Thursday, October 1, 2015

More Grandpa Dinkels

Let me tell you about my Grandpa.

Louis Frederick Dinkel.

No this is not a blog on genealogy, though I know that genealogy is important.  This is quite literally about my grandpa and love, his love, God’s love, perfect love.

When I was a little girl we would go visit my grandpa, and my little bit crazy grandma.  Grandma was fun, she would buy us things, expensive things.  As a little kid, flashy things were exciting, but Grandpa was better.  I knew he loved me, loved me more than anyone or anything.  I remember him holding me tall to watch the coo coo clock.  I remember him taking me for walks and stopping to pick a rose from a neighbor’s flowers (OOPS) for my crazy grandma, and I remember how he looked at her, with love in his eyes.

I remember walking through the door every summer for the first time and him kissing me and saying, “This one looks just like me,” as he continued down the line of all of my brothers and sisters, even my adopted brother who is black.  I remember him taking us for rides to get ice cream in his old station wagon, and I remember him complaining to my grandmother every time that she bought him a new pair of fancy shoes that his old ones were just fine.  And I remember him shrugging and putting them on for her as he smiled at her with love.

I remember walking into his business and watching as he greeted each and every employee knowing everything about them and showing them proudly his spectacular grandchildren, and I remember thinking that I was someone special to all of those that worked for my grandpa, because I was his.

I remember walking into a restaurant or diner and feeling the room change and the crowd soften because the light that flowed from my grandpa lightened all that was around him, and for a moment peace spread through any place he went.  I remember his house covered in pictures of the Savior and crucifixes and holy bibles.  And I remember knowing his love for God was greater than anything that I had ever known.

And when I got older, I began to realize that crazy grandma was really very sick/bipolar/schizophrenic hurtful grandma.  Grandma wasn’t nice grandma, grandma wasn’t loving wife or mother grandma.  She was hurtful and cruel and sad grandma, and my grandfather loved her perfectly even with so much hurt.  He brought her shakes and flowers and slippers and she would say thank you one moment and be cruel the next, but my grandpa loved my grandma till the very, very end of his life.  Why, you ask, because he loved the Savior and he was as much like the Savior as perhaps possible in this life. 

When I got married and started raising my babies I always thought of my grandfather who only met my oldest once when he was only a few months old.  It’s been so many years since he has died, so many, but I still think of him every single day.

It took me so many years to learn to find joy, joy in everything.  It took me so so many years to be the glass is half full kind of gal, but now that I have lived so many years that way I can’t help but understand the kind of peace and joy that comes from finding something so great.  Sometimes my heart physically hurts from the joy that I feel.  And when it does I think of my grandfather.  How do I become like him?  How do I take that joy and peace and love and let it radiate out of me so that the room, wherever that room might be, softens from me walking into it, lightens just a little from me being there?  How do I share that love, that peace and joy so perfectly like my grandpa did?

He shared it so perfectly that this granddaughter of his, so many years later still smiles and softens for thinking on him.  He loved my Savior, his Savior, and he loved people even in their most hurtful states and he changed his little granddaughter for forever because of his perfect love.

Now if only there were enough Grandpa Dinkels around, maybe the whole world would change, because their God’s light, would be so great.  Maybe, just maybe, that is what this world needs, more of my grandpa Dinkels.  Maybe then eternity would be right now. a tribute a little about him from his death.

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Devil's Business

I’ve tried to sit back, I really have.  I’ve tried to be the polite one who shared her views quietly as I blogged about sweet things, of hope and love, and God.  I’ve shared small quiet opinions on Facebook as I have shared others blogs and posts and by doing so I thought that I was being polite and kind.  I thought that I was doing my best to spread joy by not spreading controversy, but today as I was reading yet another blog by another person other than myself who seemed to put everything that I felt so perfectly into words for me, I realized that I wasn’t being polite or kind, I was being cowardly and hiding the testimony that is me, even if it might offend someone.  I need to use my voice even if all it accomplishes is to make someone mad.  I cannot profess to have a testimony if the only way I share it is in the quiet confines of my safe little home with others who feel the same way as me.  No fear of rejection, maybe, but no voice in a world that so desperately needs more.

Most of you know that I am a mother of six crazy kids.  I try to be a great mother, my most important job, but I am human and fail quiet regularly, and my kids are human and fail quiet regularly too…that being said, I’ve mostly stuck to the pleasant times in my life, or the testimony building times in my life in this blog.  Some of you may not know that I at times struggled to have those sweet kiddos of mine.  After Luke we had a very unexpected pregnancy, he was only three months old, but after lots of, “oh craps”, we accepted, moved on and even became excited.  Three months later on the move back to Utah I lost said baby.  At that point that baby was already mine and the loss was hard.  It took 18 months more of trying and praying and several early miscarriages later before we conceived Jenny.

Joy of Joys, let me tell you when Jenny was born.  That was until 5 ½ weeks later when she contracted RSV which led to pneumonia, which led to several days in the hospital which led to Jenny turning blue, which led to our doctor rushing to get her breathing which led to said doctor who was also our Bishop at the time and Jason giving Jenny a blessing and little sweet tiny baby Jenny and me riding frantically in an ambulance to Utah Valley Hospital where she almost died.  Seeing my baby with pick lines and tubes and oxygen for days struggling to live when in reality she should not have, crushed my heart, not to mention the next two years of her fighting to get her immune system back.

Flash forward 6 plus years to my little Stephanie.  5 ½ weeks away until her birth and suddenly my blood pressure is racing and her little body starts actually losing weight in the womb in the month that it should be gaining the most.  3 ½ weeks of bed rest and one false alarm emergency trip in an ambulance to Utah Valley Hospital later and sweet, very tiny, Stephanie is born, complete with the cord wrapped several times tightly around her neck and all, all 5 ½ pounds of her with fiery wild red hair and the sweetest little face ever.

I’ve had sister in laws who have struggled much worse than me, trying so desperately, going from one doctor to the next, spending day and night on their knees just to get the chance to be a mother.  And the heartbreak that I have seen on their faces says it all, childhood is a gift, a gift that so many don’t seem to understand.

Where am I going with this, well, I think you all know?  When Jason and I were first married and first pregnant with our first baby Luke, we lived far from home in a state very unfamiliar for us without the use of a cell phone and long distance being so much money.  I was young and naive and completely unaware of what to do next.  Looking for a place to come across discretely a pregnancy test I looked in the phone book and came across the name, “Planned Parenthood.”  Now this was 22 years ago and I was very innocent and in my mind those words described me perfectly, someone trying to plan parenthood.  I would like to say the pregnancy test was free…but it wasn’t.  It cost the same as it would have in the store, but it was discrete and very quiet.  Had I known then what I know now, I never would have gone.

Planned Parenthood is the Devils business.  By walking through those doors I was in the Devil’s house even if not aware.  And times have changed and the world has grown and eyes have been opened and everyone is aware, well accept maybe our very little ones who are still slightly protected from this world.  No one in America can any longer claim innocence like I could 22 years ago, media and the internet have changed that.  We all know who Planned Parenthood is and what they are about.  They are about the Devil’s work, destroying innocent lives before they have a chance to flourish or fail per their God given right, and destroying the most sacred institution in this world the family.  If you enter Planned Parenthood you are entering the Devil’s house.  If you work for Planned Parenthood you are working for the Devil’s business.  And if you have any excuses for it you are making excuses for the Devil himself, you are doing the Devil’s work.

There is no longer a grey line, a magic haze between right and wrong that is easy to sway one way or another to fit our whims and selfish desires.  When Planned Parenthood was ousted as baby killers that line was no longer grey but black and white and when the media hit with the sale they are making of these innocent victims body parts that only come after the horrible murder of ones too tiny to fight for themselves the magic haze disappeared entirely letting light, or maybe more accurately darkness shine in on the whole deal.

If you’ve ever been a mother, you cannot look at a little newborn in your arms and not know, if even just for one little second, that there is something, or someone greater working in the making of that child.  And if you’ve ever been a mother struggling with the fear or even loss of losing a child, you cannot logically say that that life didn’t matter, even in the few minute cells that it was in its very first beginnings.  And if you’ve ever been a mother struggling so hard and praying so long just for the chance to be a mother, you cannot possibly understand how someone, shellfish or inconvenienced or hurt could ever think it alright to destroy something so precious.

I don’t care who you are, what your views are, or how I might hurt your feelings…if you support Planned Parenthood, well then you are doing your little bit today to help the Devil along his way.  And if I keep shut about how I feel about it, well maybe, just maybe I am doing the same.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Most Dreaded Calling that I Never Knew that I Would Love!

Who knew that I could love Scouts?  Certainly not me…certainly not the lady who was in Cub Scouts years ago when my grown son was a baby and hated, yet endured, every minute of it.  When the bishopric came and welcomed us into our new home over a month ago and asked what callings I loved and which had been my least favorite, my first response was that I loved Young Womens and that Nursery, though I had loved every minute of that year that I had served there, was not huge on my hope to serve there again calling list, but back in my mind I was also thinking, “Oh, please, not Cub Scouts.”

Shock to all get out when I was called, though I had had the feeling for a week that Cub Scouts was coming.  I told the first counselor that I wasn’t a Scouter, but that I would learn and that I could do anything that Heavenly Father wanted me to do and I chose to go forth with that attitude.  Let me reemphasize the word chose, because it very much was a conscious decision on my part, I was determined to do good by my new calling and by Heavenly Father.

That’s where the neat part comes in.  Isn’t God amazing?  In my heart I wanted to do his will and be grateful.  I wanted to serve where he needed me and where I could bless someone else, but that is the amazing thing about God, he knows what we need even when we don’t, he knows the best way to bless us even in a calling that we so don’t want.  I’ve only been at it 2 ½ weeks and only attended 2 activities and one training, but I am already excited for this Wednesday and to be able to go to Scouts.  I was even excited when the ugly yellow scout shirt came in the mail and it fit so perfectly.  And when I was on my knees in prayer this morning thanking Heavenly Father for the blessings that keep piling on our family and on me I was so grateful for our new ward and for the women that I am already getting to know and learning to love and I realized then that Cub Scouts was for me and not for those that I will serve.  God knew that I would meet some pretty amazing women there and get to know them in a way that only a calling can do for you.  He also knew that I needed to be part of the Sunday School and Relief Society programs to learn and grow and feel the spirit there and I couldn’t have in a Sunday calling that would have taken me away from that.  Not to mention the amazing women that I am learning about by going to Relief Society with them.

I didn’t know that when I was answering yes to a calling that was very close to one of the lowest on my list of must have callings would turn out to be God’s way of giving me friends and helping me to feel so much a part of a ward that is MY ward, and My ward family.  I’m so grateful for Cub Scouts, that most dreaded calling that I already am so in love with and for the choice that I made to have a determined and joyful attitude when called, because I couldn’t have known then that in so doing God was trying to bless me with everything, and everyone that I needed.  Who would have known?  Certainly not me.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Somebody Driving that Knows the Road

“Lord, but this is a funny world when you get to studying!  Looks like things didn’t all come by accident.  Looks as if there was a plan back of it, and somebody driving that knows the road, and how to handle the lines.”  –A Girl of the Limberlost- by: Gene Stratton-Porter.

Funny how many times that I look back on my life and think those same thoughts if not in such a pretty verse.  I sure had it all settled out when I was a little girl of how I hoped my life to be, and for the most part it has all come to pass, only so much harder, and so much more beautiful than I ever could have planned it to be.  It never ceases to amaze me how much God is in all of the details.

I miss my dear little town of Nephi, so much, as I was sure I would, but only God could have known how quickly I would become attached to this sweet place and these wonderful people in Eagle Mountain.  When we sold our house to the nice gentleman who bought it, I was expressing my concern for the girls feeling like they belonged and he said to me then that I would have no problem fitting in with the kind of attitude that I had.  I knew he was right, in a way, that I really could be happy anywhere, if I chose to be, and I am, oh how much I am.

I’ve decided to smile when I meet a new person, and look them in the eye when they talk to me.  I’ve taken part in Sunday School and Relief Society when I should be feeling shy and I’ve decided to enjoy the blessing of being so close to so many wonderful amenities.  Because that is what I can do and what I can be responsible for.  I can choose to love our Ward and become attached with every ounce of my being.  I can be excited about the good men who are in our bishopric and I can look for the love that they show to the whole ward and be grateful for their service.  I can watch the young mothers in our ward and remember when that was me and smile at their children and be excited about all that I know that they are learning along with their little ones and learn from their love and compassion and I can soak up the warmth and the wisdom that the older sisters have to offer and listen so closely to all that they have to say.

I can laugh at the constant incoming of well-wishers and family that stop by so regularly and be grateful that we are so loved even when sometimes I just want to flop onto the coach and relax.  I can even watch the men as they dig out the dirt for a foundation of a new house going in across the street and be excited by the thought of a new neighbor to love and the thrill of watching a new house being built from start to finish even if it is kind of loud…I can choose to be excited instead. 

I can look at Jason’s new calling that will take up so many crazy hours out of his week and be grateful that Heavenly Father is giving him so much opportunity to serve his people and be able to thank God a little more for all that he has given us all the while he is learning and growing and becoming even more amazing than he already is, even if that takes him away from the family a little more than I would like…look at the great example he is for my children, especially my little boy.  I can choose a lot of things…even things that are outside of my comfort zone and I can see the blessings in the choices that I make.

Oh…I miss you dear Nephi with all of my friends and even my family.  With your town celebrations and small schools where every teacher knows and loves my children.  I miss the familiarity of knowing almost everyone everywhere that I go and I miss the relationships that I have made over the years.  Thank you for helping to build confidence in my children and in myself so that we can go into this new adventure with our hearts fully into making the most of every moment.

 And…thank you Eagle Mountain for making me feel already so much at home.  You have won my heart with your outstretched arms and rolling hills and small town feel in a town that should feel too large. 


Thank you Nephi 10th Ward for teaching my children and loving our family and helping me find the woman that I am today, the woman who is so excited for this next phase.

Thank you Liberty Farms Ward, for scooping us up and grabbing us right in.  We love you already even if we can’t remember all of your names.  Sitting in Sacrament Meeting Sunday I couldn’t help but know that this is where we belong, that you are now who we belong too.

And thank you Heavenly Father, for planning out the little details so far in advance that we didn’t even know that you had planned the path out ahead of us.  Thank you for taking the wheel and navigating when you already knew the road. 

Here’s to being happy because I choose to, making friends because I can if I want to, and falling in love once again with all of the beauty all around me.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Pure Craziness

Craziness seems to follow me almost everywhere lately.  Putting our house for sale in March seemed to start the “Madness.”  You know those little prompts in your head that speaks to you so clearly no matter how softly?  They seem to haunt you if you don’t know how to look at them correctly.  Well, they started itching at me about five years ago, just about the time that Jason’s job transferred him back to Utah.  Everything was perfect, right?  My husband was finally home, my children were adjusting to life in normal, finally, and I was happy wife and mother who couldn’t have asked for a more perfect life.  So why was it that those little promptings had to come?

I knew then that Jason driving over 70 minutes one way to work was ridiculous, but I loved our life in Nephi, we all loved our life in Nephi.  Enough said.  Even Jason said so.  He knew how much my house, my yard and my ward family meant to me and to the children, it would be all right for him to drive all that way and spend all that time on the road away from his life if it meant keeping us happy, and somehow all of us were content with that.  It wasn’t until a couple of years later at a recommend interview with a very Intune priesthood holder that the promptings stopped whispering and started speaking louder.

“You need to move,” he said matter of factly in the middle of our pleasant conversation.  “Jason needs to be part of your family again.  Take the next few years and get your finances in order and then you need to move.”

Now you may ask what it was that he knew.  Surely Jason and I should get the promptings for our own family, but sometimes God sends someone to awaken you when you have been sleeping through those little whispers that he has been sending.

I knew when this man said that, that God had been trying to tell me that all along.  So what did I do?  I cried a little…of course I did, I had the perfect life and God’s little detour was going to disrupt that, but then I smiled because I love Jason oh so much and the thought of him being around more, being part of the family more, having time to love me more, well how could I not smile about that?

So our plans started and miracles came to help us pay off some debt and pay down our house a little and put money away for the time when it came to move.  For the last three years March 15th of 2015 sat in our heads of when to put the house for sale.  December 2014 came and I mapped out what I would have to do at the start of the new year to be ready to sell in a few months.  Prayers came to ask for guidance both for our family and for the family that would buy our house.  Kids were emotional.  Those that were normally tough were weak, those that usually battled through emotional crisis poorly arise to the change that was coming.  Little manifestations of God’s tender mercies seemed to fall on us so often that it left us with little doubt that what we were doing was right.

Then came that little itch again, that one that this time I was determined to listen to.  “Hurry up.  Don’t wait until the middle of March put your house up for sale in two weeks.”  When you are in the middle of painting and cleaning and packing excess away, the idea of moving up the listing of your house by two whole weeks seems a little impossible, but we did and magically we were ready in time.  Then it was prayers that we would know the right house for us to buy when we stepped into it, that we would know that God had sent us there.  Also were the prayers that whomever was supposed to buy our house would know too that God had sent them there.

4 ½ weeks later that man stepped through our door, looked at me without going passed the front room and said, “Now I know why I kept feeling like I needed to come look at your house, God has sent me here.”

I would like to say that from that point on the miracles kept happening and everything went so smoothly, but it didn’t.  Oh, the miracles kept coming, at such an alarming rate it seemed to knock the wind out of all of us…but at the moment the trials started too.  We looked at so many houses, all of which needed so much work, or just didn’t feel right, and I couldn’t possibly see how leaving perfect little Nephi could ever be a happy blessing.  Jason was frustrated and feeling guilty, the kids were terrified and horribly sad, and I was disappointed to all get out. 

But then, a light flipped on at the very last moment of our journey down the darkness that seemed to have no hope of lifting…a beautiful big house, on the rolling hills of Eagle Mountain Utah.  Jason and I both looked at each other as we stepped through that front door and said, “This is it, God has sent us here.”

Offer was made and accepted…loan was secured, all that we needed was the man who was buying our house’s loan to go through…

Days drug on, nothing.  Oh, it would be coming, the loan officer would say.  Supposedly sometime next week was all that we would be told, but then next week would come and nothing would happen.  Finally when we were down to the wire and we had already extended the offer by two weeks, the call came that we would be signing in two days.  Brilliant, or so we thought until those two days went and the loan failed and a very sad man called asking us to please wait and not sell our house to someone new while he tried to get another loan.  What do you do at that point?  Well, you cry some more.  Then you breath after all of the hysterics, you get on your knees, and you ask your Heavenly Father what he wants of you, no questions asked.  Jason and I agreed to give the man one more shot knowing full well that our dream house would probably go to someone else, but it would be okay because we were being patient and trusting God, even though my heart still knew that that amazing home in Eagle Mountain, that almost seemed to glow from the spirit guiding us there, was meant to be mine.  I tried to be happy and not fear as I felt like my dream was being ripped away, and somehow I was…I was happy and the fear completely melted away from me.  God was in charge and he got to decide, not me, not Jason, and certainly not the world.

Miracle of miracles was the call the next day…another loan had been procured in just shy of 24 hrs. time and we were to sign on the house the very next day.

Of course then came the rush of moving and living with my brother Cullen and his wife Annalee and their cute family for a week while we waited for the owners of our new house to move out, and of course moving in after all while the amazing Jen Jen graduated from high school.  Throw in the fact that we play end of school activities for about a million different schools throughout the state and grad-night parties for more than I would like to count…it really was craziness. 

And yet here I sit, trying to understand how I can share all of this with all of you and let you see just a smidgen of the gratitude that I feel.

This last weekend, five of my seven siblings and I took a much needed retreat to Saint George without spouses or kids and just enjoyed time to spend with one another.  So much fun, so much craziness, and so much of God’s love.  Family…that has been the whole theme of my whole life, even when I was a teenager and hadn’t realized it yet.  That is what God was trying to give me when he sent us here to Eagle Mountain, a chance for Jason to be more part of our family.  That is why we are here, my friends, for those connections, and if you think God isn’t aware of you or doesn’t care about you, all you have to do is look at that family that you were either tossed into at birth, or you grabbed up along the way, and you can’t help but feel that little bit of gratitude that I was talking about, because it is always there waiting for us to offer it while we smile at the life…the family that our Heavenly Father has given us.

                                                    Pics from our Siblings Retreat..
Ever tried smiling while holding in your cheeks?  Not a pretty picture...this is what it looks like.
Cullen feigning sleep.  Always the center of attention. as always.
Jill the "Trunk Troll..." because that's what you do when you are out of seats in the Prius.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Very Loud, Very Public, Displays of Joy

It blew my mind last week as I read the story of the woman who stole the baby right out of another woman’s belly, injuring the woman severely and killing the baby.  What is the world coming too?  Then when I heard that she quite possibly wouldn’t be convicted of murder because the baby wasn’t considered a viable human being yet, I shuttered to wonder what our legal system was coming too.  This following a year of brutality and murder and political unrest and infidelity and naked celebrities bums plastered all over the internet and part of me wanted to just scream, scream at the top of my lungs, “It’s enough!”  But today when I read about the bill in NYC that quite possibly could become law to abort babies in third term, I was ready to throw in the towel.  I am, and will always be, anti-abortion.  You can judge me all you want.  I don’t care if the baby is only seconds into its creation, unless God steps in to end the pregnancy on His own, it is never, I repeat never alright.  Some situations are sad and horrible and I cannot even imagine the pain behind them, be whatever they are, but that unfortunately can be life and it is never someone’s right, no matter how sad or hard or unplanned or inconvenient to decide for another human being, just barely a few cells splitting or 50 years into mortality whether or not they are a mistake or should live.  That is only, only up to God.  That being said, even those people who believe in early term abortion have got to see the wrong in this.  When you have to inject a fetus’ heart with poison to kill it before delivering it, because if you delivered that baby at that time it would almost always live on its own, without the help of anything, that is murder.  No one, not even those who believe in abortion can say any differently without all out lying.

So where does the world go now?  I look back at my childhood and see the things, hard things, evil things that were coming about.  My mom would talk about how much easier of a time it was for her as a child than we had it then.  I’ve watched my kids and thought the same thing, “Wow, it was so much easier of a time for me when I was a kid,” but as swiftly as things change and as horribly as wickedness spreads, it spreads even faster than years of past.  When one pebble rolls and a piece of mud clings to it, it slowly gets larger, as another roll in the mud grabs hold it grows larger still, as this great big ball of mud gains speed and proportion it grows faster still, and the time will come when there is more mud to be seen than green spots of grass.  Tomorrow will be even harder for my children than today.  No longer is each generation growing in wickedness but each year is, and soon it will be each month is, then each day, then hour, until I wonder if anything will be shocking any more.

When can Christ come?  When can the world end, and burn, and renew and only goodness rein?  When oh when?  I know it is soon.  More than it has ever been it is soon.  You cannot look around you and see the great sin and immoral acts that are condoned and even celebrated as they are in the world today and not know that it is soon.  How I look forward to that day.  But soon, to a world that has been thousands of years in the making may or may not be in my lifetime.  What is a couple hundred years to thousands?  I cannot give in to waiting, because that great tomorrow when finally the world can let out a big sigh of relief when finally sin is wiped away may not quite be my tomorrow, but the Lord’s in His own eternal timeline of things tomorrow.  And so, I, in all the stress and turmoil and unrest of today, will find joy, even if only in my own home, and I, in all the stress and turmoil and unrest of today, will do all I can to spread that joy to others in the horrible, but still beautiful, world around me.

You see, Satan most certainly has not thrown in the towel.  Heck no!  He has amped up his workout and I will do the same.  God doesn’t want me to be sad.  “Men are that they might have joy,” and that doesn’t say, “Except in the last days when the world will be too wicked and neighbor will hurt neighbor and leaders will destroy nations.  Then it will be too hard and then Men are that they might suffer through it all and know that only when the world ends and Christ comes again can Men be that they might have joy.”  No, Men are that they might have joy, even now, especially now.

I can laugh, and smile and giggle even with all the horrible that is and I can smile at a complete stranger and share a pleasant conversation with the man or woman at the checkout line, or passing on the sidewalk, or at a job that I have never met before and brighten their moment a little even if the person behind me is cussing and swearing up a storm, because I can be that little light in that storm that brings about that “Men are that they might have joy,” if even just for a moment.

Last night, Jason, Jenny, Nan and I went out to grab a quick bite to eat after Miss Nephi practice and the run through of sound that Jason does for that for the last several years.  It had been a very busy week last week with uncountable amount of gigs in the books and a million other things.  We were all running very low on sleep for four or five days now and throw in the stress that is in our home with trying to sell said home, and as we all sat down at a table at our local Burger King, it was like a huge stalled breath was released and for a moment all stress just washed away.  I giggle thinking back to those very unfortunate people in Burger King who had to listen as the craziness that is our giggle fest and days story telling fest and silly memory retelling fest unfolded in a very public place such as that, but it was amazing how suddenly everything was alright again, and even more, happy again as we took a moment to set cares aside, and laugh as a family, loud and disturbing as we might have been.  I’m sure all of those patrons will go home and tell their tale of woe, of how they had to give up a peaceful meal to listen to that crazy redheaded family giggle and laugh with one another, but I assure you, that joy was much needed and the stress had to be let to wash away at that time more than anyone could ever know but us.

I felt it then, and I will try to understand it more in others as I maybe see the little bit of commotion, joyful commotion, that maybe from time to time needs to seep out in very public places, and hopefully I will remember last night and instead of rolling my eyes, hopefully I will smile with them and understand their need to find joy in and amongst the evil stressful world that we live in.

And if you were there last night, trying so desperately to eat a peaceful meal at a little town that you passed through on your way home, hopefully you too will smile and know that we were just grabbing a little bit of joy along our stressful way and hopefully you will find some joy in your day in remembering ours.  And if tomorrow comes and it feels too hard and part of you wants to sigh, while the other part of you wants to cry, grab someone next to you, smile with them, laugh with them, forget your stress just for a moment, and you might be surprised just how much joy you have shared with them along your way.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A good eyebrow wax and everything else that comes with it.

“I know, I know, you are gonna put this on your blog right?” that’s what my nine year old Sam said when I just had to record his karaoke with my phone.  He wasn’t smiling when he said this, in fact he looked as if he had resigned himself to the inevitable.  Now this is the part where you wait on pins and needles to see all the glory that is Sam, but as a good mother I smiled and said, “of course not, Boy,” (that is what we sometimes call him, Boy.  Long family story that has to do with his great grandfather Raymond,) “of course not, Boy.  I just wanted it for me.”  Let me just say that you are missing out, because surprisingly he’s really good.  He hits every note perfectly and even puts some soul into it in a few places.

So now what does this even leave me to talk about if I can’t post a rockin’ video of my little boy?  Waxing my eyebrows?  Getting my home ready to sell, or giggling with my girls.  How about all three?

There is something so amazing about freshly waxed eyebrows.  Yes, I said it, there is.  Now you men may not understand this, but any woman who has had a perfect eyebrow wax done, glorious pain and all, will tell you that there is something magical about the results.  Well this was exactly the case twice for me in the last four and a half weeks.

It all began with my first time showing my girls how to wax their eyebrows, comical to say the least, followed by mad woman spending three weeks trying desperately to declutter our house and paint my bedroom, bathroom and hall and hall bathroom all to get our house ready to go on the market.  Followed up by the wonderful agony of the hot wax.

So…Jenny and Nan have been bugging me to wax their eyebrows, always asking me just after I have put the wax away and cleaned up for the day.  Finally they caught me before the cleanup, and the party began.  I’ve spoken in the past about our crazy family dinners with loud talking, crazy conversation, and incessant giggles, well, direct that toward one redheaded girl laughing at the other redheaded girl as the little tiny hairs of their inside brow is pulled.  Magic, I tell you, and definitely another highlight of my day to chalk up in the Gibson history books along with all the other craziness that is a large, very noisy, very outgoing family.  It was priceless, and of course Nan had to record the crazy of it all.  See it here…

We still talk about it several weeks later.  In fact when I called Nan a few minutes ago to ask her if she still had the video she couldn’t stop laughing, and Jenny who was busy driving their truck that they were both in on the way to the movies only sighed in the background and started laughing too.  We have a rather strange home, I’ve decided, and we are rather comfortable about talking and laughing and discussing rather strange things that normal people would probably just raise one eyebrow and shake their heads at.  But I am glad that we all feel that comfortable around one another and that comfortable in our own skins, and if that’s strange, well, so be it, I rather like our strange but funny life.

Then came the next few weeks of me cleaning every corner, rearranging every closet, running to the dump about five millions times by myself and with my kiddos.  Furniture strewn throughout the house in awkward places as I painted our bedroom with the help of my awesome mom, plastic covering the carpet, tape protecting vanity mirrors, and paint on my clothes, under my nails, in my nose and throughout the whole entire head of my hair.  What does this have to do with waxing my eyebrows?  Well let me tell you.  I do them very regularly, every two and a half weeks, my hair grows like a weed.  In fact when I go get my hair on my head dyed and cut every three months people ask me if I’m growing it out and then when I get it cut, into the exact same cut mind you, they tell me that they like the new hair style that I got.  That being said, four weeks of fingers in paint and cleaning closets and running to the dump led to no time for messy hot wax and lots of time for bushy caveman eyebrows to grow in.

So when the house finally went up on the market a few days ago, and in my spotless wonder of a house I finally had time to wax, I came to realize just how much I like the face that smiles back at me in the mirror that I had forgotten and even lost under those crazy bushy brows.

I learned a few things about the beauty routine that so many of us woman put ourselves through, and as much as I hate the time of it all like the rest of you ladies, I must say that there is something gloriously empowering about the whole concept.  I’m not one of those feminist who scream foul and want to go more casual on the grooming tips like a man.  I like basking in femininity while I get all messy and dirty doing in some cases what might appear like a man’s job.  And why is that?  Because it does several things for me, two of which are “priceless” as the saying goes.  One of which, probably the most important, is it lets me connect with my girls in a way that only women can understand, laughing and teasing and sharing beauty tips even though I am more than twenty years older than them.  And the other thing it does for me…at the end of a busy, messy, even paint spilled in the hair kind of a day, I can look in the mirror and feel like a million bucks even though all I spent was a little time.  Pretty superficial maybe, but important none the least, especially the giggling and connecting with my girls part of it all.

So, yes, that is how, and why I can write a whole blog post on waxing my eyebrows.  You didn’t know what to expect when you started this, did you?  And right now you are probably asking yourself why you wasted the last few minutes of your day reading this, but I’m telling you, if that is what you are thinking, then come on over to my house and let my girls and I show you just what a good brow wax can do for you.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Callie and the Looking Glass

I wrote this little story several years back for one of the most amazing women that I have ever known, and she knows who she is, and for some reason it has been on my mind as of late.  So today I am going to share it, in it's unedited version.

Callie and the Looking Glass


            Once upon time there was a little girl who lived in a small cottage on the outskirts of a large kingdom.  Every morning when she rose she would stand on her front step and look at the beautiful castle on the tallest hill in the kingdom.  It was grander and more beautiful than anything else in all the valley, with its white pillars reaching heavenward.  A great king lived in that castle and he ruled the large kingdom with wisdom and patience beyond any other.

            Callie loved to stand and imagine what it would be like to live in such a place.  Callie was a quiet girl.  Her face was scared and ugly from an accident years before.  When she was but a baby her little home had been lost to a fire, and in the heat and flame that engulfed the little house Callie nearly lost her life.  But her mother with the strength that only mothers can have, ran back into the burning cottage and saved her infant daughter from the death that surely awaited her there.  Her mother had given her own life to save Callie and Callie was reminded every time that she looked into the mirror of the woman who had died for her.

            The neighborhood boys would tease and torment Callie, never letting her forget the horror that was streaked across her face.  As she grew older she grew more remote and sullen, staying quietly to her home and as far away from other’s stares as she could.

            Callie’s father was bitter too, missing his wife horribly and being reminded of what he lost that day every time that he looked at his daughter’s face.  Although he never meant to blame her, his bitterness grew with the years.

            Callie dreamed of traveling to the beautiful castle and meeting the great king that lived there.  It was rumored that inside the beautiful castle, locked in the highest room in the tallest tower, was a magical looking glass.  The looking glass was told to hold a magic that could look into the beholder’s soul and tell of the value of the life that stood before it.  More than anything Callie dreamed of knowing the value of the solitary life that she lived.

            Every morning Callie remained hidden, locked away in her little farm.  She milked the cows and tended their little garden.  She cleaned the house and cooked the meals and stayed hidden far away from cruel eyes and wicked stares.

            One morning as Callie was finishing milking the little jersey cow out along the fence that separated their little farm from the country road, an old woman stumbled along its path.  Her face was tired and old, her skin wrinkled and thin.  Salt and peppered hair was falling messy out of a corkscrew bun and her clothes were tattered and torn.  She looked at Callie, her tired eyes weak and sad, and in a soft crackled voice pleaded with Callie.

            “I’m so thirsty.  Perhaps you could spare some of your warm milk to wet my tired lips.”

            Callie looked down at the bucket, barely sloshing with what little milk the old jersey cow could give and knew that it wouldn’t be wise to share what little they had.  When Callie looked back at the old woman, her back bent and her eyes begging, she couldn’t withhold what little that she could give.

            Thank you, thank you,” the woman whispered as once she sipped the last from Callie’s ladle.  “Please I must know your name.”

            “CCCallie,” Callie stammered shyly.  “My name is Callie.”

            “What a beautiful name,” the woman spoke back.  “Callie means most beautiful as truly you are.”

            As the old woman limped down the road Callie couldn’t help but to look down at her face in the pale white milk.  An ugly, scarred face looked back at her, even more hideous than Callie had hoped.  Nothing had changed and surely the old lady had been blind.

            Later that day, after feeding her father and picking the grapes heavy on the vine, Callie traipsed off toward the neighbor who lived down the lane.  Farmer Jones had just harvested the last of his wheat and every year Callie traded her grapes for some of Farmer Jones’ grain.  Callie looked down at the basket in her hands.  The grapes this year were small and uneven, nothing like the years past, and she worried that he would reject her offering completely. 

            On the way to the farmer’s house Callie stumbled upon some boys up to mischief.  When they eyed Callie their attention went from the poor little kitten that they were tormenting to Callie and almost instantly the name calling began.  Callie tried to hide her hideous face behind her hands, but the boys kept on teasing.  Soon enough one of the boys gathered some pebbles and started throwing them at Callie.  She dropped her basket and covered her head and began to run.  It wasn’t long until Callie was stumbling, falling in her haste to get away.  As she went down she thrust her hands out in front of her to catch her fall, scuffing them and skinning her knees.

            Just when Callie had lost all hope, warm arms wrapped around her and a gentle voice shewed the boys away.

            “Let me help you,” the kind voice said and Callie looked up into the eyes of a broken and shattered man. 

            From the top of the man’s shaggy brown locks to the bottom of his holey shoes the man was covered in a thick layer of dirt and grime.  He smiled kindly at Callie, his teeth brown and many missing and Callie tried to keep from turning away.

            “Thank you,” she said.  “How can I ever repay you?”

            The man handed Callie the basket that she had dropped and looking at her grapes hungrily asked, “May I have a few for my dinner?  I am so hungry and it has been so long since I remember eating, and your grapes look so appetizing.”

            Callie shrunk knowing that to give him even a little of the grapes that were already so lacking would take away any hope she had of bartering with Farmer Jones, but she couldn’t turn the man away when he had done so much for her.

            “Thank you,” the man said when at last he licked the last of the grape juice from his lips.  “I will forever remember you my beautiful deliverer, in my heart.”

            As he turned walking away briskly, Callie looked down at the basket in her hands.  Where once the pitiful harvest of grapes had been now sat a basket over flowing with magnificent giant, purple grapes, certainly Farmer Jones would repay her generously.

            When Callie arrived home that afternoon it was to find her father packing the wagon and their little tired donkey for a journey into town.  Fall harvest had come and the village would soon be a bustle with farmers and their wares.  Every year Callie’s father went to town to try and sell off the abundance from their garden.  Every year Callie had sat at home praying for a good market for her father.

            “Pack a change of clothes, Callie Girl.”

            “Me?” Callie asked, looking toward town and the beautiful castle.

            “Of course you,” he grumped.  “Instead of standing there and dreaming of a life you don’t have, you could come and help me to provide for the one that you do have.”

            Callie was afraid to go into town in front of all those people with her scarred and ugly face, but she was even more afraid to anger her father.  The trip was long and night seemed to come on early but before morning even had a chance to awake they were arriving in town.  Through sleepy eyes Callie helped her father set up their tent and arrange their wares.  While their first costumer was bartering with Callie’s father she was setting up their meager breakfast.  Nature had not been good to their family this year and there was not much at their scant table for the two of them to eat.  All that they could spare was at market to bring in what little they needed to heat their cottage and feed their animals through the winter.

            As Callie laid out the last cracked plate little eyes stared up at her from behind the table’s wobbly legs.  A little boy, no bigger than four or five looked up at her, his blue eyes large and sunken.  His legs were thin and wobbly and his tattered night shirt torn and stained.  His bare toes stood out dirty and callused and Callie knew even before he opened his mouth the pleading that would come.

            “Please,” was all that he said with big tears tugging at the corners of his eyes.

            Callie loaded up her breakfast, dried bread and salted butter, and wrapped it in a faded linen napkin.  As she placed it in the young boy’s hands he wrapped his arms loosely around her and kissed her hand gratefully.

            “Thank you, Beautiful Princess,” he said as he stumbled away, his hand clinging tightly to Callie’s breakfast.

            That night, after a long day at market Callie and her father slipped down for the evening, their tired bodies struggling to sleep under the majesty of the great castle that loomed above them.  Callie closed her eyes imagining that she was there.  Her stomach growled and she wished that she had saved something for herself.  Her father tossed and turned beside her, unable to sleep with the knowledge of the failure that the day had been.

            “If only,” Callie wished but instead of in her head the words had drifted to the empty space between her father and herself.

            “If only what?” her father asked.


            “If only what?” he said again more commanding.

            “If only we lived in that great castle.  If only we didn’t have to worry or starve.  If only I could get just one glimpse of the magic mirror tucked away in the tallest tower.”

            Callie knew almost as soon as the words left her mouth the trouble that she had caused.  Her father jumped to his feet almost instantly despite his weariness and was swiftly yanking Callie to her feet.

            “Go,” he yelled.  “Go.  See what happens when you get there.  All your life you spend dreaming but you do nothing.  Go and see if anything changes.  You’re ugly Callie and you don’t need a magic mirror to tell you that.  You will always be the ugly reminder of what I lost.”

            She knew the moment that he said those awful words that he regretted it, but still Callie could not erase the meaning behind the pain her father held.  She stumbled through the night, wandering almost blinded by her tears, and she could hear him calling after her, an apology almost innocent and sweet, but he didn’t bother to stumble behind her.

            The large castle, magnificent and magical, seemed to dazzle as it stood before her.  Callie wiped the tears from her eyes, though they had left a salted path in the dust on her face, and wiped the travels from her skirt.  With trembling hands Callie knocked on the door turning almost instantly to crawl silently away into the night when suddenly the door opened throwing brilliant yellow light out across the darkness.  A tall man stood there.  He had soft brown waves and a neatly trimmed beard.  Blue eyes as clear as a mountain stream smiled back at her kind and understanding.  He was robed from top to bottom in a gown of whitest silk and his feet were clothed in the softest leather sandals.

            “Finally,” he said to her, reaching out and drawing her in.  “It took you longer than I thought to get here.”

            Callie looked around her at the enchanting room she stood in confused by his meaning.  Every corner of the room was white and perfect, from its plush carpet to its overstuffed furniture. 

            “You’ve come to see,” was all that the great king said, but Callie knew what he meant.  He pointed to a winding staircase paved in shimmering white marble.  “But know this, once you look you will never be able to unsee.  Once you see the value that I see in your soul you will never be able to forget.  Some say it haunts them until the day that they die, but,” he said with a twinkle to his smile, “others say it brings them the peace that this world could never bring.  Are you sure?” he asked her and Callie only nodded her head nervously.  “Then,” he said giving her a gentle nudge, “no time better than now.”

            The trip up the winding stairs seemed to drag on for eternity.  The thumping behind Callie’s heart seemed to beat harder with every step.  As Callie struggled to turn the gold doorknob at the end of the stairs her hands were slippery from perspiration and fear.  The door slid open smoothly revealing a large empty room, from top to bottom as white and as pure as the rest of the castle.  The only thing to be found at all in the empty room was a large white oval mirror draped across an elegant stand and standing gracefully in the far corner.  Callie inched her way to it, wary of what she might find.

            As she stood in front of it, Callie locked her eyes tightly until she could gain the nerve to peek.  She opened her eyes slowly and examined the image in the mirror carefully.  A beautiful woman, with soft blond curls and beautiful almond eyes smiled back at her.  Her skin was clear and smooth, her long willowing body elegant and poised.  She stood with grace and character and splendor beyond any woman that Callie had ever seen. As Callie reached forth her hand she felt it touch lightly on the cool glass, and as she looked behind her, she realized that no one was in the room but herself, that no one else was reflecting in the mirror.

She turned her head once again upon the mirror and once again she saw the beautiful woman in the glass, but this time a man stood behind her in Callie’s reflection.  The great king of the castle placed his hands on the woman’s shoulders, and as he did Callie felt his warm hands grip softly to her shoulders too.   As she turned around there were questions in her eyes and the king smiled lovingly.

“Do you not see, Callie the most beautiful?  It is you in the mirror, the way that I truly see you.  I do not see the scars that you see, only the beauty of the scars that your mother so perfectly left behind on the day that she saved you.  No greater love hath any man than I for you and no greater love had your mother either than for you.”

“Why?” Callie asked.  “Why do you love me so much?”

            “For I was a hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.”  (Matthew 25:35)

            “When, Lord?” she asked. “When did I feed you and give you drink?”

            The king bent forward and raised her chin slightly in his hand, smilingly softly down at her.  He came clearly into her view then and she knew him.  She had seen him many times in the past several days, although each time he had taken on a different form.  She knew him now for who he really was.  He was in the old broken woman and the tired lost man.  He was even in the tiny hungry child.  He gently turned her back to the woman in the mirror and as Callie looked upon herself, for it truly was her, she knew that she would never be able to see her reflection again without remembering the true one that was inside, Callie the most beautiful.