“Bye. I love you.” My stomach dropped. My brain didn’t consciously plan to say it, but there it was–Out there. These three little words, reserved for more than thirty years for only close family and romantic partners, had slipped through my lips. My friend Jenn laughed, “Ang, I love you too.”

Acrobat Adventure
This is Jenn. Who wouldn’t love this woman?

Why did it take me decades to tell a dear friend I loved her? Short answer: I was afraid. I feared the vulnerability of such a declaration. I reserved I love you as if the words, and the emotions behind them, were rare gems, meant to be precious and few. But love, in its many forms, needn’t be scarce. Science and philosophy agree: love is a renewable resource with exponential return on investment.  Continue reading “Share the Love: Write a Love Letter and I’ll Publish it”

Living on the Edge of Fun and Scary

by Angela Noel

July 21st, 2016

We bumped along a rutted dirt road in a rented SUV, parking a quarter mile from the trailhead that would lead us to the summit of Mount Democrat.  We hoisted backpacks stuffed with water, food, dry socks, and extra clothes onto our backs. The thin, 38 degree air nipped at our hands and faces left exposed by our light down coats. We looked ready to conquer a mountain or two.

While I’ve run a few 10K’s, Paul, my significant other, and our friends, Dan and Jayme are veterans of marathons, triathlons, and obstacle courses, (and in Jayme’s case, an Ironman). But, winded by the walk from the car to the trailhead, even they worried that our less than 24 hours at altitude had not been enough time for our sea-level dwelling bodies to adjust. I began to sweat.  Continue reading “Living on the Edge of Fun and Scary”

5 Ways to Change Your Mindset

by Angela Noel

July 7th, 2016

“Our love of being right is best understood as our fear of being wrong”Kathryn Schulz

My seventh grade home economics class taught me an important lesson, but it wasn’t how to sew.

Assigned the task of creating a garment, I picked a pattern for what I thought would be a cute pair of shorts. I bought the fabric, pinned on the tissue paper shapes, and cut. Using a sewing machine, I punched a line of thread through the hem. The line, supposed to be neat and straight, looked as if I had traced rolling hills instead. Fearing a bad grade, I told the teacher I intended the design. I even wore the terrible, turquoise, wavy-hemmed shorts the next day to class. My teacher, Mrs Hart, gave me an “A”. I gained no skill in sewing. But I learned how to sell and reap the benefits of a convincing lie. Continue reading “5 Ways to Change Your Mindset”

Leadership Should Feel Like This

By Angela Noel

June 30th, 2016

A little more than four years ago, a leader of his church pulled Doug Timothy aside for a pleasant but purposeful conversation. Doug wondered if he would be asked to serve the church community in some way, perhaps as a teacher or a youth advisor. But the leader had a different, far scarier, role for young Doug in mind. Continue reading “Leadership Should Feel Like This”