Friday, April 30, 2010

Balance

Do you have it?

I'm trying to find it again but somehow I don't think I'm doing a very good job.

I stopped at my sister's house the other night to beg for some lasagna leftovers that I knew were in her refrigerator. She gladly gave me some. She has three little girls, and is expecting her first boy in a few weeks. She and her husband have been remodeling their home since they moved in, she works part time for the family business, and she has a church calling that keeps her incredibly busy. As I was sitting with her at the kitchen table I asked, "How do you do it all?" She sighed and asked, "Have you seen my house? I don't do it all. I can't."

As I left her house I thought 'you have a lot less on your plate than she does...you should be able to do more.'

In the last four months I bought a house, planned a wedding, got married, and started the busiest season at work. And now when I'm faced with the daily act of living I get a tad overwhelmed:

-Laundry
-Cleaning the house
-Work that I never get caught up on
-Friends that I neglect
-A husband that I try REALLY HARD not to neglect
-Finding the time and the energy to exercise

The list could go on...but I'll spare you... because heaven knows you all have your own lists...much longer than my own.

THANKFULLY I have a husband who shares in the daily act of living...you should see how clean our shower is this morning!

Last night my sister, my twin sister, called me and said, "I would like to schedule a date with you." And we agreed to figure out a time when we could actually see each other.

When Jason left at 8:30 last night to work, I left too...to visit some friends that I haven't spent time with since before Christmas. They know how crazy my life is, and they love me anyway. The evidence of that love is in my fridge: they made me homemade salsa and guacamole.

When Jason and I met up again at 11:15 last night, it was to say "Hi, and goodnight." Because we were both exhausted and couldn't keep our eyes open.

I'm wondering if I'll ever find balance. Do you have balance? Really...do you?

And finally, speaking of balance, I read an article yesterday about a woman who seems to have found perfect balance:

She and her pet rabbit who stands 4 feet 3 inches tall travel the country showing themselves off. She spent over $16,000.00 on plastic surgery to look like Jessica Rabbit from the Roger Rabbit movie. I need a pet rabbit...maybe that will give me balance.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Round Two

It's cold today.

Snow is falling.

It's almost May.

Snow isn't supposed to fall in May.

My desk is piled high.

I have 17 million phone calls to make.

I have 4 orders to place.

I have customers to bill.

I have laundry to do.

With all of that as my excuse for the lack of a deep, meaningful, heartfelt post, here's what I've got:

WOULD YOU RATHER

Catch a porcupine thrown from a second-story window

OR

A skunk thrown from the same window?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Warning: There Might Be Some Cheese

When my grandma was a young girl her brother was hit by lightning. The force knocked him clear across the room. My grandma was traumatized.

I remember my grandma driving us to the mall whenever a storm was coming. Inside the mall she couldn't hear the thunder or see the lightning. We would walk the mall for hours sometimes, waiting for the storm to pass.

One day my grandma was at our house during a storm and I was worried about her. I looked in every room for her and finally found her hiding in my brother's bedroom closet.

I didn't inherit the same fear. I love a good storm...the louder the better.

And I love a good storm even more when I am home, curled up under the blankets on my bed.

It started raining last night and when I woke up this morning it was still raining.

Rain usually means that work will be slow and so I took advantage and stayed in bed.

Jason was in and out of sleep and so I snuggled up next to him listening to his breathing and the rain hitting the windows. It was a perfect way to spend the morning.

When I finally dragged myself out of bed to get ready for work, I came downstairs to see Jason packing a lunch for me. He had filled a thermos full of warm soup, among other things. And when I told him I was going to be working outside in the rain he brought me a waterproof jacket to wear.

As I got in my car he said, "I love you." I said "I love you" back and as I pulled out of the garage I had tears in my eyes. Because it's true...I love him...and I'll be forever grateful that I put God in charge of my life a long time ago...His plan was so much better than my own.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's Tuesday Again





















And as always, go here for more sticky note fun!









Monday, April 26, 2010

Hola

Do you miss me when I don't write?

I've been here...killing ants.

The builders left crumbs under the carpet and now that it's warm, the ants have come out in full force.

I think I took care of the problem tonight. I brought home some spray that will keep them out.

Hopefully...

A few days ago I had a message on my phone from my friend in Mexico. She was coming to Utah and she wanted to see me.

Saturday night I picked her and her daughter up from a friend's house and they've been with me until just a few hours ago.

I speak Spanish.

Or so I thought.

I realized again this past weekend that I understand Spanish and that I can write Spanish, but to speak it...I need practice.

I got plenty of it.

This afternoon we met a man from Puerto Rico who was raised in the United States. His Spanish is a mix of English and Spanish...a mixture that I understood perfectly.

We spent an hour with a couple from Venezuela. They speak a mixture of English and Spanish...a mixture I mostly understood.

Tonight we met Mr. Puerto Rico's wife who is also from Puerto Rico, where she was raised. She speaks a mixture of English and Spanish...a mixture I did NOT understand...even the English part. And to top it off, she spoke faster than anyone I have ever met.

She's hilarious...at least from what I could understand, and her goal was to tell me all of the funny things that happened to her while she was living in a certain city. When my friends laughed, I laughed. By the end of the night, if I squinted my eyes just right and cocked my head a certain way, I could understand her...kind of.

Tonight I am fairly certain that I speak less Spanish than I did Friday...and my goal is to not speak to Jason in Spanish...because I have been...off and on all weekend. He's a patient man that husband of mine, and I love him.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In Which There Will Be an Explosion of Pictures












(If you're interested in seeing more of our fabulous photographer's work go to www.rustybucketphotography.com)

Explosion - Part 2






































Friday, April 23, 2010

Raincoats

Sometimes when it's raining and you have to work outside...

all you can do is put on a big green army jacket and get to work.


If it's rainy where you are, I hope you have a big green army jacket too.

Have a happy weekend.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Rabbit and A Skin Horse

Once upon a time in another life...okay not really another life...once upon a time in what seems like another life, my friend J (who you might know as Me from Mr. Thompson and Me) and I had an assignment to fulfill. Our assignment was to teach a group of women...to inspire them, to uplift them, and to make them feel better about life. We weren't told how to do it, nor what subject we were to talk about. Our only hope was that God would inspire us.

In preparation, we read a lot of material and did a lot of research. The most profound message we found came from a storybook. When we read it our hearts were touched, and we knew what our message needed to be.

The night of our presentation we had the women gather in front of a fireplace, in a cozy living room, in a home on Long Island, and we read them "The Velveteen Rabbit", by Margery Williams. Our focus remained on one paragraph:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

To be completely honest, I'm not sure if we accomplished our goal: of inspiring and uplifting. But our hearts, mine and J's, were touched and we were changed. I've used this story many times since that night on Long Island, and although I'm never sure if others' hearts are touched, mine always is. And when life gets hard and I wonder if it's worth it, I remind myself that I'm becoming 'Real' and that's the whole purpose of this life.

Wonder why I'm telling you this? I have to talk in church on Sunday...to a group of men, women, and children...and I'm hoping that God will inspire me again. I'm hoping that He will give me a message that will inspire and uplift. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And fries too...please.

I've been outside working all morning: raking and pulling weeds.

I'm trying to get ready for a full semi-load of plants we have to unload in a few minutes.

When it started to rain I came inside and realized that I was hungry.

Really hungry.

I looked for something to eat and found a Superfood Slam Pro Bar.

These are the ingredients:

organic rolled oats
organic peanut butter
organic brown rice syrup
organic raisins
organic dates
grain sweetened dark chocolate chips
organic raw sunflower seeds
organic raw coconut
organic rolled rye
raw organic brown flax seed
raw cashews
raw organic brown sesame seed
organic evaporated cane juice
pineapple
papaya
organic soy oil
raspberry puree
raw brazil nut
raw pumpkin seed
organic brown crisp rice
corn flakes
almonds
oat bran
organic oat solids
apples
epazote leaf
organic cardamom seed
organic fennel seed
organic fenugreek seed
organic nutmeg
natural orange oil
natural vitamin E

I ate it...because like I said...I was really hungry...but I sure wish it had been a hamburger.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hate Mail...Kinda Sorta

Remember my Happy Anniversary post-it-note post from last week?

I got this comment in response:

"Buy the book 'Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands' by the great Dr. Laura. (She can be a little whacked, but on this she is correct!
She'd kick your behind for not cooking dinner, especially if he cooks breakfast.
All guys, even nice guys like him (Jason), only take not being appreciated for so long.
Life, marriage and even companionships, are a 2 way street. I didn't notice in your Post It Note Style what you do for him..."

I have a pretty good inclination of who wrote this...and if I'm right I just roll my eyes and shake my head...

The comment came AFTER I cooked Jason, and my entire family, dinner. See, I didn't say I never fixed dinner, I just said my husband didn't care if I didn't.

And of course I didn't say what I do for him...for a couple of reasons: I'll never write on this blog the things I might do for Jason...because seriously, who really wants to say "look at all of the good things I do for my husband" AND because it was a list of the reasons I'm grateful for him.

BUT...lest you think I don't take all comments seriously...even the comments that make me roll my eyes...I had a conversation with Jason last night.

"Jason, am I not appreciative enough? Do you doubt that I appreciate and love you?"

And then he rolled his eyes.

This morning as I was getting ready for work Jason said, "Do you want anything for breakfast?"

And with a mouthful of toothpaste I replied, "No, I don't think so. I wouldn't want you to feel unappreciated."

He put the milk and the cereal on the table anyway...right next to some fruit.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What I'm Thinking About

It's Sunday afternoon and I've been curled up on my couch reading the newest book by Richard Paul Evans: The Walk. Jason is playing David Lanz on the piano and I'm content. I just read this paragraph in the book:

"I started writing in my diary because my mother told me to. After her death, I continued because to stop would be to break a chain that connected me to her. Then, gradually, even that changed. I didn't realize it at the time, but the reason I wrote was always changing. As I grew older, I wrote as proof of my existence. In each of us, there is something that, for better or worse, wants the world to know we existed..."

Those words stuck a chord in me and caused me to reflect. I started Grandpa Wednesday for the same reason: to show proof and evidence that once upon a time my Grandpa lived...that he existed...that he made the world around him a better place.

Without realizing it I probably started my blog for the same thing: to let someone know that I existed.

In thinking about this idea of existing I thought of a young girl I met once in Mexico, a girl who will probably only be remembered by a small number of people...a girl who will live her life and die, and not ever know that her life touched mine.

Somewhere north of Mexico City, at the top of a mountain, is a city called Potrerillos. In order to reach Potrerillos you have to traverse dirt roads for several hours...roads that in spots are nearly impassable. Once you've made the journey you find yourself in a village that is untouched by the modern world. There is no electricity, no running water, no grocery store just around the corner...nothing but fields of corn and humble surroundings.

Our purpose in going to Potrerillos was to help build water cisterns so that the villagers would have water during the dry months. I've talked before about my humanitarian trips...and I'm sure I'll talk about them again. I find my best self in these villages in Mexico and this trip was no exception.

One afternoon I took a break from building and sat down next to a girl who looked close to my age. I had noticed her the day before, sitting in the same spot, watching us work. I would make eye contact with her from time to time and I would smile. Each time she would look away. I hoped that by sitting next to her in the dirt she would see me as a friend, and not a stranger.

Our conversation was quiet at first. I would ask her a question and she would mumble an answer. I would ask another question and she would mumble another answer. After several minutes of this, she finally asked me a question. I answered her and that seemed to break the ice.

We talked for close to an hour.

"Have you always lived here?" I asked.

She had.

"Have you ever been down to the city?"

She had only left her village one time and that was to attend a wedding in the next village over the mountain.

"It took almost a day to walk there and I decided that I would prefer to stay home," she told me.

"Do you have a boyfriend?" I questioned.

"I did. But he left four years ago to find work. He never came home. I don't think he ever will. There is no one else here. I will probably never get married."

"Describe how you spend your day." I was curious.

"I make tortillas in the morning, and do the wash in the afternoon. I help my mom take care of my dad."

"Anything else?" I asked, and she looked at me with a puzzled look on her face, as if to say 'what else is there?'

"Do you read?"

"No," was her reply.

She asked about my life and I told her what I did for work, and what I did for fun. I don't think she could comprehend what I was telling her.

"Do you ever just want to leave? Find a new life to live? Do something different?" All of these were questions I asked her.

"No. Why would I want to leave? My parents are here...they need me. This is my life. This is what I know."

"Are you happy?" I asked.

And she nodded her head and said yes.

We sat in silence then and I internalized what she had said. I learned so much that afternoon...and my life has been blessed because of that conversation.

When we left the village that last day, I looked for my friend. I couldn't find her. As we drove away, I saw her sitting on the side of the mountain. I asked the driver to slow down and as he did I put my head out the window and waved goodbye. She waved in return and I knew I would never see her again.

I think about my friend often, and I wonder about her life, and I'm grateful that she exists somewhere in this world. Because of her I am a better person.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Instruction Manuals and the Like

If I were to write an instruction manual for husbands...and honestly speaking I really wouldn't, but if I were to write one it would have this as rule #1:

RULE #1 Husbands, always call your wife when you are out of town...even if you'll only be gone a few days. Your wife worries. She wants to know that you made it safely. She wants to know that you didn't have car problems. She wants to know that even though you're hundreds of miles away you're still thinking about her. She wants to know if you have a black eye from when you got clocked playing basketball. She will sleep better at night if you call her.

And then there would be this addendum to RULE #1:

ADDENDUM Calling your wife when you're only gone a few days is good practice for when you'll be gone for three weeks. If you can get in the habit of calling now, then by the time you're ready to be gone almost an entire month you'll have it figured out. Of course, your wife will make an exception when you're in the middle of the desert backpacking with your friends...she's not totally unreasonable.

Oh...and one more thing...memorize your wife's phone number...that would help.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not Grandpa Wednesday...but Grandma

Here's a sneak peek at a wedding shot...

My Grandma Lucy and I.

Go here to see a few more...

Happy Anniversary Honey...Post It Note Style



























Monday, April 12, 2010

Dear Dad,

It's just me...your daughter.
Remember when we went hiking together last Thanksgiving? Wasn't that delightful?

I can't believe after all of the memories we've made, you would still think I've been mocking you.

I have a healthy respect and admiration for your roadkill...I really do.

And that reference to Paul Bunyan? Geesh Dad, don't you know if I could meet anyone, anyone at all, it would be Paul Bunyan? I know they say he's a fictional character, but in my heart I've always believed he was real, and calling you Paul Bunyan, well that's like calling a regular old house rabbit the Easter Bunny. It's THAT big of a compliment.

I know you use all of that dead wood for really cool stuff...like fence posts and ... what other cool stuff do you use it for besides fence posts? I would NEVER mock that! NEVER!!!

Anyway...

I just want you to remember that I'm your biggest fan and that I love you.

I hope that you will still be willing to go hiking with me.

Love,

Your favorite daughter

(Oh...I know...Heather is really your favorite daughter...but I can hope...and pretend right?)


Friday, April 9, 2010

Pennies, and Quarters, and Dimes...Oh My!

These lovely ladies came to visit me a few minutes ago.

They know I have a jar full of coins.

And they know that when they ask nicely, I'll give them a few.

I gave Gabi a quarter and she said, "Hey, it's George Washington!"

"How did you know that was George Washington?" I asked.

"Cause I know all the presidents."

"All of them?" I challenged.

"Yep."

So I googled Abraham Lincoln and pulled up a picture.

"Who is that?" I asked.

And Gabi said, "Ummm..." and Erika said, "Abraham Lincoln."

"Erika, did you know that or did you read that?"

"I read it," she said with a grin.

I pulled up a picture of Theodore Roosevelt and said, "Erika, don't read it."

"I can't...it's too hard," she said, "but that looks like Teddy Roosevelt."

"Did you read it?" I asked.

"No, I told you it's too hard, that's just who he looks like."

"Well you're right. That's who he is."

And while Erika clapped her hands for being right Gabi said this:

"You mean he's real??? Night at The Museum is REAL?"

And yours truly cracked up.

"That's how you knew him Erika?"

"Yeah," she said with a tone that said 'of course that's how I knew him.'

Silly me...of course that's how she knew him.