Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Warning: The following post contains an obscene amount of dashes and quotation marks. I apologize to any English majors out there...

The other day I was at the store with Jason and the boys. Caleb had to go the restroom, so I walked to the back of the store with him and waited outside the door. It was a small store and there were only two one-person restrooms. While I was standing there, a woman came up and asked me if I was waiting in line. I quickly and politely responded “Oh no, go ahead. I’m just waiting for my _____ […long thoughtful pause; welcome to the inner workings of my brain… the correct answer to fill in the blank is technically “step-son”, but that sure doesn’t sound right. I can’t say “husband’s son”. Even though that answer is also true, it makes me sound distant and almost burdened by the son, and that’s definitely not true. At this point I’m realizing that this woman is no longer paying attention to me, nor does she care what the fill-in-the-blank riddle will conclude with. She just needs to use the bathroom. Things are getting weird now, so I panic and throw out the first thing I can think of…] --friend.”

This is Jacob and Caleb...

They are great kids, and I love them to death. I knew that marrying Jason meant I would be a “step-mother”, but I guess I just never took the time to step into that title. It doesn’t sound right to me. I don’t feel like a step-mom. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely feel like I am with family when I’m with them. I just feel like I am the “Molly” in the family. Not the step-mom. To be honest, “friend” is the most accurate word that I could have found in that moment. Maybe that’s ok. Maybe it’s not. I really don’t know.

As I already said, they are amazing kids. They are respectful, loving, and have always made me feel welcome. We are great friends, and we enjoy each other’s company. But can I leave my role at just that? Is that healthy? How do I define my role without stepping on the toes of pre-existing roles? They have a mother, and she is very present and wonderful to them. She has a role that is hers alone.

In a lot of ways I think that I am better equipped for this situation than anyone possibly could be. Not due to anything that I’ve done, but rather how I was raised. I grew up in a blended family, and I have no doubt that my parents set the perfect example of how to get it right. I was 5 when my mom married again, and I am so thankful for the blessings that followed. I gained not only a step-dad, but also 2 step-brothers. My step-dad is amazing, and I love him very much. He filled every role expected from the head-of-the-house, but not once did I ever feel that he wanted to take a role that belonged to my father. He was respectful of my dad and his place in my life and in my heart. I never felt like I was forced to choose sides. I never had divided loyalties. I never heard a bad thing said about either one of them, from either one of them. I have no doubt that God intentionally gave me the life He did, and placed me where I am now for a reason.

I may have a lot of learning to do still, and a lot of role to define still, but I feel ok. I am well-equipped and well-loved, and am confident that all will be well. And until I figure it all out (if ever I do), I think I’m ok being “friend”. Or maybe the next time someone asks me if I’m in line at the bathroom, and I can just simplify to “Oh no, go ahead.”

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Heart Will Choose To Say

One of my long-standing best friends is getting married tomorrow. Today I had the joy of being at her rehearsal, which was followed by a barbeque at her new home. I got to meet her soon-to-be husband, her new puppy, and the new house in which she’ll begin a new chapter in life. I have the blessing of celebrating new beginnings with her today, and I am so excited for her.

While at the barbeque, I received a text message from another of my best friends, Annabel. She was writing to bring me news of a mutual friend of ours. This friend was also engaged to be married soon, and today her fiancé passed away unexpectedly. My relationship with this friend has been strained over the years- the reasons for the strain are trivial and not worth mentioning. My heart is broken for her.

In one day, I celebrate joyously with my friend. In the same day, I ache for another. One friend stands at the wake of a new beginning, with everything to look forward to. Another is blindsided in the wake of loss, and sees her daydreamt plans slip away from her. I cannot begin to imagine.

As I’ve sifted through the thoughts and feelings that have crossed me today, I keep hearing the lyrics to the song Blessed Be Your Name.

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away. How true those words are, and how easily we forget. Today I feel helpless, as often I do when people break. And so I choose to pray, as often I do when I feel helpless. I pray for my friend that is hurting, that she will praise His name in her brokenness. I pray for my friend that is celebrating, that she will praise His name in all her blessings. And I pray for myself, that I will praise His name for all that I have, all that I’ve lost, and whatever tomorrow brings with it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Today, I Conquered

I am afraid of heights. I am not only afraid of heights, I am curl-up-in-the-fetal-position-and-cry-until-my-feet-are-firmly-planted-on-solid-ground afraid of heights. That's right, I'm a sissy.
Jason and I took the boys to Seven Falls today. It's a beautiful place, but if you've never been here are some pictures...

Yes, you have to walk up those stairs. And even worse, you have to come back down them eventually. In case the above pictures don't do it justice, here is one more. Notice the tiny ant-like people down below...

I was petrified. I was gripping the railing so hard that my knuckles turned white and my forearms cramped up. But slow and steady wins the race, and eventually I made my way all the way to the top. The view up there was amazing! There were 2 or 3 trailheads at the top, so we decided to go for a hike. This was by far my favorite part of the day. The boys did amazing and didn't complain about being tired once.

I took tons of pictures of chipmunks, lizards, butterflies, fish. But every now and then I'd hear a squeal come from Jacob and he'd ask to use my camera. Here's the pictures he took...

I think he has an artistic eye.

After the hike, we had to undergo the daunting task of descending the Staircase of Doom. The boys were fine... Jason was fine... I was not fine. I was beginning to question the truth behind the old addage of "what goes up, must come down". In fact, I had grown quite fond of the mountain, and wouldn't mind making it my new home. But after watching Caleb and Jacob descend with such ease, I told myself I could handle it, too. My knuckles were again white, my arms ached, my legs were shaking visibly (which did not help the situation), and I felt absolutely nauseous. I would be lying to say that I didn't shed a tear or two. But I kept going. I looked straight at my feet and took one step at a time. All was going relatively well, until I overheard a kid behind me talking to his friend. I believe his words were "Ah man! Wouldn't it be awesome to skateboard down this!?" No. No it would not be awesome. The very thought made me swoon and near lose conscieousness right there. So I stopped and gripped the side, letting the imaginative boys pass, and after a small inner pep talk I continued my journey. Needless to say, I made it down safely. Necessary to say, I did not vomit.

Overall, the day was pretty amazing- and I walked away victorious on my still shaking legs.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh, Life Apart From My Headset...

A new position recently opened up at my work, and my brother-in-law put in a good word for me. It sounds like a pretty good opportunity, and he really encouraged me to apply and see what happens. So I did.

I was a little torn at first if I should apply or not. On one hand, it would be a big step up including a pay raise. Also among the pros, it would be a normal schedule and no more phones. I’ve spent over two years working a backwards schedule- working through nights, weekends, and holidays. And in that two years, I have also grown more than weary of the world of customer service. I actually am grateful for my experience here. It has helped me learn patience and servitude, even towards some of the most difficult, demeaning, and downright mean people imaginable. But I would certainly welcome the opportunity to do something other than customer service. Learning something new and moving up sounds pretty refreshing.

Con #1: Having a normal schedule means having a schedule opposite of Jason. He’s pretty much stuck working nights for now in order to work around his time with his kids. I would still see him, but it would be significantly less than now. Also, I’ve realized lately that I’ve grown pretty fond of the people I work with. As much as I complain about my backwards schedule, there are some perks to the late shift. It seems to draw a much more laid back and friendly crowd of co-workers. I’m a little surprised to admit that I would really miss some of them. And there’s also the fact that my supervisors have really been pouring into me lately, and made it clear that I have great chances of getting promoted in the call center when the opportunity comes.

So, I juggled my thoughts for a day or two. I talked to my brother-in-law about it a little, who is extremely helpful and wise. I talked to my current boss as well, and he was also really helpful. He assured me that I would be burning no bridges, and encouraged me to jump at any opportunity I can. And of course I talked to Jason. Our final conclusion was that I should just go for it, and sit back and prayerfully wait to see what happens.

I have tried for promotions in the past, and been let down. I have a terrible habit of getting something in my head, daydreaming about it, and getting my hopes up so high that I’m crushed if it doesn’t happen. I’m happy to say that is not the case this time. I am excited, and really am hoping I get it. But I also feel really comfortable with the prospect of staying where I’m at. Perhaps it’s because the decision was far from black and white. When weighing my options, the scales kept coming up even. I like that. It makes it a little easier to sit back and accept what God gives me.

SO…if you’re reading this and have a free second, would you mind saying a quick prayer for me? Just that God would continue to ease my heart and mind, and help me accept whatever may be. (And also that I would win the Powerball, but that’s only if you have 2 free seconds).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Wii Bit Sore

For the past several months I've been trying to workout regularly. There is a gym at my work, so I spend most of my breaks and lunches doing cardio of some sort, then I spend a little time after my shift lifting some light weights. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I've honestly been quite impressed with myself. My brother and sister and I have been talking about doing a triathalon type thing later this year. I was actually starting to believe that with the admirable level of discipline and devotion that I had shown, we would surely take first place.

But don't worry, my wandering ego has been contained and sorely bruised. By this...

A friend of ours from work bought Jason and I a Nintendo Wii as a wedding gift. I had only played one once before, and very briefly at that, but I really wanted one. We don't have any games yet except the one that comes with it, which is Wii Sports. In case you're not familiar with the latest video games of interest, this game includes tennis, golf, bowling, baseball, and boxing. I've become obsessed with the tennis one. It's the most addictive thing I've ever experienced.

The night we got the Wii, I hooked it up and proceeded to play until the wii morning hours (ha, I crack myself up). I woke up the following morning in what can only be described as "oh-my-goodness-I-feel-like-someone-pummeled-me-with-a-raw-slab-of-beef-all-night-long" kind of agony. After resigning myself to the fact that I would probably be spending the next 4-5 days in the horizontal postion, I tried to reach over to my phone so that I could promptly text that particular friend and curse him for bestowing such a painful fate upon me. Fortunately for him, my arm had been rendered utterly useless, and seemed incapable of responding to even the simple command of "move!"

Well, only by the grace of God was I able to lift myself out of bed, and have been slowly regaining the use of my limbs since. However I can't say that I've learned my lesson, as I've been playing golf just to waste time until I'm ready for another go at tennis. Perhaps I should try pushing myself a little harder in the gym at work. Or just quit the gym altogether and switch to a Wii-centered workout regime.

On a side note... I feel pretty ridiculous playing Wii Golf when this is the view off our balcony...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Home From Paradise

I am both happy and sad to say that I am home. Happy for safe travels and a safe return, sad for…well, not being on vacation any more. I now must slink back to my cubicle and reluctantly don the headset that I was so far away from these past 10 days… >insert sigh here<

Our trip was wonderful! We drove straight through the night from Denver to Las Vegas. This was my first time in Vegas…well, technically I’ve been there before, but I was under-aged and only driving through so it hardly counts. All I can say is “wow”. What a bazaar and sad, depressing place. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we had a blast there and enjoyed every minute of it; but the overall atmosphere is one of overwhelming brokenness and sin. SO, what better place to get married, right!? (hmmmm…) We got married the first day we were there. It was really fun actually. We picked a chapel and made an appointment and that was it. When we got there we met with the man doing the ceremony. He asked us a few questions and prayed with us (I know, you wouldn’t expect that in Vegas. I was surprised, too). He was actually a very sweet old man. The ceremony was brief, to say the least. I loved it though. It was intimate and personal and just what we wanted.

Here’s us outside the chapel right after (consider this our wedding picture)…

Here’s the view from the room we stayed in at Treasure Island…

We had about a day and a half in Vegas to play and explore. I learned how to play blackjack, and amazingly we actually won $125! Woohoo! We spent a lot of time just walking up and down the strip gawking at everything. It really is a whole different world there. Fun for a weekend, but not in a million years would I want to live there.

After that we headed over to Santa Monica, CA. When budgeting the trip, we decided that this was the place to cut corners and save a little. And let me just say, indeed we did. The place we stayed in was like something you don’t even see in movies. I wish I had taken more pictures of it. I mean, I’m seriously talking like holes in the walls, brown water from the faucet, and missing-a-bathroom-door kind of shady. It was amusing though, we took it as an adventure and managed to laugh it off. Other than the hotel, the Santa Monica time was great. We spent one day in Hollywood, and then another at Santa Monica beach. We swam in the ocean for a while, then spent the rest of the day roaming the pier. To top it all off, we ate at a pretty amazing restaurant on the far end of the pier by sunset. AMAZING!

Finally, for the remainder of the trip we headed up to Crestline, CA. This is a small mountain town where Jason was actually born and grew up in. It was my favorite part of the trip. After Las Vegas and Hollywood, a little nature away from the city was extremely refreshing. We spent most of our time there relaxing with no agenda. We strolled up and down the main street to look at all the shops, we hiked, and we read on our balcony that overlooked Lake Gregory. This is where we were for the 4th of July. Unfortunately, their firework show was cancelled due to a fire ban. But they did still have a 3 day festival thing complete with a chili cook-off, a beer garden, and a parade!

On the way home we stopped in Vegas for a few more tries at blackjack. Note to self: Quitting while you’re ahead = excellent advice. We lost $120. In the end that still left us with a net profit of $5, so hey… could be worse!

Thank you so much for those of you that were praying for us and our safety. Everything was so great and went so smoothly (which clearly must have been a gift from God, because the things we do never go smoothly, ever). I’m so grateful that He blessed us with some much needed relaxation and pretty perfect together time.

Oh yeah, and I’m a wife!!! Woohoo!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Elmo and the Obscene Tin Man

Ok, I know that I'm supposed to be writing about getting married and all that good stuff, but I'm sitting here with a free moment and a laptop, and just had to get this story into words before it faded from memory...

We've spent half of our trip in Santa Monica, CA. The other day Jason took me to Hollywood Blvd to see a movie at the Mann Chinese Theater. He used to live in this area while I have never been before, so it's a whole new experience for me. I am from Colorado, and have lived there my entire life. I know full well that a trip to Downtown Denver brings with it many strange sights and sounds, and a whole different breed of people that you will never find anywhere else. I've even experienced Boulder, CO. Those that have been there know that the term "different breed" doesn't even suffice in describing Boulderites. People are just weird up there. So, in all my extensive Denver/Boulder experience, I was sure I was prepared to take in that which is Hollywood.

I was wrong.

Outside the Mann Chinese Theater, there are people dressed in various different costumes and get-ups. There's Spiderman, Batman, Marilyn Monroe, Elmo, Buzz Lightyear, you name it. Most of them seem to be self-employed people, making their living by posing for photos and taking donations. As we were leaving the theater we noticed a large crowd of people forming and voices escalating. Naturally, we joined the crowd like the tourists we were.

We soon found that the main attraction was Capitan Jack Sparrow himself. He had been making balloon animals on the sidewalk when a group of break-dancers showed up with their equiment. Capitan Jack was occupying the only space around with an outside outlet, and the break dancers were requesting he move, since he required no outlet. Jack refused. At first the whole thing seemed like it may have been staged... The dancers started to dance cirlces about Jack, while he passionately fashioned balloon after balloon to throw at them. Then things started to escalate. Cuss words flew, punches were thrown, at one point a dancer threw Jack's wig into oncoming traffic, and Jack threw him in after it. As the fight reached it's climax, a homeless woman that had to have been at least 90 spotted Elmo approaching. Her eyes lit up; beit with relief or fear, I'm not sure. She raced down the street toward him with all the fury her frail legs could muster shouting, "Elmo! Elmo! Come help!"

Sure enough, Elmo obliged and ran to join the crowd. Being the voice of reason we all know him to be, he stepped between Jack and the dancers. We will never know what he uttered to Jack Sparrow that day, but after a short embrace he and Jack walked away from the commotion arm in arm. Thank God for the sweet old woman who thought to seek help from our furry red friend.

As the crowd dissapated, and I started to mull over the events I had just witnessed, I was approached by the Tin Man himself. In a deep, grizzley voice he asked me for a light. I apologized and told him I didn't smoke. He muttered some very unthinkable words under his breath and moved on.

I miss Denver.