You Might be Married to a Handyman IF:

1. You have a box of “work” clothes in your closet

2. Your dish-soap is smeared with car grease, and you sometimes find it in the shower with a washcloth that    
    will likely never come clean again.

3. You think about hiring work out- until you see the price tag. The cost to do the job yourself is always
    considerably less, even with the purchase of the specialized tool to get it done.

4. You have a garage full of random, specialized tools.

5. You are happy you have room to actually park in your garage, even if you have to shimmy.

6. You have items at your home like a Rocket Candy Launcher and a 27’ movie screen complete with a 
     pulley system to hang off the back of your house.

7. You find drill bits and screws in the washing machine…and everywhere else.

8. Your husband rarely reads the instructions, and that’s OK.

9. You have put your kids to bed to the sound of a paint-sprayer, tile saw, or sander.

10. You have to ask your husband to consider NOT using the table saw after 10pm.

11. Your husband has a part-time “job” repairing things for family and neighbors.

12. The fumes of spray-paint, polyurethane, and glue are, unfortunately, not unfamiliar.

13. You’ve had experience wiping sawdust and drywall powder off of EVERY SURFACE in your house!

14. Each time you hold his calloused hands you find a new nick.

15. When out on a date, he asks things like, “How many furnaces do you think this place has?”

16. Looking at your kitchen ceiling makes you smile, because you remember all the time he spent sanding, 
      patching, and painting it.

17. Despite the repeated reminder “change your clothes first!”- His shirts, pants, and shoes have a limited 
      life-span before joining the box of “work clothes” in the closet.

18. Your kids believe there is nothing dad can’t fix.

19. You wake up to find your husband spontaneously building a shed because he felt like it.

20. You know exactly where the bathrooms are located in the local Home Depot and Lowes.

We heart spring

We have a bird nesting in our porch. I think it is a sparrow. We used a mirror to look up inside the nest and saw three tiny babies. We are excited to watch them grow and are praying we won't scare the mama away with all our noise!

When we wake up in the morning we almost always see quail in our yard. They travel in pairs, boy and girl, and I think think it is the sweetest thing.

"Robin Redbreast" is a frequent around here but isn't nearly as friendly as he is in The Secret Garden.

Hyrum and Audrey showed me their drawings of our birds, and it made me happy.

Transition to "Permanent" childhood.

My children are losing teeth. 

I have the same feeling I did years ago as I packed away the nursing cover- realizing a season was over.

It was unexpected. I did expect that my children would lose their teeth, and even had some forewarning as they wiggled away. I did not expect the wave of emotion upon seeing their spacey smiles and big, bumpy teeth filling in.

As the roots of the little teeth dissolve and fall away, so do the hands that steady their clumsy steps, help them get dressed, tie their shoes and pour their cereal. When the tooth finally falls out--it is a symbol that these things are simply no longer needed.

This feels like a big transition, even a rite of passage, into their "real" childhood- 
the one they will remember.

I remember the excitement of losing my teeth- felt like the first tangible evidence that I was finally growing up.

They are moving into a season of trying new things, taking risks, broken bones, friends, and independence.

All the "show me how's" have made way for the "I can do that's."

This is when the anxiety sets in. It's hard to let them go, but at least it is gradual. I'm grateful for that.

I'm thrilled to watch them. Excel. Learn. Discover. and literally gROW.

Their mouths are as clear as their minds-- making way for their "permanent" teeth: A tangible part of the adult they are becoming...too big for their mouths, awkward, and crooked- imperfect as they grow.

A season that will never come again.

Happy Mothers Day!

I'm celebrating Mothers Day today.

I've never auditioned for anything before so it was surprising when I felt the urge to jot down the audition details calling for an essay about motherhood. I felt compelled, and it's always been good to follow that feeling.

Nothing was really coming to mind about what to write, but during a rare quiet moment, the idea came and my house fell apart while I spent a day writing it. I finished it minutes before driving up to Salt Lake to audition. The audition was one on one, very low-key and comfortable. Heather Johnson was kind and sweet. I left thinking all in all it was fun to write, and fun to stretch my comfort zone.

I was thrilled when I received the email telling me I had made the cast for the show! I ran to the backdoor in my underwear and shouted out to my husband, "Guess WHAT!? I won! I get to be on the show!" To which he congratulated me and I ran back to my room to read more about it- ducking low to avoid the kitchen windows.

Then I saw the rest of the cast and perused all their amazing writing...and I started to feel intimidated.

I went to our first  rehearsal, on the way there praying that I would at least speak coherently. Just minutes in, we were laughing and sharing. I was enchanted by all these amazing women as they read their truly beautiful essays on all facets of motherhood. I remembered how much I loved writing. I love how it connects you straight to the soul.

I left thinking about The Element by Ken Robinson and what he writes about finding your tribe. "What connects a tribe is a common commitment to the thing they feel born to do." "Finding your tribe can have trans formative effects on your sense of identity and purpose." I wondered if these women would find me presumptuous if I told them I thought they were my tribe.

Inspired, I started to write again. My family has noticed how significantly happier I've been. I so needed this.

Tonight is the Listen to Your Mother show. The first Utah show. This afternoon I sat on the bathroom counter in my underwear to pluck my eyebrows in the good light and smiled at the memory of watching my mother do the same thing and thought of her smell and her beauty. I got ready in a quiet house and had time to reflect on the peace because my sweet sister is watching my kids. I put on beautiful new clothes and felt so loved by my husband who drove an hour last night to buy me just the shoes I wanted.

I'm on my way to prepare for the night with these beautiful women who accept me and encourage me.

You know how it feels when you are really thirsty and you drink a full glass of cold water- how you can feel it spread out through your body, simultaneously filling and soothing. That's how I feel tonight.

I am grateful this mothers day: Grateful for the compelling feeling that led me to this moment. Grateful for the understanding that as women we need each other.

Happy Mothers Day.

My Favorite Parenting Object Lesson

I call it the Freedom Funnel: actually I just made that up.

You've seen a funnel, right? One wide end and one narrow end.

My husband sat the kids down several months ago and taught them about the funnel. He is an excellent teacher; I don't know where he comes up with these gems!

So, the space in the funnel represents freedom. The wide side is lots of freedom and the narrow side is limited freedom.

We can choose which direction we go through the funnel. For example:

I say, "Little, darling children of mine, please get in bed and go to sleep."

They can choose:

A: Enter the narrow end of the funnel and obey quickly and exactly- limiting their personal freedom initially and receive the greater freedom of being well-rested, and ready for a great day tomorrow as they emerge out the wide end with happy, praising, kinder, well-rested parents.

Or B: They could choose to run around and play and exercise all the freedom they possibly can and struggle through the limited freedom of being cranky the next day, earning negative consequences, and irritating their parents!

It might limit my freedom initially to take the time to clean up dinner (even though I want to crash on my bed and watch a show) but I have the wider freedom the next morning when I don't HAVE to clean up dinner before I make breakfast.

I can't tell you how often this has come in handy! A gem! What do you think? How do you teach your children about freedom and accountability?

Similar to how Stephen R. Covey put it:  

“While we are free to choose our actions, 

we are not free to choose 

the consequences of our actions.”

Picture source:

Who's with me?

I've been hearing these words in my mind lately: "I'm not going to be afraid anymore."

What is it I'm afraid of? Failure, Mistakes, Embarrassment, Humiliation, Criticism, and Regret.

Is anyone else afraid of these things?

Being afraid to fail and make a fool of yourself is time-consuming.

I doubt I'm the only one that has spent 20+ minutes on a 10 word thank-you note.
I spend WAY more time texting/emailing so I can get the words right instead of making a quick phone call.

Being afraid to make mistakes is isolating and empty.

Sometimes I think about inviting people over...and then I think about what to cook and that is the end of it.
I don't begin conversations very often, because I stink at small talk. Now, if you want to talk to me about principles, or growth, or pain the conversation might go better. This doesn't help me make new friends!

Being afraid of what other people think is paralyzing.

Basically, I can invite people into my messy, real life and enjoy their friendship or I can wait until my life is clean and put together and go without. Wait until I know how to cook...wait until my house is clean...wait until I have something to say...wait until I have figured out what kind of music I like.
It's easy to look at others and imagine that their life is in absolute order. (Experience tells me that is probably not true- and if it is then maybe there is something I can learn!)

Ironic that I regret not doing anything because I was afraid I would make a mistake and regret it.

So, the moral of the story is: Let's don't be afraid to talk, to write, to invite, to give. And let's be kind.
We all make mistakes but everyone can do without embarrassment, humiliation, and harsh criticism.

Next time we have an awkward phone call, or a good visit in my messy kitchen eating apple slices- We can laugh and be grateful we are spending our time well, together and learning!