Feb 28, 2014

A Night in New York: 1920s Party

Last Saturday the men in our ward put on a dinner for us ladies. They do this every year and they completely go all out every year. This year the theme was New York in the 1920s. I got a dress from the thrift store down the street from me, and roommate M and our friend C went off to the party!

The men had laid out a red "carpet" which led to the stage door in the church. There was a "bouncer" there--so it really felt like we were going into a speakeasy! Everyone looked fantastic! The girls had on the prettiest dresses and headbands, the guys wore fedoras and zut-suits. Every girl got a red rose, and escorted on the arm of a handsome man to their table. They served us dinner, and provided entertainment, then after the dinner there was a live band and dancing! 

In my fairy-tale addled brain, I thought that maybe I would catch the eye of someone and he would know that we were meant to be together. That didn't happen, but life can't be a fairy-tale ALL the time (or even most of the time . . . or ever, in my case, haha)

Below are a few pictures:

M, me, and J

Being helped down the stairs after being announced and given a rose. My dress wasn't as green as the picture makes it look. More teal.

me, M, and C. I have horrible posture.

C's boyfriend made the sign with lights! So talented!

Feb 16, 2014

Sunday Special: It's Raining, It's Pouring

We're all familiar with the expression "when it rains, it pours" and I think we're also all familiar with how true that expression actually is. It's never just one bad thing that happens, but a whole slew of bad things, one right after another.

I don't think it's been much of a secret that the past six or so months have been filled with a lot more downs than ups for me. It's this pattern that I feel like I've recognized throughout my life--having a streak of good luck, and then all of a sudden . . . not. This time last year I was feeling pretty good. I had a job I liked at a place I loved with amazing coworkers. I'd moved in with my best friend, was just months away from paying off my car, and planning a trip to Prince Edward Island.

Then in July things turned topsy-turvy with the knowledge that I would be losing my job. Fortunately, I was able to keep my job longer than I thought, but with less hours. I applied for jobs, and was turned down for all of them. So I started entertaining the idea of the GRE and graduate school. I looked at programs and found one that I sounded good. I studied hard for a month and took the GRE, then worked hard on getting my application in before the deadline. I even filled out FAFSA to see if I could get any financial help. Then, one week exactly after I got the news of my cousin's death, I received the news that I wasn't accepted in grad school.

That much sadness and rejection from all aspects of my life all within a couple of months is hard to take. I didn't--and still don't--really understand what it was all for. Why did I feel so good about the program I was applying for if I wasn't going to get in? What was the point of studying for the GRE and all the stress that went along with that?

And I've been unsure if editing is even what I want to do anymore. I was 16 when I decided I wanted to be an editor and have been working toward it for the past 10 years, and now I have no idea if it's actually the career path I should go down. But I also have no idea which path to go down if not that one. Or the grad school one.

When I received the e-mail telling me I hadn't been accepted into grad school, I called my mom to tell her and she offered to come up to my place and stay with me. I cried when my roommate came home from school before she went to work and I cried when my mom came and held me. And then I think I shut down. I didn't feel anything either way about it. Then today at church, we had what is called "Musical Testimonies." Basically, you get up and share what you're favorite hymn is, and why, then we all sing a couple verses of the hymn. We sang a few hymns, and I felt tears pricking up behind my eyes, and a little prompting to share one of my favorite hymns--one that feels very apropos to where I am right now:

Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom; Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that thou Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now, Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.

So long thy pow'r hath blest me, sure it still Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

After giving my testimony and singing this song, that dam I had built up inside me burst open and I couldn't seem to keep myself from crying. Every hymn seemed to have something in it for me

I feel like I've talked a lot about paths lately, but lately they have been on my mind a lot. Taking one step in the darkness, trusting that Someone is leading you, that takes a lot of faith. And sometimes we are taken down paths that end in a dead-end, and we don't understand why, but we have to turn around and find another path. I have a lot of people telling me that not getting into school/not getting that job, etc., means that there is something "better" for me. I don't know if I believe that's true. I think there is a plan for me, somewhere, and that there is something for me, but something better? I don't know.

I do know that I feel like I'm due something good. :)

The future is so uncertain right now, and I'm trying to keep an eternal perspective on it. And taking it one step at a time.

Feb 1, 2014

January Book of the Month

I don't usually read nonfiction, but this month's books were fascinating. If you like the PBS series Call the Midwife, then you might want to check out the memoirs it is based on, written by Jennifer Worth.

Worth was a midwife and nurse in the 1950s and worked in London's East End. She wrote her memoirs about 50 years later, and the detail in them is amazing. They are written in an interesting way, and provide a lot of detail to how things were done then and how they are done now. There are some amazing stories, and some horrific stories.

In the Call the Midwife series, there are three books:

A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

This talks about how Worth became a midwife, and introduces you to the nuns she worked with, and the other midwives. Worth breaks up the seriousness of childbirth with amusing stories of her coworkers. There is a story about a young girl who was tricked into prostitution which is pretty graphic.

Shadows of the Workhouse

This volume talks very little about midwifery and instead Worth talks about the nursing she did to the elderly. In Shadows she describes the workhouse conditions and how those who had spent time in the workhouse suffered from the effects of it their entire lives.

Farewell to the East End

More babies being born! This volume does have some rather graphic descriptions of backstreet abortions and what I think they called "medical rape." The descriptions of the abortions did cause me to think some, but did not change my personal opinion on abortion. We find out what happened to all the people Worth knew.

I think that what is so fascinating about these memoirs is that they seem completely unrealistic, but you know that they really happened. They definitely aren't for the feint hearted (even the details of giving birth might turn some people away), but I think there is an importance in knowing history--the good times and the bad times. I feel that a lot of the time we are given history through the middle class glasses, and to hear about the lower class definitely changes the way you view it. I think Worth also did a very good job at pointing out that certain laws or acts that seem horrible to us now (and were horrible) were actually a step in the right direction. She tried to write from the social norms of the time she was writing of and not the time she was writing in.

I think these books are amazing and should be read, but I also send out a caution that they aren't always the easiest or happiest books to read.