Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Short on Thoughts

I had to include this in my post as it's the way I've been feeling the last few days. I'm trying so hard to be positive and like myself and my life and then - BAM - this brick wall rises up out of nowhere and I plant my nose firmly in it. "This is an old thought. I no longer choose to think this way" repeats over and over in my mind but sometimes I struggle to get the new positive affirmation in there to replace the old one. Kind of hard to just make yourself 'quit thinking'. I have to replace it with something. Like Indiana Jones in all of his escapades and booby traps that are dependant on the weight of an object resting on top of it. If he doesn't replace what he's taking with something of equal size and weight, sharp things fly out of the walls and boulders fall out of the sky and snakes wrap around his legs. Maybe I've just been swooshed by a flying spear and I'll be okay as soon as I get my head wrapped around the right replacement thought.

Do-Overs

I've decided maybe I don't want do-overs. When I play computer games like solitaire and can keep playing the exact same hand over and over, choosing different moves each time to see how the outcome is changed, I've often thought that it would be cool if life was like that. Maybe not replaying my 'whole' life. Maybe just getting an opportunity to replay bits and pieces or an experience or situation here and there.

Anyway, I don't think I'd be happy. The first time through, I'm brave and naive and curious and excited with all the new. Each additional time through the same hand, though, I find the choices are not as exciting and the outcome is more predictable in contrast to the surprises in the first experience. I don't think the ending is any better 'knowing' what's coming, either. Maybe I win because, the sixth time playing the same exact hand, I know which cards to play and which ones to stay away from, but what have I missed along the way? If I sail smoothly through and win, am I any better for having missed the learning experiences associated with random choices? The challenge is gone.

I think I'll keep with doing my best the first (and only) time through and build my knowledge and strategies with each additional hand. Like I really have a choice anyway!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

I was caught off guard in Primary today. Sharing Time consisted in the leader going around the room and having everyone name something they liked, appreciated, remembered about their dad. My eyes immediately teared up. In high school I was called on to talk in Sacrament Meeting on Father's Day and tell about my father. There was another boy who was also speaking who didn't have a dad. I struggled writing that talk. I had stories and a few personal thoughts. I'd practiced. I was sitting on the stand and as the chapel filled up, I quickly found where my mom was sitting and focused on her. (That was always her advise when I had to give a talk, "Just find me and look only at me and speak only to me. Forget anyone else is even there.") The other boy spoke first and he stood up there with his shoulders thrown back and his head held high, with no notes at all - his talk was memorized. His talk was very well articulated and he spoke confidently and precisely. The more he went on the less confident I felt. Way too quick it was my turn. Head down, notes in hand, I slowly stood up and went to the pulpit. I remember telling the first story (You know the one: boy who plays football and his blind father comes to every game and then during one game he gets a call telling him his father has died. The coach wants to take him out of the game but the boy insists on staying in because this will be the first game his dad will actually see him play.) Anyway, I remember that much and the rest was a blubbering mess. I never have figured out what they were thinking when they asked me to talk. Sorry to say, even though she did the best she could, Mom didn't give me many happy, pleasant thoughts of my father and since I had only three years with him before he passed away, I don't have many memories of my own. I've resented not knowing him first hand and having to rely on other peoples' memories and points of view.

However, [I've rambled again], I've learned for myself that my father knew me and loved me and cared about my welfare. Not just past tense, either. One time in particular I remember having a very good friend give me a blessing. I was struggling and needed some extra help. Things happened, feelings were felt, words were spoken and when it was over, we both knew my father had given me that blessing. I don't remember all that was said, but I knew my dad cared about me. That's the memory I shared with the Primary kids. Of course, I blubbered through that, too.

When Alan and I married and started having children, we were both young and naive and had preconceived notions and made mistakes . . . but we did the best we could with what we knew and had at the time. Alan was and still is a good dad. His intentions are pure and good and from his heart. Even more, though, I have watched him step up and push himself above and beyond when it comes to being a Grampa. He is a good Grampa! He may lose sight of a kid now and then or let them do something that might be a little beyond them or ride his bike a little too far ahead but I have never seen someone teach card games as patiently as he does or go on 'just one more bike ride' as willingly as he does or lose the chance of getting a bite on his fishing pole to help a child untangle and re-worm their pole. Thanks Alan! Love you lots.
Nathan, Joseph, Scott:
You are amazing fathers!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I've been told what I write is too weird so I've tried to ration and tone down my writing a little. This past week Alan was at Scout Camp so I had from Monday to Saturday all on my own. I should never have been raised as basically an only child (I was an 8-years-later-oops) by a very busy single mom. Being alone doesn't bother me - in fact, I look forward to it. Me getting to be alone is as beneficial to my mental health as a good fishing trip is for Alan! The weather was my friend as it rained and rained and rained through Wednesday. I didn't have to water the lawn or the garden. I'm sure Alan was much relieved about that.

I am very lucky to have my family all close, though, so company and companionship was easy to arrange. I spent a night at Amber's and watched a storm full of thunder and lightening roll in over the mountains right above her house. Since she lives just a half mile from where my Grandma Ward lived and at the base of the same mountains, it reminded me of how Mom used to tell me how nervous her mother, Grandma Ward, would get when a storm full of lightening hit. She would watch the lightening storm and pray the men had been able to get off the machinery so they wouldn't be a lightening rod. I spent time with Nellie and Carter, had peach ice cream with Krisy and the boys, and then all the grandkids came and played Friday afternoon. Jodi came in the house with a princess crown on her head and announced that she was the 'perfect princess'. I'm glad she knows that!!! I hope she never forgets it, either. Then, of course, Mariah came along with a wispy green bug she'd caught. Hunter and Brian have actually started playing together better. For a few minutes at least. Hunter gave us an anatomy lesson during lunch. Saturday morning was the Search and Rescue breakfast which has become a tradition now. And then Alan was home! I couldn't believe my week was actually gone that fast!

Before Grampa left for camp, he told Tyler he'd pay him $5.00 if he'd mow the lawn. It wasn't really dry enough until Friday so Friday night we tackled the front lawn. I was reminded of much more while helping him than I was when I was mowing (earlier post). At one point I thought the one pine tree had swallowed him whole. Too bad I didn't have my camera out at that point. The snowball bush just about got him, too. I was the bag dumper and picture taker. I think there were a couple of times when he wished I would help him first and take pictures later.

Thanks for the fun week. And I am glad Alan is home . . . the garden needs to be weeded!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

P.S.

Once again the irony jumps out at me. Primary and Sacrament Meeting today each addressed the topic of 'faith'. I was so much more in tune to what the messages were because I had already been thinking about it. Wow. Just goes to show what the difference is when you go to church with your bucket full - it gets filled even more!

Just Wondering

I've been thinking a lot about faith lately. It seems to be a lot like a testimony to me - I don't really realize I have one in the heat of the present moment. If I break it down, though, and then add all the little pieces back up again, it's obvious I have one (faith and a testimony). This realization (for me, anyway) doesn't seem to come until I'm harvesting the beans or the corn or the raspberries or picking the fruit from the branches of the tree. When I see what has grown and been produced, I understand faith. Does that make me a 'Doubting Thomas'? The strength of my faith alludes me while I'm preparing the ground and planting seeds and watering and fertilizing and weeding. Those actions are all based on my faith, though. Faith that I will soon be eating beans and corn and raspberries and apples and peaches and tomatoes if I do all that I'm supposed to do.

Heavenly Father didn't tell us to whisper pleadingly to the mountain, "If it's alright with you, could you please shift a little bit?" The scriptures tell us to flat out 'say' [utter aloud, pronounce, state, report, repeat, recite, suppose, or assume] to the mountain, "Be ye removed" and it will be removed or they tell us we can 'command' and the very trees and mountains will obey us. I'm just beginning to understand the power we are given if we dare to believe.

As a post script, and to clarify, the above was definitely just a hypothetical, abstract example. I can't even irrigate Alan's garden right, let alone do all the things that have to be done to make things grow! I didn't want anyone to get the idea I was taking credit for something I don't do! What I can do, though, is bottle and preserve what Alan does grow and that brings me to . . .

. . . this delicious new Salsa recipe I found. It has peaches and mangoes in it and I love it. So far the ones who have tried it are split as to whether it can stay or not but I like it!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bumper Pads

I read of an interesting point of view regarding Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. After they had fallen to Satan's temptation and partaken of the forbidden fruit, cherubim and a flaming sword were put in front of the Tree of Life. I've always thought that was an impenetrable security system to keep them out. But even then, God couldn't totally take away their free agency - but He could give them cause to divert or detour. So, Adam and Eve still could have partaken of that fruit - it just would have been more difficult and painful and so they chose not to.

That explanation has made me look at situations a little bit differently lately. Like, maybe certain events aren't actually the 'roadblocks' or 'brick walls' I resent and that make my rebellious blood boil, but rather they are detour signs from a loving Heavenly Father telling me there's a better choice I could make. How many times do I look beyond the detour sign, though, and think to myself, "The road doesn't seem that treacherous. I'm sure if I was careful, I could make it through without too much collateral damage." And so I maneuver around the warning signs and I do eventually make it to the other side but I sure end up with a lot of bruises and scrapes that I probably didn't have to have.

Someone compared it to bumper bowling and how we stay basically on the same path but there are bumpers around us to help us bounce back in line. I sure do a lot of bouncing!