Friday, November 25, 2011

Acknowledging Him in All Things

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5

Day after Thanksgiving acknowledgements. I am thankful for and acknowledge my Savior for:

1. The basic necessities of life given in rich abundance: food, shelter, clothing. I have immediate access to nutritious food and clean water; I have a warm, safe house with lots of stuff I love; I have clothing for every need and every season.

2. The love of family and friends--considered by many the fourth basic necessity of life.

3. My children. Kind, loving, interesting, compassionate, and humorous--one and all. They make me proud and allow me to experience the love my Heavenly Father has for all of His children.

4. My son- and daughters-in-law. I love them as much as I love my children. Which says a lot.

5. My grandchildren. For me, as close to a fifth basic necessity of life as possible. I know that many people never are given the blessing of children and grandchildren, so I am even more grateful that Heavenly Father has allowed me this opportunity. My fondest desire is that my love for them can help them in their lives in whatever way is needed.

6. Temples.

7. My students who teach me to listen and love while I teach them the order of operations and when to use commas.

8. Books.

9. Chocolate. I think it's more than just food.

10. Cats. Really. I know it makes me sound lonely and pathetic, but I really really like cats.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Give Peas a Chance

Recently, President Obama (whom I like, for the record, even though I am willing to accept he may be like President Carter, whom I also like, when it comes to getting things done--or it may be that no one in Wash DC has the slightest interest in working together, I just don't know) said we should all cowboy up and eat our peas. Actually, he said something about eating our peas as an analogy for doing something difficult but that may be good for us. He didn't say 'cowboy up' but he should have because a plethora of pea growers got into a little snit because he was implying that no one likes peas. I don't think the cowboys would have minded being used in a presidential analogy.

Anyway, I know people who don't like peas and I'm just here to say that they are loaded with fiber and protein, have no fat and not many calories and they come in really cute little packages. So, people, cowboy up and eat your peas. I love them and I'm not afraid to let it be known.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Morning Walks

I think I have a new habit. It's hard to know for sure; it's only been 2 weeks and I've heard it takes 21 days to establish a new habit. (Who comes up with this stuff? Probably someone who wrote a grant and then got paid to tell us that it takes exactly 21 days to establish a new habit! I want that job.)

Anyway, I'll rephrase. For the time being, I have a new interest which will last as long as I am being rewarded for doing it. (I'm basically a behaviorist--all human behavior happens because it is being reinforced.) This interest is walking for an hour, or more!, every morning.

I try to go at about 7:00, before it gets hot. I take a different neighborhood route every day--there are a plethora to choose from--and I think I must be walking a little faster because I seem to be travelling more and more ground.

If I choose a route that goes up a hill and challenges my legs, then I have to put up with the car exhaust from the lucky people who have jobs (actually, I sort of like not having to leave for work at 7:00, but don't tell any potential employers that). I've walked along the canal a few times lately and I like that. Lots of trees, running water, and I can talk to myself without any drivers thinking I'm crazy. Because I mean I talk to myself--outloud--not just think to myself. I also answer myself.

Sometimes, these talks are conversations with my Heavenly Father. I know people who might think that sounds weird or pretentious, but it's what I do. It seems more productive than kneeling by my bed, which I also do, because I can pause and reflect on what answers might be coming and there's not much chance I'll fall asleep.

Here's what I reflected on today:
1. My body is a temple. And just like the Boise Temple is being remodeled so that it works better, my body needs to be remodeled so that it works better. Both jobs will probably take a year. Yikes. I'm grateful for my friend who is doing minor remodeling on her own temple because I'm not sure I could do this alone.

2. I will continue to consider the lilies. My house payments will be made. Eventually.

3. As much as I hate the prospect, for a plethora of reasons (twice this blog for extra credit from the vocabulary fairy), I think I might want to get married again someday. I hope both temples are ready by then.

4. People have interesting expectations for me. I wasn't giving myself my MS shots once a week like I was supposed to, so my doctor changed to a different type that I should be giving myself 3 times a week. I wasn't doing my visiting teaching with 3 sisters so my very good friend the Relief Society president gave my partner and me 6 sisters. hmmmm The higher expectations are probably for my own good.

5. I really do love my children more than they will ever know. Sometimes they need me more than other times and that's fine. In fact, that's the plan. One of the roles I hope for is to always be a mother who knows when she's needed and when she's not and doesn't mix up her needs for theirs.

That's about it. Not a bad walk.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lead Kindly Light

Lead lindly light, amid th'encircling gloom
Lead thou me on.
The night is dark, and I am far from home
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant shore--one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, not pray'd that thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead thou me on.
I loved the garish day and spite of fears,
Pride ruled my heart, remember not past years.

So long thy pow'r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn, those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since and lost awhile.

A couple of years ago, I took a step into the unknown. I left a secure job when I was offered one that was much closer to home. I felt sure it was the right thing to do, and still feel that way even though the new job ended after one year. When I found out I was being laid off, a sense of calm and peace assured me that things would turn out fine and that my Heavenly Father was aware of my needs. Of course, impatient person that I am, I thought that meant things would turn out fine quickly. To cure this impatience, I have been given a plethora (that's right--I'm going to use this word in every blog I post) of learning experiences where I want answers to my prayers in a nano-second as opposed to 'due time,' the time frame Heaven seems to operate under.

Sometimes I feel like I am walking in the dark. I get discouraged and wonder, like Tevye, if it would spoil some vast eternal plan if I were wealthy. Heck, I don't even need to be wealthy. If I could pay all my bills and afford gas to Utah a couple of times a year, I would be satisfied. Well, maybe every July in Scotland, too. And it would be nice to buy things at garage sales without feeling guilty.

It's not really the money though. It's the self-doubt. Am I doing all that I should? Am I still too proud? I hate accepting help from others, let alone asking for it. Is this a fore-ordained test of some kind or a natural consequence of the economy? Most of all, am I learning what I need to learn or will I need a hundred more opportunities just like this one?

Here is what I have learned: If I trust in the Lord with all my heart and I don't try to understand things in an earthly way, if I remember that He is over all things and allow Him to direct my paths, I will be okay. And if I remember and rehearse in my mind the words to my favorite hymn, I will continue to feel peace in this uncertain chapter of my wonderful life.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree . . .

I have always liked this poem even though my teachers probably thought it was too simplistic. Sometimes it seemed like a poem had to be vague and beyond comprehension to be of quality. Personally, I preferred poems that only required a couple of readings--laziness on my part, no doubt. I always liked Wordsworth of course; he was British and wrote about daffodils, but when I had to memorize Flanders Fields by John Macrae, I had little understanding of the horrible warfare it chronicled. I blame that on my history teachers. But I digress. I love poems, but I love trees even more.

I came to this renewed realization today while on a walk. At first I noticed how many different trees there were and how some had been pruned to barely let me pass underneath. (I felt sorry for tall walkers for at least 3 seconds.) But then, I realized I had left home too late. It was getting warm and I had to keep crossing streets to find shade. I don't do well in heat, but actually, the shade from trees keeps the sun from baking us all. I'm not exaggerating. Think about the Sahara Desert. Just an unforgiving sun, no trees at all. I've seen plenty of poems lovelier than the sun. I don't hate the sun--it keeps us from freezing and wandering around bumping into trees, which of course couldn't grow without the sun, so fine, I like the sun, too--but I like trees way more.

In my childhood, from whence a plethora (:)) of wonderful memories come, I used to sit in a hollow area under and in between two giant lilac bushes and snowball bushes in my back yard. Probably daydreaming and/or hiding from the messy room police. In elementary school, on the way home, we walked by a giant fir tree and we could sit under it also. Trees--and bushes I guess--are like Mother Nature's skirts that shelter us from harm and where we are safe. Unless there's a thunderstorm when you probably shouldn't stand under them.

You know, I just really liked all the trees I saw on this morning's walk, but it's clearly as difficult to write about this particular sentiment as it is to write a really good poem, so I'll let Joyce Kilmer take it from here:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

---Joyce Kilmer

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us together today. Wove, twue wove...

The title is, of course, a quote from The Princess Bride. (This movie has a plethora of great quotes along with The Three Amigos where I learned what fun using the word 'plethora' is and Sgt. Bilko where a popular marriage quote is, "He found me a new wife, a better wife.")

Another great quote is, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." (I hope someday to meet Charles Dickens where I will apologize for not reading all of his books all the way through, but will brag that I read A Christmas Carol several times and think it one of the best books ever.) This quote was not used about marriage. At least not the marriages I am writing about today.

My youngest son, Quinn, my fourth child and though not my favorite (because I don't have a favorite--I don't care how many pictures of each of them are on the piano any given day), he is the one I prayed for for four years (how often do you get to use a word that sounds the same three times in a row correctly?) He was the child of my old age. I was 34. He was married two and a half weeks ago.

He's my third child married and it has been a delightful experience. My only daughter, Jana, married first. She was young and it would have been hard for me, but the year she and Chuck were engaged, she was in Provo and Chuck was in Boise, sometimes at my house making a quilt for her for Christmas. I got to know and love Chuck that year (seriously--what young man makes a pieced quilt for his fiancee?) and it has been wonderful to watch their love deepen and grow. And yes, I also appreciate the fact that they now have the two cutest little boys in the entire world who melt my heart every time they greet me with "Grandma Pam" and a hug.

Sam married next. He and Terri met and dated in Provo, and I did not get to know her well before they married. She is a quiet, gracious young woman, not prone to placing herself in the center of attention in any gathering. Thank goodness for blogs. It was in her writing that I grew to know and love her--her sense of humor shone through good writing (high praise in our family) and I was able to appreciate the lovely relationship my second son shared with his new wife. When their daughter was born a year ago, the blog became overwhelming proof that Terri (and Sam for that matter) were going to be the kind of doting parents it would be so so fun to observe. No, Bailey does not get everything she wants. Mostly, though.

I knew Quinn would marry happily. I knew he would be over his head in love and that she would feel the same. I knew it would be a combination of seriousness and silliness that brought them together and I was right. Eden and Quinn are the stuff of romantic comedies, with a subplot of sober, reflective drama thrown in so that no one gets too much of the lovey-dovey stuff. The two adjectives that people use to describe them are sweet and cute. That would be discouraging to me if I didn't know them both to be sassy, smart, and remarkably strong as well. They seem to be mfeo. (I just watched Sleepless in Seattle again.)

I told someone that Eden and Quinn were young and impulsive and when Quinn found out, he thought I was being critical. Not me. Impulsive will always be a compliment coming from me. It doesn't mean reckless or irresponsible when I use it; it means being spontaneous enough to do something when you know it's the right thing to do, even if other people don't agree. It means not being afraid to do something daring. It means you seize the day!! And well, they are young!

My unmarried child, Cody, is also my oldest and will not be young when he marries. But he will marry. I'm not saying I'm visionary (maybe I am, I'm just not saying), but I once envisioned him sitting on my couch with his arm around a beautiful young woman and a baby on their lap. Cody is kind, loving, loyal and funny. All very good traits in a marriage, I believe.

I think marriage can be the most wonderful relationship in the world. It can also be not so wonderful. I am not married, and doubt that I will be again, but I'm proud of my children for setting such good examples of what I'm missing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Time to Kill in Limboland

Yup, that's right. To all of you who are racing around in the hampster wheel that you think your life resembles, I am leisurely meandering from one room to another looking for something to do. Should I read for an hour or two? Maybe. A crossword puzzle? No, I save those for midnight when I can't sleep--mostly because I slept in until 9:00 that morning. Gardening? Too hot. Seriously--the whole MS thing. Cleaning the house? I had company last week--the house is cleaner than usual as it is and living alone makes keeping it clean pretty easy unless the adorable grandchildren come over. (Please come over soon, adorable grandchildren!)

I just spent the last hour sorting through a closet. I found several things I didn't know I was missing: a necklace from Chile my brother brought back for me 40+ years ago, my Hebrew textbook from 1974, a Cinderella Pez dispenser, and several report cards from my children's school days. I stuffed one plastic grocery bag full of stuff to throw away (none of the above treasures) and plan to fill several more. I'd have kept going, but my feet fell asleep. I'll save the rest of the closet for tomorrow.

I guess I could watch TV. It's 4:00; surely there's something on. I could always watch a movie. I've already read a few articles on NPR's site and no one whose blogs I follow has been writing much lately. There's always scrapbooking. Funny how hobbies aren't as much fun when they're not what you do on weekends to change the pace of the working week. I'm certain there's some service I could do, but I actually visit taught yesterday, volunteered at the library for three hours and am considering making cookies for a missionary luncheon this Friday.

Why do I have so much time on my hands when most other people can barely fit in half of the things on their to-do lists? BECAUSE I AM UNEMPLOYED!!! There, now go ahead and try to envy me. I'd rather be ridiculously busy and earning money than have all this time, time, time, time.

I've been unemployed before. Like for the past 12 months. But even though I didn't have my own classroom to rule over, until a couple of weeks ago, I was busy subbing and tutoring, and judging the occasional debate tournament. Then when school got out, I was preparing for my son's wedding, and cleaning my horrible house for wonderful company. Now there's no viable work (okay, I did spend from 10:30 until noon today teaching four cute girls some origami and challenging them to a reading contest for which their mothers paid me, but that's only once a week unless more mothers want to get rid of their cute daughters for an hour and a half).

In short, I'm bored, broke and lonely. And anxiously waiting for a job so that I can once again be overworked and complain about how tired I am.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Starting Over

Oh, the possibilites this title hints at! New job? New home? New love? Nope. Just starting over with this blog. Why? Because I was really dumb when I started it the first time and attached it to my school email address in Nampa, which no longer exists. So, while I can log in and read my ancient essays, I can no longer add new entries. I tried to copy and paste them here so that I could have a continual blog (some were quite good, imho), but that would not work. Maybe I'll ask someone more competent--school's out, maybe there's a third grader who has some spare time. Anyone interested can read the old stuff at

In the meantime, since I've started writing again with my writing group, I thought I would start trying out essays here again. So, to those 3 readers who occasionally visit, welcome back!