The The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy

18 July 2016

I just finished a novel that I greatly enjoyed.  I mean the plot line wasn't like a page turner, but the language and writing was mesmerizing for me.  I am a lover of writing that really resonates.  Here are some pieces of the book that I jotted down because I loved the author's formation of thoughts:

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It doesn't take long to divide an old life from a new life -- a few minutes, not even that.  One quick, unfair blow, and you find yourself looking back across the uncrossable, to a place that can't ever be reached again, despite the fact you were there-- brushing your teeth or reading a paper or wondering where you left your umbrella--just a moment ago.  But that's over, the kind, old life, and you have to go out into the unknown, unbalanced world, where everything important is wrong.  People vanish, the scenery changes.  Things you loved become meaningless, and meaningless stays the same.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (quot at the start of a chapter)

We shared a family outline but it was colored in differently.  I was dark-haired, Theo was bright-haired.  My eyes were opaque; hers as sheer and ingenuous as a gas flame.  I followed familiar laws and rules; sow and reap, action and reaction, inspiration and perspiration.  Whereas Theo--Theo's motives were a mystery, even to herself.


(About his interest in a girl)  I sensed that rushing things would be a mistake.  I'd take the Grandmother's Footsteps approach -- softly, softly, but always moving forward.

I had been going through a phase of dating psychology students, but they turned out to be just the same as everyone else;  hurried, worried, vibrating with effort.

It reminded me of when I was very young and used to watch commercials instead of television shows.  It was the bright cleanness of the world, the simplicity; where triumph could be found in a soufflé or a flowering border.  She watched it with absorption.

"I'm so sorry you have had to deal with this,"  I said.  The room was crushingly warm; too pink, too dense.  I stood up, with the sudden need to put as much distance as possible between myself and the healthy brown-haired girl, her tears dropping with energy; I would contaminated her somehow just by being near her, exposing her to the fumes from my nuclear heart, the dead river of my blood.

I never had to engage with the financial process of life, the cold, hurtful sale and exchange that drives people out of bed, lashes them into their suits, confronts them with a glimmering screen, sends them home late and tired, presents them with the paper and the plastic at the end, to spend.  I did all that because I wanted to.  Now I found I didn't want to anymore.

Upward and onward,

Ryan & the baby

17 July 2016


 
Awhile ago, I discovered this little gem in one of Ryan's mom's emails to her daughter on a mission:

> Latest news in the family: Ryan and Chantel are having a baby girl.
> She is due November 2nd according to the ultra-sound. Ryan called to
> let me know the other day and he was so excited. They were able to see
> a perfectly formed baby moving all around, in fact it took some time
> to get a good reading on the sex of the baby because she was moving so
> much. Ryan is feeling a great deal of happiness. It is like he never
> realized how grand this experience could be.

 Yes!

Ryan's joy over this baby gives me all the feels.  When we first discovered we were pregnant.  When Ryan called his parents to tell them.  The day we found out baby was a girl.  I remember all these moments.  More specifically, I remember Ryan in all these moments.  He isn't a man of big outward emotion, but instead if you know him well enough and watch close, you see a big, big heart on the inside and a lot of really sweet teary eyes.  When we first discovered we were pregnant - in our bedroom.  He was speechless.  His happiness was so much that his expression of it was uncertain so he sat quietly on the bed with a big grin.  How do you release a joy that's so big but so reverent?  When Ryan called to tell his parents - in our living room, I sat on the couch and he stood in front of me.  He spoke the words like it was the most important sentence of his life.  His eyes watered up, and he kept looking away to wipe them.  When we found out baby was a girl - Ryan was beaming like the kid who cracked the pinata at a birthday party.

A few nights ago, Ryan and I were laying in bed.  I had recently begun feeling Baby Girl start kicking.  She was kicking hard that night, so I had Ryan put his hand on my stomach.  As soon as she kicked and my stomach lurched, he looked up at me with these big happy eyes full of awe.  He was amazed, and he loved feeling her there!  It was such a tender moment.

I love how he always tells me how amazed he is that I'm carrying our baby, as he gently touches my stomach.  And he pulls me close and tells me how attractive I am to him as a pregnant woman.  And he always wants to rub my back and help me up and make sure I'm comfortable.

I already love him so so so much, so I don't know how I'm going to handle watching him as a dad to our little girl.

And after another ultrasound on Friday, we know that Baby Girl has her daddy's lips!  "Man, this baby has big lips," says the technician.  Haha!  I love that so much!!

Upward and onward,







More of the good and bigger shields

 

I know the influences of Satan are intensifying.  I am a witness to that in the world.  Though I find strength in knowing that an increase of good energy precedes the increase in bad energy.  That bad is only increasing because the good already has.  That Satan is the trailing follower to God's lifting efforts.  Not God trying to catch up to Satan's destroying efforts.  I absolutely believe that.  God is at the helm.

On a personal level, I must increase the good in my life - what can I do to add more protection, more shields, more barriers?  I know the cracks Satan gets through with me, and lately I have felt emotionally weaker (see prior post); I do believe Satan knows my vulnerabilities and weak joints better than I do.  I am feeling really inspired to layer my life with more good energy - not good in the sense that I am ceasing sin to live with virtue, but good in the sense that I am substituting spiritually idle things with things of more pure, sustaining value.  Better for even better. 

Which is why the lesson today on family history work really struck me.  It really got me motivated.  I can't say I have been drawn to family history work... ever.  As a matter of fact, I told Ryan that my efforts at indexing left me thinking I would benefit the system more if I actually did not participate.

But the testimonies and stories the teacher told about added strength for her, directly due to the family history work she was doing, was incredibly powerful to me.  She bore testimony and witness that some of the family members she has done temple work have connected with her, reaching out to her across the veil, and she knows they have added themselves to the count of angels guiding her life because she can feel more of the blessings she prayers for.  I knew what she was saying was true.

And I feel such a strong, strong, strong desire to devote my efforts to the increase of this Christlike energy in my life.  That is my main responsibility as a mother.  And even as just an individual in the discipleship of Christ.  I. need. more. strength.  That's all there is to it.

Or maybe I just need less pregnancy hormones.

Either way, I am yielding up some of my time of lower value for time towards family history work.

Expanding my shields.

Upward and onward,






image source

Manti Temple and Pregnancy Feels

16 July 2016



Ryan and I got up early this morning and drove to the Manti temple for my dear friend Lizzie's wedding.  We celebrated with her and her family last night at Tucano's.  It was a beautiful temple; I was so amazed by it.  And I was sooooooo happy to see Lizzie's sealing.  I have wanted this for her for so long now, and I could feel her joy.

Meanwhile, in the growing belly land...

It is definitely an adventure to encounter all the shifts in pregnancy.  Some much easier to embrace than others. The changes include physically, obviously:  back aches.  awkward sleeping.  Mentally:  not having sharp recall.  And, emotionally:  heightened sensitivities.  Which has mostly been very welcomed.  I feel connected to things really easily and emotionally moved.  Like Lizzie's wedding this morning.  Like the new Pink song.  Like when I pray at night and thank Heavenly Father for Ryan, and I can't stop, and I feel overwhelmed with love for him. 

But, alas, on that same note, it takes very, very little negative stimulus for me to feel flooded.  And this past week, it was exhausting to deal with.  I can tell when I am reaching my point of overwhelm, when my level of tolerance has been entirely deluged.  But lately, it happens so fast that I can't step back and get to a non-drowning realm before I have already reached the point of full flooding.  And so, I flood.  I feel completely inept at coping with life recently.  I cannot subsist like the average, unpregnant human.  And it's defeating and discouraging.  Dealing with it so frequently is tiresome.  Probably moreso than the recent ease to which I feel physical fatigue.

Yay, pregnancy.  Yay.


This post was brought to me by a good idea.  One to record.  I'm not up and around like I used to be - not like - "now I just sit on a couch because I'm pregnant" - but rather, I'm not largely active in my career like I was, or diving into adventures and fitness challenges, going here, being there, meeting and being around many people.  My life has slowed pace a lot, a lot more quiet, less bases.  Well that high movement and interaction is largely what gave me such great inspiration to write so freely and often.  So now, when I bunker around the house most of the day, and then I open my laptop to write, I have the desire, but stuck thoughts and no flow.  So this evening, I whisked myself away in cleaning instead, to find zeal in another form.  And while I worked, I felt the flow coming.  So I promised myself that as soon as I felt satisfied with my work in cleaning, I would rush to my computer and write down these raw thoughts!  I'm feeling pretty excited that cleaning can be leveraged as my inspiration source.  I see that working out well for me on double accounts.  

Upward and onward,

 




image source

All the distracting bees

13 July 2016



Today I took a restorative day.  If my engine gets too overloaded, smoke starts emitting and blocking my mental capacities.  And I can tell when I start feeling like a run-away train.  My thoughts are bigger than they need to be and are out my control.   What that anxiety feels like, according to C.S. Lewis:

… little thoughts like bees followed and prickled him on and left no ease.
—  C.S. Lewis // Dymer, Canto 5.2

 I just let it exist for a couple days, thinking that offering no resistance, and keeping my focus on more positive things, would clear out the smoke.  However, today I knew I just needed a complete break from life to aim for full mental restoration.  I forced myself to stop working a bit after lunch and took myself on an adventure.

As I was blaring some songs on the radio, the DJ came on the speakers and announced the latest new thing that was proven to offer the most healthy romantic relationships.  Right after this commercial.

Of course.  Here we are - we have it!  The secret to ultimate success in relationships!!

I laughed and changed the station.

Then, even in the severe heat of the day, feeling the severe fatigue of my already overheated pregnant body, I entered a personal little soap box thought world, as I thought about just why I feel like most media content is so valueless and something I can entirely sidestep.  I have not even a curious desire towards what these people have to share.  I feel this way about so much content.  "Twelve ways you can...."  "The five best..."  I really don't need any of that content because it will be useless to me by the time I'm through with one sentence.  So I change the station, walk passed the magazines, close my browser window.

I see it as just a snag.  A blip of content to snare attention to ultimately produce a profit for the source.  Which is why I find the "advice" so hypocritical and small.     

I whole-heartedly believe two things that leaves all this fluffy content completely overturned and bankrupt for me.

First, the best inspirers and teachers don't lecture, talk at, or criticize.  They simply try to reduce the interference for their students.  And in clearing interference, the most profound insights can surface from within a person.  They are free to their own knowledge, finding new stones to turn and new pathways to solutions, forming deep abiding emotions to what they discover and seek to implement.  When the knowledge is able to come from inside of us, we are more emotionally and mentally committed to it.  The change in our lives is far bigger and more lasting.

So it's ironic that all this "knowledge" out there just increases the interference for us. 

And second, every person is a holder of the light of Christ.  Which is the source of all the best and most profound knowledge we individually need.  That's what gives us the previously mentioned power and knowledge when we are free from distractions.  We can hone in on revelation that spur us on to high places and big pivots.  Not just a snag of small-sighted content, a rubberneck effect on some catchy thoughts that don't change us.  The light of Christ stirs up our own eternal content from within.  And tapping into that is the most powerful skill one can learn.  The skill that would teach you the best advice for your relationship, far above what a radio DJ says.

I really believe in filtering out what I don't need and choosing to be led internally by my own God-given light and some sources of content that speak directly with it. 

My own thoughts can feel like distracting bees, as can the endless content of the world.

I'm grateful for this day to restore myself and shed all these bees.

Upward and onward,







image source

A house continually becoming our Home

10 July 2016


When Ryan and I first moved into our house, you could have picked any color in the rainbow and we could take you to a room in the house of that color. It was a real life Choose-Your-Own-Adventure. We've been working so hard on remodels and painting. Ryan and I each took ownership over some projects.

And I'm here to announce, the last two weeks of July, I completed the upstairs! I'm talking painting the ceiling, the walls, the trim, spackling, sanding, everything! It was a lot of work and feels so good to be done! Even baby's nursery is finished! 👶🏻 I'm super super proud of myself over all the dang work that painting a house takes! (I'm certain that there was one Saturday I cried more than I spackled. Ha!). But now we have a beautiful, peaceful-hued house!! 🏡  Here is just one of the rooms:

Meanwhile, Ryan was working on his own project....

Ryan and I have been planning to build a kitchen in our basement since we currently operate it as a rental unit. Then, Ryan decided to build the kitchen unit himself and did so in TWO WEEKS!! I was blown away!! 💪🏼 Demolition, plumbing, electrical, painting, cabinetry, flooring. Oh man. This guy is so impressive to me! We love our kitchen and wish we could live in our basement!! Haha! Though now appliances have been delivered, and we have a cute little family down there, and they love it. I'm so proud of Ryan! I love him so much!

Ryan was working so hard on the kitchen. I desperately wanted him to have reprieve.  To have some rest. I looked forward to the close of the project just so he could have time for relaxation and pleasure. He's such an incredible person.


For a more detailed depiction of all his hard work, follow the remodel story below (with just images):

 
 
 

Needless to say, it was a BUSY two weeks with a lot of late nights.  We are fatigued but super satisfied and feeling even more in love.  Being married to someone you find so impressive and respectful makes the rest of the relationship just take care of itself.  I am so proud of him, and he is of me.  We love our house!!

Now for some sleep :)

Upward and onward,





 

Under the Cabo Sun!


Ryan and I went to Cabo for a week with some friends!!  It was amazing!  Talk about sunshine, ocean, waves, pool, card games, glass-bottom boats, snorkeling, and friends! 

We stayed in a house, about a mile up from the ocean.  Ryan would go down to the beach to fish each morning, and after I would wake up, I'd walk down the road and join him.  It was such a cute little neighborhood!


Here is a little tour of the house we stayed in: 







Here is a tour of the neighborhood, as I walked around and explored: