Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I was in the car driving home today, and this song came on the radio.

The first time I heard it, Ammon and I were in the car together, and he remarked on how painfully awkward it is sometimes to hear people younger than you talk about their life experiences with a lot of weight, in the same way that older people do.  I thought it was an interesting point, but I really wasn't sure where I stood on the notion.

When I heard that song today, it made me realize that we don't choose when we have our most formative, life-altering experiences.  We all collect experiences as we go through life, and it's true that younger people simply have fewer life experiences.  They just haven't had the opportunity to gain as many as someone older.  BUT I also realized that it's probably really unfair to diminish the experiences that a younger person has.  You never know when those pivotal moments are going to happen that really shift the direction your whole life goes.  They could happen at 8 years old, 16, 22, or 62.  It's only when we reflect back that we can truly see our experiences for what they are.

For me, as I look back on my life I am struck by two moments that have played a profound role in shaping my current world.  The first was going away to college at 18.  Moving over 1,000 miles away and not knowing anyone really changed the way I interact with other people, and the way that I see myself.  While I am by nature pretty introverted, going away to college taught me that I can put myself out there, and make friends.  All things I am struggling to re-learn 12 years later, but I know I can do it, and that's valuable to me.

Oh, 2003.  Dang, I feel so old sometimes.  Also, outdoor lifeguarding did such awesome things for my hair - doesn't everyone love a little green in their frizzed-out hair?  Also, that girl... one of the first real friends I made at college, and I still adore her.  She is the best.

The second experience was when I was 24.  I had just gotten out of another relationship that was fairly short-lived, and I was at a loss for what the problem was.  Why couldn't I just find love already???  I had lunch with my mom, and as we were sitting on the patio at Chipotle eating our burrito bowls, she gave me the best advice of my life.  She told me to stop dating boys that wanted me to help fix them - that if I needed to save something so badly, I should o down to the humane society and adopt a puppy, because as far as saving humans goes, we can really only save ourselves.  I mulled on that for a time.  And then I made a critical decision - no more dating losers who wanted me to help them get their lives together.  I didn't want to be the reason someone did "xyz" thing they thought they needed to do, I wanted whoever I was with to do those things for themselves, and because they knew their self worth.

Within weeks of making that decision, this guy asked me out for Chipotle.  It was kismet.  And what you might not see in this picture that was taken less than six months after we started dating was that we were already head over heels in love with each other - even if we weren't ready to say it out loud.

What has been the most significant experience so far in your life?  How old were you?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Miracles happen

Guys.  It happened.  An absolute miracle, something that I never thought would happen for us.

We bought a house.  Well, at least we convinced a mortgage company to buy a house for us, and let us pay them for it over the next 30 years. 

This is the dream that we always dreamed, but never thought would actually happen  We struggled for such a long time, and had so little, that to now have this happen... it's so good.  So, so, so good. 

There is so much more to this story, so many things that I have been dying to tell the world for the past month, but didn't dare, just in case it all went up in a cloud of smoke and dashed dreams.  And now I can tell you all, but not today, because we have got to start making this house our own.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Rays of sunlight

I was writing out the word "Maryland" at work today, and it suddenly occurred to me that if I lived in Maryland, I would want to change my name to Mary, and then make friends with someone else named Mary so that we could sing "This Land is Your Land" together.  It was one of the first moments in a long time where I started to feel a little bit like myself again, and it was so significant to me that I wanted to share it with the whole world.  I don't imagine that, had I shared my little musing with anyone, they would have seen it as anything but silly and a bit absurd.  
To me, that thought felt like a little bit of light cracking through especially dark storm clouds for the first time in a dark mid-western winter.  Those of you who have spent a winter in the mid-west know what I'm talking about.  Sometime in late October, the sun goes away, and isn't really seen again for months.  I remember instances in college where the sun would come out in February, and everyone would peel off their outerwear, despite the 20-something degree weather, and just bask in the glory of sunlight for a bit.  It's exactly what I did today:  basked in the flow of sunlight, despite circumstances that would normally encourage different behavior.

In July after we found out we were moving, I went into survival mode.  We had so much to do, to prepare prior to our departure.  Mentally, physically, emotionally, it was a lot to handle.  And even after we moved, it has been a lot to handle.  I haven't stepped out of survival mode, and next week will mark 6 months since we moved here.  Survival mode has been good to me in a lot of ways.  It got us all out here in a mostly orderly and organized fashion, it helped me gain employment, and it helped us start to establish routines and patterns in our lives.  It has helped us rebuild our life in a new and wonderful place.  But until today, I could not start to enjoy all of these things that I had built.

The stress, the pressure, the overwhelm, it's still there.  We are not settled into permanent housing yet, although that is hopefully just around a bend.  We still don't have a good support system yet, and I don't feel comfortable in my new life.  But for a few minutes today, I was back to my normal self.

It was bliss.