Thursday, November 27, 2008

Abstract Art

Crazy Face
by Joseph Montgomery

Medium: Mud on Fence

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lost and Found

I was exhausted. The twins were exhausted. We all fell asleep. When I woke up, I was disoriented and sleepy. I looked at the clock and was surprised that I had so much time until Joseph was supposed to come home from school.

It was 45 minutes later that I realized that I was an hour off. Joseph should have been home from school already. School had been out for over an hour. He wasn't home.

Have you ever wondered how you would react if your child was missing? I thought there would be immediate tears and panicked calls to the police. Instead, I felt a great rush of ... peace. I realized that I may not handle my everday stresses well, but I'm great in an emergency. I coolly and calmly put the twins in the car, made a few phone calls, and headed out to check a few friends' houses.

It was after exhausting most of my options and then driving around aimlessly for a while that I started to lose my nerve. The school hadn't seen him. They started calling all the first graders' parents and notified the police. I started talking to neighbors, asking them to help me look. I kept driving past my house, hoping to see his bike in the garage.

Just when the police were about to get involved, a stranger drove up and asked if I was looking for Joseph. They explained that he had been at their home and they had been trying to figure out how to contact me. (Joseph used to have our phone number memorized but had forgotten it. His grandmother, however, got a message on her answering machine that worried her quite a bit.)

Then the tears started to flow. I told Joseph to get in the car and took a little drive, trying to sort out what had happened. I'll summarize by saying that Joseph had succumbed to peer pressure and gone with one of his friends to one of their friend's homes. I couldn't believe he had gone into the home of a complete stranger just because his friend "made him."

Oy. Time to revisit and revisit and revisit our safety rules, which he is usually great about obeying. (Other rules, however, are a different story.)

Thanks to my neighbors for helping me out and being willing to help out when I was calmly panicking. It's so nice to know that I'm surrounded by people who care.

Joseph didn't get in trouble, other than having to sit down and listen to the "How do you think I feel when you don't come home from school?" lecture that I vividly remember my Mom giving me when I was in grade school. But I told him that if this ever happens again, he will be grounded from now until he's 35 and have many other vague and horrible things happen to him.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dispelling the Gloom

Early morning errands called me. The sun was flirting with the mountains but hadn't yet committed to rising. I looked up and saw a grey sky. A thick blanket of clouds met my gaze and I knew it would be a long, cold day. I assumed there would be wind and rain.

After getting the boys buckled into the car, we set out for our destination and the dawn finally transitioned to day. The sun shone and I looked again at the cloud cover. I had been wrong. Rather than being threatening and full of storms, the clouds were wispy and transparent. I could see that the sun would dispel the gloom very quickly.

The day was windy, though. We drove up the canyon and I couldn't keep the car driving in quite a straight line, even with two hands on the steering wheel. Leaves swirled from their roadside beds and danced in the air in front of me. I wouldn't have traded that sight for any number of sunny days. It was beautiful.

The wind faded. The day ended with me sitting in a sunny spot at Brigham Young University campus, sipping a smoothie and chatting with my dad and sister. It became admittedly uncomfortable as the sun stretched lower in the sky and the shadows settled onto our bench, but it was peaceful.

Last week, I was facing a tremendously stressful situation with one of my children. The gloom seemed complete as I searched for answers and was surrounded by deepening problems. This week, the sun rose and dispelled the gloom. I found comfort in my friends and family, and hope in each small improvement I noted.

There was wind. Things are still rough. Children become little storm clouds some days, but I wouldn't trade them for all the sunny days I might have if they weren't in my life. I remember too clearly the tears and frustration before I was able to have children. The kids may swirl around me and force me to parent with both hands on the steering wheel, and my life may still not travel in the straight line I'd prefer.

I know that the gloom will fade, problems will resolve and I will one day sit in the shadows of my setting life with my family, and I will feel peaceful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A little bit bossy

Joseph: "Mom, you're the beeesssst friend!"

Mom: "Thanks, Joseph, you're so sweet."

Joseph: "Mom, I really love you and Dad, but I've got to tell you a secret."

Mom: "Okay, what is it?"

Joseph: "Mom, I really love you ... but sometimes you're a little bit bossy and I like Dad a little more."

Mom: "Okay, Joseph. Parents get a little bossy sometimes. Have a good day at school."

This is the stuff memories are made of. What kind of mother would I be if I wasn't a little bossy? (This comes the day after Josh let him stay up past his bedtime playing a boardgame. Hmm.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My name is Mommy

A few minutes ago, Thomas walked up to me and asked me, "Is your name Thomas?" (We've been joking about names all morning, taking turns pretending to be each other. I especially like when I get to be Elijah or Thomas and demand that they give me food: "No, not that food! Wah! I want it on a blue plate, not a dark blue plate!")

I responded to Tommy's question by saying, "No, I'm not Thomas. My name is Mommy."

It's a good thing that I know my name isn't really Mommy. It's so easy to think that with young children in the house. Doesn't it feel sometimes like your identity is swallowed up in the identity of your children?

I visited my Mom last weekend alone, sans kiddos. It was strange to realize that I felt so ... myself. I wasn't playing the part of mother or wife or friend. Just daughter and I've lived that role my whole life so it's just part of who I am. It's nice sometimes to get out and just be me. It's nice to remember that I have a name other than Mommy.

Monday, November 10, 2008


It doesn't take much to cheer me up. I'm a simple person.

Family Home Evening tonight will be filled with awesomeness and attractiveness. I'll be showing the kids and husband Kung Fu Panda for the first time and enjoying chinese take out.

Life is good.

Friday, November 07, 2008


What inspires me to write? Who knows. But this inspires me to take a deep breath and remember how beautiful life can be, and remembering that inspires me to want to write:

I sing this song almost every day. It was just a couple weeks ago that I really thought about the lyrics and how deeply moving they are. I couldn't sing because I couldn't stop crying. What a beautiful song.

NaNo No No

Okay, I guess I just committed a few NaNo No Nos. I edited. I hated it. I scrapped most of it and started over. It hurt. But it had to happen.

I fell in love with my first chapter, thought the second chapter was a'ight and then it dissolved into black and white characters that were caricatures of real life. I hate characters that are clearly good or clearly bad. My main character, who I hope will be pitiable, is also pitiful. That's on purpose. I want her mistakes to hurt the reader the way they hurt her. Real life is not just painful when it happens to you... real life hurts when you bring the problems on yourself.

So I couldn't make my main character a victim of a horrendous childhood, which is what I'd done. I had to add a few shades of grey so that people could relate to the parents, the sister and the main character equally. Shakespeare was a master of adding the "tragic flaw" to make characters human, lovable and pitiful.

Now the plot seems to be plodding, though, as I try to add a more detailed picture of my character's youth. Too much character development and not enough plot = unappealing to most readers. How do you strike a balance? I've never done this before.. this is HARD! But it's fun, too, and hopefully I won't wimp out when I get too far behind. I'm a very talented procrastinator, but I'm also very talented and churning things out at the last minute. So stay tuned.

Here are the opening two paragraphs to my NaNo project for your ... ummm ... enjoyment?

It amazes me how complete the darkness can be. It must be late morning and the sun hasn’t started to disturb the quiet, dusty surfaces of this room. I wonder what time it is. I peeked out the window a few minutes ago and the sunlight blinded me, so I turned away and came back to this sanctuary of shadows. This inner room is cluttered and dark, but it was used so infrequently in the old days that it holds none of the painful memories that still cling to other rooms. I spend most of my time here.

Jenn says there will be a time when I can again walk through this home with a smile. I try to pray for this miracle, but the silence I hear afterward is too suffocating. I’ve been hurt by nearly everything in my life and I just can’t put my heart into reaching out to God. I’m afraid he will hurt me, too, and that rejection would be the most painful of all.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Whatever your political leanings, this should put a tear in your eye this morning:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Road Trippin'

* Cedar Breaks is my new favorite place. I could stare at that view for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours....

* After horrificness on our day trip on Saturday, we learned a few things and our driving time yesterday went without a hitch. The kids amazed me.

* Who would have thought THOMAS would be the best behaved boy last night?!? I didn't see that coming. He slept through the night in our hotel without a problem. The other two, however ... let's just say that we didn't get much sleep.

* Hampton Inn was very good with us, working with us until they found two adjoining rooms with two beds, including a free upgrade to their king suite.

* Umm, those hotel doors sure are secure. If you use the crossover latch that you can only do from the inside, and then go through the adjoining doors and close them and lock yourself out of your hotel room, it really is a pain to get back into your room. Luckily, they didn't have to cut the lock off but it was a pretty close thing! Thanks to the Cedar City Hampton Inn maintenance crew for being my heroes last night. :)

* I CANNOT WAIT to see Zion National Park today. I love that place.

* Happy Election Day '08! 75% of polled Americans on this morning think Obama will win. It has felt like it was "in the bag" for a democrat since about 2006. If McCain wins, it will be an amazing surprise!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Historic Moments

A few moments to write in the old list of accomplishments:

1. I survived a one-day road trip with the kids. The last half of the trip was in the dark, sans dinner, in the back seat holding Thomas' seat belt so he wouldn't climb out of it again and again and again and again. Funny little game he perfected there. Not.

2. I cranked out my first 1300+ words for NaNoWriMo before 9 a.m. on November 1st. A mere 48, 700 to go! Woot! My storyline came together at 10:00 p.m. on October 31st so I'm feeling happy. I've never tried to do so much fiction writing and it's fun so far.

3. And the biggest news of all: after months and months and months and months of having ads on my website, I'm now more than halfway toward receiving my first $100 check! Wowsah! I'm almost rich! (Sheesh.)