Monday, September 24, 2012

Mow the Yard, Maybe

I really love the song Call Me Maybe.  I feel better about that fact now that I know that I am not actually old enough to be the artist’s mother.  (Thanks to Wikipedia)  The song’s lyrics don’t really apply to me, so I thought it would be fun to try a rewrite of the catchy hit.  This way it applies to my life and makes a little bit more sense for me to sing it.  I also added a few notes and rewrites of my rewrites for your amusement.

Mow the Yard, Maybe

I threw a ball and it fell                       (Of course it fell, have you seen me throw a ball?)   
Where it landed I can’t tell                  (Tall grass?  Nearsightedness?  Combination?)
I looked to my kid as it fell                  (He should have been watching)
And now it’s in my way                       (Kind of like the swings on the swing set)
I might find it in a ditch                         (Which wouldn’t be so bad because I’m scared to mow the ditch.)
With small toys and trash scattered amiss      (What?)
I didn’t want to look for this                        (You got that right!)
But now it’s in my way
The ball’s bounce wasn’t holdin                  (Hello, I’m Heather and I’m not sporty.)
The tall grass is all that’s showin                  (Good news!  No dandelions!)
Hot day wind was blowin                           (It was dusty) 
Where do you think it went don’t be lazy      (Get over here and help me!)
Hey it rained this morning and this is crazy   (Is it?  Is it really?)
But I’ll get my mower and mow already        (You are welcome neighborhood watch dogs.)
It’s hard to look right at my yard I’ve been lazy        (Nearsighted, remember?)      
But I’ll get my mower and mow it maybe            (I wonder if we have gas?)
Hey it rained this morning and this is crazy
But here’s my mower, so mow the yard maybe      (You volunteered right?)
And all the other neighbors mowed already          (Of course they did.  Overachievers!)
So I’ll get my mower and mow maybe                (I’ll do it myself.)
You took your time helping to find the ball          (Slow poke)
It took no time to mow at all                          (I was singing and dancing so it was fun.)
You gave me no help at all                 (Was it my singing or the dancing that deterred you?)
So still it’s in my way                               (I’ll just mow around it.)
My skin got sun burned and pealed            (Aloe please?)
In the sun and the pain is real                         (Ouch!)
I didn’t know I would feel it                          (I’m quick)
But now the pain is in my way                       (Again aloe?)
The ball’s bounce wasn’t holdin                     (yeah yeah)
The tall grass is all that’s showin
Hot day wind was blowin
Where do you think it went I’ve been so lazy?
Hey it rained this morning and this is crazy
But I’ll get my mower and mow already
It’s hard to look right at my yard I’ve been so lazy
But I’ll get my mower and mow it maybe
Hey it rained this morning and this is crazy
But here’s my mower, so mow the yard maybe
And all the other neighbors mowed already
So I’ll get my mower and mow maybe
Before I mowed my yard                               Before I mowed my yard
The grass was so tall                                       It looked so bad
The grass was so tall                                       It looked so bad
The grass was so so tall                                   It looked so so bad
Before I mowed my yard                               Before I mowed my yard
The grass was so tall                                       It looked so bad
And you should know that                             And you should know that
It was so so tall                                               It looked so so bad
Tall tall tall                                                      Bad, bad, bad
It’s hard to look right at my yard I’ve been so lazy
But here’s my mower, so mow the yard maybe
Hey it rained this morning and this is crazy
But I’ll get my mower and mow already
And all the other neighbors mowed already
So I’ll get my mower and mow maybe
Before I mowed my yard
The grass was so tall
The grass was so tall
The grass was so so tall
Before I mowed my yard
The grass was so tall
And you should know that
So mow my yard, maybe

So much fun to write, I would like to insert that this week we mowed first.  We felt like rock stars for an entire four hours.  Then the neighbors came home and went to work on their yards.  Those four hours were AWESOME!  We celebrated our small victory with ice cream.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Overly Dramatic Teen and a Sermon on the Bed

My first book’s subtitle is “And Other Observations from an Overly Dramatic Mom,” so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that my teenage girls are overly dramatic as well.  The most recent instance happened with my middle child, as she was upset about someone who had answered a question for her.  She had been to youth group and someone asked a question.  She didn’t respond quickly enough so someone answered for her to the best of their ability.  Because the answer was not fully correct, she felt it wasn’t that person’s place to answer for her. 

It’s partly her fault, anyway. She has a bad habit of not answering direct questions.  Don’t expect a response from her unless she is in the mood to talk.  If she isn’t in the mood, she tends to stare at you like you just dropped down from another planet, like she thinks 1) you are stupid for not calling ahead to ask her a question or 2) for showing up to talk to her in the first place.  Imagine how this goes over when she is in trouble and I am disciplining her.  I have explained to her many times that she needs to be quicker with her answers.  I also explained that she was being excessively dramatic about the situation, and it wasn’t really that big of a deal. 

High school is punishment enough for a quiet kid.  In my effort to get my quiet girls to open up and blossom into the lovely ladies I know they must be (deep down where only God and I can see), I have them go to Youth Group.  They are put into small groups and are really expected to open up and share with others.  In my mind, which is really just a playground for all sorts of mayhem, I think this is good. 

When I am giving my sermons on the bed, I tend to tell stories about my own experiences and I also like to give a math lesson.  Although math is not my strong suit, I am delighted when I am able to do quick math on the fly.  I have explained to my children that high school is only 180 days per year. There are 365 days in a year total, and really in the greater scheme of things, high school isn’t that long of a time in your life. So they shouldn’t get so worked up about things.  One day they will blink, and it will be over. At that point, they will look in the mirror and try to figure out how they got to be so old as to have teenagers themselves. (Something I do daily.) 

I started a new job this year, so in trying to explain that it’s OK to talk to new or different people, I told her about my job.  How I didn’t know what I was getting into necessarily, but I had heard different things, so I had a starting point.  Truth be told, I knew names, but only the names of a few of the people in the building.  It can be just as hard for an adult as it is for a young person to make new friends.  The secret, I told her, was that you have to understand just one key point about all people.  ALL people are just trying to find their way in the world.  Some are better at it than others, but the fact is that we are all alike in our humanness, and in our humanness none of us is perfect.  As soon as you get that part of reality, it makes it a lot easier to talk to people.

I also shared that I was given a bag of Hershey Hugs from the teacher I work with, and that I often walk down the hallway on my way to make copies and hand some out to people.  Some of them I know better than others, but I think that everyone can use a hug now and then.  Why not go up to people and hand them a chocolate hug, and wish them a good day?  If I arrive at my building early,  I go room to room and drop a hug on everyone’s desk.  When I’m not early, I pass them out to those I pass in the hall. 

I may or may not ever be a part of the group that is already there, as some of them have worked together for years. But even so, how much better is it to smile and say hello or hand someone a chocolate hug, than to go through the halls worrying about fitting in?  I don’t concern myself with that stuff anymore. 

I explained to my daughter that it doesn’t matter if I fit in. What matters is if I’m doing a good job and I’m bringing glory to God.  The way I figure it, if she goes to school and she smiles and talks to whomever she comes in contact with, and she is right with God, everything else will fall into place. 

She said that if the Mayans were correct and the end of the world comes this year, high school isn’t going to matter much.  I told her that I don’t believe that the Mayans were privy to when Jesus was going to come back and take us to heaven, but even if they were, it’s a much better use of her time to live each day as God has intended, than to worry about what anyone else thinks of her. 

And if the Mayans were correct (and not just tired of writing and counting as I suspect), then what a great day it will be when we do get to go to heaven and be at home with our Father at last.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dust, A Sexy Appliance, and God Cleans My Soul

I read somewhere that “dust gives a home a warm fuzzy feeling.”  Now, if I’m being truthful, I probably read that on Facebook or Pinterest.  I was thinking of this statement as we spent our Labor Day weekend cleaning our home.  I mean, serious cleaning. We emptied out bedrooms and swept, dusted, and rearranged.  We carried out bags of trash and things to give away.  The bedrooms look great!  Today we were given an extra day off school, due to fog.  With that extra time, we finished the last bedroom, then I proceeded to clean my office to the level of tolerable, and rearrange the man cave. When that was done, I mowed the yard. 

The reason this all came about was that the level of dust in this house probably could have blanketed a third-world country.  The dust and cat hair under the beds alone was so bad; you would have thought we had a Yeti living here. 

I’m not sure how this happens.  We are relatively clean people.  We sweep, but we sweep what we can see.  Actually, my daughter sweeps; it’s her chore.  My son, who is nine, is in charge of dusting.  That may be a clue in this mystery.  I’m not even going to get into what may be happening in the bathrooms, as I haven’t gotten that far yet.  My other daughter is in charge of cleaning those.  My job, aside from my day job, cooking all the food, and the running kids around, is laundry and mopping.  The laundry gets done.  The mopping is sketchy.  I need to work on that.  Or maybe I could trade with the boy and do the dusting, and try him out on the mopping?  Hmm… I may be on to something here.

I read in a book once about a house that was self-cleaning.  Imagine, a self-cleaning house.  It probably involves some technology that I won’t figure out. Just this year, we bought a stove with a self-cleaning oven, and I don’t know how to use it yet.  I will tell you that I am a huge fan of the flat top cooking area.  That is also my job to clean and it is a breeze compared to the other stove.  It is also stainless steel, and I’m pretty sure it is the sexiest kitchen appliance around.  That was my comment to my husband when it was delivered.  “That is the sexiest appliance I’ve ever seen.”  (So I don’t get out much; sue me.) 

It feels so nice when things are cleaned up around the house, don’t you think? I try to keep things clean, but inevitably I will find a cobweb or some dust somewhere that I missed. Something always happens and the clean house isn’t so clean anymore. The cats will come in and shed all over the freshly-swept carpet. Kids tromp through the house with their friends, and in just moments, leave a trail of dirty dishes, food wrappers, half-opened backpacks and Legos in their wake.

I think it feels that way with life sometimes too. You are going along just fine, then there is some dust or a cobweb that happens to dirty things up. As often as I try to clean up my soul, I can’t get it ever completely done. Just like I can clean the house and it just gets dirty again, I can attend worship and listen to worship music, but I cannot get rid of the cobwebs and dust in my soul; not forever. Only God can do that.

Only when we give ourselves over to Him completely can we feel truly cleaned up and free. I’m so glad I can count on my God to cover that part. Because the cat just shed on the floor again, and I have my hands full.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I received an email from my publisher with the headline: You’re The Next Big Thing! 
What?!? Me?  The next big thing?  I’m not sure that is possible.  (Of course, anything that God ordains is possible and probable. I’d just have to believe it could happen to ME.)
I started thinking about the possibility of being a “Big Thing.”  I wondered if it would get me a better table at restaurants.  I wondered if I could finally get mail delivery.  I sat and fantasized about being Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman; the part where she was able to go shopping and buy whatever she wanted, and told the sales woman she had make a big mistake when she had refused to help her. 
Then the kids started yelling something about me having to feed them every day and homework needed to be checked and laundry needed to be done … and I realized it would be a while before I was ever that big of a thing.

I was tagged by the wonderfully talented Lenore Skomal.  If you haven’t checked her out, head on over to you won’t be disappointed.  Thank you for the confidence you have showed in me, Lenore. I am humbled and inspired to hopefully prove you right.
So without further ado, here we go:
1. What is the working title of your book?
God Has Better Things to Do than My Laundry (and other observations from an overly dramatic mom)
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have been writing it for about three years, not knowing at the time that it would one day become a book, yet secretly fantasizing of one day having it published into a book.  I just recorded life stories and lessons learned. 

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Nonfiction: Christian/Humor

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I have given this some thought, actually; it’s fun to think about. We are huge movie buffs in our family (hence, the Pretty Woman reference above), and my children and I like to talk about this sort of thing.  Sometimes life is too silly not to think about the movie version. 

I would be played by Lauren Graham. “Vaughn” would be played by Paul Rudd. “Daphne” would be played by Madeline Carroll. “Megan” would be played by Elle Fanning. “Scotty” would be played by John Paul Ruttan. My best friend: Melissa Peterman.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Married mom of three tries to navigate the teenage years while keeping her faith intact; chaos ensues.  (You did want a fragmented sentence, yes?)

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Published with PublishSavvy, headed up by the lovely and talented Shannon Janeczek.  You can find her here:

7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Three years and two weeks.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I guess other momblogger-type books... except this one has a lot about my faith in it as well.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My family inspires the stories, and God set it all in motion.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think it helps to know we aren’t alone in our journeys as moms/women of faith. I also think it might boost a reader’s ego to know none of us is really doing any of it “right.”

To pay it forward, I am excited to tag some very talented people.  Get ready ladies, to repost these questions with your answers (on a Wednesday in the next few weeks), because now you are The Next Big Thing!