Thursday, September 10, 2015

Firsts and last

Let's get real for a second here and talk about marriage.


I repeat: NOT. EASY.

No, we are not on the brink of divorce (as far as I know), but things are strained. Life demands so much of us. Taking care of the kids (probably the hugest and most and most demanding thing on the list), school work, soccer, piano practice, working, teaching, church, cleaning the house, remodeling the bathroom, worrying about money, student loans, car problems, being a good spouse, grocery shopping, on and on and on. It ain't all roses and gravy.

It's been a tough year for us in the marriage department. I won't go into details, but we've had our struggles. Some things I'm to blame for, other things are just the general stress of life. Depression, mental illness, dissatisfaction with work, potty training the Zoë, dealing with fiery children...It's been a struggle.

My love for Vic is securely anchored, despite the tempests of life. I've often felt like a boat--Just adrift in this ocean of life. I get tossed here and there and never know when a storm will roll in. I think we all feel like this. We never know when lightning could strike and rip our sails and jar us off course. But I had the thought today that maybe we are not the boat. Maybe we are the ocean instead. What WE do, even little things, can change other people. If things are rocky and choppy, it doesn't mean we are the victim, the boat.  So maybe I'm not the boat. Maybe I'm the ocean.

While cleaning out our storage closet a few weeks ago (looking for birth certificates to register our kids for school) we came across a pink folder. I had no idea what a treasure there would be inside this little folder. 5 pages, single spaced, written by Vic, all about our wedding day. He sat down and typed it up the night before our wedding. It contains every detail of our wedding day, including a poem that he wrote and read to me at our wedding luncheon.

We both sat down and started rapidly reading the words coming from his heart those 11 years ago. It was tender and sweet and slightly painful. Painful because we had no idea what was in store for us. I don't think we knew how hard life could be. We have a wonderful life. We really, really do. And all in all, I think we have a great relationship. But reading his words really took me back to the beginning, to the core of our relationship. And while we have both changed in various ways and have our ups and downs, the love we have for each other in those early days is still beneath the surface of life's craziness. Here's the poem that took my breath away all those years ago: (We've talked about printing it out and framing it for years. Maybe someday I'll get around to it)

First sight, first glance
Thought I'd take the chance

First night, first drive,
You made me feel alive

First swim, same night
Laughter you ignite

First dinner, first date
First call, first kiss
Being with you is bliss

First walk, first talk
First run around the block

First trip, first sing
The CD you decided to bring

First reception, you caught the bouquet

First gift, first game
Vicky Poo is a cheesy name

First question, first fight
"Settlers" right?

First answers, first vacation
Utah, Albuquerque, the destination

First aquarium, first zoo
I love being with you

First lift, next gift
First rollerblade, first hike
We still have yet to bike

First clean, first cook
First movie, first book
First struggle...our jobs
...what next

The bar results we celebrate
Thai in the tree
The book- a surprise for me
Thanksgiving, Mexico
Our friends and the lost keys

First Christmas, so sweet
Days I'd gladly repeat

January still thinking
The break, my heart sinking

Your birthday-a bash
Pink, and in a flash
The flowers, the day-

You stole my heart away.

The song goes on.
To Idaho you were gone
My prayers, my cares,
The decision, the ring

Back to the spot
Is what I thought

First sight, first glance
This night. Our dance
Thank you for loving me

Today? Begins Eternity.

Obviously there are back stories to a lot of this poem, but I think you can still get a taste of what a deeply feeling and wonderful man Vic is.

Life is difficult. Relationships are hard. I'm glad we haven't given up. I'm glad (and I hope) there will never be a poem of lasts. Only that we will last, despite ourselves.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Luz Y Amor

It's true. I was contacted by two composers from California (who happen to be dear friends of mine and who are WILDLY talented) and asked how I would feel about turning Lucy's story/my blog into a musical. A musical? Me? Psshh. Nothing could be more fitting. And I'm telling you, these people know what they are doing. Their last musical was accepted into the New York City Musical Theatre festival and asked to stay for an encore performance. It was produced at the Goodspeed Opera house, in the UK, and at the University of Michigan. In other words--

It's going to be great. Really great. And I'm extremely honored at this opportunity.

Things are still very much in the works, but they are moving along. We are focused and committed and filled with wonderful ideas and visions. There is a beautiful song already written titled, "Fly Mommy, Fly" that is gorgeous, precious, and perfect. Vic can't listen to it without losing it.

There are far too many concepts and facets to this show to explain right now. But I will tell you that it is not just going to be Lucy's story put to music. There will be elements to the show that you may not be expecting. A huge social media component. Some characters based on YOU, my blog readers. Excerpts from comments and emails I've received. There will be an entire side to the show exploring how we are all connected in this technological age and how it affects each of us.

The title, "Luz Y Amor",  for those of you who don't speak Spanglish, is actually our Family Theme and it means "Light and Love". As you may know, both of Lucy's organ recipients are Hispanic. (and Vic is fluent in Spanish, studied Latin American Studies in his undergrad and claims he has an Argentine heart and Mexican stomach. He is also the one who convinced me to name her Lucia and not just Lucy).

Contemporary dance will be a big element to the show as well as the previously mentioned social media aspect. There will be characters you fall in love with and identify with and our hope is that everyone will walk away feeling more connected to the human family and moved to do good.

I can't wait to share more with you as things unfold. We will be workshopping it in Utah later this Fall and I will even be showcasing a song from the musical in the coming weeks at a cabaret-style event for new works in Salt Lake.

Serendipitous is the word I would use to describe all of this. Here is what the composers, Spencer and Shanelle Williams had to say about the project:

Shenelle and I are very excited to announce our new project, Luz y Amor - The Musical, based on our very dear friend's, Molly Bice Jackson and Vic Jackson, incredible and thought-provoking blog, 'Hope Smiling Brightly' 
This journey will undoubtedly take us to a new and very emotional path, but I am so excited to be able to musicalize this incredible, heart-wrenching story that has already affected people from all over the world.
Like our page, join our journey and we can all share together, because that's what this whole story is about -- creating a community of support and love in unexpected ways.
Light & Love!
Our beautiful artwork was created by: Trevor List.

THANK YOU does not adequately express the depth of my feelings to Spencer and Shenelle, as well as to all of you. Can't wait to see you opening night! (But hold on to your britches because it's going to be a while).

Thursday, August 27, 2015

{Title of Post}--can't think of one

Hallelujah! I'm back!

Remember when my shitlins spilled SEVERAL CUPS of milk INSIDE of my laptop? Well, it finally met it's maker. Yes, it died and went home to that Steve Jobs which gave it life.

But PTL (Praise the Lord), I finally got me a new MacBook Air...and I'm feeling giddy.

Where do I even begin?

Life happened. I did some stuff. Kids were crazy. Kids were cute. I slept. I ate. I cried. I laughed. Vic and I fought. We made up. We argued again over something. We made up. Same with the kids. Summer happened. It was wonderful and exhausting. My nose turned 1. The tip of it is still numb. I'm still glad I did it.

I started teaching "Let's Play Music" classes to kids. In fact, today was my very first lesson and it was a smashing success. I still have some openings in my afternoon class and I'm anxious to get them filled! Why do more people from Park City with kids ages 4-6 not read my blog? Come on. I need your kid in my class.

Some summer highlights include (but are not limited to):

-Lots of time with Bice cousins. (see Instagram)
-A trip without children to Seattle (see Instagram)
-Several TV appearances
-My parents came home from Russia! (they lived there nearly 4 years!)
-Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (Peter & Zoë)
-Several moose sightings (see Instagram)
-Had some singing gigs
-Was hired to speak at a few events

A lot of noteworthy things have happened over the summer. I've often thought, "Oh, I can't wait to blog about this." But the moment passes, and I forget. Or the photo I want to attach to the post is lost somewhere in our old computer. Most of these moments have to do with Lucy. With the way she still lives on in our family. Or the things I am still learning about life and love and sympathy and service because of her death. My kids talk about her SO OFTEN. She is part of our everyday vocabulary. They ask questions about her. It breaks my heart when Zoë thinks we are actually going to see Lucy and play with her when we mention "going to see Lucy at the cemetery."

I think the video below is a good sampling of my summer--Hiking the trails under the beautiful blue Park City sky, singing with my Zoë June about our Lucy while huffing and puffing for air. It's a beautiful, confusing, surprising life.

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Fabulouth Fourth

But for the highlight of the holiday, you must go HERE. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

To my daughters

Little Miss Lucy and Zoë June,

Before your birthday month gets away from me, I wanted to write down some thoughts about both of you to keep my birthday letter tradition alive.

Lucy, you would have turned NINE YEARS OLD this past week. 9! What a big girl you would be. How tall would you be? Would you be patient and nurturing and mommy's little helper? How sassy would you be? I try, but I just can't quite picture exactly what your personality would be. I wonder what you'd be interested in. Biking? Singing? Dancing? I know I am guilty of painting a mental picture of you that is close to perfection. You'd be helping me with the younger kids, blonde and beautiful and cheerful all the time. You'd excel in school and be kind to everyone. It's easy to do this when you aren't here. And while I know you would be all of these things, I know you'd have your struggles and weaknesses, heartaches and disappointments. I just wish I could experience it all with you. It breaks my heart. It's a pain I'm learning to live with, adapt to, but can't focus on for too long or it will get me off track with the task at hand. The task of raising your brother and sister. Man, it takes energy.

But I want you to know something, Lucy. I feel like I am finally at the stage of "accepting" that you died. Seven years later, and my head and heart have stopped fighting with the facts. You are gone. Tragedies happen in life. They happen often, and to a lot of people. And they happened to me and daddy. But this is life. We think the picnic would be perfect if it weren't for the ants and the wind, but the ants and the wind ARE the picnic. They are life. We start on a road and want things to go smoothly, for the scenery to be beautiful and the car not to have any problems. But we encounter roadblock after roadblock. "If only all these things weren't in my way, then I could keep going and get back to smooth sailing and life again." But those roadblocks ARE life. Your death IS life. It is all part of life.

Of course I still miss you. Of course I still cry occasionally and yearn to see you with your siblings, but I have made peace that you are gone...that another birthday for you has come and gone and you weren't here to blow out your candles. This is life.

And Zoë, oh Zoë--you little spit fire. You have gotten SO big. You act like a teenage girl sometimes and it kills me. The way you sing "You're going down, down, down" while strumming Peter's guitar. The way you flirt and laugh and tease. You adore your big "brudder" even though the two of you fight like crazy. Fight, play, fight, play, fight,

"Pink!" is what you would say anytime you were asked what you wanted for your birthday. You wanted a pink flower cake and mommy tried her best to make you a decent one, but I was pressed for time. Eh, you're only 3, you loved it, you probably won't remember how fancy it was. (or wasn't)

Something I truly love about you, Zoë, is how sincerely and often you express gratitude. "For ME?! REALLY?!" You get so excited about the littlest of things. You remind me that life is a miracle worth celebrating. It amazes me the way you thank me every time I get you food, or open  your door, unbuckle you, or get you dressed. You, with your cute little lisp, "Sanks, Mom." Oh, I just treasure you!

Both of you girls are absolutely beautiful. You both have/had remarkable hair, perfect pouty lips, and deep blue eyes. You are my pride and joy, my sweet June babies. My heart will surely burst the day I see you together again for the first time.

I love you forever and ever,


Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Took a trip to the big apple and bean town last month. 

It was heavenly. 

Saw friends. 

Saw shows. 

Saw friends in shows. 

Ate food. 

Walked A LOT.

Tried to get into Jimmy Fallon show. No go. 

The weather was heavenly. 

I loved spending time alone. It fed my soul like a redneck at Chuck-a-Rama. 

Took a bus to Boston. 

DELIGHTED in my nephew and niece. 

Went to a rock show that my brother judged. 

Walked around the historic city, as usual. 

Breathed it all in. 


Wonderful brother. 

Amazing sister in law. 

Laughed a lot. 

Cried some. 

Missed Lucy. 

Went to hot yoga with brother. 

Went on some runs. 

Walked the Minute Man trail in Concord with Vic's cousin and wife. Love them. 

The weather. Did I mention it? 


Lost 6 pounds. Have gained it all back. 

Felt cute.  Loved wearing my new white, high-top Chucks. 

Had a great time. 

Missed Vic. 

Was a champ on the flights, mostly. (We've talked about the fear of flying that I have developed after Lucy died, haven't we?)

Want to travel the world every second. 

Love my family and friends. 

LOVED the musical "Something Rotten". LOVED. 

Seeing a bestie dressed as a gorgeous woman in drag in "Kinky Boots" was a trip. He was fantastic. 

I laughed. I cried. It was better than "Cats."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Because You've Told Me I can't Quit


I'm busy. So busy. Yet, what am I doing? I don't really know. My life involves a lot of cleaning and running around, feeding little mouths and trying to be a good wife (have we talked about how hard marriage can be? HAVE WE??)

This blog is nowhere close to the top of my "to-do" list or even on my radar. But you crazy, awesome, wonderful readers and friends write to me and tell me to keep going. So here I am. I'm interested to see what is going to come out of my heart.

For starters, we just survived the 7 year mark of Lucy's death. SEVEN. YEARS. I have lived for 7 years without my dear daughter. Zoë and Peter have lived their entire lives not knowing their magnificent sister. Yes, it still hurts. Yes, we still cry tears and are in disbelief at times that she is not here, our firstborn and radiant blonde cherub. But you know what? We aren't the only ones to have lost a child. We aren't the only ones to lose a loved one, to grieve, to sorrow in our hearts. Whether its a death, infertility, divorce, depression, hunger, abuse, or hopelessness, the entire human family will not come out of this life unscathed. Our situation is not unique. This is something I've learned since Lucy died. There is no fairytale ending or happily ever after, there is only learning, growing, forgiving, and loving. And it's WORK. But I am not afraid of hard work.

Speaking of work, I'm in the middle of several exciting projects. If you follow me on Instagram (@smallyspice) you know that I recently certified to teach "Let's Play Music". (this program is seriously too legit to quit). I will be teaching ages 4-6 in the Fall in Park City. Please send students my way! I'll be doing free sample classes at the end of June if you'd like come see what it's all about.

I have some other projects up my sleeve that are keeping me either busy or stressed thinking about how they should be keeping me busy.

Most of my energy the past few weeks has been spent "in my head", a mental battle of self improvement and awareness.

Today, I was introduced to the blog A Blog About Love and have been devouring it. The passion with which the author blogs reminded me how healing and therapeutic sharing on here is for me. So though I didn't share anything too specific or profound, it's helping me sort through my thoughts and feelings.

Much more to share later. So much more. Until then, take care of your heart and your loved ones and don't be afraid to work. You can't quit either.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I believe in Angels

If you believe in nothing else in life, believe in angels. Believe in love and humanity, compassion, and the transformative power of service. I personally know a few angels and one of them is named Jennie Towery. If you have closely followed my blog, you might remember she was the Relief Society president ( the women's organization in my church) when Lucy died. She sewed Lucy's burial dress ( without being asked), organized every detail of the funeral, and even saved some of the fabric from Lucy's burial dress in case I had another girl and she made Zoë's blessing dress out of it. Every year, for 7 years now, she ties ribbons on Lucy's tree in the park, (the tree was a gift from my Peter Pan cast) as well as around our home. She even drove to my parent's house last May in SLC and we woke up to see pink Lucy ribbons everywhere. Last night, while getting ready for bed, we saw a car pull up in front of our house. Jenny and 2 of her kids were armed with pre cut ribbon,ready to decorate our house for our Lucy sweet. 

Today marks 7 years since she choked. 

Jennie was taken off guard when we opened the front door ( tears in my eyes) and although it was bedtime for the kiddos, we jumped in the car to join her at the park to tie more pink ribbons on her beautiful flowering crab apple tree. 

There is so much in life I don't know. There is so much I'm uncertain of. But I believe in visible Angels. I believe in love. I have been saved by love-- again and again

Monday, April 13, 2015

SpiderMan Party Details

I really brought my A game this year in the party department. Some years I just don't care. Buy a cake, throw up a banner, and let the kids run around and play games. But I have to say, I've really missed having home decorating and improvement projects (since we are living at my parent's place) and I threw all my creative energy into this party...and it was so much fun. Truly. I was so pleased with how it turned out and felt a great sense of accomplishment.

I wasn't trying to impress anyone or prove myself Pinterest worthy, I just felt the urge to go full out this year. I'd forgotten how satisfying it feels to be creative and see your vision come to life. I had so much fun staying up late working on the cake and all the little details.

We had a Spiderman tatto station, bags of homemade popcorn, homemade cake, cans of "spider webs" (silly string), spiderman strawberries, spiderman maze, pin the spider on the web, sprite, spiderman straws, and Spiderman rings for each boy on the cake.

Peter was in hog heaven and I think all his buddies loved it. I just wanted to share the fun. May the force be with you, or whatever Spiderman says. I'm so thankful that my son is loved by so many wonderful people.