Monday, September 12, 2011

Words of Wisdom to My Twenty-Year-Old -Self

I wrote a letter to twenty-year-old-self a few weeks ago and found it very telling. Although I don't want to share the letter in its entirety, I am posting the quick list I give myself at the end. I highly recommend this activity to anyone because it makes you feel like a real grownup and it's extremely enlightening... Thanks to my friend, Rena, for the idea:) Who says Facebook can't inspire? Not I.


1. Your husband has a hundred dollar bill hidden in his wallet on your honeymoon. Help him find it and you'll endure one less day of peanut butter and honey sandwiches—your solution to running out of cash and not having a credit card. (Don't worry, it's not an omen...I think).

2. Do not hop like a kangaroo with cub scouts. It will save you from having your one and only surgery. With that said, go easy on the knee...

3. When it comes time to have warts burned off your son, use the entire bottle of ointment they give you. This will deaden the pain and keep him from writhing on the table and calling out to you like a bleeding lamb. Holding him down will not be quite as traumatic...for either of you.

4. Do not leave your baby on the kitchen table in her car seat. Let the neighbor kids think you are mean and brush them off. I know this seems obvious, but you really struggle with being considered 'nice' over being prudent, especially when caring for an infant--one of the many reasons you stop at three. Sorry, we weren't cut out for six...

5. Some people don't mind your opinionated ways. Some people do. Figure out who really values your opinions and who just wants to attack your views and get more 'ammo' against you or others. Avoid the latter. If they are family, just keep your mouth shut, no matter how much you want their approval.

6. Stop asking your husband if he's mad at you. His back hurts, and your insecurities are now giving him a pain in his butt, too!

7. Do not take birth control pills. They make you a psychotic mess. Your husband married you. He didn't anticipate a Jekyll and Hyde wife. You'll then have to find another excuse for your manic well as explore other birth control options. Good luck.

8. Save the money you would have spent on that cruise, and fly to Hawaii instead. Oh, and get a prescription for Valium before you fly for the first time. Trust me.

9. Get over your hatred for stuffed animals. Your kids will win this battle. They love 'em and will probably keep them forever.

10. Always speak kindly of others. It makes children insecure when they hear grown ups 'ripping' on other people, or it teaches them to be mean. You don't want either one.

11. Avoid a combination of dairy, MSG, and carbonation. It will save you much embarrassment. Once Imodium is'll have a few more options.

12. Don't judge working moms. You will be one...sooner than you'd like.

13. Listen to your instincts. They are usually right, especially when you put kindness above all.

14. You have permission to laugh at people who keep insisting you will get fat after having children, when you turn thirty, or when you turn forty. Avoid the “You just wait” crowd. They tend to bug us on a multitude of levels.

15. There is no such thing as a perfect mother. Stop trying to define that and avoid people who think they know. They bug us as well.

16. Don't mow the lawn. Once you do, it will be deemed 'your job' and you will be stuck doing it until your boys are old enough. Stick with the flower beds.

17. At this point in your life, treasure your friends. Aside from your parents, they will know you the best. Plus they live close by and will provide much needed, sometimes daily, sanity checks.

18. Give up on the idea of traveling to Yakima for Christmas or Thanksgiving unless you are willing to fly. The roads are dangerous and have claimed too many lives to make it worth the risk. Don't blame your husband for this, either. Just spend the money if you want to go. Oh, and go home July 25, 2000. Plan on staying three weeks. You won't regret it.

19. Begin refinishing furniture now. You enjoy it, and it will give you a much needed hobby. It might even keep you off the phone and, in turn, keep you from annoying your siblings with too many calls.

20. Have higher expectations for the people in your life. You deserve their best.

Well, there you have it. I hope this gives you some insight as well as some motivation to look forward to the future. It is bright, it is full of promise, and as far as I can tell, it is what we make it.

With love and respect,


Your Forty-Year-Old-Self

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Test Taker Rule Breaker

One can ask for permission or one can ask for forgiveness when it comes to rule breaking. But there is something commensurately more satisfying in pointing out the ridiculous nature of the asinine rule itself.

I should have known better than to ask permission. It's always better to ask forgiveness—something I had heard but hadn't quite mastered in my young nineteen years. Needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson regarding the forgiveness-permission correlation on a crisp fall day back in 1990. It all took place at the testing center at what was then known as Ricks College—a place where cheating was not tolerated but immodest dress was abhorred.

Emerging from the world-wide fashion funk of the eighties where I wore nothing but baggy sweatshirts, colorful leggings, and bangs that resembled a poplar tree, I had committed to dressing and looking more (how shall I say it?) refined in college. Okay, the rigid dress code was forced upon me as an extension of scripture, but still, I was determined to look professional and act like a grown up--mostly. That is until the day I decided to boldly test the school's strict dress code policy by wearing my green and red plaid shorts ensemble to take an exam in the testing center. My outfit consisted of a plaid jacket that matched my shorts (of course), off-white tights, gold flats, and a cream colored polyester button-up that provided just the right amount of visual reprieve from my plaid menagerie. Reflecting upon it now, I looked more like a Christmas-loving leprechaun, but by post-eighties fashion standards, I looked polished and professional.

Standing in line and feeling wryly rebellious for breaking the school's no shorts policy, I gloated at the thought of being able to tell my friends and roommates that I had gotten away with wearing shorts to take a test! Their looks of dismay and quiet admiration were forming in my mind, bringing with them an indescribable, sick sense of pleasure. But as the testing center line dwindled, so did my bravado. I began wondering what exactly happened to students who broke rules. I'd never even skipped a day of school before and, at that point in my life, I hadn't even been late to a class! Shamefully, my rebellion subsided and I caved.

Handing the student employee my ID card, I asked him point blank if he was going to “turn me in” because of my shorts (completely oblivious to the fact that he probably would have never even noticed my clothes had I shut my mouth and not said anything—a skill I didn't master until much later in life).

“Yeah, you should probably go home and change,” he said, eyeing the plethora of plaid before him.

My annoyed, “Really?” was then met by an unapologetic nod.

Feeling defeated, I did what any mature and refined nineteen-year-old young lady would do. I went back to my apartment, returning to the testing center some fifteen minutes later, donning a ratty sweatshirt that was four sizes too big, worn out running shoes, and my favorite pair of acid washed jeans--the ones with a hole in the hem...rear cheek region.

“Is this better?” I asked, handing the same student my ID card.

“Yeah, much better. Thank you for changing,” he whispered.

“Oh, believe me, it was my pleasure,” came my retort as I swaggered past him and sat in a desk at the far end of the room, making sure everyone in the adjacent rows had a view of the butt-revealing tear in the back of my pants.

I suppose it goes without saying...I aced my test that day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

We'll Look For You

This was written for my nephew, Brady, who loved to laugh and gave us all reason to smile in his short nineteen years.

Heroes live forever in the hearts of those they've changed.
Imprinted for eternity, their memories remain.
Because of this it's long been said that heroes never die,
So 'til we find a better word, we cannot say, “Goodbye.”
Our eyes will fill, our arms will ache as we begin anew.
To show our love we'd rather say, “We will look for you.”

We'll look for you in a sea of gold, among the Cedar trees.
When crimson clumps of fire-red shout out in Autumn's breeze.
We know that you'll be hunting there, scouting that big buck,
Smiling 'neath your camo hat, steering “that-big-truck.”
Yes, we know you'll be waiting there to greet our empty hearts.
October can't come soon enough, but it won't keep us apart.

We'll look for you on a snow-capped mount', reaching for the sky.
Knowing you have conquered all, will give us strength to try.
And when the earth is blanketed by Winter's first fresh snow,
You'll be there in the silent night as Fire's burning glow.
We'll see you walking with The One who brought us truth and light.
And know that in this season you are in our Savior's sight.

We'll look for you in Spring's fresh palm as life returns to earth,
When popcorn-blossomed sprouting buds are triggered by rebirth.
When deer are in the velvet--their fawns not straying far,
We'll comfort your sweet mother and soothe Death's deepened scar.
We'll wrap around your brothers, co-pilot with your Dad
And share our fondest mem'ries, cherish all the time we've had.

We'll look for you in Summer's sun as she kisses all our cheeks,
When cotton candy carnivals seem to carry on for weeks.
Soldiers marching in parades with Strength and Honor bold
Will tell us you're not far behind, for these are friends of old.
We'll look for you in ev'ry season -- your family and friends.
And we'll thank God for His great plan, for we know it never ends.

Yes, heroes live forever in the hearts of those they've changed,
Imprinted for eternity, their memories remain.
Because of this it's long been said that heroes never die,
So 'til we find a better word, we will not say, “Goodbye.”

Written September 4, 2010
Christine C. Thompson