Tuesday, May 31, 2011


You don't have to HAVE something all the time to love it, right?  Balance has always been one of those elusive things for me.  I have it occasionally, but as soon as I realize I have it, it somehow slips away.  But I can happily say that I have experienced it often enough to know that I LOVE it.  

Balance for me = spiritual, personal, physical, and mental contentedness...not always JOY or EXCITEMENT, but just that quiet, contentment when I look around at my life and feel glad to be exactly where I am, hopeful for the future and grateful for right now.  

This is my last full day by myself before school ends on Friday.   The next three days will be filled with more end of the year activities, celebrations, lunches, and half days.  Knowing this, I carefully carved out the entire day and planned to "tank up" on peaceful tranquility before the school year ends.

I listened to two incredible Conference talks from last October. 
Faith and Character 

I played the piano.

I listened to music. 
I wrote in my journal.
And I watched Oprah's Season 25 Finale that I've been saving since last week.

All day long, I've tried to fill the day with good things, and to store all the things that will help me to be balanced and "awesomely enthusiastic" when the kids are home everyday.  But, as 3:00 rapidly approaches, I'm starting to feel more panic than enthusiasm.  

And I'm also realizing that you can't store balance.  It's not very realistic to think that in one day, I can store all the quiet and spirituality I'll need for the next three months.  And I think I might be exaggerating the situation a little in my head.  It's possible, even with four kids home from school, a family trip across the country planned, and yet another move coming up, that I will have a place and an opportunity to be quiet once or twice before August.  (Maybe that 5:30am thing will come in handy over the summer.)

So, as I make the transition right now from ALONE and PEACEFUL to ATTENTIVE and CONNECTED, I'm grateful that I have had the last 6 hours and the last 9 months to know what BALANCE feels like, and I look forward to carving out creative ways to be BALANCED over the summer.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cilantro Lime Dressing

It's possible that I have just made the most amazing dressing on the planet!  

About a month ago, I read a friend's gushy post about how much she loved CILANTRO and totally agreed.  And if I hadn't been paranoid that she would have thought I was a big copycat, I would have posted an almost identical tribute to cilantro on my own blog, because I LOVE that stuff, too!

But today, I found yet another way to love cilantro, and technically it's not copying her anymore because I'm writing about cilantro DRESSING...besides, it's been 6 whole weeks since there's been a post about cilantro from anyone, so it's about time, I think.

We were invited to a BBQ/Pool Party this afternoon and the hosts were serving typical BBQ food...burgers, hot dogs, etc.  So I offered to bring a side dish.  Initially when I volunteered myself for that, my ulterior motive was to make sure that there would be something non-meaty for me and TCD to eat.  But, it turns out, some little birdie told them that we're vegetarians and they're making marinated, grilled portobello mushrooms for us!  YUM!!  How nice is that??  I would have been happy with chips and my little side dish.

This morning, I threw together this salad.  It's kind of a combination of a few recipes I found on Google because they all sounded like they needed each other.

Here's the salad recipe...

1 box bow tie pasta (the little ones are cuter, but I could only find the regular sized ones)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 C frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained
1 C edamame
grape tomatoes, halved (I'm not sure how many??  maybe 3/4 C?)

I cooked the pasta and then threw everything in the bowl and tossed.  I didn't even defrost any of the frozen stuff because the pasta was still hot when I threw it in.  The salad looked really pretty and colorful, but it needed some kind of dressing and the ones on the original recipes didn't sound great.  So I blended a few and came up with this...


1/3 C olive oil 
1/4 C lime juice (I happened to have fresh key limes leftover from dinner last night)
2T balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
1T sesame oil (because I LOVE that stuff)
1/4 C cilantro (it might have been more than that)
1/3 C honey
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

I threw everything in the blender except the olive oil and blended on high until it was all combined and everything was green.  Then, with the blender still running, I carefully opened the top (because in the past, I have not always had luck with that sort of thing) and poured the olive oil in gradually.  That's called emulsifying.  It just makes it so that the oil doesn't separate from the other stuff. 

I tasted it before I dressed the salad just in case it was gross.  It wasn't!  And then I let Spell Girl taste it (because she was the official lime juicer today) and she LOVED it, too!

Here's what the whole salad looked like when we were done...it would be prettier with red tomatoes, but I only had yellow ones.

I was seriously tempted to lick the inside of the blender after I poured the dressing on the salad - it was THAT good!  (I restrained myself, though.)  There are so many layers of flavors in it...lime, garlic, honey, sesame...serious YUM!!   It's the most amazing dressing I've ever had!!  I might have to use it on EVERYTHING. 

Pictures from the Pool Party:


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spell Girl's Talk

I have promised my children that the minute they stop being amazing and inspiring, I will stop writing about them.  Until then, everything they do is subject to becoming blog material.  

Today, Spell Girl spoke in Church. 
A Temple is a place of order, a place of peace, a place of love, a place of beauty.  It is God's home.  It is a place for worshipping.  We should all visit the Temple regularly.  Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Seventy has said, "even our young children have been encouraged to visit the Temple grounds and touch the Temple."  I have only been inside the Temple once, but I hope to go again very soon.  My parents and grandparents have been good influences for me by going to the Temple regularly.  My grandpa is a Sealer in the Logan Temple which makes me happy because that means one day he can seal me to my husband.  

In my grandparents' house, there is a balcony that faces toward the Temple.  It is always fun to go out there and point it out to each other.  Sometimes I feel like sitting and staring at it forever.  In Mosiah 2:51 it says, "And they pitched their tents round about the Temple, every man facing his tent with the door thereof toward the Temple, that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which King Benjamin should speak unto them."  This verse reminds me of the balcony at my grandparents' house.  You can face the Temple and feel the peace and love it brings.  

Temples have always meant a lot to me.  I have four different pictures of Temples in my room:  Mesa, AZ; Fresno, CA; Laie, HI and Salt Lake City, UT.  They are four Temples that I find extremely beautiful.  

Temples are sacred, but our homes can be sacred, too.  Your home should be a peaceful and loving place with uplifting music and pictures throughout it.  It should be a place to say family prayers, have Family Home Evening, and read scriptures together.  You should also have your own place to say personal prayers and have personal scripture study.  Your family should love one another and obey their parents.  Nobody's perfect so you might not have peace, love and order all the time, but if you try hard to, your home can be a sacred place that is inviting for the Spirit.  Imagine that your home is a Temple.  Would you ever feel stressed out or angry?  Would you ever say or listen to negative things?  God's home is the Temple.  It is sacred.  Your home is your Temple.  Work hard to keep it sacred, too. 

In Elder Stevenson's talk from General Conference, there is a story about a day when his father and sons were on a drive together.  As they drove, they found themselves in an unfamiliar area.  As his father asked his grandsons if they were lost, one of the boys pointed out the Temple and said, "Grandpa, you are never lost when you can see the Temple."  I believe that that statement is true.  You cannot be lost if you can see the Temple.  The same can be said about your home.  Because how can you be lost if your house is visible?  I'd like to end my talk by bearing my testimony that I know the Temple can help guide us.  I know that our homes can be a sacred place.  And I know that Heavenly Father is watching over us no matter whose home we are in.    
We have been extremely fortunate over the last few months to hear our children speak and perform multiple times in Church.  It is always amazing to listen to their talents and their testimonies.   And I am so grateful to be their mom.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Dad

Last year at this time, I was in a hospital in Houston with my dad who had just had a debilitating stroke.  We both spent 10 days in that hospital room.  It was extremely difficult.  At the time, I thought that the long days in the hospital were the worst, but the days following were even more difficult.  The amazing support of my family and closest friends was the only thing that kept me afloat last May and June.

I have spent the last several days remembering my dad...
 ...who he was and how he lived his life.  

These are the things I remember...

My parents said that my first words were a complete sentence.  "Daddy go bye bye in the car."  (They also said something about amazingly smart and conversant at 9 months old...)  I'm sure that story was heavily exaggerated over the years, but the important part was always that "Daddy" was my first word.  That's the only thing I ever called him from the day I could speak until the last day that I said goodbye to him in the hospice room.  Not once in my life did I ever call him "Dad."  It just never fit.  

He was a chef.  He worked in the hotel and restaurant industry my entire life.  And sometime when I was in college, he attended the Culinary Institute of America.  He was so proud of that accomplishment.  And he used that talent every single day.  I don't recall ever having a conversation with him, in person or on the phone, when he wasn't giving me some recipe or cooking technique he had discovered.  It was immensely frustrating for him to cook with me.  He was exactness.  I am "throw stuff in until it tastes good."  (except in baking...baking is chemistry, you can't just throw stuff in)  All my life, when I wanted to try some crazy recipe, my dad was always up for the challenge.  He could make ANYTHING.  And not only did he make it...he made it BEAUTIFUL.  Even for a casual dinner, he would julienne things, and clean the mushrooms individually with a paper towel so they wouldn't bruise, and throw bacon into the green beans.  He NEVER took shortcuts in the kitchen.  He cooked with his whole heart.  And you could feel that in every meal he made.

He took me shopping for my prom dress.  He was more patient about those things than my mom.  And he loved that southern belle look. 

He adored my mom.  He got frustrated with her and he complained about the little habits that drove him crazy.  But he adored her.  He took hundreds of pictures of her which is why, even in this post, there are more of her than of him.  If she did it, he was there capturing it on film and immortalizing it forever.  
In 2003, her diabetes took it's toll on her body and she lived the rest of her life on dialysis.  It was a 45 minute drive to the dialysis clinic.  He drove her there three times a week, waited in the lobby for 3-4 hours until she was finished, and then drove her home.  He monitored her blood sugar and her meds.  He made special meals to accommodate her dietary restrictions.  And he managed to find diabetic substitutes for nearly all of her favorite things. Those years were extremely difficult for him, and he didn't love that experience, but he wouldn't have been anywhere else but by her side because he adored her.  
When she died on March 17, 2008, his life ended a little bit, too.  He spent two agonizing years without her.
He was honest.  My dad = integrity.  He was a helper.  It was innate in him to jump up and help NO MATTER WHAT.  He had extremely high expectations and he was often disappointed when things and people didn't meet them.  But he had good intentions and he did the best he could with what he had.  He wanted the best for my mom and for me.  There was never any doubt that we were the most important people in his life.  In the year since he's been gone, I have realized that all the things that frustrated me before are mostly insignificant now.  Those things have been replaced by what I know were the intentions of his heart and his abundant love for his family.   

I am grateful a year later, for all that I have, and the life that I live because of the efforts and sacrifices that my parents made.  And I am so grateful that they are once again together. 


Friday, May 27, 2011


I LOVE to write letters and send cards. 

I love the speed and convenience of texting and emailing, and I think technology is an amazing thing, but sometimes there are things that need to be said in a more meaningful way.

When I was a brand new member of the Church, I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting.  I have no idea what I spoke about, but I know I was totally nervous.  A few people were very kind to come up to me after the meeting and tell me that I did a great job.  And then a few days later, I received a letter in the mail from a woman in the ward that I hardly knew.  I was so touched by the fact that she would take the time to write to me personally.  I felt important and loved and I felt the sincerity of the things she said.  I still have that letter.   

Because of that experience, I have looked for opportunities over the years to write actual letters to people.  There's always a reason to write something nice to someone.  I've written to thank people for their talks or lessons in church.  I've written to children who have done things I appreciate.  I've written to teachers and friends and people I love.  I'm sure I've written thousands of letters over the years.  I haven't received responses to most of them.  But that part doesn't matter as much.  What matters is that those people know that they are on my mind for whatever reason and that I love them. 

My children have become letter writers.  Every week they write to their friends in Mendon.  I know that their letters make a difference to their friends and that those friendships are stronger even though they've been separated by thousands of miles for almost a year.  Our kids write letters all the time.  We have found them on our pillows at night.  Sometimes their notes say "I love you" or "sorry" or "thanks" for something.  

Sometimes they're more like persuasive essays than letters...like the one TCD wrote to convince us she needed her own phone.  

They write letters to their teachers and to their friends at school or to people in the neighborhood.  

Last weekend, Mack and two of his friends were jumping off ramps with their bikes.  One of the other boys went flying over the handlebars and broke his collar bone.  He was in the ER until late Saturday night and Mack was quite distressed over the whole thing.  He woke up Sunday morning and wanted to know if he could take a card and some candy over to his friend.  Since we were all headed to church, I asked him to wait.  But even with the shoe trauma, he didn't forget that note.  Immediately after we walked in the door, he asked one of his sisters to help him get some paper and he wrote a note to his friend.  Then he climbed up on the counter in the kitchen to find what I thought was my hidden candy stash (apparently I'll have to find a new hiding place), and he announced that he was going next door.  I have no idea what the note said, but his mom told me later how much her son appreciated the note...even more than the M&Ms!  

I'm glad to know that my children came with that same innate letter writing desire that I have.  I hope we all keep listening for those promptings to write and that we keep acting on them.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The End of the School Year

I LOVE the energy that surrounds the last few weeks of school.  You can feel the anticipation in the air.  There are exactly 5 more days until SUMMER, and I don't think it's possible to fit one more activity into these last few days!  I'm having a little trouble keeping track of where everyone is supposed to be.  Yesterday, my husband and I showed up a day early for the Talent Show.  (oops!)  At least that's better than a day late, though, right??

This Week
Spring Orchestra Concert

Elementary School Talent Show

End of the Year Elementary Picnic

Middle School Talent Show
8th Grade Fun Day
5th Grade Honors Assembly
Spring Piano Recital

Next Week
Memorial Day BBQ
6th Grade Splash Bash 
8th Grade Finals
6th Grade Graduation
Last Day of School
June's Birthday Party!!
June's Birthday Dinner with the Carrollton Grs

I'd like to say that after all that stuff, we'll be trading in school shoes for flip flops and hanging out by the pool every day, but I don't see any signs of slowing down until September.  These two weeks are going to launch us into a crazy busy, but totally fun summer.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Do you know what I LOVE??  People who say "I LOVE YOU" freely and without reservation.  They are everywhere lately.   

My friend, Sister Jones, ALWAYS signs her emails "I Love You, Pat"

My friend, Allie, has texted "I LOVE YOUs" ever since we first became friends last September.  She is one of the most emotionally generous people I have ever met.

Today in the Temple, I ran into a woman from our ward.  She hugged me and said in my ear, "I'm so glad you're here today.  I just love you."

Even my own family has been a little more generous with their affection lately...

On Sunday, Mack was wearing a pair of church shoes that he outgrew about a month ago.  Somehow, in the past few weeks, he has endured the three hours of discomfort without much complaining.  Typically, when we come home from church, the shoes get tossed into the closet and no one thinks about them again until the next Sunday morning at 10:15.  But this Sunday, his little feet were done enduring.  

In the past, I have been stuffed into shoes that were too small or uncomfortable in some way, and believe me, it's not fun.  Every now and then a delicious pair of shoes might be worth a little pain and suffering, but 7 year old boys don't really get that sort of thing.  And his little shoes aren't exactly delicious...
...unlike some others that were recently purchased for someone else in the house...
sorry about the blurry picture...Mack took it.  But even blurry, aren't they amazing???  I'm 5'6: when I wear them!! They might have to become their own post because they're making me lose my train of thought.

Back to the story...

I watched Mack sitting next to me on the bench trying to wiggle his little feet around to make them more comfortable in those shoes.  He looked completely sad and miserable.  So, I made a decision.  We snuck out of church and came home to change into his basketball shoes.  Typically, basketball shoes are not at all appropriate for church, but sometimes there are extenuating circumstances.  This was one of them.  It took us five minutes to drive home and change his shoes, and another 2 minutes to have a cookie, and then we hopped back in the car for the last half of Sacrament meeting.  No one even missed us.  But all the way back to the church, I kept hearing his little voice from the backseat saying, "Thanks, Mommy, I love you."  That one little thing made him SO happy.  He hugged me and thanked me all day long.  I love that even at almost 8 he's still so free with his hugs.  I know that may not always be the case, so I'm going to take full advantage of it while I can.

And, I'm going to try to be a little more like Mack and those women I know who don't have reservations about saying "I Love You."  They say it whenever they feel it.  Maybe we would all feel it more often if we let ourselves say it more often.  And in 40 years, I can't think of a single time when I've regretted saying, "I love you" to someone.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dental Containers

When I was younger..like A LOT younger...I desperately wanted to have braces.  In middle school, ALL of my friends had braces, complete with colored rubber bands and weekly orthodontist appointments that got them out of school early.   Something about that shiny, metal smile was hugely appealing to me.  (I know, what a dork!)  Every time I went to the dentist, I would BEG him to tell my mom that I needed braces.  He didn't.  And I never got them.  At home, I resorted to "making" my own braces by covering my teeth with aluminum foil.  Apparently I'm not the only person nerdy enough to think of that, though, because look what I found...
How to Make Fake Braces  (where was Google in 1982???

After my friends graduated from braces, they all got retainers, which I also coveted.  Retainers were even better because they came with cool little containers so their owners had someplace to put them during lunch! How did some people get to be so lucky???
But my life is officially complete now, because even though I managed to miss out on the entire orthodontic experience as a 6th grader, today I officially became the proud owner of my very own DENTAL APPLIANCE CONTAINER!

Nope, I'm not one of those people who gets braces in their 40s.  That whole metal smile thing has definitely lost it's appeal over the years.  And I don't have a retainer either.  But sometime over the last few years, I've started clenching my teeth at night.  It's not stress.  I'm not sure what it is, but I wake up with a sore jaw and a raging headache every morning.  When I mentioned that at my last dental appointment, the dentist said, "We can definitely fix that!"  Dentists are amazing, aren't they?  They can do anything!  

So two weeks ago, I sat very still while they poured bubble gum flavored, pink goop into a mold that they stuffed into my mouth.  And then this week, I went back to try on my new night guard.  Apparently this is going to be my new night time companion for the rest of my life.  Sexy, huh??  The cute little dental assistant reminded me that if I take very good care of it and don't leave it around where dogs and little children can find it and play with it (ew!!) it should last for at least 10 years!  And then he made my whole day when he handed me THIS... 

Who knew the solution to all my dental problems would also come with it's OWN CONTAINER!!  I don't know if I've already mentioned how happy containers make me!!

 I might still be a little bit of a dork.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Life Rules

There have been times in my life when I've been in places other than where I was supposed to be.  In college, I would occasionally stay out too late and then skip classes the next day.   A few years ago, I got into the habit of occasionally skipping meetings at Church.  My truancy has mostly been innocuous, but always totally selfish and usually preceded by some kind of frustration that I couldn't handle.

This morning didn't start well.  With six people all trying to look beautiful AND get to church on time, it's rare that there isn't some frustration about something.  Today was one of those days when the frustration was rampant.  I looked like a mess in everything I put on.  TCD needed her dress ironed and wanted to borrow the sweater I was WEARING!  (I made her iron her own dress and told her to pick a different sweater.)  Spell Girl put off taking her shower until much too late in the morning and then requested a complicated hairstyle.  I asked June to brush her teeth no less than 16 times (and after sitting next to her at church, I have my doubts that she actually did it.)  And Mack told us right before we walked out the door (for the third week in a row) that his church shoes are too small.  (why can none of us remember this during the week when we can do something about it??)  

Almost every Sunday morning, TCD and I leave about an hour before the rest of the family to go to choir.  And we usually pick up a neighbor and her daughter on the way.  This morning, though, my neighbor drove herself and TCD was no where near ready, so I went by myself.  For a second, the thought crossed my mind to do something other than go to choir.  I had my music.  I had a car.  I had almost 45 minutes before church actually started and no one would know the difference.  

But in the last several months, I have learned the value of being where I'm supposed to be.  And I was supposed to be at choir.  So even though I had the music turned up really loud (Bon Jovi Superman Tonight), the Life Rules that I've established were louder in my head...

Be good.  Be Patient.  Don't Forget.
Be where you're supposed to be. 

So, I drove to the church...sat in the car until the song was over...and a little reluctantly walked into the building.  And guess what!  I thoroughly enjoyed choir.  My head is still so stuffy that I didn't contribute much to the songs, but I enjoyed it anyway.  And then I sat next to my family in church and thoroughly enjoyed that, too.  And then my primary class was awesome.  Even though the lessons are much too short for the allotted hour and the kids are all SO filled with Summer Fever that they can hardly sit still, we managed a fun, mildly uplifting lesson.  After church, I took a much needed nap.  Our Home Teachers came over and taught a great lesson about HOPE that I loved.  And then we had a lovely visit with our kids' "adoptive grandparents" in Carrollton.

If I had made a different decision this morning, the rest of the day might have looked different than it did.  I might have missed some great things.  I'm glad I went to choir.  I'm glad the day ended better than it started.  And I'm glad the Life Rules are more often louder than the rest of the noise in my head.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Book of Mormon

This morning our family finished reading The Book of Mormon.  On Monday, when we read the first few short chapters of Moroni, my husband pointed out that we would probably finish by the end of the week.  He asked the kids to listen carefully to Moroni 10 and specifically to the challenge in Moroni 10:3-5.

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

After we finished Chapter 10, we said the closing prayer including a reminder to the kids that they should take some time over the weekend to pray and ask on their own to know personally that the Book of Mormon is true.  

I already knew it was true.  But I asked again anyway this morning during my personal prayer, because if the kids ask me, I want to be able to tell them I did it, too.  This time, it wasn't my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book that overwhelmed me, although I very definitely know it's true.  It wasn't my testimony of the Savior that was increased, although there is no greater truth in the Book of Mormon than the knowledge and hope that the Savior lived and will come again.  This time, I remembered President Hinckley's Challenge in August 2005. 
Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.
There have been times when the kids have complained about getting up early to read scriptures.  There have been days when we have all thought it would be better to just skip it and sleep in.  Some days, when none of us are really paying attention to what we're reading, we have all wondered why we do this every morning at 6:30.

But, after finishing it for the third time as a family, I have a greater testimony of the value of the commitment to daily family scripture study.  The very act of opening the pages, sets the tone for the day, for all of us.  Being quiet in the mornings before we all start days that are inevitably noisy and busy ensures that my children (and everyone of us at the table) will be armed with the Spirit throughout the day.  The words we read, even in a groggy state, will stay with us, to be recalled sometime when we need them.  

“It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called ‘the words of life’ (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance” (President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7).
I know the Book of Mormon adds something to our day that we would not otherwise have.  I am grateful for the Spirit of the Book.  I am grateful for the influence for good that it is in all of our lives.  And I am grateful that my children have become familiar with it over the years.  With children headed into high school and middle school, with our youngest son preparing for baptism in September, and with the daily challenges that face all of us, I am grateful for the direction and hope that the Book of Mormon provides. I know that all those early mornings continue to be worth it.  I have a testimony that the things written in that Book are true, divinely inspired words, specifically intended for us today.   

Thursday, May 19, 2011


When I started this blog last November, I did it because I needed an outlet.  My previously very social, very conversational life had changed dramatically into a mostly quiet, mostly alone one.  Not PATHETIC alone, just BY MYSELF alone.  Which was a totally new and different thing for me.   And apparently a necessary one.

(Insert HUGE digression here...)
That makes me think of an MCC song...why can I never find the youtube clips that I need???...anyway, here are the lyrics in case you're NOT one of those people who has random MCC songs floating in your head at any given time of the day or night.   

Alone But Not Lonely
I haven't a reason, a clue or a sign
I haven't the slightest idea
Of the shape of your heart or the state of your mind
Do you ever let anyone near?
Do you ever reach out with arms open wide?
Do you ever jump in closing your eyes?
Or are you one of the fortunate kind?
Alone but not lonely

Everyday on the street I study their faces
The ones who rush on through the crowd
Towards their own quiet worlds, their separate places
Somewhere I'm never allowed
'Cause I've always been one to say what I need
And then the next thing it's done and I'm watching 'em leave
And I'm thinking, I wish I could be
Alone but not lonely

So which one are you tonight?
Do you change with the morning light?
Do you say more than what sounds right?
Do you say what you mean?

There are moments in time that are meant to be held
Like fragile, breakable things
There are others that pass us, you can't even tell
Such is their grace and their speed
And this one is gone in the blink of an eye
You can ask me the truth but tonight I will lie
Unflinching I'll tell you that I'm alone but not lonely

(I could write an entire post JUST about that song!  AND if I extended my digression to include the whole album...we could be here all day.  Time*Sex*Love is my all time favorite MCC album EVER...in case you were wondering.)

OK back to the regularly scheduled post topic...

Over the last six months, this blog has sort of evolved into something different than I originally intended...what started as an outlet has become my journal, my testimony, my "footprints" for future generations.  Every day, this blog makes me think more positively about my life.  It helps me find something every day to be grateful for.  With a title like the one I chose, I can't exactly write about the bad experience I had at the grocery store, or the person who cut me off in traffic.  But because I look all day long for Stuff I Love, it keeps those irritating and annoying things from becoming a more significant part of my day.

Last week, when Blogger was down, and I couldn't access the "backstage area" of my blog to write anything new or edit any of my drafts, I panicked a little.  Um, ok, that's an understatement...I might have hit REFRESH every 10 minutes for the better part of the day and night (and a couple of times from my DROID in the middle of the night) and the next day until accessibility returned and all was right with the world again.  I wasn't so much obsessed because I couldn't write anything.  My panic came from the thought that I might not be able to access it at all...like EVER.  I spent way too much time Googling that night and reading about people whose blogs had been hacked into, or who had been mistakenly deactivated by some blogging host, only to find that ALL of their posts were GONE forever.  I've spent a LOT of time on these posts.  There are things in this blog (both published and drafted) that I want to remember and that I eventually want my children to have access to.  I'm intimately acquainted with every single word I've written and I revisit them often.  So the thought of losing any or all of it made me panic A LOT.

Since this week has been mostly rescheduled time at home, I spent Harry Potter Day Googling ways to go from blog form to print form.  There are several amazing companies who will take your blog (with just the URL) and convert it into not just a printed document, but a hard cover, professionally bound BOOK with color pictures!!  The problem with those companies, for me, though, is #1. COST (prolific isn't cheap) and #2. organizational freedom.   I couldn't get the page breaks where I wanted them.  I couldn't get the pictures where I wanted them.  And this blog isn't the only place I write stuff.

I have been a journal keeper since I was a little girl.  I have life experiences, first boyfriends, great birthday parties, really bad days at school...I wrote all of it...good and bad, embarrassing and uplifting.  I have quotes and poems and SONG LYRICS that have moved me for whatever reason.  I have sketches of buildings I drew when I thought I wanted to be an architect.  (One of those buildings looks remarkably like a Temple and was drawn LONG before I even knew what a Temple was.)   I have Christmas lists and resolutions that I made in the 80s!  I have notes from Conferences and Education Week classes.  I write constantly!  My desk is currently littered with scribbles of things on hundreds of little pieces of paper.     

The thought of gathering all those things into ONE place...or at least several organized volumes...has been hounding me for days.  What if I didn't do that and something happened to my blog?  What if I didn't do that and something happened to ME!?  Even my husband couldn't begin to piece all those scribbles together into anything that made sense.  And my children would just think I was some kind of obsessive genius freak (only minus the genius part.)

But today I figured it out!  I have spent the better part of the morning copying each individual post from the "backstage area" of my blog into a Word file.  I have all the organizational freedom I need to move things around and edit wherever I want to.  And I have the ability to insert other "writings, drafts and scribbles" between some of the printed posts. 

Now I just need...
a bunch of three ring binders
an industrial 3 hole punch
a color printer

and I might need one of these...because wouldn't it be so much more enjoyable to read this blog if it also had beautiful pictures!?? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Harry Potter Days

It's 9:15am on Wednesday morning.  I had planned to go for a walk, go to the grocery store and run a few errands today.  But when my husband left, there was a big crash in the garage (I still haven't identified what actually made the sound), and now the garage door won't open.   I know I can pull the release and open it manually, but I also know that I won't be able to reach to pull the door closed after I do that.  Since that's a one time shot, I've decided to wait until this afternoon to open the door when I have to leave for Activity Days.  Hopefully my husband won't be far behind me by that point in the day, and he can fix it when he comes home.

Spell Girl is also at home sick today...apparently she caught my miserable cold.  

So, instead of the day I had planned, I have committed to watch all SEVEN Harry Potter movies consecutively with her (except for a short break between Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire when, I've been informed, we will be eating Ramen noodles for lunch.)  I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan.  After the first two or three, they get a little too intense for me.  But I am a huge fan of Spell Girl and I'd pick a Harry Potter day with her over groceries and errands ANY DAY!

Is 9:15 too early for popcorn??