Thursday, February 27, 2014

The perfect fit.

This blog is about finding things and losing things. Right? Most of the time I just sort of ramble about things that are bothering me... and I call them "findings"... or maybe I'm griping about something I lost. Whatever.

Today I want to share something I found! There's this wonderful website called eShakti, and they make customized clothing.Your first order allows free customization, and after that it's $7.50. Not $7.50 per customized request--you could get shorter sleeves, a higher neckline, a longer skirt, or take out the precious pockets they sew into every dress. It's $7.50 for all customization per item of clothing.

You also get a $25 "gift coupon" for your first order. I apparently bought my dress at a special time, because I got a whole $30 instead. It was awesome.

Needless to say, I am completely satisfied with the dress. I got to enter in my measurements (woohoo) and I made the skirt a little longer. They it takes 14 business days to arrive... but mine took just over a week to arrive. And it's wonderful!

I know. My hair is not at its best today. Oh well.

Super excited about the pockets! 

The back is insanely cute. Also, cap sleeves, since I was
wearing a sweater in the other photos.

So there you have it. A customized dress, which I wore to work twice this week. (Once at each different work place. Don't be weird.) I highly recommend this site, their service, and their products. The fabric is SO comfortable and I will just mention it one more time.... POCKETS. You also get a free measuring tape with your order. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Additional notes on wanted things.

I'm currently in the Lew loft, a place in a building at my university. This building used to be the student center, complete with pool tables and a giant fire place and secret couches where young, hopeful students exchanged promise rings and made out like animals. It's now the building where I work, and it's a semi-public place.

I can sit here at this computer and I could, if I felt like it, talk to the students up here. It's obvious to them what I'm doing. I'm writing. That's not a secret. I'm hanging out on Facebook and Pinterest and listening to music on my Amazon Cloud Player. But I don't have to maximize the screen and make the letters really big to allow them to read from afar. I don't need to expand every melancholy quote or filtered photos of puppies on Pinterest so they can see it too.

And when I'm in other public places, ordering coffee at a Starbucks or buying deodorant at Target or checking my mail box in the lobby. I never holler at other Starbucks customers, "I'm buying this coffee because I stayed up all night watching Golden Girls!" When at Target I don't tell the girl at the check-out line that my last deodorant made my armpits itchy. And when I check the mail I don't wave to the security officers smoking near the door and tell them I'm waiting for my electric bill, because it's overdue and I lost the first invoice and needed another one sent. I don't shout my every action to strangers--out of respect for myself, for the people I love, and because it's simply not anyone else's business.

One of the reasons I sounded, perhaps, so indignant in my last blog post is because I have a big problem with bloggers who tell their secrets to the world. I understand, to an extent, that these secrets can help people. Quite a few bloggers, women specifically, have written inspiring things which spurred me into a new perspective or state of mind. Usually they're talking about themselves. The blogs I'm talking about are "wife" blogs, "mom" blogs, "Christian woman" blogs.

Most of them are good--so good! But then they write, "My husband and I had an argument today." Rather than explain how they overcame the conflict, she describes numerous details about the argument that don't quite seem relevant and a minute later I am angry with her husband, a man I don't know and shouldn't judge.

I understand, it's a marriage blog, you should talk about marriage. And writing from experience proves to be the best and most effective method. Marriage bloggers should write about arguing and not arguing and finances and parents and all that good stuff. But we can comprehend the message, we can see her points and learn from the situation without knowing all the details of her marriage. ("Her" being any random wife/mom/Christian woman blogger.)

It might sound very old fashioned of me, but the reason this sort of "airing of the dirty laundry" makes me so recklessly frustrated is that it shows very little respect for men--and for your husband. It is my firm belief that the feminist movement and the media have made it extremely acceptable to degrade, disregard, dismiss, and generally disrespect men and therefore our husbands. Pick a commercial you've seen or heard recently--if it has a man and a woman in it, the man will almost always be the less intelligent, less respected, less "with it" individual. But I digress. That's a topic for another day.

The point I'm attempting to get across is that my husband is worth respecting. I don't want to use him, our marriage, our problems (and yes, they exist!) to gain popularity in the social media. 

I love my life. My "whatever." Like I said last time. I love my marriage. I love my husband.

I may occasionally open up about my life, let you in on some secrets, show you the darker side of Katherine Megan Foutz Voss, and do things like tell you my full name. I may very well reveal things that make you uncomfortable because life is gritty and difficult and heartbreaking. Life is uncomfortable. But I don't have to say a thing about my marriage, or about my husband.

Marriage--my marriage--is sacred. 

That's how God created marriage. Everything I experience as a wife is mine to keep, I am not required to share despite how often I might actually do it. I could, with all justification, keep my entire marriage a secret from the world because it was created for me and my husband, not for the world. And in the same way, how I feel about my husband isn't necessary information for the social network, especially if that information contains negativity or complaining. As wives, we are prone to complaining about husbands--we've been doing it since the beginning of husbands and wives. He left the toilet seat up, he fed the dog Cheetos, he forgot it was your 2-and-a-half-months-iversary. Whatever. We get together and gripe about the things our husbands do because it's hard for women to let their guards down, and sharing complaints about common ground (husbands being that common ground) is much easier. We don't have to be vulnerable if we're just complaining about our Mister. 

So my entire blog post, about what I want, was sort of fueled by that. I find it so discouraging that bloggers are required to be "new" and "edgy", and that often times we're just complaining about things to become popular and relevant. I don't want to complain about Joseph to make you like me. 

Still. I just want to be. I hope it all makes sense, if you're reading this.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wonderfully mundane

Let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I am a strong, independent woman, who never thought she would have this life and be strong and independent at the same time. I have a bachelor's degree and two teaching jobs. On my 26th birthday I will have been married to my favorite person for 3 years, 2 months and 2 days. I have a beautiful, insane, happy dog. I love my jobs, my husband, my dog, my life.

And sometimes, I talk about that stuff. I tell stories about the kids I teach, I quote my husband when he says something funny. Sometimes I even blog about it, because that seems to be the thing people do these days. Everybody has a blog expressing how much money they save buying/not buying whatever, how much weight they lost eating/not eating whatever, how authentic and original they are because they have a necktie made of birch bark or their house is made of recycled rubber bands. Everybody talks about how much they love their life, their fair trade purse from Nepal, their vegan crock-pot dishes, blah blah blah.

And I do love... mine. My whatever. My blah blah blah. But I won't say it just for the sake of saying it. I never just come out and say, "I love my life!" because it's ridiculous, like I'm desperate for you to clearly understand how much I am in love with the way I live.

What I really want to tell you is about how wonderfully mundane my life is.

Because, let's be honest. I still ask my husband to do stuff for me, just because I'm lazy. (It's alright. He does it too. We're partners in laziness.) And there are moments when I wish I could just be a stay-at-home-mom and have THAT be my job, instead of... this whole two job shenanigan. I like the silence that occurs when I'm playing some stupid app on the Kindle Fire and my mind just wanders all over the place. I enjoy watching Netflix with my husband into the wee hours of the morning, because we both work nights and have a weird schedule. I love the new shower head we got for the bathroom, because it only cost $6, and the water pressure makes my headaches go away, and my love for this shower head is so boring and awesome I've considered blogging about it. Also, nothing makes me happier than a dog nap... and I would blog about that too. But it's not interesting enough for the blogosphere. Occasionally I do wish that my life was as fabulous as the other famous bloggers--cute children, fancy dinners, expensive vacations to fascinating cultures, engaging ministries, being pregnant or being engaged or being sassy.

But it's not what I want.

Everybody wants attention--my father used to tell me something about how negative attention is better than no attention at all, and is often sought after when positive attention can't be found, (I made that sound super smart and classy. Just like dad, of course) and that's why people say nasty things or self-deprecating things because at least then someone will notice them. But I don't want attention just because that's what drives our emotional economies. I don't want attention just because I'm the hippest married/teacher/artsy/nerdy/poor/Jesus-loving blogger on the Internet. I don't want attention because I cause controversy. I don't want attention because I go with the flow.

I actually don't want your attention at all.

What I want, is to be. 

I want to simply exist, and write in a blog when I feel like it, and not feel the pressure of the entire social network crushing my creative spirit because my writing isn't "edgy" enough or "ironic" enough or "authentic" enough. I am a person, with many characteristics and many loves and many flaws. But how the world sees me, or how they see my creative outlet (this little blog) does not define my personhood.

I promise you, I am edgy, and ironic, and authentic. I am poetic and creative and really sarcastic.

What I want, is this:

Not this:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Being seven.

This Saturday I took somebody else's shift at the tutoring center. Two hours with a delightful little girl who is full of spunk and has magic in her eyes.  She once told me her favorite books were, "This one about One Direction" and Charlotte's Web. We wasted five minutes talking about books before we got back to work. She has wealthy parents, she lacks nothing, and clearly still believes the world is a fantastical place.

And she is 7.

This Saturday when I showed up, she was right on time, as usual. But as she stumbled in the door, still in her polka-dot pajamas, her face was crumpled with almost-tears. The supervisor stood in the doorway talking with her mother, and then she came on through.

"She's not feeling well today," the supervisor told me. We both smiled and nodded, knowing it was probably caused by too much Valentine candy.

We worked for fifteen minutes. She read with tired enthusiasm, often stopping to yawn and rub her eyes and hide her face in the book. Nobody likes to come to tutoring on a Saturday morning, but she's usually not this obstinate. When the supervisor walks back through the room she asks if my little friend is still feeling badly, says that her mother has come back just in case, and in another moment she has gone home again, but now with a smile on her face.

I wonder if she faked it, because she was so happy to go. I get sort of irritated because this was an extra shift, and my student on Thursday cancelled as well. It seems like the little girl just doesn't want to be here today. But then I remember. She's seven.

And I remember being seven. I remember how simple and pleasant my life was--the thrill of checking out a pile of books from the library. Chasing the neighbor boy for a kiss, for no reason. Playing with dolls for hours. Collecting acorn tops at recess. Going to Alki Beach with my parents. Having a cake with rainbow chip frosting on my birthday. Seeing The Lion King in theaters.

I remember the things that upset me--my favorite winter boots not fitting after two years. Not being able to have any pets in our house. Scary attics. Scary basements. My big brothers teasing me. Not being allowed to stay up past my bedtime. Always wearing out the knees in my pants.

It seemed impossible, after remembering, for her to have faked it. Because when you're seven, you don't know how to manipulate people yet. You know what makes you happy, and what makes you sad, and maybe you know how to get what you want but you'r not that good at lying yet. Personally, I didn't start faking sick until middle school.

So I just smiled and wave goodbye to the little girl and her mother through the office door. She should enjoy seven while she can.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Engine

Recently I read a post from the popular blog of Matt Walsh. The title immediately caught my eye--not only because it was provocative or engaging, but because I knew instinctively I would resonate with whatever he said about the topic. It was called "I wasn't ready for marriage." You can click that link. Read the blog. You might see what I mean.

But I'll tell you myself here: he's right. No one is ready for marriage. It isn't something you're supposed to ease into. You. Will. Never. Be. Ready. he says. You just won't. You are two apart until you are one together.

The reason this deserves so much of my attention is simple. We weren't ready either. I was not ready for marriage. My husband was not ready for marriage. We did not have enough money or wisdom or patience. Our marriage was formed with only love and faith, and trust in God--those are the only things really worth counting on, anyways. And we knew that we weren't ready, because I had often said, we couldn't ever truly BE ready. We got married because it was the right thing to do, because we loved each other, because we trusted God to nurture us and our marriage despite all our shortcomings.

But there were still people against us. In fact, there were people against us ever being together.

I remember at camp, a few weeks after Joey and I had started dating, I was standing on the docks with one other counselor and an LIT. (Leader in training.) The LIT was 4 years younger than me, still in high school, and wasn't really my friend. We didn't know each other. But for some reason he brought up "us"--me and Joey. There were campers around, so he shouldn't have been talking about it, and I will never know why he did, but this is the conversation that happened:

LIT: So, have you said you love each other yet?
Me: I don't really want to talk about this around the campers.
LIT: Oh, you've totally said it.
Me: Why do you care?
LIT: I just know you have, and it's too soon. It's just too soon. You guys are moving way too fast.

There were other people at camp who said similar things. A fellow counselor, who slept in the bunk above mine, had heard my story about the jerk who dated me my freshman year of college. She came to me with an air of patronizing concern, "Are you sure you're ready for this? I don't think you are. I'm worried you might be rushing into this too quickly." She wasn't the only one to play it off like she was worried about me.

Now, from an outsider's perspective, I can understand how it might appear that I was rushing blindly into a relationship with a stranger. Joey was just 17 at the time and I was 20, and we had only known each other for 3 weeks when we started dating. But those were 3 long weeks during which we talked for hours on end and got to know each other better than I knew any of the people I'd spent my first year of college with. We fell in love. It sounds silly, but it's true. That's how it happened. And as much as I might judge other people's relationships I would never take it upon myself to confront them about how quickly they're moving or if they should say "I love you" or not. I am a fairly confrontational person, but only with a purpose. I don't approach people that I barely know and condemn their relationship just because I know a little bit about their life.

Six months went by, and then we were engaged. By that time most of the "you're going too fast!" comments had stopped, so people cared less. Some part of me also hopes that many people had figured out by then that we were actually in love, and took each other seriously. If they didn't get it then, they were over it by the time we got married a year and a half later.

During our long engagement I occasionally talked, to myself and others, about how the mindset of marriage is something you can plan. You never are ready, of course--I knew I wouldn't wake up one day and be completely prepared to be a wife. But it was something I wanted to prepare my brain for.

I'm a fairly independent person. Always have been. Unless I'm being lazy. But in general I like to do my own thing, I'm a very balanced introvert, I prefer to analyze things and carry out decisions myself rather than work on a team and deal with other people's opinions. With those personality-issues in mind, I knew I would need to alter my behavior if I wanted to attach myself to another person, specifically Joey. We were 2000 miles apart for most of our relationship (another aspect similar to Matt Walsh's blog) but I began making myself care about not only him, but his reactions, his opinions, and his input. I asked him what he thought about financial things (non-wedding things, even!), about how I should spend my time or who I should spend it with. I valued him, and valued the things he valued, even from afar.

I did all that, and still... we weren't ready. Because you can't be. People think there must be a set of steps to take or some sort of easing into readiness. People think they can live together first, and that it will help. But, let me put it this way.

A romantic relationship is like a car. The car has all the right pieces--the engine, the body, the seats with ugly upholstery--but you have to actually drive the car to know if it will work. Marriage is the engine of the vehicle, because it makes all the parts work together and then the car can go places. (You might say love is gasoline, but I'm getting ahead of myself.) People who live together before they get married might as well get into a car to test it out, but never put the key in the ignition and start the car. They sit in the seats and put travel mugs of coffee in the cup holders. They might put the key in to turn the radio on, they can even turn the lights on and off, but you can't know if the car runs well or not unless you actually make it run. 

You don't get a car ready to turn on. You just do it. Put the key in, turn it, and listen to the engine come to life. You plan a wedding, you go to the church, you say I do. You do it. You make a vow. You were two, now you are one. And you might have problems. There might be leaks or broken gears or cracked windshields. You might lose your job or have babies quicker than expected, or you might fight about who does the dishes. But that's true with every single car and every single marriage.

I admit there are problems with my analogy... the engine might be better explained. But I think you get the picture. You can never be ready. And that's okay. It's worth the risk.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Highlights from Christmas 2013

The last time I wrote, we were in the middle of a snow storm. I doubt anyone thought the storm overtook us, but just in case you were wondering, I AM still alive. We have several feet of snow and I missed a whole week of work because of extremely low temperatures but I am definitely still alive.

As promised, here are some highlights from the trip home for Christmas last December. 

1.Joey had never been on a plane before, and I hadn't been on a plane WITH another person in many, many years. It was lovely to have someone to cuddle with. We also got to watch the moon rise over the clouds. The photo isn't that great, but you can understand how it would look awesome in real life.

 2. Trying on my wedding dress and veil. (Reunited and it feels so good.....) I had been away from it for 2 1/2 years, and it still fit perfectly. Actually, it might have fit even better. :)

3. You already saw this highlight. Oh well. Visiting the spot where Joey proposed 4 years ago.

4. Visiting Joey's family and friends. Top: the fam. Left: with cousin Jaidyn. She's so freakin' cute! Right: w/ Joey's mentor Randy.

5. Playing Scrabble with my parents whilst drinking coffee from my old favorite Christmas mug. 

6. Making cinnamon rolls with my family on Christmas Eve. (Short side story: This photo won Joey and I $1000 from a "home for Christmas" contest by!!!!)

7. Giving Joey (Uncle Phil's old) guitar for Christmas. He was ecstatic. 

8. Christmas with my family. When you see it, you'll understand why I love them. Or why my smile says "heeeelp meeeeee." 

9. My boys.

10. A breathtaking view of Mt. Rainier as we flew back to Illinois.

11. Photos with our dearest friend (and fabulous photographer) Sarah. See her work here at Sarah Kaitlin Photography!

It certainly is easier for you to see the whole trip with photos, rather than typing out the whole ten days. We drank gallons of coffee and drove hundreds of miles trying to see as many people as possible. It was worth the effort, and the impending exhaustion when we returned home, and we are so thankful to all the people who helped us get there. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

And now, I promise, I will try to get back on track with blogging. I have a great post coming up in a few days. Come back soon!