Monday, September 29, 2008

things i love:

the noises my baby is learning to make. "bababababa" is lots of fun when interesting faces accompany it. (along with raspberries and flying spit.)

my sweet hubby who loves me even though i'm crazy/unstable/a total nut. and i'm really not kidding here--i'm a crazy unstable nut. a basket case. :)

being used as a jungle gym for little buddy, who would rather climb on me than anything else.

driving the car with the windows rolled down, the sunroof open, music turned up loud, singing at the top of your lungs (offkey, mind you) while other drivers stare at you....that's the best. man, i miss being a teenager. (sometimes.) (rarely.) (okay, only when it comes to being a responsible driver.)

getting caught singing to my mp3 player while at work. (again offkey.) (in my defense, i was in the hole of a file room, by myself. i can't help it that a secretary snuck up on me!)

turning a post-it into a work of art while waiting on hold.

the powerball, which gives my husband fantasies of what to do with 15 million dollars. cross your fingers for us, they draw on wednesday...

the fact that i can officially fit in to EVERY PAIR of pre-pregger pants i freaking own! woo hoo! (they don't look the same, but i can zip them up!)

adorable halloween costumes. one of which was purchased this evening by my hubby for our little buddy's first halloween. i guarantee he will be the most precious infant out there this year.

Friday, September 26, 2008

the spewed guts that gave me pride

i am an artist. or, i was an artist. or, somewhere inside me is an artist.

actually, i really was an artist at one point in time. that was the label i gave myself. one of the many. (interesting how we all label ourselves...but that's another topic for another day.) i used to draw, paint, color, sketch, create.

now i spend a whole lot of time talking about it. what do i do about it? a whole lot of nothing.

one of my proudest moments in my life pre-bebe came circa junior year of high school. it was a fine spring day, about 1oo degrees outside in the arizona heat, and i bounced my teenie bopper behind on over to the high school auditorium. it was the long awaited spring art show. you know, the one every high school puts on, where every art student is required to enter at least one thing. well. art shows were never a requirement for me. they were a privilege. a blessing. the week of the year that i looked forward to. this was it, the culmination of my year long (some may say time wasting) endeavors.

the moment in which my soul was to be judged.

every art show i have entered (many a show, i can tell you) i have looked forward to with excitement and fear. fear of rejection. fear of having my piece hidden in the back with the kids that are barely passing the class and taking it only because they have to in order to graduate. fear that my raw emotion that i have somewhat spewed onto a piece of paper will be looked at in disgust. "what was she thinking?" the judge will say. "ew, she calls this art?!" another responds. "i can't believe she thinks she has talent. ha. this....thing...isn't worthy of our high school art show." and a big, red, mark goes next to my name. No Award.

i shudder just thinking about it.

the truth is, in the few dozen art shows i have entered, i am positive things along this line have been mentioned. many, many times i have not received awards. many, many times i felt that the pieces chosen as winners did not hold a candle to my own sweat-blood-and-tear-stained piece of paper. but it is the few times that i have won that 3rd place, that honorable mention, the extremely rare 2nd or even 1st place awards that kept me going. (that and the love of spewing my guts in a visual way.)

so this particular sweltering spring day, as i was saying, i arrived at the art show. early, as usual. i couldn't stand the anticipation of seeing my ribbon-less paintings hung on the wall. and this day seemed about the same. of the five or so pieces i entered, i won two thirds. (i was pretty thrilled about this.) disappointed, but not upset, i wandered around. my meticulously clean and oh-so-perfect art teacher whose name escapes me approached. i was thinking, 'great, here she comes to tell me all the reasons why my art is not worthy of the illustrious blue ribbon...' when she used the term "good news." good news. as in, i have some good news and some bad news? or good news, the judges deemed your art worthy of the back wall instead of the back corner?

good news. hmmm.

my curiosity was piqued. i had noticed one of my pieces was not in view. (it was on display in the school's lobby, i later found out.) my teacher smiled. she handed me....yes....she handed me....a ribbon. but not just any ribbon. not just a plain old blue ribbon (which would have made me sob from sheer joy) but one of those big ribbons. that are actually three ribbons and a funky little rosette thing on the top.

huh? i was thinking. she must have made a mistake...

"Purchase Award," i heard her say. purchase award.

i nearly died.

i had sold my very first piece. my very, very, very first piece of artwork to make me a profit. the school, in all of its public high school glory, handed me a check for a whopping hundred bucks to buy a weaving i had created with my own two hands! my brain child, my art, my creative genius...they wanted to buy it? they wanted to keep it? seriously? SERIOUSLY?


so now, here it is, years later. and a little piece of me hangs on (okay bolted to) the wall of the high school auditorium lobby. with a shiny little gold plate on it. that has my name and the year engraved into it. engraved with love and respect, with admiration for this insecure little high school girl who put all of herself into her art. and in that rather smallish little gold plate, that very few high school students will actually stop to look at, is that girl's joy. and her pride. and her shock at learning that all of the effort, and thought, and emotion she put into that piece was worth something. and not just to her, or her mom, or her dad. but worth something to someone else.

sigh. how i love being an artist.

so. now that i've done a whole lot of talking about it (again), perhaps tomorrow i will actually pick up a brush. a pen. a pencil. a sketchpad. smear some paint on my elbow (which i inevitably do but never know how). and i will start spewing my guts on a piece of paper all over again.

who knows? maybe will be worth something.

because i apparently need a co-blogger

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little buddy helping me post. until he found my cell phone.
the kid has piles of toys and he'd rather play with the computer, a cell phone, a remote, or scoot his cute little self across the carpet to daddy's playstation.

he's going to be an expensive kid, i can tell.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

the picture of my most life-changing experience

i don't know if anyone will really read this. i'm not sure if anyone is actually reading this blog--it is pretty new. but for the last week or so i haven't been able to get this out of my head.

i believe 100% that i am being prompted to write this. i don't know why. i don't know for who. maybe it's just for me. but i decided a very long time ago that if at all possible, i would use this experience to help other people. so, if this helps, then that's wonderful.

as a child (approximately from the age of 6 to the age of 8) i was sexually molested by a close family member. i will not go into detail as that is not my purpose in writing about this. all you need is the background, really: my parents did not become aware of the abuse until i was 13, after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. it was battled in court for almost 6 years, due to a loophole in state law.

i spent my teen years (and even into college) in and out of therapy,battling major issues with depression, my self-esteem, guilt and flashbacks from the abuse. i became aware that my experiences are not uncommon. i was extremely upset by this. i had been through hell, i could not stand to think that so many others would experience what i have. as i went through counseling and saw the HUGE difference it made in every aspect of my life, i decided that i would do everything i could to help others with my experiences. this is not something i talk about a lot. this is not something i will discuss with just anyone. i have found that i have been prompted to share my experiences with some very different people, some i know well and some i do not.

at 18, my senior year of high school, i began seeing a new counselor.she was with lds social services. i had never seen a counselor from ldsss before. my counselor told me of this new program, a class specifically for women who had been through some form of abuse. the class did not concentrate on the abuse itself, but on learning to heal through Christ. so that is how i found myself attending an eight week class with 9 other women. the name of the class is called SOLE:Survivors of Life Experiences.

walking into class the first week, i was extremely apprehensive. i was by far the youngest woman in the class. i have no idea what type of abuse those amazing women had been through--i believe some had dealt with spousal abuse, some parental neglect, others physical, emotional,and sexual abuse. but really, it didn't matter. we were there to support and love each other, to pray for each other, to help each other overcome the struggles we dealt with daily as a direct result of the horror we had each been through.

in the front page of the manual we received was this quote:

"The gospel of Jesus Christ is not insurance against pain. It is a source in the event of pain, and when that pain comes (and it will come, because we came here to earth to have pain among other things),when it comes, rejoice that you have the resource to deal with your pain."
-Carl Broderick

how true this is! life happens. terrible, horrible, unspeakable things happen as a result of the choices of others, and even as a result of living here on earth. but i know that Christ is there to help me heal from my pain, the same as he is for every other person.

over the next few weeks we discussed who we were as children of God.we talked about who He is, how we can find peace in faith and obedience to Him. we discussed forgiveness, repentance, humility, and the application of the atonement in our lives. through the scriptures,talks and stories from apostles and prophets, and each other, we learned how we can endure to the end--with the help of our Savior.

one night stood out to me the very most. each lesson was accompanied by some sort of interactive object lesson. this particular night our counselors set up an obstacle course. they blindfolded us, put us in a dark room, and one by one handed us the end of a rope. this rope was tied to desks, chairs, wound around stacks of books, portable blackboards. the rope went under desks, led us in circles, and at times was tied in so many knots it was difficult to tell where it counselor gave me a little push and i was on my own. completely.slowly and methodically i felt my way forward with my feet. at first i tried using one hand on the rope. this did not work well at all! after a few steps i ended up using both hands. one inch at a time i scooted forward, feeling my way in the darkness. i crawled under desks. i stepped over chairs. once i even had to get on my tummy and scoot under a row of desks--all to keep from losing grip on the rope. after what seemed like forever in darkness, i felt a hand on my shoulder. i was pulled into a tight embrace. my counselor held me for a moment,and in my ear she whispered: "well done, thou good and faithful servant. welcome home." (see Matthew 25:21)

i felt the tears roll down my face. this was it. i knew, the entire time, she was there, watching me. she was helping me and i didn't even know it. the whole time i was wandering in the dark, she had been right by my side, just waiting for me to get to the end, to welcome me home.

and so it is with my Savior. i cannot see him. sometimes i don't even know he is there. and yet, he is right by my side, helping me, cheering for me, crying with me. he loves me. he knows the pain i have gone through, the pain i continue to go through. the nightmares. the flashbacks. the neuroses, the struggles, the temptations, the hurt and anger i have been through. he knows that i still struggle, on an almost daily basis. and he is there weeping for me, and bolstering me up. he believes in me.

"Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days" (D&C 24:8). i hope this has helped whomever it is meant for. i am more than willing to talk to anyone who needs someone to listen. someone who has been through something similar--or even not. i will be more than happy to give suggestions of scriptures, talks, quotes, and poems that have helped me get through the worst.

but most importantly: do not forget that you are loved. you are not alone. you can get through this, whatever it may be. be strong. rely on the Lord, he is there for you.

i look forward to the day that i will hear in my ear,
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

join the discussion

go see today's post at feminist mormon housewives. leave your comments.

how interesting!

snip, snip (snip snip)

i have jumped into a new chapter of my life. by changing something superficial. i cut my hair.

in the twenty something years i have been alive, the shortest i have cut my hair, since it grew past my shoulders as a toddler, was to barely above the shoulder line. my hair was always really long, and outrageously thick.

well this weekend that all changed. i cut it. no, i chopped it. i chopped it to somewhere between the bottom of my ears and my chin. it is short. it is about 16 inches (give or take an inch or two) shorter than it was when i woke up saturday morning.

my head feels strangely light. i'm brushing the back of my neck. people don't recognize me. my sister stared at me, repeated "it's so weird. just so weird. i can't believe how weird it is. weird, your hair is so short!" (she's 15 so we'll excuse her lack of a vocabulary.) it takes me about 1/10 the amount of time and shampoo to wash it. and, miracle of all miracles, about 10 minutes to blow dry, instead of the 45 minutes it used to take. (i wasn't kidding when i said it was outrageously thick! so thick that while cutting it it had to be thinned out so i didn't look like a mushroom.)

and i am so proud of myself. i didn't cry. i thought about it, especially as i was holding the chunk of hair in front of me, but i didn't. and strangely, i look older and more mature. and (sigh of relief) i don't think my face looks any more round, which is what i was mostly worried about.

so i was thinking. i look different. i feel different. but as a person, i am not any different. and yet this superficial change is huge for me, since i've had the same hairstyle for years and years. even though i look more mature, i'm not really. too bad changing yourself physically can't change yourself in other ways, right? like this makeup will make you rich. or that pair of pants will make you a successful business woman. or wearing those socks will sell a painting. hmmm. isn't that what advertising says, anyway?

well. while i'm waiting for someone to figure out a way for my socks to make me a successful artist, i'll pretend i'm as mature as my haircut. and run my fingers through it about twenty more times in the next hour to make sure it really is as short as i think.

yep, it's still that short!

Monday, September 22, 2008

nie nie recovery fund

some of you may have heard about the small private plane crash that took place on august 16. the victims were christian and stephanie nielsen. stephanie (nie nie) is a well-known member of the blogging community. they are recovering from critical burns. family and friends of nie nie are raising money to help with their recovery. (you can donate here.) one of these fundraisers is a book, a collection of amusing blogs, called "sometimes life is funny." they are taking submissions until september 30. for submission rules, look here. they are also looking for cover art. for updates on nie nie's recovery, check out her sister's blog, c jane. if you can, please support the nielsen family. donate to their recovery fund. participate in the many auctions going on in the blogging community. purchase a book. you won't regret it!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

go team!

i took my little buddy, who just turned 7 months old, to his first football game yesterday. i went with my dad and my siblings. my brother and sister sat in the student section, because one of my other sisters attends the school. my dad and i, however, sat with the "old folks," as my little brother puts it. although most of them weren't really that 'old,' the majority of them weren't in their late teens to early twenties. to my 16-year-old baby brother, anyone over the age of 21 is old. (thanks, dude.)

sitting amidst the "old folks" was probably more entertaining than being smashed into the yelling, screaming, three-people-to-one-seat student section. and i can prove it.
exhibit a: one (rather amusing) fan for opposing team somehow stuck in a sea of fans for the home team.

fan: "just you watch, we're a second-half team!"
(here is where i am thinking but not saying: sure hope this game has three halves then, because i seriously doubt they'll be catching up!)
little girl (about five years old) turns around and says: "insert-team-name-here sucks!"
fan (30-something, 6'5", 300 lbs): "you're only saying that because your parents are here! i'll fight the whole stadium if i have to!"
home fan: "you better turn in your temple recommend for cheering for insert-team-name-here."
etc. etc.
exhibit b: a fight between fans, both cheering for home team. a call is made in favor of opposing team. fans are angry. something having to do with a new rule. fan #1 explains the rule to angry fan #2. argument ensues.

fan 1 (50-something man of the large variety): "you dumbass."
fan 2 (65-ish man of the larger variety) turns around quickly, half stands and backhands fan 1.
(that's right, i said BACKHANDS. as in, the BACK of his HAND connects with fan 1's face!)
fan 2's wife: "it is your fault you got hit! it is your fault! you started it!"
fan 1 lunges at fan 2. nearly four large men have to physically pull the two off of each other. little girl cowering as she is nearly knocked over. wife of fan 2 still yelling at fan 1. people sitting near the brawling fans: "juveniles" "knock it off" "holy cow, children" "take it outside" "let the cops handle it" and so forth. witness yells to event staff there is a fight.

event staff shows up. here is what i really found humorous (not the fact that two grown men cheering for the same team are arguing like hotheaded 16-year-olds). the event staff? oh yes. she is about 18, 5-foot-nothing and maybe 100 lbs soaking wet. she comes up, alone. yells at the two guys to leave their seats. what does she think she's going to do? honestly? the two men are still trying to get at each other's throats! lucky for her they left, still yelling, but no longer physically assaulting each other.

fan for opposing team pipes up: "why the heck are you guys fighting each other? i'm the one cheering for insert-team-name-here!) you should be beating on me!"
little girl turns around again: "insert-team-name-here sucks!"

laughter ensues. ten minutes following the fight people are still laughing and murmuring about it.
seriously, though! talk about the ultimate insult. the guy didn't even have enough respect for his opponent to at least use a fist. i witnessed this whole thing with a perfect view--three rows behind. some people pay to get that stuff on pay per view. i got a comedy show, a fight, and a football game, plus someone to entertain my baby (thanks to the girls sitting behind me) all for the bargain price of a football ticket my dad paid for. man, i love college sports.

so from now on? count me in with the old folks. my brother sure was jealous he missed it.

joining the land of the public blogs

i've been blogging privately for a few months now, and i love it. but in the discovery of the blogging community, i have decided it is possible to blog and still maintain my anonymity--if certain precautions are taken. so here goes, i'm giving it a shot! i hope that this blog will enable me to make friends with so many of the women i have come to admire in the past few weeks, and to be able to use my life experiences to help and entertain others.

in the process of deciding to create this blog, i thought a lot about what i should call it, and what the content of it should be. then a quote i read awhile ago came to mind:

A Rothko painting "is not a picture of an experience, it is an experience." (Anonymous Rothko Admirer).

i am a nut for all things art and art history. and in thinking about what this person said, it really resonated with me. not only because i COMPLETELY agree (i absolutely adore mark rothko), but also because i can use this blog as a picture of my experience.

my life has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. and as a relatively newly married woman and a young mother, i may not have the same perspective as many. but please feel free to leave your comments (i love comments!) however, if you know me personally, know who i am or who my family members are, please, please please, do not use our names or give any specifics (such as where we live) that could jeopardize our anonymity.

thank you, and happy reading!