Friday, February 28, 2014

Choose (5 minute prompt)



Choose: to pay a utility bill or pay tithing while very poor in college.  We chose tithing and received a surprise check in the mail that covered the utilities.

Choose: to have a baby when I was scared to death or continue on avoiding it.  We chose to have a baby and ended up with the sweetest red haired girl that has taught me more in 9 years than I have learned most of my life. 

Choose: to continue having babies after the red head was thoroughly insanely two years old.  We chose to have three more sweethearts that have completely filled my life and soul.

Choose: to move to Rexburg to go to college without knowing a single person.  I chose to go to Rexburg and my whole life has been patterned after that choice.  Everything good I have was because I went to college in a small wintery town in Idaho.

Choose: to marry Blake after only knowing him five months.  I chose to marry him and it wasn’t even a hard choice. It was one of those choices that comes so easily and naturally that it feels like it was never a choice, but the natural course of life.

Choose: to move back to Las Vegas after swearing I never would.  We chose to go back to Las Vegas and Blake was able to find his career path from this move.  We were able to push through hard things. We were able to work diligently to get what we needed.

Choose: to move to Iowa while quite pregnant.  We chose to make the move and has been the best choice of our marriage.  We have become stronger, happier and kinder.  Our kids are each other’s best friends. 

These choices have grown me in ways I never thought possible.  And each small choice has led me on the path I am.  Whether easy or hard, these choices have made me and I am so grateful for the opportunity to make choices.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Brave (5 minute prompt)

Brave 2/27/14

Brave is my sweet 7 year old Hailey going to a new school in March.  I walked her into the school with the other kids.  We met her teacher and class and then I left her.  The teacher was friendly and kind.  The kids were sweet and welcoming.  They knew her name.  They knew she was coming and everything was set up.  But I couldn’t believe how brave she was.  To enter a school at the end of the school year without knowing a soul and sitting in that chair and taking on the world.  And coming out alive.  And doing it again the next day and the next day.  When the kids had already made their friends and they all live in a small town, Hailey made her way into the circle and became one of them.  I almost cried leaving her at the school because I was afraid. I was afraid she would be afraid.  What if people were mean to her?  What if nobody played with her at recess?  What if she was lonely and sad? What if it was awful and she didn’t tell me.  And I wouldn’t be able to help her?  But she was fine.  She made it and she did it with gusto.  And she didn’t even realize how brave she was or how brave I think she is.  She just thinks it is a normal thing and that is the bravest girl I know.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Comfort (5 minute prompt)

Comfort 2/26/14

The ability to comfort has always been one I wanted.  I have wanted to hug at the right time, say the right words, smile, cry and laugh in the right places.  This is harder than it seems.  Sometimes you want to just yell at the person.  Say, "If you hadn't done this or this, then you wouldn't be in this situation."  Or to the kid, "I told you that was hot."  Or "I told you to do your homework." Or "I told you that friend was a brat."  But I don't.  Instead I say nothing or I hug or offer a prayer or hopefully some words of comfort that will actually work or mean something.  The gift of comfort is a true blessing.  I know people who have it. They are usually 50 years or older.  They have had the years of experience and the time to practice. I know that as a mother, I have learned to get better at it.  To just hug when they fall off the chair you told them not to stand on.  Instead of getting mad, hugging them.  When you feel like strangling them, look into their sweet tear filled eyes and say, "I love you" and help them, even when you don't feel like they deserve it.  Comfort them because comfort is what lasts.  Because they will remember "that one time" when mom helped me when I didn't deserve it or when she didn't feel like it or when I felt like I didn't need it or want it.  Because sometimes all you need is a big hug or a "way to go" and you can move forward.  Because comfort is hard to come by but easy to give.  Because if we all comforted each other, what  a happier world this would be. Because if we encouraged and uplifted and helped then we wouldn't need to downplay or insult.  Because comfort is something that lasts.

Fly (5 minute post)

Fly 2/26/14

There was a fly.  A horrid fly who wouldn't die.  It flew around the house.  Flew through the dining room, curious to what dinner was and trying to figure out how to get a taste.  Flew around my bedroom and specifically annoyed me when I was trying to take a nap.  Even as I covered my head with a blanket, it would drop and buzz right by my ear.  The most annoying pest.  It's only redeeming quality was that it reminded me of summer.  We had been blanketed in snow and cold for two months and the fly reminded me that there was a time that we were outside.  There was a time that we played in the water and the sun and the flowers and leaves were plentiful.  There was a time when we had to put up fly paper to catch all the flies since the kids kept leaving the door open.  This fly had had a friend in the house.  Two flies soaring and swooping and annoying.  Their common goal: to irritate.  One day, Blake squished that fly with the fly swatter.  I only counted one fly and asked what happened to the other and Blake happily said he had killed it.  He mentioned going after the other and oddly enough, I felt sad because the buzz reminded me of hope of summer!  One day, I noticed that the fly was gone.  Nowhere to be found and the buzz was missing.  I felt a sadness because the hope was gone.  And the fly was gone and I wondered when we would see spring.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Reflect (5 minute prompt)

Reflect 2/22/14

It was a morning, a cold winter’s morning, when I went to pull William from his bed.  My sleepy and yummy smelling 20 month old.  The newness still there, yet starting to be turned into an older kid.  His baby face becoming a big boy face and his downy baby hair turning into the hair of an older child.  His sleepy face smiles at me and his baby words come out.  He is excited to be alive.  Each day new.  Each day an adventure.  The wonderment of what is to come.  Trains, cars and balls are the highlight of his life.  The simple pleasures that God has blessed him with as his beginning years.  Such a blessing to not understand the troubles of the world or the stress of the future.  An ignorant bliss, yet, he doesn’t even know of his ignorance.  I lay him on his big brother’s bed to tickle his belly and love him and he hugs me and wraps his chubby arms around me as much as he can.  His little hands not even reaching halfway. I nuzzle his ear and then look into his sweet eyes, those blue eyes that won’t quit.  Large and full of wonder.  And I see myself in his eyes.  A reflection, a distorted and contorted reflection.  And I know that he sees me.  He sees me how I am, but he doesn’t see my inadequacies or all my faults.  He doesn’t see them and he doesn’t want to see them.  And I imagine my reflection in his eyes.  All my actions will be reflected in him.  He will do the things I do.  Speak as I speak. Act as I act. He will be a reflection of me, a distorted reflection, but still a reflection nonetheless.  My work is to make the reflection the best it can be.

Fight (5 minute prompt)

Fight 2/22/14

“Don’t fight me!” I say it constantly throughout the day to my children.  Don’t fight me to get dressed, brush your teeth, brush your hair, eat your food, do your chores, do your homework.  Don’t fight me because you won’t win.  Because this isn’t a competition, but because I am trying to form you into a good and useful human being.  One who is clean, helpful, healthy, kind and loving.  I am stubborn and have become more stubborn since having children.  I can wait out a long awaited poop on the potty. I can wait out a never ending tantrum. I can wait out a time out, a freak out, a screaming fit. I can wait it out because I have been trained.  My children have trained me in the art of patience.  They have trained me to keep my emotions in check (mostly) and to think neutrally.  They have trained me to think before I speak, to think before I act, to think before I possibly hurt their feelings.  I have often told people, Children come in to this world selfish.  They aren’t doing it on purpose but in the beginning, babies are needy.  They need you!  And their needs are quite basic.  They need food, diapers changes, sleep and love.  Their schedules are dependent on their needs.  Our job is to transition the selfish child into a kind and good child, a child who is service oriented and thoughtful of others.  And in the process of molding my children, they have molded me.  They have molded my selfish ways into something more.  They turned my need for freedom and selfish desires into better things.  “Don’t fight me!” I tell them, but their fighting has changed me and I will be forever grateful for their fighting.

See (5 minute prompt)

See 2/22/14

Sometimes I wish I could see the future.  I want to be sure of things. I want to know what is going to happen.  Take the surprise out of it and lessen my anxiety.  For example: Will I live to see my grandchildren?  Great grandchildren?  Will my kids live long and happy lives? Will they continue to love God and have a desire to do good?  Will I get to Ireland? When will we be able to buy a house again?  When will the student loans be paid off?  Will our fifth kid be our last?  Will I need another?  Could I manage six kids?  Will my kids go to the West coast for college and will I want them to?  Will we stay in Iowa forever?!  Will I ever be able to stop biting my nails?  Will I ever fit into my wedding dress?  Will I open my bakery? Will I be a librarian?  Will I write a book? Will it be snippets or a novel?  Will we go to Spain?  Will I go to the Lake District in England?  Will my kids be bullied and hope they won’t be the bully to others?  What does the future hold?  I wonder these things often.  I sometimes have to pray that I won’t be overwhelmed with anxious feelings of “What ifs” and be afraid of what could happen.  Because seeing the future won’t change the future.  What is going to happen, will happen.  Seeing it now won’t change it.  Knowing my future won’t make it any better or worse and it certainly won’t make my present any better.  Because then I would be counting down to events.  Living in the future, instead of living in the present.  No matter how easy or hard the present might currently be. I must live in it and appreciate the beauty and difficulty and messiness.  Because the present is today and I can never get it back.

Published on Power of Moms

I don't write to toot my own horn. I do it to clear my head and if I can help anyone along the way, then my goal is met.  Even if that person is "just" myself.  I am not good in speaking but when I write my words come out in the way that I WISH I could speak them.  I love writing in my head.  I usually get an idea or a prompt and think about it, writing it in my head.  Then I can sit down and try to get it out. 
That being said, I wrote my dandelion piece and posted it here, then I submitted it to Power of Moms, a great website on deliberate mothering.  Then I forgot about it.  I was pretty surprised when they came back saying they liked it and wanted to publish it.  I had submitted 4 or 5 pieces to them and they had all been turned down. I was excited that I could possibly share some of my life story.  So, here is the link if you are interested in checking it out.  The whole site is a wonderful resource for mothers in all stages.  It is great for families in general and a great boost when you just aren't feeling it!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Small (5 minute post)

Small 2/21/14


Changing a diaper, a small thing, but it teaches you to keep clean.

Reading a book, a small thing, but it teaches you to love books, words and to grow an imagination.

A tickle fight, a small thing, but it teaches you to laugh and that our home is a safe place for fun.

Setting the table, a small thing, but it teaches you to help our family.

Giving a hug, a small thing, but it teaches you that physical touch is a necessity for growth.

Saying “I love you”, a small thing, but it teaches you to use words that mean something.  That saying these words can be the difference between a good day and a bad one.

Chasing outside, a small thing, but it teaches you that exercise and fun are important.

Learning ABC’s, a small thing, but it teaches you that an education will help you go places.

Saying “No” sometimes, a small thing, but it teaches you that you don’t need everything and that “No” can also mean, “I love you.”

Saying “Yes” sometimes, a small thing, but it teaches you that you should say yes more than you say no.

Taking a shower, a small thing, but it teaches you to take care of yourself.

Laughing, a small thing, but it teaches you to not take life so seriously.

Picking up your toys, a small thing, but it teaches you that our family works together to keep a clean house.

Going to church, a small thing, but it teaches you that God is our maker and that He provided our life here.

Praying, a small thing, but it teaches you humility and to have a relationship of faith.

All these small things, and many more, teach you how to be a parent, a most blessed calling.

Visit (5 minute prompt)

Visit 2/21/14

Our visit begins with a cup of tea for him and a cup of cocoa for me.  I am sure he would prefer tea, although I don’t know how to make tea or what kind he will like.  But since he is English, tea must be his drink of choice.  We walk throughout the Lake District in England, gathering inspiration as we glide through marsh and grass.  Sucking in the green, lush landscape and I completely understand why he loves this land and how he found his inspiration here.  I ask him how he could go on after his parents had died within five years of each other.  How did he begin his artistry?  How did he clear his mind to allow his thoughts to come through?  Was he down at times?  Which poem did he love best and why did he write mostly poetry and prose?  Why not short stories or novels?  Where his ideas scattered?  Did he want to expound more on them?  I would tell him why “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is one of my favorite poems ever.  I would tell him of the perfect clarity that picture brings to my mind.  I would ask how he could write poetry, when I can’t seem to get two words to rhyme without it sounding ridiculous.  I would ask him every writing question, I have ever had and then be quiet and listen.  I would try to soak in his experience and knowledge and take it home with me, to embark on my newest project.  William Wordsworth would be my teacher and one of the greatest visits of my life.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My first publshed work in a real life book!!

I was checking my email one day and was shocked and speechless to receive any email from Spiritual Wrtiers Network, which told me my submission had been accepted for publishing in their book.  I had entered a contest that my friend Jonelle told me about and I entered on a whim.  I really didn't think too much about it afterwards, so this was so amazing. 
The best part about it was that it was one of my first pieces I had written when I reentered the writing world, or at least attempted to do some writing after years of not making time for it.  The piece seemed to write itself and came from a writing prompt from my newfound writing group.  The prompt was "Write from the point of view of an object".  It just came to me.  I remember folding laundry and writing it in my head.  Then the urgency to write it on paper became to much that I had to write it right away.  I scribbled it down, barely able to read my own writing, but knowing that even if I couldn't read my writing, it wouldn't matter because I had it written in my heart. 

My friend, Jonelle, said she thought this piece portrayed my journey through mothering, which I didn't see until she had said it.  I just really liked my table.;)  My friend, Sarah, said she could see it as a children's book, which I had never thought of, but the more I thought of it, the more I loved that idea.  I could see my table illustrated with my sweet family around it.  It could empower families to have family dinners and show the power of a table, a simply object made complex by the events that occur around it.  I submitted it to some publishers and I never heard back.  It didn't really bother me though because I thought, if it is meant to be the right person will find it.  If not, it is a great memento for my kids and for me.  And that is what writing has become for me: a memento of times gone by.  A reminder of feelings I once had and how my feelings have changed.  My memories of life with my little ones and the thought processes I have had along my journey.  Already when I read some past writings, I am surprised by them. I have forgotten much of what I have written, but when I go back and read these pieces, I am almost brought to tears.  Tears of happiness because I have cemented a memory or a thought, freezing it in time.  And I am so grateful for that.
I had even asked some friends and family which piece they had enjoyed of mine and got a lot of response on this piece and a few others, but this was the right one to enter.  I was truly amazed that my writing had affected anybody.  You have dreams that your writing will at least affect yourself, if not change yourself or get some thoughts out into the world or out of your mind, making it less crowded.  But when other people learn something or realize something from your writing, it is a true blessing.  I might never write any great American novel or host a writing workshop or any other things that great writers do, but I can certainly put my pen to paper and attempt to relay the thoughts of my mind and heart. 
That being said, here is the link for the book if you are dying to buy it;)  (No, I don't make any money on it and I don't mind that at all)  Or you can just read it below.
To the people out there who enjoy my writing and who encourage me, I say thank you.  I honestly feel at peace with myself when I am writing, so thank you for your input.
What am I really? Just a laminated board with four metal legs. Hanging out in a dusty box stuffed between other dusty boxes awaiting my future. Kmart is hardly the exciting home, but this is where I am for now. I wait. I hear someone, “How much is that one? 99 dollars! It looks fine, dark top, black legs, oh, mission style!” The next thing I know I am being jostled, shoved, pushed, pulled into a car. More squished than I ever was in the store!
I am pulled into an apartment, put together, angrily at times. “The instructions said it would only take an hour. It’s been three! Where are those screws? This picture makes no sense!” At last, I am whole for the first time in my life. I live in a small apartment, I can see everything! I am right by the window, nearly the only window in the place, but I am home!
Meals follow: macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, top ramen. She is proud of her cooking skills. Not high quality, but oh, those two are happy. And they make me happy. I listen to them tell stories of their day, crying, laughing, living life. I enjoy this space. I am a surface to finish homework on, to read books on, to watch a tiny tv on. It is a bit cold by the door. Sometimes snow gets on me when the door is opened. Sometimes, the wind chills me to the core, but the inside is mostly warm and cozy.
And I enjoy the homes that come, six actually, each one brings new views. Some without windows, some with, some old and some new, some with laminate floors, some with carpet. Friends come over and eat with them. Crafts, first attempts at bread making. The people grow and the people change, but my purpose remains the same.
One afternoon, I am sitting by the front door in the apartment called “cave apartment”. I hear a crying, then a new object is placed on me. A baby carrier. She reaches in, picks up the baby, snuggles her close, whispering, “shh, shh”. I watch the baby grow. She is sweet, red haired and chubby. People come over, “She is the most beautiful baby we have ever seen.” The baby first sits by me in a chair, then sits in a chair attached to me. She bangs, she makes dents in my new surface. She spills milk, she smooshes goo into me. In the coming years, she scribbles on me, paints on me, squishes play do into me. I enjoy it. I am not as shiny and new as I once was, but I am loved. I am needed!
A new place. Older carpet, older kitchen, no window, only a furnace to watch. Another baby carrier. This time a boy. A dark haired boy who cries nonstop, but he grows. He grows until he is sitting in the attached chair and the girls sits in my chair. The girl refuses to eat anything except macaroni and apples and juice. Crying, tantrums, hitting, time out. The boy, on the other hand, eats non-stop. He loves every meal. He loves food period! He makes a mess. They fight, they laugh, they talk. The meals have changed, no more Hamburger Helper. Macaroni only happens at lunch. They have changed to pasta meals, spaghetti sauce, hamburgers, stir fry. Better caliber. I don’t mind the spills as much. Now I have 2 scribblers, painters, play-doers. I have scuff marks, nail polish, paint. Some that come out after scrubbing, some that don’t come out at all. Most of the time, I am grimy. Hard to keep up with 20 sticky fingers.
Third baby, third baby carrier. A new home, my first real home! I have a wonderful view, a window on either side, wood floors beneath me. A chandelier overhead. I even have a picture to look at. It has gotten louder now. It seems the only quiet time is at night. The loudness is part of life now though and I am ok with it. The new dark haired baby loves food even more than the boy did! And boy, is she messy. Messier than either of the other two combined! She goops food in her hair, rubs it into my chairs, on my legs, underneath. I am a mess, a happy mess. The food is homemade: bread, chicken meals, brownies, rice dishes. A long way from ramen and Hamburger Helper.
Sometimes the two order late night Chinese or pizza for a date night at home. The only peace they get during the day. Quietly, not to wake the children. We don’t want to share this tonight! Late night brownies and late night treats. I hear secrets. I hear news. I hear worries and fears and life is full.
The children talk more, “What’s your favorite part of the day?” is the new game. The answers, “pet store”, “coloring”, “school”, “cuddling with you”, “eating this delicious dinner”. The kids say prayers now and they are sweet and funny at times. The older girl eats now! She tries new things. She still loves bread but will try new things without too much persuasion. The boy loves hot dogs, pickles, ketchup. He is a joker. The little girl sits in my chair, independent since she was young and would never sit in the booster. She won’t eat much now except crackers and cheese and mostly she throws those on the floor. Her favorite activity is jumping and climbing on me, laughing the whole time. The older two are happy still, tired and happy and busy. Life is good. I hear news of another baby. “A baby brother!” the little boy hopes.
One day, I hear him say, “We need a new table. We’ve outgrown this one.” She says, “We could still make it work.” But not really. I only have four chairs and someone is sitting in a computer chair, which usually leads to fights over who gets to sit there. “Ok”, she sighs, “I will look on craigslist, but I want to keep this table. We’ve had it for 10 years. I can make something out of it.” He shakes his head with a smile. He hasn’t liked me for awhile. Calls me an eyesore. And maybe I am. The mission style is done. The rustic weathered wood look is in and well, laminate doesn’t weather well.
After six months, I am abruptly moved out back. I have never lived outside but I don’t mind it too much. The fresh air and green grass is good for me. But for days I sit outside, rain or shine, neglected and ignored. Nobody to talk to, nobody to listen to. I can look inside the window and see the new table sitting in my place. Dark wood, knots throughout, six padded chairs. Happy faces.
But one day, the sun shines, the paints come out. They pour it in on me. They wipe it in their hair. They call themselves, “dragons”. The mother is not happy but then she laughs and takes pictures and I am in them. They eat on me when the weather is nice. They talk about how great it is to have a table outside. They do homework on me, this time for elementary school and preschool. They do crafts and have snacks. She paints my black legs white. She has a goal to paint my wood sky blue but the heat and the growing baby keep her inside. “Soon”, she says, “before the baby comes.”
. I think of my former life squished in a box with other tables. Dusty and looked over. Who knows how long I stayed there? And who knows where those other tables went to? But I know where I am and I am grateful. I have had a journey like no other and now my purpose is to relax on the back porch. To watch kids playing, water fights, thunder storms. My life is still this growing family. Seven houses, endless messes, endless conversations and still more to come.


Hero (5 minute post)

As a precursor, I have many heroes: Jesus, my husband, my parents, siblings, friends, famous people, etc, but this was the first one that came to my mind.  I was writing like crazy but this is all I could get in in five minutes and this doesn't even cover everything.  I hope you enjoy.

Hero 2/20/14 (5 minute prompt)

I have a hero, but she is not your typical hero.  She hasn’t been in any magazines.  She isn’t on tv.  She isn’t a famous, well-known, life saver—except to me.  She is…..

A hardworking mother.  She has 3 boys.  Three deliciously sweet and wild and cumbersome and thoughtful, loving boys.  She is their mother.  She has taught them hard work, love, laughter, fun, frozen yogurt, running, playing,singing,dancing, about God, about life, consequences and rewards.  They are her greatest work and her greatest trial.  She has made them and she has molded them.  They are the best because of their mother.

She is a wife.  A diligent and good hearted and patient wife.  One who shows love, puts up with shenanigans and is indeed grateful for her hardworking husband.  She makes lunches, she buys Pepsi’s, goes on dates, washes clothes and watches Cops (even if she might not want to.)  She is a persevering example of loving a person know matter how they look on the outside or what they might say or do.  She is a wife.

She is my sister.  One who made mistakes and owned them and still does own them.  One who taught by example, forgiveness, and a never give up attitude.  One who pushes through adversity and smacks it down, knowing that she is better because of it.  A sister of service and kindness and understanding.  A listening ear and a no nonsense advice giver.  A sister of my life.



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