Monday, September 27, 2010

aNgeR...turned to courage

i was up in Idaho again. I had fallen in love with a wonderful boy, moved to utah, believed my happily ever after was coming...and it ended. he wanted different. I didn't. the story is quite cliche. But now it was me. and it hurt. i remember the day i dressed for class as the days were getting colder up in Rexburg. I felt so low, but more than that, I felt angry. Angry at the Lord. up to that point in my life, he was everything to me. when i felt right, i did. thus the confusion on feeling such promptings and moving forward and then having life, choices and perspective change so dramatically. i trugged up the hill cursing every happy person i passed.(don't tell me you haven't done that:)) i walking into the clark building. basement, down a small hall and there was my small women's health class. the room was abuzz with giggles, stories and updates from the weekend. i felt removed. i slumped in my chair and waited for class to start. as our teacher walked in, the lights dimmed, our powerpoint began. 5 min. into class President Clark walked into the room. the 20 girls in the room shushed and he smiled a bit uncomfortably. he said hello and asked, "what class is this?" Our instructor smiled and said, "Women's Health." he nodded, said, "well...have a great day." and walked out. the door shut and everyone sat in puzzlement. hmmmm. not a minute later the door opened again. This time is was Elder Bednar. the room was silent.

tears flooded my eyes immediately. I felt a calm wash over me. he smiled and said, "Good morning Ladies. may I join you for a few minutes?" Our speechless instructor spoke up and said "of course, whatever you would like to do." He then looked around the room and while removing his coat said, "How about question/answer?" Then came an hour of 20 hands raised in the air, filling the air with deep questions of hurt, desire, and concerns. His answeres were simple. powerful. sincere. He was direct. He didn't mince words. As I listened to question after question i ached to ask him something. anything. didn't I have questions spilling out of me walking up to class, "why me?, what do I do with this ache? How do I move forward with faith? where is hope? do you know me? am i loved?" yet each question I had was answered in this moment with the spirit that filled the room. "of course you are loved Aly. You know I am aware. Give me your ache, I will help you in due time."

as the time came to a close, i ached that it had to end. i had not said a word. my mind screamed with one question, one thought or perhaps just a feeling. am i loved. do you know me. will i be ok. Elder Bednar closed his remarks for the last question and then looked at the floor. he looked up and started at the right side of the room. in the silence he looked at every girl in the room. when his eyes met mine, i couldn't look away. when he had looked at each girl, he then firmly stated, " 10 minutes to 9 i felt a strong impression that someone on this campus needed to know that they were loved and known. I told Pres. Clark, we need to find the class. So we began at the top of campus and Pres. Clark would find out what class it was, come tell me, and I would wait to feel if it was the right class. When Pres. Clark said, "Women's Health" the spirit washed over I ask you this...If you do not believe that God is an individual God, then why would he send an Apostle to a small women's health classroom to share with someone that they are loved and known? I repeat, If you do not believe that God is an individual God, then why would he send an Apostle to a small women's health classroom to make sure that someone knows that they are loved and known."

now reflecting on that experience years ago, i still feel the absolute shock of that moment when heaven and earth aligned. i believed at that time in my life that i had never known such pain, nor would i ever again. oh how i ache for that pain to the pain i feel now. of course had i not experienced such feelings long ago, i don't know if i would be able to experience what i have now. life is funny that way. ok i don't know if funny is exactly the right word;) but i think you know what i mean.

just yesterday i felt the familiar anger, magnified by 10 that i felt all those years ago. sometimes it is easier to feel anger so that it can blot out all the hard emotions that humility brings. i guess that's why my blog is titled, "courageous AND vulnerable"...there is something powerful in the vulnerable stage that happens to each of us...if we let it. but to get to that stage takes...courage. real courage. the kind that few dig up because it means facing yourself. your fear that God doesn't care or perhaps can't care. then in those breaking moments, those liberty jails...God answers. so here i am...again. im starting to see a pattern. i know, im slow on this one. but i am determined to be better. i cannot deny years ago the lord answered me distinctly. nor will i deny that he will again. until then, i can say with sincerity, i know that God is an individual God.

Have a Good one...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Sneak Peak into the Life of Alycesun Marie...

have you ever done something dorky...borderline ridiculous? So...since my blog title is "Courageous AND Vunerable" I am putting myself on a limb and sharing...just thinking about it makes me giggle. Yep. giggle. Now your dying to know huh?:) Friday was Crazy Hair Day at my new place of Work...ALA High School. I woke up, grabbed a cup from the kitchen, placed it on my head, pulled hair around it...spritz spritz the hairspray an away I went to school. As I pulled in I noticed my car was close to empty. "whew, I need to fill that up after school" I thought. "I will make sure to take out my hair after school". End of conversation with self. Lunch time. I have some time. hmmm. I will just run over to the gas station and fill up my car. Done and done. I stopped at the little run down station in little ol' Queen Creek, AZ. As I jump out of the car, a classy souped up station wagon pulls up next to mine. i glanced at the driver and there was good ol' hosea. truthfully i don't know his name. but you get the picture. he climbs slowly out of his car, starring straight at me. At this point I should share that I have totally forgotten the hair. Seriously, I was around 90 kids that morning who looked just as ridiculous and after awhile, your...normal. like everyone else right? Hosea OBVIOUSLY didn't get the memo. slowly a smiled creeped up his face. i glared at him. didn't even phase him. the gas seemed to S.l.o.w.l.y. fill up. his buddy climbed out now and they started whispering. i am not one to assume that at every gas station i occupy, that men stare unabashed and whisper with thier buddies of my overwhelming I will admit I was ooober confused. quickly I put my cap on my car and went to climb in. as I backside hit the seat, my hair smashed up against the rim of my door, kinking my head hard. Realization hit me. Hosea and his sidekick burst into laughter...

the end. Have a good one.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Shaun...

where to begin...I have felt the need to start slowly sharing the experiences I had in africa. As I ended my trip in Kenya, I thought my body would burst with the new experiences, new feelings, new life that was in me. But instead, as the plane landed in Salt Lake City. my heart wrapped itself around the moments, smells, feelings and protected them with all its power. Things that I was so eager to share before became sacred...and I didn't know whom to share them with or how. A couple days ago, I looked up at my far wall in my new room. It is the largest one. For a reason. its a picture of Shaun. My Shaun.

my first day in the slums was quite the experience. as a group we had been prepared by Ranger and Jodi of the extreme poverty. But I could not have expected the sights that were before me. its one thing to watch a quick blurp on the TV of helping children in Africa...your quickest response would be, "Oh that is so sad." but this...this was very different. I was there. I could smell the garbage, sewage, smoke...I watched children climb over hills of garbage, Women in clean, worn dresses carry their bundle of a child across busy, ill-kept roads. My camera sat in my hand for the first hour of our drive. This wasn't a show. Not a "cool sight". This was their life, and I wanted to protect them, respect them.

we drove up to the school site. Children filled the streets. as we climbed out, strong, brown hands grabbed at our arms, hands and legs. Just a touch, some were lucky and latched on for dear life. The smell of sweat and dirt filled the air. we all tried to shuffle our way across the site with children in our tow. Halfway through the day, as work became more smooth, a volunteer mentioned to me, "Who is that little boy, who has not taken his eyes off of you?" "Who?" I asked. I had not noticed. "The one with the green jacket." I searched the sea of gorgeous children and sure enough found my litte boy. His eyes held more. There was a pull in those eyes, I had not experienced often. When I would look back, hold his gaze, a small smile would creep into those eyes and touch his mouth...and we would look, smile, connect for a full minute. Then I would look melted my heart.

as the day ended on our first day, I sat on a broken wall in the middle of the site. Children crawled all around me. my little boy sat on the wall right next to me. His small smooth hand found my left hand and held tight. As children playfully tried to take away my hand, his face would crumble in a pout and he would shout somthing in Swahili. I turned to an older student and asked him, "What is he saying?" the boy smiled and said, "He is saying, "My White Friend...Mine." i laughed at the tactics and smiled down at him. Again, instead of giving a huge smile...his eyes held me. slowly he looked down at my left hand...

A changed life, is a choice...

his little finger started to play with my grandmothers ring which was on my index finger. his face crumbled up again in the similar pout and he pointed to my wedding finger. my heart began its familiar ache that had, for a time, been pushed into a corner from such a new place and experience. I watched as he took off my grandmothers ring and put it onto my ring finger. "No, No" i stated, perhaps too strongly..."it doesn't go there." I pulled it off quickly and placed it on my index finger again. again he pulled off the ring and placed it on my wedding finger. tears filled my eyes as I again pulled off the ring and despretly tried to keep my emotions in check with such a reminder. his gaze held mine as I placed my ring back on my index finger and stated softly, "i don't have a ring there anymore." my heart felt as if it would be ripped in two. How did he know? just days prior as i sat on my bed in my "makeshift" room at my parents home, I stared at a gorgeous ring. one that had meant many, many things to me. it held promises, now broken. it held memories, that even now filled my heart with warmth and then panic that it was gone. i knew i needed to accept the choice that had been made long before. one that i didn't get to be apart of. i didn't want to. an hour later, i pulled off the ring. placed it in its purple box and shut the lid. my hand felt naked. wrong. so i quickly took grandma Aly's ring that had brought me so much comfort in the past and placed on my index finger. better. not perfect. not what i wanted. but def. better...

now sitting here with my little charge, i almost felt out of body. as these thoughts rushed through my head, slowly he lifted my hand up and kissed my ring finger. tears now fell. he laced his fingers through my hand and continued to chat in swahili and push hands away from "His white friend". just then they called for all volunteers to load up. i didn't want to leave. i asked the older student again, "what is his name?" he smiled and said, "shaun." as i climbed into the van, and we began to drive off, one of the volunteers again said, "look Alycesun, isn't that your boy?" I looked out and amoung the sea of children there was my green coat little boy, my Shaun. He just stared. I started back. It was getting easier to hold his gaze. he began to run. his gaze not leaving mine. he leaped over open sewage, crawled hills of garbage, his pace keeping up with the moving van. as we came onto the main street(if you could call it that:) He stopped and waved. The end of my first day. the beginning of My Shaun.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Captin Adorable and other Such Nonsense...

Last night I rushed a yummy dinner to a woman down the street from me. Now that sentence makes me sound so service oriented and such, but in reality someone made the amazing meal but just had me deliver it. Her children are adorable. She lost her husband a couple years ago in a freak accident and is struggling to hold her home together. As I walked into the entry way her little boy came rushing to the door in what I thought was a dang stinkin' cute Superman outfit. When I exclaimed, "Wow, Superman!" He screeched to a stop and stared at me in disgust. His sister decked out in her Tinkerbell PJs shook her head and said, "Nooooo...he's..." and before she could finish I read the words, "Captin Adorable" slapped across his chest. I cracked up laughing and said, "oh my goodness, Of course, Captin Adorable"...Which was then his cue to jump from the third stair and land with a slip and a bump and then run on his merry way.

Now why don't we get to wear outfits like that as adults? I mean, really...wouldn't it cut the chase of what we need affirmations about. Just slap it on our chest in sparkly gold letters, complete the outfit with a flowy, fabulous cape and our sholders would straighten up, there would be a bounce in our step and our walk would become a leap from the third "step" of our lives. Risk would take on a whole new meaning. Survival would be essential. Beating up the "Bad Guys" a daily occurance. AND the assurance at the end of the day that we would win AND have a HOT outfit to prove it.

Perhaps that will be my project for the weekend. I don't like weekends. At least for right now. I watched this Mother and listened to her deep despair about the change in her life. She stated, "I never would have planned for this." "I am now facing the reality of a LIFE without him" one point she smiled and said, "Your so young, with so much ahead of you." At this commment, I cringed. I am young. But then again, I feel so old. So worn. So tired. I didn't know how to share with her that I am in the same boat. The same despair. The same panic of a life so different then what was planned. Maybe I will make her an outfit too...Seeing as we both need a little bit of "umph" for then next part of our lives.

So, join me this weekend as I am up to my ears in sparkles and materials and perhaps showcasing it down the aisles of Walmart. I've got nothing to lose. No, seriously, I really have nothing to lose:):)...Have a good one.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

wHaT ThE MonKeY?!!

So being new to this whole "Blogging Fest" don't know how much of myself or my days I should share. Especially right now in my life. I wish I could share witty updates with silly stories and fun moments in my life...but I have never felt so utterly alone at this time in my life. Truthfully its kind of funny as I reflect on my life, quite often I was the one giving advice, sharing perspective and believing in a one day "Fairy Tale" Ending. Don't get me wrong I still believe and hope for that ending but like many others my life is now taking the turn that was never expected or desired. It seems I am scrabbling to find those who can give me advice, share perspective and give some glimmer of hope of a "Fairy Tale" ending. The hardest emotion I have faced is rejection. The other hardest emotion is facing myself. Both have been intense experiences these past few months.

I can recall years ago when working with my severely disabled students...Shilo was one of my favorites. He was out of control. Often when given an assignment, life skill or homework he would exclaim, "WHAT THE MONKEY?!!!" He would get his side ways smile that would always melt my heart and then shake his head while laughing as if this expectation of work was an absolute joke, and we should all know it. But he would plug along with his work until it was absolutely finished (apart of his OCD:) I remember one day he focused on screwing off a nut to a bolt over and over agin until all 50 nuts and bolts were pulled apart. I breezed by and started putting them away when Shilo, "What?! What the Monkey?! I need to out them together now..." As he shook his head and laughed at me, I chuckled, poured them out again and watched as he one by one put them back together. Something about Shilo that made this even more surprising was that he had severe withering on his left side. So his small and bunched up hand would slip and sometimes fail at keeping the bolt and nut in his hand. He would patiently pick it up and continue.

so...what the heck does that have to do with anything? Truthfully, I don't know. Except I find myself in more than one moment of my day thinking, "What the Monkey?!" How did this happen? How am I to heal? Will I ever be happy again? Will the ache go away? What can I do to be better from these experiences? and more often than not, the answers are not big, fabulous or easy...its simply picking up the nuts and bolts and one by one putting them together. I don't like it. But I am hoping that one day I can gain that same patience as Shilo.

...The End.

Friday, September 3, 2010

So it has come to my attention that I didn't really explain the "Color in a Box":) I meant the Classic "Hair Color" that you get at your local Wal-Mart. Oh the joys of such an endeavor. Hope this clears it up a bit. have a great labor day.

...Zumba, Color in a Box, and A taped Water Bottle

Why is it in our lives that it takes the absolutely tramatic moments that push us to find joy in the most basic of things? Last night as I was dripping with sweat with my new friends in my zumba class, I laughed at how random it really is. I rush to the guym to be with Shelly from China, Samantha from Argentina and who knows who else while we all for one hour, let go of our inhabitions and shake our bootys. I have often laughed at "older women" who go to their weekly areobic class. Now I understand the absolute freedom of such a choice. Its liberating. and while we are on the topic of "liberation" I am a soul believer that color in a box should be band from exsistence. In saying this, I might come across as a snot. Not so. I just have had very few experiences with my 30 or so times of trying color in a box where it ever works out. BUT...last night was the night. Not loving it. But not hating it. So...there's a lesson there...if at first you don't succeed...try 30 times and you may have one lucky time. and lastly, Tape on a water bottle. That's all I have to say. Have a good one.