Monday, July 28, 2008

when The End comes too early

I loved the last post so much and all of the comments that I couldn't bring myself to write a new one last week. I didn't have much to say anyway. I was in the end-of-a-book blues. Do you ever get those? Of course you don't, because you're probably one of those normal people who read through a book quickly to get to the story and the great finale of it. I like to savor a book for at least a week though. It's not that I read slowly. I just don't get a lot of moments around here for sustained silent reading.

I like to find a book that's good for that. Pleasant enough that I want to live with it for a while and consider the characters friends. That way, when I do get the moments to read, I'm so excited to see what they're up to now.

Well, with this philosophy, I sort of get the blues when I finish the last page. It's like a good friend moving away, suddenly and permanently and without really finishing the whole story. Last week I finished a great memoir called The Middle Place. It was so well written, and the author was so relatable. She had cancer the year before I did. In a weird, yet typical coincidence, she talks about reading about Brad and Jennifer in a People magazine in the waiting room at the radiation clinic. I talked about the very same thing on my website, only it was Brad and Angelina when it was my turn. Anyway, I was sad to close the chapter on her. I wanted to keep hearing her voice.

Last week that seemed like a boring thing to say in a blog post. But today it seems fitting, because Randy Pausch passed away this weekend. Do you know of him? If not, get yourself to You Tube right this second and search for his name. Or go to a book store and purchase The Last Lecture. He was told he had terminal cancer not long (enough) ago, and he gave the world a really lovely gift as he was leaving us. His lecture, which is now a book has some of the simplest, most beautiful inspiration anyone could ever give, and I so wish his children could have had him longer than they did.

That's why my book blues seem fitting. Because I definitely don't feel the world was done with Randy Pausch. I know his family wasn't. And I feel so sorry for how desperately they must miss his voice.

(Photo courtesy of Cheerful Monk)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

life's too short for that

I used to think "Life is too short" statements were poetically disguised versions of "I'm too lazy to care." As if we were using an excuse to not work hard or plan for the future or worry about how we treated people. Maybe I just heard too many sarcastic versions of it. Maybe I was just a snob. Because now I'm kind of obsessed with this concept.

Life is short. Life on this planet in this body is short. Now, I don't think it's too short to watch movies. Maybe because I don't care if I die after seeing a great chick flick as long as someone I love is with me. But I had to leave my last job because of this concept. I really respect the necessity for good hard work - I do. But I hated how many Saturday nights I went to sleep with dread that my work week would start the next day. Forty hours a week in a job for which I could no longer find meaning - that was too many, considering life is short.

There are several small things in life I don't stress over because life is too short. Usually the small things involving small children. Spills and broken pictures and too many toys getting dragged from the bedroom - life's too short to care more about the neatness of my living room than the not unpleasant reminder that little boys live here.

At one point I decided life was too short not to go for my dreams with all my heart. That's how my book is out in there in the publishing universe at all. But now I think life is too short to feel desperate about its ever getting published. Do you know how long this process can take? Six months to a year before anyone offers to buy it and a year or two after that before they actually get it on the shelves. Do you know how much can happen before then? Jesus could return. That's what I think about. So sometimes I just get giddy about the fact that an agent noticed me, and that she thinks the book is worthy of publication at all. Really, for that dream, I've already done it. I wrote an entire manuscript and got it out there in the universe.

I think these days I need to know that if I was told bad news again - if I had to face an early death - I need to know that I could come home from that doctor's office, sit quietly in my little home with my children and husband around me, and be perfectly satisfied. Terribly sad that it would end but without the regret that there was so much left to do.

Lest you think I'm trying to be too heavy here, I also think life is too short for ugly shoes. There was a Flair for Facebook that said that. And I wanted it, except the "too" was spelled wrong. Life is definitely too short to spell your slogan wrong.

What about you? What is life too short for, for you? I really want to know - funny and serious both. Kind of like a really good chick flick.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Practicing the New Job

I practiced the Branson video script at home to time it and to practice talking to a camera. It's Friday, I didn't have a great idea for a post, so what did I think to myself? Blooper video! This is good weekend viewing right here. Well, not really. But, you know, I tell you I'm uncool all the time. I thought you needed solid proof. Also, all three boys make an appearance, so you can add this video to my list of working from home fact and fiction. On the other hand, I cut the part where I send Drew away really rudely, so you can't take away my mother-of-the-year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thy word is a . . . really cool safari

Okay, this blog post is pretty much a personal email to my mother. (Hi, Mom!) Because it's my blog, and I can do that. And today's post is kind of - well - me bragging about me and my kids. Which you just don't do in public. It's tacky. So pretend you're just accidentally listening in, and carry on.

You know who I love? This guy: Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg. You know why? Because all day today Drew has been begging me, begging me, to get off work so I could teach him more bible lessons. (From his own personal bible, originally made possible by zur Laden zum up there, if you follow). As it was, I had to stick little tiny ones into my work day because he was standing at my desk with his new bible open just tempting me with that new book smell and the crisp, thin pages (that was one of the lessons - bible pages are thin, turn carefully. Even as we speak, he is standing right over my shoulder saying, "One more lesson for the day? Please?"

We got the new bibles at Hastings today. (I love you too, Hastings. You and Johannes.) And I love them. The version is NIrV, which I highly recommend for kids. It's safari-themed gold. Today we learned how to find chapter and verse, we reviewed the first book of the bible and learned how to figure out who wrote each one (a feature of their bible). We started to learn the song that helps you remember the New Testament books, but it wasn't as brilliant as I remembered it. I learned that thing in fourth grade and still use it in my head when I'm supposed to turn to one of the Timothys or something. And yet, it's shockingly unhelpful. It's not like it rhymes. But anyway, we're up to Two Corinthians on that baby, and we'll get the rest eventually.

I taught the boys about Proverbs too (I know, I was all over the place, but seriously, begging they were.) About how it has 31 chapters and a lot of people like to read one chapter each day of every month.

"For instance," I said to Drew. "Today you would read Proverbs. . .?"

He thought hard before he came up with this doozy:


That's right. Proverbs chapter Wednesday. He's learning so much!

Monday, July 14, 2008

a Monday sort of post

This is a picture of my Dad and brother after graduating recently from the sheriff's academy. I wanted to put it up right then and write this great post about how from my Dad I have learned to never stop asking the question, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" Build on the old, by all means - Dad's had a long respected career as a physician - but don't ever think you're done. I admire that.

But I didn't take this picture with my own camera, so I didn't get a copy of it right away and failed to write that masterpiece when it was in season. Now I'm posting this picture because the last post had a picture of my sisters and I wanted to round it out with the brother. Not that he EVER READS MY BLOG. But still.

It was very Mondayish for me today. (My closest family members, the ones who DO READ MY BLOG, have heard that now three times. What can I say? It was the topic of the day.) But it had one really memorable moment. Kids will do that for you.

I have this habit when the kids are scared or sad or worried about something. I remind them of the good thing similar to it and say, "So think about that instead." For instance, "You don't think the time to go swimming again will come soon enough? But you had such fun doing it today . . . just think about that instead."

So today, it got me back. I burned the cookies (not possible with the air bake pan actually, but they were way more brown than I like them . . . especially since I like them straight from the bowl.) Anyway, I said to John when I took them from the oven, "Wow, I am not having a very good day." You know what he said?

"Well. Yes you are. So just think about that."

When you put it that way . . . I'm convinced!

Friday, July 11, 2008

I am SO Blogging That

I joined Facebook a while back, and I would personally like to apologize to college students everywhere for invading your space. On the other hand, to the Facebook shareholders, you're welcome.

(If you're on Facebook and haven't seen me in the "people you may know tool" then be sure to look me up.) I added this application to it called Flair, and I'm kind of addicted. It's the image of a cork board basically on which you can put button-looking things that contain all your favorite things. I have "Mrs. Bohon" on one and "I Heart Boys" (if you're just joining me, that's a nod to all the Y chromosomes in my offspring - not a flashback to junior high), and a black one with the phrase from today's title. I also added this sisters one just today. (You can make your own too! I'm unstoppable!) I've told you before I'm not cool, so it doesn't really bother me that I'm addicted to decorating an imaginary cork board in an imaginary dorm room. It also doesn't bother me that I can't seem to stop adding scenes and quotes from friends. I'll be labeling this post just for fun of course, because my Flair obsession has no meaning whatsoever. It's just that I can't stop doing it and therefore told myself today, "I am SO blogging that."

In video news: Yep, the first Serenity Live video is up and running on several channels online. (See it to the right - they're both the same). Please feel free to comment, but you should know I don't accept criticism very well, or mocking, or random observations of annoying details I perhaps haven't noticed myself. So stick to glowing praise and subscriptions to my fan club - I'm quite accepting of either of those.

In other video news, and with no disrespect to either my company or my awesome camera guy, Tom, or my sound guy, Nathan - you should really check out this video by a guy named Matt -- It has "hell" in the name, but don't let that scare you away even the tiniest bit. It's a beautiful video that might very well make you laugh and cry and repeat the cycle more than once. As soon as I saw it - well, you know what I thought. (Re-insert title here - you got that, right?)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I like it thin

Have you read Felicity's wonderful post on Thin Places? I love having a name for something I've always appreciated. Thin places is the phrase Celtic Christians used for the places that felt near to heaven, or to God. If you believe, you surely have those too. I think they change sometimes with the seasons in our lives. The modern sanctuary never felt nearly as thin to me as the parking lot did. Outdoors almost always feels thinner. And for me being alone is usually thinner than being in a group. Usually.

Jake helped himself out of doors today. We both heard the screen door slam.

"Your son just went outside," Michael said.

Unfortunately I was writing an email at the time, and it was a few more sentences before Michael's registered. Then I jumped - figuring Jake would be half way to your house, Lori. Again.

When I went to the back door, I saw him. Just standing at the edge of the driveway looking at the dogs. Then he sat down on the railroad tie (holding the concrete in I guess) and just sat. He was looking at the dogs but not talking to them. And I wondered what he was thinking. I wondered how beautiful the thoughts of a 2-year-old might be and how safe and content Jake must have felt to just sit so quietly and so alone like that.

As he stood and started a conversation with the dogs then, I smiled and thought, I hope it was a thin place.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Work from Home Fact and Fiction . . . Continued From All the Other Times I Wrote About It

Fact:  The toddler will take advantage of your hours in front of the computer to sift through your jewelry box and/or drop eggs on the kitchen floor.

Fiction: He'll only do this once, and then you'll develop the ears of a fox for jewelry boxes and refrigerator doors.  (Evidently it takes way more times than that).

Fact: You will never take for granted how stress-free the summers are, as well as fevers and teachers in-service and obscure holidays your employer won't observe, because you don't have to worry about childcare.

Fiction: (Often poeticized as fact on this very blog) You'll never look forward to school starting again.

Fact: This is a picture of my life. Boys waiting impatiently for me to return from a public restroom.

Fiction: This picture has anything to do with this post. (I just thought you would like it).

Fact: I think you actually work more minutes at home than in the office. You wouldn't clock out in the office if a coworker chats to you about their personal life, but if changing a diaper turns into bath time at home - yea, you'll be making up those thirty minutes later.

Fiction: You'll wish you could trade the coworker for the toddler. (Of course not! . . . Not every day anyway.)

Fact: Writing about travel is way more fun than medical transcription. But I still wish sometimes that I could watch the movie with Jake instead of writing or give the older boys more attention than, "Yes, you can have an apple" and, "Don't leave your shoes there." Tomorrow they are putting up the first Serenity Live video online. I always wanted to be in the entertainment industry, and this feels kind of like that, which is cool. Plus, I'm getting paid to write, which is a dream. I truly believe everyone in the world should try and find a way to do something for a living that they actually enjoy. But I don't really believe it's possible, and I know I'm lucky to be even close.

Fiction: I no longer care if my agent calls with good news that my book has sold, and I no longer wish I could do just that.

Fact: Life is ups and downs.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Independence Day

To celebrate our great country this year . . . I'm going to try and save it, one florescent green HyVee bag at a time. It started with a dull blue bag, which they gave me for free one day and promised I would get 5 cents off each time I brought it back and actually used it. Apparently that's how you convince me to care about global warming - give me free stuff. I kept it in my car and actually remembered it when I would go inside to only buy a few items. I figured I would just skip it on the big shopping trips though since I buy so much.

But it turns out - it feels way too good. They say people have an actual chemical reaction from the happy feeling that goes along with dropping your change in a Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. Imagine that, only carried in a blue cloth bag and with the curious joy that you have not just bought a can of generic pork-n-beans for one person but quite possibly saved the planet one extra hour or more for the entire world's population generations from now. Plus, it literally feels good. There was something about carrying a real live bag out of a store that made me feel chic. It added this whole earthy, textural thrill to that horrible dreaded experience normal people call grocery shopping.

So I bought two more. I plan to build my stash slowly and eventually (by the time Jake's out of diapers and we don't need the plastic bags for disposal of his toxic waste) I'll buy all my groceries this way.

I love the Fourth of July, and I wrote more about it on our Student Travel blog if you care. I managed to include my obsession with Disney, my love for small towns, and a beautiful quote by John Adams in there. It will definitely help you get your patriotic on.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Even there your hand will guide me . . . that's what the picture said

Rough day at our house yesterday. A souvenir Cardinals bat flew from John's hands and crashed into the glass on a picture that has hung on our wall almost all of our married life. It's a sail boat - we really like those. And we admired it in our church's bookstore for a really long time. It cost ninety gigantic dollars, and it was a crazy miraculous surprise when Michael bought it for me for Christmas anyway. Now those children we produced have broken it.

I freaked completely out of course. And sent them to their room while I tried to decide how in the world to handle it. They get told so many times a day not to play ball (or bat-and-balloon in this case) in the house and to be considerate of things. My dilemma was how to make them realize the magnitude of this horrible crime while making sure they know how much more important they are to me than the picture. Than any earthly thing that can be given a price tag and hung on a wall. I know I bring this up too often, but seriously, I've faced my death. That picture really doesn't mean that much compared to those little hearts I broke when I scolded them for breaking mine.

Well, we got through it. John spent all afternoon drawing me a replacement picture. And that night he told me this: "When we were in our room, and we were crying, you know what Drew said? He said, 'Well, at least we know Mom loves us more than she loved that picture.'"

And believe me, that was way before I actually told them that.

I think they remember it from the last picture they broke.