Friday, June 27, 2014

Building Fences, Building A Life: A Letter

Dear Fence Babe:

I'm sure you chuckled inwardly at the look on my face when I answered my front door, hastily and "in a dither."  I don't doubt my expression was one of graceless chagrin and absolute horror.  You see, I knew you had been in my backyard, working laboriously to build my pretty, new vinyl fence... I did not, however, expect to see you on my doorstep.  In your semi-fitted (I can't bring myself to write the word, "tight") t-shirt. And your bulging biceps.  Oh glory.

It wasn't my holey yoga pants I was embarrassed by, or even my wicked-cool bedhead.  I had remembered to remove my retainer and toss it on the living room chair before answering the door, so it wasn't that.  And it wasn't even the stray hairs on my chin needing to be plucked or the fact that I wasn't wearing any makeup that had me all "verklempt."

Nope.

It was the fact that you apologetically and politely asked to use my bathroom.  That I hadn't cleaned all month!     

Oh my land, I was mortified!  Mortified as I let you walk on a floor that was sticky with melted Popsicle drippings.  Mortified as I pointed up stairs that needed to be vacuumed.  Mortified as I knew you would walk down a hall spotted with grimy fingerprints and baby boogers.  Mortified of the moment you would enter my bathroom and find a "science project" growing in the toilet!

"Mom, look at my painting!," my daughter shouted, interrupting my angst.

I turned and saw something starkly different than what you probably first perceived.  I saw my happy and cooing baby sitting on the floor, surrounded by toys we had played with together.  I saw my son, Camren, curled up on the couch--his beloved blue blankie draped loosely across his shoulders.  He was looking through a stack of picture books; books I had read to him before lunchtime.  I saw Lilly perched at the kitchen table, waving a painted picture of a rainbow through the air.  Art supplies were strewn about the floor and counter--evidence of our craft time soiree.

I saw contentment.

You flushed the toilet and left the house and went back to work like a stud muffin.  I walked over to where Lilly sat and looked down at her rainbow.  It was drippy and wet, and some of the colors were running together.  It was bright.  Imperfect.  Beautiful.

I realized something in that very real, messy, and honest moment.  I am like that painting.  Drippy and imperfect--the shades of my responsibilites running together like water color, running off the pages of my life's work.  Unorganized blues and frustrated and impatient reds.  Hectic and busy oranges colliding with yellow obligations that are not always so cheerful and sunny.  It is crazy.  It is all a mess.

But it is really, really beautiful.

Because you see, Fence Babe, it's all mine.  My life.  My kids.  My home.  My painting.  And beneath all the blurry lines, the smudging, and the imperfections you'll find children who are safe, supported, and loved.  You'll find a home that provides emotional security and spiritual warmth.  You'll find a family.  A family mustering the strength to do the best they can. 

A family fighting for joy.

 
Thank you for your muscle tees and for all your hard work,
Mama Leisha

     

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Take Me To The Library" Tuesday!

School is out for the summer!

When I was a kid, summertime meant riding my bike and running through the sprinklers.  It meant blue popsicles and watermelon-flavored Jolly Ranchers.  It meant hiking in the mountains, stargazing on the trampoline, and staying up late to read Ramona Quimby! 

I love to read and summer reading is THE BEST!  Do you encourage your children to keep reading throughout the summer months?  Do you like to read, too?  Here's a list of books my children have been reading this past month, as well as a few titles I have enjoyed:

1.) The Day The Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt


Hilarious with a capital, "H!"  (A fun, witty, and utterly cheeky one to read aloud to your kiddos.)  This little gem is about a boy who reaches for his box of crayons one day and finds that they are missing.  Rather, letters occupy the place where his crayon box once was--letters informing the boy that "they quit."  Orange and yellow are arguing about who the true color of the sun is.  Red is "overworked."  And blue is used so frequently he's become a stub!  "Color" your personal library with this one, my friends...you won't be sorry!

2.) I'm Bored, by Michael Ian Black


 I bought this book on a whim.  Lilly brought a book order home from school one day, and I'll be danged if I ever pass up a chance to buy books!  This one was on sale, it looked cute, so I got it.  AND OH MY GOSH, I'm so glad I did.  It's a hoot!  It's delightful!  It's clever!  A little girl laments about being bored until a potato comes along.  He wants to play but he finds children extremely uninteresting.  In a nutshell (or potato skin, whichever) our heroine embarks on a quest to change that potato's mind!  Pick this one up for when you're children start saying, "I'm bored," this summer.


3.) The Toothpaste Millionaire, by Jean Merrill


Another book I picked up on a whim!  Found it in a thrift store and had no idea it would prove to be such a diamond in the rough.  Best suited for young readers, ages 10 and up.  First published over thrity-five years ago, The Toothpaste Millionaire is a story about friendship and ingenuity.  Rufus and Kate are good friends who start a business together...all because Rufus wanted to save some money on toothpaste!  It's a wonderful story with a number of themes woven through the pages--sexism, racism, age discrimination, entrepreneurship, education, finance, and creativity.

"Maybe anybody can make toothpaste in his own kitchen.  But speaking for myself, all I know is one day I'm a mechanic out of work, and the next day I'm a general manager and major stockholder.  And that takes genius."

4.) Getting Over Garrett Delaney, by Abby McDonald


Friends!  This one (for young adults, ages 17 and up) was delightful and charming, with the laugh-out-loud humor being "the cherry on top!"  I loved this book and found it easy to relate to.  I'm sure we've all had "Garrett Delaneys" to get over--the hopelessly perfect and ridiculously good-looking boys who are about as obtainable as Pluto.  (The planet, not the dog!)  Sadie is tragically in love with her best friend, Garrett--the tragedy being he is in love with another.  Sadie beings a "Twelve Step program" to get over him...and hilarity ensues.

"This task is way too big for one girl to handle on her own.  No matter how humiliating it seems to admit that (a) you're madly in love with a boy who (b) doesn't love you back and (c) has broken your heart so thoroughly that (d) you have to work through a twelve-step program to get over him, be brave.  Why suffer alone when you could share the burden?  Friends bring comfort, support, and snack foods for every occasion.  And heartbreak goes so much better with cookies."

Happy "Take Me To The Library" Tuesday, party people!
Happy Reading!   
     


       

Thursday, June 19, 2014

We Wear Wood

I'd like you to meet Jaron!


Not only does the boy have some of the straightest and whitest teeth on the planet, he also has insanely dreamy hair.  I'm talking about hair that could star in shampoo commercials, people.  I'm talking about hair that could sell styling products and blow dryers.  It.  Is.  Luscious.

But here's the thing I like about Jaron, that goes beyond his kind demeanor and his boyish good looks:  The kid is smart!  (I say kid because he's twenty; I say smart because he's a crazy-savvy entrepreneur.  AND, he's toting an associates degree already.)

Jaron's company, "We Wear Wood," sells natural wood covers for your Apple devices.  The bamboo, rosewood, and maple iPhone cases are elegant and stylish; the engravings on them an artistic and distinctive bonus.  Covers for MacBooks and iPad Minis are also available.

If you would like to learn more about Jaron and his company, you can view the Kickstarter video below.  Also, visit him at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jaronhall/we-wear-wood-wood-meets-high-tech if you are interested in backing his product and purchasing a case.  They are beautiful and affordable!  His website, http://www.wewearwood.com/, is a great place to connect with him as well.



Seriously, my friends, you must see the maple wood in person.  It's as pretty as Jaron's teeth!  I highly recommend it for it's natural, light color, it's durability, and it's all-around classy appearance.


I sincerely wish Jaron the best in life and in all his business endeavors.  He is a person of value and integrity; a young man who works hard and exhibits ingenuity.  I find his drive and originality as  refreshing as punch!      


And he'll always have potential gigs with Vidal Sassoon to fall back on!  But I doubt he'll need them.
 

Do you wear wood?  You should.



*Additional info:

http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/utahn-designs-beautiful-wood-covers-for-apple-phon/19626/EB5wLotG7UiBfRzj0mIXHg

http://instagram.com/wewearwood 
 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Take My Hand

(I wrote this poem as a young teenage girl.  It was written during a tumultuous time in my life when my path seemed rocky, uncertain, and dim.  I turned to the light of prayer often.  I searched my tender soul as a thirsty man lost in a desert of doubt searches for that blessed, golden oasis.  I spent quiet moments in reflection mature for my years.  And it was during this time I came to realize that the Savior is the constant; the North Star, the sun that always rises.  He is the loyal friend that will never leave us, the light of hope that sparkles in the darkness, the balm of peace that heals the heartache.)
 
 
Take my hand,
rough and worn,
and I will help you up the mountain.
For the cliffs are high,
the rocks are steep,
and you can't do it alone.

Take my hand,
strong and great,
and I will help you cross the desert.
For the land is dry,
and the sun is hot,
and you can't do it alone.
 
Take my hand,
firm and safe,
and I will help you sail the ocean.
For the waves are large,
the wind is harsh,
and you can't do it alone.
 
Take my hand,
pierced and gentle,
and I will help you find The Father.
For the path is narrow,
the trail is unsafe,
and you can't do it alone.
 
You don't have to do it alone--
Take my hand.