sound waves to chicago

My BYU bff and I must have texted back and forth for over an hour steady tonight.  She just dropped her oldest baby here at the Y and I feel like a godmother who needs to make sure all is well.  After a few minutes of checking in, we ended up "talking" about the music I have recorded and posted right here on my blog.  She was texting with one hand and flying around my Musical Monday posts with the other. 

Once her husband joined her we started to brainstorm about how to do a long-distance duet together.  Adam has been learning to play the guitar, and he likes to sing.  So we hashed it out, and then rehashed it out, and decided to do something soon by swapping our own recorded mp3s until I get it all mixed and sounding good.

Some people like to think technology was invented for things like keeping up on current world events.  Me?  I like this music stuff.  *fist pumping and roof raising*

i like my car just the way it is, thankyouverymuch

I drove my son to cello lessons today, exhausted from waking up at 5 a.m. to get #3 off to marching band before I went to exercise.  By the time we arrived at his teacher's house I was a bit woozy and shooed him in for his lesson so I could lean my seat back and take a little stretch.  4 p.m. is a tough time to drive when you are sleepy, just so you know.

After what felt like just a few minutes I awoke to pre-pubescent boys screaming right outside my car window, "No shooting near the car!"  As I pushed the button and slowly raised my seat I started to feel my car moving.  When I looked outside I saw a boy in a paintball mask sitting on the hood.  Needless to say, he was very sheepish when he saw me waving to him through the windshield.

Paint avoided.

regaining control

Tomorrow makes one month since I have had no refined sugar or dessert of any kind.  It also marks one month that I have exercised 6 days a week.  I am finally getting control over myself again.

When I was in school these past months, it was hard to be disciplined because I was white-knuckling it most of the time.  I grabbed food on the road and was so exhausted I couldn't even think of exercising.  But  I hope those days are behind me.

I am about 13 lbs down and counting.  It feels so good to say no to things I crave.  It feels like I am acting and not being acted upon.  It is empowering, and I like it.  A lot.  I now have two pair of pants that I can put on and off without unzipping or unbuttoning.  WooHoo!

So tomorrow I will wake up at 6:15 again and walk/run around the track.  I will run up and down the bleachers until I feel like I am going to die.  I will eat healthy food.  I will fit into my clothes even better than I did last week.

One thing to learn about me:  I have incredible self-discipline, once I make a plan.  If I do say so myself.

rear view

Driving home on the freeway the other night I was thinking about what it means to be a mom. I had spent the evening helping my son out, and as I left my mind wandered. I thought about shushing him as a chatty toddler, and then missing his talking once he turned 15 or so. I thought about feeling overwhelmed when he (and his brothers) were always around, and then missing him when he was in Africa for 2 years.

It is interesting the way the tide changes.

Being a mom means loving my kids unconditionally but still having expectations. It means keeping them close in my heart even when I am supposed to let them be away from me. It is so hard to navigate sometimes.

Today I told my husband that I wish I had hundreds of specific memories about my babies. Mostly I have a few clear pictures, but lots of blurry impressions. It isn't always the details that sustain us, but the feelings the details leave behind.

primed for life

The door would bang into the dining room table every time we swung it open.  I would drag my briefcase in behind me, squeeze into the bedroom with its mauve carpeting, and change down after a long day of teaching and driving home from South Jordan. Once I got back into the kitchen to make dinner, the fridge would start with its singing.  Oh, how it loved to sing to us.  So, we would get the old meat tenderizer out, open the fridge door, and bang on the inside back of the beast until the singing ended.  Above, in the freezer, sat pieces of our wedding cake, leftover from our reception just a couple of months earlier. 

It was our first place and it was ours.

This week we helped our son and his fiance prime and paint their apartment they will be moving into next month.  As a couple.  As a married couple.  And I will be a mother-in-law.  And I will be happy. 

adding up

If I could relive one day in my life, it might be the day I had my first baby.  I looked at his little body and thought I was the luckiest woman in the world.

Or it might be the day I met my future husband. I had been so sad after a recently botched engagement, and he made me happy within the first hour of spending time together.

It could even be the first time our family stepped off the train in London after flying all night and landing at Heathrow.  The boys were all so good on the plane, and we were giving them a real adventure.  We were so proud of ourselves.

I did have a really good day in Knoxville, Tennessee once too. 

A life is a lot of little days that add up to something meaningful.  Not always happy.  Not always sad.  But meaningful.

teaming up

As a teacher, one of my favorite words has become "collaboration".  We combine ideas to do what is best for each child in our care.  It is crucial.  It has also made me think about people that helped to shape me during my youth.  Some of those people are/were:

Robert Mello
Helena Mello
Mary Pereira
Mrs. Rice
Jim Council
Bruce Knudsen
Benny Knudsen
Willa Knudsen
Karen Green
Karen Mattes
Sheila Reese
Jennifer Lovell
Robert J. Mello
David Mello
Tony Mello
Jennifer Atkinson
Sara Fiotto

Now my kids are at the point where the collaboration that has happened in their lives is noticeable, even by them.  On the way to cello on Monday, #4 said, Mom, Megan is more like my friend that also happens to be my teacher.  So true, son.  And this is the way we should feel about everyone who pitches in on our lives.

thoughts on hope

Hope implies that there has been a stumbling.  A loss that needs to be regained.  A half that needs to be wholed.  But does that necessarily mean we have to face hard times before we can realize hope?  And can we have hope when we don't even know we do?

reminders of what counts

I pull the wet heavy clothes from the washer and quickly make the transfer to the dryer, dropping a few pieces that have to be picked and tossed in as I close the door.  I look at each piece and think about that boy, or man, that has made my life important. 

This is the way I want to look at my duties here at home.  I want the little things to remind me of the bigger things.  The symbols of cooking and cleaning and organizing.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this place.  Not grateful in a martyr kind of way, but in a real, honest, nurturing way. 

I climb the stairs, picking up tossed church shoes on the way.  As I stand and look closely I see they belong to boy #3.  I remember when we bought them.  I had to convince him in a "trust me here" kind of way, that Steve Madden was a cool brand and that he would look great in these.  He did and he does. 

From dirty socks to homework papers to long boards,  I am trying to hold on to these chances to think about the one.  I have my private moments with each family member when they don't even know it.

the plan book

navigating ruts

We spun the dial so that we were in four-wheel drive as we climbed the steep gravel road to my niece's cabin today.  I could feel the difference immediately in the gripping of the tires to the loose foundation, but the never-ending ruts were still a problem.  Especially the way they always come in groups of 10 or so that run against the direction of traffic.  How do they even form?

 flickr creative commons photo

After arriving at the cabin we carried in our brown bag of corn and the kids all scattered to play with cousins and climb on the four-wheelers.  My father-in-law asked about the drive up.  "Did you have a hard time navigating those ruts?"  I told him it felt really hard on the car and it concerned me.  He mentioned that if you go too slow you feel every bump, and if you go too fast it is, of course, dangerous.  So, the trick is finding a good medium speed that allows you to glide a bit over the ruts while not losing control of the vehicle.

Yup, I thought.  That about sums it all up.  A good medium speed is the way to go.

feelin' it

I was in a room with more than a thousand teachers today and the buzz was tangible.  You could feel the energy and the excitement and the enthusiasm, thick enough to spread on a big ole fat piece of bread.  I admit that I am a sucker for the pep talks teachers get.  They might be a bit hokey and "chin up", but I don't care.  It is a great profession and one to be enjoyed.  And like our superintendent said, "If you don't enjoy your job, go ahead and leave, and make room for people who do."  And he meant it, in his sweet, upbeat kind of way.

I got a lot of comments on a facebook post I put up yesterday about special education.  It hits people right in the chest.  I get that now that I have been in this classroom for 5 years.  Special ed gets under your skin until you can't imagine having any other job.  We sing, we dance, we talk about our families, and we reward even the smallest accomplishments.  Who would not love this gig?

So yes, today I am feelin' it.  I am feeling a purpose and a mission and a divine kinship with these little guys.  What a privilege. 

day 365: goal met

I wrote yesterday about the things I have learned over this past year of daily blogging.  It really has been an amazing thing to be a part of.  My life was busier this last year than it has been since I had little ones biting at my ankles and begging to be held constantly, yet I never felt like blogging was one of the chores that had to be done.  It was more like a place for expression and self-therapy.  And for that reason, I am still somewhat sane today. 

During these past 365 days I have:

survived my first year as a special ed teacher
lived through 15 straight months of school at BYU
been a bishop's wife
recently been called to a busy church calling
welcomed a son home from Africa
sent son #2 off to Mexico
started helping with my son's wedding plans
painted and remodeled parts of my home

I don't say this to brag, but to remind myself that blogging has been a part of my coping with change and craziness in my life.  And it has helped me to become a much more reflective and observant person as life carried on at top speed.

I challenge anyone reading this to try and write more than might feel comfortable to you.  To reach a few inches further than you might choose.  To find more of yourself as you think about your day and your thoughts and your ideas.

No more numbered days starting tomorrow, but plenty more things to share.

day 364: winding up the year

Tomorrow will mark a year of blogging every single day.  It has been a good ride and I have enjoyed it much more than anticipated.  There are some things I have learned, and learned hard, this year that I would like to share with you.

1.  Women can build relationships with people they have never met in person.
2.  I feel really good when I am keeping track of my life through writing.
3.  It has been fulfilling to make connections beyond my current friendships.
4.  Common interests and experiences are what bind us.
5.  Writing is a way to find out more about myself.
6.  I am grateful for my own problems.
7.  There are a lot of people much smarter and funnier than I am.
8.  I thrive on singing much more than I ever realized.
9.  My capacity to empathize has grown.

What started out as a challenge to myself has shaped the way I think about my day.  It has brought great new people into my life.  And it has been a major plus to my growth as a human being.  Thanks to everyone who has pitched in and made a connection here.  I am a better person for writing and getting acquainted with all of you.

Back tomorrow.

day 363: finding relief in the unbelievable heat

Geo has insisted that we get away and that I relax. What can I say? He takes care of me. Here are a few shots of the past few days we spent in Vegas (I am kicking myself that I didn't remember to take a photo the night we went to dinner with DeNae from, and her husband). We hung out at the pool, ate good food, and spent time together. Man, I needed a change of venue.

day 362: thrill-seeking

Last week, while browsing through friends' facebook pages, I came across a movie of one friend jumping out of an airplane for the first time.  The movie was set to music and had him prepping to get on the plane, sitting on the plane as it reached the appropriate altitude, and then jumping out and landing.  My kids watched me as I watched the movie cringing.  I think I said something like, "I would be dead before I dropped 20 feet."  Yes, I said it and I totally meant it.

Tonight a friend told me about a young boy who saved his pennies and then hooked up to a tether and jumped off the Stratosphere building on the Vegas strip.  Base jumping.  What is the allure of throwing yourself off a ledge at 1149 feet?  Really? 

It is curious to think about the way some people need that kind of adrenaline rush.  Me?  Backing out of my driveway before I have finished buckling is thrill enough.

day 361: sage as a symbol

I look at the sage brush on the side of the freeway and wonder if anyone has ever walked through it, cooked it.

It is grey/green and scruffy everywhere, like fur running up the hillsides.

It is a symbol of the struggle of the early people here. It still grows as a reminder of how hard things don't go away, they just become a part of our own landscapes.

day 360: how to be a cool mom

This is my future DIL giving my #3 a faux hawk last week. Yes, I allow a little hair expression around here. I told him he could have a little fun with his hair until the wedding, when a nice missionary cut would do just fine.

Aren't they both kind of cute?

day 359: my time

Geo turns over gently when I slither out of bed, doing my best not to wake him. I get up and sneak into the dressing room where I slide on my sweats and my tennis shoes before quietly closing the door.

No food or water before I go. Just me and my thoughts walk down the front walk toward the mountains, where the sun is acting all shy, hiding from me.

Then I climb the hill toward the warmth, saying a quiet little prayer that the glow will pop out and cook me a little as I go. And when it does I close my eyes and walk right into it, like a guest who has been invited into the parlor for tea.

By now I am pretty awake and ready to think about things that matter to me. Is my 14-yr old getting the attention he needs and deserves? Did I say the right thing to my friend when she asked my advice? I need to really go through those boxes downstairs.

I am back home now, after a few miles and a few hundred thoughts. The bedroom door is still closed as I hear the dogs rustling around. Out they go as I sit and read or type. My time with my body and my mind. And we get reacquainted.

day 358: some of me

Some things about me.

I like things around me that are aesthetically stimulating. Cool lighting, trees, jewelry. Well-designed things, like cars, tech, stained glass. And I like to cook (and eat) Indian food.

Me, in a sharp-looking little photo nutshell.

day 357: yum

day 356: soft landing

If you flap your wings a little bit as you are reaching the ground you land softly. Just ask a bird.

It's those times when you try to zoom in, head first, that you slam hard and can possibly injure yourself.

A little flapping has been my mode lately. There is no real absence of stuff as I finish one big thing and start another. Even though, in my head, I know this is just how life goes, I am finding it hard to not feel like I am part of some cosmic experiment.

But with that said, I know myself. I know I like a pinch of madness. I use it as fuel.

day 355: seraphim

Above the throne were seraphim with six wings. Two wings covered their faces. Two wings covered their feet. And two wings were used to fly.

Our faces, where we see, smell, taste. Where we sometimes, ironically, allow our vision to blind us.
Our feet that can take us to places of beauty and service, or to places of distraction and idleness.

Fly with innocence and pure purpose. Teach of repentance and fresh starts. And return to the throne with a report of hope and salvation.

day 354: new beginnings

Big day today, and my head is about to explode from the spiritual overload and the hours of meetings.  Today I was set apart as the new Stake Young Women President (leader over the girls 12-18 in our area of my town, that attend my church).  This new position will have me (and my counselors) working mostly with the ward (congregational) leaders, but as long as I am back working with the youth in any capacity I am happy.  Our presidency is replacing women that are incredibly talented and devoted.  Big shoes to fill.

I have already felt inspiration, and have been spiritually reminded to develop my capacity to minister before aiming for a capacity to administer.  This has proven true in past responsibilities, and I trust it will be so here.  I am grateful for the trust extended to me, and for the women I will work closely with.  I am ready to be stretched.  Life is good.  Work is good. 

day 353: beach day on utah lake

We ditched yard work today, packed up the cooler, and headed to Utah Lake for the afternoon.  It was just what we needed.

 Nobody looks good in this one.  We were trying to fit into the frame, and the sun and wind were working against us.
 Wind and sun.  Photo enemies.

day 352: my professor

On our very first date he sat across from me with his chin in his hands, listening to every word I said.  Seriously.   He listens.  He talks.

I live with a communicator.  An expert communicator, actually.  In our 23 years of marriage it has been him, more than me, that has wanted to talk about fixing things, about our feelings, and about relationship issues in general.  He is exemplary in that way, and sometimes I admit that I forget that.  I can be kind of negligent that way.

When we were first married it was hard for me to learn to share so much and so often.  I grew up in a really close family, but we didn't necessarily sit for face-to-face "discussions", like my husband did.  But over the years I have gotten used to it, and I have learned to really appreciate Geo's openness and willingness to stay close. 

Doctor Burton, I love you.

I am

day 351: trust

Have you ever felt an instant trust with someone?  It is like you have known each other for longer than you really have?  I have had that happen a few times in my life, this week being one of them.

Sometimes I need that trust for myself, from God, from my family, from friends.  And other times I feel like the conduit is wide open for me to offer it to others.  It is an amazingly reciprocal thing.

day 350: winding down

On August 19, 2009 I made the commitment to blog everyday for a year,  in recognition of my first year as a special education teacher.  It was a sometimes a snap and sometimes like getting blood out of a rock. 

With all of this in mind, I must say it has been a year of self-discovery.  I started blogging in January 2008, so I was not new to it when I started my 365.  But nothing could have really prepared me for the ride it has been. 

It has changed the way I anticipate and then evaluate my day.  

It has changed how I think about my relationships.  

It has brought me so many new friends that have become important to me.

And now I have 15 days left until I hit my goal.  Time to re-evaluate again, and to decide on my routine as I am winding down.  I may have become too hooked on it to give it up as a daily ritual.  I will have to wait and see.

day 349: memory

When shadows crawl overhead and block the light, I try and try to remember feeling the heat on my face.

When the walls tilt in, making the room feel like a triangular prison, I try and try to remember space.

When all is right and good, I try and try to remember to write it down in a permanent place.

I am a lockbox, but I want to share the key.

day 348: bowled over

This is the photographic proof I received via text from #4 that he had cleaned his room.

This is the picture of disbelief I sent back.

day 347: music-free

Obviously, I did not post a Musical Monday entry today.  I am rethinking it a bit because of current obligations (probably should have rethought it months ago as the whirlwind began, but I have so much fun doing it!), and am leaning more toward monthly rather than weekly recordings. 

The next time some music is posted here it might, just MIGHT, be Love Shack by the B52s.  Got a couple of friends that want to do a fun recording with us.  And what could be more fun that that one?  Anyway, thanks for your continued support of my amateur efforts.  I appreciate it.

ps Keep singing.

day 346: happy man

This is a happy man. He goes to church smiling as he carries his black and red bag with his children's song book. He comes out of the primary room thrilled.

How did it go today, honey?
It was awesome.