Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Obligations Usually Equal Love

Today Briana received a gift box from Emily, who lives in Nebraska.  Em sent shampoo, conditioner, body wash, TP, toothpaste, and some food items.  Seriously, is there ANYONE who wouldn't love to receive a box like that? 

Em did that because she loves Briana.  We sent Em back to school with boxes of groceries because we loved her.  So what goes around comes around, n'est-ce pas?  It makes me think I'll be sending Em's kids boxes, just because I love THEM.

In Which I Share TMI

I have a UTI.  It is not pleasant.

But it has made me think about the things people endure and the ways they do it. 

Like my friend, Jodi, who literally wished for death as her body attacked her in numerous ways.  Yet she is a courageous, beautiful, giving, amazing lady whose experiences have helped define her in more positive ways (because I'm sure she was wonderful before all of that happened).

Or my aunt, Cathi, who is going through chemo and all the other joys that accompany breast cancer and radical surgery; and who is doing all of that with a smile on her face and hope in her heart.  It's hard, but she plugs away, a day at a time.

Or several of my other friends, whose marriages have survived deadly blows in the past year, but who walk forward with faith and hope, not dwelling on the doubt.

Or Jack, who literally just survived his death bed--again.  He cannot walk.  He cannot even breathe on his own.  But he thanks God daily for the miracle of life and for the opportunity to love.

Or "Well," who worries for her little one, but willingly places her life (which includes her marvelous husband), her baby's life, and their future into God's hands and tries to prepare herself for whatever He might require of her and her family in the future.

Of course, we all have struggles.  Some of them I know about, and I keep you in my prayers constantly.  Many--of course--I am unaware of.  But I hope you know that I love you, dear friends and family.  Thank you for showing my what grace and courage and hope and love and joy and beauty look like.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Take My Advice

I'm not a picky eater.  I can't taste the difference in peanut butter or most other things.

HOWEVER, if anyone encourages you to buy the Western Family crunchy oats 'n' honey granola bars because they are a dollar and a half cheaper than Nature Valley, ignore them completely.  Believe me, its $1.50 well spent.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

If Ya Wanna Hear Ashtyn Laugh...

1.  Take her to a family reunion with a group of Fishes.  (Scary, I'm tellin' ya!)
2.  Make her "play a game" with Aunt L.
3.  Let her sit next to JH during lunch.
4.  Have her listen in on your conversation with cousin, B.
5.  Allow her to meet distant-cousin, R.

She will laugh.  And then she will say, "Mom, that is a strange group of people."

After which you can say, "Prepare for more laughter, because tonight is the Hill reunion!"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#2--People Entertain Me

I have three nameplates on my desk.  One has my name on it, and the other two have the names of the directors I support.  I never touch these nameplates, but they get moved all over the place.  Sometimes my name is in the middle, sometimes it's on the left, sometimes it's out in front.  Sometimes the nameplates are nowhere near each other.

I really don't pay attention to who does what with the nameplates.  It just happens.  And then I discover it and I laugh.  Maybe someone likes to hear me laugh. Maybe they are trying to drive me crazy.  Maybe they don't even know they are doing it.

Here is what my nameplates look like today:

#1 -- Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay

This past weekend was the Ragnar Relay.  Unbelievably, this was my third.  Spencer and I acted as captains this time.  I'm not a good captain for something like this.  Fortunately, we had a great team!

Top:  Blake J., Spencer H., Aundrea H., Kayla S., Lindsey L., Stacy U.
Bottom:  Anna W., Briana H., Mary Kay S., Dan S., Rich L., Bob U.
Our team name was Wii Not Fit.  We each made our own Mii character, which we put on our team t-shirt (snaps to Bob for his fantastic shirt design!) and on our vans.  See if you can guess who Mii character is.  I'm told mine looks just like me.

Here are the runners from Van 2.  They are all our ward members (and Blake is a former ward member).

Here are the runners from Van 1.  Rich works at Boeing with Spencer; Lindsey is Rich's wife.  Anna is Briana's friend from a neighboring ward.  We had a fabulous weekend with all of these people!

Ready to run!
The run was from Logan (awesome start line at the football stadium at USU) to Park City.  Temperatures ranged from the 90's to the teens.  We had runners on horrible, rocky, dirt trails and very nice asphalt running paths.  We had runners in dust and runners in snow.  We had runners in early morning hours and very late night hours.  And everything in between.

We finished near the end of the pack, but we finished.  We were all dead tired; many were very sore; some had blistered feet; we were chafed and sunburned.

Results are posted - of the 823 mixed teams that finished we were #792. And #686 in the mixed division. We finished over 2.5 hours ahead of the slowest team.

Sunday the Stobers sent a text, asking who would be interested in running in Vegas in October.  The Hills responded with a (*gasp!*) YES.  (And Taylor has started running, too!)

To laugh at us, you should watch this.

Monday, June 20, 2011

In Which I Make a Terribly Sexist (but true) Comment

There is something in the male genetic code that makes it impossible to move things around in order to find them.  I believe it is closely associated with the "Never Ask for Directions" gene.

It is better not to question it or argue about it, because IT. JUST. IS. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Times When I Actually Laugh at Work

Guy:  Where is ______?
Girl:   At an off-site training meeting.
Guy:  Good for him.
Girl:   If _____ was actually getting trained, it would be good for US, too.
Guy:  (laughs)  We are not good for each other.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ten Seconds

This girl went to Landon's jr. high school, and would have gone to WJHS in the fall.  She was a good friend to one of Landon's friends.  Logan says she was one of his good friends, too.  There is drama and sadness, and we will do all we can to help our children deal.

There are also parents in West Jordan who got a horrifying, life-changing phone call yesterday.

There is a young woman who saw her cousin killed yesterday (and barely missed losing her own life).

There are friends who will not have one of their friends with them at upcoming parties and dances and classes.

And if we could change 10 seconds, if would make all the difference. 

Ten seconds.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Questions I Have When I Read

Did you read "The Art of Racing in the Rain"?  This novel is written from the perspective of the family dog.  I really loved this book, not because it's beautifully written or it's an unforgettable story, but because I loved the dog's perspective.

This book made me wonder what dogs really understand.  It also made me wonder if dogs can really detect disease in humans.  As it turns out, they can.

So, the biggest question is WHY DOES BELLA GO NUTS WHEN SPENCER SNEEZES? Hmmm...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Graduation and Promotion

Yesterday our second child graduated from high school.  I know that commencement ceremonies are dull, but I am not your normal person.  By the end of the exercises my cheeks were tired from all the smiling.  I looked around at that group of Jags and realized that there are over a dozen of them who I love enough to claim them as my own.  They are talented.  They are brilliant.  They are good.  They are extraordinary, ordinary people.  It is a blessing to know them, and I hope I get a tiny chance to have glimpses of them as they grow up.

When the meeting had concluded, Spencer turned to me and said, "Well, that's half of our children."  I did not shed tears till he said that.

I know I've said this a dozen times, but having our children grow up is a much harder thing than I expected it to be.  I am thrilled for them.  I am pleased with the choices they are making and people they are.  I love that Spencer and I get to look forward to time together in our later years. 

But it also gives me a little sock in the stomach when I consider that in 8 months or less our son will be on a mission.  In a year, #3 will be graduating from high school.  There is a piece of me that just can't get past the fact that a blink ago I was the #1 person in their lives; that I could tell them to be home at 6:00, and at 6:00 they were safely under my wings for the night; that I got to choose their clothes and their shoes and their hairstyles and their meals and their daily activities.

On the other hand, there was a lot of potential sitting in that room yesterday.  There were amazingly brilliant people.  There were frighteningly motivated people.  There were extremely giving people.  Sitting in blue and black robes were several hundred young people who in the next several decades really could change the world.  Their futures are as bright as their eyes.

But some of these young people will spend time in prison; while some will work hard to promote peace and justice.  Many will divorce, and many will marry wonderful people and raise beautiful families.  Some will be married by this time next year, possibly with babies of their own on the way.  Many will serve missions for the Church; some who we hope will serve will choose not to.  Some will be presidents of companies and directors of boards, their names "in lights" (figuratively or literally).  Others will quietly care for parents, siblings, spouses, and children with no fanfare and very little recognition.  Some will be taken by cancer; others will live till they've outlived everyone they knew before they were 20 years old.  Some will grow old and bitter; others will grow old with laugh-line-wrinkles.  Some will walk in the shadow of doubt; some will bask in the glow of faith.

And there before me is the really harsh truth:  I have no idea what is in store for our children.  Not only do I not choose their clothes or their meals or their jobs, I do not control the paths their lives take AT ALL.  I cannot control their choices or the choices of the people around them.

It's a sock in the stomach, I tell you!

And then I remember that it's not all about fear.  It is still about hope and promise and goodness.  I will revel in continuing to know and watch and celebrate our fabulous children.

And to my dying day, they will be my cherished babies.