Friday, April 18, 2014



Something that’s been on my mind lately.  (And a lot in the past 2.5 years.)

We are so blessed because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We know God’s plan for us includes coming to earth to get bodies and to be tested.  To have trials and to grow from them. 

But I think that sometimes we start assuming that this knowledge should help us circumvent the natural processes of life.  You know, make our trials into not-trials.  Because after all we know that God loves us and that His plan (including it’s trials) are in our best interest, right?  So that pain you think you’re feeling? 

If you had enough faith,
If you had the right attitude,
If you chose to feel differently,
If you thought about things the right way,

You wouldn’t.




Pain is pain.  Grief is grief.  I remember when my mother died (when I was 30, for those of you who might be unfamiliar with the details) I thought I would die from the pain of it.  Even though I was 100% certain that I would see her and be with her again one day, it hurt so bad I felt like I couldn’t even breathe, much less keep living.  After a few days I remember thinking—if it hurts me this bad, how do people with no belief in an afterlife handle it?  Because this is almost unbearable.

I was never so grateful as when President Hinckley talked about his grief and pain after his sweet wife died.  He was very open about how difficult it was, and I felt like he was giving permission to grieve to those who felt that a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ made grief inappropriate, unnecessary, or a sign of weakness. 


Do you think you can just leapfrog over difficult feelings, covering them with a thick blanket of “I believe”?  Do you think that those feelings just go away and leave you alone?  I do not.  I believe that, to quote the title of a book written long ago (that I’ve never actually read), “feelings buried alive never die.” 

I believe that feelings have to be worked through and wrestled with and prayed over and thought about and (if you’re a verbal extrovert like me) talked about and that you may need to repeat one or more of processes many time.  I believe that the grief process is very real and must be honored and that we experience it on many occasions in our lives.  As mortals we experience so much loss beyond the “normal” things we expect to grieve for.  Loss of jobs.  Loss of health.  Loss of place and situation.  Loss of friends.  Loss of annual beach trips.  Loss of finances.  Loss of the life we thought we were going to have. 


Maybe there really are some people out there with the ability to will their inconvenient/uncomfortable feelings away.  But if there are, they are the minority.  The rest of us are going to keep having them because this is a part of mortality.  These feelings are part of what we’re learning.  How to have them.  How to deal with them.  What we can and cannot do because of them.  How to teach our children about them.  How to love each other during them.  How to support other people’s difficult feelings so that they feel the space and support to do the work they need to do.


I will be indebted forever to the people who have been with me in my feelings of the last 2.5 years.  I have learned in a new way what it feels like to be truly mourned with, and I hope I am able to show that kind of love as I go forward in my life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Celebrate the (other) Day

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite Christmas songs is a song by a group called Relient K called “I Celebrate the Day.”  I go around singing it for weeks before and after Christmas.

Today I’m singing about another day, though.  On Tuesday we went to the wedding of our sweet young friend.  I sat in the temple and watched them kneel across the altar from each other and thought that 26 years and 363 days ago it was Russ & I kneeling across the altar in the Altanta temple.  I celebrate that decision every day of my life—the decision to join my life with a man so kind and loving that sometimes I (still) have to pinch myself to make sure that I’m really not dreaming. 

So today, even though I’m driving from Utah to Washington with Rachel, Jared, Ken, Alisyn & Connor, in my heart I’m celebrating that day 27 years ago.  Kind of amazed that it feels like just a moment ago, and bemused that it can seem at the same time that we have been together forever.  And always so so grateful.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

100 Happy Days: my thoughts and the second 27 days

So I am a little more than halfway through this challenge and I’m feeling some unexpected things about it.  After all—I like taking pictures and I like being happy, right?  So what could be better than to do this for 100 days.  Right?

Except—100 days feels unexpectedly long.  Without a smart phone it requires several pieces of equipment and several steps to go from picture to email.  And do you know what?  Some days, particularly bad pms days, I don’t actually want to look for something that makes me happy.

100 happy days3

  • Day 28—valentine’s outfit for Kate
  • Day 29—hummer in the rain
  • Day 30—my homeschooled boy gets a public school award
  • Day 31—valentine’s day sunset
  • Day 32—I cleaned out the freezer!
  • Day 33—my valentine’s day flowers
  • Day 34—so proud of my wrestler, who doesn’t always win but always keeps on trying
  • Day 35—burnt food art
  • Day 36—a funny way to carry eggs

100 happy days 5

  • Day 37—I am just delighted that a vegetable like this exists
  • Day 38—this sight always makes me happy
  • Day 39—We had the honor today of holding flags at a funeral procession for a local soldier killed in Afghanistan.
  • Day 40—I don’t think I’ve ever seen a contrail’s shadow before
  • Day 41—I’m off on my first winter trip.  Hooray!
  • Day 42—Ladies from all over the country gathered for a book club reunion--complete with a book discussion both nights.  Happy, happy, happy.
  • Day 43—amazing vegas buffet
  • Day 44—after church
  • Day 45—the Vegas strip from the air

100 happy days 6

  • Day 46—beautiful stellar jay on the back fence
  • Day 47—aren’t they cute?
  • Day 48—songbirds singing in the rain
  • Day 49—blue sky in winter!
  • Day 50—a tulip from a thank you boquet
  • Day 51—one of the first signs of spring
  • Day 52—such fun!
  • Day 53—unexpected view of a tulip
  • Day 54—sunrise

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More musical happiness

The kids came home from band last week talking about a solo competition at the end of April.  They were all adamant that they weren’t going to play any solos for anything, but boy did it bring back memories of competitions from my high school days—solos, duets, and ensembles. 

I went online looking for a flute duet the girls might be able to play together, thinking that maybe they would be more willing to do something together.  I found a fun Telemann duet but when Jenna started practicing it it was harder for her than I’d expected.  (Turns out they usually only play in keys with one or two flats in band; this has 4 sharps.)  And so I told her she didn’t need to worry about it.  She decided that she liked it enough to keep working on it during her practice sessions because sometimes she gets bored with the band music. 

This morning one of the girls was practicing and I heard some running feet and the next thing I knew this is what was going on in the living room.  I knew this could be great!

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Last Saturday I was given a bunch of tulips to thank me for teaching a class.  I brought them home and set them on the island even though it was very messy.


These tulips are from a farm about 2 miles up the road and they are supposed to behave differently from tulips you’d buy at the grocery store—including that the stalks can continue to get taller.

I have loved watching the flowers throughout the week.


But this morning when I came in I saw something that startled me.


That last one was totally nekked!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Some things are not meant to be resisted…

Kate on video chat, for instance.  Especially since she now clearly knows what the word “smile” means and shows it to us liberally.


Or this tshirt that I just ordered from Old Navy for Jared.  And one for each of the girls as well, because…I just couldn’t help it.  It just seems tailor made for our family…

1 old navy

Monday, March 10, 2014

One-upmanship at the dinner table

Josh happened to mention at dinner tonight that it has been 8 years since Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter died.  We talked about him for a few minutes and then Josh took exception to something that Rachel had said (no surprise there) and started telling her how much less important she was than Steve Irwin. 

Actually, I interrupted, Rachel is more likely than any of the rest of us to have something named after her.  After all, we already have Rachel Ray knives


and a refrigerated Rachel Ray bag.



Well, Russ interrupted, he has ice cream named after him.  He has an entire line of stuffed animals named after him.

Cubby the bear Russ Berrie

He has *chocolates* named after him.


Well…sort of named after him…


Then Jared interrupted for his turn.

I, he informed us, have my own jewelry store.


And (and you could tell he knew this was the kicker)


My brother is in the Book of Mormon.


Well how can you top that???


And then just because we were having such a fun dinnertime the kids started singing one of their band songs.  They do this from time to time and I have to think this is one of the best parts of having three kids in the same band.  I bribed them to keep doing it when I got out the camera…

Fun night!!  (Even if dinner was 2 hours late because of daylight savings time!)