30 December 2012

Year End

It is painful to reflect on 2012. i can't think about where i was, but i can reflect on where i am now and where i want to be at the end of 2013.

Where am i? i am in an absolutely beautiful apartment. It feels like...me...my own, my home. i have never had a place before that shouted so completely: JENNIFER! i am in a solid job with an amazing boss and incredible employees under me. i am surrounded by friends who are surprisingly insightful, thoughtful and loving. i am in a family ward that has done a decent job so far of accepting my unique circumstance. i have space to set my own schedule...or not. i am in counseling to help me to heal and learn and grow. i am coming to terms with my new reality and with myself. i am a mess...but i'm an optimistic mess.

At first thought, the only "goal" i wanted to put on my list of resolutions was "2014." That still is something i would like to do...to survive the coming year. But as i've said before, i also want to ENJOY. i am laughing more these days. i smile easier. And it feels good! i want to give myself more reasons to smile, laugh and be happy.

Several weeks ago in a Sunday School lesson, the teacher asked about the purpose of life. i felt that the purpose of life was to be perfected--to become more like Christ. The only way to be perfected is to go through trials that will strengthen me. In other words, my life will mostly be going through trials so that i can improve.

While i still believe this, last week in the temple i received an overwhelming feeling that my Father in Heaven wants me to feel joy. Yes, i am here to learn and grow, but it's not all about the trials. God wants me to have happiness and enjoy my life as well.

That feeling has prompted me to make only one resolution for 2013. In two words:


i am still allowed to mourn sometimes. Or be angry. Or cry. But it will be the exception, not the rule.

Is anyone else done with 2012??? Bring on the New Year!

"It's been a long December and there's reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last..." -Counting Crows

22 December 2012


Awhile ago i posted about my bucket list. Since then, i have actually crossed a couple things off. Man, does it feel good! :)

This is what i've accomplished.

*Get Scuba Certified

That's Maui. That's me scuba diving. That's a sea turtle. That's right. :)

*Beat Jacob at Texas Hold 'Em
Little did i know how hard checking this off would be. Little did i know what an amazing bluffer he was...a pro, really. Little did i know that i would be dealt a royal flush. But when all the cards were on the table and there were no secrets anymore, it turned out that he lost--big time. And i'm still standing, so i guess that means i beat him. Game Over.

*See a show on Broadway
I actually saw two shows! i went to "Evita" by myself and then "Peter and the Starcatchers" with my cousin, Leon. It was hard to choose what to see but both performances were phenomenal. Oh the voices some people have!

*Have a follower on my blog that i've never met
Welcome, friends! When i, in desperation to find someone who understood my situation, reached out to others, they reached back out to me. Amazing.

*Go to a midnight premier of a movie
My friend, Benjamin took me to see Peter Jackson's version of Tolkien's "The Hobbit." It was amusing to see people in costume (especially with bare hobbit feet when it was so very cold outside!). The  movie was....interesting. i'll have to give it a second go, i think. Mostly i was really sleepy but enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

*Museum hop in New York
MoMA (Museum of Modern Art):

Metropolitan Museum of Art:
And they were lovely.
The world didn't end yesterday as predicted. Part of me was a little bummed...after all life can be exhausting. But then again, it would be a shame not to put a check next to every item on my list. And who knows what's next? Peru? Petra? Possibly!!

11 December 2012


It's been over five months since i've seen him. i'm starting to forget. You know, the little things like the exact way his laugh sounds, the way it feels to have our fingers intertwined, the way he smells, the exact color of his eyes. And i can't flip through pictures to remind myself...it would completely undo me. It's like looking back at our life through a dirty window; the images are still there but not very clear anymore.

i don't want to remember. i don't want to forget.

It hurts.

Oh, it hurts so exquisitely.

This is why we are friends

i recently reconnected at the home of one of my mission buddies. It had been a long time since we had seen each other and much had changed...in both of our lives. Although some of the conversation was somber as we discussed the difficulties of life, we also spent a good long time laughing at mission memories. Some of my favorites happened with this companion.

For example, there was the time i took my nylons off in the middle of the street, or the time we were talking to a bus driver and made him run into a pole, or the time i accidentally kicked some stray dog's fresh droppings on the back of her skirt.

During our conversation, her cute little weiner dog ran into the room, clearly excited to see company. He jumped up on the couch in order to get a better look at me and say hello. Within seconds he had rolled onto his back for a belly scratch. As soon as i stretched out my hand to rub his stomach, he began to piddle...all over my hand and my leg.

When i arrived back home, the following text conversation ensued:

"i have to say--
1-It was wonderful to see you.
2- i can't believe your dog peed on me and i think you put him up to it as revenge for the poop kicking incident
3-i still love you"

"Jennifer, I have three things to say to you:
1- Likewise
2- Damn straight--you know you deserved that &
3-No, I haven't taken up swearing. I just felt like making you smile and thought profanity might do the trick"

It worked. i laughed for at least 5 minutes. i love you, Hermanita!

24 November 2012

It was one of those nights...

i slept so incredible, it knocked my socks off.

21 November 2012


i was speaking with a new friend the other day who has been divorced for about a year (and is entertainingly pro-divorce). As he talked about the different stages he went through, he concluded with "Divorce is just so liberating!!" While i do not necessarily agree (or disagree) with his statement, it got me thinking...about freedom, free agency and the control that i have over my own life.

When all this began, i was completely hung up on the fact that events were out of my control; i didn't want a divorce, i couldn't fix his problems, i couldn't save my marriage and i wasn't even given a chance to try. i had no choice in the matter and it made me feel angry and panicked and sick.

On my first day in NYC i was determined to leave it all behind me. i was by myself and ready to lose myself in the city. i was standing in the middle of Grand Central Station...the first landmark i stopped at in NYC...when i received an emotionally draining phone call. In fact, it left me standing there, on the phone bawling my eyes out (and also thinking, "This is unreal! Like a scene from a movie! Please tell me this stuff happens to other people!") This phone call gave me, for the first time i felt, some choice in what was happening in my life. And surprisingly, my initial reaction was "i don't want to make that decision!! Why do i have to choose?"

The rest of that day in NYC i spent by myself, wandering around, crying, smiling, forgetting everything, thinking of everything; i realized that i had been playing the victim card. i decided it wasn't what i wanted to do. Sure, i had been hurt. Sure, i had no control over many many things. But i realized i still had control of my own life and my own actions. Not only that, i DID want to be able to choose. And i have surprised myself with the tough choices that i have been able to make.

i am so grateful on this Thanksgiving Eve for my free agency. i am grateful that when things spin out of control, i am still free to choose what new path to take. i am grateful for the liberating freedom in looking out for myself and choosing to stay on a path i didn't originally choose, but that i hope will ultimately bring me peace.

19 November 2012

You know what this means?

That's right! i moved...again.

I sent my stuff ahead of me on a truck and my mom came and helped me drive my little car to our destination. (It's somewhat depressing when your whole life fits in 5.5 feet and a mini coooper).

Here are some stats from our trip:

States: 7
Miles: 1,441
Hours: 25
Bathroom Breaks: 8 (plus one stay in a hotel overnight)
Puking birds: 2 (they actually did WAY better then when i moved to Texas)
High Wind warnings: 2
Heavy Rains: 1
Live Deer spotted: 5
Roadkill spotted:
*Dead deer: 21
*Armadillos: 8
*Skunks: 5
*Raccoons: 4
*Other critters (including porcupines, cats, foxes and other unidentifiable squished things): 15

Where i ended up is seriously the last place on Earth i ever thought i would be.

Rexburg, Idaho.

i know. i don't know what i was thinking either. My old boss called me and told me that he wanted me back. He made me an offer i couldn't refuse. And besides, i think it's part of me...southeastern Idaho. After all its been my home for about 9 years now.

It's hard to be here, of course, in our old stomping grounds and right in the exes backyard. There are so many triggers that i walk around constantly feeling like i am going to vomit. And i have had to make some really hard decisions about contact (or the lack there of) since i've been here too. But it's my time now. Time to heal. Time to focus on me. Time to stop surviving and start living again. Time to really start over and make some new memories to flush out the old ones.

My coworkers and friends have been amazing. Even though i have no family here, i have yet to spend an entire evening alone because someone pops by or invites me to hang out. i have more invitations to Thanksgiving dinner than i ever imagined i would receive (some from people i have barely met who just don't want me to be alone). i've painted everything in my living room and dining room (yellow, sage green and plum) and i am working on decorating the most airy, light and feminine bedroom you've ever seen. :)

Wish me luck on my new adventure. Someday i will be strong again. It starts here....

07 November 2012


...in your multitudes,

Scarce to be counted,

Filling the darkness with order and light.

Empire State Building

You are the sentinels, silent and sure,

Radio City Music Hall

Keeping watch in the night.

In NYC, Leon and i (but mostly Leon) played with a filter he made for his camera. It turned the streets we were walking into something even more magical.

Here is the night view from the apartment where we stayed.

Here it is again with the filter. See? Magical.

Many many more NYC posts coming your way...

01 November 2012

It's ok not to be ok

An unexpected ally perceived a little deeper into my situation. She directed me to a myriad of blogs written by women who have ended up where i am. As i read through blog after blog and entry after entry, i found myself overwhelmed...it was like reading my own journal. Someone else knows about this emotional rollercoaster!

i also realized the pressure that i have felt to "be fine" or "over it" or "happy" already....that if i published anything that i was REALLY going through, like these women had, or told people, or acted the way i was feeling, "the world" would judge me or think i was dwelling on my situation instead of moving on.

To be honest, i feel like other people expect me to be strong, in control, pulled together. That i'm allowed to be emotional, lightly and for just a moment, and then i should get over it. Besides, no one really wants to talk about it; it makes them uncomfortable. So they say, "You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to" and then we ignore the elephant in the room. Apparently, it shouldn't be in the room anymore. After all, hasn't it already been three months since he asked for a divorce? And not only that, hasn't it been 10 months since the problems started creeping in? That's how i feel that other people think. Am i projecting my own expectations on them? Perhaps. Probably. Either way....i'm struggling to meet them.

The truth is, i'm still struggling to get out of bed, to get dressed, to care about doing anything. i'm still fighting to put on a fake smile, to socialize with others, to look forward to anything, to post happy things on my blog. i still cry. And when i'm not crying, i usually feel like crying. Everything inside me is screaming and crying and falling apart.

i was driving home from yoga two days ago. i had a great session; i felt limber and loose. i wasn't thinking about anything, just driving along and all the sudden, there i was bawling to Beethoven's 2nd symphony.

It wasn't a pretty cry, either. You know, the ones where a person's eyes get all glisteny and moisture beads preciously on their bottom lashes. They reach up one dainty finger to whisk the dew drop away or, even better, one silent tear streaks down their face.

This was an ugly cry. The kind where my eyes puff up and my face turns blotchy and my nose turns red. My tears and my snot all mix together and run in droves down my face and chin, making my mascara smear all over my eyelids. The kind where i gulp air in raspy breaths in order to sustain the wailing; where my whole body shakes and my mouth gets dried out and cottony from the air shooting in and out. The kind where even after i stop crying, i keep shuddering and whimpering for several minutes. A good solid ugly cry.

My counselor told me today, "It's ok not to be ok." Whew. That's probably why i go see her. It's somewhere that i don't have to pretend to be alright...and that's alright. She said that what i am feeling is normal. She explained that other people are uncomfortable knowing that i am not ok; it is easier for them to think that i am fine because then they don't have to worry about me...or they don't feel guilty when they realize that they haven't worried about me and maybe they should have. That, yes, the world will expect me to present myself as better than i am...and that's probably what i will continue to do. But i'm allowed to fall apart too....or to not even be pulled together enough to fall apart. Her words made me hopeful.

I'm not saying the pain is gone, but i got a glimmer of light in the middle of brokeness.

And i thought of  this song from "Smash"
"Tears don't mean you're losing
Everybody's bruising
Just be true to who you are."

Listen to it...it's worth two minutes of your life. i promise.

October Love: Final Installment

There was no big Halloween party for me to attend or throw this year  ::disappointment:: so i didn't come up with a whole new exciting costume. But i couldn't let the season pass and NOT dress up. Therefore, i went to the ward "trunk or treat" with a little fairy sparkle.

Beedle dee dee dee dee...Two Faires

The pictures are of me by myself because, although my sister had a BRILLIANT costume (Juno), she is opposed to anyone seeing pictures of her while she is pregnant. At least i stole someone else's baby for one picture :)

28 October 2012


The last few days, I have spent some time reflecting on my "firsts."

*First time my hand was held--Freshman year. Harrison Reynolds. i had crushed on him forever (along with every other Mormon girl in my class). i thought my whole stomach had turned into butterflies when he grabbed my hand.

*First kiss- Junior year. Josh Staples. I actually waited until i was 16 (go me!) even though his mom thought i looked like i was 13. I thought the stud in his ear was so sexy. We were in his den working on chemistry homework. Seriously. His tutoring was the only reason i passed that class. Fitting, eh? :)

*First love- Senior year. Ryan Bob. Good times. Good man. While dating him i really found my testimony...and his started. He'll always hold a special place in my heart. And very few things in life give me the same amount of true, selfless joy as thinking about his eternal  family. I guess i also think of him as "my first convert."

There were other guys in and out (flies on my windshield?)

Then there was Jacob. My Jacob Olson. Met him sophomore year of college. i thought he was going to be the last. And for the first time, i was ok with that. i didn't think i would ever want anybody else. He was everything on my list and more. i couldn't imagine life without him; i thought i never would have to! Eternity didn't seem long enough.

As of October 26th we are legally divorced.

*First husband- Jacob Olson. Eight lovely years together. Lots of good memories...a bit tainted now. Worst heartache i have ever felt. Since i couldn't imagine life without him, i thought would die when he told me he was done with us.

i'm still alive. i don't know how, but i am. But i am so changed (and still changing) i feel as if i am living a different life. As if everything in my life before he asked for a divorce flowed in a relatively straight line...it made sense. One thing followed the next fairly logically. Then, the train jumped the track. i'm on a completely different ride, a different path, maybe no track at all anymore.

And i feel like i have a whole new set of "firsts" in front of me now.





26 October 2012

October Love: Part Five

i despise horror movies. They make my skin crawl, they give me nightmares and they chase the Spirit away. Even thrillers or intense movies i end up watching through my fingers with my hands up over my face. Even so, i quite enjoy much of "Halloween Media."

This month i have seen the following movies:
Corpse Bride
The Birds
Arsenic and Old Lace
Sweeney Todd

I have listened to these soundtracks several times:
Little Shop of Horrors
Sweeney Todd
Jekyll and Hyde

And this month i have read the following Halloween-ish type books:
"The Graveyard Book" Neil Gaiman
"Something Wicked This Way Comes" Ray Bradbury
"Dracula" Bram Stoker
"Phantom Tollbooth" Norton Juster (there really was nothing Halloweeny about this except the title)
"Witch of Blackbird Pond" Elizabeth George Speare

AND...my ring tone is the theme song from Harry Potter. Sometimes i don't want to answer my phone because i just want to listen to it ring...

22 October 2012

October Love: Part Four

"...i recall Central Park in fall..."

The last picture i took looking out of my bedroom window where i spent my last two nights in the Big Apple.

14 October 2012

October Love: Part 3

We started off October with the Texas State Fair!!

Wandering through the animals made my night. They had tons of baby animals including a giraffe, zebras, llamas, alpacas, porcupines, goats, camels, sheep, a bull calf; they were all in pens so you could reach in and pet the babies. Here are Erika and i with the bull calf, goats, and camels:

The fair is the Fried Food Capitol of Texas (and perhaps the U.S.A.) In one evening we consumed:

*Fried Mac and Cheese Sliders
*Fried PB&J sandwiches
*Fried jambalaya
*Fried oreos
*Fried pineapple upside down cake
*Fried chocolate covered strawberries
*Fried grilled cheese sandwiches
*Fried samoas

Impressive, eh?

To finish off the evening, Chad and i rode one of the big rides...175 feet tall flinging you over 70mph. i am going to pretend that i wasn't nervous at all :) It really was a rush and i am glad i ignored my shaking knees and got on.

11 October 2012

October Love: Part Two

I am obssessed with Halloween decorations. Every year I always buy more! This year I decided to make a few:

Some of my decorations went out into the living room. Some decorate my shelf in my bedroom:

Owls, pumpkins, spiders!! Love. Love. Love.

08 October 2012

October Love

i am not going to mope through my October. Instead i am going to share all the reasons i love it...probably with way too many instagrams (because i love them too).

October brings General Conference. My conference weekend consisted of:
*a sweet remembrance that God knows who i am and what i am going through
*gentle promptings on what i need to do to improve
*fall weather :)
*snuggling up in blankets and cuddles with my birds
*Stephen's hot chocolate
*home made chicken noodle soup (my bro-in-law even made the noodles from scratch. yum)
*Pei Wei Chinese at a girls' night out during priesthood session
*lots of naps, reading and being lazy
*a soak in the hot tub

i live for Autumn

04 October 2012

"But I miss you most of all, my darling, when Autumn leaves start to fall"

Forgive me one more emotional/slightly depressing post, but I have to throw this out there.

I love Autumn. Something about it speaks to my soul: the colors, smells, food, weather. Crunching leaves, baking, wearing scarves and sweaters.

I met Jake in the fall (8 years ago this month). It seemed fitting.

Last night I had a very vivid dream that Jake and I were yelling at each other. As I drifted awake, I didn't know where I was or why Jake wasn't next to me. I remembered I was at Erika's without Jake. Literally reaching for my phone, I groggily thought, "I need to call him and tell him I love him." Then it hit me all of the sudden. I am not here on vacation. Jake is divorcing me. That feeling of wanting to say "I love you" and despair at realizing I can't anymore lingers...

I miss you. Especially in the fall.

27 September 2012

"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken." -Oscar Wilde

Who am i?

One of my biggest challenges in the last two months (has it really only been 2 months?!) is "the world" telling me that i need to redefine who i am. The original definition of "redefine" that flew to my mind was to transform. But that's not what i need to do and i struggled for awhile figuring that out.  i don't need to change who i am. The other definition, that has taken me a long time to realize (and will take even longer to apply) is "to reexamine or reevaluate."

Redefining myself does not mean deciding who i want to be and becoming that person. Neither does it mean labeling myself: "i am divorced." it means looking at who i already am as a person and coming to terms with it. It means being ok in my own skin. It means owning myself. It means discovering that i am different from other people and i am different from who i was a year ago and being alright with that. It means realizing that some of the "core beliefs" that i had are shaken and have already changed. Its coming to understand that changing my "core beliefs" changes what i think, how i feel, how i see the world, and who i am. It's defining what makes me angry, frustrated, excited, peaceful.  Its more like rediscovering.

That's one of the reasons why (against many others' protests) i am not changing my name back to Wadsworth. i am not that person anymore. i am Jennifer Olson. And changing my name is not going to make me forget that i am who i am because of my marriage and now this divorce; it won't take away the years that i was married or the pain that i am going through right now.

Redefining is hell. It's painful because some of the things that i am now, i became because of Jacob. i have to face that truth and be ok with it. i need to be able to keep those virtues i gained while married even though he is no longer around to bring them out in me (and even though part of me wants to hate him). i have to learn that i don't have someone to be my balance and that i have to balance myself. Redefining hurts because i have to do it at the same time that i am trying to rebuild my life...but how can i know what to build until i know who i am? It's difficult because i am doing it all on my own while everyone else's lives move on. Because i had no choice. Because it is what it is.

What does all this mean for me? It means that the following things are on my "To-Do" List:
*Regain self worth.  Because Jacob didn't feel like i was worth fighting for and that makes me feel worthless. Sure, many others exclaim "Oh but you are worth fighting for!" i think to myself, "Easy for you to say...you don't really have to fight for me." My best friend and eternal companion should have, but he didn't feel that i was worth the effort. And now there is me. It's hard to fight for myself when i feel so menial. i need to get to the point where i feel like i should fight for myself because i am worth it. And there is a lot of fighting that i have to do.

*Learn to be ok being on my own. i have been on my own before in many ways. After all, Jake was gone for quite a bit in our marriage. But this is different. Because in all reality...i am ALL alone, physically and emotionally. i don't complete anyone and no one completes me; i have to be complete by myself. i don't have a "better half;" i have to be my own whole. It doesn't matter how many friends and family say they are there for me; at the end of the day, i am going to bed alone. There is no one to whom i can tell everything that happened during the day; there is no one confiding in me. There is no one every night at bedtime thinking of me and sending love my way. i have to be my own best friend. i am the witness to my own life. Which means i have to like who i am and want to be around myself.

*Stop caring about what other people think. EVERYBODY has opinions and ideas of what i should be doing to recover, or what i should be doing to move on in my life, or what plans i should be making, or if i am handling my emotions correctly, or even where i will be after all this settles ("You'll find a great job! You will find someone who really loves you and cares about you!" Oh really? Trust me, you don't KNOW anything. Man, if i just had your crystal ball!) or what i should learn from this situation. I have to learn not to care about what other people think about me and my decisions; i follow my own gut and i deal with my own decisions.

These song lyrics are posted on my wall right now. Thank you, Enigma, for speaking to my soul.

"Don't be afraid to be weak;
Don't be too proud to be strong.
Just look into your heart my friend,
That will be the return to yourself,
The return to innocence.

If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry.
Be yourself don't hide
Just believe in destiny.

Don't care what people say,
Just follow your own way.
Don't give up and use the chance
To return to innocence.

That's not the beginning of the end
That's the return to yourself,
The return to innocence."

18 September 2012


This morning in my yoga class i did this:

My form was not so good, my arms not as straight, my feet not as far from the ground, i didn't hold the pose for very long (5 seconds?), my face may have looked as red as a rotten tomato (that has been punched a few times) and i may not be able to walk for the rest of the day.....but i DID it!

Oh, the benefits of arising before 6am :)

13 September 2012

It happened again...

Despite all my best intentions. Even though i made a list. i really did well for awhile, too. i read:
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Fountainhead
The Brother's Karamazov
And i have completed a good chunk of "Jesus the Christ" and "Origin of Species."

But with everything that i have been dealing with, i let myself weaken and went back to an old (much read and much loved) favorite. Peter S Beagle once called it "a green alternative to each day's madness here in a poisoned world." Exactly what i need...an escape.

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."


07 September 2012

Guess what, all y'alls?

I'm a Texan!

Some things I have noticed that are different from Southeastern Idaho:

*Little kids say "ma'am" and "sir"
*There are no mountains.
*There is Bluebell icecream in the grocery store (Best. Icecream. Ever.)
*The drivers are so bloody polite; if you put on your blinker, people move or slow down to let you in.
*It doesn't cool off at night. It's strange to step out into the dark and have it still be hot and muggy.
*There is amazing BBQ.
*Hello shopping :)
*i am not the only mini cooper on the roads. In fact, there are loads of us.
*i hear buzzing cicadas in the trees (reminds me of my childhood in LV).
*Tap water tastes disgusting.
*Although i have yet to truly experience it, i have heard that storms here are like nothing else. i've only seen the tip of the iceburg.
*There are a LOT more black people (or should i say "There actually ARE people that aren't just caucasian or Mexican")

30 August 2012

Empire State of Mind

You know where i want to be?

...and so i am going.

i'm planning a trip sometime in October. Just a weekend trip. The focus will be the museums with a Broadway show thrown in there. Maybe some other site seeing. i will be keeping things as cheap as possible.

Who's with me? i'm serious...i would love to have some company. (Otherwise, i WILL go alone). The more the merrier. Get in touch with me if you are interested.

These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you. Let's hear it for NEW YORK!!

28 August 2012

Brahms and a book...

...soothing for the soul.

A few friends and my counselor recommended that i read something happy, light-hearted and fun. Well, i was already entrenched in a novel...Dostoevsky, actually. Hmm. Perhaps not the most "uplifting" of novels. However, being already immersed in the throes of the deceit, insanity, murder and corruption of the Karamazov brothers, i endeavored to finish. Now, a mere 100 pages away from the ending (in which, i am assured by Katie S, that all the main characters will die...as they always do in Russian literature) i believe that i made a correct choice in continuing this novel. i find catharsis in yelling at the loose women, cursing the bastard brothers with their desire for the immoral, and crying over the destruction that a lack of values leaves in its wake. Thank you, Dostoevsky, for another heartbreaking masterpiece; and thank you Brahms for supplying the soundtrack.

i leave you with two fitting Emily Dickinson poems:

"There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!"

"Unto my books so good to turn
Far ends of tired days;
IT half endears the abstinence,
And pain is missed in praise.

As flavors cheer retarded guests
With banquetings to be,
So spices stimulate the time
Till my small library.

It may be wilderness without,
Far feet of failing men,
But holiday excludes the night,
And it is bells within.

I think these kinsmen of the shelf;
Their countenances bland
Enamour in prospective,
And satisfy, obtained."

24 August 2012


Some of my recent infatuations:

*These songs (i listen to them several many times a day):

*Green Smoothies. My favorite recipe (because it's easy and delicious):

1 banana
1 peach
2 cups spinach
2 cups water

*Wii Fit Super Hula Hoop and Rythym Kung Fu. Dorky? Maybe. Silly? Definitely. Fun? i think so.

*11,002 things to be miserable about. by Lia Romeo and Nick Romeo. AND...i just discovered that they also have a  website and an iPhone ap! i never knew misery could make me so happy :)

*These yoga poses which have seriously released the tension in my back:

*Journaling. Right now the pages are filled with disjointed, raw emotions--better out than in.

*My bathroom scale. i am absolutely amazed by the dramatic day to day fluctuations. Stress really makes my weight ride a rollercoaster.

*My friend, Rubi's beautiful blog.

*Essie's "A Cut Above" pink glitter polish. It's like a party on my toes.

*Colorblocking. I love it. Even if i'm not brave enough to do it myself.

21 August 2012


There have been situations in my life where i have grown to detest certain questions. i heard them over and over and never came up with a good answer. For example:

"How was your mission?"
"How is married life?"
"What are you going to do with your degree?"

Now there are two questions i cringe everytime i hear...

"How are you?"
"Are you ok?"

Whether they are said in passing or in sincere concern, i honestly have no clue how to respond. Do they want the truth? How much of the truth should i give? What is the truth? Sometimes i want to say, "My husband decided he didn't want to be married anymore. How do you think i am? Would you be ok?" Usually i smile and say, "Fine, thanks. I'm fine."

After much thought i devised an answer that i believe encompasses the truth and yet won't make the questioner feel as uncomfortable as if i had said, "Life is shitty, thanks for asking."  i can quite sincerely say, "i'm surviving." That about sums my life up. i get up in the morning and get ready for the day. i eat (most of the time). i talk to the people around me. i work on organizing my 3-bedroom-2.5-bath-garage-huge-apartment-full of stuff into my one bedroom. i fight the desire to crawl under the covers and sleep/hide the hours away. i try to keep the birds from crying all day. i listen to classical music (no lyrics or memories that make me extra emotional). i veg with Erika. i get ready for bed. i close my door. i fall apart until i am so exhausted i collapse. i have more nightmares than good sleep. i repeat.

But i'm surviving. For three reasons: my family, my friends, my God.

My family...what can i even say about them? Erika and Chad pulled me into their home. They ignore my screaming birds and my occasional sulks. They let me fill up their garage with my boxes until i can pull myself together enough to get a storage unit. Stephanie reminds me that life will go on, but that i am allowed to mourn a bit right now. Ian prays for me (and who could ask for more than the prayers of a missionary). Mom helps me to be practical and take care of the stuff i just don't have the strength to deal with. Dad just knows me better than anyone and reminds me that i am still special and loved.

My friends text, email, call. You have been non-judgmental. Thank you for putting my name on the prayer roll. Thank you for sending me uplifting music (it does touch my heart ever so much). Thank you for calling even when i didn't think i wanted calls. For spending the time to come see me. Thank you for the texts (man am i happy when i hear my phone beep). For offering your homes to me. For being "there" even though some of you are so far away (well...all of you, now).

And i have a testimony. My prayers are heard. i am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, who loves me, and i love Him. Someday, i have faith and hope, i will find peace and happiness again.

Until then, i am surviving.

15 June 2012


mi·cro·man·age[mahy-kroh-man-ij] verb (used with object), mi·cro·man·aged, mi·cro·man·ag·ing. To manage or control with excessive attention to minor details.

The following story is true (names/identities have been changed/withheld to protect the involved parties from being offended and therefore dropping away from the church).

A sign-up went around in Relief Society for volunteers to make a couple dozen cookies for an upcoming Stake Relieft Society Conference. I signed up without hesitating...what a simple way to help make someone else's life easier. Then the emails started.

Snippets of an email from the Coordinator of the Conference (directly quoted, mind you):


It is time to make some cookies. You will find the recipes attached. Jennifer and Caroline are making the cranberry walnut cookies. Heather and Tanya are making the chocolate chip cookies. Erika and Ashley are making the English Toffee Chocolate Cookies.

We need each of you to make 2 dozen 3 inch cookies and drop them off at the stake center on Friday night at 7 pm. If you run into a problem and can not make the cookies or drop them off please let me know and I will make other arrangements. You can package them in something disposable please. They are going to repackage the cookies in some special way."

Wow. My emailed response? "How the hell do you make a '3 inch cookie'?!" (She didn't respond to that).

Then I read the recipes (because heaven forbid I should make my OWN version of chocolate chip cookies.) Here are certain winning phrases from the recipies:

"...Beat into shortening mixture until smooth. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls (adjust amount dropped as needed to get a three inch cookie) about 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets."

"...Place on cooling rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container when cooled."

"...Do not over bake--or you will be disappointed--cookies will become dry and crunchy."

Once again, wow. Store in an airtight container? Do not over bake? No...um...crap, Sherlock.

Then I received a follow up email instructing each baker to add one cup of chocolate chips to each recipe. Silly lady, she didn't instruct me whether I should add milk chocolate or semi-sweet! How am I supposed to make that decision on my own? (She didn't respond to that question, either).

**In the meantime** A sign up sheet was passed around for ladies to help "repackage" these cookies. But they didn't want cute little older ladies volunteering. In fact, they specifically asked only for people who knew how to tie "pretty bows." Hmm, I'm surprised there wasn't a picture of the exact type of bow they wanted tied and a clarification of what would be considered an "unpretty" bow.

Conclusion of the story, although SEVERALLY tempted to make 2.5 inch cookies on purpose, under bake them (because heaven forbid they should get dry and crunchy) and store them on an open platter, I followed the directions exactly as given.

BAM! 3 inches
And the cookies weren't even that good.

"For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward."

D&C 58:26

17 May 2012


"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans." -John Lennon

Regardless, I still whole heartedly believe in making plans, and especially plans for your life. I also believe that "life plans" don't always need to focus on families, careers, financial security, and spiritual preparedness. Be a little selfish sometimes!! In other words, make a bucket list and then...as impractical or silly as some of those things may seem...dream about finishing it. Even better...DO IT!! Here is my bucket list (in no particular order).

**Updated: What is crossed off, i have accomplished since i wrote this list!***

JO's Bucket List:
*Hike Machu Picchu
*Drive a motorcycle
*Backpack across Europe
*Read the Bible from cover to cover
*Ride in a hot air balloon
*Get a cap on my peg lateral
*Drive from coast to coast (staying at Motel 6s and eating at diners if at all possible)
*Get scuba certified
*Make a pilgrimage
*Solve the Rubik's Cube
*Sleep on an overnight train
*Earn a PhD
*Read every book in my library
*Museum hop in New York (MoMA, Met, Guggenheim)
*Hike the Appalachian Trail
*Participate in a flash mob
*Visit the San Diego Zoo
*Rock a right hand solitaire (no less than a carat, please!) **Although it's not a solitaire, i now rock a gorgeous diamond right hand ring!
*Ride an elephant
*Achieve my ideal weight **i love myself no matter what my weight now. My ideal weight=exactly what i weigh right now!
*Live on all habitable continents
*Beat Jacob at Texas Hold 'Em
*Visit the seven "new" wonders of the world: Machu Picchu, Peru (already on list); the Coliseum, Rome; Petra, Jordan (CHECK!); Christ Redeemer, Brazil; The Great Wall of China; Chichen Itza, Mexico (CHECK!); The Taj Mahal, India
*See a show on Broadway
*Have a 2 year supply of food storage
*Spend a week at yoga retreat OR silent retreat
*Paint something that I would hang in my house
*Ride in a helicopter
*Visit Hogwarts :)
*Have a follower on my blog that I've never met
*Ride a camel
*Get Lasik surgery
*Learn a new word every day for an entire year
*Go to a midnight premier of a movie
*Have my hair styled at a salon that charges ridiculous fees (because it's THAT good)
*Write my life story
*Attend a masquerade

Things I would love to say that I've done, but not enough to actually do them:
*Run a marathon I DID IT!!!!
*Own a bookstore
*Play a game of Monopoly until the very end
*Get a tattoo
*Dive with sharks
*Have my name changed to be all lowercase letters

Things that were on my bucket list that are now completed (wooohooo):
*Be a beautiful bride
*Get a pixie cut
*Master a foreign language
*Fly first class
*Take an art class in an actual art museum
*Learn to drive a stick shift
*Live in Paris
*Swim with dolphins
*Graduate from college
*Paint a room in my house black
*Kiss the Blarney Stone

"Live as well as you dare." -Sydney Smith

27 April 2012

So many books, so little time

At the moment, i find myself balanced in that awkward "in-between-books" stage...the one where i look at my ridiculously long "to-read" list and hear all the suggestions of friends and family and begin to break into a sweat trying to decide what book to pick up next. Do i indulge and re-read one of my favorites? Do i try to read a classic i have neglected? Do i tinker with some silly young adult fantasy series? Do i try and stay up to date on the latest in literature?

Although i have yet to pick the specific book, i have composed a list of 12 books never before read by me from which i will read until i have checked them all off. A large part of me is ashamed to admit that i have never read some of this literature; several i have started (even mulitple times) but never completed. i feel confused and overwhelmed at where to begin. Mostly, i am just thrilled at the delicious choices!

Fountainhead- Ayn Rand
Heart of Darkness- Joseph Conrad
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
On the Road- Jack Kerouac
The Brothers Karamozov- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Jesus the Christ- James Talmage
Don Quixote- Miguel de Cervantes
Mistborn: The Alloy of Law- Brandon Sanderson
Madame Bovary- Gustave Flaubert
Uglies Series- Scott Westerfeld
On the Origin of Species- Charles Darwin

Suggestions on where to begin? (i request at the moment that you not give me more book ideas as this may cause me to quit my job, leave my church, neglect my home and my husband, lock myself in the back bedroom and subsist solely by feasting on the words of good literature.)

17 April 2012

It's been too long since you've cleaned your bathroom if...

This Saturday was an insanely busy day at my house…one of those days where I felt like I was running in circles to get everything done and still failing. At some point in the day Jacob stepped into the guest bathroom where I was scrubbing the bathtub, looked quizzically at me and the following conversation ensued:

Jacob: Why are you cleaning the guest bathtub?

Me: I don’t understand your question.

Jacob: No one used this bathroom this week and you are super busy. Why are you taking the time to clean it?

Me: Because it’s Saturday.

Jacob: I don’t understand your answer.

Me: It’s just something that IS. On Saturdays, you clean the bathrooms. That’s just the way it is. It’s like breathing. You don’t think about breathing. You don’t question breathing. You don’t feel like breathing isn’t necessary. You just do it. It’s the same with Saturdays...you just clean the bathrooms, whether they have been used or not.

Jacob: …(stunned silence)…

After this exchange I began to think that maybe not everyone cleans their bathrooms on Saturday...or regularly for that matter. I remembered an article I had read listing the 10 dirtiest parts of most people’s houses (which may or may not have induced an 8 hour cleaning spree in my own house). One of the places listed was the bathtub. REALLY? Letting the soap from your body run down into the bath while you shower does NOT count as cleaning! Apparently there are people who are unaware of when they should clean. In case you are one of them, here are Jennifer’s foolproof guidelines for when to clean your bathroom.

You should clean your bathroom if:

*There is more hair on the floor than on your head.
*You leave the shower feeling dirtier than when you got in.
*You can no longer tell the color of the porcelain.
*There is mold. Period. There should never be mold. Ever. Kill it.
*The counter is no longer visible underneath all the curling irons, hair bands, bobby pins and makeup scattered around.
*You feel like you should wipe the toilet seat before sitting down.
*You stick to the wall if you accidentally brush against it because of the coating of hairspray.
*You have to rub your fist against the mirror to get a clean spot…and it’s not even steamy in the room.
*You feel the need to apologize before someone uses your restroom.
*Your child has peed or shat in the bathtub. Just rinsing it down the drain does NOT count.
*You walk into a Walmart bathroom and feel right at home.
*The thing growing between the toilet and the wall has started giggling every time you step out of the shower.
*It’s been more than a week.

(Please note that even if only ONE of these statements is true, your bathroom probably needs to be cleaned. If all of the above are true, you should consider condemning your bathroom until an exorcist can expel the evil that exists therein).

23 March 2012

Will you be my neighbor?

As you know, we moved at the end of January. Now we occupy a beautiful townhome…and once again we share walls. In our current location, we are connected on one side of the house, sharing garage walls, living room and kitchen walls, a wall in the master bedroom and a backyard. Because of our close proximity, I was anticipating meeting our new neighbors. I have always been blessed with wonderful neighbors who have become dear friends. I already imagined the friendship and trust that would develop between our two families. The landlord informed us that they were a younger couple with no children. Perfect! Just like us!

We moved our things in bit by bit but never saw the neighbors. On February 1st we actually began inhabiting our new home. After about a week, we were surprised that the neighbors still hadn’t come over. After two weeks, we began to wonder if WE were supposed to go over THERE and introduce ourselves. But then we couldn’t figure out how to take over cookies and welcome ourselves to the neighborhood. Once we had been there for a month, we decided it had reached to an awkward point where NEITHER of us could really just knock on the others door and say, “Hi, we are your, um, newish neighbors.”

Not knowing about who lives on the other side of the wall addles my brain; I have morphed into a psycho stalker. My stalking habits include (but are not limited to):
-Peering out blinds when cars pull into the driveway.
-Noting the time and frequency of the garage door going up or the front door being opened.
-Staring at the shared wall in front of my vanity and wondering if someone is sitting in the exact same spot on the other side staring at me.
-Trying to move in complete silence in order to hear if anything is going on in the other townhome.
-Talking to the neighbors as if they can hear me. For example, when I hear their microwave beep asking, “What are you cooking for dinner tonight?”
-Staring at their house every time I pull in, searching for open blinds or lights on or a shadow in a window.
-Randomly screaming as loud I can to see if someone next door comes over in concern or even calls the cops.

In order to abate the frustration at my lack of knowledge of our friends next door, Jacob and I have started hypothesizing about their lives. It began like this:

Me (out of the blue): “I know! Our neighbors are really really Mormon. They will only associate with those of their faith for fear of inviting a bad influence into their lives. Every week at church they wait for their new neighbors to show up so that they can introduce themselves and we can begin sharing casserole recipes. But of course, they haven’t seen us there and therefore assume we are pagan and slaughter animals on an alter! Since we still attend our old ward, they don’t REALIZE we ARE good Mormons and we can still be their friends.”

Jacob: “Nope. They aren’t or they would have been welcoming us to the neighborhood the first time that we pulled up and fellowshipping us when we didn’t show up at church. They have to be Mormon haters who think LDS people are pushy and ‘holier-than-thou’ and don’t want to befriend us for fear we will send the missionaries and visiting teachers over and heart attack their house or leave otherwise ‘inspiring’ gospel messages on their door and cars.”

Me: “But how do they know WE are Mormons unless they introduce themselves and ask? I mean, it’s not like we pulled up with 7 children under the age of 8 or anything.”

Jacob: “Both our vehicles have Madison County license plates. We. Are. Mormon.”

Me: “Oh. Yeah.”

From that point on, one of us randomly throws out a theory about the neighbors. We have come up with some pretty good ones.

-They speak no English. They don’t even know how to say “Hello. We speak no English.”
-They are in the middle of major marital problems and it would be super uncomfortable to introduce themselves; they would have to either pretend like they were a happy couple or say, “Hi, we are the Johnsons and we are contemplating a divorce.” (We never hear them fighting because they fight by giving the silent treatment and leaving nasty notes).
-They grew up watching the Hitchcock movie “The Birds” and developed an uncontrollable terror of feathered creatures. They have heard our birds singing and it sends them into panic attacks to think of knocking on our door.
-They are deaf and would therefore be unable to communicate with us. This is why we never hear any talking or music or movies either (and why they don’t respond to my blood curling screams). We have yet to devise a theory as to why they didn’t drop off cookies with a note explaining their condition.
-They are Nazi sympathizers, have seen from a distance that neither of us have blonde hair and blue eyes, and stay away so as to suppress the urge to release gas into the vents of our house. (Its not that they would mind killing us, they just don’t want to end up in prison.)
-They are hoarders in the extreme and have so much trash piled in their house that there wouldn’t be room to admit us. Also, there is no space in which to bake cookies and Mrs. Neighbor couldn’t bring herself to part with any stationary in order to leave a note.

What do you think?

Yesterday as Jacob pulled into the driveway, Mr. Neighbor was taking a picture of the outside of the house. We may or may not have obsessively checked Craigslist ever since to see if they are posting their townhome. If they move, we will be on the new neighbors' doorstep on DAY ONE, cookies in hand.

08 March 2012

There's no place like home

We have been in our new house for over a month now. I unpacked my last box two weeks ago. Sometimes I miss my old home. I long for the large jetted tub; there is no comparing the cool brown of my new bedroom walls to the bright turquoise I painted in my old bedroom. Contemplating the spring and the desire to grow, my heart aches at the lack of sunny yard that I have to work with. Then again, my laundry room here makes me giddy; I adore having a bedroom door that I can close (as well as an attached masterbath). I am getting quite used to climbing into a vehicle that has stayed in a toasty garage all night long. Furthermore, being within walking distance to campus has proven a major blessing for my little family.
I struggled with this move more than any we have done before. Perhaps because I poured so much of myself into our little country home. I expected we would be there until Jacob graduated. I painted most of the rooms; I put up flower boxes; we cultivated the garden; we planted a strawberry patch. It was my haven to return to at the end of a long work day. I had to move for Jacob...and I don't regret that. However, the difficulty of the move made me stop and consider, what makes a place feel like home anyway? As we have settled in to our townhome (a complete opposite of our little country house) I realized that this is home to me:

*Everything has a place and everything in its place.
*Books, books, books.
*The bathrooms smelling like clorox and peppermint toilet bowl cleaner.
*Good music playing.
*Walls covered by original art...I only have 1 print! (Most of it is done by my amazing sister in law)
*Camo seemingly appearing in all corners.
*Displayed photographs of us by my beloved little sis Stephanie Wadsworth.
*Birds happily (or noisely) chirping as we walk in and out of the house.
*Oreos in the pantry.
*A guest room all set up (towels and everything) ready for the next Wadsworth to come stay.
*At least one bright colorful wall :)

Also, it's still our haven. As Jacob says, somewhere where he can take off his shoes and unload his pockets...and in so doing, unload some of the outside world and just be comfortable.

For me I keep thinking of the lyrics of "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros:
"Oh Home. Yes I am home! Home is wherever I am with you."
In the end, this is how I feel. There is no place like home...and there is no place like being with my Jacob.