Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Last First Day...

I do not blog as much as I used to.  It seems I just do not need my old, reliable friend, the blog as much as I used to.  This is a remarkable, incredible thing, as I have regularly blogged for about 8 years.  I am moving beyond it, but I do plan to blog on things that really affect me as appropriate.  

Today was the first day of school for the 2014-2015 school year.  That meant a much-earlier start to the day, and since it was rainy, it was actually dark.  We all got where we needed to on time, with homemade breakfast of crepes and fruit, and with absolutely no yelling or crying.  Major Win.

The one thing I keep thinking about, though, is the fact that this is Valerie's last first day of regular school.  It just chokes me up.  I can not believe I am the mom of a High School Senior, sometimes, but I am.

She is taking English, Government, Dental Assisting and Nursing.  She will be headed to the MTC every day.  At the end of the year, she will be a certified Dental Assistant, and on her way to having an RN.  That is just mind-boggling to me.  Today, I have been busy with thinking a lot about her kindergarten year.  She has been in school (pre-school) since she was 2, but kindergarten was definitely an emotional day for me too.

Here are some things that happened when Valerie was five.

Matching Lunchbox made me happy :-)

Valerie's bedroom was periwinkle blue with lots of butterflies, and tons of stuffed animals.

Valerie was Belle for Halloween.  Here she is in Ray's office.

She slept with a sleeping mask- always the diva.

She loved her mommy.

She had an ADORABLE "Easter" outfit

She was almost 4 years into gymnastics

Trick-or-Treating on the lawn- that is Lance and Laura (from my lab) with Rosie in the background.
Valerie's kindergarten BFF was Lauren.  We lived over an hour apart, but her mom and I and Valerie and Lauren did things together all the time. 

On the way to Valerie's Kindergarten musical .  she was patriotic and had two singing solos. 
Valerie was in Sunday Swim lessons starting in kindergarten, and not ending for five years.  That is where I spent every Sunday afternoon.
I so loved dressing her.  At the beginning of kindergarten is when I got a job as the night manager at Gymboree.

Perhaps Valerie's VERY FIRST SELFIE! She has always loved them :-)

Her other best friend.  I bought them matching dresses :-)
The last day of kindergarten.  She was so little. 

I am just overwhelmed that she is already a senior.  I hope this is a great year for her and for Asher.   I hope they learn lots, feel built-up and love their school experiences this year.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Blogging, for me, has been an integral part of my life for nine years.  It has been my blog that I have come to time and again to process, to share, to brag, to mourn.  There is just something very comforting to me, about writing. I have found much meaning in  taking the time to focus on what it is I am doing, how it is I am feeling, and what I want to remember from my days.

I refer to my blog over and over again.  I re-read the posts, I often will link to it to explain my thoughts or feelings on some subjects, and I am grateful that I have chosen it as a place to define myself.  I am so glad I have a tangible thing to refer to, and relive if I choose too.  Even if it is fairly embarrassing from time to time to see some of the things I have said and done. 

This new blog will be my fourth for which I plan to invest significant effort.

Why a forth?

Well... my MySpace one disappered (which pains me deeply, there were years of my life in that blog).  The first blogger blog was dedicated to living life as a devout mormon, and I have since left the church.  The third blog marked a time of my life during which, I was leaving the church, and coming to terms with everything that meaning the church, and processing through what that meant.

I am now in a different chapter of life, however.  That chapter took a lot longer than I would have imagined, and now that I am through it, I recognize a need, and perhaps even a desire for what comes next.

For me, this has really just been able to unfold in my life in ways that I am able to clearly see as a new chapter. Something from which, I hope to emerge better, more balanced, and with peace.

When I decided for real, to leave the LDS church, I was very, very careful.  I had made some incredibly dear friends.  I had experienced deeply defining moments that shaped nearly every aspect of my life.  I still had hope that maybe it was "just me" who was wrong.  I hated the feeling of being so completely wrong in fundamental ways that made me feel ashamed, and unable to trust my own decisions. 

With this all happening, the decision to leave was very, very difficult. 

As is the pattern in my life, however.  I looked at this as logically as possible.  What was good? What was bad? What would be the worst thing to happen if I left?  What would be the best thing to happen if I left?  Would anything compel me to stay after I had learned that compelled me to leave?

My journey led me to the point where I had one foot in, one foot out for about 2 years.  However, once I finally decided to actually leave, a switch in my mind flipped.  I was out.  I was walking away.  I was walking away and saying ,"I am done, and this is why..." I knew that the statements would alienate me from people who would no longer want to associate with me.  Even with some of those people I cared desperately about.  I knew it was a risk, but I also was tormented daily, leading what really was a double-life fraught with great inauthenticity.  I felt a great lack of integrity in my life during my transition in leaving the church.

It was agony to have been living with such torment.

It was horrifying to consider what could happen if I left.

I thought maybe something would happen to my children so that I would be "sufficiently humbled."

I thought that I would be miserable and bitter and dark.

I thought  that maybe, I would just be back in time, and if that was a possibility, why leave?

That is why it took 2 years for me to leave.

As things go in my life, there are patterns, and much like the nearly two years it took for me to leave, it has taken me two years to move through it.

That journey is documented through my blog.  Now, however, I am fresh into a new chapter of life.

I am released from many of the fears and ideas that I not only used to shape my decisions, but also used to define myself.

It has been the most terrifying, scary, yet amazing, strengthening time of my life.

I have emerged with faith ****in myself*** and in my ability to TRUST my own decisions using the same exact processes that have allowed for the success of my career.

  I have realized the potential I have inside me.  It has always been there, but I gave every bit of the credit away.   I am no longer giving credit away, where none should be given, but it has been a process.  It felt like such a selfish thing when I first started allowing myself to thank myself, and not a god.

It has required great, and often intentional effort to allow myself to be thrive in the absence of deity.

The irony, of course, is that my biggest fear when I decided to leave the church, was that I would end up atheist. 

In the end though, this realized fear has been an incredibly and amazing gift.  It has allowed me the most beautiful release from a destructive prison of my own thoughts. 

This blog will focus on the spiritual centering I am discovering as I emerge from a place of great fear.

It will focus on finding meaning, and the experiences I have as I engage with the world around me in the absence of relgiosity, but in the presence of myself.