That Time When I Went Instagram Famous

Joe changed his blogger name, so he's not Martha Stewart. And yes, I'm logged in and blogging from his account, but I assure you this is me, Lara. I can prove it by telling you that I scootered a lot in college, and that's what 90% of my blog is about, my scootering days in college. I'm just too lazy to log into my account, and not entirely sure I know how to, either.

But here you go, mom, I'm blogging. I've been missing from the blogosphere (I feel like there's a word like that, but I'm not sure what it is.) This blog post might give some insight as to why that is.

A preface... this post is not looking for pity or kudos. If I was looking for people to verbally boost me up, trust me, I would have written this a long time ago. The only reason I'm writing it now is because I've gotten over that, and now I'm writing it for me.

A couple of months ago I got hit with the urge I'm sure everyone is hit with. And that was to become iNsTaGrAm FaMoUs. Specifically Instagram. Because the facts are these folks (as she puts on a fedora and pulls out a candy cigar) Instagram is a young person's game, yeh see? And if you want to stay cool, Instagram is where it is, yeh see? Facebook just isn't gonna pay the bills, yeh see? *End bad mobster scene*

I dunno what it is. I was doing a yoga challenge on Instagram for fun, I started getting likes, I wondered what it would be like to get more likes, I wondered if I could get free stuff on Instagram, so I decided to learn more about that. I read articles about SEO and "influencing" and all that you've got to do to become famous. This isn't going to be a blog about what it takes, because honestly I think that stuff is as dull as nails. And maybe that's why I'm not Instagram famous, because I consider all that boring.

But I took the step. Decided to dedicate a large portion of my life to this new hobby, and career of sorts, because it IS time consuming. The first step was making my account public. Which isn't that bad, actually. I don't post many pics of my kids faces on my Instagram, I don't post their names, and I screen every account that passes through mine and block them if I get a bad vibe.

A strange thing happened, when I did that, though. It wasn't the fact that my account wasn't private anymore... it was just the knowledge that I was moving forward with this plan to get ***famous***... but a part of me mourned. It was really strange. I remember the day, remember where I was sitting, remember embarking on this aMaZiNg JoUrNeY all Bachelor style and feeling like I wish I could go back, already.

I did all that stuff. I created a page in my planner where I'd track my progress. I'd use all the hash tags, I'd look for other accounts and follow and engage with them. I'd learn what hashtags were trending. I tried to stylize my feed.

What the crap is all that about? Stylizing your feed? Making sure the pictures you take match the pictures you took before? UGH. That was probably the worst part for me. I mean, I like a certain look in my photos, I like them to be warm and colorful and stuff, but heaven help me if I post two yoga pictures in a row, or take a break from the yoga photos and post a picture of the beach. But it disrupts the entire aesthetic.


That's mean. And I don't really mean that.

But in a way, it is. I've battled my whole life with finding a balance between recording and living, because the two don't seem to mix together any better than oil and vinegar do. In the end, you may come out with a nice salad dressing but it's going to be fighting to separate the entire time.

Do I witness life with my own eyes? (Or through my contact lenses... because... I didn't listen when my mom told me to stop reading books in the dark. I've got a rebellious streak like a bad girl, obviously.) Or do I witness life through my phone camera, or professional camera? Do I take in moments and enjoy them in my soul without thinking about how I'm going to portray it on my blog? Do I pursue adventures for the sake of enjoying my family and my life, which, at the ripe old age of 25 already feels like it's moving too fast, or do I take adventures as an opportunity to write and photograph, not for myself, not for my kids, but for my doting fans?

I didn't want that life. And that's what I felt die inside me. I felt my brain start to analyze the pictures I took of my kids. "Are these candids really that good? Are they too blurry? Are my kids looking perfect enough here? How long can I get them to sit still in this position or recreate this moment over so I can take a couple hundred more, where 99 of them won't be good enough and only 1 will be worth sharing?" I started picking apart my yoga photos, and with it, my home, and my body. "Ugh, I wish I had a brighter paint color to make these photos pop more. And maybe I need hair extensions and what is that fold of skin doing on my hip, ugh."

And yeah, I do wish I had a brighter paint color because I love the light... but why did it have anything at all to do with my Instagram feed?

This isn't to take a jab at those who are "Instagram Famous." I applaud you. I recognize how much work it takes. It really is a job. And many of you are inspiring to others.

And that's what I thought I could do, perhaps I could get to a point where my words would move masses and I could share powerful truths and give a voice that maybe wasn't there before. I do have platforms I care about. Eating disorders. Body acceptance. The gospel of Jesus Christ. The importance of education and children and those who have less than...

But at what cost. Do I set aside what matters most to me... my family, my children, my own *self* and craft a world that, while powerful and influential, is not authentic.

Or do I put down my camera for a while. Do I take a break from writing. To focus and be present. To take in life at that moment. With my own eyes. Own hands. Own lungs. For me, and for no one else in that moment but me... Because being there in my own skin is the best thing I can do for my family.

So I did.

And now I post whatever the crap I want on Instagram. Which is not that much, actually. Because that experiment of becoming famous really did a number on my relationship with social media, and I'm still working out those kinks. I still do hashtags, too, because it helps me connect to a really interesting and fun yoga community.

But this blog post isn't for the famous. Because who among them is going to read it, honestly.

This blog post is for the ones out there like me. Who don't get many likes. Who have a junky phone camera and a fancy point and shoot. (RIP DSRL camera....)

My life is better when my photos are hurried and blurred. When hairs are astray. When I post a picture of a beautiful, memorable and hilarious moment that gets only 5 likes rather than 500. My relationships are happier when they're not only not posed, but also not analyzed in the candid to make sure there are no flaws. 

I'd honestly recommend this experiment to anyone, though. It's rough. But it will open your eyes up a lot more. Since doing it, I've cut back my social media usage from 3-6 hrs a day (that's disgusting and embarrassing to admit) to 30 minutes a day. With my spare time I've picked up books, taken walks, gone on bike rides, cleaned, changed diapers, raced, sang nursery rhymes, hiked, laughed, and yes, cried a lot, because I'm me and I'm not gonna be able to get through life without the crying hahah.

When I look to the people I truly admire the very most in life, the people I want to emulate, the people who inspire me beyond description... my parents, my family, my husband, my children, my friends... it has so little to do with their presence online and so much to do with our personal connection, and my connection to their own lens of life. 

I have a bad habit of not knowing how to end blog posts... but I guess... maybe.... if you're worried about this stuff, it's not bad to give it a try. Maybe you'll be wildly successful at it. But maybe you'll notice how much you missed the before. And maybe it will give you an opportunity to go back and do the before again, but with a new found appreciation and respect. 

And now you can't say "So no one told me life was gonna be this way..." because I did. So there.


Married, Not Ready For Kids

Check it.

Today I'm blogging as Martha Stewart. This glitch catches me off guard every time.

Ok so you know when you're on Facebook, and Facebook is like "Look at these groups! Join these groups!"

I get those a lot. I tried to Kon Marie a lot of facebook stuff (Kon Marie: The art of getting rid of stuff you don't need or want) But I'm still in a lot of groups, and facebook thinks I must like groups, so I get a lot of suggestions.

Like a LOT of Lipsense suggestions. None of which I join, sorry friends...

A lot of area suggestions, weirdly specific ones, like "Mesa/Gilbert young adult skydiving fishers group!" That one doesn't exist yet, but if I did either of those things, I'd start that group.

One makes me laugh though.

Married, Not Ready For Kids.

Ok laugh might not be the right word. It makes me feel a lot of things. It makes me miss the days of just Joe and I. It makes me remember that time of life.

But it really makes me laugh because it so aptly describes me.

Hello. I'm Lara. I'm not ready for kids.

And here's the kicker. I've got two of them.

Joe and I did a lot to prepare for kids, we really did. We waited until we were done with school, had our savings built up, and were well on our way in our careers. We were married about 3 years before our first was born, and had a lot of time to do the young married couple stuff. We got that "Are you newlyweds?" question a lot and did the cutesy giggle type thing when we said "Hehehhee kinda!" 

Are you nauseated yet?

No but I'm all for that. I respect people who are not ready for kids. I know it's not for everyone, but I respect people who wait a while until they're financially/emotionally/mentally ready for kids. That's a good thing! I will be the last to convince you to have kids if you're not ready. Kids need ready parents.

We did that.

And I wound up where I am today, two kids, still not ready.

I'm not ready for kids I thought, a few nights before our first was born, and I realized our late night food runs were probably nearing an end. 

I'm not ready for kids, I thought, watching the oldest sleep, as a newborn, while holding my breath and waiting for him to take his. It's crazy how long that half a second seems, waiting to see if they're still breathing. It's an agonizing eternity. And it happens a lot.

I'm not ready for kids, I thought, as I pulled out handfuls of hair. That wonderful thing people don't tell you about. Pregnancy treats your hair great. Post partum does not. And it doesn't help that little babies have grabby hands that crave your hair, especially if it's long. 

I'm not ready for kids, I thought, as I changed the billions of diapers, and wiped poo off the ground, and ran like a mad woman just now as my oldest is running around diaper free, post bath, while I blog... and he just started saying "Uh oh... poo..." 

How many diapers? 

I'm not ready for kids, I thought, as I realized how hard it is to make friends now, and I wondered when the last time I went out was, and I wondered if I ever would have good, close friends again. I do. That still happened. Don't worry, women, there is hope. You can still have friends. But it may sometimes feel bleak.

I'm not ready for kids,  I thought, as I cleaned the kitchen after cleaning the living room, and before cleaning the SAME living room again, because my oldest was tearing it apart.

I'm not ready for kids,  I thought, as my throat swelled up when I saw two pink lines for the second time around, and my oldest was just a baby. I'm not ready for kids, I'm not ready for kids, I'm not ready for kids, I'm not ready for kids, as I held the oldest and cried and wondered how in the world we were going to handle this new unexpected family member. 

I'm not ready for kids, I thought, as I watched that oldest child get bullied for the first time, 15 months old. Because it's not like I can MAKE other kids play with him. And I don't want to be fighting his battles. 

I'm not ready for kids,  I thought, as I watched my body morph into something unrecognizable, and something that was and is difficult for me to love. 

I'm not ready for kids, I thought, as I closed out the news website on my phone and wondered how in the world I'm supposed to protect my kids in this world and said a silent prayer that my kids wouldn't be the ones that others would need protection from. As I then questioned every parenting choice I've ever made, ever.

I'm not ready for kids, I thought, as the tears came.

His tears. Because he wanted juice. Because he wanted my phone. Because he wanted to go outside when it was 120. Because he wanted to run through the entire Story Bots show for the 3rd time that day. Or from the youngest, because he wanted his brother to play with him but his brother was over it.

Or my tears...

The tears from fear, of the unknown. Are they going to be the people I want them to be? Are they going to be happy? 

The tears from worry. Is it ok that he just drank a bottle of nail polish? Is it ok that he keeps spitting up? Is it ok that his diaper looks like that? Is it ok if he eats that? Is it ok if he shoves chips in his 2 week old brother's mouth? IS IT OK IS IT GOING TO BE OK IS EVERYONE OK?!

I'm not ready for kids.

The tears of laughter, when he ran around the corner and Joe jumped at him and he threw up his hands and screamed. When he looked utterly horrified at the prospect of going to Sudan on his mission. When our youngest gave us his first laughs, and kept laughing, and kept smiling, and didn't stop. 

The tears of pride, when the littlest, at 3 months old, comforted his older brother. When the oldest took his own binky out of his mouth, the binky that he relied on for EVERYTHING, and he gave it to his brother. When he reached out his hand to pet a dog, overcoming his crippling fear of dogs. 

The tears, when he came and gave me a hug around my neck when I sat down and cried because I'm not ready for kids, I'm not ready for kids, I'm not ready for kids....

So here I am. Two kids later.

I'm not ready for kids. 

And I may never be. I don't know what is coming up. Despite dedicating my life to working for and learning about children... I have no clue what is on this map of parenthood. It is uncharted territory. And I'm not ready for kids. 

But it's ok. I think we'll work through it together. The good and the bad. Today I accept the fact that I'm not ready for kids.


The One About Yoga

Get it? Because it's a reference to Friends. Making me the most basic woman alive.
Watches friends
Does yoga
Drinks herbal tea
Talks about "Kon Marie" stuff
Has fancy pens and tape

I'm just not gonna call myself wifey. You can't make me do it. I am a wife. Not a wifey.

Unless you wanna tease me, but watch yourself, because I can bite back.

Ok perhaps the most common questions I get are...

"How are you?"
"What's your name?" (with work...)
"How old are you?" (also with work. Not rude if it's cute lil Chinese babies asking you for your age.)
"What's for dinner?"
"Mmmm?" (How lil lion says "more")

"How did you get started with yoga?"

I bring all of those on, they're invited, I provoke them.... so I thought I'd answer them all in one blow today.

- Pretty good.
- Lara Jean Becar, yo.
- 25 and LIVING LARGE (said in the coolest way possible. Difficult for me to achieve.)
- SHOOT it's falafel and I need to get started on it.
- No


How did I get started with yoga.

Ok we'll start at the very beginning, the place that I always start.

About a year and a half ago I was in a bad place, not loving my image, not wanting to go running because in AZ that's a tall order, and I needed something to DO. I went to my bff, Melece, cried some, and she suggested yoga as a kinda fun thing to do. I lol'd a bit, because when people suggest yoga, they're usually not serious, and I don't think Melece intended me to take it the way I did either. But she held me accountable, I rolled my eyes some, but I was willing to try it.

And I didn't stop.

Ok but where did I start. I knew Melece used an app, but it was one that I had to purchase and on principle I don't buy apps. Yet. (That yet will be elaborated on.) I did find a free app, Down Dog. I downloaded it but started with YouTube, asking for advice from people on their favorite videos. Everyone, without fail, suggested Yoga With Adriene . As do I. She was the second person to get me going with yoga. When you're starting an exercise routine, if you're like me, you don't like to be coddled into it with sweet, airy voices and phrases like "chakra" and hocus pocus like that. I'm kinda a straight to the point person. Give it to me how it is. Tell me what I'm doing.

And that's what Yoga With Adriene did. There wasn't a lot of hippy-dippy nonsense to it, and she had a sense of humor. I really appreciated that. After learning the basics, I went to the Down Dog app. Where I am now, I LOVE DOWN DOG. It's an incredible app. Crazy fun. But I'd be lying if I said it was easy. That is some hard crap there. Even on the beginning level, it wiped me out. I decided I couldn't stick with it. It was damaging my drive to do yoga, so I went back to Yoga with Adriene. I stuck with her for a year or so, before I felt like I was falling into the same routine and wanted to try some new things. Now I'm on the Down Dog App again, sometimes I do my own routines too, and I love this app. It actually may be an app that I buy, I love it that much. Yoga is making me an app buying person.

Ok that's my start.

Now for the good stuff, my tips on how YOU can start.

  • Love it. It's not really that complicated. The first thing you gotta do to enjoy yoga is to ENJOY yoga. If you're not enjoying it, then maybe it's not for you, and that's ok. I was really beating myself for not loving running for a long time. I'd do it over and over and over and I never loved it. I'm of the strong belief that exercise is not meant to be endured, but enjoyed. Find something you enjoy. Maybe it's yoga. Maybe it's weights. Maybe it's running. But love it. Now, if you WANT to love yoga and you're having a hard time with it, keep reading!
  • Listen. This may sound like hippy dippy nonsense but it isn't. When you start out with yoga, I think it's really important not to kill yourself quickly. A favorite quote of mine is "If you listen to your body whisper, you don't have to let it scream." The key isn't to push your limits. It's to find your limit, sit there for a while until it's a little more bearable, and then try again the next day. Your limit will grow. It's not a sprint though. It's a marathon. Pace yourself. Don't throw yourself into crazy vinyasa sequences before you're ready. Listen to your body. Notice the way your arms feel in down dog. Notice how your hips feel in warrior two. Notice your breathing in a chaturanga. Listen to the small things. It's kind of fascinating.
  • Prioritize it. Put on a cartoon for your kids. Turn off your phone (or not, if you're using it for your practice...) but make it important to you. It's not about the exercise being important. If that were the case, then you could go to the gym. But this is about you. About connecting your mind to your body to your breath. Having a little conversation with yourself, seeing how you're doing, seeing what's stressful, seeing if you can put aside the stress for a mere 30 minutes to be still. It's so important to be still. If you don't have a lot of time, cut out 20 min in the morning when you wake up. That's what my Joe does. If you have a lot of time but a lot of distractions, be patient. It's ok to stop after 10 min and put the binky back in your baby's mouth. It's ok to pause after 23 min and drink some water. It's ok if an hour practice take 2 hrs because your mom called or you had an important email to answer. In an ideal world, you can carve out all that time just for yourself. But it's ok if you're not in an ideal world.
  • Create your world. Find a place you love. I've found that I love natural light and plants. It must be swept and clean. This helps me to focus on it. In addition to that, find a program you like! My Melece doesn't like Yoga with Adriene very much. And that's ok. It's not for everyone. Try out different things! Not all instructors are the same. AND you DON'T have to go to a class. Confession, I've never once been to a class. I'm entirely "self" taught, with youtube, apps, reading up on stuff, and lots of practice. I believe the best yoga is done on your own when you're not worried about how you look. Because it doesn't matter how you look. My Fallen Angel pose up there looks horribly crooked and comical most of the time. It's fun to laugh about, and I don't care that I don't look perfect because I'm alone. 

It's crazy. To not care about looking perfect. There's not a lot of time in my life where I feel like that. 

Now if you're sitting here saying I WANT to, but I can't....

Here are some things.

  1. You don't have to be strong. I'm not strong. It's hilarious how little muscles I have. I'm VERY unsculpted. I've got a blobby post baby body.
  2. You don't have to be flexible. Joe is NOT flexible. Despite his time in gymnastics as a youth, he couldn't touch his knees for a while. But he's growing. 
  3. You don't have to be a hippy. Heaven knows I'm not. Or wasn't... I still drink soda after many of my practices, and take ibruprofin for headaches like it's going out of style. I enjoy the thought of working in corporate America sometimes. (Hippies hate that, right?)
  4. To reiterate, you don't have to look like a catalog. My first down dog was painful and awkward. Painfully awkward, even. But I listened and focused on areas for improvement. 
  5. You don't have to become a yogi. You can just do it for fun. And run still. Or lift weights. Or watch Netflix. 
This IS your world. 

But know this also.

This is where it gets hippy and emotional. Sorry guys.

Your body has power you can't even comprehend. You'll be amazed at the way the energy bursts from every limb when you do your first arm balance pose. You'll be surprised at how quickly you're able to advance through things when you unlock your confidence and true inner strength. You'll learn about new muscles. You'll feel the blood pump through you in a way unlike anything else. You'll feel your mind relax and sharpen, somehow simultaneously. It is an incredible high. When you finally get it, when it finally clicks, you can take on the world. You can. 

Take it on with me.


Rough One

I'm getting increasingly terrible at blogging. I'm not super great at goals. Or blogging goals. Or goals about making 5000 steps when it's over 100 degrees out. Or goals about doing some big adventure every day.

I've been doing bujo lately, though...

bujo: Kinda like journaling and planning and doodling all had a baby.

That's the literal definition from the dictionary.

But nah yeah it's cool. I make note of my days. I stay organized. I make it look pretty. And my life gets recorded in small amounts. So it's not like nothing is getting recorded. Just not for the whole world.

Besides instagram/facebook.

I kinda put everything out there, huh.

Well. The boys are asleep so I thought I'd write some. There is something different about writing on the computer. I'm pretty fantastic at typing. I can type fast! And I love the sound of clicking. And watching the words fly across the screen. I like that. And writing is something I can do. Writing is one place where I don't feel like I need to compare myself to others. It's a nice art, in that way. Writing is just me. And here is my most efficient place of doing that writing.

What has been going on lately...

Little M was blessed.

It was a beautiful weekend, surrounded by family. Lion child and M were very spoiled with all of the attention from both sets of grandparents, their great grandparents, and one of their uncles. Lots of playing outside. The weather has been marvelous, not a day over 110 in some time.

Which is kind of pathetic, that I consider that marvelous.

And we've resorted to talking about weather on this blog, so things are very thrilling right now.

Things truly are pretty exciting though. We like to keep our life full of changes. Like car shopping, planning remodels, work... And boy work has been great. I've picked up more time. I realized that I have the ability to control our financial situation with my work. So I took the reins and did just that. I feel a lot happier when I'm working like this.


I've been continuing with my yoga thing. If you're on instagram, you see that. A lot. But my instagram is private, so for all of you at home...

I think I could do to use way more b&w, don't think there's nearly enough there.

Yoga has been really great. I started it shortly before becoming pregnant with M, and he really did put my progress on hold, as much as I didn't want to admit it. Inversion poses and twists are NOT great when you're carrying an 8lb baby on the front of your body. I kept the practice going in order to stay flexible and fit (and it paid off in labor!) but didn't progress. Really just maintained. I did build strength though, because chaturangas with a said 8lb baby on your front really strengthen your arms.

Some words on yoga.

I've been fighting myself again. That's vague enough for you. But this yoga thing has helped me de-OH SHOOT THE OLDER CHILD IS AWAKE.


Yoga has helped me maintain fitness of body and mind. Watching one's body stretch and do things that typically aren't found in nature really fuels your mind with confidence. 30% of the time I look at the pictures I take of my routines and think "Heugh, that is what I look like?" but 70% of the time I think "Woah! I can do that?! Not too shabby!"

And that's pretty great.


What else to talk about.

I'm not really sure.

I suppose I have this wanderlust lately? But wandering is significantly more difficult in that heat that was afore mentioned and with two little boys. So I've been trying to think of ways to meet that need for adventure from the confines of an air conditioned room.

It's tricky.

If you have any ideas, let me know.

This whole blog post has felt wholly uninspired. So I'm gonna cut it out and go bujo some before I start critiquing this too much. 

Everyone have a swell day, you hear? Tah tah for now, my readers. 



Life is normal now. As normal as can be with two under two. Which is... Well, it depends on the day. Sometimes it's pretty normal. Other days I want to pull out my own teeth! Super! 

First item of business today, testing out my webcam. Because it's a new one, got it yesterday, and I'm starting work next week. Which is a whole 'nother kind of "normal." The kind of normal you need to brace yourself for, by hanging black out curtains in the nursery to hopefully get your babes to sleep longer, and the kind of normal you DON'T brace yourself for because you want to take advantage of staying up as late as you can for as long as you can. When you work at 4am, you can't stay up late anymore. Or you can, but then you look like death in the morning.

Webcam works. And this is my blogging room/office. And Joe's office. Hah. Blogging room. As if I blog.

Oh the babies are asleep. I think one of them is sick. That's why I'm blogging. TIME FOR IT.

The last month.

The last two months?

Bought a house, had my in laws in town for a week, had my mom in town for two weeks, had a baby, had my mother in law in town for a week, had husband off work for two weeks, visited Utah for a week...

It was a lot. It was a lot of not routine. And now we're getting back to it.

But that two weeks of husband off were pretty swell. Preettttty swell.

First, the basis. He gets two weeks of paid leave for vacation time. Which is really hard on me. I joke that as a teacher, you get paid in vacation time. And working for VIPKid I get all the time I want. So when we're put on a constraint like TWO WEEKS it really freaks you out. Don't even get me started on next year when we're hitting up the big H. As in Hawaii. Without kids. Whatever.

But Joe's work threw us a bone in the form of two weeks paternity leave. Didn't get that with child #1! It almost makes it worth it to have kids... almost ;) WINK WINK WINK.

Wait. Don't read into that. I'm not pregnant. I'm joking about having kids being worth it, because of course it is. But two weeks makes it extra super.

So we crammed those two weeks full of as much as possible.

Part of which was a lot of cleaning and finishing the last touches of unpacking. Which Joe was less than thrilled about. It's a rough thing when you learn that your wife cleans the house, YES, every DAY! Because she's a little obsessive about crumbs on the floor and the toddler is a little obsessive about leaving crumbs on the floor. It's his primary hobby.

But we also hit up Tucson. We're not in a hurry to live there... Though the mountains were nice.

Speaking of mountains. I was going on and on, on the drive to Tucson, about the mountains. Joe at one point laughed and said they weren't mountains, they were glorified hills. Sure.... but there WAS a respectable mountain in Tucson. Anyway.

Also hit up Utah, and when you see the mountains in Utah, you realize where "glorified hills" comes from. Living in AZ has me saying a lot of AZ things like "Wow, look at those mountains!" and "It's so green here!" and "Rain would feel really nice." and "Only 95? It's a beautiful day!" and "Three whole pine trees? This feels like the mountains!"

We used to joke, as kids, because my grandparents would talk like that a lot, and we thought it was old-people talk. Nope. It's AZ living talk.

K. Hit up Tucson for the LDS Tucson Temple Open House. It was gorgeous. It's a very unique building! A very beautiful one. The grounds were desert landscaped, which we noticed was a trend through Tucson. In Gilbert, people seem to try to forget that we live in the desert.


Oh, hit up the Grand Canyon.

Yes, little one #2 is wearing clothes. Just not a lot, because we were wrapped together the whole time and it got hot. And never mind our weird squinty "Where do I look" eyes because the sun was everywhere. I cannot emphasize how much sun there was.

Joe: "Lara, have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?"
Me: "I think so, but not since I was really young."
Joe: "Then you must have been M's age, because you'd remember it if you were older."


That there is a joke about my memory skills that are slightly alarming. 

We'll talk about that later, but it involves the unfolding tale of me realizing I remember things back to 1 year old, vividly, and my mom saying that maybe that means I've got some kind of social disorder or something.

We'll talk about that later.

But the Grand Canyon. You get there, you park or ride the bus or however you get there, and you'll probably hit up the visitor center first, it's only smart. And there you'll see that there's a 5 min walk to the nearest lookout, so that's what you'll do.

5 minutes later, you'll be there, you'll see this big ol hole in the earth, and you'll realize what the big deal about the Grand Canyon is.


It's a freaking huge hole in the earth. It's mind blowing. It's fascinating. It's hypnotizing.

And then you'll say "Ok swell, we've seen the Grand Canyon!"

But since you decided at 7pm the night before to drive up there, you decide to make a day of it and hit up all the stops at this big ol canyon, not expecting much.

But oh there is much to see.

It's interesting how interesting a big ol hole in the ground can be from every angle.

Reminds me of a quote.

Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.

Funny quote of the Grand Canyon.... But I don't like baseball. That can't be emphasized enough. Though I do enjoy sitting in a baseball stadium if it means there's interesting smelling food, interesting looking people, and the promise of fireworks.


This has been all very rambly. And has had very little to do with routine.

But I did say I'd blog, didn't I? So here you go. Me. Or you... Or whoever this promise was made to.

Martha Stewart, signing out.



A Birth Story For The Newest

Well well well, what have we here.

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to staaaart FOCUS.


Late summer, I was hit with the overwhelming panic that I was pregnant. I wasn't pregnant though. It was impossible for me to be pregnant when I thought I was, far too early. But still, I bought a lot of tests, wasted a lot of money, did a lot of googling, panicked a lot. I finally reassured my brain that it was just random panic, that I wasn't really pregnant, that I could calm down.

Until two weeks later I WAS pregnant. I cried a lot. I was really scared, I won't lie. I'm a planner, as I've been saying a lot lately, and this was definitely a big change in plans. Our town home was too small, the Lion was too young, and I was NOT mentally ready.

But 40 weeks and 4 days is a long time.

The pregnancy was very easy. No sickness. Very little weight gain. My hair grew like a glorious weed. I had a thought about the nature of my child, that he was determined and driven, but that he was also very considerate and sensitive. My gallbladder went on the fritz a couple of times, but since the new one has been born, I haven't had any problems there either. All in all, there were a lot of tender mercies sent my way during a really scary time for me.

Which worked out in our favor, as we had been asked by our landlord if we could possibly be moved out of our apartment on our due date... and we were being asked this just 6-7 weeks before said due date.

So the stress picked up. Lots of prayers asking this baby to stay put were said.

And those prayers were answered. We moved in and unpacked. My mom came to town to help with the oldest and watch him when we would inevitably drive to the hospital. And the baby stayed put.

I became very frustrated when I was checked during a weekly appointment, at 39 weeks, and was told that I had zero progress. I took some deep breaths and resolved to go to the front desk and schedule an appointment for 40 weeks, on my due date, and to, at that appointment, schedule an induction. After all, my mom couldn't stay in town forever. We needed to have an end in sight. Alas, the front desk was unable to fit me back in for another appointment until I was a week over due.

And while those 39 weeks flew by, suddenly time got mixed with a bowl of honey, and things came to a near stand still. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. I just convinced myself that pregnancy was a state of life that I would be stuck in forever. After all, I've spent the majority of the last 2 years pregnant.

But the signs were all there. Every night I'd experience regular contractions. Painful enough to wake me up, but not painful enough to stop me from sleeping. And no closer than 10 minutes apart. This went on for several days. I expressed my exhaustion and frustration to a friend of mine, Amanda, a doula, a saving grace who lived a state a way... (check out her business here, Utah friends. She is incredible.)

Amanda suggested that maybe the baby was posterior. Which explained 100% of what was going on. The oldest child was also posterior, so this made a lot of sense. She sent me some articles with suggestions of how to get the baby to turn. I put said practices to work, and that night was not cursed with the contractions! I slept! Through the night! No contractions! I was relieved, but also a little sad, in a way. The contractions were telling me that I was close. With them gone, I had nothing to tell me an end was in sight.

Until 8pm the next night, the day after I, presumably, turned the baby. 5 minutes apart, going steady. I worked out a lot of pain management techniques on my own, enough to let Joe sleep. I didn't really, at any point, tell Joe what was going on. I didn't want him to get his hopes up and lose sleep if he had to go to work the next morning. So I labored on my own until about 10pm, when I got one blessed hour of sleep in which I dreamed that I sold my soul to the devil for that one hour of sleep. Woke up at 11pm to the contractions coming on strong. I managed the pain on my own again for one hour, as they grew closer together, 3-4 minutes apart. At the one hour mark, I woke up Joe and asked him to help me put the last few things in our hospital bag.

He helped me, or did all of the work as I screamed into a pillow.

"But Lara, are you emotionally prepared for them to send you home if it's not time?"
"They are NOT sending me home. I can't TAKE THIS PAIN. I will tell them I'm almost a week past due and I will throw a fit until they keep me."

Oh, I was GBS positive too, which meant I had to receive two rounds of antibiotics, which would take about 8 hours.


I went into my mom's room and told her we'd be going to the hospital and I went into my oldest's room and held a very confused him as I sobbed into his cheek and smothered him with kisses and thanked him for being my first baby, and promised him that he would always have that special place in my heart, that we would always be a team, him and I.

I forgot to mention that during that day, the Lion child was sick with quite a high fever. We battled it with Motrin, but my heart broke, leaving him, worrying about him...

A 25 minute drive to the hospital with Joseph prying my fingernails out of the back of his hand.

We get to the hospital and the nurse tells me she'll check me to see how I'm doing. I was pessimistic.

"I'm famous for not progressing ever... so..."
"You're at a 7!"

And I almost cried. I never expected to hear that. I had the terrible adrenaline shakes and shivers that people don't tell you about, but I assumed it's because by that time, it was 2am, and it was cold for Arizona.

The epidural was heaven send, because at that point, my pain management techniques were failing me in a major way. That epidural was like chocolate to a person that just ran across a dementor. It warmed my very soul. And literally warmed me too, I was a little freezing.

The nurse, bless her heart, started me on the antibiotic drip at around 2:15am and then let me sleep. She'd come in to help me move to a new position every now and then as this poor baby was stressed and his heart rate kept dropping.

A little before 6am, the nurse very briskly started moving around the room, very nervous about baby's heart. She called in another nurse to help try to get his heart rate back up. While the nurse was coming, she checked me again, and I was at a 10, and ready to go. Which explained the baby's stress!

The doctor came into the room and everyone was set. Well...

I was so nervous. I'd been up all night, it was so early, I was exhausted, I was TERRIFIED, and the baby's heart was not handling labor well, to that point. And the antibiotics hadn't had enough time. I didn't really want to talk much, I was mentally preparing myself for a c-section, because I didn't think I had the strength and energy to get the baby here before he became too distressed.

Until about 5 minutes later, after 3 pushes, when my second born child, another son, a beautiful baby boy joined our family at 7lbs, 14oz, 21.5 inches, 6:09am.

And I cried. I didn't cry with the first born. But a hole I didn't know was in my heart was filled in that moment, when I held him for the first time. And we cried together a bit. And I whispered to him how loved he was, how wanted he was, how I would be there for him for the rest of his life, and how we've prepared a spot in our family, just for him.

And now we're a family of four. And our family feels whole.

Welcome to the world, little one.

The kind of person

If, for some reason, this blog says that I'm publishing as Martha Stewart, it's because I am. And when I say that, I mean it's because blogger won't let me log out of my husband's account so unless I want to do some back alley shady browser business to get onto my account (like I had to do yesterday) then I have to use my husband's account. That still doesn't explain WHY his account name is Martha Stewart, but honestly, we can't explain that either. It's a weird thing that happened about 2 years ago to his account and we can't fix it. So. While it may appear that Martha Stewart is writing my blog posts, just know, it's actually me, Lara. I can see how you'd get confused, we have a lot of letters in common, we both are great around the house, and we are big into ankle jewelry.

That last bit is a lie. I hate ankle jewelry.

Well, before his younger brother makes a debut on the blog in the form of a birth story, I wanted to pay tribute to the oldest, the Lion as I call him.

And the kind of person he is.

He is the kind of person who will hysterically laugh at your foot tapping on the floor until he falls over backwards.

He is the kind of person who will wake up from your tandem nap earlier than you, sneak away, and find something to stuff in your mouth while you are still sleeping. Yesterday it was actually food, which could be a good or a bad thing.

He is the kind of person who is "aggressively friendly" as we call it, who will get up in your BUSINESS in the name of friendship. He is still learning about personal space.

He is the kind of person who will hear a kid crying across the room, or across the grocery store, and start shouting some kind of nonsense at them. Not sure if it's reassuring or threatening. It depends on the day, maybe.

He is the kind of person who will bargain with you to get what he wants. And gosh darn it, he's got puppy eyes, and we have a real hard time not giving in. I've got a heart of coal though. So the kid is out of luck.

He is the kind of person who wakes up in the morning and walks around the house singing. Joseph will walk around the house humming when he is happy, that is one of my favorite traits. You can tell Joseph is happy when he's humming. It would seem that his son is taking after him.

He is the kind of person who will stubbornly help you. Try sweeping with him. He will find something in the house that resembles a broom and neatly disperse your dirt pile back all over the house before you can get to a dust pan.

He is the kind of person who will open his mouth when you throw water in his face to wash him off. 

He is the kind of person who doesn't even have to LOOK at spinach to know he doesn't like it, and pick it up off his plate to drop it on the floor. He seriously doesn't even look at it.

He is the kind of person who loves the hug game, where I sit on one side of the room, and Joseph sits on the other side, and he just runs back and forth between us and our open arms, giggling and hugging.

He is the kind of person who had every right to be terrified and perhaps hurt and angry over welcoming a new brother into his family, after all, he had been the total center of our lives, the center of everyone's attention for his entire life, and suddenly the spotlight changed. But instead he took to his brother, gently touching his hair, nose, hands and feet, giggling and staring with big eyes, loving immediately. 

He is the kind of person who has taught me more about myself and unconditional love over the last 16 months. And I adore the living daylights out of him. 


A Woman of Her Word

Pretty sure I promised you guys a blog post in May.

And guess what.

It's May.

Wow ok so. A lot has happened. I'm actually interested in getting back into blogging, but more on that later. Maybe in this post or another one in the future. Either way... I want to write more, and this is where I can do that. Because I could fill up books and books of Moleskin journals with all the writing I want to do, but that would hurt my hand. And I'd run out of pens. And journals.


How do I want to go about this. I could make this an essay post? Or I could write just a LOT in this post. Let's just see where this takes us.

We'll start with the easy.

We bought a house.

It all started at the beginning of this year, as the clock struck midnight, and we wrote a resolution to buy a house this year. There were a lot of reasons behind that decision, we needed more space, we were tired of renting, we wanted a new adventure.... A few months passed. More like a few weeks. We signed a contract on our rental town home one more time, with the end date being September 2017. We'd look on Zillow for fun, we learned different things about buying houses...

Until Joe's work implemented a policy stating that remote work was no longer an option. This was a bummer for us, but imagine the bummer it was for our landlord, who worked for the same company, but lived in Colorado. He was given a few weeks, and was asked to come back to the state. Of course he wanted his home back! So he asked us to think about moving out, if we could. He knew we were buying a house anyways, and just asked if we could move up the timeline.

We did.

A lot.

Found a realtor, a mortgage company, a house, put in an offer, went through a nightmare of negotiations but a daydream of financial windfall and enormous blessings, closed, cleaned, and moved all within the space of 6 weeks.

We became first time home owners the day before Joseph turned 28. Happy Birthday, Joseph dear. 

We moved in on Joseph's birthday! A busy and exhausting day. Furthered by the fact that...

Number two big update, it was a week before my due date.


I never did tell you.

Well, yes. Late summer I was met with a whirlwind of emotions and two pink lines on a test. No one really talks about what you go through, emotionally, with a surprise pregnancy. Especially when your oldest isn't even a year old yet, and the surprise definitely wasn't in your plans. I don't think this post is the place to dive in deep on that. But maybe another time.

But the last year brought a lot of growth. A lot of surrender, in a lot of ways. A lot of prayer and reliance on a plan that had to be greater than my own, it was the main way I could stay positive. That had to be certain. A lot of conversation with an unborn child, trying to learn about who he was, what he was like, what his nature would be. 

So we moved, when I was 39 weeks pregnant, and the baby boy stayed put for another 11 days, making a very abrupt arrival. But his arrival deserves a post of its own, so stay tuned for that.

I did say I wanted to blog more, right?


We live in a new area. We're still in Arizona, but it seems like a different world. Rabbits and road runners run across our front yard. We HAVE a yard. We have rose bushes and fruit trees and all sorts of everything! There's parks and ponds and pools and parties. We live a 5 minute walk from the park.

And oh this walk. 

Down a pathway lined with flowers and trees. It's a little too perfect, a little surreal. 

Life has taken a lot of uh. Analysis lately. A lot of change came about in a short amount of time. Joseph hit his 2 year work anniversary today, and I was surprised that it had already been so long, but surprised that it had only been 2 years as well. 

In those two years we've moved to a new state, brought two boys into the world, bought a house, I started a new job.... With the majority of all of that happening in the last 9 months. 

With all that change, it's easy to lose who you are. You become so busy DOING that you forget maybe why you are doing things. I've had many conversations with myself, figuring out who I was and what I wanted.

Thank you Kon Marie for helping with that!

I cut things that didn't bring joy, and welcomed the empty space to fill it with joy that was purely choice, not mandatory. 

Things that bring me JOY (in no particular order)

My husband, my sweet Joe.
My two boys.
My job (just teaching in general).
My beliefs. 
My family
Being outside

That list is not comprehensive of what brings me joy, but things up there are things I'm using to fill my time. 

So here is the New World Adventure. ALL INCLUSIVE. Is that what I mean? Nothing barred, it's all on the table. You know all my big secrets! I'm looking forward to exploring through writing again, to making it a part of my life and a way to meditate. It will be interesting! All that change I talked about, there's a lot to catch you up on, a lot for me to learn more about as I write.

So let's see where this takes us.

Post Script:

Joseph will appear in pictures, I swear hahaha. The boys' Oma (my mama!) has been in town and her camera has gotten a lot of use, mostly when Joe was at work. But maybe a dAtE nItE post will be making an appearance on a blog near you! A BLOG SO CLOSE IT'S THE ONE YOU'RE READING RIGHT NOW.


The Recent

Goodness. It's been a month or six....

The babe is asleep in my lap and if I move, he wakes up. Battery is low... let's see if we can get this done before "the end."

I don't even know where to start! I guess if you want to know all of the last 6 months, ask me, and I'll tell you. Maybe you'll even get some little sneak peeks here and there around my blog. I've been MIA around here. Writing a blog regularly was starting to become a chore and as part of a minimalist lifestyle, I didn't want to do something that wasn't a need if it didn't bring me joy. And speaking of a minimalist lifestyle, most everything I do these days brings me some amount of joy, so that's pretty swell.

Hm. But there were vacations, sicknesses, new lives and lives lost, hard times and high times, family visiting us and visiting our families ourselves.

It's been busy.

To say the least.

But I thought I'd do an update as of late!


Our baby boy turned one year old. He's not much of a baby. He learned how to walk around the time my blog dropped off the face of the earth. He now runs and plays with his bike and laughs and is a regular toddler. We still like him. We'll keep him.

I got a job! I work for VIPKid now. They're an organization that contracts adults in the US to teach children in China how to speak English. For more info, check out this link! It's my first post-graduation job, and the pay is pretty decent. It's pennies on the dollar in comparison to Joe's full time job, but were I to do this full time, I'd be making near what teachers in Utah make full time.

For a rundown of my day, of late...

4:00am- Wake up
4:10am- No really, wake up
4:12am- Put on a bit of makeup so the webcam doesn't make me look dead or asleep.
4:14am- Put on orange shirt (uniform for VIPKid)
4:15am- Get a granola bar or pretzels
4:20am- Look over lessons for the day
4:30am-6:30am- Teach 4 tutoring sessions.
6:30am - Clean up "office." Some day we'll have space for a real office, and the daily set up and take down won't be needed. But I've got a snazzy system down now.
6:45am - Watch Netflix and attempt to sleep again.
8:00am- The babe wakes up and comes and sits with me while we play with quiet toys or read books as he struggles out of sleep. Somehow an hour goes by in this time. Sometimes I'll get messages from graphic design clients around now, and I'll work in my schedule to get the day set up.
9:00am - 30 minutes of yoga. I'm working through Yoga with Adriene, doing the Yoga Revolution series. I adore it. It's progressive, and it's exactly what my body and mind needs right now.
9:45am- Clean up yoga stuff
10:00am- Clean the house and get breakfast going for the little lion child. His favorite is chocolate... but uh what? No I never give him chocolate for breakfast! What! Crazy... hah...
10:30am- Shower and get ready, as well as shower the little one and get him ready. This is a process. So usually around...
12:00pm- We're finally ready to face the world. Now is when client work gets done, lesson prep for the following day, grocery errands get run, appointments are made, and laundry is done. Sometimes we go to the park! I'm not going to lie. Sometimes we watch a lot of Netflix and take naps.
5:30pm- The dad of the house comes home, and the little lion child promptly releases his hold on me and leaches onto his dad for the rest of the evening. Poor Joseph. Works all day, and works all night.
Now we get to cook dinner together.
Now we get to wrestle food down the lion's throat, and wrestle the food off the floor.
Now we get to wrestle him into the bath.
Now we get to relax for a few fleeting seconds.
Now we get to prepare food for the next day.
Now we get to laugh.
Now we get to engage in deep conversation. Or laugh at the makeup of the weather girl.
Now we get to brush our teeth and hair and rest our bones and sleep before the day wakes us up again.

I've never been so busy. Something about waking up at 4am makes you feel like you can't waste your day, so you do a lot more. I've also never felt so fulfilled and optimistic. I never realized how much I missed teaching until I started this job, and now there's a fire put back into me that was just getting by before. I love that I can still work in graphic design, I can still be there for every moment with the kid, and I still get to be with my Joe. I'm not at a point where I'm ready to return to a traditional classroom, though I miss it too. This has just been everything I've wanted.


This last year was hard. 2016 sucked and all that ya ya ya... but some personal challenges came into my life which I struggled with far more than I ever thought I would. I was feeling the "me" parts of me being taken away, and I didn't have the passion or energy to fight for them anymore. Perhaps I'll talk more about those challenges later, but it was rough. I don't think I ever fully sank into depression, and the lowest points never were as low as my all time lowest points. But it was hard. I set goals, I made promises to myself that I wouldn't let myself go, I would maintain who I was, I would maintain my passions, yet I did not. You know how easy it is to wake up and say "Today we just won't... today is hard. I'm allowed to not do anything, today is hard. I've done enough already, I've given enough, I don't want to do anymore." For a while there, that mindset became daily.

And I don't know what it is about these last two weeks. Maybe I'm still running on a post-vacation high. Maybe it's the new year and feel of a fresh start. Maybe it's the job... I don't know. But now I have that gusto back again.

And it's not without sacrifices.

I would be remiss if I didn't give honorable mention to my wonderful husband, Joseph. Joseph works so hard to provide for our family. He works long hours. My heart shattered this week, on our baby's birthday, while watching videos of him through the year and hearing Joseph say "Some day in Heaven I want to watch him grow up like you did." People give dads a hard time lately. Moms have it hard, moms deserve a break, but going to work for 8+ hrs a day is no break. And still, Joseph comes home and runs to his boy and says in the voice I will always remember "Heyyyyy! Look at you!" He helps me make dinner. He cleans the lion up after dinner. While I set up my "office" at night, he reads the lion stories and puts him in pajamas. Between 4:30-6:30am, he's the one to hold the lion if he cries, despite the fact that there will be no time for him to nap during the day. And if ever I say I'm thirsty, he gets me a glass of water. He's always there to serve me, and he's stood by me in helping me chase my dream of teaching. Yes, I bring home money, but the added things asked of Joseph during this time deserve far more pay than the money coming it. But he does it because he sees the excitement it gives me, and because it is something I love to do. I've been overwhelmed with gratitude towards him in the past few weeks.


That took a direction.

Of sorts.

I don't know when I'll blog again. Probably... before May... or around May... maybe. We'll see. Big things are happening in our lives this year, big things! Some known, some unknown. The new year has that buzz about itself saying "This will be eventful. Pay attention or you'll miss it." So far, it is off to a great start!


The one that I tried to keep light but some heavy stuff snuck in (THE STRING PROJECT)

I'm gonna try to keep it light because this blog seems really heavy sometimes. But I'll keep it light for the first bit.

Life has been pretty nuts. I haven't been HOME home in ummmm a month. We spent the last week of June with my family in Utah, came home for a week-ish, went to Utah again for Joe's brother's wedding, came back to house sit for a while. I still make it home every day, to make sure the candles and paint and electronics aren't physically melting in this heat. But it's just not the same. That's ok though. We're coming to the end of the craziness here.

Life with the kid is pretty neat too. He's 6 months old. He crawls. He yells at me. He laughs a lot. He stands. He grows much too fast.

Life with the husband is wonderful as usual. He's 327 months old. He walks. He doesn't yell at me. He laughs a lot. He stands. He doesn't grow anymore physically because his growth plates have closed but he grows emotionally and mentally and spiritually.

Oh it's my birthday this week? So now when I tell people I'm 24, I won't be lying! (Note: I've only been saying I'm 24 for the last few weeks. I'm a rounder. I round. Makes life more spicy.) The spoils for my birthday have been spoiled already, with a sewing machine from my mother that I use to make dresses that make me look like a hospital patient (because I'm not great) and dozens of pillow cases. You can just let your mind imagine what I'd do with that many pillow cases. And the other spoil is yoga gear that my Joe needed me to pick out so I wouldn't raise eyebrows at him when he presented it to me.

I've been seriously kicking my butt with yoga and kicking yoga's butt with me. It's an every day thing. It makes me feel alive and wonderful. It gives me the connection I need. I'm ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE NOW where people are all "Oh I have this problem" and I'm all "OH YOGA FIXES THAT ASAP."

So I fill my days with yoga... having a kid that likes to yell means I'm interrupted a lot, and I read books to him and play with him until he's fine with me leaving him alone for another 5 minutes. So while normal people can do the routines I like in an hour, takes me about 3. I don't mind. I love it.

I fill my days with website testing, where I go on this website and they have me record myself saying "Oh uh yes this head bar is really uh... striking. And I like the... intuitiveness of the... intuition... buttons." But I make pretty good money doing it. I mean.... as much as a baby sitter would make. But I don't have to actually baby sit anyone besides the baby that lives in my house already! Score.

I miss teaching. Oh so much. I don't think a day goes by where I don't think of it. I feel blessed to have found my passion in life as fast as I did but it makes it hard to miss. What's that saying... "How lucky I am to have someone that makes missing them so hard..." Except replace those human words with like.... teaching word things.

That sentence there is a prime example of what makes me a fantastic educator!

And now for the deep stuff.

This week has been hard. I do a good job of keeping the hard stuff to myself. I think it's the lack of home-ness? Part of it is that my home is tidied and in tip-top-spark-joy fashion and being away from that for extended periods of time causes me to lose things and feel out of place. That doesn't make me boring. I think it's good for a person to have found a place of tranquility, and even better if that place is their own home. So it's fine for me to miss it. Do I love travel and visiting and such? Oh so much yes. But yeah, I miss my own home, and it brings challenges.

Also maybe it's the time of year? The extreme heat that drives me to clothes that aren't my comfort zone (sweaters and long pants for life... that doesn't make sense for a desert girl but then again I don't make sense, pretty much ever, so c'est la vie, which is pronounced Say - lah- vee- and not pronounced phonetically, which I learned recently.) Because this time last year was hard too. So here I am again.

But I've become much more disciplined. The hard times I just take rather than panicking over and worrying about. I know they come and I let them hit me and pass. I don't enjoy the hit but I let it pass.

Anyways what am I talking about.

Let me preface by saying that I appreciate my friends and family and well wishers so much. And when you say things like "You don't need to worry about that, you look great!" I really appreciate it. I know you mean it and I know it comes from your heart.

But I deal with body dysmorphia. That means essentially that whatever it is you see, I don't. Maybe my eyes are broken or something but I truly see someone different in the mirror.

Yoga has been a passion of mine because after my first month of doing it, I think I saw the real me for the first time since I can recall. That was wonderful. It didn't last forever, but I remember that. And things have been much better since doing yoga, in general.

And yet those hard times I talk about still come. And I don't let them totally consume me but they do hit me. And I look in the mirror and think about throwing out all of my clothes because who am I kidding, they don't fit, they make me look like a sausage in casing and blah blah blah.

Melece, my dearest friend, has gotten the brunt of my venting. I feel bad about it but I think it may be because she doesn't think it's the end of the world for me when I do come to her with my challenges. So she gave me homework last night.

"Take a roll of string, and think about how big you are in the place you think you are biggest. Take that roll and cut the string to the circumference of what you think the biggest part of you is. And then actually hold the string around you, to see what you really are."

Well, essentially that. Sorry if I slaughtered your words, Melece! I didn't go for the biggest part of me, but I went for where I was bothered at the moment.

It took me a while. To estimate what the circumference of "where I was bothered" was. (So many "w" words there.)

I wanted to be honest. In the moment I was struggling, but whenever I held out the string my mind kept saying "No, that's too big. Be honest. Be honest with how you feel right now. Don't be excessively mean right now, because you will know that you weren't being honest."

And yet I wondered what would happen if I estimated myself too small. I think that would be even worse. I think that would have ruined me. So I sat there for a good long while, holding up different lengths of the string until I came to something I thought was accurate.


And I held it around me.

And I took the ball of string and wrapped it around me once and cut the string to compare what I thought I was with what the reality was.

There was a marked difference.

And as Melece said "You will see that you tend to be mean to yourself."

I held the strings in my hand for a while, and stared at the difference, then wrapped them into loops and put them in my wallet as a reminder that I'm better than I think.

I stared at the strings though, for a good long while. And I thought about how I treat myself vs how I deserve to be treated. You always see those things that say "Find a man or friend or something like that who treats you how you deserve to be treated" and honestly that wasn't that hard. I live by the golden rule and people treat me with fairness and kindness, because usually I treat them the same. But I don't apply the same principle to myself. My body has done me so much good and I think of it in such low regard. That's not something I intentionally do. It's not something I can just fix with a flip of a switch. But those two strings helped more than I could have helped myself in that moment.

And then I thought about Melece, and THIS IS WHERE IT'S BOUT TO GET SAPPY Y'ALL but have I ever told you how I met Melece, or most of my dearest friends? It's because once upon a time I sent out letters once a week to some guy and I needed  a support group while I did that for some reason, so I joined one, and met my friends. Sometimes one of them would message me and we'd start talking and become soul sisters, and sometimes I got the guts to message them. But that's what happened and I was lead to people like that. People like Melece, who, in that exact moment of my life knew exactly what to do to help me.

I'm grateful for my family and husband who do that so often, who I met through just being born, or met through a blind date (hint: That one is about my husband)... but those random friends I met on the internet are something unusual, I think. And I'm so grateful for them. Call these things what you will... fate, karma, "the universe", or God (personally, I attribute it to my God), but these were friends I needed for various stages in my life and I believe they were put here for a reason.

So now this got WAY more deep than I intended but there you go. I guess I got bored and needed to write. So.... yes. Ok bye now!