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.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Writing it down

I was once told that a person has an 80% greater chance of succeeding with a goal when it is written down. Just by putting pen to paper, and writing down your desires does something to help you achieve them.

I spent today at a division retreat where we had a member of the university faculty come and talk to us about customer service. It is hard to sum up all the different facets of his presentation in a single sentence, so it is much more than that. I learned a number of things about myself today (we did the DiSC assessment for anyone familiar with that) and have a couple of "ah hah" moments to share.

1. If you aren't green and growing, you are ripe and rotting.

What exactly does this mean? To me, it means that we need to be constantly progressing, moving forward with your goals, dreams, and potential.

2. Awareness is the beginning of progress.

Again, the word according to me.....you can't change anything without first knowing what needs to be changed, what needs to be done, and isn't that half the battle, just knowing?

3. Some people go to their graves with their music still in them.

Talk about poetic!! I'm not sure if these quotes come from someone in particular or if they are just phrases that are used by this presenter. (Tim Border if you are familiar with WSU). I have to take this back to writing. How many of us have a story to get out, but never do? Do I want to go to my grave with my story still in me? Certainly not!

4. If you don't write it down (goals), you don't want it bad enough.

Wait just a minute. Did they just say that if I want to write that book badly enough, I'll write that goal down???? Deep breath inserted here. Light bulb flashing above my head. Yes, that is exactly what was said.

So, I have sit back a little bit and assessed myself a little bit. What do I want bad enough. Here is my list, in particular order:
  1. My family to be eternal. (This then raises the question of what am I doing to achieve that!)
  2. A trip to Scotland, preferably with my honey!
  3. Write a book, get it published (Technically two things, but hey, it's my list!)
  4. Have a clean house.....(Should be fairly easy, right? NO!)
  5. Send my children to college.
  6. Be healthy. Yep, that old "loose weight" just doesn't cut it. It's all about the heart health, baby!
Now, I've made lists before. I even have a couple tucked away in my scriptures, a journal, and probably my cedar chest in the front room. Most of my six goals above have been on the list, in one form or another for years now. Some come and go, but mostly, these are the mainstays. I wonder if writing them down on all of those lists has helped me move any closer to their fruition? Some I know will be a constant road of progress, such as number one. I have to break that one down into smaller, more manageable goals. Hmmm, can that be the answer to all of them?

As I sat and listened....okay, somewhat listened, my mind started going a million miles an hour on how to make some of my goals into reality. I pictured in my mind, sticky notes on my bathroom mirror asking my how many pages I'd produced, or little reminders taped to my sun visor in my car.

So I don't have a plan. A blog isn't exactly the tangible paper that is generally how one would write down goals. But today it's going to have to do. I have the big picture, and now it's time to break it down. Hey! I have a start though!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Let it Simmer

A couple of years ago, when Abbie started piano lessons, her teacher said something that I had never heard of before. She liked to let her students "simmer their pieces" and let time work it's magic on it. Students would continue to practice their work, even after one would say that a student had passed it off.

I have been using this philosophy with my writing. Now, I am no means a pro, nor do I even deem my work close to scrutinization yet, but I do enjoy seeing where time takes me and the story that is itching to get out.

One of the very first scenes I wrote in my story has been completed and sits in a file on my computer, and hasn't been looked at for some time. It is neither the beginning or the end of the story, so there is still much work to be done to get to this point and to find culmination of my idea. Some of the scenes are outlined, and others are still in the yet to be discovered phase. Back to the first scene though. I still think about it. I still picture it in my mind as I think of the overall arc of my story. It is still simmering.

What does it mean to simmer something? Well, to cook something slowly, letting the flavors burst from the various ingredients to meld together into something wholly spectacular by itself. If ever you have had crock pot soup, you know exactly what I mean. A favorite of mine is homemade chicken soup. I throw whatever veggies I have on hand into the pot, chicken, and stock. Delicious! The flavors become one and a new creation is born.

I opened up the file of my first scene and realized that I had been simmering for quite a while. New ideas have opened up and new directions are forged. I can't wait to see what simmering for quite a while will do!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Many Blessings

I wanted to share a few pages that I've scrapped tonight. I'm hoping that Shelly and Mary Ann don't mind, but it was so great to think about the great time we had visiting Amanda in the hospital. To view an update on her health, please visit her blog link on the menu bar on the right.

The first page is of the girls visiting Amanda in her room. The girls were so excited to visit with her, even though they weren't too sure how to take their friend being hooked up to monitors and machines. Although Amanda is cheesing it with her smile, she in no way looks like child they were used to playing with. To be honest, these girls have spent so much time together when Shelly was babysitting them, they are probably as close as sisters.

This next picture is of all the kids and their crazy antics. We all rode the train down and back. The kids all loved it. I was able to get some really fun shots of these kids making all sorts of poses and faces. The quote on the layout certainly does say it all..."Beware of the Kids!"

As always, I'm pretty bad with credits, so here goes the old college try:

Layout 1: Template by Andrea Gold, kit by Summertime Designs

Layout 2: Template by ???, kit is the Scrap Orchard April Mega kit.

Remembering this day is bittersweet. We certainly felt pain for our dear friends the Nef's and were so glad to sit and visit with them. On a side note, for those interested, we did see Elder M. Russell Ballard coming out of one of the elevators when we were at the hospital! We had to do a double take to make sure it was him! We did have a lot of fun hanging out, and can't wait to be able to do it with Amanda and the rest of her family when she gets better and can be around other people again.

To end tonight, I have to start counting my blessings. I am overwhelmed by the many things that I have been blessed with. The list grows daily. Tonight in particular, I was reminded as I looked at Nigel fell asleep on the living room floor, how blessed I am to be the mother of my children. Cute kid that he is, he is even cuter while sleeping and his face relaxes in an angelic manner. He has the longest eye lashes I have ever seen and they fan his cheeks beautifully. He won't appreciate that comparison when he is older, but for now, that is how he is. Abbie is maturing and makes me want to enjoy the moments when she still is a little girl. Moments where she wants to snuggle on the couch and let me stoke her arm or hair, those are to be remembered and counted as blessings.

Have you counted your blessings today?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Country for me

From the time I was very small, I have had an affinity, or obsession, whatever you may want to call it, with Scotland. I remember as a grade-schooler and learning about the lochs and plaids, and the bagpipes, I felt it calling to me. Over and over again, I would find myself drawn to stories that took place there, and imagining myself trudging along the Highland hills with whatever character has the good fortune to be constructed there.

I've never had the opportunity to visit, and it is on my "bucket list" to do someday before I "kick the bucket", but I yearn to go. Part of my ancestry hails from Scotland, although I'm not as familiar with it as I should be. I know that a large portion of my heritage hails from Sweden, and I would also like to visit there, but it doesn't hold the same fascination or pull for me as does the wilds of the Highlands.

Someday I'm sure that I will have the chance to walk along the glens with Daniel. I even picture the poor man wearing a kilt, but that is pure fantasy. Oh, Daniel would happily oblige with the kilt part, but Scotland is low on the priority list right now.

So, for the time being, it remains on my "bucket list", and I endeavor to find as much to read where I can find a haven in Scotland.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

GNO with my cutie-pie and missing my boys

We had a fantastic weekend all around the Clawson clan. It was our ward's first Father/Son camp-out and Daniel planned it! From what I understand, it was rousing success, and I know that my boys really loved it. Nigel had slept in his sleeping bag for a week before the activity and couldn't sleep the night before.

Abbie and I had a girls night out and really enjoyed our time together. We don't get to spend as much one on one time with our busy activities, but with the boys camping, we got to do what girls do best.....SHOP! ;)

We had to take a trip to Old Navy for the summer standard flip-flops and a new swimming suite for Ab. She is so cute, and had to get the flip flops that matched her new suite, so she would be "matchy, matchy". After that, it was dinner at Red Robin, and home for movies. We ended up sleeping in the living room, partly because this mom has a hard time sleeping in her bed without dad there. Poor little girls, we were up until almost midnight, and had a hard time getting up the next morning.

Fun times! Have a good one!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And the Muse has left the building....

My muse is gone. I think she took a vacation and didn't leave me any contact info. I think she got a little fed up with the chaos that is my house, and decided to pack her bags and head for calmer, greener pastures.

I miss her, and am thinking of anything that I can do to get her back. What this means, is that I lost all progress I had made in putting words together in coherent sentences (at least I think they are coherent). I opened the file on my computer and the words swam in front of my eyes, and then a child called for a bath towel, while another mentioned a HUGE craft project that needed to be done before school tomorrow. Of course, I think I may have actually pushed my muse out the front door while I let in some ladies from church to practice singing. Let me just say at this point, that my muse is not a musical one. While she enjoys the ambient music that I may have playing in the background while I write, she does not enjoy my piano playing abilities. She knew what was happening and was fine with the hiatus.

So here I sit, blogging, instead of productive writing. I guess any writing is better than none, but it isn't the same. If anyone has seen my wayward muse, please send her back my way. I'd like some inspiration!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Poetic Moment

Today, very early, around 6:55 am, I walked across the parking lot to work. My building lays situated near the duck pond at the center of campus, and so we often get visitors to the various lots and sidewalks. Today, as the sun was peaking up over the mountains, while there was still a calmness to campus before the insurgence of students, I encountered four Canadian geese, standing still as statues. Not a feather ruffled, or leg twitched. I stood in awe for a moment of such a sight, of nature juxtaposed against modernity of asphalt and I communed.

As I walked towards these creatures, it was not until I was about four feet away, that they even twitched. Then quite suddenly, one arched it back and spread it's wings as if in a display of avian grandeur. There was no honking, or even a sound and they waddled off towards the pond. I am not quite sure what brought them from their comfortable habitat, but it was a spectacular poetic moment, one that stayed with me all day. What are your poetic moments? How do they inspire you? Just a few questions to ponder!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Musing on Mother's Day

I've spent a bit of time Musing about Mother's Day. I'm not quite prepared for it, for the celebration of what my own mother means to me, nor how I quite fit into the picture with my own children. So, in leu of gifts, cards, or chocolates, I will share my thoughts about motherhood.

I have a number of memories of my mother from my youth. Some happy, some poignent, and some sad. Thoughts on my own mother:
  • My mom bought me a hideously expensive dress when I was in ninth-grade, complete with rhinestones, lace, and moccasin boots. (Yes, this was the '80's!) I wore it to a school dance and LOVED how I looked it in. Unfortunately I also was wearing bright pink lipstick and left it in the pocket when I sent it to the laundry. My beautiful, expensive dress was ruined. I was horrified that I would have serious repercussions from my mom, but all she did was hug me and tell me that it was lesson learned. The lesson I took from that is that children are more important than things. I was more important than a dress, and I knew that she loved me.
  • While very young, I remember watching my mother iron her temple clothes. She would take good care of them and I knew that the temple was an important part of her life.
  • I always knew that my mother would drop anything to help me. While in college, and I was moving apartments, she came and helped me move my things even though I had less than an hour's notice to vacate my old apartment. Only a mother would be willing to help her child without thinking about what it meant for her.
Thoughts on my own mothering:
  • I never knew the extent of what a mothers' love could reach until I had children of my own. The oft expressed sentiment of having your heart walk outside of your body is so true. Looking at the face of my first born for the first time, was the moment that the world shifted and I just knew how much a mother loved.
  • My children are very vocal about how much they love me. It makes all the hard times worth it when a small hand slips into mine, and I hear the words, "I love you, Mom."
  • Time passes faster than I ever imagined it could as I watch my children grow by leaps and bounds. I wonder if I can teach them all the things that I need to before they fly from me. I hope that I can be the mother that I need to be for each of them.
There are so many more memories and thoughts that can't be written here. May we all take a moment today, and everyday to honor the memory of what our mothers gave to us, what they continue to give, and what we give our own children.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I love you!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Spider's Cloth

Tela de araƱa, means spider's cloth, or cobweb in Spanish. I remember the day I learned this term, and how I love the imagery that this phrase evokes. I was in an area of Uruguay, one that had its ups and downs for me as a missionary. I don't have many fond memories of this barren place, but a few stand out in my mind, one of which is spider's cloth.

It was summer in the 'Guay, (an affectionate term) and the weather was truly prone to some heavy summer showers. I remember walking along the road near the chapel after a drenching rainfall, my yellow rubber boots making a sucking, squishing noise on the sidewalk. There, in the voids of the wrought iron fence was the most amazing piece of artistic wonder. Hanging, suspended by just a few strands, glistening with the jewels of rain, was this wonderfully strong creation of nature. Did you know that a spider's web is strong? I doesn't seem to be when we carelessly whisk them from the corners of our homes with dusters and damp rags. They simply disappear into grayish clumps of 'stuff' on the end of our cloth. It is said that a web is as strong as steel when compared at the same weight. How very interesting.

There are a number of comparisons I could come up with tonight about the strength of something so flimsy looking, or the seemingly destructive beauty of something so innocent looking, but I won't. I just love the phrase, spider's cloth. While you may not agree, it seems a bit like poetry to me. I love the image. It is something I've been thinking about al day as I have a couple of scenes running through my head. It would be easy to get caught up into the minutia of details or forget them entirely in order to complete the idea. A delicate balance between too much and too little.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Not my friend, but my parent

Today we attended a "Mormon Wake." What the heck is that, you may ask. Well, I'll tell you, it was......interesting. Dan's grandfather passed away last week, and today was his funeral. It did not follow the regular funeral where songs were sung, and tears were shed. This was a day of family, friends, and remembrances, and a great deal of laughter.

Instead of talks, or eulogies, family members had the opportunity to stand and talk about this man who had made an impression on them. Dan's uncle said something that really struck me, "He wasn't my friend, he was my father." Of course he was referring to the discipline he received over the years, but it still hit me with a resounding "ah-ha."

I am very lucky in the fact that I do have a friendship with both of my parents, as well as the parent/child relationship that has always been there. No, it wasn't always that way, but as I've grown up and matured, so has our connections. That being said, I can truly say that when I was growing up, my parents were parents and not my friends. They were responsible for me and my actions and made sure that I towed the line.

I see so many individuals these days that are looking for that "friendship" factor in their relationships with their teenagers, that they are willing to sacrifice the parenting role. I see it at the mall when shopping for clothes. A mom and daughter start out by looking at the racks of shirts, and the daughter gravitates to the low cut, or midriff baring style. A mother who is trying to be the "friend" will squeal in delight and not once mention modesty or offer something more appropriate. They lock arms after purchasing the shirt and head off to the food court. Anything to avoid the confrontation and contention associated with making right choices.

It is a very fine line, that must be trod by parents today. I look at my own daughter and wonder how I'm going to do it when she reaches puberty and notices boys for the first time. How does one be accessible and approachable, all the while being the parent of a hormone-racked teen?

What better tribute can we ask for than that of "She was my mother?" Isn't that exactly what we signed up for when we opened up our wombs for these precious gifts? I think we all aspire to the hope that our children will like us as well as love us. I know that I do. I crave those times when my children will snuggle up to my side and whisper covertly into my ear that they love me. I know that there are days when they don't like me, and that is the joy of unconditional love!

I hope and pray that someday I will be friends with my children as well as their mother, but for now, I'm going to remember that the most important thing I can do for them is to be the parent. The parent who teaches, loves, inspires, comforts, and does so much more. I am mother, hear me roar!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Today has been random. Random? Yes. I can't quite put my finger on why, but there it is. I feel like I have scurried to and from nowhere and everywhere. Much like the Hare in Alice in Wonderland, always rushing someplace, late, for a very important date, but having no idea exactly what that date is or where it is being held.

Here are some very random thoughts that I had today amidst all the scurrying:
  • When it rains it pours, except when you are in a freaking hurricane.
  • All that it takes to make your nine year old happy is to figure out how to plug in the karaoke microphone from High School Musical.
  • My children are growing up way too fast because they can take off on their bikes and leave me behind worrying.
  • Life isn't fair, and it really sucks when it gets shoved in your face.
  • Corn grows really fast in egg carton containers, and really slowly in the garden.
  • I'm the only one I can force to have a good day, good attitude, and good disposition, but even then it doesn't always work.
  • Complaining will get you nowhere, and it just disappoints everyone around you.
  • I need to be a better mother, friend, neighbor, daughter, etc.
  • If a picture is worth a thousand words, why do I love to write so darn much
So not interesting stuff. Just random. Like my day. What has your day been like?

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I've done a lot of crying the past few days. From my previous post, you know that there have been some serious trials being born by some loved ones.

Tears are known to be therapeutic and good for the soul. Just because they can be brought on by sadness doesn't mean that they do not have their benefit. I just wish my eyes didn't hurt so darn bad!

I don't cry in that attractive way that some people do. Their eyes glisten, and a tear here and there leave a trail of wetness, and they seem so stalwart and strong. I on the other hand, do not glisten or seem stalwart. My nose swells and turns red. I sob, shudder, and carry on. My chest heaves and my shoulders shake. My eyes, puff immediately, and I can't see two feet in front of me. Let's just face it, I'm not an attractive crier.

The sad thing is, I cry like this over everything. I can even cry happy tears and look like I've been hit by a Mac truck. It's a good think I was too nervous at my wedding to cry, or Dan may have run away by the hideous transformation of his bride. Can you just imagine him running down the street yelling to shelter your children and hide in the basement from the monster he just uncovered? Yeah, good thing.

I hope the week coming up is less of an emotional roller coaster, but I doubt it. We will attend a a funeral and continue to pray for Amanda. I will probably still have residual hormonal issues, and still feel the wonderful after effects of Women's Conference. I don't know why tears always give us headaches, or why we all can't be elegant weepers. I just know that there are times in our lives when tears seem to flow all that more, and there is nothing we can do to stem the tide.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The quickest post ever!

We have a huge day a head of us, but I wanted to stop by my blog and just express appreciation for the blessings I have. I spent the last few days at Women's Conference and came away uplifted, and rejuvenated towards all things in my life. It was especially poignant because I met up with a mission companion that I haven't seen for fourteen, yes, fourteen years! You Rock, Terresa! It was an amazing weekend!

I also had a lot of time to contemplate the trials that a dear friend of mine is passing through right now. Her eight-year old daughter has leukemia and has spent the last two weeks in Primary Children's Hospital getting a diagnosis and starting chemotherapy. The trials my friend and her family are experiencing at this time are mind-boggling and I have spent quite a bit of time praying for her and her daughter.

To top off my weekend, Dan's grandfather passed away. It is truly a blessing. He was 94 years old and had buried two wives. We are grateful that he is out of pain and re-united with his loved ones.

I hope to return tomorrow with other insights and experiences. I have a lot of things to write about!
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