Good Morning Beautiful!

12733505_10153260834997541_4899769578013394154_nThere are places in my life where I look for motivation. Church, for instance. I expect church to be motivating and inspiring. I expect to be challenged to be better than I am.

I also expect my family to motivate me: The dog greets me at the door, prancing on her toes, saying “Yeah, yeah, time for a walk. Time for a walk. You know you’re the greatest person in the world. Yes you do. Yes you do.”

My daughter motivates me to get off the couch or leave the computer keyboard behind:  “Come downstairs and play with me Mom. You know you’ll have fun.”

Or even my sister, “Come on, do it. You’ll never know if you don’t try. When is that book going to be published, by the way?”

I even expect motivation at work. Colleagues proofread and edit pieces I write, “Geez Michele, could that sentence be any longer?”  “Do you think you could find a new word for ‘robust’?” “That’s good, but could you make it 50 characters shorter?”

And I have a few college friends who write blogs and articles that inspire and motivate me.

I do not, however, look to paper towels for the one thing that will get my day moving in the right direction.

That is why I was so surprised on Monday morning, when after stepping out sock-footed, before the coffee had finished brewing, onto the cold, cold, cold garage floor at 5:30am to put food into the dog’s bowl (yes the same dog who is continually motivating me to be a great person)— I found, on the paper towel roll that I had purchased for the bargain basement price of $0.97, motivational quotes.

“Wake up and be AMAZING!”  The roll yelled at me in a multicolored, teenage-girl font. Seriously?!

I stood there in my oversized comfy pajamas, with my husband’s T-shirt poking out from underneath the top, and looked at the inspirational quotes on the roll. “Good Morning Beautiful” (complete with eighth notes), “Here’s to a Great Start” (written in the shape of an apple), and “Time to Shine” (complete with little yellow and red rays of sun).

My sarcastic mind immediately went to work as I ripped a towel from the roll to serve as my workspace for making the day’s lunches.

How about “Wake up and be Medusa?”  or “Time to pull the blanket over your head and sleep in”  or “Let’s get rolling” in the shape of a chocolate iced donut?

Perhaps the people who designed these motivational paper towels had the best of intentions, thinking that if people saw positive messages on their paper towels they would have a better day.

Now, if the paper towels had really good knock-knock jokes, or one-liners from Robin Williams, or Yogi Berra quotes, they would be truly awesome. That would indeed get my day off to a great start.

© 2016 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

To Make the World More Beautiful

There is a classic children’s book that seeks to provide an answer to the question “Why are we here?”

The answer it gives is “To make the world beautiful.” The book takes a literal approach to beauty, which is where it falls short, because it misses the opportunity to teach that real beauty lies not in external appearance but rather that true beauty stems from what is inside. The book misses the opportunity to teach children that to make the world beautiful, a person has to act beautifully—with compassion, mercy, grace and charity toward others. Continue reading “To Make the World More Beautiful”

Writer’s Block

Woman on floor typing on typewriter

I thought that writing this week’s column would be a breeze this week. You see, our daughter is spending the night at her favorite place: Grandma and Papa’s. So, I have peace and quiet. I can wake up early, put the coffee on and have my favorite working time, early morning, all to myself.

But it isn’t working. I can’t think of anything to write. The quote from the instructor at the last writer’s workshop I attended keeps ringing in my ears: “The thing that gets in the way of the work is the work.”

So, perhaps it’s the “Momma come up here. I need you!” that invariably starts as soon as my computer has—finally—booted up and MSWord has—finally—launched, or the request for juice, a fried-egg sandwich or a different cartoon, or the opportunity for me to “be the bad witch” that provides the fodder for much that I do. Continue reading “Writer’s Block”

A Tale of Two Knits

A Lonely Grey Sock
Knitting is an enigma. It is simple, but can be complicated; it can involve no mental effort, or take intense concentration; it can be a soothing, but can also drive you to distraction. It can fill you with a sense of accomplishment, and also convince you of your complete uselessness; it can make you proud, and can be a source of deep humiliation. It’s a challenge. It’s a respite. There is a time to cast on, and a time to cast off. A time to knit, and a time to refrain from knitting. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Knits”