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Refracted Light

One Prism. Many Colors. One Life. Many Moments.

Updated: 2018-03-06T04:14:18.829-07:00


Isn't it all about getting back up?


So for all of my grand plans to post every day, well, obviously that didn't work.

My excuse is sick.  Lots of it.  Everyone in my family except my DH has gotten some sort of bug.  It includes lots of coughing and some fever and, for one child, some vomit.  For one child there was extreme fatigue.  We are still trying to figure that one out.

But isn't life all about getting back up and running the race, even when you trip and fall on your face?

I've always loved that poem.  I've probably shared it on here before, the one about getting up and winning the race.

It's a hard thing to do sometimes, but I've always thought that the measure of a human being is their ability to get back up when everything in them is screaming to stay on the ground.  I've been there.  There are days when it's been all I could do to get out of bed, emotionally speaking.  And sometimes I have to visualize myself getting up off the ground and standing up.

Rascal Flatts--Stand--one of my anthems.  This is what it's all about.

Focusing on the Nice


So, as part of my mindset change, I'm trying to focus on the nice.

I wander past nice all the time.  Cool patterns in the snow.  Skies that are riddled with clouds and color.  That kind of stuff happens.  But lately all I've been seeing is the smog in the air and the dirt in the snow and the fact that my world is drab.  Brown roof-tops, brown dirt where the snow is melting. Dirty gray/green air.  Mountains that are a boring white and blue.  Skies that are grey.

But I happened to look up this morning, out my office window, and saw nice.  My view is mostly blocked, out my front window, by the houses across the street, and behind them, a couple of businesses.  But in between all of those things you can see some mountain.  Two mountains coming together.

And for a moment, I just stopped at look.  Nestled right up into the pass was light coming through the grey.  It wasn't anything particularly colorful, more grey on grey, but there was bright and dark and contrast and, as it hit me, clarity.

We have a storm coming in and the wind before the storm has scrubbed my valley clean of the smog.  I could see the details of the clouds.  And I loved it, for just a few moments.  It wasn't very much of the sky, just a little corner, but there it was.

It's gone now.  The contrast is gone.  There are all sorts of clouds happening though.  I can't see them as well because the impending sunrise contrast is gone.

There could be something to be learned here.  That contrast is what gives interest to the world around us.  That diamonds shine better against a black background.  That there are always spots of beauty in the earth, if you look hard enough.  That different can be amazing.  You can figure it out.

As for me, I'm off to get stuff done today.  I have goals to reach and a sick child to care for and nice to find.

The Poet


Years ago, back in my college days, I spent a semester or two studying Whitman and Emerson and all of those amazing writers in that era.  I loved it!  It resonated with me in ways I'm still not sure I fully understand.

Someone in that era wrote an essay about the poet and I loved, and I remember writing pages of response, titled The Do-er, the See-er and the Say-er.

I talked about how we all have times in our lives where we have to focus on one thing or the other, and that in order to be a true Say-er, we have to really participate in the other two.

I've forgotten about this in the intervening years.  I've done, seen, and said a lot of things, but this focus, this...I'm not even sure the word I'm looking's been gone.  I've been swept up in many directions.  I've had more children.  I've moved many times.  We've gone through bankruptcy, martial discord, children-ish discord, illness, travel, and more.

But this idea of The Do-er, the See-er and the Say-er has been on my mind.  Alot.

And so, I'm trying to do something about it.  I need to do, see, and say more in my life.

I have set some small goals this year.  They are part of bigger goals, but I can only think in terms of small right now.

1-Run a 5k.
2-Write every day.
3-Practice my violin every day.

Here are the huge goals that go with it.

1-Iron Man
2-Finish my WIP and start anew
3-Become the concert master of the orchestra I'm currently in

I can't believe I just said that out loud.

So, as part of my goal to write every day, I'm coming back here to my long forgotten blog.

Writing here, every day, in order to get/keep my juices flowing.  I have no idea what will pop up here, but I'm determined to do it.  Every morning, right after I take my kids to school.

So, off we go.

Be still.


As I was puttering about my house this morning getting things done I had a thought.

Yes, I know, stop the presses, right?


What was amazing though is that when I thought this thought, that I've thought so many times before, the emphasis came in on a different word, and suddenly the thought is new again.

In the LDS church there is an oft quoted verse found in the Doctrine of Covenants (modern day scripture revealed to Joseph Smith).

I love this verse.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:16
Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

I love the admonition here to be still. I don't think it's something we do very well as a society, and it's certainly not something I'm very good at myself.

My mom always liked to have noise as background. Towards the end of my time as a child living in my parents house the TV was always on to an old movie or an old show. I think I came away from this needing noise of my own. It also translated in to not wanting to be alone. I still struggle with that. I'm working on the be still part. That's the one most emphasized in the LDS church. The be still and have faith part. Relax. Don't fear.

This morning as I was thinking though, the emphasis came to me on the I part. So, let me re-write it, changing the punctuation just a little.

"Be still, and know that I am God."

Implicit in this emphasis is the fact that God is God, not me.

I wonder how often I try to be "God"--all knowing, all powerful, full of wrath and fury (Old Testament) and doctrines of salvation?

We are commanded to be perfect, even as God is perfect, but we are also assured that the full process of perfection cannot be completed in this life. Jesus Christ did not refer to himself as perfect until after He was resurrected.

I suddenly feel like I'm babbling. I'm not exactly sure where this is leading me, but I felt this thought so powerfully this morning.

It is faith, but for me it seems like faith on a whole new level. That I don't have to do it all. That I can rest in the Atonement of Christ. I can be still in faith and peace and know that He is God, not me.

- - -

On a related note, an author(ess) that I love is GG Vandagriff. She has a lovely blog and some lovely books. Her book, The Last Waltz, won the Whitney award for historical fiction. I loved it. I've read it twice now.

That's not quite the related note, however. On her web page she has posted an article entitled GG's jottings April, 2011. I read it this morning and was moved by it. I love her thoughts on marriage and the sacredness of covenants. I was particularly moved by her thoughts on the fact that God can reach us in our darkest hours, and that those times are strengthening to us. She also bears testimony to the truth of the scripture about "my yoke is easy and my burden is light". Please go read it. It dovetails in quite nicely with my thoughts above.

In Which I go on and on about roses


Heidi's roses, to be precise.Except that I should probably not be talking about roses as the book cover has no roses on it. But I love that cover and I want that dress! I have always wanted to get dressed up in a quality Regency era costume. You know, something actually from that era and really beautiful, as opposed to the fake things they sell at WalMart. Wouldn't that be fun?Oh wait. I'm supposed to be talking about a book.Which book?Miss Delacourt Has Her Day by Heidi Ashworth.Methinks you should read this book. Here are 7 good reasons.1-It's Regency! Mr. Darcy? Mr. Knightly? Add Sir Anthony to the list of leading men. I'm still in a swoon from the kiss in book one. Need I say more? (I will here add that Heidi's ability to peg the Regency era is spot on!)2-It's a romance! I'm suddenly very in to romances, so much so that I find myself wanting to write one. I'm also loving having such a wonderful, clean option available. Not only do I enjoy reading Heidi's books, but I don't mind them sitting on my shelf for my daughter's consumption either.3-It's funny. I read one scene and giggled out loud through it, twice! I never do that. Heidi's wit is never more perfectly on display than here in this fabulous sequel.4-It's fun. Yes, this is different than funny. Books can be funny, but you end the book feeling somehow let down or dark. This book will not do that. It's a fun romp through the park. I walked away from reading this book feeling lighter and happier about life.5-The Duke of Marcross and Lady Derby. I will say no more. You must read to find out!6-My name is in there!!!! It's like a look and find to find my name! Well, my last name anyway. . .if you know it. I'm totally famous!!!7-I'm not threatening or anything, but I do LOVE to hang around with people who read Regency romances and kind of think that those who don't are a little weird.Hrm. It seems to me that I have said nothing about roses.Ah, there they are.This lovely painting was inspired by Heidi's first book, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind and was painted by the gorgeous and amazing Jana Parkin. Unbelievably, Jana donated this painting and Heidi has the giveaway going on her blog. It's worth $530.00 and I can vouch for the fact that Jana's art is well worth it. Hop on over to Heidi's blog to enter the giveaway and find links to other reviews (including some male ones!). Then hop on over to Jana's blog to enter her giveaway of signed copies of the book and/or some note cards with the above painting on them.But first, go read the book![...]

March Madness


So, really, March is mad in our house. My family has our own bracket challenge every year.Wait. If you don't follow college basketball in the US this might not make any sense.Feel free to keep reading.No guarantees that it will make any more sense by the time you are done, but you never know.Anyway, my family has it's own bracket challenge that has gone on to include some of the kids. We have 27 or so participants this year. It's rather fun.So, Faramir and I filled out two sets of brackets together. Faramir's is the serious one. He knows his teams and we pondered and filled out and all is well.My brackets? We had a ton of fun with.We did the "dark alley" option. This means, if you shoved the two mascots at each other in a dark alley and had them fight it out, who would win?It's not working out so well for me.See, the fighting Irish (have you seen Far and Away?) were supposed to be able to shoot the grizzlies.Oh wait, it was messed up long before that. See, really the fighting Irish guy was supposed to be able to take on the Seminole and win, although this one probably could have gone either way.In another bracket, the lion was supposed to crush the bulldog.But you know what? Not only did the bulldog beat the lion, he also beat the panther.It is a puzzlement.Between the above losses, pretty much the whole south side of my bracket is toast.- - -Thankfully whoever was supposed to beat the peacocks.- - -And I did make one rather noteable exception to my rule.This? is a buckeye. It's a freaking nut. And it goes all the way to the final four in my brackets. Why? I'm not really sure. Maybe because anyone who picks a nut to be it's mascot is gutsy and deserves it.Granted the nut is inedible and poisonous, I think, but still. It's a nut. - - -I picked the Blue Devils to take the whole thing, maybe because I grew up a Red Devil. I think that growing up with such a mascot as made me really wonder why people pick the things they do for mascots. I know there are stories behind all of these things, but really? How do you make a peacock look like something scary in a dark alley? I'm not getting it. I always look for strong ones, and somehow Boston Terrier's aren't really it. But the Cougars beat up on them--just like they were supposed to. Then were super good about beating up on the bulldogs.So, how do you think they are going to fare against the gators?- - -Okay, so maybe you don't really understand any more now than you did when you started, but you all had mascots, did you not?- - -Think a pedigree chart with your name in the middle and one parent out either side and. . .heck. . .I'll just link you to one so you can see. Here's the national average. Basically you pick who you think is going to win and hope that you have the least red on by the time you are done. I have lots more red on mine than that one does.Lots.- - -And, for the what it's worth department, I think that the cougars, when they are all playing, not just Jimmer-the-amazing, are a formidable team. That's BYU for you un-mascot initiated. [...]

Laughter and Perfection


My little sister called this afternoon to turn me on to this post. Go ahead. Go read. Read on in to the comments. You will laugh.

And perhaps be a little embarrassed at how many of those you've said yourself.

And then you'll laugh some more.

But then, you might see a button over on the side that says The Disease Called Perfection, and you just might click on it.

In fact, you probably should.

Don't be turned completely off by the picture. It will make sense.

I was fascinated by this post. It really has me thinking. Is it life changing for me? No. But I think it was for a lot of other people.

I have so many thoughts whirling around in my head about it.

1-Why do I not need to bare my soul, like 4,175 other people do?

2-It breaks my heart to see so many people who are or were a part of my religion saying that they struggle with this. I am terrified to move to a neighborhood where this is expected. I live in a fairly laid back place here.

3-Is there a difference between being real and being too real? I have struggles that I do not feel the need to share with everyone. But I have sisters and friends--very close on all counts--that I can share these struggles with who will support me and love me anyway. But wouldn't sharing all of my struggles with everyone border on cruel towards perhaps those people that I struggle with?

4-I ponder how many of the 10 commandments we, as a society, have forgotten to live. As I read through probably 10 pages of the comments, I felt so much pain for some of these people, and so many of the 10 commandments came to mind. Most notably, "Love thy neighbor as thyself", and "Thou shalt not bear false witness".

The loving thy neighbor thing is really getting to me because obviously we aren't doing it enough--otherwise so many of these people would not feel the way they do.

And the false witness one is getting to me because--well, lots of reasons. So many people not feeling able to admit they made a mistake. So many people choosing to play this false game. It reminds me of a post another blogger wrote that I found very powerful and has stayed with me. It was all about Satan being the Father of all Lies. I found in this post that I read today, and in so many of the comments, so much more of this deception that he pulls.

Ironically, I go back and read the post and it doesn't say as much as I thought it said, so one of these days I'll have to ponder it and write another whole post about Satan as the Father of Lies.

5-I'm pondering the lives of the people around me. The people that have those seemingly perfect lives (that I feel no need to compete with, in case you are wondering). I'm wondering how many have burdens like these that I'm seeing in these comments--even the simple ones--and I'm ignoring them or not helping. How many of them see me as perfect and think they need to measure up? I hope none. I try very hard to be exactly who I am.


Writerly Stuff


Sheesh! What with house hunting and book writing, I seem to have abandoned this completely. I hope to repent a bit over the next little while.

I do have a few things on my brain waiting to be spilled, so here goes.

I clean the library at my kid's school once a week. Well, I mean, I return all the books and put them away. I dust, and I wander through each section making sure that Encyclopedia Brown is not filed next to Brisingr, and that all of the 395's are there. It's an easy way to accrue volunteer hours that I can bring Tyrone with me and not interrupt anything important.

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing my usual dusting and saw Mockingjay on the juvenile shelf. I automatically pulled it off so that I could file it appropriately. Then I looked at the spine of the book. It was filed appropriately. In the juvenile section.

I was frankly appalled. I know my kids and they grab anything from off the shelves. I've wondered about a few books, why they were in the juvenile section. This was beyond anything though.

I put in a call to the librarian, who is currently my daughter's teacher (long and complicated story, that) and asked what was going on.

She told me that her library is categorized according to reading level--as in how tough the books are to read, not necessarily content. Apparently Mockingjay, in her reading system, is actually about a 5th grade book difficulty wise. She then told me that a lot of the huge current bestsellers are that way. Harry Potter is that way. Twilight is that way. There are several others as well. All of these books have some rather adult themes, some more than others, but they are written simply.

She did tell me that she has an alert that no-one but 8th graders can check Mockingjay out, and that if she finds out it's being checked out any younger she'll flip a lid. I happen to know how easy it is to do anything on her checkout system, so it won't surprise me if the system gets abused.

I think that (and encouraged her to) she should re-categorize it into the YA section regardless. I haven't been back into the library since because we had sick hit our house really hard this last couple of weeks.

I know she's in charge and I will abide by her decision. I'm cool with the fact that I made my sentiments known and she is free to do whatever she thinks is best.

For some reason though, the fact that these amazingly popular novels are written on such a basic level is really getting to me--meaning I can't stop thinking about it.

I'm not even sure why.

Is it another matter of "Do I write it because I can?" or is it something to ponder as a person who has ideas down for three books right now that I jump back and forth on? Do I want what I write to be simple and powerful? I may be uncomfortable with such adult concepts being widely available. I really can't quite put my finger on it.

When you read this, what do you think?

My Recent Absence from Blogging


My dear, darling-est, bloggy friends.

I'm so sorry. I do hope you'll forgive me.

Here is a line item of why I haven't been blogging.

1-Kit-Kats. I'd rather eat them than blog.

Just kidding, though I am eating one right now.

For serious now.

1-School started. I got busier. :) I volunteer once a week at the school library. I am currently substituting for 3rd grade strings.

That? Is crazy! Just sayin'.

2-We are in the process of obtaining a house. This has entailed long hours at the computer, many trips to various houses to examine them, and much discussion until 1 or 2 in the morning. Hence, I'm sitting here typing a post that is completely unexciting because all of my brain power is going that direction right now.

3-I am ignoring Christmas. I could be totally grinchy and wonder if I ignore it long enough whether it will come or not, but I'm not quite there yet. Just tired and grumpy and not from doing much by way of festive-ness.

4-In spite of that grump, I did play in our local community orchestra's production of The Messiah by Handel. Love. But I am completely out of shape to sit and play for that long straight. And the violins in the Messiah? No break at all. I think we got an 11 measure break in "The Trumpet Shall Sound". That's pretty much it.

5-Also in spite of the grump, I am in charge of our ward choir Christmas program. It occurs to me that this is less than two weeks away and I am not yet prepared, so as soon as I get done typing this post, I shall wander off and prepare for it.

6-There has been a death in my family. It was unexpected, shocking, heartbreaking, all of those things. I have been to New Jersey and back. I have dealt with the after effects of this in my own children and in my own life. I was supposed to do NaNoWriMo this year and I did write 23 pages of stuff, but that was me and catharsis. My novel was put on the back burner. I'm only 6000 words in to it.

So, between all of this, I have not blogged. I miss you all.

One last thing. Life is fragile. Live it with no regrets. I have plenty with this death that I am trying to make sure I don't let overwhelm me. I don't want that to happen again.

Love you all to pieces!


I just returned from a Jon Schmidt Concert


Fun stuff. He's funny and a great entertainer/comedian. The kids had a great time, except Tyrone who didn't enjoy the noise or the humor. He's a bit to small to get jokes about Star Wars and The Princess Bride. (What happens when Darth Vadar meets Vincini? You'll have to go to a concert to find out!)

This song, was, I thought, a home run! (But if you don't like Taylor Swift or Coldplay, stop listening now!)

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Happy days to you my blogging buddies!

Just. . .


And ad currently up on my facebook page.

"Play Pop&Drop and get addicted. Always free."


We are now advertising that this is the way to go?

This ad is rankling.

Addiction is never free.

Harvest Time


I had, for breakfast this morning, 1 pumpkin chocolate chip muffin and 2 fresh peaches purchased yesterday from a local fruit stand.

The muffin recipe I got from the fabulous Novembrance. It's her Mother of Invention Muffin recipe from her book, Comfortably Yum. If you don't own this book, the muffin recipe I just listed is worth the price of the book. I make a double batch on average once every two weeks and feed them to my kids in lunches and for breakfast. The Brookies recipe is Abbey's current favorite. The scones are to die for. Yeah. All so good. I haven't yet made anything out of the book that my family didn't chomp.

But I digress.

With no respect intended towards Luisa's spectacular recipe I have this to say.

The two fresh peaches totally eclipsed the muffin in flavor and enjoyment. It was almost unhealthy how much I enjoyed them.

In fact, I may go eat another one right now.

- - -

Really, I feel about fresh peaches about like I feel about tomatoes out of the garden. Fresh peaches, topped with a little bit of sugar and some heavy whipping cream rival fried cheese sandwiches (on home-made bread--don't even bother making them with the store-bought stuff) with thick slabs of tomato across the top as my ambrosia. (Truly, nothing tops home-made ice cream as my dad and brother make it, but these are close.)

- - -

And while I was going to type a lot more, I am suddenly called to go visit my mother. It's a good thing and I will get another box of fresh tomatoes out of it! Yay for home-canned tomato soup that we can eat with grilled cheese sandwiches!

I'm making myself hungry.


Shhh! Don't tell Angela!


But I think I liked The Lion King-the musical-more than I liked Wicked.

Because in spite of microphone problems, and a couple of things being deleted, I loved it!

This is coming from someone who really didn't care for the movie.

It was visually stunning, riddled with Christian and LDS symbolism, funny, and deep.

I can't wait to see it on Broadway some day.


I'm at a loss.


My daughter has started watching Star Trek the Next Generation and does not. . .I repeat. . .not like Jean Luc Picard.

There are no words. . .



Have you read this chapter in Isaiah? I've read it three times over the last few days. It's making me very happy. It's a very hopeful chapter.1 And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.5 Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.- - -Love you to pieces. I'm sure my posting will increase once school has started again. As it is, I still have family in town and will for another week and a half. And I'm so very happy about that.- - -I was moaning and groaning to myself yesterday (and, frankly, to the people around me) about how I wanted to do some quick family getaway over the next couple of weeks before school starts again. (It starts super early around here.) And then I promptly started laughing at myself. Hello! I've been to Vancouver, Canada, Nebraska and the Philippines this year already, and I'm already wanting to go again. Good grief!- - -Speaking of the Philippines, here's a couple of pictures for you to look at.Okay, there's five.Central Market in Bacolod. I adored this place. . .except the raw meat just sitting out. I liked everything else about it.Do you see something wrong with this picture?I love Plumerias. This one is going on my wall.Lion Fish from the Manila Ocean Park aquarium.Pig root?- - -I've been doing more hiking than normal this year. I've had a rather interesting reaction. The more I hike, the more I want to. I'm beginning to think that I should make this part of my exercise routine, but I don't want to do it alone. I wonder if I could find a permanent hiking buddy. - - -Okay, I've got to go be mom this morning, so I'm off. Have a happy day![...]

WW II in the Philippines


Manila American Memorial Cemetery.Corregidor Island.The dock MacArthur left from. Across the water is Bataan Peninsula.Some of Corregidor's many big guns.Philippine War Memorial and WWII plaque.Two of the many ruins on Corregidor.Pacific War MemorialStatueAlter (fully lit by the sun above on the week of May 6--the date the American's surrendered to the Japanese)The Eternal Flame, as seen from the alterHappy Fourth of July.[...]



Actually, he really shouldn't be Pablo. Pablo freaks out too easily and my Pablo does not freak out very easily, though he gets hurt very easily. (He's very off schedule right now and so the tears come much more quickly.)7 years ago Pablo entered this world. We were living in Oregon at the time and I was away from family and friends. The story of Pablo starts by us deciding that it's time to have another child. In my world, that means I'll be pregnant within one full cycle. And I was. For the first trimester I threw up every morning first thing. I'd take a drink of orange juice, throw it up, and then eat breakfast and be fine for the rest of the day. (How I still like orange juice is beyond me!) Faramir was not entirely convinced that my body was actually doing this to me. He wondered if I was doing this to myself because I was in a new place, with new friends and nothing else to do. I wondered if he was right because I had never had that problem before(and I didn't for Tyrone either). But even if my vomiting was in my head, what happened my second trimester wasn't. I got a rash. I was covered in hives from my neck to my knees. It was a big, ugly, itchy rash. I ran around in long sleeves and pants because I didn't want people to have to look at it. Thankfully this was from about January to March so I wasn't dying with my long sleeves on. I took four Benedryl every four hours and it didn't touch it. I went on steroids. Nothing changed. Finally, the dr. looked at me and said, "I think you are allergic to your pregnancy. There's nothing we can do, so. . .good luck with that." No--he didn't really say that, but that was the jist of it. So I itched for three months straight. I stopped wearing bras unless absolutely necessary. When at home I wore loose jammies. I put on some crazy lotions to help fight the itch, but nothing really helped. Not until towards the end of my pregnancy, actually. It was the worst in my second trimester but even to this day I feel the effects of that. I have a tendency to break out in a rash at seemingly random times, and while those breakouts are never as bad as the original, they still happen. I had a DO with Pablo. He was a very quiet man. Very forgettable, actually. He was very kind and capable, but so very quiet. (Sadly, just a few years after I had Pablo, he lost his license and was forced to close his doors.)With Kendra and Seth, the names were difficult. We went back and forth and ultimately Brad won both of those battles. I named Pablo and Tyrone and both of them had their names by about the 5-months-pregnant mark.Hrm. Labor and Delivery. My DO had told me he was going to induce me on January 1, one day before my due date (which made another lady in my ward very angry because she was a week over I think, and he wouldn't induce her). For a full week before Pablo was born I had contractions. Sometimes they were mild. Sometimes they were horrible. But they happened, and my lovely body did nothing.For a week.Finally, on June 30 at about 10:00 pm, I lost my mucous plug and my contractions kicked in hugely, so I called my emergency plan and wandered off to the hospital. . .in time for my contractions to stop. I walked the hallways. I sat on a big ball the size of me and rolled around. We tried every trick in the book to get me going again and nothing happened. The maternity ward was kind. They didn't have very many people there and they knew I was scheduled for induction the next day, so they didn't send me home. And so, for the third (and not final) time, I was induced. Truthfully, when I think about my sisters and me, I [...]

Music for a boy


Actually 5 boys.Five boys that would all come and sit on me at the same time if I was trying to take a nap on the couch. And then they would tickle me mercilessly. Five boys that had no compunction about throwing people into the cow trough. Five boys who also were happy to bury faces in snow and dump snow down shirts and have water fights. Five protective, loving, silly, funny, punny, fabulous boys. They aren't really boys. They are my brothers. They are all older than me and I love them to pieces for different reasons. :)So, without further ado, 5 songs that remind me of my brothers--one for each.1-BYU Fight Song--?For the Air Force Optometrist we have the BYU Fight Song. My two oldest brothers (twins) are unabashed BYU fans. But my memories associated with the school belong to the oldest. AFO was heavily involved in BYU sports at a time when some guy named Steve Young was playing at BYU. AFO, I believe, practiced with the team and worked to be a kicker. He never made it that far, but he tried. In the meantime he made friends with all of them. One of my older sisters was the president of the first ever Steve Young fan club and I remember AFO bringing home a poster for her signed by him. He still loved BYU--football in particular and follows them closely and inculcates all of his children with this same feeling. He truly bleeds BYU blue.2-I Believe in Christ--Performed here by the Mormon Tabernacle ChoirMy In-Vegas-but-not-Of-Vegas brother is twin to the AFO above. IVbnOV was a hard person to choose for, but ultimately I picked one of the most deeply religious songs I know. IVbnOV is one of the most deeply spiritual people I know. He and his family live and breathe the gospel in a way that I can only hope to emulate some day. He believes in Christ and demonstrates to me frequently that he is also not ashamed of Christ. He works harder at spreading the gospel than almost anyone I know. Living in "the city of sin" has not been easy for him. But perhaps he has gained this extra strength from having to fight sin on a very obvious and literal level every day. 3-Whistling in the Dark--They Might Be GiantsMy Physician's Assistant in Pennsylvania brother has taught me more than I can possibly say. He taught me that faith is a choice. He taught me that I didn't necessarily have to listen to all classical music all the time. He taught me about boys. And he taught me about forgiveness. I had borrowed some tapes from him to listen to while I was doing landscaping for a doctors office. One day, I left the tape player and all of the tapes out on the lawn while I went in and had my lunch. They were all gone when I got back. I wasn't too concerned about the player. It was mine. I was sad to lose it, but I felt far worse about the fact that I had lost the tapes I had borrowed from him. I remember (and it sounds cliche, but it's true) dying a thousand deaths before I finally got up the guts to call him and tell him. And he pretty much said, "No problem." I find this a powerful lesson in the fact that things are just that. Things. (I picked They Might Be Giants here because he was the first person with cd player and I used to sneak down in to his room while he was gone and listen to the cd over and over.)4-Polovtsian Dances--Alexander BorodinFor a time I was in the Mormon Youth Chorus and Symphony before it's sad demise. I enjoyed my time there. The Solipsist happened to be in town for one of our concerts and Polovtsian Dances by Borodin. Having a huge orchestra and an even bigger choir doing this was an awesome experience. (I didn't even k[...]

Because it was said. . .


I started quoting Shakespeare to Kendra this afternoon.

"Double, Double, Toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble."

She looked at me with a rather questioning look on her face.

I repeated it.

"Oh." she said. "I thought you said "Double, double, toilet trouble."

I burst out laughing because frankly, most of the time, that's exactly what we have.

My Philippines Trip


Really, I have no idea how to condense one of the most amazing trips of my life in to one blog post, so I'll just give you bare bones and a few pictures and then if you have questions and/or want more details, feel free to ask. I know, it's really long, but I have 35 pages of writing that I did while I was there (And I still haven't gotten in the last couple of days). I promise I'm doing the shortened version!Day 1--Manila/American Memorial Cemetary--one of the most stunningly beautiful places I've ever been and very emotional. I think they do a better job of remembering past wars there than we do here. I was also slammed by the heat and humidity. The weather forecast said thunder storms all around. The weather was sunny, hot and beautiful pretty much the whole time we were there.We also went to The Manila Ocean Park. The aquarium was fabulous and the amazing kinds of fishes there were awesome. Utah (or anywhere in the states that I've been for that matter) needs to import some. :) I love rays, just in case you are wondering!Day 2-We left very early and took a ferry to Corregidor island and stayed the night there. The tour was amazing. My only complaint was that there were a couple of stops on the tour where they gave us 15 minutes to look around and I needed an hour or more to take it all in. I love the Pacific War Memorial. Corregidor was really beautiful, but really dirty. The people there (in the country in general) haven't quite made the environmental/cleanliness strides that America has and it broke my heart to walk along the beach there and worry about where to put my feet because of the garbage that just washes up on the shore. (I know we still have a long ways to go here, but it was 10 times worse there.) We had all of our meals at the Inn that we stayed in and I immensely enjoyed eating on the veranda.Day 3-The morning was spent doing some more exploring of Corregidor, which was difficult. They have the tours but they do not have the ability for you to pay someone to take you anywhere aside from that and as we were crunched on time, we didn't have time to walk/hike to where we wanted to go. But we still found some beautiful spots, and picked up lots of shells to bring home, along with some blood rocks--white rocks with red coloring--amazingly symbolic considering what this one island has endured over the last 100 plus years. We are hoping they polish up well. The ferry ride back to Manila was horrible, in part from having to sit in diesel fumes for about 2 hours. I was sick by the time we got back to our hotel. We showered and tried to make it to the Manila temple for the last session, but were unsuccessful. I was feeling rather gross by that time and it took me about an hour and a half to get to the point that I could travel back to the hotel. I think it was the emotional stress of the whole trip combined with the diesel that did me in. Day 4--up early and a quick plane ride to Cebu. The temple was an adventure to find because the taxi driver didn't know where it was, but we got there and took the tour. Our poor tour guide was a little uncomfortable, I think, because he felt like he had to do the whole tour in English. We tried to tell him that we didn't need it, but everyone else there voted for English. It was a very emotional experience for Faramir. I was groggy from Dramamine (since I can't fly without it). It looks like all the other ones they are building on the outside. The world room, however, had palm trees and a roo[...]

It's Randomosity Time


I've been quiet recently. Have you noticed? Things have been rather crazy, so I thought I'd give an update in the form of a random list. :)1--Work--I am not moving to Nebraska. Our visit there was awesome--one of the best trips I've taken with Faramir. We got home, decided we could move there if things worked out right and sent off an email telling the guy that and asking some questions that we needed answered before we made the final decision. The response we received seemed rather abrupt and basically told us thanks for our time and good luck finding something else. (That's more blunt than the e-mail was, but essentially what it said.) So we shall move on to the next step, whatever it is. * * *2--There is road construction outside of my house right now--on a major road that's probably a foot ball field away. It's driving me nuts because there is some type of machine that is making a very low sound. It's so low and . . .I'm not really sure how to describe it. . .but it's so much that way that it's actually hurting my head. It starts and stops. I'm tempted to leave for a while and hope they are done when I come back.* * *3--While in Nebraska we got to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. A word to the wise. If you go and plan to see both, see Mount Rushmore first. Mount Rushmore is amazing. I'm a bit in awe of the audacity of someone that would do something like that. But I saw Crazy Horse first and Crazy Horse is that audacity times 100. Mount Rushmore--all four sculptures--can fit in Crazy Horse's hair. It's that big. There's no possible way to describe it. Crazy Horse isn't done, and I suspect won't be for another 50-100 years, but even that which they have done is amazing. * * *4--If in fact you do decide to go there, go to the Alpine Inn for lunch. I'm not exactly a German food connoisseur, but I know good food when I eat it, and that was awesome. Faramir got the wiener schnitzel and I got the spaetzle, and it was all awesome! (I hear dinner is amazing too--there's one thing on the menu besides dessert. Filet Mignon. When you go in all they ask is if you want the small or the large.)* * *5--So being that I'm just a world romping girl this year, we are off to the Philippines in less than two weeks. It should be crazy. I'm nervous and excited. We are going to go to Corregidor on what will be the American Memorial Day and that makes me happy. I'm a bit of a WWII nut as it is and this should be cool. I keep telling everyone that we'd love to have company, but no-one has taken us up on it yet. * * *6--Home--other than my mild anxiety about heading off to the Philippines, we are doing pretty well here. School is almost over--although that's a mixed blessing. However, our summer is filling up fast with sports and music and reunions and all sorts of this and that. We are on the last two weeks of school (we start mid-August) so we are essentially to play point. That's good and bad. Thankfully the weather has finally warmed up a bit. In fact, it's supposed to be downright hot today.* * *7--Faramir and I have been taking a strengthening marriage class and yesterdays class was about resolving conflict. There seemed to be two things that stood out to me. One was remembering that as a couple, we aren't two linebackers lined up across from each other on opposing teams, ready and waiting to hit the other person down. We are on the same team. We are coming at the ball from different angles, but ultimately our jobs is to get a touchdown for our team. (I'll th[...]

Seamore Tomato*


The memories go back for a really, really long time.Like 30-something years.I remember when she was born. My mom had a quiet hour every afternoon. I'd have to lay on her bed by her for a while, but once she was asleep, I could sneak off. I remember going in to look over the crib and play with the baby in there.Then there's a gap and the next thing I remember is beating up on her. We were rather merciless to each other. I'd hit her. She'd hit back. And we'd both go crying to mom and then we'd both get in trouble.The rest of the time we played.We shared a room for. . .years. We fought over toys and who had to keep what clean. (She is, by nature, a much cleaner person than I.)We played. We went on family trips. We shared a bed, because when you are the last two girls in a huge family, that's kind-of how it goes.I played the violin. She played the violin. . .for about a month. (That's an exaggeration in reverse. I can't remember how long--it was just very short.) I danced. She danced. I stopped dancing after three years of lessons. She didn't stop dancing until college when the arthritis she fought her whole life became too much. I played the drums for two years in high school. She played the drums through those first few years of college. She danced and drummed better than I and I violin-ed and piano-ed better than she.I only remember one real fight. I had the gall while she was in high school, to tell her that the guy she was hanging with was bad for her and kind-of turning her in to a nasty person. (Not terrible, just not as nice as she really is.) She didn't talk to me for months. But eventually she came around and started talking to me again.I picked the easiest and most logical of majors (though I was doing it the hard way by getting a double major) English literature and music performance. I didn't finish. (I will. I will!) She chose economics because it sounded interesting but difficult. I wondered at her sanity. She graduated.Because of my pick of majors, I met Faramir, who plays horn and is now an optometrist. Because of her major, she (re)met her husband, who plays the piano and is well on his way to becoming a very respected economist. She, her husband, and my husband all graduated with their bachelor's degrees on the same day. I ran from one place to the other trying to take it all in. And, quite frankly, trying not to be more than a little jealous.The couch in my living room used to belong to her. She tricked me out of a crocheted blanket I made. (We decided that whoever got pregnant first got it. She was pregnant at the time, just not telling (me) people.) When we get together on the phone, the conversation is rarely shorter than an hour.We left our place of birth at the same time. She went to Berkeley. I went to Pacific. We both were following our husbands as they followed their dreams. Now she's moving to Chicago and I? I'm back here close to the place of my birth with no real idea of what is coming next.We are brought together by sewing, religion, children, music, and silliness.She's velvet. I'm a hamburger (at least I think that's how our high school orchestra teacher put it.)We are so different. And yet, as I've typed this, I'm amazed at how parallel our lives have been.I love you. I miss you so much this morning it hurts. I wish you were here so we could have a party and watch silly romantic movies and be the girls again that talked until 2 am (or our mother told us to be quiet).Happy Birthday![...]

Get Up, and Win the Race


I've gone through every range of emotion in the last week. Fear, loathing, hurt, happiness, peace, excitement, etc..This morning I had some interesting thoughts, so I thought I'd share one of them.Perhaps you've heard this poem (one of my favorites)?‘Quit’ Give up, your’re beaten!‘ they shout at me and plead. ‘There’s just tto much against you now, this time you can’t succeed.’ And as I started to hang my head in front of failures face, My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race. And hope refills my weakened will, as I recall that scene, And just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being. A children’s race. Young boys, young men, I remember well. Excitement, sure, but also fear; it wasn’t hard to tell They all lined up so full of hope. The thought to win that race. Or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place. And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son, And each boy hoped to show his Dad, that he would be the one. (The whistle blew).To win, to be the hero there, was each boy’s young desire. And one boy in particular, his Dad was in the crowd, Was running near the lead and thought. ‘My Dad will be so proud.‘ But as he sped down the field across a shallow dip, The little boy who thought to win, lost his step and slipped, Trying hard to catch himself, his hands flew out to brace, And mid the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face. So, down he fell and with him hope. He couldn’t win it now. Embarrassed, sad, he only wished to disappear somehow. But, as he fell, his Dad stood up and showed his anxious face. Which to the boy so clearly said, ‘Get up and win the race!‘ He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all, And ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall. So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win, His mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again. He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace. ‘I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.‘ But, in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face, That steady look that said again, ‘Get up and win the race.‘ So up he jumped to try again, ten yards behind the last, ‘If I’m to gain those yards,’ he thought, ‘I’ve got to run real fast.‘ Expanding everything he had, he regained eight or ten But trying so hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again. ‘Defeat!‘ He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye. ‘There’s no sense running any more, three strikes, I’m out, why try?‘ The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away, So far behind, so error prone, closer all the way. ‘I’ve lost so what’s the use?’ he thought, ‘I’ll live with my disgrace.‘ ‘Get up‘, an echo sounded low, ‘Get up,’ it said, ‘you haven’t lost it all. For winning is no more than this: to rise each time you fall.“ So he rose to win once more, and with a new commit, He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit, So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been, Still he gave it all he had and ran as through to win. Three times he’d fallen, three times he rose again. They cheered the winning runner as he crossed the line, first place, Head high and proud and happy; no falling, no disgrace. But when the fallen youngster crossed the finishing line, last place, The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race, And even thoug[...]



Vancouver, Canada is beautiful. I was in awe of the green, and it's not even full spring there yet.

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My toes were so cold the other morning that they hurt when I got in the shower.

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Butchart Gardens was a beautiful as I remember it being. I cried when I walked through to see the Sunken Garden.

Wow. Just wow.

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I'm off again on Friday. It's a crazy month here at the Faramir/Eowyn house.

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Do you think I would look good as a red head?

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I have the greatest friends!

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Thoughts I want to remember from church.

When Moses first went to visit Pharaoh he turned his staff into a snake. Then Pharaoh's guys turned their staffs in to snakes. The Moses' snake swallowed up the rest of them.

The gospel of Jesus Christ swallows up all evil. His atonement swallows up our sins if we allow it. Someday He will swallow all evil.

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Unleavened bread is more pure. I did not know this. Unleavened bread takes longer to spoil.

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I think I've blogged before about our own Exodus.
Sin puts us in bondage (Children of Israel to Egypt). We can only be cleansed through the Blood of The Lamb (Passover). We make an Exodus from the sin. Everyone would have thought it silly for the Children of Israel to stay in Egypt. I need to leave my sins behind.

How do I leave the world and follow Christ?
And will it take me 40 years to do it?

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No amount of unprepared agony is worth the preparation time.

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We are expected to make our marriages work. Heavenly Father expects and wants us to succeed and will be there to fight with us.

A great relationship is based on the following (scripture references for each if you like):

Faith--1 Nephi 7:12
Prayer--2 Nephi 32:8
Repentance--Helaman 12:23-26
Forgiveness--1 Nephi 7:27, Luke 23:24
Respect--Doctrine and Covenants 134:6
Love--Genesis 29:20
Compassion--1 Corinthians 12:26
Work--Alma 36:25
Wholesome Recreational Activities

Notice how far down the list Love is.

Oh Canada


I know that not everyone I know who watched the Vancouver Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies liked them. I Loved them! They appealed to me in just about every way. I mean, they even had fiddle music! What's not to love! I adored this poem. And so, in honor of the trip I am about to take, I'm putting the words out here for you. If you want the real experience, here's a youtube clip of someone's recording of the telling that night. A. Maze. Ing! (This recording may not last long. IOC apparently pulls everything down due to "copyright".)We Are More by Shane KoyczanWhen defining Canadayou might list some statisticsyou might mention our tallest buildingor biggest lakeyou might shake a tree in the falland call a red leaf Canadayou might rattle off some celebritiesmight mention Buffy Sainte-Mariemight even mention the fact that we've got a fewBarenaked Ladiesor that we made these crazy thingslike zipperselectric carsand washing machineswhen defining Canadait seems the world's anthem has been"been there done that"and maybe that's where we used to be atit's truewe've done and we've beenwe've seenall the great themes get swallowed up by the machineand turned into theme parksbut when defining Canadadon't forget to mention that we have set sparkswe are not just fishing storiesabout the one that got awaywe do more than sit around and say "eh?"and yeswe are the home of the Rocket and the Great Onewho inspired little number ninesand little number ninety-ninesbut we're more than just hockey and fishing linesoff of the rocky coast of the Maritimesand some say what defines usis something as simple as please and thank youand as for you're welcomewell we say that toobut we are morethan genteel or civilizedwe are an idea in the processof being realizedwe are youngwe are cultures strung togetherthen woven into a tapestryand the designis what makes us morethan the sum total of our historywe are an experiment going right for a changewith influences that range from a to zedand yes we say zed instead of zeewe are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italywe dream so big that there are thosewho would call our ambition an industrybecause we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snowwe do more than grow wheat and brew beerwe are vineyards of good year after good yearwe reforest what we clearbecause we believe in generations beyond our ownknowing now that so many of ushave grown past what used to bewe can stand here todayfilled with all the hope people havewhen they say things like "someday"someday we'll be greatsomeday we'll be thisor thatsomeday we'll be at a pointwhen someday was yesterdayand all of our aspirations will pay the wayfor those who on that daylook towards tomorrowand still they say somedaywe will reach the goals we setand we will get interest on our inspirationbecause we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacksmore than backpacks and hiking trailswe are hammers and nails building bridgestowards those who are willing to walk acrosswe are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a losswe are not the see-through gloss or glamourof those who clamour for the failings of otherswe are fathers brothers sisters and mothersuncles and nephews aunts and nieceswe are cousinswe are found missing puzzle pieceswe are families with room at the table for newcomerswe are more than summers and winters[...]