The Life of Bon

Sunday, May 01, 2016

On Religion



Hi.

I don't know if I will even publish this post, but there are so many thoughts on religion swirling around in my head and they need to rest somewhere.  Earlier this week Tyler Glenn of The Neon Trees released a music video expressing hurt and anger toward the LDS church.  It mocked things that are sacred to LDS members. I didn't want to watch it, but I did, because I have no self control.  It left me feeling sad and hurt and angry, precisely all the things that Glenn is feeling and, I assume, is hoping that others feel too.

I have told this blog many times that I am Mormon.  I have slowed down considerably on the religious posts lately because it is kind of a confusing, hard time to be LDS.  There is a lot of doubt and a lot of confusion.  In November the LDS church came out with a policy that said that children of gay couples are not to be baptized until they are 18.  This was very hurtful to many people.  I felt like facebook was such a hate filled place to be in those days following the announcement of policy change.  A lot of people condemned the church and the policy, a lot of people defended the policy.  There were horrible things said on both "sides".  I didn't feel like I was on either side.  I felt on the sad and confused side.  I even had a blog reader email me, "What do you think of the policy?  I'd love to hear your thoughts."  I couldn't reply.  My thoughts were too confusing even to me.

Watching the Tyler Glenn video this weekend I had the same feeling of sorrow and hopelessness that I did after the news of the policy broke in November.   I feel like the LDS religion is being hammered to death lately. (Or doing the hammering?)  Sometimes I feel like I haven't even caught my breath from the last big news story before I have to get ready for the next one.  A lot of people are mad at the church and I understand that.  A lot of people defend the church, and I understand that too.  I don't understand the church policy released in November, no matter how many times the most stalwart and faithful of Mormons try to explain it to me.  It just doesn't make sense in my mind and I have accepted that it probably never will.

There are people I love and care about deeply who have stepped away from the LDS church, largely in part to some of these huge issues that have been going on.  I understand their reasons for needing to step away.  I know that they are hurting and I know it is incredibly difficult to leave a religion.  I also think it should be noted, though, that people who have chosen to stay in the religion are also hurting.  It's not easy to leave and it's not easy to stay.

There is a scripture that says "by their fruits you will know them" and I cling to that now. (Matthew 7:16)  I will know if this religion is working for me by the fruits- the way I feel, the things it leads me to do, the desires the teaching of the church give me.

I get frustrated by the things that are reported about Mormons on social media and news outlets.  Yes, there is confusion and doubt, and yes there are people hurting.  No, I don't understand why the LDS church has to be so strict on their policies toward gay people.  No I don't understand why BYU culture thinks we need to report a girl to the honor code office if she has been raped and was simultaneously breaking honor code.  There is so much I don't understand and I hurt over it.  I am hoping and praying for a lot of answers on these issues.

BUT.

There is so much good in the religion that is being totally overshadowed by all the big news stories.  I have been a member for 21 years, I dedicated 18 months to learning and teaching this gospel in Argentina, I have sat through more hours of church meetings than I could possibly count.  I KNOW this church.  And I know there is good.  The New York Times doesn't report on the families who make dinner for new babies in the neighborhood, or the youth programs that give teenagers a safe place to go and make friends every week.  Buzzfeed doesn't care about the millions of dollars the LDS church donates for humanitarian purposes all over the world or the talk in general conference about helping refugees.  There are not a lot of news stories about neighbors who help each other move or who volunteer hours of their time to teach teenagers and children or who show up to someone's house to give a blessing when a baby is sick.  These are the fruits of the LDS church and this is why I am proud to be a part of it.  This is what will not change.  The LDS church to me is a place to go to become better people, to serve each other, to teach our children about love and kindness.

I can't understand or defend all the choices that have been made by LDS leaders.  I do think they are inspired but I also think they are people who make mistakes.  But I do know that I see a lot more good in this religion than out of it.  And at the end of the day, the Mormon church encompasses all of the things that I want my children to know growing up- hope, peace, love, kindness, safety, JOY.  I want my children to know that they are loved by their Heavenly Father.  I want them to know that they matter.  That they have infinite capabilities and talents.  I want them to feel the divinity within them that enables them to be nice when they want to be mean, to have faith when it's easier to give up, to be patient when they are tired of waiting.

Questions, comments, concerns?  Fire away.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bon's Book Club: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell


First things first- this post was supposed to be up this morning but IT IS A FREAKING MAD HOUSE around here.  There is no more control around here.  There is no more pretending like there is any kind of control.  It's just chaos.  So I'm running with it!

We had our big mother's day sale yesterday and today and the response blew me away.  And I'm not saying that just to say that and to be all weird humble.  I thought we'd maybe have an extra ten orders.  Nope! 60 orders in 2 days!  People are awesome, that's all I have to say.  (Also, people like jewelry.)

On top of this we have a big market/craft show going on in Salt Lake that we had to set up for Tuesday night and for which we will have to restock tomorrow.  It's wild!  So wild! So many earrings!  But we are happy and grateful and loving this crazy life we've made for ourselves!

AND to throw one more kink in their my AP kids take their AP test in 6 days.  So I'm a nervous wreck/ chicken with its head cut off when it comes to school.  I feel like more of my attention and focus is required at school then ever and they when I get home I just totally switch gears to jewelry/ business/ orders.


But THAT'S WHY this blog has gotten the shaft.  I love you, blog!  But I don't have time for you anymore!  But I'll never desert you!  But you might have to wait around for me sometimes!  Sounds like any healthy relationship, right!?

In any case, today (Thursday) was supposed to be book club post!  For Bon's Book Club.  And while I'm talking candidly with you here, can I just say that I hate the name "Bon's Book Club"?  I feel so lame whenever I say it.  Like I think I'm Oprah or something.  I don't think I'm Oprah.  And I'm open to suggestions for name improvements.  Fire them at me!




April's book was Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.  Going in I had VERY low expectations because I really really didn't like Eleanor and Park which is another book that she wrote.  We read that book last year for book club and it was whiny, angsty teenagers and I kind of felt like, "duuuuude, I get enough of this at the high school k bye."  That was mostly why I didn't like it.  Also very slow/ no plot.  Here's the whole review if you care.  Mostly you just need to know I didn't like it.

So my expectations were low going into Attachments which I have found to be the secret to enjoying anything in life.  HAVE LOW EXPECTATIONS!  Dash your hopes and then dash them again and suddenly everything good in life is a bonus.  This book was definitely a bonus for me.

The book is written via "attachments" to emails.  It's two women at work who write each other at their boring jobs and talk about life, work, boyfriends, etc.  They don't know that their emails are being "flagged" and some guy downstairs is reading them monitoring for inappropriate content.  Well, he kind of falls for one of the girls but doesn't dare ever talk to her or meet her because of crippling anxiety and shyness.  Until he does talk to her.  And then they make out in a movie theater.

That's the very short synopsis.  Going into the book I thought the book would be mostly about the two girls emailing back and forth, but turns out it was more about the boy, Lincoln.  Which was kind of a nice surprise.  Here's the condensed likes/ dislikes of the book:

LIKES:
+ Emails between the two girls.  Very funny and very witty.  I could read those all day and be entertained as can be.  I normally am not too fast of a reader (I tend to get distracted by everything in the world around me.  I'm working on it.) but I read this book in two days.  This is VERY unusual for me- probably happens once a year.  Usually it takes me at least a week or two to read a book.  Attachments was such an easy read, though, and so fun and clever that I just flew through it.
+ I thought the character of the main guy, Lincoln, was shyly adorable, very unassuming, and just overall sweet, quiet guy.  Not like most of the leads in books which was kind of nice.
+ I really enjoyed the character of Lincoln's mom.  A lot of the girls in our IRL book club didn't like her because she was overbearing, protective, couldn't let go of him, clingy, etc.  I liked her though.  I thought she was out of control and hilarious and way too involved in her son's life, AS MOMS ARE.  So I really appreciated that character.
+ Just an overall very fun book for me to read.  This is a perfect summer/ beach/ vacation read.  You don't have to focus or remember a lot of plot points or characters.  PERFECT.  It's like watching a cute little chick flick, but you're reading it.

DISLIKES:
+ As was brought up in our IRL book discussion, I wished there was more physical description of the characters.  It wasn't until halfway through the book that Lincoln is referred to as "my cute guy" and I was like, "WHAT?!?  He's cute?!?  This changes everything!!!"  I also didn't feel like with Beth and Jennifer we got much physical description either.  Of course, everything we learned about them was through email, so it makes sense.
+ Sometimes I felt like Rowell was just making up "fake problems" to get in the way of Beth and Lincoln being together.  There didn't seem to be any real hurdles and so it was frustrating when chapter after chapter they weren't together because Lincoln was quiet or because Beth was talking about her boyfriend again whom she didn't like.  I dunno.  I kind of needed a little more conflict.
+ It took so long for Beth and Lincoln to finally hook up and then when they did, the book was over.  I hate it when books and movies do that to me.  I invest a lot into watching these two get together, now I would like to see what it is like when they are together a little more!  Give me a few chapters of lovey/ dovey adorableness.  Don't do me wrong!

Overall I give the book 4.5 stars out of 5.  Very cute, fun read.  You're not going to be up all night thinking about it, but it is great for an entertaining read.  Also a great book to give someone who is a reluctant reader.  Read it this summer!

And for those of you who read it, tell me what you thought?  Anybody else read a lot of Rainbow Rowell's book and have suggestions for which ones I should try?  (I heard Fangirl is not too great?)  And for May we are reading Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes so get ready for drama because you know how Jodi Picoult likes to do us.  Discussion will be the last Thursday of the month (May 26) and IRL book meet up will be that Tuesday, May 24.  See you then, suckers!


Book club is my favorite night of the week.  I love it soooooo much.  Come join us!
Email me thelifeofbon@gmail.com for details and such.
Or click here for 2016's reading schedule.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mother's Day Sale Woop Woop


Our two biggest sales of the year are Black Friday and Mother's Day and tomorrow (today?  What day is it!?!) is our mother's day sale!

If you've been waiting to get something for your mama (or waiting for your husband to get something for you!) here's you chance.  AND we've marked down adding extra birthstoes to necklaces from $10 to $7  $7 extra stones + extra discount on top of that should make it super affordable  to get mom a necklace with all her kids' birthstones on it!  All orders places Wednesday and Thursday will have guaranteed mother's day delivery.  You all need to tag your kids tag your wives and tag your husbands cuz we're selling everything up in here.  (And if you haven't watched the Antoine Dodson news story in awhile, please do,  Always good for a laugh!)

Let me know if you have any questions.  Let the jewelry madness begin.  And as always, thanks so much for your business and your orders and your support and your general good juju.  This jewelry business has meant everything to us the past 6 months and has been our saving grace.  We know anys success we've had has been because of this amazing blogging community of friends and overall awesome people.  So thank you!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Blogging Crossroads

I'm at a weird place with this blog.  15 months ago I went from five posts a week to three posts a week.  I did this mostly because I was on survival mode at the time.  I couldn't keep up.  Now I feel like I can barely even eek out the three.  For a long time I felt like I had everything in the world to say and all the time to say it in.  Now I feel like I have nothing to say and no time to say it in.

Of course, having nothing to say didn't really stop me in the past.  For years I wrote daily about anything in the world, I didn't care if I had "something to say" or not.  But I am struggling to write about non important stuff like my fingernails or my spring must haves or whatever else. I'm also kind of weirdly not into stuff lately, which is basically 99% of blogging.  I've been gutting my house and every extra shirt, extra bottle of lotion, every extra pair of high heels that I never wear is causing me weird guilt and stress.  I want rid of it all. (So basically what I'm trying to say is that today I will not be sharing my five must have spring buys with you all.)

I suppose the thing that would make the most sense, then, is to quit the blog.  But I really enjoy writing on the blog for the most part.  (Writing when I have time to write and when there is no pressure to get a post out by a certain time.)  I enjoy the blogging community and feel grateful for the support and friendship I have found online.  I also feel like writing on a forum like this helps me to process a lot of my life experiences.  So I can't quit.

Someone send a life planner out to me.  I need to find a direction for this blog.  It's a confused, weird online space right now.

Because I don't have much to say today, I will direct you to some people who DO have something to say.  These are three things that I read on the internet this week that really struck a chord with me:

+ I saw this article about raising small children floating around the internet like crazy this weekend.  Usually I dislike articles like these because I find them so negative, but this one was very truthful about this stage of life while also being positive.  It made me feel so grateful,

+ Greg's college theater teacher, director, mentor, and friend, Chris Clark, was diagnosed with ALS a few weeks ago.  It felt like the wind had been knocked out of us when we heard.  He is the guy everyone always wants to be around.  Chris's sister is one of my favorite bloggers in the world and she wrote this blog post about it that made us cry silent, sad tears.

+ My friend, Stephanie, is a role model for me in all things equal rights, feminism, and overall "take good care of people"-ness.  She wrote this article in the Salt Lake Tribune this weekend about the rape culture at BYU.  If you live in Utah, you've probably been well aware of the BYU/rape/honor code debacle.  I always enjoy hearing Stephanie's thoughts on matters such as these.  (And the comments on this article are absolutely insane.  I do not understand people.)


AND one announcement... we are discussing Rainbow Rowell's Attachments at book club tomorrow at 7 pm. (Tuesday, April 26)  We would love to have you come even if you don' know anyone/ are afraid of showing up to a weird blogger thing alone.  I promise we'll make you feel safe and comfortable and I am making my favorite cookie with chocolate and cream cheese so you know that's tempting you.  The friends and the conversation can't be beat- it's always one of my favorite nights of the month.  If you would like to join send me an email at bonnie.louisa@gmail.com and I'll give you address and directions.  The IRL discussion of Attachments will be Thursday on this blog so be there!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Some days I work at a school



There was a time where I wrote a lot about teaching and I wrote a lot about my students on this blog.  I don't write about my students as much anymore because now I have June and she's a lot cuter than 17 year olds.  She also doesn't talk back to me.  Yet.

In actuality, blogging on a public forum about students and their personal education is tough.  I would like to find a way to talk about my profession again on this blog because it's something I care about and that I'm very passionate about. It's a fine line, though.  It's tricky when the students you are writing about are real people with real lives and it's hard when you disagree with a lot of the things your district is doing but you really like your job and want to keep it.  It's hard when you see a lot of flaws in common core and  standardized testing so you want to fight the man but you love your principal so you decide to just shut up and do your job.

The best part of my job is the students  My students this year are so sweet.  Like vanilla syrup and cinnamon with marshmallow sauce.  I love them fiercely.  I also don't feel like I am at odds with them as much this year.  Part of this is because I eased up considerably on my late policy.  This happened at the urging of my principal, who has asked all teachers to think about doing away with late penalties completely.  This is an entirely different subject for another day, but I decided I would give it a try third quarter.  I didn't make an announcement, but if a student tried to hand in work late, I let him.  I stopped insisting the work be in by a certain date and I even let kids redo tests.  The results were that the same kids got As, the same kids got Cs, and the same kids got Fs.  My unofficial conclusion, therefore, is that it makes no difference at all on a student's grade if you accept her late work.  The upside, that I wasn't expecting, is that I stopped feeling like I was constantly going to battle with my student over their stupid late essays.  The energy I was putting into enforcing deadlines, calculating late penalties and keeping track of if a student's absence was excused or not can now be put into other, more important tasks.  It's easier to be a teacher.  Just let the kid hand that dumb review in.  Stop feeling like kids are trying to manipulate me all the time.  Give them their 10 points. It feels like the classroom is an easier, less tense place to be this year. I like it.

Sometimes I wish I could tell the world more about the kids I teach.  They are funny and smart and sassy and sometimes they say the most inappropriate things at the most opportune time and I have bite my lip not to laugh.  A lot of them do their homework.  A lot of them don't do their homework.  Most of my students work jobs after school- many of my students working 40 hour a week jobs.  For many of them, homework just isn't the priority- they help their family financially and they don't have the luxury of five hour homework sessions.  Last week I felt very frustrated when 3 out of a class of 26 had done their homework.  I asked them all to write me a note explaining why they hadn't bothered to do their work that weekend.  I said it with an edge.  I was fed up.  Then I read their notes and one student replied, "I was a pile of blankets and sadness all weekend.  I still kinda am."  Another student replied, "I didn't do the homework because my friend's mom is in the hospital with cancer so I was at the hospital with him all weekend.  My dad died of cancer in October and I felt very alone during that time so I wanted to help my friend not feel so alone."  So, no.  They don't all do their homework.  And I am starting to think that that isn't the most important thing.

And then there's the huge topic of standardized testing. This week my juniors are taking the SAGE- a massive English, Reading, Writing, and Science test in the state of Utah.  It takes 3-4 hours per section.   It is a beast.  Supposedly this test will be used down the road to evaluate teacher effectiveness and there are even looming threats that at one point teachers' pay will be tied into the SAGE scores.   I do not support this test nor do I think it is a measure of what our students can do or what our teachers can teach.  The kids take the SAGE every spring, BUT it doesn't count on their grade.  Turns out this is a pretty big but.  It's just a test they take for the state.  As it has no effect of their grade, the students could not possibly care less about how they do.  There is zero motivation for them.  They don't try.  They don't care.  Some kids guess all the way through just to be done with it.   It is hard for me as a teacher to get them to "buy in" to the SAGE.  (Especially when I am not bought in, either.)   What am I supposed to say to them, "Hey guys!  If you all score really well on this test it looks like I'm a great teacher and if you all score really low then it looks like I suck at my job, so please, for my sake, spend four  hours stressing over and working on this test!  I need you to do well!"  

Yesterday right before they started their test, a girl raised her hand.  "So this doesn't count on our grade at all then, right?"  "No." I answered point blank.  It felt wrong to try to pretend like the test was anything different than it is.  "So what's the point?" she countered.

What's the point?
What's the point?
What's the point?

Good question.  Ask the state of Utah, because your teacher doesn't know.

When she was done with her 57 question test in 9 minutes I was only mildly annoyed.  Would 17 year old Bonnie have really tried to answer those questions?  Probably not.  29 year old Bonnie probably wouldn't either, if we're being real honest here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Girls Trip 2016

Once upon a time if I went on vacation I would write blog posts in advance and schedule them so that there would be a new blog post every evening.

That was once upon a time.  I was clearly insane  I don't do that anymore.  I go on vacation and I forget I have a blog.  Kind of like I forget I am a teacher and I forget I have a jewelry business.  Isn't that the point of vacation?!?

I went to Dallas, in case you're wondering.  If you follow me on snapchat (@thelifeofbon) you probably already know that.  I went to Dallas for a girls' trip with all of my besties from college.  One of my besties (Mandy) lives in Dallas and she told us the city was worth a look.  Biggest understatement of the year.  I think we all fell in love on the spot.  The weather was perfect, the manis/pedis 20% off, and the food... OH THE FOOD.  We ate not out of necessity, but for the mere pleasure of eating.  Everywhere we went there were amazing, unique to Dallas restaurants.  We ate pizza and tacos and chocolate pie and special noodles that they make right in front of you.  We ate barbeque without plates, just thrown on a slab in front of us.  We ate Chinese food that could make a grown man cry and we ate popsicles with cookies inside of them.  If I were a food blogger I would pack up and move to Dallas right this second.  THERE IS NO END TO DELICIOUS FOOD IN DALLAS.

We did other things to, when our stomachs insisted on a break from the food.  We played tennis and went swimming and played cards and Mandy and I taught Sally and Courtney the intricate ways of snapchat.  We talked and talked and talked some more.  It was the most perfect weekend.

Before the pictures (I didn't take nearly enough pics of the food), a word on adult friendships.  It's harder to make friends as an adult for me.  I do have adult friends, and I'm grateful for that.  But there is something to be said for the girls who have been through it all with you.  Who lived with you, who knew you before you were married, who are well acquainted with your really stupid 19 year old decisions.  It's hard to get that same kind of connection once you are married with your own family.  Most of my relationship energy now goes to my husband and my daughter, not new neighbors who I am hoping to convert into lifetime best friends. For four years my college roommates were my family- they were the people I came home to every day, the people who got on my nerves when they didn't clean the bathroom, the people whose shoulders I cried on.  I wonder if it is possible to recapture that type of friendship after college, that closeness, that need.

We were roommates for four years (when I was in Argentina for a year and a half they all wrote me faithfully!) and then best friends for long after that.  One by one they all moved out of Utah to start their own careers and families.  Now the six of us all live in different states and so our annual girls' trip is really the only chance we get to catch back up.  I am eternally grateful for these girls and their friendships.  And I think we're all aware that finding a group of friends like this more than once in a lifetime just doesn't happen.  So I try to take care of them.  They are my tribe.

 These girls are such incredible women and I look up to them.  My friends are intelligent and well educated (in the group we have a lawyer, a nurse, two occupational therapists, a teacher, and a  business owner).  My friends work in their field.  My friends are pretty.  In college, there was no shortage of boys who wanted to date them.  These women are strong- they have fought through challenges and setbacks and watching them gives me strength.  But most importantly, my friends are just good, kind people.  I am proud to know them.

And now... PICTURES.  Two girls of the group couldn't make it this year (Boo, adulthood) but we'll count on them for 2017!





JFK assassination tour.  Dallas folk are real into their JFK pride.

This is the X where JFK was when he was shot! 




Wednesday, April 13, 2016

To the Jazz: A season goodbye. (Alternate title: Why it always sucks to be a Jazz fan)



I had intended on writing a nice long post tonight.  You know.  A real post.

But there isn't going to be a real post.

For starters, June has single handedly waged war against our pantry.  I am officially giving up on cleaning up after her toddler desecration.  I'll clean the house again when she turns five!  Maybe six!  My neighbor told me that her super mellow, easy baby then turned into the wildest toddler this side of the Mississippi.  June is clearly following that same path.  Long live crazy toddlers!

Secondly, I still haven't recovered from the Jazz's loss to the Mavericks on Monday.  It was the biggest game of the year.  Mavericks and Jazz were both fighting for a playoff spot.  Jazz lost which means that they are out of the playoffs, and Dallas and Houston are in.  Dallas has 41 losses and both Houston and Jazz have 40 losses, but Houston won the tie breaker over Jazz.  Pretty sad when a team with your exact record makes the playoffs and you don't.

It's all really painful because the Jazz should have made the playoffs.  They lost three very close games in the last 10 days to the top teams in the west- they lost to the Warriors in overtime, the Clippers in overtime, and then they lost to the Spurs by 2 in the last seconds of the game.  A victory in any one of those games would have taken the Jazz to the playoffs.

I know that this is probably not super interesting to you.  And that's fine.  I know a lot of you who read this blog are not from Utah and less of you give a fiddler's fart about basketball.  I don't know why I do, really.  Countless times I have thought that I need to just end this relationship with the Jazz.  I mean, it's really not healthy.  It's a lot of disappointment and dashed expectations and investing in something over which I have no control.  (Five years ago I wrote this blog post on breaking up with the Jazz.  It even got printed in the Salt Lake Tribune!)

But I can't quite quit on them.  And I definitely can't switch teams.  I'm like Selena Gomez.  I say I'm going to break up, but then I come crawling back.  Every damn time.  Being a sports fan is a long term relationship to me- you stick with your team in the good times and in the bad.  You commit to them and you see them through their worst games and then for that you are rewarded by getting to share in the good games, the buzzer beater shots, the playoff runs, the bids for a championship.  You get the finals, but you also get the flops.

That may be part of the reason why this exclusion from the playoffs hurts so much- because all of my friends who were Lakers fans ten years ago (Go Kobe!) now suddenly seem to be Warriors fans (Go Steph!) and are relishing in the sweet high of a championship team, an MVP, and the all time record for most wins in any season.  It's a great time to be a Warriors fan!  But this seems too easy to me... to go from the high of being a Lakers fan to the high of being a Warriors fan.  You don't just get to be a fan of whichever team is currently beating all the other teams.  You pick one and you stick with them.  If you were a Lakers fan ten years ago, that is awesome.  But then you need to be a Lakers fan this year too.  When the Lakers have their worst record in history.  And next year when they are rebuilding and recruiting young talent and scraping buy and losing by 30 points to the championship teams--- you have to be a fan then too.  And then in 5 or 7 years they'll start to make the playoffs again and maybe in 12 years they'll win a championship and you can be rewarded for the crappy years.

Can you tell I'm just a little bitter over the Jazz loss?  This one just stings a lot.  And it doesn't quite feel fair.  Because the Jazz have played SO HARD and have had more injuries than any other team    (Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors and Alec Burkes all missed weeks and weeks of regular play because of injury) but they were right there hanging on  for a playoff spot and to not get in at the last second just feels like a slap in the face.  Especially because Dwight Howard does get in and Dwight Howard is just the worst.

And then in the midst of all of this I feel really stupid for caring this much.  (For the record I bawled like a baby when the Jazz lost to the Bulls in the 1997 finals. I've always cared deeply about the Jazz.  And Michael Jordan was just too good.)  I mean, of all the unfair, sad things happening in the world, I certainly don't need to waste energy on a basketball team that is not performing how I want them to.

But so it goes.

Thanks for indulging me on my Jazz rant.  Somehow I feel better just letting this out to a bunch of strangers on the internet who probably just wanted to see what color I painted my nails today.  Well, I sure fooled you, didn't I?!  Also this was supposed to be a short post but it ended up LONG because I love the Jazz and it's your fault for getting me started on them.  Now I absolutely have to tear myself away because I'm packing for a girls' weekend in Dallas with my college besties. Can't wait to sit poolside and gets manis and enjoy some best friend time for three days.  Surely that will cure my basketball broken heart.

(Yes, I'm going to Dallas three days after they eliminated my team from the playoffs.  What a horrible world.  Also, I reiterate that I think I am dumb for caring this much.)


Monday, April 11, 2016

On Stuff: An Essay



When I moved away to college I fit every single thing I owned into a toyota corolla.  It was packed to the brim and there was barely room for me to fit in the driver's seat. A lamp was sticking out the window, a laundry basket filled with shoes was jabbing at my shoulder, and clothes and books were jammed in haphazardly.  I remember my dad looking at the car and saying, "You have too much stuff, Bopper, if you can't fit it all into one car."

That stuck with me in the way that very casual, passing remarks sometimes do to unsuspecting victims.  My mind molded itself around this idea that the perfect amount of "stuff" for one person's life became whatever can be fit into a four door mid sized car.  And every time I moved in college and before marriage, I kept myself in check.  "Can I fit it all into a corolla and just drive away with my life in the back of the car?  Yes?  Then I have just the right amount."

Of course when you get married and have to have an entire kitchen and living room and furniture that idea goes out the window.  I still felt like, though, Greg and I were able to keep our "stuff" to a minimum.  Before we bought our townhome we always lived in a one bedroom apartment.  We kept everything we owned in that apartment and shared a closet.  Every time we moved we did a huge gutting.  It felt good to be constantly discarding so many unwanted items.  Like shedding weight or letting go of grudges you've held on to for too long.  Good bye ugly shirt!  So long rice cooker! Never wanted you 5 lb weights!

When you have a baby any hope of your stuff being fit into one car is officially lost for time and all eternity and I guess maybe that is where I began to give up in my conquest of stuff?  It certainly doesn't help that now live in a three bedroom house with closets galore and a laundry room and an entire unfinished basement where stuff crawls into corners and multiplies and replenishes and finds empty shelves on which to live and spread and take over.

The other factor that has exacerbated the whole stuff issue is that our precious Junebug is a master stuff finder.  She should be a private investigator when she grows up.  She finds scarves and tampons and glittery body wash that I last used when I was 13.  She spreads it out all over the house in an artistic fashion that only Pablo Picasso himself would truly appreciate.  Everywhere I go I am tripping all over Greg's and my stuff.  I gather it all up, throw it back into overflowing drawers and then the next day it is delightfully in the hallway again.

Saturday morning I had finally had enough with our many clothes being all over the floor and the baskets of laundry never being empty and where did the socks, the notebooks, the DRAWERS FULL OF LOTION come from?  I was done with our shelves being so full that June could have her way with them and leave Greg and I the victims of her frenetic toddler rage.

So I started to purge.

I started in our master closet.  I had three baskets- one for dirty laundry, one to give away, one for trash.  I went through every piece of clothing, every random pair of boots I wore four years ago.  I tossed, I folded, I trashed.  Then it was on to the bathroom.  I sorted through used razors and dead sea salt lotion and SO MANY TRIAL SIZES OF SHAMPOOS AND CONDITIONERS.  Everything found a place and most things found a garbage.

Next it was the bedroom drawers, the night stands, June's bathroom drawers (I mean, I am really glad I have held onto the little sponge bath cloths they gave me for newborn June 21 months ago!) and June's closet.  If you thought organizing an adult's closet was bad, just wait until you deal with a baby.  Her wardrobe completely turns over ever 3-6 months!  It's an organizational nightmare!

I mopped floors, swept, washed the sheets, folded laundry, and about seven hours later I collapsed on the floor in exhaustion.  But in the process I had thrown out two huge bags of garbage and filled two laundry baskets with stuff to give away.  Stuff!  Stuff that was officially no longer mine to stress me out.

In my cleaning rage I tried to figure out why I had such a personal vendetta against all this stuff.  Why was it bothering me so bad?  I don't have clear answers, but I have some ideas.  I'd like your input.

1.  The idea of having hidden messes is unnerving to m. I don't like random things in desks and in drawers and stuffed into closets.  I know it's there.  It taunts me while I sleep.  I do not know why this is, but the more stuff is around me (even if unseen) the less relaxed I feel.

2.  Clutter stresses me out.  I don't like to have a lot of stuff in places where I can see it.  I want everything to have a place unseen--- in a cupboard, drawer, closet or somewhere where I don't have to look at it.  When I do open those cupboard, drawers, and closets I want to know how to quickly and easily find what I need and I don't want to be accosted by aggressive overflowing stuff.

3.  I feel a lot of guilt associated with stuff.  Especially stuff I don't use or wear.  On Saturday I barreled through lots of clothes that I used to wear, but don't anymore.  For some reason this made me feel guilty.  As if when I buy a blouse I make a lifetime commitment to have, hold, and cherish that shirt forever.  My mind knows this is ridiculous, but my heart is weird and still feels guilt.  I found lots of foot creams that I would maybe use in theory, but don't.  There were shirts that I didn't want to give up because at one time they had meant something to me or because they look great if I iron them but I hate to iron.  I felt like I should keep this stuff, but keeping it only equips me with tremendous guilt.  So I placed it into baskets to give away.

4.  Moving forward,  I want to be much more deliberate with the things I buy and only buy what I NEED and what I LOVE and not stuff that I kind of like and definitely don't enjoy.  The idea for me in its most basic form is that the less stuff I have, the more free I feel.  That's not to say that there is not some stuff that I don't truly enjoy.  But I want to have less stuff and love the stuff I do have.  A quality over quantity type thing.

Now, let's see if I can survive my girls' trip this weekend without buying anything...


P.S.  A friend suggested I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  Have any of you read it and enjoyed it?

P.P.S.  I apologize for the ridiculous amount of times I used the word "stuff" in this post.

Friday, April 08, 2016

On Spring Break

It's Spring Break!

Well actually, spring break is kind of ending.  It's Friday at 11:52 am.  How does a week of work crawl by and a week of spring break starts with Monday and one hour later it's Friday?  Answer me, world.  ANSWER ME!

It's been a really good week.  I wasn't expecting much because it's "tech week" for Greg's rehearsals which means he is basically at the theater for five hours every night.  Going anywhere as a family wasn't really in the cards (but next week I'm going to Dallas to meet up with my college roomies for a girls weekend.  EEK!)  so I didn't hope for much.  But it's been really really good.  Maybe that is the secret to life?  Expect nothing--- then everything in life is just a bonus.

(It certainly doesn't hurt that we have had absolutely perfect weather.  High sixties and low seventies.  It never felt so good to live in Utah.)

I had three main goals for my spring break:

1.  Hang out with June and spend some quality mommy + baby time
2.  Get tons done with the jewelry business- new listings, plan sales and promotions, make stock for FOUR weekends of jewelry shows coming up in April and May.
3.  Clean & organize the crap out of my house and get some pictures up/ furniture rearranged/ Make it look like HOME.

As far as goals goes... I'd say one was a roaring success.  June and I been hanging out nonstop.  She is the best part of any break.



#2 has not been as successful as #1, but still good.  Here's the thing when you are running your own small business- the work is never done.  There is always more you could do.  I never feel "caught up".  Sometimes every day all I can do is the bare minimum- get the day's orders out.  Some days I can do a lot more and thing big picture and growth and wholesale.  I wanted lots of those days during spring break.  I got some of those days so that will have to do.

Goal #3.  Nothing happened.  No organizing.  No cleaning.  No decorating and designing.  We've lived in this house for almost two years and the walls are still pretty much empty.  I don't have an eye for making your house look like a cozy little home.  I did manage June's nursery, so maybe the homey cleaner/organizer/decorator is in there somewhere.

Some other stuff:

+ We went to the zoo on Wednesday.  It was awesome.  If you follow along on snapchat (thelifeofbon) you probably saw all the good action.  I was really pleased with the zoo.  My past zoo experiences have mostly been crazy hot + animals hiding in corners and sleeping.  But the day was perfect weather- a jacket was optional- and the animals were super active.  We watched a polar bear swim and do flips in front of us, we watched a mama monkey and her baby monkey play, we saw elephants eating, we even saw some grizzly bears... well... you know.  They needed a little privacy is all.  It was awesome.  Maybe the trick to good zoo action is to go in the spring?  And in the morning?  When the animals aren't all tired and resting?  I'm a zoo noob but it seemed to work pretty well.




+ I have been working on this campaign through my blog.  Thanks so much to all of you who have clicked, participated, engaged.  It is the campaign on this blog that I am the most proud to be a part of, but it's also the campaign with the lowest engagement?  It makes me sad and confused.

+ We've got some fun studs coming up in the shop for spring and summer.  Get ready for rainy day earrings, watermelon studs, fourth of july star studs, and PINEAPPLES.  Ain't nobody don't love themselves a pineapple, right?  I'm hoping to have those in the shop and ready to go by next week.

+ Yesterday I went with my mom and aunts and cousins shopping at City Creek.  The day was just perfect (why is it that when it's 70 degrees outside all of your problems go away?).  I bought two pairs of sunglasses and some $23 brow liner from Sephora.  Someone help us all.



+ June fell asleep while shopping yesterday.  She fell asleep in her stroller--- she hasn't done that for probably a year.  It kind of made me want to cry at the littleness and the bigness of it all.  While my mom and aunt checked out Chico's (classic.  My mom can never get enough of Chico's) I sat at a table in the sun with my cousin.  A bunch of college aged Indian guys with adorable Indian accents approached us asking if they could do some magic tricks for us while they filmed our reaction.  We said, yes, of course.  The magician kept getting mad at the camera guy and they filmed us probably three different times and every time we were genuinely just as impressed with the magic tricks.  It was a great day.

+ Last night I watched "Walk the Line" while I worked on some jewelry.  I love me some June Carter/ Reese Witherspoon any day of the week.  Kind of funny because the two names that we were most considering when I was pregnant were June and Reese.  It's such a great movie, though, and if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.  It's got me listening to Johnny Cash all morning.

+ Today when June wakes up from her nap and before Greg has rehearsal (a very important window for us!) we're going to take June to farm country to ride a little pony and feed horses.  Then it's pizza for early dinner before Greg has to jet off and I'll come home and put June to bed and maybe MAYBE think about finishing my taxes.  I'll tell you this much, when you owe money instead of get money back it takes all motivation away from doing your taxes.

+ On Saturday Greg and I played tennis in between LDS general conference sessions.  We played against my brother and his wife and they beat us but the weather was so perfect that it almost didn't matter.  Can it just be spring forever?

+ You may notice I'm wearing the same gray shirt in every single one of these pictures.  I got it from H&M for $10 on Saturday and it fits me in the most pefect slouchy way and I literally have worn it four days in a row.

+ Overall I am feeling so happy and so grateful these days.  I feel like my family has emerged from a storm and I'm just so grateful that we are all together and in tact.  It might just be the spring weather talking, but I just feel like we've finally got things kind of figured out and life is good and summer is coming and in six weeks I'll be off of school for three months and life is good.  I feel so much HOPE and I think that might be the best thing to have.

+ Happy weekend to you all.  If you live in a part of the country that is being ravaged by winter storms, my heart goes out to you!

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

How We Wore It// Bright Colors// Things I Have Learned about Clothes

When Deidre (thanks for organizing this craziness, Deidre!) sent us the photo for this month's "How We Wore It" she included the footnote "I tend to go toward a lot of neutrals so I thought this month's bright colors would change it up a bit and challenge us for spring."

Well I'm a huge fan of bright colors.  I love bright jackets and blouses and a bold, red lip is right up my alley.  I even dyed my hair bright red!  I mean, I think I've got the bright thing down.

When I saw the picture I knew the chances of me being able to pull off bright red hair + bright red jacket + bright purple shirt was slim to none.  So I had to tone down the jacket/ blouse wear just a tad.  I mean, I don't want to blind anyone with my look, you know.

Here's the look from Chic Street Style.



And here's my take on it:



Necklace here.




At this point I think it's fair that I just stop pretending that I will ever have what it takes to be a fashion blogger (Were we ever pretending that?  Maybe for a hot minute.  A really confusing hot minute.) and just embrace the weirdness of it all.  I have no idea how fashion bloggers do it.  Good for them.  Not for me.

I have a lot of thoughts on clothes lately.  My biggest epiphany is that I want to wear clothes that make me:

1) Feel good
and
2) Look good

It turns out that #1 and #2 are often at odds with each other.  But I'm figuring out some tricks that I wish I knew ten or even fifteen years ago.  I like slouchy tees.  I don't like shirts that hug me and make me feel like I can't breathe.  I like pants that sit on the right spot on my hips.  None of these crazy low riders that I feel like I'm pulling up all night long.  I wore those things for way too long.  They were definitely not #1 and probably not #2.  I like wedges but not necessarily heels... heels are too hard to walk in.  I like shoes that are open (from April - October) because my feet have hot feet syndrome and I always need a little air.  I like baseball caps.  I don't like shirts that require that I wear any kind of tee or tank under them because two shirts is too much and then I just feel like I'm adjusting clothes all dang day.  I prefer dresses to skirts.  The colors I feel most comfortable and pretty in are black, gray, white, navy, and (now that my hair is red) camo green.  I like a good pair of comfortable, casual shoes...  this spring my big clothing purchase will be a pair of white converse.  I'm a wild thing, I know.

This all seems kind of basic.  But it's kind of revolutionary for me.  At what point do we all just start feeling like we're at home in the clothes that we wear?  That's my goal.

Alright, now that you've listened to my rambling nonsense, here's some other girls who are rocking this outfit.  Again, huge thanks to Deidre for organizing all of this.  And if you want in for next month, make sure to sign up on her post for today!

Deidre at Deidre Emme
Kyla at FordOlogy
Aubrey at Aubrey Zaruba
Berkley at Here in the Now
Alyssa at Impractical Composition
Autumn at Stay gold Autumn
Hannah at Simply Hannah Sneed
Jessica at Mason Jars and Lemon Bars
Paige at The Happy Flammily
Brielle at Breezy & Co.
Alexa at He & I
Brooke at Silver Lining
Sierra at Sierra's View
Madeline at CaseyLand
Susan at Sue's News
Bonnie at The Life of Bon
Ashley at Absolutely Ashley
Bekah at These Are The Days
Robin at Penn & Quill
Kylie at Love Always, Kylie



















.......

Monday, April 04, 2016

June Bug: My Gift

Today is the first day of spring break.  Sometimes I wonder what in the world was I thinking when I decided to stay in high school for the rest of my life.  Then I get a random week off in April and it all starts to make sense again.



For my first day of spring break I mostly hung out with June.  We went to the library and got more books.  (The lady who checked us out raised her eyebrows at me, "You do know you have 23 items checked out, right?"  Yes, ma'am.  We know.)  We stopped by Swig and got a soda.  Well I got a soda.  June got water because she's a baby.  I went to an appointment this afternoon while June napped and then when I came home we ate pizza and went to Grease Monkey to get the oil changed in our car.  June rearranged the furniture in the waiting room.  I read my book.  It was good.

When we came home June destroyed the downstairs while I tried to fold laundry upstairs.  Having a toddler is a study in counter production.  I clean up one mess while she makes another.  I should have realized after about 20 minutes of uninterrupted folding that it was too good to be true.  June wandered upstairs and before she was even in the room I could smell it.  Peanut butter.  June had had her way with a jar of peanut butter.  It was in her hair, all over her face, her clothes, the floor, the counter, you name it.

So it was bath time and jammies and I put her to bed and I looked at her grown up toddler body and was so happy to be her mom and so sad that she is growing up so darn fast on me and so grateful that of all the babies she's the one who came to me.

June is my gift.  Being her mom is the most satisfying and joy filled thing I have ever done with my life.  Sometimes I feel like I should hide how much I enjoy being her mom.  But that's just nonsense.  I struggle in so many areas in my life and there are so many things that suck about this world that we live in that I am going to enjoy being her mom without apology.

My dad died one month before I started my student teaching.  It was a really sucky, hard time in my life. I missed my dad fiercely.  I didn't think my heart would ever heal.  I was dating a dud who never made time for me.  I was getting Cs on final projects because all of a sudden 8 page papers on efficient rubrics seemed so pointless.

I had heard endless horror stories of student teaching.  How hard it was, how the kids don't respect you, how lesson planning takes hours, how you won't have time for anything else in your life. (Good thing my boyfriend didn't take up too much of my time.  HA!)  I was ready for it.  But student teaching wasn't any of those things for me.  I loved it.  The kids were funny and smart and sometimes perfectly inappropriate.  My mentor teacher was the ideal fit for me; he wandered in and out of the classroom letting me have as much creative freedom as I wanted.  My student teaching experience meant everything to me.  I loved that classroom and I felt myself begin to heal as I learned to teach those hormone-filled fifteen year olds.  I remember ending my student teaching experience and looking back on those 11 weeks and realizing, "That was a gift.  That was God saying, 'I'm going to make a bunch of stuff really hard for you right now.  And you're going to wonder why and you're probably going to hate me some days.  But I'm going to give you the student teaching as a gift to get you through all the other crap.  This will be the one perfect thing in your otherwise very imperfect life."

I can't even write about student teaching without tearing up.  It was the rock that I needed during that time to steady me, to get me through the hard stuff.  I don't know what I would have done without those teenagers who were waiting for me at 7:20 am to teach them Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Six years later, I realize that God has done the same thing.  But now June is my student teaching. God looked at this time of my life and said again, "I'm going to throw some really hard stuff at you.  And you're going to wonder why and you're probably going to hate me some days.  But I'm going to give you June to get you through all the other crap.  She will be the one perfect thing in your otherwise very imperfect life."

I can't be more grateful.
June is my gift.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Bon's Book Club: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking

Welcome to this month's book club, guys!  It's supposed to go down on Thursday and today is Friday, so I hope you will excuse my tardiness.  Hopefully those of you who read the book or are interested in introverts v. extroverts are stilling hanging in the wings somewhere and will read and enjoy this post.



My co-host this month is Tayler from The Morrell Tale.  Here's what Tayler had to say about the book:

I was really interested in this book because I consider myself an introvert. And, we all know the derogatory stereotyping of introverts. Cain's purpose in this book is to describe and explain the psychology of introverts and extroverts, and what is at their center. She wants to show how introverts are undervalued and how we can help them see their potential and learn to work with them.

What I Liked About the Book

Cain does a very good job explaining how the minds and personalities of introverts and extroverts are different. She is also very easy to read (except for a few parts). I was able to place myself and my husband into the roles of introvert and extrovert, which made it more compelling. She described what motivates the two different groups, how shyness and anxiety come into place, the difference between personality and temperament, and how there is an elasticity reach. I liked learning about famous people who happened to be introverts, like Eleanor Roosevelt and Gandhi. I am so happy she mentioned extroversion and evangelicalism. Cain met with a few in the Evangelical church who were self-proclaimed introverts. They had a hard time feeling like they fit in because the  church is all about shouting their faith from the mountaintops and proclaiming to the world. Cain also brought up introverts in a school setting. I loved that she spent almost two whole chapters dedicated to introverted youth. She was very careful in her proclamations that the way education is set up, especially with group learning being a key focus. 

What I Didn't Like About the Book

Cain, herself, is a self-proclaimed introvert. And she obviously wanted to show the power of introverts. But, although she had a lot of sources and studies, she was pretty biased. She made sweeping generalizations that introverts are smarter and more creative and extroverts are rash and just bombastic. There were sometimes that the scientific studies were hard to understand. I wish she would have talked about any relationship and effect confidence had on being an introvert or extrovert. It also sometimes got confusing when she mentioned all the different people she interviewed. She would go back and forth between interviews to prove her point for that specific chapters, and go back and forth between using last names and first names.

What I Learned

I learned a lot about myself from this book. I could write a large report about all my thoughts--we had a straight two hour talk about this book at our In Real Life book club on Tuesday night, with no breaks or breathers at all! And, we could've gone longer! The biggest pull away was the fact that being an introvert doesn't necessarily mean you are a recluse and anti-social and that being extroverted means you always have to be the center of attention. Cain kept going back to the clarifying point that what makes the two is where they get their energy from. Stimuli, like activity, noise, people, images, etc. makes extroverts. They get excited and full of energy from social events. Whereas, introverts get re-energized from being a lone, in-depth conversations, reading, soft sounds, sleep, etc. People drain them. I definitely am an introvert, and have always been so, according to this definition because I always feel re-energized reading, or listening to soundtracks, or being in nature and going to group activities drain me. The other thing that I pulled away is that people don't necessarily change. Their environment and situation changes, but their temperaments don't, and being an extrovert or introvert are part of temperament. That means, I have always been an introvert. But, I wonder if my anxiety disorder, which has gotten worse the older I have gotten, played a part in me pulling away from extroverted tendencies. Cain also mentioned that there is a spectrum of introversion and extroversion. I'm not super introverted--I do enjoy hanging out with friends, going to parties, and getting out of the house. But, after a certain amount of time, I am done. Whereas, my friend, Aubrey, is super extroverted and hates any down-time she has. Cain also shows that you can be more extroverted in different situations. I have never been nervous giving a lesson or talk in church. I have never been nervous teaching or while I was being observed for teaching evaluations. You may even say I am very comfortable in the front of a classroom. But, put me at a table of people I don't know, I get nervous and don't know what to say. I really loved this book, and wrote a lot in the margins, and I'm sure I'll go back and re-read it every now and then.

And now... my thoughts on the book!

I have been interested in this book for almost a year when a friend first recommended it to me.  I have not been shy to say that Greg and I are very different on the introversion/ extroversion scale.  Greg is very introverted and I am very extroverted.  So I thought, if nothing else, this book could help me understand Greg better.

And it did!  I felt like there were several "ah-ha" moments.  I do wish I would have read this book four years ago... it seems like a lot of the introvert/extrovert breakthroughs we made the hard way.  Still though, I learned a lot, and if nothing else it was extremely validating.

The most interesting thing for me about the book and the biggest "reveal" was when Cain talks about introversion and extroversion being the way that our brain reacts to stimulus.  I thought this explained a ton about mine and Greg's relationship.  Greg is very social and is the life of the party whenever we go out.  His students loved him and he was always making them laugh.  But this drains Greg and it is often hard for other people to see.  According to studies done that Cain mentions, this can be because of high reactivity- meaning that introverts are likely to react more strongly to their environments.  They are more sensitive to the stimulus around them and therefore more quickly "overstimulated".  Which is why big crowds, lots of noise, endless small talk can be totally exhausting to introverts- it's so much stimulation.  It'd always be frustrating to me that after any kind of activity Greg would want down time, but this book makes it pretty clear that the high-reactive brain it just on overdrive and needs some time to settle down.

Cain talks A TON about introverts in the work place, what to do to foster creativity for introverts, how to help them, etc, etc, etc.  Like Tayler mentioned, at times I was frustrated, like Cain was trying to prove to the whole world that introverts have been done wrong and they are these quiet geniuses that no one appreciates.

I thought her information about group work at school was very interesting, too.  Basically it made me rethink everything about the way I do groups and already I am transitioning to much smaller groups- three max, but preferably partners.  I don't want my smart introverts to be bowled over by the loud extroverts who may not have a clue.

There was one chapter on introversion in relationship and one chapter on introversion in children... I wish she would have talked about this much more as that was what was the most interesting to me.  I highly suspect June to be an introvert and obviously my husband is an introvert so I'd love more ideas of how to make everybody happy in situations like this.  I felt like basically her solution was, "Woman wants go out every Friday night.  Man wants to stay home every Friday night.  Compromise and go out every other Friday night."  I mean, come on, you gotta come up with some solutions that are not quite so obvious as that!

Overall I really enjoyed the book.  There were parts that dragged a bit and I think Cain got into her own self and desires a little too much, but I'm glad I read it.  Like Tayler said, we talked for over 2 straight hours at our IRL book club, so I'd say it was pretty successful!

Alright, time to share your thoughts!  Have you read the book?  Are you an introvert?  Or do you love someone who is introverted?  How have you made introvert/extrovert relationships work?

And next month we are reading Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.  I read the first 40 pages last night and had to force myself to put it down, so I'd say it's going to be a good one!  Our IRL book discussion will be April 26 and the online book discussion will be April 28.

Oh, and you can link up your post, too, if you wrote one!




Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Perfect Day

I don't post a lot of "weekend recaps" on this blog because I can't imagine that my very normal weekend would be at all interesting to you, reader, who likely experienced your own very normal weekend.  But this last weekend both pretty normal and very happy and maybe it was so happy because it was pretty normal.  Who's to say what normal means anymore anyway?

This past weekend was Easter, as I'm sure you are aware.  I guess in the past I haven't given Easter the attention it deserves.  The Fourth of July with its barbeques and swimming pools and fireworks has had its place as favorite holiday securely squared away in my heart for years now.  And of course Christmas is a close rival with gifts and cookies and snow and two weeks off of school!

But this year I thought, hey!  Maybe Easter is my favorite holiday?  A day to celebrate spring and new life and resurrection and warm weather and fresh starts and leaving all the cold muck of winter behind- figuratively and literally.  Yah, maybe Easter is it.  The holiday of holidays.

I bought June a pretty Easter dress and we all went to church and the church program was about Jesus and resurrection and HOPE.  Lately I've been studying a lot about hope, and I felt like God was answering some of my questions in a real and specific way on Sunday.  One speaker mentioned that the opposite of faith, hope, and charity are fear, despair, and selfishness.  This really resonated with me.

And after church we even got a picture!  Three cheers for a family pic in Sunday clothes.



Oh, and June handled her two hours in nursery like a champ.  Second week in a row.  After months of crying in nursery we consider this a huge victory!

We came home and all took naps and then went to my mom's house for good food and good company.  The adults sat at the dinner table long after we finished eating and talked a little politics, a little books, a little online dating sites (WHY?!)  Then there was a game of "rabbits" in the field (Blackburn tradition) and of course an Easter egg hunt.  The weather was 60 degrees and everyone was happy and there was so much chocolate and it was just such a great day.  My mom made a strawberry pie that put all other strawberry pies to shame.  Then Greg and I came home and put June to bed and cuddled and watched tv and I thought, "This day was perfect.  Normal.  And perfect."

The road Greg and I have been travelling down the past 12-18 months has been super sucky at a lot of times.  But I look at days like Sunday and I am so grateful for the things we have learned and the way we've grown.  Mostly I am grateful that we still get days like Sunday and that I can appreciate those days maybe more than I ever have in my life.

So Happy Easter.  I hope you felt the power of the resurrection in your life- in whatever form you believe in.  The power of life again, of new hope, of fresh beginnings.  Thanks so much for reading this blog and letting me share a piece of my life with you.










P.S.  If you haven't yet, please check out this campaign.  I have never been more proud to use my blog as a platform for an amazing cause like this.

Hello internet.

There is a "real" post coming in the morning, but right now it's 12:37 and I'm past properly functioning so to bed it is.  We've been busy prepping for THIS huge sale in our jewelry shop that starts today.  Well it starts today if today is March 30.  It starts March 30.  It ends March 31.  Crazy how that works.



Here's the details:

Hey Hey HEY!  Who loves a good pair of simple stud earrings?!  Well you're in luck because we're having a huge sale on all $8 stud earrings 3/30 - 3/31. (THAT'S TODAY! )  This sale only happens twice a year so listen carefully!

1.  Sale is BUY 2 PAIRS OF EARRINGS GET 1 FREE

2.  Sale is good for any pair of stud earrings from @heyjuneshop

3.  Please purchase the two pairs of earrings that you want and then on the checkout page leave a note of which third pair you would like for free.  If you buy four pairs of earrings, leave a note of which two pairs you would like for free, etc.  If you don't say which pair(s) you want for free, you will get a surprise pair(s)!

4.  Offer is good as long as supplies last.  Earrings will sell out as the day goes on so act fast to get the ones you want the most.

5.  Buy 2 Get 1 Free is not good with any other sale or coupon code.

 








Friday, March 25, 2016

Syrian Refugees: How Can I Help?

I've been involved in a few really cool projects through this blog.  But none as cool or as important or worth your time as this one.

The past several months I have, as I'm sure many of you have, been troubled by the Syrian refuge crisis.  How can we help these people?  I think I probably speak for a lot of people that it's hard to hear of these types of things happening--- of the suffering, the pain, the families being torn apart--- and not know how or what to do to help.  For me, I feel helpless so much of the time.



I am so excited today to be partnering with CARE.org to provide real, immediate ways that we can help.   What exactly is going on in Syria?  Here's a brief overview, provided by CARE's website.

Intense fighting in Syria has forcibly displaced more people today than any other country – and there is no end in sight to the conflict. Every day, thousands of Syrians flee violence to seek out food, protection, medical care and other urgently-needed aid, mostly in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt. There are 12 million people inside Syria displaced or in desperate need of humanitarian aid. At least half of the displaced are children. 

While safer, life outside of Syria is increasingly difficult. Having left most everything behind, the majority of the 4 million refugees are struggling to meet the most basic needs including unemployment, rising living costs and lack of education for their children. Housing, schools, health clinics and local economies of the host countries are overwhelmed and the needs of both refugees and the communities hosting them are growing by the day.


CARE is reaching people impacted by the conflict, with humanitarian assistance, in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and inside Syria providing life-saving emergency assistance as well as solutions to help people cope with the longer term crisis.
I'm excited today to prove some simple ways that you and I can help refugees.  It is small enough that anyone can make time in their day to do it, and big enough that it will make a real and immediate impact.


Here are some things we can do to help:

1.  Write a letter to a Syrian refugee child.  This is totally FREE and you can do it through the portal at Care.org.  I think this a great idea for adults, but especially children too.  If you have kids in your home between the ages of 5 and 18 this is a great opportunity to help them see some of the larger issues in our world and to give them an opportunity to put good out in the world.  The letters can only be 255 characters, so your kids shouldn't feel too overwhelmed.  This is a great idea for a family night or a weekend activity.  (Maybe part of your Easter festivities this weekend?)

Here's the letter that I wrote.

Hi!  My name is Bonnie and I teach English in the United States.  I hear on the news here about the wars in your country and that you have had to leave your home.  I'm so sorry.  I know you are in hard circumstances, but we are so proud of you here.  I wish I could meet you and give you a hug.  I would tell you that you are brave and that you are strong and that you can do hard things.  I would hold you in my lap and read you books.  Have hope!  Hope to me means that you have faith in a better world--- that things will get better for you and your family.



2.  Donate a care package.   If you are in a position to give, then consider donating a care package to a Syrian refugee.
  • $10 can provide a family with a baby kit containing reusable diapers, soap and disinfectant.
  • $35 can provide a hygiene kit with shampoo, soap, toothpaste, detergent, disinfectant, bleach and more.
  • $70 can provide a basket of rice, bulgar, pasta, lentils, beans, dates, tuna, tomato paste, oil, tea and sugar.
  • $150 can help winterize a shelter with a tarp and plastic sheeting, blankets, floor mats and more.


3.  Share this post!  Like #1, this option is totally free.  The more people that are aware of ways to help, the more good we can do.  You might not be in a position to help financially, but you uncle might be!  I think that most people really do want to help, but we end up not doing anything simply because we don't know how to help or where to even start.  I know I have felt that way many times.  These are easy, simple things that anyone can do to help the 12 million Syrians who are being affected by the ongoing wars.

Psst... while you are on CARE's website, look around at the other projects they are involved in.  Providing relief for the crisis in Yemen, preventing child brides, educating women in third world countries... this is an amazing organization.


All pictures are taken from CARE.org

This post is sponsored by CARE.org but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.