Monday, May 8, 2017

The Skunk

While basking in the beautiful Arizona sunshine, watching my girls blow bubbles and fight over bikes, my neighbor waved me over and told me that earlier he saw a skunk mosey across my lawn.

"Do you know where it went?" I asked.

He shrugged and pointed. "Over there. Maybe it went into your garage?"

Mr. Brown Eyes had left the garage door open. I could just picture a skunk lurking in the corners of that organized chaos, tail raised in anticipation of whoever was unfortunate enough to step inside first.

As a precaution, I told Blue-Eyed Girl to be sure and stay away from the garage because there could be a skunk inside.

She listened raptly, blue eyes wide. "What do skunks do?"

"They spray you with stink if you scare them. That's how they protect themselves."

"Are they mean?"

"No. They're scared of people. But they will spray you if you scare them and you will stink for a long time."

Blue-Eyed Girl shuddered. "I don't want to play outside anymore. Let's go inside."

We went in the house and I forgot about the mystery skunk until Blue-Eyed Girl slipped into the kitchen and asked, "Can skunks open doors?"

I laughed. "No, they don't have hands."

She visibly relaxed. "Oh good."

The skunk didn't come up again until Mr. Brown Eyes went out to mow the lawn and I warned him to be careful in the garage. And then Blue-Eyed Girl was glued to the living room window, watching Mr. Brown Eyes circle the house on the lawn mower, worrying aloud that she hoped the skunk wouldn't get Daddy. I only half-listened to her, sure she understood that the skunk wasn't going to chase down a moving lawn mower.

But as night fell and we snuggled on the couch, reading books before bedtime, Blue-Eyed Girl wouldn't stop talking about the skunk.

Finally I looked at her and asked, "Are you scared of the skunk, sweetheart?"

She nodded and my heart hurt that I had brushed her off all day, allowing her imagination to conjure up a terrifying creature with dripping fangs and a horrible stench. "They're not scary. They're like kitties, with fluffy tails and a long white stripe."

She still wasn't convinced so I asked, "Do you want to look at some pictures of skunks?"

I pulled out my phone and typed in "skunks as pets" and, thank goodness, the first picture that came up was a basket full of adorable baby skunks with tiny noses and big black eyes.

Blue-Eyed Girl grabbed my phone and exclaimed, "Daddy, look! Baby skunks!"

And just like that, her fears vanished.

No skunk so far,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Hard Swallow

Sometimes in life you just have to swallow your pride.

For me, it's a hard swallow. That much pride doesn't go down easily.

It's a struggle I've had my whole life.

When I worked at Ensign Ranch, I made everything a competition between me and Na, the only other girl working there. We were friends. But I didn't want her to be a better rider or know more about horses than me. I pushed away her advice and her help many times when I would have been better off if I had just listened.

One day the ranch manager asked me to help him shoe Levi, one of the ranch horses. Levi was skittish and especially hated being shod, so he needed a firm, gentle hand holding his halter and giving him assurances throughout the whole process. Na was very good at keeping Levi calm by stroking his neck and singing in his ear. I thought I could be just as good using my own methods.

I was wrong.

With one frightened toss of his head Levi tore the halter out of my hands and bolted. For the next twenty minutes we chased him around the barnyard, praying he didn't try to crash through the fence onto the nearby highway. When we finally caught him, I swallowed hard and handed the lead rope to Na.

I was reminded of that experience this week as I worked on the sub-edits for my novel. I guess getting published had over-inflated my ego, because when I opened up that Word document and saw all the revisions I had to make, my pride took a swift, heavy blow.

Being humbled is so painful.

But, as distasteful as it is, swallowing my pride is much better than being ruled by it.

I'm learning that one lesson at a time.

The Brown-Eyed Girl

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Looking In

Leaving work late on a fall afternoon, this is what I saw:

It reminded me of the story of a girl who, every evening, looked out her window at the house on the other side of the valley. It was a beautiful house with golden windows and she yearned to live there. Her own home was drab and ordinary.

One day she was able to walk across the valley to look at the beautiful house. To her dismay, when she got there, she discovered the house was run-down and abandoned. The windows were not golden after all, but cracked and dirty.

When she turned to walk home, she gasped with astonishment. The sunset reflected in the windows of her own home, golden and beautiful. It was just the place she'd always dreamed of living.

This girl could be me. It seems I've always lived my life this way, being envious of what other people have, feeling like what I have is never enough. Envying other people's golden windows while being oblivious to my own.

When I catch myself feeling this way, I try to imagine myself an outsider looking into my life, a stranger peering through the windows (in a non-creepy way). Would I wish to be a part of the life I saw?

The answer is always yes.

Because while that outsider looking in might see my dirty house, our unpatched ceiling, my mismatched furniture, my children throwing fits about how "mean" I am, they would also see the things I too often overlook, perhaps because they're so everyday: a long, slow kiss, plates of food spread across our dinner table, laughter, bedtime stories.

Sometimes to see our blessings we have to step outside and look in.

Perspective changes everything,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Friday, February 3, 2017

Happy 2017!

I just realized I have not published a single post on my blog this year. I am such a slacker.

I promise I will have more in the weeks to come as I traverse this unfamiliar territory of getting a book published. Until then, feel free to click link to the right ------>> and visit my author page. I like it. Do you like it?

Happy February! It's the month of Love and My Birthday! (Capitalization errors intended.)

The Brown-Eyed Girl