Sunshine spreads across the breakfast table, glints off my cereal bowl. I fish for oatmeal squares in milk then set down my spoon to read. The boys race in and out of the kitchen, clacking plastic swords as I move Elder Holland’s book to my lap:
“One of the unfailing facts of mortal life is the recurring presence of trouble, the recurring challenge of difficulty and pain… Though we have received great promises regarding the lifting of our burdens, the weight of them is still often ponderous while we wait for that relief. It was for just such days of opposition, such ‘times of trouble,’ that the biblical psalms were written” (3).
Already I am wiping tears. It began last night and continued after waking. Moments of weepiness as I placed dishes in the dishwasher, moved laundry, hung up a new towel before showering.
Yesterday, my Mother had an MRI to determine the status of a second brain tumor she has been battling since 2008. In the last twenty years she has had four brain surgeries, several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and a bundle of miracle years. While we thought the tumor was in stasis, recent imaging showed it is growing again. Continue reading
Our life of late has been a rush and swirl of light, in varying degrees.
Hospital visits, a child with a broken leg, twin birthdays, baptisms only a week away, a friend juggling new babies in arms, a new niece about to be born, my mother in the ER, mercies, disappointments, sunsets that stop me in my tracks, and love riding carefully against harsh words – unseen, maybe even unknown.
I could write about each of these, for paragraphs and more. Continue reading
Each new year I have a cluster of friends who choose a word. A word they will focus on for the upcoming year.
I first noticed this trend when I was in the throes of babies by the double. People I admired were choosing words like see, lift, simplify, breathe, accept. I loved their words. I wanted one. But the only word I could think of then was survive. And the drowning, muffled ring of it didn’t set right. So that was that.
Two years later, I considered it again, but my brain had no space for it. It felt like one more thing. As 2015 bobbed in, however, I watched my five children toss balloons and blow streamers, and thought, maybe this is the year.
Maybe I should choose… a word.
My long-time friend and young women’s leader, Cristie, always chooses a word. She is a radiant, happy woman who still drops by with an unexpected gift, cares about staying in touch, and lives a consecrated, joyful life. Twenty years ago, she let me sit on her bed late at night and talk with her (and her husband) about big life decisions, boys, marriage. This year she made a number of darling bracelets for her daughters and friends who chose words.
Just before January she posted her word. It was listen. And with it she posed a question. What will your word be?
I thought about it for a week. I tried on words others were using. I tried being original. I tried being deep. I tried and tried and tried, but nothing fit or felt right. I needed so many words. Yet no single word seemed to possess in its meaning the salve I searched for. Continue reading
Just a few lines I love from Gerard Manley Hopkins’ (1884-1889) poem, The Blessed Virgin Compared to the Air We Breathe.
Nazareth 1842 Continue reading
I was sitting in sharing time last Sunday, surrounded by my class of nine year old girls, when a member of our primary presidency brought out this painting.
It’s by Nicolaes Maes. A Dutch painter from the Golden Age who studied in Rembrandt’s studio. In his best period, from 1655 to 1665, he devoted himself to capturing the domestic. He painted life-size figures with deep, glowing color schemes and some of his art now hangs in Buckingham Palace.
This piece is called Prayer Without End.
I studied it as this thoughtful sister taught. And the more I looked, the more I found to love. The more I wanted to know this woman in prayer.
I loved… Continue reading