I’ve always held firmly the belief that an oppressor is a broken human and the only way to help heal their damaged soul is to respond to them with love and forgiveness, even if they don’t deserve it. On November 9th, after several hours of all-consuming rage followed by deep, horrible sorrow, I decided I needed to channel the belief I had followed my whole life. It was time to write Donald Trump a letter.

Dear President Trump,

First, I would like to congratulate you on your recent election victory.  You have worked very hard during your campaign and the American people chose you to lead this country into the future.  I am writing to you today to share hopes and dreams I have for your presidency—hopes and dreams I have for every president who walks through those doors and gets the privilege of representing this great country to the world.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I hope your presidency looks like, and I’ve decided that more important than what you accomplish are the lasting changes you make to the lives of young people and those who look to you for guidance and for help.

I hope that you are a kind president.  I hope you forgive your enemies and you rise to every occasion with grace and with humility.  I hope you will model for our children the understanding that a strong man will not throw insults at those he doesn’t like.  That sometimes, kindness is harder and takes more courage to follow-through with.  I hope they will remember you as the president who taught them that sometimes it is more important to be kind than to be right.

I hope you are a compassionate president, who knows that not everything that is fair will be equal.  I hope you take mercy on families who are just getting by, on people who are sick, and on people who have been told all along that they are not welcome in their school, their town, their country.  I hope you stand up against bullies and you protect us from the dangers of poverty, illness, and violence.

I hope you are a wise president.  I hope you know the difference between equality and equity and that you will realize that women are not a topic of argument, but autonomous people who will govern their own bodies regardless of your opinion of it.  I hope you will realize that what women need are less laws dictating what they can and cannot do for their own health, and more education and celebrations of their body.  I hope you will remember which body part you came out of.

I hope you will be a loving president, one that models every kind of love through the kinds of love he allows.  I hope you will show LGBTQ youth that their love is valid and good and beautiful by protecting their rights and doing everything in your power to lower teen suicide rates.  I hope you empower our young people and make them feel like people every day of their lives.

I hope, most of all Mr. Trump, that you do a great job as our president.  I hope you are remembered as one of the best presidents that we ever had in this country.  I hope you remember us each morning that you wake up, and that we can be proud of all you do.

Your citizen,

Dani

New Me Week Two: Hipsters

This week I ate a lot.  There’s no real way to get around that one.  If it was dead and warm, there was a fair chance I was putting it in my mouth.  I stayed within my frame of healthy eating.  Mostly.  And I tried to incorporate more exercise to counter my inability to stop eating.  Luckily, whatever I did worked.  Danielle: 1; Compulsive Overeating: 0.

There’s a lot of work to be done in the managing-the-eating department, which this week did a really great job of reminding me about, but I’m determined to get to the root of the problem and just stop it.  Or do it less.  Less do is good.

Here’s a quick recap of my week.

Food

There was just so much of it.  I cooked a few healthy meals this week, but I tended to overeat even those.  The week started with pizza, which was a bit of a fail even though I chose to eat it.  From there it was just one fall after another.  The good news is that after each fall, I was quick to undo the damage with positive physical changes.  That counts, right?

One great recipe I made was what I am going to call: Lean Burger and ALL THE VEGG!

2016-11-05-19-55-09To make this dish, you’ll need:

4 ounces of lean ground beef (92% lean or higher)
1 Weight Watchers string cheese of your choice
1 light English muffin
1/2 of an acorn squash, sliced thinly
1 small sweet potato diced
1 red pepper cut into slices
1 head of broccoli, cut small
2 chopped scallions
Grated Parmesan cheese (I used 1/4 cup)Light butter, to rub on pan for no-stickies

First, add all your veggies (except for the scallion) onto a tray you’ve first rubbed down with butter.  I put the acorn squash flat on the pan while throwing all the the other veggies wherever there is room.  You might have a better method.  Put the pan in the oven at 375 for 25 minutes.

When the time is up, take it out and throw the chopped scallions along with the Parmesan cheese on top.  Stick them back in the oven, same temp–another 25 minutes.  While they’re going at it in the oven, heat up a pan and slap your burger patty on it.  I like to gingerly toss some spices on my burgers–do what makes you happy.  While that sizzled, I put the English muffin in the toaster oven with the string cheese chopped up and on each half.

Once your cheese is melted and your burger is done, get it together and on a plate–take the veggies out of the oven (they should also be done) and add those to the dish.  Delicious!

Exercise

This was a hard week for the gym.  My hip ached all week post-training, so I resigned myself to lots of cardio and rest.  I should be back to the gym this week, and let me tell you–when you don’t go, you miss it.

This month I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m grateful for–and having a strong hip without pain may top the list.  Here’s to a grateful and happy week to come!

Starting weight: 210.2 lbs

Current weight: 203.0 lbs

Total loss: -7.2 lbs

The Marvels by Brian Selznik

61znaba0dl-_sx335_bo1204203200_The Marvels
Brian Selznick

Holy cow—I needed a break when I was done reading this one.  Another beautiful fiction story woven by artist and storyteller Brian Selznick, this tale spends some time in the past and some time in the present, weaving together a beautiful history of one boy’s family.

The novel opens with pictures that detail the history of the Marvel family, starting with Billy in 1776 and ending suddenly, mid-action with Leo, Billy’s great-great-grandson.  The center of the book then follows Joseph, a young boy running away in the year 1990.

Through this story, we get to know more about Joseph, his uncle, and the mysterious Marvel family.  The story that unfolds is both heart-warming, heart-breaking, and soul-filling.  It’s about finding your family with those who love you, and about telling the stories that warm you up from the inside, even if they’re a bit painful.

I absolutely LOVED this book.  I fell in love with the Marvel family, I grieved with them, I even plotted out their family unit as I was reading.  I loved every moment I got to spend with them.  And then I got to meet Albert and Joseph and Blink and I fell in love with them too.  How could anyone not?

I fell in love with the storytelling, with the mystery of the Marvels, and with the way the story concluded.  There was one moment where I worried that the end wasn’t real, and it was just Joseph imagining the future, but then I realized that the time jump and the child fit the exact mold of the overall story and knew it would all be okay.

What an incredible job Mr. Selznick did when he created this book—it’s by far one of my favorite read of all time.  There’s a great line from the book that describes how I feel having just finished it: “…and his heart nearly broke with love.”

I highly recommend this one—six out of five stars!

Dear Presidential Candidates,

What in God’s name are you doing?  And more importantly, why are you doing it?  Please think about the words you are saying and the lives you are putting in danger.  Your words and your silences mean something.  Please give us more reasons to hope than more reasons to be afraid.

Love,

The librarian voting for peace

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