Someone's husband in our family laughs at us because we overuse the word "Beautiful." When the girls in my family get together...it's true...that probably is a word that is thrown out constantly. My sisters and nieces are beautiful, the places they live are beautiful, the things they make are beautiful, the music they listen to is beautiful, the pictures they take are beautiful, their children are beautiful, the movies they watch are beautiful, the words they listen to are beautiful, We have been taught a beautiful gospel and life philosophy that is at the core of who we are, and the feelings we get are beautiful.
I have come to realize that it is not our lack of vocabulary that is the problem. It is that we, when we are together, for some reason, have been taught, either by purpose or by accident, to identify beautiful things...and they are what they are. I have a beautiful family that has always been a beautiful influence in my life. We seek out things that are beautiful and share them with eachother...we focus on them, point them out, dwell on them, try to make them visible and ever present in our own lives...perspective is really what life is all about. Finding beauty in the simplest of things. Finding it everywhere. Allowing yourself to Identify it and feel it. Even if it means you are either crying or laughing all the time. Trying to live a beautiful life. Striving to be beautiful on the inside so that it shows through on the outside. Striving to find lasting beauty that comes from within. The girls in my family understand, even if no one else does...we are all going to try to have beautiful lives. And continue to find the beauty in eachother. To my mom, sisters, and nieces, you are all BEAUTIFUL...and thank you for filling my life with beautiful things! I love you!!!!!
Jeff and I started the tradition a long time ago. We call it a "date", but it's really not. We get in the car together, and leave the kids with a sitter for a few hours...but that is where the semblance of the date ends. We started it before we were married. I think it's one of the reasons we get along so well. It's a passion for books.
We head over to Barnes and Nobel. We hold hands until we get into the door, and then, we split up. Jeff usually heads over to the Science Fiction /Fantasy section, and eventually ends up in the motorcycle magazine section. I take the straight line back to the children's section. My literacy mentality never matured passed Newbery Award books. I still have not read all of them. Although it is one of my long term goals.
I just remember in high school having to read Orwell, Steinbeck and Hemingway...and hating all of them. Their bleak outlooks on life and human nature. Their choice of tragic subject matter. The glorification of the natural man. I strongly believed that my high school in Pontiac had some of the very best literature teachers in the world. I received a very strong English education that gave me a real advantage in college. And even though I enjoyed my teachers interpretations on the symbolism, and the knowledge they shared with us about the authors lives, I decided then that I would rather get lost in fairy tales and fantasy and focus on what is possible, rather than stripping away all hope of something better and staring stark reality in the face.
I quickly discovered Tolkien on my own...and then stepped backwards to more magical and innocent works of literary art...and realized then that these are the types of books I want to spend my time reading.
Not all grown up books are depressing. Everyone loves Jane Austin. I have not appreciated her until recently. And in college, I did have a short love affair with Michael Crichton. But other than that, most of my favorite books are children's works. There are deep, meaningful and profound messages in children's literature. And they are filled with heroes and hope.
I discovered a new Author last Friday. Jeff and I met up in the cafe for Hot Chocolate and he showed me the new Halo novel and pointed out a few items in one of the motorcycle magazines...and I showed him Knuffle Bunny by Mo Williams. We both laughed. And I can't believe I haven't read anything by Mo Williams before. Especially since I pride myself on knowing some of the best authors and books in children's lit.
The author's sense of humor is similar to David Shannon, another one of my favorite authors. Anyways, when I find a book this darling I have the need to share. So put it on hold at the library, or pick up a copy at the bookstore and read it to your kids. I promise you, you will laugh!
Photo by Chelsea Caption by Wendy (I am not this smart or talented...but I am related to people who are. My niece took the photo of Derek and posted it on Facebook, and her mom, my sister Wendy wrote the caption. I love both the picture and the words. I wish I had the eye and the mind. I think it's twice as beautiful with the words)
"Wow" she said ... almost in a whisper. And then she listened, too, as the wind rattled over the dry grasses. So still. So quiet. He steadied his gaze and looked again. He hoped to see even a glimpse of it. He sensed it was there. He knew it was coming...very soon. What was he watching for... just there, over the horizon? Is it spring coming yet?... please?..."
When I came upon it last night, it was 3am. Hence the stream of semi- unconsciousness...BUT - I absolutely love this photo! The more I look at it - the more it reveals itself... True ART, Chelsea.This captured moment seems to have a hidden story to it...One small boy's vantage point of warm hued fields, interrupted by stark blue rocks, and a faint glow of late afternoon sun, just there, on the curve of his neck and cheek. ... See MoreHe stands there so singular and perfect, expecting the world to be wonderful, as if he knows something we can't quite see. He makes us believe there is adventure out there beyond rock and grass.Everything about his stance tells us there is magic and wonder in the world.Horizons hold our dreams.
I got flowers at work on Friday...I think everyone hates me now...
I got paint all over my kitchen when I got home...
My house smells like tempra paint.
And I got a little carried away.
Derek got to stay up late because Clint had a Scout Camping trip overnight.
Sunday was Stake Conference. Afterwards, we went Eagle hunting. There are suppose to be Eagles here...in Farmington.
See that bird way over there on the tree? Well, it is NOT an Eagle. We took Chelsea, and still had a nice time...but no Eagles.
The best part of this Valentines Day was driving home and seeing who knew the most Sponge Bob Quotes...Chelsea and Jeff won. And I laughed so hard I my stomach hurt. One of the best Valentines Days ever. I feel lucky.
I asked JD last week for the answer. JD Vance. One of the most impressive good kids around...Just before leaving on his mission for Singapore...the good son, the perfect example of what a new missionary should be...a blessing for his family...a kid who calls to mind several young prophets from the Book of Mormon. Everyone sees it in him. "So, JD....how does it happen? How do I keep my boys good and on the right track. What is the best thing parents can do to help their boys?"
His best friend Lass was there too. Another great kid getting ready for his mission.
Lass: "Lots of cookies and treats." (Apparently food is a big thing for boys). And I remember JD sticking his head in the primary room one Sunday while I was serving with his mom who was the President at the time. Right before the meeting started...he asked "Hey, Mom, whats for dinner tonight?"
If I had been Michelle, I am pretty sure I would have said something like "I DON'T KNOW!!!!....I'M TRYING TO START A PRIMARY MEETING HERE!!! I'LL FIGURE IT OUT WHEN I GET HOME!!!!" Which has been my response to Clint on a few occasions.
But MIchelles response was diffrent...
She stopped what she was doing, looked at him and said: "Chicken, I think. Probably some kind of chicken."
JD: "Sounds good. Thanks mom."
You know that old saying about the best way to trap a man is through his stomach? Apparently it works on our son's too. But that is not the only answer they gave me. And even though it was partially in jest that Lass told me that, I am pretty sure it was quite profound as well. If we can keep our boys coming home every night for a good dinner, and lots of cookies and healty and nutritious treats as well...it is definately one way to keep them around...and their friends too. Number 1 on my mental list...keep the kitchen cleaner, stocked with yummy treats, and always tell Clint what we are having for dinner.
Point number 2 was a little more thought-out and revealing. And a little more difficult to accomplish. The answer from JD: "Just trust them. Have faith in them that they will do the right thing...and most of the time, they will." Real words of Wisdom from a 19 year old boy who is close to his Heavenly Father. Of course, I know this is not the best solution for all families. Or for all kids. I know JD really is very close to his mom, and his dad...and he would never do anything to hurt them. He would never want to. And not all kids are like that when they are young. But what Michelle and John did for JD worked. And I am sure they prayed about how to raise their children, like all of us do. And all any of us can do is pray and hope that if we love our children and really put them first, and we teach them by example...they will know and do what is right. We all make mistakes. Our children will too. And of course we need to give them consequences for their actions and explain to them how to stay safe. But we also need to let them make choices.
My style of parenting is diffrent from many of my friends. But there are some things we have in common. We pray constantly for inspiration for the right way to raise our children. All children are diffrent and need diffrent forms of nuturing to reach their potential. I belive that my boys came to me because I can teach them what they need. I try my hardest every day, and often fall short. But my most important goal is that my boys know that I love them. That their father and I are their greatest friends. That they can trust us. That they know that we will stand by them no matter what. We will love them no matter what. That Jesus Christ is their friend and their brother. That he loves them and will help them. I want my boys to know and realize that I have willingly gone without time and things for myself, so they can have not only what they need, but things they want. That is what my parents did for me. Fortunatley, because of our circumstances, there are many times I have to say no. But my boys know that if I could, I usually would...and they are both real sweethearts because of it. Of coures I do say "NO" when Derek wants to eat cookies for lunch instead of his sandwich....and that is never a fun thing when the kicking and screaming starts...and Clint still gets mopey when I tell him he still has to go to bed at 9 PM if he misses American Idol. But inspite of the times of my weaknesses of typical parenting shortcommings, I hope my boys continue to stay the way they are now. They are both good boys, and I feel very blessed. I pray every day they stay on the right track.
And in the mean time...I will still forgo having a clean kitchen to do a new science experiment...I will take out the trash myself if it means Clint and his dad can finish up the last Halo campaign before bed...I will skip picking up toys if it means the boys can have fun instead...because at least in our house...family time and fun is about 100 times more important then just about any of the small stuff. And for my boys...that is the way we are going to do it. Because that is who I am...and I really hope...like everyone....that it is the right thing for us.
(I do know a few mom's who have a clean house...and have all the fun too...there are a few supermom's out there...but I usually have to make the choice. But I love my friends with clean houses.... I am just rambling on about what works for me...so there you go!)