19
Feb

ironic and amazing

I spoke in our Ward Conference visits last Sunday. We had the Lyman 4th Ward [9 a.m.] and the Urie Ward [1:00 p.m.] Our topic this year is Mothers Teaching Children in the Home.

Lynn and I presented the “grandmother” side of the equation, while Amy and Liberty did the “mom” side.

I love preparing talks and lessons. I especially love studying, researching, learning, and editing it about 27 times. Make that 37 times! That’s my favorite part. After getting together a rough draft, I love reading it, timing myself, marking up the whole thing with a red fine liner, retyping the changes, printing and starting over again. This process takes me the longest amount of time — I’d guess in the 2-3 hour range. I want it to flow. I want it to sound as if I’m actually talking to the audience instead of reading. And I usually come close to memorizing it. I still do mostly read it, because, let’s face it . . I can’t put two words together vocally in a coherent way unless I have a script in front of me.

Prez Kunzler came into the Relief Society room right as we were getting started and I panicked a bit. I really wasn’t prepared for him to be there. But it turned out wonderfully. He added a few comments and after the meeting came and found me and we discussed my life in a personal one-on-one sharing moment. It was such a good experience to talk freely about what’s going on. It was good to hear myself say the words out loud. It was good to not explain or make excuses or be embarrassed. I’m more willing to talk now and let the chips fall. I am not protecting him anymore.

I have contemplated the timing of the Lord so many times lately. When I was going through a very difficult time with work [I initiated several grievances with the local teacher’s union because my immediate supervisor bullied/harassed me and also passed me over for promotion.] Dad had also died that year and some other things were falling apart. I was called as the Stake Primary president. It was hard and awkward and uncomfortable. There were people at school who would hardly speak to me because of the conflict and ugliness of the grievances. I had to work with many of those same people in my stake calling. But there I was, in that capacity, going around to wards and speaking and visiting with bishops and going to the stake council meetings. My [very public] calling helped me get through that. And now. . . I’m going through all of this with L. All sorts of ugly: porn, internet dating, prostitutes, meth, drinking, lying, cheating . . so much more. And here I am, in another stake calling teaching other women how to navigate their lives.

It’s ironic. And it’s amazing. Why would God have a broken, pretty messed-up, worn out woman in this calling?

This is the fourth stake calling I’ve had since living here. Each one has brought challenges and blessings. But the timing . . . . it’s always been just what I needed in difficult moments.

I am reminded over and over that the Lord is in the details. Sometimes when I am hungering for his presence, I realize that he is right here. If I feel a distance, it’s always me who has moved away. He has let me know with certainty that He wants to help and bless and anoint our lives with his goodness.

29
Jan

serious peace

Keziah was in their annual home school play and Mikelle and I wanted to go see her perform and to visit with Tracy and her cute family. [Side note: the play was aMAYzing!!!]

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We left Lyman late Thursday after school and preschool and an inordinate amount of packing. It was dark before we knew it. Snow was flying in a few isolated places. We had had 17 inches of snow the previous week, and now that it was melting, there were inches of slush on the road. Mikelle and I were both tired, and the kids [spelled l.i.n.c.o.l.n] were a little cranky and in need of pretty much constant entertainment and soothing. Mikelle rubbed his feet while I drove. I held him while she drove. We stopped to nurse at Alpine. A half hour later I needed to use the bathroom and we switched places again and I drove.

Long story short . . .

Well, not really . . cause it’s a long story!!

We finally got to Tracy’s after 9:30 . . [plenty tired and ready for bed.] We carried in all of our stuff and I realized I didn’t have my phone. I asked Kez to call and then several other people called, saying it was going straight to voice mail. I thought, sheesh, it must be dead. I’ll never find it. But we took flashlights out and looked in Mikelle’s car . . all along the path into the house, looked in our bags, pockets, out in the car again. Sheesh! Double sheesh, in fact!! I thought back over the past couple of hours and the thought came to me — crystal clear — that it must have fallen out of my pocket when I was peeing along side the road. I remembered that a car was coming up over the hill and I hurried and ‘pulled up everything’ [sorry for all the potty talk.] Richard said, you’ll probably have to get a new phone. There’s no way you’ll find it! I kept thinking over everything and couldn’t dismiss the prompting about where it was. Tracy and I did another halfhearted search and then decided to go look for the phone. Oh, my goodness, I do not do night-driving well, but by this time I was wide awake again, and really felt a strong impression that we could find my phone.

Of course I prayed my heart out!

We drove about 30-35 miles back to where the big log buildings are on the Snake River. Mikelle had remembered a school-like building on the left. I had remembered saying right after starting my last leg of the driving journey that I knew right where we were. Although it was a dark and moonless night, I remembered something familiar and thought it was the big farming area on both sides of the road that I always notice on any given [daytime] trip. It’s one of my favorite sites and never ceases to amaze me. So it had stuck in my mind.

Tracy and I started looking for and stopping at every cleared area where plows had moved snow for a clearing or a turn-off point. We used the headlights and Tracy’s phone flashlight to walk around and examine each place.

Every time, after only a few seconds, I’d say, this isn’t where we were and we’d pile back in and drive another half-mile or mile, depending on how much of a stretch it was to the next possible place. At the 6-7th plowed area I said “Oh my heck! This is where I peed!!! This is totally the place! I remember the little hill where the other car was coming from. Look, there are the tire marks! [I had driven out of the pull-off at a 90 degree angle to the road.] This is totally it!!!”

Things don’t always turn out the way we want them to. The way we need them to. Life’s challenges don’t always get resolved after prayer. Even much prayer. But . . . this time they did!

I angled the headlights to where I thought I had been a couple of hours earlier. Tracy calmly got out of the car, leaned over and picked up my phone. We brushed off the snow, plugged it in and it started charging.

And just like that, we were both witnesses to a miracle!! Tracy shouted, “Praise God!! I believe in a God of Miracles!!” I chimed in and we were two happy, silly, deliriously-jubilant people. I kept saying, I knew it was here!!! I knew it!!!

What are the chances of finding a phone along a 40+ mile stretch of Idaho road in the middle of a dark, moonless night?

So what did I get out of the whole thing? I jumped right to this. Like, immediately! If God loves me enough to help me find my very expensive iPhone, and If God knows where to direct me to find it, and if God takes care of little [BIG] things like that, surely he loves me enough, knows me enough and cares for me enough to direct me in other matters of import. Surely!!

I’ve felt the most wonderful, warm, all-wrapped-up feeling of peace that I’ve ever know. Serious Peace! The kind of peace that seeps through my bones and settles in my heart. The kind of peace that fills my soul. The kind of peace that answers questions and fills voids, [and fills holes] and brings comforting tears. The kind of peace I can’t deny. The kind I don’t ever want to deny!

14
Jan

luxurious of all things

It’s Saturday. It’s early. I’m up because I went to bed so early last night. 8 p.m. The night before I went to bed early and woke up at 4:15 a.m. on my day off. Ugh! Our bodies have good memories! I’ve been an early riser for so long I can’t even remember what it’s like to stay up late. I love this time of day, frankly, because, I’m alone. I love having my own time and my own thoughts. I love not having to interact with anyone. I love the way I feel when I’m being true to myself and not having to make a totally fake effort to communicate something other than what I am really feeling.

Time and Silence, to me, are the most luxurious of all things.

I know, I admit, I acknowledge, I recognize that this is not necessarily a good way to experience life. I get that.

Enjoy Your Own Company

It may be a sad commentary, I don’t know. Or maybe I’m just making all of this up, because I AM alone and I’d rather pretend it’s my own idea than anyone else’s.

I DO like the feeling of being alone. I DON’T like the feeling of being lonely. There’s a difference. But what a lovely surprise to discover how unlonely being alone can be.