my personal theme

i was just reading stephanie’s posts on their family themes and this quote came to mind.

there’s no going back. no matter how hard i pray and cry and wish.

all that’s left is to move forward.

and i’m trying. sometimes it’s fearfully, ungratefully, haltingly, stubbornly, slowly, and painfully but “even those who limp go not backwards.” (gibran)

getting a little off topic, but not really… have you read the great divorce by cs lewis? it’s one of my favorite books. in the book the inhabitants of hell get to visit heaven and, if they choose, can stay there. there’s nothing in the world stopping them. but most of them don’t. they choose to go back to hell. the ghosts talk of their lives and sorrows and injustices and at one point in the book the author is told “heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”

i think that’s true. it’s a tall order but i truly believe it’s possible. whatever the details, the whole can still be beautiful.

do you have family or personal mottos?

i don’t know the source
for this image… help?

take care

self care.


i don’t know why in my mind self care has a negative connotation. maybe because i associate it with other self words like self pity, self-centered and selfish.

when i went into the rape crisis center the woman there cheerfully chirped, “take care of yourself. have a bubble bath… get a pedicure!” and i wanted to hit her. hard. in the face. with a chair. (to be fair i’m sure she said more than that but i don’t remember.) i was scared and angry and my brain latched on to what seemed the most ludicrous statement and i vowed to never get a pedicure or take a bubble bath again. after the miscarriage i was told basically the same thing. “just relax. try taking a bubble bath.”  by that point my head was in such an awful, messed up place that the last thing i wanted was anything to do with myself. i wanted away from my self, out of my body, far away from this life.

the other day when i was at a very low point i shared some of the feelings i had about myself… and they weren’t the great. it was pointed out that if i said the things i say to myself to another person i’d be a bully and a kind of a jerk. ugh.

i feel like i see and hear the term self care all over the place lately. i’m working on finding the balance between self pity and self care.

“Self care refers to actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health and promote human development.”

i guess what i’m finally realizing is that i am still here. that life is stubborn. it goes on. it’s going to go on. it goes on whether i’m curled up on my bed hiding out or trying to put the pieces of my life back together and keeping enjoying life. if it’s going on go on it may as well be enjoyable. it’s worth trying, right?

things to start:

buy myself fresh flowers
prepare little meals, even if it’s just for me
wear a bright lipstick
keep my desk tidy so it’s a place i want to be
download some new music turn it up
be diligent with my personal prayer and scripture study
spend time with friends
use exercise to work out some of the nervous tension
get my eyebrows done every once and awhile
stop using the word fine – good or bad, be authentic
start a photo challenge: nature/self portrait/ whatever
go to the temple
take deep breaths

things to change:

take my prescriptions without calling myself weak
cry when i need to without calling myself a baby
say no when i’m overwhelmed without calling myself selfish
reach out when i need to without calling myself pathetic
search for a new job without calling myself a loser
spend time with people i love without questioning my worth
forgive myself when i slip without beating myself up

“Therefore, though ours is a time of conflict, quietly caring for the ‘life of the soul’ is still what matters most.” – Neal A Maxwell
what are some ways you care for yourself? how do you fight back against your own inner bully?
beautiful image by olga bennett

let’s talk about capsule wardrobes

have you heard of this? after natalie posted hers i became kind of obsessed with the idea. i think it’s a good thing for two reasons:

1. it has totally kept me busy in between searching for a job and avoiding the yucky parts of life right now.
2. i am pretty sure hoarding tendencies run in my family.

i’ve always been drawn to the idea of minimalism. when i read about how people live minimally i think they must be really self actualized or have incredible self control – two qualities i very much admire. that being said i love to shop. like, it really makes me happy. sometimes even if i know i’ll probably never (or rarely) wear something i’m so drawn to a color or pattern that i end up buying it. and that, my friends, is how you end up on an episode of hoarders.

minimalist wardrobes aren’t a new thing. diana posted this years ago and i saved it because i was just so fascinated with the idea of having a tiny wardrobe. and even longer ago erin did a thirty items for thirty days challenge. so with these lovely ladies as inspiration i decided to take the plunge.

first things first i downloaded caroline’s capsule wardrobe planner and spent days browsing my pinterest boards to figure out what my style is. i still don’t really know…  but as i pinned away the words that came to mind were preppy, boho, pink.

my goals:

comfort: i want my clothes to fit well and be comfortable. this seems like the biggest “duh” statement but i either buy things a little too big because i don’t want them to be tight or am feeling self conscious and then end up feeling sloppy and self conscious or i hang try to make things work that aren’t quite the right size or style and end up feeling uncomfortable and self conscious.

feminine: i like a little pink or a ruffle detail here and there. i enjoy wearing skirts and dresses, and with tights. i like a some sparkle. always saves the day here.

modest: i kind of dread using that word. if anyone says “modest is the hottest” i’ll poke them in the eye. i feel most comfortable covered up. i don’t care if it’s hot or not.

structured: i really love the peasant, flowy look but it just doesn’t work for me. i promise i would wear peasant tops and chiffon skirts all day long if i could. but one thing i’ve learned about my style is that a little structure helps me feel more put together and more confident.

second, to be completely honest the amount of money i plan on spending for this fall capsule is zero dollars. some people budget a certain amount for each season and that’s completely awesome. but given my no job/potential hoarding situation i’m going to work with what i have. and i have plenty. so far i’ve taken two very large garbage bags to goodwill and di and it’s made feel kind of wasteful. why buy something if i’m just going to get rid of it in a few months? even if it is only $20? and there are several storage tubs going into the garage for future seasons or to sell. maybe for the winter i’ll budget for a pair of boots.
i lied. i do want a pair of these.

my have-it-all-together date is september 21st. totally doable. i think. it’s actually turned out to be a lot more effort than i anticipated. i feel like the end result will be a good thing but right now there are piles and boxes of clothes and empty hangers everywhere. my poor harlow is under the bed… which is probably a good idea.

have you ever done a capsule wardrobe? or a mini wardrobe? are you going to?

top image from ny mag featuring chloé pieces, hunting down sources for the other images 

life lately

“foggy whirlwinds may be your intimate companions. being up-in-the-air could be your customary vantage point. during your stay in this weird vacationland, please abstain from making conclusions about its implications for your value as a human being. remember these words from author terry braverman: “it is important to detach our sense of self-worth from transitional circumstances, and maintain perspective on who we are…” 

for the last several months things have been fine. really, actually fine. not great, not awful but fine. and fine has been good enough. the last few weeks, however, have felt like one step forward, 300 steps back.

but i’ve faithfully stuck to my motto of “i’m fine” because it seems like the polite thing to do. i mean, honestly shouldn’t there be a moratorium on how long you’re allowed to feel bad about something? shouldn’t i spare my friends the same old sadness? but saying “i’m fine” while there’s a dinosaur dying a slow death in the pit of your stomach, or when all you want to do is lie down on the sidewalk and just stay there, or when you have to walk two blocks in the dark and immediately burst into frightened tears is no fun.

my solution for the last few weeks has been to hide out. keeping myself inside and busy with ridiculous things like ironing my bedding, spending way too much time on pinterest, vacuuming 4 times a day (no, really) and rearranging my bookshelves obsessively isn’t really a great solution either. and i hate ironing.

my point: depression sucks. it’s frustrating and boring and lonely and scary. hopefully it’s just part of my weird “vacationland”.

good natured friends have pointed out that i have a valid reason to be depressed and okay, yes, maybe that’s true… but i don’t want to be depressed. i don’t want to spend the rest of my life ironing. and more than anything i don’t want that reason.

the other day i met a friend at the park and she very pointedly but kindly asked how i’d been and as i opened my mouth to recite “fine” i couldn’t do it. i took a breath and with a lot of embarrassment said, “i’ve been sad.” to me it sounded so lame, pathetic and weak … or like something a 5 year old would say. but i said it and then i waited for the dreaded pep talk. while there was a little pep talk what i got was kindness, listening, understanding and concern. one of the things she said was “weakness is not a sin”… as in being sad doesn’t mean i’m faithless. depression is not a sin. anxiety is not a sin.

and so that’s how i’ve been. sad. but saying it eases some of that sadness so there’s hope.

polaroid by me.

i’ll get there

some days it feel like i haven’t made any progress getting back to the old or normal “me”. or maybe i’ll have a few good days in a row and then a panic attack or a really bad day smacks in the face and it feels like i’m starting all over again and that any progress i might have made is wiped out. it’s hard to be objective about your own progress. 

i was reading nie nie’s blog and last month she blogged about doing a flip on the trampoline for the first time since her accident. she was really excited and proud of herself and brought her whole family out to watch her do it again. and even though i don’t read her blog much i was proud of her too. 

i’ve been thinking if there was anything in my own life that i could consider progress. sometimes i feel so very far away from where i was that progress doesn’t even seem possible. like the distance between then and now is too great. BUT in an effort to focus on the positive i did think of a few things and while they might not seem like a big deal to someone else they mean something to me. each one of them means a step towards getting my life and “me” back. 

1. i started blogging again. // for me this has been huge whether or not anyone is reading it. 

2. i moved to utah. // at the time it felt like i was running away and maybe i was but it was a risk leaving the familiar and “start overing” somewhere else. 

3. movies under the stars. // i don’t like being out at night much. my anxiety is peaked and it’s hard for me to relax and enjoy myself. i also tend to get nervous in big crowds but last week i went to see an outdoor movie on the lawns of the utah capitol. i brought harlow with me and that helped and we met friends for a picnic before the movie and i even saw some of my former students there. it was sort of fun. i can’t say i was totally at ease but i did it. (harlow, on the other hand, had the time of her life – sneaking over to other people’s blankets to try and snuggle with them and making friends with a poodle named cosette and loving every single kid she could get to.) 

4. finding the perfect waterproof eyeliner. // okay this doesn’t really count as progress but as i mentioned before my emotions are pretty much right at the surface 90% of the time and i cry, well, a lot. i’d basically given up on eyeliner because no matter what brand i tried it always lead to a very unattractive raccoon face. however stila’s stay all day liquid eyeliner is pretty cry proof.

it’s not much of a list but it’s better than nothing. hopefully i’ll be able to add most substantial things to this list one day soon.

image borrowed from a house in the hills

a spark

after this post i panicked a little. that was a lot of personal “stuff” to share and even though your comments were kind and generous there was no going back. there was no taking back what i wrote and when that sunk in i felt overwhelmed.

elizabeth sent me this beautiful quote:

There is in every woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.

i love this photo by henri cartier bresson. there’s not a lot of beauty around her but that little girl’s spark is shining bright.

life lately

this is not a christmas post. sorry. there has been a lot going on over the last few months that has not be pleasant or happy or sunshine-y. i don’t want to weigh my blog down with sad posts but pretending everything is perfect doesn’t seem right either. so read if you want, or pass and hopefully i’ll have a sunshine post soon. i really hope i do.

a few months ago i had to deal with something that was very scary and painful and life threatening. i’m still dealing with it. maybe i’m not handling it as well as i should be. i don’t know. well probably. i should be braver, stronger, more grateful, etc.

i went to talk to someone about what was going on and they referred me to someone else. i talked to the second person. they referred me to talk to someone else. i talked to the third person… which was a disaster. opening up to three complete strangers (and then being “sent away”) was humiliating and difficult to say the least. the thought of trying again with a fourth person, well, feels too overwhelming. but unfortunately, probably necessary. but for now i’m left feeling incredibly frustrated.

during this time my family sort of well, imploded. there’s a lot of hurt and anger between my siblings and my parents. i’m not going to air my family’s dirty laundry on the internet but somehow in the midst of problems that i’m not involved in, i became a target for their combined anger. one thing i’ve learned is that people usually lash out at people that they know will be most likely to forgive them when everything blows over. so i’m counting on it all blowing over and am trying not to give into my own hurt feelings.

i was living alone, which led to a serious lack of sleep and increased anxiety. i’ve always loved sleep and sleep like a log. i had no idea what is was like to just not be able to fall asleep or to fall asleep and wake up multiple times throughout the night. i’ve thought about taking melatonin or looking into other sleep aids but i think deep down i don’t want to sleep. i mean i want to sleep but i feel like i need to be alert and wake. so harlow and i moved in with a friend and her family. it was hard to accept their generous offer but i was so grateful when they showed up at my house, packed me up and moved me in. and i feel so grateful for their kindness and patience. and honestly it’s been a good distraction. (3 kids, two bunnies, 2 geckos, 2 dogs = good distraction).

and christmas. i usually love, love, love christmas. i was singing christmas songs (in my car) back in september. maybe i used up all my christmas cheer prematurely. it will be weird not to spend christmas with my family this year especially since they all live nearby. i love my saviour and love to celebrate his birth and this life. but i’d sort of like to skip the rest.

and to top it all off i’m so frustrated with myself. i want to be happy and shiny and get excited about holiday things and laugh at stupid things. i go between telling myself i’m a whiney, selfish, grinch, baby who just needs to get it together and realizing that i probably should cut myself a little slack and give myself time to grieve and heal.

ten things

1. lying under a pile of heavy blankets
2. cool breezes and crunchy autumn leaves
3. the puppy sighing in the next room
4. priesthood blessings
5. quiet mornings
6. warm cups of lavender mint tea
7. hot showers
8. twinkle lights
9. handwritten notes
10. precious, precious sleep

i was going to call this a happiness list but really it’s a list of ten things that have brought a few moments peace. i’m trying to find more of them.

beautiful words

I’ve been reading a lot lately and the other day I rediscovered these beautiful words by rainer maria rilke.

“You mustn’t be frightened…if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall…
bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better. In you so much is happening now; you must be patient like someone who is sick, and confident like someone who is recovering; for perhaps you are both. And more: you are also the doctor, who has to watch over himself. But in every sickness there are many days when the doctor can do nothing but wait. And that is what you, insofar as you are your own doctor, must now do, more than anything else.”

and this morning i found these words in my horoscope:

“…all of creation loves you very much. Even now, people you know and people you don’t know are collaborating to make sure you have all you need to make your next smart move.”

true or not it’s nice.