Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I was cleaning out my folder, and found these notes.

This one is from Conner. He gave it to me at church a few weeks ago. Allow me to rewrite (Conner spelling will prevail), translate when necessary, and comment whenever I feel like it.

Top 5 things I like.
1. Pokemon.
2. Angry birds.
3. my big bother. 
(My big brother)
4. school.
5. church!!!

top 5 things I don't like.
1. Ashlen (Ashlyn. Really?)
2. Divishen (division)
3. being rich! 
(whose kid is this anyway?)
4. being hurt.
5. not loved.
 (These last 2 I totally get. Pretty profound)

Top 1 licke the most of all
1. my mom!
(He was not paid for this statement. It was offered without coercion)

I got this from Maryn's language arts teacher in the mail. This is a happy note.

On a side note...a really far side note...I was listening to Ashlyn interact with our puppy Oogie. She keeps calling him "a little ramp" and "you little rampster". I asked if she meant "scamp". She said no. She meant "ramp". Weird.  Then tonight he picked up a raw potato piece off the floor where I dropped it accidentally. She starts patting his ears and saying in her "puppy voice"; "You little raw monster."

Don't even ask. I have no idea.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I love metaphors. Honestly. There really isn't a day that goes by that I don't find a metaphor about something in my world that feels applicable to my own thoughts and processes. This metaphor was in some reading material I was given. I liked it.

When we’re stuck in quicksand, the immediate impulse is to struggle and fight to get out.  But that’s exactly what you mustn’t do in quicksand – because as you put weight down on one part of your body (your foot), it goes deeper.  So the more you struggle, the deeper you sink – and the more you struggle.  Very much a no-win situation.  With quicksand, there’s only one option for survival.  Spread the weight of your body over a large surface area – lay down.  It goes against all our instincts to lay down and really be with the quicksand, but that’s exactly what we have to do.  So it is with distress.  We struggle and fight against it, but we’ve perhaps never considered just letting it be, and being with the distressing thoughts and feelings, but if we did, we’d find that we get through it and survive – more effectively than if we’d fought and struggled.  

I can completely see how this is applicable. The book talks about how life is full of pain, but it doesn't have to be full of suffering. 

The whole time I'm reading this book and the concept of acceptance, the thought that kept passing through my head was what is quite possibly the only serious quote in Princess Bride:

"Life is pain highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

Isn't that true? Aren't there forces all around us constantly trying to sell us this idea that we deserve to not be in pain? That a life void of discomfort of any kind is indicative of a successful life?  

Its a simple line, but the salesmen (who is usually crafty and convincing because he's, well, he's the devil and that's his forte) is pretty darn good. We believe his story without really giving it a second thought. Mostly because we want to believe it. No one wants to hurt. Its actually instinctual to avoid things that our guts tell us will make us uncomfortable. We have found clever ways to try and stop feeling bad. And the salesman who sold us the story that pain is not part of a happy and productive life, also seems to have the cure. 

Isn't that convenient. 

I know how he works, because he's sold me the same elixir. I've seen him sell it to friends. And he's so good, that he mixes that elixir and adds the exact flavor he knows we want. Its an easy sell. 

"You don't deserve to feel sad that you're single and alone. Have a piece of cake. Or two. Possibly three."

This was one from a friend; "You should never feel insecure or inadequate. You should have a drink. Maybe two. Maybe the whole bottle. That should make you feel better."

There's a thousand other flavors; righteous indignation, revenge, pornography...just name any addiction or compulsive behavior and you have the perfect recipe for emotional and spiritual quicksand. 

I'm trying to learn more about this concept of accepting pain as part of life. I will learn to lay down in the quicksand. I will stop struggling. I will stop suffering.

As I make progress, I'll let you know. 

Monday, November 28, 2011


This is actually just a quick note about my son.

I am proud of him. He may not be the fastest, strongest or smartest in all the things he believes others measure him for...but he is the bestest.

Here are some reasons why.

He was just called to be the first assisstant in the Priests Quorum. He's only been a priest for 6 months. He's not the oldest priest, and when he received the call, he had an enormous amount of self doubt as to whether or not he could be a leader. He wondered why someone like himself (whatever thats supposed to mean) would be asked to fill this position. A few weeks ago, I saw the reason why.

There was an old man who just recently came back to church. He is still a priest. And that week he was blessing the sacrament. Somehow, he got jumbled up, and after several tries and a little frustration, he was still saying the prayers over and again because he kept missing or adding different words. I watched my son stand next to him, smile encouragingly, help him see the small errors so he could correct them, and then lay his hand on the mans shoulder as he knelt by his side to give him support.

I knew why he had been asked to fulfill that calling.

He loves kids. He was more then happy to let his little cousins sit on his lap and explore his nook.

Tonight, he had a scrimmage (of sorts) for wrestling that I couldn't be at. But between wrestling practice and the actual meet, he called and asked for food. We sat in the van and chatted for a few minutes while he ate.

"Mom, I'm really glad we have a good relationship. I let someone else use my phone to call his mom. They were swearing at eachother, and yelling. And when he got off the phone he called her a bad name. I'm so glad we're not like that."

When I had conferences, all of his teachers, without exception, adore him. He struggles with grades, but they all told me what an amazing kid he is. He's kind, polite, respectful, and helpful.

I think that is God's great joke on you as a parent. Right about the time you actually start liking your kids and enjoying their company...
they leave you.
Posted by Picasa

Quote of the day

Conner asked me yesterday if he could have the hot dog that had been left over from a previous lunch during the week.

Mom:  " I ate it a few days ago."

Conner: "You are a menace."

Small Worlds

Okay, Okay, so I realize I have months to catch up on. I want to. I really do. But it seems like there is so much I can't even comprehend where to begin. I remember years ago when I cared about scrapbooking, that the advice they gave when facing an overwhelming amount of catching up was to start from the most recent and move back when you had momentum. Me thinks I shall take that advice.

So here we are.

We spent Thanksgiving at my dad's cousin's house; Ethan Gale and his wife Hillary. The funny thing about this cousin relationship is that Ethan is actually a year younger then me and so his kids are my kids ages. They had such a good time that we brought their two oldest, Allison and Aubrey, back up with us (along with Miciah).

So what do you do to keep 5 girls occupied for 2 days? Find cool free stuff to do!

Enter Toledo Museum of Art.

For a mere $5 for parking you can partake of a world class art museum. And on Friday nights they do super awesome activities. Thats why we went.

First, we went on a guided tour of their new exhibit, Small Worlds, a statement about space and use of space in our world. It was cool. And then, outside the exhibit, they had a free hands on activity where anyone could create their own interpretation of space in a box (for FREE!).

Hard at work

Aubrey and her "Christmas Thingy"

Maryn always has been in her own little world

Ashlyn wanted a Christmas landscape

Allison and her Christmas Living Room

Miciah and her mini craft room...which if you know Miciah, is super appropriate.
Posted by Picasa