Language is Dead

Personal pet peeve: “New Years.”

Absolutely drives me nuts.

it is either New Year’s (followed by Day, or Eve), or New Year.

I only get one year at a time, not many.

And if you and I are sharing the same year, it’s still just one year.

New Year.

Not New Years.

Facebook about killed me this NEW YEAR.

Never look to Facebook for guidance in grammar. It just doesn’t happen.

That Time I was Mad at God

This post is for my friend. It’s taken some time to write because I needed time to think about it and then forgot to come back and write it. I never forgot about her question, just never at a place to sit down and share my thoughts.

There once was a time that I was so mad at God at how my life was turning out. I felt so guilty for being mad at Him, so I’d berate myself constantly. God doesn’t do anything wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’ve done everything I needed to with the resources he gave me. I’d attended all my meetings, I’d fulfilled my callings, I’d kept his commandments. And still things weren’t going my way; instead they were getting much much worse. Almost daily. Family relations were tight. Finances were tight. I kept getting sick.  Nothing seemed to be going right. And I was exhausted.Finally, one day I just gave up. I went for a run to clear my head and the whole time I mentally screamed at God. Full on chewed him out. Told him repeatedly it wasn’t fair and how dare He and that he must not love me at all. Seriously. Stuff we’d be furious our kids said to us. But that’s how I felt. I then sobbingly told him everything I felt was unfair (the perks to running in a small  town: no one sees you bawling in the middle of your run). Just let it all out. And let the shame of my anger go with it. It seemed so shameful to chew out Deity. I wasn’t allowed to chew out my parents, and this was GOD! Totally inappropriate, right?


Actually, I don’t think it was. Here’s why.

When I had finally calmed down and just bawled while I ran and got it all out, I had a perfect thought pop into my head.

“I am so glad you finally got that all out. Now we can talk.”


God doesn’t need shame. Me chewing him out doesn’t make him less of a deity. In fact, I felt such peace and serenity after getting it all out, like I could finally accept Him as deity. It felt like God was saying “I’m so  glad you finally decided to come to me so we can talk about this! I’ve been waiting. I know you’ve been feeling like life isn’t fair. I’m so sorry you’re hurting so badly. But I can’t help you until you’re ready. I’m so glad you’re finally ready to be with me again. I miss you when you distance yourself.” God loves me so much, he just needed me to come to him with how I really felt. But I was so embarrassed that I was mad at God that I distanced myself from Him. Not openly, but emotionally. Shame kept me from coming to God with my frustrations.

What an amazing parent! To rejoice in my anger because it could bring me back to Him. I learned a lot about shame that day. And parenting. And love. And God. He and I still have some trust issues to work out, I’m not denying that. But He’s waiting for me. When I’m ready, we’ll be there together.

So to discuss gratitude: Sometimes we’re not grateful for things. And that’s totally okay. I don’t think we should fake gratitude. It’s like hiding in shame. Instead, find that one good silver thread. Be grateful for that. That’s all you have to be grateful for. Otherwise, let yourself be angry! You don’t have to be grateful for anything you’re not feeling. As long as you do feel it. And if you can’t find a silver thread, that’s okay, too. Just be honest with yourself and with God. Some day, that gratitude will come. It doesn’t have to be today. Just let it teach you.


Why My Family Shoudn’t Let Me Do Dishes

I’ve been thinking.

It happens when I do dishes.

The thinking thing, I mean.

Somehow, with so many dishes to do, thinking just sort of … takes place.

I HATE dishes. I always have. My dear friend Reta says that when you have such strong feelings about something there is usually a boundary being crossed, either by you or someone else. So I got to thinking… Why do dishes frustrate me so badly?

I’ve been avoiding asking myself that question for years by stuffing the dishwasher as full as possible. But after trying to wash the same load of dishes 4 times, then trying to wash a different load of dishes a few times, I’ve disheartenedly decided that the dishwasher is no longer. and now I’m 7 loads of dishes behind. It still resides in our house… Until Ranger gets around to removing it. And we’ve decided that it’s just not worth getting another one right now. Mostly because it’s a crutch. And I don’t need crutches in a healthy lifestyle. That’s not the only reason, but it is a main factor.

Dear blogerverse: this is the part you thank me for taking a picture AFTER the 7 loads of dishes were washed.

The dishwasher is a crutch because it hasn’t done a good job at teaching our daughter how to do the dishes herself. It hasn’t taught the family to take care of their own plates after they eat. It has made it so that if something happens and the dishwasher doesn’t get started, I’m left with a huge mess of dishes in my sink and sometimes they’re not very pleasant.

I’ve learned that if you find yourself in an all-or-nothing state of housekeeping, then something is out of balance. Life shouldn’t be a pendulum. And neither should dishes.

So now I’m left asking myself why I hate dishes, and what the boundaries are, and what the balance is. And I don’t know. But I do know that it’s not all my job. Hence why my family shouldn’t have let me do dishes. Suddenly I realize all the boundaries that I let slide. Dish-doing is usually the time I’m left pondering the things out of balance in my life, and how my family should be stepping it up, and how I should not let them get away with it so easily.

Last time I had to hand-wash this many dishes, I decided that I’d set a boundary that I wouldn’t cook in a messy kitchen. To me, that’s a very reasonable boundary. Sanitary. Much saner for me. But that boundary isn’t adequate without others in place, because instead, we’re all just left hungry.

Now that there’s no dishwasher, hand-washing dishes gave me time to think about how I really feel about dishes (as I’m washing them… after they’ve been sitting there for much too long. Do I really need to explain how I might feel about them?).

My brain made bullet points, so I can’t think of another way to write it:

  • 8 is totally old enough to wash dishes; and to wash them well, given enough practice.
  • I always feel like he who makes the mess cleans up the mess, but when it comes to dinner, that’s just not fair. If I’m making dinner, I should not have to clean up after it too. Cleaning as I  go, fine, whatever, but cleaning AFTER I just cooked for a whole family? Not fair.
  • Assigning nights to do all of the dishes never works, at least not in my experience. Someone always gets the short end of the stick. And it leaves little room for accountability.
  • When my brother lived with us last time he was good at washing his dishes… just not washing them to my sanitary satisfaction… you know, with soap. And he’s moving in again a matter of weeks.
  • I hate when dishes get left and the’re nasty. I know, big shocker, huh? But if I hate it so much, why does it happen so often?

So.. with those thoughts streaming through my head, I began to focus on kitchen boundaries.

  1. I will fill the sink with soap and water for breakfast and dinner.
  2. If you use a dish, wash it. I have a right to clean dishes. You have a right to care for yourself.
  3. If you eat here, you have a responsibility to clean here. Each night, someone will be in charge of putting away the dishes washed before dinner (that are now dry. If you live here, you have a responsibility to know where things belong), and washing the remaining dinner dishes (aside from the plates used by individuals and the utensils I washed as I was cooking; this will mostly consist of serving utensils and pans).
  4. Each morning, I will put away the dishes. I have a right to work in a clean kitchen.

The interesting thing is, those arent the only boundaries I realized were lacking in my life. I realized that I let my sister take advantage of me. I realized that I need to set up boundaries with my friend. Doing dishes sure gives you time to put your life back into perspective. Maybe I should have spent more time on dishes lately?

But I am curious. [question]What have you guys come up with to solve the dish quandary? How to you prevent dishes from backing up? What is you’re routine?  [/question]I’ve never been good at staying on top of dishes so I’d love to hear any tips and rhythms that worked for others. Am I missing something?

Wrong Roads

There has been a video on YouTube I’ve been circling around. You know the type: the video you see in your suggestions, see in your subscriptions, and just never get around to watching? For me personally, there’s a bit of shame in that, but I’m getting past it. I finally put off the shame and just watched it. And it didn’t phase me. A “that’s nice,” type video.

And then I took my daughter to ballet. The instructor whom I adore commented on how much my little athlete has mastered the skills, and I said in passing that I wish there was another beginners class for an older age, because I watch my too-mature daughter get frustrated by kids just being kids, because she is there to soak in every second of it, not to get distracted. The instructor said, “Oh, but I do!” and invited us to sit in on the class the following day (yesterday). It’s definitely not the same beginner class as the younger girls. There is memorization, and repetition, and major skillsets being developed and worked upon. But we went anyway. About 3/4 of the way through the class, my daughter looks at me, beaming, and gives me the thumbs up. It’s been intense! I have watched the whole time. She doesn’t have the muscles yet and she’s worked really hard to keep up with the rest of the girls. I mouth “do you like this class?” and I get a strong affirmative head-bob.

ballet shoes
Attribution: Katherine Kirkland

And I think about how if we hadn’t homeschooled, I never would have gotten her into ballet. I’ve always been hesitant about the subtle lessons taught to impressionable kids; about modesty, about decency, about what is acceptable in behavior and body movement. Personally, some dances should not be danced by adults in front of an audience, not to mention the teens or kids I see dancing them. And some outfits I wouldn’t leave my house with, so why would I want them on the daughter I’m responsible for teaching modesty and providing safety for? It just never made sense to me. But getting to know the instructor personally (she homeschools, too), and watching her movements and light, I knew that I was comfortable with this ballet school, a school that teaches discipline and dedication, structure and love. A school where every student is sacred and precious. That is something I can believe in and support.


And suddenly something occurs to me: What if the homeschool frustration was so that I could get her into ballet? I don’t think that’s the only thing we learned and gained from that glorious month that we couldn’t keep, but I do see how I could have had such a strong prompting for something I wasn’t allowed to keep. I kept what I needed to. And that is enough.

Day 29: Waiting.

[warning]Warning: This post is two days after it should have been written and it’s still emotionally triggering.[/warning]

Major confession: This is the challenge that is the toughest for me. If something is good, why do I have to wait for it? The only answer I have is Garth Brooks’ Unanswered Prayers.

(sorry for the TV show playing with it. It’s the best vid I could find on Youtube) My dad was a thorough Garth Brooks fan; had all the CD’s (or tapes; some of them were tapes). I heard this song throughout my entire childhood. Still doesn’t mean it’s easy though.


And I know people always say you’ll value it more because you have to wait for it. I am willing to say that that might be true. But it’s still not a comfort when you have to wait.

I was hoping from the get-go that by building up to this for a month, I’d have some answers, but I don’t. I researched it to find answers, but the truth is, I really don’t know. I’m sure it’s pride getting in the way of not knowing and not wanting to accept, and I’ll work on that; But I still just don’t know.

Ready for a secret? We’ve been trying to have a baby for two and a half years. At first it was just the “whatever happens, happens.” But with an already-mature 7 (now eight, and eventually 9-year-old), we didn’t want to stay in that phase too long. The gap is forever growing; and it’s growing rapidly.

And I don’t talk about it because it’s too raw. So very raw. There have been miscarriages, there have been months I was convinced it’d finally happen. And here I am, Nursery leader and baby-less. Sometimes I think I’m finally over it and moved on and then something will happen and I’m thrown right back into it, and it’ll prove how so un-over it I really am. And then I’ll spend countless days trying to figure out why I am still so stuck in the same place. I’m not the type to want pity, though; that doesn’t work for me. That’s yet another reason I don’t talk about it.

Pity is so inadequate when your sister calls you Christmas morning and tells you that your Christmas present is that she gets to hold a new baby soon. And that it’s due on your birthday.  Or all of the times your sister calls to brag about her expanding abdomen. Or the incredible loss and shame when that same sister calls and tells you that the baby you’ve been dreading isn’t going to live in this world and knowing that even though you struggled with your feelings, you never wanted that. Or holding your sister’s hand while she buries the baby she rubbed in your face. And then there’s all of the times she needs your shoulder to cry on because she doesn’t have a baby to hold and you just wish you had the guts to lose it and scream at her that at least it was only one! At least she was barely trying. At least she got to see and hold and caress a body! At least, at least, at least. But you know that wont help. And that even though she is naive, she doesn’t deserve that. No one deserves that. But no one deserves the hurt I’ve had to face, either. And she needs you, and you’re the protector. So you just take it.

Pity doesn’t cover the fact that your ex has had two babies all in the time you’ve been trying.  And that both he and your ex-best-friend he’s currently married to have complained about having so many kids… Before these two were even conceived. It doesn’t help the agony of knowing that they get pregnant with oops babies they don’t even want and you’re begging for a family that isn’t coming. The first one really got to me. I at least had my head on a little better by the time they announced the second one. Wherein they told my daughter (remember, she’s 8), they didn’t even want it, and that it was a surprise.

Or all of the people advising you on how awesome babies are, in case you were needing encouragement.

Or realizing that some of the sunbeams you are watching were born during the countless months you were trying, and miscarrying, and still trying. Or the hours bawling that they’d even call you to nursery! And as the baby-quilt maker for the ward. At the same time.

People mourned with my sister. And I’m glad they did. But no one mourns with me. No one sees my grief. My best friends both know how much I want it, but both admit they can’t really understand. At least they listen. At least they are there for me, but no one else even knows. Because the pain is too real to tell anyone. Not even my mother knows. Well, she knows enough that we never talk about it and pretend the elephant in the room doesn’t exist, but otherwise, she doesn’t know.

I’ve had blessing after blessing where the Lord says he’s so grateful for my desire to be a mother. One time, the person blessing me didn’t even know my heart, started bawling through the blessing and told me that my body would heal itself and I’d be able to bear children. That was a year and a half ago.

And there’s countless conference talks about waiting patiently. President Eyering even gave one recently on having to wait for a baby. I’ve read the talk countless times, begged for everything I could think of, and I’m still here, wondering what my mission in life really is.

And then there’s my husband. At first I think he just wanted a baby because I wanted one. But now… His level of sorrow is just as intense as mine. Mostly more than mine, as now I’m mostly numb.

And I’ve got all of this added burden because sometimes, after years of heartbreak every month, I wonder if it’s all worth it. 9 years is a big gap. And I’m not used to babies any more. And I enjoy my free time. And even though women my age have babies all the time, I feel so OLD. But I feel so guilty for those thoughts creeping in; something I’ve wanted for so long and now I don’t? It’s such a complicated place to be. I don’t even really know if I don’t, but the tears currently streaming down my face could testify to the fact that most of this paragraph is a lie I’ve been telling myself to make it okay. To make two years worth of hidden battles I’ve faced somehow be okay. Even wanted.

That’s why I have no advice on being grateful for the chance to wait. Some day, I’ll change this day’s answer in the Gratitude Dare. But for now… for now this is what I’ve got.

Day 27: Negatives

Let me tell you about my night. My husband hit a deer. At midnight. I think my challenge is teaching me hard-core today. The interesting thing is, instead of getting frustrated, my thoughts sound like this:

Thank heavens that the “commuter” car needed repaired, or he would have taken it and this would have been much worse.

We just checked on our insurance. That’s interesting.

Ranger wanted new lights anyway.

I’m so glad he was in enough control to not swerve to avoid the deer. Swerving creates so many more problems. I’m grateful he had his wits about him.

We’re so lucky the airbags didn’t go off.

At least I didn’t buy the new headlights for Christmas, yet.

Any more to the front and it would have been serious damage. Any more to the side and it would have caused way more problems.

It’s nice to have good insurance.

Thank heavens deer collisions count as incidents and not accidents, so our rates wont increase.

Naturally, I’m grateful he’s up and walking around. Probably a little stiff today, and his nerves are probably on edge, and I understand that. But I’m so glad he’s not unconscious on a road somewhere.  And let’s not even get into anything worse.

OuchAt first, Ranger was pretty frustrated and “why did this have to happen,” and I can see his point of view extremely well. I’m selfishly glad it was him and not me. It’s his “baby” as far as cars go. But so much has come up the past 48 hrs that could have come up any other time, so if he was really supposed to avoid the deer, he would have.  Maybe it was to teach me about being grateful for the negatives. Who really knows. But I can say that if we were supposed to hit a deer, this was probably the best possible way to do it.

That is all finding the silver lining. That was a previous challenge. But being downright grateful for the negatives like today’s challenge is ironically in place for (Yes, I mean situationally ironic; or cosmically ironic, you choose…  Grammar Nazi still resides in my head)? It is a bit tougher but still quite doable.

dareInterestingly enough, after working on gratitude and charity all month, it’s pretty easy to be grateful for the negatives. Here’s why: When you’re more focused on gratitude, you’re willing to look past yourself. You’re willing to trust that the higher power knows what he’s doing, that there is a force stronger than yourself that has watched over every step you’ve taken and won’t set you up for a fall that you can’t rise higher from. When you’ve spent all month working on gratitude, it’s even possible to see potential outcomes. This may take care of some problem in the vehicle that we were currently unaware of, or might have saved us from some bigger woe. Who knows. I’m not far enough away from the life event to see anything in focus, but I can see that this was not just some fluke in life. There are blessings I can’t see yet.

And then there’s the other vehicle. Finding out that it needed to stay home for repairs was a pretty big bummer. But look what a blessing it is now with a little more perspective. It had a lower profile and a curvier front end. It wasn’t as highly insured. It has less-responsive breaks. The list is pretty intense.

Needless to say, instead of teaching gratitude, today, life taught me.

Day 26: Problem Solving

**Sorry this took so long. I got distracted with my map…**

dareIn my family of origin, I was the problem solver. When philosophers discuss how our strengths are also our biggest weaknesses, their discussion holds true in this personal strength. I was so good at problem solving I solved problems that weren’t mine. In recent  years, within my search for “seven,” I’ve learned to let that go; but  I still have to walk a fine line in problem solving. Sometimes I forget that I’ve still got to solve my problems myself instead of expecting them to be solved for me. I also forget that some problems aren’t mine. Interestingly enough, we just had this discussion with our daughter yesterday. We talked about how sometimes God has an answer that he wants you to find and that we need to come to him for help and guidance, because he can see more than we can. Sometimes, however, like with Mohonri Moriancumer (The Brother of Jared), Heavenly Father wants us to come to him with a solution. Today is devoted to recognizing the difference between our problems and someone else’s. It is also devoted to coming up with our own solutions.

First of all, we must weed out the problems that aren’t ours. While I was processing this concept, it got so complicated in my head, I drew a “map.” Then I showed it to my friend and she was so distracted by the boxes and the arrows, that for her I made it more complicated. Sorry if you fall into the latter category. If you do, create a nice  boring outline and work with that. ;c)


How you solve the problem depends on what the problem was. If there was one cut and dry solution to every problem, it’d sure make life easier, but since we’re here to gain experience, I can be grateful that there isn’t. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

My Long-Forgotten Thank You: Grandpa

I needed to share, today.

At first, I was going to look up an old junior high teacher [Mr. Cleaverly, if you ever find this you’re awesome. Some day I’ll thank you properly] to thank for today’s personal challenge, but yesterday something my soul has been processing for a while finally came into focus.

I was delving into my soul in order to figure out just what was nagging at the back of my mind. I learned so much about myself, but this isn’t the place. In my research, I discovered a “connections” category. Basically, the circuits in the world around us keep us connected to family, ourselves, our body, higher powers… and our angels. The source of the information discussed how “angels” is a term that is vague. It’s left for interpretation, or for whatever level of understanding you’re at. Some feel it’s guardian angels, some feel it’s loved ones that watch out for us, and often, it means something different to each individual. I take that to mean, it’s something that no one person has complete information on. It’s divine. So, I considered it for a second. And my soul just seemed to scream that I was missing something there. I can’t explain it; something happened. And as I looked into it further (it was a mere second, I swear. The information was just there), my grandpa came to my mind.

When I was a child, my grandpa was sick. I don’t remember a healthy grandpa. His life consisted of his hospital-style bed, his lift chair, a walker with tennis balls on the legs, and the occasional drive to the middle of no where. People would tell stories about how hard-working he was, how much he did, and that working was part of his core value; but to the child I was, that was all foreign. The soldier, the farmer, the provider, the man – these were grandpa in a past life. I had no concept of how much that had to eat at him, stuck to his house with everyone helping him instead of him out helping the world. To me, he was the man who always spoke in a whisper, could never pronounce my name right, and who gave me quarters until the quarters ran out; then he gave me candy. Grandma always made sure he had candy to give. When I look back with 28-year-old eyes, I see so much more. I would love to go back and re-live that time with him! As a 28-year old, I am able to see that with a mother who was ill, a grandmother that was busy, a dad that worked far from home, and siblings that I raised, Grandpa was my guardian. He watched me. He gave me everything that he had: love, quarters, candy. I think he alone saw my pain.

When I did counseling at the beginning of the year, the counselor asked me to relax and go back to a time in my past; a meditation, if you will. We walked all over my house, all over my side of the mountain, and all over my grandmother’s house [we lived near each other, in a wood… over a creek, that I counted as a [tooltip text=””over the river and through the woods…”]river[/tooltip]]. In that entire universe I’d created for myself, there were only two people. Me… and grandpa. In all of the bustle of the world, I was forgotten by everyone but him. I raised myself. I don’t blame my parents, or anyone. My mom had a lot on her plate. My dad did everything he could for us. But that is the truth. I’ve never shared it with anyone (that I didn’t pay to listen to me), because I didn’t want to hurt my family by its confession. I bawled then, too. Suddenly, though I’d felt alone my entire life, I realized that my grandpa had always been there for me. Watching me. Offering advice. I’d never accepted it. As a kid raising herself, the person that reaches out with his soul is scary. But as an adult… I bawled and bawled to learn that I was not alone. That I was never alone.

On the day we traveled for Grandpa’s funeral, when I was seventeen, the roads were icy. We had moved about 5 hours from my grandparents by then. It had been a hard year, and my dad was overseas. Mom, who hated driving but didn’t trust my driving skills yet, was taking us over a mountain pass. Suddenly, an ice patch threw us into the bank of snow that was the only barrier between us and a huge drop over the side of the mountain. I remember thinking “Really? Like this trip isn’t hard enough! Why would something like this happen!” But there was no damage to the vehicle, my mom had enough experience to mutter under her breath, take a deep sigh to calm her down, check the car, and continue on our way. Just around the corner from where we were (we’ll say 500 feet because it sounds good, though I really had no way to judge distance), There was a moose standing in the middle of the road. Moose are big and solid. They don’t give. Especially not for a little 90’s model Mazda. Had we been going the speed posted, we would have had no time to stop, would have skidded right into it, and I wouldn’t be telling this tale. People don’t just survive a moose-collision. And need I remind you that on one side is solid mountain, and on the other is sheer cliff? Later, after we’d arrived and before the viewing, mom talked to me. She told me that the ice was nothing compared to the stuff we’d driven over safely. She’d also told me that it had felt like the whole vehicle had been pushed. She also felt grandpa nearby. I’d always loved that story, and it has always stayed with me as an anecdote of miracles and angels, and survival stories. But it came to light more to me over the past 12 hours. Secretly, I’ve always felt like that story was for me. I don’t think mom told anyone else, and even though it felt shameful to think that although Grandpa would want to save the rest of his posterity, he did it all for me; I was that special.

That is important. Above all else, that speaks to me. That in a full car, Grandpa protected us to save me. And I know there would be many benefits, but somehow I feel special enough. If I were in the car by myself, and if it had been something besides a funeral, I was still important enough to save. As a girl that struggles to understand love, even love of God, that message comes screaming through. My grandfather has taught me love. Even when I didn’t know it. Even when it took 28 years for me to get the message. He is my example of my Heavenly Father. He is my example of love.

All of this flashed back to me in milliseconds, and suddenly, when I mentally fixed the broken connection in my soul, It was like plugging in a floodlight. I was so full of joy, my eyes could not contain it. Tears streamed down my face. I don’t think it was all my joy, and all my tears. I think that Grandpa was just as glad to have that connection fixed. Suddenly, he was a part of me. Like he’s wanted to be my entire life. He’s stood at my door and knocked. And knocked. And knocked. And I finally know it’s safe to open the door.

He is my guardian angel.

And I thank him.


UntitledFor her eighth birthday, we let our daughter get her ears pierced. It has been a family tradition and it makes sense. They’re old enough to take responsibility and ownership. Now that we’re in the middle of it, I think we should have waited. I’m sure I’d say that about any time I did it, but lets face it, at eight, they still need so much reminding, especially if its scary. She’s been avoiding changing her earrings because she just knows its going to hurt. The paradox I see as a much older adult is that the fear and avoidance are really what make the pain. By putting off something painful, you make it twice as painful, because you don’t clean them out as often or change them. I notice a similarity in changing earrings in newly-pierced ears and changing underclothing. It’s a MUST. Also, when this eight-year-old is afraid, she jerks and pulls away, causing much much much more pain.And I see the spiral creating even more fear for next time.

And then I think about being an adult. Is it really that different? It’s not earrings anymore. But there’s always that phone call that needs made, that goal that needs kick-started, or that progress to gain. Maybe eight is the perfect age to learn about fear and how to overcome it. How much better is it to learn fear by a pair of earrings than it is through turning in a college application or applying for a job? I guess that makes me glad we did this now. She’s getting a head start in a world full of fear.