Saturday, February 6, 2016

Maui Day 2

  • breakfast at the condo
  • drive to Dumps--what on earth is up with these coconuts on the fenceposts?  (no one seems to know.)

  • Snorkel, snorkel, snorkel
Looks like this one is related to the Humu-Humu

Black Durgon Triggerfish mob

Pennant Butterflyfish


Probably a coronetfish.

  • snorkel selfie
  • no turtle till the end
  • meet the welcoming committee
  • new favorite snorkel adventure: carry water shoes in mesh bag, snorkel from Dumps to Ahihi Cove and get out there.  Walk path back to Dumps.  
  • get more groceries, buy awesome bag

  • Costco's open air food court
  • Go by the airport beach park again, darn all of the windsurfers are putting their gear away.  Learn that while Maui does not have a wild dog problem, it does have a feral cat problem.  Spot at least 50 cats in 10 minutes!
  • Miss the sunset--oops, had the time wrong!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Maui Day 1

I think it would be kindness for my Facebook friends if I didn't dump all of my Maui pictures there, so I'm going to try to do an every day or two dump here.  Maybe even with a little narrative.

Our trip started with trying to get the suitcase down below 50 lbs. Sunday night.  I'd hoped to take a thermos and hot chocolate for sunrise on the volcano but ended up being too heavy.

Even thought I was packed early-ish (for me anyway!) I had other things that still weren't done and didn't get to bed till midnight.  Then we had to get up at 2:30 to leave the house at 3 for our 5:45 flight.  One thing that was nice--there was NO traffic then, not even through the tunnel!  And the airport lines were super short.

This made me laugh at the airport.  Apparently you don't have to chug that water anymore.

I hate like anything having to get up that early, so it was nice that there was a lovely sunrise from the airplane that lasted a long time.

In San Francisco we had a yummy sourdough bread breakfast sandwich and then happily boarded the plane for Maui.  We napped and read--I read a cute little book about teenaged ninjas written by one of Cindy Lynn's friends.  Sooner than we expected we could see the island.  As an added bonus when we circled the island to come in from the Kihei side we saw 2 whales in the water below!  (no picture, sadly)

I thought I'd roast to death standing at baggage claim, which is open to the outside.  It had been cold in Oregon so I was wearing wool socks, exercise pants, and a long sleeved shirt and fleece jacket!  As soon as the luggage came we both changed into shorts, tshirts, and flipflops!  And then we drove over to this beach which is right by the airport.

Tired, happy people.

Happy feet.  (Cold water!)

Our goal was to stay awake until 8PM and then go to bed.  We ran errands, got dinner at Maui Taco and ate it at the beach, picked up snorkel gear, then went to the lookout to watch for whales and then the sunset.

I think watching for whales is a memory that will be etched in my heart forever.  The water was so beautiful, very calm with this amazing texture.  There was a catamaran in the distance, and from time to time we'd see whales.  In the background a car in the parking lot had John Denver songs playing.

Hey, it's good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend
Yes, 'n, hey it's good to be back home again

After the sunset we drove back to the condo and watched this week's Downton Abbey.  Then, halleljuah, it was bedtime!

Oh we love Maui!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Please "talk" me

Without a doubt Kate's favorite thing to do is to "talk" things.  Beanie babies and other stuffed animals, to be sure.  But also completely inanimate objects like forks or cups; anything can be "talked" in Kate's world.  (Her very favorite activity is to bring several things over to Cindy Lynn, or Jenna, or me, and demand like the pint-sized dictator she is, that we "talk" something too.


Mahon and Cindy Lynn are going to go do some training at the pediatrician's office in hopes that they can work better with some of Kate's outbursts.  It sounds incredibly high tech: the psychologist will sit behind a 2 way mirror and watch them interact with Kate.  They will be wearing earpieces and she will tell them exactly what to do or say to help them learn this technique.


Sometimes I get so frustrated--that I said something too harshly, that I couldn't think of the right response in the right moment, that I just can't bring myself to reach out in a loving way in a situation where I've felt hurt.  After Cindy Lynn told me about this training I started thinking--I want that!  Except not just for parenting, I want it for my whole life!  I want to have an earpiece in my ear. I want them to tell me what to say and when to say it, to give me the gracious words I resist, to give be a verbal kick in the butt when that's what I need, to caution me when they can see I'm headed in a direction I'll regret later.

I just need someone to "talk" me!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rainbow Day

I was walking Saturday night with my friend, waking, talking, occasionally looking at the night sky.  I glanced up and noticed that the moon looked a little odd, and as I looked more I realized what I was seeing--I don't know how, but the moon was making bits of rainbows on the pieces of clouds around it.  I pointed it out to my friend and we stopped and looked, watched the clouds moving around the moon until there was almost a full circle rainbow around the moon.  We were both awestruck at the beauty of the moment. 

After a few moments she said, "I feel like there is a message in this." And I thought, "rainbows... messages... RAINBOWS!" Until that moment I'd forgotten that it had truly been a rainbow filled day for me.  I'd snapped this picture from the plane while waiting earlier in the day to leave San Jose--a rainbow fragment in the clouds above the airport.

And while Katie and I had been driving from Santa Cruz to the airport in San Jose we had seen so many rainbows.  It seemed like every time we went around a new corner we saw another rainbow in the distance.  Twice, though, we saw a part of a rainbow that seemed to be directly in front of her car.  As we would speed toward it, it would disappear like a mirage.  It was amazing.

I stood there in the street last Saturday night looking at the rainbow around the moon and thinking that the rainbow is God's promise to us.  The thought that came into my heart was that this day of rainbows was a reminder for me that God keeps his promises--something that is a very good reminder for me right now.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The whipped cream and the mousse

I shake the whipped cream can (yes sometimes we do eat whipped cream out of a can and actually my kids loved it so much that they will spray whipped cream out of the can straight into their mouths if you can believe that!) and try to spray it on my pie, but even though it sounds like there is still whipped cream in there, nothing comes out. It must be empty, even though it doesn't sound that way.

My hair styling mousse, on the other hand, is just the opposite. I have been sure for 3 months now that it was empty.  Each time I shake the can there is a pathetic little rattle, & I think "it is surely gone, and I will have to break out that new can," but then I give it one last try, and much to my surprise out comes enough mousse to do my hair for the day.  I am astonished every time.

It occurred to me this week that there is a life lesson in this for me, in the whipped cream and in the mousse. And the lesson is this: that some situations in life are like the whipped cream. Sometimes it seems like there is something left, but that is deceptive, because it really is all gone. And sometimes situations in life are like the mousse. It seems forever like it is all gone, but there is still more left. 

I think the message for me here is about openness, about accepting that there is so much that I just don't know.  And about having a heart that is open enough to allow each situation to be what it is without judgement in the moment. That some things will end sooner than expected, and some things will go on for longer than they appear to be able to. 

My new goal: to receive what I receive with gratefulness and to focus on gratitude when something is over.  But also to realize that things are not always as they appear and those endings may not be as obvious as I am inclined to think.  Lastly, to rejoice about the extra mousse, the unexpected gift. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

This Christmas

This Christmas will always be...

The one where Mahon and Cindy Lynn (and Kate!) lived here too.

The one where Jenna got all art and cat stuff.

The one where Rachel got all batman stuff with her replacement phone.

The one where Jared guessed everything he was getting, either before Christmas day or before he opened it.

The one where Josh ordered all of his own presents (plus presents for everyone else) from China.  

The one where a grossly disproportionate number of presents under the tree were for Jason, because I mislabeled some boxes and the girls mislabeled some packages so then amost everything Jason opened was really meant for someone else.  Poor boy, present after present snatched from his hand the moment they were opened!

The one where most of what I got said "beach."  Necklace, bracelet, sweater, puzzle, all ocean themed and lovely.  

And, as I sit here thinking about it, the one where I'm not sure Russ got his big present at all.  I'll have to do some investigating after nap time.  (UPDATE--he did open it in a moment where things were a little chaotic.)

One funny story from the day so far:  My dad and Ramona sent a picture, and as I unwrapped it I looked at it and thought that I didn't know who the artist was.  But what I said out loud was "I don't know who that is."  And the kids were all like "MOM!!  That is JESUS!!"  And Jason said "I have two friends who'd love to teach you about who that is."  It was hilarious, and I will think of it as I enjoy the picture by Simon Dewey.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Be Still My Pounding Heart

I’ve heard people get up and bear testimony, saying that knew they needed to do it because their hearts were pounding so hard.  Until this month I don’t remember ever having that experience.  But this month as I sat on the bench with no plans to get up and do anything, my heart started beating so hard that I expected that Russ sitting next to me could probably feel it as well.

I used to feel a mix of compassion and interest and envy when I met people who had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Compassion and interest because I knew that their experience and transition wasn’t always easy, and envy because I was always a little envious of their chance to come to know that this was the truth.  I knew, yes, that all of us have to be converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, but that seemed to be so much easier, like starting a race from the halfway mark.

I don’t believe that anymore.  After the turmoil that I’ve seen and heard about and read about and lived in the last 18 months I don’t believe that people get a pass just because they were born into the church.  I now think that at some moment (or many moments) in time they will have to grapple with the ideas and doctrines of the church just as every new convert does.

My own experience has been unexpected and frustrating, but also interesting.  It’s been interesting to see as I’ve taken old beliefs out of the closet that is my brain, shaking them off and examining them in the light, which ones are things that I truly do believe as adult and which are things that I feel like I misunderstood along the way, things which were taught to me in error, etc.   It’s also been interesting (interesting in the abstract if I can let go of the pain of this being my experience) to see what beliefs have settled back in as a foundational part of my testimony.  

The first one is the existence of God & his son Jesus Christ.  I feel like I sing a line of a primary song over and over again, whenever I am outside or driving or noticing things in nature.  “In all the world around me.”  Again and again, whether I see the beautiful fall foliage, the mountain range, waterfall, blooming flower, I hear it in my head.  I think our beautiful world is such a gift of love to me from them.  I feel their love in the beauty of my life, in the sweetness of little Kate, in the moments that are clearly tender mercies.  Sometimes when I look at my own children and feel so much love for them I then wonder how it is that God can feel so much more for us, and I am grateful that however it is, he does.

The second one, interestingly, is the organization of the church.  It’s been over 25 years since I realized as a frustrated overworked young mother with too many callings that the church and the gospel weren’t the same thing, but that the one existed to provide a framework and to help the other function.  As I’ve been on my own personal journey, however, I’ve come to have a greater love for the church even as I have a greater understanding of it’s imperfections.  Greater love for the imperfect men who literally devote their lives (at a time with others their age are living lives of leisure) to lead and guide the church.  Greater love for the imperfect organization that helps to teach the same truths to me in Oregon or in North Carolina or in Africa.  And greater love for our bishopric who also give so much of their time and energy to help and shepherd their ward family.  I am filled with love at the idea that everyone is working so hard in their little sphere, imperfectly, because of their own desire to participate in the kingdom of God.  

There is still so much that I don’t know, but I’m grateful to feel again that there are things that I do know.  

And interestingly, once I’d finished my testimony and sat back down—my heart was as calm as it could be.  Curious indeed.