A Home For ALL Decades

I’ve read all the interior decorating books where they inform novices like me to select colors and furnishings that all go together so one room of my house will flow into the next without abrupt changes in styles and hues. I understand all that - but I don’t always do it. I don’t do it because I can only afford to fix up one area of my house per decade.
When you walk through my home you’ll find the styles and colors of the seventies in some rooms, eighties in others and the nineties in a couple more. Because I just updated my kitchen I now have a new decade represented in my home. Walking around my house is definitely not like taking a Parade of Homes tour - but it is a trip down memory lane. Sometimes when my grown children return home, they say it feels like walking back in time when they go into their old bedrooms and see everything the way they left it.
It’s not that I’m overly sentimental when it comes to all the stuff in my house; I just don’t see the point of frequent changes any more. This is what I’ve learned after being alive for over half a century. Everything goes full circle. The rooms with seventies colors and styles are actually back into groovy now. So, if you hold onto your things long enough, eventually they come back in style.
I remember walking into an older woman’s home when I was in my twenties. I had bought into our culture’s idea that being trendy and up to date actually mattered. I knew precisely what was popular in home furnishings and clothing.
“Doesn’t she know she is so sixties?” I remember thinking.
Now I’m that older woman with the out-of-date house. I can answer that question for young people this way, “Yes, I know I’m out of style but I really don’t care any more. If the couch is still comfy and the colors don’t drive me crazy, why hurry and change things? If I wait long enough I’ll be in style again in about thirty years anyway.”
I’ve also learned that styles and trends aren’t the only things that return after thirty years. All our small seemingly unimportant thoughts and actions eventually create our reality and eventual destiny. In other words, what we send out into the world returns to us a hundred fold. We cannot reap what we did not sew. So day by day we plant the thoughts and deeds that will grow into our life’s story.
If we desire to love and serve more than we desire fame or fortune we may be out of step with our culture’s measure of success but we will in step to the law of the harvest. Thought and action is real; possessions and recognition a slippery illusion. Ultimately we keep only who we have become, what we’ve learned, and the gifts we’ve willingly shared.
The most important journey of life is finding our true self by losing our selfish self. What we embrace, create and share becomes our eventual reality. We finally find our way back home when we relish the simple things in life and we are at peace with our self. And that’s how we truly make a home for the decades.


Why Babies Never End

For June 24th 2009

On a bright sunny day in June a beautiful baby girl was born. Her mother took one look at her new daughter and instantly fell in love. She hugged and kissed her new baby over every square inch of her tiny plump pink body. She noticed her rich brown hair, deep dark eyes and the round softness of her checks.
The nurses at the hospital felt they needed to take the baby away from the mother to weigh, measure and bathe her. The mother reluctantly agreed but her arms felt empty and she missed her daughter as soon as their skin wasn’t touching any more.
Before long the nurses came back into the mother’s hospital room and told her that her baby wouldn’t quit crying.
She misses me too, the mother thought.
“Just bring her back to me,” the mother told the nurse with a knowing smile.
The nurse brought the baby girl back into the mother’s room and her mother’s arms. She immediately stopped crying, looked up at her mother and sighed.
As the mother looked into her infant daughter’s eyes she knew instantly that she was extraordinary. The mother had heard a song where the lyrics described her new daughter so well, she decided to name her Arianne.
Arianne grew and grew. Her brother and sisters fought over who got to hold and play with her. Even as a small child Arianne had the aura of a queen – calm, noble and wise. She would snuggle with her mother for hours while they rocked back and forth. When her mother couldn’t hold her, the girl found her thumb and a soft blanket - but they were never quite as good as her real mom.

Arianne soaked in the world with singular attention and awareness.
She sang like an opera star, noticed every new bird, wild flower or interesting cloud. She observed the colors of the sunset and breathed in the scent of lilacs and cinnamon rolls. Everywhere she went she recorded the wonders of her life on a pad of paper. She drew pictures or wrote stories about all the beauty she saw.
One day the little girl discovered a neglected place in her yard. She had a vision in her head about a beautiful garden. So she worked and worked all by herself. When the garden was finished, Arianne discovered she could also create beauty. She found her mother and took her by the hand to show her the secret garden because she knew she’d love it as much as she did. Then Arianne presented her mother with a book filled with her visions of a secret garden filled with fairies and flowers.

Days turned into weeks and weeks into years and the little girl grew up. One day the mother and Arianne went on an outing. All the way there and back they talked and cried because they both knew Arianne was going to get married soon. It felt like that day in the hospital when the nurses wanted to separate them. That night they sat together at the piano and their skin touched again and felt so warm.
So Arianne got married and moved away. But she kept looking for beauty all around her and found it everywhere - in people, nature, knowledge, and wisdom.
Then one day Arianne went to the hospital, had her own baby and fell in love.
Now when she comes home, she fills her mother’s arms with new babies. Then they sit on the sofa and share their visions of beauty. . . and of joy of love that never ends.



We're back from our family vacation and this is what I've learned. We should not call family vacations . . . vacations. We should call them family . . . experiences. The word vacation brings to mind rest and relaxation which family vacations do not provide.

Family experiences, on the other hand, include such events as:

Teenagers who drastically change their mood every two seconds.
Wanting to go on a 4-wheel ride SO BAD you ignore the fact that it has been raining all night.
Trying to figure out what to do with an entire family covered to the kazoo with mud.
Children who need to go to the bathroom in the wilderness when you told them to go before you left civilization.
Ground squirrels who get to the food before you do.
Sudden thunder storms that strike just as you get 33 zillion miles away from the cabin.
Children who want to go swimming SO BAD they don't care if the pool is heated and their teeth chatter.
Windy canyon roads that make you want to barf and your ears pop.
Bodily smells from the back seat when you are trapped inside your car for hours going there or coming home.

Yet, family experiences also include:
Laughing in the jetted tub filled with bubbles . . . and all the children.
Eating a succulent dutch oven meal cooked by your favorite chef (your husband).
Watching the clouds roll through the pines, listening to the river rushing over rocks while you fall asleep and feeling your child slip her hands into yours.
Telling scary stories in the dark.
Being presented with a wild flower bouquet.
Reading scriptures or saying prayers by firelight.

. . . And walking back through your own front door knowing home never looked so good.

Whether the experiences are frustrating or fabulous, challenging or cherished, family vacations release us from our usual routines and give us the opportunity to make memories that last a life time.


Just One More Time

Children raise parents as much as parents raise children. That’s why our little ones know the precise moment when we are trying to make a good impression - then teach us not to take ourselves too seriously. For example, my daughter often instructs her four rowdy boys on proper guest manners before visitors arrive at their home.

“Every time the men from the church come over and the conversation turns serious, my boys disappear,” my daughter said. “Then they make a grand entrance marching down the stairs with their underwear over the head - their eyes peeking out the legs holes. If that isn’t enough, they stuff their pants with pillows. It’s so embarrassing.”

I laughed because I recalled the time that same daughter used the Sears display toilet (which was not hooked up to plumbing) right in the middle of the store in front of everybody.

“Libby climbs on everything!” my grown son laments. “We don’t know what to do with her. She never holds still.”

Of course I chuckled because I can remember this son climbing up on the stove, placing his diapered bottom on the burner then turning the temperature knob to high.

Parents remember their children before they remember themselves. We know each child in personal ways even they have forgotten. Yes, we were there when our children were born, learned to crawl, walk and say their first word. We were also there when they picked their nose through the entire Mother’s Day program, ate dog poop and stepped in a gallon of paint. We were there when they had croup, sliced their finger with the scissors and flooded the toilet with twenty-seven pounds of toilet paper.

Then as our children grow up we observe them gravitating toward their personal gifts by building with blocks, writing stories, digging in the back yard or collecting coins. Later we watch them become builders, authors, archaeologists and bankers. If we are paying close attention, we witness each child become their unique self day by day. What a grand privilege it is to observe little people we love morphing into big people we love right before our eyes. We’re never quite the same because of our parenting journey.

One day the girls in my daughter’s third grade class were discussing their comfort items from babyhood during recess. Alisa found out that some of her friends dragged blankets, sucked on their thumbs or couldn’t give up their pacifiers or stuffed animals.

“What did I use?” Alisa asked me when she got home later that day.

I thought about her babyhood and smiled.

“Me,” I answered. “You used me. Whenever you got tired, bored or scared, you found me, crawled up in my lap and went to sleep.”

I know playing the role of a soft blanket might not seem like a very important position in life, but of all the roles I’ve filled, being a comfort to a child was probably the most important of all.

Children in our midst keep us young and humble. They never stop learning or needing us and we never stop learning or needing them. Though most of my children have grown up and left home, nothing takes away my deep primal urge to wrap them in flannel, hold them close and rock them to sleep just one more time.