Monday, June 30, 2014

currently vol. 7

It's been a while since I've linked up for a currently post. I'm feeling pretty defeated about blogging these days, but I'm not going to give up quite yet. So, I'm linking up with Jenna at A Mama Collective and Cassie at Kent Heartstrings - both beautiful ladies whom I only know through mutual friends and family members but am continuing to get to know through blogging, which is so special!

So I am currently....

Thinking about:

My wedding.

How crazy is THAT?!

But really, we've been engaged for almost a month and have gone back and forth about a date until today. Finally. I was so tired of trying to please everyone, of seeing my fiance's utter exhaustion at trying to make everyone happy, so I just called him and picked a date and we just decided and that was it. And it was like a 50-pound weight was lifted off of us.

I'm excited to be a bride, and I am so, so excited to be a wife, and hopefully a mother soon after that. 

I'm going wedding dress shopping tomorrow with my mom, sisters and brother. Yes - my little brother is coming, too! He is the youngest after 3 girls and knows more about "fashion" and what looks good than most women I know, and he's just one of my favorite people in the universe. So we're all excited and I just can't believe I'm going to be putting on wedding dresses. What a crazy adventure, this life. I am still processing the fact that what I have been waiting for since I was a little girl - getting married! - is actually happening. Wow.

Reading:

I finished I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings which was lovely, and so timely since I started reading it literally days before Maya Angelou died. What a beautiful soul she was.

Right now I'm working on The Book Thief because I saw the movie and LOVED it. Seriously loved it. So I just wanted to get a sense of the book itself, because I prefer reading to watching movies anyway.

Watching:

At the moment I'm sitting with my parents who are watching the Dodger game - so that's my literal "currently." Otherwise, I've been watching old episodes of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix even though I've already watched every single one. I think I'm having withdrawals because it's not on TV right now...

Listening to:

The baseball game on TV -- the ever-present sound of my parents' house. There is a game on our TV probably at least 60% of the time. But my most recent music discovery? Ben Rector. Seriously. I am in love.

I swear this song was written just for me.

Thankful for:

Am I allowed to say everything? 
I'm thankful for the sweet baby I get to nanny over the summer, because he smiles and coos at me all day even when I'm exhausted and stressed out.
I'm thankful for his amazing mother who is a wonderful woman to work for and spend time with.
I'm thankful for my fiance, and his undying selflessness and strength.
I'm thankful for my brother, who is my best friend and makes me laugh and lets me cry on his shoulder late at night when i just feel weepy.
I'm thankful for my Godspell cast who make me laugh until I cry literally every time I am with them. I will have to make another post on that soon - but man, am I glad I agreed to do this show. I'm so grateful to be getting to know such incredible people who bring me such immense joy.

And I'm just thankful this guy is going to be my husband in 8 1/2 months. So beyond thankful.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

my love story

When I was 19 years old, I stopped dating. I had had plenty of boyfriends (I know, 19 is young to have had a lot of boyfriends) - and I had experienced plenty of heartache. So I promised myself my next boyfriend would be my husband. 

When I was 24 years old, my sister made me join catholicmatch.com. She came to me and asked if I would make a profile so we could just see who was on the website. We laughed and laughed as we filled out questions from "Do you believe in papal infallibility?" to "What is your favorite title of Mary?" and "Who is your favorite saint?" We basically filled out my profile as a joke, not really writing anything in my "About Me" or uploading any pictures. We honestly just used my profile to see what kind of guys were online. By the end of the night, after laughing until we cried, my sister turned to me and said, "I really think you should sign up. I have a good feeling about this." I fought her on it, but finally agreed - almost as a joke. For a week, I would text or call her every day to regale her with hilariously awkward stories of very odd attempts at communication from random guys all over the country. My biggest qualm with the way they were trying to pursue me was that most of them would skip emailing me first and jump straight into "chatting" with me (a la facebook chat). It would overwhelm me to get a chat request from a guy I had never seen, never had the chance to see if I was interested in them at all, and would just jump straight into an online conversation. 

A week into it, I got a very sweet email from a man named Michael. He was a red-head from Denver, and although I stated explicitly on my profile that I was not interested in long distance, he acknowledged this in his first email and said he was interested in getting to know me anyway. I chatted with him that night, became facebook friends with him right away, and three weeks later he was on a plane to California to take me on our first date.

On our first date, I was interested in him, but didn't know if there was enough of a connection to truly start pursuing a long distance relationship. I found myself praying the majority of the day: "God, if you want me to continue getting to know this man, please show me something - please get my attention." We had spent all day together - going to Balboa Island, praying at a cute little chapel together, going ice skating and getting dinner, and I still was unsure if this was worth the incredible difficulty of long distance. 

After dinner, we went back to my car, and it was dead. He loves this story, so he could take hours telling every single detail. But suffice it to say, we had to pull an all-nighter at Denny's, waiting for AAA to come and replace my car battery. This man took such good care of everything while we were both exhausted and frustrated. He was so patient and kind through the whole thing, and allowed me to sleep in my backseat while he took care of the logistics with AAA. I was in awe of his selflessness and ability to take such good care of me, even when I wasn't his girlfriend or even a good friend for that matter. It was only a first date. 

(At a certain point at Denny's, I told him I couldn't stay in cute date clothes anymore so I put on some sweat pants and slippers I happened to have in my car. I made him take this selfie for posterity - even if there was only the tiniest chance that he would be my future husband - I would want a photo!)


Well, God answered my prayer loud and clear. I saw something in Michael I had never seen before so clearly: a man of God who is incredibly patient, kind, selfless, thoughtful, and someone who is stable and strong. It was so apparent to me that these were all the qualities I needed and was looking for - so I allowed him to pursue me. 

On December 31, 2011, I finally had my first boyfriend in five years. Nothing like I expected, nothing I thought I wanted - but everything I needed and that God desired for me. 


And I started falling in love with this amazing, holy, selfless, thoughtful, generous, kind, good man. He makes me laugh, he dances with me, he sings to me, he kisses me on the forehead, he gives when he has nothing left for himself. He takes care of everyone around him with no thought for himself. He is strong and stable when everyone around him needs him to be. He is the best man I have ever known.


I've moved to Denver twice in our relationship. Once for the summer of 2012 and then again in January 2013, which was supposed to be permanent.

(We have taken so many road trip selfies it would be overkill to post them all.)

The first time I lived in Denver, I had the most amazing time. I had a full-time job working at a children's theatre company, I was living with my best friend from high school, and Michael and I were just having the best time living in the same city. So I decided to teach for one more semester in California, and then quit my beloved job and move to Denver permanently.



But then I got sick. My hormonal disorders and depression hit us both like a ton of bricks. In California, I had set myself up with a job I loved, near my family, with a schedule that ensured I got enough sleep and had enough time to relax. My issues with mental health were held at bay for years and didn't show themselves until all of those band-aids were ripped away and all I had was Michael. A new city, no roommate, no family, no close friends, new job, and not enough money to live comfortably. I think anyone would have some sort of freak out. But I lost it. He finally made the selfless decision to move me home as quickly as possible, knowing it would be the best place for me to recover and stay healthy. He also knew this meant he would have to leave his life in Denver and move to California one day as well. 

This man has taken care of me every step of the way in this relationship and in my struggles with my health. He was with me my darkest night, when he found me on the ground and lifted me up into bed and soothed me to sleep. He made sure to fly out and hold my hand as I went in for surgery and prayed over me up until the last moment. He is the one who taught me how to fight for my life

The day he asked me to be his girlfriend, I shared with him that I have PCOS and may never be able to have children. He looked at me and said, "That doesn't change anything." Later in our relationship, I shared with him that my last relationship fell apart when my boyfriend at the time found me sobbing uncontrollably on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night. My last boyfriend got so scared that everything changed after that, until we eventually broke up. I told him my fear of this being my story for the rest of my life: no one would be able to put up with me. No one would be able to handle my issues. No one would want to carry this burden. He said, "If I ever find you on the bathroom floor, there'd better be enough room on that floor for me." He is the one who has pushed me to be my best self. To find the right medications. To go to as many doctors as I need to until I find the right ones. He is the one who has gone to countless therapy sessions with me to support me and work through our own struggles. He is the one who has held me during panic attacks, wiped my tears away, helped me breathe during anxiety attacks and made me smile when I'm feeling hopelessly depressed. He is the one who prays with me when I am so mad at God that I can barely breathe. He is the one who makes me better. In every way possible.

He is the one.


This amazing man has somehow found me worthy of being his wife, and asked me to marry him on Pentecost Sunday. He completely surprised me (as you can tell by my lack of nice clothes, make-up, or having washed or styled my hair!), which is exactly what I wanted. On Saturday, we went to Balboa Island - our first date spot - and had an incredibly romantic date. I kept waiting for him to propose, but he never did. I was at peace with whenever he chose to ask - so I let it go. The next morning after Pentecost Mass, we went to the alcove with the Blessed Mother - Our Lady Queen of Angels, placed our hands upon her feet, and prayed a Hail Mary together. I got up to leave, and turned to see Michael on one knee. He asked me if I would marry him, to which I said yes-yes-yes-yes-yes-yes! These photos were taken after the proposal, a few women in the church asked us to re-enact the moment, but my reaction was still completely genuine - I was in absolute shock and couldn't stop shaking from surprise and excitement. After we were done, we asked the priest to bless us and bless my ring - so we were prayed over and blessed right away as we begin our preparation for marriage. It was beautiful and perfect, reverent and prayerful, on the Church's birthday, no less. The birth of Christ's bride.


The engagement story and my stunningly beautiful ring (which he had my little sister help design) and proposal are incredibly exciting, but what matters is that we are getting married. We are preparing to participate in such a beautiful sacrament, and I am so humbled by God's grace through all of this. We are currently praying a novena together for trust and for our ability to keep our eyes focused on Christ. I can't wait to plan my wedding, but more than anything - I can't wait to experience being married to the best man I have ever known.

Monday, May 19, 2014

currently vol. 6

Thinking about:

Like I've mentioned a few times lately, I've been thinking about that big question -- what do I want to do with my life? Maybe that question never actually gets answered. But seeing as the school year is wrapping up, and I am leaving my music teacher job (not the high school - only the grade school), it has been time to really think about what the next step is. So I've been trying to find summer work, audition for summer shows, and looking into all my options for the fall. And I've chosen to start applying to return to school and get my teaching credential. This might be confusing to some people, seeing as I've been a teacher for the last five years. However, I am not credentialed - I have been working small part-time teaching jobs at private schools and after school programs this entire time. I was never convinced that I truly wanted to be a teacher - my heart was torn between teaching and performing. Through a lot of discernment, prayer, and life experience, I have decided that my heart is truly in teaching. I could write about it in great depth, but I'll leave it at that. I'm excited for what the future holds.

Reading:

I'm still working on my re-reading classics from high school project. Currently reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I just started so no opinions to report yet!

Watching:

I woke up way earlier than I needed to today, so I turned on the TV and have just been lying in bed watching 13 Going On 30. Sometimes early morning chick flicks are a fabulous way to start your day.

Listening to:

At this very moment, the TV. Music-wise? I haven't had any new revelations lately. I feel like as a musician this should be the most exciting part of my currently. Whoops.

Thankful for:

A fabulous weekend with my beautiful family. I love them. We did a ridiculous photo-shoot yesterday of my sister and brother. They are graduating from college and high school this coming weekend, so we took some photos for their announcements and party invitations. However, my family doesn't ever do things the way most people do... We agreed not to post photos all over social media yet, we want the announcement to be a surprise. Here is your one sneak peek...



Wishing:

This is a new part of currently! Goals for the week. This is hard for me, because I'm in such a transitional period that I don't have small goals, I have big goals. I guess I can say what I am looking forward to for now!

1. My best friend's baby shower in a couple of hours. She lives in New York and is in town with her family - I cannot WAIT to see her and celebrate her pregnancy!

2. Michael comes into town on Thursday - time, go quickly!

3. Family graduation weekend - I love family celebrations, especially with my crazy family. We have so much fun. I can't wait to celebrate my sister and brother, and start celebrating the beginning of SUMMER!


Linking up with the ladies at A Mama Collective and Home Away From Home
Feel free to join in and link up!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PMDD, A Partner's Perspective: A Response

I'm aware that I haven't posted anything on PMDD or PCOS for a while - which is the entire point of my blog. I want to re-focus a little bit and write about what I made this website for. I didn't have to look far for something to write about. I follow a lovely and informative blog by a woman named Liana - she writes at Living on a Prayer with PMDD. She posts a lot of articles and helpful information on PMDD. Most recently, she posted an article written by a man married to a woman with PMDD. You can find the article, "PMDD: A Partner's Perspective" here. To give you the gist of it, a man writes his own personal experience of being married to a woman with PMDD. (For a while, I have wanted Michael to do the same thing - and now I have even more reason to ask him to do so!)

This husband who wrote the article writes of torturous episodes every month where his wife becomes another person. Episodes of rage, brutal attacks on his character and their relationship, suicidal thoughts and threats, feeling hated and rejected every month. My heart breaks for this man and his wife. I know the pain of PMDD all too well. And Michael and I have absolutely had months like this, where for the 2 weeks before I get my period, I become another person. I am angry about everything, depressed about everything, and threaten to take my own life. Somehow Michael gets the brunt of it every time, even though he is not my husband. He is my safe person - and so I take it all out on him. But perhaps I have been lucky in that this is not every single month for us.

As I said, my heart breaks for this man, and I'm so sorry for his own painful experiences with PMDD. I'm also grateful for his vulnerability in sharing his experiences.

However, this article just made me feel sad because it just seemed so hopeless and helpless. He says near the end of the article:

"So what have I learned?
Probably the most important thing is to put up and shut up during the PMDD zone." 

And finally, he ends with:

"Do I feel hated and rejected each month? Yes, I do. Do I wish I wasn't? Absolutely.
Do I wish my partner didn't suffer PMDD? Yes. But she does."

Now this is what really breaks my heart. The truth is, the best thing that ever happened to me was Michael coming into my life and calling me out on the way I treated him when I was PMDDing. I knew I didn't have control over it, but during my "PMDD hangover" (realizing how awful you were when you were PMDDing) I was always so contrite, heart-broken, even sorrowful over the way I treated the man I love. So we started looking for answers. Michael pushed and pushed and made me call doctors and make appointments and do everything in my power to get this under control. He was not satisfied with putting up and shutting up and simply wishing that I didn't have PMDD.

I have met with so many doctors, so many OB/GYNs, tried many different medications, even had surgery to remove polyps they found in my uterus that were greatly affecting my cycle. And let me tell you, my life and PMDD have changed. Has my PMDD gone away? Absolutely not. I still struggle for those 2 weeks before my period.

HOWEVER, (yes, this is a big however)

My PMDD is so close to PMS now that I can barely tell the difference. And this is because of a few things.


  • I take 37.5 mg of Effexor every single day, even when I am not PMDDing. This is also because I struggle with depression regardless of PMDD, but I know Effexor helps me during this time period.
  • I take Vitamins B & D every single day. These help IMMENSELY with my energy and feeling like I have a clear mind to realize that I am PMDDing.
  • I try to regulate my diet as much as possible - low blood sugar is a recipe for disaster with me.
  • I sleep. As much as possible. Take naps. Sleep for 10 hours overnight. Exhaustion is the worst when you are PMDDing, and the more you sleep, the less you are awake to PMDD. When I'm having an episode and nothing can calm me down, I go right to bed now. No more conversation, no more fighting, no more tears. Just sleep.
  • I went to OB/GYNs and fought for myself. It wasn't until my 3rd OB/GYN that they discovered the multiple masses in my uterus and got me into surgery right away. There could be other things going on besides PMDD that if undiagnosed or undiscovered could be causing much of the problem, or could potentially be dangerous in other ways.
  • I was in therapy every. single. week. for almost a year. I don't feel the need to go anymore, but he is only a phone call away. Having someone else to cry to helped me so immensely. And it helped to be super-aware of my own behaviors, tendencies, and habits during my PMDD time. 
  • I of course track my period and receive an email 2 weeks prior so I know to be ready to PMDD. The therapy and self-awareness helped me the most during these times, and Michael and I would work hard on stopping difficult conversations at the beginning instead of after the damage had been done. Michael has had to get tougher on me: when I start to beat him up during a PMDD episode, he will tell me very sternly to stop and that I need to go to bed. He's gotten so much better at this, because of course I don't do it happily. But I listen. I try.


I just got my period again for the first time after a few months of trying birth control and stopping at the end of March. More on that later. But the glory of it all was that I didn't PMDD. I PMSed, I cried, I struggled with a little bit of anxiety. But I did not rage, I did not think about suicide, I didn't get depressed, I didn't have any manic episodes. I just got a little sad once in a while. It is beautiful how far I have come. Thank GOD. 

There is hope. And there is help. That is why the hopelessness and helplessness of that article truly broke my heart. 

Fight for yourself. Fight for the right doctor, the right medication, the right dosage, the right therapist. 

Fight for your life.

It is worth it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

currently vol. 5

Thinking about: 

Wow, it's been way too long since I last posted. April is notoriously crazy in my life - it's the month of shows, shows, shows. And this particular April was worse than ever. As I've said before, I work at a high school, and this year... we had some big drama at school. And I don't mean drama like break-ups, or girls fighting. I'm talking cops, charges being pressed, meetings with the administration. It was very, very difficult for me. I obviously can't get into details, nor do I want to, but let's just say I just started sleeping again after having horrible stress-induced insomnia for over a month. I lost many hours of sleep, cried many tears, intercepted many phone calls, tried to respond appropriately to all parents and students and co-workers and bosses.... The list goes on and on and on. Michael flew into town for the performances of my show, just in time to hold me through the tears. I actually held myself together really well until he came into town. Somehow having "my person" there with me broke down the walls of strength I had somehow managed to build through it all. It was really lovely to have someone safe to weep to and to allow to hold my heart while it broke through all of this. I truly love these kids with every ounce of my heart. To watch them hurting, struggling, making life choices that will change their lives forever - oh, my heart. My heart breaks. My heart is full of hundreds of teenagers, hundreds of children, my children. I may not be a mother by definition... but I am in my heart. It's very difficult to try to keep everyone safe, to teach everyone to the best of my ability, to love them so fiercely for the small amount of time that they are with me. It's difficult to do these things and to stay joyful and know that they are not mine - they are His, they are their parents', they are their own. All I can do is love them and teach them the best way I know how. I just pray that God gives me the grace to do these things well when they are in my care.

All that being said, it is now the lovely month of May. One of my favorites. Mary's month. The month of summer starting here in California - pool time, beach time, flip flops, windows down... I love it. Shows are closed, both at my high school and the production of CATS I was pit singing for. Thank goodness. Both were beautiful experiences, fabulous shows, and full of amazing people - but I am so thankful for time off. There are many exciting things coming and I am so looking forward to the summer!

Reading:

Being in the pit allowed me to read a lot in between songs. I loved being able to finish some books finally! I got through Gilead, which I appreciated but did not enjoy personally. It's a quiet and slow book, and I think maybe at another time in my life I would really love it, but right now it didn't resonate with me except for one thing: The narrator spoke of our ability to cry with another in their suffering and rejoice with their triumphs. He pondered why it was so much easier to weep with the suffering than it is to rejoice with the joyful. It was just a really lovely reminder for me to deliberately choose to rejoice with those who are joyful, to celebrate my friends' triumphs. It is so easy to feel envy. I want to choose joy.

I also just re-read To Kill a Mockingbird in about a day and a half. I'm trying to re-read all the classics I read in high school but never appreciated because I was too busy writing essays and answering test questions. I absolutely loved this book the second time around. Such a beautiful novel.

Watching:

I just got done watching the season finale of Once Upon a Time and I'm so unhappy about it. First of all... the episode was literally a knock-off of Back to the Future. Literally the same exact plot. Down to the falling out of the tree. If you've seen both you'll know what I'm talking about. And the last ten minutes? I was so happy with how it was ending until one stupid plot twist that I am SO angry about. It's only a TV show. I need to get over it. You just end up getting so invested in these people's stories, even if they are fictitious. Woof. Need to keep reminding myself it's only make-believe.

Listening to:

My brother talk to the dog and make a sandwich in the next room. No need for music right now, when I'm home with my family. It's perfect just the way it is.

Thankful for:

Oh, so much. So, so much.

I am thankful that throughout my difficult April, I somehow by the grace of God kept my head on straight. I didn't have a single manic episode. I didn't even have any panic attacks, anxiety attacks, bouts of depression. I didn't even feel hopeless or helpless. Now THIS, my friends, is a huge victory. I'm talking HUGE. Taking my normal dosage of medication, but still barely getting any sleep and dealing with heavy stuff.... But choosing joy. Choosing to wake up and be strong. Choosing to keep looking to Christ and walking one step at a time. This is huge. Thank the LORD.

I am thankful for this amazing group of high school kids who change my life just by being themselves. I am thankful that through a lot of difficulty for every single one of us, that we put on an amazing show. My co-worker (the show's director) (who also happens to be one of my best friends) and I turned to each other after the finale on closing night and just said, "Magic." Truly, this show was magic.


Also, so thankful for my experience in CATS. My last experience with this show was less-than-pleasant, and this time, I really had a wonderful time. There were many nights when I was exhausted and just didn't want to go to work, but the people I met were just so lovely. It's a rare find to do a show and meet a bunch of talented, genuine and kind theatre people. It's very special and I treasure it.


Kitty kisses from my favorite cat - Skimbleshanks!


Pit singers and wig stylist - we all sat in the audience and put on green cat eyes to support the cast on closing night! We meant it as a joke but everyone wept because they were feeling so sentimental!

Michael and I climbed on the set for a while and the lighting operator put on the best lights for us for this picture. Like I said... the people at this theatre are so incredibly kind.

Thankful. Now I am thankful for some time off. I am still figuring out my life... more to come on that. But for now, it's 8:45 PM and I'm in my pajamas. From last night. I lounged. ALL. DAY. Glorious.


Linking up with the lovely ladies at A Mama Collective and Home Away From Home. Feel free to join in and link up!

Monday, April 7, 2014

currently vol. 4

How did a week fly by so quickly? I feel like I just wrote my last "currently" post yesterday! And it's already been a week. Wow. Linking up with the lovely ladies of A Mama Collective and Home Away From Home.

I am currently...

Excited about:

Doing another show! A few years ago, I did a production of CATS as a pit singer. This means that while the cast is dancing their faces off on stage, they have one singer per part in the orchestra pit on microphones singing their faces off. (This doesn't mean the cast on stage isn't singing - they just need the extra support to make sure the sound is strong.) So I found out a while ago they were doing CATS at a great theatre company nearby, so I figured out who the music director is, found him on facebook, and then messaged him asking if he needed pit singers. I've been told that that was ballsy - but being bold is definitely not an issue for me! What did I have to lose? And hey - I got the job! So I had my first rehearsal tonight, and it was so fun to remember this music and learn it all over again. I never liked CATS until I worked on it - now I think the music is a blast to sing, and a lot of the same performers who did the show with me last time will be doing it again. So I'm happy about that!

Pondering:

What to do with my life, still. I'll let you know when I figure that out.

Reading:

I've been slowly working through Gilead, which is apparently a beautiful novel but I'm struggling to invest myself in it. I love reading, but this one hasn't caught my interest yet. We'll see if that changes.

Watching:

At this moment, Resurrection. It caught my interest when they were advertising it before its premiere, and it's kept my interest enough to watch it weekly. It hasn't changed my life or gotten me totally into it yet.

Listening to:

Dr. Laura podcasts. Um, I love her. I figured out you can get little snippets of her podcasts for free on itunes so I downloaded all of them and have been listening to them on my long car rides.

Thankful for:

This life-changing, grace-filled, beautiful talk with my sister last night. Thank God for sisters. To sit on the sofa and weep and talk and speak truth into each other's hearts is so special and I am just so thankful.

"She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Sometimes she is the reason you wish you were an only child." 

--Barbara Alpert

Nope, never wish I'm an only child. But yes, she is my mirror, my witness, my partner in crime, my defense attorney. All of it. I am blessed. And lucky me - I've got two. So thankful.


And for my sweet readers who don't have sisters - these lovely words are for you:

"They called each other family and that's what they were - sisters. Many people in the world had family of the heart, kin by choice rather than by blood, and hers had come along in her darkest hour and saved her life."

--Christine Feehan, Spirit Bound

Friday, April 4, 2014

reflection friday: a love story

It's been a while since I've done a Reflection Friday - so it's time to do another! As I've mentioned before in this blog, 2010 was an incredibly difficult year for me. I lost my grandmother that year, my family had to put our dog down, I was having an incredibly bad year financially, my roommate and I had an extremely toxic living situation (with one another, not the place itself), I had people hurt me in ways that are not worth putting into words. I was aching deeply, and it was affecting everything that I did. 

I have worked at my current job for almost five years now. I've talked about it before, but to remind you - I'm the music director at a performing arts high school. I could write a book about how this school has changed and impacted my life. I've grown up there - literally. When I graduated from college, I got a phone call from the musical theatre teacher at this school. We'll call it HSPA (High School for Performing Arts). She called me 5 days after I graduated offering me a job and I accepted. I had prayed and prayed that God would just throw something in my lap after graduation, because I was clueless. Graduating with a degree in drama didn't give a whole lot of direction - so I prayed and trusted, and God seriously came through.

So I started working at HSPA, intending only to be there for one musical. Here I am, almost five years later, and my students and co-workers have made me into the woman I am today. There are many, many stories of how this job has impacted my life and I know I will never be able to tell them all. Or even thoroughly express how deeply and intensely these moments and my students and co-workers have changed and enriched my life.

But this one moment is one I will never forget and one that touched me so deeply that it completely changed my life and re-set the course I was on. It reminded me of God's grace, His beauty, His love.

For the last few months of 2010, my students and I were working on a production of Little Women. My students at this point knew me well enough to know something was going on. I was not doing well. I was so depressed and in such a dark place, and no matter what I did, my students knew me and knew I was not okay. Our show opened in December, right before Christmas, and it went beautifully. My students sang their hearts out and made me so proud. And then we had our cast party - our traditional party that we have after the closing night of every show. We go to a cast member's house and eat and chat and celebrate our show and each other. This particular cast party, I had a friend come with me. I walked him out to his car and spent a few minutes saying goodbye.

When I re-entered the house, all of my students - every single one - were standing in the foyer of the house, waiting for me. Right when I walked in, all of them joined in song. Just for me. No one else was in the room. They were waiting for me. And they sang, in overwhelmingly beautiful harmony, the song of my heart - my favorite Christmas song:

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night, Oh night divine

And I remembered then when Brandon had asked me what my favorite Christmas song was. He knew. He knew that my heart needed this. My students singing and praising God with their voices just for me. 

As they sang, I melted to the floor. I sat down and wept and looked at my students, giving every ounce of the love in their hearts in the best way they knew how. Through song. My heart was so healed that night.

I had convinced myself - or the enemy had convinced me - that I was unworthy of love. That no one loved me. I was alone. I was worthless.

But looking in these children's eyes, there was no. possible. way for me to deny that they love me. That I am worthwhile. That I am not alone. I am so loved, whether I feel like I deserve it or not. How can you deny the love of children? It is so pure, so innocent, so full. (And yes, teenagers are still children. It is the dichotomy and mystery and beauty of teenagers and what I love the most - they are just as much children as they are adult. It's an amazing thing to witness and be a part of.) 

The love of children is life-changing, life-giving, grace-giving-to-the-point-of-drowning-in-it, pure, whole, beautiful. Just beautiful.

And my life was changed. I have never been so sure of how loved I am than in that moment. And that was the moment I knew everything was going to be okay. That if they love me, God must love me, too. 

December 12, 2010 -- my facebook status from that day

There is nothing in this world that could have healed my aching heart like all my students singing "O Holy Night" just for me. "To learn and never be filled, is wisdom; to teach and never be weary, is love." Thank you for picking my heart up every time the weariness starts to take over.

To teach and never be weary, is love. Yes. But to teach and be weary and never give into weariness, that is even bigger love. And to see past your own weariness and love someone else through theirs? That is the biggest love of all. To be shown that kind of love will change your life forever. My heart is forever grateful to know that kind of love. The love of children looking past their own needs, their own wants, their own troubles. Oh that I can learn to love people like that.

"The soul is healed by being with children."

--Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Thursday, April 3, 2014

cheese alert

my friend posted this on facebook today - an experience he had last night:

"Had dinner and drinks with the sweetest woman last night. Christine from Boston lost her husband of 50+ years last fall and is finally starting to do some of the things that she and her husband always did together, like travel the world and go to the theatre. She told me that her absolute favorite memory of Raymond is that they would slow dance in the kitchen, almost daily. They had no idea why, they just did it. She asked me if I was married or if I had found that special woman in my life yet. When I said no, with tears running down her cheek, she made me promise that when I find her, that I will always take the time to dance in the kitchen."

I read this and it made my heart sing. Truly.

Because the moment I first felt that whisper in my heart - well, in the beginning it was more like a roar - that I was in love with Michael was when he pulled me into his arms in the kitchen and slow danced with me while he sang quietly in my ear:

I can only give you love that lasts forever
And a promise to be near each time you call
And the only heart I own
For you and you alone
 That's all, that's all...

We danced and I cried, because that's just what I do when I'm so overwhelmed with emotion. I'll never forget that moment. I hope we always remember to slow dance in the kitchen.




Told you. Cheese alert. I don't care. Sometimes you just need to tell the world that you're in love.

Monday, March 31, 2014

currently vol. 3

Hello, blog. It's been a while. I didn't stop writing because I was having a hard time this time, which is good news! I don't have a real reason, other than maybe feeling uninspired to sit down and write. I haven't even been keeping up with my reading - I finally sat down and read all your blogs. Every single one. I love the blogs I follow and I don't want to fall behind! So instead of me attempting to find something inspiring to write about, I'm going to start back up with linking up with some of my favorite girls! Anna Kate at Home Away From Home and Jenna and Mary at A Mama Collective.

So I am currently...

Thinking about: 

So right now I'm trying to figure out what to do with my life -- do I want to dive head-first into performing? Stay teaching? It's been a crazy few months and I'm trying to discern what God wants from me, although I'm starting to think He's asking me what want.... and I'm still trying to figure that out. I'm also thinking about the fact that I'm waiting to hear about a show right now. Waiting to know if I've been cast in a show I auditioned for. It's weird. Seriously, just weird. I got out of the whole "theatre world" (the performing side) for the last five years to teach high school kids how to become performers. So now I'm back in the game, going to auditions and picking songs for myself and learning dances and competing with 20 blonde girls who look like me. I ran into two of my high school students at this audition - one of them sang a song I gave her when she was my student. The other was called back literally for the same exact thing as me - she was my competition. What a weird thing. I taught these girls how to do what they are doing, and now they are my competition. What a trip. It's a weird world to re-enter - the world of auditioning and performing. I don't know if it's what I want or not, but I'm in it for now and I'm just going to enjoy it. I found myself going into "teacher mode" at the audition - answering my old student's questions about her clothes and whatnot, and then I remembered - wait - we are up against each other for the same job! Weird. All I can say. Weird. So I'm just waiting for the cast list and I have another callback coming up soon. It's all in God's hands.

Also, my man flew back to Colorado today. I miss him already - but we were blessed to see each other every weekend in March. It was wonderful. Maybe that's why I've been blogging less!

Reading:

Honestly, nothing at the moment. I've picked up so many books recently and have put them down for too long. The only book I have invested in and still pick up is Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. It has helped me so immensely and resonates with me and where I have been for the last year so deeply. I will have to post about it in depth when I'm done with it - it's very dense so I'm taking it little by little.

Listening to:

This song, non-stop.


The slideshow doesn't mean anything to me - I didn't even watch it, to be honest. But this song. I sing it on repeat in my car on the way to work. It just brings me joy and touches my heart. 

"It's a long and rugged road - and we don't know where it's heading. But we know it's gonna get us where we're going. And when we find what we're looking for, we'll drop these bags and search no more - 'cause it's gonna feel like heaven when we're home. It's gonna feel like heaven when we're home."

Watching:

My sister and I are each working on our computers, sitting on my bed, with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion on my TV. It's a slumber party and it's fabulous.

Thankful for:

God's unending love and mercy. The fact that I am starting to be able to see and experience this grace and mercy for the first time in a very long time. Even if it's just a whisper right now.
My sisters. Especially when one can come over for a slumber party and just sit in bed with me and watch junky TV and just be together.
My boyfriend. The amazing example of love, selflessness and kindness that he sets for me. His pureness of heart. I am so blessed to have someone like him love me so much. It's so humbling.
My job. My high school students who bring me so much joy and who teach me so much every single day.
Musical theatre. Performing, playing, singing, dancing. It doesn't matter. I love it, and I am thankful for it. I am thankful to watch young people fall more in love with musical theatre every day and work so hard to put on amazing shows and become incredible performers.
Being able to have perspective on auditions and callbacks and know that at the end of the day, none of this reflects my self worth or my talent, and none of it will take away my joy. I wasn't ready for this five years ago, and I'm thankful God gave me that time to be a teacher. To learn. To grow.

The list I could go on forever - suffice it to say, I am thankful. So thankful.


My view at work. Page 1 of my piano music -- one of my favorite things in the world, getting ready to start a show. I love it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

do not be afraid. keep on speaking. do not be silent.

There is so much to write. So much to say. I've been listening to this song on repeat this afternoon so I encourage you to hit "play" while you read. I hope this song makes you want to live a little bit more today - I know it did for me. "Let's go to sleep with clearer heads, and hearts too big to fit our beds - and maybe we won't feel so alone, before we turn to stone." Beauty.


I finally took the plunge and announced my blog on my facebook page. So far, I've kept my blog pretty closed to the "blogging community", and haven't shared it with many people who know me personally. The response so far has been overwhelming.

The reason I started this blog was because I felt called to it. That's the truth. I felt God tell me that I needed to write my story down, so that someone would know they are not alone. I've always had the gift of transparency - God has gifted me with a fearlessness in sharing my heart, my story, my thoughts, my feelings. I've never really known why. I am unashamed to be me. To cry in public. To sob in public. To tell people that I'm mentally ill. To tell people "I love you" a million times before they ever say it back. To tell strangers how I'm really doing, even when they were just making small talk. To ask strangers to tell me how they are really doing. I'm not afraid. Thank You, God.

But with this fearlessness has come pain. I of course have been betrayed, I have been hurt, I have been used, I have been mistreated and disrespected, I have been hated. But I will keep going. I will keep sharing. I will keep choosing to be fearless.

Because when I am fearless, God somehow uses that to allow other people to step into bravery and tell a part of their story they have never spoken aloud before. To tell me that they struggle with depression. That they doubt God. That their mother is going through chemotherapy. That no one knows they are mentally ill, and they wish they could just speak it out loud. That they have always felt alone. That they feel guilty because they are so unhappy.

Oh, my friends. How you have touched my heart. You will never know how deeply you have touched my heart. I sit here and write and weep. Because God is allowing us to speak life to one another. Shame has no place here. Shame cannot survive when we speak our truth to one another and overcome it with love and understanding. Shame is defeated when we let in the Light. Shame cannot breathe when we choose to breathe life into one another; when we uphold one another's hearts in the Truth. The Truth of God's love for us, and the truth of our love for one another.

The truth is that we are so worthwhile. In every struggle. In every sleepless night. Through every night of tears, through every manic episode, through every day of chemotherapy, through every day of job searching. Through the days of feeling friendless. Of feeling worthless. Of feeling like everything is pointless.

Every story matters. You matter. Your story matters.

Do you hear me?

You matter.

Your stories have touched my aching heart and I am so deeply moved.

My beautiful friends, be unashamed. Be fearless. Be unashamed of who you are. Be unashamed of your story. Be unashamed to tell it. To tell people that you are suffering. To tell people that it's okay that they are suffering, too. Because the truth is, we are all suffering. We will continue to suffer until we go Home. And the only way to survive it, to live it, is together. To love each other to death until death brings us new life. 

"Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood."
--Isaiah 54:4

"Overhearing what they said, Jesus said to him, 'Do not be afraid. Just believe.'"
--Mark 5:36

"One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: 'Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent."
--Acts 18:9

Oh, my friends, how I love you. You are not alone. You are never alone. Let us live unashamed. Fearless in Christ. Do not be afraid. Keep on speaking. Do not be silent.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

if grace is an ocean, we're all sinking

So yesterday, Michael and I got in a huge fight on my lunch break at work. I had already had an awful morning with my 8th grade and 6th grade classes, and he called me on my lunch break and gave me bad news. And I was so, so angry with him. We fought and fought and in all the fighting, I forgot to take my medication. I take all of my pills at 12:30 PM every day. But I was too busy fighting to remember. So I didn't. I took them at different times, I took them hours late, and my body got so confused. My brain got so confused. And I paid the price with a massive episode.

I think this episode was bad enough that maybe the details are too much for a blog post. I have no problems sharing, but my intention is not to throw a pity-party, to scare people, or to make people feel uncomfortable. So just know that it was a bad one, but I got through it.

So I'm okay today. Back on track and on time with my medication, reminded once and for all that my entire world needs to stop for 5 seconds every day at 12:30 PM so I can take my pills and be okay. I am okay.

So this is what I have to say today.

Life is so hard right now.

But yesterday, I played a game with my 1st graders that was so much fun I temporarily forgot that I was in the middle of a huge fight with my boyfriend. We walked back to their classroom singing a song we learned from Ghana, just because they loved it so much they couldn't stop singing it.

Yesterday, my co-workers listened to me as I shared with them how upset I was that my boyfriend and I were fighting. They listened and loved me so that I could get my head back on straight to teach my 1st graders.

Yesterday, my 5th graders saw that I was struggling and they behaved perfectly all afternoon. They saw my pain and they gave me the best gift that they could. Their quietness. Their calm. Their peace. Their joy.

Yesterday, my 8th graders needed a lot of discipline. But when I sat with them and spoke to them like adults, they listened. They really, really listened.

Yesterday, I danced like a lunatic in front of my choir class because I know it makes them giggle. Their giggles brighten up my day immensely.

Yesterday, my assistant at work listened and supported me like he always does. Oh, I am so grateful for that man and our friendship. I don't know what I would do without him. If only he was there all the time, instead of a few hours a week.

Yesterday, my roommate listened as I shared my heart and vented about my frustrating day. She listened and loved me and sent me a text message today encouraging me just the way I needed.

Yesterday, even though Michael and I got in a fight, as soon as I started having an episode (they start pretty much instantaneously), the fight was dropped and he loved me so hard and so deep and so true. He stayed on Skype with me all night, singing to me until I fell asleep. I love this man.

Yesterday, the only thing that brought me peace was Michael praying over me as I screamed and cried. I have not prayed in a long time. But in my madness and tears, I think I let God in for the first time in a long time.

So here I am, so tired today. But I see grace today. I have new eyes today. And I am trying to let God in and let His grace keep me afloat. Because His grace is everywhere. I just have to look for it.

And we are His portion, and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
if His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
 I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us.

Monday, February 3, 2014

my own currently

Linking up with Anna Kate and the girls at A Mama Collective like I do every Monday - only this time I'm not following format. So here it is. My "currently."

Oh, how I wish I could sit down and just write a beautiful and inspiring blog post today.

But, oh, I am struggling.

Struggling to see past my current reality. Struggling to feel hope. Struggling to feel like I'm not drowning. Struggling to breathe.

I have been unhappy for quite a while. Really unhappy. I will never stop living in gratitude, and choosing thanksgiving over wallowing in self-pity, but I am not doing well.

After my surgery in November, I was so hopeful that that was the answer. Once we realized my uterus was full of polyps and my hormones were going crazy, we removed them and life was going to be different. My PMDD would start to regulate itself - maybe I would only have one period a month instead of two and my moods would change!

And don't get me wrong - things have been better. I have not had a single manic episode since my surgery, I have not threatened or wanted to hurt myself, I have not blacked out and failed to remember my own words and behavior the night before. And for this I am beyond grateful. But I think maybe a part of me had hoped I would be all better. The joyful, radiant, vibrant girl that I know myself to be would magically return.

But I'm not her. At least not yet. I'm suffering, and I am unhappy, and I couldn't tell you why.

Maybe it's the fact that all I want is to be married and a mother and that is still months and years away. Maybe it's the fact that I really feel trapped in my job. Maybe it's the fact that I don't like my current living situation. Maybe it's the fact that I'm so alone where I live - no community, no friends - only my TV and my job. Maybe it's the fact that I'm so overworked and exhausted all. the. time.

And I am so far from God. I have isolated myself from my friends and from Him. In December, I asked Him for help for the first time in a long time. I lied on my bedroom floor night after night in hysterical tears, screaming at Him, begging for help. And it never came. So I stopped asking. And I'm having a really, really hard time asking again. I know I'm not supposed to do it alone, but when you ask and He just turns away, what then? What next?

Everyone has been saying this is my dark night of the soul. So I bought myself the book Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. I am ready to pick it up, I know I need to. I have also been told repeatedly by priests in confession to ask for the intercession of Mother Teresa. I know this is not a coincidence. Every priest I go to talks to me about Mother Teresa. She didn't experience any consolation or sense of God's presence for most of her life - and she never stopped praying or doing God's work. I ask for her prayers constantly, but I am certainly no Mother Teresa. I feel so selfish, like such a failure - like I am being so childish, just wanting God to make me feel better. But I'm telling you,  I can't do this anymore.

My therapist today has suggested I see my doctor again and change my anti-depressants or change the dosage again. My mom wants me to see my OB/GYN again and go on birth control finally. Both scare me a little. Is all of this because I am imbalanced? Am I depressed? Or am I supposed to make life changes that will make me happy? Am I inherently unhappy and chemically not ok or is it life situations that are just making me feel unhappy? With mental illness, it's so hard sometimes to see the difference between true, genuine sadness versus your brain just keeping you from being happy and maintaining itself in a state of depression. It's so much to go through in my mind and my heart, that I just feel like sitting still. I don't even feel like walking forward anymore. How much can one girl take?

This week, I've gotten my first speeding ticket, I've gotten into my first car accident, and my debit card was reproduced and money was stolen from my bank account. It's almost funny... in a sad, ironic way. How am I supposed to look at all of that on top of everything else and just keep walking? I've been feeling like life is one big blizzard and I've been taking one step at a time with my head down, just making it through one step at a time. I'm just starting to feel like the blizzard is too big. The snow is too deep. I want to just stand here and freeze.

But I know myself.

I will not give up. Even if I want to. I don't think I know how to give up.

So I will keep walking. And I will keep trying to let God in, even if I don't know how to anymore.

Monday, January 27, 2014

currently vol. 2

Linking up with the ladies of A Mama Collective and Anna Kate at Home Away From Home for Monday "currently" posts. I forgot to do it last week but I'm back!

So I am currently...

Thinking about:

Still thinking about my show. (I'm currently in a production of a musical called bare: a pop opera). I guess since this link-up happens on Mondays, it's always the day after the last show of each weekend. Something finally clicked in the show for me last night emotionally, and it was a really powerful experience. The show deals with homosexuality and the Catholic church, teen pregnancy, suicide... It's pretty heavy stuff. And to me, it really tells a story of a group of teenagers who feel lost and who want to be found by someone. And the truth is, they are surrounded by people who love them - every single one of them. It's a really amazing show to be a part of as a high school teacher, because I see this in my students every day. The desire to be seen. To be truly seen for who they are - for someone to see their insecurities and their fears and to call them beautiful and love them anyway. I think we all long for that even as adults, but teenagers are in such a vulnerable time in their lives. (This is why I'm so, so, so passionate about working with teenagers. They need to be heard and loved in a special way. I am so blessed that God has called me to work with them.) 

Anyway, the show deals with all of these things with such beauty and honesty. Because it is controversial, we have had people get up and leave halfway through the show. But the people who stick it out until the end walk away deeply impacted. I spoke with a friend on Saturday once the show was over and he said that everyone walked out in utter silence - something he had never experienced before. We don't even take a bow at the end of the show, which is something that most people are confused by - but it's simply because the story isn't about us as actors. The story is about the young people who feel they have no voice - the young people who suffer because no one took the time to see them. So we stand there in silence and honor them instead of bowing. It's pretty powerful stuff. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm truly honored to be a part of the show. The cast is amazing, the story is amazing, and it's just a joy to be a part of this family who loves and supports each other through this roller coaster of emotions every night on stage. It's so special.

Reading:

I don't know how anyone's "Reading" changes from week to week, I'm still working on My One Word.   However, I did start reading Antigone again. It's a Greek tragedy for those of you who aren't drama nerds like I am. I've read Antigone a million times already, but my friend gave me this book called The Lifetime Reading List and I want to read as many books on the list as I can, so I can highlight them and feel a sense of accomplishment. Told you, I'm a nerd. Antigone is on the list, and I don't count it if I read it in high school/college, so I picked it back up. We'll see if I actually glean anything new from it reading it for pleasure instead of for school!

Listening to:

The Frozen soundtrack. On repeat. And no, I don't have kids. I don't care. The music from this movie is stunningly beautiful. To me, it's more of a musical soundtrack than a Disney movie soundtrack. But who am I kidding? I still listen to Disney music all the time. I just can't get enough of the song "Let It Go." It's like every musical theatre girl's DREAM to sing that song now. So I'd have to wait a few years to actually sing it for anything. But it's just so powerful and gorgeous. Even the instrumental music. And it's been a Godsend as a music teacher - my new tactic for getting my little kids to behave is   letting them listen to Frozen for the last five minutes of class if they behave well. It's fabulous.

Watching:

Um, still Parenthood. I just got caught up last night and cried and cried. I'm a big weeper, but normally TV shows don't make me cry. I just couldn't help myself. Seriously, if you don't watch this show, you are missing out.

Thankful for:

I am honestly thankful for the opportunity bare has given me to perform in an ensemble and dance again. These people are fabulous and I can't say it enough. It's a deep and meaningful show but I get to be in the one silly "Diana Ross" number as a back-up angel. It's pretty fun being sassy and ridiculous in the middle of all the seriousness. 

I am so thankful for my sweet friend, Ryan, who is playing my boyfriend in bare. He played Marius and I played Eponine in Les Miserables over the summer, and the connection and mutual respect and love we built night after night was something special. We've been given the opportunity to play opposite each other again, and I couldn't be more grateful. I feel so safe with him on stage and off, and I value our friendship so much. Our director pulled me aside last night after the show in tears, saying that he loves watching the two of us - that we are just "real people" together on stage - and that you can tell that we truly love and respect each other as people and performers. I am just thankful to have a friend like him, someone that I trust and love so much.

Lastly, I am thankful for my sweet man, Michael. He flew out to see my show on opening night and has been so incredibly supportive through this whole process. I couldn't ask for a better partner. I know it's not easy to be in a relationship with an artist - a performer who goes from show to show, who has to build relationships on stage that some people might struggle with. But he understands and loves and supports me through it all. It's amazing and humbling. He also decided to change his flight and stay an extra day on his last visit, which made me feel so loved and special. He is such an incredible man and I am so blessed.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

not yet a mother

I follow a lot of mom blogs. I mean, a lot. I don't have any kids, I have never been pregnant, I've never given birth. Why do I follow them?

Because I yearn to be a mother. I long so deeply and desperately to have my own child, to love someone that deeply and relentlessly. To be forced to be that selfless. To be able to have a husband and see him and myself in a beautiful little soul.

But God keeps saying, "Not yet." Not yet, not yet, not yet.

Now, I get told a lot, "You're so young. You have so much time!" I'm not saying that at age 26 I'm running out of time. What I am saying is that when you know what you want to do for the rest of your life - and it's what you want with every ounce of your heart and soul - you want to start doing it as soon as possible. But motherhood is not like a career. You can't just decide to get the degree you need or apply for the job you want, or put your resume together and start putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes you just have to wait. And wait. And wait.

First things first: I need to be married. Which, of course, is another aching, yearning, longing desire of my heart. To share the rest of my life with my best friend. To love someone else so deeply that his life and his holiness and his happiness are more important than my own. To come home to my favorite person every single night after work and fall asleep next to him. My heart aches for this.

I am blessed to be in a relationship with a man who I know God is calling me to marry. Michael and I have been together for over two years now, and we are both waiting for God to open the door for us to get engaged. We live in two different cities, and are just waiting for God to allow him to move here. And although I know we both want to get engaged and want to be married, I am dating a man who has such a strong trust in the Lord and is truly waiting for God to let him know when the right time is. So I am trusting God and trusting Michael and simply waiting in joyful hope.

There are just so many days where my body literally aches to be married to him. To come home to him at the end of a long day at work. Instead, for the most part, I come home to an empty house. I microwave myself a quick dinner, because let's face it, cooking for one isn't too much fun. Then I turn on the TV and maybe read some blogs, do some lesson planning for work and go to sleep. There are, of course, evenings when I plan girls' nights with my friends, or when I'm home with my family. But for the most part, my evenings are spent with my TV, which is fine for now, I just want my best friend.

And I want babies. I want kids. I want little ones to love until my heart could just burst. I read blogs about marriage and motherhood, wanting just a glimpse of what life is like for women who are in that part of life. And so many of these blogs are beautiful and joyful. But so many are about the challenges, the exhaustion, the weariness, the pain. And I hear it. I obviously can't say "I understand," but I sympathize.

I guess what I want to say is that I want moms and wives to remember what it felt like before. One day, during those times when I have kids and I want to pull out my hair and give up and just scream, I want to be able to look back and read this - to remember how much I ached and longed for it. Remember the days you begged God to hurry up, because the waiting was becoming unbearable. Remember the days you went home alone, night after night, aching to be next to someone. To have a true teammate that you could wake up next to and face the world with. Remember the days when all you longed for was someone else to take care of other than yourself. Remember the days when you prayed and prayed for your future children, hurting because you are still waiting to meet them and hoping they will come soon.

When I was 21 years old, my doctor called me and told me I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I had no idea what this meant, until I looked it up on the internet, and the only thing I saw in this ocean of information on my newly diagnosed hormonal disorder was: "PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in our country." I sat with my roommate on our couch and cried for hours. In one moment, my dream of being a mother felt like it was taken right out from under me. But through prayer, I finally came to peace with the idea that even if I couldn't have my own children, I could adopt. And I will adopt. My heart is so big and aches for children so deeply, that I knew in that moment that I was going to adopt one day, regardless of if I could have my own children or not. My heart wants to take in every child that needs a home. Perhaps if I discover I am infertile one day, I will discover that God gave me this heart for a reason.

But I know now that every single pregnancy I ever get to experience, God willing, will be a celebration. Even the throwing up, the sleepless nights, the aches and pains, the swollen ankles, will be a joy. Maybe it seems like it's easy for me to say because I've never experienced it. But I'm telling you - I. can't. wait. I can't wait for the crying babies, the exhaustion, the weariness, the snotty faces, the spit-up, the sore breasts, the crazy hair days, the kissing boo-boos, the pull-your-hair-out days, the temper tantrums. I can't wait for the smiles, the snuggles, the rocking to sleep, the never feeling closer to someone than when you're breastfeeding your baby for the first time, the loving someone more than you could ever imagine, the joy of hearing your baby's first word, the seeing the combination of yourself and your husband in one little person.

Just remember. Remember this. Remember now. Remember the longing. Remember before.

Monday, January 13, 2014

currently vol. 1

Finally linking up with Jenna & Mary at A Mama Collective and Anna Kate at Home Away From Home for "Currently" on Mondays. I love it and think it's a great way to be more conversational in my blog - I hope you enjoy knowing what's going on right now! Thanks, girls!

Thinking about: 

The fact that I'm ready to show my face on this blog. The reason I keep my identity private is for my job, but I feel that the only way I can reach out to people and relate to them is to be myself. To be a real person. So here I am. It's nice to meet you.

I'm also thinking about the show that I'm in right now. I know I haven't said anything about it, but I'm in a production where I get to play a 17-year-old girl who is going through high school and just trying to figure out who she is. I also get to dance quite a bit - which is so much fun and also totally terrifying, since I haven't danced in a musical in 7 years. It's been an awesome challenge for me and I'm actually having a blast. I am really eager to see how audiences are going to respond to the show. It's very honest and edgy, and I think it will be controversial - but I think it's an important piece of art that discusses real-life issues that should be talked about. I feel privileged to get to be a part of it.

Reading:

My One Word by Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen. Recommended by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience. It's about choosing one word for your year and focusing on it. It ties back into my last post - my word for 2014. My word is "liberation" - and I'm hoping this book can provide some wisdom and practical advice on how to incorporate my word into my life and my prayers.

Listening to:

The soundtrack for the musical I'm in. Over and over and over. Because I got cast in the show a week late and had to learn all the music on my own. Not to mention the fact that some of it is just super fun to sing. It's called "bare: a pop opera". It's pretty edgy and has bad language, so I don't recommend it if you're easily offended or have kids around. But it's a powerful story with some fun rock music to listen to.

Watching:

Oh, let's be honest. I'm a TV junkie. But my favorite? Parenthood. Obsessed. I even got my 17-year-old brother to watch it with me last week and he loved it. It's so honest and the characters are so interesting and real. I love it.

Thankful for:

So much. For the fact that my boyfriend's brother just called me just to catch up. This is a beautiful, beautiful thing for me. For my sister who I got to hang out with this morning. For the fact that I got to sleep in today and will get to for one more day tomorrow. For my beautiful students who sang their hearts out in Mass yesterday and touched my soul when they looked in my eyes and sang, "Here I am, in the face of every child." For the cast of my show, who I don't get sick of even with day after day of long, long, long rehearsals. For the chance to learn that I can actually dance. For my amazing boyfriend, who supports me in everything I do. For the fact that my boyfriend has found a new and profound joy in his life's work. It is amazing to see how alive it has made him and it has healed me in so many ways and has brought me so much joy to see the man that I love be so fulfilled. For my therapist, who sees me and understands me in a way that makes me a better person. For the fact that my therapist weeps for me when I need to be wept for. For the fact that he encourages me to be the best version of myself so gently - just the way that I need it. I am thankful that although I have been in the desert for so long - truly, my dark night of the soul - God is coming through for me and my heart is changing.  Thank You, Jesus.

My awesome cast practicing our dance - we do a show within a show - Romeo & Juliet.