Saturday, March 17, 2012

Aaron is BACK!!!!! (Note: This should have been posted right after Aaron got home from SERE)

Yay, YAY, YAY!!!!!!!!! I can't even begin to tell you how incredibly happy I am that my sweetheart is back home. I saw him come and I just ran and jumped on him. Yes, I jumped on him. lol. I didn't even care that he was in uniform or that I was in a skirt. I went for it. I held on tight and didn't let go for a while. I had  on one of those big "statement" necklaces that was kind of digging into my chest, but I didn't care. My baby was back!

The FRG had put together a little snack table for all the guys/girls for when the arrived. Seeing as they hadn't had good food for a few days, it was a nice gesture. Aaron seemed happy to talk and eat, but I'll admit I just wanted him home so we could just be together without a big group of people.

After we got home we just talked and talked and talked. Haha. I am pretty sure neither one of us shut up until we went to bed that night. It was amazing. I missed him so much. It made me realized exactly what I have gotten myself into.

I married the most incredible man. He is strong both physically and spiritually. Listening to him tell me about his experiences from SERE (at least what he could tell me), I realized exactly how amazing he is.

I am so proud of my husband. I couldn't have asked for a better man in my life. He means the world to me and I am so glad and grateful that he decided to use his gifts for the good of all mankind.

Take me back to Manhattan......

Spring Break just ended and I am looking at all the FaceBook statuses and pictures of all my friends who just got back from a week in New York.


I miss New York City more than anything else from my "old" life. Before I decided to serve a full time mission for my church, I was literally living my dream. I was living in New York auditioning for shows and actually making them! :) However I turned them all down to serve a mission, convinced that the blessings I would receive from serving a mission would be more job opportunities than I could count when I got home. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.

I wish I understood why it wasn't in my plan to become a Broadway Star, especially since it seemed sooo much in my reach. I sincerely thought that because I made the "right" choice in serving a mission, I was guaranteed a spot in the performing world. Most of the time I have come to grips with the fact that there are other things God wants me to do with my life. But when I see my friends doing the things I so desperately want to do, it really breaks my heart and sometimes I wonder why that's fair. I know that God has a plan for me and He only has my best interest and happiness in mind, but it's sooooo hard giving something, that I love so much, up.

And it's not like I'm dying tomorrow (as far as I know), so I understand that there is still so much of my life to live, but I just can't seem to shake this dream. When I hear of professional auditions, my heart aches. I wish I could just move on and be happy with my current situation, but I can't seem to ever move on from the fact that I could have done it. I just know it!

Aaron keeps telling me that we'll make a trip to New York and I know that it will be bittersweet. I will feel so much at home and I will so happy to share all of the things that I love about New York with Aaron. However, I'm sure it'll give me the same feelings as I feel now looking at the pictures of my friends. Heartbroken that I'm not there doing what I always felt I was meant to be doing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saying Good-bye.

I guess this is the safest place (minus my paperback journal) I can write my feelings about how I'm feeling about Aaron leaving in two days. Wow. What a rolar-coaster of emotions. I have always been the type of person to not get over emotional around good-byes.  I can't explain it. I have no clue why I don't cry very often when I know I won't see someone I love for a long time. Most of the time I am far too excited for the adventure I'm going to have or the adventure they are going to have. I remember this one time when I was leaving to go to college for my sophomore year, and my bestie Cami was there to see me off. She started crying when I started to get in the car. I can't even begin to tell you how much that touched me. I felt somehow that because I wasn't crying, I wasn't letting her know that I felt exactly the same way. That experience has stayed with me and I think about it every time I have to say good bye to someone--especially someone I care about.

Aaron leaves on Monday for SERE (survive, evade, resist and escape). He'll be gone for 3 weeks. He has been moping all week long. He's been so depressed and while I can totally understand why he is NOT excited to go to this particular training, I hate that I can't quite grasp the same kind of feelings. It seems I put up a very large wall when Aaron needs to go away. I put all those feelings of loneliness and hurt and sadness and put them behind a wall so I can't access them until later. Then those feelings come and I sob for hours.

I'm not sure what is the best way of dealing with things, I just know that I don't remember ever feeling any different. When my boyfriend at the time left on his mission, I was so happy for him that I don't think I shed a tear when he left. However I bawled the night after I got off the phone with him when he was at the airport. I didn't cry (for homesickness) the whole time I was on MY mission, or when I left for college or even the first time the Aaron had to leave me for 3 weeks. In fact, I've only cried a few times that I can remember, in a good-bye setting. When I moved to Alabama and I realized I was leaving Utah and my family for good. I was moving on into a new era. And when I had to leave my dog at the Kennel while Aaron and I went to Disney World. That was so hard for me because I can't communicate with my dog. I can't assure him we'll be back in a week. But even still, I didn't cry until we got in the car. And when Aaron left last summer,  I don't even think that I felt any of those depth of despair feelings until at least a week after he left.

So here I am again, watching him pack, while I type. He keeps saying how much he's going to miss me and how much he doesn't want to go and I keep thinking about how much this experience is going to bless him and how much a better person he is going to be. I will miss him terribly, but somehow my body doesn't react in the same way as most people do, in expressing it.

I ignore it. I don't want to feel it.

And so I don't.

Not until some time later. I'm guessing I'll really feel it the first night I sleep alone in bed or going to church without him (somehow THAT one is the worst).  It's funny how I can be reduced to tears in less than a sec. when I see a something about a lost or fallen soldier, but when my own soldier leaves for training I'm like "sweet, well see ya later. Love ya!"

I am positive that Aaron knows that I love him and that I'll miss him terribly. Even writing this post has gotten me teary eyed a few times, but sometimes I wish that I could express myself in the more traditional way. Make it obvious that my life is just not as complete without him in it. Instead I am left to writing my feelings into a machine and broadcasting it for all to read.

At least everyone can be assured that I don't do emotional goodbyes. I just can't.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm proud to be an American

Independence Day Fireworks at Fort Rucker

 Independence day has always been one of my all time favorite holidays. I mean it has food (good food), parades, dances, concerts, crafts and of course fireworks. It's just a big party--and the reason we party is even better. Because we're FREE!! I remember when I was in highschool and Cami Jo and I would scout out good parade locations. Sometimes we were lucky---other times, not so much. haha. But we were ALWAYS decked out and ready to rock 'n' roll. I think my favorite memory is when we finally found the perfect spot---it might have been at 3 or 4 am and we laid out our sleeping bags and then got soaked like 30 mins later because all the sprinklers came on. Other good memories was watching fireworks explode over Lady Liberty, Stadium of Fire and of course our homemade rootbeer, baseball game and a BBQ in Paris, France. There is just nothing better than celebrating what means to be an American.

Then I married Aaron Isom, the love of my life and things got even better. It seems that the 4th of July is HIS favorite holiday too. YAY. Since this is the first year we've actually been able to be together, we wanted to live it up. I must say that Military celebrations are fantastic. They really understand the whole "proud to be an American" thing and therefore put forth some effort for a big deal celebration. That being said, we're STILL in the middle of nowhere, and it's not going to be as big as other places or long standing events (such as the freedom festival in Provo or fireworks in NYC). 

Still, they had a fair and a fun center for the kids (didn't get any pictures of that, sorry) and a big deal concert with a big deal name. It was a lot of fun. They had all the aircraft out so you could take a closer look of what they fly around here. Aaron and I didn't spend of ton of time over in that area, because we had done that already at the Utah National Guard Family day last summer.  But we did eat some fried 'gator and fried Oreos and fried Snickers. We ate a bb q pulled pork sandwich that was terrible and we watched Gary Sinise and the LT Dan Band. They were fun. Then afterwards we watched the fireworks. I believe the BEST part of this celebration was, even though it was crowded, it wasn't overbearing. On top of that, it threatened to rain all day and so it was nice and cool--not that hot.   Here are some pictures from our day--although for the life of me I can't get them in chronological order.

The Gary Sinise and the LT Dan Band. They were actually pretty good. 

Aaron and I chilin' waiting for the fireworks to start. 

At the little fair thing before the concert

Yup you read it right.
"tastes like chicken, but more rubbery" Aaron Isom

I couldn't get past the mental aspect of what I was eating...


The inside of a fried Oreo. Pretty good, but a little dry. 

Training helicopter. It's what Aaron will fly first.

A remote control type airplane that they actually use in battle. These are pretty cool.

The crowd gathering for the concert 
The Palmers 
Aaron and I having fun during the concert
Aaron finally getting around to eating his fried snickers. It was really yummy. I really liked how the chocolate was all melted, but it didn't get all over your hands

At the concert

Girls Camp

Wow, what a week. Girls camp was so much fun. The young woman in this ward are amazing. Seriously, I have never met more fantastic woman. However I'm not going to lie and say that it wasn't hard at first. You see, I got called into this calling 3 weeks before they left for camp. Very little preparations had been made for camp and even less communication. It was if no one knew how to take charge. The problem was...this didn't really manifest it's self until it was too late.  The first young woman's meeting I went to I was late because I had been told the wrong time. It was at 6, but I was told to come at 7pm....that was until I got a phone call at 6:20 asking where I was. Then when I got there, no one spoke to me, no one told me what was going on etc. I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing--if anything--and no one was filling me in. I'm so shy that I didn't really get in people's faces to try and find out, I just kind of sat there and didn't say anything for an hour and a half.  Later when it was time to go to girls camp, it was another round of mis-communications or non-communication. There were mis-communications about the certifications our ward was supposed to teach, where our girls were supposed to be, etc. I finally had to push myself out of my comfort/shy zone and put myself in charge and get things done. I must say it was awkward and hard, but in the end it worth it. The girls were just so responsive, once they had someone in charge. Things went a lot smoother after that. I made some great friends--both young and old. I even conquered a bit of my spider fear.....well I learned to co-exsist with them. Here are a few pictures from our camping fun.
Cupcakes they made at girls camp. ALL of our meals were like this. They were amazing!!

When the YCL's prank's us. 

Our campsite

The Cabins at our campsite

The view from the end of our hike

The majority of our girls during our hike. Only our YCL's were missing. We left at 5:00am. The girls were troopers. 

Last night at camp, they were all dressed up for the Bishoprics

Same night

Monday, June 20, 2011

who could ask for anything more?

You know those days when things just seem to fall into place? Anytime that happens, it amazes me. Today just happened to be one of those days. Mondays are, on average, disastrous....and they are notorious for it. So I'm sure you can image my surprise when I woke up this morning ON MY OWN at 7:00am. I needed to be up by 7:30, so I just laid in bed half awake. It was nice. Afterwards I got up thinking I was going running with a new found friend, only to find out that she was still out of town. :( Well, I wasn't going to let the fact that I had gotten up early, dressed in running clothes, found my nano AND had actually remembered to eat breakfast go to waste, so I decided to go running by myself. Now, it must be clear that the last time I went running in Ala BAM a, I almost died. Seriously, I couldn't even make it 2 miles. Sad. I was ready to go---out the door even--when I realized my nano was on 2% battery life. Inside I went. AND to not let my energy down while charging my nano, I decided to call my life long gal pal, cami nurray murray jo heaton. The one and only.  It's amazing the things you can get down when you actually decide to get out of bed. By now the nano is charged and I'm out the door running to "I'm a believer" covered by smashmouth. With my new found exhilaration, I not only go for a run, but I go through the parts of the neighborhood formally banned in my mind because of spiders and snakes. (or course I was praying constantly that I wouldn't find any surprises) and to make things even better, it actually felt nice out. There was a slight breeze and because it had been raining, it was a little cooler. An unlikely surprise. I come home and give Kuma a bath..outside. SUCCESS.  Afterwards I take him for a walk and brush and blow-dry his hair and get in a phone call with my mommy. It's now time for my bath, brush and blow-dry and I'm done just in time to hang out with Aaron for his lunch break---leaving at the same time he does to meet up for lunch with one of my new friends for SUSHI!!! YUM! Who knew you could find good sushi in Daleville, Al? Next a productive hour of cleaning and talking with my other friend, Lacee, ending with Aaron getting off early from class. What joy!!  I send him to take a nap and even though I was tempted to join him, I amaze myself by accomplishing more in my living room and I come up with a brilliant idea of how I want to decorate it, clearing out empty boxes and conquer more spider fears by going into our storage units. Aaron is now up and we make a yummy healthy dinner together, clean the kitchen--going "virtual" shopping with my non-biological sister and end the evening with an amazing FHE, and now actually updating my blog...which in effect, is very much like a journal today.

It may not make sense why I felt the need to log my entire day's activities, but I was so happy to have accomplished so much of what I wanted to do today. I believe that this was because of something I failed to mention that I should have...the actual start of my day, last night. I prayed last night that I would have a productive day today. It may seem silly to people, but I believe that God answers prayers and He loves us enough to care about the small and simple things of our daily lives. He answers our prayers if we care to enough to look for His answers. We just need to take action. I know that sometimes answers come in life-changing events, but mostly---especially me, they come so subtly that I hardly even know they are there at all. I love that how having a productive day and a clean house can bring the spirit into a home. It amazes me at how much a simple hymn before praying can change the course of what you pray for. I love how much God guides our lives and our families. I know this gospel is true. I love it with all my heart. I am so grateful for a wonderful husband who is a priesthood leader and loves the Lord. I am grateful for the scriptures and how they are examples to us, and how going to church can touch you in ways that are so incredibly unique and personal---even when everyone is hearing the same lesson. I know that I won't always feel this way, but I believe it's important to record the times that you do. It's important to write down your testimony and what you are thankful for. It's for this reason I write today for me. For the future me who may wonder if I have what it takes. I can look back and read this and be amazed and think.......if she can do it, so can I !!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Daddy, My HERO!

It being Father's Day and all, I thought I would write a little somethin', somethin' about my daddy. Not to mention his birthday is later on this week.  I just adore that man! He is everything I hope I can be one day. Cheesy? Ha, who cares, this is MY blog. haha. Anyway, what I thought I would do is share some of my favorite memories about my daddy and some qualities about him that everyone should aspire for.  So here we go, even though a list could never be complete and I KNOW I will miss some of them, here is my TOP TEN reasons why I love my daddy in no particular order.

10. He is quietly hilarious.
People have told me before that my dad can be intimidating because he is so quiet. He can look quite serious when he wants to and has these piercing beautiful eyes that really just demand that you be honest and truthful to him. However, once you get him going, he so quite witty and can outsmart you on pretty much anything. There are several "witty" stories that I could tell about my daddy, but really it's something you have to experience, like when little kids think he's Santa Clause and he plays along, or when you don't realize he's been listening to a conversation and then BURNS you. He's wonderful...and for all those who don't know him, he may be quiet, but watch out....he's usually got something up his sleeve.

9. He unconditionally loves his wife.
Growing up in my house, the sure-fire way to upset Daddy was to disrespect our mother. He could listen to us arguing our case to our mom, and mostly he would let her handle it ( cause Heaven knows, she can handle herself in an argument), but as soon as you let a "that's stupid" or an "I hate you" or any other sentence that was disrespectful, my daddy got mad. I can still remember him saying very strongly and firmly, "You NEVER disrespect your mother"! Maybe it is for this reason that I see my brothers treat their wives with such sweetness. Growing up, I never doubted that my dad loved my mom. As a child, I took that for granted, but now I see how incredibly lucky I was. Here is a cute story about my mom and dad.... when we were traveling to Montana to visit my mom's side of the family. My mom is from Montana, so we traveled this way often. On one occasion we came across some baby foxes traveling with their mom. As I remember they were in the middle part of the highway (not in the middle of the highway, but there was this grassy part, with some trees and such). My mom and I both saw them and perhaps someone else, but my daddy was driving and so I turned to him and said, "Dad, did you see those Montana foxes?" and he said " What do you mean? I already have a Montana fox." I giggled and thought my dad was BRILLIANT.  My mom blushed and swatted him playfully on the arm and said "JAK!" hahah! I love it.  Even now, I love hearing their stories of how they went to the movies, or seeing them hold hands. I love it!

My mom is giving my dad a thumbs up! ;) 

8. He is always levelheaded.
I asked Aaron what he thought about my daddy and this is one that he came up with and I 100% agree. In times of drama/turmoil or confusion, my daddy always seems to know what to say and what to do. He always keeps his calm and understands the situation. He's probably the only reason our family has any common sense with all of us stubborn and opinionated yahoos!

7. He is the smartest man I know (although Aaron's catching up! ;) )
For this one I wish I had a picture of my daddy reading a book. I have absolutely no idea how many books he's read, but I know it could fill an entire library. I asked him what he wanted for Father's Day and he said "a good book". I love him! People come to him for advice and knowledge, his resume is extremely impressive and on top of all that, he volunteers for a historical museum, just because it interests him.  I've seen him read biographies of some of the greatest men alive, several of our Church's prophets, as well past presidents and other figures of authority. I am pretty sure I have never asked him a question that he couldn't answer.  When I grow up, I want to be just like him. Seriously.

6. He LOVES The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
"Now, fathers, I would remind you of the sacred nature of your calling. You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home. There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary's mischief will be that power. You will receive direction from the Lord by way of the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Elder Boyd K. Packer 

This is what I know about my dad. He has always been a faithful servant of the Lord. I watched him study his scriptures, teach lessons, fulfill callings, go to meetings, give blessings, heal the sick, give selfless service. In fact, I am pretty sure my dad is more like our Savior than anyone else I know. He has dedicated his life in bringing up an amazing family and I know that all his children thank him for the testimony he has given us. For me, I wouldn't be the person I am today without the love that my dad has for his Heavenly Father, the Son, Jesus Christ and for the gospel.  I remember he bore his testimony at my niece's confirmation and he spoke about how he wanted all of his children and grandchildren to know that he loves them and that he has a testimony. It was amazing. Also, when I was on my mission, my dad's letters were always SO profound. Looking back, I wish I would have kept them. Maybe I will have to go onto my old email account and print them all off. I want my kids to benefit from my daddy's wisdom.

5. He's always a good sport and up for an adventure.
Most people when they go away for the weekend it's about the comfort and connivence of a hotel. Where people pamper YOU for once. haha, well my mom loves camping and because it's cheaper, they would go camping a lot. How's that for out of the ordinary adventure. Or the fact that he married a very spontaneous woman, who likes to visit her kids on a moment's notice. My daddy was alway up for it.  But I think this video shows his free-spirit! :) 


4. He supports his children
I can't remember anything that was a big deal to me that my parents weren't a part of. I am pretty sure they were at every choir concert, every performance, every soccer game...and on top of that, I'm pretty sure that I went to all of my brother's football games and soccer games and anything else. And if our friends had things going on, they'd go to that too! haha. I love it.  This memory, I really wish I had a picture of. I was in Music Man at the Scera Shell Outdoor theater and it was POURING rain. I mean seriously buckets of water. However, someone thought that "the show must go on" and so we did. We danced and sang our hearts out, while it was coming down cats and dogs. I remember looking out into the audience and seeing my dad, there all by himself, with his own chair, his coat, umbrella and a tarp.  I'm sure it's not true, but in my memory he was the only one in the audience (I'm pretty sure if only one person had shown up, they would have canceled that performance, but my memory).  Another memory that sticks out in my mind, I was dating another guy (I know... shocking) and no one liked us together, it's easy to look back now and see it wasn't right, but in the middle of it all, I was very confused and I was sick of people telling me what I should do, instead of listening to how I felt. Except my dad. He listened and told me that he trusted me to make the right decision, and if that meant to marry this guy, he would support. I can't tell you what that meant to me. My daddy had my back! 

3. He is loved and respected by everyone that knows him.
It amazes me the amount of people that love and respect my dad. I know it shouldn't, but I have never met anyone that didn't like him. Most of the time when someone hears that I am "Jak's daughter", they sing his praises. It's fun to hear things about my dad that I normally wouldn't know. Some people have even claimed they learned all they need to know from my daddy. It's ok folks, I say the same thing!  My daddy is so humble and I think that is why people flock to him. However, I think the thing that has become the most touching for me, is watching my dad get older. His body isn't working as well, and because of health issues he's been in and out of the hospital more than he ever was in the past. As his body has become less reliable, I have seen others step up. My mom, serving him endlessly...spending nights in the hospital and making sure he has every comfort that he could need, my brothers all jumping up for the chance to help him out to the car or getting him a plate of food. I can only imagine the kind of life he would have to lead to have people jump at the chance to serve him now. I want to be like that!

2. He can cook too, on top of the rest.
I think something my daddy is most famous for is his cooking. Almost all of us kids have picked it up. In fact, as a child, I don't remember ever eating leftovers....that could have been that fact that I have four brothers...maybe there just wasn't any leftovers....but I'm pretty sure it was just because he could make anything out of nothing. We had some serious gourmet meals. Most of my friends say they miss my daddy's cooking. Heck, I miss my daddy's cooking. I have called him several times for several different recipes, and I know my brothers have done the same. However, my dad doesn't cook from a recipe. So what happens when you call to get a recipe from a man who doesn't cook that way? Usually a lot of experimenting. haha. Some of my favorite meals include, but are not limited to: Taco salad--probably his most famous, meatloaf, baked beans, beef stroganoff, pinto bean casserole, spaghetti, ck divine and his thanksgiving spread.

1. Because he's my daddy!
I have so many wonderful memories of my daddy, from watching old AMC movies and having him point out the actors, or volunteering with him at the museum, working on scripts, sets and other theater projects, cooking, going on road trips, long talks when I lived far away, helping me pack my entire house, watching endless games of football with him (on TV or live),  teaching moments, his never ending perfect advice, but most importantly his priesthood influence he's had. I am so grateful that he is a strong member of the church so that he can give me blessings and watch out for my spiritual well being, as well as my physical. I am so grateful that he was there when I went through the temple for the first time and also when I was married. Families ARE forever and so I'm glad he's mine to keep!  He's my daddy and I will always love him for it.  I always wanted to sing a song with my dad--the one from Beauty and the Beast the musical.  (lyrics at the bottom)

My daddy playing "Ishmael" in The Promised Land

Hitting the rides at Disneyland!

Teaching me how to dance!

Here you go: "No Matter What"

Papa, do you think I'm...odd?
My daughter odd? Where did you get an idea like that?
I don't know. It's just that, well, people talk.
They talk about me, too.
No, we're not odd, its true
No fam'ly ever saner
Except one uncle who...well, maybe let that pass
In all you say or do
You couldn't make it plainer
You are your mother's daughter; therefore you are class
So I should just accept
I'm simply not like them
They are the common herd
And you should take my word
You are unique: creme de la creme
No matter what you do
I'm on your side
And if my point of view
Is somewhat misty-eyed
There's nothing clearer in my life
Than what I wish and feel for you
And that's a lot...
No matter what
No matter what they say
You make me proud
I love the funny way
You stand out from the crowd
It's my intention my invention
Shows the world out there one day
Just what we've got...
No matter what
Now some may say all fathers just exaggerate
That ev'ry daughter's great?
You are!
And ev'ry daughter tends to say her father's tops
She pulls out all the stops
To praise him
And quite rightly!
No matter what the pain
We've come this far
I pray that you remain
Exactly as you are
This really is a case of father knowing best
And daughter too!
You're never strange
Don't ever change
You're all I've got
No matter what

**hmm, two songs from the same show, is it possible I'd like to play this role someday?