Monday, May 25, 2015

My favorite view

There are a lot of lovely things to see around town--when the sky is clear there are places that I can see Mt. Hood from and sometimes Mt. St. Helens.  But my favorite view is of the Coast Range as I drive past the airport on the north side.  It's just spectacular.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Coming to terms with myself: Abundance

I was just listening to a podcast by Gretchen Rubin (author of the Happiness Project) and she answered a question I've had for a while.  I hear people (including many people I love) talk about minimalism, wanting to be minimalists, etc, and I am puzzled.  I sort of understand the attraction but can tell deep in my bones it would never be the real me.  In this podcast Gretchen just asked her sister, "So are you someone who loves simplicity, or someone who loves abundance?"  That's me.  Abundance.

I'm sure there are some things in my life that I want to be simple.  I want my typical daily schedule to be simple.  I want my routines to be simple.  I want my walls and furnishings to be relatively simple.  But there are a lot more places where I want abundance.  I want an abundance of beauty around me.  I want an abundance of travel, an abundance of clothes to choose from, an abundance of fabric to sew, an abundance of flowers flowering in my yard.  An abundance of clematis plants on an abundance of trellises.  An abundance of lovely moments with people I love.

Thank you, Gretchen, for explaining me to myself!

Friday, May 15, 2015

There are two kinds of people in the world...

There are two kinds of people in the world:
  • Those who like to try something different every time to make sure that they're not missing out on the best thing,
  • and those who like their favorite thing so much that they'd just as soon experience it every time.
There are two kinds of people in the world:
  • Those who like to stay in regular contact with their favorite people
  • and those who don't need to stay in contact and can pick up at anytime as if there's been no time apart.
There are two kinds of people in the world:
  • People who like to go to bed early and wake up early,
  • and people who do not.
There are two kinds of people in the world:
  • Those who were born organized
  • and those who's brains struggle to figure out how to organize anything.

I was frustrated with a friend one time for not doing something the way it should be done.  (Translation: the way I wanted it.)  Then much to my surprise I found myself talking to another friend, one that I respected very much, and listening to this second friend telling me a story that showed me that she was just like the first friend that I was so upset with.

It kind of turned my brain inside out.  

It's interesting, though, as I listen to people and hear opinions and feelings that are vastly different from my own.  Really?  You like getting up at 5AM???  Seriously?  Everything in your life is organized???  (And will you come to my house?!?)  But don't you want to....????


My aunt collects kaleidoscopes--a collection that provides delight to her grown-up nieces and nephews. (And more than a little trepidation when their young kids want to look too!) 

Every time I visit I spend time looking through any number of small holes at the shifting shapes that filled my vision.  One time I had the thought that people are just like kaleidoscopes.  They all start out with the same basics pieces, but there is at least a slight shift of difference between each one--and sometimes much more than a slight shift.  So regardless of starting with the same pieces, every image is different.  

I also think that people are like sound boards.  

Everyone has the same "sliders," but each person's sliders on every trait or characteristic are adjusted differently from every other person.

Why am I writing about this?  I don't really know.  Partly because it's just been fascinating to me to see that rational intelligent adults can actually really & truly feel differently than I do.  Partly because the concept of kaleidoscopes-are-like-people has fascinated me for a long time.  But mostly to remind myself that just because I like it one way, just because I am one way, doesn't mean that other people are always going to be like me, feel like me, function like me.  And that would be very helpful to remember.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My funny boy

For quite a while I've been holding on to 2 screen shots from my cell phone because the conversation that "happened" on it needed to be saved.  Forever.

Sometime in the last few months we were sitting around the table and I was also texting Josh who was in Rexburg at BYUI.  He was talking about some ideas for summer.

I told Russ and the kids that Josh was asking about hitchhiking and Jared asked to see the phone.  He had it for the next several minutes.  When I got it back this is what I saw.

I laughed out loud that Jared had sent that reply to Josh's question!  Josh thought it was a big strange too...

By this time we were all laughing...

I love Jared's great sense of humor!  (And the fact that he's really rockin' the bedhead lately!)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

In all the world around me...
(& celebrating a parental success)

When I was outside last night I had to pause and look at the sky.  It was my favorite time of night, when the sky above is darkening to indigo but still fading towards the twilight glow on the horizon.  For the last few months Venus has twinkled brilliantly in the late evening sky and I have needed to point it out to anyone who has been with me so that they, too, could appreciate it's beauty.

I feel like that about so much that is in nature--I see the tree shapes, the flower colors, the sunsets, the waterfalls, the hummingbirds, and I am awed by the beauty in this world that God has created for us.  I want my kids to see it too--to appreciate the beauty, and to know that it is a gift from God.  So I do things like pulling into the parking lot of Multnomah Falls every single time we drive by so that we can look for 30 seconds.  I point out the interesting clouds and I fill our yard with beautiful flowers.  A lot of times all I get is the dreaded teenaged eye roll.

But do you know what?  I think it's working.

The other night I was out for a walk with a friend while Russ & the kids were on a temple trip.  When I got back home to my phone there was a text from Jenna, "Mom, look at the sky!  It's beautiful!!"  Later Rachel showed me a picture that she had taken of the sky right then, and some pictures of beautiful clouds from earlier in the day.  Yesterday she made a comment that it was such an interesting sky day.

 I feel these things about our world so strongly that I want my kids to feel it too.  I want them to see this world, to delight in it, and to know what it means.  What a joy to see it happening!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What they get instead

This morning I asked Rachel how things had gone in social studies yesterday after her week's wisdom tooth absence.  She looked at me and said "Mom, I told you yesterday!  Don't you remember?"

And the truth is that no, I don't.

These days that happens often enough that it's not a surprise to anyone.  Is it worse since my concussion?  Or just worse now that I'm 48?  I'm not sure.  But I know that if two people are talking to me at the same time, I get nothing.  And if someone tells me something while I'm not paying attention, I remember nothing.  It's embarrassing.

I worry that these kids, my wonderful youngest children, will get the wrong idea about what this means.  I worry that they'll think it means that I'm not really listening, that I don't care enough, that I don't love them enough.

I was fretting about this a little while ago and then I remembered again--this is the mother than I am now.  Plain and simple, no way around it.  I try to focus so that I can hear & remember, but sometimes I miss.  I try not to forget.  I try to make sure that people take turns talking, but you know how that goes.  These are my limitations.

It is true that my older kids got a young, energetic mother with a brain that worked better.  That mother was focused and intense.  But while those were good things, they weren't all good.  That mother was still trying to figure things out.  That mother was frequently overwhelmed and always tired. That mother was young in so many ways--idealistic, quick to frustration or anger, struggling to know which expectations were unrealistic and which were ok.

The mother I am now is different than that.  Despite the attention and memory issues, in many ways I think these kids are getting the best of me.  I am a gentler mother now, aware that many things that once upset me just don't matter.  I'm a more emotionally healthy mother and a better rested mother and both of those translate into more love and less anger.  My focus may not be great but my attention is less divided than it once was.  Without little kids around I'm much more able to enjoy the stage these kids are in and to facilitate their activities.

Do I wish I had yesterday's mental energy and intensity combined with today's understanding and calmness?  Sure.  But life doesn't work that way, does it.  So today I'm going to be grateful for the mother I was then, for what she learned, and that I am able to be the mother I am today.  And then I'm going to try not to get distracted when someone is talking to me.

[Russ adds that I'm still tired.]

Monday, May 4, 2015

Celebrating the Return

Like you, I have read many times the story of the prodigal son.  Have talked about it in Sunday School, have thought of myself in each of the roles.  Until last week I thought I understood it all.

But then...

Last week I sat in the temple and watched him, the previously prodigal.  Watched him watch her as they knelt together at the altar, watched the light in his eyes that had been gone for so long.  Watched his mother watch them both.

I could never have imagined the surge of joy I would feel to see him there-- I, not even his mother. It burned in my heart and spilled onto my cheeks.  And in that moment I understood what I had not before.  Yes, the father loved the older son who was always with him.  To that son would go all that the father had.  But oh, how the father needed to celebrate the return of the prodigal.  Because the father had hoped and prayed and watched and waited for his return.  The father had worried and doubted and then prayed and watched some more.

And when it finally did happen, when the son came back--well, it was unimaginable.  The combination of relief and happiness created a joy rarely felt before.

Let us eat and be merry indeed.  For this my son was dead, and is alive again, he was lost, and is found.  Rejoice!