be generous

If we want a platform we have one. Twitter, FB, our blogs give us the space and freedom to say what we want and mean it. Within the week I move from those platforms to the others – school, ballet, soccer, work where I find more words, many sides which must be shared. After my day is done I am full, brimming over with opinions and attitudes. And, the truth is, I’m exhausted.

Right now I am deep-down-on-the-floor-of-the-cave revising and all I can see are the cracks, the faults of my book. Sloppy sentences and holes. Commas misplaced and chapters deserving better endings. I can’t see a poignant moment or heartfelt dialogue because I’m busy seeking the bad. Is this what we do with life? Wanting more, we’re overwhelmed with obstacles. We are burdened by flaws, blind to beauty. Insecurity lurks behind lofty words, a flippant response.

I don’t use this space to rant, but it’s been a few weeks of things that make me shake and I want to yell enough! I’m an advocate of boat-rocking and using our voices. I was born opinionated.  I’ve just grown weary of the know-it-alls, the interrupters. When did we stop choosing our words wisely? Why do we care so much about what others think and then why don’t we care more? How did we get so big behind our small screens? What happened to listening and being responsible with what we’re given? And sometimes, sometimes it’s not the words spoken; it’s what is unspoken, that something ‘off’, a brittle smile disguising true feelings.

I’m not better or less than anyone else – I’ve been guilty, an offender of doing both. I worry I’m too much and I worry I’m not enough. (I wasn’t going to get into specifics on my list of maddening, but I’ll allow myself one. When I’m playing the part of peacemaker to a disgruntled mother, I miss out on the wonder of my little girl. I’ll admit when that light turned on, it made me heartsick.) I admire honesty. I try to be honest. I am one of its biggest fans. But when it hurts people, isn’t it time to step back, to examine, to be quiet.

Sometimes we need to climb off our platforms, our high horses, and plant our feet on the ground. Cast off judgment, untangle from another thread of presumption and connect to what’s good. Notice the stars, the pink of blooming flowers. Cheer loudly. Laugh hard. Behold a beautiful story. Love your friend. Seek a soft heart.

Be generous.

In the spirit of generosity, I want to share a few posts that brought me perspective this week. To these writers, thank you, I really needed your words and your heart. Behold these beautiful stories.

Memories Captured by Galit Breen from her blog These Little Waves
On plates, my village, and hula hoops by Tara Pohlkotte from Pohlkotte Press
Monday Catch Up by Anna See from An Inch of Gray
Adventures with Cancer-Part 2
by Jennifer Liberts Weinberg from Kvetch Mom

I could go on and on linking more incredible posts, but I’ll end here. For now. And link up with Yeah Write on the Hangout Grid, where it’s cool, laid-back, and just the inspiration I need as I finish revising.

43 thoughts on “be generous

  1. Kerstin

    “Why do we care so much about what others think and then why don’t we care more?”
    Heidi, you just slay me. Get out of my head! What a forceful, powerful post. And yes, I am totally guilty of it as well.
    I read an article in the Oprah magazine a couple of days ago, which talked about Interior Motives. How if we are not sincere, it does shine through, hurts others and makes us sick. I always try to be honest and say what my real motivation is, but I have to be careful not to be too blunt and not to hurt other people in the process. That’s that thing you said so well, about caring too much but not really enough.
    Thank you for this post my friend – I do want to be like you when I grow up!

    1. heidi

      How interesting about interior motives. I don’t think there is anything wrong with bluntness. I just think it can be tempered a bit, you know? I appreciate bluntness as long as it isn’t with malice. If your heart is in the right place, one can take almost anything. It’s the fake, the insincerity that can do damage.
      You are wonderful and wise, Kerstin. I’m glad to know you!

  2. Galit Breen

    Oh you, I love your words, your perspective, your reminders.

    (We were truly meant to meet in this crazy way, weren’t we?)

    Thank you for the mention. It means the world to me. Truly.


    1. heidi

      Yes, we were meant to meet (in this crazy way)! Your post is what turned that light on for me – to remember to take joy in my daughter and not let things beyond my control get in the way of pride and delight. I’m her mom. I’m supposed to be her biggest cheerleader and her greatest advocate, you know?
      I’m so enjoying getting to know you. xo

    1. heidi

      Not you, though. You are good and brave and all that is right with the world. I’m lucky to have found you through Kate, what, almost 4 years ago now? Thank you, my friend, for writing and letting us in.

  3. tara pohlkotte

    oh, heidi. how i am so. *so* glad to have found you. you are a truly beautiful soul. i wish we could just sit over coffee and talk and talk. xoxo

    1. heidi

      I would love that! How much fun would that be?! And it would be good for my soul – I just know it. Like your blog, your words – you take me to a deeper place.

  4. Jeff D'Antonio

    I’ve been told that sometimes I’m “too honest.” I try not to hurt peoples’ feelings, but if someone asks me for an opinion, they will get a real one. And they might not like it. I’ll generally keep it to myself unless you ask, but if you ask then you better be prepared for an answer you might not like. People who know me understand that, and that’s why they come to me when they want honesty. And the flip side is that when I give a compliment, people know I mean it sincerely. One thing I can’t stand is false flattery. If I tell you that you look nice, or you did a good job, you can believe I mean it.

    And on that note, I can’t wait to read your book. I love your writing style, and you have such an amazing story to tell.

    1. heidi

      That is my husband. Scott is honest good and bad. He thinks before he speaks and he chooses his words carefully. If a compliment is paid, I know he means it.
      I’m with you – I can’t stand insincerity, that fake thing. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
      Thank you so, so much! I submit my revisions very soon to my editor which is why I’m all head-down and ruthless. 🙂

  5. Toriz

    Too often people don’t think or care about their actions or words these days. And too often people judge too quickly. It’s a shame.

    1. heidi

      All of us can benefit from less judgment. I can be so judgey and it’s something I need to work on for sure.

  6. Robbie

    such wisdom. How DID we get so big behind our small screens?

    Good luck with your revisions & I can’t wait to read your book 🙂

  7. stephanie

    Oh Heidi, I love the way you say what you mean. And mean what you say. Your tender demeanor comes through even in frustration. We could all strive to be in possession of a bit more tenderness, or in some cases, a lot more. Love your friend, seek a soft heart. Indeed. Lovely words to live by.

    1. heidi

      Stephanie, thank you. I hope, hope I say what I mean and mean what I say. Even in frustration. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. I know I’m late to responding, but when I saw your comment, know that it meant so much to me.

  8. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for sharing my blog post, Heidi! You are one of the best writers I know, so let the sun shine through those cracks and fill you with light & energy. You’re in the home stretch!!

    1. heidi

      I am in the home stretch! I’m getting a lot done today and thought I would take a quick break to respond. I love seeing you here, anywhere actually. 🙂 You bring such light into my life. Thank you!

  9. Julia

    Oh, Heidi. This is all so beautiful, true, and important. I love the honesty here and the lovely reminder of what is really important as we ebb and flow in the bigness and smallness of life. I can not wait to read your book. Soon, all of these stressful editing days will be over and you will have written a book! Your words have already touched so many and will continue to do so. I am so glad to have found you.

    1. heidi

      You are such a sweetheart! Thank you so, so much. For your words, your heart. I’m so glad to have found you, too!

  10. Stephanie

    This is such a powerful post. I nodded through most of it. “Be generous” <—If everyone in the world made that their motto, what a different world it would be.

    1. heidi Post author

      Thank you, Stephanie! It’s certainly something I need to work on. I’ve had those 2 words in my head for months now. Whenever I feel insecure or irritable it runs through my head – be generous. So, I’m really trying. 🙂

  11. Kenda

    Hear, hear! As always, beautifully said Heidi.

    And, I know I haven’t read it yet (can’t wait to!) but I also know that your book is going to be brilliant – chockablockFULL of great endings, poignant moments and heartfelt dialogue, beautifully written. You do that here. All the time. It’s going to be the perfect combination of heart and craft – your amazing heart and excellent writing craft! Be generous with yourself too… and gentle.

    1. heidi Post author

      Thank you, thank you! I am working on ‘being gentle’. My job right now is to see the flaws and fix them, so gentle is far, far away. But, in the middle of cutting and adding I’m trying to remember the message, the point of this book…and that helps.
      Thank you for your kind words, Kenda.

    1. heidi Post author

      Thank you, Emily. What a sweet thing to say! I find your space restful, so for you to say that to me means so much.

  12. Shiftless Mommie

    I was a particularly opinionated, bossy, cynical person for most of my life. It was encouraged because people found it funny, but it was emotionally draining. When I went back to school of social work, I was actually taught how hurtful my comments could be and how to be funny without tearing people/ideas down.

    I’m not perfect and I still slip, but I try to balance out with positive statements. You would not believe the strange looks I get when I try to put a positive spin on things. It is like I just told people that everything can be solved by leprechauns. That isn’t what I mean. Every negative has a positive side that can be amplified to be beneficial. Otherwise, no one would ever overcome adversity or improve.

    It is especially difficult to shake that negativity when you are writing/editing, because those are two activities that require a critical eye. I’m sure you will get through it and your book will be brilliant.

  13. Anna Lefler

    What a lovely and powerful post. I have been struggling with this very thing – it was one of my 2012 resolutions, in fact.

    You inspire me!



  14. julie gardner

    Hey lady – this post is FABULOUSLY right on the money.

    But I can’t believe it took me so long to find it. I swear I’ve checked back here since the 17th and didn’t see a new post…


    I’ve been wrong before. And I will be so again.

    On that note, I can’t find a way to subscribe to your blog via email.
    Is that an impossibility? I don’t want to miss out on posts like this again…

    1. heidi

      Julie! I’ll have to get Scott (the husband) on that. He is all things computer. It’s a marvel that I can navigate this blog at all. I’ll check into subscription via email.
      You are the loveliest! Thank you.

  15. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

    Okay here is my response. Brace yourself for its eloquence. “YEAH!”
    I too had an apple falling on my head moment this week. Getting ensnared in the stupid is preventing me from dancing in the beauty that is showering my life.
    In addition to you putting my feelings into words, this Bible verse fell into my path: “Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know they breed quarrels.” 2Timothy 2:23.
    Message received!
    Do you have anyone helping you with the editing? No matter how beautiful your story is, YOU get sick of going over it with a fine toothed comb. Commas are a bitch. 🙂 Ellen

  16. Kate Coveny Hood

    Oh so true. I’m usually pretty good about this – but every once in a while, I let myself succumb to pettiness and I hate it. I’m most unhappy when jealous or ungracious – and since I’m human, I sometimes dabble in both (sometimes simultaneously). I have a favorite movie quote (from The Big Lebowski of all things): “you may be right, but you’re still an asshole.” I’ve had MANY occasions to think this about others…but having to say it to myself is a bitter pill to swallow. Hopefully the people dragging you down with remember this and sheepishly back off.

  17. Alexandra

    Yes to all of it.

    And, always, we must do what we feel we were born to do.

    No matter what stands in our way or threatens to undo us.

    We must always move toward that which we feel we were made to do.

  18. Sperk*

    You are right. And I have grown weary and feel exposed. A little break I took and now back at it with your words ringing gently…and with gratitude that you are here. Thank you.

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