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.  💙]

Friday, October 7, 2016

My Free Cell life

For the last couple of weeks my spare moment game has been Free Cell.  You know, the solitaire game that you played on your computer back in the early days of Windows?  That one.  I used to play a word boggle game and tell myself that I was keeping my brain sharp by playing it.  (Brains that have experienced mild traumatic brain injury might need to be exercised more.) This year, though, I grew tired of that game and started playing this one once or twice a day. 

At first I could always solve the game and send the cards automatically to their decks on top.  But then I hit one that I couldn't solve.  I could have gone on to a new deal, but instead I told the game to replay the deal and I tried it again.  And that time I figured it out.  Every now and then I have to replay a game now, and a couple of times I've had to replay one 5 or 6 times.  Eventually I've gotten it, started on a different side and worked a different way and then it finally works.

It strikes me that this is like life.  Some things don't have to be totally specific, they can go however you want them.  But some things have to be more precise, and so you have to try again and again until you get them right.  Sometimes things don't work out right and you just need the replay button, a step back to examine another way to handle a difficult problem.  When I'm playing Free Cell I don't get upset when I have to hit the replay button, I actually become more interested in the game, curious to see if I can see a new way to do it the next time.

I think I'm going to try to see if I can think of my life a little more as if it were a free cell game--less stress when I don't manage to do something the way I wanted to, more curiosity about the opportunity to try it again.  Who knows--the game could be good for my brain and my life as well.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The two year check up

Just a couple of weeks after we landed here it was time for my temple recommend to be renewed.  I had my interview with a member of the bishopric and then Russ told me that I could just come to the church on Thursday night and have my stake interview then.

On Thursday afternoon Jenna and I were out picking berries, and I was still new enough to the area that I couldn't figure out how to get from the berry farm to the church.  Which seems funny now--I can't imagine *not* knowing where to go.  But that afternoon as time was running short and I was not managing to find the church I was very frustrated.

I got to the church a little late and one member of the stake presidency, President Page, offered to stay and do my interview.  Now when Russ has a temple recommend interview it takes him about 5 minutes to answer the 10 questions.  With me it's almost never, well actually really never that way.  And it wasn't this time either.  Even though he had never seen or met me before President Page took the time to talk to me, to ask me how I was, and to listen to what I was saying.  I was an emotional mess (and a physical mess too, covered in berry juice!) and that was fine with him.  We talked about trials and how hard they are and it made me feel so reassured when he said that it was so hard for him to have a good attitude while in the middle of one.  That night I got my recommend signed, but perhaps more importantly I felt seen and heard and cared for.  I loved President Page.


Two summers later it was time for my recommend interview again.  This time I got to the church without getting lost.  This time I wasn't traumatized about moving anymore.  But this time I had a new concern, a new issue I was working through.  And once again President Page listened and talked with me about what I was going through.  I felt seen and heard and cared for.  I loved President Page.


A couple of weeks ago I got an email reminder that it was time to schedule a temple recommend interview again.  In so many ways it seems like the last two years have gone by in the blink of an eye.  The email made me think of that first Oregon interview 4 summers ago, and then of the second one two years ago.   I'm feeling at home here in Oregon now--so very happy to be able to go to North Carolina occasionally to visit, but I feel comfortable and at home here.  The issue that was bothering me two years ago isn't a problem anymore and I feel peace in my heart about it.  It feels sort of like an every two year check up, and I'm happy to say that this year I feel like I'm in a peaceful place.  Who knows--maybe I'll even have a 5 minute interview!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

This is one of those moments.

There are moments you remember all your life,
There are moments you wait for and dream of all your life,
This is one of those moments.

In one part of my brain having babies in the nicu seems like a dream, long ago and far away and fuzzy when I try to remember it. 

Another part of my brain remembers is like yesterday: going from isolette to isolette, holding each tiny baby, marveling over their tiny size.

I remember Jared wearing "real" clothes for the first time, clothes that today look like doll clothes but then were enormous on him.

And today that baby, my baby, blessed the sacrament for the first time.

Spiffy in his new white shirt and favorite turquoise bow tie, voice surprisingly calm, he did a great job and I had tears in my eyes.

Landmark moments always stand out, but there is something about hitting these landmarks with my babies.  A huge whoosh of "I can't believe we're here/how on earth did this happen" wells up inside of me every time. A combination of "how did we get here" and "I can't believe we've survived this long" and "I think this might be going too fast."

Today felt like that as I sat there and watched him and listened to him and wiped away the tears and took a mental picture.

This is one of those moments...