Christmas Short II

This year, Trenton asked Santa for two things. They were simple and fun:
1) A Balloon Kit (to make balloon animals like his aunt JuJu)
2) A Bandaloom

I made sure both items were ordered online in sufficient time, and hid them well at my Dad’s mechanic shop when they came. Lacy asked for two things as well, but not at the same time:
1) A Sewing Machine (they make awesome mini machines for like 50 bucks!)
2) A Bandaloom

She didn’t let me know she planned on asking Santa for a bandaloom until it was far too late to order one online. I remembered my sweet cousin offered to sell me the one she owned which was used but in great condition, so I stocked the thought in my memory…
Alicia, don’t forget to buy Clarissa’s bandaloom in time for Christmas. But don’t worry, you’ve got time…

You’ve got time. Those three words will be my ultimate undoing.

Needless to say, midnight came on Christmas Eve and THEN I remembered.
“Danny, I forgot! the bandaloom! Clarissa’s bandaloom!”
“Are they awake still?” He asked. We texted, we facebook messaged… nothing.
After some thought, we took a game of chess/checkers we’d bought, put it with Lacy’s stuff and wrote a note “from Santa” that said basically, “I know you asked for a bandaloom, but a little elf told me you’d be getting one on Christmas Day from someone else… wonder who it is?”
We planned on having Clarissa wrap and give the bandaloom to Lacy under the guise of a GIFT, but we’d actually pay her.
It SEEMED sketchy, but there’s really no blessed end to the rosy imaginings that Lacy will believe (something I love most about her and only take advantage of SOMEtimes).

We went to bed a little troubled, but too tired to lose another wink of sleep.
Four hours later at 6 am, I heard a knock. My eyes popped open.
Was that the door?
I held still and listened… it wasn’t the door. Was it in my mind? Was I crazy? What time…? I pulled my cell phone very close to my blind eyes and looked. It was 6 am, and I had a text from Clarissa. She had the bandaloom ready.
“Danny,” I hissed in the dark, “Danny… Rissy has the bandaloom. What should we do?”
“My body says sleep,” he moaned, “But my heart…”
He rolled out of bed and into a pair of tennis shoes. I stood guard outside the kids’ room and watched Danny open our bedroom window.
“Wait!” I whispered, “You need money to pay for it!”
“I don’t have any left!”
We both knew where there WAS money… and someday we’ll sit Lacy down and tell her about the year Dad launched himself from the bedroom window to buy her Santa gift with her own piggy bank money. But today is not that day.  We’ll tell her in a few years when the truth about Santa and been uncovered and the money has been long replaced.
“You gonna be okay?” I smiled at him literally perched in the frame of our window, his 34-year old body in a tired squat.
“Ten four,” he said, saluted me and disappeared into the night.
We texted back and forth furiously.
I had to go to the bathroom, but I couldn’t leave my station.
6:30 came and my alarm went off.
I fumbled my phone in the darkness, cursed in my mind, listened with every inch of my ear to make sure there was NO MOVEMENT from the kids’ room. That’s when the cats outside got into a hissy fight, and I cursed in my mind again.
The bedroom door creaked open and Lacy gasped out loud.
“Mom! What are you DOING?! you SCARED ME!” she whispered out loud to the dark, hovering figure of her mother looming in her doorway.
I apologized and told her to stay put.
“I heard the cats…” she said.
“Did it scare you?”
“Yeah. Mom?”
“Did Santa come?”
“He DID!” I said, my eyes glowing with Santa magic, “But you can’t come out until Daddy gets back inside. He took the dog out.”
And then I texted the lie to my husband, “WE HAVE A WAKER. I told her you were taking the dog out. Do not come back through the window.”
“Mom, I really have to pee,” my son was now awake and trying to push by.
“Not yet! We need to wait for Dad!”
“I won’t even look, Mom, I promise, but I HAVE TO PEE.”
“You can wait…”
And that’s when he peed his pants.
Falalalala lalalala

Dad came in, the chess/checkers game was put between my stocking and Danny’s stocking. Santa’s note disappeared.
The bandaloom was put in it’s rightful place, and Magic was had all around.
As Lacy pulled her Santa gifts down and played with them, she was in complete awe.
“Mom,” she said, her bright eyes looking up into mine, “Santa is an incredible man.”
I looked up at Danny and agreed with her.

Christmas Short I

Christmas 2014 has been the best Christmas season of my life.  There’s so many reasons why -each reason has it’s own little story, so for the next few days, I’ll be hosting my own sort of Christmas Featurette.  Each day a new short story will be posted, and I hope to record every single one with the detail it deserves because I never, no never, want to forget how precious this Christmas season was to me and my little family.

Disclaimer: the short stories will probably NOT be in time sequenced order.  Because my mind has never gotten along very well with time anything.

Once upon a time, our family saved every last penny found in every last pocket and took a trip to Disneyland in September.


It was the perfect time to take our kids -Lacy was 7, Trenton was almost 6, Alice was a year and a half. Minimal diaper changing, no nursing, most everyone could walk on their own though Mom failed the m{ yn^{}hn ‘;x
v v / /c./a],d/;[ in that area, and best of all: It was COMPLETELY magical. In our family, we still believe in Santa and the tooth fairy. Going to Disneyland was a total blast. The kids’ eyes lit up the minute they saw Main Street. They sported their “1st Visit” pins are were treated like royalty. The rides, the music! The unholy amounts of wishing wells!
We spent FOUR days playing.

Those four days of play (plus one day spent introducing our kids to the beach) will never leave our memory. Never will we again capture the magic as beautifully as we did on that first visit. Never again will Lacy be 7 and throwing quarters into every wishing well. Never again will Trenton be 6 and believe that he met the REAL Captain America. Never again will we have a first time at Disneyland.

It was well worth it.
That said: we were pretty broke for Christmas. I just want to be clear that I’m not complaining. I am 100% at peace with having no money for Christmas because Disneyland was WORTH it.

As we gathered up money from the far pockets of our universe, Danny and I sat together and decided that we could afford (s-a-n-t-a) gifts, some clothes, and some solid, nice bedding. The kids HAVE bedding, but it’s mismatched. It’s always been mismatched. A few sheets there, a few throws there, a blanket here, a comforter there. We decided this year would be THE year.
New, matching sheets and pillowcases!

Their room is decorated colorfully, so I wanted solid comforters for each child. Patterned bedding would be too LOUD.

We went to the store and found the exact kind of bedding we were looking for -on CLEARANCE. The sheets weren’t on clearance, but we carefully picked out coordinating colors and then checked out.
We didn’t tell anyone about this.
I mean, WHO DOES?
Who says, “So, you’ll never guess what I’m getting the kids! SHEETS!”

I didn’t.
Danny didn’t.

But the next day -the NEXT day -I went to work. I parked my ol’ truck outside and went inside the concrete office where I froze for 2 1/2 hours before getting back in my truck to pick up my son from school.
But there was a box in my passenger seat.
A BIG box.
A BIG box with a card on it.

The card told me to open the box, so I took it home.
“Danny,” I whispered, “Look!”
“What’s that?” he raised an eyebrow.
“I have no idea! Let’s go open it!”
We ran to our room, we locked the door and with my car keys in hand, we ripped open the gift.
The note attached revealed that the gift was given by someone who reads this blog. I have NO IDEA who it is, but I do know this: God was in that package.
Because it was sheets. SHEETS! And they matched the bedding we’d bought! The bedding we had told no one about! Danny and I stared at each other in awe, not really knowing what to say.
“Did you say anything about buying bedding?”
“Did YOU?”
“No. At least… DID I?”

After sputtering about it for a few minutes, we both came to the conclusion that we hadn’t breathed a word about it because talking about sheets is boring and neither of us are boring people, right? Right.

There were sheets for each of the older children, mattress pad protectors, and throws! It truly was magic! Our faces lit up much like the children’s on Main Street USA.
How did they know?

There was a book included that felt like it was written just for me to read to children who came FROM me… it’s a book that uses words to make awesome. I don’t know how else to describe it. I’m just happy it exists and that I know about it now.
It’s titled The Book With No Pictures:

Danny and I read it out loud on the spot and giggled, giggled, giggled. The giggling continued as we wrapped the presents and unwrapped the bag of Dove chocolates left by the Secret Santa.
The messages in the chocolates were as uncanny as the gifts themselves, and Danny and I were left with BIGGER hearts that day.


Still we wonder, “WHO?”
It was our second time being Secret Santa’d this year, and we were deeply touched at how specific and perfect it all turned out.

And so I ask in all sincerity without a hint of threat (because it could come out like that):

Who are you and how did you know?
Because of your gift, we were able to return the sheets we bought and give the money to the kids to pick out gifts for each other! It enriched our Christmas, and as a parent, my heart filled to the brim as I watched my kids snuggle up for the first night ever in fully made and outfitted BEDS. They love them and Lacy refused to get out of her bed the next day. I thought she was sick. She was just comfortable.
What’s more: they feel safer. Thank you, dear friend, whoever you are.

We will never forget you -and I want you to know that you did more than you think you did. We were blessed by your temporal gifts, but the emotional and spiritual uplift you sent will long outlast the sheets, the books, the throws, and the mattress pad protectors.
In fact, it already HAS outlasted the chocolate.

Merry Christmas to all.

A Pox on The 23rd

I have always hated the 23rd.
It’s the most useless, necessary day EVER. It serves no purpose, except to take up space before Christmas…

As a little girl, I remember staring at my face in the mirror and having the same feelings about the cheeks on my face. SPACE TAKER UPPERS! They didn’t smell or taste or hear or see… they just took up space. I needed them, to be sure, but they were frustratingly lazy. The 23rd is LAZY.

This day just slow-pokes itself along… it isn’t Christmas Eve, it isn’t Christmas, it’s just TWO LOUSY DAYS before Christmas. In the past, I’ve optimistically tried to give it a useful name like, “The Eve of Christmas Eve” but that just sounds dumb.
And it IS dumb.

I usually try to enjoy each day -each moment -as it comes, but today is just stupid. I’m impatient, and impatient people find the 23rd of December to be basically The Worst Idea in the History of the World. How do we even approach this day? Eat our way through it? Sleep our way through it? Movie marathon ourselves until we hate everything and everyone around us?! There’s always the option of shopping (which has the same effect as Movie Marathoning, ironically).
It’s too much to deal with.
I’m too excited, too impatient, and in an effort to power through today, I’m going to toss out a few options that think outside the Movie Marathon Box. We’ll get through today together.
I’m also going to throw in a few pictures of my family because.

#1) Facetime far-away friends and family who are also trying to just DEAL with today. (Steve? What time works best?)
#2) Master the art of Lotion Making with my 7 year old daughter who revealed her set in stone plans to own a boutique/antique store where she sells stuff she makes along side stuff that belongs to people who are no longer with us.

I have everything on hand -coconut oil, beeswax (bought:  Stakich 1 lb Pure Yellow BEESWAX Block – Craft Grade, Top Quality – because it saved me from grating, grating, grating), essential oils, jars… it’s going to be amazing. And messy. And fragrant.
#3) Go caroling and entertain other people who are basically doing good to just make it minute-to-minute today.
#4) Keep Christmas movies going in the background in an effort to WATCH THEM ALL AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE before Christmas goes away. My all-time favorites are found in this pretty bundle:

Christmas in Connecticut is non-optional. We’ll also been streaming, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (the cartoon -we’re proclaimed Seuss Purists), “A Christmas Story,” and our family favorite: ARTHUR CHRISTMAS!
We also haven’t been able to stop watching “While You Were Sleeping” and rewinding all the best parts. We can’t leave out “You’ve Got Mail” either.

#5) Wrap stuff.
#6) Clean stuff.
#7) Watch stuff that never fails to make me laugh so hard I cry.

#8) Watch stuff that never fails to touch me so deeply I cry.

#9) Cry, period. Because the 23rd is just… cry worthy.
#10) Tell the story of Lacy antique shopping with me. She had $2, and she selected two books -each one was $1. When the sweet shop owner rang her up, the total came to $2.18. Lacy looked up at me with the panic so familiar to me -the SHORT ON CASH panic.
“Just put the difference on my ticket,” I said, and went to hand her my stash of things I wanted to buy.
“No,” the owner put her hand out to stop me, “Let me teach her.”
My Mama Bear Instincts kicked into high gear. TEACH HER? Was she about to shame my daughter? Was she about to try and SCHOOL my daughter? I did a 2-second pep talk, readying myself to defend my daughter and save the world.
“Next time you go into an antique store,” the owner leaned over the counter to put herself at eye level with Lacy, “Ask the owner, ‘will you take less for this?’ Can you say that?”
“Can I pay less?” Lacy asked, timidly. The owner shook her bobbed hair, “No, no… Will you TAKE LESS for this?”
“Will you take less for this?” Lacy was half-hiding her face.
“Yes,” the owner took her place next to the cash register once more and handed her a new total: $1.95
We walked out of the store hand-in-hand, “Wow, that was NICE, huh, Mom?”
Nice, funny, festive. Lacy’s life seems to be one big mash-up of nice things.
Makes me glad to be part of the ride.

#10) Take a long, hot bath and get interrupted by a little baby stripping her PJs off and plopping herself in my water to confiscate my fancy tea mask.

#11) Do word searches with Trent because he has suddenly become the KING of the word search and amazed us all.
#12) Read stuff. I’m saving my list of Thing To Be Reading for after Christmas -because that’s the best time of all to be reading.
#13) Eat Stuff.
#14) Beat my impatience with a serenity stick. Do they sell those?

Operation Christmas Child Box -Delivery!

The past few months have been life changing for me… Just as I feel there truly isn’t a mortal word to describe the depth and span of God’s love for me, I believe there isn’t a mortal word for the gratitude I’ve felt.
I have a new motto: Do the next right thing. Trying to live my life in this way has brought me SO. MUCH. PEACE. I have been living a peace-starved life for much too long. Doing the next right thing has brought simplicity, serenity, and service into my life. More than anything -and this is surprising to me -it’s brought an acute awareness of JUST HOW MUCH GOD LOVES ME. In turn, this has brought an acute awareness of just how much He loves everyone. I see people differently. I spend less time objectifying people (cashier, parts delivery person, shopper, student…) and more time actually SEEING them: children of God, just like me.
This isn’t to say I do this perfectly. I don’t. Because doing the next right thing entails letting go of things I can’t handle or manage (other people, the future…) there are some days I FREAK OUT and try to manage and handle ALL OF THE THINGS, and I do. On those days, I don’t have peace or serenity, and I generally end up sleeping it off and trying again the next day.
It’s definitely a worthwhile process, but a painful one at that.

When Lacy came to me with an idea to give money to a sick child, I could feel it was The Next Right Thing. The pieces fell so naturally and seamlessly into place, completely VOID of the stress and pressure that comes with projects I CONTROL and MANAGE. God was in control of Operation Christmas Child Box.
As we went out shopping, we came across a donation canister that actually started the inspiration for Lacy’s project. I had the kids stand next to it so I could take a picture. Lacy was all about it. Trenton didn’t even make it into the frame, and then he went to pick his nose, and then he DID it. I caught it all, and I’m sharing it because when he’s 16, he needs to know that he picked his nose in public.

From the onset of Lacy’s inspiration to give Christmas to a family with a sick child, the project fell exactly into place. The money that God needed raised was raised. The family that God needed found was found, and I sat on the sidelines completely in AWE. What a miracle, what a LOUD manifestation of God’s love for EACH of His children!

Benny’s story isn’t the kind that makes all the front pages. It won’t show up on your news feed -he’s one of us: working each day to make it to the next day. His parents are trying to balance the worry of having a sick child with parenting and paying regular AND hospital bills. Their story isn’t broadcast anywhere.
Knowing that God is no respector of persons is peace-giving. God doesn’t care if you’re a celebrity or a politician or a mechanic or an accountant or black or white or orange (there’s an article about how we are all orange circulating). HE KNOWS about YOU.

I believe that Lacy and Benny came together to show THE REST OF US something God wants us to know, maybe more than He wants Benny to have dinosaur toys for Christmas…


Benny’s mom had no idea when she met us who we were or what had gone on for a few weeks… she didn’t know we had been praying for Benny and his family.
We were set to meet his family at an event put together by a giving organization called HopeKids. Benny was coming to a movie theater with his mom and two brothers, and we arrived before them.
Here’s Lacy with Lisa and Bridget -two of the directors of HopeKids in the Phoenix area:

As we prepared to meet Benny, my emotions were really starting to get the better of me. When that happens, I don’t have the luxury of being a sweet, tender crying lady. I’m the lady who is frequently asked if there’s been a death in the family when they see me in tears.
I just FEEL stuff, okay guys?
Benny’s mom was led to us, with her baby in a sling, a toddler holding her hand, and a small child running at her feet.
“What organization are you with?” She asked, looking at us, confused at what she’d just been told: that little Lacy had money set aside just for them.

How much money? $1,290! She raised it herself! Before leaving town, I found Lacy counting her money and putting it away. She tucked it all safely up in her duct tape wallet and it was DAR-LING:

I made sure the cash wad was transferred safely to a bank bag…

As Benny’s mom tried to wrap her mind around what was happening, I began ugly crying and asked my husband to please take over trying to explain to her what was going on, which was:

Lacy was given Secret Santa gifts in a big box.
Lacy wanted to take that same box and fill it full of gifts to give someone ELSE.
She knew there were sick kids, and she wanted to give it to them.
She prayed.
She made a donation box.
She collected donations.
She prayed about WHO to give her donations to.
With the help of friends, family, and a few non-profits, she was given a few names of sick children in need.
She prayed again.

She picked Benny.

We left Benny’s mom to go shopping, and we spent all afternoon loading our cart the likes of which would have made SANTA proud.

It was inspiring to watch Lacy’s dream unfold -to see God’s hand in life, to see a miracle unfolding in the aisles of Target and Sam’s Club. It was truly memorable. And adorable.

We let Lacy have the reigns with this project… riiiiiight up until we went shopping because a 7 year old with a thousand dollars is a force to be reckoned with. We helped guide her heart away from the gigantic piles of gigantic fake jeweled necklaces and more toward the board books.
We all wore red -worked as a little festive holiday team.

Stopping for the occasional loose-tooth battle:

As the day wound down, we drove ourselves back to a family party where our cousins joined us in their RED-ness. They formed the sweetest little Nativity and tied a gorgeous bow on the spirit of the miraculous day:

The next day, we turned Danny’s sister’s living room into WRAPPING CENTRAL! The kids ripped and wrapped and loved every minute of it…

for about an hour. Then they all checked out, except for the biggest elf of all. I woke up briefly from a nap to snap this picture:

Way to go, Dad.
He had one little elf that worked longer than the others (Thank you, Ryland!) and the wrapping turned out great.

Sunday night, we went to the Mesa Temple lights as a family:

And then we met up with Benny’s family once again to make the drop off! It is a memory I will NEVER forget, no never.

Benny’s family presented Lacy with a necklace she won’t take off, and we left with our hearts completely FILLED. We gathered in our car and said a prayer of gratitude, asking God to help us NEVER forget the feeling in our hearts at that very moment.
It truly, TRULY felt like Christmas.

Did we start a new tradition? Maybe. But maybe the new tradition is a simple, daily decision to just…
God will let us know what that is.

When I met up with Benny’s mom a second time, she confessed that her family had been praying for help -praying for God to make himself known. Then I shared my side of the coin: how for the FIRST time in my life, I’d heard in my heart the prayer of a family in need, the prayer of a family with a sick child. Although their prayer was a quiet one on their side, it was LOUD in Heaven, and I HEARD IT. God let me hear it. I had heard the prayers of Benny’s parents.
God knows you personally, and He is THERE, ALIVE, and AT WORK. Let Him.

As the remnants of a meteor shower fell all around us while we drove back to Northern Arizona that night, I was wrapped in the Savior’s loving arms… the words, “All is calm, all is bright” filled my soul, knowing that Heavenly Peace had just come to life in my own life.

I’m sharing Benny’s mother’s words of her own experience, and that will conclude this post: my Christmas greeting to you.

Three weeks ago Lionel and I got on our knees and prayed for a miracle. We asked God for help emotionally and financially. The next day God answered our prayers through our family that gathered money and groceries that we desperately needed. And within the next few days we were given a washer and dryer, which couldn’t have come at a better time! Little did we know that the night we prayed for help God picked a little girl to answer our prayers. Three weeks ago God touched her heart and gave her a desire to help a sick child in need. She didn’t know her angel would be Benny and we didn’t know our angel would be Lacy. God knew. Lacy is a 7 year old girl who was able to raise over $1,000 in just two weeks! She prayed and asked God to send the perfect fit for her project. She chose Benny Boots and our family to help. We were able to meet Lacy and her amazing family with the help of HopeKids. We cannot thank Lacy and her family enough for their incredible gift. God bless you and Merry Christmas!!

Bright Spot

My computer died and my phone is pretty much FULL of media and apps… meaning when it  decides to work right, it does so at a very safe and comfortable pace. Slow and steady, as my Mama always said.
While my computer sleeps and my phone walks itself to the Mobile Rest Home, I’m kind of bursting. The awesome thing about living in the computer age is I can write things out as fast as they pop into my head. I’m constantly composing in my head -not because I MEAN to but because I was born that way, and I have scribbled up notebooks from the 3rd grade on up to my 3rd child. It’s a LOT of words. Lots of words all over. If I don’t get them OUT of my head, I start driving everyone crazy. My lap top has been everyone’s saving grace, so you can imagine how desperate we all are to get it back up and running.

I have THREE blog posts to write that require my home computer to be functioning.
The first I’m most eager to write about is a report on Operation Christmas Child Box -it is by far the most meaningful and important post I think I’ll ever write, and I’m DYING to get it out.
The second is a great post about a great friend and great woman who lives a few miles from me. She is a WWII survivor, and I can’t wait to share her life and story (and Dutch recipes) with you -she’s granted me permission!
The third is stock full of funny stories from my children who regularly make me question my capabilities as not just a mother but a MORTAL. They ask so many questions. I have no answers. I look in the mirror and wonder why there isn’t a 30-year degree required before raising kids.

In the meantime (and I’m seriously tempted to go to Wal-Mart and BUY a little computer to tide me over -that’s how desperate she gets now), I wanted to at least share something that made my day yesterday.
As a Christmas gift, my sister in law gave me a Mason jar full of beauty supply samples. I took a rare quiet hour yesterday morning and used a few of them while listening to BYU TV’s documentary on The Messiah which is SPECTACULAR.

My hair is my THING. I’m not implying I’m good with hair. I’m actually really NOT, but if my hair looks good, I feel so much better. For some women, it’s their nails or their outfit or shoes. But me? It’s my hair.
Because I haven’t been to a salon in well over a year, it’s looking pretty ratty. Does the new smalltalk “ratchet” apply here? I just don’t know…

I’ve been either straightening it to hide it’s deadness or twisting it up behind my head to hide it’s rattiness. I haven’t curled it in a very long time. Yesterday I fished out one of the samples my sister in law gave me. It had two words on it, “Straight” and “Blow Dry”, and I went, “hey! It’s a HIDE THE DEADNESS day!” and slathered it through my hair.
It smelled good. It smelled like a WOMAN which really did something for me -and if you ever have three kids, two dogs and work at a mechanic shop, you’ll understand what that means…
I dried my hair and started to feel just how heavy my hair wasn’t. I really PUT that stuff in my hair, and it seemed like the more I blow dried, the less it seemed to weigh. My hair started to OBEY me. It really made me feel powerful which really did something for me -and if you ever have three kids, two dogs, and work at a mechanic shop, you’ll understand what that means…

I dusted off my curling iron and put it to work. A few minutes later, my hair looked ALIVE and HEALTHY. And it smelled GOOD! I took the whole thing up a notch and applied a full range of make-up products on my face. Again, this is all really DID things for me.

I took more selfies yesterday than I think I’ve ever taken in one day… like 7. Seriously. I walked out of my house right INTO the rain and my heart dropped a little… maybe I’d just wasted a good hair product?
I took this picture at work after I’d walked through a few drizzles:

I took another picture at lunch time, and then promptly asked my husband on an afternoon date to go Christmas shopping because I had no idea how long The Curl would WIN over The Frizz, and I wanted to wear the curl as many places as possible before it died.
Which I was sure it would.

But it didn’t! I couldn’t believe it. I took my hair through the rain, the humidity, the shopping center, my house (three kids, two dogs…) work, errands, and right before bed it looked like this:

Given the state of my very tired and dead ends, I could not believe it. Imagine what could happen on a freshly trimmed head of hair?! Oh, I swoon.
And to make everything better, the hippie in me is pacified in the products lack of FILLER CRAP (meaning there’s no formaldehyde and parabens) which admittedly keep me from buying beauty products on a regular basis, mostly because I once grew skin tags on my face after regularly using skin care products. I now oil cleanse and use make-up sparingly and actually killed the skin tags with Oregano Essential Oil (feeeeel the burn).

It’s a Bumble and Bumble Product, and I think Santa will slip it under my tree… I mean, if he shops at Amazon.
And he does.
I mean, the elves have GOT to be using this stuff! What, with all that snow.
Check it out HERE.


*This is my very fist post with an affiliate link!  I wanted to tell you about this product because I fell deep in love, and I got to thinking how often I fall deep in love and give out free advertising… so maybe I should try the unfree kind.  Watch out, world, I’m stepping out into advertising with baby deer wobbly legs.

December 11th

December 11th is here. It never passes by without NOT being here, and I never seem to forget that it’s coming. Dates, you know, can be damming things.

It’s the due date of my first pregnancy. I don’t cry when it comes around. I don’t really even mourn anymore… I just remember it. I get suddenly pensive and still in the middle of the Christmas season and I think of mothers who have lost pregnancies. I think of how misunderstood the whole process can be, how many painful things were said by loving, well-intentioned people.

Miscarrying taught me a lot.
I was really young -only 20. I had a lot to learn then, and I have a lot to learn now. Learning is the purpose of life -it’s the part I take with me when I die.
And I learned then that words don’t really help. More often than not, words HURT. I learned that when people are hurting -no matter if that hurt is about a mean word said, a loss, or depression -don’t use any words that aren’t in the script. The script being: I love you, I’m sorry, thanks for sharing that with me, here’s some chocolate.

Don’t tell me time will heal or talk to me about God’s plan.
Don’t give me books or talks or scriptures.
Don’t begin any sentences with, “At least” or “On the bright side…”

I know you want to love me in my pain. And you’re right! LOVE is what I need! But love can be given without explanation. It can be expressed in an embrace, in an empathetic tear.

I already “knew” what everyone was saying… that the baby wasn’t developing properly, that miscarriage is common, that I would feel better in time. I found quickly that I didn’t want to SPEAK TO or SEE ANYONE who hadn’t miscarried. Because THEY KNEW. THEY KNEW! More than the pain of going through the loss -a loss that felt largely like trying to grab at smoke to describe -they knew how misunderstood that loss is. It’s incredible how our life experiences help us BE THERE in ways others just can’t. It’s also amazing how I never understood that before. People who have miscarried need people who have miscarried for support. We all need support. The only thing our souls need more than a validating, “I hear ya” is God himself.

Today I just want to say that it’s December 11th and I’ll never forget December 11th.

I know the holidays can be beautiful and lovely, but I also know that there are people feeling loss at this time, and I hope when I see them I’ll be able to stick to the script.

I also want to say that I never expected 8 eight years ago that today I’d be gearing up to celebrate a baby’s birthday on December 12th. We’ve already had one cake and ice cream bash.
I got the cake design on Pinterest. Simplicity is the new Coordinating Party Decor with Cake and Outfits and Photo Booths and Cake Pops and Homemade Fondant Glitter Streamers and Centerpieces.
Okay, truthfully the only thing homemade about the whole thing was the frosting.
And the pink sprinkles DO coordinate with the white frosting nicely.

Later that night, I found her sitting at the table in dim lighting placing the blown out candles back on the cake and softly cooing, “Hatty Birrday do you… hatty birrday do you…” and mock-blowing the candles out. It was really sweet.
I watched on, munching on some late night turkey stew.
“Want a bite?” I offered.
“NO!” She’s two. We hear “no” a lot. And then she -I exaggerate not -threw her face into the cake and came up with frosting up her nostrils.

Is the world ready for this two year old?

Yesterday I got to stay home with a little 7 year old with a croaky voice (“SCRATCHY, Mom. It’s scratchy”) and so my day consisted of crocheting and drinking tea and reading books to my baby and burning wooden spoons and making lotion bars.
And at the end of the day (which fell apart, as most days with young children do, promptly at 4 pm) I was grateful. I miss staying home 100% of the time. I was truly awesome at not socializing.

Alice doesn’t care about germs. She only cares about the awesomeness of having MOM AND LACY with her in the morning hours.

Okay, mostly just Lacy

My two girls: one born on December 12th and the other on January 11th. They remind me of hope… they remind me of God, keep me humble and have even been known to guilelessly “bless you!” after I rudely belch.

Happy December 11th.

Operation Christmas Child Box Update: We Have a Family!

Yesterday, I received a phone call from Lisa at Hope Kids. I had talked with her on Friday about matching our project up with a family she works with. She promised to pray about it and call me back on Monday. Monday evening, my phone rang and Lisa said the words I’d been dying to hear all day, “I think we have a family for you.”
She told me about Benny, a two year old with a form of eye cancer. At his last scan a few days ago, Benny was cleared: cancer-free!

He has a 4-year old big brother and an infant little brother.

I thanked her, hung up, searched for his picture on facebook and then asked Lacy to pray about whether this family was THE family. This morning she told me first thing, “That’s them, Mom. I feel warm about it.”

As I thought about Benny last night, I thought about God’s love for all of us… EACH of us, no matter who we are, where we are, how much money happens to be in our bank account, or what color of skin, clothes, and make-up we sport.

There are louder stories -stories of children weeks from earning their angel wings. Thank goodness those are being talked about. Thank goodness for social media where we can donate and support those we’ve never met! Benny’s story isn’t so loud. It’s quiet. His story isn’t making headlines or taking social media by storm. It’s our story: the story of a family working each day to simply make it to the next day.
Does God know about US? Does God see us doing dishes and pulling out of the Drive Thru line for the third time that week? Does he see our seemingly small lives?

Benny is proof that HE DOES. Benny will spend the holidays with his family this year and, God willing, every year! He will run and jump and play basketball and video games! He will get into trouble and out of trouble (I mean, he has TWO brothers… so it’s inevitable). He has a bright future ahead of him.

But what about today? What about this very moment -the moment when the outgoing outweighs in the incoming. Mom is emotionally, physically, financially, socially and spiritually SPENT. There is nothing left. What then? GOD THEN.

A little heavenly tap on a shoulder somewhere. In Benny’s case, that shoulder was Lacy’s. Benny doesn’t know Lacy yet, but he will. He doesn’t know Alice yet, but he will. He doesn’t know that Trenton is already coming up with a list of things he JUST MUST HAVE, but he’ll soon have them.

We don’t know much more about this family, but we will.
We don’t know much about them, but somehow their quiet fight IS our story.

At this counting, Lacy has $1,079!
“I want to get them gifts,” she said, “And give the leftover money to them.”
She also has quite a lot of donated toys! She has a team just WAITING to sift through and process the toys! Benny and his family will receive the toys that will benefit their family with THREE boys. The rest of the toys will be lovingly collected and sent to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
To those of you wanting to know more about THE family to buy specific gifts for them, here it is:

There’s Mom and Dad and three little boys (4, 2, and an infant -six monthsish). Aren’t those the BEST ages?! You can basically buy ANYthing, and it will be the most awesome gift ever. I know. I’ve had four and two year olds before!
I’m thinking Mom need a pedicure and a date night.
Any other ideas?

In our quest to find THE family, we came across several stories. I’ll post one here for you, in case you feel one of those heavenly *tap tap*s.

Here’s a more local family -they’re in Phoenix Children’s right now, but there are members of the family in Show Low, AZ:
Baby Ethan

There were a few more, but I’m struggling to track them down!

Merry Christmas, and really -THANK YOU for supporting Lacy through all of this.  I wish my computer were working so she could post a few words of her own.  This has been a blessing in our lives in SO very many ways!


A few months ago over the summer, I gathered my kids into my bedroom.  I lit a candle.  I talked about sharing light and read some scriptures.  I had the kids help me and one by one, we lit the candles in my room (there were about 20).  As the light in the room grew brighter, Lacy gushed, “THIS IS JUST LIKE HEAVEN!”

Since that night, we started asking the kids at the dinner table, “How did you share your light today?”

LIGHT has sort of naturally become our theme right now.  Sharing it, feeling it, loving it…

How do YOU share your light?

A Tribute For Each Child

NOTE: I started this post before Lacy’s Operation Christmas Child Box Project took off and I only just sat down to finish the post off this morning.  If you only want an update on the project, scroll down until you see a picture of her sweet face!


When I start thinking of a post to write, I generally have a format come to mind -a theme, or a certain caption for a picture. Blogging, for me, starts away from the computer. Today as my mind began to fill with what today’s post would be, I found THREE posts kind of composing themselves in my head: one for each child. So I’m throwing them all together today so that my blog will really resemble my life: three kids all thrown together with a bunch of pictures, a few laughs, some inspiration, and a dose of authenticity.
We’re going youngest to oldest today.

“Toddler Calling Cards” a post about Alice Michelle
Everything about these pictures just says, “Hi, I’m Alice. I’m almost two, and I have BEEN HERE.”

Where do you keep YOUR toilet paper?

I know what you’re wondering so I’ll just say it: PERMANENT.

But at least I got to finish a phone conversation.

I had to shoot that at an angle to get my “prittee!” bow, and then I realized after taking it that…

It’s crazy how much we matchy-match.
Speaking of matchy-match:

Even when she doesn’t feel good, she’s still on the top of my favorites list.

Next up? TRENTON
First of all, it needs to here be announced (are you paying attention, Grandma?) that Trenton has passed off his pink and purple heart words and is now moving onto YELLOW heart words!

And he has two loose teeth which means he’s growing up.

He came home that day and was just SUCH a poop.  Is it okay to say that about your kid?  Because he was.  He demanded lunch and stomped his feet when I told him I needed to go to the bathroom first.  He threw and ALL OUT YELLING FUSSING FIT when I told him I was serving turkey and stuffing for lunch… I sent him to BED.  When he came out, his craptastic behavior continued, so I took a deep breath and then said, “Sometimes when we think too much about ourselves, we start to get really grouchy and have a hard time.  Your behavior is NOT okay.  Take a paper and make a list of THREE nice things you can do for other people.”

Here it is:

#1) Clean my room
#2) Rub Mom’s back
#3) Clean the living room

Genius list.
Speaking of genius… he created what I like to call Arizona Snowman. These are the kinds of snowmen that come about when it’s too cold to play outside but there’s no snow to be found.

Trent is SUPER GOOD at creating things, building things, finding gadgets and marrying them to other gadgets. And putting stickers all over his face, apparently.

Today, Trenton turned in his Thanksgiving packet at school -he really focuses on his homework, and he strives to be EXTRA NEAT. Follow through hasn’t really been his strength (because he’s SIX and hasn’t had time to devote here), so it’s fun to see him keep promises he makes to teachers at school. He also kept a promise he made to his teacher at church… leaving a “Secret Service” badge around the house. In this case, he’d done dishes…

While Lacy has kept him busy helping her with “Operation Christmas Child Box”, he has started his own sort of project… to make cards for Addie. He has made three cards so far, and it looks like we’ll be mailing off a package to Addie’s family... I think we’ll probably add a little gift. Bubbles? Lip gloss?


Yesterday, we set her tree up at the community center, and minutes after her goal was met we settled in together and watched the LDS Church Devotional. It was perfectly timed, and tears came to my eyes for all the right reasons.

This also brought tears for all the right reasons:

And this:

And this:

The tree is up at the community center! #operationchristmaschildbox #Christmas #charity

A photo posted by Alicia Deets (@eashygayle) on


Lacy’s tree is up at the Community Center and it looks SO GOOD! I have an entire SLEW of pictures to post -my computer is still on the fritz which is giving me a nervous twitch. I truly hate not being able to write when I feel the urge. Santa Baby, will you fix my computer on Christmas Eve Night?


UPDATE: Operation Christmas Child Box

After posting our last update, my computer decided it didn’t want to participate in my life anymore… apparently, I’m too much for it and it set a boundary -loud and clear.

We have quite a lot to update. No message or video from Lacy, unfortunately. Take it up with my computer. As I said, it’s not speaking to me anymore (drama, drama, drama…)

First, in FOUR days, Lacy has raised EIGHT HUNDRED AND SEVENTY DOLLARS.
She gathered her team together to work on the donation envelopes for her donation tree she will be setting up at the Marc Center on Main Street in Joseph City. They cut and punched holes and tied curling ribbon and giggled, giggled, giggled.

It’s been incredible to watch the outpouring of support coming Lacy’s way. Lacy is rolling naturally with it -giving is one of her NATURAL gifts. She is perceptive, and it’s a blessing in my life to watch her gift blossoming. We’re headed into town to buy her a few supplies for the cause, and gosh dang it ALL if our entire family isn’t on a high.

What a beautiful season this is turning out to be for us.

For the first time in my life, I’ve been privileged to FEEL the prayers of a family in need. I can FEEL it. I can almost *almost* HEAR the prayers of a family with a child in Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I don’t know who they are, but I know they’re praying desperately because they have NO IDEA how they are going to DO CHRISTMAS this year.

This is where you come in, my sweet Arizona friends -can you help us? Can you help us find this family? God wants us to find them, and I know we will. I have full faith that He will guide Lacy to whoever is pouring their tears into their holiday prayers.

Please share this post and my contact info with ANYONE who knows of a family in need in Phoenix Children’s Hospital. There are privacy laws in the hospital, but the unwritten privacy laws in friends and family are a little… looser. Family is allowed to reach out to us and say, “My grandson is confined to the hospital this year and there’s no extra money for gifts.”
Send a picture so we can pray for and about these children!

If you feel so inspired, reach out our way! We need to have a family selected by next Wednesday (the 10th). I do realize the hospital itself has a sponsoring system set up, but I feel like God wants us to reach a little deeper this year.

Can you join Lacy’s Helpful Hearts Team? It pays in natural highs (that are actually very addicting).

Email Lacy with info at:

Please share this post -there’s a family out there that God wants found!

Lacy’s Go Fund Me Page:

Update: Operation Christmas Child Box

Hi my name is Lacy Deets.THANKYOU SOOOOOOOO much!!! I have so much mony.I have $445!!! I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!This is the best thing in my
Life.If you guys want to see what I look like go to GOFUNEDME.COM/i1iW6S
.I love having you help me. YOU are the BEST
I have a team.And they help me starting tommorow.By the way… THANKYOU FOR EVREYTHING YOU DO!!!I LOVE YOU YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(She made sure to let me know she added a bunch of things that show you REALLY mean it at the end of her message.  Haha)

God is good. Did you know that?

I’m finding out more and more that God’s will is carried out in spite of me. I woke up this morning and had my day mapped out: work, pick up my son from school, thaw turkey to make dinner, finish blog post during rest time, teach piano… when I arrived at work, all of that changed. My husband’s employer asked for a flyer for Lacy’s project, so I googled “how to make a flyer.”

I sent it to my husband and then posted it on facebook casually. My feed exploded. My phone went off.

A few days ago, I said to my daughter who had so confidently set her goal at $1,000, “Even if you only get $20, that’s enough to buy a stocking and fill it with fun things!” She nodded eagerly, and then God proceeded to teach me a very valuable lesson about believing in your children when they are following their precious little guts. Her online donations, as she said, are at $445, but her cash donations bump that figure up a hearty $150… she has a box full of toy donations, donated gear to decorate a Donation Tree at the upcoming community tree festival, and she is over HALF WAY to her goal tonight!

As the flyer spread and word about her online fund got out, I created an instagram account to help facilitate The Good Tidings, but I’m learning it’s pretty ineffectual in my hands, seeing as I am to Instagram what Lyle is to shotgun.

My day that I had somewhat mapped out in my head slipped away from me, but something about it just felt so natural… I didn’t even have TIME to stress about dinner before a dear friend dropped in and left a juicy rotisserie chicken on my table. I didn’t even have a chance to worry about the dishes before an out of town friend stopped by and DID them.
How do I know such amazing people?
How did I get to be so blessed?
They didn’t even KNOW my day was full! They just followed their own guts and God led them here.

I looked over her list of donors, and there are so many of you who are my blog readers. I know this! I know this because I don’t have many blog readers! SO I KNOW WHO YOU ARE! I can’t tell you how much I’ve thought of you today and how grateful I am to know such truly GOOD people. I love my small blog like I love my small town. I feel almost as if there’s a small town within my blog: a community of readers with big hearts.

“Lacy,” I said to my daughter, “You have a lot on your hands and you could probably use a team…”
She is recruiting a very determined militia, you guys. We have a team of NINE.
“What are you going to name your team? Something like… Lacy’s League? or ELF SQUAD?”
“How about The Helpful Hands Team?”
“Where did you come up with that name?” I asked, thinking she skimmed it off a family-friendly movie (of which we have seen our share and your share and probably Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s share).
“Um, because my HEART,” she paused for emphasis and to point at her heart, “is HELPFUL.” She spoke slowly so as not to confuse the ignorant.

Helpful Hearts Team it is! I’m getting them all little t-shirts -a small reminder of their BIG offering.

I believe that Lacy is making a difference not just because she’s choosing to help a family who, I am CERTAIN, is praying for help tonight… but because as her light is shared on social media, it’s bringing HOPE.
Reading about her cause and her excitement is a gift, I think. It sort of sparks a light in everyone who chances to read it, even if they don’t know Lacy. They see hope in youth, they’re reminded of their own youth, their holiday soul-fire is ignited and nurtured.

Thank you, God, for letting us know loud and clear that this project is what NEEDS to happen. It isn’t something Lacy took on to prove anything or earn anything. It isn’t something I took on as a teaching tool for my children and then immediately felt self-imposed pressure to get the word out… overwhelmed at the idea of making it happen. No, it’s nothing like that at all. The sharing has come about at your hands, through your mortal angels, almost effortlessly.  The support, the donations, the love, the ideas, the absolute HAPPENING OF IT ALL is because YOU -my precious Father in Heaven -are GOOD. AND WISE.
This is important for me to remember when I start believing -as I tend to do -that I KNOW BETTER and my way is THE way.

I’m grateful tonight that my ways are not thy ways, that my thoughts are not your thoughts.
I’m grateful tonight for blog readers -my tight-knit community who, when their collective hearts are thrown into the arena, produce miracles.
I’m grateful for my children.

Today has been a day -one of those marked, blessed days that I’ve come to truly cherish when they stop to say hello -where there are no mortal words sufficient to crown it with, only deep emotion and a few photos to remember it by.