I Was Good

I’ve been entrenched in honestly lately.

I keep looking in the mirror and seeing things as they really are, not as I would hope them to be. I look literally in the mirror and see MORE of myself than there was a few years ago. There’s more around my middle, stretch marks that gleam in a holographic and fascinating sort of way, winkles and bags around my blue eyes.
I used to will them away -wish them gone.

Today I can look in the mirror and honestly treasure it all -the WHOLE package. I want my lines and my thickness. They all mean something -they’re signs of what I’ve done, who I am and everything I’m capable of handling.

I love what I can see on the surface. My honesty has gone deeper than my skin, however, and I’m finding a gigantic lack of perfection throughout.
At this point, I’m going to leave the definition of “perfection” up to media because so far as I can see, there isn’t a satisfiable definition out there -there’s only an appetite.

Did you know I’m a terrible housekeeper? I’m awful. BLOODY awful.
Organizing is so foreign to me. It doesn’t make any SENSE in my head.

I can’t coordinate colors or apply make-up very well. I don’t follow any trends because I’m terrible at them and keep finding that I actually hate them (Chevron? It’s not pretty. Hombre? Stop.) because they don’t jive with anything I like… which happens to be everything everyone 80+ is currently enjoying.

I eat cookies. A LOT of cookies.
I haven’t been able to work out in a long time, but I still eat cookies. I ate cookies for breakfast and I gave the kids cookies for breakfast.

I forget to send thank you notes, but I write a lot of them.
I forget the birthdays of the people I love dearly but always remember random birthdays of people I knew ages ago who probably don’t remember me at all.
I don’t take care of animals very well, but that didn’t stop me from picking up a kitten. I didn’t consult anyone. I just saw a kitten, wanted it, and snagged it up. And I have to be honest… this little prince has my heart and soul. He gets extra food and love and I’m quite certain I’m his favorite.

I’m spontaneous but I hate change. I hate shopping unless I’m alone in an antique/thrift store… or a yard sale.

And I’ve been grieving lately. I have a job, you know? It’s part time and family friendly. The environment is great, the people I work with and for are amazing (Hi, Mom!) and I’m very blessed to be where I am.
I was LED to my job. Heavenly Father worked everything out and handed it to me, all tied up in a neat, vibrant bow.

But I realized, even as I unwrapped the gift, that unwrapping one gift meant boxing another up tight.

I’m not longer a stay-at-home Mom. I work part time. My routine of cleaning on Monday and cooking on Tuesday is gone. I’m lucky to clean at all anymore. I don’t have Wednesdays for laundry and Thursdays for shopping. There’s no crafting on Fridays.
There’s no home preschool, and the amount of home made meals in our home has decreased from 4-7 a week to 2-3.
I said goodbye to naps, to spending all day in yoga pants, to spontaneous mid-morning crafting with my kids.

I KNOW this needs to happen. This is supposed to happen, and there’s no way in heaven that the Lord would hand me one gift if He wasn’t sure I could handle boxing the other up.
This is good. This is okay.

But guys… I was GOOD.
I was a good stay at home Mom. And sometimes I cry about it, and that’s okay too.
Because along with being unorganized and absent-minded (SOMEone might have just asked her optometrist to fax her obstetrician records to another office… oops. and gross) I am an emotional creature by nature.

And when I read articles about shiny, happy Mormon Mommy blogs, I only make it half way through before exiting out as fast as my pointer finger can “clickclickclickclickCLICKCLICK!”

While my home may not be shiny, it is full. And while I may not be ever-present to plan themed parties and decorate my home the way a mother “should” (whoever came up with that standard…) I do other things. And I do them REALLY well.

I’m creative and insightful. I work hard and I’m a fighter. I fight for what I believe in.
I listen to my inner voice, and I know when to stand up for myself. I use words to express myself. I use my hands to make music with several instruments. I crochet. I know how to bake.
I tell stories and read poetry to my children. Teaching comes naturally to me, and I love to laugh. I find humor everywhere. My life and wardrobe are full of color. My home decor doesn’t reflect any kind of magazine, but it does reflect ME (unless my husband had his way with it, and he often does because sometimes ME is a little too colorful for his comfort).
I’m a daughter of God, a mother of three, and an important person.

THAT is what I see when I look in the mirror.
I didn’t used to, but I do now. What changed? I changed. How did I change? Lots of harrowing hours of Soul Work that led me intentionally toward the art of surrender and the Savior’s atonement.

Today I can feel my grief as I slowly box up my stay-at-home package. I know it needs to be done, and I feel peace. But feeling peace doesn’t always mean I don’t feel grief.
I will feel it -let it wash over me -and I will give it to God. I’ll probably have to do it again tomorrow and again and again and again, but that’s okay. Heavenly Father will catch me.

Even now, I can sense Him behind me, pushing me up and forward. I’m hesitant and digging my heels in, but He’s behind me, both hands on my back… saying, “It’s time. It’s fine. I’m here. Go… forward.”

Today I will go forward with imperfection and grief and humor.
And caramel apples. For obvious reasons.

It’s No Big Deal

Today I woke up early and made breakfast.

That was my first mistake. Making breakfast CAN be a good thing unless it makes me late for work because I still have to run up to the convenience store to get snacks DESPITE the fact that I HAD snacks but somewhere between Friday and Monday morning, they all disappeared which shouldn’t surprise me, and it doesn’t -not REALLY -but it does irritate me, so I pack up the kids, a picnic breakfast for them to eat while I work, a makeshift “discovery” game (Columbus style!), an iPad for rest time, and a diaper bag.
Of course the kids didn’t finish their breakfast, but they did finish their treats.
And the baby ate 5 cookies for brunch. FIVE cookies and one bottle.
There are 15 cookies in one package. This means I ate 14 cookies because only one cookie was given away to my sweet nephew, and the empty package was thrown away as I left work today.
Speaking of which, I can field calls with a crying baby in my arms and then I can field phone calls with a sleeping baby on my chest because I just happen to live in a town where I can peaceably explain to Sam that Sorry, I can’t speak up, there’s a sleeping baby on my chest, and he chuckles sweetly like every grandpa should. And we all know Sam is a wonderful grandpa and that his wife makes the best cinnamon rolls.
Ten minutes later, Sam is in the shop getting a new battery and the baby is still snoring on my chest.
During this time, I return three texts and cancel a Dr’s appointment for tomorrow.
I also hit up the family dentist about my receding gums and receive the rather startling news that I’m getting old (gums kinda naturally recede with age) at which point I turn to the packaged Chips Ahoy cookies and drown my sorrows in the poison that receded my gums in the first place.
(PS: you can go ahead and pay me for the dental advice I just gave you. I’ll pass the cash onto Uncle Clarence.)

I pulled into my driveway in the late afternoon and my phone rang. It was my sister. I quickly answered and was overjoyed that she’s on Verizon because I’m almost over my minutes, but I can talk to her forever for FREE.
I never go over my minutes.
But if there ever was any month that would throw me over my minutes, this last month would be that month.
The kids find a snake on the lawn. I bring them inside. I go outside to check the snake and can’t find it.
I hope the cat does…

The kids eat muddy buddies and I watch Downton Abbey for 50 blessed zoned-out minutes.
At 7, I lose all memory of every single night from the previous year and take my children -at SEVEN, mind you -to my grand-parents house where they promptly lose all sense of manners and go absolutely crazy, exactly as they’ve done at promptly SEVEN PM every single night this past year. Sorry for all the redundancy in that last sentence. But anyway: they’re hyper and disobedient, and after an hour I pull back into my own driveway and let them know how I didn’t appreciate how disrespectful their behavior was this evening.
My daughter tells me I’m mean and that she can’t wait to visit her Grammy.
“Do you think Grammy will be okay with your crazy behavior?”
“Well, I won’t do it for HER.”

I make it inside.
Trenton pees on his bedroom carpet because the bathroom is apparently just TOOOOO far and he couldn’t make it in time.
I cover the tomatoes with a tarp so they don’t freeze.
I take one more phone call (for free, since I can’t afford to give up my minutes).
My daughter hands me a handwritten note of apology with a stick of my own gum attached to it, “I am sorry Mom I did not act raspect Full I love you Do you love me Nest time I will be Raspect Full Love Lacy”
I secretly love run on sentences (and sometimes use them to lead into posts -like I did today -it emphasizes the extent of the firing shortages in my brain).
A metal waterbottle full of water was dropped on the carpet and one big toe is red and throbbing while one giant spot on my carpet is soaked THROUGH… not 15 minutes after my son soaked his own piece of carpet. The theme of the night is wet carpet.

And finally, as I’m winding down and unable to create a post with any form or consistency… my children are sitting on the couch together, reading a book quietly while the baby coos contentedly on the floor as she crawls from one end of the living room to the other.
She has a tooth now, you know? She got it yesterday. It’s brand new. Who wants to tell her what happens to it when she turns 28? Receding gums are no raspector of persons. At least she’ll always have Chips Ahoy. Unless the government steps in, but I digress…

In a few minutes, I’ll be asleep.
And a few hours after that, I’ll be right back at it again.

It’s no big deal.

(“He looks like a pink nightmare!” ~Ralpie’s Ol’ Man)

The Past Will Set You Free

There’s a bunch of quotes being circulated about how we shouldn’t live in the past.

I think they’re all bunk.

Okay, not really. But I spend the majority of my time living in the past: reading old family journals, scouring black and white pictures, drooling over antiques, listening to my Nat King Cole Pandora Station, watching old movies.

It used to be just something that made me happy, but lately, it’s becoming more of a way of life. I find solace in the past -the music is safe, the movies are safe. I don’t have to hide my kids’ eyes or my own eyes or do any kind of fast forwarding. I can just let the music play and let the movies run… there’s comfort in them. They make me feel warm. They make me feel home.

Today will be no different.

My life lately has been a rapid succession of hurried things. My phone is ringing like crazy, my front door seems to be revolving, and my ten month old can’t understand why I’m not holding her all of the time.
(Actually, it’s a good question. She’s VERY cute.)

But today. This morning.
Life has slowed down. My phone is silent. My door is closed. My computer is singing with Etta Fitzgerald. I’m wearing a sweater.
My birds are softly singing along to the music.

In a few minutes, I’ll bake something.
And this afternoon, I’m going to pull my entire family together for homemade popcorn, hot chocolate with mini-warshmallows (Trenton’s special name for them), and an old movie.

The theme for today will be CALM SURRENDER, black and white style.

Because after the weekend is over, my phone will ring again. The present will manifest itself, and in that moment I will either regret or rejoice.
I’d rather rejoice in spending my weekend all wrapped up in my family, muted trumpets, and homemade goodies than regret that I accomplished anything else.

It’s All For a Good Cause

There’s this fairy awesome scene in the movie “Oklahoma!” (and yes, I sing that every time I spell it) where a community gets together to build a schoolhouse and raise money for it.

I always think of that scene when our little town gets together for a good cause.

Someone heads it up, everyone pitches in, there’s food and guns involved… It’s wonderful.

(picture taken at an auction/benefit for Austin Bushman)

That said: I’m normally not at a loss for words, especially as concerns Our Great Community, but there are some people, some experiences, some memories that just can’t be put into words. There’s a sort of reverence about them that makes the idea of attempting to assign words to them seem insufficient.

Speaking of old movies, I watched one last night. It was “Hondo” with John Wayne. When things in life start to get to me, I always end up curled up on the couch in my PJs with a comfort movie. Thanks to my Dad, John Wayne is one of my main comfort voices (along with the entire cast of Bonanza, including Hop Sing). Hondo Lane is part Cherokee, and he takes the opportunity in the movie to explain that in the Cherokee language, there’s certain words that don’t translate to English… the English language lacks the vocabulary to properly explain what one Cherokee word means.

I feel that way about my Dad.
I’ve sat down at least 5 times to write this post -tried composing it in my head a hundred times.

What it all comes down to is that I don’t know how to properly do this whole thing justice.

There’s no word that conveys my gratitude for what’s happening, and there’s no word that conveys the level of love and honor I hold for my Dad.

So I’ll simply say this:

I ought to be surprised at the enthusiasm in which Our Great Community has poured out their generous hearts for my Dad… but I’m not surprised because my Dad really is THAT awesome. He’s ever giving, ever steady, and ever ready to BE the one pouring out. I’ve always wanted nothing more than to give something back -ANYTHING back. But there was never a chance, I was never truly needed enough.
But now I am.

I love that so many others seem to feel the exact same way.

Dad’s benefit is going to be a GREAT experience, and I can’t wait to share it (and my Dad!) with you.

There will be a Zumbathon on October 25th at the Old Gym from 6-8 pm. Pay $10 at the door and then dance your heart out!
The next day (the 26th) there will be a dinner and program at the LDS cultural hall starting at 5:30. You really CAN’T miss out on this one because
1) The dinner will be enchiladas, and I don’t know but Joe City women can’t spit out the BEST enchiladas North of the Mexican border.
2) I will be debuting Docile Jean to the public.
3) If you don’t know who Docile Jean is, you need to. She’s very dear to my soul.

After dinner, there’s an auction at the Old Gym (where Dad used to play basketball in shorts that should have been at least 10 inches longer, but I digress) as well as a Bake Sale.
There’s going to be two Mel Bradshaw paintings up for auction, a head of beef, guns, goodies, and everything you could ever wish for to complete your Christmas shopping!
Deanne Smith headed this entire event up and here’s the information in her own words:
“Some of the things donated so far are event tickets (don’t know for sure for what but like for instance maybe Suns game tickets; chose of new lap top or computer; new house size steel wood stove; beef; guns; quilts; Mel Bradshaw’s donating 2 of his prints with Rich and Linda Miller framing them; a twisted rope halter; maybe a pickup or even 2; I have talked to some people about donating tickets to the National Finals Rodeo and it is looking good that we can get them. Got my fingers crossed! Anyway, tell everyone to keep the good things coming, the more the merrier. Email me at jdndsmith1@yahoo.com or call or text me at 928-587-1214 if you have something to donate. Thank you so much!!”

And here’s the facebook page for the event:

Come out -it’s for more than a good cause… it’s for The Salt of the Earth.
In the meantime, while you wait for ALL of the excitement of the benefit… here’s a video to pacify you.  It’s of my baby.  putting her finger.  in her mouth.

It doesn’t get much more exciting than this, folks.  Serious.