Monday, April 26, 2010
I've mentioned before that I went to college with an unhealthy (read: toxic) level of cynicism. Spring time seemed to exacerbate the feeling as college kids who met in the fall, cuddled on couches indoors all winter, now burst forth from their apartments holding hands and wearing engagement rings. It was like watching a Discovery documentary titled, "The Gag-inducing Mating Habits of LDS College Students. I envied their seemingly easy happiness and wondered how it could be that I hadn't really been on a date in like two years. Summer came and the first round of friends got married, and then back at school in the fall more and more friends started pairing off. Their bliss was my horror movie.
My sister-in-law unexpectedly asked me if I wanted to intern for her uncle at the state legislature that winter. I hesitated about 30 seconds and said yes. (This is why I loved the old-school quarter system: a throwaway quarter didn't matter the way a semester did, and if you hustled you could still graduate in a reasonable amount of time.)
That winter I fell in love. No, no, not in the way that would have earned me a spot in the documentary, but with politics and the drama of the political process. But even more than finding a hobby that has stayed fascinating to me, I realized that the world was full of people who were working hard to make a difference. The two senators I worked for were very different men, but both made enormous personal sacrifices to work in the legislature each winter for a pittance because they really believed in what they were doing. For all the negativity there is about politicians, the ones I knew personally were men of integrity and purpose.
I decided I was tired of just standing on the sidelines and watching life happen. After spending all those weeks immersed in a group of movers and shakers, I was ready to get involved in my own life. When the legislative session ended, I had two weeks of down time in which to write a paper and put my plan into action.
On a tip from my dad, I walked into the Alumni Office and asked about joining student alumni. How lucky was I that they were in the middle of a meeting! I was escorted in, feeling a bit sheepish, but then I realized that the handful of kids in the room was ALL of SAA. The organization had been mostly dead for a decade and a new staff member was trying to revitalize it by re-introducing a huge spring festival that had fallen by the wayside. I was gratefully received and put to work almost immediately. A few weeks later when the letter came to join a student honor society that was active on campus, I threw an application in there as well. Before that school year was out, I'd been appointed SAA secretary for the following year (our festival was a huge hit) and elected as an officer in the honor society. I signed up to volunteer on the Arts and Lectures Committee so I could get into all the events for free and meet new people. A few months later, I started a job in one of the "cool" offices on campus (right, chrisw?), and was asked to serve on the Student Advocate Advisory Board.*
My junior year was a lot of fun. I was busy all the time, and had little time to feel lonely or pensive. There wasn't time to brood about being lonely, and soon I had so many friends that I didn't feel lonely either. I even got a boyfriend. (You've heard of this guy: I sometimes refer to him as "the Bullet;" as in "I dodged THAT bullet" or the "Mistake.") I cut a foot off my hair.
Another spring approached and my internal mood was as bright as the outdoors. I had said with varying levels of commitment in the previous year that I would serve a mission when I turned 21, and as my birthday loomed near, I still felt good about that decision. Then, the president of my honor society, who was also Academic VP for our student council, approached me about running as his replacement. The rumor was that only one guy was going to run for it. "A real doofus," apparently. Though qualified, he was rather unlikeable. With the connections I'd made in the past year, I was associated with people from nearly every major student group on campus--Institute, fraternities, sororities, student council, clubs. Besides that, my unique major put me in regular and familiar contact with people from three different colleges. It was time. If I wanted to really be a mover and shaker, that was the time.
But I put in the mission paperwork anyway. As I did so, I wondered why all of these wonderful things that I had always wanted were put in my life precisely then. I think part of my initial decision to be a missionary was motivated by wanting to get away from some things I just couldn't deal with. Suddenly, besides being a great spiritual adventure and a selfless act, a mission seemed like a huge sacrifice. It occurred to me, somewhat belatedly, that perhaps such sacrifice was the reason all of these things had come into my life at that time.
I went anyway.
When I came home, nearly all of my friends had graduated. My roommate was my grandmother in a city ten miles from campus. The university was switching to semesters and I had to scramble, beg, cajole and rearrange to get the many classes I needed in order to graduate without losing a whole year. My checking account nearly always had less than $50 in it. I worked a variety of jobs, each only giving me five or ten hours each week. The only thing that WAS waiting for me was The Mistake, but even he didn't stick around for long--just long enough to shatter the tenuous hold I had on reality for nearly six months after my return. I decided that spring that they needed some place that was the OPPOSITE of the Mission Training Center. Like a Mission Detox Center.
Might have been happy in that other life? The one I might have realized if I had stayed home? Certainly.
But I have never been sorry. Influencing even hundreds of people for a minute pales in comparison to influencing a single person for . . . well. . . ever. As for the changes that took place inside myself? It is impossible to even describe. I think of all those long, hot days (or long, cold days) and the lessons I learned from the isolation from all other people but my companion, the determination I found in myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and the realization I came to that happiness isn't based on some tangible achievement.
In the missionary discussions in use through the nineties (and maybe eighties??), the fifth discussion was about sacrifice. One of the sections was titled, "Sacrifice Brings Blessings." During my 17 months in New South Wales, I learned this lesson with such force that I thought I would never unlearn it. (For that misconception, see Sacrifice Brings Blessings: Part 2. As yet unwritten.) I thought I had given up a lot, but I had merely given up something good for something so much greater. I had given up notice for knowledge; a hundred acquaintances for a handful of friends; my agenda for the Lord's.
Hardly a day goes by that some lesson learned from my months Down Under is not brought back to my mind. Those most difficult and wonderful months were a foundation for the rest of my life. In a few days I will have opportunity to sit down with a handful of the remarkable women I served with and around during my Australia years. It has been well over a decade now since we were missionaries. No doubt, the swapped stories will wane (or become the stuff of legend!), as they have each time we've met over the years, but they will be replaced by new stories of faith and motherhood and the lives we have now. These eternal friendships are among my greatest blessings.
Sacrifice? What sacrifice?
* Mostly what we did on SAAB was team-building activities. There was a very eventful afternoon of laser tag and pizza. Perhaps the most memorable, though, was playing broom hockey against the administration in the Spectrum. My aggressive side came out that day. (read: violent and dangerous) I hit Val Christensen in the leg hard enough to drop him--when he retired a year later he was called as a General Authority in the LDS Church where he served as a counselor in the general Sunday School Presidency. Last year he was called as the President of the Rexburg, Idaho Temple. Dropped him like a rock.
Monday, April 19, 2010
If you are visiting from Dare to Dream, then thanks so much for stopping by. As my post there is about my great writing ambition, it might be helpful if you could actually read something I've written besides that essay. I blog about all kinds of things, including plenty of emphasis on politics and religion. There is nothing like diving head first into taboo subjects to force people to comment!
Here are a collection of essays from the last 2 1/2 years that might be termed my "best stuff." These 15 posts comprise less than 5% of my total blog, but are a good representation of the kind of things you could expect. They are ordered with the oldest being on the top. I also have a finished novel posted to a blog on my sidebar link, but it is religious fiction, so consider yourself warned.
1. My very first post titled "Hug a Trucker Day" is still one of my favorite, perhaps because I finally had a blog-worthy story to tell.
2. This post is about being a new mother in a new place. Re-reading it today was the best birth control I've taken in a long time.
3. "The Wealth Gap" is definitely a political piece, as are the links. Even as I hit "publish" I knew there would be some strong opinions.
4. This is the first of several health care posts. If you are interested in my politics, there is a topics list if you scroll down far enough. I posted this in response to being called a Communist. There is nothing like some name-calling to really sort out ideas.
5. This post brings up the relationship between religion and popular culture.
6. From Father's Day a couple of years ago, this is a tribute to my dad (and my mother, really) titled "Bean Boy."
7. "Just Throw a Casserole At It" explores the way women can support one another when unthinkable things happen, and what a small random act of service might mean to someone who is struggling.
8. This piece is about the widening gap between modern 20-something men and women, and why true love seems so hard to find.
9. This details the closest I've ever been to publishing anything--a letter to the editor in a prominent, national magazine.
10. Now and then I really get my snark on. This piece, from a year ago is a hilarious review of the ACM awards.
11. "Ambition" is about the conflict that women feel between working and mothering, and how ambition can be both fostered in a mother's heart as well as passed on to her children or other young people she has opportunity to interact with.
12. This essay is an exploration of my feelings upon finding that my first really ambitious writing effort was not going to be published, at least not officially!
13. This one is called "A Mother-Heart" and is probably pretty self-explanatory.
14. This post, "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" is a book review for the same title. Even months later I'm still getting comments from bloggers I've never even heard of.
15. And a last, controversial politics-piece to round out the list.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Over the years, as I've worked with young teenage women in the LDS Church (and heck, their mothers and grandmothers too!) I am often discouraged by what a bad rap science gets. Too many religious women view science as something for men to glom onto, or as something whose purpose is to undermine faith. For the uber-religious, science is too often synonymous with atheism. Because I usually am in the context of a church setting when working with these kids, it is not always appropriate for me to challenge their thinking when it comes to secular knowledge.
My young friend gave me a perfect opportunity to both share my faith, and my own seemingly contradictory journey to marry science with religion. It also caused me to do some careful research. A generation before the years that had a strong bearing on my adult self--both religiously and intellectually--the Church also underwent a time of growing pains. When Dallin H. Oaks (now an apostle of the LDS Church) was the president of Brigham Young University, there were deep divisions in Church administration regarding whether or not the subject of evolution should be presented at BYU. Though the Scopes Monkey Trial had been fifty years earlier, there were statements by general authorities in place--both official and unofficial--that were problematic for determining a mainstream course of action at the Church University.
Oaks settled the question by offering his professional opinion to those who made such decisions for BYU (including President Hinckley) by making the following statement, "If we stopped teaching this theory, within a few years students from BYU would not be admitted to…graduate schools. At that point we would cease to function as a recognized university and would, in the eyes of the world (especially the world of higher education), be little more than a seminary with added courses in the humanities. I have no doubt whatever that our accreditation as an institution of higher education would be lost."
He then added, though I must say he hardly needed to, "The issue is just loaded."
For further information, there are a couple of really great websites I found. The first contains any statement the author could EVER find on evolution put out by the Church. It is important to point out, however, that only four of these statements are deemed "official." The most recent of these official statements was actually given in the 1930's, and though each builds on a First Presidency Statement made in the very early part of the 1900's, over the years, each statement becomes more and more general, in the end merely emphasizing that God created the earth and that Adam was the "first man" and prophet. The eternal progression of man in the world to come is also reiterated (talk about evolving). This softening of language is indicative of a view of science at odds with those who would use the Bible as a scientific manual to teach Creationism.
The second website emphasizes the official statements, quotes from faithful LDS people and scientists regarding knowledge and the attainment of it, and a wonderful talk from Hugh B. Brown under the "LDS Articles" link. There is enough here to keep you busy for days if you are interested. If you are not, well, you've probably already quit and I'm already over it.
Years before going to bat for evolution, Elder Oaks issued statements to the faculty at BYU strongly condemning those who would make assumptions about their colleagues' commitment to the Church based on their training in the sciences. As your read excerpts from the letter I sent to my former student, I would ask you to do the same for me.
"My intention is not to convince you of a certain way of thinking: as always I want my students to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions, but sharing my story might help you to see that any worthwhile journey of faith and knowledge takes time, and that some answers and conclusions don’t immediately reveal themselves.
“My first good life science class was my AP Biology class. It was a bit intimidating—I was a young sophomore and my teacher was the head football coach. He was loud and disorganized and sometimes lazy. But I loved him. His perspective was unique. He had arrived at an interest in science only later in life when he realized that if he wanted to coach high school ball, he was going to have to actually get a major in something besides PE. Though in his early 40’s when I first knew him, he had only been a member of the Church a few years.
“When he taught the chapter on evolution (he called it “evilution” just to nettle us), he presented the information in the book and I found myself very conflicted. Though it seemed to contradict everything I’d been taught at church, the theory deeply appealed to my sense of logic. Furthermore, that appeal was disturbing to me—wasn’t my faith already weak enough to be wondering about such things?
“Then, on the last day of the unit he gave us time to express our opinions and discuss discrepancies between the stories of creation we had been taught and evolutionary theory. Most of us, though not all, were LDS, but most of the other kids were Christians of some variety and the conversation was lively and fascinating. Though I’m pretty sure neither our science or our religion was very factual that morning, it was wonderful to have such a discussion in an atmosphere where we didn’t feel chided for our questions about God, or unsophisticated for our belief in something beyond biological chemicals. It was because of his class I became a science teacher.
“Fast-forward to college, where I spent much of my first year spinning my wheels both spiritually and intellectually. Gone were the days of Christian science teachers helping you navigate your way through tough concepts—evolution wasn’t merely a subject you studied in biology, this theory and its huge body of supporting evidence provided the entire foundation for most of my biology classes. There was no question of it being ‘just’ a theory, this was THE theory. (If you look at the word theory from a scientific standpoint, you know that 'just' doesn’t really apply anyway.)
“. . . . I spent a lot of time questioning. I didn’t think it was at all possible for religious doctrine to reconcile with scientific teaching. Some people are given the gift of faith. My mother is one of these, and so is my sister. I am not. In fact, quite the opposite. My own gifts of intellect, practicality, logic and curiosity sometimes seem to work in direct opposition to having faith.
“Then, halfway through my freshman year until about halfway through my sophomore year, I was faced with a series of unexpected and very serious challenges. The details here would fill pages, so I will spare you, but suffice it to say, I had to really find out for myself if the Church was true, or if all this eternal-families-stuff was just a nice fairy tale to make us feel better about death and trials.
“It took some time, but I’m glad I didn’t give up. I came to know for myself that the Lord had a hand in my life, that the Atonement was real and personal . . . once I was finally at peace with my own beliefs, I was able to compartmentalize the science. It wasn’t easy, but I was determined not to let my perceived inconsistencies between faith and science either deter me from my religion or from the subject I loved.
“Time passed, and as my spiritual faith and secular knowledge both deepened, I came to realize that I no longer had to compartmentalize the two. My study of science had given me a greater appreciation for God and His magnificent creation. My study of religion had given me the influence of the Holy Ghost which helped me to separate truth from error, or to be settled with the questions that weren’t answerable. I eventually became a missionary and recognized how simple the core message of the gospel is, how simple salvation is. The more questions I asked and more curious I became, the more I also realized how few of the questions really NEED to be answered in order for you to live a good, righteous life. . . .
"Deseret Book published a collection of essays some years ago called “Reflections of a Scientist” by Henry Eyring (the current apostle’s father) that says some amazing things about faith and religion. (Excerpts here.) I will not quote it directly—I loaned the book out and it seems I didn’t get it back. But I remember him saying that true science and true religion would never be in conflict with one another. That if they seemed to contradict, it was because we didn’t have enough knowledge. As a member of the General Sunday School board, he of course asserted the truthfulness of the Church, but readily acknowledged how little had been revealed to us by God about the majestic workings of the universe, and that human curiosity should be boundless in trying to figure things out. . . .
“When my husband took his core biology classes, he was taught the evolution portion by a wonderful professor named Dr. Frank Messina. (I’d had
“Dr. Messina came to the conclusion . . . that both religion and science were ways of knowing. Religion uses the 'evidence of things NOT seen' (Hebrews 11:1) and science uses evidence we can observe through our five senses. Interestingly enough, at the same time I attended a Utah State Science Teachers conference and one of our break-out groups was facilitated by a BYU professor who broached the subject of teaching evolution in a conservative community. Many of his conclusions were identical to Dr. Messina—who are we to say how God created life on our planet? It is enough for salvation to know that He did. For me, my own life would be incomplete if I had not learned to use both the seen and the unseen to help guide my decisions and stimulate my mind and spirit.
“As for specifics? I’ve come to some of my own (very un-doctrinal!) conclusions there, and won’t share them. In time, if the reconciliation seems important to you, the Spirit will guide you into your own truth. Or it will help you to know that NOT knowing (at least for now) is okay too. What I will say very specifically is I . . . believe whole-heartedly that Adam was the first prophet—the first man who in body and mind was created in God’s image and with potential to become like our Father in Heaven. I believe that same potential lies in each one of us as well. I know that having faith makes life richer, fuller and better. . . ."
I told you in my last post that I was bundle of contradictions.
Friday, April 09, 2010
After a big fight between the two main characters, she storms out and he spends half the day hunting the city for her. When he returns home, she is sitting on the front porch. He becomes very apologetic (as he acted like a big, fat jerk) and she interrupts him saying, "Being in love means never having to say you are sorry."
I loved this phrase and believed it. My mom (what did SHE know, anyway?) vehemently disagreed, for all that she had nearly named me Jenny. "No, being in love means always having to say you are sorry."
The thing is, I think both Jenny and my mom are right, with qualifiers. If two people are in love--and not just that infatuation/attraction love, but the kind of love that is a daily decision of working together and working it out--then they should not have to apologize to one another for who they are. For example, Plantboy knows I'm a bit (read: insanely) neurotic about certain things. But he knew how Type A I was when he married me, and he loves me anyway. On the other hand, I think when you are in a loving relationship (any type of love, really) then you need to constantly be on your guard against hurting one another's feelings and ready to apologize and make amends when you mess up. You should never have to apologize for who you are, but you should be quick to apologize for what you do.
But none of this is the reason I brought up "Love Story." The opening line of the movie, just so you know you are headed for absolute disaster, is "What can you say about a twenty-five year old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles, and me?"
In less than 20 words, her husband gives a succinct summation of who his wife was. I'm working on a piece as a guest blogger right now, and the blog's author asked me for a biographical blurb to put in front of it. She gave me 50 words.
This is a hard thing. Is there anyway to get to the heart of your self in so few words? Each of the following is a biographical statement in less than 50 words, and each is the absolute truth. Taken singly, each might give you a very different idea about my character.
* I loved Barbies as a child because Barbie could always be a grown up and go to college or have a career or a boyfriend or her own house. I preferred to design my own clothing for Barbie.
* I love to hike and submerge myself in nature. My parents are talking about taking their whole family to Disneyland later this year and the very thought of it makes me cringe, for all that I am keeping on a brave face for my excited kidlets.
* I once bungee jumped from a 170-foot crane with no mat underneath. Three weeks later I had the opportunity to go up in a hot air balloon and had the terrible desire to jump out of the basket when we reached the zenith, just for the rush.
* I have fallen in love three times. Once for friendship. Once for attraction. And once for good.
* As a missionary I was cursed off the doorstep by a woman who spat at my feet and told me I was headed straight to Hell. I walked away. And I cried.
* In retrospect, I realized I had severe post-partum depression with my oldest child. I was 800 miles from my mother, new to the area, and without a single close friend (yet). I thought asking for help was tantamount to admitting failure. And I felt like a failure.
* I long for a daughter, but I'm not entirely convinced I'm a great mother to the kids I've already got. I sometimes pray that my sister, who also has three sons, will get the girl.
* I lived in the same house and ward from age 3 to 18. In the last fifteen years, I have had 25 different addresses and about that many wards in 2 different countries and 4 different states. To say that my perspective has changed is putting it mildly.
* I've always had a slight distaste for people who wasted any amount of time playing video games. We got a Wii for Christmas and I have since become a Jedi Master in the Lego Star Wars gaming universe. May the force be with you.
* In high school a family friend told me not to worry about my looks, because "everyone goes nature in college." As I've gotten older, I've become more interested in clothes, hair and make-up. I think it is to assert my femininity in a house filled with male energy.
I sometimes feel like a bundle of contradictions. I keep thinking I will get to a place where I understand myself and my reactions, where I behave with some modicum of predictability. If such a place exists, I have not yet found it. But I do know this: I used to think I had to choose between strength and femininity, between being tough and being tender. I don't think that anymore. I am both, and the women I admire are both. Maybe it is enough to know this about myself.
"For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin, real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. A last it dawned on me that these obstacles WERE my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness IS the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination."
Alfred D. Sousa
I don't know who Alfred D. Sousa is. Brother to John Phillips, perhaps? If so, it makes sense why he was able to state the "happiness on the journey" theme so eloquently. If your brother was in the other room playing big band music on the tuba all the time, you'd have to get philosophical just to keep from blowing your brains out.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Having the discipline not to look at Blogger for a month doesn't necesarily translate into the discipline to spend a good chunk of each day in meditation, involved in worthwhile projects or focused on self-improvement.
Does it sound like I was hoping for a miracle? Well . . . maybe I was.
Still, March was productive, though I can hardly believe that five weeks has flown by. Since writing last, we spent a weekend in Sunriver, enjoyed a visit from my mother, and spent five days in the Redwoods. I also read and/or finished five books in that time, critiqued a writing project for a friend and committed to look at two other manuscripts. I wrote a long essay-style letter to a former student on the subject of evolution. I added twenty or thirty pages to my current writing project. I worked on a couple of shorter essays for blogs other than mine. I went to the temple and studied my scriptures somewhat regularly. I unwittingly started a Facebook brouhaha when I made a (very) innocent comment about health care. It was innocent, I swear.
Hm . . . it sounds pretty good when I lay it all out like that. I won't give you the list of things that didn't happen, of course. I want to leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy about me since we haven't chatted in a while.
Since writing last, I've had two fairly significant moments of insight. In my faith-tradition, I would even call these epiphanies revelation. Personal revelation. The first is too close to my heart, too personal to share in this format. The second I think might have a more universal application, however, and might be of value to somebody else, so I will share it here.
I was reading a book called "The Undaunted." For those of you who read Gerald Lund's "The Work and the Glory," this book is pretty much along those lines, though without the delightful characterization of Joseph Smith to help hold together the narrative. The love story (Lund always employs this device) is beyond-awful cheesy--which pits two sisters against one another as they fall in love with the same perfectly delightful leading man who falls in love with each of them, in turn, thankfully. The book is NOT about polygamy, though it is written at a time period in Church history that it could have been. The sisters are, of course, perfectly delighted for one another, because nobody gets to misbehave in Lund's delightful books for more than a few minutes.
Did I over-use the word delightful? I'm sorry. It comes from reading too much Lund who wins the award for using some variation on the word on nearly every. single. page. of the whole book. It became so distracting about half way through that I seriously considered taking tally marks. His editor should have delightfully used his red pen a little more often.
But I digress, and apologize for the spoilers. Hm . . . I guess I should have done so ahead of time. Straight on to the point then! The story is about a group of second generation Utahns who were asked to form a colony in the Four Corners area. The population of that desolate part of the country is not a lot larger now than it was then. Perhaps the most remarkable part of the story is that these saints who answered the call had not all been pioneers, or they had been very small children when their families crossed the plains. They were living a relatively urban existence when they sold off everything, loaded wagons and struck out into the wilderness.
The two daughters in the story--aged 18 and 20 have different feelings about being on the journey, and these attitudes are thrown into sharp relief as the trek continues. The younger (blonder and prettier and more charming, shocker) never really likes it. She follows her family out of duty but grumbles frequently and has little patience. The older (you guessed it--brunette, smarter, plainer and easier to talk to) sees her duty as being to the Lord, and follows with patience and determination. Stay with me; my point wasn't just to bag on Mr. Lund's mediocre writing.
The younger sister is complaining to the older about one very difficult spot on their journey, where they'd had to wait weeks longer than expected to move on from where they were camped because of nearly insurmountable obstacles. Obstacles, some critics have argued, that should have remained insurmountable and the mission scrapped. The younger sister basically says, "I'm so tired of all the waiting! I just want to get to where we are going so that we can get on with our lives!"
The older sister says, with infinite patience, "Maybe this IS our life."
This simple interchange has stayed with me all month, and will probably stay with me until long after the more unpalatable aspects of the book fade. As I look a my life now, its holding pattern of days repeating with little change from week to week--three meals a day plus two snacks at set times, diaper changes, consistent tantrum controls, prayers, baths, scriptures like clockwork every night at the same time, Goodnight Moon so many times I can recite it in my sleep . . . you get my gist. Perhaps this is descriptive of your life too? Too often I look at this mundane routine and say (usually to myself), "Enough already! I just want to get on with my life!"
But I need to listen to that older sister's message. What exactly do I mean by getting on with m life? This is my life. Now. How much time is wasted in waiting for the next big thing? In searching for what the next big thing even entails? How do I balance what I want for myself in the future with being content in the here and now. Please don't misunderstand. My priority is to my children and our family. If it wasn't, I doubt very much I could stay home with my dear little brood, but I see other things for myself too. I'm tired of having days where I sigh with frustration over the routine and wonder when my life will start.
I guess it comes back to choices. I chose exactly what I'm doing right now, and it is futile to think of alternative paths. It is time for just putting my hand to the plow and getting to work. It is time for a change of heart.
Here is a glimpse of my life, now. Delightful.
It is hard to tell, but we are posing by the roots of a giant redwood that has fallen over. I was fascinated and enthralled with the descriptions of this unique ecosystem--America's cold rainforest. We made the mistake of pointing out to the kids that the Star Wars Endor segments (Episode VI) were filmed in the Redwoods. Any peace or awe they might have been feeling flew right out the window as their imaginations took over. They've been pretending to be Ewoks ever since we got off, fighting over the single dollar store bow and arrow set here at the house.
This is the view from our hotel room.