My husband and I sometimes get lost in hypotheticals.
Last night, it was “If my face got blown off, would you still love me?”

What? Isn’t that normal pillow talk?

He posed the question first, and I told him that I would… of course I would. I told him that though I loved his face (especially his clean-shaved face), it wasn’t what I solely loved. I waxed rhapsodic about his many lovable characteristics, but he insisted that I wouldn’t be able to stand him.
“I’d be all blind, and what if my mouth was fused together?”
I thought about it for a minute and realized something amazing… I could get inexplicably fat! Make-up? Optional! I could wear WHATEVER I FELT LIKE… which I do anyway, but I do feel a twinge of guilt when I don my supah hot brown polyester pants I love so much fully knowing that my husband not only HATES them, but can only regard me as a girly scout master when I sport them. I could wear them every Wednesday.
“Darling, I’m so glad you’ve finally come around to these polyester pants. Do I look fabulous today? Thank you. You’re a dear for believing so. I love you too, ever so.  Remember what we talked about… how shaking your fist only tells me how much you really love me.”

I’m sure the novelty would wear off in a few or ten years.

I then posed the question to him.
“Would you love me if my face got blown off?”
His reply, “Yeah.”
“Would you love me from a distance? or right next to me in bed?” I HAD to know.
“Right next to you, of course. Just so long as…” He hesitated.
“What?” I pressed.
“Just so long as you didn’t scare me.”
“SCARE you?!”
“What? Have you ever SEEN someone who has had their face blown off? It’s SCARY!”

Then again: what would be the point of having your face blown off if you couldn’t give your spouse a healthy scare now and then.

I can’t be sure, but I think we’re hypothetically in real love.

Family Times

I just love families. Aside from being blessed to be born into a really great one, I was doubly blessed to marry into one. Splitting time between the two hasn’t always been easy -we’d like to be with BOTH at once -but it’s never been extraordinarily hard. Each side of the family is understanding.
Thanksgiving week, we spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with my husband’s family. On Tuesday, my brother and sister-in-law took group family pictures for us. SO… for an hour or so on Tuesday, we DID get to be with both families at once. The pictures turned out amazing, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
First, I have to tell you how much I love just being in my in law’s home when most all of the kids are around. My husband is a stud. He’s the man of the house -the leader of the pack. He makes decisions with confidence and he sticks by them. He provides, he protects, and he eats like a man should.
And then I take him home to his mama, and he’s a BOY all over again. I get to see him turn into more of a goof ball… it’s almost as if when he’s around his parents (and away from work) it lifts a little of his heavy responsibilities. Whatever the reason, I absolutely love it.
Tuesday morning, as we were all getting dressed for pictures, I got a little taste of what it might have been like to grow up side-by-side with my husband. I watched his brother yell for a towel from the bathroom, his sister ask Mom if one brother could cut the other’s hair (“NO!”) and I got to watch them laugh together.
It was the best. It made me think of my family and the day my brothers DID cut each other’s hair… the many mornings when there were no towels (or toilet paper). There’s something wonderful about a full house, isn’t there?
My mother-in-law was the Chief of the photo shoot. She asked us all to wear certain things, and even bought most of it herself. And, like everything else she touches, it came out beautifully.

Please excuse my son’s hand over his nose. My father-in-law met a granddaughter for the first time, and Brittany got a picture of it:

We got pictures of the little girls:
And pictures of the big girls:
Pictures of the little boys:
Pictures of the big boys:

And pictures of little, big, and biggest boys:
There are pictures of Moms:
And pictures of Dads:

And pictures of what started it all:

There were little families:
And a very little bit bigger families:

And even growing families:

There were grandpas and grandmas:

And available uncles:

There were pictures taken of little ones by little ones:

And there was even angry birds:
It’s amazing what can come from just two young people falling hopelessly in love:

In this case, it’s an arm full of grand kids.

Five BEAUTIFUL children and one, big happy family:
Thanks go out again to Mike and Brittany for their ALWAYS amazing work.


Like so many others, I get about a bazillion ideas from Pinterest.  My holiday pin board is my favorite right now, and I’ve been utilizing it like maaaaaaad.  But when it comes to trying out creative pins, mine hardly turn out like the pictures.  Take this turkey for example:

Pinned Image
image from eatingwithfoodallergies.com

And here’s mine. I had to talk myself into believing it was, in fact, a turkey. As I hovered over it, I called my husband over.
“Come look at this for a sec, will ya?” I asked. He came over, he stood next to me, hovered… and I waited for him to say, “Ah HA! It’s a TURKEY! Aren’t you just the cleverest wife in the whole wide holiday world?”
But he didn’t say anything.
So I said, “Its supposed to be a turkey.”
“OH! I see it!” Then he took out his camera phone and took a picture like every good husband should do.

The downside to the veggie turkey was that no one ate any of it because they didn’t want to mess it up. So it all came home with me.

I can’t figure out why mine looks so loud and their turkey looks so simple… Maybe I try to hard? In any case, it’s hardly enough to stop me from trying more pinteresting things. Take this, for example:

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image from houseography.blogspot.com

A gingerbread house party!! I took one look at that and DIED. I wanted to do it so badly! They had the plans all laid out and it seemed to work like clock work. Surely I could pull it off!

My entire life, my mother has always, ALWAYS had a REAL gingerbread house at Christmas time. The day after Thanksgiving, while other women were out shopping and while my Dad was out rounding up cattle, she would work methodically in her kitchen. She would mix and bake and glue and decorate… and it was magic. It was ALL magic. Her gingerbread house windows were made of crushed Jolly Ranchers and looked like stained glass… My Dad had long ago made my mom a special board with a light in the center of it. Mom built her house over it, and when night fell she would turn the light on in her gingerbread house. The candy windows would glow, and if you leaned in close enough, you could inhale the cinnamon and clove scent that wafted from the gingerbread walls. Just like a Nativity Scene and a Christmas Tree, our gingerbread house was a Christmas constant. Oh, how I love it.
When I married my husband, we went back home for Thanksgiving one year. After my Dad and husband left on the round-up, my mother set to making her gingerbread house. My heart should have liked to DIE for longing, and she let me make a small pattern gingerbread house. Her Love Shack pattern, she called it, on account of the heart-shaped windows. I was thrilled. I learned a lot about gingerbread house making that year with my mom right by my side, guiding and coaxing me. Luckily that year was the year I started blogging, and I have an account of that day.

      Here’s an excerpt from my Thanksgiving blog post of 2005 -the first time I had ever made a gingerbread house:


      Mom and I built separate gingerbread houses the second day of the round-up. She’s the goddess of gingerbread, and she taught me her tricks. I built a small hut, and she built her traditional gingerbread house. My house looked pretty pathetic. If I had a nickel for everytime mom said, “It’s okay. Frosting will fix it,” I’d have enough money to buy my husband a digital camera! After my mom had flattered me with, “Oooh! How pretty!” and, “Aw! Cute!”, I began to think that my hut resembled the Taj Mahal -just a little. The fact that the roof was crooked and the chimney was only on 1/3 of it(that meant that 2/3 of it was hanging off) suddenly didn’t matter. I floated on cloud 9 as I decorated my misshapen heart windows and broken candy cane sides. Just when I had convinced myself that my hut looked pretty amazing, my little brother decided to take a peak at it. As only a nine-year old can, he told me the truth. He gazed at it for a minute, gave me a sympathic smile, wrapped his arms around me and said, “That’s okay. It’s your first one.” He was right. It looks pretty sad, but like mom said, the frosting fixed most of it, and the broken candy canes and crooked roof are all pretty much endearing. Everytime I look at my hut, I remember Thankgiving at home.

Okay, now. Since then, I’ve made a house every year (I think). I don’t make them the day after Thanksgiving like my mom does. I hope someday I will, but for now I just make them whenever the opportunity arises. I’ve gotten better over the years.
Here’s the one I made in 2008 for The Boy’s first Christmas:

This year, I decided to try out my mom’s pattern. The FULL-sized gingerbread house AND I decided to invite some friends over so we could have a gingerbread house decorating party. In my mind it played out so perfectly. There was Christmas music, and cheery warmth in the kitchen to combat the chill in the outside air. There were sweets and frosting and laughter galore!
We certainly had laughter galore, so that’s something.

While making the gingerbread this year, I forgot one simple fact: substitute dark Karo syrup for some (or all of) the molasses so the gingerbread is more sturdy. As it was, our gingerbread was NOT sturdy. I invited out friends over at 3 and then texted them, begging them to come over later because I was running behind on baking.
They came and I STILL wasn’t ready. I was rushing around the kitchen, baking and apologizing, cutting and apologizing.
I finally was able to glue their house, but I broke it in the process. I glued it back together and then broke MY house. I baked more pieces to fix my house (on account of GLUING it back together not working) and then I broke the new pieces.
It. Was. Catastrophic.
But like I said… laughter galore!
My husband grabbed the camera and started snapping pictures.

Gingerbread was everywhere. We named this house Scarface:

And then we trashed it:
I tried starting over, but I broke everything again. I joked that everything I was touching was turning to crap.
I guess that’s MY magical power.

My counters were a mess, complete with the pizza coupon we didn’t use to order pizza that night. Have I ever told you how horrible I am at couponing?
And here’s my reminder… molasses? Bad.

There is a happy ending to this story. Thank the gingerbread heavens for that. I regret not getting any pictures of actual PEOPLE from our gingerbread fun, but here’s our friends’ houses. They had a little one for their boy and a Love Shack for themselves.
Here’s the little guy’s house:

And here’s their house. Jamie made the house cute while her husband worked on the yard. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? We’re all very traditional around here.

Jake even made a swing set which I’m still thoroughly impressed over:

Every gingerbread boy and girl should have a candy cane, Twizzler, and sugar wafer swing set in their back yard:

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful:

And heeeeeere’s our house!

My house smells like a gingerbread house, but there’s none to be seen. I feel like one of those women who saute onions in butter to give the effect of having slaved over the stove all day… the scent is all for show.
But we did have a great time, and we did have some great pizza that I insisted on feeding them on account of our having held them hostage for so long in our home, forcing broken gingerbread houses and candy at them.
They’re such good sports. Jamie, if you were here right now I’d ASK permission to take a picture from your facebook. But you’re not, so I’m just going to snag one. It’s nothing personal, I just think I need a picture to go along with your houses.
Also, you all won the gorgeous lottery and then made babies. People need to see this.

Hello, models. Thank you for having babies.

Okay now. Memorize their faces.
Close your eyes.
Picture them holding a gingerbread house.
Ta-da! Suddenly it doesn’t matter that we forgot to take pictures with people in them.

Thanks for the fun, Jake and Jamie!!! I’ll never forget our very first Gingerbread House Party. Things always go so well in my mind, and then reality hits: I’m glad it hit with you guys!

I should be going back to the drawing board to start a’fresh. But I’m going back to the holiday pinterest board instead. There’s gotta be something else for me to butcher… there’s gotta be! In a few weeks I should be posting pictures of our gingerbread house.
Don’t hold your breath, though.


Do I have a lot to post about?  Yes.  I do.  We spent 3 days with family out of town, we ate a Thanksgiving dinner that included 2 kinds of turkey, one honey baked ham, and one dish of rabbit (no lie).  I experienced Black Friday Shopping for the first time.  Our Christmas decorations are begging to be put up, but only the Nativities are.  I spent an undisclosed amount of money on candy for gingerbread house making… my husband came with me to shop for gingerbread house candy for the first time this year and he was appalled that candy cost so much.  He tried to cheapen my house, something I wouldn’t allow in the least.  We’ll go without FOOD before letting the gingerbread house suffer the effect of the recession.  It doesn’t deserve to hurt -it’s so pure.

But what I’m going to tell you today is that my husband took some time yesterday to play outside with the children.  I was trying to get the house clean because it was the day after Thanksgiving.

We had gotten home from visiting family at 10 pm on Wednesday night.  We unpacked the car and then poured into bed.  I fell asleep without even so much as removing a contact.  We woke up Thursday morning, and I opened my computer to check out Amazon’s lightening deals.  After buying season 4 of The Big Bang Theory for $12 (or was it $10?) and a few other things so I could get free shipping… I told my husband I needed to get into the kitchen and start cooking.

“I could really use your help,” I said.  He looked around the living room at the unzipped-crap-flowing-out-of suitcases and the piles of laundry that had been laundered and left unfolded before leaving on our trip, and he proclaimed that HE WOULD CLEAN while I cooked so we wouldn’t have to clean the house the next day.  I thought about telling him the truth about cleaning… about how it wouldn’t make a BIT of difference and how we would end up cleaning the next day anyway, but he was determined.  I resigned myself to the kitchen and began cooking, cutting, thawing, and baking.  I watched as my husband tried to clean.  I have to say: it was sweet of him.  But watching a man try to clean a room that really requires the skills of a master multi-tasker (a WOMAN) was really trying.  I really needed help peeling potatoes, and it seemed like every crayon my husband picked up grew two heads and slipped from his fingers back onto the carpet.

As we walked out of the door to join my family for Thanksgiving dinner, our hands LOADED with food (and the ugliest pie you’ve ever seen.  Pie is my nemesis), my husband remarked, “It doesn’t look like I cleaned at all.”
Nope, nope, it didn’t! But it sure looked like I COOKED all alone for 4 hours in my kitchen.

The next day, we woke up and (what else?) CLEANED. I went for a pathetic run… really, it was the saddest little thing, but at least I went! I came home and joined everyone in the kids’ room for a mass cleaning and then I set to making breakfast while my husband folded the laundry that was still strewn across BOTH couches. Have I ever told you how much my husband likes to WASH laundry but how much he dislikes folding it? I finally spoke up, like a spoiled brat. I told him I appreciated that he loved washing, but he was taking all the FUN out of laundry for me. He did the part that made you feel important and accomplished and always left me with an eternal pile on the couch to fold and put away… a job that makes you feel insignificant, mundane, boring and a little fat. The button pushing and machine loading part? MUCH more fulfilling. I asked him to please either STOP washing or START helping fold.
He’s done a little of both.
Yesterday he folded while I made breakfast at 1 pm. Eating a breakfast of honey baked ham and fresh fruit at 1 pm is just… sublime. It really makes it feel like a holiday, you know? Plus, by 1 the kids were so hungry that they ATE ALL OF THEIR FOOD which is really something.

After breakfast, we had to get the entire house cleaned up before we would let ourselves get our Christmas decorations out. I wasn’t about to do it alone -as I had done the day before in the kitchen -no way… I needed help cleaning the mess I didn’t make. I put a movie on for the kids (who really had done their fair share by mucking out their room all morning) and my husband and I set to cleaning.
Eventually, the kids got sick of their movie and started throwing stuff around… because, well, why not? I got sick of their throwing stuff around and announced that SHOES WOULD BE PUT ON and COATS WOULD BE GOT ON and THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY OUTSIDE.
So they did. A few minutes later, my husband took something outside.
“Hurry back,” I teased, “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
On his way back inside, he got distracted playing soccer with the children. I listened to them outside, cheering for dad, clapping, laughing, giggling… He handed the soccer ball to the girl and told them he needed to get back inside to help Mama clean.
“Stay, Dad!” She begged, “Just PLAY with us!”
“Maybe when I’m done cleaning,” he said as he walked away. I met him at the door and ordered him back out.
“Go back out there and PLAY with your children,” I lightly shoved his back.
“But I thought you needed my help,” he looked back.
It’s no wonder we confuse men… just when they think they’re doing what they ought we go and prove them wrong. No, no, don’t DO WHAT I SAY… just DO what I SAY!
And what I say is, “Go outside. and PLAY.”

He readily agreed, leaving me to clean the house (you guessed it) all by myself. As I ran around the house putting things away and straightening this and that, I peaked outside and saw my kids waiting next to a growing pile of leaves.

Once they were given the all-clear they launched their little bodies into the pile.

Lying down in a pile of leaves makes you extra vulnerable… something dads just LOVE.

What do moms love? This:
My husband’s hotness speaks for itself. Holy gorgeous.
What do kids love? Kicking a perfectly good pile to pieces.

Today is going to be filled with more cleaning (the kids went a little crazy with the Christmas decorations -most of which we can’t put up because we’re getting a REAL tree this year which means all of the ornaments are wrapped in newspaper and sitting in a box that the kids just CAN’T leave alone) and then a little gingerbread house making and decorating.
But first? I’ve got a sad little run to go on. Wish me luck.

Whatever Will Be, Will Be

Hello, it’s Monday.

Do you know what that means? It means the Benefit Auction AND the Primary Program are both over. It also means that I took a 5 1/2 hour nap on Sunday afternoon, briefly interrupted by a pair of Heavenly Angels who delivered unto me the BEST HOMEMADE BREAD I’ve ever had (sorry Mom and Grandma) along with a bottle of pear jam that I am currently hoarding. Despite the Heavenly Angels’ example to share of our goods, I am NOT. That jam, suckahs, is mine.

I want to tell you all about this weekend, but FIRST.
As a follow-up to my last post, you can read all about Laurie’s Adventures in Twilightland HERE. It includes a picture of her with her “Team Edward Rochester” shirt which (based on the positive response) I’m thinking should hereby be marketed. I need a design team, stat!

Next, here’s what he looked like when I was about 4 or 5.

Roughly 15 years after that picture was taken, we got murried.

Wasn’t that fun?
Onto the weekend…

Saturday around noon, I went to the Fire Station and HAD to take a picture of our Hall of Fame. Joseph City has a little Hall of Fame that is displayed on the wall. There’s only one picture missing. It’s of my Grandma. She hated her picture so she took it down before anyone could see it.

My grandma is a classy spit-fire, and we all just adore her… my husband included.

I slowly set up everything in the kitchen. I opened the packages of bottled water, donated by a local dentist.

I opened and stacked the paper goods, donated by a local trucking company (added onto last minute by a local roofing company -thanks again, LuAnne!), and the list goes on and on. By three o’clock, the kitchen was filling up with OVER 60 CROCK-POTS of food, made with love by women all throughout town.
The High School service club stood right by my side, labeling crock pots and organizing everything for the dinner.
One of my favorite pictures of the night was these three boys, handing out bottles of water:

PS: What is happening to high school kids the world over? Isn’t High School supposed to be that terrible awful awkward phase where you take a bunch of dance pictures so you can laugh at yourself 15 years later? All the kids I bumped into last night were utterly lacking in awkwardness. I just want to know why. And when it happened.

The auction items mounted as the day wore on, and by the time the auction started, we had OVER 200 items. We had to start the auction 30 minutes earlier out of necessity.

We had a FULL HOUSE, and the town bought up the loads of auctions items like there was no tomorrow… a loaf of homemade bread went for $80. My husband bought a small pan of homemade fudge for $35. Home decor signs, sock monkeys, fleece horses, lap quilts, gift certificates, trailers of chopped wood… it was almost as if Santa himself came and dumped the contents of his fat, red sack in the middle of the fire house floor!

People came from all over town (and a few from miles around) to participate in the auction.

The Firemen were in charge of the auction, with the Fire Chief acting as the Main Auctioneer. He had men out in the crowd, calling out every time a bid was made. The adrenaline was almost too much for my son to handle, and he was a fit of giggles as the auctioneers hollered out numbers.

About a month ago, a friend asked me what she could do to help. The Fire Chief had told me that quilts generally rake in QUITE a bit, so I told her if she could round up some cash, I could use it to buy material to make a quilt. A few hours after I hung up the phone, she was standing on my porch with $70. I knew that $70 wasn’t enough to make the quilt I had in mind, but it was a GREAT start. I took it to the city with me, telling myself I’d get what I could and figure out the rest later.
As I walked in the fabric store, I saw that flannel was 60% off (AMAZING price!), and the batting and thread were all 50% off. I was able to get EVERYTHING I needed, and when the cashier rang me up, the total came to $70.07. I squealed in excitement. It was one of those little miracles that, when it happens to you, doesn’t feel so little at all.
I took the materials home where one woman cut the pieces into squares (and the batting into squares), and the supplies were delivered all over town to several different women. Friday night (the night before the benefit) I pulled it all together… stitched the pieces into place and trimmed the edging so it would fray:

As I put the finishing touches on the quilt, I hugged it close and confessed to my husband, “I WANT this quilt!”
“Make another one,” he shrugged.
“It won’t be the same!”
“Why not?”
“This quilt,” I explained with far more passion in my voice than one ought to have for a rag quilt, “encompasses the SPIRIT of this TOWN!”
He laughed at me.

But he also bid his little big heart out when that quilt came up for auction.
We did not win the quilt. Try as my husband might -and DID -we didn’t come home with it.
It went for a whopping $385 to a home that will appreciate just how much it’s worth.

My husband, children and I poured ourselves into bed at 10 pm Saturday night. At 6 am, I was up and making treats for the Primary Kids.
As luck would have it, all but 2 of the teacher weren’t able to make it to the Primary Program to help out. I panicked for all of 30 seconds before I realized…

It would be totally fine.

The auction needed to happen.
The quilt needed to be made.
The Program needed to come to pass.

And they all did… in SPITE of all I did to muddle everything up.
If it needs to happen, it will happen… if there’s one thing I’ve learned this weekend: THAT is it.
Whatever will be, will be.

My heart lies with my little town… with the generosity of the people, the spirit of the children, and the love stitched into a miracle quilt.

Someone wrapped their arms around me Saturday night and said, “Think what would have happened if you hadn’t had started all of this.”
I had to laugh, “Someone else would have,” I shrugged.
And isn’t that the wonderful, glorious truth of a small town? It’s a place where the Fire House hosts benefits and The Wall of Fame where grandmothers refuse to let their glory shine. It’s a place where money means nothing and your word means everything. It’s the place country songs are written about.

When it comes to weight, brother we pull our own.
Until we can’t anymore… then we hit our knees and the neighbors come running with their hearts open.

This is where it’s at… this is home.

Craft Idears

Am I the only one who puts an “r” at the end of certain words… like idears? And Isabellar? I feign Britishness when I’m feeling fancy.

And yes, at 9 AM with my running sweats on, my hair all a wreck and my unwashed raccoon eyes, I feel mighty fancy.

Back to the point: I get t-shirt ideas all the time. It’s a sort of silent hobby of mine to dream up what shirts should say, but I never DO anything with it -see -because I make crappy shirts. I did once, you know. When we were first married, I took a plain white tee (not the band, a literal plain white tee) and some paint and made a shirt. And here’s what it said:
(Please ignore the double colon usage) (Please stop giggling because I said “double colon”)

This item belongs to:
Danny Deets
If found, please return to:
His Arms

I painted hearts all OVER it and then I wore it on Valentine’s Day. Danny Deets himself was not all that thrilled, but last year he pouted when I wore that same shirt while PAINTING our table and chairs.
“I thought it was special…” He protested. He’s like one of those children who swears they HATE IT when you hug them but who, in all reality, wouldn’t have it any other way.

I haven’t made a shirt in a looooonnnnngggg time, but I still get shirt ideas up the wazoo. I have a hankering to make a maternity shirt with two word bubbles, one coming down from the neck of the shirt that says “Marco!”
And the other coming from the protruding belly that says “Polo!”

Stupid? Yes. But I still giggle picturing it. Because the BABY is SWIMMING. Get it? Get it?!

I also dream of a maternity shirt with a vintage cowgirl on a bucking bronco printed across the belly with the words “This ain’t my first rodeo” written across the chest. Only second-time mothers could buy it, of course.

Anyway, I get these idears from time to time, but I don’t have the skills to do much with them (how I WISH I DID!). Thank goodness for my brother Steve, who brought the Team Edward Rochester shirt to life.
And thank goodness for Laurie, who put her own spin on it AND wore it to a Twilight marathon.

Demmed adorable.

Do you remember Steve’s?

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I love the both of them! It makes me want to be able to make t-shirts! For months now, I’ve wanted to have a t-shirt making date with my husband, but I don’t really know how to go about it.

As it turns out, I can’t bring about any of my ideas without help. I’m hopeless.
So… group date, anyone?

We Are Pieces, Wholly

Yesterday, I was talking with some friends and we remarked on how we try to emulate certain women. We talked about how as teenagers we would go through entire phases trying to be exactly like someone else because we honestly didn’t know who we were. Of course we all come out of those phases with a few bits of that person attached to us. As we merrily roll along, we continue to pick up bits and pieces.
It was Tennyson who once said, “I am a part of all I have met.”

After my friends left, I pulled out some paper and made a list of the women I try to be like. I don’t try to be exactly like them (thank goodness for growing out of 16), but I pull from the best parts of them.
At the top of my list is my sainted mother who I can’t help but emulate on account of the fact that -first of all -I look like her.
In the past month, I’ve heard more people tell me how much I look like my mother than I have in my entire life.

What do I try to pull from my mother? Her ability to do things -all things -neatly. I can’t seem to pull it off like she does, but I try. I clean my trash can every other week because I’d hate for her to see gunk in the bottom of it. My microwave gets a weekly deep cleaning because I shudder at the thought of mom seeing tomato and butter splashed and caked onto the white insides.

She prays every night with her door open where her children can see her.

She listens, really listens. I genuinely believe that when I’m with her I’m undoubtedly the most interesting person in the world. What’s more: she never tries to fix me. I wonder how much a million other children would pay to spend an hour with a mother who refrained from fixing them. My children would love that above anything -this I know. But at this point, my “fixing” simply involves getting pants on front-wards and shoes on the right feet… SOCKS included.

She MAKES the holidays. From decorations to gingerbread houses, she brought the spirit of every holiday into our home. And isn’t that what really makes HOME for us?

Her list is the longest -the most detailed. Following her is my grandmothers -both blessed women are still living, and I’ll be DANGED if I don’t pick their tired brains for all they are worth.
How do you can peaches, Grandma?
How do you quell morning sickness, Granny?
Show me how to be a lady. Show me how to laugh. No matter how old I get, see me as the little granddaughter who can do everything she puts her mind to the very best you’ve ever seen it done (foot rubs and messy cooking experiments included).

I study the lives of my great-grandmother and learn more about myself between the pages of her journal than I do through the pages of my own.

I watch my aunts around me -the way they live, the way the interact with those around them, the way they overcome what’s placed before them. I’ve watched them turn a conversation away from gossip effortlessly. I’ve watched them run households, serve, follow promptings, and care.

I TAKE from that, even if they don’t know they’re giving, I TAKE.
I hope reading this doesn’t give the women in my life the feeling that I’m hunkering behind the front bushes in their yards, chanting…
Every breath you take
Every move you make…
I’ll be watching you.

I don’t stop with family. Why should I when there’s so much good to TAKE TAKE TAKE from the ENTIRE WORLD -YEA EVEN the ENTIRE HISTORY of the WORLD?!

I reach out and try to touch the wit of Dorothy Parker but leave behind most of her attitude.
I want to write like Norah Ephron, but I don’t want her life.
I want to love, laugh, live, and reach out exactly like Marjorie Pay Hinckley.
I want to have the courage of Esther to tell my Father in Heaven that YES I WILL do WHATEVER YOU SAY even if what you say is “Go forth and obtain the donations of the world.”

I delve into fiction and my heart thumps wildly as I read about Jo March of “Little Women.” I want her wild spirit -her imagination.
My heart sings happiness as I watch “Thoroughly Modern Millie” for the millionth time. I want Millie’s bright attitude -her optimistic view of humanity. Her spunk! The easiness about her that simply attract friendship… even her flaws are downright attractive.

I want to have the grace of Julie Andrews.
I want Loretta Lynn’s spit-fire.

BUT MOST OF ALL: I want it my own way… unfortunately, in order to make Julie Andrew’s grace my own, I may have to nix it entirely. Grace has never found a home with me, and I’ve got the scars, broken nails, bumped head, twisted tongue, twisted ankle, and clumsy legs to prove it. That doesn’t mean I’ll ever stop trying by any means.

Is this list complete? No it is not. It’s constantly building. The more I live life -the more women I meet -the more stories I hear… my list grows and grows and grows.

There’s inspiration fairly woven into the air of the earth… and I’m constantly inhaling. We all are.

Who is on your list? Be they fiction or fact, living or alive in you, cinematic or scriptoric… who are they?
Yes, I just made “scriptoric” up. It means “of or having to do with scriptures.”

Please excuse the lack of pictures in today’s post. It deserves pictures. A better woman would ADD pictures, but an even better woman would know the value between getting pictures put by names on a blog post OR getting a shower.

For All Are Not Created Indentically

Have you ever seen signs that read something like this:

I have. Every time I do, I chuckle.
Who is DUMB enough to do that? Obviously somebody… enough somebodies that they’ve made signs, anyway. I’ve lived around the same roads all my life (except the three years I spent getting a two-year music degree [don’t judge until you’ve been there. Rough stuff.]) and driving over them is like rereading a favorite poetry passage. It’s nearly effortless.

Yesterday, I drove one of those roads. Presently, it’s in the thick of construction. I’ve driven it before, as I said above. I’ve even driven it when it’s been in the thick of construction; YEA I have driven it many, many times in it’s PRESENT state of construction.
But yesterday.
Was different.

I was in a state of frantic nervousness. I was fairly WROUGHT with AGITATION! And now that I’ve run the risk of sounding like a character from Green Gables, I’ll get straight to the point: I was on my way to ask businesses for donations to Austin’s Auction.

I want to help, you know.
But I want to ask for donations as much as I want to shoot myself in the foot.

Luckily, the night before I’d gotten a phone call from my aunt who told me she had woken up in the middle of the night before and felt impressed to collect donations for the auction. The Lord was on a mission to get donations collected. Alicia, He understood, was not getting it done.
Aunt Trina, He knew, would.

I’m terrible embarrassed about it. More than ANYTHING, I want the Lord to know He can count on me for anything that needs doing. And here I was, driving down the road, fully knowing what I was about to do.
I was about to go into business doors and ask them for a donation.
BUT BEFORE I COULD, I apparently needed to follow a construction tractor down his work path.

The signs? Not so funny anymore. I can almost hear my mother reading the words to me: Now remember, darling… we DON’T follow the big ugly tractors with ADOT men in them. Right? What did we learn today?

But I did it. Did I do it well? Of course not. I bumbled into one restaurant and only had the heart to ask to hang a flyer in the window. By the time I was done, or had done as much as my nerves could stomach (I had my two kiddos with me), I took all three of us to McDonalds. After a short lunch, I drove home and kept TRUE to MY course and not the course of the construction workers.
I stopped to get gas, still rife with agitation.

And a few minutes later, I was walking a small strip of the main road, hunting for my gas cap.

Yes, in my state, I had forgotten to put the gas cap on -something I’m usually extra vigilant about.

Thank goodness for Aunt Trina. Thank goodness for Heavenly Father’s absolute passion for variety. For you and I are not the same.
We’re here to bolster each other… how does the saying go?

Thee lift me, and I’ll lift thee and we’ll all ascend together.


You can listen to this song while you read my post today. There’s a HUGE clarinet solo opening. The lyrics pay homage to it before coming out to play.

In any case, hello.

I have a phase I go through now and then. I turn into a sort of sponge that soaks up education, and I spend every spare minute (yea, even second) reading and learning and (apologies to those who happen to bump into me) sharing.

I get absolutely sloshed on Wikipedia.
About a month ago, I found an out-of-print book by Paul Harvey. It was $1 (maybe less?) at a yard sale. I bought it and gave it to Dad. I looked through it the other day, and I wrote down the names of three men he briefly discusses in a holiday article he titled “The ‘Other’ Three Wise Men.”
It was published on Christmas Eve in a Kentucky Newspaper. It’s title is different, but if you click
you can read it. You can also see the prices of candy bars in mid-70’s.

I look forward to curling up at night with my 12 episode documentary on US History. I’m only on episode 6. I still have WWWII to look forward to! If you know me, you know that WW2 (pronounced dubb-ul-yuh-dubb-ul-yuh 2) is my absolute favorite war.
My iPod is my constant companion in these phases. For music? Hardly. For podcasts? Most definitely. I feast on speeches, and yesterday I did almost every dish in my house (because almost every dish in my house was dirty) while I listened to a man quote Brigham Young for almost an hour.
Have you ever listened to Brigham Young quotes? LDS or not, you’d love it. Unless you hate common sense.

And I must say: my husband is right there with me (podcasts excepting).
Have we become one of “those” couples who gets giddy about hot chocolate, a blanket, and a good documentary? Well, no. We haven’t become.
We always have been; although, I prefer the historic type and he prefers the predator/prey type.
We can usually find common ground in the Egyptian area. Mummies, curses, buried gold…

Enjoy today, friend.
There’s definitely a reason to -whether it’s because there’s something good in store or simply because you’re NOT lying on a filthy gurney getting your severed arm completely amputated.
We just finished the Civil War episode…

What’s Good For Us

Friday night, I was blessed to attend a leadership training meeting. Elaine S. Dalton was there.

(image from lds.org)

As she was being introduced, a story was told. Elaine is the mother of 6 children. After the last of these were born, she was given a pair of running shoes for Mother’s Day. It was told that she came to really love running, and she has successfully completed 7 marathons. I can’t remember the quote exactly, but she was quoted to have said something along the lines of how fulfilling it was to teach her body how to mind.

Don’t you just love that? Incidentally, that morning -FRIDAY morning -I had taken the opportunity to get dressed and head outside for a walk. I jogged the last part of my walk.
This is monumental for one reason:
I haven’t worked out in ages.

After the birth of by first born, I worked out religiously. Hardly a day went by that I wasn’t at my Pilates, stretching. My muscles were strong. My stomach was gradually trimming. And -wonder of wonders! -I could actually touch my toes: a regular feat for a girl with long long legs.
As time went by and another pregnancy came and went, I found my workouts lagging. It was hard to workout with a crying infant in one room and a toddler koloa attached to the leg you’re trying to lift, lift, lift.
I tried, though. I can say for absolute certain that I didn’t give it my BEST, but I did try.
Life went on, as life does, and mountains were thrown in my little life path. In order to get around the mountains, I had to go through several stages. They went something like this.
1) Cry, give up any and all ideas of trying to make good choices as concerns my health (I might as well title this stage “Ice Cream”)
2) Stay in Bed
3) Get Angry
4) Refuse to deal with the situation at hand and turn to unlimited movie streaming instead
5) Cry (Ice Cream)
6) Whine
7) Realization that I’ve become someone I don’t care much for (see “whine” above)
8) Stop crying
9) Put big girl pants on
10) Face the world
11) Resume working out

Each step took about a month, by the way.
The point is: when I was at step 1, I was basically unwilling to bother with anything like working out. Would it have made a good difference? Of course it would have. But did I want to get out of bed? Of course I didn’t.
So I didn’t.

But Friday, I did. And after listening to Sister Dalton’s resolve to make her body mind, I thought how gratifying it would be. And so I rinsed and repeated my walk/jog on Saturday. Today, I did the same thing.
It hurts, you know, to be so out of shape. I’ve spent the entire YEAR out of shape.
It hurts in a good way, though.
And it feels even better to get out of bed, even if I don’t want to.
It feels even BETTER to tell my body that though it wants sleep, and though it wants PJ’s -it will NOT have them. I believe the term “over my dead body” would apply here.

In relation to all of this garb, I gave my son orange juice.
He ran a fever on Saturday. By Saturday night, he was crying when he had to swallow and complaining that the back of his mouth was “hot.” His fever broke during the night, but he’s still complaining about his mouth. It isn’t his throat, mind you… it’s his MOUTH. Hand, foot and mouth has been going around and I do believe my son has caught it. He’s taking it well, thank goodness.
Sunday night, I thought he might be feeling better. He asked for some orange juice.
I told him no. It would probably hurt his mouth.
He insisted.
I told him no.
He insisted.
I told him no.
This went on for QUITE some time, and those of you who know my son know that his STUBBORNNESS is one of his Primary traits. I want to foster it to a point because I believe stubborn people are often the kind that GET IT DONE… so I did what any bad parent would do.
I gave him the orange juice.

He wanted it, didn’t he?
He asked for it, didn’t he?

I gave him approximately 2 ounces of juice. He threw it back and immediately his face contorted… his eyes turned on me and he gave me a look of absolute PAIN and BETRAYAL. With a pained war-cry, he threw his empty paper cup at my feet and yelled at me.
“IT HOT!” He cried, tears streaming down his face, “YOU HURT ME!”
“But you wanted it,” I said, trying to hold him, “You asked for it.”
By then my husband came in the room. I explained to him what had happened.
“And you GAVE it to him?” He asked, incredulously.
“Well, he wanted it.  He asked for it” I repeated, starting to sound like a bad pop chorus.
“Alicia,” my husband spoke to me very slowly, “You don’t give him something that is going to hurt him.”

He said it sarcastically, of course.
I wanted to laugh, but the life lesson his sentence gave was too valuable to laugh at. Of course he wasn’t trying to be mean. He was just trying to make me laugh -lighten up on myself.

But how many times have I hurt myself on account of what I want?
I don’t want to get out of bed; consequently, my health has suffered for almost a year.
I don’t want to eat salad; consequently, I’ve robbed my body of vital nutrition.

What got me out of bed this morning?
The idea of treating myself with more respect.
What did I get in return?

Fresh air.
Twenty minutes of pod cast streaming.
Twenty minutes to myself.
Twenty minutes to breath.
And, oh yeah: Sunrise.

Here’s to respecting yourself today.

Here’s to respecting yourself enough to make your body mind.