My favorite line from the movie "You've got Mail" is "I live a small life. Well, valuable but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it or because I haven't been brave?"
18 months ago, my family of 5 moved to a small town in Iowa, 3,000 people small, from Las Vegas. Our life became even smaller when our 4th baby, William was born just two weeks after we moved. We lived in the trees, had a few neighbors and life was small. The obligations were smaller. We were very content to stay at home and hang out with our new baby and just enjoy this small life. I had a feeling it wouldn't last too long. I didn't like that feeling, but I just knew it wouldn't. Going from the big city of my youth to this small town was one of the most refreshing moves of my life. Small is sometimes looked at as a bad thing. But small was just what I needed at this time. I needed to have the security if knowing my little kids could play outside and be safe. I needed to know that the smaller school we went to was the perfect school for them. I needed the small library that was so kid friendly. I needed to feel secure and small and almost unimportant. I needed this time to reflect and realize the wonderful blessings I had been given. Our small life brought us closer together. We became best friends. We were a small circle of 6 people pushing and making it through a hard move, but still the best move of our lives. Small is a blessing. Small brought me to the realization of my purpose in this world, my purpose as a mother and as a person. Small made me feel at home. I have been brave and moved across the country while largely pregnant, but to come to a place where I could recognize myself was so valuable. And small brought me to that understanding.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
The word last is so final and as I thought about “last”, I thought of my last baby. Baby #5 who will make an appearance in 2-2 ½ years. The thought of having a last baby is terrifying and refreshing. I love babies. I love their smell. I love their drool. I love their smiles and the peace they bring into the family! Also, babies are a lots of work and the more time goes by, I forget how much work new babies are. The diapers, the late nights, the crying, the upset other kids who don’t want to accept the new baby. The sheer exhaustion of it all!! But then I think of the smiles and bubbles and the walking and crawling and cuteness all around. I have had babies for 8 ½ years. It is very odd and surreal to think of no more Bell babies. But at the same time, it is kind of exciting to be in a new phase of life. One where we can go places without stopping for feeding breaks and diaper blowouts or upset tummies or colic. I love babies. I am almost done with babies and I am happy about it, then I feel bad for being happy about it. Long story short, I want to enjoy my last little (sure to be chubby) baby. I want the kids to enjoy the baby. The smell of that head, which I am convinced is the smell of heaven. The tiny fingers. All of it. Last is such a final word. But last can also mean new beginnings and new experiences with older kids. I will always see babies and love them. I will always see babies and want to hold them. My cousin told me someday I would be done with having babies and be ready to be done. I thought she was crazy, but I see there is a time and season for all things and my baby season is eventually going to come to a close. It’s just strange.
Friday, September 27, 2013
True: posted onto Five Minute Friday
The truth is that in high school I weighed 50 lbs more than I do now. After time, I had just gained weight. Working a lot, studying alot and not exercising, plus I like cookies. So sue me. After high school, I started exercising a little at the gym and eating better and wow, the weight fell off in like 3 months. It was crazy. I have always been on the “need to lose weight” side in my book. Even in college, when I was healthy and fit, I still felt like I needed to be thinner. So lame. I wish that I could see myself in an honest light, instead of the insecure teenager. Sometimes I do, when I have the just right outfit or my hair is working or I get a friendly compliment. But I have learned to be happy with me. This overweight stage of my life helped me to gain a personality. I wasn't confident in my looks, so I was funny and happy. My personality has stayed pretty similar to my high school self, I think. Maybe? But I am at a good place now physically and that makes me feel good. But what makes me feel GREAT is knowing that I am someone in spite of what I weigh or what I look like. And that is my favorite lesson to teach my kids. Sure, it’s great to be all prettied up and feel nice on the outside, but the inside is what lasts for a long time, forever in fact. When I die, I hope my people won’t say, “Man, she was hot, but she was really mean.” Or “She had a pretty face.” Or “She really knew how to put an outfit together.” I hope they will say, “She helped people.” “She was a good wife and mother.” “She loves people and life.” So, high school self, you can hit the road because I am not being dragged down by your insecurities anymore. And yes, I will keep the personality, thank you very much.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Late (oops the word was last and I wrote about late) Next time will be about last.=)
I had many thoughts when it came to writing about “late”. I have a fear of being late. Late to sales because the deals will be gone. Late to church because we’ll have to sit in the hall with the crazy four kids! Late to school because I will get in trouble. Just being late in general. But then I thought of when I was pregnant with Hailey and she was 6 days late and I thought “I am going to be pregnant forever!” I really thought that. And yet, here she is 8 ½ years old and those late days don’t even matter. Then I thought about when Spencer asks me “Is it too late?” after I have told him to get dressed a million times in the morning or he doesn’t get video games for the day. And I wonder, why does late matter? Why does on time matter? How come time makes us rush so much and yet, we need time to help us stay on track. Being late isn’t going to change my life so much, but the effect of being late will change the outcome of church, sales, and tardiness in school. I wish I cared less about being late and sometimes I do! But I never want to be “late” when it comes to my kids. I don't ever want to look back on our lives together and think, “Wow, it’s too late for us. It is too late for me. I missed the boat.” I want to think I was here in the moment and didn't wish away my time. Because time is really the only thing we have to measure our lives. I wish there was another way, but there isn’t. ANd each year, each birthday goes by and I know it’s not too late to change. It’s not too late to laugh more, to be more fun, to be more loving and kind. It’s never too late to be somebody better. I was talking to Blake the other night about the day we will meet God to be judged and if I am not careful, it really could be too late. I really could miss the boat on that one, if I don’t stay on top of myself and my choices. That is one “too late” that would affect me for eternity. So, let’s hope I can be on time.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
When it comes to worship, I have good intentions. I go to church every Sunday. I teach 5 year olds about Jesus. We read scriptures as a family every night and pray morning and night and at meals and anytime!! But when I think of worship, I think of an extended period of time when you can commune with God and have a peaceful conversation. With 4 young kids, this happens when I am lucky or when I hide in the basement. However, I now know that worship means you can think of God anytime and for any amount of time. If it’s for a few seconds in the morning or a few minutes at night or even in the car when the kids are screaming and you are in the midst of begging for some patience from the Almighty! Worship can always happen. Worship should always happen and can have such a calming influence. A rest from the daily struggles, a break from the worries of life. Then you realize what is truly important. Not the messy house or the yard or how much money there is or isn’t, but that we are put here on earth to recognize God’s hand in our lives, no matter how great or frustrating the days are. He commands us to worship him and not in a vain way. But because by worshipping Him, we will become closer to him. We will know who He is and who we are because of Him. Because of all of our blessings, our trials, our triumphs are due to Him and His love for us. And His desire for us to grow while on this earth. So, next time I am in the middle of sacrament meeting and I can’t hear a word of the speaker and I am picking up cheerios and crayons, I can recognize that these “inconveniences” are blessings.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Red is the color of that juicy, delicious apple that crunches when you bite into it and the juices drip down your chin and you are unashamed, because it really is that good.
Red is the color of cherries and cherry picking in Utah, then eating too many and feeling sick afterwards and not liking cherries anymore.
Red is the color of the Las Vegas sunset and sunrise after fires and pollution and the mix of all sorts of things. And you look at it and wonder how it doesn't burst into flames?
Red is the color that was your mom’s favorite color and a swimsuit she always wanted to buy and then did buy and it made you proud that she felt awesome in it.
Red is the color of lips. The awesome painted on lips that I tried once and realized that red is not my color, nor could I keep my lips from being smudged after life with 4 children.
Red is the color that Blake loves best on me, but that I don't love best on me.
Red is the color of anger as said by my friend Brookly just earlier today and I thought how ironic because I knew I would be writing about red. Red is pinched, red is mean, red is grumpy and explosive.
Red is the color of love. Deep, burning, endless, frustrating, consuming love that seems to melt your own red heart each time you feel the emotion. Red is heart.
Red is blood. The kind that fell from Spencer’s knee just the other day when he fell while running. The tears were clear and the blood was red. Blood from Jesus Christ who through his blood makes my life possible and makes saving my sometimes “red” soul attainable.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Since I have missed so many of the Five Minute Fridays from Lisa Jo Baker's blog, I am going to take five minutes a day to write my thoughts on a prompt. Today's prompt is "Mercy"
When I first read the topic, I realized how much I do not know about mercy. I have heard plenty of songs about Mercy, “You got me begging you for mercy.” Which made me think of help. I thought about the mercy of Christ, which I can’t even begin to understand. I need it so much and yet, it is hard to understand how much I need it when I don’t really understand the word to begin with! So, I thought I will write down my thoughts on what mercy actually means.
1) Mercy means help. Please on a bad day, help me! Please on a grumpy day, give me a pass! Please on a downright feel bad for myself, nothing can go right, not enough money, time or patience, forget my bad attitude.
2) Mercy means to intercede. I am a religious person. The funny thing is, in high school, I didn’t think of myself as a religious person, but I was! Without even realized I was, I was! It had become so ingrained in my life, that it was part of me and felt very natural. I have asked my Heavenly Father to intercede on my behalf so many times. I am used to His help. I am used to begging and pleading after a rough day for a try over the next day. I am used to mercy. I am used to the thought that Jesus will be my intercesory? for all my shortcomings. I am used to His love in my life.
Mercy is a subject that I need to study more because I usually could write forever on many subjects, but on this one, I have a hard time. Maybe it is hard to put such a grand characteristic into words. Maybe it is something that just can’t be put into words.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
I came across this blog that does "five minute friday". It's a five minute writing prompt where you write freely and post, no editing or changing. Wow, this might do wonders for me. Might need to do this everyday! It's a little tough more to publish something so raw, but isn't that part of life? It is hard to open the heart but easier to do in writing for me. The writing prompt today was: "She"
She walks unknowingly towards the future. Not looking back, but only forward, forge forward because to look back would be to give in to past fears and problems. To walk forward is her goal. She moves to the next day because today is what counts. Today is the day that she can make her best! She can improve. She will improve. And when she doesn’t, she will look forward and try again the next day. She knows her strengths. She knows her weaknesses. She knows she is tired but still willing to head in a good direction. A direction that is right for her. She loves the life she has. She is burnt out. She is lazy. She is independent but so very dependent on those who need her. She constantly says, “Hold on. I am helping someone.” She wonders when is my time? When is my time to live. She knows that today is her time to live. She knows that life is hers. That this life has been created for her, by Him and by her. By her own choosing and free will. And she is grateful for that. She knows she can’t possibly say enough of how much she loves it. She can’t say enough about how much it frustrates her. She is a person. She is a woman! She is a lover of many things: reading, writing, baking, running, painting, singing, bubbles, green grass, sunsets and rises. She is a lover of her children, 4, both great and terrible. She is above all, a lover of her husband. The one she started this journey with. The one she sees at the end of the day with joy. She is.
Monday, September 2, 2013
A Book about the Love of Books
Every once in awhile, the stars align and you discover a book that speaks to your soul. Whether by chance, recommendation or curiosity, you will find the book and you will know the book. The book that seems to read itself to you, without an effort on your part. The books speaks and you are the listener, the discoverer, the absorber of the story. You could read it many times through and still learn something new. You can go without reading the book for a time, revisit it and find that you still know the book, like an old friend, no awkward pauses. You can have a conversation with the book, this old, dear friend, one you can depend on when times are tough, when you are stretched too thin, when you are in a need of something more!
I have few books in my life like this. Those that keep you up till 3 A.M., “Just one more chapter.”, you say to yourself, “Just one more page.”, until you fall asleep. You wake up, blurry eyed and exhausted from the late night, the book half hanging off the side of the bed. Then you remember, “The book!” eager to read more, but life calls to you. Through the day, you are thinking of the book, trying to sneak in a page here or there. The kid’s bedtime can’t come soon enough so you can lose yourself again in this conversation, this reprieve from the sometimes mundane routine of life. You complete the book and feel a void. A feeling of a friend leaving without hardly a goodbye. The book has left you to your own devices and you are a bit lost. “You knew how this was going to end.” the books seems to say. And I do know, but all I need do is open the first page and immerse myself.
I have found such a book, a children’s book nonetheless. While at the library with my kids, in Leclaire, a small country library, built mainly for children to explore, I came across this book. I noticed it on top of the bookshelf, “New!” it said on the sticker in the corner. The illustrations were inviting, of a man with a bewildered expression on his face and flying books. The book was The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce. I knew we must read it, as even the title was poetic.
I read the book aloud to the kids and I found my friend, the one who spoke my words. The ending came too soon and we were reading it more and more. I returned it to the library, only to check it out again and again. We have read it so often that the kids know it is my favorite book. They appreciate this and listen to it eagerly every time. They bring it to me saying, “You love this one!” As I try not to choke up on the ending, I think, “What other book could be my favorite except a book about the love of books?”
The lessons of Lessmore are varied and have changed the more I read it. The first is a scene where a small boy becomes colorful as the book is placed into his hands. A small, sandy haired boy with a wide smile and look of wonder on his face. The potential of what could be as he discovers and pours over the book. The line of people behind him are dressed in gray, so unaware of the color their lives are about to take as they embark on a reading adventure. My life has been colored by many books. Reading The Giving Tree with my mother as a child, then Number the Stars as a fourth grader, one I can’t wait to share with my own children. Further on, The Count of Monte Cristo, Harry Potter, the poetry of William Wordsworth, the imagery master of his time. These books have colored my life, given me ideas to think about, made me dream about them as I slept, made me share with others because you just have to read this! Books can change lives. Books have changed lives! Books will continue to do so as we will pass on the love of reading.
Another section of the book of Lessmore, is his words, flying away from him in a storm. MIxed up, crumpled up, lost. Hours of work gone. No inspiration and a lost feeling replacing these words. How can I start again? What can I do return those words? Storms in my life have made me feel inadequate in writing. Lack of time to write has left me feeling rusty and unpracticed. Too many small ideas, not enough concrete visions have left me feeling like not trying. If it’s not good enough to be published, then why am I doing this? I will tell you why. Because I love it. Because the feeling of writing makes my heart soar. Because the feeling that my hand can’t keep up with my thoughts flowing onto the page is a feeling I will never forget. Because the story of my life is mine, not yours, not a publishing companys’, not a bookstore, it is mine. I will keep it and embrace it and relish in the fact that i have created it, be it good or bad, I have created something that is substantial and worthwhile. A part of me will be carried on to those who chose to read and perhaps my words will inspire or teach something that anyone can write the feelings of their soul.
My favorite line in the book is “Each book was whispering an invitation to adventure.” Because why do we read? To escape? To learn? To experience another time, another lifestyle, another person’s life? The adventure becomes your own once you turn the first page. The book breathes its words and you answer by reading. Many times as a child, I would check out ten books from the library and read them all in a day. I could be transported to the world of The Boxcar Children, or The Babysitters Club, or Ramona and Beezus. No book was left untouched. The adventure continuously called to me and I willingly answered.
The main character, Morris Lessmore, cares for the books. He repairs old books, bringing new life to them. He folds up the dog eared corners of pages, he tapes and glues bindings to keep the pages together. He spends his life of service among his friends, these books who are so readily available to him. However, at the end of the night, when all is quiet and still, he writes his own story. He reviews his own life and puts it to paper. When he has finished his time among the books, he leaves his story behind. A little girl finds it and his story becomes her newest adventure. And with his simple act of writing, he has passed on a book, a legacy that could change the world or a solitary life. And the love of books reaches out to the next generation. The idea that IDEAS are important, new and old, that imagination matters, that thoughts can be shared and revisited and expanded simply by writing them down. Because as Mr. Morris Lessmore says, “Everyone’s story matters.” and they truly do.