Saturday, December 31, 2011


At the beginning of the year I put together a 2011 to-do list, and I thought I'd wrap up the year by telling you what I actually accomplished.

  • I made baby blankets for Mara (Dan & Rachel's little girl) and Conor (Nikky & Yan's little man).
  • I gave away a lot of books and things. Lots.  Still lots more to give.
  • I made a lot of mixes for a lot of people.  
  • I wrote a lot more thank you's
  • I kept stamps on hand (I very much plan to continue this and the writing thank you's)
  • Amber, Regina & I did get the Swan painting Nikky did for me hung up in the apartment.
  • I found a good job working for the Oregon Healthcare Pharmacy.
  • I've been trying to give more money or use money in more charitable ways.
  • On June 17th, I actually got to pay for the moving van that was in the toll line behind Amy and I on our way back from MN Camp.
  • I did a three day green tea detox.  I don't really want to do that ever again, but I'm glad I got to do it once.
  • I bought myself an external hard drive.
  • I took another couple sets of pictures for me "Every Girl Wants to be the Exception" project.  
  • I watched "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist" with Regina
  • I did better about calling people when I said I would and calling them back.
  • Tried to encourage Cynthia (and hope to continue that for a long, long time to come).
  • Have tried to tell people I love them a lot more often
  • Done a bit more with the Radical Honesty bit.
  • I have burned more candles.
  • I took quite a few trips and did so as often as possible.  Visited OH, MN, SC (numerous times), IN, and a lot of other places.
  • I did get to go visit Nikky & I was there to help with she and Yan's wedding.
  • I bought a whole slew of foam weaponry and had an epic duel with Jake during FUEL, and then continued to use them on everyone for quite awhile after.
  • Also bought Anais Mitchell's amazing Hadestown album.  So, so, so good.
  • Wrote in my blog fairly often.
  • Did a lot better in believing people when they gave me compliments.
  • Tried some new recipes and made up a few of my own.
  • Went through my iTunes and got rid of everything I didn't want.  I have more of that to do.
  • Did more to encourage the other ABC students and the staff too.
  • Took lots of pictures.
  • Said yes more often.
  • Took a sabbath from the interwebz.  Several actually.
  • Shredded the financial stuff I needed too.
  • Called home more.
  • And I bought my mom a copy of The Happiness Project.
Yep.  I did a lot of stuff.  And this year, I am going to try to do more.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tiger Lily

When I was growing up, we had this tape from a group of nationally known story tellers.  I don't remember the name, but many of the stories have stuck with me and I still think of some of the lessons they taught from time to time.

One of my favorites has always been this story told by a woman about when she was growing up.  She never quite felt comfortable in her own skin, and she spent a lot of her growing up comparing herself to her cousin who was known to be beautiful.  One of the lines from the story was, "She had a waist so thin men could wrap their hands around it...and they did."  I, even as a kid, could relate to this sentiment.  I was picked on for being chubby from kindergarten on.  And this woman talked about how she had tons of freckles whereas her cousin was fair skinned.  I am covered in freckles, again, I could relate.

As a girl, the woman's grandfather would tell her she was beautiful, that she didn't have to look like her cousin.  Every person was their own different kind of beautiful, and she was her very own beautiful flower.  She didn't believe him.

So that summer, she sent away for a cream that claimed it was going to get rid of her freckles.  She kept it hidden from her family because she didn't think they would understand.

She had a summer job out working in the fields near her home, so before she got up she slathered the cream all over her body.  Then she went out to the fields.

By the end of the day, her freckles were much darker than they had been and there were more of them.  When she got home, she realized she hadn't noticed that there was a warning not to use this product and spend a lot of time in the sun.  It just about broke her heart.  Here she'd spent all this money on something that she believed would change her into what she wanted to be, fair skinned and like her cousin, but it just made her freckles more a part of her.

Her grandfather figured out what had happened and tried to comfort her.  He reminded her that she was her own beautiful flower, but she didn't want to listen.  She told him, "You've never seen a flower with FRECKLES!" She cried herself to sleep that night.

But in the morning...she found a tiger lily on her pillow.

I tell you this story because it reverberates deep in my heart and soul.  I have spent years and years and years...practically all 25 of them thinking I was not good enough.  That I am not pretty and that I am not worthy of dreaming my dreams and achieving them.  My parents, like the girl's wonderful grandfather, have tried to remind me that I am something beautiful.  My own kind of beautiful, but I have never really believed it.

Recently my best friend in the universe, Nikky, pointed out to me that I really needed to have a goal, a dream, something to work towards.  I have been thinking about this for probably about a month and a half now with no real success.  I realized I no longer had anything to work towards.  I have given up on most of my dreams because I am afraid to fail or because I don't feel like I am good enough to accomplish them.

Are you noticing a pattern here?

I am not good enough.
I gave up.
I am not beautiful.
I can't.
I won't.
I don't believe.

There is a pattern.  And it is one I want to break.  I have never liked myself, and it needs to stop.  Today while I was at work I was trying to figure this out what I could possible set for myself as a goal.  It's been driving me crazy and keeping me up at night, and people have tried to give me suggestions: get healthy, learn Italian (that was one of my thoughts), plan a trip, get out of debt, lose weight.  All of these are good suggestions, and they do all kind of fall together at some point, but I needed one goal.  Just one.

So here it is:
I am going to learn to love myself.

I would say like myself, but I want it to go beyond that.  I want to love myself enough that I stop doubting myself all the time.  I want to recognize my beauty and worth.  One of my favorite quotes talks about how God didn't create us to play small.  He created us to be fantastic and beautiful and powerful.  We can't hang back and hide in the shadows.  How could that benefit God?  It can't.  And that's not what I want.  I want to be someone who knows her own worth so that I can, in turn, bring out the best in others.  To show them that they are their own kind of beautiful too.

I want to believe that I am something good so someone else can believe that too.

Friday, December 23, 2011


I miss that boy.  Well, I miss all three of those boys, but mostly I miss the one on the left.  He was closer to my heart than anyone had been in such a long time.  I loved high laughter and the crazy faces he made.  I loved talking about poetry and art and God and relationships and family with him.  I loved that he would with me luck and he was my own personal lucky cricket.  I loved that we use to talk late into the night about everything and anything.  He had my heart in his hand, and I don't think he ever knew it. has been a long time since we've had a real talk.  Probably not since he was with me at FUEL this past summer.  That was maybe the best week I ever had.  Even better than CWS last spring or my first FUEL.  I miss my friend.  

What I hate though is that I still feel a little undone when I see pictures of him or here news of him.  It gets less painful and less noticeable with time, but it still aches.  I sometimes wish things could have stayed the same, but it's not my place or my path.  He's not meant to be one of the main characters of my story.  Maybe he's just someone who was a key element of my back story or something that pushed me in the right direction.  

He did teach me some things about myself that maybe I wouldn't have realized otherwise.  He taught me that you have to be willing to fight things out till the end and that just because someone touches your soul doesn't mean that they'll ever let you see their's.  Just because someone tells you that you're important doesn't mean anything if they can't back it up with their actions.  And I learned that I need to be needed, and I need someone to see me as beautiful.  I should not be doing all the work or be giving all the compliments and kindnesses.  You can only be in love alone for so long before it starts destroying who you really are.  Sometimes you really do just have to let go and run.  You gotta see if someone's gonna follow you, and you have to accept it when it becomes apparent that they don't even notice that you're gone.

Sometimes the hardest thing to take is the truth: they never loved you.  You weren't important...not to them.

And that's when I realized something else, just because he never saw me, it doesn't mean that I'm not important.  

I am important.  I am loved.

This last picture is from last Christmas.  Just before break we had a Christmas part at the college.  I have loved this picture every single time I have looked at it because it reminds me of the general hilarity and awesomeness of the people who truly do love and miss me.  You've got Amber in the middle there who was about a second and a half from cracking up entirely because of a. Garble's hilarious reaction to Mitch's present and b. to the general silliness of the fart noises being made the the putty Mitch had been given as a gift.  I am reminded of Mitch sitting next to me on the couch making us all laugh, and I remember all the sing-a-longs and the fact we got Kristen involved super quickly with everything and that even though I'd never really met her, I loved her almost instantly because she's just an awesome girl.  I remember Regina and I making faces while Mitch took pictures and I remember Cynthia being hilarious and insane while playing ERS with us.  I remember that I am loved and missed by more people than many can ever hope to know, and I am reminded of how lucky I am.  

I may not be married or have kids yet.  I may not have traveled to Prague or France or China or Rome or any of the places I have always wanted to go to.  I may not have an important job out in the public eye or having my Bachelor's in theology from ABC or anything really beyond my Associates in Arts in English from a local community college painted gray.  I may not speak a foreign language or have published a book (or even finished one yet).  I may not live in my own home or even have a guy who thinks I'm what he wants in life.

I may not be a lot of things or have accomplished the things I expected to by 25, but...

I am loved.  And I love many people.  I am truly living up to my beautiful name: Jaymin.  I am "lucky" and I am a "special helper" to many people and I am "good luck" for many.  May that never change.

We're going to make it.  And this Christmas is going to be beautiful.  It already is.

Santa, Baby

Dear Santa,

I think this is the first time we have ever had any kind of real contact, so I guess I should tell you, I am a huge fan of your work.  Giving for the sake of giving to reward the good...I like this.  You do good work.  If only we could make sure that kids get THAT part of your whole deal and not just a bad case of the "GIMMEES"...that would be good.  I digress.

I wanted to write you a letter like I never did as a kid.  We just never did that in our house, but I feel like I'm ready to finally be honest with you about what I want for Christmas.  Now, if you can't supply me with my wishes, I will understand.  I know you do your best, so thanks in advance for all that you do.

Here goes:

  • Self-Confidence.  I realize you're not the Wizard of Oz, but if you have any way of helping me out in this department, I would be grateful.  
  • Hope.  Don't get me wrong, I believe that Jesus died for my sins and that when he comes back, I'll be part of the party in the Kingdom of God, but...I could use some short term hope.  I've lost track of it somehow, and I don't know how to get it back.  Or even what is worth feeling hope for.  There's just been so much bleak and bad.  I could use a little tangible now hope.
  • To Feel Wanted.  The last time I felt wanted was probably back when Ben and I were dating, and he would hold my hands and wrap his arms around me.  He always made me feel safe and wanted.  It has been a long time since anyone wanted me.
  • A Reason to Believe.  You might be sensing a theme here, but yeah...
  • The Drive & Strength to Take Better Care of Myself.  I already have PCOS, and I need to take care of my health.  There is a good chance I will never be able to have little ones and that breaks my heart enough.  I am tired of feeling frustrated with my own apathy and lack of change.  I need some help here.
  • Financial Stability & Independence.  I think this is one I am actually heading towards, but any additional help you want to provide would be an added bonus.  
  • More Reasons to Laugh.  There are never enough.
  • Love.  I feel there's no need to explain.
Yep.  It's a steep list, but hopefully you will be able to help me out a little.

Thanks, Santa.  Merry Christmas.