Top 5 things that make me go…Aargh!

At Refreshing Life I try to maintain an upbeat and positive theme. Today, after much consideration, I have chosen to post about frustrating things I encounter in life. I hope that this gives you permission to talk about the things that bug you in a safe space, to chew on why they trouble you and maybe find a solution.

Here they are, my top 5 annoyances this week:

Being Anti-
I am so over “anti” attitudes. Between politics, religion, ecology, and even grammar sometimes, it can be difficult to nail some people down on what they are for these days. Everyone is so vocal about what they are against, it almost seems that being for something is passé. Well, I want to bring it back. Be FOR something, not against. If we can express the reasons why someone should support our cause, instead of the reasons why others are wrong, we might just find that people will listen. It will make for friendlier conversation anyway, and that would be a huge improvement. (I realize the irony. This post is very anti in nature, but at least I try to follow with the positive alternative.)

Photoshopped Models
I’m not against models, I think they are beautiful and can be very strong men and women with complex personalities, just like the rest of us. What makes me say “Aargh!” though is when even these beauties are deemed not good enough, and their images subjected to ridiculous photoshopping to make them thinner, more symmetrical, with longer necks and bigger eyes. It is insulting to them, and it continues to present us with a completely unattainable standard of beauty. If models aren’t good enough for public consumption, heaven help the rest of us. Thankfully, some companies are getting a hint and starting campaigns with real people. (Check out Elle, American Eagle, and Dove)

False Self-Criticism
You know what I’m talking about, when people make comments about themselves that are negative so that others will tell them they are wrong and shower them with compliments. I know sometimes it is hard to see our own worth, and sometimes we are too self-critical. What bugs me is not the honest low self-image, but the fake low self-image. How can you tell the difference? When you say, “Oh, I am so fat.” then wait for someone to say differently. When a friend says, “I only had time to bake fresh bread twice this week, I am such a bad mother.” Seriously makes me want to roll my eyes and groan. Instead, how about we express what we need. “I am feeling insecure, and need to hear that I look good.” “I am feeling unappreciated, and would like some acknowledgment for being the most super-awesome mom on the planet.” At least we would be honest, and then others wouldn’t have to guess at what we want from them.

Not Getting What I Paid For
Shopping drives me up the wall. I am not a retail-therapy kind of girl. I like to buy well and seldom. Shopping for some socks for my girls last week, I bought a package of socks in their size that seemed to be on clearance because it was the last of its kind. We got them home, washed them and put them away. The first day of new socks was fine, then the next day one girl said they were too small. The following day, the “pair” of socks wasn’t even the same size. I know, first world problem. It drives me crazy that what invariably happened was that someone took them home, discovered the issue of size variety, brought them back and the store PUT THEM BACK ON THE SHELF! Aargh! Seriously. I know that I have responsibilities as a consumer, but what happened to the responsibilities of the seller? Next time, I will buy on Amazon so that I can at least give the seller a bad review.

No Self-Criticism
Ok, last gripe of the day. If there is anything worse than false self-criticism, it is the utter absence of the ability to evaluate one’s own behavior/life choices/attitudes. When any difficulty in life is someone else’s fault, when a person is never in the wrong, when apologies are always expected and never offered there is a serious problem. Usually, it means a serious problem for other people since they usually are left picking up the pieces. The solution here is personal responsibility and a willingness to be wrong. On the side of those left cleaning up the mess, perhaps allowing the consequences to be on the shoulders of the one who created the mess. It isn’t always possible, but guaranteed that if we enable them, they will never learn.

There they are, my frustrations of the week. What are yours? Feel free to share, vent, discuss, and otherwise express yourself in the comments or with someone you trust.

Getting the frustrations out there, how refreshing!



Hours roll by without a break. Meetings, flow charts, spread sheets overwhelm her schedule.

“Just one moment of peace, please,” she screams internally to no one in particular.


Traffic jammed up for miles before and behind.

Smile twitching the corner of her mouth.

Unbusy at last.

Someone was listening.

Part of the 50 Word Challenge:


Wind blows. A leaf scuttles down the sidewalk.

She sits alone, staring into the tangled brush.

Walking by, he stops to follow her gaze.

Ribbons flutter in the branches.

A tear drops, silently.

A prayer before he sits and takes her hand.

Shared grief unites.

An unspoken promise of presence.


Love Is a Servant

Today I served a couple as a doula at their baby’s birth. Mom was a champion, and dad loved his wife and baby. It was great, and I would do it again tomorrow! Labor was induced and I wasn’t sure that it was what I would have chosen in their shoes. But as a doula, my job is not to make their decisions for them, but to support them as they walk through their experiences making their own choices.

Having typed that, I am left to ponder how this is really our role in life as we walk alongside the people that we love. Love serves. Love may have opinions. Love may even offer those opinions in caring advice. But love does not insist on its own way. Love takes on the role of a servant, supporting and persevering as the loved one moves forward making their own decisions.

When things do not work out, our role is to be there for the clean-up and the debrief. Our job is to listen as our loved one sorts through the broken pieces and seeks to figure out what went wrong. Love doesn’t say, “I told you so.”

And surprisingly, even if the choices are not what we would prefer, many times everything works out just fine. Then Love rejoices!

Love is a servant. When we truly love, we are servants as well.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end

–The Message, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

That’s ReFreshing!