Mostly Pictures

I haven't posted anything. I've been very negletful. Right now I am supposed to be packing so that I can get up at 4:30 to catch a train to Portland for the next week and a half. I am very excited but that doesn't mean I am excited about packing and cleaning. So, I'm taking a break to post some pictures from the past few days. Hopefully the pictures make up for the lack of words. 

Yesterday I decided to try something new with my hair. I tried to make it into a bow - it looked super simple on pinterest. But, pinterest lied. Or maybe my hair is still too short and layered. Either way, to achieve this look took some bobby pins, a lot of hairspray, and a little bit of magic. And even though it was only my family who saw me, I say it was worth it.

This is Katelyn's eating Cheetos face. It's a pretty good face. She is quite precocious for an almost two year old. She is definitely in charge of things. She is also very sweet and doles out the tiniest, squeeziest hugs ever.  I absolutely adore getting pulled around by her going wherever her little voice commands.


Every Christmas Eve Santa comes. He has for as long as I can remember. He doesn't give me a present any more, but I do get a candy cane. It is now super fun getting to watch all the kids get excited, and then scared to sit on his lap, and then excited again to open their presents. This is one of my favorite traditions.
I still get a stocking from Santa. Every year when I go over to my parent's on Christmas morning it's there waiting for me. This year I got some new lotion and it smells amazing. I also got a lot of candy that I don't need to eat but will.
But the best thing about Christmas this year was that it started snowing in the morning and by the afternoon the view from my parent's back window looked something like this:
A winter Wonderland.


Happiness is possible

I was doing my Sunday morning routine, reading PostSecret and drinking coffee. I'd gotten through looking at the actual postcards submitted and came across the following letter at the bottom of the page:

I was at the PostSecret Event in London. I didn't find the courage to go up to the microphone, but if I had been able to, this is what I would have said.
I spent so long feeling guilty, feeling ashamed of my sadness, and you know what? It just made me sadder. You are allowed to be sad, you are allowed to be angry, you're allowed to be depressed. We all deserve to feel our own sadness in our own time.
Something you will have heard before - you deserve to be happy. That, of course, is not always easy to hear, especially in the depths of depression - so let me add something. You deserve to be happy - but you don't have to be happy right now or all the time.
It is okay to be sad, it's okay to not be ready to be happy yet. One day you will be ready to recover - that day doesn't have to be today or even tomorrow, as long as you know and trust me that it will come.
It's okay not to be okay.
Thanks for everything Frank,
Holly, London
P.S My secret is that I decided last night that I'm ready to recover and it's going to be incredible.

I can't tell you how touched I was, but I can tell you that I wish I would have read these words a long time ago. My eyes filled up with tears at the simple statement "you deserve to be happy." I, finally, can believe those words again, but there was a long time, a very long time, when I didn't or couldn't believe them. My sadness was all-encompassing but I was lucky enough to be surrounded by friends who always encouraged me to feel my feelings and that it was okay. They supported me and loved me even when I had nothing to give back. Not everyone is as lucky as I am though and too often people suffering from depression are made to feel like they need to "snap out of it" and just get happy. I wanted to share this letter today in the hopes that maybe someone else needs these words, either for themselves or to better understand someone in their life.


Pod Club: The Two Moons

I'm sorry I'm late with this, and I'm even more sorry that I'm not really writing a post but instead copying from pod club genius Rachael at Just Me Acutally:

Today I'm asking you to take a chance on a podcast that might not be something you'd listen to normally. I promise you don't have to be a Buddhist or even someone who practices meditation to get a lot of insight from these Dharma talks. When I first started listening, I was only meditating for a few minutes once in a while and I still loved listening to these insightful talks. I prefer to listen to this one on my hikes. Being out in nature with words of wisdom flowing into my ears is the highlight of my day. Give it a try won't you?

Although I am currently wrapped up in exciting things that I'll hopefully share with the internets soon I did take the time to listen to this yesterday and can say that it's well worth your time. Please join us, listening to new things is fun.


I'm Alive Enough. Are you?

I stay pretty connected to my electronic devices. There is hardly a moment during any given day where I'm not listening to music or a podcast, catching up on shows via Hulu or Netflix, playing solitaire  checking Instagram....I don't text very often though and I'm rarely talking on the phone. I've wondered to  myself even before listening to this week's pod club pick if I should cut back on the amount of time I spend with my electronics...computer included. And I guess the answer for me is no, I feel pretty okay with the amount of time I spend with my devices and away from them as well. What I heard most in this podcast was that there needs to be times/places where phones/electronics are not allowed, most of those times/places had to do with family settings and I've got that under control. I also don't have my phone out during dance team, and it's used during teaching only to play the music I need to do the teaching. When I'm babysitting or at family dinner my phone is usually tucked away unless I'm taking pictures and I think that's acceptable. Do I sound like I'm justifying my electronic habit? Maybe I am, but I shouldn't have to. I've learned a lot of really great things listening to podcasts and heard a lot of things that have been insightful and mind-expanding; I've also calmed a lot of nerves, stopped panic-attacks, cheered myself up, and motivated myself listening to music.

Often times, especially lately, it's difficult for me to be alone with my own mind for company. I know what's in there and it's not necessarily that I'm trying to hide from it, it's just that sometimes I need a break. I'm in touch with my thoughts, my feelings, my opinions - maybe even at times too much - the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the pretty, the ugly...they're all in there and I give them all attention. But, for me to be able to live every day, move forward, be the person I know I want to be, I sometimes need to turn off all those things and I don't know about you but I think there is a sort of peace in that. I need to be able to find peace in listening to someone else talk or sing, or watch a show that makes me laugh. And my personal opinion is that these things actually help me feel more alive because they remind me to laugh, to think, to keep feeling, to keep growing. But I think it's all about finding balance, and for me I'm okay with the balance I have between electronics - books - dance - coaching - family - personal time, and until I feel otherwise I'm gonna keep on keepin on.

Would I feel "naked" if I left my phone at home accidentally? Probably, and maybe that's not a good sign but I'd also feel "naked" if I left home without my square ring on my left middle finger. Who's to say what's right or what's wrong? We have to be in charge of ourselves and keep on checking in with ourselves so that our habits don't wind up controlling us without us even knowing.

(now let's use our computers or phones to go check out what Rachael and Leah had to say about this week's pod club listen.)


Choose One

I was browsing around on the internet tonight and found this picture with the caption:

Biochemistry Necklace - Which one would you choose?
So, I looked and I thought and I was a little surprised with my answer. I'm going to tell you what I came up with but before I do, why don't you think about it for a minute...which one would you choose if you could only choose one?

I landed on Serotonin - happiness, satisfaction. My first thought was that obviously I would want the dopamine - love, passion but then I started thinking about it...love and passion does not guarantee happiness.  Would I really want a life that wasn't full of happiness and satisfaction just to guarantee love or passion? And the answer was no, I want happiness and satisfaction and I believe I can find those things even if it means finding them on my own. Then I looked at acetylcholine- learning, dreaming, memory, and after wresting between serotonin and dopamine it was an easy pick. Happiness and satisfaction in life seems like a great accomplishment and it was sort of eye-opening to me tonight to realize that I would pick that over love. But I would and I do.


A new week

Did you have a good Monday? Mine went way to quickly. Here I am at the end of the day with a podcast pick for the week. I already listened to it, and I think Rachael's already listened to it as well but I still believe that it's a good pick for this week. It comes from a podcast I've been listening to more frequently and even brought us the "extra credit" from last week: On Being
Alive Enough? Reflecting on our technology.

It was super foggy here today and a couple of times I looked outside and my eyes tricked me into thinking that there was some snow out there. I'm a little bit ready for some snow. If it's going to be this cold it might as well snow. That's how I feel about it.


Snowing and dreaming

I'm a day late with my pod club response but I feel like I have a pretty good excuse. Yesterday I was up at 6am to go to Leavenworth as a chaperone with the Hanford High German Club. It was such a wonderful day, it snowed big beautiful chunks of snow but the roads were only wet so the driving wasn't scary. I ate delicious foods and looked at lots of pretty things.

We didn't leave until after four, which means I didn't make it back to my house until close to nine. I was exhausted and needed to just get to sleep so I had to put off writing about dreams until this afternoon. But, I'm trusting that you'll still like me anyhow and won't hold it against me too much.

I have usually been good at remembering my dreams, and I can especially remember reoccurring nightmares and themes. However, most of my dreams are crazy things that would never happen in real life but there is usually something hiding in there ready to teach me a lesson about how I'm thinking or feeling about life at any given point in time. So, even though I couldn't figure out what the guy's story about seeing the naked man pooping on the toilet had to do with dreams I did understand how that one isolated incident could lead to a lot of bigger realizations in his life.
Sometimes it takes our subconscious mind playing out scenarios to make us realize how we really feel. There isn't any place for us to hide in our dreams and even though I've been successful a couple times in changing my dream as I'm dreaming, most of the time I have to sit back and see how it all plays out. See how I feel at the end of it and then wake up and figure it all out.
This has happened to me a few times in the past week or so and even though the dreams can be stressful and the feelings I have upon waking up are not pleasant they've helped me realize that what I am expecting from situations and people is much different than I tell myself during the day. I am working through things in my dreams right now which then helps me work through them in real life because I know I can handle it. Does that make sense? No? Well neither dreams but I get the gist anyhow.


Wholeheartedly vulnerable

This afternoon I got an email from Rachael (Just Me Actually - if you haven't read her blog go do it now) saying that she and husband were going to listen to a podcast on vulnerability and if I wanted to listen it could be like a pod club extra credit. So I did, because I love extra credit. I am currently listening to it for a third time. I don't know how to recommend this podcast highly enough - so I'll just say this:

Listen to it. Listen to it now, or die.

I mean, I know we're all going to die at some point but you should not do it without having listened to this first. Each time I listen to it I feel like I pull something new from it but there is one line that is standing out to me today, and maybe when I listen on a different day I'll not find it quite as powerful, maybe I'll find something else that will shake me. Today it is this:

Does this mean that our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be brokenhearted? ~Brene Brown

I have so many feelings about living a wholehearted life, a life where everything you do is done with everything you have even if that means it leaves you broken at the end. Broken is better than never trying right? I needed this reassurance today, this reminder, the knowledge that all courage begins from a place of vulnerability. Being vulnerable isn't a flaw, something to be fixed, it's something to encourage, nurture and celebrate. I need to get reacquainted with that side of myself, I used to be so good at it but I haven't nurtured my vulnerability lately and my willingness to be brokenhearted has diminished. I know I can do it, and so can you.



(also, as always, free on i-Tunes)

I like listening to Risk!, this week's pod club pick is an older episode but it's still totally free and probably still fun to listen to. Every week it's fun knowing that my ears are hearing the same thing as some of my friends. If you haven't joined in before now's as good a time as any.

And now for a little (weird) tooting of my own horn: Today started the fifth week of my cleaning experiment. It's been working beautifully. Since I've been timing all my cleaning I've had to realize that some of the tasks I would put off only take a couple minutes at the most but make a huge difference. It's still only me and the kitties who are here to enjoy the cleanliness but it's nice to know that if someone were to just stop by I wouldn't have anything to be embarrassed about. 


Week Wrap Up

Dear Diary,
I've had my Birthday sorry I didn't write on that day me and 2 friends went over to my grandparents house and played games until 9:30. My b-day was on Thurs, 18. Today April 21, 1991 I celebrated it. I got a Wilson Philips tape, a watch, Malibu Musk purfume, a game, a dress, 2 hair bows, a braclet, a turtle neck (hot) (sweat), a waver or crimper. I had so much fun now I'm 12!
Today i s Sun. It was my first day in Young Womens I had a lot of fun! Only I didn't talk much. I'm second consler in the Beehive class. My sister (Kareen) is president Monica Davison is First Consler and Rachel Bowlware is Secratary. I'm so glad I go to Young Women now I'll have so much fun.
Well write more soon.

Twelve years old with her own Wilson Philips tape and a crimper - this was a happy girl, I can tell you that. Now let's see what I've been up to in pictures:

My mom brought me over Thanksgiving leftovers. I don't think she knows how much I appreciated it, I tried to tell her but there's no way she knows the joy it brought to my heart. I heated them up right on the stove and even shared some turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes with my kitties who gobbled it all right up and loved it just as much as I did I think. 

I know I already put a picture of Elliot sleeping under the tree but I couldn't help it...he's just so cute. And this one shows proof that there is at least a couple decorations left on my tree. Every day I find some scattered over the floor, I pick them back up and put them back...it's a never ending chore.

It was very sunny here this week. I spent Tuesday - Saturday inside a high school auditorium with Forte doing rehearsals and then shows! But I have to admit even though it was not warm the sun was a welcomed break to the rain we'd been having...rain and 30-40 degrees? I think that's the worst weather. Probably because I walk around in it, I'd rather walk around in snow. Or sun. I'll take the sun.

As all the kids were getting ready for their final show Saturday night I got asked if I wanted sparkly liquid eyeliner...uhm...OF COURSE! Of course I wanted sparkly eyeliner. One of the girls, the Amazing Ellie, had brought it and applied it to my eyes. I felt so fancy and I think I need some for myself. Except I'm a little worried I would wear it ALL the time. Would that be bad?

After the show on Saturday night I got called up on stage to accept flowers from the group. I was not expecting it AT ALL and I was so touched. I cried right there on the stage. I have loved so much being a part of this group and I'm so glad that they want to keep me around for their next season.

This is Katelyn, she likes to jump off of things, but she doesn't really jump. She more just steps off of furniture and lands on her face. Luckily there are pillows underneath the table. She is fearless and also her adorable belly calls for the unbuttoning of her pants quite regularly. I can not get enough of her.