Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Soul Soil in July

I may have mentioned that I love gardening...really love it. Freakin', stinking, OCD love it.

I am touched by how simply and beautifully plants give, receive and grow.

I remember once during a particularly trying period of time my Mother-in-law called to tell me everything would be fine. She had awoke early that morning worried about life and had gone out to sit on the porch next to her, always planted just so, flower bed. She glanced down to see several of her beautiful flowers pulled off and crushed into neat little piles of petals, obviously the work of a grandchild.

In that moment all the worries that life didn't seem to be presenting itself immaculately landscaped into eye pleasing rows of carefully coordinated and spaced arrangements didn't matter. Those little bundles of petals arrange by chubby fingers were more beautiful and peace giving then the most skilled gardener could achieve.

And those flowers pulled off the stem before their time, in simple acceptance of their destiny are the only blossoms still remembered of all the flowers that bloomed that year.

I blogged a couple years ago about the plant that I gave up on getting rid of and let have it's summer in the sun. Turns out it was a burr plant. It was the exact right size for the spot, ended up covered in beautiful purple flowers was a favorite of bugs, butterfly's and bees, and turned out to be the perfect metaphor for that year. I took it out for good that fall it wasn't a metaphor I wanted to continue, but no plant has filled the spot as beautifully since.

Summer evenings when the air is starting to cool and heat is rising from sun soaked earth and pavement is one of my favorites. Around 8:00 in the evening I am drawn out to wander my yard and neighborhood. I might water scorched soil or chat with a neighbor, watch a game of street football, but nearly every evening I wander through my yard to see what's new in each nook and cranny. A Day Lilly that was a bud in the morning may have chosen this as her day. A Fairy Slipper may be curling up for the night, a droopy Tomato may be longing for a long cool drink. Nearly always a bird will light on the fence cock his head, fix a bird eye stare on me, determine I'm not a threat, then slip into the bird bath to clean up for an evening with his lady bird. Soon he'll be followed by his flighty mate who will hop along the fence impatiently waiting for her turn in the bathroom. I delight in these birdy bathing rituals and once a day dump out each birdbath and fill them with fresh water.

At this point I need to break for a little background info.

When we moved into our current yard my favorite corner garden was filled with a plastic wading pool full of dirt rocks and rotting weeds. My Sister-in-law had starting the summer before to weed and get rid of some debris, had commandeered the old plastic wading pool as a green dump. She figured that my brother, a landscaper could scoop the thing up with the tractor and haul it off once it was filled; and, there it sat moldering. I spent my first summer in the house remodeling and being pregnant with #6, the only thing I did for the yard that year was transplant an uprooted rose bush from my Moms front yard. I didn't make it out to water it and figured it had died there next to the composting kiddie pool of yuck.

The following spring inside projects, mine and the house, were done and the yard was calling. I had a vision for my corner garden, roses climbing the fence, a terrace of rocks, a bench, and a bird bath surrounded by a plethora of perennials. First up was to get rid of the kiddie pool of rotting weeds, which after two years and a wet winter had become a swamp, complete with an 8"slug. It took me three weeks of transferring sludgy scoop after scoop into the garbage can then waiting for the next garbage pick-up day to fill the can again. My motivation was the transplanted rose bush which had somehow clung to life and was sending out green shoots that I hopefully wound and tucked into the fence.I only got one or two roses that June but the miracle rose bush kept my plans alive over the next three years as my garden slowly became what I had dreamed for it.

This year June was stunning, so many roses weighed down each branch that they drooped in rosy curtains to the ground. Lavender scented the air, Clematis clambered up the arbor bench and the base of the bird bath, deep purple complementing the happy yellow of Columbine. I threw myself at the feet of several couples who I knew were talking marriage and begged them to elope to my back yard during those last two weeks of June.

July came rains dried and roses wilted with out a wedding. I was a little sad that so much beauty went largely unnoticed. I felt the roses had given their all for little reward and now they were wilted and browning.

Typically as July heats up and dries out I lose a bit of my gardening zest and wonder if my efforts really matter. Tonight I slipped out for a few minutes before work at 9:00pm to visit my yard. The long, hot, dry, days have sapped more then my gardening zeal, patches of grass are yellowing, plants were drooping from the heat, halfheartedly I turned on the hose and wandered around feeling like I was visiting care-worn friends. As I watered my corner garden I made vague plans to prune back the roses and pull a few weeds, my thoughts as wilted as my plants.

Turning to the bird bath I began my usual routine of dumping and refilling, but was stopped short by the sight of a whole rose, delicately browned on the edges, petals translucent like antique parchment, floating in the warm water of the bird bath. My weary thoughts dissipated, my breath caught at the singular beauty of the moment. My roses preserved by the sun, yielding graciously, transcending the end of a season with a grace and elegance which eluded them in the wild, cacophony of June.

And there in that dry, sweltering, July evening I looked with new perspective and realized that in the heat of the sun my plants were producing fruit, fruit in which are the seeds of life in a new season. I judge their drooping at the end of a long hot summer day, assigning them human resistance, depression, cares. Perhaps, instead it is acceptance of the season, peace in the heat that transforms blossoms to fruit bearing the seeds of life, the quiet journey of immortality taking place before my eyes. Yes it's hard work and some drooping leaves are to be expected and accepted. No fruitless resistance here in my garden only roots reaching a bit deeper for moisture, leaves creating all the energy possible, fruit and seed drawing all that moisture, all that energy, so the plant can live beautifully over and over and over.

And, so our lives. No matter how hot the summer gets or how much snow piles upon us in the winter the Son is preserving our efforts and we will experience wildly beautiful springs, eternal springs welling up within the garden of our soul. The more extreme the season, the years when arrangements and growth are unexpected those are the giving seasons, the years most remembered. God is the gardener we are the fruit each season provides for the next, springs are joyful, tumultuous, blossoms give way to fruit which grows and matures in the heat of summer, autumns cold nights mature and sweeten the fruit until it's drops to the earth where blanketed by winter snow it rests and waits for the cycle to begin again.

That's what I adore about this gardening thing, it's all about the giving, receiving, and growing of life, it's work and sweat, sludge and dreaming, tenacity, clinging, fragrance, color, vibrant moments of clarity, heat and drooping, moisture and sunlight, soul fruit, seeds, metaphors for life, and I freaking, stinkin' love it.

And LIFE? Yeah, I freakin' stinking, OCD, love that too.

Monday, July 26, 2010


There is something special about this baby boy of mine.

Wednesday when I woke up after seven graveyard shifts he curled up in bed with me, kissed me, played with my hair, asked if I was done working for seven days then, when I had assured him I was done working for a week, he took my face in his hands smiled sweetly and said "Mom, we should spend more time together...at the store!"


That's #7 tenderness for ya!

Today #7 turns SIX years old. "No really it's OK! I'm sniff, sob...just fine"

He assures me he'll still be my baby.

And judging from his face and hands after birthday cake last night he's good for at least that aspect of baby for several years.

#7 you are my YELLOW, my sunshine, tender wrapped in fierce and chocolate frosting, it's an honor to be your mother.

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Motown Smack Down

My teenage drivers distinguish themselves by the music selections they listen to at 7brillon megahertz as they drive.

It would never occur to them to turn their music down or off when they pull into the driveway.

If I haven't ejected the loudly offending disc and tossed it into the back seat, a knee jerk reaction when 6 seconds after the car starts the music blasts out scaring the snot out of me, I occasionally find myself really liking a song.

I liked the song that was playing as I pulled into work tonight. So, as I gathered my stuff(enough crap to pass as a bag lady) I pushed the eject button on the CD player, thinking I would download it to my laptop (always looking for great tunes).

The CD player didn't spit out a disc for me it just flashed in blinking, red lights.


What? You don't tell the Momma NO!

Even if the song is on the radio...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oh Boy

A post about boyness.

If you're the card carrying mom of a boy and have never been, socked by a snuggle, or knocked over by a kiss, or hospitalized by a hug, your time is coming. It isn't intentional or even mean, far from it, it's just that boys do everything big, and loud including affection.

I love that my teenagers need hugs from their mom. I'd prefer that #2 didn't see picking lil' ol' me up with his hugs as extra loving, especially on Grandmas old rotting wooden deck. His legs may fit in between the 4" inch crack, mine don't. Ahh boy hugs.

Bathrooms: It's sad when you feel a little happy at glancing out the window and spying your son answering the call o' nature in the the backyard because you just cleaned the bathroom.

Boys are fit to tie: Yesterday the 3 year old neighbor boy showed me his favorite toy, a Lightning McQueen car tied to what looked like a happy meal toy with a balloon string. Boys go through phases where they twitch a little with out a rope or string in their hand. One year all #2 asked for from Santa Claus was a rope and gun.

Boys aren't fond of Sunday clothes. #7 comes home from church strips down to superhero unders in the front yard, turns on the hose and washes every fiber of stuffy church clothes off as the neighbors drive past on their way home from church. Adorable Hubby assures me that only the women are judging because all the men would like to join him.

Boys are smart. I was woken up by a fight over Lego's. #5 said #7 had a Lego guy made with Lego's that #5 claimed were his...Ummm, apparently it's possible for a boy to distinguish which Lego's in a bucket of 53 katrillion tiny Lego bits are his.

I suggested that they work together to build another guy so that both would have one. A meltdown ensued.

I sighed and sat down on the floor to try to build #5 a Lego guy. I admit to being super tired and drugged against pain from my recent hug, but seriously, could there be anything more confusing to the mom brain than a bucket of tiny Lego parts.

Fortunately my being there was enough and #5 built himself a Lego guy and left me with a pat on the head and some patronizing advice. "Uhhh Mom, it's ok, I don't need any more parts, and you should really try to get more sleep."

Boys make holes. In walls and landscaping and their heads...the doctor showed me how to use the staple gun and sent me home with a gun and three leftover staples. My mad butterfly bandage skills now have an alternative... Buwahhaha staples.

#7? Oh he's fine, three staples and a toy did the trick.

Boys are hungry!!!! Always and forever starving, snarling, hungry! Sigh! I came home from swimming with #7, #6, #5 and two friends to #4 grilling double cheeseburgers with his friend. What happened to a glass of milk and a couple cookies?

Boys are tender: Thanks to my big tough little brothers, my husband and my sons for being the caregivers after my traumatic hug. I was carried, medicated, blessed, comforted, caressed, and checked on by these amazing boys in my life.

Boys are wonderful! Mostly!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Man

21 years ago today Adorable Hubby, who at the time was just Adorable, picked me up at 6:00 or so in the morning so we wouldn't be late to our wedding ceremony which was at 10:30. The little old ladies at the temple rolled their eyes a bit when we walked in at a quarter to 7:00 and sweetly informed us we had 2 1/2 hours to kill.

Not a problem, I just never get tired of time with this incredible guy.

Adorable Hubby quickly found that the wildly impetuous, tattooed, tank top wearing, good time girl he thought he'd married was actually a prim and proper homemaker with a 'sweet' personality and a lot of guilt...wait, flip that around. (I haven't got the tattoo yet Mom so quit being scandalized)

I on the other hand got just what I bargained for. The cutest, sexiest, lovingest, man a girl could ever hope for.

My top 10 Adorable Hubby favorite personality traits.

10. I can, and on many occasions have, asked him to be my best girlfriend. He loves shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond, maybe even more than me. He will consult with me on cute clothes, can pick out the cutest shoes ever, he'll gossip, read people magazine and I'm thinking any day now I'll convince him to get hot pink glitter toes to match my lime green french ones.

9. He indulges my little addictions. Tank tops, tattoos, sandboxes, coffee ice cream, black licorice, Cadbury, pedicures, plants, boys...

8. He's a talker, a unique and amazing trait in a man, I'm pretty sure we'll talk ourselves to death in some old folks home somewhere, and they'll make a movie about us...or not.

7. He's a cook, steak sandwiches, Mtn. Dew potatoes, BBQ, root beer, mashed potatoes, breakfast burritos are some of his specialties. And cooking for 8 sons doesn't intimidate him.

6. He loves my toughness and treasures my tenderness.

5. He makes me laugh!

4. He's a big cry baby. Likely as not a tender moment will end with Adorable Hubby crying about the moment and me crying because he's crying.

3. He can't keep his hands off me...enough said.

2. He has always seen me for who I really am, even when I didn't know myself. He has encouraged, defended and even battled for the real me, and against the toughest adversary any man could ever face a woman who is learning to love and accept herself.

1. He honors me. There is nothing about the role, and true nature of womanhood that he doesn't delight in. I am free to be every amazing beautiful thing a women is when I choose to beloved of him.

Thanks Adorable, for picking me up so early that morning, for being the best Hubby ever and for killing the last 21 years with me.

I love you!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Yesterday I was supposed to hike up to Timpanogos cave

with this blogger.

Would you look at all those boys...we probably won't find much in common... but still, I have been looking forward to her visit for many weeks and was so happy to hear her say, "Hi Boy Mom. Almost happy enough to ignore the burning in my chest with each breath and hike 1.5 miles straight up to walk through a cold, damp cave, before yelling at 12 boys to slow down for 1.5 miles straight down. It actually was my fear of not being able to yell in my usual grating "That Woman" voice that really made me say, "I'd better not." And, we'll be getting together on the 10th for a local parade.

So, to make good on my excuse I popped over to the Instacare and was told that it could be pleurisy which, apparently is diagnosed by squeezing on a persons ribs while bending them into various pretzel shapes; or, pneumonia, diagnosed by nodding and looking concerned. Seriously Doc, could you break out the stethoscope and listen for a sec? I'll be leaving you a couple hundred bucks, lets just say, it's the least you could do.

A few days ago #6 asked me, "Mom, are you still a doctor?" My three littles think working at the hospital makes me a doctor. Being a doctor comes in handy at times like this, I considered my symptoms and prescribed a pedicure. Cute toes can cure anything.

At my favorite pedicure place there were massaging chair to massaging chair people, I'd have to wait...What? Did I mention it's MY pedicure place? I glared at the nearest customers and headed to another pedi-place close by.

Walking into a new pedicure place is nerve wracking, you can almost hear the nail fungi growing. I'm known at MY place, I can chat or not, I know who gives the best massage, when to switch feets... it's never a good feeling to realize three steps inside the new place that A) you're the one and only customer and B) the blinds are down, presumably to keep out the summer sun. The sound track from Psycho began playing in my head.

I never worked out where the two male employees accents were from, they didn't talk much. The one who didn't jump up and grab me sat in a pedi-chair watching a show about a prison in Peru. Uhhh, maybe a different channel would attract another customer or make the ONE you've got feel a bit less like the victim in a movie produced by the police department.

The short little fellow who did grab me said, "How I help you, Mam?"

"I'd like a pedicure." I had been thinking of getting lime green glitter toes.

"You pick color" He pointed.

"I w...."

"French! Yes. OK you sit here!"


The rest of the French pedicure was communicated with taps and pointing. Until the massage on the second leg. I have a large birthmark on the front of the calf. "What happen skin?" He demanded loudly making me jump.

"It's a birthmark, it will fade as you rub it."

"AAAAhhhhaaaaaa" He rubbed and pointed like a kid pleased with a new toy. The Psycho music was back.

Silence again except for the Peru prisoners cheering their team at an inter-prison soccer match.

I tried to relax by turning up the massaging chair.

Suddenly he spoke again "YOU Toes, good circulation, sometimes no circulation, toes YEWHH! (he made a face to show his disgust). You toes...(he nodded his head and gave me two thumbs up)

I guessed that was a big compliment but didn't want to get lulled into a false sense of safety. I leaned my head back, waiting for my toes to dry and planned my escape, just in case.

Praise Buddah, the bell rang as another customer entered. Spanky (because despite an exorbitant amount of goo his hair stuck up in the back) touched my big toe, nodded his head, put my shoes on me, took my $30.00 dollars almost smiled at the $10.00 tip(what, it was way less then the Dr.) and nodded once more as I walked my "Two thumbs up" French toes out into the glorious sunlight, unfortunately the deep breath of summer air hurt, a lot. Guess I need Med school refresher course.

Sorry I missed the hike Lashel, looking forward to the parade.

Our Family

Our Family