Tuesday, December 22, 2015

be about bliss

i need to be a proud friend and tell you about my friend, rachel bliss. coolest last name, right? we've known rachel for close to 15 years. she and i were pregnant together with our first kids and they were both born on the same day, hours apart. we've stayed in touch all these years.
anyway, she recently started a non-profit named be about bliss. within this non-profit, rachel hopes to provide for the needs of children. last year for christmas, rachel provided an entire elementary school with books for each student. this particular school has 90% of the kids on the free lunch program and many of the kids only eat while they are at school. once rachel found out about that, she decided to put together food kits for all 700 plus kids in that school to take home over winter break so that they would have something to eat while they weren't in school. pretty awesome. when we moved out here to colorado, we began helping rachel with this huge project. i wasn't quite aware of how much time, effort, emotion and struggle we'd all put into this project. at times it was overwhelming, especially for rachel. but we all focused on those little kids who would get the food and it made it worth it.

rachel's kids and my kids put many hours into this project. as moms, it was nice to see our kids put energy into thinking about other people. quite a few saturdays they'd spend with us standing in front of the local grocery store telling people about the project and asking for donations. that takes some guts. many times i'd be talking to people as they kept walking into the store, not very interested in what some random chick was saying. but i'd just keep up with them and eventually they'd hear what i was saying and helped us out. people just need opportunities to be generous and they usually come through. but imagine a kid having the guts to follow that person and talk to them. it was cool to watch. izzy was great at collecting money donations. haha. who can say no to her adorable face? she got quite a few $20 bills. i loved it.

after collecting what we could, we shopped for the rest of the food so that the kits would all be equal. our church ward xmas party even involved helping us put the kits together. many, many hands were helpful in pulling off such a big project. 

last thursday we were able to take all the kits to the elementary school. i kept my kids home from school so that they could participate. they handed out the wrapped books to the students. they were smiling just as much as the students. the students were so appreciative of what they were given. rachel hired a man to play santa claus too...those adorable kids lit up when he walked in the room. every minute of it was touching and special for everyone.

this is the link to rachel's website if you'd like to know more.

and i'll just say one more thing about rachel. i've never met someone who thinks about helping people more than her. she's constantly finding ways to improve the lives of those around her. an example of this says it all...a few weeks ago she and i planned on going shopping. she had to run some food to the homeless shelter (see, always giving something) and then was going to come pick me up. she called and said something came up and she'd be about an hour late. no worries. when she arrived at my house, she apologized for being late. this is what she said, "i saw a mom and three kids, about the ages of our kids, checking out of the shelter (they have to check out each day and then come back in the evening to spend the night, first come first served kind of thing) with a grocery bag of belongings. i felt pushed to help her. i was supposed to help her. i took her and the kids to a hotel, checked them in for the night and gave them food to eat while there. i wish i could afford to do more for her. hopefully one night out of the cold in a comfortable place will be okay." she shrugged her shoulders and then she cried for a minute, cause that's what she does...she calls herself a cry baby. haha. i mean for real, who does that? that is christlike love. that is pure service. she's good people, i tell ya!

rachel sitting outside the grocery store. i think she was going on her 9th hour of being there.

rachel's daughter kinsey and my olivia

they took their job very seriously

see, don't you just want to hand over money to that cute face?
rachel and i picking up 500lbs of rice. it's how we have fun on saturday nights.
mark's job...moving food all over the place
see, it's what he does.
books waiting to be delivered

santa visiting a class
happy little kiddos

short hair, don't care. okay, maybe i care a little.

i know, i know. who cares about my hair. pretty much only me. but considering the huge change my hair went through, and how it impacted me, it needs to be documented on this tiny blog.

i had it in my head forever that i wanted to try out short hair. i love it on other women. like love it a lot. it's fun and different and edgy. so when we moved to california and two adorable friends of mine were sporting pixie cuts, i was given that extra motivation to go for it.

i've always said that hair shouldn't define girls. it becomes a security blanket. hey, if you just plain love long hair, i think that's great. seriously, to each her own. i just wanted to see what would happen, how i would feel, without something that was starting to define me. everyone had an opinion. it was kinda funny to hear people talk me into it or out of it. i went back and forth for about a month. did i really want to do it? i knew in the back of my mind that i'd hate it. but i wanted to show myself that i could live just fine without it. stubborn, right? um yeah.

on april 15 at 9am i headed to the salon. before i left i mentioned to mark that i was nervous all the sudden. he, who was always supportive of me chopping off my hair, said, "just remember, you'll always be beautiful no matter what cut you end up with." thank you dear husband.
i went to a chick who cut the hair of my friend with the cute pixie. and about an hour later my hair was gone. i drew a crowd of other stylists who couldn't believe i was going for it. ha!  i walked out of the salon loving my new hair.  i was happy and smiling and thinking that i totally did the right thing. mark and the kids were super nice and kept telling me how much they liked it. i felt awesome.

and then i woke up the next morning.

i cried. and i hate admitting that. it's freaking hair. i was so upset with myself. i felt terrible and totally bought into the idea that i was no longer "cute." holy cow, looking back on that day, i feel like a dork. i was upset over nothing.

my feelings changed day to day for a while. hated it and then loved it. totally confident and then completely weak. it took about two months before i was 100% okay with it every day. i was happy with it consistently.

reactions from people, who i knew and didn't know, were quite entertaining. one evening i went to the movie theater to meet some friends to see pitch perfect 2. i was the first one there and was waiting by the ticket counter for my friends to arrive. there was a dude, probably mid 40s, who kept looking at me and smiling. creepy, right? haha. and then he walked up to me. oh crap. but he very nicely said, "i just have to tell you that i love your hair. it's cool when women have confidence to pull that off. you look great." that was very cool of him. to be honest, i got more compliments from men specifically about my hair cut than women. dudes are supposed to love long hair. weird.

anyway, here's the point. i finally learned real confidence and owning who i was. and to be clear, i've always been a confident person but this took me to a whole new level. sad it took a hair cut for me to grow that way but whatever. i learned and that's the point. i'm glad i did it. who knows, maybe i'll chop it again someday. mark says that i should do a pixie with platinum blond hair. haha. i'm not sure i'll go that far.

still in the salon parking lot. shocked but happy.

a few days later. not as happy.

when i started to really really love it.

first time i tried to add curl.
slight mullet phase.

and how it is now.
i usually pin up the back because it's kinda at an awkward length. i've had quite a few people see me like this and say "you shaved the sides. i love it!" haha. they are kinda disappointed when i show them it's just pinned up.