Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Every Child Must Know, Part 1

As many of you know, we are looking to adopt.  Since there's little that can be said on our adoption profile, part of this blog is to help those who may be interested in us, get to know David and I better.  So I think it would be kind of fun to do a series of "What Every Child Must Know" and will hopefully be exposed to in our home. 

Both David and myself are lovers of movies.  All kinds of movies.  Seriously, if you saw our Netflix cue you would understand.  We have everything from the latest and greatest action flicks to documentaries, to old black and whites, to Disney classics and beyond.  Science fiction and Westerns both find a place of appreciation in our home.

It must also be said that while all movies have some merit, they are certainly not created equal.  And while there are plenty of opportunities to see new movies, not everyone has equal exposure to some of the oldies but goodies. So, in no certain order these are the movies that influenced my childhood and adulthood for that matter and I hope to be able to share with our kids someday.

1.  The Big Country 1958 starring Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons.  Set it Texas it's a look at pride, humility, blood, and what it means to be a real man.  Love it.

2.  The Natural  1984 starring Robert Redford and  Kim Basinger.  It's a baseball movie and there's just something about it.. perhaps the Robert Redfordness that I just like.

3.  True Grit  1969 starring John Wayne.  There are actually a plethora of John Wayne movies that would make it on the list.  It also has Robert Duvall in it calling John Wayne a one-eyed fat man.

4.   North to Alaska 1960 also a John Wayne but in the more humorous vein.  Hilarious! Gold rush and jealousy mixed with double crossing villians and love. 

5.  It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World 1963 An all star comedy cast that drives you mad while searching for fortune under a "big W".   "I'm comin to save you mama, that's the reason you had me... to save you!" (said while flying down the road in a convertible and swimming trunks) It'll drive you crazy until you go mad yourself, then you'll love it!

6. The Sting 1973  again with Robert Redford but adding Paul Newman doesn't hurt.  A couple of con artists pulling a bit con in the name of revenge.  Classic.

7.  The Great Race  1965  This one is just so full of greatness you have to see it for yourself.  Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon, Natalie Wood.  "The Great Leslie ran off with a chicken?!" High quality programming, right there.

It's kind of an odd list and there are more floating around in my head.  Lots of them just remind me of my childhood.  There was something to be said for a great story that can be told without special effects.  Don't get me wrong, love the effects, but sometimes there's just no substitute for a storyline.  And for the record I would add a hefty amount of Doris Day movies in as well.  Oh, and Audrey Hepburn. And Maurine O'Hara, and Katherine Hepburn.  And don't forget... well you get the idea.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Follow up!

Just because I think it's funny and apparently the author of the story has no awareness of errant chin hairs that just don't belong I give you this:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Under the Knife

In the name of all that is random and odd, I ask you dear readers, if you were to have cosmetic surgery what would it be?

I don't ask this out of vanity or an obsession with the perfect body.  I can tell you right now there will be no chest altering in the future, or liposuction for that matter.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a few pounds of fat just sucked out of my trouble spots, but what would that say about me? 

Perhaps I fear the judgements of man too much. I was joking about some magic way to melt away the fat in the general area of my tummy.  Believe it or not my husband would actually support me in that.  Not because he thinks I'm fat or that I need it, he's just watched as I've tried to work my behind off and it just won't go.  He would support it because he hates to see me work so hard to no avail.  What no one realizes is that no matter how hard I try to work my behind off my addicition to chocolate/sugar is the real thing that is standing in my way.... sigh.  It's just so darn good!  Some people have their coffee addiction, I have my chocolate addiction.  It could even be called my coping device.  I think another sigh is appropriate here.

Back to the topic.  No seriously body altering surgery, but I confess the prospects of laser hair removal sound marvelous to me.  And if I could choose only one spot, it would be my stupid chin!!  Seriously, what is up with that!  Women bear the children, the laundry, why do we have to deal with errant chin hairs!  And why oh why does no one prepare us for this at home.  Or perhaps I'm the only one who deals with this problem?  Hmmm.  could it be a family trait?  Either way, it totally stinks!  So if I were to change myself cosmetically it would be laser hair removal.

What would yours be?  You can tell me, this is a safe place.  (insert smiley face here)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trials and why we are thankful for them

I had to give a talk in church today.  My topic was Learning Through Life's Trials.  When the bishop asked me to talk on this my first impression was "Oh, you want me to talk about my life."  You know, because of the trials and all... get it... do you get it.

Okay, so as Sunday morning rolled around I woke to put some of the thoughts on paper that have been running through my head all week because I had that meeting and then that other thing, and then the other meeting and then that activity and then that family thing so I really couldn't get it on paper earlier... and then the phone rang.  It was one of my counselors calling to say that so-and-so wouldn't be in church to teach because of illness and that the chorister wouldn't be there either. Would I like to teach a class or lead the singing.  I kind of chuckled on the inside (and on the outside for that matter) and said leading the music would be just fine.  Especially since my counselor was already planning on teaching another class so it just wouldn't work for her to lead the music and teach at the same time.

Back to the talk.  Writing more things down and the phone rings.  It's my secretary saying she has a sick kid.  Well she's got sharing time and her husband was going to substitute teach for a class and could David teach the lesson instead.  Of course.  What's the point of being primary president if you can't volunteer your husband for stuff!  Thankfully he's okay with that.  (Have I ever mentioned that he is completely wonderful?  No?... well he is!)

Finish preparing talk, get to church, give it.  Get emotional, cry, make it through, wonder if it made sense.  Start walking to the primary room when one of the teachers hands you her manual because she can't make it today.  Sigh...

Trials come in many forms.  For some reason it sometimes feels taboo to call church a trial.  I'm sure that if things ran smoothly it wouldn't be a trial, it would be a joy to serve.  Since that's not how it works, at least not right now then a trial it is!  Really it worked out all right I just found it ironic considering the topic I was given to speak about.

Oh, and for the record, I have a testimony of the power of trials.  No, I don't like them, but I think that's the only way that the Lord can really teach me something.  I'm too content sometimes to drift rather than grow so the Lord puts things in my way so I have to try harder.  Looking back on how my life was "supposed to be" and to where it actually is, I honestly don't think that I would trade out my experiences.  The Lord has a plan for me, for David and I, and for our family that will be.  I love knowing that.  Love.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Day in the Life of Me

So I've been feeling overwhelmed.  So much so that I have left my house in a state of ickyness.  With the whole house-buying thing I confess it's made it hard to get things clean before we move simply because I have no real desire to take the time to clean it when it a matter of days we'll be doing the "big clean" to get ready for someone else to move in. 

Plus there's the primary thing.  I love primary, I really do.  But there is a mass exodus (of which I'm a part) in the ward that has left several teaching positions glaringly open with no one to fill them yet.  Fortunately we of the presidency have talented and oh so wonderful husbands to help get things taken care of.  We also get to share our own talents in the "hey does this class have a teacher today" realm.  Love it!  K, enough.

Lately I've been coming home from work exhausted.  But why should this be so?!  I have no kids, the house is all mine to clean or not to clean as I please.  But seriously what is my deal!?!  Then I started thinking about things and this is what I've come up with.

I am a morning person.  My day starts at 4:30 because I get up an exercise to get my day going and on the right foot.  (It's okay if you think I'm crazy to do this, most people do.  But friends, it really is my sanity... someday I'll explain, but for now you will have to take my word for it) My mind goes 3000 miles per hour thinking of all the things that need to be done and what I plan on doing in the day.  This includes primary stuff, work, the husband, the hobbies, the blog, the friends, the visiting teachees, and that place in my mind where someday I'm going to get a pattern and make that skirt.  (You know that really cute one that  is going to look fabulous on me and will replace the one that I have had for over 5 years and worn to church every other Sunday because I haven't had time to look for a suitable replacement.)  Occasionally I even make a list of these marvelous things that I'm going to get done as soon as I get back from work.  (including sewing the button back on my favorite pair of work pants... it took me over a year to re-hem the pant legs on these same pants... and it's amazing how well regular scotch tape holds up as the temporary hem in the washing machine)

I mean why woudn't I have all the time in the world!  We don't have children yet (not by choice, but by circumstance) so this is probably the most free time I will ever have.  So why don't I seem to get anything done! 

It's because I'm tired.  Did I mention I'm a morning person?  It's true.  My best energies are spent at work during the first 5-6 hours.  I should also mention that sometimes my work is completely exhausting.  I am re-doing the website and sometimes I want to throw the computer through the window out of sheer frustration.  (I should also mention that I'm not that good at it and the program we use is moronic... I know because I'm the moron that has to use it.)  Blah.  So I spend my days at work with fairly large projects that require a lot of brain power to get done.  I usually end up eating lunch at my desk because it's easier than trying to find a quite place anywhere else... and I have this stuff to get done, and this phone that thinks it needs to ring with people that think I need to help them.  As a result of all this, by the time I am off work (having not finished my project due to interruptions), my amazing brain that was going 3000 miles per hour has now shifted to 1.5 miles per hour.  I am lucky at this point to finish a complete sentence... literally.

I come home and simply thinking about dinner is enough to make me revert back my trusty friends, cold cereal and nachos.  That's good enough for me, but David?  Wait, don't I have a meeting or something?  A primary assignment?  A visiting teaching appointment?  A pile of dishes?  A house crying out for attention? Why yes, yes I do.  So the list of things to get done after work dwindles down to 1, maybe 2, which has never included sewing a button onto the pants (isn't that what safety pins are for?).  David comes home at 8 and is exhausted... I can tell by the dazed look on his face.  He pleads with his eyes for mercy and respite.  He takes what meager offering dinner is with gratitude and pleads with his voice this time for some activity that doesn't require brain power because his is just as gone as mine is.

I ask you, what kind of a wife would I be if the only hour we spend together not sleeping is spent running around doing projects and neglecting my husband?  So we talk to each other.  We tell out our joys/frustrations/accomplishments of the day.  We watch some silly episode of something or other on Netflix and take a few moments to just be.  So the house is a mess.  So the dishes didn't do themselves this time either... The world didn't come to an end did it?  We didn't even have anyone knock on the door to catch us in our state of neglect.  Even if someone did I don't think either of us would have the brain power to care.  But we did spend a few precious moments together to rejuvinate ourselves.  To wind down from the crazy day so we can feel alright about going to bed and starting again tomorrow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dear Blog,

I have been such a bad blogger.  I fear I may have neglected you.  Please know that it was never my intention.  Not only do I find joy in expressing my hopes, fears, and desires to you, but you are also so good at letting me know what is happening in the lives of so many others.  Others that needed love and support through trying times.  Others that can lift my spirits with their humor and wit.  sigh...

I know it's no excuse, but life simply has caught up with me.  I had such good intentions of improving our communication.  I started out strong this month only to be caught in the torrent of life.  True, it wasn't anything too serious, just long and tiring.  Just last week I took time off to be with my mom while she recovered from a minor surgery.  I really didn't know that it would take me so long to get back into the swing of things.  You would still never know by the state of my house.  But alas, tis neither here nor there. 

I vow to you know, dear blog, to do better.  Even if I don't write, I will check on you.  I will make sure that you are still here, faithfully updating me as ever you are.



Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Fireworks Over Toccoa"

I recently finished reading "Fireworks over Toccoa" by Jeffrey Stepakoff.  I confess I'm still not sure what I think of it.  Well, I guess that's not true.  I do know what I think of it and it's not entirely good.

I tried very hard to not be tainted by it's Nicholas Sparks-like draw.  (I'm not the biggest fan of sappy love stories about people who don't know what it is to be in love in the first place.  They kind of remind me of sappy high school love stories or bad country music songs.  And while I'm at it my least favorite in that genre is "Don't Take the Girl" by Tim MaGraw...  Seriously can't stand that one and I'm a country music fan.  Cheese. Bomb. But I digress.)

I wanted to go into it with an untainted mind, open to the possibilities of it's greatness. I suppose it would be prudent to tell how I got this book in the first place.  I am happy to say that I didn't spend a dime to get it.  Tawnya, the founder of our book club, got in on a deal where every member of our club would get a free copy if she would blog about it.  Very difficult to pass up free books.  It was decided that if it turned out awful then we could have a thoroughly enjoyable time "MST 3000"ing it. 

I confess I was drawn into the story as it got going.  There were some historical facts that I found interesting.  Like how Coca-Cola was so very much a part of WWII.  It explained why my grandparents usually had Diet Coke around for breakfast as well as every other meal of the day.  Overall I was okay with the characters.  The part that I wasn't okay with was the "love" story.  Only in cheesy romance books/movies/songs do people know each other for barely two days (one of which is spend in the throws of passion, be sure to close your eyes during that part) and decide that they are the love of each other's life.  Seriously, it takes at least 6 months for your best behavior to wear off and get down to the real you.  Love in two days?  I don't think so.

I can't say that I recommend the book, but I can say that I stuck through to the end. 

And Tawnya, hope this doesn't ruin the next book club, but I couldn't help but blog about it now.  Either because my life is pathetic and all I have to blog about is a book, or because I hope to fill in the next few weeks with many other books and I'm afraid that my pertinent fresh-in-my-mind impressions would be gone by that time.  Sigh.  Oh, I think we should totally cast the movie too.  I might be able to get over the shallowness of the love story if the main character was hunky enough.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What dreams...

I had a dream last night.  One of those very real feeling ones that leave you with a bit of longing.  I dreamed that David and I were at a fairly nice restaurant having dinner.  People were milling about and another couple came up and said hello to us.  We responded in kind and then I put my hand down on my belly and there was a distinct baby bump.  Not huge, just beginning.  In the dream I knew then that I really was pregnant.  I just couldn't help pressing down on that part of my belly that didn't give like it does now.  For a brief dream moment I think I may have some understanding of why some pregnant women are always touching their bellies.

Now, don't jump to any conclusions because it was just a dream.  I hope it doesn't make anyone feel weird or awkward to read about this either.  The dream was actually kind of sweet.  I didn't wake up thinking "Oh the cruelty of it all!!" and shake my fist at the heavens.  I didn't feel downhearted, I just wanted closed my eyes for a little bit longer to enjoy the moment even it if wasn't real.  I sometimes think that the Lord gives me dreams sometimes so that I can experience a small bit of something that I may not actually get to fully experience in this life.  A kind of tender mercy in itself.

Then I thought of our birth mom, whoever she might be.  I wonder what kind of things she is going through right now.  I have a friend who recently placed her baby with a couple on the east coast.  She hid her whole pregnancy very well.  It was unexpected and the father didn't want anything to do with the baby.  Unfortunately they were forced to sit in meetings together and plan activities.  My heart went out to her then and it still goes out to her now.  Before she placed her baby she felt the child she carried had ruined her life.  She wanted nothing to do with in either. 

She had a close friend who helped her through the LDS Family Services process and basically made a lot of the decisions for her since she was so angry about the baby in the first place.  I can't be sure, but I think that she just wanted to get it over with and the child out of her life.  She seemed to be running away from the reality of it all.

She had a boy.  He came a couple of days early and instead of placing him with the couple at the hospital as planned, she got to take care of him for two days while the adoptive couple arranged flights.  She was completely un-prepared for the love and bond she felt for this little boy.  Her little miracle.  She continued with placement though.  She was brave.  And to that family on the east coast she was a miracle worker.

My friend went through a hard time but she is back on her feet, a changed woman.  As odd as this sounds, I think her situation gave her more direction in life that she has ever had before.  She has thought more deeply about what this whole experience called life means.  She has thought more deeply about where she wants to be rather than floating along wherever the current may take her.

If our birth mom is out there, possibly even reading this, I want to shed a tear for you, not out of pity.  I can never fully understand your situation, but I wish I could know who you are.  I wonder how much we would have in common.  I wonder if we could even be friends.

Lots of thoughts started by one dream.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Things will work out, I just can't plan on it

I've spent a lot of time lately reflecting on where I am right now in my life and where I've come from.  In fact this last Sunday I had the opportunity to tell the story of how David and I met to my sister-in-law.  I can't believe she didn't know it.  I thought it was old hat for everyone, but I guess that would be everyone outside of my family.  I just assumed she knew. 

As part of the story I ended up telling a bit about how I got to the point where David could actually be a part of my life without complications.  It's odd how we tend to carry extra baggage around, hating it but afraid to give it up because we find comfort in something we know so well.  Comfort in the hurt of a broken relationship.  Comfort in the familiar feelings of things not working out.  Unfortunately that kind of "comfort" often leads to bitterness and an ugly outlook on life.  Holding on to hurt often stifles our inner light, casting shadows where the Lord is trying to send true comfort.  The kind that doesn't hold back, but instead frees us for something better.

Yesterday I read this post.  I love the way she writes.  If I grow up I want to be like her.  I like her parallel with the sheep refusing something painful that is for their ultimate good.  Then today I read this post by my good friend Rachael.  She's so full of positive energy and confidence in life.  I love it.  I remember being that way.  I want to be that way again.  Confident that whatever is happening is really part of God's plan for  my life.  Confident that even if it's a seemingly bad thing, our life experiences  ultimately lead to greater happiness.

This whole childless situation has really shaken me.  For the longest time I thought that marriage would be the beginning of the rest of my life.  David and I would marry.  After about a year we would have our first child, two years later another one would bless our lives.  We would settle down, our kids would play with our nieces and nephews and all would be well in Zion.  My life did start, it just is not the life I thought it would be.  Oddly enough there are aspects that are surprisingly parallel to things experienced during single life. 

I spent a good chunk of time trying to handle single life with grace.  It was never easy sitting back and watching roommates go out on dates while you sit home bemoaning the fact that you have no life.  Pretty soon you get a grip and create your own Friday night activities.  Then the engagements come.  Best friends are able to take that next step.  Roommates that you don't even like are able to take the next step.  Strangers who are were in the 4th grade while you were a senior in high school are able to take the next step.  Each time sending a painful reminder that you are still very much single. It's hard. 

I eventually got a grip though.  I dated enough to know that I was tired of being hurt.  I didn't want to be played or lied to anymore.  At the same time I didn't want to play or lie to anyone else anymore.  I didn't want to be hurt and I didn't want to do the hurting.  It just wasn't worth it.  That's when David came into the picture.  Interesting how good things come when you least expect it. I was done dating.  If I wasn't genuinely interested then I wouldn't go out with them.  No more pity dates.  No more unsolicited love.  It was face value for me.  No imaginary relationships with real people.  No more wondering what that brief touch of the hand might have meant.  Done.  Plan B: Life Without a Man was well underway.  Then David came and messed it all up.  Delightful huh!

So here I am with life laying out in front of me.  Waiting for a child to bless our lives together, whether through the natural process or adoption, it mattereth not.  But there simply is no guarantee.  Each new announcement sending that painful reminder that others are getting what we want.  But I have a choice.  I can hold on to the hurt and the anger of failure and turn bitter and ugly.  Or I can let it all go.  Let it go and tackle life with grace.  The grace that comes with inner peace.  The grace that comes with turning things over to the Lord and accepting the path that he has laid out for me. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

So, if April Showers Bring May Flowers then...

What does 6 inches of snow get ya?

As many of you have woken up to this winter wonderland with me, I just can't help but think there's got to be something really good in store to have us covered with snow for this long.  I'm pretty sure this is one of the bigger storms that we've received through-out the entire winter.  It's not exactly huge, but it is substantial.

I also can't help but be reminded of the 2nd grade.  My 2nd grade class to be exact.  I don't know why random things like this pop into my mind but because it's there I just have to share.

Throughout the year groups of kids had the priviledge of doing the back bulletin board it the classroom.  My group was assigned April.  I remember having this glorious vision of the bulletin board themed around April showers.  In my minds eye it was perfect.  Blue raindrops falling from the sky.  An oversized umbrella with a fluffly yellow duck taking shelter underneath.  The words folllowing the curvature of the umbrella "April Showers Bring May Flowers".  It was glorious, breathtaking even.  So much better than the paltry efforts of my other, less skilled classmates and their March rainbow with the pot of gold the previous month.

We went to work.  I was in charge of the rain drops.  I drew them, I cut them, I hung them.  Each child contributing their part.  I stood back to survey our efforts.  It was.... well, it was awful!  Why were the raindrops so jagged?  The words, they looked like a kindergartner had written them! Was the yellow blob with eyes a duck? 

It appears my mind's eye failed to take into account the 2nd grade skill set.

Enjoy this April Winter's day!

Monday, April 5, 2010

We're moving!

For a lot of you this is old hat, but David and I are buying a house!  Woo-hoo!  I've even started a list of what I will and won't miss about the place that I'm in right now. 

For example, I won't miss:
1.  the hobbit door
2.  the downstairs neighbor (he's great, but he's still there)
3.  bushes in the back yard
4.  the not wide enough to fit my silverware tray drawers

I will miss:
1.  the garage
2.  the next door neighbors
3.  the stove

I look forward to:
1.  painting the walls obnoxious colors just because I can
2.  turning up the music as loud as I want
3.  watching movies at normal volume levels
4.  ripping out vegetation with no fear of repercussions
5.  putting as many holes in the wall as I want
6.  having "rent" do something beside build someone else's equity
7.  the covered deck (if it were warmer I would probably have chair out there right now)
8.  a fresh start in our own place

Yep, good times ahead.  We move in May and it just can't get here quick enough.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I recently finished reading Alex Haley's "Roots".  I have been curious about it for a long time but really haven't know what it was about.  I knew it had something to do with slavery but I had no idea about the ride I was in for.

This is the story of Alex Haley's family.  Through something that could only be called miraculous, the story of his African roots were passed on to reach his ears even through the horrors of slavery.  One of my favorite classes in college, in fact the class that helped me change my major to history, was Black American History.

We took a good look at slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, Jazz music, the Civil Rights Movement and everything inbetween.  It was focused mainly on the modern Civil Rights Movement.  Malcolm X is a fascinating person.  I highly recommend his auto-biography that was written by Alex Haley and dicated by Malcolm X.  I am fascinated with the time period and horrified at what happened.  It still amazes me that a human being can treat another human being so poorly simply because of skin color.  That's for another day though.

I picked up Roots, all 895 pages of it and read.  Alex Haley has done a masterful job.  His research and his family ties have put together a story that tells the whole of Black American history through the eyes of a family living it.  History is traditionally written by the victors, but this history is written by the victor in another sense.  A stronger victory.  The victory of a family who knows who they are.

When I was in my Black American History class I was appalled at how ignorant I was.  Appalled that none of this had been taught in high school.  Or if it was it was glossed over.  Basic information with no heart. Such a sheltered life we lead sometimes, never knowing anything of the ugliness that also scars our country.  Don't get me wrong, I love the United States.  I love the freedom that we have here.  I love the ideal that we strive for.  But I never have been one for blind faith.  One can only move forward if one knows where one stands.