Thursday, August 28, 2008

Matters of Faith

For those who do not know, and I sincerely hope that most of you do, I am a "Mormon" or a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I am generally quite hesitant to share those things that are most sacred to me and closest to my heart. So I don't write here often about my spiritual feelings or experiences. Because of this, I often feel like my readers here miss some of the best of me. And sometimes I feel like I can't really share what's really making me happy at the moment.

I also don't want to fall into the trap of writing with the assumption that everyone who reads this shares the same vocabulary and beliefs that I do.

But I've decided that, because there are times I just want to sing for joy at the things that have touched me spiritually or the experiences I've had regarding my religion and my faith, I'm simply going to do that. And trust myself to share what is good to share and keep for myself the things that are best kept just for me.

I sincerely, deeply love to hear about others' religions and beliefs, no matter what they are. There is so much good in the world, so many good people who teach me so much through their yearning to be better, to make the world a better place and to find answers.

And, guess what? It has finally occurred to me that I am deserving of the same kind of love and respect and open-hearted listening that I am happy to give to others. Who would have guessed it? :)

So, I am venturing into the unknown territory of sharing more about my inner life than I have before. I hope the things that lift me will lift you, too. And for those of you who don't share my religion, please know that you are always, always welcome to ask me questions about anything I say that you don't understand -- any questions big or small.

And to begin with, I want to share with you a video that I came across today that touched me deeply. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dearest Scud

It is early in the morning of your 8th birthday. Everyone is still sleeping, so I am taking some special time just for you. It seems like you have always been sandwiched somewhere in the middle of our family, so I often feel like there's precious little special time just for you.

You are such a joy in my life, sweetheart. I hope you know that. (And I hope you don't mind me calling you sweetheart. I'm losing track as you get older of all the words I'm not allowed to say because they embarrass you.)

I remember vividly the day you were born and in the same breath always thank you for not coming the day before when I drove up to Cedar Breaks by myself because I was angry at Dad. As I slept that morning, I kept waking up and feeling uncomfortable. After a while, I realized that I was waking up about every ten minutes, so I started timing contractions. Sure enough, you were on your way! After several hours of labor, some worry over you showing signs of distress during pushing and our midwife needing to turn your head before you could come out, you were born. You were crying and upset just after you were born, but when Dad put his hand on your chest and talked to you, you were instantly quiet.

You were such a beautiful baby and looked so very much like your Grandma's side of the family. We were so happy to have you.

I won't lie to you, though. You were the farthest thing from being an easy baby. You were just so sensitive and needed me so much.

You wanted to nurse almost constantly, which showed in the way you gained about a pound a week for the first couple months of your life.

Like clockwork, you cried every night from 9pm to 1am for your first three months. Nothing seemed to help. If I held you and loved you patiently through that time, you'd finally slip into sleep. But only if I stayed sitting or standing up. If I tried to lay you down or take you to bed with me, the crying would start all over again. I tell you, it was not an easy time for me.

But I'll tell you something else, too. You are worth every last step I paced through our tiny apartment, every sleepless night.

Still you need me so much, still you test every ounce of my faith and ability as a mother. Of all of my children, you are the one who always leaves me wondering if I'll ever be enough for you, if I'll ever get it quite right as your mother. But this, too, is a great blessing. You bring me to my knees, you help me remember every day just whose child you really are and I turn to Him for answers and help you grow into the wonderful man I know you'll be.

I see him already. He is smart and kind and sensitive. He is funny and playful, tender and generous. He has an deep inner sense of justice and integrity. He is fiercely loyal and loving to his friends and family.

Do you know why I can see that man? Because I see you and you are already such an amazing person. You are good to the very core, sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, eager to do what's right and to please your parents. You are responsible and reliable. You wake up at 6am to get all of your jobs done for the day without even being asked. You love those who are important to you and stick by them, no matter what. You are just so good.

It seems like you have grown by leaps and bounds over the past year.
In so many ways, I feel like I can no longer call you my little boy.

Your body is getting bigger, stronger. I hold you and it seems like there is just not enough of me to wrap around you. Your body is hard, surprisingly muscular and sinewy. I still see glimpses of my soft, little cuddle-boy in you, but they are getting more and more rare these days.

You have grown so much emotionally, spiritually, too. I could not be more pleased with your deep testimony of Jesus Christ, your commitment to doing your best and trying to keep the commandments. You have prepared for baptism thoughtfully and you are ready. I see such faith in your eyes, such commitment in your actions. I have no doubt that you will be ready to be a worthy priesthood holder in four short years. Already you amaze me with your tender heart, your desire to serve those around you.

You are especially tender and good to those who are older. This summer, we took Grandma Great on our trip to the family reunion. I felt my eyes brim with tears each time I saw you holding her hand, helping her get up, guiding her over rough ground -- every time without ever being asked. You just sensed her needs and did what you could to make her more comfortable.

And this is the essence of you that I treasure so much. You are goofy, quirky, fun. You build amazing lego creations, you're a math whiz and a good reader, you are endearingly vulnerable. But I treasure most your goodness, your genuine, Christ-like nature. Your deep desire for everything and everyone in the world to be just right, happy and well.

Today my wish for you is that you will continue to give and love and serve and do your best and that the world and those around you will respond in kind.

I love you my oldest son, love you more than my life, more than words could ever say. And though I feel I fail you on a regular basis, I hope you never doubt the constance and the strength of my love for you.

I'm cheering you on and unspeakably grateful to have you in my life and in our family.


PS I know you'd be embarrassed by words like darling, lovable, cute, cuddly and beautiful. But, you're just going to have to live with me saying them. Because you are and always have been. Darling. Lovable. Cute. Cuddly. Beautiful beyond words.

PPS Once again, words fail me for the way your sweet spirit winds its way in and through and around our family and makes us and each of us happier and better. Thank you for the gift of you.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eleven Years

Eleven years, six homes, four children, six cars, seven jobs and one dog later...

And I still love him like this...
only more so.

Just a sampling of reasons why I adore my husband:
  • He is the hardest worker I have ever known. He has never failed to provide for our family, regardless of the personal sacrifices involved.
  • He teaches me every day.
  • He is intelligent and so much fun to talk to. He is also a "repository of useless human knowledge". I'm amazed at the things he just happens to know.
  • He's still interested in everything.
  • He is hilarious and makes me laugh every day.
  • He is incredibly generous and always willing to give to others.
  • He loves our family fiercely.
  • He is man of great personal integrity. He cares much more about living up to his own values and the Lord's expectations of him than he cares what the world thinks.
  • He believes in me. He gives me wings to fly and has always been 110% supportive of whatever it is I am passionate about at the moment.
  • And he still thinks I'm beautiful after all of these years.
  • He is quirky and fun to be with.
  • He knows how to fix (most) things. Growing up with a Dad who could fix just about anything, this is a must for me. He still defers to my Dad in the car department. :)
  • He is humble and seeks to serve the Lord. One of my favorite stories from his mission in Santiago Chile: He was almost finished with his two year mission and his mission president called him in to his office. President Walker gave JDub the choice to have any position he wanted, to do anything he wanted with the rest of his mission. He could have chosen any number of leadership positions that would have been impressive to write home about. Instead, he chose to work in a difficult area with a younger missionary who was really struggling because he felt like that's where he could do the greatest good. A man that chooses whole-hearted service and hard work over status and recognition -- that's gold to me. Now he teaches the 7 and 8 year olds in primary at church. He loves every minute of it and feels like he's doing the most important job in the church by loving and training these little ones. Primary scares the pants off of me, I'd much rather teach adults, so I'm exceedingly impressed by his attitude.
  • He is very loyal and loves his family and friends dearly.
Like I said, just a small sampling. I could go on much longer.

Oh and did I say he's goofy and he makes me happy? Check out this picture. We're definitely a goofy pair, no?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So, I'm Not a Photographer

I'm not so great at the photography thing. Concepts like foreground and SLR and composition and shutter speed completely baffle me. It always frustrates me that JDub can take a picture of the exact same subject I've shot and it is breathtaking. Mine, blah. That's if it's even clear. I'd like to take a photography class sometime soon so that I can get better. I dream of having one of those blogs with pictures that are like chocolate for the eyes. Ahhh...

So, aside from my obvious lack of photographic-talentedness, my subjects are also hard to get a handle on.

Case in point. Coco got into some pink sugar yesterday and I HAD to take a picture. So, I grabbed JDub's iphone couldn't find our regular camera.

This is the hilarity that ensued:

Finally, a mostly clear picture with a smile and most of his head. That, my friends, counts as success for me.

By the way, isn't he darling? I'm a bit partial to that sweet face.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Found Him!

While watching U.S. Men's soccer against the Netherlands last night (talk about a nail-biter game!) I found him.

Stuart Holden, forward, not only scored the first goal for the U.S. Olympic team in the game against Japan, but he looks like my own personal Edward Cullen.

This is how Edward looks in my mind:

But that's enough about that/ He is an AMAZING soccer player. This whole US Men's team has been a lot of fun to watch. They play Nigeria on August 13th and need to pull out a win or a tie to stay in the competition.

Cross your fingers with me.

We haven't watched any other Olympics yet as we don't have TV and have been watching online at NBC, where you can watch just about anything you want. Pretty cool.

Alright, off I go. Time to take kiddos to swimming lessons.