Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wishful Thinking, cont.

Mia: "For my magic wish I wished that you would get married on April 3.

Me: "Ooooookaaaaaay. Um, why?"

Mia: "Because it's three days before my birthday. And I thought I'd get the wish better if I said a certain day, and I knew you'd say no to tomorrow."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Blessings

It's Christmas time, right on the heels of Thanksgiving, and for whatever reason, it's been a particularly pensive, reflective season. Life is never easy or "perfect" (whatever THAT is), but I'm feeling especially thankful for some of the things that I often take for granted.
  • Life. It's a fragile thing, and not everyone gets a full, long one. I'm blessed to be alive to mother my children, torment my friends, harass my siblings, and enjoy the daily trials and wonders this world offers.
  • Health. Few of us have the fully perfect health we'd like, all of the time, but I certainly don't have room to complain. I can move and see and hear and sing and play, and I couldn't ask for anything more than that.
  • Family. Definitely one of my most extraordinary blessings. In fact, let's break this one up:
  • Parents. I have great parents. They each bless my life in a million little ways, on a pretty much daily basis. And I consider myself doubly blessed to also have a very kind stepdad and a generous, caring stepmom.
  • Siblings. All bajillion of them. My mom always told me that my brothers and sisters would be my best friends. I didn't believe her. I tell my kids the same thing. They look at me like I'm smoking dope (or would, if they knew what dope was. Which they don't). Apparently moms are right about this. I have amazing brothers and sisters. I'm proud of them, love them to pieces, wish for good things in their lives, pray for them & sometimes worry for them, and owe them more than I could ever repay for the endless love they give me.
  • Children. Often the source of most of my annoyances and petty frustrations, they are also the source of 90% of my gut-busting laughter and 99.9% of my daily hugs. Quick to forgive my numerous flaws, they are each delightful, bright, interesting people who I enjoy having in my life. So glad we have eternity!
  • Friends-who-become-family. This list could probably go on for miles and miles, as I am surrounded by incredible friends, soaked & saturated in good friendship from loving people. Girlfriends to giggle and party with, old friends & new friends, guy friends to hang with, work friends to make the days more interesting, church friends to serve and worship with, neighbors to chat with...I count my friends as some of the best evidence of how much God must love me.
  • Home. It's been a mixed blessing, being a homeowner again (can we say, endless and ongoing repair work?), but I adore my house. It's a good one. It's pretty much perfect for us right now.
  • Work. Everyone needs a way to pay the bills and indulge in some of life's little luxuries. I am richly blessed in having employment that is intellectually stimulating, emotionally satisfying, socially rewarding, and worth getting up in the morning.
  • Books. One of life's chief pleasures since I was five years old. I can't imagine my life without books. Thanks to Alicia, I had two stay-up-until-4am nights this past week, but it was worth it. I polished off my second-to-last Jane Austen and am now working my way through David's contribution to my literary development, before tackling the most recent bequests from Holly. Life is good.
  • Art. I don't make nearly enough time in my life to indulge this gift. However, I did recently take the kids to an exhibit at a nearby museum, and while I can't speak for their experience, I was reminded once again how powerful beautiful art can be.
  • Music. If anything, this has been part of my life even longer than books--just ask my parents. I used to get in trouble because I wouldn't ever stop singing. 30+ years later I still haven't stopped. I finally have a piano again, after going the longest stretch of my life EVER without one (two whole years!!!), and Santa brought me a guitar (with some help from Luc, who restrung and tuned it the night before, only to have the kids do their own "restringing" and "tuning" the next day....sigh). Beethoven, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Johnny Cash, Mozart, Andrea Bocelli, Frank Sinatra, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Natalie Cole--oh, oh, oh, that's another thing to celebrate--thanks (also) to Luc, I have new Natalie Cole!!!
  • Hot showers. I don't think that one needs any explanation.
  • Good food. It's a blessing to live during a time when we have the ability to preserve and store food in a range of ways, when an overwhelming variety of food is available at the grocery store, when all kinds of time and labor-saving devices allow us to enjoy good food without any real investment of time. I'm claiming even more specific blessings than that--I'm grateful for neighbors who bring boxes of fresh apples over, for lunch dates at Guru's (the-very-best-food-EVER) and La Jolla Groves (my new favorite thing), for affordable family dinners from Little Caesar's Pizza, for the fun of teaching my kids how to cook (hey, jello and cheese sandwiches still count as food!), and for Krispy Kreme just down the street.
  • Warm socks. I must be getting old, because this never would have made the grateful-list in my younger days.
  • Church. This could refer to many different things, and I'm grateful for each meaning of the word, but I'm feeling especially thankful for church as a community of believers, for the opportunity of communal worship, for the fellowship of the saints. It's a very good thing.
  • Pretty clothes. I may not have the greatest fashion sense, but I do like pretty clothes. And shoes. Proof that I am indeed a girl, there's just nothing quite like feeling fabulous.
  • IKEA. Enough said.
  • Testimony. Somewhat related to church, but focused much more on my personal relationship with God, I am blessed to have that relationship, to claim that personal and intimate knowledge that He is real, that I'm His child, that He has a plan for me and for every other person. There are many things I don't know, and many more that I don't really understand, but I do know God loves us. Know it deep down to my toes and woven tightly into my soul. This is the core that binds everything else together. My testimony carries me through the rough spots and makes the good parts even brighter and happier.
Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Something Like That...

The kids got squeaky chickens packed with candy eggs from their Aunt Carole for Christmas. They spent an hour or so figuring out how to work the fowl gifts.

Eric finally nailed his.

"Look! I got it! Now it can puke it's babies out it's butt!"

Um, yeah.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just Another Quick Little TMI Session

I was just reviewing my 2010 goals and I realized that I'd better hurry if I'm going to claim success on the TMI front.

So, without further ado, here is the possibly-last-of-2010-random-dose-of-Wendy-trivia:

  1. I adore stinky-breath foods like garlicky hummus and onion-glazed salmon. Mmm...
  2. I took a weightlifting class this past semester. Shut up--I can hear your shocked gasps all the way through the computer screen. So maybe I audited it--I still went sometimes. And I'm a little bit more trimmed and toned than I was before...really.
  3. Recently I tried a new hairstylist. When I explained to her what type of style I was going for she said, "Oh, I get it! You want Victoria's Secret hair! That's what we call it in this business, anyway." Um, yeah. You can call it that, and in my head I'll call it something else.
  4. I'm trying to get up my nerve to try waxing my armpits. Not brave enough yet, though.
  5. One of the more boring--albeit safe and predictable--aspects of single parenthood is always knowing exactly what Santa is bringing me for Christmas. I can't exactly complain--I always get what I want, or at least, what I wanted the family to get.
  6. A luxury that I don't indulge in nearly as often as I'd like is wandering around art museums. Not that I know anything about art; I just like looking.
  7. A couple of months ago the Divine Ms. B and I had pedicures and decided to try glitter toes. Holy heck!!! I STILL cannot get that stuff off my big toes!!!! I've chipped and pried and chiseled, I've softened and cleansed, oiled and sanitized....nothing. Well, little bits have come off, leaving ugly splotchy glittery blue patches on my toes, but those patches have taken up permanent residence. It's like sparkly blue mold. Good thing it's December, not June.
  8. When no one is around and I'm home alone I like putting my hair up in braids. It looks exactly how you'd think a 3-year old little girl hairstyle looks on a closer-to-40 year old woman. Why do you think I only do it when I'm home alone?
  9. Sometimes I let my girls do my hair. Sadly, it often looks better than when I do.
  10. One of my favorite possessions is a fabulous headboard that I found at a yard sale for $8. Yes, that's EIGHT whole dollars! I sanded it down and painted it black, and it makes me smile every time I see it.

Now you know a bit more than you wanted to know about my wonderful life. Feel better?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wonder Woman

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

Jesus wept.

Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

John 11:33- 36

If you've ever meandered around my blog and clicked on any of the links to blogs I read, you probably stumbled across my friend Krista, a.k.a Wonder Woman. My name for her; she'd never claim it for herself. But I don't know a better way to describe Krista: Krista with a generous heart, infectious enthusiasm for life, passion for her family, rock-solid faith, and a brilliant, shining testimony shared freely with everyone remotely within her orbit.

Years of infertility and heartbreaking losses didn't dim Krista. A diagnosis of terminal brain cancer five years ago didn't dim Krista. She took hits that would knock most of us out of the game and came back grinning, raring to play again. I think I started to believe that she was invincible, that her huge smile really was as magical as it seemed in cultivating immortality.

Which made it all the harder to see this note from her husband Jared yesterday morning:

Krista was rushed to the ER late last night with breathing difficulties. Tests revealed she had blood clots in both lungs and her body couldn't get the oxygen it needed. Despite the doctors' best efforts Krista passed away early this morning. I will dearly miss her until we are together again. Please keep us in your prayers.

I started crying yesterday morning and haven't stopped. If anyone is worth the tears, she is. I'm not crying so much for Krista--as much as she hoped and prayed and wanted to stay here and raise her children, as much as she wanted to keep them from the pain of losing a mother--knowing Krista and her bright, amazing faith, she's lighting up heaven with that smile and loving her babies in a more perfect, more "real" way than any of us know. I'm crying for her husband and crying for her kiddos, for the hundreds and thousands of people who she touched, and I'm selfishly crying for myself because I'd rather have her here than up in heaven.

Last night I played the organ at the temple. This morning I met some friends to do a session together at the temple. The temple is a good place to bring sadness.

During this poignant time of year as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and say goodbye to our precious friend, I am grateful for the comforting knowledge that, as Elder Wirthlin expressed, "Sunday will come." Grateful to know that temporary partings are just that--temporary. Grateful for sacred ordinances that allow families to be together forever. Grateful that Christ didn't shrink from the bitter cup, but worked out the full, complete Atonement so that our suffering could be swallowed up in His love. I'm grateful for the blessing and privilege of friends like Wonder Woman, who bring me closer to Him.

I'm also grateful that, in spite of His perfect knowledge of all eternity and His perfect power over death, when I'm crying tears of loss for my friend, He understands. He cries, too.