Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's time to celebrate Christmas

I got to pick our Christmas tree this year. Our first ever! Joseph didn't really like this one because he said it was "too small" (whatever), so he agreed to choose the tree next year if I got to choose this one. Why would we need a bigger tree? I just didn't get it. I think it's a guy thing.


Anyway, it was fun. We've never bought a tree before, and when I was growing up- the Christmas tree was never anything we really got that into. My dad bought a 6 dollar tree one year I remember because he bragged about how cheap it was all the time. (And as you can imagine, it was a sorry looking tree) Then another year, he cut down a bush/tree from our front yard for our Christmas tree and that was embarrassing. I think no tree might have been a better option that year. So needless to say- this was an exciting event for us.

It smells wonderful, we love it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Water, Weed, Repeat: Transform your life

Joseph and I have now been in our apartment for almost a month. And, during this time I've had a lot of time to myself which has allowed me to process a lot of things. I haven't had this much free time to govern for myself in years (or at least that is what if feels like). We moved here because Joseph found a job, which has been what I've been wanting since he graduated in May. So we were so excited to come and start this "new chapter" of our lives. This is the first time that at least one of us hasn't been in school our whole married lives (4 years). So, I came to New York excited, but still unsure of how if fit exactly in this new picture of our lives. I didn't know very many people around, I came with no job in place for me, and so when I first got here- I spent hours just cleaning the apartment, unpacking, and looking for jobs. This is what I did every day for about the first two weeks. However, I started noticing that if I didn't get everything done that I wanted to- then I started to feel bad and get kind of down on myself.


While all of this was going on, a friend of mine asked me, "so have you been writing more songs?" and I thought about it and was embarrassed to admit that I actually hadn't even picked up my guitar since I'd been in New York. I hadn't given myself permission to do so. I had to ask myself in that moment what was really going on with me- why did I feel this great pressure to get so much done? It wasn't coming from Joseph. In fact, he asked why I didn't go explore the City more. Why was I feeling bad about myself if I didn't get these things done that I felt I needed to?



I began to realize that this was coming from feeling like I had to do all these things so that I could show all of what I had done at the end of the day. That feeling gave me a sense of worth and purpose. I had always had a job and been busy with other things in the community, and that before had been part of what I based my worth and value on. I felt pride as I said to people when they asked me what I do, "I work at a psychiatric hospital." That meant that I had worth in some way. But now, when people asked me, "what did you do today," I felt myself trying to justify my day and if I didn't have something to show for it- than it wasn't enough.

I made a goal from that point on to write more, play more, and allow myself to enjoy each day. I started listening everyday to these CD's that I got Joseph for our anniversary gift. They're called, "Water, Weed, Repeat." They are CD's with a man named Tony Litster talking who created this program that helps people transform their self-image and create lasting change. It was actually listening to these CD's that helped me realize why I was feeling this way. I don't know if I would have noticed it before. But now, after working through this program- it is so clear to me where some of these thoughts, patterns and behaviors are coming from. And now that I'm aware of them, I am able to stop myself from thinking these things, and I'm able to really transform my belief about myself.


Part of the program has you write your own positive affirmation (something that I used to do with the patients I worked with at Central State), but until now, I had never really recited the affirmation daily like I am now. I write it and say it to myself every day. I feel like it really is working. Going through this program is helping me to see myself more as God sees me and to accept myself. I never felt before like I had this terrible self-esteem. It wasn't until I had nothing- no one to talk to or distract myself with, no job, a busy husband at work and no close friends yet- that I started to realize that I felt kind of down about myself.

As I have been listening to these CD's, and going through this program, I feel enlightened. I am really trying to now restructure the way I saw myself before. I recite this affirmation to myself everyday:

"I am a child of God. I have infinite worth and value. God loves me and accepts me as I am and I now fully accept myself. My soul is of great worth."

I know that this is true and the more I say it the more it resonates within me that it is true. I fail sometimes, I think I'm right sometimes when I'm not. I make many poor choices, but God still loves me. Elder Maxwell said it this way, "your individual worth is already divinely established as great. It does not fluctuate like the stock market."

I don't have a job yet. But that is ok, I'm going to get one soon. And what I do does not mean that that is who I am. I am beginning to understand that being is much more important than doing.


So if anyone wants to know what I've been doing these last few weeks in New York, this is pretty much it. Of course there are other things that are going on, but not a lot for me to show for it. Just an apartment that I unpacked, many emails sent, no jobs yet, and time to exercise, write music, serve in calling at church, and listen to these CD's. It's been quite a process for me, and although challenging for me still, I'm loving it.

(If you're interested in learning more about the CD's, or about Tony Litster, go to www.tonylitster.com. And, if you've really read all of this, I am impressed. I never read wordy posts. Give yourself a pat on the back.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mom got hitched!

We had a good time visiting with family and friends and are excited about our family growing.

Yay!


Cristi, Mandy, Alex, little Manu, and me hanging out with Grandma Gloria

Gotta love brother-in-laws

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

4 YEARS AGO!


WOW! I can't believe 4 years have come and gone already. Happy 4th Anniversary B! Thank you for the all good times and sweet memories! Te Quiero mi amor!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

4th of July



Joseph makes a great Uncle. He enjoys being a kid (probably more than the kids do) and I've got pictures to prove it. I love that about him so much (although there are times when it does drive me nuts, but for the most part, I love it.)

Over the 4th of July weekend, we spent time at the Merkley's farm swimming all day, eating delicious food off the grill, and to top it all off at the end of the night- we set off fireworks and watched the fireflies put on a show of their own. It was such a nice weekend- fun to see the kids, and even more fun to watch Joseph play with them. 


Now when it came to the fireworks, Joseph was the master...  
 


...risking his life just for the sake of putting on a good fireworks show for the rest of us. I'm so proud. 


Monday, June 29, 2009

GRADUATION + EL SALVADOR = GOOD TIMES

It's been a good couple of months. Sorry we haven't been faithful in updating this recently. 

We'll start from May... Joseph didn't want for me to post this, but I just had to because it's a huge accomplishment. He graduated from graduate school at VCU in their advertising program. It was a long two years that seemed to go by quickly (weird how that happens), and it felt so good to finally finish- I think almost just as good for me as it was for him. Now I'm sure you are wondering as you read this, "what are you going to do next?" And that is a question we are asking ourselves as well. The idea after graduate school is to find an awesome job, but we're coming to find out that that is taking a little longer than we had originally planned. Even still, we are enjoying this time "off," and I am continuing to work at my job until we figure out what our plans are next. That is still a mystery, but we will keep you updated.


After graduation, we were fortunate enough to get to go on vacation to El Salvador (where my mom is from). We'd been there before three years ago, but that was the only other time that Joseph had been. This trip was packed full of family parties and celebrations. Two of my cousins graduated high school, my aunt graduated from a program in business that she was doing, my sister had her birthday, and my other cousin had a baby shower. On top of that, we spent some days at the beach and went on a few scenic tours of El Sal as well. It was great. 

Here was our first day there. All the ladies in our family got to go to the salon to get our hair and makeup done before the big graduation party for my cousin Alex. I think there was a total of 11 of us that day at the salon from our family. In this pic you see just me, my sis, my aunt and my mom looking super sexy after our day at the salon. 


In the picture above here you see Brooks and Joe on the dance floor before the carnival started... 

...30 minutes later...the real party began. (Side note: they were the only ones wearing the fake hair in the entire place. And that is why we married them. )


Here are the two of us with our party face on! And of course since we had been traveling all day and I had spent all night packing, not too much time passed before I was out.


20 minutes later at 1:30 am, which really was 3:30 am for us. (this is joe: if you look closely you can see a little drool)





(Joe speaking) Here is a sweet old guy working on either a hammock or a blanket. It was pretty crazy to see how it all worked and just how long it took them to finish one...no electricity or machines, just pure 80 year old muscle.  I don't exactly know what he is doing on the second image...I just thought it was a funny picture.


Brooks and I after a good body surfing session...we were tossed around like little rag dolls, but it was all worth it.  The wave in the background doesn't do it justice.  They were seriously pretty intense....I promise.



(back to B) In between our family parties and chillin' on the beach, we took a few tours of El Salvador which my aunt had set up for us. Right as we were taking off in the tour bus, we hear this sudden loud bang behind us which happened to be a pole that the bus driver ran into. The best part about it was the drivers reaction. Brooks' facial expression above pretty much sums it up. "Este..."



The picture you see here is a hike we took through the jungle that went around a crater and you could also see one of the volcanos from here as well. It was really pretty, I especially loved the hike.  



We also went horse back riding on this tour- it was pretty awesome. 


This picture is one of my favorites. How perfect is his face right now? He is always asking me to pose in pictures by myself which I hate- so I said, "here, you get in one." And now he knows how awkward it feels sometimes. 


In this picture, you see Brooks, Cristi, Daniel (my moms fiance), me and Joseph. Pretty, yeah?


Sisters- love them. 

We had so much fun during the trip, seeing the sites, hanging out on the beach, and I think best of all...getting to just chill with the fam. For now, these are all the pics we'll post, but we'll have more to come shortly. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Summertime


It was a sad reality that I had to face recently when I realized that there really is no such thing as "summertime" anymore. The meaning of the word no longer holds the joy and freedom that it has for so many years. All summertime means to me now is more 8-5 days...Monday through Friday...week after week. The smell of fresh cut grass, the warm breeze as the sun goes down in the late evening, and finally being able to pull out the flip flops...those are all wonderful things, but they don't quite hold the same meaning to me anymore. This is my first summer in the "real world." I never thought I'd say this before, but I kind of miss school.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Coming Soon...

I have exciting news! My website that has been "coming soon" for the last year and a half is finally finished and on the web! Thanks to my amazing husband who lovingly put hours of work into it- the website can now be found at www.biancamerkley.com- Please check it out! He did an amazing job.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What happens to Richmond when it snows??

So what do you think happens to Richmond when it snows 6-8 inches??? It is beautiful at first as you can see above.

Then later on after it begins to pour down thick- things start to happen. As you can see above- the wiring in Richmond needs some help. This is a picture of our back yard. I'm pretty sure that the pole you see is not supposed to be leaning. Anyhow, the result is what you will see below...

video

Huge explosions and power outages all over the city. What would be considered a light flurry in Salt Lake practically puts the entire city of Richmond to a halt. Gotta love Richmond!


music + family + friends = good times


Ellwood Coffee is a great community place. It offers the best in delicious, organic, fair trade, food and drinks. This past Saturday, my friend Naomi and I played at the new Ellwood's Coffee.




We had so much fun and enjoyed spending the night playing music and mingling with family and friends that came by for a listen. Thanks to those who came out!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday Night

It's Thursday night- and I think that mentally I've already checked out for the weekend. I have that careless and relaxed feeling that usually accompanies Friday afternoon-

I've been getting lost here in front of the computer for the past hour and every time I think I am just about to X-out of every page I suddenly think of one more thing I want to do on the computer...like post on the blog for instance.

Anyway, just wanted to post on here and say that overall- life is good. I can't complain. I am continuing to learn and grow at my job- so that is a good thing. But, I must admit, after an hour of looking at other people's blogs and seeing what seemed like hundreds of baby pics, I'm kind of wishing that was my life. Someday at least.

Joe continues to be busy at school. Just a few more months though! We are getting to the end. Can you believe it?!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Goodbye 2008

It's officially 2009! That is exciting to me for some reason. I just feel good about 2009, I think good things are coming. Joseph will finish up grad school in 2009! That is already something we are anxiously excited for... and with that graduation will come a lot of changes... and I am hoping and anticipating that they will be good changes.

It has been a while since we have posted on here and I have quite a bit to catch up on. So I will go back a little.

First of all...Thanksgiving. For Thanksgiving this year, we had so much fun because Mandy, Cristi, Brooks and my mom can out to visit us! We got to celebrate Mandy's birthday together as well as Thanksgiving in Williamsburg. I had never been to Williamsburg before, so I was a little worried that it might not be as fun and interesting as everyone had told me it was. But we had a really good time. As you can tell by the pictures, we really tried to experience Williamsburg to the fullest.


After they left, it was hard to go back to work and get back into the routine of things. I have to admit, I had so much fun with them that it was really hard for me to see them leave. I was able to get back into the swing of things after about a week, and the fact that Christmas and New Years was approaching made it that much easier to continue forward.

We had a really nice Christmas and New Years break with a good amount of time off to chill out. We also went all over the place it seemed. Joseph and I went up to Wilton, CT where he grew up and spent time with friends family for a few days. We met up with Sarah in New York and went to see the train they have at the botanical gardens. They have created an entire town out of all natural products from plants and trees, and it is pretty unreal! The detail was amazing.


We also had a chance to do some ginger bread house making with our friends, the Pratts, one night. Ours for some reason turned out to be an LA house. We have a half pipe and a pool in the back yard. (Clearly Joe's idea)


We also had a chance to play in the snow up there with the Francia family. It snowed quite a bit when we were up there. I miss the snow, but I'm not so sure I miss the cold.

Look at how cute this little girl is. You gotta love the suit.


Finally...to end out trip and vacation, we spend Christmas and a few days after the new year at the Merkley's farm in C-ville. It was much warmer than NY and we got to spend days by the fire and take walks out in the beautful woods. It was very relaxing and we had a great Christmas. It was different this year because there were no kids around, so we woke up late, ate late and opened our gifts around noon. It was a nice way to end the Holidays.