Monday, April 28, 2014

Glue (5 minute prompt)

Do you ever get sick of being the glue?  Because I do.  I get tired of being the deciding mood, the encouraging voice, the reminder and the listener.  I get frustrated that if I fall apart, everything else eventually falls apart.  I have an important job of holding together a family.  A wonderful, busy, wild family of one hard working and sweet husband and four kids.  They are my life.  They are MY glue.  They keep me together.  They help me to be a better person, to work harder and to love deeper.  When they are sad, I am sad.  When they are happy, I am happy.  When they are bullied, I want to beat that person down!  When they are praised, I can't help but agree and grin because everything good anyone says about them must be true!  Sure, I might be the glue that has the deciding vote sometimes, but they need me to be the glue.  They need me to keep them together.  To have their lunches ready, to teach them to work, to clean, to learn.  They need the security and comfort that comes with a solid and strong glue that can be ripped apart or removed easily.  They need a glue that can withstand heat and pressure.  They need me to be that glue and I can and will be that glue.  Sure, sometimes I get tired of being "sticky", but they know that I will always stick by them and we will always stick together.

Friend (5 minute prompt)

First, I just have to say I will get back to my A to Z on my adorable husband Blake, but I have been sidetracked with kids, spring cleaning and reading the stinking Divergent books.  Darn young adult literature!  I needed to get my juices flowing again though, so here we go.
I have friends.  Lifelong friends, acquaintances, friends I have loved right off and friends that have grown on me over time.  One of my favorite friend's Laurie was a grow on me type friend.  And that great thing about it is that I can tell her that and we are still friends.  We have a great and honest friendship, which really helps when I need a good smack in the head.  I have a friend, Tara, who I have known since 4th grade, about 25 years ago.  We had sleepovers, dance/sing parties, movie nights and went through all of school together.  We still talk and see each other when we can.  The first friend I remember is Candice Atwood.  I think we were friends around age 4 and I even stole a Barbie from her once and returned it with a guilty conscience.  We would run to each other's houses just down the street.  I am sure if I saw her again, it would be pretty exciting.  I have my college friends, my Iowa friends, my other Iowa friends and my Albanian friends.  Then I have these friends, like Desiree, Tiffany, Mitzi, Tricia and Jonelle who I lived by for 4 years but never really knew until I moved halfway across the United States.  And I have my siblings and parents, who are my longest lasting friends, who know my goofy ways and pretty much all of my secrets and they still like me.  And my in law friends, who I love as my own family.  And my favorite best friend, Blake, who puts up with a lot and loves me no matter what.  And my greatest friend, Jesus, who accepts me with all my flaws and doesn't even get angry about them.  He just loves me as I am.  What better friend can you ask for?
This is my favorite picture of Jesus

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Paint (5 minute prompt)


I just read a quote the other day that said, "If you can't paint, then you write.  If you can't write, then you paint."  I am not a painter. I can hold my own with my kid's Crayola paints and do a pretty fancy flower, but nothing worth writing home about or selling on etsy.  I don't even have a real desire to paint, but when I write, it's the painter in me coming out.  I want to use the perfect words and the perfect phrases to paint a picture.  To paint a scene or event or moment.  And I want that moment to be painted in my memory forever.  That is why I write about it.  I know that if I can retell the experience just so, then I can paint a picture for my reader.  A picture that can hurt or help or heal or inspire or cause laughter.  I have a high school friend, Jessica, who is an amazing painter.  She can watercolor like nobody's business.  She makes it look so simple. She gets up with a vision and puts the vision on paper and sells it even!  She has style and variety and color and beautiful paintings.  I have five of them hanging in my house.  I even have an original that she painted for my husband of Spain.  I love the paintings!  While I might not be a big painter, I hope that I can paint with my words.  That I can describe that sunset with whisps of gold, intertwined with pinks and purples.  Those that cover the sky with a burst of watercolor and stand out against the blue.  And as the sun goes down, the colors deepen and change until there is only a line across the horizon of what had been.

K is for Kiss

K is for Kiss

Lucky reader,  you get to read about Blake and mine's first kiss. 

Our first date was a Saturday night and Blake wanted to kiss me after. I knew he did! But I wouldn't do it because who kisses on the first date. =)  So, the next day after church, Blake came by my apartment and we hung out for awhile.  All of my roommates left for something and it was just Blake and I.  He looked at me and it just happened, so naturally and sweet.  It was an innocent kiss and so sweet.  Believe it or not, a week later, he asked me what I thought about getting married!  And I didn't think he was crazy.  The best part of this story was one of my friends walked by the window and saw us kiss and was super confused because I had been dating someone else a few days before.  When it's right, it's right!

J is for Jokester (A to Z theme Blake)

J is for Jokester

Blake is a child at heart.  He does hilarious dances, makes up hilarious stories and funny games.  He lightens the tension anytime!  He knows how to turn work into fun.  He knows how to make people feel at ease because of his jokes (at appropriate times).  Just the other day, he ran full speed up and down the aisles at the grocery store.  Then he drove crazy on a country road (same day).  He wears goofy Walmart shirts on his days off, ones that say "shut up fool" with picture of Mr. T on it.  Ones with Link, the hero from Zelda.  One that says "Keeping the Streets Safe" with superheroes on it.  He does have normal shirts too, but he is ok with being fun.  He is ok with being silly.  And thank goodness for that, because I can get a little uptight sometimes.  Blake knows how to go with the flow and not be bent on schedules.  He used to eat cream of wheat as a teenager and would face barf the cream of wheat.  He is just silly and it's totally awesome.
This is a fun area near where we lived in Iowa.  Great shot!

I is for Intelligent (A to Z theme Blake)

I is for Intelligent

I knew Blake was pretty intelligent when I first met him because he wanted to be a pediatrician.  He had the drive and desire and loves the hard work that comes with that profession.  He loves kids and I knew that anyone who loves kids had to be smart.  After the military, he was working at a doctor's office and he knew he didn't want to do the doctor route anymore because of all the paperwork.  I totally got that and was actually pretty relieved because I was terrified of the years of schooling.  Then he had to make a new choice and that let to the rest of our life.  He had always loved working with computers and had learned a lot at the doctor's office fixing problems from time to time.  Once he decided on IT, we knew it was the right thing.  It takes an intelligent guy to be brave and make a change when things aren't going right.  It takes an intelligent guy to answer his calling when it comes to computers and take a leap in a different direction.  I am glad I have that intelligent guy.
Meeting Dad for lunch on his lunch hour (about 3 years ago)

H is for Handsome (A to Z challenge Blake)

H is for Handsome

I remember the first time I met Blake in the library at BYU-Idaho, the college we went to.  He asked me to help him find Cat in the Hat in Latin, for a class he was taking.  I was immediately taken with him and I think my soul recognized his soul.  But before I realized that, I just knew how handsome he was.  He looked like Christian Slater and since I couldn't remember his name, I called him "Christian Slater look alike" to my friends and roommates.  And they totally agreed when they met him.  He had green eyes and dark brown hair.  And an almost shy smile, but enough confidence to know that he knew himself.  I won't ever forget that fateful day.  As we climbed the stairs to the 3rd floor, my heart thumped in my chest because I had met the most wonderful and sweet and cute guy I had ever met.
This was probably about five years ago. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Generous

G is for Generous

  Blake has one of the most generous souls I have ever known.  He gives and gives and rarely takes.  He is a great listener, as well and I am sure that has something to do with his generosity of spirit.  He had a blanket he brought home from two years of church service in Spain. He loved the blanket and slept with it all the time.  He gave it to his brother, Jordan, just because he liked it.  He visited a family who joined our church every week just to check in on them.  He helped bring them supplies when their water went out. Invited them to dinner and loved them like they were family.  He would do computer work for people for free and not complain once.  He didn't charge them because they were elderly or a single mom. If they insisted repeatedly on paying, he would charge them a nominal fee.  He lets me sleep in on some Saturdays. Is there anything more generous than that?  He gives surprise Christmas gifts to people.  He encourages us all to be generous with our time, money and talents.  He has a heart of gold and that is one of my favorite things about him.

F is for Fire

F is for Fire

No, not love/romantic fire. I know you are disappointed!  Fire, like burning fires.  Like

Jumping over a fire at boy's camp.  Like

Telling a story just the other night about "pyromania" and laughing maniacally.  Like

Setting a toilet tissue tube on fire in our first apartment and setting off the fire alarm.  Like

Being the first to light up the fireworks on 4th of July.  Like

Doing a happy dance anytime there is anything to do with fire.  Like

Building the hottest stinking fires while camping that we can't even sit close to them.  Like

Singeing the hair off of his arms and legs by jumping over the boy's camp fire.  Like

Being my hot, maniac husband who reminds me to loosen up a bit. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Effort

E is for Effort

Blake is great at doing the tedious jobs in the house.  The jobs I hardly ever get to and truthfully don't enjoy.  For example, he cleaned the rafters in our bedroom.  Who does that?!  Well, he was tired of the dust we couldn't see and he cleaned them.  And let me tell you, there was plenty of dust up there.  He scrubs the little sections of things I don't even think of. He cleans the car to such an immaculate condition that I actually stay on top of it.  He cleans the gutters on the house and ENJOYS it!  He scrubs the tub and the grout and never says a word about it.  He cleans the little spots on the carpet. He washes the table with the good soap until it shines.  He shines the sink and makes it smell glorious.  Now all of this might seem like I am a real slacker in the house cleaning department.  I am not that bad!  But how lucky am I to have a husband who jumps in on the little things?  The things that just don't get done very often because of kids and life and just being tired at the end of the day?  I used to tell him I felt bad because he was helping and it made me feel like I wasn't doing enough.  He would just say, "I know you need help so I am helping."  And there was never a more blessed woman anywhere in the world!

I also had an awesome picture to go with this but I can't figure out how to get it to come over from my phone. I never said I was a computer nerd.=)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Writer (5 minute prompt)


Don't ask me what kind of writer I want to be.  I don't know.  I don't have any ideas for books, for great American novels or children's stories.  I don't have an outline, a plan or a goal.  In fact, I really just like writing.  In the end of my life, I might just have a bunch of disconnected prompts and ideas written down and that will be ok.  Because the stuff I have written down matters to me and maybe it will matter to my children too.  Maybe they will take these little snippets and read them to their kids and they will laugh and cry over the memories.  Maybe they will get to know me better because of them.  Maybe they will get to know themselves better because of them.  But whatever happens with these writings of mine, I am grateful for the chance to write. I am grateful to get these thoughts on paper and to have some clarity.  I am grateful for the few pieces I have had published and the feedback I have gotten back from friends and strangers.  Because it makes me happy to be able to touch people through my writing.  So, in the end, writing is my therapy and my release and that is my goal, I guess.  And my outline and my plan.

My supportive writing friend, Jonelle, said this should be on the dust jacket of my book.  Good times. 

D is for Dad (A to Z theme)

D is for Dad

When Blake and I were dating, he told me he wanted to have ten kids. Ten! I told him he was marrying the wrong person for that.  ha.  He is a great dad.  Seriously, an involved and fun dad. Here's why:

  1. He reads the kid's stories with the best voices ever.  The voices make the stories take an extra long time.  My favorite times are the kids giggling hysterically over his voices.
  2. He also makes up stories about plaid dragons, Las Vegas (where we used to live), motorcycles, Army cars and more. I think I need him to be the imagination and I can write them into books.
  3. He will take the kids on early morning runs to McDonald's and the pet store and anywhere else they can think of.  This should also be under the category of H is for Husband because he is a great husband in taking them every once in awhile on a Saturday morning.
  4. He teaches the kids how to work.  He gets them out in the yard and is patient and fun with them. He teaches them to clean the car in the magnificent Bell way.  He lets them do any job they want to do, even if they don't do it that well.  He is good at making work fun.
  5. He has introduced them to some "awesome" video game music that even William, at two years old, dances to and recognizes and loves.  The dance parties are legendary.
  6. He is a great snuggler.  He helps them to relax and is happy just being with them. 
  7. He always jumps up to help the crying babies.  He is so in love with babies and is so good with them.  He rocks them, snuggles them, walks them and loves them.  He has such a soft heart.
  8. He goes along with plans even when he totally doesn't want to.  Like the time he got home from work and it was finally 50 degrees and we were going on a walk and he came on the walk with us, even though it was muddy, in his work clothes and without having dinner first.
  9. He sings sweet songs with the kids before bedtime and they love it.  He always takes the extra time to make them feel special.
  10. He is willing to have other kids come over for babysitting swaps and is nice to them too.
  11. He teaches the kids about Jesus and the scriptures and what is right and wrong.
  12. He loves them and me and we don't doubt that.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Car Crash

C is for Car Crash

Blake was known as "Crash Bell" among his church friends.  He has been in 11 car accidents and lived to tell the tale.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1)  Driving over to former "girlfriend's" house in the hand me down Oldsmobile from Uncle Dave.  Drove up a huge dirt hill and drove as fast as he could (he thinks 65 mph) over some train tracks.  Imagine Dukes of Hazard,  Completely broke the car, though he was able to drive it until all the transmission fluid leaked out. 

2) Working at an RV facility, he was driving an RV to another location across town.  He dropped off the RV and the workers asked him why it didn't have a cargo rack.  He said there wasn't a rack on it and returned to work.  When he got back to work, the guys following him asked him if he noticed where he had left the cargo rack. Apparently, he had gone underneath a traffic light and the RV was too tall.  The cargo rack was pulled off and was left hanging on the traffic light.

2) Driving home from same former "girlfriend's" house and had been up for too many hours overachieving, as he tends to do and fell asleep at the wheel.  He took out three telephone poles and passed out in the car.  Then he woke up and climbed out of the van over hanging telephone wires and by the grace of God, he wasn't electrocuted.  He then fell asleep on the grass.  All he could remember was his mom being very annoyed because he had a hole in his underwear.

4)  He was driving to pick me up from work after we had only been married for a few months.  He was hit by a lady turning left and completely destroyed our only car.  Although it was a piece of crap car, it was our only car.  So, I sat at work annoyed because I thought he had fallen asleep on the couch and forgotten to pick me up.  When really, he was stuck on the side of the road (which I found out as I drove by the accident scene with my ride home).  Of course, my friend gave us a ride home.

5) Fast forward to Las Vegas, land of defensive and defenseless drivers.  Woman stops suddenly on the exit and he rear ends her.  The woman's car was fine.  The car Blake was driving (my sister Sarah's, sorry Sarah!) needed some love. 

Happily, Blake hasn't been in a car accident for five years, unless you count the lady he "bumped" into a few weeks ago as he was driving the Ice streets of Iowa.  She didn't even flinch.  He saw her driving the other day and she also looked in la la land.  Thankfully, Blake was spared through all these accidents.  He is pretty indestructible.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Brother

B is for Brother

Blake is the oldest of five brothers (there is a sister older than him, as well).  When I first met "The Bell Boys", as we like to call them, I was pleasantly surprised.  They weren't as stinky and obnoxious as I had expected and they were pretty nice! As I have gotten to know them better, it has been so fun to watch Blake in the older brother role. He gets along with all of them.  He tries hard to relate to what they are doing in their lives. He has been called for late night chats about job changes, video game discussions, computer problems and hilarious youtube videos.  He is a supportive brother.  He always says the best about them all, even if they might not deserve it.  He is the instigator of LAN parties or "nerd parties", as I like to call them.  There are many late nights when complete with movies, video games, Oreos, chips and Dr. Pepper.  They get matching Walmart t-shirts whenever they get together and take pictures in them.  They fall asleep to movies and snore in harmony. 
Blake is loyal and always helpful.  There is no doubt that he is a leader and a good leader, because he doesn't point out that he is a leader.  In fact, he will probably be pretty embarrassed that I am writing this.  He was the first one to get a drivers license, a job, go on the church service mission, college, babies, career.  He is a good person to follow.  I love all The Bell Boys because they all get along so nicely.  There is nothing greater than seeing a bunch of brothers busting up over stories or reminiscing old times.  The stories are usually the same, but that's the point.  The camaraderie has been created and will stand no matter the distance.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for Army (A to Z writing theme: Blake)

A is for Army

                Imagine my surprise when Blake came home one day to our little one room apartment to tell me he had met an Army recruiter on campus during lunch.  They had talked about the military and all the benefits that would come from it.  Most importantly, they would pay for medical school.  I thought he was crazy, but I saw he was serious.  We had only been married for nine months and were in the newlywed joy and complete bliss phase of life.  This was a hard pill to swallow.  We immediately prayed about the decision and I felt that the answer was yes. I didn’t want it to be yes, but indeed it was. 

                A month later, I saw Blake off for nine weeks to basic training in Missouri.  His job would be medic.  Of course it would, because he is a kind, caring and generous person.  This was two years after 9/11 and he wanted to do his part.  We corresponded through good old fashioned mail.  I wrote him a letter every day.  I would receive his once a week. It was the highlight of my week.  He said my letters got him through and he saved every one. His first one read, “The drill sergeant yelled at us and made us put our heads in our duffel bags.”  I was pretty upset by that.  After six weeks, he was able to call home. I remember waiting for hours by the phone one Sunday and I even skipped church so I wouldn’t miss the call.  When the phone rang and I heard his voice, I felt immediate relief.  He has the most comforting voice. I could tell he was proud of everything he had done. 

                Three weeks later, I flew out to Missouri to attend his boot camp graduation.  I saw him and it was like a slow motion montage in a movie.  The happiest feeling I had felt in nine weeks.  He was thin as thin could be: a head on a stick would be a great description.  We spent the weekend together before he headed off to Texas for the next four months of training.  We were able to talk some nights, but it was still pretty lonely without him.  He worked non-stop studying to do his best.  He isn’t a partyer and would stay in every weekend polishing boots for extra money and watching movies.  He stayed away from all the nightlife and was always faithful to me.  Which, in the military is a great feat. 

                Two weeks from graduation, he got a brown recluse spider bite.  He was admitted to the hospital then contracted a staph infection from the hospital.  A month in the hospital under the strongest antibiotics available and Law and Order reruns, he managed to make it through.  He always remained optimistic.  The day came when he graduated from his training—three months later than we had planned on.  His parents and I drove down to Texas from Idaho, a non-stop 24 hour drive.  But the minute, I was able to bring him back home with me was one of the sweetest moments of my life.  He had been through the trenches.  He had overcome all odds and come out stronger.  And this is the perfect introduction to my husband, Blake.  He is a kind, giving and selfless person and I am so blessed he is mine.


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