Humor · Mental Health · Uncategorized

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there was a fair young maiden. Well, maybe not so young, but she wasn’t old really. In fact, she was more “mid-single” as her religious culture might deem her. She was a strong woman, who had gone through many trials, not unlike any other normal human being. But alas, she was blessed with a sensitive soul and her trials affected her deeply. Her sensitivity was a gift and a curse at the same time. Her big heart was a great comfort to her friends and family, sometimes it got her into trouble, but mostly it helped her grow and become stronger than she ever imagined possible.

Alas, the trouble she got into would leave her heart broken from time to time, but she persevered. Each time the fair maiden fell, she got back up again. With every incident she became a little stronger and wiser. One day the woman realized that through the course of her trials, she had gained a lot of wisdom and perspective that others found comforting. Her advice was sometimes sought and the wisdom she had gained, not only gave her her own sense of comfort, it helped those in her life. Some people even deigned to call her witty, as her ways of telling her  tales with a flare of humor often left people in stitches.

Aside from this ability to entertain with words and wit, there was a desire in her heart to express the ideas and trinkets of wisdom gained throughout her various life lessons. On her journey through life and on her quest to value her own self worth, she realized she had a lot to offer and even more to say. She could see humor in her daily life. Her life was filled with adventures and funny yarns about her crazy nieces and nephews, and her occasional attempts at cutting carbs out of her diet. And it is with this knowledge, that she had something to offer and something of value to say, that this blog has been created.

So stay tuned for the adventures of the fair young maiden whose Fairy Tale in Progress is sure to elicit all of the feels and possibly all of the giggles one can muster.

Humor

Warning: Nerd Alert

Guys! My number one guy spent the night. We started out the evening with a thrilling game of Star Wars battle something or other. Rylan said it was akin to a game called Heroes. Basically it was a game of light side vs the dark side; but set up like a grown up game, more commonly known as “Chess.” What it boiled down to was that he each took a turn killing someone on the opposing side. Ry chose the dark side, shocker! So I was forced to play the light side, and I have to admit folks, I was honored. The only rule my friends, was my guys couldn’t kill Darth Vader. I could attack any other of the dark side guys (my favorite thing was attacking the At-At’s after pretending to kill Vader. The kid fell for it every time). Darth Vader would then kill whichever figurine I had chosen to use against his forces.

Finally! I realized I had more than rebel troops and x-wing pilots, I HAD R2-D2. And when I realized it after losing half of my army, I exclaimed, “Ohhhhh!!!! I have R2-D2!!” To which Rylan promptly replied, “yeah you get to electrocute (people) to death,” in the squeaky creepy voice he sometimes gets when he describes oddly specific death scenarios. When I then proceeded to kill one of his Imperial army guys with R2-D2 and tried to retaliate, I had to draw the line; if Vader gets to live, so does R2-D2. I forgot to also mention, the first one he had Vader kill, was my ewok; so obviously I was taking this very hard.

Fortunately, Ry quickly gave up before I had to extend the same immunity to Hans, Chewy, and C-3PO (not sure where Luke was during this crisis and also, why wasn’t their a Leia).

I made him hot cocoa because I was fresh out of chocolate milk (but he didn’t want iced hot chocolate haha). He took up 3/4 of my bed with his knees and elbows in my back as he fell asleep after asking if we could listen to Harry Potter while falling asleep.

I love him and I cherish every single snuggle he lets me get.

Mental Health

If You’re Sad and Feeling Blue

So if you’ve read my blog, you know I struggle with depression. This month it’s been coming on ever so slowly. I hate it. I can use my tools as much as I want, but eventually, the crash will come and I hate it because I know I can’t fully stop it. The worst thing about depression, is watching it arrive, only to fight it, and still pick yourself up… again…only to know that it absolutely WILL come to visit again.

An unfortunate constant. Especially when I literally have nothing to be sad about. I’ve been writing more, been getting outside more, I have lost over 60 pounds, and I feel beautiful. Confident even. I should be celebrating.

The weekend I went to the cabin I thought maybe I had beaten this round. Yet, I may have found myself driving to work, wishing something apocalyptic had happened so Life could be canceled…or I could just not exist anymore. Folks, I wish I were kidding.

I don’t mean to alarm anyone. If things like that are creeping in, I reach out to someone. And I did and I ALWAYS do. This is part of depression. Everything is going great, but there are those tapes we’ve been playing in our thick skulls since as far back as we can remember. A negative thought sits on the outskirts of our brains. Soft at first, insisting you don’t deserve to be happy. You keep pushing along, because you know there are reasons to celebrate; reasons to thrive.

I’m so grateful I have learned to utilize the tools I’ve learned that help me pull myself out of the meanest sets of the doldrums. Find time to create✅ Reach out to a few of my MANY solid friends✅ (again, guys!! Grateful🙌❤️) self-care✅ Spend time with some of my cherished Little’s ✅

I started out the day on the verge of tears, and tonight my heart is full. I am so loved. I am so blessed in like, every single way. There is hope and picking yourself up again is always worth it.

Tonight’s post written to:

With the game muted in the background. Go Warriors!

Mental Health

Five Sure Steps to Becoming More Brave

Every step towards growth is a step that matters. But sometimes taking those steps is uncomfortable…and scary. Uncomfortableness can lead to some pretty intense anxiety. Figuring out how to manage the stress and anxiety, is to combat it with every weapon you can brandish. Here are just a few things that helped me get through another week of being brave.

1. Invest in some fantastic waterproof makeup. Because sometimes being brave hurts a little. Because being honest and authentic is hard. Saying those honest things is harder. And if you’re sensitive, there may be days filled with intermittent crying sessions. But if you have waterproof makeup, you can have a tiny cry when the moment arises and then you can still look like the new confident rockstar you actually are.

2. Keep a tight schedule. For me, being brave is hard. And it means being completely open and honest with how I’m feeling. Which in turn has meant that I’ve had to be more vocal about my feelings. Confronting and voicing those feelings can be uncomfortable. I am not advocating keeping yourself so busy that you don’t take care of yourself, because that doesn’t make sense. But in line with keeping goals, spend your time working towards them. Chase those dreams as you move through the uncomfortableness. It will help ground you and keep you focused.

3. Don’t neglect your self care. Because if you are going to tirelessly chase your dreams and improve your life, you will burn out if you go full stop. At least in my case. So schedule downtime and honor it. (I hope you all know, I’m saying this because this list is more for me than anything). Watch a movie with your friend or by yourself. Listen to Justin Timberlake and dance around in your underthings. Just make sure you are honoring whatever it is that feels right to you.

4. Exercise is important! If you are prone to anxiety attacks this might be especially important. When you go about doing brave things that shake you out of your comfort zone, the moments before you do it and even for a bit after can rattle you a bit. In order to move through this, breathing becomes especially important. And what better way to do it than to get your yoga or swimming or hiking exercise on. So get out your mat and do some sun salutations and strike some warrior poses. Your body and your calm mind will thank you.

5. Prayer! Keep on talking with Heavenly Father. He will help sustain you and direct you to more opportunities in which to be brave. If you don’t believe in a higher power, I say meditate. I do that too. Slowing down and being mindful of where you are and checking in with how you feel is a great way to figure out if there are any adjustments you need to make to your new brave routine so you can keep fighting the good fight.

And with that, I will leave you with this quote:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela

*photo credit to Catherine McMahon

My First Novel

An Introduction to Grace’s Mom

Brianne: Christmas 1990

The rumble of the MAX shook the abandoned building Brianne was sleeping in. She shivered as she woke. Fumbling for the dirty canvas tarp she was using as a blanket as she wondered how long she had been out. Her stomach growled loudly and simultaneously she felt nauseous. Her head was pounding from lack of food. Pulling the ragged purple beanie further down over her ears, she realized she was sweating. A tremulous shiver ran down her spine and she closed her eyes willing her body to warm itself and hopefully drift off to sleep.

After a few minutes she had to get up. Brianne paced agitatedly the length of the makeshift bed she had fashioned. Pulling at her hair and itching her arms under her thermal shirt. Sifting through her scattered thoughts, she attempted to construct some kind of game plan for the day. But she didn’t even know what day it was. “Was the shelter full? Is today the day Jaxson was back from the coast?” she thought as she tugged her sweaty and oily hair under her beanie. “My hair used to be so beautiful and healthy,” she thought dismissively and switched back to wondering what day it was.

The rain on the roof was thundering and only intensifying her anxiety. She grabbed her dirty red jansport backpack with all her belongings, pulled an old scarf out and threw it on. She donned her backpack, shoved her sleeping tarp and makeshift cardboard box pillows under some random garbage on the side of the room and set off to check out the shelter scene.

The icy Oregon winter rain penetrated her thermals almost immediately. Brianne couldn’t feel her toes in the holey boots she was wearing. The rain seemed to penetrate into her very bones. Her beanie was good protection from the rain, but not from the intense sweating she was doing underneath it. Brianne’s thoughts were jumbled and she couldn’t quite remember where she was going. If only Jaxson were back; maybe she could then shake this nauseated feeling and maybe she could be warm again.

By the time she reached the shelter her teeth were chattering and she was shaking so badly she couldn’t see straight. She felt a tremendous urge to vomit, but she wasn’t sure when the last time there was even any food in her stomach. “How long was I out?” she thought listlessly. She hadn’t reached the doors, but a nearby garbage can provided a place for her to dry heave in. Trying to stand up straight proved to be impossible as the world around her began to spin. Brianne suddenly felt the only thing she could do was lay down, and so she did. She fell in a heap to the wet and icy ground

Mental Health · Uncategorized

And So She Was Brave

Photo cred: Dmitry Bayer instagram.com/d__bayer

I always try to avoid saying I am making New Year’s resolutions. I feel that I am constantly having to reevaluate where I am in life. I have to sit down every so often and check in with myself and my goals often or I might wander…in fact it happens constantly. So usually I make a big deal about how how we don’t need to make resolutions once a year we need to keep making goals and aiming for things throughout the year.

This year was a tad different for me. I found after this holiday season of constantly focusing on EVERYONE else, that I desperately needed to reset and refocus. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed making all of my gifts. It was fun and worth all of the seconds spent on it. But when the mood of giving shifted more towards the new year and making goals, I was excited to get back on track with the things that have come so important to me. My writing had been slipping during the holidays, but I also rediscovered how much I love to paint. I knew I wanted to find a balance there.

So I decided to create a vision board. And that was just the tipping point. I listed out a few things I wanted to focus on this year: Getting my finances in better order, work on my writing and painting, travelling, my health (particularly I want to hike and do more yoga this year), and become closer to the Savior. So I found all the pictures and some scriptures that went along with my goals and I printed them out. I didn’t get it put together until this last Tuesday, but it’s done. And I am super excited about the motivation I have right now. As the year progresses, I know I will have to revisit and recommit to the goals I have set, but that’s life.

One thing I am super excited about is a goal that I didn’t even mean to make a resolution this year. It just happened, and it’s actually the one I am MOST excited for! And I am going to tell it to you in fair maiden fashion:

It happened a couple weeks ago when there was a job posting the fair young maiden was not going to apply for because she was TERRIFIED. In fact she let the deadline pass, thinking she wasn’t even remotely good enough for it. She could tell us every reason she  shouldn’t have been even considered. The deadline for the application went by and the following day the maiden’s employers opened it up again asking for more candidates. All morning she agonized over whether or not she should go for it. She constantly asked her peers and friends if they thought she should do it; for it wasn’t a question of whether or not she COULD do it, but whether or not she was BRAVE enough to try.

The more she thought about it, the more she realized she could do it. More than that, she realized she needed to show her employers she had self confidence and drive to make more of herself. Manda sought her dear friend and coworker’s advice. Her honorary life coach advised her to go for it. And how lucky was it that the maiden had just updated her resume not even a week prior.

With anxiety and fear making her shake, the fair maiden went to her computer and printed out the application. With a trembling hand she filled it out. Her stomach was in a knot, because all she could hear were the ten thousand reasons they might NOT give it to her. Then something amazing happened; as she began to tell them why they should consider her, she began to realize she was ACTUALLY worth considering. There were weaknesses, sure, but in that moment she KNEW she could overcome them. Manda knew she could overcome anything. So she finished the application, had her manager approve it, and anxiously awaited the interview invite.

Much to her surprise, the interview was set for the NEXT morning. Her nerves settled slightly and she began to plot her interview outfit. With her hair straightened and her makeup on, she set off to work filled with confidence. The interview went well. She went in relaxed and was her complete self. At the end of the interview she looked the manager right in the eye and said, “I can do this.” To which the manager emphatically agreed.

This was such a confidence booster! Even if she didn’t get the job, she killed the interview and that was a huge feat. To celebrate, her best friend urged her to commemorate the event by only spending 5 dollars. Manda didn’t know how she was going to do this, but as her carriage she fondly referred to as Charlotte, took her past the nearest Barnes and Noble. After she got some grub, the maiden wandered into the glorious bookstore, perfectly willing to splurge and spend more than $5. However, it being the new year, she found a beautiful little day planner for only FIVE DOLLARS.

She suddenly felt inspired and knew how she would commemorate this day of overcoming her fears and pushing herself out of her comfort zone. It is to be her bravery book! She determined that every time she did something brave or something that stretched her outside her comfort zone, she would document this in the planner. Readers!!! This was so amazing! Little did she know just how much this would spur on a new outlook and a new resolution. One can’t simply buy a planner with this intent and NOT endeavor to fill it out. Suddenly she wondered, “what will my life look like if I just make a commitment to be MORE BRAVE?”

Now, Manda did not get the position, but what a glorious revolution. There was a whole new world sitting right in front of her because she chose to do something that terrified her. And it made her question things. Like, what else in her life was holding her back because she was scared? She decided to let her stomach guide her a little more. If it felt scary, she vowed to seriously analyze where that fear was coming from and act on it if it was something that could only improve her circumstances. Her book has been getting filled with little things, but also some REALLY BIG things. There comes a time in every fair young maidens life where she realizes that being stagnant is part of complacence. Not acting, is being complacent. Not acting on something because of a fear, could be the very thing holding a person back from accomplishing anything their heart desires. And friends, let me tell you, the fair maiden did some strong things. She said things she thought she could never say and did things that were good for her even though it terrified her. She knows it’s going to work out, because she is taking control of her destiny. And how cool is it that this resolution to be more brave just came about? Her other goals are honorable and worth her time, but this new little goal just might change her life forever.

Humor · My First Novel · The Fair Young Maiden · writing

I’m back

Hello all! Just wanted to apologize for my long absence. Nanowrimo took a lot out of me…which is funny, because I didn’t finish my book! I did, however, discover a whole new plot line for Grace. I decided to make it about Grace AND her mom. It will be a piece that is more about growth and forgiveness… and I am so excited about it. I just need to schedule more time to do the actual writing. I’ll pick a sample this week and introduce you to her mom. I think you will want to know her story, just as much as Grace’s.

I have another blogpost I just wrote up tonight, but since I am exhausted, I plan on editing it with fresh eyes tomorrow. The blog topics will range from Oprah’s Golden Globes speech, my religion, and the fresh outlook I have for 2018 with new ways I intend on challenging myself. Thank you to any of you who have continued to follow me in my absence! I look forward to getting back into the swing of things.