Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Tough Days are Good, Too

That is what the water treatment plant smells like, we learned.  I put together a field trip for our home school group on Friday, which was informative, fun, and super gross.  As the kids walked over these ginormous tanks of decomposing sewage, protected only by their own good sense from falling through one of the many gaps in the fence, I had to wonder if I would have the courage to jump in after them!  Good thing we didn't have to find out! 
 Hmm.  Could this be my "don't take my picture" face?  Every day during homeschool, we have what we call "symposium" for forty-five minutes.  It's really just a highly pretentious word for reading aloud together.  The last book we chose turned out to be a total dud, though, and we weren't due for a trip to the library for another week.  So we turned to Bullfinch's Mythology in the interim for surprisingly some of the most engaging reading we've ever done.  It's a huge, beautiful volume that Naomi got for Christmas, and it covers Greek Mythology, The Age of Arthur, and I think Tales of Charlemagne.  But each of those sections is broken down into one- or two-page little stories, so it's easy to read for just a few minutes at a time.  The vocabulary is a kinda challenging, but the stories are rich fodder for discussion on human nature, literary devices, and even grammar.  So yeah, I'm still being pretentious.  Most of the time we read stuff like Farmer Boy.  But last week when Naomi made a connection between the story of Persephone and the story of Adam and Eve, I could have died a happy woman.
 Paul had been asking to have a date with me, so on the way to his music lesson last week, we stopped at a prominent hill in our neighborhood and climbed the hundred feet or so to the top.  It was maybe on private property?  But that made it more fun.  Paul is such a cute little adventurer.  

 This is a picture of our old fridge, which I cleaned up yesterday to move out.  Our friends the Crofts were moving into a new house and gave us their old fridge.  It is bigger and better and I'm way excited.  Still, this one deserves a proper sendoff.  TJ bought it for eighty dollars almost six years ago and has coaxed it along since then.  The rails on the shelves kept breaking, so he made some out of wood and they look great.  I'm proud of my hard-working man.
It has been a tough couple of months.  I have been hugely stressed about my new calling in the RS presidency, and my heart has been breaking over the life choices of a loved one.  It has been difficult to keep up with my responsibilities in the community and even--no, make that especially--at home.  Anyway, Thursday Georgia told me she wants me to either hit my six steps hard, or go back on medication for depression.  I chose the six steps, because medication gets less and less effective every time I use it, because searching for the right one is a pain, because the side effects are awful, and especially because the six steps are amazingly effective.  So I've been focusing on exercise, sleep, vitamins, social interaction, minimizing rumination, and my light lamp.  Insomnia has really been bugging me lately, and that's a grade A first-world problem in my book, so I'm trying hard to discipline myself to get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.  And that time is...5:30.  Yes, that's a combination of pride and sniveling you just read.  Don't judge me for picking a stupid time, it's kinda just what works in this family.  But the beauty of it is that yesterday I did the grocery shopping in an empty store and today I have time to blog, which is something that frequently doesn't happen when the kids are noisy and/or I'm too tired to think.

But in the meantime, the tough days are worth it, too.  It's good to knocked off my high horse now and then and be filled with humility and gratitude for the love of my family.  They pray for me, they get tough on me when I'm not taking care of myself, they serve me unceasingly, and they write me love notes for no other reason but that they care.  I am richly, richly blessed.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hello, loved ones.  This week has been crazy busy and also a lot of fun.

We took a field trip Friday to the fire station with our home school buddies.
Afterwards we had a nice picnic at the park and enjoyed the gorgeous early spring sunshine.
(I know I shouldn't keep bringing up our lovely weather.  "It's like people who brag about being tall."  But we'll be dying in August, so...)

I bought the boys "hipster hats" this week and it turned Isaiah into a little poser.

Apparently this is the face hipsters make.  Cutie!

Have you been ponderizing?  Haha!  Neither have I!  But I'm going to do it for reals from now on.  And I found that writing my verse on my shower wall in dry erase marker is great, because, you know, I take loooong showers.  This one comes off today, so I'll let you know if it's actually a good idea.  I chose this verse because it gave me hope regarding a loved one whose heart I want to see change; the funny thing was that, as the week wore on, I found myself being the one who wanted a new heart.  The Lord is good.

I have been asked to give a talk on bearing burdens.  Interesting timing.  It has been beautiful to find so many words of comfort and assurance from our beloved prophets and apostles, and of course in the scriptures.  One of my favorites among many is Elder Holland's "Lessons from Liberty Jail."  If you are suffering, I hope you'll take time to revisit this one. It is full of healing truth.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Grief Observed

Five weeks ago today I walked in the door after a long meeting at church, heard the worst news of my life, and sobbed my heart out for what turned out to be almost two solid weeks.

Someone very close and very dear to TJ and me has lost his faith--is deep in the grip of pornography addiction--has walked away from his wife and children--and seems to me a only a shell of the man I've known and loved for years.  And the shock could not have been greater, because for all I knew he was fine.  I could not have been more grieved or saddened if he had suddenly died.

If he were to read this, I think he might take offense to that last bit.  But as heart-breaking as it would have been to lose him to death, in that case I would have the comfort of knowing he died in the Lord--I would feel that he still belonged to me in a way.  No such comfort has borne me up in the past five weeks.  He seems separated from me in a way that I never thought possible.

I have been holding off on this blog post because I wasn't sure what to say, and I'm still not.  But I am a compulsive truth-teller, an over-sharer.  And I feel a little bit hypocritical to post happy, smiling pictures here and not tell you the whole truth.  My heart is breaking.

My Savior is at work here, I am sure, saving my loved one.  I have faith that someday he will choose to come back to the warmth and light of the gospel, and I fervently hope that he will find healing from his addiction.  But in the meantime, I am surrounded by broken hearts.  We are all slogging through the grieving process.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are hats I seem to alternate between several times a day.  But the Savior is not only working to save our lost one.  He is also working on us.  He is purifying us, giving us more compassion, growing our faith in him.  And He is helping us to bear it.

My faith in God is stronger today than it was a month ago.  Every word of every talk, lesson, and song rings with truth, and I know that my merciful God is using this for my good. I would not have chosen this, not in a million years.  And I'm still not very grateful.  But God is good.  I can trust Him as we walks me through this wilderness--just as I have before--He has never steered me wrong before.