my messy life

Tuesdays, 10 a.m., my house.

Wear your sweaty exercise clothes or your swanky duds, by all means bring your nursing baby or your screaming toddler, come late or leave early and settle in for an hour of honest, passionate gospel discussion and tears.

I’ve hosted scripture group at my house since I moved in over 4 years ago. We use the LDS Institute manuals and take turns leading the discussion week after week. I suppose it’s much like a Bible group in other Christian churches, except, ya know, we have twice as much to study. 😉 Our group is decidedly unacademic (we just want to apply it to our lives) and word of mouth has granted us a diverse group of savvy, funny, truly incredible women, aged 18-72, whom I adore.

Children are decidedly welcome and many weeks I have 20 little people– all 5 or under– crawling, running and swinging through the house.

I love it. I love everything about it. Besides raising my children, scripture group is the coolest thing I do. You do realize you’re invited?

But I will admit that having a house ready for visitors by 10 a.m. every Tuesday is a Herculean task. Xander has a violin lesson on Tuesday mornings and the elementary kids are left unsupervised at home until they leave for school at 9. I don’t think you need six kids to appreciate the destruction that can take place in a perfectly tidy house between the hours of 6 and 9 a.m. Truly a wonder.

The best part of my obnoxiously ostentatious house is this incredible great room that takes up 1/2 the main floor. It is foyer/kitchen/dining/music and family room all in one great open space. 90% of our waking hours are spent in this room and the open path from the front door to the back porch form a shortcut for half the kids in the neighborhood. It is indeed, the ultimate party room; and it’s impossible to keep clean.

This morning I flew in from the lesson, got everyone out the door with kisses and peanut butter sandwiches, negotiated the day’s outfit with Mary(a blog post of it’s own) and checked the schedule to see who was teaching scripture group today. NO ONE. A big fat empty hole. Yeah, that means it’s me.

So I looked around my incredibly messy great room and made the conscious decision to leave it AS IS. I did the basics: clean the toilet (ick!), move the furniture back into place (what? your furniture doesn’t get moved ALL. DAY. LONG?) and wipe the counter where my friends like to rest their books and elbows.

I did of course, steal a moment to document the chaos…

the coliseum set up in the music room, complete with zip-line

I couldn’t resist giving Zeus a ride.

Mary’s Store in the corner, where, much to the boys’ dismay, she sells their lunch supplies.

the floor– everywhere.

appropriately, Mary wore her piggy shirt. She lounges while I panic.

My friends arrived at 10 and we were so involved in our tear-filled(always), heartfelt discussion that no one mentioned the smashed cheerios in the carpet or the cereal boxes on the counter.
The hour wrapped up with cute Sam running up from the basement with blood pouring from his mouth. Mary had been demonstrating her prowess in jumping from the fireplace mantle to the bean bag and he followed with painful consequences. When will these boys learn that Mary is a terrible example?

As we mopped up blood I pointed out my messy desk to Holly (as if she couldn’t see it), “Ah,” she replied, “it’s good. Makes you seem more human.”

Her words gave me pause. Most of my scripture group friends (some live across town) see me only on Tuesday mornings when my house is clean, my outfit coordinated and my hair blow -dryed. It’s not an accurate picture of my life.

Here, amongst my blogging friends, I inevitably show you more of the sunny side of life, but I hope there’s enough honesty to keep me human. I’m not afraid to share my foibles with you.

As my friends left scripture group this morning, Mary pulled roses off my fading bushes and strew petals all over the porch and into the hall. She wanted everyone to “be like a princess on their way home.”

It’s another mess to sweep up later. But a beautiful mess, yes indeed.

November 10, 2008
November 13, 2008



  1. Alyson (New England Living)

    November 11, 2008

    So cool! I would love to be a part of a group like that. It wouldn’t be as easy on this side of the country.

    Love the mess! I SOOO relate!

  2. sarah

    November 11, 2008

    What a great thing to do on Tues. mornings despite a messy house- only YOU know how messy it really is. No one else even notices I am sure. My house looks like those pics very often. Maybe I can sneak a Tues morn in at your house when I come for Dec.

  3. Annie

    November 12, 2008

    Amen! We are sooo on the same wavelength. And now I want a study group here, too…what a fabulous idea. Do you do topics or go straight through the books?

  4. Claudia

    November 12, 2008

    I missed blood, tears and rose petals!? I knew I should have come today.

    Katherine and I were busy filming her refections entry that was due today. We’ve known about this for how long?

    Thanks for opening your home for out spiritual nourishment. It is a highlight in my week.

  5. Michelle

    November 12, 2008

    annie– yep, we just plow right through the manuals, but we do allow ourselves the freedom to just talk about one topic. Sometimes we have do do two lessons a week. Everyone gets behind in their reading during Old Testament years!

  6. jennie w.

    November 12, 2008

    You are such a lightweight! My six kids are twice as messy!

  7. duchess

    November 12, 2008

    Ahhh. I feel right at home.

  8. jess

    November 12, 2008

    i love it that you are actually human and the fact that you are ok with letting people know! makes the rest of us feel more normal (though you still fit into super-mom category in my book just by the mere fact that you have 6 kids- all the other amazing things you do just add to it!) i am so jealous of a good scripture study group – good news is we will be in utah soon enough and just might invite myself to crash yours!

  9. Linn

    November 12, 2008

    Doesn’t everyone’s house look like that? The difference is your mess is classy. Classy messes count less. That is in the rule book you know. I think I’ll work less on cleaning up and more on making my mess look as lovely as yours.

  10. Brooke

    November 12, 2008

    beautiful mess.

    i want to come! i want to come!

  11. Tiffanie

    November 13, 2008

    I can relate to the mess and the panickly feeling before people come over. People always say to stop apologizing for having 3 little ones and “living” in my home.

  12. Mitchell Family

    November 14, 2008

    So as sisters go we may not look much alike but we seem to share the same entertain in a mess gene. Though I gather from this post that you don’t often entertain with a mess. I’m afraid I do. This Sunday we had a teacher training meeting for Primary and one of my counselors introduced me to the brilliant technique of stuffing dirty dishes in the oven. Not so brilliant when I forgot to take a few out and baked them with the rolls. Ruth

  13. Natalie

    November 14, 2008

    Michelle I just want to tell you that I love LOVE reading your blog…..I actually peek in often because of the beautiful words you write AND the beautiful pictures! BTW the last post about Mary wanting a happy meal on Sunday had me laughing out loud – that is so something my girls would do. Anyways I hope all is going well and I’d love to chat sometime! It’s been awhile!


    November 15, 2008

    I love this blog!!! It’s so rich in healthy, delightful perspective and photos!!

    Thank you Michelle =)

    Love ya!

  15. Danielle

    November 17, 2008

    Oh, this post makes me feel so much better about MY messy house! Your house from what I see in the pics is always clean and beautiful, so I am glad to see you suffer from the same crushed cheerios and piles of toys/paper/crayons stashed in odd places that I do!! YAY!!! 🙂 Love reading your blog.

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