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.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Magic connections

There's some magic in a real connection, I think.  You can't guarantee it will happen, you can't make it happen, you can just hope.  A lot of the time Russ & I live our lives in our normal pattern.  Normal hugs before and after work, normal kisses in the kitchen, normal conversation about what just happened or what's coming up.  But sometimes, usually later at night, magic happens and there's a different connection, a connection beyond the mundane.  Then we talk and talk and talk.  Work issues and resolutions, interactions, stories, frustrations, laughter about excel files that are just moments from becoming sentient.  Laughing and listening and knowing that we're going to really pay for this late night tomorrow, but always so glad it happened.

You can't make it happen, I've tried before.  That's how I know that when it does happen it's magic.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

math lessons
(learned the hard way)

in math

but sometimes
where x=what i need
and y=what you can give.

i have learned
it does no good
trying to change
what is.

if you cannot
change y
i cannot
change x
it might be better
to set that
for now.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cindy and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

I got up too late to eat breakfast before I left.
I forgot to take my water bottle into the gym.
I got a headache from exercising.
I bought Greek yogurt at Fred Meyer to get rid of the headache but then spilled some of it on my exercise pants.
When I got back to the car after buying Rachel's marker at Michael's the car wouldn't start.
Russ didn't answer his phone...
When I went to Les Schwab to get a new battery there was a long line and the tire smell in the store was so strong it made my head hurt more.
Russ didn't answer his phone...
I stayed up too late and am tired today.
The house is a mess and I'm too tired to clean so I'm going to take a nap instead.
Some days are like that, even in Australia. 
[So glad my period waited to start until I was home!!!]

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Scripture power

For years and years I resisted having family scriptures in the morning.  Resisted with all of my might and strength and sleep.  And then the year before last I gave in.  We were consistently NEVER remembering at dinner and I wanted family scriptures more than I wanted that additional sleep.  But it always killed me to get up.

As we've had morning scriptures for the last two years I've been really surprised at how much I've liked the feeling of doing it, regardless of how tired I've been.  I've liked the *feeling* of being together in the morning, studying God's word for us before we start our days.

But this school year is killing me worse than normal.  I'm not sure if it's working two days a week now or what, but I just can't find my balance.  I'm out of both physical and emotional energy long before bedtime many days, always on the verge of depression, always worried about getting sick.

It finally occurred to me that now that everyone has smart phones with all of the stellar reminder features, we could go back to trying at night.

And do you know what?  A part of me resisted.  Because of that great morning feeling.  But something has to change in order for me to survive this school year.  So...

For the last couple of nights we've had family scriptures about 9:30.  And do you know what?  I've *loved* it!  The cozy feeling of our family gathered together at the end of our day reading and/or listening to God's word for us.  What a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mourning with those that mourn

We were startled to see the news a few days ago that Jon Schmidt's daughter was missing in the Columbia River Gorge.  We've loved Jon and the rest of the Piano Guys for years now and this was so sad for all of us.  For a couple of days there was a big search and rescue operation with planes and drones and dogs, but nothing was found.  Two days ago her mother announced that they thought she must be dead. (She had been missing a week at that point, a week with lots of rain and cold night temperatures.) The official search was called off but now an unofficial search is looking for her body. 

Yesterday I happened to get an email from someone who knew someone who was collecting food donations to take to the search location.  I often wish I could help when there is a tragedy, esp when it touches someone I know or admire.  This seemed like a great opportunity and we had just a few hours available to do something for family night last night. 

First I forwarded the email to the women in my ward to see if anyone else would want to contribute.  Then Russ, Rachel, and I started cooking while Jenna and Jared did homework.  Russ made a batch of homemade wheat bread.  Rachel made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a batch of my recent favorite, chocolate chocolate chip cookies.  I made a triple recipe of chili to cook overnight in the crock pot.  We worked for several hours while women in our ward also came and dropped things off. 

In the end no one will ever know what we did.  But what matters to me is that we know.  We know that there was a real need--their need to have supplies and our need to show love.  I feel great about having taken time out to do something for them.

[I've had this glass gallon jar sitting around the house for a long time.  I used to use it for sugar but we sized up to bigger containers (so many cookies being made!!) and didn't need it.  I couldn't just get rid of it because my parents used to use this jar to get milk when they got milk from a local dairy.  (Back when my dad used to say that they drank skim milk because they skimmed the cream of the top!) The chili was still really hot when it was time to take it and so my idea for transport wouldn't work.  Then I thought of mom's gallon glass jar and it seemed the perfect use.  💙]