What a Day

Waking up early is hard. Ok. Waking up is hard. Especially in the winter. Because winter is hard. Even though I am exhausted and I think I am getting sick, today was a pretty rad day. Today the boys and I went to the library and looked at cookbooks. We found a pizza recipe we liked, made a grocery list, went shopping and then came home to make homemade pizzas. They turned out pretty good. Then we broke out the EZ bake oven. Let me tell you, there is nothing easy about that! We attempted to make cakeballs. They turned out pretty sad but the boys liked them.

2015-12-30 12.22.32 2015-12-30 13.45.47

2015-12-30 19.59.58

I was able to skype with one of my besties tonight. We were both blah and pretty uninspiring but I still felt reenergized after the call. I drank my Shakeology, which my body has been craving, as I watched the latest season of Teen Mom 2. I am all about that life. I love those women and maybe even follow them on Instagram. Speaking of Instagram. Here are my tops for today:

2015-12-29 16.10.28

Perfect for today. Thank you Bill Meme.

2015-12-30 20.04.19

#hairgoals

2015-12-30 20.03.02

Aerial and I. We are so much alike.

2015-12-30 20.06.08

And there you have it.

Tuesday Dec 29th

2015-12-29 15.46.08

Huck. I love my Huck and am so grateful for him. I have extreme anxiety when I have to leave him. It makes going to work extra hard. And winters are hard.

Things I say to Huck: “You are the leader of the free world. No, you are the free world.” “You are the master of your fate.” “You are everything good and wonderful and lovely.” “You are the greatest love.”

2015-12-29 20.26.27

Above is a selfie of me making a Starbucks run at work. Peppermint hot chocolate for the win. Work was hard. I am grateful for my coworkers who keep it light. Going to work today was extra hard because prior to work I had therapy. Naps should always AWAYS come after therapy. Not work. My brain needs time to rest. I love therapy. It is hard and challenging and at then end of each session I am emotionally and mentally drained. Another goal for 2016 is to make sure I always have a clear schedule after therapy. That way I can take a nap, a run or just binge out on tv. I need to give my mind and heart the time and what it needs to renew and repair.

The following are things I saw on Instagram that I loved.

2015-12-29 12.20.46

Seriously though.

2015-12-29 12.13.59

Always.

2015-12-29 12.15.07

I loved this. And feel it is me and it is probably you. It is one thing I know, I KNOW my ex can have no doubts about and that is my love for him. And maybe that fact that I am all over the place.

2015-12-29 12.26.34

Jesus.

Behaviors Come in Packages

IMG_2007

The following is an except form the book, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Let’s take three buddies who all grew up together. They live in the same neighborhood, with very similar sensibilities. Each makes around $50,000 a year. They’re all married and have average health and body weight, plus a little bit of that dreaded “marriage flab.”

Friend number one, let’s call him Larry, plods along doing as he’s always done. He’s happy, or so he thinks, but complains occasionally that nothing ever changes.

Friend number two, Scott, starts making some small, seemingly inconsequential, positive changes. He begins reading 10 pages of a good book per day and listening to 30 minutes of something instructional or inspirational on his commute to work. Scott wants to see changes in his life, but doesn’t want to make a fuss over it. He recently read an interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz in SUCCESS magazine and chose one idea from the article to implement in his life: He’s going to cut 125 calories from his diet every day. No big deal. We’re talking maybe a cup of cereal less, trading that can of soda for a bottle of seltzer, switching from mayo to mustard on his sandwich. Doable. He’s also started walking a couple thousand extra steps per day (less than a mile). No grand acts of bravery or effort. Stuff anyone could do. But Scott is determined to stick with these choices, knowing that even though they’re simple, he could also easily be tempted to abandon them.

Friend number three, Brad, makes a few poor choices. He recently bought a new big-screen TV so he can watch more of his favorite programs. He’s been trying out the recipes he’s seen on the Food Channel—the cheesy casseroles and desserts are his favorites. Oh, and he installed a bar in his family room and added one alcoholic drink per week to his diet. Nothing crazy; Brad just wants to have a little more fun.

At the end of five months, no perceivable differences exist among Larry, Scott, or Brad. Scott continues to read a little bit every night and listen to audios during his commute; Brad is “enjoying” life and doing less. Larry keeps doing as he always has. Even though each man has his own pattern of behavior, five months isn’t long enough to see any real decline or improvement in their situations. In fact, if you charted the three men’s weights, you’d see a rounding error of zero. They’d look exactly equal.

At the end of ten months, we still can’t see noticeable changes in any of their lives. It’s not until we get to the end of the eighteenth month that the slightest differences are measurable in these three friends’ appearances.

But at about month twenty-five, we start seeing really measurable, visible differences. At month twenty-seven, we see an expansive difference. And, by month thirty-one, the change is startling. Brad is now fat while Scott is trim. By simply cutting 125 calories a day, in thirty-one months, Scott has lost thirty- three pounds!

31 months = 940 days 940 days x 125 calories/day = 117,500 calories saved 117,500 calories saved x 1 pound/3,500 calories = 33.5 pounds!

Brad ate only 125 more calories more a day in that same time frame, and gained 33.5 pounds. Now he weighs 67 pounds more than Scott! But the differences are more significant than weight. Scott’s invested almost one thousand hours reading good books and listening to self-improvement audios; by putting his newly gained knowledge into practice, he’s earned a promotion and a raise. Best of all, his marriage is thriving. Brad? He’s unhappy at work, and his marriage is on the rocks. And Larry? Larry is pretty much exactly where he was two and half years ago, except now he’s a little more bitter about it.

The phenomenal power of the Compound Effect is that simple. The difference between people who employ the Compound Effect for their benefit compared to their peers who allow the same effect to work against them is almost inconceivable. It looks miraculous! Like magic or quantum leaps. After thirty-one months (or thirty-one years), the person who uses the positive nature of the Compound Effect appears to be an “overnight success.” In reality, his or her profound success was the result of small, smart choices, completed consistently over time.

The Ripple Effect

The results in the above example seem dramatic, I know. But it goes even deeper than that. The reality is that even one small change can have a significant impact that causes an unexpected and unintended ripple effect. Let’s put one of Brad’s bad habits under the microscope—eating rich food more frequently—to better understand how the Compound Effect can also work in a negative way and can create a ripple effect that impacts your entire life.

Brad makes some muffins from a recipe he learned from the Food Channel. He’s proud and his family loves it, and it seems to add value all around. He starts making them (and other sweets) frequently. He loves his own cooking and eats more than his share—but not so much that anyone notices. However, the extra food makes Brad sluggish at night. He wakes up a little groggy, which makes him cranky. The crankiness and sleep-deprivation begin to impact his work performance. He’s less productive, and as a result, gets discouraging feedback from his boss. By the end of the day, he feel dissatisfied with his job and his energy level is way down. The commute home seems longer and more stressful than ever. All of this makes him reach for more comfort food— stress has a way of doing that.

The overall lack of energy makes Brad less likely to take walks with his wife, like he used to. He just doesn’t feel like it. She misses their time together and takes his withdrawal personally. With fewer shared activities with his wife and an absence of fresh air and exercise, Brad’s not getting the endorphin release that had helped make him feel upbeat and enthusiastic. Because he’s not as happy, he starts finding fault with himself and others, and stops complimenting his wife. As his own body starts to feel flabby, he feels less self-confident, less attractive and becomes less romantic.

Brad doesn’t realize how his lack of energy and affection toward his wife affects her. He just knows that he feels funky. He starts losing himself in late-night TV because it’s easy and distracting. Feeling his distance, Brad’s wife starts to complain, then becomes needy. When that doesn’t work, she emotionally withdraws to protect herself. She’s lonely. She pours her energy into her work and spends more time with her girlfriends to fulfill her need for companionship. Men start flirting with her, which makes her feel desirable again. She would never cheat on Brad, but he has a feeling something’s wrong. Instead of seeing that his poor choices and behaviors are at the root of their problems, he finds fault with his wife.

Believing that the other person is wrong rather than looking inside and doing the work necessary to clean up your mess is basic Psychology 101 stuff. In Brad’s case, he doesn’t know to look inside—they don’t offer self-improvement or relationship advice on Top Chef or his favorite crime shows. However, the thought may have occurred to him that, if he had read the personal-development books his buddy Scott read, he might have learned about ways to change negative habits. Unfortunately for Brad, the small choices he made on a daily basis created a ripple that wreaked havoc on every area of his life.

Of course, all that calorie-counting and intellectual stimulation has had the opposite effect with Scott, who’s now reaping the bounty of positive results. It’s that simple. With enough time and consistency, the outcomes become visible. Better yet, they’re totally predictable.

Channeling Sara

“Facing the ghosts that decide if the fire inside still burns.” -Sara Bareilles

IMG_2915

A few weeks ago I ran a RACE.  I did a lot of mental preparation for this race.  You see, this race was supposed to be a jumping off point of me letting go.  Letting go of you.  Somehow after all this time, after all the hurt and all the sorrow…I am still so emotionally committed to you.  And I can’t be.  I know I can’t be.  Because you are not committed to me.  In any shape or form.  That, itself, is a painful truth.

Sometimes I feel so frustrated with myself.  Seeing that man that looked liked you brought everything back.  Slapped me in the face.  Slapped me in the heart.

“The distance between that was sheltering me comes in full view.”

When I crossed the finish line one thing was clear.  I still love you. Just as much. Just as strong.  Maybe even more.  Your personal healing is more important to me than my being with you.  In the end, if  you have found healing, love , family and peace and happiness and I am alone.  By myself.  Okay.  Just heal.  Please God, bad out, good in.  Bad out.  Good in.

“My love is a burden I can’t carry anymore.”

Please heal me too.  Help me to give my love for him to you, Heavenly Father.

“Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I will breathe again.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2yPU5WPwZs]

eff

It was late at night.  I was packing to fly out the next morning.  You were asleep on my bed.  I stepped on a tac.

Me:  “F***!!!!!!!”  I exit the bedroom.  “Heavenly Father, I am so sorry I said the F-word.”

32:  “Did you just pray for forgiveness for saying the F-word?”

Dear 32, I miss your guts today.  xoxo

 

Miss you more than I can take

On a crisp clear night last week I was riding in the passenger seat of my friend’s car just staring at the stars…remembering.

“I used to go star gazing with 32 or 36.  Sometimes until the wee hours of the morning. I would always fall asleep.”

Friend: “You really need to do that sometime with a straight man.”

“I suppose I do.”

In my mind I was…offended is not the right word.  Taken aback maybe.  I felt reprimanded.  I would love to do romantic things like that with a straight man but I also love to do them with my gay men.

With a gay man I feel safe.  I don’t worry about what he is thinking or expecting.  I am not worried about myself and if I am likable or not, if he is really into me or just bored.  Or if he is too into me. And my gay friends make me feel beautiful.  They tell me all the time.  Straight men don’t.  With them I am always questioning if I am attractive or flirty enough.  The last time a straight man told me I was beautiful was about two weeks ago at work.  He was in the store buying a gift for his grandaughter. He told me I looked damn good.  And you want to know something…it made me feel pretty damn good.

And you know, this probably has a lot to do with why I am still single.  And that is fine by me.  My quiet time with my gay friends is sacred to me.  I know they have my back.

And I have yours.  This is for you.  I miss you more than I can take.

#6 Does God Hate Me?

It was autumn time. 2007.  I was living in Payson, Arizona serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I had switched my first name for the title of Sister.  I was was Sister Dick for 18 months of my life.  I would gladly and without hesitation give up my first name again for the same reason.

#6 was living with some of his relatives at the time.  He was somewhere in his mid-thirties, had developed very few life skills and was so endearingly sweet and humble.  I just wanted to hug him all the time.  I knew immediately when I met 6 that he was gay.  We visited the family he was staying with every week.  He always sat in on the lessons.  6 was always so very quiet.  He enjoyed our visits.  He enjoyed the lessons.  Sometimes, in his shy way, he would ask a question or two.

One evening when my companion and I were leaving he covertly slipped me a note.  The kind of note that you would pass in the hallway between classes with your friends during high school. Lined notebook paper, folded in half and then in half again.  I do not remember if I waited to read the note until we got back to the apartment or if I read it when we got in the truck.  All I remember is that it was dark outside and what was written in the note devastated me.

I still have the note today.  I treasure it.  Maybe that is weird but I do.  The note showed me that 6 viewed me as someone he could trust.  That he recognized the authority I had as a representative of Jesus Christ.  6’s handwriting was elementary.  The note was written in pencil.  It read,

Dear Sister Dick, I am gay.  Does God hate me?  Am I going to hell?  My dad hates me.  He disowned me.  Is he going to hell because of how he treats me?  6

 

I read 6’s note and reread 6’s note.  I cried myself to sleep that night.  The next day I called him to set up a time my companion and I could come by and talk to him.  My companion had no idea how to move forward, how to respond to 6.

I did.

 

Gay men and the forest

Conversation that happened yesterday.

Me: I saw Jekyll and Hyde over the weekend.  It was awesome.  I really really REALLY really want to be in a show again.

Friend:  No you can’t.

Me: Why?

Friend: You do not need another gay man.  Gay men are like ticks and the theatre is the forest.  You are going to walk into the forest and they will attack all your bare spots.  No show.

#11

11 is a true Cali boy…accept he is not from California.  He is the master flirt.  I watched him flirt it up will all the girls.  11 was always taking the girls out.  I remember him coming to sit in the theatre seat next to me, trying to work his charms.  I barely cracked a smile.  I was like, “please.”  I could see right into him. He was so sweet and so… young.  11 tried so hard to not be gay, to not appear gay.  It was overkill.  And that is ok.  Each person has their own ways, own goals, and ability to work through things.

Later I heard 11 had a boyfriend. Apparently they were holding hands under the table during a staff meeting.  I am not sure if that means he had a boyfriend or not. I am not going to lie.  There was a part of me that was sad but never surprised.  Never.

Dear 11, Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whoever you are seeing…I hope you are happy and well and wish you the best.