Sunday, May 17, 2015

The smell of home

I wrote this on a Sunday morning at a clean kitchen table while Hailey and Brooke screamed upstairs and Spencer drew pictures of flags next to me and wouldn't stop asking questions.

We are in the process of moving.  We have taken all the pictures down, packed the pillows and most of the blankets.  We are getting to the tail end of what we can actually pack before the move.  I walked in the door the other day and was struck by the missing smell in our house and it made me stop in my tracks.  The actual “smell” of our house.  You know the one.  Times when you walk into a house and you can smell candles or bread or potpourri or bleach or heaven forbid, pee. (I think we’ve all been there.) Or when I walk into my sister, Michelle’s house and it smells like a combination of candles and cupcakes and little boys. (In a good way!)  And my friend, Jonelle’s house that smells like essential oils and sage and I bought some soap the other day that smelled just like that house and made  me a little homesick for that Las Vegas chapperel.  And my friend Cora’s house that just smells clean.

  And you just take that smell to heart and associate that smell with those people.  Well, the smell of our house wasn’t our smell anymore. It smelled like someone else’s house. It smelled like a house that wasn’t lived in.  A house that is fifty years old.  A house without life.  It was a little sad for me.  Yes, we are excited to move and to fill our house with our smells, but it was strange to have a scentless house.  I can’t wait to fill our new house with my flower garden scentsy, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and a clean wood floor on a good day.  And don’t forget the cozy vanilla candle my 14 year old nephew, Ethan, got me for Christmas. He chose it himself! I’m sure we’ll have the occasional poopy smell, if there is an accident or the dirty dish smell or the “What is that smell?” smell and it turns out to be rotten potatoes. 

But the smell of home sticks with me as much as a song full of memories or the touch of my family.  The smell can bring back so much.  The smell of my mother’s perfume when she was going on a date.  The smell of my Grandma’s house and her lipstick on a Sunday.  The smell of the muggy, mossy Mississippi filled with mosquitos but still a home to me.  The smell of skunks in Idaho and when we first smell a skunk on the ride out West and we know we are in Idaho.  The smell of Blake’s cologne, the same kind he wore in college, gets me every time.  Takes me back to the sweet beginning of our life together.

 I don’t know what smells my kids will remember from my house.  I don’t know if they will associate home with smell, but if they do, I would hope it would be a smell of fresh baked bread and chocolate brownies and candles.  And possibly the occasional sick house.  However, even with the undesirable smells of home, they make up a life lived.  They bring back and seal memories to our memory.  And when I am 85 years old one day and smell that fresh baby smell and I am taken back to my babies and their little onesies and their fresh baby blankets, I might shed a tear or two but I’ll know that I was blessed to smell those babies and love them.  And the smells of my life will collect into a muddled, beautiful, crazy, exhausting, perfect conglomeration. 

This is a sweet smell to me because it is from Hailey. She spent her $10 on it for Mother's Day because I saw it in this boutique the other day and didn't want to spend $5 on one candle.  It is lavender mint and it will always be special to me.

Follow (5 minute prompt)

I wrote this on a Sunday morning at a clean table.  Hallelujah!

Follow along with Kate Motaung and other writers in a five minute prompt.  You will be surprised and what comes out in five minutes


The concept of follow in mothering is one that inspires and terrifies me.  Follow me, an imperfect, sometimes grumpy person who is trying, still trying through every day.  Trying to be better, to teach, to learn, to help these four wild and exuberant children to follow Jesus.  It’s a mind boggling thought.  That anybody can choose to have children.  That most people can say, “I want a baby.” And they have a baby.  And that Heavenly Father, a loving, merciful, just God would allow His special spirits to come to Earth, through us and allow us to raise them. In hopes, in endless faith that we will raise them right and righteously and happily.  That we will make their 18 years in our homes a good, a pleasant, a hard working, a peaceful experience.  That we will do our best every day and start again every morning, no matter how tired, burnt out, frustrated we are.  That we will try again.  So, I hope that I have left an example that is one worthy of following.  One that will guide my children when they are raising their children and their children are raising their children and so on.  And they will have desire to follow what I set forth. And what I set forth is hopefully a good thing. 

My family in Nauvoo, Illinois.  A great pioneer town

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Sun/Son is eveywhere

I wrote this on a whim while William looked out the window and ate saltine crackers.


The Sun/Son is everywhere!!

I was chatting with William and he asked, “Where is the sun”?  I said, “The sun is everywhere”! Then, it made me think about The Son is everywhere! Truly, in this world of difficulty and confusion, you can see The Son everywhere: in a smile, an act of service, a door held open.  A huge gesture of a fundraiser for a two year old who passed away unexpectedly or a small gesture of dropping off a delicious scratch cupcake at someone’s door, just because.  You can see it in the missionaries all over the world, spreading the gospel, in spite of rudeness or disinterest.  They push on.  They carry the Son to the world!  You can see The Son in a sunset, a sunrise, a bird tweeting to its neighbor and the neighbor tweeting back.  The perfect sound of happiness, as they chat in a language nobody knows.  You can see The Son in a perfect baby born without a defect or maybe, more especially, a baby born with extra needs and the family and community who cares for them.  You can see the son in a beautiful 82 year old woman, who doesn’t recognize how wonderful she is and that is just what makes her so wonderful.  You can see The Son in a school teacher who goes the extra mile, a teacher who pushes the kids and they see, in the end, why they were pushed.  And they are grateful.  You can see The Son in a sunny day and a cloudy day.  On a cloudy day, you truly miss the sun and when it starts to poke its head out, the happiness you feel at seeing it again is tenfold.  The Son came and The Son will come again.  For now, we can spread His message of peace and look for signs of The Son: in a single blade of grass, in a “hello”, in an Easter lily.  In a child’s innocent question, giggle or “tickle me, mama”.  Look for The Son and you will always find The Son.
Found here

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Real (5 minute post)

Real (I guess I had a lot to say! This took 10 minutes)

Wrote this when the kids were in bed, except Hailey practicing her cross stitching.  Blake was fixing our friend’s computer.


Real is life.  For example:

I am sitting in an oversized shirt of Blake’s that says “Growing old is mandatory. Growing old is optional.”  Because it is super comfortable and the first shirt I grabbed. No, I don’t have a bra on, thanks for asking.  It is 9:15 pm and it has been a great and long and fun and exhausting day. 

 Real is a white table we painted white as a family, but is now getting all scuffed and messed up because I didn’t put a sealant on it.  And I guess I don’t feel too bad about it because we might just have a great time painting it again.  The scuffed table is semi covered with paint from a paint project the kids did earlier because they had watched tv for 3 (4?) hours this morning.  Because they wake up extremely early and because I slept till 8:30. Because it’s spring break for crying out loud!  And they already watched enough tv this morning, so was trying to keep them busy.  Which is much easier said than done. 

Real is finding a half eaten apple in the car that doesn’t look like an apple anymore. Ew, is right.  Real is spilled milk, spilled water, poo and bodily functions, smooshed make up from my five year old.  Real is fighting kids, hitting kids, screaming kids.  Real is busy.  Real is tired!

But real is my life and my perfect life.  My friend, Hanna, 19 years old, told me that she sees a lot of moms walking around looking like, “This is my life?”  And I had to smile a little because honestly, I have thought that before.  I used to write papers! I used to have intellectual conversations! I used to take a shower every day and stretch marks weren’t even in my vocabulary!  But I did tell her, yes, we all have those moments, but they are just moments.  They are not every day.  Every day is filled with “Play with me, maw maw”, from William.  “Want to play chess?”, from Spencer. “Let’s make cupcakes.”, From Brooke.  “Will you teach me to cross stitch.”, from Hailey.  These are the moments of perfection that make me forget late nights without sleep, no showers at times, no privacy in the bathroom and my Netflix filled with children’s shows on my profile.  Because I would trade it all for these four little humans who have made my life what it is. Every once in awhile, I will think back on the good old college days and think about what it used to be.  But I don’t want to go back to that. Yes, I love writing and reading and William Wordsworth, the great British poet.  But the happy thing is I can have all those things, as well as my family. I get the best of both worlds.  And this world is one I would never trade. Not for a million hours of sleep or a stretch mark free stomach.
Most recent photo of what I wouldn't trade anything for!

Published Piece on Power of Moms

Every once in awhile, I get something published and it is a great feeling.  Not because it makes me feel important or better than anyone, but because it validates this little dream I have.  This dream to impart a few words of wisdom and maybe be able to help a few people here or there.  I am so thankful for all the great people who have championed me and supported and encouraged me.  It really is so great.  Thank you community of friends!

Gather (5, actually 9 minute prompt)

Gather 3/19/15  (oops, I went for 9 minutes)

Wrote this while my kids were playing “John Deere engineers” outside.  Then finished while half playing a game of checkers with my son, which I lost.  Crazy kids!  They have a sensor for when I try to write. 

One day, my friends Julianne and Jo were over at my house.  Julianne mentioned that she loved how welcoming my house is.  It’s a “come as you are” house.  Most of the time, it has toys on the floor, maybe a sink of dishes (our dishwasher is broken) or a few sticky spots on the floor.  It’s definitely not perfect!  But I most likely will have crayons available or a hot cocoa or a piece of homemade bread.  Because that is part of my vision of what “home” should be.  But I was thrilled to hear her say it was welcoming. It made me think about what I think of as welcoming.  Is it a perfectly decorated house? Don’t get me wrong! I love pinterest houses and love the ladies who can make their houses into pinterest houses!  But I just didn’t get that much of the creative gene.  Or time, I guess.  I love a house that smells like cookies and bread and warm chocolate.  Or a scentsy. I also love this beach house we have visited before, thanks to my childhood friend’s parents. It’s sunny and bright and clean and if we track a little sand inside, it’s still acceptable.  I love a cabin with a fireplace, that smells like woods and cold turned warm with a cocoa and a warm cookie.  I love my parent’s house with the blue carpet and the projects that my dad is always working on, whether it’s the yard or his garden and my mom’s closet stuffed full of books.  I love my sister’s house that has such a fun eclectic collection, that ranges from lighthouses to antiques to boy toys and scooters. I love my brother’s house that acquired a table after years of living there and a bassett hound who weighs more than my first born child.  I love my sister’s house, an apartment, because it’s the reminder of where most of us start.   I love my in law’s house with the never ending yard and swing set dug six feet down to defeat the Idaho wind.   I love the house of my sister in law, Kellie, and the smell of babies (twin boys) and the organization I wish I could have!  I love the house of my sister in law, Monica, who has a great sense of decorating and is just clean.  She doesn’t believe it, but she’ll see when she visits my house in May!  Overall, I love the sense of gathering that a house brings.  It is comfort, homey, warm, no matter what the style is or what the smells are.  That our houses are a reflection of our personalities and that each place has an invisible welcome sign on it for friends or family or people who just need help. 
Googled picture of old country house and found this one that I would love!!!

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


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