Monday, September 19, 2011

One of those days...

“Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee.” Ever have one of those days? I don’t know what has started it. Maybe the moment I took to read my scriptures first thing instead of putting them off until later when the day is half way through, or maybe it’s the gorgeous weather or beautiful music drifting in from the other room, but today is one of those days and I don’t want it to end. “How great Thou art, how great Thou art.”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Adventures in Horney Toads

Suzy, my 10 and ½ year old, (cannot forget the ½), found a Horney Toad on the walk home from church on Sunday. She was thrilled because this week, today in fact, is the pet parade at school and all we have around this house is some fish. It has been quite a fantastic thing watching her take care of this toad. Poor thing lives in a little quart jar but it is the most decked out quart jar the world has ever seen. She changes the grass almost daily. She arranges the rocks and twigs to perfection. She catches flies and makes sure there is water in the pop top lid. And all the toad ever does is stare back at her, his eyes half shut and lazy most of the time.

At lunch today I will take the toad to her and she will be so proud showing it off and I have to admit the little creature as boring as he is, is mesmerizing to watch. Saturday we are going up the canyon with Suzy’s Aunt and Uncle and cousins and she will let the little creature go. I wonder if he will even think back at his time in the quart jar. Probably not, but if he does I hope he realizes the care that one little girl took of him. Left to another child, a boy perhaps, and I wonder if he would have lived to see Saturday come and his freedom.

It’s amazing to me how something so little can bring so much joy. Suzy taking care of her toad, me watching her. The whole family in one way or another has been fascinated and none of it has cost us a penny, well maybe a quart jar. How often do we look around the corner waiting for the something that will make us happy? How many of us search for that next trip or next dollar that will buy us happiness and not even realize that it’s sitting in a little quart jar on the little old fashioned sewing machine in the front room or in the eyes of the little girl that is taking care of it.

Friday, August 12, 2011


From the other room I hear “Adleviese” stringing out over the speakers. My youngest, Sam, has just woken up and I hear him in return say, “Blah.” I guess he doesn’t appreciate the beauty that his eight year old sister finds in the movie “Sound of Music,” but I do. Do you ever have one of those days when your life feels like a musical? When all you want to do is sing at the top of your lungs and spin in circles to the wind?

Jason started his first day of work at the Utah campus of the University that he works at and I want to sing. If you had told me a year and a half ago that such a blessing would come to our family I would have probably believed you, but if you had told me a month ago, even six months ago, that this gift would come to us I don’t know if I would have.

Sometimes I sit back and wonder just how much thought Heavenly Father has to put into every detail. Over a decade and a half went into the planning for the future that now stands before our family. That planning didn’t come on our part; in fact we knew nothing of it. Down to the tiniest detail, Heavenly Father took his time setting so many small, what would appear to be insignificant, little things into motion so that today we could be so blessed and led to the path we are on. And we are not alone.

My brother Brad just got an amazing job that perhaps only a year ago he would never have thought about applying for, but yet fits him so well. As we talked about what led him to it, we were both amazed at the minuscule things that led up to it.

How many billions of lives does God take into hand and through about a zillion minuscule things leads to the path that can bless and teach them the most? I am in awe at his detail and at the time and considerations he has taken for all of us. When I think of the many moments that we could have changed things and gone about differently than he had planned, I shudder. Thankfully we didn’t change things, and maybe perhaps the few times we did, he was able to lead us back on course. I also shudder to think of the times that maybe I don’t realize that I steered from the course that he so painfully set into place, and missed out on the blessings, on the learning experiences that he had planned for me.

For today, I am a little more grateful, and for today I am completely in awe of the details, the little minuscule details, that Heavenly plans in my behalf. I am grateful for the love that only he can understand the depths of. Today, I want to sing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Magically Perfect

I sent Jason off once again to Nevada to work. My older two daughters went with him to be deposited in Beaver at a good friend’s house on the way. I was happy, because Jason wouldn’t have to be driving all the way alone, and happy because I know that there will not be many more days of this left for us. Circumstances have come about and an opportunity at work has presented itself so that Jason will be home with us again for good in mid-September. They are transferring him to the South Jordan location of the University to fill a position that is being created and I can’t help but think how grateful I am that our house didn’t sell. How grateful I am that God knows and sees so much more.

Every grudged prayer that ended in “Thy will be done,” I only see as a blessing now. Every time I wanted to say, “no, Lord, please not Thy will but mine,” and I couldn’t, I am so pleased for now. He knows the picture and he knows us, and every time you wonder, “has he forgotten me?” know that he hasn’t. He just knows more, and he knows every in and out of what makes you greater. Every in and out of what leads to something better.

I turned on a movie when Jason left. A different sort of the same story of Beauty and the Beast, and when it ended it left me soaring as a good love story does. You cannot know the people who have said that I should enjoy the time alone, the chance to be and do whoever and whatever I want. But the thing that they don’t, and maybe can’t understand, is that like that fairy tale love in Beauty and the Beast, or Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Predjudice, or any other magical romance, I am not whole without Jason and he is not without me. I take a big long sweet rose smelling breath after a perfect love story and then I wrap my arms around myself and smile because that is my life.

Now I don’t know if that is how other’s marriages are, I know so many who say not, but mine is purely magical. Basic, boring, magically perfect. Not that we don’t ever disagree or even argue, but the way Jason looks at me, pretty much every moment of every second makes me tingle from head to toe. And the way he holds me in his strong arms and makes every ounce of this ordinary woman’s body feel tiny and dainty and soft and beautiful is what is magical. Eighteen years and still my heart aches when he is away.

So as he goes back to Henderson, for gratefully a shortened week this week, I thank God for the wonder that is my marriage. And I thank God for the blessings that are bringing us back together as a family once again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Full Circle

Today’s a little bit grey and cloudy. The kind of day where you want to curl up and cuddle with a good book. The smell of raisin oatmeal cookies that I have just made drifts in from the other room, and the sound of an EFY CD softly echoes through the house. Sam is giggling to himself as he plays in the other room and the quiet stillness of life seems to relax me. Not many days are like this. Not many days can I sit and reflect. The bread machine in the other room has just popped on, hypnotically mixing and turning until I want to fall off to sleep.

Sam has been full of questions, once again. Mostly about God and Jesus and the awe at which he asks them makes me envious of his simple faith. I worry that time will too soon take that from him, and the world will take its place filling his heart with doubt. It’s been an amazing thing being a mother of both little children and old, my oldest boy being 17 and my youngest boy 5. I can sit back and see full circle.

I remember Luke when he was full of questions, though his seemed more wild and less serious than Sam’s. I have watched and feared and forever been on my knees as Luke grew older and the world seemed to take him. How many nights while Jason was off working late did I fall asleep in tears wondering how I could ever fill Luke’s heart with all that he needed? Some many times I feared that tomorrow would be the day that he would forever pull away from me.

Now I sit as the other end of Luke’s life is slowly approaching me. Next year he will be a senior and with it has come the maturity that I wondered would ever come. We still have our teenage moments as I call them, but they have grown so far and few between, that many days I forget that he is not yet a man. I used to worry what he would make of his life and how he could ever be a husband and a father, and now I see him so sure of his ambitions and I know that one day he will be able to provide for a family. As his father has been away and we struggle to sell our house, I have seen Luke step into his father’s shoes, still too big for him to fill, and he has taken on the roll honorably.

I hope as Sam grows and as my anxieties do to, that I can remember the trials and worries of Luke’s life and while reflecting on the outcome of it, know that Sam too will find his way, and in so doing enjoy Sam a little more and worry a little less. I hope too as Luke someday serves a mission and someday returns home and marries a sweet girl, that he can go back to the innocence that was once his and look at the world and God and Jesus with the awe that he once had. With the awe that Sam has now.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Memories Brought About by Wonderful Circumstance.

I am learning a fun thing about blogs. It helps me keep a sort of spiritual/emotional journal when I would normally hate doing it, and it keeps me in touch with people I really care about through reading there’s. My sister Jill has one of my favorite blogs and the last month or so, I have really gotten to know her better by reading it. Jill is nine years my junior and lives across the country from me. Her little daughter Belle and I have some sort of crazy connection that now with time and distance is probably slowly wiping from her little mind, but I still keep track of her through Jill’s blog. And Jill is in a faze of life that I once was in, in what seems like ages ago. Watching her tackle the insanity of life in such a brilliant way not only makes me proud of her, but helps me grow also.

Today I read her blog and it got me thinking as she talked about what was important and what we would really remember down the road. How to handle stress and enjoy the life we are living at the moment. I’ve had a chance this past year to put a lot of things aside and get back to the basics. True it was necessity that put me there and not some great revelation of my own, but the blessings that have come and the moments to remember down the road will forever change me.
My children have been forced to spend more time together. Every time we stay with Jason in Nevada, we spend most our days going from one fantastic park to another. Luke is 17 and my youngest, Sam, is 5, but somehow we manage to have fun all of us together. Whether it is playing a game of pig,tossing the frizbee, or playing a game of go-fish, we are all together having fun. Not spending a million dollars and walking through theme park after theme park, but one on one connection. Don't get me wrong I love going on California vactions and going to Disney Land, but in the end the time we spend together on the beach, with just us is what the kids really remember.

We have a tradition in my home, cruel as the kids may think it is, it has become my sanity. Along with Monday night Family Home Evening, the kids are not allowed friends on Thursdays. That’s early out day for my kids. They have a few extra chores and then they spend the rest of the time together. I can hear them right now out my front window chasing each other around on the lawn. One of those forced times to relieve the boredom that they will forever remember.

I grew up on a farm, where my nearest friend was what felt like a forever bike ride away. Necessity forced a part in the friendship and the memories I have playing with my older brothers and sister. I have more memories of chasing after my brother, Ken, when I was little, or trailing through marshes with his hunting buddies, when I was a little older than of any others that occupy my brain. Those memories, even wading through frozen water, are the happiest memories of my childhood I have. Ken, is still to this day one of my greatest heroes, and I’m grateful circumstances played the wonderful part they did in creating that for me.

Someday, our house will sell and our family won’t be so stressed. Someday, the memories of worry and wondering if life would ever be better, will end. But the memories, those happy moments in the park in Nevada, or forced Thursdays in the front yard, will be the memories my children hold on to. The memories that will help define who they are, and the memories that will bind them forever as a family.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Why Me?

Do you often look around you at the world and wonder in awe, why me? No, I don’t mean in despair, but in complete and humble gratitude. Walking outside near the end of today, the tulips in my flower beds are smiling back at me. Up the street one of our neighbors has the whole family, every grown child and their grandchildren over for Sunday dinner and their cars line the streets and their chatter echoes across the neighborhood. That is joy. Jason has left, once again to journey back to Henderson, Nevada for another week of work and another week away from us. I could despair again at the loneliness, but I only feel Christ’s love when I look all around me.

There is something about a freshly mowed lawn and trees just beginning to push open their leaves that brightens your outlook on life. I love this time of year when Easter has just ended and the thought of the Savior’s Resurrection is still so fresh on my mind. Visions of his hands outstretched to help someone in need and the look of complete love radiating in His face seem to, along with spring, bring new hope and new peace. Somehow a part of me knows no matter my loneliness I am not alone, and no matter my trials there is someone somewhere else hurting more.

Storms and tornadoes ravaged the south, leaving destruction and death in its wake, while my sweet babies are tucked safely in their beds and my husband is on the cell phone telling me he already misses me and “loves me more.” Somewhere continents away, families missing loved ones are struggling to rebuild cities and lives destroyed in the tsunami’s wake and I sit in pajamas, warm and snug, with a full tummy typing on my computer while I know all my family near and far are safe.

It’s hard, maybe even impossible, to feel despair when you look at others around you struggling more. So, I do say in wonder, why me? Why, Lord, have you blessed me when I have done nothing worthy of Thy grace? Why, Lord, do you love me so when I forget so often to lift those in need? Why does He time and again, remind me of His peace when I so quickly choose to forget it? His patience with my inadequacies is always humbling. His forgiveness for my many sins is overwhelming. And His perfect compassion is inspiring.

I know Christ’s love for me. I see it in every one of my children’s smiles. I feel it in each of their hugs. I hear it in every sweet whisper of love drifting from Jason’s phone into mine. I know the peace He offers me. I feel it in every dandelion shining back at the sun. I hold it in each little ray that touches my cheek. Why me, Lord? Why have I thus been blessed?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Random Thoughts Of Comfort

As I sit here and listen to my new favorite song, “The One” by Audrey Bandley, I take a few big breathes and let the peace in. So often my mind is a clutter of concern. Will Jason be lonely as he is away from us in Henderson? Will Jenny find joy today while she’s busy at school? Will Luke focus on his studies and stay caught up for once? Will my little Stephanie ever have an easy time learning? Will I forever be alone in bed at night because our house won’t sell and I am here and Jason is there? And what if nothing changes? I think if there weren’t these moments of peace, the fear would be so great as to overwhelm me.

As I was listening to conference this last Sunday I was in awe with the talks that God inspired just for me. Tears fell, peace filled my soul, and understanding and knowledge came, but then the thought of foolishness came also. Surely God had not inspired those talks just for me. Surely they were meant for the thousands. Surely one soul, mine, was not enough to form a whole General Conference around. But then again the peace came. Although Conference was for the thousands, for the millions of Saints that God calls His, the spirit that brought the message to my heart with the understanding that was only meant for my mind, was just for me. God had sent a message, like so many other times, that was just for me.

How often does He wish to reach His hands toward me and cuddle me in His arms? How many times does He long to kiss my cheeks and rock me until I fall safely asleep? As Sam grows older and those opportunities to squeeze him and hold him grow farther and farther between I can’t help to wonder how much My Father wishes He could pull me back and hold me against Him just a little longer. How often is His mind a clutter of concern for me and my family? Does He wonder if today Jason will be too lonely or if Luke will do all he needs to fill his father’s shoes while he is away? Does He wish so badly that He could fill Jenny’s heart only with joy and help little Stephanie’s brain to learn a little easier? Does He worry that my bed tonight will be too empty and I’ll cry myself to sleep? Does He fear that the days will grow too long and I will forget Him?

I am forever amazed at the moments when clarity comes, when understanding brings a greater peace to my soul. As I beheld today as the amazement stole across Sam’s face while he watched one small little lady bug crawl across his arm, I could not help but think that God sends us so many chances for peace and we rarely take the time to notice them. The lady bug on Sam’s arm, the bouquet of wilting dandelions on the counter, the little arms wrapped tightly around my neck before bed at night, the quiet, gentle pleadings of the spirit, all speak of His love, and I seldom take the time to see them.

Now I will listen a little longer to the sweet music playing across my bedroom speakers. For one more moment I will collect the peace that He is so desperately trying to give me and I will let the quiet spirit in. Today I will be stronger so that tomorrow when the clutter of concern starts up once again I will remember the love that My Father showers down on me every minute of every day. Today I will open my soul to His peace.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Finally Up

I woke up this morning to a mad rush of getting my kids off to school in a layer of snow that was 70 degree weather just last week. Between brushing hair, making breakfast and family scripture study there really wasn’t much time to think of anything else but “rush, rush, rush,” so when I came home this morning and tucked my 5 year old, Sam, in front of a movie, like most good mom’s do :), I was not in the calm mindset that I would have liked to have been in. I sifted through my email, trying desperately to figure out the new Microsoft Office that is on my new machine, and wasn’t even thinking about my book. What a nice relief to find that it was officially up on Amazon this morning! Come what may, today, nothing can go wrong. For now anyways. There is something so fulfilling about seeing it officially in print, something pretty awesome about being physically able to hold it in my hands. Now if I can just figure out the new Microsoft Word I will be on top of the world.

Friday, April 1, 2011

All About Me

As a little girl in “Tiny Town” Illinois I grew up playing in the forest and streams, fishing and swimming, and making mud pies under the cover of waving stocks of corn. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect setting for my imagination to grow or a more fertile place for a child to bloom. I lived in a town so small it barely made the map, on a farm tucked away neatly against drainage ditches and forest lined fields. Most often I was found following behind my brother, Ken, just trying to keep up. He was my hero and most of all, my best friend.

I think from the moment my infant body first made its arrival into this world my mind was a jumbled mess of imagination. At the age of four, the farthest back my memory goes, I remember bringing my mother pages of drawings, desperate to tell a story that I was too young to write. My mother very patiently would fill in the words that I gave to her, sitting back and praising the talent I am sure only she could see growing. In fact I can’t recall one moment when my mother wasn’t telling me I was brilliant as she sat next to a messy pile of one of my many manuscripts. She saw something back then, and like most mothers she knew best to encourage it.

At six my parents brought the LDS missionaries to our home. Amidst the sticky summer nights and endless quart jars of captured fireflies came the sweet words of our Savior. Those two young boys brought a truth to our home that my parents had been yearning for for years, that my young mind felt completely familiar with, and finally everything that I already knew had a concrete truth behind it. I remember those years in our church, miles away from our small town. I remember Sundays where we were welcomed among others who believed. For a few hours we weren’t the only ones so unique, so “Strange.”

When I was ten my parents moved the family to “Tiny Town” Utah, closer to others who believed as we did. Different terrain, with its majestic mountains and sage brushed fields. Our farm wasn’t called a farm here, but a ranch, and my English suddenly seemed to be the most unique thing about me. “My Heck” and “Crick” seemed to creep into my vocabulary, and very soon I fit in with the local kids. I grew up there, in that small town, sage brushed field, snowy mountain bliss, and my mind continued to grow with fantastic imagination.

Books are sort of a sacred thing to me. My husband will tell you that I have a strange spiritual attachment to them. The feel of them in my hand, the pop of the spine when a book is opened for the very first time, the smell of an old book when its paper has stiffened and aged, is peaceful and perfect. I can spend hours looking through bookshops and every time I add a new book to one of the many shelves that line our living room wall I have to stand and just stare at its beauty. Nothing feels better than running my hands along the spines of rows of books and nothing looks better than all their dark colored covers blending together. The sound of pages being flipped through and the weight of their endless paper comforts me more than anything else can. Lost in those pages, time stands still, imagination has an outlet, and the troubled world is tucked quietly away.

I’ve had the opportunity over the years to meet other creative people like me. I’ve even been lucky enough to be taught under some of them. I’ve also been blessed to be married to a man who somehow manages to catch the half thoughts and strange descriptions that pop out of my mouth and most often can make sense of them.

I’m the person who walks into the store with everything written in her brain that needs to be done that day, while at the same time humming a tune, disciplining a toddler, and playing a story out in her brain. Sometimes, well...most times I probably appear lost and hidden in my many thoughts, but in reality I am putting everything that is happening around me into a fantastic story. I can’t stop it. It’s impossible to turn off and when I try my mind goes crazy. My husband always asks what’s going on in my brain and when I really tell him he smiles or quite often laughs, but he never ever discourages the process that is me.

And now as I sit here in front of my computer, I can’t help thinking of how my story could go, while at the same time the characters from my current novel are popping out, begging me to write their voice. Is it safe to say that I could go on forever? Yes. But like most good writers, I know when the story has lost its climax and its time to end. Back to the world of reality, back to my busy life and wild dreams. Back to the tangled stories, and always, back to the perfection of a quiet evening with a favorite book.