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.




Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Little More Booty to Hold at Night

It’s no surprise that in the background while I was washing dishes after lunch that I had the song, All about that Bass, playing.  Kinda the Gibson moto around here.  Jason ran to a friends with Suzy and Sam to help him with some home theatre issues, Jen and Nan are off on their date to Snowcoming and Stephanie is in the other room watching Netflix, so not a whole lot to distract me around here.  I actually thought about the words to that song more closely this time, go figure, and if you don’t know the song there are plenty of places where you can go to listen to it…I actually prefer this one…. the singer’s voice reminds me of my cute Jenny’s bluesy vocals.

She talks about not being a size two but how she can shake it shake it like she’s supposed to do.  I know, I know, I am only a few days away from 40, but I can shake it shake it too like I’m supposed to do and at that moment I was shaking it shaking it like I’m supposed to do and I smiled when I thought that if the girls were to walk in right then they would blush and say, “Mom, you’re too old to dance like that,” and if Jason were home he would come up and grab my bum.  There, I probably embarrassed all of them by admitting that. 

The song talks about photo shop and how that’s not real and it talks about boys liking a little more booty to hold at night, having all the right junk in all the right places.  Where am I going with this, you ask.  Good question.  As I was listening to it all it was like some light bulb popped on above my head.  Now can Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost use a stupid rock song to speak to me?  The answer is yes and he did.  Grant it, the version that I listed above is a much cleaner version than the original, no swearing aloud, but the picture is the same either way.

Age is catching up with me, and I don’t mind it, really I don’t.  I don’t mind the white hairs that keep coming back, I don’t mind the wrinkles popping up around my eyes and between my nose, I don’t even mind that my body is much stiffer and sorer after a hard workout than it used to be when I was younger.  What I do mind is the fact that I am fifteen pounds heavier than I was seven years ago even though I workout harder than I ever have and eat about 500 calories less than I used to.  And sometimes I wonder how Jason can think that I am sexy and even if he does.  It was while listening to this song that I realized how crazy I am to even wonder this.  And here is why…

Jason is always taking a quick grab here and there, holding me a little longer than needed when he comes home at night, giving my bum a quick goose when no one is looking unless it’s our kids and then he doesn’t care if they see.  When I get undressed he locks the door so he can watch and when I pop into the shower he is always pulling back the curtain to get a quick look.  He cuddles up to me at night and wraps me tightly against him and he plays with my hair when we are watching t.v. together.  He calls me sexy baby stubs, and gorgeous and hot stuff and tells me maybe nine million times a day how sexy or gorgeous or hot I am, so why would there ever be any question whether or not he thinks me sexy?  And I know that you all, all of you married ladies out there, know exactly what I am talking about. 

Why does Satan have such a hold onto women’s self esteem?  Now I’m not a size two or even a size eight like some of you very beautiful woman out there are, but I am a size Angi, and that seems to be beautiful all in itself.  Some curves I would love to do without, but some of the curves I have…well I wouldn’t be willing to give them up.  I have beautiful thick hair and big grey eyes that sparkle.  My smile is contagious and my body is almost as strong as a man’s which is very important in the Gibson household with the line of work that we are in.  I smile all the time and laugh a lot which ads a special kind of softness to my face.  I look like my mom who is BEAUtiful and have the coloring of my dad which means I can tan up all soft and brown easily in the summer.   I have to be careful when I lift too much weight during workouts or I might bulk up a little too much around my shoulders and neck, but my amazing body can put on muscle like nothing at all.  I don’t have a flat tummy but I have a perfectly shaped belly button thanks to the doctor who reshaped it during a hernia surgery when I was six.  My waist isn’t as tiny as I would like but my big boobs and curvy hips help make it seem small.  I don’t have a tiny turned up nose, but it is slender and dignified and gives me an air as if I know something a little more than I actually do.  And last but not least, my butt is rounder than I would like but it is still perky even after 40 years and attached to the longest pair of legs that go all the way to the ground.

See what I am getting at here?  All of that makes up Angi, me, and I’m pretty awesome…and here is the secret…YOU ARE TOO!  And if you have any question about it, pay a little more attention to all of the signals that your sweetie is giving you, heck write them down with a check mark all day long as you are with him if you need to and I think you will be surprised all of the sexiness that he thinks that you are and then when Satan says that you’re not a size two or that you don’t have all the right junk in all the right places you can tell him that he is crazy and that he can go find some other sexy lady to harass, cuz we all know that “Guys like a little more bootie to hold at night,” and quick frankly being you, small and tiny, tall and willowy, round and curvy, elegant and graceful, or clumsy but spunky, whichever you may be is the perfect you and that in itself is sexy and you…yes you my dear are everything that that word means and if you don’t believe me, well….just go ask your hubby.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Biggest Tip Ever!!

In our line of work, the Gibson Family that is, it is not uncommon to receive a small tip beyond the set price for a job well done.  And when that happens I am always grateful, as I was last night.  We were able to go to the Little America Hotel and play a company party and set up our photo booth also.  The people were so nice and we made some new connections for other gigs in the future that I was so grateful for.  I couldn’t help but think that God had led us there.  And if that had been it, that would have been enough.

Pleasant night, pleasant people, nice income and new connections, but sometimes when you think everything is just as good as it can get, well, sometimes God gives you even more.

Last night’s gig was for a company called Sport Court.  They create all kinds of professional flooring for gyms, tennis courts, basketball courts, you name it.  They also create portable floors for outside sports or inside sports, even portable dances floors.  Well, in our line of work we come in contact with the dance floor variety all of the time and in our twenty plus years on the job I have seen some beautiful floors, but the one that they had brought last night for Jason to set up sound behind was one of the most beautiful floors that I have ever seen.  Here is their link to their site.

When we first arrived there, the location of the floor was a little too close to where Jason needed to set up, so they unsnapped a section of the floor, pulled it to the other end of the dance area and snapped it back together in the most amazing set up that I have ever seen.  Ingenious actually.  They commented that in our line of work that we really should get us one of their floors.  I even took the time while they were eating their dinner just before it was our turn to start, to look them up so that someday, maybe when other things for the business didn’t need to be bought, we could save towards getting us one of those ingenious floors.

Long story short…the party went smashing, everyone had a great time and we had a great time, meeting good people and doing what we do best.  As they pulled down the floor that night, those awesome Sport Court people, they commented on how tired they were and how much they didn’t want to bring the floor home.  A few minutes later they came back into the room and asked Jason if he had a way to get the floor home.  Of course Jason looked at me surprised and completely wondering answered her, “Yes, we have a suburban.”

“Do you want the floor?”

Just like that…biggest tip we have ever received.  Did I want to cry when she said that?  Of course.  In fact I felt a little silly for feeling so like a weepy woman, but I don’t think they could completely understand how huge that was for us. 

So now Jason and I and our business are the proud owners of the most beautiful portable dance floor ever.  With all of the weddings and corporate gigs that we play that is a huge blessing given to us from some absolutely amazing strangers that I will forever be grateful for.

Sometimes over the past years in my married life, Jason and I have had some very hard turns.  After Luke was born and I was sick.  After Jenny was born and she nearly died and then she was so very sick.  When Jason’s dad died way too young.  My parent’s divorce.  Jason’s job change and taking him away from us for a year while he was in Nevada and the loneliness that came with it and the struggle too to pay our bills.  But over the years there have been so many good things too, more numerable than I can count so I will just name a very few…

Our wedding and honeymoon.  The birth of everyone of our amazing children.  Jenny living when we thought she would die.  Jenny getting well finally after almost 3 years of her being ill.  A new stepmom that I could love and a different kind of relationship with both my parents that is more amazing than I ever thought that it could be.  Jason’s new job, the one that he has had for the past several years being one that he finds so much joy in and it sending him back to Utah.  Our business booming.  My beautiful new daughter in law that brings us such joy.  Watching my son grow up and Jenny coming so close and being so proud.  Having a new sort of closeness and peace in our home as our children mostly grow up as friends.  And most of all, Jason and I having the kind of marriage that I read about as a girl and dreamt about.  So close to perfect, even with all the very imperfect things that happen and people that we are, that it almost scares me.

Sometimes when all these good things happen I am only grateful, and only filled with so much awe at my Heavenly Father, but other times, like last night, when I already felt so blessed and then so huge of a gift was given to us I feel a little guilty.  Surely we have so much that God couldn’t possibly give us more.  Isn’t it our turn for a tragedy, even a little one?  And I know that that will come again, as it always will, because this is Earth, and this is life, and sometimes it just has to be hard, but I am beginning to learn that great times can come too and they do come and sometimes a billion times more than you deserve, and it’s okay to only be grateful and not to feel guilt.  It’s okay to say thank you without feeling undeserving, because sometimes that’s just what God wants to give us and he doesn’t need a reason, sometimes he can just say, “I am your Father, and today I wanted to bless you.” 

And you know, when those hard times come it’s that knowledge of Heavenly Father’s extreme love for me that not only gets me through, but always helps me to be happy even while I am sad.  Sometimes it is just okay to say, “Thank you, God, for loving me today.  Thank you for reminding me that you are there.”