Why Wedding Rings Aren’t Necessary

Wedding Day Hands Clasped

Once upon a time, when I was a newly married woman…

My husband and I each had beautiful new rings on the fourth finger of each of our left hands. Oh how I loved those rings!

At the start of our marriage, other than the fine craftsmanship of the design, a main reason why I loved the rings so much was that they showed other people that my husband was taken.

You see, my trust is very compartmentalized. While I trust some things, people, or situations, I definitely do not trust most things, people, or situations. When I do trust, it is surface-level and I am usually already thinking about what I will need to do if that trust is broken.

When we were first married, I had a very hard time trusting pretty much any woman my husband encountered, and to a degree, even my husband himself. I wanted to trust people. I really had no reason to not put my faith in others, but an irrational but very real part of me refused to let go of that paranoia.

Because of this fear, the ring to me became a symbol. Not of our love, but of his unavailability.

Bouquet and wedding rings picture.

Within about a year and a half of being married, my husband lost his ring at work. Not only was I frustrated at the situation of an expensive piece of jewelry going missing, but I was also frustrated that he now did not have an obvious symbol to show all the ‘predatory women’ that he was married. I immediately began searching for a new ring for him- for my sake, not his. By the end of the night, I had many options for him to choose from so we could immediately get a new wedding ring on his finger. But he didn’t want to look at the options that night. Nor the next night, nor the night after that.

So I got angry. Clearly, he wanted to sleep around with other women and it was obvious because he wasn’t in a hurry to find a new wedding ring. Clearly.

After a few weeks of me being upset because of his slowness to shy off the throngs of women who were falling madly in love with him during his ring-less reign, he finally realized that he wasn’t going to find his ring and so he ordered a new one. Problem solved. His women-repellent was activated and my fretting was dulled…

…because of a ring.

Because a ring is the one who decides the goodness and the faithfulness of the man. Because a ring is what determines the attitudes and actions of others around him. Because a ring holds that much power in its simple, lifeless form….

As I have grown personally, I have realized something about this situation. A ring on a finger is not what cultivates or even saves a marriage. Two individuals must make the commitment daily to love and cherish each other. A marriage should not be controlled by other people or things. Instead, it is nurtured through decisions, actions, and reactions of the married individuals. The work that a person puts into lifting his/her partner is what will build a relationship.

Happy couple.

Wedding rings are not about personal pride or claiming ownership. To me, they are a reminder of the work and love that we have willingly poured into helping each other. While a wedding ring may mean something different to others, it should be remembered that the object in and of itself does not hold the commitment of a marriage.

I have since realized just how irrational my thinking was. There is no reason to get worked up over the loss of something that is merely a symbol of love and companionship. Instead, we should strive to build our relationship up in a way that no worldly symbol could possibly begin to explain. This is what should matter the most: the bond between the two individuals, and not the appearance of the bond itself.

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Small Moments of Kindness

For the Fourth of July, my family enjoys going to the park where the city fireworks are shot from. Nearby, the Loveland Concert Band plays patriotic music in an amphitheater for an hour before the fireworks show begins. To get into the spirit of the festivities, we swiftly walked down the grassy hill towards the band to find an open sitting area.

My mother in law, who had taken the lead, found a decent spot for the four of us to sit in comfort and quickly ushered us to all sit down beside her. In the hustle and bustle of trying desperately to ensure that we were not stepping on other’s hands and belongings, nor taking another’s claimed territory, I had not taken the time to look around to see who we might be sitting next to.

I sat hurriedly, anticipating the sounds of the ensemble. As I motioned for my husband to take his place next to me, I quickly looked around to ensure that no one around us was being inconvenienced by our appearance.

Loveland Concert Band

My head turned quickly to the left where my eyes met the eyes of a young girl which had not previously been the few inches from me as they were now. She was maybe nine years old and had a look of pure innocence about her.

(As a side note, I always try to maintain a safe distance from children for their protection and mine. Having begun my college education in elementary education, the one thing that was stressed unceasingly was the importance of keeping some distance between the child and yourself. Including hugs, where I was taught to always hug on the side of the body and never facing each other.)

In the moment that our eyes met, she gently raised her hand to me. She was holding a flower. A single, tiny flower which she must have picked elsewhere because there were no plants aside from grass nearby. This young girl had been holding on to this flower and in this moment, decided to share her treasure with me.

I raised my hand and took the flower from her fingers. “Oh thank you! That is beautiful!” Is all that I was able to say before her smiling, generous face turned around and bounded back to her family a few feet away.

This flower, this one particular child, and this one specific moment were all very simple. In a big-picture, grand-scheme-of-things, someone-else-looking-in kind of way, this event was absolutely insignificant. And yet, this was a moment of pure beauty filled with innocence, trust, connection, kindness, and love.

The greatest moments are not always grandiose. More often than not, they are small and deliberate. Her willingness to reach out to me showed a level of humanity which I have believed to be rapidly fading.

The innocence is still here. We just have to be a part of it. We must accept it and we must give it. Offer someone a flower of yours. Spread humanity with your small moments.

 

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Due Date of a Miscarriage

It has now been 6 and a half months since I miscarried our first child. Today, June 10th was the anticipated due date of that sweet little angel. To anyone else, this date doesn’t really mean anything. After all, there is no excitement because there will not be a child to hold, to take cute pictures of, to be proud of as we share a list of firsts. No, this baby never had an existence. Not to the world, not to the people we love, and hardly even to me. And yet, my heart breaks because this one ‘almost was’ is a ‘never had been.’ And that is just how it is.

Since the time of our loss, I have moments where my brain likes to imagine the possibility of there being another child in my stomach that didn’t pass who is just quietly growing without a trace. The TV show, I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant keeps coming to my mind as I hope I can be one of the strange cases that make no sense. It is a sick game that my imagination likes to play with me. Now that my due date is here, pregnancy tests continue to turn up negative, and I show no signs of labor, I am finally able to breathe and take a moment to solidify that I definitely miscarried and I am definitely not pregnant. And that is just how it is.

Several of my old friends have either given birth this week or are expecting here shortly and I so badly want to say, “We would have been due together- that’s so cool!” But it’s not so cool, because we aren’t due at the same time because while they carried to full term, I did not. I lost mine and they didn’t. And I hope they rejoice that they were able to have theirs. But I must keep quiet because no one should have to feel sadness or guilt during their exciting time. What once would have been such an exciting time for my family no longer is and I feel like it emotionally can be no one else’s burden but my own. And that is just how it is.

My husband and I will be coming on our 5th wedding anniversary in two months. We had hoped to have a baby by that point in our lives. When our pregnancy occurred, I was elated because we would be able to accomplish that goal. Apparently that goal is being elongated by a higher power, so I have thrown the goals out the window. Maybe another pregnancy will happen, but for now, I give it no timetable because apparently I can’t control procreation like I thought I could. And that is just how it is.

 

While my little angel baby did not last for very long on this Earth, the love and the emotional connection that was built will never wane. And that is just how it is.

NOVICA: Moment of Tenderness

 

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The Human Brain Has a Mind of its Own

The human brain is absolutely phenomenal. It has the ability to improve itself, to defend itself, to hold information, to recall information, and to create. Amidst these capabilities, people have different strengths and weaknesses which may or may not be able to be improved upon. 

I have such a fascination with everything the brain is able to do. In particular, I am so interested in how every one uses their brain to enhance and design their lives. Now, if I’m being totally honest, my brain is not exactly a prestige specimen, but it has at least gotten me this far in life! 

Just recently, Trevor and I went to Wal-Mart to grab a couple items. While we were there, I happened to see a display stand of Powerade drinks that were being displayed as $.88. I don’t really consume sports drinks, but Trevor really enjoys his Powerade so I took one second to simply say, “Look Trevor! Powerade is only $.88!” 

And that was it for that moment. Trevor didn’t really acknowledge that comment (which can be pretty typical- I’ve gotten used to the idea of simply talking out loud without expectations of reciprocation). We just continued rushing on to search for the few items we needed from the back of the store. I didn’t really think anything extra of the comment or the situation at all. As a matter of fact, like so many other moments in my life, the information contained in that moment of brain function disappeared just as quickly as it came. 

Fast forward about 9 hours to Trevor and I getting prepared to watch a show in our room. He was all settled and I was just beginning to lay down. Right as I was doing so, Trevor says to me, “I need $.88.” I looked at him with the quizzical look that he knows so well. (You see, there are two common occurrences: he says something super strange and I am totally confused as to why he said it, and the other, more often occurrence, in which I have absolutely no clue what he said. That may come either because I simply didn’t hear him, or because I heard him, but could not understand whatever it is that he said. I am told on a daily basis that I need to have my hearing checked.)

In this moment, where Trevor stated, “I need $.88,” I wasn’t 100% sure whether this was a moment of me mishearing him or him just saying something that totally didn’t make sense. So, as I said before, I gave him a quizzical look. And then I repeated to him, “You need $.88?” He replied, eagerly, “Ya!” 

Occasionally, the brain capacity of a person unveils itself to showcase it’s abilities. 

Once I had confirmed that I heard him correctly, I took a moment to actually process the meaning of his statement. Approximately three seconds. It took me approximately three seconds to recall a comment I had made hours previously which itself had only taken about two seconds of processing while in that particular moment. To add to it, Trevor had never acknowledged that this comment was made, causing me to believe he had quite possibly never even heard the comment. Therefore, this cluster of information (which was such a small moment) I would have assumed to be filed away deep within the neurons of my brain in the cabinets listed “never to be seen of or heard from again.” 

And yet, here we were, hours later, having a brief few seconds of conversation which revolved around one moment from hours before that had seemingly only been experienced by one of us. 

I can’t possibly explain how the brain works, or why it does what it does. There are many unknowns about this vital organ, even to science. But, what I can tell you is that the brain is a complex organ that can do many marvelous and miraculous things. Including, and not limited to recalling a meaningless few seconds in our lives whenever it decides. 

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3 Need-to-Know Tips about Colorado Weather

If you have ever traveled to or lived in the Midwestern states of the United States, you know how fickle the weather can be. If you have ever traveled to or lived in Colorado, you know how intentional the weather can be. By intentional I mean that the weather intends to screw people over and thus does everything it can to ruin peoples’ lives.

It is not uncommon to get all four seasons in one hour, let alone one day. Snow and chilled temperatures are often followed by sunshine and balmy degrees. Those who have lived in Colorado for a few years know just how to make themselves constantly comfortable. I’ll share with you a few tricks of the seasoned. (Haha, seasoned. So punny.)

1. Wear lots of layers. Literally, layered layers.

When a child, who isn’t growing up in Colorado, is reminded by their mothers to wear lots of layers as they got dressed for school, it probably looks something like a jacket, two sweaters and two sweatpants layers.

When Colorado moms remind their kids to wear layers, you know to wear a pair of shorts, capris, jeans, and thick sweatpants. And that is just the bottom. A tank top, short-sleeve shirt, long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, and winter coat are the appropriate attire for the upper body.

We know that in Colorado it is possible, nay, inevitable that at least one layer is taken off every two hours. Each day begins as Antarctica and gradually becomes the Sahara by 3 pm.

2. Weather reports are less trusted than tarot cards.

The question, “What’s the weather (supposed to be) like?” is meant to be rhetorical. We ask it because we think that’s a normal thing to ask. Realistically, the conversation goes like this:

A: “How does tomorrow’s weather look?”

B: “The reports say it should be 70 degrees all day.”

A: “I’m going to bring our snow coats and boots, just in case.”

There is an 85% chance that those snow coats and boots will come in handy. We have an intuition about these kinds of things.

You can definitely get excited about the possibility of good weather, just know that your hopes and dreams may be dashed in an instant.

One day of weather in Colorado – Amy Dixon

3. Always make deposits for an outside and inside venue.

Or at least make sure that the outside venue has an overhead cover and that you brought lots of materials with which to tie things down.

Have we talked about wind yet? No? Okay, let’s just say that if the wind decides to show up, it will choose to act super dramatic about you not inviting it to your event.

Seriously though, we all want to believe that the day will be absolutely beautiful for everything that you are planning, but Colorado weather tends to make its own last-minute plans. Focus on your party being outside, but also create a backup plan.

 

The only real constant about Colorado weather is that it will change.

 

Because I love Colorado so much, here is one last tip:

 

4. Enjoy the stunning beauty that is Colorado at every chance you have.

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Chicken Chalupas

If you need a new dish for your meal rotation, this is the perfect addition. Growing up, my family made these easy chicken chalupas at least once every couple of weeks because every one of us five kids loved it! Plus, the ingredients are household staples. So convenient, I know.

Chicken chalupas is technically classified as a Mexican dish, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider this recipe to be authentic Mexican. It’s really a cheap dish of delicious ingredients wrapped and baked inside a tortilla. Although it takes some time to bake, the preparation of this meal is very fast and easy. If you like to teach your kids how to cook, this is a recipe young kids can easily help with.

My mother insisted that we learn how to cook as we grew up. She claimed something about her kids needing to become ready for when they moved out and started living on their own. I’m not sure what she was trying to do. Maybe that was her parenting tactic: preparing us for our independent futures. Crazy woman.

This dish is also a great freezer meal. It is good for a make-ahead dinner and when stored properly, can be stored in the freezer for a good amount of time. When I bring food to someone in need, this is one of my go-to’s because chicken chalupas is so easy to prepare.

Recipe:

2 Large Chicken Breast halves

or 1 Can of Chicken Breast Meat

1 Large Can Cream of Chicken Soup

1 Small can Green Chili Peppers diced

1/2 Small can Sliced Ripe Olives

2C Sour Cream

1T Dry Onions

2C Shredded Cheese

12 Flour Tortillas

 

Directions:

1. Cook Chicken Breasts and dice, set aside

2. Combine Soup, Chili Peppers, Olives, Sour Cream and Green onions. 

3. Add 1 cup of Cheese

4. Remove approximately 2 cups of this mixture

5. Spread half of separated mixture on bottom of pan

6. Add diced Chicken to other remaining mixture

7. Spread chicken mixture into Tortillas and roll up. Place in pan

8. Spread remaining half of non-chicken mixture on top of filled Tortillas

9. Sprinkle Cheese onto Tortillas and then cover with Foil

10. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

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How is Sex?

 

I have a favorite question. When I was younger I would ask it and now that I’m an adult and married it is asked of me.

“Are you trying to have a baby?”

Sometimes I think it’s a question we think the other person wants us to ask or maybe we want to show interest in that individual. Most of the time, I think it’s more about general curiosity. We actually want to know about the plans of the other person. Humans are so curious, aren’t we?   

This question, in its most simple and basic form, is quite innocent. When people ask it, they aren’t generally thinking about what the question is actually implying.

When the words “Are you trying to have a baby?” leave someone’s lips, what is really being asked is “Are you having sexual relations with someone of the opposite gender and are you doing so unprotected?” In as many or as few words.

Pexels

The subject of sex is so often taboo. Most people don’t want to know when others are doing it or especially how others are doing it. However, when the interest of a baby comes into view, all of a sudden everyone wants to know. And I mean everyone! I have random conversations at the store, in my church groups, with neighbors who want to know if we’ve ‘started’ yet. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same!

I don’t normally try to hide my life from other people, so if someone asks I will answer as honestly as possible (the level of sass and sarcasm vary depending on the individual and my emotional state. (Read about my miscarriage here.)) Quite frankly, I don’t mind if people ask me. It is just quite comical how people genuinely want to know if others are romping naked and unprotected in the bedroom.

The next time you begin to ask if someone is trying for a baby, remember that what you’re really asking is:

“Are you having sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex during specific times of the month without any type of contraception?”

Pexels
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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (Muffins)

 

I like to bake. Not only does baking yield delicious treats, but it also provides my body with fuller curves and more warmth during the winter months. (Glass-half-full thinking.) I dream of looking like all my fit friends so I share my baked goods to help them all have my beautiful, full figure. I kid, I kid. Mostly.

This chocolate chip banana bread recipe is a good recipe for a bake sale or for sharing with friends. As a side note, chocolate chip banana bread is also wonderful for eating alone, standing against your counter in the kitchen while everyone else in the house is miraculously preoccupied.

Most often, people put their banana bread in a loaf pan with the intention of serving slices and giving away full loaves. I choose to bake my chocolate chip banana bread in muffin tins or in (one of my favorite baking products) silicone baking cups. Using this method, I am able to divide the baked goods up much more conveniently, and I don’t have to dirty a knife each time I want a slice. That last point sounds so petty, but I really don’t like doing dishes.

Anyway, here is my quick, easy recipe for chocolate chip banana bread muffins:

 

1/2C Butter 1/4tsp Salt

1/2C Brown Sugar 1/2tsp Pumpkin spice

1/2C White Sugar 1C Mashed Bananas

2 Eggs 1T Water

2C Flour

1/2-3/4tsp Cinnamon

1tsp Baking Soda

 

1. Cream Butter and Sugar 

                   

 2. Add Eggs and beat well 

3. Add Dry ingredients, Bananas and Water. Mix well

       

          

              

4. Bake 350 degrees

For Bread: in greased bread pan for 1hr

For Muffins: in greased tins for 20-25 minutes

Now, I planned to take the pictures and write this blog while at my in-law’s house. It turns out that when you’re in someone else’s space, things are a bit different than in your own kitchen! The recipe, process, and results are all sound. However, human error severely crept into this experience and I am willing to admit it because let’s be real, crap happens. Let me list the different ways I screwed up: 

  1. I brought out nutmeg and used it in the pictures even though nutmeg is not used  in this recipe. 
  2. I meant to double the recipe, but I originally tripled the sugars and used only the two eggs which are required for one batch.  (I chose to go back and add more butter and eggs to make a triple batch rather than start over.)
  3. I used a 1/2 tablespoon rather than 1/2 teaspoon for the cinnamon. I luckily realized this before mixing the ingredients so I scooped what I believed to be the extra cinnamon out from the bowl. 
  4. I had to use less-ripe bananas because I only had enough over-ripe bananas for two batches.
  5. This one isn’t necessarily a screw up, but an inconsistency. I had to use muffin tins rather than the silicone liners because my liners were put into storage during our move. 

Mmhmm, we all make mistakes! Even if we have done a recipe a hundred times. 

Dessert, Breakfast, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

 

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Hanging READ Sign

READ SignOut of all the projects I have completed, this simple-looking sign that says READ is probably one of the most tedious and time consuming. However, the end product is so much fun! I love seeing this sign hanging on my wall. Sometimes I feel that my creative skills are limited, but this seems to prove otherwise- I love it!

All of the parts to this sign are relatively cheap. So altogether the cost of the READ Sign is pretty low aside from the cost of your time. Now that I have done it once and know what I am doing, I am pretty sure that the time it takes to create this type of a sign will be significantly decreased.

The end product of this READ wall hanging is completely up to your taste in design and how in depth you want to make the project. Components can be changed such as colors, distressing, lettering, how it hangs, and the overall décor.

READ Sign

 

Materials:

Wooden Board

Paint(s) (light tan and grey/green)

Paint Brush

Sandpaper (very light)

3D Cardboard Letters

Mod Podge (matte)

Book (throw-away)

Sponge Brush

Hot Glue

String (burlap twine)

Any other decorative items for a theme (sea shells)

Directions:

Board:

You can decide whether you are going to distress the board or not. Mine has that look and I love the way it blends in with the other worn down parts of my house.

  1. Ensure the board doesn’t have splinters. If it does, sand it down until it is smooth.
  2. Paint the board with the chosen color. If going for a distressed look, paint the first layer with the underlying color and let it dry. Then paint with the top color and let dry.
  3. When distressing, lightly rub the sandpaper around the dried board. Some choose to only distress the edges, but I went very lightly along the whole surface and then did a little extra on the edges.
  4. To add a hanging rope, simply cut out the desired length of rope or twine that you plan to use. (Include a little extra length on either side of the material so it can be attached.
  5. Use a hot glue gun to fasten the rope to the board. Don’t use the glue sparingly- you don’t want to have to attach the rope more than once.
  6. Set the board aside because now we’re going to get down to the time consuming letters.

Letters:

First of all, take a deep breath. You’re about to destroy a book. That’s good, a few emotional sobs are normal. Now, I am not one for measurements, especially when I already know something is going to take a while so take that into consideration.

  1. Rip a couple pages out of the book you will be using.
  2. If you’re like me, you don’t want any awkward white space on the sign. Cut along the edges of the words to remove the edges and large paragraph breaks.
  3. Look at an edge of your first letter and determine about how big of a piece of paper you will need to cover it. Choose a page and cut out the approximate proportions.
  4. Using Mod Podge, put a bit on the paint sponge and lay the paper lightly over it, covering all parts and sides of the paper. Don’t soak it, just dampen it.
  5. Press the damp paper onto the cardboard letter. It is okay if edges are hanging over. This can either add to the design or be covered up by other sheets.
  6. Continue to add Mod Podged sections onto the letter. I did a bit of layering and used varying sizes of paper on the top surface to give it less of a straight-edge look.
  7. You can choose to either add paper to the full surface or cut corners (literally.) I filled out all the surfaces, including the back and inside the letter holes.
  8. Lay the letter(s) aside to dry once the desired look has been reached.
  9. Find joy in the tedious process while you do this one project for the next two months.

                                                  

Assembly:

If I were an artistic person, there would probably be more detail to the final product of the READ sign. At this stage, you’re basically on your own for how you want it to look, I can’t really help with placement of design. Just eyeball it and follow your gut instincts about how it looks.

  1. Tentatively place the letters and other objects across the board until you find the most titillating layout.
  2. Grab your hot glue gun and blast everything to ensure it will stick.
  3. Allow your sign to set for an hour or two so everything can be secured. Make sure the glue is completely dry before it is moved.
  4. Hang your blood, sweat, and tears in your cute reading nook.

READ Sign

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Early Miscarriage

Today is the day I miscarried. Excuse me. Let me start again. Today I hunched over the toilet at work sobbing while the little being I was growing slipped through my vagina into the bowl of filthy, bloody water. Today is the day a very literal part of me died.

Retrieving it from the bowl, I stare at the dark red sac. Unbelievable. I was just starting to have excitement for the child. I turn the sac over in my hands, noting the cells that had so miraculously began forming to create a masterpiece which had the makings of two imperfect parents.

An immobilizing surge of pain begins to shoot from my abdomen as my body realizes that the process of creation is terminated. My body knows it is all over. My heart begs for it to not be so. I sit quietly there, crying, cupping my hands around a bloody mess that I had such high hopes for.

“How am I going to tell Trevor?”

How could I possibly find words to explain that the organism for which we had prayed and received was now gone? Gone. Four letters that carry the weight of so much meaning.

I can’t help feeling that I failed.

While more clumps of blood flow out of me, I begin to feel foolish for believing that it was my time to be a mother. Why would I think that we could be blessed with a child so soon after deciding it was our time to be parents? So, so foolish.

Four Weeks Pregnant

My heart continues to throb. I can’t stand being in the bathroom of my workplace feeling the worst emotional pain I have ever been introduced to. The bleeding has slowed. I clean up the mess. I leave work. I get in my car. I drive home. Numb.

I try to pull myself together as I approach my street. Thinking that I am going to wait in the car for a moment, I veer my car into the driveway and begin to feel a heavy stream of blood leave my body. I don’t have time to pull myself together. My body won’t let me have a moment. No, once I found out I was pregnant I became second to the child. Even in its’ death, I am still second to the child.

Sprinting, I slam through the front door and into the bathroom. Stripping down, a burst of fluid gushes into the toilet. Tears leave my eyes without even a thought. My loudness wakes Trevor from his sleep and he comes in to check on me, asking what could be wrong.

“It’s dead.”

“I killed it.”

I don’t know how I will recover. I don’t know how to piece myself together.

A miscarriage this early is unavoidable, right? Then it shouldn’t hurt like this. But I feel utter loss. I feel hopeless. I have never felt pain like this. Nothing in my life so far has ever been this devastating. I didn’t know that something I had known for such a short period could tear me apart quite like this.   

The emotional pain miscarriage carries is infinitely deep. I didn’t feel like a mother yet, but being a part of the creation of this thing, this child: it was a part of me. It is a part of me. And it is dead.

My first child’s due date is… was… June 10th. This date will always be special.

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