12 Ways to Maintain a Bad Attitude for Your Whole Life


So, today is one of my best friends’ birthday. His name is Dustin. He and I had the same kind of cancer in the same leg when we were little. I was 7, and he was 11. We did everything together – played, talked, threw up, had major surgery; everything. He lost his leg to the cancer, and a lot of his lung. And so did I. But we also have a lot of photos, and we’re smiling in them. Because our mothers and selves, decided that regardless of what was going on, we were going to be positive and enjoy our lives. Dustin died when I was 12. He was sixteen. Our attitudes are still positive.

In honor of his birthday, I’m going to get on my soapbox and preach about the ways we maintain a bad attitude and waste our lives.

1. Wait for everything to be perfect. 
What does that even mean? Perfect changes every day with the color of your skin, the latest fads, who you meet, what you process from your childhood, and the kind of house you just saw on TV. I will just blow that up for you now – it’s only as perfect as you make  it. Fiercely look for the positive in situations. And it would be wise to get used to life being a mess. Because it always is. Put on your best shoes, get ready to get them muddy, and jump in to see what happens.

2. Quit before you see the ending. Aka, avoid at all costs.
This lines up pretty well with number one. This whole world is full of quitters. When you have cancer, you don’t really get the choice to quit. It decides for you. Life should be like that. Cuz when you’re dying it will be. And I will tell you that walking away when someone needs you, when you’re afraid, or when you feel like you’ve failed is an excellent way to make sure that no one ever needs you, everyone is afraid of you, and to fail yourself, and others. Just stick around even if you don’t know what to do. Life has a way of working itself out if you leave your heart in it and bring your good attitude.

3. Hate yourself.
Most specifically, I mean get up every single morning and look in the mirror. Find every piece of your body and mind that you hate, recite every word that anyone ever said to you about how you looked, and then work to combat them with changing your clothes, combing your hair, and all around aiming to be whatever level of perfect they set for you. THAT IS DUMB. Every single person in this world is busy living up to some standard of someone. All the while, the person who set the standard is trying to live up to someone else’s. IT DOESN’T MATTER. You’re a soul. Just go fly, soul. Haters are always gonna hate. But it’s because they hate themselves. There’s no need for you to hate yourself too. It’s really not so great to fit in with all the people who already hate themselves.

4. Take your aggression out on others. 
In the house in which I grew up, we were allowed to be whatever mood we wanted to be. We were not, however, allowed to hurt other people because of our mood. So if I was mad at something, I didn’t get to redirect that at the safe place – my mom. I mean, I did, for a while, until one day she just looked at me and told me she didn’t like me anymore, no matter how much she loved me. She’s a great mom, and that was a pretty swift wake up call. If my own mother didn’t like me, there is a good chance that no one else would either. And it wasn’t her fault. (She again likes me after I stopped being mean.) People are not punching bags. They are not responsible for your happiness. I mean, if you’re happy, unwaveringly lift people up. Don’t quit. (see above) But for your aggression, find a real punching bag if you need to. And then go punch it until the emotions are taken down enough notches to have a real conversation with someone who will share wisdom with you. But leave your walls with the punching bag and let go of your aggression. Being mad about someone or something doesn’t do a thing to them…but it ruins you and your life. Also, anger isn’t a safe place. It’s a lonely place.

5. Never take ownership for your mistakes. 
This is a perfect way to pretend that you’re perfect. And it’s a perfect way to keep everything locked inside like poison. Every person you hurt will carry that hurt because you have legitimized the mean things you did to them. They’ll think of your bitter words when they look in the mirror in the morning. Being disconnected from your reality is not okay. That’s a great way to continue to be disengaged and distant. Because you know, even though we all pretend we’re perfect on facebook, we’re really not. And no one really likes someone who thinks that they are and can do no wrong. No one likes to get blamed for someone else’s pain all the time either.

6. Always blame everything on everyone else. 
This is a great way to continue to never take ownership for your mistakes. The guy at the grocery store didn’t smile at you. What a loser. So negative. Your mom didn’t call you soon enough on your birthday. Work was challenging because your coworker was mean. Your toe hurts because you hit it on a curb and the city built the structure wrong. We can all pretend that we don’t do that, but oh, we do. And the thing is, you see what you want to see. And you see what you feel. So pay attention. If you’re blaming the whole world for your pain, it’s probably because you’re putting yourself in that painful place all on your own.

7. Never let anyone love you.
We all have bad attitudes because people don’t love us, right? Wrong. We have bad attitudes and that makes us hard to love. How are you in any more trouble than the rest of us? We all have our hard stuff. And just because it’s hard and someone or something hurt you before doesn’t mean everyone is going to be a twit and hurt you again. Or they might. But that’s how life works. It’s better to love and get hurt than to live in the lonely place where you keep yourself. People just want to help. You have to let them. And be prepared – they may not help just how you want them to. But it may be how you need them to.

8. Never listen. 
This is an excellent way to be in a bad mood forever. Never listen to what anyone says. When they’re talking, always be thinking about how dumb what they’re saying is and be waiting for your turn to talk. Because obviously that’s what needs to happen for you to feel better. Wrong. People hate people who don’t listen. And that’s a good way to make sure that you never have anyone to listen to you again. Yeah, you need people to lean on, but you might learn a lot if you hear what they say and apply it to your own life.

9. Always think about yourself. 
You’re walking down the street. What are you thinking about? Yourself? Well, stop it. Just, stop it. Think about anything else. The trees. The water. People who need prayer. Your shoes. Jesus. Anything. I promise that the more you think about yourself, the worse your attitude is going to be. Life comes from helping someone. When things are hard, go help someone else. Call a friend and ask them how they are. Do anything but think about yourself and what you think you’re missing in life.

10. Never be pleased. 
Always let your emotions lead what you say. Never speak out of logic, only emotion. Complain whenever you can. That the food doesn’t taste good enough. That the service isn’t fast enough. That your hair isn’t nice enough. Whatever you can complain about, DO IT. I’m totally kidding. Stop complaining. You won’t feel better doing it. When you’re about to complain, stop. Whatever it is you were going to complain about, find something positive to say about it instead.

11. Don’t be thankful. 
This is an awesome way to be in a bad mood always. Don’t be thankful for stuff. Always focus on what you don’t have and never on what you do. Also kidding. Stop doing that. Focus on the positive. Don’t think that you’ll be ignoring all your sad thoughts and that they’ll build up or something. No. Just fill your mind with good things, and the negative will come to the surface manage-ably. Whatever it is you’re upset about, stop being upset about it and find something in it for which you are thankful.

12. Try to hide from God. 
This is the capstone here. The best way to have a bad attitude forever is to hide from God. Cuz then he can’t change you, and you can wallow until you die. Continue to think that He can’t heal, that he won’t come through, that if you keep your heart locked up you’re safe, or that you’ve done too much bad stuff. Nah, focus on the truth. And see the positive in Christ every day. I promise you, that will set you free. Your joy will turn into happiness, and pretty soon you’re going to be known for being the person that is happy. And all of a sudden everyone will want to be around you. And that will create a positive cycle for you to live in.

But, it has to start with you. No one else makes you happy all the time. But you can make sure you’re much happier with the way you think. You need to do what you need to do inside yourself. Happy day, all!

…because love wins.

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Words.


We all carry some pretty powerful weapons on our lips. The same lips carry band aids for the the soul. 

Words. 

Sometimes words are the most exceptional of things. I myself am a lover of affirmation. So I am a lover of positive words. 

But there have been words that have wounded me deeply. Because they hold the same power when they are terrible as well. 

Words. 

Quick. Slow. Quiet. Hopeful. Lies. Truth. 

The thing about words, is that they represent something more. They represent a person. And I’ve learned something. From God, from my mother, and from my father. Words should not be said unless you mean them. If you say something positive, you best follow through. Or else your words will quickly mean nothing. If you say something negative, you need to realize that those words carry on. They carry on to the trust that someone has for you later. They carry on to the trust they have for others. 

Do you really need to use that name? 

Do you really need to express your anger while you’re angry? 

Is it really their fault? Or are you calling them what you should be calling yourself? 

Words are powerful. They can make people stay. They can make people cry. They can make people laugh. And they can also make people leave. 

Here are some of my favorite songs about words. Today, and every day, think long and hard and choose them wisely. Think about what you would feel being talked about that way. And what you would feel if you said those things to someone. They can change everything. 

What are Words: Chris Medina

Words: Hawk Nelson

…because love wins.

Why it’s important that you’re healthy.


Today’s challenge in the 40 day challenge is to use something that God has blessed me with to bless another. I’m not a painter, so I’m not going to paint, but I really do love to write, so I’m going to do that. Hi. 

I lived a lot of my life depressed. I’m not exactly sure when I got depressed, but I know when my first real bout of depression came in. I was 16 and my whole life flopped on it’s head with breakups and deaths and cancer. And I thought I had it all together. Haha. No way man. So I basically fell apart. 

I knew that I was depressed. I got out of it. Started biking hundreds of miles per month and eating everything that could possibly help. I was in the sun probably way too much, but I made it. I’ve been aware since then that it’s something I needed to pay attention. I kind of survived college, though there were quite a few days where I thought International Finance 440 was going to be the death of me. Not sure if that was the reality or the depression, but I digress. 😉 

But, living years with depression even though I knew that I had it changed some pieces of me. Namely, my understanding of relationships. I was blessed with many healthy friends, but I also tended towards very unhealthy people. People who had enough issues that I could either a) try to fix them and feel needed and therefore not lonely, or b) know that I was going to feel okay because at least my issues were inside and no one could see them. (thanks, depression.) 

Fast forward to now. I was treated for my depression in January of 2013. It’s changed everything. I can sleep well, I can accomplish things, I can get places on time. And I can catch my brain when it goes off the deep end. But there are still those things that I need to re-learn. 

This is a time of health in my life. Attaining good balance, learning what healthy relationships look like, and mostly, demanding how I should be treated in life. There were plenty of people who manipulated and used me because I allowed them to in my life. They didn’t intend to – they were ill, but I was needed and it filled my emptiness, so I let it happen. But then all of a sudden a person (that’s me) wakes up and decides that they don’t want to live a stinky life like that anymore. 

So now here I am. People obviously aren’t going to be perfect all the time, but if you don’t demand that you treat yourself in a cherished way, and also demand that of others by not allowing them to abuse you, then it’s always going to be that way. You have to stand up for yourself. You have to know that where you are weak you cannot allow others to punch you in the heart and make you bleed. You have to know that this is your life and it’s so important that you’re healthy. You are alive, and therefore are allowed to live a beautiful, happy life. And not everyone will suck. 

Also, if you’re anyone who has someone who allows you to call them names or yell at them or immaturely deal with issues in your life and they’re not standing up for themselves, realize that you’re probably unhealthy too. And it’s time for you to get help as well. 

Here’s to being healthy, and being healthy making other people healthy. Just because other people are hurting doesn’t give them the right to hurt you. And just because you’re hurting, it doesn’t mean you can hurt other people either. 

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…because love wins. 

40 days to a Radical Life.


So yesterday I got quite a few new followers to my blog. (Ohhhh, heeeeyyyyy all!) One of them is a beautiful lady with a sweet blog herself. Here, don’t just take my word for it – check it out: https://laurabrookekeith.wordpress.com/.

She’s doing this sweet 40 day challenge dealio to be like Jesus. And…I’m gonna follow along with her. And do the things myself, cuz I feel like I should. Maybe you want to join me. I think you totally should.

Yesterday’s was this: TODAY’S DARE: The next 40 days are going to be radical… so today’s dare is simple. In Mark 6:21 Jesus invited His friends to go away with Him to rest. Rest is so important in today’s rushed and hurried world. Today, take comfort in something red, a red blanket, woolen socks… anything that brings you comfort and let it remind you that Jesus wants you to commit to R.E.S.T…. Radically Entrusting your Savior To-supply-all-your-needs.

I’ll let you all know how things go. Jesus loves you all.

…because love wins.

This is a lot harder than I want it to be.


If you’re a follower of my blog (ohhhh, hheeeeeyyyy!) you’ll probably remember this post: I am a woman. My best friend is a man. We don’t intend to get married, and it’s awesome. 

And you probably mostly remember it, because now we’re dating. See, here we are!

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Gotcha! We were planning to date when I wrote that last blog post too.

JUST KIDDING.

For real, we had no idea. In fact, I would have said that we were fighting against the idea. At that point, we knew everything faulty about each other and didn’t have any interest in having to take care of that person and their messiness. Nice and selfish, right? Haha. And on and on that went, until finally, God was like, “Yo, stop fighting me, I’m GOD.” And now here we are.

If you’ve talked to either of us in the past 5 months, we’ll tell you that this has probably been among the most personally challenging times of either of our lives. Throw together two leader-like individuals who have been through quite the variety of hard things, undissected pasts, some deep fears, and lots of hopes and dreams, and you’ve got pretty much a ridiculous mess.

We’re generally pretty intense people. We both hate conflict, (we’re learning), and have dug through just about anything that could be dug through probably about 30 years before most couples dig through things. I’m totally kidding, I have no idea. But we analyze everything like 30 million times more than we need to. That much I know. We’re also learning about what to do and not do with that.

Seriously, this relationship has been a lot harder than either of us wanted it to be.

But, it’s also been very good for us. Because conflicting deep heart issues have proven that love is literally the only thing that can win. And I don’t mean like, the feelings “oooo, I love you and everything is butterflies!” I mean, the part of us that sits at Jesus’ feet and says, “I have no idea how anything will work. Could you make that make sense?” Two perfectionists trying to perfect the other person will kind of leave someone in that place.

What we’ve learned is that Romans 8:28 (God uses everything for the good of His children.) is indeed true. It’s all for the good. It’s all for healing. And it’s all to bring us closer to Jesus. Cuz I’m not perfect. And neither is he. But that’s the point. We can’t navigate something perfectly that’s made with imperfect people. We need Jesus. And then even though we don’t know the future and we don’t know how to understand stuff, we have Jesus, and He has shown us that there still remains nothing we can do without His guidance. That makes the hard worth it.

…because love wins.

I just want to make you happy.


I lived so much of my life trying to make other people happy. But, I’ve learned some stuff about that. Well, most importantly, one thing.

I can’t do it.

No matter how many times I tell you that everything is going to be okay, or that it is okay, or that the pain will go away, or that we don’t have to focus on the pain, or that fear is a lie, or that people won’t always ruin your life, or that dreams do come true, you have to choose to believe it.

And sometimes, that stinks.

It stinks that I can’t get you to believe that everything is going to be okay, or that it is okay, or that the pain will go away, or that we don’t have to focus on the pain, or that fear is a lie, or that people won’t always ruin your life, or that dreams do come true. Because you have to choose to believe it.

I’ve lived my way to knowing these things. When I thought it wouldn’t get better, it always did. When it hurt, it always stopped hurting. When I wanted to make the pain go away, but realized I couldn’t heal it, it healed. I learned that people can’t ruin your life if you don’t let them. And I learned that dreams do come true. But they don’t come true the way you think they do.

It’s not that you have to believe that life will be good to make it good. But I will tell you that if you wanted to enjoy your life, man, you should just try to let go. Or, should just stop trying to hold on. Just one minute at a time. Don’t defend yourself. Just smile. One moment at a time.

I wish I could make you happy. But just like that, all I can do is believe what I say myself, and hope that eventually you’ll be able to make yourself happy. I just want you to know that most of life is just you and you, so be happy to spend time with that person.

I’ll be here loving you.

…because love wins.

A confession: I hate that I had cancer.


When I was diagnosed with cancer as a 7 year old, I learned for the first time that I had no control. I was ripped apart. Emotionally, and physically. The anxiety of every day made it hard to breathe. It made me scared to wake up. Scared to go to sleep. Scared to be alive, but even more scared to die. I would like to say that the happy disposition of who I am today is because of cancer, but I’m sorry to say, that it is not. That’s pretend. At least when it comes to cancer. 

Yesterday I learned something that finally allowed my heart to fall to pieces. Cancer sucked. And it’s good for me to know that cancer sucked. Yeah, in theory I’ve heard that before come from my mouth, but I haven’t yet acknowledged how much it sucked. So here it is. 

The day I was diagnosed with cancer, I became a person that I never wanted to be. I know the feeling of the blood rushing from my arms so well. Every time a doctor walks in. Every time there was a new pain. Losing my breath…knowing that any of those words could be the end of my life. I was 7 years old. I was running around outside, playing, without a care anywhere. And then bam, in one second, it was like someone punched the air right out of me. And to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten it back. 

One day after that I had my first surgery. If you ask me what the word, “alone” means to me, I will tell you that it is being wheeled away from my parents and having an anesthesia mask forced upon me while I cried. The tears burning and holding my dad’s hand. For the first time, he couldn’t save his little girl. This monster was so much more than something under my bed. This threatened my life. This took me over, completely.

My hair started to fall out a few days after that. I was crippled into stillness. Crying under the covers while doctors and “friends” who I had hardly ever met came in to visit me. I couldn’t eat. I knew I would never run again. I had already given up. And then we had to shave my head. We had to get rid of the beauty that I was. My smile already started to fade – who could I be? I couldn’t be that beautiful, care-free girl, ever again. Seriously, how to go on? 

And there I sat. I would have died that week of diagnosis if I had the choice. I thought the bad was still to come, but I had no idea how bad. For day after day, I was plagued with wondering if that day would be my last day. I watched my sister fall to the wayside. I’ve spent an entire life subconsciously trying to apologize to her. I could see that my life caused my parents immense pain. That they needed me so badly. And I wanted to do anything I could to give them all of me. And always have since then. 

And while I didn’t know it, that continued. It continued as I put a smile on my face for everyone else. They needed to see the hope, and I had to at least function. People often have said that I am strong. But I am not strong. I say this with tears in my eyes. Cancer has threatened everything about me for years. It’s changed my DNA, my friends, my emotional understanding of the world. Cancer tried to kill me. And while I survived, I did not do so without scars.

I spent a lot of years pretending. Not because I wanted to, but because to survive such intense pain, a person almost has to sometimes. I was a child – how could anyone have told me how to deal with being literally on the brink of death? How could I stand up and pretend it was all good? But I did. Because it was like…I had to. Because I couldn’t stand to look at how hard it was to realize that I could die. At any time. It’s like I have clung to every single moment as though my next breath is the end. It’s like I’ve lived in the middle of a war for the last 16 years.

Today my heart is probably as real and raw as anyone has ever seen. I grew up with some very deep emotional cuts on my heart that came from watching my best friends puff up and die on steroids after years of cancer. Yes, it taught me the value of life. But it also taught me the ravenous pain of this world. It taught me that this is a vicious place, and it taught me to fight back. Yeah, that looked like a smile for a lot of my life, but honestly, it’s been a defense. It’s been me fighting to keep anything and anyone that could ever leave me, out. I didn’t know how to handle that pain again. Most days, I wished that I could have died with them.

I don’t hate life. But I want you to know that being a child in trauma (we all have our own) has given me this deep feeling that it is my job to change the world. That because I have seen the end of life, that it is my job to take this “second chance” and literally save every single one of you. To be the inspiration, the hope.

This past few weeks have brought to light a ton of the pain that I haven’t dealt with from those terrible years. My leg has reminded me every day that those pains were there, and I know that life can always end up really hard. So I try to control. I try to make choices that will keep me safe. But trying so hard has done me no good.

So I want to apologize to each person in my life. Not that anything was my fault…I understand that. But for pretending that I was some super human. That I could do anything, would do anything, and could help anyone. That’s false. I am human too. Very, very human. A human that has reacted from pain, that has defended because of pain, who has kept people out and held onto agony, because I am human.

And I am human. And finally, I realize that looking at how human I am, will be okay. That finally, I can look at this, and let it go. That finally, I don’t have to fight the pain. It’ll come. It’ll go. Cancer didn’t leave me unscathed. There are plenty of issues. But today, I have learned that even if it hurts, it doesn’t always kill you.

So I’m starting over. Cancer sucked. I’m done with it still making me suck. 

I love you all. 

…because love wins.