Yes To This Dress

I’ve never tried on a wedding dress. Ever. Yes, I’ve been married before. It was not a planned thing. I remember riding down the road with my then boyfriend. He was covered in drywall mud and I was in a brown floral top and khaki pants. He asked if I wanted to get married, right then… I wasn’t really doing anything else. My day had been pretty boring and I’m a spontaneous person so of course I was all in. No tears or even witnesses, just me, him, and the lady at the tags office. Romantic right? Ha. That ended 7 years ago. He wasn’t the right guy, but that doesn’t make him a bad guy, just not the right guy. I’m not sure there is a right guy. I have been asked a total of 3 times for my hand in marriage but I’m a bit more cautious with my spontaneity now a days, and to be honest my hands are cold… wouldn’t want to hoodoo another persons life with these icicles.

I believe wholeheartedly that I was meant to be a single mom. Even as a child, when I’d picture my future life, I always saw myself with children but never with a mate. Sometimes now when I’m planning for retirement, or even what I’ll be doing in 10 years from now I see the same thing, mateless… just me and a garden, my one million projects lined around the yard, maybe a medical mission or 2, the company of friends and my kiddos. Perfection. My mom says that the way I’m feeling right now is exactly when my dad found her… well come and find me dad because I’m not going anywhere!

I recently went to a local thrift store to drop off donations. As I walked in the biggest, most poofy dress I had ever laid my eyes on caught my eye. It looked like the wedding gown donned by Barbara in beetlejuice. I snatched it up as my kids laughed saying, “mom no, oh man that’s hideous”… girls this is a work of art. I teased that I needed to try it on to wear to their first ball game at school.. want to look my best right? I slipped the dress on, unaware at the time it’d be my “first time” ever trying on a wedding gown.

Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice!

Everyone talks about that special moment when they find their wedding dress. Some even cry. I understand that feeling now. The broken mirror, the puffy lace sleeves, kids cackling from the door way, the thrift store find… I’m saying yes to this halloween dress 😭. It is perfect. I can picture it now, Maleah as Lydia. Kali as beetlejuice. Hailee as Harley Quinn… I can’t picture an Adam in all this so if that’s where your mind was going, sorry, no husband for me, just the creepy dress please. Thanks.

We go big for Halloween in this house. We plan out the houses we are going to hit. Extra bags in the car for the candies, what time we are going to the Halloween party, what time we will hit Main Street before the neighborhood homes. The book character day party and time it will take for a costume switch… it is all mapped out as if we are preparing for war. My girls make great soldiers.

I took my littles Halloween shopping yesterday. I usually know what to expect with each kid except Maleah. I know Hailee loves all things frilly and Princess related, Kali is somewhere between drag queen attire and full blown Disney Character (I know what you’re thinking but there’s not much difference), and then there’s Maleah… Maleah is that kid in your school who shows up in a hot dog costume when all the other girls are dressed as Cinderella. Try to pick her out in the above picture… if you picked the granny then you’re correct. This year Maleah was holding a cheerleader costume and something polar opposite from it, I don’t even know what to call it, but after heavy contemplation she chose the thing which I will now picture:

The other two girls refuse to let me snag a picture until they’ve gone through hair and makeup so I’ll have to update on Halloween! Divas. I couldn’t get them to go along with my beetlejuice plan so I guess I’ll just be Miss Havisham and sit it my wedding dress at home. I still think it’s perfect.

The Veils of Morality

I’ve heard that death is as easy as walking into another room. That there is a veil between this mortality and immortality. There is a sacred symbolic meaning behind the veil, it can mean obedience, modesty, concealing, humility or all of the above. I want to share the oddest dream I had the other night that changed the way I viewed the veils of our mortality.

I dreamt I was walking into work. It was quiet which is unusual for a nursing facility, there were no other employees, no call lights ringing off, and every patients room had a white veil hanging on the entrance to the doorway. In most of my dreams I can not talk, rather I feel what’s happening. I felt at peace in this one and continued to prepare myself to treat my patients. I approached a doorway and felt a voice ask me who I was. I’d describe it as a telepathic conversation as my mouth never opened but I answered with, “I am Annabelle”. The voice responded with the same question, “Who are you?” After a revolving Q&A with the same results I finally took a step back and thought there is a patient in there who needs my help and I am a nurse. The mystery voice said, “You May enter”. I stepped through the veil and only found the patient inside, no security guard at the door… it was odd but I didn’t question it. The patient was angry at me, he was asking why I took so long and why I hadn’t come to see him sooner. I wanted to respond with, “my child was sick and I’ve had a stomach ulcer so I’ve been out of work” but the voice in my head said again, even louder this time, “WHO ARE YOU?!”. I answered silently, “I am a nurse”. I felt a change internally, the stressors that control my time outside of that room quickly dissipated. I was no longer a woman who had only 4 hours of sleep, a sick child, a crippling stomach ulcer, or a single mom with bills racking up. That woman was not permitted into this room, only the nurse in me was extended an invitation. My response to the patient changed to, “I apologize for my absence but I am here now, how can I help?” The angry mood shifted as the patient allowed me to treat his wounds. I finished up and stepped back through the veil. As I entered the hallway I was Annabelle again, I was a mom, a painter, an adventurer, and a nurse all in one. But each time I approached the door to another room the same question was asked before entry was granted, “Who are you?”.

As I woke up I started pondering the dream with the veils. I thought about all the doors I walk through each day and the person in me who was permitted on the other side. When I come home am I bringing the stressors of work with me? Or am I stopping at the door and asking myself who am I with the response, “I am a mom”? Am I doing the same at work? It’s an interesting concept when I sit back and think about all the mortal doorways we each have in our own lives, with that invisible veil that only allows a part of us to enter. What have you come to that doorway to do? If it’s to give excuses when you get to the other side then take a step back and remind yourself who you are before you cross.

When I walked into work yesterday I couldn’t get the image of the veils out of my head. I believe the dream came about to remind me of who I needed to be in that room, and who I needed to be at home because I couldn’t be both. The hard days I have at work do not belong in my home with my children and the hard days I have with my family at home do not belong in the room with my patients. I thought to myself yesterday before I entered each room, “Who are you?” and that changed my entire day.

Laughing through the Horror

I am no good at hiding how I feel, I wear it on my face in every situation. I haven’t even been successful at training my face to match a pleasant affect when I’m upset in a professional setting. I can’t seem to find the power cord that connects my brain and facial nerves to disconnect during times when I’d like to fake a smile. As a matter of fact, on my yearly review at work I was told the thing I needed to work on was smiling more… I could do that, if someone says something funny. I actually smile and laugh a lot but there is a stimulant behind that, someone has made me feel happy or I’m laughing at myself. I told my boss I could work on smiling more but that I felt she was robbing me of my feelings. Then this morning I was reading something one of my favorite women had said, “The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” -Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I seriously love this woman!

That is great advice! Finding the joy in every situation could be the key to a happy life. I want to share one of my most embarrassing moments in life where I was able to find humor in an incredibly uncomfortable situation. I was shopping with my best friend when I was a teenager. I was wearing underpants that were 2 sizes to big. Don’t ask questions… just follow along. I started trying on jeans and when I zipped the zipper up it embedded the oversized underpants into it. I tried everything to undo the tragic mistake but no amount of butter would’ve loosened the grip of the teeth on that zipper. I told my friend I’d just take the tag off and buy the jeans. So here I stand at the counter, with my new all in one jeans telling the clerk I want to buy these jeans I’m wearing. She giggles and says there’s an anti theft magnet on the pants that can only be removed on the cash counter. To my horror this magnet was not on the waist lining like they typically are now a days. It was up one of the pant legs. So I had to climb the counter and lay sideways as this clerk stuck her hand up my pants to remove the magnet. I don’t believe I have ever laughed so hard in my life. I could have chose to cry and be upset in that situation but Marjorie Hinckley was right, I prefer to laugh too.

It may be hard to find the joy in every situation but it is there. I don’t mean for you go to a funeral and laugh at your deceased loved ones, but in most situations when things seem to be going terribly wrong, look for something positive to cling to and smile about it. Don’t fake it, find the joy in it. Laugh through the horror.

This photo of my 7 year olds feet has nothing to do with this blog post at all. I just went to wake her for school and found her wearing my socks that I laid out for work and thought it was so cute. Apparently she got cold through the night hahaha!

What’s weird about it?

I’ve got a question for anyone who is divorced with children, does it feel weird to spend time with your ex for family functions such as birthday parties, holidays, cookouts, whatever the case where your children might be that the other parent may also be? If yes then why? I get asked this question a lot, “isn’t that awkward?”… well no, why would it be? You know what would make it awkward? If we were still married. I mean, how awkward would that be if I was still married to this guy that I only see once every other weekend, show up to a birthday party with another wife and kids, now THAT would be awkward… but I’m not. It’s not awkward because we aren’t married anymore, and haven’t been for 7 years. I’m trying to dip inside the mind of someone who would find the situation weird. Is it weird for you because you are not on good terms? Do you argue a lot? Do you harbor unresolved feelings? Bad blood between the new member to your co parenting team? Your problems are not my problems. I’ve known this fool for 15 years, he’s my kids dad, and yes I can call him a fool because it’s just a playful term of endearment. His wife is good to my kids. And here’s the thing, we live separate lives with the same children who we each love and they love us. So spending time all together is not “awkward” because I’m at the point in my life where they are just another part of my family. Sometimes it’s funny, like when we all went up the mountain to take the kids to see Anakeesta, they take a photo before you go up with your group. Imagine 3 adults and 5 kids, my kids dads laughed and said we looked like a bunch of Mormons… I laughed even harder because I am a Mormon, but not that kind 😂!

Can you see how happy these silly kids are?

Every situation is different. The kids are the most important aspect of our lives and as I see it they are not from a “broken home” they are from an expanded home, we’ve built on to what we already have. This is a very positive situation, my kids have more parents to love them, more siblings, more grandparents, more everything. We are not the stereotypical divorced parents. I despise the negative connotation that follows that term around. You are what you make it. We choose to make it right.

We did not start here. So yes I understand the scary looks on the faces of people when I mention I’m spending time with the kids and their dad/stepmom. We worked to get here. There used to be a lot of bad energy surrounding the situation. There typically is in the beginning. It takes a lot of growth, forgiveness, acceptance, and love to get here. We are not perfect but we are better than we were yesterday and that’s all that is important especially for our children. I can say that I know that in 10-20 years when my kids look back on their childhood they will remember feeling loved and being raised in homes by parents who get along, and that to me is NOT broken.

Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s law is a cute nickname my kids have gifted to me, especially on vacations. I secretly love it. Kali, my 13 year old, says what’s weird is that when things go wrong like way wrong, I laugh about it. Yeah, I guess I do. Why not? I think it’s funny that crazy weird stuff happens… I’m the person who tries not to laugh when you trip in public but I am also the person that would help you up. Balance baby.

The girls have already started in on chanting “Murphy’s law” this fall break. Mind you, last fall break beat the books for all my cursed vacations. We were scheduled for a beach trip which at last minute we had to cancel and rebook for another beach because the red tide showed up, we arrived at the new beach and upon booking we were evacuated for a hurricane… decided to then drive to North Carolina to flee the hurricane where we were met with a tornado. It was like a sequel to final destination.

This time around we booked a tipee and vintage camper for our fall break just outside Gatlinburg. Little did I know my girls have never been camping in their lives. They were terrified. I had 3 kids stacked on top of me during the night, spooked about every little noise in the woods, and spiders… no ma’am. I made a fire around 4am to keep us warm and get some water boiling. A dog who lived on the camp site loved to run full speed at us anytime he heard us going to the outhouse. Full speed. Pitch black night, 7 year old walking in the woods, full speed running dog. She thought we were being attacked by a bear and clinged for dear life against my leg. There was also a kid on the site. He wore a black suit. In the woods. I didn’t have a good feeling about that… why was he wearing a suit?!

We left early morning and headed to their dad and stepmoms hotel to brush our teeth and get ready for the day. I decided that camping is clearly out of their comfort zone and since it’s vacation for these ladies it should be fun. So I cut my losses and rented a cottage instead. The kids have never been so grateful for running water and electricity in their lives!

We are settling into the new place. I even made breakfast this morning! And I only dropped the food ONCE. Tonia made it in late last night and after a night in the woods I barely had the strength to greet her while I was sunken into my memory foam mattress hahaha. I’m hoping the curse of Murphy’s law that follows me so closely will be lifted for the remainder of our vacation,and if not it will make for a great story 😉

Beggars are fine by me

I listened to Jeffrey R. Holland’s “Are we not all beggars?” a dozen times this morning. If this message doesn’t strike true with you in the nursing field, you’re doing it wrong. His talk isn’t about nursing, it’s about poverty and caring for those in need. I still see it in the nursing aspect. Of course. Homeless, HIV, immigrant, poor, kind, bitter… it doesn’t matter. I will care for you regardless. I want to share a paragraph from this talk to put into perspective my feelings on the topic: “For one thing, we can, as King Benjamin taught, cease withholding our means because we see the poor as having brought their misery upon themselves. Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don’t the rest of us do exactly the same thing? Isn’t that why this compassionate ruler asks, “Are we not all beggars?” Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.” -Jeffrey R. Holland

This is such a powerful paragraph. How many times do we look at someone in need and say, “I’m not helping them, they brought this upon themselves”. If that is the answer The Lord gives to you when you go to him with your own personal troubles the tables would be turned wouldn’t they be? But it’s not. It’s not the answer we give to our own children when they come to us with a mistake or misfortune either. We seek out ways to help them recover, to make changes. In nursing it’s the same way. Maybe you have eaten yourself into a diabetic coma, you’ve been shooting up and have an infection in your heart, you could’ve damaged your vital organs with an unhealthy lifestyle, whatever the case we do not turn you away at the door because you’ve brought these problems on yourself. We take you in with open arms and care for you regardless of whether you continue with your current habits or have a remorseful heart. We educate and let the choice of change lie in your hands, this is your chance to make that change, we cannot do it for you but we will care for you in your time of need!

How different would our lives be if we lived by these words? How different would the lives of others be? I sometimes look at the dilemma of poverty in the world and think, “I can’t fix all of this, I don’t have enough to fix all of this?!” But then something happens, when I am in a position to help another and I think, “I can’t save them all but I can save THIS ONE”. Remember my post from yesterday about how conquering multiple small things will cross off the big things? This is it. That small act of kindness will cross off a big thing in someone else’s life. I encourage whoever is reading this to be charitable in the lives around you, even if they have brought their difficulties on themselves, haven’t we all? Thanks for coming to my ted talk 😉

Misophonia

How is there not a pill for this yet? The hatred of sound. It’s a ridiculous thing to have to live with. I can’t explain why I went from a pleasant mood to a dark place in the snap of a finger. A place that has me hoping you choke on that chip just so the sound of you mutilating it stops. I understand the irrational extreme my mind goes to, I even tell myself ‘stop being angry crazy lady’ but if the sound doesn’t stop, I go to my dark place. I’d probably be admitted to the psych ward if a picture show displayed the thoughts of my mind when other people chow down on food… or prison.

My sister asked me why I focus on the sound, she says she doesn’t even pay attention or notice it. I don’t seek it out, it’s like a radar detector my mind cannot turn off. If I’m in a restaurant full of people talking and laughing, busy staff members rushing food orders out, music in the background… I will here the repetitive sound of chip after chip being guzzled down by the man 2 tables over… as if he has been one of the children on the television, living in Africa with a belly full of air for all his life, finally introduced to food and binging on it as if he will never taste it again… okay I’m drifting to my dark place again. The gist of it is, I try not to hear it. It finds me, and it gets louder after I’ve zeroed in on it.

I have heard of other people who have this disorder. I would consider mine an extreme case. I wear ear phones to the movies to avoid the sound of popcorn before the show if that helps paint a picture. It’s not just the sound of poor manners either, I can hear you chew when your mouth is closed. I don’t like repetition, a constant knock at the door can set me off. What in the world is wrong with me? And breathing, why is that necessary…

I’ve tried to research out different treatments. They say therapy is an option, but I haven’t been to therapy since they told me I was a high functioning alcoholic. Made me so mad that I never drank again. Take that therapy lady. The other options are sound protection and noise free zones… ear phones check. Noise free zones when I live in a world full of peoples… uncheck. If you see me in public during a food and mingle event, and my face looks like I’ve just entered the dead zone… just know that I’m trying very hard not to envision your slow and painful demise. I feel guilty afterwards if that makes any difference to you 😃.

I’m curious to know the cause. Why is it selective sounds that trigger this psychopath to take up host in my body. It is selective. I absolutely love music. Music is my therapy. All genres too, from instrumental soundtrack to heavy metal. I love the sound of water. That’s a weird thing to love but I do. Rain is my favorite. I once thought about becoming a scientist just to create a pill to subdue the madness. Once the noise stopped I decided to stick with my current field of employment. I guess noise avoidance will have to work for now. Feel free to give me other ideas, I’m all ears… hahaha if you got that 😉.

“That perfect Broken part of me”

I’ve always been a lover of broken things. I could enter a store and see all of these perfect pieces and the one thing I’m drawn to is the only thing tarnished, broken, unique. Sometimes I try to fix it or keep it just the way it is admiring the beauty of the imperfections. I think we spend too much time looking for the perfect thing, place, person, life… when life is perfect imperfect. Maybe the obsession with that picture perfect life is an association with cleanliness. When I think perfect I think clean. Clean is peaceful. Broken things can be clean.

I haven’t posted in my blog for almost a week. My goal was to do daily updates, but this past week I have made a dozen drafts and withheld publishing any of them. I’m saving them for later. I think one of the most helpful things to do in times of trial is to write them down, get it out on paper or type it out, as long as it is out of you. Removing that energy you want to rid yourself of.

This past week I took some time to myself to try to alleviate a decision I’ve made. I know it’s the right decision but it doesn’t make it any easier. I took a spontaneous trip to the middle of no where to visit with nature, old cars, good people and creepy baby dolls. It’s called old car city in Georgia. When I saw pictures online I imagined this place being packed with people and hoped I’d make it early enough to have some space to myself. I stayed most of the day and to my surprise the place was desolate. Imagine taking a trip to an abandon amusement park and having the place to yourself, that’s what this paradise was like. I shared the wooded area with only the creatures within, saw squirrels and a deer between the haunted vehicles. The untouched cars had trees growing inside of them along with the debris of the forest. It was incredible!

My sister flew home over the weekend for a final visit before she deploys. She is soaking up every minute with my girls and spending the days with my mom, siblings, and friends while she is home. We went to the pumpkin patch on opening day and played on all the attractions like little kids, went on a hayride to retrieve our pumpkins, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over a bon fire before getting lost in a corn maze at night. I felt like I was on vacation as well. I’m working towards a schedule that will allow me to have more time home with my family. Time is important to me and spending it slaving the days away from my littles isn’t optimal. I miss this. Sometimes when I sit back and take a good long hard breath and look at the bigger picture I feel the best part of me is not being projected in the right places. I’m going to change that.

One of my favorite quotes is from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, he says, “We would do well to slow down a little focus on the significant & truly see the things that matter most”. I believe that. If we stay so busy that we miss those significant things in our lives then we are far busier than God intended us to be. I was able to accomplish several things I put off for months in one extended weekend I took off work. The dresser I rescued months ago has a new life now, my daughter has a new hair cut, my house is feeling more like home again and my time with my girls feels renewed.

I felt guilty for wanting time for myself this week. I spent the first few days worrying about all the people who would be upset of my absence. But the more time I had to reflect on things I realized I wasn’t just wanting time for myself but I needed it! There is nothing more important than self care, if you don’t take time to care for yourself you CANNOT care for others. I am blessed to have people in my life that respect that and allowed me this peaceful break! You all rock 😉

Motherhood Madness

Breakfast is free at my kids school. It. Is. Free. I don’t like to make myself something early in the morning when they haven’t gone to school yet. So I usually wait or pick something up on the way to work. However this morning I want to make it to work on time and I prefer not to be hungry so I pop some quick cinnamon rolls in the oven for the girls while starting some simple eggs and toast for myself. The girls venture into the kitchen like little birds, mouths wide open, stumbling around and touching EVERYTHING. Of course they want what I have instead. Of course. I make more eggs. My niece is dropped off as her dad heads to work. I make more eggs.

Toast? I’ve made 10 pieces of toast this morning. Where’s the butter? I just sat the butter on the table… *opens fridge, pulls butter back out for the 2nd time*. Maleah (age 9) is fast walking around the kitchen as if she has places to be, grabs the butter and yells, “WHO KEEPS LEAVING THE BUTTER OUT!” Me kid. It is I.. the butter bandit. I’ve pulled out all the bells and whistles for the perfect ‘mom makes breakfast before school picture’. You know, paper bowels and plastic utensils, perfect for clean up 😉. But do my kids use them? No ma’am. They are savages. Straight up savages.

That toast ain’t even got a plate man

Remember those cinnamon rolls I popped in the oven at the beginning. They’re done now but no one is touching them. I ask my teenage daughter if she’s going to have one? She says, “No I only like cinnamon rolls made from scratch, not a can”… so now I’m looking around trying to figure out where in the Betty Crocker hell this chick thinks she was raised! Whose mom has been making you cinnamon rolls from scratch? Huh? Tell her to pull up and we’ll have a pancake challenge! I have a big spatula and can flip 2 pancakes at a time ✌🏼.

Straight from the can

With all the little bellies full, I start in on the pre school interrogation. “Do you have your teeth brushed, where’s your shoes, hair… fix your hair, grab the back packs, has anyone fed the dog?”…. “Mom, the dog killed a possum!” Kali says all panicked. “Well don’t give him any wet food today, just the dry food since he is already getting his wet food elsewhere today”. Kali looks at me horrified. *blink, blink* where do you think that wet food comes from kid?

The madness of motherhood is doing the same things over and over, expecting a different result, only to find the butter has been placed back in the fridge for the 4th time in less than an hour. Over and out.

Let’s play a game

I was picking my girls up from school yesterday, asking them the usual how was school questions. My teenager for the first time mirrored that question back at me and said how was your day mom? Can you believe that?! What a dear. I choose to answer questions like this with the best parts of my day, or the worse parts. Who likes the same ole same “my day was good”… bleh. Those people are boring. What was good or bad about your day, I want details! I told her that I made a spirit stick out of highlighters and how I challenged my wound tech to a race, and how she tricked me saying she wasn’t going to race me but took off running towards the mirror ball on the ceiling… that sneaky girl… I love her. My daughter looked at me with a smirk and said, “that doesn’t sound like work, sounds like you played all day”… haha well yes, I worked but between patients I played a little. Why not? If you are having a boring or hard day at work, I guarantee if you sneak a game in there it will brighten your day up, make you laugh, and give you a fun time to look back on! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve pulled my flashlight out, turned it up on my face in a dark room, just to call the measurements of a wound out in a haunting way 😂. There is no age limit to stop playing games. Recently I was telling a friend about my day at work, he said ‘I want to work where you work’ haha well I’m sure you could make your own workplace a fun place to!

Actually photo of me at work

I just started watching that tv series ‘This is us’. How have I missed this show all these years?! I love it! Something I thought was the most incredible thing was when the family had an awful Thanksgiving. They were at a motel, gas station hotdogs, hot as hades and the kids were miserable. The dad turned the entire thing into a game! Reminded me so much of my parents! What could’ve been the worse Thanksgiving for them turned into a ritual because he made it fun! I’ve done that with my girls countless times. I even convinced them during a scary thunderstorm that I was in charge of the weather and would anticipate a clap of thunder, raising my hands as if they were magic wands and throwing them out into the world. Those fear stricken kids turned into laughing, cackling, amused little girls. I’m going to challenge anyone reading this to play a game today. You will thank me later 😉