Thursday, June 19, 2008


Just found this website yesterday. Lots of funny shirt designs. Some too crass for my taste, but others quite good. I especially would like to buy this one:

  • In other news, our family has been overloaded the past few weeks. We surely didn't plan it this way, it just happened and we're all feeling the stress.
  • First, there was Grandpa's funeral. Spending several days of one week out of town was not in the plans. Because of that we had to reschedule a surgery for Mashuga.
  • He ended up having surgery on the 12th, which went well. He's had up days and down days since. Last night was particularly difficult. He woke up crying in pain and it took a while for us to get medicine in him and for that medicine to kick in so he could go back to sleep. He wanted me to hold him, so we lay on the couch together until he fell asleep. He's fine now, so I hope that it all gets better from here.
  • We finished up our first week of swimming lessons today. We have four more lessons next week. All four children are taking lessons, with me doing a parent/tot class with Coco. I was planning to reschedule lessons for Mashuga, in light of his surgery, but he insisted that he felt good enough to swim so we gave it a shot. He seems to be doing well, though I am glad that we have been able to stay home today so that he could just rest.
  • We bought a new van a couple of weeks ago. It's a 96 Honda Odyssey and is a treat to drive. We were able to pay cash, thank goodness. I really didn't want a car payment. And I must say, the 20-25 MPG she gets is much easier to swallow than Carlos' 13-15MPG.
  • On Tuesday I taught the 3rd class in a six week BFW series. This class has been such a joy to mentor. The three couples in my class are wonderful and we've been able to have some really fun, really good learning moments. This is good, good work.
  • We also started off our summer cousins' camp. We had a campout at my SIL's house on Friday night, which was so much fun. Then, I had all of the cousins at my house on Tuesday and we played games and painted and made rafts and read stories and talked about Honesty and Integrity. We will be switching off homes and doing this every Tuesday. Playing together, learning values and just enjoying cousin time. I did learn a few things, one of them is that painting at my kitchen table with tempera paints with kids ranging in age from 18 months to 10 years is not such a great idea.
  • Tomorrow I head up north for a national poetry convention. It only comes to our state once every couple of decades, so I'm excited to get to enjoy this in my own backyard. One very big bonus is that my Aunt and Uncle live just a few blocks from the convention center where it's being hosted. So, I will be staying with them. And it's funny how much I feel like a little kid, excited to see them and spend time at their house. I have such fond memories of their home, their yard and them especially. I've been surprised by how excited I am to spend time there. The state poetry convention was a lot of fun and I imagine this will be even more so. I am especially looking forward to the speakers and workshops they have planned for us. And not sure whether or not I want to win any contests. I wouldn't complain, of course, about the money or the recognition even. But, the winners "get" to read their poems aloud in front of everyone. And, well, last time that was less than wonderful for me. I almost fell off the podium with my shaking. :) Ah, well. I'll get better with it. I have no trouble with public speaking or teaching or sharing my poetry in a small group. But somehow, reading my poetry in front of such a large group of people was rather unnerving for me.
Okay, so I'm rambling now. I have SOOOOOOOOO many pictures to post here. I just found our camera a while ago and need to upload pictures. Someday I'll get good at doing that regularly. Maybe.

Hope you all are doing well, staying cool and being happy.

Friday, June 06, 2008

With Love For a Good, Good Man

This weekend we travel south for the funeral of a great man. JDub's grandpa passed away Tuesday morning and we will all be gathering together to celebrate his wonderful life and to love and comfort one another.
JDub had the opportunity to go see him and say goodbye on Monday evening. He said it was one of the sweetest, most spiritual experiences he has ever had. I have heard many people say that, as with birth, there is a special spirit around death. Because, like a birth, it is the crossing of a threshold from one life into the next. I am certain that the spirits of those who love us and who have gone before and will come after are present to guide us and comfort us. What a sweet thing it is, this graduation from one part of our existence to another.
So, it is sad for us, but we are so happy for him. His body has been failing him for many years, his mind also. It was difficult to watch his mounting frustration at being unable to work and accomplish things the way he always had. Then, we watched him slip farther away into a confused complacency as he lost touch with time and space and the identities of those around him. I told JDub that I haven't been very sad this week, because I don't think I could miss him more now than I have for quite a while. He hasn't been the grandpa I fell in love with for a few years now.
And speaking of the grandpa I fell in love with, I've been thinking of a few memories I have about him.

  • He was a writer, so we were instant friends on that subject. I remember talking with him about trusting myself as a writer. He told me about how characters would put themselves in his head and he couldn't shake them and how often, once he really knew the characters in his stories, they would simply write the story for him.
  • As for stories, he was also a storyteller. I loved to hear him tell his stories, his voice rising and falling, his eyes twinkling, his face aglow when he knew he had a captive audience. I especially remember one of the first stories he told me about his mission in Brazil when, with his halting German, he tried to tell a family about the end of a movie he'd recently seen. The main character had shot himself to death. Grandpa accidentally told them that he had sh*t himself to death. I can still hear him laughing and see the tears forming in his eyes as re-lived the humor of that moment. Grandpa had a marvelous sense of humor.
  • He was a worker. Until he absolutely, physically could not do it he always had a garden. He grew everything he could, composted, kept his yard neat and clean. I know where my husband gets his work ethic (well, it comes from both sides) and I can definitely see him at 80 working from dawn until dusk and never really "retiring."
  • He was a thoroughly devoted father and husband and treasured his family. Even those of us who came into his family through marriage were made to feel so loved and precious. He was so wonderful to his wife, calling her his queen, his sweetheart, always grateful for the many things she did to make their home heaven and to make life better for him. He had a very tender, loving soul.
  • He was one of those people who know that the joy is in the journey. He knew it. The joy wasn't in the end of the day after the work, or the family reunion after the raising of children. He seemed to always find joy in the doing, in every moment of his life that I witnessed. He was a happy person by choice and such a bright example to me.
So, I will certainly miss Grandpa Knight. The only biological grandpa I ever knew died when I was six years old. So, after I married JDub, I was thrilled to adopt Grandpa Knight as my own. He has been a marvelous blessing in my life and in the lives of my children. I will miss seeing him at family reunions, miss driving to Cedar City to see him and help him work in his garden. I will miss his stories and his smile and his infectious laugh. But I can't mourn too much, because I am happy for him. Glad that he is free of a broken body and with those who love him. I am sure he is already at work, preparing a place for the rest of us to follow him.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

That's How the Light Gets In

A recent comment on one of my friend's blogs reminded me of some of my favorite Leonard Cohen lyrics from the song "Anthem."

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've been meditating on the principles of integrity, humility, joy, being true to oneself.

I wish I had written these words. How glorious.

Ring the bells that still can ring,
forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
that's how the light gets in.

I've been reminded so often over the last year of how imperfect my offering is -- my offerings as a mother, a friend, a daughter, a wife, a poet, my offerings to God. And sometimes I work myself into a frenzy of worry because I know I will NEVER get it all just right. I will never get even close. And sometimes, in my holding out for the perfect offering, I remain silent and offer nothing at all.

I am afraid to disappoint. Afraid of being judged. Afraid of being noticed and celebrated. Afraid (even more than I am ever willing to admit) of not being noticed and celebrated. Afraid of hurting others.

So many agreements I have around getting things right. How actively I judge myself each day and for years on end.

So, Cohen's words are such a comfort to me.

Also, in an address he gave to our stake earlier this year, Jeffrey R. Holland said passionately and emphatically and in a way that cracked my heart and rearranged it instantly and forever that God loves broken things.

Oh yes he does.

So when the days get a bit murky with disappointed perfectionism, I remind myself once more that God loves broken things. That, in my broken, insufficient state, I am exactly perfectly what I need to be right now. And the fear abates and I ring the bells that are only mine to ring and know that a loving Heavenly Father will take my meager gifts and they will be enough.

Ring the bells that still can ring,
forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
that's how the light gets in.