We can search an entire encyclopedia but never find the answers to our biggest questions.

There once was a little girl who genuinely believed she could read the whole entire set of the World Book Encyclopedia. From A to Z. She would sit curled up in a fort she had made, with Volumes D and E longing to be read, planted deeply in the heart of the Congo as it jumped off the pages to take shelter in the mind of this little girl.

She wanted to know everything. The way the world worked. Why the stars only came out only at night. Every event of Shirley Temple’s life. The customs and cultures of each country on the map hanging outside her bedroom. Perhaps if she could know everything, that could make up for all the things she could not know just yet.

How she would grow up.

Where she would go to college.

How the world might decide to open its arms up to her.

If she could let her mind dance along the pages of an encyclopedia, then it might never long to stray into the crevices of the facts that she could not yet hold in the palm of her hand.

We are in an age and era where we can literally know anything and everything with the click of a mouse and touch of the scroll bar. How that little girl’s heart would have fluttered if she had Google at that age. Knowledge is at our very fingertips, the possibilities are absolutely endless.

But when it comes to our futures and our plans, that is something we cannot type into Google and find it waiting for us somewhere amidst the 63,490,402 results. Sometimes life makes us wait. We want to kick and scream, but no matter our rant, life will still make us wait.

I am in a state of limbo right now. You know the kind? Where you are hanging between the chapter of your life that you have precariously been writing for so long but you can see the second, even more eventful, chapter looming on the horizon. I can almost say for certain where I am going next year, but am not positive enough where I am ready to scream it out on this blog.

But this week has been a lesson for me (oh life, how cute and funny you are for using instances like this one to teach me lessons… NOT!). This week was one in which I was supposed to learn FOR CERTAIN where I would be going next year for service. But like that awful brat in the toy store who lets out blood curdling screams over every shiny gadget that she thinks is vital to her life, we cannot always get what we want. At least not when we want it.

It’s good that it happened this way.

It is good when things transpire that keep us in check and remind us to “pump the brakes” and be patient. We need to be reminded every once in a while that life is not as simple as typing our questions into a search engine and pulling out an answer in .002 seconds. It reminds us that no matter how fast-paced and high-speed we can potentially make every aspect of our lives, the real stuff will still make us wait like a little child on Christmas Eve.

And for me, that is reason enough to believe that this life is not about knowing every little thing that we possibly can. It is not all about insisting on reading several volumes of the Encyclopedia. Because we live, and I mean really live, in the unknown. In What Is Not Yet Certain. And How It Makes Us Feel.

So I need to become a little more patient. I need to realize that life is still happening even when all plans are not set and ready. If it was not this, then it would be something else.

But that little girl, the one that I left sitting in her fortress, made of sheets and couch cushions, for this entire entry (and I sure she doesn’t even notice), I think she and I are thinking the same thing right now. Isn’t it grand and isn’t it exciting to have something to wait for, to have something to look forward to.

If Mr. Forrest Gump is right, and if life really is a box of chocolates, well then throw out the map on the box because I am ready and waiting to see what is going to happen next…

Are you in limbo too?

Bring your own baseball bat to hit the pinata at my pity party

You are cordially invited to…

Hannah Katy’s Pity Party

Where: Thursday, March 11

When: 8p.m.-??

Regrets Only

In lieu of gifts please bring pitiful stories to share so we can all drown in our sorrows and in pints of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream.

Could you imagine if this were real? If we legitimately threw our own pity parties whenever life handed us a bad deal of cards for the day… I picture us sitting around a table like that of Alice and Wonderland and the grand tea party. All of us crying into our party dresses (Stephen K in a stunning tux), shoveling cake into our mouths as we jut our forks into the chocolate layers, as if to stab our own troubles. The pinata would be the real kicker…  I would request that we all bring our own baseball bats since clearly we won’t want to wait our turn. A massive brawl would erupt as we all beat the pulp out of the poor paper mache pinata shaped like a sunshine.

It’s a good thing we don’t actually celebrate these occasions. There would simply be too many parties to attend. Our calendars would be full. We would need to quit our day jobs in order to attend all of these pity parties. And just think of the toll this kind of party would take on our moods… Yikes.

But why… if we are so ready to throw up the streamers when our life seems pretty,for lack of a better word: woof, do we often forget to celebrate life? We can pin point in a second the things in our lives that need work or changing. We can rattle off a laundry list of reasons why life isn’t as good as it should be. But we have it, we have life. We are holding the precious gift in our hands right now. Shouldn’t that be the ace in the deck? The rock to the scissor? The scissor to the paper?

Life is beautiful and yet we forget our party hats. Life is remarkable but often we only think about the parade when it’s rained on.

A thousand and one moments transpire in a day, a million unexplainable encounters, a few dozen smiles, and words and actions that fill us up like a basin overflowing. And shame on us for forgetting to celebrate.

We meet new people. We learn new things. We are filled with love. We travel to new places. We encounter mystery. We cry, yes, but the bright side to that: we feel. We take chances. We straddle the line. We put ourselves first. We hold others up. We live. Passionately. Freely. Wildly. Spiritually. Spontaneously. We live.

We have this very moment.. yes, this very one. So what if the last one wasn’t so good. It is over now. Let’s throw a big surprise party for this very moment, put on our best party clothes, grab a drink and let’s rumble.

And I apologize if I seem like an awful hostess for not greeting you at the door. You can find me on the dance floor, leading the Macarena with a piece of chocolate cake in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. Cheers!

What I wish I had known about life before growing up got in the way…

I watch a younger version of myself doing a ridiculous Irish jig, wearing a velvet emerald green party dress, white stockings and lace up Converse sneakers.

The video camera shakes but steadies itself as a I circle round and round the house, creating my very own (and first ever) one person Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Complete with: Irish step dancers, street vendors, little men on bicycles and convicts from the state prison (don’t ask where my morbid little eight-year-old mind stirred that one up from).

I find myself pausing the video. Pausing the little girl in the green party dress and stopping her mid fake Irish prance. I find myself wanting to shake her, wanting to talk to her, wanting to fill her little ears with advice that I know she is going to need and want and remember….

Keep dancing little one, be as happy and carefree for as long as you possibly can. Always bask in the opportunity to shake your hips or throw your arms up in the air. Life is going to try to get serious on you, but don’t you let it. I want you to know now that even the big stuff and the tough stuff will be very small in the grand scheme of things. Popularity will seem like the most important concept to ever enter into your orbit in a few years, but it’s not. Be an individual and be true to yourself. Don’t let a set of bullies define how you look at yourself. Don’t be a bully and try to limit how others perceive their own selves.

Work, one day, will try to consume you but resist it. Work hard, be driven, but don’t forget how to play. Find a job that makes you smile. Don’t settle for a paycheck. You are in your days of playing house right now, keep doing just that, even as you grow up. Do what you find to be fun and meaningful.

Don’t jump at opportunities to deem you the title of “grown up” too fast. Enjoy childhood, the fact that you don’t have a car that needs gas or a cell phone that leaves you crying over a monthly texting bill. Delight in your current investments and transactions: a snow cone from the ice cream man, those new pencils from the school store, that brand new pair of plastic heels.

Be bold. Stand out. Value the word: individual. Never forget your manners. Hold the door open for strangers. No matter how many times you have heard it before little girl, thank you will always be the magic word. Be good to your parents; they nag you for your own good. Always use your words: say “I love you” and “I miss you” and “I cherish you.” Don’t miss the chances to say how you feel, life will be defined in those moments.

Find friends. Good friends. Friends that make you more than you are. And hold tight to them. When you see them in the lunch line, give their hand a squeeze. Share your stickers with them. Stick up for them if they are pushed around. It’s normal to pick and choose your friends like you would the colors out of a crayon box. But instead of colors, like Macaroni and Cheese and Tickle Me Pink, look for these qualities: loyal, compassionate, understanding and kind. Keep those gems around. You will need them when you fall. You will need them when your heart breaks for the first time.

And a broken heart, my child, is not something you should ever try to run away from. Of course you want to find a love that matches up to all your fairy tale dreams but go out on a limb and put your heart out there. It is the only way to ever know. Find someone, when the time is right, who will not define you, but will allow you to be good on your own but better with them added. Find someone who respects your dreams and does not accept your giving up on them. Find someone who you can talk to for hours, who will listen to you. Find that person and then find the ways in which to never let them go. If it means fighting for them, then fight.

And little one, do me a favor.. All those dreams you have stored tight in your heart next to Christmas lists and make believe games, keep those. Don’t let anyone belittle or degrade them. Never accept that that they cannot be realities. People will try to tell you that they are impossible, improbable, irrational. Let them tell you, but don’t… don’t…. don’t ever listen. Because if you let go of those dreams little girl, then who is to say that someone won’t snatch them up and live them instead? Hold tight to your destiny. Little girl, hold tight.

Remember though, before I press “play” and let you to continue to dance and dream, that it will give you no advantage to try and analyze and understand this life. Here is the big secret: It makes no sense. At least no sense that we will ever be able to conjure up in this lifetime. Follow your heart. Cry when you feel the tears coming. Let go when you can no longer hold on but hold tight when it means something to you. Kiss with passion. Give things away, parts of yourself, with no expectation of ever getting them back. Fall but get back up. Ask for help. Learn from others. Be kind to all. Let life be simple. As Simple As That.

Ten minutes left in my eBay auction. Shipping my tough stuff off to the highest bidder.

I bought my happiness for just three simple payments of $19.99. My problems sold for $50 on eBay. I purchased a rare friendship on Craig’s List. And I topped it all off by picking up a few dreams and passions from the 50% rack at the store down the street.

I could have simply said, “The best things in life are free” but I smiled at the thought of people bidding over blessings on eBay. Smacking Mastercard in the face by putting a price on the priceless.

Picture it. Two buyers, neck and neck, racing to call to happiness their own in the last 60 seconds of an auction. Out of nowhere, a third unexpected buyer swoops in to deliver to the highest bid and they win with ten seconds to spare. Just three business days and happiness is sitting at their doorstep, buried at the bottom of FedEx box.

Lord knows I am grateful that I don’t have to purchase the finest things in life: friends, gratitude, lifelong dreams and love. But how about sorrow, could you put a price on the chance to strip your life of the hard stuff? Would you whip out the credit card in order to swipe away someone else’s pain?

I stumbled across a Facebook status a few months back that stuck in my head so much that I copied it and have remembered it ever since. “Why do bad things seem to happen to good people? I wish they sold protective shields on eBay.” Now wouldn’t that be something? If we could Google search the cure to life’s heartaches and instantly purchase a shield that would repel all of life’s challenges and sorrows. Well, in that case, I would never need to purchase tissues, quarts of Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream or “Sorry for your loss cards” ever again. Half of Hallmark’s industry would be down if we could purchase an antidote to our issues.

I guess this is one innovation that really cannot be a reality. I thought a lot about this idea today though after talking with my father on the phone and hearing that my grandfather had suffered from a heart attack. He will be getting open heart surgery and we can pray that all goes well, but if he had that protective shield then none of this would have happened. No tears would have been shed over a morning cup of coffee, no worries would be running through the heads of those that love him.

Would I necessarily want to be able to purchase a protective shield? I am tempted to say no, that life’s challenges are what push us to be stronger, to hold tighter, to live a more full life. But at this very moment, and others that arise in every one of our lives, wouldn’t it be nice to simply press “Buy It Now,” enter in the shipping and billing information and watch the problems slide away with a swipe.

If that protective shield, that passport away from pain, was available on eBay right now, would you place a bid? How much?