Ya know, running is not fun for me. Spencer? He thinks it's all really fun. Any running I do is just for exercise.
That said, there are some things that have been fun. Ragnar was fun because it was like a huge slumber party. The Kiss Me Dirty 5K was just an excuse to go play in the mud. Today Ashtyn and I and some friends from work (hi, Annette, Janece, and Amber!) did the Color Me Rad 5K. It was held at UVU.
I heard there were 4,000 participants. They started us in waves. Each person got a color packet with their registration. The color was colored corn starch. There was blue, turquoise, pink, red, yellow, orange, and green. So we all got busy throwing color at each other. Then the "race" started. During the race there were 5 color stations, where volunteers were manning sprayers (like you use to spray your lawn) with liquid color. So by the end of the 5K we were big, colorful messes. At the finish line they had a "color explosion" where you could take your color packet (or buy more), and after the countdown, everyone would throw their color in the air at the same time. It was so dang cool. Except it got in your lungs. But it was still cool.
This run was very family friendly. Kids under 12 did not have to register (but they didn't get a shirt); so there were lots of families there. This was not the type of race to enter if you really wanted to run. It was just good, clean (I'm using the term figuratively here) fun.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Ya know, running is not fun for me. Spencer? He thinks it's all really fun. Any running I do is just for exercise.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
When our oldest children were little, my sweet MIL bought me a subscription to Reader's Digest every year. I loved that little magazine! My favorite stories were those of people who made a difference in people's lives. Sometimes they paid for things that others couldn't afford like food, dance shoes, college educations. Sometimes they just did little things they were good at, but these little things turned into a big deal: opening a free dance studio after school; teaching a class at the local school for free; allowing kids quiet study time at their table. Of course, the stories in RD were always about how someone had made a big difference by helping hundreds of kids or how they started the world's largest non-profit organization or something like that.
Spencer and I had multiple conversations about this. We'd debate (neither of us taking a side, really) on if it was better to do small things but raise a large family or if you should limit your family size and then make a difference once a week for a LOT of people. We never really reached a decision about what was best, probably because there's no answer to that.
We had our question somewhat answered for us when I was diagnosed with MS. It was clear in our hearts that we could take a risk to have one more child, but beyond that we could not risk having a family with no mother. So we had Landon, and then we were finished.
At that point in my life--I gotta be honest--I had my hands completely full. I was trying to be a good wife and mother, serve in the Church, help out in our children's school, and whatever else I figured I was supposed to be doing at that time. It was a lot, and I sometimes think Heavenly Father threw MS into our lives so that I would stop with the babies in order to remain sane. My hat seriously goes off to people with larger families than ours. I wanted more children, but I'm not sure it would have been wise for me.
For all those years, we also discussed adoption. I had no trouble with fertility, but there was something in me that told me that we would have more. Again, I didn't know how in the world that could happen. I had a houseful of little ones and we had no money to even consider adoption. We'd also had experience with fostering, and I was quite sure my heart would not survive that.
Well, our children got older and bigger and more capable, and all of a sudden (it seems) we realized that it was GREAT to have big kids. I mean, we seriously ADORE big kids. They are so fantastic! So the need in my heart to have more babies was assuaged.
As a convenient career option, I opened a preschool in our home. In planning for that, I was certified as a facilitator for Good Touch/Bad Touch, a sexual abuse prevention program for pre-K to 6th grade students. I taught GT/BT in three different schools--plus my preschool--for 6 years. There was not a year that I didn't have to call DCFS to report possible abuse of a child (including some of my preschoolers). Oh, how this would break my heart! I would cry, and Spencer would say, "Are you sure this is worth it?" I would reply, "If not me, who?"
It was during these 6 years that Spencer and I realized that I have an incredible capacity to love children, and they sense it. Spencer says I could go to a grocery store and bring home any child because they would gladly come with me. And I would love it! Children wave at me from across the store. I have full conversations with little ones when we are in an elevator or standing in line, and most of the time I do not instigate it.
This sounds like I'm bragging, but I'm not. The point is that God put me on a path to love and bless children, and I hardly knew it was happening. I am incredibly blessed to have borne 4 wonderful children; I love our nieces and nephews (and now their children) in ways I never thought possible; I have given safe harbor to dozens (maybe hundreds) of children, if only for a few hours; I can serve in the Primary and there is not one child who I don't absolutely adore.
I am convinced that those RD stories and my feelings of needing to adopt were placed directly in my path to prepare my mind and heart for the ability to love and bless all children. I hope to have more opportunities to love and teach (and learn from!!!) many more children throughout my life. Mmm. Delicious thought!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
My grandpa is 88 years old. He is old, but he's only been old since he got sick when he was 80. He never quite bounced back from that.
My grandpa has been a buddy for a good many years of my life. Some of my earliest memories are with my grandpa and grandma. It has been a special blessing and a pleasure and an honor to know and like my grandparents in my adulthood.
We lived with my grandparents a couple of different times in my childhood. Grandpa built the basement into a wonderful home for us. When I broke all of Grandma's plates, Grandpa laughed. When he told me a little white lie and I believed it, he said, "Why would you believe that?" When I replied, "I believe everything you've told me," Grandpa cried.
My grandpa took over teaching me to drive when my dad moved to California for his new job. My grandpa taught me about generosity and work. He taught me about making God your friend and talking to Him like a friend. He taught me about caring sweetly for the one you should love the most. He taught me important words like "pardner" and "my dear" and "Lard" (Lord) and "horseshit." He's never been afraid to call a spade a spade. He's never backed down from his duty, even if it was hard. He loves and serves fiercely and loyally.
I could go on and on, and maybe someday I will. Grandpa is not perfect, but he's awfully, awfully great. For today, my heart is tender. Grandpa has decided to stop taking all of his meds. He has diabetes and heart disease and high blood pressure. He's been having mini strokes. Hospice made their first visit to my grandparents' house yesterday, and now it is just a matter of time. It could be days. It could be months. It was inevitable to lose my grandparents anyway. But for some reason today my eyes won't stop leaking and I'm having a hard time breathing.
I know about God's Plan, and I know it's true. It gives me peace and comfort that there is meaning in this life and that death of the mortal body is not the end. I KNOW that my grandpa will be mine forever and ever--what comfort this sweet sentence gives!
Monday, April 23, 2012
This weekend, summer arrived. It was hot and beautiful. We mowed the lawns (and by "we" I mean Landon). We washed the car. We barbecued. We ate watermelon.
Ah, watermelon! How I've missed you!
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Evan gave a talk in Primary today. It was written, folded, and placed in his pocket. I had to remind him a couple of time during class to keep it in his pocket. When it was his turn, he looked at me. I nodded and he bounded up the microphone. His mom was in the back of the room and he shot a smile at her before starting his talk. He did a great job, and I told him so when he came back to sit down.
Later we had to go out so he could take a bathroom break. Sister J. told him that he had done such a wonderful job. She complimented him on his mad reading skills and gave him a high five. As we walked back into the Primary room, he said, "I did so great!"
After our Sharing Time lesson, we moved into singing time. Sister C. had the kids only (no teachers) sing the song they are sharing in Sacrament Meeting next week. She said, "I don't know if we can do it without the teachers." Evan said, "I can!" And he did.
We sang the same song for closing. As the child who was giving the closing prayer stood up, Evan said, "I'm awesome!"
Wouldn't it be great if we were all that confident?
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Some mornings--when I'm up before everyone else--I welcome the quiet. I greet each person cheerfully as they awaken or arrive. I hardly notice that the day picks up momentum or that the noise level increases.
Some mornings--when I'm up before everyone else--I welcome the quiet. I am annoyed when people talk. I don't want momentum or noise from anyone. I want everyone to sit quietly for. the. entire. day.
Can you guess which kind of morning it is?
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The people (mostly men) in the division in which I work used to "live" on the 12th floor. The 12th floor had a stealing problem: people's food would disappear from the refrigerator. Then the department was split and everyone was moved around. Our division was moved to the 11th floor; everyone else on the floor had been there forever. But now the 11th floor had a stealing problem, and the 12th floor problem disappeared. The conclusion, then, is that the thief was part of our division.
Just in the past few months, our division was split, and half of us moved away from the 11th floor to the 10th floor. Oh. My. Goodness. You would not believe what a bunch of whiners these guys have been! "How come the printer gets a window and I don't?" "I have a closet at home that's larger than this cubical." "How am I supposed to store things?" We even had one of them completely empty some cupboards of another division's stuff so he could store his binders. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?
This sets me on fire. I get so mad I'd just like to paddle them all and send them to bed without dinner! "Until you can figure this out, you can plan to stay here, you little brats!"
I took the day off from work yesterday. I got back today to find an auditor working at a table in our storage room. That makes sense since there are no empty cubes on our floor (and there's another bully/brat on an adjoining floor who won't share "his" space with another department). Well, I hadn't been here 5 minutes before I started hearing all the muttering about how the table by the printer was gone and there was nowhere to work. Puh-lease! Are you telling me you can't take your copies to your desk and collate them there? Or that you don't have access to 400 other staplers on the floor?
GRRRR....! I just want to shake them all and tell them to GROW UP AND GET OVER IT! It might be a good thing I wasn't here yesterday, because SOMEONE would have gotten an earful. On the other hand, maybe that is EXACTLY what should have happened. Sheesh!
Monday, April 9, 2012
Today I had a snarky email from a (distant) co-worker, and my immediate thought was to retaliate with something equally biting. Fortunately (I suppose) I was able to quash the impulse to act on that.
And then I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if it never even crossed my mind to be testy in return for someone else's harsh words?"
What is it like for people who are that good?
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I love it when I can get an entire group of children to listen to a story with a ton of intensity. It happened today in Primary. It just so happens that this is the story that ought to consume us all, every day of our lives.
It is the story of a man who was celebrated triumphantly by his followers as he came into the city. A week later, this humble man taught his closest friends about the sacrament and what it represents. He served them by washing their feet. They ate what was their last supper together. He went to a garden and prayed so long and so hard for every single person in the world--those who lived then, those who lived before, those who have lived since, those who will yet live--that he sweat blood.
He was sad and he was exhausted when a group of soldiers entered the garden, led by one of his closest associates. The friend kissed the man, thus betraying him to those who would surely kill him.
He spent a long night being "tried" in various supposed courts, and in the end it was his own people who cried, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" He was stripped, beaten, spit upon, and crowned with terrible thorns. He was forced to carry his own cross to the awful place where nails were driven into his hands and feet, securing him to that same cross. He suffered unspeakably, yet he spoke comforting words to thieves, disciples, and his mother. After all of the agony, all of the humiliation, all of the sorrow, the man spoke forgiveness for those who had treated him thus; and finally, willingly, humbly, marvelously, he gave up the ghost.
His friends--filled with sorrow--carried his body to a tomb, where they wrapped him hastily in burial clothes and shrouded his face. A huge stone was rolled in front of the tomb, and the hated enemy soldiers were placed to guard the tomb.
Angels came and removed the stone, frightening the soldiers. His friends hastened to the tomb in the early morning hours, only to find the stone removed and the body of their beloved friend missing. They saw angels, who told them to go tell the Master's brethren. The men, thus informed, ran as quickly as possible, confirming with their own witness that the burial clothes were folded neatly, and his body was not there.
Mary, alone at the tomb, was startled by the man she thought was the gardener. He asked the reason for her tears. But her tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy when he called her by name, for she recognized Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. He was, indeed, risen from the dead, the firstfruits of those who slept. He rose triumphantly as our Savior, the only person who could -- and did! -- save us from death.
And that, my friends, is the greatest celebration of all. It's greater than new clothes, visits from bunnies, eggs, and even better than candy!
I add my witness that He lives. I know this through the Comforter, whom Jesus Christ sent, and I cannot and I will not deny it. God be praised and thanked for the matchless life, teachings, example, death, and resurrection of His Only Begotten. How grateful I am!
Friday, April 6, 2012
I am blessed--and cursed--with a strong personality. I have confidence, I feel my own self-worth, I feel capable of contributing. I am also incredibly blessed to live with my best friends. My husband and children are wonderful people who, incidentally, I hope to have as mine forever. I love them with all my heart; but mostly I just like them a whole lot!
When we decided that it was time for me to go to work full time, I thought there were things that would be fun. I was excited to wear something besides jeans and t-shirts (oh, Jeans and T-shirts! How I miss thee now!). I thought it would be fun to ride the bus and the train into the city each day. I thought my brain would get some new exercise.
What I didn't think would happen was that I would make cherished friends. I was not looking for buddies; I already have buddies at home!
Yesterday the man who was my first manager in my full-time work came to my desk. I no longer work in the same department as he, so his being at my desk means that he made an extra effort to come see me. He said this was the 4th time he had come; the other three times I had been in my current manager's office. We chatted for just a couple of minutes, mostly about our families.
After he left, tears sprang to my eyes. I miss working with him and many others on 2LL. I miss them terribly. But if I left where I am now, I would miss these people terribly. Truly, I would miss them enough to bring tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
Every time this feeling overwhelms me, I am surprised. I did not expect to love my co-workers the way I do. I did not expect to care about their families and their church callings and their jobs. I did not expect them to care about mine. I did not expect to be so blessed in so many ways--professionally AND personally--by so many people. I did not think that I would sit in the cafeteria and greet literally hundreds of people and care about each one of them. I didn't know that I would celebrate the conception of babies or mourn the deaths of parents and siblings of the people I worked with. I did not anticipate putting my co-workers' names on the temple prayer roll month after month for years on end. I did not know that I would pray for missionary sons and daughters by name, even though I've never met them. It didn't even occur to me that I would wish that my work friends knew my parents and my husband and our children, or that I would wish that I could travel with them, or that we would gather for lunch or dinner or a 5K just for the FUN of it.
My life has been so richly blessed by so many people; and of course, it is not limited just to co-workers. But to my cherished work friends--past and present--THANK YOU for blessing me. I love you so much!
Thursday, April 5, 2012
When I walk in my grandpa's house, there is a certain smell. Spencer's grandma's house smelled like that, too. But my other grandparents' and his other grandma's houses didn't/don't smell like that.
Today we walked into a house that is vacant and for sale, nd it smelled like my grandpa's house. The house didn't seem dirty. There was new paint and newer carpet. What is that smell? Is it mold? Is it old piping? Is it rot (wood, insulation, etc.)?
BTW, I LOVED the location of this house, but overall, I don't think so (and it's not just the smell).
I took a really fun drama class in 8th grade. I know, it was only 8th grade, but it left an impression. One of the most memorable assignments we had was to people-watch. Then we had to come back to class and pantomime a person we saw. If they had been interacting with someone, we had to choose just one person to mime. We lived in a VERY small community, so there weren't a lot of places to go people-watching as an 8th grader with an overnight assignment. Therefore, EVERY pantomime was from the cafeteria. It ended up being a lot of fun because we all recognized one another in the things that we acted out.
I really enjoy people watching. I especially love to watch children, whose joy is so often simply unbridled. I also love to watch their parents. Usually the parents are harried or worried or busy or distracted, and they miss their children's absolute joy in the moment. I sometimes worry that I might get arrested for being creepy (or something), because I think I could go somewhere where there are children, plant myself on a chair, and watch them all day. Watching children makes my heart light.
Every once in a while, as I am people-watching, I will think, "I wonder what they are saying to one another? If I had to re-create that as a spoken scene, what would those character say? If I labeled each character with the emotion they are feeling, what would it be?" (I know! It's amazing what holds over from 8th grade!)
This morning I witnessed (from 15 feet away) a 5-second interaction with two women at work. Woman #1 leaned in, her back leg "popped," and she said something to the other woman. Woman #2's eyes never left the face of Woman #1 as she absently stroked her skirt. She glanced down quickly toward her lap, smiled gratifyingly up at Woman #1, and her mouth formed the words, "Thank you."
I think I know what happened during those 5 seconds. I think Woman #2 knows what happened in those 5 seconds. But I wonder if Woman #1 saw the gratitude, the acceptance, the "beaming" of Woman #2.
My SIL measures the size of kitchen in bums. She has a two-bum kitchen maximum capacity. My grandma's kitchen was a one-bum kitchen, for sure. Mine is much larger: I'd say it's a four-bum kitchen.
But the hallways between our cubicles at work? One and a half bums. Two if both people are skinny.
We need a passing lane.