Sunday, October 28, 2007

CONGRATULATORY

Lane is 15!



Sweet! (His word, not his temperament.)


To celebrate his birth, Lane had a party:



(Too bad we don't have a picture of the girls he invited: they were GORGEOUS. I didn't even know that it was possible for girls to be so pretty in junior high.)

He went out to eat with his Grandma and Aunt:



And spent the day at Lagoon Amusement Park with us:


(playing hackey sack with brothers and best friend Cody)



HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LANE!


Friday, October 26, 2007

HYPOCRITICAL

I was just enjoying a few quiet moments by blog-surfing this morning. I visited a few friends' spots and was slightly disappointed to find no new material to read. What? Are you busy or something? Do you think there's nothing going on in your life that I might be interested in reading? Is your camera card devoid of pictures upon which to found your posting? No jokes? No stories? Friends, don't you know I need even the minute-est of musings for added meaning in my life?

Then I realized that I haven't posted anything for a few days, either.

(Hope you weren't hoping for anything more than that!)

Well, as long as I'm here...

I've been at rehearsal. As much as it may interfere with things, I do have to say how much I love rehearsal. I love it truly, deeply, immensely. It fills me up. It is practically my favorite part of being in a play. My truly favorite part is getting to wear a wig and have beautiful hair for at least some part of my life. A few examples:

"Crazy For You"



(can you find me in the blondie line-up?)



"Man of La Mancha"
(a true travesty, having to put on that beautiful hair, and then mess it up to be a prisoner!)



"A Christmas Carol"
(I love my Little Bo Peep outfit!)



I wish I had pictures of me in my "Thoroughly Modern Millie" secretary wig and glasses. That was amazing (in a nerdy, hilarious sort of way). The best wig in that show was Millie's bob. I was jealous. Our Millie could flip that bob like nobody's business. Ah. Hair. I wish I really had some.

They tried to make me a blond in "42nd Street." I looked awful, though, so I've been brunette ever since. I got to see my new "Christmas Carol" wig last week. Dark brown. Love it. Too bad they can't just let me have it, minus all the ringlets and twists, etc. that are soon to go into it.

Bet you're so glad you just spent time reading about my hair fetish. Maybe I should have stayed away a little while longer!



Friday, October 19, 2007

BIG...

Boned? No. Breasted? No. Mouthed? Maybe.
Get a load of the conversation this morning with Joshua as I cut his incredibly fast-growing, disgustingly long fingernails. He's the one with the big mouth!

Joshua: Mom, you know how fingernails and hair come from your dead cells?
Mom: Uh, huh.
Joshua: If that's true, and my hair and fingernails grow so fast, does that mean that I am dying faster than you?
Mom: I'm not sure that one thing equals the other, but it does seem unfair that you, being a boy, have hair that grows so fast, and I don't have anything that grows fast. So where do you suppose all my dead cells go?
Joshua: Well, there's always your butt...

Lovely.




Monday, October 15, 2007

NOT A GOOD CONFIDANTE

Here's an email I got from Mindy-Mindy-Bo-Bindy this morning (sorry for all the wierd fonts...I haven't figured out how to fix it...):

Hey Ker,

I saw your blog. Is the ‘mad’ thing about me?

(Yes.
Mindy was diagnosed with a brain tumor on Friday. She is scheduled to see a specialist later this month, which I think equals good news because the doctors aren't rushing her to the hospital in an ambulance just yet, and also because it is a unique way to celebrate her October birthday...)


Here’s how I’m looking at it: I’m gonna wring every last advantage out of this. People are gonna feed us, pity us, love us, and be our friends out of the sheer responsibility they feel. In fact, you know how they have baby showers? I’m thinking of having a ‘tumor shower’. What do you think? Good idea, right?
J

You can mention me on your blog if you want. I’ll take any prayers I can get. I really think this is going to all be ok and that I will get some big, huge, fat blessings from it (no, not my big butt).

I love you!

min

Okay, people. You heard the woman! Start praying!

Mindy, I saw this yesterday and thought of you, with the whole eye thing and all...
"...Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Ether 11:6
Get it? Because ye see not...Ha! You didn't say this was affecting your vision, though, so I probably just made a really bad joke. I like the scripture, though!
And a joke for Grant. You really might consider the whole eye patch thing...

Pirate's Eye Patch

A seaman meets a pirate in a bar, and talk turns to their adventures on the sea. The seaman notes that the pirate has a peg-leg, a hook, and an eye patch.

The seaman asks "So, how did you end up with the peg-leg?"

The pirate replies "We were in a storm at sea, and I was swept overboard into a school of sharks. Just as my men were pulling me out, a shark bit my leg off."

"Wow!" said the seaman. "What about your hook"?

"Well...", replied the pirate, "We were boarding an enemy ship and were battling the other sailors with swords. One of the enemy cut my hand off."

"Incredible!" remarked the seaman. "How did you get the eye patch"?

"A seagull dropping fell into my eye.", replied the pirate.

"You lost your eye to a seagull dropping?" the sailor asked incredulously.

"Well...", said the pirate, "..it was my first day with the hook."


Sunday, October 14, 2007

ON A HAPPIER NOTE

This past week two of my friends got engaged.

On Tuesday night I got a text message from Clarissa, telling me that Eric had proposed to her at rehearsal, and she was out and about showing off her ring and getting lots and lots of congratulatory hugs. Eric and Clarissa met last year during the run of "Beauty and the Beast" at the Hale, so it was an appropriate place to celebrate their engagement, as well.




That same night my dear Carly was out to dinner with her beau, Dillon, to celebrate his birthday. Dillon began a conversation about what a lovely day it had been, and then told her there was only one thing that could make it any better. At this point Dillon walked over to where Carly was sitting, tripped on the way over, and then recovered enough to kneel and propose marriage.


What happiness! What bliss! I'm glad they shared it with me (and through me, us!).

Speaking of happy notes, last night Michael and I had the chance to attend the Utah All-State Choir Concert in the Tabernacle. I'll admit, initially I was there as a responsible parent, but not a very interested one. I was tired, the benches were hard, and there were other things that I wanted to put first on my agenda besides searching for Evan among hundreds and hundreds of high school singers.



Well, Evan was actually easy to find (he got to sit next to the girls, lucky boy!), and once the first notes of music began, I was captivated.

I have heard about the amazing acoustics of the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and I have attended countless performances there, so you'd think I'd have noticed them before. But never before have I been surrounded and saturated by such beautiful music. It was magical. I had to look around me a few times because it sounded as though there were people singing behind us! The acoustics were just so spectacular. The dynamics were astounding. The diction was exemplary. The music was glorious. The concert was mesmerizing. Afterwards Michael teased me about the tears in my eyes. And although I do cry at most anything, music concerts have really never done it for me. But WOW! What an experience it was last night. Thanks for the music, Evan.


And, finally, here's a little bit of music to share with you. It may bring tears to your eyes, but not for beauty's sake! Enjoy!

video

Saturday, October 13, 2007

MAD

Some things are just plain rotten. No two ways about it. Some things just stink. It makes me a little bit mad.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

CONTEMPLATIVE

It is no secret that Evan stutters (in fact, that would have been a nice thing for Michael to have mentioned to me before our first "date" with the boys...another story, another day...). If you have ever spoken with Evan, it is no surprise for me to tell you that he stutters, either.

What sometimes surprises me, though, is that Evan doesn't think he stutters. I heard him tell his speech therapist on the phone last week that he doesn't need to see her because he doesn't stutter anymore...

Interesting.

What is also interesting, and what has been a bit surprising to me of late, is that Evan's stuttering could also be a gift.

Seriously, I must be nuts to say that, because who in their right mind would want to stutter? Or to have a child that stutters?

Nobody. Except maybe the silly kids who play that game, "Which would you rather have: a hole in your head or a hole in your chest?" It might go something like this: "Which would you rather have: trouble with speech, or trouble with walking?" How do you pick?

So maybe it's a good thing we don't get to pick (or do we...?). I certainly wouldn't have picked it for Evan, but then I also wouldn't have just had the conversation with Natalie about how Evan's stuttering has helped her young son Cameron realize that he's not alone with his own speech problems. I wouldn't hear people at church commenting and complimenting Evan on his guts and gumption for saying the Sacrament prayer every week, stutters and all. I wouldn't have learned about sweet, beautiful, popular Ellie telling Evan he was special because everyone can talk normally, and not everyone can stutter.

Interesting.

It is true that people seem to listen harder when Evan speaks. They care more, probably because they have to work more to understand, and also because they start inwardly rooting for him when things start to get bumpy. I think, then, that stuttering is a gift to the listener, because we usually get more out of things when we have to put effort into them.

I think stuttering has been a gift for Evan because he has sweet, nice people for friends. They are kind teen-agers who look inside of Evan and enjoy him without haste or judgement. Stuttering kind of weeds out friends who aren't able to look past the outside garble. And who wouldn't want the nice kids to befriend their child?

I think Evan's stuttering has been a gift for me. Lots of people come to talk to me about how great Evan is because he has touched them in a special way, and I like hearing good things about my kids. Additionally, Evan's example of no fear has been really good for me. Most people don't believe that I am shy, but it's true--just ask my mom or dad about all the years of tears and fears that people were looking at me, listening to me, laughing at me...I think I've come a long way, but sometimes I still take a backward step or two. Evan has helped me to keep going because he has always been able to talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and never thought twice about his stuttering. So what's my excuse? I want to be like Evan.

I think of Moses, in the Bible, who described himself as "slow of speech." I love the Lord's answering reply to Moses (and to me):

And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?
Exodus 4:11

Moses did great things in spite of (and maybe sometimes because of?) his slowness of speech. Evan is doing great things, too, and I bet he'll keep them up! The Lord is in charge. He made Evan, and no matter why it is that Evan stutters, there are compensatory blessings. There are gifts.

I would be wise to end this post now, and not delve into something even more personal to me...but since when have I been wise? So here it is:
Admittedly I still hurt sometimes over our inability to have more children.
There.
I said it.
It's been a lot of years. You'd think I'd get over it. And sometimes I think I am.
I do wonder, though, at the idea of compensatory blessings, and at the prospect of taking something difficult, like Evan's stuttering, and being able to make it something worthwhile. Lemonade for your lemons. And though it might show true weakness in me for finding a relatively easy trial to be so difficult (which would you rather have: no more children or to lose them all in a car crash...), it still is what it is. I want to know what the gifts are.
In six years I've come up with this much: gratitude for what I've got. A little more sensitivity to other's inside disappointment. A learned avoidance of the questions: "So, when are you going to have another one?" or "So, when are you going to get married?" or any other "So, when are you going to ..." question that's really not my business. A glacially-paced but growing knowledge that I am good enough just as me. An up and down acceptance that the Lord is in charge and really does care. A slowly traveled pathway back towards believing in prayer.
Do you know too much about me now?
Probably.
I should stick to junior high stories. They're funnier.

P.S. No need to comment on this. I really just had to get it out in the open to see and look at. Let's just share it in quiet, for now. Thanks.

Monday, October 8, 2007

ANXIOUS...

...to get back to my book! No, this is not an altogether unusual feeling for me. I am always anxious to get back to reading, but these past few days have been even more aggravating as I've had things pulling me this way and that, away from the couch and away from my book! The sad thing is, it's not even all that spectacular a book. It would be one thing if I were reading something remarkable, commendable, or laudable. Instead it's just a cheesy romance from the "Twilight" series. These books are all the rage among the preschooler moms, the gals in "Christmas Carol," and most any other female I've met and spoken with in the past month (besides my mother, that is. Mom, this book is NOT for you). It's the love story between Bella, a normal all-American high-school girl, and Edward, a beautiful, romantic vampire.

I am (and I really hate to admit this) just like every other "Twilight" series reading girl, in love with that vampire.


Well, duh.

The above are actually pictures of actor Henry Cavill, but the author of the books has said that he is her "Edward." He is...beautiful. I...must...go...read...(breathe, Keri, breathe!). This has to fulfill Elder Oaks' admonition to us yesterday in Conference to read from the best books. Edward is the best. That's because, of course, he reminds me so much of Michael!

Well, duh.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

REPENTANT

This morning I made a big mistake. I changed the blue ink in the printer (not the mistake) and walked across the new black and white rug in Michael's office to throw the ink cartridge away. That was a huge mistake, and caused a major problem. The ink dripped on my way across, and the rug was no longer just black and white. And although blue is a nice color, blue spots where they're not supposed to be can only lead to one reaction: pure horror.
I hurriedly pulled out the best piece of equipment that I ever bought, my Hoover SteamVac Jr. It is a portable steam cleaner for carpets, and it has saved me from many a messy predicament before. I heated the water, poured in the cleanser, blotted and soaked, and scrubbed like a crazy woman. Eventually the spot came clean.
I was immediately reminded of an analogy for repentance that we often used as missionaries. It went something along the lines of imagining the horror of showing up to a party with a stain on your clean white blouse. Truly this is something that everyone normal Japanese person would shudder over. And surely any of us would shudder to think of showing up in the presence of our Heavenly Father or Savior, Jesus Christ, with the stain of sin on ourselves. Actually, that's not really the worry, since we wouldn't be allowed in His presence anyway.

"... for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance."
Alma 45:16
"For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance..."
Doctrine and Covenants 1:31

Thank goodness, and the Lord, for the gift of repentance in His great plan for us.

"Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven..."
Doctrine and Covenants 1:32
"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more."
Doctrine and Covenants 58:42
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18

Or even if they're blue as ink, with a little bit of work (repentance), my rug can be white as snow. Hurray!
So here is some of what I learned while trying to "repent" on my carpet. First of all, listen to that still small voice inside of you. Yeah, the one that said, "You should probably put your hand underneath the cartridge before you walk across this new white rug." Obviously, I didn't listen, but what a world of hurt it would have saved me from if I only had! I think of other times that I have had such tiny little inclinations. Did I always listen? No. Do I know the consequences. Not always. But today I saw it immediately. Listen, listen. And then ACT!
Since I was busy cleaning up my mess when it was time to walk Joshua to school I had to send him on his way, alone. That's not really a big deal. He is a big boy and all, but it is something that we do and enjoy everyday together. Today I had to miss it because I was fixing a mistake. How many other small but precious moments have I missed along the way because I had to take care of some problem? Yes, you can choose your actions, we tell the boys, but you don't always get to choose the consequences. Nor can you foresee them all. And there are times that one choice, such as not putting my hand under the ink cartridge, precludes getting to make another choice, like getting to walk to school with Joshua. So don't just act, act wisely.
I ended up scrubbing and blotting, and blotting and scrubbing for such a long time. The effort and time necessary to clean up this one little spot was completely disproportionate to the the time it took to goof up in the first place. Learn that lesson well, Keri.
I also found it interesting to note the necessity of water (baptism) and heat/fire (the Holy Ghost) in cleaning up my mess. Without them that stain would have been set in with no way whatsoever to remove it.

"The full benefit of forgiveness of sin through the Savior’s Atonement begins with repentance and baptism and then expands upon receiving the Holy Ghost. As Nephi said, baptism is the gate, “and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.” The baptismal gate opens the way for additional covenants and blessings through priesthood and temple blessings."
"Born Again," President James E. Faust

I make so many messes in my everyday life, with unkind words or thoughts, with bursts of anger, with poor choices in my use of time or money, with things I should have done but forgot, and the list could go on and on. The stains would set in and spoil so much if there were no solution for cleaning up the problem. Thankfully there is repentance.

"Most of the time, repentance does not involve dramatic changes. Rather, it involves small, often daily changes that move us in the direction of godliness."
Visiting Teaching Message, November 1998

And, thankfully, there is a chance each Sunday to renew my baptismal covenants with the Lord as I partake of the Sacrament.

"We are commanded to repent of our sins and to come to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and partake of the sacrament in [keeping our part of] its covenants. When we renew our baptismal covenants in this way, the Lord renews the cleansing effect of our baptism. In this way we are made clean and can always have His Spirit to be with us."
"The Sacrament and Repentance," Elder Dallin H. Oaks

I learned a lot from my little ink episode. I found that I had to clean the underside of the rug, too, in order to get rid of the stain that showed on the outside. How important it is to "cleanse the inner vessel" first. Otherwise, the stain will just keep reappearing. I also know that I will have to watch that spot more closely now, because after all the soap and rubbing, that area will be more susceptible to picking up dirt and looking dingy. When we've got our weak spots, those are the places we most easily fall prey to messes and mistakes that make us dirty and dingy, too. Additionally, I found that once I started cleaning that one spot, it began to make the surrounding areas look a little more dirty by comparison. I would suppose that is how it is with us, as well; that once we start to clean up one little area of our lives we see more places that could use some improvement, too. The natural man in me thinks that is a blessing with a curse. Fix more so you can fix more...it is a never ending process!
To illustrate, just when I thought I had taken care of the problem, I found another spot in a different area of the rug. This spot was easier to clean up, not because it was any smaller or the ink was any less indelible, but because I had already had the experience of cleaning the first spot. One of my dad's favorite quotes comes to mind: “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased"-- Heber J. Grant. I don't think it should ever be easier to repent. That's not what I am saying. But it should be easier for us to begin the process, and to believe in its power. With the second spot I knew to start underneath first. I knew to use a stronger solution. I knew to keep working at it, even when it seemed hopeless.
There will be times that things seem hopeless. There will be mistakes made, and messes that have to be cleaned up. Sometimes they're not even our own messes, or in any way, shape, or form, our fault. But the Lord has given us a way. He has atoned for our mistakes, messes, and many sins. And He has done it for those who sin against us, as well. We can repent and we can become clean again. I am ever so grateful for that gift, and for the lessons revisited today from some ink spilled on a rug. I hope I will make good use of the reminder. And I hope the ink stays gone! No one but you and me ever needs to know what happened...

Monday, October 1, 2007

CURIOUS

Answer me this: why, oh why would someone leave empty boxes in the cupboard?
I will never understand.

Nor, do I think, will I ever meet "Not me," although he seems to be everywhere, responsible for most everything.

Since these mysteries continue to elude me, I thought I'd take a stab at some questions from the journaling jar. Maybe I'll have more luck there...

Question #1: Do you recall any outstanding family trips or summer holidays that you experienced as a child?
Yes.

(I learned back in my education classes that you should avoid asking "yes/no" questions because they can be answered with just one word. I am no pro at this, however, as demonstrated by my asking a preschooler, "Can you say "epidermis?" "Yes," he answered. The end.)

Question #2: What would you give your child if money were no object?
A cell phone.

Question #3: Are there any family heirlooms in your possession? Tell about them.
(That question is better phrased; did you notice?)
We have some fancy plates with a "V" on them from Michael's grandmother, and a rocking chair that belonged to Evan and Lane's great-grandfather. Do those count? And the journaling jar questions are in a really, really, really old Mason jar.

Question #4: Have you ever met or worked with any famous people? Who? Where?
Sadly, no. Unless you count Joe Paur as being famous, and I guess he is if you're a "Rigoletto" Feature Films for Families fan. I also know Hank Pond, and he's in a lot of local commercials. And when I was in High School, I once tripped over and accidentally unplugged the electric cord to Bob from Sesame Street's sound system on the Lincoln Center (Ft. Collins, not New York) stage.

P.S. All our family trips were outstanding when I was a child. Anyone who gets to travel in a van that has built in bunk beds is on an outstanding trip! I think our vacations were generally camping trips, family reunions, or visiting Grandparents. I do remember going to California to go to Disneyland and Sea World. My brothers and I were so excited to see the ocean that we rushed out of the car and into the water with all our clothes on. We were certainly uncomfortable having to wear jeans and tops heavy with salt water until we made it to our next stop.
Probably the most memorable trip I ever took as a child, though, was when Jeff and I went with our parents to Boston. It was freezing cold. We watched a movie about a boy who was kidnapped. We went to the children's museum. We ate seafood. I was fascinated by a man we met who said that he didn't even own a car! I couldn't believe that was even possible.
Possibly the best summer holiday I ever had was when I was a teenager and my mom sent me to the "Singing Entertainer" camp at BYU. That was incredible. My most horrendous summer holiday also took place at BYU, and was when I went to "Especially For Youth" for the first time. I still have nightmares...a story to illustrate: they played these getting to know you games on the first night. One of the brilliant games was where everyone lays down in a row and the person on the end rolls over everyone else until they get to the end of the row, and so on and so forth until everyone has had a turn rolling over/torturing everyone else. Being somewhere in the middle, and being someone with a notoriously weak bladder...that was not a very fun game for me, nor was it a very good night to be wearing light colored pants. Enough said. Yes, nightmares...