Friday, April 29, 2016

Things that make me happy

I was feeling weight down the other day and decided that it would be a good idea in this moment to make a list of things that make me happy. So in no particular order here we go:

  • flowers 
  • flowers in my yard 
  • flowers on my drive 
  • flowering trees 
  • beautiful trees 
  • trees with great shape 
  • interesting trees 
  • spring 
  • autumn 
  • summer 
  • picking berries 
  • eating Hood strawberries until I'm absolutely stuffed and can't eat anymore 
  • Cindy Lynn living in Oregon 
  • spending time with her 
  • spending time with Kate 
  • spending time with all of them 
  • Sunday dinners 
  • having all my children together 
  • taking a really good nap 
  • speaking in sacrament meeting (that may only happens every 4 years but it sure makes me happy when it does happen!)
  • The beach 
  • The. Beach. 
  • Playing in the ocean 
  • body surfing 
  • jumping waves 
  • not getting sunburned 
  • spending time with people I love 
  • playing games conversation with friends 
  • spending time with family 
  • sisters night (which seems to have morphed into Sisters nights which is a good thing)
  •  getting away from it all with Russ 
  • my bedroom 
  • my bathtub (as long as there's not a spider in it) 
  • the beautiful blue tile in my bathroom 
  • my quirky house which I have grown to love 
  • my little sewing room 
  • my awesome kids 
  • sharing spiritual moments with my kids 
  • realizing I've heard the spirit and followed a prompting
  • fireflies (aka lightning bugs)
  • lightning
  • thunder
  • downpours
  • good friends for my kids
  • waterfalls
  • did I mention flowers???
  • rainbows
  • snorkeling
  • beautiful fish
  • turtles
  • whale songs
  • the manta ray that went under our boat
  • shave ice
  • Maui
  • a good book
  • chocolate
  • more chocolate
  • old friends
  • new friends
  • really strange trees
  • my phone
  • going to the temple with Russ
  • good memories
Isn't that a great list!  This is a good time to remember all of the things in the world that make me happy...and I know I could keep the list going for a long time.

(Please note I did not include pictures.  The internet is not long enough for a picture list.  ;) )

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rebel that I am

Gretchen Rubin, one of my favorite non-fiction authors, came up with a new way to evaluate people.  She divides them into four groups based in how they respond to expectations. One group responds readily to both outer and inner expectations.  One group responds to external expectations but not inner.  One group questions everything, then if they decide in favor of the expectation they meet it.  The last group rebels against all expectations, both outer and inner.

When I first heard her talk about her "framework," as she calls it, I assumed I was a questioner.  After all I ask a lot of questions.  About everything.  But when I talked to someone else who was a questioner I could see that I was really quite different than her.  

And then one day on Gretchen's podcast she had people send in mottos they had made up for their tendency.  She read a bunch, and then read off this one:

I'm a rebel: you can't make me, and neither can I.

I can't tell you what a light bulb moment that was, and how confusing at the same time.  After all, I don't LOOK like a rebel.  I look like a normal middle aged Mormon woman.  But from the moment I heard that motto I started seeing the signs in myself.  Want to shut me down? Tell me I *must* do something.  Want to get me to actually do something?  Tell me it probably can't be done!  And on, and on.

This makes so much sense with the rest of my life, especially when you combine this rebel tendency with the fact that I don't transition from one activity to another very well.  (Something I realized about my kids when they were young and I've known about myself for years now.)  Even things that I want to do are difficult to actually get myself to do.  Remember, "neither can I."  I've found that I have to be strategic to get things done that I want to do--either by sliding into them sideways or by putting myself in the correct place first instead of expecting that I'll be able to transition from one activity to another.  It's still a work in progress, but at least I feel like I have a grasp of what the issue is for the first time ever.

One last funny bit.  I realized after the first couple of days at work that I was feeling very uncomfortable ending phone calls.  As I thought about it I realized that this was the problem--I would end the phone call by saying "Have a great day," but then I felt like I was "bossing" the person around!  Because they might not like to be told what to do!  Not sure how that will end up, but at least I know that it's ridiculous.  Mostly.  ;)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

My job (I guess I have a job!)

For several years now I've worried about how we're going to pay for the triplets' college.  Even if they're able to get partial scholarships and jobs too, they're still going to need help from us.  And help x3 is a frightening scenario.  The only thing that I could think of to work and earn money was to substitute teach, but I knew that I don't want to do that now because I'd have to leave before my kids go to school.

When this worry started coming up over and over again I made a decision.  Since it was so far in the future, and since I really didn't know what the future was even going to look like, I decided that when the worry surfaced I'd turn it over to the Lord, and ask him to guide me in the ways He knew I'd need to go.

I can't tell you how many times I've done this in the last few years, but it's been a lot.


While I was in Utah for Elise's wedding my phone rang.  It was my walking friend Lorraine.  Lorraine is a marriage and family therapist, and in her office suite she also has a naturopath and a diet clinic.  She was calling to say that her front desk guy, John, was going out of town, and she wondered if I would be willing to fill in for him for 4 days the next week.

This all came as such a surprise to me.  I'd never expected someone to just ask me to work for them.  Especially someone with such good hours-- 9-3.  I told her that I thought I could do it and then promptly forgot about it and got on with the wedding festivities.


The next week I got up even earlier than I usually do for family scriptures, and instead of going to the gym after I dropped the kids off I went to work.  It felt so strange, but within a short time (faster than Lorraine expected) I started getting the hang of things.

What was surprising to me was that I really enjoyed it.  I enjoyed interacting with the patients, I was surprisingly ok answering the phone (although I still have to stop and think about what I'm going to say because it's a mouthful), and I enjoyed the little projects that Lorraine and Dr. Sandell wanted me to work on for them.  I'd been worried that I would sit there and be bored but that didn't really happen.


At some point Lorraine told me that John was wanting to take a day off and would she wondered if I'd be interested in working Wednesdays going forward.  I thought that sounded good.  Then she decided that they were going to move to a new building, and the upshot of that was that I could work more if I wanted to.  I decided that during the school year I think I want to work 2 days/week, and during the summer just one.  She asked if I'd be willing to do 1/2 day of work at home every week on her projects and I think that will be great.


It still all feels so strange to me--like it appeared fully formed from no where.  But I'm willing to believe that maybe this is Heavenly Father guiding me and directing me to the place where we'll be able to afford having three kids in college at once.  I'm delighted with the school-kid friendly hours and the flexibility.  And surprised at how much I enjoy it.  Now if I could just get the hang of going to bed earlier...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Facebook Soulmates

Today I was sorting screenshots that were saved on my computer and I came across this series.  I usually ignore quizzes on Facebook but I had to pay attention to this one, and was so entertained by it!

The clock

True story:  long ago and far away (so very long ago!) we bought our first home.  It was a rundown brick ranch with an unfinished basement and just one bathroom.  The first year we lived there we rented the house, and then we bought it.  The bathroom had an old pink formica counter, and I was really excited when I found some wallpaper that I liked that went OK with the formica.  We put the wallpaper halfway up the walls and then had a floral border.  I made some kind of coordinating shower curtain.  And I bought this clock.  I can still remember seeing it in an Avon catalog--the water resistant clock with an optional ring to hold something like a hand towel.   It seemed perfect to me and well worth the $19 or so I paid for it. 

The clock has been off of my radar for years now--some child claimed it for the kid's bathroom, I assume to help them get to seminary on time. 

Times have changed and now no one goes to early morning seminary and everyone carries a clock in their pocket.  I'm told that the battery in this clock had been dead for more than a year and no one needs it anymore. 

I came into the kitchen one day recently and it was sitting on the island... Oh how it brought back memories of that time and place, of the little pink bathroom and my satisfaction with our first little remodel job, of the cool white clock. 
Good memories...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A new calling

For months I had this ticking clock in my head--an awareness that time was counting down to the 3 year anniversary of my calling as a Relief Society teacher. My assumption was that that meant that the relief society presidency was also paying attention and would want to release me then. Three years is long enough to listen to anyone, right?

It happened just as I had expected--I taught that 36th lesson and a member of the bishopric called me for an interview and released me.

But it also happened differently than I had expected. The newish Relief Society actually had no idea how long I had been teaching and were very sad to lose me as a teacher. And the brand new bishopric had no idea how long I had been teaching. But they had been told that the current primary pianist wanted to be released, and they decided I was the one to replace her.

That primary pianist is also the person who cuts my hair, so I learned fairly quickly that she actually *hadn't* wanted to be released and was kind of sad about it. Boy how this irritated me. I'd been on such a roll in the last year of teaching Relief Society--my lessons were really impactful. (And I say that with full awareness that the gift of teaching is totally and completely a blessing that comes from Heavenly Father had only has to do with me in that I put in the time to prepare to teach.) I was sad for that to end because of a bunch of second and third hand information that wasn't even accurate, and I felt like the calling was probably a mistake.

To be quite honest, I'm bored by playing the piano in primary much of the time. It's a bad combination of some of my personality traits combined with the particular characteristics of this primary chorister. So for the first several weeks I sat and played (and not even that well) and grumped in my mind.

A couple of weeks in, though, I noticed something interesting. At random times throughout the week I would find the words or melody of the previous week's primary song caught in my mind. I search the scriptures
I can feel his words of peace...

...listen with my heart
I hear the Savior's voice...

and after last week when they were singing the chorus of a song that's new to me,

Press forward, press forward,
with steadfastness in Christ...

...and a love of all man...

...feasting upon the word,
and enduring to the end...

As these melodies and words have gone through my brain, their little snippets on endless repeat loops, they have brought surprising peace into my heart and mind. And in the second or third week that I realized it was happening I thought to myself, hmm...maybe this was actually exactly right.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The dead plant

I was working out in the yard today, enjoying the beautiful day after way too many days of rain.  I've noticed that some of my clematis (in this their third year) have sprung into vigorous growth, which excites me to the tips of my muddy fingernails.  Others aren't quite as vigorous but are also green and growing.

As I went from trellis to trellis I noticed that one part of a plant was dead.  I grabbed the clippers so that I could trim away the dead parts.

But then as I lifted the long vine to cut it, I noticed something unexpected.  This is what was on the other end of the vine.

It was new growth, vibrant and vivid, with even the beginnings of flower buds starting.

It startled me so much that I stood there looking back and forth from the "dead" vine to the live part.  Dead, not dead.  Dead, not dead at all.

As I carefully and gently wound the vine around the trellis, I felt the spirit pointing to an important lesson, reminding me that things are not always as they seem, and that I need to be holding space for this understanding in my life.  Things are not always as they seem.  People are not always as they seem.  And what sometimes seems dead might not be.