Monday, April 27, 2015

sharing too much and not able to stop myself

Let me just start by stating what will become obvious (so you can run away and hide if you need to), but today was a rough rough day.

I've been thinking and praying and worrying and crying for my college roommate who is also one of my closest and most enduring friends. Last night I heard the news that her brother--who is literally one of the kindest people I have ever met and I didn't even know him as well as many others did--was in a tragic accident while out jogging. Today, despite the prayers for a miracle on his behalf, he passed away.

It has me undone. My dear sweet friend is very close to all of her family members, but I always especially admired the love this brother had for her. It was very sweet and protective and he loved to tease her goodnaturedly. It seems impossible to me that he is gone and leaves a wife and family behind. It doesn't seem like something that happens to someone you know. My heart is so heavy it is aching for my friend. I feel moorless, unable to fathom what to say to her. She is in North Carolina, but three hours away, among her family, now faced with having to help plan a funeral for a brother that is only a few years older than her. It's so heavy.

All I kept hearing was the poem from the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral. The most agonizing and sorrowful and gut wrenchingly real poem at expressing that grief I've ever heard. It's too raw to post here, but maybe you know which one I mean. The pain, the grief-- the poem expresses those, but it ends bleakly, without hope. And the one thing I know about my friend is that she is firm in knowing that there is hope. She is the friend that served a church mission in the snowy, dark towns of Alaska while hundreds of miles away I walked the dusty hot roads in Honduras. And we wrote each other and lifted each other told each other not to give up. And all that we talked about, and preached about and taught to anyone that would let us in their doorways was really just about Hope. The Hope of Days. The Good News. The only thing worth really knowing and holding and protecting with our entire hearts. Hope. Hope in Him.

But even still.


Though I tried with all of my might to go about my regular routines today, I felt sluggish and worn out and to-the-bone-tired. I couldn't get the sadness off of me, and I fought it. I went through the motions. I sat down and forced myself to write on the book. It was stilted and frustrating and agonizingly pointless. I should have just given in to the day and gone back to bed while Grant was in preschool. And then he was home and took an unexpected nap and awoke with a fever of 103 and I almost thought it was a mercy because for these next few hours I poured all of my worry and anxiety and sadness into caring for him in the same way that I wish I could watch over and care for my friend. I hope that although she is there lifting up her brother's family, that someone is remembering to lift her too. She needs it too.

Sorry to be sad on here today. But thank you, whoever you are out there, for listening. And if my friend is reading, (and I know she will eventually, because that's the amazing friend she has always been) I love you AMDL. More than you know.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

balloons, and budgets, and my swimming suit love affair that came true

The week in review:

I'm back to working on Relief Society advertising/decorating stuff for church. This time on a bigger scale for the Stake Women's Conference. Our theme is this scripture:

And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another

 The thing about these events is they always give you a next to nothing budget to decorate. We have to decorate 30 large round tables, and our budget is about $2 a table. !!! That's not much. I originally thought I'd try to stick to the knitting part of that theme, but there wasn't anything that was exciting me that was doable. I wanted something that would be big impact but beautiful as soon as people walked in. That's tricky on a $2 a table budget.

Finally I came across these ideas, and I've already done some tests with a real practice balloon (haha, this is what I get up to when left to my own devices...) and managed to make the netting myself with yarn and it looks pretty good! Our Stake Relief Society President is a florist and will be making the bottom basket of flowers happen for super cheap. I'm excited. Don't tell me if you think it's dorky.... that's not okay with me.

This week we've been trying to figure out insurance. John is technically a contractor until his company finishes paying the recruiters for "finding him." What that means for us is terrible and expensive insurance that takes up any extra money that we hoped to make for the time he is a contractor (which will probably be about 6 months). Annoying. But can I just say that the one good thing I about the medical insurance mess out there is that they can no longer bar you for what they consider preexisting conditions. Thank goodness.  (no thanks to you, Honduras). 

Our van had issues this week. Our air conditioner had issues this week. Our hot water heater had issues this week. which means I HAD ISSUES this week. oh my gosh.

My friend posted about a J.Crew warehouse sale that she heard about really close to us. She said she would meet up with me and a bunch of other pals. I went for my kids (because j.crew size I am not), and it was awesome! Before the sale was even a twinkling in my eye, I had long had my eye on one of their fancy dresses for Maddy's baptism dress. Also, if we are confessing all of our j.crew coveting sins, I also wanted a swimming suit they had. I found BOTH at the sale in her size! The swimming suit is still on the site for $55, I got it for $5. The dress is on the site for $198. I got it for $25. I got Maddy a nice wool coat with a hood, and four or five pairs of bermuda length shorts that are still on the site for $48 a piece. I got them for $5 a piece. Scorage!! (on a side note...why would you pay $48 for a pair of kids shorts?? I kept looking for the hidden golden nuggets. They must be in there somewhere?)

 (best part of the dress is it's beautifully long and puffy, and that sash makes into the most deliciously huge bow, which I intend to put in the front side. Cause we're SASSY like that).

this suit is the love of my life. it's right after my kids in line to my affections.

I like to pass along a good piece of reading that provokes thought and has added to my life. I read this essay years ago and I think about it at least once a week. I finally found it again and read it again and it was just as good the second time. But the funny thing? The part that stuck out to me over all of these years is not even the main point of the essay--well at least not as much as I remembered it to be. Funny how life is like that right? You take out the part that you need the most at the time? I repeat to myself over and over again that final tagline of the essay every week. Let it soak. There is a deep, and abiding wisdom to that. And when I get stressed and worry worry worry about things all of the time, I think back to that tagline and tell myself, Self, let it soak. Sometimes time is the only answer to making things easier.

That's all I've got this week. Let's hope for less ISSUES this week, and pray for the grace to let them soak if necessary (except if it's the hot water heater...then you should just probably stop that soaking).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

the time will pass

Oh man, yesterday was such a crummy day. Bad at the beginning and bad financial news all the way at the ending. I texted John before he even got home that I needed to get away from the house that night and would he mind very much taking over so I could go somewhere alone. I never do that, so I think he knew it had been a rough day.

So after dinner, I grabbed my laptop and headphones and headed off to the local coffee joint and ordered myself the biggest hot cocoa they had (with some peppermint flavor for good measure) and wrote for the next few hours until they closed. It was just what I needed.

these cat pictures have nothing to do with the post, I just felt like a pictureless post is a travesty

Truth be told, lately it's been easy for me to talk myself down about my writing project. I have about 60 pages. I haven't made much progress in terms of adding pages for about a month because I have been going back through what I wrote and majorly revamping everything--adding more details, taking out awkward sentences (of which I write many. I am the queen of passive voice. What do I have against getting straight to the verbs I ask you?!) Also, I am sort of terrible at describing the expressions on people's faces without it feeling cheesy to me. Honestly, I don't think I am cut out for fiction. It feels silly sometimes.

Some days I am just really down on myself about the time that I devote to writing something that likely isn't terribly good. I don't know why I push and push at it. Some days I just feel like an impostor. A wanna-be.

But on the days that I have scheduled to write and don't get around to it, I feel sad. My life feels monotonous without it. It's really hard work--making up plots and characters and trying to nuance out people's feelings by their actions is really difficult. When I read books now, I marvel at how good even "nominally" talented writers are at what they do. I have more compassion now that it's me trying to coax words out of thin air. It's much easier to write about literature, or my life. My brain struggles and stammers and uses a lot to get even the simplest sentences just right.

My very good friend, who has done a million interesting things in her life, is the most encouraging person I know when it comes to creativity. She let me borrow her creative work bible (Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit), and she makes me feel like this whole thing isn't a fools errand. The best thing she ever said to me was, "Whether or not you're writing this book and it takes you two years or five years--that time will pass anyway. So why not?"

So, if you're out there and feeling the same way about something that you're attempting to do, maybe her advice will help you. It puts things into a sort of manageable perspective doesn't it? The way I parent, the way I am involved with the projects of my life--I can just endure them for two years, or I can try something interesting and hopeful. The time will pass either way.