Friday, December 30, 2011

Today is Different

Something I learned long ago was that no day is like any other. This is something that I learned when I began to journal regularly. There was a girl in my seminary class, and she wondered what she could write in a journal each day, because they all seem pretty much the same. My heart screamed out that they are not! Every day is different. I knew that from writing each day, accounting for the events, looking for those things that were different. No day was ever the same as another.

But it can be easy to get drawn into the routine of life. It can be easy to feel like day by day, we go along doing the same things, and while we may progress toward certain goals in some ways, that our lives are ultimately just a mash and smattering of dull gray days with a sameness about them. I know I've felt like that, and that mentality is and always has been there in varying degrees.

I felt an awakening a little less than two years ago, when I realized the ultimate beauty and importance of the moment. And I've strayed from that a bit through my "survival mode" and adjusting to living in a new place, but it is something I never want to lose sight of for long.

Everything is different today. The patterns of weather, and how they all correspond to each other across the world, will never be exactly the same again. The clouds will never take that same shape again. The grass won't be at that length, with that history of growth. I will never be this age again. This moment is a moment all to me. It is the only moment I have right now, and it is the only time I will ever this moment. In an hour, it will be a different moment.

No day is inconsequential. Lives change every day, all around us. We change. We are who we are today. Today is what matters. Today, at this moment in time, all of the past, and all the possibility of the future converge into this one moment, into this undeniable existence of now. Enjoy it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sometimes I feel like I've woken up in an alternate reality. That is the closest thing to what I think living in another country feels like. The grocery store closes at 9pm every night, so all food items must be bought before then. Any other kind of store closes at 5pm, except Kmart. So if you go into the mall at 8:30pm to wander over to a Kmart, there is this creepy feeling of a zombie apocalypse. Everything is empty, and there is no one there. It feels like the world is dead. I mean, it's weird enough that people actually shop at Kmart.  The only things that exist that remind you of the country you've left are the golden arches, and the Hungry Jack's logo which resembles the 90s Burger King logo. Ketchup doesn't come with fries. Everywhere you go to eat sells schnitzels, but no one serves a steak with steak sauce. Everything has a different name too. The trunk is the boot. The hood is the bonnet. The mall is the shops. Position is posi. The weather is completely different. There are still the same months, and the same dates pass, but they feel completely different. Summer is starting as Christmas comes. There's no snow. The 4th of July was one of the coldest days of the year. Chinese means a nice dinner out with banquets and lots of courses, not quick take-out and cheap delivery. There is no Mexican anywhere. Everything that resembles Mexican has an off taste. The best tasting Mexican I've had here had chicken that tasted distinctly Indian. Amazon doesn't work. I've ordered from Amazon tons of times, always gotten my item within the time, usually for free shipping. I bought something off Amazon, and it was supposed to arrive by today, and they have to ship a new one out. The rental market is ridiculous. You have to supply things that would be required for a police clearance to prove that you should be accepted for a 6 month rental property. Money isn't good enough. Offered to pay however much up front, and people didn't seem to care about that. It is impossible to get a job, for me. I could go back to America, which is nearing a 10% unemployment rate, and be sure that I could find a job, that if I just looked hard enough or lowered my standards that I could find some sort of employment. (This is in large part to do with my visa, which that situation will hopefully change when I get a permanent visa). Everyone works on Thanksgiving. We got one trick-or-treater for Halloween, and people apparently have a backlash against Halloween here because they don't want to be too American, all the while happily chomping down their big macs and whoppers. Swearing is meaningless here. So is making fun of someone. No one takes it seriously, so it is done all the time, about everything. Adult and family culture is dominated by drinking. It's not just a 20s phase that passes for most people.

(I kind of got interrupted while writing this, and never really finished it, and am a bit out of that mode right now but figure I'll post it anyway.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

They can take the girl out of Idaho, but they can't take the potato out of the girl!


Brushed Potato vs Russet Potato
Short Cut Bacon vs...what I can regular bacon
Tasty Cheese vs Cheddar cheese


I've been missing the familiarity of America a lot lately, and by lately, I mean the past few months. It started with missing the convenience and utter cheapness of 24-hour Walmarts. Shops here close at 9pm, a select few - most others close at 5pm, with one light of "late night" shopping a week, where the other stores will be open until 9pm. So when we moved into our new place, and wanted to stock up on all those essential items, but just get them quickly and cheaply, we had to head all over the place, and still only get half of them, because nowhere has everything, and everything is not cheap. 

I've also just been missing familiarity - every tree looks different, even the smells that seem almost the same have that distinct feeling of being different. The grass is different. The ants bite (and hurt). The spiders are supposedly huge, though I haven't seen any yet, but just knowing they exist in my area gives me the creeps. Trees bloom in bottle-brush shapes. This is really the most striking tree - it is beautiful, but it is also so unbelievably foreign. 

I remember the first time I walked into a grocery store in December, to be greeted by the sights on the left up above. Whoo different kind of potatoes! That's interesting! Bacon is different shape, well it doesn't look quite as good, but it's probably a bit healthier since it's less fatty. Then cheese being called tasty cheese just confused me, but I ate it, and was like, yeah that's alright. See, everything is exciting when you are first in a new country, well at least it was for me. Everything being different means it could be better, it means that all the assumptions are automatically questioned (at least with the things that are different), because they have different assumptions, and there is that palpable newness.

Well, that newness has worn off. There are a lot of things I really like about Australia, but there are so many things that seem different just for the sake of being different, and take away that familiarity that says - this place is home. It's like - this is why it is different to move to Utah or New York than it is to move to Australia. The banks are different from state to state, but cheddar cheese is still orange, bacon is still cut the same way, and you can get russet potatoes everywhere in America, by walking into any supermarket. These are things that could potentially threaten the food supply, and have their own kind of problems, but they have that familiarity that just screams home. For all my initial thoughts, there is not one of those three that I would not take the right side of the column if I could. 

But today, I found that familiarity in the combination of these ingredients. Baked potatoes, covered in cheese, with broken pieces of bacon on top, skins on the side with butter and salt. That is a great taste. That tastes just like home. Maybe not as much like home as it could have, but enough.

I made a facebook status*: "Yummy baked potatoes with cheese and bacon. They may be weird potatoes and weird bacon, and even weird cheese, but it's a familiar taste! They can take the girl out of Idaho (ok I never lived there), but they can't take the potato out of the girl!"

*quoted out of order

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It tastes as good as it is for you

One memory I have as a kid is sitting on my aunt's porch in country Idaho shelling peas. My sister and I were given the task with my cousin. I don't remember how we felt when we were first given the task, but after awhile, it became apparent that this was a good thing to be doing, and it was because these peas tasted amazing. Fresh out of the garden, sweet, and glorious.

As I've looked more into food, I've begun to realize that there is a very real reason for that. The first is that when food is grown in your own backyard (literally in that case, but also figuratively in the case of it being grown close by) it can be picked at the height of freshness, instead of being picked to last the longest before going to market. With the long distance that produce generally travels, and the bumps and bruising that happens along the way, they have actually begun to breed varieties that are picked for their appearance after this journey. They are effectively breeding less tasty varieties, and these varieties pack less nutrients too. It's all for the sake of portability, so the produce grown in California or Florida or Idaho or wherever for the crop can be shipped the average 1500 miles that food travels. The varieties that have been grown for generations that have been chosen just for the fact that they taste delicious, they are being lost. There are places that are saving the wider varieties, such as Seed Savers, which I've bought from. Those seeds were the thing I was most worried about coming through customs into Australia actually, because they have you go through a special line if you have anything like that, and I was worried I'd get my seeds taken away.

You also get varieties that look really really cool, stripey kinds, and purple carrots, blue potatoes. I began to realize that I had this limited concept of fruits and vegetables based on what I had seen at the supermarket, and that there was a whole other world out there, where food is bred to taste delicious, while still retaining a nutrient balance. Like, it makes evolutionary sense! Food that is good for us tastes good! (Now you're thinking about that bag of potato chips that tastes mighty wonderful but will pack on the pounds if you give in to your desire to eat potato chips all day long - well, the issue with that is that in the wild, finding a fat source like that, it would normally be few and far between, and so you would want to gorge on it to improve your fat stores, because it was unpredictable when the next opportunity might come. Instead our opportunity is for every meal of every day, so that has to be tempered by our mind. Not so with produce though.) Foods that have the nutrients we need will be desirable to us, and those that have less are less desirable. If you taste a tomato that's been shipped 1500 miles and an heirloom tomato freshly picked, there is a cosmic difference. There was a lady who tried a Pizzeria 712 caprese salad who had never liked tomatoes before, and when she tried what I'd deem the real thing, she cried.

When I think back to that day, shelling those peas, though, eating them to my heart's content, I was young then. There's that pervasive image in our culture - the mom telling their kids to eat their vegetables. What the kids realize that the mom doesn't is that the vegetables should be telling them themselves to be eaten. No one had to tell me to keep eating those peas that day. I wanted them because they tasted wonderful. I wasn't thinking about the nutrients, because thousands of years of biological evolution and taste-dominated crop selection had already done the work for me. All I had to think about was whether it tasted good. Because with produce, it tastes as good as it is for you.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

True Love

If there is one thing I have been convinced of in the past year or so, it is that true love really does exist. When I started coming to my own sense of self last year, and reached the point where I realized that I would be much happier single than I would ever be in an unhappy relationship, I began really looking, exploring what I wanted in a relationship. I saw two examples of relationships that I thought were similar in type to what I would want. My mom's parents, you always knew they loved each other, just with this like, incredibly special love. My grandpa would talk about meeting her, and how he just kinda knew she was the one for him, and you could tell though she wore years and the regular hardship of life on her body, that his love for her had only grown, and he loved her the entire way through.

I also looked at Scott and Carolyn, people who just fit together, who still seemed as interested in each other as they did as newlyweds, four years and two kids on. They are also very very physically affectionate, which is something I've always related to, and I saw in that something I wanted, affection that would go past the courting and early stages.

I started looking for love, but then at some point realized that I just needed to wait for love to find me, that if I wanted what my grandparents had, maybe I needed to wait for the whole package, not to do the finding, but to be found.

And then I was found. In the place I least expected, by a person I would have never guessed existed behind his screen name. And I fell, head over heels in love. A couple weeks after he expressed interest in me, I kind of knew, though it took a few more weeks for my mind to catch up, and accept it.

I remember as a child growing up, seeing all the Hollywood movies about "true love", like Ever After, the Princess Bride, and then like, suddenly realizing that it was not some Hollywood invention, but this is -real-.

I walked into my first marriage with the anticipation that it would be hard, but that it would ultimately be worth it. I was right about the hard part, wrong about it being worth it. With Andrew, things just seemed to fall into place, and seemed easy. Not that the circumstances of life were easy, but we were easy. It isn't this perpetual act of trying to fit a round peg in a square hole, but a round peg in a round hole. We fit. We match.

But if there is one thing I wish I could tell everyone, that I could scream to the world, it's that true love is real, and that it is worth it. It is worth whatever it takes, whatever waiting, whatever preparing, whatever uncertainty, whatever risk. You look on the surface of the risk I took - leaving my home, leaving my country, to marry a man I'd never met in person*. But I knew, I just knew. Where I tried to know with Janardan, I just knew naturally with Andrew. We were sitting in the hot tub in New Zealand, telling this guy our story, and he was shocked, but then said, "Well, when you know, you know."

And as I lay here in bed, next to this man I love more than I thought possible, who loves me more than I've ever seen in someone, thinking over our life together to this point. I can't believe that just nine months ago, he was beginning to register on the radar, and ten months ago, I had not the faintest idea or feeling. It seems insane that such a small amount of time has passed, because in some sense, a new life started when we came together - our life. And it has been rich with experiences and beauty. Every day, every moment is special. Even if we're fighting about the rules to a card game, or Andrew's getting pissy because of the traffic. It's our life, and I love it. I feel so lucky to be a part of it. It feels so unique and rare, because I know there is no one else out there who I could have this with, but not because I don't think something like it exists out there for everyone. I think true love is out there for anyone capable of putting someone else before themselves.

And I hope those who haven't found it will, and won't accept anything less, because there is nothing that makes you richer in life than love.



*Now I feel like I need to add a caution here, that I don't think everyone should just go out meeting everyone from the internet all around the world with reckless abandon. Like, only do it if you're sure, because there are a lot of people who will prey on you, and do bad things to you just because you will trust too easily, on the internet and off. At the same time, you have to back yourself to know the difference. If you value yourself, you'll know, and you'll know which way to lean. But don't take the risk with someone else when you don't value yourself. Number one thing is that you aren't really in a place to be with someone else if you aren't comfortable with yourself. The ability to be perfectly happy single is, I think, a vital part of being ready for a committed relationship, most of all to make sure you are not taken advantage of.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fear

When I was a child, I used to have a hard time getting to sleep. I was haunted by stories of the holocaust, and when the lights went out and everyone else went to sleep, going to sleep in my own room, and I would wonder what if it happened again? What if mormons were the target this time? I only had a vague idea of what happened then, that they had been taken off into concentration camps, killed in gas chambers. It was what I feared most as a child, though. A swastika was a symbol of terror for me. My grandma gave me a book when I was about ten called Three Against Hitler, and I never got past the name and the swastika on the front, afraid of what might be revealed within its depths, thinking it might be too much for me to handle. I was scared of that book.

You see this with a lot of children, though, and I don't think children really know how to express it. Children know about the world we live in. They don't know everything, but they know that there are things to be scared of. I never really voiced my fear to anyone, not until I was much much older did I even mention in passing that I had been a bit scared about the holocaust.

The other thing that used to scare me was listening to the news, and always hearing about someone being murdered. There were always stories of people killing each other, and I used to be scared to go to our basement alone, worried when my mom was taking longer than normal to get home, worried that someone might come in the house, or worried something had happened to her. These were the fears I faced: murder and holocaust.

I had to confront my fears by myself, because in the darkness of night, I was left alone. It never even really occurred to me that my sister was in the room next door to me, and I probably could have gone into her, or that my mom was across the hall, and I could have gone in to her for comfort. Everyone slept in their own beds, and so I figured that is what you did. It was just what was done. It was what was expected of me. I eventually figured out that I didn't have the same fears confront me when I was listening to a story going to sleep. We had Powertales tapes, stories of real life heroes, and I used to listen to their stories as I went to sleep. Then eventually I started taping the audio of tv shows, and listening to that when I went to sleep. If I had a tape, I'd go to sleep very quickly. I used to think that when I got married and lived out on my own, I'd have to have a tape player with me then, and my husband would hopefully be okay with listening to tapes going to sleep.

When I moved in with my dad, I was so happy to be with him, and having come off the most depressing year to my life that point, just after my mom getting remarried, I was really afraid of him dying. I was afraid of what it would mean for my life if he was gone. I had him tell me stories going to bed, and I used to record them, every night, because I wanted to know I'd have them to listen to, if he did ever die.

Going to sleep listening to my dad did a lot for me, in that regard. And then making friends with my best friend, and us sleeping next to each other, arm in arm oftentimes, brought a lot of comfort, and I lost the reliance I had always had on a tape player to be able to sleep. It was also around this time that I began to confront my fear of the holocaust. I read the book my grandma had given me, and really quite enjoyed it. My dad gave me a play to read that was similarly based on the people mentioned in the book. The fear about murder had slowly dissipated as I began to realize that no one showed up to murder me or my family, and that I didn't hear about it happening to anyone I know.

But as I think about those experiences I had as a child, I wonder two things. I wonder why we have a society and social convention setup where our children are separated off to sleep in their own rooms. Now don't get me wrong here, I loved having my own room as a child, loved having my own space, to direct what went on, to have some place that was my own, but I think I would have loved to also have spent lots of nights with my parents and sister. I remember Saturday mornings when we would wake up, and all go into my mom's room, and just lounge around in bed, talking to each other, and enjoying each other's company.

I know there is a large push for cosleeping with young babies, and I highly support that, but I also wonder if our children might benefit, and us as adults too, with sleeping more often in the same room. My grandpa recalled a night he spent with a family, which sounded rather large, and they all slept in the same room, him as the guest included, and it sounded like he really enjoyed the experience. There is also this perception as adults that as soon as we put children to bed that they should be ready to go to sleep. I see this with my dad and my niece, him thinking that she is trying to get away with something when she comes up repeatedly and asks for a glass of water, or for something else. Perhaps I shade it too much by my own past, but I see it as her not knowing how to ask for what she really wants: comfort and not to be alone.

The other thing I consider is that maybe I was wiser before I overcame this fear. I basically overcame it by coming to the realization that I don't live in a segment of society where that is likely to happen, at least at present, and so I personally will be okay. But you see these things happen, genocide and killing, all over the world. And I'm simply not afraid because it's not happening to me or anyone I know. I feel like I should still be scared, because it still exists in humanity, because it is something that still happens, but not so much in the childish, not being able to sleep way, but confronting the world I live in, and that it reaches beyond the bounds I set to consider my “personal” world, but then also with that that perhaps the scariest and worst person I have known is someone who I used to take comfort as being a warm body next to me in my own bed.

I was scared of Janardan for a long time after he left. That's what happened when I was in Australia in December and posted that entry. I was afraid of him again, of what he had done, and that he might be able to do it again to me. I was afraid of losing myself again. It was part of the process, after I decided to stop having contact with him, coming a realization of what life was like when I was not within his mental clutches, but at the same time, not realizing how it had happened in the first place, and sometimes straying to the edge of terror that it would happen again.

But once I felt my own worth and value again, as I felt a pull in another direction, away from his view of me, and into others' view of me, I began to confront the demons of those four years, to question everything that had happened, to stop giving him the benefit of the doubt as I had for so many years, to question his intention in everything, and realize the possibility and probability of the depth of his mistreatment of me, for with emotional abuse, it is difficult to tell always, just how deep the bruises went, just how many lashes there were.

And now, as I go to sleep next to the man who healed me to completion, not really by showing me his view, but showing me a view of myself that is most accurate to the person I really am, to felt seen for the first time, and to see myself for the first time, and to see how to see myself, rather than always depending on the views of others, I am not afraid. In some ways, I know the world is a worse place, more personally than I did when I was a child. I know that bad people really and truly do exist, and that they can be lurking anywhere, that there are mini-hells being created all the time by these people who would don't fit the murderer bill. But I also know there is good in the world too. I know that true love really and truly does exist, because I see it every single day, multiple times a day in my love's eyes. I know that goodness exists, because I have seen so many people. I know the world -can- be a good place. We just can't let the Hitlers rule us. May the good people of the world rule themselves.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just me

There's been a lot going on with me lately, lots of massive changes going on in my life, some of them planned, some of them not, and some of them planned more than others. I've moved to Australia, gotten married, and I've left the mormon church. I feel like I should write about all of these, and there are lots of adventures to detail with my new husband, also associated with meeting him, and everything like that, but I feel like the biggest thing to address first of all is explaining leaving the church, because I feel like I should let people know about it, first of all, and second of all, explain why, especially since I think the majority of the readers of my blog are mormon.

It basically all comes down to one aspect of my personality, an aspect that has become all the more acute and obvious to me since Janardan left me, because I thought two things about him when I married him - that he would never leave the church, and that he would never leave me. These were two things I felt certain of, so strongly about, and I was smacked in the face with the reality that they were both wrong. There have been other things along the way, things that I have clung to as certainty, that ultimately turn out to be uncertain.

And so, coming over here to be with Andrew, and him not being religious at all, there was concern from his family about the match, and so he spent a lot of time explaining his view on religion, and that he is not anti-religion, but that he thinks that it sells certainty on something that can't be certain.

It began to have me questioning, and assessing whether I was just doing the same thing all over again - was I clinging to a sense of certainty on something where there simply is no certainty? Was I consoling myself with something that, at the end of the day, wasn't there? And when I took a hard look at it, the foundations of my "faith" crumbled, and I felt like I could not be mormon anymore.

I still have great respect for the church. There are so many paths my life could have gone down, which I was averted from by maintaining the morals of the church. I think there is a lot of wisdom there, though I think there is wisdom in many other places, and want to seek that out as well. I want to explore my spirituality, as I've felt spiritual things in other places, and am curious to explore that a bit more, though I don't think I'd ever join another church, just simply because I think the whole concept is a bit flawed, but who knows.

It feels like the last step in a process that has been happening over the course of my life, coming to know myself better, and be comfortable with who I am. I remember sharing a quote from Joe vs the Volcano on here a while ago. "Do you believe in God?" and she answers, "I believe in myself." I can be sure of myself, whereas so many other things are uncertain in this life, and I'm not afraid to face them alone. Or rather, it may scare the shit out of me, but I'm more afraid of embracing false certainty than I am of facing uncertainty. So from now on, I'm me. Just me. But all me.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Vision Security

Walked out of Vision's doors today, potentially for the last time.

I've worked at Vision for awhile. Went there in a bit of a move of desperation. I was looking for a job, because I needed to support me and Janardan, and was not having any luck finding anything. I remember praying, and then remembering Vision, and with a bit of hesitation, emailed my old boss to see if there were any positions available.

It was a bit of an up and down road that first summer. There were so many times I wanted to quit, but then I also didn't. As the summer came to an end, things slowed down, and I became friends with more of the people.

That first off-season...my personal life was a bit hellish through that, it being the period right before my ex left, and then right after he left, and I was pretty lonely and withdrawn outside of work. But at work, I had was valued, and people treated me well, and I actually had people to socialize with. So many late nights with just one other person, talking about so many different things, and just feeling normal. And it wasn't just the people at corporate. I made friends with a couple reps and techs, and they all helped a lot in just helping me feel valued as a person. I was still having uncertainties about Vision, whether corporate really valued me as much as I thought I should be valued, and whether it was where I wanted to stay. I started looking for another job, but upon one of my first interviews, I was sitting outside in my car, and as I walked into the interview, said to myself over and over "I don't want to quit Vision! I don't want to quit Vision!"

That following summer, as I came back to myself with Janardan being gone, I found my voice in the call center. I started singing and laughing all the time. Me and Obby talked about this once, how I was the lifeblood of the call center.

And then, this past year has just been a year of a lot of growth at work, gaining more responsibility, helping train and helping people to grow into better workers, and doing my job to maintain excellent work if I can. But I've also used it as a forum for personal growth. When I decided I wanted to stop complaining, my biggest obstacles were with my work, and the greatest happiness in my work came through giving up on the avenue of thought that led to complaining. It's also been a time to just enjoy the job and the people I work with, just doing what we do, taking calls and making accounts work.

As I look back over, the times I am most grateful for Vision were those times of such personal darkness. I got a job to support my family, and when that fell apart, the people at work supported me, even though we didn't really talk about what was going on in my life. I remember a tech in the call center once called me darlin', and that was a huge thing for me, very confusing too because I was married at the time. But it just made me feel so...special. And Janardan didn't do that for me, ever. And he made me think that I was crazy, but people at work made me feel normal, even if I scared them when I would lay on the floor and laugh.

Thank you Cam, Sarah, Deidre, Raman, Jenny, Dan, Tiara, Jesse, Freddy. You helped me more than you can know, and with things that seemed probably very insignificant.

Raman has said that the call center is like a small town, where you either fit or you don't. I've carved out my place, and made it very much my own, and I have loved my time there. Colter told me that they will miss my cackle in the background.

So I feel like I am leaving my hometown to go off on an adventure, with no plans to ever come back. I've loved it, though. Been a good part in my life. I put Vision Security with pride and sentimentality on my resume.

Thanks for the memories~

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chiarascuro


Affliction. My life has had its share of trials. But when I look back, each of the most difficult periods of my life has propelled me into new appreciation of life.


When I was 12, my mom got remarried, and I moved with her and my sister to New York. The changed dynamic of the family was one thing that was hard to deal with, along with hostility at school. I loved church in New York, though. We had great leaders, and it was a very tight-knit group. It was during that year that I first read and finished the Book of Mormon. I knew before the end that it was true, but still took Moroni's challenge at the end, and felt that confirmation, that this book was true, and that it was the word of God.


This propelled my life into a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It was just the beginning of something that has come to have such depth and meaning to me. I love them, I know them, and I am so grateful for all that they are to me, and all that they give to me. I also grew very close to my dad in that time. I'd escape to him, and we would play games together, and he'd just give me the attention I was so desperate for.


...............................


Mark also came to me during a time of affliction. It is strange to have a child enter your life not as a baby. Like, I feel this sense of Mark being born to me, but he was 14, but maybe it's more that is when I was born as a mother. When we were born, that was a huge change in my life. I feel like that is when I began to appreciate beauty. I saw in him something I'd never seen before, just a purity and beauty. I used to call him beautiful all the time, and still do on occasion. It was just so awe-inspiring, to behold what I saw in him, as he went through all these difficult things, to see that he had something truly special about him. It made the world more beautiful to me. It made me appreciate snuggling with my nieces more, their laughs, and just what love meant to me.


And then, Janardan leaving me, which actually was not that much affliction, but brought a great deal of relief, but the life that led up to that point was quite painful, and full of affliction. I feel like him leaving is when I came to really appreciate myself. It's when I realized my value, what my life could be like, and that it had not been living up to what it could have been, and that I had given away a lot of the rights to my life, and so it was a big experience for reclaiming myself.


And there has been a lot of healing, and just enjoying life the past year. Dated a few people, had lots of guys tell me I'm beautiful, feeling desired and desirable again. And then finally realizing that I didn't want to be looking for a guy, that I wanted to be found. I wanted to be found by someone who could embrace all the different aspects of me, and the other important relationships in my life. I wondered if such a man existed as I would need, to support me through the things in my life that are far from typical. I thought perhaps I would never be with someone again, but also felt at peace with that, because I knew from experience that it could be delightful to be single, and it was much better to be in that position than to be in a horrible marriage.


But then I got found. I have the ability to see into people sometimes, to look, and see more in them than they see in themselves to a degree. This has been huge with Mark, but I will be able to see into other people on occasion, and sometimes show them something in themselves. I'd never really had the experience myself, but that's what Andrew brought to me. He looked inside, and just told me what he saw, and then I could see it too.


Affliction is the dark parts in the chiaroscuro painting of my life, but these relationships, they are the bright points. I love to love, and it is worth all the affliction I've been through to have these people in my life.

From Emily~ (Part 2)


Jennie’s 22nd year in life was a really difficult one for me. My husband was finishing his thesis for graduate school, and was taking longer than it was supposed to. I was in a Spanish ward when I didn’t even speak Spanish. I felt very isolated in my life in a lot of ways, but Jennie really saved me that year.

Jennie had really developed a characteristic of compassion, caring, giving and serving when she got married. When she was growing up she pretty much wouldn’t do anything for anyone, but when she got married that changed so much, and it was beautiful aspect to develop in her personality.




Jennie gave to me and my daughters so much that year. We would talk on the phone almost every day even though we lived half a block from each other and saw each other most days. She was so willing to watch my kids and help me out, when there was so little time I got out. She really was like a second mom to my kids during that time when I really needed it. She was around so much and knew how I mothered my children, that she would pick up when she sensed how tired, or frustrated I was. What a blessing that was to me and my family as we were finishing up this important but difficult chapter of graduate school.




I decided to run a half marathon and she was so encouraging. When my husband didn’t have time to watch the kids so I could go for runs, she would take them. Or if it is was in the evening and I didn’t feel like going she would go with me. I am so grateful I was able to run in that half marathon and I know that part of the reason I was able to was because of her support.

Jennie was truly my best friend. We would laugh so much together. Watch movies and tv together or separately and then discuss it. We would go to Joann’s together and do sewing parties. I remember one winter I wanted to save on gas money so Jennie and I rode on my husband’s scooter all the way to the fabric store in pretty cold weather. Iremember eating lots of dinners together, and Jennie always being there when I needed to talk to someone when I was so frustrated how long my husband’s thesis was taking. I am so grateful to everything she gave to me and my family that year.



From Stefanie~


5th grade:The first sleepover Jennie and i ever spent together we weren't friends just vague acquaintances from school. Jennie had spent most of the evening playing some light puzzle game that was popular then with a stubborn refusal to do anything else.
First impression I thought Jennie was irritating. Until everyone else fell asleep and we were the only ones left awake I convinced her to come outside with me because there was supposed to be a comet that night. Well Jennie stayed out there with me until the wee hours of the morning and we never saw a comet. I often get things wrong. However I remember thinking this Jennie girl is ok, I could maybe be friends with her. It was also the first time among many that Jennie would be there for me.




8th grade: I followed Amy Price and her sarcastic humor to lunch with Jennie one day and I kept coming back. Jennie and Amy's sarcastic banter with bits of oddness thrown in and endless continue jokes (As Soon Does Forget) was something I loved listening to and the gummy snacks Jennie sometimes shared didn't hurt either. This was when I really began to know Jennie and how much she loves Giant brand gummy snacks ahaha.
9th Grade/ High School years: Ninth grade Jennie and I became fast friends. It all seemed to start with a lunch table full of friends. We gathered together at every free moment lunchtime and before school convos became our ritual. Jennie could always be counted on for an extra buck when I forgot my lunch (again), help with homework, and endless fits of laughter. Then it just seemed Jennie had everything I needed in a friend. We shared endless sleepovers with movies, mindless activities, and middle of the night singing. In the dark hours of the morning we also shared our hopes and fears. Jennie became my anchor, everything I had I tied to her and she kept me stable. That was when Jennie became my best friend.

So let's take today to celebrate another year in the life of a wonderful person.

From Emily~ (Part 1)


I remember when I was about 6 or 7 and Jennie and I would fight all the time. I assume this is pretty standard for sisters. I also remembering my dad having a conversation with me how when Jennie and I both grown up a bit, that we would probably be really good friends, and I would be so glad to have a sister. Of course I didn’t believe him at all.



Well about 6 years later our lives had changed a lot. We had moved across the country from Colorado to Maryland, and our parents were no longer married, our parents had been separated for a number of years. We were just embarking on a completely new adventure: our mom dating!

While in retrospect our mom admits that she dated her first boyfriend way too long, and as irritating as it was for me and Jennie to have him around all the time, as sisters we grew a lot. I feel like this was the beginning of what my dad had been talking about. Instead of Jennie and I kind of getting a long and fighting a lot, I started to really see how cool Jennie was, and how grateful I was to have her as my sister.

So a couple of my memories from this year in Jennie’s life was her bluntness. One Saturday my mom’s boyfriend was making pancakes, and not going a great job with it. They were getting burned and not turning out very well. Jennie in very direct style for a 9 year-old stated, “My dad makes really good pancakes”, and then the boyfriend had the brilliance to respond, “Well, let’s all clap for your dad!”

Jennie and I would get really irritated with the boyfriend, but found a whole new joy in eachother. We started talking in ob all the time. We didn’t do it to irritate the boyfriend, more because we wanted to have private conversations, but later when we found out that it irritated him, that definitely didn’t deter us.

I remember when we had the blizzard and got snowed in with the boyfriend, and Jennie and I started digging out our cul-de-sac because we wanted him gone. While I am not sad that this boyfriend is no longer apart of our life, I am grateful for how close Jennie and I got, and I got a glimpse of what my dad was talking about, that my sister would really be a great friend.

From Jessica~


Jennie is the kind of person that I can always count on for a good chuckle. I give a lot of pity laughs with most people, maybe even a quaint smile here and there, but with Jennie, it's full blown hysterics every time I'm in her company. Jennie and I have this thing where we have to document our antics using a camera. While flipping through photographs of our shenanigans, and after recovering from any associated shame, I can't help but think how grateful I am to have shared such experiences with someone I know will not judge me for them later. This is one of the great qualities of Jennie, completely non-judgemental. I mean, I'm sure she has to judge occasionally, like whether or not those colors would complement a quilt she in the process of making. Besides passing judgement on quilt squares and self-sustaining farming, Jennie is the most tolerant, accepting, and loving individuals I know.

A few more reasons why Jennie is so great:
1. Jennie is very forgiving: I won't even beat around the bush here: I smashed her finger in my automatic car window. Most people would be furious at this point and not continue on with the friendship. Jennie was like, 'ow' and then she miraculously forgave me! I knew this girl was in it for the long haul.
2. Jennie believes in visiting friends in faraway places: We all have friends that live far from us and we all make false promises that we'll have to come out to "such and such place" soon because "it's been so long." Jennie makes good on her word because she genuinely cares about people and their wellbeing. Needless to say, I was absolutely beside myself when she came to visit me in Las Vegas.
3. (I'm repeating this one for added emphasis) Jennie accepts me for me: I know if I ever wanted to become a crack-smoking hoochie mama, Jennie would have no qualms with accepting me. I wouldn't even think twice before telling her about my change in lifestyle. I wouldn't feel obligated to explain myself or my reasons for doing it because I know "she coo' wit' it."

I wasn't particularly fond of my BYU experience, but there were a few people that made attending bearable and shall I say, worth it. Jennie is definitely, without a doubt, one of those people. On anniversary of her birth, I reflect on all the ways Jennie has influenced me, inspired me and edified me. Thank you universe, for letting her be a part of my life.

Happy Birthday Jennie!

Love,
Jessica

From my Mom~



Jennie came into this world on March 5, 1986 during the morning daylight hours. Her older sister had entered this world 7 days past her due date so Jennie’s mom figured that there was no way she would go over that long again. Little did she know that Jennie had other ideas. At the 7 days past the due date mark Jennie’s dad decided that he did not want to go to law show the next day so they would follow the advice of fellow law students and take his wife and walk around the Provo Temple. After the walk around the temple they went to bed and the labor pains began………but as it turned out it was false labor. The same false labor pains came the next night. On the third night the real thing happened and Jennie joined her family nine days past her due date. She weight 9 lbs 3 oz. but had a small head so the delivery was not that difficult for her mother.


Back in these days you didn’t find out if you were having a boy or girl. So when Jennie’s dad called her older sister – Emily’s comment was “We won – we got the right baby”. Now the sisters would be able to wear all the matching outfits that their mom had made.


When Jennie was around two months old the family went on a trip to Disneyland. Probably the ride that she liked the best was hanging out in her stroller. One night while traveling to California they were camping in the family’s tent and the wind began to blow and blow. Jennie was sleeping in her stroller and didn’t seemed too bother by the weather.

Jennie’s sleeping as an infant was less than stellar………….she liked to hang out with her mommy during the night. When she was a few months old the family went and visited one of her mother’s high school friends and her 8 month old son was still getting up 2-3 times a night. That night Jennie’s mom decided they were ending this habit of getting up 2-3 times a night. There would be NO food at this party – in fact there would only be the pacifier. Needless to say, Jennie decided that this party was not all that fun and started sleeping through the night.

Jennie became a resident of Littleton, Colorado when she was around 3-4 months old. For Halloween that year Jennie, Emily and her Dad decided to dress up like Mickey and Minnie mouse. Afterwards they decided they wanted to take a family picture in the costumes do Mom had herself a Minnie Mouse costume also.


Many fun times were had by the family the first year (and the years to come) of Jennie’s life. Thanks for coming to our family – we LOVE you!!!!!!

Exactly 25 years~


25 years ago, this very minute, I emerged into this world. It's been an interesting life, but I'm glad to be living, and happy for the life I've had, and for the life I have before me.

Random Facts of Jennie


I like to wake up with the sun in my eyes.



One of the things I miss the most about the East Coast is the smell of the forest after it rains.




One of my primary modes of thinking about other people is thinking what circumstances I would conceivably act like them, to better understand and empathize with the things people do.



I love to calm crying babies. Every time I hear a baby cry, I want to try and soothe it.



I am very inexact, and a by feel person. Good evidence is my cooking where I very rarely measure and just go by feel.





I love the feeling of grass on my feet, also the give of the earth. It is one of the best things about walking barefoot.



I don't like to take medicine. I like to figure out the cause of my ailments and work from there. I feel like medicine stops that process in many cases. (Now there is no way I'd refuse pain medicine after surgery, but that's because I know the cause and there's nothing to do about it.)



I have a deep appreciation of sorrow and melancholy. I am aware of how important they are for true joy.



I love rain. There is something beautiful about experiencing the power of the earth by having little droplets fall and encompass you.



I like to have very clear nasal passages. I have picked my nose since I was a kid, and would never stop, because I cannot stand the feeling of debris in my nose, and seriously, a tissue doesn't cut it.



I love my body. I've heard it's typical for women to have things they wish they could change about their bodies. I wouldn't change mine. I love it. It is beautiful.





I can get along with pretty much anyone, but I am not really that outgoing. I get more outgoing the more comfortable I am somewhere, and where I feel sure of my place there.




I like biking in the winter more than the summer, for two reasons. One, I am super sensitive to heat, and can get heat exhaustion very easily. Two, it makes me feel hardcore to bike in the winter.




About once or twice a year, I will get an upset stomach really bad, and feel awful until I throw up, then I will feel great.



My favorite sport to watch is Aussie Rules Football, even though I've only seen two games. I think it is -the- best spectator sport.




I am more expressive in writing than I am in speaking. I like to write letters to people to tell them what I think is special about them. I just don't tend to think that way when speaking.



My sister once said that I was bathed in balsamic vinegar in the womb. I love this statement though it can't be true because I would not try balsamic vinegar for years because it looked gross. It is probably my favorite flavor.



I like to do cartwheels. I did them a lot as a kid, and then stopped sometime. I rediscovered cartwheels when one night at work I was alone for the closing shift, so I went out into our large open area and wanted to do a cartwheel, and discovered I could still do them.


From Monique~

Jennie just brightens up the whole world when she's around. She's so happy and carefree and loving. I'm so impressed with her passion and energy for her hobbies, like local food, cheese making, quilting, and serving others. I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of apartment 121.5 with her, and that we've maintained our friendship for nearly 7 years now. Some of my favorite memories include playing zip-zip-bong, working at the Tanner building at the crack of dawn, going to Panda Express, laughing, talking about the gospel and the temple together, and recently when we went bowling and she danced to all the music and didn't care one bit if anyone saw. I am so thankful that she was able to attend my temple wedding in Washington, DC. She is one of the most selfless and compassionate people I have ever known, and I admire her ability to accept and nurture and love the people around her. I admire her self-confidence and her complete knowledge that she is a daughter of God. I admire her testimony. She is super awesome, and you should definitely get to know her better if you haven't already. Happy Birthday Jennie!! I love you and I am so happy that your life is so awesome right now!! Thanks for letting me be a part of your life and for sharing so many things with me!

Saturday, March 5, 2011



From my Dad~


At age 5, Jennie created her own dice game. Her family play it frequently.

As a teenager, Jennie was the sole girl who played pick-up basketball games with a bunch of boys, some of whom were on the high school basketball team. At age 14 she tore the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in her right knee at one of these games and had surgery to replace it. This did not deter her from coming back and playing in those games for the following three years (and occasionally blocking shot attempts of much taller boys).

Jennie skipped her senior year of high school to enter college, officially making her a high school dropout. In doing this, she carried on the proud tradition of her father and grandmother.

Happy 25th Birthday~ Everyone Comment please!

Life.


It is such a beautiful gift.


To grow in the womb of a mother, sharing her body, then to emerge to begin life on your own.


Every life is precious. Every moment of life is precious. And I'm grateful for mine, for all 25 years of it that I've had on my own. 25 years. I'm grateful for the experiences I've had in my life, the dark and the light, the good and the bad, because they've all made me who I am today, and brought me to this point, and I'm so glad to be me.


I love who I am.


There have been dark times in my life, a lot of them, but I truly believe that the Lord gives us opposition in all things to increase the possibility of our lives. For without the dark times, I would never come to fully appreciate the light. Without the times where I am pushed beyond capacity, and feel incredibly weak, I would never come to find the true strength I have.


I feel like over the past year especially, I've come to appreciate life like I never have before, to just celebrate the precious moments on this earth. I love the smells that come, the sunrises, the color of stormy clouds, the colors of the seasons, the love of the most important people in my life.


Today, I want to celebrate my life. I want to know what you remember about me, who I am to you, or just a funny story to do with me. (Feel free to continue to comment after the day too.) I'll be releasing posts today from various people about my life, and my relationships, and then some by myself, written just about different parts of my life, or stories.


But for now, comment away~

Birthday Blog Blitz Extravaganza!


I was born 25 years ago today! To celebrate, I'll be having posts coming out various points through the day to celebrate my birth and life. There will be a few posts written by me, and some by people close to me, and then just some with pictures. So check back in various points through the day to see all of the birthday happenings!

Post also coming to ask you to share your stories and memories, so be sure to do so!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Coming home~


I was driving to work the other day, after spending another lovely morning talking to Andrew. And I heard this song, and I just felt so...like, like him finding me, us being together, this is how life is supposed to be. It feels like coming home.

Just one shmuff~

Friday, February 11, 2011

Partaking of the Fruit

24 And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron[...]

11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.

I feel a kinship to these verses. Lehi's dream, I feel so well how it applies to my life.
I remember living in Texas, and having this image come to my mind, of this woman, clinging to the rod of iron, holding on for dear life, winds howling all around her, hail and rain beating down on her, hanging over this wide, large river, threatening to overtake her, drown her, if she let go of this rod. And there she is, arms wrapped around it, legs hugging to it, and all her effort is just in clinging. It is her only thought, to keep a hold of this rod. I wanted to make a quilt out of it, it was an image that spoke to me so, but my drawing skills need to catch up with me before that can happen.
I was thinking about this image again today, and thinking how I have traveled farther through his dream, and how I feel like I am at the tree of life, partaking of the fruit thereof, partaking of the love of God, and just being blessed immeasurably at his hand. And I have another image that I would love to make into a quilt one day, me, at this tree, absolutely glowing, holding this white fruit in my hands, smiling huge as I partake. Because that is what I feel like right now. I feel so blessed in so many aspects of my life, most especially with my amazing son and my wonderful man. (Yeah, we got back together really quickly.)
The Lord answers prayers. As soon as I knew Mark, I started praying that I would be able to meet him in 2010. I prayed for that for a while, and then just kind of let go of it, as other things came to the front. The Lord answered that prayer.
I was praying for a man in my life, but not just any man, a man that would be amazing, that would fit with me, and then I began to pray not that I would find him, but that he would find me, that he would see more in me than I saw in myself, and that I would be able to love him for that, and know that I was loved. And then a few months later, Andrew started to see me differently, and he found me, and he loves me, so much, sees more in me, and makes me more me, and loves me just for being me.
The Lord answers prayers, and his love is amazing, and the fruit of the tree, it is delicious, and it is wonderful. I am a new person in Christ, and through his atonement, and the people he has put in my path to help me with my healing. I am whole, and I am so wonderfully happy. And that is the beauty of the fruit of the tree. How delicious to the taste it is!