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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

Scout Camp 2013: drop off and pick up

If you haven't heard, my son is a Boy Scout...

Dropping him off to scout camp was a little bit out of the ordinary this year. The troop planned a 50-mile afloat goal on a river, which entails needing rides to a drop off point and rides back home from the destination. So, I signed up to haul boys and leaders to the drop off. I use the term drop off purposefully in order to call to your mind when Marlin takes Nemo to his first day of school. Marlin is panicked and over thinking things; he's pretty much making a nuisance out of himself. I used this same analogy at the time in my mind to keep me from becoming the helicopter mom I never wanted to be. Ever.

In spite of myself, I kept reminding him to apply more sunscreen, wear his hat, drink water, hydrate! hydrate! hydrate!, you don't want to get heat stroke, do you?, and I would breathe and hold my tongue in between these episodes. Oh yeah, and I'd fill in the periods of non-harping, while watching him get his gear ready for launching into the river, with, "Man, it's getting really hot outside," and "Dude, I can't believe how hot it is already and it's barely 9 a.m.," and "I am so hot."

It wasn't all weird, I promise. I also told him how proud I was of him and that I love him. I made sure to buy him a little treat and some Gatorade at the last civilized stop before handing him over to the river.

To tell you the truth, when I was standing there in sight of this large river, seeing how capable my boy had become, all I could think about is how he won't be a boy for much longer. And it took my breath away. I am not a weepy person, but the feelings were so strong that I had to fill the space with talking or I might cause a scene.

Then, the scoutmaster thanked the drivers for helping them get to their destination and let us know we were free to leave. I walked over to my son and told him to give me a hug goodbye and that I didn't care if it embarrassed him; he was leaving for a week on a river. He surprised me by saying he wasn't embarrassed and gave me a hug back.

I drove away, and within thirty minutes, I missed that boy so much that I cried.

The week went by quickly. We missed him at home, but made sure to fill our days with lots of fun things like going to the drive-in, the youngest running a sidewalk shop, preparing nice dinners together, and other good times. In all the fun, it just wasn't the same without him there though. I always felt like someone was missing--because someone was.

And today, he came home. I got the call that the scouts were hitting town while out shopping with the other children, and so we wrapped things up and hot-tailed it back to the neighborhood to pick up our river warrior.

I got there quickly. People were unloading endless amounts of gear, so much so that I couldn't see where my scout was in the whole mess. As I went to park my vehicle, one of the leaders walked up to the side and he told me how respectful and good my son had behaved while on the camp. This was music to my ears. Then, I got out of my car and my son came walking over to me so grown up. How does a boy grow up so much in six days? It is astonishing. He started putting his gear into trunk area, and then another leader came over and expressed how well my son conducted himself and how capable he handled the rowing and other physical hardships they faced out on the river. I felt so proud of him. We continued to pack the rest of his stuff in a hum drum, everyday sort of way, but then he stopped and turned to me, and grabbed me in an emotional hug. As we stood there for several minutes, I felt his tears falling onto my shoulder and his arms wrapped around me, begging for the comfort of his mother; and in those minutes, I felt all the love my mother ever had for me well up inside of me, strengthening me so I could help him know how much love I have for him; I felt more aware of my role as a mother in those moments than I ever have to this point when I told him that we missed him and love him and how proud I am of him. I did not expect for him to get emotional. Things have been so difficult with the divorce (aka the emotional taffy pull), so I thought he would be so glad to get away. Not to say that he wasn't glad to get away because we all like to mix things up, but I thought that was all there was to it. But I was wrong, so very happily wrong.

I prayed every night and morning that my son would come back stronger, and I know my prayers were answered.

Before we were able to pull out of the parking lot, can you guess what happened? Yep, the scoutmaster came up to the car, poked his head inside, and told me how responsible and capable my son was out on the river and that I should be very proud of him. I replied that I most definitely am proud of him. Talk about a "proud mom moment". It's one for the record books.

Lastly, I want to express my gratitude for all the awesome leaders who have taught my son to be so capable out in nature, on a river, with no help from his parents. My heart is full.

Here is the bit of verse I wrote on Instagram to accompany the above photo, in honor of this year's scout camp:

Camelbaks and knapsacks and trashed-packed backpacks, 
that's what my little boy is made of.

Related links:

Scout Camp 2011: everlasting hopefulness

Scout Camp 2012: boy turns man 

I Dream of Genie: Part Four

We enjoyed many good times from that first late night talk to the first guitar thank you kiss to being introduced to best friends and invited into a new circle of more adult-like individuals to becoming so much in love that I felt afraid of what we shared.

And that was when it started to fall apart for me, which brings me to why I wanted to tell you about my darling Genie in the first place.

I shattered my own romantic fantasy by breaking up with him by getting back together with the love/hate relationship, best friend of his younger brother guy—twice. I was a pathetic mess because I loved my no longer a crush, genie boyfriend, but I felt tied to my long-time, unhealthy relationship boyfriend for reasons we won't go into.

Confusion reigned supreme. I didn't know how to handle it at all; therefore, I pretended like it didn't happen by picking up where I left off with the old boyfriend who felt safe despite our damaging, unhealthy relationship issues.

I know I shouldn't feel guilty over rejecting a boyfriend after so many years have gone by, but I do. I was so immature, self-absorbed, ignorant, and without a compass. My adult self is disgusted by the thought of such grotesque lack of care for someone's feelings as well as the lack of self respect I employed, but the past is the past, and it can't be redone. I guess I just really wanted to make sure the story got told in a more permanent way in order to immortalize the grand kindness I was shown.

On the other hand, I also wanted to make sure everyone knows that while I am a romantic, I have also been capable of destroying love and trust for which I am deeply ashamed. How I treated him is one of my big regrets in life. So, I will end this tale with an apology in the hope that somehow, someday he might find this story and read it:

Dear Bryan,

I could say a million things—I've even written them out then erased them—but I won't waste any more of your time with romanticized nonsense. 

I really want you to know how very sorry I am for how I disregarded you as a person when we were together. I hope you might be able to forgive me. 

Also, thank you for your kind and loving ways you showed me so generously. You taught me about things that still help me in life to this day.

Warm regards,

Anne of Green Gables and me

"But if you call me Anne,
please call me Anne with an 'e'." 
Anne of Green Gables
I saw the Anne of Green Gables movies first and fell in love instantly; I fell in love with Anne's silly romanticism and finicky ways; I fell in love with everything about Gilbert Blythe; but most of all, I fell in love with the idea that somehow everything turns out as it should in the end. The books by L.M. Montgomery didn't find their way into my hands until around ten years ago, but I promise that I relished the entire series' contents in record time to make up for the severe mistake of not reading them sooner. And they are divine. I never had been brought so much into a series that I wished so hard a character were real so I could meet them.

Today, I watched the Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea movies with my children. Halfway through the day, it just seemed like an Anne sort of day, so we stopped everything after borrowing the movies from a neighbor and just enjoyed the show until they were done.

I am super emotional now. It was probably to be expected, but I didn't expect it. The music, humor, and portrayal of so much beauty impressed upon my heart the intended gladness, but I was also left with a melancholy heart. It is difficult to watch happy endings some days. I knew this happy ending would come, yet it had been so long that I forgot some of the beautifully challenging situations that get sorted out by the end of it all. Remembrance of all the loves I've ever known ending pushed me to ponder on the big question: Will I ever find someone who will love me forever and not stop?
"I'm just tired of everything…even of the echoes. There is nothing in my life but echoes…echoes of lost hopes and dreams and joys. They're beautiful and mocking." Anne of Avonlea

Please don't misunderstand. I know it's just stories, but I'd forgotten about the realism which abides in Anne's tale. Anne and Gilbert are not "love at first sight" love birds--even quite the opposite for a long while. They become bosom friends eventually, but quarrel to the brink of severing ties on many occasions. Anne entertains a false sense of romanticism, while Gilbert shows what love really looks like, and then she finally connects it all together and realizes love's face in him. Silliness, unrealistic situations, and movie sentimentality are present, yes, but the magic within the story lies in our ability to connect with the realistic parts, or, better yet, the parts which are most like the best versions of our reality. And I keenly felt how much of the reality of it is missing for me. I have an even more complicated past that I wish wasn't there to face when occasion insists.

"I have a dream...I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of a home with a hearth-fire in it...the footsteps of friends -- and YOU!" Anne of the Island
This is all really a fancy looking tantrum or pity party. I'm writing because I can't see how, who, or when I will ever find a bosom friend who will love and accept me for my regular, everyday, imperfect self. I no longer identify with Anne. And that is sad to me. I grew up identifying with her outlook on life, but can no longer imagine myself in her shoes, in any aspect.

"That's the worst…or the best…of real life, Anne. It won't let you be miserable. It keeps on trying to make you comfortable…and succeeding…even when you're determined to be unhappy and romantic." Anne of Avonlea

what you look like to me

What would it be like to have someone who takes time out of their busy day to ask about how I am faring
And really want to know
What kind of world would it be if I had even one person in my life who could see and give what I need
Without out any strings
How would it be to have one who understands, or at least attempts to comprehend, the many layers of complicated me
And loves me for it
How would it feel to know there will always be someone waiting in the wings encouraging me to succeed
Without the slightest lapse

It looks like a friend calling in the middle of the night
because they know I often can't sleep
It looks like a friend sharing and caring with all that they are
because they are assured I give all in return
It looks like every day, every time I turn this way or that
because I am surrounded
It looks like you, my friends, who continually give my dreams flight
because you are so good


the best half birthday of all time


I never realized how adventurous my mom was until the day she took me to get my driver's permit.

It was on my half-birthday, so heading to the DMV made it awesome. My mom didn't even make me wait one day! Something memorable about my mom is how she made my birthdays special, and this year she made my half birthday special, too.

After I passed the written exam, we waited and waited in the line to take my photo for my permit. It felt like an eternity, but I thought it was because I was excited. No. I learned in the ensuing years to dread the brain-deadening waits at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

So anyways. We finally got my picture taken and start walking out to the car where I begin to go around to the passenger side of the car as usual. Mom says to me that it's my turn to drive. I looked at her as if she were nuts. I told her that I had no idea how to drive, and she said that now was the time. So I was pushed into driving with a permit still warm in my hand. I thought I might die, but my mother kept reassuring me that we wouldn't if I'd just pay attention and go slow.

I will never forget how I killed the car when I stopped at the first red light nor how slowly I crawled through that first green light. I think I barely made it through the intersection before the light turned red again because I kept popping the clutch and putting it into the fourth not second or first instead of third gears.  And she never yelled at me the whole way home.

It might seem like a trivial situation, but I needed to know my mom had confidence in me, and there was nothing like having me drive us home during rush hour to prove it to me. Because of her trust in me, I knew I could do it. Later on in life, I'd come to fully realize how much confidence she had in me despite my failures, and she was always there cheering me on, helping me get back on my feet.

Seeking to Become: June 2013

I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

The Acts 20:35

This simple verse reminds me how Christ's apostles lead us by example in following the Savior.  Paul stands not as a hypocrite, but as a repentant soul who strives to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. He calls to our remembrance that we ought to be seeking out the needy--of spirit and body--and work to help and bless them so we might have the blessings we stand in need of as we give to others.

I am reminded of my weakness right now as I ponder on this verse. I am humbled greatly by the overwhelming amount of support I receive on a daily basis through many means. The knowledge that these supports in my life do not feel as if they are labouring is firm in my mind. Kindnesses come natural for my friends, family, and acquaintances. Somehow somebody, at any given time, seems to know what would help me, and they seize the moment. I hope that I am part of this miracle for others despite my challenges at this time.

If we want to become more like Christ, we must learn to become givers. He wants us to follow his example of giving to all those around us who are weak. I know I can do better in this area, so this month let us focus on "laboring...to support the weak" that we might find Him in the process of serving others.

I Dream of Genie: Part Three

When I got home from that magical evening, I did what any young adult who lives at home would do. I raided the fridge, went to my bedroom, locked my door, turned on some music, journaled all about how this amazingly gorgeous in so many ways guy and I talked for hours, then laid awake thinking, wishing, and imagining how life might actually be different in a better way than ever before.

I was lying there awake for way too long, so when I finally crawled out of bed the next day, it was late. I'm thinking around noon time. And let me tell you—my head was hurting so badly. I talked and talked the night before without any thought of drinking anything, and I believe it was summertime. If my love/hate relationship guy and I had only broken up a couple times, I would better remember the season. Alas, it just isn't so. I do recall waking up hot and sweaty. Maybe that's proof enough that it was summer? Well, except we're talking about Las Vegas, so it could have been spring, summer, or fall . . . or maybe a warm winter's day (just kidding).

Back to the point. I woke up with a headache, equaling bad mood, nearly cancelling out the blissful evening I fell asleep to which caused the sweetest of dreams. In this state of aching head and sleepy eyes, I opened my door . . .

I forgot to tell you! My bedroom was a sort of apartment on the back of the house, providing me with my own front door. The only bad thing about this "apartment" was how it didn't have a bathroom or kitchen which forced me to go inside the house every once in awhile. I think my parents planned it that way on purpose. They knew they'd never see me again if I had plumbing out there.

. . . I opened my door and nearly tripped over something. My eyes were still not quite awake, but this event jolted my senses from head to toe. I sat there stunned for a minute with questions whirring through my now very much awake brain: Why was there a guitar by my door? Who could have put it there? How does this seem possible? Could it have been him? Was last night for real or what? Just as my thoughts began to iron out, I realized there was a note weaved between the guitar strings. It was a drawing of a genie with the words "Your wish is my command" scrawled on it.

Can we all just stop for a moment of ever loving silence for that?

Needless to say, I squealed out loud like a freak, read the note again, looked at the guitar, and recalled our conversation the night before. That smile from the previous night spread across my face until it was beaming out my eyes. I threw clothes on, freshened up my face and hair, and drove to his house to say thank you with words—at first—then with kisses. Amazing first kisses that I will never forget because it was all such a dream. My crush from when I was a sophomore in high school was actually, in real life, holding my face in his hands and kissing me.

...to be continued next week.

significantly random


How do I decide which world event has been the most significant? I have not lived during one of the two world wars, but I have participated in nuclear bomb drills where somehow a desk will save you and lived to see the Cold War end; on a television half a world away, I watched the Berlin Wall come toppling over and people cry sweet freedom's song while grabbing up a piece of it to remember why it needed to come down. I remember Desert Storm as the beginning of a never-ending series of wars in which Americans invest blood, sweat, and tears, but never had to sacrifice like during the two world wars, and it continues on. I watched helplessly as the Twin Towers in New York City came tumbling down.

What is significant to me is that there is so much fighting and defending, yet it isn't classified as war, and somehow national debt saves us from making sacrifices in our daily lives to keep the troops going in all these situations. Maybe what is most significant is how we have been lulled into a silent acceptance that war is productive and we need that sort of productivity. I am not opposed to defending the rights of individuals and our republic, but I am weary of the world's significant events so often involving citizens of our country. And you know what else? I believe the world might want us to stay out of their events. Because we all know this world's sense of normal is peppered with violence and a endless cry for peace. No one nation can stop this madness. It begins with each individual desiring to live in harmony with everyone else. Every man, woman, and child striving toward righteousness and peace.

Call me a cynic, but I don't see that happening until Christ comes again. Maybe we can start with baby steps though and capture a portion for ourselves and our families until it grows. To live to see peace would be the most significant event the world could ever behold. I look forward to it.

Grammar, Usage, and Paranoia

To be in the dark on something which is part of your daily life feels bad. No one wants to believe they are ignorant about anything, let alone the language they use every single day. I would like to suggest to the English-speaking world that we stop feeling ignorant about grammar (aka usage), and I submit that taking time to read and comprehend the introduction portion of Index to English, 8th ed. by Ebbitt and Ebbitt (which can be found in libraries and/or under the “look inside” feature on amazon.com for those who do not own a copy already) is a good first step to overcoming this debilitating complex to which we all seem to submit ourselves. Participants for my two grammar usage surveys proved to me that we need to realize how great we are doing as far as usage is concerned, despite lack of “grammar” training.

Grammar is such a dirty word in today’s society, so linguists are helping us to dispel the bad taste in our mouth by more accurately labeling what we are to discuss as usage.

Let go of the fabricated notion that there is one right answer as far as grammatical correctness is concerned. Our lives are saturated with text through several media sources such as messaging, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, magazines, books, and online news articles, not to mention the scholarly stuff demanded to be read and written by students. With so much being written down, why should we feel less than an expert? It is probably due to all those demanding prescriptivists who keep writing their grammar rants about how ridiculous people sound when using a word “wrong” and posting the rant to the internet. And you know something? Those stupid things seem to go viral, but in the not so positive sense of the word. That negativity is like a sickness that we must root out of our minds.

On the other side of the usage debate are the descriptivists, who believe that we need only describe how language, both written and spoken, is commonly used. They embrace it all—except for the prescriptivists. Most people I’ve met who claim to be of the descriptivist camp reject and make a point to belittle prescriptivist notions. The usage acceptance level provided by descriptivism which can be enjoyed by most of the population is to be applauded. I only wish they’d figure out how to positively acknowledge the usage patterns of those who embrace prescribing and obeying prescribed rules. While in the minority, prescriptivists also have feelings (and use words to communicate); consequently, they should not be snubbed. I know that doesn’t sound quite right, but snubbing a grammar snob only puts you on their level of intolerance.

Me? I like rules to abide which I can attempt to memorize, forget, and relearn as the tide changes (Oxford comma, for example). However, I love me some good word play as well as colloquialisms and dialect differences in pronuciation. So, what does that make me, people? I’ll tell you. It makes me someone who really loves language and writing, but not enough to snub the snobs and snobby enough to get offended by the snubbers of snobs. In other words, I believe there is a place for commas, good spelling, and guidelines, and that there will forever be room for more instruction on how to use a semi-colon in useful ways, but I do not ever again want to see anyone I know defend or second guess an answer they provide in a grammar survey. No one—neither prescriptivist nor descriptivist—has the right to tell you how to say anything if you’re making meaning and being understood in your environment. I do not mean to say there is no place for learning and instruction. If you want to learn how to improve your writing or become better acquainted with the “rules” that are out there, please do so. Learning the time and place for formal, general, and informal English has a freeing effect which affects how well the world comprehends your meaning.

A fact I want you to understand is well said in Index to English: “The boundaries between the varieties [of English] continue to shift, as they have been doing for hundreds of years.”  Knowing that usage has and will be in constant flux leaves no more room for paranoia. I hope.

*crosses fingers*

i {heart} adoption

I've never formally adopted a child; however, today was adoption day for one of my friends. I had the supreme privilege of going with their family and doing the photography at the adoption hearing for their 13-year-old son.

While sitting there in awe of the formality of the proceedings, I realized something significant. It takes exceptional parents to choose a child whose problems they didn't make and make them their own. It takes an especially big heart to unconditionally love little (and, in this case, not so little) ones you didn't create yourself. The love and respect that I have for my two friends has grown immensely, and I am grateful for this experience.

Yet, I realized something more. As their son spoke on the witness stand, I was overwhelmed by his testimony. When asked why he wanted to be adopted by them, he answered, "I want to be adopted because they are a good family." Tears came to my eyes as I heard him. My children will never be able to say that they chose their mom, but he will. His mother died when he was young, and this dear heart and my sweet friend were brought together by Providence so he could have a mom here on earth while he continues growing up and forever have two. It is so beautiful to me how he chose my friends as much as they chose him. Its beauty takes my breath away.

I believe my soul was touched today in a way I will never forget.


Christmas trees and other things


(This little strip of paper stands as proof that this weekly gem thing is luck of the draw. It is not Christmas time, but oh well.  It's never too early to begin celebrating, right? Just kidding.)

Christmas trees. This brings back so many memories from childhood.

Most years, we would all pile into the big white Econoline van and head down to the tree lot on Nellis. My mom, the ever-singing angel of our family, would lead us in Christmas caroling whether we sang along or not. I loved it even when I didn't. Once we arrived, we'd all start hunting down the best tree of all time. I think mom had an idea for which one she wanted, but let us feel like we helped.

We'd get a Douglas fir when my dad got his way (or money was tight) and a Noble fir when my mom got her way. I never liked the Noble fir trees until I began doing my own Christmas decorating as an adult. I didn't realize how much better the ornaments hang. I think my flaw in taste was that I equated the branchiness of the Noble with the Charlie Brown tree. No kid wants that tree!

So anyways, we'd get home and all help decorate the tree. When I was really young, my mom used to bake gingerbread for us to build a house from scratch, decorate the front room with garland and cute Christmas cartoon art taped to the wall, and this kept our busy little bodies busy so as to not break her collectible ornaments. Decorating was always a very cheerful event even before we were allowed to actually touch the decorations.

One of my favorite things to put on the tree, which I refuse to bring into my house, was tinsel. My parents must have really loved the look of it or maybe it was for tradition's sake because I don't see how they could abide the holy mess we'd make with that stuff. It got all over us, the floor, and, yes, some on the tree.

My parents bought an artificial tree once I was just about out of the house since they discovered my mom had an allergy to pine trees. Gone were the winters of perpetual bronchitis after that, but also gone were the days of hunting down the best tree of all time.

free to blossom

Stepping amongst encircling thorns
She senses someone calling
Beckoning her to look up toward the sun
No longer to be downcast by tribulation
But to stand erect and ready for everything
The good, the sad, the joyful, the tragic
-- Everything
Thorns have pricked, even cut deeply
Yet the blossoms of friendship perpetually
Bloom along the broken path
Mending it in curious and fortuitous ways
Always a step ahead of all the trouble
Lie seedlings being made ready
To make the thorns not seem so sharp
For treading on the mossy softness
Of resplendent kindness
Protects her from the pain
Liberating her heart and soul

I Dream of Genie: Part Two

The miracle occurred when I was standing in the hallway. I cannot remember why this impossible crush, older brother of the best friend decided to recognize me as a living being, but he did. It was like an out of body experience. I was invited in to talk about music and art and other such things with someone who was completely beautiful to me already, but now I realized how artistically amazing he truly was. I'd heard him sing in high school, so I knew about his gorgeous bass voice, but what I didn't know was how he lived artistically. Music, drawing, singing, writing, a band, thinking, creating. All that combined with his tall, dark and handsomeness, and you can see how it was almost too much for my cast off heart to handle.

It has been so long ago that I can't remember everything that we mulled over that first evening, but I distinctly recall feeling valued for my creative side. And as I think about it further, it is possible that some of these details of memory are a montage of a few conversations with him. Regardless, up until him opening the door to me that first time, I don't believe I had ever been appreciated in that light. Sure, guys had connected with me for my sporty side or because I liked dancing or for my outgoing personality or my inexhaustible charm (I am so way kidding. Just checking if you're still listening or if you're speed reading through.) No one before him ever wanted to talk so in depth with me about music love. Actually, that is one thing I will always be thankful to him for. It made me feel instantly important and of value during a time when I couldn't see my own worth.

Now getting to that genie business:

We got talking about his band and instruments, and I said that I'd really like to learn how to play guitar. I didn't invest a lot in anything I said or heard him say though. I was in simple awe that he and I were talking face to face. That was all I needed to be happy in that moment.

But all happy moments must end, especially when the day and night have both wasted away and it's time to go home. However, I left with a big smile on my face, driving home on cloud nine wishing new wishes that I could never imagine what they would bring.

. . . to be continued next week.

PTGS: Grammar Class

In anticipation of extreme boredom, I decided to get a snapshot of Tiny Crush in my grammar class. It's not an exciting sort of place, but I believe this photograph conveys the tiresome situation in which I found myself.

For more of the PTGS, follow these links:

The Personhood of the Traveling Grape Soda
Washington, Utah
Silverton, Oregon
Lion King - Las Vegas
PTGS Photo Shoot
Tiny Crush AuditionsWally's

Simple Pleasures

When I was a child, I never drank big glasses of milk. It was pretty much reserved for cereal and mom's baking. I didn't crave it or think I was missing out on anything. But now, I really enjoy the simple deliciousness of milk. Plus, adding oreos to it is even better. Right?

Another thing I was realizing is how we never had straws at our house growing up. Straws were for restaurants and places you go out to, or so I thought. I remember it being exciting to get a big soda pop from the gas station or slurpees at 7-Eleven, and I always have loved eating out at restaurants, so maybe straws have a bit to do with it.

Thinking about these two simple pleasures causes me to wonder what my children will choose to keep on hand in their homes that they don't have now. The first thing that comes to mind is juice. I'm not big on drinking juice all the time. We have it from time to time, but I'd rather eat whole fruit or make smoothies from whole fruit than drink juice more often.

Now, I am full of wonder at what life will look like when my children are grown up.

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I Dream of Genie: Part One

As I awoke from dreaming this morning, I recognized a familiar face in the world in which I slept from many years ago. I hadn't forgotten about him, but I also had never allowed myself to really feel the depth of what happened between us. Until now . . .

I crushed on him as a sophomore in high school. I had a boyfriend with whom I was madly in love, but it was okay because he was two years older, and in high school years, that might as well be two decades. So that's as far as I ever thought about him—until after graduation, after my long-time boyfriend and I broke up for the umpteenth time (we had a seriously passionate love/hate relationship for being so young), after I had turned into a very different sort of girl, after I forgot who I was. 

My love/hate relationship boyfriend and I were in the midst of one of our maybe this time is the last time because it sure feels like it should be the last time break ups. Is that enough said? I think I set up the background well with that. I feel ridiculous right now. Please don't laugh. I was only 19 years old at the time . . . so anyways.

I had been rejected, felt quite dejected, and was left wanting a home for my damaged heart. The problem with this scenario is where I went looking. My circle of friends with whom I regularly spent time had become microscopic post-graduation: my boyfriend (ex for the moment), his sister-in-law, his best friend, and his best friend's wife. At the time, I couldn't see how isolated I had made myself, so it wasn't strange for me to still go spend time with these people even though he and I were broken up. I reflect on it now, and think WHAT WAS I THINKING?! and WHERE WERE ALL MY TONS OF OTHER FRIENDS?! Oh yeah, I was an expert idiotic young adult, and I had pushed them all away (There were a few I kept at arm's length, but very few). 

On just a random evening while wanting for company, I drove my chocolate brown VW Bug over to the best friend's house to hang out with my friend Jen (the best friend's wife). I don't remember much except for eating spaghetti squash for the first time, trying to act like I wasn't lonely, and then, just as I was thinking about leaving, being noticed by the best friend's older brother who, until that night, I only ever thought of as my impossible high school crush.

I know that sounds terrible, but it's true. He was trapped in my mind as an objectified crush who was too old for me and had a girlfriend, so he was just there to be appreciated for his good looks, yet completely unnoticed as a person who needs friends and love.

But a miracle happened—in my dejectedness, he spoke to me—opening my eyes more fully to the beautiful creature that he was.

. . . to be continued next week.

Always Remember

Sensing the sadness in your expressions
Pushes this heart to crush in new ways
You were so innocent in my eyes
But now—now, you've taken a sip
From Sorrow's bitter cup
Never to remember days unclaimed
By memories of how life used to be

The beauty of your strength reminds
me of all anyone could ever want
The resoluteness of your faith exemplifies
all we need for finding heaven
Your natural flow of positivity decries
the possibility of negativity seeping
In to weaken your soul's pure light

Hold to the hope of seeing friends
Again, to be with those we love
And who love us in return
Listen to the hope that the spirit brings
With each prayer of faith and devotion
Remember how much love and care
You have always known

for Casey Tanner

The Sort of Great Escape

On the cusp of insanity with kids on one side fighting, yelling, and lazing about on the floor despite the fact that you've told them to clean their room, take out the trash, and put away their laundry about fifteen times with no new response except for your voice going up half an octave every time you repeat yourself, and on the other side, you've got the wish and--dare I say--pipe dream for a lovely, beautiful summer with an organized home, clean children who have learned so many wonderful lessons and behaved in miraculously sweet and respectful ways that they are pretty much entitled to any bit of fun you could possibly provide despite all the worries which could make life miserable but don't because things are so darn great, you steal a moment in the very middle of these polar opposites--seizing it by piling the lazing little miracles into the car and running away to the movies.