Thursday, March 31, 2011

I answered the phone at work today. It was one of my homeless contacts. I asked her how she was doing and she said she wasn't doing as obviously well as I was. She said I sounded incredibly upbeat and happy.

Oh how I laughed. I told her I had to laugh to keep from crying---not that I intend to cry. Crying doesn't help. Plus, we've been through worse.

We had our taxes done a week ago. Apparently a blood sacrifice, along with the donation of several appendages will be required to fulfill our tax debt to Uncle Sam. In our all married life, we've NEVER owed this much money to the government. Hubby got waaaay down but I cheered him up by telling him it was only money. We are all fine (for the most part) and we're healthy, we have each other and life is still wonderful.

When our suburban began to act suspiciously possessed, I took it in to the shop for repairs. They said they've never seen anything like what they saw my suburban do. Never in all their years of working on suburbans. Not once. This was obviously code for, "I do hope you have a shoe box at home stuffed with thousands of dollars"

We've had the flu moving slowly through each member of our family during the past two weeks. We laugh. It's not the end of the world. Ok, I laugh, the others not so much. I haven't been stricken.

As long as we keep our eyes and hearts where they need to be, we'll be fine. I know that the Lord knows me. He knows my family. And you know what? It IS just money. Money. It's not the end of the world.

And when I say we've been through MUCH WORSE, those of you that know our family's history understand what I mean. There's an article written by Richard C. Edgley that has touched me. The full article is here if you'd like to read it.

What he said near the end of this article resonates within me. He says:

There are few of us, if any, who don’t walk the refiner’s fire of adversity and despair, sometimes known to others but for many quietly hidden and privately endured. Most of the heartache, pain, and suffering we would not choose today. But we did choose. We chose when we could see the complete plan. We chose when we had a clear vision of the Savior’s rescue of us. And if our faith and understanding were as clear today as it was when we first made that choice, I believe we would choose again.


Therefore, perhaps the challenge is to have the kind of faith during the hard times that we exercised when we first chose. The kind of faith that turns questioning and even anger into acknowledging the power, blessings, and hope that can come only from Him who is the source of all power, blessings, and hope. The kind of faith that brings the knowledge and assurances that all that we experience is part of the gospel plan and that for the righteous, all that appears wrong will eventually be made right. The peace and understanding to endure with dignity and clarity of purpose can be the sweet reward. This kind of faith can help us to see the good, even when life’s path seems to be layered only with thorns, thistles, and craggy rocks.


All things shall work together for our good---I firmly believe this. If we don't go through the hard times, if we're not tested, how can we prove our faith?

So I smile. I'm bubbly on the phone. I'm actually happy. I know, odd, right?

But not really. Not really at all.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's Not Easy Letting Go

Change has never been a comfortable thing for me. I cling to the familiar, the regular and the routine. Handling change isn't easy for me.

A friend posted on her Facebook wall that she'd signed her little one up for Kindergarten and that was perhaps why she was feeling so blue. I flashed back to putting my first Kindergartner on the school bus. I cried as she flashed me a grin, in her jean skirt, pink shirt, flowered vest and white cowboy boots, long blond hair held back by a black headband...

Oh yes, I remember every detail of that morning.

I recall hugging and kissing her goodbye at BYU Idaho. I cried then as well.

I've never been good at letting go. She's 22 now. I love her more today than the day that I brought her into this world. She amazes me each and every day. I'm so proud of the young woman she's become. Still...it's difficult to let go of being The Mom. It's all I've known for so many years.

Kahil Gibran put it so well:

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.



I love you, Stephanie Ann. Some day soon I know I'll be letting you go for a very long time. You're strong, beautiful, smart, spiritual and you know your own mind. Forgive me for hanging on too tightly at times. You are amazing. I admire you more than I could ever express.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I miss my memory....

Between the time it took me to press send on my cell phone and the first ring on my husband's phone, I forgot what it was I was calling him about.

Completely forgot. Erased from my gray matter. POOF. Gone.

When he answered I told him I couldn't recall why I'd called him but that I knew it was important.

I drove home, racking my brain as I went. After I pulled into the driveway and turned off the ignition, I sat there.

This whole getting old thing isn't as fun as I thought it would be.

I've found myself forgetting if I've lathered, rinsed and repeated. I drive places and realize I've been on autopilot the entire way.

I know stress can cause lapses. Lately my life has been the Stress Olympics. I'm also very blessed. Sometimes the glass is half empty, sometimes it's half full and sometimes it's laying shattered in pieces on the floor.

We had our taxes done this weekend. Uncle Sam is requiring us to hand over an arm, a leg, several vital organs and some sort of blood sacrifice. It's not pretty. And that's not stressful either. No siree. Not one bit.

I've noticed daffodils blooming in our yard, crocuses coming up and the pink blossoms are bursting forth on Cherry trees. It's a hopeful time of year.

Getting up in the morning, my jaw is aching from being clenched all night. I have to physically un-fist my hands. The injury I sustained when I fell through the deck in December is still painful and the paperwork and insurance headache is even worse.

I alternate between feeling happy and hopeful, and fighting the desire to curl up in the fetal position under several blankies. I'm drawing the line at a binkie though.

Now if I could just remember why I called my husband...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Perspective

This column was published after the devastating 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia. After the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan I revisited it. My heart is aching for all those who are suffering, for those who have been lost and for those left behind.


More laundry? Man, I spend my entire life doing laundry and dishes for this family. Grrrr…I have so much to do.

“…The Red Cross estimates that although the number of dead is now over eighty thousand, the number will be well over a hundred thousand as more victims are found washed up on the shores or under the rubble…”

I hate this bed of ours. I wake up every morning with a backache. I just hate it.

“…Thousands have lost every material possession they owned when the tsunami struck and are sleeping in the streets or in shelters…”

Man, someone dinged my car in the parking lot? I can’t believe people don’t care about things like that, they just open their doors and WHAM! Uncaring jerks.

“…My neighbors lost their entire house when the wave hit, but my house is still there. They came over to help us go through the rubble and to keep it from being looted…”

The birthday party for ten six year olds was brutal! You should have seen those kids! Ice cream and cake everywhere!

“…It is estimated that the majority of the dead are children, who were most vulnerable to this disaster as they could not run as fast as the adults or were ripped from their parent’s arms as the wall of water struck..”

Clean your room! What is with teenage boys that they can’t pick up their clothes and their rooms just stink to high heaven. Open a window for crying out loud.

“…the stench from the decaying bodies is overwhelming. Everywhere you look, there are bodies lining the roads and in makeshift morgues..”

Did you see that jerk cut me off? Geez, learn to drive you moron! I hate driving in all this traffic with idiots that don’t know how to use a turn signal.

“…cars and buses were picked up by the force of the water and you can see some cars in trees, others are buried in mud. The roads are completely impassable…”

Mom, I hate meatloaf! I’m not eating this!

“..Relief agencies are pleading for donations of money so that food and water can be brought into the hardest hit areas..”

Why do we have to go over to your brother’s house for dinner? You know I hate family gatherings.

“…Generations of families are gone in this terrible natural disaster. Some people have lost their entire family and they alone are left.”

Dang this cold. I feel like crap. My nose won’t stop running.

“…Dengue fever, dysentery and cholera will more than likely kill thousands of people who have survived the tsunami, and most of them will be children and the elderly..”

I hate my job.

“Thousands upon thousands have lost their livelihoods as hotels, restaurants and other businesses were completely demolished..”

It takes forever for this water to get hot in the kitchen; I hate waiting for it to come out.

“There is no drinkable water anywhere in the region. It’s all been contaminated by debris and sewage.”


I complained I had no shoes till I saw a man that had no feet. - Author Unknown

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Squid: It's what's for dinner!

This is a column I wrote a few years ago. No, I haven't matured much since, thanks for asking!

It all started with the squid fight at dinner. I didn’t mean to order calamari rings and when they arrived, I thought they were tiny little onion rings. In my defense, onion rings come breaded and deep-fried, so I just assumed the chef was talented and had used itsy-bitsy onions. I knew when I put it into my mouth that I’d made a mistake. I’m not fond of squid. So, sitting at a restaurant with my husband and five children, (four mine, one a loaner for the weekend trip) I chewed little squid rings. Actually, I only chewed one squid ring. Knowing how my family loves onion rings, I very graciously offered up my special onion rings to any and all. Everyone wanted one! Happily, I obliged by passing them around and gleefully waited for the response I knew was coming.

I didn’t have long to wait.

First there was a look of concern on my son’s face as he chewed. “This doesn’t taste like an onion ring.” I couldn’t help it and giggled, which gave the game away.

My eldest daughter realized what was in her mouth. “Ewwwwwwww!”

I said, “Want another one?” and then tossed it across the table to her. Word of warning here: Adults should never throw food in front of children. It only encourages them. I am not known for following my own advice.

The squid ring landed in her water glass, eliciting whoops and hollers from everyone at the table, including my husband. He was giving me the you-know-you’re-supposed-to-be-the-adult-here-right? Look. For some reason I get that look from him a lot.

It goes without saying that the squid was rescued from its watery grave and tossed right back at me. While I did manage to stop the food fight before French fries and ketchup became involved, it didn’t end there. It never does. Especially when I’m around to make sure it keeps going…. and going…and…. well, you get the picture. My knack for juvenile behavior runs on energizer bunny batteries. Just ask my husband.

I surreptitiously wrapped the remaining squidlet parts in my napkin and slid them into my pocket. As we left the restaurant I managed to put a calamari ring into my son’s pocket without him noticing. Then I attempted to do the same thing to his best buddy Daniel. Since Daniel is not my offspring, he was a little spooked that I was getting that close to him. His unfortunate birth outside of our family gave away my plan. The second the calamari ring landed in his pocket, he knew something was up. Or, um, down as the case may be. He reached into his pocket and squished the breading off the seafood bit as he pulled it from his pants.

I ducked the squid missile he tossed at me and we all ran across the parking lot laughing. The calamari fight continued in the van, as my son found he had just sat on something semi-squishy in his pants and threw it up to the front at me. He missed, and it sailed to the front where it lodged between the dash and the windshield. Did you know that surgical implements are required to remove anything that has been stuck in that area of your vehicle? We had to let it stay, where the heat from the window defrosters gave our van that fishy smell that tells everyone that you are a seafood lover. Either that, or just a….well, never mind.

When I went to bed that night at the hotel I found a little squid remnant under my pillow. Not knowing which child had gifted me, I took it and placed it lovingly inside the front shirt pocket of the dress shirt Daniel was going to wear to church in the morning. He was pleased to have the scent of seafood follow him everywhere that morning.

The hotel served up a lovely free breakfast in the lobby, so we sent the boys down first as we could tell their starvation was imminent. I was so proud to hear my son when he returned to our room and gleefully told us that he’d set a bagel on fire down stairs.

“You should have seen the flames Mom! They shot up so high!”

I have no idea where his bad behavior comes from. I’m planning on talking to his father about that as soon as I get the squid bits out of my suitcase.