Currently…. October

Reading: Delicious by Ruth Reichl. This one has been a slow go for me. It took me awhile to get into it, but I’m currently trying to find more time to read it because it’s getting interesting.

Watching: Designated Survivor and This is Us. I know we’re late to the party on the latter, but Alex and I are always trying to find a show that we both like and these two are it!

Planning: The money strategy for birthday and Christmas season. In my family we have 9 birthdays in 6 months, not including Christmas and my soon to be sister-in-law is going to have her baby this week too, so that will make 10! And yes, still the wedding, until the day of!

Writing: I actually have a running list of ideas that I need to write about right now. I have Children’s Book #3 planned out, an brief outline for another novel, and very rough ideas of Children’s Book #4, and another outline. And yes, still writing my novel. Speaking of, this Tweet made me laugh harder than I probably should have.

Obsessed with: P!nk’s new album, Beautiful Trauma. I love everything she does, and I think this is one of her best albums. She is vulnerable and resilient, while still being the same genuine bad-ass she always is. I highly recommend this album.

Thinking about: Too much for just one post but here’s a short list: turning 25 (less than a month away now), what I want to do with my life, the #metoo trend, how to be a better story teller, what to get my dad for his birthday, etc.

 In need of: a good hydrating cat shampoo.

Enjoying: I framed one of my and Alex’s engagement pictures and put it on my desk at work, next to an older picture of us. I love being able to look at that picture and see how we’ve grown, and it gives me something to smile about in this gray cave that is my workspace.

Looking for: recipes for my dad’s birthday cake, and advice that you would give to your 25 year old self.

Dreading: deciding which family to see at what times, on what days, etc. for the holidays. I love that Alex and I are both so family oriented, and that our families are all nearby, but it gets tough to divide the time around the holidays.

Looking forward to: Meeting my newest niece this week! My birthday 🙂 and the holiday season, despite all the stress that may come with it.

As always, thanks for reading!

-M

 

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To the Next Man who Loves my Sister

Dear sir,

I hear you’re after my sister’s heart. Well, sir, there are a few things you should know about her that only a sister could tell you.

You see, my sister dives right in to love. She has a huge heart filled with love and she has so much love to give that she is always eager to give it out. It’s great to be on the other end, but sometimes she settles for less than she gives. She gives all of her heart when she’s in love and I’ve seen the after effect. She never complains about it, but I’ve seen how it exhausts her heart.

My sister knows what she wants out of a relationship and she deserves the fairy tale. So if you don’t want the same things, or you can’t provide those to her, tell her now before you’re both in too deep.

My sister has “baggage.” But she carries it on her own and rarely lets it bring her down. She’s been through her share of hardships and the scars on her heart remind her that she survived and now can emphasize with yet more people and she still has all the more love to give.

There are a few things you should know about me, and our family, because it’s important to know where she came from.

She was raised by a strong woman. In turn, she is a strong woman, but don’t let her fool you. She too, has a breaking point. She was raised by a protective father. In turn, she is always alert, but don’t let her fool you. She still yearns to be protected.

She is the middle child. Of course, she can tell you what all of that means to her, but from her younger sister, it means that she has seen the fallouts of our past mistakes, she’s protected us, she’s helped us along the way and she is there for us at the drop of a hat. “I need my sisters.” “I’m putting my shoes on.” That happened in the middle of the night, and we went to our older sister’s house.

She is a product of traditions. Our family traditions go back years and sometimes we don’t even know how or why they started, but that is something that is important to her. But, she still wants to make her own traditions as well.

We are a loud, rambunctious, stubborn, and sarcastic bunch. But we’re also loyal, caring, fun, and close-knit family. You’ll see us fight with each other. Boy, will you see us fight. But you’ll see us fight for each other even harder. We’re sisters and nothing will ever change that. Through hurt feelings, broken promises and drunken nights, we’re never in doubt that our sisters will be there.

And that, dear sir, is why I am extra hard on any boy that my sister brings home. I won’t threaten you like our mom, or intimidate you like our dad, but I will be critical of you. Because she’s my sister and you have to earn her heart.

So before you go walking into my sister’s world and giving her butterflies in her stomach and making her head spin with the ideas of the future, make sure you’re really able to give your full self to her. Make sure you can support her, encourage her, and protect her, the way she does with her family. But please, don’t play with her heart, for it is no ordinary heart. 

I’m Sick of This

Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve woken up to news of a mass shooting. It’s not even the first time I’ve written about a mass shooting. Even more sad, it’s not the first time I’ve heard “this is the worst mass shooting in our history.”

This one just hit me harder than the rest.

I have lived in Colorado my whole life and was 7 years old when the Columbine shooting happened. I remember my older sisters at the front door and someone, I can’t remember whether it was my mom and dad, my parents and my sisters, or a combination of the four, but there was an argument about whether or not they should go to school that day. I remember my mom was hysterical and terrified. That same weekend I went to my church and I remember the church praying for all the families and victims of the shooting, and I remember the church praying for the parents of the two shooters, because “they lost children too.” I was 7 years old. 

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I remember seeing that same hysteria and fear in my mom, as she watched the attacks on her home. She was calling our family and friends, trying to find out if everyone was okay. They were, thank goodness. She told me I would never forget where I was on that day. I remember hearing snippets of news and taking them to school with me. As third graders are trying to make sense of what happened, I remember saying, “It was a suicidal attack,” in third grade. I remember a boy telling me, “it was terrorism.” And I remember going home and asking my dad what a terrorist was. He told me it was someone who wanted to scare people. I asked why they would do that. I don’t remember what he said. How do you answer that question to anyone, let alone a third grader? 

I think that’s the day I went numb. 

One seemingly normal July night, my boyfriend texted me, “Did you hear what happened at the Batman movie?” I hadn’t, but soon enough I learned. I texted the one person I thought might be at that theater, she was safe. Then I waited on social media to make sure everyone else was safe. The next day, my sister came home hysterical. She wasn’t at the theater, but she worked overnight close to the theater, Batman is her favorite character. She had gone to the movie that morning, after work. After the shooting. The same look of fear came over my mom’s face. “Was she in the theater?” Thank goodness, she wasn’t, but it hit home. My dad knew someone who died while saving his girlfriend, he said to me, with tears in his eyes, “Ask Alex if he would do that for you.”

A few months later, I was home from college for the weekend and when I got there, the news was on. A shooter came into a classroom of kindergartners and started shooting. This time the look on my mom’s face was more shock than other emotions. They were only 6 or 7 years old. The next day, our family dog died. I told my mom that Oreo heard there were some kids up in Heaven who needed a great pet to play with.

Four years later, I woke up next to the same boyfriend who told me about Aurora, and told him, “49 people were killed at a nightclub last night. They say it’s the worst in our history.” 49?” he asked incredulously. I texted my aunt, is my cousin okay? He’s okay. Thank goodness.

And a day ago, I woke up, checked my phone and read, “At least 50 people killed in Las Vegas; worst mass shooting in US history.” I read it aloud to my same boyfriend, now fiance. I found out it was at a concert. I thought back to what I had seen on social media the past few days. My high school best friend had family at that concert. They had marked themselves as safe on Facebook (A feature I wish we didn’t have to have, but am relieved we do). Thank goodness. I checked an old high school friend’s page to see if he was okay. Nothing yet. Hours later, he let us all know he was safe. I was driving home from work and started crying. I got home and my fiance had the news on. I walked away, I couldn’t watch it anymore, listen to speculation, listen to any of it anymore. I went to my room and started crying. It was raining, and I remember my mom telling me once, if it rains after someone dies, it means that they went to Heaven. Something that I hadn’t thought about for years, but I remembered last night. My fiance came in and gave me a hug. “I just want to fall asleep in a hug.” I told him. “It could have been you.” It could have been any of us. “I’m so sick of this.” I told him. The world had finally broken me. 

I didn’t even list all of the shootings or attacks that have happened in my lifetime. I simply listed the ones that shocked me enough to remember exactly what I was doing. I’m tired of hearing about mass shootings. I’m even more tired of them getting more and more deadly than the last. Every time I think that I’ve been shocked enough, and nothing more can do it, someone does.

I keep seeing posts that say, “Thoughts and prayers won’t help.” It makes me so sad to see that. People are grieving, trying to heal, trying to make sense of everything, and you’re telling them that’s not enough? Or that they’re doing it wrong? Is there really a right way to handle these events? I posted on Facebook yesterday that I just wish we could take one day to mourn, to grieve, to digest, before the politics take over again. And that is not to say that I don’t want to talk about gun control. Let’s talk about it. Tomorrow. I just want to take a day to digest it all, get all the facts, and ask the questions that my 7 year old self is still asking today. I want the victims families to be able to breathe for a minute. I want the wounded to get the medical treatment they need first. I want the first responders to be able to hug their families first. I want the survivors to hug their families first. I want us to unite, for twenty four hours, before we go back to the same hateful division that we just experienced. And then let’s all sit down at a table and figure out what we have in common, and how we can deal with our difficulties based on what unites us. Imagine what we could do if we focused on what unites us, rather than yelling at or labeling those who disagree with us. 

I woke up today not able to shake the gloom of yesterday. So I did the only thing I could think of, I wrote.

 

Even When I’m So Unlovable, I Still Need You To Choose Me

Let’s be honest, no matter how great a relationship is, there will be days when things get difficult. Because no matter how great I am when I’m at my best, I can be pretty unlovable when I’m at my worst. I just hope that you still choose me, regardless of whether or not I’m at my best. Because that’s what love is, it’s a choice. It is choosing to be with someone day after day, even on the bad days. So on the days when you can’t stand to be with me, please choose to be with me still.

Even when I’m unlovable, I still need you to choose me.

Even when I’m jealous and possessive, I still need you to choose me, and all my insecurities.

Even when I’m hateful and mean, I still need you to choose me, and all my weaknesses.

Even when I’m selfish and uncaring, I still need you to choose me, and all my faults.

Even when I’m stubborn and unagreeable, I still need you to choose me, and all my struggles.

Even when I’m needy and clingy, I still need you to choose me, and all my vulnerabilities.

Even when I’m sad and antisocial, I still need you to choose me, and all my demons.

Even when I’m closed off and afraid, I still need you to choose me, and all my fears.

Even when I’m crazy and moody, I still need you to choose me.

Even when you’re trying your best to comfort me, to help me see the light, to love me through the dark times, and I balk at your efforts, roll my eyes, or storm off. I still need you to choose me. When I make it so incredibly difficult to receive your love, that’s when I need it the most. Reach out to me, take my hand, look me in the eyes, and remind me that I’m still your first choice.

Because even on the days when you are so unlovable, and your demons rear their ugly heads and your weaknesses come to the forefront, I will still choose you.

Because love is seeing someone’s flaws and choosing to love them anyways. Love is sticking it out when mistakes are made, and choosing to forgive them anyways. Because that’s what love is, it’s a choice.

It is choosing to be with someone day after day, even on the bad days.

So please, when you say, “I love you” remember that you’re also saying “I choose you.” I choose you on the days when you’re loving and kind and brave and good. And I still choose you on the days when you’re jealous and mean and stubborn and moody. I will always choose you.

This post was also published here.

Let the Pen do the Work

A glass of wine, in a glass etched with the words “Hello Gorgeous”.

Cinnamon candle

Apple Harvest candle

Coconut Epsom salts

Lavendar and honey bubble bath

Pandora Thumbprint

And my thoughts.

These were the elements of my Tuesday night.

I am not typically a bath person, but my body was achy and cold, and my mind was racing, so I thought I would give it a shot. I sat there just wondering what I am meant to do with my life — a question I’ve had all too frequently lately. The other day at work I took a quiz to find out what I would be if I was a salad ingredient… And then I started applying for more jobs. (I’m a crouton, because I make people feel at ease). Another day I measured my day in the number of Candy Crush levels I passed… So then I started thinking, what if I measured my day in how much writing I did? 

I can talk myself into a career path pretty effortlessly, and I can talk myself out of a career path with even less effort. But something that’s always been there is writing. But lately, I’ve doubted my writing, and my future. I basically convinced myself that if I ever did “make it” as a writer, which I define as getting a book published, I would be unhappy still. And I keep thinking that because of all the reading I’ve done on “making it” as a writer. Too often monetizing something takes the passion out of it.

I got out of the bath and was so relaxed physically. But my mind was having a harder time relaxing. I don’t know if I thought I would have an epiphany and suddenly know that I could quit my job and start looking into other career paths, but the only thought I left with was, “Well, maybe someday I’ll get to be a stay at home mom and maybe that will be my calling.”

The next day I came up with two new novel ideas and sent children’s book #1 to two more publishers. And it wasn’t until today that I realized I’m just scared to “make it.” Because I’m scared of losing the passion to write, and to create. Sure, I’m a little bit scared to fail, but I’ve dealt with failure before so I know I can handle it. I’ve never really experienced an achievement that I’m exceptionally proud of. I got close by being the first in my family to graduate from college, but that was something that I never thought twice about. If I get published, will there be more pressure to produce? Will the monetization of my passion negate the passion?

“What happens when the thing that kept you alive suddenly becomes the thing that literally keeps you alive? The thing that kept you spiritually alive now not only has to keep you spiritually alive, but also has to keep you financially alive? Like, literally, alive. Like, food in your mouth.” – Austin Kleon

I’ve been readjusting my idea of what is means to be a writer, and what kind of writer I want to be. (Evidently it’s an author). I’ve been readjusting what my idea of success is when it comes to writing, and it’s been throwing me off my groove, so I’ve decided I need to just let go and let the pen do the work. 

Currently… September

I’m thinking of making this a monthly post. It’s fun and easy for me to write, and it is constantly changing. Thoughts?

Anyways, I am currently….

Reading: Delicious by Ruth Reichl; just finished The Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner and I read that in about 3 days because it was so juicy and good 🙂

Watching: MasterChef

Planning: a wedding. No big deal.

Writing: query letters for children’s book #2. Any suggestions for proofreaders for the manuscript are welcome as well!

Obsessed with: My wedding dress and shoes! 😀

Thinking about: my next children’s book. I was inspired in Seattle and it is all just starting to percolate in my brain.

Hoping for: a new opportunity. You know how sometimes you just feel it in your bones that it’s time to move on from a job, but you try to do the responsible, adult thing and wait until you get another opportunity to leave? Yeah… That’s what I’m waiting for.

Missing: Seattle, or just vacation in general 🙂

Dreading: going to work everyday. And

Looking forward to: Fall weather! Starbucks’ salted caramel mochas are my version of fall in a cup, and with football starting, I’m ready for fall, but the weather here isn’t matching the mood! Bring on the boots, cozy sweaters, warm mugs, chilly nights, and crunchy leaves!

That’s all I have for today! Thanks for reading 🙂

-M

 

 

It’s Okay for Your Dreams to Change

When I was a kid and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would respond with: a Pampered Chef Consultant, a world famous violinist, a singer, a fashion designer, a lawyer, a writer, a mom, etc.

I’m 24 years old and I’ve already given up many dreams. Sounds sad, right? Re-read it. I haven’t given up on them. I’ve simply given up the dream. And I’m okay with that.

We’re told to dream big. But then we grow up. And since I’ve changed as a person, it seems only natural that my dreams change with me. My desires, interests, and passions have changed. So I’m okay with the fact that my dreams have changed. When my mom was no longer a Pampered Chef Consultant, I was no longer interested in selling overpriced kitchen gadgets. When I realized that I am not a good singer, I lost interest in that dream. When I went to study fashion for a summer in New York, I decided I couldn’t make a career out of it. When I started getting closer to law school, I wondered if it was really what I wanted. And when I started working at law firm, I realized I didn’t want to have the lifestyle these attorneys have. And when I realized that dream that was so set in my mind for years, was no longer a dream of mine, I figured out  how much I love writing, and I replaced the lawyer dream with the writer dream, because that was more fitting to me at that time.

It feels as though once you’ve decided what you think you want to do, you’re stuck. Someone once told me, if you’re not working on pursuing that goal every day, then you don’t want it bad enough. To some extent, I agree with that. But at the same time, some dreams have to be pursued part time, and that doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t want it badly enough, it just means that life creates different challenges and opportunities for each person.

We aren’t supposed to have everything figured out at this point in our lives, so why doesn’t anybody tell us that our dreams don’t define us? A child can change their mind a hundred times about what they want to be when they grow up, but it becomes less acceptable to do so as we get older. We’re supposed to settle down, become a contributing member of society, be realistic and stop chasing “unattainable” dreams. And you know who defines “unattainable dreams?” You. If a dream makes you hate the lifestyle you created, maybe it becomes unattainable to you. If while chasing a dream you realize that you’re not actually as interested in that field as you thought you would be, maybe that dream becomes unattainable to you. But again, only you can decide when your dream becomes unattainable, or better yet, undesirable. Just because you didn’t achieve a dream, doesn’t mean you have failed. Maybe you just grew up.
Don’t give up on a dream simply because it’s difficult, or because people doubt you. Give up a dream because you’ve replaced it with a better one.

“Today my dream is front and center, but living the dream isn’t the happy ending I once imagined. The truth is, my dream has changed; it has become clearer to me, and more challenging. Your story doesn’t end when your dreams come true, it changes.” – Malinda Lo

Goodnight, Dear Void

I haven’t written much lately. Well, technically I’ve written every day. I’ve written emails, correspondence for work, text messages, and even a line or two of my vows. But I haven’t written for my own purposes, aside from my little rant about Pinterest. Why is that? Part of me likes to think, “You haven’t written because you don’t need to.” But the bigger part of me thinks, “You always need to write.” The fact that I’ve noticed I haven’t been writing and that it’s been bothering me proves that I still feel like I need to write.

Lately, I haven’t felt as though I’ve been connecting to people the way I want to connect through my writing. Isn’t that all any writer ever wants? Aren’t we all just searching for something to confirm that we’re not alone.

It could be because I finished my second children’s book. I have a weird process once I complete a big writing project like that. I finish it. I’m incredibly proud of my work. I smile at the thought of that work for a day or two. Then on day three I think about how I need to improve certain parts of it. This phase lasts anywhere from one hour to five days. And depending on how long that phase lasts, I then go into a phase where I believe the work is complete crap and nobody will ever read or appreciate it and I should stop writing all together. This can go on for one to two days. If after two days, this phase doesn’t go away, it’s quite possible the work is actually crap. But if in fact I get out of that mental slump after those one to two days, then I go back in, and I change everything that I believed, or anyone who read it and I trust, believes needs to be changed. Then I’m even more proud of the work and I start to think I could actually get somewhere in this field.

Does this process make me completely crazy?

When I sat down to write tonight, I wasn’t sure what was going to come out. And while I’m still not sure this is what needed to come out, it is what it is. I guess tonight I have more questions for the universe and for myself than I do answers. You would think I’d be used to that by now.

“I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.”

Planning with Pinterest

I’ve been engaged for less than 2 months, and here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. My relationship with Pinterest has seriously changed. Sure, there are things about Pinterest that I still love. I can find a flowchart of the wedding processional line in a cinch. I can look at ideas for flowers, cakes, decor, etc. and save them simply. But let me tell you the things I dislike about Pinterest now that I’m actually planning a wedding.
    1. I need sub-boards! I have tweeted this to Pinterest; should I pin it somehow?? I pin different things on different days, so one day I’m looking at garters, the next I’m looking at “something blue” and happen to find a garter. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if within my Wedding board, I could have a sub-board, or even just a divider of some sort for “Garters” or “Cakes?”
    2. I hear the words, “Yeah I’ve seen that on Pinterest” so often – especially about weddings – it puts this weird pressure on the bride to make sure those words are not said. It also makes it so that every bride and Pinning guest she has, has this vision of what a beautiful wedding looks like, due to Pinterest and if you can’t replicate that, people will judge you. It feels like people base their opinions and their perceptions on what they’ve seen on Pinterest. Newsflash: Those Pinterest ideas aren’t even unique anymore (the shoe game is cute, but sometimes it just drags on). And those cute little save the dates, or favors that are handmade – take way too much time and money. I have a full time job and a budget (and no wedding planner) – something Pinterest seems to forget when it comes to weddings.
    3. It’s a smidge overwhelming. “Look at all these different variations of the same bridal shower game!” “Games that won’t bore your guests to death!” Do people hate games at bridal showers? Is it more fun if you don’t have the chance to win a prize just for knowing the bride’s shoe size? This is news to me, and if my bridal shower is boring to people, they don’t have to come! Same goes for my wedding – it’s really not about just entertaining people.
    4. People only pin the weddings that are over the top and oozing elegance. I know that my wedding will be perfect for my groom and I. If our aisle isn’t one of the most pinned aisles on the internet, we will still be happily married. I’ve learned to stop caring about what Pinterest has to suggest, unless I ask! 🙂
  2. Think big picture. Do you really need to spend $300 on an aisle runner? Probably not. Brides are bombarded with so many details it can be overwhelming and chances are, people won’t even notice many of them. (At least that’s what they keep telling me).
  3. Everybody has an opinion. People are sending me Pins, links, etc. all with “helpful” tips about what they think would be fun, or cute. I appreciate it, but again, unless I ask, I probably don’t need that help (and chances are, I’ve already seen it). There should be two opinions that really matter when it comes to the wedding: The bride and the groom. And if you’re a close knit family like Alex and I are – our parents’ opinions also matter to us.
  4. Engagement photos are treasures. Maybe this is just for me, because our photographer did such a spectacular job, but I am just cherishing every single photo she took capturing our love. We took our engagement pictures on our college campus – where we met in Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s a 60-90 minute drive from where we currently live, but well worth it. Fort Collins is our home away from home, so when we arrived, we already felt comforted and cozy and we were able to be our total selves because of it. Our photographer did such a good job making us feel comfortable with her as well so she was able to capture some very sweet shots of the two of us.
    I have shared the photos with a select group of people, and I will eventually share them to the Facebook world, but for now, I’m hoarding them. I’m holding them close to my heart as my own little treasure chest. I can look at them, and know “this is just for me” and feel just as calm and at ease as we did in Fort Collins that day.
  5. Go with the flow. Our engagement pictures were supposed to be sunset pictures, but it hailed the day we scheduled them, so they are darker, and wet. And obviously, I still love them. There’s a very good chance it is going to rain (for at least a little bit) on the day of our wedding – at our outdoor ceremony. And I’m starting to accept this now so maybe it won’t be such a shock on the actual day. I have changed the picture we are using on our Save the Dates three times already. At first, that was stressing me out, then I thought about how lucky we are to have so many great pictures to choose from and realized I will like any of the choices we make. And I still have all the other pictures in my little treasure trove, and to use at the wedding. Stay on top of it all, remember what this day is actually about, and relax just a little bit. It will all be perfect in the end.

Thanks for reading! I know the topics of my writing has changed in the last few months, and I hope you all stay with me through this journey!

P.S. I will update about my children’s books soon!

P.P.S. I have two lines of my vows already written! I would have forgotten the exact wording if I didn’t write them down right that moment 🙂

 

Currently Doing

It’s been awhile since I’ve written, (longer than I like to admit) so here are some updates as to what I’ve been up to!

I am currently….

reading: Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. Next up: If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison

watching: Still Star-Crossed, and Drop Dead Diva (again)

planning: a trip to Seattle with Alex. (And our wedding of course!)

writing: a piece called “You Matter Too,” my novel, and just finished writing my second children’s book 🙂

obsessed with: my new cast iron skillet and any recipes that allow me to use it.

in need of: a new vacuum.

wanting: a dog and a big, long thunderstorm.

proud of: my 2nd children’s book and getting a raise at work.

dreading: money issues. We need a new vacuum, a shoe shelf (surprisingly not for me), and a date night.

looking forward to: a day off from work 🙂

Thanks for reading!

-M