Monday, May 27, 2013

I am a Writer?

      There is a book inside me that wants to come out now. "Why now?" I keep asking myself over and over again. Why now when I am a busy mother of 3 children and homeschooling, running a household, carrying callings, meeting deadlines, and nursing a toddler? Why now in the midst of my crazy, wonderful life do I feel compelled to follow through with this ginormous dream of mine? It doesn't seem to fit, yet here it is staring me in the face, not wanting to go away.
      My husband is worried about me. In the past month since I decided to write more intensely, my mind has been wandering dangerously back and forth between realms of reality and dreamy book-land. Because of the powerful distraction my creative mind has been causing me I nearly burnt the house down and ruined my favorite pot. I also forgot to click my toddler into his car seat...twice, then I killed all eleven of my darling pet fish by accidental poison. I've locked myself out of the house several times (thank you spare key hiding outside), misplaced my keys more than I can count, and have forgotten to pay the electric bill on time.
I'm sure there's more, but I'll spare myself the humiliation.
      In my daily prayers I fervently ask Father to help me to prioritize my life in a way that brings peace and balance to my daily living. Please help me to put the most important things first so that I can be rest assured that I am doing my best as a mother, a wife, and a servant of God," I humbly ask each day. When I am serving my family-when my children are happy and taken care of, is when I am the absolute happiest. I don't want anything to come in the way of that. So when this book started to emerge inside of me I pushed it away. I immediately scoffed at the idea of it, and asked God to please spare me from this idiotic notion. I figured it would disappear just like all the other grand ideas I've stumbled upon these past few years. Like the phase where I wanted to become a Master herbalist, or when I wanted to make and sell baby carriers, or the time I wanted to ditch our car and ride bikes everywhere, or when I decided that I could wake up early and work-out every morning and have the perfect body. Yeah right. None of the those things were ever going to happen, and thank goodness I followed my heart to let go of things that would only get in the way of my ability to live a balanced, happy life. There are so many amazing things to do in life, but we can't do them all. I've learned that in order to stay balanced, I have to pay close attention to that spiritual discernment inside of me, guiding me to follow the path that is right for me each day.

      This book won't go away. There are stories to tell and words to write, and my mind is racing like mad to get it all down. My husband and I had a good talk about what is possible, and decided that I could do this if I follow a more disciplined schedule. To assure that I don't burn the house down or injure our children, I need to  set aside specific writing times where I know I will get to write without any distractions. Then, when I emerge from that wonderful world and come back to this one, I have to let it all go and stay focused on reality. Focus. Focus. Focus. That's what I have to tell myself when I come back. Don't let my mind stray, don't go back to the book. The book will be there waiting where I left off.  I love the advice in Natalie Goldberg's writing book, "Wild Mind, Living the Writer's Life" where she says,"We are not our writing. Our writing is a moment moving through us."
I have to let that moment move through me and then let it go.
I am a mother, I am homeschooling my children, I have a household to run, callings to hold, deadlines to meet, a toddler to nurse, and I am a writer.

      This summer I am writing a book. My dream book. Maybe two people will read it or maybe two hundred thousand people will read it. It doesn't matter to me. What matters is that I fulfill this path of inspiration and follow my dream. What matters is that I learn how to balance and have control over what is possible in my life, and  follow the steps to make it happen. It's going to be a long process, but one that I am truly excited about.

Wish me luck.
I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mama's Fresh Sheets

I was awoken the other night with that same familiar call from Odin's room. "Mama!" he cried. Then again even longer,"Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!' This time drawn out a little louder and more dramatically. I got up wearily out of my bed and walked to his room. It was 3am and the house was dark and qiet.
"Yes Odin?", I asked. Although I already knew what he would say because he says the same thing almost every night.
"I'm shi-shi." he replied softly.
Shi-shi is the Japanese word for pee. It is commonly used here in Hawaii as a slang for having to go to the bathroom. Such as, "Eh, do you have to make shi-shi?"
When Odin tells me that he's shi-shi, it means he's wet the bed...again.

I moved quickly and automatically, doing the same thing I've done on more nights than I can count:
I have him stand up.
I remove his wet clothes.
I remove his sheets and blanket, all soaked through to the plastic covering beneath.
I throw the soaked linens in the laundry basket in the hallway.
I walk to the hall closet.
I grab a dry towel, a set of fresh sheets, and a clean blanket.
I dry Odin off, put new pajamas on him, make his bed, and tuck him back in.
He then falls asleep immediately, drifting back into happy sleep-land.

When my duty is done I usually drag my feet back to my bed and quickly fall asleep myself, hoping desperately for no more interruptions, but on this one particular night, as I plopped myself back into bed, I felt overwhelmed with a feeling of pride. I'm not sure where this feeling came from, and it only lingered for a second, yet I hung onto it intensely as I thought about it's meaning. I felt honestly, truly proud to be a mother; to be the only one in the world who could love and care for my little Odin like this. It felt really good and It felt deeply rewarding. 

This moment made me truly grateful, not just for myself, but for mothers everywhere, and for their awesome responsibility to love and nurture their children.
I know that the tedious job of endless laundry isn't my favorite thing in the world to do as a mom, but tucking my sweet, little five year old back into bed, comfortable and happy between his fresh set of sheets, is.

I wanted to wish all the mothers and mothering nurturers out there a very happy Mother's Day. I hope that the next time you grab a fresh set of sheets out of the closet, remind yourself how very needed you are! You are a mother, and these little things you do make such a difference.

"One cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and Mother, partners in creation, love, sacrifice, and service, are as ONE." -Thomas S. Monson.
Mother's Day photo right before church. The boys made me ti-leaf leis.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

14 Ways I am Livin' Hawaiian Style

I've been on the Big Island nearly 2 years now (come June 21st), and I can honestly say that it took me awhile to adjust back to Hawaii living. Even though I grew up in a culturally rich  environment on the island of Oahu, all the things I knew slowly faded away while dwelling on the mainland for the past 10 years. However, I realized the other day that I am back! Without even realizing it, I am living the new normal.
Here's a fun list of 14 ways I have adjusted to livin' Hawaiian style, without really realizing it:
  • I feel exceptionally rude if I don't hug and kiss on the cheek, anyone that I come across.
  • I see a giant cockroach in my kitchen at 3am and let it run away because I know there's 20 more just like it, so why bother.
  • Sunscreen  is as much of a commodity as toilet paper and toothpaste.
  • I can pronounce the words kanoelehua, puainako, and mamalahoa without skipping a beat.
  • My friend serves raw fish (sashimi) and cabbage for lunch and I dig in like a starving cast-away.
  • When a driver nicely waves me through traffic I don't get upset that he's going against basic, common-sense traffic laws.
  • My kids rarely wear shoes anymore and I don't even notice or care.
  • We buy Shoyu, Saimin, and SPAM in bulk and it doesn't gross me out. (okay, maybe the last one should)
  • We don't go pee, we "make shi-shi". 
  • If I don't go surfing once a week I get cranky and start jonesing for the ocean.
  • I expect my family to give me leis on my birthday and Mother's day.
  • I wore a mu'umu'u. Enough said.
  • I don't cry tears of nostalgia when I see hula dancers or hear ukulele music.
  • We are going on a huge, costly, family vacation this Oahu.

Hope you enjoyed my list. A hui ho! Til we meet again.  Shoots then. Catch ya laterz. Aloha.

Monday, May 6, 2013

MWF Seeking BFF!

One of the best non-fiction books I read this past year was recommended to me by an acquaintance on facebook. I was so immediately intrigued when I heard her review, that I drove straight to the library and checked it out, read it from cover to cover, and haven't stopped thinking about it since! The book is called "MWF Seeking BFF" by Rachel Bertsche
MWF Seeking BFF (Married White Female seeking Best Friend Forever) is the diary of a young woman named Rachel who is newly married and has also just relocated to a new city. Rachel was very excited to move and happy to be on this new adventure, however after living there for about a year,  she realized she was desperately lonely. At first she couldn't quite explain why she felt challenged by feelings of loneliness...After-all, she was happily married, she had great co-workers and friendly neighbors, and even her own mother moved to the same city and lived around the corner from her!  However, day after day she found that she felt isolated, alone, and sometimes downright depressed! She finally came to the conclusion that what she was missing were real friends.  Best friends. The kind of friends that she could share her innermost thoughts with, go out to breakfast on a lazy morning with, chat about pop culture and the latest fashions with, cry on a shoulder with, or pee her pants laughing with. REAL friends!

Her year-long diary takes us on a quest as she searches her city for a new BFF. Her plan is to go on 52 girl dates, (one per week for a year), until she finds someone she can call her bestie.  It is a genuinely honest, funny, and thought-provoking book about the serious need that we have for meaningful female friendships in life. Even if our love lives are awesome, she says, we still need girlfriends.
I totally get it...and I loved this book!

Within the storyline, she inserts insightful information on how friendship effects our health, with the latest theories on the number of friends one needs to live a happy, healthy lifestyle. She also includes updated research on how online, social networking sites like facebook can positively and negatively affect our social lives.  I especially found intriguing her finds on the connections and chemistry between people, and how no matter how much we may have in common with someone, it's often chemistry that determines our lasting bonds. This notion rings true for me considering I have jumped too quickly into friendships based on common interests, only to realize we didn't have anything else to glue us together! Eventually we find a common ground of staying "aquaintances" and move on.

For someone like me who loves having good friends but has also moved so many times in the past 10 years that I can't even count anymore, this book spoke volumes to me! This book is a companion for making new friends! This book explains how to make friends, what makes a friend, and what to expect from all the many people and relationships that come into your life.
I read it at a much needed time last year when I was struggling, like Rachel, to make real friends. I felt like I had a million acquaintances...but few friends, and it was beginning to feel lonely for me, too. After reading this book I felt a sense of reassurance that everything would be okay--that I would find the good friends I needed to find, and that new friendships weren't  anything I needed to force upon myself too quickly.
High school was full of best friends. I think everyone was my best friend!

Through reading this book I learned not to beat myself up if a friendship didn't work out, which I have in the past. I think it is crucial to put ourselves out there-- to make friends with nice people that come our way, however, if the friendship fizzles out and we are left friendless again, it's nobody's fault. It just didn't work out, and that's okay. (that chemistry thing again)
I learned that best friends are rare and happen less and less as we get older and have more kids. She says that most people meet their best girlfriends during the college years, then after that it gets harder to find time to really relate to people.  I've been extremely fortunate to have met some amazing friends in the last few places we lived, that I nearly expected myself to walk into those same situations when I got here! It didn't happen that way, which is one reason why I found myself feeling sad and alone most days. However, I am learning to appreciate the long-distance best-friends I still have, and also to nurture the small, meaningful friendships I have made.
Favorite pastime with a best friend.
Sadly, these single, sun-tanning days are over.
I feel that this book has also inspired me to take things slower  in being patient in finding the right friends.
I love having best girlfriends- I always have, but I realize that I also don't have a lot of time to spend away from my family anymore. This book reminded me to spend my time wisely on the people that matter most, to nurture the good friends I have, and to wait patiently for those extra-super special ones to come into my life. Lastly, this book taught me that a new best friend could be around any corner, so I should smile and say hello to everyone I meet!  You never know if the recipient of that smile is looking for her new best friend, too.

I fully recommend this book to anyone who is interested in making good friends. It will make you smile, make you laugh, and maybe even inspire you to make a new friend!
The book doesn't mention dogs but gosh, Pog dog, you will always be my BFF.