Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Beverly Anderson Hawkes

I have stalled and stalled...Alas, anything I write will not convey the spirit of my grandmother's funeral. Rather than flounder from feeling to feeling, I have decided to focus on what for me was perhaps the most poignant moment of her funeral.

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.

Project S.O.S.

S: dit-dit-dit

O: dah...dah...dah...

S: dit-dit-dit

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:

  • Moodiness
    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.
  • Exhaustion/tiredness
    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.
  • Irritability
    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


I have refrained from posting--which needlessly brings guilt to my door--because I have wondered how to write something expressing how I feel and keep it positive. I needed to write so badly that I finally confessed in my journal.
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

Armpit Power

For fun, I have decided to expound on the dream I mentioned in The Beloved Breakfast Hour.

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

The Beloved Breakfast Hour

I guess when you start dreaming that the doctor is telling you your armpits are stronger than your abs, it is time to work out! It has pretty much been my fault, as far as I can tell, that I have not felt well for some time.
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.