Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Some of you are members as well and could say more better than I. Some of you are not, and it is to you I address this. I share this with love and with a desire to let you know what I believe. I have never been very vocal about anything, but especially about my religious views. Even in church I'm the one in the back row whispering answers to myself without wanting to draw attention and say them out loud. I am working to do my religion better justice. The time is here that we must choose what we believe in, what we will live by. This is one step. Please keep in mind I am only qualified to speak for my own thoughts and not for the entirety of my Church. There are other resources for this purpose; www.lds.org or www.mormon.org being a possible first step among them.

I was born into a religious family, and have never been an atheist. I, therefore, don't feel qualified to approach this with an understanding of atheism. For that I refer you to C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity." I am, however, a scientist and an academic. I do not understand the conflict that reconciling religion with academic knowledge presents to most members of the human race, unless its simply that we don't want to admit when we're wrong or that we don't understand. To me nothing makes more sense than God. Nothing is more logical. This one thought, that there is a God, add structure, purpose, meaning and possibility to everything else. What is the meaning of life? Love. The love of God, the love of Christ, the love we have for each other. What is the purpose of life? To learn. To become like God, and through Jesus Christ, to return to Him. All quests for knowledge and truth with lead you to this resounding revelation. I will venture to say that this is what all Christians believe. For me, my religion completes the puzzle. It puts all the pieces of how and why together, and offers an opportunity to know all things. Not just believe, but to know. This doesn't mean that I know everything now. You have read enough of my meanderings to know that about me. But it puts me on the path to learn. Just as in a paint-by-number, if I follow the directions there are no limits as to what is offered me. I can see the big picture through obedience. Everything has a pattern, a structure. To learn an advanced truth you must first learn the foundation that truth is built upon. You need faith that what you are learning, whether it be atomic theory or how to draw, is true. You start with desire and faith, but faith leads to truth.

Some religions wonder why we rely on 4 sets of scripture. Why we trust in modern prophets, apostles and revelation. Why on more than the Bible. Why not? If the Bible is real and true, doesn't that mean that other sources of scripture are real and true too, as long as they originate from God? Would God let you, if you asked him, believe something about him that is not true? No. Never. That would defeat His purpose for us. How can we learn to be like him if we don't know him? If we don't know whats truth and whats not? Before I get lost in my own words let me simplify and be frank.

I believe that we are children of God. I believe that families can be forever. But in order for this precept to be true it must be sealed through proper ordinances by those who have authority from God. Those who have authority are those who hold the Priesthood. The priesthood cannot be used wickedly, the authority of it is taken away if there is wicked intent. Baptism is the first ordinance needed for eternal life. We see Temples as the house of God. There we can perform these ordinances not only for ourselves, but for anyone who has ever lived, if they choose to accept it. I believe that we can return to the presence of God. In order to return, I believe that we must have been with God before coming to Earth. We were with Him, but not like Him. Not perfect. We were spirits, spirit children of God, our Heavenly Father. This life is a period to obtain bodies and to show whether we will follow Him or not. Only by proving ourselves obedient can we accomplish what is required for us to become like Him. Jesus Christ is the living example, and Savior that makes the plan possible. The "way and the light." He is our advocate and teacher. He is the only way justice and mercy can both take place. The only way we, as sinners, can aspire to perfection and return to God. I believe in the Atonement. I believe in the resurrection, that when we die and our spirits leave our bodies they will be united again forever, becoming incorruptible. I believe in the preexistence, judgment and degrees of glory. I believe in eternity. I believe the Book of Mormon, the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price are books of scripture and truth from which we can learn the gospel. We have been given all we need to succeed, but we must be active. Faith is not idle. Knowledge without action is wasted; wisdom is knowledge applied. We must learn all we can. We must teach our children with love, as we are taught. We must live what we believe. We must strive to be better. We must try. The living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, is the mouth piece for Christ. Through the prophet, Christ guides His church. There are twelve apostles, just as in days of old. There are revelations today just as in days of old. If God is the same yesterday, today and forever than this must be the same too. If one is true, so is the other. Their purpose, under the direction of Christ and the prophet, is to guide us. To tell us what we need to do. This is Christ's church. That's why his name is in the title. This church is true and good. We are not perfect. Christ said he came to save sinners, and that is what we are. But we have the potential to become like Him, perfected. That is what I believe, and that is what I'm trying to do.

I don't know if any of this made sense, I hope it did. There is a lot I didn't say, but I feel this is sufficient for now. Any more from me right now may be counterproductive. There is always a way to know if what I say is true. Pray and ask. I will close this as we close as testimonies, in the holy name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Quick family update

Along side my personal ramblings, I know you want to know the new developments of our lives. Ethan is growing really well. He rolls all over the place, and he can get his knees underneath him now. We have been told by those with more experience than us, this means that he'll be crawling soon and as soon as he does there's no stopping him. I have a hard time keeping him on his back long enough to change his diaper. He's starting to wake up around 4 or so in the morning instead of sleeping through, like we've been spoiled with in the past. I hope its because he's teething. Otherwise, he's becoming reconciled to his high chair, he can't wait to eat what we eat, he's as happy as ever, and he spends a good amount of everyday discovering new things and trying to mimic faces and sounds I make.

Derek could tell you about himself better than I, but I will endeavor to share anyway. School is in its last few weeks of the semester, which means lots of stress and work. At this point there's "nothing to it but to do it." He'll be traveling down to Provo at the end of this week to help film some Latter-day Profile episodes. He's also directing a 'mini play' as I call it, and is acting in another for a directing class. This means nights later than usual due to rehearsals. He could, possibly, graduate in April. The only thing stopping him is a Theater practicum he may need to take. We'll have to wait and see on that one.

As for me, I think you've heard plenty and are pretty up to date. If you have any questions let me know :) We still don't know what awaits us in the future, but who does? We just have to keep facing the right direction, step into the light and wait for our eyes to adjust.

Welcome to your life: your biggest adventure.

Before I begin, I must ask my mother's forgiveness. I am about to discuss her, my understanding of her at least, in a very personal way on which, potentially, is a very public forum. Those of you who know her personally will find warm and loving understanding in what I say. For those of you who have not had that privilege, but know me personally, know how much I admire and respect my parents, and therefore, will endeavor to share my feelings. Those who can only rely on the shadow of emotion emitted through words in cyberspace, you must trust what I say. Mom, my explanation for using your example is based upon my own thoughts and feelings, but also because a wise man, guided by truth, once counseled me to look to your example and my hardships would be easier. Now I follow that counsel.

My mom has always adored children. Perhaps this was something she was born with. Some women know instinctively how glorious and important children are. Or, perhaps, she learned this precept through years of enduring patience and repeated pain. She loves her children beyond words, and she lets us know it. We, as her children, may not have the same relationship with her, but we have always had the same love. Even with four children of her own (we were not tame children), I remember mom watching, or volunteering to watch, every available child in a 10 mile radius. I always thought, if possible, she would take care of children until the day she died. I considered this a personal trait, but not one necessarily common among all women. At school there were plenty of girls who abhorred the thought of having children. This was also a time when the argument for overpopulation and lack of resources became seemingly more urgent (I feel I must address my views on this a little later). Contrary to my family, and religious, influences I never pictured myself as settling down and having children. Not out of disrespect, or dislike, for family. There was simply too much I wanted to do!

I dreamed of having a career. Well, a lot of careers if truth be told. None of which provided time for a family. Perhaps it was the influence of reading and movies, but all of my careers carried with them images of being called to adventures around the world at a moment's notice. How would this work with children? With a husband? Indiana Jones wouldn't do it. Maybe a husband (if he could keep up), but little children? Out of the question. I liked the thought of having a small, but chic, apartment in my old age. The walls carrying mementos of my adventurous life. A small, cozy fire warming my fat gray cat, named Moses, while I read peacefully by its flickering light.

As I matured a bit, and met Derek, I came to realize that image wasn't as inviting as I once thought. It was lonely. I didn't want to become that weird Aunt passed around my siblings' families as the children whispered words like "eccentric," "special" or "odd" merely so I could fantasize about gilded adventures. I didn't want the hopes I had for my exciting future to become the only thing I had to hold on to. So, I got married. Yay! A partner! My soul-mate! The love of my life. Naturally, in the course of things, children would come along, but this didn't dampen my ambition for greater things. I wasn't going to become another nameless housewife that lived vicariously through her offspring. Unfortunately, in my inexperienced mind, this was inevitable. If I had children, I had to give up everything else I wanted. This thought presents itself most strongly during times of frustration; times when I don't feel like I can get anything 'important' done. They must be important if I'm so bent on doing them right? Or when I don't necessarily get to do what I want. Even now, as I look at my adorable baby boy smiling at me and playing a few feet away I sometimes catch myself thinking, 'When he gets older then I can really figure things out.' Or, ' When he grows up then I can do what I want to do. I can finally write my book.' Or, the worst illusion, ' When he starts school I can start my life again.'

While brushing my teeth last night, as I often do, I had an epiphany. Maybe the monotonous action of your arm gliding back and forth leaves your mind vacant and exposed to your own reflection; you inevitably start to reflect. During this time of thought, a still, small voice taught me what my Mom has known for so many years. What her example has presented so often. This is my life! This is what I wanted! What am I waiting for? Its already started! I wanted a family. Here it is. I wanted children. Here he is. I wanted adventure and excitement. I wanted to experience something that would last my lifetime and beyond. What can do this better than family? It suddenly hit me that I'm missing it! Derek told me the other day that I needed to enjoy Ethan, especially when he's frustrating. I'm not going to tell him that he was right. At the time, I wanted to see him try it. But these times are what I will have to keep me warm later. The relationships that I'm building with my husband and my son are what will last through the ages. Love is the greatest and most incorruptible monument. This echos from Gandhi and Mother Teresa like it does from so many others. I finally realize that I am building my monument, everyday. I want mine to be something to be proud of, like my mom's.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Makeup Is Not Just For Women

Okay, if you are a bit worried about the title, no fear, I'm not looking into Drag as a career choice or anything, although it is probably more readily available then most jobs at this point. No, that is not what I mean. In order to have Theatre as a college degree minor, you are required to take a Stage Makeup class. I was not excited about this at all. I usually don't touch the stuff and now I was not only required to touch it, but to put it all over my face. Wonderful. But I have since had a lot of fun with it... well, for the most part. The clown day was a bit unnerving (It may look like I'm having fun, but I'm not; I'm quite terrified). Clowns freak me out a bit, especially ever since I saw Poltergeist:


For Injuries day, we had to tell a story to go along with our pain. My went something like this:
Our cat, Polly, was in a bad mood and had broken some of our valuables. I was on the rampage and chased her under the couch. In attempting to pull her out from under the couch, she scratched my forehead and caused my to jerk away in pain, only to end up jerking my face into the couch leg, breaking my nose. (No, that has never really happened):



Other days included me making myself appear middle age and old age:




So, I'll admit that makeup isn't as horrifying for guys as I used to think it was, I still refuse to wear it outside of Halloween, but it has been a fun ride. Jo seems to get a good kick out of this whole thing because she keeps threatening to make me do her makeup all the time now. Note to all you women who think it would be fun to ask me to do your makeup, I'll say "yes", but you'll regret it. And to all you guys who are thinking it would be fun to ask me to do your makeup, don't even come near me.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Natural Harassment

As part of my weight-loss quest I'm trying to jog (running is still a bit too ambitious for me at the moment) for at least 45 minutes a day. With Derek's schedule being the way it is, I had to finally bite the bullet and accept that mornings were the only possible opportunity for such exertion. This morning I had to fight my instinct (or personal preference) from automatically siding with the cons of this plan, namely the cold, the effort but mostly my dread of waking up early in the morning, and look at the pros. I get my exercise and potentially more energy, I lose weight, I get outside and all without the worry of taking the baby with me! So, up I got and out I went. Why did I have to start this on a morning that had almost a foot of snow on the ground?

Thankfully, My jog wasn't as hard as I was imagining. I was able to reach a good pace and hold it for longer than expected. I was feeling awesome. I was awesome! After about half-an-hour running streets nearby I decided to turn my shuffling travels toward the nature park. I figured this could be my reward for my awesomeness during my cold morning trudge. An added bonus was that I could walk. Why not? After all, the streets were somewhat plowed while the nature park was not. Walking through snow should keep my heart-rate up enough to count right? This way I was more prepared to enjoy nature, instead of mindlessly shuffling past thinking about my burning calves and cold nose.

Ahhhhhh...nature. Is there anything more beautiful? The snow brightened the landscape and muffled the noxious noise of the nearby commuters with effortless ease. Looking at the tracks on the ground I could tell that someone had walked their dog earlier that morning (earlier? sick), but for the time-being I was the only person there. Solitude in nature can be mesmerizing, and I enjoyed every second. As my walk continued, I could see more tracks. Another dog, a cat, a deer and even duck tracks. I remember thinking, 'ducks, how cute! I wonder if I'll see one.' Have you ever noticed how a duck's webbed foot can look like a blivet or, I should say, a devil's pitchfork?

Those of you who have been to the nature park know that at the back there's a small inlet that dead ends before it reaches around a small, but fat, peninsula of land. Here the water freezes over last, if at all. Here is where ducks collect. As I approached this spot I could see two of them resting peacefully just off the path. 'Please don't go away,' I thought, 'I won't hurt you.' To my delight, they didn't seem afraid at all. My good friend Vicki Matheson , as a feeder of ducks, will not be surprised at what happened next. As I followed the curve of the path it skirted around this inlet. 30 or 40 ducks sat paddling in the water, waiting for me. As soon as they realized I was there the call went out. Squawks and quacks of every octave resonated toward me in a great echoing demand for food. Food? I don't have any food. Big mistake. The longer I walked without forfeiting the goods the louder they became. I think if I would have lingered they would have demanded their bread with more vigor, and maybe more force. One thing was made inescapably clear, they were upset...at me. Needless to say, my lesson is learned. Never go jogging without some bread in your pocket. It could save your life.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to manage?

I know I've written a post before about learning how to be mom. Every word of that post is as true today as ever, but I'm going to expand upon it a little. This is what's been on my mind lately:

There are emotional phases you experience as you try and adjust to having a child in your life. Most of the time, especially as a mother, you want to devote everything you have to this precious life you are so responsible for. You give them all your attention, all your energy, and all your emotion. This has gotten me into a lot of trouble. The catch is, when you have a baby you become a mother, but you don't stop being a wife, a daughter or sister, a friend, a member of your community, or a woman (although I do wish I could have a break from everything that goes with being a hormonal female sometimes). Yes, I have to take care of Ethan, along with appointments, chores and errands, the housework, visit teaching, and meals most of the time. But when Ethan goes to bed I'm still Derek's wife. And when Derek's gone or occupied, I'm still me.

Lately, Derek's been a lot busier than usual, and I don't like it. We've been really lucky, in the past, that Derek had been able to spend so much time at home. Now, with the end of the semester approaching, its crunch time. School is more demanding, work is more demanding, and homework is as annoying as ever. Then there's always the film club. I'm not adjusting well to having less attention, which may explain some of my moodiness. I understand that he has demands on his time, I support him and I want to help him in any way I can, but I also want him here. I want his attention for Ethan but I want it for me too. This tug-of-war leads to bi-polar emotions if I let my guard down, which is more often than I like to admit.

I'm told that I need to get out of the house. Unfortunately, its getting colder and me leaving means Ethan's coming with me. My friends are mostly married students, or married and working, or single and a student and working, so visiting is extremely limited. So, Where can we go without spending money? There's only so many times you can stroll around Walmart.

OK, so I need a hobby. Great idea. I would love to learn to play the cello (I've been trying off and on now for a while), write, learn how to paint, practice drawing and sketching, learn a new language, the list goes on. When can I try my hand at any of this? When all of my responsibilities are done for the day I just want to sit and do nothing. That's where movies come in. Why movies? Because there's no effort involved. Derek and I are trying a new schedule that will allow him and me to get more things done during the day (especially the morning), but for me that includes working out, taking a shower, and personal study time. I somehow need to fit a cardio workout in during the day too. While Derek wants to help around the house, and with Ethan, as much as possible he's mainly claimed by other objectives. This means that my free time is when Ethan goes to bed around 8pm, if I've gotten everything else done.

So why make things complicated and try to fit it all in? I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but for my sanity! Also, because it took me a really long time, and a lot of effort, to discover myself. I don't want to lose my identity. When I do have time away from everything else, I still have to deal with me. When my children have grown and left the house, I still have to deal with me. I don't know what would happen if, at those times, I'm faced with nothing, with a blank. I also have a huge desire to learn as much as possible. I know its important to balance the different parts of me, but I'm having trouble figuring out how. How do you fit it all in? On my scale of importance I come last, but I still need to be on the list. You never find out how many selfish tendencies you have until you become a parent, but where is the line between selfishness and necessity?

I don't want to give the impression that I'm unhappy. I love my life. I love my husband, my son, my family and my friends. I just needed to let some of this out. I'm always open to suggestions from those more wise and experienced than me. That would be everyone, so bring it on!

Laugh Attacks

Ethan's always had a wonderful laugh. Its contagious! The only problem was that Derek and I were the only ones that ever got to hear it. Whenever anyone else came over he stopped being vocal, and he goes mute when we get the camera out. Finally we've been able to catch some of his elusive laughs on video.

Not much upsets Ethan. He's pretty much fearless. Now its a good thing, but I'm probably going to have ulcers when he becomes an active little boy tearing around the neighborhood. One night Derek went into the back and then popped out at Ethan suddenly. Whenever he's startled his entire body does a convulsion. After this shock passed I was convinced we had gone too far and screaming sobs were on their way. Instead, Ethan started busting up laughing. He loved it! He even loved it enough to let us get it on video. Sorry it's a bit dark:

video

Old Man Ethan!

Now the moment you've all been waiting for! More pictures of Ethan! And mom, his hat fits now, but sadly he's already starting to grow out of it.


Ethan's last check-up revealed his weight to be 16lbs 10oz, and he was 25 1/2 " long at six months old. He's finally catching up! Now he's in the 75% for his age range. And he's becoming more handsome everyday! He's hitting a lot of milestones as well.


He can almost sit up by himself (we're working on that) and he's really good at holding his head up. He can scoot while on his tummy; unfortunately its backwards, but knowing his parents I have a feeling he's going to do a lot of things the hard way. He's starting to put his knees under him now so he'll probably be crawling soon. Polly better watch it because he loves soft things and has become very interested in her. Imagine a life-size soft toy that moves on its own! Yea baby! She treats him with the same disdain she shows us, but thankfully no more, so we'll have to see how their relationship progresses.

We started him on solid foods (if you can call baby food that) last week and he's discovering food can taste differently than formula and grape flavored Tylenol (although he really likes the Tylenol). I think he likes applesauce. I'll have to see if that face he makes while eating it gets worse with other foods to be sure. This probably means we'll have pictures of him smeared in colorful, gooey, wonderful messes soon. Stay Tuned!


Friday, October 9, 2009

Our Growing Boy

I'm not going to be long-winded today. Instead, here are some recent pictures of Ethan. He's getting so big. Maybe Derek or I will elaborate more in the future. Enjoy!







Monday, September 7, 2009

No One Can Say We Didn't "Thai"

There are very few things in the food realm that I have not been able to swallow. One of them was burnt pancakes. The other was something that looked edible, yet tasted like an ashtray. Let us go back a year or so...
I was in a World Religion class and my professor enlightened the class concerning a Thai food restaurant here in town that he claimed had exquisite food. Jo and I decided to give this place a try and it immediately became one of our favorite restaurants in Rexburg, which given the choice between that and a couple fast food restaurants, isn't hard to do. But it is also better than a lot of food restaurants that I've tried and that IS hard to do. Well, we frequented this Thai place many times and decided one day that, if we could, we would like to attempt to make our favorite Thai dish (a Thai fried rice combo with veggies, chicken, beef and pork) at home. We considered this to be simple enough since most everything else that we have copied at home has been successful and to our liking. So we bought a wok (a kitchen item that neither of us has ever touched before) and got a recipe off the internet.
To make a long story short, we burnt the wok in the preparation process and had to resort to using a skillet, improvised a little too much with our portion measurements, currently have fans in every window to remove the smoke and our garbage can contains a large lump of something that resembles regurgitated spam and tastes like cigarettes. Needless to say, we were unsuccessful. But we have resolved to try again... in the distant future... when we can afford a new wok and some cooking lessons.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Laughing Zombie

I'm starting to realize how spoiled Derek and I were when we first brought Ethan home. He slept almost through the whole night, only getting up once or twice at most! I was secretly smug, smiling my haughty smile on the inside while other mothers would explain away their tired eyes. How naive! As he got a little older, Ethan stopped taking naps during the day. I wasn't too worried as long as he slept at night. Well, goodbye gravy train. A couple of weeks ago his sleeping habits went haywire. I'm not sure what happened. He was on his own schedule (we were waiting to change it after the North Carolina trip) but then, there wasn't a schedule at all! There was no sleeping! Speaking as someone who adores sleep, I was stumped. Ethan didn't wanted to sleep, and when we did get him snoozing it was usually because I was holding him. It never lasted more than an hour, or three, no matter what time of day it was. No one was sleeping.

During this time I was amazed at how Ethan acted. He was the same! He would smile, laugh, be patient with our sluggish response to his hunger pains, and play as much as ever. I would even play with him more to try and help sleep come more quickly. The only differences were that sometimes, usually in the middle of a laugh, his face would drop and he would let out the most pathetic sob, or would stare with a blank expression no matter what was happening around him. The stare was a little weird, but those sobs got me every time. There are no defenses for something like that. Strangely, he would alternate laughing and sobbing. It was horrible and funny at the same time.

We decided on a sleeping schedule and we've started a bedtime routine for Ethan. At the very beginning he slept less, if that was possible. He's started throwing little tantrums when he's exhausted, and physically fights with all his might to stay awake; literally fights! This is the first time he's really screamed his head off and it happened to be in my ear. Derek and I take turns putting him to sleep and getting up with him in the morning. He's slowly started to adjust and tonight it only took him 10 minutes before he was sleeping, IN HIS CRIB!!!!! Not in the bed with us, not on the couch with us, not even in his cradle in our room, but in his room! In his crib! Hallelujah! Last night he even slept for more than four hours before waking up to eat, and then he went back to sleep! Things are starting to settle down and feel as they should. Now, if I can conquer this spider paranoia all will be right with the world.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A slightly bigger Ethan

Ethan is now a little over three months! My goodness. It seems so long, yet so short of a time! It's definitely hard to remember what it was like before he came, but we're okay with that. We went for a checkup yesterday and he weighs a little over 12 pounds! Derek took that as confirmation of his chunkiness, but the fact that he has outgrown his swaddler is good and bad. I'm just wondering how long it will take for him to sleep through the night without it. I didn't get to see how long Ethan was, but since he looks somewhat normal I'm assuming he's proportional.

My goodness is he cute! He loves to sit up, even though he can't do it by himself yet. He likes to slap his fists to his belly. I'm not sure where that came from but its kind of like a king of the apartment thing because he usually squeals a happy call when he does it. You can tell that he's trying to make sense of the world around him by the earnest faces he makes. And he's definitely more like his daddy than me; not just in looks but in his sweet disposition as well. It was about an hour past feeding time when he first started to get hungry while we were waiting for the doctor, but he barely fussed. He played with me for a while instead. His favorite thing to do, besides laughing and smiling, is to jump up and down. When he sees us coming to pick him up he gets so excited that he moves his limbs around as fast as he can. Okay, I'm done now. My goodness I'm long winded, (or would it be keyboard happy?). Here are some pictures to gratify having to get through the text block.











Monday, August 17, 2009

Lost in Translation

My wife has been begging me to write something on here and I have finally decided to do it. I just never knew what to say. I have enough trouble writing in my own journal. What can I say that will be worthwhile for anyone besides myself to read? So that's why I am just now attempting to write a blog post. Maybe if I do a bad enough job at this, Jo won't ask me to do another post. Actually, she'll probably make me post more often as a punishment. Can't win 'em all.

First off, I read an article not too long ago about companies hiring people to teach their group how to speak and understand "text language"(referring to the form of writing used in sending a text message via cellphone). I don't understand why companies want to use a juvenile form of writing in such a professional setting. That's like saying to everyone, "Yes, we are happy to promote and encourage laziness." I understand that text language is another form of shorthand that makes note writing easier, but when people have forgotten how to spell things out and begin using this text language in emails and even resumes, I worry about the future. Even here at college, I am astonished at the number of people who cannot spell the simplest of words or punctuate the easiest of sentences. I held a lead position at one of my jobs and saw a number of resumes that used text language instead of writing out the actual words. They were the first resumes to be thrown away. I also never waste my time on reading comments posted about something if they use text language because, to me, if they can't take the time to spell out their message, it's not worth reading.

I especially can't stand it when people begin speaking in text language instead of using normal speech. I can understand when you write "LOL" in a note since it is hard to describe laughter, but it drives me nuts when people actually say "LOL" instead of actually laughing. And I don't understand why people can't say a few extra syllables these days. Ex: "Prego" - apparently this is "pregnant", but I can't help but think of spaghetti sauce when people say this; "Addi" - this is supposed to stand for "address", I guess it's hard to say those double s' at the end; "Rents" - this is apparently the new form of "parents". These things are ridiculous and I think it goes way beyond slang. I feel like I'm surrounded by an alien language in my own country, but maybe I'm just old fashioned. I don't know. It just makes me fear for our future and wonder to what point our laziness will progress and what things will be acceptable in a professional setting that really shouldn't be.

Whoa, sorry about that. I didn't mean to use this blog as a venting session. Guess you'll never want to hear from me again, huh? I just hope I'm not alone in thinking this.

As a positive note, I'm a very happy person despite my "non-conformist rants." I am very involved in a big film project and I just got a promotion to "Production Manager" in my job. Yay!
"God has given me this talent. What kind of person would I be if I did not share it?"
Felicia Opare

Sunday, August 16, 2009

...and baby makes 3...4...5?

Those of us who pay attention know how wondrous nature is. Almost every religion personifies nature in some way. My own religion sees her as a creation and servant of Christ. Pagan religion reveres and worships her. Taoist, and Buddhist alike, believe we are most at peace when in harmony with nature. Existentialists believe we are merely a lens, and invisible eye from which to view nature. And though he was a bit off with his theories on chaos, Dr. Ian Malcolm was right when he said, "If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, expands to new territory, and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously." "...I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way. " Of course I'm taking the liberty of interpreting Malcolm's "life" as nature, because I can. We see stunning examples of nature's power when wind and water change a landscape; when vegetation inhabits the cracks in a sidewalk; or when a salmon swims upstream to breed. Nature never ceases to amaze me. It is enormous yet infinitesimal. Bold yet cautious. Dangerous yet incredibly gentle. Brilliantly colorful. Awe inspiring.

Now to change tone a bit and let you know why I went on a long ramble about nature. While I was in high school my parents allowed me to get a cockateil. I named him Napoleon because though he was small, he was fearless and quite pushy. We called him Nappy for short. Horrible I know. While I was in college Nappy, of course, had to stay home but eventually was introduced to a new friend, Possum, who was given to my dad. Now that is a horrible name. Nappy and Possum became wonderful friends, Nappy even became very protective of him. No one was worried about breeding because both Napoleon and Possum are male, or so we thought. Earlier this year I got a phone call from my sister Ashley (she's wonderful at keeping me informed) telling me that the birds had started building a nest in one of the corners of their cage. Another phone call reveled that eggs had been laid, but they never hatched. Now the question was, which boy laid the eggs? Hmmmm... Finally, we accepted that Possum is a female, without checking under her skirt. Not too long ago I was told that eggs were again seen in the bottom of the cage, and this weekend they hatched. Three eggs, one at a time. Now Nappy is a proud, strutting father of three. What will happen from here? Who knows? My dad is caring for the little family, but the only thing that is certain is, life will always find a way.


Unfortunately the babies didn't live for very long.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Primeval Scream

Derek and I are quiet people. We don't play music loud, we don't turn movies up too much (until Derek gets his dream surround sound entertainments system, heaven help us), and we even speak in quieter tones. I've been caught mumbling more than once. That's just how we like it. Ethan has been born into a home of calm, and he shares in it. Even when he's upset he doesn't really scream like other babies. I cannot say how long this calm will last once he can talk, or once he has siblings, but for the moment it's quite peaceful. I think greater powers decided we needed a bit of a shake up.

This past week we babysat our friends' two wonderful children. Rachel, a little over two and a bit rambunctious but so sweet, and Hyrum, 7 months, suave and smiley. Ethan, though he is almost 3 months, and though a good number of our friends have kids, hasn't spent a lot of time with other children. I was a little worried at how he would react to the change, especially in noise level. When Rachel gets tired she gets more active and almost overly helpful. She wanted to be helpful when it came to Ethan especially. She wanted to do everything for him, so it was no surprise when she wanted to help Derek burp Ethan. What was a surprise was how she wanted to help. As Ethan was propped upon Derek's shoulder, bouncing around as he usually does, Rachel got as close to his face as she could and screamed. Screamed right in his face. Wendy, Rachel's wonderful momma, explained to me later that she does that with Hyrum because it makes him laugh. Ethan stopped bouncing, looked blankly at Rachel and screamed back! He wasn't crying but he wasn't laughing either. He just screamed back as many times as she screamed. Derek and I were stunned. We didn't know what to do, so we did what most other parents do. We looked at each other in surprise, and then laughed our heads off. Hyrum smiled, Rachel giggled and I think Ethan spit up a little. I still don't know what to make of it, but it will definitely be one of those funny, if not confusing, moments in my life. At least we know that Ethan can hold his own. That's my boy.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Writing

I have always wanted to be a writer. It's fun, and it's liberating for a shy person who has trouble articulating her thoughts in speech. This is how I can show myself to the world. Even as a child I would write short stories, or poems, to express my love, or even to explain what mood I was in. I write for me. I write to connect with those who are most precious around me. Herein lies the problem. Most people, even those who know me well, have never read my works. I never saw a reason for them to. I figured if my writing was influential, or even good, a teacher would have told me so. Maybe I relied too much on their judgment. But, if only a very few have seen my writing how could the world know me?

Lately, Derek and I have been talking about my writing, about doing more with it. This Blog is my first attempt at expanding my horizons while affording myself a chance of practicing. Derek wants me to go further, perhaps to even publish a book of poems I've already written. At his request, I'm posting a poem of his choice, written years ago. Some may hear on echo of Yeats in the style. I patterned it after him for a homework assignment.

My Son

What world do you enter here,
among the broken willows and forgotten rose?
With darkness on the wind,
from every corner evil blows.

I am sorry, my beloved son,
that this place is no more safe;
that I could not change it,
nor satisfy your grace.

There is hope, among the deep,
rejected by those who cannot see,
burning bright, an ember yet.
But you will stand; you will not flee.

Oh my son, my love of life,
empowered and blessed are you,
for you have strength beyond your foes.
Remember, and be one of the few.

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Usually on occasions such as this the normal mode of writing includes the familiar groans of age and , "where have the years gone?" or regrets of not accomplishing more before now. As I really don't pay too much attention to my age I cannot gratify this habit so, instead, I have decided to brag about how wonderful my birthday was. It was amazing! Here is why:

Derek, who usually tries to work as much as possible, stayed home and took care of the baby so I could sleep in. I didn't even have to nudge him awake to get a bottle ready! He wanted to bring me a glorious southern breakfast in bed (including grits, eggs and bacon!) but I was in the mood for something lighter so he brought me Cinnamon Toast Crunch instead. That's good cereal. I worked-out without worrying about Ethan, and had an indulgent shower. I was able to talk to my grandparents and most of my family on the phone and share the excitement of being able to travel to my hometown at the end of September. Thank you Mom! Can I just say I love talking to my family? I do! Then, the three of us took a long walk to Broulims' where I picked out the flavor of birthday cake Derek would make me. That's right, Derek is going to make me a cake! The cat was in a good mood, and we even has an amazing thunderstorm (after we got home). Yes! Now, you may be thinking that this is too much, too perfect, but I'm not done yet. To help you fully appreciate my joy I will now have to go into more detail. Derek made me dinner.

Not just any dinner, a steak dinner. Derek made me Greek style Rib-eye steak (the size of my face) topped with feta cheese; a baked sweet potato topped with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar; and sauteed yellow squash with asparagus, mushrooms and onions. I'll just let that soak in...
The table was set with candles, cloth napkins and goblets filled with apple-pomegranate sparkling cider. I would have taken a picture but thought the better of it. I didn't want to distract from the moment. Then, being the gentleman that he is, Derek led me from the couch, where I was enjoying Sabrina, and seated me at the head of the table like royalty. The rest is too precious to me, and a bit too sappy, to share but I think you got the general idea. We shared love and laughter, we enjoyed time with each other and Ethan, and Derek even did the dishes. This was a day writer's immortalize. Thank you for your love and Happy Birthday wishes. As you can see, they were put to perfect use.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fighting the monster

Plaque Psoriasis, by definition, is a immunity disease that affects the skin. It is genetic, and though there are treatments, there is no known cure. It is irritating, painful, and highly embarrassing. Several things may contribute to an outbreak including physical or emotional stress, illness or dehydration. I have moderate Psoriasis, meaning it covers up to 50%-60% of my body surface at a time. Anywhere there is skin there is potential for an outbreak. The first real outbreak I remember having was my first summer away from home. I had no idea what it was, and it proved impossible for campus doctors to diagnose. I was treated with steroid cream (which did help for a small amount of time), anti-histamines, anti-fungal, and anti-mite cures. During this process, I had to tell my boyfriend at the time I couldn't touch him for fear of being contagious. There were, and still are, jokes flying around of my "Leprosy." The only thought I can respond with is, Leprosy has a cure. Needless to say none of the treatments or doctor advise worked. Finally, after a lot of research and comparison, I found my diagnosis and, with the help of my husband, have slowly been able to create a "system" (for lack of a better word) that reduced pain and irritation from current breakouts, and also reduced the frequency and severity of future ones. My skin was looking good.

About a month before Ethan was born the breakouts began again. They have increased in severity without slowing down in frequency, and nothing I have done has made any kind of difference. This, added with a postpartum body, not getting a shower every day and very little thought of natural beauty, has made my daily encounter with the mirror defeating. I do not tell you this to gain pity. I can provide too much of that for myself, though chocolate donations are more than welcome! Instead I tell you this as a very long way of getting to my real point, but you must indulge me my ramblings a little longer. Hopefully my point will become clear.

One thing you must understand is that I have a wonderful husband. He treats me better than a queen. He sincerely tells me, numerous times a day, how beautiful I am. This is kindness I have been surviving on. Not that I let my thoughts of my own personal appearance interfere with my responsibilities to my son or husband, but this kindness fights those thoughts when the work is done. There will always be that time of quiet and reflection in which we must face ourselves. You may say "Why isn't your husbands praise enough? After all, he has a better view point than you," and you would be right to a point. When we cannot see we must sometimes rely on the sight of others. But the monster will always rear its ugly head again; and though Derek's vision is truer and clearer than mine and may quiet the roaring, it cannot kill the threat. It cannot save me. This is an internal monster and cannot be slayed with an external weapon. I have survived on borrowed harmony for too long.

This post may have revealed vanity in me that has lessened respect for my rational mind, but I feel this is an evil shared widely, especially among women. There are too many weapons for the enemy. The influences that would strengthen us are often drowned in shallow glory. Each one must decide to fight this battle on their own. I have decided to fight. Our best weapon is ourselves. Those things that are good about us, those talents we have, the love that is given us, what we can do for others, and knowledge of personal worth. These are our internal weapons and without them we have little hope of success. Find them. Magnify and cultivate them. True beauty shines through sincere happiness. And remember, as it says on my grandmother's fridge, "God don't make junk."

Update: As you may have found out from my later posts, my skin condition may not be plaque psoriasis, thank goodness. I have been gluten-free for a while and my skin has completely cleared up, so it may be that I have DH instead. While the symptoms are very similar there is a major difference in treatment possibilities. I have yet to be diagnosed but this new development offers a new outlook for my skin's future. Yay!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Troubles of a Fashionista

Those who know me know that I have never been overly concerned with my appearance. Usually I'm content to look presentable enough no to embarrass whom ever I'm with . There are times when I become enthralled with ways to improve my appearance (blast those makeup models!). I'll buy different kinds of makeup, dye my hair or go for the at home spa treatments. Have you ever tried a banana honey face mask? All I have to say is, sticky. My most recent attempt at a drastic transformation has been to chop my hair off. I took some pictures into a local Paul Mitchell school and said, "Have at it!" The style, though fundamentally good, is hard to keep up at home owing to the recent demise of my straightener. Always a bad omen. So I've tried to improvise. I've done natural, wavy, a sad attempt at straight and curly styles much to my disappointment. Ethan must have felt some pity for my attempts because this morning he decided to help.
Ethan loves to fly. Whenever we pick him up and fly him around the room he has a wide-eyed look of wonder mixed with smiles. This morning Ethan was soaring, all smiles, through the air directly over my head. More specifically over my face. It's just so cute to see how gravity affects his chubby cheeks! Unfortunately he had just eaten. Without warning, not so much as a twitch from Ethan, some second-hand milk came gracefully flowing toward me. With a quick gasp I yanked my face down just in time to feel warmth spread through my hair and down my forehead. Attempts to clean my head resulted in matting my hair together until it stood straight up in huge clumps. Tyra Banks eat your heart out!

After a well deserved and much needed shower, inspiration struck! All this time I was blow drying my hair the wrong way! So, thank you Ethan. My hair now has new hope.

P.S.

Today was a day for caution. By 10 a.m. I had already been pooped and spit-up on. I didn't want to make it a triad, so every time I changed Ethan's diaper i was especially careful to watch for the "ominous swelling" as Derek calls it. I'm glad to report, I escaped without further incident.




I'm not very photogenic so it looks better in person. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Little Prince Ethan




















































Ethan is now 2 months old and I'm halfway back to my average physique. Is it bad if I compare how old he is to how big my belly still is? Anyway, Ethan is our firstborn and we adore him. He loves to smile and tries to laugh... until I point the camera at him. Its like he knows when its coming and as soon as he spies the little black box the smile flees and he replaces it with a look of earnest confusion. I tried my best to distract him, thus sounding kind of like a ridiculous momma, so that I could sneak in a smile or two on video. This is the result of my craftiness, or lack of.

Learning how to be Mom is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! I still have the mindset of having my own mom to rely on. The person who will listen with interest no matter what you want to tell her; who will bake cookies and eat junk food while watching chick flicks; who will hug you and tell you its OK to cry, laugh, or be saucy sometimes. I'm not that person but I'm starting to realize I will be, and very soon. Before, as just me, I would think about what to do on a Saturday night and it would consist of a date with Ben & Jerry mixed with a little of Colin Firth. Then it became Derek and me and Saturday became the Bourne movies with popcorn, if we can afford it, and if Derek got his homework done. Now, its wondering if we already gave Ethan his bath for church Sunday morning, or what time he would actually go to sleep this time and let us do the same. Is there food in there somewhere? Not always. I love the change but it's an adjustment as large as...well...life. Instead of living for an idle moment with a book I live for one of Ethan's smiles, very willing to look like an idiot to get it. Amazing how someone so small and dependant can have so much power. So all mother's echo "Amen" and father's smile and nod; we are parents and would wish for nothing other.


video

Monday, July 13, 2009

Internet world here I come

I'm not sure what drives us to express our thoughts, no matter how mundane, to the outside world by any means possible. Is it a way of connecting without the threat of immediate response or face to face interaction? A way of feeling listened to without the responsibility of sharing the conversation? Whatever it may be I add my words, my thoughts and a small peek into my world to the pulsing highway of individual collectivity. It took me a while to catch up. Now lets see if I can keep up. I can't even keep my journal updated. Oh dear... I guess all that's left to say for this post is internet world here I come!