Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Storms of Life

I recently received some comments on this blog from an ex-boyfriend/fiancee that were extremely malicious.  It took half a second of research to connect him with the fake name he used to make the comments, which is stupid.  If you're going to make those types of personal attacks, have the balls to be up front about it.

I met this guy online back in late 2001, I think.  We had an instant connection and our online conversations became long phone calls that were always something I looked forward to.  After a few months, he informed me he would be traveling from Japan (he was an air traffic controller in the Navy at the time) to California for a vacation, and we made plans for me to take the month of October 2002 off of work to spend that time with him.  I drove from Salt Lake City to LAX and picked him up from his flight - our first in-person encounter.  It was awesome to meet him in person.  We a couple days visiting some close friends and then went to Joshua Tree National Park to go camping.  It was there that he proposed to me in a very thoughtful and creative way.  I said yes.  Even at that moment, I felt like I was saying yes too soon, and that he proposed too soon, but my personality is such that I am driven to please others.  And he was a really great guy.  We went to Palm Springs, where he grew up, to visit more of his close friends, and he introduced me to his family.  We made our way to Phoenix where he met my family.

My parents are notorious for pointing out the obvious (obvious to everyone except for me, of course) (and it's completely obnoxious), and privately, they expressed their concern about such a quick engagement and not knowing this guy as well as I supposed.  Another part of my personality is that when I am told directly what I should do, I dig in my heels and/or run in the opposite direction of the counsel being given.  (So dumb, I know.)

We hiked the Grand Canyon with my parents, which was a lot of fun, and during this time, the feeling of discomfort about the engagement began to grow within me.  We also camped in Sedona (in a campground we weren't supposed to be at...got a rude awakening from the groundskeepers telling us to get lost!) and did some mountain biking through the beautiful red rock and desert.  He had a pretty nice crash and burn on his bike.  I remember how much fun that day was.  We went to a resort and got day passes for their spa and used that time to soak, steam, and clean up at our leisure.  It was lovely.

When we made our way back to California, we stopped to do some camping and hiking at a mountain near Palm Springs.  I can't remember the name, but it was a really cool place.  I loved how outdoorsy this guy was, and at the time, I was working at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions in Utah, so we truly had a lot in common.  On top of that, we had a strong physical attraction to one another, so it was very difficult for me to find clarity in my thoughts and feelings, let alone express them.

By the time we were back in LA, I had let him know that I wasn't so sure about marriage.  He was heartbroken, and I was too.  I've always yearned for true love and make connections naturally, so it was hard for me to say no.

We continued to talk and correspond after that, but things were definitely different, and the infatuation, for me, was tapering dramatically.

During our trip, he deposited some money into my checking account to use for the trip.  When I broke things off, he felt like I owed some of that money back to him.  I honestly didn't agree.  I had used my car for the entire trip and had taken a whole month off of work.  When I wanted to cut the trip short, so I could get back to my job (my funds were running short), he said to use that money to stay on top of bills, so we could continue the trip as planned.  The communication seemed very clear to me, and I didn't have a dishonest fiber in me about the whole situation.

Well, I got married in 2003 to someone else.  Shortly after getting married, I received a couple emails from this guy, though he used the email joesmith@yahoo or hotmail, and the messages were malicious and threatening.  My husband contacted his CO in the Navy and had a pretty strong chat with him to tell this guy to knock it off and let it go.  It seemed to work.

I remarried in 2007, and in 2008, my husband now, Patrick, got a motorcycle.  I posted on this blog about that day and included pictures, including a nice picture or two of him on the motorcycle driving off from the dealership.  I got an anonymous comment on that blog post that was very unkind toward me and toward my husband.  I remember part of it said that "anonymous" hoped my hubby would get in a crash and die, since he wasn't wearing a helmet.  I couldn't believe what I was reading, but I knew the only person in my life that was malicious toward me enough to make such a comment was this guy that I had been engaged to.  Of course, there was no way to prove it, but I knew.

There haven't been any other comments until just recently.

After spending a few weeks thinking about this more than I cared to, I realized I have gone through the 5 Stages of Loss and Grief.  His comments were really hurtful after all.

1. Denial

Who would say such unkind things about me?  This must be some random prankster.  If it isn't, who is this person with the name I didn't recognize?  This can't be real.

2. Anger

Seriously?!  This guy is still hung up on me, can't get over a relationship that didn't work out, and wants to hang onto this for over 10 years?!  He needs to get his ass kicked!  (Anger isn't natural for me, so this went quickly, though I revisited this stage again between 4 and 5.)

3. Bargaining

My bargaining was with myself...okay, maybe there's some truth to what he said.  I am a lot heavier now than I was when we spent that month together years ago.  Maybe I am fat and nasty and need to get to a gym.  I should do something about that.  What do I need to do to not let this affect my self esteem?

4. Depression

Good hell.  Maybe I really am fat and nasty.  I'm an ugly person.  How can Patrick even be attracted to me?  Lifestyle change and having a baby are no excuse.  I'm lazy and horrible.  How sad that this guy still feels so bitter that he looks me up, finds me, and tells me how disgusting I am.  I have wasted years that I could have been counting calories and spending hours at the gym.  Patrick isn't going to want me anymore.  I'm too fat for him.  What will he say or do when I visit him in a couple weeks?  (He's been in Utah getting his shop ready to move to Phoenix, and we haven't seen each other since December.) What am I going to do?

5. Acceptance

You know what, I have gained weight.  You know what else?  I've lost 6 lbs in the last month.  I am a fantastic mother and wife.  I am a hard worker.  I am beautiful, inside and out.  I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who knows me and loves me.  That alone makes me beautiful and remarkable beyond measure of any man on this earth.  This guy that made those comments must have some issues in his life.  He was and is hurt, and I am sorry for any hurt I caused.  He has a wife and 2 kids now, and it's sad that he isn't able to release the pain and replace it with the joy of his family.  The comments are his.  He owns them.  They are not a reflection of me, just of him.  I can let that go.  I can forgive him.  And I can love me.  I feel good about my decisions with the things that I can control - the things I CAN DO.

So, thank you psychology degree.  I was able to navigate this one without a psychologist.  A supportive husband (who is much less patient and slower to forgive than I) and my testimony of my divine nature got me through this one.  Not to mention my beautiful daughter who keeps my perspective intact.

The Storm has passed and the sun is shining brighter than ever.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Beautiful Oregon

Lola and I are on a little vacation in Oregon, hanging out with two of the must adorable pups and two sweet kitties.  Lola did really well on the flight, thank goodness, though she did fuss a little. The people around us were very compassionate.

The weather has been a welcome change from the Phoenix heat. It's nice to have some moisture and cool temps!

I get to take the pups on adventures, and Lola and I welcome the outdoorsiness.

Patrick is still in Utah, working hard to get the shop ready to move to Phoenix. We can't wait to be together as a family again!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our little Pepper is 18 months old

I tried SOOOOO hard to get a cute picture of Lola after church on her first day going to nursery.  Every single picture had some sort of a blur in it...the little stinker was so excited and happy and just kept running around the kitchen like a little chicken.  It was pretty cute.  I resorted to a video, which turned out quite adorable.

And here she is the next morning.  If there is anything around that can be climbed, she's on it.  Subsequently, she has several bumps and red spots on her head. 

This stage of development has been a lot of fun to witness.  I want to start practicing homeschooling by having an educational activity planned every day.  Nothing big, just something to challenge her mind and encourage her creativity.  I would also like to find some sort of a play-thing for the backyard that would provide a good climbing set-up.  Lola naps and sleeps so well when she can run around like crazy, so anything to facilitate that would be great!

Yesterday we spent the evening with my brothers and their families.  My nephews and nieces adore Lola, and they keep her very active.  She slept like a champ last night!

We love this sweet girl.  I'm trying to intentionally slow down to really cherish this time in her life. :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas, Mecham-style!

We had a great Christmas! It was fun to spend Christmas Eve in Prescott Valley with almost all of the family. We honored our family tradition and feasted on homemade gyoza, had a book exchange among the little cousins, the family gift exchange, and a talent show. My grandpa Mecham was there, and my mom's sister, Barbara, joined us as well. The only one missing from the family was Philip, which was a bummer. It was a fun day with the family.

Lola at 16 months old

Here's the little beauty at 16 months.

Lola at 17 months

She's so cute...even when (okay, especially when) she is being sassy.

I can't believe she's 17 months old.  One more month and she can go into the nursery at church. I have mixed feelings about that. :-)  She may be a momma's girl. I'm definitely that girl's momma, and I can't get enough of her most of the time!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Climb the next mountain

Orrin Woodward shared a story on his blog that reminded me of my six trips down the Grand Canyon.  Here is an excerpt:

"Sometimes we have to be brave enough to move from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Life isn’t just reaching peaks. Part of it is moving from one peak to the next. If you rest too long in between, you might be tempted to quit. Leave the past in the past. Climb the next mountain and enjoy the view."

There's nothing like the view at the top of the Grand Canyon, both the North and South rims. The colors, shadows, and endless canyons of various depths could take me, a willing prisoner, to a timeless sentence of peace and wonder.  I do believe that just about anyone can experience and appreciate the canyon's beauty from the rim; however, there is a significant authenticity of appreciation when you have had to endure the steep trails to get from the bottom to the distant top. 

Just as Orrin said, resting too long can leave you tempted to quit. The canyons of the Grand Canyon are just as beautiful as the rims. The temperature is quite warm, similar to Phoenix, whereas the rims are cooler like Flagstaff. The beautiful Colorado River is a commanding presence and a cool gift to tired feet that have been hiking all day. There are waterfalls, streams, trees that lull you to sleep as the breeze gently stirs the leaves into a quiet symphony. Phantom Ranch offers a sense of rustic normalcy at the bottom of the canyon with a small store, deliciously carbonated soda (such a treat to experience there!), some community games like horseshoes, friendly company, delicious family-style dinners, and even a bed and shower if you were lucky enough to have made those reservations! The campsites are comfortable and have always provided good company as well. It really is easy to get comfortable there. But alas, we must be willing to leave the past in the past, start that grueling climb, reach a new peak, and have that fresh accomplishment to savor and enjoy. 

The first mile of hiking out of the Grand Canyon via the Bright Angel Trail is the worst part of the hike...even worse than the Devil's Corkscrew, I think! It is sandy, endlessly winding along the Colorado River without gaining much altitude. Truly, it is a discouraging start. You feel like you are putting forth so much effort to no avail, and when you know just how much altitude lies ahead in the hike, it feels like a waste of time. I have desired to quit and return to the comforts of Phantom Ranch. 

Life is a lot like this. Any new and worthy venture that will require our best character and strength has that initial excitement that can be quickly snuffed out by the reality of how much work is to come. Marriage, motherhood, moving out of state, and starting a new job are just a few examples of these ventures in my life. Fortunately, the previous mountain peaks provide a memory, an emotional, spiritual, physical, and even cellular memory of what grace has come and will come into our lives.

I remember one time hiking the Grand Canyon when it was snowing toward the top of the South Rim.  It was one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had, hiking alone through the snow that absorbed all sound.  The only thing I could hear was the crunch of snow under my boots and my heavy breathing.  In those moments, God's presence was near, and his Spirit filled my heart. The discomfort of hiking uphill in those conditions paled the significance of the moment and the anticipation of the hot chocolate I would soon enjoy in the lodge.  Yes, grace has come and will come into our lives.

I have faith that amazing things are going to happen in our family this year and beyond. The valleys, canyons, and plains are preparing us for the next mountaintop. Some of the events I hope to experience along the way are finding our own home, growing our family, becoming financially free, and being sealed as an eternal family. I truly look forward to the next peak as I enjoy learning from where I am today.

 “When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.” 
― Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

8 months and growing!

Lola is doing very well! She has recently figured out how to sit up on her own, scoots backwards and maneuvers any which way to get where she intends, and realized she has a voice. Sometimes she'll LOUDLY babble on for an hour straight. I think crawling will happen any day now. I've been giving her solid foods once in awhile, and she loves the new experiences. Today she sucked on a lime wedge and loved it! She didn't make a funny face at all! She had a great 1st Easter. We went to my Aunt Arlene's house and feasted with lots of family. Lola is so cute and so much fun. I do have my exhausted days where I'd love for anyone to take her off my hands for an hour. I'm sure all 1st time moms feel this way...motherhood is consuming! But so rewarding and great. What a humbling blessing. :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lola at 7 months...I had forgotten to publish this post!

Guess who can stay sitting up on her own now???

It's so amazing how a new skill manifests itself as "mastered" in just a day.  At least it seems to be so.  Lola has been sitting up with help from her boppy pillow for awhile, but kept falling over without any supplemental help.  On Saturday, it clicked, and she's been sitting like a pro ever since.  She has yet to get herself into the sitting position, though, so that's the next exciting milestone we're watching for.

Somewhat related to this news is today's historical even with Pope Francis being elected the new pope.  I'm LDS, and I don't know a whole lot about the Catholic church, but as far as the new pope is concerned, he seems like a really humble and down to earth kind of guy.  I like that. I have a great appreciation for good kind people!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

6 months already!

I can't believe how fast time really flies when you have a baby! Lola has fallen in love with her feet and loves to suck on her big toes. She has been rolling over for awhile now, but earlier this week she figured out how to put those rolls together to travel quickly across the living room. ...I vacuum a LOT these days! Lola loves her daddy, watching (and occasionally man-handling) the kitties, her Baby Galileo Baby Einstein video, warm baths, giggling, and being around people. She loves mommy a lot too. :)