Thursday, December 9, 2010

Smoking in Front of Your Kids is Bullshit

*Fair warning: I will occasionally use profanity in this post. If this offends you, I'm sorry. Don't read it.*

I'm going to start a facebook shitstorm with this post. But really, smoking in front of your kids is one of those subjects on which I reveal that I am in fact related to the rest of my family and become completely and totally NOT politically correct.

If you disagree with me please feel free to publish your own posts about why I'm wrong. Forgive me if I don't bother to dignify your posts by responding to them.

My logic goes something like this:

Cancer is bullshit.

Smoking causes cancer. (Please see if you have questions here).

Second hand smoke causes cancer.

Therefore: Smoking in front of your children is giving them cancer.

Or for those who want to argue the point I'll word it more technically correct: Smoking in front of your children carries the direct risk of giving your children cancer.

And personally I don't see how its any different from poisoning your kids right here and now instead of 20 years from now, maybe. It wouldn't be okay to play russian roulette with your toddler so why is it okay to play time machine russian roulette with your toddler.

If you're an adult and you chose to smoke, more power to ya. You're an adult. If you want to slowly kill yourself that is your right and privilege. My uncle who used to smoke once told me that: "Smoking is for cowards who haven't got the guts to kill themselves outright." I think I need that on a t-shirt personally.

So please, if you want to smoke feel free. But I don't wanna die that way so please don't do it any where near me. And if you do it any where near my child I reserve the right to come unglued.

Also if I see you smoking in front of your children I will attempt to restrain my impulse to smack you upside the head and call CPS because personally, I consider it child abuse.

Yes there is a new study out there that claims that there MIGHT be actual long term mental health side effects from smoking in front of your kid. I'd love to see some more research done but it was a big sample in a well done study so I'm inclined to think that further studies will continue to find similar results.

AND theres a whole body of existing research about how bad it is for their physical health to smoke in front of your kids for those unconvinced by the latest study about mental health. Feel free to go ask your pediatrician about it. The American Academy of Pediatrics would LOVE to educate you on the subject I'm sure.

If you don't want to be my friend any more after reading this post that is your right and privilege. If you disagree with me in the comments here please bring a LARGE body of empirical, impartial, peer reviewed scientific research as evidence or I will feel free to ignore you. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Semi Rant: Extraordinary Measures

I do NOT understand using extraordinary measures to prolong the life (and suffering) of a very elderly person. I'm talking about someone old, who has lived their life, who is at peace with their place in it and wants to go home to their Heavenly Father and whose life is only being sustained by machines and science. And most importantly is in pain and not likely to get better. Ever.

I'm not saying we should go pull the plug on every coma patient or that nobody should ever use extraordinary measures to sustain life. However, in this case, its an end of life scenario where even if the individual were to survive the current event the damage is so significant that their quality of life for however long they have left is going to suck. Big time.

I really hate quality of life discussions. They're no fun. They're uncomfortable. Nobody likes to have the chat but I've had to have these discussions before with my parents as they've both survived multiple rounds of cancer. And with cancer the bisnitch of the thing is that there's almost ALWAYS something more they can try, but the thing is, some of the treatments are so horrible, and they'll only buy you maybe a couple months extra, if they don't kill you outright. So you can have 3 months of pretty okay and then croak or you can have maybe a year from hell and then die anyways. My parents have both clearly expressed that they don't want to be subjected to that. They'd both rather go in peace and have made both my sister and I promise to let them do just that.

But the poor soul I'm thinking of is currently being put through the ringer because their children are not ready yet for them to leave. The same children who are not sitting at the bedside watching their loved one suffer. I think if you want to put that person through this hell, especially when they've said they don't want to, then you should have to sit there and WATCH and not go out of town to party in Vegas. You're a 60 something year old person. Grow up and do right by your parent and stop bullying/guilt tripping the person with medical power of attorney into doing what you want.

I may be slight opinionated...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Random Post #342.91678

So I'm debating the odds that I would have to call a plumber if I were to actually do as I've threatened a million times now and flush the kid down the toilet. Because I apparently did not give birth to a human child as I first thought, I apparently gave birth to a howler monkey or possibly a pterodactyl. Sometimes its hard to tell which really.

Oh and he's cutting a new molar and he's got a cold. So he's been a SUPER HAPPY little camper this week. Can you see me twitch from there?

But in other news I made good headway to today in putting away/organizing my beads in the new drawers. This is super positive and I've been avoiding it. But I realized today that I had this giant mess I call a dining room/ kitchen to clean and I was reasonably confident that if I cleaned it it would simply be dirty again in record breaking time and I just couldn't face cleaning it but then in one corner of the filth I saw the beads sitting there in the suit case waiting to be unpacked and put away and like a shining ray of hope I saw something I could clean that would probably stay that way for at least a day or two and it was bright and glorious. So we spent some quality time playing with the beads (and getting lots of good ideas for what I want to do with some of them).

And other than some minor friend stalkage/withdrawl I'm going okay. And at some point when I'm feeling more verbose I'll tell you all about my trip home for Turkey Day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


My life has contained way too much drama of late for my tastes. And it actually tends to make me asocial, because I try not the share the whiney stuff too much with other people. So when I'm not exactly winning at life that doesn't give me a lot of positive to share and therefore if you can't say something nice you shouldn't say anything at all, right? So then I don't know what to say, so I say nothing.

And I also really feel like my conversation options are kinda limited atm: my problems (that people don't want to hear) or my kid (which people probably hear too much about) or my jewelry (same problem as the kid). I'd say I need to get out more or get a new hobby but hello if I had time and energy for that I wouldn't have the problems and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

I think I may be extra gun shy about sharing my problems because I've had it get back to me before thru a mutual friend that certain people in the past have considered me a whiner. Somebody who bitches non stop and does not shut up. I really didn't care to think of myself that way so I've tried to make super extra careful that I only do my whining to super safe people and to still apologize profusely when I do and tell them that I appreciate them listening to me whine. In the hopes that I can keep from ever being called a whiner (for serious) again.

And so when all you can think is "X sucks. I wish Y" over, and over again it really limits your ability to think up fresh and interesting conversation starters. Especially ones that don't involve your small child who your world pretty much revolves around now days. And "Hi. How are you?" only gets you so far with most people. Especially since I'd be building a lot of new friendships if I wanted to be really social.

I am deeply grateful for the friends I have and especially for the super safe ones that listen to my whining. I really hope the drama can resolve itself soon. Parts of my extended family might specialize in the soap opera life style but I've never really cared for it. Boring sounds really good to me right now.

Oh well. As a very wise friend once told me: This too shall pass.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This Life is a Test

I believe that this life is a test. A test to see what we really believe and what it is our heart truly desires.

And the test has to be a blind test. Because I believe in eternal progression. I believe that we lived with God before we came to this earth and that we chose to come here and be tested and prove ourselves worthy of more. Because the goal is to continue to progress to be come more and more like our Heavenly Father.

Now you don't get that kind of power with out proving yourself worthy of it.

Think of the Grand Vizier in every story you've ever read. Theres something about the staff and funky hat that makes them .... nutty. And of course, in the stories they never ever show their true colors to the face of the king/sultan/ruler. You can only see their true colors when they're on their own. When they think they're truley alone, then the cackling starts.

I think this is an amusing illustration of an eternal truth. In order for God to bless us with greater light, truth and knowledge we have to prove ourselves worthy of it. And in order for the test to be valid we have to be alone. Or rather we have to forget that we are never alone. We need to have that knowledge taken from us so that when given situations where we can chose right and wrong, our true nature is revealed. If we knew now what we knew then, that God is omniscient, the test would be invalid. The Grand Vizier never cackles in the master's presence. And he probably wasn't always a cackler. It took that little bit of heady power to make him show his true colors.

And whats worse, even though God is omnicient - we're not. And to be just, He has to allow us the opportunity to try and to fail or pass. He can't punish us for what we might have done if we'd not been stopped. Likewise He can't reward us for what we might have done if we'd had the chance. Thats not how the system works.

Imagine a promotion system at work where a brand new supervisor, with no outside input, declares who gets promotions, and who gets fired based on what they "know" the employees would do, with out ever having seen the employees work. Ever. Thats lunacy. Nobody would ever do it.

Likewise I believe we come to this earth to prove our hearts, to ourselves and to our God. I think that when we are born a veil of forgetfulness is placed over our minds so that we have no choice but to act for ourselves and to walk by faith. We're given the Light of Christ - that urge in the heart of every man, woman and child to do good. That whispers to your heart of a higher and nobler home and of joy and peace. We are tempted by Satan, who is jealous and miserable and like all miserable beings desires the misery of others. And we can chose for ourselves which voice we want to follow. To give in to temptation and follow the darkness or to remember what we once knew and follow the light.

The heart yearns for what it has lost even if it can't remember it. Its that void we all seek to fill and we all try a million different ways to fill the space. Telling ourselves that the void can be filled if we just get the next thing. But that void can't be filled by the mundane. That void is the knowledge that God lives and loves you. That peace and happiness that can only come through following the promptings of the Spirit and finding light and truth.

Faith is the first step. You take it into the darkness and discover the truth that there is light. You then have knowledge. Likewise every great explorer and scientist had to have a belief, a faith that there was more, that knowledge and light was just around the corner even though others thought they were crazy. And yet they took the leap and their discoveries made history. To me all truth is truth, whether eternal/spiritual or scientific. It all works in harmony. Theories can disagree but truth is always harmonious.

For the record this post is a completely separate thought train from my last post. I just had a bee in my bonnet.


Not sure how to say what I want to say.

I guess I can say that it sucks to get spoiled. To have your happy all you want and be thrilled with it and then have it taken away. Because you had your happy and it was great and wonderful and far better than even you had anticipated it being and then the happy went buh bye and its somehow worse now having lost the happy after been spoiled and knowing what the happy looks like. It creates a need and an aching want the likes of which you can't recall. All focused on the wanting and the missing of the happy.

This noxious desperation that was never there before because you know now just how spoiled you were and you want it back. Badly.

It sucks. Giant hairy elephant balls levels of sucks.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I'm a rather opinionated person when it comes to smells. For years I didn't think I was that bad because I've got nothing on my sister. I think that woman can smell a cigarette a half mile away. I'm only that bad when I'm pregnant. But I am a really picky snot.

What got me thinking of this was going perfume smelling (like shopping but with out the intent to buy) with Bre the other day. I realize now that I got spoiled at a very early age with perfume. Starting when I was like 8, our next door neighbor was a sweet lady named Cathy (she even spells it right) and she was a really exotically beautiful woman from some where in South America. And some what unusually, Cathy was a perfume model.

Apparently she has the like perfect body chemistry so every fragrance just smells amazing on her. Add that to the fact she was a knock out and she made her living modeling perfume. She'd dress up to match the theme of whatever the fragrance was and go to release parties for the big designers wearing their perfume and looking amazing. It was kinda cool.

And since she traveled quite a lot and had cats, she'd have us feed her kitties while she was gone and say thank you for that service with perfume! (It was a dang sweet deal). Sometimes it was just little samples but sometimes it was whole big bottles of amazing fragrances. The really expensive ones too.

And so from a very young age I have a remarkably expensive palette for perfume. My top 4 fragrances (at the moment) for myself are Givenchy Very Irresistible, Ralph Lauren Romance, Chanel Chance, and Estee Lauder Pleasures.

And its not just that I like the smell of expensive perfume, its that I really, really, really, really HATE the smell of cheap perfume. I don't know what it is about cheap perfume, if they use a different base or something but it stinks. It burns my nostrils and makes me slightly nauseous. Cheap cologne isn't quite as bad, I assume because the pheromones help to override some of my base dislike. But cheap perfume? UGH.

And I don't know how much of it is that the kind of people that wear cheap perfume feel compelled to wear a gallon of the stuff or if its just the nature of the beast but its always just so over powering. Or perhaps my nose is just particularly sensitive to that noxious odor. I don't know, but I hate it when somebody walks by wearing cheap perfume and it reaches up and smacks me in the nostrils. Or worse - if I hug somebody with cheap perfume and I wind up smelling like it. Some how that never happens with great smelling expensive perfumes its just the nasty smelling cheap stuff that follows me. Of course.

If it helps at all I'm this picky about how houses smell, particularly my own. Its one of my bed rock beliefs that when you step into my home you should either smell NOTHING or it should smell Good. Being hit with a malodor when you step through the door is not acceptable. Likewise, unless you actually see my pets you shouldn't be able to tell that I have them. That is the level of performance I expect of my cat litter and the cleanliness I expect of my dogs (when I have dogs that is, which is sadly, not atm).

If something smells funky it should be deep cleaned. If it can't be properly cleaned it needs to be thrown out. Sorry. Thats just how we roll in Momma's house.

I think thats why my least favorite chore ever is taking out the trash. You have to start by bending over the trash can so it can reach up and sock you in the nose and then you have to haul the stench with you, out to the dumpster which is just, horrifically malodorous and then you have to open the vile thing so the wave can nail you in the olfactory bulb with a wicked right hook and then heave the bag of trash up right past your face so you get one final wiff before it falls into the vile pit and you can slam the lid shut (causing another gust of nasty) and run away.

Yeah, for some reason I REALLY hate taking out the trash....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More Funnies

In honor of my improved mood here's a bunch more comics but to spare us both I'm only going to include links and you can go look for yourself. I promise they're all worth the click!  - This one got me b/c I have SO had that dream where I'm trying to drive from the back seat. That plus I like to screw with peoples heads so I'll have to remember this one....  - This one reminded me a bit of my Dad. lol  - A shining example of why I think you should have to pass some sort of exam to be allowed to take the kid home with you from the hospital.  - *snigger* - So wrong its funny...  - Um.... so.... what does it say that I've done this..... with every guy I've liked since my freshman biology class in high school??? Mostly with the odds I'd get blue eyed children just to be clear... if that makes a difference.... - Damn! They're on to me!! - Took me a sec but I lol'ed - And this.... this I'm still sniggering over. - LOL .... oh dear....

The Darkest Hour

God really does know exactly what my limits are.

Its been the week from hell. And there was no end in sight and even though I did manage to find a road map to the end, the problem was that Mount Everest was in the way and I was already so beaten down I could barely take the next step. And so when Mount Everest showed up, I was really very ready to just sit down and cry.

And so today I spent depressed. All I could see was my Everest and I had no hope that I would ever be able to get enough mojo together to cross it.

And then I had a couple conversations that basically swept Everest out of the way and gave me a leg up and the support I'll need to make the journey.

Still won't be easy, but now I feel that it is possible.

I am so incredibly grateful for the lightness I feel in my heart at this moment. Truly, the darkest hour is just before dawn. I'm in many ways in the exact same place I was this morning, but now I have hope.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Me = Ray of F-ing Sunshine

Ya know the problem with eating is that if you feed your body then it gets snarky ideas like it should be fed regularly and then will protest vigorously in a few hours time that it in fact needs to be fed AGAIN. Where as if you just skip the whole eating thing for the most part the smarmy body just shuts up and gives up and leaves you in peace. Sure you might feel strangely tired all the time but as long as you keep drinking water you won't actually die. Well, drinking water and eating say, one meal a say, preferably a few hours before bed time so that you can just go to bed when it gets to be time that that uppity body decides it wants more food.

And no I'm not intentionally Not Eating, I'm just.... not eating. Mostly because I've had like no appetite all week. But then I'll try to tell myself "Okay woman you need to eat, cognitively you know the body needs fuel." And so we make ourselves eat even though its kinda gross atm (which is saying something cuz I'm usually a big fan of food) and in repayment I get to feel kinda nauseated for a couple hours until its time that the stomach starts growling for more food but honestly the last few hours has not endeared me to this eating notion and so I don't want to feed the stupid thing again and have it thank me by making me nauseated again.

Whole point of that conversation: I'm hungry again. Also bored. Also its nap time so I want to sleep but I have stuff I should be doing but don't want to because I'm hungry, nauseated and tired. And we ate in the hopes it would fix the tired. It hasn't but it has made me nauseated. This isn't how this was supposed to work.

Also I'm so bored, I'm posting random crap to twitter, facebook, skype and blogger at an unprecedented rate. People keep telling me to discover play dates and that sounds great except for one nagging problem: I have no friends with kids my kids age locally. Which probably means I need to go ask at church if they've got a play group going where I could go make friends. I know they used to have one but 'm not sure if they have one now.

Its just that the problem with making friends atm is that my life sucks right now and so I'm not exactly a little ray of sunshine and being all "my life sucks" is not a great way to win friends and influence people ya know?

Also contacting people to find out about playgroups qualifies under the category of crap I need to do that takes more energy than I've got atm. And also has the danger (this is mormon land after all) of, if there isn't a current play group going, being the one to suggest one is needed can get one volunteered to organize it, which would just me another thing on my guilt list of crap I'm not doing that I should be doing if I was really a good person.

No I'm not wallowing in self pity and a defeatist attitude. Why do you ask?

I'd get up to make a dramatic exit right now [read: wander off in search of a cookie] but that would take too much energy...


Because I need to laugh today:

I've forgotten just how much I really love the xkcd webcomics. Most of them are some of the most amusing, intelligent humor I've seen recently.

So you get to see a bunch of them. And I'm linking and giving credit and I checked their copy right stuff and its all kosher cuz I'm not sellin' nothin. :)

And this one amused me mostly because it reminded me of Susan Sto Helit (if you don't know who that is, please go read Discworld).


And then I loved this one because I was all "OH my gosh! I'm not the only one they've messed with this way!!" I'm driving down the road and freaking out trying to find the source of the noise and then I realize its the friggin song and I'm like "WTH???" I always just figured it sounded wonky cuz I'm deaf or something.... 


And this one just plain made me LOL and swear I'd *thwack* the man that said that to me upside the head. 


And if I were really a good person I probably wouldn't find this one as funny as I do...


In the same vein (heh, pun only slightly intended), I probably shouldn't find this quite so funny.... 


LOL. This one makes me glad I'm largely apathetic about the whole thing. lol 


Hmmmm.... He may have a point here: 


And I really could go on and post like 5 million more of these but I won't. So go check out the site and laugh for yourself. 

You're welcome. 

Its a vicious cycle...

So I'm currently so irked I've reached my limit with a situation and am ready to just say "screw it" and walk. The problem is that I've decided I can only really declare my final decision on said situation in a peaceful place. I don't want to make a decision like this from an angry place.

But right this moment peace is remarkably elusive. But I have to get the peace to get the answer. But the anger makes it hard to get the peace. You see my problem? lol

*Sigh* And so we must try harder. Which is annoying. Especially right now. When I'd like to fix things with a large mallet of some variety. lol.

Cuz honestly, I've got a client meeting in the morning, and the kid has already been up once tonight and I'm still so irked I can't calm down enough to sleep which means I may need to make an emergency caffeine run in the morning before the meeting.

So right this second more than I need the peace to make my decision, I need enough peace to sleep tonight. So I'm off to read my scriptures and attempt to find some zen.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Lost Symbol and What's in a Name?

So I don't usually do book reviews but I'm a feelin' another one comin' on. lol.

Also: I need a name to call the readers of my blog. Aunt Becky has the Pranksters, The Queen of Everything has her Queefs (yes, yes we know...), Toy With Me has the Toy with Me'ers. It all works. My blog name does not lend itself to anything obvious.

And so while I mull over different ideas, I open my plea up to you, oh ye readers of this blog - what will ye be called?

But so, back to the book. I just finished Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol". That man is a shameless pattern writer. I mean seriously. I haven't  seen one this bad since I discovered Mary Higgins Clark in high school. The underlying plot for all of his Robert Langdon books is practically identical.

And *SPOILER ALERT* really you can't pretend to kill your protagonist. The  dramatic tension there is SO contrived. I mean really. Shakespeare yes, he kills everybody off if its a tragedy. But dude, you've done three books in the exact same patterns so even though it really looks like you killed our valiant hero, you've still got a couple hundred pages of book left and well, it's a Robert Langdon book. I know you're not REALLY going to kill Robert Langdon.

So that was obnoxious and contrived and would have been completely dumb if I hadn't been a wee bit interested in the science of how you pulled it off. Cool but I'm still annoyed.

I would have chunked the book at the wall in disgust and refused to finish it except for one thing - the man does fantastic research. It makes my little nerd heart happy the way he goes into deep historical research, theory, etc. And while he might get creative with the current science parts, all of his historical crap is accurate and fascinating.

Particularly this time because I know very little about the Masons. I know more than most people but thats not really saying much. So that was interesting.

But what really got my attention was his stuff on the history, and span of Apotheosis. I had no idea it was such a common and repeated belief/theme through out history. Kinda seriously cool if you have any idea why I think this is cool (why exactly I think this is cool would take several novel length posts so we're going to be vague for now). But I loved it. The man is like right there. He's ALMOST got THE BIG picture. Its one of the closest examples I've yet seen to somebody having ALMOST all the puzzle pieces. He's not quite there, but he's got almost all the edges and a few big chunks in the middle. Doesn't have the whole picture though and so it throws off what he thinks its going to look like when its done.

But it's cool. And so, contrived story aside, I loved the intellectual stuff.

If you like pattern stories and you liked the last two Robert Langdon book then go for it, but if he writes another one and I decide to read it, it will be for the intellectual crap and not the story.


Before I went on my mission, I was reasonably confident that the whole "companion" aspect of the mission was going to be a .... special trial. As a Mormon missionary you have to stay with in sight and sound of your companion 24/7. The only time you should not be with in sight of your companion is when one of you is in the bathroom. The one exception to this is the rare "exchange" (aka each of you goes to an appointment with a different adult member of the church who serves as your companion for a few hours).

And before I left on my mission I was sure theres hardly anybody that I'd want to spend that much quality time with. I was moderately confident this was going to be an ordeal to be overcome. So what I was completely and totally unprepared for was how quickly and completely I loved having a companion.

With in a few days of my entering the MTC (Missionary Training Center) I discovered that I could almost feel when I had lost my companion before I was actually aware of it. It was like all of the sudden the little hairs on my neck would raise and I'd look around quickly and the bottom would drop out of my stomach and I'd realize, "Oh Crap! Where'd she go?!" lol. And the peace was restored the second I caught sight of her little blonde head again.

I think thats probably part of why I was so fond of my taller companions. They were so much easier to keep track of in a crowd. lol At one point I was in a threesome (get ur mind out of the gutter, is just when we have an odd number of missionaries so they put 3 of you together instead of two), and they were both little tiny, remarkably speedy girls and I nearly went crazy trying to keep track of them at all times. lol

Thats not to say that companions weren't a challenge. I quickly discovered the truth of one of my favorite companions statement: you love all your companions, but about every single one theres going to be one little thing that makes you crazy. And so often it was something completely and totally stupid, but it made you batty none the less.

On the list of "stupid things" probably the dumbest was the sister who every single morning would make a bowl of some organic concoction and sit and eat it during our hour of personal scripture study. This in itself was not at all unusual. What made me crazy was two things: 1. with every single bite she would bite the spoon and rake her teeth down it and SUCK the spoon clean with a smack. Doesn't sound bad but in the morning silence, it was LOUD. 2. And then, after listening to that for 10 plus minutes, she'd reach the bottom of the bowl. And every single morning, she'd try to scrape up every last molecule of her breakfast with that farking spoon.


I am SO not remotely exaggerating. It was like "SISTER! You're going to dig through the bottom of the friggin bowl! Just take your finger and wipe the bowl and suck it clean! Heck LICK the bowl clean for all I care BUT STOP WITH THE SCRAPING!!!"

I didn't say that, but thats what I thought.

I had another companion, who would not be rushed. if you rushed her, she'd take longer. That was just her thing. And what could be construed as "rushing" was rather ... goofy at times. For example, should I manage to get ready to go before she did in the morning (which was most of the time), I couldn't stand quietly by the door and wait for her. That was "rushing". I needed to put my bag down, and sit. Now this was obnoxious to me because I'm lazy and I don't want to put down my heavy bag and go sit my butt down in a chair for the minute that I have to wait because the bag is heavy and it takes effort to haul my butt back up out of the chair. But no, standing was unacceptable. So I'd sit, preferably in the other room for the minute or two that I waited. It was stupid but it kept the peace.

One of my more vexing situations was a companion, who was otherwise very articulate, but when she didn't like something or was bothered by something, was completely unable to express why. Now this was a problem because with companions you need to be able to sit and talk and discuss things so that you can always be in accord. And it was so amazingly frustrating to me, whens he couldn't tell me why she thought/felt the way she did. You couldn't discuss and be won over by "I don't like it but I don't know why". And its not like she's claiming its one of those "I have a gut feeling that this is a bad idea." That I can respect. It was more like her panties were in a twist and she didn't know why, she just did. Which was frustrating.

Now to be fair, I asked around, and apparently the consensus from my companions was that the thing you had to deal with when you were with Sister Davis was this: Apparently, I'm always right. I find this vexing because to me, no I am not always right and I admit when I am wrong. But, admittedly, it doesn't happen often and I am confident in the knowledge I do have. So I'm not always right, just... most of the time. lol *head desk*

But I did love having a companion and a partner far more than I would have ever given the idea credit in the beginning. In fact, when I came home from my mission one of the single hardest adjustments, that caused me the most anxiety, was being companionless. Don't get me wrong I can and do function perfectly well on my own, its just that for the most part I infinitely prefer to have a companion and partner.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I think I may have found the actual limit of my brain to process inspiration, epiphany, introspection, change and plotting in one day. *shakes head quickly from side to side* Bllllleeehhh! Whoa. I've got that brain melty kinda feeling you get after cramming for a week straight leading up to finals. When you know its time to go do something else.

My mood right now and my mood this morning are so dramatically opposite that its hard to believe its the same day. I was so completely lost, and hurt, and angry this morning. I'm still painfully missing my best friend but I had a long conversation with my Mom this afternoon that lead to several epiphanies that finally lead to my seeing the light and a path and a plan that I feel peaceful about.

I realized that I am broken. I thought that I had given up trying to control an uncontrollable situation and it turns out I hadn't. I'd been making myself insane trying to achieve the impossible - to fix somebody else. And I can't. And I shouldn't try. So I'm going to stop. Completely.

I am going to take care of myself and my baby. I'm going to focus on healing me. I need to remember what it is to feel comfortable and confident standing on my own two feet. I need to be okay with me again. It would be much easier to run to somebody who loves me and let them take care of me but I can't do that.

And so I will stay in the place that I am at for the time being and I will focus on myself. I'm going to work my "how not to be a codependent head case" program.

I also need to feel the pride and security of professional achievement once again. When the economy ate my job, I used my pregnancy as an excuse to not try to find something else. Mostly because I felt like I had some how failed, that I didn't try hard enough.

I have a dream now. I want to make and teach jewelry. I want to have a studio. I decided by the end of my first full day at Vintaj thats what I want to do more than anything else and I'll do whatever I have to do make it happen. My first priority will always be Caleb, but with in the next 6 months to a year he'll be plenty old enough to benefit from a half day preschool which will massively free up my time.

And so I think working towards that professional goal, and focusing on fixing me, will allow me to reach a clear headed peaceful place where I can see clearly to evaluate my situation and make wise decisions.

Kinda massively sucks that I had to completely strip myself of my mental security blankets so that I could clearly see just how much things really do suck and just plain fall to pieces to get to this place, but I'm here now and its a good place. I'm just going to have to work hard to break the habits that got me here and keep moving and I'll be okay.

Growing Up

Somedays I think being a grown up just means they've successfully taught you how to turn your own thumb screws (envision a medieval rack with me here....)

I laugh every time I hear a teenager talk with relish about how excited they'll be to be a grown up and "get to do what they want". ROFL Being a grown up just means you have to kick your own a** up between your ears. And believe me there are days when I really, really wish I had the threat of my mother's wrath to motivate me to do the things I should do.

And what really sucks is when you have to face your own dragons. Sure you can run and hide and stick your fingers in your ears and pretend they're not really out there. Or better yet sit and talk about what you'd do to those dang dragons if you ever got the chance to go toe to toe with them (while making sure you never. actually. do.).

And there are some people who live their whole lives this way.... huddled under the bed with their security blanket, afraid to move. Change sucks. Change hurts. Change is uncomfortable. You can substitute "growth" for "change" in all of those statements. And we humans are nothing if not lazy beast good at avoiding discomfort. We're big fans of trying to slap a band aid on a bullet wound and pretending its really not THAT bad.

But the ultimate truth of it is.... its killing you. Whether you want  to admit it or not, its killing you.

And then comes the decision time, do you stay holed up, hands clamped tight to your bandaid or your security blanket or do you stand, rip it off, see what there really is to see in the bold light of day and chose to fight?

Sometimes the hardest strongest thing is to admit when you've broken. To realize when you can't and shouldn't do it anymore.

And then you realize that what you have to do before you do anything else, is fix you.

All by yourself you have to find healing. You need to learn how to be okay with you again. And once you do that, then you'll take another look around and decide what path you need to take.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Still Breathing

I'm doing a bit better today. I think I managed to make myself believe the "I only get one day to mope" thing for most of the morning which was positive. I'm doing better for the most part with the self flagellation. Not perfect, but better than yesterday.

Doesn't mean everything else is magically better. Just that I'm not actively making it worse. So I'm just focusing on the whole "remember to breathe" thing.

I have managed to do 8 loads of laundry today, and a fair bit of cleaning and organizing so thats positive. Just still trying to wrap my mind around the difference between what I want at any given moment with what I know to be the right thing to do. Its quite obnoxious.

Now if I can just motivate myself to clean the train wreck that is my kitchen we might actually feel that we've made real progress on the house.

And I've been irked to discover that the little cheapy baby monitor that I use so I can keep tabs on the dryer (b/c its outside and I can't hear it when it dings and it annoys me when my clothes get wrinkled) has died. Apparently 3 summers of arizona heat was just too much for it. The receiver I keep in the house is still good but the transponder is dead. Which means I need to make the trek to the big Walmart and go buy another one. At least if I can find the same model then I'll have TWO receivers and can keep one in the bedroom and one in the living room so I don't have to migrate the stupid thing around with me. Thats positive right?

I've quit the online game that I play for various reasons and now I'm faced with this problem: when Caleb is awake and I'm EXTREMELY limited as to what I can do b/c the kid is forever inventing new ways to maim himself with out constant supervision, I'm BORED. Because the kid is adorable, but now I have a distinct lack of people to talk to. SO I'm working on it. I should probably just start reading a new series or something.

At least the kid is dang cute. Today he was playing with the remote for the fan. He usually pretends its a phone. Well he managed to push the right button and the fan beeped and turned on and he like jumped and then stared at it shocked for a minute. And then he carefully placed the remote down on the pillow next to me and backed away slowly. I about died laughing.

Also be warned that I'll probably be blogging too much for a while. Mostly because the boredom leads to thinking which leads to blogging.

Dinosaur Cookies

So I'm not usually a "recipe blogger" but I promised a friend that I would provide a recipe for these cookies and I don't want to forget so I'm just postin' them here.

That said, the cookies come with the following disclaimer: I cannot be held accountable for what happens to your waist line as a result of having this cookie recipe. My mother once banned us from making these cookies because she couldn't stop eating them (we made them anyways and hid them from her).

Dinosaur Cookies

2 cups Crushed Bones (Sugar)
1/2 cup Swamp Water (Milk)
1/2 cup Mud (cocoa powder)
1 Rock (3/4 stick Margarine)
1/2 cup Smashed Bugs (Peanut Butter - I endorse crunchy for this recipe)
1 teaspoon Tar (Vanilla)
3 cups Grass and Leaves (Old fashioned rolled oats)

Mix sugar, milk, cocoa, and margarine in large saucepan over high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add peanut butter and vanilla. Mix well. Add oats and mix. Drop by spoonfuls (I love to use an ice cream scooper for this) on to wax paper. Allow to cool. Enjoy!


I have such mixed feelings about the whole Twilight phenomenon.

On the one hand, I will admit that the first time I read the series, I loved it. I loved the raw emotional power of the writing, the way she grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until its over. The way you feel what it is to fall in love through her words.

I was delighted and I was enraptured.

And then I started discussing the book with other people, and I met people who didn't like the books because they weren't terribly well written (I'm like this is young adult fic yo, get over it) and I met the crowds that FREAK over the whole "sparkly vampire" bit, to which I also respond "Get over it".

But then I hit the groups that can't stand Bella because to be honest Bella might just be a smidgen codependent. I mean the whole Edward leaves and she completely has a break down bit is definitely not going to win her any friends with the feminist crowd.

But by the same token, she's 18. Her reaction is very real. Is it the best and healthiest reaction? No. Should she get over it? Yes. BUT there is such a thing as "broken heart syndrome"; a person can in fact die from a broken heart. Is it pretty? No. Is it the kind of example you want set for your daughters? Probably not. But can you understand it? See it happening? Feel the pain of it? Absolutely.

Oh and theres the whole "She's deserting her friends, family, everything she loves for a guy" thing, which once again is not going to win friends with the women's lib crowd. Of course because this is fiction it all works out. She gets to have her cake and eat it too. She loses nothing and gains everything. Lets take a moment to remember that this book really is fantasy. Sure it comes at the fantasy from the "realistic fiction" angle but we're talking vampires and werewolves and happily ever after where you risk everything on a one in a million shot and of course it works out perfectly.

And I think the fourth and final book might cross the line from "Young Adult Fiction" to "Adult Fiction". I can tell you I don't want my kids reading it until they're at least 16. And also its been my experience that almost everybody I've talked to - if you are less than 20 years old you hated the last book or at the very least it weirded you out. If you're over 20 years old you loved the last book and thought it was absolutely perfect in every way.

So with regards to the books: Do I want Bella to do my parenting for me? No. But is it a fantastic piece of escapist literature? Definitely. Do I enjoy it just a little bit extra because the author is a Mormon woman? Oh yeah.

But then came The Movies.

And yes I know: Never, ever judge a book by its movie. And I know that with very few exceptions the movie is almost never any where near as good as the book. And the first time I saw the first movie I was okay with it. It was not as good as the book but did okay and was more or less as good as I think the movie could be... -ish.

Then came The Abomination (aka The Second Movie). They left out all the good parts, all the humor, all the character development etc. And all you were left with was pure, concentrated, teenage Emo Drama. *gag retch* It was like watching a bad soap opera. I don't do soap operas. It was just painful. And I swore that I'd never pay to see the next two movies in theaters on the grounds that I paid $9 for 2 hours of my life that I can never get back. I'll rent the next two on Netflix so I can shut them off if they're too painful.

I kept watching the The Abomination because it was a train wreck. I just couldn't look away and I kept hoping (vainly) that somehow it was going to get better. That it wasn't really as bad as I thought it was. And then it was over and I was left with the sure knowledge that yes it really was every bit as bad as I thought.

And so because of the lingering pain of The Abomination and the little twinges of my inner feminist weighing on my conscious I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but at the end of the day... Twilight books are still my dirty pleasure.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Word Of Wisdom

I've recently had cause to reflect on the nature of the commandments. Its been a while since I've thought deeply on the challenge I got so often in high school - that my beliefs and the standards associated with living an active, faithful Latter Day Saint lifestyle are constrictive. That some of the "mandates" are just that - mandates. In essence - that obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel cramps my style and limits my personal liberty.

I can tell you here and now that I don't feel that way at all. I feel in my little Ami heart of hearts that the "commandments" are just simple loving advice, from a Heavenly Father who knows and loves me, on how to be happy. If you want to be happy, here is how to live and you will be happy. I see it as the directions. If you want to make a cake, you can't follow the recipe for lasagna. Likewise if you want a happy life, you can't follow the directions to misery.

I think the set of laws/doctrines that most often gets a bad rap is probably the set known in Mormonland as "The Word of Wisdom". For those not fluent in Mormonese that would be the Lord's law of health as set forth in the book The Doctrine and Covenants section 89. (Mormon moment: D&C is a book of scripture written by Joseph Smith that basically contains the bulk of the revelations and directions given to him by the Lord).

The Word of Wisdom has the bad rap b/c its the law that disses the "fun" stuff. Like, alcohol, tobacco and coffee. But its so much more than that. I used to describe it to people, when I was a missionary, as the Users Manual for your body. The Lord made your body and so it stands to reason that the Great Creator would know best how to care for the thing.

I've also selected this law because I think studying it is one of the best ways to focus on the fact that there are no "physical" commandments. They are all ultimately spiritual in nature.

Lemme dissect the thing for you:

The first half of the chapter contains the "Don'ts" and they are namely: Alcohol, coffee, black tea, tobacco and illegal drugs. If you need me to elaborate on why illegal drugs are bad for your body, go find a DARE officer of whatever they're calling them now days. For tobacco I refer you to The Truth ( and I'd like to note that this revelation was given roughly 100 years before the rest of us caught on that tobacco kills people).

Coffee and tea, I believe, are there principally for their addictive qualities, although I'm sure that the tannins (read: stuff you use to tan leather) can't be good for the stomach either. But I think it has to do with spiritual sensitivity and communication. The Lord needs you to be able to hear and respond to him, regardless of if you've had your morning cup of Joe yet and I know LOTS of people that can't see straight, and can barely breathe on their own with out at least 2 cups of coffee. How can you possibly hear the still small voice of the Spirit when you can't see past your own nose because your body is so enslaved to these chemicals?

And lastly, alcohol. Such a double edged sword. There are those who argue its benefits - improved heart health, a non-habit forming (in SMALL doses) relaxant at the end of a long day. But I would think on this: the Law of Chastity (NO sexual relations except with your husband or wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded) and how the Lord is deadly serious about it being followed. I am not even going to touch right now on all the reasons why THAT'S a good thing b/c it would be a book. But I can tell you for dang sure that I know that if I EVER touched alcohol as a teen and young adult I would NEVER have made it to my wedding day a virgin.

I had to white knuckle hold the reins on my hormones enough times that I know that if I had had the least encouragement to let go of my inhibitions I would never, ever have managed to obey the law of chastity.

Now I'm sure that there are other people who are FAR far better than me who could manage both with ease. I'm not one of them. And I'm sure that there are others like me and so the Lord gave me this law (the Word of Wisdom) knowing that I needed it. Knowing that in order for me to keep this far more important law (law of chastity), I NEEDED to obey this one first (no booze).

The second section of the Word of Wisdom is the "Do's" namely - do eat fruits, vegetables and herbs, eat meat sparingly and make whole grains the base of your diet. It advocates moderation in all things. Sounds remarkably like what most nutritionists would tell you to do.

The final section of the law is the promised blessings. The Lord doesn't give any commandment except he tells you WHY you should do this thing. In fact He goes so far elsewhere in scripture as to state that all blessings are based on obedience to the law upon which they are predicated. So here are the blessings that the Lord sets out for obedience to this law: that you shall have health, and endurance. That you shall have wisdom and knowledge and that you will be protected from harm.

For those who don't think "health and endurance" sounds spiritual, you've never had to try to maintain your patience with a toddler all day long. If Mommy isn't feeling good, if she's tired and crabby, I quickly become far less than the loving, patient, caring Mommy I should be. And I believe that love, compassion and patience are all very, very much spiritual gifts.

So thats my two cents (okay probably slightly more than 2 cents worth. Shut up) on the subject.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Random thoughts # 5879

I expressed some concerns this evening with a group of friends about a problem I've been facing and about my anxiety with regards to a decision I have before me.

And a friend responded with a circituitous answer by discussing how she made her decision in a similar circumstance. A friend of hers asked her: "Well other than X situation are A and B good or bad?" And since both A and B were positive, my friend decided to stick around and deal with X, with the proviso that she was only there as long as both A and B were positive.

And I've been pondering how this applies to me and my situation. And all I can get right now is that B is definitely positive. I can't fault B. But A is more... mediocre. In SOME areas its good, but in most its blah to crappy. BUT most of the crappy is because of X. So in theory if X gets better then so will A.

So I don't know what to do with that. I really don't. Especially since I wonder about an alternate path which would in theory involve a complete absence of X, and a glowingly positive A and B, but with the some what scary possibility of a lack of Y. Y is both very easily remedied and not remotely easy.

And none of this is really being helped by my current serious hankering for some very positive A type interaction. Makes it hard to see clearly for the want.


Life really can't ever be easy can it?

In other news I'm up to 23 pounds lost which is a BIG yay b/c I wasn't really even trying for the last 3. And I had a great time with Bre this evening experimenting w/ the new faux enameling technique. She did good!

OH and I invented a potato salad recipe that makes me VERY happy. I've tried several and none like did it for me. And so I sort of eye balled it, and measured as I added stuff and wrote it down immediately afterwards and so TAH DAH! I have Ami's Potato Salad. Yes, I know the name is just... so inspiring.

In other random thought trains I like my hair. Its soft and thick and pretty and makes me happy when it behaves.

And I've decided to begin my procrastination and anxiety de-crapping of the house for the holidays. My hope is that if I start now and work slowly one little chunk at a time then by the time my folks come to visit in December I should be good and not have to spend the whole week before they come in a frantic hellish cleaning frenzy. Thats the plan anyways. We'll see how it goes.

My first objective is the dining room. Its badly out of hand, again. I think I'm going to come at it from a slightly different angle this time and attempt to organize the beads FIRST - making them a temporary/semi permanent fixture of my dining room for the time being because they keep eating my dining room alive. That and the mail. *sigh*

But should I be like smashingly successful at getting the whole house organized well in advance of my parents trip I could maybe do something exciting to celebrate like paint the living room or reupholster the dining room chairs or refinish the kitchen cabinets or something that will make me super ultra uber happy. Who knows? The possibilities are endless.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Who am I: Why I Believe

Yes I know I've been terribly religious lately. Get over it or go else where. If you haven't noticed I tend to work on a theme until I chew my way through it and get bored. Then I move on. This is where we are right now.

I keep trying to figure out what angle to come at this topic by. I feel I need to go into it for reasons I don't know yet exactly but I feel strongly its what I need to write about, tho this post is liable to take a few drafts to get right. 

I believe in God because I know He is there. 

I know it as surely as I know the sun will rise in the east tomorrow and that my Momma loves me. And I know that no matter what happens I cannot deny my sure knowledge. I'd be lying if I did. 

You can say that I was socialized to some sort of group hysteria by my religious upbringing. Please go right ahead and feel what you want. The point of this post isn't to convince anybody or start an argument. I just feel the need to share what I know to be true. 

I was 14 and I was suicidal. I didn't want to die, but I couldn't live like that anymore. The pain, the despair, the total isolation. The body that seemed to have its own mind and I was locked in a cage in the back of my mind watching myself do things and screaming and beating against the bars and I couldn't get out and I couldn't stop and I couldn't be me

I had a plan. I was going to write a note and take a whole bottle of pills (probably Tylenol cuz Mom had those giant bottles of them from the discount store) and time it for just about an hour before dinner. So that hopefully I'd be passed out but they could find me before it was too late and .... somehow this would save me. 

They'd taken me to "therapy" with some nut job that saw me like a half dozen times but declared me "well" and that just made me even more hopeless because now therapy hadn't worked. So I had no idea what the solution was, but I couldn't live like this anymore. 

The two things keeping me from enacting the plan were as follows: I was scared to death I would actually die (what if they forgot to get me for dinner, that had never happened but it might!). And if I actually died that would cause 2 problems: 1. It would hurt my parents. I knew it would break their hearts and I couldn't bear that thought. 2. I believed that God would punish me if I took my own life and I couldn't quite justify being miserable for all eternity vs being miserable now. (My opinions on that subject have evolved some since then but that's neither here nor there and probably a really good thing I thought that way at the time...). 

And so there I was, in so much pain I couldn't see straight. I felt powerless and hopeless, and completely and totally alone. 

And I remember one night, one horribly bad night, I was alone in my room and this poster I had on my wall just captivated me. It was a picture of Christ and it was captioned "You are never alone. I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." 

And I sobbed and I stared at the picture when I could and I started praying. I explained to my Heavenly Father that I had never in my life felt more alone and I just couldn't do this anymore. I had to know if I was alone or not because if I was I couldn't do this anymore and this was going to have to be it. 

And it was then, in truly my darkest hour ever that I suddenly felt peace. I felt love. I felt like I was being wrapped up in a big warm hug and my tears changed from the wracked sobs of grief and pain to tears of joy and happiness. I could keep breathing. I could exist. It was all going to be okay because I was not alone and God loved me

It was probably the single most glorious experience of my entire life. 

I could not have felt His presence any more clearly than if a friend walked up and gave me a bear hug right now. From that day on I have never, ever had any doubt that there is a God. That He is a real, personal, living Father in Heaven, who knows, loves and cares about me. 

I was humbled to the core of my soul. Grateful and honored and shocked that somebody like me merited such love. He was REAL and He loved ME. And it was going to be okay. 

And it was... I think it was shortly after that that my gym teacher caught me smashing my head into a locker (if you hit your head hard enough you don't have to feel for a while, that and the other kids thought it was a great party trick) and for some strange reason she was concerned and sent me to the school counselor who listened for a bit and then called the district psychologist who listened for a few hours, who then called my Mom and explained very carefully that if she didn't get me help right now things were going to be bad. And she referred us to some amazing non-quack people - a psychiatrist who got the brain working right (so that THIS neuron fires into THAT receptor likes its supposed when I tell it to and only when I tell it to) and a psychologist who gave me the tools to heal once the brain could even work right. 

I think before that night I was mostly a social conversion. I'd been raised and taught these things by my parents. But since that night, my faith is mine. I believe because I know. 

There are times I wish I could touch a person and make them feel what I feel, because if I could share that feeling it would knock you flat on your butt and you too could know. But thats not how it works and I don't think it would be right even if I could do it.... with knowledge comes accountability.... 

I can list a few dozen other reasons "why I believe" but as I think on them I think what they really are is reasons why I'm grateful I believe. This is the real reason. Its been reinforced, powerfully, many times since that night. But this is the start, the flame that still burns. 

For the record I'm not sure I've shared this with more than one or two people my whole life until now. And yet I feel strongly that now is the right time to share it with the whole internet. This is a little piece of my heart. One of the core pieces that makes me who I am and altered the whole course of my existence. 

Please be kind. This is sacred to me. 

ps - who knew? This is the first draft....

I was doing it wrong!!

So I think I may have had an epiphany this evening. A big one. Also had a different one this morning but I'll call that more of an inspiration. Cuz it was fairly straight forward and easy to comprehend. We'll go with "epiphany" for this evening because we're still wrapping our mind around it and chewing on it and so I'm going to ramble but I THINK I may have figured out something big. (Fair warning this is my chewing through an idea so the thought train is liable to be circular and repetitive. Suck it up or go some place else).

Because in case you haven't caught the subtle undertone the last few months I've got some crapola stuff going on in my life and I'm not ready yet to spill the beans with the whole internet (and who knows maybe keeping it vague allows you to better relate it to your own life and struggles??... Thats a nice thought anyways....) but I think I had my "DOH!" moment tonight.

Whole point of my last post - if you're not happy you're doing it wrong. Well, I've definitely been very LESS than happy of late so clearly I must have been doing something wrong. (Yes I'm slow and should have caught this one a while back BUT whatever. Shut up).

I got it wrong. I went back and I reread things tonight and I realized I kinda missed a core principle (me = genius). I thought my healing would somehow involve being healed either with or with out the other person. So I didn't want to let myself get healed in either direction until I knew what the other person was going to do (way to hand over my agency *thwacks self in head*) because I couldn't stand the thought of letting my poor little Ami heart get all half healed up again and then smashed into little bitty pieces. Again.

We just couldn't do that. Not again. And so to try to reclaim some control I set a dead line. I need action, real action by X or, or, well, lets just not get to X, Okay??! And I've been agonizing over what the other person would do and what I would do if we did get to X and the change hadn't happened. B/c what if I got it wrong. This is big friggin important stuff here. And I've got a, b, and c huge major consequences riding on it. How will I know?!! What if I'm wrong?!!!

I knew the Lord could heal everything. And I thought thats what the "hope" part meant. "Hope" it will all get better and trust that the Lord CAN fix it. And I despaired because "Yes the Lord CAN fix anything BUT what if the other person won't LET HIM??" Christ is the perfect gentleman, he'll never force anything.

And thats been my agony and my thought chasing round and round in my head. Paired with a healthy dose of "I can't life like this for much longer" and but what about A, B and C?? Those are BIG consequences.

But I read it wrong. My healing doesn't have to be one way or the other. My healing, my happiness is completely and totally independent of the other person's choices. I can trust and be healed regardless. I can trust my God and be healed NOW.

I can be happy, joyous and peaceful regardless. God knows me, He knows what I need to be happy. If I need to leave the situation to Him, the Lord will tell me when and where to go or not and I can trust in my God and be at peace with the decision.

My healing and my happiness is in Christ. I will be lead to my happiness and whether that is here or there I will know. It won't break my heart either way because I will know the path is right. I will know that God loves all the people involved far more perfectly than I do and they are HIS children and He will take care of them.

I thought I had to pick the path. I was wrong. I have to pick Christ and HE will put me on the right path and walk with me the whole way. The fear that I'll get it wrong can be gone. I just have to follow Christ.

Yes I should probably know this already. For all you enlightened people who are going "Uh, DUH slow poke" shut up. Genius here has to learn the hard way sometimes. Repeatedly. But I think I got it this time. :D

Now the goal is to remember it. Again.

Also we bit the bullet and looked at the next section. The scary section. And not only was it much less scary than we thought it was going to be, we had a bit of a revelation that took away the big part of the scary so we think we can face going there now. Previously I may have declared myself healed and not needing to go forward b/c I'm all better now thankyouverymuch rather than face the next, uber scary section. But I think the fear is gone. I was trying to obliquely do the next section with out DOING the next section as it was. I think now we might just have what we need to go for the gusto! :D

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Happiness

My thoughts on happiness, joy, agency, avoiding codependence and my goal of not turning into a bitter old hag. I will get religious at points in this post, I'm sorry, you don't have to read it. But for me, this is how I find joy. 

I am that I might have Joy.

There is a scripture in The Book of Mormon: "Adam fell that men might be. Men are that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:25). I'm going to ignore the doctrine of the first statement in favor of focusing on the second half of the verse. 

Men are that they might have Joy

I would of course encourage you to modify this to personalize it: Women are that they might have joy or better yet: I am that I might have JOY. 

I'd seen and read that scripture SO many times growing up I cannot even begin to keep track of how many times I've seen it. But I am not sure that I ever really had it sink in until I think it was my senior year of high school (the beginning of the end of my doormat phase) when I heard a talk that basically explained what this scripture really meant: 

The whole POINT of being here is to HAVE JOY. If you're NOT having joy, you're doing it wrong. 

So any time you start to realize that your life has lost its joy. That you're not happy, then stop. Take a look and reevaluate what is going on because that is not the point of the program. You're doing it wrong. Its possible that something is being done wrong to you, in which case you need to seek help to get out of the situation. 

But the important and empowering point of the verse that I walked away with was this: The point is to have Joy. Therefore, God will always make a way for me to choose to have that joy. I just have to choose to get on the path.

Knowing what I don't want

There is a woman I know, who I will strive to leave anonymous, who is one of the most bitter, unhappy people I know. I've long had occasion to interact with this person and while I do care deeply for her, I've discovered that not spending that much time around her is a good thing for my mental health. 

And I will admit that for years I judged her harshly. I sometimes find I still do. I would see her actions and the hurt and discontent she carried with her constantly and felt the need to share with those around her and wondered what the heck her witch problem was. But in recent years I've learned more of her history and I will admit it was sobering. And made her much more a figure for my pity than my anger. (But note that I still refuse to accept the sh*t buckets she hands out. Just because I know why does not make it okay). 

I once saw a video of this person from many, many years ago. And for those of us whose only familiarity with the subject was that of the bitter harpy she has become it was a drop jaw shocking experience to see this woman laughing. She was so light hearted and happy and blissful she was nearly unrecognizeable. I looked up and saw her son with tears streaming down his face and the looks of shock on those who hadn't known her then and I mourned the death of the smiling happy woman. 

Some of the hurt that created this situation was out of her control. But so much of it was not. And there were choices made by the individual that only hurt things further. And now I'm not sure she even knows what it is to be happy anymore. How to feel that sensation. 

And so one of my goals is to not let that happen to me, to refuse to allow myself to be come bitter and hardened and unhappy and miserable. I don't want my son to see video of me and weep for the loss of that happy woman. I want him to maybe shed a tear of joy over a happy memory and then give me a hug and be delighted for many more years of continued happy memories. 

I have learned in whatsoever state I am, there with to be content.

I came across a scripture on my mission: "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Phil 4:11 and I was lead to this verse while in the middle of what was by far my most difficult assignment as a missionary. It was the life line I needed in the situation so I wrote that verse up on several cards and placed them in spots where I would see them regularly. 

Looking back now and the difficulty of the situation, I appreciate the humor. lol. I have some dang good mission stories from the situation that are definitely unique. It was intense, it was hard, it was occasionally unfun and down right uncomfortable and it so easily could have been miserable. 

But what it was, was JOYFUL. 

And it was joyful because I chose for it to be. My favorite companion on my mission used to say that she had no control over another persons actions. They have their agency, their freedom to chose for themselves. The only thing she could control was her reactions. I am so grateful that I had nearly a year between being given that revelation and going through the challenge of this assignment where I had to put it into use. I think I needed the time to chew on the concept and let it really sink in. 

But don't think that I'm so great and wonderful that I managed that miracle all by myself because I so didn't. By this point in my mission I was really learning what it meant to fully rely on God because I was so done. I didn't want to be. I loved my mission with all my heart and I would have stayed in the field an extra 6 months if they would have let me. I even requested an extension, which the Lord turned down. Mentally I was raring to go, but physically my body was done. 

The pace of a mission is grueling. Your one "day off" a week is really 8 hours long and consists of having to cram into that time frame all the things like laundry, shopping, email, writing home, washing the car, cleaning the apartment etc that you don't do the rest of the week because you're working. I honestly don't know how the guys serve for 24 months. Maybe they just don't work as hard. Because my goal was to take the talk titled "Go home on a stretcher" (basically give your all) literally and I dang near made it. lol. 

So add that level of intense, complete physical exhaustion to a companion situation that was definitely not the ideal and I discovered how to really allow my God to carry me. Because the big thing about the mission is this: You're with a companion, who you probably never met before, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and your goal is to do the work of the Lord. In order to achieve the goal you have to have the Holy Spirit with you to guide you. And any feelings of contention between companions will drive the Spirit away. So, if you don't get along, you can't do the work and dissing the work is not acceptable. Therefore you have to figure out how to get along, how to forgive, how to love your companion no matter what. Because you only get one shot at this. While you're there you are responsible for the salvation of every soul in your area. And I for one would never, ever forgive myself if I did anything other than my dead level best. 

So it was then I discovered the truth of the words "I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content," because I did. I was happy. I was joyful. And my God made it possible. When the stress and the hurt and the anger of dealing with these two sweet sisters, who both had some serious personal challenges got to be too much I would pour my heart out to Him and He would answer. Something would change, or fall in place or I would simply feel better. We didn't convert the whole world, far from it. But I know in that time and that place, that was the work that He would have me do. And I did it and loved it. 

Happiness is a choice

So basically the sum of my soapbox on happiness is this: its a choice. You can choose to be happy regardless of the circumstance. That said, given that you cannot control another persons actions, if they are doing something that you cannot abide, and you've done all the big kid things like try to talk to them about it etc, then the choice becomes yours: stay and find a way to like it, or leave. 

And a side note: that doesn't mean you have to love and be happy over the really crappy stuff all the time. There are times when you do need to sit down and take a moment to recognize that something sucks, thats unfair, that its just plain a bummer. Wallow for a minute and then decide how you're going to choose to react and move on. 

I would also point out that just because you've done something (be it work, school, relationship, habit, whatever) for the last 20 years/seconds/months/days does not mandate that you continue to do the thing for one second longer if there is something else out there that can make you happier. (Though I will temper this advice with the adage to take an extra second and make sure you're not throwing the baby out with the bathwater). 

Dare to be happy. Dare to find joy. Dare to do the uncomfortable thing and change. Sometimes you have to do some painful pruning to get the really beautiful roses. But the choice is always yours, therefore:

Choose Happiness.

Note: If you are unable to choose happiness, if your body refuses to respond, if you feel you cannot control your emotions there is help. I, myself, suffer from depression. This neuron does not fire into that receptor like its supposed when I tell it to and only when I tell it to. Once I got medication to regulate that big grey organ they call my brain, then I was able to choose happiness for myself. There is help. There is hope. Find the joy. 

My Brain is Full

I'm not even sure which direction to start talking in tonight. I've got like a million different thought trains and they're all getting more than slightly snarled up and crossed over and I can't seem to pick just one.

Maybe if I try to come up with a lists of topics to cover I can then start using that as a guide for a series of posts because honestly some of these will be longer, some will be shorter but either way its gonna be more than any one post can handle.

1. I wanna talk about why I believe in God.
2. I wanna focus on the importance of knowing yourself and having a clear and accurate picture of who you really are.
3. I need to talk my way thought some deep and complicated conversations I've had recently and try to feel my way through how I feel about the conversations because right now I've got things all tied up and backwards.
4. I want to reevaluate a decision I made recently and inquire further about which path exactly I should take.
5. My thoughts on happiness, joy, agency, avoiding codependence and my goal of not turning into a bitter old hag.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vintaj The Photos: Part 1

I'll post pictures of the town of Galena next but I think this photo post of just the jewelry is going to take up PLENTY of space. Here's what I made! Enjoy!

(For the record all of the metal components are hand finished by Vintaj Natural Brass. I am not YET a full blown metal smith).

These are in no particular order because doing that in blogger would take wayyyyyy the frick too long.

This medallion is an altered blank that was run through the cuttlebug to emboss it, then I used pearl acrylic paint dabbers and alcohol inks and topped it with Ice Resin.

And this is a phototransfer on to an altered blank. I then topped  it with Ice Resin (LOVE that stuff) and wrapped the piece in filigree.

Here's the flip side:

This is a picture I cut out, edged w/ acrlic dabbers, glued in and sealed with Matte Medium and the topped with the charm embedded in the resin.

This is an image transfer done onto pink acrylic paint and yet again resin topped and filigree wrapped.

And the back side:

This is a rub on image, and alcohol inks on bare brass and topped with resin.

The rear piece was my texturing hammer practice that I didn't quite like the way it turned out. And the front plate was me learning to rivet (I can rivet!! *bows*) and the charm was my briolette wrapping practice. :D

If this dragonfly wrapped around the donut looks familiar it was on the cover of one of the big beading magazines like 2 years back. I think its seriously cool.

And here's the flip side:

Another cut out image with matte medium. I just LOVE the way this one turned out. I think the charms just make it.

This is a filigree wrapped around a czech crystal stone. This was the BIGGEST booger to do because theres a couple of weak points in the filigree that will SNAP if you torque it wrong. This was my THIRD try. But hey.... I did it!!

  I love that this is completely reversable: 

Practicing various wire wrapping techniques. 

I did this during open studio for my sister. Those are my nieces names. I'm gonna make this into a necklace I think. I made the flowers from a bead cap I flattened and riveted in place and colored w/ paint dabbers and alcohol inks. 

 I absolutely LOVE this piece. This is another embossed blank and I just think the colors are perfect and I love the butterfly filigree wrap.

This was the first embossed blank I altered. I think I turned out pretty dang good if I do say so myself.

This is an image transfer onto raw brass with charm embedded in the resin. 

This metal is called Arte Metal and is Vintaj's latest release. It was fun to get to play with. Has DEFINITE potential.

 And this little figural wrapping is the coup de gras. He was a royal pain to work with because the brass was MUCH thicker and harder to form to the cabochon and you really didn't want to chink the turquoise. BUT it worked and I did it! And this was my very first try!