Last Week

Last week was a wrestle. I wrestled with church dilemmas, the clock, illnesses, and expectations. But there was a three-tiered cake one night, and clean surfaces everywhere, evidence that when I am doing mental work, physical work goes right along with it.

Last week,  there was so much calling me to stay home with the family. They needed my skills, my advice, my health, my early mornings, late nights, afternoon errands, and my touch.

Last week’s lessons:

  • Don’t bury concerns. Express them.
  • BYU application essay editing is a good way to spend a LOT of time with your senior. BYU requires six, people. Six!
  • You can’t wash your hands too often during flu season.
  • The boost in morale will come.
  • It’s ok to choose the less time-consuming option.
  • Conversations happen away from screens.
  • I experienced a miracle.
  • Everyone’s faith is a little different, even within the same church, and that is ok.
  • God knows ahead of time when I will fail to act, whether from laziness or pulls from different directions. He prepared a contingency plan or two last week so people were still cared for.
  • Life is long. I don’t have to do it all at once.
  • To write is to be vulnerable.
  • The sacrament is so precious to me.

Autumn comfort

As I drove around town today, Alan Jackson’s song about 9/11 came on the radio. It was good to have a few minutes to reflect on what that day meant for our country and the emotions we all went through at that time.

I spent a little while making things a little more cozy around the house. I love that we will be in slippers and blanket season soon.

Labor Day

The house is quiet. Daniel and I are the only ones home for the holiday. Last night, the two of us played violin-piano duets and sat quietly in the family room, reading. If you know me, you realize that this was good for my soul. Today, I took a minute to photograph a few things I see in the house. Paige’s empty room after moving out on Saturday. Tomato bounty. Lego figures placed at my bedside by two of my boys to make me smile. New rose bushes in bloom. The lavender rose is so heavy with petals, it droops under the weight. Its fragrance is just everything. The yellow roses smell like a garden from childhood.

Welcome September!

Thankful

A phrase from a scripture really captured my thoughts recently, “when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God…” (Alma 37:37)

I have been working to show more gratitude in my morning prayers, and not just dump my list of concerns and requests. I like what it does for the day to begin with more gratitude.

Here are some things I am thankful for today:

  • everyone home safely from camps
  • children who do not complain
  • roses blooming
  • the fragrant summer rainstorm last night
  • a favorite new music album
  • lemon bars
  • my white kitchen
  • a new sewing machine
  • my dad’s 50th anniversary of being baptized last week
  • opportunities to serve
  • beautiful views of mountains
  • summer evenings outside
  • good neighbors
  • trees that make a rushing sound in the wind
  • strength to run errands
  • the boys’ friends
  • Paige playing, “Girl with the Flaxen Hair”
  • Timothy playing, “If You could Hie to Kolob”
  • Mark playing all of his jaunty pieces
  • Daniel’s stellar piano arrangements
  • family is eating all the food I prepare
  • strength of the women in my neighborhood
  • things I am learning in personal study
  • things I am learning from interacting with many people
  • things I am learning from my mistakes
  • the Book of Mormon
  • Richard.

Vamp

photo by Liz

In the score of a musical, there are measures marked “vamp,” and you repeat these simple measures over and over as the actors do their lines before jumping into song. Some nights the actors take a little longer with their lines, and there will be more repetition. If you want an example of what I am talking about, listen to “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof on YouTube. As Tevye speaks, the orchestra vamps.

This week I am between numbers, just vamping: sleep, pray, eat, work, sleep, pray, eat work. Richard is at Scout camp, and I’m a little aimless, except for my goal to pick up all the pieces. I find myself free to clean out drawers and organize files. Clutter, beware. I can’t vamp forever, with a family reunion and a trip to Yellowstone coming up, but the simple beat of sorting through our home will make the transitions easier.

It’s just good to know where the socks are. It’s good to refill the empty sugar and flour containers, and discard old plastic cups that have taken over the kitchen drawer. Somehow in all the sorting, I find myself again. I get so lost when we are away from home.

A small solution

These coasters make me happy because they are pretty and they will help us not run out of water glasses by 10 am every day this summer. I searched many fine stores over the years for coasters I liked, but finally found these at Walmart this week. I placed a name on each coaster and now we are officially ready for summer. That is all for today.

Come walk with me

The annual bouquet in our front yard tree is in bloom, and as I sit in the living room with it right outside the window I think there couldn’t be anything more lovely. We celebrate our anniversary this weekend. What has the past year brought in our lives?

Places we have been together: Fish Creek, the Weber, San Diego, Sparks, St George, Moab

Recreation: Scuba diving (Richard), racquetball, walking, hiking, skiing

Projects: garden, 4-wheelers, wiring, humidifier, furnace, painting, quilts, dolls, books

Disagree about: piano lesson times, entertainment, the allure of rock shops

Agree about: most things

Difficulties: watching children go through trials; sometimes feeling disconnected because of full lives

Happy things: watching children overcome challenges; annual family Christmas video; trips with the family; watching our children sing, draw, paint, dance, excel in school, and show responsibility at work and church; dinner dates

Things we need to improve: temple attendance; time together

Things I admire about Richard: he is a faithful, regular blood donor; he enjoys being Scoutmaster; he always has a project; he kisses me goodbye every morning; he drives a terribly uncomfortable car with only a tape deck to work, over an hour a day, and doesn’t complain. He is married to a sometimes aloof, always sensitive, high-strung person and is still standing. I try to make up for my faults by occasionally baking brownies, lemon bars, and cookies.

The 2012 list in 2017

Page one of a list I made of things to fix in our house in 2012

I have never had a to do list last for 5 years. We work at this old house all the time, but it’s mainly things you can’t see, and by “we,” I mean Richard. My contribution is to decorate (put pictures up over all the nail holes)  and keep everything clean. Beginning today, I am going to focus on finishing the painting. I will paint with the minutes I have each day until it’s done. I have had it with shabby walls and ceilings.

A few things I am thinking about

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I just bought a gallon of milk that has an expiration date AFTER election day. We have almost made it! On social media, I got carrried away one day and temporarily blocked many friends who posted something political, so now my news feed is missing, oh, most people. My social media consists of Minion memes, recipes, weddings of people I have never seen before, and a lot of Chicago Cubs stuff. And there is that one friend who posts obscure quotes about classic literature and meditation. I figure many of my social media friends have blocked me for all the links I post to LDS.org. So much for social media being a way to communicate.

Richard and the boys pumped the attic full of insulation over fall break. I have been so warm at night ever since, but I am not sure if it’s because I have convinced myself that I will be warm or if there is a real difference.

Richard has always been conservative with energy use at the house. He is driven to see our kilowatt hours go lower and lower. Our power company gives us a graphic showing how we rank among our neighbors in energy usage. The coveted lowest tier is not yet ours, but I think Richard knows we can get there someday. Is your house full of LED lightbulbs? They are expensive and flicker, but the quality of their light is so much gentler than compact fluorescent bulbs.

Our refrigerator died on Friday night the minute after the appliance repair shops closed for the weekend. It is an 18 year old refrigerator, and it has kept our family alive for a long time. I feel some nostalgia as it begins to falter. Richard looked up another You Tube video about how to fix a refrigerator and got things running again. (He fixed our washer earlier this year after studying a You Tube video.) Better energy efficiency in a new refrigerator may put us in the running for the elite tier of energy savers in the neighborhood, so maybe we should buy a new one. We go round and round endlessly wondering what to do. I keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to make sure it’s staying cold as we enter day 4 of deliberation and negotiation. And I may have to cross over to stainless steel, a sure indicator that styles will change abruptly and stainless will be outdated.

One difficult part of my job at church is when someone asks a tricky question in class and the teacher asks me for a definitive answer. Women older and wiser than me hold their breath. “Will she be able to answer it?” they wonder. Kind and sympathetic women turn and give me encouraging looks. I got a tricky question on Sunday. For the first time in a year and a half, I came home from church not second-guessing my wording of an answer. It must have been important for me to have the answer on Sunday, because I hardly even blushed as I spoke. Maybe I am getting used to being put on the spot.

I hope you didn’t waste too much time reading this nonsense.

Flag Day

1-DSC_13421-DSC_1340 1-DSC_1348 1-DSC_1350Flag Day is the inauguration of summer for me. It reminds me that it is time to put out my red, white, and blue plates on the shelves, and fill my containers with flags and flowers. It is a heavy reminder that June is almost half over. (Don’t waste your summer, Angie!) Richard has been gone quite a bit on Scout camp outs and trips to buy four wheelers, so I updated our living room while he was away.

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Summer reading for me always includes a biography. I can’t believe this has been out for twelve years and no one told me how good it is. I am also working through a book to help me with Isaiah, which isn’t nearly as good. No offense, Isaiah. Sincerely, a modern reader.

1-DSC_1337There are many summer projects. For Family Home Evening on Monday, we read Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Each of us made summer goals in the same four areas: wisdom, stature, in favor with God, and in favor with man.

I need these goals. Summer is my least productive time of year. My grandmother says it’s our Scandinavian genes that make it so difficult to do anything when it’s hot. I fight every day to stay active during the summer, even if it just means I am redecorating shelves, hemming new curtains, or taking notes on a book. When the day is over and I have contributed to the house and made some notes from my studies, I can call it a good day.