Friday, February 26, 2010

28 Days of L-O-V-E

Day 25

I love it when friends invite you away for the weekend. We are headed to the mountains where there is fresh snow. And although such a wonderful proposition isn't going to mean skiing this year (Tabula has a newborn so she is neither eligible for babysitting or for being a ski-buddy; Plantboy boy and Jamin went up today), it probably does mean snow shoeing and some serious snowball fighting. If we our lucky in our choice of time shares, it might also mean a hot tub. Oh, yeah, I could get used to this life.

Because we will be away from this afternoon through Sunday, I'm going to finish up my blogging today UNTIL APRIL. Really. I can do this. And now that I've told you all that I am, I feel more confident about sticking to it.

Day 26

I love hot chocolate and white bread toast for breakfast. Since I don't really buy white bread, this breakfast is reserved for the odd loaf of French bread that makes its way into the house. The lemon rosemary bread also makes the yummiest toast I've ever eaten. Ever.

Day 27

Tomorrow is Dad's birthday. I've written a couple of (better) posts about him in previous years, so I will link them here if you are interested. (I think Bean Boy is especially well-written, though the other has some fun pictures.) I love my dad, without reservation. It took me some years to come to that conclusion, but I'm very glad that I did.

Day 28

I love the star magnolia tree in our front yard. Because we have had some early, warm days this year, the tree is already in blossom, casually flaunting the fact that it is still February. Even on a wet gray day, like today, I want to throw on the sandals and dig out my skimmers.

Now for something that you can actually give some thought to, and comment on. Because if there is one thing I have learned about myself and blogging, it is that I am a comment junkie. I'm sure that any psychologist would be happy to blather on about my need for attention, etc. etc., and they might be right. Lately I've started to think that this is why I want to publish--I just have to know what people think of my writing, and if I'm good enough to make it. Time will tell.

Last week, JennyMac (who is always funny, by the way, though my disclaimer says that your brand of humor and hers might not be compatible) wrote a post about a rash on her hand that caused her to go wedding-ring-less in public for a few days. The post was titled, "I Feel Naked Without . . . ." I couldn't relate on a wedding ring level. I actually hardly ever wear mine in the house because rings kind of drive me nuts. Also, my hands swell slightly when I sleep and a LOT when I exercise, making it very uncomfortable.

Instead her post made me think about some part of me, either innate or ornamental, that makes me really feel like myself. I decided that it is probably the color blue. I hardly ever get dressed for the day without some spot of blue. I'm not picky about the exact color or shade of blue, but I never feel quite like myself unless I'm sporting something blue. Blue is such an introspective color.

Her post, and my exercise in finding things I love, made me think further about what I couldn't live without. In the past month I've read two books, The Hunger Games and These is My Words, that made me think about survival and what a person actually NEEDS to make it through life. This theme has further been emphasized as we ready the Young Women in our ward to go on a pioneer trek this summer. Other than bedding, everything they are allowed to take for three days has to go in a five gallon bucket. They have been given a list, and as a gimmick to help the girls get ready, I have been running weekly contests and awarding the winners truly fabulous presents like Gold Bond Medicated Powder, pink bandannas, facial wipes and extra healing lotion. On their list of things to bring is a small instrument such as a recorder or harmonica.

I don't play the harmonica OR the recorder, and I'm quite certain that if I had to walk a thousand miles across the wilderness I would not take either. But what would I take? What personal item would mean the most to me? Katniss, from Hunger Games, needed a bow and some arrows more than anything, and this vision of her as a huntress defines her character throughout the book. (Not entirely masculine--think Diana, goddess of the hunt.) Sarah, from These is My Words, carried a wagon full of books across the plains. One night, she awakens to what she thinks is a fire in her wagon, disoriented and anxious and her first thought is not that she might die, but that her books might burn. She places higher priority on her books than on her life. Like Katniss' weapons, the books become the thing that defines Sarah's character.

I'm like Sarah, if I was going to carry books across the plains, it would have had to have been a wagon load of them. And yet, I can understand why many families only took a family Bible of Book of Mormon with them. Maye they were hoping or enough inspiration to make up a library. Maybe they got it. I know that I'm glad I haven't had to make the choice. Though anybody who has ever helped me move and hauled dozens of boxes of books probably wishes I would make a choice.

The woman who is the president of our Young Women organization in our ward is also going on the trek. I'm actually a bit jealous. Her kids are a little bit older than mine and it is a good time for her to go--not so much for us. I was trying to decide on what token to give her for the trek. It would have to be something small enough to take, but more meaningful than rash powder. And the it hit me.

I went to the bookstore and found her a small, leather-bound journal with sewn in pages. The pages are unlined and thick. In the note I enclosed with the journal, I told my friend that if I could have only carried one personal item across the plains, it would have been something very much like this. And then it hit me: while I might be able to feed and clothe myself without unlined pages and something to write with, unless I can chronicle my journey and write thoughts down in order to better sort through them, I really don't feel like life is worth much. Perhaps like Katniss' bow and Sarah's books, it is the blank pages waiting to be filled that define me: the thing that erases that terrible feeling of nakedness we get when something is missing.I'm still going to spend my month writing. Just not here. I love you all. Happy Lenting.


Melanie said...

A) (In response to hot chocolate and white bread toast) Don't you just love morning routines? I'm finding that I NEED my morning muffins and herbal tea as I sift through my emails first thing at work. It's not the substance of the food that's addicting, but the routine is vital for easing me into the day.

B) Star magnolias, so that's what those are called. They remind me of Pennsylvania springs. Words can't express how jealous I am that you're already seeing signs of spring.

C)I don't really know what I would feel naked without . . .clothes, probably. I'm also pretty addicted to my laptop (internet connection included). Three things, though, that I would need to give me comfort would be scriptures, a well loved book, and a photo album.

chris w said...

Hot tub... hot chocolate...sounds perfect.

I took a minute and thought about what I would need to survive and what came to me was nothing. Nothing physical anyway. On my trip to Asia, I found out the guys I was with thought I was ready to blow up several times but that I remained very quiet. Actually, I was never close to blowing up, I was just thinking. I will turn inward when I need to have a little escape. I can see how that would have seemed like I was unhappy, but really, I was just processing all the amazing things I was seeing. As long as I had that option, I think I would be ok. I'm not saying I wouldn't be grumpy without my chocolate, books, or other creative outlets, but I think I would survive. ;)

I have been thinking about your post on being depressed and if there was anything I could say to help. This is something I've dealt with for a long time and my prescription would be your last 28 posts. You are doing exactly what has been said again and again to pull yourself out. (I'm not making light of chemical imbalances at all, and I know medication has helped a lot of people - even people I love and respect. This is just what I know to help.)

I saw this article the other day and thought of you and this question. I also thought, hmmm...where have I heard this before. :)

Christie said...

That leather-bound journal looks awesome. I love journals! (I keep just under a dozen, by category.) I'm also jealous that you have magnolia trees blooming. We're not even to crocus yet. Sigh. And for what makes me me . . . I guess it would be making others laugh, or helping them feel better about themselves by sharing some of my own foibles.

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

I would take along scriptures out of spiritual necessity, and a journal out of emotional necessity. I don't feel quite complete if I'm not recording my life, even if no one else will ever read it. Sometimes it's just good to look back and remember.

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Jenny said...

I've missed you!
Was thinking about Palm Sunday and Easter coming, and remembered that you were hopefully coming back this week!
I'm sure your month has been many times more productive than it would have been with the whole blogging world thrown in there.

Angela Noelle of Striking Keys said...

Those sure are beautiful.

I've seen your name time and time again over in Sherry-land...thought it was high time I swung by!

What beautiful photographs and intelligent writing!