Jun 28, 2011

Your Authentic Self.

I am constantly wondering about things. My latest wonder is about being honest with yourself. I must be honest and tell you that I once again doubted google and did not really imagine that googling "being honest with yourself" was going to produce anything substansial. Well I am not afraid to tell you that I was ever so wrong. The amount of information out there about being honest with yourself was staggering. I learned so much and I am so glad that I finally googled it. I have been longing to understand who I am and what I really want. How can you identify your authentic self and your goals if you are constantly hanging out with deceiving yourself and denying yourself? Which I was doing :)

Have you ever looked out a dirty window? Don't those spots and smudges drive you crazy? Yesterday I was looking out my sliding glass door and noticing all the smudges, from the people I live with, pressing their faces up against the glass. For some reason I got the notion to deal with these smudges at that very moment. So I got the Windex and the paper towels and dealt the smudges an awful blow. Can I tell you how refreshing and amazing it felt to finish cleaning every inch of that sliding door and look out and realize how clear everything was? And then to wonder sadly why I had not noticed and done it sooner?

Clarity. What do you know about it? Clarity in terms of my window washing experience means the state of being clear or transparent. But another way to talk about clarity is to say:

"clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity."

Wait, go back, read it again...slowly...I do know what happens when there are a few 10 letter words and 14 letter words in a sentence :)

So clarity is freedom from doubt, something undefined, and something confusing and something uncertain. Boy, would I adore freedom from those things. Did you know that:

"Without the truth of who you really are and what you really want you can not have clarity in life and you can not achieve your dreams because you will not be able to have true direction."

Dude, I know!! Why did my kindergarten teacher, way back in the 70's, not sit me down with a little dixie cup full of apple juice and a napkin with a pile of goldfish on it and teach me this after nap time and before recess?

I have been so sad to realize this morning that I have spent a huge part of my life using Mr. Self Deception and Mr.Denial to avoid having to deal with issues about me, my circumstances with other people, or things from my past. And guess what ? Mr Self Deception and Mr. Denial have made it so I have been locked in a cycle of self sabotage and low self esteem.....(yeah, the more the merrier :) and that has blocked me into a place where I can not move forward and am stopped cold from living my dreams. I am so excited from my newfound knowledge I am bursting. I can not type fast enough. I want to call everyone I know. I want to discuss. I want steak :)

I want to find authentic Jennifer and be true to her. To be strong and able to know what I like and don't like and to express it in a loving but firm way. To not be afraid to do hard things. When you are dishonest with yourself you are saying you are not worthy enough and that you do not really deserve good things. I had a startling realization as I was reading all that google gave me to read that being honest simplifies your life. I could really use a simple life about now :) Not perfect life....I understand that that does not happen but simple.....ahhh that sounds so great.

So, most people are not honest with themselves and they go to a ton of work to avoid reality. I mean who wants to confront their fears and then never give in? The hugest reason we lie to ourselves is fear....hmmm I need to blog about fear tomorrow :) I mean facing my situations and confronting them does not sound very fun but repress, delude, and deny now that sounds so fun :) JK. Yeah, this being honest thing....are you loving reading this? :)

Jun 27, 2011

Riding A Bike.

How long has it been since you rode a bike? I can not remember the last time I rode a bike. Actually just when I wrote that the last time came flooding back into my mind. I was in high school and I went on a bike ride with one of my sisters. We went down Lord's Hill Road and at the bottom of the hill we turned right and we rode awhile that way. I remember it was afternoon and it was a beautiful Pacific Northwest day. I do not remember what compelled us to go for a ride but I imagine it was the beginning of some grand fitness quest that clearly happened as I am now an Olympic cyclist :) JK

I remember when I finally got rid of my bike when we lived in Provo, Utah. Our landlord in Provo had a ton of kids and I gave my blue ten speed bike, that I had bought with my own money in junior high school, to one of his girls.

Lately I have had the weirdest longing for a bike with a basket on the front. It started last Friday when I was trying to figure out how to get to the car place to pick up my car which was finally done being fixed. It was about six miles to the car place and I had this notion that I could do this.

Our garage is full of bikes that for some reason all have problems. The garage for misfit bikes. I beg the man of the house quite frequently to help get the bikes in working order. But the bikes really prefer taking up space and occasionally falling over when I am trying to reach something around them. I feel bad that the bikes rarely have a view of the road and the world.

Anyway, back to my story. Miriam went through a "I am going to ride a bike into town and purchase sugar" stage last summer. She would frequently end up at Friendly's eating ice cream :) But soon the riding bike phase got frustrating for her because she would often get a flat tire in town. I remembered this as I was contemplating my bike ride into town so I called Miriam who is in Idaho at BYU-Idaho. She could not remember which bike it was that got the flat tire. So my gathering information phase was over and I headed to the garage to ascertain my situation. There are three big person bikes in the garage. One is purple and completely and totally missing a front tire. So that was easy to figure out. Bike number two is also purple and had a very flat back tire. I searched for the tire pump and pumped and pumped but nothing happened....yeah, nothing....yes, I am sure the pump was on right...good question though:) So bike number three is red and is a boy bike. I eyed it and the tires all looked happy. I figured out how to lower the seat and then I stood there and sized it up and realized that I was probably too short to ride it comfortably. But that was not going to stop me. It was a misty, rainy evening. It was about five o'clock. I tilted the bike a little to the side and put my leg over it and tried to touch the ground. I could touch with my tippy toes. I informed the long ominous looking bar that I thought we could ignore each other quite nicely and it kept silent in agreement. So standing up on the pedals I set off around the yard. I needed to figure out what all the gears meant, what made the pedaling feel natural to me, and I needed to figure out how to stop without having to recognize that long bar. So I practiced around and around my front yard. I tried all the gears and I practiced stopping gracefully. I knew I needed to try it out on the actual road after about a half hour of staying on my driveway and front lawn. So my plan was to go out on the busy road in front of my house and ride down to a turn out for trucks just a short ways from my house and practice there for awhile. My heart was racing...why?....yeah, I don't know....something about trying something new and not knowing the outcome does that to me :) As I left my driveway in the misty rain and really let my legs really pump hard happiness came flooding over me. I felt free. Geesh, I really should get a life, huh? I rode for another 20 minutes up and down that truck turn out area. I felt the misty rain on my face and felt strangely empowered...like I could go anywhere....yeah, I know I could get in the car and go anywhere but this was different. I could look up at the low clouds covering the mountain. It was very exhilerating. I finally came back to earth and remembered that I was a 42 year old mom and that I should be at home doing mom stuff so I reluctantly headed home with the determination to get up early the next morning and ride on the honest to goodness road for a while towards town to see if the flat tire thing would happen to me.

Saturday morning I woke up at 6:15am and left the house at about 7:10am. Everything was quiet. The road in front of our house follows the Westfield River and I could hear river sounds as I was riding along. I felt like I could ride forever. I was fascinated with this new discovery. As I got further and further from home I became more tickled with myself.

When I got home from my practice run I felt ready to head off on my "pick up the car" adventure. But I forgot the one small detail .....my youngest child Natalie. Who was most definitely not into staying home alone with her 15 year old brother while I rode to the car place. So to make a long story short I ended up never riding my bike to the car place.

But now I have bike riding in my mind. I have decided to ride the 5 miles to CVS every morning starting Wednesday. I will leave about 6am and I will solve all the world's problems as I ride along. And I will figure out how to make enough money to purchase the bike in the picture at the top. This bike is made in Denmark by a company named Velorbis. I am pretty sure it is a need and not a want. I am enjoying ignorance at the moment because the price of the bike is not written in American money :) But all that matters is the bike has an amazing name Dannebrog.....I am going to go practice writing it in cursive.....Velorbis Dannebrog Baird :)

Jun 22, 2011


If you love rabbits you probably should not read my post today. If you think we should be kind to all creatures great and small you should probably not read my post today. Because today is all about revenge and rabbits. A gardeners troubles are constant. The first year I planted my garden it was bugs. The second year I planted it was blight. The third year it was .....hmmm actually that was a pretty good year. This year it is the year of the rabbits....cute, fluffy, evil rabbits.

I confess that one of the biggest reasons I plant a garden is for the peas. I have so many fond memories of sneaking peas from my mom's garden when I was a kid. I have so many fond memories of sitting on the edge of my own garden, with my kids, with a bowl full of freshly picked peas, eating and eating to our hearts content. For some reason my peas in New England have struggled. Oh, I have grown them every year but I just have not received as many as my greedy heart thinks I should have. This year I had the perfect fence for the peas to happily climb and climb to their hearts content. I planted them ever so lovingly. But it was not long before I discovered something was nibbling them....cutting them right off. It was killing me. Everyday there would be more plants that had met their demise. I put up fence around the peas. The next morning....still having trouble. I doubled the fence. Still trouble. And now almost all my peas are gone. I think I could have taken it better if this year had not already been a tough year for me in every way. This is like the last straw. I got serious about this and yesterday I googled "something is eating my peas" and I read and read and I eliminated cut worms, chipmunks, birds and squirrels all from my list of possible most hated animal. And the winner and recipient of all my hate was the rabbit. I need to friend Mr. MacGregor on Facebook. I can not believe there actually was a time in my life I actually rooted for Peter Rabbit to make it out of that garden alive.

SO...... I will not be beaten by the rabbits. I bought more pea seeds. I am replanting. I am making a better fence. I am trying every single thing google said would get rid of rabbits....human hair, catch and release traps, fence three feet above ground and 10 inches into the ground, dried blood meal, rabbit repellent, fox urine, lavender, garlic, catnip, monkshod and foxglove, and last bu tnot least electric fence. I will not rest until I am sitting on my porch with my kids eating peas to my hearts content and rabbits are dead :) These rabbits have no idea how much energy I have to channel to them at this moment in my life :)

Jun 19, 2011

Rollercoasters and Life.

Rollercoasters... I love them. Have you ever seen the movie Parenthood? Yeah, the one with Steve Martin in it. Yeah, I know, it does have some questionable parts :) But I am not bringing those up :) Remember in the end when they are getting ready to head to a school performance for one of their kids and the dad Gil is complaining to his wife about how messy life is? The kids are not doing what he wants, his job is not going well, she is expecting a baby they did not plan for, etc, etc, etc. Remember while he is complaining the grandma wanders through the room and she says, rather randomly:

"You know when I was 19 Grandpa took me on a rollercoaster"

Gil (the dad) says: "Oh?"

Grandma: "Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride."

Gil: "What a great story." (patronizingly)

Grandma: "I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so scared, so frightened, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry go round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster you get more out of it."

They end up at the school and during the play one of their little kids sneaks up on the stage and wreaks havoc on the play. While this is happening you hear the sounds of a rollercoaster and you see the wife smiling, and laughing, and going with the flow and you see the dad looking sick.

I always loved this part of the movie and yes, I can always hear the rollercoaster noise in the background of my life. When I ride on a rollercoaster I scream. I scream. Oh, and I scream. If I am not screaming I have stopped to burst out in delighted laughter for a very quick second. The screaming is very necessary it is my way of taking my mind off of my fear :) Yeah, I figured that out all by myself :) Clever, eh? From what I can deduce...in my life... I just came down that first big hill which always makes me alternate between screaming and laughing... then it goes into a couple of smooth turns which make me laugh delightedly with no screaming. I wish I knew what was next but my adorable roller coaster happens to be in the pitch dark. Yeah, my favorite....(insert sarcasm).

You all probably wish I was a blogger with little kids. So that you could just come here and contentedly see the latest craft I was doing with the kids (hmmm did we ever do that?) or the latest cute thing some teeny tiny Baird child said. Or the matching outfits I made out of duck tape :) Yeah, those days are gone. I have teenagers and adults for children and a life that gets more complicated by the day and is currently staring at me waiting to see what I am going to do.....be assured it will always involve screaming and laughing.

Jun 17, 2011

Book Club Last Night.

Last night was book club. The first time I had ever heard about book clubs was when I was a very young mom in Princeton, New Jersey. I was invited to attend the book club several times and frankly, I am not really sure why I did not go....that is so not like me. But the fact is, I didn't.

The next time book club came on my radar screen was when we lived in Lawrence Kansas and this time I did participate and thoroughly enjoyed it. When we moved to Indiana one of the first things I did was start a book club and that bookclub is actually still going strong. When I moved to Massachusetts I, again,could not resist the urge to start a book club . Wow, time has really flown, book club here has been going for three years. I took a small break from bookclub here and turned the responsibility over to someone else. Sometimes life gets a little full and overwhelming and you have to back off. I missed it but I can not stand to go to bookclub and have not read the book and that was what was happening....um yeah, I confess, it has happened the last two times there has been book club....ugh :) Also, I had a moment where I felt a little insecure in who I was and how I fit in. But my break is over and I am back as fearless book club leader.

It is amazing when I think of all the books I have read that I otherwise, never would have. I confess I like most of what I read. I can not think of a book I have hated. I can always glean something from any book I read. If I just sit in silence for a minute and let titles pop in my mind from 15 years of bookclubs.....Nicholas and Alexandra comes to mind...so fascinating and yet sad how a child's hemophilia affected a whole country the way it did. The Princess Bride....yes, the book is better than the movie....gasp, can you believe I said that? Bookclub is about reading things you would never read otherwise. So many times I have procured the book for the month and just stared at it, not feeling motivated, and then pulled myself together and ended up reading an amazing book. I have been greatly rewarded by giving each book a chance :)

Okay, this blog is not really as surfacy as it seems I have been seriously mulling over the book we read for book club last night....Tuesday's With Morrie by Mitch Albom. Have you read it? Yeah, you should :) I won't summarize the whole thing for you and bore you to death but I am thinking so intently about two thoughts from the book.

Morrie is a college professor who is dying ever so slowly. And Mitch has been one of his students in the past....a favorite? And he comes to visit him on Tuesdays. There are a list of things they talk about each time. Morrie shares his wisdom with Mitch. It is truly amazing. Things you already know but need to be reminded of. Although there is one time that Morrie gives some advice that caused me to stop and really ponder.

They are talking about emotions and Morrie declares that you need to let an experience completely penetrate you because the only way you are ever able to leave those emotions the experience brings is to experience them fully. Yeah, I know, I was lost at this point too. But he goes on to explain how you can take any emotion...love for someone, or grief, or fear, or pain....etc. He says if you hold back those emotions and do not allow yourself to totally go through them you can never get to the point you can be detached from it because you are too busy being afraid. By allowing yourself to dive into the emotion, all the way in, over your head, then you are able to fully and completely experience it. Then you know what pain is. You know what love is. And when you know what something is then you can recognize it. Then you can say "Hey, I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for awhile." It is the strangest idea to me. I can not wrap my mind around what this means. Morrie talks about how he recognizes fear how he feels when it is around...how he recognizes the texture, the moisture, the shiver down his back of fear, and because he recognizes it he can say to his brain, "okay, this is fear lets back away from it." You know how sometimes you will recognize an emotion coming and you stop it because you are afraid of expressing it? I wonder if this is what he means....don't stop it. If you become familiar with it then you can learn how to not let it control you. I am dying to discuss and discuss this idea to death so that I can understand it but no one really likes to play that game with me :)

I know I said there were two thoughts from the book that caught my attention but my little girls need to get on the bus and I have a day with something scheduled every minute so I will blog about the second thought tomorrow and it will be oh, so fun :) You love things to look forward to :)

Jun 12, 2011

Happiness Schmappiness.

Happiness is on my mind today. Is it strange that I have never really thought about it? I just may be one of those people who took happiness for granted and just assumed I had it....gasp, I know!! So we already know that the first thing I simply must do when musing about a word is go straight to the dictionary and today was no different. I was very overwhelmed by the definition of happiness, I had to just stare at the words for a minute...all of my favorite words were there...all having a party without me...bliss, contentment, pleasure, joy, exhiliration, delight...even enjoyment was there..."happiness results from the attainment or posession of what one considers good." So, of course, I started thinking what do I consider good? What makes Jennifer happy?

Making someone else happy makes me oh so happy.
Knowing that someone else knows what I am thinking makes me happy.
The wonder and beauty of the world makes me happy.
When someone around me sees a small detail in me and how I live and acknowledges it I feel happy.
When I do something that I was afraid to do I feel happy.
When I finish something that was hard I feel happy.
Someone unconditionally listening to me as I ramble on and on also seems to create the happy thing for me
Rollercoasters definitely make me happy
And when my seeds come up in my garden I do feel happy

SO, I think that about covers what makes Jennifer happy. Yeah, I do look a little high maintenance huh? :)

I have lots of questions about happiness. If you found complete and utter happiness would you do anything to keep it? ANYTHING? Is it that important to you? Is happiness different for everyone? Does it depend on your personality if you can live with only occasional happiness or if you need complete and utter happiness 24/7 ?

Jun 10, 2011


So what do you know about weeds? Lately my days are all about weeds. I wake up in the morning at about 6:00 am. I lay in bed and think for a little while. I do adore doing that and then eventually my thoughts always end up on my yard and the weeds that are therein. For some reason those thoughts eventually are what gets me out of bed. I pull on the clothes that love to weed....although I confess when I was teaching seminary I would often weed in my church clothes....ever so carefully :) There is something I love about outside in the morning. I usually wander though the yard checking everything before I start weeding and some mornings I get the sprinkler going. I have two spots in my yard that are in desperate need of weeding attention and I tend to go back and forth between them....analyze me if you must :) One spot is my garden. I have a fairly big spot in my garden that I have not had time to plant in and the weeds have taken up residence there quite happily. The other spot is a spot I am trying to take back from nature. I fight it a little each year and it is a tough battle.

Weeding has been a big part of my life. My mom is a master gardener and my parents were always working in the yard when I was a kid. Weeding a row of corn or beans was often the way I would get permission to go somewhere with my friends or the way I earned the right to sit in a quiet spot and read to my hearts content without interruption. Even when I was young I seemed to recognize the joy of removing all the clutter (aka weeds) and seeing the plant all by itself with endless space and air all around it. That does not mean I angelically and willingly would weed when asked :)

Because my life is so busy these days I set a time limit for myself when I start weeding and attempt not to despair when my time is up and I am not seeing an end in sight but must move on to another part of my life. I just keep saying over and over in my head...."an hour at a time will add up." This year the weeds in my garden have truly been in charge. My family has been fairly critical of my weeding methods. As I am crawling through on my hands and knees carefully pulling each weed and putting it in a bucket they often suggest many other seemingly easier ways to get the job done. And that has got me wondering which of the weed myths are true and which aren't. Which you all know led me to Google.

The best way to get rid of weeds is to prevent them in the first place...story of life, huh? :) As I read there seems to be a few thoughts on weeds. One is to spray a pre-emergent spray (NOT a post emergent spray) on the spot where the weeds are coming up. The other thoughts are to lay down newspaper or plaastic on the spot before you plant and that makes it so the weeds do not get sunshine and get that crazy notion to sprout and grow. So darkness will keep them down or posion will keep them down. SO interesting. Taking tons of time to pull them up by hand is a very successful method it is just that most people do not want to spend that much time doing it but, strangely, I do. I love crawling around pulling weeds out while thinking about my life and realizing how many parallels there are to weeding and life.

I decided to try everything and see if I can become an expert :) I have sprayed Round Up in one area. I am spreading newspaper in another area. And I am crawling on my hands and knees in another area pulling them up by hand. I wonder if it will become clear to me which way is best?

This morning when I logged onto my computer my oldest child, Zach, had left me a note on my computer that said, "Mom, when you look at weeds what do you see?" I smiled and immediately began to think...what do I see when I look at weeds? I see something that is in the wrong place. I see something that is trying with all it's might to prevent something else from being successful. And I see clutter.

Jun 9, 2011

Have You Been Waiting? :)

Oh hello blank blogging rectangle I have missed you. So much has happened since November 2010 when we were last together. I am staring at this blank blogging rectangle thinking about all that I could fill it with but there is just too much. I long to write it all but I am going to make an executive decision and just start with today. Maybe in the future the past can hang out with present here in the blank blogging rectangle :)

So if we start with today we should probably blog about the word waiting. How do you feel about waiting? Are you good at it? Can you hardly wait to wait? :) According to Webster ( a dear friend of mine) waiting is defined as a pause, interval, or a delay. I was born 8 days early so I guess you will know that I have never been so good at waiting. I plant my garden way too early. I talk before I think. I only put $20.00 of gas in the car at a time....takes too long to fill it. Too many exciting things to see and do and wonder about to be waiting for the gas tank to be full...right? :)

Strangely, in the last six months I have caught glimpses of a waiting kind of Jennifer. I really like her. She is calm. She is still. She sometimes prefers looking to talking. She is confident and strong. She is in mortal combat with the non waiting Jennifer at the moment. Sometimes it takes her a few days to wrestle impulsive, panicky, fast Jennifer to the ground. Everytime waiting Jennifer finally beats non-waiting Jennifer down I think this is the last time I surely have finally learned to be slow and methodical and "waiting like."

I think the worst kind of waiting is the waiting with no date on the calendar. I mean, to my credit, I did wait seven times for nine months at a time for my children to arrive. I did wait 2 years for my missionary son to come home. But all those had a date I could look forward to. My new state of waiting has just plain old waiting involved.... the kind of waiting I have no control over and the kind of waiting that could end happy or sad....yeah, my favorite :)

So all a girl who is waiting can do at this point is have faith, be patient, and make a list. So here is my to do list while I am waiting:

#1. Lose my last ten pounds (yeah, I lost 20 pounds since I last blogged....do I write like a skinny person now?)
#2. Read Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
#3. Finish reading The Great Bridge by David McCullough.
#4. Find a sand building competiton on a beach this summer and go to it.
#5. Hike Alander Mtn
#6. Run the 5K runs on Mondays at Stanley Park
#7. Cut out squares for a jean quilt
#8. Blog 5 times a week

I am sure I will think of more things for my list. But for now this gives me something to think about other than waiting. I know you want to ask but don't :) Waiting girl has also recently met quiet girl :)