Sunday, June 23, 2013

chapter a-closing

I woke up super early this morning with a lot on my mind. (The early wakeup was unfortunate since my cute four-month-old chose to sleep a record 10ish hours, but hey, we're all doing what we can here.)
This is long but it's my blog and I do what I want so stick with me here, if you would.
(1) There's a guy in the Book of Mormon and his name is the Brother of Jared. Yeah, I don't know why either. The story goes that because God told him to, he built these enclosed ships that his people needed to hop into in order to travel for a long time. So he says to God, look, we need to figure out how to (a) breathe and (b) see; what do I do here? God says, essentially, breathe by putting holes in the top and bottom with a little stop. Uncork it when you need some air and re-cork it when water comes in. And about the seeing, well, "What will ye that I should do?" Yes, in this story, Brother of Jared presents God with two problems, and God responds with specific instructions on one and a basic "Welp, what do YOU want me to do?" on the other. The Brother of Jared ends up finding a bunch of stones and asking God to touch them to light them up so they can use them as little lamps, and God does, and voila.

For years, I have always pictured the Brother of Jared kind of sheepish in that moment of saying, "Um, how about these rocks?" [Cringe.] Think that would work? Sorry if that's lame. This is all I got." And sure, there are a million things that he could have done, and that would have been better, but he thought of stones, and he had stuff to make the stones, so he threw the idea out there and hey, this works.
I feel like that a lot, like I'm supposed to do something but don't know exactly how, so I come up with something and then feel dumb about it but offer it up anyway because, well, it's the best I've got.

(2) In another part of the Book of Mormon, this kid named Ammon is flipping out with joy over how well all these people he taught are doing. He ends up saying that there is no one in the world who should be more grateful than he is. And I totally get that. "Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away..." Later on he uses the word "mindful" a million times, saying God is mindful of him, and mindful of his friends, and mindful of every people. No wonder he's thrilled.

(3) I woke up thinking about a talk Henry B. Eyring gave recently about how we all have LIMITS and that is okay. He even highlighted the importance of "balancing a desire to do all you can to help others with the wisdom to be prudent in meeting your own needs to retain your power to serve." WHAT? Re-read that for a second and just marvel with me at how wise that is. "Whenever you have cared for someone for even a short time, you have felt love for the person you served. As the time to provide needed care grew longer, the feelings of love increased. Since we are mortal, that increase in love may be interrupted by feelings of frustration and fatigue." And then later he says, "You will be strengthened and yet inspired to know the limits and extent of your ability to serve. The Spirit will comfort you when you may wonder, 'Did I do enough?'"
I feel like his whole talk was saying, hey, it's okay to be tired, and frustrated, and also strengthened, and if you need a breather, take a breather; there's nobility in napping once in a while, people!
(4) On a nostalgic whim, I got the New Testament batch of Scripture Scouts (yep, circa 1987, ring a bell?) a few weeks ago and on it there is this abnormally catchy little tune about the story of the loaves and fishes, and the chorus says, "Whatever you have is enough, says Jesus. Whatever you have is enough." Kind of lame? Maybe. Kind of awesome? YES. Whatever we have IS enough.
Today marked the end of four years in Young Women for me, three and a half of them as president, and my emotions are all over the map. I imagine there is a long and guttural German word for how I'm feeling that smooshes gratitude in with grief and relief and pride and sadness and nostalgia and accomplishment and delight and exhaustion. 

I feel a lot like the Brother of Jared, a little sheepish about how random and dumpy my best was sometimes, and grateful that God just kind of said, "Welp, that'll work." I feel a lot like Ammon, because there is NO ONE, and I mean no one, who has ever had more reason to  be grateful than I have, for my life and my fam and my calling and my friends and my opportunities and...I could go on a while so get comfy. I have felt how MINDFUL God is of me and of all of us, and guess what? It's a lot. 

I also feel like the weary caregiver in Eyring's talk, because I want to go-go-go but also need to admit that, surprise surprise, my own well is pretty darn dry and with all that is going on with my life and my fam, I gotta kick back and meet my own needs to, as he says, retain my power to serve. And just like the cheesetastic Scripture Scouts say, whatever we have is enough. There are things I would do differently given the chance, and I ache wishing I weren't so grouchy, or self-centered, or frazzled, or anti-froof, and I wish I'd had more time and energy to give at various times, and I wish I had been more sensitive and aware with different girls and their adult-sized challenges through the years, but I also firmly believe that whatever we have is enough. It feels pretty good to know that I gave what I had and God knows m'heart and guess what? Whatever I have is enough, and I've given it, and for now, my turn at this is over.

I have a hundred funny stories to share about our little gang of YW, and several dozen heartbreaking ones, and a bunch more in between, but for privacy's sake I'll save those for somewhere and sometime that's not the world wide web. I will say, though, that I expect to feel a little funny, a little in-betweensies, a little off my game, for a while since being in charge of the YW has been such a part of my identity here in Iowa, and that even though I'm kind of relieved, I am also a little devastated, and this change is a big loss for me, one for which I will allow myself space to grieve. 

Buuuuuut, I might also take myself out to dinner on Wednesday, just because I'm free. :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013


The next time I want to throw a My Little Pony party for a couple dozen 5-year-olds the same weekend as I end up in charge of the ward talent show/dessert auction camp fundraiser and going to a 5k in the next town over for work and we have a board meeting and I'm teaching the Sunday lesson in YW, and a buddy is driving across the country and decides to pop in overnight with her husband, and I have a two-month-old, I need you to talk me down. Got it? Because last weekend ran me over like a truck!  Whew!

  • "CHAOS IS HEALTHY!" is my new mantra, which I say at least thrice a day to kind-hearted strangers who tell me "Oh, sweetheart, you've got your hands full!" Truly, "chaos is healthy" is the name of the game lately and it may end up tattooed on my rump if this continues.
  • I had a kid in February and he is a dream. Oddly enough, all three of our kids were due on a Thursday and born on the following Tuesday. Weird, right? This little cutie has two big sisters a couple inches from his face most of the day and it is unbearably sweet. So far he has been our most mellow baby by a mile (or are we just less uptight?). Regardless, I love him.
  • Some of my very favorite friends are moving in the next few weeks and it's giving me the bummers. I realize that when you live in a college town with a big fat university hospital, chances are that most people our age-ish and stage-ish are just passing through, and I also realize that I'm 30 years old and need to suck it up, but, WAAAAA! 
  • I should have guarded my maternity leave more closely; I ended up doing more work earlier than I should have; that whole real, regular life thing is SNEAKY and creeps up so fast when you're trying to soak up the newborn magic. Learn from me, internet, and guard your baby time!
  • I read Lean In and wish everyone would get off Sheryl Sandberg's back. It seems like no one who is ragging on her HAS ACTUALLY READ HER BOOK.
  • Can't believe I have a FIVE-YEAR-OLD! Wasn't she born just last week?? Alas, she has all these friends and opinions and is pumped for kindergarten. I can't wait to see who this chick turns into because she is so sharp and thoughtful and determined. Speaking of determined, my wise friend Jennifer reminded me to go easy on our three-year-old because "you just created a middle child!" and oh how I'm trying to. Will she stop peeing her pants soon though? Because SHEESH.
  • I am working on simplifying the heck out of my current scene since I am wound up all the time lately with my mind a-racing and it turns out perma-mega-high-alert is a crappy way to function! And I know, you're probably thinking, seriously, you're simplifying but you couldn't put someone else in charge of the talent show?? Welp, believe me, I tried. My delegation efforts were sabotaged when the woman who was supposed to be in charge ended up going to "dental prom" instead (yes, that's a thing). Know what else was sabotaged? Dinner. My go-to recipe book that never lets me down is apparently not quiiiite as foolproof as I'd hoped since my pizza crust yesterday came out looking like giant garlicky discs of giraffe dandruff.

 That's what's new around here! You holding up okay?