Not every story has a happy ending


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But some have funny artwork. Parker loves to include his doodles and cartoons on everything. As much as it’s my pet peeve to have the kids write anything on my calendar, his drawings are pretty funny. I love the stick figures at the bottom carrying the calendar. This dry erase board does not erase well which means the board will be discolored as a result of his art. It’s okay. Don’t tell him the reason why I’ve kept it up is because it makes me smile!

Starting homework at 8:00 pm is not ideal. It has been the longest afternoon ever. Phone calls, dentist appointments, dinner, grocery shopping. It all takes time. So much time.

The Primary President said she would call me today to discuss staffing. I wasn’t sure when she would call. I saw I had missed a call while I was taking Gwen to school. It was the dentist office and they left a message. That concerned me since I already had a bunch of reminders. I got the postcard in the mail as the first reminder. Then I got the phone call reminder. That’s when I asked if we could switch from Monday afternoon to Thursday afternoon. Thursdays are Gavin’s no run days. The appointment was switched and I was reminded yesterday with another phone call. Why would they call today? I didn’t know for quite some time since the phone kept giving me a busy signal. Kind of hard to retrieve voicemail when the phone thinks it’s busy. Eventually the phones stopped wigging out and I got the message. They needed to switch the time again. I called and we arranged to be there 45 minutes earlier than planned. No problem. Actually, I liked 4:30 better than 5:15.

I puttered around the house doing laundry and Primary secretary stuff. No phone call. Reading outside was supposed to be a bit of a reward for me. Finally I stopped doing odd jobs here and there and forced myself outside to relax. Maybe a little too well. I could not keep my eyes open. I finished my book but it took a very long time since I kept falling asleep. Of course that was when the President called. I heard nothing. When I called her back I got her voicemail so I told her I would call back after I picked up my kids from school.

I told the kids our dentist appointment was moved up. As soon as we walked in the door I grabbed the phone. I’m glad I did. We talked for almost an hour. The problem was Gavin came home in the middle of my phone call and I wasn’t able to direct kids toward homework. The other kids didn’t tell him about our change in plans. This was the beginning of the day’s unraveling. In the few minutes we had between the phone call and needing to leave I told Gavin we had to go soon. Soon came quickly enough and we left. I had all these hopes and dreams of getting home early enough to still make spaghetti. Heath texted that we should still go out. Smart man. We left the dentist office two hours later.

Our dentist is fabulous. I love him but it is just him. There are two sweet ladies who work with him and really I have only seen one of them the last couple times. I’m not sure if we keep going on the one girl’s day off or what. We didn’t need x-rays today so there wasn’t anything the one girl could do to speed things up. Four teeth cleanings equals close to two hours. It’s probably always been that way. I have decided that two hours in the morning feels less annoying than two hours in the evening. We used to do all of our appointments in the morning of a day the kids had off from school. The last time we went they set up appointments six months out. And our next appointment is six months from today. It’s probably better that way. I do hate calling to make the appointments. I just really hate going after school and I’m not interested in pulling the kids out of school to get their teeth cleaned.

The kids always go before me. My turn is always last. I’m fine with that. They play with their new toys while they wait. I was starting to get a little antsy waiting for my turn. The dentist seemed surprised that Heath didn’t come with us today. He assumed Heath was too busy. I don’t remember how our schedules got off so I didn’t correct him. Heath will have to set up his own appointment. All I know is all my reminders specifically stressed the fact that it was just me and the kids today!

Right off the bat I had to tell the dentist that I have something weird in my mouth. I don’t know what it is. It fills up like a blister then it drains and immediately starts filling up again. He pulled on my lip and rubbed it a lot and decided I needed a referral to an oral surgeon. I was kind of hoping the dentist could just lance it and we would be done. Then he started cleaning. Something about the whole process slowly ramped up my anxiety. Only I wasn’t nervous. My circle of space was closing and he was in it. I just wanted to go home. When I saw my blood on his gloves I was close to gagging. I know that I often bleed during a cleaning but seeing it like that made the metallic taste come on faster and stronger. Finally he was done polishing my teeth and I could rinse the gritty paste out of my mouth. Before I left he assured me whatever was inside my lip did not resemble anything cancerous. I assume he would tell me or use classic blow off lines that would let me know if I should worry about the annoying blister in my mouth. At least that was good news. He described it as possibly an aggravated duct that fills and drains and is more irritating to me than anything to worry about.

As I walked back into the waiting room I could feel my walls going up. Suddenly my kids were too loud. There were people everywhere. I needed solitude. Gavin tried to tell me about the football game he plays on his phone. When I was safely on the road I told him I was not listening. We got in the house and everyone ran for Heath. Daddy’s home! Everyone was talking at once. My mind was about to explode. Anytime I opened my mouth someone interrupted me. The craziness was starting to envelope me.

Heath suggested we go to OTB for dinner. Without hesitation I told him no. I know me and I was in no frame of mind to deal with the stimulus at that restaurant. We went to Chili’s instead. It was almost as bad. Why do people have to talk so loud when I’m having a day? The food was not even that good. Chili’s is consistent in that their food is generally subpar. Occasionally it’s okay. Today was one of those days where it was really not good at all. After dinner we had to go to the grocery store to get Gavin’s food assignments for his Scout campout tomorrow night. I think we bought everything on the list. Gavin didn’t really know how many boys were going so he didn’t know how much to buy. He also didn’t know whether or not he needed to provide a cooler. Teenagers! Although I don’t envy him for having to choose between a beach campout and Cross Country practice. How do you pick from two things you love? He told his coach why he would be missing practice and she had to be okay with it.

As we pulled out of the parking lot I told the kids to get ready for bed and if they hurried they could watch a short show before going to bed. Gwen said something that set Gavin off and suddenly I remembered that the boys still had homework. Gwen had finished hers while I was on the phone. Not only does Gavin have a lot of homework but it’s not going well. Thank heavens for Heath. I don’t even try to talk Gavin off of cliffs anymore. We’re too much alike and when the adrenaline and stress are flowing, sparks fly. May we all sleep well tonight so we can hit the reset button on a new day. This one did not have much of a happy ending.

The Six Word Story



For sale: baby shoes, never worn

Recently my husband came back from a business trip to Michigan State University. He told me a story I had never heard before and I now can’t get it out of my mind. The story was attributed to Ernest Hemmingway although Wikipedia is reluctant to substantiate the claim. Supposedly Hemmingway was at a restaurant with some other authors. There was a bet about whether or not anyone could write a novel in six words. Hemmingway wrote on a napkin the words, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” And he collected his money.

Heath heard the story in the context that leaders should have a strong mission statement. After hearing the strong six word story, the people in the room were challenged to come up with a six word mission statement. Heath was so impressed by the idea that he told us, his family. We tried to come up with word combinations to portray our family’s goals in a mission statement. The kids had some great ideas. So far we haven’t settled on anything. It’s hard when we have a vinyl quote displayed prominently on our family room wall: “Christ, the center of our home.”

The idea of a six word story is very intriguing. Whether those six words are used for a business mission statement, family mission statement, or writing inspiration, it doesn’t matter. There is a power in stringing together six words that tell a story. It’s not easy to follow the rules that it has to tell a complete story while only using six words. But it is a great exercise.

The story of the baby shoes for sale is deep and meaningful. In six words we get it. You can just imagine the emotion and the backstory. It makes me think of the devastation happening in my own state. The latest wildfire, burning across three counties, has leveled entire cities and neighborhoods, with the exception of a house here or a building there. That’s the thing. There is no rhyme or reason to it. Why would one person’s house be saved when the rest of the block burned to the ground?

Yesterday the news reported about a woman who brought in the entire contents of her baby shower haul. Brand new baby clothes, diapers, toys, books, the things a new mother receives at a baby shower. She said she wanted to donate all of it. The victims needed it more than she did. It’s not the same story as the six word sell of baby shoes. The compassion is still there. The emotion comes through. What is that generous mother’s story in six words? What is the story of the family who receives her baby shower gifts?

What is your story?

It makes you think. Can you tell your story in six words?

The space to write


My Surface is the best of all worlds. A laptop, tablet, desktop. It’s touch friendly. It has a silver pen. I made sure it was the one with the purple cap. The pen works as a small mouse. I can write with it in different apps like OneNote. The buttons on the side can be set up to do different things. I have learned how to erase with one button. The pen is great for filling out attendance rolls at church. Most of the time I prefer to use a mouse. If I’m working remotely I have a super cute purple and white mouse I picked out.

I have a purple laptop desk for those times when I want to be untethered. Those moments are few and far between. For all my ability to blog upstairs in my reading corner, outside in my sanctuary (gazebo), or anywhere else I feel like, I still prefer having my Surface docked. When I first got this piece of technology that Heath swore would change my life, I tried blogging all over the house. It was more frustrating than anything. Creativity flows best when I’m sitting in my office with the invisible walls, typing at the keys with no names. I have learned that I need to be sitting exactly where my computer used to be. Poor thing has been mechanically separated and is now gathering dust in front of the game shelves. It hasn’t stopped Gwen from moving my old monitor out of the way and finding games to scatter throughout the house.

I really want the other monitor back. The dual screen isn’t the same when one screen is my Surface. It’s smaller than the monitor screen I have. Maybe if I’m a good girl Santa will bring me a really wide screen like the one Heath uses. His working from home office is set up in such a way that he has three screens – work laptop, Surface, and the really big screen. Data nerds shouldn’t have all the fun though! I need multiple screens for the stuff I do too.

It’s always hard to get used to change. I think I deserve a prize for how quickly I am learning Windows 10 and a whole new computer setup. I appreciate the benefits but I really miss my old computer whenever I blog. I hate blogging on Word. The lines are too long and I can’t tell at all how it will look when I publish. I can’t embed videos here. If I want to use a video I have to copy and paste, or *gasp* actually use WordPress to blog. Inserting pictures is weird too since I can’t tell what it will look like online. Heath saved all my pictures into the cloud and I can’t find anything. I miss Live Writer. It let me save things as a draft. I have lots of drafts that need to make it into my blog books. I can’t lose those! There were some great stories that are worth remembering, just not worth publishing for public scrutiny.

When I first got my Surface, Heath temporarily set up the docking station in the back of my office. I sat at my craft table and desperately tried to blog. I learned that even though my office has invisible walls, I can’t block out noise if I’m not sitting in the right place. Sitting at my craft table to sew or scrapbook is totally different. That’s what the table is for. My kids could be screaming as they are being drug around the yard by a rabid fox and I would barely notice. That’s how it is when I sit at the desk in the front of the office. This is my dedicated blogging (or any computer required activity) center. From my desk I can see most of the downstairs. When wails are insistent and loud enough I can see if someone is dying. My kids know they aren’t allowed to though. They know my mantra: I’m not taking you to the hospital today; maybe tomorrow. And they know to keep their fighting within these parameters. If they get hover or come into my office too often I just remind them I am in my office with the invisible walls. My poor kids will need counseling one day!

“Mom created awesome blog books but watch out if you ever try to talk to her while she’s in the zone!”

I heart the familiar mess of my office. If only those invisible walls really were impenetrable to anyone with eyes! I have a whole post about taking down the baby gate that used to surround the office. At the time I had stars in my eyes thinking I would have to keep the office clean. There was no longer an excuse. I also thought I would stop calling it my office with the invisible walls. That was foolish.

I have learned that if you do a search for “office with the invisible walls” in the search box on my sidebar there are a lot of posts to choose from. It’s hard to remember when the dining room was completely empty and our office was upstairs in the master bedroom. The sad part is that I think we’re starting to outgrow our house. My babies have been so little for so long. I don’t want to believe it. We don’t really fit at our full sized dining table in the tiny breakfast nook. When family came to visit in July we moved the table to the living room. It was awesome to have so much extra space! Heath keeps hinting that we may have to permanently do that sooner rather than later. I don’t want to give up my living room furniture. I don’t want to move my office a few feet forward either so we can claim the dining room for what it is.

Let me get used to a new computer before making me get used to a new writing corner.

“Look we made that dude cry!”


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And the Cougars win it again! Comcast decided to die toward the end of the game. Our TV has been giving us a hard time. It just turns off unexpectedly and takes forever to come back on. It’s really annoying. That happened once at the beginning of the game. Then at the end we lose the signal. Heath’s phone wouldn’t work. No internet. No nothing. Grr!

No worries. It was 10:30 at night or something and if the sun is down we can get the AM KSL signal. Out to the car we went and listened to the last two touchdowns. Oh my goodness! The first one I was excited obviously but my feelings were quickly tempered knowing that there were still 45 seconds left in the game. Hello! We kicked Nebraska’s butt in the last second (literally) last week. I was not counting on that touchdown being the end of the game. Boise had possession and all the time in the world as far as I was concerned.

Then I hear we intercepted the ball! Intercepted it! Greg Wrubell called the yard lines going backwards to the end zone. No way. No way!!!! That’s when Heath sent me inside to see if Comcast was back on. The TV had a picture on it. We watched the replay of that last amazing touchdown. The Cougs kept Boise from doing anything with the ball and the clock ran out. Holy cow! Does football get any better than this? Two weeks in a row baby!

It makes me want to actually type my last writing prompt the way I was originally supposed to. I was supposed to pick one of the five tweets and use it as inspiration for a post. The one I would pick is “I can’t decide if procrastination kills creativity or is essential to it.” Those last minute miracles seem to be Tanner Mangum’s thing. Hey, whatever works dude. Go Cougars!

The Crippling Effects of Social Media


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Social media has become a way of life. People now live life through cell phone screens, ready to post the next great accomplishment – their child’s third year of walking while picking the nose simultaneously. I see it every day. I go to pick up Gwen from the front of the school. Today is the last day of this absurd school schedule, hallelujah! Anyway, as I’m waiting there are so many moms actively using their cell phones. I’m amazed at the number who poise their phone in front of their child’s face taking video to later send to somebody. This is society’s new way of life. Nobody cares what fun activity you were recently involved in. Who would believe you unless you can show photographic evidence or video proof?

Through social media we have “friends” all over the world. Which means our self-esteem is wrapped around “likes.” Does anyone even talk to their neighbors anymore? Certainly not directly. I’ll give you a great example. A couple weeks ago this story was on the news and my jaw dropped.

The news told the story as if it was the most beautiful piece of humanity to cross the desk. Why not? A 75 year old man had his roof replaced by total strangers. Hello human kindness. Warm and fuzzy feelings all around, on to the next. Here’s my problem with it. Here’s my problem with anyone who thinks that story is beautiful. It took three months for anyone to help this man. Three whole months! An elderly man was on his roof day in and day out for three months and not once did his neighbors say a thing about it. Not once did it cross their minds to talk to this man and see how he was doing, much less ask what in the world he was doing alone on his roof. The only thing anyone said to him was basically, “Hey man, El Nino is coming. You better fix your roof before you wash away in the flood.” Thanks Noah.

He is a very proud man as the elderly tend to be. His roof needed replacing and he wanted to ensure a quality job was done. Fine. But what is wrong with his neighbors? What they can’t ask if they can help? The role of knight in shining armor was cast to a neighbor who so “kindly” posted about the situation on Facebook. Read the article. I’m not making this up! He posts on Facebook something to the effect of, “I got this elderly neighbor who has been on his roof trying to replace it shingle by shingle for the last three months and all I can think to do is put out a cry for help on Facebook. Anyone know how to do roofing?” Obviously I’m paraphrasing. I couldn’t find an article with the original Facebook post.

The post was shared more than 1,000 times. Why? Because it’s so easy to share, repost, or like something so noble on social media. Doing anything about it is another issue entirely. To be fair, I don’t know if the neighbor really took three months to actually turn to Facebook for “expertise” or if it took three months for volunteers to assemble. Either way, it’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard! I was raised to help my neighbor. Who cares if you don’t know how to shingle a roof? My family have all spent time on a roof, helping someone out, and got the job done in a day. That’s just how it is. Someone needs help, you don’t ask questions. You turn off your dumb computer, set down the phone, walk across the street, and help.

But the man was doing the job himself to ensure a quality job was done. Yes, it’s true. But what, the neighbors can’t pick up a phone and call around for referrals? A Facebook post. I’m shaking it makes me so crazy. Who does that? Why are there so many people in the world who think they can skate by because someone else will take care of it? I weep for the future.

Say What


Me: What do you want to be for Halloween?
Gwen: I think I will be a bride, or a mom, or a mermaid princess!

Parker: I was having a staring contest with myself and you made me blink!

Me: I can feel where your wings used to be.
Gwen: I used to have wings?
Me: Everyone did.
Gwen: I used to be a butterfly?

Gwen: Will I need to take off my cry glasses?
Heath: Yes you will need to take off your cry glasses to soap up your hair.
(Parker hid her new 3D glasses and she was a little put out – rightly so – and called them cry glasses)

Gwen: But I’m not in the mood for a bath, I don’t even smell.

Maybe you had to be there but my kids continue to crack me up. I love it!

Summer Restlessness


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Hot summer nights in the city call out to the young and adventurous. The heat rises from the ground after being trapped all day. The air is mostly stagnant. What little breezes there are do little by way of relief.

The whooshing of cars on pavement call out, “Come play!” Lights twinkle from cars passing by different objects obstructing an observer’s view. Streets have a wet appearance from the lights reflecting off the blacktop. Why do streets always look so wet at night? And why does it stir a desire in me to go out and do something? Summer nights like this sound like an open window of possibilities. One night I gave in to the restlessness.

“Let’s go play!” one of my roommates suggested.

Playing would require some creativity. It was after 10:00 pm in Cedar City, Utah. It’s a college town full of restaurants and hotels. Practically the whole city shuts down at 9:00. We just wanted to get out and do something. So four of us piled into a car and off we drove to Mesquite, Nevada. We had no plans. Just an impromptu road trip.

The radio was cranked. We laughed and talked. South of Cedar City, the city lights of St. George glowed like friendly waves from friends. Soon there were more mountains surrounding the freeway than city lights.

When we got to Mesquite there was nothing to do. We realized it was a small town like Cedar City. Should we continue on to Las Vegas? That city never sleeps. We didn’t debate long. It was late and in the end the journey was more enjoyable than the destination. The car was again filled with young college kids and turned back home. It was so late when we got back. A few of us had to go to work in a couple of hours. The adventure was worth it. Every time I see a nightscape like that pictured above I remember road trips and a sense of summer restlessness to be anywhere but inside.

Certain Uncertainty


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Certain uncertainty is a strange feeling. Imagine you are a trapeze artist flying without a net and your grip starts to slip. That’s certain uncertainty. A fight or flight, adrenaline filled feeling when you know “flighting” isn’t an option. So you stay and fight even though you don’t know how it will turn out. Your choices are do or do. There is no alternative. But you don’t know what will happen or how you will find your way to the other side. That is certain uncertainty. I’ll give you a great example.

My friend was visiting for the weekend. Her brother was having an Open House here after getting married in Salt Lake. She ended up being so busy with family that it was difficult to fit in visits with friends. But she needed those visits to unwind and process. Family is awesome but I could tell she was exhausted from trying to be on her best behavior. It didn’t help that nine people were camped out in her mom’s place sharing one bathroom because the baby was in a pack and play in front of the other bathroom. It was the only place dark enough and quiet enough. She had come to visit me late Sunday evening.

Her husband dropped her off and I said I would take her home later. We hadn’t been out in the gazebo talking for long when he called asking if she had the keys to her mom’s house. She did. He is the complete opposite of the two of us. He was not bothered by this snag in plans. Eventually her mom, brother, and his new bride would come back from their trip to San Francisco. I imagine he just drove around with the kids until that happened. He is very chill like that. In the meantime we talked.

Heath was about to put the kids to bed when Abigail said it was late and she probably better get going. We walked in the house and slipped our flip flops back on. She grabbed her stuff while I grabbed my wallet and keys. Not my cell phone. That was not on the counter where it normally sits. It was on the fireplace hearth where I was sitting watching a movie before she came and we were texting. I didn’t think I needed my phone. After all, I had been to her mom’s house. It was really easy to get to.

Off we went with me knowing full well I did not have my cell phone. I had a quiet, almost imperceptible pit in my stomach about it. Stupidly I pushed the feeling away. It was such a quiet impression I only recognized it in hindsight. Besides that, I knew where her mom lived. Up the Road to Nowhere, left at the next major street over and straight on till morning. She lives in a cute little neighborhood up there.

Halfway up the Road to Nowhere she tells me her mom now lives by the mall. She says the cross streets and I felt quite confident with the area. On I drove. My only fear at the time was not liking to drive at night. Abigail knows I hate driving no matter what and she appreciated my small sacrifice for her. We talked and I drove. The back road we took toward the mall seemed extra dark. She told me to turn left into an elite neighborhood across the street from the mall.

“Have you ever been up here before?”

I told her that I hadn’t but it was fine. Then she told me she wouldn’t take me the most direct route to her mom’s house. She would direct me to go the most well lit route. Oh goody. Blackness and the occasional deer crossing signs were all I could see. Street lamps were few and far between. The road was lit the most at intersections where she told me to turn left. The last street I turned on had a speed limit of 45 mph. I went much slower feeling like I was overdriving my headlights. I tried not to be too slow. She prefers to go fast. I think she was patient with me because she knows how much I hate driving. Although I couldn’t help wondering if she was taking me up into the hills to dispose of my body. Where in the world were we?

Eventually a group of buildings cropped up and she told me to turn left. She said something about me dropping her off at the corner to make it easier to turn around. Maybe I should have asked a clarifying question. Instead I finished the turn and stopped across the street from her mom’s building. I couldn’t see houses as much as garages.

She got out and asked if I felt okay to drive home. I definitely felt uncertain but I thought I had paid attention to all the left turns I had made and was ready to reverse course. I told her I would be fine. She waved and walked behind me across the street. I watched her climb the stairs and disappear off to the left. Left has no significance to the story. Everything just seemed to be located on the left! I pulled onto the street slowly. Immediately a car was behind me. Great. That should make it easier to find a place to turn around!

The car followed me up the street for a ways before I found two empty parking spots on the left. I flipped on my blinker and pulled right in. As I did I read “resident only” in paint at the bottom of each spot. Please tell me neither of these spots were his! He drove on and I could more easily turn around.

Facing the right direction I was desperately trying to push down the uncertain fear building inside me. I started praying. Please help me get home safely. Please help me find my way home. Please please please. With my heart jumping in my throat I drove into the black and wild unknown. Please help me find my way home.

She had said to turn right at a sign that said Preserve. Of course another car was following me. I don’t like the added pressure of finding places in my car while someone is following me. I saw a sign off to the right. Flipping my blinker on, I eased my way into the new right turn only lane. The sign did not say Preserve. Maybe I hadn’t gone far enough. I let the car pass me and I pulled back onto the street. My thought process was that they must be trying to get back to “civilization” like I was. I would follow them.

I followed for a very long time. There were no turn offs. A few buildings on the left were faintly illuminated by stars. I had no idea what the businesses were but clearly they were closed. I would find no help there. My heart was racing a mile a minute, I was still praying, and thinking out loud, “I have no idea where I am!” There were more lights on the right. I looked over and saw I was following alongside a freeway. Somehow I had found some frontage road. All I knew was that those cars were going the right direction. I was going the exact opposite of where I needed to be.

I had passed a strange opening on the right. I did not recognize the street name. After driving away from where I knew I needed to be for quite some time, I decided to turn around to find that opening or turn off. It seemed to be the only one and possibly my only chance to get my bearings. The white digital numbers in my van clicked up. Time was slowly ticking away.

All I wanted was to be home in my bed falling asleep to Friends on Netflix. Instead I was cruising down some frontage road in the middle of nowhere. This is where people go to die! Heath please find me! But I didn’t have my phone. He had no idea I was even lost.

I found the strange opening. It was a street perpendicular to the highway to hell I was on. It looked like some secret portal toward sanity the way it was lit and kind of went under the freeway. I still did not recognize the street name but I didn’t care. I felt like Sarah in Labyrinth. “What do they mean labyrinth? There aren’t any twists or turns or anything.” Sometimes you just have to dig deep for some faith and go for it.

My heart raced more and more. I hoped with all my might I could momentarily forget that I normally can’t navigate my way out of a paper bag, and just figure something out. I came to a light and saw the cross street was called I-Know-It-Blvd. Okay not really. I like to keep the details of my life vague online. I turned right toward the city lights. It took forever but I eventually drove far enough that I started to recognize where I was. I turned right at the appropriate time and it was smooth sailing all the way back.

As I drove down the Road to Nowhere I started singing Naive Melody by Talking Heads. “Home is where I want to be, pick me up and turn me round … I feel numb – born with a weak heart guess I must be having fun …” Walking through the garage door into my laundry room has never felt sweeter.

Lessons learned: don’t ever leave home without a cell phone. It has GPS and voice command directions home!
Finding my way out of a black paper bag made me feel like a warrior. I am so grateful for the divine guidance I know I had that night.

I’ve Learned


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  • That not only is Santa real but Parker is an amazing little storyteller. He talked all through dinner last night about Santa’s backstory, his history with time travel (which helps him deliver toys), and robotic elves. All this from the kid who refuses to read anything other than graphic novels. I told him to type the story and send it to his grandmas. It’s a new day and he’s playing video games.
  • That the new principal is a godsend. He has already called several indoor recesses. No principal has called indoor recess on oppressively hot days since the last male principal the school had back when Gavin was in first grade!
  • The indoor recess helped the classes get out early today. I left my van at 2:11 and I saw kids walking out the gates. Gwen came out at 2:15 on the dot. I told her we were not going to the park when it was 100 degrees.
  • I don’t care that today was a Spare the Air day. The schools don’t provide buses. The parents have to drive. The school insists on having some stupid schedule the first three weeks of school where the lower grades get out 45 minutes before the upper grades. I drove home. We had 15-20 minutes before we had to leave to pick up Parker. It beat the heck out of melting in the park.
  • That Cross Country does run in the heat. I had a sneaking suspicion and yes they do. A dad emailed the coach about it. He said something to the effect of, “Since the temps will be 100+ all week and there are cooling stations being set up throughout the city, I just thought I would ask if the kids are still running.” She replied with one word. “Yep.” Please let me pick Gavin up from school and not the hospital.
  • That even though it’s blazing hot I still don’t regret draining the pool on Saturday. Every summer I think of how I will play in the pool myself when the kids go back to school. School starts and I remember why I never play in that pool alone. My time ends shortly before 2:00! There is no time to play. There is barely time to get anything done while they’re gone. Today I walked through the park and got Primary forms updated for our meeting tomorrow. That’s it.
  • The kids aren’t interested in playing in the pool after school. Gwen did once. It didn’t help that she had to play alone. Parker was too interested in spending his hour of free time playing inside. Gavin was running which meant I couldn’t get in the pool since I had to pick him up soon. The pool was in complete shade the whole time. It just isn’t as fun once school starts.
  • It’s weird that I’m happy we are putting our pool away but I still agreed to a pool playdate tomorrow with a friend. I’m just not sure how well it will work. I have to get kids home, changed, drive to her apartment, put kids in, then drive down the street to get Gavin at 5:00. It will be a short playdate and she will probably watch Gwen and Parker while I get Gavin.
  • That leftovers are gross. I hate leftovers but in a weak moment where I temporarily lost my mind I told the waiter that I did want a box. There was so much of my delicious stacked nachos left that I thought saving it made sense. I braved the heat and reheated my leftovers in the oven.
  • Microwaving leftovers makes them crunchy or soggy or basically the opposite texture of how the food started. Baking it in the oven is no better. My chips were soggy and chewy.
  • If you don’t make plans nothing will happen. This is how we ended up at our favorite Mexican restaurant last night. My goal for the long weekend was to get through Sunday and then sleep in on Monday. My wish came true! That’s all that happened. Heath bought a new router for the computer because it died Sunday morning and he spent the entire day trying to get it to work.
  • Losing the internet connection is the equivalent of losing power. I handwrote everything I needed to print when the computers slowed to a crawl after the router sputtered and coughed out its last breaths. Gavin went through the whole grief cycle. Every suggestion we made he looked at us like our brains were oozing out our ears. Read scriptures, work on his talk? How could we forget he does all of that on his laptop? He was less than impressed when I reminded him of the ancient invention of paper. It was much easier for him to mope.
  • That one day it will cool down. It was still smart that I sent in a check for a Cross Country sweatshirt because one day Gavin will want to wear it. Not anytime soon but one day.

Why do you do what you do?


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Tap tap tap. Tappity tap clickety click. My fingers dance across the keyboard. Most of the letters have been rubbed off from overuse. The world around me fades to black. I am in my office with the invisible walls. The only thing I am aware of is the click of the keyboard and the emerging text on the screen. This is all that matters. This moment when I sit down to write. The story flows from my deep inside me – healing, making sense of it all, creating a permanent reminder of a moment I never want to forget.

Sentence structure, adjectives, similes and paragraph length. They can propel my insatiable passion forward or hinder it. Writer’s block can be like an athlete hitting a wall. Tears of frustration inevitably fall. The stories are in my head begging to come out. My words get stuck. I’m distracted and agitated until the story reworks itself. I sit in front of my trusty old friend with the glowing face and the dam breaks. The story comes out with a piece of my heart woven throughout. This is what I do.

My mom is a talented nurse. It’s what she does. Not only that it’s what she loves. My mom is efficient, kind, and simply amazing. Her service is unmatched. She will stop at nothing to help a patient feel more comfortable.

Nothing seems to faze her. When she dons that invisible nurse’s hat she is all business. It’s as if her whole body is on auto-pilot. She moves with tenderness and wisdom. The only way to know she is actually scared is when she starts to swear. She has always been like that. My brother could proudly show her his hands that resembled ground hamburger. Mom would just smile and congratulate him on making memories. Hamburger hands were not beyond her control. When she got a phone call that I was in a car accident, she hung up swearing. Then sped off to the hospital.

Swearing and speeding are her weaknesses. Once she was at the hospital she had her stoic face on while expertly inserting herself into the circle of doctors and nurses. She helped put stitches in my ear! She says things like, “Let me push the bed.” This is my mom. She won’t sit idly by watching. It doesn’t matter if she ever worked at the hospital or not. She will do what needs to be done. Don’t make my mom sit in another room. She has to help. It’s as if she was born to be a nurse.

My son is learning he was born to run. I picked him up from his practice on Friday after his first full week of Cross Country practices. He said, “I don’t like Track as much as Cross Country. It’s not as much fun to run short races. I just like to run.” He wants to still run Track in the spring because it’s running. Cross Country is where his heart is. He runs like a distance runner so it is nice to see him enjoy Cross Country so much. I have seen him come home with tears in his eyes after a disappointing run on summer mornings. Running is his passion. He is not satisfied unless he has left his guts on the trail.

Passion is what makes the world go round. I can think of so many examples of passionate people. Their passion inspires me. I may not be at all interested in what they do but I get goosebumps watching them do it well. I once asked a friend what he did for a living. His whole countenance lit up. The happiest smile spread easily across his face as he started speaking in a foreign language. Numbers. Great, the man does what my husband does. He works with numbers in a business setting. In fact, my husband started contributing to the conversation and I stopped nodding my head with a fake smile and glazed over eyes. They talked and laughed and finished each other’s sentences. Numbers, statistics, business. Blah! I may not get it but I love the passion. I would never want them to trade their jobs for something I could explain or understand.

Stories are what drive me. I have dabbled in many creative pursuits. It’s the story that compels me. Over time I learned that writing was the fastest way to find that creative fulfillment we all crave. I come from a line of storytellers on both sides of my family. The difference between them and me is, well it’s more than one difference. I hide behind written words. Words spoken out loud cannot be taken back. Written words can be erased and changed until they say what I mean.

The other difference is a strange feeling. I have never figured out how to express it in words. It’s an almost desperate feeling that if the stories aren’t preserved all will be wasted. Maybe it’s a morbid thing. Sometimes I think that writing is my only contribution to the world. It’s a way to be remembered when I die! At least my kids appreciate the stories now. I’m not dead yet! Mostly it’s a way to calm that fear that if I don’t write it down I will never remember.

Whether my writing means anything to anyone else it has helped me. I love going back and reading my faith through trials. I remember how at the time I never thought we would see the sun on the other side. Those stories strengthen me. I love reading about life with babies. I especially love all the Say What posts I have captured. They take me back to the exact moment my kids said the darndest things and I laugh heartily.

Blogging started out as a way to keep in touch with family when we moved. Its purpose has grown beyond that. Like my mom, my son, and my friend, I have found what makes my world turn. Writing is what I love. It fills a need in me. So I write.

Tap tap tap. Tappity tap clickety click.


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