Wednesday, 4:17 p.m.

I have two loaves of French bread rising on the counter and a pound of shrimp defrosting in the sink.

I have an eleven-year-old boy, feverish and teary, working his way through a heavy load of homework on my couch.

I have two girls who took the keys and the car, and drove themselves up the road to the temple to spend a couple of peaceful hours.

I have another boy rigorously practicing his Bach partita, providing the daily afternoon soundtrack to my life.

I have a dog sniffing the yard apart and protecting us from all manner of treacherous and cunning birds that might happen to land.  You can't be too careful.

In the whirlwind that is my life, this is an afternoon to be savored.

Why It Is Good to Marry Well

It was a rough night.

My body, never easy to live with, is especially sensitive to stress, and with the filling calendar and the abrupt change in our schedule back to real life, it is back to its old tricks.

Its old tricks with whipped cream on top.

I rose to read scriptures with my children, grateful it was over.

Then there was the morning dance routine where I gracefully lept from pouring milk and juicing oranges to combing hair and finding socks and lunch money.  Today's performance was one of my best...there was a grand jete in there that would have blown your mind.

Then I went to find my shoes and found this instead.

It looked like Christmas morning to me.  Love embodied.  The grand gesture, as it were.

I went and found David and thanked him properly.  He just smiled at me and his eyebrows told me that he understands more than I think he does.

And on a day like today, after a night like that, it is very good to have married so well.

Plus on my way out of the room he felt me up just to let me know that he thinks my old sweats and camp t-shirt look amazing with day old mascara and that that perfect grand jete did not go without notice.

It is very good indeed.


After the weekend

there are six large pumpkins on the hearth, waiting for the knife

a small tupperware of aaloo chole and one of chicken tikka masala, but no more naan to mop them up

a few bits of sugar cookie, two ghosts and half a pumpkin  (never mind, I just finished off the pumpkin)

a drying rack draped with perfectly tea-dyed mummy rags, waiting for a body to bring them to life

a notebook with notes from stake conference, and more determined resolve in my heart

a boy with a blazing temperature and soupy lungs, the dresser next to his bed littered with medicine, nebulizer, thermometer, and drinks with straws

and me, armed with...


a smile from the weekend delights,

a bottle of lysol for all the hard surfaces in my house,

a pair of watchful, vigilant eyes on guard for worsening flu symptoms and new cases in the rest of my darlings,

and a fervent prayer in my heart for protection from the worst of it.

Dawn with Adele

I'm going to pretend I didn't notice that most of you were more interested in seeing the apron I bought than the wedding cake I was making.  I'm not going to say that didn't hurt.  

But whatever.

For the record, the cakes were beautiful. 

Don't act so surprised.  (Is what I told David.)

My feet still hurt this morning and so I lay in bed in the blue dawn listening to Adele sing "Make You Feel My Love" rather than getting up.  Everyone visited me in turns. 

Olivia sighed and told me that she was on her last chapter in Green Gables, "A Bend in the Road," and we shed a few tears together at Matthew's passing.   

Caleb was already wearing his backpack when he came in and told me that he didn't sleep very well.  (Stress.)  He said he finally just got up and studied how to graph a line from an equation for a while. 

Ethan climbed in next to me and said that today they are reading The Sneetches and he doesn't know what a Sneetch is.  "What's a Sneetch, Mom?"

Savannah came in and recited her spelling words and told me this morning she could do her own hair.

David kissed me goodbye and told me that he would be fine getting his gallbladder lit up by radioactive isotopes on his own today.  He'd call me when it was over.

By now Adele was singing "Hometown Glory" and the house was quiet except for her.  If I had enough money I would have her come follow me around and sing the soundtrack of my life for a day.  I rethink my apron purchase again.

RIM cleared her throat.

Better get up, I said to myself.

RIM quietly reminded me of my dirty floors and the load of laundry wrinkling in the dryer.

But I lay there watching the room turn yellow and thought about Sneetches and how to spell "pursuit" and how long it's been since I've solved any kind of equation and where radioactive isotopes go once the doctors are done looking at them and bends in the road.

The wonders of my world.

Ring in the New Year

We are working our way backwards.

Passing the quiet snow-covered barns of Michigan and Indiana, the quiet fields and bare trees of Illinois, and the arch on the banks of the Mississippi in St. Louis.  The air is warming with every mile.

The gloaming is just coming on now, turning the Missouri sky purple and blushing.

There is something reverent about watching the sky all the way from the slow black-to-blue of early morning to the rosy embers of the coming night.  The beginning, middle, and end from my seat in the car.

It makes me wistful and pensive.  Full of the regrets of last year and the yearnings for this coming one.

I don’t do well with starting lines.

I get too nervous and tense waiting for the gun.  Which always results in a bad start, and too often I grind to a halt, knowing inside that the race is already lost. CIM is too often “all or nothing.” Poor RIM.

Clean calendars and new days are full of pressure and anxiety for my inevitable failure.

I do better in the middle:  the middle of conversations (just ask David…answering his first questions of “How was your day?” completely stymies me and turns me to stone), the middle of the day (so much more cheerful and productive once the morning chores are done again and the real work can begin), the middle of the week, the middle of dinner (after my blood sugar has risen a bit).

That said, I have only one resolution for 2009.  I am in the middle of something.  A seed planted last year, that I hope will continue to grow into a life of less regret.  I only want to continue to nurture this one seed.  And that is enough resolution for me.  More than enough.  The rest of the "new year's list" always dissolves and disappears amidst spelling lists and laundry piles and emptying the dishwasher and science projects.  I know this now.  I have had enough fresh starts to know this for sure.  But my resolution to change my heart can be (and in fact must be) accomplished amid the sprawl and chaos of regular life.

Last week in church we sang the song: Ring Out, Wild Bells, which we only sing on one Sunday a year.

Which is right, I suppose.  But which I still think is a shame.

It touched me to tears, and seemed to capture the essence of my resolution, particularly verse 3.  And so my word of the year is RING.

Here are Tennyson's words:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

The larger heart.  The kindlier hand.  The vast landscape of my own heart in need of more light.  


I hope I am positively vibrating this year.

The Magic of My Life

I got a small package in the mail today from Blue Lily Photography.

And may I just say, at the outset, that Wendy Whitacre is a brilliant photographer and all-around gracious lady.  You would count yourself lucky to ever find yourself and your darlings on the other side of a camera from her.  I am sitting here counting myself just that.

There are lots of course, but here are some of my favorites.  I think I may be getting frames for Christmas.  It is obvious from these that I have everything else.









I am overwhelmed by the beauty and magic of my life.

Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!

But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.

~from Carl Sandberg's "At a Window"

For the Beauty of the Earth

I'm only a recital-photographer...the kind that pull their $200 camera out of their purse, usually only use the "auto" function, and snap a quick picture to document their brilliant child's proud moment.  That's me.  So at this point you really ought to lower your expectations exceedingly.  But, I did capture a few pictures of nature (while I'm out here in it) that are all filed under "Things We Don't Have in Arizona" or "The Difference Rain Can Make" or "April Goes to the Nature" or even "Why'd You Take All These Pictures of Plants?" 

I don't really know why.  They just made me pause and gave me a sense of awe.  So without further ado, here is my scrapbook of wonder.

Exhibit 1.  When my kids saw these they said, "I didn't know lilypads were real."  Exactly.


Exhibit 2. 


Exhibit 3.


Exhibit 4 and last.  One of my personal favorites.


Oh.  I forgot Exhibit 5.  Not really a picture of nature per se, but an amazing shot nonetheless as I snapped it going 50 miles per hour.  David was driving and did not think it was quite as awe-inspiring as I did.  I was all "Ooo, ooo, 000, " pointing out the window, and he was all "April," with his get-serious-sigh.  So we didn't stop, but I crowed for an hour about the picture I got anyway.  I still think in was quite a photographic achievement.