Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The pallbearers opened the stained glass doors in the side of the chapel to take the casket through. But the gold and purple design my grandma loved was not even as impressive as the scene behind its doors: the snow, starkly contrasting with the blackly deciduous trees, almost matched her casket, making the bouquet burst in deliciousness to the eyes. I knew she would love the colors feeding my love of art. That moment, I felt her own joy finally touch my need to feel her there. She would have appreciated the pine and holly greenery, the winter roses, red and white. That blessed scene brought together a hug-ful of memories with my grandma when we would fill our souls with art and sigh at its beauty. We loved it.
I love her.
I put my subtitle under Qaptain Mommypants more as a joke, but I had a miniature epiphany glancing at it today. Motherhood can be called "His Majesty's Ship." I am on the Lord's errand! As for the S.O.S., well, I can't do it alone!
(This is the moment I face often in blogging: my feelings go on, but the words have said it concisely enough that I could be done right there! I just have to trust my feelings are sufficiently carried through!)
Save My Confidence
At Ender's WIC appointment today, I saw a woman with HOT PINK lipstick on. IT LOOKED AMAZING! She had just the right amount of pink flush in her cheeks, complimented by darling freckles, and her gold-hazel eyes twinkled so nicely. I halted in my track to the door and told her how I loved her lipstick. "You look lovely! It makes me want to go home and try it myself!" She thanked me and returned the compliment. And I went home and tried it! I'm sure it's not just the lipstick making the difference, but I feel...stronger. I feel bold and ambitious.
Save Our Romance
I have started writing little love notes for Michael each day. I place them in various spots he rummages daily (*pictures soon enough*). Even when he doesn't discover them right away, my romance for him just balloons!
Save My Body and Spirit
I have yet to attack this "little" problem, but I made a list of consequences I have discovered for not taking care of my body and spirit. This means:
- mindless reading of the scriptures
- distracted, repetitious prayer
- overconsumption of junky food
- underconsumption of nutritious food
- lack of effective exercise
- bad sleep (too much, wrong time, etc.)
I'm sure I could make the list longer. But to the more important part: The Consequences:
I have felt inexplicable mood changes. Some are darker than others, but they come either for no reason or they come as an overreaction to little things. They are difficult to change, too!
- Inability to focus (this is a BIG one)
On Sunday, I would promise myself to really pay attention to the Sacrament. Not even two sentences into the prayer, my mind would already be elsewhere. It pained me that I could not even hold onto one deep thought to the end. Dumb things distracted me from important things.
This has been happening in the home as well (for a long time--check out Multitasking). I thought I was being smart; while in the kitchen, I'd realize the dishcloth needs to be replaced. Since I'm in Clean Mode, I take it to the laundry right away rather than letting it sit (and risk forgetting? Never!). While in the laundry room, I kick Ender's toys aside and decide to put them away the first time, instead of "making a job" for myself later. His toys extend to the hall. I pick up some randomly misplaced object that is on my way back to the kitchen, supposedly. Wherever it gets set down, I find my cell phone in an odd spot and decide it needs to be where I can always find it: on the bedside table with the charger. Eventually I realize I forgot to finish cleaning the kitchen. I believe you get the picture.
- Feeling ill ALL the time
The next point covers this pretty well, so I'll just say I have wondered way too many times if I'm pregnant again. What else would make me feel so nauseated? Why did I feel on the verge of throwing up every day? Sickness, sickness. It's sick.
In the hope that some current changes are permanent, I'll relate this in the past-tense.
Every morning came at me like a slap of an elephant's trunk--right in the face. "Awake" meant "PAIN!" As consciousness slipped in, so did the signals from my withering kidneys, twisted muscles, tight spine, dry eyes and swampy innards. Naturally, I wanted to disappear into dreamland again...maybe a little more sleep would erase all that gunk. As Rafiki would say, "Wrrrong again!" He'd probably bop me on the head with his staff, too. Dumb monkey.
Most of the time, I did pretty well in the Art of Distraction (maybe that's why multitasking is such a plague) so that I didn't have to think about pains and yuckiness. But the moment I sat still, my body registered all the tiring exertions of the day all together. Makes me tired to think of it all. In short (I should've started this way), I felt sick 24/7. Yes, even in my dreams.
- Lots of stress
Whoaa....okay, I don't feel like expounding on this much. Just the thought of all the knicked brain wires sparking in stress is enough to ignite them all over! I'm not generally a stressable person. Honestly, I'm not. So it should say a lot that I got stressed over Enderaccidents, Planthwartings, Healthickiness and Food. That stuff used to never come close to phasing me. (Phasing? What, like make me go werewolf all of a sudden?)
- Weak muscles and bones
This might aggravate me more than others, but my entire spine groans when I heave a light-weight box. My triceps are flabby. >:( Arg! And yeah, I remember, my armpits are stronger than my abs. I think I've heard somewhere that the buttocks is the biggest muscle? I daresay, what muscle? Biggest, sure, but muscle? Hm. How does that make me feel for the rest of my body...?
Basically, I "chase" after baby Enderkins and I'm panting. Granted, he's fast. But not that fast! My heartbeat rises to Thunder Level when I go up the stairs--and I go up them slowly! Now that's kind of maddening. For me, at least.
My tone has already tipped to irritated, hasn't it?! Hah, sorry. Maybe this one is kind of evident in the way it has blended into the description of my lack of strength.
Most importantly, I have felt a great chasm between me and my better grasp of spiritual health. I've mentioned a few physical things in this list of consequences, but the ones that have my greater concern are those that affect my spirituality. That gives me the deeper sadness at my failure to care for this wonderful body and spirit. The struggle to "budge" the natural man away has been hard in a different way than ever before. Most of the time, Natural Man covers categories under sin and carnal desire. The actions I chose which brought me to such a sorry state were not necessarily sinful or carnal! Indeed, I hope not! My Natural Man came about by way of slothfulness, little wrong choices compounding into fierce habits--such as embracing the life of the night owl, my new friend.
This project of mine, PETITIONING THE SAVIOR TO SAVE MY SHIP, will be a lifelong project. But I am determined to document the way with proof of improvement, steady and ongoing. God bless my little oars!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
It will be something of a project to post this entry, because I will want to write more and more on this subject as things get better.
And they will.
20 December 2008 Saturday (5 days till Christmas!)
I have mixed feelings about today; it's been good, for the most part. Ender warmed our hearts by greeting us cheerfully this morning, holding his snow tiger by the arm. We asked him what its name is, and he squealed "Elia!" (or AY-lee-uh). He's been good today--why wouldn't he be? He isn't naughty intentionally. I maintained a good level of patience, even though I found it hard at times. When he broke the plate? No sweat--it's just one less plate to wash. It made him cry, though. He wanted to play a lot today--nothing wrong with that--but we were doing some things that weren't...easy to share with baby hands (and spit-up). The presents needed to be wrapped at some point! We did most of it while he slept. We tried to play with him and entertain him, but when he got into non-baby things, he had a meltdown every time we moved him away. : He got SO tired at bedtime that he was hardly wakeable for his bottle--even when I held him upright and away from me!
Michael and I are okay. We are battling a strange blanket of moodiness... What from? Perhaps the disappointment in a couple of movies we started; they were so crude we turned them off within the first five minutes or so. We're glad of it, of course... so I don't know what the MOOD is from!
As for myself, I guess I'm wishing I'm a better person. I read Ether 3 this morning and felt so much gratitude for the example the brother of Jared sets by his humble, faithful prayer and righteousness. What about me? It's awfully harsh to compare anyone to him, but I couldn't help thinking of my own prayers and how they're lacking.
I read a little bit from the NieNie blog. That woman is so incredibly inspiring. Sure, I guess she's "normal," but not really... I kept thinking I'd love to be like that! and Why don't I do that? I ought to be better. I don't like the plateau on which I have settled. Sometimes it's as if there are just a lot of things to remember. A lot.
Once in a while it hurts me to see that I'm not proving my will to win by exercising the discipline to get there. I think I've got it, haven't I? Somewhere I do, I'm sure.
I recognize the solution, actually: the Atonement! So I need to harness the power of the Atonement in my life by praying more and praying with more faith...for help.
When the answer is so simple, why is it so hard to budge the natural man off?
I'm excited to see the family. Grandma's funeral is such a blessing. I miss them all terribly bad. There's no way we'll satisfy all the great needs for conversation, attention and time. I do hope, though, that it will be consoling as the visit satiates a little off the top of our yen to be together.
I'm also excited for Christmas! I want to be with my family and feel that happy love of sharing presents.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Michael and I were engaged. My brain created a semi-tropical loveland supposedly called Japan, where we sat on romantically carved benches along a walkway framed in lush, green trees. Just a little ways off the walk stood each of our houses, cozy cottages.
Alas, it was time for dinner! So we agreed to meet later--8:00 pm, precisely. While at home waiting, I rearranged some things in my bedroom (a blend of memories: my mother's dresser, the shape of my crazy room in Atlanta, little items of mine strewn here and there). As I tidied, my finger brushed an outlet and suffered a sparking. Quite promptly, I received a ridiculous phone call from "the doctor." She told me the hospital had been notified of a potentially harmful shocking at my residence and requested a check-up immediately.
"But I have an appointment to keep!" I protested. She assured me it wouldn't take long.
At the hospital, which looked suspiciously like a stale, colorless version of the bedroom I'd just left, I underwent test after test. Shots, blood pressure, weigh-ins, urine samples--all in a pale green patients' gown. Wide open in the back, true to tradition. The nurses shoved me back and forth as I noted with awful sadness that it had already passed 8:00 pm. Poor Michael, waiting all alone on that lovely path under the trees. He would wonder where I was. Would he think I had decided to busy myself with "better things?" I submitted to the doctors sullenly, reclining on one of their papered beds. They were liars, these people. And it didn't help my mood one bit when a nurse told me belittlingly, with punishment in her voice, "Your armpits are stronger than your abs."
The nerve! As far as I was concerned, the doctor visit was OVER. I wanted to see Michael. He didn't care if I had a wimpy tummy!
At least I woke up smiling at the silliness of it. I could have been annoyed...because it's true. My armpits are indeed stronger than my abs.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I do not eat right, I never exercise, and my sleep patterns are all over the charts.
I would like to think yesterday's reason for sleeping in was legitimate... I had one of those awful light-sensitive headaches--that almost never happens to me. And my stomach hurt. I honestly would have stayed up, really! I covered my eyes and headed to the living room couch to sit and wake myself up a little. But Michael told me to go back to bed...how could I resist?!
When Michael and I listened to devotional yesterday, I felt impressed to take better care of myself. Not only do I need my body working, my family does. So does anyone who needs any kind of service from me! Unless I decided to stick yarn through plastic canvas all day. I could do that until I hit comatose stage, which is not in my plans anyway. Nor in Heavenly Father's, I think...
So whatever my good reasons (and I can think of plenty) for sleeping in, I know I will feel better once I get going. I just need to drink my little juicebox and ignore the Morning Yuckies until I feel good! I know I can be a morning person again!
The juicebox idea came from our method for helping Rae get up for seminary. Those were scary days. For some reason, I usually got up before her (around 6:00 a.m., I think). It was my solemn duty to wake her up. So I crept stealthily into her room, tense in the risk of the moment. She looked so comfortable and cute sinking in her blankets, attached to the bed like a burr. I slid my arm through the air--even the air was disturbable in that sleeping atmosphere. The juiceboxes sat stacked by her bed. Too close to her bed for me! I picked one up as ammunition and whispered in the kindest, softest voice I could imagine.
"The juice will help you..."
Notice the wording. I did not dare say anything about waking up. I would not even say her name, because it would pull her out of consciousness too abruptly. I mentioned only the most pleasant thing: orange juice. Mmm.
It worked sometimes.
The times it did not work, I tucked the juicebox by her chin and bolted out of the room! Job done! Task complete! Get me out! I still remember her glaring, raging eyes slicing at me! How dare I break the spell of such necessary sleep?!
In highschool, I got up at 4:00 a.m. just because I felt like it. I woke up to the early Iowa sunrise glowing pink and peach over the Mississippi, filling my room with delicious light, all for my private indulgence. I prayed, worked out 30-60 minutes, studied my scriptures and took a luxurious shower. Ahhh. Just remembering it feels so good! That time was all for myself! It made my day before my day got started! I admit that sometimes my motivations were tinged with selfish goals: get toned or lose [what?!] weight, use all the hot water before Maddie woke up...heh heh heh! (Not really--but if she showered first, the hot water would be gone even if she took her typical bullet-fast, in-out style of shower! She liked scalding heat. So I stole into the shower before she woke up and went at my leisurely pace with medium-warm water).
When I leave Michael on his own for breakfast, I subject him to the options left one who does not cook much. At all. The result? I shudder to think I do this to him...a couple of Reese's peanut butter cups. FOR BREAKFAST! And how could I let him do that when I consider myself in love with cooking breakfast?! It is my favorite meal to make. Breakfast is such an appealing idea to me! I refuse to eat something non-breakfasty if I haven't had some sort of breakfast-like food first. It just won't work any other way for my stomach. Even if it is noon...which far too often it is.
This is getting me to the point of indignation. Makes me want to laugh and be mad. Why am I missing the golden time of breakfasting? Ugh. Stupid.
Friday, November 28, 2008
* * * * * * * * *
I LOVE my baby's soft, chubby legs. I love his sweet nose. I love his perfectly-timed eyebrow raising. I love his pretty, little mouth. I love his great big grin! I love to cuddle him in my arms, or to chase him as he crawls as rapidly as he can (quite fast) while I roar when he glances back over his shoulder, squealing in delight.
I love that he does not hold still while I change his diaper. How could he with so many things to explore?! He seems to me a very curious, observant boy. I feel so excited to get to know him better and better. I would hope he hears more than "no" from me all the time.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Now I don't get quite as excited about the peanuts, but I still love flying. And because I love that, I love the airport. Maybe that's why I kept a smile when things turned upside down...
After our little group of ladies had gone through the security checkpoint and eaten a meal, we were settling for the wait when Angelica received a call from the House Phone (a white phone for communication between airport personnel and customers, found in any airport). She had left her boarding pass and ID at security! Since my papa always taught his five beautiful daughters to pair up for safety, it felt absolutely natural to go with her. Thinking we'd be fast, I left everything but my own pass and ID with the other three women. Angelica and I took the airport tram back to security. She felt pretty annoyed, but we were able to smile about it.
Finally at security again, a woman by the last name of SLONSKIS helped us. That name is burned into my memory by the sheer differentness of its sound! What a name! *psst, if your name is Slonskis, just admit it's cool and don't be offended* I murmured it to myself over and over, marveling at the absurdity of it while we waited for another person to address the problem. A man with Dr. Seuss-like blue gloves on told us they'd sent everything to the lost and found. Which happened to be across the airport.
At Lost & Found, a woman told us Security had sent nothing since early that morning. *exclamation of disbelief!* Angelica was being very quiet at this time. She felt quite aware of how much time we had till our 4:20pm flight left. To be exact: FOUR MINUTES.
We ran back to security (people gave me disgusted looks as I ran barefoot, clutching my shoes--but if anyone tried to stop me, they'd be sorry)! The same Blue Gloves man happily presented the boarding pass and ID. I had a few words lasering from my eyes but kept it clean. We couldn't be angry--it was how it was, so why not just be happy?
Angelica and I ran to the tram and sat aggravatingly still as it took its normal speed through the concourses. The recorded voice for announcing stops sounded unusually expressive! The voice was preceded by a little country-jig blip that made us laugh like we were crazy. And then we laughed harder at the voice: "Hoooooold on!" Oh, brother.
My cheeriness kind of wooshed away when I saw no plane behind the windows at C49. Feeling a little stupid at the obviousness of my question, I asked for reassurance "It's gone?"
The remaining flight attendant smiled kindly at my forlorn expression.
"Yes. Your friends did everything they could."
"Did the plane try to wait at all?" Why did this matter? It was gone!
"Yes, the plane left six minutes late."
SIX MINUTES! OH POOH! THAT'S NOTHING! THAT'S NOTHING! Ah, but six minutes makes a huge difference on the other end and an even bigger difference for connecting flights. I decided to feel thankful.
And then a rush of excitement filtered in. It had actually happened to me...stranded at an airport! An adventure! Angelica took a reasonable time to warm to the fun of it, but once she did, we got hyper! When we couldn't get on the 7:35pm flight--already overbooked and oversold, as airlines like to sneakily do things--we just shrugged and got something to eat. I felt a little on the homeless/helpless edge, but glad to be with a friend. And such a fun friend! We laughed so hard! And she kept making me laugh when I had food in my mouth. Let me just say that it's an unpleasant sight for anyone to see. Luckily, she had kleenex.
We killed time by walking the wrong way on moving sidewalks, sharing personal stories and racing to the bathroom (I panicked that I'd take too long with the personal details in the bathroom and miss yet another flight). And then Angelica's phone died.
I can't even tell you what a relief it was to finally get on the 9:30pm flight. Our adrenaline kicked back for the first time in five hours (maybe more because before we even got to the airport, Louisa forgot her cell phone twice). Hah! What a day.
Those sweet women all waited for us! Cindy, Jess, Louisa! They are such great friends! Thank goodness Cindy didn't have a myocardial infarction. Phewf!
Monday, November 10, 2008
I've had a fabulous weekend--and today hasn't been bad, either...but the excitement has washed off a little. I went to a Mary Kay retreat for the Jan Harris Area. I'm still feeling motivated and happy.
The reason I feel like I need cheering is pretty silly: Ender has been cranky with me today. He was so excited to see me this morning after I'd been gone for three days, and he gave me the cutest little laughs and smiles. But the rest of the day? Maybe he's just worried when I'm not holding him or looking him in the eye. I resisted impatience, so I'm fine.
The other reason...the other reason is way sillier...I'm embarrassed to admit it! I went to my blog so excited to see if there were comments, but there weren't any for the last two posts. (Now, don't go and write out of pity). I think it's just that I wanted so badly to hear what any reader thought. At the same time, they're not my favorite posts or anything. Anyway, I decided I ought to write and return to my previously wonderful mood!
I look hot today. I went grocery shopping in high heels. And somehow, I picked a time to go when there were lots of guys there (I mean for real--there were hardly any women at the store at all). A couple of them gave me a once-over and one whistled, one awkward cashier got big eyes and asked my chest how it was doing rather than my face. :\ Meh...THAT's gross. Besides that, though, I feel flattered. It's nice to realize I put up a good image for myself today, refusing the urge to slump through the grocery store in my jammies.
That did it! I feel good again. I have an adventure to relate about my flight (or non-flight...) home! First, dinner. Which happens to be my lunch, too.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
While sitting through the Rexburg Tabernacle Orchestra's concert until it was time for me to play, I noticed a boy--eleven years old at least--in the audience rummaging through his nostrils. I peered closer to see if he was, indeed, serious about this search of his. I got quite a little show! I pursed my lips to refrain a laugh as his eyes shifted back and forth, making sure the coast was clear *is that a sailor's phrase?* before he surreptitiously slid his finger from his nose to his mouth. My eyes grew big. "NO! Is he really doing it?!" I watched with glee as he munched. Once the task was complete, he cozied up to his mom or sister. Only, he wasn't done. His finger made a few more trips from his nose to his mouth, and I finally laughed! I was lucky enough it came during a great crescendo in the music.
* * *
Sometimes I feel guilty when I don't feel well. Because it's so often, I think I must be some kind of hypochondriac to always have something going on. So guilty that it drives me to silence, hoping the pain is simply overrated by my oversensitive level of pain tolerance. Why am I so disturbed by it? Why worry?! Maybe it's plain old GAS! But a little thought teeters across my focus, a frazzled ant lost in a forest of grass: Is this what an ulcer feels like? Ibuprofen can give you ulcers if you don't eat it with food! Is that another kidney stone? Tylenol makes those worse, and you're susceptible now that you had them so long with Ender. I hate medicine. Should I take some to make myself feel better? This is aggravating!
Most of the time I just wipe it out and go on without any conclusion to the matter. It's annoying to be in pain, and since I am so often, I just ignore it.
In fact, I don't even know why I wrote this paragraph. I'll leave it in case I figure that out later.
* * *
A couple posts ago, I wrote "I DON'T DO STRESS." If you were to imagine my voice declaring this, it's important to me that you would realize I say it as a matter of fact. A strong fact, but not in some kind of commanding tone as if I were trying to convince myself of it.
At a Mary Kay meeting, our director actually said that phrase casually, in passing. But it truly struck me as a powerful mindset! Of course stress is a choice! Why didn't I realize that before? I decided right then, "Well I don't either!"
It's not meant to be a way of saying "I don't cope with stress" or "I just walk away from problems."
* * *
Do you remember those times as a kid when you're looking forward to an event and you begin to imagine what it will be like? It's so exciting to get there and finally see what it's all about, and surprising sometimes when you see how different it is from how you thought it would be. I feel childish in my excitement for a Mary Kay retreat this weekend! And the only thing I feel nervous about...is...nah, I don't feel nervous. Hm. That's nice!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Actually, I appreciate it. I had a good reason for my plan of self-indulgence; I'm playing in a concert tonight, and since I tire quickly lately, I thought I would save some energy by "taking it easy."
I gave Ender a bottle and stayed in my pajamas. The kitchen was kind of messy, the living room looked more like Ender's playroom, and our bed wasn't made. I was having fun playing with a stickfigure animator on the computer!
But then I read my sisters' blog and just...well...Abby did the dishes, Liz did the dishes, Rae did a heroic mommy act...I finally realized the house just couldn't suffer a day of mess. Even a partial mess--there's no way I'd have time after the concert, Thursday will be busy in my preparation to leave and with a meeting in the evening, when I'm gone all the house will be under Michael's power of cleaning...which is not bad, it's actually splendid, but combined with his time available for doing it?
So I did the dishes, and while I was in that "GO" mode, I cleaned the rest of the house! Then in the middle of this, I went and folded laundry. I've got Megan's baby Audrey here now, and I'm having fun imagining she's mine to see a bit of what it's like to take care of two babies. Like I thought he would, Ender really wanted his mommy's attention, too. He didn't seem jealous, just that he wanted to join in on the fun! While I was rocking Audrey, he crawled to the chair and pulled himself up. I lifted him so we could all rock together, and he smiled at the silliness of rocking on my knees. But he soon got a little fussy because he wanted me to hold him. That was okay--Audrey had fallen asleep, so the challenge was in helping Ender down with a safe landing. I enjoyed the puzzle of it all.
Ender's getting some one-on-one time (not that he hasn't played with me a lot already). Just to remind him he's loved.
While I folded laundry, I threw socks onto the chair so he could play with them. He thought it was the best! It was almost magical to me--as much as I avoid using the word for its tendency to sound cheesy--that he was having so much fun playing with me, smiling his beautiful smile every time I tossed a sock, purposefully letting it brush his head on the way to the chair. He would then swish the sock to the floor and concentrate on how to get down to play with it. It entertained him for about half an hour!
The fireplace has him entranced now. But of course, as soon as I write that, he's on to something else (the National Geographic on the coffee table). And now Audrey's diaper bag. Hah!
I always know I feel better when the house looks better. It's one reflection of what I do all day. So why do I ever think I don't care if it's clean? And I should hardly think it's so burdensome when it's not, because unlike LOTS of women, I am actually quite blessed in the strange way of liking to wash the dishes, enjoying vacuuming, relishing in organizing things to the last detail. I love order (but thankfully I'm not a nazi about it)!
My mom always told me she wasn't afraid of a mess. Somehow, I was lucky enough that that rubbed off. In fact, I think it's cool when it looks messier than it is, because then I can pretend I did a grand thing cleaning it all up!
I just had to laugh at myself one evening when I was setting the table; I scooted the placemats just so, I turned the rounded-square plates to line up, I set the cups at equal angles, and shifted the forks on their napkins until everything pleased my particular sense of order. I smiled as I did it all, thinking how silly this would seem to anyone else. If Michael happened to turn his plate another way, it wouldn't matter. It was the presentation of the meal that mattered so much to me. I love art, I love food, and I love art in food.
Now I think I'll take my "GO" mode one step further and take care of myself. I'm unshowered as of...nevermind, I won't tell you how long it's been. Suffice it to say I'm in need of some pampering!
And Ender just crashed a hundred CDs to the floor. What a curious little boy...I think I'll rescue the music!
Monday, November 3, 2008
I have two harp students, 12 and 8 years old. I have forgotten that to help encourage them, I need to keep them moving on so they feel successful. I don't feel like going into details, and I am not depressed or feeling hard on myself. But I feel...surprised. I somehow forgot to be sensitive to their personal needs with the harp.
* * *
We've been going to the temple every Saturday. The blessings promised are so beautiful; we have a sweet experience every time. Going so often helps me stay in check! I'm so grateful I've been able to keep the spirit of General Conference vivid. Too often my vigor would fade, and I would forget all those goals I had for bettering myself. Hah...a little funny that "bettering" and "battering" are close words! Anyway, I've tried very diligently to make my prayers more meaningful through Elder Bednar's instructions. It has helped me change my attitude! And by going to the temple, I have felt nudged to take better care of myself. It's difficult, but it's obviously worth it.
For a long time, I have had a lot of various pains and discomforts that I have tried to ignore and even avoid mentioning at all. But I've known, more or less, the causes of all the problems. I didn't get enough sleep, I didn't eat enough (or at the right times), and I hadn't exercised for months and months. So I know my body won't be perfect, but I can help it feel better! I've been given several blessings and promises of health that I need to have more faith in. And faith requires action!
The last time we went to the temple, I received a valuable comfort. It's one I feel fine to share, too. I know it is a common thing--understandably--for mothers to question their ability to have a second child, third, fourth, etc. Because of my health and simply common reasons, I've had "nightmares" of having a second child all too soon--Ender is only 8 months old. But without really asking for it, I received a comfort that I will be ready, whenever the time comes. Even if it was now. We're not announcing anything. Still, I don't worry anymore. I will be able to do all that I need to. I know it. Not even vainly so, not in a naive sense of believing it's easy. But I have the strength of the Lord on my side.
I am not afraid of anything. There are scary things: sharks in dark, deep water; clowns; kidnappings; car accidents...Sad things, too. But nothing will conquer my family because we have the power of the gospel in our hearts. We can and will overcome obstacles and trials. I am not afraid of anything.
My part is so little sometimes. My best effort is laughable (often)! Perfectionism seems lightyears away much of the time, but it's never impossible in my mind. It's always there. While that used to drive me crazy, now it's beautiful. It almost feels like a memory. Somehow I feel like I've known before what perfection feels like. I have caught glimpses in performing music on my harp, glimpses through the love I feel for my husband and son, glimpses when I battle selfishness and win. I have been perfect before, I think. I think I was a perfect child of God in heaven and for a short time when I was born. The feeling is so desirable it drives me to find it again.
I'll just need to remember that when I disappoint my potential, it doesn't decrease my potential.
I had a swim coach who disagreed. For logical reason. He told us our potential is comparable to a jar of M&Ms. Each time we missed practice, we took a handful of M&Ms out of that jar. When the swim meets approached, suddenly we'd find we couldn't reach our goals because there just weren't that many M&Ms to be had--our potential for reaching the goal had diminished.
There's some truth to that. But it ignores the Atonement if you want to apply it to the eternal parts of life (such as perfection). Why else would we be commanded to endure? Keep trying!
I needed to hear myself say that. I have a concert coming up. You could say I took too many M&Ms out of my jar to make this a great concert...but gracious peas, I'm a MOTHER! I can't practice 4-5 hours a day anymore! I am determined to be grateful for this experience even if I have to laugh at myself. I'm more concerned about embarrassing our conductor, but not to the point of stress.
I DON'T DO STRESS.
* * *
My daydreams usually consist of me having some sort of superpower. It's usually a universal kind, like the vague power of "magic." Once in a while, the superpower is called money. Nearly every time, though, I wish I had more power to help people. It sounds very cheesy, it does. I am mildly interested in daydreaming of a beautiful mansion, lovely fashionable clothing and a nice garden sometimes. But it's more fun to think "and if I had that much money, I could do all these things for my friends! For strangers! It would be SO fun!"
There's nothing wrong with that, probably. But I forgot I could still be generous with what I have! I forgot I still have many ways to serve others!
I do have the ability to get rich with Michael. Whatever, maybe we will be some day.
In Relief Society, they often hand out clipboards with lists of services to sign up to do. At first, I found myself thinking "but even if I can cook a meal for someone, I need to do that for my family first" and "I can't give any money, I can't justify taking from my family for it." I'm a little embarrassed how long it took me to realize DUH! I don't have to be asked to serve! I thought up some things I can do for people and made it known. I was so blessed--our ward did a service auction, like Heavenly Father instantly offered an opportunity!
I'm so grateful I can help in so many ways!
- I can bake bread, any kind
- I can give facials and teach about makeup
- I can teach harp lessons
- I can give harp performances
- I can decorate cakes
- I can clean
- I can babysit
- I can give rides
- I can be an exercise buddy
- I can be a good friend
- I can go on and on and on!
It's my favorite blessing, when I count the many, to be able to bless others.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I've been having a lot of fun trying new makeup colors. Today, I have a green color called "lemongrass." It's deliciously daring! And subtle. Which is typically how I like my makeup. I've paired the lemongrass with a sweet pink and raisin. Maybe I should take a picture of my eye just to show you how cool it is.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
- It made me laugh. A lot!
- When Michael was home briefly between classes, we laughed together.
- I got to make sound effects and exaggerated gags (that's just way too much fun).
- Ender babbled and told me the story of his diaper adventure!
- I got to wash his carseat cover (it needed it anyway).
- I got to scrub the bathtub...and the toilet (they really needed it, I'm ashamed to say).
- Good bonding time with my funny little boy!
- Ender got to rummage in the basket of his clean laundry (once folded) without me hovering like an aggravated chicken since I was busy cleaning the tub and toilet. Why chicken? It just fits.
- I got to feel like a "Yummy Mummy," as the English call it, since I already had my makeup done--I think it's hot to be a housewife happily doing hard work and looking quite above the task.
- Ender treated me with his mischievous smile as I held him in front of the mirror to see his cuteness all wrapped up in a froggy towel (his favorite part of a bath besides splashing).
- I have an even bigger reason to take out the trash!
- Ender had fun!
- It may have been "dirty work," but I surely felt I did the Lord's work!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Somehow I got out of bed on time (6:00am) to jog around the house with Michael. The morning air is quite chilly and sunk to my chest. I felt like my throat was pulling in, constricting. But I loved the slap of my shoes on the irregular sidewalk. I even loved falling behind Michael...so I could watch his behind. I loved knowing I could catch up with him anytime--he is as new to this jogging routine as I am.
When we got home, I made an omelet, bacon, toast and orange juice for breakfast. I am a big fan of the Classic Breakfasts! It's my favorite meal of the day--and it's even better when I'm preparing it for a grateful, hungry, freshly-showered husband who looks irresistible in his suit and tie. His gorgeous hair makes him too handsome to be so professional! How can a man that beautiful go to work?
Having that pocket of time for us makes the rest of the day far less scary. It doesn't hurt as much that his schedule is booked and that he has very little time at home.
I had lots of time for myself before Ender woke up (the lucky boy sleeps about 12 hours every night). I got to study the scriptures without watching the time. I took a quick shower and had the luxury of doing my hair and makeup without feeling anxious about the time. Right now, Ender is in his highchair, which I scooted next to the computer. He's devouring loads of Cheerios! I love his baby voice; he babbles emphatically about his food, sometimes when it's in his mouth.
Still, I've leaked my share of tears. Happy tears, I'd like to think. I read my sisters' blogs and felt everything they felt (except maybe on some kind of hypersensitive level?). I cried when I learned about the sweet Nielson family (Stephanie and Christian), I cried when I read about Rae visiting with my grandma, and I cried when I thought of the closeness I share with my sisters. I nearly cried when my grandpa answered the phone.
While reading Rae's blog, I felt like that I must call my grandparents. What was I waiting for?
When I asked how they were doing, my grandpa said "Grandma's trying to die. It's that time now." I held back tears as they calmly explained their feelings. "Death is part of life, and we're ready. Grandma is so tired now. She sleeps till 9:00, takes her medicine, and falls asleep again. It's hard to cook for her--she has hardly any appetite." I thanked my grandparents for their testimonies and strength. I even kidded myself into thinking I felt strong, too. But as Grandma asked how Ender is doing and expressed her love for him and how delightful babies are to her, and laughed that when Ender babbled over the phone he must be telling her he loved her, I had a very hard time saying anything for the knot in my throat. I wish they could meet my little Elias Anders. He is such a brilliant boy. They would adore him. I wish that Michael and I could visit them.
Grandpa did say he thinks after Grandma dies, she will get to see the entire family before she moves on to her work. He talked about the funeral, that he feels it will be a sweet occasion. My papa has agreed to conduct the service.
I think the worst I felt throughout the phone call (and walking to the grocery store while running it through my head again) was for my mother. I have always known how close she is to Grandma. They are so alike--they are 2 of the 3 women I look up to the most (Sister Hinckley is the other). And my mother must feel such a deep grief for being so close to losing her own mother.
I know we do not "lose" those who die. Oh, I know it so well. But the grief is as real as any, even with the comfort of reunion in the future. We miss them! How we miss them!
* * *
Much time has passed since I began and am now finishing this post! I'm very excited about a little purchase I made for myself at a little fashion party...TURQUOISE HIGH HEELS! Woohoo! It felt nice to do that after such a day full of feminine aches and tears.
Yeah, I know...material comfort...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
We're at the point where those bushels and busloads of diapers and wipes are running out! It feels sort of weird that we'll be buying those things! Reality hits...the money that comes in is already pledged.