Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Just a Few things:

1. Did you know that there is another Landon and Hannah in the world with a blog? Their blog is awesome and they seem super interesting. and that Hannah even has red hair too. They live in NYC and she is a fashionista and he is a photographer and i'm pretty sure she is british, based on the spelling of some of her words - they are so colourful.

2. It's SNOWING!!! We are expecting 12-24 inches here between today and tomorrow. We haven't received snow like this in over a month. I am excited. It's been a whole week since i've been on the slopes (gasp!).

3. Please visit this link. I love what Simple Mom has posted on her blog this morning and I really learned from it. I think that the $ excuse not to buy responsibly when it comes to our food is dumb and lazy. I don't think she would phrase it that way (she is much too refined and sweet), but that's pretty much the gist I got from her post. She pretty much just gives us some really reasonable things to think about when it comes to our food. I appreciated it a lot.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Significance of Happiness

I've been thinking about happiness lately.

(photo by Hadrien*)

Last night we even watched a movie that centered around the theme of happiness. The message from the father to his children was that he was proud of them no matter what - as long as they were happy.

i'm not sure how to write about this, because I'm not sure that i'm right.

I just get a little frustrated with this pursuit of happiness. When happiness is the barometer by which we measure the value in our lives, I sort of think we are missing the mark.

Don't get me wrong, I want my friends and family to be happy. I really really want my husband to be happy, and would question myself as a wife if he wasn't. I want myself to be happy, of course. But why is happiness soooo important?

After a lonely and difficult time in my life, someone asked me, "are you happy?" Which was such a loaded question in my mind. I told her that i wasn't happy, but probably could be. But her question bothered me. "Why does my happiness matter?" I asked her. I wasn't responding with low self-esteem or self-martyrdom. Honestly, there are things in my life of far more importance than my own personal happiness. After a few minutes of really thinking about it, I told her that it wasn't happiness that I was hoping to achieve, but significance.

If you are hoping for happiness, I hope you find it. But I have realized that happiness is largely determined by the people and the circumstances of your life. And those things are always changing. I'm not saying that we shouldn't care about happiness. I seriously want you and me to be happy. But if happiness is the end-all, the goal in sight, then i think we are selling ourselves and those in our lives extremely short.

Living a life of significance.... that is much more meaningful. If we are striving to live lives of significance, then we will gage our success more by the impact we make in the lives of others than on our own personal state of happiness. But this is difficult to gauge, I know. I just wish we were striving for significance instead of happiness - I think we would all be happier, actually. I'm not saying i'm doing this in my life. I live a pretty hermit-ish life out here and spend my days in front of my computer and in the mountains. I am very happy, but perhaps not living an impacting life.

And think about people that have made an impact on your life, or who have changed the course of history. If their personal happiness was their pursuit, would the impact of their lives have reached to you and me?

But like i said before, maybe I'm wrong. I just have been bothered by the the weight and value our society puts on personal happiness. I just think we could live for greater things.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Praying for Peace

I have found my prayers recently overtaken with petitions. Many of my friends and family are fighting some difficult battles. You need healing. You need comfort. You need guidance. Or if you are living in a time of great joy, you need it sustained.

One of my favorite verses to pray for loved ones is Philippians 4:6:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
I was reading Buechner this morning and came upon this, which gave me much comfort in the prayers that I have been praying:
"...true peace, the high and bidding peace that passeth all understanding, is to be had not in retreat from the battle, but only in the thick of the battle."
 We will have peace. But it will not be in taking the easy road; it will not be in surrender; it will not be in finding ease. And to know that God's peace comes in times of heartache and difficult circumstances and hard decisions and not just sunny Sunday afternoons says something beautiful about God. His power is forever reaching, his goodness is incalculable, and his love never fails.

May you receive the only peace that transcends heartache.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sorry for Slackin'

Well friends...

A LOT has been going on here at the McBrayer home.
Landon and Kevin belay Red Rock

Last weekend Landon's climbing buddy from his early college years at App State flew into town. Saturday morning they had the car packed and headed for Vegas for Landon's spring break. They spent four days in Red Rock, NV climbing some beautiful sandstone on the edge of the desert (just a few miles outside of "sin city"). Besides missing my husband and wondering if he had fallen to his death, I had a great time having the house all to myself. I made a mess of this place! I even moved the kitchen table in front of the television so that I could do some sewing projects while watching "NEW MOON" (!!!).
Landon Climbs Red Rock

I would have posted more about it at the time. But... I've realized that there are some people who are committed to reading my blog that I have never met and really don't know at all (via the sitemeter to the right - i'm not spying on you, i promise). I want to thank you for being committed readers, you mystery folk out there. And please take no offense, but realizing that my reader base is getting (a little bit) bigger, I do tend to filter my post topics (a little bit) more. Because I don't know who you are, but I do know that you live around here, and I didn't really feel like letting you know that my husband would be out of the state for the entire week. I'm a little weird like that. Not that I don't trust you, i just....don't know you.

Kevin and Landon in Vegas

Mom flew in to SLC to have a girls' weekend with me on Wednesday night. The boys had returned Wed. morning due to bad weather in Vegas (high winds). So although we didn't have a girls-only weekend, we had a wonderful time anyway. The boys were gone every afternoon skiing or climbing. So no lazy mornings in our PJs drinking home-made lattes and watching sappy movies as planned, but wonderful days shopping, sipping Starbucks, singing at Alpine, and just great mom-daughter time. It was wonderful.
Kevin Tele-Skiing the Wasatch Backcountry

Sadly, I dropped off Mom at the airport this afternoon. And Landon will be dropping Kevin off at the airport tonight. Tomorrow begins the crazy month toward the ending of things.

April will be a big month for us. Landon will be crazy busy finishing up his semester. I will be busy trying to close up the sponsorship program (although i have through June), and looking for another job. I will also begin to sing in my church's praise band every other Sunday morning. That will be awesome. We are hoping to hear if Landon will receive funding from the Philosophy department and be able to continue with his PhD as well as teach some of his own undergrad classes in the fall. That would be amazing. If that works out, we will be trying to buy a house in Salt Lake City (if we get a place by May 31 we get the $8000 tax break). We are hoping to get out of this (90% Mormon) suburb, and get into a community where we are not the "black-sheep". Hopefully a community closer to sustainable living, deep-snow ski resorts, climbing canyons, and more like-minded folk.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Just got home from my first run of the season.

Man, I'm not sure I've been this out of shape in a very long time.

I can't believe that there used to be a time in my life where I would run 5 miles easily. And love it.

Well, that was about 10 years ago.

And ever since I've run a bit, but never regularly enough for long enough.

I ran in Kenya within the tea fields and the villages. But that was sometimes scary.

I ran in Colorado Springs beside the creek. I loved that. I would always count how many rabbits I saw each time I was out. Sometimes it was too muddy with late spring snows, but I loved seeing Pikes Peak in the distance.

I ran in Illinois. Those runs were actually what I looked forward to most each day. I ran beneath the trees, beside the river. It was my daily sanity, pulled out of the Chicago suburbs, my daily treat of wilderness and time alone. I would emerge from the woods soaking wet from the humidity, with mosquitoes stuck dead in my hairline and in the corners of my eyes.

I haven't found a place to run here that I really enjoy (not to say I've tried too hard, though). There is a little pebble trail outside my front door that quickly transforms into a sidewalk along the Frontage road. At least it is off of the street. But today i was running and trying to enjoy this beautiful Spring day and realized that all i could hear was the highway and all i could smell was the exhaust. Although, I was thankful for the mountains in the distance. I suppose I should build up my lungs and my muscles a bit on this road so that I am able to take myself onto the mountain trails - those are nearly impossible to sustain at a running pace when my body is as weak as it is now.

I really want to get back at it though. I know that once I discipline myself enough to run regularly for about two months, I will get my body accustomed to it enough to begin to really crave and love running again. What I really need to do is build up enough strength and endurance (not to mention shedding a few lbs.) in order to get my body ready for the climbing season. I hope that it's not too late for that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I woke up this morning feeling not great. Maybe it's because I bought a burrito through the local drive-thru taco place last night for dinner. Two new inches of snow on the mountain (the most snow we've received in a couple of weeks, unfortunately) - very tempting.

I had something wonderful to write about today but I don't remember it now. If I remember, I will add a post later today. Until then, I'll just share this with those of you who might care:

Yeah, some of us are pretty stoked. The trailer makes the book look like it's all about a love triangle, which is a large part of the third book. But it is also pretty neat in that it really gives you more history and character development about the rest of the vampires in the Cullen family. And there is an awesome battle scene. I'm ready to see some vampire/werewolf battles; take the pace up a bit from the last two movies.

Also, please remember to continue praying for the elections in Sudan, if that is something that you have committed to this week.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Elections in Sudan

There are many things I could have written today.

Yesterday was a monumentous day in our nation's history (or future, rather), whether you like it or not.

Also, today is World Water Day

But I want to bring to light something outside of our country that is huge. This week marks the elections in Sudan. This week is the first week in 24 years that Sudan has held elections for its people to choose their leadership. The Christian leaders in Sudan are asking for people around the world to be praying for their nation. There is still huge violence and instability within this nation, as decades of civil war have torn it apart.

This country has been on my heart for years as we have witnessed the suffering of its people. If this strums your heart strings, will you please remember them this week.

From Samaritan's Purse's Website:
More than 2 million people died in Sudan's civil war before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed five years ago. The 2005 accord ushered in an uneasy truce, tied to a promise that the people of southern Sudan would be allowed to participate in national elections in 2010 and vote in a referendum on independence in 2011.

Free and fair elections in April could help lay a foundation for lasting peace. However, if violence erupts it could start a chain reaction that plunges the nation back into civil war.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Tutorials

We were supposed to get more snow last night. But we woke to a beautiful day and zero inches of snow on the Wasatch Front nor in the mountains. I'm starting to resolve my mind to accept that Spring is upon us. After all, the equinox is tomorrow.

In honor of the coming of this season of new life, I will share with you a few crafty tutorials that interest me (a link for the tutorial is provided within the name of the crafter):

This Beautiful Spring Wreath by StoneGable

Spring Ruffle Top by Sew Mama Sew

Hanging Vase by Sew Mama Sew

spray painted pillows by V and Co

get rid of your plastic bags for good! This tutorial shows you how to use your old plastic bags to make reusable grocery sacks. These are so cute, i think, and maybe a lot of work. i'd like to try just one - at least for my meats... these are by dana

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The face of the Savior

Yesterday I was having lunch with a good friend and neighbor. I had a wonderful time with her and was really grateful for some good girl time. After a delicious lunch, we went to the mall to walk around a bit. The first store next to the entrance was Deseret Books, a Mormon book store. We spent a good half hour walking around looking at all the books, pictures, videos, scripture studies, etc... And on all the walls were beautiful pictures and paintings of Mormon temples and Joseph and Emma Smith and Jesus Christ. After a long time in the store, I turned to Shea and said, " something that bothers me a little bit is that all of these pictures of Jesus depict him as a very Caucasian man". 

The appearance of Christ shouldn't be too important to us. After all, of all the writers of the Gospels, not one of them provided a physical description of Christ. The only description that I can think of comes from a prophecy in Isaiah, "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (53b). And his physical appearance doesn't matter a bit to his earthly ministry and the impact that his life and death has had on mankind, and has had on us. 

I haven't been able to stop thinking about those Jesus' on the walls of the book store. I love to imagine Christ holding children and shepherding sheep with a beautiful face. But how can he look like this man? He should actually look more like the pictures of the terrorists we see in the news, shouldn't he? I mean....he actually was Middle Eastern, after all, not European. I was expressing my frustration to my sister last night over the phone. She reminded me that our judeo-christian culture illustrates him in much the same way: 

Some British scientists and Israeli archeologists have constructed what they think the face of Jesus may have looked like based on their extensive research

It doesn't matter to me at all what Jesus looked like, and I have never really put much thought to it or wondered much. I think that is why it bothered me yesterday to see so many faces of Jesus, when not one of them could have been right (or remotely close, actually). 

Nevertheless, one day we will see that glorious face and I know we will recognize it immediately. I do long for that day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, my friends!

Mom says that in order to celebrate we must have Corned Beef, Red Potatoes, and..... something else.

Instead, I surprised Landon with green food coloring in his morning tea. And I'll make sure that we enjoy some Irish brewskeys tonight with our tomato and barley dinner. Outside of that, we're pretty shameful around here when it comes to celebrating the patron saint.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ski Weekend with Kim

We had a good friend join us for some skiing this last weekend all the way from KENYA!
Kim and Landon have been friends these last 8 years, since his summer in Kenya. I was able to get to know her as we got to experience life together during our year out there with Brackenhurst Ministries.

We had so much fun catching up!
I have never been able to ski with another woman before. I loved skiing with Kim. She really challenged me to do the things that I've never done and always shy away from (as you can see in the picture below).
It was a beautiful 3 days on the mountain!
It was wonderful to be with Kim again. I hope it isn't another 4 years until we see her again!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy One Year Anniversary, Merritts!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chick-fil-a Thursdays

When Landon and I were college buddies, we would eat dinner at Chick-fil-a on Thursdays (i'm pretty SURE they were thursdays before Crusade...right?) Except I think this was a long-time tradition with Landon and his guy friends (long before me) and once they started calling me "Sheels" I became "one of the guys" and got to join them for things like beers, cigars, shooting shot-guns and Chick-fil-a. Our local Chick-fil-a was in a mall food court. We would sit beside a large window that opened to an ice-skating rink below. So we ate our food and watched the sometimes awesome but usually hilarious folks ice skating.

When we lived in Illinois, we didn't have a Chick-fil-a. It was very sad. But no worries. When we moved out here we re-instated Chick-fil-a Thursdays. I like it. I always forget that it's Chick-fil-a Thursday until I start to think about what i'm going to make for dinner. I like to give Landon the option of what could be on tonight's menu vs. a world-famous chicken sandwich.  Like last night, I said, "I can make tomato n' barley or we can go to Chick-fil-a". Sounds like a no-brainer, huh? He almost always says, "I don't care, you decide". And for me it is not a difficult decision. Chick-fil-a wins over barley every time.

I love Chick-fil-a Thursdays.

I could also write a post about what I love about Chick-fil-a as a company, which is a lot. Except I wish that as a Christian run company they would be better stewards environmentally. I know that I really shouldn't be eating their food because their chickens live rotten lives in factory farms and they serve their beverages in quasi-recyclable styrofoam. I know...  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Introducing The Thrifty Home

Jen is just a regular lady with some great ideas and innovative friends. Click on the icon above to see her blog.

Every wednesday she hosts "Penny Pinching Parties" which is why i subscribe to her blog and is why I thought to share her with you today. 

Yesterday on her blog, she showed us how to make your own foamy hand soap (which is mostly water with just a bit of normal soap - imagine how much better that is for the environment and for your budget!?) by The Common Cents Home

Also, how to make your own reusable swiffer duster cloths (by Sew Much Ado). I go through probably one of these little dusters every two weeks to a month and then I toss it in the trash. What a great idea to make them yourself (and it looks easy!!!) and just plop them in the laundry with the rest of my cleaning cloths when i'm finished. 

Another thing that I love about her blog is that she introduces us not only to great ideas but also to really creative people. Check her out if you so desire or have the time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things I'm loving Lately

I like these lists. They make me happy. I think I'll try to do them once a month. And I REALLY like reading yours. Indulge yourself...

Robin Hood
I watched the first 2 seasons instantly on Netflix and really got an innocent minor obsession with the show. I love that almost every show has a happy ending and there's no violence or sex. It's just a feel-good show. It's awesome.

String Cheese
Ha! pretty nasty picture. But, any cheese is delicious cheese, in my opinion! These are perfect ski snacks.

My grandma
I actually love her ALWAYS, not just lately. But what I love lately is getting to talk with her. We've always been very close but we're not that great at keeping up with phone calls when i'm out of the state. She just had a knee replacement last week and I've been able to chat with her on the phone quite a bit lately. I love her sense of humor and her honesty. She's pretty special to me.
 I have a large head.

Skiing Snowbasin
Although we could use a major dumpage of snow. Any day in the mountains is a good day. And that's a philosophy we live by. you should too.

Selling The Beast
We closed the deal last night. Good-bye old friend. GREAT memories in that thing. Too bad Landon's smokin' hot ex-girlfriend crashed the thing into a guard-rail 6 years ago or we could have gotten a few hundred more... just givin' her a hard time - wherever she is - just because she is so smokin' hot. I can do that. I married her ex-boyfriend. 


This is my current craft project. Landon and I sit on the couch in the evening, turn on a movie, and while he enjoys his cross-stitching (i am SO seriousl), I enjoy my candlewicking. It's fun.

Alpine Church:
This is the current billboard for our church on the side of the highway. Which is funny considering Mormons don't drink caffeine. It lets people know that we're a different kind of church than most churches around here. Yeah, I like our church. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Music Making Journey

(photo by pocketheart)

It's funny when I remember how it began.

I was a freshman in high school. I was new to the "Senior High Youth Group" at my church. They were putting together a worship band and asked for people to let them know what instruments they played. I played clarinet and piano. So they handed me some music and I played keys with the youth group band on Sundays. It only took a couple of weeks before they asked me to not play the piano. They quickly added that they would like me to sing instead, along with the other girls that were already singing in the band. They didn't need a singer, see, and they had never even heard me sing. They were just trying to end the piano playing nicely. And it was nice. So I agreed.

But I was not a singer. I grew up singing in choirs - i loved singing. But I never sang much into a microphone; never was singled out. So I lip-sang that first month, embarrassed to have my voice heard by everyone. I got more comfortable beside a good friend who was a wonderful singer. She could even hear harmonies, which at that age was an amazing thing. So I sang my heart out while Holly made us sound good. Eventually our "band" became a very tight-knit group of friends.

But there was one of us who was very good. He led the band. I admired his talent, his passion, and his leadership. One day he took me aside and played me a song that he had written just for me while he was visiting family in Kansas. In the song he likened me to Colorado beauty and the eyes of Jesus. Having instantly won me over, he became my first serious-ish boyfriend.

Our break-up was very difficult for me. It took me awhile to look back and see how God might have used that relationship in my life, but now it is so clear.

He taught me to make music, that boy did. When we were together we sang a lot. He asked me to contribute to the songs he was writing. He gave me confidence in my giftedness as a singer - something no one before had ever done. And then he gave me the opportunity to sing. We were in 3 bands together, and we sang, just the two of us, at coffee shops around town. With him, I learned the process of building a song. I learned the intricacies of making music. And through music, God really healed me of a lot of the pain I was experiencing after the Columbine shooting.

If it wasn't for him leaving, I'm not sure I ever would have learned to make my own music.

After he left I started writing my own songs. I started playing the piano for the first time without someone's written notes and chords. Learning to put my thoughts and emotions into the music, and really trying to discover how to build a song with my own imagination and my own fingertips. I went to coffee shops alone: just my own now unwavering voice and my piano.

And I still do.

Through the years I have had the opportunity to study music, to join different bands and choirs, to sing solos and find friends to partner with in making music. And music making has been one of the greatest joys in my life. One of the most transparent expressions of me, and one of my most intimate connections to God.

When I look back to the beginning of my musical journey, I think it is so amazing how God put things into place. I am so grateful that he moved my life in a way that provided me the opportunity to learn to make music.
That music always round me, unceasing, unbeginning - yet long untaught I did not hear;
But now the chorus I hear, and am elated...           
-Walt Whitman

Monday, March 8, 2010

by the way...

we're parting with "The Beast". Know a good home for this faithful guy?

They're baa-ack

(photo by David A)

I've been finding these jerks around my house again, after FIVE months of their being gone! They really gross me out and make me a bit paranoid. I even had a dream last night that I found their little wormies hatching in a box of taco shells. Just typing this makes my stomach turn. I can't believe they've returned. I hate you, you jerks.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tag, you're it!

Thanks to Andrea for tagging me in her blog to play this fun photo tag game!

Here are the rules:
1. Open your 1st Photo folder.
2. Scroll to the 10th photo.
3. Post the photo and the story behind it.
4. Tag 5 or more people.

I was surprised and happy to find this to be my 10th photo - I hardly ever revisit pictures from our wedding. This is a picture of my family and bridesmaids laying hands on me in prayer before our wedding ceremony. In this picture specifically you see my two beautiful sister-in-laws and one of my besties, Emily. Also get a glimpse of my mom and my little cousin. Very precious to me to have had these wonderful women lift my marriage up to God and pray for his blessing and anointing in my future life as a wife. Very special. 

I feel badly just choosing 5 of you to tag, since I enjoy so many of your blogs. I decided to tag my most frequent commenters as of late: (Anna, you need a blog)

 No pressure, though. This was a great excuse for me to keep up my regular posting while i'm totally empty of ideas. And it was fun. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

summer without snow

"We don't want bears coming around at night and grabbing one of our girls by the hair, ripping them out of the sleeping bags and shaking them around camp like a rag doll..." Chief Wess concluded after a camp counselor meeting one morning. That image of one of my sweet campers being robbed from her sleeping bag at night and mauled around camp has never left me.

Summer of 2002 I was a substitute camp counselor at a wonderful Christian summer camp in the Colorado Mountains (and you know how easily counselors get sick.... i got to spend quite a few weeks at Id-Ra-Ha-Je that summer). For those of you Coloradans, you can't forget that summer - the summer of the Hayman fires.  I remember  that each morning in Denver we had to brush the fallen ash off of the top of our cars before driving to work. That summer, we had more forest destruction from fires than any other time in Colorado's recorded history. Colorado had been suffering drought for a series of years, which made forest fires a huge danger.
(photo by globemaster3)

With the drought also comes danger from animal predators. Prey is more scarce and so is vegetation, so they become more of a threat to people. That summer we had bear sightings near our camp. One was sighted eating roadkill off of the road....which is guess is alarming bear behavior.

So we were warned. Each week I had a tepee full of about 10 girls 8 -10 years old. We were instructed to take anything that would attract bears away from our campers. Try collecting all flavored chapsticks, body lotions, shampoos, candies, and snacks from 8 year olds spending their only week away from their parents during their summer vacation. How do you convince these girls to give up their goodies without threatening them with being mauled by a bear? I always wondered what they were storing at the bottom of their sleeping bags...

One night I woke to a shuffling in the bushes. I laid in my sleeping bag, trying to peer through the holes in the bottom of the tepee but it was too dark to see anything. I heard movement - and it was apparent that it was an animal of considerable size. The foot steps were heavy, the breathing was loud. I knew that if I had a bear next to my tepee I needed to notify someone - I needed to get it away from our campers. Maybe I could wake my girls - keep them calm and INSIDE of the tepee (bring them away from the open edges) and scream all at once - that would alert the camp and maybe scare away the beast. But I couldn't insure that I could keep them safe and calm-ish if i woke them and told them to scream their heads off.

I got out of my bag quietly and laced my shoes. Making tiny steps in the dark, trying not to step on any of my sleeping girls, I made my way to the tepee door. I  heard the animal's slow heavy steps and deep nasal breathing and as I planned my sprint to the Chief's door, my body started shaking violently - I was absolutely terrified. I listened to the beast as I prayed to God and let my eyes adjust to the forest light... Then from around the side of my tepee it stepped into the moonlight beside me.

A big fat horse. I had no idea that they opened the stables at night for the horses to roam free.

I felt like an idiot. I felt relieved. I couldn't sleep the rest of the night. I grabbed my things and went to my favorite rock, where I spent each morning's sunrise praying and singing and enjoying God and his majestic mountains.

Maggie's blogpost reminded me today of that summer. We are just a bit frightened out here about this Spring weather this early in the year. We really need that dumping of winter snow to keep our forests and our families safe from fires and predators this year. Without a good snowbase, our mountain states get very dry. It affects so much come summer when the snowmelt has already been used up and our streams dry and so do the vegetation leading the animals in desperate search, leading them into our back yards. As a skier, I want snow for the recreation it provides, but as a mountain girl, I am desperate for some snow to sustain us until next winter.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

and He always does...

Yesterday a young man rang my door bell asking me to buy magazine subscriptions to send him to school. He showed me a picture of his 2 year old daughter. His hands were very cold. He wore a perpetual smile and a retainer which slurred his speech. With the highway noise in front of my house I had a very difficult time hearing him. I wanted to invite him inside my house where it was quiet and warm. But I didn't - I hate that we're not supposed to do those kind of things these days - can't trust anybody, I've been told. I told him that right now i'm putting my husband through school and I wouldn't be interested in buying any magazines. I felt awful. I still do - can you tell? As my husband says, I'm such a sucker.

There is a man that I see sitting outside of the 7-11 a lot at night. Whenever I go to the RedBox, he is always sitting there on the concrete. Last night I saw him and instead of walking past him, I stopped and asked him if I could get him anything. He called me sweetie or dear or one of those endearments and told me "no thank you". Which surprised me, because it was cold and he looked very ragged and in need of something. I got Landon and I a little candy for our movie viewing (by the way, "2012" is a terrible movie), and left. As I was walking to my car, the old man told me to have a good night. I wished him one also and slid onto my heated seats, turned on the satellite radio and cruised on home.

I'm overwhelmed today with God's provision of material needs and comforts in our life. Landon has the opportunity and privilege of pursuing his education as far as it will take him. That is a big deal. We are able to stay warm, eat plentifully, and enjoy entertainment and recreation without having to work weekend jobs anymore, or having to sacrifice other things. Sometimes I get frustrated because we are not as well off as I wish we were. When we don't have the money for medical insurance enough to have kids, or whatever else the need or desire is at the time. But when it comes down to it, we are sitting fat and happy here in Utah. I am so grateful that no matter what our life circumstances, it is God that provides for our every need. and he always does.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I wanted to be a nurse

I used to want to be a nurse.

At the end of my senior year of high school I went on a lake vacation with my best friends (I actually don't remember it too well, but this is what I remember). Nicole's family had a place and a boat so we went. It was beautiful and exciting and fun. I had never really done water sports, so at the end of each day I was exhausted. I actually fell asleep at the dinner table one night. Anyways...on our last day on the lake, we got the tubes out and took turns being flailed around the water. So fun. Nicole and Kyle each had their own tube and were trying to flip each other over. While the boat was stopped, he wrapped the rope from her tube around his hand so he could flip her over. When the boat took off, it tore his finger right off.

He actually spent a few minutes diving around looking for his finger but never found it. But in that moment when he emerged from the water and everyone was frantic and some of my girls couldn't look without wanting to puke, I felt totally in control (with a fair amount of adrenaline). I was able to wrap a towel around his bleeding fingerless hand and hold it there until we got to shore. After that exciting afternoon, I seriously started to consider nursing.
I was already enrolled at APU with my scholarships attained and classes registered. My freshman year of college I went to Los Angeles to be a singer. When I was there I realized that everyone around me had the same dreams that I did, only they were so much closer and skilled to reaching them than i was. So I quickly realized I would never make a career as a singer unless I spent my life teaching private lessons or something - which wasn't at all appealing to me.

So I reanalyzed. My sophomore year I studied nursing in Colorado. I attended Colorado's best nursing school and it was very challenging. I did pretty well and enjoyed it all except for my Anatomy and Physiology lecture (somehow i got A's in the lab and D's in the lecture - both semesters). They informed me that I needed to re-take the class. The Nursing school was a 4  year program and I entered it a year late, so I already was going to be graduating a year later than i wanted to. Let's make it 2 years. I weighed the pros and cons and decided that graduating beside my "little" sister was not what i wanted to do. So I decided to put away my dreams and my practicality and just enjoy school. Just get a degree doing something I absolutely love. And i did that.

Job searching has me thinking about this I guess. Thinking that maybe 2 extra years of school may have been worth it. But I'm not discouraged or anything and I don't think i regret studying Literature - that opened a world of beauty and enjoyment that i continue to relish. I'm just thinking about the effects of life choices and how very impacting they are, when they seemed so simple and minuscule back then.

Monday, March 1, 2010

different kind of weekend

It feels like Spring is here on the Wasatch Front. And I'm not really a fan of it. At this time of the year, God should be piling on the snow around here for us to enjoy (and for the snowpack to be plentiful enough to keep us out of drought this summer). But, alas, there hasn't been much snow this winter. This weekend weather was in the 40's and 50's, which i couldn't believe!

Instead of going skiing, we stayed home on Saturday and did some work around the house. I was so happy to have a relaxing day at home!!! First thing I did upon waking was brew a big batch of coffee and pop in "Newsies", one of my favorite musicals of all time.

Don't worry, we were able to get onto the slopes for a little bit yesterday. Then we took Duvick on a walk through the snow in the woods. It was a beautiful evening with the blue skies, white mountains, towering eromatic pines, and the full moon coming up over the mountains.

It was our first weekend that wasn't packed to the gills with skiing in a long time. And I was grateful for the change of pace around here and the opportunity to relax a bit.