Category: Change

First Day Jitters

So today is the first day of the new job!  I started to write this post many times but then would stop because it was seemingly more tweet than blog worthy.  I am part nervous, part excited, and that’s basically it.

It’s something entirely new as a career and I have no doubt that transitioning from hobbyist to a career in digital marketing will be a challenge.  However, I also know I am starting small, part-time and we are all committed to being patient with each other.

It feels strange starting something new.  It’s probably been since starting the job in accounting which was way out of my wheelhouse.  I also was thinking back to the the first day in the MTC and the mission field.

Wondering what it was going to be like and if I could do it.  On one hand I want to give both of the Rachel’s at those points a hug and say ‘you’ll get through the tough times’ and also say ‘you do it and you do it well’.

Looking back on those experiences I realize the worrying was justified and it wasn’t.  Those were some of the toughest times of my life beginning but the worry of failure wasn’t really justified.  I wasn’t perfect but I think I turned into a good missionary and then accounting clerk.  Regardless it all worked out for the best.

What about you my friends?  What in your 30’s+ have you started anew, afresh? Whether a new marriage, job, child etc?  Were you excited and freaked out like me?  Any advice?  How has it been different starting something new in your 30s vs 20s?  It seems like it could be more challenging and yet more rewarding.  Would love to hear your perspectives.

This morning we had a conference call to go over the company I will be working for and in the next week will be filling out forms and starting projects.  It is a new position so there will be some moving and stretching as we figure out what works best for everyone.  I will probably be going out to Georgia sometime this summer to see the facilities and meet my co-workers.  The main offices are in Dalton Georgia so that should be a fun place to visit.

So that was basically it.  We did a basic orientation of the company and most of the answers to questions were ‘I’ll get back to you on that’.

I think I may just have to read Julia Child’s book My Life in France.  It’s one of my favorites for a lot of reasons but I love that she had the guts to change her life later in life.  She didn’t graduate from culinary school till she was almost 39.  Then she spent the next 10 years of her life working on Mastering the Art of French Cooking and in 1961 when she was 49 it was published.

Everything we know about Julia Child started then.  At 50 she became the Julia Child we all know with the debut of The French Chef.  How many people do you know that have started something so big at 50?  It’s so inspiring to me.

Her marriage to Paul Child is another inspiration to me. They met when she was 32 and married at 34.  He seems to have been worth waiting for.  As an artist he no doubt wanted to be creative and energetic but he chose to work as a bureaucrat for his job so that Julia could go to culinary school and write her book.  What a wonderful example of love and support.

Most people would find the notion of a housewife going to Le Cordon Blu in the 60s to be silly but not Paul Child.  In fact, it was his insistence that  kept her motivated when it got difficult.

I wasn’t planning on talking about Julia and Paul on this post but they are an inspiration to me and as I start this new journey I hope to embrace the adventure like them.

Read My Life in France.  I know you will love it!

So share with me your new experiences.  What you learned from them?  What your inspiration was?  What was tougher at 30 than at 20? What was easier?  Thanks in advance.

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Thank You for Reading

It’s late but I wanted to do a quick thank you.  All of my friends are posting daily thank you’s on facebook which is awesome but really today there is one major thing I am thankful for.  I am thankful to all of you. I had a rough October but November has started out great.  Thank you to all of you for reading no matter my mood or topic.  I know there are readers who follow religiously but haven’t made a comment in years (Becca and Suzanna I know you read!).  I am so grateful.  I hope you know that.

thank-you-for-readingThank you for reading when I inspire you.  Thank you for reading when I tick you off a little bit.  Thank you for reading when I bore you.  Thank you for reading when I make you laugh.  Aside from friends and faith, it is the best thing in my life.  Thank you especially to the people who read regularly not just when I do something bold.

Thank you to fellow bloggers who inspire me with their posts especially Samantha Ferraro, Forest Hartman, Christine Plouvier, Abbey Kidd, Tracy Christensen  Emily at Blogging Runner for giving me so much support.  Some of you I have met.  Rest of you if you ever come to Utah dinner is on me. (there are so many but they have been so supportive).

I sound like I’m dieing or something or winning an Oscar but I really am grateful.  I told my siblings that all I really wanted for Christmas was for them to comment on my blog every week or so.  I’m partly kidding but it really does mean a lot to me when people read.   I am also grateful to my sisters Meg and Anna for being the standout family readers by far and away.  Thanks!

I suppose it means a lot to any writer when people actually read what they write (go figure I know) and I’m no different.  It feels like you have a legacy and people might remember you for something.  Who doesn’t want that?

I’m grateful to my swim friends, trainers, writing group, twitter friends, cousins, coworkers, voice teachers, fellow parishioners…I could go on.  I really am just grateful.

What brought this all on is I was talking with a friend in the stake presidency who has taken my letter on the midsingles situation and shown it to area leadership and asked a question on the topic to two apostles.  It meant a lot to me to be taken seriously and to feel like just maybe I did something good with my words.

Maybe nothing will come of it.  Maybe it will just make a few of the people who commented feel understood but that’s good enough for me.

Hey, it made me feel understood and isn’t that why I started this whole thing?

In my first post on my preblog I said “First, I am never going to be happy living my life for other people’s expectations. Second, I need to take more comfort from the love of those that care for me instead of being devastated by the criticism of those that don’t. Third, I have to be my own advocate.

Why is it that I seem to believe in other people more than I believe in myself?Honestly, I think I am my toughest critic. I am starting to accept that I am not proving anything to anyone by the way I live my life. I have to believe that those that come into contact with me, including my employers, are lucky to know me. That I am valuable just for being me” (pretty good advice.  I should listen to myself sometimes).

That was written in 2007 and the blog has certainly proven that last statement to be true 1,000 times.  I am valuable for just being me and writing.

“The best word shakers were the ones who understood the true power of words. They were the ones who could climb the highest. One such word shaker was a small, skinny girl. She was renowned as the best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be WITHOUT words.”

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

32 vs 17

So tomorrow I go back to my home in Utah, get back to work and training for my swims in my free time.  Aside from a little stomach ache today, I’ve had a great time and it was a nice break from my everyday life.

I don’t know how detailed I can get without shaming people but I learned a lesson this week I felt was worth sharing with all of you.

When I was about 17 I had an experience that stuck with me.  I had always felt bad about my weight and felt like it was something I couldn’t fix that I wanted to fix.  I was at a family reunion that summer when someone said something cruel about my eating ice cream and I threw the ice cream away and stormed out in tears.

My brother, who I was not normally close with, got very angry, stood up for me and stormed out of the restaurant, walking the rest of the way home.  My parents, uncle and cousins were also very supportive and the incident blew over with probably nobody remembering it but maybe my brother and me (although he claims to remember nothing from his childhood).

Well, that’s always stayed with me and on Friday night I was with the same person eating ice cream again and he/she made another comment about my weight and at first I s laughed it off but then I got mad.  This time instead of storming out I stood up for myself and said

‘You know what…..I know you would be happier if I was skinny but you will just have to deal with it’ and then I left the table and cried outside. I’d say an improvement in 15 years wouldn’t you?  I was pretty upset and frustrated that nothing seemed to have changed over such a long period of time, that nothing I had done in the intervening years had made a dent or changed that person’s attitude towards me.  I was still the same girl eating ice cream, feeling bad about myself.

For a second I felt 17 again…How could a situation mirror itself so closely after all that time?

Or was it?  This time it was not my brother, Dad or cousins standing up for me.  It was me, and yes I felt the tears of 15 years of frustration and pain, but I had said something that made an impact.  In fact, the next day I had flowers and a letter of apology from the person.  Forgiveness was granted and yet none of that would have happened if I had kept my mouth shut and smiled through the ridicule or if I had made an unsightly scene.  I certainly had not received an apology at 17.

Maybe all of us had learned something in the last 15 years after all? Hurray for humanity and a victory for underdogs out there.

Redemption and a high five to the 17 year old me!

Then
Then
Now
Now

NO GOALS, NO RESOLUTIONS

Normally I am a huge goal setter.  I love having a plan and motivating myself to do better, be better.   As you all know my life has been overwhelmed lately with the building of my house and my move. So much so that I haven’t been able to eat well and my stomach has been continually upset.  I wish I could control this but I can’t.I’ve thrown up a lot, had nausea, sleep apnea, insomnia, stomach cramping, headaches and asthmatic episodes and I actually think I’ve handled it all pretty well for me….Sigh

So with this in mind I had an interesting experience yesterday. I met with my nutrition counselor on Saturday and she tried 3 times to get me to set goals- goals for the New Year, goals for the month, and then I think getting a little desperate, goals for the week.  I just couldn’t do it!  My brain couldn’t formulate one goal. Even as she asked me I felt my heart begin to race and my stomach churn. My whole body felt raw, wrung out and tired.  Really kind of numb… I just shook my head and said ‘I can’t do it.  I have no idea’. 

This is highly unusual for me but it was in fact a healthy choice for me to make. I’m kind of proud of myself.

I told her that I knew I was in a vulnerable spot and whatever goals I set would become obsessive for me.  I’m searching for things I can control and diet goals are something I could go way overboard in feeling I can control.  I just knew I had to step back and take it one day at a time.   It’s a good thing that I am getting to the point in my mental health where I can tell I am vulnerable and when I am not.  Right now I just need acceptance, congratulations and as much normality as possible.

No goals!  No resolutions!  Just survival!  I feel a little guilty even saying that but its true.  I need to coast for a month until I get in this darn house and then it will be back to the goal setting Rachel.

Does that make sense? I can only take so much and I also feel I need to savor the moment and be grateful for the blessings of so many changes.  It would be easy to distract myself from the fear of change with a diet rush or some other goal, obsess into that instead of dealing with all the new and absorbing it with fearlessness.

just-say-no-to-new-year-resolutions

So there you go.  No goals!  Just going to try and be happy to be me. 248072_10151332018897239_58777808_n

Full House and a Single Christmas

room for rent

I have exciting news!  I’ve decided to get a roommate for the 3rd bedroom of my house.  This will probably come as a big surprise to some of my friends and family who have heard me defend the lifestyle of living alone.  I am as surprised by it as anyone else.    What can I say it just felt like the right thing to do.  It’s going to be an adjustment but I’m looking forward to something new and making new friends.

Financially its a no brainer.  I will be making more money on tenants than I am currently spending on rent and I will end up with more square footage and nicer space even with the  space allocated for tenants.  I will have an office and a huge master suite so there should be tons of privacy.  Sharing a kitchen might be challenging  at first, but I’m up for a challenge.

All 3 of my tenants I found via craigslist (something I swore I’d never do again) and I checked references (the girl who is rooming with me goes to my old ward and knows a lot of the same people I know.  Small world).  You never know with things like this but taking risk is part of life.   I feel as confident as is possible that they will be awesome tenants and it will be a great thing for me.  Regardless I know its what Heavenly Father wants me to do and that is what is most important.  I am sure it

is His will.  I can’t wait to see why He wants me to do this and the blessings that unfold.

Life is certainly full of twists and turns. So, they also announced that my house will be done 12-31-12.  What a fun New Years present! I’m going to give my notice on Monday at my current place just to give a little more leeway if something goes wrong (like a blizzard comes in or the appraisal gets delayed.  Whatever).   This means my move in date will probably be around the 5th.  Get ready friends to help me move!  (Thanks in advance!)

Other news…I’m not going home for Christmas this year.  This is the first time in my adult life except for my mission and I really went back and forth over the decision but talking with my Dad today confirmed it will be best for me to stay here and get ready for the move.  I just know the anxiety of travel combined with moving will be too much.  (I hope my family knows how truly agonizing the decision was for me. I felt really sad and even a little guilty not coming.  Hard to explain but true).  Plus, saving money before closing never hurts and my parents are coming out the next week anyway so it would really only be for the day.

It does make me a little sad to know I am 31 and spending Christmas alone…I don’t think that is anyone’s ideal but it is what it is.  I’m certainly going to be less lonely come the beginning of the year so no complaining there!  God has His own timing for my life and I just have to keep faith. He knows me and He has certainly been guiding me as I’ve gone through this housing and subsequent tenant search, I have to believe he will guide me in ALL parts of my life.

The Christmas season isn’t going to be that different.  I just have a little bitty tree (the tree I got from my mission) instead of my large memory tree (still doing 2012 memory ornaments).

My little Christmas tree and twinkle lights. Keeping things simple this year!
My little Christmas tree and twinkle lights. Keeping things simple this year!

I am also making this the season of the Messiah Sing-In.  Always a tradition for me since I was a little girl but this year I am going to three! Nothing like it.  Makes me emotional every time I hear it.  I think of my mission when I had some deep lonely times and the music always made me feel at home.  I listened to it year-round.

Next week I am having the 2nd Annual Christmas Swimfest, which I am excited about.   This is something I invented last year to give back to my swimming family.  We do a solid workout set and than a bunch of goofy relays like exchanging t-shirts after a lap or eating a saltine cracker in-between laps (its really hard!).

I’m going to try and think of some holiday themed relays and already have some (nutcracker relay, back stroke with foot out of water like a ballerina).  If you have any ideas let me know.  I debated about doing the Swimfest this year because of the move and everything but I’m glad I decided to do it.  It’s really the least I can do and after doing 3 of them already it’s not much work.  Getting the word out is probably the hardest part, so if you are in the area come out- Gene Fullmer pool 10 am.

I am also going to Christmas Carol on the 18th with my best friend Emily and her husband. Hurray!  This is always a highlight of the holidays for me.   I love the message of redemption in the story of Scrooge and that nobody is a lost cause to Jesus.

So, as you can see I will have plenty to keep me busy (and there’s more I could listen, let alone packing up my apartment!).   Still, I’m a little concerned with Christmas Day itself.  What can I do on that day to make it not seem lonely but happy and full of a spirit of giving to others?  (I am doing a sub-4-santa type project but that will be done this Saturday, not Christmas Day). I’ve thought about going to a midnight mass at Cathedral of the Madeline.  I’ve always wanted to do that but never been able to step away from family.  It could be a neat community experience.

What would you do if you had Christmas alone? How would you make it special? I’d be especially curious for those who have spent Christmas alone and what they have done to ensure it wasn’t a big pity party. (Oh and I just want to clarify that I am not staying at home as some kind of revenge to my family.  So many of the posts I read online were of that vein.  As chaotic as they can sometimes be, I’m actually sad to be away from my family at Christmas).

Please forgive for this somewhat rambling post.  Lots of news to catch you up on.  (Oh also next week I am going to a speed dating activity in Salt Lake.  Wish me luck!)

Oh and I also want to see Les Miserables on Christmas Day if anyone wants to come with!

Rachel Eat Pray Love Day 1

So I know I say things like this all the time but it doesn’t make it any less true- today was one of the best days of my life!  It was so wonderful!  Its hard to believe that I ever contemplated doing anything else and that I could be the same human being that was so miserable on Tuesday.  I wish I wasn’t such a spazz and had a constant, even tone to my days but alas that’s just not my style.

The one thing about an insanely hard week with a seemingly impossible deadline and a near-panic attack is that everything can only go up from there and boy did it.  I’m so glad I decided to spend the money (and it wasn’t too bad actually) and treat myself to a weekend  of rehabilitation and rejuvenation.  I needed it so badly!

For starters I finished the month end in time!!!!  I still can’t believe it!  Hurray!  Heavenly Father really does answer prayers and help you do the impossible when you have faith.  Seriously.

So done with my Friday free (hurray!)  I set out for a massage at my gym.  (Would have asked my dear friend Jill but she had to take a 9 to 5’er for insurance 😦 ).  Anyway, got a one hour massage and it was heaven. Seriously if I was rich I’d have a massage every week.

zen achieved

Oh I forgot I got to the massage late because I was cleaning my car because my folks are using it this week and guess what I threw into the recycle dumpster?  Yes, my keys.  It was quite the endeavor to get them out climbing up on a laundry basket that was in the dumpster and hurling myself into the cardboard.  It actually hurt and I have bruises but I got the keys!  Nothing was going to get me down!

found the keys. Dumpster diver extraordinaire!

After the massage I got the car wash and then headed to the hotel.  I am staying that the City Center Marriott in Salt Lake. I stayed here once before when in 2007 I along with 4 of my friends celebrated the last day of a job I hated and the beginning of a happy Rachel.  It is honestly one of the happiest memories of my life. So, naturally I have a special fondness for the hotel and its luxurious accomadations (amazing robes, tons of pillows, soft sheets, thick curtains etc).  Just look at the pillows!

Is that not heaven

They weren’t ready for me right away so I went off to have some lunch.  At first I walked the wrong way and so I asked these businessmen if they knew of any good lunch places. “There’s Carl’s Jr” they responded.  Isn’t that rude?  For all they knew I was a visitor to their city.  I would never do that.  Anyway, nothing was going to get me down so I headed the other way and went to wells fargo to deposit a check and asked the teller if he knew a good place “The Robin’s Nest” he said.   It was just around the corner so I went and checked it out.

I figure in lunch places it is always a good sign when the line is long and the tables are full.  This was the case at Robin’s Nest.  Everything was delicious from the bread to the orzo side pasta.  I got the gobbler (turkey ‘thanksgiving’ style sandwich with cranberry relish, mayo, lettuce ect).  The half was huge and the lunch combo came with drink (fresh squeezed lemonade no extra), orzo pasta or chips and a dessert bite (I got the lemon square although everything looked fabulous).  I heard Bobby Flay say that ‘delicious’ was passe as a food adjective so I’m not sure what word to use.  It was scrumptious.  Perfect lunch.

Love a good sandwich

Once I checked into the hotel I read for a little bit on my fluffy pillows and then napped for about 30 minutes.  Feeling great I headed up to the pool/hot tub and had a great swim.  As a Masters Swimmer (I was going to say competitive but I don’t know if last in every race really counts as competitive) I naturally always wear training swimsuits.  So, it is nice to occasionally swim just for fun and wear a suit that feels a tiny bit more attractive.   Is that terrible to say?

Love this photo. Feeling pretty!

At the pool they had this sign that made me laugh.  Kind of a challenge to the whole weekend in a way!

Oh you better believe I’m swimming alone and dining alone, going to the movies alone, whatever. I’m having a spectacular time alone and breaking all the rules!!!

After a refreshing and relaxing swim/soak I came back and read some more and worked on my novel.  It’s just a silly thing I’ve toyed with over the years.  I am going to finish it for the national novel writing month in November.  If I don’t I have to do a polar bear swim! (Its a bet with my friend Abby).

Next up I went headed to dinner.  My friend Heidi had recommended The Copper Onion to me and as it is minutes from my hotel I thought it’d be a perfect fit.  Boy was she right.  I have never been to such a nice restaurant in my life.  Everything was beautifully presented and tasted sublimely good.  Best restaurant meal I’ve ever had.

I decided to try different things.  Be bold and daring because that’s the kind of day it was!  So here are the courses:

For appetizer crispy pork belly salad with pickled vegetables.  I’ve always wanted to try pork belly and it did not disappoint.  The salad was rich, decadent, salty, sweet, spicy (pickled jalapenos).  So good!

pork belly salad. Yum!

Then I got the duck which I’ve never had before.  I’ve always heard it was too fatty and I hate eating chicken fat.  Figured wouldn’t like duck fat any more than chicken.  But this was perfectly cooked.  The fat was completely rendered out with a crispy skin, cooked medium rare.  Then underneath the duck breast was duck confit (holy cow yum!) and a baby portabello mushroom that was the best mushroom I’ve ever had.  All accompanied with a butternut squash puree that was like butter and a mixed green salad with roasted peppitas.  (Salivating yet? Wait until you see the photo).

Most amazing entree I’ve had at a restaurant. Can’t wait to go back and try more things.

Then for dessert I had a chocolate pudding that was divine.  It was rich with a crunchy topping and whipped cream.  It had sea salt or something sprinkled in to counter the sweetness.

chocolate pudding. This costs $4. Isn’t that insane?

I cleaned my plate in every course but the great thing is I didn’t feel stuffed or even overly-full.  I felt perfectly satisfied.  The food was not overflowing like at chains but it was all delicious and memorable, which I’d take any day over quantity.  I got all of that delicious food plus a drink for $40.  Doesn’t that seem like a pretty good deal?  You’d pay triple that in New York or San Fran.

The thing I appreciated the most about the restaurant was how accommodating they were to me as a single diner.  I’ve tried to eat at nicer places by myself and felt literally singled out and that I was an inconvenience for a busy waiter wanting more tips.  This is why I usually get take out not because I’m afraid of being alone at a meal but because it isn’t a pleasant experience as a rule.

Tonight was totally different.  First of all The Copper Onion has a bar (a suggestion I often give single diners as it easy to find someone to talk with and does not feel so isolating as a big empty table) with a separate bar menu but they also have what they call the counter.  This is like a separate bar area that faces the chefs.  It was so much fun seeing everything get made and smelling all the dishes!  My waitress was wonderful. Kind, accommodating and extremely knowledgeable about the entire menu (she was partly responsible for my bold orders!).   See the smile on my face!

Happy Rachel (I also wore eye make up for the first time since the surgery. Hurray!)

The meal was sublime and when I finished it was 6:50 and as I walked past The Broadway theater next door to the restaurant I noticed that Perks of Being a Wallflower was playing at 7.  Perfect timing!  The Broadway is one of the only independent theaters in Utah and while many of their choices seem a bit dreary for my tastes this was a film I’d been wanting to see.

It is definitely not for everyone but I loved it.  Its funny, sad, different and the dialogue is perfect.  I think it is one of the few movies I’ve seen that gets the feel a high school experience right.  Most movies about teenagers feel like the show Glee that is mostly starring 30 year old actors in high school.  This was much more authentic.  I don’t know if I totally bought some of the darker elements but still very emotionally satisfying to see something original and different.   I felt inspired!

Here’s the thing that made today special.  I have obviously lived alone for many years of my adult life.  I’ve gone to movies alone, eaten alone, even went on a cruise alone, but I don’t’ know if I have ever spent a day with basically no companionship and had such a spectacular time.  It is really gratifying to know that I can be that happy all by myself.  I think I have to remember that when I’m feeling lost and out of control.  I have the power to feel happy all by myself even without all the luxurious trappings to prop me up.

I feel proud of myself.  I did something that  nobody else I know to my knowledge has done.  I spent the whole day by myself and had a spectacular time. Granted most everyone I know doesn’t even have that option but still its nice to know I can do it.

Even more than that, its nice to know I can relax like a real human being.  Feels like forever since I’ve relaxed. Since Hawaii for sure.  And how great to have achieved my Hawaii zen right in my own hometown for pennies on the dollar of what I’d spend on any trip, anywhere.  What a freeing concept!  I look forward to many more adventures!  It’d be great if some of my friends joined me but also great to do it alone.  How freeing is that?

Most importantly I feel like I can conquer the world again.  I wish I didn’t get the anxiety and I am getting better at dealing with it but I’m grateful in a way for it because it forced me to take action and create happiness for myself.   I learned that making a decision is a freeing experience and then planning for joy is the only way to really get it.  Rarely is it presented to you for free.

I’m grateful to God for giving me this day.  In the world of billions of souls going about there day He proved once again this week to me that HE KNOWS ME and HE WORKS MIRACLES!   I can’t wait to hear Him speak through His prophets tomorrow.  I will have notebook in hand and am confident I will receive instruction and inspiration.   I am so blessed. I am so grateful. I am so inspired. I am so HAPPY!

 

 

 

 

Bully / It Gets Better

This may be the post I am the most proud of. I hope it comes across the way I intend.  I hope it inspires someone.

Today for Family Home Evening I decided to see the controversial documentary Bully.   This has been something I’ve been a bit anxious for but knew I needed to do because of my own experience being bullied.  The odd part about the movie is I wasn’t that emotional while watching but then as soon as I got in my car I started to bawl. I felt all emotions of anger, frustration, despair and a little bit of hope.

Some have criticized the movie because it doesn’t go into the mindset of the bullies themselves.  My response is that every story cannot tell every story.  This is a movie about the victims and how futile the school system is in helping deal with these problems.  Granted their task is daunting but the attitude of ‘kids will be kids’ is far too present.

There is one scene in the movie where a principal actually forces a little boy to shake hands with his tormentor (a valid concept until you find out this has happened again and again with the bully feigning an apology each time).

The victim has the courage to not shake hands and the teacher says

“You’re just like him”.

The boy says “Except I don’t hurt people”.

Can you imagine if we expected such things of adults? Do we expect rape victims to shake hands with their accusers and if they don’t are they ‘just like him.”?  It made me so mad I wanted to throw something at the screen.  I actually said ‘unbelievable’ out loud and then 2 girls in the theater looked at me.

One of my favorite moments was the Mom of a boy named Alex meeting with a principal that despite proof of abuse on a bus claimed ‘I’ve ridden that bus and they are good as gold’.  The Mother says ‘When I was a child that bus would have been pulled over until the bad behavior stopped’.  That’s what we have lost.  Now I’m not advocating physical discipline for children but to pretend like adults have to sway over the behavior of children is just wrong.

Children should be safe and protected at home and school- in fact sometimes they need to be safer at school than in some homes.  I know in my case little was done to stop bullying that lasted for nearly 2 years despite repeated requests from my parents.

It is a complicated problem but a couple things I suggest:

1.  CHANGE SCHOOLS– My parents changing schools literally changed my life.  I was fortunate enough to be able to go to private school and then my family moved but there are always other options.  There are charter schools, online schools, homeschool, tutors, whatever.  Anything is better than someone being a in situation where they are tormented.  Its like sending an abused women into a closed building with their abuser 8 hours a day.  Be open-minded, pray for direction and you will find something else that works.

2. Teach your children about differences and expose them to a variety of people.  Talk to them about bullying and what they can do if they see someone who is being treated unkindly or most importantly being ignored.  Teach them to look for people that seem a little different and try to befriend them.  When they don’t like someone try to discuss what it is and how if possible they can learn to love that person.  I’m not saying they have to be friends with everyone, that isn’t realistic but each kid that tries is one less bully.

One of the Mom’s who lost her son to a bullying related suicide said ‘He cried and then it got to the point where he didn’t cry and then it became difficult to know what’s going on’.  Watch for those early tears…

3. Find something your child is good at and nourish that skill.  Everyone is good at something (or at least enjoys something) and usually you can find someone else who shares that interest.

4. Make sure your children have one person in their life who is an uncompromising cheerleader.  Parents have to discipline their children and say things they may not like but I was immeasurably benefited by several people who loved me unfailingly including my Grandpa Richards and my young women’s leader Sister Potter.  They never gave me ‘constructive criticism’.  I was always beautiful and perfect.  Everyone needs that kind of cheerleader.  Whether its a boys or girls club or a mentor look for that for your children.

5.  Speak out about your history being bullied.  Each of us that speaks adds another voice to the world, one more voice that says ‘It gets better’.  ‘It will be OK’.  ‘Don’t give up’. ‘God loves you’.

6. This is just my opinion but I think rough housing and mean joking should be avoided.  A lot of the bullying in the movie starts out as rough housing and honestly may be viewed by the bullies as just fun but it turns so fast.  One of the kids in the movie has a sister that teases him a little bit. At one point she says ‘LOSER spells Alex’.  Things like this are not helpful and should be disciplined when possible.  Again, I’m not a Mom so its just my opinion as an observer.

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/memories/

Here’s my voice:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

(Just to be clear when I talk about my accomplishments its not to brag but just to say ‘you can do whatever you want in your life’)

Random Thoughts VI

So I’ve tried to write this post tons of times but for some reason wordpress keeps erasing it.

Here goes again.

Pain- Day 2 of hypthoroid pills has come and gone and so far I am cautiously optimistic.  No major side effects and today I actually felt pretty energized.  Still have the pain but there are things to feel good about (I have learned to be grateful for a good day no matter what the cause of it is).

Something about this photo I really like

I was thinking today of the scripture in D and C 122:7 when God tells Joseph Smith “that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”  That I idea of giving us experience is so interesting.  Every trial I have gone through has helped me relate to a new person in a new way.  It has literally given me experience. (In my new ward I’ve met like 6 people who have chronic pain in some form or another and I can relate to them. My experience gives a connection). Something to think about…

Breakfast- One of the things I have really struggled with is eating a good breakfast.  Lately all food looks gross to me, all the time, but especially in the morning.  Things I normally like such as eggs produce the gag-reflex. Plus, it means I have to get a pan dirty and chop stuff and I’m tired (you get the idea).

I would say more than any other category, aside from maybe dessert, it is hard to make breakfast healthy.  All of my favorite things I can never have- french toast, toast, fluffy pancakes, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, most cereals (the hardest of the list), donuts, bear claws, etc.  Any ideas you have for a healthy, quick way to do breakfast that would be great.

I recently made this breakfast quinoa that was pretty good.  In the rice cooker 1 cup quinoa, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup water.  Then I put nuts and dried fruit on top.

breakfast quinoa. It would be really good with half and half or cream...

Books- I’m on the lookout for cheerful books. I’m talking fun, even silly, happy books. Not the type of inspirational overcome challenges type of books but just overtly happy books. For example, the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency is bright and funny (Alexander McCall Smith is kind of the king of the happy series), or Sophie Kinsella’s books I really love in this regard. Especially The Undomestic Goddess. Is it great literature? No, but it makes me laugh without fail and actually has a few things to think about on the side.

Food- Recently I came up with this list. What are your top 5?
Top 5 Foods I miss:
1. Mashed Potatoes (Potatoes in general are a rarity)
2. Non whole grain cereals.
3. white bread with honey and butter
4. most yummy breakfast foods- french toast, fluffy pancakes, cinnamon rolls, donuts, honeybuns…sigh
5. Pies and fresh hot cookies (and the cookie smell)

On the plus side of food I am finally getting a bountiful basket!  http://bountifulbaskets.org/.  It is this organization that combines farmers produce to get fresh produce at a discount price.  My friend Kate and I are splitting it and it should be delicious! This is what the baskets look like.  Yum and since we are splitting the cost it will only be $20 each including the organic and citrus package!

I am told this is what a typical bountiful basket looks like.

So I might take boxing lessons! I just found out about this club in Salt Lake just for women and boxing. Looks awesome. I’ve always wanted to learn. I took a self defense class in college and it was really fun! It will be fun to spice things up a bit. Lately in my training we’ve been using the punching bag and I love it! (Get out all that angst!). Did I finally think of something that suprises a few of you’all?

Living alone- So in my new ward I am the only never married single person. Isn’t that kind of amazing? Still, things have gone very well. One funny thing is that everyone is so surprised I live alone. I’m kind of used to it. Its really not that big of a deal to me. Yes, friends I live alone and love it! The only time I wish I didn’t live alone is when I’m sick and someone could go to the pharmacy for me (and listen to my moaning and groaning!).

New Calling- So it finally came. I got called into primary.  I was actually quite disappointed because I have loved teaching Sunday School.  I will miss the gospel interaction with adults….However, it will be a new challenge and I am sure I will learn a lot.  It is teaching the 9 year olds so if any of you have suggestions for engaging that age group please pass on.  I’ve heard bring treats from a lot which is hard because I don’t really eat treats but I will see what I can do.

Diabetes- One comment on the Paula Deen controversy.  I do think it is strange that she didn’t come out with her diagnosis for 3 years until she is a victoza spokesperson.  Seems shady to me.  However, I don’t really care about her.  The thing I noticed in the coverage is who the ‘experts’ kept talking about diabetes as this horrible awful thing, and it can be that.  Never do I seem to hear that it is a treatable condition.  I was a borderline diabetic at best but I got my A1C’s down in a year and am no longer a diabetic threat.  When I was first diagnosed I thought I’d have diabetes my whole life and that I was going to die.  That’s what I thought.  I had no idea it was treatable.  Maybe that’s just my ignorance showing but I wish more ‘experts’ would point that out when they discuss the issue.

Here’s a great flyer on the subject. http://physical-therapy.advanceweb.com/sharedresources/Downloads/2009/113009/pa_dec2000.pdf

So, there you go.  That’s my thoughts on a bunch of issues.  The most important thing is I am feeling hopeful in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.  Thanks so much to everyone for all your love and support.  I’m sure there is still a long road ahead but to feel hope is grand thing. 🙂

Wilde Wisdom

Today I have had a lot on my mind.  Trying to decide to have surgery, getting immersed in a new ward (which went great btw.  More on that to come)etc.  Where did I turn?- yes to the scriptures, prayer and friends but also to Mr.  Oscar Wilde and his play An Ideal Husband.  Who would have thought that a gay man from the late 19th century would have so much to to teach a Mormon girl in 2012.

The play is about a politician who has a past unbeknownst to all of his friends including the silly Lord Goring. Unfortunately this past is used as blackmail and all pandemonium breaks free.  Well, here are some quotes that made me laugh and some that made me think:

Lord Arthur Goring: Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.

Lord Caversham: I don’t know how you stand society. A lot of damned nobodies talking about nothing.
Lord Arthur Goring: I love talking about nothing, Father. It’s the only thing I know anything about.

Lord Caversham: Do you always understand everything you say?
Lord Arthur Goring: Yes… if I listen attentively.

Lord Arthur Goring: I’m sorry, Father, but the truth is, this is not my day for talking seriously.
Lord Caversham: Well, what do you mean, sir?
Lord Arthur Goring: I mean that I only talk seriously on the first Tuesday of every month. Between noon and three.

Mabel: Lord Goring, I gather you’re to be congratulated.
Lord Arthur Goring: Well, there’s nothing I like more than to be congratulated, though invariably I find the pleasure immeasurably increased when I know what for.
Lord Arthur Goring: There’s somebody I want to you talk to.
Lord Caversham: What about?
Lord Arthur Goring: About me, sir.
Lord Caversham: Not a subject on which much eloquence is possible.

Lord Arthur Goring: Rather than risk losing your love, he would do anything. Has he not been punished enough?
Gertrude: We’ve both been punished. I set him up too high.
Lord Arthur Goring: Do not set him down now too low.

(I like this one when thinking of couples I know after a break up.  Someone once too high, suddenly becomes too low.)

Lord Arthur Goring: Gertrude, it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.
Gertrude: You seem to know a great deal about it all of a sudden.
Lord Arthur Goring: Oh, I hope not. All I know, Gertrude, is that it takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it. And even more courage to see it in the one you love. Gertrude, you have more courage than any woman I have ever known. Do not be afraid now to use it.

I think that last one is true of yourself.  Don’t you have those moments where you see yourself in all its tainted glory? I do.  Have had those moments lately (something about turning 31. You must face your own mortality, your own value to the world).  I feel closer to God and Jesus Christ than ever before.  In fact, I haven’t felt their presence as palpably in my life since my mission.

It is certainly true that ‘it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.’ I’m proof of that!  We all are.  (Unless the perfect man really is out there and if so please show yourself to me at once!)

It reminds me of one of my favorite speeches The Solitude of Self by Elizabeth Cady Stanton:

“To guide our own craft, we must be captain, pilot, engineer; with chart and compass to stand at the wheel; to watch the winds and waves, and know when to take in the sail, and to read the signs in the firmament over all. It matters not whether the solitary voyager is man or woman; nature, having endowed them equally, leaves them to their own skill and judgment in the hour of danger, and, if not equal to the occasion, alike they perish.”

There are moments in life when you get to know yourself- Aren’t those tough? but we need them to see our true potential.  Working on that right now, the solitude of self…

Interview Part 2

I know you are all anxiously awaiting my next entry in this trilogy of interviews, so I won’t keep you any longer.  Here goes…

Marriage/Courtship-

What do you think makes a good marriage partner?  I think it is just that, a partnership.  There shouldn’t be a sense of domination in any way.  Nor should one spouse feel overly defined by roles or responsibilities but the entire marriage should be a joint responsibility.

Too many people lump the decision of having kids and getting married together.   The two should be separate choices.  You should ask the question do I want to be with this person if we don’t have any kids at all?  Then you can say as a separate question will he be a good father?  That said, I really can’t imagine anyone that I would want to marry that wouldn’t also have the qualities of a good father but I think the 2 questions should be separate.

To me a good test of a relationship is will the person sit through something they don’t care for just because you are in it.  I’m not saying they have to love it but is your participation enough to count them in.  This is true for both people in the relationship.  He better get used to sitting through a swim meet and cheering and I can go fishing or do whatever outdoorsy thing he loves.  The other person’s happiness should make you happy most of the time (we all have our moments).

Another test- does the person make things fun that would normally be a drag.  For instance, I’ve always said I want to go dancing with my boyfriend.  I hate dancing, so if I can have a good time doing that we have genuine chemistry.  Maybe that’s silly but there you go.

Finally, the best couples I know have an intellectual chemistry which is tough to define.  Do you find the person you are with interesting? Not that they have to be interested in the same things per say but do they approach problems with a similar vigor, are you fascinated by the world?  Do you listen to each other in a complimentary way?  I could never be with someone who thought I was dumb or vice versa.

Why do you think so many marriages fail?  Actually in my life not many do.  Amazingly enough at 30 not one of my friends that I have seen get married has gotten divorced.  I have met friends after they were divorced but never seen the entire process from someone in my peer group.  Even in the Mormon church it seems highly unlikely that there wouldn’t be 1 couple.  None of my cousins or siblings have gotten divorced. Perhaps that will happen in this decade but so far so good.

I think when marriages do fail it is usually because of selfishness.  People begin to feel that their needs are more important than their spouse, and a partnership becomes 2 separate entities coexisting.  Every situation is different and some times people just aren’t compatible but I think usually there is some kind of selfishness involved.

How can you comment on marriage as a single woman who has never had a relationship?  Well, it doesn’t take getting shot to know it is not a pleasant experience.  Some things you can extrapolate as an observer of life and human nature.   I’m sure I will learn a lot when it is my turn but a girl can’t spend 3 decades and not develop any of her own ideas on the topic, so there!

I also have relationships that while not romantic have taught me something about how they work.

Family-

What is your ideal family?  I have no ideal.  I have never been a dreamer in that regard.   I’ve only had one time in my life (BYU) where an expectation lived up to lead up.  Most of the time it is best to take things as they come and be grateful for what you’ve got.

Will you be happy unmarried, without kids?  Yes. It has never been a big dream of mine to get married or have kids.  There are lots of reasons why but all I’ve wanted since I was a toddler (literally) is to be on my own, making my own life choices.  If the situation comes I will be happy and grateful but I don’t think there is anything wrong with being happy if it doesn’t.

If you did have kids how would you want to raise them?  What is important to you in parenting?  I believe that kids should be in the world but not of the world.  So, yes expose them to movies, literature, friends, education, but do it in a way that maintains their innocence as long as possible and allows them to have true fun.  I don’t think kids should be manipulated to be mini-parents.  They should be guided and counseled but also feel free to express their own views and ideas.  I want my kids to know that I like being with them and that they matter to me and to God.

I do love the homeschooling movement and feel if done well it can give your children the best opportunity to flourish.  You can communicate with your child in a way that no teacher can (as wonderful as they may be).  The argument against homeschool is always a social one but I feel this is silly because public school can be just as much of a social nightmare.  Any education requires monitoring by a parent and an active voice that makes actual learning the priority, not the grade received.

I love that with homeschool a parent takes ownership of how and what is taught to her child. She takes ownership of her child’s peer group, social activities and moral teaching.  Not that they don’t have those things, as some might claim, but they are guided by a parent.  There may be some who want to offer their children up to the alter of community good but not me.   It may seem odd for a single girl to have an opinion on homeschool but I think you will find there isn’t much I don’t have an opinion on!

(I will add that clearly homeschool doesn’t work for every situation.  I’m just saying that it would be my first choice if given the chance).

What did your parents teach you about parenting/life?  My mother continually teaches me to nurture others.  She is a very selfless person.  In fact, she even gave up her freedom of movement when restricted to bedrest for most of her 6 pregnancies.   This was a very difficult time for our family but she taught me that sacrifices are the most golden family moments.  Its like on my mission- the moments where I had given my all, were the one’s where I became a true missionary.  The moments in a family where you give all is when you are a true family.

My Dad teaches me each day to find joy in the journey.  I get stressed out with the details of life.  I put loads of unneeded pressure on myself and always have.  He has always been someone who can see a way out of stress and is a true optimist. He also has a zest for life that I admire and hope to emulate.

Friendship-

What do you think is a true friend? In the quest to save the family sometimes I feel we could focus more on friendshiping in the church.  Especially in the single-world friends have been a huge support for me.  As wonderful as my family is when I think of the trials of my life I can also see a friend who was there to see me through.

I’ve also had so many laughs with friends over the years.  A true friend loves and deserves love back.  A true friend sacrifices time to be with you.  A true friend has chemistry that just works.  A true friend listens when you need to vent and gives you frank counsel when required.  A true friend you could see every day and yet go years and still have that connection.  A true friend should not be work in the traditional sense.  It should be a happy work. (Its actually hard to describe a true friend, but you know it when you see it!).

One of the things I have struggled with in the last few years is maintaining an active social life.  It used to be so easy for me to gather people together.  Now it seems so difficult.  Even to have lunch with a friend can take weeks of planning.  I wish I had one friend I could call on a Friday night with nothing to do and do something.  That almost never happens.  People are just too busy.  Even getting people to come to book club or other activity can be so hard.  I’ve noticed I have more success with dinner parties or when hosting something for my swim group.  Not sure why but I’m trying to figure it out.  I love to entertain and would love to plan cute get-togethers.  After the year I’ve had I kind of got out of the habit. The Christmas Swimfest gave me a ton of confidence and I already have a Valentines Swimfest in the works.

It just sometimes feels that while friends are so important to me, they are less important for people with families.  There are exceptions which I am very grateful for and I understand the predominance family should take.  That said, it can still be hard and lonely to feel that everyone else has moved on to the next step and you are still in college-mode.  As much as I loved college nobody wants to be at the same spot forever.

Work/Adult Life-

What is the hardest thing to do as an adult?  Finding balance. It always seems that one part of my life is taking over whether it health, work, family struggles, exercising whatever.  Achieving balance is the goal of a lifetime.

In what ways has adulthood disappointed you?  This is such a good question for me because I wanted to be an adult so badly.  I would say the greatest disappointment is the mundanity of life.   I don’t know what exactly I expected but so much of life is routines and doing the same thing over and over again.  Even in the most glamorous jobs there is a fair amount of tedium. Its just part of adult life.

I also wish I had taken more advantage of time off as a young college student to explore or go places.  I think because my parents traveled I assumed I would be able to do that later, and I have been very blessed in that regard, but its hard!  Its hard to find the time, get off work, get ready, catch up when you get home etc.  Its something I should have enjoyed more when I had the chance.

I was also in a rush to finish everything.  I set a goal and I want to get it done now. This is why weight loss has been so tough for me because it is not something that can be done right in a few months.  It takes years, a lifetime really.  I don’t like things that take a lifetime!  Again, I should enjoy the journey more.

If you could have your dream job what would it be?  I think it would be cool to work in a political campaign.  I also love public speaking and think I might take a stab at politics some day. I feel I would be a good advocate for causes I believe in but I am sure the whole process would drive me crazy (again the waiting and the tedium are my struggles!).  Also, I think it would be great to teach college, especially at BYU.  I have pondered a PHD before but there are so few positions in the liberal arts that it does not seem like a good choice.  Still, it would be my dream job.

Are you disappointed to not be doing your dream job?  Yes but I’ve learned that how I work is much more important to me than what I am actually doing.  Working from home and being my own boss is worth any sacrifice- even working in accounting all day!  I get chills and feel nauseated at the thought of going back to ‘cubicle Hell’ as I call it.

My only regret in working alone is I don’t have the chance to mentor people.  I benefited greatly from mentors in my youth and I hope to someday have that chance as an adult.  I’ve enjoyed teaching in my ward the last 2 years and feel I have been a mentor to some of the younger girls (and I feel I mentor my younger siblings) but I’d like to find someone that I can really guide and mentor.

What is your greatest flaw?  Definitely holding grudges.  I grew up seeing the world in terms of bullies and victims.  That’s how I survived.  I learned that people who abuse do it again and I kept them in that spot forever.  There are still people from my life that I struggle with anger and resentment towards.  I know it only hurts me but it is tough.  I get better each year at forgiving and hopefully by the end I will be something like my Grandpa Richards who loved unconditionally.  That is my goal to be like him because he was so much like Jesus.  My relationship with Christ helps polish me each day and that includes grudges, resentments, fears and everything else.

Do you wish you were skinny?  I’d be lying if I said No. As I mentioned in my last post judgement has always been tough for me to absorb and unfortunately being fat carries tons of judgement.  I still feel great resentment at anyone who places a label on me because of my weight.  It would be nice to not deal with these judgements. However, I suppose society would just find something else to judge and I’d have to deal with it.  I do appreciate the strength my journey has given me and being heavy forced me to rely on God for praise because in a few moments that was the only place I could get it.  And maybe I do a little bit of good correcting prejudice and speaking out.  If that was the case, it’d all be worth it.

Well, that’s a lot.  Probably more than any of you care to read but it does me a great deal of good to say it.   The next entry will be on my views on the political and social issues of the day.  Should be pretty fun!   (I have had an interest in politics since I was in grade school and voted in every election since I turned 18.  It is very important to me).