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Dear Mom [Week 6]

Hi mom,

Wow, it amazes me at how much your voice has become a healing balm for my soul. I wish I would have recognized that more for dad before he was gone. Thanks for my pep talk on Wednesday night. Oh, how validating it is to just talk with someone over the phone who can see straight through the cellular airwaves. “Alice, you sound so tired. I hope you can get to bed  early tonight.” Even if I didn’t, just hearing that you wished it for me gave me greater strength to endure. Thank you, mom. For Wednesday and all the thousands of other times just like it. How fortunate I am to have you in my corner.

I was out walking Olive last night at 10:30 PM and a truck hauling a trailer full of stuff drove by. I had to sit down on the curb for a bit because my heart and mind felt like dad had just passed by showing me that he is still hard at work and happy. Then, I had a dream last night. It is my first I’ve had of dad since he passed away. I was showing a friend a video of my dad of how healthy he was on the day he died. He reached out from the cell phone screen jumping and hopping, waving and smiling. He was laughing. I never recognized the  full value of his smile until he was gone. While I dreamt, his smile filled my whole soul with light. It illuminated from his eyes and mouth to his face and everything beyond.  I woke up so happy. I felt like dad was telling me not to worry because he is right back to his old healthy happy ways. How much fun we always had with you and dad! Compared to our neighbors’ possessions, we had next to nothing, but we sure did have everything. I felt like we really got the best of both worlds. A third-world country carefree closeness combined with so many first-world conveniences.

I’m sorry these letters are getting harder to decipher.  I am so tired all of the time, and it is hard to write. I can’t even seem to think straight. When you called last Friday from the DI crying, it truly broke my heart. I wish I could take away your pain, mom. I hated (and still hate) that you were (and still are) lonely, but then when you said, “I feel better, just hearing your voice,” it made me so humbled and grateful that even though I can’t take it away, I could provide a little comfort in the moment. I am so glad Adam could come visit. I am partially jealous that he has the kind of freedom to do that, but I am more grateful than anything. I need to make it a priority to come visit very soon, no matter how crazy busy I am. Adam is just as busy, if not more so.

It’s Friday, therefore I should be getting homework done. It’s 1:13 PM, and I have yet to even start. I’ve had a great day. I woke up and listened to President Uchtdorf’s talk from Women’s Conference, and consequently I just wanted more. I then listened to Elder Holland’s talk from the Priesthood Session. In between my new visiting teacher came over. God has been with me today. He answered my prayers. He never answers in the way that I want Him to, but He does answer. I’ve been really preoccupied with LG and Abigail lately. One of my questions going into conference was how I could help both LG and Abigail with their individual struggles. I get so impatient, and I know a majority of the time I just exacerbate stuff. When I asked the question, I hoped God would tell me exactly how I could MAKE them do what I know is best. Ha. God has never answered me one time, in all my almost 43 years, to tell me anything about anyone else. Today, has been true to God’s pattern.

Between Sunny (my visiting teacher), Holland, and Ucthdorf I got three witnesses all telling me that same thing. I need to have more faith, I need to love better and deeper, and I need to be patient and kind. They all sounded just like you, mom. Maybe someday Abigail will actually write me a letter that says, “Hey, mom, thanks for telling me what I didn’t want to hear. I know you love me. And, you were right. My entire life.” Well, there you go, mom. There is everything you ever wanted to hear. You know me well. I know that you love me. And, I hope I can learn to love like you do, more devoutly and patiently. Why does it have to be so hard? I wish I could just make everyone else change to my liking, instead of having to work on making myself more like-able.

As I sat pondering how I could make the changes I needed to make, I saw a video a friend of mine posted on facebook. It was a song by Andrea Bocelli and Katherine McFee called “The Prayer”. As I watched and listened to the beautiful lyrics, I started praying along.

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
As we go our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When stars go out each night
Remind us where you are

Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

We ask that life be kind
And watch us from above
We hope each soul will find
Another soul to love

Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Needs to find a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

Need to find a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

I almost felt like I was praying to both God and dad. I hope that doesn’t come across sacrilegious. When I got to the part where it says, “Let this be our prayer, just like every child, needs to find a place” I got a fourth witness. It was an answer from God, about me, about you, and about dad. It was jetted straight through my skin and brain and arrived straightway to my heart. “Create a place for every child, just like your mom and dad. Be their place. Be their safe place.” That means, I have to do that for everyone. Not just my kids, but my husband, too. It’s a daunting message. How can I ever do that when I am still such a child needing such a place? But, I will try, mom. I will try. How I love you and dad. You both have issues, but you both keep trying. You are children who need a safe place, but despite your own needs being met or not, you always created that place for others. You know how to love. Thank you for showing me what that looks like. I will try to be like you, mom. And like dad. Because ultimately I know I will end up looking like God.
Two more songs followed as I typed to you just now while listening to “The Prayer” again trying to muster my strength to get up from my laptop. I don’t want to. I just want to stay here where it is safe, and I won’t mess anything up with my controlling, impatience, criticism, or aggressiveness. The songs were “Time to say Goodbye” and then “Hero.” I could hear dad’s voice singing. He told me we will go together again in a ship, and that even though he knows he’s my hero, he was just an ordinary dude who kept trying and loving. I could hear him say, “Alice, you can keep trying. You can keep loving.”
It’s not Wednesday night. You aren’t on the phone. It’s Friday morning, and for the second time this week I got a pep-talk from my parents. My dad called all the way from heaven. How about that? I didn’t even have to ask you to talk to him. He just knew I needed him.
I love you, mom. Until next week… here are the lyrics. I hope you get to hear dad telling you about the ship you will sail again, too.

 

Excerpted from “Time to say Goodbye”
When I’m alone
I dream on the horizon
and words fail;
yes, I know there is no light
in a room where the sun is absent,
if you are not with me, with me.
At the windows
show everyone my heart
which you set alight;
enclose within me
the light you
encountered on the street.
Time to say goodbye
To countries I never
Saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
On ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you
On ships across seas
Which, I know,
No, no, exist no longer;
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you,
I with you.

“Hero”

There’s a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don’t have to be afraid
Of what you are
There’s an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

It’s a long road
When you face the world alone
No one reaches out a hand
For you to hold
You can find love
If you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt
Will disappear

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don’t let anyone
Tear them away
Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time
You’ll find the way

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you
That a hero lies in you
That a hero lies in you

A Simply Marvelous Life

caroline-harpWhile going through old class notes for my current paper, I found this story I wrote last spring. I remember how it made the student that presented after me cry. I felt so bad as she approached the podium upset. She explained that my story was especially tender to her because her dad had passed away recently. How was I to know that within months I’d be in the same “dad gone” boat?

I remember telling my dad of our plan to take a gift to the orphan boys and how he loved it. He wholeheartedly sanctioned it to my kids and he shared an inspiring story of his own. He cried. What a tender memory. He believed in the art of compassion. He lived the art. How grateful I am for him and his  example. He inherently knew that the true joy of life was within our relationships with others.

I am grateful to have come across this story today. I’ve been in a school slump, not feeling up to the writing task. Today’s discovery reminded me of the importance of storytelling. Even if I am not the most eloquent storyteller.

A Simply Marvelous Life

“Those poor, poor boys,” Mother said loud enough for the room to hear as she read the newspaper. I asked her, “What boys?” She explained. Twenty years before she used to work with this guy. They were nothing more than acquaintances. “But still, it’s just so tragic.” He was dead now among the remains of his personal jet. It crashed on take-off in Colorado. The crash also killed his wife, and two of his five children.

Mother seemed obsessed over the three children left. It was hard to understand how complete strangers to her sabotaged her heart for months. She talked about them to everyone. Her friends. Her kids. Sometimes she would even talk to random strangers about how grateful she was to be alive. “Shopping with a toddler is hard, but it makes it easier when I think about how blessed I am to be alive.” When the family knelt in the family room every night, mother would sometimes pray out loud for the family. “Bless those boys.”  When I complained about chores or homework or getting my phone taken away, she would remind me to be grateful. “You have both your parents, and all of your siblings. Remember, life is marvelous.” When Christmas neared mother told us that in the quiet of one morning she heard a voice in her mind. It was a woman begging, “They must have a gift from us under the tree.” Asking our forgiveness mother said she hoped we’d understand her stealing from us. She had withdrawn from her Christmas account, upsetting her carefully budgeted plan, to buy something for the orphans. She apologized and explained that we might have a little less this year. “But, I just feel it my duty to provide a gift for them from their dead mother. I can hear her voice as clear as day. I can’t ignore it.”

As Father drove us to the next town over, Mother watched her five elves stretch and giggle among the large sack of gifts in the back. The wrapped gifts would be left anonymously. “Because that is the best kind of giving,” mother said. The boys’ names, the ones their mother gave them, were monogrammed on their blankets. A note was included reminding them of their mother’s love, all the way from heaven. “She had found a way to hug them, through the mind of a stranger.”

Mother had done some serious sleuthing to get the names and address of the boys, but could hardly believe her eyes as they pulled up. When they verified the house number to the information on the paper in mother’s hand, everyone voiced their utter shock. A chorus of “no way” echoed the yelps of surprise as the vehicle reached the top of the mountain. The boys lived in a literal mansion. Mother laughed. “What in the world?” We all told her we should take the gifts back home, but she directed her elves to drop the gifts on the doorstep. “Be quiet. Don’t let anyone see you. Hurry up before someone calls the police.” As we sprinted our way back to the modest minivan that cowered under the massive gate, my little sister spared a glance for a golden harp glowing through the windowed fortress. We jumped in. The tires peeled. My baby sister described the harp’s shine to her amused mother. How badly Caroline wanted a harp. She had even written to Santa for one. She didn’t know what I knew.  Santa had already bought her a harpsichord. It was the last Christmas purchase she had made right after the wrapping for the boys’ blankets.

We never knew it, but in those first few moments driving home, mother deeply questioned the meaning of helping where help didn’t seem to be needed. Those boys had more than she or hers ever would. The answer came quick, at the traffic light on the way home. Flashing behind her eyes, red and green, it spelled one word. C-o-m-p-a-s-s-i-o-n. Mother turned to dad and said, “I guess tonight we got to help meet an emotional need, not a physical one.”  Yes, compassion knows no class structure. Or biases. Only pure love. And that night both mothers had managed, from separate realms, to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas.

The next day mother listened as her baby girl, surrounded by her parents and four siblings, transformed our family’s condo into a two-bedroom castle with music from her harpsichord. As Mother closed her eyes to enjoy the marvelous moment, a familiar angel voice spoke to her mind one last time, “It sounds just like my harp.”

 

The moment we dread. And after.

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My oldest daughter will be a senior in high-school next year. Look at her. Isn’t she just every mother’s joy!? I find myself in the middle of the day just rummaging through her things, trying to learn more about her. (I hope she doesn’t read this or that might kind of freak her out.) When she is zoned in on her phone, I sneak in more peeks just because I can. I think of her, and mentally check to see if I have her memorized. I think about the cans of Spaghetti O’s she forages. I mentally replay her body in motion racing around a track. I trace every line of her hairdos. At homecoming. That choir concert. That morning when she just got out of bed.

Favorite candy=hot tamales. Check. Most proud moment=hmmm. I’m not sure. I better ask her. Favorite color=green. Check. Biggest fear=birds. Bigger fear=being judged as less than. Talents=soccer, design, hair, fashion, math, anaylzing, singing. There are too many. I think about her voice and how it sounds when she sings next to me at church. I smile. I think about her voice when she was 10, 5, 2. Then I have to stop because it hurts too much.It makes me cry, knowing that she will never sound like a two-year-old ever again. She will never give me sloppy kisses again. She will never come crying because she just scraped a knee and she believes my kisses will make it all better. She will never navigate a new high-school or be at the wheel for a first time or learn to walk.

I don’t want her to leave. I don’t ever want her to go because part of me will go with her, and I am not sure how I will manage having part of me wherever she ends up. I know from observing others that I will figure it out. I just don’t want to. Not at all. I want to keep her all for myself. But, there is a world that needs her. A world I’ve prepared her for. A world that she needs. There are things she can’t learn from me. It has to be someone else to teach her physics and quantum life. I don’t know that stuff. There are jobs just for her. There are people waiting to know her and love her. There are people she is meant to love. There are little monkies of her own that she gets to recycle this  life experience with. All I can hope for is that she lets me visit once in awhile. Maybe she will even come home when she can,  and give me a hug. I will like that.

But honestly, every time we part ways, I will feel a little like Jane Goodall. Appreciated. Happy. Proud. And in excrutiating torment to see her go. She will take a part of my heart with her. And the day I die, after giving her one small piece at a time for decades, I will leave the last piece of it with her, so she will have more heart to give to her own monkies.  And I will wait in heaven to hug her on the other side when she comes stumbling through the veil with her own empty heart. And when we hug, in the touch, somehow, our hearts will miraculously ressurect. And the torment will be no longer. All that will remain will be the Pride. And the Joy.

Home is a Feeling.

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Last week I just got done with the final unpacking. While making dinner Alison Krauss was playing over the portable CD player when LG wrapped his arms around my waist from behind and kissed my neck. The air smelled like apples from my Scentsy lamp but then LG’s familiar man-smell permeated my nasal passages. I took a long deep breathe. Two of our girls were happily playing Rummikub at the nearby dining table and the other two were sitting on the couch watching T.V.

I stirred whatever it was that I cooking on the stove and then turned to LG and gave him a hug and kissed him. The kiss became a longer kiss and then a really long kiss. The girls all started to murmur in objection to our public display of affection. “NO PDA allowed.” We laughed and whispered to each other that we would finish this later in private. I went back to cooking. LG stood close by trying to be helpful but mostly just supporting the cook with his presence.

I observed, “It feels like home.” LG questioned, “Which home? The old one down the street or the one we left in Tennessee?” I thought for a minute and said, “Both.” I pondered on how the feeling was the same even though the surroundings were so different and further communicated, “You know LG, I think home is a feeling, not a place.” He agreed.

No wonder why this is one of our favorite songs.

“There is a certain kind of yearning for home we should never want to lose. Home should be an anchor, a port in a storm, a refuge, a happy place in which to dwell, a place where we are loved and where we can love. Home should be where life’s greatest lessons are taught and learned. Home and family can be the center of one’s earthly faith, where love and mutual responsibility are appropriately blended. Thinking of home with its pleasant and happy memories can make us stronger during our present and future days here upon the earth….

When we have a yearning and don’t know what it is for, perhaps it’s our soul longing for its heartland, longing to be no longer alienated from the Lord and the pursuit of something much higher, better, and more fulfilling than anything this earth has to offer.

After Joseph, youngest son of Jacob, had been reunited with his brothers, he asked them to return home to Canaan to bring his father, Jacob, to him in Egypt. As the brothers were preparing to depart, Joseph said to them simply, “See that ye fall not out by the way.” (Gen. 45:24.)

Might our Heavenly Father have given us much the same counsel as we departed his presence to begin our earthly sojourn?

May our yearning for home be the motivation we need to so live that we can return to our heavenly home with God our Father on a forever basis.”

~Marvin J. Ashton, Oct 1992

Check out this inspiring story of some Mormon missionaries in the Philippines who thought they would never again go home, but were miraculously saved.

You Used How Much Laundry Detergent?

 

laundry

I just read this awesome article about how my generation of parents is enabling, stifling, and protecting their kids too much. I have to say I 100% agree. In fact, I have been part of the problem. I am trying to change.

My marriage counselor helped me to see what outcome I should want to have: kids who at 18 can manage their lives for themselves. That means that they need to start doing their own laundry, taking caring of their own time management, being in charge of their own homework, and managing their own relationships. There needs to be clear rules and consequences to the acceptable state of the house for all family members and we all need to be held accountable. I needed to not rescue my children as often as I was rescuing them. I needed to stop taking the stuff up to the school that they forgot. I needed to make them order their own fast food. If I don’t do these things now, they won’t be ready. It was pretty eye-opening when I started to see everything that I do as a parent that has robbed my kids an opportunity to learn to do it for themselves.

I laughed when I recently told a friend about my counselor’s suggestion. She had posted a picture of a humongous pile of socks. I told her that at the suggestion of my counselor, all but one of my children are now doing their own laundry and that I no longer have to deal with the sock pile. It’s awesome. She replied to me, the same exact way I had responded to the counselor. “I’m not ready to manage that right now. I can’t handle it.” My counselor called me out on my control issues (I spared my friend) and said, “No, you can handle it, it will be easier to handle actually. You just aren’t ready to give up control.” Ouch. We immediately went home and started the new and improved way of doing laundry.

It’s a cinch. It takes no management. I won’t say my kids love it, but they are incredibly impressed with their new-found independence and responsibility. The three of them each have one day a week that they know is their laundry day. When they get home from school, without even being reminded, they immediately go and put their stuff in the washer (or dryer if they really had their act together before school). The consequence was clearly lined out. If they don’t do their own laundry on their own laundry day, they will have to haggle with someone else to share their day or they will have to go a whole week without clean underwear. Yes, it sounds a lot like real life. That’s the point. You will be amazed at how well your kids will manage when they don’t want to be without their favorite clothes for a week.

I chuckle as I think about telling the counselor that I couldn’t possibly let the kids do their own laundry. “They will waste so much water and laundry detergent. It’s just more efficient for me to do it all.”  She asked me this, “What is your goal for your children?” I answered, “I guess for them to be happy, functioning and self-sufficient adults.” She answered, “Well then, the cost of a little water and laundry detergent is what you are going to have to deal with – it’s what good parenting requires.”

I hate it that she is always right! And then while I sit here and blog while my daughter is running upstairs with her own laundry that I never have to worry about again, I love it that she’s always right. That session was the best $80 I’ve ever spent.

Yesterday

I struggled yesterday. It was kind of the opposite of the Beatles song where “all my troubles seem so far away”. I was hating life. I just didn’t want to be here at home. I didn’t want to be at the mercy of my family for another day. I could blame it on my anti-depressant still kicking back in or my lack of sleep, but what it really boils down to is that I was lacking the light. I had burned it out with my negativity and selfishness. I didn’t start my day out with the family or with my God in study and prayer, but stayed in bed letting LG take care of getting the girls out the door. Then when Caroline insisted on my attention just a half an hour later my resentment began and just seemed to grow throughout the day.

I put a little ditty out on facebook asking friends for advice on how they are happy at home: I got all kinds of advice, none of which was anything new that I don’t know already.  When my first attempt for help on facebook didn’t work, I called a good friend and begged to know the trick to being happy. Surprisingly she said she had no idea. I was so validated by both my friend on the phone and another honest friend on facebook who told me she struggles too. I realized that I didn’t need advice, but validation and support. The validation I had received from two of my many friends (interesting how so many dished out advice instead of encouragement) was wonderful, but I knew what I really needed was the same from my higher power. I needed to chase out the darkness with light.

iron At about 3 o’clock while watching Abigail nap on the couch, I had this overwhelming want for the same. Even though I knew I wasn’t really tired, I just wanted to escape.

I thought of all the friends’ earlier advice about taking time for myself and knew that although that advice was good, it wasn’t a long-term solution to finding peace and joy being home.

I went to my room and got down on my knees. I prayed to God, “I’m really struggling today God, show me the better way.”

I can’t explain it, but I got up from that prayer with an increased desire to serve my family. I decided I would iron LG’s work shirts. Because I quit my job we don’t have enough money this week for dry cleaning. Ironing is my most detested household chores. LG needed work shirts for training this week and I could be a help to him or ignore it and make him do it himself. I was shocked at how the ironing didn’t seem to be so dreadful. With each of the five shirts I felt an increased sense of happiness and love. I was choosing this for myself and God was there to do his magic. My resentment disintegrated with every puff of steam.

While ironing I pondered on the verse, “Come unto me all ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I wasn’t angry that I couldn’t afford to dry clean, but I was noticeably supported and enabled.

Wow. I didn’t know it could be that easy.

I then decided to serve my kids. I normally would try to avoid Caroline by doing the soccer carpool while leaving her home with her other two sisters. Instead I took her with me and we played at the park while waiting for the after-soccer commute. She was noticeably more delightful. (Caroline can be super high maintenance) She happily played and even let me sit and read for a bit.

I smiled while watching her interact with another boy on the playground saying, “Hey kid, come and get me.” As she adventured around the cement curbing, it took me back to when I was a kid and would do the same. From where I sat, I turned around to see Abigail out at the front in her soccer drills, and I swelled with pride. I marveled, “So this is what they call joy in my posterity.”  Thanks be to God.

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As the evening came to a close I was actually excited to spend an hour on folding the basket-full of socks that have been ignored for about a month. I turned on a movie which touched my heart and vowed to fold socks weekly and take some TV time for myself – it was actually a break. As I walked back to my room for bed I checked in on each of the girls. As I saw them sleeping comfortably I felt a full measure of joy at just the thought that they are all mine. By the time I got to my room, I felt compelled to my knees to thank God for my beautiful blessings. I haven’t felt like that in a long time, and I certainly don’t feel like that enough when it comes to my kids.

Yesterday, God made all the difference in my life. He literally took me from a dark place where I didn’t want to be to the place where “all my troubles seemed so far away”.

Cleanliness is next {vlog}

You like that title? I was thinking of “cleanliness is next to godliness” and decided to take off the last part as learning to be happy while cleaning is the [next] weakness I need to tackle.

Yes, I amuse myself easily. In fact when I just tagged this vlog on youtube and typed in “duties” I pretty much busted a seam.

I am still learning to be articulate and condensed on the vlogs. Right towards the beginning, I tell you I am wearing a house dress, but failed to explain the reason: I normally clean bathrooms in my underwear and decided to throw on a dress before turning on the camera.

You’re welcome.

I am vlogging as a way of sharing. I used to go to a support group and found that a 2 minute weekly share did me a heap of good. I can see myself learning by these vlogs, even though they may bore everyone to death. Plus, someday when I die, my kids may love watching them. Love you kids! If you are cleaning and hating it, think of me. I’ll probably be doing the same on the other side.

Lesson re-learned today: find gratitude, it will make you happier.

As I finish cleaning I will be thinking of all the working moms who still have to clean when they are bone tired and all the moms in third world countries who can’t even get their living space clean no matter how hard they try. I will be grateful for cleaning products (there have been times in my life that I couldn’t even afford those) and grateful for a home that needs cleaning and the dirty people in my family who need cleaning up after. ha ha.

I may not be able to go out and spend the money that I want to because I quit my job to focus on home, but I can clean without worrying about all the other things I am not getting done. If my role is to be a homemaker then I need to embrace cleaning house because it makes home homier.

Here are some great pins I just found on google.

clean house1clean house 2

I am so glad I am not OCD and obsessed over everything all the time like some of my friends who I tell that they need medication in a bad way.

I am also glad that my husband is not a taskmaster and is happy with whatever I do or don’t do at home.

Home Run Hitter

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For whatever reason, this photo (credit unknown) was extremely poignant to me this morning. Maybe it’s because I love playing softball or maybe because I have so many great family memories at the ball-fields? Perhaps it’s because baseball is my favorite sport to watch.

I think it’s mostly because I have a clear understanding of what goes down at home-base. I have an intimate relationship with being in the bottom of 9th inning on third base with 2 outs and a batter up. Whatever happened I needed to get myself home.

Being in the same situation when I was the one up to bat was perhaps the most intensely anxiety ridden experience of my life-time. I remember vividly the day in 8th grade when I became the hero. I was the last batter (not necessarily the most skilled) who happened to be kind of an overweight nobody with not many friends.

Monica Sharpe was the opposing pitcher and nobody, I mean, NOBODY, could pitch as fast at that girl. (Not even professional baseball players) The game was tied. There were 2 outs. We had a player on 3rd and I was up. It was a full count. I was a nervous wreck. Monica (who later in high-school became a great friend of mine and a teammate) had already struck out many of our greatest batters multiple times. There was no way that insignificant outfielder Alice was going to succeed. In fact, the team’s disappointment at who was up to bat was pretty obvious.

But succeed I did. I nailed a line drive down the third base line. I got a slow start (out of shock) to first – I couldn’t believe I had even made contact with the ball. The opposing  third baseman got the ball and our runner headed home. The baseman did what she was trained to do and went for the easy out at first instead of the one at home.

And I BEAT the out by about .001 milliseconds. And our runner won the game. Actually I won the game. The team went crazy! The next 20 minutes of my life are a blur, but this is perhaps one of my most favorite memories. I had never felt so pleased with myself. I had never felt so validated, honored, or victorious.

This photo stood out to me this morning because of it’s metaphorical value to me and my desire to love being at home.

If I can imagine my home life as home-base maybe I can catch the vision of its importance. Maybe I can catch the vision of my importance. So what if I am not the runner? What if I am the scared little girl up to bat? And what if just making contact with the ball is good enough to win the game?

No what ifs. That is exactly what I am faced with every day. So today, my washing machine, dirty dishes, chauffeuring duties, and patience with one extremely trying toddler all have the name Monica Sharpe on them. And my goal is to just make contact with the ball. I can do that.

Thank you to Dieter F Uchtdorf for my other inspiration this morning that I just re-read from this inspiring address about living without regret.

Let us resolve to follow the Savior and work with diligence to become the person we were designed to become. Let us listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As we do so, Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves. He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents.

I never would have listed home-run hitter as a talent, but, yes, once in my lifetime I was a home-run hitter. “Get back. Get back. Get back and back and back.” [I just screamed that as loud as possible for Monica to hear from my dugout called home.] Screaming those team cheers was always one of my talents, and my kids will tell you the screaming is still on my strength list  – and it’s not unimagined.

Here’s to letting go of the screaming and turning on the home-run hitting. Keep you’re eye on the ball, mom.

*added the next day – one hour after publishing this, while on my run, I realized that in all my softball days, I have never hit a homerun, not once*

Silly

Sometimes life just calls for some silliness.
We all get way too serious.
I hope that when I die
my kids will remember
that their mom liked to have a good time.

I love to remember that about my parents.
No one loves a good water fight better
than my mom and dad.
They are known for even breaking them
out in the middle of dinner.

One time they got so
competitive
that my mom ended up
in the emergency room.
She had slipped and fell
and hit her head
on some bricks.
They had a hard
time convincing
the doc
that my dad
wasn’t a wife-beater.

Just a week before
my nephew Braxton
died
a bunch of us
were at my parent’s house.
Mom did her thing
and bought all kinds of
balls, silly string, hula-hoops,
and fun things
for the kids and adults alike.
I am so glad I have those memories

This photo of LG is pretty awesome.

of Braxton giggling and having fun.

Go to your local dollar store
and buy some silly string.
Store it away where the kids
won’t find it.

Pull it out the next time
life gets tense.
You’ll see why silly
is so vital
in all of our lives.
Your problems will melt away.

These photos were taken on Christmas Day.
Uncle Logan and Aunt Jill
were here too
but they don’t like to be photographed.

Notice the covered bigscreen
and non-covered picture frames.
One minute of silly
is worth 5 minutes of clean-up.


Perhaps though my favorite
time of the day
was right before
the silly string fight commenced.
I found Abigail in her room
all dressed up in camoflauge
ready for the war.
It’s moments like these
that I feel validated

in the fact
that I am teaching
my kids a little good.

Mustache you about those beards

While having cream of wheat in the kitchen Thursday morning, 
here was the conversation.
Caroline (in her alarmed voice): “Mom, we have beards again.”
Me: (referring to the photos on the wall) “Who did that?”
Caroline: “Abigail.”
Me (laughing): “Why would she do that?”
Caroline (in all seriousness): “Because she’s a brat!”

I have loved these photos in our dining room.
They have given us a whole lot of entertainment.
One of my favorite times was when I noticed
that the kids had switched the order of the photos
so that they read
Ice-cream is better than your love.
I guess that would be an honest statement
depending on whether or not
you have an available bowl of ice-cream.
Funniest part is that by the time
this busy mom noticed
the kids swear they had been rearranged for
at least a month.
Maybe ice-cream is better than my love.
Sometimes I am too busy serving my family
that I forgot to stop and make sure they know
that I love them dearly.