Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What is inspiring me Today

Inspiration comes in many different forms, some peruse the Internet, others search books, and others find it in nature. I find it in all these places, but mostly, I am inspired by real flesh and blood breathing people.

Today the object of my admiration is R. My visits with her always leave me wanting to do better and be better. Why? Well mainly because she is her own person, unafraid to bloom her vivid hothouse personality in a Walmart garden center world. She offers no apologies for her differences and her greatness, she just is.

I read once that as long as you have access to a library, you can do anything you want. R. takes that a step further and acts on the fact that if she can imagine it, she can create it. "Do you realize how clever all this is?" I ask her as she explains the elegant curtained pavilion she is creating. "Well, I make some colossal mistakes as well as some great successes." I think . . . How wonderful to try. To be unafraid of failure, of power tools, or the unknown. Here are a few of the things that inspired me today.

  • A lemon tree fragrant with the scent of lemon blossoms growing several tiny lemons. IN THIS CLIMATE!!!!
  • An ingenious umbrella stand/ concrete filled flower pot that allows drainage and keeps the umbrellas from breaking or tipping in the terrible winds that fill our corridor
  • Masonry... brick walls, plaster, concrete works, and stone walls.
  • A mother of elementary children who finds time to paint. No she's not an artist ( a trained one anyway). She is just creative and figures things out.
  • This same friend who is never proprietary with her information spent time giving me a lesson in canvas preparation in single color, different value background.
  • Having the eye to see a treasure at Goodwill or the D.I. and transform it into an ottoman that is a work of art.
  • A child gently taught the art of apple cutting.
To live life with no excuses. To find your passion and fill it while serving others. To create. To shine in greatness without fear of the grasp of the jealous. This is happiness.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A bucketful of snails.

I hate snails. They eat everything I work hard to plant and beautify.

I've been having a blue day... I came home from Church and flopped on my bed, refusing to move. Completely spent and completely discouraged. "My life's work is a mess. Why can't my children behave like so and so's. Why can't I reach them? I am a failure, a flop. Its even worse because I spend my entire life on something I am horrible at and failing miserable in."

Husband rubbed my back. I cried. So empty. So sad.

Came downstairs to make dinner. Some sweet thing spit at me. "I'm just teasing Mom." I grimaced and mumbled sarcastically, "I am such a lucky mom." The entirety of my failure rested in those words. At the top of the stairs, Sunshine heard me and with complete seriousness repeated my words. "You are such a lucky mom."

"What do you mean by that?" I asked "Why am I lucky?" I wondered what she knew that I didn't.

"You have kids." She replied with matter-of-factness. I realized that she was parroting back to me my own words I have told my little ones over and over. How odd that they would come back to me right now.

I remember the long years of childlessness, the fullness of joy as each child entered our family through adoption, completely and 100% wanted. I look in an old journal. Sure enough. I wrote, "Midodi, If you ever get the amazing opportunity to have children, and even better to stay home with them, if you ever get the opportunity to help God nurture and guide his children, if you are ever tempted to complain, read this and know that your entire life is a blessing."

My past and my future have agreed. My focus on the negative and lack of gratitude temporarily blinded me to the myriad of blessings little people bring to my life.

Once more, I remember that we are all on an assembly line, not finished products. If I expect the car to be finished, of course I would be upset at a door that doesn't lock or a window that doesn't roll. But my JOB is to find the door that doesn't lock or wheel in the wrong place and help the master craftsman fix it. It is not the end of the world at the beginning of an assembly line. And . . . it is nice to know that I am not responsible for the finished product. My employer is. And, he is expert at what he does. He will ensure that everything on his assembly line leaves in its own most perfect form. Sometimes I just don't realize that he put out parts for a VW bug. I am trying to make a Mini Van with the those same parts. I think I'll just keep showing up to work and put in a full day. I'll give my best to my employer and leave the finished product up to him.

I watch Little Mother play with her pet snails... Slimy and Bob, Tiny and Mary. To her view, they were the most amazing playfellows. She reveled in the slime they left on her nose, their funny way of riding on each others backs, their individuality. I on the other hand execute any snails I find for the crime of eating my garden.

Same snails, two different views. One sees their beauty, another their faults. Hmmm. Another lesson from my small teachers.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hootin and Hollerin' with America

Around the forth of July in these parts, every city holds a rodeo. Our favorite is the Riverton Rodeo. Once a year, I shed my well heeled suburban snobbery for a cowboy hat, a pair of jeans, and a remembrance of my Western roots. I see a snapshot of America at its best. In this arena, hard work and patriotism is the religion. A hush even falls over the whistlin' stompin' hootin' and hollerin' crowd as the appears. Clean cut youth, families, and even the ancients fill the stands to honor skills that used to be a way of life for all of us here in the west. In lieu of dirty jokes, the announcer honors those in the crowd who have been married 25 years or more and it looked to be 1/3 of the crowd. How's that in America folks?

What bonds the kids to the rodeo is the calf chase. 3 poor calves covered with money face a terrifying mob of children all grasping for dollar bills.

We snuggle, we gasp in horror or amazement, we cheer bravery and heroism and we do it with good honest folks. God bless America.

Friday, June 26, 2009

So much more than yellow paint

When I am old and senile and wear diapers, someone will try to jog my memories. I may not remember names. I may forget where I am or where I'm going. But when I see rich yellow, the color of butter, I will remember.

I don't think I'll remember sore shoulders or a kinked neck. I won't remember scrubbing every yellow inch of me to scrape the skin as well as the paint off my body. I will not feel pain in my sinuses from the overwhelming fumes. And I doubt it will bring to mind cleaning out brushes silently late at night after everyone else has gone to bed.

When I see yellow, in my mind's eye I will see a young girl, so enamoured by the closeness felt after a three hour long discus ion with her mom, that she lingers and lingers over her pajamas asking for "just one more story about when you were little." I will see the full double rainbow we ran up and stared at in awe.

I will hear the soft sounds of a baby bird as it settles to sleep and startles when we laugh. I will hear the incessant questions and chatter of a Ladybug as her hands work and the key to her brain opens.

I will feel accomplishment, that of little ones learning a new skill, and creating their own environment to live in. Even better, I'll feel my own achievement of watching yellow drips down walls, on white carpet, and on an antique desk without balking. I will feel the peace that comes from knowing that we all must learn sometime, that we all make drips till we practice, and that some things matter so so much more than a paint job.

When I am old and sad, show me yellow.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ouch... new animals in the castle

It is no secret that I love animals. All of them. I delight in their different intelligences and behaviors. I secretly believe that I have some sort of special relationship/ communication with them, that I can call whales, calm bulls, and bring wild life to me. Part of my adult self knows that sort of belief is ludicrous, but the rest of me continues to act on that belief, much to my husbands dismay.

It is no wonder then that we find our suburban home filled with life forms other than human. I get caught by my love for animals in situations that are most uncomfortable, and frankly disturbing.

We are now parents to a new frog who "hitchhiked" back from our latest camping adventure aided and abetted by one of the sweeties. I pulled back the shower curtains to clean the tub and found the little fellow zipping happily back and forth along the tub's length. "Ladybug!" I yelled. "There is a guest in the bathroom."
Today Ladybug came crying in once again. This time with a story about a magpie who dropped a baby bird in our yard while being chased by another bird. "I don't know what to do. Please help me save it Mom."

This puts me in a terrible spot. We couldn't find the nest anywhere. We hid, and waited for the mom to return. We returned from swimming and no mom. Ladybug was panic stricken. "Honey, we can't keep a baby bird alive. If we touch it the parents will have nothing to do with it. We can't feed it, can't keep it warm . . . we know nothing about raising baby robins. Besides, we have dogs and a wonderful cat. That baby is as good as dead."

"Mom, we can't just leave it here for the magpie! We have to at least try to save it." I am horrified. Once more, I am put in the position of trying to raise a wild animal that we have no business touching. But what to say to my daughter?

All right then. I am beaten. I produced a makeshift nest then moved him into it while wearing medical gloves, as though my smell would be worse than the latex. He nestles right in.
Ladybug set up a heat lamp in her room. We all gathered worms. The glutinous little tyke ate and ate and ate. No less than twenty worms have gone into that little one's gullet this afternoon and still he squawks. We are already smitten with his patchy bald head, alien body, and loud open mouth. I am a magnet for pain. I curse inwardly as I feel that I have erred, that our assistance is somehow a crime against these animals I love so much. Which death is worse? One that nature provides or one that humans unknowingly inflict?

My conflicted decision is that I can't teach my children compassion with my lips then expect them to watch suffering without doing all they can to alleviate it. Ouch. It hurts.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Growning Season

I love teaching my little ones about the harvest, the sacrifice of time, the patience, the care as we check for any bugs that have infested our crop. They balk at their daily weeding chore, but forget it all as they enjoy the rewards their two month sacrifice produces. Today, it is a perfect pea that has not been overindulged into obesity. Some will go into our Chicken Korma and the rest we will eat fresh on the table. Which will try harder not to smile? Which proud producer will try to take the credit for providing a treat for our family? I can't wait to watch and see.

Growing things is my business, my life's work. I don't expect to be the one who reaps the harvest however. Others will get to enjoy the fruit of my labors. I simply find joy in the growing process. I wonder if my head gardener smiles as he watches me take the credit for the growing crop . . . knowing he has put in most of the work.

I take comfort in the fact that it is my growing season as well. When I am infested with a particularly nasty bug, or shriveling from lack of water, I remember that its not time to pluck me off the vine yet. I have time to ripen and grow. So does Briz. So do my princesses.

Monday, June 22, 2009

styrofoam prints

The Chinese are known for their wood cut prints. After a stirring lesson (to me) on Chinese civilization, the great wall, and the legend of Mulan, we tried our hands at printing. We used Styrofoam to create our prints. Next time we'll add more colors.

In addition, we've been celebrating with dinner again! Check it out here!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

The girls and I discussed it.

For always fixing the hurts I can't bear to look at.
For sports instruction that gives them "the edge"
For ALWAYS being there ... for everything.
For coaching soccer when you didn't volunteer.
For laying outside doors when bedtime gets too wild,
For appreciating snakes, spiders, and other catches,
For coming home, plopping on your throne and announcing, "It's good to be the king."
For fixing bikes, over and over and over.
For pushing girls to their limits.
For including them in your annual "boy's week hunt"
For swimming underwater like a whale with little ones clutching your back.
For late night "snuggles" with any who ask.
For getting up late at night when you hear the cry, "Dad!"
For leaping out of bed when you hear the slightest noise to protect your family.
For sleeping under the stars with your girls,
For admiring our twirly skirts, our curls, and our polished nails,
For getting out of bed each and every day to provide for our family, and enable their mother to stay with them.
For saying no.
For encouraging, expecting the best, bragging to everyone you see about your amazing family. . .
For more . . . but I can't cover it all here . . .

We honor you. We love you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Payson Canyon

I closed my eyes as Briz navigated the dirt road with ruts deeper than our entire tire. We stopped at a watering hole for moose, deer, and elk. With no one in sight, we set up camp. Each little one immediately approached nature in their own way. Some made hideouts, bathrooms, and cafes, others explored the sandy bed of the trickling creek. Briz put up the tent and unrolled the sleeping bags while I began dinner and the apple dumplings.

As dusk fell, we walked to a small reservoir almost glasslike in reflecting the mountains. We circled it quietly and were rewarded by the sight of a deer and her fawn. The stars came out, bright and bountiful, filling the sky. After the children fell asleep and the fire receded, I walked away from camp and lay on the dirt road to gaze at the infinite canvas that is creation. Wonder filled my mind, reverence stilled my heart. Some time later, a shadow covered my view and I felt Briz stretch out beside me.

After breakfast, each returned to their nature activities. Briz and ladybug wandered off to explore, Little Mother and Sunshine started imaginary play in the tent. I crept away from camp, guiltily, hoping to capture a bit of silence with the birds and squirels. Ten minutes up a trail, I ran into Briz and bug who were overjoyed to see me and show me their finds. After saving a bark colored caterpillar from ant stings, they returned it to a tree. I saw my chance and broke out into a run. I ran up the trail . . . and up . . . till I finally stopped in a large clearing where the lake of grass swayed in unison. I stopped, drank in the sweet smell and accomplished what was needed.

Alone in the mountains, I become more of my self, as do each of my loved ones. In a watering spot by my clearing, I found a curious dog like track that measured over 3 inches long and didn't meander up the trail like a dog. Upon further research, it appears to belong to a wolf.

We drove home. We are tired and very smelly. My husband's hand lies on my leg. My two oldest vie for my shoulders, and Sunshine sleeps in her seat with taco neck. Night falls. All are asleep now. Briz quietly strums Dan Fogelberg on his guitar. All is as it should be.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chicken Penance

As penance for sneaking away to play with a neighbor's chickens, my girls among other things have to mop the floor.

Their squealing giggles call me in to check on them. Instead of mop solution, they used dish soap. . . half a bottle of pink dish soap. They skate, they slide, they twist and fall. Their sorrow seems sincere, don't you think?

Tae Kwon Do

Impulsiveness has always been my downfall or strength. I don't know which. On the way to pick up Brie and Mangoes, I passed a new studio lined with trophies, and pasted with pictures of a young Korean man doing impossible things with an ancient master. Briz has mentioned for years that martial arts should be mandatory for his girls so I walked in and asked for some information. I left 45 minutes later in a dreamlike state that had me convinced I had been in Karate Kid and talked with Mr. Miagi. I was thrilled by his quiet insistence in respect, focus, discipline, and goal setting and the results I saw in his students.

The next day I brought my two little ones to try out with Master Kwon. Sunshine longed to join in so she bowed and asked the master if she might participate. They jumped they punched, they yelled, they bowed, they ran, and they kicked.

Three girls simply radiated joy and light. Master Kwon met with Briz and I to give us the results of his assessment. "Sunshine is strong, very strong. She has focus and discipline. For her age, she is by far the best. She is the best student I have so far here. Ladybug has focus, eager to please and will be at a high level for any athlete. Little Mother's attention wanders. Maybe it will be fixed by age or maturity, but I will train her as well."

Little princesses walked out with white uniforms tied with a white belt. They bowed over and over. Thank you mom for signing us up. "I'm going to eat more healthy. I'm going to do push ups every night to get stronger. I have to fold my uniform neatly to show respect." They have an assignment to memorize.

  1. I pay attention to details.
  2. I sit up straight at my desk.
  3. When we practice with targets I take my time and look before I kick.
  4. When I practice I put all my energy and effort into my techniques.
  5. I make eye contact with people who are talking to me.
  6. I keep the television off when I do my homework.
  7. I keep my hands up and look straight when I practice kicking drills with a partner.
  8. I listen and watch carefully when other students demonstrate their moves.
  9. I listen carefully in school so my teacher doesn't have to repeat directions.
I am floored my my daughters' interest. What is so alluring about Tae Kwan Do? Why are they so excited? I understand dance, ice skating, gymnastics. But never have I seen them so radiantly happy. He made them promise not to hit or kick each other anywhere outside the studio. This alone could be worth they money. HiiiiiAh!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Pool

Our days at the pool have begun. Splashing, warm, salsa music dancing days where children pop out of slides and I catch them even though I hate water in my face. I look at one flip, another dive, another jump backwards into the pool!

I brought a book to drip on. I pick it up - no, not happening. Two sentences into The Bonds that Make us Free, "I'm hungry, do you have any snacks?" We snack under an umbrella with friends that frequent the same pool. I get some meaningful girl talk in while little ones lay on the cement to warm their little bodies.

There is a new sign posted. "Children under 12 who cannot swim 25 meters unassisted must be supervised by an adult within 10 meters." I stand watch and pace the sides watching my little Sunshine. The reason for the sign is sad really. A teenage friend, Trent, who lifeguards at our fitness center has shared the many times he has plucked a drowning toddler from the water, searched for the mother for ages, only to find her on a back row of pool chairs, top unhooked, drowsily baking.

I love the convenience of our pool, we walk there. But I am saddened by what I show my daughters each time we go. Mothers strut their bronzed bodies barely covered, stick their noses in the air, wave their metalic manicures and pedicures, and exclaim over their cell phones while their children romp. My pale varicose vein covered legs, full coverage suits, baseball or straw hats, and bags full of treats strike an odd comparison. Yet, I am comfortable with who I am and why I am at the pool. I've long given up tans in concern for skin cancer and I rarely carry a cell phone. That way I can go down the tunnel slide and catch Sunshine as she screams down.

"Why do they wear those horrible things?" Ladybug asks speaking of a particularly spangly tiny string bikini. "Oh honey, I don't know. They think they look good and want the attention. I think as moms, they sometimes feel invisible and feel important if they can get people to stare at them. They certainly aren't comfortable. Don't be angry at them dear. I'm a bit sorry for them that they don't feel beautiful and comfortable with who they are." I really don't know what to say to my sweet girls who are surrounded by this type of example of body worship. Oh dear. . .

After our ears are waterlogged and our fingers and toes pruned like an old women, we head home. In our safe haven, messy pony tails and unmanicured toes don't cause a head wave fit for a drill team. Here we find a friend that spurs a dinner (dinner blog). Then we cool off and rest from our exertions . . .

Yogurt Popsicles

Mix 1/3 parts plain or vanilla yogurt
2/3 part yummy juice (strawberry-banana or pine/orange/banana - you know the kind)
Freeze in cute Popsicle holders!!! They taste better that way.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Chore Charts.

Summer has begun. Princesses wish to spend their days in front of the computer screen on Webkinz or watching TV. These are not healthy ways for bright strong sweet girls to spend all their time. Plus they get whiny and demanding. I know what they need. MORE WORK!!!

More work always entails a new system.

"Why?" Briz asks, "Are you creating a new system when we have several that have worked already?" Well, children are like us. We are seduced by novelty. All of us get bored of what works so we try new methods of study, of eating, and so forth. I combined three of our best systems for our summer chore chart, Miracle Music, Accountable Kids, and the token economy. Jobs and tasks are done for points. Points are spent in my store for items I would have just given them otherwise. I made a make shift store in our guest room, stocked with summer clothes and other items I have previously purchased for my children. Ladybug needed crickets for her frog. Great! 12 crickets are 100 points and there are plenty of ways to earn it. Another wants to go swimming for $2.00. Fantastic! 200 points can be easily earned in a morning. No problem.

So far, so good. Sunshine was the first to patronize my store. She was looking for a "weapon to squoot with." Little Mother soon followed, purchasing a summer dress. Not to be outdone, Ladybug earned hers in the nick of time for church.

Whining is down. Time spent training useful skills is up. I wonder if the novelty will last the summer or if I'll need a new system in a month or so? It doesn't matter. It works for today. That's good enough for me.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Face dark against the pillow, he has fallen asleep while reading. He's been a long while down. I trot downstairs to grab an ice cold drink. I return and quietly start to help him out of his uncomfortable jeans and shirt. When finished, I hold his head for a small drink. He grunted and nestled back down to sleep. What have I accomplished?

Several days ago, I graduated to the next principle in the Love Dare, Thoughtfulness. What is thoughtfulness? How does it differ from kindness and selflessness and how is it the same? I have pondered this for a few days. Thought full. Full of thoughts about another. Yes, when courting, we think of each other all the time... every waking minute in fact. As newlyweds, we'd call sometimes 10 plus times a day, just because we were thinking of the other and wanted to say hi. I admit, 18 years down the road, a full day can pass without a single thought of my spouse. My brain is full of responsibilities, children, tasks, and yes . . . myself. When he walks in at night, "Oh Hi!" Then back to my busy mind.

When someone gives a "thoughtful gift" we mean that they put a lot of thought into what the other needs. So, I guess we start by just thinking of the other more, purposfully calling them to mind.

What would he like, what would make him happy? I am out of practice. It feels rusty. Oh! I used to make him cookies all the time, and save him a chunk of dough to eat. But it is not healthy and if I cook I want to engage in creative expression and make something new. "But this is not about you." my inner voice replies. "It is about him." Oh.

Maybe I will call during the day. Just to say hello. "Hello! How's my sweetheart? I'm worried about you and want to make sure you are doing okay. You've put in a long day for someone just out of surgery. What can I do for you today? Cookies? Oh. What kind? The usual- with blended oatmeal? Oh." The conversation stalls. "Love you! Bye."

Today, we rubbed against each other and chaffed at the contact. He said hurtful things. Too sensitive, I took offense. The day is almost over. I remember the Love Dare. That is how I find him upstairs . . . asleep. Now I ask myself again. What was gained by all this?
He acceped each action as his due. No special appreciation was offered. He didn't even drink all my water.

The answer comes quickly. I gained love. Each time I focused my thoughts on him, my heart softened. Every movement made in his behalf warmed me to him and his needs. My thoughts created love. My cookies created love. My water created love, and my assistance created love - not in him - in me.

Though creaky and rusty, my thoughts can again be trained to return to my someone special, and I will be blessed for it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Suburban Discovery

As a child, I wandered through the foothills and creeks near our home. There were always secret hideouts to discover, plants to test for edibility, places to explore. All I had to do was walk outside. The world in all its wonder was waiting.

In suburbia, we live ordered lives with our fenced plots of cultivated land. Children's little lives are filled with lessons, sports events, and other good things. Excess time is spent with the Wii, X-Box, or Game Boys. I still want to instill a sense of wonder, of discovery, and adventure into our well ordered suburban lives. I look for any opportunity to explore . . . even in our neighborhood.

Today as we went to the store for supplies for our dinner, (see the dinner blog) across from the library, the drainage overflows had filled from all our rain. Ducks floated peacefully, and barn swallows darted and flashed above and around, dipping occasionally from the oversided puddle.

Puddles are great for flapping feet, for splashing, for racing, and jumping. Little Mother and Sunshine leaped right in, screaming joyously. Ladybug timidly tested the waters till she warmed up and raced for joy along the water's edge. Mallards disgruntledly watched the interlopers from the top of the berm, and cars driving to and from the shopping area stared unabashedly at the rag taggled little group splashing through the water. "What do they think they are doing? This is not a lake. This is well ordered suburbia and we don't run through ditch overflows." Or maybe, just maybe, they were wishing they had the water whisking through their toes, and splashing on their face. Perhaps they wanted to stop and hear children's laughter, squeals, and reverence for the discovery of a golf ball or an extra warm patch of water.

Life is beautiful anywhere when we open to the opportunities that surround us.


Up. Up from where you are. Up from where you have been. Rise. Let the world around you lift you. Circumstances may pull you down, but you can choose to rise up.

Needless to say, I adored the movie, UP. The children did as well. I even shed a tear or two. I loved being reminded that the normal day to day things that may seem boring are the largest part of the adventure of life.

The ice cream cones, sitting side by side reading, holding hands, painting a room, celebrating a birthday, arguing and forgiving, watching the stars come out from our balcony, snuggling up on a lazy morning, coaching a soccer team, teaching someone to clean their room, the day in and day out of relationships is my grand adventure.

Recently, someone reminded me of my wanderlust and desire to experience new things. When asked where I wanted to live, I rehearsed past desires in my mind, then realized that I don't need a new location for excitement. My reality, which mainly takes place between four walls, is currently enough adventure for me. I am creating and building somthing that will last - and no day is quite like the next. Each relationship and person in my life are the balloons tied to me the pull me up, and up.
So today, I celebrate the ordinary adventures of our "boring" life here in our "boring" suburb. My entries in this journal are to record the beauty of these small experiences in my GREAT BOOK OF ADVENTURES. Some day when my children wonder what on earth their mom did all day and why she gave up so much to stay home and just be a mom, I want them to read my words, feel my enjoyment, and know that I truly felt my life with them and their Dad truly was an adventure. The adventure I chose and still choose over the rest.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Home Creation

I dropped into visit my aunts with my mother and was, as always, inspired by their creativity. Note the attention to detail in this bathroom.

Even the stick curtain rod adds to the message, "You are in a mountain cabin." Quite fun really. I wanted to stay and admire her projects all day.

It caused me to reflect on the art of designing our surroundings. I read somewhere that "We create our surroundings then our surroundings create us." I love this thought. We design a room or funiture arrangement, but then our design works long after the fact, encouraging conversation or TV watching. We create the feel that is homey or elegant and then the interior trains those who enter ... this is a hands off place or a place to put your feet up and relax.

With this in mind, I used my exchange money at TJ Max to add refresh the sofas in my family room. I am thinking, colorful, casual, movement oriented, but just enough. I still want to sit down.

This map picture for my study is to stimulate the imagination - for me it signals exploration, new things to discover and learn, new places to visit.

Happily, these small purchases once in a long while, perk my surroundings up just enough. Someday, I may have a home like one of my amazing aunts where every detail is perfect, but for now, a piece here and there is enough to fill me with gratitude for beautiful surroundings and help me feel like I am creating more than a covering from the elements, a home.