Sunday, September 24, 2017

Goodbye Twenty-Three

Tonight is my final night being twenty-three. If you would have asked me back in January how I felt about this year, I would have told you it was my worst yet. From my birthday, all through the winter, I was a hot mess. I was burnt out, I was anxious, I was sad, I was angry, and I just didn't care. I felt hopeless and spent so many nights crying my eyes would swell up. I told so many people that looking back at who I was the year before, and who I was now, I was so disappointed in myself. I felt that I'd gone backwards. 

But tonight, I'm so proud of who I've become, what I've accomplished, and the person I am. Twenty-three was not the worst year of my life. It might actually be one of the best. I want to remember the things that I've learned in this past year. 

Friends- You need them.
Image result for anne of green gables kindred spirits
First off I wouldn't even be writing this post about how this has been a great year without the help of great friends. Back in February when I felt utterly hopeless, I invited two friends out for yogurt to introduce them since they were both pregnant and could help each other. After we'd been there awhile I finally admitted that I was feeling hopeless with the world. Immediately one friend asked if I'd changed birth control recently. It was an out of the blue odd question, but she was right. My insurance changed the brand I'd been using for four years literally three weeks earlier. She told me that might be the problem and how a similar thing had happened to her and I should go to my doctor right away and get it switched. I did, and it was a night and day difference. I stopped crying every night and the world didn't seem so bleak. I truly feel she was inspired to say that to me, and I share this experience with everyone I can because birth control can be a taboo topic, but it can really mess with your head and body. 

The first years of our marriage, I didn't go out with friends often. I felt that I didn't need too many, that Sammy and my family was enough for me and I should focus on that. That was so wrong. This last year I've made a real effort to make new friends and spend time with them and it's made my life feel full. I need that time with with other women, good women who uplift me. Whenever I have an issue or need to talk with someone, I have someone to go to. I have my friends who I tell silly jokes to, friends to discuss Taylor Swift with, friends to tell my hurts to, friends to talk about writing with, and friends to discuss church. Making friends I've felt my relationship with Sammy grow as well. 

I've also learned that friendships change. Some friends truly are in our lives for a season, a reason, or forever. I've had to accept that, and decide which friendships truly uplift me and help me grow as a person now. I've learned to be okay with that and where to prioritize my time. 


To Speak Up For Myself 
I was able to go to therapy again this year through my work which was a huge blessing and is another reason that it's been a great year. This therapist had a very different approach and instead of talking through everything that was bothering me, we spent a lot of time getting in tune with my body and paying attention to where I was uncomfortable when I became anxious. I can't remember the correct lingo, but the places that would hurt when I was anxious had to do with being able to speak and self actualization. 

A month into therapy a conflict came up with my therapist and I felt betrayed. I wanted to stop going and just avoid everything. However with some coaching from Sammy, I sent her an email explaining everything I felt. The next morning my therapist called me and apologized for the mix up, and then complimented me on speaking up for myself. She said that the person she met a month ago wouldn't have done that and it took a lot of strength to speak up for myself and be true to what I needed. 

Since then, I've had so many situations where I was able to speak up for myself and do what was right for me instead of staying silent and suffering or staying angry. Sometimes I would be on the verge of tears but I was able to do it. It took strength and I've felt myself grow each time.

I am Strong 
I have dealt with so much crap this year at my job. I could write an entire book just on all the weird experiences I encounter daily. This year I've been on the phone with the police more times than I can count, calling for help when someone is threatening our guard, reporting missing children, and more. I'm able to stay calm in emergency situations and am not afraid to raise my voice. Heck, when a man followed me to my car to beg for money and wouldn't leave the window, I just started driving, not afraid to run him over. 

I don't want to jinx myself and have the worst week in the history of ever, but I am so much stronger mentally than I was a year ago. I'm not scared every time someone comes through the door. I deal with people going through the hardest moments of their lives daily and it doesn't bring me down like it did before. I've learned that it's not my fault, they are struggling and I don't need to take things personally. I'm learning to let go of everything that happens and move on. Sometimes it takes awhile but I do let it go. 

I'm also strong physically. This last year I've lost thirty pounds and gained a lot of muscle. I love going to the gym and feeling my body work. At one point I was able to run for three minutes straight at a decent pace, but after a major panic attack and almost passing out at the gym, I'm slowly working my way back to that and through that fear. I know I'll get there. 


It's Okay to Treat YoSelf and Feel Pretty 
One of my biggest regrets from my wedding is not taking care of myself. I felt like I didn't deserve money to be spent on me or people to help me, so I didn't get my makeup done or my hair. I didn't try too hard to get a professional photographer when ours couldn't do our date. I didn't celebrate with my bridesmaids or have a bachelorette party because I didn't feel like it was too much trouble to ask. 

Back in June I finally convinced Sammy to get professional anniversary pictures taken of us, I decided that I was going to get my makeup done as well. I'd never had it done professionally and I wanted to look my best for our pictures. I almost cancelled minutes before the appointment feeling like I shouldn't spend money on myself and it was a waste, but I'm so so glad that I did it! I absolutely loved the way I looked, and our pictures. 

For my birthday I decided that it was finally time that I get a pedicure and a manicure since I'd never had one before. I spent two weeks debating whether I should actually do it, and if I should do both, or if I could ask my sister to go with me. Thanks to awesome friends and Sammy's encouragement I finally went and I got both done and it was wonderful! I had a great time with my sister and I felt so pampered and love my nails.  

I've struggled with justifying buying new clothes for myself since losing weight as well. Part of it is fear that I'll gain all the weight back if I get something new, and part of it is feeling guilty for spending money on me. I've been slowly getting new items though and trying not to feel bad about it. Progress. 

My Faith is a Journey and it's All Mine 
I've spent a lot of this year struggling with my faith in one dimension or another. Whether that be with how to balance church responsibilities with everyday life, how to serve more, or how to better rely on my Savior. Every time I feel like I've mastered one aspect, something else gets thrown at me. My faith is a journey though and it's all mine; people can help me on it but I'm the one who has to do it which is a beautiful thing. I cherish the things I've learned and I'm not going to give up on learning. It's totally okay if my pace isn't the same as others. I'm learning that everyone is human and makes mistakes and we have to accept that. The truth that Christ is my Savior and that He atoned for me to be better isn't going to change no matter what someone else says or does to me. 


Marriage Rocks but Takes Work, I Am Not and Never Will Be a Perfect Wife, and That's Okay
 Being married to Sammy is awesome. We've had so many fun times giggling this year and done so many fun things like swim with dolphins. I'm learning that he's my best friend more and more and getting more close to him. At the same time, I've realized that my perfectionism is a major stumbling block in getting even closer. For some reason I expect myself to be perfect. When I'm not, I spend hours agonizing over my mistakes while Sammy has already forgiven me for them and most of the time forgotten them. I sit there in the past while he's moved on. I'm learning to forgive myself and give up all hopes of being the perfect wife, but of just being a better one and drawing closer to Sammy and God. 


How to Take Rejection
I've had quite a bit of rejection this year. I've sent two books out into the publishing world, along with entered a huge writing contest. So far, all I've gotten are no's on my writing. I've realized that I can take rejection in three's, the first two I can brush it off but the third is when it really hits. I've questioned whether I can be a writer so many times this past year. Yet, I keep on doing it. I have to. No amount of no's is going to make these stories stop begging to be written, and then revised a million times. No amount is going to take away that small ounce of hope that maybe, just maybe, this will be the time.

Sweet notes like the above also help me keep going. 


Those are a few of the things I've learned this year. There have been so many more, but this is what I was able to dump out before falling asleep. Tomorrow, I wake up twenty-four and super excited to see what I've learned a year from now. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Life Updates

It's been forever since I've written, so I thought I would give a little life update on Sammy and I. 

Sammy is going to graduate from school in December, and is currently studying for the GRE to go to grad school. He's thinking about getting his MPA, Masters in Public Administration. He's so excited to get his Bachelors since it's been a rough journey. I know he'll do great this last semester and can't wait to go to his graduation!

He's finishing up an internship with Congressman Perlmutter on Wednesday. He's learned so much in the office and has loved every minute of it. He was able to take pictures at Veteran memorials, visit farmers to talk about water conservation, visit schools implementing new programs, and take phone calls from constituents. He received some pretty funny phone calls, one man was worried the the world was going to turn into Terminator. 

Sammy was set apart as the Elder's Quorum president yesterday. I know that he's going to do great and learn a lot. It's crazy to think that he was only baptized three years ago, and now where he is. Sammy has been so humble and ready to serve and it's been amazing to watch. Everyone was so loving and supportive yesterday and it really helped ease my fears. We're not alone in this and we have our ward family.

We actually thought he was going to get this calling a few months ago and we were both freaking. out. When he was called to second counselor, a high councilman gave him the calling, but a few months ago the Stake President himself called. When he said it was first counselor, we were both so relieved and President Moon asked us why. We explained we thought it was the president and he gave us a funny look. 

Two months later, Sammy and I sat in his office again and President Moon said President this time. I know that it was the right time for Sammy to receive this call because I felt no nerves going into President Moon's office, where the previous time I'd been a mess. President Moon laughed saying he wasn't sure what Sammy would say since we'd been so relieved to not have this calling two months ago. I know that Heavenly Father prepared both of us in that two month span though to be ready for this. 

The last month was hard with everyone asking Sammy if he knew who the next President was going to be. He did, but we couldn't say anything. I was able to keep the secret from my parents for two weeks though, which is pretty impressive for me. 


As for me, I finished editing my teen murder mystery last week and submitted it to the contest PitchWars. In this contest you submit a summary of your novel along with the first chapter to six mentors. If one of the mentors picks you, they'll help you tune up your novel for a month, then help you send it to agents. A lot of people get book deals from this contest, so I'm really hoping that I get picked. I won't know until August 25th, so the waiting is driving me nuts. 

If I don't get chosen, I still have a pretty decent draft of my book. I'll do another round of edits and send it out to agents myself. I've been re-reading the Harry Potter books in the meantime because my writing brain is tired; I've written four drafts of this book in eight months. 

Work is going alright. I'm not too shocked by what comes in the door anymore and I've learned to let go of things that I can't control which has really helped. 

I found out I have IBS a few months ago and I'm working on figuring out what makes my stomach upset so I can avoid those things. So far, it's been frozen yogurt and ice cream. Since cutting those out of my diet, I've felt a lot better and have had less panic attacks. The only thing that is difficult is going out with friends, since everyone wants to meet up for those foods. ;)

I've been working out and eating better the last year and I finally fit back into my wedding dress, something I had honestly given up on. When I started working out, it wasn't even for weight loss, it was to help with my anxiety. Now, I have less anxiety and am finally back at a healthy weight. I totally want to do a photo shoot in my dress, but Sammy is all photo-ed out from our anniversary shoot a few months ago.

A few weeks ago Sammy and I were driving to the temple, blasting Imagine Dragons with the windows down and I just realized how happy I feel. I did not feel like that at all the beginning of the year. Things are definitely not perfect and I have rough days, but I'm really happy. Life with Sammy is great, I'm chasing my dream, we have great family and friends, and we're just doing the best we can. 



Sunday, April 30, 2017

I Think I'm Funny

Here are a few of the great jokes I came up with this week, that were under appreciated by those who had the pleasure of hearing them. 

I had a job interview for a promotion at work this week and was stressing in the morning about what to wear. I didn't want to stay in my fancy clothes all day long, but it would be weird/time consuming to change into a different outfit halfway through the day. I kept bouncing ideas off of Sammy who said I was fine to wear whatever. To which I said, "Well you're supposed to dress for the job you truly want, so maybe I should wear my Captain Picard jacket." 
I giggled to myself for a good hour about that. Thankfully some Star Trek fans at work appreciated it. 

Sammy has a lot of random Philosophy books laying around for finals week 
papers, and I saw this on the table. 
Image result for edward said book cambridge edition
Sammy was eating breakfast and it was sitting right next to him. I asked him what Edward said. Sammy was confused, so I asked it again multiple times. When he still didn't know what I was talking about, I picked up the book and asked what Edward said. He hit his face with his palm and told me that it's pronounced like sigh eid, not said. 

(As I'm writing this post I glanced at his book again and he asked if I was telling the blogging world about my lame jokes, then laughed when I showed him this.)

I was halfway through making dinner when I realized Sammy had bought parsley and not cilantro on accident. It was okay because I've been growing cilantro in the window and it had a few leaves so I used those. I wrote about it on Facebook and someone said that parsley wishes that it's cilantro. I replied and said "Yeah, and it's pretty bitter about it. Please pardon my lame joke." I told Sammy this and he was confused, and I explained that parsley tastes bitter in comparison to cilantro, and I got another face palm in reply. 

On an unrelated topic, I love to look up dad jokes at night and tell them to Sammy out of nowhere and see his reactions. It always makes me giggle. 


Monday, April 17, 2017

Remember Valentines Day?

Remember Valentines day? Well I do. I was pretty bummed in advance of Valentines Day because it's one of my favorite holidays, and this was the first year that Sammy and I wouldn't be able to really celebrate it since I had to work all day and couldn't take it off, and Sammy had school. Sammy made it work though. The night before, there were flowers waiting for me.
 When I woke up in the morning, Sammy gave me a balloon. Then, he presented me with chocolates and chocolate covered cherries. While he was in the shower, I found a little tag on the floor. It said plush on it. I knew what that meant. I went to Sammy in the shower and asked him what that was about. He laughed since he'd been saving that for later in the day, but then Sammy presented me with this lovely panda. 
I freaking love stuffed animals and even though I have a million, I'm always willing to add another to my collection. I hugged my little friend right when cramps hit. To spend some more time together, Sammy offered to drive me to work and then pick me up. Since I'm a bit of a backseat driver, I asked if I could drive us to work, and then he could drive me home at night. Sammy didn't mind, and I brought my panda friend along, buckling him in my seatbelt. 

Sammy and I ended up being quite early for work, so Sammy and I hung out in the empty building for a bit. I hadn't realized my panda was under my arm and brought it with me. Once Sammy left, I kept going back to my cubby and hugging it like a little kid. 

I was so happy at the end of the night when Sammy came and got me and we got to drive home together. It was two hours that we wouldn't have had otherwise. We had taco bell for dinner, and that was that. It was a great day, even if it wasn't what I usually imagine when thinking Valentine's day. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Big Comfy Couch

Image result for the big comfy couch
Anyone remember this show? I know I loved it as a kid, but looking at the pictures now is horrifying. Anyways, I'm not talking about this comfy couch, I'm talking about the one in our living room. It's one of my favorite places. The last few months, some of my favorite memories (besides Mexico of course) have been on our couch. 
For some reason when we're sitting there at night, we get inexplicably giggly. The other day I was lying on the couch and Sammy was eating some grapes. He wanted me to open my mouth so he could throw a grape in. I refused and caught it instead. I asked Sammy if he'd washed them and he said no. So I licked my finger and pretended to shine the grape. We both burst out giggling. Then Sammy told me that one of the weirdest thing he's observed about me in our tutelage together (that word alone had me dying) is how I clean my sunglasses. Instead of rubbing them like a normal person I lick them. We were both laughing so hard we were crying. 

Or there was the time I was helping Sammy study for a WWI test. I was making up ridiculous sayings for him to try and remember the terms, for example Verdun. He needed to remember that the Germans wanted to bleed the French white. So I told him when the Germans are Verdun, the French will have turned white, and other stupid things. We were laughing and barely getting anything done, but  Sammy ended up getting a 103 on that test. 

Then one night after giggling we decided to take these mock prom photos. They're so awful I've promised not to share them, but I love them so much. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Girlfriends




















I'm so thankful for all the girlfriends in my life. There are so many more than I have pictures of. I'm thankful to have friends in all stages of life, and to have someone I can turn to for each of the weird things that come my way. Back in January when I was feeling down in the dumps and hopeless, I had a perceptive friend who asked me if I'd changed birth controls recently, because a similar thing had happened to her. I went to the doctor the next day and got a different brand and immediately felt better. 
I have friends who are willing to sit in the corner and be introverts with.
I have a friend in the same situation when it comes to thinking about kids, friends who have kids, friends who never want kids. 
I have friends to ask questions about making it work while your husband is in grad school, if that's a path Sammy decides to take. 
I have friends who push me out of my comfort zone, and hold my hand the entire way.
I have friends I can send pictures to when I know I'm looking good. 
I have friends who are always a listening ear. 
All of my friends make me proud to be a woman, and feel strong.
I'm so lucky to know that all the friends I have now, I can reach out to whenever, even when we're not seeing each other everyday. 

One of my coworkers left a few weeks ago while I was out of town. When I came to work, I found this in my cubby and started crying a bit. It's covered in Harry Potter pages. And even if this photo doesn't cover all of my friends, it reminds me of just how important girlfriends are. 
 

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Chickens

About a month ago we had chickens at the library. It's seriously been one of my favorite things we've done here. I've always wanted to incubate chicks because my sister got to in 1st grade and I was so jealous. Finally, fourteen years later, my moment came. 
All of us picked an egg and watched it everyday, waiting for any signs they were about to hatch. I picked a green egg because it's my favorite color. It's so good I took this picture because when the chickens had finally hatched, no one could agree on how many original eggs there were, so I was able to prove them wrong. 

Finally one fateful Tuesday morning, we saw a crack inside an egg. That's when the hopping from the desk to the egg began. We all took turns all day, waiting for the first chicken to hatch, which was Katie's. As soon as there was that little crack, we could hear him cheeping all the way at the desk. However, for all that cheeping, it took him seven hours to emerge. 

The first chicken was named Weasley and we were all in love instantly. 

As soon as Weasley was out of his egg, the egg next to him started cracking, fast. While Weasley had opened multiple spots all over his egg, the second chicken made a straight line across the egg and came right out. Weasley was laying on his stomach flopping around, while the second chicken sat straight up, looked all over the incubator as if to claim it as his own. Which he did. The second chicken was quite the bully, and we named him Dwight stripes. (I say him fully knowing that most of them are probably girls) Dwight Stripes came out right as we closed. 

The next morning going into work, I expected there to be three, maybe four chickens hatched. Nope, there were seven scurrying around in there.
The rest of them hatched throughout the day, and we took turns naming them. My chicken came out right as we were leaving so I'm not a hundred percent sure that my chicken was mine, since I only saw all black feathers. Out of the eighteen eggs we started with, thirteen hatched. 
Their names were: 
Weasley
Dwight Stripes
Benicio (I was trying to name him after Vincent D'Onofrio in Magnificent Seven, but I forgot the actors name and said Benicio Del Toro. Not even close, but the name stuck.)
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum were two chickens who looked exactly the same and were pretty dumb compared to the others.
Friar and Tuck- two black chickens with yellow circles on their heads that looked like bald monks
Duckling- who seriously looked like a duck
Darkling
Sophia Lauren
Terry Crews 
Shelob who had a spider on her back
and Little Foot who came out foot first

Here's Dwight Stripes and I. He was my favorite, even if he was mean and pecked at the other chickens eyes. He was a brave little fellow and let me pick him up. 
Here's the Darkling, my chicken. She was all black, and I named her after a Leigh Bardugo character. I tweeted her about it and she was so excited that we had library chickens. 

They grew incredibly fast, and while it was sad to see them go, they were much too big for their little box. 
I'm so glad that I got to have this experience with the chickens, but I'm so glad I don't have to take care of them full time:)