Monday, March 11, 2013

Good Intentions

It always feels like the New Year is really in March. Spring is rolling down the mountain sides or bubbling up from lake-depths and the air is filled with change. And I start to think, if my yard, why not me?
And as I haul and sweep and bang the dust, funk, and clutter out of my house and down to the curbside, I think, if my house, why not me?
Time for a change. A springing ahead.
A renewing. A rebirth. Resolutions, promises, goals.
And the sunshine outside and the wind rushing by makes change seem a lot more possible than it did in January.

Travis usually works late. In fact, I started keeping a calendar to make him feel guilty about how often he misses dinner and bedtime.
But this week has been good. Really good. He's been home, and he hasn't been plowing away on his computer, he's been here. 
And we put the boys to bed, and he does the dishes while I sweep the floor and throw in another load of colors. Then 8:05 rolls around and we go, "Now what?"
This has never happened in all our years of marriage, because before kids we'd just head out and after kids, we're stuck inside without a paid, planned-for sitter, but I was usually alone or the boys were SCREAMING or sick or not really sleeping.
So, now what?

I made a list.
Plan and build our garden and planter box.
Spray paint those toddler beds waiting so patiently in the shed.
Learn a song to sing together for Tanei's open mic birthday.
Clean out our car.
Paint more / Travis, teach Becky to paint.
Declutter our house, starting with the bookshelves (but not with the books.)

And Travis started a list, too. But his turned into a list of goals. Like,
Get up early and go running.
Make home movies
Be a photographer
and be otherwise creative.
Eat lunch at least 5 days a week.
Read my scriptures and maybe a book.

And we stretched together last night and I said things like, "I hated gym class, because stretching and exercise make me fart and it's the worst thing ever to fart in front of your peers."
And he said things like, "I still love you."
So that was pretty great.

But I'm trying. We are trying, to be more intentional. I've been trying to feed us vegetarian meals every other night and it's hard. Everything feels like a side; beans just aren't steak; fritatas aren't filling; and black bean burgers are the very worst thing I've ever made and tried to feed to my family and I felt pangs of guilt and terrible-wife-and-motherness all week afterward, even with homemade buns. But tonight we're having homemade baked gnocchi, so how can that go wrong?

My writing group reformed after a four month long "Holiday-hiatus" and we made rules, schedules, and promises. The specific promise that I made (to myself and to the girls) is that I would write. 
Just five pages a week. But five pages EVERY week.
And guess how many I've written since I took that pledge three weeks ago?
That's right. ZERO.
To be fair, my laptop keyboard is broken. I've been texting blogposts to myself for three weeks, because the entire bottom two rows are broken. shift through M and all those handy punctuation marks. Somehow my space bar survived, but it's very hard to go without Z X C V B N and M.
Extremely hard.
"Oh, but you're typing now," you might be noticing.
Well, Travis brought home a computer from work, and when he promised "I will get up at 6am and read my scriptures and go running,"
I jumped right up and yelled, "And I will get up at 6am and make our family fancy breakfasts, and while my oatmeal cake or buttermilk breakfast pie or homemade blueberry muffins are baking away, I will sit on that computer and I WILL WRITE, BROTHER."
But not today, because I'm still getting used to Daylights Saving, obvs.

But I did write two poems, which I'm trying to be brave enough to post on the internet. Poems are much harder for me to post online than admissions of exercise-induced farting, so that should give some  idea of how nervous poem-writing makes me.

My friend Sienna, who inspires me every day (she probably does not know how cool and amazing I think she is, and she probably doesn't read this blog, so she may never know that I seriously want to be just like her), has been killing it on her blog lately.
Everything she writes, I'm like "YEAH! I'm going to get rid of all my junk too! Yeah! I'm going to dye my clothes another color! Yeah! I'm going to be a woman of vision! Yeah! I'm going to do handstands and write poetry, and can't I just have chickens in my yard already?!"
And I send Travis links to her blog posts and say, "It's time for us to be more intentional in our lives" and he's like, "Agreed! And my current intention is to move somewhere that I can be a professional surf photographer."
And I'm like, "My current intention is to convince you to get me pregnant this summer, and also, let's just move to Hawaii and live in a shack and surf and eat fruit and snowcones all day! Minimalism!"

So as you can see, as intentional as I intend to be, I just keep being unintentional. 
I had all kinds of intentions for this blog post. It was going to inspire you. It was going to be moving and spiritual and not mention bodily functions or my very obvious ADHD.
The best intentions, as they say. (And when they say it, it's an actual saying, not a fragment of a sentence that actually explains nothing.)

I just want you to know, that I fully intend to be better.

After we carried our screaming children, thrashing and thrown over our shoulders, out of the church and into the bright sunshine for the fourth time on Sunday, and Travis announced that he was going to murder Grey and Micah, and I screamed things like, "GET OUT OF THE PROPHET'S GARDEN" as my children stomped down the sprouting bulbs on Temple Square, we starting making goals.
Abstract goals, like
Have more patience and understanding and
Teach my children to be still 

and Real goals, like
Don't whip Grey with Travis' belt, even though I'm starting to think that it would actually improve matters and
Maybe we should watch less TV. *Maybe*

And here's another one. This goal is both real and abstract, but I'm trying very, very hard at it:

Be more intentional. Don't buy things I don't need. Don't watch TV that is mindless. Don't sit on my phone and expect my children to entertain themselves while I scroll through Kelle Hampton's IG feed for hours.
Be kinder. Be more deliberate. Feed my children and husband food that is good for them. Read my scriptures and actually pay attention and get something out. Fulfill my family's needs before my own, and do it with thanksgiving. Discipline and teach my kids, even though it makes them scream bloody murder at me, and even though punishing them does not seem to have stopped them from repeatedly pouring milk down the vents.
Write, photograph, draw, paint, and be creative. Stop moping that I'm too poor to buy fabric and paintbrushes and just write, because I love writing. I love it so much that it hurts me when I go without writing. And guess what, self? This blog doesn't count.
As much as I love it and as much as I write here, it just isn't enough. I need to sit down and write a poem every week and not be embarrassed that I still like poetry, even though I'm not in school or a professional writer. I need to work on my book, because I love it and think about it and have been working on it for FOUR YEARS.   I need to walk to the cemetery and look at the names on the head stones and laugh, and dwell, and think about them for days and THEN JUST WRITE ALREADY.
And that's my main thing.
Plus, all that other stuff.

I intend to celebrate the New Year in March.
Who's with me?

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sienna said...

Thanks for the nice compliments. I love your honesty on your blog and your humor. I think small changes are the best. The kind that make you feel like "I can do this." I read a blog post where the writer said, instead of telling yourself to get up an hour earlier than usual, just set your alarm 10 minutes early. Then you can slowly work up to it. That said, the boys and I all slept in today (despite my best intentions to wake up early and get stuff done.)

Can't wait to read one of your poems. I have to be honest, I don't always get around to checking blogs, but I'm glad I read yours today!

Brittany said...

This is one of my favorite posts you've written.

faeriequeene said...

I'm right there with you; spring has me itching to get things done.

I've got a new phone app that I make list after list on and I'm really starting to see what direction I want to run off in first. Hurrah for planning, and slowly getting some progress accomplished.

While you're focusing on being intentional, I'm trying my darnedest to be content with where I am right now. That's a hard pill to swallow - even I have days where I question why I can't have chickens (and goats and a big garden) in my yard already - but I'm working on it.

And, yeah, I really liked this post :)

faeriequeene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gillian claire said...

love, love love this post.

Jessica said...

Being intentional is something that has been repeatedly coming up in my mind for at least a year now. It really helps me to remember to be productive and get up and do things! Things I may not want to do (like clean) and things I do want to do (like read). In the end they all make you feel better. Great post and yay for spring!

Bethany G said...

Girl, YOU are awesome! As soon as my mom leaves I'm getting my butt over to your house!
And, my husband and I talk about moving to Hawaii and living in a shack often ... :) let's do it together!

Tyler said...

You are hilarious. Everything was just so good. Also, I have some good vegetarian/almost vegetarian recipes that are good, filling, don't try to be meat, etc. Really. Try the pasta primavera on my blog, it is delicious. I also really like risotto's and i pinned some really tasty ones . Also, I would like to read your poetry. I have not written poem in a long while and should get back into it. Anyways, I need to be more intentional too, but it can be hard sometimes.

Elizabeth said...

uugghh. Tyler was logged in and I did not realize, but that comment was from me, obviously.

Tyler said...

actually, it was me.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. It was a very good read, encouraging and inspirational for moms like me. I hope you maintain a very sweet relationship with your partner. It's very rare to see or hear couples working together in sweet harmony. It's something that you should be very thankful for and should treasure. :)

Unknown said...

Becky, these are my goals, too. Being really poor this month (missing a week of work because of the flu and going to InstaCare twice that same week and paying my deductible for a car accident will do that) has made not buying non-necessities much easier, and I love how that makes me feel to recognize, No, I don't need this!. Now I also just need to pull that over into my writing. I'm taking baby steps. Like Sunday, I finally rewrote a scene that I was dreading rewriting, but it had to happen.

Emily said...

You definitely inspire me, Becky! I just gave notice at my job because I have been hating it for months and I despise having my girls in daycare and I miss being a stay at home mom with every ounce of my being. I think it was spring that pushed me to do it. In January it was easy to suffer because the weather was horrible. Now my husband and I are having hope that we can weather the financial stuff if it will lead to making our family happier. Thank you for this post.

tammy said...

This is an awesome post. I am catching up on my blog reading and wasn't planning to comment but had to. You are great. Don't be like anyone else but you. I feel like I was reading a lot of my own words and thoughts. I have loved writing my whole life, especially short stories and poetry. My parents divorce rocked my world and I lost a lot of support and that's when I lost my dream of being a writer. It is a dream I rarely share because the letting go was painful. Kids need support and encouragement. I used to always carry notebooks with me and write poetry. It was my artistic outlet. I rarely share any of my poems and have tried on my blog but I am way too critical of my own writing. If you ever just want to secretly exchange poetry with each other we can. We don't have to make eye contact when we do it. But maybe it's a way to get brave. This is long, sorry. I think you are great. You are a great mom and writer and artist. I love reading about your life. You have inspired me. Thanks.

tammy said...

Please excuse all the grammatical errors in my last comment. I hate grammar and grammar rules and that's why poetry is so great. But serious I do know how to use a period and form sentences but you may question that while reading my comments.