Monday, May 22, 2017

Claire's Insight On Mothers

A couple of weeks ago at bedtime, I got upset with Claire about something.
(I've kind of been edgy of late.)
 When I climbed into bed next to her, she'd obviously been explaining my behavior to herself because she turned to me and quietly offered up this gem:

"Mothers sometimes get mad and sometimes they get irritated."

And then, to further her point, she added:

"They sometimes get mad.
They sometimes get irritated.
They sometimes can't handle things.
Those are three things that mothers can't do."

I pulled out my phone and wrote it down.
And reading it now is making me laugh out loud.

It's flat out truth.
All of it.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Special Number

Last week, Isaiah said something that left me totally amused.
Like, I was sitting in one of the chairs on the deck 
laughing out loud to myself in the aftermath.

It was the middle of the day, we were all outside talking, and Isaiah was telling me about a funny exchange I had forgotten about---something that happened at our last music night. Dave and Ryan were going to do a song together, 
and we'd come back round to them in the circle.

Dave stood up and headed through the kitchen, and I said, 
"Wait, aren't you guys gonna do your special number?" 
(I was thinking it was their turn and they were up.)

To which Dave responded, to everyone, 
"I'm gonna go do my own special number," 
as he headed toward the bathroom.

When Isaiah told the story and said Dave's line, 
he added, kind of as a quiet side note to us:
"And Benji's over there guffawing by the fire."
(About Dave's joke, of course.)

I die.
(I love!, so much, that that's the word that came to his mind to describe Benji's laughter.)

And, one other thing about 10-year-old boys?

Try saying the word "balls," in practically any sort of context, 
without them considering it a reference and dissolving into laughter.
Just try it.
Welcome to my life.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sharing a Joke

See this son of mine?
He and I shared a moment recently that I just love.
Rewind to a week and a half ago when I went to my friend's farm to shovel chicken manure into buckets. 
The flies were plentiful. 
The smell was pungent.
The horses and goats gathered round.
Alisa was kind enough to load those 4 buckets of manure into the farm truck and bring them back to my house.

So, there I was, and Isaiah came home right about this point.

He walked out to the garden with me where I grabbed a garden rake and shed my shoes.
Then I proceeded to dump the buckets across the garden. Most of it was either dry or like a dry mud consistency, but there was one wet bucket. Isaiah stood there watching me, and when I dumped that one, a big wet clump came out at the end. Splat.

It stunk.

So there we were, and I'm raking, trying to spread a few places out. I'm also noticing the flies that showed up immediately once the poop was on the dirt. 

And as I'm standing there with Isaiah watching me (and he was kind of grossed out at the smell), for some reason my dad came to mind. He was a farm boy and spent much of his childhood gathering eggs from the chickens (trying to avoid the bull snakes -- my dad hates! snakes), milking cows, tending gardens, hauling hay. All that stuff.
 (My boys planting tomatoes with my dad in his garden 8 years ago.)

Standing there, I could just imagine my dad walking in the back gate at that moment and coming over to see what was going on. I could see him standing there at the edge of the garden, taking in my bare feet, the manure, Isaiah's somewhat grossed out expression. And then I could see amusement on his face and I heard these words in my mind, in a voice that he used to use when he was being goofy:

"There's nothing quite like fresh chicken shit, Liz!"

I thought it so much that I looked over at Isaiah, referenced my dad, and then said it, exactly in that voice, commenting on how amused my dad would be.

And WE LAUGHED out loud.
I can still see Isaiah's face as it dropped in laughter.
He agreed that it was something Poppi would totally say.
(Isaiah and Poppi planting geraniums.)

Dad may as well have been standing there sharing the joke.
He is still with us, and that moment warmed my heart.

(P.S. I've gone by Elizabeth for years, and it's what I prefer. But my dad called me Liz, and this is EXACTLY how my dad would have said this and it's endearing. And makes me laugh.)

Thursday, May 11, 2017


It's 4:37 on a gorgeous Thursday afternoon.
The sky is blue, and there's a soft breeze in the leaves above me. 
I'm sitting on the deck by some newly-potted geraniums listening to "Either Way," a song off Chris Stapleton's new album.
It's a doozy and I love it.
Slays me every time.
(Kind of really like "Broken Halos" too. Maybe like a lot.)

Suddenly my yard is looking full-blown summer.
My trees have leafed out and I'm running the sprinkler.
(Don't you love that familiar tick-tick-tick-tick sound as the water sprays across the yard? I do.)
Last night I was outside as it was beginning to get dark, watering my tomato and pepper plants 
and the mounds of corn I planted along the fence.
I stood on the periphery of the garden, 
soaking future rows of beets, carrots, and beans, hoping that the water will make those seeds burst underground and show their green faces up above soon.
Standing there, I remembered doing that same thing, 
years ago, at home. 
After trips to the greenhouse with my dad,
I sometimes stood on the periphery of that garden showering water--back and forth--over rows of seeds we'd put in the ground. And don't even get me started on the nostalgia I have when it comes to geraniums.
Over the last 9 days, we've been in the dirt a lot.
We've been to greenhouses picking out flowers and vegetables.
The girls and I worked to weed the garden plot and my neighbor tilled it for us.
We've filled pots with flowers and tucked plants into the soil, all the while looking forward to the color of summer and the ways she tastes when you pick and eat fresh.
These rituals bring peace to my life -- a rhythm, and quiet, and simplicity amid all the noise.
There's just something about a porch that has pots spilling with flowers and green, 
vines heavy with vegetables that become food on the table, 
and dirty fingers and a sweaty body from tending the earth.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday Inspiration

I wholeheartedly believe that love is never wasted, 
which is probably why I loved this quote when I read it a while back. 
I don't know who said it, but it resonates with me.

"don't cross oceans for people 
who wouldn't cross a puddle for you.

No, do it.
Do cross oceans for people. Love people, all people. 
No conditions attached, no wondering whether or 
not they're worthy. Cross oceans, climb mountains. 
Life and love isn't about what you gain, 
it's about what you give."

Also, Claire Elizabeth was lying down next to me in my bed this morning as I worked, 
trying hard to figure out how to snap her fingers. 
I got the pleasure of hearing her first successful snap.
"Mom, I did it!"

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I Love This

I was cleaning up my kitchen after dinner and listening to Bonnie Raitt.
(I have forgotten how much I love her Luck of the Draw album! Love!)

But anyway, had you been hanging out with me in my kitchen tonight, this is what's currently on my fridge:
a picture of my sisters and I,
a magnet quoting Winston Churchill: "If you're going through hell, keep going,"
a photo of my Grandpa Joe, 
insulin dosing charts and phone numbers for Primary Children's, 
a question from a friend, years ago, during a text conversation, that stopped me in my tracks, 
another quotation from a Christmas devotional encouraging a life lived with more love for others, 
a photo of my boys when they were not yet a year old, 
and a Fred Rogers quote that has become a favorite.

Four years ago (maybe?), I read a book called I'm Proud of You, an account of the author's friendship with the late Fred Rogers (remember Mr. Roger's Neighborhood?). 

I loved it.
And this particular quote was something that resonated deeply with me.

In fact, it has gone into my words-to-live-by category.
But, I'm gonna tell you one of my secrets.
And actually, I'd be willing to bet it's something that you -- whoever you are -- can relate to, too.

And it's this: 
I can be pretty hard on myself.

Sound familiar?

It's only recently that I've started to apply those words to 
my relationship with myself.
I think I've always thought of them as a meter for interacting with others, for several reasons:

We're all learning, and none of us are doing it perfectly.
We've all lived different experiences.
Most people are carrying some hurt in their heart, and not everybody exposes that.
Some things may not make sense, we may not know, or we may not understand.
And I generally think that behaviors are indicative of things we're processing.
In other words: if we really walked a mile in someone else's shoes, we'd get it and we'd understand.

Bottom line?

We're all on this life continuum, figuring things out.

This is why understanding, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness make sense to me.
For all of these reasons.
(And, side note: If I need to look for imperfection in an individual, all I need to do is look in the mirror.)

So yeah, be kind.
For sure.
(And apologize when you're not, right?)

But, here's the thing I'm learning, and it's a total game changer: 

Being kind also means 
being kind to yourself.
And sometimes that's the hardest of all.

Sometimes being kind means sticking up for yourself.
Sometimes being kind to yourself means setting boundaries.
It means not letting others walk all over you or dictate your emotions.
Sometimes it means saying no.
Forgiving yourself.
Not expecting too much, and giving yourself a hug when you fall down.
Sometimes it means recognizing that something is so much bigger than you...and that's okay.
Just submit to it.
It doesn't mean you're a failure, or that you should be able to handle it better.
I think it's also about taking ownership for where we fall short without beating ourselves up.
It's choosing to shed shame.

It's choosing to live your life in a raw, real way, with honesty and vulnerability and beautiful imperfection.

Yup. That's pretty much it.

Be kind to everyone else.
But also?

Be kind to yourself.

It is SO WORTH the 20 minutes.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday

This Holy Week has been a time of reflecting with my tribe. 

Each day as we've read accounts of what happened on those same days anciently, we've filled our "Easter baskets" with tokens of remembrance: a leaf for Palm Sunday (which Claire holds and waves back and forth saying, "Hosanna! Hosanna!"); 
a temple picture that reminds us of Jesus teaching us to prize what is sacred; the piece of red cloth to remind us that He taught about the second coming during that last week---testifying that this wasn't the end, that His work spanned all time, and that He would eventually come again clothed in red; a coin because Judas agreed to betray Christ for 30 pieces of silver; a sacrament cup to remember the atonement and that it is personal; a nail to remind us of that first Good Friday and the crucifixion; 
a little Book of Mormon to remind us that, when in the spirit world, Christ organized missionary efforts so that everyone could share joy; and finally, a blossom for the resurrection, symbolizing that life returns, that death holds no eternal finality---and that ALL sorrow and ALL of the ways we feel broken are bound up and healed in Him. 
(Easter baskets!)

I know Jesus lives. 
No words can adequately articulate the feelings of my heart today, but I am so very grateful.  
(the boys in their Easter ties from their baskets -- and I LOVE! Isaiah's long hair)

(the girls and I sporting matching sandals -- Mia has wanted some ever since I got mine a couple of years ago, so the girls got them in their baskets)
Christ's light, His example, and His love make all the difference, every day, for me. 
(Egg dyeing)

(Homemade carrot cake with vanilla bean ice cream)

I am grateful for the peace that only He can give. 
(the flowering cherry in my front yard is killing it right now)

He is my greatest gift. 

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