Sometimes Max doesn't get home from school until eleven and I tell him I feel like a widow. Sometimes the idea of eight more years of school sounds impossible. Sometimes my routine feels a little bit mundane and predictable. Sometimes (read: all the time) our conversations center around where to invest our money, instead of spending it on one of my many $$$ dream vacations. Sometimes I don't want to wake up at seven AM Monday through Friday. Sometimes I would rather go on a crazy shopping spree instead of not. Sometimes Friday night dates are spent watching Friday Night Lights on my computer while Max sits next to me and has to study instead. Sometimes people aren't always nice. Sometimes I say something I regret. Sometimes (also read: all the time) I wish McDonalds delivered. And sometimes life is what is it: a lot of hard work, patience and occasionally a few tears at the end of the day.
Those "sometimes days" are a part of life for everyone, and some of my favorite conversations (and posts) are the ones you can honestly relate to and even share with others what life really is like: both ups and downs. And as I was talking to a few of my friends about these things the other night, I also thought about the quoteI had posted the other day. I actually read it for the first time a few months ago, but have often thought about it since. It reminded me of what I've also talked about online before -- my blessings book.
I started that book back up again this year, after taking a little bit of an unintentional hiatus last year, (in other words, I had become a major slacker and failed to prioritize something that has always been really, really important to me). I knew I needed to change that. So I did. Every night this year I have written something down that I am grateful for. Sometimes I will even pass the book over to Max and will ask him write something down too. Without trying to sound cliché, honestly, the difference it has made already is like comparing night to day.
I know plenty of other people have said it before, but counting your blessings and then expressing that appreciation to a friend, a stranger, even in your journal, and especially to your Heavenly Father can change everything. It does change everything. It's okay (and important) to be honest about your life. It's okay to openly admit to yourself or to others that it can get hard. Or that it is hard. Last year in particular had its share of difficulties for me, all for many different reasons, (and it's also okay to leave those parts of your life offline and share it with people rather than the internet :) But I also think it's equally important to focus on all of the good around us too. There will always be bad days or bad jobs or other real or more serious problems that we'll have to go through in this life. But those bad days aren't ever so bad that I can't count at least one thing I am grateful for. Because there will always be something to be grateful for. And in the end, what matters the most is "which garden you choose to tend."
"Life is like that—ups and downs, a bump on the head, and a crack on the shins. It was ever thus. Hamlet went about crying, “To be or not to be,” but that didn’t solve any of his problems. There is something of a tendency among us to think that everything must be lovely and rosy and beautiful without realizing that even adversity has some sweet uses. One of my favorite newspaper columnists is Jenkin Lloyd Jones. In a recent article published in the News, he commented:
... Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.
Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed... The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
“.... Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend... When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives, but are grateful for the abundance that's present - love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness] - the wasteland of illusion falls away, and we experience Heaven on earth.
We were finally able to see World of Color, which, you guys, is amazing and I cried.
We saw Adam Sandler on Indiana Jones and although I was way too nervous to do anything but take a picture/stalk him, at least Max said hi!
I finally accomplished my spring cleaning checklist (!!!) which you wouldn't think would be much of an endeavor living in an 800 sq. foot apartment.... but unfortunately, it is.
I have already started counting down to an official Twilight Zone summer marathon kick off!
Work is still the best. So is daylight savings a week after I get used to it.
Max only has three weeks left of the semester, which means I'll have my husband back for five days before spring term starts!
I wouldn't be mad if I never heard the words selfie, totes, and belieber ever again.
And last but not least: Happy first day of spring/international day of happiness! (is that really even a thing?? i just heard that today?) As Oscar Wilde once said, "With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?"
I don't remember any time in the last few years where it actually felt like April before March in Utah! I ordered a lemonade (knock on wood) because I will take sunny, sixty degree weather when I can + a strawberry lemonade to seal the deal. This weekend I plan on cleaning out everything under our bed (am I the only one who uses that space as a storage closet?), buying a wreath for the front door, and getting together with friends with a whole lot of catching up to do. Last time a few of us got together, we sat in the restaurant and talked from four until nine! I think we had three different waitresses? Anyway, I hope you're enjoying a little bit of spring weather wherever you are, and now - a few words from ee cummings:
Spring is like a perhaps hand (which comes carefully out of Nowhere) arranging a window into which people look
(while people stare arranging and changing placing carefully there a strange thing and a known thing here) and changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps hand in a window
(carefully to and fro moving New and Old things, while people stare carefully moving a perhaps fraction of flower here placing an inch of air there)
Right now I'm about three books behind schedule on my goal of reading 100 books this year. I've read a few really great ones and a few I haven't loved as much as I would have hoped, but I'll write more about that later.
I started Gone With the Wind a few weeks ago, and am about halfway through - it is so long, but SO GOOD. Of course I had seen the movie before I picked up Mitchell's book to read for myself, so I didn't know how much I'd get into it already knowing the story beforehand, but let me just tell you -- it's amazing. Her characters Scarlett, Mammy, Rhett, and Melanie are some of my favorites (whether or not they're always likeable) - up there on my list with unforgettable Atticus Finch and Rudy Steiner (but who can compete with them?) And the way she describes Southern gentility and way of life two hundred years ago, you just can't help but fall in love with Georgia and Tara too. It makes me want to pack my bags up and move there tomorrow!
Also, for those of you who haven't read Unbroken - you need to go read it. Today. Or at least pick it up at a bookstore sometime before December when the movie comes to theaters. It has to be one of my favorites (and Max's too!) - something we both read a few summers ago and loved. This story is something you can't walk away from without feeling incredibly inspired and uplifted, (and in my opinion, we could use a lot more examples in media and literature with these kinds of messages today!) So, so, so good!
It's February 14th! And our plans for the night are to stay in, get takeout, watch An Affair to Remember aannddd maybe Max will let us be serenaded all night long by some of my favorites: the Backstreet Boys. I'm telling you, those key changes (here, here, here, here,here - see what I'm saying!?) are Valentines Day GOLD. I don't understand how he can't love them as much as I do ;) When Max asked if there was anything else I wanted to do, that was what my list really came down to. Max + sugar + the good ol' days. Max loves me enough to say sounds great, even though I'm sure he would rather go bowling or get pizza.
(the extent of my valentine decorations are taped on the fridge.
pictures of us at seventeen years old + our wedding day! how time flies!)
I love Max. I feel lucky that we get to share life together, the ups and downs and everything in-between. One of my goals this year was to learn how to cook new things, and let me tell you - that goal has brought many disasters into our kitchen. One as recently as Monday night, when I threw my gluey potatoes into the garbage and decided it was time to go to bed three hours before 10. Max brought me in a bowl of cereal for dinner and said, "Hey that's okay, your food still turns out 50% of the time" -- and I decided to take that as a compliment instead of getting mad :) I just can't quite say it enough, I really, really love that guy, and am so grateful for him, and that I get him for me.
So Happy Valentine's Day you guys! I hope your day is filled with the people you love and a whole lot of chocolate.
One of my favorite parts of a 12 hour flight to New Zealand was the fact that I'd sit next to someone from another part of the world with crazy different experiences than my own. One of my favorites was a woman named Stephanie from Germany, whose life was about as opposite of mine as possible. I loved talking to her about everything from our families to religion to Cary Grant. Obviously I'd love to travel all over the world one day, but in the meantime, I really love when I am able to meet people with different backgrounds or from different cultures, and open my eyes to something outside of my own experience and comfort zone.
I guess that's one thing I love about Humans of NY (website here) or you can follow them on Instagram here. I love that you can catch a little glimpse of someone else's life or perspective - and for anyone else who might love people watching at airports, you should check it out.