Sunday, December 1, 2013

Completing Christmas

With a newborn, a one year old, AND a two year old...my mother did not have a lot of spare time.  This was before microwaves, disposable diapers, Disney DVDs, the Internet or any other kind of electronic babysitter that we enjoy today.  Yet she still managed to find time to make us all homemade Christmas stockings that year.

While working on this project one day, her one year old daughter began vying for her attention.  She toddled up to mother and tried to pull herself up onto her lap.  Mother moved the child aside and continued to sew.  Again, the child approached mother, whining and yapping for some attention and again, mother gently turned the child around and urged her to play elsewhere.  When the toddler approached the third time, mother simply stuck out her leg and held the infant at bay with her foot while she continued her work.  "I'm doing this for you" she heard herself say in exasperation. 

Her own words, mixed with her daughters tears, made her realize that something was wrong with this picture.  She stopped sewing, pinned the remaining pieces in place and picked up her daughter.

She never finished the stocking.  She hung it that year just as it was and every year after that.  For me, the little girl in the story, that stocking would hold all the goodies Santa would bring for years to come.  For my mother, it would hold a far greater treasure.

What was that treasure?  Was it knowing that she had saved me from a life of sadness and tragedy?  Would have making me wait another 10 minutes have ruined my psyche beyond repair?  No.  Mother could have finished the stocking and her baby girl would have been just fine.

But it was not finishing the stocking that makes it so special.  By not finishing the stocking, she got to know what it is like for all those who "lose their life for the Lord's sake and find it."  She got to know what it is to hold the kingdom of God on her lap.  "Suffer the little children to come unto me, for such is the kingdom of God."

If a Christmas stocking ever was or will be about Christ...this one will and is. 

It represents one small battlefield...that between the natural woman and the Christ-like woman, and she won that battle.

But even though this stocking was never finished, it could not be more complete.  Much as the Lord, the Author and Finisher of our faith, completes us when we choose to put aside our personal ambitions and agendas and choose to love His children instead. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

LJCooper

This morning at 9 am I walked across a parking lot and traveled back through time.  By the time I opened the front door to the LJCooper Wealth Advisors office, it was 2010 all over again.  Which is good, 'cause I liked my life back in 2010 and I liked working at LJCooper.  Two years have passed since I left.  Some things came right back to me; others left me at a complete loss, but all-in-all it felt like home.  Some people say "you can never go home again"...but I guess that depends on where home is and who you left behind. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Post # 161

At least he tried to make it sound like it wasn't my fault. 
At least it took him weeks to actually pull the trigger.
And the severance was thoughtful.

If only I knew that they'd miss me.
That they'd hate to see my empty desk when they walked by.
That at least once, someone would say "Well, this sucks," because I was gone.

Worst fear...that it won't even matter to them
While I'm sitting here, obviously struggling
More than I should be

If only I hated my job
And they were smelly tyrants
With no sense of humor

It was just a job
It was only 42 weeks
And I made my share of mistakes

But the biggest one...
Needing something
That would cease to exist
Too soon.




Friday, September 27, 2013

Who Do You Love and Who Do You Bug?


 Lacking any kind of muse in my life right now, I find myself in a word drought.  It's so true what they say about all work and no playIt's all about words for me, reading them and writing them. I don't arabesque, I conjugate.  I can't sing, but I can split infinitives. I'm not even able to run anymore, (my old happy place) so I punctuate instead.  But all I've got right now are a few thoughts that have evolved into a theory.  Finding the right words to share this theory has been like breaking through concrete!  This is an important theory, so I will persist and try something different...pictures.




This image would give the impression that pet peeves are better than wild peeves. But anyone who has pets of any kind knows that they demand time, money and a lot of tolerance.  They change your lifestyle.  Four reasons why I am not a pet person.  Sure, there's probably a study out there somewhere that says something about people with puppies living longer; but I'm OK with that.  I'd rather live 78 years NOT cleaning up excrement than 100 years picking up the poo.

And as long as we're giving this picture validity, you will notice that in the wild, the peeves are only dangerous to each other.  Why would you bring that into your home where they become dangerous to you?  And there's the problem right there.  You know it and I know it.  Pet peeves are usually rooted in the behaviors of the people we are supposed to be loving the most.  Wikipedia knows it too: Pet peeves often involve specific behaviors of someone close, such as a spouse or significant other.

But people can be irritating when you live with them!  They don't put things where they are supposed to go, they make annoying noises, and the list could go on and on!  If you can live with these irritants and just ignore them, that would be great.  But most of us can't.  So we nag, leave notes around the house, mumble under our breathe, sigh over our breathe and ever so slowly, over time, create tension and distance in our relationships.  This is bad.

This is where my theory was born.  

Whenever I adopted a pet peeve, I was basically saying this: "Something is wrong in the world and I want you to fix it for me!"  Someone left the toilet paper empty, someone left their shoes in the wrong place, someone stacked the dishes wrong!  Fix it, fix it, fix it!

Then I realized that I could remedy the situation by simply performing an act of service. By changing my thoughts I could say instead: "Something is wrong in the world and I want to fix it for you!" I will replace the toilet paper so the next person has their needs met, I will put these shoes where they belong so their owner will find them more easily, I will restack the dishes so the next person does not have to fumble around to find what they need.
 If you have a pet peeve, turn it into a chance for service.  If you don't want that many service opportunities in your life, then you may want to eliminate some of your pet peeves.  


Since I began turning my pet peeves into service opportunities, whenever I find myself thinking peevish thoughts I can actually hear myself say: "Congratulations!  You just gave yourself another chore!"  If it's really important, then I follow through with my new opportunity.  But just as often I will find myself dropping the irritant altogether; if it means making more work for myself, suddenly it doesn't seem like that big of a deal.  Whereas before I didn't even think twice about making more work for someone else.

In case you think I am being unrealistic, there are exceptions.  As a family we identified situations when someone's behavior will actually need to be modified to accommodate living with others; times when it's not just a nit-picky personal preference but a real concern.  These exceptions include anything that isn't safe, sanitary, or economical.    If it might hurt someone, make someone sick or cost us money, then someone needs to slow down and reevaluate how their habits are affecting the people around him or her and make some changes.

If you're into quiet, personal victories...give this a try.  By liberating the captive peeves back into the wild, you will be liberating yourself.

  
                                       -Postlude-



It turns out, you can be just as annoying outside of your house as in.  While researching this topic,  I came across a website dedicated to nothing but pet peeves,  domestic and otherwise.  There was an entire list of them.  Hundreds. And as it turns out, as annoying as you are at home... you're far more likely to annoy someone after you leave the house.

 

Granted, when I read this list it occurred to me that there is a very fine line between pet peeves and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Take these two examples:   

 "When it's raining and you turn your car off before you turn the wipers off, and they stop in the  middle of the windshield, so you turn the car back on, the wipers off, and then the car off."

"When people don't clear the microwave numbers."

  Definitely OCD.

As I read through the list I noticed a couple of peeves on there that I was guilty of perpetrating.  I had no idea they were annoying.  So I made a mental note not to do those things anymore.  But as the list went on and on and on, I began to realize that it was pointless because almost anything you do could be considered irritating to someone else. Examples: 

"The way people walk in flip flops."

"People say "carmel" instead of "caramel".


Friday, June 14, 2013

Two Sides to Every Coin; A Rebuttal

"Enjoy them while they're young...they grow up so fast".   This thought often crosses my mind when  I see a young parent out with their kids.  "They'll be gone before you know it" is yet another adaptation of the same sentiment.  Phrases like these are the common expressions of older parents whom, regardless of how long it's been since their children left home, are still bewildered and amazed at how quickly it all ended.  Primarily because most of the time, while in the thick of raising those little ones...it felt like it never would.

Lately, however, such sentiments have become politically incorrect, especially when they are directed towards parents struggling with their kids.  According to recent online rants, people who utter those words or words like unto it, are labeled as inconsiderate and ignorant and are somehow now candidates for water-boarding. Really?  Yes, at least according to the "Actual Pastor" post of March 12, 2013 which states;  I secretly want to hold those people under water.

Come this September, I will have somehow successfully survived raising three of my five children to leave-home-hood and will be down to my last two.  And whereas I honestly can't remember if I've ever actually uttered those words to anyone,  I know I've thought them countless times.  Please believe me...there is something behind those words, that prompts their utterance.  Something significant that you need to realize.  These are not just empty sentiments.  This is what you need to realize...I've been where you are! But on the other hand, you have yet to be where I am.  I could stop right there.  That fact alone is enough to make my advice tolerable.  In other words, I understand first hand why you don't want to hear those words, but I also know why they need to be said. Let me explain:

 First: As a parent of young children, the frustration of the moment or fatigue of the day that is freshest on your mind when you hear "those" words and subsequently want to explode, will someday be forgotten.  Whatever it is that has driven you to the edge will in the very least, someday be funny if not completely wiped from your memory altogether.  The regrets, however, of missed opportunities, harsh words uttered in frustration, or bad role model behavior ...you will never forget.  At least as far as I can tell.  They will haunt you at the very worst; constantly humble you otherwise.

What we are really saying then, is: it was hard for me too.  I couldn't handle it all the time either.  I wish I could go back.  

Second: We're all on the same team here, just executing different plays on different days.  You're not being judged, at least not by me.  I'm too busy wishing you'd ask me for my help.  After all, I am a grandma in training. Gimme your worst.


Finally, and perhaps most painfully, please remember... you are usually the one freaking out when a well-meaning wrinkled one speaks those words.  We are usually the sane ones in the situation. That alone should probably give you pause.

So, keep up the good work.  It'll be over before you know it.










Thursday, April 25, 2013

Adoption...It's About Love

Jimi, Sarah and Gracie
"About a year after we were married we decided that we wanted to have children. After many years of tests and procedures it was clear that our family was meant to come a different way. We knew that adoption was the path that our Heavenly Father wanted us to travel. Adoption has been the answer to many many prayers. Gracie has blessed our lives and healed our hearts in so many ways. We know that she was meant to be part of our eternal family. We are so excited to embark on this journey again and cannot wait to add another spirit to our family. We are extremely grateful for birthmothers and birthfathers and so very humbled that there is this beautiful option out there to bring our family home to us."   To learn more, please visit:   http://jimiandsarahadopt.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The End of a Terrible Marriage (an analogy)

Got the papers today, the divorce is final.  The Jarmans relationship with the State of Illinois is officially over, we FINALLY sold our house!  Having never been divorced before,  I cannot authoritatively use this analogy, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

Sure, the sex was good and we had our laughs, but now that it's all over and we've made our first AND LAST alimony payment ($23,000)* the regret has become a little difficult to ignore.  Hindsight is 20/20 and in some cases 3D.  The money lost is one thing, but living with consequences from decisions that we felt at the time were wrong, but that we went ahead with anyway...ouch.  Mega-ouch.

But on the other hand, could we imagine life without the "kids" (a.k.a. our new friends in Illinois) that are a direct result of this marriage-gone-wrong?  Doesn't that make it worth it?  Don't the good and in some cases, rather remarkable memories ameliorate some of the remorse?

Yes, actually...they do.  But here enters the least popular paradox known to human-kind; when an altogether awful occurrence has a somewhat splendid side-effect.   In such situations, time is your only friend.  Eventually, unless you are sick in the head, the bad will fade away and the good will continue to bless and even possibly, become the only reality you are aware of.

So today will....bite.  Tomorrow will hurt.  And it probably won't get better for a while.  But hang in there, it will get better.  (Thank you, Self....that's good advice, maybe today won't totally stink after all.)

* half of it taxes, the other half closing costs






Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bug Guts and Big Buts

While driving today my windshield took out it's very first bug casualty of the year.  Splat.  A messy trade-off for finally having nice weather.

In other news...I got an email telling me that one of our biggest freelance clients (who still owes us $8k) sent all 600 of their employees home Tuesday and closed their doors forever.  Different dynamic, same effect...splat!

So as far as I can tell...I am out $8,000 and that really bites.  But...

I'm still better off than the bug.



 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What's Your Number? Part 2

0500, 0508, 300, and 166.  These are my numbers and here is why...

At 0500 (5 am) I woke up one morning, just as weary and discouraged as I was when I went to bed the night before.  I knelt down by my bed to pray, unsure if I'd even find words.  The words did come however and they pretty much consisted of: "Heavenly Father...I don't even know what to do any more.  I don't even know what to say." 

I followed my prayer that morning by getting up and checking my email.  At approximately 0508 (5:08 am) I found an email from a friend that had a scripture reference in the subject line followed by the statement 'it is true'.  There was nothing else in the email.  When I opened my scriptures to the reference, I found these words:   "...feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do."  For the rest of the day, I thought about my friend and his timely message and I had to ask myself: exactly who is this guy...and how did he do that?!

Amazed and completely rededicated to feasting upon the words of Christ, I resumed my life as usual. Little did I know, that another email would soon come and knock me off my feet.  Another dear friend, who is aware of my recent trials, sent me a little note to let me know that she and her husband wanted to do something nice for me but were not sure what I needed most.  After carefully contemplating what would be the greatest blessing to me right now, I responded with my request.  She asked how much that would cost and I told her $300She wrote back immediately,  completely awestruck.  Prior to asking what I needed most, she and her husband had considered just sending me $300, but had decided to find out what I needed first.

These events, both happening in the same week, were like marrow to my bones.  I felt renewed and humbled and I was ready to carry on.  Little did I know that there would be one more miracle. 
Miracle 166.

We have been attending a different congregation each week because we are technically in transit until our house in Illinois is sold and we can move into our house here.  We don't want to cozy into a new ward "family" just to up and leave again in two months.  We've all had enough 'goodbyes' for a while.

Just this past Sunday, while singing the closing hymn in a congregation in downtown Salt Lake City, it occurred to me that this was the third chapel, third congregation and third week in a row that we had sung hymn # 166; "Abide with Me."

"I need thy presence ev'ry passing hour. What but thy grace can foil the tempter's pow'r?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be? Thru cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me!"

0500, 0508, 300, and 166.  These are my numbers.  They are mine.  God gave them to me so that I would know that He still cares for the 'one', even when that 'one' is barely strong enough to pray. This 'one' has decided not to give up on Him either.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's Your Number?

On the first day of our family reunion, my little nephew was on his way into the living room, when he passed his uncle who had just walked through the front door.  They were both a little surprised to see each other and given the distance between their zip codes, it may have been the first time for both of them.   Little Isaac paused, looked way up at this stranger and asked "What's your name?"  "I'm Uncle John" came the reply.  "What's your number?" Isaac continued.   This is where everyone in earshot paused, trying to think of just what this little guy meant by his query.  Our musing diminished as Isaac added: "Mine is three." What's your number = how old are you; one of the most fundamental pieces of information to a three year old.

To an adult, that question could have meant any number of things; what's your phone number, what's your IQ, what is your Sleep Number, how much do you weigh, what size are your shoes (brassiere, pants, shirts), Social Security, license plate, driver license, PIN, password, cholesterol, etc. etc.  If not careful, you could actually need to have a HIPAA disclosure just to ask someone the question, "What's your number?"

Last week gave me a whole new set of numbers;  0500, 0508, 300 and 166.  These numbers rocked my world.  They definitely got my attention and most likely, have you somewhat perplexed.  And waiting on the edge of your seat.

I'll tell you about them later.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Move Over Bacon...

I am officially a working mom.  A nine-to-five, eat lunch at your desk, come home, make dinner and  stare blankly at your kids while they notify you of all that they still stand in need of that, by the way... only you can supply... working mom. They possess NO idea of how impossible it all sounds as it rolls effortlessly off of their little tongues.  They're so cute when they're clueless.  

The irony in all of this is really quite funny (not).  You see, my new job as an administrative assistant in this office requires so very little of me other than my presence.  In essence,  I get paid to be here and that's about it.  I answer a few phone calls but spend the rest of my time trying to find something, ANYTHING to do.  So ironic when you consider the hours of tasks waiting for me at the end of the day.

 So I have been reading Advanced Google Adwords by Brad Geddes.   Yup...a real page turner. I'm just bored enough and curious enough though, that I keep turning those pages. I'm learning all about Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click and I'm doing it because I really want to know if it's possible to get Rosemary Hawley Jarman to not be the Rosemary 'H' Jarman that pops up when I Google my name (yeah...like you've never tried it).  She's an author too.  I've never actually read any of her stuff but I think I would if I ever came across a copy. 

  In addition to my name twin, there's a blogger out there (not of the Rosemary persuasion) who has a blog name almost exactly like mine. 'My unintentional life' ...only with dashes between the words.  C'mon...name taken, move on!  Ever heard of a thesaurus?  Accidental, random, inadvertant, unexpected, extemporaneous.  These are all other words that she could have used to describe her life instead of 'unintentional', but hey... I'm sure she didn't do it on purpose. ; )

I should be easier on my blog buddy.  We have more in common than our title after all.  She too just recently moved back in with her parents.  We both walk the walk of shame each morning as we emerge from our basement lairs.  Except I do have her on this one thing:  at least I didn't bring cats with me when I moved back in.  That' something, right?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Less OK

According to "How to Train Your Dragon", if you fall off of a dragon, you will be OK, but if the dragon then proceeds to step on you, you will be 'less OK'.  That's where I am now.  Less OK.

We were admonished to keep a three month supply of money in reserve for emergencies; we did.  We were taught to not have any debt; we don't.  But even with all of those good financial practices in place, our financial everything still sits out in the cold, open air right now, with ravenous wolves eyeing it on every side.  And there's absolutely nothing I can do about it.  Nothing.  There's always been something and now there's nothing.  Wait and watch and possibly.. wretch.

When Mark was in Desert Storm, it was the longest winter of my life.  There was nothing I could do about that situation either, but hope the phone in our basement apartment would ring at 3 am so that I could know that he was still alive.  We paid the phone company $1 a minute to talk to each other back then.  We'd talk until it was no longer possible to ignore the other soldiers in line, who were waiting to call their girls too and burn through their dollars as well.  AT&T definitely made the biggest killing of that war; but still to this day there has been no thrill in my life to match that of going from a state of sound asleep to hearing the phone ring in the other room to being in a full throttle sprint, as I tore out of bed and through our dark living room, grabbing the receiver before the sheets even had time to drop back down onto the mattress.

Eventually those frozen, overcast days of '91 started to melt into clear blue skies and the sound of melting snow trickling down rain spouts brought a new energy as talks of a cease fire became real.  To this day, the sound of melting snow trickling down a rain spout makes me want to skip like a seven year old. But for now, it looks like I've got another long winter ahead of me.  Again...there is nothing I can do about it and interestingly enough... I'm living in a basement.

   P.S. What do you do when your husband comes home from a war? I managed to set aside $400 dollars while he was gone so that we could do something special when he returned. We ended up buying him new clothes and going on a road trip to San Francisco with the rest.