Monday, July 16, 2012

Simplifying and Streamlining

This dual blog identity is just too much for me. So, in the spirit of simplification a la Thoreau, I am transferring back to just the one little ole' family blog:  It is public now so feel free to wander over if'n you want. This blog is too serious and too draining to try to make any good. I'd much rather write about my kids.

As for food/eating/body and other such issues that have sadly dominated my posts on this blog, I'm on day 3 of being a raw foodie. I feel great. It is challenging, but I think it is a clear path for me to being healthy, whole, and free. It might not be for everyone, and it sure ain't middle of the road moderation. But it is liberating for me, and I feel really energized by it all. I am determined to take it merely one day at a time, and not allow myself to think about major holidays or birthdays that will come my way with cake and pie in their tow. But, hey, life is more than eating, right? Of course. It is so much more about joy and life and my kids and service and all things good. And that is what I plan to write much more about. . . on my other blog. Just thought I'd let you all know. Happy living.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Seek. . . Find. . . . Trust

The challenge continues. And, why yes, I am still on track.

Yesterday's reading was 1 Nephi 9-10. Here's what stuck out to me:
"For he that diligently aseeketh shall find; and the bmysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the cHoly Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the dcourse of the Lord is one eternal round." (1 Ne. 10: 19)

I have come to really believe in that pattern. Sometimes I don't trust in my own capacity to receive revelation. I second guess when things don't work out. But, darkness usually follows light and I think there is some sorting out that has to happen even after we receive direction. But, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and I truly believe that He has our happiness at the top of His priority list. Sometimes life happens that can make that happiness tougher to grab, but He is there. He will help. And He will answer.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mighty Unto Deliverance

  I teach the young women ages 14-16 at my church, and this summer I have extended a challenge to them. . and of course to myself. We are going to read the entire Book of Mormon by Labor Day!
  There are several reasons I felt prompted to take on this challenge and encourage the girls to do the same. One of them is that the summer can be a difficult time to make spiritual things happen. We are off our routine, we sleep more and usually do less. Things of the Spirit can sometimes get sidelined by the things of summer. I want this summer to be different. I want these young women to feel the power of Christ more in their lives, and there is no better way to invite His power than by reading The Book of Mormon.
   And I could use a healthy dose of the Spirit of God every day in my life as well. Who doesn't? I broke it down to a daily schedule and so far, so good. Sure, we started June 1 so it might not be that impressive to still be on track. But, let's not judge.
 To encourage them, myself, and anyone else out there interested in reading this phenomenal life-changing book of scripture, I am going to post daily thoughts on what my reading for that day has taught me. On that front, I recognizae that I'm a tad behind. Moving on.
  The first day we read 1 Nephi 1-3. Nephi is born of goodly parents and Lehi is commanded to leave Jerusalem. Sometimes I think it is easy to underestimate the challenge these prophets faced. Moses, throw down your rod and stand up to the Pharoah. Joshua, march and shout and bring down those walls. Lehi, pack up your family and some essentials and head out to the wilderness. God ain't afraid of tossing us out of that comfort zone. Way out. But Lehi went. And because he went we all learn some very powerful lessons. One of which is that God promises some mighty things to the obedient. And He delivers. Nephi's thoughts:
"But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender cmercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of ddeliverance." (1 Nephi 1: 20)

     Some might say that asking a man and his family to leave the only home they've every known isn't really all that merciful. And an argument might be made that making them go back to that home and try to wrangle some records from a greedy kind doesn't seem to gracious either. Where are the tender mercies? Well, I can't speak for Nephi. But, I've had a few tender mercies of my own in the last year or so, that in the beginning didn't feel too tender either. But, when I look back at the last year, I see that though the experiences might not have been sweet and soft, the mercy was there, and so was the love. And because of the paths God directed us to take, we are mightier, stronger, and in a wonderful place. A place that I do not think we would be in had we wrestled the reins away from God when things didn't go our way. I am so grateful for where God has led our family. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. I love the courage, optimism and hope of Nephi. He saw a challenge and he took it. Go back for the plates? No problem. Build a ship when I've never seen the ocean? Bring it on. Stand up to my brothers when they complain, beat me, and threaten me? Check. He trusted the Lord so implicitly that miracles came. I want to trust like that. And that trust takes work and a trust that the tenderest of mercies might hurt a little bit before they make us truly mighty.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood . . .

I was beginning my Junior year at Brigham Young University, a up and coming theater major, on the acting track and on the brink of getting in the main circles of that major. I had awesome roomates, a new apartment, had just finished a stellar summer fulfilling my dream as an EFY (Especially For Youth) counselor, and all was right and bright in my world.  Until it wasn't.

I got a call from a fellow EFY counselor with a proposition: a burgeoning liberal arts university in Virginia, grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was offering full ride scholarships to all EFY counselors to come and build up the college and its programs. I graciously declined. But, the decline 'twas not to be. Things started crumbling around me and I didn't understand why. When my mother suggested I give Virginia another think, I shrugged it off and went for a drive. And on that drive I had a very profound experience that left me no doubt that my entire life was about to change. I was heading back East.

Two days later, after dropping out of BYU, selling my apartment contract, and packing everything I could in a little Geo Prizm, I was on the road to a little mountain town in Virginia that I could not pronounce. Though everyone was certain I was crazy, noone thought I was more nuts than I did. This was the sort of thing pioneers did, not normal, somewhat level thinking persons. When I pulled up to the lovely, tiny, crumbling campus, I burst into tears. What had I done?? When I entered the "auditorium" I cried some more. What was I doing?? Hugs from friends who had stories similar to mine gave me comfort and helped me feel less insane, but I still wondered if I was absolutely off my rocker.

I wasn't.

Lately, I've been thinking about what life might have been like had I stayed on in Provo. I miss theater so much it hurts sometimes. Like there is a gap inside me, a part of me that just sits and waits to be used. I feel incomplete, sort of wasted, and a little bit sad that I have not been able to follow that dream that once meant so much to me. Still, in those Blue Ridge Mountains I found myself. My acting reached a deeper level. I remembered how much I loved reading. I forged friendships that truly changed me. I found my best friend who I got to marry and get to look at every day. I became someone who goes to Africa, reads by rivers, and builds big fires all by herself in the woods. And every time I go back to those mountains, I feel complete again. I don't know that I would have found that person if I hadn't listened when called. I am not sure where I would be, but I would not be here. I would not be as deep. Robert Frost was right. Roads make all the difference. I really like my road.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

For the Mama.

I have (mostly) been an obedient child. I never skipped school. I followed curfew. I got good grades and am tattoo-free. In return, my mom has been (mostly) indulgent. She let me wear terribly ugly clothes in high school, paint my room a hideous shade of pink (I swear it looked coral when it was in small amounts) and supported me when I made a mid-stream direction shift in college which surprised all of us.

So, when she ordered me to write a post about how awesome I am and all I've accomplished, I felt compelled to oblige.

This blog has been riddled with some of the challenges I've faced over the past year. It's been a doozy. Mucho changes, several challenges, and more than a few tears. But, to quote the great Herb from "Miracle": "Your time is now. Their time is over." In that instance he was talking about the Russian hockey team's time being over, but let's pretend he's talking about the last year for me. It's over. It was rough. I made it. And to quote the aforementioned mother, here's some of what I've faced:

"Being a Geographic Single Mom for many months, Begin Teaching Spanish in High School, Pass the Praxis while being a mom and teacher while taking college classes so you can continue to teach Spanish, and the list goes on."

It's true. I've done that. I wrangled 3 kids for 6 months who missed there Dad terribly and couldn't get a straight answer out of their mom as to when we'd be together as a family. And then I got a job teaching a language I hadn't studied in 10 years. And then I had to pass an enormous test to keep teaching said language, all while figuring out how to teach high school and explain to my little girls why they had to go to daycare. And I passed the test--and not just the Praxis one. I kept my kids together. My husband and I are still happily married. I have gotten two college courses finished. And in two weeks I will be finished with my first year of teaching.

In full disclosure, it hasn't always been pretty. My fists shook at the heavens a few times. I tried to find comfort in chocolate more than once. And I'll admit my voice has probably reached a few decibels higher than angelic when dealing with my kids after a long day. But, when I look back at what my husband and I have accomplished in the last year, it feels practically amazing. We are homeowners, looking at a doable budget with cushion for the first time ever. Our debt is getting steadily smaller and we are getting steadily better at balancing our load. These are miracles.
 And they are not miracles we have worked on our own. God has carried us through, taught us, forgiven us, and worked with me. And He has lots of Angels He uses. One of them is the reason I'm writing this post. She is a fantastic cheerleader, a stellar mom, a wonderful grandma, and a rockstar real estate agent.
  And I'm not too shabby either. With God in my corner, I've been able to do an awful lot. I've dug down into grit and determination to keep going. I've faced days I didn't want to face. I've passed tests I didn't want to take. I have kept breathing when it felt like I couldn't. God gave me the courage, the knowledge, and the breath. And I let Him.
 So, yeah, I've gained a few pounds. But, I've gained some other stuff too. I've figured out that I have some pretty amazing stuff inside of me. And pretty much, I can do whatever I want to do. And what do I want to do?

I want to be happy. I want to like myself. I want to love who I am, as I am, enough to be patient as I constantly strive to be better. I am going to enjoy what I like to do, and not be ashamed of it. I like watching The Bachelorette, I love reading the Book of Mormon, I like to run--but not too fast, I am not a big fan of my upper arms, but I have a great head of hair and lovely skin. And I'm pretty funny sometimes. At least I think I am.

And apparently I am not afraid to type more than I should. Miss Thompson, my high school keyboard teacher, would be so proud.

How's that mom??

Monday, May 14, 2012

Baby Steps Ain't Just For Babies

I am really not good at taking things slow.

Which, is surprising, since I am actually slow at many things. I am a slow runner. And sometimes. . . I am a very slow learner.

I beat myself up about things an awful lot. Not alone in that, I am sure. I want to do so many things so well and I want to do them all well RIGHT NOW. I want to figure out a way to bake homemade bread, teach Spanish, fold the laundry, do another half marathon, and be a super awesome person that does service and lights up the world. I want that. And I think that if I can just make a plan good enough and knuckle down hard enough, I'll be able to do it. In a week.

But, it is by small and simple things that we learn. One tiny decision a day will mold our character. One simple resolve, kept one itty bitty moment at a time will eventually carve its way into us in an automatic way. And there will come a time when that thing that seemed impossible will feel like second nature. But there are a whole lot of steps between here and there.

I had my long run on Saturday. It was great. I love those runs. They are my reward runs. I do hills, intervals, tempo runs during the week, all so that on Saturday I can go long and slow and enjoy the view. It is my dessert. This past week on that run I realized what a miracle it is that I have come to relish a run like that. The first time I went out on a run, I remembered why I had never been on a run. Because I hated to run. So, I only ran until I didn't hate it, and then I walked. There were several walking breaks on that first run. Perhaps a few less on the next run. And now, ten years later, I am someone that drives by a runner with a tinge of envy because I actually wish I could be doing that. (Okay, I also usually wish I could be doing that looking like that, but that's another post). The point is, that sort of re-wiring takes time. It takes one run at a time. I've been patient with that.

I wish I could be patient with other things.  Small and simple. Slow and Steady. Up I go.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Plain and Simple

I get my best thoughts when I am running. Things are clear. I feel strong. Everything seems completely simple and doable. I know exactly what to do, how to eat, how to proceed, and I feel great about myself. So I've decided I am going to do that much more. 

I, like many others I'd wager, tend to race through other people's really great ideas because we feel validated when we do so. I scour magazines, make plans, google everything that I think will solve my problems, and create the perfect workout plan and diet that will reshape my body in a matter of days. That is, of course, until I realize that eating raw can be grueling, plyometric workouts make me feel like huge and clumsy, and once in awhile, I need to sleep. Change sometimes comes slowly. . . and though I run slow--I like my change fast.

I ran for 30 minutes straight yesterday--and it was a hilly-ish course. My hip has been causing me problems the last few months so it has been a while since I've been able to do that. It felt so wonderful. And I realized (I always realize things when running) that there was simply nothing else that cleared my mind like running and so there is no reason to force myself to do anything else. And if running makes everything clear and strong in me, then I need to do it more to tackle the changes I want to make. I really connect it to personal prayer and scripture study. These things rekindle the flames of motivation to do good of all kinds. Why would we not fan those flames daily? Sometimes it is very difficult to do very good things that we want very much. Running helps me have strength and courage. It is a time my spirit and body come together. My spirit is what helps my body move when it does not want to. And as my body gets stronger, my spirit gains freedom and strength as well.

This blog has been many things. I make no promises it won't change again. But, for now, I am hoping that it will be a place where inspiration to run and grow will be found. Where I can share and celebrate good runs, true thoughts, and happy achievements. I will write more later about what I hope some of those achievements might be.

But for now, I am happy to be running again.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

If You Haven't Seen This. . . You Should

I wish I could be more like this. I am certain that if I were, I would be doing a much better job of shouldering all that I must right now. I will try to find more ways to serve and fewer ways to stress. I will trust in God and do my best to wait and hope. I believe that when the scriptures say "All things will work together for your good" that depends largely on how much good we make of those things.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pack it up. . pack it in. .

Let me begin.

Just a shout out to my adolescent music scene.

Today I am starting the joyfull process of extricating myself from my mom's house. Them apron strings is long overdue for a trimmin'

And in the process I of course am hauling a few large bags to Goodwill. In so many ways we feel like this is a happy new start for our family. For the first time I am hoping we can decorate our with home in our own style (whatever that is) and I would love to buy my kid's clothes rather than hand them whatever their cousins pass on. In time, in time.

Speaking of clothes, I have so many that I would REALLY like to wear again. Since my honesty post I have only lost about 7 pounds. Still, no gaining over the holidays deserves a mini-medal, no? But, I have a new found determination to fit in those clothes again, and I am pretty sure this move is going to help that happen. But first the move must happen.

Back to pack.

Monday, February 6, 2012


No clue what to write here.

This last weekend was Ike's baptism. What a circus. He felt terribly sick the day of and was in tears while everyone else was listening to lovely prelude music in the other room. He had thrown up the night before but seemed to perk up a bit in the morning. Still, in my gut I felt peace about moving it to Sunday. Oh, that I had followed that peace.

We didn't push it. We let everyone else enjoy the program and the wonderful brunch spread I'd made and I took Isaac home and napped with him for 2 hours. We were both beat.

Parenting universe. . did I screw up???

Some have told me that I did. That I gave him too much agency, that I have embarked on the slippery slope of letting him back out of things. I see that point, but here's the thing. . what if I forced him? What if he sat in his Baptism service quietly crying and miserable? Would he learn a lesson about character or just a lesson that his mother cares more about his friends than him?The next day after church we had an abbreviated service, and he was all grins. He bounded down the hall in his white jumpsuit and happily listened to the talks. It was a wonderful day. I'm not sure if that means I did the right thing, but I do believe that he knew at the end of the day that we love him, respect him, and value baptism enough to know that it is an important and personal decision. . even for an 8 year old.

I love my kids. I miss my kids. Today I am home with two sick little girls. I'm not feeling great myself, but I have certainly enjoyed the cuddles, mopping a kitchen floor, and catching up on laundry. I want to come back home. I want to fulfill my writing dreams, with a corner nook to crank out charming little stories and novels whilst I watch my kids play in the backyard. I do really enjoy my job actually. I've grown a great deal and I enjoy these high schoolers and am thankful for the opportunity to spread some light and learning. And they make me laugh. Droopy pants, cell phone addictions, and all. I just want to be home again. . even if it means being poor. Even if it means not owning our own home. Even if it means letting go of the house we are planning on and going for a smaller, cheaper, option. Crazy? Most likely. Cold feet? Absolutely. A prompting?. . no idea. The last nine months have left me feeling awfully shaky in my ability to discern the Holy Ghost's promptings. I've felt warm and good about lots of things that haven't worked out. And this weekend really shook me up.

Validation welcome.