Sunday, December 30, 2012

Beginning at ham and ending at cookies.

I was cutting up an 8 pound ham.  A big ham. That I bought for a family get together that the snowstorm canceled.   Feeling kind of sorry for myself.  Mike was gone to tithing settlement, probably for 4 or 5 hours. Christmas break was almost over.  I am 41. My life is most likely half over and do I want to boil the ham bone in the hopes that maybe THIS winter I will magically love bean soup?  The important part of this is that the optimist in me won, because I am boiling the ham bone, because you never know, I might learn to like bean soup this winter.
The second thing is this: why oh why does time go faster when we get older? It hardly seems fair that the more able to appreciate time and what it can do for us, the faster it disappears.  I want the Christmas break that seemed like a month when I was a kid.  I am actually enjoying having everybody home. No offense, kids, but you are funner now than you were.  You were still cute, but you made me so tired. Mike made a comment about just keeping them home on Wednesday. and Thursday too. and Friday for fun.  Then he remembered homework is crappy. So I guess to school they will go.  And early I will rise and lunches I will pack and driving I will drive.
 I would also like to you to know how sad it is for me to see Christmas lights disappear when Christmas is over.  We have decided to party like Europeans and celebrate until Tres Reyes something.  You know, Epiphany, the three kings, the wisemen, all that stuff that makes it last until January 6th.  Maybe then I will feel I have had my fill of Christmas. but I doubt it.  We still have peanuts left to sugar.  Pumpkin pie to get sick of, peppermint fluff to get sick on, and we never made a single cookie.  Thank goodness we got some from other people. Emily says she wants more peanut brittle. hint hint people, I don't make brittle. I feel brittle, but I don't cook it.
So off I go. I am makin' cookies, friends!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I am a changed person, but with the same name.

Tonight's First Presidency Christmas Devotional was the best I've ever heard.  I loved it all.  Especially the recorder solo, with my flautist daughter Emily complaining that recorders are NOT flutes.  I came away with several bit-lits of stuff to work on/chew on/do.

The most changing idea for me was about being a gracious receiver.  Immediately I thought about my friend Ayako, whose rolls are celestial food.  sigh.  She let me know last night that she would be bringing some by, and I dutifully protested.  I wasn't sick or depressed, nor my family.  What could I do in exchange for these rolls?  She just wanted to be nice, and wouldn't I please just let her?  Ayako, I promise I won't protest any more but I will graciously receive with gladness!  President Uchtdorf also talked about how receiving helps us feel closer to the Lord and feel of His love. I learned that lesson the hard way three years ago, when I broke my back.  Family and my ward jumped right in and took care of us--for months.  I felt of their love, and in that love and in their eyes, I saw the love of my Father in Heaven and my Savior.  I knew how to give, but I didn't know how to receive GRACIOUSLY while in great need, and how that can change us, until then.  Now that I am back on my feet, I haven't been as great at receiving "just because"  or "birthday" love.  I am always thankful, but also usually embarrassed and don't know how to behave. So does that mean I am uncomfortable being loved by people who aren't related to me?  Maybe.  Maybe I don't give people enough credit that they can give without expecting gifts in return.  (Don't be offended, I just don't want to disappoint anyone).

 How did we get this way?  How did we start to feel like we absolutely had to be independent and that receiving assistance was weak?  How did we get to thinking that we had to reciprocate immediately to avoid "owing" anyone? (tell me you haven't had extra "neighbor gifts" ready in case someone not on your normal giving list drops by with a plate of Christmas deliciousness to avoid looking mean or thoughtless) If I receive without protest, does it make people think that I think I am so much more specialer?  I am not just being rhetorical, I really want to know.  I am one of the worst of the above kind of thinking.
The story about the little girl's gift being so poorly received reminded me of how hard my sister and I tried to (unsuccessfully) give a gift to our paternal grandmother that would receive the same kind of praise that our cousins' gifts received.  My mother taught us to be properly grateful and complimentary of gifts given to us.  Even if  it is "interesting", I never feel like I am being dishonest to gush about a gift, because I am actually gushing about the work and the intent and the love that went into it. Now if my children gave me something crafted out of styrofoam, I would feel free to drop it and punish them severely because they know darn well how much I hate the sound styrofoam makes and it would have been given with the intent to make me miserable and provoke laughter among partners in crime.

Also, it would so be a scientist who gives a little kid a barometer for Christmas!!  Well played, though, because didn't that boy grow up to be an academic himself?  Mike tried valiantly to make Hayden's first word be benzene. hahah. But he is considering careers in the sciences (ones without blood and bones).

So bring on the gifts, people! I will try to be ready! (not really--it will be hard to change). Also, please tell me if you have answers to my ponderings about how I got so messed up. About receiving. Not anything else. One problem at a time, please.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

foolish and foolisher

A few days before my birthday, I decided I wanted to do a session in our new temple on my birthday.  I made my reservation and when the day came, I drove about 3 blocks away before I realized I didn't have my recommend.  I always have my recommend.  Just not today.  Trying to keep it short, by the time I found it and ran from the car, the brother at the desk told me I'd missed my session. :(  He said that their was work to do on the third floor, if I wanted to participate.  I got dressed and went up.  I was told that that work was finished and they didn't have another group at the moment.  I walked back to my cubicle and had a little cry.  I WAS ONE OF THE FIVE FOOLISH VIRGINS!!!! I missed my chance because I wasn't prepared!  It felt awful. I thought, "today? I have to learn a lesson TODAY? It's my birthday!!!"  Thankfully there was some work I could do by the changing room.  It turned out to be a great experience and I wondered if that was what I was supposed to do all along.  But next time I will be sooooo ready!

Now for foolisher:  for a year or so after I got out of my back brace, when things were hard, I wished to be back in the hospital bed here at home, out of it on pain meds.  I haven't thought that for a long time.  But today, I felt overwhelmed and it happened again--wishing I was incapacitated physically and mentally.  CRAZY.  That was a dumb thought and I repented of it.

Even foolisher, I am going to have a booth at the Christmas Bazaar at the senior center.  I am making Christmas jewelry.  I know, what am I thinking?!?!?!?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Canadian (and Brigham City) Thanksgiving

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!  I was walking my laps at the park and looking at the pretty red trees on the hill, listening to music I love (She Will Have Her Way, by Neil Finn, for example), thinking about my awesome husband, and a flood of things came to my mind.  So much to be grateful for.  If you know me well, you know that I struggle with glass-half-empty syndrome and other assorted troubles in that vein.  For me to be able to mentally step back and see all the good in my life at once (and not be saying it trying to convince myself) was a miracle--a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father.  I have to remember this feeling.  Out of gratitude, I shed some tears and felt also grateful that no one from the neighborhood was out and about (say that last bit "oot and aboot" for Canadian Thanksgiving).  I won't bore you with my list because it's so personal and I have this fear of sounding like I am bragging and then I'd have to tell you all the trials I've had so that you would know that I suffer just like we all do.  That's messy.  Suffice it to say that the pavilion President Eyring mentioned disappeared altogether for a few minutes and I couldn't be more grateful.  Thank you to my superlative (that covers it all, right?) family.  Thank you to my friends (if you are wondering what for, just insert any of the things you have done for me or kind thing you have said and that will be a start).  I am so glad Heavenly Father doesn't mind repeating himself, because He has to do that a lot for me. :)

If you don't read the blog of  Middle-Mormon Man, you should (link   ).   He has talked about a fourth-quarter comeback (one last press to accomplish goals or make improvements before the end of the year).  One of Mike's is starting piano lessons (again) to improve his talent.  One of mine is to count my blessings more and better.  I had decided this before my walk today, so the fact that it worked so well on the first try worries me that I won't be able to sustain this attitude of gratitude. :) I won't tell you the other just in case I don't make it to Jan. 1.  Also because I have been working on it and not seeing any progress, which is embarrassing.

So give thanks, gear up for the fourth quarter, and have some Tim Bits for me, Canadian friends.  :) I think about you all often and wish we were coming back for the temple open house. :(

Sunday, September 23, 2012

No comfort(able shoes) in Zion

 I have a lot to say about the last two days, the cultural celebration and the dedication, but I have to get this off my chest first.

After two open house ushering shifts, our family's turn to see the open house, walking to the celebration and to the dedication, I realized this: I have absolutely no comfortable dress shoes that I can walk more than two blocks or stand for 5 hours in the elevator in.  Poor sentence construct, but you get the point.  I am not short on shoes.  And they are not all pinch-y high heels--I can go up and down the stairs after my sunbeams and out to the parking lot of meeting house or temple just fine.  But not the kind of standing and walking I have been doing.  Perhaps I need to ask some sister missionaries where they shop...or not care about wearing orthopedic shoes... NOOO, I think I'll ask the sisters....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ehhh, what the heck, I'll give 'er a whirl

So I am here, but I don't know if this means I'm back.  I have a back, and it is doing fine as long as I exercise, thanks for asking.  That worked out better than could be expected.  I still hate dinner, it still hates me, but I am trying.  I still have all three kids, I guess that went better than I  expected.

Speaking of kids, I find it ironic that I have to censor myself on facebook as much as I think Hayden must censor himself.  I mean, having two teens and a tween makes for some hilarious material for sharing. (insert eye roll) (is there an emoticon for eye rolling? it's not the first time I've wondered that)  Not all of this sharing would be appreciated.  Truly, it would be embarrassing for us all, but I have only a few threads of dignity left, so....I got nothing to lose. :)  Son had a friendgirl with a birthday. I make jewelry, and keep some things on hand for emergency gifts (nothing says "I am sorry for your bad/sad event" like a pair of earrings-- I used to give cheese, but I started feeling weird about that).  I offered a pair of earrings to son for this friendgirl, who I have talked to some. WRONG thing, even if they come partially from me.  Ok, I understand.  Here is a new pack of gum, perfect friend gift.  After school, son describes conversation about gifts.  He told her about the earring thing.  She said, "why would your mom want to give me earrings?" and he said "I know, right?"  and they laughed.  I said, "YOU HAVE TO GO BACK AND EXPLAIN THAT I MAKE EARRINGS AND HAVE THEM ON HAND!!!!" (which is also a weird expression--"on hand")  "AND THAT THEY ARE NOTHING TO ME! TELL HER NOW! GET OUT YOUR PHONE AND TELL HER! ALSO TELL THAT GIRL WHO WAS HERE THE OTHER NIGHT THAT THAT EARWIG SHE FOUND ON HERSELF HITCHED A RIDE FROM OUTSIDE BECAUSE WE DO NOT HAVE AN EARWIG PROBLEM! DID YOU TELL HER? GIVE ME YOUR PHONE SO I CAN TEXT THEM BOTH AND SETTLE THIS!!!!!"  Son laughed.  Daughter laughed. Small but not small anymore son laughed. Ah, mom is so funny when she gets upset! hahahah.

I was not laughing.  As I mentioned, I have only just a little dignity left. Son says, "Why do you care what my friends think of you? They are my friends. That is stalker, mom."  Well, no one likes to be thought of as UNpleasantly crazy.  Pleasant crazy, that is ok.  And I had had enough of kidtrouble for a lifetime on this day. I put in my earbuds and played myself some good 80's music while I made dinner, taking me back to the time when I was just me and not mom.  Best husband in the world walks over, pulls out an earbud and whispers, "I  know you are a person."  That deserved a kiss, so I paid him. Then I went back to my music.  Dinner was ready too soon that night.  See, I told you dinner hates me.