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

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


5 minute Friday with Kate Matoung


Why is it so hard sometimes to share how I am really feeling?

Someone will ask, “How are things going?”

And I’ll say, “Fine. Everything is good.”

Then, I’ll really think about it and say, “Hey, it’s not fine.  My house is messy. My kids are crazy.  My future is uncertain. We live far from our families.  I need to eat healthier” 

So, is that fine?

Is that ok?

Am I ok with the fact that my “fine” is just a regular day of regular thoughts and regular actions?

Am I fine with knowing that we are stable as a family but maybe not so stable in Iowa? At least for the long term?

Am I fine with knowing that we don’t know if we will have another baby or not? 

Even as I type this, I am thinking, I can’t share this because then everyone will know how I am feeling and they will try to check in on me to make sure things are “fine”.

When really I just write what I feel better than I can think what I feel.

When I think about it, I go around in circles and end up nowhere.

When I write about it, I find an answer or at least a release and I also feel productive because

Hey, I just took 5 minutes out of my day to write.

So, write it out. Share it out.  Or maybe don’t share it out, but at least my writing it, I am sharing with someone who really needs to figure out my feelings…

And that someone is me.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Go Create something today!

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul –Dieter F. Uchtdorf

                I believe we were born with the desire to create.  As young children, we use our imaginations to create fantastical worlds, relive the pioneer days, play army or house.  Many of us dream of the days that we will have a house of our own and a family of our own.  Many dream of our future job or college or just our next meal.  But whatever we create in this life, we will be remembered for.  We were designed to create.  We can create children, such a true miracle.  We can create peace, war, happiness, anger.  All events, good or bad, can be a result of our attempts at creating.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.”  Whatever we create will be unique to us. 

When I was a girl, I loved to create.  I would create a house made of children’s books on the floor.  Each book was assigned a room, handwritten in my girlish handwriting: kichen, dinning room, bedrom, bahtroom.  Each one served a purpose.  I loved creating an imaginary home for my Barbie dolls.  And the home was real to me. 

                When I was a girl, I loved creating art projects.  I would use all the glue and all the glitter.  I never professed to be an artist, but I did try to follow the directions and even color outside the lines.  I loved art, the paper mache, the macaroni noodles, the pencils which created “perspective”.  (I never could achieve that astistic ability.)

                When I was a girl, I loved creating writing journals.  I would write lines from school plays in my journal during church.  (A trait that was passed on to my oldest daughter.)  I would write my feelings, my thoughts and during college, I wrote in a journal every day.  Let me tell you, those journals could create a movie worth millions. 

                Now, that I am a “grown up”, I still love to create.  My pinterest boards are full of DIY projects, recipes both time consuming and five minute fixes, and sewing projects.  I have craft ideas for the kids, holiday crafts, lego crafts, paper crafts.  Anything that can be made with hands.  And when I pin something that I know I will never get to, I imagine that I will fill my days, twenty years from now, learning how to hand crochet, using pallets for projects and staining pieces of wood to look like Pottery Barn knock offs. 

                I spent time doing art projects with my kids.  I should spend more time doing art projects, because when I am finished, I am calmer.  Despite my unfinished work: the dishes, unorganized baby clothes, that laundry load undone,  I feel amazing just by creating a pretty abnormal version of a sunset with Crayola watercolors.  I feel happy helping my kids paint a paper plate frog, or a snowman or their name out of pipe cleaners.  The feeling of accomplishment, no matter how small the task, is not something you can manufacture.  It comes with the ability to create.  A pure happiness of adding more beauty to the world and teaching your kids that they have the ability to create that same beauty.

                However we decide to create, we are creating a footprint.  That needlework, that thank you card, that crocheted scarf, that secret recipe for chocolate chip cookie bars just might be passed down to generations.  Just might inspire someone to say, “I want that as a hobby.”  Might inspire your kids to follow in your ways.  Might inspire others to want to create a more peaceful, beautiful, happy world.  God gave us this ability to create because He wanted us to find happiness in our creations.  And we are His creations, His greatest accomplishments.  And I don’t want to do Him wrong by wasting any abilities He might have given me.
                 Therefore, my goal is to create more.  To stop pinning and start doing.  To feel the satisfaction that comes with completing something, from turning my pile of odds and ends fabric into that crazy quilt (or two or three) that has been waiting to be made.  Making that scarf that I watched instructions for on youtube that looked so easy.  To write more and complete all the ideas I've had swimming around my head, even with my kids up and needing things and loving me. To learn how to write amid the chaos or to write after the chaos goes to bed. To finish the story about the little brown house we lived in that my friend says would be a great children's book, to type up the writings I completed in writing group (my hard drive was ruined), to finish my A to Z about my husband. In doing so, I know I will feel more peace (my goal for the year) and fulfillment in all aspects of my life.  And maybe I'll have a new scarf to wear in a few weeks.
 I was inspired to write this by this talk.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The kids and I agree that God is the most amazing artist.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Send (5 minute friday)

Write with us over at Five Minute Friday at Kate Motaung's blog.  You won't be sad you started.
Send me the words and inspiration because I am feeling quite lacking today.
I sit here in Panera with a hot chocolate and a thought of a pastry and a list of writing ideas I have had over the months. 
But the desire is lacking.
Maybe it’s the lack of time.  Maybe it’s the sameness of ideas.  Maybe it’s the knowledge that I only have until Panera closing time.
Of course I can write at home. Of course I can carve out the time.  Get the kids busy with an activity and write through their fighting or laughing or creating. 
But the thought of knowing that I might never get through the list of ideas.
That the ideas keep coming is overwhelming and a blessing.
How do I do each idea justice?
How do I keep myself geared up to spill the words out until this screen, onto the page without restraint and second thought to what it sounds like, what will come out, what people will think.
Just jump in?  Do five minutes a day.  Which could turn into 10 or 20 or 30 and pretty soon I am on a writing streak.  I did have a writing streak a few months ago.
Then I think of the “to do’s” at home that are nice to accomplish but don’t give me the feeling of satisfaction that creating does.
So, I say, send me the words.  Send me the prose.  Send me the poems.  The ones that make my heart sing.
The ones that create a picture, an emotion, an effect that can change my life or other’s lives.
That my kids can look back and read, that my grandkids can look back and read.
That maybe they will get a glimpse into life as a mom
Or life as  writer
Or life as a wife
Or an Iowan
Or a Las Vegas girl
Or a chocolate lover.
Send me the word that will speak my soul
To their souls.
Went into the kid's room last week in the morning and was greeted by this icy sunset. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Prepare (five minute prompt)

Preparing food is one of my things.  It's one of my stress relievers, take a break, feel good times.  It's not so much the eating of the food, though that is good stuff, but more the creation of the food.  It's something that I mostly won't mess up.  I will measure correctly, mix correctly and add a bit extra of this or that to add some more pizazz.  It is something I love to do alone or with my kids or with my husband. I love cooking with friends. I love cooking for friends, for family, for fun.  It

And this was a time I wasn't feeling it. Not feeling the juices or the writing or the desire to write, even.  And I have been wanting to write on the topic of food and cooking and loving old recipes.  But it wasn't in me.  And now I know I have started and hated what I started.  Or maybe it's just the beginning of a future piece.  Maybe one day I will come back and read this and separate it into individual sections and just go crazy with ideas. Or maybe I won't ever come back and read it, but it did feel good to start something.  So, don't rip up those "bad" pieces or throw them away or delete them.  Leave them, because when you try again, you will be so happy with what you finished and know you started from something.   So, maybe I'll just publish this and let any potential or wanna be writer know that who cares if you write something that doesn't rock.  Or doesn't speak to you.  It is still an attempt and that is what matters. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Why I don't mind taking the trash out...

            Sometimes taking the trash out is a reprieve.  You know those times when you are so squished in your house and your mind and the kids are fighting.  And then you step outside.  And you close the door.  And it stops.  The sounds stop.  Yes, the fighting doesn’t stop.  But the noises stop.  And you are alone.  And you look outside and you own the outside.  The sun setting, the trees swaying, the smell of Iowa.  It might be humid or 100 degrees or zero degrees, but it is yours and it is just what you need.  The walk to the garbage can, just across the grass is beautiful.  The birds are singing and maybe there is a squirrel running here or there.  I really should come out just to savor the outside, not because I am going crazy inside!

            And I look up to the sky.  It stretches forever.  The Iowa sky never quits, even with the tall trees.  The horizon just doesn’t end.  I might even find a few outdoor tasks to do: stacking chairs, thowing away stray cups from the kids, picking up toys.  It doesn’t feel like work because it is quiet and because being outside is my sanctuary.  I was not meant to stay indoors.  Winter is long. I have learned to live with it and enjoy it even, but the love of nature is embedded in me.  It shapes me and calms me.  Calms me enough to return back to the house.  It was just a few minutes, but I return and I am ready to continue on.  The kids have worked through their issues and it is like the fighting never happened.  Nature is healing to me and I hope I always have a few trees and a large sky to keep me company.

Sidenote: I also found “happiness” in doing the laundry.  I know, I couldn’t believe it either!

The view from my back yard the other night

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Theme for 2015

I am not much of a New Year’s resolution person, like so many of you out there, but I am loving the idea of a theme.  For a few months.  I have been thinking of so many things I need to slow down on.  To take a breath and to savor life and to stop, if you will, spazzing out.  I don’t know when I became a “Captain Control Freak”, as Spencer fondly referred to me once.  It’s from the movie Hotel Transylvania and once he said it, I though he was crazy.  Then I thought of the things I always feel the need to be in control of and why.  When Hailey is cooking and I am thinking she is going to mess up and I am hovering.  But why does it matter if she messes up because we learn from mistakes.  When Brooke is in a panic over being late to preschool and I think I have taught her to be rushed, although if she doesn’t get moving, preschool will be over before she gets there!  When William is playing in the water in the sink and I stress about the mess later.  When Spencer is playing video games and I think, “He’s going to have no other interests in life.”  When Blake does the dishes differently than I do or cooks differently.  When did I become this person?

Was it after the third baby?  When I stopped tutoring so much and stayed home with the kids more?  When I wasn’t “drowning in babies” as I sometimes refer to life a few years back.  I used to say, “Who cares?” when there was a mess.  I used to not mind being a little tardy.  I used to not freak so much over the small things.   So, I want to remember and resurrect that person.  I want pieces of her to come back and integrate with the current me!  So, here Is my theme of 2014, “Peace, be still.”  A few months back, I was rocking William one night and being a bit frustrated because he wouldn’t go to sleep already.  After a long day, I needed some respite.  My mind was racing over all the things I needed to do, when I started to pray.  I was having a hard time feeling any peace.  Then the thought, “Peace, be still.” came to me.  And I thought, I need to be still more. I need to slow down the pace and my life.  Even with the family’s needs and my schedule, I need to learn to stop and savor the moments.  To stop feeling like I need to constantly be on the go.  Allow myself to pause during the day to write or read or hug or laugh or have a hot chocolate.  The house will always need cleaning.  The projects will always need doing.  But someday, my kids will be grown and the house will still need cleaning and the projects will still need doing.

Therefore, my focus this year is going to be to calm down.  I am even on the hunt for a printable that says, “Peace, be still.”  Along with my favorite scripture,”Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all the ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  (found on this blog I just found and LOVE!)  This year will have some changes.  Changes that will need some guidance and some clear thinking.  It is hard to be clear thinking, when my head gets full of so many other thoughts of things that just don’t matter. I hope to be more calm, more relaxed and be able to pass it on to the rest of the family. I have said before that the mom has to set the mood of the family.  And sometimes it makes me crazy, but I hope that this will be something I don't mind setting so much. So, join me, if you haven’t made a theme or take mine on, because we could all use some stillness.
Found this printable on this blog, too

I have kept this song in my head whenever I am getting a little crazy.  It has always spoken to me, but especially the lines:
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies

1. Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness.
No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish?
How canst thou lie asleep
When each moment so madly is threat’ning
A grave in the angry deep?
The winds and the waves shall obey thy will:
Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean and earth and skies.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will:
Peace, peace, be still.
2. Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled.
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master.
Oh, hasten and take control!
3. Master, the terror is over.
The elements sweetly rest.
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast.
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more,
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor
And rest on the blissful shore.
Text: Mary Ann Baker, ca. 1831-1921.
Music: H. R. Palmer, 1834-1907
Written By: Mary Ann Baker
Music By: H. R. Palmer


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