it's called a cello

At a cello recital at a very posh nursing home. These cute old folks walk in and ask if they can sit on "the very front row." One man looks at my son's cello and asks, "How long have you been playing? And what is that?" We just choose to answer the latter question and then they sit in front of us, he and his wife, and hold hands.

thick sap

When your boy is a high school senior you find yourself thinking, "This will be the last time we attend a jazz ensemble concert." Or "Weird that we won't have early morning marching band ever again."

It is both gut-wrenching and terrific at the same time when new eras begin.

So I sit here a little choked up as I think about my boys becoming men. I get pre-nostalgia nostalgia.  Followed by nostalgia.

Sappy, sappy me.


I sing in a choir every year from September until December. We perform sacred Christmas music, including Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols.

Soul food, this.

We practice in this non-denominational chapel with its high-pitched ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows. While we practice we see birds, deer, and beautiful mountain views, and I feel close to God.

because I can

When the mister and I got home from church today we had an hour before choir practice and decided to sit and read.

He- a non-fiction ebook about algorithmic reading.

Me- The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermout.

This is what we can do without little ones under foot. Although I still get the craving to take care of (feed) all the people in this house. Instinctive? Learned? I don't over-think it. Life is better for me when I offer something.

in the round

Tonight we had a great group of friends over for dinner and tasty conversation. When you sit around a big round table with 8 other people you can see faces and remind yourself why you like these people. The food is an excuse to be together. It is really the company I chew on and digest. And it goes down smooth.

by the light

We now have a fireplace. We have never had one before,  but it was a top item on the list of prerequisites when we started house hunting a year ago,  followed closely by a garage. 

As I sit by the fire tonight I look into the room and see my husband and two of my boys and I wonder to myself how I scored so well.  Problems here and there? Yes. But the things that matter feel mostly in place,  and I sit here toasty and warm and say a small prayer of thanks.

yes, please

Posting on the go as we head to the temple.  During this month of daily blog posting I have chosen to post everyday from my phone, using photos I have only taken mobily. It's another cool way to document my life.

Last night I went shopping and to dinner with my best friend. It was a nice night after a kind of soul-sucking week with all I am trying to balance.  We ate curry noodles and laughed our way through multiple trips to multiple dressing rooms.  So fun.


I find it interesting how some things that can totally knot up your gut and turn you upside down one day can roll off your back another.  Why is that?  Maybe our hearts can only handle so much concern at once and we need to rotate through the rolodex so that we can cope.  Kinda cool the way we are so resilient. The way we get refined through experience so that the next time we face a similar thing we are more prepared to face it.

come on in

Tonight after dinner we sat around our huge round table and talked about reaching out to people. We talked about stretching our circle. About acting on social promptings. 

It is an important skill.  The boys reflected on the history of our family having people over.  We were glad they had those memories. In this new house we are excited to open the doors even more.

gospel avatar

So I bought Christmas early for my three youngest guys this year because they were all talking about the new handheld gaming system that #2 could afford right away and the youngest two had to wait until the holiday for.

Anyway....  I wanted them to pal around and enjoy this thing together,  so I handed over a wad of bills and sent them out the door to buy three and wished them a "Merry Christmas" as they happily hugged me and rushed out to make the purchase.

One of the cool things about this new gaming system is the ability to recognize people passing with the same system. In other words, my son can be trotting across campus and his system will import the avatar of the passing person and an immediate game will commence with them both. Cool, huh?

I was thinking about this in relation to missionary work. What if we had the desire to share the gospel and as we walked around in our lives we got some kind of alert or inner alarm that sounded when we passed someone who wanted to hear our message?  Are there subtle alerts we miss? Are we losing sensitivity? 

I am recommiting to missionary work and looking forward to reaching out.

a bonus of middle age

Watching my grown-up kids be so smart and talented and  hard-working (not to mention good-looking) is more rewarding than I would have ever imagined when they were little squats.

The launch.  The trajectory.  Sticking the landing. 

Awesome sauce.

melt down? check!

Between work and school and the house I am feeling threadbare,  and last night it showed itself in an ugly cry fest.  The hubby did his best to fix things but there really is nothing to fix. 

I am just having  a moment. 

A moment that may last for 2 years. 

A moment that may leave my family in the dust. 

But behind my whining I still feel blessed and thankful.  Really.  Because I know that the things that matter still do.  And I know many would trade their problems for mine. That's a good filter during a pity party.

So...  new day.  New beginning. 


From work to a district meeting to a thesis committee meeting to my special ed law class.

Busy day with lots of good things.

And now I'm snuggled in bed with Geo watching TV and blogging from my phone.  More good.

that burns

In a dark room a funky and daring chandelier stands out like nobody's business. Suddenly the shape and color of the glass are so distracting that I have moments of confusion  as I try to stay involved in conversation with my dinner companion. My husband.

We talk about online writing and teaching strategies and self-reflection.

I see him.  I see his passion for these things.  I see his interest in his students.  I see him as that chandelier,  right there over his right shoulder.  He is light.

soft spots

We had friends from the old neighborhood over tonight for family home evening. There's something about people that you've raised your kids alongside. They understand you a little more. Maybe we just see into each others' souls a little deeper when we have done hard things together, like raise teens or vicariously suffer through sin and repentance or even just struggle in general. It was nice to have them here at our new place.

We had family scripture time after they left,  during which my oldest son texted and told me one of the Bible videos he is in came out (see my fb page). Cool to see that.


Today our son Perry came over for dinner and a visit. On a cold blustery day what could be better?  I love to hear my adult sons in particular talk about their futures with excitement and energy.  It's a payoff for us parents.  Really it is.

Gid and I committed again to opening our home to more gatherings. Friends and family.  Missionary opportunities. We have always loved entertaining but feel like the new place lends itself to it even more. 

Assignments to get done this week. Oh,  and some paperwork for my job. But I am in the blessing counting mode and choose to be thankful for my busy and productive life.


We had our first gathering at the house tonight. We feel all christened or something. Good food. Good company.

Tomorrow my son and DIL will come for Our dinner. We will eat and talk around the big black table and then Mindy will trim my mop before I head to Christmas chorus. 

When was the last time you had someone over for a nice dinner?  Open up and feel the blessings of connecting.

a reason to write

When I was reminded today that November is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) I almost called the paramedics.  For my blog.  Not for me.  Because as much as I have wanted to nurture it, I have been distracted by other life stuff and my poor little place here has been gasping for air and ready to give up the ghost.

I do miss writing and would like to get back to it on a regular basis.  Even if that means weekly, or monthly.  Whatever ends up working for me.

Been finishing up phase one of our reno on the new old house.  We love it.  It is comfy and has bigger rooms for gathering, which was a main reason for the move.  New kitchen just finished. Etc., etc.  We are happy here.  In this process I have learned that my mind and soul feel about 20 years younger than my body.  Man, that is a tough reality to face.  We set Nov 2 as a deadline for the main common areas to be finished so that we can rest during the holidays and enjoy family and friends and stop having nightmares about grout and baseboards and flooring.  In the early Spring phase two will consist of painting bedrooms and the garage.  Also some gardening will be squeezed in. 

Grad school.  Yeah.  Starting my project with a committee that was already up and running.  That was a blessing.  I need to start my lit review and decide on my research method, etc.  Lots to do.  Brain tired.  Schedule full. 

Work continues to be rewarding.  I am learning a lot this year about motivating kids to perform, getting basic behaviors in place, and having difficult discussions with parents.  I have been misunderstood a few times already and fear I have stepped on toes, but I am a good diplomat and know I am serving the children best by advocating for them, even if I ironically end up doing so with their own parents.  Everyone's intentions are good, but when you talk about special needs kids emotions are involved and things get kind of loaded.  All will be well.

I have had numerous occasions lately to feel tender feelings about my children and husband.  My youngest 2 are both in high school this year.  Kind of a landmark thing.  My oldest is working so hard at school, and his wife is supporting them.  These kids are so independent and interesting.  And my second son is burning the candle at both ends.  Work and school and dating.  That's his life.  And what can I say about Geo.  Seriously the guy is incredible.  He has worked so incredibly hard on our house, usually after a long day at work or all day on Saturday.  True blue, I tell you.

Life is good and I have many things to feel happy and hopeful about.  

sad sad stigma

I found out this morning that two moms came into the school office to withdraw their children from my class.  Nothing personal.  They just don't want the stigma of special ed following their kids around.  It saddens me though.  They are young enough to avoid any stigma, unless the parents create it, and to get early intervention.  But I can't force it.

On the upside, I have a couple of high school interns coming into my class to assist this year.  It will be a great experience.  For them, for the kids, and for me. I like seeing people get excited about teaching.  I feel like a successful missionary when I see the flame get ignited.

I love my job.  It is important and invigorating and inspiring.  I hope to do it justice as I serve my little kiddos.

the young one

Tonight we went to pick up #4 from his friend's house.  He is at that age where the man is trying to sneak out from behind the bumpy skin and the loud and cracking voice.  Where he thinks he needs us a little less.

He is my baby, but not for long.
My affectionate and loving young one.

summer and me

We made the 2100-mile drive in two 18-hour days.  Me and my son.  We listened to 36 albums straight.  His music.  Which I really loved.  You know, you can learn a lot about your 17-year old when you spend all that time together in the car listening to music that matters to him.

Then the 50th anniversary celebration for my parents, the beach for 5 days, and the two-day drive back home.  It was exhausting and glorious and reaffirming and I would have loved to have spent more time there.  But grad school calls and I pushed it hard enough being gone that long.  Not sure if I have mentioned enough how much I love being in school.

So now we are back at our new home.  The one with the beautiful new floors and big open rooms.  The one with the garage and the big pine trees.  And the half ripped out kitchen and the 1970s bathrooms.  And we love it all.

No more google reader and I am kind of sick about having to re-find my friends again.  But I will.

As summer is drawing to an end I count my blessings and realize how blessed I am to have a healthy family, a job I love, good friends, and so many other things.


We are between homes right now.  Sold one and haven't moved into the next one yet.  Some days it is liberating.  Some days I get all anxious and shaky about it.

In this limbo period we are staying with friends.  Miss Angela (my friend) is our regular substitute in my classroom.  She is someone I look up to.  She is kind and funny and an all-around good person.  It is easy to be her guest.  It is just hard to be a guest in general.  Hard to not disturb the routines of the hosts.  Hard to have a feeling of solidarity within our own little family while things are not quite stable in a temporal way.

But each night we read scriptures together and remind ourselves of the important things, like being with each other and sharing experiences we have had during the day.  Those are the building blocks of a home.  The physical matters, of course, but the spiritual and the emotional are the real things.

 I can't wait to get in there and renovate starting this weekend

beginning the end

See that red chair?  That's where I'll be sitting on Thursday as I cue the kiddos on their speaking and singing parts in our program we hold in our classroom at the end of the school year.  They'll stand and sit and hold signs and recite nursery rhymes and even shake maracas.  The parents will cry, and so will I.  Because even though I am ready for the next things that will happen this Summer, I am not necessarily ready for my little friends to leave.

So weird the way change is what makes this job so invigorating and excruciating at the same time.  I'll worry about C, and wonder if he is learning how to solve his little problems.  I'll keep in touch with some whose mothers have asked for a continued connection.  It's always an interesting thing.

These chairs will be packed with grandmas and little sisters and camera bags.  I'll try and put my mind elsewhere as I stand and say how much I love the kids.  Ugh.  That's a hard part.  Then after the singing and clapping and bowing we will eat little frosted animal cookies and undoubtedly spill some punch on the carpet and take lots of pictures.  I will be in many of them.  Some will end up in scrapbooks and others will not.  I am not always remembered, and I am used to that now.  It doesn't matter.  We do what we can in the time we have.

We are both limited and unlimited.  It is the way of things.

Is this thing on?

Between my 47 (yes, you read that right) IEP meetings this month and my home for sale and my teenagers and allergies and a few other things going on, phew, I have been absent from the blogosphere.  But, oh, how I have missed checking in with friends and having this place to write about what matters to me.

Today marks a year since we lost our little granddaughter.  I still feel the weight of that baby in my arms as I held her and whispered that I loved her. She has taught us a lot over these months, even though she was only with us for a few hours.

But even more than little Olive, today I think of my daughter-in-law and how much I love her.  And how much my son loves her. We could have lost her if things had turned a different way.  She is healing.  We all are.  Life is good and families are forever.

We are planning a road trip to Mecca this Summer.  Mecca = The Outer Banks, NC.  Where we go as an extended family to regenerate every couple of years.  There will be sun and sand and crab, and we will be happy there.  I am literally counting down the days until we go and I get a change of venue.  And the count is down to 111 days.

I can smell the water.  I can hear it.  Feel it.

too quiet to hear anything

Sometimes being still is a real chore.
Sometimes I want to solve things.
To fix it.

I don't believe God only answers us with a voice still and small.
I believe many, if not most, of my answers have come while I have been in the middle of an action.
He either says, "Nope.  Not quite." Or he says, "Almost." Or sometimes even, "You got it."

I can't always hear when it's quiet.
I have felt bad about that at certain points in my life.
Like when people in church talk about these very sweet experiences of gentle revelation.
But then I realize that it is the personal nature of the communication that counts.  
I don't talk to my mom the same way I do to my sister or my friends.
They each need to hear me differently.  

My answers and promptings and discussions are tailor-made for me and my own personality and needs.

flurries on rewind

Teacher Development Day today.

I am taking my lunch break. I sit here at the computer eating my buttered egg noodles and I look eastward out my classroom window.  What is it about a blustery, snowy day that makes me nostalgic?

I just had a flash of memory of living in CA and coming to Utah to visit family during the Winter.  My little boys had matching purple and black coats, and I would bundle them up for their rare visits with the white stuff.  They would usually just stand in it and look at me like they were asking, "What now, Mommy?" It was obviously foreign.

Or the time I was sliding on the ice when I was about 13 and a friend said he would kiss me if he caught me, so I put the gas on.  A few strides later I fell on a board that had frozen in the pond.  Two nails sticking out.  15 stitches needed.  But I must admit that he was very gallant as we waited for my dad-hero to come get me and take me to the hospital.

Nothing deeper than these memories.  Oh, and a melancholy sigh.  And now back to work.