Friday, July 31, 2020

Health and nerves

I definitely wouldn't say I'm a nervous person.  I'm fairly relaxed in everything that I do because I just don't see the point in getting so worked up that emotions overwhelm reason.  There's a balance in all things to allow you to see clearly through the muddy waters that life sometimes has a way of becoming.  So why does the title of my post include the word "nerves"?  Well, I've had a small health concern and I've got a couple/few weeks to stew about it before I get any kind of answer, for good or ill, pun intended.

My family has a history of illness on both sides of varying types and degrees.  Because of that I was never truly tempted to partake in any risky behavior.  Aside from an immense love of tattoos and a bucket list item of skydiving, there's not really anything that I do that should threaten my health and well-being.  Uh, except for food.  Food is love and I love flavor so I don't always make the healthiest choices, but that's a work in progress as I balance that with healthy physical activities.

Anyway, the point is because I have a family history that seems to always necessitate hospitals in some way, shape, or form, I'm careful and cautious since I want to live a long and happy life with my kids.  Preventative exams are essential to that endeavor and a few weeks ago I came across something a bit concerning.  A couple of lumps caught my attention.  They could be totally benign, lots of people, women specifically, find lumps that come to nothing and are treated only as a preventative measure.  But because my mother and maternal grandmother as well as more distantly related family have had breast cancer of varying severity I'm understandably a little nervous.

I've got an appointment in a couple weeks for a mammogram and breast ultrasound so we can figure out just what's going on and I won't lie and say I'm not worried.  Part of me is very worried.  It was quite nebulous, the worry, something that didn't break the surface until I spoke to my mom today.  I don't want to dwell on it for two weeks and put myself into a position where I freak myself out or show anything like that to my kids so today I'm allowing myself a little cry and a little venting.

I have great friends and family and I could likely call any of them and hear any number of "don't worry's" or any other platitude you can think of and that's fantastic to have that kind of support, but I'll be honest here, I don't really want to hear it.  I work through things best when it's on my own with an occasional need to vent.  My mom's advice was really helpful though, so I'm glad I called her, but other than her, I'm not exactly up for hashing this out with anyone else.  It's not going to be something to truly worry about until I go over the results of the tests with my doctor in three weeks and it's bad news.  Until then I just wanted to put down my thoughts and feelings to a medium that I can reflect on and share with others that may feel similarly.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

This wasn't how it was supposed to be.

I read a book a couple days ago that made me confront some very difficult feelings within myself.  The Parable of the Mustard Seed by Lisa Henry isn't a parallel of my life, but there were questions in it like why, at what point is it enough, and where is my happiness.  There were scenes that were straight out of my most treasured dreams that were shattered by someone's selfishness and the surprisingly inevitable end of a lifelong commitment.  Nothing in life has truly been easy for me except for love, obviously not my love life, but my ability to love.

I like myself, I love my children beyond imagining, I love God...will there ever be someone who will love me as wholly as I could love them?  That's kind of what I'm struggling with right now.  It seems so superficial with everything that's going on in the world and for that I feel a modicum of shame.  But just a tiny bit.  I had a bad afternoon and that was the focus of my emotions and I refuse to belittle what I feel because it's valid.  I'm valid.  What I hope for is valid.

So now on to the maudlin, the bitter, the sad...

Why couldn't my marriage work?
In general, I get why Jordan and I didn't work out, but what am I needing to learn from the one thing I yearned for in all my life being taken away?

In Mustard Seed there's a scene with a husband who actually suggests more kids in the midst of dealing with teething at its very worst.  It was supposed to be humorous...I cried nearly as much as when Jordan told me we were really done.

My heart wasn't made to be alone.  I have my kids to love and adore and be frustrated by, but for someone to care for my heart...that's missing from my life and it hurts.  It physically hurts to be confronted with the fact that I just wasn't enough for someone I committed my life to.  That's not a reflection of my worth, I don't take that on myself, it's that everything that I am, the person I've forged through all manner of experiences good and bad, that person who gave all of herself with complete trust was denied and rejected by the person she trusted to care.

All the thoughts of things not being fair really hit me hard.  I know, I know, life isn't fair.  I get it.  Trust me, I do.  And I know, deeply, that God works in us and prunes us through trials.  It doesn't mean I can't occasionally bemoan that life isn't fair when all I want is love.  I'm only human.  And yes, I totally get that that's an unChristlike justification that I'll need to change if I want true peace, but my trial isn't over and all I can say at this point is I'm trying.  No guilt, no shame in that, I'm struggling and that's okay.  I'll make it through.

So maybe it's because of all this self-isolation, maybe it's that cyclical grief that's come knocking again...whatever it is, it sucks and it's just not fair.

I mean, I survived being molested as a child, boarding school at 12, being teased constantly as a preteen, serving a Mormon mission, college in Utah where my version of Mormonism wasn't always a shared view, following Jordan to a country where I had literally one friend, no family, a province with no oceans, and now a city with zero verdant forests.  I was willing to separate myself from everything that made me happy outside of my life with Jordan and the prospect of kids.  And now I get to be a single mom, still without all that other stuff, and also without the partner that made leaving all that other stuff bearable.

I'm tired, disappointed, resentful, and just so lonely sometimes.

I shove that away to try to be a good mom.  My kids are truly my life and I don't consider it a hardship to put them first.  So when the girls go see Jordan I escape into books and movies and I see a friend for a day to do "normal" people things and pretend like I'm not really a hermit.  But mostly, I think I pretend I'm not lonely even to myself because I'm trying to fake that until it's real.

The truth is, I want happiness to find me.  I fully acknowledge that you're supposed to go after it yourself and to choose it, but at this moment, I just don't care.  I'm too tired to care that happiness is supposed to be within my own power to grasp and too emotionally tired to do the work.

How's that for maudlin, bitter, and sad?

On a positive note, I made a killer baked potato for dinner and I go pick up my girls tomorrow so I can continue embarrassing myself with a hula hoop because my 7 year old is a pro and I'm ...not.

Saturday, July 13, 2019 have I been?

So...I've been gone and not posting.  That's actually not much of a surprise, blogging about my personal life has taken a back seat to...well, life.  I read and review books on Megan's Media Melange (yes, I like alliteration, what of it?) and the subject of this post is affecting everything I used to do out of joy.  When you think you need to escape into books but all the books you read remind you of what you've lost, what you don't have, what you should have had, it's hard to be objective.  I love reading and I love reviewing and even though I don't have many followers at all, I still do it.  I'll get back to it, I'm just struggling.  So why have I been absent?  Why the drama?  Something happened in my life that I never thought would happen to me...
My husband is divorcing me.

A decade and two kids in and what I thought I was building has met an earthquake of epic proportions.  Without getting into detail, our marriage is over for various predictable reasons and whatever you're thinking, you're likely either right or pretty damn close.  The major reason being that we're just not compatible any longer.  It's a gross understatement for the emotional upheaval I've felt over the past year plus, but it's the very simplest way of describing what happened with us.  It didn't begin as a mutual decision, but it became one once I realized that you can't beg someone to love you if they don't and won't.  I'm just not the person he wants.

Thank you, Adele, #truth

Knowing what I know now if I could go back to the start, would I have chosen him?  Yeah.  I knew who he was and who he could be, not someone different, not some idealized perception of his potential, just who he would be as he grew and changed through life, flaws and all.  I knew that his strengths were the opposite of my weaknesses and he helped me grow and improve.  His faults were acceptable to me because no one is perfect, least of all me, and I thought he felt the same way.  I don't find it naive in any way to get married young if you know what you're getting into and know that life breeds change.  If you're invested and choose to grow with and alongside someone, there's nothing to say that just because change happens that what you committed to in the beginning won't work later.

Could I have done more to make my marriage work?  Yeah, I mean, there's always something you can do and to show your partner you're invested and willing to work through issues.  But honestly, it comes down to the fact that he just wanted someone else, someone I wasn't nor would ever be.  If he had known who he was and what he truly wanted and what he was really about back when we first got together, I really believe he never would have chosen me.  Sucks, but it's true.

So now I get to piece my life together into a whole new puzzle.  I definitely have hope for the future, my future.  Being pretty much alone in a country where you have close to no one is rough, not gonna lie, but by making a concerted effort to build my own community here I have a chance to create something all my own and I'm looking forward to it.  I fear it, but I'm also determined to not let that fear stop me from finding myself here.

Do I know where I'm going (metaphorically speaking) or what I'm doing?  Hell no.  Am I up for the challenge?  Hell yes.  I'm by no means comfortable with my situation, but isn't that when we grow the most?  I'm sure hoping so.  I've got two fan-freaking-tastic children to care for and help to become awesome humans so now I get to add my own evolution to the never-ending to-do list that comes with adulting.  It'll be a trip, that's for sure.

Here's to hoping...

Life isn't easy, it's definitely not predictable, and it's too short to remain unhappy.  What was a devastating shock is something I'm determined to turn into a personal stepping stone to my best self.  Is there any other way to see it?  What can I say, I'm a realistic optimist.  I do what I want, and what I want is to be happy.  I'll find my happiness and I'll just have to trust that life will find a way to remind me that my new dream is out there somewhere.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thoughts on the storage unit that is our brain.

“I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

I happened to be reading random quotes just now and came across this one.  It makes a ton of sense!  I always compared a brain to a library filled with books based on what you read, learn, and experience.  Your ability to help others in any way is directly dependent upon what you store in that library.  If you only fill it with recipes, thoughts from other mommy bloggers, and the conversations you have with your children, then you will be equipped to help other people with recipes and children at the same stage of life and situation as your children.  Is that bad?  Not necessarily, but it means that if you don't take the opportunity to study scripture (not just mindlessly read for five minutes a day), you aren't in a position to spiritually lift or guide others toward Christ.  If you don't learn how to change your own oil, tire, air filter, or car battery, then teaching your daughter these things or stopping on the side of the road to see if you can help someone with a flat tire is beyond your capacity.

I disagree, however, with the point made about the brain's elasticity.  Instead I believe that your mind expands to hold all the new information you choose to store.  Useless thoughts do not replace the useful, but any skill can become rusty if not regularly practiced, and any piece of knowledge can be forgotten if not used in some way.  The goal, then, is to do as he implies: give priority to those things that will enrich your life and the lives of others.  Now, is this what Holmes meant in this novel?  Probably, not at all.  But since I'm taking the quote out its context and musing on the quote as an entity itself, I choose to interpret it as I have already done.

And now it's after midnight and my brain is very, very tired.  This makes the second post in 2014...breaking the pattern of one post per year since this blog's inception.

Everyday seems a little longer, Every way love's a little stronger...

Life is seriously like a roller coaster.

I was supposed to be in Japan this month...supposed to be. I wanted so much to be there and made lots of plans with my friends there and was so excited to revisit places I really love while there. My daughter is now running around, knows all her letters and colors and lots of numbers too, so I was hoping to "show off" to my friends who only saw the beginnings of her awesomeness.

As is obvious at this point, I'm not in Japan. I'm at my parents' house in the States. Why? My father died. It was way sooner than any of us thought it would be. He was 78 and his health wasn't great, so it's not entirely unexpected, but he had recently been making some serious improvements and was in great spirits. Despite all of that, his number was called.

I got to see him one last time before we signed the papers for cremation and he looked almost the same as always. I completely expected him to take a semi-startled breath as he woke up to find us in the room with him. He would say, "Oh, hi!" like always and we would give him a big hug, grateful to have a chance to visit and talk story. That didn't happen. He stayed on the table, cool to the touch despite the blanket they covered him with. No wide smile, no arms wide for his tight hugs that made you feel small and safe, no warm voice assuring you of your solid place in his thoughts and heart.

For the first time since hearing of his passing, I cried. Not even the words, "Your father has died" stirred tears of sadness, it was the final realization that the body I was looking at was no longer my father. It was a shell of someone who loved me more than I had ever loved anyone else in my life before. Only after I got married and had my own child could I begin to fathom the love he had for me. This man taught me about love, forgiveness, and the joy that comes from family and food. All my life he has been my father and friend.

As my family attempts to sort through their feelings and grieve in our own way, I find myself put in the position of mediator and pillar. We all have our own strengths and both of those are mine during crises, but I can't say that they are my strengths for very long. Sometimes I feel as if others see me as unfeeling and callous toward the suffering of others, but I can't help it if I cry very few times and attempt to get all the necessaries taken care of before I finally feel the weight of my emotions. I cried when I saw my father for the last time, and haven't cried again since then...that was two weeks ago. I'm okay with that.

Two weeks have passed since I heard the news and already life seems to be moving on. Nothing has come to a screeching hault, the sun still rises, and the dog still needs to be fed and walked.

Life is different. Things change. Home is still home. Love is still strong.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

chili casserole and becoming new

So I know that you've probably seen my hope to keep this blog updated regularly and can see that it was in vain.  Here I am, a year and three-ish months later, and only now am I writing post number 2.  Go me.  So let's just dive in, shall we?

The recipe:
Cheesy Cornbread Casserole

Please bear in mind that I pretty much never follow a recipe exactly and each time I make it it turns out a little differently.  So I'll include what I changed and how it tasted.  One word for this one.  Freakin-amazing.  Okay, so two words and I cheated with a hyphen and dropped the 'g' to make it one word.  But it was good, really good, an I-couldn't-stop-myself-from-eating-it-at-every-meal-until-it-was-gone kind of good.


  • whatever cheese I had in my fridge which was about a 1/2-3/4 pound of mozzarella, 1/4 pound of colby jack, and about 1/8 pound of provolone.  You can use the already shredded stuff, but grating cheese yourself is easy and cheaper and it really doesn't take a lot of time...and it melts better.
  • spices...with the garlic powder and cumin, maybe 2 generous teaspoons, and I added about 1T of chili powder.  I also add red chili flakes (1/2tsp, maybe 1tsp), salt (maybe 1tsp) and pepper (1/2tsp).
  • in lieu of a fresh jalapeño I used one can of diced green chiles, undrained, seeds and capsaicin on me to be accidentally transferred to an innocent baby who won't know the joys of that crap until she touches it herself and accidentally touches her nose, eye, mouth, ... you get the picture.  I don't need a screaming baby, thank you.  And washing my hands never gets it all off...maybe if I had some Gojo around, but I do not.
  • cooking process:  soften onions and season with salt, pepper, half of the garlic powder, and half of the cumin; add meat; while the meat is cooking, prepare 1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix and set aside to rest; when the meat is almost cooked through, add chiles, beans, enchilada sauce, and chili powder; while that combines, grate the cheese into the corn muffin mix and stir to combine; taste the sauce and add the red chili flakes and the rest of the garlic powder and cumin as well as any other spices you choose to add at this point; pour into a 9x13 pan (I used a non-stick metal cake pan) and carefully spoon globs of the cheesy muffin mix on top of the meat/bean/saucy deliciousness; bake 20ish minutes at 350, until the toothpick comes out know your oven, bake more or less depending on your oven.
  • I did not cool it at all...except for the obligatory blow before shoving it in my pie-hole.  Then came the stuffing of my face once the first bite rendered my eyes wide and my mouth salivating because of how awesome it tasted.
Next time I'll be more exact with measuring...well, maybe not...that's just not how I cook.  Sorry.  But, I will attempt a picture at varying steps...maybe...if I remember...mostly if Brinnan isn't yelling in her bouncy chair while I attempt to make dinner before the husby gets home.  Her dinner and first evening nap coincide with our own making and eating of dinner...except hers needs my boob and it's hard to remove that for her exclusive use.

Enough of the TMI and overshare, on to what I read in the Good Book:
Short and simple, here is the scripture, my own ideas for cross references, and my thoughts...
1Peter 1:23 (KJV)
"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
There are a lot of times in my life when I wanted to be someone else...when I didn't like who I was.  I would imagine scenarios where I would be someone else entirely, but as my life's circumstances changed, my imagined scenes changed.  Life has thrown me some serious craziness, but the harder things got, the more "in tune" with myself I became.  I was no longer someone else entirely, I was a better version of myself in those dreams.  I noticed that I didn't want to be anyone other than that better version.

Part of that change can definitely be because of my spiritual growth.  I read the Bible when I was in high school, pretty much only because of seminary, but during the obligatory reading to get all the stars on my reading chart, I could feel obligation becoming desire.  I wanted to read more about God and everything the prophets and apostles went through while they tried their best to do as they had been commanded.  My own life was full of me just trying to figure out what kind of a person I wanted to be, not what I should be or how God played a role in that at all.  When I got to know Christ a bit more I stopped disliking myself and things started changing.  I learned about the atonement...I learned about love.  While still making a ton of adolescent mistakes and having typical teenage experiences, I read everything I could about becoming a new creature in Christ.  How could I become that better version of myself that I imagined when I was less than satisfied for how I had done something?

The change from a sinful creature into a new, clean creature in Christ requires constant and diligent nourishment in the word of God.  Once we have that and are firmly on the path to acquire more light and knowledge, we can't neglect the people around us.  We need to use His word to teach them and bring them to Christ.  Nephi in the Book of Mormon talks about the Spirit's role in relaying truth to people.  He brings it to us, but it's our responsibility to let it in so it can change us.  Similarly, we have to carry the message to people so they can choose for themselves to accept or reject what is being offered.  We decide to become new creatures by choosing to apply that which we learn from the word of God and through personal revelation.  Immersion in the word and the Spirit allow us to be continually and forever changed.

...and I'm out of steam for the moment.

Saturday, March 10, 2012 a disclaimer

Lately I've been wanting to record what recipes and new ingredients I've used and how they turned out.  I have also thought a lot about keeping a journal, of sorts.  Thus the birth of this blog.

So now that I've finally started this blog, I hope to keep it updated regularly.  My goal is to try at least one new recipe or ingredient every week and some personal musings on whatever I feel like sharing.

Now for the disclaimer on spiritual matters, should I choose to post anything concerning Jesus and His gospel.  I am a Mormon..  I was mostly raised in the LDS faith but was allowed to attend a Protestant boarding school as well as attend many other Christian churches.  I was allowed to choose for myself and have done so.  I served a mission for the LDS church and met people from all walks of life and I respect their chosen paths.  My husband is a member of a Mennonite church which he found while transitioning out of Mormonism.  That being said, I always share what I believe from my own perspective and experiences and encourage others to do the same.  Any comments about what I have written should reflect respect even if we differ in viewpoints.  I mean, my husband left the Mormon church and we're still happily married, so that should say something about respecting other views while still expressing my own.