Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

The day has finally arrived; the day that will see me celebrate Christmas and then board a plane with three of my children to meet my husband in Illinois; our new home. Now I realize that it's past midnight and that I have been yanked around emotionally quite a bit for the past four months and I realize that I may be hopped up on quite a bit of sugar from tonight's Christmas Eve party...but I just have to say something that's been weighing on my mind a lot lately and has become quite befuddling. What I have to say is that this whole move seems a little doomed to me. I mean, whenever I think about it, a feeling of pending disaster arises. And dread....yes, don't forget the dread.

I've never felt this way about a move before, not to mention, everyone who knows me knows that I am an optimist by nature. So needless to say, this feeling is a little distracting, and if you haven't guessed already...I have chosen to ignore it completely (which may very-well mean that I am also a bull-headed idiot by nature as well). I mean...I am getting on that plane tomorrow ...

So that's all. That's all I have to say. If I can't explain this to myself, I certainly can't explain it to you either, but I did need to just put it out there and get it off my chest. Any closet psychiatrists out there...please feel free to weigh in on this one and leave your insights and comments at will.

As for the rest of you, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


As for Jimmy Fallon's Thank You notes segments...see for yourself:



Thank you, Good and Plenty candies — or as I like to call you, prescription licorice.

Thank you, wet floor signs, for warning me that if I walk on you, I might start breakdancing.

Thank you, gift cards, for basically saying “I could have just given you this money, but I wanted to have final say over where you spent it.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chicagoland

Tonight I watched Mathew Broderick run around New York City and blow up Madison Square Gardens. Can you name that movie? He's come quite a ways from running around Chicago, disrupting unidentifiable parades. Now, as I wait for my 16 year old to come home, I am watching Harrison Ford be wrongly convicted of murdering his wife in cold blood...also filmed in Chicago. "Dr. Kimble" as we know him in The Fugitive, has already gone from dancing with his wife at a charity event to listening to her 911 call in court to being loaded onto the prison bus and yet we are still watching the opening credits. David Twohy wrote the story and screenplay, and man...is it aggresive!





We watch a lot of movies these days. A LOT. This is a combination of dad's nice home theater set up and our incredible lack of structure. Since exhausting our every mental and physical effort just to move in here (only to find out two weeks later that we're moving to Chicago) we've sort of defaulted to limbo mode. We find it hides the catatonic schizophrenia really well.

Next week we'll fly out to the midwest to find a place to live. The usual excitement of swimming through real estate listing after real estate listing on the internet has been dramatically muted by the discovery of Illinois property taxes. I say that with the greatest amount of solemnity.



If we're lucky...we'll find a place that only costs $5000 a year in property taxes. It can go anywhere from there to $10k, for a modest 2500 square foot family home in a modest, family friendly neighborhood. The solemnity comes from the fact, that even if we were to find a house that we could pay for in cash, we'd still have to shovel out some serious cash every month, just to live within commuting distance of Mark's new job. The solemnity comes from the fact that we are moving to a state where the residents of said state, although Americans, are unable to affect any change in their heavily corrupted government to ameliorate such a grievous burden.

I don't know why they need so much money, not only are their highways toll roads, but they apparently can't even keep their teenagers in school or their fugitives under control. Go figure.


But it will be green there and pretty and fun and full of interesting cultural opportunities and social observations. Yes...it will be good, but it will be short. Not just because our job stability is project based and we usually move every three to four years, but because; who in their right mind would settle in a place with property taxes as high as some folks mortgage payments??? Anyone? Anyone?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Starting Over...Again

Two weeks ago a bucket brigade of my friends and family lined the halls of my home and spent a few hours together passing buckets and boxes to each other from the depths of my basement to the heights of a well-stacked U Haul.


Jim Jackson came under protest; as he did not condone our move. Hank Howell came with a sense of humor; when the box labeled "Baby Jesus" was passed to him, he said "There's no room". Scott Howell came; even though his Saturday was already full to overflowing with earlier promises he made to serve other people, he still fit in one more last minute service project for his sister. Brother Larson came, and had the good sense to bring rope.

The following week the hired help came and; one piano, four armoirs, and five pizzas later, emptied the rest of the house. We left it the way we found it, only more loved, more clean and forever haunted by the loss of the best family that will ever live there. I know the walls will miss us, the kitchen island will weep and don't even get me started on the flower gardens.

You know you've been packing too long when you finish taping up a box and turn around to see this scene and you think: "oh how pretty...that's the perfect lighting for a disheveled room" and you snap a picture. You know you've been packing too long when you walk into a store and see a bag of packing peanuts as tall as you are and suddenly hear choirs singing. You know you've been packing WAY too long when you go from an elaborately detailed inventory Sharpied on the top of every box, to "More Stuff" barely scribbled legibly on the last five or six.

We are not there, we are here and patiently waiting to find out about our family's next "where".

I'm not sure exactly where the Lord wants us to be right now, but I do know it's not anywhere near "settled" (or California...please Lord, not California). It's neck n neck right now between North Carolina and Chicago. North Carolina=familiar, been-there-done-that, easy. Chicago=totally new, kind of exciting, but definitely harder. But given the past three months, I'm not sure I can even count on the choices being the same from one day to the next anymore.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I am packing. My back hurts and I took a hit to the jaw today from a falling box. All of my cooling racks except one fit in with my baking pans. I have decided not to care about that, usually I would, but not tonight. I am packing. I am getting an intimate, one on one moment with all of my belongings. All the things that I have felt the need at one time or another to invite into my life. Everything that has, for the past six years, survived my cleaning purges (I am the opposite of a pack rat...always getting rid of stuff) and I am fairly confident that I will never, EVER have to buy another item in my life again...ever. Yeah, that's right...we got S T U F F!

We will put everything in storage for a few months and I am looking forward to being away from all my stuff. Is that a funny thing to say? Well, try it sometime. It's refreshing. Perhaps vacations aren't about where you go as much as what you leave. Just the act of leaving something is freeing and empowering.

People ask me if I'm excited about moving. Well... is it ok to be sad about getting something that you wanted? Because that's how I feel. I wanted to move, but now that it's happening... and goodbye's are immiment, the emotions are very close to the surface. I was teary all night as I packed with boxes and used packing paper that friends had brought me. I've moved enough to know that you keep moving boxes and packing paper after you move for a reason...so when someone brings them to you, it's really a dear gesture.

In Spanish Fork, I chose to love. I decided to accept people on their terms and assume the best. This has made my heart happy and my life rich. It probably hasn't changed how other people have viewed me though...I'm sure it's quite the opposite. I'm sure some people hate me, or are annoyed by me, or think I'm utterly ridiculous. But, like the deviant cooling rack that didn't fit in my box, I have decided not to care about that. There's just no room for it. And I'm ok with that.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Over Paid Party Pooper

I dont' know how much the buyers of our house paid that mean old (oops...I mean "well meaning") home inspector to come in and snoop around, but I hope it wasn't much. Not that I know how much inconsequential bad news is worth, I just think it should be dirt cheap.

Before he came, everyone was happy. We lived in our house for six years, cared for it, loved it, always planned on protecting our investment and possibly owning it (although not living in it) for forever. We fixed all the maintenance problems in preparation for putting it on the market. We looked at each other when we were finished with the repairs and asked the familiar question: "Why do we always make it so nice right before we leave it?"

The buyers were practically giddy as well. Not only did they like the house, they kept making offers on all our furniture too!

But now, we all have this new list you see, and there's no room on this list for happy or exciting. It's all depressing, nick-picky and largely inconsequential and I hate this list. I do, however,
feel more sorry for the buyers than us because...they haven't lived here and therefore don't know how meaningless those things on that list are and how they would never have even been aware of them if it weren't for Captain Sunshine and his fancy digital, thermal scanner of gloom.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Family That's Ambushed Together...

When my children were much smaller, Family Home Evenings had a lot more energy and excitement to them. We were young and creative and would plan for the evening well in advance. We didn’t have any money then so it was always homemade but no one seemed to mind. It also helped that back then everyone actually wanted to be there.

One Family Home Evening however, ended up being more exciting than any one of us could have ever anticipated.

I had recently heard a suggestion for a fun family activity while listening to a well known LDS author and speaker on tape. This speaker said that you could lay a clean bed sheet down on the family room floor and place a hot air popcorn popper in the middle of the sheet. You would then gather the family around and fill the machine with kernels. As the machine warmed up you could take the lid off of the popper and make a game out of catching the freshly popped corn in your mouth as they flew freely and wildly about the room. Lots of giggles and memories were to be had.

Well we couldn’t wait. We were filled with anticipation as we sat around our popcorn popper. The kids grinned from ear to ear. The machine whirred and off came the lid. But no fluffy white clouds of happiness came flying out, instead the unpopped, but VERY well heated kernels took flight like burning hot shrapnel. Taking out one kid, then the next. Before we knew it, there was crying and screams of terror everywhere. The kids dodged one way and ran the other but it seemed the kernels from hell had impeccable aim and velocity.

Finally my husband started grabbing the children and running them out of the room as I did a head dive for the outlet to unplug the demon attacker from the wall.

Well, as you can imagine, that pretty much ends your evening! There are no lesson or songs or activities that are going to be a good follow-up for that. Just a lot of hugs and kisses, band-aids and apologies. Oh yeah…and one trip to the garbage out back to properly dispose of a certain talk on tape.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wasps like blackberries. They like to suck the juice right out of them! I went outside to pick myself a nice bowl of blackberries today and discovered a wasp fully engaged in gorging himself on the biggest berry on the bush! Several other attempts revealed several other wasps doing the same thing. All this time I thought I was producing a crop of nice, anti-oxidant rich fruit for my family just to find out that no.... it's actually an after school hang-out for delinquent teenage vespas!

Wasps get to sting people. That pretty much maxes out their annoyance quota, dosn't it? They shouldn't be allowed to sting people and eat their blackberries. Who do they think they are? Bears?
You're lower on the food chain than that Mr. Vespula Vulgaris. You have to pick one irritating characteristic, no going back for seconds.

Here's the thing. These wasps have been living in a hole in my gazebo for a few years. I, being the humanitarian that I am, decided to live and let live. I scratch my back; they scratch theirs, if you know what I mean. This spring I did see one of them eating a grasshoper (gross), but grasshoppers eat my flowers so as gross as that was...it sorta worked for me. I thought we had a beautiful thing going.

But now, they've left me with no choice. I have to show them who is boss of the backyard. Tomorrow morning there will be a freshly caulked hole in my gazebo, with a little tiny wreath hung over it. Maybe the mosquitos will hold a little candlelight vigil for them, I don't know. I just hope we've all learned our lesson here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Don't Get It

What makes a woman; who is otherwise capable of remarkable acts of compassion; who has otherwise demonstrated a great capacity to promote and respond to spiritual experiences...completely and consistently neglect the very people that the Lord himself has placed in her life and asked of her: "If ye love me, feed my sheep."?

I don't get it. Help me understand.

How can a woman sit by, when the Lord himself is in the vineyard, grieved and pained and asking "What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done?" How does anyone sit by and not jump in that vineyard and labor by his side? Is his grief in the vineyard somehow more acceptable than his grief in the garden?

I'm talking about serving. Caring. Ministering. I'm talking about visiting teaching.

50%? 60%? The same people over, and over, month after month not getting visited. The same people over and over, month after month not doing the visiting.

Oh, excuse me. Is this too scathing? Am I in your face? Well, consider yourself rebuked. Please feel free to enlighten me as to why you're not living up to your privileges, I'd love to hear it.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Yes!

You've asked for years and years, and I realize now that it may be too late to answer, but I have to say...YES! Yes Mr. Rogers....I do want to be your neighbor! I would and I could.

Aawhhhhh....this feels so right.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Life Longing

Do you have a life longing? Is there something that you long for, but that you have been denied? Not something that I would refer to as a "comic book longing" such as wealth, eternal youth, fame, or super-human abilities. But something that a lot of people have and that is so common, most people take it for granted, something that only you would recognize as being remarkable to attain? Yes? Then you have a life longing.

One common characteristic of life longings is the Almost Factor. The Almost Factor is probably the most cruel part of it all. You almost get there. You almost have it. Or maybe you have it, but just long enough to love it...before it is taken away. There just seems to be one little step, one little detail, that is missing, that keeps your dream away...at longing's length.

And then there's the Why Not factor. At some point, if your life longing is really a life longing and not a gimme-gimme, you'll find yourself asking "Would it matter Lord? Would it really mess anyone up if you let me have a spouse? or a baby? How would that hurt anyone?"

Good questions. I don't have an answer, but I do have this story (which has nothing to do with life-longings, but is just an example of considering the unknown). I had a big responsibility at church when I got cancer. We call them "callings" in my church. I thought I would be released from that responsibility to deal with my illness, but I was not. Many times I wished I was released. But cancer came and went and my calling stayed. When I look back, I think about how hard it was to do both and how much better it would have been to be released, but then the thought always follows...I have no idea how it would have been without the calling. Maybe it was easier to have that distraction and those opportunities to serve. Bottome line; I just don't know what it would have been like to go through cancer without the calling. Maybe it would have been worse.

So maybe my life longing is a blessing in disguise and someday I'll realize that it was better to live without attaining my dream than to actually have it fulfilled. I don't know...we'll have to wait and see.

My personal belief? That we all are given a life longing. Some of us can talk about them, which is helpful. But others have longings that by necessity, must be carried alone, which is hard. You can take comfort and solace in knowing that deep inside, we're probably all nursing a tiny little broken heart. Maybe the next time you cross paths with a real jerk (and I hope it's not me), just remember there's a possiblility that that person is acting a little jerky because he/she is feeling like 'the only one' that day, or maybe even really believes at the moment that they are the 'only one'. After all, pity parties don't exactly bring out the best in us, do they?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happening and Un-happening

Just as fast as everything happened...everything un-happened. Happening and un-happening at such speeds is quite cruel; evidence of a demented, sinister universe.

The clock started ticking July 27th at about 4:30 pm, when after months of searching and deliberating, Mark and I settled on a lot, a house plan and a builder and we finally signed one signature-starved contract.

One of us is very happy to be keeping our current residence as another rental, the other one of us is...if you s t r e t c h it far enough...just happy to be trying to be happy about that??? Anyway, not quite 77 thousand ticks of the clock later, a voice mail message is retrieved informing us that there is potentially and quite magically, a very interested buyer for our ever so off-the-market home.

The second not-so-happy to be happy guy is suddenly very happy when said buyer makes us an offer we cannot refuse, landing us in contract number two, in less than forty-eight hours.

So in just two days, and a lot of signatures, we find ourselves contently basking in what we assume to be a supernatural confirmation that moving our family is indeed, somehow sanctioned by God.

This basking lasts through a family reunion, and a family float trip. Twelve days of basking (1,036,800 clock ticks to be exact), only to be interrupted by unexpected voice mail number two: the lay-off.

This is shocking. Unemployment always is, but the surprises don't end there. Imagine a long-lost realtor from your past contacting you after six years to let you know your old home in North Carolina is on the market again, ON THE SAME DAY YOU LOSE YOUR JOB. And if that isn't enough, imagine getting a job offer, from a company in North Carolina, ON THE VERY SAME DAY as well.

One might think that moving to North Carolina was the new "sanctioned by God", we sure did. But North Carolina is a bigger move than we really wanted to make, so we become a little conflicted and spend an entire weekend consumed with making the right decision...if there even is one.

The arrows don't stop pointing us in that direction (East) and our hearts don't stop wanting it to be otherwise (West). The diverge is maddening. We take comfort in the fact that we are still in a contract to build a house here and decide that honoring that contract must trump all other indications.

Finally at peace, we move forward with our builder and send him our design choices the next morning. Unbeknown to us, this is where the un-happening begins. He tells us that we can't, after all, build our house on that lot. Their are CC&R issues and lawyers and what not. Bottom line; our last hope for a sign that says "stay here in Utah" is yanked out from under us, we are no longer contract bound, with the exception of our already sold home, which we'll have to move out of at the end of September.

I surrender. I guess I'm moving to North Carolina. I can't deny what I can't deny. God sold my home so that when my husband lost his job, we could move to North Carolina. That must be it.

UNTIL...the phone rings yet again, six hours later. This time, it is our miracle realtor. The one who sold our house that wasn't even on the market, for full asking price. What does Mr. Miracle have to say? The buyers are backing out.

Oh.

Okay. So...did we just go in a circle? Because I feel like I just went in a circle. Like I'm right back where we started, only with a new job, that by the way....will let us telecommute and not have to move at all. Okay. So what was the rest of all of that for???

Can you say demented and sinister?

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Life is too important to be taken seriously"

Several years ago we heard that our friends from North Carolina were going to be in Utah. Their son told our son that he would come see him on a certain day. This is all the information I got. A day. I wasn't sure if his family; specifically his mother whom I adore, was thinking about coming too since the last time his family stopped by she was unable to be there. Again, no definite time was given, they'd just come when they could.

Well, many things began to go wrong that day. My stack of to-dos had already been piling up and becoming worrisome and weightier all week. I was one stressed out lady. I still remember how desperate and powerless I was feeling.

The price of gas had just shot up and I was combining trips whenever I could. I realized at one point that morning that I could actually get some back-to-school shopping done on the way back from another, critical errand I had to run. So I stopped at Target that day and amidst the crowds and the whining tweens, my shopping cart began to fill with pretty good deals, and a few hard-to-finds. My mind started to relax and I was feeling not so overwhelmed anymore, not to mention quite a bit closer to staying on budget.

It was at this point that my cell phone rang. It was Nick. Not only had his friend arrived at our house, but so had the entire family, including his mom. How fast can I get home? he asks.
Well, if I left my cart, and my hard won deals, and drove like mad...15 minutes. But that meant taking two steps back into the land of overwhelming incompetance and day-late dollar-shortness. I paused for a second to consider then said..."I just can't do it". If they could wait 'til I got home (45 minutes) that would be just smashing, but I didn't expect them to. And they didn't.

All the rest of the day I felt deflated, like the biggest loser. All that I accomplished and was finally able to cross off my list was no longer such a bright light at the end of my tunnel. I had been a schmuck to my friend who was afterall, visiting from over 2,000 miles away.

Apologies and explanations have weakly been offered. And I really have no idea how she feels about all of it. I know that she's been back in town a few times and has expressed no interest in giving a get-together another try and I don't blame her. I've traveled across country with a family before and know what it's like to have a long list of people that I want to visit or feel obliged to visit, so I know first hand how stressful that day probably was for her too.

Sometimes you just can't win them all. Such is the life of a woman. No matter how hard you try, or how hard you work, you will always feel like you've let someone down. So in a way, I have really given a priceless gift to my friend: one less person to worry about pleasing. I'm quite sure I'm off her list.

But this isn't as dire, dreary or depleating as it may sound. It's actually liberating and kind of funny. We don't need a vacation or a spa package to relax, all we need to do is acknowledge our faults and have a good laugh at ourselves. It may take a while, but soon you'll be joined by many friends, all laughing at themselves. You know...it's called retirement, aka the Golden Age.

"Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves." Colin Powell

F2 Baby






On August 11, 1999 my husband learned that when your wife shows up out of the blue at your office and wants to take you out for a slice of pie, she's probably coming to tell you something. Maybe something like, she's found a way to fill that one last empty seat in the mini-van? Yup, congratulations, another bun in the oven! Number five was every bit as exciting as the first, if not more. Of course, it didn't hurt that twenty seconds after I broke the news to Mark, a fellow patron in the restaurant stood up and shouted "get away from the windows!".

We were sitting in the restaurant part of the old Inn at Temple Square, next to the wall of windows that ran along South Temple. We dubbiously scanned the room to see if there were any obvious signs that we might want to listen to the crazy guy's frantic warning. Abruptly, other patrons started to stand and move from the windows so, still not knowing why...(maybe it was a gunman?), we left our table and moved to the center of the room as well. That is when we noticed that large debris had begun flying past the windows at uncanny speeds. The world outside had been turned into soup and someone was giving it a stir.


I found a phone in the lobby and called the babysitter at home to see how things were going there and to encourage them to go down to the basement and to also let them know we wouldn't be home for a while.

When everything had died down, people started emptying on to the streets in droves. Even people who otherwise had no business to go outside, went out to survey the damage. We were all walking up and down the streets aimlessly, all talking to each other like we'd known each other for years. Once in our car, it took us over 45 minutes just to get from State street to the I-15 on-ramp.

Everyone wants it to be special when you announce a pregnancy. But no amount of creativity or meteorological divination on my part could have ever produced a more memorable announcement than this. (even though I never did get to finish my piece of pie ).

Rachel, our fifth baby, came eight months later and has ironically been the calm after the storm. But, on the other hand, her creative powers surely carry a F3 or F4 punch that could really put any tornado to shame.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

When you're a woman, and life hands you this sentence: "Comb-over, 50 to life", you can try to discern what crime you committed to deserve such a punishment, or you can carefully meter out what courage you still have left from all the other sucker-punches you've been dealt and march on... until you drop.

Here's what happens. One day you'll want to go out with your husband and NOT wear a wig or a hat or anything. You'll want to feel normal, even though you know your not. So you'll choose a venue in another city where no one knows you. You will strategically place every strand of hair where it can cover the most scalp and still look inconspicuous. Then off you'll go.

In my case, we chose the Timpanogos Temple. This is the part where the temple workers; the kindest, most seasoned, sweet little old ladies would speak to me, all the time looking me in the eyes, except of course for the occasional, almost rhythmic glance up...at my hair. And yes, they pretty much all had more hair than me.

No worries, right? Who cares. Off to the grocery store. It's 10:30 now, on a Friday night. I won't see anyone I know, right? Wrong. There's person A at the cucumbers, but fortunately I can duck into the cereal isle quick enough before she sees me and wants to chat. Phew! But who would be in the cereal isle??? Person B. Now I'm surrounded. I have to talk to person B, and sure enough, buying cucumbers obviously reminds person A how much she needs some rice crispies and viola! it's a party in the cereal isle. Everyone's invited but my hair.

So, ok...let's be humble. Let's have a little perspective. Let's go buy some milk. We won't see anyone else we know, for the remainder of the jaunt, but we will pass another woman...with a comb-over. She'll be a night stock person. She has the good sense to relegate herself to the graveyard shift where all women who look like they just crawled out of a grave belong.

I'm almost out of courage. I feel it waning. I've done my best. It's time to drop.
I need a farm, out in the middle Kansas somewhere, where no one has my address and I don't even own a phone. Or a miracle...yeah, that would be nice too.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Work Station(ary)

Here I place my butt to stay
At this desk to work all day
Though no new weight have I gained
My hooks and zippers feel quite strained

Stand, run, walk, I used to do
Little errands, house chores too
No time to sit ‘til after nine
Back then my pants would fit just fine

I am comfy, I suppose
But now I need to buy new clothes
Desks and chairs we have a few
But we could use a treadmill too

Friday, June 3, 2011

True Love Defined

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." ~Author Unknown

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Book Thief...and other endings

It has been an emotional week for me. As I've pondered the passing of a friend and as I've finished reading a book written with such weighty brilliance that it's been credited by many as "changing their lives", I find myself quick to cry and slow to...well, anything else. In other words, everything else has slowed down to a speed more prone to contemplation and appreciation.

That, by the way, is not the speed that our world is spinning at right now. Our RPM is currently set at FRANTIC. Cunningly so by the author of all unhappiness, Mr. Devil. Our sobriety is dependant on being 'present in the moment', so in order for him to maintain our dis-ease, we must not be allowed enough time to even know the moment existed in the first place, until that is, the consequences of the moment are seated insistantly at our feet.

Breathe in. Wait. Breathe out. Listen for the lilt in someone's laugh, look for the playful in someone's eye.
Take the time to say no. Take the time to let someone else adjust..learn..merge.

When I speak of sobriety, it's almost impossible to do so without thinking strong drink as well. But in The Book of Mormon, sobriety is admonished with no referral at all to wine. According to Elder James J. Hamula "Being sober means being earnest and serious in assessing your circumstances, and careful and circumspect in weighing the consequences of your actions. Soberness therefore yields good judgment, as well as measured conduct."

But enough about that.

So, as I put down the 560 pages of Markus Zusak's "The Book Thief" I have to ask myself; how can Mr. Zusak live with himself? Knowing a creation of such magnitude came out of himself? Wow. Good job Markus. Stay with us.

Other endings in my life have happened or are about to happen in the form of serving in God's kingdom. Church callings are changing hands. This happens almost every week so why do the most recent ones seem to have affected my heart strings this week in particular? Probably because I have witnessed Andy and Jim and Randy all give their hearts in their service. Their families as well have sacrificed. How do you put it down then, and move on? How do you redirect dedication? By definition you shouldn't be able to. By experience, it's known to be hard, as Christopher and Evan will discover in two years when they return home from their missions abroad.

I know that I too, will soon be released. Dismissed. I'm lost trying to figure out how that's going to work. They (the sisters) are in my heart, so it can't, can it? But somehow it will have to and it will be, in it's own way, glorious. Because for me, I can't help thinking that I have let the cancer and the calling become entangled in one. I hope to find out that upon my release, I can finally let go and put the disease behind me and be done with it. (well...the moving plan didn't work...I've got to try something!)

Now on to Howard and death. Same problem but bigger question mark. How is that going to work? He's in our hearts, but our opportunity to serve him and learn from him, at least here on earth, have now passed.

We may be uncertain as we wonder in callings as in relationships "could I have done more?" but today in church, I was overcome with such an overwhelming feeling of "well done, though good and faithful servant" that I think it's safe to just smile and let that one go. I know that I loved all the sisters in my ward and that I loved Howard as well, so what more could I have done?

Friday, May 20, 2011

From My Journal - 1988

"I feel so alone for the first time in my life; like a has-been Nike swoosh, like a new kid at school, like a cream soda in the fridge, like a word stuck in a pen."

That was from my journal in 1988. If you're from the 80's, you will remember that for a while, Nike was huge and you had to have that swoosh on your shoes. But by '88, the craze was pretty well over, no one had thought of "just do it" yet and other tennies like Adidas and K Swiss had stolen the market, at least as far as a journal writer in St. Louis at the time was concerned. And I apparently wasn't too fond of cream soda.

I guess I was feeling alone at the time. I wrote my best poetry as a lonely teenager and as an in love teenager and as a hyper teenager and as a trying to win free stuff teenager and as a contemplative teenager....you get the point. My career as a poet hit it's peak right about the same time as my hormones did. Juvenescence makes a riotous muse if captured properly.

One of my favorites is called "Why Do Lovers Walk So Slow?"

Why do lovers walk so slow
Don't they know I've got to go
They walk so slow that I can't stand
To be behind those hand in hand.
The bells gonna ring
And I'll be late
Just because two people date.
I try not to be tardy to class,
But lovers walk slow...
And are hard to pass.

Technically, that is a sonnet, but not intentionally. It just sort of happened that way.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So this is it. Mothers Day 2011 starts at 4 am. I don't know why, but apparently I'm supposed to be up right now. Breakfast in bed? Nope. Try breakfast in a dark kitchen when the house is so quiet, you think that cracking an egg is going to break the sound barrier and when did the keyboard get so dang loud!?

A bowl of cereal would have been easier, and possibly quieter, but some lousy idiot discovered that carbs aren't as good for you as we once supposed (how could something that makes you so happy be good for you!?) and that eating them will give your body a reaction opposite to what you're going for at 4 am...namely more awake, less asleep. Ignorance really is bliss ya' know. Get your stinkin' lab coat away from my bliss!

And when did my job, which was supposed to be a source of mad money, or fun money, become so darn essential? How come now I cannot imagine how we'd get through the next month without it and how "fun" has nothing to do with it? Did God know that our entire sprinkler system would blow up today and seem so hopelessly expensive to fix? Did he trick-bless me into getting a job so I'd be ready for this, quite possible $1,000 repair. Which came first...the chicken or the egg?

It happened. Sometime within the last 24 hrs, our MLS listing slipped quietly and peacefully away. After a year of "house on the market" angst, it just ended. Almost without our knowledge. If it wouldn't have been for the first, of I'm sure many, phone call from a realtor/vulture, ready to jump in and be the answer to all my real estate problems, I probably wouldn't have even known.

I love my house. I love my neighbors. I just don't love where they all come together.
Goodbye dream of moving. Please go away.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Still with the Yay! Thing

Yay! Yay! Yay! is still on my mind. This may have something to do with the fact that yesterday I forgot to come to ward council with a spiritual thought prepared and had to wing it by trying to use my most recent blog piece. Hm mm. Questionable move on my part. I vaguely recall getting lots of blank stares.

I'd like to think that behind those stares were thoughts of: "Wow... I am moved so much by the deep insights of Sister Jarman that I find myself rendered speechless. If only Heaven would open up right now and take us all home so we could praise the good Lord in person for this bestowal of wisdom and light."

But what they were probably thinking was: "Dude...she totally forgot to bring the spiritual thought."

Nevertheless...I am still led to believe that there is some deeper reason why this little boy's reaction made such an impact on me. Which has led me to reflect on the scripture; "Men are that they might have joy". Ever notice how it comes right after the verse "Adam fell that men might be"? The single most enfeebling, disruptive and bruising event in the history of the world, yes the very Fall of Adam itself, is followed by the declaration that...it's all about our happiness?

Men are that they might have joy. Go figure.

So if all this learning and hurting and growing and nitty-gritty life stuff is really so good for us, and I think that it is, and having these adversity laden days are really what it's all about...then those Mormons really do know what they're talking about. I think members of the LDS church may be getting a bad rap for the whole "Gods and Godesses' in embryo thing" because when you think about it...it's quite spot on. But do we ever think about it? Eternity that is?

Has it ever occured to anyone that sitting around eating grapes or plucking harps for eternity would quite literally be it's own kind of HELL? So why would we get on someones case when they talk about progressing eternally? To dam something is to stop it, correct? Do you want to be who you are right now...forever? Would you be happy if you were still the same person today that you were 10 years ago? I know I wouldn't. Ever heard someone be grateful for a past trial? "If I could do it over again, I wouldn't change a thing."

So, yah. Maybe if you progress and learn and change FOR ETERNITY...you might just eventually pick up a few attributes here and there that are...dare I say it....Godlike. He is our Father you know, and a perfect one at that. Matthew 7: 9-11

"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

Don't worry. The Mormons don't believe they have the potential of being your God. That job is already taken. But do know, that Yay! Yay! Yay! happiness is the object and design of our existence (Who designed our existence and Who is perfectly happy?) and will be the end thereof.

So, you're gonna have to find something else to get upset over the Mormons about...because being upset because they understand that God is their Father and wants them to have everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that He has is a little on the naive and short sighted side. It would be more appropriate to be upset at them because they actually have that knowledge and so much more, yet they so often do not live up to their potential, or as Brigham Young said it "far beneath our privileges."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yay! Yay! Yay!

This is what a little four year old boy said today when I handed him a simple yellow balloon at the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon. "Yay! Yay! Yay!" as he hopped away on both feet, like Tigger.

He was the highlight of everyone at the booth today that witnessed his reaction to this seemingly simple acquisition of helium and latex. Hundreds of yellow balloons tied to hundreds of little wrists this morning, but none were as appreciated, loved, or delighted in quite as much this one was.

"To become like little children..." as Christ beckons through century and verse, apparently includes rejoicing and delighting in blessings of every size, color and unremarkable ordinary-ness...even to the point of becoming "hopping happy".

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Omen and It's Possible Meanings

I almost didn't recognize it at first. In fact, I readily dismissed the lone earring that lay in that last bit of diminishing snow as someone elses's problem. I only picked it up to lay it in a more conspicuous place in case it's owner came back.

I guess my plan worked...because I quickly realized that I was the owner! If not mistaken, this was the earring that I lost a long time ago! I probably lost it while raking leaves at our apartment last fall. Sure enough, I took it home and compared it to the one in my jewelry box and it was a perfect match!

Considering the size of the earring and the time and conditions that had passed since it fell out of my ear, this was really quite amazing to me. Mark says it's an omen. I am all for that. Now all I have to do is decide what it's an omen for.

I know, how about the return of my hair! We could really work the whole fall/spring analogy thing.
Or...I certainly wouldn't mind the return of my strength and stamina. You would have thought that by now, I'd be back up to par...but I'm still the biggest wimp I know. My short term memory would be nice too. But then I think I'd trade it all for the return of the cute, cuddly little friends my two youngest daughters used to be to each other. The fighting....the drama...the hormones...really girls?

If you need some omen, just let me know. I'll share some with you. I'm sure there's plenty to go around, but you should know one thing. I went to grab the earring to take a picture of it for this blog and I couldn't find either one. Yup, now they are both missing. I may have to check with Mark first, but, I think it's an omen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Holiday

We went to Subway last night for Family Home Evening, to claim our free "Tax Day Cookie".
Going so late in the day, we were prepared for them to be all out of cookies, but the guy behind the counter said we were the ONLY people ALL day to come in and get a free cookie. So I guess the Free Tax Day Cookie turned into Free Cookie for Me Day. I like that!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

#1 Facebook Wish List

If the facebook genie would grant me one friend request I know exactly who I would wish to find! 23 years ago I spent a magical two weeks with an adorable boy name Franklin, at his parents elite Old Town Alexandria townhome. These folks went furniture shopping in Europe, and car shopping in Sweden. They matched their placemats to their food ("Which one of these goes best with chicken? The checkered or the damask?") They were O L D M O N E Y and they wanted ME to move in with their son!

I would love to find out what happened to Franklin not only because of the bright future and high expectations his family demanded of him and would surely provide for him, and not only because our parting was so heartbreakingly unexpected and emotional...but because...he was only six months old the last time I saw him.

I was a nanny. Franklin's nanny.

Franklin Black was the son of Elise Black and Mr. Black? I can't remember his name. Just that he was the economic editor of US News and World Report at the time and his wife was a lawyer for the United States Justice Department. (She used to work with Rex E. Lee) They were both raised by "white gloved nannies", had graduated from Ivy League schools, traveled the world, loved Linda Rodstadt, and by age 40 had decided that they owned everything in the world they could ever want except one thing...an offspring.


That's where I come into the picture. My mother wrote an elegant cover letter to accompany my resume and they fell in love with me instantly. Well...they fell in love with my mother. Who wouldn't...I'd pay her to raise my kids too.

Anyway...my first night there, sharing a penthouse suite with little Franklin's nursery, I fluffed up my pillow and sat up in bed to write in my journal when C R A S H! The 150 year old antique bed that they had set me up with, falls apart. To their credit, they were more worried about my safety than the furniture. But perhaps the most memorable part of the evening for me was the look on their faces when they saw what I wore to bed. Let's just say...NOT satin jammie tops and bottoms. More like...white trash reject something or others.

I did become extremely homesick extremely fast. Mostly because I was in culture shock and had no way to relate to the posh surroundings or foreign childcare theories that were being thrust upon me. Franklin's toys came with instruction manuals so that I could introduce the right toys to him in the right order so his brain would function at genius level. I had to play Spanish lessons during his morning nap and German lessons during his afternoon. I had to sterilize his toys on a weekly basis, dispose of every diaper in a zip lock bag before throwing it out. I had to boil everything that I used to prepare his bottles, including the tongs, funnels, can opener, and the top of the cans themselves. I had to check the air quality report before taking him on his morning stroll. But the most baffling thing was...I was not to nap while he was napping.


That was difficult because several times a week I would go out at night with the other nannies and young single adults in the area and stay out usually until 1am. Mr. and Mrs. Black did not like this either. It made them worry about my safety. Bless their hearts.


So, two weeks into the deal...I guess they got sick of hearing me cry in the shower every morning, and of my staying out late at night because they fired me. I got a healthy severance package so I moved in with another nanny whose employers were on a two week cruise. I looked for another nanny job and played around the greater DC area. But in the end I caught a flight home and found a nanny job there, where I could live at home and stay out as late as I wanted to without my boss ever knowing. So whatever happened to Franklin? Did they find another nanny, like a professional nanny from England? Did they tell her horror stories about me? Did Franklin meet all his parents expectations or is he in prison somewhere? Facebook.....the ball is now in your court!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Too Much, Too Little




    You know you're depressed when...



    1. Snow in April makes sense and



    2. hunger pains are good, 'cause at least you're feeling something and



    3. you wonder why you don't know the words to Moon River.



    You know you're bored when...



    1. You can't wait for Tourettes Awareness Month so you can wink at total strangers for no reason and



    2. you wonder what food goes best with The Eagles.



    "So put me on a highway, and show me a sign...." (I'm leaning towards grilled cheese, but I could be wrong)









      Monday, March 14, 2011

      More from my bouquet...

      Imagine coming home from school on your birthday and being met halfway up your driveway by your neighbor who is wearing the biggest grin you've ever seen. "Wow...my birthday surprise is so incredible that even the neighbors are excited!" I imagined. Then to my surprise she pulls this cake out of nowhere that must have taken her hours to create...a beautiful pink cake with a fancy white poodle on the top complete with coconut flake fur.

      Guess who has never liked coconut flakes? Guess whose mom was lying sick in bed, thus inspiring this kind woman's attempt to save a little girls birthday? Guess who cried and sulked off into her room, without so much as a "thank you", thus leaving this poor Samaritan holding the cake?

      (Guess who just burned dinner because she was blogging? I thought the tears were from remorse...nope, try smoke.)

      In the end, however, this kind lady should take solace in one thing. And that is knowing that her cake, although rejected as it was at the time, is the only cake from my childhood that I can still remember.

      My Kids

      Nick - His first "video game" was a program Mark brought home from work that his company had designed to help medical students learn anatomy. At age four he almost had all of the bones memorized. We thought for sure he had inherited the PhD gene from my grandfathers. Nick lost interest when he started kindergarten.

      Phoebe - She needed to be disciplined one afternoon, long after I had run out of mommy power, so I instructed her to go spank herself. She turned and left the room in tears to carry out the sentance.

      Kate - When she was finally told the true identity of Santa Claus, she sighed in deep relief and exclaimed how glad she was to know because, in her words, "I was just going to keep on believing no matter what all the kids at school said". Wow, talk about conviction!

      When we were living in Maryland, Kate was nine and was assigned to write an essay on Martin Luther Kings birthday. The theme was "I have a dream". Kate wrote: "I have a dream that all the people in Maryland will start being Mormons so they can be good." Her teacher did her best to express her objection in red ink without sounding too incensed, but it was hard to hide her incredulity.

      Sunday, March 13, 2011

      From My Bouquet

      "God gave us memories, so that we might have roses in December." From my bouquet:

      ~I remember going on business trips with my dad. He had to drive up and down the Oregon Coast for sales calls and those of us that were old enough were invited, one at a time, to accompany him on some of these treks. This meant; missing school, seeing new landscapes, one on one time with dad, a heaping of music from the 60's, sitting in the front seat without having to take turns or fight with siblings, endless restaurant food, hotels with indoor pools and...Good Morning America.

      I would wake up in the mornings to the sounds and smells of a freshly groomed father getting ready for his sales calls that day. The smell was probably a mix of "classic hotel" (chlorine, coffee and a hint of cigarette smoke) and Old Spice. The sound was always Good Morning America and an electric razor running in the background. I'm dizzy with nostalgia just thinking about it. Those were happy times.

      Now, it's difficult if not impossible, to recreate the smell of a hotel room when you need a good sensory hug. And maybe that's a good thing. But, to this day, I still find the sound of GMA on the TV to be extremely comforting during times of stress or uncertainty. It got me through a lot of tough "Operation Desert Storm" mornings when I would have otherwise been all alone. There's no doubt in my mind where that little emotional/sensory crutch came from.

      Does the Emmy go to ABC? No way. It could have been any show playing in the background on those business trip mornings. The award goes to Dad for making a little kid feel not so little, a passion of his that he has refined over the years and now passes down to his grandkids.

      Saturday, March 5, 2011

      Tops for Tots

      I unintentionally ran a home based business from 1993-2000. It started when my son was born 14 months after my daughter was born (also unintentional). Unlike his big sister, he didn't come out of the womb with a shock of thick, dark hair covering his head. Also unlike his sister, I couldn't dress him up with ribbons and bows. So to me, he sometimes seemed half dressed with nothing on his bald, albeit cute, little noggin.

      At that time in my life, at home all day with two very little children, I maintained my sanity by spending lots of time behind the sewing machine as well as at the fabric store. In fact, it was at a fabric store where I discovered a pattern for baby baseball caps. What a revelation! It never occured to me that I could make a baseball hat, let alone one for a baby. But in the end, I would end up making over a thousand.

      The hats were created solely for Nick at first. Then I started making them for baby showers that I had been invited to. Soon, friends who were going to other baby showers started calling and placing orders. This led to the idea that I might be able to sell them at the Wymount Terrace yard sales on Saturday mornings. The first time I sold out of hats in less than an hour...I knew I was on to something good.



      This is where my dad comes in. He knew the buyer for a baby boutique in American Fork called "Little Things Mean A Lot". Sharon agreed to look at my hats to see if they would be a good fit for the store. She really liked them, but suggested a few tailoring tips that would make them look more professional, which I immediately implemented.


      After filling a couple of orders for her store I began to feel more confident in my product. I started approaching other baby boutiques in the valley. At one point I had hats in three different stores in Utah. They took me 1/2 hour to make and cost anywhere between $1 to $2 dollars for the materials. I sold them for $6, the stores turned around and sold them for $12-16 each.

      At the climax of my little business I found myself sitting with the buyer for the Nordstrom store in downtown Salt Lake City. To my surprise, she wanted to order a dozen hats and run a test market on them. I was dizzy as I drove home. Dizzy with excitement and the magnitude of it all. I started adding up everything I would have to do to be a supplier for a national chain, starting with getting insurance and a business license to hiring other women to help with the manufacturing.

      But as I pulled into the driveway of my house, a house that was filled with three beautiful children and all the love I could ever want...I instantly, without a doubt or even a nod of regret, knew that I would not be fetching a business license anytime soon. I waited a few weeks and called Nordstrom to let her know my decision and I have never looked back.

      I sold hats in my little boutiques for four more years and two more children after that. Then one day while filling an order, between nursing my fifth child and packing my family to move across the country to Baltimore, I knew it was time. I finished the hat I was working on, wrote a letter of apology for the partial order, as well as one of thanks for the years of patronage, and closed shop.

      I opened it once more a couple of years later when I was desperate for airfare to fly back to Utah for a visit but never again since then.


      How fun that was and how lucky I am to have that chapter in my life, unintentional or otherwise. I know without a doubt, that this was just one instant of many where the inspired leaders of our church taught me the truth about the true meaning of success.

      Wednesday, February 23, 2011

      Drama Queen & The Ruby Ring

      I was six years old. I still believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I still believed the kid on the bus who told me that if you picked a scab while you were outside, you would die. And I still believed in monsters too. (By the way...not only do monsters eat kids...but they do it in one gulp...)

      This is the world I was living in when I met my teacher at church for the first time. She was the first grossly obese person I had ever encountered. From my perspective, all 43 inches of me, I couldn't help but notice that her tummy was approximately the same size that I was. From this observation my six year old brain immediately came to the only reasonable conclusion I could draw at the time: She ate kids.

      I started to cry and run after my mom. I cringe just thinking about what this poor lady heard me say as I darted out of the room. Poor Sister So-in-so. How incredibly humiliating that must have been and how sorry I am for the incident.

      But she must have forgiven me because the following week she brought me a shiny, plastic, ruby ring that was the most beautiful thing I had ever owned. I was spellbound from there on out. Turns out she wasn't a dangerous ogre that ate children afterall! She was really a generous queen who gave away priceless jewelry! At least, that was the only reasonable conclusion I could draw at the time.

      Friday, February 18, 2011

      Attractive is as attractive does.

      This is my life. It is my mess and my masterpiece, and these are my stories. You my friends, are making messes and masterpieces all of your own, right along side me. What a wonderful human race we make together! How amusing it is to stop once in a while and peer into each others worlds, through the written word. And here we go again...

      When I was in high school I left a bright and promising career at Taco Bell to work behind the snack bar of a Venture store. (A Venture store is something in between a Target and a Kmart.) I went from smelling like a taco to smelling like popcorn and from wearing brown polyester to wearing black.

      As happy as I was about those changes, I was unhappy about the realization that WAY too many teenagers frequented that snack bar at Venture. My natural inclination at the time was to maintain a very low-profile while wearing polyester and pumping ICEE's. So this was not good. I spent most shifts neck-high in self-absorbed adolescent angst and feeling very sorry for myself.

      Then one day while out visiting a friend in a neighboring town, we popped into her local Venture store. I casually glanced over at the snack bar on our way to the jewelry department to see if I could catch a glimpse of what I was certain would be a fellow comrad in misery. To my surprise, I saw the girl behind that counter looking way cuter than she should have. I did a double take to see what kind of uniform she got to wear and discovered it was just like mine.

      The only difference was...she was smiling. And self-confidant. She was rockin' that geek suit and owning the crowd.

      For better or for worse, that's how it works ladies and gentleman. We are attracted to happy and confident. Happy and confident will always trump style and chic. Which, by the way...you should note that nothing makes you happier or more confident than having the spirit of God with you. In the inspired words of Sheri Dew: "No amount of time in front of the mirror will make you as attractive as having the Holy Ghost with you."

      Amen.

      Wednesday, February 16, 2011

      The Room that Rosemary Built

      Once upon a time there was an LDS meetinghouse without a mother's room. That's right, no room for a woman to sit and rock her baby, feed her baby, or change her baby when needed.
      An old brown metal folding chair wedged tightly between the sink and the bathroom stall in the ladies restroom was somehow supposed to suffice.

      There are certain things about that set-up that make it disgusting, not to mention demeaning to a young woman who has not only chosen to bring God's children into the world, but bring them to His church as well. But such as it was, year in and year out, babies and bummies made due (and doo-doo) with the situation.

      Then one day while looking for a quiet room to discipline a child in, one of those young mothers happened upon an empty classroom in the hall adjacent to the chapel. After reproving the child with sharpness, she couldn't help notice that the services in the chapel she had just left, were being piped into that classroom through a speaker in the ceiling. Could it be? Did her ears deceive her? A long, lost mothers room, stripped of it's true purpose?

      Excited inquiries danced past the ears of many a priesthood leader. As far as support from those leaders went, the flesh was willing, but the spirit was...delegated. Excitement grew to disillusionment as nothing...ever...happened.

      But it wasn't long before the disillusionment took the form of audacity as I, the aforementioned young mother, took matters into my own hands. I ordered a door plaque that read 'Mother's Room' that matched the door plaques on the other specially designated rooms in the building. I took my drill and my three young children to church one night and proceeded to screw the plaque onto the door. I moved all the classroom chairs out of the room and dragged two of the upholstered chairs from the foyer (one actually swiveled and rocked) into the room. Top it off with some lovely framed art stolen from the Relief Society room, and viola! Instant mother's room.

      Through the grapevine, I learned that the High Priests Group Leader was considerably put out that someone had stolen his quorum's classroom and that he left a mean spirited note on the chalkboard for the mothers to read, but other than that, there were no inquisitions, no letters read from pulpits, no repercussions of any kind. I was prepared to repent if caught, but there never was a witch hunt to begin with. And much to my delight, when I went back to that church for a 20 year ward reunion...the room was still there as I had designed it, in all it's accomodating comfort and glory.

      Viva la mama!

      (Disclaimer: By no means does the author encourage or endorse the unauthorized altering or remodeling of any publicly or privately held property. My behavior was shameful and should not be emulated. Do not try this at home. Danger Will Robinson, danger!)

      Thursday, February 10, 2011

      Last Sunday our Fast and Testimony meeting was one of those meetings where you don't want to get up when it's over, you just want the feeling to last forever. Fortunately, the spirit was carried throughout the rest of our classes and into the rest of that day's activities. It's really quite invigorating when that happens and you feel like you can do anything, and you probably would if that darn sun would just stay up a bit longer!

      Conference weekends have the same effect.

      I have long struggled with the unsustainability of such spiritual highs. Sometimes it can really bring me down, when despite my best efforts, the magic dosn't lasts long enough for me to do all that I'm inspired to do, in the manner I know God would have me do it.

      So yesterday, when I took a day off work to spend more time ministering to my neighbors and my family, and after having the best experience ever (despite problems with auto technicians), I came to the end of the day with the same conundrum. So in an effort not to wake up the next morning bummed out about it, I said this prayer to God:

      Dear Father,

      Thank you for filling my day with opportunities to minister to my brothers and sisters here on earth. Thank you for letting me see the beauty that lives inside each individual, that comes from the light you have placed in their soul. Thank you for giving words to those around me that have edified and instructed. Thank you for expanding my heart to consider each moment for its true significance in terms of eternity. Thank you for this day...in all its perfection.

      Please bless me, as I lay down to sleep and wake to a new morn, that I will not descend into despair when I realize that the unique blessings of this day do not carry over to the next. Please help me accept the hills with the valleys, the ordinary with the extraordinary, and the miraculous with the hum-drum.

      But please, do not delay the forthcoming of the next chance to walk by your side, so that through your grace and that power alone, I may have another day of Heaven on earth.

      Wednesday, February 9, 2011

      Save a buck, burn in hell

      When I bought my laptop last year I picked up a floor model that was for sale. The sales clerk took it to the back to box it up for me and soon I was on my way to PC heaven. Not long after getting home, the store where I made the purchase called me to let me know that they accidentally put my laptop in the wrong box. Because of this mistake, I had been charged for Dell's more rudimentary model, but actually went home with the elaborate one. As they explained the situation.. I braced for the inevitable. "You owe us more money." But instead they humbly and pleadingly asked me to bring the box back to trade for the one that my computer actually belonged to, promising a big discount coupon on future purchases if I would be so kind. An unusual shopping experience yes, but by no means unpleasant.

      Contrast that to what happened to me today. I ordered and paid for a set of four new tires last week. When I went to have them installed today, the "tire master" scrunched up his face as he looked at the sales slip, stammered a bit, and then informed me that they messed up and didn't charge me enough for the tires. He followed this announcement by stretching out his hand, requesting my card so he could ring up the difference. I smiled in reply and said "surely you're going to waive the difference, right?" Not so easy.

      The manager was called down, he immediately sided with me. The tire master then, believe it or not, argued with the manager that I should be required to pay!!! (I know...I'll let you catch your breath and calm down....................ok, back to the story) So the manager looked at me and said "I'll let your conscience dictate what you should do, this is your personal decision." (I know...more shock and disbelief, I'll give you time.............................ok, back to the story.)

      Of course, I don't give them the money. At that point I should have had them load the tires into the back of my van so I could take them somewhere where the technicians don't hate me, but instead I wait for them to do it. And wait, and wait and wait. Two hours later I learn that after our moment at the front desk, the tire master had left in a huff and his coworker was left there working the tire bay alone and at his own sweet pace. I watched as he would stop working on my van to take new customers, fulfill their orders, and then go back to my van.

      I couldn't believe what I was seeing, so in naivete, I walked across the store to the bakery and bought them a giant chocolate cake and set it on the front desk. Thirty minutes later he came out with my keys and wouldn't even look me in the eyes. I interrupted his icy, self-absorbed revery and asked "do you think I'm evil?" He returned "do you go to church every Sunday?" "Yes" I replied. "Then I think you're evil".

      "So you won't accept my peace offering?" I followed. He picks up the cake and hands it to me across the desk. I then ask "do you go to church every Sunday?" His smug reply "no". You fill in what I should have said then, something like: "Well, if you did go to church they'd teach you not to judge people as evil based on one interaction with them." But instead, I just took my cake and walked out the door, feeling badgered and mystified. Did I just pay $500 to be treated like a doormat?

      Friday, January 28, 2011

      First day with a new wig. Awkward. But I don’t know what else to do. After wearing a wig for a few months I come to resent it for not being my real hair. I come to resent it for being the same style EVERY DAY. No ponies, no clips, no straighteners or curlers, just precisely how it looked yesterday, and the day before that and the day before that. Which brings me to today. First day with a new wig. You don’t want to garner ANY attention, but you will. You don’t want to draw attention to the part of your appearance you hate the most, but you will. Courage, deep breathe, cue the denial. Let’s go.

      Six hours later…

      It actually wasn’t that bad. People are either getting used to my wig changes or the change was more subtle this time. I still have the extended family debut and the church family debut, but one down, two to go. Today was definitely the hardest of all three. But I did get one laugh out of it. I was at Target buying the office soda stash for the next two weeks when the cashier complimented the way my hair curled. I said “thank you”. To my chagrin, the exchange continued as she inquired as to what I used to produce the curl; hot rollers or round brush and blow dry? For this, I was TOTALLY caught off guard. Ill-prepared. If I had ever anticipated the question, I would have been ready with a good, normal sounding answer. But I wasn’t, so after stammering for a moment I simply said “It’s a wig.”

      Turns out, that’s a conversation stopper. She got caught somewhere between sympathy and embarrassment and I got caught glaring at what had to be the slowest receipt printer in the world!

      But in the end, on my way across the parking lot, the daffiness of it all got the best of me and made me giggle. “Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.”


      New Wig


      Wig History