Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Facebook Soulmates

Today I was sorting screenshots that were saved on my computer and I came across this series.  I usually ignore quizzes on Facebook but I had to pay attention to this one, and was so entertained by it!

The clock

True story:  long ago and far away (so very long ago!) we bought our first home.  It was a rundown brick ranch with an unfinished basement and just one bathroom.  The first year we lived there we rented the house, and then we bought it.  The bathroom had an old pink formica counter, and I was really excited when I found some wallpaper that I liked that went OK with the formica.  We put the wallpaper halfway up the walls and then had a floral border.  I made some kind of coordinating shower curtain.  And I bought this clock.  I can still remember seeing it in an Avon catalog--the water resistant clock with an optional ring to hold something like a hand towel.   It seemed perfect to me and well worth the $19 or so I paid for it. 

The clock has been off of my radar for years now--some child claimed it for the kid's bathroom, I assume to help them get to seminary on time. 

Times have changed and now no one goes to early morning seminary and everyone carries a clock in their pocket.  I'm told that the battery in this clock had been dead for more than a year and no one needs it anymore. 

I came into the kitchen one day recently and it was sitting on the island... Oh how it brought back memories of that time and place, of the little pink bathroom and my satisfaction with our first little remodel job, of the cool white clock. 
Good memories...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A new calling

For months I had this ticking clock in my head--an awareness that time was counting down to the 3 year anniversary of my calling as a Relief Society teacher. My assumption was that that meant that the relief society presidency was also paying attention and would want to release me then. Three years is long enough to listen to anyone, right?

It happened just as I had expected--I taught that 36th lesson and a member of the bishopric called me for an interview and released me.

But it also happened differently than I had expected. The newish Relief Society actually had no idea how long I had been teaching and were very sad to lose me as a teacher. And the brand new bishopric had no idea how long I had been teaching. But they had been told that the current primary pianist wanted to be released, and they decided I was the one to replace her.

That primary pianist is also the person who cuts my hair, so I learned fairly quickly that she actually *hadn't* wanted to be released and was kind of sad about it. Boy how this irritated me. I'd been on such a roll in the last year of teaching Relief Society--my lessons were really impactful. (And I say that with full awareness that the gift of teaching is totally and completely a blessing that comes from Heavenly Father had only has to do with me in that I put in the time to prepare to teach.) I was sad for that to end because of a bunch of second and third hand information that wasn't even accurate, and I felt like the calling was probably a mistake.

To be quite honest, I'm bored by playing the piano in primary much of the time. It's a bad combination of some of my personality traits combined with the particular characteristics of this primary chorister. So for the first several weeks I sat and played (and not even that well) and grumped in my mind.

A couple of weeks in, though, I noticed something interesting. At random times throughout the week I would find the words or melody of the previous week's primary song caught in my mind.

...as I search the scriptures
I can feel his words of peace...

...listen with my heart
I hear the Savior's voice...

and after last week when they were singing the chorus of a song that's new to me,

Press forward, press forward,
with steadfastness in Christ...

...and a love of all man...

...feasting upon the word,
and enduring to the end...

As these melodies and words have gone through my brain, their little snippets on endless repeat loops, they have brought surprising peace into my heart and mind. And in the second or third week that I realized it was happening I thought to myself, hmm...maybe this was actually exactly right.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The dead plant

I was working out in the yard today, enjoying the beautiful day after way too many days of rain.  I've noticed that some of my clematis (in this their third year) have sprung into vigorous growth, which excites me to the tips of my muddy fingernails.  Others aren't quite as vigorous but are also green and growing.

As I went from trellis to trellis I noticed that one part of a plant was dead.  I grabbed the clippers so that I could trim away the dead parts.

But then as I lifted the long vine to cut it, I noticed something unexpected.  This is what was on the other end of the vine.

It was new growth, vibrant and vivid, with even the beginnings of flower buds starting.

It startled me so much that I stood there looking back and forth from the "dead" vine to the live part.  Dead, not dead.  Dead, not dead at all.

As I carefully and gently wound the vine around the trellis, I felt the spirit pointing to an important lesson, reminding me that things are not always as they seem, and that I need to be holding space for this understanding in my life.  Things are not always as they seem.  People are not always as they seem.  And what sometimes seems dead might not be.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Struck to the Bone

I'm in Santa Cruz spending the day with Katie today before we head up to Santa Rosa for our Durham Bookclub reunion tomorrow.  She had an appointment so I took an nap and then went out to take a walk.  Before I'd gone more than a few houses, though, it started to rain hard.  I turned around and walked disappointedly back to her house.

After a few minutes the rain lightened up so I borrowed a rainproof jacket and took off again.  I must have really needed that walk, because (much to my surprise) I didn't even listen to the podcast that I had downloaded.  Instead I walked and looked and occasionally took a flower picture.  Within 10 or 15 minutes I'd arrived at West Cliff Drive, a place that is like heaven for me.

First I watched surfers, then continued along the cliff.  I saw warning signs and a place where workers were repairing a place where a blowhole had emerged.  

As I continued walking I was watching the crashing waves but also the light because I figured if there *was* going to be a nice sunset I didn't want to miss it. 

And then I thought (but I wasn't quite sure, it was so faint) that I saw a bit of a rainbow.  It's really been a rainbow month for me, so I thought it would be totally lovely to see a rainbow.  And sure enough, it appeared.  So close to me that I couldn't take a picture of the whole rainbow.  Within a few minutes it was brighter than any rainbow I've ever seen before and there was a double rainbow.  People were stopping their cars all along the street to take pictures.

It was so beautiful to watch the rainbow and the waves that all I could think was a bit of a song from Les Miserables:

Had you been there tonight 
You would have known how it feels
To be struck to the bone 
In a moment of breathless delight...

Finally the rainbow began to fade a little as the sunset intensified.  And what a sunset.  We spent 2 weeks in Hawaii and watched sunsets more than half of the nights, but never saw anything like this.  In the end the sky was colored 3/4 of the way around, only 90 degrees short of a full circle.  It was really lovely.

And then all of that beautiful color gradually faded and I turned away from the ocean and started walking back to Katie's house, filled with happiness from my moment of breathless delight.