It was my boys who finally broke through. They were terrified. I could see it in their eyes, and as they clung to my legs somewhere inside of me I knew that we all had had enough.”

Us August 2006

That is how my post begins and I know I promised to share that post with you, and here is where my internal struggle lies: Recently I wrote something that I found hurt a family member. The second I knew I caused my family pain, I took that particular post down. I haven’t really blogged since. I thought my words were safe and warm, yet that is not how they were received. I always take responsibility for my words. That has never been the issue, and maybe that is actually the problem. I do not hide. I own what I say, yet hate causing pain, even the slightest bit of pain. I know. I can’t have both.  I must have some deeply locked in Pavlovian-nightmare that makes my insides crush every time someone tells me how sad my words make them. 

Consequently, my personal struggle has always been my inability to reconcile the fact that my words will hurt.  My words are not convenient.  My story is not filled with rainbows and happy endings, my skies can get really cloudy, and from the inside my life does not look like a Martha Stewart magazine cover photo. Whose really does?

Most of our stories seem to be purposeful and filled with hope. My  story  is also a dark, awesomely fantastic, crazy, Running-With-Scissors, Lovely-Bones kind of tale. And because my story is not pretty, inside the lines, or Celestial, time and feedback have taught me that I have to keep my story far from those characters, the characters who play the most important roles. Since walking away from actively blogging (August 2006), I have often wondered if, like Augusten Burroughs, (the man who wrote Running With Scissors), I will also have to wait until those loved ones and others I will hurt die, or not tell my story at all.  

As I think about it, I have always told stories, and I have always been open. It is just how I am wired, and I am confident my wiring comes directly off of the Double Helix strands of my Grandma Koener (my mom’s mom). Veronica (that was her name and I can hear my grandpa yelling it as I type), well, Veronica was strong, short (4’11”), bold, outspoken, direct, salty, often misunderstood, and was fiercely devoted to those she loved. The only thing I didn’t get from her were her big boobs. Seriously, I could have used a little help there, Grandma!  My mom always said I was most like her, and because my grandma could be less filtered, I know some were also hurt by her words. And because I knew this, I was not always pleased with the comparison. Maybe it was that soft moment, sitting with her in a parked car outside of Wendy’s, because she was too old and frail to go inside. She wanted to hear about my boyfriends, and she wanted to make sure that before she died (because she knew it would be soon and it was) that I married a good man. “And if he is not good to you, Beth, I will come right over and box his ears.”  And maybe it was snuggled up on the pull-out sofa, watching movies together on our VCR (which she called an RCA),  laughing when she had no idea what was going on. Really. No idea. And it did not matter! And maybe it was her fearless, and open nature.  She, as the oldest daughter of twelve kids (not Mormons, farmers), left a tiny, rural Midwestern farm to go to the big city as a young girl. She left the farm, because she needed something bigger, and she left the farm because her family needed her help. She got it, and I finally got that being compared to my Grandma Koener is about the highest complement one could receive. Being compared to her open and fearless natures is something I want to get right. I miss her, and I know, wherever she is she would be ok with whatever I said, even the ugly parts. I also know she would feel the same sorrow I do if I were to hurt her loved ones.

 And as open and interested as I was, asking my mom and dad about sex at the dinner table as a nine-year-old with my dad, two brothers and three sisters sitting by my side, only made sense (I am the youngest, by the way). Telling my friends less than a week ago that I not only came home from my Mormon Mission early, but that it is was one of the greatest choices I ever made, felt empowering, and does not feel like a story I needed to hide or reconstruct. My eleventh grade Creative Writing teacher, Roman Borgerding, grabbed out of me, and gave me the courage to see that truth really is beauty (thank you Ares Poetica).  I will be forever grateful. Mr. Borgerding showed me how to write stories I already loved to tell.  He is the one who taught me the most important writing technique of all. Standing on a wobbly high school chair he would shout to the class, “Write out the garbage.” Pacing the class, he continued, like a metronome, repeating word for word, “write and write, write out the trash, and as you write, you will, you will find your truth.” He was right, and he was a gift.   I think about him a lot and I think I must find a way. Yesterday I was talking to a friend, who said, “Beth, I could never put it out there for the world to see.”  Before blogs, before the internet, before cellphones, before all of it, I loved to ask, I loved to share, I loved to tell my story.  I do not see my dark spots as shameful and embarrassing, and maybe that is why when I share the dark moments of others, I feel love and forgiveness, or better, I feel truth. I told my friend, “Friend (because that is really what I call him), you are a gifted doctor. When people are suffering they come to you.  The gift I have is my narrative. The healing I can hopefully share is through what I have to say.”  Unfortunately it is also what I see as my gift that always causes the most pain. And like an overly edited script, if I keep adjusted my words to make everyone look, smell and feel good, then what’s the point? I continued, “You know how I can go on and on and on when we talk, that is how writing is. The words always come, and they keep coming.”

 A couple of weeks ago when talking about writing and what I could actually do with a career I had pursued, loved, and studied in college, another family member suggested I should only write when I have the complete permission of anyone that I want to write about. Those words haunt me. I know that is not what my family intended.  Really, what is the point? Where is the joy? I love my family, and respect what they say. I hear them, and their words carry way to much weight. I started this post, a post about blogging, thinking that I could avoid hurting my family altogether, only to be reminded that whatever I write, I will always cause someone else pain or discomfort. My hands are tied, my stomach is in knots, and I do not know how to move forward, make peace, and tell the stories about blogging, my family and all the stories I love to tell. I know.  I sound like a pussy. You want to tell me to forgive myself, don’t be so afraid, and to maybe attend a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Group, right? My Fourth Grade Teacher suggested the same things [wink wink]. Really, you should see the only comment she wrote on my report card? “Beth, next year do not be so afraid of your teacher.”  

Regarding the post I promised you, at last count I was up to 4311 words. Holy Cow, Batman! My gut doesn’t lie.  I am having a difficult time putting those 4311 words out there. Maybe it is because of what my family said. A lot of it is.  Maybe it is because writing about my former life as a blogger forced me to open a door that I had locked, shut and moved away from long ago.  As I go back and forth trying to decide what is best for all involved, and like I have articulated every which way here, I see that it will be impossible to make everyone involved feel good. Actually, that was kind of the point of writing the post.  As cheesy or perhaps self-serving as it sounds, I was searching for healing, and thought maybe if everyone knew my side, that things would change.  

It is true. I said I would let you know the “whole” story of what “really” happened that one time, the year was 2006, the month was August, when I abruptly stopped blogging. For days I’ve worked on this post. I’ve read it over and over again. I am grateful for Dave’s support. I love that Dave, with his badass editing skills, read and edited my post. I love that after reading he said, “Beth, this is some of your very best writing. The tone is perfect.” His words mean the world, and even with his most positive critique, I did not feel resolved. I only hoped that I would.

 All week long I continued to write.  I called an editor friend seeking advice, and ran my thoughts past her. I kept writing, working those words through. While I continued to knead and adjust my words, pounding out every angle and explanation, it was pretty easy to see that I can’t.  I tried to write it differently. I tried to lessen the sting, and then my post started to morph into something I did not recognize. That wasn’t right either. I had a decision to make, and no, I do not think the outcome is necessarily fair. And because I know better, and because I know what it is like to be on the other end of someone’s hurt-filled words and actions, I am not sure I am ok with that.  I am no saint.  I also know that the pain I could cause would most definitely make me feel terrible, only distracting me from the actual pain I have worked to heal.

 I continued to write, hoping I would write out enough hurt, shame, anger, love, and sorrow that I would eventually find a way.  Rationalizations weren’t cutting it, and saying it was for the greater good only made me think, “whose greater good?” It came down to this: Even though I know my intent is hopeful and right, I cannot take away the truth that my words will most likely sting. I am not a complete idiot (remind me to tell you the story about two-year-old Eli’s favorite word, “eighty-eight” sometime). I also see the opportunity. It is the stories that sting that are often the most compelling, and it is an added bonus when one of the characters is very well known. And because I realize upfront that drama sells, I have to question my intent. Do I make any sense?

Finally, I am afraid. To honestly write about what I experienced back then makes me want to puke. To write, I must slice open that beautifully healed scar, and relive those very same horrific, embarrassing, very painful feelings I felt back then. This week that is exactly what I did. I do not like that part. I hate it.  The words bled through my fingers, and flew onto the keyboard as I felt the fear and PTSD I felt back then. No fun! Each day I was grateful when it is time to pick up the boys. I arrived at their school, they hopped in the car where I saw their faces, asked them about their day, we laughed, talked about girls, homework, and tomorrow’s Math. Each day as we sat in the car together I would breathe, and as I did, I saw my life now. I felt strong. I would sit and think, “why would I want to bring that horror back into my world?”  We are happy. As we drove home, I knew that past trauma is something I can let go. I already have.

Us Today

 To tell my story is important. It has a place, I just do not know where. I also think I most definitely picked the short straw in all of this. For now I have put my post on pause. I’ve saved it, and maybe someday posting it will be right.  Selfishly I am grateful that this past week I walked through a long-ago horror. I wrote down word for word what happened, what was said to me, and ouch!  I can tell that long ago I walked through a nightmare, and for now, that’s about all I can say. I can also tell you that I am grateful I wrote out the exact words, because maybe now I won’t be so afraid of monsters. I hope not.       

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Kyle in the hospital November 2011

Last night I found myself talking on the phone. We had been trying to get ahold of each other for a few days and I was grateful she called. I know her, but not as well as I would like. She is the sister of some very good friends and her mom helped me acquire my lovely wedding flowers years ago. The boys were finishing their homework and Dave was making himself something to eat. We had already eaten, or, so I thought. I looked over and saw both boys with spoons in hand, slurping and chomping away.

“Cereal? You already had dinner!”

“Dad said!”

Ah, the ever-popular, “Dad said.”

I cautioned them not to go overboard and left the room. As we continued talking and I kept explaining, something occurred to both of us and then she said, “Well, then it was all worth it!” Chills ran up and down my arms. I like it when these moments happen.
Continue reading “Blindness”

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Here’s to the CRAZY Ones, MommyBloggers That is [wink wink]

Thank you Stacie for re-pinning this quote:

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine.
They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius

~Jack Kerouac


Me at Liberty Park Salt Lake City, UT 2012

Thank God for Dave! And thank you for reading. This is a very self-indulgent post.
Davy and I talk all the time. I swear my thoughts change according to my hormone levels.  And Dave, well, he just goes with my flow [wink wink]. Currently, I am mid cycle.  Call me impatient, selfish or CRAZY, but I just don’t get this blog thing anymore and fighting for a space here is a lot of work, isn’t it?  My sister Brenda keeps telling me to hold my breath and see where I am at in six months. Six months is almost here and I am still not sure.

See, since I left blogging (late 2006) I see blogs; blogs I love, now rarely updated or abandoned like a broken-down, nuclear-bomb-dust-covered, post-apocalyptic building.   These are blogs I love — blogs I still want to read so I do.  I see their slow death and wonder if that is where I am headed.

Then there is this whole new world, a world where there are SO MANY blogs, Twitterfeeds, Pinterest Pins, Instagram Posts and diverse BLOGS written by a gazillion different authors. To be back in the game, I have to compete with all of this (yes, I said, compete).   I wonder (and wonder if you feel the same) if my time, effort, focus, telling you my son’s near-death stories,  writing about my crazy family, talking about my conflicting religious views, commenting on other blogs, linking to blogs, Pinning my Pins, Tweeting my Tweets, replying to other people’s Tweets, setting up business meetings, emailing Blog Organizations, well, I wonder if this effort really makes a difference, at least makes a difference anymore? In August, 2006, I could.  Can I a make a career out of blogging (September 2012)? And do I have to step in that gray-truth-adjusted-and-embellished area to climb to the top?

So I ask you, does your effort make a difference?

My answer to this question (sort of):  I hoped I could use my BLOG as a vehicle for employment. See, I thought that if people like what they read here, maybe they would pay me to say it somewhere else, or at least employ me to market someone else, (my former career was a Marketing Manager and I was really good at Marketing things).  Maybe I should write a book.  How about I write a Post Apocalyptic Vampire Nymph novel? Would you buy it?

What I see and what I have talked to Dave about is the fact that long ago I did have my Blog Ball rolling (Thanks to the LOVE and LINK share of Many). I did have an opportunity and was given more opportunities. It was pretty amazing and I just didn’t get it.  Because I was comparing myself to others, I was blind to the gifts I was given.  And then because I walked away, I threw my gifts away, so-to-speak.  Honestly, I just didn’t have the stomach for the competitive, mean-girl behavior.

It is weird. In a lot of ways I am much happier NOT BLOGGING. I do present and in the moment really well now.  I mom really well too. I do laundry really well. I am fantastic at loading a dishwasher. I clean toilets better than most.  I travel extremely well.  I drive the boys to school really well and make sure they are always doing something active.  My mom hugs aren’t so bad either. I am good. Ask Dave, I am even good at the wife things. I am actually a woman who really LIKES SEX! Come on, who could ask for more?

Only thing is that when I am offline, I kind of lose me.  What BLOGGING does is completely allow me to do something for myself and is also something that I LOVE to do (writing).

Now what to do about my blog?

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The Summary: I am NOT AN IDIOT!

. . . So now here I sit in one of the many Salt Lake City Starbucks. My boys are down in Salt Lake City attending an afternoon art class. By the way, they LOVE it! Eli is making his very own two-sided ugly doll and Kyle is making a leather snake in honor of one very special baby Copperhead. Because this post has taken months to write, here I really sit at my kitchen island. Both boys are in bed asleep, Dave is at the computer slurping down a bowl of cereal, booking flights to Mexico. Ok, here is where I really sit. I am upstairs in my office. The sun is shining on my laptop and I am laughing out loud because Busy Mom found her debit card and finding her debit card is a call for treats. All I can think about is walking to the kitchen and slicing myself a giant piece of Gluten Free Cake. It is taking every ounce of self-control to remain at the keyboard.

For the past year in fits, starts and good intentions, I have been trying to re-launch my blog. Probably the biggest set back was Kyle’s long battle with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. I have mentioned that we almost lost Kyle and that Kyle almost lost his eyesight. His eyes still give him trouble and his immune system is still not great. Just last week he had Strep Throat, Hand Foot & Mouth and an ugly Staph Infection on his upper thigh. Our journey is not over. And today, because Kyle was in the hospital exactly one year ago, this is a very tender time for us. In the coming weeks I will share our journey. While Kyle was sick we also learned very quickly that there just is not enough information out there about Stevens Johnson’s Syndrome and its lingering effects. I hope to change that, even a little.

In June when we started to accept that Kyle was going to be ok, my body decided to crash. One day I had a sinus infection. Two weeks later I had a miserable case of Pneumonia. I have never been that afraid for my own health. When your breathing is compromised, that is so freaking scary. I decided once again that could wait and that I needed to get myself well.
I spent the summer doing just that.

Stevens Johnsons Syndrome
Stevens Johnsons Syndrome
Kyle's Stevens Johnson Syndrome
Kyle’s Stevens Johnson Syndrome
Stevens Johnson Syndrome
Stevens Johnson Syndrome

Look at it this way. This is my story to tell.

So of course, I am grateful. I am for those people who will always hold a big space in my heart, like my lifers like Marianne and Melanie, like my Park City bestie, Beth, and my flip-flop wearing pal, MB. Thank you!  I have learned a lot. I am light. I am dark. I am not perfect. I am grateful and happy to be at it again.

We are good, not Facebook-Status-Picture-Perfect good, but really behind-the-scenes, good. The boys are well into the school year and I am ready to rumble. For now I will leave you with a quote my friend Stacey told me earlier today after discussing how we can help our boys navigate this crazy world. It’s a little sappy and I love it! Thank you Dr. Seuss!:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

― Dr. Seuss


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Women Who Snub

FDR Memorial


And by the way,


For me, and I am assuming most women, feeling snubbed is one of the most immediately painful reactions we ladies can have. As my husband beautifully stated, snubbing is one of the most effective ways a woman has to punish another woman. The deep sting and simultaneous hurt of someone else purposefully invalidating and rejecting us is a pain like no other.


To be snubbed can actually be a gift. It was for me.



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New Mexico: Blogging and Our Ten Year Anniversary


Us. Sante Fe, NM, 2008


The Process that took me to now  . . .  June 18, 2008

I am sitting here on the airplane. Dave and I are flying back to Salt Lake City from New Mexico. We were in Santa Fe and Taos celebrating our ten year wedding anniversary. We were both sick. I loved being away, and I am glad to be going home. I don’t know if the person behind me can read what I am writing. Does it matter?  I was typing with one hand until now.  I finished my drink, motioned to Dave and dumped my ice cubes in his glass, careful to slide my cup underneath his.  We are flying home from New Mexico on the end of our ten year anniversary trip. Dave is looking out the windows.  He is trying to get my attention. He grabs my arm as he says, “Lake Powell.” He points out the window. I look.  The lake is so huge, even from way up in the sky.  I concentrate on my music. iPods are great for flying. Staralur by Sigur Ros (an Icelandic Band) is playing. The melody is beautiful and as the music crescendo’s my heart fills.  I can breathe. Today I am afraid of flying. The music lifts me away.  I take my headphone out of my left ear, lean over and ask Dave how to spell “crescendo.” I have spelled it so miserably that Spell Check could not find the word. “C r e s,” he says. “What?”  The plane is loud and my Icelandic music even louder. “C r e s c e n d o.”  He spells it for me twice.  I wonder why I did not take the headphone out of my right ear. It is the ear closest to Dave. I probably could hear him better.


I see Dave fiddling with his GPS.  I look at him.

“I want to find out where we are.” He says.
“What?” I say.
“We are definitely flying over Colorado right now.” he responds.

I see the man in the aisle in from of me. He is watching “Band of Brothers.” I would rather be watching a movie. I am a writer and it has been hard for me to write. I took my website, down in August 2006. Since that time, except for tiny little bits here and there, I have avoided this method of expression (blogging). I always have something better to do than write. Always.  Damian Rice is playing, I love this song,

“I look to my Eskimo friend . . . when I am down, down, down.”

I wish you could hear the music play. It is helping. I can feel the rumblings of the plane beneath me. I listen more intently.

“Harder now with higher speed . . .”

And the Crescendo. Thank God for Crescendos. If you are afraid of flying, may I suggest listening to music with lots of Crescendos. The plane is rumbling harder.  I am nervous.  My stomach jumps.  The song is has reached its loud, opera-like part, and I am trying, trying to forget the rumbles.

There is a pause in the music.  Dave is talking to me about soccer and I want to stop and fast-forward. I want to hear music. I need music.

…My life has taken me to a better place. In this moment, I do not miss my blog. I thought I would. I know for quite a while I tossed around the idea of blogging again. I like to write. I do not like the dramatic energy bloggers draw to themselves– myself included. As I write the word, “Blogger,” I keep thinking how odd the word is. Ten years ago or a little more than ten years ago, the blogging medium really did not exist. Now blogging is on the forefront of global communication. Many people make a living from the words and information they release into the world on a daily basis.

I think I forgot or better, could not grasp, when I was blogging that my words were getting out there to. I hurt my friends. I hurt my family. As hard as I tried not to, I hurt my mother.  I wanted desperately not to hurt anyone. I tried to be responsible, yet I also hastily vomited words out to the world, words that sometimes did hurt, embarrass, sting.

I wanted recognition for my writing. I did not want to hurt anyone and I did. I can reconcile the fact that I cannot have it both ways: public writing with no hurting.

A few months after taking my website down, I was sitting with a very good friend at the building site of our new home.  He and I talked about my blog. He told my how it hurt. He looked at me and said,

“Beth, we have been friends for more than ten years. We are good friends. You and I would go out to lunch, have a great time.  A few days later I would read your website, this piece of information that was out there for the world to read. It was through your blog that I would find out how sad you really are. It did not make sense. I am your friend. Why didn’t you tell me you were sad? That is what hurt. I am glad you took your website down.”

His words broke my heart. I stumbled. I paused. I looked him and the eye and I apologized.

“I don’t ever want to hurt you.”

As much as I was hurting at the time and I was.  I had to listen. I had to be responsible for the words I put out there.

I do not miss that. I do not miss the self-censorship. I do not miss the-hiding-behind-your-keyboard-yet-offensively-putting-it-all-out-there aspect of blogging. As I became more popular as a blogger, I did not enjoy navigating the rules and etiquette of blogging. I did not enjoy my on-screen-off-camera relationships. I would have to say that most of my friendships formed around, through and in association with blogging have all gone away. Once I logged off, there really was no reason for people to connect with me. To my surprise, I actually did not mind. It was a relief.  Wait. Hold up. Blogging was not all bad [wink wink]. I enjoyed exchanging emails. I enjoyed feeling as though my words had a positive impact on others. I even enjoyed the horrifically painful and bad experiences. Ok, maybe I did not enjoy those. They actually sucked. Let’s just say that I am finding my namaste regarding them.

The plane is slowing down. The wheels or something is jiggling. The plane is still slowing down and things are getting bumpy. My palms are sweaty, (of course). My stomach is in knots.  My poor man’s Valium has worn off (Benadryl). It feels like we are riding a roller coaster in the sky. The guy in front of me, who came drunk on the plane, is awake. He is more frightened than I am. Security offered to escort him off the plane before we left the gate. He assured everyone he would just fall asleep. Now he is awake. He is quiet and looking out the window.

“Please do not freak out.” I whisper under my breath.

This drunk and frightened airplane passenger actually brings reminds me of something. When I blogged every single day, I realized that I was constantly an observer. I was safely disconnecting from my world, simply observing every aspect of every day, carefully plotting out my stories. How would they end?  Could I kick the scared, drunk airplane passenger in front of me?  Could I startle him to improve my story?  The outcome would be much more interesting if I did?  Think of the story I could tell?  Could I tweak it just a little? How could I provoke?  I read bloggers thoughts on depression, horrible lives as parents, bad marriages, crazy kids and wondered if it was all really that bad?  Perspective? Tweaked or even not tweaked? Was it really that bad?  I had to get out.  You know what I mean?  I do need to provoke the man in front of me. I do not need to pay attention to him. He is not my story. He is an observation.

It is much more painful to be present.

That being said, now that I am reconnecting with my tangible world, I feel much more joy.

The plane has settled. I can talk about the blog again.  It is so weird. I cannot help myself. I am thinking about posting this. Is it good enough to post? And just seconds ago I was saying how I did not miss blogging. Funny how moods shift. What a stupid question!  Am I an addict?  Maybe that is why I stopped. Maybe that is why I have stayed away. I am wondering how this will all be perceived. Maybe Dave’s response will be enough. I hope it will. Dave, here is the part where you need to lean over and tell me how great my words are and how much they meant to you — even if you are lying.

Maybe that is why I blogged. Maybe I was not feeling fulfilled enough in my own life and was desperately searching for something to fill it.  Maybe I just am freaked out and getting all end-of-life like sitting in this very bumpy plane. Words and feelings I may forget once the wheels touch the ground.

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