Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You Know You're a Mom When...

1. Your conversations with your husband revolve around, on a regular basis, your child's latest bowel movement.

2. You measure the length of your workouts not by minutes, but by which show was on PBS when you started.

3. At any given moment of the day you burst into hearty renditions of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," "Pop Goes the Weasel," and the theme song from "The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That."

4. You find yourself on your hands and knees, scrubbing colored pencil off the tiles on your bathroom floor.

5. The Magic Eraser becomes your best friend.

6. You take a bath with squirt toys and little boats.

7. You can smell a poopy diaper from a mile away.

8. You find cheerios, goldfish crackers, and fruit snacks in every crack and cranny of your house and car.

Danielle Bright Photography
9. Drool no longer fazes you.

10. You know how it feels to have your heart outside your body.

11. And you love every minute of it.

The Brown-Eyed Girl

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Little Lies

When I heard about this big writing contest opening up this month, I practically tripped over myself to enter. I have a manuscript that fits all the qualifications. It's not perfect. It's not the most original idea. But it's good, solid writing. I know it is. And yet, now that I'm only days away from the opening of the contest, the thought of entering it turns my stomach into big, squeamish knots, and a little voice whispers that my writing's not any good, that I'm not any good, and I shouldn't waste my time. 

It doesn't just happen with my writing. Satan plants his little lies in my head about everything. He tells me that I'm a bad mother, a lousy wife, a slob, a slacker, a sissy ninny pants, and I believe him. Sometimes without question.

Why do I do that?

I know that Satan is a liar. I know that he was cast out of heaven for rebellion, and that his one and only desire is to make every single one of us as utterly miserable as he is. On the other hand, I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me, that Their sweet, gentle Spirit guides me to believe in myself, to think the best of others, to drink deeply of the beauty of life.

But for some reason, it's much easier to believe in Satan's lies than it is to believe in the Spirit's truth.

I don't know why this is. I guess if I did, I wouldn't struggle with it so much.

But I know this much: whenever Satan's discouragement drags me down, help is only a prayer away. When I turn to the Lord, He fills me with sweet reminders of who I am and what I can do. While Satan's power is real, the Lord is more powerful. Light always chases away darkness.

With the Lord's help, I am reminded that I can write and that I should seek opportunities to learn and stretch and become a better writer. Even if, as Satan tells me, my writing isn't any good, what will it hurt to at least enter the contest? It beats sitting in the corner and moaning that my writing will never amount to anything. And it certainly won't kill me.

Although it will make me very, very queasy.

The moral of the story is this: Satan is a liar. Don't let his little lies keep you from reaching for your dreams.

My stomach still in knots,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ensign Ranch

The summer before I graduated from college, I worked here:


Ensign Ranch is a little-known jewel tucked into the lush green trees and mountains of central Washington. It's an LDS-owned property where guests can camp, rent a cabin, swim, canoe, and explore the forest on horseback. I had the privilege of working there one summer as a wrangler. Which meant that, some days, I was on horseback from sunup to sundown, six days a week.

It was a hard job, but somebody had to do it.

I worked with five amazing service missionaries, one fellow wrangler I'll call Na, and the coolest old cowboy I've ever met, whose advice still rings in my ears every time I ride a horse.

It was a summer full of adventure and life lessons, one of the best summers of my life.

But in the midst of life--you know, graduating from college, getting married, becoming a mother--years had passed since I had thought very deeply about my experiences at Ensign Ranch. Until a week or so ago, when I happened upon my journal from that summer. Reading one or two entries led to reading all of them, snuggled in my bed, unable to tear myself away. I had forgotten the fun I had, the things I learned, the people I met. Remembering made me ache with sadness that I'll never have those days again.

In an effort to relive those memories, I will probably be posting about Ensign Ranch here fairly frequently. In fact, someday, I just might attempt to write a novel about that summer. It was that awesome.

Until then, I hope you enjoy my reminiscing.

And if you ever find yourself in Cle Elum, Washington, you should definitely stop by.

Former wrangler,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Life is simple for an almost two year-old. Anything with wheels is a "tractor." Anything round, including the big, shiny moon and the Cardinals' Stadium, is a "ball." And dogs and cats, even just the sight of one on TV, instigate wild squeals of excitement.

He shows me in little ways, every day, how beautiful life can be, even in its simplicity.

I love it.

The Brown-Eyed Girl

Monday, January 9, 2012

Like Mother, Like Son

When I got Sultan for my thirteenth birthday, it was a dream come true. I spent my days spoiling him with carrot cakes and sugar cubes, galloping through dusty fields, and exploring new trails. I gave my nieces and nephews rides on his back and fitted him with his very own Santa hat to wear on Christmas. I knew one day I would have to leave him when I went off to college, but I promised to never ever sell him.

I never dreamed that one day my own son would be riding him:

I tried putting Baby Brown Eyes on Sultan's back a few months ago, and he freaked out. I worried that he wasn't going to want anything to do with the horses until he got older. But sometime between then and now, his inner cowboy must have taken over and supressed his fear. Now, when I swing up onto Sultan's back, Baby Brown Eyes gets all excited and holds out his arms for me to lift him up, too. He squeals and jabbers as we ride down the road, rocking back and forth with Sultan's motion.

Good thing nothing fazes ol' Sultan anymore.

Proud of my little cowboy,
The Brown-Eyed Girl