Sunday, October 30, 2016



A rain storm just came blowing in – and it did blow in. A giant gust of wind -- quite suddenly and furiously -- whipped up against our house. It blew the neighbor’s wind chimes into a state of utter agitation, slammed doors in rooms where I’d left windows open, startled Summer (who was only half asleep), and carried a short but intense storm in its blustery little arms.


For a bit, rain pounded hard against the windows and lightning lit up the sky. I soothed Summer then sat in the quiet kitchen with a cup of cocoa – listening and watching. And also thinking.


I was thinking about life; and stages; experiences and time. Trials that threaten to keep me half holding my heart inside my chest while I wait to see if they’ll resolve in this life time. Joys so perfect that the thought of them slipping by is too painful to contemplate – even as time compensates me with constant new joys.


And yet, I also felt that same unexplainable certainty that I’ve felt before: a bit of something that sits just beyond what my mortal mind can currently comprehend but still feels . . . strong and powerful and real: a part of something I know but can’t quite pull fully to recollection.

It’s the same feeling I have when I wake to bits and pieces of a dream and am just about to grab ahold of the rest when some door shuts and I only know . . . it was there; is still there, really -- if I could just pry open that door. Or, when my mind tries to recall something from my biochemistry or physiology days. “I know I understood this before . . . but . . . what were the details? And how did it actually work again?”

It feels so close to known and yet . . . just beyond what I can firmly grasp.


It’s the something that tells me no season is truly gone. No experience ever beyond my reach. The something that says my mortal perceptions of time and endings aren’t reality; that reassures me that everything I’ve ever experienced, everything I’ve ever loved, and every joy I’ve ever known is more intimately mine, and real, and waiting just beyond closed doors than the present me – bound by time and limits and perceptions – can comprehend.


It’s the reassuring feeling that nothing has ever been lost. And all I’ve ever done – through an eternity of existing and experiencing is . . . gain.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Wednesday Hodgepodge

The other night, after having me pooh-pooh yet another family Halloween movie suggestion (due to frightening things in the reviews such as “mildly scary-looking creatures”), Mike threw up his hands and asked if we ought to just watch “Fluffy Bunny Fluffs Around”. Hahahah. That does sound more up my alley. . . . (And one mustn’t be too hard on me. Penny recently had a bit of a worrisome time going to sleep after having watched a Thomas the Train Halloween special. So . . . )

IMG_2115_edited-1IMG_2214_edited-1Photo Oct 14, 5 25 40 PMPhoto Oct 14, 9 01 07 AM

Monday night, between a measly two children, we endured 18 bouts of throwing up. 18! I don’t even know quite how such a thing was possible. Makeshift beds were strewn about our room and nearly every 20 – 30 minutes we were up again – holding bowls, rubbing backs, washing hands. Penny was so dearly apologetic that I felt guilty for showing my exhausted distress. And Anders. Well. I’m sure he would have been apologetic, if he hadn’t been rather busy moaning about it being “the worst day of his life” and all (which, to be fair, it very well may have been – afterall, he’s only five . . . and that was a lot of throwing up). But we all seem well enough again. And besides, it might have been three children and 27 bouts of throw up. Or eight children, two adults and (let me do some math here) . . . 90 bouts? Oh goodness. That’s a ghastly thought!


I’ve always been touched by the story in the New Testament (Matthew 14 and Mark 6) where Jesus heads off to a lone place in hopes of finding a little solitude after just having heard of his cousin John’s beheading. I’m sure he would have liked a little time to mourn and process and pray. But the mulititudes desperately followed him, and, in seeing their shepherdless state, he had compassion on them and so, forgoing his own private time, he taught them and even fed them.

Today I read a blog friend’s comments on this event. She compared it to motherhood and talked about how often we might want/need a little time to ourselves to grieve or think or regenerate, but how, very often, we simply must continue on with caring for our families – through sickness and sorrow and frustration and exhaustion. She talked about how we are being like Christ in this – we are continuing to serve even when it feels hard and inconvenient.

I loved her thoughts so much! In fact, just the other day I escaped to the bathroom for a quick cry. I was feeling worried about one of my children and overwhelmed about several things, but that tiny moment of crying in the bathroom was all I could afford before needing to wipe my eyes, square my shoulders, and get back to making dinner, helping with homework, and picking up kids from activities. I’ve typically seen no glory or great selflessness in things like that. I’ve probably only felt a little self-pitying, but reading her blog post today made me feel . . . I don’t know . . . more noble I guess, like Heavenly Father is proud of me when I press on with the demands of being a mother and serve my family – even when I don’t feel up to the challenge and even when I’d prefer to just have a good cry. I felt like, in doing this, I’m being more like my Savior.


Lastly, I need to follow Abe around more often when he is completely preoccupied with other things. It is nearly impossible to get a picture of that kid these days, but I got several perfectly lovely ones while picking him up from bike practice and watching his race last week! Handsome boy. He ought to be eager to appear in more photos.


And a few other folks at the race:


Thursday, October 13, 2016

“. . . in the eyes of some . . .”

Today I read a little scripture in 3 Nephi 5:8.

As the Nephites were finally seeing the light at the end of a particularly long and dark tunnel, it talked about how many things had happened “which, in the eyes of some,” were “great and marvelous”.


That part: “in the eyes of some” really jumped out at me. Some. Some saw miraculous and beauty in the events, experiences and blessings that had come to them. They saw “marvelous” in the things they’d been through and their current situation. But “some” also means . . . many didn’t. Many went through the same experiences, had the same blessings and witnessed the same wonders without particularly seeing anything special in any of it.


It made me think of a quote I once read about us never being able to experience the joy something has to offer us until we are grateful for it. It’s such an obvious statement, but how many things are happening around me or are a part of my life that I receive no joy from simply because I don’t even know to be grateful for them? How many things do I not recognize as “great and marvelous”? How many miracles and blessings do I just . . . not see?


This is a silly and rather small example, but when we spent all those weeks in Georgia this past August, much of the time was full of adventure and fun, but there were other moments that were very hard for me. Mike was gone during the day with the one car we had there, and, while often we’d wade through the work to get ourselves all down to the beach a few blocks away, other times I thought I might go insane waiting for Mike to get back. We were there together, my kids and I, but we didn’t have many of our things, and we didn’t have any of our usual demands. I’d never realized before that having a home of my own to take care of during the day, tasks to help my children complete, errands that needed done and chores that demanded my time was a blessing. I’d never thought about it being “lucky” to have a car at my disposal to get anywhere I wanted or needed – even if it typically entailed carting at least three small children along with me.


Ever since coming home, when I start to feel stressed or grumpy about all that needs done around here, I often pause and am surprised by a spark of gratitude that I have a busy life with purpose and demands and meaning.

But that was only one small thing. I want to have my eyes opened to more. I’ve been saying little prayers more constantly throughout my days. Prayers of thanks for having this entire home to just be in -- unbothered by the world and quietly taking care of my family. Thanks for my freedom to come and go where I please. Thanks for autumn. Thanks for Mike – his loyalty and kindness and hard work.

Even still I feel a sense that there is so much more joy there – waiting for me; so many things where God’s hand is at play in my life or I am being given a task or challenge that is a blessing in what it allows me to learn and how it stretches me.


During one of my most difficult life trials, I recall having a very distinct thought come to my mind. It was simply this: gratitude will save you -- as if I’d been tossed a life line and I could choose to grab ahold of it or not. I remember looking for the spots of beauty in my life. One that struck me most constantly was simply seeing my kids interact happily together or noticing moments when we were all together joking or laughing about something. There it was. In the fear and darkness: JOY! It seemed to anchor me and spread light and hope. It awed me to know that what I’d always hoped . . . was actually true – that trials did not have to mean life lost its joy. Elder Nelson’s talk, one of my favorites from our recent general conference, spoke of the same thing. And I’ve been feeling strongly that I will need to refocus on gratitude as we welcome this new baby to our family. I will have three kids under two and a half, and the demands of the rest of my family and life will still all be there as well. It is going to be hard, and there is a chance I’ll get some post-partum depression; but I feel again that strong feeling that gratitude will save me. It will bring me joy. And it will open my eyes to the Lord’s awareness of me and my path. It will allow me to better see the amazingness of the “great and marvelous” around me.


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