Saturday, April 12, 2014

:::Spring Cleaning:::

It gets worse, so much worse, before it gets better, doesn't it? 


This is my new favorite Method spray - Clementine. I love citrus scents! They are the only scents I can handle. Anything else makes me feel like I can't breathe or smells like cut grass and weeds to me. Lavender, basil, verbena...

My goal this year is to use up/donate the majority of my craft materials and only be left with tools. I'm also hoping to get rid of most of my books. Do you like to keep books at home? I don't, really. I know that makes me sound like a complete dimwit, but I've found that owning books doesn't do much for me. I'd rather get them from the library and ditch them when I'm done with them. I'm so cold hearted!

Well, I'm procrastinating, which was probably obvious. 

Onward and upward. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

:::Take the Wheel:::

'Woman Turns On Air Conditioning on 80 Degree Day, Car Nearly Stalls. A Progression In Four Parts.' A self-portrait by the artist. Dallas, Texas. 2014. 


It's going to be a real, real long summer. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

:::Sunday Night Insomnia:::

Every Sunday night I have insomnia. I call it...Sunday Night Insomnia. 

It doesn't matter if I take a nap or not. 

It doesn't matter if I'm in bed at 8 pm with my eyes shut tight, or flopping into bed at midnight. 

It doesn't matter what I've eaten. 

It doesn't matter what I've watched on tv. 

Every Sunday night I have insomnia, and I don't fall asleep until 2 or 3 am, which wouldn't be all that bad if I didn't have to get up at 5 am for work. Which adds to my worry about my Sunday Night Insomnia, which adds to the duration of my Sunday Night Insomnia. 

So it follows, then, that I get through Mondays on a wing and a pray.   

But back to Sunday night...

On Sunday night I lay in bed and think of how much of a struggle it still is for me to deal with church, and how I have to do it all over again next week. Sometimes I just want to run screaming from pews and singing and everyone showing up and programs and smiling and all of us trying to fit on the same path to redemption. Hymn books, prayers, scriptures, words, shared cultural perceptions and expectations, week in and week out. Then I wonder how much of a sin it is that I think that way. Then I think about how the answer to that question has implications to the nature of the Savior, then I think about the implications the nature of the Savior has on what's going to happen to me in the hereafter...rabbit hole. 

On Sunday night I lay in bed and think of how some people have an other, and why some people don't. Not in a sad way, but in a 'Isn't it weird that some people are part of a pair, and some people are not part of a pair?' way. Then I think of the paired people I know and try to figure out what makes them different from the unpaired people I know, myself included. 'What were they like at 16?...at 21?...at 24?...What did they major in at school? How does their family celebrate Christmas? What kind of cars do they drive?' If I didn't know them at those ages or in those circumstances, I think up answers and fill in their stories for them. Then I puzzle, puzzle, puzzle over these answers, real or fake...rabbit hole. 

On Sunday nights I lay in bed and think of the person I really want to be, and why I'm still standing on the cusp of action. Or maybe I'll concede that I have taken steps towards becoming that person, but I worry that I won't have enough time to do what I was sent to do, or enough time to develop into who I need to be given the pace I'm moving at. What should I have done yesterday to reach my goals? How should I change my life tomorrow? If  I could adopt just one life altering change this week...rabbit hole. 

On Sunday nights I lay in bed and think of all the years I had panic attacks that sent me regularly to the emergency room. These attacks took so much out of me physically and mentally I was certain that one day they would wear out my heart muscles, and I'd slowly drift off into a deep and final sleep -- weeping, solitary, and exhausted. To be truthful, that didn't always seem like the worst thing that could happen. Peace, peace. I just wanted peace. 

I remember the night I was curled up in an anxious, panicked, and hopeless ball on the living room couch of my basement apartment below Slate Canyon. I was sobbing and vomiting and dealing with pain that felt like someone was stabbing me in the stomach and clenching my intestines in an unrelenting vice. This was deep in the middle of a hot Utah summer, and that old house had no air conditioning. My inner circle of hell! I prayed for relief, and in a moment of desperation opened the front door and let the cool, crisp desert air flood in. I can't even sleep soundly with a window unlocked, let alone opened, so I was surprised that I felt so safe throwing that door wide open to the night. Desperation can make mole hills out of mountains. 

As that delicious cool air rushed in, I felt it pour relief on me like chilled aloe on a sunburn. Or like the icy cold water at the bottom of a river that flows over your aching feet. The force of that relief was so strong and so personal at the same time. I felt it take me by the hand, walk me back to the couch, pull up the blankets, and wash away my sorrows and fears. It said, 'I know you would never normally do this, but you'll be safe and sound tonight. In this time, and in this place, nothing is allowed to bother you. Peace, peace.' It was like someone flipped off a deeply hidden switch in my brain to save me from myself. I fell asleep immediately and slept for hours and hours. 

I will never forget how I felt waking up the next day. I was completely safe and deeply rested, and grateful for the miraculous sanctification of that cold, cold air. 

Well, we all know why I can't sleep on Sunday nights. Maybe one day this cycle of my life will break as well. It makes me wonder how relief will come then. And wonder why relief hasn't come yet. And wonder if I should switch to a later shift at work so I can sleep longer on Monday mornings. But then I'd have to deal with traffic and...Whoops. Rabbit hole. 

I am open to more miracles. 




Friday, March 7, 2014

:::Friday Night:::

I'm sitting on the couch watching Leverage and wondering, 'Am I doing this right?'


If the alternative is putting on real clothes and spending time out there, I'll pass. 

Time for another episode. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

:::Reading the Book of Mormon:::

I have three goals motivating my endeavors in 2014. The first is this - I will stop and read the Book of Mormon in the evening when I start to feel anxious, depressed, worried, and hopeless. 

Usually I don't read my scriptures until I'm ready to fall into bed, or should I say roll into bed from my kneeling prayer position. Not surprisingly, I've been well aware for many years that when this is my sole approach to scripture study, I miss a lot of information, and more importantly, I'm not really opening myself up to spend quality time with the Spirit. 

When I read in the earlier part of the evening my brain is still turned on, and I have time to just sit and be with what I'm reading. Mull it over, or let my mind extrapolate meaning from ancient words to my own life. I'm retaining more information, and actually processing the difficult situations these Book of Mormon heroes/heroines endured. Contentious families, living as refugees, raising children in a wilderness, subsisting on what they could provide for themselves, avoiding attacks from within and without, and managing difficult personalities. Building societies, establishing righteous laws, preserving gospel traditions, trying to establish a promised land, bearing the spiritual responsibility of teaching and correcting, and all of them walking only in the light their faith could provide. There are so many things written and unwritten in these stories that you just miss with one leg in bed. 

Like how many of them had any idea what they were really being called to do? The actual scope of their appointed work? I'd guess most had absolutely none. Nephi admits that he himself had no clue what his plan would be when he returns to Jerusalem for the plates. 

But I feel Nephi's very conscious decision to be brave when he says that he knows the Lord never commands anything without opening up pathways to success. I feel that even though his faith was strong, he was an intelligent man who had a clear understanding of odds, a familiarity with worry, and a desperation to keep his family alive. It's okay to be scared. Nephi had to have been scared, even if for just a little while. 

As for the medicinal benefits of scripture study? It's too early to say. But I'm banking on two promises. First, countless prophets have testified that the Book of Mormon changes lives through the powerful messages, testimonies, and
truths it contains. Second, I know that any time you try to do something good, anything good, the Lord will bless you. As I get older and the depression and anxiety I struggle with wrenches and twists its way through my life, I look for more and more heavenly assistance. Something good will come of this. Probably not a complete healing, as life is  a long and difficult journey, as any reading of the Book of Mormon will teach you. But maybe some peace, and maybe some clarity. Or maybe just a direction to start in when I have no clue what my plan should be. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

:::New Things:::



Tonight I met the family at an electronic store so I could help them get some iPad Minis (only one per household). When my brother in law gave me the cash I should have run out the door. Rent is due tomorrow, I'm just saying. 

We went to dinner afterwards, and towards the end of the night Molly got my attention and exclaimed, "Auntie Bekah! Guess what? Today I ate real fish!" She had purchased a hot lunch at school, and was under the impression that she had enjoyed a delicious chicken sandwich until her older sister clued her in later at home. It was a fish sandwich, and Molly was completely shocked. Real fish!

I have to admit that I was pretty proud of her since the only fish I eat comes in stick form, or of the chunk light variety. 

The thing about kids is that every time they learn something new, or try do to something that they've never tried before it just makes you so ridiculously proud. Sophie raised some lower grades up this last quarter, and I was so happy that she improved that it didn't matter exactly where on the scale she had come from or where on the scale she ended up landing, but that she had made some kind of improvement. Well, you know what? What mattered most to me was the effort she made to make the improvement. That she tried. Because even when you try sometimes you don't necessarily get the results you wanted, but it's the effort you make that shapes your character. 

On the Scott front, he stole one of the tortillas that came with my fajitas and thought I wouldn't notice. Thou fool. I always know where my carbohydrates are, my child. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

:::A Word For the Single Sisters - Babysitting:::

Don't ever ask me to babysit. Ok, maybe you can ask me to babysit. 

But probably not, because I will say no. And I will think bad things about you.

Here are three completely different scenarios.

Scenario #1 - A friend asks if I can watch her kids one night because she and her husband have an obligation that takes both of them outside the home. I have a personal relationship with this family. I hang out with the children, I hang out with the parents. They are good and kind to me. Will I 'babysit' for them? Yes. No big deal. Friends helping friends. Kumbaya, etc.

Scenario #2 - Someone from the ward asks me to babysit for them, and they are willing to pay me a substantial amount of money for my services, meaning, much, much more than they'd pay the 13 year old from the ward that they normally use. Will I babysit for them? Maybe, but probably not. It depends on the family. It depends on if I feel like leaving the house again after being at work all day. But, again, probably not. But I will think you are awesome for understanding that you need to pay a woman in her 30s more than you would pay a teenager. Bravo!

One of my last paying babysitting gigs was for the family of one of my nursery children back in DC. It was a great experience, one that I never felt belittled by. Prior to the night that I babysat for them, the mother had made an effort to know me as a person, and each time we talked she always spoke to me like an equal. Also, her children were awesome, real hepcats that I would have wanted to hang with anyhow. To top it all off, at the end of the night they insisted on compensating me as you would compensate a grown woman, not a teenage girl. That's how it's done, folks. 

Scenario #3 (the scenario for which this post is being written) -  Someone from the ward asks me to babysit for them because all the Young Women are busy that night, and I'm the next person they thought of. There will more than likely be no exchange of money, or if there is, very little. 

Ooookay. 

Let me begin with this - I haven't been in Young Women for 14 years. I'm not in some kind of extended release program just because I'm single. I promise, I'm a full-fledged adult. If I'm the first person you think of after you run through the list of Young Women in the ward, then you're an idiot you need to readjust your thinking. Especially, my dear, if I am older than you are. I am of the same level of adulthood that you are. I understand that being a parent stretches and bends and breaks and molds you in untold ways, but I have a deep testimony that there are many ways for the Potter to work the clay. I'm an adult, I promise, the same as you. I've just been doing different versions of stretching and bending and breaking and molding.

I'll follow up with this - I work. I have a job, just like all the husbands in my ward (and many of the women, for heaven's sake!). That job thing is what I'm doing with my life, and just like most men who work full-time, I'm not interested in babysitting as a side gig when I get home at the end of the day. Yes, many men (and women!) come home and parent at the end of a long day, but parenting isn't babysitting. Parenting is, hopefully, a choice. It is a role, a responsibility, an identity.

Babysitting is a job. If I wanted to babysit professionally, I'd babysit professionally. I do not babysit professionally. Herein take thy clue. So, again, unless we are tight, or you are going to pay me a decent amount of money for my time, please do not assume that I am the next logical person that you should contact when all the Young Women are too busy to watch your kidlets. I'm not sitting at home each night looking for opportunities to fake mother other women's children. 

________________________________________

This post was written after consulting two of my close single friends for their opinions on the matter. One of these friends had a sister-in-law who repeatedly expected her to babysit her 4+ children at nights and on the weekends. My friend's mother finally explained to this sister-in-law that one of the many reasons my friend wouldn't be interested in acting as her babysitter was that she had a very demanding and stressful full-time job. The sister-in-law then replied, 'Yeah, she works, but she's not busy like a mom.' I have no words.