Thursday, May 18, 2017

The tank top miracles

I always wish I could really see all of the places where the Lord touches my life, see and feel and understand which bits were evidences of divine love.  Would I be surprised?  Have I recognized many already?  Are there so many more I'm not seeing?

I wonder.

Sometimes something will happen and I'll think that it was a convenient coincidence...but then sometimes something else will happen that, for me anyway, solidifies the situation as a Tender Mercy.  Like the tank top miracles a couple of weeks ago.

My car accident shoulder has been bothering me this year.  Not in an every-minute-of-the-day kind of way, but at night and with some kinds of movement.  One day I was at work and mentioned to the naturopath that I probably needed some acupuncture on my shoulder.  A couple of hours later she came out of her office and said that she'd had a cancellation and could do it that afternoon after I was done working.  As I was sitting on her table and she was getting ready to start I had a little sinking feeling...she was going to need me to take my sweater off to access the front of my shoulder and that was going to make me uncomfortable.  But then just as quickly as I had that thought, I had another one.  In an unusual turn of events I was wearing a tank top under my sweater!

That morning I'd picked a v-neck sweater to wear and had wondered if it would be a little too low, so I'd also grabbed a tank top to wear under it even though in the back of my mind I knew that I regularly wore it alone.  Who knew how grateful I'd be for that tank top just a couple of hours later!

I think I told Jared about what had happened later when he asked me how my day was.  I told him I thought it was probably a tender mercy, and how grateful I'd been to have the tank top on under my sweater.


About two weeks later I was at work again and my shoulder was bothering me again.  I had to reach under the desk to pull out a plug and re-plug it and the action of reaching was seriously painful.  When I mentioned it to Hilary she told me that she had an opening on her schedule again that day.  (I should mention that both of these last minute openings were highly unusual, she's often booked out a week in advance.)  So once again I found myself sitting on her table, having that sinking feeling about needing to take my sweater off, and once again in EXACTLY the same way I realized...I was wearing a tank top!

It had happened in just the same way.  I had taken down another v-necked sweater that I regularly wore alone, been concerned that it would be too low, and put on a tank top first.  I hadn't even thought about it after that because (as it always does) within a few minutes sweater pulled up in front and the tank top wasn't even visible.

Sitting on the table in Hilary's office I happily pulled off my sweater.  But part of my brain was on fire.  "Did you SEE that?!?" it asking.  "Not once, but TWICE!"  Those random thoughts in my head (that really do sound like every other thought I've ever had) nudged me towards the tank tops, on days when having a tank top on was going to bring peace to my heart.

Tender mercies indeed.

Election Fallout...

I just saw a post on facebook talking about someone having a hard 2016 and feeling like they were still recovering from the last year.  I'm still not over 2016.  One of the parts of my life that seemed relatively stable last year that I didn't think needed that much worry (beyond the normal amount, anyway) was Cindy Lynn's health status.  I never expected the election would go the way it did, putting her access to healthcare in jeopardy.  That in and of itself is traumatic, but what's been worse has been the almost absolute silence from all of our family members.  I feel like I don't even know how to process it. I'll work and work on it and get to a place of calm (not necessarily peace, but at least neutrality) and then it will come up again in Washington and start all over again in my heart.  I normally chat with my sisters in a group chat at least several times a week--after the election I didn't feel able for almost 2 months.  I have felt so betrayed on so many levels.  And while I'm succeeding at surrendering to some of the difficult situations in my life, surrendering to the idea of my precious child not having access to the life saving medical treatments she needs...I just don't know how to do that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Calling Thoughts

I'm not sure if you know this about me, but I don't do change well at all.  Not in any area of my life, really.

One place I'm almost always resistant ​to change is in my calling at church.  Even when I feel like I've had plenty of warning from the spirit that a change is coming (which, interestingly, has happened when I've had callings that I've loved--isn't it nice of Heavenly Father to have given me a heads up?) I've still struggled with the change.  And even when I've had a calling I haven't loved (bored behind the piano much???) I haven't handled change well.

Some of my less graceful responses to callings have included "no one cares about that calling" and "you want me to do what??" But despite my issues with change in general and with being asked to do something I don't want to do, I have a multifaceted testimony of callings.

I remember when I was called to be the Laurel advisor many years ago.  It was the first time I really saw that there was power in being set apart. I walked into the Bishop's office, was set apart, and walked out loving Brandi Butler.  And not because Brandi was easy to love, but because the spirit changed my heart.

Last year when I was called to play the piano in primary I wasn't thrilled about it.  It turned out to be a good experience in several ways, though. Yes, I was bored a good amount of the time.  (I'm not really good at doing a mediocre job of something while watching someone else do a mediocre job of something I'm terrific at!) But I was surprised at how often the primary songs would be in my mind, bringing peace though a difficult time in my life.  Best of all, being the pianist occasionally meant I got to sub as the chorister, including teaching one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs to the primary kids last year. 

At the beginning of this year I was asked to be the assistant Mia Maid advisor.  The calling was presented in the least attractive way possible and I responded with my usual lack of graciousness.  I was especially unhappy about having to go to YM/YW on Wednesday nights since I work on Wednesdays.  And it's true, I am tired and have to take a nap between work and YW and we often eat leftovers that night.  But it's also amazingly true that I'm actually enjoying myself, and loving these sweet girls who I had mostly never noticed before. 

We have a terrific home teacher.  He's retired now but has been a super successful businessman, a stake president, and a mission president.  I noticed recently that he must have a new calling, probably something like Webelos.  Every week when I get to the church (a few minutes late, of course) I see him in a room with the boys. Maybe he loves doing it.  But really there's every chance he doesn't, or that he didn't when he was called.  I'm inspired by his service at what is a far more taxing calling than either playing the piano or being the assistant Mia Maid advisor. 

So this is my goal, for next time.  To do a better job of keeping the "I hate change and am sure I will hate this calling" freak out inside my head, and give the Lord a chance to show me how wrong I am yet again.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Best and worst of 2016

In the category of "better late than never."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Band and letting go

When we moved to Oregon and the kids could go part time to school and the 6th grade had a band it was like a long time dream come true for me.  I have loved their band experience.  The two flutes of my fantasies and a fun saxaphone as well.

They all enjoyed band in middle school.  Especially in 7th grade when their band director was a lot of fun.  I loved it when I could see them during a concert.  

They all played their freshman year at Glencoe.  What's not to like about teens in formal attire, right?  

But that's where the one-band-path stopped.  Jenna wanted to play her flute again this year.  (Yay!)  Jared (who had hated marching band with a passion) chose to be in 0 period Jazz band instead of regular band, so that the marching band issue wouldn't be raised.  And Rachel wanted to take other classes, so she dropped band altogether.  

It hurt my heart, but I knew she needed to make her own decisions.  As great as released time seminary is (and it *is* great!) it takes the place of one elective.  I could understand that Rachel wanted to have another elective class instead of having both of her electives taken by seminary and band.

Now Jared is talking about not taking jazz band next year.  He's really enjoyed it, but it does mean that he has an early start 4 days a week.  And once wrestling and lacrosse start, he's so busy every afternoon and evening.  I can tell that the schedule is wearing on him.

It's not like they were ever going to be professional musicians, I need to remember that.  It's provided them experiences and memories that they will always have.  I just need to keep remembering that it's their lives, not mine, and be grateful for the years of band we've had.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Reading the Book of Mormon

Four years ago I wrote about my super slow scripture study program.  At the beginning of 2016 I felt like I should read the entire Book of Mormon during the year, so I abandoned my slow study somewhere in 2nd Nephi and embarked on a different experience for the year.  On December 30th that I finished the "Read the Book of Mormon in 1 year" challenge. That is much faster than my typical scripture reading, but it was a good experience. It reminded me that over the last few years when I've felt like I've known few things, I've known that I love the Book of Mormon, that it helps me feel the spirit, and that my life is better when I read it.

The interesting effect of having just pushed through and read the assigned amount every day (almost) for the year is that by the end I was desperate to be able to slow down and read more about different verses, figure out what they meant or how they were meaningful.  2016 made me excited to go back to reading slowly again.  Back to 2nd Nephi I go!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Love (2.0) and Friendship

[a moment of silence please to appreciate my clever Jane Austen reference in the title...]

Last week I finished a book called "Friendship for Grownups."  It didn't say anything I didn't already know, but was a good reminder of the importance of friendships in a woman's life.  When I finished the book I started thinking about friendship in my life right now.  I feel like I'm in a strange place, caught in between the demands of my life, the needs of my family, and the amount of energy I have available.  Friendship looks different to me right now than it did before we moved to Oregon.

I decided that I would pray for guidance to know if there's more I should be doing now in the area of friendship.


I was at work on Wednesday and two patients were waiting by my reception desk.  I had been chatting with one of them and she made a comment about not liking to backtrack when she was out running errands.  That made me laugh, because I HATE backtracking!  I've recently been fussing at myself for being so neurotic about it, and have tried to tell myself that if I have to drive in the direction that I just came from all will not be lost.  When I told her that I hated backtracking too, the other woman started laughing and said that she was the same way!  We talked for a few minutes about how crazy this thing makes us and how our husbands (mostly) don't understand, and we laughed and laughed.


Wednesday after work I was at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned.  The hygienist was super chatty which was fun except that it's hard to have a two-way conversation when you're having your teeth cleaned!  At some point she was telling me that she has a problem with sounds, and she started describing some kinds of sounds that bother her.  (The bathroom fan, her always-drumming-on-something husband.)  When she next had her fingers out of my mouth I said, "I'm just the same way!  I hate repetitive sounds, and almost all sounds when I'm tired."  Then I told her that I had learned about a syndrome called misophonia, sometimes thought of as a hatred of sound.  We talked about the sounds that make us crazy and how frustrating this is our lives.


When I got home and was thinking back over my day, still feeling some of the emotions of the day, I had a memory.  In the first year or so that we lived here I read a book called Love 2.0.  The author (a professor at UNC) redefines love not just as a something that we're depending on our significant others to provide for us, but also as micro-moments of connection between people—even strangers.

When that came to mind I had an ah-ha moment.  I hadn't thought of the Love 2.0 micro-moments in a long time, but I realized as this came to my mind that I'd had two significant Love 2.0 moments that day, moments that had been fun, joyous, in the one case filled with laughter (it's too hard to laugh much when someone's hand and a sharp object are in your mouth) and in both cases really satisfying.  


I think this was an answer to my prayer--not just having these two experiences in the same day, but also having such a clear recollection of them instead of them just being rolled into the detritus of the day, and then having the memory of the Love 2.0 book.  I think this answer was showing or reminding me that there are different kinds of connection that can be emotionally satisfying in my life.  It's definitely something I need to keep praying about, but I love seeing this answer.