History-makers... playing Second Fiddle

was reading this article about how half of viking warriors seem to have been women, and came across this quote. "It’s been so difficult for people to envision women’s historical contributions as solely getting married and dying in childbirth."

Read that again.

Note that the only worth in your life is obviously your contribution to the world and to history. You, as a woman, are only a wife and mother? That's it? What a let-down to society! What a loss for history. You didn't make a contribution to the world, just sat at home, stuck in your women's world. Heck, that's just about as worthless as it gets.

Okay, forgive my sarcasm. But as I pondered this outrageous statement I realized it all stems from the pressure our culture inundates us with to be the top dog, if you will. We have little respect for the second-fiddles, those who work behind the scenes. Even movie directors get way less press and fame than their actors and actresses. Why? Because they played the visible roles. They were the VIPs.

It isn't always true, but oftentimes the unseen workers are responsible for making the stars and heroes great. Think of the slaves rowing the warships in ancient times. They didn't get a speck of the glory -- but it couldn't have been done without them. A singer is just a guy with a guitar on YouTube without his producer, band, agent, sound-mixer and marketers.

Look, I totally understand why everyone wants to be the visible one who gets all the glory. That's human nature. But why does our culture have to add to the pressure by making us feel like we're not making anything of ourselves if we are the back-up singers for the American Idol, the rowers in the belly of the conquerors ship, the lunch cooks for the cast of the blockbuster.

I'm all for the supporters. The ones who aren't applauded or hailed as heroes. And the very crux of all of those backstage workers is a wife and mother. I'd be so bold as to say she may make even more of a change than those champions. Because most all of the men who made such a difference in the world were reared by loving mothers and supported by strong wives. Who gets credit in the history books? The men. Who worked year after year, 24/7, to support and care for these world-changers? The women.

I'm never going to be somebody big. I'm not going to be a movie star, or the next Mother Theresa, or even ever perform on Broadway. I'll probably never have my books published. I doubt I will make any kind of mark on the history books. But that doesn't make me worthless. You hear that, World? Stop telling me that by being a stay-at-home mom I'm wasting my life and not making a contribution. I'm making the most important contribution I can possibly make by investing into the lives of my husband, children and family.

I'm not saying that women can't be visible world-changers. That's great! It's just that most of them will be invisible world-changers, and I think that is just as great. I only hope that our culture will learn to respect the hundreds of women throughout the ages whose hard work earns just as much applause as their husband's and sons' does.


The smudge

I know it's been an awfully long while. Lately I've been trying vainly to come up with a brilliant idea for a post. Nothing has come.

However today I ran across the words I wrote in my Beloved's valentine card earlier this year. I found them poignant and still very true. I apologize that it is yet another love-themed post, but I'm still a newlywed technically. Cut me some slack.

I didn't know there was a black
dot on the page. Until I touched it.
It smudged around the beautiful capital
S I had made. And not just once ... every
time I tried to fix it - yet another smudge
appeared. I was crushed. The card had already
taken longer than I had anticipated and I was just
starting to like its peculiarity. And now it's marred.
Flawed. How could I give it to you?                     

  Then it dawned on me. Stephen, you have touched me - 
and I you - in places of the soul that have never been seen.
Before, these small vices and imperfections were unnoticeable
little dots. But then you touched me. They were brought to light 
in unlovely ways. I've cried so much these past two months, because 
you have smeared my dots. I didn't want to see those flaws. 
didn't  want you to know. I couldn't give you a flawed 
        bride. had to be perfect for you.                                            
But I'm not.                
                                     And it is painful
for you - and me - to have to face these things. You
may think this is an exaggerated story, and not
one to be told on Valentines Day. But the
fact that you love me in spite of my
imperfections - that you love me
unconditionally - THAT is the
best gift I've ever been
given to me. Stephen,
That is true



Man and Wife



Isn't he handsome? Yes, I know I am ridiculously lucky. The greatest thing is that the handsomest part of him is his enormous heart.

It's been a whirlwind adjusting to married life - much different than either of us expected. Some things are easy, we adjust seamlessly. Others are hard. REALLY hard. And it takes time, and tears, to figure out. The best part of it is that we're not alone, we're in this together. So now, after a month of marriage, I find myself in awe of what the future holds. In one month we've been through so much and grown ever closer. What will one year - or fifty! - do to us?

I can't wait.

I'll leave you with a little something I wrote yesterday...

I sit here at work, thinking about his eyes. His deep, grateful eyes. So often they stare at me with something of a praise, an adoration. He considers himself the recipient of a grand gift that he is not worthy of. It's those eyes that look into me and melt any pride or selfishness that may have rested within me. Isn't it fascinating, that adoration from the beloved causes humility rather than vanity?

And there are other things I dwell on. The presence of him. Of when I snuggle against him: the presence of his jaw above me, shoulder beside me and chest beneath me. Together they make this stronghold, where no fear can penetrate. Then there is his warmth, the arms that wrap about me in love. So firmly, so gently. The soft tender kisses full of all beautiful things, warmth and light and passion and joy. 

Oh the quiet joy! It fills me as I sit here, at my computer, in a small cubicle in a cold commercial building filled with bored, listless people. I am in love. No longer is it the spring love, the eager anticipation and daydreaming. We have been satisfied; we are complete now. Our love is now the broad, gently rolling ocean, where once it was a playful splashing river. We have traded anticipation for fulfillment. Both beautiful, but the inevitable trade was in our favor. We have gained a sea of love - quieter, yes, but ever more deep. We have the boundless depths of each other to search through, some places jagged and rough, some gentle, and lovelier than we had dreamed.

These are the thoughts that fill my mind. They seem poetic, but we are ever so normal together. When I see him later today he will smile and I will kiss him. We will go grocery shopping and head home to plop our stuff on the table, read the mail and talk about our days. It all sounds so ordinary. But everyday life becomes a joy when it is permeated with love. No, I do not always choose to see that love. Sourness easily commandeers my attitude. 

But then I see those eyes. Deep, grateful, adoring. And I melt, falling into that warm ocean. There is no time, no room for complaints and pettiness. I dive in to explore the depths.


Last Post as a "Miss"

Well folks, I'm getting married this Saturday. All of the preparation is basically done, though I still need to finish packing for the honeymoon. I found myself with, miraculously, a few moments to spare, so I thought I'd come on here and write my last post as Miss Ariel.

Here's an excerpt from my journal.

"The beauty is that my soul is bare before him and he loves more than ever. The transparency, the flaws, everything - the beautiful and the things I want to hide. All bared to him. And he chooses to love.

I can't understand it!

He knows me, intimately. My crabbiness and selfishness. The part of me that snaps at my mother and rolls my eyes at him. The part of me that's so ugly. He loves that part of me. How? I don't know...

but maybe I do. Maybe, because I know that part of him. He is flawed, this I know. Some of these flaws I will struggle to not mention, to not criticize. But how could they ever affect my love for him?? What a ridiculous thought! I love him because of who he is, what he is, what he does, says, feels, thinks...... everything. It may not be logical. Oh well.

Love has never been so real. Love is breathing and living inside me so fervently it's like another reality. I've not lived here my whole life. And this isn't the "in-love" high that goes away apprently after the first year or so. This is a daily, choice, a purpose, a reason for being alive. An affection, a passion, a pursuit to know him intimately. It's filling me with life. This is staying. I will not lose this. I will - I don't care if it's hard sometimes, it already has been - continue to choose him, to choose love, because at the end of the day I am in his arms, safe and warm as can possibly be. At the end of the day I will be in the heaven of his embrace, and the mistakes we've made during the day are washed away with grace and love."

I am incredibly blessed. This is just a short bit of the many outpourings of joy his love has brought me. Truly, there is nothing better than to be loved for who you are. To be known completely and loved - that is what all humanity longs for.
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." God can see the ugliest deepest bits of me that even Stephen may never see. And yet He loves me, knowing all. It is inconceivable.

Sorry for the mini sermon. But seriously, that's a perk to having a man in your life. You start to see all these similarities between his love for you and Christ for his bride.

Anyway, to end this slightly disjointed blog post (hey, you can't blame me. I'm getting married in THREE DAYS) I'll just say that God knows his stuff. His timing is perfect. Trust him, because the results, no matter how long they take, are more than worth it.

God is so good.  The end. See you when I'm a married woman.


A Gift Given

I can't write poetry.
I can't ryhme. No matter how
it all comes out like the corniest thing you've ever seen.
Like what you were forced to write
in middle school.

But I need to
express the glory that has been given to me.
I wanted to use a poem, but I failed
so I'm going to just tell you
not so fancy.
Just words.

I'm still learning what it means
but it is
I'm afraid
too beautiful to grasp in a word.
It's more than wanting what's best for someone
more than wanting to be with them every moment
more than wanting them to succeed so badly
that you cry for them
hurt for them
cheer for them
pray for them and never stop
even when the happy feeling in your stomach that you always have
goes away
because they're not perfect.

Neither are you.

This is what I'm learning of love.
This is one of those things that together make up this glory I spoke of.
that I am allowed to experience the beauty and the hurt
of love
and that I am gifted with his love
and gifted with love for him.

And that is the beginning
because I have grown up in love.
These two dear individuals who have cared for me
for two decades
have hurt for me
cheered for me
prayed for me
And I have learned to do the same for them.

The world is so full of pain
twisted things
so full of envy and pride and greed and
especially for oneself
that love can rarely survive.
I know I am one of the few who have it
and not twisted.
Not perfect
But so pure.

Why me?
I have asked that question before
regarding anguish.
Why was it given to me?
Now I ask it
Why was it given to me?
Why was the glory of love in it's blooming beauty
bestowed upon such a small

I have no answer save this truth:

I am loved.

And that great Love that has chosen to give to me
more than I could ever deserve.
There is no explanation
save Love.

I now
that my love
will keep blooming
as time goes on and on
moreso with every day with him
and oh!
that is too much for me to bear.

But I can't write poems.
And you are most likely
very tired
by this choppy bit of writing here.
So I will stop
and leave you with the great mystery
and glory.

It is worth pondering.

- Ariel J | January 2014


Short updates

I'm getting married.

I have a new (and first) job: customer service via twitter.

My sister's pregnant with her first child (and my first niece/nephew).

I've started (and stopped, at least till I settle into married life) playing trombone and being the singer for a big jazz band.

I've done more modeling, and been a supporting role in an extremely successful local musical.

Did I mention the gorgeous ring on my left hand?

That's it for now, folks. Sorry for the long absence. When the love of your life decides to make an appearance, certain things fall by the wayside.

It's so worth it.