Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Buns

Happy Holidays from Bartleby, Hanlee, Elizabeth, and Bella!

Modesty and Wifehood

Growing up in a Christian home under the guidance of my grandparents, the idea of "modesty" is not new to me. On Sundays I wore a dress to church. Pants were reserved for those Sundays when church activities came right after service. From 4th through 8th grade I wore a school uniform and adhered to a strict dress code policy. In public high school, my grandma picked out most of my school clothes. I wore jeans and skirts (to the knee). No sweatpants or shorts. Closed toed shoes (no flip flops). By junior year I was given more freedom. During gymnastics season the team wore our warm-ups on meet days (closest to sweatpants I ever got) and senior year I wore my cheer uniform to school on game days. Cheer skirts did not meet the strict "to the knee" guideline, but I was given a pass. My grandparents have a pool that my family enjoys every summer. I did not wear my first two piece until 8th grade, and the bikinis I tried to smuggle in during high school often disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Moral of this long-winded introduction: I had a modest dress code growing up.

1 Timothy tells us in verses 9 and 10:
"Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works."
Respectable apparel leaves much room for interpretation. 

I won't lie, once I tasted the sweet freedom of college, my wardrobe took a turn. I loved going out with my dance team girls on Thursday nights. Downtown Ann Arbor was the place to be, and I didn't hesitate to dress the part. Perhaps even more than my friends. It was a rush. There are memes around the internet joking about the difference between college freshman and college seniors dressing for frat parties... I was a true freshman.
I eventually mellowed out and only dressed liked a trollup for the big 3: Halloween, New Year's, and St. Patrick's Day. This lived on until I met B. He changed things.

Essentially, I have lived on both ends of the spectrum, but that was during my single life. As a newly married woman, what kind of message do I want to send? What level of modesty is expected of me as a married woman?

"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." - 1 Peter 3:1-4

If I were to look here in 1 Peter, it gives a pretty clear picture of where my beauty should lie. The outward appearance is fleeting. We all know good looks fade. Furthermore, my appearance and actions are a direct reflection on my husband. It might be time to take out me belly ring and start wearing a one-piece to the beach. 

Wifeys, tell me about your wardrobe. What do you consider modest? What are your go-to's? What do you wear to the beach and pool? Please comment.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Audition Choices: HELP I NEED AN ADULT

At the urging of my awesome husband, I am tossing around a pretty crazy idea... Auditioning for the next round of The Voice. Yikes, right? But I suppose I will never know unless I try. 

I still look like death warmed over and I am most definitely wearing my husband's overly large T shirt, but please please PLEASE take a listen and help me decide which song I should be practicing! Comment your vote! I need to start dedicating time and effort to one piece.

Option #1 Demons
My ideal version to perform would be Jasmine Thompson's arrangement and cover of Imagine Dragon's brilliant piece.


Option #2 Titanium
Once again I am LOVING Jasmine Thompson's arrangement of the mega-hit.


Option #3 Fidelity
Regina Spektor has always rocked my socks, and I LOVE what Jasmine Thompson does with this difficult vocal piece.

Okay guys and dolls, leave your vote in the comments.
Much love from my mess!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Recently I did a Thing...

On August 29th of this year, I said "I do" to B and became Mrs. Jackson. Here are a few photos that have surfaced on social media (as we wait on our professional photographer to finish with our wedding pictures).

Not to be out-done by some dress, after the wedding I decided to do something a little... different.

I go after what I want. I don't like to wait for it. Blair Waldorf once pointed out: Destiny is for losers. It's just a stupid excuse to wait for things to happen instead of making them happen.
Quite frankly, Queen B nailed it.
Again, welcome to my mess.

Preview of Work in Progress: Chasing Stars

This a brief excerpt from my work in progress highlighting the changing relationship between two of the main characters: childhood friends Analeigh and Tanner.

Within a few days the cold spell had snapped and a semblance of spring settled over Harper Creek. The trees seemed to bud overnight and neighborhood gardens began their spring blooming. Analeigh was simply thankful for barefoot weather, but in Tanner’s opinion, the time was ripe for the first swim of the season. Wednesday afternoon when the sun hit high in the sky he was hollering up at Ana’s window where she sat reading.
“Ana! I’m headed to the creek!”
Analeigh pushed her window open further and set her book aside,
“Are you crazy? I betcha there’s still ice floating in that water!”
Tanner grinned mischievously,
“Don’t tell me you’re too chicken to find out.”
Ana frowned,
“Tanner. We aren’t six anymore.”
Tanner squawked a perfect chicken impression.
“Tanner Corbin, cut it out!” Ana warned.
Tanner was now in full chicken mode, flapping his arms and strutting awkwardly under Ana’s window, squawking ever-the-more louder.
“FINE. I am NOT a chicken, Tanner!” Analeigh bellowed, slamming her window down.
She stalked over to her dresser and pulled out the first swim suit her fingers could find. After yanking the necessary ties into place she pulled on some cut-offs and a tee-shirt before grabbing her towel and thundering outside.
“You are truly the biggest pain in the ass.” She grumped.
Tanner smiled widely,
“Only for you.”
Ana poked Tanner in the side, and the two walked down to the dirt road.
“How are things at home?” She ventured, her flip flops stirring up dust.
Tanner’s face remained neutral and impassive,
“Wes has been walking on eggshells, so not too shabby.”
Analeigh crossed her arms, dissatisfied with his answer,
“Does he seem to be doing okay?”
Tanner threw her a confused look,
“I guess so? I mean, he’s Wes. He thinks the sun shines out of his ass.”
Ana shrugged noncommittally,
“That’s good though. If he were having a hard time you would be able to tell.”
Tanner kicked at a rock and sent it scurrying across the worn-down dirt.  
“Honestly I wouldn’t. I haven’t seen him much. He’s been reading some book. Wes is out the door before I’m awake and comes home after I pass out.”
Ana struggled to keep her expression bland.
“What book?”
“A memoir, maybe? I overheard him telling dad it’s a book of letters.”
Analeigh’s heart shot up into her throat, lodging itself there, and rendering her speechless.
“Whatever it is, sure seems more important than mending fences.”
Tanner’s face strained. 
Some ghosts never grow quiet with time, Ana thought bitterly.
“I talked to Scarlet yesterday,” She said aloud, rapidly steering conversation away from Wes Corbin.
This brought a small smile to Tanner’s handsome face,
“Oh yeah? She’s some girl.”
Ana laughed,
“She’s the best kind of girl. Seems like y’all are getting serious.” She teased, jabbing her elbow into Tanner’s rib playfully.
Tanner’s smile faltered slightly,
“Serious? I mean, I guess. She’s a great girl, and we’ve been going out for a while now.”
“A year Saturday.” Ana reminded him.
Tanner nodded as they reached the bank of Harper Creek’s namesake,
“I’m just letting things roll right now.”
Ana was dissatisfied with this answer,
“What the hell does that mean?” She demanded while wriggling out of her shorts.
He kicked off his flip flops,
“I don’t know, Ana. I guess just letting life happen and seeing where I end up.”
Tanner couldn’t keep exasperation from creeping into his voice.
Ana pulled her tee shirt off over her head and groaned,
“You sound like such a dude!”
Tanner’s dark eyes flickered over Analeigh’s bikini-clad body,
“Well Ana, I happen to be a dude.”
Ana shivered at the intensity of Tanner’s gaze and felt the atmosphere shifting. She wasn’t sure what to say in return and busied herself with laying out a large terry cloth towel. Tanner turned and took off his tee-shirt, his taunt back muscles flexing with the movement. It was unnerving to see her girlhood best friend morphing from boy to man, but Ana couldn’t help but admire Tanner’s broad shoulders. He really was handsome, with his muscles tapering down into a slim waist accented with a set of back dimples he’d had since forever. She’d always poked fun, but today, years later, this particular feature stirred up a different kind of emotion.
“I’m going in!” Tanner announced, ripping Ana from her inappropriate thoughts.
He hung his shirt and towel from the old oak tree and poised himself for take-off, sprinting toward the clear water with abandon. Ana squealed with childlike mirth when Tanner broke the surface and sprayed cold water droplets all over her.
“Holy Moses!” He cried as he surfaced, shock registering on his freckled face.
Analeigh shook her head vehemently, brushing icy water from her skin,
“No way in hell. I am not going in there.”
Tanner frowned,
“Analeigh Rose, get in here or I am coming out after you!”
Ana froze at Tanner’s words; words echoing that of his brother’s only days earlier. Her thoughts suddenly felt heavier, a nasty mix of shame and confusion pulling her into a guilt spiral.
Tanner took this opportunity to hop over the bank. Before Ana could gather herself, he wrapped two cold arms around her slim torso, dragging her kicking and screaming to the water’s edge.
“Tanner Lee Corbin I will slaughter you!” Ana screeched, flailing her arms and legs violently, “Your death will be slow and painful!”
Tanner laughed low in her ear.
“Struggle all you want Ana, I am stronger than you.”
Ana’s stomach fluttered. He was right.
With one giant leap Tanner tumbled into the cold water with Ana in tow. Water broke over her skin like frozen hands reaching up to strangle the breath out of her. Ana sunk rapidly, the water feeling more like shards of glass the lower she went. Finally after what seemed like hours, Ana planted her feet firmly in the clay and pushed up toward the bright light. She cleared the surface and looked around, blinking glacial water from her vision. Tanner wasn’t on the horizon. Panic briefly overtook her. Ana gulped down fresh May air, preparing to descend back into the frosty depths, when a strong arm wrapped around her waist.
Ana let out a shrill yell,
“Tanner! Damn it!”
He giggled endearingly,
“For old time’s sake, Ana.”
Ana floated around to face her best friend,
“That always scares the hell out of me. Literally every single time.”
“Only because Wes made you watch River Monsters.”
Ana feigned indignity.
“Hey, those fish are unnecessary, okay? Utterly unnecessary. Why are they so huge? Why do they need so many teeth?”
Tanner’s deep laugh boomed over the calm water,
“Great mysteries of the word.”
Ana panted slightly as she tread water,
“One I hope never to solve.”
Tanner frowned at her struggle,
“Here Analeigh, just hold onto my shoulders. I can touch here.”
Ana hesitated.
Of course Tanner could touch; he was well north of six feet tall, his offer just didn't hit her right. Ultimately the beginnings of a cramp in her right calf made the decision for her, however, and Ana swam up to him.
“I’m a mess,” she announced, grabbing onto Tanner.
His smile didn’t quite reach,
“Ana you’re not a mess. You’re beautiful.”
Analeigh startled, staring right into Tanner’s doe eyes.
Right compliment, wrong Corbin boy.

I Am a Delight, Guys.

Fresh out of surgery.

To my total, utter, and complete horror, I have recently fallen victim to the rat bastard known as appendicitis. Typically this procedure is done laparoscopically: three small incisions and wham, bam, thank you ma'am it's done. But oh no, not for me. My wonderful appendix decided to hide behind my colon and other organs. Non-invasive became a non-option when the big dumb jerk began leaking infection everywhere. After an emergency full incision appendectomy and a long week in the hospital, I finally returned to work in all of my splendid, swollen glory. But, me being me, nothing can work out this easily. I overdid it at the get-go, got all weak and stuff, and took a fall up some wet stairs. No biggie, right? Nah. I tore my incision open. And here I am. On a week of bed rest and missing out on not only work, but the Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools conference at the end of the week. I am not a happy panda.
SO here we are. I have decided to start a blog and subject the masses to my rants as I heal and annoy the hell out of my husband. Thankfully I have not only my hubs (I call him B) but my 4 bunny babes to keep me company. Bartleby has been the most amazing comfort throughout the entire ordeal. He's a snuggly ball of fluff with 3 legs (he's a tri-pod bun) and a huge heart. Between B and the buns I should maintain my sanity and have time to work on my new book. In summary, welcome to my mess.
The sweetest little nurse ever.