This Blog Has Moved

This blog has moved. The new address is:

http://tokatieandclaire.wordpress.com/

The reason for the move is that Katie is finally back from camp, so I have finally had a chance to talk with her and her sister about the blog. It was anonymous because I wanted to check before I used their names non-anonymously. It was only addressed to Katie because it was simpler from a narrative perspective.

However, both Katie (11) and Claire (9) are actually very excited about having letters to them published on the web, and possibly into a book someday. But Claire preferred that her name was included as well (which almost made me cry with happiness), so the blog needs to change titles.

Katie and Claire both said they would read the letters and give me feedback on them, including questions, so if I find myself changing letters because of their questions, I will re-post the new versions along with their commentary on the originals.

I hope you join me at the new location!

Aunt Angie

to katie: about looks and attractiveness

Here’s the secret about the way you look: no matter what you look like, lots of people will be wildly attracted to you, and lots of people won’t be attracted to you at all.

Someone likes everything, someone dislikes everything
Attraction is exactly like food: Tons of people love kimchee and green tea and potato pancakes, but I can’t stand any of those things. And as much as I love guacamole and Hawaiian pizza and tiramisu, there are people out there who get ill at the thought of them. There’s a big huge world out there full of different people from different backgrounds who think different thoughts and like different things. All of those factors go into what someone finds attractive.

There are places in the world where the standard of a woman’s beauty is measured by how long her neck is (longer is better), or how small her feet are (smaller is better), or how crooked her teeth are (the snagglier the better), or how much fat she has (the more the better). And in those places, there are people who are insanely attracted to women with short necks, or large feet, or straight teeth, or low body fat. It just happens that some people go against what is considered normal – just like people who like exotic or super-spicy foods – there are always some people who do not like what everyone else around them likes.

So, in a culture like ours in America, where a “beautiful woman” is typically defined as someone with a big eyes, a small nose, high cheekbones, straight teeth, very little body fat, long legs, and an hourglass figure (large breasts, small waist, wide hips), there are tons of men who are immediately attracted to women who do not fit that description at all.

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to katie: you can do anything, not everything

Dear Katie: When you were a toddler, you loved Madeline. You listened to every story read a hundred times, you watched every show, and your third birthday party had a Madeline theme (just for fun, ask your Mom about the cake at that party and see if she punches anything – the frosting was deep deep blue, and there was looooooots of it). It’s easy to see why you loved her: your family has a deep personal connection with France, and Madeline rocks.

Also, when you were a toddler, you were good at almost everything you tried to do. You could learn songs quickly, pronounce words pretty well, and identify letters and numbers and shapes very easily. Plus, you loved to do new things, so you asked to do things a lot, which means you got to do a lot of stuff most little kids don’t get to do (my favorite being: take your first picture from the top of the Eiffel tower so you would remember where Madeline lived – it wasn’t why you went to Paris, but once you were there, it was a cool thing to ask).

Not everything came easily, though. Learning new things often takes practice, and you had very little patience with yourself for anything but perfection. I remember one spectacular meltdown because you couldn’t get the sheets on the bed to be perfectly straight by yourself (the secret was for you to get off the bed first, but you clearly thought we were all nuts for suggesting it).

Your mom and dad were starting to worry about you a little bit, because you expected so much of yourself, and you got so unhappy when you couldn’t do things by yourself on the first try. Madeline to the rescue! You saw a Madeline video where she said, “You can do anything, but some things take practice.”

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to katie: about doing the right thing

I’m a big fan of doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, not because you are afraid you are going to get caught doing the wrong thing.

Here’s my favorite story about doing the right thing. I heard it when I was about your age, and I think about it a lot.

Once upon a time, a company was interviewing people to be their new CEO (Chief Executive Officer, who is everyone’s boss – the top dog). The company flew in this guy for an all-day interview because the guy had great experience, great references, and a history of helping companies make a lot of money. Let’s call him Bob, the CEO candidate. And let’s say that the committee to make the decision was headed up by Ann, who got to show Bob around all day. Bob was their first choice for CEO, and all morning long, he impressed everyone.

Then at lunch, they went to the company’s cafeteria, and Ann was behind Bob in line, and she saw him take a butter packet out of the bowl marked “Butter 6 cents” and carefully slip the butter under the lip of his plate, so it would be hard for the cashier to see it, then hold the tray so his hand was covering the place where the butter could be seen. Ann and Bob were talking at the time, so Ann was pretty sure that Bob thought she had not seen it.

Sure enough, when they were checking out, the cashier said out loud everything that she was ringing up, and the butter was not included. Bob did not correct the mistake.

After lunch, Ann told the rest of the committee what she had seen, and they canceled the rest of the interviews and sent Bob home without the job. They all agreed that if Bob could not be trusted with a 6-cent slab of butter, he could not be trusted with their company.

What makes me sad for Bob in this story is not that he got caught (I’m glad he got caught – maybe it will help him think about he’s doing from now on), but what makes me sad is that Bob was a “get away with it if you can” kind of a person instead of a “do the right thing” kind of a person.

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to katie: about wisdom

I have been asked a lot of times, “How did you get so wise?” I really don’t know why I’ve been asked that. I don’t think I am particularly wise (I think I am opinionated, and pretty good at explaining my opinions, more than I think I am wise). But there are a things I do that might make me seem wise, so I figured I would share them with you.

After a few people asked me how I got wise, I thought about it, and figured out my answer:

When I was in junior high, one of my Sunday school teachers was talking about James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, … and it will be given to him.” My Sunday school teacher said that wisdom is the only thing the Bible guarantees that God will say “yes” when we ask. So every day for 3 years, I asked God for wisdom. If I have any, that’s probably why.

That’s a true story. Read the rest of this entry »

to katie: about faith: believing, thinking, feeling, and choosing

Faith is a huge topic. Many people spend their entire lives studying their faith, usually it is their religious beliefs, but often it is faith in other things that are not religious. Most people do not dedicate their entire lives to their faith, but the dedicate part of every single week to their faith by going to their place of worship (like churches or temples or mosques). One letter from me will not clear up all the questions that you will ever have about faith, but what I hope is that this letter will help you understand that faith is made up of four parts: believing, thinking, feeling, and choosing. All four of those things go into faith.

What is faith? My favorite dictionary definition is “confidence or trust in a person or thing.” You have faith in someone when you believe that they are good for you. And you faith in an idea or a thing when you believe that idea or thing is good for you. If you believe that something exists but it is harmful, then you may believe in it, but you do not have faith in it.

My favorite non-dictionary explanation of faith comes from the Bible. Hebrews 11 says a lot of things about faith, but verse 6 is my favorite part: it says that having faith in God means that you believe that God is, and that seeking God will be rewarded by God. I think that is a a great definition of faith in God, of course, but I think it applies to faith in other things as well.

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to katie: about texting

Hey Katie – now that you have a phone (congrats again!), here are some things about texting that might be handy to know.

People tend to use different forms of communication for different purposes, and every form of communication ends up being a little bit different.

Texting tends to be a form of communication that people use to tell each other short bursts of information, but it’s not necessarily urgent that you get a response right away.

WHY DON’T PEOPLE USE TEXT FOR URGENT MESSAGES? (important to get a response immediately):
There are a few reasons why people don’t use text for messages that are really important to get a response instantly:

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