Tuesday, August 21, 2012


 This isn't the first time I've written about navigating the transition to an adulthood version of "home."I guess it probably won't be the last.

For me this whole concept of home has been an ongoing problem. It started when I left home of course. Up 'til then things were quite clear cut. My freshman year of college was like standing on the edge of something, I could sense that my idea of home was changing, but I still knew where home was. I still felt tied to my parents in Lancaster, still made it absolutely clear to everyone I spoke with that that was where home was. Sophomore year came along and I got engaged and once or twice I said the words "back home" in reference to Hawaii rather than to Lancaster. I always felt as though I was a traitor when I did slip up though, like somehow the cramped dorm room I shared with people who would come to hold a special significance in my life wasn't worthy of the word. Home was reserved for Mom and for Dad and what they had built for me. Friends who had become a constant part of my life, who had taken on the role of a family to me; they were a predicament, tossed to the back of my mind in the "this-is-a-weird-stage-of-my-life" category.

Then I got married and the challenge of pin-pointing "home" could no longer be pushed aside. As you may recall, I battled with the word's usage, with it's meaning, and what a change in home symbolized about where I was in my life. I had left the nest, but I wasn't so sure I could call any other place home.

I have to say that this battle seems to be an ongoing one. We moved in with my parents for a few months after graduation, not because we didn't have anywhere else to go but because my Mom asked me to, and frankly it didn't seem natural not to. That's what I've always done for the summer holidays and that was my automatic first choice; Justin didn't really mind either way so we went home. I loved every minute of being there, but part of me knew that it wouldn't have been good to stay much longer. It was all too easy to slide back into the role I had filled in that home-- the role of the child, the role of the whiny teenager, being chauffeured around and shirking real responsibility. Toward the end, I could tell that the carefully constructed relationship Justin and I had worked so hard at building was devolving with my lapses in maturity. We weren't Man and Wife there, I was the oldest kid and Justin was the accoutrement that came along with me. It wasn't that my parents or sisters prompted that, just that I was easily tempted to opt for the easier role, and it didn't reflect the growth we had experienced in our first year of marriage. It didn't recognize the new multiplicity of home.

Last weekend I visited my cousin Kathryn in Glendale. The long drive was well worth the spiritual nourishment and stimulating conversation I found there. No really ...we had a 9 hour conversation...LITERALLY. Kathryn and I have always been close, and our talk ranged from catching up to the time-space continuum. I mention this visit because it really got me to thinking about this whole idea of home in several ways. For one thing, I felt at home in Kathryn's apartment. Here was someone whom I loved and trusted, someone I was raised with , more than a best friend, someone who knew the intricate details of my life from childhood 'til now. It seemed for a moment like little piece of home here in Arizona, while I try to navigate my way around this new place in location and time. But I was a visitor, and Kathryn's home indisputably belonged to her and Stuart ( her husband) just as my home belongs exclusively to Justin and I. That's where I hit on it. Home is more than just a location...but it is tied to location. Parts of my conversation with Kathryn inspired the follow up to that thought.

In one of my college classes, Aesthetics actually, a professor illustrated for us an idea about the interaction between time and space. In her illustration, time and space were the x and y coordinates of a never ending graph (complete with those arrows on the end that mean forever) Thus, though most of us separate the two , both time and space are needed in order to understand something's place. In art that might mean that we shouldn't classify a painting based only on what time period it comes from, but also where it comes from geographically. I am starting to feel as though it is even more complicated than that too, because those two coordinates don't seem to fully encompass other "locations" ...like culture...but it's hard enough to wrap my head around the interrelationship between the two so I'll stick with that for now.

In any case, this graph seemed to get at how eternity works. Since both axis are ever expanding,   (could they be chords of the universe?) there are an infinite number of possibilities as to where we might be. Our limitation lies in the fact that we are tied to this earth, both chronologically and geographically. Time, for us, is moving only forward. Space, for us, has only recently reached our own planet's moon.

I blame our time-space limitations for this whole predicament. See, all of us are so used to seeing things on this mortal plane that when something eternal comes to us we grapple with it. Home, in more than one place at the same time? Home in the same place at different times? Home in one place and then it's not home and then it is again? "That just isn't how life works!" I sometimes want to scream. "Everything stays in place but me Universe! Home is there and I am here , I move --not it." ...Somehow my previous logic, that only Mom and Dad's place can be home sort-of seems like that long-ago idea that the universe revolved around the Earth!

What I think, is that home is not bound to this mortal sphere. Home is eternal and exists in more than one place or time. Home looks like this.

It's hard to grasp since our mortal existence occupies a single dot on the graph, but that eternal something within us knows and accepts home for what it is, a precious universal that holds more meaning than we will ever know in this life.

Monday, August 13, 2012



After my last post it should come as no surprise that I have committed to procrastinating less. I'm not going to make this a formal thing, or even really specifically define what it is I'm committing to, I am just going to try to be more present in the present. Rather than looking to the next step all the time, rather than putting the little things off 'til it's too late, I am going to focus on doing more now , doing it wholly, and focusing on the things that matter most.

I think that's sort of what I was going for when I started my 30 day pinterest challenge...yeah yeah so much for that thing right? Wrong. I am still going to finish the challenge. Of course, like a lot of those little commitments we make for ourselves, I am going to be making up for lost time...I think what I have learned is that you can't think dates and numbers when the commitment you are making is about improving yourself. Progression doesn't work that way. It's about doing it when it needs to be done, how it needs to be done and not a moment sooner ( or later!!). Thus, I will not retract my goal of completing 30 pins, I will simply do them as they come up in my real life and do them because I want to give more time to crafting.etc... not because I want to make a deadline.

While we're on the topic of presentness and all that that entails, I will fill you in on the latest for the Royer family ( population 2+a Beta)

-We moved last week to Casa Grande, Arizona
- I have begun my new job as the head cross country coach at Chandler High School, and thus far have prepared for and survived; a welcome meeting, coaches' meeting, mandatory meeting, a week's worth of practice, and a parents' meeting.
-We are starting to realize that we need to draw a line with Beta. For example; the other day I asked Justin " Did you get the baaaaaab...ah um puppy?" Also, she prefers to sit on my lap with her back legs hanging down like a human. We have decided we will refer to her strictly as "the dog" or "Beta", and try to pick her up less...Because she is a dog and needs to have a normal, non-human life.
- I have tried to implement some of the herbal remedies I learned from a highly reliable source ( hint: it starts with a p and ends with an interest) found out two things so far 1) Lime juice works well for relieving itching due to mosquito bites 2) Toothpaste also works, but may leave weird burn marks on your leg if you have any patches of dry skin...I considered posting a picture but somehow those burn marks make it terribly difficult for me to get a flattering picture and posting an unsexy one sort of feels like a blogging sin.
-Finally, in honor of my recommitting to the pinterest challenge, I made honey lime enchiladas and they were awesome! And easy! And cheap! And I did it...with out any mishaps...YAY!

Monday, August 6, 2012


When I was around eleven, I took a trip to Colorado with two of my younger sisters, and my cousin Kaycee. We went all by ourselves to visit our Great-Aunt Nancy, who lived alone in Highlands Ranch. Aunt Nancy, my grandpa's sister, took us all around Colorado. We went to the Sugarwater Festival and saw Queen Latifah, we went shopping and she gave us each a hundred dollar bill to spend, we went to the red rock amphitheater and Georgetown too. Great-Aunt Nancy never forgot our birthdays, and always sent Target gift cards every Christmas.When she got back from one of her adventures to Thailand or West Africa or India she would always bring back presents. Last year, she called to ask my mom what I wanted most out of all the things I'd registered for. She bought me a set of China, my beautiful beautiful China that I treasure so much I nearly had a heart attack when we moved it here a few weeks ago.

I sent a round of Thank-You notes for my wedding, but I know I missed a lot of people ( sorry if you're one of them :( ). I found a whole bunch of now-yellowed envelopes stuffed hastily in a drawer at my parents house this summer. Now I am wracking my brain to remember if Aunt Nancy got a Thank You. Did she know? Did she know how much it meant to me that she was one of the four who knew I wanted china the most then lovely had it sent my way? Does she know that over these years I have thought of her often, that I treasure the memories of that long-ago Colorado trip?

I am terrified to think that she didn't know, didn't feel loved or appreciated by me. I wrote her countless little notes-started them at least, thought of calling her all the time. Most recently, I thought of calling to see how she felt about that Batman shooting. The thing is, when someone gets to the point in their life where they pass on from this world, you realize just how much procrastination can hurt. Hurt you, hurt your Aunt Nancy.

My Dad is flying out to Colorado with my Grandpa to finally pay that visit. I am touched that my Grandpa , who has had trouble traveling lately is willing to go through a certain amount of indignity in order to say his goodbyes to his sister. I am sad to know that my Aunt Nancy is going. I mourn her death, but mostly I mourn the loss of an opportunity to send her that nice note, to show her how much I love her. I know that this life is just one of many travel destinations for my Aunt Nancy, but somehow I wish I were able to reach her where she is going next.

Friday, August 3, 2012

On Beauty

It's been awhile since I've posted, but now's not the time for updates. I've been thinking about beauty. What it means, what it feels like. We live in a society that's obsessed with it. Or thinks it's obsessed with it. I'm not so sure we haven't missed the mark on this one. ```

In art, beauty is a lottery ticket. If you hit on true beauty you can move nations. But true beauty is quite elusive. What's beautiful in one time or place is not so beautiful to another group of people. Art critics try to corner this concept, some even go so far as to say that one of the criteria for the truly aesthetic is that it is relevant or moves the people of it's time and place. And yet, so many artists have created beautiful work that wasn't admired or appreciated 'til years later. Is their work not beautiful?

Living in this particular time and place can be difficult in terms of beauty. As a young American woman I find myself thinking about it for hours , taking it to what I feel are superficial and frankly unhealthy extents...but I am not even half as engrossed as many of my fellow young American women. Shoot, I only put on make-up like twice a week!Still I think about it often, I have moments when I assure myself that I have a rocking body, that my looks are stunning, exquisite, rare. Then there are those, more frequent moments in which I cry and pout and blame the universe for the fact that I look like I'm 12, that I'm having a bad hair day, that the stupid dog nearly knocked my tooth out and now I have to wear a retainer for 3 months ( which of course adds to the prepubescent problem).

There are times when I consider beauty in a more reflective,  outreaching way. Times when I stop and smell roses,times when I marvel at someone else's genius, but those moments don't happen enough.It seems like mostly I don't take notice until beauty is staring me straight in the face.

Can something be truly beautiful if only one person ever sees it? I am beautiful to Justin in a way that no one else will ever see or ever know. Justin's every breath is beautiful to me. No really, I'm not just trying to be cheesy here. I think about those moments in my life where I really truly saw beauty; in a painting,  a movie, in a rose. Once I went running in some dusty old hills, I parted from the trail and made my way through the ugliest patch of thorns and weeds and then happened upon a little valley covered in these purple flowers. I knelt down and thanked God for that beautiful moment, and then I begged him to forgive me for being blind.

If you're like me, you are probably tired of not seeing. Tired of staring straight ahead and pushing hurriedly forward, just to find out you aren't really going anywhere at all. It's time for me to open my eyes and see what's beautiful. I have a feeling I won't see it in magazines either.

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I am a videographer located in Goodyear, Arizona. Visit my site storiestoldmedia.com to check out my best work and the Stories Told blog.