year in review: accommodate


Not sure what to say because I don't want to rag, and I don't want to put a shine on anything that doesn't deserve it. So maybe I'll say this: I grew a lot this year.

I learned that you can love someone without getting what you want or need. I learned that blessings you didn't even know you needed come out of the woodwork when you really need them. I learned how to take change with graciousness and was even better off for it. I have become more the caliber of person I want to be.

All of that said, I suffered a lot of heartache to learn those things. I have cried more than I ever thought I would when I set out to accommodate more of what I want for 2016. I didn't realize all of what I wanted and needed at the outset, but I did get much of what ended up being what I want. I did not get everything though. I would say that the one thing I had hoped for was the lion's share of what I wanted and didn't get, but I will not discount the several blessings—life changing blessings—that I was able to receive because of working to accommodate change.

I still have room to make for someone to stay. Lots to work through for that, I guess. There is so much that has been good though. I've made room for flexibility and happiness when things aren't quite as I'd hoped. My children and I are safe and well and happy enough. We have each other and the gospel of Jesus Christ to keep our hearts from breaking too much. We are a family that knows how to make it through the hardest of things, and that is a miracle to be thankful for. To tell you the truth, I don't know how I'd make it without my children right now. They keep me going.

I still don't know what word will find me for 2017. I haven't had anything call out to me like other words have. I'm going to give myself until the end of January for it to find me, or I'm opening a dictionary at a random page and put my finger down randomly and picking that. I will make an accommodation no matter what!


nearly Christmas

a six-word story

It's the Tuesday before Christmas, and I've just spent my entire day at the hospital for my daughter's dental work. There are no words for the kind of tired I am, yet I want to share just a little of my thoughts before I drift off to sleep.

This Christmas season has been beautiful for us. I decided to do Early Christmas by getting things out after Halloween and just slowly putting things out in shifts. And you know something, we are doing it like this from now on. Each of my children have said how it has made all the difference in enjoying instead of dreading the rush of Christmas decorating. One other thing though, I have been slowly slimming down how much we decorate. Every once in awhile, less is more.

Speaking of less is more, I was thinking to apply that principle to gift giving too because things have been so stressful with finances and children not taking care of what they do have. However, I was showered with generosity here and there, and things just have kept on working out financially, so I decided to loosen up about it and stop worrying.

But the taking care of stuff issue is real too. I pondered a great deal and decided that my children are only going to be children for so much longer, and this year is not the year to go simple. That will come naturally as they grow up and move away. I don't need to impose it on us if it isn't necessary.

Christmas Day is not arrived, yet it has been celebrated more deeply and with more joy. We have made room for Christ in Christmas, and that is what it's all about. I'm thankful for my family and friends and everyone who has been so kind to us, making our lives profoundly better. We do not stand in need because we are loved.



my truth



It's been awhile now since I was prompted to write a short piece on what is my truth, but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't make myself write something quick because I felt a universe of truth burst my heart when I saw that tag on Instagram asking me to share something. Maybe I took it too seriously, but that's probably my job, to take things too seriously, especially things like truth. I've spent every day pondering my life's truth since seeing that prompt.

Maybe my truth will end up being short since I'm not quite sure what I will write just yet. I have so much to say but not all the words to say it. And not all of it is for everyone to know. All I know is that I want to be able to find it again if I forget. I want to be able to see my future truth and compare it to the truth I know right now. And this is the best place I know to write it in a way that it will last and accomplish what I wish.

My truth. My truth is that life is as full of pain as it is joy, but also it is full of more joy than we can imagine. Pain teaches us what joy is, so we can know it when we find it. The trick is to hold onto the joy we have right in front of us instead of the pain. To choose joy.

And you know something? Sometimes it's tricky to hold onto joy.

When you love someone so much you'd do anything for them,
but they don't want what you have to offer.

When you love someone in a forever kind of way,
but they don't want to be your forever.

When your heart beats for someone,
but they are too busy looking at everyone but you.

When you are enough to be who you are,
but not enough to be worthily loved in return.

When you see how enough they are for you,
but they won't see it for themselves
because they don't want to.

Sometimes it's tricky to hold onto joy.
Sometimes joy is right in front of you
In someone else's smile
In hidden happiness
Being stolen from your grasp
By lack of love,
And all you can do is breathe.
Keep breathing
And hoping
And praying
That someday
Joy won't be so tricky to hold onto.
Someday there will be too much joy to lose.
And I will be looking at truth's reflection
While seeing through sunlit glass.

Until then, I will say that I hope someday comes soon because my heart has been broken for nearly my entire life, and I wish for the love I give to come back to me somehow. I believe in miracles. I believe that I was created to have joy. And I will have it. I will reach for joy in every minute of every day, working to reject the pain that is made new at every turn. I will choose joy for as long as this broken heart can stand turning its back on so much pain.

And the interesting part of all this truth I write is that I know I am not alone in my grief-stricken existence. I am not so unique. I am actually highly replaceable. I see that now. I hope that by writing my truth I might inspire myself and anyone reading this to take heart and keep holding onto joy.

I want to make room for more joy. I hope you will too.



service



When I think about serving others, I think about how we should do our best to not make a big deal about it. I think about how we should help without thoughts of reward. But every so often, you have to talk about the good things you are doing, so you can fill the world with good news, also so you don't forget about the service you've done. 

So I'd like to write a little slice about what I saw my son do the other night. 

We attended a Christmas devotional, but I reminded my children of how we always see a great deal of homeless people on the streets as we walk around downtown. Because of this, we decided to be prepared to help. One of my daughters made a mother lode of cookies and one of my sons made a bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The other two children helped package up the cookies and sandwiches, and then we were ready to go! 

After parking the car, we stuffed our coat pockets and a small bag with all of the food, so that each one of us could give food to people. We were ready. But there were hardly any homeless folks. If I didn't know better, it would have seemed that homelessness was eradicated from our downtown. We went to the devotional with only having handed out one sandwich. And when we got out, we only found three more people. My oldest son determined that it was very cold, so they must be somewhere seeking shelter. 

So after looking at Christmas lights, we piled back into our car with pockets still stuffed with food and began handing all the food to the bag holder, almost an adult big kid. My youngest even asked if we didn't find anyone that he could have one of the sandwiches because he was super hungry. We decided that if we didn't find anyone after I drove around a bit, he could, but if he would like, he could have a couple cookies to tide him over. 

But he ended up not even having the two cookies. And I'm so glad he waited. He was glad he waited too.

We drove around a couple of blocks where I'd seen many homeless people in the daytime, but no one was there. And then, I took us past the train depot. So many people. Camping, huddling together, drug deals going down. All on one stretch of road. 

We drove down the length of it to see if there was a "safe" area, and I passed by one that I had a good feeling about it, so I turned us around and went back, gave my oldest son my knife and instructions on how to be safe, and we parked. 

He got out, walked over to the huddled masses, and slowly a few people approached him. Then, I saw my son handing out food to the hungry without fear and looking so grown up. He brought someone back to the car to check for more food because there were so many, and I didn't even realize that we still had a bag of bananas and oranges left in the car from our outing the day before. and it felt like a miracle to have that still there to share. 

In that quick moment, I knew I never wanted to forget the night I saw my son be a leader among men. His heart was so big that night that it shone on his face. The good work he helped to perform for our family, as an emissary for us all, is small, but small things become great when we are serving others. We become great by giving. 

I'm thankful for the opportunity we had to serve a few of the hungry. I'm even more thankful for the way it helped my children see that we can do much for others simply by acting on our intentions. It felt like Christmas. 









priorities



Some people keep them straight while others have them all mixed up, but one thing is for certain, it always feels good when you are someone's priority.

Being put on the back burner so much I am used to it is something I'm sad to admit, but it's true. I don't even know how to explain all the many ways I am disrespected and undervalued; one of them is not being made a priority when I should be. The idea of even trying to list it all feels damaging. So I won't. Instead, I will focus on the blessing of when I am put at the front.

It truly gives me joy when I am thought of. I love the surprise of it and the kindness that is extended. The time people take to give just to me when I need some help or simple, loving human interaction, to feel seen.

Friendship is the most common vehicle I experience for being a priority. Friends give me time with such generosity. They have their own things to do and families to take care of, but I have people reaching out and giving to me despite their other priorities. And I am thankful for every minute spared in my behalf.

There's something I've learned about life, and it's that no one has to love you except your parents—and even then some parents still don't! So I don't expect anyone to ever prioritize me again, but I am very thankful for every single moment that I am valued enough to be treated so kindly.

I am ever thankful for everyone who makes time for me.


my treasure


To think of children as treasure is a good estimation. Sometimes, we see their amazing sparkle in their smiles and laughs and happy ways. There are also times when that sparkle is hidden by bad attitudes and confused decisions, and they are more like buried treasure. All the hard things pile up, so we have to help dig someone out or even wait for them to dig themselves out—because they are treasure—albeit buried.

The process of understanding the inherent value of myself and them has given me strength when I thought I had none left to carry on. What I've learned from my children cannot be written. There is too much. I'd have to spend my entire life writing what I know because of them, yet I will say I am thankful for how I've become more of who I am meant to be because of their influence on my life.

Buried or shining for all to see, I am eternally grateful for the children I have. They bless my life. They remind me that I am rich beyond measure.




light



Without light, life would be a lot more difficult than it is already. As I think about my blessings, I think about the lamp that lights my bedside table and helps me not walk into my footboard at nighttime. That's my first thought anyway.

I also think about the light of day when night is over. Sunshine makes life better. A smile can light up a room, right? That's a wonderful light. Truth is light, understanding is light, the gospel of Christ is another type of light. All light leads us to happiness and safety.

Gratitude fills my heart as I contemplate the many sources of light in my life. I'm thankful for it all. 

scriptures



Ask me twenty years ago if I'd be thankful for the scriptures, and I'd have laughed at you—to your face. Thank goodness that twenty years has a whole lot of changing in it. 

The truth is that I don't read the scriptures as much as I believe would be best, but that does not change the fact that I recognize their worth. I am surrounded daily by the influence of my knowledge gained from studying them. The comfort and guidance that I find within pages of holy writing continues to be incalculable. It's all the more a miracle in that I've read over some scriptures so many times at different times in my life, and the same ones have helped me in different ways. 

It takes faith to open up the word of God and apply it to your life, to give it a chance to change you. I'm thankful that I used that mustard seed of faith I had and let it grow. My life is so different and so much better than it was when I was a young adult. I know who I am and where I want to be. And that's something to be thankful for too. 





today



I've needed to slow down a bit for quite awhile now, and today, I took that time. I cancelled everything—all the plans—all the cleaning—all the duties. I cried and smiled, sat silent and sang songs aloud, but most of all, I didn't tell myself to not do anything. I let myself feel the disappointment, worry, thankfulness, gladness, and loneliness that has been piling up in my heart.

I am grateful today that I saw the opportunity to carve out some time for me to just be and made it happen. I do feel a bit lazy since the dishes are piled up in the kitchen, the floors aren't vacuumed, and laundry is still not begun, yet I have had time to breathe, and I won't regret that.

I'm thankful that today went the way that it did, so I could experience the gratitude I do right now for having a day to just spend time taking care of me.


sports



Having the ability to exercise is a big gift. Not everyone can, and it helps bring so much strength to our bodies and minds. I really get into a funk when I slack off on my exercise routine. There's a mental slump as well as a physical energy slump. It's just something we need to feel good, I guess. 

There are a few favorite ways of getting exercise for me. The first is most definitely dancing. When I go out dancing, I dance hard. I get sweaty and have so much fun. At times, I wonder if it's unattractive to dance the way I do, but then I stop myself because I just really don't care if it is or not. I love to dance, and anyone truly interested will not be warded off by a sweaty red face. 

Most of the other ways I love to exercise are sports. When thinking about it, dance is a type of sport considering the competitions. So anyway. Skiing, volleyball, softball, basketball, golf, tennis, swim, and bowling are my favorites. I haven't played some of these for a long while, but I still would if I had the chance. Some might say bowling isn't really a sport, but if you know how to play and play hard, it really gives you a decent stretch. 

There are fun things like indoor cycling that I've found enjoyable to a degree, but that's a class, not a sport. Maybe I like competition mixed in with my exercise to keep me motivated? That's got to be it. 

I am grateful for all the opportunities I've had in recent years to learn and try and love so many sports.  The fun I have while strengthening myself in body and mind invigorates me and helps me find joy in life. I am so thankful for this beautiful life I have been given to keep trying new things to take care of and improve myself. 



holidays


I don't know about you, but I love holidays. It's not just because we get time off from work either. I'm thankful for the break in the monotony of everyday life. I'm thankful for the food culture that surrounds each of the different ones—the nostalgia that is drummed up by simply making a certain recipe at a certain time of year. I love the decorations and activities that surround special holidays. The traditions that bring family and friends together to make memories are dear to me.

I'm thankful today for all the holidays we share throughout the year. And it warms my heart to know I've been able to spend another Thanksgiving with my family and friends, and I look forward to many more.





dream job(s)



When I think about how many people don't have jobs, I immediately count my blessings. Just having any job to be able to provide for my family in the best way I can is amazing. But there's another layer to be thankful for that many people who do have jobs do not enjoy.

Several years ago now, I had to give up the best job I've ever had of being a stay-at-home mom, and I was so upset. I am still upset in a way. I don't believe I'll ever be glad for having to get into school full-time and then work instead of have a full-time role in my children's education and lives. However, since I did need to get going on outside employment, I let myself go after some dreams about what I wanted to be when I grow up.

My major at university was English Teaching with a minor in Editing. I had settled on two dreams: being an English teacher and doing social media management in the magazine sector. Within two days of my exit interview for my student teaching, I had a job offer as an English teacher at a wonderful private school. A year and a half later, I was offered a social media director job with that private school. What this translates to is I have been able to reach my dreams—both of them—in at least small ways in less than two years of graduation.

If that's not something to be thankful for, I don't know what is.

And then there's that fine detail of just having any job that is such a comfort. I'm so grateful to have a good school to teach at and develop and spend my expertise on. I am grateful for this life of mine.





ice cream


It might sound silly to say I'm thankful for ice cream, but it's true.

Growing up, my parents had this cool, old (even at that time it was crusty and old) ice cream maker that you had to put rock salt and ice in as it turned the metal container filled with cream and other stuff into ice cream delight. My brothers and I used to have such a good time anticipating that homemade ice cream, which was typically banana nut ice cream since my dad loved it the most.

Also, I used to go to youth dances growing up, and when the dance was at a certain location, we'd go to the best ice cream parlor around afterward, with my mom buying for me and any of my friends who didn't have money to spare. She really spoiled us all.

Then we have the amazing discovery of gelato in my adult life, and I'm at a loss for the proper words. So delicious. So perfect. I dream about the pistachio gelato at that little shop inside the Fashion Show Mall from so long ago.

And you know something else? Ice cream is just really good.



quilts



As I sit here pondering what to write about today, I am lying on my bed with two quilts on it. The cold weather has begun to stick, and I need some layers to keep warm. I am thinking about the hands that made these special quilts: my mother's and a friend's mother-in-law's who finished my mother's work.

These two women have a talent for creating beautiful things that are worthwhile and bless people's lives. I wish I had learned to make the types of things my mother did, but I do cherish what I have of hers even more so because it is irreplaceable.

I am thankful for the quilts to keep me warm both body and heart as I wait out another cold winter.


music



A song with words. A melody. A string of chords and harmony. Music takes us where we were and where we want to be. I'm thankful for the access I have to such a wide array of music genres. I have a radio in my car, songs on a so-called phone that is more like a mini computer,  and the ability to play songs from my phone through the car speakers. I have a CD player in my kitchen, and a music player connected with my DVD/Blu-ray player. My children play various instruments to varying degrees, so I attend at least a handful of concerts every year, and there's a marching band participant in the house too, so there's hardly an end to that music. I love making and receiving playlists, which are like the new mixed tape if you ask me. I sing in my church choir, and on Sundays, there's always hymns to sing together as a congregation. There's just so much music everywhere that it surrounds me most days.

I do like a bit of quiet at times, so I turn off the noise, but then I usually catch myself humming a little tune or outright singing like I mean it.

I am truly thankful for what music does to make life better and lift my spirits.




a strong body



I'm not some body builder or anything, but I'm pretty tough for being such a small person. I think it has somewhat to do with my spirit being like eight feet tall or something, but I digress. I am thankful for a strong and healthy body. It serves me well.

There are things about my body that aren't so strong, like my allergies and habit of fainting from pain, yet these things can be managed and even avoided mostly. I have all four limbs working and a strong mind to make it do what it ought. I see my daughter who has autism who is limited because of her brain function not at its best, and I feel extra thankful that I am strong and able to help her.

Our bodies are a gift to help us on our journey, and I am thankful for all I can accomplish for good with the one I've been given.




a wish come true



It's not very often that a wish actually comes true, so whenever it is that the stars align just right and it happens, we are required to be thankful.

I wished for some snow, and I got it.

Some of you might be thinking I'm crazy for wishing for that, but you know, it cleans the air, provides precipitation, and it's beautiful (at least to me, it is!). I'm not fond of ice, but snow is magical to me after growing up in Las Vegas and having to drive to Mt. Charleston once a year to get some exposure to the stuff. To have it right in my own yard is amazing.

So anyway. If you've been reading my blog lately, you'd know I've been decorating for Christmas early, and Christmas lights are simply one hundred times more sparkly when shining on a layer of snow. I caught myself wishing for snow despite the sixty degrees Fahrenheit weather we'd been enjoying.

I had decided to actually turn on the lights before Thanksgiving after I had seen a few houses in my neighborhood with their lights on, so I just needed to finish setting them up around the place. While I was busy doing that, the winds became quite cold and blustery, so I had to get on a coat, and I caught myself hoping again: if I could just have a little blanket of snow to make the lights so sparkly, it would be perfect.

The lights all got set up, and they look so fun and cheerful. We turned them on and delighted in their awesomeness. And then we went to bed, forgetting to turn them off.

I'm not really glad that happened because it's not a good thing to do, but when I woke up to a light blanketing of snow and the lights sparkling, my heart sang a bit. Maybe more than a bit. I felt like a tiny wish of my heart had been granted.

The whole thing made me smile, and I have a bit more hope that wishes can come true if you prepare yourself for them. I'm thankful for the snow, Christmas lights, and even just a tiny wish to have come true for me. I'm thankful for this beautiful life.


more than shelter



It's pretty standard for people to say they are thankful for their home, so I guess I ought to think of something a little more out of the box. Yet as I think about what I'm grateful for, it is getting colder by the minute and snow might even fall, so, you know something, I am extra thankful right now to have a home—a lovely shelter for my family.

This house isn't fancy or large, but it has been a good house. There have been imperfections in its construction, but it has a charm to it that I really like. I've loved watching my children continue to grow up in this place. I grew up in the same house and even still own it, so when I think about how I've been able to give my children that same stability at this house, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have this wonderful home.




a clean house



Before my world turned inside out and I went back to school, I had a very clean house. It was not perfect, but I did quarterly spring cleanings, and I kept up on my laundry so much better than now. So much better.

So anyway, it's been such a long time since I had a handle on my house that we have a new normal, and I don't like it very much. I have to remind myself that my children are growing up and will be gone soon. And I force myself to remember what old ladies are supposed to say about how you will miss the mess. So I don't actually savor the mess, but I let go of the sheer frustration that overtakes me. That's not entirely true. I don't let go all the way. But I do let go for me, and that's enough.

I've been doing deep cleaning projects, one room at a time, throwing away garbage and donating things we don't have use for anymore but for some reason love to hang onto. I've taken three loads to the thrift store already, and I'm due for a fourth hopefully by tomorrow night.

Being a working mom makes everything take that much longer since I have to stop and start and stop again, but I am determined to help myself (and my children) to be more successful at keeping up with our home. We shouldn't have so much stuff that we don't even know what we have. It's ridiculous.

I am very thankful to have a home and children, so I guess that's where gratitude makes its home: in the need for a home for them. I am thankful for the messes in that they are here to make them. But DO NOT tell them I said that!

There's a lot that goes into taking care of a home filled with children. A lot of time is evaporated in the process. I'm grateful for the chunks of time here and there that I've been able to spend focusing on my home and helping my family take care of ourselves. It feels so great to have an organized home, and I'm determined to have it that way at least halfway until they're gone and I am required to miss the messes.




candy canes



With all of our early Christmas celebrating, I'm making sure to think of small things we can do to make best use of the time. There's never quite enough usually, but with throwing in a few extra weeks of Christmastime, I'm being able to have a little more fun with the small things. 

My youngest has been hinting at and bringing up and making sure that we don't forget to have candy canes on the Christmas tree this year. I honestly don't remember a time when they've been forgotten, but maybe it happened once a long time ago. All I know is that boy sure wants to have candy canes, so when deciding what to do for family night, we got candy canes. 

I had the kids help me clean out the garage and fill up the car with donations for the thrift store, and then we headed out. Little did they know we would be stopping by a fun little treat shop! 

After dropping off the donations, we went down the street to a place I've only been to once and they have never been. We got there with fifteen minutes to spare before they closed, and it was magic. Every fun little treat was in this candy shop. And they make the sweets on site! The candy making wasn't going on then because it was almost closing time, but the magic was still hanging in the air for sure. 

We found cherry flavored, chunky candy canes in fabulous pink and purple stripes. They had so much fun looking around and finding a little something for themselves and the tree's candy canes. What a simple outing that brought so many smiles. And when we got home, we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas to get even more in the Christmas spirit. 

I'm so thankful for the extra time we've had to enjoy Christmas a little early. It's been small morsels of joy each day. 




friendship



It's no secret that my life has been pretty difficult to take for many years now. Crushing stress from continual court appearances and all that entails, graduating with four kids and getting divorced, four kids. Working mom status. It's tough stuff some days.

But that's just one side of things.

I also have my four little friends who show up when my children are being their true selves. I have neighbors who are amazing friends. There are work friends and school friends and church friends and an abundance of online friends. I also have layers of best friends.

I have my BFF Forever friend who I've known since like eighth grade. Then there's my neighbor best friend who lives three houses down from me that we carpool to grocery shop and weird stuff like that to steal friend time. And I have a surprise best friend who sort of was sent to me because I just really need what this friend and I share. I didn't know I needed it until I got it, and it's even indescribable. With such a complex life and also never really putting much store in the whole best friend thing, it's no wonder I have three types of best friends. I need to overachieve on everything, I guess.

So anyway. I survive life because of all of these gobs of friends I've got. Absolutely surrounded. Like this past evening, one neighbor friend dropped off fresh baked whole wheat bread just because she felt like she should. I had made chicken soup from scratch, and that bread just drove it home. So delicious. And it made my children so happy to have that little bit of extra being thought of.

At times, I am wracked in my soul for wanting someone by my side, yet I am always reminded and comforted by the steady flow of friendship tiding me over. The fact is I am cared for beyond measure. I am thankful for all of the many friends I have in my corner, cheering me on, helping me do better than just survive this life. I am so blessed.


sleep



I'm thankful for sleep. It's a rare occasion when I feel rested, so whenever it happens, I can't help but give thanks.

Last night, I was able to get a solid nine hours of sleep. Who knows when that happened last, so it was long overdue. I need a week's worth of days like that, but we all know that won't happen!

As I type, I am wishing I were sleeping, so it seems fitting to cut this short and get some much needed rest. It will show how thankful I am, right?



Farmers and Paul Harvey



I was at a marching band competition a couple of weeks ago wherein a band from Washington performed a show celebrating farmers by integrating clips of the Paul Harvey commentary "So God Made a Farmer," and it was perfectly enchanting. Its wholesome truth struck a chord for me on a couple of levels. It got me thinking about food and talk radio.

Knowing that you have good food to put on the table for your family is invaluable. I'm thankful for the farmers and pickers and ranchers and butchers and truckers and store clerks and everyone from start to finish who helps make sure I'm able to feed my children. Being a city girl, I can hardly imagine having to kill my own food, gut it, and chop it up into usable parts to prepare for cooking. That might sound very sheltered because I have been, but that makes me all the more thankful for the people who have made this lifestyle possible. I have tried doing vegetable gardens at times, and I've done alright, but if we had to live off of what I can grow, we'd be in a sad state of affairs. My gratitude runs deep for what the food producers give us, the buying public, to keep living, growing, and enjoying so much delicious, nutritious food.

And as far as talk radio fits into this, I remember listening to Paul Harvey while driving here and there with my mother as I grew up. I remember feeling so good after learning the lesson he was conveying, the important slice of everyday life that he applied fine detail to thus adding importance. Being in the car, parked in the Sam's Town parking lot, waiting for I don't remember what or who, listening to Paul Harvey signing on or signing off for his "The Rest of the Story," I learned the importance of valuing a good story and that there are good stories all around us.

Food and farmers and Paul Harvey combine into a collective gem to remind me that God made a writer too, and I am thankful for being able to write about these things to express my gratitude. I'm thankful for the wonderful life I've had so far. I'm thankful for everyone who makes it possible.





veterans


I'm thankful for veterans today and every day. I have many family members who have served honorably in the military, so I try to keep in remembrance what they have given and continue to give as their service alters the way they see the world around them, the way they treat others, and how others see them.

Veterans give more than years of service or wars fought. They give up the blessing of not seeing gruesome violence and harsh living conditions. They give up so much I can't even fathom it since I've never served in the military, but I honor their unspeakable sacrifices in order to provide a sense of safety to my family. My love and gratitude goes out to my brother who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, who was stripped of so much while out of the country. He continues to sacrifice even after being out of the military for some time now.

To all veterans who serve us so well, I give thanks for you and all you have given.


a good haircut



Having curly hair is a special adventure. I adore my curly hair, but that does not change the fact that it has its struggles. Not everyone can give a good curly hair haircut. It's just the facts.

That said, I have an aunt, the very kindest of aunts who has curly hair too and is a talented hairdresser, who loves me, so she volunteers her expertise and time (and sometimes supplies) to aid me in my curly hair adventure. She also listens to me when I need to talk, which seems to be incessantly the entire time. She helps me feel a little more whole again every time I come to her house: more beautiful, more understood, more able to learn, more able to face my struggles—including my hair. In our conversations, she teaches me these little tidbits about beauty and life as I age. She might not realize it or maybe she does, but since my mom died when I was still in my twenties, this aunt of mine is filling in where my mom had to leave off.

I am so thankful for all the wonderful haircuts she's given me over the years. I say thank you, but it never seems like enough because she always sends me away with so much more than fixed hair.




liberty



Liberty. That's not a word we hear often. Freedom, choice, democracy, these are more of what we've been throwing around a lot lately (well, at least all of the Americans I know). But I want to focus on liberty as I write out my gratitude today.

Liberty encompasses the other words. It stands for freedom, choice, democracy, and our blessed republic. We enjoy the absence of being subjected to restraint, compulsion, and ownership of our person. There are social pressures forming by way of political correctness that can sometimes infringe upon our liberty, but for the most part, liberty is still within our grasp.

Today, I am grateful for the liberty I enjoy with my family and friends and community. Gratitude overflows for all of my ancestors who have made it possible for me to be where I am now with the opportunities and quality of life to exercise my God-given liberty.

For the good people around me who care about protecting our liberty and loving each other as the children of God that we are, I thank you. Thank you for collectively helping us all to enjoy liberty today and into the future.


the unexpected



I'm thankful for the unexpected surprises in life that have helped me. You've probably had those problems that turn out to be something so good you never could have planned it for yourself, right? You can't tell how much it makes sense until you're in the middle of it all.

I've talked about my transition from an English teacher to a Digital Journalism teacher and Social Media Director, but I haven't said enough about how this big change, hard change, unexpected change has blessed my life.

Things are pretty stressful for me as a single mom with very little support, so anything that can simplify life or make it more enjoyable is a blessing in my book. And my job duties changing did both of those things for me without having to leave the amazing private school and students that I have grown to love. I cannot express how thankful I am for the way things have transitioned. The words aren't enough. But I will say that I was surprised, I have been blessed, and I have learned that I need to learn how to let those surprises take me places without worrying so much. I am thankful for yet another lesson in planning to be surprised.

The unexpected things in my life aren't always so good, but I will say that many of them have been life changing blessings. Friends are another big unexpected aspect of life. You can't plan for meeting someone who turns out to be a lifelong friend or even your best friend. You can't ever be sure if anyone will care enough to stick around after seeing your bad side. And you surely can't plan on anyone loving you enough to stay and be with your forever. But you can plan to be glad when it happens, whenever it happens, and have gratitude.

There's this movie quote that I love that I think about all the time. Maybe you've already read something of mine using it actually, but I'll go ahead and share it again because it just feels like a good thing to do. It's a good reminder to plan for being glad about the unexpected, to treat it like a surprise and not a nightmare. I'm thankful for this quote too, for how it helps me make sense of things in such a simple way:





sundays



I grew up with observing the sabbath, but then I went away from that practice for about five years or so when I was a young adult. When I finally decided to keep the sabbath again, it seemed like a hard thing to change back to not running around and shopping on Sundays—and making sure to go to church each week. Now that I've been on this track for nearly twenty years, I have to say that I can't believe I ever gave up this day of rest and slowing down.

I'm thankful to have one day out of every week when I slow way down, take time to attend church, and rest from the daily grind. I like to write letters to family and friends, read my scriptures a little extra, listen to spiritual music, watch nice movies, and the almighty nap happens on occasion. The rejuvenating effect it has on my family is something to be thankful for too. We spend time together without the rushing around and wondering who has to be where. It's just part of the schedule to spend time together.

What a gift it has been and continues to be to enjoy Sundays so fully.





sunshine



I was cleaning my windows today, and it was just so nice to have the extra light and warmth. With it being autumn, you just never know when it will snap to winter. It's like we are holding our collective breath for when we have to worry about slipping on ice and freezing our butts off for a few months. 

Don't get me wrong, I like wintertime. I like snow too. But it has been such a long metaphorical winter that I just want to hold onto the real sunshine a little longer. It seems to help me find energy to break out of my clouds.

I'm grateful for the continued sunshine that beckoned me outside to finish cleaning my windows. I thought about how my parents would joke around about how my mom doesn't do windows. My youngest daughter was outside helping me, and the other children were helping to clean out the car without needing constant reminders. It all made me feel so happy. 

I'm thankful for all the sunshine in my life. Happy times, the best of friends, my sweet children, memories to cherish, and the gift of today and each new day that I will have to bask in joy.




early Christmas



I've never begun decorating this early for Christmas before now, but it had to happen.

The past couple of months have been stressful and lightly peppered with grief, so as I started thinking of ways to get in gear, I naturally looked to the calendar since time rules our world. This thought process began mid-October with Halloween preparations underway. I decided that once Halloween passed, I'd dive into decorating so long as my children wouldn't kill me for it. I figure that time marches on, and so must we, but we don't have to keep marching without Christmas lights and music to keep us warm.

Three days ago, I was shopping with my youngest son, and I asked him what he thought about getting out the Christmas stuff to start in on Christmastime early. Bracing myself for a You're weird, Mom and other such responses, I was surprised to see a big smile spread across his face and hear him agreeing with me that it feels like a good thing to do.

We haven't been able to crack open anything until today, but we got half of the outdoor lights placed (I promise we won't turn them on yet!) and my special toy reindeer collection set up along the edge of the sofa. We took inventory of what other lights we have that still work and have a plan for making our house so sparkly and cheerful. We wound down for bedtime by watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas! together and deciding that we will watch a Christmas movie a week until we get to actual Christmas. It was so fun. We really relaxed so much and were able to smile without any trouble. Oh yes! And we got out our essential Christmas countdown chalk board. No one wants to keep track, but no one wants to send it for donation either. Doesn't every family have something that no one wants but doesn't want to get rid of? Maybe we are weird, and that's okay.

I'm so grateful that I have some special and festive decorations to liven things up around here. I'm so grateful for Christmastime arriving relatively soon. I feel my heart welcoming the messages of peace, charity, and hope that come as we remember the birth of the Savior. I'm thankful for Him. I'm thankful for my sweet children wanting to decorate early and enjoy Christmas music and movies. I'm thankful that I can choose to begin celebrating Christmas a little early this year.

volleyball


In my efforts to get more physically active and actively meet new people, I decided to participate in a volleyball night once a week for singles. I had been thinking about it for months, but never really got the courage to try going until this past spring.

I was not very good at it for awhile (and it's debatable whether that's still true), but I have so much more confidence now, and most importantly, I have a good time. I have met some wonderful individuals, my volleyball skills are improving, and I have found an outlet for some of my suffocating stress.

Gratitude overflows as I think about how I almost didn't go that first time and for how long I put off that first time. Volleyball seems like a strange thing to be thankful for, but it has renewed my heart a little. I will always have gratitude as think of that, for this heart grows ever more weary, or so it seems.





marching band


Anyone who has every been in marching band knows that it takes over your life, but no one warned me about what it does to the parents.

Running back and forth to the school, mouthpieces, music, dot cards, food, snacks—endless snacks, water bottles but giant containers that are usually used on picnics for whole families, dirty socks, clean socks, athletic shorts and band shirts, sweaty kids, no chores getting done because they have to get sleep at some point, music, silence, stress, happiness, LOTS of money, LOTS of time, LOTS of happy musicians.

Marching band proves a parent's mettle. I never wanted to quit. I remember the fun I had in high school, but I sure did have my moments of thinking Wow, how is this even going to work! as I'd map out the band schedule on the calendar while pretending it wasn't my personal schedule.

I really hoped my son would find the fun and magic and joy of marching band. And he did. All the happiness on his face during Senior Night this week proved to me that all the craziness was more than worth it. And I'm thankful that I can say I got my first child through marching band. I'll definitely sign up for more. You can't put a price on joy—even if it is costly at times.


a special sense


This doesn't happen all the time, but it happens enough for me to want to recognize how lucky I am for when it does.

In the midst of important moments, I am able to feel their significance (and I'm talking about unique moments that aren't set aside in society as special moments per se). I don't always understand how very significant the situation might be until later, but I get this sense that I should pay a little closer attention and my heart and mind hold onto bits of conversations, feelings, smells, and other sensory input.

I'm grateful for this special sense for the treasured times in my life. Many times I have been able to reflect on that sense during a moment and have poignant gratitude that I could recognize significance in the making. I am thankful right now as I document it actually because I know that my writing will one day become part of my memory and how I can hold onto at least a few morsels of these moments that make my life what it is.



thankful for my life



The first day of the challenge and I'm barely making it. But it's not because I'm ungrateful. Quite the opposite.

I've had a crazy couple of days. After accidentally dropping my nice, expensive phone into the toilet and not being able to function properly in my job and photo hobbyist lifestyle for over twenty-four hours, I am feeling so grateful today.

My replacement phone got overnighted and was delivered so quickly. And it's a gorgeous pink color (I promise that if they had purple, I'd have that, but pink is a good substitute). I have been able to resume my work and photographic neurosis AKA hobby photography.

The experience has caused me to be more thankful for the technology I enjoy, the ease by which I can do my work with credit due to a nice piece of equipment and really wonderful apps, and being able to share snippets of my day with those around me who choose to.

I am thankful for my life as it is.

Throughout this month, I will focus on breaking down the parts of this life into smaller portions and savoring the many blessings I enjoy. I hope you will join me.

Please feel free to put a link to your own blog posts in the comments section or write something right there in the comments. Either way, I very much hope to share this month with more of you by getting to read what you are thankful for. Let us embrace the goodness that surrounds us and share it together.


Seeking to Become - October 2016



It has been a rough time, a busy and emotional time, since the last Seeking to Become post. Reflecting on my troubles, there are many scriptures to focus on that could help me. I have been striving to strengthen my spiritual foundation as I work to understand my life's path, and I believe that sometimes it is difficult to remember where the good things come from when we have so much good and bad being thrown at us. Knowing whence good originates can help with discerning what to keep in our lives and what to cut loose. And so, this month especially, I've been wanting to sort through what is best in my life. I came across a scripture in Moroni 10:18 that has touched my heart:

And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ. 
It doesn't say one good gift or even some, it says every good gift. So while I'm counting my blessings this upcoming month, I will strive to be more aware of who is blessing me. Through Christ, we are able to return to live with God, and every day in every good gift, we can see how his work is making a difference. We can understand why we meet certain people and how they are gifts from God and our Savior to help us as we make our way home.

Join me this month in seeking to become more like Christ through understanding what he gives to us and how it all is for our good.




find the light



Days piled on top of days
We go and go and go
With so much to do
So much to know and see and overcome
So much running us over
So much running us down into the ground
Pushing ourselves to try and be alive
With some days barely making it at all

However—
If we stop to look around
Just long enough to take it all in
We can see near and far
Piles on top of piles of love
From friends
Real friends
Those who see our hearts
Those who understand
How alone we feel
Surrounded yet alone

With darkness all around
We stand saturated in light
And warmth and courage divine
Given like a gift of solid gold
A wealth of strength to keep going
From getting run over
From getting pushed out and broken
There is love threaded
Into the fabric of our souls
To be wrapped around the lonely and sad
The hearts that have grown cold
Giving them hope to borrow
To keep warm against the ravages of winter





no more heartburn

I made it through heartburn a day for a month day. Yes, that's vague, but that's alright. At least you know I made it through, so that should be enough.

Do you ever feel like a day lasts forever as it pulls your heart out through your throat? A day should never last that long unless you're with someone that makes you happy. That doesn't even make sense now. There are so many things to do and so much has been falling apart. So maybe these thoughts represent me finally letting go of trying to make sense of garbage that can't be understood.

I am free from the pressure that has been keeping me down, and I could not be more grateful for that. I hope everyone is having an exceptional day. I hope you're finding your way out of whatever mess you're in or helping someone out if you're doing alright.



just barely

taking
a
breath
but
there
are
no
words
for
what
is
happening
and
yet
somehow
there
are
still
words
on
this
page
on
these
fingertips
on
this
tongue
waiting
for
words
to
match
what
was
written
on
her
heart
before
the
world
began
.
     somehow
     something
     someone
     someday
     someway
     will
     match
     and
     work
     and
     never
     leave
     and
     always
     stay
.
love
will
be
enough
to
span
the
great
divide
between
hearts
and
her
home
will
come
home
and
be
home
.
     hearts
     will
     continue
     to
     heal
     while
     hurting
     in
     new
     ways
     indescribable
     and
     disconsolate
     because
     it's
     what
     hearts
     do
.
hearts
love
this
heart
only
knows
what
it
knows
and
can't
do
anything
but
love
no
matter
what
or
so
it
would
appear
.

talking

There's a very important ingredient in raising teenagers, and that's talking: being able to talk about hard things, letting them talk about hard things, sometimes talking and letting them talk about simple and happy things too. Overall, the theme is keeping the talking going. As soon as no one is talking, the overthinking and misunderstandings begin to rule, and no one wants that.

So anyway. There was a big talk that happened at my house the other day, and we talked about so many things. Truly, there was hardly anything that was not discussed at least in part. That stated, you can imagine that some of those hard to say and hard to hear things were said. Many actually. But there was one thing that I wish I could make better yet can't right now.

My child was saying how they want me to find someone who wants to help me and love me and them. They were crying and upset, blaming me for my singleness as if I don't do enough to meet people and cultivate meaningful relationships with the people I already talk with. I can hardly tell you how heartbroken these words sounded as they were uttered. And I can hardly say how much more lonely and heartbroken I am since hearing them. I can't even say how undesirable I have felt.

No harm was intended at this commentary—only care and wishing and hoping for my happiness and theirs—yet in hearing how ineffectual my conduct has been, I only felt the sting of my situation further. It has compounded my understanding of the power of choice and how no one has to love you except your parents. It is too much.

You know what else is a bit too much? Getting chastised by your child for not finding someone who isn't their birth father to help you. I never thought I'd ever hear that one. It's something to be thankful for, I think.




I hurt too



Three words: I hurt too
Echoing through the halls
Of her bleeding heart's home

No words come.
As pain seeps into earthen thoughts
That won't ever be forgot

Carving into every corner
Of our layers of memory
We make a mark that stains

Changed yet cherished
Broken yet blessed
Paralyzed while moving forward

It hurts because we love
There is something missing
And that is you, me, us

It hurts when truth is locked
There is pain when the heart
Knows better but we turn the other way

My home hurts
Echoing my own thoughts
I hurt too.


accommodations



It's been nearly a year of working out how to make room for more of what I want in my life with my word of the year this year being accommodate. To update you, I've done cleaning projects around my house and the yard. I planted a peach tree in spring and a blazing Maple just last week. I have started new hobbies like playing singles' volleyball and learning how to do Snapchat (that last one is a joke and serious all at the same time). I have said bold things, changed habits, worked hard on opening my heart to the happiness that surrounds me.

All of that said, I don't feel like I've accomplished much. Maybe I've filled the space I create too quickly with something different. Maybe I don't know how to leave room for more without substituting other stuff because I don't want to slow down long enough to think about everything going on because I might cry.

I've actually done a lot of crying as I work to accommodate more of what I want. These slices of life have been trending on the depressed side if you ask me. But what do I know? I think maybe I've needed to leave some room for crying and writing about the pain I have to bear. If the truth of the matter is that no one chooses to stand by your side and love you and your children, then that is sad. That makes sense to cry about. And tears should be given some space to be felt. The reminder that no one sees me though. That's the part that is suffocating instead of freeing. To be told how amazing you are but not be worth the effort to stay by anyone is troubling. I have to keep from retreating into myself again, but I must admit that I have painfully put back on a few layers of sad fear. It's just all too much as of late.

Enough of that though. I still have a couple of months to get this accommodating my hopes and dreams thing in full swing, and I have been happily surprised enough times in my life to know that something can happen. It probably won't be anything I do in particular, but all that I'm working toward will invite who and what I need to find room around this crowded place. Somehow it will all work out.


rabbit holes

My teenaged son is away for a couple of days, so I decided to give him a fresh start on his laundry. Who knew laundry could last for two days straight? Who knew that, in finding all the dirty laundry, half the room would end up getting cleared out? How much trash can a boy's room hold? Seriously. I don't even know what to think about it all. I'm pretty sure I need to start charging a monthly cleaning fee for carpet cleaning alone if he doesn't figure this garbage out soon. 

In all the laundry washing, drying, folding, discovering more trash and socks and spoons (like 10-15 spoons), I have had a lot of time to think too. I have thought about the holes I dig myself into and out of on the regular. I thought about how I've let myself care so much without regard for whether anyone else is returning it in kind. I have thought whether I should carry on or if it might wreck me. I don't want to make messes that can be not necessarily avoided but are unnecessary. I want my interactions to actually be blessings—even if it's in the long run. That's alright so long as the long run happens. Every caring effort tells me that somehow it will all work out. 

Now back to my boy. I hope he figures things out sooner than later. The long run can be so difficult. I don't wish him a life without challenges that help him grow, but I do wish for him to feel successful and capable. 

Sometimes the rabbit holes go so deep we can't find our way without a little help to get around the bends to see the sunlight. And that's okay. 

finding our way


The naïve me believed I would be the one
To bring the ashen rubble and walls of stone
For our downtrodden feet to roam,
Collateral damage to avoid.

A train wreck.
Derailed.
No survivors.
Or so I thought.

I lived to breathe fresh air once more
And see the morning dew kiss
The sun so glorious and fair,
To touch happiness in spring.

The horizon held hope uncovered
With new perspective, laughter, smiles.
New faces and traces of a future gilded
Blinded in the collision;

Therefore, foreign in her own skin,
Separated from her own mind,
The heart and head were one,
And yet, Truth be hanged.

Never the same, forever changed
Hope buried amid wreckage,
Hearts bleeding, barely beating,
Yet she knows . . .

She'll live to breathe fresh air again,
See morning dew again,
Kiss the sun, glorious and fair.
Happiness will touch her someday.

Collateral damage.
Survivor.
Only detoured.
Never derailed.

I was and always have been a first responder too:
My friend who I never knew
Before had come to my rescue
And I to him mid winter's unrelenting strain.

Riding along on the same train,
We knew each other's pointed pain,
Stopping mid the freezing rain
To help and bless and gain

More than memories,
More than words can say.
Surrounded by ashen walls,
We tiptoe amongst the stones.

We roam the rubble and comb the walls, detoured,
Like an old-fashioned garden maze gone wrong
Bringing us together to recall the way home,
Travailing what we know, hoping for something more.




Related Links:
View from a Train Wreck
Ode to the Early Responders




magic



"I don't believe in magic."
I dared to say it,
And I'll ever regret it
For as long as I live
Because from that day onward
He dared to prove
How very real
Magic could be
In every word
Of every line
In nervous hands
And feet dancing
In every future plan
To come true
And make new
In every picture
Perfect
Pining
Every time
I cried
And he was there
Every time
I smiled
He was there
Behind it
Encouraging
Enticing
Inviting

Until he wasn't.

Until magic got too real.

And then
He turned the clock back
Without permission
One tiny tock tick
At a time
Because he was afraid
But it never went unnoticed

No more cards
And extra kindness
No more little gestures
Of affection
No more of what I love
The most
The little thoughtful
Bits of real life
Magic that set me free
To love again
And hope for more
Than magic—
Reality that makes me happy
Because I believed
You were happy too

Maybe, I don't believe in magic
Maybe, I simply believe in you.

Hope and wishing
Lit anew within me
The day I walked upon the floor
In my mind I was dancing
Through time
To when magic
Real magic
Work and love and care
Would bring your loving heart
To know that you belong
With someone who can see
How infinite you are
And believe in magic
Just to prove
Love can come true
Even for me and you

Magic is what you make it.
Magic can be made new.
If you choose.







riding a bike



My little boy still struggles with riding a bike. I didn't realize it because I haven't prioritized buying him a bike for at my house since he has one at his dad's, and I don't like to steal thunder. I just assumed he knew how. But tonight, some friends gave him a bike, so he wanted to practice, and I didn't realize I was going to feel so brokenhearted.

I didn't realize my sweet little guy didn't have the confidence to just get on the bike and ride it home. I didn't realize he needed me out there to watch him to feel safe and confident while he practiced wobbling along the sidewalk. He was so cute as he voiced feeling grateful that he has grass to land on just in case. I'm glad I was able to see him overcome his hesitant outlook and be able to make the turns "without stopping at all."

It got me thinking about my experience when learning to ride a bike. It was so different. I don't recall where I got the bike from, but I do remember it was a yellow banana seat bike with those crazy handle bars that remind me of Harleys. I also remember getting on that bike and not stopping until I could ride that bike. I got skinned up knees because I was riding my new bike in a dress of all things. Not so good for when you fall on blacktop. But quite fancy, I guess. So anyway. I stayed out there trying and trying and trying until I could do it. It happened at dusk when there was barely enough light to snap a photo, but I have one. My mom had got out the camera and caught me smiling and riding my bike. She caught my determination on film. It has been a long time since I saw that photo, so I'm not sure where that photo is, but when I do find it, I'll add it here.

My bicycle story is so different from my son's. But my entire childhood is very different as well. I don't want to get into the fine details, but I'll just say that I'm thankful for my dad who loved my mom and worked hard and did what it took to stay. I'll add that I'm thankful for my mom who loved my dad and worked hard and did what it took to stay. They each had their faults and opinions that could drive someone away, but they loved each other enough to do what it takes to make things work. So much sacrifice and loving care. So much meeting in the middle and going to the other side at times. So much sharing the load. Even with all the abuse I suffered, I had confidence because of them. I just know it.


a phoenix with no wings



No dignity for me
As I descend from the top
Of stairs so fair
Burnt to a crisp
I jumped in head first
So a mess is all I get
I spoke before I should
And now I'm taking
My foot out of my mouth
My heart out of my throat
And my head out of the clouds

There is nowhere for me
No love
Affection
Or safe harbor

There is only hurt
Pain and crying
Into the night
With no one here to hear

There is nothing but
Empty wishes
Broken hope
With nothing shared

I look upon what
Led me to such height
And my body trembles
At the misguided thoughts

Like a phoenix but with no wings
I can make it on my own
I've tread for years through fire
And made it out alive
Even still there's nothing wrong
With wanting a companion
To walk alongside
To guard me from the coals

But that is not for me
I do not get to have
What I wish
My heart's desire
It is not permitted
For people like me
Who don't know when to stop
Before they start
Something that
No one else wants




leave a light on

Denver Capitol Building


I don't want to get quiet.
There's something about it
That kills me inside
When I don't let anyone in
To see and feel with me
The light whether barely
Or brightly beamed.

The only problem is
That no one wants in,
So is it better for me
And everyone else
That I shut this mouth of mine,
That I close my heart and
Stop making a fool of myself,
That I quit allowing myself
To think I belong anywhere
With anyone—
That I could be loved
Enough to belong,
To find a home,
To be in someone's heart
Long enough to know
That I belong and
Never question again
Whether I am loved?

I want to shout
How I am worth it.
I want to cry on
Comfort's shoulder.
I want you to
Embrace me.
I want to know
I am not just a safe place
You seek
When no one else is around.

But neither shouting nor keeping quiet
Are what will set things right.
Somewhere in the middle
There is a voice whispering
Inside of you—not me—
That needs to be acknowledged.
Things wouldn't hurt so much
If you'd listen to the love
That wells up inside of you,
If you'd stop shutting out
Your heart's voice
And let it take wing.

It is not for me to find
A way to the joy
You have left behind.
Find it—
And you will see me.
Only then can possibility
Become reality.
Only then can we
See our destiny
In the full light of day
Without fear
Of hurting
Ourselves,
Our love,
Us.

Until then,
I'll leave a light on
Dimly lit,
Burning through
The dark of night,
Through any trouble,
Time and space.
I'll keep it here
Within this heart
And mind
That won't forget
The happiness
And heart that
You alone have brought to life.


erasing feelings



Words have been erased. I write so much, but then I throw them away because I feel thrown away. I don't want all the pain of today to stick. I want to write but not be reminded of how I have felt. Having a space to write and be reminded here has taught me that I am most certainly reminded. I have laced each poem and memoir bite with a pretty poison to either hurt or delight. I have a stack of journals from over the years that hold pain and tears and happy times intermingled. I have sheets and sheets of email letters. I know about being reminded by what I choose to write—and keep. 

Maybe if I could write my words in the wet sand at the beach, carving out my heart, then letting the tide wash it all away. Maybe that would work. Maybe. But I don't live near the ocean, and I can't get there soon enough to try this experiment while I need release. I'd love to set my heart on a month-long sabbatical to the seaside, but that's an option for people who aren't me. So I must be contented with writing letters that go in the garbage and writing poems that hide until I feel brave enough to cut my heart out with my own words. I must be content with erasure. 




Seeking to Become - September 2016



Last month as I commemorated five years of doing this thing, I began contemplating the idea of adding more to my monthly scripture focus. Up until now, I have solely shared scriptures from the Old and New Testaments from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. For five years, I have left out a big part of my spiritual life and the scriptures I believe to be true and helpful in seeking to become like our Savior. I'm speaking of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Beginning this month, I will reference scriptures from The Book of Mormon, so that will be assumed in my citations.

So to commence this new chapter of my challenge, I have pondered what scripture would be best. What would help me to focus on and what would help someone who happens to read this and want to join me in this seeking that I speak of—this seeking to become more like Jesus—to follow his example and guidance. In Mosiah 4:9-10, I have found a great treasure of guidance:

 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
 10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.

I have been feeling pretty low as of late. I've been feeling so abandoned and unwanted. Amidst my sore feelings, I have realized how I should leave more room for comfort from the spirit, how I need to believe and trust and know better. Yes, I am unwanted, but I don't have to let myself feel it every day with such poignancy. Acknowledging our reality is important, but it doesn't have to steal our joy nor edge out chances for happiness that are before us. I need to remember I am loved by God, that he understands me and knows how to help me because he created me and this world. I need to strive to be more humble and forsake the sorrow that I hold onto. I need to work on being more kind and worthy of forgiveness. I want to do these things that I might show God my belief in Him, show my trust and faith.

As we spend the rest of this month and into the next, I hope you will walk with me in becoming more believing and doing as we seek to become more like the Savior.



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