Friday, June 29, 2012

In My Life...

I've had a severe case of blog-writer's block lately.  I've been working on another project (aside from my husband, raising kids, my job, church stuff, school stuff, extra-curricular stuff, etc) that has taken up the creative compartment of my brain.  It seems that no matter what, I just haven't been able to think up of anything worthwhile to blog about.  I even converted our rarely-used dining room into an office so I can have an actual space to sit and write quietly.  I always have this feeling that no one reads my blog anyway, so I'm sure no one even notices that there have been no new posts in months!  My husband asks me every so often why I haven't blogged in awhile and my answer is the same each time, "I don't know.  I guess I have nothing good to write about."  He'll try to give me a few ideas that I quickly dismiss, but the other day he had a pretty good one.  "Why don't you write about your life," he said.  "You could start when you were born and blog about all the stuff you remember."  All the stuff I remember?  I have a memory that goes as far back as 1967, yet I was born in 1981 . . . meaning I remember lots of stuff.  Lots of unimportant stuff.  Lots of weird stuff. I even have some memories that I'm not sure are mine.  What I mean is, it could be something that has been talked about so much during my life that my brain has just "adopted" the memory as its own. But it might be kinda fun (or incredibly boring), I thought, to rehash as many of my memories as I could.  We'll see how this turns out . . .

Our farmhouse in North Dakota
I was born on October 12, 1981, in Devils Lake, North Dakota.  I am the fourth of five kids and from what I've been told, my brother Neil was super-ticked when I was born because I was a girl.  His third little sister in a row.  Poor kid.  But he got a little brother when Stewart came along three years later, but more on that soon.  Anyhow, my mom said I was a big baby . . . ten pounds, four ounces and 22 inches long.  That is a big baby.  I feel the need to apologize to my mom every now and then.  I'm sorry Mom, fourth baby or not, that one had to hurt.  She said I never slept and I would just play in my crib.  Maybe that's why I love to nap now . . . making up for all that lost sleep as a baby :)  When I was a few months old, my mom noticed a weird bump in my nose.  She took me to our pediatrician who I guess had it tested and it was a tumor.  A benign tumor, but it still had to be removed.  So in January, 1982 my parents took me to a hospital in Minneapolis to have surgery.  My dad said it was so funny how drugged up I was before the surgery.  I was trying to hold my head up, but it was too heavy from the drugs so I would bob my head and just smile all high-like :)  I guess the surgery went fine because I got to go home and everything healed pretty well.  I don't remember anything of course over the next few years.  My very first memory is of our kitchen of our farmhouse in North Dakota.  I was about two years old and I was standing at the bottom of the staircase in the kitchen. 
Me and my MASH-lovin' Dad.
I was wearing my favorite dress . . . a Strawberry Shortcake dress.  Ahhh, she was so beautiful :)  I don't know why that is forever seared into my brain, but it is.  I remember being really sick around the same time and having strange dreams and waking up in the middle of the night, terrified because the room was spinning.  I was too afraid to go downstairs to my parents room so I stayed in my bed and had crazy hallucinations because of my high fever.  I remember thinking that the wallpaper was coming to life and crawling upwards to the ceiling.  This might have been the same time that I had a bad ear infection and my ear drum burst during the night.  My mom came into my room the next morning and there was blood all over my pillow.  Poor Mom.  I bet she was the one who was terrified after that.  Some time later, I remember sitting in my dad's lap watching MASH . . . oh that explains so much (like why I have 27 episodes of MASH saved on my DVR right now!).  Whenever I hear the theme song, it brings back that memory.  Sitting in my dad's lap.  He smelled so good.
Neil, Jessica, Meri, and Me.  

When I was three or so, I remember playing outside one day in particular.  It was windy and a little cold out and I was wearing a red-hooded sweater.  We had a footpath in front of our house and for whatever reason, I was running up and down it.  Then suddenly, I was skipping for the first time.  I remember thinking, "I'm skipping!"  I was so proud of myself.  I wanted to show everyone :)  I remember our dog, Rebel, seemed to skip along with me.  I loved that dog.  I am convinced he was a human being in a dog's body.  There will never be another like him.  He made Lassie look like an amateur.  There was one time that my mom told me to go outside to where my dad and some other men were working on our farm.  It was time for their "coffee break" and they were near the grain dryer, which was this huge metal thing that we were not to go near because it was dangerous.  But my mom knew it was safe to send me because my dad would see me coming  and wouldn't let me get near the dryer.  I was making my way across the gravel driveway to my dad, when Rebel ran over to me and stopped, blocking my way.  Every time I would try to take a step forward, Rebel would push me back away from the direction of the grain dryer.  I was so little that he would knock me down when he'd push me back and it made me so mad.  I was crying, "Stop it, Rebel!  Move!"  My dad saw what was happening and he came over and said, "Good boy, Rebel," and scratched Rebel's ears.  The dog was trying to keep me away from something he knew was unsafe and I didn't understand that until years later.  We had a milkman named Ron who would come deliver milk to our house.  He drove a blue Lakeview Dairy Truck and Rebel would bark whenever Ron's truck was coming down the driveway.  Rebel would bark whenever anyone came down the driveway :)  Ron was tall and had dark hair and a beard.  He smiled all the time and wore a blue uniform.  I would ask him EVERYTIME he'd deliver milk, no matter what time of year it was, "Do you have any egg nog yet?"  He would laugh and say, "No, not yet!"  But I remember this one day when I asked, he DID have egg nog!  Jackpot!!  Best.Day.Ever.  He was so nice.  I think he'd give us ice cream sometimes too, which made him even more awesome.
This wasn't our milkman, but this was somebody's milkman from Lakeview Dairy :)

I remember going to the grain elevator in Devils Lake with my dad, I think it was called "Lake Region Grain".      They had a coke machine that dispensed glass bottles and my dad would let me get one sometimes.  I didn't really know how to drink out of a coke bottle, so I'd put my entire mouth over the opening.  My dad was talking to some of his friends that worked there and he looked down at me and saw how I was drinking my coke.  "Don't do that, Lindsey or you'll get your mouth stuck on that bottle and we'll never be able to get it off," my dad said.  His friends started laughing and one of them came at me to tickle me or something.  I didn't like it.  All those grown men laughing at me.  Not cool.  For years I really thought if I drank a coke like that, it'd get stuck on my mouth.  The guy that came at me, his name was Dennis and I think he died in a bad accident some time ago.  It makes me sad when I think that he tried to be nice to me, but he ended up scaring me instead.  Poor Dennis.  He just thought my dad's joke was funny.  I remember this other time, I was watching TV and it was showing an ambulance loading up a body covered by a sheet. I had never seen anything like that before. I said, "Dad, what's that?"  He said, "That's Marvin Gaye.  His dad shot him and killed him yesterday."  I was about three or so . . . nice, Dad :)  He believed in keepin' it real, I guess.

You remember that movie, "The Shining"?  There's a scene in it where Scatman Crothers tells the little boy he "shines", meaning he can read people's minds or something.  Well, I don't really believe in things like that, but I had a similar experience around three or four years old.  I remember seeing a "ghost" outside my parents bedroom window one night.  It was over by our clothesline (yes, it was probably a bed sheet!) and I can still see it to this day in my mind's eye.  While I was looking at it, I remember thinking to myself, "This isn't real, I'm inside my mom's dream."  Weird, yes, but hang on.  The next morning at breakfast, my mom was saying something to my grandma (who was visiting) about her dream.  I then chimed in and told the rest of my mom's dream to her and my grandma, even though my mom hadn't told anyone else about it. I talked about my mom's dream like it had been mine and I was able to recall it even though she hadn't told anyone about it.  Weird little girl.  Apparently, I did a lot of things like that freaked out my parents.  Now, I don't think that mind-reading is real, nor do I think ghosts are real, but I do think there are lots of things we as humans can't explain.  My dad's parents lived in the farmhouse  right up the road from us in North Dakota.  Their house was big and white with green trim.  My great-grandfather built it around 1920 or so.  To the side of that house sat the house where my grandma was born.  Her grandpa built that house and his name, "Chris Hermanson", is etched in one of the window panes.  Neat.  Gives it character.  Anyway, we used to play "school" in the older house.  It had a closed in front porch that had old school desks in it.  We weren't allowed to go into the main part of the old house because I'm sure it was dangerous; old floorboards and stuff.  I loved playing on that closed in porch, but the house itself terrified me.  I always felt as if we were being watched by something inside the house.  I'm not saying we were, but it felt like that.  You know that feeling when someone is behind you . . . yeah, it felt like that.  It wasn't scary enough for me to stop playing there though :)  The main house where my grandparents lived was the neatest house.  I can still smell it.  It was a mixture of plaster walls and potatoes boiling on the stove.  Again, I realize that's weird, but that's what my mind remembers.  Everything about that house was comforting . . . it was what a grandparents' house should be.  My mom's parents lived away, but they'd come visit from time to time.  One time when I was three and they were visiting, my Granddad was reading the Bible to Meri, Stewart, and me.  I started reading along with him and he stopped and said, "What's this word, Lindsey?"  I would read to whatever he pointed to.  He said to my mom, "Claudia, did you know this baby could read?!"  No one knew I could read, except for Meri.  She taught me when she would force me to play school every afternoon.  I guess she and I didn't think it was a big deal that a three year old could read and believe me, Meri has NEVER let me forget who taught me!!  But I'm very thankful.  I don't think I would love reading and writing as much as I do if it weren't for her, shall we say, persistence in teaching me.

The "Thriller" Zombie pic that I am still terrified of.  Thanks, Meri.
Speaking of Meri . . . we had this Michael Jackson picture book that had different photos of him with his video extras and stuff.  There was this one picture of him with some of the zombies from "Thriller".  Meri used to hold that picture up to my face and it would terrify me . . . nothing in this world scared me more than the Thriller zombies.  Meri would laugh and I would scream bloody murder.  In fact, I was about 28 years old before I watched the entire "Thriller" video all by myself.  My other sister, Jessica, had a book too, but it wasn't full of zombies.  It was an awesome sticker book.  It had pages and pages of stickers she had collected.  I remember sitting there and looking at the book over and over again.  She had Garfield stickers, scratch -n- sniff stickers, ahhh . . . I was in sticker heaven :)  She told me recently she still had that sticker book and I felt a sense of joy that has only been matched by the birth of my children.  Haha :)
Meri probably just showed me the Zombie picture.

One night, shortly after I turned three, my mom and dad had to go to the hospital because my mom was in labor with her fifth and final baby.  My grandma was in town since the baby was coming soon, so she kept us while mom and dad were gone.  I remember that night so well . . . we were watching "Love Boat" and I was chewing on my Cabbage Patch belt (yes, I said I was chewing on a belt.  I already made it clear I was weird, so let's move on) and the belt buckle became stuck on my lip.  It hurt so bad and my grandma had to "unstuck" it from my mouth.  That was the last time I chewed on my belt.  Lesson learned.  My mom and dad brought my new baby brother, Stewart, home from the hospital a few days later.  He was so cute and fat (he was also 10lbs 4oz) and I remember getting to hold him on the couch.  He seemed SO heavy, a lot heavier than my baby dolls.  Some time later, my mom was trying to dress Stewart and he was screaming.  I said, "I wish I had a little sister instead," and my mom replied, very matter-of-factly, "Little sisters cry too, Lindsey."  Yep, she was right, seeing as I now have a houseful of little girls.  
Around the time I tried to eat my Cabbage Patch belt :)

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little walk down memory lane.  Thank you for walking with me :)  Maybe you can walk with me again in a few days while I do a little more reminiscing . . . I do enjoy your company!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Little Something From the Vault...

 With Mother's Day coming up, I've been trying to think of something I could post in honor of my momma.  There's so much wonderful that could be written about that sweet lady, but the words wouldn't come to me.  I kept coming up short and she deserves better than that.  She deserves my best and I think the post I wrote a few years ago about my momma was my best.  In fact, it was my very first blog post.  I love you, Momma...hope you don't mind the 'recycled' post  :) 

I always pictured myself being the kind of mom that had perfectly dressed kids that never argued, a spotless house, a clean car and having energy to burn at every minute of the day. That all seemed pretty attainable until babies two, three, and four came into the picture. Don't get me wrong, one child kept me pretty busy, but nothing like four little girls in one house! Now my days are filled with changing diapers, dropping off and picking up kids at school, listening to at least one hormonal meltdown from our 11-year-old, breaking up a fist fight between our four and two-year old, dishes, laundry, etc. Some days I really can't remember if I brushed my teeth that morning. Thank goodness for Extra Sugar-Free gum. My clothes are wrinkled most of the time and the only time my hair looks decent is the day I get it cut. I remember to mop the floor when the bottoms of my girls' feet are black and I remember to dust when I turn on the ceiling fan and dust flies everywhere. I always thought I'd be like June Cleaver. Her house was spotless and her laundry was always washed, dried and put away. She vacuumed in high heels and pearls, which is insane. Supper was always ready when Ward came home (sorry, Ryan!). Truth is, I'm nowhere near J.C. I go to work at my office to get a break from my work at home. My job as a mom is much harder than any office job and it's even harder when I try to live up to the J.C. standard. I think about my mom and how she handled five kids. She was no June, either. I don't ever remember her vacuuming in heels and pearls and I remember piles and piles of laundry eating up our couch. But, I remember her cuddling up on the couch with me to take a nap. I remember her always being happy to see us kids when we came home from school. I remember her always being cheerful and in a good mood, even when she probably wasn't. She made me think she was. I like to think about her rocking my little brother to sleep at night and how warm and cozy her hugs still feel. I like to think about how pretty her hands are how she's used the same blue comb since the late 1980's. I love that she tells me I have a beautiful singing voice, even though I'm so tone-deaf that it embarrasses me to even think about how awful my voice is! I know to her ears it's beautiful. I don't care that our house was messy from time to time growing up. I don't care that my clothes rarely matched when I was a kid. I like that my mom didn't care about that stuff either. That gives me hope that someday my girls will look back and not care that their momma was no June Cleaver. Thanks, Momma, for teaching me to keep things in perspective. I love you. Happy Mother's Day :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My God and I...

When you think about Heaven, does an image of some earthly place come to your mind?  I know Heaven is better than anything we could ever imagine and nothing on Earth can even compare what Jesus has gone to prepare for us.  Still, my wandering imagination loves to think about what my heavenly home will look like.

For the first seven years of my life, I lived on a farm in North Dakota.  It was the perfect place for a kid like me who liked to roam around and just be alone with my thoughts.  Our farmhouse had clumps of trees all around it and I would find myself walking around exploring every nook and cranny of those miniature forests.  I loved the way the trees would bend at the top and touch the tops of other trees on the opposite side, making "tree tunnels" with their branches.  There were small clearings where rays of sunlight would warm the soft green grass that had little purple wildflowers peeking out of the ground.  It smelled fresh and clean, with just a hint of diesel in the air (it was a working farm, after all!)  Even now when I think about it, I get a sense of calm and peace.  Maybe that's why I've never felt the need to go to a spa . . . my thoughts of that place and time bring me peace and serenity.  Of all those lovely places in that sprawling yard, there was one in particular that brought me, shall we say, "a peace that passes understanding".  It was a corridor that ran down the long side of the yard and the way the trees bent and swayed with the breeze sent flashes and flecks of sunlight all around.  I thought as a little girl, "This must be what Heaven is like."  I felt so close to God there.  I couldn't imagine anything more beautiful than that spot.  I felt almost otherworldly as I drifted down the grass, towards the rays of sunshine poking through the silvery-green leaves.  Years later on a Sunday morning at church, we sang "My God and I" and immediately my mind went back to that place and time.  I pictured my God and I walking through my heaven on Earth, holding hands and hearing the breeze rustle through the trees.  I can hear him (because I KNOW his voice is a cross between my Granddad and Morgan Freeman!) tell me all about His creation, why He made beaches and forests and yes, I think he'll even tell me what Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was. . .  because he knows I am dying of curiosity :)  He tells me why things in my life didn't always turn out the way I thought they should, but he shows me that His will and timing are perfect . . . just like my Heavenly spot near my childhood home.  He tells me He loves me and He's glad I'm with Him and He's created this beautiful corner of Heaven all for me.  He tells me Jesus has been preparing this exact spot for me ever since I was a little girl, knowing I would be here someday to enjoy it for eternity.  I didn't have to tell Him how much I loved that place, because He was always in my thoughts and in my heart.  He knew how much I loved that place before I did.  It's already waiting for me.

My sister took this picture of her three children a few years ago when they visited our farm . . . I was thrilled when I saw it.  It's my spot.  It remains unchanged from how I remember it all those years ago.  It's simple, but I know God had me in mind when He made it.  I know my version of it in Heaven is even greater, because He'll be there to walk this beautiful grassy path with me.