eleven weeks and growing up (or not)

eleven weeks and growing up (or not)

He is eleven weeks old.

It seems like forever ago. I actually had a breakdown today.

I just want to be normal again.

I said to no one in particular, as I looked in the mirror at my haggard face and interesting body shape.

I haven’t bounced back, even though I really wanted to.

I wanted to have redecorated our family room and landscaped the front yard and read Shakespeare with the kids and done a million things by now, and I haven’t.

I have done a lot of sitting. And lying. Not liar-liar-pants-on-fire lying. Just lying down.

I’ve been tired.

His birth was the most beautiful, peaceful set of hours I have ever experienced in this mortality. Angels were near and I realized just how much I meant to him…before he appeared.

And there was a push–and there he was.

10 Minutes Old

10 Minutes Old

And he is perfect.

And then I started to feel a little…almost dead. And I lost a lot of blood. Nearly half.

That did not feel so great. I remember saying before I nearly lost consciousness:

John–I am not going to nearly die again. I won’t do it! Don’t you dare let it happen!

And he didn’t. Also, the most incredible nurses on the planet–probably in the universe–also didn’t want to let that happen. And neither did the anesthesiologist. So, everyone agreed that not nearly dying would be better than nearly dying so we did our best and I am happy to say we basically made it work.

Then the rest of the best nurses in the entire universe in Mother Baby made sure that I didn’t nearly die, but recovered through laughter, which is truly the best medicine.

It was a blast.

And I think, a little magical.

No, a lot magical.

My nurses were magical, the doctors were magical. The hospital food was not magical but earnestly tried to be….

The bed also did its best but fell a little short of magic. It tried to evoke a bit of whimsy, but that’s about as far as it got.

I came home. The SMeE decided to join me, and I have been having a small problem with him. It hurts. A lot.

SMeE Returns...Grrr...

SMeE Returns…Grrr…

I went back to the hospital later with trouble related to pre-eclampsia, which I still had.

It’s been eleven weeks and I want to be and do everything I’ve been waiting and wanting for so many years and I am impatient.

It has been busy. Since he was born, we have had birthdays and mission calls and trying to get back into the swing of life.

I even took a trip to California with my sister in order to try and kickstart myself into you know, bouncing back. It was absolutely wonderful, even if I did overdo it just a bit.

I don’t know why I do that, but I really wanted to be finished with feeling…pregnant and the SMeE just flaring up like this and the no blood thing. I just wanted to be perfectly recovered and have fun.

Today was a really hard day when I just had to realize it’s only been eleven weeks.

July 5th was Joy’s Day. The day she went back home, and as I was lying in severe amounts of pain after church, I wondered about these eleven weeks.

Joy

Joy

Eleven weeks after Joy died, I was still a mess.

Still crying.

Sometimes I would laugh, but mostly I would shake and not know what to do with myself.

Our family was a mess. We were eating corn dogs for breakfast and cereal for dinner. The bathrooms were hideous. Our lawn wasn’t mowed. We were really having a difficult time just surviving.

And while birth is not the same as death, there are similarities.

Eleven weeks ago, the being known as my Peter, was not here. Our family is forever is changed because he is now here. Eleven weeks after Joy died, we were forever changed by the absence of her presence.

If it took awhile to get used to her absence, it stands to reason that it should take awhile for us to adjust to the presence of a new soul.

Something from heaven right here in our midst.

Fresh

Fresh

So I think I should be able to give myself a little bit of patience and relax a little. There will be time after this to do all that I want to do. There will be time for trips and landscaping and visiting museums and redecorating the family room and all of that.

But there will never be another time that Peter is brand new from heaven.

When I was in Florida, I used to go to Magic Kingdom and watch the fireworks after a long day of walking…of making myself walk. I wanted to be able to walk and move and do for my kids and I often felt that it was only appropriate after a particularly hard day of hundreds of painful steps that I should reward myself with fireworks…

I Wish We'd Never Have To Grow Up...

I Wish We’d Never Have To Grow Up…Off To Neverland

During the show, the audience learns about wishes and how they come from the heart and all of that. And at the beginning, we hear Peter Pan wishing:

I wish we’d never have to grow up! Off to Neverland!!!”

And that’s the part where I would always inevitably get emotional. I always thought of Joy…and how in a way, here in mortality, she was granted Peter’s wish–to never grow up. She lives in a kind of Neverland–where she never has to experience pain or growing up the way we do….and I would always kind of be a little sad about that. I would always feel very much like Wendy in Chapter 17:

“Good-bye,” said Peter to Wendy; and he rose in the air, and the shameless Jane rose with him; it was already her easiest way of moving about.
Wendy rushed to the window.
“No, no,” she cried.
“It is just for spring cleaning time,” Jane said, “he wants me always to do his spring cleaning.”
“If only I could go with you,” Wendy sighed.
“You see you can’t fly,” said Jane.
Of course in the end Wendy let them fly away together. Our last glimpse of her shows her at the window, watching them receding into the sky until they were as small as stars.

And as I watched the night light up with beautiful fireworks over a magical castle, I felt a stabbing pain and realized what it is like to “grow up,” something I vowed I would never do when I was first introduced to Peter so long ago. But it felt as if I were Wendy at the window, letting Peter take my Joy with him off to Neverland….

Ironically, at the time I also had a Jayne. And I knew when I saw those fireworks I would name my last baby, who would be a boy, Peter. Maybe it was in a hope that I could somehow reverse the growing up that had so sadly happened to me.

Maybe I thought he could somehow bring something of Joy back to me, and in some way keep Jayne from growing up too fast, too.

Maybe I thought he could be the balm to my sorrows and the end of the worst part of the grief of losing her.

Maybe I thought he would be the one to give me wings–to let me fly again–because I had forgotten.

For to have faith is to have wings…

Maybe I thought he would let me keep them all in my heart as my beautiful little children–that somehow by naming him Peter, all my precious treasures could somehow “never grow up” and I could stop time and remain in the environs of the magic timelessness that is childhood. And remain in the time when Joy is a sweet, close almost-here-again memory, where I can still recall her smell and her laughter…

Maybe I thought in naming him Peter, my life would be always as it is just now–surrounded by pixie dust and faeries and make believe and stories and crocodiles and jungles and islands and adventure and the feeling of never being scared unless it is for fun…

It’s been eleven weeks, and I don’t know if the name bestowed the magic, but I begin to feel it.

Even in realizing that in eleven weeks I do not have to tidy up the house and be grown up.

I can rest and daydream and even take the time to feel restless because my mind is ready for more than my body.

I begin to feel it as I look at my son, who will be leaving home to serve a mission for two years. Looking at him in his suit and tie, seeing my 13 year old in his uniform at Civil Air Patrol looking like he wants to be 23…seeing my 16 year old girl acting like, well, an adult….like me. Only better…

I see them growing up but there is something else–I see the faith they have in make believe and childhood and Joy–and to have faith is to have wings–and to have wings–well, to have wings and faith is to fly. And I think, in my heart of hearts, that these few children–my loves–maybe Peter brought them the pixie dust and they will never forget how to fly.

And maybe, if I am lucky, I will remember, too.

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”

 

random thoughts about being sexy or not

random thoughts about being sexy or not

I am all over the place with my thoughts today and I don’t even know if I should attempt writing, but you all are my friends, so I will share my very odd and eccentric mind with you.

I have been able to spend more time on Facebook this last week because I am on bedrest and I was bored and distracted and since I did that and have time to get it written down, I think something must be said about the dream of looking great, feeling great, being financially “free” and being “fit.”

I don’t know what happened, but it seems like lots of people I am following on my “feed” are really excited about cleansing drinks and wraps and oils and looking great and feeling great and having health and wealth.

Which is great for all of them, but I am starting to feel a little pressure. Probably because I usually don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, but still–it feels like everyone wants me to be healthy and wealthy and fit and wrapped and cleansed and covered in oil and INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!

Not because my friends are pushy. They aren’t. They are actually pretty classy about the whole thing, but still…seeing so much of it really does seem to exert some kind of pressure. It’s probably mostly in my head, but there it is.

But, really, I don’t want to be wealthy. I have enough problems already.

And I don’t want any more opportunities. And I don’t want to look younger or feel better.

I do not feel bored and I don’t feel unfulfilled and I don’t even really feel like going on trips or buying a new car or paying off my mortgage right now.

Maybe later.

For now, I am pretty content with my financial bondage and having to stay home life. I actually like being home and not going anywhere right now.

I think my motto these days is:

My Motto

My Motto

First of all, I am like, past 40.

I am old and I don’t want to be sexy and I don’t want to be ripped.

I know it may sound shocking, but while I do have goals for my body, they mostly involve being able to use my left side and maybe work on bladder control after I have a baby.

Those things will more than likely involve medical professionals and I am really at peace with that.

I also want to lose weight, because hello, I am very, very round.

But, I don’t want to lose lots of weight. Here is my fitspiration:

My Fitspiration

My Fitspiration

I also have decided that I don’t want to do the supplement thing. It’s too hard for me.

Honestly, maybe it’s the brain damage, but there is no way I can remember to take supplements.

I forget about the magic powder that’s going to CHANGE MY LIFE and I also cannot be consistent with tinctures, oils, or even Vitamin D, for heaven’s sake.

I don’t know why this is. It’s easier for me to remember to make a green smoothie. And I’d rather chug down a green smoothie than pretend some nutrition bar tastes just like cookie dough or fudge.

Because it doesn’t.

It’s nothing personal, I just don’t want to spend money on things I will forget to use. Or that take any amount of extra effort.

Making healthy meals is more fun and I don’t forget to do that because my children remind me constantly that they need to eat.

Obviously all of my friends who do oils and powders and nutritional supplements are probably feeling truly sad for me right now, because they are all thinking how much better I would feel, how much more energy I would have…how all of these things would make my life AMAZING!!!!!!

And I love that it works for them, and I am happy that they are happy, but it’s just not me.

I don’t want to spend money on more stuff because I am happy and content.

And AMAZING!!!!!! probably isn’t realistic for me 24/7.

Sometimes I think bad days and low energy and sad feelings and even pain are good for me. I don’t want 24/7 AWESOMENESS!!!!!!!!

And, honestly, I think I have plenty of energy for someone who is over 40 and 9 months pregnant. For the twelfth time. I mean, I don’t really know what I would do with more energy on bedrest…probably go insane.

Also, I just don’t think I will ever feel like I am 20 again, and I think that’s okay. I am okay with it. Happy, even.

I like being a little slower. It helps me think before I act, which has always been virtually impossible for me. I don’t know that more energy would help me.

If I need more energy, I will take a nap, like other old people do.

And if that doesn’t work, I have a Chinese mother-in-law who knows more about herbs and natural remedies than anyone in the Western Hemisphere. Including DoTerra and Young Living and ItWorks! and Isagenix and everyone else.

I mean, my mother-in-law is almost 70 and she still plays at the playground and slides down the slide with my kids and she has never really used anything that she couldn’t make herself from ingredients she had on hand.

So, yeah, I am actually fine with sagging and looking old.

And, maybe other people don’t like that, but I have noticed that if I look old enough, I just become invisible to the crowd that is accustomed to eye candy. It’s like their brain cannot register the reality of me in all my glory because it would explode from being violated in such a way.

And I am content with that.

download

Yeah. I Just Call It Summer, Too.

 

I don’t care about swimsuit season, and I don’t care if I will ever be able to run a 10K. I do want to run again, but I don’t think I need to buy anything to help me do that, outside of good food. I mean, one of my best friends has a gym in her basement and she lets me use it whenever I want, so I think I’m set.

I was thinking about that today in the shower. Why do I feel so comfortable with my fitness/energy goals when they are so far below what it appears everyone else is doing? Why don’t I want to look “hot” or whatever?

Well, I think part of it is because I have been waiting my whole life to be old so I don’t have to stress about it, and I really was looking forward to being able to let it go. 40 was the magic age I was looking for, so now I don’t want to worry about it.

And part of it is that John and I have this thing. Sure, we were slightly younger once and hot and steamy happened, but then something else happened–something that I never expected.

There came a time when we had been through so much together–death, life, and everything in between–that I could know when he was home and get sparks, even if I didn’t hear him come in.

There came a time when the butterflies came and never went away. We are almost always attracted to each other.

And, no matter what he looks like or does, there is a tangible link between us that is more powerful than distance or time and will not ever diminish, even in death.

And, really, it goes so far beyond us being a product or object…we are so far beyond whether or not something is toned or “fit” or plucked or moisturized or whatever…that stuff kind of belongs with the object that is a physical body with nothing else attached, and we cannot see each other that way.

We are not the sum of our body parts and how well maintained they are. We are one and we cannot touch each other and merely feel two bodies touching. No, it is more. It is a touch that is fueled with the sparks of stars and suns and galaxies and eternity and spirit.

That probably has something to do with it. We have connected with each other’s stardust and that is some powerful energy.

Powerful Energy.

Powerful Energy.

Maybe that’s why I don’t feel like I need an oil or a powder or a juice or whatever.

Maybe that energy between us–the same energy that spins this galaxy and creates solar systems and suns–maybe that is all I need.

Maybe I am so caught up in that and in my children who have the energy of new life and purity that everything else is kind of anticlimactic.

I don’t know.

Tomorrow my life will change forever…again. A whole new human soul will join mortality for the first time and the earth, the universe, will never be the same. It’s going to be amazing and awesome in a very individual, quiet way.

And just like that, without anyone really even noticing, I will have changed the world, or at least started to.

Maybe I have just really begun to understand that amazingness and the greatness that is simply being present and here and free of emotional baggage and unplugged and undistracted for my family and I guess I feel like jealously guarding those precious moments–they go by (sometimes NOT quickly), and those messy, beautiful, hard moments are what really matter.

And those moments can’t happen for me if I am spending all my time trying to be MORE AMAZING!!!!!!!! or trying to feel younger or whatever.

I don’t want anything distracting me from what really, truly matters in my life, not all the wealth or possible health in the world.

I am not that great at organizing my time and staying focused. I just don’t have that gift, so I have to let go all the stuff that I think is extraneous…and almost everything is right now.

I feel good. I feel better than I have in a long time, and it is unbelievable what feeling good about oneself and feeling peaceful and close to God and nature can do for the human body.

And I didn’t find it doing yoga or going to a seminar or webinar or a cleanse or a powder or an oil. I found it by seeing and feeling my life and my soul and my body and my stardust with my heart.

bliss

bliss

I recently had a lot of people writing me asking how my husband and I make marriage awesome amidst multiple pregnancies and all the children.

I have been pregnant and/or nursing for almost 18 years. So, I can say I have a lot of experience with babies and pregnancy and teens and tweens and toddlers and everything else plus trying to have an awesome marriage.

I used to think I could find someone to help me with this, but really, there isn’t a lot of realistic advice out there for people who have decided to spend over a decade in the trenches of pregnancy and children.

Most of the advice is given with the idea that the pregnancy and/or terrible twos or little children or teens will be over relatively soon.

Most of the advice from large family mothering blogs (or parenting blogs) seems extremely idealistic and a little too hard to achieve.

For example, most large family bloggers tend to exude the idea that they don’t have much trouble with their children who are 12-18–they are just a joy and help out around the house and love to take care of their siblings really, really frequently.

Which is great, but that’s not how we roll here. Yes, my children ages 12-18 are an absolute joy most of the time, but wow. There are times when they are a mess. And I am a mess. And there are times that they do not want to take care of littles, even thought they love them.

And most of the large family bloggers I read about are determined to really testify of their happiness to be serving their husbands in all kinds of capacities that I think are really too much for me, personally (I love my husband, and I love to serve him, but I also like to be spoiled, too. I am a weenie.).

I am not there yet. I may never be.

Maybe I’m not a great large family mother or something. I am not trying to emulate Michelle Duggar and I don’t have a sweet, kindly disposition a lot of the time.

I don’t really want my older children “helping out” a lot.

By the time they are sixteen, I want them out and about, doing their own thing, working or college or something more independent and certainly not helping me aside from some basic chores and learning independent living skills.

So this advice I am giving is from the point of view of a family that has altercations, tears, laughter, obnoxious behavior and struggles sometimes.

I am not giving advice to have an argument free, my-sweet-wife, my-darling-husband kind of marriage. Although that would be really great, I am not there yet,

I consider our marriage awesome, though.

Of course, my definition of awesome might look a little different than what you might expect. I am not expecting absolute happiness and flowers and fireworks.

I am expecting survival with a smile. And some smooching.

That’s it. That is my definition of an awesome marriage with kids.

So, here are my tips for those of you who might be considering a large family and a decade or so of pregnancy:

You Will Both Be So Tired.

You Will Both Be So Tired.

Recognize and accept that it is not a contest.

So, you know when you have children, everyone in the world warns you that you will never get great rest again.

It’s so funny when you’ve heard it over a million times, right? Oh, that never gets old!

But, really, it’s true. You won’t sleep. Ever. Again. And you probably kind of know that, and that’s okay with both of you. You both think it’s worth it.

Most couples tend to get into this contest of who is the most tired (most of the time it is a pregnant mom), but I decided a long time ago that we wouldn’t go there, because my husband actually believes he is more tired sometimes.

And it could be possible that sometimes he is.

I know he sometimes is.

But, we have saved ourselves a lot of grief by deciding before our first child was born that we would never do that contest thing, and we would try very hard to agree that we are both the same amount of exhausted, just in different ways.

And we both have a different level of tolerance for exhaustion.

That’s just the way it is. Don’t fight about it. You are both tired. It will be worth it.

Lots of pregnancy means lots of sacrifice.

Both of you should agree that all of these pregnancies are going to mean a lot of sacrifice.

Most women are a little discouraged when things start sagging and nothing is as it was before. It’s also discouraging to give up wearing pants with zippers for fifteen years. It’s also exhausting and draining to make human beings.

But it’s worth it.

And it’s important for both of you to sincerely see deep beauty in each other, not the kind that is only youthful skin deep kind of beauty.

Most men will find that learning to cook for your nauseated wife, the kids, and yourself is going to be more of a priority than sports or hobbies or…well, almost everything else.

Taking a portion of the household responsibilities (or making sure your other children are completing them), is going to take a lot of time and effort. Even when you are tired and exhausted.

Listening to your wife cry about random things and being comforting will be time consuming and emotionally consuming.

It’s worth it. But, realizing this ahead of time will save a lot of grief and make for a more awesome marriage.

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Make dating and sex a priority. And flirt.

Dating is really, really important during these years. It’s probably the only time you will be able to have a conversation without being interrupted three hundred times.

Make it a priority. Take the time to make a reservation every once in a while. Dates don’t have to be extravagant, but they do need to be without children. Go places that are child-free.

We like to take walks when I am not too miserable from the pregnancy, or just talk on a swing at the park. When I am too sick, we go for a short drive and park somewhere and talk. Or we lock the door to our room and have takeout while the kids stay downstairs without interrupting us for two hours.

We also try to flirt every once in a while. It’s sometimes funny because we are so pathetically tired, but sometimes it can really create sparks.

Sex should also be a priority. It doesn’t have to be epic, but both of you really do need it.

When I am pregnant, it is hard for me to remember this because, well, I am pregnant.

But, it’s important and really, most of the time, I just need time to wind down and let my husband get me in the mood. This is sometimes problematic because really, if we are not careful we can both end up asleep before anything else happens.

Husbands should be aware that sex and pregnancy are sometimes difficult. Wives don’t feel particularly gorgeous and often during pregnancy, sex is really not on the radar. But, if you are patient and go out of the way to think of how to help your wife relax (hint: it may take more than 2 1/2 minutes), it pays off.

And it could even end up being epic.

Remember you are just a conduit.

I remember once when my husband was so worried about providing for our family with money, I reminded him that everything we have comes from God. He is just the conduit for those provisions that really come from God.

Likewise, I am just the conduit for God’s nurturing love to reach my children.

But, in the end, it is God’s mercy and grace that keep us going day to day. Remembering that took almost all the stress out of the “how are we going to pay for…” struggles.

Get a sense of humor.

It’s inevitable that things are going to sometimes be really stressful and chaotic and the opposite of what you dreamed it would be. This is where a great sense of humor comes in.

When, for example, our children are working at dividing us and I see that it is effective, I like to remind my husband that it should never be me against him, but rather, us against them. It’s an old joke, but it helps us to remember that we need to stay unified.

One of the nicest things my husband did was to laugh when I wrecked the side door of our van.  It made me feel so loved and it made me remember that most things are not a big deal…it’s just life.

Pregnancy and raising children gives us multiple opportunities to laugh or cry. Choose laughter as often as you can.

Not Real For Most Of Us

Not Real For Most Of Us

Remember that the ideal is a dream.

When I read about people who never argue, wives who can their own fruit from trees they have grown themselves from organic seedlings and sweep every day and work out and make their own furniture and never gain weight and have painless childbirth, husbands who have never been angry with their spouse, bring home flowers every week, prepare gourmet meals and know how to dress the children for church in matching outfits and braid their hair, parents whose children listen and behave, and all of that, I try to remind myself that this is the ideal–a dream–but not my reality at this time.

Instead, I’ve tried to focus on what we do have going for us, and how we can take our problems and turn them into strengths.

Also, the ideal where couples are forever gorgeous and going on vacations to Fiji or whatever aren’t really going to happen when you decide to be pregnant for a decade.

Also, men who have lived with pregnant women for a decade are running a little ragged, so it’s hard to expect them to really be like all sweeping you off your feet and talking with a gorgeous accent and making vegan food that tastes fantastic.

Instead of pining away wishing my husband were more romantic or soft spoken or whatever it may be, I try to think of how I can love him the way he needs to be loved and how cute he is when he does laundry.

Love

Love

Love.

I know it probably sounds silly, but love really is the answer to almost every problem. Even though we have had some really hard times, I have always been very confident that my husband will never leave.

Even when I have felt like bagging it and just going to an island and living in a cave, I have always known deep down that I will never leave him.

Love really can conquer all. And love suffers long. Sometimes a really, really long time. Love sticks with us through depressing and discouraging circumstances, when we don’t look or act nice, through thick and thin and through sickness and health. It doesn’t waver.

And, sometimes we just need to remember that love is the greatest power of all when we are on no sleep, the kids are bickering, the 16 year old wrecked the car, the job isn’t going well and the pregnancy is difficult.

We just need to remember that these moments are what make love real and tangible.

When I am irritated with my husband, I often look at him and remind myself that this was the person who helped me go to the bathroom when I was sick, the person who got up with barfing kids so I could sleep, the person who held my hand when I was scared and told me it would be alright, even though he was just as terrified as I was.

The most important thing is that we keep going. No matter what. We just keep going and hoping that eventually we’ll reach the top of the mountain together and have enough energy to get down–or that maybe Heaven can send a chopper and airlift us off. And that’s how we keep our marriage awesome.

what the internet taught me in less than 48 hours

what the internet taught me in less than 48 hours

I had laryngitis, bronchitis, and other stuff this last week. After a trip to several doctors, I was told to go home, take some medicine and antibiotics, and go to bed.

I know I could have eaten 500 cloves of garlic and downed it with some colloidal silver, but it was easier and less smelly to take some azythromycin. I am lazy and irresponsible and like to throw away money to “big pharma.” 🙂

So I was lying in bed, after having taken some cough medicine with codeine, and I was bored out of my mind so I decided to go on the internet and read. Usually when I am more coherent, I choose more wisely, but this time, this time I just mindlessly clicked and it was amazing what I learned.

Here are just a few things I know now that I did not know before my online educational binge:

  • What a selfie stick is, that President Obama has one and has been photographed with it (which, for me, is slightly embarrassing), and that the Smithsonian does not allow them. One more reason for me to want to visit the Smithsonian, I say.
Awkward and embarrassing to me.

Awkward and embarrassing to me. This is not a political statement. I would think it were awkward even if it were a Republican or a Libertarian or whatever.

  • Octopi are terrifying and frightening. They should be put on some sort of watchlist. It’s almost as if they are trying to take over the world.

  • It is very entertaining to visit political websites and read the commentary to find out just how ridiculous and asinine supposedly literate Americans can be.
  • Young Living, Purium, ItWorks!, Isagenix, and DoTerra can all make me look fabulous, lose weight, live to be 1000 years old, improve my sex life, make me rich, and help me to discover the power within me. Also, they can make me happier than I’ve ever been in my life.
  • Clocking in at  13 tons of human waste piling up every season, Mt. Everest comes in a close second to my house.
  • In addition to finding out that I am feeding my children toxic tortilla chips, I now have to worry about fake olive oil.
  • All of my friends who are pregnant or just had a baby look way better than I do.
  • If I choose to vaccinate, I should be shot in the street, and if I choose not to vaccinate I should be shot in the street. If I have no opinion on vaccinations, I should also be shot in the street.
  • Videos of kittens, hummingbirds and people acting like normal decent human beings should make me an emotional basket case. Example: “This toddler falls down at the park. What happens next will make you sob as if you just watched the end of Steel Magnolias!!!!!!!!!” Am I really supposed to completely break down when the mother picks up the toddler and gives her a kiss and a bandaid?
  • If I lived in a normal neighborhood, I could be threatened to be shot by the police and thrown in jail if I let any of my children under 13 walk to the park all alone, thanks to all the “helpful” neighbors calling 911. Because THAT is an emergency.
  • I could be color blind or have a 4th cone or something because I saw a picture of a white and gold dress.
  • It is possible to transport a horse in a car instead of the typical horse trailer.

  • According to my Facebook friend, April, you start to feel like “crap, I am OLD” at the age of 27.
  • This month, I am supposed to raise my awareness of: puppies, books, social workers, British pie, salt, Pi, doctors, horse protection, meteorology, butchers, sleep, skipping, water and kidneys.
  • Dirt can make me happy.
  • Apparently, even though it may appear in photos that woodpeckers and weasels have a close, loving friendship, in reality, weasels are just trying to kill them.
Not As It Seems: This Is Actually A Killer Weasel

Not As It Seems: This Is Actually A Killer Weasel

  • In a shocking turn of events, it has been revealed that in February in the northeast United States, it snows. And is cold.
  • My neighborhood is full of celebrities. One of my neighbors will have artwork in a prestigious art show, another’s grandson just debuted forecasting weather on the local news, another crossed the Antarctic on a bike, and another is a real life abolitionist and hero. I can give you tours of our star studded neighborhood for a small fee.
Reflection, by Kristal, My Neighbor, featured in the Woodbury Art Show

Reflection, by Kristal, My Neighbor, featured in the Woodbury Art Show

My neighbor’s grandson, doing the weather.

My neighbor is the guy in the parka.

My neighbor is the guy in the parka. He crossed the Antarctic on a bicycle.

Tim Is My Neighbor. And A Real-Life Hero.

Tim Is My Neighbor. And A Real-Life Hero.

I will here take a moment to encourage anyone who loves music and hates slavery and sex trafficking to consider attending the benefit concert coming up on March 14th at Utah Valley University featuring Alfie Boe, Larry King, Jenny Oaks Baker, Lexie Walker, and lots of other awesome people to help with Operation Underground Railroad. It’s for a great cause, so feel free to go even if you hate music.

Yes, I am talking about you, Chris.

I am glad I am feeling better now. I don’t have time to tell you how I also learned that with just some flour, 100 pounds of cheese, a few other ingredients and six hours of my life that I can never get back, I can make homemade goldfish crackers, but that’s for another post.

Have a great day, and watch out for octopi and flying weasels.

 

last trimester

last trimester

On Friday, I enter my last trimester of pregnancy, more than likely for the last time.

It has gone by really fast, but that’s mostly probably because I am old, and 9 months is not very long when I think that something that happened 5 years ago happend “just the other day.”

So, I am entering in the last little bit where things get so bad that you really don’t mind if you have to go through labor because you think, “Anything is better than this.”

Which really isn’t technically all the way true, because then the baby is born and it’s kind of even worse in the fourth trimester, which is when you just feel fat and hormonal and so very, very tired and leaky and icky.

I wonder some days if I really am “done” with having babies. I think I am, but I’ve thought that before. Most people today would probably think, “Well, you know you can stop that, right?”

But, John and I have this weird way of family planning which involves a lot of intuition and spirituality, which usually leads us to having another baby.

Still Missing Someone

Still Missing Someone

 

After all, we don’t want to miss anyone.

Sometimes, when people tell me that I need to “get on with my life,” or they say “you need to take care of you,” or whatever, I think that maybe they are right.

Maybe I’m not taking care of me…maybe I need to get on with my life, a life that wouldn’t involve diapers and saying no to trips and opportunities because we have babies at home.

Maybe I’m almost at that part, where I will no longer be looking for deals on bulk diapers, or running out of baby wipes, or potty training or…whatever.

Of course, today is not that day.

Also, can I just say that having lots of children and raising them and being a mother and trying to have a great, awesome marriage with all of this going on and everything else is actually quite terrifying?

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I think that’s probably part of the reason I know it’s right.

I love doing the impossible. And what we’re doing shouldn’t really be possible–but it is.

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Anything less would, at this point in my life, be…boring. Flat. Empty.

I wish I could explain to people that this–these babies, the weight gain, the swollen ankles, the constant middle of the night diaper changes and all of that other stuff–this is my Everest.

It’s my super ultimate marathon.

It’s my dream.

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Yoga Is Not My Dream, But I Love The Quote.

 

And, you know, the world is all about people following their dreams. Just take a look at Facebook or Pinterest. They are 95% full of quotes about chasing your dreams, following your bliss, having the courage to face your fears and overcoming obstacles….

odds

It just so happens that my biggest dream was this.

This is my entire bucket list.

And it is more exhilarating than jumping out of an airplane or zip lining across a volcano.

You’ve never seen true terror until you’ve tried to balance the checkbook and you realize your monthly grocery bill could purchase a used car…every month.

Facing fear? Try spending time in the PICU at Primary Children’s Hospital. That brings depth, let me tell you. Climbing the Grand Teton pales in comparison.

And there is no zen like having a sleeping baby in your arms and they wrap their little fingers around your thumb…it’s nirvana.

It’s when I am in my darkest moments of despair that it is most clear that I wanted this. I wanted this like I want to breathe.

The pain and agony of mothering–and it is really painful and agonizing–makes me want it more, because I know that in the very moments of most intense, excruciating pain are when this world melts away and I see the real world…and everything is beautifully perfect.

And I know somewhere deep in my soul that even if I never gave birth to one child, I would have found a way to be a mother. It is who I am and I can’t be anything else and be true to myself.

So, I am looking forward to this last trimester, where I can go further than I thought I could, be stronger than I thought I was, and endure more than I thought I would be able to endure.

I think, in the end, whatever it is that leads us to trust in a greater power (for me, that’s God), is what we were meant to do. There is nothing that brings me closer to letting go of myself and flinging myself out in the universe and freeing myself of everything holding me back than what I am doing.

I have always believed that heaven gives us our dreams, our greatest dreams, and that when we work to make them happen, we are doing the will of heaven.

It just took me a while to realize that my real and greatest dream, I was already in it.

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White Slipcovers

White Slipcovers

When I was going to move into my brand new home, I thought I would dare to dream a little.

I have always, always wanted to have cozy, white couches. The kind that you can just curl up in and read a book and it feels like you are in a magazine.

I have always wanted a matching set of something I actually liked.

I have always been unerringly practical regarding furniture with children. I have never bought a couch at full price, and never new. No, I always went to thrift stores or the classifieds for the perfectly nice used couches.

There was the one we simply called “RC Willey” because the people who previously owned it bought it from that furniture store, and they took a lot of pride in the fact that they bought it from there.

It was green and had pillows with elephants and tigers and stuff. It had really big arms, so the children could sit on top and pretend like they were actually riding an elephant or a zebra.

It came with a matching rug. And a chaise lounge.

It wasn’t really my style, but then, I really never had a style to speak of because I thought it was more important to have large arms on a couch so the kids could play pretend safari.

He Is Wonderful.

He Is Wonderful.

I decided I could live with it because the whole set was only $500. Also, it made me think of India, because of the elephants, and India made me think of Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility when he says,

The air is full of spices.

And that just makes me swoon, so…I decided to like the couch.

Then there was the Lazy Boy couch with recliners upholstered in a nice late 70’s floral print. I always meant to get it reupholstered, but that never happened. It weighed about 3 tons and John finally sold it for $100 to whomever was willing to move it out of the house.

We Owned This Very Print In A Whole Couch!

We Owned This Very Print In A Whole Couch!

There was the black ratty fake leather couch we picked up at a thrift store in Houston for $75 that Joy smeared Desitin all over. By the time we had loved that thing to death, the Salvation Army wouldn’t even take it.

There were some really awful brown microfiber couches and the sectional that was really nice and all leather, except for the part where the previous owner’s children had tried cleaning it with some sort of solvent and eaten part of the leather off.

(We still have that in the basement. John mentioned the other day that we could sell it and I laughed. I told him we’d probably have to pay someone to move it out of the basement.)

Then there were the $25 thrift store couches in the condo that went from the third floor to the dumpster.

So, I was kind of excited to buy a set brand spanking new and something I actually chose.

My cheap self got the best of me and I found myself in Ikea, looking at the Ektorp white sofa.

This Blogger Claims Clean Up is A Breeze

This Blogger Claims Clean Up is A Breeze. Isn’t It Gorgeous???!!!? And She Has Kids.

Yes, this sofa is the legendary sofa of all the cool moms who are really great at decorating and blogging and stuff on the internet. One of my bloggy friends has a set, and she lives on a farm with seven or eight children and I went over to look at them and they looked amazing.

Everyone on the internet said they would be easy to clean, because they have slipcovers that are totally washable.

All these women on the internet said it was like no problem to clean them.

They have posts about these couches called, “Having a White Couch With Kids Is Totally Possible,” and “I Have Pets and Kids and My Ikea Ektorp White Slipcovers Look AWESOME,” and then they write about how easy it is to take them off and wash them and put them in the laundry and then when they put them back on the whole house smells like clean, fresh loveliness and everything is perfect.

So, I thought I could do it.

I really did.

I thought I could finally do something that I wanted to do and it would be a breeze.

And it would always smell like fresh linen in my living room.

What My LIving Room Was Going To Smell Like.

What My LIving Room Was Going To Smell Like.

Most ladies said they washed the covers once every few months. One lady with a two children said she washed hers twice a month. I thought I could do that. Twice a month we would have a fresh smelling couch.

I bought the couches. They look beautiful. For the first month after we moved in, EVERY SINGLE CONTRACTOR who came in to finish up things or work on something in the house said,

White couches with kids, that’s brave.

Until I wanted to cry. Because, really, I didn’t want it to be brave. I wanted them to have read all those blog posts about how EASY it is and I wanted them to say,

White couches from Ikea? Oh, that’s brilliant! I heard they were really easy to take care of!

But no one said that.

We moved in the day after Thanksgiving, and we didn’t have a backyard. We just had a bunch of clay soil and sage brush. And the landscaping people said that they’d “probably” be able to get the sod in before it got too cold…well, this winter in Utah, it was cold for two weeks right before Christmas. It snowed. It was lovely.

And then, it melted.

And turned into mud and now it is 66 degrees in FEBRUARY and we don’t have a yard, because no one has sod in February in Utah.

But our trampoline is installed, so the children tromp out there half the time in bare feet and half dressed…and then they come in and JUMP ON THE COUCH.

For the first few weeks after we moved in, I would get on to them for climbing on the couch with their dirty little selves. I would sit there with a upholstery cleaner in one hand and stain remover in the other.

You Can See That My White Slipcover Looks A Little Dingy.

You Can See That My White Slipcover Looks A Little Dingy. And Note The Baby Blanket Covering The Ottoman, As It Is No Longer White Underneath.

A few days ago, when my nearly two year old was goofing around on the couch with her brother, she banged her lip into his gargantuan, extremely hard head and busted her lip.

The first words out of my mouth were not “Are you okay?” No. They were:

No! NO! Noooooo!!!! Please don’t get blood on the couch!!!

I felt like I was turning into a monster. Also, because I am pregnant, I believe I actually am a monster at this point.

So, today I finally decided to wash the slipcover to the sofa + chaise Ektorp. Unfortunately, the last time we washed it, I think we let it dry a little too long or something and putting it back on last time was a little, er…tricky.

Also, I made the fatal mistake of asking my husband to help me with the sofa cover.

He is a practical, logical man. For those of you who watch Star Trek, or ever did, he is somewhat like a mix between a Vulcan and a Borg, with a smidge of Klingon passion thrown in to make things exciting.

bloginary

White Couch Slipcovers Are Inefficient. They Will Be Assimilated. Resistance is Futile.

 

He does not have any interest in anything that isn’t efficient.

To him, the color of the sofa is irrelevant. Unless, of course, he doesn’t like the color, then it is relevant.

But he is a practical man, a man who thinks there is no room in the world for slipcovers or washing them.

So, today, the sofa slipcover simply would not go back on. He was literally fighting for his life, as I gave him some “helpful hints,” like

Maybe if you put the top on first? Or maybe the bottom? Is there any way you could squish the arm stuffing into kind of fit over it?

But, sadly, it was like me trying to fit into the size 2 jeans I wore 17 years ago…now.

It just wasn’t going to happen.

So, there he was, sweating, gripping on to the white slipcover, flexing his very good looking arm muscles, and not swearing, which I think was admirable…

And then he just yanked and the whole thing ripped.

And I just decided that the white couch thing wasn’t going to happen.

I got in the car and drove to Ikea and sat down and stared at the white couch and realized that I was going to concede yet another thing to the barrel of mediocrity that seems to define my motherhood.

I had told myself that I was free, free of brown couches….FOREVER. So, as I sat in the showroom, sniffling, watching extremely thin pregnant ladies walk by in fashionable clothing (which made me feel even worse), I thought about replacing the ripped slipcover with another white one.

I reached up and touched the white slipcover sample longingly…and then I let it drop and dejectedly turned to the darker colors, and I saw the gray one.

Grey...Still Classy.

Grey…Still Classy.

Because I wasn’t going to do blue or brown. NEVER AGAIN.

And I walked over to the gray display corner sofa and I looked at it and thought, “It’s not a total surrender. Gray is classy. Gray is modern. Gray is…fabulous.”

And then I noticed that the gray was $100 more per slipcover than the brown.

I didn’t care. I was not going to let mud and clay and my husband’s fondness for efficiency turn me into someone with a brown couch.

And then I stood in Aisle 20 looking at Bin 19. I pulled the gray one down, and then the brown. I just stood there leaning over both of them, and I started crying.

Ikea

Ikea

Because I knew that no matter how long I stood there, I was going to pick the brown one. Because, I didn’t just have one couch, I had two, and I had an ottoman, and I couldn’t reasonably spend $270 more dollars just for the gray.

And I seriously thought that maybe those blog ladies were lying to me.

Maybe it wasn’t “a breeze” in real life to clean their couches. Maybe it wasn’t as lovely as they made it sound in their amazing reviews of the Ektorp couches.

Maybe their children didn’t have magnetic powers over clay and mud and snot and cereal and organic, non-fake-colored fruit snacks that only release in the presence of white slipcovers.

I don’t know.

I was hoping they were lying, because if they were honest and it WAS easy, why was it so hard for me? What was wrong with me?

I just stood there in Aisle 20 feeling like a complete and utter failure.

I felt like I was surrendering, giving up on excellence….after all, not only can I not keep those white couches white for more than 125 seconds after they are back on the couches, we don’t seem to do anything excellently.

Our scripture studies are less than stellar. I don’t even know if anyone can hear the actual verses we read.

We play the piano, kind of. But, we don’t perform…as a public service.

We sing…off key.

We eat kind of organic.

I was standing in Aisle 20 wondering what in the world I actually have accomplished to the point of excellence, and I couldn’t think of anything.

I don’t think anyone is ever going to call me up and say my child is a pillar of the community.

I am never, ever going to be nominated as “Mother of the Year.”

I can’t even stick to a menu plan.

But, I left Ikea with my brown slipcovers and I thought, “Well, you know, Misty, not everyone can be excellent. Some people are just average.”

And then I really prayed, because I really wanted to know if we were just destined to be excellent at being average.

And I think our family does do something well…we love each other. And we love each other fiercely.

We love books and good things and quiet nights and stars and the moon and the outside.

We love excellently.

Can that be a thing? I want it to count….

We have conflict, oh, yes. A lot of it. We are all passionate people. But we love–unabashedly and honestly and without any pretense.

I don’t even know if that counts for a lot in the world, but I am hanging onto it as I take off the white slipcovers and put on the brown ones…and I know I won’t care as much about the mud and the pencil markings and all of that, and I, for a moment, feel guilty at the relief I feel.

I was trying so hard to maintain excellence in that one thing, and I gave up, but as I sit here tonight, I wonder if it’s not the good kind of surrender…the kind of surrender that says,

I can wait for white couches. And while some people can handle it and are good at it, I can accept that I am not one of them.

And I wonder if in that surrender, I can accept it and ask God to show me where I can be more excellent, because I don’t think He is too concerned about me being excellent at having white couches. I think He wants me to work on other things.

I think maybe He wants our family to work on being excellent at being like Sam…

Frodo-Sam-image-frodo-and-sam-36090182-1920-800

“Sam: I wonder if we’ll ever be put into songs or tales.

Frodo: What?

Sam: I wonder if people will ever say, ‘Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring.’ And they’ll say ‘Yes, that’s one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn’t he, Dad?’ ‘Yes, my boy, the most famousest of hobbits. And that’s saying a lot.’

Frodo: You’ve left out one of the chief characters – Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam. Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam.

Sam: Now Mr. Frodo, you shouldn’t make fun; I was being serious.

Frodo: So was I.

On Feeling Awkward…

On Feeling Awkward…

Mostly, I feel…awkward.

You know, like I look at myself in the mirror and I think, “Okay, so now what?”

I feel like I have decided to move on. Go forward. Sail the ocean of possibilities. But, I expected something else.

I guess I thought I would suddenly feel more wise, more like I had the answers, more centered…but I don’t really feel very different.

I wanted to feel like I was more…and I feel like I am less.

When I was in between worlds, I felt even more…less. There was nothing between who I really am and Heaven. I was not hiding anything. I was completely and utterly myself.

There were no excuses or reasons why. There was no hiding behind walls. There was nothing but the reality of who I am…all of me, even the parts that aren’t so lovely.

And when I came back, those layers and walls and hiding didn’t come back with me. When I woke up again, I was still me, but without all of that extra stuff.

Kind of like when Eustace Scrubb was un-dragoned by Aslan, only it was terrifying because I hadn’t minded being covered with armor and scales and dragon-ness.

I liked hiding behind it.

There were lots of things I didn’t like about myself, and Heaven told me that I needed to embrace those things.

Heaven wanted me to accept the things about me that were kind of weird and maybe a little dysfunctional, because they were innately what made me, me.

Heaven explained that the sooner I began accepting that, the deeper I would become–and as I became deeper and lighter I would love more deeply and better….and that is what life is all about–loving.

I did finally give up the idea of being a marine biologist and swimming in oceans, seeing as how I can’t even make it three feet into the water without being completely convinced that sharks are swarming me. Or poisonous jellyfish. Or giant squid. It’s terrifying.

I also gave up the idea of being a famous actress.

But, there is so much of me that’s swirling around–so many different textures and colors and pieces of me that are all so different. And I’ve learned to live with them now. And I’ve learned to accept them.

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I guess it’s scary to me to even attempt to manage the beautiful chaos that seems to be my soul.

Even with the help of angels.

I used to think that the whole point of my existence here on planet earth was to be good and go back to Heaven.

But, honestly, I don’t think I really understood how that was supposed to work.

And I thought I kind of had a grasp on what I was doing.

I thought I was On My Way.

It has taken me a long time to process what I felt and saw and learned while I was in between worlds, but I am finally starting to grasp it.

And in the meantime, I have felt kind of adrift, neither here no there, and not really understanding either place.

a-single-event-can-awaken-within-us-a-stranger-totally-unknown-to-us-to-live-is-to-be-slowly-born

My near death was messy and painful and the amazing, beautiful, miraculous parts were hard for me to understand.

But, I guess I needed time to really look at things with my heart.

And, so, I sit here thinking about how I thought I was doing okay, and maybe I was, but I can’t do what I did before and have it be okay now.

Now, I realize that the way I become more like God is to embrace myself, shamelessly and without reserve. No walls, no filter.

No, just me.

I am also exposing myself to the world. Anyone who meets me gets to see me in all my glory.

No filter.

Scary.

But in accepting myself this way, I am able to help in doing God’s work: taking chaos, taking something that is really kind of messy, and creating something…beautiful.

Amazing.

Immortal.

Antoine-de-Saint-Exupéry---A-Cathedral

It took me awhile to realize that I am not here to gain my worth, I was born with it. I came here to take part in perfecting the creation that is my soul.

I didn’t really realize that all the stuff I was supposed to do, all the good things and commandments and everything–I don’t think I really “got it.” I don’t think I understood that it was just a way to try and help me feel more at home with myself.

Because me, I am made of stardust and glory and Heaven.

And that’s Home.

The other parts of me that I feel awkward about or sometimes even ashamed of….my propensity for opening my mouth when it should be shut, my ineffectual attempts at washboard abs (I don’t know where my abs are, to be honest. I don’t even know if I have any left…), my inability to focus, my ineptitude at crafting….my extreme dislike of raccoons…

The list could go on and on, but in the end, all of those things I can, with God’s help, transform into something good and wonderful.

Somehow, God has a way of converting it all into something that still contains the me-ness without the bad.

Opening my mouth when it should be shut? There are actually times when everyone would say “Be quiet,” but someone SHOULD say something. And that someone could theoretically always be me.

The trick is doing those “good” things so I am wise enough and listening close enough to Heaven to know when the time is right to open my mouth.

And if I didn’t have my fiery impetuousness I might not be brave enough to say something when it truly needs to be said.

My unreasonable fear of raccoons? Not sure yet how it can be transformed, but I will get there.

My inability to make crafts may very well be a blessing because if I were good at it I would be too easily distracted becoming wealthy from my amazing craftiness that I would not pay attention to the Bigger Picture.

And being easily distracted is also related to being highly creative.

And that is something I can definitely do.

I can create.

Not artwork or furniture or songs or recipes or anything like that, but I can create human beings.

And I can create feelings.

And I can create a home.

And I can become at Home with myself.

And that’s what I am here to do.

I just think I looked at all the parts of myself that seem so…eccentric and mismatched…and I became overwhelmed.

Because there is always that little part of me that doubts.

What if it’s impossible to create anything remotely beautiful out of all of this? What if it is just a pile of rocks and will never be a cathedral?

Sometimes I almost feel as if my soul were made of spare parts that got thrown together.

But, that’s not true.

Every part is essential, I just need to uncover the beauty of it and let go of any of the ugliness.

I was made this way on purpose because God knows I can be glorious.

Eternal.

Heavenly.

Stunning.

And I guess it’s good just to write about it. To get it out there. To let you know that after all I’ve been through I realize that I will be the greatest masterpiece I ever work on.

And it’s really terrifying.

And I bet there are more people out there who feel sometimes…eccentric. Odd. Awkward. Weird. Different. Inferior. A mess…

Maybe we all even feel like that sometimes.

And, I am a lot like Eustace Scrubb. Mr. Lewis described me so accurately when he wrote:

It would be nice, and fairly nearly true, to say that “from that time forth Eustace was a different boy”. To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun.

I have relapses from when I first realized I could be stripped of almost everything and be okay with it. Sometimes I wish I could put my walls back up, but it is no use. The unfiltered, real me is what I am now. And I am sometimes embarrassed by myself. But, I will keep trying. The cure has begun, and eventually, I hope I can truly be divine.

As one of my favorite philosophers once said:

… perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away … –Antoine De Saint Exupery

What Would Jane Do?

What Would Jane Do?

Not my Jayne. My Jayne would crawl into the pantry and eat goldfish crackers straight out of the box and get them all over the floor.

My Jayne

My Jayne

And then she would look up at me with those cute pig tails and get away with it.

No. The Jane.

Ms. Austen, to be more exact.

I was at my sister’s home the other day and I saw a book on her bookshelf titled, “What Would Jane Do?” and knew that I must have one of my own.

I Simply Had To Have It.

I Simply Had To Have It.

I ordered it from Amazon and as soon as I had opened it, my daughters snatched it from me. I had to fight them to get it back.

Ms. Austen has gotten me through long winters and hard times, and I love her for it.

I have seen a lot of people posting on my facebook wall lately this little hashtag thingy:

#theresanoilforthat

Referring to essential oils, but I have to say I think that sometimes I think a better one would be:

#theresajaneaustenbookforthat

Seriously. When I am having a bad day, there is nothing quite as soothing as a hot bath, chocolate and Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne:

“I can listen no longer in silence.  I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach.  You pierce my soul.  I am half agony, half hope.  Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever.  I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago.  Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death.  I have loved none but you.  Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.  You alone have brought me to Bath.  For you alone I think and plan.  Have you not seen this?  Can you fail to have understood my wishes?  I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine.  I can hardly write.  I am every instant hearing something which over powers me.  You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others.  Too good, too excellent creature!  You do us justice, indeed.  You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men.  Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in”
F.W.
“I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible.  A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.”

 

It transports me and I feel better.

Or what about if I am mad at John?

Several items come to mind:

What are men to rocks and mountains?

Or:

Angry people are not always wise.

Or:

I have not the pleasure of understanding you.

I also take comfort in this piece of wisdom:

Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.

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Friends.

 

It doesn’t end with Ms. Austen, of course. The first page of The Belgariad is an old friend:

The first thing the boy Garion remembered was the kitchen at Faldor’s farm. For all the rest of his life he had a special warm feeling for kitchens and those peculiar sounds and smells that seemed somehow to combine into a bustling seriousness that had to do with love and food and comfort and security and, above all, home. No matter how high Garion rose in life, he never forgot that all his memories began in that kitchen.

It’s almost as if part of me was raised in that kitchen. And no matter what is going on in my life, when I read those words, I am in a place and time that never existed in reality, but is more real to me than some of my own memories.

Josephine March is as real to me as my own sisters, and I have read and reread her adventures and been inspired by her, and commiserated with her:

A quick temper, sharp tongue, and restless spirit were always getting her into scrapes, and her life was a series of ups and downs, which were both comic and pathetic.

Yes, Jo and I are kindred spirits.

Narnia is just as any place on earth, and, in fact, sometimes moreso.

(We even have a room called “Spare Oom” in our house right now. It does not, however, contain a wardrobe.)

Aslan

Aslan

Growing up, I imagined I was a queen of Narnia, and that no matter what happened, I should act like one, because “once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.”

One of my biggest teenage crushes was Sherlock Holmes, the literary character.

I still love being able to read Beatrice and Benedick whenever I get upset with my husband:

Benedick: “What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?

Beatrice: Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?”

I sometimes wonder if I have been through a lot over the last few years, because it doesn’t feel like that much compared to other people.

But my friends say….and John says that I have.

And when my friends also tell me my “adrenals are shot” (Is that a thing now? Because everyone tells me that…and from what they say causes adrenals to be “shot” mine are long dead these many years…) and my neurologist gives me unpleasant news, and when I am really lonely for Joy, sometimes it’s not an oil or medication or a trip to Fiji or whatever that I need.

Some Of My Favorites

Some Of My Favorites

Sometimes I just need a good printed paper book and some quiet in a nice comfy chair and a snack.

I don’t know if there are any studies on what that can do for your adrenals, or your endorphins, and I am not sure it helps with someone’s “poor gait,” but it may.

Maybe it’s because most of my problems are in my head (literally! 🙂 ), that I feel like distracting and inspiring my mind actually changes my emotions and feelings and somehow actually physically helps….

For me, it’s some of the best therapy in the world.

victory

victory

It’s the beginning of a new chapter in the adventure called my life.

Actually, I am starting a completely new novel, I think.

After much consideration, I realize that I am just wrapping up book two in the series, which is the one where it seems like everyone is waiting and nothing really happens and it ends kind of with a “What? That’s not an ending!” because book three is coming and that’s where all the stuff starts happening again.

The last few months have been the end of book two, where things don’t seem to be going right, and victory is not eminent.

In book two, people start arguing, no one is really sure that they are going to eventually win. Is the sacrifice worth it? It seems like it might not be.

Most people think the heroes are crazy for even trying, and some of the good guys even get betrayed…and the bad guys, well, the bad guys are living it up, thinking,

We are so winning! They are so going to lose! And then we will rule the world!

So, yeah, that’s been my life the past few months.

There are victories in book two, but they don’t feel like victories and they don’t look like victories. They look for all the world like failures.

My victories look like whining children who don’t want to do their homework or their chores and me crying in my room because I can’t stand it anymore but I am sticking to my guns, because I am not going to be taken down by 4 1/2 hours of whining.

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That’s a victory that doesn’t feel like a victory because at the end of the day I end up watching Netflix to lull my mind into oblivion. But, I keep trying.

And, in an amazing plot twist, at the end of book two, I cancelled Netflix.

Way to go me, for being brave and all.

But is it really a victory? Will it work?

Will I be able to maintain my discipline and not be sucked into three seasons of ____________ in two nights because my kids won’t stop complaining about who has to sweep and mop?

My victory looks like me in yoga pants and a ratty t-shirt walking on the treadmill at 1.9 to 2.1 miles per hour as I try to maintain my composure when the SMeE headache slams me like a freight train and I keep walking.

This Is Not What It Looks Like

This Is Not What It Looks Like

And my hair isn’t done, and I don’t have any make up on and I don’t look good in yoga pants.

Especially when I am also five months pregnant.

And seriously, I am sweating at 1.9 miles per hour. Mostly because of the headache, but still.

do have some dang cute Altras, though.

This Is More Like It... ;)

This Is More Like It… Only With Hot Pink Altras.

My victory looks like having friends who love me anyway–even after they’ve seen me “work out.”

My victory looks like dinner on the table even though it isn’t all organic and it may or may not be completely balanced and/or visually appealing.

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That’s okay. We’re not known to be completely balanced, either.

My victory looks like, “Well, I know I really messed this up so completely that I don’t even know if I can ever fix it, but I will try again tomorrow.”

My victory looks like me explaining to my husband that I am merely having an emotional reaction rather than telling him a) I think he’s a total jerk, and b) I despise and loathe him.

(Which is totally and patently not how I really feel, but that’s what is going on in my head when he tries to tell me solutions to the problems I am venting about…Also, it’s usually how I feel when I am the one being a jerk and when I loathe and despise myself.)

My victory looks like pajamas on the couch and a really ugly low ponytail. Because, hey, I made it to the couch today!

My victories look so bad that they wouldn’t make it to Facebook. They would be flagged as inappropriate.

Today Is Not That Day.

Today Is Not That Day.

I know I will have the kind of victories that look great again someday. But the amazing, stand-up-with-the-crowd-and-cheer victories can’t come without the messy, ugly, lonely, failing type of victories that come along a lot more frequently…

So, here’s to the victories that look like failures.

Here’s to the times when you can’t stand on top of the mountain, surrounded by positive energy and sparkles and rainbows, but you are still standing at the end of the day.

Yeah, That's Not Happening Right Now, Either.

Yeah, That’s Not Happening Right Now, Either.

Here’s to the times when you don’t make it across the finish line, but you survived.

Here’s to the times when you couldn’t meditate and feel the mystic energies of the Mother Universe and live off of light and goodness and dehydrated kale….but at least you are not washing down Ben and Jerry’s with a six pack of Diet Coke.

So Not Happening...Probably Ever.

So Not Happening…Probably Ever.

These are the “book two” victories and no matter how small, they count. They count so much more than we realize.

But here is to the beginning of book three and the wonderful, magical possibilities that await the vast expanse of this undiscovered country that is my adventure called life….starting now. And I am so happy you are here to be part of it!