Before I became a mom, people advised me to take the time I drive with my kids in the car as an opportunity to talk to them. I’ve taken that idea on the road. I love the moments of bonding with my kids, hearing about their day, singing songs and having heart-to-hearts. The other day my son asked one of those really important questions during one of our drives. He said, “How do you know if you are doing what God wants?”
I was feeling very pleased with myself in a moment of motherhood eloquence as I answered his question. I could tell my answer had an effecton him, as he was looking thoughtfully ahead into the passenger side mirror. I knew he was deep in thought, perhaps looking into his soul. When he spoke I knew it would be profound… “Mom,” (pause) “how do I not have a mustache right now?!”
And then the moment was gone.
It just whizzed by.
I wish I could tell you that later the conversation picked up where it left off. But in reality, I don’t know if he heard a word I said, as he was so engrossed in the mystery of his facial hair.
That’s just kind of how motherhood goes doesn’t it?
My daughter recently said, “When I grow up, the first one I want to be like is Jesus” (How perfect is that? As I hear this, I am mentally high fiving myself!), “and the second one I want to be like is you, because you are so awesome.” (can I say proud momma?), “I don’t want to be like Daddy,” (what?!), “because he is a man. And I don’t want to be a man.” (the things kids say sometimes!)
I guess my kids are really thinking things through well…well at least they are thinking…even if they are saying things like, “It’s not my fault I am a good farter!” (my son didn’t say this—my daughter did). Or “My pits stink! They are wet and furry!” (that one WAS my son). Or my personal favorite quote, a commentary on my motherhood… “I’m hotness’s son.” Yeah, I guess at least they are learning something.
I am a Hot momma.
If you look up “mature eyes” on any internet search engine, you will find a pitch for skincare products and surgery. This perpetuates the idea that only young eyes (the kind that are airbrushed beyond reason) are beautiful. I am out to change that perception! When I meet with my clients face-to-face, I teach them about what I call the Anti-Aging Line™.
When I teach them about the Anti-Aging Line™, I find women refer their friends to me like crazy; because once you understand this, you really can improve your makeup application. I have been collecting pictures of my willing clients so you can see this on other eye shapes— that way you can find the Anti-Aging Line™ on yourself.
Find line between the corner of your nose, eye and where your brows should end.
Here is my mug:
Here is a close up.
Notice how I keep my makeup within the purple line? Each part of my makeup pulls the viewer up to where I want them to look. I don’t accentuate the downward angle of my eyes, because that points out the wrinkles. If I were to draw my makeup on my lid like we typically are taught, I would be accentuating the wrinkle, or the hinge that is there. When we are young, our eyes are angled up and we can do fun and funky makeup applications—but as the eyes come down, that doesn’t work. I’ve found that if you keep your makeup within the line, you are fine!
If you would like individual help with this, I can meet with you one-on-one in person or through Skype! You can contact me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling me toll free at (801) 455-7364. I’ll have a video up soon showing you more about the Anti-Aging Line™.
Before my daughter, Katelynn Faith was born, we knew she had a rare chromosomal anomaly. We knew that Katelynn’s differences had made her special and she would be given every opportunity to find her way in life. Katelynn is strong. During her time at the hospital, people could see how special she was. She was surrounded in a sterile, cold environment, and yet she locked eyes with those around her. People could feel her presence and attentiveness.
Every morning before going to the NICU, I remember sitting on my bed, looking at my wheelchair. I would think about what I needed to accomplish. I knew the day demanded more than I had; getting out of bed and getting ready was already so draining. So, God and I had a conversation. I told God how much I felt I could do of my day—usually less than 10%— and asked him to take care of the rest. I knew he had to carry me, because I had to be awesome, I had to be beyond my best for my three children depending on me. They looked to my attitude to see if they could get through this. I would not let them down because I was their mom.
I have been blessed in my life with having a close relationship to God. I know he has carried me and comforted me in some of the hardest times of my life. My relative, Stephen, is going through the similar need to ask God to carry him when he can do no more. Stephen has a Chiari Malformation Decompression, which is a rare brain disorder. Last year, a surgeon tried to fix the problem, and was unable to help. Stephen’s condition has been worsening, with Parkinson shakes, Grand Mal seizures, and periods where he doesn’t know who he is or where he is. He has liquid pressing against his brain, which is an additional problem that is causing a lot of complications. Stephen has been unable to work for more than a year because of his condition. In November, he was told his brain was starting to necrotize (die) and that he didn’t have much longer to live. When my niece, Sheraya found out what was going on with her cousin, she stepped in with fundraising to help pay for some of the medical costs. As Stephen’s story spread, a specialist on Stephen’s condition from New York got involved. In January, Stephen went to New York to see Dr. Bolognese and found out his condition was NOT fatal, and is operable.
My niece, Sheraya, has spoken to me about how it’s hard to see Stephen suffering. He’s in his early 30’s—and when he was younger, made decisions that led him down a scary path. It’s hard to see him change his life so drastically, and to have made his peace with God, only to have him now suffering daily from this illness.
Now we have hope, we have a goal—to raise the money for Stephen to get back to New York and get the surgery he needs to save his life. Stephen, and his wife, Lesley, are so upbeat and positive. Throughout the whole experience, Lesley has been looking forward, and has not lost faith that Stephen can get the help he needs. Stephen is taking life by the horns, and fighting a battle that is overwhelming. If you are interested in learning more about Stephen’s story or helping him get to New York, you can go to his website, BelayingStephen.com or his fundraising site, gofundme.com/belayingstephen.
I’m grateful for all I have in my life, and the fact that we were able to care for Nathan through the bus accident and heart attack, and then Katelynn through her time here. As much as we try to look on the bright side, the bitter truth is, crummy things happen in life. But, we can choose to come out of those experiences stronger, surer of ourselves, and more determined to love and cherish the people we have.
When my son Nathaniel turned ten, I was shocked– I have been doing this mothering thing for ten years! Wow! Those late night feedings, comforting by walking the hall endlessly, stubbed toes, chasing him down, playing dinosaur/cars/train, have now melded into one sporting event after another and conversations about… girls. He is now 12. Wow. Wow. The other moms warn me, “those” years– the teen years are coming. I have decided that my son will, of course, be a charming delight through his teenage years.
Really! Ask my parents.
My husband and are dismissing the occasional first grumpy clouds of teen angst as dangerous teenage “experimentation” I hear about. It will end. Not long after his 12th birthday, a young lady told him that she liked him… Oh my, lets stop this ride!! It’s not that I don’t trust my son; I think he is beyond awesome. This young lady is an exceptional girl; he has great taste. We’re even friends with her parents. Honestly, he should marry this girl! What? Yep, I can see the young man he is becoming. He is great, he will be a great man like his dad, I have no doubt; but still I find myself looking for the breaks!
I want to go back to when he was ten. Then his interest in girls was observational– if they sat near my son, what words were said, if he perceived them to be having a good day or not, and each day I heard an account of how certain young lady’s day went. Now it’s bashful smiles and conversations—I find comfort in the fact that without asking him to he gives me a rundown of the conversation… and then it hits me. My daughter is ten soon… whoa… that means somewhere in the neighborhood there is a boy observing her. I feel protective and irritated that any boy could see her in a “interested” way. Back OFF!
I saw a boy at church hold the door open for her… he looked at her. He is a nice kid. Great parents. I felt totally protective. Why is that I found my son’s interest in girls okay, humorous even and proud that he was picking out such level headed academically oriented kids; but a boy holds the door open for my daughter and I suddenly want to move to the hinterlands?
I remember the heartbreak of my own girlhood… sometimes that hurt came from boys. I was still in “the becoming” and wasn’t the girl they were anxious to dance with. Of course it hurt. Then there were the other girls – teenage girls. I didn’t get it. I just didn’t get the emotions that come with the roller coaster of girl doom.
I realize now, with terror, I have no skillsets to raise a teenage girl. My teen friends were mostly guys- who I knew I could beat in an arm wrestling match any day. My daughter is a perfect ten. She is sooo cute! She has it all: looks, brains and personality. So much of my character and becoming the woman I am today came was from being overlooked by my peers– getting to be in a corner watching the world go by.
I want her to stay as she is now, surrounded by her stuffed animals, playing with her American Doll and thinking I have all the answers. I can take her turning ten, but let’s stop there– at the perfect age of ten. That, to me, is a perfect ten. This growing up stuff is overrated!
Last night I kissed my daughter as she was being tucked into bed and whispered to her as I have ten thousand times “Never forget how much I love you.” I may not have all the answers to help her navigate the next ten years, but I can do what my mom did and see her as the perfect ten that each daughter of God is.
When I was 13-years-old I sat in the front row of a crowded room while Scott Anderson spoke. He delivered his speech with such passion, but never lost sight of his audience. I could feel his emotions as he spoke, I could see the tear as he talked about his brother and his battle with drugs; and I could relate because my own brother was in the grip of addiction. Scott shared a deeply personal story with a message for us. Afterward, I waited for him, thinking how cool it would be to shake his hand. If this had happened in today’s world, I would have taken a selfie with him. I still love meeting the speakers that move me, shaking their hand, thanking them for their speech and taking a picture with them like we are old friends.
I didn’t think about being a speaker until late 2009. When the thought came to me, it never left; at first I thought it was a sign I was going crazy. I didn’t want to stand in front of people with the kind of vulnerability that I had seen and admired in speakers like Scott Anderson. I didn’t see the skill sets building though years of leading classes and workshops on image and makeup. But God was pushing me hard to it. I was Leta. That was awesome enough. The amount of influence and interaction I had with others, my kids, hubby, my neighbors, friend’s – I was fulfilled, life was good. But now, even though I’m a speaker, I’m still me, Leta, even with the embarrassing clapping. I find it humbling that I have more influence and impact than I originally set out to have.
The speakers that I respect see the microphone not as an improvement to their status, ego or power, but as a gift that we have the honor to hold. Jason Hewlett, Kelly Swanson, Chad Hymas, Dan Clark, Kathy Loveless—for those of you not in the speaking world, these are some of the greats. They all view the stage as an honor. They are consistently in high demand, and deservedly so; they are really good people. They all have humility; they all have a deep knowledge that they are just people – they are normal people who get to do something incredible for their job. They are not in it for the glory, or the money. These speakers, like me, are in it because they feel pushed to speak. It’s a big responsibility; every single time before I take the stage I pray. I pray that my preparation was enough, that my message will connect, that I will make them laugh and then I get on stage. It has taken me a lifetime to become what I am and really intense focus to prepare my message. It didn’t just happen. What you see on stage is me in HD (High Definition). I am still me off stage, I’m still funny and prone to telling stories—but when I walk on stage it is no longer about me. It’s about the audience, it’s about you.
Because the truth is, you are why I speak. I speak to light up something in others, to make an impact, to know I really helped someone to laugh and think I really changed something—there are no words for that feeling.
From the time we are little, we are taught about the danger of strangers. We’re told scary things about how they lurk with menacing plans.
My dad owned a small trucking company. When I say small, I mean small as in my mom was the other driver, and we kids were the set-up crew.
Dad was often the stranger who stopped and helped the car on the side of the road with the hood up. It wasn’t uncommon for us to find a lady with a car full of kids. Dad would tinker on her car and soon have it up and running. He always had extra fan belts, duct tape and rope on hand, saying “you never know when someone could use it.” The people he helped often thanked him for his kindness with tears running down their faces, but Dad didn’t do it for the glory or any reward. He knew it was the right thing to do, and he quietly helped strangers.
I remember one late night in the middle of a snowstorm Dad saw a car stopped on the side of the freeway. He stopped and helped get the man’s car running. As my dad was leaving, the man gave him his card and said he wanted to help out my dad in return someday. That man was an internationally known dentist. It just so happened that not long after that stormy night, I was in a serious bicycle accident. I knocked out three of my teeth. That man was the one that came to the hospital, and made sure I got the care I needed; even though my parents were in-between insurance companies. This stranger saved large portions of my upper jaw bone.
My mom loves people. She says she never meets a stranger. One time we were out hiking, my mom went ahead to make lunch for us at the car. When I got to the end of the trail, I saw Mom sitting on the tailgate of our tan Toyota pickup truck surrounded by bikers, laughing with them and giving out sandwiches. I imagine some women would be horrified to find a pack of bikers around her vehicle, but not my mom. She offered them food and drew them with her wit. She learned one of them was a fan of Shakespeare. I’ll never forget seeing them quoting Shakespeare to each other over sandwiches of white bread, bologna, and that horrid cheese you have to unwrap the plastic from.
For me, the worst pains of my childhood didn’t come from strangers. It came from those who were in a position of trust who violated that trust.
So, when I became a mother I had a decision to make; to teach my children about the danger of strangers or to teach them that they needed to trust their inner voice, regardless of who the person was. I chose the latter.
This is what I tell my kids. If someone asks you to keep a secret from your parents it isn’t okay—ever. If someone touches you in your privates it isn’t okay—ever. I tell them they are people and their feelings and opinions matter. They know the voice of what is right and what is wrong speaks inside of them. I tell them to listen to that voice, and if they do, they will recognize danger. I tell them that while using that voice as a guide, they can have enriching experiences like meeting a biker that is a poet; a dentist that will save their jaw; a single mom whose tears of gratitude will teach lessons. I try to show them, like my parents showed me, that helping others when it may not be convenient is always the right thing to do.
I think they’re learning it. The other day at Costco I started a discussion with a couple in the line behind me. As we stood out by the carts they told me they were from Poland. We talked of hard work and their years of living under communism. They told me what makes a good Kielbasa sausage and the pride they feel in their children. They hugged and kissed me, told me I was beautiful and a good mother. Soon after, my daughter told me she wants them over for dinner. I do too… and after our discussion, I had better buy the right Kielbasa sausage.
WARNING, pictures of my dental surgery are below.
I admit it, I love my wiggle tooth, but I didn’t always.
When I was nine I knocked out my front three teeth, and the excessive dental work began. I hated the gap, it made it so obvious what missing and what was so clearly wrong with me. The funny thing is that those feelings of inadequacy were really coming from me, and not from others. Sure, kids teased me, but what made the situation worse was how I handled it. In my book How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness I teach how to get over self-taunts and about how to change the perceptions of ourselves to see the radiant women we really are.
I’ve learned in my nearly 20 years of working with women in beauty, that we all have an area, feature, or something we just don’t like about ourselves. Yes, there are makeup tricks that can minimize facial features to bring out our best; but I really love helping women see how beautiful they really are, and helping them start the real work—seeing themselves differently. I can meet with you one-on-one through Skype. I am here to help you see that you are far hotter than you think you are!
Through helping other women, I actually got so good at changing my perception that I LOVE my wiggle tooth! I’m not saying that I want to have a retainer with a tooth attached my whole life… but then again, maybe I do! The tooth is such a relatable subject and always an instant icebreaker. I often joke that “I am soooo HOT, I don’t need all my teeth!” It is funny– I like funny. But Mr. Greene doesn’t love it so much… I guess when he takes his wife out a on a romantic date, he would like to look across the table at a full toothed smile. It’s particularly annoying to him because we have already paid to have it repaired, and I’m putting it off because it’s so funny. I guess I can see his point of view on this.
So, on October 16th, I reluctantly dragged myself to the oral surgeon. I was so sad—not only would my adorable toothlessness be gone, but I knew it was going to hurt. I’m not really one who thinks being drilled on is fun. With that said, I firmly believe in choosing to have fun in any situation — here in this picture with the drill head attached to the recently placed implant.
I would like to point out that my lip color survived all of this with grace— meaning it stays on like a rock star! I forgot to take pictures that night of my still perfect makeup because I was high—you know, legally drugged up—since it really hurts to get drilled on. The important thing that every girl needs coming out of oral surgery is to know that her makeup is still there and looking awesome. I can help with you with that part, but the missing-tooth hotness, you will have to take care of on your own. I can show you how to bring out your best without looking like you tried too hard. If you want amazing skin, and want to know where to put your makeup and the right colors just for you that stay looking perfect all day until you take it off— I can help with that.
As for my tooth, in four months, after the bone heals around the implant, I will get a new set of not-as-hot-though-very-expensive-teeth. I firmly believe that Mr. Greene will miss the wiggle tooth. Although, if we’re being completely honest… probably not.
I imagine being a guinea pig can’t be too exciting- living in a little cage, walking in your own poop- and for a reason that I can’t understand- you (the guinea pig) pooped and peed in your own food bowl. This sort of behavior doesn’t seem to bother the little pigs. They are super cute and the kids love them. I like them too. I had to pick a favorite, it would be Ricky. Ricky wasn’t prone to peeing on you like Lucy would. Technically Ricky was girl (for better population control). My son “owned” Ricky and my daughter “owned” Lucy. Back to my issue— I just can’t imagine how living in your own mess in a small cage can be a good life.
I had this dream that we portioned off an area on the front deck with chicken wire and make an enlarged enclosure for the piggies. They could run wild, poop and pee to their heart’s content– and with weekly cleanings, such a large area wouldn’t be so bad. Full of this vision, my daughter made little houses from boxes with doors and windows cut in. She attached several of them with little tunnels. We even put up a blanket for shade and as a wind breaker, and an area for the guinea pigs to hide from the Kestrel hawks in our area. Really, we thought of everything for their comfort and happiness. We just knew life for Ricky and Lucy was going to be awesome at the Greene house. We brought out their little cage and opened the door to their new enclosure—one that provided almost total freedom. We reveled in them exploring. I thought I was rocking the mom job.
Well, evidently guinea pigs are susceptible to heat stroke— I found Ricky peacefully dead the next day. I felt sick. I ended up telling them that night… and tears flowed, sad bitter tears… and I remembered the pain of my cat dying when I was young (I found my cat, a dead (partially eaten) bird… and my young CSI mind deduced the cat choked on a bird bone.) The passing of this guinea pig was the first Pet Death of my children’s life—and it was my fault! My hubby, in just five minutes of Google-smarty-pants research discovered that guinea pigs don’t deal so well with the heat. I didn’t even think of that when I made their awesome new home. I thought the outdoors would be heavenly for them… Bad pun?
That night, as midnight was approaching, I was outside with a head lamp burying our dearly departed guinea pig. My neighbors, who were up late painting, had a horror movie moment when they looked out the window and saw me burying things in the dark of the night.
So…I killed Ricky.
I couldn’t apologize to my kids enough. They didn’t seem to blame me, but I sure felt bad. When kids are young, a mom can kind of solve everything. I want to protect my kids, hold them and make life as perfect as possible, while I prepare them for everything I can—and just like I tried for Ricky, I want to make a good home for them. When I was looking out for dangers for the guinea pigs, I thought of the wind and of the small Kestrel hawks that frequent our street; and I tried to protect Ricky and Lucy from those things. But it was what I didn’t think about—what I didn’t see as a threat—that ended up getting to Ricky. As I held my tear-soaked kids and wondered what snot was being wiped on me, I felt guilty. My kids are getting to the age that I can’t soothe every pain with the ease that I could when they got a stubbed toe at age three—and now, they’re old enough that I may not see what dangers are lurking for them. The one thing I hope is that I am being a good enough mom that they will have the good sense to escape the hawks of life, and that they will ask for help when they need it.
We all have a weakness to something. For a guinea pig, it’s the heat (how is that possible? They are from South America! It’s hot there.) For me, I like to sleep. I love sleep— it gets in the way of getting everything I would like to accomplish done. I also have a weakness when dealing with manipulative people. I don’t like it. I think I would die of exposure if I had to live in poopiness. We all have our thing.
My daughter told me she forgave me because it was an accident and she knew I was trying to do something good. My son told me that he was glad that Ricky didn’t suffer and he didn’t blame me either. I guess that is the most we can do— just do our best and hope we don’t kill the tender feelings of others. We can go through our lives and try not to cause pain purposely and when we do—we can take responsibility for it. We can apologize, and when needed, stay up late (even when we are tired) to bury the pain we cause and ask for forgiveness.
There is something else we should learn from guinea pigs— don’t walk around in your own poop. If you have read my book you know what I am talking about. What does that have to do with my story? Not much, but it’s still a pearl of wisdom.
I should mention…we have two cats they are doing well.
I’m a “working mom” and also what I call a “traditional mom”. I cook dinner, volunteer in my kids classes, and have lots of cuddle reading times!
I cook dinner almost every night because I enjoy that my family can get together and talk about the day. And also, not starve. They like to eat regularly… they are weird that way.
Notice I didn’t say “I like to cook”. I can cook. I’m a great cook. I assume that I would even enjoy doing so if it weren’t an everyday thing!
With Pinterest these days you think you are crafty until you see what others make! Then you feel like you are failing the mommy craftiness.
Also, I live in Utah. The Capitol of Mommy Craftiness. FACT!
My daughter wanted a snake party and as we discussed her dislike of cake (Hmmm?) and her love of cinnamon rolls. A crafty mommy moment came to me!
So get ready this is my first non-makeup Pinterest-ready post!
I feel pretty awesome about these and took some pictures so you can follow along at home!
Rhodes rolls– because making my own dough would be way over the top and over achiever-ish and who am I trying to impress?
Put two rolls together like this!
Flatten your dough with your handy-dandy pampered chef rolls thingy that you bought to make your own pizza dough. Because you do that. Your that domestic.
Cut in half. I used my chef knife so it would be a single cut.
Mix brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. If you want an exact amount go search Martha Stewart’s website.
Smear with butter because that REALLY does make everything better.
Sprinkle with sugar happiness and start rolling!
Now THAT’S a legit cinnamon roll!
I poked little holes because I thought it would make a cool picture. These are for the eyes!!
Cranraisen eyes! Red and very spooky.
Pan of cinnamon snake rolls! I snipped the top of the snake dough with scissors to give it scales. This is where I asked myself if my daughter would notice that she had the most amazing crafty mother or not.
A Cauldron of STEAMING SNAKES!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!!!!
Oh, not Halloween? Umm.. Okay, so I baked them at 350 for 18 minutes. Because that made me feel like I was my own woman (Rhodes rolls had to many words kinda like this blog post and I saw the numbers 15 and 20).
Cream cheese frosting required. Because cream cheese is an ingredient of happiness.
A sight that would cause Indiana Jones to squirm a tray of slithering snakes!! Just so you know they don’t actually move…
Just so you know 21 children noticed the creativeness and ate them giddily!
Leta Greene AKA: Creator of the Snake Cinnamon Roll (if someone else has done so I don’t want to hear about it I’m enjoying my creative genius moment).