Welcome to my little haven of creative writing, passionate ranting, and thoughtful learning.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Learning to Give in my Marriage

I keep very high standards for myself.

Sometimes, unrealistically high.

My house has a certain standard of cleanliness I strive to maintain at all times.
My appearance has a certain criteria to meet before I can go to work.
My blog writing has to be proofread and edited many times before I can post it.

It's partly my personality:
I lean toward perfectionism and live in constant worry of being deemed inadequate.

But that isn't my husband's personality at all (Opposites attract, right?).
To him, there's no problem going to sleep with baby toys strewn about the living room.
Heading to work and haven't had a chance to shave? Not a big deal.

Though we try, neither or us really understand why the other acts the way they do.
At first, it was a little infuriating for me. I wanted him to change and become more like me: I wanted him to have high standards to live up to. But I'm sure he wanted me to relax. To let the toys lay on the floor overnight, especially since they aren't hurting anything.

So I'm trying to learn to give.
To not critique him for not loading the dishwasher the same way that I would have done it. To refrain from getting upset when I find his socks on the living room floor again. These actions aren't hurting anything, they just don't fit in with my view of how things should be done.

Nearly two years into marriage, I'm finally realizing that maybe I don't need him to live up to all my standards, but to give him some grace and let him live by his standards. And maybe it's time to give a little and let go of some of my ideas of how things should be, and instead be happy with how things are.


Saturday, September 21, 2013


I love blogging.
And Facebook.
And Instagram.
And Twitter...

I enjoy getting to see what is happening in everyone else's life. I like posting pictures of Jace, writing about events I'm passionate about, and feeling connected to people that I don't always get to see face-to-face.

But I have discovered a problem.
Let's call it "oversharing."

For example:
I do not need to know the intimate details of your fight with your significant other (if he left you at home to go to the bar again, that sounds like a conversation you should have with him)

I really don't care to see the 75 pictures you took of your child in the same place and pose (seriously, one or two will suffice of her on the same swing.)

It doesn't matter to me that feel your girlfriend doesn't adequately show you love (maybe you should have that conversation with her instead of shaming her online?)

And I am genuinely scarred by the picture of your boyfriends body hair. (Yes, you find his body cute. I don't need to see it thanks)

Sometimes, though, I worry that I press the border of becoming that person. Reading this blog allows for anyone to know about my husband and my son. About what I believe in. What I think about. My work, plans, and sometimes day to day life.

Now, I do think blogging is a little different than other social media, because you must choose to go specifically to my blog. But on Facebook you can be scrolling though your news feed and be instantly subjected to any number of images and text that you simply did not want to encounter.

Why do we do that? Do we no longer enjoy a private life that actually leaves the world out of some of our business?
Maybe it's because I tend to be introverted and enjoy time to myself, but I don't want the world to know every detail. I like that there are details of my life that only my husband knows. Because, to me, some thoughts and memories are meant to be kept to yourself.
Not to mention, there would be a whole lot fewer embarrassed people if they thought twice before they hit "post."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Phoneless Freedom

On Saturday morning I woke up to find that my phone refused to charge. I plugged it in, it didn't recognize that it was plugged in. We attempted to switch the battery to see if that was the problem. It is, but it's not the only problem. So, since Saturday, I have been without a phone.

Strangely, I kind of like it.

I have actually been so much more productive and engaging without the option to zone out into Facebook for 10 minutes. And, of course, once I check Facebook, I have to look at Instagram. After that I might as well check Twitter. Then it makes sense to look at my email, make sure I haven't missed anything important. Oh at that point I may as well look on Pinterest too.

Next thing you know, I have totally disengaged from whatever I wanted to work on to stare at a tiny screen for 30+ minutes.

But for the past few days, if I wanted to check my online accounts, I had to get out my laptop, and it was more purposeful. I intended to get online, not ended up there on accident.

As a result, I have done more reading, more projects around the house, and made more of an effort to focus on what I'm doing. It's been nice.

Of course, there are also inconveniences that result from being so dependent on a phone for so long. Like, setting an alarm to wake up. I've used my phone as an alarm for ages, it's just easy and effective. I can't send a quick text or call anyone, which makes my reliability limited. Plus, I keep a calendar on my phone to help me stay organized. I have missed all those details, and for those reasons I am looking forward to getting a new phone very soon (hopefully tonight or tomorrow).

But it was interesting to see just how much I could accomplish without the constant distraction that is my phone, and I would like to make an effort to limit the time I spend on it. I think that disconnecting from my phone will help me better connect with what I'm actually doing in the here and now, which is a much better way to live.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Peanut Butter Soup!

This is a fall and winter favorite in my house, and I will just admit now that any guest I have every prepared this for has asked for the recipe. So here it is, step by step.

Peanut Butter Soup

1 C onion diced
1 Tbs. garlic
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
.5 tsp. cayenne pepper
.5 C carrot
.5 C celery
.25 C red bell pepper
2 C sweet potato
4 C chicken broth
2 C cooked chicken
1 can diced tomatoes
.5 C peanut butter (or more if you love PB)

Chop up all veggies into bite sized pieces (as small as you want.)
Saute onion, garlic, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper until onion becomes soft.
Add carrots, celery, red bell pepper, sweet potato and cook for a few minutes.
Add chicken broth, chicken, diced tomatoes and peanut butter and bring to a boil.
Then reduce heat and let simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Yesterday when I made it I decided to make it in the crockpot instead, so I cooked all the ingredients on high for 3 1/2 hours and enjoyed :) Either way it tastes great!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

When are you going to get a grown up job?

First of all, ouch.

This has been weighing on me heavily of late, and after a conversation with my sister, I better understood why. We were talking about how tough it is to find a job and get into grad school, and figure out what you will really be successful at in a career. And she told me what my parents have said about me, but not actually to me.

They're afraid I'm not going to make it.

I went to college, but since I decided not to complete the program to become a high school teacher, they now seem to doubt I will do anything with my life. Right now I work seasonal jobs, with no medical benefits or retirement hopes, and those are clearly not "grown up jobs."

This is not due to a lack of trying on my part. I have applied for full time employment, but it has yet to happen. And I have a plan that makes these "not so grown up jobs" make perfect sense. While working part time and seasonally, I can go back for my master's, something I have always wanted to do. I can do online courses, get my degree, and then get into what my real dream job is: teaching at the college level.

I want to be an English professor, and to work at a major university I would need a doctorate, but to start out teaching a Master's would suffice. I can see this happening, and I know the work I would be required to put in to make it happen.

But my parents, and many other adults in the world, look at me and see a 23 year old mother who has yet to grow up.

It's insulting.
It's frustrating.
And it is a completely unfair judgement.

So the next time you see someone that has yet to embrace a 40-hour a week 9-5 for the next 40 years job, consider that maybe there is something else happening in their life. Perhaps, just perhaps, they know more about their plans than you do, and maybe they are going to make it after all.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Review: Proof of Heaven

I don't read nearly as much as I would like to. Honestly, I barely have time to post a blog now and again or write in my poor neglected journal. I do try to carve out the time to enjoy a book, but when schedule's get hectic, reading for pleasure is the first thing to go!

Which is one more reason I'm lucky to have my new job. I get a mandatory three breaks each day, and I have chosen to use that time to read. This past week I managed to finish a book I've been wanting to read for months now, called Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander. I'm not a super scientific person, but the chance to read a neurosurgeon's experience into the afterlife just seemed too important to pass up.
First, it is a little self-indulgent. The author really is telling his experience, and his own life story. It is a cross between an autobiography and the account of this experience. But it is still well worth the time, in my opinion. Personally, I believe in heaven, but the author had a more scientific point of view until his brain stopped functioning and he experienced what happens beyond earthly life.
What was really interesting to me was that Alexander clearly could not find adequate words to describe his experience. Anyone that writes can tell you that there are moments you just cannot find the right word to capture the emotions and importance of the message you are trying to convey, but I did appreciate Alexander's effort.
To me, the most important part of the book was the message that there is nothing you can do to separate yourself from the Creator and that you are loved. You are loved unconditionally on earth and beyond. It's a message we hear in church, but if you take the time to think about it, it's a beautiful reassurance in life, and it helps me to live more optimistically and show more compassion.


Friday, September 6, 2013

The Viewpoint of a Woman with a Son

Not trying to be white noise, but over the past few days a couple blogs have gone viral regarding how men look at women. Specifically young men looking at women who wear less rather than more.
For me, I see both sides.
I know what it is like to be the teenage girl that is ignored by boys. That sees all the attention going to a girl that accentuates her cleavage, and wanting to do the same. But I also know that it is even harder today, because our society is so clicked in to social media. Even today I fall victim to the trap of "How many likes/retweets/favorites can I get on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram?" Growing up when MySpace was just beginning, I got a small taste of the desire to be liked via social media. I cannot imagine if it had been a major influence in my life from my pre-teen years on.
Yet at the same time that I understand it, I also want to encourage girls to have the self-worth to ignore the beckoning of IG bra shots. Try getting likes for a brilliant status update, or a breathtaking image showing your creativity rather than your body. It's hard in this time to get a boy's attention without showcasing your physical attributes, but that brings me to my next point.

I have a son. While he is too young now to understand, it will not be too many years before he begins to look at women differently than men. I will not block one of his friends if she posts a seductive image on Facebook, but I will have a conversation with Jace. I will not shame him for looking (because as humans we ALL notice each others physical attributes), but I will ask him if he sees his friend as more than a body. Does he know her hobbies, her passions, what books she loves to read? I will ask him what he has in common with her, what does she believe in, and what does he admire about her personality? I will help him to see her as a person, no matter how she portrays herself online. And with many of the generation I know that are raising young men today, I have hope for the little girls that so many of my friends are about to bring into this world. I have hope that the young men growing up will see women as equals and as partners, whether they wear a hijab or a bikini top everywhere they go.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Appreciating Your Surroundings

This is my second week working with Berea Tourism, and I like my co-workers, enjoy the job, and am adjusting to the hours and scheduling. But what I am enjoying most about my job is how it is making me appreciate my little town.
At age 18, upon arriving in Berea, it was my college town. It had a Wal*Mart within walking distance and that's all I really needed to know. Being from Northern Ohio, I believed some of the Kentucky stereotypes, and didn't have much desire to interact with the world outside of the college campus. Obviously, over the last five years that has drastically changed, but I don't think I really appreciated the uniqueness of this small town and the beauty of the state until I began learning more about it and talking to others about what to see and do in Berea.
See, I spend nearly eight hours a day telling travelers and tourists about what makes Berea unique. I get to talk about our studio artists down in Old Town, the college and it's tuition-free approach for low-income students, and the plethora of events going on across the state at any given time. I've learned so much in my short time working for tourism and it's made me determined to take advantage of the opportunities that come with living in a small artist town.
So today I made a "Fall To-Do List" for my small family to enjoy. Here is a sampling:
Visit Flat Lick Falls
Hot Air Balloon Glow
Spoonbread Festival
Glass Blowing Class with Michelle Weston

All of these events/places are so close to us, and I want make the effort to go out and appreciate them! Who knows, maybe I'll stumble upon a new artistic niche (since so far writing is my only one!).