Messy Mamahood

July 23, 2010

Did they like me?

If you've ever been laid off, you know how golden each interview becomes. Especially when it's a job you really, really want. That's how I'm feeling right now. I'm in the process of interviewing for a senior writer position at a wonderful company. A company that is all about helping people, which was my goal when I started looking for positions.

I first had a phone interview, followed by a face-to-face with the hiring manager. That went very well. I really liked her and believe we'd have a great working relationship. That was followed by a writing "test" in which I was required to write an article for the company's internal publication. Apparently I did well on that because I made it to the top three for second and final interviews with four different people, including the director of the department. Those interviews were yesterday and I feel pretty confident about them. And I even found out that I'm being considered for two different positions.

But you know how you feel after an interview - anxious, nervous, impatient and those self-doubts start creeping in. Did I make a good impression? Did I answer their questions sufficiently? Did they find me engaging? Were they impressed with my experience? And, most important at times, did they like me?

That question takes me all the way back to grade school - waiting to be picked for kickball teams. I always longed to be picked first, but those lucky spaces were reserved for the popular kids. I dreaded being picked last, but thankfully I had some skill and was liked by the popular kids, so that wasn't a real worry. So that left me in the middle. Which was okay for kickball, but not for a job.

So, I sit and wait. Hoping I'll be picked first. Hoping they'll see I'm the perfect candidate for one of the positions. And, like in kickball, hoping they liked me.

July 7, 2010


Sugar cookies with gumdrop middles
Hot from the old gas stove.

Smothering hugs,
Cuddled up in her bosom,
Watching Sylvester chase Tweetie
On the ancient black & white.

Simple dresses made by her own tender hands, checkered plaids and ginghams.

Mason jars stowed away for winter
The green beans and okra we picked by hand.

Laura Ingalls’ bonnets with scarlet bows
Kept away the scorching sun.

Silver triangle struck for six o’clock supper.
"What’s for dinner?" I asked.
"S.O.S." she replied.
I giggled.

Swinging on the porch at twilight,
My feet couldn’t touch the wooden slats.

Catching fireflies in the same jars
We used for canning

A voice whispers in the dark,
"Set them free so they can
Return another night."

Great-Grandma – she returned to me tonight.


I was catching fireflies with Blane last night and was reminded of this poem I wrote about my Great-Grandma Lathen one summer evening a few years ago. Isn't it amazing how the mind works through memories so dear to us? And how the simplest activities live on through generations?

July 4, 2010

The power of words

You know how there are some things you just hang on to forever? Some little trinket that reminds you of a special someone, or a photo that takes you back to a special time or place. I have my share of each but, in my case, it's words that have made a huge impact in my life. Words of encouragement, words of praise, words of love, words of comfort. And I've saved countless cards, letters and notes over the years. As I was sitting here at my desk this morning, I looked over to where I keep a few of these items and one stood out to me.

This letter was written to me by my dear Gran on July 4, 1976, when I was seven years old. Appropriate for today.


Dear Suzy (the name my grandparents' called me),

Today is the 200th birthday of our country, and we have so many blessings to count.

It is so wonderful to live in a free country where we can go do what we want and worship as we please.

I thank God for such a wonderful granddaughter.

I hope there will never be any wars to mar your growing up and, after you have finished your education, maybe the right man will come along and you will fall in love and be married. Then maybe your home will be blessed with children.

I hope you will always have a happy life and a rewarding life.

May God always bless you and keep you. Because I love you very much.

Love always,



I can't tell you how much that letter has meant to me over the years. It speaks so strongly to my relationship with my Gran, and has always made me feel so loved. Even at times when I didn't feel very lovable. Most important, it taught me the strength of words, and how they can change your life.

It also led me to write the same kinds of letters for my own children - letters of thanks for them each Thanksgiving, memoirs of each year on their birthdays, notes of love and encouragement in their lunch boxes, diaries sharing daily happenings and funny little things they say, cards for special occasions or "just because," and a letter to each of them on our annual vacation to the Ozarks every summer.

They save these letters and notes, so I know they mean a great deal to them. And I hope that, 30-some years from now, they'll still mean as much as they do today. Try it with your kids, or someone else you love. You never know how powerful words can be in someone's life.