Monday, December 17, 2007

Quote of the Week...

In light of all the political pundits I have listened to this past week:

"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought--which they avoid."

--Soren Kierkegaard

Saturday, December 15, 2007

18 years ago today...

I became a mother.

And it really does feel like yesterday. I can, with very little effort, close my eyes and remember the day she was born. Every sight, every sound is vivid to me. I can see her being placed on my stomach just as she was born and remember reaching for her tiny hand--and how she grasped onto my finger and held so tightly.

Happy Birthday, Brianne!

You are my first...
the first to come from my body
the first to make me lose sleep
the first to need me
the first to run into my arms
the first to call me "mom"
the first to make my heart swell with joy
the first to remind me of your dad
the first to help through braces and driving
the first to ache with a broken heart
the first to watch on stage performing
the first to grow up right in front of me
the first to be like me and yet so much your own person
the first to amaze me with your talents
the first to crack me up with your humor
the first to stun me with your beauty
the first to become (almost) an adult
the first to be making plans of your own
the first to need me less
the first to teach me
the first to challenge me
the first to let me see the world through your eyes

I am so grateful.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."

--Arthur Ashe

Monday, December 03, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow."

--Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Things you'd never think you need to say to your children, #247

"Do NOT repeatedly dunk your head into the toilet!! Ever. Ever. EVER."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Quote of the week...

"How you respond to the challenge in the game will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser."
--Lou Holtz

GO WOLVES!!! Take State!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving...

...from the happy--and thankful--mommy to these wonderful people.
May you all feel blessed and loved today.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and work and to play and to look up at the stars; to be satisfied with your possessions; to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your admirations rather than by your disgusts; to covet nothing that is your neighbor's except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends...and to spend as much time as you can, with body and with spirit. These are the guideposts on the footpath of peace."

--henry van @#!*%

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tacky, tacky, tacky...

To Person Who Called Me Back Wednesday:

Please don't return my call to you and ask me to attend an "expensive things that I don't need and can't afford anyway" party, at the last minute because you didn't catch me in the hall at church last week to invite me. And then, don't add that you are having a baby shower for yourself immediately following the expensive things party. And then after that, don't add that the only thing you really want to get for your shower, nobody can afford unless they go in together for it as a group.

I'm just saying.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Random things tag...

Cindy tagged me for this meme.

Here are the rules: 1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post.
4. Let each person know that they've been tagged.

My 7 random things:

1) I don't like animals. It's nothing personal, they're nice enough. I watch people who talk baby talk to their dogs and love on their cats and I...just don't get it. I'm not saying I won't pet an animal should I find myself within petting range, I'm just saying that if I am never in petting range, well...that's OK.

2) I have recurring dreams about a guy I dated for a while in high school. The dreams are never boyfriend/girlfriend in nature, and nothing ever happens that I couldn't tell the hubby about. My best guess as to why this fellow pops up every once and awhile is that he was very smart, very witty, and he just had a great way of saying things. Those are still some of my favorite qualities in a person.

3) Right now I have Enrichment Night hangover. I am currently in charge of a program called "Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment" in our women's auxiliary at church. Last night was our final quarterly activity for the year, which means I (with lots of help) spent the last 2 months planning, the last 2 weeks running errands and having meetings, and the last 24+ hours setting up, cooking, cleaning, hosting, troubleshooting, etc. for this evening of entertainment for 50+ women. So glad the next one's not until March.

4) I would sleep until noon if I could.

5) I went to Donny Osmond's wedding reception. I was 8 years old at the time and it was the thrill of my young life.

6) I always come home after an evening with friends or family and analyze everything that was said. I go back over the conversations in my head and worry that I said something wrong, or that I talked too much, or that I didn't listen to and understand everyone correctly. I have been known to do this for hours. This kind of social self analysis has not only proven to be unproductive, but also stupid. And yet, I do it anyway.

7) Nothing--and I mean nothing--will send me off the deep end more than people who talk while at the movies. If I can shut up for 2 hours, anybody can.

I tag Brittany, Carly, Jason, "Vern", Ketchup Queen, MamaHen, and Mean Mommy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Life is an occasion. Rise to it."

--Dustin Hoffman, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lonely Friday night...

Well, my mouth is feeling better. And don't think I'm not just a little sad at losing my excuse to pop Vicodin...I have long said that being a clean living Mormon just makes drugs all that more fun when you get to take 'em. But, now it's back to real life and bye bye to drug fogs...

Hubby is on night shifts the next few months and I am sitting here remembering why that's not my favorite. I get bored around 7 pm or so...the kids are sprawled across the floor and furniture in the family room, watching High School Musical 2 for the billionth time, my teenage son is sleeping, and my almost old enough to vote daughter is at work.

[I get to be diverted by going and picking her up in an hour or so but that isn't as fun as one might think. I might as well be in the car alone, because she won't talk to me on the way home...she's all ticked about the injustices of having to do things she doesn't want to do. Which, at this point in her young life, is pretty much anything her father and/or I ask of her. She thinks we sit up nights plotting evil and mayhem just for HER. Please. We spread our works of evil and mayhem out liberally on all seven children, thank you very much.]

So, I'm lonely. I can't call anyone, because this is prime family bonding time for the majority of people. There is never anything on T.V. on a Friday night. I am too tired to consider going out some place, and besides--that would require waking the teenager sleeping on the couch and that is a hill I just DON'T feel like climbing. And my teeth are still super tender, so I can't even EAT for entertainment!! How rude.

My hubby loves to work nights...he says its "where all the action is".

Not from where I'm sitting, it ain't.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Having an abscessed tooth really, really sucks."

--happy mommy (wish me luck getting my root canal tomorrow)

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I stole this idea from Brittany.
5 loads of laundry I have done today
9 loads left to be done
1 child at a birthday party
75 dollars, amount I spend each week on gasoline
30 minutes since I called my dentist, begging for pain meds
3 children asleep on the couch
800 mgs of ibuprofen I have taken in vain
16 times I have answered the phone today
2 children outside playing
14 conversations with myself about whether or not the pain in my teeth is actually teeth related, or a sinus infection
5 trips in the suburban to drop off or pick up kids
3 calls from hubby urging me to "hang in there"
1 child at a football game
4 1/2 gallons of milk we drink in a week
2,145 pieces of candy left from Halloween
879 how many times I've said today, "If you ask me for another piece of candy, it's all going in the TRASH!!!"

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Car conversations....

Me: Ok, let's go to the store!

3 year old daughter: Ok, Mama.
(she calls me Mama. and don't think that I don't melt every time she says it, because I do...)

3 yo: Mama? Are we going to shop in Sam's Club?

Me: No, sweetie, we are just going to drop off our film at Sam's. Then we're going to go to the Commissary to shop for food, then we'll drop off these clothes to Goodwill, and then we'll go back to Sam's to pick up our pictures.

3 yo: Mama? Are we going to go home after?

Me: Yes, baby, we will.

3 yo: Well, that's good! Because, I'm pretty sure I'll be tired after doing all of that...

Amen, sister.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Many of life's circumstances are created by three basic choices: the disciplines you choose to keep, the people you choose to be with, and the laws you choose to obey."

--Charles Millhuff

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The fun of teenagers...

Red shirt & trimming for daughter's Olive Oyl costume: $17
Faux pipe & sailor cap, and shirt created by Popeye's Mom: $11
The smiles on their faces as they head out to win first place
at the Halloween dance: Priceless

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."

--P.J. O' Rourke

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hosting preschool...

So, my daughter has been doing preschool with the children of several moms that decided to start up this fall. I am sure at some point I said I really, really wanted to do this...but right now I'd deny it to the death.

Mostly because now it's my week to host it. Crap.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success."

Friday, October 12, 2007

I love this face...

Even though sitting through a game makes me want to bite all my nails off; and every time he receives the snap I have to practice my Lamaze breathing; how can I not love the happy face he gets whenever it is game day??
oh, and get this: He chose the #9 because it's how many people are in our family.
Dang, I love this kid.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"He that is discontented in one place will seldom be happy in another."


Friday, October 05, 2007

My favorite day...

If you'd ask me what my favorite day of the year was, you might be surprised at my answer. It isn't my birthday, or Thanksgiving, or even Christmas.

It's Pajama Day.

Many years ago, life started feeling a little too crazy. When you have lots of children, and a father/husband/super hero who works odd and varied hours, it can start to get to the point where you meet up with family members in the hallway and introduce yourselves. "Hi, I don't believe we've met..."

And thus, "Pajama Day" was born.

There are only 3 rules for Pajama Day: 1. all members of the family must be there, 2. all participants must wear pajamas for the entire day, and 3. there is no answering the phone or leaving the house.

We spend this day together. We play board games, we watch movies, we wrestle, and we eat green apples with caramel dip. We nap and we laugh and we tell horribly embarrassing stories about ourselves and each other. We sing and dance in the kitchen. We steal each other's snacks, blankets, and spots on the couch. We are together. We are a family, with no distractions.

I highly recommend adding this holiday to your calendar. Schedule it, and then make that day's schedule sacred. If you don't, it's not going to happen. And believe me, you want it to happen. Many of you probably have something similar that you do from time to suggestion? Make it official. Write it down on your calendars. Look forward to it. Make it as much an event as any other holiday you celebrate.

Now, if you'll excuse me...I have an important day coming up...and I have to make sure my favorite pajamas are washed.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Last night...

OK, so when the insomnia finally left to go find some other innocent victim, I was savoring my 3 precious hours of sleep when I had this dream:

I was driving around in this delivery type truck (similar to a UPS truck, only white and covered with advertisements for all different kinds of things) and every time I pulled into a parking lot, which was at least a dozen times, Hillary Clinton would come find me and happily shout to me:

"You're a GENIUS!!! A GENIUS!!!"

Quote of the Week...

"Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes, He lets the storm rage...and calms His child."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

5 AM is going to hurt...

I hate it when I can't sleep at night.

Actually, I don't so much mind the not sleeping. I can get some stuff done with no little ones underfoot, and that is never something to gripe about. It's also quiet, a near impossible feat to accomplish in my house. No, the being awake part is not too bad.

It's the insomnia hangover I get the next day that really bites. The whole "stumbling, brain on autopilot, can't finish my sentences if they have hard words like 'dishwasher' in them, why don't you kids just have cheetos for lunch while mommy rests her eyes" thing.

The worst is when I know well ahead of time that this will be a "no sleep" night. Like tonight. It's only 9 ish...but I can feel the ol' body, plotting evil and chaos.

"Let's see...looks like Miss Fancypants [my body has cute little nicknames for me. Don't ask me how I know this. I just do.] has plans to go to the history museum tomorrow...we can't possibly let her do that clear eyed and rational. Oh, no, no, no. We must exhaust her to the point that she is a weepy, blathering idiot. It'll be fun!"

But sometimes, the no sleep night sneaks up unexpectedly. I can be in bed dozing off after a long day, completely exhausted, when all of the sudden my body goes off like a panicked captain on a crashing airplane. "Mayday, mayday!!! All nerves to attention!!! There has been an unacceptable breach of relaxation!!! We've got to get her up, people...move, move MOVE!!"

It's annoying when my body decides to pull an all-nighter without consulting me first.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.' "

--Erma Bombeck

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

8 things...

8 Things I'm Passionate About

3-being a good mother
5-the way people talk about and to each other
6-choosing joy
7-proper usage of "then" and "than"
8-life being about people, not about things

8 things I want to do before I die

1-go to England
2-hug my grandchildren
3-finish more scrapbooks
4-become comfortable in my own skin
5-watch my husband retire
6-become a "real" photographer
7-see my children live the lives that make them happy
8-learn to sew

8 Things I say often

1-"Well, where is the last place you remember having it?"
2-"Dear Heavenly Father..."
3-"I know I came in here for a reason..."
4-"Food." (in response to 'what's for dinner?')
5-"In case you haven't noticed, Mommy's losing it!!!"
6-"Talitha. T-a-l-i-t-h-a."
7-"Well, crap."
8-"Bye, babe. I love you!"

8 Books I've recently read

1-Here If You Need Me
3-Life and Death in Shanghai
4-Language Report
5-The Very Hungry Caterpillar
6-Keeping it Together in a Pull Apart World
7-The Great Divorce
8-Parenting Teens with Love and Logic

8 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over

1-I Had a Dream, from Les Miserables
2-Remember When, Alan Jackson
3-Celebrate Me Home, Kenny Loggins
4-Sometimes, Nicole C. Mullins
5-Samson, Regina Spektor
6-Nothing, from A Chorus Line
7-How Can I Keep From Singing?, Shaker hymn
8-Life is a Highway, Rascal Flatts

8 Things that Attract Me to My Best Friends

1-how they make me laugh
2-that they notice the little things
3-the way they see the world
4-their commitment to becoming the best people they can
5-the gentle ways they help me
6-how they choose to focus on what's good
7-the way they parent their children
8-the acceptance I see in their eyes

8 things I've learned in the last year

1-children grow up in a moment
2-how to use my husband's electric drill
3-there is no greater blessing than a good marriage
4-white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are VASTLY different things
5-my 15 year old needs me to say I love him before he can leave the house
6-I might actually like pushing myself
7-people just want to be listened to
8-I'm not 18 anymore

8 People that I think should do "8" (in no particular order)

Please, anyone who feels like doing this:
If you have a blog, put it there.
If you don't have a blog, email it to me, I'd LOVE to read yours.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him."

---Leo Aikman

Monday, September 10, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"It's too bad I'm not as wonderful a person as people say I am, because the world could use a few people like that."

--Alan Alda

Friday, September 07, 2007

What did she just say?

I was picking up teenagers at church after an activity and some boys ran out in front of my car, just being silly. From her car seat behind me, I hear my 3 year old daughter shout:


Seriously, where does she GET this stuff???

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Quote of the Week...

For Labor Day: (hey, I know it's don't need to make me feel bad, geez)

"It does not seem to be true that work necessarily needs to be unpleasant. It may always have to be hard, or at least harder than doing nothing at all. But there is ample evidence that work can be enjoyable, and that indeed, it is often the most enjoyable part of life. "
--Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Friday, August 31, 2007

Do you ever feel...

totally stupid?

There are days when I just sit and think about everything I don't know.

  • how to grind wheat
  • what all the settings do on my camera
  • quantum physics
  • Barack Obama's position on illegal immigration
  • where my tweezers are
  • my kids' orthodontist's first name (I think it starts with a "T")
  • how much a postage stamp costs
  • the occupations of pretty much every one of my friend's husbands
  • why milk is so flippin' expensive
  • how many miles I still have left after my gas gauge reads "empty"
  • whether or not there is mustard in our food storage
  • who the president of our PTO is
  • how to take apart my dvd player
  • what purpose the "Farmer's Almanac" serves
  • when my entertainment book coupons expire
  • what my point was starting this post to begin with...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Quote of the week...

"The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation."

--George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I just figured out that...

I can never run away from home.

Well, okay. I can. I am physically capable. Let's not get all 8th grade English teacher about it.
(totally just had a flash of Mr. Houghton at Payson Middle School... Me: "Can I go to the restroom?" Mr. H:"I don't know, CAN you?" Good times.)

But the thought came to me last night that if I were to run away, as attractive as it may sound, it would probably end up being a bad idea. Why, you ask? I submit the following:

1) Nobody in my family knows where anything is.

So, I wouldn't be 5 miles from home before the cell would start ringing. Things like where Mom keeps the scissors, masking tape, gum, garbage bags, food, water, and other necessities...these are mysteries to my children. And Dad, well...Dad knows where the things that Dad cares about are. So, if you want to know where the air compressor and nail gun are, he's your guy. Your Pretty Pretty Princess game, not so much.

2) I love my home.

My hubby is always saying, "Hon, go out and just be alone and have some time." But, the thing is, I like being at home. I am a homebody. I really don't even WANT to leave...I want EVERYONE ELSE to leave and let me enjoy myself in peace. And--let's face it. I am the only one who really cares if this house is clean. So, I leave, and it's Lord of the Flies up in here.

3) I'd have to pack.

I really don't think this needs a whole lot of explanation. Packing to me is about as much fun as [insert something nobody finds fun].

4) I like my husband.

We always joke that if we got divorced we'd drive the new people in our lives crazy with always needing to talk to each other. It's one of the annoying side effects of being married to someone you find genuinely interesting. So, even though I'd enjoy the first few hours of freedom, more than likely I'd be on the phone with him by day's end, having one of our legendary "What are you doing?" "Nothing, what are you doing?" conversations.

5) Gas prices.

Hello?? I'd spend a week's paycheck and get to, like, Grand Junction.

6) Fine, I'll say it. I'd miss my kids.

I'm not going to get all motherly, but, dang it, they are pretty amazing. That's the thing, isn't it? There's the stuff that drives you crazy, but it never even comes close to the stuff that fills your heart and makes you happy. And there's that pull--that pull to be there--to protect, to comfort, to listen, to guide, to love.

So. I'm not going anywhere. But I'm still going to fantasize about it, and you can't stop me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Quote of the Week...

An oldie but a goodie:

"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

--Benjamin Franklin

(This one came to me as I lovingly pushed my two teenagers out the door at 5:45 am for Seminary this morning.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A great read...

It's been awhile since I have read something that really knocked my socks off.

Here I am, sockless, after reading Here If You Need Me: A True Story by Kate Braestrup. Kate is a wonderful writer who tells the story of losing her husband (a Maine state trooper) in a car crash, and how she works her way through it. She became a chaplain for the Warden Service after his death, and she intertwines stories of some of the many search and rescues she has attended with the story of her moving on as a mother of 4 after her beloved's death.

Now, I'll admit that I have an instant affinity for the themes of this book. My husband is in the same profession as hers was. Her job is quite similar to that of a victim's advocate--the job I will take when my youngest goes to school. They had a large-ish family. So perhaps I have a personality suited to find significance to her story. Fair enough.

But you know what? A story well told is a story well told. And she really does tell this story painfully, tenderly, optimistically well.

Put it on your "to read" list. If you live near me, I might even let you borrow my copy.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Quote of the Week...

Well, look at me, posting a quote. This one is meaning a lot to me these days:

"Learn to be what you are, and learn to resign with good grace all that you are not."

--Henri Frederic Amiel

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Quote of the Week...

I got this from a quote thread at my home away from home internet board:

"Doing the right thing is fun. If nothing else, it surprises people."

--Thomas Sowell

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Two of my favorite faces...

This was Em's baptism day, posing with her proud papa. It was one of those days that you just tuck in the center of your heart to remind yourself what life is all about.

What a blessed life we live.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."

---Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Belated Quote of the Week...

" To laugh often and much: to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gasoline: $140
Sunscreen: $8
Snacks for the road: $25

Getting to spend the weekend with my extended family: Priceless

Friday, May 25, 2007

Why I haven't been here...

*our sweet daughter was baptized
*I started a new "good enough for now" job
*I had a special musical number to rehearse and perform
*my husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary (IWLYSFA, babe)
*aforementioned hubby turned 39...hanging on to those 30s by the skin of our teeth, man!
*I am continuing to work through the hiring process for "the one I'd really love" job
*my wonderful sister and her equally wonderful husband were in town
*I went to a funeral where a cell phone rang...loudly. Seriously, people. Is this what things have come to??? We can't even lay someone to rest without some cheesy island congo ringtone interrupting?? Sometimes I am so embarrassed to be human.
*it's the last few weeks of school for my older kids
*the weather has been insanely warm, requiring my children to whine to be taken all manner of outdoorsy places
*the quarterly activity for our women's auxiliary group that I am in charge of was this week
*we are gearing up for a family reunion which is a) out of state; and b) hubby cannot go to since he will be out of state for Army Work (that's what the kids call it).

Here's a quote, and fingers crossed for my improved ability to come here and write. I miss it.

"All my possessions for a moment of time." --Elizabeth I

Monday, May 14, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep the streets even as Michelango painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well."

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Quote of the week...

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."

--Mother Teresa

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It was 82 degrees yesterday...

So, we went to the water spouts and had some fun. It was such a gorgeous day, and after a long winter and a very wet spring, it felt really good to come out and just PLAY.
As usual, little man just wanted to survey the action at a safe distance. But the other kids surprised me with their fearlessness! Even the little ones just ran right in and giggled and splashed. At first, Dad and I tried to tell them not to get "too wet". Yeah, right. We realized quickly that if they were going to have any fun, they had to just let loose and go for it.
So they did.

They had such a ball. And they got SOOOOO wet!! They'd run around in it til they couldn't take it anymore and then would lay on the ground in the sun to try and warm up. I am so ready for summer, now. Sitting outside, watching the kids play like this, reminded me of what is so terrific about this time of year.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Quote of the week...

"When you look at the world in a narrow way, how narrow it seems! When you look at it in a mean way, how mean it is! When you look at it selfishly, how selfish it is! But when you look at in a broad, generous, friendly spirit, what wonderful people you find in it."

--Horace Rutledge

Thursday, April 26, 2007

5 years ago today...

I almost became a widow.

Here's an excerpt from my journal:

April 26, 2002
"If I do not write in here, I will be an ungrateful daughter to my Father in Heaven, and I am so very grateful to Him that I must write...
My darling husband was nearly killed in an accident at work. He was ticketing someone and as he stood at their vehicle issuing the citation, a semi truck drifted onto the shoulder and hit his patrol car, driving within inches of him. The girls that were in the car by where he was standing thought he had been hit, because the truck came so close to him, and he was thrown several feet by the force of side wind. His patrol car is totaled, completely crushed on the driver's side.
As for my husband, he is bruised and sore from being hit with debris ... He felt the impact of things on his back, but he thinks his bulletproof vest protected him from any serious injury in that area. He also has a knife that he always carried on his outer right thigh in a slit is destroyed, from something hitting it.
He called me after it happened. We talk often on our cell phones while he is at work, so at first when he called, it didn't really sink in that he was explaining that HE had been in this accident. At first, I thought he was saying that another trooper had been hit. Then, I thought he was IN his patrol car and was hit. When I finally understood the gravity of the accident, my heart just sank. I could hear his voice, but at that point, all I wanted was to see him, to touch him, to know that he was okay.

The moment I hung up the phone with him, I fell to my knees. My prayer was something like this: "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

He was much calmer when he finally got home. We embraced for a long time when he walked in that door... and he hugged and kissed his children just a little bit longer than usual. He had to call several people who had heard about it through the Patrol grapevine, and reassure them.

We both had a hard time sleeping, and we talked about it. We both had this visual of the accident in our minds. What "could" have happened continually played out in our thoughts.

We both talked about the fact that he could've died. We both talked about how different this day might have been, that I might have been a widow, planning his funeral. It is a sobering thought. One thing I said to him was that I was comforted to know that if he had died, there was nothing left unsaid between us."

I think of this every year on this date. I look at our lives and what would be missing if he were not here. Our 5 year old son would never have known his daddy. We have 2 children who would never have been born. I am reminded that every moment is a gift, and too often we just sail right through though it is our right. We too often act as though the people we love will just always be there--for one more day, one more memory, one more chance to tell them how much they mean to us.

I am glad on that day, I was granted that gift.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Awesome Mom tagged me for this meme. I am thrilled that she thinks I make her think.
The rules:1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

Here are the five blogs that I have picked:
1) Mental Tesserae. This is a wonderful, thought provoking blog. She uses pieces of art to illustrate her topic of the moment in a terrific way. I like to see art through another person's eyes, because too often I find that I am looking at a painting, and not really looking at it. She makes me pause a bit and really take something in. I love that.
2) Thoroughly Mormon Millie. This gal makes me think about geneology. Even though my mom was a geneology freak and my grandmother actually has a geneological library named after her and records that made the Daughters of the American Revolution drool, I have never really gotten into the idea. I always said, "It's not my time and season." But, Millie is getting me thinking about how perhaps there can always be little moments for things, if we make a space for them. She is also flippin' funny, but this isn't flippin' funny blogger award, so.
3) Too Many to Count. I love this lady's accountings of her family. It's the "everyday-ness" of her blog that draws me in, and I find myself thinking about ways I can incorporate more meaning into little things. She also gets me thinking about family home evenings, and how to really make them special. She is also the mom of many children who has them in all stages. And watching her helps me to think about how to be the mom to each one effectively as they go through such different times of life, since I have them in all stages as well.
4) Life and Hope. Because she has VHL, reading this woman's posts so far (she is a pretty new blog) I am gaining a much better understanding for those who live with chronic illnesses that are passed down to their children, and the impact that has on all facets of life. She is also a dear IRL friend, and I have found from reading her posts that you can know a person and still not really "get" the struggles they have in life, or how they feel about certain things. I feel blessed that I have a window into her soul, so to speak, through her blog.
5) I am going to be weird and say me. I am learning more about myself and my thought processes through this blog than I ever imagined. Writing this blog has me thinking more about everything in my life: what brings me joy, what lessons I have learned, what experiences have changed and impacted me. I think about how the little moments are the ones with resonance. I think about how what I see or don't see in my everyday life influences how I see the world at large. I think more about what I am saying, how I am saying it, and who I am saying it to.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Quote of the Week...

In honor of my friend, Kay, whose husband passed away last week after battling cancer:

“There is a comfort in the strength of love; ‘Twill make a thing endurable, which else Would overset the brain, or break the heart.”

—William Wordsworth

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Busy night...

This morning, I came downstairs and saw my 5 year old son eating his breakfast with puffy eyes in a zombie-like state.

"Hey, okay?" I said, all motherly.

"Last night, I saved the wowld (world)." he answered groggily.

"Well, then. No wonder you're so sleepy. That can really wear a guy out."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quote of the week...

“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things that renew humanity.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Mom singing a Hymn...

Jesus, Once of Humble bir--
Now, in Glor-y comes to--
(stop it!! I will give you the toy in a second!)
Once, He suffered grief and--
(will you quit swinging that??You almost hit your brother!!)
Now He comes--
(don't even think of leaving this bench, missy)
Now He comes on Earth to--
(why can't you just SIT there??)

Repeated, three times.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn."

--C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Did you ever...

Have one of those nights where you can't sleep and so you get on the computer and start roaming around? And then you go to MySpace and start looking up everyone who says they went to your high school and then you start waxing all nostalgic and wondering how all these people are doing, and maybe you even send a message to some of them to see how they are? And then, when the insomnia wears off, you think, "Crap. High school was 20 years ago, and I only ever liked about 6 of those people anyway. What the heck was I thinking??"

Yeah. Me neither.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Interview Me...

Awesome Mom did this fun game called, "Interview Me".

Here's the general idea if you'd like to play along:
The Rules: Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me.” I respond by asking you five questions (left in my comments) so I can get to know you better. If I already know you well, expect the questions may be somewhat personal! You can update your journal/bloggy thing/whatever with the answers to the questions (please don't leave your answers in my comments unless you don't have a blog). You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

So, here are the answers to the questions
Awesome Mom asked me:

1 Do you think your teenaged self would be happy with the way that your life has turned out so far?

I think my teenaged self would be surprized by the way my life is turning out. I never expected or particularly desired to be a mom, or really to get married. I also think that my teenaged self would be interested to see the strides I have made at overcoming my own weaknesses, and making changes that needed to be made. But I also think my teenaged self would tell me to do something about my fat butt.

2 Do you prefer gold jewelry, silver jewelry or neither?

I'm not a jewelry person--much. I would wear more if I hadn't been conditioned not to by necessity. (the first time a baby pulls your earring nearly out of your ear, you tend to forgo the earrings. Same with nearly being choked by a necklace.) But I have 3 rings that I love, and they are gold. Two are my wedding rings, and one is a ring my hubby bought that symbolizes our children--3 diamond baguette stones for the girls, 4 diamond square stones for the boys, intermingled.

3 What has been one of the most surprising things that you have discovered about motherhood?
Just how much you learn about yourself, and how much you want to change the faults and flaws that you have to be the best possible example you can be for them. I look at my 17 year old, especially, and I pray that my role modeling for woman/motherhood has been sufficient. I am also surprized to see how much I have come to understand about God and His nature by being a mother.

4 What are some things that would be in your dream home?

*A HUGE mud/laundry room. HUGE. With two sets of large capacity washers and dryers, and hanging and basket space for everyone. And all. their. stuff.
*hardwood floors everywhere in common areas. I miss my hardwoods. Hopefully next year!!
*children who cleaned for fun

5 What is your favorite flower? Why?

Yellow roses. Roses to me are extravagant and romantic. And I like the yellow because it's cheerful and warm. My favorite is red roses (my hubby's favorite) and yellow roses together.

Ok, if you want me to interview you, let me know!

Quote of the Week...

"But it's not just learning things that's important. It's learning what to do with what you learn and learning why you learn things at all that matters."

--Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Time to buy some more Clairol...

A conversation between my 3 year old and 7 year old daughters while they brushed and "styled" my hair the other night:

7 year old: Ok, it's your turn to style now.

3 year old: Ok. Here, you brush and I will style.

---slight pause as the 3 year old parts my hair and leans over to examine it more closely--

3 year old: Oh, my goodness!!! Emma!! Look at all the WHITE!!!!

Excuse me while I run to the store.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Coming to a doorknob near you...

I hear there's a DVD floating around about the church I belong to. They're being hung on people's doorknobs across the US and Canada. It misconstrues some of our basic beliefs, asserts that we aren't Christian, and in general tries to "witness" to us poor little misguided Mormons and our unsuspecting neighbors.

Here's the thing: I don't particularly care if you think my husband has 13 wives, or that we have horns on our head, or that we wear funny underwear. I really don't. Mostly because it's outdated, silly, and in the case of the underwear--none of your dang business.

But I have all kinds of problems with a person telling me that I don't know who I worship.

Ever since I was a little girl, I believed in a Father In Heaven who loved me, and in His son, Jesus Christ. I was taught, in a Mormon church (gasp!), that it was through Christ and His atoning sacrifice that I would be saved. I read the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and reading both of them I have come to obtain the surest testimony that He lived and died and was risen again, and that He stands at the right hand of God, as my judge and my Savior.

Every day of my life, I try to live in a way that shows my devotion to Him. There are days when I pretty much stink at it, but I keep trying anyway. I trust Him when He says He will be merciful with me. I teach my children by word and example that they should look to Christ for peace, for eternal life, and for remission of their sins. I live my religion, and it's my religion that has taught me to do all these things.

So, I feel Christian, even if there are those who would tell me I am mistaken. And the hard part is, how do you refute someone whose entire argument is, "You're not a Christian!" "Yes, I am." "NO, you're NOT." It gets to the 'I'm rubber and you're glue' stage pretty quickly.

Well, I'm just gonna keep doing my thing...and hope that the one who really knows my heart will find my meager offerings acceptable.

Four of my wonderful leprechauns...

This is from St. Patrick's Day. The hats were from their Aunt, and you don't even want to know how much my oldest will scream when she sees I have posted this. I guess the hat isn't the fashion statement she cares to make!!!

Quote of the Week...

"Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way... you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.”

Monday, March 19, 2007

Life is good...

A warm spring day after a long winter.
A trip to the park.
And a big sister to tickle your toes as she pushes you in the swing.
Yep, life doesn't get any better than that!

Quote of the Week...

"Do one thing everyday that scares you."

---Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, March 16, 2007

hard little life lessons...

Yesterday, my 7 year old learned how hard it can be to make things right when you do something wrong.

I found a tiny gold child's ring on my bathroom floor the other day, and I knew it didn't belong in our house. I started asking all the kids about it, and it became clear to me pretty quickly that this daughter wasn't being truthful when she said she had no idea how the ring got in the bathroom. Every mom knows that somewhere during pregnancy--or maybe while in post partum--you become equipped with a sixth sense when it comes to your kids. I don't know how it works, all I know is that once you've been a mom for awhile, you can sense which cry is for hungry and which is for sleepy; you can sense that little hands are about to dunk a toy into the toilet; and you can listen to your child tell you something and hear loudly in your head, "liar, liar, pants on fire."

So, after some intense interrogation (I knew those 150 watt bulbs would come in handy!), she admitted that she had taken the ring from her cousin's room during a sleepover last week. Little did she know that admitting her mistake to mom was probably the easiest part.

We had a tear filled drive over to my sister's house, with her pleading with me not to make her go. "PLEASE, mom!!! I can't do it!! I can NOT look her in the eye and tell her I took it!!"

"You can do it." I said. "And you will feel SO much better after you do."

I held her hand as we walked to the front porch and let go as she rang the doorbell. She looked so pitiful...the ring in one hand, a tissue for her tears in the other. At first, I wasn't sure if she would be able to pull herself together to do what needed to be done. My sister and I figured our presence would only make matters worse, so we quickly found other places to be.

After about 10 minutes, my daughter and my niece came bounding down the stairs. I could instantly see that the task had been completed and that all was once again good. They played for a while and then we said our goodbyes.

On the drive home, I was all set to talk to her more about how it's not good to steal because it's wrong and it makes us feel bad and we hurt people and ourselves and blah blah mommy blah. I thought this was my teaching moment. But from the back seat, my daughter piped up:

"Mom!! That was the hardest thing I ever did! I cried the whole time and soaked my tissue! But I did it! I looked right at her, gave her the ring, and I said, 'Megan, I took your ring, I know it was wrong, and I am very very sorry.' I feel SO much better, Mom. I never want to feel that way again. It was AWFUL, Mom, awful. But I feel okay now! And Megan's not mad at me! I am never going to take anything that isn't mine again...what were you going to say, Mom?"

"Nothing, sweetie. I'm just proud of you, that's all," I said.

Turns out that the experience was the teacher, I just provided transportation.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Quote of the week...

"All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action."

--James Russell Lowell

Friday, March 09, 2007

The tea cup...

I have a china tea cup and saucer that sits on a shelf in my office. I love to look at it. It's really pretty, a delicate pink rose floral pattern with gold leaf along the top edge and the handle. It's stamped with "Victoria, Bone China, Made in England" on the bottom. My husband's grandmother gave it to us several years ago.

As with most everything she owns, she had a story that went along with the tea cup. The story was that this was her son's (my father-in-law's) favorite cup. He loved this cup, she said. Always had to use this particular cup. Used to tell her that he'd never marry a girl who didn't love this cup and take good care of it for him. That was the story that grandma always told about the tea cup and saucer she had given us.

Not so much the story that I heard from her son.

Once, when my father-in-law--supposed lover of said cup--came to visit, I pointed out "his" cup to him. I relayed the story that his mom had told me about the cup, thinking it would bring warm memories, and please him that the story behind the cup had been passed on.

His face went blank. He paused for a moment--just a moment--before he said something just short of "my mother is a crazy woman who makes up things that have no basis in reality."

And this, and only this, is why I keep that tea cup on the shelf in my office.

I love to look at that tea cup and be reminded that life is viewed through subjective eyes. I look at that cup to be comforted, understanding that no matter how hard I try, the way I see things will not be the way other people--even people I love--see them. I could strive to do every single thing right as a wife, friend, mother, etc. and still our stories wouldn't match up. Because we all filter our stories through our own personalities, our own life experiences, and our own sense of what is important.

Looking at that cup makes me fret just a little bit less when I mistakes. Maybe some of those mistakes will be the stories that aren't remembered. And yet, looking at the cup also makes me a little more careful. Maybe something done or said in a seemingly small moment will be a story that IS remembered. That cup silently witnesses that I have little control over what people choose to remember about me. I can only live the best life I can and hope that the scales will balance out in favor of my being a good person.

I don't know which story is true about the tea cup on my shelf. Nor do I care to know. The truth is what they believe it to be. I suppose I could put them both in a room and let them shout it out, who is right and who is wrong in the whole "Significance of The Tea Cup" Debate, but what good would that do?

I'll just keep the cup on the shelf, my own personal lesson in perspective.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"The purpose of having children is not to create opportunities for our glory or for theirs. The purpose of having children and raising them to be self-reliant, compassionate, ethical adults is to ensure that there will be people here to honor God after we are gone."

--Wendy Mogel, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Grief, laughter, and the weight of both...

We attended another funeral today.

This is the second in 7 months, and I gotta tell you, I'm not getting any better at them. This is one of those life events that we all go through, and yet we never seem to get good at them. Whatever "good at them" would mean.

The interesting thing that I am discovering about attending the funerals of family, friends, and family OF friends is this: the weight of every other loss comes up. And the memory of each funeral is pulled out of the portion of my brain that houses the category:

family and loved ones, funerals of. See also: death, grief, melancoly

So, as I sit in the funeral home chapel, watching a friend grieve the loss of her 22 year old son, my mind recalls my sister-in-law, grieving the loss of her baby dad, the loss of a brother--and then another brother...a friend, losing her mother...a friend, the loss of his wife...another friend, also losing his wife...myself, grieving the loss of one parent, and then another. At a funeral, it feels like a heavy burden.

So that's where the laughter comes in.

Today, the grief was overwhelming in that chapel. And then my dad got up to speak. He had known this young man well and was asked by the family to share some thoughts. As is his way, he began recounting silly and irreverent stories about this young man. The spirit lifted and I could see the weight of grief temporarily leave the family and friends as they were caught up in the life and spirit of this man, as opposed to his death. There was laughter through tears and it was wonderful. The weight became one not of grief--but of carrying the love and memories of someone that was special, and honoring that. Even though the grieving has just begun for this family, they were shown in that moment how to ease their pain and soften their heartache.

The weight of grief and the weight of laughter are gifts. Each one reminds us that we lived, loved, and mattered to each other.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Quote of The Week...

"It takes courage to live--courage and strength and hope and humor. And courage and strength and hope and humor have to be bought and paid for with pain and work and prayers and tears."

--Jerome P. Fleishman

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Left behind...

It's so sad to be the littlest brother. All your big brothers and sisters take off outside and you are stuck. A prisoner in your own home.
[please forgive the edits and changes as I figure out how to post pictures!]

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Great 'Soup' Mystery solved...

So, the hubby calls me a few days ago and the conversation goes something like this:

The Hubby: Uhh, babe?
Me: Yeah?
TH: I , uh, finally read your blog.
[been telling me for weeks he'd get around to it...but to be fair: 1 wife, 7 kids, 3 jobs. Nuff said.]
M: Oh, yeah? So? What did you think?
TH: It's good, very funny. You know I think you are funny. But, ummm...the soup??
M: the soup? What soup...oh, yeah, what about the soup?
TH: That was all me. I bought it when you had that dental work done and couldn't chew. I thought you might like it.

So, from this we learn a few things. One, my husband is thoughtful and downright precious about taking care of the wife when she is hurting. (this I already knew, but those little reminders mean a lot after close to 20 years together) and Two, my husband thinks I would eat soup with little green floatie things.

So close, and yet so far.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." --Charles Dickens

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A to Z...

Got this meme from Mormon Millie, who cracks me up. She tagged everyone who reads her blog, and I read it daily. Because of the cracking up which I previously mentioned.
ACCENT: I tend to soak up whoever I am talking to's accent. I am a good mimic, but it makes it hard for me because I tend to slip into everyone else's way of talking.
CHORE I DON'T CARE FOR: mopping the floor
DOG OR CAT: I have children, I don't need any more animals to care for.
ESSENTIAL ELECTRONICS: Computer, TV with my DVR, my Cricut machine
HANDBAG I CARRY MOST OFTEN: Big, black, leather looking bag from Old Navy
INSOMNIA: More than I care for, yes.
JOB TITLE: Homemaker
KIDS: 3 girls: 17, 7, and 3; and 4 boys: 14, 9, 5, and 17 months
LIVING ARRANGEMENTS: with my husband and offspring in a house far too nice for all of us because we are loud, messy hooligans. (well, them. Not me.)
MOST ADMIRABLE TRAIT: Great resource when you have the nagging question, "Now, what else have I seen that actor in??"
NAUGHTIEST CHILDHOOD BEHAVIOR: I used to steal gum from my mom's nightstand and blame my brother for it
OVERNIGHT HOSPITAL STAYS: Once at 10 or so for what they thought was spinal menengitis, then for each of my children's births
PHOBIAS: Snakes, snakes, and did I mention snakes?
QUOTE: "I have 9,768,423 things to do...other than that, I'm free all day." -a friend named Dottie
RELIGION: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
SIBLINGS: I have one brother I grew up with, and then 9 adopted siblings
TIME I WAKE UP: 5:00 AM. Thanks for reminding me.
UNUSUAL TALENT OR SKILL: As I mentioned with accent, I can mimic other people pretty dead on
WORST HABIT: Procrastination
X-RAYS: Dental, when I was 16 and fell off of a car and broke my tailbone, about 7 years ago after a bad fall at an aquarium
YUMMY STUFF I COOK: Swedish Meatball Soup, Crock Pot Ravioli, Pumpkin Chocolate chip Muffins
If you didn't already take the challenge from Millie to do this meme, take it from me!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"Marriage hath in it less of beauty but more of safety ... it hath more care, but less danger, it is more merry, and more sad; it is fuller of sorrows, and fuller of joys; it lies under more burdens, but it is supported by all the strengths of love and charity, and those burdens are delightful."

--Bishop Jeremy Taylor

Friday, February 09, 2007

How did THAT get in there?

So, I'm digging in my pantry to make some effort at dinner, and I come across some items that, well...have me a little confused. Because I have no recollection of seeing them in the store, putting them in my cart, paying for them, bringing them home, and then placing them in the pantry on the shelf next to all the other stuff that is in there.

Since I know that I am the only one who actually purchases food for our household, that means it must have been me. Huh. Here are a few of the items in question:

"Southwest Style Pepper Jack" cheese soup. Seriously? What little lies did I tell myself that made me think that my kids would come within 10 feet of reddish orange soup with green floatie things in it??

1 regular sized box of pilaf Rice-a-Roni. This is just confusing on so many levels. First of all, we have 7 kids--I never buy the regular size of ANYTHING. Sometimes, if I am in a pinch and they don't have the jumbo bucket of something I may buy a smaller size...but then I'll buy 4 or 5. So the "one"ness of this box just doesn't feel right. And we don't even eat pilaf--unless it's my mom's homemade pilaf, because when she makes it it is just so goooooood.

1 box of Red Velvet cake mix. Now, this actually could be explained. Not that I would ever MAKE a red velvet cake, but I buy cake mixes by the dozen because my kids like cake mix cookies. So, it falls within the realm of possiblity that I--while reaching for the spice, chocolate, or yellow cake mixes--inadvertently grabbed this sad little never-to-be-used box of red velvet.

Creamy Ranchero Tomato soup. Again with the soup. Now, on the label it says: Great for Cooking. So maybe I thought that somehow if I bought these soups that I would actually cook with them. Or that maybe they would cook for me. Or something. But, again--little green floatie things. Hello!!!??? Little. Green. Floatie. Things.

Oh, and for those who may be wondering...I ended up making meatball stew.
And none of the above ingredients were harmed in the process.

Cake mix cookies:
1 box yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup of oil
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix first 3 ingredients into dough. Then stir in chocolate chips. Roll into teaspoon sized balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes @ 350 degrees. Cookies will look "wrinkley" but not browned.

Another version:
1 box spice cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup of oil

Bake same as above.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Quote of the week...

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but I realize that it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as though they were great and noble."

--Helen Keller

Friday, February 02, 2007

Books that have changed me...

Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls. This was the first book where I learned that someone could write something that could make me feel a powerful emotion--as though I were really witnessing what they wrote about. I was 9, and I can still vividly remember having to put the book down--because I couldn't read through the tears in my eyes--when Little Ann and Old Dan met their sad fate. At first I felt a little uncomfortable, thinking "why am I crying over dogs and a boy that aren't even real?" and then somewhere in the back of my mind came the knowledge: that is what a good book can do. It can make you feel something real within a story that is not.

If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I doing in the Pits?, Erma Bombeck. I'm pretty sure that I must have read my mom's copy, because I remember reading this book when I was in 4th grade, and I doubt I would have sought it out. I loved that she talked about everyday things that all moms and families go through, but she made it laugh out loud funny. (and I wasn't even a mom!) This was the first book that made me laugh out loud, and it was also the first book that I found could have me laughing one minute, and tearing up the next. Make me cry without meanness and I like you. Make me laugh and I love you. Make me cry while I am laughing...and I am yours forever.

The Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Allen Poe; and Stories That Scared Even Me, Alfred Hitchcock. Ok, technically, Tell Tale is a short story; and Stories That Scared is a collection of stories compiled by Hitchcock; but I have to put them in here and put them together because they scared me to death. They were my first exposure to literature designed to frighten and boy, did they do a good job. It was disturbing and yet oddly exciting to find myself feeling the panic and madness come over the narrator in Tell Tale, and finding myself having to resist the urge to run to my parent's bedroom after reading one of the Stories That Scared. To this day I cannot read frightening or very suspense filled books if I am alone in the house. I've never put a scary book in the freezer, a'la Joey on Friends...but I've thought about it.

Days of Grace, Arthur Ashe w/Arnold Rampersad. This book amazed me and taught me that there will be literally thousands of brave and honorable people in this world that I may never know about. I picked up this book knowing very little of Ashe except his gentlemanly nature on the tennis court, but he became one of my heroes. His grace (hence the title) and courage against racism and illness, and his quiet dignity in doing the right thing is something I still look back on and try to require from myself. He once said: "If one's reputation is a possession, then of all my possessions, my reputation means most to me." He deserves that possession to be a valuable one, he worked for it and he earned it.

Woman of Independent Means, Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey. It sounds like a romance novel, but it's not. It's written entirely as letters that one woman writes to the people in her life over the span of some 60 years. This book was where I was reminded how much I truly love letters...I will read letters by people I have never heard of, and have no idea about. I think it must be because letters seem so intimate, so private. And because you can feel the relationship that the sender and the recipient have based on the tone and feel of the correspondence. Because of this book, I put copies of letters and emails to different people from me in my journal. I know that each one reveals a little bit more of all the sides of me. I also learned in this book how I can love a character and still not like her. I found myself completely shocked at some of the things Bess Steed would say or do; but then still find her ultimately, and overwhelmingly, endearing. I re-read this book every year or so, and every time I still find myself sad that Bess is simply a character and not a real woman. Because I'd love to have tea with her.

This is a short list. I haven't mentioned all of the books that have changed me, mostly because there are too many. And some, I really couldn't tell all the things that have changed about me because of them. How could I possibly try to explain the impact of the Bible and the Book Of Mormon, for example? They permeate my soul. They have changed--and are changing--every facet of my personality.

Please feel free to share some of your special books with me in the comments, or if you blog--make your own list. If you do, let me know so I can go and take a look.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Quote of the week...

I am a quote freak. I have a collection of quotes that is growing constantly, because I love it when someone puts together a finely crafted sentence or thought. So, in order to be gracious and not horde my lovely collection, I have decided to share a quote every Monday.

Here's the first:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."

--George Bernard Shaw

Friday, January 26, 2007


It's been a while.

I've been pondering fear a lot lately, because I had to go to the dentist. I am terrified of the dentist. As in, I start shaking and crying at the thought of making an appointment.

But, you know, pain can sometimes outweigh fear and you do what needs to be done. Or, well, let's be honest: you have a husband who hates to see his wife in pain who sneaks and makes an appointment for you.

So, I went and I cried in the dentist's chair and felt like a complete moron. This dentist is very kind and wants to help me to be less afraid so that I can get the work done that I desperately need. And, for the amount of money that all this work is going to cost, he'd be stupid not to try. We will probably pay for his summer home.

I am a strong woman in so many other ways that it is an endless source of embarrassment to me that I can't think about going into a dental office without a full on panic attack. I have bad experiences that certainly justify some fear, but I'm also intelligent and should be able to reason with myself that bad experiences in the past don't guarantee bad ones in the future. But, it's a visceral response that I have little control over.

So, I went again and had a tooth extracted. They doped me up with Valium and Sonata and since I don't ever use mind altering substances, you'd have thought I'd have been pretty mellow. But, it just relaxed me enough to allow me to white knuckle my way through it. There were complications (because, with me, there are always complications) but I got out of there with a small amount of panic and pain. Went home and a few days later had a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics I was put on. Nice. It seems I am not going to catch a break with this thing, dang it.
So, I guess what I am saying is that I am learning that no matter how many other things you stood up to in your life, there will still be things that scare you. I can pull my "birthed 7 children" card out and my dentist fear just laughes at me. I have gone through things that seem far more difficult than having my teeth drilled.
But, that is the nature of fear, I think. It doesn't have to be the worst thing, the hardest thing, the most painful just has to be the thing you are afraid of.