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Sunday, January 11, 2009

My BYU/UW/Oprah essay

Here is the BYU/ UW essays for my applications. We are apparently writing a book on it. And when I say we, I mean, Julia and Mom. Anyways. What do you think?

My mother was raised with the motto, can’t never did Jack Diddly, and that pretty much sums up her child-raising philosophy. No work effort, no project was too big for her work crew (us) to accomplish. When she tells us that she expects half of this dirt pile to be moved from here to there, the house to be cleaned and us to move all the boulders to the rock wall by the end of our three hour mandatory work period, she’s serious. My mother loves organizing workers. At our first house, we were a landscaping crew. Our first task was to flatten a 7 foot berm in our backyard with wheelbarrows and shovels. I have no idea where we put all that dirt! That task seemed endless, but when it was finally finished, Mom was ready with a new project. We moved multiple dump trucks of dirt with shovels and wheel barrows. We even bought a truck just to be able to haul away the dirt. Every Friday when people asked what I was doing for the weekend, my answer inevitably involved hard labor. She may have lain awake nights thinking of new projects for her kids to complete. Just a small sampling of those projects: hand placing and leveling a patio using broken chunks of concrete, digging a septic tank by hand (moving 17 tons of medium sized river rock with wheelbarrows and shovels in the process),and pouring concrete and tying rebar to build a forty foot retaining wall. But when her fertile brain faltered, she decided we should build our dream home. A year’s worth of projects from one brainstorm! We bought a run down house on two thirds of an acre. My parents and brother worked to fix the little house so we could live in it while building behind. I became the mother, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and making sure Sophie, my little sister, had her homework done and was ready for bed. Meanwhile I had started running start, a program that allows high school juniors go to college for free and still earn a high school diploma. I struggled to keep up with the homework, get dinner on the table, keep the house clean, and help with work projects. We had three dogs in our temporary house with people constantly coming and going from the new construction, and the amount of dirt was incredible. Winter was cold, and there were endless paintbrushes to wash. If I wasn’t working on homework, I was painting the outside of the new house, cleaning the little house, or doing dishes. Late afternoon frequently found me cooking dinner with one hand and doing my homework with the other. Every night I fell into my dirty hairy bed exhausted, and woke up at 5:45 to be ready for the next day. The day that we finally moved into our beautiful new house was a wonderful one. I felt like I had summited Mt. Everest and returned safely. I maintained my grades and my love for my family grew tremendously. Looking back on that experience, I am astonished at what we accomplished. In working for my mom on all her projects, I have often failed to see the point. Sometimes it has seemed like my mom was crazy or just bored. But finally I’ve realized the great lesson that my mother wanted to teach me: that one wheelbarrow load at a time, it is possible to move mountains.

the BYU one is way shorter but has all the same words.

have a great night!

Maren ;)

p.s. i think this is my blog now... unless i can get someone else to post on it :)


Kathy M. said...

Brings to mind the old saying, "Many hands make light work." ;-)

...This is the most bizarre word I've ever seen on word verification... "flemph" :-P

Kathy M. said...
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Kristine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristine said...

It sounds great. Did I laugh? Yes. Was I touched? Yes. Did I cry? Not possible, I was too busy giggling. Alex has talked on occassion about your Mom's "projects". I have to say though - the guy is a work horse. Thanks Teri! If only he had learned how to work without complaining, that would be truly amazing.

P.S. I enjoyed the essay. :)