Welcome to my digital writing journal, or mydigitalclutter. What started as a family blog almost two years ago has morphed into my writing therapy. This is where I do a lot of free writing, mostly about my life with my family and the things that catch my interest. While nowhere even close to perfect, in each post I like to see how my writing is changing with time and practice. Most posts are left unedited for this reason, so if you don't mind, take the journey with me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Small Comforts

There are those times of the month when all I want to do is curl up on my bed and wrap myself around a hot water bottle. A heating pad just isn't the same. When all you want to do is feel better, the weight of a water bottle is divine.

While on my mission in Uruguay, I was introduced to the wonderful experience of using a water bottle to heat my freezing, ice cold, damp sheets before climbing into bed. It was the first time in my life I had lived without central heat, or had the luxury of plugging in a heating bad. I remember when I got my teal colored, rubber bottle from the corner tienda and asked my companion what I should do with it. After the first night of keeping my toes toasty warm, I was hooked. I wore that poor bottle out, but brought it home, mostly for the memories and reminder it gives me.

Just because something is new, electric, high definition, or even super powered, doesn't mean that it's any better, or even works better than the alternative.

It didn't take me much time to discover that a water bottle beat the heating pad hands down when it came to my time of the month. I'm not advocating dumping your computer for the inconvenience of a typewriter, or even going back to walking everywhere in leu of driving your car. Just think of something that gives you comfort, a bit of nostalgia when you use it, or that makes you remember how much things have changed over the years.

What are your small comforts? What do you hold in nostalgic value?

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's a Privilege

So, since Dan decided to try out Netflix, I have been watching movies like crazy. Some are dear favorites, such as the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, which I have adored since I saw it, when it originally aired. (I know, that makes me soooo old, and I should just buy it already!) Others are those I thought looked good, but never saw at the theatre.

Today, I had a couple of movies that no one else would want to watch, but I had wanted to, so while the kids were playing, I popped one into the computer and cleaned the kitchen while I watched "The Nanny Diaries." Hmmm, what can I say? Seriously disturbing on so many levels, yet there seemed to be a moral to the story. Enjoy the privilege of being the parent (mother) to your children.

I had an "ah-ha" moment. I believe that many times every mother can't see past the drudgery of day to day life with their children. Wether they are home 100% of the time, work outside the home, parent toddlers or teenagers, there are days where we all wonder if it is all worth it. Days that are dark and depressing, (think PPD here) to days where one just can't function without a Dr. Pepper, are sprinkled between days of pure bliss and joy, but during the darkness we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. These days do not make us bad, unloving, or even unqualified mothers. In fact, if you were to tell me you NEVER felt insignificant or worried about your ability to mother, I would say you lived in a fantasy world. It is just one of Satan's clever ways to get us to doubt our self-worth.

My moment today was that I had been a little self-centered in my thinking lately. While I was "saying" all the right things and attempting to "do" all the right things, I was doing it all for me and not for those most important in my life. My kids are fantastic and wonderful and I love them. I just need to make sure that all the laundry and cooking I'm doing is for their benefit and not for the bragging rights of an overworked, over stressed, and under appreciated mom.

My kids are extremely independent and vocal individuals. They can't be told what to do or how to do it without some sort of assertion of their own independence. As I have said before, if channeled correctly, they will be rock solid during their teen years when it comes to peer pressure! At least that is my hope!☻ I have the amazing privilege to be their mother. I am the one who gets to see the fruits that they will produce in this life and know that they deserve every good thing that comes their way. It is a new mantra that I will practice time and time again as my kids try my patience, "I am privileged to have them!"

We didn't have the easiest time having children. We went through quite a bit of heartache and loss before we were blessed with Abbie in our lives. I miscarried five times before my pregnancy with her "stuck" as my doctor put it. I vowed that I would never take having children for granted because I knew how much it took for me to get one here, but that was before I was in the trenches of barf and poop, tantrums and terrors. Oh, I don't take them for granted now. I never really could. I thank the Lord every single day for them and pray for the guidance to be a good mother to them, everything that they deserve. It is easy to loose perspective sometimes.

Motherhood is a privilege. Don't we know it! When our little ones crawl up in bed with us, or snuggle on the couch. When they bring home a perfect report card, or win the big game. These are times when it is easy to remember what a privilege it is to be there for them. I only pray that I can continue to remember it when they talk back, scribble on the walls, or scream at me for brushing their hair (an entirely different post, believe me)!

Just looking at the photo above, I can honestly say, that I'm not sure why they chose me for their mother, but I'm sure glad they did. May I only live up to the privilege of being their mother!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekend Magic

This week has been ETERNAL. I'm not exactly sure why, but this week has dragged on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on. (Sorry for my own rendition of Pioneer Children!)

Monday was difficult as I had issues of self-doubt and despair. Luckily some of my dear peeps on Facebook/Twitter/and here made me feel a whole lot better!

Tuesday seemed like Wednesday, and boy was I disappointed when I got home and realized that Dan had class, and so, it was Tuesday.

Wednesday wasn't so much a hump as it was a mountain to climb before moving towards the end of the week.

Thursday should have been Friday, but unfortunately it wasn't, and so it turned out to be the inspiration to my idea of starting the weekend early...but try as I might, I do not have the ability to fast forward the hands of the clock.

Today. Well, today has been bliss, just in the knowledge that after a few short hours of work, I would be well engaged into the weekend revelry. This will probably consist of doing housework and sleeping in until 7:00 am, but hey, it's the WEEKEND! Just the knowledge that we don't have anywhere specific to go or do, i.e. work and school brings a smile to my face. We can sleep in, eat pancakes for breakfast (a semi-consistent family tradition), get dressed around noon, watch cartoons (the old Scooby-Doo is an all time fav), and just take it easy.

So, we all now that isn't going to happen. That was just wishful thinking above. I'm probably going to freak out in the morning and be the chore nazi, and not even relax. I'll make Abbie rush to and fro, Nigel will have to lug laundry baskets, and Dan will probably want to leave because he can't take my "stressing" out.

Here is my weekend mommy mantra.....RELAX, ENJOY, and DON'T STRESS! My week has been really long and so I need to give myself the gift of enjoying my family time and not turning it into Clawson Chaos, something I'm famous for. I will chant my mantra, I will sleep in, and I will eat pancakes. I will not stress about the clutter on my living room floor, or the fact that my daughter has erected a red yard clothesline in her room. I will not yell, nor will I clench my jaw. There will be serenity and joy this weekend. NO MATTER WHAT! Wish me luck!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Same Team

I can't turn my head off at night when I go to bed. Thoughts, images, conversations, to-do lists, run rampant through my mind. Sometimes I have stellar thoughts that make it into my Moleskine, but other times they just keep my awake and annoy the heck out of me. Last night was one of those times that kept me tossing and turning for a quite some time, and then continued through the morning today; what is the whole "Stay at Home" and "Work Outside the Home" debate and why is it even pertinent????

A couple of months ago, I had a conversation with my visiting teachers. One is a stay at home mom that teaches piano out of her home and the other has all her children grown and works full-time. Both have had experiences, as I have had, on both sides of the fence of this issue and debate. We were talking about the The Family, a Proclamation to the World, and how rearing children is primarily a women's responsibility, when it hit me; Why do women seem to attack each other in regards to their choice/decision to work or stay home? We are all daughters of the same God, with the same responsibilities for these small spirits entrusted to us, so why aren't we working together to make it?

Speaking only from my own experiences, I can't say why all mothers choose or have to work outside their homes. I don't know what everyone's personal situation is, but I do know why I have done so. To stay sane.

I know that my decision to work was not an easy one. It was met on my knees, along with my husband supporting me in anyway he could. I still feel guilty every single day, that I'm not there for some of the things my kids are doing on a daily basis. I don't always get to attend class field trips or be the room mother that everyone loves. I don't get to volunteer in my son's classroom and read to the children, or pop in my daughters class to see if I can help out in anyway. I assuage my guilt by buying the boxes of Kleenex and markers that are the wish list every fall. It doesn't completely eradicate the guilt of presence, but it is something I'm able to do.

I don't kid myself that my kids would have a terrible time with me as a "work at home" mom. In fact I did it for a while, and my poor husband bore the brunt of it. I was physically and emotionally incapable of doing what my family needed from me. It was one of the worst depressions that I have ever been in. I couldn't see past being Abbie's mom, and into anything beyond. There were some external factors that I won't get into right now, but when Daniel suggested me going back to work, I was ready by then.

Years later now, and I am still trying to cope with this decision. Is there a perfect situation for me? I suppose if I could say that I have one right now, it would be it. I'm at work while my children are at school and home with them when they are done. Not everyone is so blessed to have that flexibility or ability. Are there days that I long to be at home? Yes. Are there days that I look at my surroundings and can't wait to get to work? Yes. There is no magic middle ground. I wish that there was a strip of grass for those of us that want to straddle the fence, so we can have one foot on each side of the debate. I would love to be at home...and perhaps someday I do all my work at home, but for now, that isn't an option.

So why does it turn into a bloody brawl whenever this topic is brought up in Relief Society and Sunday school? Why is is so black and white? The prophets have never said that sanity is not a reason for working outside the home. I'm sure the Lord prefers sane mothers that can give their children a whole lot more quality than ones that can't function. Why can't those of use that have experienced the joy of both, support all those around us? After all, isn't it a decision between the Lord, the mother, and her family. We aren't included in that equation! All we can do is show love and support and not judge! It's okay for a women with an advanced degree to stay at home and love her children and nurture them there. It's okay for someone who needs to provide for their family to work. Can't we all just get along!?!?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Where have I been???

Seriously....where have I been???? I have never used this little marvel called the Magic Eraser, that is until today. I am not the best housekeeper. It could be the fact that I'm a full-time mom, work full time at Weber State, and don't have the energy to devout to an immaculate house. That generally falls down the list of priorities as other, more fun and interesting activities open up.

So, it has been a couple of weeks since I did some really deep cleaning, and straightening. I'm horrified to say it, but yes, you read weeks. I whipped this baby out and started on the spot on the stove that nothing has been able to raise. Just a few swipes later, and that burned on spot was GONE! ☺ Then, not to be outdone, I started on the fridge and the water dispenser that always seems to get grungy, no matter how dry I try to keep it. CLEAN! No more traces of water spots!♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ I love it! I think I'll have to get another package or two to make up for the times I haven't been as diligent as I should. My next target.....the kids' bathroom. It may take a few more erasers to get through that fun task, but hey, it works wonders!!!

By the way, we have those textured handles on the fridge that always look dirty...but they are pretty white now! Why have I waited so long!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Getting Old

I suppose this can be funny, or sad, depending on your perspective. It will depend on how you view aging, or if you know anyone with dementia or stages of it. Like in anything, it is how you choose to accept and view something that makes the difference. Choosing humor can sometimes turn a sad situation into something bearable.

I have had some great examples of people who grow old gracefully, with aplomb and dignity. I love to brag that my Great-Grandma Tureson was into her nineties and driving the freeways of Los Angeles. There are a couple memories I have of her (I must have been about twelve or thirteen the last time we visited before she died) weaving in and out of traffic like a pro, and my dad having a hard time keeping up with her.

My grandmother McEvoy is someone else that has seemed to age without it taking her down to a pit of despair and wallowing. She lives in a retirement complex and volunteers at the office a few hours each week in order to keep active. She also uses the computer, and yes, has an e-mail address!

Our society views aging as something to be ashamed of. We push our elderly relatives into nursing homes and scarcely visit, except when on days of required observance such as Mother's Day or Thanksgiving. A number of years ago, I had an experience that showed me just how society's views on the elderly differ. A friend and I were in Las Vegas, watching something on the strip, the pirate show I think. We were with some of her high school friends and one of them spoke Japanese. As the crowd surged forward to watch the spectacle, two Japanese couples pushed and elbowed their way to the front. They were muttering something to themselves and caused our friend to laugh. He spoke back to them and they were quite surprised to see this young white kid speaking their language. He translated for us what they had been muttering, something along the lines of: "We are old and so everyone should respect us and allow us to go to the front. It's our right as the elderly." Wow. They assumed that because they were old, they would get the respect they deserve. Perhaps that is how they had been treated in Japan, but not here in the good ol' US of A. It made me sad to think that we weren't as respectful and appreciative of age as they were.

I have also had some very bad examples of aging. One in particular would be my Grandma Clark who would say every time we would visit, "I will probably be dead tomorrow." How is that for some great incentive to visit?! I'd rather not thanks! She did live quite a long life, and was pretty healthy for all her lamentations. She would complain that it wasn't fun to get old and was down right negative about it. She didn't look at the life experience she had or the great lessons and stories she could pass down to her posterity.

Currently, I have an example in a couple of co-workers who aren't that ancient, truth be told. They both complain about bodily functions, walk like a tortoise because of lumbago (does anyone really even know what that is?) and call everyone youngsters. My biggest concern though, is that in one of them, she has taken so far that I think she may have the beginning sings of dementia. Now, she really could. I'm not a doctor, so I can't make that diagnosis, but there is certainly a mind over matter if it isn't true.

Something I've learned from those that have aged with grace.....they know their limitations and are okay with it. They know when they shouldn't drive anymore. They know when they need help with the big stuff, and even when they should quit while they are a head. I'm sure that secretly they are all frustrated with the loss of flexibility and strength and that they don't move as quickly as they used to, but they take it as a badge of honor of a life well lived and loved. I've also learned that they can tell stories, or teach us things to pass down through the generations. I learned to crochet from my Grandma McEvoy, and now it is a hobby that is cherished. My own daughter is learning to knit from my mom. It is something that she will hold dear as she grows older. There is a connection there that can't be forged any other way. Certainly not with complaints of lumbago.

So, we live in a society that values youth and vitality. Everything must be shiny and new, from cars to people. What about the worn, and well loved articles? Aren't they worth as much as the new model? Only if we look at it with a perspective of valuing history and preserving its worth.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I feel kind of bad, that I'm posting all my trials with my six year old, and haven't posted much about Abbie. Perhaps I will tell a tale about her tomorrow. But for now, here is how my afternoon went with my son:

While doing homework today, Nigel had to draw a picture of his house and write his address. After drawing a bird's eye view of our yard and house, he supposed to write his address. Here is how the conversation started.

Mom: Do you know your address?
Nigel: Yes.
Mom: Write the numbers, # and #.
Nigel: Okay.
Mom: Now 'North'
Nigel: That isn't how it goes.
Mom: That is our address.
Nigel: That isn't the correct way! My teacher won't understand it!
Mom: That is our address though.
Nigel: I want a different address. I don't like that one! I want my very own. I don't want yours! I want my very own.

This of course went with screaming, crying, throwing the pencil across the room, and hugh alligator tears streaming down his face. I sent him to his room for a little time out, but that didn't even seem to calm him down. We talked for quite a while about his anger management issues, but it didn't seem to work until I left him alone for to think about things for a while.

I suppose I should be grateful that he has such a strong sense of self. He will no doubt give me a run for his money as he gets older. Oh well. I surely love him! He is such a doll when he doesn't have a melt down.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dream and Vision

Today I had a little time to think about the purpose of having a dream or vision. I sat and talked with someone I admire and respect, and we talked specifically about the vision he has for his department. That is something that is seriously lacking in the current position I am in for work, so I don't mind at all that he is trying to steal me for his own department. ☺

It really got me to think about the situations where one (me in particular) isn't in a position to affect change for the overall populations, whether it be an office, family, etc. What does one do? Sit and chew fingernails to the quick? Complain loudly and often to anyone who will listen? Or does the person is question move to change themselves in order for it to percolate out to others in the vicinity?

We have all heard it said, and many times by many people, I'm sure; that one cannot change anyone else, he or she can only change them-self. Is that the gospel truth? Can I only work on my own goals and aspirations and how that others will catch the vision and jump on board?

I have been married for almost twelve years now. In fact, in just a few short weeks, it will be the twelfth anniversary of my first date with Daniel, and the subsequent seventeen days before we became engaged. As I look back, we were two very different individuals. In fact, when we told the bishop of our singles ward, he had such a shocked look on his face, I was sure he was going to faint. It didn't help that I was the Relief Society President and Daniel and his friends were the "Back Row Joes." That is the beauty of time and space and two committed individuals.!

We were very different, and by trial and error, came to the conclusion that no matter how hard we tried, I wasn't going to get Daniel to enjoy getting into Christmas celebrations as I did, and he wasn't going to get me to tone it down. We had to sit back and enjoy our differences and respect the other's viewpoint. On the other hand there are things that I have had to change about myself to make our family work, and there are things that he has had to change. I couldn't impose upon him anything that I wasn't willing to do myself.

I guess the point of it could be that we share a common vision in our marriage. We both want to have an eternal one. We actually like each other, so that whole "For Time and all Eternity" has an appealing ring to it. Having that vision has made change for us a whole lot easier. Perhaps I'm should say that I'm speaking for me here, not necessarily Daniel! ☺ Anyway, the vision keeps us going the direction that we should, and when we start to stray off the path, a getting a good perspective on the vision puts us back where we belong.

Back to my office. There are a lot of people who just can't seem to make that transition to the overall vision that could make it a better environment for them. I'm not in a position to make any changes, except with myself. So, I envision a better environment for me. No more complaints. If I'm to affect change, I must do it in the 20 feet that surround me. I know it isn't going to flow out farther than that right now, but in that small area, I can do something that is amazing. I can give 100% and reap the results of my efforts.

I also take this to my dream. You may have seen the previous post where it took a ton of courage to let the world in on my very secret desire to write. What is my vision? Do I have something to aspire to? Can I get on board with it to make the changes I need in order to accomplish it? It is kind of scary to think that I am going to lay words down on paper and try to make some sense out of them, and open it up for the world to see. (Some may argue that I am doing that now on my blog, but for me, it's just not quite the same.) If I don't have that dream, all I will ever do is jot down ideas and outlines. Nothing will ever be fleshed out into something resembling a story line. The characters in my head will remain there, never to experience the adventures I have in store for them.

What is your dream and vision for whatever you want to accomplish? I argue that there are many places that deserve to have a dream be a guiding force. Marriage, familial relationships, life in general. Dream baby Dream!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A very exciting summer!

I am so excited!!!! Perhaps I shouldn't use so many exclamation points, but I can't help it. For many months now, I have been playing with a dream. Toying with it really. I have gone back and forth with a number of ideas and haven't had much luck in solidifying anything into what my dream has consisted of. Today I feel as though I have taken a very solid step forward in accomplishing that dream. I'm even going to put it out there for all to see. Huge deep breath here......I am going to write a book. Now, I don't know where this dream will lead me, but all I know is that it is a dream that must be pursued. I signed up for a class today, Advanced Fiction Writing. It is the push I may need in order to get some things organized. I seem to do better by giving myself an assignment and having a couple of deadlines looming to motivate me.

Now, I harbor no hopes or aspirations of becoming the next big thing. I do however feel like there are a number of stories in my head that need to be told. I have fragments that run through my mind, ends unknown, characters halfway developed, but something is there, and I want to give it some substance.

So, here it is. Out for everyone to know. Come the end of June I will have some structure and hope to give some substance to my ideas. We'll see what happens and what path this dream will lead me on, but it is good to have a dream again. ¡Vivir para soñar! ¡Soñar para vivir!

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