1.) Took my boys out for ice cream. Youngest boy prefers plastic spoon on ground over clean unused spoon. I freak. "Don't worry Mom," he consoles me as he sucks on it,"there's no more germs because I sucked all of them off."
2.) Went on a road trip with David Archuleta. Referred to him once as "David Enchilada." He was not amused.
3.) Got chased by an enormous, radioactive bumble bee during the Nauvoo Pageant. Made a mad dash for it through the audience.
4.) Youngest son gave me the most adorable kisses today, until . . . he slipped me the tongue. And I dry heaved.
5.) We currently own three spoons. Glediator resorts to a ladle with which to eat cereal.
6.) Youngest boy stepped in a pile of the neighboring Great Dane's poo. In BARE FEET.
Last week, my wanderlust led me to the quaint streets of a historic city both built and abandoned by my ancestors. Nauvoo, Illinois was once a swampy, bug infested land where the Mormons were driven to after being persecuted. They labored to transform the land into a beautiful town that at the time, rivaled Chicago in development. Due to further persecution after the murder of their prophet, Joseph Smith, they were once again forced to abandon their beautiful city and seek refuge in the west.
Now restored, Nauvoo hosts a production through the summer every year called the "Nauvoo Pageant" (not like a beauty pageant, but rather a play). Actors give of their time and talents to reenact the history of my people during that time. Among the cast was my neighbor and fellow Tree Streeter, Paul Walstad, a.k.a "Wally."
During my visit, I was invited to sing a song I recorded several years back called "Emma" (a song about the angst of Joseph's wife) for the cast during a luncheon. I have never been so emotional over that song as I was after seeing Nauvoo and learning more about Emma. Paul gave me the best pep talk of my life right before I sang and really helped me to feel at peace.
Later that night, I sat in a sea of people surounded by fireflies. We watched the pageant, picturesque against a grassy hill and the iluminated temple. Paul played the part of Parley P. Pratt who narrated the whole production. He was so perfectly cast for that character. Thanks for the lovely experience, Paul.
This morning as I scrambled eggs at the stove, the Glediator raced into the kitchen in a flying hurry for work. He put his arms around me as he offered up a hasty prayer, while I stirred the eggs with my eyes closed.
"You're going to hell for stirring the eggs during the prayer," he joked afterward. (If I am going to hell for anything, it won't be for stirring the eggs during the prayer.)
"Well, you're going to hell for always being in such a mad hurry for work every morning," I shot back.
I hope the Glediator and I do not go to hell. But I think we have some work to do.
My thoughts wander back a few months to the cathedral in Frankfurt, Germany. I had a five hour delay at the airport during some travels and I ventured out into the city with some friends. Having lived in Spain, I have seen many cathedrals, and every one fills my whole being with reverence and wonder. As I quietly marveled over paintings, tombs and statues, I peered into a small side chapel and saw two boys, about twelve years of age, kneeling in prayer over an altar. With my breath stolen, I wept at the sight, grateful that there is still faith in the hearts of the children in this world.
I doubt I would have been so moved had the boys been scrambling eggs over the altar. I am very glad that there is 24 hour service in heaven and that I can pray wherever and whenever I need to, but I am resolving to be more thoughtful in the way I approach my Maker.
When I first started reading blogs, I suddenly felt self-conscious about my life. Were my children not adorable enough? Was my home not beautiful enough? Was my camera not expensive enough? Where was all the color in my life? The elements of fashion and design? How about my ideal parenting, cooking, and homemaking skills? And how about those writing chops? Why didn't I pay more attention in my Creative Writing class back in college?
And then, I started my own blog out of pressure from my publicist. It was drudgery at first. Posts were few and far between. Until, I scheduled a benefit concert that I felt very passionate about. I suddenly had a purpose driven desire to promote my guts out in order to get people involved and to raise money all in the name of love.
Something clicked during that time and I understood that most bloggers have the best intentions and there are many who are passionate about child rearing, cooking, homemaking and clever writing. (I, myself have discovered anew my passion for anthropology and I relish learning about different people near and far). If I was feeling at all insecure about my life after reading about the passions of others, then that was my own junk. I find that blogging improves my ability to live in the now and to romanticize the mundane. I appreciate that we can share those moments with one another.
It is never my intention to give off the impression that, "Hey! My life is better than yours!" I do look forward to reading more about your lives along with giving you a peek at mine. So with that, I will leave you with a photo essay of my own home. I hope it inspires you.
One of my beautiful dining chairs that the Glediator made for me.
The craft room. We take crafts seriously. Obviously.
Our laundry sorting system.
The dining area.
Plants I potted myself.
The courtyard. You may be wondering how our tether ball got up in that tree. Well, frankly, I am too.
(Judy with my little squirts, Thatcher and Jackson)
When I think of the ultimate, All American Homemaker, it is not Donna Reed, nor Alexandra Stoddard, not even Martha, that first comes to mind. For me, Judy Nelson reigns supreme in the history of homemaking authorities. If you have ever entered your best pie, bottled jam, or hand-stitched quilt in the fair, then Judy has judged it. I guess that would make her Judge Judy. Watch out Duchesne and Price! Judge Judy is at a fair near you this summer!
The first time (and last) I ever sewed anything was with Judy. The first time I made bread (and last) was with Judy. I covet her domestic talents and after being in her presence I'm often left to wonder, "Where in tarnation was I when those gifts were passed out?" Overcoming the temptation to feel pathetically sorry for myself, I got up the guts to ask her to come over to my home and teach me and my family how to make bread, yet again.
Not only did she come, but she spent Family Home Evening with us and while the bread was rising, taught us some fun new games, i.e. "What Time Is It, Big, Bad Wolf?" The boys LOVED her. Can I just express for a moment how awesome it is to have someone with a Masters in Child Development interacting with my boys?
If her Masters isn't impressive enough, her late husband, Mark Nelson, after enduring the debilitating effects of Polio as a teen, went on to receive a PhD in Physics from Harvard and taught Physics at BYU for 40 years! Her children were all Sterling Scholars and her daughter, Marilyn (close to me in age) received the prestigious Hinckley Scholarship at BYU. Blows my mind.
Thank you Judge Judy, who is really not at all judgmental, but rather patient, thoughtful, insightful and gentle. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go write a poem.
Late this afternoon I awoke from a nap with heave eyelids. Visions of Provo Canyon danced in my head and the fresh air of the Falls was calling my name. Poking my head out of my bedroom, I called the crew's attention and ordered them to put their shoes on and pile in the car: "We're going to Bridal Veil!"
Along the trail to Bridal Veil Falls, the smell of sweet Pine and barbecue invigorated my groggy senses. The boys, waded through the runoff and smeared wet clay all over their bodies. I love a dirty little boy.
On the drive home the conversation went something like this:
Thatcher:"Mom, would you rather eat a banana slug whole without chewing it or eat Boss's tongue?"
Me: "Banana slug."
Jackson:"Mom, would you rather have belly buttons for eyes or an eye for your belly button?"
Me:"Belly buttons for eyes."
Thatcher:"Mom, would you rather keep me or Jackson?"
Me:"Thatch, that's not a fair question."
Jackson:"Thatcher, would you rather keep Mom or Dad?"
And the conversation continued in this manner until we pulled into the driveway.
For the last few years of my career, my life has been a series of difficult hypothetical questions:
Mindy would you rather be a Deseret Book artist or an independent artist?Independent.
Mindy would you rather be a country artist or an independent artist? After a short stint in Nashville, I concluded:Independent.
Mindy would you rather be a signed female duo or an independent artist? After a sixty day trial, I concluded yet again:Independent.
And after two more offers to be a country artist, it was an easy: INDEPENDENT!
At times I have wondered if I am ungrateful for passing up generous opportunities. Could those opportunities have opened doors to the musical path I really want? But as I stood in the sound booth of a Nashville recording studio a few years ago, I felt miserable and resolved that I would rather stick a dull butter knife through my eyeball than sing country music for a career (no offense to all you country music lovers).
It just feels wrong for me to do anything that does not resonate with my authentic self. I am incredibly sensitive to it. At times this trait makes me feel like I'm floundering, trying to find my way as I reach for what feels authentic. And right now, I am really reaching. However, when I settle for what I think my audience wants to hear, I'm not writing from an authentic space, and my work falls short. Make sense?
When I released "Feather in the Wind," one review cautioned:
"This album is horrible! Don't waste your money unless you have money to throw around!"
Another accused, "Some songs here seem to be attempting to be everyone else in CCM."
Dang, I wasn't even going for CCM with that album. But it just doesn't matter. I refuse to write for my critics.
SO, the moral of these ramblings is: Hypothetically speaking, if I had to be what everyone else expected me to beORchoose to be who I am regardless of anyone's approval,I would pick the latter.
I think this was my favorite Fourth of July EVER. I've already posted 97 pictures of my weekend, so I'll spare you the pain and share the number one highlight of my Independence Day: riding the conveyor belt at Grandpa Mike's warehouse after the Grand Parade. Talk about a liberating experience.
We got sucked into the black hole from whence no package has ever returned. And then begged for more.
In my town, Provo, the third of July is every bit as fun as the fourth. Hosts of people, young and old, swarm to University Avenue and stake their claim on any patch of grass or sidewalk they can find to save a spot for the Grand Parade that takes place on the Fourth. The Glediator's family happens to own a business on Univeristy Ave. So we claimed our land, pitched our tents and set up the most delicious snack stand around. Allow me to share a few photos of a most enjoyable family tradition:
Don't say it. I know. I'm too foxy in these glasses. One of the highlights of my weekend celebration was the vintage boutique held at The Velour on University Ave.
Owner, Cory Fox, is always so animated! Don't be too happy now, Cory.
Back at the Cherry Lane Snack Stand on University, expert snow cone makers, Van and Malloy, show up to help out.
We stuffed ourselves silly with crepes. (In this photo: long-time family friend, Lawnie, enjoys a raspberry filled crepe).
Then . . . we ate more crepes.
I ran into fellow Tree Streeter, Simy Gart, owner and chef at Rooster, a delicious new Asian restaurant on University. She is so lovely.
Opera singer (and next-door-neighbor) Fauneil Purcell performed at the Jamestown Village on Center Street.
*eat our home made crepes, berry parfait, and shop the boutique*
Last year at the Fourth of July Grand Parade in our town, my mother-in-law Leslie, set to work mixing up giant batches of her FAMOUS CREPES. One bite of one of her homemade crepes and you will cry mercy!
This year, you can have those very same crepes again at our family's delicious snack stand on the corner of 500 N. and University Ave. We will also be serving sno-cones in a dozen flavors, Anne's patriotic sugar cookies, and Leslie's Fruit and Granola Parfait made with fresh berries, homemade granola and organic Greek Yoghurt. YUMMMM!!!
My in-laws also own the juiciest boutique at the same location (inside the historic Women's Gym). Come by tonight between6 p.m. and midnight to eat crepes and shop at the boutique. We will be open at 5:00 a.m. on the 4th of July (those camping out are in for an early morning treat). We will close right after the parade.
Sno-cones are Jackson's specialty
Who doesn't need a pair of flashing glasses? These babies turn on and off with multi-colored lights. Exclusively at our snack stand!
In case you haven't been able to find just the right hand bag, we have it here!
Me and sis-in-law, Nikki sport these adorable new hats, found inside the Cherry Lane Boutique.
A few weeks ago, Thatcher was all over the house like a Tasmanian Devil, casting spells, speaking gibberish and making mischief. With the flick of his wand, he cast a spell on me. I didn't think anything of it until moments later when I went to take the garbage out and came face to face with a beautiful rainbow in my back yard. As the rain fell down, I felt revived and took a picture to remember the moment.
Earlier this week, I took Boss out to relieve himself in the bushes and stumbled over a lucky horseshoe in the grass. How did that get there? Lucky incident after lucky incident has occurred in my life since the day Thatcher pointed his wand at me and shouted: "Expeliomus!" I began to marvel at the power behind his magic spell and approached him on the matter.
"Thatcher, remember when you cast a spell on me?"
"Yeah!" he giggled.
"Well, I was wondering, just exactly what kind of spell that was . . ."
"Oh," he smirked. "I was just trying to blow you up, Mom."