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.