Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Yep, that's me.  With a banjo.

My very own banjo.

Thanks for the early birthday present, Samuel.

I have no idea how Sam knew that a banjo would be the perfect birthday present.  Perhaps over the years he's overheard me tell people that I want to learn to play the banjo.  Perhaps he knows how much I love old country music and bluegrass.  Perhaps he's heard me remind him over and over never to waste his money on jewelry for me.  (Not that there's anything wrong with jewelry, I  just don't wear it often and would rather have something I can use.)  Perhaps he heard me say, "I want a banjo for my birthday!" about a hundred times over the past couple months.

I really don't know how he figured it out.  But I'm so glad he did.

Seriously though, I love my banjo.  It's a lovely vintage piece of art - simply beautiful.  I started playing yesterday and I'm not good yet, not at all.  But I'm excited to practice and learn and start picking my way through "Wildwood Flower."  Maybe I'll even put up a video when I'm actually decent and my stumbling fingers can make something that sort of resembles music.

Thanks, Samuel.  Now get out your guitar and let's start pretending we're Johnny and June, only I have a banjo instead of an auto harp.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Type 4 Dilemma

Sometimes I need to remind myself of how far I've come.

Unfortunately, my mind naturally focuses on the fact that I'm not quite where I want to be yet, which can be good if it inspires me to action, but too often it discourages me and paralyzes me from taking any steps forward.  I think it is so hard for me because I don't fully understand the concept of grace.  I often demand perfection from myself (and from others around me) and so when I experience setbacks, or focus on what I think are my weaknesses, I give up.  But giving up doesn't get me to where I want to be either.  So rather than berating myself, I've chosen to focus a bit more on grace, that grace that can be so difficult for me to give and receive.

I know I'm not nearly the wife I want to be to Sam.  I wish I could be more patient and understanding, and I wish I was better at communicating.  But I'll bet if you asked him, he'd say I'm much more pleasant to be around than when we first married.  (Well, I hope he'd say that.)  I'm not in as good of shape as I want to be, either.  However, if I look at pictures taken circa 2003-2007 and remember those days when I was stuck in an ugly cycle of an eating disorder, I remember that I would have given anything to be in the shape I'm in now, and as healthy as I am now.  That 2003 self would call my current self crazy for being so unsatisfied.

I've mentioned the Enneagram before, and that I'm a Type 4, which I hate to admit but is decidedly true.  I read a book on the Enneagram and how to be a "healthier" version of a Type 4, and one thing I need to daily remind myself of is that I must let go of all unrealistic expectations of myself and others.  To be honest, I don't think it's the expectations that get me into trouble; rather, it is how often I focus on the fact that I haven't achieved these expectations.  I tend to set lofty goals for myself with highly unrealistic time lines.  I want to be a good cook?  I need to accept that it may take some time.  I want to have well-defined arms?  I shouldn't expect a week of pushups to deliver those muscles.  I want to be a great wife and communicator?  One silly argument will not undo months of work I've put into being a more caring, understanding, supportive wife.  Though progress may be slow, I'm still taking those baby steps toward being the type of person I want to be.

I just needed to remind myself to stop focusing on where I'm not, and to instead focus on how far I have come.  That inspires me to try harder and keep making good choices, and increases my chances of actually getting to where I want to be.

And speaking of being a Type 4, if you google it, you'll learn that Type 4s are often trying to create a sense of individuality, and to find their "true self".  Perhaps that explains why I constantly change my hair color and get tattoos?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Really just a bunch of pictures of people I love...

Um, can we talk about this?

This lovely, huge mural is at a park on Main Street in my hometown of Porterville.  I had no idea it was there until I went to visit last week and happened to see it.  I hadn't been back in about a year, so I was surprised to see this new addition.  First of all, I'd like to point out what a big deal music is to the city of Porterville, as you can see by the fact that there's a giant painting of the high school bands and directors in the middle of town.  Second of all, I love that there's a giant picture of Mr. Anderson on it, since he was my band director and my mom's band director.  Thirdly, I'd like everyone not from Porterville to finally realize that it was cool to be in band!  Everyone was in band.  I got to go to New York, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, the Grand Canyon, Florida (Disneyworld!), Universal Studios, and Disneyland all because I played that lovely alto sax.  And yes, I can still march flawlessly, in case you were wondering.

Speaking of band and the great musicians who encouraged the love of music in thousands of kids in town, I'd like to take a moment to talk about my dad, who recently obtained his teaching credential. He's been a middle school band director for a couple of years, while in school, while also continuing his other full-time job of being a pastor.  His graduation was the reason for my visit, as my siblings and I planned a surprise graduation party for him to celebrate this great achievement.  (Fun fact: he also got the highest grades in his program - go figure.)

We had a fun time surprising him and Sam got a video of it, though I can't figure out how to transfer it to the computer from my phone.  Oh well.  Friday night was spent with our immediate family, and then Saturday was Nathan's first birthday party.  I was so glad to be able to be at both family celebrations, since I miss out on most of those now.

Here's Nathan with his cake.  That kid loves to eat.  Definitely related to me.

Sam had to leave on Sunday, but I was able to stay until Wednesday to try and connect with as many Porterville friends as I could and spend as much time with family as possible.  I think I did pretty well squeezing in dates with friends, though I didn't see enough of everyone and there were a few people I didn't get to see (like you, Ashley!  So sad you weren't at church!)  I realized I didn't get a picture with Priscilla or Briana or Juliann (boo), but here are the poor souls that I refuse to lose touch with who are forced to spend time with me when I'm in town.

It was great spending time with these friends, albeit bittersweet.  I have so many special memories with each one of them, and they have all played a part in helping me become who I am.  But it  was hard to say goodbye, and sad to realize that we aren't present for the day-to-day interactions we used to enjoy.  I'm so blessed to know these women; I only wish I could see them more frequently.

And, as great as it was to see friends, I must admit that my favorite part of my trip was being Aunt Kimmy.  I love these kiddos.

I finally got to meet Charity!  She is such a happy girl and loves to smile.

She also loves time with her Uncle Sam.

I'll do anything to make this little guy laugh.

Unfortunately, Nathan didn't remember me.

Eventually he realized he liked me, but not until the day I left, after a game of peek-a-boo.

Spreading the love of cats to the next generation, naturally...

Speaking of cats, I got to see Lucy!

Ring Around the Rosie.

Samantha couldn't care less about posing for the camera when I asked her to (so unlike her Aunt Kimmy) but when we finally got her to smile, this is what she did.  Awesome.

I also got to see my Grandma - miss her, love her.

And, of course, I got to see Misch.  I feel like I look more like my sisters with blonde hair...maybe?

And, unfortunately, the only picture I got of my parents and me...not a quality photo, but quality parents. :)

I like these people.

So thankful for these opportunities to see my family and friends!

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