Thursday, August 8, 2013

Defining Moments

The following is not meant to make you feel sorry for me. It is not meant to spread ill-feelings toward people I have included in my writing, either. I am sharing this as a way to take what I have experienced out of my own hands and, hopefully, maybe help someone else who may read this someday. (Even if I help just one person who is going through a hard time, this will have been worth it to me!) Please understand that at this point in my life, I do not harbor ANY angry feelings for any person who appears in this post!

My childhood was happy. I had great parents who took care of me... probably even spoiled me! My mom was there every step of the way, and my dad, who owns his own business, was there when he could be. 
During the week, my brother and I would do everything together, most often you could probably find us outside having some type of adventure. Mom was always watching kids on the side when she wasn't working as a Resource Teacher at my elementary school, Ridge Crest. I was born a leader and kids often would follow me in whatever I was doing. 
On weekends, my dad wouldn't be working so we'd all be doing activities as a family. I remember doing everything from horse trail-rides, to snow-machining, camping, to staying in "The Cabin" in Island Park. I remember going to the rollerskating rink in Pocatello and dining out. We even went to California for Christmas when I was in second grade. I don't think my life could have been much closer to perfect.
I do remember having a strange relationship with friends at school. I was a social butterfly and never really seemed to fit in with one particular 'clique'. This was fine with me because I always had someone to play with during lunch and recess. As I got older, though, I started missing out on invites to parties and what not. It just seemed like I wasn't close enough to be thought of as more than an acquaintance. I remember a few girls that were nice enough to me at school, but never invited me to do anything with them outside of school. I dealt with it well enough. There was always something to do with my family. 
As I entered fifth grade, however, I took on a totally new relationship with a peer. I began to be bullied. It started with one boy. I remember sitting at lunch one day and Jared started telling me how fat I was. I can still see his face and hear his words. I had never really looked at my body until that moment. I didn't know I was FAT until it was pointed out to me by a twelve year old boy. I began crying and begging him to leave me alone. An aide came over and asked what was going on... neither of us spoke so the kids around that had been listening fessed up and I watched as Jared was taken away from the table. After recess, my teacher took me out into the hall and asked me how long he had been doing this. I told her the story and I guess she had a talk with him. I am grateful for her support but sorry to say that the bullying only got worse. What's crazy is all of this was happening while my mom worked in the classroom across from ours... I look back now and wonder why that didn't frighten him.
Well, I moved on from elementary and seemed to grow a foot in the next year or so... It really seemed to slim me up. I was making new friends and was really starting to feel better about myself, although I was now stepping on the scale and looking in the mirror much more frequently now. To make matters worse, I was now in gym where we had to change for class. There is nothing more daunting than changing your clothes in front of twenty skeptical adolescent girls, only now I know that they were feeling exactly as I felt. Still, I pushed on and kept living. I was only about ten pounds overweight anyway... I shouldn't have been so concerned. I was, though, until the spring of 2004, when a bombshell was dropped on me...
My parents, who had been together for 14 years were leaving each other. This came as a total shock to my brother and me. I was very sad and seemed to be gaining more weight. I started doing tons of things at school to keep my mind off of what was happening at home. I didn't eat well and I was entering my high school years about twenty pounds overweight. I was still generally happy, but I never felt comfortable in anything I wore. I remember longing to look like other girls I knew or people I saw in the media. I covered up my sadness as much as I could, but ask my close friends and family and I'm sure they noticed a difference. I didn't care about my grades and I didn't really put my all into anything I did... It was all somewhat mediocre. I was also placed in a joint-custody situation where I would spend half of the week with my mom and the other half with my dad, rotating weekends. I felt that I was spread so thin and tired, I don't know how we did that for as long as I did. Eventually, though, I was tired of it and did something that I started the rockiest relationship I have ever had with anyone. I asked my dad if I could just stay with my mom. 
He was irate... and looking back now, I know how much that probably hurt for him to hear. I was just looking for some stability in my life and in my mind, he had his new wife and step-kids, my mom had no one... I thought it would be a win-win: we all have company to keep and I have a somewhat regular schedule in my life again. I guess my dad didn't have the same mindset as I did. He went into his house, grabbed all of my clothes and threw them into the back of my mom's car, not caring to pick up what was left lying across his lawn. He turned around with tears in his eyes and walked back into his house, shutting the door without another word to me. I cried the whole way back to my mom's.
Things got better for a while, until my mom remarried and I chose to move from Blackfoot to Mud Lake with her (about an hour's drive). My dad was upset again by the notion, this time taking me even further away from him. I thought I was in need of a change and looked at this as an opportunity for me to start over with a clean slate. I had also just been baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, against his wishes. I guess it seemed to him that I was rebelling against him in every possible way I could. I really was just looking for a way to be happy again. 
I think I would have fit in great at West Jefferson High if I had been living there my whole life. I loved the short time I spent there, although I had social butterfly complex again and never really got the chance to grow super close to anyone during my last two years of high school. I was still carrying about twenty pounds of extra weight, too, but I decided to go out on a ledge and do something that I thought would be great for myself. I participated in Jr. Miss. 
I loved getting a chance to grow a little closer with the girls who participated and I found myself enjoying the activities involved with the program. As the major night approached, however, I could not get over how my dad seemed to not support the whole idea. When I would talk to him about it, his answers were short and he often questioned why I had chosen to take part in the program. Then, the night before the show, we were invited to attend a parent-daughter dinner. My dad never told me he wasn't going, so the night of I sat and watched his and his wife's salads wilt on their plates, wondering what could be keeping them. 
I had purchased their tickets to the actual performance, but after the no-show the evening before, I didn't know what to expect for Saturday night. I remember calling him with no answer and I was honestly surprised when I came out and saw him after it had already started.  I was grateful for his appearance, but still not sure why he hadn't come the night before... A week afterward, I learned the reason. He told me... he also told me that he thought the whole thing had been a joke and if I really had my heart in it I would have done better... and that I should have taken my dress to a seamstress to have it altered because it looked like it didn't fit right. (I had altered my dress...)
I was upset to hear these words, and it was a blow to my self-confidence, but I moved on and kept living... what else could I do?
Later, my high school graduation was coming up. My step-mother's grandma passed a week prior to my graduation and her funeral would cause them to be away from my graduation. I feel selfish now, but I was so upset that my dad would even consider thinking about missing my graduation... I didn't know if he was coming until I saw him walk in the night of. It was hard to feel happy he was there when I was so surprised to see him, and I think he may have picked up on my feelings. I hadn't planned anything for after the ceremony because my cousin was having cake at her house... I didn't know if my dad was coming and my mom's family would all be at Corttany's house, so I planned on joining them. I think this also upset my dad because he came, but only stayed for about five minutes then left without saying goodbye. He did build me a beautiful hope chest that I treasure and am very grateful for, but I missed having time with him.
Moving on a couple of years, I was attending college. My relationship with my dad was quite rocky and I didn't see him very often. I began dating a boy from Southern Utah and  in the summer of 2010, he asked me to marry him. We had kind of been on again, off again, but I really felt that I could be happy with him in my life. I said yes. He gave me a ring and we started planning, but shortly after, he went home and changed his mind. He called one day to end our relationship and asked if I would mail the ring back to him. I was not sure what the problem was but eventually made my mind up that it was better than waiting until after we were married for him to do that. 
The next week, my mom and I started packing our things as she was going through her second divorce. While packing one day, my step-dad came home to say that there was a mass of cars parked down at our family friends', the Newman's. Later that night, we found out that their boy, Brody had gotten into an accident on the four wheeler. I attended his funeral between moving out of my Step-dad's and into my mom's new place. I was seriously wondering what else could possibly make me sadder when about three weeks after Brody's accident, I woke up to my mom's cell ringing during the morning six o'clock hour. I heard my mom as she spoke worriedly, with who turned out to be my aunt. She came down the hall a few minutes later to tell me my friends, Mabry and Loren had been found in a car accident just a few miles away from Mabry's house. They both didn't make it. I went to their joint funeral a week before I had to return to Rexburg for school...
When I returned to school a few short days later, I was surprised when Levi called me to ask if I would go get some ice cream with him. We talked, but it felt strange to me going on what I am sure was a date. I had moved into his ward, though because I thought we would still be together and I hadn't had enough time to change my contract and move somewhere else before school started... this caused us to see each other on a regular basis and before I knew it, we were dating again... 
Around the beginning of November, I asked him about his plans for Thanksgiving... he didn't want to stay with my family, but he didn't really invite me to come down with his family either... I thought he had been happy with where things were going, so this took me by surprise. I decided to take this as a sign that he just wasn't as committed to me as I was to him, and for the first time, I made the decision that we should stop seeing each other. I had fun for the remainder of the semester as I dated only for something fun to do. My heart just wasn't set on latching onto someone so tightly that soon. I needed time to find myself again after everything that had happened over the last half-year. 
This is when I stepped back and looked at my relationship with my dad. I hadn't seen him much since I graduated high school and I honestly hadn't even told him about Levi asking me for my hand in marriage. We just weren't very close. I called him and asked for some time with him. I started seeing him on a regular basis and even decided to move down to Blackfoot to live with my dad for my next school break, which would be about four months long. 
In the mean time... a former friend (more acquaintance than friend) got in touch with me. We went on a few dates on his Christmas break while I was living in Blackfoot. Things were going great with my dad, I was waiting for my friend to get home in March to see where that would go, and I was heading back to school in April. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like things were falling back into place in my life. I was very happy, but still packing about fifteen pounds too much weight.
Fast forward to July... I was now engaged (again) and very content with where my life was. I thought I had moved on, finally, from those hard trials that had happened in my past. Our wedding date was to be August 27th, 2011, and I was looking forward to it with great happiness and anticipation! Everything was going so well, I never questioned that something would go wrong, but I was about to face one of the biggest mountains of them all...
On August 21st, less than one week before my wedding date, I answered one of the most heart wrenching phone calls of my life. My dad was calling for wedding plans, or so I thought. After a grueling hour on the phone, I hung up knowing that my dad, and all of his family (his wife, my step-siblings, cousins, my aunt, my grandma, etc.) would not be in attendance for ANY part of my wedding. He simply told me that he felt that my brother and I were leading lives that were headed down a different road than the life he was leading and he didn't think he could be a part of that any longer. I completely lost my composure. I am grateful that I didn't say anything out of anger, and I said nothing I regret, but I wish I could have found something to say to change his mind. Eventually, he just wouldn't hear what I had to say anymore and he hung up on me. 
The next week was the happiest and saddest day of my life. Yes, I went through with the wedding, and I am grateful I did. My husband is, I think, the most supportive being on the planet. I do, however, have depression from what unfolded and it has taken a toll on my body. It's been two years now, and (except for a few hours at my brother's wedding last year...yes, my dad is on great terms with my brother...) I have not heard much from him. I get an occasional text, but never a phone call, or a visit. I don't know how he feels now about everything that has happened in the past, but I hope eventually this will be something we can put behind us...
As for me, well, i am ready to eliminate all of the hard feelings that resurfaced the week before my wedding and finally find peace with who I am and what I am doing with my life. I am tired of waking up in the morning and wishing I could just go back to sleep to escape the hurt and heart ache. I am tired of my body attacking itself because I feel so bad about who I am. I am done being suddenly taken off-guard by simple things that seem to knock me back down the mountain, and which take what seems like twice the time to feel better each time that happens. I am ready to take control of who I am and what I can become. I have heard that the best way to predict a good future is to create it! Well, here I am deciding TODAY that my future is bright, and happy is the person I will be. 
I have decided to start with my physical self first. I am eating healthier than I have eaten ever before. I am also exercising regularly, and I joined a fitness challenge group to help motivate me and propel me forward. It has been two weeks since I decided to make this change, and I couldn't be happier with the results! It is hard, but its not the hardest thing I've done. As for the hardest thing I've done, well, I have decided that I am NOT going to let it define my life. Yes, those events occurred in my past, and they were hard then and are still difficult on occasion. However, rather than defining my life by those moments, I have decided that I am going to create a bend in the road and define them as teaching moments. They may have changed who I am and how I will approach life in the future, but they will not define who I am and determine where I am headed. I am stronger than I think I am, and I have the God-given right to find happiness in this crazy journey. 
My senior quote is this; "While in the pursuit of happiness, one should stop, and just be happy."
I am happy now because I have finally come to realize that everything I can control is currently how I would like it to be. I am finally at a place where I am gaining control over myself, and in the end, that is really all we can do, right?
A happy moment in my life* 
I hope these occur more regularly as I grow older :-)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Grandpa Weekes

This is DeVar. I know him as "Grandpa Weekes".
My mom has five siblings; three brothers and two sisters. She is the youngest. Each of her siblings have anywhere from two to seven children of their own. If I count correctly, I'm pretty sure I have about 27 first cousins, and we are all having kids of our own now... some of their kids are married and starting their own families soon also! 
In other words, I have a LARGE family on my mom's side.
Now, I have to say, regardless of how many of us there are, my grandparents have great relationships with all of us! I love them dearly and I am so grateful for the chance that I have had to grow so close to them. My relationship with my own dad has not been very stable and I feel that I have always shared a close bond with my grandpa, but especially close over the last six or seven years, just because of circumstances that my family has gone through. It helps that I moved to Rexburg and lived just a few miles from them... While I was going to BYU-Idaho, I would make regular visits to my grandparents' place!
Well, last weekend, we all gathered in my grandpa's horse pasture for a bit of a family reunion. It was very casual and fun, and I loved seeing everyone together again. The part that I loved most, though, took place on Saturday night.
We all had dutch oven dinner together, along with all the fixings! After we ate, we started the fire and gathered together to listen to some of the talent that our family has to offer. My mom and uncle Rick write cowboy poetry, so a few poems were read. Andrew brought his guitar and played a few tunes. I sang some old cowboy songs, and a couple of my cousins (Jenna and Kylee) sang as well. My uncle, Rod, recorded the whole meeting so we can listen to it later. We even played an old tune that my great grandma Weekes had recorded on an old vinyl which has since been copied to a compact disk! I loved it!
We ended the night by asking questions about my Grandparents' early lives. I loved looking around at all of the great-grand-kids sitting on the grass, completely lost in my grandparents' words! I was drawn into the stories as well, and loved hearing what they spoke about. My grandpa talked about the Temple and why he was so grateful that he chose to be sealed to my grandma there. He also talked about my great-grandpa-Weekes, who died before I was born. He spoke of how his dad had never wanted to preach, but rather live his life so that those he came in contact with always knew what he believed through his works. Grandpa DeVar says he has always hoped to live like that, and I know he has. What a great example! My grandma, Gwen, told about how her parents had never gone to church with she and her siblings until she was in her teenage years. I was surprised by this because my great grandma, Emma, has always been very active in church activities throughout my life until she died three years ago in November! I loved hearing my grandma talk about how she gained her testimony, especially because I know how challenging that is when you feel that your parents don't believe the same thing as you, or support what you are doing with your life. I had never known that I had this in common with my grandmother! 
We ended the night with me asking how they first felt when the Teton Dam broke and the flood went through. My grandparents house was the only one left standing in their area. For whatever reason, a bridge had broken free and floated until it became lodged between a cluster of trees near their home in Sugar-Salem (which took the brunt of the flood water). That bridge stopped the force of the water enough to keep their house on its foundation. They had been at a rodeo in Salmon with most of their kids, but my uncle, Rod, was left at home as he was just old enough that he was in the process of moving out and getting a place of his own. He told his part of the story, which I had never heard. It was amazing how close we already are as a large family, but I really feel that this night was a defining moment for us all. There were many wet eyes in the group that night, and I know we all grew closer together. The spirit of our family was so strong and the love I felt was indescribable! 
I haven't had the healthiest of relationships with my dad's family for multiple reasons, but I still know that family is the most important organization in this life, and we were meant to learn from each other here. I am so grateful for my family and I hope that my broken relationships will one day mend. In the meantime, I will hold on to the love I have for ALL of my family members and try to learn from the example of my beloved Grandpa Weekes - to let them know that I love them and what I believe through the way I live my life. If you are struggling with family relationships, please don't despair. I promise all will be well someday. Just remember to love them and to love yourself so that your life may be lived in joy; even through the hard times. I know that you can find happiness, even when it feels like your world is falling apart around you. Work to build relationships in this life, rather than break them. After all, this is why we were sent here... to learn to love!

INSANITY

I had not planned on writing about this until my challenge was over in 60 days, but I feel like I should journal my experience as I go...
I recently signed up for a challenge. A FITNESS challenge.
I have some friends that have been doing the "TeamBeachBody" workouts and one has started coaching through this program. Well, I have always wanted to be healthier, but I have ALWAYS HATED sweat. I could NOT stand it, even a tiny bit of it! I would go out of my way not to break a sweat. This doesn't mean I'm not a hard worker, but I would go to extremes to stay away from that nastiness!
However, Andrew ordered the INSANITY workout about a year ago. He tried it a few time but never got past the first two workouts. Well, this workout is one of the beach body workouts and when I saw Breezie talking about coaching people through these programs, I decided it was about time for me to make a big change in my life. I started the workouts on Monday and I have got to say I don't think I've ever made a smarter decision!
I will admit that the first time I was working out I kept thinking, "Oh my holy, Cheltz! What the heck did you just get yourself into?!?!" I have completed three of the exercises now, though, and I am AMAZED at the results! In this last week, I have noticed a DRAMATIC difference in many aspects of my life! For example, I am now sleeping THROUGH THE NIGHT! I only wake up once to use the restroom... (I am drinking TONS of water now). My food cravings have almost vanished. I am sore, but I have more energy than I EVER remember having. I feel happy and excited about life. I have also dropped 6 pounds already!!! (I am going to have to increase my calorie intake to slow down the weight-loss, though). 
I used to think working out was silly and our society is too obsessed with our appearances, but since I was fourteen, I have been getting kidney-stones. They are possibly genetic because my grandparents, parents, and many cousins get them regularly, but this last year it seemed my body was attacking me! It was almost like clockwork that I was passing a new stone every three months, or so! I was constantly in EXCRUCIATING pain! It was wreaking havoc on my health and I never wanted to do much for fear that I would loosen another stone for passing. The last one that came was in June and it was big enough that it wouldn't fit through the bend-part of a bobby pin! (That is bigger that the lead point of a pencil!) I decided something HAD to be done and went and consulted with my doctor. She suggested upping my water intake and adding different exercise into my routine. (I used to think walking five miles a day would suffice). It only took me a month to finally work up the motivation, but I can not believe the changes I have seen in just a week! 
I don't know if you've ever had kidney-stones, but for me, I constantly have a feeling of malaise. I just know that something is not right in my body... even when I had been relatively healthy for a while. Increasing my water intake alone made a huge difference, but the exercise had completely transformed my life!
Now, this post is probably REALLY boring you, but I am excited to see my progress as I go through not only this 60 day challenge, but lifestyle change as well! I just want to say, if you are looking for some help in your life, don't wait until tomorrow! Make the change TODAY! You never know what your missing until you take that leap of faith in the beginning! If I can do it, I know you can!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

~*ANDREW GRADUATES*~

So, its been a while since I've posted, and I thought it was about darn time to continue on with THE LOVE STORY...
As I mentioned before, Andrew and I Skyped for about four months while he was in Laramie, and I was in Blackfoot during a break from school... It was horrible. It was great... I was torn...
I had no idea what he was thinking, or if we were on the same page... One night, he phoned me and when I asked what he was doing he told me he was going to eat... It turns out A GIRL had offered to cook him dinner. I was shocked because I thought that I was waiting for him to come home so we could really begin our relationship and here he was eating at girls' houses?!? What was going on, here?
I later found out that he had moved some heavy furniture for her and dinner was her thank you to him. He had no interest in her... or so he says...! (I have since moved on from this and trust that his word is true)
Well, all my doubts were diminished when one night while on Skype, Andrew asked me if I would serve a mission with him one day... 
(In our church, young single adults go on 2 year missions to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help out our brothers and sisters here on earth,  both spiritually and temporally. When you are married, you can choose to serve a mission with your spouse. It is then and only then that your mission companion will be someone of a different gender... In essence, most Senior Missionaries are married couples that are serving together...)
Can you imagine what was going through my mind!?! He had pretty much just asked me to marry him! (And he wasn't even home yet!) Well, I saved our Skype conversations, so I can look up my response, but all I really need to say is I could not wait for that boy to get home from Laramie! I was certain that this was going to end well and I was grateful to be starting something so great with such a wonderful person!
Andrew graduated on March 26th and came home that weekend! I made a candy bar poster, though I don't remember what it said, and I gave him a bag of hugs and kisses(chocolate) "For all the days we were apart" 
Andrew started looking for work right away, and we began dating exclusively, much to my delight!
...