Saturday, December 30, 2017

I'm seriously considering perfection as my goal for 2018.  "In the year 2018 I will achieve a perfect existence" is really what my mind is comprehending when my heart suggests that I give up sugar, write every day, exercise for 30 minutes 6 times a week, clean my house daily at 5:00am, worship in 4 different ways every day, and in multiple ways on multiple days.  Give up fast food meaning I cook dinner every night, pinch the budget so expertly that we save $1500 a month, have sex at least - well, more, and...  Actually, that might be all.

Those things simultaneously feel like perfection on a stick.  I've lived long enough to know that if by some miracle I'm actually able to do those things this year - you know, starting Monday - that my children will still worry me endlessly, my marriage will need lots of work, there won't ever be enough money, the dog will still poop, it will be cold and gray all winter, my job will seem like an impossibility, I will continue to age, the cars will need repairs, Trump will still be the president, public education will still be a mess, politics will still give me ulcers, and I will continue to be the slightly crazy person over there barely eeking out a decent existence.  Whatever that means.

BUT - There is really a lot to be said for controlling the things we can control.  I am interested in reducing the burdens in my life - not the stress.  I am only burdened by things over which I have power.  What I eat, how I spend money, how I spend my time, the priorities I choose, when I go to bed, what I look at, what I love.  It is an unnecessary burden to be unfaithful to the things I love.  I am grateful for my body and for my health - I can be faithful by eating smarter and moving more.  I love writing and I love the exercise it gives my mind - I can be faithful by carving out time for it more often.  I believe that for some reason I am really effected emotionally by how lovely my physical space is.  I don't need a mansion or a game room or a fancy dining room, but I really benefit from a clean toilet, a floor that's mopped, clean cupboards and organized storage.  I am able to be more creative, more spontaneous and more cheerful when my house is clean.  I can be faithful by more consistently keeping a clean living space. I love God.  I can be faithful by building my relationship with Him daily, weekly and in different places of worship.  I love my family.  We need the kind of spending money that increases our wealth instead of our waistlines.  I want to develop the kind of fiscal discipline that I can teach to my adult children before they are burdened with financial habits that will essentially make them slaves.  I love Rich and I love my marriage, and more sex is always a good idea.

So I think I'll start with this.  It's hard to say that I'm going to take anything off the list in order to be more successful in one or two areas.  Maybe if I can see them as intertwined, it will be like having one big goal instead of 8 big goals.
Having a clean house will help me garner the emotional will power to stay out of the kitchen when it's not meal time.  It will allow me to feel comfortable in the living room and the office in order to do some sunshine yoga and lift some weights.  It will give me a kitchen that invites me in to cook at the end of a long day.  Writing about my efforts will infuse some comedy and realism into the journey.  I'll be able to look back and see trends.  It will help me expel some emotional weight without eating my feelings.  Walking will also help me expel that emotional excess - and it will keep my dog at bay so that she won't destroy my house. The clean house invites me to sit at the table and study scriptures, drop to my knees at the couch and pray, and if I can do it wisely throughout the week, I'll have saved up a chunk of time at the end of the week to visit the house on the hill. Staying close to God will help me forgive myself when I'm a mess and give me the peace of mind and clarity of thought to spend my efforts wisely.  That clean house also means a clean office where I can keep working on the finances, and the more finances available, the nicer we can make the house, and the more often we'll want to be here to cook and not eat out and spend time here instead of spending money out there.  It's so cyclical. So maybe it comes to this - I have some goals about my body and my pocketbook.  In order to achieve those goals, I've got to get a clean house, get close to God and stay emotionally viable.  That involves some other stuff - but they are all related to weight loss and saving money.  Doable? Guh.

Let's talk about sugar.  I've been thinking about writing a memoir called "2018: A year without the sweet stuff".  Or "My 45th year off the sweet stuff." But I can't write the memoir without having the experience.  ha!
I have consistently made goals to not have any sugar for a day, for a week, for 21 days, until I lose 10 pounds, etc...  But predictably I fail within the first few hours and then say to myself - it starts tomorrow, it starts Monday, it starts next month, or whatever.  But if I decide that I'm going to go a year without sugar and I buckle on Jan 3rd, then I really will have to wait a long time to start a year over again.  So will that help me maintain my goal?  I've been alive long enough to know that a year isn't that long.  And from what others have said about going off sugar it will be January that is the trick, not November.  I feel like I have to have some rules about it.  So many people say that you have to give yourself some days off.  But I feel like that may not work for me.  I would just adjust the days off.  One day off?  No, because February is an even month, we get two days off...  etc.  And it would be a mess.  And other people have said that they took birthdays off and that kind of thing and on those days the sugar just made them sick - so...  why do I need the day off?  And isn't it kind of fun to think of sugar-free ways to celebrate life?  BUT - I do think I'll cut myself some slack by having certain kinds of sweeteners - like Life cereal is ok but coco puffs are not.   No hot chocolate, but I'm ok with sugar-free steamers.  I'm going to fuel my life with Coke Zero.  Fruit in any amount is ok, but no fruit juice - unless I do the juicing here.  Jam on a PB sandwich is ok, but not on toast.  (That one is kind of weird) Oh!  Very important - no white flour products, or potatoes.  So no french fries or potato chips, but I'm going to allow sweet potato fries and tortilla chips.  No white bread, but I'm ok with wheat bread.  No flour tortillas - but corn is fine.  No white rice, but brown is ok.  No white pasta, but whole grain is good. So I'm not making any exception days, but I'm going to allow sweet things like fruit, diet soda and sugar free stuff - and I'm allowing whole grains without a limit really.
And I think I need to approach this like a "study" and write about it every day.  As if I'm in the lab and I'm putting myself through an experiment rather than trying to achieve weight loss or something. Although let's be honest, if I don't lose weight I'll be sad.   I read today that 150 minutes of moving a week - that's 30 minutes 5 times a week, drinking lots of water (which I think will happen naturally as I try to soothe my cravings) and cutting out processed foods can add up to losing 1-2 pounds a week.
The budget restrictions and no starches rule will help me cook every night. La la la... We'll see.
Today is Perfection Day -2.  It's new year's eve eve.  I'm gearing up mentally.  And I still have it deep in my psyche that the more sugar I eat today, the less I'll need on Monday.  ha!  Can you spell binge?
Alright... onward.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I'm bored. My phone is smart. I am smarter.

I foster a kind of faith where I believe that something in the universe wants to talk to me all the time.  I believe truth is coursing through the space-time continuum galaxy spherical dimensional 5D existence we are in and if we resonate with it in some way, it can't help but be revealed to our infinite minds and souls.  I really believe this.  So what does it take to tune in? I heard or read or came across something the other day - truly can't remember where - that suggested that our creativity is oppressed by our smart phones.  Could it be the moments of sheer genius happen immediately following boredom?  Could it be that inspiration about our children's souls comes in moments when we are staring mindlessly at a stoplight, or at the tile in the floor in the bathroom at said restaurant?  What about the pure truth we could encounter if we were tuning instead of scrolling?  I tried this a little bit over the last few days - since I brainlessly came across the suggestion.

It's a thing.

Maybe it isn't my Facebook account that's the problem, but my go to approach to it every time I'm in the same county as my phone.  Maybe in order to be more mindful, I have to be more mindless.  More boredom could be the solution to more resonating truth.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I'm a witness.

"Everybody is original if he tells the truth. – about who he really is, and not who he thinks he should be." - Ueland, If You Want To Write

What a tricky concept.  I am battling all the time with who I am and who I want to be. Wait no - the sentence says "who I should be".  What is the difference between want and should?  Its' true that the should definitely fills in bits of the want. Where does should come from?  Desire, hope, expectation, relationships, comparisons, wishing, obligation, duty.  Should is what comes around when I want something in the future that I don't want to work for today.  So I should.  Should comes around when I know someone else's experience will be effected by my efforts, and I care about them - obviously, so I have to kick in should in order to beat selfishness.   Ok - so should may not be as cheerful as want - but it probably maintains the overall health of humanity.  I should go to work.  I should pay my bills.  I should make dinner for the children.

But in matters of truth - in matters of telling the truth - I think should is based on what we've seen or heard from someone else.  We see the success of others and are drawn into the same paths.  It makes sense I suppose, but it's not necessary - especially if you aren't interested in acclaim or money or well-knownness.  Not everyone's originality is going to sell books, make blockbusters or be a social hit. And yet, we want to tell a story that is interesting that is worth the telling.  Cause we want to live a life that's worth living.

We want to make a difference.  Isn't that something?  We want the world to be different because we were here.  I wonder why.  Does it need to be different?  Do we assume that things are out of order enough that we should change the world?  Maybe it's a misguided innate desire in us to want to change ourselves.  Maybe we don't need to change the world - we need to change ourselves.  It probably seems easier to change the world than to change ourselves. Isn't that something?

I'm original if I say who I am, all the pretty and unlovely parts, with all the honesty and the tragic sections, and then illustrate from that starting point, my changing.  I become a witness.  I'm a quiet, glorious, powerful, unique witness.  A witness of perhaps the most human beauty, change.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Dear David,

Thank you for making me a mom.  I love being your mom!  I love your snuggles and sweet goodnight kisses.  I love watching you play soccer and I hearing you play the violin.  I love driving with you in the car and singing along to the music.  I love that you want to be with me and that you are so great to help around the house - doing the lawn and anything else I ask for your help with.    You are an incredible and loyal friend.  I am inspired by your love for Zach and for anyone else who needs a hand - like Dalynne and Gayle and family support and grandma and teachers at your school.  You take such good care of Douglas and Jessie and Corinne.  You know when they need your affection and especially when your sisters need a gentle reminder that everything is going to be ok.  You have made a significant impact on our family since the day you arrived.  I am a different person because I've had the privilege of being your mother.  Oh, how I love you.  Thank you for being mine.  xoxox

Dearest Skibob,

Thank you for making me a mom.  I love being YOUR mom!  :)  I love cheering for you while you are in your 12th hour of homework, I love that you want to go to seminary, I love singing with you and cleaning with you.  I love that you love Jessica so well.  I love watching you be sisters together.  I love that you love a clean house and a clean room and that you pitch in so readily to help the family.  I love watching you keep a goal on the football pitch and hearing you play the flute.  I love seeing you giggle at a text and laugh with your cousins.  I love your squinty nose when you are perplexed or annoyed and I love your determination to be happy. 
You came on to the scene with a willful peace and innate joy 17 years ago.  I know you don't always feel that on the surface, but it's part of who you were before you came here and I'm so grateful that Heaven said you could be ours.  Thanks for coming to play with us and laugh with us and to teach me joy in all things.  Your tears teach us that too.  You aren't afraid to feel. And there is opposition in all things - which means with all the joy, you are willing to feel the sorrow too.  The joy is worth it and you know it.  Oh, how blessed I am to hear you call me your mama.   xoxoxo
I love you,

Dear Jessica,

Thanks for making me a mom!  I love it!  I love watching you negotiate life and live with so much determination for good and the pursuit of real wisdom.  I love that you thirst for knowledge and experience - especially within the gospel.  I love that you want those around you to be happy, to feel needed and capable and know that they belong.  I admire both your empathy and your sympathy.  :)  You have powerful gifts with which Heaven is blessing us all.  I love hearing you sing and play the guitar.  In my moments of temporary insanity, please don't let me convince you otherwise.  I love your gorgeously messy room and the fact that it means you can live peacefully in the chaos, that it means you'd rather be with us than hidden away.  I love that you love movies and stories about other people - and that you are feeding the empathy in you.  You have a deep need to know the stories on the planet.  I love hearing you sing at the top of your lungs, I love watching you dance across a stage, I love sitting with you at soccer games and driving with you in the car.  I love cleaning the garage with you and shopping with you and making a meal with you. I love that you came here 19 years ago with a will to LIVE in every moment, to not miss a beat, to see and feel it all.  You love us so well. You are already so willing to forgive me for my humanity.  Thank you for the gift of constant forgiveness.  Thanks for being a better example of what a mom is to me than I could ever be to you.  xoxoox

I love you,

Dear Douglas,

Happy Mother's Day!  Thank you for making me a mom!  You were the first, and always will be.  There is something magical about that.  I wonder if the four of you stood in a heavenly circle and did rock-paper-scissors to see who would have to sojourn with us first. You either won or lost.  ha!  From the first day there have been things that have remained the same...  I have loved watching you take in the world.  I love hearing you sing.  I love your passion and excitement for getting on the thrill rides of life.  You want to play and to do it all, to not miss a moment or an opportunity.  I love that you want to be where the action is - with the adults or the big kids or the heavy hitters or the super stars.   You know what people are feeling and you minister to them in kind.  I love watching you with your siblings, with your dad, with your cousins, with your friends.  You are wise and you make me wonder at the beauty of the world and the plan God has to teach us love.   Thank you for teaching me patience, grace, hope, faith and joy.  I wish I was a faster learner - I must also thank you for your forgiveness and understanding.  You are wise beyond your years and you are already willing to forgive this mother of yours for also being a girl, a silly, flighty, irresponsible, emotional and selfish GIRL.  Thank you for coming to save me from my childish ways.  :)


Friday, April 3, 2015

The Rhythm of Consolation

As I think about what to write, it's interesting that in order to stay away from the details of my emotions and personal particulars, I default to offering a commentary about the weather.  What a cliche, right?  It plays out in social collections over and over, in every culture, in every class, in every imagined conglomerate.  And even here where my faceless listeners are generations away, in order to say something about how I feel without revealing the unlovely details of my psyche - I use the weather as an allegory, a symbol, a prop. It works I guess.
Spring is change, it's fickle.  Spring is new and predictable.  The mornings are cold and the afternoons are cheerfully sleepy.  The evenings bring fresh breezes and windy promise.  Spring ages quickly as she learns the colors of hot summer and her gentle green moves daily to fixed brown.  Delicate blossoms drop every minute and their exposed, verdant leaves promise vivid Autumn.
With this constant change before my eyes, I can still dare to be impatient, to speed the moments along.  What is this thanklessness?  This non-recognition?
This morning I pray for a gentle heart, for fresh eyes, for a verdant spirit - unafraid of the change that is born in every morning - completely conscious of the age, the heat, the anchored, the vivid colors that will define the day at close.
Spring comes again.
Morning rises.
The rhythm is consolation.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

San Diego Time



                      All the right plants, smells, sand, sun and people.  I heart California.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Something's Comin...

Could be...
Who knows...
It's only just out of reach
Down the block, on a beach
Under a tree
I got a feeling there's a miracle due
Could it be?
Yes it could
Something's coming
Something good.....
If I can wait

But wait - no more wait.  Want it to be now.  Or at least nowish.  Nowish in the sense that I get to choose?

Poor Tony.  Do you think that song is about the love affair or his impending doom?  I choose Love Affair.  Cause after that, there's nothing else worth living for anyway right?  Once you've loved... you're golden.

But yeah - I want something to come...

I know I gotta do something to get something.  But I hope that the gotta do comes because of the feeling like it.  So it's the feeling like it that I feel is the "could it be? yes it could!"

The stars are aligning.  Seven months of saying no, four children home safe and sound, family landmarks around the corner....

Could be... who knows....

April is 5 days away.