Sunday, January 29, 2017

How Much Does It Hurt?

I researched getting my eyebrows microbladed for over 10 years before actually taking the plunge. I was gifted brow tattoos once, actually, haha as a birthday present! ← weird, yeah? Who gives someone eyebrows as a present?? I never redeemed that gift. Anyways.

The question I've always had (after wondering if I'd end up looking like a total freak and regret everything forever - I mean, you can't exactly hide jacked up eyebrows, you know? They're kind of...RIGHT on your face...), is how much does it hurt? 

Let me answer that question for you! 

If the pain scale is from 1-10, getting my brows "powder filled" was like a 5 overall. Not super comfortable, but also not the worst. It kind of felt like someone was ripping my eyebrows out over and over again. Haha. That's so gross (*and* very accurate).

Getting hairstroke brows done?? Now THAT hurt. Like a 7 or 8. I may or may not have bit the inside of my lip the whole time and my tears may or may not have come out unintentionally. THAT felt like someone scraping my eyebrows with a red-hot razor blade over and over. Is any of this information helping anyone anywhere..?

Before and After

Wondering what the process is like? You show up and talk shape, density, and color. Your fabulous brow-magician draws your brows on (if you're crazy, like me, this part takes like an hour because you're so freaked out that they're going to look insane), once you've decided on a shape and color...the party begins! Numbing cream goes on for ten minutes (which you'll spend staring at the ceiling and questioning all of your life choices),  then your brow-magician pokes your eyebrows with a weird poky tool for ten minutes, then adds more numbing cream. Note: the SECOND round of numbing cream is waaaay more effective than the first. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. Your brow-magician pokes your eyebrows some more, and then - VOILA - you're all done! You look in the mirror and have a mini-panic attack because your eyebrows look WAY TOO dark. Don't freak out! They fade around 40%. After a few days of keeping your eyebrows totally dry (yeah, that means no getting your eyebrows wet when  you wash your face. It doesn't sound super hard, does it?? It's HARD, you guys.), and slathering them with lovely grapeseed oil (dark, boxy, slimy caterpillar eyebrows. Mmmm. delightful.), they'll peel and then - VOILA (again!) - you're REALLY all done! Your brows are beautiful, natural-looking, and not going anywhere (for at least a year. haha.).

For the record, getting my brows done (semi-permanently, ok? they're not technically permanent, so take a deep breath if you're having a moral dilemma with my so-called face tattoos) was 100% worth every second of pain and discomfort. You see...I'm one of those poor souls who got super into the over-plucked eyebrows trend of the 90's (thanks for NOTHING, Gwen Stefani and Drew Barrymore! UGH) - and once those delightful, wispy rainbows went out of style? Well...I was out of luck. 
This was after high school. Eyebrows don't grow back, y'all. 
That's a lesson I learned the hard way.

I got soo tired of penciling in my brows everyday - tired of accidentally rubbing an eyebrow off after working out, or getting splashed in the face by my baby in the pool. DISAPPEARING EYEBROWS ARE NOT MY JAM. 

Having eyebrows that I can count on to be there? That, my friends, is priceless.

So, bring on the numbing cream and yearly fills!! Bring on the red-hot razor blade eyebrow torture tool (I honestly don't know if I'll have the courage to do hairstroke next year haha. It huuurt!)!!

Something I've decided: blogging is so weird. Thanks for reading! Byyyyyeeeeee


PS Call Stephanie and Imani Artistry if you're in Utah and looking for an awesome eyebrow expert to make all of your semi-permanent eyebrow dreams come trrruuuuueeee! You're welcome.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

King of the World

Several years ago I was introduced to Christian worship music. I remember that night with surprising clarity (I don't remember a lot of things now that I've been chronically sleep deprived for four years haha). It was after closing at work, I was 19, and a dreamy boy with a guitar made me fall in love as he sang "Overwhelmed" by Joel Weldon (listen here). I remember having such an overwhelming emotional response to his voice and testimony as he sang - it remains one of my most beloved spiritual experiences. I hadn't ever heard anyone sing a song to/about Christ without using the formal "thee"/"thou"/"thine". Hearing that incredible man sing about our Savior in such an intimate, familiar way was a major game changer for my faith.

I didn't start listening to Christian worship music regularly until a few years later (another post for another time) - and, since listening to contemporary Christian music regularly, I've felt impressed over and over that I need to share this music with my LDS brothers and sisters. Not only has my heart been touched and comforted by these songs, but my faith has been challenged and expanded and deepened. I know my Savior and God so much more because of artists like Casting Crowns, Francesca Batistelli, Matthew West, Chris Tomlin, Crowder, and many more. Maybe your's will be, too...♥

SO! Here's a new side of Calee for you! I'm going to post live videos singing some of these songs. They're unedited, raw. You'll probably hear Violet running around in the background in some of them haha. I've struggled with my own imperfection, and have thought maybe I just shouldn't post at all. So please be nice to me haha as I share in a very real way ♥

This is my first installment of Christian worship music for y'all: King of the World by Natalie Grant.

I love this song. The lyrics read:

I tried to fit you in the walls inside my mind
I try to keep you safely in between the lines
I try to put you in the box that I've designed
I try to pull you down so we are eye to eye
When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you're the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world
Just a whisper of your voice can tame the seas
So who am I to try to take the lead
Still I run ahead and think I'm strong enough
When you're the one who made me from the dust
When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you're the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world

Ooh you set it all in motion
Every single moment
You brought it all to be
And you're holding on to me

When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you're the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you've always been the king of the world

Who out there DOESN'T relate to this song..? Where are my fellow control freaks at..? What I love most about this song is that it highlights how perfectly powerful God is. How can I possibly expect to understand all of His motives and designs? How big of a waste of energy is it for me to constantly try to explain every challenge and trial away? Or every blessing? A little more faith in His love, His constant care and concern would do me a LOT of good. 

Maybe start a Christian music play list and add this one to it, yeah?

(Listen to the fabulously talented Natalie Grant sing it for you here)

Have the best Sunday.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Weirdly Relatable

I teach Relief Society once a month in my ward (for my non-LDS readers out there, that means that I've been asked to teach in our adult women's class). I was *thrilled* to be called to teach again! Teaching has always been one of my favorite callings...except when I was called to teach a class of ELEVEN four-year olds...holy. that's the closest I've ever been to leaving the church haha. (jk.) (kind of.). ← can someone teach me about punctuation because this looks insane to me...

Sometimes teaching in RS can be a bit...well, weird. I stand up in front of this group of women and try to make stories from the scriptures or church history relatable. The problem, I've found,  is that a lot of these stories are really UNrelatable...and it makes my job a little bit tricky.

EXAMPLE FROM LAST MONTH'S LESSON: Can we talk about Abraham sacrificing Isaac for a second?? How is that story relatable?? To anyone?! I mean...honestly. Is the person who wrote the lesson manual really expecting for all of us to go, "Yes, I need to strive for the faith to sacrifice my kids if I heard a voice telling me to." ...umm WHAT?! No, lesson manual writer, no that's not how I would respond if I heard that voice. I know what the lesson is getting at, for the record, but it's hard for me to get past how bizarre the story is! And we just get so used to hearing these stories that we forget to stop and really LOOK at the surrounding circumstances! I mean, they're bananas!

If I heard a voice telling me to sacrifice my child - my ONLY child...the child my wife begged God for over the course of a lifetime and then gestated that child in an 80-year old body (can you even imagine the misery?!) - I would probably check myself into the nearest mental hospital. For my own safety, really...because I know that my wife would KILL me if she knew I was thinking about harming that child. Wait - why do I have a wife in this story?! This is getting weird. You know what I'm saying, though, right?

So instead of even getting to the deeper meaning behind the story of Abraham and Isaac, I led a very interesting discussion on being pregnant at 80 years old and what a hardcore woman Sariah must have been. TRUTH: 'hardcore' is the edited version of the word I first typed to describe Sariah. I was pretty sure they were going to release me after that one. NOTE: I have not been released...yet.

This picture has nothing to do with this post. I just like it and think it's cute. 
I though I'd post it right here in case you're thinking,"Wow Calee is a total crazy person"
because...this picture is so cute that it might make you decide that you like me anyway. it working..?

My lesson this month was on being an ensign and a light to the world (I taught this last Sunday). When I first glanced over the lesson, I felt a little nervous to be tasked with teaching such a broad topic...where would I even start? The section on the early pioneers and their 'prophetic vision' had me particularly worried. I mean...what kind of strange and unrelatable things was I going to find in there?! I'm not a pioneer. I don't do pioneer things. ← I want to change the title of this post to 'I don't do pioneer things' haha. best line thus far.

But you know what happened..? I had a real moment while reading that section. A moment where I those early pioneers, those leaders with prophetic vision. Here's what caught my attention:

'I marvel at the foresight of that little group. It was both audacious and bold. It was almost unbelievable. Here they were, almost a thousand miles from the nearest settlement to the east and almost eight hundred miles from the Pacific coast. They were in an untried climate. The soil was different than the black loam of Illinois and Iowa, where they had most recently lived. They had never raised a crop there. They had never experienced a winter. They had not built a structure of any kind. These prophets, dressed in old, travel-worn clothes, standing in boots they had worn for more than a thousand miles from Nauvoo to this valley, spoke of a millennial vision. They spoke out of a prophetic view of the marvelous destiny of this cause. They came down from the peak that day and went to work to bring reality to their dreams. '

As I read that section, my mind went to each woman in my ward. I wondered how many of them feel like they've been working hard to follow God's voice in their lives, how many of them have experienced treacherous (emotional/mental/spiritual) paths? How many feel they've been asked to 'walk' (mentally/emotionally/spiritually) over a thousand miles with little resources, experiencing intense suffering along the way? And then, after choices have been made and 'arrivals' have been realized (like, starting a family or committing to a career path), how many of them feel like they don't have the tools to figure out what to do next? How many are exhausted and feeling like they could really use a break from all of the hard work..?

Each of us stands in 'untried climates'. With each new challenge we face - financial struggles, marital issues, a child who has been hurt or abused, a child who is rebellious, health problems, addiction/substance abuse, etc - we find ourselves on new ground. We've never 'raised crops' on this ground, we've never experienced this exact challenge before. Maybe you don't feel like you have the spiritual/emotional/mental tools or resources to 'build structures' to protect yourself or your family along the way. Just like those pioneer families, though, we are a part of this marvelous cause. Can we work on faith..? Can we rely on God to follow through on His promises?

I'm sure there were days when the saints wondered if God had forgotten them. It's 13 degrees outside right now in American Fork, Utah, and I can't help but think of those early saints in rudimentary houses braving that first winter. They survived, though...although I have no doubt that survival was hard fought.

The point I'm trying to make, I guess, is this: We might not know HOW God is going to bring all of the pieces of our messy lives into focus and make all of the brokenness right...but if we have enough faith in the WHY, we'll be ok. HINT: the WHY is that He loves us. 

Heavenly Father has been leading His children through deserts and across oceans and out of slavery and through the wilderness since the beginning of time.

YOU are a part of that glorious heritage - embrace the journey.

AKA Put on your hiking boots and get to walking, lovers. ♥


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Boy Crazy

You guys. I in high school. Not like the socially reclusive or quiet kind of know, like the pretty but shy girl who wears glasses in the movies and then gets transformed into the Prom Queen and falls in love with the cool, recently-remediated bad boy? No, no..I was not that kind of awkward.

I was awkward on the other end of the spectrum. Liiiiike the loud...slightly obnoxious (haha let's be kind to Calee right now, ok??) kind of awkward. Cheerleader (I'm not saying all cheerleaders are obnoxious, calm down), ASB, honors classes, weirdly Mormon and obsessed with boys.

I thank heaven daily that social media wasn't around when I was 13-19, because, YOU GUYS, it would.have.been.B-A-D. You know people who post cryptic, overly emotional post-break up Facebook statuses? I would have been the QUEEN of those...and my reign would have been gloriously uncomfortable and awful.

you're welcome for sharing this fantastic photo of my no-eyebrow, greasy middle-part, long-hair-with-no-layers self.
sophomore year. 
please don't kill me, ashley.

I was a very nice, loud person. A person with a lot of feelings about a lot of things and very little ability to keep any of it to myself. I'd cry in English class (haha oh man - a story for a different time), I'd tell hysterical stories LOUDLY to my entire seminary class every. single. day at 5:45 AM (I don't know how they didn't murder me. probably because they were just too was so early). Were ANY of my stories truly hysterical? I'm not sure. I remember being very pleased with myself everyday. So, we're going to go with it. WAIT is this sounding like me as an adult?! Hahahahaaaaawaaaaaa :sob:sob:

Why am I telling you about high school? When it was the WORST? Because I know that there are a fair number of you in high school right now. And it's nice to know that you're not alone in your awkwardness, right?

I can only imagine how devastatingly impossible it must be to ever feel like you're enough in high school these days. Instagram?! Pinterest?! PHOTOSHOP?! Oh my heavens...I struggled with a major inferiority complex with just my big sister - who wore headgear at night and drove a hideous gold car (nothing but love, Nikki!). No one contoured. Everyone's eyebrows were HIDEOUS. It was fine. I mean, Britney Spears was a tricky one to navigate...I was NEVER going to get out of the house wearing a school girl outfit with knee-high socks -  how could I compete with HER for Derek Simper's heart?! PS Derek, if you ever read this - I was obsessed with you from like 4th grade until we graduated. If you asked me out right now I'd totally go for it. So. What are you doing this weekend..?... I digress.

A part of why my HS experience was so weird, I think, lies wrapped up in a gospel truth. A truth that I  didn't understand fully - and that ended up causing me a lot of pain and heartache.

Some people will talk about girls who are 'boy crazy'. You know what I mean when I say that, right? A girl who's entire self esteem depends on a boy liking her? Who can never seem to go too long without a boyfriend? Who is majorly devastated if/when any relationship fails to live up to the 'happily ever after' hype? That was me. Only, I didn't see it that way. I saw it as me becoming who I was meant to be.

Let me explain:

I grew up listening to lesson after lesson in Sunday school (and sacrament, and Young Women's, at mutual and FHE...) talk about the importance of family. My purpose as a daughter of God (yeah, this is oversimplified, maybe - but it's what I understood in high school) was to get married and have kids. I was meant to be a Mom. I listened to women share their testimonies on the beauty of marriage, how having kids was the most incredible thing ever, how they knew that God wanted them to have families and - even though their husbands weren't perfect - they knew their husbands were the perfect match for them.

It seemed pretty straightforward to me that in order to really achieve my highest potential as a person in this life, I would need to fall in love and get married. I don't think I've ever heard a talk, to this day, where a woman said, "I recognize that God has a different plan for me in this life - outside of having a family." We don't talk about it in those terms. I *HAVE* heard ,"God hasn't blessed me with children or a husband in this life, and I've had to make peace with that." but that's a completely different thing. My entire worth and future depended on a nice, returned-missionary falling in love with me and making me his wife and mother to his children. Had you asked me back then, I would have probably told you that I wanted to go to college and that I had hobbies and dreams outside of having a family, too, (which was true) - but ultimately, on the most basic level, I wanted to be a super-Mormon-wife and mom. I wanted to live the dream. Be what God wanted me to be. Every other decision and plan was just a blip on the roadmap toward marriage and a family - every situation outside of that marital bliss was just buying time until I was able to achieve it.

The issue with hearing and internalizing all of those messages over the years (for me, at least) was that it translated into this weird obsession with love - specifically, a BOY falling in love with me...and not just ANY boy...but THE boy. My eternal companion. :enter sighing and lights streaming from the heaven and angels singing sweetly from the dewy heavens: Being attractive and desirable to as big a pool as possible, therefore, was important - so I could be sure to attract the right boy. The sad news for you, high school Calee, is that your standards and concept of what the "right" boy was pretty naive...

Oh my goodness this post isn't at all what I thought it was going to be. I set off to share an embarrassing story or two about my HS experience...but it turned into some real self-realization haha.

The important stuff I've learned SINCE high school about this: God cares about ME more than He cares about me falling in love and having a family. Just me. Me and what I am and who I'm becoming as a human being. Me as a person who is learning every day. I've learned that there isn't a sure-fire path that leads to happiness for every person. Everyone has their own path, their own timing. God knows and loves each one of us - married, unmarried, with kids, without kids. Whatever your familial circumstances look like, God loves you. And THAT love...HIS the only love I'll ever truly need. His love is the love that I'll never have to fight for, I'll never have to worry about losing. My worth is based in what God sees when He looks at my heart, not what some other imperfect human being sees when they look at my face or my waist size or my bust size or make-up/clothes. Every blessing (marriage, financial gain, other dreams being realized) will come as I focus on my everyday walk with the Savior - people will come into my life that I'm supposed to meet, experiences I'm meant to have will happen.

Whew. I should probably edit this before I post it, but you know what? I'm just going to leave it raw and real and let you do what you will with it. So there you go. My thoughts for the day. Maybe I'll come back to it and talk about why my vision of men was so naive, or how I shifted my perspective away from specifically marriage-focused, to God-focused. We'll see.

Until then.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

An Update of Sorts


You know what I've discovered? (other than the HOT IRON HOLSTER and holy crap it's changed my bathroom's life - and, no, no one is paying me to say that haha) What I've discovered is that I really like Instagram. I like Instagram because I can snap a cute picture on my phone, add a humorous/silly/thoughtful few lines of text, post it to my IG and - within a few minutes - I have likes and comments and validation (go ahead and judge! social media validation might be pretty pathetic, but it's a real thing and it helps me sometimes when I'm having a bad day, ok?!) and the entire process takes me less than two minutes. I feel connected to all of you, and I feel good about it. 

Blogging is a little more difficult. It requires more thought...more planning. All of the additional space for words and thoughts equates to a deeper level of honesty for me. Looking around the blogging-world I recognize that honesty isn't necessarily something that ALL bloggers feel motivated by (have you read THIS article yet? it's been posted and re-posted all over my facebook feed lately...I haven't decided 100% how I feel about it yet, but he makes some interesting points!)

"So, what's the problem?" you might ask. "Is being honest difficult for you, Calee..?"

The answer isn't that simple - but, if I were to get right down to it, I guess I would say: yes.

I want to be honest, believe me. I'm one of those people who was born (gifted or cursed depending on the situation haha) with the tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, to share my opinions and feelings openly. It seems, though, that being really - totally and completely - honest isn't always acceptable. Being brutally honest can garner feedback about how I need to work on being more positive as a person (don't worry, I've kicked all of those people in the kneecaps), feedback about being careful to not air my dirty laundry for the world to see/hear/be shocked by, feedback about having more faith.

The reason I'm telling you all of this, is because I'm going to start opening back up and being here more often - even though that level of honesty feels a bit scary and daunting lately. The last few years have taught me a lot of things (my marital issues, my sick baby, my divorce, etc) of the hardest lessons for me to un-learn has been the need to be quiet. To keep my mouth shut and suck it up emotionally and just be quiet. Have any of you wondered why I complained so loudly all over my social media about V being so sick..? Other than the fact that her first year and a half was nothing short of hellish, torturous and nightmarish - I was experiencing other incredibly difficult things that didn't have a voice. I didn't feel like I could say those things, I didn't feel like they were safe to share. Anyways.

There is healing in honesty. There is healing in not being quiet. Don't worry, all of you worriers out there, haha. I'm not going to start spilling my guts about all of my deep darkness (OR WILL I??). I'm just going to stop being stopped by the fear of judgement and chastisement. 

So here I am. Hey. Hi. Hello. It's been a while. Good to see you again. ::virtual high five::

I'm going to try to share weekly here - with videos of my favorite Christian songs and thoughts on life and motherhood and being single and dating and how it's all scary and wonderful and crazy and awesome and weird and hard. 

Thanks for caring - and even if you don't, thanks for reading all the way down to this last line.


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