day seventy-four: slow and steady

I watch my son now trying to stand.  He leans on his crutches like they are his friends and enemies all at the same time.  He fills the hallway as he makes his way from the living room to his makeshift bedroom which has been temporarily transplanted to the den across the hall from me and Geo.  Labored breathing and a stubborn, dragging right leg that is resisting work. 

Today we went out for a couple of hours.  A nice sunny drive in the car to let some living air brush against him.  Two weeks indoors can almost turn someone stale, and even a little mad. 

Tomorrow a bath and church.  A little nourishment for the patient, to help him grow again.  My heart hurts for him, but the healing is coming along, and my boy is starting to percolate again. 

day seventy-three: grannify

I put this sweater on when I was working alone in my classroom today. It usually hangs in a closet there.  Without the dozen little kiddos heating up the place it was quite chilly.  Cold, rainy, dark.  I had my leather jacket, but it gets heavy and hard to move around in.
I accidentally wore it home, in my post-work trance.
When my boys saw me they said I looked like a grandma.  So true, guys. 
Now will someone please get me some herbal tea and a nice piece of toast?

day seventy-two: doppelganger

 photo by Luann Hawker at

With boy #3 out of commission due to his broken pelvis and foot, boy #4 borrowed some of his hospital supplies for Halloween.  Gruesome of us, dontcha think?  Pretty handsome patient though, if I do say so myself.

day seventy-one: bypass

11:24 pm and I sit in the dark on the couch as my house sleeps.  A day of wheelchairs, warm soapy water, Halloween costumes, cupcakes, parades, studying, and now unwinding.

Generous family members who visited and gave.  And gave again.  I am thankful.  I am tired.  I am unworthy.

Tomorrow I meet with parents of my little kiddos, to tell them happy things about progress and newly-made friends.  Letters, numbers, colors, shapes.  Like 3 hours of candy.

And in the middle of it all I think of my own children.  How does God do that?  Dripping down into the cracks of an insane day are thoughts of brown eyes, crutches, red hair and Africa.  When I think I can't stuff one more thing into my head He allows feelings to seep into my heart instead. 

day seventy: clarity

Sometimes I sit and look at you and we are talking and it hits me
Like I have been dunked in warm water and am now dripping dry

It is true
What you are saying and what you are being and what you are meaning

And there is this invisible tunnel from my beating chest to yours
Where interpretations happen in whispers and nobody else hears

I open up right at the top
And understanding pours in

And clear smooth clarity runs down
Until it reaches the tips of my toes.

Musical Monday: We Three Kings

I sorted through all of my options for Musical Monday today based on the requests left by the first and last commenters last Monday, and I decided this would be a fun one to do.  Haven't we all been intrigued by these kings that came looking for their own king?  I find it one of the magical parts of the Christmas story.  

Remember to be the first or last commenter if you would like to have your request considered for next week.

We Three Kings

day sixty-eight: I will not come down

Sometimes I find that I look for a reason behind each thing I do, and granted, some things better have a reason or I am not doing them (think meetings, housework).  I like reasons.  I really do.  I was reminded today in a lesson at church that we have a purpose in what we are doing in our homes, and during the entire lesson I had a scripture running through my head.  Be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation for a great work.  And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. 

As a wife and mom primarily (and everything else secondarily), I know this principle is beyond true, even though it sometimes takes years to get that testimony.  As my children have become adults the payoffs have started happening, in the way I see them embrace kindness and service as a way of living.  Some of these lessons they may have learned from me and my husband, but many of these things they have learned through their own experiences and through their own communication with the Lord.  We teach both directly and indirectly as parents, and we hope and pray and cry and reteach over and over again, crossing our fingers that we are helping to shape these little spirits into people that can go out and do the world some good.

So whenever I feel that tug to put something else ahead of my family I will try and remember the foundation I am trying to lay.  And I will slap that mortar on really thick and hang around to watch it dry.

day sixty-seven: tangled up

I have inherited my husband's older iPhone, which was replaced by the newer and better kind this Summer.  I like figuring out how to work techno stuff.  How to mess with all of the settings, how to maximize every potential the little machine offers.  So tonight I sit here in the tangle of cables as I get coached in uploading audiobooks, like The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, podcasts, and French music.  And I have added my blog and Google Reader as separate buttons so that I can quickly access my blog and every other one I read.  So cool.

Sorry, but back to my tutoring session... 

day sixty-six: re-nurturing

It's time to start the transfer process around here.  One's coming home and one's going away.  It will be a mixed emotional bag once the news comes about the departure.  How do we make sure the leaving boy gets as much attention as the arriving one?

I am getting excited to see the interaction among my sons in 6 weeks when the return home happens.  Two years make a big difference in the growth of younger brothers, and I think #1 will be shocked.

I think about the September days in 1990 when it was so hot in our LA apartment, and I would take a cool shower and sit in front of the fan to cool off.  My big pregnant belly full with my little redheaded boy.  And #1 rubbing it and calling his brother Adam-baby.  I am anxious to see some quick, time-efficient nurturing again during the Winter when #1 will pass on knowledge again to this same brother.  Instead of fetching his pacifier or covering him with his blanket, I will see hugs and I will hear advice.  And I will watch and feel warm again, like those September days 19 years ago.

day sixty-five: getting girlie

Living here with my guys is both what I always wanted AND what I always knew I would have. From the time I was in junior high I had dreams about having 6 sons, so every time the ultrasound technician would say It's a boy I would say Yup, I know. And then I would smile, because between the dreams and the whisperings of the Spirit, I already knew.

That being said, I feel a bit of a responsibility to exercise a little estrogen around here every now and then. And yes, I mean in addition to the involuntary exercise of it (and you know what I mean here). So the cravings come for a trip to the salon, for a manicure or pedicure, or window shopping, or time with girlfriends.

You know those people who have to carry oxygen around with them in their little tanks? And every 30 sec or so you hear a gentle puffing sound as it is pushed through the tubes into their noses? Yeah, it is kind of like that for me. Little installments, somewhat regularly.

It has been two nutso-crazy months around here, between returning to school, starting a new job, shipping off boy #2 to BYU and now working with him to get mission preparations going, the recent accident with boy #3, getting home late M-Th, being the bishop's family, etc. We are beat. We are happy and grateful for many many blessings, but we are beat.

So, I am trying to squeeze in some of that girl time (wish I could have a girl's weekend where I got to physically meet all of you) so that I can regenerate. But I keep finding myself wanting my guys to join me. Think that would defeat the purpose?

ps I almost went into panic mode last night when I was unable to access my blog. Some weird error kept appearing and I had to put off my Thursday posting until now, early Fri morning. But for order's sake I have changed the date stamp so that I can have my days and dates line up.

day sixty-four: referred pain

Today a neighbor (that I think is as distinguished and genuine as any man has a right to be) came over to visit my convalescing son.

As he stood beside boy #3's bed during our visit he shared with us an experience he had years ago. He was using a paper cutter to destroy some old check books when he accidentally sliced the very tip of his left thumb off. The weird thing was that he immediately felt pain in his right thumb. His right thumb. We stood there after he told the story, for just a few seconds, and thought about the implications of that.

I felt like that other thumb this week when I heard about my son's accident. Let me take the pain. I can handle it.

I feel this way when I know my husband has hit a spot that is especially tough for him. Or when my African son has gotten sick, so far away.

That referred pain in my life has been a sign to me that I love someone. It is an echo echo echo of the pain that He felt for us hundreds of years ago, kneeling in a garden. We copy it. We emulate it. We feel it.

day sixty-three: silver underneath

I got my hair trimmed yesterday. I am completely converted to short hair, btw. I feel so liberated, both in my time and in my identity. For me it works. I have never been too attached to my hair, though.

But yesterday as I pulled down my visor in the car I noticed the grey. It is starting to show up more and more as I keep it short and get a monthly trim. So, what to do? Back to the liberating argument... no updating the color, no root touch ups, no worries. But all of a sudden I am itching to young it up a bit. Advice?

Musical Monday: What Child Is This?

Yes, Christmas has begun here at The Ponderings. With only 10 weeks left until the big day I thought it would be fun to start the holiday tunes.

So this is how we will do it. The song requests made by the first AND the last commenters on each Musical Monday post will be considered for the following Monday (the polls will close at midnight on that Monday). Please remember to limit your requests to Christmas music.

What Child Is This?

day sixty-one: blessed

Thanks so much to everyone for your well wishes over these past 24 hours. I appreciate it, and I really felt the love. You are the best. #3 will have a sore road ahead of him, but he is on the mend. Now, besides the miracle of my son's limited injuries, let me share with you one other little miracle that has occurred over the past day.

As mentioned in a previous post, I suffer from high blood pressure. A genetic flaw passed to me from my parents (still love ya, folks). In the past 5 years I have forgotten to take my ten pm pill maybe three times. One of those times I went in the kitchen on a Saturday night at 11:30 pm to take it and found the bottle empty. I am still not sure how I let that happen, but I did. So I not only skipped it that night, but the entire next day, being Sunday. On Monday morning I shakily drove to the pharmacy and filled my prescription and was soon happy and relaxed. But let me tell you, my heart pounded and I became completely distracted with the banging feeling in my chest on all three or so of these occasions within a matter of a couple of hours of missing my appointment with my little white pill and my glass of water. It was bad news.

Flash forward to today. In my rush to come home and shower and grab a few things before going up to the hospital in SLC last evening, I forgot my pills. But I was already later than I wanted to be and knew I wanted to be with my son as he was getting admitted after being pulled off the ambulance. I asked for special help on this one, and my prayer was answered. It has been 48 hours since I last took my meds (just took one now) and there were zero side effects the entire day. Nothing. I was calm, with no pounding or anxiety. I was looked after for a full day. Thank you, thank you, thank you, I say. It was a miracle for me.

day sixty: beside a hospital bed

I am sitting here listening to boy #3 snore, finally, after a day of feisty fury at himself and at doctors. He is at Primary Children's Hospital in the trauma unit after spending the entire day at one hospital, then an ambulance, then finally here.

After a day of biking, and hiking, and barely sleeping on the cold ground alongside his scouting buddies, he climbed a little hill and cracked a boulder off of it. Said boulder then chased him down and pinned him. And now I sit here and look at my handsome guy with his neck brace (just for precautionary reasons), and his splint on his foot and his cute body all hooked up to... things, and I just want to take him home and take care of him.

But it could have been so much worse. He could have hit his head, or broken his back. This will be a teaching and a learning time for him. He will learn something about himself as he sits and waits to heal. Sometimes a 13 yr-old needs to slow down and to listen to himself, his parents, and to the Spirit.

This time of healing could be just what the doctor ordered.

day fifty-nine: with roses bedight

I have never been one of those people that has remembered her dreams. I mean ever. I would say maybe ten times in my whole life have I woken up and remembered something that happened while I slept. But not lately.

Lately I wake up completely stunned that I am remembering every single dream in pure technicolor. It has been amazing. Geo, and boy #4 and I at the beach, a high school reunion, visits with family members I haven't seen for awhile. The list goes on. I am not able to retain the feelings or even the bare details for longer than a day or two. I have not written them down. Somehow I have felt that these dreams were meant to be brightly burning experiences that stayed for a bit and then were no longer necessary. Like little showers on a hot day, that do the trick but then evaporate. It has been a cool thing.

day fifty-eight: family time

We cancel other things.
We plan.
We hurry through morning duties.
We pile in and drive.

day fifty-seven: pass the pan-fried noodles

Tonight my BFF and I went out for some girl time. I don't get much of that, as you might guess. So we headed out to a furniture store and walked around for a bit before getting a craving for linens and kitchen gadgets and such. We drove across the street and had some fun sifting through marked-down duvet covers and comforters, until said BFF found a great deal for 75% off. We picked it up and then found the next craving to be of the Occidental persuasion.

At PF Chang's we had a sweet but mostly inept waitress that brought water when I asked for Sprite, forgot to put an order in for our pork dumplings, then when the dumplings came forgot our utensils, 20 minutes later brought out the wrong dish, and later gave us a dry pen to sign the receipt.

But it was girls' night, and I didn't care.

day fifty-six: 21 years of mommyhood

big brother



'05 NYC vacay

'06 high school grad

'04 in the canyon

Happy birthday to my oldest, missionary son. You hear it all the time, but it is so true... it seems like yesterday. He is affectionate, handsome, a leader. Always has been. I like him. I miss him. I love him.

day fifty-five: no-music monday

Today will have to be a musicless Monday, because I have been buried in . . . various things. A test on Saturday, two drives to SLC this weekend, boundary changes in my ward this weekend (which required me acting as consultant to my bishop-husband for, hours), a rehearsal last night for a chorus I am in, and an observation I had to prepare for today from my principal.


At what level of your education do you think teachers should allow you to make your own educational choices? Such as, disregarding attendance as part of your grade, being less surgical in the grading of assignments, etc. I will fill you in about my thoughts after I have received yours.

And remember, this is not for a grade.

day fifty-four: realignment

We had our ward boundaries adjusted today, as did 6 of the 8 wards in our stake. Ours was the only ward to lose nobody and gain a lot of new people. We feel blessed and excited to welcome new folks into the ward, and I am already planning some serious hugging once next Sunday hits. Change is good. New friends are good.

And then when I hear myself typing that (wink) I wonder if I could say the same thing if it were me and my family being realigned into another ward. Change seems to be really good for the soul when it is not my soul being changed. Isn't that usually the way?

But today I realized that I can be my own change. I can realign myself. And I know that is an ongoing process.

day fifty-three: test day

I woke up this morning with the gnawing feeling of my behavioral analysis test looming over me. I had been to classes regularly. I had taken notes. I had studied. I thought I was mostly prepared, but I had gotten out of the habit of taking tests. It's been 22 years since I graduated from BYU, back in '87, and frankly I was pretty shaken up about it. But I plugged myself in and took my test online and feel good about it. I would say 92%.

Test #2. Out to lunch with Geo so that we can reevaluate our schedules and make sure we are spending enough time, with our crazy-busy schedules, to be together as a couple. We do well, I think, but my overly attentive husband wants to ramp it up. The test? Not feeling completely defensive and overwhelmed. My score? I would say 85%.

And the final test of the day. Going to an open house for a remodel my friend had done on an old home in Salt Lake, and looking at my tired kitchen cabinets and feeling like I want to rip everything out and start over. My house is 67 years-old, and some days feels like it. We have done some nice improvements here, like paint, carpet, furniture, appliances. And most of the time it is exactly the way I want it to be, but then I go and do something irresponsible, like attend an open house of a beautifully remodeled home even older than mine. Ugh. Score- 74%

day fifty-two: lamb's cafe.

day fifty-one: strangely sacred

One of my close friends is Samoan, so while we were out having breakfast this morning I had to ask her about the recent tsunami and earthquake, and if her family was all safe there in her homeland. Luckily they live up in the hills, so the water was not a problem for them. The earthquake did have an effect, but it was structures that were hurt, not family members.

However, she said that the old ladies in her village who went daily into town on a bus to participate in a craft market were sadly swept away by the water as it carried the bus off. I was heart-broken as I had the image in my mind of old women dying in such a dramatic way. But my friend said that when they found their bodies they were all together, leaning on each other in a group. It was a sacred moment, to be together when they left, she said. And I realized she was right.

day fifty: half dollar

50 straight days of blog posts. I thought it would be fun to list 50 things that I like as a small way of celebrating.

florence, italy
soft carpet
heated seats
green olives
my laptop
meryl streep
Geo's lips (2)
chocolate raisins
chicken korma
mint shampoo
mike & ikes
people over for dinner
modern architecture
foreign languages
knee-high socks
meeting new people
board games
flannel sheets
teaching sp ed
shopping for furniture
freshly mowed lawn
popping bubble wrap
full moons
barber's adagio for strings
sleeping on my back
lip gloss
christmas trees
sarah brightman
honey dijon
being an easterner
biggest loser
leather jackets

day forty-nine: day's end

I go from a long day at work, including a 90-minute IEP mtg at the end

To an abrupt visit to campus, late for my instructional technology class

Back home to leftover lasagna with the guys

To cub scouts, where everyone piles in my car for a trip to the library

Kick off my shoes as I walk in at 8 and get a text that the bishop would like to see me

Shoes back on for the short ride to the church building

Sat in the lobby for an hour because of a miscommunication

Back home to tuck kids in

And what am I thinking about right now? The sweet little brunette that fell asleep on her mother's lap during those 90-minutes of talking, and planning, and reading test results, and talking, and tests. And talking. That is what I am thinking about. Her angel face right in the middle of my day. The face that said, "Can I rest now?" That snuggled up to her mama while the grown-ups talked about her. Hasta manana, I said as her mother woke her to walk out to the parking lot. Then we will start all over trying to do our best for that little sweet girl. And that is what I am thinking about at the end of my day.

Musical Monday: Praise

Nothing fancy here today, folks. Just a 43-second testimony.

I grabbed the hymn book for some inspiration this morning after everyone left for the day, and I thought I would just do something short, but powerful. Amen.

Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow

day forty-seven: october snow

From nine to noon today Geo, boy #4 and I all went for a drive around the Nebo Loop. Color and lush for the first quarter and then snow and hail the rest of the way. Still gorgeous and huge and western.

And we listened to a prophet's voice. And I was very happy.

day forty-six: howling

My guys were all gone for the evening, so I crawled into the hot tub and cranked up the jets. The jets speak to me sometimes.

And as I sat there with my head back looking straight up into my gorgeous mammoth cottonwood tree I noticed the huge harvest moon peeking over the roof of my house. It was seriously... wow.

I made a decision to not think too deeply about the moment. I just sat there and stared.

And then I howled, silently.

day forty-five: the ol' ticker

Five years ago my blood changed. It became more impatient as it raced through the miles of tubes in my body.

I was out shopping with my mom, who was visiting for Thanksgiving, when I felt nausea, pain, and an incredibly loud banging-in-my-ears heartbeat. I was at the doctor's office in an hour running on a treadmill with ten electrodes stuck to me, only to be told I flat-lined on a few of the readings.

Prepare for probable angioplasty in the morning. Keep these nitroglycerin pills near your bed.

No blockages. No cholesterol problems. No heart attack. Metabolic, they said. Like faulty wiring, they hinted.

It has been a blessing to be more aware of my heart. For 40 years I knew it was in there, but I didn't think about it much. Now a day doesn't pass that I don't stop here and there and feel it. I measure it. Monitor it. Not always with my little cuff I have at home, but with my surrounding body. I say to it, Relax. Breathe. Everything will be ok.

And this has helped me to be more aware of my own mortality. I hold things in there. I love with it. I fill it up.

I heart my heart.

day forty-four: thanks, man

Our principal took control of our collaboration time after school yesterday to spread some of his enthusiasm around a bit. He had recently been to a principals' academy and came back on fire about inclusion (keeping kids with special needs in the regular education as much as possible, seeing potential in all children to learn, etc). My thing. My thing.

Today my student T didn't have a meltdown.

Today S talked (and talked).

Today G wrote the letter "B" all by herself.

Today I was a teacher.