30 December 2011

Oh, Life

Want to know what I have discovered? You never know what's REALLY going on in people's lives. How quick we are to judge based on what we see and how wrong we usually are. Behind beautiful pictures, positive status updates and smarmy blog posts, everyone is facing their inner demons. We don't know what they are. We can't say that they are harder or easier than our own; each person at some point will be pushed to their very breaking point. This is life, I suppose.

I follow a somewhat (ok...extremely) irreverent blogger (with a pretty dirty mouth) named The Bloggess. (Don't link to her if you aren't prepared to see rude language). Why do I follow her? Beside the fact that I think she is a brilliant and witty writer, I have come to love her optimistic pessimism. Her latest post really hit home for me. Here is a sample of it:

"I see a girl intent on enjoying the sun while it still shines, smiling vehemently, indignantly, and entirely celebrating a shining perfect moment even as alligators swim underneath. Victor said she seemed oblivious, but she’s not. She knows the alligator is there.

The alligators are always there.

They remind her to smile and enjoy those perfect moments whenever they arise, because life without fear is not a life fully appreciated. She smiles – not because she’s unaware of the alligators – but because she’s aware of them and because she knows how wonderful it feels when they release their jaws from your ankles."

May the Gods bless us all to keep balanced, to enjoy the sun, to acknowledge the alligators in our life, but smile anyway. And may we understand that everyone is doing the exact same balancing act we are...in their own way with their own alligators.

11 November 2011

Veteran's Day

Meet my hero
CDT Olson

The rules he lives by: "Honor the gods, love thy woman, defend thy country."

(At Basic Training Graduation 2005)

Because of him, i tear up every time i hear the national anthem.

(After 2nd tour 2010)

His dedication to country has defined my life.

(Taken after our wedding 2008)

i have never come across such brave and selfless men and women as my husband and those he serves with.

(On deployment in Kuwait)

i am proud of him for his previous service.

(Before 1st tour 2006)

i am proud of him for his current contract with the ROTC.

(Military Ball 2010)

i know that he will continue to make me proud as he continues his career with the military.

(ROTC Ball 2011)

To Jacob, and all veterans, i love you. i honor you.

16 October 2011

Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of

Sometimes sisters are for this:

And sometimes sisters are for this:

i thank the Gods for my sisters. i love them. i hope to be as good of a sister for both of them as they are to me. i pray that we can always be as close, no matter what happens or where we are.

04 October 2011

New Season

Last weekend was beautiful, sunny, warm, picnic weather. Today was cold and rainy. I realized that while it used to be light as I left Pocatello, now sunrise happens just as I hit Rexburg. I started working on my files for the 4th quarter. And I had to admit that winter cometh...quickly.

But first, I have to enjoy Autumn. I love this season; it might be my favorite. I am sure I will post more on my love of Autumn...just as I do every year. I came to terms with the chilly fall day today for the following reasons:

There were home made biscuits and gravy for lunch today. So warming on a rainy day

The spine-tingling book I am reading seems appropriate for the holiday and the weather

Fun new sweaters for work

My pumpkins are flourishing. This one is about the size of a cantelope.

Halloween is coming! I began decorating today.

Now I get to snuggle under my down comforter with the cool, fresh, clean air blowing in through the sliding glass door off my bedroom.

Hello, Autumn. And goodnight, all.

02 October 2011

Feeling Ambitious

After I graduated from high school, I struggled coming home for the summer between college semesters. As surprising as it seems, I didn’t worry about living my parents rules again or clashing with them now that I was an “adult;” my issues stemmed from the fact that I no longer had friends living in Las Vegas and had nothing to do besides work and chill with the family. One summer I decided to occupy my time by making a quilt. My mother and I found a pattern for a lap quilt using applique on some of the squares. Rather than follow the original pattern, I determined to utilize my acquired skill of embroidery to add pattern onto these particular blocks rather than doing applique. We bought all the fabric and embroidery floss necessary and I set to work.

Even though I worked my heart out, I had overestimated my speed at embroidery and by the end of the summer I had the necessary squares embroidered, but none of the other fabric cut out or pieced together. The project sat in a bag in a box in a closet for about 7 years, until I finally pulled it out. Although I have much work yet to do (especially considering the fact that I want to hand quilt it once I have the top finished) I feel pleased with the progress I have made.

This is what my weekend looked like in between conference sessions:

This is a detail of one of the 14 blocks I embroidered

Can't wait to post pictures of my lap quilt when I am finished--hopefully it won't take another 7 years.

22 September 2011

Love, Love, Love

"I love you without knowing how, or when or from where.

I love you simply, without problems or pride:

I love you in this way because i do not know any other way but this,

in which there is not I or you,

so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,

so intimate that when I fall asleep, your eyes close."

-Pablo Neruda

Pictures by Stephanie Patterson Photography

17 September 2011

Fortunately, Unfortunately

When i was younger, Erika and i had this tape we always checked out of the library with silly songs, ridiculous stories and goofy jokes. One of the stories/jokes on this tape has been repeating itself in my brain lately. As well as i can remember, it goes something like this:

A man fell from a plane.
Fortunately, he was wearing a parachute.
Unfortunately, the parachute didn't open.
Fortunately, he fell from the plane over a large haystack.
Unfortunately, there was a pitchfork in the haystack.
Fortunately, he missed the pitchfork.
Unfortunately, he missed the haystack.

Why has this been on my mind? For the following reason:

i moved to Pocatello.
Fortunately, i already had a job.
Unfortunately, it was a 3 hour commute.
Fortunately, i worked for a shuttle company.
Unfortunately, the shuttle i rode to work was canceled.
Fortunately, i was given a company vehicle.
Unfortunately, this vehicle is a Mini Van.

Yes, you read that correctly. I now drive a bloody mini-van to work ::sigh:: (Fortunately, i can still drive my Mini Cooper on the weekends).

Another example?

I got a calling.
Fortunately, it is in Young Women's
Unfortunately, it is the Young Women's PRESIDENT.
Fortunately, it is not Primary.
Unfortunately, i can only have one counselor.
Fortunately, my counselor is amazing.
Unfortunately, she is still over scouts as well.

Yup...no 2nd counselor. No secretary. No advisors. Me+Elizabeth=the whole Young Women's leadership...camp, Sundays, meetings, lessons, mutual, budget...everything.

However, in the midst of all this seeming negativity i have to stop and count my blessings. The truth is that people all around me at the moment are going through some very trying times. REALLY hard things. Divorce, brain surgeries, breast cancer, tumors, sick loved ones, struggling with finances...so many trials in the small bubble of people surrounding me. In comparison, a difficult calling and a mini-van don't seem so bad...especially since both really are blessings in their own way. So, i have included pictures of the "fortunatelys" in my life...more things that make me happy.

I love reading Harry Potter to Jacob, especially when we are driving.

It's even more amazing when i find a TYPO in Harry Potter.

How incredible to have a gorgeous arrangement of roses and lilies delivered to work.

...and sometimes a $5 bouquet bought from a market is just as good!

We never manage to behave properly...even when we are all dressed up for tea.

Best street name ever!

i love watching Jacob fish.

It's even better when i have a gorgeous sunset to watch as well and a good book to keep me company.

How fun to get all dolled up and go out on a weekend.

But tonight...even better to stay in with oreos and a book to read together.

Hope you have a fortunate weekend!

03 August 2011

Do spiders die when you suck them up in the vacuum?

They’d better! And even if they don’t, please tell me that they are dead. Because I vacuumed up three of them yesterday evening. And now I’m terrified they will emerge.

I find all of this somewhat amusing as I am not even afraid of spiders. Sure, I’ll scream if one catches me off guard (for example, when I find them in my bed or that time I realized I was showering with one) and their sticky webs gross me out. But usually I can grab a tissue, squish the spider and get rid of it without drama. In fact, if I see the webs in my living space, I will deep clean them, even if it means leaving the spiders homeless and thus causing them to wander around the house. When I was in Chile, I moved into one apartment that had complexes of webs under the stairs. On my first cleaning day there, I attacked with a vengeance. For the next week we found spiders crawling all over the house. My companion said she had never seen any until I destroyed their living space. It was worth it; I couldn’t stand knowing they were there.

These three, however, looked extra threatening. As I stood there with my tissue, preparing to squish them, I could not force my hand to reach out and grab their hairy little bodies. I imagined their little beady eyes glaring at me and their bodies crunching under my fingers. Or worse, somehow not crunching them enough and having them run crawling up my arm and into my hair. I was paralyzed.

I finally narrowed my options down to the following:
1- Ignore them until Jacob gets home on Friday.
2- Call my neighbor over to kill the spiders.
3- Spray them with bleach (which would run down the wall onto my carpet and I wasn’t sure it would kill them anyway).
4- Spend 45 mins to go into town and buy Raid.
5- Squish them with a shoe and then have to clean spider guts off the walls.
6- Vacuum them up.

Perhaps there were more options, but at the moment, that’s all my brain processed. Since I couldn’t stand to let them live and found it too humiliating to ask for help, the vacuum seemed like the easiest way to kill them. So I used it. Then came the nightmares. Last night as I slept, I saw them coming out of the vacuum cleaner, revengeful, to hunt me down for destroying their webs. So, please assure me that they are undoubtedly dead. I am feeling a disturbing affinity to Ronald Weasley that I’d rather avoid. (I’d much prefer relating to Fred and George, thank you very much!)

Wish I still had the courage as I did as a little girl to belt out the song my mother taught me:
We are the spider fighters! We use our flash-a-lighters. We track them all around. We trap them to the ground. We pull off all their legs, and gather all their eggs. We get a great big bunch. They make a dandy lunch. Crunch, Crunch!

11 July 2011

Birthday Boy

"You know how to be silly. That's why I like you. Boy are you ever silly. I never met anyone sillier than me till I met you. I like you because you know when it's time to stop being silly. Maybe day after tomorrow. Maybe never.

Oops too late it's quarter past silly"

Who says that just 'cause you get older, you have to act like a grown up all the time?

I'm glad you are still silly...even when you are a year older.

Te re amo.

Quote from I Like You by Sandol Stoddard
Pictures byStephanie

30 June 2011

Don't worry, Be happy

Life can get depressing. The deeper into it that i get, the more i realize that it's not easy and it's probably not going to get any easier. There is always something to worry about...and i tend to worry a bit too much. In fact, i get myself all tied up in nervous knots about money or school or work or lack of time. And if i don't have anything in my life going on, i worry about my loved one's lives. Sometimes i feel exhausted and quite often exclaim "i don't want to do it anymore!" (It meaning anything and everything). Jacob is constantly having to reassure me by saying "Everything is going to be ok."

Is it? Probably. But most of the time i just feel overwhelmed.

As the spring lingered colder, wetter and longer than usual (or so i thought) i vowed to myself that if the sun would just come out and the weather warm up, i would be perfectly content. Well, come the sun did, but my happiness did not come with it...at least, not without a little effort. As the summer moved in, i decided to try harder to be happier. This is what i did:

*Read my scriptures more faithfully. Amazing what peace that brings into life.
*Planted flowers.
*Read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. NOTHING makes me realize the beauty in the world and the beauty in living as much as that book does. It brings me back to earth. And it fills my heart and head with poetry. In fact, i might have to read it every month this summer.

And, i started taking pictures when i felt happy (and consciously realized it) of what was making me happy. i was surprised how fast i filled my iPhone with pictures...and how flipping through them later made me just as happy as i felt in that moment. i was also surprised at the simplicity of the cause of my happiness. In other words, i found joy in the little things going on in my life: our garden, the birds, being with Jacob, driving in the car together, fresh laundry on the line, and the beautiful country in which we live.

It's kind of a picture overload, but here are some of my favorite snapshots over the last couple of weeks.