Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Did You Write That?

Thirteen years ago I was living in Alton, IL as a missionary for my church.  It was truly one of my favorite areas.  It had rolling hills all over town, but not like the rolling hills I was used to, these actually had houses on them.  Historic homes, steep inclines, and brick everywhere.  It sits right on the Mississippi River in all it's grandeur.

The people there, though nothing like my hometown, had some of the same endearing qualities that my hometown did.  I say hometown, but really I grew up in the country so I'll say country-side instead.  There's a difference you know.  But on with the story.

One day during church I was struck by the humility of the people there.  A farmer by origin had given one of the prayers and had thanked Heavenly Father for the rain and asked that it would bless the farmers and the crops.  Coming from "farm stock" myself it struck a chord.  I thought of the many times we had prayed as a family for rain.  And not just because it would cool things down, but it was desperately needed for our livelihood and the livelihood of those around us.

That evening it was my turn for the spiritual thought.  )A mission is quite the experience and had it's own lingo so if you would like clarification, let me know.)  I called the rest of the missionaries in my district and gave them my spiritual thought.  I can't remember word for word but it had something to do with the humility of the farmer praying for their very livelihood.  I wrote it down.  I read it over the phone and credited "Anonymous" for the source.

Everything was going well until the last call.  One of the elders asked if I had written it.  A flush came to my face and I immediately replied "No. It was Anonymous."  He said "Oh, it just sounded like you" and I said with greater insistence and a little more volume "No, Anonymous."  Goodbye!

I hung up the phone and was flustered.  It felt like he had seen me... me.  I didn't want anyone to know I had written it.  I didn't want the criticism.  I didn't want them to say "yeah, I thought you did that's why it sounded so cheesy" or "dumb" or whatever they would have surely said... right?  I didn't want him seeing inside my heart.  I didn't even dare ask him what he thought about it, good or bad.  I just wanted to hang up as quickly as possible.

Sometimes I think back on that day.  The desire to share something that had deeply touched my heart was stunted with the fear of anyone knowing that it really was from my heart.  It was easier to hide behind "Anonymous".  That way it didn't matter what anyone thought about it because no one knew who had written it. 

Would I still deny it today?

That's what sometimes goes through my head.  I have always enjoyed writing even though the  majority of my thoughts may never see the light of day let alone find someone else's eyes looking them over. 

Fear keeps me from doing a lot of things.  Fear keeps us all from doing something.  Sometimes those things don't really matter, like skydiving or rock climbing.  But other times, when it really does matter, fear can be absolutely crippling.  Fear of hugging a family member, really letting them know you care.  Fear of forgiving someone because then you might look weak.  Fear of letting things go because it's all you have known even if it's one of the worst things for you.  There is comfort in familiarity.

Today I haven't even come close to conquering all of my fears, and in all honesty I'm still not sure I'd own up to my Anonymous quote just yet.  But then again... maybe I would.

What are your fears?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Photo

Back Row: Abigail, Mom, and Me
Front Row: Shani, Samantha, and Melissa
Missing from Girls Weekend and hence the picture: Velvet... sigh.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Mother Always Did Her Hair

Yesterday I didn't feel well... at all.  It came quickly and sapped all of my energy.  I did nothing but sleep, read, and watch episode after episode of Ugly Betty.

During this day I occasionally passed something reflective and got a look at myself... and then shuddered.  I looked awful.  I was wearing an over-sized 80s style sweater; turquoise in color, length went past my bottom side, and the collar was one of those that can either be stretched over the shoulders or left as a drape of sorts down the front.  Oh and a John Deere hat.  The hat was because I had to pick up David after we dropped of one of the vehicles at the mechanics.  My point is that I had no make up on and my hair resembled the nest of some creature and natural light was not my friend. At all.

As I walked passed the hallway mirror once again I thought of my mother.  During our girls weekend she mentioned how she always made it a point to do her hair and make-up at some point during the day whether she had plans or not.  Why?  Two reasons. 

1.  You never know who's going to show up at your door, be in the Stake President, the neighbor, or the Fish and Game officer and it's always best to be prepared.

2.  She did it for herself.  She knew she looked better with a "coat of paint" so to speak and she didn't like the way she looked without it.

It was number 2 that I thought about yesterday.  Probably because the natural light and the frizz that was my hair and the jaw line that is less than defined all combined yesterday to reveal a pale sheet of blechk that was me.

I'm feeling better today.  I will shower.  I will do my hair.  I will find my jawline and accentuate the positive. And the answer to the question that I asked so long ago of whether or not I will wear make-up regardless of what the day brings (aside from illness of course) is a resounding yes.  The main reason being that I don't want to shudder as I walk by the mirror.

Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I feel more better

That's right, more better.  I know the rules and exactly how to break them.

The last two weeks really haven't been all that great.  They have been filled with a lot of angst.  Angst over work, angst over babies, angst over what to do at home. So many changes all at once.  But today, like Monday, I'm feeling better.

It was actually so bad at one point that I was contemplating giving up on the whole "start our own family" thing.  In fact I just wanted to be branded with the "Aunt Clarice" brand and call it a day.  Bring on the nieces and nephews and the spoiling of other people's children.  (For those of you who don't know, my Aunt Clarice, or rather my Great Aunt Clarice on my mother's side was childless also.  She was an excellent cook, had an immaculate house, and always made the children feel like a million bucks.)  I was ready to quit.  To pursue photography and the paying off of student loans.  To be content with what I have and deal with what I don't have.  "Blessings be d*mned!" thought I. I have run my race and I am done!  I felt like an old plow horse with nothing left but slow and steady.

I feel differently today.  I think that I actually had to admit it out loud.  To actually speak the words: "I don't  want children anymore" to my husband, to my mom.  Dirty diapers and potty training... not for me.  I had to say out loud what had been haunting me.  I accepted and embraced the worst.  Isn't that really it... going the complete opposite of what you have been working towards for so long.  Accepting that no matter how hard you wanted something, no matter how hard you have tried that it just might not happen for you, and then turning and embracing that alternate reality.

Even as I said the words out loud they kind of scared me.  I said it again to David.  "I don't want children."  I said it again to myself.  "I don't want children." And then I felt in my insides, that place in the pit of my stomach that guides me in those intangible decisions that we all have to make... that place inside myself responded back with "Perhaps you are wrong.  Perhaps there really is still reason to hope." 

I feel better.  Better than before.  If David and I really aren't going to be able to have children, then so be it. It's not the end of the world and I have a great example from my family to guide me.  But I also really don't want to give up yet.  We are not at the end of our rope just yet.

So today I celebrate.  Today I have things to look forward to.  Like book club, and lunch on the deck if this weather would relent and let such a thing happen.  Seeing my husband at lunch.  Photographing the transition into Spring.  Friends, family, and good good times.  There are many silver linings in this life of mine.  Though I can make no guarantees, I'm going to do my best not to forget it again.

Happy Wednesday ya'll!

Besides, who wouldn't be thrilled with these guys!  Laurelin and Nessa.  Characters all the way around.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Photo

This is my niece and I think she is absolutely stunning.  I may be slightly biased but I love this shot of her.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I feel better!!

Something strange and wonderful is going on.

Yesterday, as my Sunday afternoon stretched out before me and Monday morning crept closer and closer, I had the oddest sensation.  You see usually Monday strikes fear into my heart.  It reminds me that things need to be done and work is looming over my head.  But yesterday a miracle occurred.  I found myself looking forward to Monday!  It almost stopped me in my tracks with the whole "positiveness" of the moment.

So what does Monday hold that makes it so special?

1.  I don't have to go anywhere that I don't want to.  No work meetings, no evening obligations.

2.  I get to do laundry.  It's not so much a curse in my life right now.  Had I little ones I'm sure it would be otherwise, but for now it's not so bad.  In fact I rather enjoy it because I can fold it in front of the movie selection of my choice.

3.  Exercise is easier on Monday.  This used to not be so.  But now it's like the jump start to the week, the repentance for the weekend.  It helps me find my groove.

There really isn't too much special about Monday, but it's enough of the little things that it feels good to look forward to the day.

So to all you readers out there:  Enjoy your Monday!  It's the only one you have all week!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Now

Image clearly borrowed from shutterstock.
Yesterday I sat at a restaurant by myself.  I took a full hour to enjoy my meal.  I savored every bite.  Till the point that some of it was cold but that didn't matter, I still enjoyed the flavor.  I took a book and enjoyed the moment. I even had dessert. The waitress was surprised. I guess no one has dessert for lunch... or at least no one but me did that day. I enjoyed every bite of it too. Usually I am in such a hurry that the flavors blend together and I'm not really even sure what I ate or how fast I ate it.

I can't enjoy life that way.

I have been woefully absent from the blogosphere of late.  I have had a few things to figure out.  Some discoveries to make.

1.  I need a schedule.  No matter how much I would like to throw caution to the wind and live for the here and now, I need a plan for the day, even for the week sometimes.  When I have an idea of when things are going to get done, then I can relax and enjoy the present.

2.  Making my own lunch has really thrown off my groove.  For the last 4.5 years I could go to the Hub, Marketplace, Skyroom, Quadside, or Junction and get whatever it is my taste buds felt like that day.  Now I have one more thing to plan and winging it is not working so well.

3.  The non-separation of the work computer from the home computer strangely limits my natural desire to blog, or really do anything "personal" on the computer.  I still have several topics waiting in the wings, I just haven't felt like actually writing.  I am kind of disturbed by this revelation.  It goes against my commitment to moderation as well as taking care of that need to express myself.

4.  Despite the fact that I work from home now and have "more time on my hands" I have learned that I can't say yes to everything that is asked.  I still have to take charge of my life and not be tossed about with every whim or request.

5.  Moving forward with our infertility options is scaring me right now.  I've never been good with needles and there will be a lot with IVF.  A lot that I have to give myself.  I'm scared of the effects of the hormones and exceptionally strong fertility drugs and all that things that could go wrong with it.  I'm scared of the fact that it might not work either.  So I'm taking a bit longer than I thought to "dive in" to it.  I want to enjoy my sanity a little while before I lose it completely.

Now, there's a lot in there that needs a "Toughen up there cupcake!" and that's okay.  I'm working on it.  But for the last 4 years or so these are things that I have not had time in the day to deal with.  They have haunted me at night, or in the wee small hours of the morning.  Now I have a little more time on my hands and things that have been buried by busyness are now coming to the front lines.  And that's okay.  Sometimes it really is the little things that do the most damage, and now is the time to deal with them.

So like my dessert yesterday, I plan on enjoying this time.  Figuring things out and savoring the moments both good and bad.  The good because they give me something to hold on to during the bad.  The bad because that's usually when I learn the most about the changes I need to make.  Both help me move forward.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Photo

I went home last weekend and decided to attack the barn.... with my camera.  There are always so many sights and smells and sounds that make up my childhood memories.  I used to ride horses with my dad to check the cows.  After we were done we'd unsaddle the horses and brush them down while giving them a scoop of grain.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I Like About This

"This" being this stay at home thing.

1. eating breakfast with David
2. exercising not at 5 am but more like 10:30
3. running errands during the day
4. eating lunch with David
5. doing laundry while things are downloading from work
6. music as lound or as quiet as I want it
7. the phone doesn't ring
8. jeans
9. slippers
10. not hauling a laptop around in my bag
11. making my own schedule
12. lunch with friends without the hassle of leaving campus
13. the sun streaming into my window
14. the ability to drop everything and take pictures

There are things I miss about the office too.

1. my friends there
2. my friends there
3. breakfast burritos in the morning
4. my friend there

That about sums it up.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday Photo

I wish I had some tulips in my flower beds. I was neglectful last Fall and they are just sitting in a bag in a closet.  Sigh.  Something to look forward to for some though... eventually.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I've Never Known Someone I Didn't Like

Pretty bold statement don't you think?

But take a minute and really think about it.  The people I don't like so well are the people that I don't understand.  The ones that I only see a tiny part of.  It just happens that that tiny part of them really annoys me sometimes.  Really annoys me.

But what if I had walked in their shoes?  Lived their life?  Been exposed to the same things they had?  Would I like me?  Would I have a better understanding of why they do the things they do.  Would it be easier for me to have compassion?  To not get frustrated?

What if I spent the day with them?  A couple of days even?  What would I think then. 

I knew Sandy when I lived in Granite City, Illinois.  Or as some would say "Granite Hell".  It was quite the place but it holds fond memories.  Sandy scared me.  At least she did at first.  She had quite the gruff exterior.  She had tattoos everywhere, she chain-smoked, she cursed up a storm. 

Then I got to know her more.  She had a sly smile that she tried to cover up. Sometimes it would just sneak out though, much like a child that tries so hard not to smile but just can't quite do the job.  She had a hard life.  She didn't know what compassion even looked like let alone how to give it.  No one had every really tried to understand her before.  She was abused by family members, as a 6-year old child she watched as her father took his own life.  She'd been in and out of prison, in and out of gangs, and in and out of relationships.  When I knew her she had cancer and AIDS.  She was in her 30s.

But oh how I loved her.  I didn't know that it was possible to love someone so much who wasn't part of my family.  I didn't know that it existed.  She taught me by being there, alive and somewhat willing to let me into her life.  To get to know her.  To care for her.  I will always be thankful for that.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't think we'd all be BFFs and live in a magical 'kum by ya" state just by getting to know one another better, but I do wonder if it would be easier to roll with the punches when they come.  Because they will come.  Sometimes we'll even throw a few ourselves and not even know it. But perhaps the tiny things that really annoy me wouldn't be quite as bad.  Not that they would change, but perhaps my perspective on it would. 

Just a thought.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday Photo

Two Saturday's ago I went with the Cache Valley Photographer's club to the greenhouse at USU to take pictures.  It was warm inside, tropical in places.  It took 10 minutes for my lens to acclimatize and stop fogging up.  It was perfect.