The Girl with the Bible Tattoo

bible tattoo

God is in the midst of her

How bad is it gonna hurt??

Come on. If you don’t have a tattoo, you’re wondering. If you do have some ink (look at me with my hip, I’ve-now-been-inked language!), you remember wondering. Because fact of the matter is that in order to get some permanent body art — you gotta break some skin.

For the record, skydiving was way more terrifying.

Wait. I take that back. Telling my mother I got a tattoo was up there with jumping out of a plane.

“You’re 30, Jenny. You can get a tattoo,” Ashley reassured me.

“But but but … my mom!”

For the record, mi madre was great, and loved the scripture reference, and made no indication at all of any inner thoughts along the lines of OMG MY DAUGHTER JUST DISFIGURED HERSELF AND WHY WOULD YOU PUT A BUMPER STICKER ON A PORSCHE?

Thanks Mom.

It took seven minutes and cost $50. I didn’t cry even though I’m a total crier. My artist Roger said he was impressed about the skydiving thing — he said he didn’t have the guts for it. Yes, I mentioned it like 8,000 times, because I had to convince everyone there that I wasn’t a wuss. And by ‘everyone’ I mean me. Roger had a neck tattoo, by the way.

That’s right, the dude with the neck tattoo thought I was badass.

Then later he said he was glad I turned out not to be a screamer, and I uttered that’s what she said under my breath because obviously I had to.

Anyway.

I love it.

God is our refuge and strength, 
a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, 
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, 
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us; 
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God. 
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

The Jump

When you’re in the process of getting divorced, questioning religion, and generally trying to figure out who you are as a person after three decades under your belt on the planet, you have your bad moments.

I had such a moment last weekend.

“Eff it. I’m done with the sad. I’m going skydiving!” I half yelled at a friend.

“You should totally do that,” was the response.

I got off the phone and looked up some companies in San Diego that might be willing to toss me out of an airplane. Left the tabs open and went to sleep because it was like 1am.

The next morning, I reread the reviews, confirmed to myself that I actually liked the one I’d picked out the night before (note to my mama — see! I totally made a rational decision about skydiving NOT at 1am.) (I’m going to guess that doesn’t mean much to my mama, whose only comfort right now is that I’m still alive.) (I love you Mom!), and I booked it.

**Everything written up to this point was pre-free fall. The following is my thoughts and reactions to being PUSHED OFF AN AIRPLANE.**

Ok, I volunteered to be pushed. And it’s a good thing I was pushed, because I probably would have sat in that open airplane door all freaking day if my tandem jumper Igor (how cool is that name? He’s Russian, apparently. But he lived in Australia. His Russian-Australian accent was dreamy.) hadn’t fallen out of the plane on top of me 10,000 feet in the atmosphere.

Anyway. I showed up to Pacific Coast Skydiving this afternoon, and it looked so much like a movie set I was half expecting to see Matthew McConaughey walking around the corner. It was open and funky and breezey and it was kinda like a hip hanger barn with airplanes and parachutes and old couches and a ping-pong table.

The people there were warm and friendly, and totally made me feel at ease. I signed and initialed a bunch of stuff, including something that said I had made provisions for my children in the case of my death. I laughed that off and didn’t think too much about it, because no one likes to think about dying.

All of a sudden a thought crossed my brain that I swear had not even entered it since I made the reservation — what if the chute doesn’t open?? Seriously. I hadn’t even entertained that idea. As soon as I thunk it, I unthunk it. No point in worrying about being their first causality. Besides, that’s why you go tandem with a professional — you die, they die.

So they got me all harnessed up and on the plane with this other chick and her skydiver, and then we took off. It took maybe 15 to 20 minutes to reach altitude, and of course the view was amazing. Igor got me all hooked up to him, and told me that when the door opened, I needed to swing my legs out (I was going first) and sorta hook them under the plane. Then look up, hold onto my shoulder straps, and arch my back.

The plane door opened and I think I cussed. This part happened so fast that I’m not sure if I wanted to change my mind, but by the time my legs were out, I know I had changed my mind, and before I could very politely and calmly explain to Igor that I would not be falling out of the sky today, we were tumbling. I cussed some more I think, but mostly just screamed.

Someone asked me if it was like being at the top of a rollercoaster but more so, but it was nothing like a rollercoaster. The only way I know how to explain the sheer terror and adrenaline of it is to say it’s like that feeling you have when you think you’ve gone down all the stairs, but there’s one more step you missed, and you have a mini panic attack as your foot doesn’t find solid ground where it expected it. Times a zillion.

One thing I’d heard was that it’s over before you even know it, but I had a different experience. I think I lived a lifetime in about 30 seconds. I think I still might be up there somehow.

It was amazing and empowering, and the perfect way to celebrate some of the very difficult life changes I’ve made recently that completely knock out the status quo. For a very long time leading up to the split, I used ‘jumping’ as an analogy for going through with it. I was scared — so scared — that my ‘life chute’ wouldn’t open, and I would crash to the earth a broken and bloody mess.

It came to the point that not jumping became a scarier thought than letting go, so I got myself as prepared as possible. I did my safety checks. I talked to people that had done it before, and what their experiences had been. I examined the potential (and the certain) negative outcomes that would occur if I did this.

Ultimately, even though the actual skydiving was something I had wanted to, and planned to do — when it came to that split-second moment of truth, I didn’t want to go through with it. But a little push out the door led to feeling more alive than I ever have before, and I have no regrets.

I not only got some closure today for my broken marriage, but I got some weird closure for my broken relationship with My Pastor. If things hadn’t happened the way they did — if telling Leif I was leaving him had been left to me entirely — I honestly have no idea if I could’ve gone through with it.

I thought I could. I planned on it. I prepared for it. But could I have ‘jumped’ out of my marriage of my own volition? I don’t know anymore.

But I’m glad I did. Yes, there’s some terrifying freefalling at first when you feel like you’re inside a gyroscope and you’re spinning and the earth is spinning in the opposite direction around you … but then you’re flying.

Er, um … falling with style.

No regrets.

Blueberry Farming

blueberry group shotRemember I had that list of things to do before I turned 30? Well late is better than never, right?

Besides, if ever there was an excuse for putting something off temporarily, the total implosion of a marriage might be it. That or death. Or just plain laziness. But it was definitely the marriage thing in this case.

So here I am, a day late, but not a dollar short (metaphorically at least — this chica is on a budget), and I’m back to trying to do some of the things on my list because gosh darn it — life is for living.

C running through blueberriesVisit a ‘You Pick’ orchard and pick too much fruit

Last week, one of my BFF’s Nancy and I packed up all six of our kids and visited a blueberry farm. That’s two car seats, two boosters, half a bottle of sunblock, 12 shoes that are bugging at least seven feet, and that’s only because the other five have been kicked off at some point. Oh, and two mamas with cameras. And cameras I mean iPhones. Because it’s 2013.

So we got the place and sauntered shambled in to find out how the process worked. Each kid was given a small bucket. Each bucket had a capacity of two pints. Each pint cost $5. Six kids, six buckets, sixty dollars.

YOU MAY ONLY FILL YOUR BUCKETS LESS THAN HALFWAY!

We screamed that at them as they tore off down the rows of blueberry bushes.

We needn’t have worried.

blueberry spoilsI’m going to go ahead and guess that blueberries are friggin expensive because they’re so dang hard to collect. After 10 minutes or so, the kids all had at least three blueberries each.

Eventually we ended up with four pints of blueberries altogether, which may or may not have been too many, but when you think about it … who can have too many blueberries?

And if you do, you put them in the freezer and make pie out of them in December.

P.S. The kids pretended they were ninja power ranger super spy blueberry farmers. They had a blast.

P.P.S. The majority of them declared afterward that they hate blueberries and how dare we suggest they eat them.

Turning 30 & Other Chatter

So I didn’t get my list done. I mostly blame that whole campaign thing. Did you know you barely have time to breathe when you’re working on a campaign, let alone go shooting or ride horses or take a helicopter ride? Then the whole drama of coming home and everyone needing to readjust to the normal again.

Plus the holidays.

But it’s not the first time I’ve set out to do something and failed, and it certainly won’t be the last. So Imma gonna keep my list and try to keep on trying new things, because what’s the point of life if you don’t?

I haven’t been blogging much recently because … well because I haven’t really felt like it. There’s personal drama. A few of my closest friends are going through their own dramas. My political party is basically a circular firing squad at the moment, and everyone’s either yelling or ignoring each other. My taxes are going up.

“Hey everyone! Things are sorta crappy right now, but thanks for stopping by!” <– Didn’t seem appropriate. Neither did putting on a fake happy face and pretending everything’s hunky-dory. So I’ve shared a story here or there about something cool that happened, but I haven’t been sharing the ins-and-outs of my life like I normally do, mostly because there hasn’t been that much worth sharing.

SEE?? NOW I’M DEPRESSING MYSELF. Gah.

So here’s what I know:

  • Barrack Obama only has one term left
  • This too shall pass
  • Getting older is better than the alternative, which is dying
  • I have some amazing friends that I wouldn’t trade for their weight in gold (that’s saying something in this economy)
  • My girls are amazing

Thing 2 cute story — This morning she hopped into bed with me after Leif went to work, and while nuggling asked me, “Mommy? You wanna know who I love more than even you and Daddy?”

“Who’s that, baby?”

“My sissy. Because she always knows how to calm me down when I’m crying, and then she makes me laugh.”

My heart melted. I want nothing more than for my girls in this life to be close to each other, so moments like this totally rock.

Other things I know:

  • Ashley is going to visit me in a few weeks — YAY!
  • Duck Dynasty is one of the greatest shows on TV right now
  • Convincing myself that cheese for lunch is a good idea because it’s not carbs is backfiring in the form of tight waistbands
  • I’m going to have to start running again
  • Something about endorphins

I just got off the phone with Justin, and mentioned my lament about my 30 List. He said, “Hey, you’ll still be in your 30th year, so you have time!” I told him he was wrong, it would be my 31st year, since a baby is in it’s first year of life, and immediately replied, “Well, by Obama math…” See? I have awesome friends.

More things I know:

  • Nancy is taking me out for my bday tomorrow
  • My mom is taking me out Sunday
  • Leif is staying home from work on Monday (the BIG day)
  • It’s atrocious that I have to turn 30 on a Monday
  • I looked it up, and at least I get to turn 40 on a Saturday
  • My dog desperately needs a bath
  • Sniff sniff … I, um, could probably use a bath too

Sorry.

Here’s to a better 2013, everyone!

The Time Ashley Taught Me About Football

I really did want to go to a professional football game before I turned 30, but then I looked up how much tickets to those things cost, had a heart attack, and decided that learning about football in a sports bar in Las Vegas with my best friend Ashley sounded fine by me. More money for beer!

And we watched college football instead of professional football because it was Saturday and also because it was some big important game called the SEC or something. Hey, I said I learned about football, not about the divisions and structure and whatnot.

We were at the bar with a pitcher, and there were TVs all over the place with all sorts of football stuff going on. At this point, I knew there was something called a down, and it might be ten yards long. Seriously people, I was a football dunce.

Ash was an awesome teacher. We got a take-out box and turned it upside down to make our ‘field.’ Then we couldn’t find a pen, so we used lipstick to diagram. We are very resourceful girls, after all. She explained to me about the four chances to move the ball ten yards closer to your goal, and I asked why the quarterback didn’t just throw the ball down the field, then thanks to our lipstick players on our take-out field, I answered my own question — because then the other team would catch it and gain possession. Ok, that makes sense.

We eventually found a pen.

Whenever there was a big play in the game, Ash would (very patiently — I love you Ashley!!) take the time to explain what just happened. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of strong offense or strong defense. I remembered Leif telling me one time that there’s a version of football where the same players play both offense and defense for their team. I asked her about that and she said, “Rugby. That’s called rugby.” (Later Leif told us it’s called ironman … I think that’s right.)

At one point they moved the sticks, and I was understanding what was going on, and asked what else there was to know about how to play the game. Ash told me that I got it. I mean, of course there are tons of plays, nuances of players on the field, coaching styles, etc., but as far as the how-to-play-the-game-of-football part of it was concerned, I got it.

“Are you telling me that this entire game consists of guys in tight pants chasing a ball up and down the field in 10 yard increments?” I asked incredulously. How come no one had ever told me that before?

“Yup. God bless America.” Bless it indeed.

“How come no one ever explained it to me rationally like that?”

“Because you’ve probably been taught by men, and they always make things more complicated than they are.”

That’s a fact.

And now I might even watch the Superbowl for more than the commercials.

P.S. I’m sure all eight boys that read my blog are wanting to explain to me right now that it’s much more complicated. Chillax, guys. I watched football and I didn’t hate it. Be proud of me. 

The Time I Argued with a Libertarian in a Bar in Vegas and Got Free Aerosmith Tickets.

New York New York is totally the same as NYC, right?

Even though there are still weeks until Christmas, the likelihood of actually getting myself to New York City to do the whole Rockettes thing is slim to none. I didn’t end up winning that lottery, and since I try to be responsible with my money, NYC is out.

So I did the next best thing and went to Vegas with Ashley.

We had planned to run the Rock and Roll half marathon like we did last year, but she had foot problems and I had campaign problems, so training was out the wayside for us. Instead, we just went for a fun weekend of girlfriend time.

There was plenty of food, fun, wine (there was much wine), and lots of laughing (because we are hilarious and also probably because the wine), and not even a little bit of running.

It’s time for a cool story and a lesson in why it sometimes pays off to argue with libertarians in bars in Vegas at 2 a.m. On Friday night, Ash and I headed to bed relatively early, but after chilling out for a bit, I wanted to go back down to the scene. Ashley was asleep (we’ll blame the time difference for that).

Cocktail dresses and plastic seats ... concert time!

I went down to the bar and ordered a Grey Goose and soda, because that’s my go-to drink, and I fiddled around on my iphone. A couple dudes made sloppy passes at me and I totally brushed them off (because gross), but I actually got to chatting with this coherent guy named Rocky.

We did the whole “what do you do” song and dance, and I admitted that I just got off the Romney campaign … and he admitted that he likes Ron Paul. Nooooooooo! Say it ain’t so, Rocky! So we talked about validity of ending the fed, what national security means to us, etc, and I told him he was wrong. Chemtrails did not come up. Thankfully.

Guess what Rocky does? He works for Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick was opening for Aerosmith on Saturday. Rocky asked me if I wanted tickets. Um, yes please. I wrote my name and number down on a napkin with no expectation of ever hearing from him, especially when he bolted fairly abruptly soon after that.

Steven Tyler still rocks for being approximately 108 years old.

The next day, I was at a sports bar learning about football when my phone buzzed. It was Rocky. I had two tickets at will call. I told Ashley, who immediately did a happy dance before going stone cold sober and asking, “We’re not going to have to have sex with him, are we?”

“I don’t think so…” (Don’t worry Leif, I wouldn’t have)

We went to the concert. Great seats. We were next to the stage with other “friends of the band” and one of the things I love about Vegas is that when I met Doug who was sitting behind me, he said that “built this place,” referring to MGM Grand, and I honestly don’t know if that means he’s a major investor, or he swung a hammer.

We didn’t get to meet up with Rocky again, because by the time Aerosmith with done playing (AMAZING, in case you were wondering), he was already on the road to the next show. But it was a really nice thing to do for the argumentative Republican chick in the bar.

Thanks, Rocky!

I’m Playing the Lotto. Kinda.

Did you know that you can’t play Powerball in California? Seriously. I don’t know why, but I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that California has a lot of stupid rules.

Anyway. I’ve been hearing a lot about this today because the jackpot is up over 500 million bucks, and since I have “play the lotto” on my 30-List, I decided to play. I know I’m more likely to get eaten by a shark or struck by lightening or listen to an original Nickelback song than to win the lottery tonight, but it’s not about that. It’s just fun!

Since I can’t play myself, I asked a friend in another state to buy me a ticket with my numbers, and we’d split it if we won. I’m like, totally sure this won’t be an issue or affect our friendship whatsoever. Things like splitting tickets always go so smoothly for winners, right?

I’ve decided it’s fun to spend a couple of bucks for a shot at a half a billion dollar jackpot. I’m not spending my kids’ grocery money on a gambling habit, I’m allowing myself a bit of whimsy to get caught up in the moment and daydream about buying my own island and crowning myself the queen.

Who doesn’t like to daydream? Haters, that’s who.

If you don’t hear from me again, it means I’ve bought an island and have escaped to a hammock and a glass of wine. Hmm, maybe I’ll buy a vineyard.

Home From Boston

I’ve been home two days. It’s weird and dazy and strange and hard to believe that less than two week ago, my biggest worry was trying to figure out if I could make a bicoastal commute somehow work within the confines of my family.

Mitt was headed to the White House, yo. And I was going to be part of it.

There are a million reasons I could ponder on as to why we lost. Actually, there’s only one – we didn’t get enough votes. I know! By all accounts, it doesn’t make sense.

Now I could contemplate how we could be so wrong about our numbers and voter turnout, mention Obama’s superb ground game, or wonder why my generation seems more concerned with government-sponsored birth control than borrowing from our Children’s piggy banks, but that would be boring.

Instead I’ll just cliché it up: Nice guys finish last.

I don’t feel like the end of the world is here because Obama got reelected. I just feel like it’s going to be on hold for four more years. At best.

Oh, and I got a letter in the mail saying that my doctor no longer accepts my medical insurance. And my premiums went up about 30% last year. But Big Bird and binders!

Seriously guys, how did we lose this?

Double whammy for having worked for Romney: 1) He lost, and I’m out of a job, and 2) He lost, so companies aren’t hiring because they can’t afford to pay for everyone’s birth control and sex change operations.

I wasn’t there when my kids heard about Mommy’s Governor Romney’s loss, but I’m told that they said, “We may be poorer, but at least we have Jesus and our family.”

Love those goobers.

Meanwhile, I wrote about the 5 Stages of Election Loss Grief over at The Stir. I think I’m somewhere between incredulous and annoyed at the moment.

Oysters

Everyone knows that oysters are poison to children. The only thing that comes out of the sea that’s not poisonous to children is breaded and deep-fried and served with a healthy dose of catsup. Even then, not every kid will eat fish sticks. (mine won’t)

In case you doubt me on this, I refer you to Honest Toddler, who had this to say about how one should serve seafood:

Almond-Crusted Halibut and Green Beans
Step 1: Give the green beans to a homeless individual.
Step 2: Take the almonds off of the halibut.
Step 3: Put the halibut on a clean surface.
Step 4: Ask yourself what halibut is.
Step 5: Google “halibut” on your home computer.
Step 6: Hold back your tears when you find out.
Step 7: Gently place halibut in the outside trash next to the carrots.
Step 8: Order tacos.

Anyway, I’ve never tried oysters. Because I was a kid, then I was a vegetarian for years (I know, I can’t explain it either), and then because they freaked me out because they look like giant boogers on half shells.

Seriously. Who decided to crack open the rocky looking things and eat the slimy stuff in the middle?

Ashley loves oysters, and said I had to try them. She said something about them tasting like the sea. I love the ocean. I love salt. I love fish. Seems like a perfect fit.

Justin loves oysters too. “They’re sooooo good!”

I’m living in Boston right now, which I associate with oysters, because clam chowder, and clams and oysters are like totally the same thing because they’re bivalves.

Huh. I did learn something in high school biology.

So last night Justin convinced me to eat oysters.

They were … slimy.

And salty.

They tasted like ocean slime.

I had one and didn’t hate it. Had another and didn’t love it. Had a final one and then ordered champagne and a steak.

Next time I’m ordering shrimp cocktail.

My HLN Panel at the Republican National Convention

I got to go on zee teevee last week. On a cable news network. THE Cable News Network. Well … kinda. I was on the Headline News channel, otherwise known as HLN, previously known as CNN2.

Funny side note: I didn’t know that HLN stood for Headline News until someone said they saw me on Headline News. I said, “Aww, thanks! But it was Evening Express on HLN that I was on.” And then the very kind friend gently asked me what HLN stood for. Sometimes, my blond roots show, mmmkay?

Anyway. I got to go on a real live television show, and I don’t know how many people watched it live, aside from Ashley and me, but I know at least a dozen of my friends have watched it on the internets. Because I have at least a dozen friends that are awesome enough to sit down and watch me chat about partisan politics with Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Republican delegate and Mormon BYU biology professor Laura Bridgewater, CafeMom.com host Lindsay Ferrier, and HLN’s Kyra Phillips.

Because that totally happened.

Impressions

Kyra surprised me the most. She’s spent over a decade with CNN, and through the magic of Google, I found out that she sometimes goes after social issues. I was expecting her to tolerate us Republican chicks at best, but I had my talking points reay and my smile in place.

When I met her, I pleasantly surprised to find a warm, laidback host that seemed to genuinely want to have a real discussion about the Romney’s and the election. Once the cameras were rolling, I was still half expecting a couple of ‘gotcha’ questions – most likely over gay marriage or abortion.

Nope! The discussion centered around the economy, which most Americans agree is the number one issue right now. I could see Kyra’s brain trying to wrap itself around some of our answers when asked why we women (moms!) support Mitt Romney. I love when people keep an open mind to other people’s convictions, so add another point to the I Like Kyra column.

Lindsay was great too. I’ve been working with her on Moms Matter 2012 over at CafeMom.com since the end of last year, and she’s a total pro. It was fabulous to finally meet her in person.

Representative Blackburn was also a delight. She didn’t know it, but she was a huge inspiration to me after I heard her speak at Smart Girl Summit in 2009. That was my first political convention as a blogger, and I loved what she had to say about how much moms can rock the world. Plus she thanked me for doing what I do out there on the internet on a daily basis. That was awesome.

I’d never met Laura before, but I was glad to get to know her. She spoke of faith and family, and how Mitt Romney has shown a commitment to both, and how that will be translated into a commitment to get our economy back on track.

Overall, it was super fun, I’d do it again in a heartbeat, and I’m soooooo glad that we got to talk about real issues, rather than that tool Todd Akin.

 

Here’s the condensed version played by HLN:

 

And the full version from CafeMom.com: