Dream Job

I’m pretty sure I was an odd child.  No one ever told me this, but if they knew of my imaginary play they’d likely agree.   I was the youngest of 4.  My brothers were much older so while I was playing Barbies, they were cruising the drag picking up chicks, well attempting to anyway, and making the police earn their money.  My sister was just a tad bit older, almost 2 years, but still old enough to not want to be bothered with a younger sister.  I spent most of my time playing alone, using my imagination.   

I dreamed of being a ballerina or an ice skater.  I would don a black and white checked taffeta skirt and practice twirls, leaps, and one footed reverse triple axels in the living room.

I longed to be a teacher.  My parents gave me full reign of the garage where I created a make believe classroom.  I built a podium, drew out a map of the United States and rolled it up with a string to pull down during Social Studies.  Tired of using a sock for an eraser, I stealthily carried a real one out of my second grade classroom.   I taught my stuffed animals the 3 R’s to the tune of a dowel rod and never grew weary.

I tried my hand at song writing and wrote a song called “Black Thunder”.  It was Christmas season and my parents were out for the evening.  My sister and I hadn’t plugged in the Christmas lights on the outside of the house.  When they returned it was dark and they questioned why the lights weren’t on.   I showed them my song I wrote and they were so impressed they thought I’d plagiarized it.  In order to convince them that I really was a dadgum song writer (name that movie), my dad told me to go write another one.  He gave me the title, “it just ain’t Christmas if the lights ain’t on”.   It turned out to be slow and sappy and not near as good as my rock anthem “Black Thunder”.  That was the end of my song writing days.

There were times I set up a chair and desk perpendicular to my bedroom window and pretended I was a bank teller working the drive thru.  I sat at a desk at my Grandmother’s and pretended I designed cosmetics after watching The Bold and The Beautiful one day.  I’ve wanted to be a psychologist, I’ve wanted to be a journalist.  I was silly enough to want to be a waitress and even a maid.  I now realize I liked the aprons.

I’ve had many dream jobs in my life.  There is still much I wish I was better at. One of my husband’s professors once said, “find something you love, and then figure out a way to make money doing it.” But there is also something else I know:  once a hobby or interest becomes a job, the fun sometimes goes away and is replaced by responsibility and drudgery.

Right now in my life, having no job is pretty much a dream.  I’m glad to stay home with my baby and give her the time and experiences that help her grow.  But if someone wants to pay me to blog, that’d be alright too. 

 

 

 

This entry is #7 on a list of 30 things.  What is your dream job?

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Day In, Day Out

I never  awaken on my own.  I’m usually smack dab in the middle of some amazing dream when a little person whose feet are in my ribs begins to stir and repeatedly request “muck”, the translation of milk in baby talk.  Staggering out of bed with my daughter in my arms, leaving my dream of lottery winning or beach lying behind forever, I put aside all my needs, never considering even a trip to the bathroom, to satisfy hers instead.  Because that’s what mothers do.

Eventually, I manage a cup of coffee or two, breakfast consists of oatmeal with brown sugar and milk, while a well-worn DVD of Sesame Street or Barney provides the background noise.   I sing along and speak the lines by memory knowing I could recite the entire episode better than a 7th grader reciting the Preamble to the Constitution in History class.  Repetition will do that.

Our outdoor surroundings are breathtakingly relaxing and outside time is a must even on cooler days.  We’re surrounded by trees, pines, hummingbirds, deer, and birds of all colors.  So Emma and I spend our time in the backyard with our dogs, chickens, slide, and sandbox soaking up Vitamin D.   My girl toddles around exploring the ins and outs of pine needles, rocks, dog water, and sticks and I use this opportunity to read a short story or a chapter in a book.   I might take my notebook and colored pen out and attempt a little short story of my own.  But my mind gets weighed down with my character or the conflict that needs to surround him, the voice of inadequateness drowns out the voice of creativeness until I seek refuge in facebook or a round of Words with Friends on my phone.   Eventually  I become distracted enough with technology that I don’t even notice when my fictional character  sneaks away and drowns in the river next to our house.

Lunchtime comes and goes, a cuisine suited to a toddler palette:  noodles, goldfish crackers, bananas and the like.  A yawn or sometimes a one year old frenzy indicates  naptime so  we shake the sand from our shoes and climb into an unmade bed for an afternoon nap.  She wallers and hums.  I pat and sing, and eventually she dozes off.  I then sneak out of bed and quietly bottle around the house doing odds and ends; housework, exercise, more reading or occasionally I may be so bold as to nap with her.

During late afternoon, we pack up and head to the Middle School to pick up my niece Ash from school, then it’s back home for more of the same.  Usually after it’s too late, I realize I didn’t plan anything for supper.  This realization throws me into a maddening search on the internet for a recipe consisting of tomato sauce and salmon.

My husband returns from work, and the evening passes as all other evenings in American households.  Supper, dishes, baths, and bed.

Once a week we join a playgroup and two days later we visit the library  where I engage in adult conversation, usually about kids.

I spend most of my day on a toddler level.  I sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider, I read Goodnight Moon, I blow bubbles, mold homemade play dough, hold hands while climbing steps, clean noses, wipe butts, give hugs and kisses and receive as many back, wash high chairs, cook spaghetti, step on hair clips abandoned on the ground, wipe crayon off the wooden floor, wash sticky hands and faces, and wipe tears.

Through it all, I dream of writing.

Some days I wonder if this is all there is.  I am in the trenches of motherhood.  Stay at home motherhood.  There are times I feel very purposeless, unimportant.  Cooking and cleaning is my existence.  But deep in my soul, I know there is no greater purpose for me than this girl named Emma, whose hair hangs in her eyes, whose nose wrinkles when she grins.  I am the most important person to her right now.  I won’t always be.  This time is numbered, and I’m doing my best to make it count.  For both of us.

 

 

 

This entry is #12 on the list of 30 things.  Describe a typical day.

List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could

This is question number 4 on my list of 30 things my kids should know about me.

What 10 things would I tell my 16 year old self.  Oh my.   I wish I could visit her.  Deep down I think she was sweet, but she was flirting much too often with rebellion, sowing wild oats, trying desperately to figure out her place in the world in which she lived and using way too much hairspray.

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I would sit her down if I could and somehow I would snap her out of her “I know all” attitude, and the idea that grown ups were dopes and I would tell her a thing or two.  1.  Starting off I’d tell her that doing bad things doesn’t make you look cool.  That smoking cigarettes, drinking, drugs, going to parties, breaking curfew, sneaking out, and hooking up with boys is not the way to make friends.  People don’t think good of you, and if they do, they’re not the people to be hanging around with.  Instead, it actually tarnishes you, steals from you, and makes you not like yourself either.  The people you are associating with now, you won’t be associating with in 10, 20 years, so stop trying to impress them.  Instead find a hobby.  Pick up a camera and capture the world and people around you, write a story—you have a beautiful imagination, do a good deed for your grandmother without her having to ask you.  That is what is cool.

2.  Then I’d let her know that she doesn’t know a thimbleful of what she thinks she does.  And the idea of needing to be pretty is from the world, which just so happens to have it all wrong.  But that the word of God says beauty fades and charm is deceiving but a woman who fears the Lord, she is to be praised, the Bible also says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.  So love the Lord, and gain wisdom for it is not  fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful.   No, your beauty should come from within you — the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God.  Work on that instead.  How awesome would it be instead of having “you’re so pretty, to a gorgeous girl, stay cool” written in your yearbook, what if instead it said, “you have a beautiful spirit, I appreciate your gentle soul”.

3.  Along with the world having it all wrong about how we look on the outside, don’t let society pressure you into the status quo.  In a couple of years, you’ll be reading the Lifestyle section of the local paper, and you’ll notice that your classmates will all be getting married, or so it will seem.  Then they will start families, and you’ll read the birth announcements.  You’ll feel jealousy.  You’ll feel disappointment.  And it doesn’t come from inside you, but only because you think that’s what the world expects from you:  to get married and have children.  But you are not in a competition with anyone.  This isn’t a race to see who can get married and have babies fastest.  Go at your own pace.  Don’t feel pressure to do what every other girl you’re age is doing.  Because, you know what?  A lot of those marriages won’t last, and so settle down about that and discover who you are and what you love to do, not who you need to be with.

4.  And while you’re out looking for a life mate, stay away from the bad boys.  I know you have a tendency to be attracted to them, but it’s merely physical.  Remember beauty fades, and charm is deceiving.  See those nerdy, geeky guys?  The ones you’ve rejected?  The ones you think aren’t “cool”?  Well, Angel baby they have their heads screwed on straight.  Find yourself a Jesus follower too.  Someone who will love you and be devoted to you in the way that Jesus loves you.  The long hair and tattoos may appeal to you now, but don’t be a fool for the long run.  Look past the outward appearance and look to the heart.  This will save you much heartbreak.

5.  You haven’t been many places away from your hometown and your daddy’s hometown.  But know this….there is a great big world out there.  Yes, it’s good to be close to family, but go explore the world while you’re young and able.  There are people to meet, cultures to experience, food to try, places to see.  Go do it.  Don’t think you need to be tied down to your hometown.  You can rise above your circumstances.  You can do all things with Christ.

6.  But while you’re out there seeing the world, don’t forget to appreciate the people in your life.  Spend time with your parents.  This time will pass quickly, and they really are remarkable people you’ll learn someday.  Write down your grandmother’s stories.  Write down your parents’ stories.  Write down your own stories.  I know you think you are young and you won’t forget, but you will.  Have your picture made with you parents and your grandmothers, your brothers and your sister.  Get to know them.  They are the ones who love you the most.  They are the ones who will help you when you need it.  They are who will support you in your dreams.  Tell them you love them, and it wouldn’t hurt to tell them thanks as well.

7.  Quit mooching and learn to do things for yourself.  You know, like your laundry!  And make your own bed!  Fix your own breakfast, stuff like that.  You aren’t a princess and you’re going to need to know how to do that kind of stuff very soon.  Quit taking advantage of other’s kindness.  Learn how to clean house.  Learn how to cook good food.  Spend some time in the kitchen, cook for others, make your grandmother’s bed instead of the other way around.  Ask people to show you things, learn from them, then you will have confidence in your abilities.   Learn from your elders and treat them right.  They know much more than you.

8.  Right now, Angel, you are young, you are pretty, you are resilient, and flexible, but you won’t always be young forever.  It will happen….your body will age.  Your knees will hurt, your joints will ache, your hair will gray, you’re going to get a real severe wrinkle right between your eyes from frowning so often.  So take care of your body while you still can and smile!  You only get one body, and it needs to last.  Treat it right.  Only put good things into it.  Give it rest, but work it hard so it doesn’t grow lazy.  Find a balance, strive to be healthy.

9.  It’s always good to have a nest egg.  Save money.  But don’t be greedy.  Again, find a balance.  No, that’s the world talking.  On second thought, be more generous.  You’re too stingy as it is.  If you see someone in need, help them.  You’ll reap what you sow.  It’s better to give than receive.  You’ll probably never be rich in wealth, but you’ll have what you need.  And it’s just money anyway.

10.  There will be hard times in your life.  At the time, you will think they are terrible times.  But you will look back on them years down the road, and they won’t seem so hard anymore.  Time passes quickly sister, so do good in the world.  Don’t be self-centered.  Don’t always think of yourself, how you can get ahead, how situations are going to affect you.   It’s hard not to, but truth is, it’s not about you.  The world doesn’t revolve around you.  Look around, see others, see their hardships, see their pain,  love them and I mean really love them…. with actions, not merely words.  Put others before yourself.  You won’t be a door mat if you do, you’ll be Christ-like and by doing so, you’ll not only bring Glory to God, but you’ll bring others to God through your actions.  For these three remain, faith,hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.

It’s a sweet life you live, Angel.  You have great rewards ahead of you, just you wait and see.  Enjoy it.  It’s much too short not to.

20 Random Facts

1.  I actually have 2 middle names.  Genea Danelle, one of the weirdest names ever.  My parents couldn’t decide what to name me, and I actually was discharged from the hospital without a name.  The hospital called home and said they needed to complete the birth certificate.  So my mom was yelling at my dad, “What do you want to name this baby?”  I guess in the spur of the moment, they decided.  My mom chose Angel because I was born without the doctor present and my mom said I was just a little angel, all I needed was wings.  My dad didn’t want to name me Angel for fear I’d turn into a bar maid.  My maternal grandmother’s name was Imogene and paternal grandfather’s name was Earl Gene, so why not take Gene and throw an a at the end and call it Genea, as in Gina.  I don’t know how they came up with Danelle, but my mom like Dani and my dad didn’t.  So it’s Danelle, not Danielle.

2.  My favorite color is yellow.  It’s happy and cheerful, and reminds me of lemons and sunshine.  My car is yellow and usually one room in my home is yellow.  I especially like yellow and blue, also yellow and green, yellow and robin’s egg blue is also a great combination.

3.  As a child, my favorite storybook was a little known book called “Stand Back said the Elephant I’m Going to Sneeze”  I read it so much it was tattered.  I actually still have most of it memorized.  “Stand back said the elephant, I’m going to sneeze.  I hate to alarm you, I don’t wish to harm you.  My friends I fear, it’s clear, oh dear, you better stand back, I’m going to sneeze.  Oh no, oh no, cried the buffalo….”  o.k. I’ll stop now.

4.  The first chapter book I ever read was “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Clearly.  After reading, I became so obsessed with wanting to experience a mouse who rode a motorcycle, I moved my dresser away from the wall and with an orange marks-a-lot, I drew a mouse hole on the white baseboard.  But I messed up and had to scribble it out and draw another one next to it.  I can’t remember how many I drew, but I never could seem to get it right.  I do not remember getting in trouble for that.

5.  My dad never spanked me growing up, and my mom whipped me twice.  I only remember the reason for  one of them, and she whipped me in front of my siblings and I was completely and totally ashamed.  Just writing that, made me feel it all over again.

6.  I have never truly been happy with my weight, not ever.  I have always wanted to be smaller, no matter how small I have been.

7.  When I was young, I wanted to be a waitress and a bank teller, a teacher and a ballerina. I’ve actually had jobs as a waitress and a teacher.  The bank teller desire passed, but when I see a beautiful ballerina, I still sometimes wish that was me.

8.  I never got the chance to take ballet.  My older sister did and I hear she was not the most graceful and ran off the stage crying at the recital.  I guess my mom assumed I’d do the same, and saved her money.    I kind of resent that, but it is what it is.

Wow, I still have 11 more random thoughts to think of.  This is harder than it looks.

9.  I bite my fingernails when they get too long rather than using clippers to cut them off.

10.  I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 9 years old in Central Baptist Church.  When I was baptized the preacher had my name written on masking tape on the sleeve of his robe so he wouldn’t forget it.  That made me feel unimportant that he couldn’t remember my name.

11.  I stayed the weekends with my grandmother growing up and I loved it there.  I slept with her in her double bed and each night, we’d recite “Another day, Another dollar” and each morning, “This is the day that the Lord has made, we shall rejoice and be glad in it.”  Later I moved in with her when I was 14.

12.  I am the youngest of 4 children.  Two half-brothers that are 10 and 11 years older than me and one sister who is a couple years older than me.  I am glad to have had them in my life.  They stood up for me, supported me, and helped me so much growing up.

13.  I had to take a dog to the pound when I was 30 for snapping at my niece and I sobbed uncontrollably.  His name was Chester and he had jumped in my car one night and wouldn’t get out.  So I took him home.  I had him for about 4 years.  He was ill-mannered, but my heart broke anyway knowing he was going to die.

14.  I think cereal should be a basic food group.

15.  I moved from my hometown at the age of nearly 38 for the first time in my life, except for one year when I lived in another town for college.  The rest of my college career I took local classes or commuted over 60 miles one way.

16.  I was chosen as Teacher of the Year about 3-4 years ago.  That was a nice honor.

17.  I used to have a size 6 1/2 shoe, but since I had a baby, now it’s a size 7.

18.  I moved out of my grandmother’s house when I was a senior in high school.  My sister had a little house I lived in for a couple of months and then when my best friend came home from college at semester and decided not to go back, we got a rent house together.  I worked 2 jobs and finished high school, and turned out okay, all by the Grace of God.

19.  As I was cleaning my storage building out the other day, I found a funny certificate I’d been awarded from my high school journalism class.  I was recognized for MOST LIKELY TO BECOME A ROCKET SCIENTIST/BRAIN SURGEON.  I chuckled when I thought of the title of my blog. Who knew?

20.  I pray everyday.  Even if it’s just “Thank  you for another day.”

That’s me, in  a nutshell.