Friday, November 30, 2012

Serenity Saturdays

I've decided that I really, really don't want to live my life stressed, even if I have a lot going on. So I have a new strategy! For the month of December my dear friend Jenna and I are going to be doing a Serenity Project. And I would love it if you guys would join us! Especially as the holidays are upon us and it is so easy to get swept up in frustration, anxiety and commercialism. I think that this is going to help me really focus on what is important during the Christmas season: Christ, love and family.

Here's what we are doing:

  • 10 minutes of meditation every day. That is 10 minutes of breathing in, and breathing out. Eyes closed, empty your mind and just breathe. As part of my meditation I recite my mantra. 

"Let it go. I am enough. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am loved. Let it go."
I repeat this, and any other "I am's" I need to hear over and over and over again. Feel free to steal mine or create your own, or just breathe.

  • Yoga - if you haven't done yoga before that is ok. You can just stretch and try to relax your body. If you have done yoga before and you don't have a lot of time, try doing just a few sun salutations. (I do three sun salutations before I meditate, which happens right before I go to bed.) If would like to do yoga, don't have a lot of money or a place that offers it near by here are my FAVORITE yoga dvds. These are incredible. The woman who does them is Ashley Turner. And She. Is. Awesome. (and no, I am not being paid to endorse her or anything). Below are some links if you would like to buy some of her DVD's. They are no more than $10.00
    • Yoga For Weightloss - This DVD is amazing. It might be for weightloss, but it is like a therapy session. You learn so much about yourself, and you let go of so much junk too. This is my favorite. It is about 45:00 minutes long. (if you want to lose weight while you do this, I managed to lose and keep off quite a bit of weight while doing this.)
    • Power Yoga if you are a newly budding yogi do not attempt this quite yet. This one is TOUGH. But I love it.It is around an hour long, and you will sweat and hold positions for so long that you'll think your hair just grew an inch.
    • Yoga for Stress Relief & Flexibility - this one is perfect for beginners or anyone needing to really let go and bbrrrreeeeaaaaattthhhhe. You can do the Stress Relief part (only fifteen minutes) or the Flexibility part (also only 15 minutes) or you can do them together. Either way, it is just the best.
  • Journaling - I think it is so important to just write out how we are feeling. Sometimes, when I start to write about how I am stressed/angry/sad/frustrated/irritated I can find out what is really causing the problem. Other times I feel that as I empty my worries and frustrations out onto the page I no longer have to carry them with me. They have been deposited into the bank. It doesn't make them go away all the time, it just makes it so much easier to handle. You can journal about anything you want. I know most of us blog, but what this exercise is for is to really let off steam. Nothing is off limits, no one is going to read it. Write what you want. Write what you need to. 

If you can't do all three, no worries! Do what YOU need to do. Do what YOU want to do. BUT if you only do one thing, pretty, pretty, pretty please meditate. Do it right before bedtime, or when you first wake up. Give yourself a few minutes of simply being - without stressing or worrying or kids or husbands or work. Just  be you.

Every Saturday you can report back here for Serenity Saturday. You can link up your post about what has worked for you, how you feel about it, what has changed and anything else you do to help maintain your mental health and happiness (or whatever you really want to do).

All I ask is that you link back here! You can take a Serenity Saturday button if you'd like (I took that picture myself, so I am quite proud of it.) I won't ask you to follow me, unless you want too that is, but I sure would appreciate it!

If it gets going and people like it, we can keep going even after December!

Tomorrow I will have the link up ready, and you can start it off by telling us how you plan on creating serenity in your life.

I hope you join us! I can't wait to hear about your journey.

(Linking up with: Faith Filled FridayFriday Favorite ThingsThat Friday Blog HopWomanhood With a PurposeWeekend Blog HopFeed Me Friday, Friday Chaos, High Five for Friday, Friendly Friday Blog Hop)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Woulda Look at that Gift?!

So, a week ago today was my birthday! And it was a great, wonderful, fantastic day! (And it was also Thanksgiving). So I thought that I would show you guys some of my wonderful presents. I did not get pictures of all of them (yet!) but here are a few:

My wonderful friend Ashley MADE this for me. Like... from scratch. Talk about talent (and patience!)

Adorable, right?! Now I have a good place for all my jewelry. I've known this girl since I was 13 and she has excellent taste, and she is hilarious. I love her oodles!

Yet another wonderful gift (that can hang on my jewelry holder above!) was from my sweet sister-in-law Julianne. I have been wanting one of these for weeks, and she totally surprised me with it!

My husband totally spoiled me this year with new clothes (YES!) and one of my favorites was this really nice dress from Down East Basics.

Sorry about the horrible "picture in the mirror" thingy...

My sister-aunt (we grew up like sisters, shared a room for several years and her kids call me "Aunt Nini") knows my weakness for office supplies. How amazing is this?!

My dad gave me some awesome gifts (among them, canned food, grape juice and fuzzy socks. All inside jokes and they were awesome!) But the best one was the movie Brave. He says he gave it to me because "I always do what I want, no matter what anyone else thinks." Thanks dad!

He wrapped it in a large, deceiving box!

You see that amazing artwork in the background of the above picture? My little siblings/cousins made it for me. They spent hours working on it (much to the adults satisfaction, they could make Thanksgiving dinner in peace!).

I love these kids like crazy. (the blondies are my little sisters)

Yay for new things! I officially have a One Wish Short... of Paradise facebook page! Go check it out, give it a like if you'd like (see what I did there?) You can also follow me on twitter. And I am looking for people who want to do some ad/post swaps (you don't have to do a post swap to do an ad swap). So if you're interested, let me know :) (Also, if you have a cause you are really passionate about, let me know! I would love to create more awareness for it.)

(Linking up with: It's Almost Friday Thursday Blog HopBlack Tag DiariesFirst Day Of My LifePretty Little InspirationsLink and MingleIt's Ok ThursdayFriendly FridayLovely Little Whimsy, Embrace the Camera, Currently)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

22 for 22

Guys, this is going to be EPIC.

Are you ready? I kinda stole an idea from Kaileigh @ Somehow Chaotic (thanks girl!).

So here is what's going to happen: I have 22 goals to accomplish before I turn 23. 22 for 22. Got it? I am really excited about these goals. Since making them I have started to feel more motivated and alive and excited! (too cheesy? I thought so... but it is how I feel, so we'll just have to deal)

As each goal is crossed off the list I will write about it and give you an update! You can check back to this post whenever you want to know where I am at. Feel free to come along for the ride. You can work on some of my goals, create your own or just cheer me on (I love me some cheering!).

So here we go.

My 22 Goals
  1. Read at LEAST 22 new books (Half of which have to be Classics)
  2. See the Grand Canyon
  3. GRADUATE!!!
  4. Run a 10K
  5. Take yoga classes for at least 3 months consecutively.
  6. Go to at least 5 new museums/art galleries.
  7. Finish my story.
  8. Learn how to make horchata (really, really good horchata)
  9. Crochet something useful/pretty.
  10. Go on a girls-only road trip.
  11. Go dancing with my hubby.
  12. Get a short story "published" (in print or on a website)
  13. 22 outings/visits with friends.
  14. Get a cat (this one is VERY important).
  15. Learn how to hula (not hula hoop, the dance).
  16. Make a quilt.
  17. Take a self defense class.
  18. Learn to ski.
  19. Go outdoor rock climbing.
  20. Go camping (more than once!)
  21. Watch 5 movies in French WITHOUT subtitles, and understand them.
  22. Get a massage.

I am taking suggestions for what books I should read (I've got a pretty big list, but I love to hear your suggestions!). I will be publishing this list as a page and will add to it when I can.

I am so excited for this journey! It is going to be a fun year. What goals do you have for yourself?

Also, because this was perfect timing on T-Swizzle's part:

(linking up with: followers to friends, What I'm Loving Wednesday, Whatenver, Whenever, So What)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

That One Time I had to Job Hunt

Hi Friends! 

I wrote the following post a few years back when I was desperately searching for a job for MONTHS. In my desperation, this is what I wrote. A dear friend of mine is on the job hunt (Go Ashley! I believe in you!) and so I thought I would share what I have learned about finding a job...

Filling out job applications is the ultimate test in optimism. Especially when it is your seventeenth or eighteenth application. I think my optimism runs out after the third or fourth “the position has been filled, we picked somebody else” email or phone call. After ten or so it's just an automatic reaction. “They're hiring? Ok, I'll fill out the application even though I know they'll just say no.” After the twentieth one it becomes something of an obsession. You end up saying to yourself, “The twenty-fifth time's the charm!” while scribbling away with your pen and thinking about adding a comic to the back to show them that you have a “great personality” 

When you realize that you're down to a dollar and you don't have any one whom you haven't already hit up for a loan, the job application process becomes your last hope. Filling out that application feels like running the last mile in a marathon, or pushing to the top of Mount Everest. You really don't want to have to explain about that three month gap when you decided to become a painter, or that two week job that didn't work out because your boss wanted someone prettier. You sigh over having to list references, hoping that if they are contacted they won't bring up the fact that you owe them money so "it would be great if you got a job so they could get paid back." 

Emotionally, filling out job applications tends to be about as much fun as being thrown on the rack. But let us not forget the actual mental and physical torment as well. I don't know about you, but I always have a hard time remembering the exact dates of when I worked where. So filling out an application is always a wonderful game of, “I'm pretty sure it was the nineteenth because I bought that shirt with my first paycheck and that was on the twenty-sixth.” 

And then there is the game of phone numbers. Now, I try to be an organized person. I have several business cards in my wallet that help with the filling out process, however what are you supposed to do when the company went bankrupt and you aren't sure where your old employer is? For all you know, they could be hiding out in Cuba. And as for addresses, sometimes I guess. I remember that there was this sweet little diner on the corner of First East, and that my job was half way down the block so that would mean it was at 150 East, right? At least it was in that general vicinity. 

I remember that once I had this notebook with all of this information in it. I also have a resume with various pieces of information helpfully put where you can't miss it. Sadly, neither seem to be around when an application has been placed before me. Sometimes you'll be out for a drive, desperately scanning the many business for a “Help Wanted” sign when you actually spot one. Now when you left the house, you really didn't think there was much of a chance, so you didn't come prepared. And now you have an opportunity to pick up an application and fill it out on the spot, and you have to start guessing as to where that dry cleaning store you worked at in college was really located. 

The worst part, hands down, is the part where they want you to explain why you're the best pick for the job. Now, if you're like me, you'd rather not have to explain why you are so awesome because you know, that in reality, you're not much of a hot shot. So you have to try to play up the fact that you enjoy watching people make fools of themselves, stating instead that you “enjoy helping others”. You have to make your strange obsession with pens, post it notes and paper clips sound like you are office oriented. And when it comes to standing out, you don't want to tell them that you have a collection of old books printed in a year ending in seven, but that you enjoy all that the world has to offer in terms of entertainment and learning. 

When it comes down to it, filling out a job application is really another learning experience. What you learn is up to you. I've learned that it is best to not fill one out in crayon, never list old boyfriends as references and when they ask you what your greatest asset is never, ever say that you have the ability to lick your elbow. They just might ask to see you do it, and I don't perform well under pressure.

I just wanted to let y'all know that I am looking for people to do ad swaps/post swaps with me. If you're interested, feel free to email me. 

(Linking up with: Tell me TuesdayLoving LatelyGFCSocial Stack Up, Tell Me About It Tuesday)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Not a Scrooge

I have so much to tell you guys! Like, what happened on my birthday/Thanksgiving, our fun little service opportunity on Saturday, my outing with a friend and so much more!

Unfortunately, I am in crazy-woman mode. And it isn't for hormones this time either. The holidays are upon us, and while everyone is celebrating and decorating (I wish I was one of those people... but that ain't gonna happen this year), I am pretty much drowning in work, work, work. Christmas means lots of orders to process, people to talk to, messages to reply too.... And it also means the end of the semester ( SO MUCH HOMEWORK!!!!)

Needless to say, I am wondering if there was any sanity on sale Black Friday and I missed it?

Don't get me wrong, I am excited for the holidays. I love Christmas music, decorations and this is the one time of year I can tolerate snow. I guess I am just fighting hard to stay afloat (I have so much laundry that needs folding, on top of everything else!), and when you are trying to not drown it is hard to get into the holiday spirit.

Don't worry, I will. It probably won't happen until December 18th (the day after the semester ends). But that is better than nothing!

I feel almost Scrooge-ish with all these blogs/pictures/tweets about Christmas trees and how much everyone loves this time of year. I envy the happy faces around the bright Christmas tree, the hot chocolate being shared and stories being read. I was getting depressed at my own lack of joy, when I realized that most of these people are in a completely different stage in life. I'm sure when I have little ones I will be working overtime to make sure they have happy memories of Christmas time. So it is ok that right not I am working overtime to stay on top of work and school. After all, this part of life isn't going to last long. Right?! (Everyone agree with me, or I might cry.)

So I am saying, "Hello!" to a ton of work, a lot of motivation, a little sleep and a lot of hope, faith, sweat and tears that I'll make it through this in one piece. The rest of you, enjoy your holiday happiness! I'll join you in a few weeks.

(Linking up with: Monday Meet UpMake It Pretty MondayMingle MondayHello Monday)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Isn't this time of year just a little crazy? I wish it wasn't. I mean... I love the family time, the good food and seeing people, but I wish it wasn't stressful. I think that is one of the reasons I try to get my Christmas shopping done as far in advance as humanly possible.

But that isn't what I want to talk about. 

What I want to talk about is my birthday!

I LOVE my birthday. I think it should be a national holiday. Sadly, this year it is a national holiday. Only it is a holiday about being grateful, and pilgrims and eating yourself sick... and it is my birthday. I was actually born on Thanksgiving day (my poor mother). It has been on my birthday several times since then (and every single time, my mom has been in the hospital or just released from the hospital. I am watching her like a hawk (Do you hear me mother?! NO HOSPITAL TRIPS THIS YEAR!!!!)

That's my mom, in the blue :) (Obviously)

As a Thanksgiving baby I feel like it is part of my calling to be as grateful as possible for everything. I am horrible at this... I wish that some good fairies had blessed me at birth with a heart over flowing with gratitude.

But they didn't. (Drat.)

My wonderful, incredible, HOTT husband!
However, I think that being grateful is more than just an attitude, it is a way of life. I believe that if we are truly grateful for the food we have, we will try to share it with those who have less. If we are deeply grateful for the wonderful man we married, then we will treat him with respect and love and do our best to lift him up. If we are humbly grateful for the love of God in our lives, then we will try to be an open conduit of God's love to others.

photo source

Gratitude is a lifestyle. And like healthy eating, "green" living or a pirate way of life, it takes dedication and practice and forgiveness. We have to forgive the times we are greedy, rededicate ourselves to gratitude and love and practice, practice, practice. (I am not entirely sure how a pirate forgives because as far as I can tell they just end up sword fighting and somebody walks the plank, but you catch my drift).

I am going to try and live a grateful life. It's one of those every day things. 

So today I am grateful for:
All forms of cold medicine 
Down Comforters
Cough drops
Beautiful Sunsets
A job
An awesome boss
My husband
My mom

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Dreaded Sickness

No, I'm not talking about small pox, or the black plague, or yellow fever.... I am talking about the most obnoxious, awful sickness out there: The common cold.

Maybe it's just me, but I think that sniffling for days on end, with a cough and sore throat is the worst. I'd rather have the stomach flu for one day and be done with it. But no, I get a nasty cold.


I spent yesterday in a snot filled, headachy, scratchy, hot and cold, no voice whatsoever haze. I didn't leave my bed unless it was to get more water (if my husband wasn't home), to use the bathroom or to take a hot bath. I watched several movies through half closed yes, pretty much an entire season of Scrubs and took lots of naps.

I didn't do any homework, or anything productive whatsoever. It was the worst day of a cold I have ever experienced. It was like cold+flu=misery.

Luckily, my sweet husband was there to take care of me. He made me hot chamomile tea, brought me soup, refilled my water bottle, kept people from bothering me (I am NOT a pleasant sick person, and no matter how much I love someone if they aren't my husband or my mom I don't want to see them) and did the sweetest, nicest thing ever for me last night.

Story time: I had the worst headache as I was trying to go to sleep. But I couldn't relax enough to fall asleep. I texted him that I needed him (he was in the next room, but whenever I get a cold I completely lose my voice for days. Work was real fun today... try being a receptionist who can't answer a phone.). He came into the room, and I whispered, pathetically I might add, that my head hurt and I couldn't fall asleep.

And even though he had a ton of studying to do, and his favorite show was on, he laid down next to me, pulled me into his arms and held me until I was pretty much asleep. He knows that I have a hard time falling asleep without him. Having him next to me makes it 10x easier to relax. And even though it was only for a few minutes, having him hold me made everything better. Even having the worst cold I've ever had.

Dearest friends, I married one hell of a good man.

(Linking up with: Faith Filled FridayFriday Favorite ThingsThat Friday Blog HopWomanhood With a PurposeWeekend Blog HopFeed Me FridayIt's Almost Friday Thursday Blog HopBlack Tag DiariesFirst Day Of My LifePretty Little InspirationsLink and MingleIt's Ok Thursday, Friendly Friday and Lovely Little Whimsy.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Extremely Productive... At Unimportant Things

I've been pondering on the wonderful, frustrating and time consuming phenomena that is procrastination. I am a master at it. And I have been trying to figure out why in the name of purple turnips I would EVER make my life harder... on purpose.

You heard me. Procrastination is adding drama and craziness and stress to my life. And I do it on purpose.

I never thought of myself as a "Drama Queen" (ok, don't ask my husband about this... with him I am most definitely overly dramatic. And sometimes when I am hungry I often say something like, "I'm about to DIE of STARVATION!" Alright, so maybe I am a little dramatic. But not in the I-cause-fights-for-fun-way. But in the I-like-to-use-a-lot-of-superlatives-and-proclaim-that-I-am-about-to-die-of-trivial-things kind of way.... If that makes any sense at all... Moving on!) but in procrastinating I am most definitely causing drama.

The problem is... procrastinating is just so fun! I mean, I can watch mindless, hilarious, endless episodes of Friends, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother... I can surf the web, read blogs, stalk people on Facebook or watch adorable kitten youtube videos after adorable kitten video. The list goes on. None are productive or important or productive (yes, productivity is important enough to mention twice). They don't write my papers, fold the laundry, work out or anything.

But man are they fun! And, we all need time to let our hair down and enjoy life. So I am not saying they are bad. They are only bad when I am doing those things instead of doing homework, housework or just work-work.

Why do I procrastinate? Well... sometimes I just don't want to do the work. It is either boring or overwhelming or just... blah (I think it is mainly just overwhelming). So I don't wanna! And later on, when the procrastinating catches up I can feel all important because I am busy and stressed. Isn't that how most of us feel important? When we have a plate overflowing with things to do, not enough time and we can tell our friends, "I just have so much to do!" "I am so stressed out about it." "My to do list is endless."

It's like... being a productive adult has to be stressful and chaotic.

Who made that rule?! I want to know. Because I don't like it.

So, with all this pondering, I have started to understand how much simpler my life would be if I could just... do my stuff when I should and not procrastinate.

I would like to redefine "Adult" for myself as someone who is in control enough of themselves and their life to do the work when it needs to be done, has the power and knowledge of when to say "No" to things that they do not need/want to do, who doesn't overwhelm themselves in an effort to feel "important", and someone who knows how to slow down and enjoy this wonderful journey.

That sounds like a good kind of "Adult". If I can be that kind of adult, I think I'll stop wishing I was 5 years old again. (That was a good time...)

(linking up with: Tell me TuesdayLoving LatelyFlock TogetherGFC, Fact Is, Tell Me About It Tuesday)

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Monday, November 12, 2012

A Dance in the Most Unlikely of Places

Sometimes life gives you perfect moments.

Well... sometimes the love of your life gives you perfect moments.

For instance, last night... If you can't tell, I've had a rather rough week and some frustrating times. Last night was an emotionally rough night. I was feeling vulnerable and scared and overwhelmed.

As I was getting ready for bed, I stood in the bathroom waiting for the water to get warm enough to wash my face. I had some nice music on to help soothe and calm my tense mind and body. I turned around and ran straight into my husband's open arms.

He wrapped his arms around me, and started to slow dance with me. In the bathroom. To the perfect song. And as he moved me slowly in a circle, arms holding me to him, the tension started to melt away. My hand, made perfectly to fit in his, found it's customary place at his neck, fingers ruffling his hair. His hand found mine, and brought it to his chest.

We were so close to each other, so lost to each other, that it didn't feel like I was dancing in a bathroom on cold tile. I was in my fairytale. My head cradled in the hollow of his shoulder. Our hearts beating out the symphony of our lives in perfect harmony. Hope quietly blossoming all around me.

But most importantly was the certainty, the knowledge and the profound truth of the love that we had for each other. Our forever love. Our in-the-face-of-whatever-life-could-through-at-us love. Our God given, heaven sent, worked for, prayed over, stretched over long distances, love.

As the song ended, he kissed me. The perfect kiss for a perfect memory. I clung to him for a moment longer, and then he left to let me finish getting ready for bed. And after I watched him go, for the first time in a long time I cried happy tears. Healing, happy, hopeful tears.

It is amazing how much one dance in the bathroom can do for a person.

Also, Happy Veterans Day!
I am so grateful for the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for this country. I am grateful for my husband's bravery, kindness, patriotism and sacrifice. 
We live in the land of the free, because of the brave.

Photo by Stacy Marie Photography

Photo by Stacy Marie Photography

(Linking up with Monday Meet UpMake It Pretty MondayMingle MondayHello Monday)

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Space (not the website)

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.

Like lots.

I love blogging, but the past couple of days I just haven't felt the need, the urge, the desire (woah ladies, calm down. I'm not trying to get all sensual here) to blog. And here is why:

I was all thinking, "I have to make sure that I have lots of funny posts or people won't read it." Or "I need to stop with all this soul-searching. People are gonna get bored and hate me!" (Ok, maybe a little sarcastic on the last one there.)

But the point is, I stopped writing for me and started writing for y'all. Not that I don't love you guys (Hi new followers! We're best friends now!) it is just... this is my space. You readers read because for some bizarre reason you like what I have to say (or you like to mock me, both are fine.).

So, here is what has really been going on in my mind lately:

I HATE politics. Elections suck. It tried (almost successfully) to ruin my anniversary. Luckily, I am married to THE Man, and he made it magical.

Panic attacks. Not in the "I totally panicked" kind of way. Actual, hyperventilating, room spinning, heart pounding panic attacks. I hate them. I don't want them. We're working on making them stop.
I made this and hung it up at work. It makes me happy :)
School. I have a love hate relationship right now. Love: I turned in one rockin' thesis earlier this week. It was AWESOME. Hate: I have SOOOOOO much to do for another class I am afraid I may have to dive into the depths of my homework and only immerse once it has all been completed. Good bye beautiful world...

What's with laundry? It is like a never ending, monotonous nightmare. Can someone else just fold the laundry... Please?

I am SO tired. All the time. Where did my energy go?! I don't even have kids or a cat or a goldfish. What is up self?!

Friends. I miss them. I have actual, real life, live in the same city, love them to death friends. But I am SO busy all the time... I never get to see any of them. Ever. I hardly see my own family. It makes me sad...

Stress. It just keeps coming at me from different angles. I don't like it.

Fall. The colors are so beautiful! I have loved every second of these past weeks.

Photos were taken five minutes apart.

What in the world is going on with the snowfall right now? Seriously, in the last 20 minutes I have watched the entire parking lot get absolutely covered. If it keeps this up, I don't know if I'll make it home from work. I very much so dislike snow... (and all that white, feathery madness is SNOW people. Not "a mix of wintery precipitation. Sheesh)

But in spite all of this, I have so much to be grateful for. And this week, I am incredibly grateful for my husband. I love him so much. He has done everything for me. He has made me so happy and given me a wonderful life. Even when it feels like everything is going crazy, I always have him to be thankful for.

(Linking up with: Faith Filled FridayFriday Favorite ThingsThat Friday Blog HopWomanhood With a PurposeWeekend Blog HopFeed Me FridayIt's Almost Friday Thursday Blog HopBlack Tag DiariesFirst Day Of My LifePretty Little InspirationsLink and MingleIt's Ok Thursday and Lovely Little Whimsy.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Two Years Ago Today

Dear Husband,

Two years ago today, I walked into the Salt Lake Temple a little late (as usual). You were pacing back and forth in the lobby, and the look of relief on your face when you saw me was priceless. That little look told me that I was most definitely marrying the man of my dreams. And that you, by some miracle, wanted to marry me as well.

That day was a blur. A blur of happiness, of the start of forever, of small mishaps, awesome pictures and a luncheon with close friends and family where I didn't eat a single bite. My dad wrote and sang a beautiful song and everybody cried. Your brothers each spoke and said some beautiful things. My family said some beautiful things. But honestly... I don't really remember all of it because I was so wrapped up in the new feeling of being your wife.

These past two years have held some crazy times. Crazy good, crazy hard, crazy bad. But it has always been worth it. Always. We made it through nine months of being apart while you served our country. We made it through moving four times. We made it through me working eight different jobs. You survived my cooking mishaps, and I learned to not panic when you were driving. You've gotten used to my OCD about the bed sheets and blankets. I've learned to not interrupt an intense game of Medal of Honor. We have learned that playing MarioKart is a good way to decide who is right (you... always. Because I suck at that game.)

We've been to Disney World, Disney Land, Six Flags, San Francisco, Monterey, Arizona, Las vegas and many pit stops on our move to and from California. You took me to my first rock concert, and I took you to your first opera. I watch action movies so that I can bury my face in your shoulder (I love how you instinctively pull me closer when something scary happens). You watch chick flicks so that we can cuddle (and sometimes you even admit to liking them, but I won't tell. That is our little secret.) We have enriched each others lives.

I can't wait for all of our adventures: traveling the world, law school, having kids, pretending to be grown ups. Our life looks amazing from here. And no matter what happens, I will be grateful that it happened while I was with you.

You have changed me. You have helped me reach goals I thought impossible. You have loved me more than I thought possible. You have sacrificed for my happiness, and made me happier than I thought possible. Thank you for "jumping" into marriage with me  two years ago. I can't wait to spend the rest of forever with you.

Love always,
Your Wife

(linking up with: Tell me Tuesday, Loving Lately, Flock Together and GFC)

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Quick Moment

I want to take a quick moment out of my hectic day to just... write.

Today has been crazy. I have felt like I was ten steps behind, 9 breaths short and two steps away from going crazy (make that one step...).

It isn't that today is bad. It isn't, really... I mean sure I was kind of a horrible wife this morning and went all "hormonal-crazy-woman" on my poor husband (bless his patient, long-enduring heart). I left early on Friday to attend an important family event. And, because of this leaving early, I have a TON to do today. We're talking... I haven't even made it half-way through my to-do list. I have a half an hour before I get off work...

But I had to take a moment. I feel that when I take a moment to write I am letting my soul breathe. Suddenly, the world stops spinning madly around me, to-do lists stop taunting me and I am in a small space of perfect calm. All that exists are the words flowing effortlessly from my frazzled mind. Letters form words, words form thoughts and I find myself empty of all the chaos.

Quiet. Peace. Knowing. Control.

Yes, control. How we all ache for control! But in this moment, when it is just me and the words, the chaos melts away to a beautiful serenity. I am the master of this sentence, this paragraph, this thought. Time stands still, and for two whole minutes I can exist as I am. Nothing defines me but me. It doesn't matter what I get manage to complete and what is left undone. Those things do not define my being.

Within this small capsule of calm, I can exist without labels, qualifiers, accomplishments and beauty. I just am. I am master of my thoughts, my words my being.

It allows me to slip into my galoshes, put on my yellow raincoat and step back into the storm with a smile. This swirling, mad-dash world does not define me. No, for in a moment I defined my very core. Alone, and tall and free.

This chaos does not define me. It is not the catalyst of my life. It is not even the meaning of my day. It is merely moments piling up a little too quickly for me to comprehend. But because of this moment, I see clearly. I see what is important. I see me.

(Linking up with Monday Meet Up, Make It Pretty Monday, Mingle Monday, Hello Monday)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Word from Steph on Monsters

Today I am so happy to introduce to my long time friend, college roommate and biggest cheerleader Steph! She and I had a lot of fun back in the day, and we have taken turns for the past several years being the "rock" the other can lean on in hard times. So I am very happy to let Steph take over today. She is one of my best friends and has always had the words to help me out in a hard time.

Thank you for the opportunity to be a guest post on your blog! I feel so honored that you asked me to do this! 

As I was pondering what to write about, I thought I would title this post: 

"Stop Listening to the Monster"
I'll explain further what I mean...As mentioned in this post, many people have their own monster. (Since I can't speak for everyone, I'll only talk about my specific type of monster and how I deal with it.) 

Devil vs Angel
The monster in my life is quite the devil; literally! Ever seen "Emperor's New Groove"? One of my favorite movies! One of the parts I love is where one of the characters, Kronk, has a tough decision to make and suddenly a little devil and a little angel appear on his shoulders (happens in a lot of cartoons). He debates back and forth and finally decides what to do. The same type of experience happens in my life; the monster (aka devil) and the Holy Ghost (aka angel) "appear" and both try to get me to do one thing or another but ultimately I decide what to do!

A Cherokee Legend

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Now this may seem like just a devil vs angel analogy and an old Indian tale but for me it really hits home. The solution for my current situation is to stop listening to the devil (monster) on my shoulder and to feed the right wolf!

There's a great quote I absolutely love! Elder Holland once said: "You can't stop a bird from landing on your head but you can stop it from building a nest there."
What he meant was that you can't always stop a negative thought from coming (try as you might but it just won't work!) but you don't have to entertain the thought! If the monster comes knocking at my door, and I open the door, I don't have to let him in! I can simply close the door! I don't have to give him the time of day! I have more important things to focus on! My time is too precious to waste on him!

It's not enough to just close the door; I have to let something else in its place-otherwise the monster will creep into my house and then I'll be in a worse place than I was before I slammed the door in his face! Some of the best angel type characters to let inside my life are: gratitude, uplifting music, journal writing, photography, exercise, and good company! Habits aren't broken; rather, they are replaced! 

While I'm no expert on every individual case, I know what works for me and it's simply a matter of my own choice! I decide what I choose to focus on! I decide who I let in my life! I am in control!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Some Gratitudes

I can't believe it is November! I may or may not be freaking out a little...

But, if I take the time to slow down and really think about all the wonderful things that are happening. You know, take the time to smile and be grateful, then it doesn't seem so crazy.

Take Halloween.

My husband and I didn't dress up. Didn't carve pumpkins. Hardly anything made yesterday more special than any other regular Wednesday.

I went running. Which was awesome. I pushed hard and did an extra mile in good time (I'm paying for it today though). I went to the library for some research. And I went to the grocery store.

Jealous, right?

However, there were little moments that made yesterday special.

While I was running (we have this awesome track that goes around a huge park, I love it to pieces) children and their families started crossing the park to get to different neighborhoods. As I passed one family I heard a little boy tell his mom, "Mom, why didn't you go as a runner this year? They seem cool!"

SCORE! I was in costume, burning calories and improving my state of mind all at the same time.

I found an awesome book for my research that wasn't available before. It is really going to help my thesis.

I attempted to make Halloween a little bit different for any other day by making some incredible cookies:

These were all of the ingredients. So easy to make and delicious!
Recipe:  2 Boxes of Spice cake mix
1 Large can of Pumpkin stuff
12 ox Chocolate chips
Mix all together and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

We watched Dark Shadows with some of my in-laws while I made cookies. And then I ate those cookies with a chocolate protein shake for breakfast this morning (and yesterday morning):

Sometimes I just have to remind myself that as crazy as life is, it is still beautiful. It is still good.

I have so much to look forward too! Our anniversary is this Tuesday. It will be the first time we get to spend our anniversary together (what with him being gone last year with the military). I got him an incredible anniversary gift. I am so excited to give it to him I can hardly stand it.

And then it is my youngest sister's birthday. That little girl and I have a special bond. I am so excited for her to grow up! But at the same time... it broke my heart a little that when we went to the movie theater she didn't want to sit on my lap. She wanted her own chair. And she was finally big enough to keep it from folding up and putting her knees up around her ears. I miss my little girl... But she is turning into one beautiful kid!
This is the little angel when she was about one year old.
Look at those lashes

And near the end of the month it is my birthday (and Thanksgiving) on the same day... I'm still trying not to be a party pooper about that. Some think it would be cool to have your birthday on Thanksgiving day. I am not one of those people.

Lots going on this month. I should be defending my thesis right before my birthday (and Thanksgiving. My birthday is wwwaaaayyyy more important though). 

What are you looking forward to this November?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Honest Life

Because honesty is the best policy. Because being honest is all we can be if we truly want to live our lives. I must be honest.

Sometimes out of nowhere, the depression monster tries to drag you down to a fiery inferno of helplessness and self-destruction.

Cycles of blame, guilt, shame, sadness and hoplessness hit like crashing waves. And I didn't have a life jacket.

Some might not understand this feeling of dread and crushing sadness. Others might know exactly what I am talking about.

I could sense that something was going to happen. For the past few weeks I have been able to see the storm clouds gathering in the horizon, and the pressure mounting. I tried my best to do what I could to combat them, but sometimes you can't hold back the storm. Friday night it started to get pretty bad. Saturday was worse. But come Sunday the storm broke with greater force than ever before. My husband held me while I cried and cried and cried and cried.

Monday began the process of trying to claw my way out of the darkness. Monday and Tuesday were tearful, awful, long days. My husband was a saint through it all. Bless his heart. Even when I was weapy, mean, critical, totally illogical and crazy he loved me and held me and told me it would be ok.

Wednesday was better. Much better. And even though I started to panic because tomorrow (otherwise known as today) was November, I felt like I could handle it. Like everything would be ok. I'm still fighting. My days aren't fantastic. But I am Ok. I've got this.

Now... I am not writing this for sympathy. I promise I am doing ok. I am taking the steps necessary for me to survive and get better. I write this for everyone else out there who feels alone in their depression. I write this so that you know, each and every one of you, that it is ok. I am not ashamed of who I am and the struggles I face. And you don't need to be either. I will admit that I struggle with depression, and that doesn't mean I can't handle life any less than someone else. It doesn't mean that I am weak. It just means that sometimes I've got some extra challenging days. I have to work extra hard to put a smile on my face.

I don't want anyone else to be ashamed of who you are. Be proud of the trials you have faced. In admitting your own weaknesses you are defining your strengths. Life would not have sunny days without some storms.

I don't want to offer advice on how I deal with my monster because everyone's monster is different. I am beginning to identify harmful behaviors. For instance, trying to drown sadness with food. It ain't gonna work! But that doesn't stop me from trying. Other times I burrow my way into someone else's reality and get lost in endless episodes of some sitcom. Or a book. Anything to escape my own head. And you know what, sometimes when I finally come up for air, I feel better because I was able to take a break from me.

Sometimes we just have to take a break from ourselves.

So, to my friends in the trenches with monsters hidden under your sweaters, glossed over by your smiles and fake "I'm fine's". It is ok. If you need to talk to someone, talk to me. I know how it feels. I have bad days. I have super bad days. But I'm still here. I am still fighting, and I am telling you my story so you know that you are not alone. Ever.

(Linking up with It's Almost Friday Thursday Blog HopBlack Tag DiariesFirst Day Of My LifePretty Little Inspirations, Link and MingleIt's Ok Thursday and Lovely Little Whimsy.)