Tuesday, April 20, 2010

potty talk

Yesterday afternoon. The first piano lesson of the day.

9 year old piano student: Oh, I am so hot. I ran all the way here. I need some water or something.

She gulps down the glass of water I hand her.

9 year old piano student: Thanks, a lot. Oh, I am so hot.

Me: Well cool yourself down. Sit down and—

9 year old piano student: (She blurts out) Can I use your bathroom?

Me: ‘Course.

Minutes later she returns to the piano bench.

9 year old piano student: Guess what?

(Before I can guess she informs me): I have constipation.

Me: Really. Well, well.

9 year old piano student: Yup, I have to take mineral oil for it.

Me: Oh. Well. (I couldn’t resist). How is that working out for you?

9 year old piano student: Not too well. I have to like sit on the toilet for like an hour a day.

Me: Start your scales, Hadley.

Monday, April 19, 2010

because i knew you..i have been changed for good

Sad doings yesterday. The school year is over. Testimony meeting had Bishop ld tearfully sharing: We don’t cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened. He even quoted Tennyson’s (okay at my urging) I am a part of all I have ever met.

Then a student read the lyrics to the hymn Each Life that Touches Ours for Good in their testimony. And so it went. We love these kids. They are wonderfully endearing.

Things got a tad bit weird though, when a girl in her testimony quoted lyrics of a song from the Broadway musical Wicked (For Good). Would have been okay except she sorta forgot the words and so a MDT (Musical/Dance/Theater) major sitting in the congregation helped her out by blurting out the words. Out loud. In Sacrament meeting.

Only at BYU.

More sweet testimonies followed. Later that night at our final ward prayer we watched a slideshow of our time together. The Relief Society had prepared little momentos for each member of the Bishopric. Leave it to the RS gals to always be so thoughtful.

Sniffling on the ride home ld and I talked about this past school year. We have loved serving together and have grown so much. We also are cognizant of our good fortune as we have been pretty spoiled with a freshman ward. They are so enthusiastic and impressionable. But we sent them off with love and hugs and now it begins all over again. Sunday we begin with a whole new crop of students from a new and affluent apartment complex. They are not freshman but rich upperclassman. I told ld to consider it like a missionary transfer. Whole ‘nother set of dynamics. But there will be some within his influence, I am sure.

Did I mention that my husband is one terrific Bishop?

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Because I knew you..
I have been changed for good.

(lyrics "For Good" from the musical Wicked) he he he

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

;lkjd djkl

The words I miss most from my mother's lips: All will be well.

I would give anything to hear her lovingly say that to me again, as she so often would, when I was troubled or lacked faith. The words themselves, coupled with her soothing voice, could calm and restore hope like nothing else. Who, I wonder, said the words to her, when she faced her own fears, demons, disappointments and heartache? She was better at listening to the Spirit than I am, no doubt.

Max Lucado (Fearless) says basically the same thing:

Everything will work out in the end. If it is not working out, it’s not the end.

This is helpful. Sort of. But I am tired and impatient and sad. It's time for the gulls.

It’s time, Father,

For the gulls, I think.

My arms shake

From flailing my field.

I sink,

Broken as the little stalks

Beneath their devouring burden.

I yield it all to you,

Who alone can touch all things.

It’s time, Father,

For the gulls.

I will be still,

And listen for their wings.

(Carol Lynn Pearson, “Time for the Gulls,” New Era, Oct. 1976, 50


The weariness and helplessness I feel is not unique to me, I know that. I just want things to work out in the end and I want the end right now.

The fictional *Reverend Maclean expresses my familial frustration best:

Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding.

(*From the book/film A River Runs Through It)

Friday, April 9, 2010

too beautiful this year

A little past 8 pm last night ld and I left the temple. I hadn't been to the Provo one in years. The sunset and view, breathtaking. The sun had slipped below the horizon and only a faint glow remained. The lights from the city were on. So lovely. And for once this season the weather was just right, as it should be, Spring-like. My guy asked me if I was up for a Root beer float.
Of course. We settled on a cherry lime freezee-drink-something from Sonic.

I woke up this morning to the sweet memory of a beautiful last night.
A little Edna St. Vincent Millay, then. She talks of Fall, I feel this about my Spring.

God's World
O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart. Lord, I do fear
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year.
My soul is all but out of me, let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

Remember, people. April is National Poetry month. Celebrate.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

this got me out of bed

The whole time at Zions I could not get this piece out of my head. Weird. And then this morning I woke up to it again. Enough already. Sheesh.

Here's Andre Rieu and his adaptation. I would post the original orchestral version but you remember it's over 18 minutes long, people. Once this melody gets stuck in your head you're done for. Nothing to do but give in to its madness. Which is what many music scholars say Ravel was when he wrote it. Listen for the sudden key change at about 6:10. I defy you to remain un-frenzied.

Maurice Ravel's Bolero.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

gospel doctrine list

A couple of weeks ago someone in my ward called and asked me for a list of lesson helps. This is the list I gave her. It’s not exhaustive by any means but has helped my lesson preparation immeasurably, not to mention my own personal scripture study.

But first, read this:
It’s excellent and a must read if you’re really serious about teaching.

Church’s sites:
lds.org. Duh.

Scripture commentaries:
Really nice site.

Lesson plans/outlines:
(click on the lesson helps section)
(click on the left under the year)
(lessons are in powerpoint)
(lessons are in pdf form)

Note: Farms is no more. It’s now the Maxwell Institute

Collective/group blogs:
has a whole archive section of great lesson questions

Individual blogs:
to find stories to replace old worn out ones

LDS Magazines (click on Gospel Doctrine section):

BYU stuff:
Encyclopedia of Mormonism
(like it for finding talks related to a particular scripture theme, and also for seeing what verses are cited the most often in General Conference. Awesome site).
History of the Church. Complete volumes

Other sources:
(some good scholarly sites, not LDS, but a wealth of background into biblical times. Also, the other editions of the bible help clarify difficult passages)
(Daniel Rona’s site. LDS guy, converted from Judaism)

Monday, April 5, 2010

more sermonizing. not for you. for me.

Note: I wrote this post a long, long time ago and then deleted it. I can't remember why. Possibly because it was rambly and long. Found it today and am posting it for real. I am fond of preaching to myself.

Jeff’s recent thoughtful post has stirred me up. I knew one of the men he was talking about, for a while they lived down the street from us and Mother befriended his young wife. They were a young, hopeful couple and seemed especially enthused about the gospel. I remember the young man bearing his testimony and mentioning how grateful he was that his wife saw fit to ‘hitch her wagon to his star’ and marry him. I was a terribly romantic adolescent then and the words made me swoon. Oh yes, I remember them. So sad to hear that life did not give that family all they had hoped and wished for. And then his untimely death, that just stinks. Especially contrasted with the other more prominent death.

Many emotions rise to the surface. I like to think that it is noble of me to care so much about and feel such a sense of injustice. But truth be told, there is something else that keeps bubbling up in all this. Something I dare not admit as it is proof again of my shallowness.
It’s hard not to feel a teeny bit bitter, jealous, and resentful of the man who died with it all – success, fame, money and righteousness to boot. I am sure he had his struggles, but all we see is that. This seeming unfairness, well it rankles me a bit. There I said it.
How dare he lead a charmed, smooth life, adored and admired by so many! And here’s more of the ugly truth: Who doesn’t want lots of people singing their praises and lauding their achievements at their funeral? Who doesn’t want it splashed throughout the newspapers that a good man (or woman) has died and will be sorely missed?

We all want that, don’t we? It is proof that our life mattered, that we had worth. That we were respected. This is the rub for me and the awful truth, maybe for you, too. We simply love the good opinion of others, crave it in fact. And this obsession/need comes cloaked in respectability. I want to give off that I have it all together, that I belong to an ‘Ensign family’, and I expect to be rewarded for all my efforts, both spiritual and temporal. There is shame in admitting this, but there it is. Now don’t get me wrong, wanting respectability is not wholly a bad thing. Not at all. But taken to extremes and left unchecked it can cause us to appear rather than to actually be. And that is not good. In fact, the Savior had quite a bit to say about this.

Now I know you are all thinking ‘this is not what JLA was meaning at all in his post’. I get that, people. I always go from point A and wind up around W. But, for me, point W is usually where the truth lies. At any rate, through all this, I was reminded of a talk that I have loved all these years. Perhaps I have loved it because it speaks to my insecurities and makes clear what really, really matters.

Elder Packer (Boyd K. Packer, “The Choice,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 20):

…remember this: It is the misapprehension of most people that if you are good, really good, at what you do, you will eventually be both widely known and well compensated. It is the understanding of almost everyone that success, to be complete, must include a generous portion of both fame and fortune as essential ingredients. The world seems to work on that premise. The premise is false. It is not true. The Lord taught otherwise.

I want you…to know this truth:
You need not be either rich or hold high position to be completely successful and truly happy. In fact, if these things come to you, and they may, true success must be achieved in spite of them, not because of them.

And then this:
…the choice of life is not between fame and obscurity, nor is the choice between wealth and poverty. The choice is between good and evil, and that is a very different matter indeed.

…Wealth and prominence do not always come from having earned them. Our worth is not measured by renown or by what we own.

We may foolishly bring unhappiness and trouble, even suffering upon ourselves. These are not always to be regarded as penalties imposed by a displeased Creator. They are part of the lessons of life, part of the test.
Some are tested by poor health, some by a body that is deformed or homely. Others are tested by handsome and healthy bodies; some by the passion of youth; others by the erosions of age.
Some suffer disappointment in marriage, family problems; others live in poverty and obscurity.
Some (perhaps this is the hardest test) find ease and luxury.
All are part of the test, and there is more equality in this testing than sometimes we suspect.
It is possible to be both rich and famous and at the same time succeed spiritually. But the Lord warned of the difficulty of it when He talked of camels and needles (see Matt. 19:24).

He goes on:

What, then, do we want you to do? Simply this:
Be good!
Study the gospel.
Live it!
Stay active in the Church.
Receive the ordinances.
Keep your covenants.

Hmm. There it is. Everyone speaks of death being the great equalizer, and it is. But the truth is it is covenants, both made and kept, that put us all on equal footing and eliminate any need for comparing or being jealous. Keeping covenants (and that really means discipleship as well) is well within the realm of all us.
If, when I die, that is all that can be said about me, then all will be well and good. Because somewhere away from the crowds, and the well attended funerals and the respectability we have so carefully crafted around ourselves, somewhere, sometime the truth about us will come out. The Lord will judge, in both justice and in mercy, how we each fared.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

love crucified arose

The Easter parading and egg hunts are over. Enjoyed Easter dinner but everyone has gone home. ld headed off to Ward Prayer and I am alone now with my thoughts.

ld and I first discovered Michael Card years ago. Such a gifted Christian songwriter and yeah he's pop and I don't usually like religious pop. 'Cept for this guy. Some of my favorites- Joseph's Song, Immanuel, The Gentle Healer, and Joy in the Journey. Though not of our faith he directs the heart to the Savior with such insight and sincerity.

And this one remains a favorite.

easter hattery

hotel sewing

ld had his annual work conference at Zion's again. I tagged along, only this year I brought my sewing machine. Yup. I sewed while ld attended meetings. I finished these bunny slippers. I wish the pic were clearer. I'll post a better one when I can sneak them off Cate's feet.

You should make them. They are ridiculously easy. The free pattern found here:
I made them into bunnies, but you could turn them into any animal really.

I wanted to make Cate a barnyard play mat for Easter. I cut up an old tablecloth and came up with a mud hole, corral, pond and garden (complete with carrots). The barn bag holds all her little animals along with the mat.

The only thing missing is a tractor. When I find one cheap and small enough, I'll add that.

Cate loves it. Makes me happy.