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
It’s a typical Wednesday morning. 5:45 AM. I turn off my alarm clock and sink back into the pillow. I want to sleep in. But I don’t. Still blinking against the bathroom light I put on my running clothes, rinse with mouthwash, then quietly step out the front door to meet my running friends.
Half way through our route, most the group peels off to head home for junior high carpool. My friend Laurie and I continue the full loop as the sky turns a pale blue. She asks about my husband’s work and before I know it I am talking about the exhaustion I’ve felt of late.
It is nothing new. With a deadline looming he’s been working late nights and weekends. And even with our three girls returning to school I can’t seem to find two minutes to rub together. I’ve been doing this routine for years, I tell her, but for some reason it isn’t getting easier.
I can’t remember all I said about the struggle of getting through the evening hours alone with five young kids. About managing the homework, refereeing arguments, trying to make a decent dinner, and doing dishes after 10 PM, followed by a Saturday with husband gone, then a Sunday where several additional hours outside the church block are consumed by his church calling.
I was talking about our marriage, about how it’s hard to stay connected when you simply don’t see enough of each other, when suddenly, I broke. Right there on Wander Lane. The female tear viaducts opened and I cried quick, breathless sobs. I squeaked out an apology and tried to pull myself together. But you know that moment? When you realize you’re hurting? When you unintentionally speak a truth you haven’t admitted? And the ache comes pouring out? Continue reading
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.
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
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.
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
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