Friday, January 30, 2009

Wills--mine and His


SCENE: The bedroom. It's about 10:30 p.m. and Charlotte and Eric are kneeling by the bed, saying their evening prayer.

Charlotte (praying): . . . and please, if it by Thy will, bless Heather that she will learn to fall asleep without crying for so long beforehand.

(Charlotte continues on, praying for the health and safety of family members and friends, etc. She eventually finishes and leans up to Eric for her goodnight kiss. Eric is snickering.)

Charlotte (pretending to be annoyed): What? What's so funny? Don't YOU want Heather to be able to go to bed without crying?

Eric (genially): Well sure, but I just don't think it's going to happen.

Charlotte (with exasperation): Why not? It might be the Lord's will. Maybe He's just waiting for us to ask Him.

Eric: Well sure, it might be the Lord's will, but I'm pretty sure that it isn't Heather's will. It's Heather's will that's the problem here.


(And no-Heather didn't stop crying before bedtime as a result of the heartfelt prayer of our fair heroine.)

* * *


SCENE: The bedroom. It's about 10:30 p.m. and Charlotte and Eric are kneeling by the bed, saying their evening prayer.

Charlotte (praying): . . . and if it be Thy will, please bless Heather tomorrow that she will be easily amused and happy while we're at the opera company together. And if it is not Thy will, then please help me to be easy-going and calm and to take things as they come without getting angry or frustrated. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Charlotte leans in to Eric for her goodnight kiss. Eric is not snickering, probably because he has had to deal with a frustrated semi-irrational Charlotte a few times in the past few weeks, and thus is hoping with all that he has that this particular prayer will be answered.


The second prayer was answered.

Boy, was it ever.

Isn't it nice when your will and the Lord's will end up being the same?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's a good thing we don't grow zucchini

This morning when Eric left for school, we found that someone had hung a can opener on our doorknob.

I think I have a pretty good idea who is to blame.

We've been in a bit of a "can opener war" with our next-door neighbors for a few days now.

First of all, let me say that I LOVE my neighbors. On either side of us, we have awesome neighbors. They don't complain when Heather screams through the walls, they don't play loud music our have guitar jam sessions at all hours of the night, and when we go out of town during the summer, they are more than willing to water our backyard container garden. They're fabulous.

So, Sunday afternoon, Mrs. Southside neighbor came over, asking to borrow our can opener. Apparently she was just about to begin making a gourmet meal for Mr. Southside neighbor when their one and only can opener broke. Eric jumped to the rescue, offering her ours, and telling her to keep it, because we are pretty much rolling in can openers. (Oh yeah. I've got a quirky husband, an adorable daughter, AND I'm rolling in can openers. Jealous yet?)

I was a little apprehensive at first, thinking that he was giving away my favorite one, but as he showed me our collection, I was more than happy to part with one (and it wasn't my favorite after all). Mrs. Southside refused to do more than borrow it, and brought it back about an hour later. Eric was napping, and so I accepted it, knowing that Eric would be disappointed, but not wanting to be obnoxious about it.

So, last night, Eric chanced to look in the utensil/can opener drawer. Seeing our collection, he was seized with another fit of I-don't-know-what, and determined that like it or not, Mr. & Mrs. Southside were going to have one of our can openers. He marched right over, can opener in hand, with plans to demand that they take it.

They weren't home. He left it on their doorknob, and returned home pleased beyond pleased with himself.

Until this morning.

Logan & Elizabeth (Southside)--lock your cars: He's planning to go there next.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Eric Quote of the Day

"Do you think Heather would like me more if I could River-Dance?"

(As you might guess, this was asked while Mr. C. provided Heather and I a sample of said dancing.)

No sweetie, I think Heather likes you fine just the way you are.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

i forgot.

After all my postings here about gratitude journals and thank you power, I realized this morning that I had neglected to thank you all yesterday.

I guess I was too intrigued by the thought of my own latter-day manna.



I could probably sing a different song each day for a month or more with all the suggestions you gave me. What's more, now I have a small-ish list of new songs to learn--and learning new songs is nearly always a treat.

If you're curious as to what was suggested, or if you're looking for your own list of singable songs, I compiled a listing from all the comments and e-mails that I got. It's on the sidebar. It's nearly at the end, so you'll have to scroll and scroll and scroll, but if you persevere, you'll find it.

And perseverance is a good quality to practice, don't you think?


Friday, January 23, 2009

Manna Every Day

So, you remember the Children of Israel? Remember how they had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years? Remember how the Lord took care of feeding them? Every day except for Sunday, He would cause this bread-like stuff (called manna) to come falling down out of the sky. The Israelites could just go out and pick it up off the ground, eat it, and go on with their wanderings. On Saturdays they would pick up enough to last them through Sunday. But, here's the thing: Say it's a Tuesday and one of them wants to pick up a little extra, just in case God decides not to let it fall on Wednesday. So, this person goes out and gathers up a double portion. No dice. The extra manna spoils before he can eat it. Only on Saturdays does the manna last the extra day without getting spoiled and inedible.

* * *

Heather recently passed the "I'll sit here in my seat all day and alternate between staring at you in adoration and sleeping" stage. Mostly I'm glad--she's so much more fun now, and it is a genuine pleasure to play with her and see her eyes light up and hear her giggles. However, the days that she's in the office with me have become quite a bit more challenging, to say the least (the days that I work from home are still fine--there's more to keep her entertained, and I can better budget my time around her needs).

So, without going into it all too much, last Friday we reached an all-time frustration high, and today was only slightly better. When it's hard like that, I get kind of panicky and overwhelmed, worrying that I'm not going to be able to keep up with my responsibilities at work, and stressing over the possible consequences if I don't. Then if I'm not careful, I can let my imagination run away with me until everything looks bleaker than bleak.

Last Saturday I was trying to prevent the runaway imagination from taking over, and I started thinking over some of the facets of the situation. As I looked back over the past 4 months, I realized that I had yet to experience a day when I wasn't able to accomplish all the things that I absolutely needed to accomplish, either at work or at home. There were many days that I wasn't able to accomplish all that I wanted to do, or all that it would be nice for me to do, but as far as the things that I really needed to get done, I was able to do them all. Furthermore, as I looked over some of those days individually, I realized that me being able to fulfill all that I needed to in spite of the complications that were presented was nothing short of miraculous. It may sound over-the-top, but I firmly believe that there have been days when angels have been surrounding me, helping me to be smarter than I am, more efficient than I am, and more patient than I am.

* * *

I still worry. On the days (most of them) when I get the "have-to" stuff done, but not the "it-sure-would-be-nice-to" stuff done, I have to fight myself from panicking, worrying about what I'll do if the other stuff becomes "have-to" at a time when Heather is uncooperative, the angels don't show up, and I'm left to fend for myself with my own semi-meager abilities.

And then I take a deep breath (or six), and say a silent prayer.

God provided for His Israelites every day. When I'm calm and not panicky, I remember that He will do the same for me.

Sometimes, it all comes down to faith, doesn't it?

Aside from today being a little rough, we're all good. Tonight Prince Eric and I are headed out for a night on the town, and Heather is headed for an evening of being loved and spoiled by Aunt Donna and Uncle Steve. Rough day notwithstanding, it's pretty hard for me to get too upset about anything when I've got that on the horizon.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Good night baby, Good night, Milkman's on his way

So, as you may remember, before Heather was born, I thought up a few songs that I wanted to sing to her on a regular basis. As it turns out, I sing to Heather nearly every night, when I put her to bed. (Eric used to put her to bed about half the time, but the fact is, Heather hates bedtime, and Eric was developing a bit of a complex over the fact that she would cry semi-frequently when she was with him. He decided (and I went along with it) that he wanted a little break from the bedtime routine, so that perhaps we could get Heather to associate his presence with more happy experiences. So far, our plan seems to be working reasonably well)

Anyway, back to the issue at hand . . .

I sing to Heather nearly every night. Usually it's two songs. I start with Angel Lullaby, or I Feel My Savior's Love, or Baby Mine. Then I finish up with Suo Gan-one verse humming and one verse English (I haven't gotten around to tackling the Welsh yet).

The thing is, as much as I love these songs, after four months, I'm getting a little tired of them. I need some variety. I've added Teach Me to Walk in the Light to the line-up (or rotation, if you will), but it's just not enough. I need more.

My brother-in-law used to sing the theme from Cheers to my niece when he put her to bed. My cousin used to sing Piano Man to his kids when it was their bedtime. And, let's not forget, I have a nephew who for the first year or so of his life, could only be calmed by a rousing rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Obviously, it's not a dearth of available songs that is the issue here, not in the least. And yet, in all the available songs, is there one that would be perfect for my Heather? A song that has slipped my mind? A song that I would love singing, Heather would love hearing, and Eric would smile at as it wafts its way to him over the baby monitor? Surely there must be.

So, for the first time that I can think of, dear readers, I'm directly asking you for your help. Oh sure, I've asked/allowed you to vote on what we should call our unborn daughter (and then Eric and I ended up disregarding your votes and named her a name that tied for last place in the poll). I've also given you the opportunity to win a prize by making a donation and then leaving a comment. But this time is different. This time, I'm coming right out and I'm asking for your advice. Nay, even more, I'm issuing the clarion call! Lurkers, regular commenters alike--come into the sun! Let your voice be heard! Please--I need your help! What song would you sing to your Heather if she were your Heather? No polls, no giveaways, no monetary donations. Just advice--pure counsel and advice.

I await your lullaby lovin' wisdom.

(It doesn't have to be an actual lullaby per se. I just like the way those two words-(lullaby & lovin') sound and look together.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Being the Mommy ROCKS!

Today Eric's parents were out of town and couldn't watch Heather. Luckily, Eric doesn't have school, so he was able to tend Heather while I went to work. It's audit time, so I was grateful to be able to focus 100% on the job at hand, instead of having my attention divided by her little Highness.

When I got home, Eric was on the couch, Heather in his lap, watching television. I gave him the "How did it go?" look, and he gave me a look back that I couldn't read. I said, "Well, how did it go?" Eric said (with a much more easy-going manner than I would have, if our situations had been reversed), "She's been just awful for the last hour. I've tried everything. I've walked with her, read her stories, put her in the swing, tried to feed her, everything. I've even tried to do all the things that she likes you to do with her, but she doesn't go for it. I think she just started really missing you, because she started getting completely annoyed every time she looked up and saw my face instead of yours."

Now, I know that he might just be saying that.

But, I have to admit, I love hearing it.

(Incidentally, Heather's been a perfect angel since I got home. Nice.)

(Oh--and did you notice the picture? It prominently features my two favorite gifts from Eric--my Heather (well, our Heather) and my engagement ring. How fun! How cheesy!)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Proclamation-and my thoughts

"We the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

Those are the words that begin the Proclamation on the Family.

Sometimes I get to thinking about "the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." More specifically, I get to thinking about God's plan for me, and His plan for the people that make up my growing circle of friends and family.

I think about where I am now (happy, healthy, at peace), and the experiences that I've had that have led me here.
  • My mother taught me how to dust one afternoon, and I remember thinking that it was the most entertaining thing I'd ever done (I was seven).
  • My dad was my track coach, and even though he was very supportive and encouraging of all the other girls on the team, I always knew that he was my father first and the coach second.
  • I used to spend a week every summer at the home of one of my cousins. She introduced me to Hart's convenience store (where they had more flavors of soda than I had ever seen in one place before). As if that wasn't enough, her mom (my aunt) made the most delicious pancakes on Saturday mornings.
  • I used to sit in Sacrament Meeting with my brother, and we would fight. We had to be quiet about it, or we'd get in big trouble, so we'd sit there and write mean notes back and forth to each other. I used to get so mad on those days.
  • A few years ago, my mom and I planned a trip to Denver to visit my brother (the same one I would fight with in church) and his family who were living there at the time. We arranged it so we would arrive on the day of my oldest niece's dance recital, and her mother made it so it was a surprise for her and the other kids. Good times.
  • When I was talking to my mom a few days after I had met most of Eric's family for the first time, she asked me what they were like. I told her (in complete honesty), "Actually, they're basically like us."
  • During those (sometimes seemingly interminable) years when I was single, it seemed that often people were practically dropped right into my lap--people who turned out to be almost like family. I was generally short on "adopted" brothers, but I had sisters galore, both in quantity and quality. And then there were the grandfathers. I collected grandfathers the way some women collect shoes, and the way that all little boys collect rocks. Actually, I still do, but now they're more like uncles or fathers. It's wonderful.
These are just some random thoughts and experiences I've had over the years, but I think they've contributed, along with a million others like them, to the "who's" and "what's" of my situation now. So, yeah, I believe it. I agree with the First Presidency with all my heart. In every stage of life I've experienced so far, the family has been absolutely central to my joy, my learning, my life. I guess it only stands to reason that the family actually is central to the Creator's plan for my eternal destiny, and that of all His other children as well.

And those are my thoughts on that.

Happy Sunday.

(For more of my writings along this line, click on the label "Family Proclamation" on the sidebar. I've written about the Proclamation on the Family once before, and I'm planning to write about it a couple of times a month for the next little while.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Three Words That Work Magic

This one is really just for me, although you are welcome to read it. It's a magazine article that I found WAAAAY back in 1985 when I was in high school. I've always been prone to worry too much, and so this really resonated with me then. I clipped it out and carried it in my purse for a few years. Then I gave it to someone who I thought could use it more than I. Twenty years later I was going through a crisis at work, and I'd wished that I still had it. I contacted Reader's Digest, and long story short, they were able to locate the article, and sold me one of the reserve copies of the issue that contained it. It helped me then, but I haven't given it much thought in the four years since then.
Until this morning anyway. I dusted the magazine off, re-read the article, and decided (among other things) that I need to have it in electronic format, so that I won't lose it again. Since you never know when a computer will crash, and I have a hard time organizing all the files that I back up so religiously, I've decided to store it here, as well as in a file on my computer.*

I'd ask you to excuse the indulgence, but this is a blog after all. Aren't blogs pretty much all about indulgence anyway?
Three Words that Work Magic

Some things clearly do matter. But too many of us too frequently fall apart over things that do not.

Condensed from These Times
Anya Bateman

"I'm going to share with you three words that will help you immensely in teaching and in life," a wise education professor once told a class I attended. "They're a magic formula to peace of mind. The words are; 'It doesn't matter.'"

It doesn't matter? The advice seemed to condone a "Who cares?" attitude, a direct contradiction to the attitudes we had been taught to foster; the importance of the individual child, the responsibility of being a teacher, and so on.

What did my professor mean?

He explained: "A teacher has many frustrations in his day that are really not important. If he lets those frustrations get to him, he can be devastated.

"I'll give you an example. Suppose you, the teacher, have carefully planned your day. There is much to be done. A special program is coming up and a holiday is looming.

"One little boy gets sick and throws up right on the mural that the students have nearly finished. Now, you can either fall apart because your plans are ruined, or you can say, 'It doesn't matter,' and convince yourself that it doesn't.

"Of course, you will have concern for what does matter, the feelings of the sick youngster. But as far as your plans are concerned, you will simply pick up your schedule where you left off."

I could see the wisdom in his words, and because I get frustrated easily, I penciled the phrase "IT DOESN'T MATTER" in capital letters in my notebook. I decided I would try not to let my frustrations and disappointments ruin my peace of mind.

It worked. I was happier and I got more accomplished as I accentuated the important and de-emphasized the unimportant.

Then came a challenge to my new attitude. I fell in love with good-looking Phil Jackson. He mattered. Oh, how he mattered. Phil was, I was sure, my Prince Charming.

But on a date one night, he told me as gently as he could that he thought of me only as a friend. The world I had planned around Phil came tumbling down. That night, as I cried in my bedroom, the words on my bulletin board seemed ironical: It doesn't matter, they declared.

"Oh, but it does, I whispered. "I love him. I can't live without him."

But when I awakened the next morning and looked at the words again, I began to analyze the situation. How much did it matter--really? Phil mattered and I mattered and our happiness mattered. But did I want to be married to someone who didn't love me?

As the days went by, I found that life was indeed possible without Phil. I could be happy. And surely someone else would enter my life. Even if no one did, I'd still be happy. I could control my feelings.

Several years later someone better suited to me did come along. In the excitement of wedding plans, I promptly forgot the words "It doesn't matter." I didn't need them anymore now that I would be "happily ever after-ing." My life would be void of frustrations.

How naive are the young! Marriage and motherhood void of frustrations? Five years and three children later, the pressures of home life began building up to the point that I found myself blowing steam too often. Why did children crack eggs onto a newly cleaned carpet? No matter how many time I washed, the hamper was full again the next day. And the noise! How dreadfully noisy children can be.

On my oldest daughter's birthday, I felt as if I were going to fall apart. I still had balloons to buy and blow up, and the party would start in a half-hour. My daughters were arguing loudly. I had two phone calls to make before I could leave.

After the calls, I grabbed the baby and hurried to find my girls and pack them into the car for a quick trip to the store. They were nowhere in sight. "Where are they?" I mumbled. Then I saw them. Their party clothes were covered with sawdust from the addition we were building. They had sawdust in their hair and had tramped it through the kitchen and dining room.

"Oh no! I can't stand it," I said. I felt myself ready to scream, "Oh you awful kids!" But something clicked in my mind. The words flashed by quickly, but they made an impression: It doesn't matter!

It really doesn't matter, I thought. At least not as much as I'm making it matter. I looked at the children again and shook my head, but laughed inside at the sight of them. Their eyes, large at my anger, peered out from little bodies covered from head to toe with sawdust.

It really didn't matter. It wasn't worth getting angry about. This special day belonged to them, not me. I wanted my children to have happy memories of birthdays and not "screaming mother" memories. They mattered: my children.

"Come on, let's get you brushed off," I said. I picked up the pieces of my day and started over with new peace of mind. And things turned out just great without balloons.

That night I printed the words "IT DOESN'T MATTER" on a piece of paper and pinned it on my kitchen bulletin board. I vowed I would not forget their message.

A few weeks later, my husband and I received some bad news. The money we had saved and invested in a business venture had been lost. After he read the letter to me, my husband left the room to be alone in the study. I could see him through the hall doorway, his forehead in his palms. The knot in my own stomach twisted as bitterness began to settle in. Then I remembered the three magic words; It doesn't matter.

Ha! I thought. This time, believe me, it does. But then the energetic pounding of our baby boy playing with his blocks diverted my attention. When he saw me looking at him, he stopped his pounding to chortle and grin a grin that had no price tag. Past him, through the window, the girls were patting the sides of a sand castle in eager, happy cooperation. Beyond them, behind our yard, silver maples met a sky that was clear and blue and endless. I could feel the knot in my stomach relaxing as peace took its place. Soon I felt myself smiling, and it wasn't long before I was heading for the study with a message for my husband: Everything is going to be all right. It's only money and it honestly doesn't matter.

In the large spectrum of life, there are many things that do matter. Our values and our honor matter. God matters. We matter. But there are also many things that threaten our peace of mind and our happiness that simply don't matter, or that doesn't matter as much as we make them matter. Now, if I can just keep remembering that.

*I realize that this could technically be considered an "unauthorized reproduction", and as such is prohibited. I've been trying to track down the author to ask her permission to keep it here, with limited success. I'll keep trying.

UPDATE:  I found her! She's okay with this being here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Silliness-this is just pure silliness

When I was young, my maternal grandparents used to visit us at least once a year, and often more (my paternal grandparents lived in our town, so their visits were more frequent, and perhaps not quite as big of a deal to me). My grandmother would always bring a selection of games for us to play. Someday perhaps I'll write about "The Smurf Game" and how it united all of my maternal cousins in a "playing-games-with-grandma bond". Today though, I have bigger fish to fry.

(Incidentally, that was an amazingly funny pun, but unfortunately, you won't completely understand why for a few more paragraphs).

Anyway, one of the games that my grandma would bring was this fishing game (Get it? Bigger fish to fry? I'm killin' me here!). You've probably seen it. A bunch of plastic fish rotate around in a circle, opening and closing their mouths, and the object of the game (aside from just to have fun) is to catch the most fish.

So, like the good grandmother that she is, my mother (who, I might add, already owns the aforementioned Smurf Game) got the fishing game for Christmas.

That brings us to our story, the story about a little boy who we will call Alexander Graham. (This is not his real name. I'm not going to print his name here, because he's not my kid, and I don't want to post his name on the world wide web without his or his parents' permission. Another reason I'm not using his real name is because I really like the name "Alexander Graham".)

The Story of Alexander Graham and the Amazing Fishing Game
-By Charlotte C. Cantwell

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Alexander Graham.
One day he went to his grandmother's house to play.

He played a really cool game with the other boys, and had a great time.

He had such a great time that he didn't even notice that he was the shortest boy of them all (by almost four feet).

Sometimes the other boys were better at the game than he was . . .

But sometimes, he was THE BEST OF ALL THE GAME!
Those times made him very happy!

After playing for awhile, all the other boys got bored of the game. That was okay with Alexander Graham. He got out his trusty screwdriver and made a few modifications.

Then (to his horror), a little girl wanted to come play. Alexander Graham let her play with him for a little while, but she was really too little, and kind of made a mess.

Alexander Graham decided that he didn't want to share anymore. This led to trouble, because the little girl (like most of the girls in her family) wasn't exactly the easy-going type.

Finally the little girl got bored of the game, and she went to play somewhere else. Alexander was happy to be able to play with the game, this time all by himself.

This picture has nothing to do with our story, but the author liked it so much that she had to put it in, even though she couldn't think of a way to make it part of the tale.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Short & Sweet

(the following post is brought to you in a font size specifically influenced by Melissa C)

Me: Isn't it nice that Heather is so easy to soothe? I mean, she gets sad, but most of the time, all she needs is to be held and told that she's loved, and almost immediately, she's as good as new.

Eric: Yeah . . . she's kind of like her mother that way.

It wouldn't be as funny if it weren't absolutely true.

Happy Tuesday.

Friday, January 09, 2009

a big sister. . . . (I hope)

(Warning-remember how I said I'd try to post something short soon? This isn't that post.)

In case you don't know my family or haven't read far enough in the archives here, let me tell you that I am the oldest of six children. What this meant for me growing up was that I hardly ever wore hand-me-downs, I was spoiled with lots of attention by my parents, aunts, and uncles, and I had my own room for a while as I was growing up.

It all sounds pretty good, and it was, but there was one major problem.

I had no big sister.

-No big sister to push me on the swings.

-No big sister to pump me on her bike.

-No big sister to help me carry the sled back up the hill.

-No big sister to tell me when I should ask mom and dad if I was old enough to wear make-up.

-No big sister to console me when I wasn't asked to the Homecoming Dance.

I used to dream that my parents would adopt another child--a girl who was older than me, just so I could have a big sister.

I never told them, and it didn't happen.

It was probably for the best.

Thinking back, I don't remember doing too many of the things for my younger siblings that I would have liked my hypothetical big sister to do.

I did push them on the swings though.

I also made them spend their Sunday afternoons coloring paper chains for our outside tree every Christmas--and for all their hard labor, I rewarded them with 5-6 plain M&M's each.

----But that's another story.

So, Heather is the oldest in our family. We hope that she will eventually be followed by a younger sibling, maybe even two (we'll have to see I guess), but barring the kind of adoption that I dreamed about when I was young, Heather will always be the oldest. I feel for her, and hope she won't ache for an older sister the way I did.*

But wait! There is hope for my Heather.

If my dear friend Heidi can be trusted (and she can), her (year-old-and-then-some) daughter Eden just may step up to the plate at some point, and fill many of the roles of the big sister that Heather will probably not otherwise get.

Apparently, Eden adores Heather.

-To the point of taking pictures of Heather off the fridge and carrying them around with her all throughout the house .

-To the point of naming one of her dolls "Heather".

-To the point of making her mother sit at the computer several times a week to look at the same blog you're looking at, scrolling through all these boring words to find the pictures of Heather.

Now, there are some problems with this scenario-- the main one being that Eden lives in Alabama and Heather lives in Utah. It's entirely possible (I suppose) that this may not work out in exactly the way that I'm hoping that it will.

But it might . . . right?

I take considerable comfort in the fact that when Eden (and Heidi and Phil) came to visit us over the holidays, Eden spent quite a bit of time with one of Heather's toys, nearly to the exclusion of all the rest.

It was . . . the swing.

You might be wondering what Eden wanted to do with Heather's baby swing. Did she want to climb into it?


Not even once.

She wanted to push it.

and push it,

and push it.

Oh yeah little Heather. Your big sister is already in training.

Eden, these are for you .

* I'm being overly dramatic. I had a very happy childhood, and didn't ache for an older sister very often. Generally, it was only when my legs got tired of pumping myself in the swings. Then I really ached for an older sister. Boy, did I ever!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

sometimes, it almost seems like magic

I just finished a book last week entitled Thank You Power by Deborah Norville. Now I'm reading Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir. The latter was a Christmas gift from Eric, the former is a book I learned about by reading Reader's Digest.

Now, at the risk of sounding "new agey" (which is something that I've been accused of before, even though I consider myself to be really down-to-earth, never mind the fact that I have a prism hanging from the rear-view mirror of our car, and write about my experiences with Dream Books just about every chance I get), I must admit that I learned a few things from this book, and that I've put some of the principles taught there into practice, with good results.

Ms. Norville starts out by sharing an experience, a time when she was stuck in an airport, trying to get home in the middle of a storm when her flight had been cancelled, along with the flights of pretty much everyone else in the airport. To make a long story short, she found a way to be grateful for the situation, and almost immediately she was offered two different seats on two different flights home. I was impressed with her story, and I shared it with Eric.

(Eric took one look at the cover of the book, which features a picture of Deborah Norville looking particularly blonde and svelte and told me that her getting offered those seats had much more to do with a couple of businessmen wanting to sit next to a nice looking woman than the fact that she found a way to be grateful in her hardship. I just think he's being cynical, don't you?)

Anyway, oddly enough, I read this particular account at the end of a pretty difficult day. Things had been stressful at work, the house was cluttered and messy, the laundry wasn't done, there were dishes in the sink, I was annoyed with Eric just on general principle, etc, etc. You know exactly what I'm talking about, don't you? I was lying in bed, feeling foolish for my actions and attitude (which only made me more angry) when Heather started to fuss in her crib. Groan. Didn't she know that it was time for her to sleep? I had no patience for her fussing, and I was getting madder and madder at her, at Eric, at my situation, and at my life. Grrr.

Long story shorter, we were able to get Heather settled down, but I was still in a horrifically bad mood. Eric picked up on the mood (it was hard to miss after all), and gave me plenty of space, so as not to find himself in the line of my fire. This made me even more upset, because I felt like he was avoiding me (which he was, which I don't blame him). I lay there in bed, reading this book, getting more and more angry, setting myself up for a long hard night of restless, frustrated sleep.

And then a light inside of me turned on. I realized that I was reading this story about the power of gratitude, while at the same time, being completely ungrateful for anything in my life. I decided to try my own version of a little gratitude experiment. As I listened to Heather whimpering in the next room, I scanned my mind for something in this situation that was worthy of my gratitude.

It didn't take long. The previous day, a neighbor of mine told me of one of her nieces. She was born in July, and as a complication of her birth, her esophagus was damaged, and she was unable to make any sounds for several months. However, to everyone's joy, this little baby had just cried her first cry the week before, at six months of age. As I remembered this story, I said a little prayer of gratitude, thanking Heavenly Father for giving me a daughter who has been able (and more than willing) to cry since the day she was born.

Oddly enough, and you aren't going to believe this but it's the absolute truth, within 10 minutes Eric and I were in complete harmony with each other once again. He wasn't trying to avoid me anymore, and I wasn't frustrated with him (or anything else) either. Within 30 minutes after that, I was sleeping peacefully, and I stayed asleep for several hours (until Heather woke up for her middle-of-the-night milk run).

With an experience like that, I couldn't just stop there. So, for the past little while, when I find myself feeling edgy or stressed or frustrated or anxious, sometimes (when I remember), I'll stop and find something to be grateful for in the situation. At times I really have to stretch, but so far I've always been able to find at least one thing. The results have not always been as dramatic as the night I thanked the Lord for Heather's ability to cry, but the fact is, my situation has always improved a least a little bit after I've taken the time to say a little thank you.

Nice, huh? I think so.

* * *

In other news, there really isn't much to say. I went visiting teaching tonight, and enjoyed it. Eric started back to school on Monday, and so far, things seem to be going well. As for Heather, she's starting to adjust to being back in our little quiet home after spending Christmas vacation surrounded by loud and loving cousins, uncles, grandparents, and aunts. Things are good. We're a lucky threesome.

These posts have been a bit long lately, haven't they? We're probably due for a short one soon, right? I'll see what I can do.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

September 23, 1995

Here are a few facts that may seem like they don't go together, but hang in there. (I'll tie it all up in the end.)

* * *

As you might remember from some of my other posts, I am currently serving in my ward as the Junior Primary Chorister. This month we started learning a new song. It's called "The Family is of God", and although it is not found in the regular Children's Songbook, you can hear it by clicking on a link found on this page. I might mention that I'm a big fan of this particular song.

* * *

As you enter our home, on the wall to your right, I've hung up a big family collage. It's one of my favorite things about our home (even though the pictures are rarely straight, as you can see). We have a picture of Eric, Me, & Heather in the center, surrounded by the most recent pictures taken of all of my parents' posterity and all of Eric's parents' posterity. There's a picture of Eric and I on our wedding day, and one of our engagement photos. There are pictures of all of my parents' grandchildren, and all of Eric's parents' grandchildren. There's a picture of me and all my siblings from when we were young (I think I was 13), as well as a picture of Eric and all his siblings when they were young (Eric looks to be about 13 as well). Those photos are paired with pictures of the family that are more recent. I think it's quite an interesting collection (if only to me), and as I said, it's one of my favorite things about our home.

To the right of the center picture is a framed copy of a Proclamation that was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley back in September of 1995 (September 23, to be exact). The theme of the proclamation is the family. It's kind of a long document (and can be read in its entirety here), but it's very meaningful to me, and it seems to become more and more meaningful to me each year.

* * *

(here's the tie-together)

* * *

As I was preparing to teach the children the words and music to the new song, I discovered that the lyrics are practically lifted right out of the Proclamation. I took our copy off the wall, and started reading it, studying it for the first time in several years. I'm glad that I did. Re-reading those words has helped me. I feel more solid, more secure. I don't know that I can (or want to) explain how or why exactly, but there you have it. I feel better having read these words.

And so, perhaps for the next little while, I'll be writing about the Proclamation from time to time, sharing a sentence here or there, and sharing my own thoughts, feelings, or experiences that relate. That is, unless I decide that this is just a whim, and I go back to my recent modus operandi (which would consist of me continuing to post picture after picture of our darling Heather). I guess we'll just have to see, won't we?

At any rate, since this introduction is already quite long, I'll just share one sentence. One of my very very favorite sentences from this timely, inspired document. Are you ready? Here it is:

The Family is ordained of God.

What that says to me is that when God designed this earth and put in place His plan for us all to come down here and have the experiences that we are having, He designed things in such a way so that we would live in families. It says to me that the fact that we are born into and essentially spend our lives in family groupings--that's no accident. It's the way God wants it to be, and when we cherish this for the gift that it is, we bring Him joy, and enable ourselves to experience even more joy than we otherwise would.

But more than all of that, it says to me that God knew that I would be unbearably lonely if He sent me down here without some kind of a support system, and while He did want me to have some hardship so that I would learn certain lessons, He didn't want me to have to endure it all completely alone all of the time. So God gave me (well, all of us, actually) families.


Because He Loves Us.

Happy Sunday,

Thursday, January 01, 2009

why do all my favorite shots come out blurry?

Happy New Year!

After over a week of playing around and doing whatever we want whenever we want, today we've got a full day planned. We'll be veg-ging, veg-ging, and doing even more veg-ging.

Tomorrow we'll be getting back to life as usual.

I hope I survive the shock.
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