December 29, 2014

Many unwrapped gifts are still under the tree, waiting their turns for attention. We sit close on the couch, in the first morning light and eat my sister’s banana bread while making yum sounds. We sit together and even if we don’t talk for a long time, we’re here. With the kiddos on break, we are lazing around, finally, after all the holiday running. Piles of Legos are like minefields across two rooms. I look around at the Christmas decorations and consider putting them away, but then I don’t. We like having strings of lights inside the house. We have had all the winter germs inside our bodies. Strep and Influenza, infections, and plain old nasty colds. Please let us be done. That’s a lofty goal, to be done, but please. We are coughing and coughing, sometimes in unison, shaking up the quiet house. In the mornings, I look at Facebook for a […]

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Just Write 152

September 9, 2014

I walked home in the dark, along the sidewalk, past the pond and in the stillness. It was such a beautiful night for a head-clearing walk. Sweatshirt weather. This small town quiet is a good match for sweatshirt weather. Only one car passed by, the whole time I walked, and people had their windows open to their settled-in houses. I could feel the breeze in their rooms, like we were sharing something. My phone rang as I rounded the corner to home. A friend calling to break bad news, to ask for prayers for a family. Just like that, the father and husband was gone. In his sleep. Just like that, a man around my age, gone. No breathing, no heartbeat, as if he were only a breath himself. You just never know, she said. Yes, I’m so sorry. And you don’t. You don’t know. I don’t know. There are far too many […]

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Just Write {144}

July 15, 2014

I was trying to describe unconditional love with an analogy. So I compared loving a person to loving a favorite book, and it went something like this (I will paraphrase and elaborate, I’m sure.): It’s as if you’re sitting with that book you love so much, and you say, I love everything about this book. Its cover, its story, its words and lines and pages. And I flip through the book and I devour it and marvel at its colors and lines, its magic. And then I come to a page that’s torn nearly off. The paper dangles by a few fibers and I’m all, uh oh. I could say, Oh look at that, it isn’t right. Not good. Not perfect. No way. I could toss the book aside, done. That page might fall out. That page makes it hard to read. That page is ugly. Of course a book can’t tape itself […]

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Just Write {143}

July 8, 2014

It’s a cross tattoo, with the initials of her family in it. It has details I haven’t noticed before, so I asked to take a closer look. We laughed about some huge changes that make the skin ink a little tricky to take in. Then I asked about the date at the top of the cross and she said, hesitantly, her eyes rolling, That’s the date I…well, that’s when I was first “saved”… Why do you roll your eyes at that, I asked. I don’t know…it’s just that I haven’t been all that close to God all the time. And I’ve made some big mistakes… I wanted to shout HE LOVES YOUR FACE OFF, SILLY HEAD. Tattoo or no tattoo, date or no date, air quotes saved or air quotes not saved. He loves your face off. Instead we talked about praying a certain prayer to get “saved” and remembering the date. We […]

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I can see inside of you

April 17, 2014

When Really Big Life things are going on, I find that even though these big things are so often stressful, I am more at ease about the little things. I mean, there isn’t any room for a long conversation about why a lot of sugar is bad for your body. They know this already and good grief, they don’t even have that much sugar to consume around here. So I get over it. I say yes. We move on. Later they eat broccoli with dinner and I don’t even have to make them. There’s give and there’s take. There’s push and then pull. There’s pain and then grace. There’s a marshmallow Peep at the beginning of the day and a whole pile of carrots at the end. Only one is actually even food, but so be it. Maybe one day I’ll tell the rest of the story here. Maybe I won’t. Is that […]

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what does love look like?

March 27, 2014

Sooner or later a story is going to get to you. I don’t care where you hear it. You can’t predict where you might but one will get a hold of you, at an open-hearted moment. It’ll be like there’s an actual ear right there on your heart and you can put your pointer finger behind that ear and bend it close to the teller. And right then, just like that, you’ll get it. That thing, that you’ve never been able to understand, to feel, before. We hide from the chance of this softening because maybe it will hurt too much, the pain that comes with changes of heart. Openly listening removes the ruminating mind, and then what? Our hearts get all bruised up with the hurt of the world around us and in our homes and in people who we have taken part in hurting, and then we’re moved to help or […]

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It hit me this New Year’s Day, in the quiet of putting all the Christmas decorations away while Ryan was out with the kids. I want to choose the 1 word and the list of resolutions just like you do, even if you don’t like I really don’t, because it’s something. It’s just something. It doesn’t even really matter if we remember or change it or them, or if we end up nowhere or cross them all off. We’re always somewhere. Resolutions, or our Word of the Year, they are something to hold on to, from our center. We take from the best of places within and with good intentions, we rise up and we watch something taking form and landing on the page. KABOOM! Let’s do this. It’s mostly about the process anyway, right? I mean, we don’t really have to accomplish these yearly goals we set, do we?  If we have some […]

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say what you need to say

December 19, 2013

People are changing their profile pictures to either support or oppose Phil from Duck Dynasty. Let’s maybe pause a moment to think that over…. You know I love the Internet….but wow, I hate the Internet. Anyway. I think we can agree: Freedom of speech is da bomb diggity. (What? So I use phrases from the nineties. That’s how I roll, yo.) Today I’ve been thinking, what with all of this Dynasty of Ducks kerfluffle, that maybe what matters most is where these freely spoken thoughts and feelings come from. What’s the point in speaking them? The intention? The core? The things buried deep down in Self that are outing themselves? Do we stop to ask that? Really honestly? About ourselves? Openly…really? This is what confuses me. I so rarely see Love in the voicing of the views. If it is missing, this Love, then how are we standing up for it? And if it […]

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Sometimes I quickly jam out some ramblings about being a mom on The Extraordinary Ordinary facebook page and then people say OH I love it when you say this stuff. Because I still don’t have much of a filter and I love honesty like a best friend. Then I remembered that I used to write whole entire blog posts like that when I had more time to write whole entire blog posts like that. What are you doing with your time, Heather? Good question… This school year, life has been so different than the past eight years. Okay, Heather, but that doesn’t really answer the question… SEE? This is how it goes with my thoughts, my writing, my life…and apparently, answering questions I pose to myself to pretend to be you, on a blog. And I’m typing really fast because I have a lot of Other Things. Good Things. They gots to gets […]

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Just Write {107}

October 22, 2013

This morning waking up felt like it had something to do with quicksand. I made us run late, but just a “it’s going to be okay” from Ryan reminded me not to freak out about it. The boys helped get Elsie up and ready and that made me smile. I brought her next door and another mom was dropping off her boy and I told the room, “I overslept. LIKE A BOSS.” They just stared at me, and my bedhead and probably the lines still creased into my cheek. Okay then! SeeyaBYE! I’m still walking Asher in to school these days, it’s what he needs. But I wanted less people looking at my bedhead and creases, so I told Miles he would need to walk Asher today, down his hallway. He said yes without complaining, which made me smile. LIKE A BOSS. I am very sneaky and proud to have a backup plan on mornings […]

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September 26, 2013

All those years ago it felt like a punch, a cheekbone punch coupled with a knife to the heart. Dramatic, yes? It wasn’t their fault, it was a stupid game in which a difficult (or ridiculous) question was asked and everyone answered confidentially and all the questions were about each other. It was like being online before the Internet. Anonymous. If life is a highway, which one of you got off on the wrong exist? Ballots were cast, opened and read, unanimous. Heather. Heather. Heather. Heather…. I knew it was coming. Then we all cried. Awkward, No no no Heather, I don’t think it means anything horrible. It’s okay. Oh I’m sorry! I don’t even know why I picked you! I love you. It was the truth and the truth hurts and it extra hurts when you are sitting in a situation where you realize that the people who know you best agree […]

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Just Write {94}

July 22, 2013

I was cutting the grass in rows, pushing the mower fast, sweating. I try to stay on task but I always end up going from the side of the house, leaving it unfinished and then to the front, leaving it unfinished, then to the other side….back and forth, making lines and cutting through and going straight and then turning and going another direction. The grass here in Texas is so different from the grass in Minnesota. You don’t want to lie down in it because it’s not soft, it’s more like crunchy and there are vines in it. The blades grow from these vines that press down to the dirt in lines, criss-crossing, like I do when I mow. Sometimes I’ll even go in a circle around a tree and then just keep going in circles for a few turns. Then I look around for straighter rows and go match up with them. […]

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June 27, 2013

I got up early this morning and when I opened facebook I saw all kinds of updates about people unfollowing each other in various places online because of political/religious beliefs. It doesn’t surprise me. Where else can we say so much while still being seen so little? We get a little Screen Courage. Kind of like Liquid Courage, only different. Someone said something about how many people don’t say a word when maybe we should be courageous enough to be honest about our beliefs. Aside from many who maybe just don’t know exactly where they stand on all the things, there are also many of us who are quieter for another reason. That’s because I look around at all the debating and such and it almost always has a thread of religion or something about God or the assumption that conservative=Christian and liberal=non-Christian. These arguments and statements hardly ever leave out God, the […]

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April 11, 2013

It thundered this morning. I heard it and couldn’t make sense of it for many moments. Snow is coming down like it’s just days before Christmas or something and there it was, that rumbling, like a bowling ball across hardwood floors. This is both eerie and magical, in April. And disturbing and frustrating. To out-run the majority of the snow, I left our small town last night and drove the two hours to Minneapolis. Or near Minneapolis anyway, to my Aunt’s home in a suburb. This way, if my planned flight doesn’t get canceled on account of all of this snow and wind, I’ll have missed out on driving the two hours today, in really not-so-great conditions. ::::: That was this morning, now it’s nearing 3pm and I’m at the airport, with the flight delayed. I have to catch a connection in Denver, but maybe I won’t. In all the times I’ve ever […]

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March 28, 2013

In junior high and high school, my friend Jessica and I talked to each other in little kid-like voices that we borrowed from the way her mom would talk to us. We all did it on purpose, just a silly way to have our own little way of communicating. With that tone and silliness, Jess would ask me WHY after every single thing I said. (Preparation for motherhood?) But WHY? she’d ask, over and over after every answer I gave. It always came to an abrupt end when she was satisfied–with always the same exact last response I could possibly come up with–because He’s God. Then we’d move on. What else can you say? There are no answers after that. ::::: I want the marriage equality debate to be simple, but nothing with this much emotion behind it is simple. This is a many-layered issue from all viewpoints. Seeing some of my Christians friends […]

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(glasses store with brother. you wanted to try some on for funsies.) Dear Future Elsie Jane (or, if you’re reading this now it’s the future and so HI), When I was pregnant with you, I wrote a post called PLEASE: notes to my children. Many people that read it mentioned that they wanted to know what I’d say to a girl. What they didn’t know was that I did have you in mind, you and your brothers, when I wrote that post. Since then I’ve thought about what I want to say to just you, but I didn’t know. Most of what I want to say is in that PLEASE post. I could say so many other things about the (potential) parts of your life as a female that scare me most: the partying, drinking, drugs, sex, etc., but maybe it won’t even really matter because no offense, the teenage brain has some pretty […]

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I won’t ever have complete control over the minds and hearts and souls of my children, but I can assure you, I will do everything in my power to teach my boys what it means to respect and even honor girls, ladies, women. Not because they are weaker or less or second, but because they deserve it, every single last one. When my boys are sixteen-year-old boys, will they get drunk and lose themselves? Will they forget how I drilled it in since they could first speak and walk, open the door for her.  let her go first. do not speak to her that way. ask your sister before you kiss or hug her. Don’t surprise her with your smothers. I know you love her and it’s so nice, but just ask her first. If she fusses, move away right away, it’s her body and her space.  Listen to her. Same goes for […]

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Just Write {76}

March 11, 2013

These sesame rice crackers taste different today. Yesterday I thought they were the best thing I’d ever tasted. Today they just kind of taste weird. Same crackers. I chew ice, the kind that’s all blasted apart by an in-the-freezer ice maker. I don’t know how it makes ice and then you can push a button and it makes loud noises to give you bite-sized pieces, but I love it. Chewing ice is a sign of anemia, did you know that? I mean, if you chew it addictively, like me. I’m anemic. Again. You’d think I would just keep taking the iron supplements all the time forever and ever amen, but I don’t. I stop. Then I want to go back in time to be more responsible about my diet and taking iron so I don’t have a hemoglobin count thingy of 9. But I can’t go back in time, obviously. That happens in […]

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Just Write {74}

February 25, 2013

We were talking numbers with a realtor. The discussion back and forth between Ryan and this 26 years veteran of real estate left me dazed, staring off toward our piano, wondering if we’ll take it along when we move. They worked out the numbers. The only thing my brain would do in regard to numbers was try to plan how many plastic storage bins I want to buy this week because they’re on sale. I was imagining putting all the things in them that we don’t use every day, to pare down and clean off and give the house the appearance of tidy and minimal and open and big. After our realtor left with promises of putting the house on the market on March 1, I took the bins we already have and headed downstairs to go through our storage space. I organized the kids’ clothing and re-organized the boxes and bins already […]

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The truth is, I was scared of her, and I will be again and again, but not right now. Today I’m remembering that we’re simply here to learn alongside each other. She’s my not even two-year-old daughter, and I have feared her. Maybe it’s not her, exactly, but rather, her fierce femaleness. Even the very best things, like femininity, can be terrifying and misunderstood–a girl, a lady, a woman–beautiful and complicated and strong, gentle, sweet and soft and then mean. I only know so far that my Elsie Jane will never stop surprising me, and that’s maybe what brings on the fear–the unknown. She goes from slightly shy to an uproar of out-going. She goes from falling asleep quickly and quietly for many nights to fighting it again night after night, like she forgot she was trying to win at something and now she’s going to take it to a whole new level. […]

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beware the loudest songs

January 14, 2013

  (image credit) Asher is enthralled with song lyrics. Trouble is, he quite often hears the singer belting out something other than what they’re actually saying. He’s only five, so of course this makes sense. And who among us has never mis-heard song lyrics? You know the song Voices Carry? From the 80’s? When I was a kid, I thought Til Tuesday was singing a soft, ominous, This is scaaary. Yesterday Asher questioned some of the lyrics only he heard. WHY is he saying that? He’s not, Sweetie. Yes. He says, (whatever he thought Adam Levine was singing but wasn’t, I can’t remember) !!! No, honey. He’s not saying that. It just kind of sounds like that.  Yes, he is.  Well of course he thinks so. That’s how he heard it, from his five-year-old perspective, the way it would make the most sense to him. This made me think of how we all […]

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vacation books

December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! Life has been like a whisper lately. A slow whisper, which is sort of funny to imagine; whispering slowly. huuuuusssshhhhhhh…. But really, I can’t think of any other way to describe it. I feel like I’ve been walking on my tip toes, trying to be quiet, slowly. Floating a little, maybe. Watchful. Aware. Careful. It’s good. (Even though my toes would hurt if I were actually doing this, which I’m not. It’s just a metaphor. Sort of.) The holidays bring this hush, even in the midst of all the parties and plates of cookies and opening and giving and receiving and and and… In the moments when we are home, which is as much as possible in the midst of it all, we’re wrapped up in blankets and movies and each other. That’s not to say we aren’t arguing and fussing and sighing like normal humans, but there’s so much […]

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{photo credit} I heard and saw the word helpless more times than I can count yesterday. As the number of slain children increased and the information on exactly what happened in Newtown, Connecticut continued to change, we sat helpless. Losing all confidence in the goodness of humanity is terribly uncomfortable, but it’s the way this feels, at least while it is unfolding before our eyes–on TV and Twitter and through Facebook links to the latest news. Oh. So it was Adam, not Ryan. Oh, his mother was a teacher there? Oh. He shot her there? WHY? Oh. No. He shot her at home…then WHY go to the school? All of this uncertainty forces so much insecurity. And while we’re feeling distraught and helpless, we try to think out loud with one another, to gain some semblance of control. Gun control. Control over the mentally ill. Control over violence in our media and entertainment. […]

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I wish I would have thought to write down every good thing that hit me in the gut that I’ve heard at recovery meetings. I haven’t. I would love to leaf through that notebook, to be reminded of all the simple truths spoken there. Many of them I’ve heard so many times, but on certain days, I finally really hear them. It would be so nice to look in my notebook, at a date in a corner, to see when I first “got” something and to ask myself if I still have it. In reality, I have no way to do that, except to keep going back. That’s how I’ll be refreshed, I think. When complacency or pride slips in, I can hustle in the door and it will slam behind me and everyone will turn to see and then I’ll sit down and hold my coffee and be changed. All the truths […]

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Just Write {56}

October 8, 2012

I have a plan, she says. Oh good, I love plans. What is it? I’m going to be an arm chair psychic and have my own television show. I know I’m psychic because I was thinking of a friend and then he called me.  We laughed a lot, at this. Yes, yes. Another great plan. Go for it. When people ask how you know you’re psychic, you have SO much proof. No problem! We talked about knowing things. About looking back on the past and celebrating the times we did not get what we thought we wanted. She said, I was going to move to Minneapolis and become a graphic designer. I mean, obviously, if you’re from small town Minnesota, that’s what you do, you strive to move to the Twin Cities. Many of us, anyway. I never did get to Minneapolis, but I’ve had a really interesting life. I got all choked […]

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September 19, 2012

Maybe there’s a word for this nesting place. This place where perhaps we’re nexting, looking on to the Next Big Thing, finally, for the right reasons and at the same time, we’re right here. We are right here and open to NOWAYYOUARENOTCHANGINGATHING if that’s the message we receive. And we will still tantrum like the children we sometimes are because we’re not getting our way but then we’ll sit in the morning light and talk it out and let it go. Whatever will be, will be. We’re in flux and in the middle and ahead and behind and not any of those things all at once. We’re planning (sort of but not really because planning isn’t even the right word when you’re content with whatever) a move back to the Twin Cities. We’re working hard on our house, the house we absolutely adore, to make it ready to sell. Our hearts get heavy […]

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Just Write {51}

September 3, 2012

My feet are probably making a thwap thwap thwap sound, but I can’t hear it because my ear buds are full of Mumford and Sons. I will wait, I will wait, I will wait… and it’s hard not to sing out loud at the top of my lungs. I still throw my arms out sometimes, to the beat. Like I’m a drummer. A thirty-seven year old mother and wife from Minnesota, on a run on a tar path, air drumming. Sometimes I jump up to touch a leaf on a low branch, for that little zing of energy that trees give away for free. My head is full of anticipation and some angst, but I will wait, I will wait, I will wait. I’m tired of pushing My Way up a hill like I can control a boulder. I want to be pulled by a way that isn’t mine but is the best […]

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2 truths and a lie

July 5, 2012

I love that game. I mean, you get to share two unique things about yourself and also make something up just for fun while coming clean within minutes. Then you get to hear interesting facts and silly made-up things about your friends and family while trying to guess which one isn’t real. It makes people rightfully angry and sad when bloggers play this game (or something more like 3 Lies And No Truths) without letting anyone else know the game is on. We feel duped, stunned, confused and pissed off when the truth inevitably comes out. Of course we do. Drama void of truth and bearing no common sense brings on strong feelings. Online, people have famously hidden behind screens and typed themselves into characters living something Other–the faked death of a baby that never was, too many pretend cancer stories to count and a million other Lies big and small, from letters […]

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sometimes I just get bummed about the world. sometimes I forget about all the good and how it will always win. love always wins. sometimes it doesn’t seem like it at all, but it does. sometimes I get scared that we’ve put three cherished souls in a world that doesn’t measure up to what they deserve and I start to wonder, will they have health care? will they be able to get jobs? will they be accepted for exactly who they are? will…. I’m just so grateful that I can shake that off by diving into thoughts like will they be friends with people like the ones in these videos… will they BE people like them? and then I feel a little hope bubble up because in the midst of all the chaos and mess there is always so much grace and art… (hat tip to Lisa) (hat tip to my cousin, Caleb […]

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touch and see

May 30, 2012

(photo courtesy of google) My friend Sarah and I (so) often talk about missing quiet. About how we probably stay up too late at night because we’re so hungry for the quiet that’s only there, after all the little human noise boxes are sound asleep and the computer and TV are off. Who am I there? In the quiet moments? I just asked me that this morning because I had a few awake moments in bed before I could hear the bang and crash of fresh morning boys. I don’t know that I’ve lost myself in motherhood, like they say not to do, or if motherhood has stolen me. Or if I am motherhood. And really, is that so bad?  Maybe it’s only bad if when given the chance I can’t remember me at all, and even then maybe it’s not my fault. Maybe it’s just because there’s been so little quiet or […]

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