Baby Button Needs You To Stop Praying For Him Now

8 weeks ago, I wrote a story about the journey our baby was taking us on, and how we were praying that my body would survive being pregnant just 7 more weeks to give him the best chance. So many of you responded in love and prayers and genuine care.

I truly believe it worked because my body proceeded to need a total of 3 amniotic fluid drains, plus a dramatic 3 night stay in the hospital because I was having very real contractions every 5 minutes…and then suddenly everything stopped. I went home. Life has resumed at an almost-usual routine for the last 4 weeks. Baby Button has grown big and strong, we have a safety-approved place for him to sleep and travel, and my mom made it here without complication.

So now? I need y’all to stop praying. I turned the corner on 38 weeks yesterday, and I am done.

I know every third-trimester mother says that, but I don’t think you understand.

I am “answering questionnaires for concerned psychiatrists/sense of humor completely gone/collapsing into tears for no reason at least once a day” done.

I have survived the Apocalypse. I have lived in fear of the government and deportation. I have moved houses at least as many times as I’ve had birthdays. I’ve seen a childhood friend die right in front of me. I have endured losing a relationship with my father 2 months after it began. I have gotten lost in Europe, lost a baby, lost jobs, and been one paycheck ahead of financial disaster for years.

But 9 months of pregnancy, one of life’s greatest mysteries that I was looking forward to the most, is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel needy. I feel weak.

And so I feel lost. My identity is shifting. I’m the girl who writes about all the crazy shit that happens to her, and still manages to make people smile. I’m the Chandler Bing, I’m the Spartan who keeps on trucking, I’m the one who has heard time and again, “Wow. Looking at you, listening to you, I would never have guessed that you survived all THAT. You’re amazing, and you should probably write a book.”

My shit has always been a little messy, but it was my mess, and it made me stronger.

Now? After being pregnant and sick and worried and unprepared for 267 days in a row (including being displaced from home for 60+ days in a cramped house with 4 animals and 4 in-laws out of that)?

All I want is to go to sleep, and wake up in my own bed with a fresh mani/pedi, a killer haircut, a multi-ethnic buffet, and an impossibly adorable baby who never cries longer than 5 minutes or makes me question whether I am mentally and emotionally capable of becoming a mother in the first place.

I feel gross for even admitting it. Because I can see all you ladies who have been moms for years, who are laughing at my innocence and thinking, “Just you wait, honey, it gets worse.” I can see all you ladies who have been thinking they’d like to get pregnant, and now I’ve just ruined it for you. I can see all you ladies who had magical unicorn pregnancies with babies made from Jesus’ eyelashes, and are secretly judging me for being so dramatic and non-sacrificial.

And honestly, I’m going to play the Pregnant Bitch card and say up front: I don’t need to hear from you right now.

The only thing that keeps me typing so vulnerably is the off-chance that maybe some lady will read this and think, Thank GOD I’m not alone. Maybe I’ll wait one more day before checking myself in to the closest institution. Hi, Carly. I’m your new messy mama friend. Let’s keep talking.

13 days or less…

 

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Her Name Was Lola…

Is it weird to write a love letter to a car? Oh well.

Dear Lola the Corolla,

4 1/2 years ago, you came into my life freely, without expectation or guile. You were a surprise, a gift, an apology for all the years I had not been able to drive.

4 1/2 years, a lifetime of memories, experiences, and “firsts” in my early 20’s.

And yesterday, you retired. Not to a junk yard, thankfully. You probably have at least 100k left in your hearty soul. But my mom really needed you, so I gave you back to her. A surprise, a gift, an apology for all the years I hadn’t been able to take care of her.

I remember the day I drove you for the first time. It was a bitterly cold January day, but I didn’t care. I was warmed from head to toe by the freedom of the open road. Granted, that “open road” was actually the Prince George highway full of snow, ice and hidden craters. But as far as I was concerned, anything was possible now. wpid-screenshot_2015-05-26-12-35-11.png Although you were almost 20 years old, you were immaculate. Your pure gold outsides were as clean as your insides; your standard shifter as smooth as Sinatra and your brakes as abrupt as Snape. I tried my hardest to keep you that way. But you see, I have no depth perception and I’m clumsy, awkward. I’m sorry. wpid-screenshot_2015-05-26-12-35-47.png As a Thank You, I want to share some of my favourite memories.

Spring 2011

My mom visited us again, and she decided that we should go for a drive to downtown PG. I was eager to show her how I’d learned to drive Lola with ease. But in a moment that could only be described as movie-perfect, I took a right turn down a street that neither one of us was aware was a one-way street.

When we saw 3 lanes of traffic rapidly heading toward us, we figured it out pretty quickly.

When I saw that a cop car with flashing lights was at the very front of one of those lanes of traffic, I knew I was about to get my first ticket. Damn.

He waved me into a parking lot; I started trembling and overheating. He was an older gentleman; he probably could have done time as a mall Santa with his white hair and near-jolly spirit.

“Clearly, you weren’t going the right way, eh?”

“No, sir. I didn’t even see a sign for a one-way street! I’m so sorry.” He looked at my license, saw that I was a learner, and traveling appropriately with an adult. He did a slow circle around my car (the worst!) and came back to my window.

“Are you aware that your L is missing?” (For those not Canadian, new drivers start out with a Learner’s, and it’s a red magnet that goes on the back of your car with a big L on it. When you graduate to Novice, you get a big green N magnet. Kids these days call them Losers and Nerds.)

In shock, I stepped out of Lola, ran to the back and sure enough! No Loser.

Tears started to clog my throat. “I HAD it this morning, I promise! Look, you can see the dust outline where it was!” I outlined the empty square with my hands for emphasis.

I *think* my cop was trying to hide a grin. “Well, at least let me see your companion’s driver’s license.” I sighed with relief. She was my mom, she would be able to set this whole thing straight somehow.

Mom riffled through her things for a moment. “Huh. I must have forgotten my wallet back at the house.”

My heart sank. Three strikes; I would definitely be out.

“I see.” The officer started writing furiously in his notepad. Minutes passed. I kept my head down, waiting for the verdict.

“Well, your ticket would probably be around $450. But today, you get to go home.”

My head snapped up in disbelief. “What?”

“Your mother can drive you home, just don’t get pulled over again. Get another L and watch out for those one-way streets. See you later.”

I stared.

He leaned down into my window sternly. “Get outta here.”

Feeling like a prisoner on death row just given parole, I thanked him over and over. As we were leaving the parking lot, another car turned erroneously down the one-way street, and my cop just waved them on into my old “parking spot.”

To this day, we have never gotten a ticket.

January 2012

I discovered how much cargo Lola could carry when my church had a Young Adults weekend retreat, and I was everyone’s “Friend With A Car.”

Lola seats 5 full-grown people almost comfortably. So once we loaded the trunk with 5 sleeping bags, 5 pillows, and 5 suitcases, we piled in. Oh, did I forget to mention that one of my friends was responsible for the food for everyone for the entire weekend? Let me rephrase: we loaded 5 sleeping bags, pillows and suitcases in the trunk, stuffed food in any cracks available, got in the car, and arranged food carefully around each one of us in a delicious pyramid, from head to toe.

When we drove up Connaught Hill, my friend with the *full license* had the pedal pressed to the floor and we went a slow but steady 50km/hr all the way up. I pretended we were the Flintstones and tried to make the car go faster by shuffling my feet because I’m a nerd.

Two days later, Lola brought everyone and everything home safely without so much as a hiccup.

Valentine’s Day 2012

At 8:30pm, instead of being out with someone special, I was working in the coffee shop up at the University. During my break, I checked Facebook and saw that my friend Kim had been in a horrible car accident just outside of Jasper, Alberta, nearly 5 hours away. Her car had been totalled but she was okay.

I started texting her. She had no money left and she was stranded in a bar. Jasper was a big enough tourist place to be expensive, but too small to have a Greyhound bus that didn’t arrive at an outside stop at 4am and then drive away at 4:03am.

The coffee shop was pretty dead (I mean, it was Valentine’s Day) so I texted my boss and asked if I could close up early for an emergency. She said yes, so I began to move like lightning. I had no idea what I was going to actually do, but I couldn’t leave Kim there. Even if she did have money for a bus, it wouldn’t come for another 7 hours and Jasper might as well be the Arctic at this time of year.

When I got home, I announced to my roommates that I would be taking an unexpected road trip. When they found out what had happened and what I was thinking, they all protested. It was after 9pm now; I wouldn’t get to Jasper until after 2am.

There’s a two hour stretch of highway that is literally abandoned wilderness. No gas stations, no houses, no cell service, nothing. Like, if you wanted to dump a body that would never be found, the road between McBride and Jasper is your safest bet. And I would be there in the middle of the night.

But they saw that I was determined to help Kim, so my roommate Alissa offered to go with me. We could take turns driving, and at the very least, not die alone. We would text our other roommates as often as we could, and pray like hell we weren’t making a huge mistake.

Thankfully, we found Kim, took her to the impound, helped her empty what was left of her car (I still feel sick in my stomach when I picture that car in my mind. It was NOT OKAY.), found the only gas station that was open to get some microwave food and energy drinks, and were back on the road at 3:30am. We made it home by 8am, crashed for a few hours, Kim got picked up by family, Alissa and I high-fived our success and went to work for 8 hours. Our good friend was alive, and so were we.

Best. Valentine’s Day. Ever.

Now

Well, now, I say goodbye. Lola, you were the best car a newly legal immigrant with barely a license or experience could have needed. 80,000k in 4 1/2 years; there was nothing you couldn’t do.

And now, you get to rest. Occasionally cruise the open road. Be even more appreciated by someone with actual depth perception. I’ll see you again.

Love, Carly

The only car I could be happy with after Lola, is one that is her sister by make &  model, just 10 years newer and a little bit safer. Meet Gandalf Moonshadow.

The only car I could be happy with after Lola, is one that is her sister by make & model, just 10 years newer and a little bit safer.
Meet Gandalf Moonshadow.

The Weathered Soul Is Beautiful

This last weekend was a bit touch-and-go for me, emotionally. After a lovely 2 weeks of spring break, I’d had a long week full of jobs and tasks and things. I was tired. But I was looking forward to going to my good friend’s first baby shower on Friday night.

The babe was born nearly 2 weeks ago, and he’s pretty much my new favourite person. The fact that he might have hung out and done baby stuff with my could-have-been 8 week old child was merely a bittersweet thought that I didn’t entertain too much.

Friday was fun – I took care of the twin boys I nanny and marvelled at the Hawaiian tan that was putting their Mexican babysitter to shame. Afterwards I went into town to await the baby shower.

And that’s when the panic started, for absolutely no reason.

I had no present to give the baby, for starters. I couldn’t show up to a baby shower without a gift. And I had no idea what he even needed.

And then I started thinking about All The People Who Would Be There. Yes, they were my friends. But they obviously would all bring gifts and rave about how cute each other’s gifts were, and obviously the baby would love them more. And I would have to smile and pretend like my heart wasn’t breaking that MY baby wasn’t here with us.

What would I do if I got to hold the baby? What would I do if I DIDN’T get to hold the baby? Cry, probably. And who wants a crier at a party?

So I started cry-driving all the way home, deciding that this baby shower was not for me and I was not the right person for this baby shower.

The hot bubble bath became my escape.

The next day, feeling pretty dumb, I woke up and *needed* to do something good.

And so, I did something I’d never done before: I started a chalk paint project.

I’ve had a ratty old night stand for a few years, and it’s literally sat empty since we moved up last fall. There’s no room for it in our house, and it’s only purpose thus far has to been to hide our spare key in the mud room. It was covered in chips and divets and fading varnish. Yet I haven’t been able to bring myself to throw it away.

I had no idea how long it would take me to finish; I already predicted that I would probably fail to follow through and it would sit unfinished, just like my knitting and my doula training and my book.

But that day, I had to try.

So, I did a little bit of research, and remembered Annie Sloan’s chalk paint. All about being easy, quick-drying and restoring crappy old things to look like vintage old things.

After a few hours and a few dollars, I was at the point where I totally looked like I knew what I was doing.

There’s always a little bit of adrenaline-laden excitement that hits my blood when I open a paint can and dare to dip the brush in. And then have the audacity to take that dripping brush and apply it to whatever I’m trying to change. Rubber meets the road, sink or swim, I’m actually doing this.

The day was perfect. Warm sun, with a slight breeze. God was in the air.

One hour and 4 coats of Old White later, I had a completely new nightstand. Every divet and crack and fade was bathed with light.

I could have left it that way. It would be beautiful, pure, new. But as soon as anything happens to it, you notice. The purity, the innocence is fragmented. The depth is challenged, the eye is caught, the story expands. So you either shelter it, never let it breathe, or…

You go all in.

While I had been “purifying” the wood, Steve had been puttering around the yard with spring cleaning. Sensing I needed the space to calm my own seas after the previous night’s storms.

But he came to check on me and was taken aback by what I had accomplished.

“Wow! Just letting it dry now?”
“It’s already dry.” I smiled.
He knew I wasn’t done yet. “So what’s next?”
“The Wax of Distress.”
“Can I see?”

And so, for the next hour, we became a team. He would dip the brush into the molasses-like wax, splotch it across the white, and I would take a cloth and rub rub rub it away. The remains left the golden brown sheen of a new story being told in holy, purposeful silence.

I believe we all start out shiny and new. As we grow and change, life has a way of marking us with chips and divets and cracks that leave us broken. My last 12 months have been particularly of that nature.

But I’m still here, with a purpose that’s yet unknown but earnestly sought after. Maybe you are too.

And now we choose.

Stay in the cold mudroom, empty and broken? Or allow a transformation that makes us new while yet weathered?

I don’t want to hide my life, or my story with a glossy new coat of paint and sleight of hand. I don’t need to be falsely shined and freshly manufactured from IKEA.

Just let me come inside, be re-purposed, true to the state of my weathered soul. The damage tells a story, and I’m not gonna let it make me bitter and broken anymore. I am restored, I am a new creation, I am beautiful.

Oh, and I held that baby the next day. He let me know he wasn’t impressed with my absence at his party for just a few moments, and then my charms rocked him to sleep. Because we’re fine. We’re gonna be just fine.

  

Small But Not Insignificant

When this Butler and that Hutton got married, we became the Buttons. 

When we were pregnant, we called it Baby Button.

When you think about it, buttons are small but not insignificant. They’re actually pretty important for holding stuff together. 

Even though Baby Button is no longer with us, I believe we will be held together; without love, we are nothing. 

Today was a good day. 



This New Year

On this day in 1999, I was fearing for my life.

Before The Walking Dead or Katniss Everdeen had even been thought of, I was preparing for my world to become apocalyptic. I was 12.

15 years later, Y2K still hasn’t happened. The Mayan calendar didn’t really mean much either. However, we face our own little apocalypses each year, don’t we? They have nothing to do with ancient prophecy or computer malfunction. They just happen without warning, and change us forever. But if you’re reading this, you’re still here. You’re a God-blessed survivor even if you don’t feel like one.

I’ll be honest, 2014 was a rough one. Misunderstandings, loneliness, lost jobs and a lost babe, confusion and clarity alternating like a roller coaster ride.

Occasionally, the darkness cracked and some light peered in. It’s why I’m still here too.

Can I tell you about them? Can I give you some hope? Will my thoughts mean anything to you?

Tell you what. Keep reading, and when you get to the bottom, you’ll see a link to my best friend’s site, where she’ll also be reminiscing about the positive things that happened in her life this year.  I am so thankful for her. Best friends for at least 20 years now – the kind of friends that drop everything and get on a plane to go be with each other when there’s a crisis.
We are women forged by fire, but rather than sacrificing ourselves to be burned up, we’re going to allow our hearts and minds to flow and curve like water, quenching the heat, refreshing our souls, going forward.

Don’t let your hearts remain stagnant or burnt. Winter is here, but Spring is coming. Join us. Tell us your stories of 2014, and what your dreams are for 2015. Alone we are enough, but together we are stronger.

~

This year, I witnessed another precious little girl-soul come into this world. She took her first breath in the glowing light of an early July morning, in her own nursery at her parents house. A holy moment.

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Soon, my goal will be accomplished through a little piece of paper that says “Carly Hutton, Certified Birth Doula” so that I can keep drinking in those holy moments, keep helping those other women forged by fire become mothers – even if I never become one myself.

~

In September, I was a bridesmaid for the first time. It was easier than I thought it would be. I put on a purple dress, did my makeup, and ripped only 2 pairs of panty hose while someone else far more capable did my hair.
My former roommate and bride of the day gave me a pearl necklace and earrings that she made herself. Treasure, only gained by letting a granule of sand itch the shit out of you until you’re pure.

joanna wedding 3

I witnessed 2 of my best friends commit their lives to each other. They sang their vows and yet they still wanted ME to sing a song for them. So I did. It was called “Dancing in the Minefields” because that’s not only what marriage is, but life itself.

joanna wedding

That day was the most I’ve smiled since I lost our baby. I mean, I kinda legally had to for photogenic reasons, but it was the first time I WANTED to.

joanna wedding 2~

I passed my 4-year anniversary of blogging, and at least half of my 200 followers are real people.

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And finally, we moved back to the town where I grew up. I did enjoy most of the Vancouver experience, but home it was not. Too much water; my fire almost went out.

home

Here in Smithers, I am known. By the people, by the snow-capped mountain, by the back roads and the river wild.

And? My new house has a bathtub.

~

It’s New Year’s Eve. It’s only a matter of one day’s difference, and yet, it holds so much shiny promise. All the shit we’ve gone through recently, we can finally say, “That happened last year.”

I used to be the kind to make resolutions. Not anymore. But for the sake of being traditional:

In 2015, I resolve to lose weight.

The weight of condemnation and shame and guilt of decisions past. The weight of trying to be liked by all and keep everyone happy. The weight of perfection. I want to lose it. And if, in doing so, it prompts me to live a healthier life that actually affects scale, then so be it.

And in 2015, I resolve to be the 7-11 in Smithers on Christmas Eve.

It was the only place open and serving food past 6pm when my husband, my mom and I were starving. Hot dogs never tasted so good.

No matter what store it is, though, I always feel a spark of hope rise whenever I see a glowing red OPEN sign. Knowing that I’ll be able to get what I came for, what I need, today.

That’s how I want others to feel when they see me. Open. Mind, heart and arms, ready to do messy, beautiful business at any given time. Never turned away.

As this year ends, I have high hopes for 2015.

Hopes that suddenly, everyone will have an a-ha moment. An a-ha that realizes we need something else. Something different. An a-ha that knows we are meant for more than what we have been content with living.

Hopes that, this new year, shooting up schools and shooting up veins will no longer be the go-to solution for long unanswered cries for help and understanding.

Hopes that, this new year, the Battle of the Sexes will run out of ammunition.

Hopes that, this new year, we will see through skin colours, to the hearts and minds that brew underneath. Every culture and race has its heroes and assholes; let’s stand up and recognize. I repeat: PEOPLE ARE MORE THAN THEIR SKIN AND REPUTATION AND STEREOTYPE. CHECK. YOURSELF.

Hopes that, this new year, toddlers and teenagers on the brink of dreams and inspiration – adults burned low on chips and bills – elderly melting on the ice floes of their last lives – will all be valued and held accountable and loved for who they are.

Hopes that, this new year, the corrupt will be exposed and the honourable will be exalted.

Hopes that, this new year, these words will ring true:

“And in despair, I hung my head
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said.
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men….’
Then rang the bells more loud and deep,
God is not dead nor doth he sleep!
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Let it be so.

:: A Year in my BFF’s Life ::

Carly the Barista & the Blustery Day

Level Of Desperation To Blog: Sitting At A Laundromat.

You guys. SO MUCH has happened in the past 2 weeks.

I became a certified barista, and even had an apron pin to prove it until it got chewed up in the washer.

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image

photo

(Bonus: I think, in general, people like me.)

I joined Zumba and Spin classes, and hiked a mountain and didn’t die.

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Crater Lake!

I was a bridesmaid for the first time.

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Team Bride, partyin’ round the walls of “Jerica!” (Joanna & Eric’s celebrity couple name…needs work…)

I celebrated being married myself for 2 years.

2nd anniversary

And last, but certainly not least – I found us a place to live, and last weekend, we moved in. It’s utter chaos right now, and it’s awesome.

new place

Being adorable and excited.

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This is our backyard.

We have been so busy and so blessed and so tired. But with it comes a peace and happiness that we have not known for quite some time. When we wake up in the morning, we make coffee to sit and gaze lovingly at our backyard out the living room window.
Smithereens are a little incredulous that we’ve actually chosen to live a little ways out of town – 20 minutes to be exact. We just laugh and reassure them that we used to drive that far for the ocean or the skytrain or the local movie theatre – and in a sea of traffic, no less. 20 minutes of highway miles, autumnal colours and wildlife is NOT hard on our gas tank or eyes AT ALL. We breathe in relief and exhale “thank you” on a regular basis in this place.

But as with any transition, there comes a little upheaval and paperwork. We still have to change the hydro bill into our names, hook up Internets and Cable – and I’m at said laundromat because our well needs to be transformed from “egg fart” water into “nice clean drinky bathy water.”

That’s okay. It will come.

In the meantime, I realized today that WIND has been a theme in my life lately, and I don’t know what that means. I’m not talking about the Winds of Change – like, literal wind.

Blustery Event  #1:

I had my first, all-on-my-own, “closing shift” at Starbucks last week. I was a little nervous, but I had a clear to-do list to help me remember all the important tasks. I was supposed to “clock out” and be done by 9:15pm, with Safeway closing at 10pm.

I was getting to the end of the evening, and it had been pretty quiet for most of the night, so I figured I was pretty safe to start cleaning espresso machinery 10 minutes before I closed.

8 minutes before I closed, six people showed up ALL needing espresso-related drinks.

Whatever, I could clean it again.

But I couldn’t find any of the tools used to scrape encrusted milk and coffee droplets from what was supposed to be shiny metal.

Eh, I can wipe that down pretty spic and span for now.

The finish line was in sight – all I needed to do was clean the sinks, and vacuum the counters of any remaining bits of coffee grinds. I had been told the vacuum cleaner resided in the back of the store, in a place called “Starbucks Storage Room.” I had been there before; it wasn’t very big, so I had no doubt I would find a vacuum-like object pretty easily.

So I did what we do: I loaded up a grocery cart with full trash bags to take back to the disposal, intending to bring the vacuum with me on the return trip.

When I got into the storage room, it was like a cardboard box maze. And the only apparatus I could see that had a long nozzle, a handle and an electrical cord was way in the back. I did my best to suck in my cheeks (nope, not those ones) so I could squeeze my way through. Yes! Victory! *Must grab vacuum cleaner, squeeze cheeks once more and get through the maze.* Home run approaching.

I unwound the electrical cord, plugged it in and WWWWHHHHHIIIIRRRRRR.

The expected noise of a vacuum cleaner, no?

NO.

A mushroom cloud of dirt, hair, leaves and dust bunnies exploded FROM the nozzle. My pristine counters and displays and floors were no more.

What fresh hell is this? I thought as I angrily yanked the electrical cord from its socket. I peered at the dirty offender very closely….sure enough, in tiny black lettering, it said: electric leaf blower AKA boom sucka.

And so I did not “clock out” until the actual Safeway store started shutting their lights off.

I still have absolutely no idea what an effing LEAF BLOWER was doing in a Starbucks Storage Room.


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Blustery Incident #2:

Steven left for Langley again this morning, to take his dad back home, who had graciously given up his week to help us move. In return, I was given a to-do list to help me remember all the important tasks…again. One of those things was to get a post office box. (I thought about mentioning here that Steven put his own name on the to-do list, but then I thought, “Mmm, better not.”)

I knew I would get off work at 3pm today, with plenty of time to take our rental agreement to the post office and get a mailbox. But it ended up being incredibly busy, so I stayed until 3:30pm. On my way out of town, I filled up at the gas station. I was done and ready to drive away – but then a gust of wind THRUST my debit card away from me and UNDERNEATH the gas fill-up station. There was a car waiting to drive in after me, but I got down on my hands and knees; I could see my card, but after a few tries, I knew that it was *just* beyond my fingertips. Plus side: at least no one else in heaven or earth would have access to it either.

So I made an unplanned trek to the Credit Union to get a new card. By the time I ACTUALLY got out of town to open up a mail box, it was almost 4:30pm.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the post office was still open! (Hey, it was almost 5 on a Tuesday – you never know! #smalltownlife)

And now I’m happy to announce that:

AGENT BUTTON HAS A MAIL BOX!!! I AM BIGGER THAN BLUSTERY DAY!!!

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When I finally got to the laundromat 2 hours later, feeling like I’d just run a marathon, I had to laugh. How could I not appreciate the pure drama of this scene? Winter be like “Games of Thrones was right…I’m COMING for you, boys and girls!”

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Welcome to Autumn in the North, mutha lovah.

Blustery Incident #3:

It hasn’t actually happened yet. But I feel like…tomorrow….it just *could*. I learned today that my boss’s boss’s BOSS is arriving to inspect and survey the entire store + employees.

And so today has been like


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Blustery night, barista’s delight?

Bring it, boss’s boss’s BOSS!!! I have a Facebook wall full of happy customers, and now I know the difference between a leaf blower and a vacuum cleaner AND I KNOW HOW TO USE IT.

Pray for us.

Save-the-Day Shoes

A few months ago, I introduced my good friend and former roommate, Natalie, here at Growing Butterfly. She really could start her own blog if she wanted to *nudge nudge* but in the meantime, I am always honoured to share her deep and precious thoughts here.

Our community in Prince George has faced some turmoil this week, and this is Natalie’s response. (I also find it timely that my last post relied heavily on the theme of Community.) Thanks for reading.

————————————————————————————-

It’s been a tough week.

On Sunday night, I got a phone call from one of my best friends who recently moved away. The news she gave me was something I never would have expected.

One of her good friends (and her husband’s best friend of the past few years) passed away earlier that day, suddenly and without warning. She had wanted to let me know before I found out some other way.

In that moment, I was at a loss for words, as I felt my heart instantly ache and grieve not only for my two friends had known him so well, but for his wife and all of the lives he had touched in our community. It was a heavy blow, one that I wasn’t certain how to handle.

I did my best to comfort my friend – to tell her that I was there if she needed anything, and that I would be praying.

But I was still left with the question,

“What should I do?”

The next day, I was at work, surrounded by customers and fellow employees who had no idea what I was going through. I tried my best to just make it through the day while still thinking, praying and grieving over this sense of loss. I thought that I was doing okay until halfway through the day, when I got a text from another friend, telling me that her mom was in the hospital, going in for emergency surgery, asking for prayer.

Just when I thought my heart couldn’t take any more, I was almost brought to my knees as I prayed and hoped fervently that everything would be okay, that another one of my friends wouldn’t have to face another loss. And once again, as I tried to cope with what was happening, I was left wondering,

“What do I do now?”

In these moments, I believe that the hardest thing for me has been to know how to react. Having a protective personality, one of my first instincts is to rush to the side of whoever is in need or hurting, but then my doubt always hesitates and wonders,

“What if they don’t need me? What would I even do when I got to them? What would I say? Are words even enough?”

In a way, not knowing what to do has eaten me up inside, threatening to break my heart all throughout this week.

And then I was at work again, stewing with all of these feelings. I tried to grasp onto the good things around me, tried not to let my own thoughts defeat me. Working in retail, it can be hard enough to help people and serve them well on a good day – and in the past few days, it’s taken all I have to remain positive and not just start throwing shoes at people’s heads. (Sometimes, it just feels like they deserve it!) I think it’s safe to say that I will not getting Employee of the Month.

But after dealing with a few customers, I came back to help an older woman with her two granddaughters. They’d returned from earlier in the day to pick up some shoes and find another pair for the youngest girl.

Now this girl was, by no means, a sweet angel, but I found that her excitement to try on shoes was so contagious that I couldn’t help but smile. After I brought out the pair she wanted, she was so determined to shove her little feet into those shoes as quickly as possible that she didn’t even bother to sit down.

As she inevitably began to lose her balance, it was in that moment that I chose to make a fast decision and I quickly put out my hand for her to hold onto.

Now, normally, I make it a bit of a rule not to get too close to children that I don’t really know, and I would never admit to being a touchy-feely person. But as that little girl grabbed onto my hand, I felt instant relief in the fact that I knew she trusted me, that she knew she was going to be okay.

In that split second of a moment, when everything had seemed so uncertain and confusing, that simple fact was enough for me.

If there’s anything I’ve learned (or re-learned) from this week, it is that I need to be like that little girl and just trust. Trust that I know how to do the right thing, trust that other people will let me be there for them, trust that even when I hurry so much to put on my save-the-day shoes that I lose my balance – God and the people in my community are going to be there for me too. Above all, trust that everything will be okay.

It’s not always easy, and I know that sometimes I may have to risk exposing my heart to all kinds of unpleasant things, but I know now that for all the times I might reach out empty-handed…

…the second that someone chooses to take my hand and trust me is the only moment that matters.


(Source)

On the 5th day of LUSHmas….

…my LUSHIE gave to me…

THE CHRISTMAS PENGUIN!!!!!

**I am incredibly excited and proud to present this guest blog post by my best friend Laurie, who blogs over at http://hengilasinn.wordpress.com/   **

When your best friend works at a Lush store, it’s amazing how you are magically inundated with Lush paraphernalia. Constantly. It’s also incredible how often you hear the word “Lush” or “product” or “OMG REVOLUTIONARY”. It’s approximately 356,983 times.

Sooner or later, this inundation of information becomes something else.

JEDI MIND TRICKS.

And slowly you begin to think you truly cannot LIVE without Lush products.

One day, about 2 weeks before your college graduation, you find yourself and your cracked-out-from-studying-brain walking into a place filled with infinite goodness, light, and warmth. Yes. A Lush store with all its magical beauty. Your best friend has been programming your mind with suggestions of bergamot oil for the last few days. So the first thing you find yourself saying to the sales person is, “I NEED SOMETHING WITH BERGAMOT IN IT!!! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I NEED TO RELAXXXXXXX!!!!! SAVE ME!!!!!!!”

Oh wait. I mean… “Um… what bath bombs have bergamot oil in them??”

After a thorough tour of bath bombs, something else attracts your eye. Something with a shiny orange beak that is like a flame in the night.

THE CHRISTMAS PENGUIN.

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This is not a bath bomb, ladies and gentlemen. No. It is far more… refined… than that. This is an animal filled with bubbly bliss that will transform your bathtub to a serene float above the clouds.

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I’m not kidding.

Soon after my visit to the magical store, I decide it’s time for the penguin to show me its lovely Christmas tricks. The Lush website promises it will deliver relaxation after a long, stressful day.

Boy, did it ever.

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The scent of bergamot oil and orange flower is not overwhelming. In looking at the lovely blue water and fluffy white bubbles, I felt as if I was sitting in the middle of a cloud, and that’s exactly how it smelled. Light, sweet, and divine. Like I was going to float right up to heaven.

Technically, The Christmas Penguin is a bubble bar, so unlike bath bombs, it creates bubbles. But it also contains sodium bicarbonate, which means it still softens your bath water. My skin felt like Cupid’s bottom afterwards, if that tells you anything about how effective THAT was.

In order to use it, you hold it under the flowing water…

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Bye bye, penguin. 😦

HELLO AWESOME!!!

This thing created mounds of bubbles that had some great staying power. They were still sticking around 20 minutes later.
Also, I warn you… don’t put the penguin down on the side of your tub, or you will cry from seeing this…

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Poor baby penguin! 😦 THANK YOU FOR SACRIFICING YOUR LIFE FOR MY RELAXATION!!!!!! 😦 😦 😦

Needless to say, after I gathered up the melted remains of the penguin, scattered them in my bath, then sank into the soft blue water…well, I was on cloud 9. Almost literally. All my stress and worry melted away. School? What did school matter in this heavenly realm? I was above that. I was ENLIGHTENED. I was… a GODDESS. Which is exactly how I always feel after I get out of a Lush bath. Like a goddess. My body feels absolutely beautiful.

All joking aside, this is why I have to recommend Lush.

Every woman deserves to feel completely happy about her body.

Every woman deserves to look at her body and feel like a goddess.

That’s why I am telling you all to go out and invest in this, in yourself. With a Christmas Penguin or otherwise.  So that you, too, can forget for a moment all the things you hate about your body and remember what you love.

We are guided by imagery, so I leave you with this last picture:

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Everyone deserves to be this blissed out. And I promise you, being Jedi Mind Tricked into this beauty madness was totally worth it.

CARLY’S TURN!!!!!

I don’t know about ya’ll, but that guest post totally just transported me into…desperately wanting a soak in the tubbie! 🙂

I’m not here to steal Laurie’s thunder – I just have a couple of notes to add!

#1: Unfortunately, since Christmastime is now past, the Christmas Penguin is sold out until next year. But now since you’ve read this blog, you’re totally gonna save up your moolah so you can Speedy Gonzales your butt over to the nearest LUSH store next Christmas, aren’t ya? AREN’T YA?!?!

#2: Laurie was desperate for bergamot oil. Whether or not you realize it, you are probably desperate for bergamot oil too. FOR GOOD REASON. Bergamot is this fantastic essential oil derived from an orange fruit of the same name. It’s also God’s way of reminding you that he loves you and wants you to be happy. BECAUSE. When your sniffer takes in that bergamot essential oil, it travels all the way up to your brain and RELEASES THE SERATONIN! Otherwise known as your body’s depression fighter. Remember that movie Happy Feet, featuring the happiest little damn penguin in the entire world? That’s how YOU’RE going to feel, and all because of a penguin.

#3: The Christmas Penguin is even more wonderful when paired up with the bath bomb Sakura. I felt surrounded by cherry blossoms and happiness.

#4: These bubbles DO have a crazy staying power. I cheated a little, in the best way possible. When the water started getting colder, I was not ready to leave. So I emptied the bath out a bit, and turned on the hot water again. That hot action brought forth even MOAR BUBBLES.

Things that my family did while I bathed:

My husband built an entire lego set.

My mother-in-law knitted an entire baby hat for a doll.

My sister-in-law made almost an entire gingerbread house village.

And my father-in-law watched all of Die Hard 4.

Yeah.

Thank you, Christmas Penguin. You will not soon be forgotten.

xo Carly & Laurie xo

On the 3rd day of LUSHmas…

…my LUSHIE gave to me…

A RUDOLPH!!!!

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But first…our cold snap has broken! HALLELUJAH!!! THERE IS SNOOOOOOWWWW IN MY YARD!!!!! And my cat still seems to gain life by cuddling with me; even MOAR HALLELUJAHS!!!

Yet amidst this rejoicing, I have been very reflective upon this season of death that December seems to be bringing us.

Paul Walker, doing what he loved, maybe a little too well.

Nelson Mandela – a man that I know not nearly enough about – fighting with his voice and spirit, even until the very end. He saw almost an entire century of our world, can you believe it?

Eleanor Parker, another well-ripened beauty. For me, she will always be the Baroness Schrader from The Sound of Music. She is timeless to me, as well as Julie Andrews + Christopher Plummer. God knows I’ll be adrift at sea when they finally depart.

And yesterday, I spent the entire day remembering my childhood friends Stephanie and Rachel. Six years ago, they left. Already six years and one day. If not for the cruelty of another poor soul’s anger, these sisters could be married now. Publishing stories, chasing after little windmill feet, laughing by the Christmas tree. I’d like to hope that we’d still be friends. But more than hope, I know that I will see them again, and they will teach me everything I couldn’t quite grasp here on this frail earth. I anxiously await that day.

Perhaps that’s why I love this season so much, and cherish the snow on the rare moments it falls. Without it, all we have is the dead ground and naked trees, reminding us of what once was here. A covering, a protection, is laid upon the dirt and wood, giving us something new to look at, all the while preparing its inhabitants for the time when they come back to life. They don’t know it yet, but they won’t be dead forever. The rain will wash away, the sun will demand the trees and grass to reach out their arms to him as far as they can go. We may be lost in the dark season now, but we WILL BE – dare I say it – lush and green once again.

Much like the earth, our own bodies need a protective covering every once in awhile. A thick coat of healing, and a thunderous act of washing away. Starting over. This concept is written into the very fiber of what LUSH stands for.

“We believe…in the right to make mistakes, lose everything, and start again.”

I don’t know about you, but that statement gives me such a feeling of freedom. Freedom from the label of “failure”, freedom to be myself, freedom to live and move and have my being even if I trip on my own clumsy feet and break a precious vase or two. Freedom to be beautiful in a way that goes beyond the standard of the dreaded 36-24-36.

And the other day, Rudolph gave me the freedom to love my face and have some fun while I was at it!

When I finished my shift on Saturday, my blogging brain got totally turned on. I’ve already talked about 2 bath bombs…I’m not ready to talk about my hair experiment yet…what can I do to shake things up?

The best thing I could have done was talk to a co-worker. We’ll call her Avery. I explained that I was very new to LUSH still and hadn’t tried everything, but I wanted to keep my readers invested, yo!

“Oh! Have you tried any of our face masks? I think Rudolph would be the best one, he’s great for winter!”

So into my basket, I plopped that little container of the reindeer.

I didn’t have any downtime until Sunday evening. Steve and I were at his parent’s place for our eat-dinner-and-watch-Once-Upon-a-Time tradition, and I told my sister-in-law Sarah about my new purchase. What she did next took this whole thing to an unbelievable level, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

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Behold, my face! Freshly washed, and looking just okay under this glaring bathroom light. For the integrity of the experiment’s sake, I took all of my “after” pictures underneath the same bathroom light. And can I just say that I HATE when all the magazine’s models with “before” pictures look like they’re heavily medicated, and then suddenly they’re beaming in the “after” pictures? Come on. We all know that a smile is an instant pretty-maker, so of course they’re going to look better if they only smile AFTER you’ve given them their makeover. Hence, why I am smiling NOW, so ya’ll will actually be able to TELL the difference.

Here’s where this gets awesome. You may have noticed in my picture of the face mask that Rudolph contains a precious little red jelly plop. That is not for show. That belongs on your nose, son. To feel the full effects of the Rudolph face mask, you must BECOME THE RUDOLPH!!!

So when Sarah saw what was going on, I could see an idea come over her face, and she took off down the stairs. After rummaging around in the basement for a couple of minutes, she came back with a gift and bestowed it upon my head.

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Transformation: complete. And, not surprisingly, Mr. Fox didn’t have a whole lot to say about it either.

10 minutes. That’s all you need for Rudolph to work his magic. So if you’re one to say that you don’t really have time for a face mask, IIIIIIIIIIII’m gonna have to disagree with you. Look at how much fun you can have in 10 minutes.

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Needless to say, I was invited to join ALL THE REINDEER GAMES RIGHT AWAY, BECAUSE HONESTLY, WHO WOULDN’T WANT ME THERE.

My favourite things about this face mask:

– After 10 minutes, it had somewhat dried, but it didn’t “freeze” my features (obviously) or make me feel like I was going to crack in half if I moved.
– So refreshingly tingly! It’s bursting with fresh ingredients, including a cucumber-oatmeal-coconut oil combo for moisturizing, kaolin clay and tofu for exfoliation, and lavender oil-organic aloe vera powder-calamine powder for soothing the sad, redness-inducing irritations that winter brings. Topped off with fresh peppermint and green tea to make me smell oh-so-nice.
– LUSH obviously wants you to have a lot of fun with this product. I’m not sure if the jelly nose has any special healing properties for your nose other than seaweed, but it sure makes you smile and that’s good enough for me.
– This mask is part of our passion for the environment! On the lid, it says, “Bring back 5 clean pots with this logo and we’ll give you a free face mask!” Not every pot says this yet, but it’s a great motivator to not throw away your black pots once you’re done with them. We send boxes full of black pots back to headquarters and they are then recycled into other things. Hooray!
– Rudolph is easy to keep in the fridge, and stays fresh for about 3 weeks. I think there’s enough in there for me to have 3 once-a-week applications!
– It’s been almost two days and my face still feels so soft. I didn’t apply any lotion or moisturizers afterwards either! After only 10 minutes of this amazing winter-fighter: dead skin was buh-bye, fresh new skin had been born, husband was not able to stop touching my face, and I was feeling pretty fiiiiiine (even under that lovely bathroom light!)

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See what I mean? I think this is my most vain entry ever! Heheheh.

So, dear reader, I can now 100% recommend the power of the reindeer to coat and soothe and heal your face. (But if you’re looking for something a little different, we also have at least 6 other face masks plus a hair mask that may be the answer to what you’re searching for.)
Rudolph is a limited edition product, only provided in the winter, so the time is now! Go forth and BE RUDOLPHED! And take pictures! And show them to me! Be freeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Take heart, the dark season is half over, with no lack of glorious rests of light along the way.

xo Carly

On the 1st day of LUSHmas…(or, what the heck is LUSHmas?)

Before I answer that question, I have to say, this past month has been pretty…weird. I’ve wanted to blog so badly about everything that exists in my life, but for some reason, I can’t. I’ve been like Jim Halpert (from The Office) when he tries to play Call of Duty, and he gets stuck in a corner and he jumps up and down so charmingly but he can’t turn left or right to get out, and then Karen blows his head off.

You know, if blogging was like a violent video game that required a good sense of direction.
I guess most people call it writer’s block.

Even now, I’m a little nervous. I really wanna talk about my new job and how much I love it and what are a few of my favourite things! But we’re living in a world full of natural disasters, drugged-out politicians – a world where Brian the Dog and Paul Walker unexpectedly died in the same week, and I want to talk about bath bombs?

Yep.

Because there is beauty and softness and therapy and colour and relaxation and escape and happy thoughts and bubbles in the midst of chaos and darkness. There always will be. My heart breaks and cries out for the loss of life and integrity and nature, but it’s making the approaching Christmas season that much more beautiful and precious.

So, my friends, welcome to LUSHmas. This is my first time creating a blog series (yay!) and I’m going to pick my 12 favourite things from LUSH (so far) that have made me feel like a queen, Christmas-related or otherwise.
Because, if I’m honest, it’s not easy for me to believe that I’m beautiful. The stars have to align, the outfit’s gotta be perfect, the hair needs to calm the eff down. It’s stupid and it’s hurtfully unnecessary.

To quote a recent Tumblr post:

i feel sooooo confused about what i look like? am i fat am i skinny am i pretty or ugly i literally CAN’T TELL AT ALL. how i feel about my looks changes on a min to min basis and is mostly affected by my mood i am so confused what the HECK do i actually look like to u people. i feel like an alien in my body

This post had more than 64,000 notes attached to it, so obviously there’s a sad epidemic of this feeling going around.

And yet, whenever I put on something that LUSH made – it doesn’t matter which thing – I always feel amazing. I have confidence that I look beautiful, I smell beautiful, and it makes me smile bigger AND it makes me want to pass it on to everyone I meet. (Which, I think can be argued, is the most important part.)

So! On the 1st day of LUSHmas, my LUSHIE gave to me….

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…a GOLDEN WONDER!!!!!!!!!

Oh, the Golden Wonder. If a LUSHIE gives this to you, you can know you’re really loved. This is luxury, this is decadence, this is the streets of gold from Heaven above come down to your bathtub.

Each GW takes 3 days to make, from beginning to end. Right now, you can only see the outside, which features a fluffy marshmallow of a bow on top of a glittery 3D box of delight. On the inside, however, is a rainbow layer of blue and pink and green before it finally dissolves to the very heart, which is actually another mini bath bomb itself. If you gently shake the GW, you can hear baby GW crackling away inside, just dying to get out. I personally think that baby GW is fashioned into a butterfly, but maybe that’s just because I’m obsessed with butterflies and I like to see them wherever I go.

When I tried Golden Wonder for the first time, I did not have access to a bathtub, much to my everlasting regret. But since I know I’m not the only one out there that has to face the First World Problem that IS the stand-up shower, I will share my secret with you.

I bought a white plastic tub at Wal-Mart or something like that, in the kitchen section where they sell them as another dish-soaking option for those poor unfortunate souls who have only a single sink for that sort of thing. (Oh Lord, another First World Problem I am acquainted with all too well.)

I filled said white plastic tub with warm water, plopped GW right in, took off my socks, rolled up my pant legs, and took my feet to the spa.

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It. Was. Ridonkulous. Warm, silky froth. The rest of my body was mad with jealousy.

As time passed, the colours and the foam continually changed and blessed my soul. The dreamy combination of citrus and cognac oils filled my sniffer and lifted my spirits.

And then something happened that I did NOT expect:

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The froth cleared, and fricken STARS came out to say hello. My feet went to outer space and they never wanted to come back.
And then even more froth cleared, until all that was left was water. Emerald green water swirling with a lusty golden shimmer.

So I became a kid again. I was playing with the water, watching it twirl and dance with the flecks of light, never tiring of its enchantment.

But, as it always happens, eventually the water got cold and I had to leave this tiny Heaven. I really should have saved the water in a bottle, to be swirled at later date whenever I feel sad. Parents, saving this magical water in a bottle would probably make a great DIY distraction-maker for your kid. You get the spa time, they get the entertainment, everybody wins.

Now what happened next depends ENTIRELY on what kind of person you are. If you love glitter on your skin, you’ll be thrilled. If you hate glitter on your skin, you’ll be rinsin’.

**You’re about to see feet. Scroll down fast if you hate feet.**

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As you can see on my right foot, it comes off easily. =)

So far, this is clearly my favourite bath bomb. My tootsies wouldn’t stop talking about it for, like, a week. I can’t imagine how amazing the rest of me will feel once I try it again!

Score: 10/10 **********

Pair it Up!: with Celebrate, a moisturizing lotion made with the same citrus and cognac oils as the Golden Wonder. Your skin will thank you, and then head out to party.

May you believe you are beautiful today.

xo Carly