Now that I have actually realized what I was doing with trying NOT to get in to the spirit of Christ-mas, I am going CRAZY trying to think up things I can do to make up for my stupidity (because that is all it was, really...utter stupidity). I mean, there is PLENTY I could be doing, really. But in the next week? And with Streptococcus in my stomach? I can't do everything possible, so I have to get creative and think of what I CAN do!
On a different note, KIM JONG IL IS DEAD!!!!!!!!!!! (Just to make sure there is no confusion, the exclamation marks are those of celebration and joy.)
I am resisting Christmas, or should I say CHRIST-mas, this year.
And I am surprised and disgusted with myself.
I don't want to serve anyone but Taiger. I don't want to not give him gifts. I don't want to move my hand from in front of my eyes and see past Taiger! This Christmas is about Taiger! And Taiger ONLY! That is my mantra. I mean, I have been sewing gifts for family members. I bought a gift for one of our friends in China. I don't want everything else.
Or do I.
I hate how I feel about things this year. "I am too busy to worry about anything but making Christmas perfect for Taiger!" I will worry about everything else "later". No time right now! Taiger and I had a special experience of serving someone else...can't that be enough?!
Tonight, I finally forced myself to take a peek past myself and Taiger. But I am still resisting.
I want the Christmas tree (it is our first year to buy our own!!). I want the really special gifts I got Taiger. I want the wrapping paper. I want the decorations. I want the magical feeling.
But what is that so-called "magical feeling"? It is the feeling of "I-Want". The "magic" of getting exactly what I WANT.
So, I push myself down. I throw off the blind fold and I taste the bitter reality. I have to look past my front door, beyond my street lined with twinkling red and green lights. Past the shopping mall and the Christmas tree farms. And into the stable where Christ was born.
I see the starving. The naked. The orphaned. The widowed. The homeless. The sick. The lonely.
And what do I do? What can I do? What should I do?
Where does CHRISTmas settle in my heart? I have eight days to find it a resting place in my heart.
So, I just read THIS and I am already so excited about it. (I am supposed to be doing homework, as I have PILES of it due. Instead, I was looking on facebook and found this great service project, and now I am all psyched about it and HAD to blog about it! I hope my professors will understand...)
Primary Children's Medical Center is an amazing hospital in Salt Lake City. They have served children from the Idaho/Utah area, as well as children from all over the US, and all over the world! We have friends whose lives have been blessed by this wonderful hospital and their caring staff.
My heart goes out to all of the patients at Primary Children's. They endure so much. Their families, too, suffer as they watch their precious children suffer. When I saw this project, I KNEW Taiger and I HAD to be involved.
So, here's the scoop. I guess people make these little teddy bears and donate them to the hospital. The hospital gives a bear to each admitted child. The child then gets to "decorate" the bear. I imagine they draw faces and probably clothes, etc. on the bear. But maybe friends, family, doctors, nurses, etc. could WRITE on the bear a message of love and hope for these children. Anyway, the way these bears could lift a spirit, give comfort to a frightened child, and be a faithful friend who a child may otherwise feel so alone is almost unimaginable to me. BUT...I know I want to make it possible. So, let's get sewing! Here is the process in pictures. You can download the pattern HERE.
Now...I have decided to do something REALLY crazy. (Really.) For every bear that a family member/friend/blog-buddy donates, I will donate one. So, if 50 bears are donated, I will make 50 bears myself to total 100 donated bears. Get it? So, if you make a bear, take a picture of you with your bear and send me the picture or post it to your blog and send me the link. I will make a bear to match your bear!
So, go start sewing! See how late you can make me stay up at night sewing! I hope we get HUNDREDS of these and I am sitting at that sewing machine for DAYS on end! :)
I was in the grocery store today, hurrying around finding things, pushing my full cart along, and suddenly I stopped. I remembered how, not so long ago, I could not even push a grocery cart. I was too weak from not eating. I looked around and smelled the spices and saw the people laughing and happy, and I thought how the grocery store is "no fun", but for some people, it might be a happy place, filled with the smells of the food they love. Especially in "small-town Idaho", people see friends and even relatives at the store. People were standing in the aisles visiting. Others were smiling and waving to friends. Families with six kids were bustling around finding their favourite foods. And I realized _I_ am among those people now. I don't THINK about the grocery store now. I remember one time having a complete melt down in the grocery store. I had to sit on the floor (it was in the bread aisle, I remember :) ), I couldn't even walk. I could hardly move! I was paralyzed. With anxiety. With fear. So much food! All around me! I was, well, freaking out!
I can go to the grocery store now. I can breathe easier. I can move. My heart beats stronger. My muscles work. My brain works so much better now! I can laugh without feeling like I am going to pass-out.
My life is a thousand times different than it used to be.
How is that possible? How can someone go from where I was...the depth of that trap...to where I am now? How?
There is only one way.
Through a loving God, who makes all things whole. I can run and not be weary. I can walk and not faint.
"Into the darkness He cries. Out of the ashes we rise."
I need some help. Sweet little YueYue in China needs some warm clothes to wear to kindergarten. Will you please sponsor an outfit for her? You can choose how much you want to donate in sponsorship of an outfit. You get to pick out the outfit you are sponsoring! It is a fun way to help a little girl in great need. Won't you please help? Go to my other blog, HERE, to pick out an outfit to sponsor.
There has to be a period after her name. Because that is the end. She is dead. Breclyn can go on in this life. Chelsea can't. In England, they call that punctuation mark a "full stop". Ironic. Fitting. Almost comical in the drowning of today. Funny, like a life ring floating a few feet away from a sinking Charlie Chaplain. We laugh as he flails, because the music is funny, and it is black-and-white and not real. But today IS real. Full stop.
Each October after she died was torture. October 25 loomed over me from September until that fateful day arrived like a blast of cold wind.
The past few years have been less shocking. Less oppressive. Less ominous.
But I still miss her. And I still hate today.
This year, I hate today because it is ugly and dirty and miserable. I have made it disgusting and ruined it and made it filthy for another year, until maybe next year can cover the memories of today with a new October-25-The-Day-Chelsea-Died. I have a habit of doing this. Tainting days that can't be forgotten, and hoping next year will be better and will erase this year.
It is a biting cold, sunny autumn day. The leaves on the tree across the street are gone, and the trunk and branches stand stark against the blue sky. Everything feels like that today. Raw. And yet muted at the same time. I feel like climbing out of my own skin and living somewhere else for a while. The tree probably wants to be in Hawaii right now. But we both remain. Bare. And strong. The winds blow and strip us of our humanity, but we stand on.
I have always thought Taiger was super bright. I started him on letters when he was about 2 because I felt reading is the most important thing in the world.
I had him reading "Dick and Jane" when he was barely 4, and I really was excited he was learning to read. I have always taught him how important it is to read. In Taiger's kindergarten preparedness test, he recognized 36 letters (upper- and lower-case combined) and I was so pleased that he was so far ahead of the standard for kids entering kindergarten (they need to know 11 to enter kgarten). He is SO SMART!
Well, my parents brought in this sweet little foster boy who is Taiger's age. He acts like a baby. He is very immature. He had not learned much before he came. He hardly spoke at all. In his kindergarten screening he recognized 11 letters total of upper- and lower-case letters. He was miles behind Taiger. He did not understand that letters could fit together to make words, and could not sound out even the most simple words.
About three days ago, my Mom started having him read Dick and Jane. Today, he caught up to where Taiger is.
Is it bad that I am totally furious about this?
Do I feel like an idiot for spending all of that time working with Taiger when he was little? Yes. Yes I do.
I thank God every day that Taiger is healthy and well. That he has the potential to live a long, happy life. But (and maybe it would be appropriate to say "in spite of that"...but that may be for a different blog post) I want to take example from these mothers. I want to be a Dragon Mom.
Okay, so I follow this blog of a Mom who is...well, I can't even describe how amazing and wonderful she is. You will just have to go read her blog and see for yourself. You will be blown away at her faith, her kindness, her love. She is incredible.
So, her little boy has this disease that is absolutely horrible. He is in so much pain ALL. THE. TIME! And this mother NEVER loses patience with him. She never asks God why she has to have this trial. She never complains a single bit! Her entire thought, life, BEING, is caring for her sick little boy without a single thought of herself. Talk about CHRIST-LIKE! I wish I could sit here and tell you her whole story, but it isn't for me to share. Instead, please go to her BLOG and read about her life. She will amaze you. And her little boy? He is the strongest, bravest, most amazing little boy. We pray for them and we worry about the little boy and we talk about them and we think about them...Tripp and his family are pretty famous around our house! We only wish little Tripp could get better quickly!!
Okay, so why I am telling you this? FIRST, because I want everyone I know to go leave her an encouraging comment on her blog. It is super easy and just imagine how it would brighten her day and lift her spirits if all of these random people sent her a little message of love and encouragement?! The other reason is, I need you to help me with something. Reader's Digest is having a contest, and whoever wins gets their story published in RD! This mom really wants to publish the story of Tripp to spread awareness about the disease so a cure can be found. I want that, too, but I also want her to win so they can have the prize money, which would really help them afford Tripp's medical care. So, how can you vote for them? It takes, SERIOUSLY, about two seconds. You click THIS LINK, and then click the big, red "VOTE NOW" button, and you are done. I mean really. How easy can it be to change the lives of this sweet mom and her little boy?!
I am just going to put this out there. Seems rather random, but I kind of just want the world to know. So when I get to the end of my life, and I tell someone what I always wanted to be, they won't say, "Huh. I never knew that about you." Or say, "Whatever, you are just saying that because So-And-So said they wanted to."
So, here it is. In black and white.
I want to be a sailor.
I mean it! Stop laughing.
I read, "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle" when I was about 16 and that was the end of it.
All I can say to end this post is, "Yar Matey" ... because EVERY sailor SHOULD talk like a pirate now and then.
I know that seems strange, but really! I did! When I was young, I would close the curtains to my room and keep it as dark as possible...my sanctuary from that sunshine I so loathed.
If I woke up in the morning to a sunny day, it put me in a bad mood.
I sunburned very easily, and that added to my hatred of the sun. It did nothing for me. It gave me nothing good. I hated the sun. Even as a child. (And yes, I admit that is a little strange.)
I LOVED rainy days or snowy days. Or even just overcast days.
As I got older, my tolerance for the sun did not improve, in fact, it worsened (I know that seems impossible!). I didn't even like going outside any more and would spend as much time as possible in the house. I would work out at the gym rather than take a walk. When my son wanted to play outside, I would convince him we should just play inside. I really, really hated the sun and any sunshine.
In the last year, for some inexplicable reason, that all changed.
When we lived in China, we were outside most of the day. The hallways in our schools were not "indoors", so even walking from one room to the next in the school forced me to face the very present sun. Our form on transportation at first was a bicycle and later a motorbike, so we were outside in rain or shine, not inside a comfortable car, hiding from the sun. The sun and shunshine became part of my life. At first, I hated my new living situation, being in the sun CONSTANTLY! I endured it, at best.
I became friends with another foreign student while in China. She was from Latvia and was used to long winters with little sunlight. She lived on the top floor of a five story building, and often I would find her standing outside her door with her face to the sun, a relaxed smile just on the corners of her mouth. I thought she was crazy. She always talked about "sun bathing" her face, or her legs or arms. Miss Latvia was one of the happiest, most at-peace people I know. She was always calm and calming. I loved her dearly, and I loved how she seemed at peace with EVERYTHING. Miss Latvia did yoga, and I thought most of her peace came from that.
Although it rained and stormed on our island, it was sunny most often, and even on cloudy days, the sunlight seemed to be brighter. I was beginning to hate the sun less and less. Not that I "liked" it! Just that I didn't HATE it.
When misfortune forced us to leave China, I handled the drama and trauma with more calmness and peace than I would have thought I would.
When I arrived in Idaho, it was the middle of the long, cold winter.
I didn't want to admit it to myself, but I missed the sun.
This summer, I embraced the sun like I never have before. I went for walks outside. I sat at Yellowstone, on a bench IN THE SUN, ON PURPOSE and let the warmth soak in to me and fill me up. I threw an OUTDOOR WATER PARTY for Taiger this summer. AND...I even took up sungazing.
I wouldn't say I adore the sun, but I like it now. I can say that. I like the sun.
Yesterday was raining and cold. And do you know what? I MISSED the sun! I really, really did. I wanted to stand in it's light and feel the warmth and just let the vitamins from the sun soak into my skin.
So, click THIS link. Then, you will see the little window you can click to watch a video, and RIGHT above that video is a tab that says "images". Mine is not the first one, but the next three are all mine!
I am not very good at remembering to take pictures of myself/what I am wearing, so this week only has a few pictures. Sorry.
We went to Utah this week...what a BLAST! Anyway, my camera battery died our last day there, and I didn't get more batteries until the night before last, so some of the week I didn't take pictures. Sorry...again.
Shirt: Handed down (This shirt is getting some SERIOUS mileage! HERE and HERE) Tank: Target-- $5.00 Capris: Target-- I think they were about $20.00
I wasn't loving the pants I had available to wear today (meaning, the only ones CLEAN!), so just ignore them, really. (But I will still list them, don't worry.)
Shirt: Handed Down (but the tag says "Forever". Where do they sell THAT brand? Any ideas?) Tank: Old Navy(I forgot how much, but I assume around $5.00, knowing my budget for these things.) Boy Cut Jeans: Old Navy $20.00
Dress: Old Navy (about 6 years ago!) $35.00 Cardigan: Target $15.00 Socks: (Taigers!) Target 5 pair for $4.00 Shoes: Aeropostale $20.00
And since I didn't have many pictures of what I wore this week, I thought I would post a picture of what I BET I would have been wearing this week had I been born 90 years ago. :)
These two lookers were waiting at the crosswalk with us while we were walking to Temple Square in SLC. I really did love their vintage style and wish I could pull it off, especially the one in the blue dress. I decided this is a picture of my sister and myself in years to come. I am the one in the blue, rocking the sunglasses. Don't I look fabulous?
I always have all these things I want to do, but I never get them done. I have all these good intentions...paving my way to You-Know-Where. :)
Every Monday, I have three tests for school. They are hard. I usually spend ALL. DAY on Monday studying for them (I told my boss I need Mondays off because that is my "school" day). Today, I had to work. I didn't get everything done. At 11:47 the panic set in. You know what I mean...the college panic. The panic where you know the clock is winding down and you aren't done with whatever you are supposed to turn in, and you want to cry, but you don't have time, and you start to shake, but you don't have time for that either, so you try and will your eyes to read words in the book faster, your hand to write the answers to questions faster...you even kind of think if you don't look at the clock, maybe the time will somehow NOT run out.
All three tests are due BY MIDNIGHT each Monday. I was half way through my second test, totally stumped on question eight, with only 13 minutes to finish that test AND take the next one.
I submitted the last test when my computer clock read 12:01, but the kitchen clock read 11:59, so hopefully my professor's clock matches my kitchen clock and not my computer clock.
Anyway, it was ugly. Very ugly. By the end, I was just randomly clicking answers to the multiple choice questions, sometimes without even completely reading the question. I got some pretty low scores on my tests, as you could imagine.
Ugly. Really, really ugly.
Every day, I have so many things I want to accomplish and every night I am hoping it is really only 11:59 and not 12:01 because I still need time to finish. To finish cleaning. To finish studying. To finish working. To finish watching my FAVOURITE show. To finish unpacking. To finish reading. To finish some things I have not even yet started, like figuring out what to teach Taiger in homeschool, or corn rowing Taiger's hair, or helping Taiger with his gymnastics, or playing with Taiger, or homemaking something healthy and yummy to eat, or taking a walk to enjoy the weather, or taking the time to look at the changing leaves, or helping Taiger practice reading, or going to the store to get some much needed groceries, or writing in my journal, or helping Taiger write in his journal...
Oh dear. The list goes on. And it is 3:00am, and I still am thinking, "Don't we have just a few more minutes in this day?"
We texted and talked on the phone and really connected. Went on a date with him two weeks ago.
Had a BLAST.
Didn't talk much the past two weeks, but set up a date for this week in Utah on Thursday.
Felt all week like he wasn't interested, but then thought maybe I was just being paranoid. Confirmed Tuesday that we were still on for Thursday.
Thursday he texted me. I asked how his day was...
He said he felt like he was maybe starting to feel sick.
(DUM, DUM, DUUUUUUM. Enter horrible excuse stage left.)
I asked if he was feeling well enough to still do something, knowing the answer would change everything.
He said no, he thought he should stay home and rest.
That's when I knew. I mean, if you are totally smitten with someone, you don't "stay home and rest" because you feel like you MIGHT be STARTING to get sick. So, I asked him point blank if he was interested in me, or if he just kind of wanted me to leave him alone. His answer?
(Take a big hand, as demonstrated in image found above. Use it to give yourself a backhand across the face. Now you know how his answer felt. Now, I will tell you what he said.) "I am only slightly interested in you...". I kid you not. All "polite" and "gentlemanly" like that and everything. (That was sarcastic, by the way. He could have just said he wasn't interested, he didn't have to say "SLIGHTLY". RUDE!)
He said some more things that were really hurtful that meant he wasn't interested, and closed by saying we could be friends if I wanted. I replied that I can take a hint. He thanked me and I haven't heard from him since.
So, I pose two questions: First, where are all the good guys? The ones with manners. (I mean, if he wasn't interested, why did he act interested on the first date? He could have been polite and had fun without flirting and making me think he liked me. Furthermore, if he didn't want to have a second date, why did he confirm only TWO DAYS before? He could have told me then he wasn't interested instead of waiting until I drove from Idaho to Utah?)
Second, (and this one you aren't going to want to answer, but I am asking you to, as dear blog-world friends, so PLLLLEEEEAAAAASSSSSSSE do answer) (and I know it is going to hurt, but I am ready for it, so don't hold back!), what is wrong with me? And I don't mean that in some self depreciating way. And, of course, I wouldn't change my personality, or beliefs, or anything major, just for some guy. But really, honestly, maybe I am doing something "wrong" that I just do not realize I am doing, but that I could really easily change! Any suggestions or insights would be appreciated. (I promise I won't block you from my blog, or "unfriend" you on facebook.) AND, if I use your advice and get second date with a guy, I will give you some cool prize. Like, a tracing of my hand. Or a bouquet of dandelions. (Now, tell me that isn't incentive to really try and help a sister out?!)
Did you think Mr. T's hair looked a little crazy in the Spud Day pictures?
That is because just before watching the big parade...
He was in the KID'S parade. Yes, they have a kid's parade at Spud Day, and any kid who shows up can ride his bike, skateboard, scooter, or his good ol' feet the length of the parade route, and have the entire town cheer and clap as he walks by.
Taiger rode his little 4-wheeler. His cousin rode with him on the back. Taiger was dressed in his super hero getup. Everyone knows ALL Super Heroes make an appearance at the local, hometown parades! Not to be mistaken for a villain, Taiger's cousin put on Taiger's old batman mask to take his ride. A sign on the front of the 4-wheeler read, "Mr. Power and Batman: Shelley's Own Super-Duo!"
Because they didn't get the turbo going on the 4-wheeler right off, they were last in the parade. And let me tell you, they were none the worse for it! They rode down the street with no other kids around, and boy were they the center of attention! They waved at their adoring fans as they drove along. The onlookers clapped and cheered and shouted, "Yay Mr. Power!"
Yesterday was Spud Day here in Small Town, Idaho. Spud Day is when all of the 3,000 inhabitants here come out to celebrate the potato. Yes, the potato. Now, that might sound really stupid to some of you city folk, but I'll tell you what! If it weren't for Idaho's potato farmers, we all would be in a world of potatoless hurt! So, each year we faithfully come together to say a collective THANK YOU for the potato. And thank you for the farmers and their families who work the fields and grow the delicious root we all know and love.
It's time again fooooooor.....WHAT I WORE WEDNESDAY! With today's host, BREC! :D I kind of forgot to take pictures a few days, so you will have to take what you can get.
Tank: Old Navy $4.00 Shirt: Handed Down (yes, yes...it is the same shirt I wore HERE) Capris: Target $20.00 Shoes: Payless (I don't remember how much, but I want to say $10.00) Same as above, but here I added the jacket to see which I liked better. Jacket: Aeropostale (a THOUSAND years ago!) $25.00
Tank: I don't even remember. SORRY! Dress: Forever 21 $10.00 Over Shirt Jacket Thing: I don't remember...SORRY! This is the same thing as above, but tied in front for a different look. (Yes, I wore it BOTH ways on the same day...had to mix it up, you know?!)
Blouse: Maurice's : $20.00 Skirt: Bought in 2003, you think I remember where? Necklace: Maurice's $8.00 Shoes (not shown): TJ Maxx $7.00
I have been thinking a lot about September 11, 2001. I think probably the entire nation has been today.
I wanted to post something on here about that day...but I didn't know what I really wanted to say. However, as I posted on facebook, my thoughts somehow spilled out on the screen and what I felt I saw coming from my own voice. This is what I posted:
It doesn't seem like it has been ten years. It is strange how quickly one can fall into a new "normal". I remember the days before the word "terrorist" was even in my vocabulary, really. Now, you hear that word almost daily on the news, and use it often, too. The funny thing is, on 9/11, they thought they were instilling fear in us. They thought it was an act of terrorism. But really, America fought in every way possible to keep it from filling us with terror, and we have succeeded! I am not "afraid". They thought they would make us live in fear. Instead, we live resolute. We stand together as a nation. We remember those who died, not those who killed. We have made the fight against TERROR real, not some abstract, frightening thing.
That really sums up what I think about that day ten years ago. I was afraid that day. But I saw others' courage. I saw the other's strength. I saw their patriotism. I listened in the following days to the news reports, and what people older and wiser than I, who had lived through war, had lived through attacks on American soil in Hawaii, had to say. I found courage in their words. I found strength in their strength. I found confidence in their experience and wisdom.
That day, terrorists killed innocent people. They defiled the purity of our soil. They invaded our free land. But they did not fulfil their purpose: They did not bring terror to our courageous hearts.
This is one of my favourite pictures of Mr. T. This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post, just so you know.
SO, I was thinking. My blog is a little random. I mean, for maybe a month, I was posting all about Taiger's hair. Sometimes, I post about our lives, as if I am writing for friends and family to know what is happening in our little corner of the world. Other times, I post really generic posts without much thought or insight, like "What I Wore Wednesday". I mean, I were following my blog, I would probably QUIT! I mean, when I follow a blog on African- American haircare, that is what I want to read about. If I follow a blog to stay up to date on a friend or family member, I don't want to hear all about their kid's hair! When I find a good blog about fashion, I could care less about the "darling" thing their annoying child said that day.
Is this blog completely annoying to follow? Do you wish I would find a theme and STICK WITH IT? If so, comment, and let me know.
So, here is my first What I Wore Wednesday post (okay, I KNOW! It is Thursday! Don't judge me. I was very busy yesterday, okay?!)
Okay, so for those of you who don't know about "What I Wore Wednesday" (WIWW), it is when you take pictures all week of what you wore each day. Then, you post the pictures on your blog and tell people where you got the clothes and how much they cost. I wasn't really interested in WIWW...until I found the blog of a Mom who participates in WIWW. She said doing it helps motivate her to get all dressed up cute each day, even though she is just going to be around the house with her kids. I TOTALLY "get" that!! I often think, "Why dress up when no one is even going to see me?!" But really, getting all "dolled up" and dressing in your favourite "going out" clothes makes you feel more confident and HAPPY! But also I feel like I have some really cute clothes but I never get to "show them off" (Taiger could care less if my jeans look cute with "that" shirt, or if my necklace matches my shoes!) So, I decided that I would do WIWW to give me a reason to get out of my jeans and t-shirt and in to jewlery and fancy clothes. :) Plus, it gives me a way to "show off" when I think I have a cute outfit. :P
So, my challenge for you today is to participate in WIWW (ESPECIALLY you stay-at-home moms, or friends living in places like China where getting dressed up is not practical nor appreciated :) )! Even if you only post ONE per week from the ONE day you got dolled up. :) Post it and feel fabulous and let all your nice bloggy friends tell you how great you look. :)
Shirt: Gifted/ hand-me-down from my great friend, Candice! (THANK YOU, Candice!) Belt: American Eagle $10.00 Jeans: American Eagle $30.00
SHIRT: Gifted/Handed down from Candice Yellow Tank: Aeorpostal $5.00 Sweater: Handed down Jeans: DI $5.00
Shirt: Handed down Necklace: 147 Million Orphans $20.00 Belt: American Eagle $10.00 Jeans: American Eagle $30.00 And there is a tank under there, too: Aeropostal $5.00