Hey! I’m posting something on my blog. Crazy!

30 03 2014

I know I have been in absentia for months, and so very few people even read this blog anymore. But that’s okay.

It’s okay because I love to blog (even though I haven’t done it much over the last two years) and so I’ve got a space to write my thoughts. And my thoughts lately have been centered around the gospel–aka the Good News.

I’m a Mormon. Actually, in communicating with a new friend, I designated myself as a super-Mormon. (Now accepting mock-ups for costume ideas! You know you want to.)

The reason I decided I’m a super-Mormon is because it’s not just a Sunday thing for me. It’s an every-moment thing for me. So most of the written-in-my-head blog posts center around the way the gospel is changing me in every day situations.

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I recently joined a gym. (And, no, there isn’t anyone there who I’ve seen do a split like that one Rainbow is doing at the park.) I didn’t really want to, as I’ve never thought of myself as a “gym” person, but the friend I used to walk with in the mornings got a new job that conflicted with our walking schedule. The Zumba class I had been attending at the church was also discontinued. My friend’s job started in the fall, and as the holidays rolled around I realized I had pretty much not exercised for months. I could tell by my energy level that something needed to change.

I was actually “walking the mall” when a guy stopped me and finagled me into taking a tour of the gym there. He was very charming and a good salesman. I walked away with a two-week temporary membership.

As I went to the gym the first few times, I realized it was a whole different animal than walking in the safety of my neighborhood (and several layers of outerwear). Besides feeling incredibly awkward just because, you know, it’s me, and I’m generally that way, I also found myself watching the other people there. I found myself comparing myself to them—I’m weaker. I’m faster. I’m bigger. I’m smaller. It was seriously messing with my head.

I didn’t want to do that. Fast forward to my adult religion class that same week. We were having a discussion and one man commented how he felt like he wasn’t as good as all the people around him. Our teacher, who has known this man for years, demurred. He pointed out that comparing ourselves to other people is not the way Heavenly Father wants us to live. But how do we combat this tendency? He had us turn to Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46.

It reads: “Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.”

So one way for us to have confidence in the presence of God is to have charity towards all men. As I continued to ponder this idea, I remembered one of my favorite scriptures in Moroni 7:47-48. It says: “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”

I don’t have much of a problem comparing myself to people at church, but I realized this lesson was applicable in all areas of my life. As I pray for charity “with all energy of heart,” I am reminded of the pure love Christ has for each of us. When I slip into patterns of comparing while I’m at the gym, I pray for charity. It has helped me realize that none of us are two-dimensional. There is the seen, but the unseen is greater and deeper, like the way icebergs are: 10% on top and 90% underneath.

The noise of the world, the stuff that says you have to look a certain way or be a certain weight, tries hard to drown out the truth: we are all worth something. I have known this for years, but it gets buried much too often in the barrage of media entering my psyche every single day. My grandma had a little picture stuck on her bulletin board that I used to look at and try to figure out. It was a drawing of a boy who was scowling and it said, “I know I’m somebody, ’cause God don’t make no junk!”

I hold onto that as I head to the gym in my ratty workout clothes with my past-their-prime tennis shoes. I’m somebody. He’s somebody. She’s somebody. We’re ALL somebody, and seeing the 10% isn’t enough to pass judgment on anybody.

Be kind. To all the somebodies out there, including yourself.

 

 





Double-Double Your Enjoyment!

24 11 2013

I went to my annual writers’ retreat at the beginning of this month. As usual, it was inspiring and invigorating. I got a lot of writing done, but I also had the chance to take a few pictures.

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This is Love

22 11 2013

Somebody had a birthday last week.

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It was a most-anticipated event.

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If you can’t tell.

Two hands!

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My zany, sweet girl is ten. How on earth did that happen?

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Something you need to know about Rainbow: she is persistent. Every day for the last six months, she has mentioned hamsters. Sometimes just in passing, other times in depth. She researched hamsters online, she checked out books about hamsters from the library, she cleared a space on the top of her bureau and put a sign there that said “This space reserved for hamster!”

Guess what she got for her birthday.

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I’m not an animal person. I like dogs, but I’ve told my kids we aren’t getting one until everyone can go to the bathroom on their own (and we’re not there yet). To me, a hamster is just a big mouse.

But look at that smile. I’m willing to put up with a squeaky hamster wheel and a vague “pet” smell for that–especially when she has positively assured me she will clean the cage whenever it’s needed.

Happy birthday, dearest Rainbow!





My Mom Goes to Funerals

16 11 2013

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I read this piece from NPR the other day. (It’s short and worth the read.)

It made me think of my mom. She goes to funerals more than anyone else I know. Seriously, I was thinking about it, and I’m positive she goes to more funerals in a year than movies.

It’s a quiet thing to do, a caring thing. And showing people she cares in quiet ways is one of my mother’s hallmarks. She takes cookies when someone has a missionary farewell. She writes thank you notes and birthday greetings and Christmas cards. And she always goes to the funeral.

A lot of times, she doesn’t even know the person who died very well; she goes to support the people who are left behind.

And that, to me, is a perfect example of what Deidre Sullivan said. “In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn’t been good versus evil. It’s hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.”

Thanks, Mom, for always showing me it’s worth doing good.





Halloween 2013

1 11 2013

Time for a photo dump! First, the pumpkin patch:

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This is in the beginning, when I had the color setting on “electric.” Eden found this pumpkin with an eye in it.

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Bow ties are cool.

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The lady pirate–I made her the belt and we deconstructed the striped button-down shirt into the overshirt she wanted. She’s got some sweet striped leggings on, too, but you can’t see them from this angle.

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Colby was super-sonic in this rocket (which I scored at the thrift store for $5).

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Rainbow is obsessed (and has been for at least six months) with hamsters. (She’s been wheedling both her dad and me to get her one for her birthday.) So this was my attempt at a hamster costume. I don’t think anyone guessed. Despite it looking rather like a bear with a growth on each cheek, she was pleased with it.

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Zack wanted to be the 11th Doctor (from Doctor Who), so I tramped around town looking for a bow tie, suspenders, and a tweed jacket. Do you know how hard it is to find a boy-sized tweed jacket? Let me tell you: difficult. But I found this one at a thrift store and (ba-dum-bum-ching!) altered it myself. I’m not much of a tailor, but I feel like it turned out all right.

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Shortened the length, shortened the sleeves, moved the button and made a new buttonhole, moved and small-ized the pockets . . .

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. . . and added elbow patches (which is naturally the best part).

 

 

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Here he is with his sonic screwdriver, trying to light his TARDIS pumpkin.

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And it worked!

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Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!





Tender Mercies

30 10 2013

Back in 2005, Elder Bednar gave a great talk in General Conference called “The Tender Mercies of the Lord.” In it, he described small and simple ways the Lord blesses us when we need it most. Since then, I have looked (and found) in my own life many ways the Lord has blessed me with tender mercies.

Last week was a chain of tender mercies, one right after another.

Here’s what happened:

  • My home teacher came over and gave me a priesthood blessing.
  • I had a five-hour rehearsal and my kids followed directions and went to bed on time. (Except one. You should have read the text Eden sent me about it . . .)
  • Eden had some VERY particular ideas about her Halloween costume. We had gone to Goodwill on Saturday, but she was dissatisfied about everything we looked at. On Monday morning, I went back as a last-ditch effort to find what she wanted. I had combed through the children’s section and was about to head home when I had the thought to check in the adult section. I said a prayer (partly because of previous item: five-hour rehearsal the night before, and I was tired) before diving into the skirts. And I found exactly what I needed. Not only that–it was the right tag color to give me 50% off! Seriously, folks. I almost started crying right there in the store. Rejuvenated, I slid over to the men’s section and found a perfect shirt to deconstruct for another part of her costume. Also 50%. I think I smiled clear until that afternoon . . .
  • . . . when I was really stressed due to a concert I was playing in Seattle. Timing-wise, it was tricky. Figure out dinner for the kids, write directions down, pack a dinner for me, pick up kids, get dressed, relay all information, drive to Seattle (not my favorite thing to do), find a parking spot, find the venue. It all worked. I left on time. I got a text telling me Colby was successfully picked up. And I was able to breathe.
  • My friend picked up my kids from my house, drove them to Seattle, and sat with them throughout a two-hour classical music concert, just so my kids could see me play in an orchestra. That is friendship, folks.
  • The next day, I got to spend some time with my bestie who happened to visiting from Scotland (yes, you read that right). We ran errands and laughed and just talked continually. One of the errands was to pick up my sewing machine, which I had taken in to be serviced. Once home, I went to work making Eden’s pirate costume pieces. There were some tears (from her, not me), but it ended up coming together to the point that she smiled. I’m calling it a win.
  • Wednesday, Zack, Rainbow, and I headed to Seattle in the morning for infusions. This is where I felt I was rolling in the miracles. Zack got a fantastic nurse and had his best poke EVER–no yelling, no fainting, and in on the first try. Rainbow’s went the same way–no tears, no fainting, and in easily. This might seem like a little thing, but their dad was out of town and I was extremely concerned that it go over well. Later on, another friend came to visit us, bringing fun gifts, goofy socks, and the talent to suck Jell-o through a straw. The kids loved having the extra attention, and I loved having an extra adult around while I took kids with I.V. poles to the restroom or went on snack runs.
  • Thursday was party day. I am not a party mom. My kids know they get one “friend” birthday party when they turn eight, and that’s it. However, Eden somehow talks her way around my anti-party-ness when she points out it isn’t for her birthday and promises to plan the whole thing. So I spent the day trying to put my house back together from several days of dropping things on the floor and falling into bed. A friend called and said, “I know yesterday was stressful for you. Can I help get ready for the party?” I told her to come in a couple of hours, then spent that time sorting and sifting through the various detritus that accumulates as a natural byproduct of entropy. (Or having children.) She came and vacuumed, swept, dusted, and did my dishes. Twenty 11- and 12-year-old kids screamed through and destroyed it all several hours later, but the weight it lifted off my shoulders was not insignificant.
  • Friday morning, I said good-bye to my friend from Scotland after a quick, cozy visit. And that night I crashed.

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Smiles all around.

One of my friends said today regarding miracles: “They serve as much-needed reminders in the midst of our struggles that God is aware of us and loves us, that no matter how hard the path we’re walking, we aren’t walking it alone.”

I am so blessed to have such wonderful kids and so many friends who willingly reach out to help me. I’m humbled by the generosity of so many and know that God is aware of me. That’s completely amazing.

Now who’s ready for Halloween tomorrow?





Hard and Soft

15 09 2013

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Life with autism is hard sometimes.

Like when you’ve had a couple of bloody noses, and so every time it starts to drip after that you think it’s going to be bloody. Then you yell to your mom, “It’s a red nose!”

And she says back, “No, it isn’t. It’s a white nose.”

“It’s a red nose! I need a wiper!”

So your mom hands you a tissue and you dab your nose and sigh in relief when it comes away not-red. And you walk around for the next several hours with a Kleenex held up to your face, occasionally changing it (and not always remembering to put the used “wiper” in the garbage can).

Other times, someone takes a bath, and for some reason you get extremely agitated by the sound of the running bathwater. Your mom can’t figure out why it’s making you so crazy, and all you want her to do is stop holding you so tightly so you can run into the bathroom and turn it off. So you scream and yell and and try to squirm out of her arms but she won’t let you. She tries to talk calmly but she just doesn’t understand the urgency of turning that water off. You don’t know why–yelling, “Turn it off! No more water! Mom walk!” seem self-explanatory enough.

And when the water stops, you give a shuddering sigh and let your mom wipe off your cheeks because it seems to make her feel better. Then you tuck your head under her chin and ask her, for the first time, to read you a book.

Her heart melts a little bit.

You snuggle in against her and she sighs, just as tired as you are from the recent wrestling match. Then she picks up the book and leans back into the pillows.

They’re soft, and you relax into them together.

 

 








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