Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.” – James Bryant Conant

That’s what I’m trying to do right now. In fact, I even bought this little book from Urban Outfitters.

writing. things that scare you, life, inspiration

riiight??

I saw it and went, YES! This is quite possibly exactly what I need!

The catch is, I’m not nearly organized enough to actually sit down and fill out a book like this. You’re supposed to fill in the date and answer the question they’ve given on each page and let the quote on said page inspire you. Will I keep up with it? Hopefully.

I’ve already been doing a lot lately that scares me. It hasn’t been on purpose. So I’m left wondering… does this whole idea of living life to the fullest have to be intentional? Or does it count just as much if what you’re doing is leaning on the edge of survival instincts?

The first page asks you to fill out a list of things that scare you. I can only think of a few things.

1) Creepy people (mostly men). Which is why I walk around with a knitting needle in my purse. Think about it… it’s probably the best unassuming weapon a girl could have on her.

2) Being late. Which is why I am usually 15 minutes early to everything. I like to scope out where I’m going, get there early, and possibly wait in the car and read.

3) Letting life pass me by. I’m only 24, but sometimes I wonder how the heck 24 years of my life have already passed. I wonder if I should have accomplished some huge goal by now. I wonder if I’ve made the right decisions.

4) Books about a really horrible future for mankind. AKA, Brave New World, The Road, 1984, The Hunger Games, Farenheit 451… just to name a few. I’m terrified that these stories might come true. Even if not for me, but for the future generations. Which is partly why I refuse to have a smartphone. (yes, it’s true)

5) Too much technology. I really like getting back to the basics. I’ve written about it before, but I prefer not to have a smartphone, a microwave, television, or get online very often. I get paranoid about “them” controlling us and having access to our every move and choice. I prefer to use an oven or stove to heat up my leftovers. I prefer a book over a TV show. I prefer writing letters to text messages. I don’t think all technology is bad, just like I don’t think ALL of Western medicine is bad. But I think enough of it is to be wary. Sometimes I feel like I can literally feel my brain turning to mush….. unless I read all day long, then my brain returns to its normal state.

That’s just the tip of the ice burg, but those are the first 5 fears that came to mind.

In the next weeks I’ll be sharing what SCARY thing I’m doing each day and how I felt about it. In the meantime, I’d love to know your biggest fears and how you plan to overcome them… or how you’ve already overcome them in life. 

Now, along with fears, I have a good friend who reminded me that it also takes courage to do something you ENJOY every day. He said, “Why not also try to do something for yourself each day. Maybe that would be even better.”

I’m all for a happy medium.

I’ll try to share the little joys I find each day, too. The most recent joy I had was watching my sister’s band play at the Biopark here in Albuquerque, and having my nephew Carson on my lap the entire time. We listened to the music, danced, and wound up playing “star wars” with light sabers (aka twigs) and laughing.

things that scare you, inspiration, life, not being afraid

Carson <3

As always, thanks for taking time to stop by Hey Lou!!!!

Love,

Lou

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Thank You, John Green, For Everything

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

-John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

 

Before I get to the 5 Reasons You Should Read Any John Green Book, I’ll start here…..

I recently read two John Green books:

The Fault In Our Stars 

An Abundance of Katherines 

…and not quite so recently, I read another of his:

Looking For Alaska 

I’ll start by saying something surprising, given that I’m writing a blog about the author. I didn’t love Looking For Alaska.

I liked An Abundance of Katherines.

I loved, loved, loved The Fault In Our Stars.

In fact, I just spent a few hours of my life crying, sobbing really, as I read The Fault In Our Stars. And even though I didn’t love the character Alaska in the first book I read of Green’s, I still liked it. I still related to the characters.

John Green is a classic American writer disguised as a Young Adult author that some people might not take seriously. I mean, his books are easy to read and are probably geared toward teenagers, but they always involve a greater theme, references to books that would make the most sophisticated (slash pretentious) college student who is getting an English degree proud to recognize, and truly life-changing sentences.

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

-John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

Here are five good reasons to read any John Green book.

1. You will be forced to remember the people you dated in high school, and the way you remember them will probably make you laugh and wince and then, eventually, smile with nostalgia. 

In An Abundance of Katherines, there’s this guy who has dated only girls named Katherine. This (of course!) felt like a giant statement… that perhaps we all date a different version of the same person until one fine day, you finally will yourself to change and then, and only then, can you find the one you are meant to be with. This book also made me think that maybe “meant to be with” is a naive statement. I still don’t know what “meant to be” means and sometimes I feel like I don’t even know what love is. The characters in Green’s books find love in different ways, but they’re usually very quirky teenagers with a view of the world I had never considered. A lot of them have a much straighter head on their shoulders than I ever have managed in this life.

And I did remember all the past boyfriends. I did cringe, but then I remembered those old hand-holds, the kids we named at the age of fifteen, the breakups, and finally, the fun moments that made it all worth it.

Even though this is a post about John Green, a Feist lyric comes to mind

The hardest part of a broken heart isn’t the ending so much as the start.

Though it’s hard and painful, try to remember the good times; try to remember the good part of a relationship and let yourself smile with the memory, rather than cry with the end of that relationship.

AND remember… age has nothing to do with it. The feelings I felt when I was 14 are just as real (even if misguided or hormone driven) as the emotions I feel on this very day.

Also…. a thought….

“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”
― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

2. You will be humbled by the fact that there are tons of people who are smarter than you are. 

It’s hard to admit, but yes, there are thousands and thousands of people who analyze more thoroughly, who have better grammar, and who actually understand quantum physics.

“…because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.”
― John Green

3. You’ll want to create a fantastic nickname for yourself and all of your friends. 

Looking For Alaska

Miles= Pudge

Chip= The Colonel

Alaska= Alaska (but her name is so odd, it’s like a nickname)

An Abundance of Katherines

Colin= so important, that the other Colin in the book is called TOC (The Other Colin)

Hassan= Daddy

Katherine= Katherine The Great, K-1, K-19

Old People= Oldsters (not the most original, but still poignant)

The Fault In Our Stars 

This book was perhaps too serious to have awesome nicknames, but I think you get the point already.

Do you have any nicknames? Mine include Mel, Lou, Melly, Mel Bel and occasionally, Twin or just Meredith… who is my twin.

4. The hurtful truth of death, depression, illness, heartache and sorrow will cut you to the core. Get ready. 

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.”

– John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

I literally, literally, cried for probably 75% of the pages in The Fault In Our Stars. It’s about teenagers with cancer. And then, it’s about so much more than just teenagers with cancer. It’s about teenagers with hopes and dreams. Teenagers who love and want to be something great. They want to go places, read all the books, have all the conversations. They want to see, even when they have cancer in their eyes. They want to go on walks, even when their lungs cannot handle much more than a walk to the mailbox. They want to fight for a good cause, even when their last checkup confirmed cancer- everywhere.

“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt.”

– The Fault In Our Stars

How could you not cry?

Or not look outside and see that the sky is still there, you can still see the birds, take in the fresh air…

Or feel selfish for the last time you felt sorry for yourself?

A great quote from another book I read, Norwegian Wood: “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Only assholes feel sorry for themselves.” It kind of fits the situation.

5. You will laugh a lot. John Green is HILARIOUS. 

That was one of my favorite things about his writing. His characters are always saying the funniest things. The kind of I’m-actually-laughing-out-loud-as-I-read-by-myself type of writing. He’s nerdy and isn’t afraid to show it. More often than not, his protagonists are also nerdy and very smart and have the oddest friends who keep the humor pumping out of each chapter. There are always light moments amidst the dark. That’s a good reminder, too.

I will read his other books as soon as I get my hands on them.

You should start reading John Green NOW.

“My responsibility is to try to tell true stories. To me a true story is always hopeful, but never simply, uncomplicatedly happy.”

-John Green

Well said, John. Well said.

And thanks for writing.

Love, Lou

 

 


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My Dream is My Plan “A” (Thanks Mom and Dad)

This post is dedicated to my parents. Not only are they the most iconic, beautiful people who had the best photos taken of them … they are also genuine and supportive and they have taught me more in life than I could have dreamed possible.

dreams, living your dreams, not giving up, parents

my dad- senior year of college

parents, dreams, living

my mom- around the age of 25 and my sister Jessica

Have you ever heard anyone talk about what they’d really love to do… like become an artist, a journalist, a glassblower… whatever it is! More often then not, they have a “regular” job they aren’t too happy with and they consider this dream of theirs to be plan B.

“If things go well… if all the planets line up…if I get lucky, etc.”

Here I am today saying that if you don’t consider your DREAM TO BE YOUR PLAN A, then you aren’t dreaming in the right way. It’s entirely true. It’s as cliche as the day is long, but you guys, we only live once. One time. Uno. One go around – and it’s up to us to make the most of it.

My parents have always taught me this. They’ve also taught me that money can buy you ZERO happiness. Zero. Having enough love to support you throughout your day is what we all need. They’ve taught me that, too.

And if that isn’t enough, do the old “When I’m 80” test.

When I’m 80, I do not want to look back at my 9-5 (unless that’s my dream- which I know for some people, it is) and wonder why I was willing to sit under a florescent light (think Joe vs the Volcano…) and go through papers and not move throughout the day. When I’m 80 it won’t matter if I spent up to a year in my 20’s very poor, hungry and not sure of what was to come next. It WILL matter if I wasted it and became unhealthy and unhappy and unfulfilled in the process. 

Think about that. It doesn’t even take the “when I’m 80” test sometimes. Sometimes all I have to do is think, One year from now, will this matter? 

When Greg and I stay up late and drink coffee and chat under Christmas tree lights -because we have a Christmas tree up all year round- this is usually what we’re talking about. I imagine my parents did the exact same thing when they had all these surprise daughters, a pastor’s paycheck, and rice and beans. They were the poorest of the poor… but they say they’d have it no other way. They started out living in a rented basement. They had my older sister way sooner than planned. My dad still became a pastor. They made things work. They were skin and bone, quite frankly. But they had love.

my mom, pregnant (both age 24)

my mom, pregnant (both age 24)

This is something that brings tears to my eyes. I get very emotional, realizing that my parents are REAL people. Have you had the same epiphany? In these photos, my parents are MY AGE or younger. They were once in their early 20’s and they had dreams, worries, and they were scared of making  mistakes and raising a family.

Sometimes I look at these pictures and it just hits me how similar I am to them. Right now, this very day, I am so much like my parents. It’s hard to believe they were once my age. They once had a life without Melinda. They cried when they found out they were having twins (partly because of happiness, partly because they had no idea how that would work.)

they still enjoyed a little wine, like we ALL have to do

they still enjoyed a little wine, like we ALL have to do

Because my own parents have such a rich story, one that I love to hear and one that I don’t mind living in my own way (being poor and young and in love), I have a certain way I want to live my life.

I’m BLESSED enough to have parents who support what I want to do. Never once, not ONCE, have they told me that I should consider such and such job, because it would pay well. Instead, they hear me say I want to be a writer and they say, “Okay. You better spend plenty of time and effort on it, then. We believe in you. As long as you are doing what you love and what God have given you as a spiritual gift.” They are really big on that- spiritual gifts. I truly believe that mine is writing. My sister and husband are in a band; their spiritual gifts are obviously music.

I told Greg long ago I’d never ask him to get a job that meant wearing a tie. That means a whole number of things, but most importantly, Greg hates wearing ties. That’s one way we keep ourselves happy. He supports my writing enough to tell me, “Don’t get a 9-5… if you’re working full time, make sure it’s something you love. Focus on your writing. Spend time on it every day. It will be worth it.”

Today I read Amanda’s blog over at The Lady Okie and it really got me thinking. I am in a similar situation as she is… I’m about to be unemployed. It’s scary.

But that’s what happens when you drop everything for a farming internship that pays next to zero, and then they don’t have winter work. That’s kind of how the farming world works. I wanted to be outside and learn… and now, well, that part of my life is about to be over. For the first time ever I don’t have the next job lined up. I’m choosing to believe that this is one of those Blessings In Disguise my mom is ALWAYS talking about. More time to write, right? More time to read… right? If I really spent 8+ hours a day on my DREAM, then being unemployed would probably pay off in the end.

In the meantime, I don’t mind having no extra money. I don’t mind following in the footsteps of my parents and drinking cheap wine with Greg over a meal we planted out in our garden. We’re taking time to spend less. We’re enjoying more that way. It’s surprising, isn’t it? The less you have, the more you enjoy things.

Talk about a blessing in disguise.

before there was the twins....

before there was the twins….

Plus, having no money builds character. Kind of like going through an ugly duckling phase in middle school. Yup, built all my character. ;)

I refuse to stop writing just to get a job that’ll solve all of our money problems. I am willing to sacrifice now so that when I’m 80 or older, I’ll  look back and smile and say, “Wow, I really went for it, didn’t I?” I want to take that risk because without risks, what is life, anyway? A flat line means dead. Let’s spice it up a little and have our highs and lows, because that means we’re alive. (think hospital monitors…)

And if you are blessed to have parents like mine, that’s awesome. Let’s get together and talk about how awesome they are. If you have always had issues with your parents pushing you toward something you aren’t passionate about, then let me be the person to tell you that life is too short and precious to waste on something that doesn’t give you a reason to wake up in the morning with a smile.

You Only Live Once doesn’t mean taking crazy stupid risks and living in the moment. That’s selfish. It means taking care, believing in yourself and others, and trusting that it will all be okay. It means working hard to achieve a goal. It means being true.

Thanks Mom and Dad, for teaching me this. I love you guys so much.

iconic

iconic

today :)

today :)

Love,

the appreciative Lou


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LIVE Like Your Life Depends On It (How I Want To LIVE)

If you missed my Eat Like Your Life Depends On It posts, you can catch up here:

ELYLDOT (Which It Does)

ELYLDOT (How I Used To Eat)

ELYLDOT (How I Began To Eat)

ELYLDOT (How I Got Overwhelmed)

life, organic eating, healthy, happy

Kate Burn Photography

I’m writing about all of this because food, health, local and organic growing has become a passion of mine in the last few years. I care about what people eat, how it’s grown, how the animals we eat are raised and the impact that big agriculture has on our environment and health.

But I never, ever, want to sound preachy or know-it-ally. That’s my worst nightmare.

Which is why, I think, I have avoided writing the next post. Yes, avoided. Can you believe it? Each day I thought to myself, eh, I can write this tomorrow.  Write WHAT tomorrow, though?

Maybe I’ll share what a typical week of eating looks like? Maybe I’ll write more about the books I read that led me to eating this way. Maybe I’ll mention again how I don’t have a TV and how much better I believe my life is for it.

Maybe I’ll write nothing?

Nothing wasn’t an option. Partly because I got an e-mail from my future novel. Partly because I’m home sick today and all I have is time, tissue, and hot beverages to distract me. I knew this day would come eventually, and then I got inspired by a friend (which always happens at the most poignant of times.) My friend Jenny over at JenEric Generation posted a blog about change and not being afraid to make your blog, or life, a little bit different than it used to be. I refuse to fall into the puddle of despair!

So maybe I’ll write about all of these things, and have fun while doing it. Here we go.

More than a few people asked me to write about what I eat. This was exciting for me because it’s not like I get a crazy amount of comments or concerns or questions revolving around Hey Lou… but the ones I do get mean so much to me that I could burst.

WHAT I EAT

Don’t be disappointed, okay? I have started cooking almost all of my food, but that doesn’t mean I’m some awesome cook. I’m often told I didn’t use enough salt. I’m often told to change it up a little bit. But here are some truths:

1) I am entirely content eating the exact same thing for up to three weeks (or more). If I find something I love, I’ll just get in a groove and make it every day. Some people need more variety. I am not one of those people.

2) I don’t need a crazy amount of salt or sweetener to enjoy something. I know a girl who literally brings a sweet potato, a tiny container of peanut butter, a slice of cabbage, and a hard boiled egg for lunch. She loves to taste each thing on its own. I think that’s lovely and amazing. I don’t do quite that, but I can also use the yolk of an egg to add flavor and texture, rather than make a dressing for a salad…

3) I love to do this. Some people don’t. However, I didn’t used to love it. I learned to love it.

Recently, I’ve been able to get tons of potatoes. I get my produce primarily from my harvest box from Skarsgard, where I’m doing a farming internship, and there have been tons of potatoes for pick up, and you can even double up on that option in most cases. (Bonus to anyone who understands that lingo. Double Up Option, anyone?) ANYWAY. I have tons of potatoes. What do I do with them?

Here’s what I’ve had for breakfast and lunch for about three weeks now:

(this is a recipe that I split up for both meals, so cut in half if you want this for ONE meal)

Ingredients:

4-5 potatoes, diced

1 onion, diced

3-4 chard, kale, or collard leaves (or throw in any green you want!) sliced or chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 zucchini, sliced (or bell peppers, carrots, or anything else I happen to have at the moment)

2 eggs

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

Heat up a pan with the EVOO and first add the “hardest” ingredients. I always add the onion first in any recipe. Then the potatoes. Then the carrots or bell peppers or zucchini, whichever I am adding.

***Here’s a very simple trick: You’re cooking this stuff in oil, right? A great way to “steam” these items and quicken up the softening process is to have your LID ready, pour in a small amount of water, and cover with the lid quickly. It will spurt all over your kitchen and you if you don’t cover. But with the cover on, the elements in your pan will kind of go nuts, and in the process, everything will get steamed in a way that turns out awesome. Just wait a minute until everything settles down. This doesn’t take too much water. 

I let these cook for a while. I like the potatoes to be black on some spots, I love for some onion to be slightly burned. I’ll use a fork to test the potatoes and carrots. Once everything is the way YOU want it, add your tomatoes and greens. These will cook and soften right away. 

Lastly, add your egg. I like to make a hole in the middle of the pan, add more EVOO, and throw the egg in and scramble it in the center, then eventually mix it all together.

Occasionally, I’ll add a pinch of salt or soy sauce or curry. Occasionally.

Seriously, that’s it. Want another one? Okay. I’ll give you another one.

Ingredients:

arugula, a giant handful

lemon juice, half a lemon

peas, frozen or fresh

1 egg

Directions:

Lay down your arugula. heat up the peas, pour over greens. Squeeze on the lemon juice. Cook your egg over easy and add to the salad.

It’s that easy! Folks, I ate this arugula breakfast for, NO JOKE, three months. I felt more energized than ever before. I noticed my thighs feeling a little bit… tighter. You know what I mean. To this day, I cannot eat oatmeal or cereal or a muffin for breakfast. I eat vegetables, and always with some sort of leafy green. And almost always with an egg (or two.)

Instead of just laying down a solid week of eating, I’ll give you a few recipes in each post (or every few posts, whichever happens naturally!) Sound good? Good!

On to other topics. Did anyone notice how I named this blog LIVE Like Your Life Depends On It, rather than Eat? That was due to good ol’ Jenny’s blog, and I decided to change it … just because it felt right. Eating is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to have a great life, but it’s the way we live out our days that matter most.

life, living, healthy, passions

Kate Burn Photography

If you start off your day with vegetables (preferably organic, because who wants to start off their day with chemicals?), a walk, or some sort of movement, how could you have a bad day? That rude customer won’t seem to vile. That guy who cut you off on the highway must be having a bad day, but you sure aren’t. See what I mean? These changes happened for me little by little until one day, I was just an all around positive person. I have my “bad” days but they are rare. For the most part I’d rather laugh at a stupid joke while eating a great home-cooked meal, while pondering my next writing adventure…

WHICH LEADS ME TO THE E-MAIL I RECEIVED FROM MY FUTURE NOVEL.

It might be because the online writing group I’m a part of sends out e-mails of this kind to inspire, but I prefer to think that How We Lost Our Minds actually sent me a message from the future. From: YOUR NOVEL. Message: PLEASE WRITE ME THIS NOVEMBER.

I’m almost done with How We Lost Our Minds, so maybe this is from the next project. I still haven’t decided. It could be from the much better, clearly organized and edited, version of the current one. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. After all, November isn’t that far away.

Even more than I cannot live without organic food and partaking in growing that food, I cannot live without writing. It’s why I have this blog. It’s why I’m trying to get published… and why I’ll never give up.

I want to live in this way because it’s the only way I know to be healthy and content.

You guys, if you don’t have a passion, that is probably what you need to change before you even think about what you’re cooking for your next meal. Without something to stay alert and active and healthy for, then a meal is just a meal. It isn’t charging you up for the life you want, is it? This is me trying to hard not to be preachy, but to be inspirational. I’ve shared with you all how unhappy I was before I changed the way I eat, but I realized that at almost the exact same time I changed my eating lifestyle, I also began to WRITE.

They went hand in hand. They are both such a large part of my life, that I’d be lost without the other.

I can’t explain why loving my characters and what they go through connects so strongly with what I put into my body, but it does.

What do YOU have that is worth staying healthy for? What changes have you made? Who do you want to inspire?

How are you LIVING like your LIFE depends on it?

I’d love to know :)

Love, LOU


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Eat Like Your Life Depends On It (How I Got Overwhelmed)

Eat Like Your Life Depends On It Blog Series… here we go for round Three. 

chickens, cows, livestock, gmos, conditions for animals, current food system

If you’ve read about how I used to eat, how much I weighed and how I felt about it, then you know that I wanted a change.

If you’ve read about how I started to change the way I eat and the “rules” I began to follow, then you know that I wanted that change to be drastic, yet totally realistic. 

Here are my goals for this post:

NOT to sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist… and yeah. That’s pretty much the only goal.

OH! And also, to inspire and possibly lead to some new pondering thoughts for anyone who reads it.

So far I’ve talked about :

the weight I gained, the acne I painfully and embarrassingly made it through, and the bad mood I was perpetually in … all due to what I ate. There are always other factors, sure, but don’t all of those also directly relate to what we eat? Life is always stressful in some ways. I wanted to never let stress cause me to have a bad relationship with food ever again.

the book I read, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

the changes I began to make, following some simple food rules and maintaining a positive and hopeful attitude.

~~~~~

Now is when I want to get real. I want to tell you guys just how overwhelmed I was at the start of it all. It’s all fine and dandy to have a good attitude and a smile. But someone close to me (again, POOR Greg!) was lucky enough to see the freak out moments… the moments where I panicked.

These were not the types of panics you might be imagining.

The adrenaline rushes and the overwhelming feeling that everything was going to hell in the food world caught me unaware. All of a sudden I was reading about the treatment of factory “farm” animals, the engineering and modification of our precious food, and the way it was affecting people and the environment.

Now. I’ve always considered myself to be level headed. In many ways, you could call me conservative, though I usually want to leave politics OFF of Hey Lou and stay on more uplifting topics. (Let me also note here that I think words like “conservative” and “conventional” are drastically different these days than the ideals they are really meant to represent. Isn’t living sort of a hippy lifestyle and growing your own food “conservative?” Anyway.)

On the same note, now I guess I have lots of ways of living that could cause someone to point at me and call me liberal. Or libertarian. Or a damn hippy. Or whatever the heck you want to call it.

I’d call myself completely un-trusting of any of those titles… and I’m just me. 

Though the more I read into food and big agriculture and big animal operations, the more political it got. The more depressing it got.

TRUTH? I couldn’t even finish The Omnivore’s Dilemma the first time I read it. Because it overwhelmed me. I could no longer trust certain aspects of life that I thought I could. I looked at the glossy apple at the regular grocery store differently. I looked at the Manager Special half-off steak differently.

If you want to know the truth about why, just pick up a book about the food system. But I can almost promise you that it won’t be anything you haven’t heard of before. What I want to know is this:

Even though most people are aware of the fact that animals are stuffed and overpopulated and kept in completely unsanitary conditions throughout their lives, for the sake of OUR dinners, WHY is anyone okay with it?

Someone told me recently, a reminder perhaps, that I can’t put human emotions on to an animal. They don’t have the same thought process as us.

Okay, fine.

What I will do, then, is look at the facts.

Animals have instinct, yeah? They do. Probably a better survival instinct than most humans. Even if a chicken cannot think, “Oh my, what’s happened here? I must be in an awful situation and therefore I’m sad,” I believe that the same chicken can do this: Sense that something is wrong. 

The same goes for any animal, especially ones we eat. Nothing healthy happens when humans are stressed out. Toxins are released in our bodies and all kinds of bad things happen. Why should an animal be any different? If an animal has lived a stressful life, completely out of its natural environment (like… in a building…) how can you tell me that this animal isn’t at least a little bit stressed out? (If not SAD about it, too?)

Cows were meant to graze freely on grass. Chickens were meant to peck around at insects and fresh greens and have plenty of space to do it. Pigs are actually very clean animals with a keener sense of smell than dogs. Now picture these animals in feed lots, surrounded by their own waste. Picture them surrounded by loud animals of the same kind, with barely any room to move. Imagine a chicken who has been pumped with hormones and can literally never walk around… the thing I KNOW chickens love to do?

chickens, treatment of animals, current food system,gmo

PROOF! Ray Bradbury… running through the yard.

It breaks my heart, guys. It really does. It doesn’t take something drastic to have a say … to have a vote… for what will go on with livestock in the future. Choosing meat that came from an honest farmer, spending more on that meat while eating less of it (maybe twice a week? maybe once a week? maybe a small portion of your meal, rather than the main event?), and being a good example for others is all it takes. If each person in our generation said NO to large factory farms and made conscious decisions about what went into their mouths, we could start a revolution.

You wouldn’t even have to make a sign and attend a protest. All you have to do is cook an awesome meal each day!! HOOOORAY! That’s good news, no?

It’s not just the treatment of animals that gets me in a tizzy, either. It’s the land used all over the world in order to grow enough corn to feed these animals, who, by the way, shouldn’t even eat corn. It’s the nitrogen and waste infiltrating our water supply (wonder why your tomato has a problem? probably because the water used to grow it had cow you-know-what in it), it’s the excuse of “solving world hunger” that GMOs use, when really, the majority of them go to feed livestock. It’s the fact that if you take a seed that has been engineered in a laboratory, you can’t regrow that plant freely. (More on Genetically Modified [Engineered] Organisms in a post to come…)

All of that can be changed. I’ll never stop believing in that.

cows, gmo, organic eating, food system

a happy family of cows :)

Changing the DNA of our seeds, essentially torturing the animals that grace this Earth for us to shepherd and take care of, well, it overwhelms me. It makes me wonder WHO can sleep at night, if this is something they are actually a part of. It makes me wonder just how much money is involved (LOTS…) and it makes me want to make a stand.

So I did.

This might be a long Blog Series, folks.

LOVE, LOU

 


10 Comments

Eat Like Your Life Depends On It (Which It Does)

This made me cry. Twice. First, because of the truth this video represents and how sad, in my soul, these facts make me.

Then I had a real tear of joy… because there are people who are fighting the current food system… and they give me so much hope, I can hardly stop smiling.

This new blog series, Eat Like Your Life Depends On It, is something I’ve been contemplating for a long time. The last thing I want to do is push people away from healthy food choices. I know from experience that having a “hippy agenda” or a “radical point of view” can be a big turn off. I try to remain positive in my outlook and the way I share my passion for real food.

I, too, was once skeptical. I have said OUT LOUD (wish it wasn’t true…), “Who cares if it’s organic? It tastes the same.”

But now, I’d like to seriously take back those words.

Because:

A. Real food and “conventional” food do NOT taste the same

B. I care very greatly if it’s organic, but more than that… I care if it’s local, because sometimes small operations can’t afford the fancy organic labeling

C. That comment was made by a version of myself who had a lot to learn. And so I did learn. And I’m still learning every single day.

If you care about your health and the long term health of those you love, keep reading my blog series.

Find out why I believe in organic farming and local eating so so so so much. Find out why I could easily cry, for many reasons, at the thought of the video Chipotle has just released.

Find out why I care. 

Someday, you might just leave your microwave, food-like-substances, and “cheap food coupons” in the dust like I did.

You might also save money, both now, and later in life when you aren’t taking medication for any number of ailments.

I can promise you’ll smile with me, laugh with me, cringe a little with me, and continue to learn, the way I will never stop learning.

The best is yet to come!

real food, organic, gmos, gardening, chipotle ad

Kate Burn Photography

 

Love, Lou


4 Comments

7 Reasons Why I Smile

In lieu (lou?) of what The Lady Okie wrote about today regarding one’s lot in life, I decided to make a list of things that make me smile. A LOT.

I’ve had my moments where it felt tough to smile. Just like Amanda (The Lady Okie), I, too, have been jealous of others, wanted what others had, and failed to recognize that ultimately, I am a blessed person. In fact, if I really think about it… I am far too blessed. Reading her blog made me realize that. And just like most of life’s little blessings and messages, it came at the perfect time.  I don’t deserve an ounce of this happiness but guess what? I have it anyway. I couldn’t be more thankful.

It’s a simple list.

It won’t include:

-technology

-$$$

-anything you can buy with $$$

But it will include a lot of good ol fashioned happiness.

Here goes!

1) I have a husband who loves me for me.

We’re been together going on 7 years. We’ve been married 3.5 years. And he is still with me. I’ve been stubborn, messy, gross, laughed too much at my own jokes, selfish, smelly (uh…), emotional, worrisome, foolish…. and that list is never ending. Yet Greg has loved me for every imperfect moment. He never gave up on me. He makes me smile every day and tells me he loves me. He teaches me to be a better person. And most importantly, he is hilarious.  (Also, we may or may not both have consumed alcohol before the picture below. There’s just something in our eyes… but HEY it was vacation.)

lou and lou

2) I promised Greg that I would never, ever, ask him to get a job anyplace where he has to wear a tie.

(And guess what? That means I don’t have to, either! ha) Some people thrive in ties. They’re comfortable, they make money, they enjoy what they do, and they don’t mind (or even love) to get dressed all spic and span for work. Guess who is the opposite? Back when Greg worked at a bank for a few months, we found out just how that sort of “business” work attire affected us both. I hated, I REPEAT, HATED, dressing in “professional attire” for student teaching. Greg hated doing the same for his job. So what did we do? We switched gears. We took some risks. We changed our paths… together… and are now more satisfied with what we call work.

Christmas, 2011

Christmas, 2011

3) I get to read the comics.

Yes, they make me laugh out loud. Yes, my father-in-law saves them for me so I can catch up when we’re at their house…. And YES, F-Minus is my very favorite comic. Those writers know what they’re doing. (I thought, since the comics are in the paper, it would be cool to use the sketch edit icon on my free picture editing system. Hoooooray for that.)

thanks Frank

thanks Frank

4) I have five chickens.

And I’ll never tire of writing/blogging/talking about them. Some people have dogs. Some have cats. I have chickens.

chickens, happiness, marriageAnd a smattering of pictures of them. To show off at my ten year reunion.

Kate Burn Photography

Kate Burn Photography

chickens,

5) I have a new internship at a farm.

An organic farm. A place where I get to wear boots, non-skinny jeans, plaid button up shirts, hats that make me look like a boy, zero makeup and zero tie (or the girl equivalent… high heels.)

No picture yet. I just started today!! AND IT WAS AWESOME. I helped harvest crops, roast green chile, and get some pigs some milk from a local dairy. How cool is that?

6) I have a passion for a few things:

Writing

Fighting GMOs and the current food system…and the animals who are captured in the current food system

Supporting organic food and local farms

Reading

Laughing

and I get to do all of those things every single day. 

Yup. That’s right. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Because I love my family and friends and I want them to live as long as possible. Because I love sharing my ideas, whether fiction or non-fiction. Because I believe that we all have a vote… when we buy our groceries and when we put food in our mouths. Because reading defines who I am. Because I believe that laughter can cure any and almost every thing. Because what we’re passionate about should be a daily act.

7) And best of all, I have an awesome family. 

My parents have showed me real love. They’re one of the happiest couples I know. They never cease to amaze me. And guess what? They have never pressured me to do anything for money. They have always encouraged me to follow my dreams. I owe them BIG for that.

family, chickens, happiness, marriage

I have two nephews, Carson and Landon, who I couldn’t love more. They are growing up to be the sweetest boys who give me BIG HUGS AND KISSES and SHARE and say KIND THINGS to people. Emily and Brian have really paved the way as far a parenting :)

cochrans

Landon’s birthday…

cochrans2

And um…. what 4 year old poses like this… ON HIS OWN??? My amazing nephew, Carson, that’s who!!

cochrans 3

And my sisters have always had me laughing. That’s one thing I love best about having sisters (along with watching Little Woman and crying the entire time…)

This is us, 6+ years ago. (WOW!) (I was 18, okay? I think teenagers are still allowed to do the stupid duck face.)

family 4

This is us not so long ago… and still laughing. Thanks mostly to Meredith’s random moments of hilarity that make our abs hurt.

family 3

(it’s a balloon…..)

So think about what makes you truly happy. COUNT your blessings rather than counting what others have been blessed with.

And have a lovely evening!

Love, Lou


6 Comments

Stone Chamber Prisoner Goblet Order Prince Hallows

If you understand the title of this blog, we could definitely be friends!

The great thing about having a super busy life, along with a super busy family, is that birthdays can be celebrated three weeks late. We finally got the clan together for our birthday dinner and it was a blast. I was given some of the coolest presents ever. They mostly revolved around reading or my current farmer/gardener lifestyle.

harry potter, birthdays, farming, reading

Meredith and Melinda <3

Sometimes simple is best, too. I would take an organic pb cup any day. (Thanks, Jess!)

harry potter, birthdays, twins, reading, farming

YUMM

The coolest gift, possibly ever. (Thanks, Em!)

harry potter, birthdays, twins, farming, reading

Harry Potter For Life

And these books .The Yellow Wallpaper is one of my all time favorite short stories! (Thanks, Alex!)

the yellow wallpaper, harry potter,

Got some readin’ to do!

My parents are always great at giving me old vintage gifts, either from a grandparent’s house (priceless!) or from an antique shop. My mom has a gift when it comes to such things. The best, most useful gift I could have been given was from them.

chickens, harry potter, birthday, twin, reading, farming

An EGG basket!! The chickens will love it!

The time spent, the wonderful food that was made, and the fact that I had another chance to celebrate with my twin sister made this one of the best post-birthday dinners ever!

And if you see me around, don’t be surprised if I’m wearing this.

harry potter, birthdas, tw

might never take it off

(Can you spot my other birthday present? It’s on my arm. And it was my gift to myself. ….. <3)

Love, Lou

 


11 Comments

And That Makes 101

birthday, harry potter birthday, twins, one year blog I’ll say it again: The most interesting fact about myself, Melinda aka Lou, is that I share a birthday not only with my twin sister Meredith, but Harry Potter as well.

Because of this, July 31st just might be the coolest birthday ever. Just saying…. (cause what is cooler than HP?)

Also, being a twin is the coolest thing ever.

twin, birthday, harry potter, marriage, year, changes

 

Just like these pictures, I think the world looks better when Meredith and I are together. The first picture is great, but doesn’t the second one have just a touch more personality? (or a lot?) I have loved sharing every birthday with my best friend. I feel blessed beyond belief that I have had someone by my side for every day of my life… experiencing a lot of the same things… being my number one no matter what. It really hit me, just how much I depend on Meredith, when I was at my own bridal shower and basically felt like I was having a panic attack. The reason? It was the first time I had ever opened presents by myself. DO YOU REALIZE HOW SCARY THAT IS? When you’ve only ever had someone, usually opening a slightly matching gift, right beside you? Everyone’s eyes were on me, not us. It was weird.

But you know what? I’d rather have her beside me. It’s just a cherry on top of a great huge gluten free cake that my husband, Greg, and Meredith get along so well. I get to hang out with my two favorite people almost every day.

So, Happy Birthday to us. Happy Birthday Harry Potter. Love you all!

Today also marks one year for Hey Lou Writes. On my 23rd birthday I wanted to start something, but I wasn’t quite sure what. I wanted to write about writing, reading, and maybe share some tid bits about my life. (My VERY first post.)

One year flew by. Now I’m 24 and I’m a completely different person. I’d say that never before has one year changed me so much. Not even when I graduated from high school. Not even when I got married. Not even when I started writing. No, this year surpassed all of that as far as changes and growth. I feel as though the core of who I am was altered by people I met and things I experienced. I wasn’t expecting my 23rd year to be so …. important. But it was.

I…

lost more than I ever thought possible. 

gained more than I ever thought possible. 

made the biggest mistakes of my life.

was humbled. 

forgave and let myself be forgiven.

crossed something off my bucket list and became a chicken mama. 

had my marriage grow stronger… I thought I knew what love was… but now I know for sure.  (aka, I have the best husband in the world)

lost friends.

met new people who will be in my life forever. 

sang in front of people for the first time. 

got my biggest rejection letter EVER.

cut off my hair.

planted a garden, both vegetable and flower, and they are both providing us with beauty and nourishment. 

watched more sunsets and sunrises than ever before. 

cried.

laughed.

prayed.

spent time with my sisters.

watched my mom beat breast cancer.

realized that to live a life filled with true love, one ought not to be so selfish.

wrote 101 blogs. oh yeah, baby. 

There you have it. It was quite a  year and honestly, I’m not sorry to be moving forward. I think 24 will be a better year. Maybe not quite so eventful, but filled with growth all the same.

birthday, harry potter, twinsLove, Lou

 

 


3 Comments

Always Be True. Period.

Day 25, Saturday: Something someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget (good or bad)

It wasn’t so much something about me, as it was advice, that changed my life and stuck with me forever.

Always, always, be true to your husband. – Grandpa Bob

I had the very special opportunity to spend time with my Great Grandpa Bob in the last few years of his life. He was the most interesting man and let me tell you… I have yet to find someone with eyes that twinkle the way his did, a smile as contagious, and an outlook on life that was more positive.

To put it simply: I have yet to meet anyone as happy as Bob was.

I try to be more like him each and every day.

advice, grandpa, writing

might have been the most attractive human being to ever walk the earth, just sayin. is that weird? to have a crush on my great grandpa?

We sat together and chatted for hours and hours.

He sang, “You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” He was willing to answer any question. He ended most of his profound statements with a strong, “Period!” (“And that was how it was! Period!”) He may have had moonshine some whiskey in his fridge.

We discovered that he and I have the same hands. I used to dislike my thicker fingers (Meredith got the slender, skinny and delicate hands of my mother’s side) but when I noticed that each of my fingers were shaped exactly like Bob’s, suddenly I loved my hands.

writer, new writer, short stories, poetry

There’s that SMILE!!!! Please, God, let me be cool enough to still sit on santa’s lap when I’m 90 years old. LOVE THIS!!!

He told me he loved me. He told me that God would always be with me. He told me to always, always, be true to my husband.

Oh, and about his continuously positive outlook on life… one more little fact… he was blind.

advice, staying true, writing, young adult, short stories

when Meredith and I went to visit!!

Grandpa Bob had no problem talking about his own death, which he referred to as “crossing the threshold into eternity” and nothing else. We talked about heaven. He wanted his body to be donated to science, to help others with the same eye condition. He lived to be over 90 years old and his mind was sharper than a blade. (I hope I also get that gene.) Certain points in our conversation brought us both to tears. I suppose I get that strong emotion from Bob, too. We laughed hysterically and he told me outrageous stories from his youth.

writing, short stories, poetry

giving him a smooch!

He had Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye condition that worsens with time until eventually, you are legally blind. My grandmother (the beautiful one who I had mentioned here) and uncle also have this.

They, too, are the happiest people I’ve ever met.

How is this possible? How can these three individuals, who were robbed of something as precious as sight, still smile wider than all others? How can they laugh, cry, and show emotion that seems to radiate out from them without them trying? How can they see so much?

I’ll never know and I doubt I’ll ever be as wise or gracious or sparkle the way they do. But I’ll never stop trying.

I’ll never forget my Grandpa Bob, his hands, or his advice.

writing, new writer, short stories

my visit with Greg, the last time I saw Grandpa Bob

Love, Lou

(And I love you forever Grandpa Bob!)