Friday, December 16, 2011

To stash or trash? What to do with journals.

I have a lot of journals. I love to write, and have loved writing since I was very young. I have filled journals since I was a child. These journals were the expression of my soul, the eyes through which I processed the world. I figured out who I was by writing about it. ALLLLLLLL about it. I am very attached to my journals, in a sense I feel like they are the living breathing proof that I live. They hold my past, and without my past, who am I?

But they are not the living breathing proof that I live. They do not live, they do not breathe, they are empty books I scribbled in as I grew up. I defined myself, they did not define me. And now, hundreds perhaps thousands of pages later they are taking up a lot of space. Too much space. I've stared at this collection of writings and asked myself, "What would happen if a fire suddenly swept through our house and destroyed all of my journals, would I really be so devastated? Would it really feel like I'd lost my past?" Of course not. Who am I without that past? I'm still me. The past is really gone anyway. These journals are just little glimpses of thoughts I had at one time. The richness of the memories and experience lies in my mind, and has created me into the woman I am, so in a sense the past is always with me. It made me who I am right now. The idea that we can hold onto it in any sense, is truly an illusion. Even journals do not fully hold our past experience, no matter how detailed we tried to be when writing it.

I will never forget the first journal I threw away.

 I wrote it in seventh grade. This was me, in seventh grade. Tall, gangly, and awkward. I was already 5'6 and still had three more inches of growing ahead of me. I was giggly, hopelessly romantic, in love with everything vintage and feminine, adored Anne of Green Gables, and I was boy crazy. Absolutely boy crazy. Especially over the boy that lived down the street. For a year, I filled up a little red spiral notebook with a careful record of the number of times he looked at me on the bus, (to my great frustration that number was often zero) whether or not he came upstairs when I brought cookies to his house, (to my even greater frustration he usually hid out in the basement and called for his dad to bring him a cookie so he didn't have to come upstairs) and the general laments of a typical 12 year old..."Oh my gosh, a zit, a ZIT! My life is over." One day as I was perusing the old pages, noting the tally marks I'd once kept as I counted how many times I'd written this boy's name throughout the book (It was well over 365 times proving then and there my parents are the most patient people on the planet because you know I was rehearsing all of this to them as well) I realized something. I didn't have to keep this anymore. I mean, I could, but it was also okay to let it go. To simply throw it away. Scan it? Nope. Just toss it. The idea kind of hurt me at first.

 "But, but, buuuuuuut...."

There was no reason to keep it. My mind searched, came up with some weak argument that it could be amusing to my children one day, or possibly help me get into my son's head a little when he's thirteen, help me understand him better, but the arguments seemed so flawed.

First of all, I don't really know that my children will be interested in reading my boy crazy thoughts, and second of all I don't really want them to. It's not who I am anymore. And while it may offer them some laughs, I don't really love people laughing at my expense. How I relate to my son when he's thirteen will have a lot more to do with who I am the day he's thirteen, than who I was the day I was thirteen. And the only way to get into a thirteen year old's head is to be invited there, by talking. My son is nothing like I was at age three, he will be nothing like I was at age thirteen. He is his own person. What I really need to remember from that time of my life, is apart of who I am forever. Yes, I learned valuable lessons in those adolescent years, but I wasn't writing about those things. Those lessons came later, when I looked back. And I don't need the proof any more. The proof, lies in who I am today. That's what's real.

So in the trash it flew.

"Clunk" it hit the bottom of the enormous dumpster in our apartment complex. No going back. No climbing over those eight foot high walls. Though, the thought momentarily danced around in my head.

But then it happened. A sense of relief. A sense of liberation. The knowledge that there was one less journal taking up space, asking me what I should do with it, scan it, stash it or trash it?

Am I going to trash all of my journals, no. Probably not.  Journals, like any other thing in our life isn't clutter as long as it has a purpose, or fills us with feelings of joy and delight. Quite frankly, that journal was serving no purpose and filled me with nothing but embarrassment. So I chose to let it go. And the fact that if felt so good, assured me that was the right choice.

My grandpa, an avid historian, once shared with me that he'd long ago thrown away all his journals from his youth. My first response was horror, and shock.

"I might have wanted to read those!" I cried.

 "But I didn't want you to read those" He told me gently "That is not who I am anymore, and I want you to think about me as you know me, as I am to you."

I tried to be understanding but I still thought I would have liked to read those old journals and know more about HOW he became who he was that day, that perhaps knowing how my grandpa became such a great man would teach me how to become a great woman. But it doesn't really work like that. I didn't understand until the day I threw away my red boy crazy notebook, that much of what I'd written was nothing more than mental chatter.

My grandpa still has thousands of pages he's written and wants to leave for his children and grand children. He even made videos called "Grandpa's talks" where he shares his insights, life lessons, and passions in a very organized and clear way, easily understood by the listener. He had to write out a lot of mental chatter before he got to the place where he could truly share what he was discovering along the way. But he doesn't need to share the chatter. We all have enough of that in our own heads.

There are different kinds of journals, they all serve a purpose of their own, some are worth keeping, some are not. You get to choose which you feel is worth the space in your closet. But if you choose it's not worth the time to scan, or the space to store and it no longer brings you joy to read through, you are not obligated to keep it forever. It will not take anything away from your past.  And if it held any insight that you might need in the future, you already have, it will always be with you. You wrote it. Besides, the truly inspiring life lessons have a way of getting told and retold so that they live forever. Of course you can keep THOSE!

Good luck in this great clutter conundrum!
And remember, blogging takes up virtually no physical space at all.....


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cleaning Hard Water Deposits Off Your Shower Hardware

As I have made abundantly clear on this blog, I love bubble baths, but nothing irritates me more than a dirty bathtub. It just will not do. Among my many pet cleaning peeves is the ever persistent hard water stain. Caused by the minerals naturally occurring in most water sources, as the water droplets dry on your bath hardware, or glass doors the water leaves behind a white mineral deposit. Over time this can build up to become quite the unsightly mess, and can not be removed with just soap and water. 

I recently searched online for a method, free of harsh chemicals, to take care of the water stains on my bath tub faucet and handle. I found white vinegar a popular natural alternative but most recommended an over night treatment involving removing the hardware and soaking it in vinegar for 24 hours. Or, filling a bag with vinegar and securing it to the shower head or faucet and letting it sit over night, or soaking paper towels in the vinegar and draping it over the fixtures for the 24 hours. I wanted faster, easier results.

I read that one professional house cleaner wipes down the affected area with oil and then scrapes the deposits  off with a razor blade, so I gave that a try. Here are my results.



I was quite pleased with the outcome. The oil really shines up the fixture and the mineral deposits are gone, it feels as smooth as a new fixture. Sadly, there are some permanent stains because I live in an apartment and it appears that past tenants tried cleaning the fixtures with steel wool, which gets a temporary result but scratches the surface of the metal so much that it creates a nice foot hold for future deposits to linger upon. The quality of the fixtures is also very cheap, so it stains easily. Despite all of this, I feel that the oil makes a big difference, even more noticeable in real life, the pictures don't really do it as much justice as I would have liked. 

Hopefully in the future, we can avoid hard water stains by wiping down the metal surfaces with a towel after a shower, or spritzing it with some white vinegar which I feel would make a great maintenance option. In the case of glass doors, keep a squeegee hung in the shower and just squeegee the door before getting out of the shower. Even doing this once in a while will help lessen the mineral build up. 

I understand that this approach is time consuming when you are dealing with a large glass surface, but when properly maintained it shouldn't require your attention as often.  When you do have to tackle the big glass doors, add a little lemon essential oil to your mix and enjoy the lovely scent, (lemon is also naturally acidic and will help dissolve the mineral buildup, as well as kill germs) turn on some music and take the time to contemplate the universe. Also, pat yourself on the back  for keeping your cleaning habits healthy for you and the environment. Your hands will be so soft and lovely after all oil you use, your mood will be lifted from the lemon oil, and your bath will be sparkling clean! I use my favorite body oil, which happens to be apricot but any oil will do nicely.

If  you'd like to remove the oil residue from your glass door, wash down with a scrub brush using a mixture of water and white vinegar,  then squeegee off. In the case of fixtures you can buff off access oil with a clean towel.

Now, reward your hard work with a bubble bath! 

Happy cleaning!
-Domestic Diva 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Bubble Bath Book.

I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately. Sad, every time I think of the fact that in just a few days I would have had an appointment to hear the baby's heart beat for the first time, devastated that this July will roll around and I will not be welcoming a baby into the world as I was so eagerly anticipating. I dreamed last night that the miscarriage was a big misunderstanding, something I'd dreamed up, and in my arms was a beautiful cherub faced blue eyed baby that looked suspiciously like Scotty when he was a newborn :) I was overjoyed, and crying to my husband, "Look, look, the baby is here it was all a dream that we'd lost him!" Almost as if in direct response to my deep sorrow I've had a sore throat for the last three days, which I find remarkably symbolic, because I am a singer and sing my joy into every day! But my heart is sad, and I have not felt the urge to sing lately. And so, my throat got sick. As I'm looking for ways to cope with my sadness I've found one thing to be truly distracting, and healing, bubble baths.

I once found a magazine advertisement when I was in middle school of this beautiful black and white image of a woman standing in front of a free standing bath tub, wearing a beautiful gown, and a hand full of bubbles. The caption read : "take a hot bath with bubbles, forget all your troubles." In my youthful excitement over the ad that seemed to speak the truth of my soul I cut up the perfectly designed, wonderfully photographed, ad and turned it into the collage you see above. I still have an affinity for making collages I'm afraid, and butcher many a graphic artist's master pieces. Here is a close up of the image that so profoundly struck me in my youth.

Oh how my little awkward tweeny self wanted to be that beautiful, tall, elegant woman. How I wanted my world to be that free standing (no doubt copper) bath tub, with claw feet, glowing candles in the back ground, the scent of  my perfume hanging in the air, a bottle of sparkling cider and grapes for a snack, a fabulous floor to ceiling window flanked on either side by two grand columns, whose view, once those blinds were drawn, would surely be a breathtaking display of a velvet night sky speckled with stars and illuminated by a full moon. Ah, bliss, and do I even need to mention the fact that Prince Charming would quietly slip into the scene after I'm ensconced in bubbles, kiss my neck, stroke my hair and be every definition of romantic there is? Angels would probably hover over us and play Puccini on their harps of gold, and in a most timely manner sprinkle rose petals over us as if to shower us in the physical manifestation of passion, which to an eleven year old is, of course, roses. Lots, and lots of roses.

When my young eyes fell upon this picture and read those words for the first time "Take a hot bath with bubbles, forget all your troubles" it seemed to ingrain itself into my soul as the answer to everything. At that moment I officially converted to the wonders of the bubble bath, and it has been a tried and true solution to any and all sorts of stress in my life. I have had the experience of the indulgent bliss of a magnificent bath tub on many occasions, there's no going back for me, bath tubs will always be the number one solution to any problem or sadness I face.

As you can imagine I've taken many baths as of late. Today while my sweet Prince Charming held our rambunctious three year old at bay (Just as romantic as my eleven year old version if you ask this mommy) I hid out in our not so copper, not so claw footed, very builder grade bath tub, turned on my music, opened a book and ahhhhhhh, bliss. Amazing how hot water and bubbles can transform even the most un-extraordinary place into a haven.

As I was lounging and reading, a sudden thought began to dance around in my head. "If I could write any book in the world, I would write a book about the wonders of a bubble bath...." The idea seemed intriguing, and suddenly I saw pages filled with my own favorite bath recipes, pictures of grand bathrooms, a history of the bath, home spa treatments, a section on creating ambiance, the health benefits of baths, different uses for essential oils in baths, and because I'm a touch OCD, how to clean a bathtub, naturally. Because who wants to bathe in bleach? Really. Suddenly, I felt like my life had a focus and purpose, a thrilling challenge to conquer, and joyous journey to explore, and an expression of a passion I've held since my youth.

And so, we shall see where this takes me. Perhaps the idea was nothing more than a moment of joyful anticipation and bliss over a new creative expression for myself. But if more is to come of it, I will surely share it here.

In the meantime, take a hot bath with bubbles, and forget all your troubles!


Thursday, December 1, 2011


"Little Heart"

My heart echos into stillness
There is no answer to its steady beat
It calls in vain to one who is not there
That faint cry of one so small,
Too small for me to see
Too small for me to hold
But not too small, for my heart to feel.

And now my heart is lonely
And cries, looking for that lost sound
That little heart that calls back to its mother
In its own quick beat of new life,
But it answers no more.

Such tremendous loss
For such a tiny heart
A heart that beats from heaven now
And knows that mine must stop,
Before we're united again.

-HD Nickerson Nov. 27, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Make way, for new baby!

My Closet
I love to organize and de-clutter. For me, it is a passion, a hobby, and a form of creative self expression. Making labels is an art I take very seriously. Color coordinating my clothes is fun and entertaining. Singing cleanup songs around the house occur with the same frequency as "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam" it's just who I am.

But the moment I get pregnant, Tidy Heidi joins forces with Mrs. No Nick-knack Nickerson and together they sweep through the house uprooting everything in its wake asking the hard questions a less hormonal version of myself doesn't think to ask. Or doesn't honestly answer....

"Do you LOVE this?"
"Do you NEED this?"
"Have you used this in the last year, how about the last six months?"
"Does it fill your heart with joy?"
"Where are you going to be in the next year, is it coming with you?"
"Just answer the question, yes or no."

Maybe it's the thrill of a new life inside me, and all the promise that baby holds. The future bringing me closer to that moment when another human being enters the stage of life and ripples through the eternities leaving everything changed. But I feel such an urgency to make way for growth. For baby. For new life. I want to make room for everything wonderful this child will bring into our home.

And I'm starting today.
Wish me luck.
The next nine months are going to be awesome!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Miracles never cease

My Beloved Firstborn,

Yesterday...You were a baby.

Today, you are a little boy.

Tomorrow, you'll be a big brother!

Well, actually, it will take nine months.
But it will feel like the bounce of a ball.
The pop of a bubble.
The leap of a frog.
The splash of a puddle.

And then a little bundle.

You will feel all sorts of things,
And proud.
Your feelings are okay,
And you can tell me and daddy about them all.

Sometimes the baby will cry.
Sometimes you will cry.
Sometimes mommy will cry!
Other times you will laugh, 
Or do something that will make the baby happy
Then the two of you will start having fun together!

And, if you choose it, 
There will be love.
There will be a friend for all eternity
Who will always look up to you,
Just because
You are their big brother.

I love you son.
I hope that one day,
You will feel grateful 
To this new baby for making you a brother,
The way I feel grateful to you,
For making me a mother.

Love always,
"Ma mas"

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lovely Labels

My love affair with organization is no secret. Among the many clever little pet names my Mr. comes up with for me, "Basket lady" is one of them, because, as you can see, I LOVE to put things in little baskets. Like things together, so I never have to hunt around for the spare pieces, or if I'm searching for a can of beans, it will be with all the other canned vegetables. I just like things in order, it makes me happy. It saves me time, energy and frustration. My fascination with the art of organization is ever increasing. My latest obsession, labels.

I have always loved labels. It's an admiration I've had since my childhood, my mom was a label queen herself.  Her approach was very practical. Big bold black and white labels so people knew where to return things, and where to put them away. Labels on toy boxes, food storage, and my dresser drawers. 

It's no wonder labels touch my heart with the caress of nostalgia, and the comforts of childhood. Oh labels, beautiful labels.

They are magical! I mean, sure, my closet is tiny, and carries little more space than is actually pictured here...but one day when I live in my dream home and have a glorious master closet with a chandelier, full length dressing mirror, and is painted pink with a glorious rendition of Edmund Leighton's "The Accolade" these labels will be apart of that space, so in a sense it makes that space real, right now in my humble little apartment. 

It may be eccentric, I know, but oh the joy I glean from labels!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is it a weed, or a wish?

Golden moment #47

Somewhere, deep below the ocean waves there is a submarine. Somewhere on that submarine is my husband.

The day he hugged our son goodbye, walked out the front door, and  waved to us as he drove away to board his boat, something terrible happened, I blew him a kiss. "That's not terrible! You may think, but I accidentally threw him more than a kiss on that breath, with that kiss all of my happy, inspiring, golden moments seemed to fly off. Laughter, perspective, and joy, all raced after that kiss  and threatened never to come back, until he did.

And I have been sad. Really, really, sad this patrol. More so than other patrols. I ran away to my parents house and haven't had the courage to step foot back into our quiet home again while he is gone. And I haven't written a golden moment, because my life sort of felt like lead. Sometimes life feels like that. Then, once again, something happened. Josh must have blown me a secret kiss back, from deep beneath the sea, and by some miraculous feat of triumph that kiss landed softly at the corner of my eye. But it wasn't just a kiss, perspective decided she'd been away from me long enough and caught a ride with that kiss from deep beneath the sea. I felt her presence at once when I looked down and saw a weed growing in the grass.

"Oh, but is it really just a weed?" Perspective coaxed.

"I think it's just a weed, look at those seeds on that old dandelion, soon the wind will blow carrying them all over filling yards and gardens with unwanted dandelions."

"Unwanted by who?" Perspective questioned.

"I don't know, the people who have to pull them up to keep their yards looking decent."

"So dandelions make yards look indecent?" Perspective asked.

"To some people, like me. Maybe not to Scotty, Scotty can't get enough of dandelions, especially when they go to seed like this one, he calls them "wish flowers.'" I smiled.

"How did your son learn to call a weed a "wish flower?" Perspective was curious.

"I told him they are wish flowers, when I was a girl, I'd pick the dandelions in this stage and blow off all the seeds, if you make a wish on the flower it will come true..."

I picked up the little flower and held it in my hand. Then took a deep breath and blew a wish. The wind scattered the flower like confetti and dropped the little parachute seeds back to the earth. I giggled and my heart felt a spark of childlike joy, they'd tagged along with perspective on her flight home. As I stared at the long empty stem in my hand it occurred to me they'd never really left. 

My wish flower

to see through
teary eyes
to sing
at deep blue skies

to loose myself 
in love
to find myself
in love

to stand on lonely ground
to stand amid a crowd

to clap my hands
to stomp my feet
to rage
to storm
to call retreat

a hug hello
a last goodbye
a boisterous laugh 
a heavy sigh

to blow a kiss
where it is sought
and have it reach 
where I can not

I take a breath
and all of this,
escapes my soul
on a flower wish.

Photo Copy right Heidi Nickerson

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Golden moment 46

July 14th 2011

Today's golden moment is quiet.

I'm recovering from my gum graft, my son is with his Gommy, and it is quiet. And it is golden. That is all.


Golden moment 45, written for July 13

Yesterday's golden moment may surprise some of you, but my golden moment was a gum graft.
Anyone out there have anxiety about dental work? I know I do. In fact, I feel quite justified in my anxiety over dental work. I had eight years of braces, (With no breaks people, they were on my teeth for 8 years straight) I had two major jaw surgeries, the first one lasted 8 hours and I couldn't talk, or eat solid food for about three months afterwards. It involved a bone graft from my hip to my jaw, laughing after having a chunk of bone scraped from your hip is excruciating. I gave birth without any drugs, or medication to ease off the pain, and I can tell you the graft was FAR worse than anything I felt in labor. Like a knife stabbing me it hurt so bad. I was afraid to sleep at night because I couldn't breathe very well, I was so swollen. In fact, the swelling did not go down completely for a whole year. Though the bruising did end eventually. Then, after all that, my jaw actually re-opened. And my teeth went crooked again. Not as bad as before surgery, but I do not have perfect teeth. I could actually bite normally for a short time, but the over bite just opened itself up again, and the doctor said it was so rare he hardly ever mentions it. But it only seems to happen to women between the ages of 18 and 25 or something, some weird fluke where the body just wants to reverse the effects of the surgery. And that statistic happened to be me. The second was only a four hour procedure and I don't think it was nearly as bad as the first. I don't remember much about it. Oh, and after I finally got my braces off, and teeth implants in, guess what, I had 18 cavities. I don't think I need to convince you any more that I have some SERIOUS anxiety surrounding dental work. I have literally gone in to have my teeth cleaned only to start hyper-ventalating and having a panic attack.

So you can imagine some of the trepidation I felt surrounding the gum graft I had to have done yesterday. But let me tell you what I did. When I had the thought "I DON'T WANT TO HAVE THIS GUM GRAFT DONE!" I actually decided to turn it around to "I want to have this gum graft done" and I found three truths in that. My truths were:

I want to take care of my teeth.
I love the office my periodontist works in, there are beautiful views of the forrest wetland outside her floor to ceiling windows
I really like my periodontist and look forward to visiting with her again.

As I walked into the office, or sat down in the chair and felt anxiety start to rise within me, I asked myself "Are you in pain? Are you safe? Is there really any danger here?" Every-time I had to answer, no to these questions and then I just told myself to relax.

At one point during the procedure my periodontist and her assistant were telling me a story that just made me laugh!  And I found myself marveling at the fact that despite having dental work done, I was happy enough to be laughing!

Whenever I felt my fists clench, my stomach tighten, or my lower back arch I asked myself the questions again, "Am I in pain? Is there really any danger here?" The answer always came up no, and once again I could relax.

The graft went beautifully, that hour was up before I knew it. When I went to get up, I had a drop in blood pressure and thought I would pass out, but my periodontist and her assistant were angelic as they put a cold lavender scented wash cloth on my forehead and slowly leaned my chair back for me. It took me a while to get my blood pressure high enough for me to get up without fainting but they were so sweet and let me take all the time I needed.

As I drove home I thought about the incredible blessing it was to have access to such good care, to be in such a comfortable setting, and to have such a kind periodontist who truly had a passion for her work.

That night, my periodontist called to check up on me. (I know, she is AMAZING!) And I told her that I was doing great, and that my gum graft that day had truly been one of the most enjoyable dental experiences I've ever had. In fact, I can honestly say it was a very nice afternoon.

My amazing mother in law has been kind enough to watch my toddler so I've had almost two full days to just rest and heal.

Discovering my power to just let go of such incredible anxiety astounded me. It was like cleaning up layers of clutter. The more you pick up the more you discover that there is something beautiful hidden beneath all the junk. It was like that with my thoughts, all I had to do was question the reality of my thought. "I'm anxious" really? Is that true, are you in PAIN right now? When I answered, honestly I could say "No" and then there was peace. Even if I had been in pain, I think it would have been okay. I would have gone from there, but I could deal with it without the stress, and fear factor.

Finding this within me, was incredible, it was so freeing and so peaceful. I learned so much from this experience. Everything was just wonderful. And that, was golden.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Golden Moments 41-44

My oh my how time does fly
how time does fly and grandma's house
We run, we play
We lounge all day
Oh yes we love our grandma's house

Golden moments are coming at me faster than I can hope to keep up here at my mom and dad's place. I am so happy to be home!

Saturday July 9, we made dinner over at my grandma and grandpa's house (Scotty's great grandma and grandpa's) and hung out in their beautiful "Secret Garden" while we ate a delicious summer salad, watermelon and home-made ice-cream. Golden moment 41.

Sunday July 10, I had a terrible cold and lounged around my mommy's house, eating her food and reading her amazing books which have shaken me to my very core and I will never think a thought the same way ever again. Golden moment 42.

Monday July 11, I spent the day, yes THE ENTIRE day helping my mom clean her garage, organize junk, and prep for a GARAGE SALE! YIPEEEEE!!!!!! Only if you know me can you appreciate how incredibly golden this was for me! I LOVE to host garage sales, I LOVE to de-clutter, and I love to make a buck doing it! Good day! Golden moment 43.

Tuesday July 12, My little sonny came into my room this morning and snuggled up in bed with me. I woke up to his sweet little voice saying "Ma-mas!" He is such a wonderful little boy! Golden moment 44.

I apologize for my lack of photos, I'm currently visiting my mom and dad, and neglected to bring my camera and my computer so I've been writing on my blog from their computer, and they don't really have any pictures I can use...I kind of decided to come visit last minute and honestly had no idea how long I'd stay so I packed light. I'm having such a good time I haven't wanted to who knows when I'll start loading pictures again!

Being home is so great. Good food. Dinner was made for me last night. Beautiful home, big back yard for my little monkey, best company, I even have a brother who plays with Scotty for hours! And my dad will watch Scott while mom and I go shopping, I mean, this is heaven people! And my sister is off galavanting her summer away as a youth camp counselor for our church having the time of her life so I even get to sleep in a super comfy bed! Happy as a clam! Yes I am!

What's your favorite thing about being home at your mom and dads?

-Domestic Diva

Friday, July 8, 2011

Golden moment #40 A beautiful thought.

Have you ever read a book, that from the opening page, the opening sentence, made you feel it was written for you? Have you ever had the experience that as each word echos in your mind you can feel changes happening in your life and the way you see the world? Have you ever longed to meet an author, simply so you could wrap your arms around them and say "Thank you. Thank you for the gift of your words. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." That is how I feel about the book I found at my mom's house today. I am 50 pages into the text and find myself stunned at the brilliance and beauty of this book. The unpretentious, honest, loving words gifted to me through the pages. It is books like this that make me grateful for language at all, and the ability to communicate ideas, inspirations and insights.

I find myself reading certain passages over and over. Even a sentence. I would like to share with you once such sentence, that I simply can not stop thinking about.

"When people talk, they're finding their way toward what they really mean, and the best way to help them is to just listen."

It may not seem like a life changing sentence, but to me, it is.  I love people and I love conversation, but let me be honest, I love the sound of my own voice. I have always believed I have something special to share, I have a great insight, I have an inspiration just around the corner of my next thought. How many times have I listened to someone, while silently preparing my response, before they even finished their thought. How I have longed for their admiration, and gratitude for my advice and my insights. But when I read this sentence, I realized something so powerfully it has shaken me to my core, they already know it. The truth, the answers, the inspiration, is within them. And MY thoughts can never be theirs. The greatest gift I can give is not my thoughts, it is my attention. It is my patience, and my love. It is my faith that they can find the way to their own enlightenment.

I can't wait to keep reading, I just wanted to share this ah-hah moment! It was truly golden for me today. If you'd like to join me in reading a book that will very likely change the way you think a thought forever, check out "I need your love-is that true?" By Byron Katie.


Golden moment #39 A laugh, for July 7

Yesterday, my three year old walked into my bedroom as I was dressing. He caught me without my shirt on. Before I could say a word, he pointed wide eyed to my breasts and with a big smile exclaimed:

"Nursers! Babies drink ma-ma's nursers!"

I couldn't help but laugh and say "Yes, Scotty, those are mommy's 'nursers' and babies do drink from them, very good!"

My son has been weened weened himself about six months ago, and though he's never expressed interest or even memory of going back to nursing, he has observed his Aunt nursing her new baby. Every time she nurses with him around I explain to him that babies get milk from their mommy's breast, and it's called nursing. When he was a baby, he nursed too. That is how he got his food. Now he is a big boy, and he can eat all sorts of things his baby cousin can't eat. He can drink chocolate milk, and eat apples and carrots and cheese!

He's taken this all in with silence, so to hear him put it all together yesterday caught me by surprise and delighted me! What a sweet golden moment.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Golden Moment #38 Opportunity

Thomas Smith Gilbert, Officer during the Civil War
My great, great, great, great, great, great, super great
Grandpa! I really don't know how many greats
he is but he deserves them all, he is one of my heroes.

I want you to look at this picture of Thomas Gilbert, really, look into his eyes. Those beautiful, piercing eyes. You do not have to be his grand-daughter to see what I see.  He seems to be looking back at you from the ages, doesn't he? This picture is a treasure to me. This man's legacy is a treasure to me.

The second treasure of mine I want you to see, is the poem "Opportunity" written by Edward R. Sill. Sill was a graduate from Yale, and became a professor of English Literature. He also wrote another one of my favorite poems, The Fool's Prayer. After reading this poem, I will share with you, how this picture of Thomas Gilbert and the poem "Opportunity" are so intimately connected in my mind.

By Edward R. Sill

This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.

A craven hung along the battle's edge,
And thought, "Had I a sword of keener steel-
That blue blade that the king's son bears-but this
Blunt thing!"-he snapped and flung it from his hand.
And lowering crept away and left the field.

Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.

This was my Grandpa Gilbert's sword. Magnificent isn't it? The sword has been lost over the ages, only these pictures remain, but I have often seen this sword in the hands of my grandpa as I read the poem "Opportunity", my grandpa the noble prince. How many times, have I complained about the struggles of military life. The burden of patrols, the inconvenience and frustration of over night duty. The nights my husband comes home after standing watch for two days and hasn't had more than three hours of sleep. I feel so angry at the Navy sometimes, when  Josh comes home so drained from work it's all he can do to climb into bed and sleep only to wake early the next day and do it all again. I have thought many times about the wonderful life and marriage we will have once this is all behind us, I have thrown my sword into the sand and said "It's too hard, I could do and be so much more under different circumstances. I could be so much happier without all this stress."

And then, I think of my grandpa Gilbert. I pull out the pictures and stare fixated at the magnificent details of the sword he once carried onto the battlefield of the civil war. I once more gaze into those wise eyes captured by his portrait picture and  think of his life, his courage, his passion, and his legacy. I read this letter, one among many cherished letters we have of his, that he wrote home to his beloved wife, Annie, during the war. I hope you will appreciate the beauty and wonder of this letter. I hope you will feel, as I do, the sacredness of it and the privilege it is to read it.

Letter Written From Camp Banks-Fredrick City Md. August 14, 1861

My Dear Annie,

I have not heard from you since we arrived here but expect to today. Lieut. Ager is due here this A.M. and then at last I shall hear from you.  I suppose we are to remain here for some time to come, as government stores are being brought here from Hagerstown and Harpers Ferry; and as our long experience in guard duty eminently fits us for that service, I expect nothing else for this regiment at present.

This is a fine country in every respect, there are fine landscapes formed by the varied scenery of mountain, vale and woodland; I wish you could see it; nothing I ever saw equals it for quiet beauty. The city of Frederick is very old and historic, full of monuments of Revolutionary times in close proximity to Baltimore Washington. There are public buildings here built in 1696. The barracks where we are encamped were built by the British in 1775 and occupied by them until they were taken by the American forces under Washington. There are hundreds of muskets-canteens, cartridge boxes. etc. stored away here after the close of the war which have remained undisturbed here until now. I have secured a musket, canteen and cartridge box which some Revolutionary soldier carried in the early struggle for American Independence. I expect to send them home by express and wish them preserved to the latest generation of Gilberts to be handed down from sire to son as I am proud to think my ancestry were actors in all the wars which were honorable happening since they migrated to this continent. And now I have their ancient fame in keeping. God help me to never tarnish their glories. The time will surely come when to be known as one who fought or died to preserve the dear bought liberties of this land will ensure fame and honor.

Think of it, fighting to uphold and perpetuate the government which our Fathers fought to establish; the government founded by Washington, Adams, Monroe, Jefferson fighting against traitors, villains who would stab our liberties and blot out our history; who would reverse the decree which has made men famous for their wisdom, patriotism and virtue, and make successful villainy and infernal tyranny objects of ambition and forced respect. This cannot, ought not to be while one fine heart is left to bleed in the sacred cause of freedom, while one is left to stand in the broken wall of our union and fight for the future and the past. This is a bitter struggle but a struggle which must go right on until liberty and order triumph or be crushed out from the earth. I have no fear for the result. I hope for a complete redemption from the evils which afflict us and look for a new era of happiness and prosperity after this new and terrible ordeal shall have been gone through.

My health is good and the general health of the regiment is good. Night before last I was called upon for extra service in the way of picket duty which kept me on my feet for 30 hours in succession with a squad of men so this is a liberty day with me and I intend to enjoy it by sleeping and writing to you. Nothing would please me more than just to see you once more. I think of you all very often and feel proud of you, proud when I think how cheerfully you bear your part in the sacrifice we are called on to make for the public good. Give my love to all and believe me as ever your devoted husband.

T.S. Gilbert

"Then came the King's son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And he ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day."
-Opportunity last stanza

My Grandpa Gilbert's sword has been lost to the generations, as have many earthly possessions he once hoped might be passed down from "sire to son" in honor of the legacy he hoped to continue. Even the Gilbert name has ended, as my great great grandmother was the last. But his battle cry to fight for that which is good and true rings on through the hearts of his descendants. His passion, his strength, his courage, his love for God and family and country are his greatest legacy. His strength reaches me, his kind words to his wife speak to my own heart, how proudly he acknowledges her cheerfulness in the face of sacrifices, so much greater than my own.

We all have battles to fight. We all have struggles to face, we all stand on the field of struggle with a sword in hand. And for each of us, there comes a moment when we must choose to save a great cause, or find the excuse which causes us to lower ourselves and creep away. To each of us is given this great and golden opportunity.

"I am proud to think my ancestry were actors in all the wars which were honorable happening since they migrated to this continent. And now I have their ancient fame in keeping. God help me to never tarnish their glories." T.S. Gilbert

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday July 5, Golden moment #37 Off guard.

Hubby caught me totally off guard  surprised me today and came home for lunch! Thinking that I had until tonight to try and reclaim the sanity in my home after a sick day that is really reflective in both my home and my physical appearance, I immediately begin to apologize for the state in which everything (Including myself) looked. But my sweet husband just hugged me and told me he loved me and that he would clean the house tonight and I should just rest more today and get all better. 

I really, really love my husband. 

My house looked bad.

I  looked bad.

But this man, is wonderful.

And now, I'm totally exhausted, so I'm going to go rest, maybe watch a little HGTV....and try to get over this yucky cold.


Monday July 4th, Golden moment # 36

This was the magnificent Fourth of July picnic day I stared out at all day from my sick bed.

Yes, I came down with a monster cold. I have been pretty much so dizzy, that it has been all I can do to change diapers and scrounge up snack food. My son has been a champ the last two days, occupying himself while mommy is pretty much confined to bed. Today my head-ache eased up enough to catch up on this blog, but honestly, I am so ready for a nap it isn't even funny.

This is a glimpse of what happens when "Damage Control" (aka mom) is out of commission for a day. I will not post pictures of the wet towels in the bathtub, the melted ice-cream on the couch, or the mess in the kitchen because honestly, I'm just too tired! But it's a site, that's for sure. This picture actually makes it look only semi bad, but trust me when I say, it's bad. Sick mom=messy house. It may not have been so bad, but sadly, dad had overnight duty when this bug hit me full force, so I have been totally on my own the last two days.

Golden moment however, was that I had a great view of a firework show from my bedroom window. And I really enjoyed that, as did my son who clapped and yelped for joy after every big firework that shot magnificently up over the trees obstructing our view. The sound of his happy little voice exclaiming "Fireworks! Fireworks!" is still echoing in my mind and making me smile!

What was your 4th of July like?

PS-Happy BIRTHDAY Christine. I'm so sorry I didn't call you, but I felt so miserable and I knew you were busy with your birthday celebrations and probably out having a ball with your in-laws. But I was thinking of you!

Sunday, July 3 Golden moment #35

Sunday was just a wonderful day as all our family came together, along with my sister's in-laws to watch baby Anwell receive his name and blessing at church. This is a sacred tradition in the Mormon church, it is always so beautiful to watch. Most commonly the baby's father will give the blessing, and in it the baby's name is declared and a special blessing is given for the baby's life.

My son's name and blessing day, 2008
When my husband gave our son his name and blessing, we were so happy to have our dear friend Nathan Tyler apart of that special day for our family. At the time, we had adopted him as an uncle to our family, but I was doing everything I could to set him up with my sister and make it official. 

Three years later, and not only did Nathan indeed marry my sister and become my son's real uncle, but he and my sister had a beautiful baby boy, making me an aunt. It's a wonderful, fun story and just makes me incredibly happy to see how everything came together so perfectly in the growth of our family. To have Josh be apart of the name and blessing for Nate's son was a beautiful full circle of events.

My nephew's name and blessing day. 2011
There is nothing more precious, and beautiful than to see a family grow, and to see the love and adoration we have for each other increase and expand as new people join our home through marriage and birth. This is the happiest time of life. Everything is growing, everyone is alive with hope for the future. I can not imagine a more golden joy than the happiness felt in a family knit together with unity and love one towards another.


Saturday July 2, Golden moment #34

On Saturday, I helped my mom host a baby shower for my younger sister. We created more of a little social get together with good food and time to talk. We invited husband's as well, and chose to opt out of games. The decorations were requested by the new mom to be blue and orange, and I have to admit, it was a pretty cute event! Here are a few pictures!

I have another sister studying culinary arts, her contributions to the event were the cupcakes!

We really lucked out with all the blue and orange we were able to find. Must be the season.

Each flower arrangement had a dinosaur sticker on the vase, this was totally my mom, and I thought it was absolutely ingenious!

All in all, it was a fabulous and fun gathering, I had a wonderful time putting it all together with my mom. If you missed the invitations I made for this event, you can check them out here.


Golden Moment #33

Okay, my life has taken a turn for the crazy the last few days and I'm behind by (I think) four golden moments...I guess I could really figure it out if I just pulled out a calendar, but let's do that when we reach this time next year and I really scramble to fill in the lost days, shall we? I think to tackle this one, I will just pick up from the last time I posted and go from there, but I will give each day it's own post, because I had some pretty awesome things happen this weekend!

July 1st Golden Moment #33

July 1st was a catch up day for the two days before, but I'm quite sure I didn't actually post a current golden moment for the day, so for that day I'm going to post something that makes me feel absolutely golden all over. Hopefully, it will create the same bliss in you.

My friends, this is the lobby at the Grand Wailea in Maui. This is where Josh and I honeymooned. Every single time either of us mention this paradise both of our eyes sort of glaze over and we escape into this day dream of blissful joy. It is truly the most beautiful place on earth and I can't wait to go back. Either as celebration for getting out of the Navy in three years, or as celebration for graduating from Stanford in five years. At any rate, it will be in celebration for one of the two, and that will be a golden moment I'll be talking about for a lifetime. If you want to see more of this amazing resort you can go here. Or you can watch Jennifer Aniston's new movie "Just Go With It" because they film the majority of the movie at the Grand Wailea. The fact that they never mention the name of the resort in the movie, but I knew which resort it was because I recognized it, made me feel pretty cool, I must admit.

And while we are on the subject of Maui, for a moment, let's just talk about the beauty of the Polynesian language. "Mahalo" means thank you, but the literal translation is a prayer "May you be in Divine breath's presence." The fact that the language consists of fewer letters than ours and most of them "soft" letters like vowels and m's and h's, makes every word sound like a prayer. I want to learn Aloha Oe and sing it in the lobby of the Grand Wailea. I'll post a video when I do that.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Golden moment 31 and 32, my mom and dad.

I am behind on my daily golden moments. So I'm going to pick up two right here and go forward with tomorrow. For these two golden moments I want to talk about the two people to whom I owe this golden life of mine. My mom and dad.

My mom is one of those people who waited her whole life to be a grandma. When she walks through the door, Scotty is thrilled, what will this mean today? Kiddy pool in the living room? Bubbles in the back-yard? A trip to the park? Smiley face stickers on my fingers? Train track building? Story book reading? CANDY? My mom is always playing creatively with Scotty, just like she did with her own kids. 

She is the voice in my head that assures me when Scotty is throwing a fit "There's nothing wrong here, he's a  toddler, this is normal." While miraculously, at the same time reminds me "You can be friendly and firm at the same time, you can insist on obedience and still be empathetic towards his frustrations and desires." It's from my mom's voice  I get ideas like singing clean up songs to get my son to pick up his room without even asking him. Training him to sit in his car seat without a hitch by simply handing him the keys to unlock the car door. Offering commands without demands, when he dumps out his juice on the floor and instead of hearing a reproach, he's simply handed a towel. My mom has always believed that children are intelligent and they know what they need to do. She is pretty expert at gently guiding the will of the child to comply to the will of an adult, and she knows when to let a kid just be a kid too and let the will to play RULE. When it comes to the art of parenting, this woman understands the balancing act like no one else on this planet. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.

My dad. I have always taken pride in those two words. 
This is my dad
This is my dad, and he takes the time out of his busy schedule to drive me to voice lessons an hour away because she is the teacher who came with the highest recommendations. This is my dad, and he is my biggest fan at every music performance, always asking me the magic question before I open my mouth to sing,

 "Heidi, do you love to sing?"
 "Yes dad, I love to sing." 

This is my dad, who  treats me with the utmost respect, kindness and love. Who showed me from the time I was a  little girl how I deserved to be treated, how I deserved to be loved. My dad, will be there for me and my family whenever he is needed. He is one call away, and he will be there. I love my dad, I am grateful for my dad. Every day of my life I feel keenly aware of the blessing it is to have him in my life. His love, is never taken for granted. I am so grateful he is my dad.

And I'm so grateful he is my son's grandpa! One day, in the not so distant future I can hear a little boy's voice saying proudly to his friends "This is my grandpa." "He takes me to baseball games, and plays with me in the park, he doesn't miss a single ____________ (Fill in the blank with current interest of choice, gymnastics, piano, etc..) And Scotty will know the kind of love he is worthy of always, because he is loved by my dad.

Who are the people that make your life golden?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Golden Moment #30 Courage.

I remember the awkward attempt I made at requesting he recite to me the poem he'd written for me, a few weeks before. My heart was a jumble of emotions, and I was sure he'd find an excuse to back out of my rather desperate attempt to be romantic.

But without reservation the gentle sound of his voice filled my ears and calmed my racing heart, as he spoke the golden pros from memory, from heart.  I melted into blissful peace and knew there was nothing I wanted more in this whole world than this moment with him. We sat cuddled up in each other's arms, on that park bench overlooking the lake. His lips at my ear, the low beautiful sound of the words echoing throughout my entire body.

We were two young kids, eagerly  falling in love for the first time. But he was brave, his heart courage filled, to share with me the depths of his soul. That poem sparked in me the beginning of what I can only describe as a courageous love between the two of us.

Courage to share our true selves. Courage to love for the first time. Courage to love him through distance and separation. Courage to love him when he was distressed and far from home. Courage to love him when he doubted. Courage to say yes. Courage to leave my family and make him my home. Courage to bring his son into this world. Courage to love him through his fears. Courage to love him through my fears. Courage to love him forever. Courage to give him my all.

By: Heidi Nickerson

Love is not for dainty souls
Like flowers in a park
Tossed about when storm winds blow
And shrinking in the dark

Vainly calling to the world
"Oh love me for I'm pretty
Love me for I'm delicate
Love me for I'm witty!"

But pluck that flower up to love
And watch her shrivel fast
For love that's rooted in oneself,
Is never long to last.

Love is for the brave of heart
Who like a mountain strong
Will never bow before the wind
When storms come raging on

Boldly calling to the world
"Brave soul needed here!
A path with hills and valleys
But I am always here."

Step foot upon that mountain
With courage at your feet
And the journey binds your love,
As you strive to reach the peak.

Yes, love is for the brave of heart
Who heed the noble call
To love another more than self,
And with courage give their all.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Golden Moment #29 Look what I made!

Sooooo, my mom and I are throwing a baby shower for my sister, who just had her first baby, and I volunteered to make the invitations, the cuteness factor on these measure gold! Our theme is blue and orange (With a splash of lime green) and dinosaurs. I know, ADORABLE! After receiving one of these invites in the mail all you have to do is slide the ribbon off....

And ooooohhh, the peek through window is just so intriguing...look at that adorable dinosaur just sitting there looking so happy on that pretty little piece of vellum which adds just another spark of intrigue as you pull it back to reveal the "Dinosaur Fact Sheet" or actual party information! So it reads like the pages of a book, cover, front page, and information. I'm pretty happy with it myself!

Just 17 more to go...yeah, it's all good. Only 1:00 in the morning, there's still plenty of time left before I go crazy right? He he he-Yeah, this post will count for June 27, even though technically the clock says it's the 28th, but it's been a crazy busy day and I've still got quite a few of these to throw together if I'm going to mail them off  by tomorrow morning! Wish me luck!

Any projects keeping you up lately?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Golden moment #28 I know what I have to do.

It's a blurry photo, a quick snap shot someone took hastily after my senior voice recital, I'm listening to the recording that was made of the performance. I remember the song I was listening to myself sing, "Ah Je Veux Vivre". It was surreal, it was magical, it was as if the whole universe were my orchestra and I was the grand Diva on the stage of life, the whole world was my audience and everyone cheered for me, clapping their hands and calling out to me "You have found it Heidi, you have found your calling, SING!"

This old snapshot, is one of my favorite pictures any one has ever taken of me. Someone captured the moment in which I was truly, authentically, indescribably happy. I have often thought, my gift was wasted on me, because I haven't done much with it other than this. I didn't pursue music in college, I didn't finish college, and the only person who hears me sing now is my three year old.

But I can't stop. I HAVE to sing. I fall into these dreadful slumps of depression, and sit down on the floor ammidst the messes and the tantrums and as much as I love being a mommy, I just have these moments, when I look at myself and my heart breaks because I've stopped doing something I love. I can not live, and not sing. When I do, everything else starts to go gray. The purpose and reason for doing anything, starts to fade. I have to sing.

I'm not going to let this go on another minute. I don't need to be famous, or make CD's or go on tours, or have a million fans, but I do need to sing, and I do need to share it. I need to know that my voice is uplifting, encouraging, entertaining, and inspiring to someone. I need to give that. I need to share my voice. My heart is racing and I find hot tears lurking just behind my eyes as I write this, because it feels like for the first time, in a long time, I'm finally listening to a part of me that I have silenced for too long. The part of me that is ageless, and wise beyond my knowledge, the part of me that is the best and truest version of myself. She has been crying to be let out, and no excuse will hold her back any longer.

To know this is both frightening, and exciting! Stick around, because once I figure out how to load a video on here, I'll be adding a new aspect to "Domestic Diva Dishes All", the Diva part. 


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Golden Moment #27 A nap

While Scotty was happily playing with his choo choo trains today, building tracks and being the adorable little boy he is, I fell asleep on the couch.

While I was asleep I dreamed that I was sitting on the couch looking over at the kitchen table, and on the kitchen table was a bowl of Haagen-Daz all natural vanilla ice-cream topped with crushed blackberries, my FAVORITE treat. As I stared at the bowl I thought to myself, 

"I'm so tired I don't want to get up and walk the five steps it takes to get to that yummy ice-cream...I wish that it could just float over here." 

And in an instant, a spoon appeared in the bowl, scooped up a perfect bite, with equal amounts of ice-cream and berries, floated over to me, and waited for me to open my mouth. So there I sat, happily eating my ice-cream without lifting a finger! The entire bowl was brought to me this way, one magical spoonful at a time. 

Seriously, how gold is that?! Not only that I got to take a nap, but that I had a dream in which I was fed my favorite ice-cream by an enchanted spoon!

Yeah, I think this is going to be a good day.
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