Life's Sweet Journey: May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Disney Dreams and Ugly Crys

Day 31 people! We made it!! This challenge was definitely an undertaking. It was a crash course for me in the world of blogging but I have enjoyed it.  It challenged me, opened me and brought me to many great new reads. I have loved following along with so many of you. 

Today we are to share a vivid memory and as I look back through my memory bank I realize that a lot of my big moments get somewhat blurry. I have flashes of vivid moments, some I will always cherish and some that I would rather forget, but for the most part some of the memories get hazy.  My wedding day? A blur! Those moments that have shaped and transformed me seem to have this filter through with which I view them. I think that trying to process all of my surroundings in so many of those moments just became to much for my brain to process and so it compartmentalized them. I can remember a lot of great things about that day but trying to piece it altogether was a process. It if for reasons such as those that I will be forever grateful for cameras. They capture memories and allow us to revisit them in all their vivid glory.  

One day in particular that, while it has its hazy moments too, is most vivid for me would be the day we got engaged. I remember that morning waking up at Animal Kingdom Lodge and knowing yet not knowing at the same time what this day could bring.  I was a wreck of nerves.  It had always been my dream to get engaged at the Magic Kingdom and given the fake out the night before I was assuming this might be the big day. I remember dressing down not wanting to anticipate anything (which in hindsight was dumb dumb because I was a hot and sweaty messy in that shirt but oh well) and leaving the hotel.  We rode the bus to meet my mom at the park so that she could let us in (special pass that only she and my dad can use). She walked halfway down Main Street with us, hugged us both and left (though she didn't want to) and we continued on towards the castle.  And that is when the following began... 

There had been a Photopass man there waiting and called us over to him to ask if we wanted a picture. And then the words began, those I can't really remember but I am sure you can get the gist. All I knew was I have a sweater tied around my waist. My mind says, "you can not have a sweater wrapped around your waist in these pictures!" so I logically untied it a threw it off.  Duh! Because that is so the thought process for a moment like this. 

For some reason I could not unclasp my hands from behind my back. Finally, they decided to unlatch and cooperate so that he could slip the ring onto my finger.  I guess I said yes, that part is kind of blurry. 

At some point I kissed him and there were fireworks. The timing was not planned it was just one of those things. They were part of the show going on at the castle. Those were followed by a street celebration in which they asked any newlyweds or newly engaged couples to come out and dance in the streets. So I did! 

Then we called my mom who came right back. She had wanted to stay and watch because she had her suspicions too but didn't know how to ask Babe if she could stay without me knowing. The following hugs and tears ensued. 

And then I talked to my daddy and that is when the above ugly cry came about. He had known as Andrew had made sure to ask his permission and so we are both crying on the phone.  My mom had not known that he knew, see it is kind of hard to tell her things and still have them stay secrets. 

Then we took some pics and celebrated with this little schemer who was a part of the whole plot.  This is January! She was hiding in the bushes snapping all these pictures and had been waiting for us to show up for two hours.  She is the one who got the Disney Photopass man in on the scheme. 

We then enjoyed our day as a newly engaged couple and sealed the deal with a 'blessing of the rings' from Mickey and Minnie themselves! It was all in all a perfect day and a fabulous memory. Babe had done himself - and my Disney loving heart - good! 

And now I sign off in hopes of seeing many of you on Monday because I will be resting my weary fingers this weekend! Thanks for sticking with me! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Just Let it Go

I have been avoiding today's post like the plaque. 1.) because I feel like I have the plaque and have been at the doctors and curled up in a ball trying to figure out what be wrong and 2.) because when I first read today's challenge topic my mind said "oh heck to the no!".

Letting go?! React to letting go? How am I supposed to react to letting go?

This moment was so bittersweet. I was happy to be marrying Babe but sad about the realization that though I would always be daddy's little girl, I was having to let go of the part of me that was his and give that to Babe because it was now his turn to care for and protect me.  That had always been my dad's job and I wasn't sure about letting that go.
Letting go has never been an easy thing for me. I couldn't even change my last name and let go of my old one, instead I now have four names instead of three. I liked my name. It was a part of who I was and I felt that dropping any part of my name (either my old middle or my old last) was like dropping the person I was before I got married. That girl is still in here.  She had to learn to adapt to married life but she still lets her voice be heard every now and then (aka all the time).

Letting go can take on so many different contexts and more often than not, having to do it is not something we can prepare for.  Letting go plays into relationships, it plays into life, it plays into death and the list goes on. Letting go is the ultimate goodbye because, though sometimes the things you let go of come back to you, when you are actually in the process of letting go you expect it to be for the final time.

Letting go also plays into forgiveness.  As Oprah said "Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different." Our past is always something we have to eventually let go of and for me one of the hardest things to do. We can remember it and what it taught us, we can forgive the parts that we would rather gloss over, but we must let it go. In letting go of the past I have been able to find forgiveness even when an apology was never offered, or in some cases not needed. I had to forgive God for taking my grandmother before I got married, I had to forgive myself for mistakes I had made and that I finally had to let go of, and I have had to forgive others for hurt caused by being humans living in a world that trips us up all the time. Forgiveness is letting go and knowing that though I probably won't ever forget those things I also won't let them define me. 

I don't know if letting go of things is something that will ever get easier. I think that's ok. Letting go is supposed to be hard. If it isn't then whatever we are letting go off wasn't strong enough to teach us anything and moving on is about learning how to take the things we've had to let go of and learn from them. Letting go is not a giving up, letting go is the acknowledgement that circumstances were given their best shot, that lives were lived and that people were loved.  Sometimes letting go of something is the understanding that we have so much more to give and that what it is that weighs us down keeps us from loving ourselves and those entrusted to us in the fullest way possible. It is in those moments of letting go that we find hope and freedom and empowerment.

Words on a page are so much easier said than done and I know that I can cling to things that I don't want to let go of harder than Charlie hung onto his golden ticket, but today for this moment I vow to let go of the things that hold me and chain me. I will probably have to vow the same tomorrow but I promise myself to let go... just let it go!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

He Loves Me Like Jesus Does

*Photo compliments of Nu Visions in Photography
I have thought about Day 29 numerous times without even realizing it.  There are many songs that evoke memories for me. They are the songs that come up and transport you back in time to a moment, a feeling, a different sense of self. They can be songs which speak to me at certain times on a deeper level because they put into words feeling that I had tried to sort out and couldn't.  Music can be life. Music can soothe a soul. Music can break your heart to the point where you have to turn the station just to get away from the overwhelming sense of emotions that run through you as the song plays.  For me, there is one song that has stuck out recently that I have wanted to post my own spin on.  I will get there in a second.  Before that, here are a few that bring back memories of special times.

Baby Got Back: Oh me, oh my!! This song.  I have no rear end to speak of my friends so maybe this song became somewhat of an oxymoron but this song reminds me of high school and innocence (yes, strange I know) and friends. The one that when we hear it after all these years we have to catch each others eyes and laugh and sing along.  We were just these young, naive girls who thought that dancing to this was just the bomb dot com.

I Want to Grow Old with You from the Broadway show
I Want To Grow Old With You by Jim Tackett on Grooveshark
This is the song that Babe and I danced to at our wedding.  We went to see The Wedding Singer when it was playing at our local theater. I had never seen the movie and the play was fabulous. When they sang this song, I thought "now this is our song"! We had never really had a song that fit us so perfectly (minus the letting you cheat at checkers part; don't ever let me win - there will be serious repercussions if I find out "you done" let me win).

Recently however, this following song has struck me...
Like Jesus Does by Eric Church
Like Jesus Does by Eric Church on Grooveshark 
The first time I heard it I remember switching it off and then I heard it again and it just seem to catch and captivate me.  In that first moment, where I listened from beginning to end, I thought, "I like that song". It was fitting, except for the fact that it didn't fit just right. It didn't seem to fit me. If I were to paint a picture of our lives with that song, it would have to be the other way around. It wouldn't be she loves me, it would be he loves me. He does love me mostly like Jesus does.  Though no one but God alone can love me like Jesus, Babe is a pretty close second. The way he loves people in general is incredible to me sometimes. He is one of the most forgiving, loving, supportive and non-condemning people I know.

When I play the song through my way it goes a little like this...

I'm a long gone wayward soul sometimes, 
Dreams are the far outreaches for which my heart pines. 
Yet, he believes in my like he believes his bible, 
He loves me like Jesus does. 

I'm a lead foot leaning on a white old Ford, 
I'm a girl who craves stability with a mind that won't just let her get bored. 
Yet he carries me when my sins weigh me down to the floor
and loves me like Jesus does.

All the crazy in my dreams, 
My one right broken wing, 
and the left that fails to overcompensate for everything. 
Yeah he knows the girl I ain't, 
He forgives me when I can't.
The devil, man, he don't stand a chance.
He loves me like Jesus does.  

I should have thought he would give up on me someday, 
yet I never had to doubt him, though I doubt myself in many ways. 
So, I thank God each night and twice on Sundays
That he loves me like Jesus does. 

All the crazy in my dreams, 
My one right broken wing, 
and the left that fails to overcompensate for everything. 
Every single piece of who I am shines brighter in his eyes,
even the parts of me some might despise.
Yeah he knows the girl I ain't, 
He forgives me when I can't
The devil, man, he don't stand a prayer.
He loves me like Jesus does.  

I'm a long gone wayward soul sometimes. 

Most days I think I do alright at loving Babe, but I know I make mistakes at it often. This wife thing was a lot harder for me to learn than I thought it would be. I had considered myself a pretty good girlfriend.  We had been together for five years before we even got married. I thought "how hard and different could it be?" Oh, bless my soul! The wife thing has been a process.  Maybe because I hadn't ever pictured the wife role when I had planned out our futures. I had done the girlfriend thing, I had somewhat pictured the wedding thing, and I had absolutely pictured the mom thing but the wife thing? I guess that had gotten left out somehow. It has been a learning process (and a loving process) and he has bared with me through it all as a stable rock of clarity. He teaches me everyday how to love better and for that I will always be grateful.  

How about you? Any songs you have written your own lyrics or rhythm too? 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The UnDisney Side of Cali

Day 28's Disclaimer: These are not the rest of my favorite pics as told to look for in this post.  Today I am on a "ain't nobody got time for that" mission to get my license reinstated after it was confiscated for supposedly not paying a ticket that I have the receipt for (thank you very much).  Thank you Mr. Policeman (or the automatic ticket payment system I guess) for messing up my schedule all weekend with the inability to drive my car. Must just be payback for this incident.  These were all together already in a nice little package.  Hope you enjoy!



Monday, May 27, 2013

Here's to you!

I am loving the topic for Day 27 and the opportunity to tell those of you that have joined me on this ride how much it truly means.  

Dear and Wonderful Reader, 

I want to say thank you! Thank you for joining me on this journey.  Thank you for bearing with me as I continue to work out the odds and ends of the blogging world. I jumped on this train and began "conducting" this space after having ridden a few trains for a while. The experience of seeing the blogging world from this side has been a new and empowering experience. It is made so much richer because of each one of you.  I have loved this journey and getting the chance to share in life with you. Each comment and remark and email I get touches my heart and makes it a bit lighter.  The worst of days can be made that much better when I check in and find that someone has left me a "happy" on one of my posts.  My heart dances! My heart also dances when I find a new post on your page, opening up the details of your soul and letting me share in your world.  

I have come to realize that this thing we share is special and for me this blog has begun a changing process.  However, this is one change that I have somehow embraced head on.  The first days were initially a bit nerve wrecking knowing that my life was broadcast for all to weed through. But each comment I receive calms that and this change is one that I accept gladly.  I have found freedom through this change and I have found warmth in so many others who have openly shared their posts as well. Thank you for your words.  The many words I get the opportunity to read each day when you publish a new post.  This community is a challenging one but it is also an inspiring one. I love this community and I am genuinely thankful to each of you who stop by to take a peek at my world. I feel honored to be sharing in this ride with you! You are so special to me! 

Peace, Love and Wishful Things! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Last Days

Day 26 is coming to you better late than never. And it is coming to you as I somewhat "break the rules" when I hit publish.  I did find this online, however it is not something I read, it is something I watched. I did have to read about it though before I decided to watch it so I am going to assume that counts. 

That is all I have for you today mainly because if you decide to watch the video it will take you a chunk of time. If you haven't already watched it, please don't let the length of time turn you off. Grab a cup of tea and watch it now or come back and see it later but the hope despite knowing the outcome and the message of this video are things I would have been sad I missed. I actually clicked to start watching it, saw how long it was and decided against it and then I saw how many different people were sharing it and thought what the heck?! I was thankful for every minute of this story and the words that were shared. They are things I need to be more mindful of, especially when I really get to fretting the little things. Just be sure to have the tissues handy.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What A Stranger Says

Day 25 is something someone told us that we will never forget.  

Words? They seem so simple, yet they hold within them immense power.  There is power in them to break a soul and power to bring one out of the deepest pit. They can shine a light or brand us with a label that seems so hard to take off.  

I have been told many things in my life that will always be with me. Words that have had to be forgiven, even if an apology was never offered and words that I have returned to in order to help me through rough patches.  The following story is one of the brighter ones and the first thing that came to my mind when I read this post topic (the fact that it won out over others made me smile).  Too often I remember words that I wish I had never heard.  

These words were told to me a long time ago, back when Ty-man (my nephew who is now 8) was only about two and looked kind of like this... 

Andrew and I had him one night and we all went to dinner at Chili's.  We ate and talked and played.  There was a family sitting in the booth next to us (a man, woman and preteen girl). When they got up to leave the woman walked over to our table and said "Excuse me, but I just wanted to tell you that you are a wonderful mom. You are so patient with him." I think there was some other stuff in there but that first sentence had captured me to the point that most of the other stuff has gotten fuzzy over time.  I am not sure what led her to say that but that was the best compliment anyone could have given me.  Even though he is not mine, and I never know how to approach the "oh thank you but..." when someone tells me what cute kids I have, my young, child-loving, all-I-want-to-be-someday-is-a-mama heart was very blessed by her that night.  I was going on twenty at the time (and probably looked much younger, because this aging thing hadn't caught up to me yet) so she may have just been wanting to give a young mom some praise but hey I will take it.  At that point in my life I had a one track mind.  My plan was to finish school, get married (mainly with the thought of children in mind) and then have children right away. Though life has taught me to slow down and embrace being free for a while and learn to love my husband well, someday I know I will pull from those words when I have an infant crying and a two year old screaming, clinging to my leg and I will find comfort in knowing that somewhere out there is someone who thought of me as able to take it all on.  

Friday, May 24, 2013


Day 24 of the challenge and I am cringing again! Oh man, my three worst traits? Well, if I must! 

Babe would probably consider my inability to stop taking pictures one of them, notice the expression?! I love playing around with my iPhone camera on car trips because I am still learning how to use this dang thing!! 

I started this morning by asking Babe what he considered my three worst traits.  I knew his first one before he spoke it but since I already talked about sucking at life laundry and cleaning I won't even count that one.  But just a side note, he is currently cleaning the kitchen while I type this because I am a tad behind on catching up with this challenge and emails. Bless him! I did clean my car out this morning though (because you totally wanted to know all that, right?!) Points for me!

His second was my inability to handle change and since I have talked about that in almost every post this challenge I think I will leave that one alone too.  So he lost, he gets no say in my three worst (spoken of today) traits.

Instead I will start with one from my person.  I am not sure if she would say this is my worst one (I will ask her when I see her in a bit) but I know it is one that drives her crazy on occasion. I can't just say things! You see Wally is blunt; like very.  She knows this, she embraces it! Me? I am the exact opposite; I try to embrace it.  I will talk around something for hours and then say, "you know what I mean?" and make her tell me what it is I have been trying to say. Which for the most part she does but sometimes she is just like, "get to the point.  Just say it already!!" I do that when I am nervous, I do it when I tell a story (I can tell some long-winded stories) and I -really!!- do it when I am trying to say something that I am not sure if the words will come out right and I don't want to say the wrong thing and offend/ hurt someone.  I do not like stirring the waters!!  So if these posts ever seem long-winded and don't make much sense (kind of like this paragraph), well, imagine me biting my lip in nervous anticipation ("you know what I mean?!").

Number two would be one I have dubbed myself because it is the one that leaves me hurt the most. I am learning to realize that I am trusting to a fault. I used to think being so trusting was a good thing.  While I still err on the side of believing it is, there are moments where it really trips me up. I used to live with a double pair of rose colored glasses on. The world has made me take off one pair permanently and sometimes I have to put the other pair on the top of my head so that I can see things clearly. It was a hard lesson to learn that some of the people you love the most and are so loyal too just aren't going to be the same for you in return. It stings, it burns and for a while it made me somewhat bitter.  It makes me think it is all me, that I am not worth being loyal too.  I know that is not really the truth, but it just seems that way. The hardest thing is feeling used and knowing that when people were getting something out of you they loved having you around, but that as soon as there was not much more you could give them then they became more like mere acquaintances. I have started to see this as just differences in people, in personalities, not in a bad way but just as the way things are and that is OK. I just have to learn to trust with eyes wide open.

I am also horribly indecisive (my sister reminded me of this one).  This is why you now (kind of) have five worst Melanie traits instead of just three.  It is also why I can never pick where to go to dinner. Please just make the decision for me! I am truly a waiters worst nightmare.  "So which do you think is better? Can I get it with this instead of that?" Then half the time once I have made up my mind I realize I really wanted to other choice and Babe runs them down before they put the order in.  I am sorry (I promise I tip accordingly)! This is not just a food related issue (I spend hours upon hours at Redbox)! It is a life issue! Gah, make up your mind girl!

So now that I have shared some of the nitty gritty and based on reading this back possibly confused the heck out of some of you because I don't think this made much sense, I hope if you are reading this that you have a had a beautiful week.  

Now that we have shared some of our worst traits, think about your three best? Which list seemed easier to come up with?!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Life Lessons from Words and the World

Hang onto your hats folks, it's going to be a bumpy ride! (Lesson #1)

So day 23 and we are sharing things we've learned that school won't teach you.  First off, whoa, loaded topic!  Books, cleverness? Yes, school is meant to teach you those things.  But as Hermione taught me, there are more important things.  However, I feel if I looked closely enough with adult eyes at all the things school can teach you outside of books the list would be quite long. There is a lot of life that goes on within a school campus but my young mind was not mature enough to grasp everything I could  have learned from it. Life is the best teacher and that can be done outside school grounds just as much as in them.  School may be able to teach you some about life, but I don't think it prepares you enough for it.  Especially considering that degree I worked so hard for, I only used about two years and doubt I will use again.

A lot of my life lessons I have learned along the way and many of the have been learned the hard way. I have learned a lot from words.  Or at least they have summed up what I learned and were put into words by someone else that said what I learned better than I could.  So that is where I will start.

"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn." C.S. Lewis
My experiences have taught me the most. And sometimes they are hardest lessons to learn. They have shaped me and empowered me and will continue to do so, I am sure, until the day I die. In school a lot of my experiences were controlled in a setting where my mistakes couldn't really hurt me that badly.  They don't teach you that the outside world doesn't really work that way.

"I realize that life is risks.  It's acknowledging the past but looking forward.  It's taking a chance that we will make mistakes but believing that we all deserve to be forgiven." Carrie Ryan, The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Our past is a part of us, just as much as our experiences. The risks we take, the chances, they all lead us down one road over another.  We may have to take a u-turn and try again but I believe that I am forgiven.  Even if it only means I have forgiven myself.

"It's never been a perfect world.  It's never going to be. It's going to be hard, and scary and, if you're lucky, wonderful and awe-inspiring.  But you have to push through the bad parts to get to the good." Carrie Ryan, The Dark and Hollow Places
Oh, that perfect world! The one they make you believe is waiting for you once you finish all the schooling they have been force feeding you.  I think this was one of the toughest lessons I have learned.  Life isn't perfect. It is not this immaculate, beautiful fairy tale that they read to you from stories. Life is what you make of it.  There are bad moments; those shall pass.  There are great moments; those will most likely pass too.  The good moments, the content ones?! My hope looking forward is that I see the most of them and find a steadiness in them that continues to make this imperfect world seem just a little brighter.

Life is messy.  It is blessed.  It is human.  We are all imperfect people and we all live in a broken and imperfect place, but there is greatness here.  There is love and beauty and happiness. We can strive for it daily and sometimes we will fail but we go on another day and we embrace it.  Because the messy moments make the pretty ones more beautiful and the beautiful ones give us something to hope for when we are weeding through the mess.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oh No She Didn't!

Hang in there folks, it's day 22 and I am getting a little feisty! 

When I first read through the list of topics and saw the one for today I cringed. I was thinking “I do not like to rant in public; I do not like to stir the waters.” However, Babe and his ears have heard me rant upon occasion. He suggested I share about my thoughts on taking babies places (because he has gotten ear fulls on some of that business).

I do not currently have children of my own but take claim too many.  Due to the fact that in many ways I already feel like I have had my first child (and then some) I will not be a very cautious first time 'can’t-take-my-baby-anywhere' mama. There are probably places I would be willing to take a baby that would make some new mothers pretty nervous. So when I think that there are certain places children just shouldn’t go I have good reason to believe it might be true that they don’t belong there.  Please, please do not take your newborn (and by newborn I mean umbilical cord and baby acne still not completely gone) to Wet n’ Wild (or any other comparable water park).  If you must (which I don’t see why you would and maybe you can explain to me) then please keep them out of the cesspool that is the lazy river! I don’t even feel that I should put myself in that nasty thing sometimes but I am grown (as in not under three weeks old) and therefore have a choice in said matter.  

I consider it a general rule of mine not to take babies/toddlers into any adult flicks, but I like to think parents know their children and can make their own choice. However, if said baby starts to cry please take them to the lobby! Do not get into a verbal argument with the man who has asked you to please sit down instead of bouncing baby up and down (right in front of him) trying to calm them. Most importantly though, do not take your three year old into Silent Hill at 9 o’clock at night ever!! Come on people, have you seen that movie?! And please, do not then reprimand said child to “hush up and go to sleep” when they start crying because the psycho-demon-things are pouring out of cracks in the screen and the movie goers are screaming.  I might feel the urge to pick up said child, cover their eyes as we exit the theater and cradle them in the lobby until they fall asleep while you finish the movie.  You may think it is crazy that a stranger is picking your child up but I think it is crazy that they are crying and telling you that they are tired and scared and you think that they will be able to just go to sleep in the middle of a movie that could give grown men nightmares! If you are said parent of said child then I apologize for being forward but I was just about to turn around and give you a piece of my mind.  I really wanted to! I gave it to Babe instead after the movie, mainly because I don’t really confront anyone - as I can't even tell the waiter when my food order is wrong - but I know he sure wished I had told you what I had to say instead of him.  So save him the agony next time and just keep your child at home or take them to Mary Poppins, but don’t make me cringe through an entire movie and almost offer to babysit (free of charge) because you needed to see a sub par movie that badly.  

Man I am dating how long I can hold onto some stuff considering when that movie came out but I feel I must speak up in protest for all those little voices that don't want to see demon spawn before they even reach the horrors of middle school! 

Now that I am in rant mood I could probably go into how I will feel in a few weeks when I finish reading HP and The Half-Blood Prince and then re-watch the movie, but I will just save it for another time. However, if anyone tries to argue with me that Harry Potter is a sissy because the movie 'done jacked' the ending all up then I can't make promises on your safety! Stay tuned folks (or don't if you wish to skip that post), I am giving far advanced warning.  

Ok, end rant and breathe! 

Seriously though if anyone out there has some encouragement that I am not alone in this to make me feel better for possibly offending someone that would be a great help.  Anywhere in particular you would not take your kid?