Friday, June 29, 2007

In terrorem

(~in warning)

Here's how God reminds you that you shouldn't be gambling, and that your sins are never private:

We are poor. My husband, bless his heart, is an excellent poker player. He loves the game and it's one of his many criminal talents. Last October, his best friend flew in to Las Vegas from Hawaii for a work convention, so Adam and a bunch of his friends met up with him at Paris Casino for a "Guy's Weekend". We were poor then too, and the temptation was just too great. He called me on the phone and said he was just going to enter this one poker tournament and just play for fun. It only cost $25. Like I could stop him, although believe me, I tried. Well, he won third place. So, he played the next tournament and won second place. Third time's a charm...first place. Nice bankroll. I didn't know whether to be embarrassed or secretly grateful that he was coming home from Vegas with money to pay the utility bills, and the car payment, and buy food. After that tournament, he quit playing, and hasn't played since. Just had to get it out of his system, he said.

Tax time comes around. We sheepishly told our very respectable LDS accountant that Adam had won some money at a casino. Embarrassing. No, we can't find the W-2G. Well, this held up everything. Can't file without the tax ID number. We file an extension. We play email tag back and forth for several months. Finally today we are able to find the right person at Paris Casino who can help us get an alternate w-2G, and she was able to fax it over to our other respectable LDS friends who have a fax machine (where's an atheist with a fax machine when you need one???) and now we can pick it up, scan it in, email it over to our accountant, and hopefully get the darned refund. Oh yeah, and then his wife goes and posts about it on her blog. Whoops. Yep, that ought to teach him!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dira necessitas

(~Grim necessity)
I have been ruined by my parents, who fought for the rights of unborn babies, animals, and rainforests. Now I am dreading a task that is quickly approaching: thinning the seedlings. Is it me, or is that just like selective abortion? Here these little guys burst through the ground all enthusiastic to grow and bloom and be oohed and ahhed at, and I'm about to say, "No, there's not enough nutrients or space for you. Let's give the others a better chance. You'll have to go." And then they are ripped from the womb of Mother Earth. Forever denied the chance to fulfill the measure of their creation. They will shrivel up in a pitiful pile off to the side of their botanical siblings. This is just awful.

Even worse, I know it's coming, but they don't. They have to grow just a bit bigger before I end their little lives. Every day I trick them into thinking that they've germinated in just the right spot, as I shower them with fresh water and positive affirmation. Little do they know. I am actually feeling guilt over this. How do I possibly choose? Just yank out the weak looking ones? Weren't some of the greatest minds of all time weak as children, of frail and delicate composition? How can I judge these little wildflowers in their infancy? Will I be held accountable for this later on, this casual selection of life, albeit plant life? Oh, my. What has become of me?

Facta, non verba

(~Deeds, not words)

Why is it that I know what is good for me, what will help me, and even how exuberant I feel when I do it, and I still don't do it? I have a fairly detailed picture of what is ideal for me, to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and yet I float somewhere over there in creative avoidance. I have no problem moving heaven and earth for the well-being of my children, or really pretty much anyone else. I would pay lip service to my own worth, but my actions do not back it up. I have a feeling this needs to change.

I feel connected when I take time for my own spiritual renewal each day through study, prayer, and journaling.

I feel alive when I attend to my own health through proper eating, yoga, and walking.

I feel purposeful when I am working towards my personal goals in music and writing.

I feel assured when my home and homeschool are in order.

These are feelings that I am craving right now. Maybe it's the time away from my children, away from the diverting selflessness of motherhood, that shines a glaring light on my own deficiencies. All I know is, it is so much easier to sacrifice for other people than it is to put myself as a priority, even though I know that it makes me better able to serve. So, today I will honor my needs by giving myself a dose of spiritual, physical, and emotional vitamins!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Dabit Deus his quoque finem

(~To these things too God will grant an end)

This is the hardest time of the year for me. My three oldest children leave each summer to spend six long weeks with their father in another state. Yesterday was Send Off Day. What a heart-breaker.
On a positive note, I made sure to really soak up each moment with them in the weeks leading up to their departure. I had Mother/Son dates with each of my boys, and my daughter and I planned a birthday bash to celebrate her 13th birthday, which will actually occur while she's with her dad. Over the last few weeks, especially, we had long talks, played games, studied scriptures, hugged and kissed, and had some tears. All dental work is now completed, doctor visits are done, the kids each had play dates and end-of-school activities, and Dylan was presented with his Faith in God award yesterday in church. We had meaningful family time and I held each one for a long hug yesterday to memorize the feel of their bodies and their unique smell. I wanted to imprint them even more vividly upon my heart. I gave them each specific "mom" advice, that included "don't do anything you'll regret later", "don't just brush, but floss", and "say your prayers". Since I don't feel entirely comfortable with the environment that they will be in over the summer, this last piece of advice is so important.

They pulled out of the driveway at 6pm last night. I had tears as I watched the car drive away. Being divorced really sucks. Why exactly is it that because he decided to run off with someone, I now have to miss 25% of my children's lives??? It is a killer. Fortunately, they are great kids. We are all resilient, and doing the best we can. I have great faith that my words and my love will echo in their minds while they are away, and they will be protected. But, I miss them. The house is quiet, and clean. Their beds didn't get slept in last night, and I only had to make breakfast for two. Now, I will throw myself into projects to pass the time, and make use of the time. Here are some ideas:
1. Work in the yard/garden
2. Start work on Adam's surprise scrapbook for Christmas
3. Start work on Mommy and Me quilts for kids for Christmas
4. Make plans and field trip schedules for next homeschooling year
5. Finish several books. (I know which ones)
6. Write something. (I know what)
7. Work on new invention/product that Lyndsay and I came up with.
8. Sell a bunch of stuff on Ebay
9. Clean carport.
10. Be good to me.

I always have very lofty goals. We'll see how we end up, realizing that my biggest baby-helper is now gone. It could be that I simply spend the summer holding the baby, nursing the baby, reading to the baby, feeding the baby, rocking the baby, putting all the books back on the shelf for the umpteenth time, keeping the baby from crawling up the stairs, getting the baby out of the cupboards.... And that will be okay too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007



I had the fantastic opportunity a few weeks ago to attend a special conference in Riverside, CA, called Time Out for Women. I was able to go as the personal guest of my friend and one of my very favorite singers and songwriters, who was a performer at the conference, Hilary Weeks. I LOVE that woman! What an impact she has made on my life, especially during some very dark times. To think that I admired her music for so long and that now I know her personally is such a gift and witness to me that I am known above. My dear friend, Amber, accompanied me and we both drank up some much needed spiritual and emotional refreshment.

Jane Clayson Johnson, well-known for her years co-hosting the Early Show on CBS, was one of the speakers, and Amber and I had the privilege of getting to spend some time with her during lunch. Jane has recently written a book, I Am a Mother, in which she describes her round-about path to motherhood and her decision to leave a lucrative contract on network television to raise a family. She was very inspiring as she added her endorsement to the divinity and nobility of motherhood. Her book is quite engaging. It's an easy, comfortable, entertaining read, and a lovely glimpse into the heart of an equally lovely woman. I would recommend it.

There were other speakers who all shared messages centering around a theme of living a higher life, finding the mission of our individual journeys here on earth, and letting our lights shine as we do. It was a much needed respite for me, and a great catch-up for Amber and I, as we now live in different states. No matter how much time goes by, the company of an old friend is as comfortable as a favorite pair of jeans. I think we both loved, laughed, and cried enough to get us through till the next time we are able to sneak some girlfriend time.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Verum dicere

(~to speak the truth)
During a Latin lesson in homeschooling today:

Me: You need to use the perfect stem by finding the third principle part of the verb, and then you'll add the third person plural ending because the subject is plural. You need to fix that direct object by putting it in accusative plural, not singular because troop is always a group of people, not one person. And then remember that mare is a third declension i-stem, so fix that genitive ending.

Poor Lyndsay: Mom, sometimes all I hear you say is "blah, blah, blah".

(Both of us break into peals of belly laughs.)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Dum Spiro, Spero!

(~while I breathe, I hope!)

I've been gone for a while. A combination of stressful life events, extreme fatigue, and blogger's block. During my absence, I've faithfully kept up on all of YOUR blogs, and have wondered what in the world to write about, since most of what is going on in my life I simply can't write about. Also, during my absence, I've been reading, and dreaming the most excellent dreams while I sleep. My dreams have become true cinematic escapes for me each night, taking me away from this sinking ship that is my life right at this moment.

Speaking of "sinking ships", I just finished reading Life of Pi, and whoa. Very cool book. But somewhere amidst poor Pi's suffering castaway journey at sea, with his companion Bengal tiger sharing the lifeboat with him, I had this weird synchronistic thought. In my whole life, I don't know that I remember reading another book about a sinking ship and a castaway boy stuck at sea with a huge wild animal....oh, yeah, except three months ago when I read Modoc, by Ralph Helfer, in which he recounts the true story of a ship full of circus animals that sinks and a boy going to India and his elephant are the lone survivors. So, then I read Life of Pi and follow the tale of a ship full of zoo animals sinking and a boy coming from India trying to survive at sea with this tiger. Both of these books came into my life through recommendations of two good friends. Does anyone else think this is a little weird, in a cosmic way or something? Oh, and then last week Castaway was on TV, so that makes three.

Well, I may be sinking/sunk/floating aimlessly under the scorching sun with wild animals breathing down my neck, but I'm going to take the cosmic message of rescue and run with it. Maybe the message is that as bad as it seems, as hopeless as circumstances become, there will be a rescue. Pi waited 227 days for his rescue. I'm quite sure I've outdone him ages ago, but I'm hanging on till the bitter end!