Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Missing Body

He was dead.  That, I knew for sure.

Where the body had gone, though, that was the disturbing question.

It creeps me out a little, not knowing where the body is, wondering when and where I will find it, or would it be worse if I never did find it?

And perhaps, the worst question of all: who moved it, and why?

See, spiders don't really bother me that much.  Generally speaking, when I'm outside, they don't bother me at all.  That's their domain, and I am the guest there.  But in my own house is different, because that's my space.  And while I still don't really mind them, they do tend to startle me, the way they move so suddenly when their dark lairs are exposed.

That's when I first saw this one.  He was hiding under something that I moved, and our eyes met.  Now the other thing about spiders is that some are quite friendly looking, with a sort of "hey, I'm the enemy of your enemy, so let's be friends.  You don't kill me, and I will kill all the other bugs. Got it?" And honestly, I usually don't kill those spiders even inside my house. Because why?

But the other spiders, the nasty mean looking ones, those present a different story altogether. There is something sinister about those ones.  Something about their legs, and the size of their bodies, and the strange way they move that when combined makes them look like they enjoy being on the wrong side of beautiful.  They know their bodies were designed to be fearsome and terrible.

This was one of those second class spiders.  He was large, and he was a bully.  When I uncovered his hiding space, I said, "Hello you ugly thing. Why couldn't you be one of the nice ones?" and with that, I captured him.

I wasn't sure what exactly I would do with him, because again, as a general rule I don't kill things, but I also didn't really just want to leave him trapped under there, staring up at me through the clear plastic.

Hanna came running by and shortly made my decision much easier. She stomped right down on him.

"Hanna, did you just kill that spider?"

"I think so, Momma," she said, stomping on him again extra hard just to be sure.  "I think I got him."

She ran off to play.

Well, ok then.  His dead body, all curled up, broken and distorted bothered me more than his living body had.  I walked away to take care of something or someone, and when I came back twenty minutes later, he was gone.

All signs that he had ever been there were gone.

Gone.

A missing body.

Somewhere in my house.

It gives me the shivers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Look and Believe

I got my copy of my church's (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) magazine, the Ensign, in the mail today.  When it comes I typically read it cover to cover and then reread favorite bits throughout the month.  It is my escape. It is a quiet time to reflect on my life; on the progress I am making toward becoming the woman I want to be.

Lately there has been a lot of discussion in articles within the magazine and all over the internet about the role of women in my church (among other things).  I was happily reading through an article by Elder M. Russell Ballard when he encouraged Latter Day Saint women like me to "show the world what women of God who have made covenants look like and believe."  He counseled us to do so wherever our sphere of influence is, including in our blogs.

My first thought was that no one cared about my opinions on the matter.  But Elder Ballard continued to extend this invitation to let our voices be heard, and so I thought, even if twenty of the people who might read this post don't care, maybe there will be one who is interested in knowing what I think, and how I feel, about my church and God.

So here I sit, trying to sort out what words to use and where to put them.  I think of the many people that I love, fiercely, that have opposing views of many of these beliefs that are so sacred and dear to me.  To them I want to speak first: I love you very much.  I love you so much, that I know that we can disagree about some of these things and still be friends.  I know that you are intelligent.  Even though we disagree about some (or all) of these things, that disagreement does not make me think less of your intelligence.  We each are free to choose how we think, feel, and believe.  I recognize your freedom to make that choice.  It in no way diminishes my respect and love for you.

That said, I will now follow Elder Ballard's counsel to try and show the world what I look like and believe.

I am five foot seven and a half, with long, thin blonde hair.  I have blueish-greenish eyes with a circle of brown around my irises, like a dark sunflower facing the sky.  I look like I have had four children.  I leave that statement up to your personal interpretation to visualize.  I probably look like I enjoy going outside for a run, or to work in my garden, or to play with my kids, and that I also enjoy making and eating cookies and brownies.  I look like I am getting older, and the evidence is mainly seen when I smile for that is when the wrinkles typically manifest themselves the most.  I strongly suspect that I have a friendly and helpful appearance, because it is almost guaranteed that if I am in a grocery store or other such place I will be approached with a request for help of some kind.  I always do my best to help, even when we lived overseas and I could barely understand the plea for help and did not know the answer anyway.

To the best of my ability, that is a description of what I look like.  I now attempt to describe what I believe.

I believe that I have a Father in Heaven.  I know that He loves me, that He is aware of me, and that He cares about me and my life.  I know this not because of any grand or exciting experience, but because I have felt it my whole life.  Even when I was confused or unsure about other things, I have never doubted that.  I know that my Father in Heaven has a plan for me, that he knows my strengths and many weaknesses, he sees my struggles and successes.  I know that I am strongest when I rely on my Savior, who is Jesus Christ.  I know that His atoning sacrifice is not only for my sins but also for everything else, all of the little hurts and injuries that are inflicted on me as I venture through life.

I have never felt unloved, or unappreciated, or unvalued by anyone else except for a time, by myself.  When I was a teenager I was very unhappy about the simple fact of being a girl.  It made me angry that my brothers got to be boys and I did not.  I thought it was cruel and unfair.  I was mainly disgruntled at the fact of my gender because of the monthly pains that came with the territory. They horrified me, wounded me, crippled me, made me feel weak and terrible and I hated all of it.

It's hard to explain how I feel about those pains now.  Those pains that were nature's way of making it possible for me to be a mother.  Those pains that were nothing compared to what I would later go through, three times - and a fourth, in a different way, in order to have my babies.  Those pains seemed so simple, so easy to bear when confronted with the more extreme pain of childbirth.  In looking back it all blurs together into a beautiful memory because of what those pains gave me.  I look back even further and recall those teenage days now and I wonder at the blindness of my eyes.  I am filled with gratitude for my mother and father who helped me to realize what an amazing thing it is to be a woman.

I have never had to carry the weight of being unable to have children.  I don't know the sorrow of wanting, the despair of hoping, or the pain of waiting.  But my Savior, your Savior, our Savior - he does.  He knows that pain, as he knows all pain and suffering, and better yet he knows how to heal it.

I reiterate: when I was young and felt upset about being a woman, those feelings were self inflicted.  They were brought on by a lack of understanding about what potential, what power a woman truly has.  My heart aches for the women in my church who continue to have a different experience than mine, and I hope and pray with all my might that they will somehow, in some way, be able to feel their Savior's love for them.  In the meantime, as I've said before, I hope that you know that I love you.

Now that I am more grown up, and probably almost an adult, I am grateful that I have always been treated respectfully and as a person with value within the church.  If you want to read the article by Elder Ballard that I refer to, it will be available online next month.  I will post a link for it then.

photo courtesy of Everyday Adventures Photography

Monday, August 25, 2014

Some Heather and Some Hallie

Today I have a few things from Hallie and a few things from Heather.

Heather's new response to questions in the affirmative is, "Gracious, yes."

Just picture it for me please. A tiny two year old, nodding her head, and clearly saying, "Gracious, yes."

It's perfect.

At church on Sunday we were about halfway through the sacrament portion of the meeting (the quietest bit, of course) when for reasons unknown to me she begins yelling at top volume:

"Jesus loves you, Hanna! Jesus loves you, HANNA!"

and when I tried to quiet her down, she began screaming, "Jesus loves me though! Jesus loves ME!"


She likes to have her hair done like Ariel, and she likes to dance like Cinderella.  She alternates between pretending to be the mom, and the tiger.

She insists that she is not anything you say she is. If you say, "Heather, you look so cute!"
She will adamantly declare, "I'm not cute." If you tell her she is funny, "I'm not funny."  We often tell her that she is these things, just to hear the way she says that she isn't.  I guess I'll have to try and get that on video before she stops saying it.

And now for Hallie.  I found another one of her writing masterpieces.  This one was for school, and so I don't know the whole story, but it makes me smile.  Here it is:

Nebraska is special because flowers.
Pork.
Zoo.
Children's Museum.
Ice cream.
Soup.
Form.
Land.
My favorite place is (name of her elementary school).

I love these girls.  Maybe tomorrow some stories about Hanna and Hazel, shall we?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Deseret News Marathon (and 5k!)

We had a family reunion with Devin's family in Salt Lake City in July so that we could participate in the Deseret News Classic Marathon (and 5k!!)

Here is photographic evidence that we participated in these events:

Devin ran the marathon.

 He is now training for a 50k ultramarathon in October.






Here I am, looking at my watch just as the gun goes off.  I know I look like I'm way in the back, but I ended up finishing 203rd place out of 316 runners, so somehow I put a little more than a hundred people behind me...  I finished 18th in my age group, but as my brother in law pointed out, for all I know there were only 18 people IN my age group. I'll go find out.  Looks like there were 26 people in my age group.

Honestly, I'm just happy I wasn't last in either category. 

I am currently "training" for a 5k in September.
It will be my third one in five months!
Am I runner yet or what?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

First Grade

And just like that summer is "over" and another school year has begun. 

I think she will really like her class this year. They have a bunny rabbit in the classroom and a cute young student teacher.  She has three friends from her kindergarten class and one boy that she doesn't really know but I know his parents they are in another ward so that is exciting for me and she seemed excited when I told her.

It is still strange to say goodbye to her in the morning and not see her for hours and I get so excited when it's time to pick her up!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Instagram

My friend Kristen told me I had to get instagram once I got a cell phone, and look at me now.

It hasn't been as strange to have a cell phone as I thought it would be.  I still forget it about half the time so that worry that I would suddenly feel like I had a leash hasn't been a problem.


I also have no clue really how to use instagram, I just push buttons until it does something and sometimes the something it does is actually what I wanted it to do, so we're getting along quite nicely.

Here are the pictures I've posted to instagram this week. I am putting them on my blog because my sister wanted to see them, and I realize that this is a more permanent place to put them than instagram or facebook.

I realize looking through these that only one made it to facebook, and only a few to instagram, so new pictures for everyone! You're welcome!!

 Sometimes when Devin is in charge of Hazel, I will come and find her like this.

And then, when my girls see that I am taking a picture, they have to jump in, like this.

In real life, it looks exactly like this:

 ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

 Then there's Heather. She's my little buddy, my little pal, my little friend.


 One morning I came downstairs and saw this pony stuck to my fridge.  I began to panic because my girls are addicted to glue sticks and I made some assumptions.  Hanna jumped over to tell me that it was just a magnet in the pony's paw. Phew.


And then there was Hazel.
 

Who, me?

Well yes, I am cute, thanks.



Sometimes they try to all fit on one chair and they do but then Heather gets squished so she moves but then Hazel keeps kicking her. It's hard to be the Heather one. (her words, not mine.)

Teething? I'm not sure, but I've been hanging out until midnight every night with this face.  I grant you, there are worse faces to party with.

And good morning from two little girls in purple jammies with green frogs.


GIF

For my own personal reasons, I tried to make a very simple .gif today, and am having trouble with it.  So this is a test. This is just a test.

hmm so it seems to be working just fine here.  Why won't it flash like that when I try to just open it on my computer? Does it have to be online to flash?

How would it know when it was online, or not?

Some things about the internet creep me out.