Sunday, August 24, 2014

I'm ready to live not only survive...

I love music.
Very few things speak to my soul the way music does.

The lyrics to one of my favorite songs have been running through my mind quite a lot lately...

The Station...
I've been riding on this train so long,
trying to reach my destination.
Holding out for the perfect place,
hope I find it at the station.
Restlessly I watch the hours,
waiting to pull in.
Feeling like I've wasted time on dreams lost to the wind.

I'm ready to live not only survive
I'm ready to dance like no one's watchin
Climb a mountain, kiss the sky, 
then do it all again.
I'm ready to love like I've never been hurt
I'm ready to sing like no one's listenin
Watch more sunsets,
see the world.
If not now, when?

I've told myself it's all right,
to run without hesitation.
Enjoy the ride and live my life,
cause now I know, there is no station.
No finer place where dreams come true,
no better world than this.
Just moments filled with joy and tears,
where hopes and fears exist.

I'm ready to live not only survive
I'm ready to dance like no one's watchin
Climb a mountain, kiss the sky,
then do it all again.
I'm ready to love like I've never been hurt
Ready to sing like no one's listenin
Watch more sunsets,
see the world.
If not now, when?

Honestly, if I could have written a theme song for my life, this would be it.
I AM ready to live, not only survive.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Heartache and Gratitude...

It's been so long since I've written anything.  The past few months have been some of the hardest in my life. One of the things I like about trials and challenges (and I can't believe I just said I like trials and challenges) is when you get to that point where you can look back and see the pieces of the puzzle fitting together.  I can see how heartache and sleepless nights ended up being on the cusp of major growth moments.  I can see very clearly where doors were opened and others were closed, and how aware I am now of the Lord's hand in all of the things that have unfolded.  This really has been such a challenging experience, and I cannot deny the blessings that have come along the way. Every night when I kneel in prayer I barely make it two seconds before bursting into tears of gratitude.  It's becoming easier to see the goodness that envelops my life and positive moments I've been blessed with along the way.

First, I wanted to thank everyone for the kind messages and thoughts that you sent my way after my last post.  And thank you to those who shared their stories with me.  There were so many personal stories shared.  I was humbled.  I was so overcome with your words of encouragement, compassion and thoughtfulness.  You really kept me going through this very difficult time, and there are no words to describe how grateful I am for the truly good friends the Lord has placed in my life.

Divorce really sucks.  That's it.  There is no other way to describe it.  How do two people who were so excited to get married and plan a life together end up like this?  It's something my heart has a hard time comprehending at times.

I love the movie (and the book), Under the Tuscan Sun.  In it the main character, Frances, speaking of divorce and says, "the most surprising thing about divorce is that it doesn't actually kill you".  This statement makes me laugh a little every time I hear it. It doesn't actually kill you, but honestly, it should.  No one should have to wake up to the aftermath and reminders everyday. It's disheartening, in a way, that it takes such an incredible amount of time to recover. If the divorce itself doesn't kill you, the recovery should.

There is a big part of me that is very anxious to just get past this moment and get on with my life. Daily reminders of the "D" word leave such a gloomy presence.  There are many things about this marriage I wish I could forget, but then I look to the future and am reminded that there is goodness and hope on the horizon. And the goodness on the horizon will only be sweeter because of the experiences I've had. Why would I ever lessen the experiences and blessings that are to come by forgoing the memories that, with time, will become less and less painful to remember. I can't remember who said this, but the following quote puts things into a perfect perspective... "Any arbitrary turning along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different". While life over the past few years have been filled with heartache and, at times, immense pain; I honestly wouldn't dare change a thing because that may mean that I might somehow be different. Maybe even less that what the Lord has planned for me to become. I have to believe that this experience is part of my path; part of the Lord's plan for me. And, let's be honest... he doesn't make mistakes.
Showing gratitude for the low points in my life truly makes the sweet times that much sweeter.

I am confident that there will come a day when the memories of a life that once was will be filled with less sadness, and my heart will instead make way for a hope and happiness I cannot yet comprehend. Through faith in Jesus Christ, and the blessings of hope; heartache can be replaced with graitude.

Monday, May 6, 2013

not the road I wanted to choose...

I believe in marriage.  I truly do.  It's the one thing in this life that I've hoped for, searched for, and worked for most of my life.  Not just any marriage would do.  I've always wanted something special... a friendship, a partnership an eternal companionship. I've longed to fill my life with the joy of being a wife and mother.  I love working, but my deepest desire is to be home taking care of my home and family.  It's not just a want, it's a deeply spiritual desire.  Believe me I've looked outside the home to fill that desire, and I always end up back at home because it is where my heart truly feels the happiest.  There is nothing more fulfilling to me than caring for my home and family.

Matt and I met nearly 22 years ago.  We had grown up together, had many of the same friends, similar interests... he was off-the-wall, outgoing and super ambitious.  I was shy, quiet and a bit of a goody-goody.  Matt and I were best friends to the core.  Our marriage wasn't perfect, but we had an amazing friendship. Every Saturday we would pack up the kids, get in the car, and go for a family drive; and every time without saying a word about it, would end up where we both had wanted to go.  We were connected.

We enjoyed 11 years of marriage together.  I remember the beginning of the end like it happened yesterday. We had just taken the girls on a family vacation to San Diego. That following week Matt had spent out of town on business.  He came home from that business trip looking completely different.  I barely recognized him.  After several hours of silence he finally spoke to me and told me that he "didn't want to be married anymore and didn't want the responsibility of a family anymore either"... I'll probably never forget those words.  He packed his bags and took a job in Washington D.C. and left.  It was over just like that.  In the years that followed, a secret life surfaced.  Secrets I sometimes wish I had never known about.

I remember the day my mother-in-law called me.  She didn't say much, she didn't need to.  She only said, "I'm not too happy with my son right now".  She didn't take a side, she didn't make excuses or point fingers.  She said what her heart was feeling.  She was hurting too.  She told me she loved me.  She passed away just a few weeks later.  I will forever be grateful for her strength in making that phone call.  She set me free from the self-blame, guilt and shame I was feeling.  I never realized how grateful I was for that moment until recently.

Fast-forward 10 years... and here I am. Losing everything again.  After Matt, I took my time.  I didn't date, didn't think of dating for several years.  I really looked inward, worked very hard to mend the heart that had been broken by the ultimate betrayal. I bettered myself through education, service and being the best possible mom I could.  I poured everything into being ready and worthy of the kind of man I deserved and wanted to spend eternity with.  I was so careful.

I not only prayed for the opportunity to meet and marry a good man, I also prayed to be part of a good family as well. I found both of those things.  I remember thinking I had seriously hit the jackpot. I fell in love with Brad's family.  It was the type of family I wanted to be a part of eternally.

I wish I could put into words what happened, but it's too personal, to raw and way to painful.  It's over and that's all I can, and will say.  I didn't just lose my husband, I lost a family I really cared about.  My children lost a family.  I never experienced this with Matt.  My children and I have always remained really close to Matt's family.  We visit their grandpa still... regularly.  I think we remained close because family relationships are what matter the most.  My heart breaks for my son.  I don't know what this means for him.

I don't know what will come from all of this.  I have a love/hate relationship with hope.  My bishop said to me months ago, "if there is even one ounce of hope, then let's do all we can to save this marriage"... ugh, I am the last person to talk to about hope.  I am probably one of the most hopeful people out there.  His statement about hope was absolute torture.  Of course there's always hope... hope is what has kept me going for the past 2 1/2 years.  But I slowly realized that hope can't fix another person.  All of my desires and "hope" can't do the work for or change someone else.  It's like wishing the sky were orange... hoping that the sky will magically turn orange isn't going to change it's color.

I wish things were different right now.  I wish I could fast-forward 6 months, 1 year, 5 years... I just wish I could make it through a single day without falling to pieces.  I wish this didn't hurt so much.

Even though things are unbelievably tough right now, I'm learning quite a lot.  I've learned that I can still laugh and find joy every single day.  I truly enjoy my time with my children.  It's okay to close the door to my closet and sob (sometimes several times a day).  I've learned to rely on the Lord a lot because there are times when there really is nobody else.  I've learned to lean on friends and family and those the Lord has placed in my life at this time.  I've learned to not keep everything to myself... I kind of pride myself on being a really private person.  It's okay to NOT to do it all myself.  I've learned that I enjoy having a home full of people... even the teenage variety.  It's okay to not figure everything out in one day.  I've learned to let plans go. I've learned that things like organized cabinets, clean floors and empty laundry baskets don't really matter, and things like story time and prayer with Zachary, teaching my daughters to cook and sew, and talking on the phone to a friend or visiting my mom... those things are what really matter.  I've learned to not overwhelm myself with the undone details and the uncertainty of everything.

And most of all, I've learned to trust in the Lord when He keeps reassuring me that everything will be all right, because truly, everything will be all right.  He knows the journey I've been on.  He knows the true desires of my heart, why I've cried the tears I've cried.  He know the prayers I've prayed begging and pleading with the Him to help me fix things and make things different.  He knows my heartache, my sadness, and how hard I fought for a different outcome.  Ultimately the Lord knows the absolute truth, and nothing brings me more peace than knowing that for myself.

The final thing I learned is a big lesson on forgiveness.  I recently came across this quote by Carol Tuttle, "forgive others for not knowing what you know".  I wrote that on my bathroom mirror as an everyday reminder.  This quote speaks with so much power.  I can't be upset with people for not knowing what I know... and if what they don't know is the truth, then how is it doing me any good to hold on to hurt feelings and let those feelings of sadness, pain and frustration control my life?  Behaving that way fills me with nothing but despair.  This experience has been devastating enough without adding to it.
That quote put things in a perfect perspective for me... I truly DO need to forgive others for not knowing what I know.  I have to believe that the Lord will mend things. I can be mended, my children can be mended. Hearts will be mended.  I need to remember that I put this in the Lord's hands months ago and He doesn't make mistakes.  I may be headed down a road I truthfully didn't want to go down, but I have no doubt He will make this family whole again.

Monday, April 29, 2013

finding the creativity again...

I am on a new creative journey and it is makin' this girl a happy one!
So, for months I've been wanting to get back into the school scene and get this whole degree thing done, but the timing has been way off... aka: the Lord has other plans for me. :)
Anyone who truly knows me, knows this past year has been particularly difficult.  I've desperately needed something in my life to lift my spirits; and for me that typically comes through using creativity.  God created us and therefor is a creative being, so why would it never cross my mind that He created us to be creative beings as well!?  This is probably why I am my happiest when I am doing something creative with my time. {my light bulb moment} 

One evening while the house was completely quiet I began thinking about the future.  As I said before, this past year has been a tough one, and in all honesty my confidence has been shaken quite a lot.  I just wanted so badly to do something just for me that would not only lift my spirits, but also give me the creative confidence boost I need. Knowing that school isn't an option right now, I kept trying to focus on using the creative skills I already have, but as I mentioned, am lacking in the confidence department. Knowing my love for design I wanted to do something related to that field without having to take on clients, projects and major work loads.  The design field is not a place for someone lacking confidence... art and design are so completely subjective... and either your clients love your work or they hate it.  I'm just not sure I want my work criticized in any way right now... even a constructively criticized way.
So, this quiet evening as I thought about the future I kept getting this "nudge" to look into graphic design.  Honestly I had never thought about graphic design before.  In my mind graphic design was all about logos, branding and web design...and for what ever reason that didn't sound appealing in any way.  Months went by and this "nudge" just kept coming back, so I finally started looking up some programs some friends had mentioned... I instantly felt an excitement I hadn't felt in a really long time, and... I enrolled in the course the very next day.  So, it's not technically school.  It's just a month long online course learning the in's and out's of Illustrator.  I'm one week into it and completely in LOVE!!! I may have a new obsession. ;)

My first official design... a 16x20 adjectives poster for my little miss.
I didn't really think anything of it... the idea originally came from an assignment (design a poster using only text), but when little miss saw it her face immediately brightened up.  She began asking questions and I could tell she loved knowing that I know all of these things about her.
If I gain nothing else out of this experience, this little moment with little miss made this side journey completely worth it!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

coulda, shoulda, woulda... 2013

I coulda come up with some sort of Christmas card this last year...
I really shoulda come up with something...
I woulda but...


Every year I begin thinking about Christmas cards well in advance.  And for whatever reason the idea never materializes... EVER!

I kind of chuckled this year when a friend of mine posted this as her status on fb...
We are horrible at sending Christmas cards so, Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year in 2013!
What a brilliant idea!  Can I just do that too?

I actually really love Christmas cards.  I love, love, love getting them.  I'm sure I would love sending them.  It's one of those things that should just happen right?  And when it doesn't happen I'm left feeling guilty about it... again!  Maybe I should start now for this next Christmas?  Or I was thinking of just maybe doing what Gretchen Rubin does in her book The Happiness Project.  It's actually a really cute idea, but I fear that I won't do it then either and then I'll be left with the guilty feeling twice a year instead of just the one time. :)

I just realized earlier this week that this blog actually started 5 years ago with this post, which oddly enough was a Christmasy-ish, Christmas card post.  Which was followed by this, this, this and this, which was my version of a Christmasy-ish photo recap of the year.  This is when I used to make things simple.  Maybe I should have just stuck with what worked then. :)

Lately I've desperately wanted to return to that time, or maybe just a time, when things seemed so much simpler.  I may have had a life that some would view as hard, difficult or something of the like... but honestly that time in my life was an incredibly happy time.  It was a time when I did what I loved.  My time was so very precious that I spent it wisely and used each minute to the fullest.  I miss that time in my life.

Sorry about that little off track blip there, sometimes my heart just needs to get things out there.

Well, had I produced some magnificent Christmasy-ish, Christmas card post for this past year, it would have gone a little like this...

2012.  We blinked and it was over.  The end.

Just kidding!

What can I say?  I am truly blessed!  I have 4 amazing children, friends that are incredibly supportive, loving and understanding, a home, ward and community that I absolutely love, and am completely aware of the Lord's love for me and His hand in my life.

Well, feeling that desire to return to what I used to do and love, I'm realizing I have strayed away from writing about the things I love the most in this world... my children.  One of my favorite things lately has been re-reading past posts about the girls.  I'm so glad I wrote about their likes, dislikes, loves and current happenings because a lot of it I had forgotten about.  I'm so thankful now for capturing those memories and moments.  So, in an attempt to return to capturing the NOW moments in their lives I thought I'd do something I haven't done it quite a while and just write about them. :)

Kayla is 17, going on 22 {very shortly}. I still have no idea where all the time went.  I can't believe I'm even old enough to have a 17 year old (I am... don't be starting any rumors people).
What can I say about my not so little, little girl?  She began this school year as a senior {Ugh... I'm feeling old}, graduation is right around the corner!  She was elected as the drama council secretary for the 2012-2013 school year, which came as a huge surprise to her because it wasn't a position she even applied for.  The drama department chair at CHHS hand picked Kayla for the position, which was a big deal to her.  She's been working at Ab's Drive In, well, since she turned 16... and was recently promoted to a supervisor position.  It was such a proud mama moment walking into the restaurant and watching her work in a leadership role.  She is amazing as a leader and I had no idea she had this natural ability to lead and manage... she amazes me!  What's in the near future for my "little girl", well she is a soon to be UVU student (deaf studies program).  Last school year, Kayla took an ASL class and things just took off for her.  She seriously is gifted in sign language.  She picked it up like it was nothing and then decided on her own that she wanted to pursue a career in interpreting.  Oddly enough, there are a few repeat customers that come into Ab's that are deaf and Kayla happily and effortlessly takes their order... again, this was another one of those proud mama moments where I'm watching my daughter in complete awe.  Kayla and I have also talked about the possibility of her serving a sign language mission, and now that young women can go 2 whole years earlier, it makes the possibility even greater.

Cammy is a sassy, super talented 15 year old.  She reminds me every other day that she gets a permit in a few months and a drivers license shortly thereafter.  Every time she talks like this all I am thinking in my head is, NOOOOOOO!!!  I'm really not ready to start this process with one of my children again.  Cammy is my 9th grader {again, making me feel a little old}.  She found a spot on the concert choir again this year, which she absolutely loves.  I could sit all day and listen to her sing, she has a beautiful voice.  She was chosen to serve as the historian at school and is constantly taking pictures... mostly of herself. ;)  She began taking tumbling this year, which has been quite the workout, but she loves it.  She is looking forward to trying out for the CHHS volleyball team this next school year too.  I can't believe she heads off to high school later this year.  I'm not sure how I feel about this yet.  Cammy also recently recorded a song in an actual recording studio, which was a fun experience.  Cammy's goals for the future... well, it changes almost daily, but usually revolves around being a tattoo artist, hair stylist or a doctor... um, she's 15 so I guess she's got time to figure this one out.  She is my ultimate organizer/baby sitter/mini-mom... I really couldn't survive without her.

Little Miss {aka: Krystian} is my super social 11 year old, 5th grader.  She's not much taller than she was as a 3rd grader, which was my secret plan to keep her as my little girl for as long as possible.  It's worked out in her favor though.  After only 9 months of taking gymnastics, Krystian was invited to join the competition team at AW.  Saying she is excited is an understatement.  She found out right before Christmas that she had been chosen for the team and was bouncing off the walls for the 2 weeks that the gym was closed... she just couldn't wait to get back to the gym and get back to work.  She has to be at the gym almost everyday, so I have now taken on the role of "gym mom" {it's similar to a dance mom, just less drama ;)}.  Of course with her current love for gymnastics she wants to be a gymnast for, well, forever and eventually wants to be a veterinarian.  She's super excited to turn 12 this year and has already made plans for a mom and daughter temple date when she is able to get her recommend.  I'm so excited to experience this with her, and although I don't want her to grow up anymore, I am so excited for her future.  It's ironic, I want her to stay little, but I loving watching her grow up! :)

Zachary {aka: Z, Zach or Zach-attack} is my all over the place, almost 2 year old.  He seriously is the most joyous little soul.  He LOVES music and sings songs he hears from pretty much anywhere... nursery, mom, his sisters and even the radio.  His favorite songs these days: Once There Was a Snowman, The Snowflake Song, and I Won't Give Up (by Jason Mraz).  It's funny how some songs just stick.  His oldest sister loves that Jason Mraz song and listens to it A LOT and Zach just picked it up and started singing it one day... probably the cutest thing ever!  He is my cookie monster.  I don't know how he does it, but he always seems to find ways to get his hands on a cookie {I blame his sisters  :)}.  He is the absolute best at giving kisses and cuddles and is seriously the most loving little boy.  Z loves being the little brother and totally loves having big sisters who are constantly making a big deal about him... he loves being the center of attention let's just say.  He loves making friends, playing with trucks, reading stories and playing with his cousins.

Well, that's the latest here at our house.  I'm committing to writing more about my family, now to find the time................ and I'm trying to have fewer of those coulda, shoulda, woulda moments. Bare with me. :)

thanks for enduring the longest of long posts. :)