Everything Is Horrible And Wonderful

I read this memoir because I listened to the author on a podcast. At this point I can’t even remember which podcast but I loved the author and immediately put it on hold at the library.

The book is the story of her brothers struggle with heroin and the year following his death. She finds out about the addiction 3 days before her wedding! Its tragic, heartbreaking, funny, light, and covers all human emotion in one story.

She takes you on a journey through being there for her brother and what his addiction looked like to her and her family while she’s dealing with things of her own. It also follows the year after his death. She elegantly takes you through the stages of grief without actually calling them out and you feel the weight of her grief all the way to the end.

We recently had a loss in our family and I was instantly drawn to the say she describes the final stage of acceptance. It’s not accepting that the person has passed or that they are gone forever. Its accepting that the grief you are carrying is the new normal. You learn to want to live again and to not let it drown you but essentially its accepting your new normal in this world without them. You learn that when something happens that you want to tell them about, to smile at their memory and the fact that they would have enjoyed it.

She made you laugh through the book and made you feel like you knew him. I think he was amazing and I never even watched his shows. He said something that she loved and I am equally drawn to it. He said “we are all horrible and wonderful and figuring it out”. I think that’s the exact quote but I’m sorry if I got it a bit wrong.

But isn’t that the best quote ever? Doesn’t it describe everything in life? We are all horrible and wonderful. Life is horrible and wonderful and we’re all just trying to figure it out as we go.

We go through season and in every season things are horrible and wonderful. Even when things seem absolutely horrible (let’s be honest they do sometimes) there is something wonderful in that. Either in knowing that it can only get better from there or crying your eyes out only to have your 4-year-old ask you if you think she can fly if she jumped off the tall side of the couch. “No sweetie save the stunts for gymnastics please”.

Life is full of moments like that. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who know how to make me laugh when I’m crying. Whether its bringing up blasts from the pasts or jumping in with stories of their misery that are comical when it’s not happening to you. Thanks guys! I’d say misery loves company but I know you’re doing it to make me smile. Mostly to stop the ugly face crying I’m sure.

Ending on a happy note Rylan tried on flower girl dresses for us and holy moly! I wasn’t sure how she was going to be (let’s be honest she has a stubborn mind of her own). But she was brilliant! I brought in 3 dresses and the first one she came out like Cinderella and was turning and spinning and LOVING the attention! So much so that now whenever she puts on anything she likes me to go into another room so she can make an entrance and I can cheer. This happened last night when she put on PJ’s. She walked into the living room and did turns while we cheered and clapped. As I write this I’m a bit concerned we are raising a narcissist.

Eh screw it. One day people won’t do that. The time is now!

Bookish Community

It’s no secret that I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of the book club community. I’ve jumped in head first and drank the Kool-Aid. How ever  you want to say it, I’m obsessed.

It never occurred to me before to keep track of the books I’ve read or even count the number of books I’ve read in a month or year. I’m on book number 11 of this year which shocks me. I’ve kept track of the ones I’ve read along with a short review which is going to be so helpful because I often forget which ones I’ve read until I’m a few chapters in and have wasted my time.

So not only am I the person who journals, I’m now the person who book journals! Yup I can feel my husbands eyes rolling from across town right now. He’s doesn’t care. I do it in the morning when he’s at work. He can complain when I start putting on audio books for him to hear. Which is coming soon I’m going to find a good sports one and he’ll be sucked in and love audio books. Even I don’t believe that but its good to put good energy like that out in the world!

I’ve always loved the idea of Jane Austen. I want to have read her everything she’s written. Turns out I can’t. I tried reading Emma and it’s just so hard! I feel stupid. I wouldn’t even be admitting this if I hadn’t found a way around it! Jane Austen on Audio book!!! Someone on the Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club suggested that I listen to it if I was having a hard time reading it. I wish I could find the thread so I could thank her! Maybe even buy her a thank you audio book. That’s how much it changed the book for me.

I finished The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty on audio book and loved it. I have a big crazy family and yet still love reading about other big crazy families. The family story mixed with a murder mystery was so enjoyable. I appreciated the message that all families have secrets and not everything is as it seems. The postpartum story in there threw me for a bit of a loop and I empathized with her much more than I would have thought. I give it 4 stars and highly recommend it.

Also still working on The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim. Really enjoying it but the book is from the library and is shaped weird. So I’m having a hard time reading at night and its uncomfortable to carry around. I’m blaming my slow reading of it on all of that. I am enjoying it. The story of 4 women who escape to a Villa in Italy is right up my alley and only fueling my wonderlust. Time to book a trip.

Because I can’t be anywhere without a book and the other one is weird shaped I am also reading Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful by Stephanie Wittels Wachs. The story of her brother’s death and heroin addiction. Not something I would normally read but I’m branching out. Thanks to this new bookish community. (I’m not even sure I’m using the term “bookish” correctly. Someone help if you know!) It’s encouraging me to expand my reading material and I happened to have listened to the author on a podcast and it sounded like something I could get into. I’m flying through it. Never thought I’d be so caught up in someone elses grief. I can’t put it down. I read this one till midnight last night.

So that’s my week of reading so far. Oh I bought stationary so if anyone is looking for a kinda crazy pen pal let me know! I’m ready!

FIRST 5 BIBLE STUDY

Thought I’d explain a little about my journey.

I grew up going to church as a Christian. My mom and I tried a few different churches and while I took in the messages I wasn’t fully committed.

As time went on I always had that in the back of mind as a moral compass and I’m forever grateful for that.

When I was pregnant and had Rylan I had a lot of anxiety. Possibly depression with it but mostly I was just scared all the time. I turned to God in a way I never have before. Prayers and tears and long talks in the middle of the night asking him for help. Of course everything got better and I’ll never forget the feeling of being comforted by him.

If you haven’t read my Jesus Culture post check it out. I went with my mom and her friends and fell in love. You can now live stream their services online which is awesome! I actually still listen to their podcast cause I can listen on the go in my car and while doing other things.

Anyway the past year I’ve thought a lot about getting closer to God and learning more. I don’t know nearly enough about the bible and that’s making it sound better than it is. I know next to nothing. Other that what I’ve heard in church and bible verses that stick with me on a person lever there isn’t much to go on. Not exactly an ideal bible study leader.

But I’ve talked to a lot of people who feel the same as I do. Wanting a bible study but are either intimidated, don’t have the time, don’t know where to start, or all of the above. I don’t feel like I have enough experience or knowledge to just blindly go at it. So after months of and months of prayer I think I have a direction on where to start.

Which is why I’m excited about First 5 . It’s an app that basically does bible study for us. I’ve started a group and invited a bunch of people (if your interested let me know). It gives you a plan for every day reading, most of which are super short and manageable before bed or first thing in the morning. We can chat and send messages to each other about the verse and share stories. I’d also like to get everyone together at the end for appetizers and drinks and discuss what we thought of the whole plan.

What I’m excited for is we can all be connected while studying on our own at our own pace on our own time and not feel pressure. At the same time knowing people are getting the same message and there to chat at everyone’s convenience.

I’m looking forward to this adventure with all of you and can’t wait to learn more and dive deeper in this spiritual journey.

Control Freak

I’ve recently discovered the library! I know I’m way behind the times but I started taking Rylan a few months ago and we fell in love. I came home with two books for me and two for Rylan and told Pat “guess what babe? I can read for FREE!!! Do you know how much money I’m saving on books?!” Which was stupid of me because his next question was “how much were you spending on books?”  Answer: trust me dahling you don’t want to know!

Anyway both Rylan and I love going on Tuesdays. Not during the kid play time though cause we aren’t ready to be that social. Although I’m going to start making her go. That lady tells stories way better than I do.

We go and she finds book and toys and I start a new book. I thought I was a slow reader, and I kind of am. But having a deadline to get the book back has made me realize I average a book every week, week and a half.

I’m currently reading a book and it mentioned that we are not actually scared of heights. We are scared that we will willingly jump.

Well that made me think… is that really true? I want to know more about this. Since I read that we’ve driven over Sonora Pass and as I looked over some of the cliffs I thought of that statement. Being scared of losing control and just willingly jump. To be clear I was thinking about the statement… I do not want to jump.

I’d bungee jump… maybe even sky dive. Its not the jumping that would scare me its the hitting the ground and dying that’s scary. But I guess I understand the statement. Its that fear of loss of control. That fear that you could lose it and just jump.

I think a lot of our fear and actions come from fear of not being in control. I like order. I like to know what’s coming and what to expect. I like to know that if I plan ahead I know how things will go. But you can’t control everything.

I can’t control my toddler. That’s been made clear every day of the last 4 years. I can control certain things but overall she’s her own person with her own attitude and thoughts and ideas about how she does things. “I can do it mama” is said more than 10 times daily in my house. Yes baby I know you can, but we need it done before tomorrow.

I think New Years resolutions are stupid. Why do you have to wait for a certain date to make a change? Listen to Tony Robbins and make the change right when you decide to! In the middle of the day, or week, or year. Just do it!

So while I hate resolutions I do want to focus this year on not being in control. Just letting go and let whatever happens happen. What’s coming will come and we’ll meet it when it does.

I’ve already started this considering in the last 4 months we’ve been changing careers like 5 times! In one month we went from putting in applications to houses in San Jose to Pleasanton to buying a gas station and staying in Sonora.

Final decision by the way is staying in town and taking over the Chevron. Joining the family business and welcoming my husband to the life I’ve had all growing up in the gas station world. Welcome honey I hope you like it!

I wont lie taking over the gas station and joining the family business feels a little like looking over the edge and jumping. In a wonderful way. That fear mixed with excitement and the unknown. The best part is we have this amazing support system of family and friends that feels like a giant net to catch us. Tony Robbins says to learn from the best if you want to be the best and that’s exactly what we are doing. Learning from my grandparents, parents, and Aunt/Uncle. They are the best in the business and we are so fortunate to learn from them and have their support.

So CHEERS to jumping into 2019. wow that was too cheesy even for me! Sorry guys.

 

 

Jesus Culture

Pat: “sorry I just think its weird to drive that far for church”

Me: I get it you think its weird but we wanna go and the bible study girls swear its worth the drive. Its not like we are doing this every Sunday.

Pat: Alright see you around 12.

That was when he thought we were just going to Modesto for church. The Jesus Culture we went to is in Folsom. So instead of driving 45 min (which he thought was ridiculous) I was in fact, driving an hour an half.

The bible study girls were absolutely right. It was well worth the drive. Its not something I can afford to do every Sunday but its worth planning in advance to go to.

I hadn’t been to church in a really long time and this was exactly what I needed.

I fell in love with the worship. I’m not a huge live music person. So much so that if we are at a bar and they start setting up live music I start sweating and pay the tab and get the heck out of there. I don’t like it. BUT I like a legit concert with good music and that’s what worship felt like. A great concert environment with great music and great energy.

The message was even better if that’s possible. Love people. Ground breaking, mind blown, gooesbumps type of message. I loved that overall the message was not to be apart of a church but how to live better and love people better. It went right along with all my Tony Robbins things.

Its positive thinking and being kind and having faith in God. They are now doing a “Church I See” series in their sermons and I love that too. The church they see and that I want to be apart of is full of hope. It looks to the future and asks what we can do for our church not what the church can do for me. In that message alone it does a great deal for me. It switches my focus away from myself and thats extremely freeing and powerful.

Tony Robbins talks about saving your relationship. Suggesting that we do what we did in the beginning of the relationship and there won’t be an end. So I asked myself what was different in the start of my relationship? How as I different towards my husband. Well things were about him. Everything wasn’t constantly about me. Bringing it back to the start and seeing how you can make others happy will essentially make you happier.

After having gone to the church and having a hard time making it back there, I started listening to their podcast and continue to be inspired and motivated. I think the best quote that hit home for me was “Jesus didn’t rise from the tomb for us to be better at church, he rose for us to live a better life”.

I continue to listen to the podcast every week and feel pretty connected to this Church that even though I can’t make it every week I feel better after listening. So if anyone is up for a road trip to Church let me know!

Sick of Summer

As a pluviophile learning to love summer I think I’ve been doing really well! We have had the best summer ever so far. Partly because I’ve branched out of my bubble and am actually doing things. Its amazing how much fun stuff is when you actually go.

Its also because Rylan is older and able to talk and do things for herself. She’s also wanting to do things to and actually play with kids which just blows my mind. I mean the first time we were out and she said “mama can I go play with those kids?” I literally got tears in my eyes.

So here we are enjoying summer (still shocked by this) and then BAM!!!! Rylan wakes up with a runny nose and cough that sounds like a dog who’s been de-barked. What the actual hell.

Determined not to crash and burn on the summer of fun I’m trying to find ways to make this not suck.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

The obvious is Pedialyte popsicles. We’ve tried this in the past when she was younger and it was not a big hit. My hope is that since she’s older and helped me make them that she’ll be more interested in it.

As I’m sure you’ve figured out I’m not a normal mom. So it should come as no surprise that we have those little red solo plastic shot glasses. We don’t take shots of alcohol at all! But Rylan loves to drink water out of them. I save them for special occasions like when we bbq outside or when she’s sick and I need her to get as much fluids as possible. I know there’s not a lot in them but we set the timer for every 15 minutes and its a game for her.

We live on the corner of an intersection that gets a decent amount of traffic. Our house also has a ton of trees in the front and no shade at all in back. So we’ll be in our front yard on blankets enjoying the shade and eating pedialyte popsicles on blankets while yelling at people to slow down.

I don’t actually have a ton of tips. It basically comes down to anything goes as long as it keeps everyone somewhat happy. By happy I mean not drenched in tears or other bodily fluids.

I’ve got the essential oils going and am just hoping for the best! Finding the silver lining that I get quality time at home and on meds she actually naps.

Lots of reading time for both of us. I thought since I was reading about climbing Everest she would be interested. So laying with her I started reading out loud. She put her hand on my book and asked if I was reading for me or her. I said “I figured I’d read out loud so you can listen too”. Very seriously she rolled over and said “don’t”.

Open for more suggestions but so far doesn’t feel like I’m in Hell. We are surviving.

He’s Still My Best Friend

Not all people are animal people. But we are. Hard core. Our dogs are like members of our family. Yes its me saying this. The same girl who considers locking the cat out in the cold.

Just for the record the cat is now a family member. Now that I can let her out and she comes back and is actually calm and relaxed. She also comes in from being outside when I call her which is a bonus. So Reba can stay. And maybe snuggle me at night.

Anyway, Barry was 13 years old. Possibly a little older and had started to really slow down. The only thing harder than thinking about a pet dying is trying to prepare your 3 and a half year old. She’s pretty dang smart but kids have a way of surprising us.

I tried prepping her and holding her telling her “bubbas” was getting older and one day he wouldn’t live with us that he’d pass away and go run around with Jesus. She said “so we’ll just get a new bubbas”. Okay clearly I went about that wrong. So I just let it go.

Then Wednesday the 9th we had to put him down. He couldn’t walk and was clearly in so much pain it was hard to watch. He was having trouble breathing and wouldn’t even get up when I got home. He only attempted to walk when Pat got home.

It was the worst. I mean it was wonderful the way they have it set up. Our vet is the best and they have this beautiful yard you go to and they lay down a blanket and you get to hang with him for as long as you want while they sedate him first. Anyway its still the worst!

Pat and I were beyond devastated and still a few weeks later I’m barely able to write about it.

We had to tell Rylan.

I pull her in my lap and say “sweetie Barry passed away and went to heaven to be with Jesus”

Rylan: “so we’ll go visit him?”

“no sweetheart he’s up in heaven we wont be with him for a long time” I pull in her for a hug and tell her I know he was her best friend but before I can finish talking she pushes me away very angrily and yells  “HE’S STILL MY BEST FRIEND MAMA” and runs off down the hall.

Tears in both mine and Pats eyes we go to comfort her,except she doesn’t need it. She’s playing with her toys and is totally fine. To her Barry is still her best friend. That doesn’t change just because he isn’t with us in our house.

The last 3 weeks have been a grieving process roller coaster. Some days you remember things about him that make us smile. Some days Rylan comes in the house and says “I miss Bubbas”.

We picked him up from the vet where they very sweetly gave us his paw print in a ceramic circle the way new parents do their newborns feet. Ironically we have the kit to do Rylans and have never done it! Rylan looked at it with us and asked if Barry sent it to us from heaven. I’m letting her think he did.

Bailee our 7 year old lab was so devastated that Pat thought it was a great idea to go get another puppy. A 7 week old English lab we have named Hank. No matter how hard I protested that I wanted to name him Marshall, Rylan and I were out voted.

Hank has brought joy and is so fun but we are still devastated and learning to live without Barry daily.

Rylan is absolutely right. No matter what, no matter where, Barry is still our best friend.