Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sometimes I Hate My Kids

I was sitting on my couch, folding laundry, when I caught sight of Novan in the next room over, the dining room, eating his quesadilla. My eyes became immediately trained on him as I saw him throwing something from the table and onto the floor. As I watched more closely, I realized he was pulling the stray cheese that had hardened at the edges of his quesadilla and tossing it onto the floor.

My jaw dropped. Yes, it was a jaw-dropping moment. I was that shocked and horrified. And I didn’t move for several long seconds as I confirmed that what I was watching was actually happening. I kept waiting for him to look up and see me watching him but he was completely oblivious. And in an instant I asked myself if it were possible that I had failed to tell Novan at some point that throwing his unwanted food on the floor was not okay.

I was sure I hadn’t failed at conveying at least the basics of table manners. But it just didn’t seem possible that this 8 year old boy didn’t have the sense to not do something so horrendously disrespectful--and with a look that said he was not caring of it in the least.

“Are you kidding me?” I said loudly but in an even tone. “Novan, please tell me you’re not doing what I think you’re doing.” He looks up finally, a blank look on his face, and I swear in that moment he had no idea why I had the royally pissed off mom expression. Whether he could feel the daggers shooting from my eyes, I had no idea. I just got up, went to my kitchen.

It was then that he got it. Because I heard the last-ditch desperation in his voice as he said, “Sorry!” He sure as heck knew what was going on then.

I came out of the kitchen with my wooden spoon and unceremoniously smacked his hand with it twice. Then I turned him toward his mess and said, “Clean it up. And when you’re done eating, you will sweep the dining room floor.”

It took every ounce of my willpower not to injure him further, to not hurl verbal insults of his stupidity and laziness. I was absolutely livid. Speechless really, because there was nothing I wanted to say that was okay to say to your child. I wanted to do so much more. SO much more.

After putting my spoon away, I went back to the couch, my body literally heaving from the emotions moving through me. And then I began crying, in anger, in hurt. Look, a few cheese scraps are no big deal.

But disrespect is a big deal.

It’s a HUGE deal to me. It’s the evidence of single-mindedness. Of selfishness. Of an inability to see ones effects on others. Of a disregard for others. And I’m not just any “other”. I’m his mother who he knows is the one who usually sweeps the floor. Who helped him make that quesadilla and ruffled his hair as he did it.

Just last night our family home evening revolved around respect of our property, of thinking about actions before acting. Because prior to that meeting, Novan had decided to try and hang from our palm tree lamp and broke off one of the “limbs.” Nevermind that he’s been told explicitly not to touch it, has been corrected when he has touched it in the past, and been warned over and over that it will not support weight. No, he did it without once thinking of these things. Because he’s in his own mind, unfeeling toward his actions. Unfeeling toward people.

I don’t give two pennies for a damn lamp. Or a dirty floor. But I care everything for an awareness of others. Of thought before action. Even if that thought is flawed, I’d at least be less affronted with some indication that he did think.

Sometimes my frustration accumulates to the kind of levels it did during this incident. Isolated, it wouldn’t hold nearly as much weight. But Novan has been demonstrating similar behaviour for a while. Due to other slights, he has lost all of his video game privileges. And when he lost them, he decided to start getting up in the middle of the night to play them secretly. So we had to lock the door to our computer room. Lots of lies. Lots of disregard.

And I hate it.

In that moment of watching him toss cheese the floor, I hated him. I had no kind feelings, that I could find, toward him.

Sometimes I hate my children. I really do. And when I do it makes me cry. Because I’m helpless against those feelings.

Once I had calmed down, sent him off to scouts, I marvelled over it. I can only think of one other person I have ever hated. I mean the kind of hate that comes from having nothing positive to say about them, not the kind of hate that motivates harm. I just hated Novan because in him I saw zero care for anyone but himself. I saw nothing to value. And it made me hate him. Only for a few minutes, but it was still powerful and all-encompassing. I could have easily acted on it. But I didn’t.

How strange that such strong feelings can be directed toward my own flesh and blood. And conversely, that flesh and blood has garnered the most helpless love I have ever felt as well. Helpless hate. Helpless love. I fluctuate like a pendulum between them when it comes to my children, some swinging much closer to the hate side than others more regularly.

I used to suffer for such realizations. In the past I probably would have sat on the floor of my closet and cried my eyes out over not being the kind of mother that could look past anything and love them through any error. But I don’t anymore. I’ve come to recognize the intense feelings I experience regarding my kids is a good thing. It’s evidence that I care that deeply about the choices they make, about the choices I make regarding them, and about the people they become. And the bad behaviour that upsets me the most is not a result of material or shallow concerns. My heart hurts the most deeply over a lack of love and nothing more. I can and do easily overlook almost anything else.

And I am not to blame for every error my child makes. I am an imperfect being trying to raise other imperfect beings. They’re going to screw up. Sometimes royally. I can’t fashion them exactly how I’d like them. Nor should I want to.

So sometimes I can’t stand them. But it’s temporary. And I forgive. And I forget. I no longer allow those feelings to change the way I feel about myself. Because when I used to, they rebounded in other forms: resentment, impatience.

Being a parent sucks 76% of the time for me. The work. The emotions. The heartache and break. The time. The sacrifice. The drudgery. The grossness. But it’s a soul-refining work. Just like all hard things. The harder it is, the more opportunity you have to make yourself into something worthwhile. And it is VERY hard for me. It’s not my niche. It’s not what I’d rather be doing. But we’ll all make it out alive. I daresay we’ll all be better for it. I know I am. I hate them. I love them. I cherish moments and I wish they were already out of my house. I lose my temper and I dissolve into an emotional wreck when I take their slights personally. I’m awash constantly in enduring the volatile dregs of parenthood. And I’m totally okay with that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Today I turned my music on...

...And realized I haven't done that in probably 2 months.

Which is a very, very strange thing indeed. I typically listen to music 60-80% of the waking day. I've developed a deep love for music in the last few years and want to have it on all the time. It speaks to my writer's soul on so many levels. It inspires me. It takes the happiness I already feel and exalts it.

But I haven't done much writing either. That's perhaps the saddest thing of all. I've been pregnant. But I'm not anymore. I miscarried last week, and today I finally feel like "me" again. This pregnancy has been the most emotionally challenging pregnancy I have ever had. I don't know if it's because I've not been sick and therefore able to pay attention to how I feel emotionally rather than physically more, or if it was just that this pregnancy really was that... bipolar.

The truth is I've been miserable for months. I had to give myself a peptalk every day, trying to remember what it was like to be happy, fulfilled, not angry at everything. I tried to remind myself that I'd be happy again. I'd find that spark again. I just needed to endure the next year amid an uproar of hormones. I needed to just... endure. But to be honest, it was so HARD to remember what it was like to be happy. I couldn't remember the deep love and satisfaction I had been basking in prior to impregnation. I loved my husband before this, right? I didn't yell at my kids so much? I cared about making a difference and being a positive voice? I actually wanted to get out of bed? I actually used to wish it were possible that I could survive without sleep so I could just... spend more time being so dang happy, didn't I?

Don't feel sad for me--for my lost pregnancy. To tell you the truth, it was a huge relief to lose it because it just never felt right. I didn't look forward to the end of it other than as an escape from depression. I couldn't imagine the baby at the end, if that makes sense. I think I must have known along the way that it wasn't going to pan out.

Once I knew it was over I began to ask myself if now was the time to do this baby thing. See I made a promise not long after Keshet was born that if God would deliver us from our continual economic trials and make it so we could afford another baby, I'd have one. Even though I wanted to be done. I'd do this because I believe in sacrificing. And I felt and still feel like there is one more for us (that's a long story in itself). Sure enough, not a month after making that covenant, Brad came out to NoDak and our lives changed forever. It was like insta-prayer answer. So all this time we've been up here I've known I needed to have another child at some point. My goal was to fulfill my end of the bargain after my first book was out. And by golly I stuck to that goal.

After I miscarried and looked back on that hellish 2 months, I thought, Dear God, I don't think I can take going through that again right now. It felt as if I'd wasted months I could have been editing, marketing, working toward my other goal of establishing myself as a writer. Instead I spent the time trying to keep my head above depression.

So Brad gave me a blessing (which for the non-LDS folk is like having someone say a prayer over you and delivering personal revelation). Without mentioning to Brad my worries about trying to do this pregnancy thing again, part of the blessing included that I would be prompted when it was time to try again. And that in the meantime I should focus on my other obligations/goals. It was a huge weight lifted. I had felt somewhat the same way, but it's hard to know sometimes if what you're thinking is the same thing the Lord is thinking, especially if you want it so badly.

Aside from that nice reprieve, I've earned a deep compassion for those who suffer depression. I remember experiencing bouts of it with past pregnancies, but none so long-lasting. Day in and day out, knowing happiness is out there but being unable to find it or hold it longer than a moment. Being unable to really remember it properly. To feel like your mind is not your own. It's a deeply helpless feeling and it's that helplessness that brings the melancholy that settles in like a fog that won't lift. Everything that was once full of striking color now looks as if it's been overlaid in shades of bleak grey.

It was a tremendous relief to turn my music on today.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It is Enough.

The other day I was on the phone with a friend who was, bless her, "offering the opportunity" to go into business for myself. Multi-level marketing of some kind. I believe the new word for it these days is "direct sales." That's not what this post is about, however. Let me break down part of the conversation that followed after my friend had finished her well-meaning spiel:

Me: Okay, let me just be honest. I have no interest whatsoever in selling stuff like that. And I know you probably get this excuse from people all the time, but this time I am dead serious. Even if I had an iota of interest, I absolutely and unequivocally have ZERO time to devote to it. I already don't sleep and I already spend every waking moment editing and planning for my books to be published. So I appreciate the--"

Friend, cutting me off with a laugh: Oh I know! I know how crazy it is as a mom. I feel the same way. We barely have time to do our hair. And you have 4 kids so I can only imagine... Thanks for being straight with me, but I just wanted to make the offer because I think you'd be great at it... 

Commence pleasantries.

Now I'm sure that this friend of mine truly does know what it's like to be a busy mom. She has 3 boys under the age of 4 which is nothing to sneeze at.  But it was clear that she didn't believe me when I said I have zero time. I was pondering this after we got off the phone and have in the week or so since. Time is something I have precious little of and I mean that literally with every bit of literalness that the word "literal" encompasses. There is no "rearranging my schedule." The solution is not cutting out frivolous activities or re-prioritizing my days. I have already, long ago, cut out every smidgen of fat. I stay up to at least 1 am every night; 3 or four of those nights I make it to 3 am (this past week I was up til 4 one night). I wake up at 7:30 every day. If I nap, it may be once a week and then only for about 30 minutes. I don't watch TV except for Sundays with Brad. I don't go out. I don't have a social life. I am lucky if I make it to church activities that happen during the week and then I always go begrudgingly. I have managed to put PTO on my priority list, and arranged a regular play date for my kids each week. My husband does my grocery shopping. I make dinner. I pray. I read my scriptures (a LOT actually). I do FHE. I walk to and from my kids' school twice a day.

All that time in between? I am editing/writing/researching. I am a regular on facebook, but it is a convenient outlet that accomplishes both my social needs and research needs.  I get an incredible amount of fulfilment from it. It is, by no means, wasted time to me.

In fact, I work SO hard on editing and everything it encompasses that a few weeks ago I said to Brad, "I finally get what a Sabbath day is all about. If I didn't have it, there is a real possibility I would edit myself into the grave." Brad replied, "I know. You need it to save you from yourself."


Let me switch gears now.

A couple days ago, it finally hit me how CLOSE I am to publishing. My kids were running around downstairs, playing some game, and I had just sat down to start working again and I had the overwhelming urge to hide in the closet and speak to Diety. You know those moments I'm sure. But it wasn't necessarily to escape my kids. It's just that I think better in a dark, enclosed space and I felt the need to do a self-assessment. This urge to pour out my heart can hit me rather suddenly at times.

So I did. And while I was in the closet, in the dark, I felt utterly drained. Not tired physically (I think I've gotten used to constant physical exhaustion), but tired emotionally. Tired of the last 2 years in which I have set everything aside to pour everything I have into this. I've sacrificed everything there is to sacrifice that is morally and ethically acceptable. I have not held back. I made a commitment to publish and I come from a long line of Wirsings (my mom's side) that believe that if you are going to pursue something, your goal should be to be the best at it. You don't  settle for less and you don't stop until you ARE the best. What that essentially means is we don't half-ass the things we commit ourselves to.

While I was in the closet, I cried because I think that's just what you have to do sometimes. It's cathartic. I asked myself why I was crying, and the only answer was that I felt like it. And as I was crying, I began to do a self-check on this project of mine, questioning my decisions for this or that, asking myself if I have regrets about any of it. Asking myself if I could have done more but didn't.

And the only answer I had was peace and genuine anticipation to share this baby of mine. I am positively thrilled with every aspect. And in retrospect, I can see how perfectly the whole plan has aligned to make this work worthy of the effort I have put in.

My editor, my photographer, my cover designer, the research for my Colorworld concept--these are all aspects that have aligned with a congruency that make me marvel at how effortless it all was. I didn't have to cross any hurdles to achieve them. There have been no false starts.  There are thousands of moments in the last 3.5 years that I've had in which I've seen things just end up in my favor when it comes to this series. Sure, everything else in my life for the last 3.5 years since I started writing Colorworld has been a load of mad chaos and trials, but through all of that, my efforts to write this series have never been thwarted. Inspiration has always come nearly instantly. Answers to prayers have come quickly. The way has always been made in such a way that it feels like Heavenly Father Himself has come down to open the doors for me.

The encouragement that kind of divine validation has brought is nothing short of profound. I don't know that I can properly express it so I won't try.

These are the things I thought about in the closet and these are things I have poured out tearful gratitude for to my Heavenly Father over and over since all this began. But this moment was different in one way; there is one flaw amid all those inspired moments:

Why am I still editing?

Because really, despite how AMAZING this journey has been, I am STILL editing. And I probably will not be done editing until I hit the publish button.

Let me make sure you know how frightening all this is. Here I am, about to put out a portion of my 3 years of sweat, tears, and massive sleep-deprivation for the world to rip apart. Despite being committed to doing it and having no doubt it will happen, it's still scary as heck. Because although I believe in and LOVE my concept, the story is the vehicle. And the writing is the vehicle for the story. And both the story and the writing are all on me. And I am perfect at neither.

And THAT, my friends, is the one part of this that still leaves me wanting. I could always say it better. I could always be a better writer. Heavenly Father has given me everything I have needed on this journey, but the project, as much as I'd like it to be, as much as I work to MAKE it so, will never be perfect, because it ultimately depends on ME and no one else. It's both a sad and a happy revelation.

But to have these two conflicting concepts coexist is the definition of beautiful.

Because I DO know that I have tried my hardest. I have expended every effort. I've read everything I can fit into the moments available. I've typed until my fingers hurt (literally), until my eyes sting, until my body BEGS me to sleep. I've read article after article. I've read story after story. Analyzed structure. Picked apart grammar rules. Read every word I write at least a hundred times. Deleted most of it. Rewrote it anew. Deleted. Wrote. Over and over I've done this process of ripping it all apart only to re-piece it together again in a different and better way. And it is STILL not perfect.

But in that dark closet, I found peace finally. I finally believed that it is enough.

And in case you haven't seen it yet:

You should check it out.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Book is Almost Here!!

It will be available December 24th, 2013 on Kindle! For release dates of other formats and a book description, click here.Book_cover

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Metaphysics of Modesty

Modesty of dress, that is.

I saw the Evolution of the Swimsuit and thought Jessica Rey was a nice gal who understands that men have sexual appetites and doesn't like the idea of being objectified. I don't like being objectified either, but what she said wasn't earth-shattering. I came away wondering why it is women feel they need scientific justification for what they wear.

I read Mrs. Hall's letter to teenaged girls on modesty and thought she is a woman who believes the chastity of her sons' thoughts are controlled by girls. I was a tad angry, I'll admit.

I saw a YouTube video "Virtue Makes you Beautiful" featuring a group of young men telling girls that they are lovely with clothes on. They "need" our modesty. Please. Let's GIVE them our modesty. We're more beautiful that way. Furthermore, their clever lyrics implied that "virtue" and "clothing" are synonymous. They're cute boys. Well-intentioned. Just misguided. I want to pinch their cheeks and wag a finger at them at the same time.

immodest manure
So you're saying that my clothes will win me a good man. Every girl's dream is a man that likes her for her clothes...

The more I read/see/hear on this modesty issue, the more I feel like Goldilocks trying to decide which version of modesty is "just right." There seem to be too many extremes.

I like to strut my 30-year old self that's born 4 children and still turns my husband on in a fitted sweater dress complete with boots with four-inch heels out on the town because it makes me feel good to be admired. It makes me feel powerful to embrace what I know is a beautiful body by sharing it.

Yet at the same time I recognize that everything ought to have bounds. I need to recognize that the intent I have when I get dressed matters. Do I want to encourage a man to have indecent thoughts? No. Do I want men to admire me? Sure as shootin'. And women, too! I'm beautiful. I have something beautiful: this body. We all want to share the beautiful things of life. There is nothing wrong with that. When we adorn ourselves, desiring to be admired, we are giving away part of ourselves. This isn't wrong. It's a gift we have to give. It's our right to give it. Humans have the natural and divine desire to share what is beautiful. But how much giving is too much? How will we know?

How do I live as a sexual being that is also beautiful where sexuality and beauty so often cross paths?

I have a six-year old girl who already feels uncomfortable discussing her body. I don't know if it's because of something she learned or that she just came out that way, but the word "vagina" makes her crawl under a table. Something in her intrinsically knows about sexuality and she is already shaping her view of it before we've ever even had "the talk." She also knows about and follows the same modesty guidelines now that I will expect when she is older. I don't want modesty standards to change just because she hits puberty. Doing so further confuses the modesty/sexuality problem. But we have yet to get into the whys of modesty. Someday soon I will have to explain all the things she can do with her body. And I will have to differentiate sexuality from modesty for her.

How do I do that?

What IS modesty really? How in Hades do clothes have any connection to worth? And WHY, if God made women exquisitely beautiful creatures that men just LOVE to look at, is it WRONG to reveal our beauty as much as we want? How can we separate objectification and control from admiration and loveliness?

I struggle. I don't like the sinking feeling in my heart when my daughter refuses to talk to me about her body or to spell out why she feels the way she does. I don't like that my cleavage makes me feel inappropriate and always has made me self-conscious. I don't like scrutinizing what I wear based on worries over the reactions of others. I want confidence in myself enough that I don't desire lascivious attention but rather want to be beautiful because it brings joy. It's hard, if not impossible though, to differentiate proper feelings from improper ones.

The other day I was looking through a clothing catalog with Brad. He likes to buy me clothes. He likes to dress me up and take me out for people to admire. I dress him up, too. Because I like showing off his manliness. We like to revere each other that way. But let's just say that I often think his choices are inappropriate. A skin-tight red dress? Are you serious? And I also think that he overlooks clothing that doesn't "do it for him" even though I think it flatters. A shirt that doesn't mold my breasts can still be beautiful.
We crossed a page of a woman wearing an off-the-shoulder loose sweater. He thought it was dumb the way that sweater only covered one shoulder. It looked like a poncho hanging on her body like that, I guess.
I thought it was flattering. "I think shoulders are graceful. They are one of the most attractive things on a woman," I told him.
He wrinkled his nose. Didn't get it.
The problem of modesty struck me again. How we can see the features of the female body so differently... How modesty, sexuality, objectification, and beauty are all wound up and tangled together... It's impossible for us to make a determination about what should be appropriate. What's okay to feel as a woman when we put on an article of clothing. What reaction should we want to get from our clothes?

Oh my, so many impossible questions. How can I expect to explain modesty to my daughter if I can't even explain it to myself?

Girls come into the world with a sense of what is beautiful before boys ever even get the meaning of the word. But we are notorious for beating ourselves up. We are never happy with what we are. We are never as pretty as the next girl. We are never as interesting as we'd like. We're never as talented. We doubt ourselves. Constantly. This is what makes the modesty/virtue connection so dangerous. To shame ourselves while at the same time having our choice of dress be shamed due to it's "effects" on others compounds the problem.

When I became a member of the LDS church, I accepted the standards of dress because it didn't bother me to do so, not because I felt any certain conviction about the importance. But even so, self-consciousness of my cleavage hasn't left me. And I still question, all the time, what to wear, gauging my decisions on what I anticipate the reaction will be. I question my intent. I question the appropriateness of dressing up at all. Where is the balance in this most complex problem?

So I took a step back and stopped looking at modesty in relation to others. What is the true purpose of modesty?

Well what is the purpose of any standard? To set limits. Self-control.

-I don't drink coffee, tea, alcohol or do drugs because abstinence is easier than moderation when it comes to these things. If given a choice I eat seasonally. I eat whole foods. Because these things bring my body health. And health brings with it a clarity of mind.

     Drinking iced tea is not, in and of itself, sinful.

-I attend my meetings because it takes effort and because it sets the example for my kids. Routine is key when it comes to children. I attend my meetings because it tells Jesus I care. It tells me that I care.

     Skipping church is not, in and of itself, sinful.

-I read my scriptures regularly because it takes effort. It causes me to set an expectation for myself. And I do it because to question is to grow. And reading scriptures gives me a LOT of questions.  

     Not reading my scriptures every day is not, in and of itself, sinful.

-I do family home evening every Monday despite the raging circus it always is because it sets a routine for my kids, and talking about spiritual things on a regular basis instills them with it's importance.  

     Not having family home evening is not, in and of itself, sinful.

-I execute my callings. Because the structure of the church needs me to. Because it teaches me how to deal with people. Because primary kids are far less frustrating than adults. Because it gives me a chance to serve. Because it gives me a chance to return and report.

    Not accepting a calling is not, in and of itself, sinful.

-I refrain from foul language because it sounds ugly. And it's unimaginative. And it's trendy (I hate trends). But I do like the word 'badass'. :-)

     Using the word 'badass' is not, in and of itself, sinful.

-I will raise my children to honor sexual monogamy. I will encourage them to bind sexual appetite within marriage. Because sex is a gift. Because it binds two people in spiritual ways that I still don't fully comprehend but have experienced. Because it requires the deepest level of trust to truly appreciate. Trust comes from commitment.

     Sex, outside of marriage, is not, in and of itself, sinful.

-I wear clothes according to standards set by my leaders because it's easier than trying to figure out how much is too much.

     To wear "less" is not, in and of itself, sinful.

There are a slew of more nuanced reasons for the above standards I impose on myself. The benefits of following them are mine alone because the "blessings" of such standards are different for everyone. You cannot quantify standards. There is no consistent cause and effect when it comes to mastering the spiritual self.

But I agreed to the rules. I figured they'd better me. I wanted to be better. The missionaries said it would help me be better. So I did it. And I tried hard.

And guess what? Now I'm better.

I'm better than better. I now understand what all those rules were for. They were to help me control myself. We are only ever frightened, unsure, anxious, or suffering when we fail to have that control. What people do to us cannot take away what we do with our minds. These bodies are magnificent things. What I put in, on, and what I allow to come out of mine will determine whether I control myself. When I control myself, my spirit can shine through and I begin to get why I'm so important to Divinity.

Standards allow me to mold myself rather than be molded.

Modesty of dress is just another way to mold myself. To control some nuance of my body.

It's not about clothes themselves. It never has been and it never should be. A modesty lesson should never be aligned with a sexuality lesson. If we accept a standard of modesty, that standard should apply equally to boys. Virtue and modesty (of clothes) should never be thought of as co-dependent. Sure, all of the above have ties that bind them. Every principle of the Gospel and of life is interconnected and cannot possibly be fully separated. WE cannot properly be separated from each other. But virtue, true virtue, is learned through temperance of self. How we choose to temper ourselves is our choice because we should be the makers of our own spirits. We should not temper ourselves based on the actions/reactions of others. Because then we put the making of ourselves in their hands instead of our own.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Meanderings of a Sleep-Deprived Writer

I miss my blog.
For real. If I were to have blogged regularly at all in the last... I don't know how how long, it probably would have included some of the following:
-The crazy interesting stuff I've been studying for my books.
-How writing blows my ever-living mind. Probably every other day, I think to myself "Holy crap, that's amazing!"
-My kids are all growing and doing neat things.
-My husband and his ten irons in the fire... He claims he would stop working so hard if I'd just make some money as an author, but I don't believe him. I do know that part of it is that we have a passive-aggressive competition to see who can work the longest with the least amount of sleep.
-Williston is this crazy fun and interesting place to live.
-Crap keeps knocking on our door and wanting to stay awhile.
-How I'd like to sit down. Read a book. Stare out of a window. Sew something. Expand my hobby base.
-How the most important thing I've learned in this very LONG process of editing/writing is how much TIME people waste. How TIME is the most precious commodity people have. And they WASTE it. And how that makes me more upset than probably anything else the most often.

I. Need. More.Time.

There is a serious lack of sleep around this house already that I can't possibly squeeze in one more project, brain waves for a clever blog post, or playgroups and church activities. By lack of sleep, think 4-6 hour nights every night, usually 6 nights a week. It's been like this for several months now. Believe it or not, I'm actually used to the routine of no sleep. I never thought I'd say that.

Trying to bring my first book to publication is kind of like pregnancy. I can't manage much more than keeping people alive. I'm tired. I'm on and off my writer's high. One minute I think I'm like C.S. Lewis or Mark Twain and the next minute I'm like that piece of trash novelist that nobody will ever want to read. It's a brutal fight every day. But I'm persevering. The only reason I push through is because I made a promise that I would get this thing off the ground by the end of the year. I don't break promises, ya'll. Unless I forget. That's happened. Otherwise, I'm on it like Blue Bonnet. And for months now, I have definitely been on it. And it's looking good. I think. I hope. My gosh, for my own health, I MUST get my first book published so I can stop this madwoman writing spree. I'm pretty sure I've knocked a couple years off my life.

Excuse me while I go knock off a few more.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Beya, who is 6, has been dealing with a girl in her class that doesn't like her for no apparent reason. The girl ridicules Beya whenever she sees an opening, excludes her whenever possible, and generally acts nasty toward Beya in particular. So we've been advising her to be extra super nice to the girl. We come up with scenarios and tell Beya how she should respond. So every day Beya has tried to win the girl over with kindness. Just yesterday Beya asked the girl if she could be her friend and the girl responded, "No, I already have enough friends."

So far the plan isn't working very well.

But my Beya is a trooper, and if there's one thing she can't handle, it's someone not liking her. Today she complimented the girl's outfit. At least the girl said, "Thank you."

I explained to Beya that people who behave that way are usually sad inside and the only way to help them is to just love them. Well Beya knows how to love and she has been determined to bring happiness into this girl's life so she can be happier inside. She even prays for her every night. It's been a couple weeks now, and she doesn't seem to be making headway with the girl.

I've been amazed, truly, that someone could actually dislike Beya for any amount of time. I don't say this as her mother. I say this as someone who is continually floored by the goodness that just oozes from Beya's every pore. I tell her constantly that I want to be like her when I grow up. And it's true. Brad always tells her, "Beya, you are the nicest person in the universe." She inspires the both of us. She was born just wanting to serve people.

My plight has now become how to help Beya understand why it's not working and why people would choose the wrong anyway despite love being lavished on them. Heavy, right? I explained that when you are super good at something, people tend to dislike you for it. I told her Dad works super hard and people hate him for it. Mom tries to be super compassionate and people always think I'm condescending and therefore don't like me. And Beya is out-of-this world nice and people are going to make that the thing they don't like about her. I also told her Jesus healed people and loved them but they hated him for it. I honestly didn't think she would entirely grasp the concept enough to really draw the direct parallels to her own life, but she did. And it ended in tears. "I never knew that!" she cried. Life was definitely NOT what she expected and she suddenly realized how very hard it was going to be to be herself. I mean she was genuinely and deeply troubled by it.

"I just want to be unique!" she cried. I admit, I was blinking in astonishment when she said that. I hadn't been saying anything about being herself and being an individual and what that means in the scope of things, but yet she articulated it internally anyway and it's been coming out in her actions.

"I know you do," I replied. "But you can't make people like you. You have to accept that you can't make people be your friend."

"I don't want to make them be my friend," she said. "I just want them to feel the love I have for them."

She is SIX and the girl brings me to tears. And, uh, my daughter apparently already has her own metaphysics she's been working out.

This isn't the first time her world has been upended this way and every time it is, I'm blown away by how easily she grasps things that even adults fail to get. She reasons through it all, always, always considering things through the lens of love and completely getting that people are not like her. She doesn't expect them to be. Every time I give her advice, she carries through and tries SO hard. Whenever I have a serious conversation with her, I get schooled on how to interact with her. She is WISE beyond her years. She blows me away.

But it did get me thinking. Like I said, I never thought someone could not like Beya. I told her being nice is her superpower and she should never let it go. We all have superpowers--and power is what they are. Yet our power is the thing people hate the most, even and especially when we use it to help others. And somehow my daughter knows this. Tomorrow I'm pretty sure she's going to have all the secrets of the universe worked out. I'll let you know how that goes.