To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, May 21, 2010

Styled By Night

One of my closest friends in all the world (Melanie Fairbanks Gray) married into the raddest family just about 2 years ago. I don't even know them all that well, but is it weird that I adore them like they belong to me?!? Maybe so.

But, anyway, Mel's sister-in-law has great taste and style. And, recently she started this cute little blog Styled By Night. It's darling. She's darling. I like it. So, I am sharing it with everyone else. Go Jenna. I think your blog is a masterpiece. I will frequent it regularly. So, keep it up.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thank you (J Style)

So... as you all know, Sunday was Mother's Day. And, I am sure you all think your moms rock. And, I am sure they do. But, no mom can top mine. She's the best.

I called my mom on Sunday and she spent an hour telling me how wonderful I am and what a blessing I am to her and how she feels selfish that she got the five best children God ever made. I am pretty sure it's a good thing I can't see or hear any of you laughing. And perhaps, it's an even better thing that none of you can see how hard I laughed at it too. Now isn't that so sweet?!? Especially since it wasn't too long ago that she balked "I have five kids, but I only like two of you!" I am pretty sure that I was ALWAYS one of the two!

I didn't even do anything for my mom this year, and she still thinks I am wonderful! How did I pull that off?!? But, although I am a little late, I'd like to give my mom a little thank you shout out, publicly so you all get to see how you missed out.

Let's start at the beginning - Thank you for loving me even though they had to break your tailbone with a mallet to extract me from your womb, and, in spite of the fact that I was born on the exact same day as your oldest child, thus ruining her 6th birthday party and putting a damper on the ones that followed.

Thank you for teaching me how important it is to be honest and always tell the truth. It sure was awkward being the only kid that gave the school a note that said "Please excuse Ali from school yesterday, she just really didn't feel like being there." And, it sure was funny when you made me get inside the shower and start hopping around before you'd tell a boy I didn't want to talk to that I had just hopped in the shower. I remember thinking you were such a dork, but the lesson that I learned was important and poignant.

Thank you for being a little bit nutty. Screaming at the top of your lungs out the front door and into pillows so you didn't hit us or lose your sanity. It taught me that the best moms are the ones that don't pretend they always have it together. Perhaps the neighbors thought that you needed to be medicated, but I liked your lack of pretense. You were always real.

Thank you for driving me to swimming, and t-ball, and seminary, and school, and ballet, and gymnastics, drama,volleyball, and basketball, piano, and singing and... for never saying much by way of discouragement when I changed my mind every six months because there never really were that many things I had a natural talent for.

Thank you for being a mom that not only taught me through your words, but also your example, that the way the world defines a person's worth and the way Lord define's a person's worth are distinctly different and that the latter is always more important.

Thank you for teaching me to see the best in people. And, for understanding that most people do the best with what they know. And, then for teaching me to always strive to know as much as I can in order to be better than who I am.

Thank you for buying me clothes. And, teaching my to love shopping and fashion, although you may have wanted to start with that lesson a little bit younger. Because, for the love of everything good and holy, I haven't been able to find many childhood photos where I had ANY pants on?!?

Thank you for TRYING to have Family Home Evening. Even though, someone always fell asleep, someone always got flogged with a flying object, and someone always left the room crying. I always remember you trying.

Thank you for marrying my dad. It was the best decision you ever made! Thank you for staying married and enjoying it. And, showing me through example that marriage *might* definitely be worth the work.

Thank you for teaching me by word and example how to be dependable in all things from little to big. I can still remember you saying "there are two kinds of people in this world, those who do what they say they're going to do and those who don't. You have to decide now which one of those people you are going to be, because you can't be both." Dependability is one of the characteristics I have come to admire the most in people.

Thank you for trying so hard to teach me to eat healthy. I am sorry that one didn't exactly take!

Thank you for writing me a note on the napkin that you stuck in with my school lunches. It was sweet... and embarrassing... and it ALMOST made up for the fact that I NEVER EVER EVER got anything that a normal kid would consider an entree, just a whole lot of snacks.

Thank you for saying "no" a lot, everytime it was important and necessary.

Thanks for all the little traditions you made up, like picking us up and taking us out to eat on our half birthdays - even though they might have only been carried out sporadically, I DO remember them fondly.

Thank you for teaching me the important lessons in life that steered me to being a Christ-centered human being, but also letting me figure out who I wanted to be.

Thank you for teaching and showing me how important is to take care of yourself.

Thank you for loving me even when I was a teenager.

Thank you for telling me until you were blue in the face to be kind to my brothers and sisters because someday they'd be my best friends. Like always, you were right. Sorry, it took so long before I listened.

Thank you for teaching me that it was only ok to be sad for a moment, but then I had to pick myself up because there wasn't enough time for pity.

Thank you for choosing to be happy, no matter what happened in your life. And, for teaching me how important it is to be grateful for each and every blessing, instead of focusing on the ones I wish I might have gotten. And, for living a life that showed me that 'life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain.'

Thank you spending so much time on your knees on my behalf; for always being in that position when I walked in to kiss you goodnight; and for teaching me to pray for other people, showing me how important it is and promising me that it always works.

Thank you for always loving my friends like they were your own children. I promise you several of them have repeatedly told me often they have wished they were.

Thank you for telling me every single time we talk that you believe in me, that I am more than enough and that you couldn't imagine being more proud that I was your daughter.

I love you more than you will ever know. You are one of my greatest blessings. And, for all that I do well, I owe more credit to you then I will ever deserve to take myself.

Friday, May 14, 2010

To Be Defined

Jackie is my favorite co-worker and one of my dearest friends. She has the sorry misfortune of spending at a minimum about 45-hours a week with me (since she can't even lose me during lunch hours). Anyway, for the past year and a half I have had the wonderful privilege of spending most of my waking hours with her. She is so so so wonderful and fun. We laugh hard everyday.

Anyway, a while back I started composing a list of all of the funny things that Jackie has said about me. So, I thought I would give you all a taste of how I have been defined by someone who knows me better than most. Here are her defining quotes:

"Um, not very many people have all their conversations in a manner that mirrors a sitcom."

"Oh no, don't start singing. This is NOT a karaoke bar!"

"You are really really good at driving while you eat."

"Are you saying that if you didn't do your hair everyday you'd look like a Duggar?"

"You are like the Patron Saint of birthdays. Someone turns a year older and you show up with a cake!"

"Is that your idea of saving your money, giving it away to a charity?"

"Wait, you just went from giving away all your money to charities to insurance fraud in like 10 seconds flat!"

"I am not saying you're an outlaw. I am just saying there is a little bit of outlaw in you."

"If you had your way, your kids would come out 6-months-old and wearing a costume."

"What diet are we going on now? Are were going to be drinking lemon water with honey and cayenne pepper like all the other crazies?"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

When I grow up...

The only things I remember wanting to be when I grew up were an author and a mother.

Oh well...

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I can't remember what movie it's on, but I LOVE the term "Chic-batty". I think it's SO SO SO funny. And, pretty accurate. Girls are often very unreasonable with their emotions. It's true. I'll readily acknowledge the accuracy of it.

A friend of mine called me a little while ago, asking for help with his girlfriend. And, as he was laying out all the details of the issue he was having with his lady, I couldn't help but laugh. And, I apologized to him and said "we girls can be pretty ridiculous, can't we?" I don't think he knew how to answer, because he looked as if I might shoot him if he answered wrong.

I know I always joke about not being very girlie. And, emotionally, I truthful am not. As I have gotten older, I am WAY less emotional and WAY more pragmatic. Ironically, I find the opposite true for most guys I know. Truthfully, I know WAY more "chic-batty" guys than I know girls. And, so today I was just wondering if it's ok for me to ask a simple question...

I dye my hair and do it (most days), I shave my legs (occasionally), I wear heels all the time, I have more clothes and make-up than many department stores COMBINED, I have long chats with my girlfriends, I wear a bra everyday and perfume most days. So somebody PLEASE tell me that at some point in my life I get to have a relationship where I actually get to BE the girl!?!

Ugh... ok, I am done now.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Confessions of a Weakling

Confession #1a: Yesterday I went to a personal trainer in an attempt to get back to my fighting weight.
Confession #1b: I do not exactly know what "my fighting weight" would be, since I am generally a lover not a fighter.
Confession #1c: I do not exactly know what my normal day-to-day weight is in general. Though, I am pretty sure it would be advantageous for me to step on the scale and find out, so as to measure any results I should hopefully see after Malachi has had his way with me and run me through the fitness gauntlet also known as "Back Bay Fitness".

Confession #2a: In the past 36 hours I have consumed a minimum of 1000 ounces of diet coke to dull the pain and soreness that I have felt since immediately after yesterday's training session.
Confession #2b: The spike in my caffeine intake isn't helping, but I am sure I'll have a wicked headache when I taper down to my usual 500 ounces a day.
Confession #2c: I have to "walk it out" every time I get up to get another diet coke, and I tell myself that it's helping, even though deep down inside I know it's not making my situation any better.

Confession #3a: For all intensive purposes, I should be allowed to park in the handicap parking spaces, being as I look for sure like I have some sort of incurable polio or muscular dystrophy.
Confession #3b: I am sure no one who was to meet me for the first time would buy that I am in fact NOT handicapped.
Confession #3c: I am NOT actually physically disabled... at least not that I am aware of.

Confession #4a: I walked down the hall today and my boss started laughing. And, he followed up his chuckle with "I am not laughing at you, I am laughing with you".
Confession #4b: My boss' declaration brought back vivid memories of my childhood. I am not sure I ever heard Adam (my older brother) say anything to me throughout my entire existence that differed from that one statement... which was verbally spat at me at least a dozen times a day.
Confession #4c: It is because of my childhood that I have SUCH thick skin!

Confession #5a: Shortly after my boss' statement, Jackie made this one "You look like you're hiding a brace under those clothes. You know like those kids in school that used to have to wear braces under their clothes, but pretended to be fine. Did your school have any of those kids?
Confession #5b: My school did have some of those kids.
Confession #5c: I do not actually have to wear a brace.

Confession #6a: I wince every time I sit down.
Confession #6b: I wince every time I get up.
Confession #6c: Sometimes I wince just sitting still.

Confession #7a: I have to go back to the trainer tomorrow.
Confession #7b: As embattled as I feel, it's actually harder for me to get up at 5:30 AM, than it is to actually go through the fitness gauntlet a.k.a. "Back Bay Fitness".
Confession #7c: Someday... hopefully sooner than later, I might not have abs of flab, though I am pretty sure I will NEVER have abs of steel either. It sure is a good thing I am nowhere even close to a perfectionist.
Confession #7d: The reason I am actually going to a trainer has absolutely nothing to do with getting back into fighting shape. I am not truthfully very vain. But, I can't say no to anything or anyone. And, my friend asked me to go with her, which is why I am in this ridiculous state of peril. Do we think the trainer has any exercises that will help me strengthen my backbone?!? Or do you think Jackie could suggest some sort of a brace to fix my spine?!?