Good Golly Miss Molly!

I like to joke that I chased my husband for 15 years before I caught him. That’s not 100% accurate but it’s not totally wrong either!

We met freshmen year and I was fascinated by him. He was a basketball and football player and he hung out with the cool kids. He was also painfully shy (he would argue now but it was true then). But that’s shyness made him mysterious and sexy. I hope he doesn’t read this cause it will go straight to his head.

Anyway we dated off and on, and while I always wanted him I’m glad he was a pain in my butt for a while. He says he broke up with me because he knew I was the one and if we stayed together in high school we wouldn’t have ended up together. Ummm nice try. Wasn’t born yesterday.

However he’s right. Please don’t tell him!!! Not only is he right I’m thankful he “choose” to wait until later for us to make it work. It gave me a chance to live my life and be wild and fun before we got married.

During my wild fun days my friend Jeanette and I would go up to the casino and play in poker games. We were two young girls who where seriously underestimated and often would win tournaments. We had a blast. We won money.

On top of being poker players we are both pretty avid readers (yes our husbands scored big time! Did I mean ruin we are also fantasy football enthusiasts?). She gave me the book Molly’s Game to read. True story about the 26 year old poker princess who was busted running high stakes poker games.

Great book! I loved her point of view and that it read like a novel so it kept me wondering what was going to happen. Overall the story shows that money doesn’t buy happiness and you develop a soft spot for the poker princess.

It also made me wanna play again. Yes I know the moral of the story was gambling is bad and doesn’t lead to good things and it can take you into super dark places. I get it. I also am trying to put together a group of girls to play!

For the record I’m talking $50-$100 buy in. Not $500,000 like she was dealing with. So no one here is going broke or ruining our lives.

Really I’m just excited to have another reason to get the girls together.

Wish me luck!

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.

 

 

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.

You Have To Host

I’m a flake.

I don’t want to be. But its true.

I love making plans. The idea of doing all the things is very appealing to me and always sounds great. But when it comes to actually doing all the things I lose motivation, and to be honest I get a little anxiety.

My friend once told me she makes back up plans when she makes plans with me. I’m not even mad! I actually thought “well that’s smart!” followed by “I wonder what the back up plans are and if I want to do that”.

So I complain that we all don’t get together enough and then I don’t show up. Yes I suck so hard!

That’s my new years resolution this year. Get ready cause its a long important one. Spend more time with my friends!! What a crazy concept!  Seriously though I want to spend more time with the friends that make me happy. The ones that make me laugh, that I can cry with, that my kid can be a brat in front of and they wont judge me when I flick her in the arm. Not hard, just enough so she knocks it off.

This started with my sister-in-law around Thanksgiving. I was complaining about all my groups of friends never doing anything and never getting together. So she asked a ground breaking, life changing question of “do you ever host”?

No. Point blank. No. I live in a bird house with hardly any room to live let alone entertain.

She hosts all the time and has once a month things like book club, dinner club, moms night, family night, movie night, and I’m sure I’m missing quite a few more clubs/nights. I’m not even sure there’s enough nights in a month to fit all her “once a months”. But she does it and makes it look effortless. She always has something going on and has been part of my motivation to make things happen. In the friends department… career is still a hot mess.

Okay I’ll start reaching out. Hosting. But not at my house. I have to get creative about this.

I talked to one of my best friends about this. She agreed. She is always the hostess too and does an amazing job of it. Maybe I’ll “host” at her house next time! Any way she brought up another thing to think about in my new master plan at becoming a better friend. She said “if you want people to come to things you host you have to show up to things too”. Well said bff…… well said.

So I’m going to be a better friend and show up to things. No more flaking on people. I promise to come if I say I’m going to. Or at the very least be honest if I have no intention of coming.

I’ve already started this new me thing. I went to the casino last night (yup on a Thursday) to support a fellow instructor and watch her band play. It was great. I had a drink, I danced my bum off, and was home before 10. Brilliant.

Bonus: I shocked a few people in showing up! Reputations can’t be changed in a day so I don’t blame people for doubting me. Also I know there was no better back up plan since they were still going there no matter what.

The next thing I am trying to put together is a Paint & Sip party with a big group. Whoever wants to come can if not, next time.

Fun things to come for the new me. I’m open to creative suggestions!

Photo of some friends celebrating Jeanette’s birthday!