A Letter to My Daughter on Her 8th Birthday

My Dearest Emma Kate,

Another year has come and gone and it’s all I can do to to keep my head from spinning. I can’t help but realize that we only have 10 more to go before you strap on your wings and soar.

I read one of the most profound statements that said something along the lines of, “the greatest tragedy of motherhood is for her to love her children so much, that she must teach them to not need her.” That wasn’t it exactly, but it was very close, albeit, expressed much better than that. But in essence, that’s what we’re doing, you and I. I am trying my best to allow you to grow independent of me. I want that very much for you and at the same time, I don’t want that at all. What a paradox it is.

For eight years you have been the light of my life, the sun my world revolves around. “They”, you know who they are…..the so called experts…..say it isn’t healthy to make your child the center of your universe, but I can’t see how knowing you are the Big Kahuna in my life could be bad for you. You are my greatest work. Like Charlotte when she referred to her egg sac, My Magnum Opus. You, quite possibly, could be my purpose on this earth. When I think of my purpose, I imagine I should do something outstanding. Something that could impact mankind. It’s very possible that you are my something outstanding. You are to me, anyway.

I often remember our past. The last few years that have gone by in a blink. It is fun to watch videos of us and see photos and remember the feelings of fun and curiosity and growth that enveloped that time.

I often think of our future together. The trips we’ll take and the experiences we are to share. I hope we always have a strong relationship and that you can come to me for anything knowing I will always love you, no matter what.

I try very hard to just be present in our present. This is all we have. I find myself getting through “tasks” just to move on to the next “task”, when I should be relishing our moments.

At eight years old, here’s how you are: you are nice to be around, simply put. You have a great wit to you.  You are generally always in a good mood. You are not demanding or pouty in any way. You are curious beyond anything I’ve ever known and I have been exposed to more random, useless facts because of you. Your dad and I call you Cliff Clavin (look it up) and just shake our heads with your sudden announcements of “Did you know………”. You love learning, like you always have, and you are very interested in maps and places, as well as science. As long as the science doesn’t involve the body. Anything bodily gives you the willies and causes some sort of physical discomfort for you to read or hear about it.  You must get it from your Grandy, who can’t stand anything gross. Or maybe from me a little bit too, as I’ve nearly fainted at the sight of blood before. It’s actually quite hilarious how just reading The Magic School Bus Inside the Body makes your hips hurt. I’ve known all along that you weren’t possibly cut out for a career in medicine, when as a toddler you used to gag at the smell of your own poop!

You are mostly quiet still– unless you’re around your parents–an observer of people and things, who doesn’t like the spotlight or to be the center of attention. You still enjoy dance and gymnastics, but you’re not afraid to stay at home and do nothing either. You are fiercely independent, but never rude. You are truly the greatest kid. Your dad and I say it often. “She’s such a great kid.” I’m super proud of you and always will be. May you be surrounded by goodness and love and guidance all the days, my dear sweet child. You are loved.




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Breaking Ice

I have a new BFF today.

He’s my good pal.

My buddy.

My friend.

He’s a little furry.

And maybe a little smelly.

But I don’t mind at all.  Especially today, when he doesn’t see his shadow.


I’m ready for an early spring.

Here’s some pictures of our world.


Yesterday it was 5° at 5:30 p.m. with 30 mph winds.   After you do all that meteorological mumbo jumbo that comes out to equal -15 below zero wind chill. 
Notice all the wind breaks out here on the high plains.

The wind slices you like a knife.

Coming down the road, you can see that the cows are thirsty.  Instead of getting down into the breaks out of the brutal wind, they are huddled around the drinking tub.

But this is a first.


My husband J-Dub has seen many cows, and many drinking tubs, but has never seen a cow standing on top of a drinking tank before.  Frozen solid. 


It’s a wonder she didn’t fall through.  She weighs approximately 750 pounds. 

When I stood on it to cross over into the other pasture to chase a rolling black Stetson, it began to crack under my weight.

Which means I out-weigh a cow.

Probably by 100 pounds.

Not a happy thought.

It’s a real wonder I didn’t fall through.  I carefully held onto the post and tiptoed on the edge.

J-Dub had to break the ice for them to get a drink.  If you wonder how he does that, it’s probably how you imagine. 

With his brute strength!


And an ax.
This is hard work, I don’t care who you are.


Add the bitter temperature, this isn’t even close to being fun.

It’s tough being a cow.

And tougher being a cowboy.

Today my sweet husband had to break ice on 18 different drinking tubs across the panhandle of Texas.

Did you enjoy your hamburger today?

Be sure and thank a cowboy.

Arm Flab and Pit Bulls

I’ve been exercising lately, it is January after all, and I’m sore.

When you haven’t exercised in like a millenium it’s usually a good idea to start off slow.

I started off slow and I’m still sore.

But you know, in a small way I’m glad I’m sore.  It makes me feel like I actually did something.  Something good for myself.

And perhaps my exercise will help slow down the aging process and keep my arm flab at a minimum.

Teachers must be careful about arm flab.  Let me tell you why. 

I recommend this experiment if you are undecided about whether or not your arm flab is a menace to society.

Imagine yourself in a short sleeve shirt.  Or a tank top if you feel like breaking the dress code.  Something that accentuates your upper arms. 

 You got it? 

Now imagine yourself standing in front of a chalkboard.  A markerboard if you’re in 2011.  There is a room full of young, yet precocious children waiting to soak up the knowledge you are about to bestow upon them.

Are you there?

Okay raise your arm, with chalk or marker poised, and write a sentence on your imaginary board.  Something like “The dog’s balls were round.”

Now pull your mind out of the gutter, this is a lesson on possessive nouns of course.

Go ahead and write it in cursive, it’s a handwriting lesson as well.

Write it big and long, stretch your arm out and write by golly.  Write like you’ve never written before!

Now stop.  Time for an arm flab check.  How’s it doing?  Swinging slightly?  Or did it circle around and nearly slap you in the ear?

A boy in the back of the room just snickered about your possessive noun sentence.  He’s probably got a big brother or two.

You don’t allow snickering in this classroom. 

Get the eraser.  Get it. 

Erase that sentence fast.

Erase it big.

Choose something much more appropriate and repeat.

This now concludes the demonstration. 

So how are you feeling about your arm flab now?

Children are brutally honest and they will point out fat, jiggly arms in a heartbeat.  I only know this from experience.   I no longer wear short sleeves. 

Or write on the board. 

There was a story of a teacher, a rather large teacher who was teaching elementary age students.  The kind who haven’t yet learned the inappropriateness of certain topics.

One day, one of her young boys said in the most horrified voice, “Mrs. B, what IS that?”  while pointing to her flabby upper arm.

“Oh, honey”, the kind, large, gentle teacher replied, “that’s just my ole’ fat arm.”

“Whew”, the boy replied with a sigh of relief.  “I thought it was your titty.”


It’s an issue with kids, don’t ever think it’s not.  It ranks right up there with calling shotgun.  It’s a big deal.

Today I was working with a small group of students.  One of my little angels began talking about her grandma.

This is what she had to say.

“She’s just so flabby.  When she raises her arm,” and the little girl raises her arm to demonstrate, “10 flabs fall out.”

Another student was curious, “What’s a flab?”

The little darling raises her arm again, and proceeds to explain to the child whose family obviously has the thin gene, about  flabby arm fat. 

She waves her hand under the raised arm to indicate the severity and jiggliness of the flabs.

She continues, “They’re  like dogs.  Like pit bulls. ”


And then she bares her teeth, shakes her head, and growls ferociously.

I only hope I don’t have your granddaughter in my class. 

Just think, this could be you she’s referring to.

Now go perform 3 sets of 20 triceps presses.

And Hurry!

Exercise and me weren’t meant to be

My oven is broken.  It’s been broken since 1973.  Or at least since July, maybe April.  I liked it being broken.  I had a good excuse for not cooking.  Now that the holidays are over and all danger of cooking turkey, roasting ham, and baking pumpkin pie  is no longer looming, I thought I might get it fixed. 


I was also going to start exercising.


I have plenty of options when it comes to exercising.

You might say I have a bit of an obsession with exercise videos.  It’s important that I tell you that, since it’s not obvious by looking at me.  My theory is the more you have collecting dust in VHS boxes, the better chance you have of getting out of the Lazy Boy.

Most of my workout tapes belong to my cousin from whom  I stole them fair and square.  But she isn’t in too big of a hurry to get them back I don’t think.  They are called The Firm, and they truly made me look a quarter of half way amazing when I was 25  years old.  But who doesn’t look a quarter to half way amazing when they’re only 25?

I received 13 more Firm DVD’s from my sister this holiday.

You can find them at the link below, and I wish I was getting paid to say that.


I was going to recommit to exercise and complete one today.  Or at least attempt one.

I was completely and totally determined to start right after the Oven man came to fix my oven.

But the oven man was 2 hours late.

So while waiting on the Oven man, I decided to take down the Christmas tree. 

And I hurt my back taking down the Christmas tree.

Technically, I re-hurt my back from originally hurting it the other day cleaning out my closet.

Physical work and me just don’t jive.

I’ve never hurt my back laying on the couch.  Or napping. 

It’s always when I’m doing something.

 Strange how that works.

The Land of Less is More—Mile #1—Cleaning out the closet

Today’s gargantuan leap in my journey to the Land of Less is More begins with my closet. 

I think I can.   I think I can.  I think I can.

I needed direction so I found a site with 7 simple steps.  http://www.happyslob.com/closets.html

I got scared off by the first step which says to take everything out of my closet, yes everything, so I developed my own system.

Angel’s Steps to Cleaning out the Closet.

Step 1:  Adopt this motto:  If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly. 

Step 2:  Put on some music that gets you in the groove.

Step 3:  Sit down and drink a Red Bull and tell yourself you really need to get up and clean the closet.

Step 4:  Get a cardboard box.  Or seven.

Step 5:  Begin in the back where 700 hangers are crammed within an inch of space.  These are the clothes you more than likely haven’t worn in 10 years and are easier to say good-bye to.

Step. 6:  Attempt to try on a pair of size 8 capri pants that you love.

Step 7:  Sink into depression when you cannot get them over your pasty, jiggly thighs.

Step 8:  Relieve depression by eating a pack of Rolos from the case your husband bought you for Christmas.

Step 9:  Repeat steps 6 and 7, ad nauseam.

Step 10:  Regret that you recently cleaned out your email and unsubscribed from Weight Watchers, Losing it with Jillian Michaels, The Firm, and Spanx.

Step 11:  Resolve to lose weight in 2011.

Step 12:  Come to the harsh realization that you will never wear some of your clothes again.  Ever. 

Step 13:  Adopt this rule:  “If you haven’t worn it in a year, say adios to it.”

Step 14:  Get your butt back to work clearing out your clothes.

Step 15:  After 13 minutes, lose momentum and crash from your sugar high.

Step 16:  Waste an hour on facebook

Step 17:  Slap yourself three times and drag yourself back into the bedroom.

Step 18:  Work until you lose momentum…..about 10 minutes.

Step 19:  Take a nap on the couch since your bed is covered in clothes and cheap plastic hangers.

Step 20:  Wake up refreshed. 

Step 21:  Realize your husband needs a place to sleep tonight.  Get up and finish the job.

Step 22:  Take the boxes to a local charity.

Step 23:  Reward yourself with ice cream on the way home.

Step 24:  Step back and look at your clean closet and feel good about your accomplishment, but not your thighs.

Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do (The Twilight Zone Theme Song)

Bizarre happenings are occurring in the Wheeler household.

If you get real still you can hear the Twilight Zone theme song playing in the background.

I’m awaiting the aliens who have kidnapped my husband to return him from the planet XOK and switch out this phony they’ve left here. You do know how the aliens function don’t you? The sneak in and steal an earthling, replacing them with a duplicate, who looks and appears like the original, but some things are quite amiss. They haven’t fooled me.

I’m onto them.

I am basing my alien-invasion beliefs on several unexplained occurrences that I am documenting here.

1. My duplicated husband has turned off the T.V. Not just for an hour or two.
For days now.
For days and days and days.
He has grown tired of the crap. So in place of the constant blah, blah, blah of commercials screaming at us to fit in and buy some dooo-dad or another, we sit in silence.

2. My duplicated husband has ventured to the library and actually checked out books. After a couple of days of silence, he said he needed something good to read.

3. My duplicated husband has completed 2 books. With words.

4. My duplicated husband has declared The Antique Stores as his new favorite stomping grounds. He bought a coal oil lamp, and has been reading by it.

5. My duplicated husband is shaving the old-fashioned way by swirling a shaving brush in a mug with shaving soap. Oh, and he’s buttoning his shirts up all the way to the top. He looks so cute. I just might keep him instead.

But what if I’m being a little irrational? Maybe it’s not an alien invasion. My mantra in life is simplicity. I surround myself with reminders of it.

I long for the good ol’ days. I want to gather chicken eggs and milk goats. Can my own food and learn to knit. Go to bed by 8:30 and get up at 5:00. Jason has always longed for the good ol’ days as well. He hates technology and keeping up with the Jones’ mentality. He thinks facebook is the devil. And the three meals of the day are breakfast, dinner, and supper. Not breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Perhaps our battle cry of SIMPLIFY has finally reverberated our ears and sank deep down into our souls and now like the Kundalini serpent has awakened and is uncoiling itself.

Either way, we are on a mission for simplicity. We are gaining a new lifestyle. We are watering our own little patch of grass under our feet, the world in which we exist.

Jason hasn’t gone so extreme as to cut off electricity and running water……yet.
I’m not going as extreme as growing dreadlocks and only possessing 4 outfits…….yet.

This idea, this concept looks different for both of us. We are searching for a happy medium. For Jason it has begun with something as simple as turning off the T.V.
For me it’s going to start with baby steps too. First things first. I’m going to begin uncluttering my life, beginning with my closets and cabinets. Less is definitely more.
Instead of working harder and earning more to buy more, we are downsizing and living on less.

This may turn out to be a colossal failure. Or it may turn out to be a brand new life-style for us.
Only time will tell, but it’s the perfect time with 2011 inching closer and a move to a smaller, trailer house way less than fancy home in the very near future.

I’m going to blog our journey to the Land of Less is More.

It’s looks scary from here.

There are dragons to slay

We may even be eaten alive by flying monkeys, but if we do survive, I believe it will be worth it.

December 25th

Christmas 2010 is winding down friends.  I hope you enjoyed your day and your time with family.  I’m home alone for now, but soon will pick up my niece and head to some friends house for extended festivities.   I’m honored that they invite us to spend their Christmas day with them.  True friends.

I got blue this Christmas, I sometimes do that.  It’s just a part of my essence.  It’s  something I deal with occasionally.  Especially during those times that are supposed to be joyful.  While others post on facebook how much fun they’re having, I get blue.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s jealousy.  Maybe it’s self-pity. Perhaps it’s hormones.  There’s no telling.   

Sometimes Facebook posts make me feel like a voyeur, standing outside in the dark, peering through the window of somebody’s life.  The lamp and the Christmas tree put off a soft glow.  Families sit around a table, smiling, heads tipped back in laughter, a warm fire burning, popping, and crackling in the corner.   But it’s dark out here where I am and cold.  I wrap my arms around myself, pulling my coat tighter, longing to be a part of what they have.  Is it just me, or do you know what I mean?

But then I think, Really?  If you’re really enjoying your fabulous family, playing monopoly, and baking cookies, you wouldn’t be concerned about posting it on facebook, would you?

The grass ain’t always greener on the other side.  I’ve learned that.  I think the enemy tries to trick us into believing that.  In order to make us unhappy or unsettled with what we have.  When what we have, is exactly what we need.  I have everything I need right here. I am blessed beyond measure.

 Here’s our tree this year.  It’s artificial, for the first time since Jason and I have been married.  We strung popcorn and cranberries like we used to when I was a kid, and strung them up.  This is the first year I haven’t wanted to take it down.  More than likely, this is the last Christmas in this house as we are drawing closer to moving to our little trailer house on the prairie.  I’m going to make it last. 

The phone is ringing and Ashlynn is beckoning for me to come get her, so I must hurry and finish.  I wanted to wish you, my readers, a Merry Christmas.  I know it’s not the easiest time of the year for a lot of people, and can be a reminder of what we’ve lost and what we don’t have, what we may never have.  But remember that this is a day of Good News.  We have a Savior who can meet all our needs, who can sustain us through difficult times, who knows our heartaches and troubles.  Today is a celebration of Him.  Do not allow the enemy to steal your joy during this season. 

For unto you a child is born, unto you a Savior is given.
Unto YOU! 

Merry Christmas with oodles of love,