Why Children’s Books are my New Inspiration

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I am in college pursuing a degree in elementary education. In pursuit of my major, I am required to take many different courses, one of which is a children’s literature course. I’ve been devouring children’s books that bring me back to my childhood and which have reminded me of the many quality lessons these books hold. I made a short list of some of the lessons I’ve deciphered and I hope it encourages you to pick up an old favorite and to cherish its quality and excellence. Enjoy!

1. Sometimes, it’s okay to be curious. (Curious George, H.A. Rey)

2. With time and perseverance, you’ll always end up where you belong. (Corduroy, Don Freeman)

3. Never take advantage of a good thing. (Miss Nelson is Missing, Harry Allard and James Marshall)

4. Love is eternal. (The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein)

5. Beauty lives within. (The Rainbow Fish, Marcus Pfister)

6. Lend a helping hand when you can. (Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McCloskey)

Heaven on a Plate

Have you ever had one of those meals that was so delicious that you literally thought you were in love at first bite? Well, I hope you’ve had the pleasure because this “falling in love with my food” situation recently happened to me and, holy cow, I thought I was in food heaven.

I recently planned a day trip to Miami with a couple of my girlfriends and one of them, who happened to know the area quite well, said she had to take us to this chic espresso bar for lunch. She said it was called Aroma. I almost stopped dead in my tracks. (I have to put in this small tidbit: Most of my friends would call me enthusiastic and quite excitable.) This tidbit applies here because when I heard that we were going to the Aroma Espresso Bar I thought I might just keel over with excitement. I had been to Aroma a few times when I had spent some time in Israel, but I thought that Aroma was only located in Israel. I had no idea that they had any locations in America (I’ve now learned they have four American locations- three in New York and the one I went to in Miami.).

This was the best meal. Ever. I had a combo meal. Half of my lunch was a goat cheese, tomato, and basil sandwich on a thick piece of whole wheat bread. The other half of my meal was a sweet potato and lentil salad with a lemon vinaigrette. Seriously, this meal was heaven on a plate. Alongside that hefty meal, I ordered an Ice Aroma. An Ice Aroma is kind of like a coffee smoothie, but it has such a rich taste and creamy texture. They serve it with a little chocolate on the lid and truly, this drink was I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E! Best. Meal. Ever.

When I went to Aroma in Israel, I loved the food, but I was so concerned that I wouldn’t be able to have it again for such a long time because my trips to Israel are few and far between. Eating at Aroma was great in more ways than one. I, of course, loved the food, but eating there also brought back a flood of memories from my time in Israel- memories I hold very dear. As soon as I stepped into the beautiful, large, chic, minimalistic and familiar espresso bar, I was greeted with so many memories and the anticipation of biting into the food I loved while I was overseas.

This meal was the start to an awesome day in Miami. My girlfriends and I ate, shopped, and sunbathed! What a perfect day. It really couldn’t have gotten much better than that!

What’s your perfect meal? Does it bring back memories for you?

In My Next Life, I Want To Be My Dog

Disclaimer: The following statement is not meant to inflict shame or insult upon any of my two-legged loved ones.

I like dogs more than I like most people. This is not to say that I don’t like people or that I put dogs and people in the same category. Let’s get real; obviously dogs are in a higher category than  most people.

My family rescued my beautiful dog, Gracie, about a year and a half ago. She succeeds our family’s princess of a puppy, Sophie, my first love. We have no idea what Gracie’s life enTAILed preceding her entry into our family  and at first we had a hard time connecting with her. She didn’t display affection, act protective, or even respond to us for the most part. We (fondly, of course) referred to her as a “Lug,” because she really didn’t do much of anything.

Of course, with time, patience, and lots of reassurance from us, Gracie has become a part of the family. She is affectionate, protective, and responsive. We love her very much and she clearly loves us in return. Today, however, was an exciting first in my relationship with Gracie because today was the first time she followed me around the house. She walked beside me like the trusty companion she is, and I was touched. I’ve seen her follow closely on the heels of my parents’ feet, but this was a first for me. I felt Gracie’s loyalty and trust more than I have ever before.

I find dogs to be so sincere. In my opinion, they behave the way that humans should behave toward one another. There are so many lessons that we can learn from our dogs and we’d be better people if we acted more like them. If dogs were our teachers we would learn these lessons and more:

  • Always run to greet loved ones when they come home.
  • Take naps.
  • Be loyal.
  • Always be yourself.
  • If something you want is buried, dig until you reach it.
  • When you’re happy, jump around and wag your whole body.
  • Do not bite when a growl will suffice.
  • Take the opportunity to appreciate the small stuff.
  • If someone is having a bad day, sit close and nuzzle them.

In my next life, I hope I have the honor of being as great as my dog. She has taught me how to be a better person, an invaluable lesson.

Lessons from the Back-Stabber

We’ve all been there—in that “he loves me, he loves me not” scenario where we wonder if we should step out on a limb, and reveal the feelings we were keeping inside or if the chance isn’t worth the risk of heartbreak. With the first half of my college experience past me and with my recent entrance into the so-called “quarter-life,” I find myself contemplating where the line between taking the leap of faith and suppressing my feelings is drawn. I’ve started to learn that “getting what you want” is a personal and individual responsibility that sometimes (and by sometimes, I mean most times) requires stepping out of your comfort zone and going for it, pushing the fear of heartbreak aside.

My realization was bolstered by the heartburn-inducing, albeit extremely entertaining chick-flick, Something Borrowed. Cheating fiancés and attention-hogging best friends aside, this movie is an encapsulation of my most recent and significant epiphany (not that epiphanies are an extremely common occurrence for me)—that I can’t get what I want without making it happen and that sometimes life requires putting yourself first and putting yourself out there. Fulfilling my needs and desires are my sole responsibility. Worrying about other people so much that I put myself second, is not okay. (Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting subverting concern for other people; however, I am suggesting that concern for one’s own needs not be placed on the back burner—something I’ve been previously guilty of.)

In Something Borrowed, Rachel, the initially submissive and painfully acquiescent “people-pleaser” is so scared of stepping out on the aforementioned “limb” that she loses the opportunity with her Prince Charming while her best friend scoops him up fearlessly. While I don’t wish a man-stealing best friend on any one of you or myself, I do think there is a lesson to be learned from this back-stabber—that she got what she wanted because she went for it. In the movie, Rachel learns from this, too, and yes, she gets her Prince Charming back when she FINALLY goes for it—saying and doing what she wants, and throwing what’s expected of her to the wind.

We have to be open to the idea of putting ourselves out there. Is there some risk involved? Yes. But does the possibility of achieving what you want make the risk worth it? Definitely! Stepping out of your comfort zone can, of course, be uncomfortable and learning to put your own needs first can take time, but, like Rachel, maybe we’ll start to see that a little bit of gutsiness can result in a lot of personal benefit!