All posts by Catherine A.

About Catherine A.

(Blog Team) is a mother of five small children including two sets of twins. She and her husband spent nearly eight years in Northern Virginia, but now call Utah home. She reviews books for Meridian Magazine, writes for Power of Moms, dabbles in poetry and works on the prose editorial staff for Segullah. She blogs about her wild and precious life @ www.wildnprecious.com.

Luxury to Worry about the Less Significant

Last Saturday I volunteered at Salt Lake City’s Color Run. The happiest 5K run on the planet. Volunteers splashed powdered color on runners wearing tutus, rainbow headbands, and striped socks. It was pretty incredible to watch.

 photo unnamed-1_zpsa67cc4c6.jpg

The run benefited two charities.  Global Citizen - a movement, website, and app invested in ending extreme world poverty, and UN Women of Utah – an organization working to help women and children in a variety of ways including refugee services, eliminating prostitution, and advocating education for girls in Africa.

My friend, Nikki (pictured above) is the go-to girl for both. Years ago, through the International Refugee Committee,  she connected me to a Sudanese family that I spent time with during my college years, helping them acclimate to a new life in the United States.

Saturday was the first time in years I’ve volunteered somewhere beyond math facts and reading at the elementary school. And it got me thinking. When I do have a little more time, as kids go to school, and life cracks open a bit, how will I spend it?

My interest was piqued when a friend shared a FAIR talk with me, given by Sharon Eubank, director of LDS Charities. I thought it interesting that she was asked to talk on a subject unrelated (so I thought) to her work. A topic that has worn us out of late: Women in the Church. Continue reading

Learning from Silence

Normally today I’d write of parades with children in sun bonnets, foot races down canyons rutted by wagons, fireworks and celebrations. All in remembrance of the great shared story that is ours on Pioneer Day. A story of restoration, conversion, migration, and refuge.

But I’m not in Utah this year. We’re in another mountain range. And as I type, cool mountain air rises through the screen door and over my shoulder. We’ve taken our first family trip since all five children were born. Our first vacation outside of Utah, that is.

 photo IMG_7054_zps8496a904.jpg

I had such high hopes for this adventure. But as I was packing swim trunks, favorite blankets, and running shoes, I felt a sore throat coming on. I had already lost my voice, and by the time we arrived at our destination, I was battling a lethal strep throat.

It’s been five days now and the sores in the back of my throat are just starting to disappear. I still have no voice. Nasal congestion barreled in at full throttle, holding all respiratory and sinus passages captive. And the finale? A lovely chest cough. Truth is, I’ve been miserable. Continue reading

Laughs and a Bowl of Granola

 photo IMG_9775_zpsbe8283a7.jpg

Well, I don’t know about you, but I think we’re due for a laugh. And maybe a good bowl of granola. So, here we go:

My Gordon (age 4) is convinced the large satellite dish at the stake center is a “shrinkerator.” (He and his twin brother have watched a fair number of Phineas and Ferb episodes.) Recently, he said, “Mom? Miss Mavis (the nursery leader) says she only turns on the shrinkerator when bad guys come.” Gotta love Mavis.

Spencer (also age 4) made this divine declaration regarding Grandpa’s aftershave: “Grandpa, you smell like angels.”

While playing pick-up sticks with my boys, I said, “Spencer, you might grow up to be a doctor. You have really steady hands.” He replied, “No, Mom. I just wanna be a Dad.”

On their first Sunday in a CTR class, both boys received a CTR ring (Choose The Right). That night Spencer purposely  broke a wing off his sister’s butterfly windup toy. He showed me the damage and said, “I’ll put it on your counter Mom.” Then he walked back into the living room and said matter of factly, “That was the wrong choice.” Continue reading

Moon Language

I’m in the mood for some poetry. You? Let’s try Hafiz. A persian poet who left an impression on some of the greatest Western writers like Thoreau, Geothe, and Emerson. This particular poem was translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

 photo 3348230478_7002c371be_z_zps833b2779.jpg

WITH THAT MOON LANGUAGE

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud; Otherwise, someone would call the cops.

 Still though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.

 Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye that is always saying, with that sweet moon language, what every other eye in this world is dying to hear?

That sweet moon language that we’re all dying to hear? Now, come on. This is embarrassing. No one wants to hear that we’re all desperate to be loved. Do they? Continue reading

Safety is Not in Numbers

We are standing on the east end of Lake Wakatipu. The water shines a bright aqua blue in the light of Sabbath morning. Broom shrub spots the hillsides, splashing yellow across green slopes. It is springtime in New Zealand.

We find the sign. White with black print. Indicating church services in a chapel nestled at the bottom of a private driveway. The chapel is a house made of pearl-colored slat board. And it looks like someone is home.

My husband and I park on the main road, walk down the driveway, and crack the door. Sunbeams shoot across the carpet as we step into the small house. It’s a room with maybe 15 chairs, a podium without a mic, and a keyboard, stage right. The faces, a beautiful mix of color, are smiling at us. With no aversion in their eyes, they look directly at us, even though we are strangers. And it is obvious,  they are happy we’ve come.

We exchange names, where we hail from, and sit down on the plastic chairs. The branch president asks if anyone can play the piano. I raise my hand and take my place behind the keyboard.

It feels good to be there. Good to sing, to pray, to break bread with these Saints.

 photo photo-9_zpsebc3185a.png

They invite us to share lunch with them following the meetings, and as we eat, we learn that the Queenstown Branch has only seven active members, with a total of 27 baptized members on record. This particular Sunday visitors make up most of their tiny congregation.

During the announcements, a beautiful young Maori sister, with a handful of children on her lap, is released as Primary President and called as Relief Society President. Another Maori sister, seated behind me, is called as her counselor. She tells me she is the only active member in her family. Even her children don’t attend with her. But she feels great purpose in her new assignment; that she is meant to gather her friends and bring them with her.

The speakers for the meeting are visitors from Dunedin, a city south of Queenstown. This husband and wife have driven three and a half hours to be there. Both are native New Zealanders who joined the church as teenagers. The sister speaks about reading the scriptures every morning before we begin our day. It is one of the most powerful talks I have heard on scripture study.

Then her husband speaks, and with a clear and confident voice, he makes this statement of encouragement to the small branch:

“Safety is not in numbers,” he says. “It is in the Spirit.” Continue reading