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Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

Day 42: I’mmmm Back [Wit-Style]

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2012 at 5:11 am

I’ll admit that as of late this blog hasn’t been very, well, witiful.  However, that doesn’t mean my life of has been absent of such, oh no no no.

I haven’t spoken much about dating on this blog…it’s been more dedicated to a personal journey of sorts but I’ve realized now that dating IS a part of this crazy ride that is my life.  Speaking of crazy…

I’ve been online dating for quite some time now and I have shared in many fabulous occasions with the cream of the crop wackos.  For real.  There was the Disney fanatic and his Mickey Mouse watch familial indoctrination (we’ll save this story for a posting all of its own), the law student obsessed with murder documentaries (not so cool to mention on a first date), the Indian traveling doctor (who also liked to tell stories about successfully removing lodged tampons from women during his gyno rotation) he is now featured on NPR, the Disney follow-up fellow (as I like to call him), and then the most recent (which I will feature in this post) the Jesus fanatic.

JF (short for Jesus Freak): “I really love Jesus!”

Me: “That’s great.  He really is such a wonderful and powerful thing.”  Notice my attempt to lead the conversation in an appropriate and normal direction. JF had an alternate route.  Surprisingly, he was really eager to share this account:

JF: “No, I mean I am in love with him.  Jesus is my lover.  I just want to sit on his lap and kiss his face and tickle him.  I want Jesus to tickle me.  I just want to laugh and tickle Jesus for the rest of my life.  That’s all I want to do.”

Interjection, this guy seemed completely normal the entire conversation, until we got to this point, then all hell broke loose.  The following story emerged…

JF: “I was working for my church as a security guard when one night a cop asked to see my badge.  I told him no, so he took me in and I was charged with a misdemeanor…I was just arraigned last week (surfer laugh).  I used to be in the military but I got a dishonorable discharge–for some reason I don’t like authority. I am unemployed and looking for work but Jesus hasn’t got me a job–yet.  I had this really great legal job opportunity [Me: I’m thinking in my head–this actually might be the smartest thing you’ve said in the last ten minutes] and it was $10 an hour [Me: nevermind], which I think is a lot of money, but they didn’t call me back.  Jesus didn’t get me that job.  I just laugh all day, and I know Jesus will find me a job in the meantime.”

I don’t know if I let the conversation continue for as long as it did due to the sheer comedy of the situation or shock–I think it was a little of both.  That said, Jesus Freak is doing his heavenly thing without as much as a first date from me.  You gotta be kidding me! Anyone who wants to tickle Jesus is going to have to do that on their own.

I was watching SATC (Sex and the City) tonight and it’s the episode where Carrie breaks up with Big.  I’ve adapted the introductory commentary especially for this post: “I was it.  I was the magic moment…the abracadabra.  I’ve got more poof in one finger than he could ever have!  I pity him because I get to walk away and be me and he has to walk away and stay him…and who wants to be him. I’m going to end up deliriously happy and [Jesus Freak] is going to end up old and alone [tickling Jesus].”

Day 41: An Addendum Because I am Grateful

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2012 at 5:51 am

I just want to make one more post–something really great just happened to me.  Something that was very unexpected and will help little e and I very much.  I’m so thankful for the many blessings that I receive even in the midst of difficulty.  It reminds me that God does remember who I am despite my many imperfections.

Daily Cupcake: He Can Do Anything

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2012 at 5:23 am

As I stumbled into the laundry room wearily, two HUGE loads of laundry in tow, I noticed this hanging on the bulletin board.  It reminded me the world is good and life is good.

Day 41: Love Is Not A Right

In Love on April 26, 2012 at 4:44 am

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Some days it is just shocking to me that this my life, I am raising this boy on my own, and there is no one to share in this journey, no one to come home to and talk about my day, no one to kiss goodnight. Today is one of those days.

I was reading the blog of a friend of a friend last week and she posted a picture of a silver necklace with a tiny bell attached.  Her young, dying husband had given her this necklace on their last Valentine’s Day together and tucked inside the box in which it came was a little note that read,

A song’s not a song til’ you sing it…

A bell’s not a bell til’ you ring it…

Love wasn’t put in your heart just to stay…

Love isn’t love til’ you give it away!

I thought that was so cute and such a perfect testament to the nature and beauty of love.  It got me to thinking as I was leaving campus today and walking to my car.  I was contemplating how love is truly a privilege.  We are so lucky to be able to love others!  Whether it be our children, spouse, parents, brothers, sisters, even friends–God entrusts us with this beautiful expression and what a blessing it is that we can both gift it to others and also be a recipient of its gracious offerings.  I then realized, it has been necessary for me to experience the pain of loneliness, the hardship of single parenting, the sting of divorce, all of this has been necessary for me because I didn’t previously understand what it means to love someone and what it means to give love away.  It hasn’t been until I’ve experienced this tremendous loss that I have come to understand its purpose and relation to LOVE–I think we come to know things the best in their absence.

As a friend and I were walking to class today, she mentioned to me that she was going to stay at her parents’ tonight.  Jokingly she said, “I have to get away from my boyfriend–he’s driving me nuts!”  Then we began to talk about why, and she said, “It’s really just me.  I’m allowing things to bother me that really shouldn’t.  He’s great.”  It was a funny moment because I remembered the countless times in my marriage when things bothered me that really shouldn’t have.  Not that I was a terrible person during my marriage, but I realize now that loving someone is allowing those things to roll off your back.  It’s realizing the love is what life is really about and not the ‘things’ or the momentary distractions.

I guess I wanted to share this because maybe someone else will read this and learn from it.  Maybe they won’t have to learn the hard way like I’ve had to.  I don’t know when I will be graced with ‘someone to love’ in a romantic way once again, but I know now that loving someone isn’t something we’re guaranteed.  It’s not a right, it’s a privilege to be able to share it with another.

Sunday Cupcake: Heart of Worhsip

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2012 at 2:55 am

One of my favorite worship songs. Enjoy your Sunday!

Daily Cupcake: Because I Haven’t Done One in Awhile

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2012 at 6:57 am

Imageenough said.

Blogging Journey: Day 40

In Blogging, life, Writing on April 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Some might think I’m crazy, but I left Facebook November of last year.  I decided it was time to move on from the disillusioned spirit of that place.  That said, I have maintained following my series of blogs, some of which I’ve been following for over two years now.  I read these blogs because they bring me back to reality, they are a large representation of what life really looks like (unlike Facebook).  They also demonstrate, for me, what it means to employ strength and courage, what it means to truly live, and what is means to live in spite of everything that consumes us in life.  The good, and the bad.  There will always be both.

The first blog I began following, over three years ago, is that of Stephanie Nielson.  When I first found her, the idea of reading about someone’s life, continually, struck me as odd but that was her blogging style–a narrative.  I sometimes found myself wondering why she would want to allow anyone into the intimate corners of her life, her home, to know her children.  Then I listened to a recorded version of one of her written blog posts,

“I am Stephanie Nielson, and I am not my body.  I was in the laundry room doing clothes and I went to the closet, touching all the clothes, a wave of emotion took me over for a few minutes.  I missed me again.  I mourned for that woman again.  I felt that familiar sadness but then it was followed by a beautiful spiritual confirmation that this is my new life, it is good, it is oh so good.  And then I felt I should bring home me, because it is still me, and those clothes still fit.”

At that moment, it all made perfect sense.  She was offering a gift, a look into her soul, through her words, showing me how to accept my new life.  Showing me that my life too is something oh so good.  I’ve rejoiced in her accomplishments, I cried when she posted the picture of her newest addition, Charlotte.  I cried because I realize that through her struggle, she was thinking of others, of me, all along.  She took the time, a much wiser and stronger woman than I, to show me the path toward healing.

One thing you’ll notice from blogging is that you enter into a community almost instantly.  All you have to do is start reading and you’re a part of it.  Stephanie shared Ashley’s story and simultaneously I began reading her too–she was my second followed blog.  I cried the first time I read her words, just weeks after little Preslee had passed in a drowning incident, but I didn’t keep reading due to the intrigue of such an accident.  I kept reading to hear the words of a fellow mother, Ashley, she spoke these one day,

“When you find yourself in a difficult situation remember the phrase, “I CAN DO HARD THINGS.” It’s possible.  Life is hard, we just have to learn how to plow through it.”

That post has reminded me time and time again that I can endure, here, a mother, only weeks after losing her young child in a terrible tragedy again offers comfort in the knowledge she has found.  I’ve learned to love my little one more, hug him tighter, and be the best mother I can every single day because every single day counts.  In motherhood I’ve embraced that it’s all about enjoying the little things because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.  This concept warms my heart every time I think of it, it helps keep my focus grounded not in the pleasures of this earth but in the beauty of the simple things God has granted us within this world–like our children.

From Ashley spawned Taleah, a little girl fighting leukemia.  Her mother is real, “Salt Lake Trip = Nightmare”

We had 2 hours to kill before awards so we headed to Olive Garden. Again, quite the challenge with the kids but still fun. Taleah wanted to lay on my lap so I knew that was not a good sign. Scott took Slade back to the hotel and then Taleah informed me that she peed her pants. Turns out, she pooped her pants (due to the diarrhea form being sick). Awesome. I had no phone in there and no change of clothes. I am getting her situated on the toilet when she says she has to throw up, but won’t do it in the toilet. I run out to the sink (she is naked) while she pukes while people are trying to wash their hands and go back to their food. I leave her on the counter to run out and get my mom and notice there is poop on my leg from when she was throwing up. Awesome again. I wrapped her jacket around her and ran out of Olive Garden.

Every mother has had a day (or two) like this, but not many have experienced one with the looming shadow of a cancer suffering child to accompany the chaos.  She handles it in grace, and she probably doesn’t even know it.  She is fighter mother and an inspiration.

From Taleah came Mercedi, a woman learning to rebuild her new life after her husband Rob suffered a massive brain injury.  She, like Stephanie, struggles with accepting all she’s lost, a career, a home, money, security.  Though, I’ve seen her move to a place of comfort in that she still has Rob and therefore she still has her life despite it being different than she had planned.

From Mercedi I learned about Atticus Hansen, a little four year-old boy diagnosed by DIPG.  The blog, written by mom, reflects on appreciating the time they have with their Atticus.  This woman always has a smile behind her words despite this great challenge before her–losing her child gradually.  There are times I wish I could just reach through my computer screen to help serve her and her family in this time of need.  I’ve decided little e and I need to prepare something sweet for Atticus and send it their way.

Then there’s a most amazing story Crystal and Skyler.  After losing her husband to a heart tumor, Crystal, a single mom, faced the huge challenge of her son’s diagnosis with leukemia.  Her story is one of struggle after struggle; however, I’ve watched her rebuild her life too.  I’ve read her words, I’ve laughed and rejoiced in the praise of seeing her boy play hopscotch and feed the ducks once again.

Then there’s Julie.  And Megan.  They’ve taught me that even those who have love, can always lose it, even if just temporarily.  These women are so young and they face a full life without parts of their soul to share in their planned adventures.  I marvel in their courage to live day-to-day.

Then my blog connections hit home, they came full circle.  I found myself linked to this blog and upon reading my heart just broke.  Then as I continued on, I realized that it was my friend.  It was MY friend.  She lost her boy.  I wept for her, and yet, she still gave to me.  She served me in her time of greatest hardship.  She is an inspiration truly–I love you Kelly.

Then this blog.  A guy I dated at BYU, his brother lost their baby, Ruby, to a rare liver condition. Ani his wife has a poetic way of expressing her feelings and her words always touch to the core,

I go into Ruby’s room everyday. I open her blinds in the morning, and close them, and turn on a light at night. I don’t always spent a lot of time in there, and in the past couple of months, hardly any time at all.
Today I rocked in her chair. I went through her clothes, and headbands, and stuffed animals. I hugged her blankets, and sobbed into her burp cloths. I was needing to feel a physical connection to my baby, so I touched and smelled, and looked at her things.
I opened her bottom dresser drawer, which I had not done yet….

Opening that drawer today, did not bring back painful memories, but sweet memories of me and my sweet husband serving our daughter. We were such a good team, and we worked so hard and so long trying to make those 7 months, and one week, the most comfortably for Ruby, and also for Kate. It was all we were; parents. Our girls were our only care, our only focus. They were all that mattered. Were they happy? Where they comfortable? Do they feel loved? One of us, alone, could have never parented our girls in that time, with out the other.
Those sheets remind me about what parenthood is. Teamwork, service, and love.

All of these blogs have taken me on a journey, they have taught me important lessons I needed to learn. They have inspired me through the words of their authors and they have shown me, mostly, that life is not a plan but rather an experiential journey.  It doesn’t fit into a box.  It can’t be defined.  It can’t be predicated.  It’s just lived.

Thank you for showing me how to live, each and every one of you.  Thank you for showing me courage and strength in action.  Thank you for giving me the gift of your words and the intimacy of your life.  You have shown me that I am not alone in my struggles, we each have our own challenges, our own way of working through life, but the beauty of words is that we can share all of this to hopefully help others. These individuals have done just that in a beautiful way.

Grad Students: The Umentionables–Day 39

In Education, English Major, life, literature, Musings, Thoughts on April 16, 2012 at 7:04 am

I realize I spend a lot of time talking about my status as a divorcee, but I rarely talk about the other things that I am (i.e. a graduate student in the humanities).  Yes, I am one of those very dedicated, smart individuals who has chosen a career path in academia, pause, and not just any old field of academia I would add…English Literature (emphasis on the Literature portion).  You see, let me explain, Literature is one of those funny fields of study…funny in that you spend countless hours, reading countless books (thousands of pages really), and you probably will never obtain any sort of job that will help you to pay back your countless student loans.  True story.

I’ll add though, I can’t say that I am at all disappointed in my choice to pursue an advanced education in English Literature and Composition studies.  I do believe it is one of the most holistic educational experiences one can have, and when I look at others who have graduated from similar programs (albeit different disciplines) I realize the stark contrast in our educational experiences and rigor.  English is tough, it’s tough based upon the sheer amount of reading one must do (literally thousands of pages per week) and not only do you have to bank those pages but you also have to comprehend just what’s going on within the plotline and with the applied theoretical approach.  However, all of that said, you gain a greater appreciation of the world, humanity, and the experiences/perspectives that accompany the aforementioned.  The discipline of Literature really speaks to a greater understanding of the diverse nature that is our world.  I’m just struggling now with how to contextualize the aforementioned into an appropriate, lucrative career path that will support my loan repayment in particular.  I hope you can sense my optimism here.  Smiles.

Today though, I was thinking about the ways in which grad school has changed me especially as I approach the end of this particular educational endeavor.  I realized that I no longer take showers for enjoyment.  You see, as a grad student (single mother probably adds to this) you get so used to having so much nightly work that taking a shower becomes an unwanted task.  It’s a get in and get out approach.  I used to love the shower when younger; I would stay in there for a full hour if possible.  Now, my body won’t even allow me to do this.  It just WANTS OUT. Move on whit, you’ve got work to do!

Interestingly grad school has also lent to my extreme obsession over books, so much so that I take pride in all of those that I own.  This is why I have a wall-to-wall bookshelf filled to the brim with them (I’ll be adding 45 new novels next semester (one’s I’ll need for my comprehensive exam).  Because I am slightly OCD, I have them arranged by height and width.  It’s obsessive but I pride myself on having read them all.

Finally, grad school has turned me into an anxiety-ridden freak (thank god this blog is anony).  This isn’t really an isolated phenomenon though.  In fact, I work in an office of about twelve colleagues that teach within the Department (myself included) and of the twelve I would say…twelve are on the same anxiety meds.  I heard a couple of em’ swapping meds the other day (don’t know if this is legal).  I’m convinced that we’re not crazy, we’re just driven right?

So, an abhorrence for showers, book obsessions, and crazy pills…this is what grad school (in the humanities) perpetuates.  I’m proud to say that I’ve learned to control my bouts of anxiety (which typically center around my attempt to be perfect in situations where perfection does not exist) through the adoption of an “I don’t care attitude.”  Seems to be working quite well so far, although I’m judged by some.  This is another thing about grad school, it’s a political environment, one wherein there are certain expectations, ways of doing things, and definitely grad student no-no’s (not trying to be perfect is a no-no).  However, I’ve learned that life is for living and not for being perfect.  It’s for loving things beyond the halls of the English Department (although I do love these halls and they’ve given me much over the years I’ve walked them).  If you can’t find balance then you’re probably the best grad student (and the most unbalanced human being).  It’s taken me up until my last semester of graduate school to decide to stray from this.

I’m beginning to love showers again, although I’m realizing this is a gradual process.  I do like having clean hair on a daily basis, though.  Smelling good is nice too.

I don’t know how many more books I’ll be collecting come my graduation in December.  I do know that my bookshelf will begin to adorn non-classical works–and that’s OK.

Just in case you’re a perfection-seeking grad student in the humanities–anything that ends in the suffix “azepam” should be of help to you.  I suggest the balanced thing though, having tried both I find it a much better course of action. You don’t want to graduate a masters holding drug addict and/or chain smoker bordering on lung cancer.

–a grad student whit.Image

(This pic speaks well to my shower commentary.  I never  had so many days of greasy hair as I’ve had in the past three years.  Apology in advance to any of those who experienced me on a day wherein I didn’t have time to take a shower (for a few days in a row) and/or I forgot to wear deodorant.  I know it happened, more than once.

Strength and Courage: Day 38

In Esteem, Faith, Happiness, life, Thoughts on April 15, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Today I was thinking about the nature of strength and courage.  Both are things we need to make it through this life but there are definitely differences between the two.  I read a poem that highlights this, there were two portions that really stuck out to me:

“It takes strength to survive, but it takes courage to live.  It takes strength to love, but it takes courage to be loved.”

Up until this point, I’ve been operating on strength alone–building my strength again.  I wrote about this a long time ago, but after my divorce I found myself at the weakest point in my life.  I was weak both physically and mentally and it has taken me all this time, and experiences, to rebuild and test my strength.  However, now, it’s time to work on rebuilding my courage.  It’s not enough to merely survive, I want to live.  It’s not enough to merely love, I want to be loved.  Without courage, neither of these things are possible.

I love Woolf, so I’ll end this post with her words,

“This soul, or life within us, by no means agrees with the life outside us. If one has the courage to ask her what she thinks, she is always saying the very opposite to what other people say.”

Day 37: Grass

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2012 at 4:39 am

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Little e has been fascinated with the art of grass growing lately.  He came home a couple days ago with a tiny pot of some variation of wheat grass (I think).  Honestly, I’m drawing a blank on it’s actual specie type (and the grower is snoozing at the moment); however, I couldn’t help but relate that tiny plant to life generally.

My mom called the other evening to share that upon asking little e what he had done at school the previous day he replied, “Watched grass grow” (with an added smirk).  I feel like I’ve been watching grass grow for the past four years, a slow process, and once signs of development do occur they are small and fragile.  A grass leaf isn’t exactly a sunflower stalk.  As I learned from little e, though, it’s the process that brings all the pleasure.  He explained to me today that the seeds are “very very small, mom, they almost can’t be seen” and they require “nurture and plenty of nutrients.”  Then in all seriousness, my little e looked at me and said, “mom–do you think you can make sure my plant gets the nutrients it needs every single day, can you do that?”  “Yes, I replied.  I can do that.”  So, here I am (amidst all my other million obligations) watering a two inch grass plant diligently.  It sits on top of my toaster.

It’s so much like life, that grass plant (whatever the hell it is).  It needs certain things (water, sunlight, safety), yet, it is resilient (we’ll find out just exactly how resilient in the coming weeks).  It grows, gradually, just as we progress through life–gradually.  In the end though, it will be something great.  It will contain several leaves, each of its own distinctiveness, united together to create a beautiful whole.  That’s what’s most poignant, the leaves of grass brought together create a beautiful landscape.  Just as is life, each leaf, each experience, creates the beauty that is us.

Today my little e reminded me of Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and my favorite part:

“A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.”

 

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