Friday, December 23, 2016

World, Meet Hope. Hope, World.

I know you guys can tell: I've been dragging a bit lately. Nothing dire, just self-imposed busyness and stress and not allowing enough time for my batteries to recharge.

It's easy to be sad around the holidays. It's easy to fall behind, and get buried. It's easy to think you're responsible for the happiness of everyone around you.

Lemme say that one again.

It's easy to think you're responsible for the happiness of everyone around you.

Not just me, right?

::fist bump of solidarity::

Anyway, about a week ago I started noticing an odd burning on the left side of my forehead. The skin felt hot, like a mild sunburn, and there was the slightest pressure, but no redness or irritation. I figured it was a reaction to makeup at first, but after four days of annoyance I decided to google it.

Would you believe hot spots on your face are yet another symptom of anxiety? Egads, that's a new one for me.

So that, combined with the stomach aches and feelings of "AAAUUGH too much to do!!" - and of course the nightmares -  finally clued me in to the fact that I needed to, you know, CHILL.

Which is easier said than done, I know. But I'm trying. Saying no to fun things with friends is hard. Letting my posts here slow down a bit is hard. Taking supplements and the monster-slaying meds I know my body needs is hard. But I'm trying.

And through all my frazzle and tetchiness, through my erratic sobby times and my more-than-occasional refusals to get out of bed, John's been here, as always, shouldering what I can't carry.

Last week John started disappearing into the garage late at night. I figured he was escaping the general fallout zone of my latest stress-plosion, but he claimed he was having fun trying to make something. He does that sometimes. Once he saw an ornate wooden bowl at an art show, came home, and made a little replica of it in an afternoon. He likes just seeing if he can do it.

So I didn't think much of it, his nightly disappearances. I had plenty of other things to think about.

Then yesterday morning, John gave me this:


 


She's about 10 inches tall, and her name is Hope.

When I first opened my eyes, she had this card in front of her:

 

Now, some people laugh when they're happy. Some people clap their hands, or jump around, or just sit there, grinning. I know I've done all those things in the past.

This time, however, I immediately burst into the ugliest of ugly, squeaky sobs. I'm talking eyes scrunched, howly hiccups, you guys. It was embarrassing. Scary, even. I mean, I'm a happy crier anyway, but this was a whole 'nother level.

For his part, John went from horrified, to amused, to straight-up sobbing with me. Let's just say the cats had a very entertaining morning.

You Instagram stalkers might remember what Hope is based on:

This Box 'bot from our local Maker Fair, which was about 3 feet tall. I fell hard when I saw it a few months ago, but had no idea John also took a picture, much less planned to make one.

There's more, though.

Inside Hope's chest is a special hidden compartment:

The little scroll is a printed list of things John loves about me. It... was a lot longer than I expected.

Dangit, now I'm crying again.

Quick, let's look at more pictures:


 Hope's recessed eyes mean she can look at you from different angles:

This is her, "You're having brownies for breakfast? Really?" face.

And this is her "You didn't share the brownies with me?" face.

Her neck and legs are made from heavy springs, her hands are bent aluminum, her arms are painted PVC pipe, and her feet are halved Styrofoam balls. John found the body box as-is, but the top head box he had to cut and modify quite a bit.

Her eyes are disassembled giant googly eyes, craft foam, and wooden spacers. The rest are hardware bits and pieces from our local SkyCraft shop.

And she's perfect.

You know, my forehead is still burning today, though it's less. My stomach still hurts. I still have to clean house and give Lily her pills and wrap presents, and I'm still a little worried about this weekend going well and whether I'll ever catch up on posts.

But John gave me Hope, you guys.

John gave me Hope.

So at the risk of stretching this metaphor too far, I hope someone gives you your own hope today, too. Today, tomorrow, every day. Because you are loved, and you deserve it, and it's OK to need that assurance from time to time.

Right, I'm outta here. Go have a good weekend, everyone. Just remember you've always got friends here - if you need us.


100 comments:

  1. John, you are awesome! Merry Christmas to you both, thanks for the happy cry, and please stay safe!

    -Cecilia

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are both beautiful people. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. And.. now I'm crying at work. That's is SO. FREAKING. AMAZING. I am so very, very glad that you and John found each other. You deserve to be loved this much, in these amazing ways and it makes my heart happy to see that you are. Well done, John.

    ReplyDelete
  4. is someone chopping onions in my office? ♥

    ReplyDelete
  5. When you're done with John, can I have him? I know, never gonna happen.
    I think inside Hope is like Mary Poppins bag - never-ending.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a wonderful love letter to John!

    I drive my hubby crazy every year at Christmas. Have to find the PERFECT gift for EVERYONE. The Tree has to be decorated just so - all my favorite ornaments in the same position every year. I insist on baking 3-4 different kinds of Christmas cookies. And... well you get the picture. This year I was given an unexpected major project at work the first week of December and have been a crazy woman all month. Hives, stomach issues and sleepless nights - all the things you look forward to during the holidays, right? I came home several nights ago to find that hubby had picked up the Grandaughter and together they had finished decorating the Tree that had been sadly standing in the front room half naked for over a week. They had finished wrapping gifts that had been waiting on the dining room table for days, and put them under the tree. There were warm sugar cookies waiting for me, right out of the oven. Was it the way I would have done it? No. It was so much better. I am so grateful

    ReplyDelete
  7. Reading about and witnessing how much you two love each other just brings me joy. Merry Christmas to you both.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That is bestest gift anyone can give to anyone: hope. Good job John!

    ReplyDelete
  9. You have the sweetest and most thoughtful husband. That's true love, straight from the heart. PS-I like John's robot much better than the inspiration.
    -SM3

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful! You guys are the best, and I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. John gives us all hope. Jen, you give us hope, too.

    I'm so glad to have stumbled into your little section of the universe with the rest of the Epbotters.

    Happy Days to all!

    -Just Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm sure it's been asked before, but is John available for cloning?

    ReplyDelete
  13. that is the sweetest thing ever! You have an amazing husband, Jen! Merry Christmas to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hope is beautiful! You and John are so lucky you have each other.
    Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's a hope chest!

    Um, sorry, I couldn't resist. Super cute and sweet of him!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Darn! You beat me to it, Katie! Jen, you've got a keeper there many times over! Happy holidays to the both of you!

      Delete
  16. Beautiful. You guys are wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well, now I'm ugly crying, too. I'm sorry that you have been having a bad time of it worth your anxiety, but I'm happy that you have such a treasure of a supportive and loving husband.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Onion chopping ninjas strike again!
    That is so lovely, and kind, and immediately made me think:
    Relationship goal level 5000: Jen and John!

    ReplyDelete
  19. You guys are SO CUTE. It kills me! #relationshipgoals

    ReplyDelete
  20. Does that make her a Hope chest? ;) Seriously, though, this is beautiful. Merry Christmas to you both, and a happy New Year.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I too have been feeling overwhelmed this holiday season so I will participate in that fistbump of solidarity. And also...I seem to have something in my eye...*sniff*

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oy with the onion-chopping ninjas! What a beautiful gift. Your John is a keeper!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Y'all are seriously the best. And congratulations on your new friend. 😊

    ReplyDelete
  24. The world needs more people like you and John. You two are a shining example of real life lived well. <3

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hugs. To you both. And all your minions.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Whoever is cutting the onions in this room needs to stop NOW! I think I married the best John in the world, but yours is a pretty gosh-darn awesome runner up if ever I did see one. I love Hope! I hope (see what I did there!) she brings you much joy.
    And on a completely different note. You mentioning Lily brought my Savannah girl to mind. She had a cyst come up on her chinny-chin-chin and it was getting bigger and she kept knocking it into All. Things.and making it bleed and we decided it needed to come off. Vet said it was very vascular, so now we know why all the bleeding. We opted not to send out samples for culture since she is 19 years old. If it is the "C" word, we would not do anything about it. So she is in a cone for a week to 10 days while her stitches heal and is now knocking Ye Olde Cone into every.thing. Last night was bumpity-knockity into every.thing in the bedroom. Hoping tonight will be more restful for all of us.
    Give that man o' yours a kiss from me! We both got a Keeper John!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, hugs to your furry little girl! The cone is no fun. :(

      Delete
  27. Wowza! First of all let me say you have the BEST husband. Secondly, you are amazing and will make it through I know it! And lastly THANK YOU for the info on the burning face symptoms! I know I can have mild anxiety issues but I never realized that the burning on my face could be a symptom! I've always just thought it was because I flush easily anyway even thought I know the feeling is a little different. But now that you've mentioned that I realize that after I'm anxious or stressed is when I get that feeling! So Thank You Jen!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hope is lovely and we all need a little hope in our lives (the robot and actual hope) something to keep us going during tough times, when everything gets on top of us and seems impossible hope is always there to bring us through. You and John are part of that hope, you are both inspirational and amazing people and I hope one day I get to come to America and meet you.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Ok, who let loose the onion chopping ninjas in here?!? That was a sweet gesture from a man who loves you more than you could ever fathom. Hope is something we all need in our lives and you both are fortunate to have each other for better or worse. Go easy on yourself with all the plotting and planning. Be selfish and remember you are NOT responsible for the happiness of anyone except your self. I hope you both have a wonderful holiday and a peaceful, craft-filled steampunk New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  30. So good! So good. Now I have to stop reading my favorite blogs or I'll ugly-sob heart-felt tears at work... Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  31. This is beautiful and the absolute BEST THING I've read all week. Congratulations on your Hope and may your holidays be bright and happy and full of snuggles with your John.

    ReplyDelete
  32. My house was a complete tip this afternoon. I haven't yet managed to put my Christmas tree up. I certainly haven't wrapped any presents, let alone marzipanned or iced the Christmas cakes. And I'm pretty sure that I'm a lot now tied than I think. But I've been able to enjoy spending time with friends at Christmas for the first time in years. I've eaten pizza and Christmas dinner and steak and chilli and haven't felt so lonely that I run away from all social activities to hibernate and cry.

    Forget "love, actually, is all around". This year, hope is all around.

    And its amazing!

    Have an absolutely lovely Christmas, one that works for you and John rather than being one where you're stressing to fit in with the "shoulds" and the "perfects".

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm riddled with non Christmas anxiety so much that Christmas isn't even registering on my list, and this helps me so much, I might bookmark it so I can pull it up to remind myself that my husband is as supporting and uplifting only not as talented.

    ReplyDelete
  34. You guys are the best - and so absolutely perfect for each other :D
    I wish one day that I'll find my John - the one who loves me like this.
    This whole post made me smile happy tears.
    Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to you both.

    ReplyDelete
  35. “Hope” is the thing with feathers -
    That perches in the soul -
    And sings the tune without the words -
    And never stops - at all -

    And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
    And sore must be the storm -
    That could abash the little Bird
    That kept so many warm -

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
    And on the strangest Sea -
    Yet - never - in Extremity,
    It asked a crumb - of me.

    Emily Dickinson

    ReplyDelete
  36. Yep. You guys are supplying the onions... and we love you!

    ReplyDelete
  37. When you said, "Inside Hope's chest..." I happy-gasped because I thought of those hope chests from the olden days, where you put all the things that are important to you. Waah! Love you guys.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love Hope. Have a wonderful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Damn onion-cutting ninjas hiding in my living room somewhere. Thank you, thank you and thank you again for all that you & John share with us.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is just amazing. All the love to both of you!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I cried. I suspect I needed that cry and it was silent and good and the tears were dried in silky kitten fur. Thank you and John and everyone here for being those candles in the darkness, for embracing joy while acknowledging reality, for believing that HOPE is a good thing and the best thing and, in this case, the cutest damn thing in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Too many onions around here. May you enjoy the simple things this holiday season.

    ReplyDelete
  43. oh wow. Ugly crying. thanks for sharing, that is incredible. On so many levels.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Relationship goals... seriously.

    <3

    ReplyDelete
  45. Now I'm crying. *hugs* from another stressed-out holiday-prepper anxious for this year to be over. Hope you and John have a relaxing Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Sweetness and geekiness. . .you've got yourself a winner there. Enjoy the ride and what's to come. The rest, be damned.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hope is a beautiful thing! I couldn't live without it! Many blessings on you, John and Jen, for giving all of us yourselves and hope alongside.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'll say it again -- this is the best spot on the internet. I really needed this today! I always think of Christmas as "Light in the darkness and Hope where there was none". Couldn't be more appropriate now. I wish you guys the very happiest of holidays.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Just read it between cooking and wrapping gifts. Thank you, I needed that.

    ReplyDelete
  50. John, you are the absolute best!

    ReplyDelete
  51. I LOVE John for loving you! I'm so glad and happy and everything else that you two are a pair. Now let me dry my tears and start my Christmas Eve chores. So much to do, so many people counting on me to make their Christmas perfect...OH WAIT!!!!
    I'm going to have a nice, peaceful day, and I hope everyone else does too!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Who on earth is chopping onions at this time of the morning??
    As much as I love your blogs and what you post and write and the DIY and pictures and everything... I always love the glimpses of the love between you and John. I had that with my Randy and it is a very special, precious thing. Thanks for sharing this Jen. Take care of YOU.
    Maureen S

    ReplyDelete
  53. That is just, well, just perfect! I'm not sure I've ever commented before, but this one got me to reach out. Read you for years, starting with CakeWrecks. Then found here and loved your crafty geeky loveliness. Then stayed because you shared yourself. I could relate so many times. Just wanted to tell you thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I am at work on Christmas eve (half a day walk in clinic ftw) and read this and DANG IT DUST EVERYWHERE, making my eyes all water. I haven't had a chance to read the blog due to life, and I realize how much i miss it and how much you inspire me.
    I recently faced my own anxiety and depression and talked with my dr- and i thought about you and how you face your stuff everyday and rock life. I read the raw honesty and stress you are dealing with and i see the love and care and support john has for you. I have missed this blog. You have given me Hope today. I am glad you have yours.
    Much love Jen
    Merry Christmas Eve
    Merry Christmas
    keep rocking it

    ReplyDelete
  55. I love it! I wish someone would give me hope too. This season I have been pretty down, and sick, and pretty much every holiday related thing I've tried this year has failed.

    ReplyDelete
  56. You're awesome, "Uncle" John!!!! Way to go! "Auntie" Jen, you can do it! You've survived everything so far- you can keep surviving! Give Lily and Tonks my well wishes, and have a Merry Christmas!
    Pinkie Welborne, 16,
    Indiana

    ReplyDelete
  57. And now I'm crying too (the Labyrinth call-out at the end of the post really clinched it). So glad that you and John have one another. Thanks for sharing some of that magic with us. Sending good wishes to both of you and everyone in this community.

    ReplyDelete
  58. My husband commented on my tears and I told him (with love, of course) to shut up. *Cries some more*

    ReplyDelete
  59. As always, thank you for sharing glimpses of your life... you continue to inspire, create humor, and shine a light of hope and love into the universe. I'm eager to kiss 2016 goodbye, but thank you for letting it end on a sweet note instead. Here's to hoping you'll be at Celebration in April so we can finally meet!

    ReplyDelete
  60. This time of year has been especially hard for me the past 3 years. I saw the end of my marriage to my best friend on Christmas then...and I really only continue to celebrate for our kids. They're with their dad tonight and then, just when I'm starting to feel really sorry for myself, I come here and read this.
    Even though I am currently typing through ugly tears, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing Hope. For reminding me there still is hope. That maybe, just maybe, I will find a new best friend to spend this season with one day.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Khalysta from VersaillesDecember 25, 2016 at 5:32 PM

    So Sweet.... you have the perfect mate Jen. John, you are the sweetest man I have "met".

    ReplyDelete
  62. Just now got to see these pics. I'm sobbing right along with you. That is so beautiful. You two both give ME hope. Love you guys. 😄😄😄

    ReplyDelete
  63. Ok! So I have blog stalked you for a while, (is that a thing?) and I had to respond to this. We in the imaginary world, known as the internet, love you and appreciate you for who you are. If you are a bit slow in posting, that's ok, we know that when you do it will be spectacular!!! Please let us be the least of your anxiety. We just really want you to be happy and well. Anxiety is serious business!!

    ReplyDelete
  64. So amazing, I'm crying all the happy tears. You guys, and the internet community you've created, give me so much hope, and not just in robot form. :)

    ReplyDelete
  65. And now I'm crying because I've lost the hope/faith/whatever that I'll ever have anyone in my life that would do even a tenth of anything John does for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or....after crying all day I checked my Clue app....thanks hormones!

      Delete
  66. That could be the sweetest thing I've ever read and that's saying a lot. Good work, John!

    ReplyDelete
  67. No one ever cries alone around me, so I wanted to let you know I was ugly-crying right along with you. You've got yourself a good one there. :D

    ReplyDelete
  68. (((Jen))) You have such a huge heart. It's your super-power. (But doesn't it often seem that the flip side of our super-power is the very thing that leaves us the most vulnerable? Ugh.)

    John, thank you for loving Jen so well.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Oh, that is so sweet. I'm not as talented as John is at making things, but I craft sometimes, and I think a version of this may make its way to my husband at some point. What a beautiful idea (I particularly love the scroll inside).

    ReplyDelete
  70. I'm in awe, absolute awe of BOTH of you. John has not only supplied hope to you, but to everyone else here as well. <3

    ReplyDelete
  71. what a tremendous man for an incredible lady!
    thank you for sharing your lives with us. you both mean more to strangers than you can possibly imagine. sending love to you both.

    ReplyDelete
  72. And this made ME cry. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy National Nothing Day . . . love you both.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Someone has been cutting onions in here. Seriously, that is so, so, so awesome of John! So lovely and loving. Wishing you all the best, both of you.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Now I'm crying while filling out college applications. Wow.

    ReplyDelete
  75. You have the BEST HUSBAND EVER!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  76. "Lemme say that one again.

    It's easy to think you're responsible for the happiness of everyone around you.

    Not just me, right?"

    SO not just you :fistbump:

    Thank you, I needed to hear that. Not sure how or what I'm going to *do* about it, but I needed to hear it!

    ReplyDelete
  77. Dammit, now I'm ugly crying too...

    ReplyDelete
  78. This is so very beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  79. John, you are what all those complaining women are looking for.

    ReplyDelete
  80. You have the best husband. I'm crying too! Feel better soon. :)

    ReplyDelete
  81. Merry Christmas to you both! I am catching up on posts....and I am at work ugly crying. Thank you both for your wonderful, honest and uplifting posts. Much love.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Officially the sweetest husband. Love it!! Hugs to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  83. This made my cry! What a beautiful gesture.

    ReplyDelete
  84. That is amazing and now I'm ugly crying. You two are the cutest. Much love to you both...and Happy New year!

    ReplyDelete
  85. *sniff* I'm about to cry at my desk. This is so sweet. I'm so glad you found your someone.

    ReplyDelete
  86. And now I'm trying to hold the tears in at work. You two are amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  87. I can't believe I somehow missed this post. But sitting her bawling now. I'm so happy for you, Jen. Thank you for sharing the love with us.

    ReplyDelete
  88. John's robot is better than the original.

    ReplyDelete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>