Monday, April 30, 2012

Generation


Hanging on the wall in my aging grandma's house, amongst 2 dozen other framed pictures, is this: a gift I gave to her 3 years ago today for her 55th wedding anniversary to my poppa- making today the celebration of their 58th year together! WOW!














As I walked passed this tribute last week, I thought what a simple, yet sentimental present this would be for the important women in your life too... and with Mother's Day being right around the corner, I couldn't resist snapping a picture and posting it! 

Pretty cool idea, don't you think? I know it's not the most original, or super-cutesy crafty-wafty gift around, BUT this brought tears to my Grandma's eyes and is one that she can cherish forever! And even if you've never been married or are divorced, don't let that stop you... you can use school day pictures, senior year pictures, or even just snapshots of life.

I'm still not exactly sure what I'm giving the wonderful women in my life this Mother's Day... but I've been on a hunt for ideas. I'm still filling my basket, but I plan to share my findings with you later this week :)

Marvelous Monday everyone!


**Sorry the picture is grainy... it's a picture of scanned pictures... behind glass. Oh, and there's me as a young bride... ha! That seems like a LIFETIME ago!




Saturday, April 28, 2012

Raw Fish

4 years ago, even the mere idea of popping a piece of raw fish in my mouth would have made me barf! But, oh!, how things can change overtime.... Sushi has become one of my favorite foods, ever! And I have found the BEST sushi place in Utah by far! But if you want in on my little secret, you can't let its location (tucked away in a little strip mall in Davis County) scare you away, OK? :)




 YUMM-O!!


** Are you a Sushi Lover?? Or does the idea of it make your stomach turn??

Nothing too long for today, but wanted to wish you a HAPPY WEEKEND!!


**What are you doing? Anything FUN?









Friday, April 27, 2012

Hairy or Hairless?

DISCLAIMER: My dearest mother, I hope you won't be totally mortified after reading this mornings post... and I also hope you'll be very quick to forgive and forget..... mmmmmk?

I'm about 10 years old and we are on a family vacation somewhere. My older sister and I have decided it's pool time. We get our suits on, lather on the sunblock, grab our towels, and head for the door. On the way out of the hotel room mom says with a twinkle in her eye and half smirk,

"Have fun and be careful girls! And remember... if you see ANY gentlemen with hair on their chests, backs, or shoulders, make sure you come get me.... ok??"

Disgusted and holding back the dry-heaves, my sister and I look at each-other,

 "EWWWWW gross mom!"

But she was serious. DEAD serious! So serious, in fact, that the one time we did come back with news about a hairy guy in the hot-tub, she hurriedly threw on her shoes, grabbed her purse and ran down to the pool to scope it out for herself. I'm not joking right now.

Welcome to my mom's world.

Her continued passion for gawking at hairy men has been a long running joke for years and is no secret among family and friends.

Take for instance last summer when we decided to go to Bombay House: Fine Indian Cuisine for dinner. Within the first few minutes of being seated, our server (probably in his later 20's or early 30's) approaches our table. He is of Indian descent and wears a turban. His face is covered in a thick, black beard and his brilliant white shirt makes the contrast of his dominant features and intensely beautiful dark eyes, even more stunning. My mom is captivated. We all know exactly what she is thinking.

After he delicately set downs our delicious chicken tikka marsala and naan bread and tells us to enjoy, she leans across the table as he walks away and whispers with wide eyes and pure excitement,

"Did you see the hair on his KNUCKLES? I can only imagine what his chest must look like.... I wish I had a hose to spray him down!"

We all burst into laughter! But not just because it's hilarious, but because she's not kidding!

And don't even get me started on her once in a lifetime adventure in Istanbul. I got a full recap of the trip and apparently being surrounded by handsome young Turks, their bodies covered in hair, was the highlight of it all! Yes, this may have competed with or possibly even trumped the experience of the historic Blue Mosque.

You might be reading this and wondering 'hey, what about her husband?' Well fortunately my dad is pretty hairy himself and so there is no jealousy or competition there. It's all in good fun and they've got a really rock solid relationship! I mean, my mom has been staring my dad down for the last 35 years and would rather stare at him more than anyone else anyway. Even now, she's constantly seen unbuttoning the top few buttons of his shirt, pulling the cloth apart, and gently fluffing and twirling his chest hair with her fingers. My dad gets a slightly embarrassed look on his face because while doing so she says (and I quote),

"there's something about it that just takes my breath away!"

***

Okay, so..... my guess is that right about now you're either reading this with a grossed out look on your face thinking yuck!, OR you're smiling an uncomfortable smirk because you can somewhat relate!

Which one are you??

**Ladies, do you prefer a hairy or hairless man? I'm curious to know if it's a 'generational thing' or if it's a 'my mom' kind of thing?

**Dudes! Do you wax or shave your chest? Or do you just let it go all nat.ur.al? Do you have pressure from your wife or significant other to go one way over the other? Don't worry, we won't judge you... your worth is not measured by how much (or little) chest hair you have :)

**Oh, and since we're talking about hairy chests, has anyone seen the new Disney Movie Chimpanzee? Purely DELIGHTFUL! We all LOVED it but I'm not quite sure who enjoyed watching the furry chimps more... Little Dude or my mom... haha ;)

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P.S. Thanks for being a good sport mom! I LOVE YOU! 



Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Make New Friends

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I have spent more time at parks filled with other moms, quietly sitting on the bench, just wishing that one of the ladies would spark up a conversation with me. But I'm not going to do it. No way. I think about saying something, but I can't. I do nothing. I just sit there-- frozen and stone-faced, waiting for someone else to courageously say something, anything. But no one makes a peep. And so there we all sit, a half dozen women or more, in an awkward silence (minus the few cheers we give our kids on the play ground), imagining how cool it would be if someone dared to break the ice.

Ugh! Who's with me on this one?

Since starting this new blog of mine 6 weeks ago however, I've been overwhelmed with this larger than life desire to get to know people better! Whether it's the grocer clerk, the other moms at swim lessons (or the teachers themselves), the hygienist at the dental office, the staff at a clothing store, the golf pro at the clubhouse, the waitress at the diner, the mom at the museum, the new girl at church, the babysitter(s) at the gym daycare, the salesman behind me on the airplane, or the elderly couple sharing a bench with me at the splash pad, if I can make eye contact with them, the 'newly evolved me' will smile and try to generate light conversation.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I am that girl. Love me or hate me, I can't help the new Jacy that is emerging from the ashes. It's been AWESOME and guess what I've discovered?? If you ask enough questions, you will soon realize that EVERYONE has a story; glorious, ugly, or even just treading water, everyone has something. And because this concept has fascinated me so, I'm on a mission to make new friends everywhere I go!

So how do you do it? How do you get passed the anxiety that comes with igniting a conversation with a total stranger? How do you develop a sincere friendship (or make better friendships) with people you already know? 

While I am no pro and am still learning by much trial and error, here are some things that have helped me thus far:

When you're in a public place (the zoo, the park, Zumba class, etc) and are surrounded by other women (or men for my male readers) you don't know:

1) Make the first contact. It's okay to be BOLD. Get out of your comfort zone and see what happens! Smile, say hi, comment on something you like about her kids, her outfit, or anything that is open ended. See if this person gives you the vibe that they're interested in chatting. If not, no harm, no foul... at least you tried. 
 2) If the person is receptive to your friendly approach, be inquisitive! Get the other person talking about themselves. Listen intently to what they're saying. When it gets quiet, instead of blabbing about yourself (I am so guilty of this... yikes!), ask another question. Remember, the point is for you to get to know others, so listen! Your time will come when the questions are reciprocated... then you can talk more about you. :)
3) If you totally hit it off, link up by asking for an email, a phone number or even a Facebook request. I have met some of my GREATEST friends this way! But had I never asked for their contact information in the first place, I would have missed out. It's also important that once you get their info, don't be embarrassed to reach out at a later time.

When you're dealing with women you already know (in your neighborhood, church, work environment) and want to create more meaningful friendships with them:

4) Take the lead! Invite a few couples (or even just one couple to start) you don't know very well over to your house for dinner. Don't be afraid to HOST something. Let people in your home. Let them bring their favorite dish. Take them on a tour. Allow them to compliment you and graciously accept their kind words. And end the evening by asking "We must do this again! Whose house should we do it at next time?" This will not only open the door for future gatherings (giving someone else the opportunity to host), but it will also confirm your interest in building the friendships even more.
5) Coordinate a girls night with the ladies in your neighborhood or work place. Start by talking to one person, tell them your idea, get the word spreading and make it happen! By taking the lead on this, you'll get to know each lady even before the actual event because you'll be the go-to girl for details. This works wonders! 
6) And the most important part of all of this: don't just invite the couples/women you click with. Difficult as it may be, force yourself to include those whom you think you have nothing in common with! Because the women whom you think are 'too good for you' or 'have nothing in common with you' are most likely being misunderstood. In fact, I'd be willing to bet my left arm that most of the time these women are feeling the same doubts and insecurities about you. So swallow your pride, put your fears aside and personally invite those particular people along; making it a point to specifically get to know them better throughout the evening. ASK questions. Learn more about them. If you're nervous to start at such an aggressive level, begin by giving genuine compliments and work your way up from there (and this may be a gradual process that will take some work, but don't give up after just one try). 
Never judge a book by its cover! There are people in my own life that I initially labeled as 'not my type' whom I now consider my closest friends and/or those who have taught me the most valuable life-lessons. The best of friendships can flourish only when you give everyone a chance... and I guarantee that you'll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome if you do so.

When you're blogging...
7) Don't feel stupid!! COMMENT. Add yourself as a follower to the blogs you like. When questions are asked, chime in! The point of blogging is to unite and gain perspective from others, right? And the blog authors will be thrilled to hear from you, too!
8) If you really like the people you are following online, don't be afraid to correspond via email. Get the conversation rolling even more. 
9) And if you so desire and the feelings are mutual, connect and plan a get together in a public place. Initiate a lunch somewhere with a few other blogging friends and see where it takes you! But of course, always use smart judgement and be extremely cautious when transitioning the cyber world into your real life. There are some weirdo's out there and you can never be too careful!

**Are you good at this making new friends thing?? Any other tips you'd like to add to my list??

 Let's get out there and make some friends people!! You never know who you're going to find!! :)


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fashion Column: "CHANTEL STYLE"




















YAY! It's Wednesday which means it's time for the weekly Fashion Column:"READER STYLE"

Today's feature is happening over at NORA'S BLOG! Check it out to see what the lovely Chantel has come up with!

What a wonderful way to unite and stay in-tune with fashion, no matter how different our lives are, without comparing ourselves to the unrealistically photoshopped models in the industry today. You want real beauty? Stick around because this is a raw portrayal of just that; everyday women, beautiful and unique in their own distinct way, sharing their sense of style.

I love it!

But we need YOU to participate! If you haven't already, snap some pictures of what you're wearing this week, write a few sentences about yourself and why you chose what you did, how it makes you feel, and then hit that darn send button with CONFIDENCE! I'm waiting.... :)


**The fabulous artwork above was created by one of my readers, the ever-so-talented Ania from Gdansk, Poland! Isn't this just SO fitting for today's post!? And isn't it so FABULOUS? Thanks Ania for giving me permission to share it! You can check out her really cool blog HERE 




Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Story About Love; {Miracle}


(If you're new to this story, please read Part 1 and Part 2 before continuing on, DON'T skip ahead... :)


***************************************************************************************************

Seth donated his bone marrow. Megan's body was still extremely weak from childbirth, Leukemia, Chemo and everything else that was keeping her alive.

The day before undergoing the actual bone marrow transplant there was a hemorrhage in her lung, causing her to lose the ability to breath on her own. She was intubated and yet again, put in a drug induced coma. Blood and fluid filled her lungs and she was sent to the ICU. After running significant amounts of tests, the doctors ruled the root of so many problems was due to congestive heart failure. As if her struggling body needed one more thing to contend with.

Within a very short amount of time, Megan's life was on the line again. But to the doctors surprise, her lungs cleared up at a rapid pace, and her heart slowly continued to improve, resulting in the bypass of heart surgery.

After continual progress over the next 2 weeks, hopes were high and she was finally becoming stable enough to possibly go home, finally. Fingers were crossed, she was improving and prayers were being answered.






















Startling news hit when, just a few days before her anticipated trip home to be with her daughter, Megan's healthy and improving lungs had completely filled with fluid again, but this time in just a few short hours. She was rushed to the ICU, intubated, put into another coma and was given a paralytic drug to let her body rest while the doctors sorted out what was actually happening. Megan's already fragile immune system (because of her many treatments) quickly worsened from an antibiotic resistant bacteria, thus causing her heart to function at only 25% of what it should be.

During the next week of being in a coma, her body was also attacked due to the bone marrow transplant. One thing after another kept Megan on a horrific roller coaster, fighting for her very life; up and down, up and down. Being in and out of consciousnesses so often, she was unable to get herself back to breathing easily on her own (which resulted in a tracheotomy) and to make matters even worse, when realizing that Megan couldn't remember her own husband, the doctors discovered she had suffered a large stroke in the meantime.

Her lungs were worsening... her organs were beginning to fail... blood clots were forming... and suddenly the realistic chance for Megan's survival became minimal.

The future was bleak and that dreaded fear was solidified when the doctors informed Megan's husband and family that there was nothing medically left to be done and that nothing would improve or reverse the many setbacks that had ferociously crept upon her.

It was time for a miracle. A real miracle; the only possible way to turn this around.

Thousands of people around the globe prayed and fasted for such a miracle. Thousands and thousands. With over 4,000 followers on Facebook and many more cheering and pleading to Heaven, Megan had the support and love of so many.

Tragically, after a long and grueling 4 month battle of the most unexpected of events, Megan peacefully left this world on November 8th, 2010. She was Leukemia free but her exhausted body had endured too much. She left behind her loving husband, her loving family and friends, and her beautiful 4 month old daughter, Rylee, whom I like to believe was the miracle all along. Meg had created, carried and delivered into this world the most precious gift ever imaginable, making her in that very same instance the most tender legacy possible. This, my friends, is LOVE in it's truest form.






























I never had the honor of knowing Megan.

I have read the online journal (where I gathered much of this information) numerous times. I have read her family blog over and over again. Seth and I talk often about the woman she was. I have listened quietly, with tears streaming rolling off my face, as he recounts his memory of her and the life-changing and humbling experience it was. I have watched him cry. I have eagerly listened to Megan's parents talk of her beauty and her bravery, as well as her siblings, and grandparents, etc. So even though I have never known her personally in this life, apart of me as strange as it may seem, feels like I know her now.

Writing this unbelievable story has had my body goose-pimpled and I've felt a very strong reassurance of peace and comfort as I've typed every word. I cry even now because while her loss is extremely devastating and tragic, and it makes no sense as to why this would happen to such a beautiful woman, I believe with every fiber of my being that this is not the end. It can't be the end.

I know that Megan lives on... I know that she is apart of Rylee's life every minute of everyday... I know that she is near.... And I know (as cheesy or tacky as it may sound considering that I'm just Seth's girlfriend) that I will have the marvelous opportunity of personally meeting and befriending her someday.

I am forever grateful to have shared this magnificent story about bravery, faith, hope, life and love with you; because as result, I have since squeezed my little boy a little tighter each night, I have kissed him a dozen more times, I have been more patient and kind with him, I have expressed my love to him and family and friends more often, and I have better cherished my beating heart and my healthy soul. Life is so precious. It's a miracle, really, and we are so fortunate to be living and breathing and loving.

If you are struggling... if you feel like life can't get any worse... Please remember this story. Remember Megan.  Remember her trial. Remember her triumph. Remember that in the most challenging of times, you can stay positive and happy even until your very, very last breath. Megan was loved and adored by everyone around her. Her light was radiant and I've been told that she was the most popular and favored patient in the entire wing of the hospital. Given only a slim chance of survival, her body literally dying, Megan endured to her very last moment with love and happiness and compassion in her heart. She was known for saying "Why not me?" throughout the entire duration of her illness.

What an incredible story. What an even more incredible woman. What an example to us all. What an extraordinary blessing it is to know that this is not the end..... it's not even close.... this is just the beginning...


In loving memory of Megan Boyack Smith
September 5th, 1983- November 8th, 2010

**(Read here about the amazing experience it was when I met sweet little Rylee just a few days after posting this story)


Monday, April 23, 2012

City Walks & French Toast


One of my new favorite pastimes is going for long walks around the city with my man friend. There's something about the downtown hustle and bustle that really gets me excited... but there's also a calming still about our walks too... the clear blue sky... the quiet sidewalks.... and of course, the lovely ambiance of Temple Square.

Check out the vibrant color pallette of flowers we saw along the way! So irresistible!































And being that it was such a glorious Monday morning and there was beauty all around, we couldn't resist the delectable french toast from Kneaders either.... sooooooo good!
















HAPPY MONDAY EVERYONE!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nailed It


If there's one picture on the entire world-wide-web that most adequately depicts my talent in the kitchen, it's this:

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Hopefully this picture brings you as much jovial laughter it does me.... this just cracks me up every time I see it!

And I can't help but feel a slight sense of relief, as well as some satisfaction, knowing I'm not the only one who can't recreate the intricate and crafty displays that are so prevalent online nowadays... :)



p.s. Have you emailed your submission for the Fashion Column: "READER STYLE" yet? If not, DO IT!

p.s.s. I hope the cookie monster picture doesn't belong to you :)



Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Importance of Listening

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Good morning!

You guys, this quote really resonated with me today! It is so true and, as a matter of fact, I've been noticing the importance of listening in our household within the past few days.

Whenever I respond to Little Dude with "uh huh" or simply nod my head yes or no he'll say, "Talk mommy. Say words. Tell me the truth, mommy!"  My 4 year old is no longer satisfied with brief answers. He wants to know that he was heard and/or seen and he wants to receive a valid answer/acknowledgement from me.


I think I might just have to print out this saying and hang it on my wall as a reminder to always, always, listen to and acknowledge my little guy. I know how easy it can be to overlook the trivial and seemingly insignificant things he says or questions he asks, but after reading this today, I am determined to communicate with him more thoughtfully and focused. And I hope that by doing so now, he will continue to feel comfortable with mom as he grows older, and will be more willing to come to me even if the 'stuff' talked about is difficult, awkward or embarrassing (oh, how I am crossing my fingers on this one).

Isn't this such a fantastic reminder? I love this! Thank you Pinterest :)


***Am I the only one freaked out of my mind at the very thought of my son becoming a teenager?Where we'll need to talk about actual 'stuff'? Post for another day I know, but holy moly!! this simple quote got me to thinking... I really need to focus on being an even more devoted and attentive mom NOW, because I imagine it's only going to be even more difficult as time goes on... yikes!


I'm so glad it's Saturday you guys!! :) Happy and safe weekend to all!!



Friday, April 20, 2012

Q & A: How Are You Not Broken?





















One of my sweet readers emailed me this:

"Obviously you've been on this two year journey of healing but when I think of what happened to you (and put myself in your shoes) I just am in AWE. I mean, seriously, how are you not completely broken down, depressed, and just plain old sad? Your story is SAD! Heartbreaking!! I just still can't get over it. You have been down a very hard road...."

These few sentences struck a chord deep within. How have I been able to recover from such a life-changing trial? How have I been able to not let it be all consuming? How have I been able to avoid depression? How have I been able to manage when my life was so abruptly ripped away from me? How have I maintained a cheerful outlook on life after all that has happened? 

After a lot a thought processing and reviewing the past 2 years of my life, here's what I've come up with...

There is just too darn much in my life to be HAPPY about!

My marriage was obliterated... I know... my heart cracked in half... I know.... I lost my best friend. I grieved. Then I grieved some more. I tried depression pills to ease the shock and heavy burden, but after one week, I stopped. I bounced through all 5 Stages of Grief erratically and for a very long time (which is healthy and normal considering this type of loss). But I never let myself stay in one place for too long. I never let my smile and my drive for life sneak very far away from me. I never let the good and happy aspects of my life become obsolete because of this turn of events. 

Whenever I'd find myself feeling glum, or thinking 'this is so unfair!', or believing that things couldn't possibly get any worse, or that I was so unlucky, or questioning 'why me?' or wallowing in a self indulged party of pity, I would force myself to take a big GIANT step back, and make a mental note (if not an actual written list) of every positive thing and basic blessing in my life at that point. The list included (but is not limited to):

~my pumping heart
~my functioning, healthy body (free of STD's)
~my cool, healthy Little Dude
~my supportive, generous and understanding parents
~my roof that provides shelter
~my food that nourishes
~my loving and ever helping friends
~my faith
~my opportunity
~my freedom
~my very being
~my agency

No one person and no one circumstance can ever take away my ability to be happy, or the ability to choose happiness. This prized possession can never be confiscated from my soul. Even when testing and ruinous storms blow in; the gusty winds causing my knees to weaken, perhaps even causing my collapse, there will never be a time that I won't brave the hurricane, rising to my feet, scraping the muck and wreckage from my boots, and continuing on- one foot in front of the other- mustering and exuding as much optimism as I possibly can. 

I choose happiness for me... I choose optimism for my son... and I choose to embrace what I've been dealt with dignity and pride because the miracle of life, my very existence, is beyond precious and I refuse to spend it feeling sorry for myself. I don't want to miss the special moments... I don't want to overlook my blessings, taking them for granted... I don't want to avoid the beauty that undeniably surrounds me... I want to live my life to the fullest... without regret.  

This is why I am not broken. This is why I am still happy. This is a choice that I'm consciously making every morning I awake, for myself and for Little Dude. 





























I love receiving emails for YOU! I love hearing your stories. I love hearing how you are overcoming your trials. I love learning from you! If I haven't personally corresponded with you yet, please write in! One of the many purposes of this blog is to meet new friends, as well as supporting one another. So, whether you are writing in just to introduce yourself and say hi, or to bear your soul in difficult times, I would be honored to hear from you; and I will write you back as soon as I can! You have a friend here.


***No specific questions today... just eager to hear your thoughts... :)

***If you are struggling to choose happiness, it is my hope, prayer and suggestion that you will seek individual counseling, as well as a visit with a professional about the possibility of anti-depressants. There is NO shame in utilizing today's modern medicine; even if it's just to take the edge off a little bit. I have discovered that no matter what you are dealing with, if you are struggling to find any happiness, it is crucial that you set your pride aside and seek help. There are many individuals out there who can help you!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"The Map of My Whole Life"



After hearing my son whine for the thousandth time (whether it was time to go to school, or to swim lesson or asking when he could see his dad) I decided it was necessary to come up with some sort of calendar that would visually show Little Dude that he had a schedule that needed to be followed.

Now, I am by no means one of those super talented crafty moms that you lurk online, nor do I have adorably irresistible ideas to share, BUT this little project has worked WONDERS for my son, and it's saved my sanity in the meantime :)

At the beginning of every month, we sit down together and we go through the upcoming month, color coding almost every single day. Little Dude loves putting the stickers on each specific day and he has memorized exactly what each color means, too.

Blue- Swim lesson
Red- Mid week visit with his dad (12-3pm)
Purple- Preschool
Green- Weekend with daddy (holiday weekends too)
Orange- Weekend with mommy
Yellow- Sunbeams (church)



















Whenever he gets frustrated at the commitments of a particular day, we walk over to the calendar, hand in hand, and we point to the color of that special day and talk about why we have to follow through. This also gives him a better understanding of time, as he's able to count how many days until he sees his dad (which is usually the hardest for him to understand).

So, even if you're not uber crafty but are in need of a visual way to help your kid(s) sort through the confusion of it all, this is a GREAT way to do it! It may not be the most pleasing piece to look at (and I cringe when my son puts the smiley face stickers on upside down... lol), but it's what he calls "The Map of My Whole Life" and so, it hangs on our wall in all its Dr. Seuss-ish glory!


***Co-parenting or not, what are ways that you keep a schedule in tact? Do you use other methods? Any that might help me? As always, do share what works for you :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fashion Column: "AMY STYLE"


NORA and I are super excited to present our very first feature of the Fashion Column: READER STYLE today! YAY!

Meet AMY!  
Check out what this darling mother of 2 came up with...































Okay, here is the scoop on this look:

This is an outfit that makes me feel cute, yet stylish at the same time. As a stay at home mom to a 3 year old and a 6 month old, I love getting dressed up. If you saw me at home in my tank tops and yoga pants you would totally understand why I love to dress up. 

Forever 21 blouse
Forever 21 Leather-like shorts
Tinely Road (Piperlime) pumps


Thank you for sending this in Amy! You look FABULOUS! You can get to know Amy better and see more of her talent and creative sense of style at her website Fashion and Beauty Finds



***So! What do you love most about this outfit? I LOVE the color combination as well as the ruffles on the shirt. So whimsical!

*** We can't wait to hear from all of you! Don't be shy! PLEASE snap and send in a picture of what your wearing to either jacyleeclemons@gmail.com or noraballantyne@gmail.com. If you're new here, you can read about this fun, interactive and totally awesome feature here




Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Trigger




















Late last night I received a call from a dear friend of mine... a friend who knows the pain of betrayal all too well... a friend who has been on this journey with me for quite some time now....

This friend was in tears last night. She had triggered.

I listened to her try to explain why she felt the way she did and I began to cry, as well, because I knew exactly what she was desperately trying to make sense of and convey. Through the sobs, I could relate whole heartedly to the jumbled words of confusion, heartache, and disappointment in herself.

Feeling literally out of control with your own emotions and your reactions to certain happenings is not pleasant. Feeling your very heart plunge into the pit of your stomach, causing you to feel queasy, like you could spew, isn't either. Your entire body tingling and numb, unable to move your fingers, paralyzes you as your very worst fear of being lied to, led on, or that you will, yet again, be abandoned holds you captive; again.

Why does this keep happening?

What used to be a foreign feeling in my being, has now become strangely familiar; I abhor it.

I was never this way before. I was never one to be paranoid or jealous or needy or suspicious. None of these words or their meanings ever crossed my mind in my previous, simple, uncomplicated life. Now however, dramatic changes have taken place and I find myself triggering over what may seem to others like miniscule and trivial of things, but to my wounded soul, are things of colossal magnitude. And even though my brain is somewhat aware of their plain insignificance, my body and my heart persuade me otherwise. It is then that I unwillingly enter this new world of doubt, fear, and insecurity; it is then that I regress.

As I talked to my girlfriend tonight, before being cut off due to crummy service, I reminded her that this is regrettably something that she (we) will perhaps deal with for the entire duration of our lives. No easy task at hand, but it's something that I believe with enough time, patience and experience, can be eventually managed, if not overcome. We no longer have to be subject to the wicked tailspins of our triggers.

If you can learn to identify what spurred it on, why you reacted the way you did, why it affected you so and then come up with a better alternative of how to handle it the next time it happens, you will be more prepared and these massive hurdles will eventually become smaller in scale. You won't be affected as greatly. Suddenly, everything in your past, everything that once defined you or controlled you will become just an "interesting memory". Even when it seems impossible now, there will come a time when you will look back, shrug your shoulders and say "hmmm.. well that was rather interesting!" and that's it.

At least that's what my shrink keeps telling me... I sure hope he's right! :)

In the meantime, I'm learning to manage my fragile heart. I'm also learning to manage who I let anywhere near my fragile heart so that if and when I do have an unwelcome trigger, I hope that those whom I've opened my heart to will be patient and loving and willing to stand by my side, holding my hand through the difficult time. I say it all the time but I'm going to say it again today: life is a process and it is through these unfortunate and challenging of times that we are able to rise up becoming better, stronger, more beautiful and even more capable versions of our already-pretty- darn- awesome-selves!


*** What makes you trigger? What do you when you trigger? Take a run, sit in a hot bath, curl up in a ball and cry? What do you do to help ease the temporary but extreme pain of your triggers?

p.s. I might be about 2 months away from delivering Little Dude in that picture. I wasn't crowned with the nickname "ACE" for no good reason ;)



Monday, April 16, 2012

A Story About Love; {A Perfect Match}

(This is Part 2 of A Story About Love. If you missed Part 1, you'll want to read it HERE before continuing on)


Within the first few days of Megan's surprising and serious diagnosis of AML, things took a turn for the worse and very quickly! Leukemia cells were infiltrating her lungs and rapidly filling them with fluid so she was put into a medically induced coma where in which the doctors and her family could only hope that she would survive. After a horrendous scare, she courageously pulled through and her weak body and lungs began clearing up and responding to the Chemotherapy appropriately. But it wasn't over yet... this was just the beginning.... there was much work to be done!


As for what transpired next, I asked Seth to share his recollection of the story with you. These are his words:


***************************************************************************************************************************

The day we found out Megan could possibly have Acute Myeloid Leukemia our world felt like it was spinning out of control and my mind couldn't quite grasp the enormity of the situation.  Emails, phone calls, and text messages were coming in at lightning speed with any update what-so-ever. Hopeful news would quickly turn tragic in the blink of an eye, as our worst fears of Megan's recovery seemed bleak, and all we could do is hope and pray for some type of miracle.  
That miracle came roughly two weeks after the diagnosis, when we found out my blood was a match which qualified me to be Megan's only hope for survival; {A Perfect Match}.  I'll never forget the day when she called to deliver the news:
Seth: "Megan!"
Megan: "Hi Seth!"
Seth: "How you doing?"
Megan: (crying) "So your blood work results came back..... and you're a perfect match! Your blood can cure me!"
It was impossible for the smile on my face to get any bigger, as this was after all, everything I'd been hoping and praying for the previous two weeks.  The script couldn't have been written any better: big brother gets to save his little sisters life! I was ecstatic.

Seth: "Well Megan, if I do this for you, what do I get?" (said knowing that I had every intention on being her donor, but just to make her sweat a bit :)
Megan: "I'll give you anything you want!"
Seth: "Ok, from now on Megan, I get to burp and fart around you anytime I want and you can't ever give me a hard time about it!" 
Megan: (with a little hesitation as this was a big pet-peeve of hers) "Okay. That's fine, but it's still GROSS!"

Spirits were high among family and friends, and I made sure to take extra caution with my own life over the following few weeks (knowing that someone's life depended on me- which is kind of an eerie feeling). 

This was one of the happiest times of my life! Just knowing that I had the ability to swoop in and potentially save my sisters life was amazing!  It was also amazing to know that once the bone marrow transplant was complete, Megan would have my blood and my DNA running through her body, so quite literally my blood was the medicine that her body desperately needed.  I looked forward to having this special bond with her as we grew old together.

In the Fall of 2010, I spent three unforgettable weeks in Buffalo, New York prepping and participating in the bone marrow donation.  The daily routine of arriving at the hospital around 9 AM every morning for the nurse to give me two injections was quickly followed up by visits with Megan where I usually had some sort of tasty breakfast for her (since she didn't care for hospital food too much).  Not a day went by during those three weeks that I didn't spend at least 2-4 hours with her discussing life, family, and the illness. And being that I was just recently divorced, to my surprise, most of her attention was turned towards me and how her heart broke for me and what I had to go through.  WHAT AN AMAZING GIRL! 


Seth bought Megan this sweet dreds hat :)

As the three weeks came to a culmination, it was time for me to head home back to Utah. I spent most of that final day at the hospital with Megan.  As I sat in her room, Chemo, her constant companion, was dripping through her IV and you could tell she was just exhausted. She turned to me and said, "Leukemia sucks!" and then followed that sentence with "I've really got to stop saying sucks so much..." The lesson Megan taught me that day was priceless! No matter how challenging, difficult, exhausting, burdensome, etc. a situation is, you have the ability to always represent yourself in your best light.  Nothing can take away your attitude and/or your positive mental disposition. 

I wanted to prolong leaving the hospital for as long as I possibly could, but eventually it came time for me to say goodbye.  I stood by the side of her bed, looking her in the eyes and she began to cry. She continuously thanked me for donating my bone marrow to her. We shared a long embrace and I let her know that she was going to be just fine and that she was going to get through it.  We exchanged our "I love you's" and I turned to leave.  As I walked out the door, I looked back one last time through the small window into her room and with tears in our eyes, we exchanged one of the most loving, kind smiles imaginable as we both knew that this could possibly be the last time we ever saw each other. 

To be continued...

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**Am I the only one with tears dripping from my cheeks? Seriously, a BIG thank you to my awesome man-friend for taking the time to share this....

(Jump to Part 3)



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cowboy Boots on a Sunday




Little Dude and I are dressed in our 'Sunday Best' for church this afternoon.



















After a year long hiatus, church is something I'm slowly but surely getting back into... something that was really hard to do alone, without a husband... something that I wasn't so sure I wanted in my life after my world fell apart so unexpectedly... but it's also something that after going so long without, I realized I greatly missed it in my life! Even though I may not fit the 'traditional family' mold that is so prevalent there, I am not exempt from feeling renewed, refreshed, and closer to my Heavenly Father when I attend. The warm, welcoming members and messages of love and hope that are taught are reasons enough to attend; but more importantly, it is the gentle confirmation of knowing that I still am and always have been loved by Him that keeps me going back for more. One step at a time....

Wishing you all a WONDERFUL Sunday, whatever it is you find yourself doing :)

P.S. Have YOU sent in your pictures for the FASHION COLUMN: Reader Style feature? It will only work if we hear from you... so don't be bashful! Snap some pictures and share! :)

HOW BEAUTIFUL IS TODAY?? I love Spring!!




Saturday, April 14, 2012

DREAM

Image

...  and I totally wish it would come true!! And I also totally wish I looked this refreshed when I awoke every morning!! Mornings are definitely not my finest and most flattering moments :)

Today after scrubbing the loft {Cinderella style} for the ump-millionth time (why am I always cleaning? and why does it never stay neat and tidy?), then it's off to the gym for a workout, a matinee showing of Mirror Mirror with Little Dude and friends, and then a quaint dinner date with Seth and LD.

Nothing too exciting, but a nice little Saturday if you ask me :) Time spent with those I love is always a treasure!

**Any fun plans on the docket for your weekend??

Friday, April 13, 2012

My So-Called 'Date' with a Doctor











As I sat in the hard leather dental chair for my yearly visit yesterday, my neck supported with a pillow and my hands enjoying a paraffin wax treatment (yes, my dentist is that awesome!!), I couldn’t help but reminisce my last visit where I was set up on a date! My dentist insisted that I go out with his friend, whom we shall call “Dr. T”, because he was all of the following:

31 years old
Never married
Orthodontist
Good looking
Way cool

After hearing all of the above, I excitedly agreed and gave permission for my number to be handed over! Mature, motivated, professional, successful, no ex-wife or kids to deal with... where do I sign up? This sounds like a DREAM!


”Dr. T” called me that very night. Ambitious anyone? Maybe desperate? I didn’t care! I had missed his call but I eagerly returned it first thing the next morning. Initially I was very impressed with him because, unlike most of the men I had dealt with in the past, this guy called instead of text me. Double thumbs up!! We had a brief but nice and comfortable conversation and actually ended up making plans for that very night.

Nervous as all get out, I scrambled last minute to find a babysitter. I felt slightly conflicted in doing so since my boy had been in daycare all day, but I just had to! I mean, this guy was the cream of the crop! Perfect! His resume was ideal and there is no way I was going to miss out on such an awesome opportunity! 

After picking up Little Dude from daycare, I rush home and get ready as fast as possible. My heart is racing, I’m intimidated at the very thought of going out with someone so prestige. Driving frantically to my sitters, about 30 minutes before our meet up time at a fine Italian restaurant, I get a call.

It’s Dr. T. His voice sounds sheepish on the other end:

“Hey Jacy. Um....I’m wondering... well... I don’t want you to think I’m a jerk or some kind of a manly man... but I’m wondering if we can change meeting places?”

”Sure! Where?” I reply

”Well, the truth is some of my guy friends who I NEVER get to see... well their wives are out of town and I totally forgot that tonight was guys night.... and I’m wondering if we can meet at Iggy’s instead and watch the NBA play-off game with them? I mean, you take precedence of course and I’ll meet you at the other place, but I’d rather kill two birds with one stone, you know? My friends and a blind date.”

WOW! My jaw hit my lap. Considering that I had gone to great lengths to even make this once in a lifetime date happen (and being totally caught off guard), I reluctantly said “sure”.

I arrive at Iggy’s Sports Bar. The game is on. Dr. T is already there with his friends, plopped in a booth right under the giant big screen TV. I walk down the ramp and happily approach the party. Dr. T stands up, introduces himself and give me a side hug- sort of acknowledging me, not really though.

Dr. T is short, kind of the smaller side but very handsome indeed. He seems charming but also noticeably arrogant. I could immediately sense why women would drool for him- confident, good looking, outgoing, and so on.

I sit next to him in the U-shaped booth and our so called ‘date’ begins. While Dr. T was glued to the TV, rooting for his team, I was in a surprisingly fun and inquisitive conversation with two married men for nearly the entire evening. Conversations of careers, children and spouses circled the table- my date was not apart of any of it. During a commercial break, Dr. T asked if I’d like to switch him places because I was paying more attention to his friends rather than him. I sarcastically told him he could join our ‘date’ at any time. He chuckled a cocky laugh and zoomed right back into the hi-def play by plays, where he showered me with apologies for merging our date with ‘guys night’.

Apparently Dr. T thought that he could make it up to my by petting me like one would a small furry animal. You know, this way I wouldn’t feel as ignored. He constantly rubbed my back, my legs, and the tops of my arms- sometimes even gripping me when the game got intense. Once my leg began to go slightly numb from the incessant motion, I finally had to ask him to stop. “Oh, sorry Jacy... I’m just so nervous for the game! This is my team! You don’t understand! Any other night... but this is a HUGE game!” At this point, I was so beyond flabbergasted that he had the audacity to treat me (or any woman for that matter) this way, I couldn’t resist any longer. 

As he removed his somewhat petite hand from my upper thigh I said, “Um... do you wear latex gloves all day?” He  quickly raised his fingers to his nose for a sniff and said “Wait... what? Why? Do I stink? I should have washed my hands... I always wash my hands! Did I wash my hands? Is it that bad?” With a smirk on my face I said “you just smell a little latexy- not to make you self conscious or anything- it’s just pretty strong over here!”

And that little exchange was the most I think Dr. T looked at me the whole duration of our date. Really.

Even as he told me about another date he’d been on, his eyes never left the replay of the slam dunk. “Oh, what was her name? She was pretty and nothing was wrong with her... I just haven’t called her because... because.... well truthfully I just forgot about her. I don’t go on many second dates!” With a laugh I said “so... I guess I won’t be surprised if I never hear from you again?” He said “Noooo no no, not you... what will it take to get a second date, Jacy? I’d like to see you again... in fact, I’d LOVE to see you again...”

15 seconds remained of the game and it was time for me to head back to the sitters house. I explained to Dr. T that I had to leave, but being as he was totally engrossed in the remaining seconds, he didn’t hear me. I slid him a ten dollar bill across the table for my meal and politely said thank you. He refused to accept my money, and hurriedly told me that I was pretty, thanks for coming, sorry for being a jerk, and I’ll see you again. He gave me the most lightening fast side hug possible and said “paying for your meal is the least I could do. I’ll see you soon...” His eyes didn’t contact mine. Dr. T didn’t give me the time of day. 

I left.

So what did I learn that incredible night at Iggy’s, you ask? Three very important things, so take notes!

#1 No matter how charming or good looking or successful a man is, if he treats you poorly now (and in this case, allows a game or his friends to take precedence over getting to know you), you'll most likely be second fiddle for the long haul, so BUCKLE UP! 

#2 When he calls for a second date (which he did) and/or texts you to see what you're up to, DON'T RESPOND! And no, I never went out with him again. I avoided his last and final attempt to contact me :)

#3 I would rather have silver braces for the rest of my life, being tightened everyday, than to endure that type of treatment from a man ever again! BIG lesson learned... I am worth so much more!



(If you missed the most horrific date that trumps even this one, you can find it here)



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