Monday, September 3, 2012

Life in reverse

It has been interesting starting this semester. I am taking 13 credits, and I have about 39 to go until I graduate, after this semester, plus a few more chem and physics classes I will have to take to get into grad school. It has been really interesting to watch my life take shape the past year. I have found that I am doing things backwards from the norm. Generally one goes to school, gets married, then has kids, and somehow manages to have a career somewhere in between. I of course took a different path, getting married at 18, having 3 amazing kids, 10 years of marriage, then divorce, and now school! :) Not the path I envisioned myself in for sure, but not one I would have changed looking back. I don't think I would have had the confidence 10 years ago that I do today to chase after such a big dream, especially if I were to have had half the obstacles I do now.

One of my biggest struggles with getting divorced was losing that companion and best friend. We are good friends now, but it will never be the friendship it used to be. Having lost my dad just 8 months prior to losing my marriage, I realized after my divorce was final, how much of the hole my dad's passing left in my heart, was filled by my husband. I don't know if that will make any sense, it's hard to describe. But after my divorce I had to address a lot of emotional things that were left over from my dad dying that I didn't have to face before. It is hard now, wanting and needing my dad's advise, and not having him to go to. He was such an amazing man, smart, opinionated, able to look at a situation with an open mind, loyal, and someone everyone loved. If I can be a fraction of who he was, I may one day be able to say I have done some good in this world. I loved the encouragement and view my dad had on things. He would tell me that he would be behind me 100% in achieving the goal I am trying to reach, and he would be so proud of me.

My dad invested a deep love into our country, serving honorably for twenty years in the Army, then working for many years helping soldiers, working in the 101st Association at Ft. Campbell. His motto was "I was a soldier, I am a soldier, I will always be a soldier", and he lives his life according to that. He was so proud of his country and the role he played in aiding in the freedoms and liberties we are all entitled to because of it. I am proud to be a part of his military legacy, and wish I was able to carry that on. I have thought long and hard about a way that I could serve in the military, but when it comes down to it, I don't even think I could survive the length of basic training away from my kids. I have never spent more than 10 days away from them, and I don't want that to change for a long time! That is one of the good things about doing things in reverse though, I could still join the military in 10 years when my kids are older and I would be better equipped to be away from them a little longer at a time, and still be able to put in a full career. I'm not saying that will happen, it's just one of those pro's of living my life in reverse.

I have learned life is all about the perspective you have not the things that happen to you during it. It has taken me time to adjust to not being here for the kids like I was used to, but now I realize I don't take the time with them for granted as much as I once did. Money has been a LOT less than I have been used to, but I have learned that life is not measured by the possessions you have, but by the memories you make with your loved ones. It has been hard living here alone, my mom living in Tennessee and leaving for 18 months in Germany in a few weeks, and my sister living in Mississippi. But ironically I have grown closer to my ex's family, than I think I ever was, and that has made me feel more at home than I could have anywhere else.

As I embark on a difficult yet rewarding career path, I know that my kids will be provided for, after my schooling money won't be so difficult, I will be able to have a flexible schedule so I can spend more quality time with my kids, I will be able to provide a good education for them, and I will have satisfaction in doing something that I love. It will be a challenging path, but once I reach the summit, it will be the most beautiful view.

When I was married I was always looking for what came next. When was the next deployment, where could we move next, when is the next raise, when is the next TDY so we can get away, when will I see my husband again...There was not a lot of happiness with that for me. Don't get me wrong, I loved the military lifestyle, I still get tears in my eyes when I see a flag, or drive by Camp Williams and see a soldier in uniform, that will always hold a special place in my heart. A pride I cannot describe. But as I look back, I realize how many moments we didn't enjoy because we were waiting for the next one.

I have learned to enjoy every moment in my life, not wishing for the next one, but holding on to the one I am in right now at this very moment and wishing it would last forever, but when that moment comes to a sweet end there is a moment that is equally as breath taking in beauty, whether it be pain or joy, right around the corner waiting for me to embrace it. I know my future is bright, I know it will come, the career, another love, a larger family, exciting journeys and travels, but that is the excitement of it all, it's unknown, and it's coming, I just can't see it yet, and the joy of it is in the surprise. I know as long as I am living my life, according to my standards and doing what makes me happy, the future will always be bright, and tomorrow will always come, why rush it.

Days are getting shorter with the fall lingering in the air, my favorite time of year. I am not excited for the cold, but I love the snow. I dread the passing of another year, but I know the next one will bring more times of joy. Age is beauty to me, the more time spent on this earth the more experience gained, and the more memories there are to treasure. It is all about perspective. There is good in everything, sometimes you have to look harder than others. Life is good, and it is meant to be enjoyed; don't let pain become a crutch, joy become fleeting, the past become your obsession, and most importantly don't let the future steal your present. Live today for what it is, it is now, and it will be gone before you know it, don't waste a single second, you never know when it will all be gone, and there will be no more tomorrows to look towards.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What a difference a year makes

The past two years have been full of growing experiences for me! I lost my dad to his battle with cancer, had a baby girl, had my husband leave for a deployment, then had a divorce. Following this was a year of transition. Trying to figure out life, what I wanted out of it, and what I needed to do for my kids. I started with the idea of nursing. Thinking it would take me 3 years and I would have a degree and a good job. Well when I realized the logistics of all of that and just about flunked out my second semester, I thought I should take a step back.
Honestly when I first got divorced, I thought I'll get right back on that horse and be in love and married before I know it. In fact that almost happened, I fell in love with an amazing man, picked a wedding date and thought that was going to be it. I found myself seeing red flags, and realizing that I needed more time to heal from my own divorce before I could truly move on and give myself completely to someone again. I broke things off and dealt with a lot of hurt and pain stemming from that.
This summer has been so eye opening for me. I feel like I have fully come into me, who I am, and who I want to be. I have begun to maintain a balance with being a good mom, keeping a house somewhat clean, and giving myself what I need, as well as going further with my education. I have realized that I have dreams and aspirations that were overshadowed by my marriage. Which is completely ok. When I was married, that was my sole focus. I was a wife and a mom first and above all else. I gave everything to that, and would have sacrificed anything I needed to, to ensure the happiness of my family. Now my life is different. I am a single mom, raising 3 kids on my own. I have no help, I don't get breaks every other weekend, or summers without my kids. It's us all the time. I have been blessed to have such super supportive in-laws. They have taken the kids for me a few times when I have realized that it has become to much. In order for me to be the mom I want to be and the mom my kids need, I need a break sometimes. I have found balance through all of it though.
I started to panic about a month ago, realizing my ex is getting out of the military and that will affect my whole financial situation. I have been blessed to be able to go to school without having to work. Money has been really tight, and I am living a life style far from what I was two years ago, but we are making it work, and I think in a sense I am actually happier not worrying about keeping up with the Jones' anymore. I have come into my own, realizing what is important to me at the end of the day. I don't care what amenities my car has or if I have new clothes for the fall season, I care that I am able to spend time with my kids, making them smile and laugh and ensuring their continual happiness and stability. I am working really hard in school right now to ensure that my kids have a financially stable future, and that I am able to provide them with things that I was given by my parents. I want them to be able to have a car when they turn 16, not have to worry about paying their tuition for college, and help them pay for their missions and weddings and such. This means I have to make sacrifices now for their greater good in the future. Once I realized that, things became a lot easier for me.
Recently my ex has met someone and is engaged. It has been a struggle for me, I'm not going to lie. It's hard to see someone happy when you feel like they were the ones that ruined your happily ever after. We had a future planned, ten years of life invested in it, countless sacrifices made, kids, a house, 2 dogs and a cat, the whole shebang. It was swept out from under me with no warning, and crushed my heart, I loved that man with everything I had. People change, life changes, and that's just how the cookie crumbles sometimes. I have realized that I am so happy in my life right now. Not that I wouldn't have been happy had my life not changed, but it did change, sitting back crying, playing the what if scenario's in my head and so forth does nothing.
I had the most wonderful thing happen while on the road trip I just went on. The kids were sleeping, music playing, and thoughts running through my head. That can at times be a dangerous combination, but for me in that moment it was amazing and just what I needed. 10 years with someone, it's hard to go anywhere and not have a memory there. Driving home through Wyoming yesterday I had a memory pass through my mind of a time my ex and I were driving through there. I ended up stopping at the same gas station in which over 7 years ago we stopped one night to get gas. My ex almost got in an altercation with a truck driver there, it's actually a pretty funny story. When the memory came I chuckled. In that moment I realized something in me has changed. Instead of this memory making me sad, it made me happy. I used to hate memories like that, hating that he was in my head again just wanting to break free. Memories of him brought memories of all the pain that I had to go through to get here. This is my life, the good, the bad, the past, the future, its all a part of me, and it's brought me to who I am today! I am in love with myself. I don't know that I have had that love for years. I was so caught up in trying to be who everyone else wanted and needed me to be, that I forgot who I needed myself to be. Now I have a path that I am following, and it is my path. No matter what comes, I am remaining true to myself. I don't need a relationship to make me happy, I am not closed off to the possibility of one day finding someone to love again, but instead of that being my focus, it's just kind of something in the distance that would be a bonus if it happened, it doesn't determine my happiness. I have the most amazing friends, all over the world. I have my kids and when I am with them nothing else matters. That is what this life is all about, taking what you are given and making the best out of it, making my Heavenly Father proud, and raising my children to be individuals that will make the world a better place than it was when they entered it. If that is all I do in my life, raise my children to be good Christlike people, I have done my job!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Challenges, Discovery, and Awakenings

I have lived in my home for a little over a year now. Let me tell you what a big deal this is. Since I graduated high school in 2000, I have lived in 15 houses. Yes in 12 years 15 houses. The longest one yet was my last home in Alaska, which I lived in for 18 months. 6 more months and I will have that beat. I am starting to get stir crazy, yet I know I am not ready to leave here yet. I have the most amazing neighbors and friends here, they have helped me get through the good times and the bad. They love and accept me for me, and I love them for that.

The past year has been full of growth. Though I have been alone, and a single parent much of my adult life, due to deployments of my ex-husband, I have always had something to countdown to, a goal to look forward to; this is not the case in my current situation. There is no end date to being a single parent.

I have the most amazing kids. They are funny, smart, entertaining, kind, compassionate, charitable, happy, energetic, really I could just go on and on. They make every day worth the struggle it may bring. I love them with every fiber of my being, and could not imagine my life without them. It has been a nice adjustment to this new life to have distance from my ex. I haven't had to worry about split holidays or which weekend I have with my kids, I have been able to create a stable existence, and been able to figure out this new life without the complication of really dealing with someone else and their wants and their schedule.

The struggle in all of this for me, comes in finding a balance. I have never felt so many different pulls in different directions all at the same time in my life. I must be a mother, cleaner of the home, cooker of meals, full-time student, friend, nursery teacher, devoted saint, a single woman, coordinator of schedules, and provider. There are probably more, but I can't think of any at the present moment. If I leave my kids I am bettering myself as a mother, because I am taking a break to rejuvenate, but when is too much? If I don't leave them, I inevitably get overwhelmed and frustrated, and don't spend the quality of time with them they need (quantity is there, not quality). If I take classes, do I go full-time and get it done faster, but deal with the stress of it all, or do I go part-time and have a lighter load, but take longer, and then with that decision do I work or spend the extra time with my kids? There are so many attributes devoted to balancing this act.

Many nights i sob, knowing that I am not enough right now. I have made sacrifices to try and balance things, but I still struggle with finding peace in the balance I am able to have. I know now that I completely took for granted the opportunity I had to be a stay at home mom. I am happy with where I am at relationship wise. I am happy being single, I am ok with it, it has taken me over a year to get here. Then those awful days creep up on me and I think of what I could have, what is out there for me, and I long for it. A partner in raising my kids, someone to man the grill at parties, someone to go on dates with, and to romance me. To lay my head on their shoulder, to talk about the day, and to fall asleep in their arms. Someone to laugh with and make memories with. That person that will be there to watch in awe as Ethan scores a goal in soccer, or to help Aidan pull his tooth out. That partnership that we were all made to want, and to have. I have learned to live without that, and find joy in that, but that in no way means I don't want a companion, and welcome it when the time is right again.

As I struggle to make this balance every day, being the sole person showing love to my children, being the one that disciplines them and the one that teaches them right from wrong, the one that changes the diapers, makes them food, the one that teaches them how to read and how to do their own laundry, I know i am doing the best I can. I hope that when I look back at it, I will see I did enough. For now I guess I am just taking it one day at a time, and doing the best I can do.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

You are a product.

I just had the most amazing weekend. Not only did I get a break from my kids to recharge, but I also got to go to Rexburg, and Idaho Falls for Time Out For Women.

My favorite talk of the weekend was the very first one! They all magically went together, and each had something I learned from, but I'm gonna focus this post on John Bytheway, and the amazing message he shared.

He began by sharing a story about a date he went on with his wife, before they were married. They went to the store and purchased some chicken and went up a canyon to bbq it. When they bit into the chicken he was astounded at how delicious it was. Kim, his wife, said of course, it's marinated.

He then compared that to us! When you have a glass of water and it is not as cold as you want it to be, you add ice. Then the law of thermodynamics takes over and the temperature of the ice begins to absorb the temperature of the water and vice versa. Eventually the water is cold and the ice is gone. Whatever we surround ourselves with us what we will eventually become.

He said, you are the average of the 5 people you hang around with. If you are around righteous, happy, uplifting people, think about how amazing of a place you, yourself, would be in. I know when I am around negativity I absorb it, and take it upon my own countenance. Frankly, I hate that!

John also spoke of Chad Lewis a former NFL star, who has a great book out right now by the way. He was once asked if he listened to good music while he was on the field warning up for a game, he said "no", to everyone's surprise, "I listen to great music!" He listened to Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Bound For Glory, and I'm Trying To Be Like Jesus. Isn't that awesome?!? Such a true thing about music, it gets in our souls, mine anyway. If we surround ourselves with music that isn't great, it will eventually become a part of who you are.

John then shared a story about his daughter that just won the science fair. She got 8 mice, 4 she put in a cafe with Mozart music playing 24/7 and the other 4 in a cage with heavy metal music 24/7. Every night she would put them mice in the maze and see how fast they could do it. The mice in the heavy metal maze showed only a minimal improvement, while the Mozart mice went from 5 minutes to complete the maze the first day, to 8 seconds to complete it. At the end of the experiment she put a tube to connect the cages together. The next morning when they checked on the mice, they had all gone to the cage that was playing the Mozart music. I have started to go through my music the past week, really cleaning it up. Frankly it kind of stinks to see what I have wasted my money on! I have noticed a profound difference just in the past week.

The last thing I will share, and probably the most important is this one. He was traveling back from another Time Out and was sitting next to Dallyn Vail Bayles. John asked him if he was still out in Hollywood. He said no, I'm living in Springville, UT teaching seminary. John basically asked why he had made such a drastic change. Dallyn said, when I first moved out to Hollywood someone told me "regardless of your original intention, you will eventually become what you surround yourself with."

The good stuff in life used to be all around us, now the bad stuff is what finds us. If you want the good stuff you have to find it. Pres Packer said "We are raising our children in enemy territory." Surround yourself with the good stuff, people, music, media, and what you spend your time with. The 13th Article of Faith says "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men...If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." Think about your life, look over all those things. SEEK after the GOOD, you will be better because of it, I can promise you that, I have seen it work in my life, just in the past week. That's not to say I haven't had moments where I've been down, frankly today wasn't the best day, but if we stand firm, especially in the seemingly dark times, we will be able to make it through, and become better because of it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Calves!

Well I just went for another run, outside, today. I love being able to run outside. I am so ADD when I run, to be able to go wherever is very helpful to keep me stimulated. It was a nice night, sadly I saw some mosquitoes already!! That's the bad thing about a warm winter I guess. I ran half a mile straight, twice! That's pretty good for me, but in the end my time was pretty much the same. Which is ok, it's only been a week of running everyday. I really want to see more results though, but I know patience is key to this. It's interesting to have such a fitness knowledge, and to be able to tell people things is one thing, but to tell myself, is a completely different battle. And oh my goodness when I stop running my calves hurt something fierce!!! I would rather have the calf pain than the arch pain, but neither would be nice too! Time to do some research on that.

I have been reading articles for research all day today, let me tell you my knowledge of couples therapy right now, is pretty much 300% more than is was 12 hours ago. But I really need to start writing. I am so not into this paper though. But frankly I'm gonna have to get over it, and just get it done.

The next 4 weeks will be crazy with school. I have 2 research papers, and a bunch of smaller assignments to get done. I can do it, but it's going to take a lot of dedication. I am really excited that my mom is coming in 2 weeks, it will be so helpful to have her her for the couple of weeks leading up to finals. Being a single mom in school, is the hardest thing I have ever done. I'm not saying that lightly either.

I have to do some job shadowing for a class and some service. I am going to try and volunteer for the relay for life. I am really excited for that! Tomorrow I am going to get that all lined up. I have to figure out who I want to shadow though, more importantly what career. I actually met with a career counselor yesterday. She was kinda hell bent on getting me to shadow a Physical Therapist, I don't think that is the ally I really want to go up though. But she did make me realize that I need to find out what I love and pursue that, regardless of how long school will take me. It will be scary yes, but I can't let myself settle on something I really don't want, based on fear. I need a job that I will love to go to everyday, the hard part is figuring out what that is. My dream is to work with a sports team, so I am going to look down that avenue and see what kinds of jobs I can find that are available.

My final note of the evening: I have decided to run the dirty dash! I am SO excited!!! I love to get down and dirty, and what better way that to add a little competition into it! I want to find a team, and we need to come up with a name, so the next few days I will be figuring that out as well. I'm also gonna let my boys run the piglet plunge. Not sure it will be Aidan's idea of a good time, but I have a feeling they will love it. It is a mile run in crazy muddy dirty conditions! Should be amazing!!!

Life is definitely good right now, and it keeps getting better. Can't wait to see what comes next, but for right now I am enjoying today, right now!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


So Sunday's are by far the hardest day of the week for me. It is the one day that I stop and sit and enjoy my life, then I realize, far to often, how much I am missing in my life. It's challenging, to say the least. Church has good days and bad ones with Avery. Last Sunday was spent mostly in the foyer, while this Sunday we made it all the way through sacrament without leaving! We even got there five minutes early. I love watching all the families in church. The man that stares at his wife in complete respect and awe, the mom who gets all 6 of her kids to church, matching and looking in order, the dad that lets his wife enjoy sacrament while he takes out the screaming baby. I appreciate those moments a lot more now that I don't have someone to share them with.

My pew is a little different, today was actually kinda fun. Usually it's Ethan being the dad of the group, trying to keep Aidan in line and asking if he can take Avery out into the hall. I give dirty looks at the first sign of an argument or talking, and do my best to juggle Avery, giving her whatever her heart desires so she will be content to stay in our row. Today there was someone sitting behind us that was entertaining Avery, which was extremely helpful. Then there was the moment that the boys just started giggling, over who knows what, but while watching them and trying to get them to be quiet, I bust into laughter as well, there are 3 of us sitting there trying not to laugh, which is making us laugh even more! It was a really fun, funny moment. But we made it through, and mostly unscathed!

I long for someone to share these precious moments with again, for now it is my blog, and a few friends. I have met quite a few new people in the past few weeks, I am learning to put myself out of my comfort zone, but I need to push a little more. It's been fun to meet new people and get out there, but I have to admit, it's slow going, and hard.

This week is spring break for me, and I am really looking forward to it. Sad news is I have to get my research paper written! I have put that sucker off for way to long, now I must pay the price. Hopefully it will be fast going, and I will be able to get it done! Then comes my trip to Idaho Falls, to go to Time Out For Women. I am so excited for that, time to recharge my battery, just what I need, I hope at least. I'll keep you updated!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

10 miles

I'm still building endurance, and desire to run. But I did another 2.1 miles today. That makes a little over 10 miles logged this week! That is amazing for me! I need to sign up for some races this summer, starting with the dirty dash!!! That is my heaven.

Spent hours outside with the kids, even got a sunburn...can't say I've ever experienced that in March, but hey, if it means the sun is out, I am totally ok with that.

I went to an institute activity last night, met some new people, and had some fun. I even met someone that served their mission in Alaska, and was in Fairbanks the same time I was. Small world! Most importantly I went by myself, so I would meet some new people, and I did. It was great!

Tonight I'm gonna paint the town in Provo with a friend or two! Fun times to be had for sure. Watch out Provo, you won't be the same after tonight! Other than that life is pretty mundane, looking forward to my trip north next weekend!