Forty Day Hiatus

Last week, I was unfortunate enough to click on an entire forum attacking me personally. It was public, it was harsh and it was so full of cynicism and hatred that it shocked me.
They called me manipulative, controlling and a vile mother. They ripped apart my values and even went so far as to have vulgar assumptions about my sex life (what?). They used ugly language and ugly words, and they were sure -SURE -that Danny’s life would improve exponentially as soon as he cut ties with me. Our marriage would end wonderfully for him.

This all would have been much more painful had they been nice people -meaning, I would put more stock into their opinions if they were having an intellectual discussion criticizing my personal life. But it was just cynical hatred spewing, spewing, spewing. It was so hateful it only took me 12 hours to pretty much feel the reality of the situation: it wasn’t about me at all. In fact, in their mind, our inevitable divorce was synonymous with Danny’s leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
See that?

It’s THE CHURCH. It’s religion they’re upset over. I’m just a temporary punching bag.

I’m floored at the amount of hatred the world has, and I feel sadness. I feel sorrow -I feel A LOT of sorrow. There’s sorrow every time I turn my computer on, log onto my Facebook account, every time I listen to the news on the radio.

Given this last very personal attack of hatred, I immediately logged off. I haven’t logged back on, and I won’t. My immediate reaction was to never ever log back in again EVER, but as that reaction has faded into a RESPONSE and I’ve had time to process, I’ve decided to take a 40-day fast from social media.
Forty days without Facebooking, blogging, instagramming.
I’m still checking emails and using my voxer app.

Meanwhile, I’m going to be doing a 40-day yoga program by Baron Baptiste.

As we journey inward we reflect our light outward - Baron Baptiste:

He’s pretty smart. I’m hoping to absorb some of that wisdom in my meditations.

Life has handed me a lot of mental opposition these days, and I know there’s something I’m supposed to learn.
Here’s a TED talk I’m streaming now… and hoping to find that subliminal place where Christ is in my center, where hatred glides quietly by and love sets up a permanent camp.
See ya on the other side of lots of sweat.

Pain Shame and Rug Sweeping

A few days ago, I came across a post on facebook that was being shared like wildfire among mothers -particularly young mothers.  A sweet sister had lost her baby just before delivery.  She wrote out her pain on social media which I’m not against, but I began to feel my own pain when she asked the readers who were complaining about being up with their own baby at night to remember: she had no baby.

I watched in sadness as my fellow sisters shared, shared, shared the article and shamed themselves.“Such a good reminder to me to quit complaining.”
“I needed this.  I’m such a whiner, and I need to shut up and be grateful.”My heart began to burn and I closed out of facebook -my serenity vanished and my heart swelled and ached in that uncomfortable, unmanageable way.
I’m all for gratitude in trials, I am.  I AM.  As a friend so succinctly put it, “We aren’t meant to feel gratitude INSTEAD of pain, but to learn to feel gratitude in the midst of pain.”
I am NOT for using gratitude to sweep pain under the rug.  Pain does not belong under the rug, especially when the hands holding the broom are coated in shame.

“I need to shut up and be grateful,” sweep, sweep, sweep.

Using gratitude to shove pain in places where I can’t see it for awhile or feel it for awhile is simply my way of trying to deal with my own pain… the VERY pain that Christ died for.  Sometimes I feel like He shouldn’t HAVE to take it because it is so very “small” compared to other pain, but Christ doesn’t care about the size of pain.  He suffered for IT ALL.
And for what it’s worth, in this particular case, the pain of being up with a child at night while I’m sleep deprived, post-partum, nervous, confused, and trying to see straight through a blur of hormones that haven’t balanced and sit on a bottom that does NOT want to be sat upon… IS INCREDIBLY HARD.  Not small pain by any means!

So many of my sweet friends who are battling post-partum depression, sleep deprivation, exhaustion, depletion, and anxiety were in tears over their own lack of gratitude when they read her post, and I wanted to hold them tight and say, “Give me the broom.”
Because I know.  I KNOW that their own individual pain will come out from under the rug very soon and it will be bigger, more angry and probably out for revenge.

And the beautiful part about pain is what a wonderful, necessary gift it is.
Pain is the opportunity to turn fully to Christ, to have a conversation with Him about how it feels because HE HAS FELT IT.  He is the ONLY Man to know the pain of birth, hormones, sensitive emotions… He knows!

A dear friend of mine once told me, “Suffering is like gas in a chamber.  It just fills the space, no matter what.”
I reverence gratitude in it’s pure form, but I do not reverence gratitude in it’s piggy-backing shame form.  I can’t.
God doesn’t want us to shut up and be grateful when we’re up at night with a baby who won’t sleep because someone else CAN’T be up with a baby they lost.  He suffered BOTH pains, and He desires BOTH PAINS.
Not just the “bigger” pain.
I’ve had so many frustrating conversations with caring folks who just don’t GET the pain I’ve felt in my life because of my husband’s addiction -they WANT TO, but they don’t understand what it’s like to live in a marriage like mine.  But you know what?  GOD DOES, and when I talk to Him honestly and say, “THIS HURTS!”  I don’t feel God telling me to sweep anything because someone else has lost a husband or is going through a divorce.
My trial isn’t the kind I can take to social media and say, “Please remember when you’re celebrating an anniversary by posting pictures of how great things are that my anniversaries have been incredibly painful.”
Does that make seeing posts with couples appearing happy hard for me?  YES.  But that is MY PAIN, and I WANT IT.
It’s part of my journey and process.   I don’t want others to stop posting their happiness.  Even when it hurts, even when I THINK I want them to be miserable with me, I don’t.  Not really.
What I really want is to turn to God and say, “OUCH” and then learn what I need to from my own pain, because there IS SOMETHING THERE for me.
I have asked Him why.  I have asked Him if I’m not worthy of an easier marriage.  I’ve hashed out all there is to hash for now -and I’m sure I’ll find more to hash today and tomorrow!
I’ve tried to sweep my pain under the rug.  I’ve tried to numb it out with food and business.But the only truly healing thing I’ve done is taken it to God when I’ve been ready.  Sometimes I feel a release from the pain, sometimes I feel God nudge me toward work that still needs done.
Pain is a gift -a bridge in my relationship to God, and a teacher!  It isn’t the nice, sunny, posh sort of teacher who speaks softly and has twinkly eyes… but I’ll be danged it if isn’t one of the most effective teachers I’ve ever had.So many sweet women I’ve met have held back from living genuinely for fear of hurting others, and I must say: you are robbing the world.
Satan’s trademark is taking truth and warping it -here a little, there a little.  I see him taking on the compassion that so effortlessly becomes women and using it for his gain.  He takes our desire to not hurt those around us who are struggling and morphs it into self-censorship of the vulgarest kind.  We are censoring our authenticity -we are hiding our lights under a bushel.

The world needs your authenticity.  They need to hear about how hard (or wonderful!) your children can be sometimes, even if it pains those who can’t have children or who have lost children.  They need to know that your house is dirty -even though there are those who can’t afford a house or who have been turned out.  I can’t go around censoring myself under the guise of compassion because all I’m really doing is trying to manage the pain swirling around me -the pain other people are feeling. But I can’t fix that pain, and I don’t fix that pain.  Because it negates Christ’s sacrifice.
I don’t believe for ONE SECOND that we are naturally out to hurt or cause harm.  Does it happen?  Yes.  That is part of the plan, the path, and the test.   

But to try and manage another’s pain? Can this REALLY be done while being true to ourselves?  No, it cannot.  Because their pain is not ours to manage.  Our OWN pain is barely ours to manage because Christ took care of it already.

I have personally sat with a friend who has suffered infertility, loss, and pregnancy complications who told me how HARD it was to have kids who didn’t sleep and who poured syrup on the floor and then PEED ALL OVER IT.

Her pain needed validation, all of her pain needed validation.

I don’t want to invalidate the pain of the sweet sister who lost her baby -that is unimaginable. I simply want to extend an invitation to the sweet sisters who immediately and so easily set themselves to shame and self-blame because of it.

I messaged a good friend about this, wondering why it was touching me so deeply, and she talked about the problem of “Pain Shame” we have, especially among women.
We feel shame because our pain is “less than” the seen pain of someone online -someone with cancer or loss.

God doesn’t see our pain as “less than” and I don’t believe He sees our pain on individual little strips of paper.  I don’t believe He suffered for “sleep deprivation” and checked it off the list.
I believe He suffered for the deep pain I would feel attending church alone with two small children, little sleep, overcome with anxiety over my husband’s addiction and lack of recovery -those moments when even the slightest irritation felt like Everest.  God suffered for my BIG PICTURE, not just the lack of sleep or the slight irritations.

There is room under the rug for pain.  It’s true.  And it’s as good a place as any to put pain until we’re ready to hand it over.

(I personally have a very sturdy figurative mind-rug.  I like to think it’s the pretty kind the pioneer used to make by braiding all of their old clothes together… sturdy, lovely, and durable.  Built to last!)
I just want to share my love, ladies, and say: your pain is worthy of God’s suffering, no matter if you feel it isn’t.The pain I feel watching my dear friends so easily set to hating themselves for pain that needs validation instead is ALSO something God suffered for, and I’ve talked with Him about it!My pleading prayer for you is this: Live genuinely today, feel your individual pain without holding it up against the pain of the girl next door.  Practice gratitude for what is in front of you right now and leave shame out of the picture.

Christ died for you.
We all have a measure of divinity within us -it is our equalizer.  I am JUST as much a daughter of God as every other girl on earth, and God suffered equally for us all.
I see now -I SEE -that His precious, sacred suffering for me was going, frankly, in vain.  I was semi-pro with my shame hands and my rug-sweeping.  Learning to put my own superficial management tools aside and take up God’s atonement is hard work, but it is the best work.

Pain has gotten me there.

And for this, I reverence my own individual pain.  Today I will honor it, lean into it and learn what I need to learn from it.  I will take it to God, and we will discuss it together.

Pain is the pathway to progress.

Resta rant

Lacy created her own restaurant and let me know that reservations had been made in my and Daddy’s names.
The menu was very accommodating -gluten free bread, caffeine free herbal (the “h” is pronounced in this case) tea:
Danny and I ate by fake candlelight and enjoyed the company of all three children because, in Alice’s words, “I wanna play too!”
After dinner, we paid by putting coins (that were provided for us at the beginning of the meal) into a small minion coin egg, and then we were offered a complimentary rock. Lacy had been collecting rocks for her restaurant -she had at least 100 small rocks.
Our family has always loved food and cooking and being together in the kitchen. A few nights ago, the girls made brownies from a mix while Trenton chopped up tomatoes for dinner. I’d asked him to grab two big tomatoes from the garden and he came back with SEVEN cherry tomatoes.
So we went with that.
“I’m the fastest tomato cutter EVER, huh Mom?”
Who wanted to tell him that taking 20 minutes to cut 7 cherry tomatoes actually isn’t fast at all? Not me! He was so thorough -washing, cutting, scraping into hot saucepan:
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And by the grace of miracles, some of the brownie batter DID make it into the pan!

I had bathed the girls before they started making brownies which wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve ever made. I asked Alice to show me her hands, and she did… she also showed me JUST what she thinks of baths.

A Place Called, “What Is.”

My mom is really good at games.  She fills out crosswords in record time, answers trivia questions with ease, and loves to watch game shows when she gets a chance.  Growing up, Jeopardy! came on right around the time Mom started making dinner, and I think it helped her manage the stress that came from feeding 7 other people for the THIRD time in one day, knowing she’d be doing it again and again and again.
“What is.”
It was the way most of the “answers” to all of the Jeopardy! trivia started.

“What is existentialism, Alex.”

Except it wasn’t an answer, it was a question.  The maddening paradox of Jeopardy! is the “answer in the form of a question” rule because, of course, the questions were actually answers.

This last week, I found myself stuck in a place I like to call “What Is.” It’s a place where I find answers to questions.  Rather, it’s a place where I WAIT for answers to questions.
I LOVE research.  I think I inherited my mother’s hunger for information, but it came without the ribbons and fanfare… I am absolute bunk at games and trivia and I can only finish crosswords with a cheat sheet.

Research lights me on fire, especially when I’m researching PEOPLE.  The best pay off in research in answers.  I love getting answers.

But what happens when you don’t get them as you’re looking for them?  What happens when there’s no book to look in?  Nothing to punch into the Google search bar?  No person to call for YOUR OWN answer? What happens when you have to just… WAIT for the answer to come to you from God instead?

That’s when I go to the place, “What Is.”
Sitting in “What Is” has proven time and time again to be one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life.  I squirm because I am NOT patient.  The lack of answers becomes more painstaking than the actual question.

There’s a Zen saying -a humorous one -that goes, “Don’t just do something -sit there.”
Yes, it’s funny.  But it is also SO FREAKING SPOT ON for me.  (I’m reading about Zen-like stuff right now.  More about that soon…)

I happened to read an article in a magazine this last week that was really, really hard for me.  There was some truth in the article, but I felt (and feel) there was something off.
So what IS IT?
WHY am I feeling this?

I was triggered.  I reached out and prayed. I reached out to some trusted friends.  I processed and I still felt a painful stab in my heart -I felt OFF all around, and I couldn’t seem to burst out of the feeling of it all.

I WANTED TO BE OKAY while I waited, while I sat with What Was. Being calm in stressful situations is a personal goal of mine, and I was frustrated with myself -that I WASN’T calm while I waited for answers from God.  In short, I was impatient with myself and impatient with God’s lack of immediate answering.
The double-fold impatience became heavier than the questions I had!

I was annoying myself.

Leading up to this point, God had carefully prepared me. I had gotten back into doing my dailies, and the day I’d read the article, I was in a good place emotionally, physically and spiritually. In the days leading up to my reading the article, I’d been reading a book loaned to me by a friend -It’s a book about yoga, and as I read it, I feel like my soul is getting a massage, and sometimes I fall asleep because it just FEELS so good.

Days before reading the article, I read a passage in the book that put words to something I’d been trying to put words on for years… the place known as “What Is.”

“Through patience, you can possess your soul.  When you catch yourself speeding through life, when you feel you must meet expectations and that so much of being left undone or that you’re not succeeding as quickly as you think you should be, you must remember that real growth doesn’t come from pushing through or breaking out of anything.  Rather, it comes through a gentle melting in.  The path of patience asks you to be okay with what is, stare it straight in the eye, and open to and learn from what’s happening rather than contracting into fear, frustration, and a hidden drive to meet your expectations at any costs.  We must remember that when everything has to be right, something usually isn’t.” ~Baron Baptiste, “40 Days to Personal Revolution”

As I talked with friends and God and processed my swirling reaction, I said, “I need to MELT IN.”  The next day, I could still feel my lack of serenity.  I spoke with my husband and said, “I need to figure out how to be calm and find peace in WHAT IS.”
So many prayers were said.
Tears popped to my eyes as I tried to force open a heart that felt hard during General Conference.

I was reminded of another passage in the book that absolutely fascinated me.

“Each year, I conduct a weeklong bootcamp in the mountains of Montana.  A Lakota elder medicine man takes us through a sweat lodge ceremony, in which up to ten of us sit close together in a pitch-dark tent around a blazing fire, praying and chanting.  I always notice an interesting phenomenon: certain people insist on sitting right by the little exit flap of the tent.  They are adamant, claiming they must be near the door.  I have witnessed these same people break down into intense emotions, fear, and often racking sobs.  You later hear them say that as the steam and heat increased and filled the space with full intensity, they were sure that something terrible was going to happen.  They convinced themselves to stay by saying that if they were near the door, they would be able to make it through to the end.  The truth is that even if they didn’t sit by the door, they would make it through.
In our total commitment to inner revolution and growth, we don’t get to sit near the door.  We don’t get to duck out if the process becomes uncomfortable.  We learn to stay with ourselves, no matter what.” ~Baron Baptiste, “40 Days to Personal Revolution”

On Sunday, some solid answers came.  Mercifully short timing.

How can I learn to be okay while I sit in “What Is”?
There’s no trivia answers, no outside answer, nothing I can read or study or outline or memorize… the answer is deeply personal to me and found deep within myself.

I can only access it by delving inside -by STAYING WITH MYSELF, no matter what.

I hope I’ll get better at it, and I know it will take a great deal of practice.  My impatience is truly one of my grandest stepping stones to God (that’s just a nice way of saying it’s my biggest thorn in my side).

Yesterday morning, I walked outside into the fresh, crisp morning and let my toes enjoy the wet grass -it rained last night… the heavy, gorgeous kind of rain where the sheets fall so fast it looks like mythical creatures are dancing in mid-air. Yesterday morning, everything was new.  I let my bare feet soak up the wet green grass.
How much longer will our grass be green?
I don’t think about it.  I can’t live in the future.  It’s just a shadow of the present, as my pretend-friend James Allen says.
I keep quiet.  I had purposefully NOT checked social media before heading outside.  I pay attention to my breath, and it feels like I’m oxygenating anew my entire being -the stale air from my bedroom was exiting through my mouth as I breathed in the brand new air from the after-storm.
My mind begins to wander and I practice being gentle about pulling it back.  I’m mildly successful.  I begin my prayers, and find that as I pray and give thanks for what it around me and with me, I want to drop my hands down to my side, palms facing forward.
With my mind still and calm, my eyes closed, my palms open, mirroring my heart, I tell God I am ready.
At that exact moment, the sun burst forth from behind a dark rain cloud.  Though my eyes remained closed, I could feel the light.  I could “see” the light changing, everything brightened up behind my eyelids, and I felt God’s warm love wash over me completely.

In that moment, I found that What Is was in my front yard, and that God lives forever in What Is.
What Is isn’t always painful, but it always has the potential to be peaceful and it always is a place where I can learn, grow and increase in wisdom and humility.

What Is.
It’s elusive and also?  The only place we really have.
The past can’t be be fully lived in.
The future can’t be fully lived in.
Trying to live from from either of them produces only pain, regret, and a shallow kind of life.

The present is What Is.

So often I’ve said, “It is what it is,” and shrugged… admitting that I can’t change something, but today I say it with intent.
“Right now IS what it is,” and I let go of the past -the struggles and regrets. I let go of the future -the anxiety and unknowns.
And I AM HERE now in WHAT IS. This is the best way. It keeps me from missing out on listening peacefully to thunder so booming and echoing that I can only describe it as delicious. It keeps me from missing out on the kids -their smiles and tears, their worries and fears. It keep me safe from the sicknesses and stress that come from the anxiety that plagues me. It keeps me calm -it makes what I have enough, and gratitude abounds. I am more open to loving relationships, more prepared to hear God, and more whole in every way.

It is REALLY hard to stay present when things are hard, when I’m waiting for answers or when something has thrown my serenity out the door.

Will “What Is” ever be my constant home?
I hope so, but it feels impossible. But then again -I can’t worry about the future…

(I feel like I need to add a disclaimer: I took the pictures AFTER being present.  I didn’t snap them in the moment because snapping pictures has the potential to sometimes take me OUT of the moment. Amen.)

To Bounce or Not To Bounce?

It’s taking a really long time to bounce back from August and the first half of September. The past two days, I’ve felt some natural return to normalcy which is thrilling in it’s own right. Normalcy gets a bad rap.

The kids had picture day, and Trenton didn’t give the money to his teacher. He paid for his book order but kept the check for his pictures tucked safely in his back pack.
When we walked through the door, I asked how his pictures went, “Show me how you smiled,” I said.
He did.
“But mom,” his smile immediately dropped and he spoke VERY seriously to me, “Did you know you can’t have the pictures unless you PAY for them?”
Head drop. Heart drop. Mom just knew in that moment that the check never made it into the proper hands.


They’re growing rapidly. Sometimes it feels exponential.
Alice, I’m happy to report, isn’t in school. She’s at home and she’s very ALICEY.
She’s also very ELSA-Y. Not to be mistaken with CINDERELLA-Y. Because she’s NOT. She’s ELSA.
She’s been very attached to me these days, and it’s been really funny. When she was born, I told Danny, “I’m just going to go with her gut… let her dictate things in the beginning. When she wants to eat, we’ll do that.”
It was an experiment for me -I was a stay at home full time at that point, and I had the freedom to see what the gut of an infant felt like. It relaxed and calmed everything in our house
set us all up for boundary-lacking chaos a few years later. Because she’s still dictating things around here.

I realized how bad it had gotten the other day when I exerted all of my parenting moxy into a trashy situation. It all started when I was hit with a beautiful wave of gratitude for my children -they are really good kids! Sometimes I get so busy task-mastering that I forget to just ENJOY the fact that the people growing up in my house are big blessings.
I just so happened that pay day was that day, so I resolved to surprise the kids with a fun sushi dinner and a redbox rental. They were overjoyed.
“So you guys get sushi and a movie and you get to stay up a little later, that’s a given,” I said, “But if you would like that AND a doughnut, here’s a list of stuff that needs done before we can go into town to buy the dinner stuff and rent the movie.”
Oh, they got to WORK. They FOUGHT over the work.
“Mom, I DID IT but he put his initials by it and HE DIDN’T!”
“I NEVER!!!!!!!”
That’s when the tears joined the party and I listened to the THINKING part of my brain that said, “BREATHE THROUGH THIS” and not the FEELING part of my brain that longed for something numbing like chocolate or ear plugs or alcohol.
While cleaning up, Trenton found his long lost magnet set. He began tossing them around and one ended up in the trash.
“Mom, can you get it?” he asked.

This was prime. PRIME. A teaching moment! And I was being A GOOD, PATIENT PARENT.
“Trenton,” said, pulling him nearby just like they do in the Hallmark promos, “Sometimes in life things get messy and hard and they stink. They REALLY stink. You won’t WANT to do them, so you get to make a choice. You can DO THEM and show yourself how capable you are, or you can choose not to and live with the consequences which can be okay too. If you find your magnet in the trash, you will have it back and then we’ll get doughnuts. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it and you’ll just not have your magnet anymore. You get to choose.”
“Yes, things that stink really do stink.”
It was getting deep in SO many ways.
“It feels that way right now, but YOU ARE SO CAPABLE.”
“I’ll be happy to help when I see that you’re working hard on it and not just waiting for me to do it for you.”

Being a good parent is a very hard thing to do. I turned back to what I was doing (dishes) and I used the thinking part of my brain to rehearse my own words. I sent them to God and my feeling brain only interrupted sometimes.
Pause. Breathe.
“I am capable of being patient. I can let natural consequences take their place. IF HE DOESN’T GET HIS ACT TOGETHER AND GET OFF THE FLOOR I’M GOING TO LOSE MY BRAIN!”
Pause. Breathe.

“Trenton,” I grit my teeth but kept my tone under control, “You can make a choice. Magnet or no magnet. You are capable of doing hard things. If you get it now, you can still get that doughnut. If you don’t, you just won’t get a doughnut because your chores won’t get done in time. It’s your choice. You’re capable, you got this.”
“I’m. not. talking. to. you. anymore.”

Five minutes later, he had the magnet in his hand and he proceeded to clean up some other gross, stinky, nasty stuff on the counter because, “I could.”
I then walked straight up to the toddler -who hadn’t done a darn thing except make a mess behind everyone who was cleaning and cooed, “You wanna doughnut?!”

That’s when I realized that I first make monsters and then punish them. Boundaries, Alicia! Boundaries! But how?! How do I deny doughnuts to Alice Michelle?!
And after taking them through the grocery store -which event was seriously crazy and I only lost one kid once, so that’s something! -we stopped off to say hello to my grandma who fed us tacos.
Sushi was second dinner, and we watched “Home.” It took me over 30 minutes to realize the movie wasn’t about creatures called “Boob.”
At the end of the day, Danny asked how my day went.
“I played good cop, bad cop, psychiatrist, cook, friend, nurse… and I don’t know. It’s pretty crazy. It was pretty funny.”
Someone please sum up a day of mothering for me in a few succinct words because I’m just too frayed in the brain to even.

I bake cookies because I’ve convinced myself it heals the fray in my brain.
“Where are the cookies? Where’s the bowl?” I asked last week when I looked up from the dining area and couldn’t see the pan and bowl I KNOW I’d JUST set down.
I walked quickly to the kitchen and found Alice’s calling card. MISCHIEF.

Our evening walks down Dad’s farm are always accompanied by a baby and a stroller. They’re something I really look forward to because they give me a chance to practice being present -to not get wrapped up in the rush of getting back home to start dinner. I work on not catching up on messages on the walks, but just taking the slow evening and letting it be slow.
It seems easier to slow down in the evening time. Maybe because everything is lit up with Arizona Sunset Gold?
Alice also takes the time on our walks to catch imaginary “KLEENERS” which are actually praying mantis (praying manti? How do I pluralize this? them?) that Lacy calls “Clingers.”
She stops her stroller and gasps at the ground next to her, “KLEENER!” She scoops up air and passes it to us all.
These walks are not for the rushed of heart.
Because once you have the imaginary insect, you have to CARE for it and not step on it, but Trent is a boy and Trent WILL step on the air JUST to get a reaction and then Mom will pick up the stroller to take the baby and Alice will have a melt down because


Sometimes I take the farm walk alone and sit on the bank of the irrigation ditch and talk to God about how my body hurts, how sick I am, how hard it is to be nauseated every day and not know why… I talk to Him about everything I can’t control, about the shame that eats at my soul when I’m not physically well. I talk, talk, talk, and sometimes I don’t talk but I know I’m still communicating. I go beyond words with God.
When I open my eyes, He goes beyond words with me. He shows me a tree I’ve stared at before but never really SEEN. It’s grown wild and strong on the banks of the ditch. It’s a Chinese Elm and I HATE CHINESE ELM. They kill everything around them, almost refusing to be cut down and killed on their own!
But I realized that day that the ditch -the place where the water was flowing -had revealed the roots of the tree.
God reminded me how much I fuss about the surface symptoms of my life without letting His living water rush over and uncover the roots.
I recenter, I reground.
I stop fussing about the leaves. I can’t control my sickness, but I can control how I respond to my sickness and how I respond to my sicknesses and EVERYTHING comes back to my “roots.” It comes back to what’s in my center… rather, WHO is in my center.
When God is in my center, life is peaceful even when it’s awful. When I’m in my center, life is chaotic, even when it’s sunny.
Roots, roots, roots.

Sometimes I have to get out of the house and away from the children who help me grow so much. I once read that Socrates married his wife because we wanted the challenge she would give him. She had a reputation for being a hard woman -someone really difficult to get along with -and he wanted to growth a woman like that would give him. He wanted to see what it would uncover in him.
That man. He was incredible.
I feel that way about my kids -they uncover so much about ME that is hard to face, and sometimes I just need a quick trip to Sonic for some Sprite. Did you know I live by a famous corner?
Because I do.
I took Lacy out to my grandma’s to watch the General Women’s Conference. I again walked the farm road, holding her hand and talking with her about things girls talk about together. I love her so much -really, Lacy is a beautiful gift to the world… with all of her gifts and all of her faults and all of her HER-NESS, she is a force!

It’s crazy how bouncing back from the past month and a half has looked A LOT like slowing DOWN. And now I wonder…
Do I really WANT to bounce back?