My ulcer meds are like these chalky magic pills that I choke on but save my life. I went from three weeks of debilitating nausea to RIGHT AS RAIN within two doses. It couldn’t have come at a better time than right before a 10-hour car ride to my best friend’s house in Roy, Utah.

We borrowed my parent’s new van because it has a DVD player inside of it.
Also, the driver side door opens… so there’s that huge plus.

The kids were total champs on the drive over, and Danny and I remarked several times over how other parents are deprived and how sad that is. We’re talking… the baby didn’t even FUSS until we were in the home stretch ON THE WAY HOME. As in: after nearly 20 hours in the car, she finally lost it on hour 19.
Three little champs, all in a row.

We stopped at Glen Canyon Dam to let them run around.
“Stop all those Dam giggles,” I said. Which only made them giggle more which was the point.
Danny is afraid of heights, so we cheered for him as he walked the bridge.
Because he’s mine, he walked the line. And we all clapped for Dad.
We got back on the road after getting our wiggles out in the visitor’s center. I got out wiggles I didn’t even know I had by chasing The One Who Cried at Hour 19:
We ended up behind Minnie Winnie, and I did my best baby voice, “Aw, wook at da widdle Minnie Winnie, is so cute!” We taunted Minnie Winnie behind her back for going so slow, and then discovered that Minnie Winnie was driving behind her twin. This only brought on more taunting.
We taunted as we passed them.
But the joke was on us. We pulled into Kanab and were somehow BEHIND THE TWINS. How did that even HAPPEN?
We rolled into Utah SO LATE (and losing an hour to Daylight Savings Time didn’t help!), crashing hard at my friend Tia’s house. The next morning, we got up (SLOWLY) and then spent the day at Temple Square. My brother, Steven, joined us for a tour of the Conference Center and a look around the Tabernacle.
“Are we all related?” our tour guide, Leon, asked.
“Yep!” I said, “This is my husband, my kids, and my brother, Steve.” It was a glorious narcissistic moment for me.
As we stood outside the Salt Lake Temple at the reflection pool, Lacy asked, “Do some people call this… Holy Water?”
The kids tried to take naps on the skylights on the roof of the Conference Center.
They were running test on the lights in the Tabernacle, and we sat and enjoyed it for a few minutes. Sitting is such a luxury when you’re chasing Alice Michelle. She ran around the benches in the Tabernacle saying, “Want Nursery.” I can respect that. I mean, this church is HUGE and INCREDIBLE. Can you even imagine what the nursery in it might look like?
Steve went with us to the Visitor’s Center before heading back home and kindly snapped a picture of us… we miss him already.
And though we didn’t find a nursery in the Tabernacle, we did stumble on a kids’ play place by the Family History Center. The kids played for over an hour with dress up clothes, paper crafts… Alice staked her claim on a baby buggy and no one else was allowed near it -ESPECIALLY not the little girl who had left it a few minutes after we arrived and who tried to come back 40 minutes later. Alice ran her buggy into the corner farthest from the OTHER mother. She had to protect what was hers, you know.
There was a really cool photo back drop, and the kids had the Family History Folks take a few snapshots of them. They asked us to hop in for one, so we did. But my favorite is the one with the Proper Pilgrim and The Kid Wearing a Kimono and Sombrero.
I didn’t realize while they were snapping that picture that Alice was furiously dressing herself to join, so when we found her of course we had to take another. And another.
“I’m Calamity Jane!” she shouted out.
She did NOT want to get out of those clothes.
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We strolled over to The Lion House for a bite to eat, and I think the kids enjoyed that more than anything. They had Jell-o, so they win.

After eating, we shopped around Deseret Book and met up with Danny’s MTC companion and his family. I didn’t take any pictures and I’m so mad about that! We love meeting up with them and their kids are so fun. We took them to the food court at City Creek Mall and the kids were bummed when the Mall Cop kicked them out of the play place.
One of the kiddos tried bribing the cop with a stick of gum to let him back in. He didn’t waver. He had some pretty flinty integrity, that one.
We walked back through Temple Square on our way to the parking garage and snapped a few more pictures.
The kids crashed hard after a 9 hour day.
“Did you learn anything new?” I asked them as we drove away.
“No,” Lacy sighed, “Wait… that my feet will hurt after walking in my boots ALLLLLL day.”
Fair enough!
The next day was my sister’s sealing, luncheon and reception. Another BIG day! We’ll save it all for another post.

The Best and Worst of Times

What a difference a day makes.


This last week has been intense for so many reasons. I’ve been sick for a few weeks -I’d chalked it up to having my gall bladder removed last summer and tried to go merrily on my way, but it wasn’t working out so well. I was REALLY tired, napping every day. I had some severe gasto issues to go along with, and after I felt the gastro pain radiating to my back, I decided to call the Dr.
I was scheduled to leave the state a few days later and I wanted to make sure I didn’t have something rupturing inside, or something. The Dr. couldn’t see me until the following day, so I went ahead with my day.
It was Tuesday. Weeks before, I’d signed up to chaperon my 2nd grader’s class for their pool play day to celebrate the end of the school year.
I don’t like water.
But I do like Lacy, so when she asked so sincerely and eagerly if I’d come along, I agreed. After all, how many more years will she BEG me to be with her on school trips?
I wearily came home from work, clutching my stomach and wanting only my warm, welcoming bed. I rested for a few blissful minutes while my brother, Jim, spent his lunch break teaching Trenton how to play Pokemon.
I grinned as I loaded the kids up in the truck to play in the pool. Those BOOTS.

When I got to the pool, I realized all of the other chaperons had left their smaller children with sitters. I hadn’t even thought of that! I’ve been so sick, just doing my best to get by. But we were there and we were ready to swim, so I plopped us all in the pool together.
But remember -I don’t like water.
And I was sick.
I kept an eye out for the kids, wading around the shallow end. I kept a close eye on my older two because their swimming skills are only just starting to develop, and I know Trent gets anxiety pretty bad when he doesn’t feel safe.
He kept clinging to me, trying to use me as a flotation device.
“Son,” I’d say, prying his hands off my arm, “It’s okay. You’re taller than the shallow end. And I’m RIGHT HERE.”
We’d been swimming for about 20 minutes, and I was ready to go home. I wanted to be more ALL ABOUT it, but I was so sick…
“Do you know how much longer this is going on?” I asked a mother next to me.
“Until 3:10,” she said and added, “I don’t have my glasses on. What time is it?”
“1:15,” I sighed. And I’m so glad we had that tiny conversation and that we looked at the time because one minute later, Trent was at my side again. His grip was fierce.
“Mom,” he muttered.
“Trent, you’re hurting me…” and then someone screamed. Was it my daughter? I looked at my toddler and then at my daughter who was by my side, but Trent’s grip became tighter.
“Trent!” I looked down… his eyes were wide, he was staring straight forward at nothing. He was gone, just gone… no response, nothing there. His eyes wide. He began falling forward into the pool. I was stunned. The mother next to me took Alice and I got Trenton to the side as fast as possible.
He wasn’t responding to me and as the pool manager took him from me, I watched him stare at nothing. I pulled myself out of the pool and watched Trenton turn white, his lips turn blue. Two women began CPR, chest compressions, rescue breathing… I scrambled to find my phone and get my husband to the pool.
Trenton was clenched tightly -so stiff.
I tried to form words to tell my husband he needed come to the pool. He couldn’t understand me, couldn’t grasp the words but entirely felt the meaning of the panic in my voice.
I finally pulled a, “GET. TO. THE. POOL. NOW.” out and then dropped my phone onto the lifeguard stand.
Watching him on the pool floor was surreal… his entire body was tense, he wasn’t breathing. I felt completely helpless, terror racing through my veins.
Could that really be my son? The one I grew inside of me?
I prayed the prayer a thousand mothers have prayed a thousand times before -nothing but the words, “Dear God, dear God, dear God…” no further thought could form. Tears raced down my cheeks, and I felt an underlying awareness of the mob of scared children around me. I knew I needed to calm down, but there’s no function in my brain to plug that information into action when I’m in fight and flight and freeze mode all at once.
After what felt like years but later turned out to be about 15 entire seconds, Trenton took one of the most beautiful, blessed breaths Mother Earth EVER offered up.
Within minutes, the pool side was flooded with first responders: EMT, fire, police.
Trenton’s eyes were rolling back into his head. He wanted to sleep. I couldn’t handle him sleeping even for a second.
I called out to him to wake him up. He was confused, tired, dazed… too lethargic to be scared.
I stood next to my husband’s co-worker and asked obvious questions, simply needing someone official-looking to reassure me.
“He looks better, right? His color?”
“Yes, he does.”
“They’ll tell us at the hospital what happened, right? If it was a seizure?”
“Yes, they will…”

Where was my Alice? My Lacy? I glanced around the pool and saw a mother carrying my baby. My daughter was brought to my side, she was inconsolable.
“Let’s get you dressed,” I said, so grateful to have SOMETHING to do because I wasn’t able to help Trenton at all.
I held a towel up for her to change and my old business teacher came to my side. She helped hold a towel up for Lacy while I dove into Danny’s kevlar vest and let out a lifetime’s worth of scared tears.
My sweet teacher took Lacy to my mother’s house, and a good friend followed with Alice a few minutes later.

I went to Trent’s side where he was more aware. His bottom lip began quivering. Because he had complained of neck pain, they stabilized his neck and strapped him down. I climbed into the ambulance with him, dripping wet.

As the EMT prepared to insert an IV, I talked to Trent about Iron Man -he needed to stick a bunch of metal in his chest so he could be healthy… now it’s Trent’s turn.
His bottom lip shook, he cried and I cried because hearing HIM cry was remarkably beautiful.
Once his IV was in, I coaxed him to tell me about his Pokemon. I looked out the window and saw my husband following behind us in his unit.
I continued my prayer, “Dear God, dear God…”
I took a picture of Trent to show him, “You look like a mummy, do you want to see?” The picture brought the first smile I’d seen since we left our house that morning.

The hospital ran tests, gave us both warm blankets. The nurses fussed over Trent.
What do you remember?
How do you feel?
Are you cold?
Do you need anything?
Just push this button and we will be RIGHT HERE.

“So,” Trent looked tiredly around him, “I’m like the master of this whole entire room?”
“Pretty much,” I told him.

They put him in dry clothes, I changed into some dry clothes I’d haphazardly thrown into a bag on my way to the pool. I crawled into the bed with Trent and smelled him, hugged him, and hated not holding him.
They came in to draw blood and had trouble finding a vein. Usually I can handle one of my kids crying over something like a shot, a blood draw… because I know it’s GOOD for them, but that day I hunkered down in the corner and just bawled.
My nerves were shot and I couldn’t handle him hurting anymore.

All of his tests came back good -no brain tumors, no water in his lungs. His blood sugar was 104.
He continued to tell the nurses he couldn’t stay.
“I need to graduate tomorrow,” he explained.

As shift change came, his nurse asked if she could kiss his forehead -she’d assured him beforehand that she was a grandmother.
“No,” he shook his head and compromised with a high five.
She walked out and I asked why he hadn’t allowed her to kiss him.
“Because that’s disgusting,” he explained.
“But she’s a GRANDMA,” I reasoned.
“She’s not MY grandma.”
Game, set, match.
Once he was settled in a proper hospital bed, he scarfed down two corn dogs and a slushie. I ate a salad, my nausea hadn’t subsided all day and I later found out the salad was a poor choice.
A REALLY poor choice.

I curled up in bed with Trent and we fell asleep together while Danny went to bring Trent’s sisters to him.

Alice insisted that Lacy needed a check up too.

A crew came in to draw more blood, and I had hit my limit with how much pain I could listen to. The girls and I sat outside the room while he screamed and cried, and then we went in and said goodnight.
I had to go home because I had my own appointment the next morning.
I slept in our old recliner in the living room, Alice under my arm. Lacy stayed close by on the couch. My sleep was fitful and filled with weird, vivid dreams. After only a few hours of sleep I was up for good. Alice was too. I opened my fridge to find that while we were gone yesterday, someone had put a gluten-free kid-friendly dinner in my fridge! I cried MORE tears and sent up a different prayer, “Thank God, thank God, thank God…”

I made it to the Dr and was given a diagnosis: ulcers.
Who, stressed? Me?
Yeah, that sounds about right…

Danny texted me a picture of my son after he’d had his LAST blood draw during which he flinched but didn’t cry. #oldpro

And a short hour later, I had my son back with me. We took him to Wal-Mart to shop for his GRADUATION PARTY that night, and the whole thing felt surreal.
Did that actually happen?
We weren’t even given an official diagnosis -the doctors felt Trenton might have fainted or perhaps hit his head without us seeing it.
We bought doughnuts and chocolate milk and I sent out a text inviting people to his graduation and his party -something I should have done weeks before but the ulcers stole my brain powers.
He had even made his own announcement:

Danny took Trenton for a hair cut and I prepared his little shin dig. Calls came in from Trent’s teacher, his principal, neighbors, family and friends. He’s a much loved little man.
Lacy said, “When I was watching him turn all those colors at the pool, something told me that maybe I should have been being nicer to him. What do you think that was, Mom? My own conscious or the Spirit?” I told her I couldn’t know for sure, but I DID know she’d figure it out.
Lacy was really affected deeply by the entire incident. Before sending Alice to my mother’s, I asked her, “Are you okay? Are you scared?”
“I want swim,” she replied.
Ah, toddlers. Bless them all.

We watched Trent enjoy his night with a wary eye.
Was he eating too much? Not enough?
Did he look pale? Faint? Tired? Weak? Pregnant? Brazilian?

On stage he said his part, “Every morning before school starts, we place our right hand over our hearts. We (something, something) as the pledge we say, this is a great way to start our day!”
Danny and I were vigilant in our anxiety.
“He keeps rubbing his eye. Did you see that? He did it again. Is he okay? What does that mean?”
“I already have an exit strategy mapped out,” Danny reassured me.

But the evening went off without a hitch:

Trent was the happiest kid there, and I was the happiest Mom to have
1) HIM and
2) meds
Danny and I stayed up until after 1 am packing because the next morning we had an appointment with Trent’s pediatrician (who confirmed that he did indeed have a seizure and helped us schedule proper appointments with proper specialists) on our way to UTAH for my sister’s wedding.

Which I will blog about later.
Because right now? I have a boy to inhale.

Granny Jars

My sister is getting married next week, and we’ve been collecting Mason Jars from basements family-wide. Yesterday we drove out to the country to visit Granny and her jars.
Did you hear that? I DROVE OUT TO THE COUNTRY. That is to say: it gets MORE country than my little town of 1,500 peoples. It gets more country that my town with no stop lights. Granny lives in a town with about 200 peoples. It’s a beautiful, surprisingly green little community where cows eat the lawns and the chicken population rivals the human population.
There’s no cell service, and most every door is a revolving door for friends and neighbors. You just don’t FIND places like this anymore.
It’s glorious. Stay as long as you like. Your husband won’t be able to reach you anyway… unless he has Granny’s home phone number. (Which he doesn’t.)

Granny’s house is very warm and comforting. It’s filled with trinkets and treasures and wisdom.
I love Granny’s wisdom:
You can find it all over her house:

Granny married a man who can grow anything anywhere. My sister and I smiled at the snapdragons peaking out in the cracks on Granny’s back porch steps. There’s mint covering on the ground, starter plants growing in Grandpa Max’s homemade starter planters (made from newspaper).
Their home is truly the epitome of country comfort. I’m pretty sure spending an hour around their place cures 90% of What Ails You.


The jars we pulled out of Granny’s Basement were so perfect. Some were vintage and blue, some had round bottoms (and of such I beheld with green jealousy. I want a round bottom…), some were tiny, some held priceless stories about sows.
Granny offered up some of her pretty copper canisters and a few crystal items.
“Everyone should have a Granny,” I sighed.

Julianne and I rode back into the Big Joe City clinking jars and counting our Granny Blessings.
And she is a great blessing unto us.

(Odds of getting Alice looking at the camera and Granny’s eyes open? Slim to none. But we get what we get and we don’t throw a fit.)

Harry Potterized Iron Man

I back up my photos on Google Plus, and apparently every Google Plus account comes equipped with it’s own little Photo Gremlin that enhances, edits, and sometimes even animates my pictures.

It’s like my own little Harry Pottified Daily Prophet.

I love my Gremlin.
I think I’ll name it Braithwaite after the original Daily Prophet’s witchy reporter.

Carry on, Braithwaite. You’re doing a smash bang-up job.

Little Girls

Alice has been watching a lot of “Annie” these days, and there’s nothing more awesome than hearing her sing, “Little Girls.”
Because she IS ONE. And incidentally, everywhere I turn, I can see her.

Or evidence of little girls. Same diff.

Lacy isn’t so little anymore, and it’s bumming me out BIG TIME. She’s growing so fast, asking grown up questions and caring what others think of her. Such a stark difference from the little girl who wore whatever she wanted whenever she wanted and had ALL of her own answers, thankyouverymuch.
She’s now guiding her little sister patiently through early childhood and all the rites entailed therein:

Licking the bowl IN princess clothes.
Alice is a lucky girl to have such a great big sister. We are all lucky to have each other.

Danny calls Alice, “Alicia reincarate.”
Alice follows me everywhere. Every breath I take, every move I make. She’s my little barnacle, my buddy.
This means I haven’t slept well since 2011, before I became pregnant with her. She’s bursting with energy, curiosity and curious energy. I sometimes wonder why we even bought her a bed. She never uses it because I have a bed, and if I have a bed it is Alice’s by default.
That’s how PARENTING works, apparently.
After one particularly exhausting day in the which Lacy had a back rash and Alice had dumped half of my Sam’s Club cinnamon on the kitchen and living room floor, I got the older two to bed and collapsed on the couch.

Alice was still going strong, and the next thing I knew she was decked out in an apron, socks and binoculars…
“I da DOCTOR!”
And my feet were examined thoroughly.


I don’t want her to grow up.
It seems like just a few days ago Lacy was staying up past midnight and emptying all of the drawers. Now she stays up past midnight reading. This month, she passed her goal of getting over 200 AR reading points, and she was rewarded by the school with…
Bring on that midnight oil, folks.

And I’m over here like Napoleon in Uncle Rico’s time machine:


Mother’s Day Weekend ’15

Routine truly makes me feel crazy.  After a few solid months of solid routine, I start to feel dead inside.  When I found out school was cancelled on Friday, a spark lit inside of me.
No school? On a ROUTINE school day?
Incidentally, my husband didn’t have to work, so I called in and we decided we’d drive into the city and hike a mountain! or something.

But then the wind blew and the May hail came, so we settled on some leisurely shopping and eating out at one of my favorite spots, Pita Jungle.

Outside the weather was cloudy and rainy, and it made us feel cozy and warm to be inside with each other.

Eating, coloring, fighting… you know, regular family fun!

We bought up close to 2,000 pounds of groceries and bulkified our cupboards for the next maybe three days… you know what I mean. If you have little kids, you know what I mean.

While in town, Danny called his mom and found out she’d be in the area and invited her to stay the night so we could sneak in a little mother’s day festivities with her. I haven’t been feeling well -my body without a gall bladder truly hates it when I do stupid things like eat food. My mother-in-law is one of those treasures of beings who doesn’t care if my house looks like I’ve been under the weather all week.
We made her some eggplant parm and ate it by candlelight. The kids love eating anything by candlelight.

She stopped by Saturday afternoon after we’d spent the morning at a fundraiser for first responders. The kids were in heaven with all of their “Jr. Firefighter” stickers. They even got to sit in a medic helicopter!

Riding in the car with them, I turned the radio down to listen to them visit.
“Trent, when I get home I’m going to clean before Grammy gets to our house and then work on my bucket list,” Lacy said.
“What’s THAT?”
“It’s a list of things to do before you die… you know, and then you kick it over after you die.”
“What?” He wasn’t convinced.
“It’s a LIST of THINGS,” she spaced out and emphasized her words for the slow of understanding, “that you DO before you DIE. And when you DIE, you KICK IT OVER because you’re dead and can’t DO THE THINGS anymore.”
“How can you kick it if you’re dead?” he asked.
“It’s a cool thing that happens,” she shrugged.
“But you’re DEAD.”
“Well, it’s this cool thing that happens,” she repeated, “You die and it just… falls over.”
At this point, Lacy sighed in frustration and finished the conversation with, “Mom can explain it to you later.”

I stopped on the way home from the fundraiser to wish MY Granny a Happy Mother’s Day. I love Granny.
My kids were happy to see their Grammy when we got home -the kids won’t clean for me, but if they’re cleaning for GRAMMY… they were all over it! They wanted to surprise her with a fancy candle lit dinner, and it turned out really cute.

We went to bed late, Alice still refuses to sleep. Her motto is something like, “Mom can sleep when her bucket falls over.”
I woke up in the middle of the night in the recliner. I didn’t even remember falling asleep. Alice was draped across my stomach. I picked us up and took us to my bed and was woken a few hours later by the sound of Lacy puking in the bathroom.
Poor kiddo. I took care of her, gave her a bath, pulled her hair back… all the things moms do when their kid is sick.
“I wanted to make you breakfast,” she said, sadly. Leave it to Lacy to still be thinking about other people when she’s pushing dehydration.

Danny made breakfast for me and his mom, asking for minimal amounts of help, and Trenton and I went to church.

My brother, JC, taught the Relief Society lesson. The youth took over teaching classes so all of the women could attend Relief Society. It was really nice to sit and listen and take notes without pulling the baby off of the curtains or pulling the older two apart.
JC’s curiosity has always been insatiable. He has a vast database of truth stored up in his head, and he draws from it frequently. As a kid, he was called on to catch animals, kill snakes and any other unsavory task our aunt and grandmothers weren’t in the mood to face.
He’s trapped porcupines, crows and every kind of lizard that Northern Arizona has to offer. If ever I have a question, I call him up and he has something of an answer. He’s always got his hands on something.
His lesson covered honey bees (which he owns and continually gains new info about), It’s a Wonderful Life, and President Lincoln.
He talked about what he likes to call, “The George Bailey Experiment.”
He asked what life would look like if President Lincoln’s mother had never been born, and at that minute I realized I once saved my mom’s life when she choked on some food… and therefore we are EVEN.
You give me life, and I’ll save yours -that’s my motto.

He said a Queen Bee makes a hive. If she has a calm nature, the hive is calm. If there is no Queen Bee, it’s obvious because the entire hive is lazy.
He talked about the little amount a bee gives in their lifetime but the HUGE difference it makes to the world.
I’d felt prompted to look up info on bees myself a year ago and was touched by the exact amounts of honey ONE bee makes in their lifetime -it’s really something to study. They fly so little and make hardly anything at all, you’d think they’d just give up at the thought. But IF THEY DID, the entire course of life would be altered.
Case in point: what would our nation look like if Lincoln’s mother had never been?

I came home feeling a little less stifled by routine -partially because I’d had a nice reprieve from it and partially because I was touched by the reminder of how life-giving my simple acts are.
I baked up two more Eggplant Parms and headed to Grandma’s to feed her and my Mom… and I felt supremely lucky to have surrounded myself in ONE weekend with both grandmothers, my mom AND my mother-in-law. I recognize that not everyone is able to do that, and I feel the blessedness of it deeply.

I went for a walk with my son -just my son. We talked about important things like Iron Man. We went to our secret spot at the end of Dad’s farm and said two prayers together. He leaned his head against me and we threw rocks in a small puddle.
“When you throw a pebble in a puddle, what happens?” I asked.
“Circle things go out and out…” he motioned with his hands.
“That’s how lies work,” I said.
I think Trent is suspicious that his mother and sister are CRAZY.
“When you tell a lie, it feels small but it isn’t. It goes out and out and you can’t take it back.” Then I told a fake story about a fake kid named Leroy who broke a store window and lied about it.
I MIGHT have told that story because he’d just lied to me about his hair suddenly being drenched.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Sweat,” he locked eyes with me, trying to see if I’d see through him.
“Seriously, what happened?”
“I got wet,” vagueness is the primary tool for The Pants on Fire Purveyor.
“I don’t reNEMBER.”
“From a bowl that I filled up from the sink.”
Okay, this is STILL VAGUE.

But on our walk home after we’d had a talk about ripples, he finally let it out.
“I filled up a bowl and threw my lucky charm in so I could make a wish.”
“Makes sense,” I said… “But how did your HAIR end up wet?”
“Oh. Cuz I dunked it.”
Of course ya did.


We walked home with our dog and picked up a bunch of nature-y things to entertain our sick sister with: thorns, alfalfa, weed buds, fox tails…

Once at home, I played some chess with Iron Man.
We delivered our nature finds to Lacy.
And then before Trent could beat in me in chess again, Alice threw everything overboard and insisted on painting my nails.

We streamed Anne of Green Gables on youtube to finish out the night. Trent hated it. Lacy loved it. Alice ate two bowls of cold cereal.

And in the end, routine became doable again.
Happy Mother’s Day to every woman who ever played a part in the creation of a human being: teachers, neighbors, aunts, cousins, mothers, grandmothers and everyone inbetween.

My favorite gift was a pillow I snagged at World Market. I wrote about it on my Story Lady Blog facebook page, but I’ll repost it here for posterity.
A few weeks ago, my kids were discussing astronomy.
Trent: How far away is the moon?
Me: Oh, it’s very far away.
Trent: Is from here to the moon the farthest you can get away from here?
Me: What do you think?
Trent: I think so because it’s really, really far.
Lacy: I think so. And since it is the farthest, that means I love you from here all the way to the moon.”
When I saw this pillow at ‪#‎worldmarket‬ on Saturday, it became mine immediately. 0510151942a

God Callings

In the LDS church, members are given “callings” -volunteer positions to keep the church functioning in an organized manner.
It’s a great system that doesn’t always work perfectly -just like life -and it gives members the opportunity to serve in a variety of ways. The callings I’ve held in the church have always challenged me… they don’t exactly always tailor your calling to your natural inclinations. Sometimes you’re put substantially outside of your comfort zone, which we all know is usually a healthy opportunity for growth.
I’ve served as a teacher, a leader, a pianist… I’ve given talks, treats, time, projects! I’ve only ever hated ONE calling. I was called as the “compassionate service leader” and it made me physically ill to call and ask people to help other people. I agonized over who to bother LESS with casserole-making.
“Hi, um, this is Alicia… Sister So-and-So just had a baby and I’m wondering if you’d be able to make dinner for her on Thursday?”
Sometimes (most times) I would just make the meals myself because asking people to help was so sickeningly difficult for me.

It still is. I almost cried with happiness when they released me.

We are asked to magnify the callings we receive… to prayerfully work at our task and endeavor to hold and perform the calling in the same way Christ himself might… whatever that looks like for us.

“Magnify your calling” is a phrase I’m familiar with, and sometimes it brings a lot of shame unto me. Because I suffer from an ailment I like to call “spiritual perfectionism” which means if I don’t feel like I’m earning my own salvation THE BEST I ABSOLUTELY CAN, I am worthless. A failure.
Yes, I REALLY struggle with pride.

I also recognize now that it’s a faulty way of living -that God never EVER wanted me to earn my salvation because He gave His Son so for my salvation. And He only needs ONE Jesus. He doesn’t need a million SAVIORS, but I felt I truly was my own Savior. I didn’t SEE it quite like that, but look back on it… yeah. That’s exactly what I was doing.

Letting go of that line has been a progressive thing for me. As I let go of that belief, a new FREE world opened up to me. As I let go of performance-based living, it opened up more time. It opened more space in my soul for compassion. I found peace and serenity coming in.

And then, one day, the phrase, “Magnify your Calling” hit me in a completely different way.

I believe -so strongly, so so deeply -that God has inherently called each of us to God Callings.

Each Child of God is sent to earth endowed with gifts to help them magnify their God Calling: teacher, athlete, scientist, musician, healer, preacher!

So many callings!
Working recovery has helped me to find and define what my own personal callings are. When I quit trying to perform up to my own impossible ideals of what I feel is required of me, God is able to more full unveil His ideals of who I am. God wants me to use my voice: teach, write, laugh, share! God wants me to tell stories, to find metaphors in BASICALLY EVERYTHING. He wants me to reach out and share my life with others in order to bring light and connection where there once was darkness and loneliness.
God wants me to be a free spirit -He wants me to keep my feet off the ground, my wild hair around my face… He does NOT want me to be controlled by fear or another person (or fear of another person). God trusts me with children -my own and those scuttling around my ankles in the supermarket.
God wants me to give of what I have, no matter how meager it may seem in my eyes… for my eyes are not God’s eyes.

Right now, I am magnifying my callings by FINDING THEM OUT through recovery, and God is giving me strength to simply carry on with my church callings.

I complete them well enough for now, and when the time is right and in God’s timing, I will find that my NEXT RIGHT THING is working harder to magnify them.

But that’s not what He wants right now.

I can magnify my God Callings today by doing what I’m doing right now: writing, and magnifying my God calling is more important, more vital, more life-giving than anything else.

I am filled with gratitude at God’s perfect plan -the way he seamlessly sews us all together in a puzzle of community perfection. Where there is a healer needed, a healer is found. Where there is a nurturer, a nurturer is found. There’s a mechanic and an organizer. There’s someone who is completely fulfilled by bringing beauty to bodies, spaces and faces. There’s someone who knows their way around mechanics and chainsaws… someone who makes desk living look attractive. There’s someone with a lush garden and someone with homemade breads and pies.

When we dive deep into our divine center and give ourselves the respect we’d give any other person we know to have GOD within them, WE FIND OUR CALLING.

A family or any kind of community knit together in mutual love, appreciation and respect for individuality and God Callings is HEAVEN ON EARTH.

Danny’s addiction twisted this truth -wrenched it out of control.

I felt I knew what was best for Danny.
In many ways, Danny felt he knew what was best for me.

As we take a step back and try to find ourselves, we stand in awe of each other… we begin to respect the God Callings in each other instead of trying to morph them into our own ideals of what we think each other SHOULD BE.

Danny is a leader -he has a passion for justice that is brought out magnificently in his job. Danny loves music -it speaks to him, and he uses his own musical voice to speak to others.
So often I’ve tried to force a love of literature on him. So often, I’ve tried to get him to STOP GETTING WORKED UP over justice issues beyond his control.

But I’m coming around to just watching Danny dive inside of himself.
I’m an observer on his individual journey to God -not an active participant. In the end, it’s ONLY about Danny and God.
The same is true for myself.

It’s bumpy, but the rewards of uncovering and magnifying my God Callings? WORTH IT.

The best part? I love my callings. God generously attaches passion to each of his God Callings, so that what He calls His children to do is fulfilling and pleasing unto them!

The same isn’t QUITE as true for church-given callings.
There are women who are called by God to be compassionate service leaders, and I’m not one of them. But in doing that calling, I gained a GIGANTIC appreciation for women who are naturals.

Thank you for them.
Thank you for the engineers, the athletes, the painters. Thank you for the beautiful voices, the crafters, the brainy business ones.
Your children are brilliantly magnificent.
You must be so proud.


PS: Thank you for sending me a few. They are brilliantly magnificent.