Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This Will I Do...

The other night in a post on our Scripture & Prayer Facebook page (a wonderful group that has provided such inspiration to me already this year) my friend Amy mentioned that her brother had been in an accident and that prayers would be appreciated.  In the comments that followed she said something that has stayed with me,
"Of course there have been lots of tender mercies and miracles along the way, as with most horrible things."
I loved that observation because I have seen the truth of it in my life--when Russ was laid off we did see tender mercies and miracles.  I held onto them tightly, trusting that they must mean that God was aware of us and had a plan.  And when we have watched our friends and families experience trials we have seen these mercies and miracles as well.

Yesterday morning I was listening to President Eyring's talk from the women's broadcast for my personal study.  He told a poignant story of meeting with a family who's young son had died in an accident, and then he compared the experiences that they were having to those we read about in the Book of Mormon.
"You remember in the Book of Mormon when His people were nearly crushed by the burdens placed upon their backs by fierce taskmasters.

The people pleaded for relief, as many of those we love and serve do. Here is the record, which I know is true:

“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.""

As I listened to him read that verse, it went into my mind and heart differently.  Usually I hear the first part of the verse--the promise that He would ease the burdens that these righteous people bore.  But yesterday it was the second part of the verse that burned into my mind as I made the connection between his story and this scripture and Amy's comment.

"...this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, 
that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."

I've wondered about these little miracles, these tender mercies.  I've noticed them and I've appreciated them and I've been touched by them and my faith has been strengthened by them.  But I think that until this moment I've missed out on this great truth --
that God eases the burdens that have been put on our shoulders because He wants us to know that he is with us in our afflictions. 
He wants us to know he is here.
I love that.

PS--just read this on another blog and thought it was perfect: When you see God's blessings in your life, you have to write it down. You have to. Because sometimes you forget how aware He is. Sometimes you feel forgotten, like things will never work out. But when you return to stories like this, you remember. A knowing washes over you. An understanding that He sees your life and is a part of it.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Found Poem

There was a blog post at Segullah this week that linked to another blog post.  The author of the Segullah post took a paragraph from the other post and lined it out as poetry.  I have read it every day this week, multiple times.  This is the story of my last 3 years.

Walking in faith
through hard things,
while acknowledging they’re hard,
is beautiful.
There is a vulnerability in
taking off
the mask of positivity and
allowing yourself
to feel what you
The irony is, God knows anyway.
We’re only fooling
and each

Friday, March 27, 2015

Dear Mom

When Cindy Lynn was little I'd often call my mom (back in the days when long distance cost a fortune!) and when she answered the phone I would start by saying "I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry for driving you crazy."
"I'm sorry for asking you 'why' over and over and over again."
"I'm sorry for any time you sewed something for me and I didn't like it."

Today is one of those days, and since I don't have a mom to call or email I am just going to write my letter here...
Dear Mom,

I'm sorry for being a teenager.  I'm sorry for every time I pushed you and rushed you and spoke to you in my snippy angry voice.  I'm sorry for pouting and giving you the silent treatment and for slamming the door and walking off without saying goodbye.  I'm sorry that I didn't realize that you were also a human being trying to figure things out from day to day.  I'm sorry that it never occurred to me that you might be tired or overwhelmed.  Thank you for providing food for me every single day.  Thank you for taking care of the millions of things that had to happen to keep our family running.  Thank you for teaching me and helping me and putting up with me and continuing to love me, even though.  I am only now realizing how hard it must have been sometimes.


Thursday, March 26, 2015


In our first few years of homeschooling we studied Greek & Latin root words, learning how different roots could be mixed together to form words we know today.  One of the words I've always remembered and loved from that time is phototropic.  

From the Greek photos: LIGHT
From the Greek tropos: TO TURN

So phototropic means "tending to grow or move towards light."

In Moses 6:63 it says, "all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual".  Lately I've been listening to BYU devotionals and it delights me when I hear a chemistry professor or an engineering professor talk about how their studies testify of or teach them about God and his plan.  

I've felt the same way every time I've walked out of my front door this past week as I witness phototropism in action.  

I think that "all things bear record" of Christ in different ways.  Some show us one thing about the gospel and some show us another.  Every day these tulips, all bent towards the sun, show me the way I should live.  That I should be reaching and straining and moving myself towards the son--because getting the most son possible will help me to be healthy and vibrant.

Thank you, beautiful tulips.  I need all of the reminders I can get...

Monday, March 23, 2015

What we're watching

For not being a tv watcher I'm watching more tv right now than I have for most of our married life.  Part of it because Russ & I have a few shows that we watch together for "dates" and part because it turns out I'm a lot happier about making dinner when I'm entertained while doing it!  I thought it would be interesting to preserve this moment in time...I'm sure in a decade we'll laugh to think about what we watched.

With the kids:

One of my friends had mentioned a few years ago that she was watching Parenthood while exercising.  I had been curious about it before because I noticed that the actress from Gilmore Girls was in it. (Gilmore Girls will forever be the backdrop of 2006 because I watched all however many seasons  while I did all of that sewing the year Cindy Lynn got married.)  So one day I pulled up the pilot episode of Parenthood as I started cooking dinner.

(One of the great things about our house is that the cooktop is on the island and faces towards the tv, which makes it easy to watch something & work.)  

I enjoyed the show enough to keep watching, but what was funny was the pretty quickly Jared and then Rachel started watching it with me.  This made things more complicated since during wrestling Jared was gone M-Th until 5 and on Monday and Thursdays Rachel left for colorguard at 4:30.  This made it so that there were only a few times a week that we could watch an episode together, and neither of them wanted me watching without them.

We're almost to the end of the show now--I think we have 4-5 more episodes.  I've laughed with Russ that EVERYTHING happens to this family, and it appears that will continue to be true right down to the end.  The thing that I love about Parenthood is the depiction of the family.  I joke that it's clear that these people aren't Mormon, because they wouldn't have so much time to hang out together if they were.  But I love the idea of a family that functions like this--that picnicking in the yard under twinkle lights, siblings meeting up at the diner for breakfast, being there for each other in hard times and good ones too, arguing and apologizing.  I love the love that I see in this fictitious family.

One day something happened to Jenna and so I had to take her to the doctor at Intel.  We had to wait quite a while and the tv in the lobby was playing this show called Love it or List it.  There were only 15 minutes left in the show when they called her in to see the doctor and we both were crazy curious to know what happened in the end.  I searched and searched and searched and searched, and finally managed to find which episode we'd been watching, and eventually found that I could pay to watch it on Amazon.  Which I promptly did--it was totally worth it to find out what had happened!

In the process of my searching I had seen that there were some episodes of Love it or List it on Netflix, so this became our backup dinner prep show.  If one of the kids was gone and we couldn't watch Parenthood, we'd watch an episode of Love it or List it.  We've watched enough episodes now that we know what a decent remodel budget is and when people are asking for more improvements than their money will buy.  We know that there will always be some major house problem and that it's very likely that one of the spouses will be negative about everything.  And we know that houses cost a TON in Toronto, even more than where we live.

(Apparently they started filming Love it or Leave it in North Carolina last fall--we can't wait to see those!)


With Russ:

You know how there are those moments when someone shows that they really know who you are?  Downton Abbey has been one of those moments for me.  Several years ago Russ came in and said that he had a show he thought I would enjoy watching.  He pulled it up and we were fans from the get-go.  Sometimes we've rolled our eyes at the melodrama of it all, and some of the storylines we haven't enjoyed, but we've always enjoyed this peek back in time at a very different life.  For a while Josh watched it with us and always said something about how he liked it more than he expected to, which is a ringing endorsement from him! It's been a fun Sunday or Monday date night for several years now. We were so sad to hear the recent announcement that next season will be their last.  

I'm not sure when Russ started watching the Amazing Race, but several years ago I started watching it with him and it became our Sunday date night.  Now we both love watching the teams fly all over the world doing crazy tasks to try to win a million dollars.  Frequently I apologize to him that we can never be on the Amazing Race, but I know that doing *anything* without enough sleep and food is a recipe for disaster in my body.  Instead we'll have a great time watching.

True confession.  When I first heard about Survivor I thought it was evil.  It seemed to me that the show was designed just to turn people against each other, and that seemed terrible.  At some point I decided to watch it and I was quickly hooked.  I don't enjoy the social part of the game very much, but the "challenges" each week are such fun to watch.  Russ & I have often talked about how much fun it would be to be on the Survivor crew and get to build all of these sets for the different challenges.  Plus the location is usually tropical and we always love to see the ocean, waves, and sealife.  

One year I watched a season of Survivor while doing a lot of sewing.  I am ashamed to say that the triplets could identify each person on the show and intelligently discuss how they were doing.  At that point I was certain that we had been watching too much tv!


By myself:

At Christmastime when I was working long hours on the girls' dresses I needed something to watch to keep me going.  But it had to be a certain kind of show--it had to meet all of my regular criteria (decent, not gross, interesting enough) but it also had to be something that would still entertain me even if I wasn't looking at the screen.  Numb3rs turned out to be great for this--I went long stretches of time without doing more than glance at the screen, yet I always was able to keep track of what was going on and the storyline kept me interested.

My fallback when I'm sewing alone is a very old videotaped from tv copy of the BBC Pride & Prejudice.  Every year at Christmas while I'm sewing I also watch You've Got Mail and It's a Wonderful Life, and sometime during the year I watch Emma too.

So there you have it, future self or future family, a moment in time of our tv viewing habits...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Across the Divide at last!


Several weeks ago I was out somewhere and had a distinct thought come into my mind.

"I've finally crossed the continental divide."

When I went home and shared that thought with Russ he laughed and said "You did that almost 3 years ago!"

"Physically I did," I agreed, "but mentally & emotionally it's been a much more recent event."


I've been thinking about it off and on since then, trying to analyze where this thought came from and what exactly it meant.  If I remember it came on a sunny day, which we've thankfully had a lot of this winter.  (And last winter, but our first winter here seemed almost unbearably gloomy.)  I think it came the week after we'd had Kate here to babysit and I was still enjoying the memories of getting to spend so much time with her and thinking about what a blessing it's been to be closer (than North Carolina) to them.  And I'm pretty sure it was right after I dropped my kids off at school, which has been such a good experience for them.

I've wondered if I'm just weak for taking so long to acclimate emotionally but today I read an interesting comment on a random blog:
 At some point after an event causing great pain, e.g., a divorce or the death of a parent, we need to be able to get on with it. Some research, from several decades back, indicates that the length of time that this takes for most people on average, is about three years. "

So maybe I'm just really normal.  (It would be nice to think that, wouldn't it?)  Whatever the explanation, and however much I will always love and miss North Carolina, I'm almost unbearably grateful to feel this transition within me.  To have more peace and less heartache in my life here.  To be starting to feel a part of things.  To see my children thriving.  

Thank goodness for the passage of these 3 years...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mormons can be Buddhist Too

Many years ago we watched a fun Mormon movie called "Sons of Provo": a mock-umentary about a boy band.  One of the quirky characters in the show proclaimed that Mormons can be Buddhist too.  I've laughed off and on about that through the years.

But last week I decided that maybe this Mormon can be Buddhist too.

Several months ago a friend in the ward asked if I wanted to go to a conference in Utah with her.  It was a hectic time--we had just been to Utah for Russ's mom's funeral and I was trying to get over that trip and get ready for Thanksgiving, so without understanding a whole lot about it I agreed to go.  We found very inexpensive flights and I figured whatever it was, it wasn't going to be too expensive.

But then the worst thing happened.  Her mother in law died and instead of going with me, she went to Florida for a funeral.

Except that it wasn't the worst thing.  I thought to ask my dear friend Susan if she could do something so spontaneous as come down to Utah to go with me.  And much to my delight she was able to come for 2 nights and a day.  We had such a wonderful time together.  (Except for that one time when we walked to and from City Creek Mall for lunch and we were absolutely freezing to death with no coats.  That was not such fun.)  All of it never would have happened if my Oregon friend had been able to come.

But then the worst thing happened.  She had to go back to Idaho Falls to be in charge of something that was happening in her stake.

Except that it wasn't the worst thing.  In the two days that I was alone I met such interesting people and had really wonderful connections and conversations with them.  Things that never would have happened if Susan had still been there.

I was sitting after lunch on the last day, filled with happy energy about all of the things I'd been learning and thoughts I'd been thinking and conversations I'd been having.  I laughed at how "the worst" thing kept ending up not to be a bad thing at all.  And in that moment I thought that perhaps I needed a little Buddhism in my life.

“Everything changes, nothing remains without change.” 

It was interesting to think about that idea in the context of the experience I'd just had.  To think about really (truly) trusting every moment, that it could work out for my best good.

As I was thinking of this idea of trusting the moment I could see myself--that one of my tendencies is that when a moment (or a year, or a vacation, or a friendship) is really especially wonderful I can't stand to let it go.  I hold on as tightly as I can, even when the holding on is causing problems in my life.

I started thinking about how much easier life would be if I could live this way--see and appreciate some moment as beautiful, but then let it be over when it was over.  In my mind it looked like this picture--hands open, heart appreciating the beautiful butterfly, but willing to let it fly away.
Learn to let go.  This is the secret of happiness.

Can I do this?  I'm not sure.  But in that moment it made enough sense to me that this Mormon is going to give it the old Buddhist try.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Winterguard 2015

A brief rundown of our colorguard history:
Winter 2013 the girls were in the "minis", a group that went through 6th grade.
Winter 2014 the girls were on the JV team at the high school.
Fall 2014 the girls were still on the JV team that marched with the marching band.

With only that behind them and still being in 8th grade I was kind of surprised when the girls ended up on the varsity colorguard team this winter.  There is another girl from the middle school on the varsity team as well, but their good friends didn't make varsity, which has given us lots of opportunity to talk about being gracious, understanding hurt feelings, etc.

I think the first time I saw them perform on the varsity team I was a little shocked.  I knew that the coach had been working them hard, but I was still unprepared to see my little girls looking so poised and elegant.  It's tough to take pictures of them while they're performing because they're A)far away, B)in motion, and C)the camera has to be manually focused, but I loved a few that I took this week.

First Jenna:

I know this one is blurry but I thought her line was so amazing!
 Then Rachel:

Rachel is in the middle.

And if you're thinking that both girls seem to have become more flexible, why yes they have.  Here is the pose at the end of the show, Rachel is on the far end and Jenna on the close end.  It makes me hurt a little to look...  ;)

I'm so proud of them for working so hard and learning so much!

Oops--I forgot I had these too.

Monday, March 9, 2015

I did not see this coming

I've said before that I don't like change and that I'm not very good at it.  But I'm realizing lately that I usually don't expect it either.  When things are *this* way, regardless of what *this* is, I generally expect them to stay that way.

Which is why it's been so unexpected to me that there are many many days in my life where I feel like I just pull out of and then back into my drive way All. Day. Long.  Pull out, go exercise, pull back in.  Pull out, take the kids to school, pull back in.  Pull out, go to physical therapy, pull back in.  Pull out, take girls to colorguard, pull back in.  Pull out, go pick up Jared, pull back in.  Out and in, out and in, over and over and over.

It's surprising to me because I thought I had settled long ago that I'm not a soccer mom and that I just do better when I'm not spending all of my time in the car.   Except that now we're here and not there, and everything is quite close and some things are very close.  And now there's school.  And the kids are growing up and needing some activities which fortunately are available nearby.  It all makes sense (and is making them happy) but it sure has caught me off guard...