Friday, November 20, 2015

Snuggle Up a Little Closer

Tuesday the wind blew harder than I have ever seen.
Trees were uprooted.
Power lines and substations were knocked out.
I was even hit on the head by a small pinecone missile as I walked across the parking lot.
I am always in awe of the damage that acts of nature can inflict.
We were left to languish in the dark for 48 hours.
Worse things could have happened.
We could have lost a fence
But we didn't.
We could have lost much of our roof.
We lost six shingles.
We could have had been left completely without heat and water.
But we have a gas fireplace and water heater.
We could have been hungry.
But we had food in the cupboard
And we had the means to eat out as well.
We were blessed and watched over.
During this time, we snuggled together
as a family
under a huge pile of blankets
in front of the fireplace.
As I see reports from across our city, my heart is filled
with gratitude and a desire to do more.
And as I watch the world news, I want to snuggle may family
just a little bit more and hold them a little closer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Glimpse of Understanding

Last night as I laid my head down on my pillow, my mind was still swirling with thoughts of the day. Swirl, swirl, swirl until the thoughts all melded together. I tried to sort them out and eventually the thought "I'm tired. I really, really tired" flitted its way out of the mix of all the other thoughts. As I focused on that I gained a moment of understanding for something that often is hard to understand--suicide.

When someone commits suicide it is a natural for those left behind to try and understand. We look for signs that we might have missed. What could we have done to prevent this final choice? Were they depressed? Lonely? Bullied? Sad? But often we do not ask "Were they tired? Tired of working in a dead-end job? Tired of trying to help people who don't necessarily want to be helped? Tired of fighting the pain? Tired of trying to put on a happy face every day? Tired of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps? Tired of running into the same brick wall? Tired of dealing with whatever makes them tired?" I'm sure the list could go on and on.

Sure the person can ask for help, try to delegate, take a break, seek resources. But eventually the offers of help cease to come. Resources dry up. Taking a break usually has to come to an end and the person has to return to normal life. Returning to normal life often means resuming the same responsibilities, fighting the same fights, dealing with the same people, hitting that same brick wall that caused them to be so tired in the first place.

So last night, with my thoughts still swirling, and feeling exhausted, I understood how someone might be led to choose one final sleep. A sleep that guarantees that there would be no more fighting, no more trying to put on a happy face, no more running into a brick wall, no more pulling themselves up by the bootstraps.

I don't have a specific take home message from last night's experience. I simply wanted to share my thoughts.

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Late Night Surprise

I had a crappy, incredibly frustrating day at work. In an effort to force my OCD brain to let go and move on, because the situation at work is completely outside of my control, I'm going to blog about  Friday's late night surprise.

Last weekend was the opening of deer season. I had settled in knowing that I was a "hunting widow" for the weekend. I never do anything exciting, or even out of the ordinary, on weekends where I am by myself. So Friday night I was nestled into the couch, blanket wrapped around me, and my favorite TV shows all queued up.

As usually happens on Friday night, I was nodding off by 9 p.m. and pretty sound asleep on the couch by 10:00 p.m. I sort of woke up around 10:30, which is a good thing because about 10:35 the garage door opened up and Carson walked in.

I certainly didn't expect him home for the weekend, but it sure was nice to have him home. We pretty much just hung out. I offered to go for a hike with him, but he said that he just wanted to take it easy. I did take him to try out the new donut place in Newman Lake. He gave it rave reviews.

Now that both kids are out of the house, and visits with them are usually short, I cherish any amount of time we get to spend together. I hope that we always live close enough that the kids can drop-by and drop-in whenever they want. I also hope that they will always want to just stop by for a visit.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

This Little Light of Mine

Sometime this summer a friend's statement on Facebook shook me awake. She had spent most of the summer months posting anti-religious, pro-LGBTQ, pro-Planned Parenthood articles and memes. Most of the time I would just scroll right past those things and not give it much thought. But one day, as a comment to an article she shared, she wrote:
I posted it, not because I wanted anyone to be on one side or the other...but to challenge others to look outside of either their current paradigm or the paradigm they were raised in of the world. I am an intellectually curious person, as I would hope you are too. I challenge myself to see the world from a plethora of perspectives...because I believe we owe it to ourselves, our children, and our world to keep challenging ourselves to grow and be more understanding of how others think, what they believe. There is some black and white in the world, but there is also a whole lot of gray.

There was one phrase in there that offended me more than anything, "I am an intellectually curious person". I resented the implication that some how simply because one was religious and adhered to religious values that the person was no longer intellectually curious. But the offence actually served as a wake-up call.

I had spent the previous year trying to be accepting of everyone and all lifestyles, thoughts, beliefs, etc. On the surface that doesn't sound too bad. In fact, it sounds quite advanced and progressive. The trouble is, I actually stood for nothing. As I came to this realization, the chorus to an Aaron Tippin song came to mind:
You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything 
 You've got be your own [wo]man, not a puppet on a string
I realized in that moment, in all of my trying to be understanding and accepting of all beliefs, lifestyles, etc I had not been in any way, shape, or form "intellectually curious". I had been simple and common. Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
Jesus cautioned that Satan desires to sift us lie wheat [Luke 22:31],which means to make us common like all those around us. But Jesus taught that we who follow Him should be precious and unique, 'the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13) and the 'light of the world' to shine forth to all men (Matthew 5:14).

Yes, I was offended that my friend had implied that because I was religious I was not "intellectually curious"  but I was even angrier with myself for buying into the lie that I couldn't possibly be empathetic and loving while at the same time rejecting certain secular principles. I realized at that moment that I "needed to shake of the chains with which I was bound and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust". I needed to once again become curious and remember that "The Glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth." (D&C 93:36).

And what is light? To find the answer to that question, we need look no further than to He would said "I am the light of the World, He who follows me will not walk in darkness" (John 8:12). The Light, or Christ, is who I am to follow. He is who lights my light. He is the one who taught:
Ye are the light of the world. A city on the hill that cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.
So now what? Well, I will continue to ask questions. I will continue to show love and respect to all because that is what Jesus has commanded me to do. Just as He has commanded me to seek for light and truth and to share that light and truth. I will also believe in the words the scriptures have taught as well as the words of our living prophets. I will also have a willingness to believe even when I don't have a fullness of light.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of Marriage

Being married for 25 years is kind-of a big deal. Dave and I started talking about how we wanted to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary on our 24th wedding anniversary. At first, we talked a good deal about taking an amazing Mediterrean cruise with some absolutely fabulous ports of call that I was dying to see. But, we knew that our 25th wedding anniversary was going to come right on the heels of paying off our house (we also made paying off our house by our 25th wedding anniversary a goal on our 24th wedding anniversary). And when we were throwing every last penny that we had at the mortgage, there isn't any left to throw at a trip. So the cruise will have to wait--maybe for our 30th wedding anniversary.

Then we talked about spending a few days in New York City when I have to travel back to Rutgers (yes, I know that is in New Jersey) in November. But the more we thought about that, the less in love we became with that idea. I think we really just aren't "big city" people, although I loved touring Philadelphia this past summer.

Anyway, the cruise was out and so was New York. We decided that paying off the house would be a big enough celebration. And I thought the discussion on how we were going to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary was closed. But in sometime in late June or early July, Dave floated the idea of coming home from Rexburg by way of Yellowstone. I thought about it for about 2 seconds and then said that is be a fabulous idea. Then I got busy on trying to find some place to stay, not an easy task at that late date.

So, on our actual anniversary, August 24th, we went out to dinner and celebrated paying off our house; we had mailed in the check on August 20th and were officially debt free. That was the best anniversary dinner, ever!

Then a few weeks later we took Katelyn back to BYU-I in Rexburg. I had waited to long to make a hotel reservation in Rexburg for Friday night so we had to spend the night in Idaho Falls. But spending the night in Idaho Falls turned out to be a great thing. We found one of the yummiest BBQ joints I have eaten at. Seriously. The beef brisket was melt-in-your-mouth yummy. And then on Saturday morning, before we headed out to Yellowstone, we enjoyed the beautiful trail that runs along the Snake River.

We stayed in West Yellowstone in what I think was the only available lodging (believe me when I say, I exhausted all searches in trying to find a place to stay). It was a nice, thought not inexpensive, cabin at a place called Hibernation Station. There was a nice homey feel in the whole complex. And I love staying in places that are not connected to the room next door.

Yellowstone was beautiful and scenic, as always. We saw lots of buffalo. We took lots of selfies. Dave did some fishing (secretly the whole point of him suggesting the trip). We hiked some hikes we have never taken before, because previous visits have always focused on hikes that will lead to the best fishing. This visit we compromised. Saturday was my day to pick the sites to see, Sunday was Dave's pick.

Prints found along the stream bank that Dave was fishing. Fortunately, we didn't see any bears or wolves while Dave was fishing.


It was a little different touring without the kids. As we were walking around familiar sites and driving past sites visited in the past, we would reminisce about those visits with the kids. It was fun to remember old times, but also great to create new memories with just Dave and me. We made each other laugh a lot as we spent time together. Probably one of my favorite interactions (laughing moments) was on our drive home.

We were passing Hebgen Lake, enjoying the scenery. Dave points to a house that is tucked in the trees overlooking the lake. He says, "Isn't that the best view? Looking over the water and out to the beautiful mountains in the distance?" My response was like this, "Yes, but if there was ever a fire, your house would go up in flames in an instant. Look at how close those trees are to the house." At this point, Dave smiles, slaps the steering wheel and says, "Woman, for 25 years I've been trying to get you to see the glass half-full and you still see it half-empty." Both of us immediately started cracking up because that is such a true statement. I guess maybe by our 50th anniversary I will have figured out how to see things in a "glass half-ful" way, especially with Dave by my side.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Two weeks down, 40 to go

I don't like to wish away time,
especially since these last two weeks were the only time we have with Katelyn since her mission and before she heads down to school.
as far as work goes, I am happy to put these first two weeks of the school year
to bed.
It feels like since the 17th of August I have been going at a sprint pace
to get ready for school.
I woke up in the morning and hit 0-60 in about 30 seconds
And then just stayed at that pace until I fell into bed
completely spent and exhausted.
This year was a little worse than normal because I was trying to get so much done
before Katelyn came home so I could spend as much time as possible with her.
I also decided that it would be a good idea to hold a vaccination clinic
right before the 1st day of school.
And, honestly, it turned out to be a huge success.
But getting that planned and organized
on top of my regular school nurse duties
was incredibly tiring.
We are taking Katelyn back to school tomorrow.
And on the way home, we are spending a couple of days in Yellowstone.
I'm looking forward to settling into a nice, steady pace
when I return to work next week.

Monday, August 31, 2015

August Deserves at least One Post

I short-changed blogging about July's events. I vowed that I would do better in August; yet here it is the last day of August and August has been totally neglected. I had even made a mental list of all the things I wanted to blog about for August. Some of the things were small events, like my DIY adventure with chalk paint. And there was the 45-mile bike ride that I decided would be fun to do even though it was my longest ride ever and I had only ridden 20 miles as my longest ride this year. There was also a visit from a friend who now lives in South Carolina (that may have happened in July, but because I didn't blog about it, I can't remember exactly).

But August also had some BIG events that I wanted to blog about. The top three August events were:
  • we paid off our house! WE'RE DEBT FREEEEEE!!!
  • we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary
  • Katelyn's HOME! She returned on August 28th from her mission in Tempe
I feel sufficiently guilty for not blogging all of August, that I won't let the same thing happen in September. Look for more blogging, even if the posts are about the big August events (I just can't let those ones go with just a mention in passing).