The Gift of Life

31 03 2013

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As a writer, I try very hard to make my characters “real.” They need to jump off the page, to breathe, to react, and to be believable. Often I’ve read books that make me feel that way–that I’m reading about a real person, and, if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll meet them on the street someday.

I love those realistic characters. But not only that–I am also intrigued by those stories of robots who somehow become sentient beings, or an actual person being made by spare body parts and being brought to life by lightning, or rocks or cars or mustaches that actually come alive! It’s thrilling and fun and I love reading books like that.

However, pondering Easter this week I was struck forcibly with the thought that the only Being with power over life and death is God.

I read over that and a little voice in my head said, “Duh. That’s so obvious.” But apparently it wasn’t, or it wouldn’t have given me pause.

Doctors do not have power over life and death. They can treat it for illnesses or set broken bones or put in artificial organs, but they cannot make it live.

Robots can do all sorts of things–and often with precision beyond human capabilities–but they are not alive. They are only machines.

Man can plant seeds and ensure the environment is friendly to their sprouting, but man cannot create seeds.

Man can love animals and raise animals, but man cannot create animals.

How amazing and how great and how truly awesome is the gift of life?

When God created the world, he “breathed into [Adam’s] nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).

That “breath of life,” our own unique, individual spirit, will be reunited again with our body after we die. On Easter, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ–and, subsequently, the gift of our own resurrection someday–I can’t help but think that this should be the happiest day of the year.

“The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.

“Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.

“Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption” (Alma 11:43-45).

Today, that fills my soul with hope and joy. He is risen!





For My Bounteous Blessings

12 02 2013

I walked down to the mailbox a minute ago, slipping some completed valentines into the slot. The wind was cold, so I stuffed my hands into my pockets and wrapped my coat around my body, since it was too much trouble to zip up.

I slammed the front door and shivered–why can’t I seem to get warm today?–and decided I’d best make myself lunch while the getting is still good. (Sometimes I forget to eat until later, and it gets interrupted by kids needing to be picked up from school.) I opened the fridge and looked inside, even though I knew there wasn’t anything in there I wanted to eat. It was more a matter of form.

The coldness of the day (a reminder that, well, it is still February, after all, and what can you expect?) made me want something warm for lunch. A hot sandwich.

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As I made my sandwich I thought about my friend who once promised a story about Sebastian, the French panini maker. I said, “I’m getting one of those for Christmas!” And so I did, although it ended up that her story was about an actual person, named Sebastian, who was French and made paninis, and mine was a panini grill. (Which, naturally, I have named Sebastian in her honor.)

And I thought about how blessed I am to have such an amazing friend, which led me to remember the conversation I had with another friend this morning, who didn’t mind that I stopped by after dropping Eden off for school and she was still in her pajamas. We talked and laughed and hugged and I learned so many things in just one conversation that I have been thinking about ever since.

I thought about the things we talked of while I made valentines for my family. It has become somewhat of a tradition to make homemade valentines the family home evening before Valentine’s Day and send them out, our little love notes to family far away. Last night, as the kids screamed and yelled and poked each other with sticks (figuratively, thank goodness), I was so tired and exhausted and done. But the problem was that the valentines weren’t actually finished, so I worked on them today. By myself. (Which was, I must say, rather nice.)

And even though it seemed like family home evening was just one long fight and a huge failure, I felt grateful while making the valentines and knowing I have so many wonderful people in my life to love. That knowledge lifted me, pulled me from the February dismals and the knowledge that my to-do list is longer than I have time and energy for, and made me happy.

Now, I will eat a hot sandwich and work for awhile and maybe fold laundry and just enjoy the blessedness that is my life.

 





My Pet Hoodie

5 12 2012

It has been an interesting blogging year for me.

I have had lots of ideas and lots of thoughts, but not many of those have made it onto my screen, and, in turn, onto yours.

At times I feel like I’m swimming in a giant sea of pork and beans. For the most part, I slog along, trying to keep my head above “water,” and avoiding those slimy pork pieces to the best of my ability. Occasionally, though, I’ll look around and think, “How in the heck did I end up in a giant sea of pork and beans in the first place?”

Anyway, to anyone still out there, who has lasted through my year of pork and bean swimming, I say thank you. I still haven’t figured things out. The older I get the more I wonder if I ever will get things figured out. But you just keep going anyway . . . or, as Dory would say, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming . . .” (That really dovetails nicely into my pork and beans analogy, and I didn’t even plan it. I love it when that happens.)

When I started writing this post, though, it was to tell you the story of this:

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(It’s accompanied by puffy sleep-in Saturday eyes and air-dried hair).

I’d been looking for a new hoodie. My old one is lavender (any guesses on the year? I have no clue) and has a hole in the cuff and a stain on the sleeve. I longed for the warmth and convenience of a zip-up sweatshirt without the attending trashy-looking ambiance I was getting from the pastel.

I did not think finding a hoodie would be difficult: every teenager I know has at least one. And I was right; finding a hoodie wasn’t difficult, but finding an inexpensive hoodie turned out to be a sort of quest. $50, $45, and (bless me) $70 are just way, way too much. I couldn’t believe how expensive they’d gotten. I had one in high school with velux on the inside that I bought at CAL Ranch for only $20! Have I really been out of high school that long? (Don’t answer that.)

Remembering CAL Ranch gave me an idea. I headed to my local farm and ranch store to check out their selection. Again, disappointment awaited me. What kind of a farm store WAS this, anyway? I didn’t need a designer Western hoodie, just a regular ol’ sweatshirt I didn’t have to pull over my head. One I could wear outside to garden. Was that so much to ask?

Apparently so.

I finally made my way over to the children’s section, where I found exactly what I was looking for: a Jerzee’s hoodie for $15. Sadly, the only one they had in my size was a bright royal blue. I was looking for something a little more neutral (see note about owning a lavender hoodie, above).

[Insert sigh of resignation here.]

A hoodie and me. Was it not to be?

Of course, there’s a picture up there. Kind of a spoiler for this story of distress. I found it in the most unlikely of places. Sam’s Club!

Now, before arguing about Sam’s Club being the “most unlikely” of places, let me first say that I have never bought an item of clothing for myself at Sam’s Club. For my kids, yes, for baby showers, all the time. There is nothing wrong with Sam’s Club clothes; there is just something wrong with my size. And apparently I’m old enough and finally wise enough to realize that I shouldn’t buy clothes that aren’t my size because when I do that, I don’t wear the clothes. I will not buy clothes that I haven’t tried on. And Sam’s Club, bless them, does not have a fitting room.

BUT–hoodies don’t require a fitting room. Hoodies, by their very nature, are meant to be worn on top of clothing. Brilliant.

I tried it on in the middle of Sam’s Club.

It fit.

It was so soft inside, I didn’t want to take it off.

It was gray (which is the new brown, which was the new black).

And it was $15.

Sold! To the cheap lady with the tired eyes.

I hardly ever take it off. (Even to swim in pork and beans.)

(I’m still not quite sold on that analogy . . .)

Thanks for reading, even when I’m going on about hoodie crises. Bless you. If you’re nice, I’ll even let you stroke my pet hoodie. Believe me, it’s worth it.

 





That’s the Stuff

15 04 2012

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I have a slew of blog posts waiting on the docket (Is this a bad time to mention that I actually do have a docket for blog posts? Hint: it’s more like a folder with photos.) but this month has been a crazed mish-mash of celebration and sickness, and this coming week isn’t going to be any better. That isn’t what I’m referring to by the Spam picture, though (which I ruthlessly stole from wikipedia).

Despite my obvious blog neglect, I still had 36 comments that got stuck in my spam filter. (Is this a bad time to mention how much I hate Blogger’s new “Please prove you aren’t a robot” word verification? Hint: it’s a lot.)

When you get more spam comments than actual comments, it means you need to update your blog more often.  (Hint: that was just a personal note for me.)

I like to glance through these, just to see which post has generated the flurry. (Hint: the “Gluten-Free” tab post wins every time.)

Here’s my favorite from the latest batch:

I just wanted to develop a brief note to be able to express gratitude to you for the magnificent tips you are sharing on this website. My long internet research has finally been paid with incredibly good know-how to exchange with my partners. I ‘d assume that many of us website visitors are undeniably fortunate to dwell in a really good website with many wonderful professionals with valuable things. I feel somewhat fortunate to have seen your website page and look forward to many more awesome times reading here. Thank you once more for a lot of things.

Awkward, much?

What always cracks me up is that the addressee is generally a name like, “win the lottery” or “bodybuilding blog” or “Polo Shirts Sale,” which is then followed by a long url. I firmly support a person’s right to try and make money on the Internet, but seriously? Who ever clicks on those? They are so obviously a scam, not to mention the cyber-equivalent of dropping your candy wrapper on someone’s lawn in the hope that it will inspire them to buy it.

(Hint: Not. Going. To. Happen.)

Thanks for visiting this website page–I hope you felt undeniably fortunate to dwell here and read some incredibly good know-how. Come back for more awesome times, and feel free to develop a brief note to express your gratitude for my magnificent tips. (Hint: I can never get enough of those.)





“Finish him!”

27 01 2012

As I was thinking about the new year and what I wanted to accomplish, I decided that 2012 is going to be The Year of Finishing Things. My book, for one. The two tables and four chairs in my garage for another. De-cluttering my entire house. And a few more personal items, as well.

See, when I went to my writers retreat back in November, a friend asked me what I was working on. I told her (and it’s the same thing I was working on last year) and she said, “You’ll do it. You are an accomplisher.”

Accomplisher? She obviously hasn’t seen the pink walls in my son’s room.

I’ve thought about that a lot. (About what she said, not the pink walls. Although, I’ve thought about them a lot, too). I don’t know if it’s actually true. I want it to be true, though. I want it enough that my goal for this entire year is to finish things. My house is littered with half-baked ideas and partly-done projects and big plans. I’m a wonderful starter, but I don’t always finish things like I should.

What I need is a coach. A hard-nosed, show-no-mercy coach that will tell me to sweep the leg on those projects and finish them!

(Here’s where I found the shirt, in case you want to buy one.)

Okay, not really. That guy, he’s super freaky. Actually, the type of coach I need is a Mr. Miyagi. I need to build the habits of finishing (waxing, sanding, painting–wait, some of that is really true) in order to come out accomplisher.

I’m starting small. Writing every day. Setting deadlines, and actually putting them on the calendar. We’ll see how my accomplishing muscles are growing in a few weeks. I’ve already got five organized drawers, two clean cupboards, and over 4,000 new words on my manuscript to show for it.

Now please excuse me while I go work on my secret weapon: the crane.





Fun Things

22 11 2011

I shouldn’t be blogging right now. I should be packing. But since my mind has retreated into its normal pre-trip-unable-to-do-important-stuff mode (which I generally hit twelve hours before lift-off), I figured Why not?

Here are some November highlights:

Part time glasses (I just can’t get enough.)

 

A retreat for writers (fabulous, as usual!)

 

A rock concert (this is before they went on–my picture with the band in it was much farther away and pretty crummy. This experienced proved I am kind of old to go to a rock concert [my feet were killing me by the end of the night] and that abnormally tall people always, always, always stand right in front of the short girls.)

 

A birthday (Rainbow is eight–where does the time go?)

 

Another rock concert (check out my girls dancing front and center!)

 

A birthday party (eight really is great at our house, since that’s when you finally get a friend party)

 

A preschool Thanksgiving feast (please tell me you love the smile drawn on the turkey as much as I do)

 

A potty-trained boy playing the Wii (That’s right. I said potty-trained.)

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.





What is this thing I’m standing on?

9 10 2011

(Adapted from a post I wrote for ANWA Founder & Friends)

I’ve been thinking about this post for a couple of months now. I’ve been wondering about this blog lately. Do I keep going as I’ve been going, or do I “take it to the next level?” In another blog (The Meanest Mom) I read recently, she compared most blogs to crock pots–a mish-mash of things all thrown in together. To make a “successful” blog, she said, you need it to be about one thing.

You need a platform.

I’ve read blogs about gluten-free cooking, blogs about design, blogs about writing, blogs about cancer, blogs about hobby farming, blogs about down syndrome, and blogs about books. Each one is written by a person (or persons) with lots of experience on their topic.

I tried to think of a platform, something I could be known for. Three of my fours kids have Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare genetic disorder that makes them break bones easily. I’ve written about it on my blog before; in fact, when I look at my blog stats it’s one of the posts that is hit by search engines most often. I could write about that.

I’m writing a book–a Regency romance, actually. I could write about that.

I’m ward choir director. I could write about that.

I play the bassoon. I could write about that.

There are half a dozen things that I feel ‘expert’ enough to write about. (The book writing one? Yeah, that’s the only one I really don’t feel expert on. Along with the Regency period. I’m learning as I go.)

But the problem is, I don’t really want to write about bassoons or choirs or OI or the landed gentry.

The reason I started my blog three years ago had nothing to do with ‘gaining a following’ or ‘getting my name out there.’ The reason was quite simple. I wanted to make my family laugh.

I live hours away from everyone, and only see family two or three times a year. A blog makes it easy to share things with them despite the distance.

I’ve tried starting other blogs. I have a writing/book blog (sorely neglected). I have a being-LDS-and-getting-divorced blog (not even really begun). I’ve realized, though, that I don’t have the energy to do them all and still write my book.

For me, the answer wasn’t expanding and posting more in my platform-specific blogs. (Honestly, right now I just need to focus on finishing my dang book.)

I also discovered something else as I tossed platform ideas around in my head: I blog better when I stick to my original platform. I blog more and I enjoy it more when I’m simply trying to make my family laugh.

Someday, I’m sure, I’ll need to revisit the platform discussion with myself. (Maybe after I get my first draft finished.) I saw Liz Adair at her book launch last weekend and she reminded me about seasons, and how there are times and seasons for different things in our lives. I think I’m starting to figure out what I can handle in this season.

And it begins with inside jokes about Idaho and absurd things people say and pictures of my kids.

So what’s your platform?

*Photo Credit: Boots by Alexander McQueen, photo from the Museum at FIT





New Year, New Opportunity

2 01 2011

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you’re all recovered from staying up late and eating party food. A friend of mine posted anti-resolutions–which I loved–so I’m considering doing the same. It’s something that’s going to take some thinking on, though, so I’ll to get that done later. I’ve also got a couple more posts on family food culture brewing–one on holiday food traditions, and one on the food culture I’m passing on to my children. Exciting, no?

Today, though, is my first post on the ANWA Founder and Friends blog. I’ve belonged to the American Night Writers Association for a couple of years now, and I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of their blogging team. You can find my post here.

What I didn’t mention in that post is that half of the time I mis-type the name of my awesome Christmas gift this way:

The Chicago Manuel of Style

And then, when I change it, I always laugh at the picture in my head of some Hispanic fashionista (I’m strongly reminded of Mondo from Project Runway) in Chicago named Manuel.

He should totally have a blog.