A long hug

Have you ever heard of the Piano Guys?  If you haven’t it, you should.  Tragedy struck one of them 2 weeks ago.  There has been lots about it in the media where I live, I have shed tears about it and struggled with what I would do as a parent.  Truthfully, being a mom has been hard this past week with my daughter.  I feel like every day is a battle of figuring out how to help her feel GOOD and not sick.  It is hard because sometimes she looks great and is laughing, but people don’t see the tears, hear her cries or see her in pain at all crazy hours of the night.  As I have been trying to figure out how to help, my mind has been drawn to the experiences of the Piano Guys.

Today I read this blog post https://thepianoguys.com/message-piano-guy-cello-guy/.  Read it and think about what it means to you.

Then give someone a long hug…just because.

Watching

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This week of motherhood has been a huge learning curve.  Last week my daughter got sick, I am not going to go into details, but it is not something that just goes away over night.  It is going to be something that we deal with all the time.  There is a family tendency towards it, but every person is different.  And it is hard.

It is not that her condition is necessarily hard to diagnose and there are things to help, but it is basically try and fail and try and fail and try and make progress and the pattern repeats.  You know what the hardest part is, though?  Watching your child suffer.  It is hard to see my daughter wrench in pain, scream because it hurts, and not be able to do ANYTHING about it.  At times I feel worthless.  All I can do sometimes is just give her a hug and tell her to calm down.  But you know what I want to do?

I just want to take it away and have my happy girl back.

I am sure that is what Heavenly Father feels like at times with me and probably every one of us.  I know that He doesn’t like to see us in pain, but that it is part of our learning curve.  I am sure that He longs to take away our pain, sorrow, and heart ache, but knows that it will teach us so much more then just taking it away.  I also know that He has given me a hug and told me to calm down.  Sometimes it comes in the form of another person who is being His hands, and sometimes it comes as a feeling in my heart.  He never leaves me, unless I turn away.

I plan to be there for my daughter, and know that Heavenly Father is there right now for her and for me.  Sometimes it doesn’t make it any easier, but I am so glad I don’t have to do this parenting thing alone.  I always have someone to turn to and I always can talk to Him, in prayer.  If you didn’t know, prayer is power.  Literally, prayer is power!

My prayers are for my daughter and for ways to be able to help her.  And I know that there will be many hugs for both of us.

The blurry truth

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Let me tell you, it has been one of those weeks.  We have had sick kids, sick parents, doctor visits, an Insta-Care visit, an ER visit, and flu shots (and a side note: one of the worst things ever is to wake up at some crazy time to a kid that has thrown up everywhere and you don’t even know where to start cleaning up).  And at school drop off one day, a 15 passenger van hit our van (her name is Silver, just so you know!).

It was just a normal drop off, like any other, but not.  We were in line to go to the drop off location, but not moving at all.  There was a 15 passenger van in front of us full of daycare kids.  The 15 van let out kids right then and instead of just waiting, reversed to turn down a different aisle in the parking lot.  Well, you guess it, reversed right into Silver.  I was shocked, but was able to somehow honk, more than once.  I pulled into the aisle after the 15 van and pulled into a parking spot, thinking that the 15 van would do the same.  I was totally shocked.  My kids were totally shocked.  But the 15 van didn’t stop, just turned and left.

WHAT???!!!!!

Well, my 6-year-old was concerned about Silver and so she walked around and checked her out, which Silver was just fine.  My 4-year-old, previous to leaving for school drop off, said his tummy felt funny (he was the one that threw up everywhere) and refused to take a “barf bucket” just in case.  So, he is cuddling in his booster with two blankets shivering and saying that he is okay.  My 2-year-old is just being quiet and cute wearing her bright pink sunglasses.  Everyone was okay, Silver was okay and my 6 year old is like, “ok, I am going to go get in line now!” My reply, “I am going to walk you through the parking lot.” She was not happy that I was doing that but she relented.  So I got back in Silver and sat there, still in disbelief.

I was still in my jammies, hadn’t brushed my hair, and I hadn’t even brushed my teeth (although all my kids were dressed and had brushed teeth).  What do I do now?  I just sat there a little longer, realizing that the other person didn’t have the decency to pull over.  Can’t people do the right thing?  Maybe she didn’t feel the big bump?  Maybe that huge van just feels big and bulky ALL the time.  The 15 van was full of other kids, I was hoping that they were all okay.

As we got home, I just couldn’t stop thinking how I didn’t want to file an insurance claim at all, I just wanted the driver to acknowledge that something happened.  I googled minor car accidents and found a lot of websites that offered “10 easy steps to follow when in a minor car accident.” Two of the steps caught my eye, 1- never say you’re sorry and 2- never admit fault.  I see where these are coming from, from a legal stand point, but it dawned on me that maybe we choose not to do the “right” thing, because the right thing is more of a “blurry” right.

What if you know it was you and it was your fault?  That isn’t blurry at all, the window is clear, not covered in rain.  Then my thoughts turned to the driver of the 15 van.  I know taking care of kids is hard, and driving anywhere with just my three is sometimes enough to drive you crazy, I can’t image a 15 passenger van full of them.  I am sure she is over worked, underpaid, and sometimes doesn’t want to go to work.  School drop off is just another part of her day…but I hope that she realized that she is an asset to those kids.  She is entrusted for caring for them.  I know it is probably hard for some of those parents to have their kids in daycare and to let others take their kids to school, care for them, and show them love.

So, I don’t really care about Silver, she is a piece of metal that we just hope lasts a little while longer, BUT I care about all those kids.  Remember, driver of 15 van, that they trust you and are counting on you to keep them safe.  I hope that you can help teach them that doing the right things doesn’t have to be blurry, it is your choice to do the right thing, even when it is hard.

Singing with the choir

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Music has always been a part of my life.  I have been blessed to be surrounded by people with musical talent.  My grandpa was in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for years.  My dad is very musically gifted.  He can name almost any classical piece by just listening to it.  He can sing, he used to play the violin and the guitar, and he can teach people how to sing.  My mom was a concert pianist and could sing opera.  They were an amazing match.  They met in college doing musical theater stuff.  I have so many memories of growing up with music.  My mom would play the piano often and I loved to hear that music through the house.  My dad would sit in his den with the door closed and BLAST his classical music.  I am not sure why he closed the door, you could hear like it three houses down, but it is always a fun memory to think about it.  For a number of years my mom and dad were the backbone of the ward choir.  My dad conducted the music and taught the choir members tons!  I learned a lot from him while I was sitting in those choir pews.  My mom played the piano for the choir, and the organ for sacrament meeting, and the piano in Relief Society.  When I was little she played the piano in primary.  My sister can sing high soprano and it is amazing as her kids are getting older to watch in amazement at her kids and their vocal abilities.  One of my favorite memories was when my sister and my dad sang together.  I still have the sheet music for that song and hold it dear, it was an incredible moment.

And then there is my husband.  He can play guitar, he writes his own songs, records his own songs and is just plain amazing.  Seriously, we have 5 different guitars in our house and multiple recording things to go with them.  It is great!  I have been truly blessed by his talent and he always amazes me.  And his dad is a great singer, his mom taught herself how to play the piano and the organ and can sing as well.  He has a sister that plays the violin, so there are lovely musical people that have surrounded me!

I would like to say that I can hold my own when it comes to music.  I started taking piano lessons when I was 8 and enjoyed it.  I must say I didn’t always work as hard as I should have.  I can read music pretty well and sometimes just let my musical ability pull me through, instead of practicing seriously.  But, I am so grateful for my loving piano teacher and all that I was able to learn from her. Now that my kids can entertain themselves to some sort it has been fun to play a little more when I can. I can sing, but I am not the best.  I taught myself to sing alto as a freshman in college, because I was sick of just being the “regular” soprano.  Harmonizing is fun!  Anyway, it was a switch though because in high school I always was singing Soprano II and it was hard to switch, but I like it.

In high school I sang in the women’s choir (which was super early, like 6:30 am) and it was fun.  My senior year I played the piano for a few friends when they auditioned for chamber choir.  I was shocked when the choir director asked me if I wanted to audition.  I really wanted to, but AP Biology was the same hour as chamber choir, and I decided AP Bio was a better idea.  I really, really regret that.  I was horrible at Biology and wish I would have been brave enough to do something I really wanted to, instead of something that I “should” do.  But, what is done and done.  In college I auditioned for a choir, but didn’t make it and that was the end of me trying at all. I didn’t think I was good enough and so it goes.

Later when I served a mission for my church, I got to sing a lot.  One memory stands out.  My companion and I were asked to sing at a funeral, no big deal.  Well, we were to sing in a church that was a different denomination, which was fine, but the pastor was not happy at all about it.  When we got to the funeral we had prepared but we had never met our pianist and didn’t practice with her specifically, so we just prayed that we would add to the spirit of the meeting.  When we started singing, I am pretty sure that a choir of angels was singing for us.  My companion and I just looked at each other when we were done and knew that our prayer had been heard.

Because of the wonderful time I had in choir growing up with my parents, I have always wanted to be part of the ward choir.  You don’t have to try out, you don’t have to claim to sing amazing, you can just go and sing praises to God no matter who you are.  Well, with my husband and his responsibilities in church and three young kids, choir seemed like it was something that was going to come later in life, whenhad time for it.  A few months ago, I keep getting the feeling that I should really try and figure out how I could get to choir and rearrange things so that I could do it now.  I needed some outlet and knew that the choir director had a lot of musical knowledge and I could learn something.  But it just came down to the fact that I wasn’t willing to make the sacrifice because I didn’t have time for it.  Then a got a call to meet with the bishop…oh man.

I was asked to serve as the person that set up the special musical numbers in my ward and a big part of that was supporting the choir.  The bishop asked that the choir perform once a month.  I thought that was a daunting task because of the size of the choir, but recognized this as the way that God wanted me to have time for choir.  There are lots of other things to do with my calling, besides supporting the choir, but I feel that this was a huge blessing for me.

When we sacrifice our time, our talents, or whatever it may be, the blessings in return are immeasurable.  My only regret, is that I would have CHOSEN to humble myself and make that sacrifice myself because that would have been sweeter.  The joy comes faster when we truly humble ourselves instead of being compelled to be humble.  There have been and continue to be answers to prayers from my choir attendance.  I cannot say that it is easy to go every week, but then the uplift comes and I am so grateful for the opportunity I am given at this time to make the sacrifice and truly be refined in the process.  The tender mercies are too close and personal to share at this time, but I have truly been humbled.

So my question to you, what are you going to sacrifice to be a better person, to be willing to give what you can so that you can receive those tender mercies in your life?  I hope you will be humble and be willing to give of yourself to help those around you and to thank your Heavenly Father.

Solitude verses Loneliness

The past 8 days I have been on a trip.  It was a great adventure in many ways.  I tagged along on with my husband on his business trip.  Naturally I took a book to read, at least I thought that was a natural thing to do, until I saw so many electronic devices.  The funny thing was, I was reading a book called, “Reclaiming Conversation:The Power of Talk in a Digital Age” about how we need time with real people, not just our devices.

One chapter in particular struck me.  It was simply called “Solitude”.  I was drawn to it because of my introverted nature and was curious as to what I could learn from this.  I wasn’t surprised that the author quoted from Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” in this chapter. I guess what intrigued me most was the way solitude and loneliness were defined.  It gave me a lot to think about and I think it will make you think too.

Sherry Turkle quotes Paul Tillick saying, “Language…has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone.  And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being along.” (Reclaiming Conversation, p.65).

Think about that for a minute.  Solitude=glory, loneliness=pain and yet you are alone with yourself in both circumstances.  Turkle continues, “Loneliness is painful, emotionally and even physically, both from a ‘want of intimacy’ when we need it most, in early childhood.  Solitude- the capacity to be contentedly and constructively alone- is built from successful human connection at just that time.  But if we don’t have experience with solitude- and this is often the case today- we start to equate loneliness and solitude.  This reflects the impoverishment of our experience.  If we don’t know the satisfactions of solitude, we only know the panic of loneliness” (Reclaiming Conversation, p.65-66).

Her whole premise is that because people are so busy trying to be busy on their devices we are all denying ourselves of solitude.  In effect people are scared of having any time to think and instead of being “bored” go through the mind numbing of checking everything on their social media so that we don’t have to be alone.  It was interesting to be in a big city and see this happening.  People are glued to their screens and never look up.  I am not sure how they knew when to get off of the metro or go down the right streets, but heads were mostly down and eyes hardly ever looked up.  So, as I am writing this I realize that is what people are doing, they are busy on devices.

My question for you is, is it solitude or loneliness for you?

I choose solitude.