Wednesday, March 4, 2015

When (5 minute prompt)

I wrote this while waiting at church for my daughter to get out of an activity.


There was a time when I wrote a piece about Blake entitled “When” and then it became too personal to share.  And I knew that I had written a happy letter to him that I hoped he would treasure forever.  And I realized that when I write these prompts, I try to let go of my inhibitions and not be tethered to what other people will think about my writing.  But I feel like I can only let go if I don’t plan on publishing them.  Because there is something about writing and knowing people will read it and not putting every bit of honest and true feelings into it.  That is what a journal is for.  But I realize that I need to journal more. I need to spill my guts to the paper and let the paper carry my secrets (to the grave, hopefully).  My mom has kept journals for 20 years and guess who claimed them in her will, yes, me.  I will read them and I will not judge her, but I will be grateful for this well kept history of her life.  Sometimes I think we don’t truly know our parents until we are older, and even then, they are still our parents.  We are still the children.  There are a lot of things my kids don’t know about me.  My fears, my feelings because sometimes, they just don’t need to know.  I hope that one day, when I am gone, they will look back on my writings and catch a glimpse of a different person.  Of a human person!  One with fears and joys.  And maybe I will just share with them all of my writings a little bit at a time, so they will know me in the here and now.


Disclaimer: My mom told us to “request” stuff from her so we don’t fight over her deathbed. As if!

Also, you don’t have to read us all your journals, mom. Just the good stuff.

My mom and dad

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Keep (5 minute prompt)

I wrote this one day while the kids were playing. When I saw the word "keep" it just busted out of me.


Disclaimer: I don’t hate celebrities.

So,  I used to have this dirty little habit.  It was caring about what celebrities were doing and why they were healthier, skinner, wealthier than I.  Why, when I was living a regular life of school drop offs, cleaning, and trying to keep up with the kids, could other people be off on an island for a “weekend getaway” or just because they could.  I ended up with a free subscription to a celebrity magazine, which I usually only read in the tub or when I had free time (ha!).  The pile on top of the fridge grew and grew.  It was seriously a foot tall.  I know.  One day, I got into purging mode and noticed the magazines.  I hefted them down to the counter.  I looked at the covers and thought, “Hmm, why is Taylor Swift single?” “What is Angelina’s take on that topic?”, etc.  Then I woke up.  I thought who cares.  Because honestly, who does care?  If all of the celebrities in the world were to ship themselves off to a happier and greener planet, we would still be here.  We would still be raising our children and taking care of our families and having late night girls night or writing binges.  Our lives wouldn’t alter.  So, why did I care to know what they thought or spend my time reading about it? 

So, I threw them all in the garbage.  If I hadn’t read the April issue and it was now December, did I even care?  I think not.  And that thought made me happy.  And happy is not something I usually felt after learning about so and so’s recent break up or dream house.  In fact, I felt downright annoyed and sad because we have a society who glamorizes wealth and people, who sometimes, should not be glamorized.  Why not spend my tub time or “free time” reading that novel I’ve had sitting on my shelf for months or years or writing or playing.  Just living my regular life! 

And you know what, you can keep the celebrity magazines and lifestyle, if you so wish.  I won’t judge you.  But, for me, I am going to “keep up with the Bells” and know that that is good enough for me now and forever.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Open (5 minute post)

I wrote this while sitting on the couch at church waiting for my daughter to get out of an activity.


I like to think I am an open book. I like to think that I am friendly and forthcoming about my life.  I like to think that.

But I am kind of wrong.

I was once talking to a friend I had made in Iowa and she mentioned that, “Yes, you are a little hard to get to know at first.  But then you open up after awhile.”  I thought she was crazy!  I try to be nice and friendly.  Then my other friend I made in Iowa said the same thing after I asked her.   As I thought about it, I realized, I am a little closed up, a little guarded. 

I don’t know why. I know a lot of people. I know their kids names and things about them.  But to make plans with them really takes an effort on my part.  Do we match? Do our kids match?  Can I be myself around them? The true self.  The sometimes goofy, crazy, emotional self?  I don’t know. 

I have a few friends in life who have really gotten to know me, outside of my family, of course.  Tara, my longest friend to my college roommates to my newest friend, Karen.  And many others.  As I thought about it, I kept thinking about all those people.  And I think maybe I am less guarded than I thought?  Maybe I am open?  But I think that right connection just works and you make a friend and you are friends for life.  The end. I will check on you. I will call you after you have a baby.  I will text you hilarious memories from the past.  And I will be grateful for the list of friends that have been grouped through the years.  And when we have become friends long enough, we will be neighbors on our best friend street in heaven.


Sunday, March 1, 2015


5 minute prompt from Kate Montaug.  Join in with us!  I wrote this while laying on the couch and watching Friends.  Conditions don't have to be perfect.


To have a visit with my future self or my past self for that matter.  What would I tell my past self?

Stop worrying about your weight, looks, clothes, etc.

Love yourself.

Give compliments.

Be where you are and be happy about it.

Play with abandon.

Don’t stress over the crumbs so much.

Take care of yourself.

Love and listen.

Listen fully.

Be friendly.

Don’t be afraid.

All the things that we look back and regret or just wish to change. Though I don’t feel like I have many regrets, my only one is not going to Europe during college, but those little moments when you just think, “Why did I do that/say that/think that?” Did it really matter?  Did it change my life?  Well, future self.

Love more.

Smile and laugh, many times in the day. Even if you have to make a conscious effort to remember to do it!

Snuggle and relax with the family.

Stop having an agenda so often.

Go skydiving. Overcome your biggest fear!

Use all your lotion, perfume, make up. 

Use your time wisely.

Grow some plants and let them live in your house.

Make that soufflé already!

And in the meantime, don’t regret things. Don’t stress about the future or the past or the present. Just be and be what you need and want to be. Not what someone else thinks you should be.  Just be.
Me, last summer in my hometown of Las Vegas.  I was watching my kids chase geese and my friend took this picture. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why I am going to take more pictures with my kids

Why I am taking more pictures with my kids

Have you ever seen the old time pictures of mom and daughter in the foaming surf

Or standing outside the family home, seemingly too small for 8 people to live in

Or outside the brand new car before seatbelts and airbags?

I am sure you have and the best part of these pictures, for me, is the togetherness. 

And the oldness, the black and white, weathered, worn, beaten down by time spent in

A basement or

An attic or

An old chest.

Before they knew what photo preservation was.

Before they knew that air can ruin photos.
(My Grandma Rogers, Kathryn)
Before the time of millions of pictures online

Before you could share your whole life story

Or your childs

Or your husbands

And even make money on your life story!

The pictures are treasured. They are framed, even in their wrinkled and torn and water damaged style.

There are descriptions on the back, Mom and Aunt Jo, 1948.

Family vacation, Laguna Beach, 1965

Dale and Kathryn’s wedding.  October 1942
(My Mother's parents)

The only wedding picture because they were married on Halloween, the night before he shipped out

To recover ships in WWII.

They are precious because they were few and far between.

I have thought about this piece for six months now.

Ever since our family went out West and my sister in law took a picture of me with my children

At a water park

In my bathing suit.

Something that normally doesn’t happen because, well,

Who wants to see all that?

So, the picture was taken and I was pleasantly surprised

Not because I didn’t look half bad after having four kids and exercising pretty hard core for a year.

But because of the joy on my face

And my Hailey's face

It was a moment frozen in time.  A beautiful moment where life was






And I hoped that when I died in many, many years

That this photo would be used at my funeral.

An odd thought, I know.

But I wanted to be remembered as this person.

The one who was brave and carefree and living in the moment.

The one who drove halfway across the U.S. alone with four kids.

The one who had lived life instead of waiting for life to happen to her.

Even though it is just a snapshot of a moment

It is one of my favorite moments.

And I wonder about all those other pictures of moms with their children.

What were they thinking?

Had the day been awful?

Had the day been perfect?

Was she lonely or sad or happy?

Did she work outside the home?

Did she have a garden or like to cook or like to have babies?

Who was she?

What was her story?

So, I can pretend that I know that mom.

The one on the seashore or at the park or the birthday party.

And I can think of her as a dear old friend who was right in the motherhood craziness with me.

Despite our generations apart, we could understand each other and our noble calling as

Here are a few shots of me and the kids.  I am trying to get a real view of what my mothering life looked like: the good, the bad and the ugly. Because when my girls or other future girls in my family are losing it over motherhood or loving motherhood or just wanting a real view of what motherhood is like, I can give it to them.  And I can remember just how hard and wonderful and crazy and funny it is to be a mother of young children.

 The kids and I reading one night.  It was a goucho pants kind of day.
William loving the water.  See, another swimsuit picture.  I'm trying here, people!
At the end of a hike with my dad and kids and cousins this summer.
Reading with William
I remember this day clearly because the house was a bomb and we were having the missionaries over.  When all else fails, forget the house and have a tickle fight.  Super responsible.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wait (5 minute prompt)

Writing along with Kate Montaug on five minute Friday (a few days late.)   Join with us!
I am also going to start something new for all you wonderful people out there, just waiting to begin a writing journey of your own.  I am going to let you know where I wrote each piece.
For example: My two youngest were upstairs making up a chanting song and I can hear them playing "bedtime".  I have had 10 minutes to sit and take care of this prompt and post it.  Yes, they are arguing a little bit, but if I wait until they aren't fighting or asleep, this might never happen!

I have always loved Dr. Seuss and especially “Oh the Places You’ll Go”.  It’s just a great book for all ages.  The line that gets me is this one:

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting. (18)

And I have often felt a kinship with that line.  My life is happy. It is full. It is a good one. One that I never imagined would be mine because well, God knows me better than I know me.  And my past imagined life wasn’t nearly as wonderful as my current life is. 

But I have been in “the waiting place”.  When will we buy a house?  When will we have a baby?  Will we settle down? 

Waiting for a free moment to write or to read or to do something I want to do in the middle of a normal day. 

Like today.

Well, I say, NO! to being in the waiting place.  Or at least I can be in the waiting place but the waiting doesn’t have to define me.  I can live happily where I am and do what I want to do or have always dreamed of doing. I don’t need to wait until the house is perfect, until the kids are older, until we make more money, until we have a house.

I can take what I have right now and turn away from the waiting place.  Because what really comes of waiting?  Missed opportunities and regrets.
If you wait, you might miss this...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Give Up!

I Give Up

                Hailey never really said, “I give up.” It wasn’t her phrase. But Spencer uses that phrase constantly.  It is sometimes said with a smile because he knows it drives me crazy.  It is sometimes said half-heartedly because he isn’t completely frustrated yet.  And it is sometimes said in anger because he has reached his breaking point.  I would always respond by trying to help him or getting him to continue working on the problem.  Mostly it would work out. 

                However, Brooke has started to say the hated phrase. The thought of giving up is so frustrating to me because in my mind, there is always a way to solve the problem. I was thinking about how to respond one day, when I had the thought to tell them that they aren’t allowed to say, “I give up.” anymore.  Instead, they can say, “I am taking a break.”  Because don’t we all need a break in life?  We all get frustrated and I did want to validate their feelings but I didn’t want them to get fixated on the concept of giving up.  By saying, “I am taking a break”, they are admitting their problem and accepting that they need to start over or try again later.  I am 100% fine with that. 

                We all have times in our lives when we want to give up, throw in the towel and call it good. But giving up never did anyone good.  Giving up in motherhood can cause serious problems in the present and the future.  But taking a break for an hour or five minutes or a day or even more can be rejuvenating.  For me, taking a break is actually sitting still during quiet time and playing a game with my daughter or writing a piece that has been going through my head or baking orange muffins or reading a book.  For me, taking a break while the kids are awake could be laying on the floor and playing barbies or trains or reading a book or doing a craft or watching a show.  After these breaks, I suddenly feel like I could take on the world again!  I am not as irritable.  I have not given up on my mothering abilities or myself.  So, I say, during the hard times, those days when your heart just isn’t in it, maybe you shouldn’t force yourself to be in it.  Maybe you should just take a break and realize that moms are humans too.  That we are allowed to have a day off or however much time we need off and life will continue on.  And it will continue on in a better way.   Because after a break, our heads are clearer and the focus is there.  And suddenly the messy house or laundry or fighting children don’t matter as much.
My "giving up" culprits, picture right and left


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