Friday
Jan192018

Frayed

I'm the kind of person who, no matter how late she gets home from a road trip or the airport, has to unpack her suitcase, sort her dirty laundry, put the suitcase back on the shelf, zip the mini toiletries up in their case, and shred her boarding pass before she hits the hay. Basically there has to be no evidence I ever traveled before I can call it quits. I can't let it wait till morning. I can't live in the limbo. So naturally I unpacked our home pretty darn fast.

I only unpacked stuff worth keeping. I threw out the crusty playdoh and the dried up markers and the peeling-and-stained-from-red-sauce plastic containers. That little drawer thingie in the garage full of screws and anchors and bolts? I chose every screw, anchor, and bolt that got to stay. I tossed overstretched elastics, bobby pins with no clamp left, earrings from the 90s, expired medications, and unmatched gloves and socks. I even chucked the tube of dog toothpaste. I know myself and I know I'm never going to get to my dog's gums. Sorry, Lucy.

After weeks of intense laser focus and letting go I claimed victory over temporal chaos and pinned a gold star on my merits. And then I saw what remained. The one thing I couldn't unpack. Wanna know what it was? It was my infernal piles, the steadfast stacks that plagued my soul in the old house. I don't know why I can't reduce them. I'm a word junkie, a catalog shopper, and a reader. Not a great combo for piles, I guess. So I did what any normal person in my circumstance would do: I stuffed them under my bathroom sink as high as they would go, working around the J-shaped plumbing, and then returned to the kitchen to polish my gold star. I'm feeling pretty good about myself.

January tends to turn me into a crazy person for one reason or another. Last year it was the inversion slash our home not being finished. This year it's the piles. My piles aren't stacks of neglected papers, like bills to file or pictures my kids drew. They are things I've read that I can't throw away because I might need them someday. My piles are basically tons of dots I'll connect at some point. I love every dot. I can't overlook a dot. I confided in Greg a few nights ago that while it is tempting to tie everything in a black bag and clear the decks I simply can't do it.

Oh January, January, the month I should be booking a cruise and refusing dessert and getting back on track...blah blah blaaaaaah. I'm just knee-deep in my piles postponing all other efforts until I've scoured every literary scrap for sustenance. Ever heard of "tunnel vision"? I have "pile vision". It ain't pretty and it ain't prepping me for a cruise.

One such scrap was this photograph of a backlit frayed rope:

Why can't I toss a picture of a frayed rope? Maybe because I smell horses when I see it. But probably because I feel frayed a lot; I'm strong but I have loads of split ends. I remember hearing a lady speak at church when I was pregnant with Archer and she showed some of her rope collection. She had ropes from all over the world and from every type of use. The ones from ships were stiff from salt and storms. I loved those sea ropes. My rope scrap had this Book of Mormon scripture on it:

God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me. -Alma 36:27

Later in the day I attempted to file a new salad recipe in my recipe binder and it was the last straw. My dividers that demarcate COOKIES, ENTREES, BREADS, etc, were all about to tear through the 3-rings. They were weak, the paper was fuzzy and wearing thin. I know I had laundry, menu planning, and toddlers to tend to, but at that moment nothing seemed more fun than retrieving my colorful reinforcement stickers and giving my recipe binder CPR. Can I just say that I've loved reinforcement stickers since 3rd grade? I have. I knew I had a future with office supplies at age 10. Mr. Sketch's turquoise-scented marker foreshadowed the same love affair.

Long story short (too late): my piles reminded me of the two resolutions to being frayed.

1. The Lord will rescue you. He will sever the rope you've been trying to escape from and deliver you from bondage. He will complete the work you began. You frayed your rope but you're too tired to fray any further? He will chop it in half or burn it or make it magically disappear. He will magnify your efforts.

2. The Lord will rescue you. He will reinforce your weakness and let you live another day, a stronger day. You will exist as you were and remain where you were, but stronger. He will help you do what you were designed to do, but it will be YOU 2.0, the succored you, the stronger you.

 

Rope picture from an inside cover of the Ensign. No idea what month of year. Tomorrow is six months since The Move. Six months! All my friends who have moved told me to give myself a year. Halfway there, livin' on a prayer! Maybe I won't be a hot mess brushing my teeth due north of my hidden piles forever.

Thursday
Dec142017

Becky et al.

I just mailed my last Christmas card. I've spent many nights seated at my kitchen table scrawling individualized blurbs of love at the bottom of each newsletter. Tick, tock, more cards done, more colored rooftops visible from our deck. Christmas inches closer. Maybe it's because we moved, but this year I was especially thankful for all the people on my Excel file a.k.a. The Spreadsheet of Joy. I'm in my dream home surrounded by upgraded finishes and more square feet...but none of it makes me happier than my peeps do.

The last few years were pretty intense for our family. There are days I wake up, stretch, and gaze across the valley still shaking my head we ever made it here. (Cue Barry Manilow's "I Made it Through the Rain".) We survived. Life isn't just beautiful, it's crystal clear. Moving clarified relationships: which ones will last, which ones will fade. I am thankful for those who are sticking with me.

Jenn was my first next door neighbor in my first home. She has since moved twice, but she remains my FNDN (Forever Next Door Neighbor). Our fence created a bond that can't be broken and we'll be friends for life. After Jenn left, Becky moved in. I remember Jenn had multiple offers on her house, but she and Ryan prayed to sell their home to the right people. They didn't take the highest offer but the home was sold to the right people.

Becky had four well-mannered and honest boys. She worked full-time. She was always in scrubs, pulling in, changing in a phone booth, and pulling back out to head to a soccer game. Becky's arm had a large dent in it from donating blood and plasma weekly, from which she took her treasures on the trip of a lifetime to California. Becky was always involved with scouts. A fellow neighbor confided at one pack meeting Becky gave individual loaves of banana bread to every boy scout. She was one loaf short. She went home that night, baked an additional loaf, and delivered it to the straggler before heading to work early the next morning. That was Becky.

Jenn planted fruit trees in her yard in hopes of harvesting peaches, apples, and nectarines down the road. She grew a raspberry patch as long as her house. She often shared her crop with us; I have a sweet photo of our two daughters hunting for deep pink berries in their Sunday dresses. Just before we moved, Becky brought over a laundry basket full of apples. She asked if I could use them because she didn't have time to get to them. I made applesauce with Becky's "Jenn apples." That night as I boiled, mashed, and strained the sweet pulp I got a little emotional (surprise surprise). I felt like the spirit of Jenn was in Becky, or like the home Jenn always wanted remained that home with Becky. If Jenn had still been living there she would have brought me apples. But she wasn't, so Becky brought them. I was lucky to have had two busy mothers with hearts of gold for my next door neighbors; each willing to lend a hand, an ear, or their apples. Good women do much good; stacked schedules can't stop them.

This year, as I wrote Becky's Christmas card, I had the overwhelming feeling that I needed to record how she was my smiracle when I was pregnant with Archer. I had shared the story at church with a few people, but I guess it needed to be written in stone:

When I finally got pregnant with Archer I was overjoyed. I was also really hoping it was a girl. RE had been the easiest child and I was comfortable with girls. When I found out it was a boy I was visibly upset, stunned, and then guilt-ridden for feeling so. I just didn't know what I was going to do with a boy. I put on a happy face and lied to many people about how excited I was to have a boy. But I wasn't. I was terrified.

I was worried about being whacked with a sword for the next 18 years or eaten out of house and home (which RE is currently doing). I worried about stinky, giant feet and voice changes. I worried about unfamiliar anatomy and my total lack of love for sports. I mean, if they didn't play American Girl dolls or ride bikes with flowery baskets what did boy moms do? I fretted and stewed, stewed and fretted.

Weeks passed. I felt like my true feelings about boys were starting to harm the boy growing inside me. Then, the smiracle. I was in my second-story master bathroom, it was early evening. I heard laughter. Genuine bursts of happiness. I turned to the window and looked over Jenn's and Becky's fence. Becky was in her scrubs, just home from work, playing some kind of ball game with her boys (who were big now...the eldest in high school). They were running bases and trying to get each other out. Becky was taking them down one by one. They dog piled her and she escaped. Running, chasing, the shrieks of laughter I heard from above. Becky was loving her boys and they loved her.

I had the strongest impression that boy moms do the same thing girl moms do: they love their kids and the rest is cake. I felt the Spirit witness that I would love my boy and that it would be natural and easy to do so. I felt that my boy would make me laugh and that he would make me happy. All this went down while I was spying on Becky in her backyard. Jenn's raspberries and fruit trees were witnesses.

Isn't it glorious how long it can take a miracle to unfold, like a home-selling prayer succoring a worrisome boy pregnancy eight years later? Isn't it funny that when we are true to our emotions, when we simply live our lives and laugh in our backyards, we are other people's miracles? Isn't it odd that when you think no one is watching you're actually saving someone? And isn't it divine that anyone can be an instrument in the Lord's hands, even those that claim to not be musical?

 

Et al. is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase et alia which means "and others".

Photo of my first "Mom letter" from Archer, written October 2017. Always an exciting day to get the first of many "mom mails" to come. Our kids say Da-Da first, but they write M-O-M first!

I love me some boys. I even had a second one. I love being charged, tackled, and kissed. I love ninjas, destruction, dirt, and fire trucks. I love mini barrel chests and muscle flexing. My boys are not psychotic bulls in the china closet. They are obedient, sweet, and loyal.  Archer comes to snuggle me first thing in the morning, Everett resembles the Gerber Baby with his curls and full cheeks. Boys did my already-blessed world a load of good; they turned it into Shangri-la.

 

Becky's Fruit Dip (always served at our street's July 24 party)

1 packet Dream Whip, made as directed

Add:

1 c sugar

1 pkg softened cream cheese

1 t vanilla

I can't think of Becky without picturing a disposable bowl full of fruit dip and a second bowl full of apple slices and strawberries, each covered with Glad Press-N-Seal wrap. Oh, neighbors. So good for the soul.

Wednesday
Nov222017

Solo

FORGIVENESS, Part II of III

In dealing with my need to forgive I bought and read the book Twice Blessed by Michael Wilcox. The title refers to a line from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. I highlighted or underlined something on every page but one thing that clung to me and dug its nails in was the phrase

FORGIVENESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE OTHER PERSON

Nothing to do with the other person? Say what? You mean I surrender my white flag to an enemy who doesn't believe he did anything wrong? To a foe who has no intentions of changing? To a human who treats me inhumanely? Isn't this backwards? Isn't the world's way YOU FORGIVE ME AND I'LL FORGIVE YOU? Or YOU CHANGE AND THEN I'LL BE HAPPY? Or YOU MEET ME HALF WAY AND WE'LL CALL IT A TRUCE?

The world is wrong. Babylon's backward logic will never propel me forward. Only Christ can move me forward. His way is the only way.

Nothing to do with the other person? Maybe that's a blessing. I am already in charge of my own happiness, growth, and gain and that is work enough. Who has time to sort through another person's lifetime of baggage and circumstance? Not me. I barely have time to shower. In fact, my last 30-second shower resulted in three broken Christmas ornaments and an unrolled TP roll.

Neal A. Maxwell, a personal hero and man I'm thankful to have met via BYU Catering, said, "The meek go on fewer ego trips but they have far greater adventures." I think it's easier to have an adventure if you're not obsessed about being right. Greg always says IT'S NOT WHO'S RIGHT, IT'S WHAT'S RIGHT when we argue. He's right. (Drat!)

Sheri Dew told a frank and inspiring story about forgiving her father just before he died:

My father had many virtues. After his death, we heard story after story about his quiet generosity. And my father's word was gold. But my dad had an Achilles' heel: a temper he never conquered. We knew he loved us, but we often bore the brunt of his anger.

One afternoon a few days before he died, I was sitting at his bedside as he slept. Suddenly, I found myself asking the Lord to forgive him for years of angry outbursts. As I prayed something unexplainable happened to me. In an instant I felt decades of hurt simply fall away. The feeling was spiritual, but it was also tangible. I could remember his anger, but I couldn't feel any of the pain. It was gone. It was "beauty for ashes" (Isaiah 61:3).

It sure seems like forgiveness had nothing to do with her father in that story.

She later said, "No earthly remedy could have done for me what the Savior did in that moment...and it was His healing power that healed a lifetime of wounds."

I want to be healed. I scar easily, so I must forgive quickly. To quote Neal A. Maxwell (again), "The world's way is the equivalent of using Band-Aids for arthritis." Is that not the best visual for faux forgiveness? The world sells you cheap topical stickers for pain that aches in your marrow and sinews. And the world's Band-Aids are not even good ones! They are those non-sticky generic strips that peel off if you had 0.0478 ounces of lotion on your skin when you stuck them on. Oh, life is too short for worthless Band-Aids. (And non-sticky washi tape. That drives me crazy, but I'll forgive the cheap washi tape manufacturers because they're out of my control unless I become a lobbyist for lovers of decent office supplies. Which actually sounds like my dream job.)

Band-Aids blame anyone but yourself. Your mother, your childhood, your boss. Not you, though. You're good.

Band-Aids withdraw, exclude, and put those who have crossed you in their place. That place is usually not a nice place.

Band-Aids have veeerrrry tricky lingo and hypnotic phrases that lull your shoulder angel to sleep.

Band-Aids promise to validate all victims, but no matter how many times you redress old wounds you don't see improvement and you don't feel better. Band-Aids lie. They never deliver the healing claims on the side of their box.

The Savior, on the other hand, only tells the truth and always keeps his promises. Sometimes the truth hurts: seventy times seven, motes, debts, turned cheeks, held tongues. But the promises don't hurt: my way is easy, my burden is light, I will forgive you your trespasses.

There is nothing simpler, or harder, than forgiving.

 

 

Sheri Dew, "Sweet Above All That is Sweet", May 1, 2014, BYU Women's Conference address

Neal A. Maxwell, Even As I Am, 106.

Extra Michael Wilcox quote that rung my bell:

Ironic as it seems, pain can be very influential in the creation of love. We learn we are stronger than anything life can throw at us, for compassion, kindness, and mercy are stronger than transgression, anguish, and heartache.

God is trying to make us into beings like Himself, and He can take every experience and shape us with it if we allow Him, but He can't do this if we continue to feel sorry for ourselves or bitter or want to tell other people how much they injured us. So let us release the need to wound others because we are wounded. Let us let go of the need to let others know how much we suffer.

Wednesday
Nov082017

Ingot

FORGIVENESS, PART I of III

A stalk of raw lemongrass is virtually indigestible. Tough outer layers make for a strong stick that doesn't yield to mortal chewing. By all means, throw it in a pot of tom ka gai to boost the coconut broth. Just don’t try to eat it. Tricky, that lemongrass.

I’ve been chewing on a stalk of emotional lemongrass for many month's worth of moons all the while knowing my chewing isn’t doing anything productive. In fact, my TMJ is worse than ever and my stomach is grumbling for actual sustenance. My heart is sick of this flavor. It insists I spit it out and move on to something delicious, like a box of Little Debbies. I want to. I want to but my brain argues, "This stalk is flat and molar-battered. It's bound to dissolve any day if you just work on it a bit longer."

In February of 2013, only two months after our failed IVF, I was given counsel by the Lord through my bishop. He told me to SEE with my heart, HEAR with my heart, and ACT with my heart.

I remembered that counsel in October of 2016 when President Uchtdorf said, “There are more ways to see than with our eyes, more ways to feel than with our hands, more ways to hear than with our ears.” I believe those ways are with the heart and the Holy Ghost; they are the consummate power couple, the undeniable one-two punch. I heard his words as I was sucking on my everlasting gobstopper of lemongrass. I had two non-eye, non-hand, non-ear witnesses nudge me to forgive and move on, to proverbially spit out the lemongrass and find something nutritional.

Being led by a soft heart is to bounce over life’s bumps on a cushion of compassion. Thorns don’t prick as painfully. Ugly shrieks are muffled. A soft heart relaxes Severity (who is always wound too tight) while its squishy submission counterintuitively conquers all. How dangerous and debilitating it is to be led by a hard heart.

Truth be told, I default to my heart often. When my brain can’t solve a situation’s complexity my heart is the candid calculator. I’ve also hidden behind my heart when my brain is required to speak a language it doesn’t want to be fluent in. In short, I hate debate, confrontation, analysis, something where there is a “winner”, and anything with a graded test result.

My heart is a mighty monarch that wears my body’s crown. By following my magistrate I’ve boosted many (and creeped out a few). I take great comfort in the Lord’s promises that he looks on the heart and knows its intents*. Maybe no one else gets me, but the Lord does.

I want my heart to beat in sync with His. I want it to drum truth yet echo love. There have been times I’ve let God down, when my whole earth was in commotion and my heart failed me*. Heart attacks. Sad hurt smoldered in my chest, the telltale throb tortured my left arm. I was revived by repentance and given the chance to beat another day. My celestial core is constantly scheming against my natural man to avoid arrhythmia:

Ba-dum  Ba-dum 

Be-soft  Not-hard 

Let-go  Sub-mit 

Once-more  Try-again 

You’re-mine  You’re-mine

I’m His. I was made for softness. God requires softness*.

I have come to see a famous scripture in a new light:

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. -Matthew 25:40

THE LEAST may not be the poorest, neediest, most down-on-their-luck specimen you intersect in your charitable comings and goings. THE LEAST might be the person you like the least. The person your heart is hard towards. The person at the bottom of your “People I Like” totem pole. I don’t think the Lord cares how much your bosom bequeaths to beauties if it can’t benefact a beast, especially that beast you can’t stand in the least (Grinch!). Perhaps that is the sacrifice He requires for cardiac compliance.

It’s easy to love your followers.

It’s easy to preen while others pet you with praise.

It’s easy to be civil to someone who does nothing to you.

It’s monumentally difficult to love someone who judges you, pushes all your buttons, or takes your trust and twists it into slander and gossip. What if that someone stares blankly while you sputter words of love and then tells you your message was lost in translation? What then?

Tenderizing my tough tissue is a Titanic test but only pliability passes. God requires all of my heart*. I cross my fingers that God’s Bank still exchanges devalued dross for refined gold. Wincing, I pluck out my dross and lay it on the altar. I stand at the point of sacrifice a moment longer, nearly paralyzed at this crossroads of pain and progress. Do it. Do it! Spit out your stinking lemongrass! Rid yourself of this plague!

And here I have stood for so many months. I know what comes next. I play it out in my sick head almost nonstop. I'll vomit that grotesque, limp stalk out of me and hurl it toward the altar. The worst will be over; choosing betterment will hurt less than the hurt I've been hanging on to. There will be no more chewing.

Then, while I'm rubbing my tired jaw, there will be a loud explosion. The smoke around the altar will clear to reveal the loaded scales of justice and mercy. What is my fate precariously balancing before my eyes? Mercy. Mercy tipping heavily to one side. There, where emotional dregs and pride's pulpy residue used to lie, will rest a shiny ingot. Mercy's metallic mass will be a gold mine that is all mine. I will receive forgiveness because I truly gave it, especially that last, loathsome lemongrass. Mighty change is mighty hard*, but if I can choose a change of heart it will automatically change everything else.

Maybe the first step is changing my diet.

 

 

Photo of a real postage stamp puzzle I bought at Swiss Days in Midway, Utah. You have to assemble the pieces with tweezers. So tiny! www.puzzledpostage.com

All the asterisks:

Doctrine & Covenants 6:16 Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.

Psalm 139:23 search me, o God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts

Doctrine & Covenants 45:26 and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Doctrine & Covenants 64:22 for I, the Lord, require the hearts of the children of men

"Mighty change is mighty hard." -Neal A. Maxwell

Monday
Nov062017

Off the Cuff

My mother-in-law, who used to sew her seven kids' clothes from scratch, has the stitched phrase A DAY HEMMED IN PRAYER SELDOM UNRAVELS hanging beside her sewing machine. Her sewing nook is a wonderland in the mouse hole beneath the stairs. When I sew on her machine I pop in one of her cds: George Strait, Rod Stewart, oldies. If she's beside me she whistles. Her whistle has a soothing, easy vibrato. It's the audible equivalent of slow rocking on a Southern front porch. My sewing memories with her are few but happy.

RE was blessed in the dress my youngest sister Natalie wore; cascading tiers of intricate lace somehow sewn over five months of foggy postpartum by my mother.

I asked my mother-in-law to sew Archer and Everett's blessing outfits so both grandmothers would be represented in our christening histories. I requested rompers of "pioneer simplicity." She pieced the heirlooms in secret and unveiled her handiwork on the eve of each event. They didn't disappoint: Archer's pintucks and Everett's miniature Peter Pan collar are doll-sized cotton masterpieces.

The jewel of each romper is hidden in plain sight. A small ALL IS WELL adorns Archer's cuff and Everett's SECRET PRAYER wraps around his chunky thigh. My boys' middle names were born of hymns; these words symbolize their unique journeys to me. My sister-in-law Stephanie did the honors with her embroidery machine, the beast with a user manual I'd like to steer clear of. Mothers, sisters, babies. Stitches, love, seams.

ARCHER WEST is my Zion seen in visions and promises galore. I trekked more than a territory's length to reach him. I dug to the center of the earth and back out again before his freedom and sanctuary were staked.

There seems to be no shortage of snippets, articles, and facts relating to Archer's name. Bows and arrows, aim, bulls-eyes. Arches, keystones, what makes structures strong. I'm on high alert for these tidbits, cutting and pasting them into a collection for him. Someday he'll be thirsty and I'll have the reservoir of his heritage copied, bound, and waiting.

The latest addition to THE BOOK OF ARCHER:

My mother used to tell her children that we were of “pioneer stock.” I wasn’t sure if I really knew what that meant when I was younger, but I did know the stories about crossing the plains. They were usually filled with unbearable chal­lenges, setbacks, and seemingly impossible odds. And at the end of the day the pioneers circled their wagons, built a fire, sang, and danced—or at least that is the way I remembered the stories. And what was their theme song? “Come, Come, Ye Saints.”

I always thought this was a strange song for those who were hungry, fatigued, and at the brink of devastation. One verse, for example, reads, “And should we die before our journey’s through, Happy day! All is well!”

All is well? Anybody could see that all was not well. And just who were these overly optimistic people anyway? Apparently they were my people. And now, years later, they help me to remember just who I am and what it means to be of pioneer stock.

Years ago I was sitting on the stand in a cha­pel in Europe singing “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” A leader leaned over and whispered, “You know, the Polish translation of this song is quite different from the English version.”

“Really?” I countered.

“It doesn’t really read, ‘All is well! All is well!’”

I looked at him somewhat surprised.

“The real translation,” he said, “is ‘Not so bad, not so bad.’”

I couldn’t help but quietly chuckle. Then I thought of the pioneers who might not have always described their own circumstances as being “all is well.” But I could see how with their expanded vision and tremendous dedication they could say, “This is not so bad, not so bad,” and then with a deep breath take yet another step and continue to forge on.

Crazy, but my brother speaks fluent Polish. I called him to verify the grammar. It panned out. It was cool to hear my brother speak with his mission tongue. My brother is permanently 10 years old in my head, wearing a yellow Izod shirt and popping wheelies into the garage sheetrock on his Huffy bike. I forget he is a multilingual grown man with a job, a family, and whiskers like dad.

EVERETT (BOON)E answered my secret prayer. On Everett's blessing day the congregation sang "In Humility, Our Savior" prior to the Sacrament. Let our prayers find access to thee. Oh, they do. They do. I preselected "Secret Prayer" for the closing hymn because I wielded such power as the chorister. As luck would have it the talks went long and my hymn was skipped in favor of the choir performing. No "Secret Prayer" for my secret prayer.  

Four hours later, a knock at the door produced the entire Thornton family (including Bishop, who had just left church and hadn't even eaten his waffles yet) singing "Secret Prayer" a cappella for us. Don't think I didn't bawl the entire song. I did. At least I was dressed. The last tune they sang on my porch was a freezing "O Holy Night" in December wind to me and my robe despite the lunch hour. (To be fair, I was very morning sick with Everett and the pregnancy was still hush-hush.)

I don't know how to describe my life right now. It's probably just like everyone else's. Most things are ALL IS WELL. Serger. Thimbles on thumbs. Some things are NOT SO BAD. Tissue paper patterns refolded on the correct dotted line. Being mortal, however, I have a few loose threads. When I focus on one, when I obsess about it and wind it through my fidgety fingers, I start unraveling. In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see. My heart no longer pines for children but I assure you new secret prayers are ascending to heaven. These communions twist, twirl, and tug my pleading soul to the mercy seat.

So whether I'm dancing in the wagon circle or fighting just to hold myself together, I'm reinforcing the seams of this season's mystery fashions with the daily tailoring of prayer.

 

Photo of old Singer sewing machines taken somewhere on the Mag Mile. My aunt and I were on a night stroll in Chicago, full of day-one-of-vacation energy and Ghiradelli squares. 

"A Visionary House", Matthew O. Richardson, BYU advancement vice president, delivered this devotional address on 25 October 2016. His footnote, for all the Polish gurus:

See “Chodź ,chodź mój bracie,” Hymny, oraz pieśni dla dzieci (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982), 6. “All is well” is translated as “nie jest źle” (“it is not bad”). In 2016 a new edition of hymns was published, and the “all is well” translation was changed to “dobrze jest” (“it is well”) (“Naprzód marsz, święci,” Hymny kościóła Jezusa Chrystusa świętych w dniach ostatnich [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2016], no. 19).

And, last but not least, so she doesn't feel left out, here is a picture of RE on her blessing day. Pictures have come a long way since 2001. I mean, I did a monthly photo shoot of Archer in natural light with props and costumes for the first 18 months of his life, and for RE's blessing day...I threw her on the carpet and took a pic of her from a weird angle. Oh well, at least I have some record of her amazing day, amazing dress, and amazing hair!