Category Archives: my 2 cents
One day, long ago, in the first years of Jon’s and my marriage, my friend Jaymi accidentally dropped her ring on our couch.
It fell out of sight immediately. We took off the cushions, but somehow the ring was somehow even deeper in the crevices of the couch. We then shoved our arms clear down into the guts of the couch and fished around blindly.
Eventually Jaymi hit upon the ring and pulled it out… along with a handful of dust bunnies and random stuff that had piled up over the years. It was a secondhand couch for Jon and me, so you can imagine how exciting the collection was.
Jon looked over as Jaymi pulled out her hand, and all the crap along with it, and he just about died. He was so embarrassed that we would have dust in the couch, and a random sock, and a toy. He ran to get the vacuum to clean it out immediately, as his mother, Patty, taught him. She is very particular when it comes to anything to do with cleaning. She reads cleaning magazines, files papers daily, organizes her spices. You get my point. Jon was raised this way.
I would have to say I am more random. I juggle cleaning and kids daily. I am always cleaning up and straightening things, but if I must choose between filing paperwork and going hiking, or anything else for that matter, I will choose the non-cleaning thing.
Back all those years ago, Jon and I were working through the normal things newlyweds do in the first, let’s say, seven years of marriage. I think it takes a while to set personal boundaries in marriage and figure out how to navigate what we can’t change about each other.
As Jon sucked all the dirt off the couch, I laughed at him for being so freaked out about some mess. I was a little annoyed, too, that I failed so miserably as a housekeeper/homemaker in his eyes.
Jon eventually left for work. Later that night, he came home with a combo meal from McDonald’s, which in my opinion is the nastiest place to eat. I could smell the Big Macs from across the house, the smell that makes me sick.
He sat down in front of the T.V. while he ate. I walked in and he was basically falling asleep in his food because he was so tired. He was dropping that pink nasty-smelly sauce and I couldn’t help but tease him for the mess he was making after the morning’s cleaning freak out.
I said, teasingly, “Oh no! You’re getting sauce on our table. NOW what are the neighbors going to think?”
He didn’t like my taunting very much, I guess. How could I tell? Because he took his 24-ounce glass of water and threw it at me!
I was so shocked I started laughing and said,” NOW what are our friends going to say see water marks dripping down the wall by the front door?”
I don’t think he liked this much either because he proceeded to throw his Big Mac at me. I dodged and it hit the wall.
I had two choices at this point. I could let it drop and go to bed. Or I could continue down the path we were on.
I picked up the greasy, smelly, condiment-less, tasteless hamburger and threw it as hard and fast as I could. It flung apart in the air like a bad airplane and hit the piano and splattered up the wall. Now, Jon isn’t fast most of the time, but today, he was fast. He unwrapped his other Big Mac as he stood. I am naturally fast, but nothing makes me move like Jon when he moves fast. (I once saw him jump an eight-foot wooden fence in a single bound when our hunting dog was about to eat our kids new Easter rabbit. The man can turn it on.)
I turned and ran the only way I could in our small house, up the stairs. I skipped two steps at a time, glanced back and saw Jon skipping three! I bolted into my room, slammed the door and ran into our bathroom. Jon didn’t even check to make sure that the bedroom door unlocked. He just plowed through it and popped the whole door off the frame, and smashed the frame out of the wall! He ran into the bathroom. I stared at him, daring him with my eyes to throw that last hamburger at me.
The dare worked. He threw it. I said, “I didn’t even lock the bedroom door.” He just grunted and walked away.
Suddenly we heard a “ding dong” — the doorbell. People have the worst timing, I thought. I couldn’t believe my ears when Jon answered the door. It was Patty and Grandma Ginny.
From the top of the stairs, I peeked around a corner to see Patty and Grandma Ginny step in and look around. I am positive they smelled the nasty pink sauce because Patty’s nose curled. Or maybe she saw the water drips on the wall and the lettuce on the piano. Or maybe she saw Jon’s look on his face. The look of foreboding.
I walked down the stairs and planted myself in front of them all. “Jon,” I said, “you threw the Big Mac. I AM NOT cleaning this up, and I am not coming back until it is.” And I marched out of the house.
Patty and Grandma started cleaning up the mess. A few hours later, Jon and I made up. Years and many fights and many laughs later, when we were moving out of that house, I found a crusty piece of Big Mac lettuce still stuck behind the piano on the wall.
Marriage does gets easier as time goes on. You get used to each other’s crap, and you figure out how to handle what’s not going to change. We solved the couch problem by hiring a housekeeper that helps me a few times a week. Her name is Maria. I love her like a sister.
The moral to this story is:
Don’t eat Big Macs. They are nasty.
Don’t boss each other around. Don’t tease too much. It doesn’t get you anywhere.
Every marriage could use a Maria.
Run fast if you take on Jon.
Guess what! It snowed, right on Christmas Even. It was a miracle!
I’m sure nobody on planet earth reads my blog anymore – or any other planet for that matter. And why would they? I never post, and if I do, it would be on facebook or instagram – or an occasional snap chat.
I know there are some major reasons why social media is not good for us, but there are some reasons that it has been good for me. I enjoy reflecting on my day and writing about it. I like to remember the reasons I laughed hard or felt deeply enough about something to cry. It helps me learn more about who I am and why I’m here on this earth. And although I’d love to believe that I won’t forget anything, it’s been clear that I do. I forget what happened yesterday, for heaven sake! And when I look back on my old blog posts (more than a thousand of them) I see that they were for myself and my children. I know that I used to have many hundreds of consistent “readers” and it did help me to keep going when I didn’t feel like writing, but at the end of the day – it was for me.
My life is busier than ever, and yet, I have this major pull to try to keep writing. I don’t even know how I will fit it in and so I can’t possibly commit to it – and then I feel sadness. So much of life is striving for the balance that works for us. When it find it, we also experience more peace, hard work, and happiness. And the hard part about it is that it never stays the same. Life changes, and so must our balance. It’s a moving target!
A few days ago, I was sitting down to recover from all the Christmas crazy (hosting 2 huge work Christmas parties, 5 movie theaters full of clients, and multiple family parties) and Whitney walked in. We talked about random things and then I looked up to find her snap chat app in my face. Next thing I know, my features were warped into all sorts of images and I began laughing, and the harder I laughed, the more I was inadvertently encouraging her to continue. And well, a video is worth more than a thousand words, so here you go!
There is nothing like raising teenagers! Nothing. One minute you wonder who they are and what they did with your sweet baby, and the next minute they are your best friend. It makes my head spin – and with six daughters and one little caboose boy, my head has spun for a long time.
SO much has been going on in our home that I could never catch up writing about everything. The stories that would be the most interesting to read about my children and our lives, are private. But there is a lot I can write, such as my New Year Resolutions for 2017! I attacking a few things that would potentially, if I can control myself, change my life.
- I am officially going back to college for the first time in over twenty years! I was accepted into a women’s leadership program during the fall, and Dr. Susan Madsen encouraged me to do it take the full plunge and finish my degree. I’ve wanted to do this for many years, but it hasn’t ever been the right time, but I believe that now it is – heaven help us. I’ve decided to get an Integrated Studies major, including Leadership and either psychology or sociology.
- Not only am I returning to school, I have chosen to do exactly what many people don’t recommend, and that is to take MATH on my first semester back. And true to the “Janae Way”, I’m not only taking math, but I’m also enrolled in a class called Ology that helps you pass ALL OF YOUR MATH FOREVER in one semester! It will be so scary intense, but I want to get it over! I’ve also dragged Kinley, Ethan (Kinley’s fiance!), and Whitney into it with me. My theory is that if we all struggle together, we can overcome! I’d have to say that I’m a bit nervous because the class will also be running during the three months leading up to Kinley’s wedding! I’m also taking my Ethics and Values class.
- After five years of severely neglecting my health, I have a plan in place to hit it head on. I’m so scared, but I have to do it. I’m only half way through my life and I want to enjoy the rest of it and if I can’t figure out how to take control of my body – I won’t. Why do I feel like I’m helping myself by only helping others? How can I find the energy to help run companies, start and run non-profits, and be mama to many kids – but I can’t take care of myself? I think it’s a pretty common thing for women.
- And just so you can all laugh at me, I will also be supporting our businesses with PR and strategy, continuing to build the Parent Advocacy Council, most likely launching a very small business (TBA), and helping to plan a wedding. Not to mention being mom – my most important job.
So how to I plan to achieve my goals? Good question!
- All of my kids are gone all day, from 7:30-3:30. That is one benefit of getting old. I have 8 hours a day to do what I need to do. During this time I will go to school, work, exercise etc.
- After twenty years of raising kids, Jon and I hired a nanny last year to help during the after school hours. We divide up driving, cooking, homework etc. Kelsey helped us all last year and recently moved away. Kenzie is now her replacement and she has also been assisting me with party planning and work errands. I feel like a huge cheater, but like Jon says, “Let her help you with things that I can’t help you with because I’m too busy at work.” and that makes me feel better. He’s been saying this for the eleven years that Maria has come and helped to clean our house. I feel so guilty/embarrassed even talking about this, but I feel like if I don’t, then people compare what they are able to do and think I’m some sort of super woman when really I just have a team of people trying to keep up with me!
- I’m going to be successful in school because I want to be a good example to my daughters of continuing education in any way that they can. It’s important to me that they know that women can lead in whatever ways they want to, whether it’s in the family, business, non-profit, work…whatever. They can be self-sufficient and not wait for a husband to do it for them. Too often in our Utah culture, young women just assume this – without realizing the many things that can get in the way of this plan. Sickness, job-loss, divorce, death etc. all happens – all the time.
- I should also add a big number 4 and that is prayer. I won’t be able to carry out these goals without help from above! I sometimes get distracted, tired, lackadaisical, irritated, lazy when I’m working on something I’m not excited about (such as school, math, and my health) and I’ll need every blessing I can get!
So, here goes nothing and everything all at the same time. Oh, did I mention that I’d like to write on my blog more often, too? There are simply not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. Not enough, at all.
I would by lying if I didn’t say I was a bit nervous to be back on social media, after a summer without it.
I feel a bit like a child that has been grounded from the car and finally gets to drive, or an addict that is let back into a party scene after an alcohol recovery, or like I’ve walked into a Thanksgiving feast after starving on an island for months.
Yes, I’m sure I sound a tad dramatic, but after spending everyday on Facebook for the past ten years, that’s just how it feels. I’m cautious, hesitant and taking it all in. I’ve learned so much about myself that I can hardly put it all into words – especially in one blog – so just know that this is not the only time I’ll write about this here on my new blog. I thought I’d be writing on my blog this summer, at least, but when I decided to walk away from social media, I couldn’t bring myself to have any tie to the computer.
In fact, I even let my huge project and new non-profit (Parent Advocacy Council and The Parent Tribe) slip away from my consciousness; something I’ve worked tirelessly on for several years now. But you know what? It felt good and it felt right. My mind has become more clear and focused without all the chatter that used to fill every day, as I was in any line, in the bathroom, while I did homework with my kids, on date nights, during church, at stop lights and any other place you can imagine.
Now you get ready to gasp at my usage, I would challenge you to look around. The more I lifted my head and stared into my kids’ eyes, the more I saw parents everywhere that gave more attention and love to their pocket world than to their own children. I saw kids find their happiness, connection, and love from the latest app *hit*. I saw couples longingly gazing into other people’s lives while they were “bonding” at the restaurant table. I could go on and on, but I won’t you get the picture I’m painting because you’ve seen it, too.
I wish I could say that social media was ALL good or ALL bad, but I can’t. What I found is that it is neither. In fact, social media has felt more like an extension of my body, a third arm that has been removed. The arm isn’t good or bad, it just is a tool to carry out what is most important to you. And honestly, being away from Facebook, instagram, snapchat, and my blog, I realized that I mostly used my ‘tool’ to do a lot of good and I it was amputated – leaving me powerless to spread good things going on in the community or worthwhile projects my friends could be a part of. I also fell into a depression when I should have been gleeful and feeling free, I felt lonely and isolated. Yes, of course, I can hear you thinking… I had my husband and children around, I had wonderful experiences in breathtaking places this summer, but I was so used to the constant stimulation from my “friends” that somehow it still didn’t feel like enough.
I am not saying this is healthy – in fact, I believe that we are all so used to instant gratification with everything in our lives – even “likes” that we base many more decisions on them than we realize. I wasn’t so worried if my hair was “done” for a selfie, I didn’t care if my house wasn’t perfectly picked up (in the background) of my pictures and I often even lost my phone, without even realizing it for hours. At the same time, I missed out on important life events of loved ones and I didn’t have a constant giggle in my mind of the latest meme or video I had seen that gave me a good laugh.
It was quiet and I was alone with my thoughts.
This can be good or bad, and I can tell you that I experienced both on an extreme level. I’m actually brought to tears a bit thinking about it – and to be honest, I’m actually headed to see a personal counselor for the first time, for myself, to work though all the things I’ve pushed out of my head for so long. So you see, this has been a serious thing for me.
One night I was alone in our cabin in our cabin near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and it was pitch black. Jon had stayed back in Utah for a few days after I left and so I text him.
“Jon! DUDE! What are you doing?!”
“Well, it’s dark and I’m alone, and all the kids are asleep. What did you do today? Who did you see? Did work go well? Did that guy come by the office? Where are you going next?” etc.etc.etc. and any of you that know Jon well, also know that he is NOT a texter, and he text…
“How long until you get back on Facebook?” and we both laughed.
You see, Facebook is me – I am Facebook. It is where my friends and family really are, but it’s not really there with you. The people who make up your family are ‘there’ and Facebook is a fun pastime that brings me so much joy, but it can’t take the place of living, breathing, human interaction and love. It has to be a tool that is used when it’s needed, even everyday if it must, but like any tool it has to be put away in the toolbox. We don’t sleep with our hammers and power tools – at least I don’t. We use them for entertainment, a project, a goal…to create something beautiful or that makes us happy – and then we lock it up and sleep in the house it built. We enjoy it as an addition to our life – not as our life.
So on that note, I say goodbye for today. I’m off to create and live in my world. I’m feel so blessed to have this tool of a blog so I can share my thoughts, for myself, to gain clarity – but now I will put it away and move on. I’m so glad you’re here and I pray you have a wonderful day!
ps. Oh, and those darling little sweeties in the picture? They are my granddaughters and I missed them more than anything when I couldn’t see them everyday on social!!!