Month: March 2015

First tulip magnolia bloom

First tulip magnolia bloom

Our new young tree bloomed yesterday for the first time. Rebecca says magnolias are her favorite tree. Now you can see why I planted it!

Overwhelmed by whipping cream

Overwhelmed by whipping cream

We seem to have had a proliferation of funny quotables this weekend. I caught a few of them on paper. For example, we just sat down to a minimal dinner with a maximal helping of dessert: angel food cake with berries and freshly whipped cream (after…

Repurposing costumes (or, The Mad Seamstress)

Repurposing costumes (or, The Mad Seamstress)

Repurposing costumes Eliza

Eliza has a dance recital coming up, which means she needs a costume.

I absolutely LOVE Eliza’s dance studio director! She is so practical! She is so realistic! She “gets it” that families don’t have money to dish out for costumes that they will not re-use frequently. So she asks us to pull together what we can. Which is just what we did, thanks to Julia generously sharing her old Halloween costume.

Halloween crew

Once upon a time Julia bought her costume for Halloween at Deseret Industries (a second-hand store). Now she doesn’t fit into it, so she suggested Eliza use it.

We had to cut off the floor-length skirt to re-hem it and rip out the zipper to take in the back a little, which I was doing up until the very last minute when Eliza’s carpool ride came to pick her up this week. Seriously, if I ever were to open up a sewing business, I might call it “The Mad Seamstress,” because I’m always sewing up until the last minute (or after the last minute) to finish dresses and costumes. It’s what I and my mother did on my dresses growing up…like that time my Jr. Prom date was waiting in the front room, and I was waiting in my bedroom, while my mother finished sewing up my gown. Ahem. So it’s totally tradition!

It is just AWESOME not to spend a dime on costumes, particularly when the rest of the year she has to wear an Irish dance dress that cost several hundred dollars (choke!) to buy–used!

And so I sew. So glad I can.

Fast meals: Chicken Fiesta

Fast meals: Chicken Fiesta

(Seriously. I am SO not a food photographer. Here’s the lovely, blurry, snapshot of my meal because I simply am not in the business of it. It’s just to give you an idea. Hopefully looking at the photo will not have any adverse affects on…

“The children, the children, I can’t forget the children…”

“The children, the children, I can’t forget the children…”

This morning when my alarm went off I had finally gotten warm, comfortable and sleeping soundly again. I wanted more than anything not to get up to go to orchestra. I wanted to stay and exercise, to visit with my husband after he got back…

Lynn Harrell and a Pellegrina viola

Lynn Harrell and a Pellegrina viola

Pellegrina viola

Last night, Lane, Peter and I attended a concert in which Lynn Harrell performed with the BYU Philharmonic. We had great seats just 3 rows away from the soloist, with a wonderful view of his playing. It was incredible! Mr. Harrell gave an outstanding performance of the Dvorák Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in B Minor, op.104. Peter especially loved seeing that within the very first dramatic measures of this concerto, there were already bow strings that were hanging off both ends of Mr. Harrell’s bow. Pete was also surprised to see how he removed them between passages, especially when he didn’t use fingernail scissors like Peter has been taught to do! 🙂

My favorite part was the encores. Mr. Harrell performed a little piece by Valentina? Valentino? and then one of my favorite pieces: Melody from Orpheus and Eurydice by Gluck. The whole evening was superb! I’m so grateful that we could hear such a stellar performance (at 1/8th of the price for the same seats in another venue).

There were two cool things we saw at the performance: a fingerboard extension on one of the basses, and a Pellegrina viola.

When I saw the Pellegrina viola, which at first struck me as something you might see in a Picasso painting, I wondered what the backstory was. So did Peter. So we asked the violist who was playing it, after the concert was over. She explained that a normal viola is too large for her to play, and this version has the same internal space as a viola, just arranged differently. Here’s a cool photo animated rotation of a Pellegrina viola, if you want to check it out!

I was inspired by the efforts of an instrument maker to overcome a challenge facing violists who struggle to play an instrument too large or problem-causing (tendonitis, carpul tunnel, etc.) for them. It reminded me of how pepole have creatively overcome daily challenges by looking for solutions and persevere in working until they figure it out.

How NOT smoking builds wealth

How NOT smoking builds wealth

Do you ever wonder about that promise that those who keep God’s commandments will prosper in the land? (See 2 Nephi 4:4 and Deuteronomy 28) I seem to find evidence of it all the time. Yesterday I was visiting with a dental hygienist who got…

Down on my knees by the hyacinths to plant a black tulip magnolia tree

Down on my knees by the hyacinths to plant a black tulip magnolia tree

In the previous home where we lived, I planted a star magnolia tree. It is blooming in the yard now, and I was telling my daughters how beautiful it smells in the dusk during its brief blooming season. I missed it; it is a lovely…

Key indicators in motherhood, for me

Key indicators in motherhood, for me

Yesterday I was feeling so stressed out about all the things that remain that I hadn’t done, particularly after another full day that ended late helping a child finish her “Leprechaun Trap” that needed to include as many simple machines (levers, pullies, planes, etc.) as possible. Hooray for a husband who would help his daughter figure that out at 9 pm! When we got to bed at 11, that was when I felt bad about all that wasn’t done and all the areas that I felt were a mess.

My husband asked me if I was doing the things that were most important. I was frustrated by that, but I answered and named the things that were still happening that I had helped to happen. “I want you to remember that,” he suggested.

This morning when I woke up and was studying my scriptures, I was reading President Benson’s lesson on Jesus Christ. Studying those paragraphs really helped me have a change of heart from the night before. I remembered what Lane said the night before, and I felt affirmed in the things that I AM doing. I was sharing my thoughts with Nate in a letter about how our success comes from focusing on Christ and doing the things that are important to Him, and I told Nate what my “key indicators” for success are. Then I decided I would record these thoughts here and stick them on the sidebar so that I can remember the next time I need to trade feelings of frustration and discouragement for affirmation and peace.

Here’s what I wrote to him: That’s the whole point of everything. If we keep bringing our focus back to Christ, then everything will work out. We will be triumphant through Him. Our success will be in Him. You will be a successful missionary; I will be a successful wife and mother. All the measures will be in the right place. It’s not so important how many people we baptize but that we do what Christ has planned for us to do today. If we do His will and follow His plan, we’re going to be a part of accomplishing the miracles that He has planned for us to have part in accomplishing. If we do what we want and not His will, we’re going to spin our wheels and get frustrated. Sometimes I forget and act as if my key indicators are a clean house and no piles on the dining room table and dinner ready on time. But they are not. My key indicators are if I’m doing my best to cheerfully help our family to read the scriptures, pray, love and serve one another, attend church and the temple, eat together, laugh together, say sorry and forgive one another, and share one another’s burdens, Does my husband feel my love today? Do my children? Did they feel the Spirit with me? If they did, THAT is my key indicator. If I am doing those things, then they have their agency to decide if they will serve a mission, marry in the temple, and keep their covenants all their lives. But if I am keeping my covenants and loving and serving them, that is what matters for me. 

The reason, for me, that these are my key indicators are that they are the things that matter most to me, and I know these are what matter to Christ. These habits are the things that help us figure out how to solve  problems, how to have happiness in the face of our challenges, how to enjoy each other and grow stronger together while we have the change together, now, today. Our family is rapidly growing and before long, all the children will have flown the nest. I will be in the next wonderful stage of all young adult children and married children and grandchildren, with all the joys and trials that will come then. So now I want to nurture the most important habits that will help my children develop a strong relationship with me, with the others in our immediate family, and with God. And then those relationships will be able to flourish better with others, if they choose to let them.

This checklist is the best one of all for feeling peace, because I know I can do them. I may not do so many other things, because I literally have hundreds of possibilities every day for nurturing myself and my family. And I can never get to most of them! So I have to come back to the barebone essentials, and these are my key indicators for success.

Getting away

Getting away

Lane and I had the chance to go to sunny California last month for a short trip. (That’s what frequent flyer miles accumulated from all that work are for, right? Absolutely!) There are lots of things I love about getting away with my husband, but…