Sunday, December 09, 2012

On Inspiration

By way of disclaimer, may I say that, you really had to be there!

Tonight my friend Tanya and her friend (whose name escapes me) put on a fireside in our Ward. The Bishop has been talking them up for a long time and I have been really, really excited to go. (Imagine my chagrin when I couldn't remember if it started at 6 or 6:30 and missed 15 minutes of it by the time I got there.) It was kind of like a two-woman, very hip version of Music and the Spoken Word. They played and sang original songs intermingled with inspiring essays on Talents and Divine Nature and Creativity. The Spirit was so strong. Tanya and I have this very symbiotic relationship when it comes to creativity. We both sense and recognize it in each other and we both love to encourage the other. Neither of us are big and flashy, which makes her encouragement that much more sincere to me. I know she means what she says and I hope she knows the same about me.

One of the first things that drove me closer to taking bigger strides with my writing was accepting Tanya's invitation to go to a speakers night with the Writing Class here in town. Three (or was it four?) authors told their stories of how they got to be published. It was one of those fire-lighting moments that made me think this could actually work. That I could actually become a published author.

One of my favorite songs from tonight was called Thursday Morning. Before she sang, they talked about how they would meet on Thursday mornings to work on their creative projects; writing songs. They would let their kids have run of the house and just go for it in the music room. Her song talked about how setting aside that time to just create was worth the mess that they had to clean up afterwards. I am always talking myself out of writing because the laundry or dishes or blah blah blah needs doing first. What if I set aside time where I didn't feel guilt for letting those things go for a few hours a week and just wrote instead? What if my boys watched an extra episode of Dinosaur Train once in a while so that I can lose myself in the world I've created? Would it be so bad if my girls came home from school and caught me typing away? I would love it my kids grew up knowing that they can, and should, take time to develop their talents and create something that nobody else can do.

I spent a lot of time this past week being sick. I'm not sure if I got hit by 2 sicknesses or if it was all the same bundle, but I struggled gastrointestinally and had a cough besides. It was pretty miserable. I read a lot. I read Divergent, Cleopatra's Moon, Incarceron and Matched. I won't give you full reviews in this post, the point is that reading other people's writing does two things to me... makes me want to write my own and makes me want to change what they wrote. That doesn't sound fair. It's not that I want to change their creative baby, I just mean that I love getting to know their characters and I imagine them doing things differently, just for fun. At the back of Divergent she has excellent "Special Features" and she has a cool essay where she talks about Utopian worlds versus Dystopian worlds. People like to read and write dystopian novels because they are obviously far more interesting, but also because we want to imagine what it would be like to play out certain situations. I love where my imagination takes me when I read and I love the super charged, exhilarating feeling of writing down what only I can imagine even better.

So, at the risk of this being yet another post of mine that comes across as me whining about how I want to write and never do, I just wanted to share what inspired me tonight. It inspired me that two young moms just like me carved out time to follow their creative dreams. Their end products, the songs and spoken sentiments inspired me in their beauty and the fact that they were done! They finished something! They wrote songs that they could then play and sing. They said words into a microphone that they had no doubt edited and honed to be exactly the words that they wanted to say. How much greater would it be for me to be able to pull a book off the shelf and show my daughters what can be done rather than have them stumble onto a bunch of old blog posts about how I wish I had done more. Unless I take pictures of clean sinks and stacks of folded laundry, they won't remember those things, I'm pretty sure.

Go out and create something! That's where I'm headed off to! May we both be successful and enjoy the ride at the same time! 

I know this isn't the best written post in the world, but I wanted to capture some of the feelings and inspirations I caught today. To read my reviews of the books I read, please visit here.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

To My Second Dad

I know you got to be at your funeral because Becca saw you. She was so happy to see you that she laughed and laughed and laughed. Really, really loud! Who did you bring with you? Who else got to come? She didn't just look in one place. You brought friends and family, I am sure of it. I was jealous of her in those moments. I didn't shush her. I just let the tears roll down my face.

I've cried quite a few tears on your behalf. I'm sure you wish I wouldn't. I'm sure you are glad to be out of pain. But I know you miss us. All of us. And I know you know what it's like to miss a Dad, a brother, and a sister, so I know you won't mind too much if I cry a lot. You always asked me how I was doing and I know you really wanted to know. I could never lie to you like I did to everyone else by saying, "I'm fine." If I wasn't fine, you knew. The best I could do to mask it was to use different words, but I never said I was fine unless I really was, not to you anyway. You, on the other hand, were most decidedly not fine, but you never ever complained. Always so gracious. Loving. Complimentary. You always told me not to worry about you. And so instead of worrying, I prayed a lot. I prayed that I would get to keep you. That my kids would get to keep their Grandpa. That my husband wouldn't have to lose his Dad. I knew all the time that I was not in charge, though. I knew I could ask, but that I needed to be grown-up enough not to throw a fit if I didn't get my way. I know who is in charge and that He loves you just as much as we do and that He has important work for you to do. My heart still hurts and I still miss you, but I know you are exactly where you are meant to be.

You are probably using your stellar Home Teaching skills on all of the lucky souls around you. You have probably already made new friends who remember gardening just like you. I'm sure you are surrounded by all of the family you revered, some of them who left this life the same way you did. I hope you told them all how much we still think about them and miss them, too. I hope they already knew. Are there gardens where you are? If there are, they are so lucky to have you! If they were beautiful before, they are ever so much more so now. Is there furniture to build and design? I hope there are lots of things to learn and to do because you don't like to sit still much. Even when you sat downstairs and watched old westerns, you were always doing something with your hands and your brain as you watched. You are not a sit still person. Gardens don't get tended by someone who sits in one place.

I hope you got to see us all together for those couple of weeks even though I'm sure you were already busy. It was nice to feel each other's support. We all struggle in our different ways. Your grandkids say things that would probably make you laugh, but that sometimes bring tears to us that are still here. Landon asks me most days when you will be resurrected so he can tell you things. He is sensitive to the word "die" and corrects people to say that you passed away. We have had some neat conversations about why that is sometimes nicer to say. He is so very curious about where Heaven is and where exactly you are in relation to him. I don't really know what to tell him since I don't know that part yet.

I'm not really sure what Ethan understands. When we have a memory and we talk about you, he will turn to me and tuck his chin and say that you died. His brother will quickly correct him to say passed away. Sometimes he still asks where you are. Not in a 'where is Heaven?' way, but as if he would really like to know. If you came walking back in the door, he wouldn't be surprised, he would just be glad you're back.

Gracie has needed a lot more cuddles lately. She is often ruled by touch. She needs to be hugged. She gets embarassed about the big feelings she has. She doesn't like to cry in front of people and so she curls in a ball and tries to hide it. She knows all of the answers we've been giving her, but I'm not sure how much of it she has really internalized. Not that I expect her to, she's only 8, she'll get there eventually.

Emily has struggled the hardest of them all. She really cries. She feels sorrow. She didn't want you to go. She is learning how permanent this is. At first, she just kept saying things like 'I didn't want this to happen. I prayed that this wouldn't happen. Why did it still happen?' I am so grateful for the gospel that has so many answers that we seek at times like this. I'm so glad to have the answers that she needs. I hope they are enough for now, until she can gain her own testimony about the Plan of Salvation.

I have things I wish I had said to you. I wish I could have talked more openly about your leaving like your own kids did. It was hard for me to think of it like that. Maybe, over all, that would have been a more healthy way to approach things. But I'm me and I live through my heart and my heart hurts right now. I wanted to talk to you about if you were the one that comes to get Becca. There are things I wish someone knew about that. I hope they're common knowledge where you are. I pray about that and think about her leaving more than most parents think about their children's cross over to the other side. I wish I could have talked to you about that. I wish I would have made sure that you knew exactly how much I loved you and respect you and look up to you. I hope that you knew that by the little things I did say. They are very, very deep feelings. I hope you had the inkling. Do we ever feel like we told our loved ones that we loved them enough? I doubt it.

I'll let Geoff have his own feelings. It's up to him if he wants to share them this way or not. Tonight at dinner he said something about "Grandpa" and the kids were asking which one and I said to him, "You have to specifiy which one!" in a little more snippier of a tone than I meant to. He knows I didn't mean for it to sound the way it did, but it brought tears. He has moments every day that he thinks about sharing with you and he can't. Not in the usual way. I hope you still get to watch over him and that he can still feel your influence. There is so much respect there. He brings you up a lot to his kids and tells them memories and gives them advice like you would. He takes everyone's condolences graciously. Every once in a while he tells them that he didn't really listen to your radio show because if he had a question, he would just ask you. He tells them that you were a terrific father, not just a terrific gardener. Most people are surprised that we're your kids. I'm not sure how to feel about that. I hope it's not becuase our yard was sub-par. I hope it is because we just loved you and didn't run around bragging about it. The same way you did with us. I know you told people glowing things in quiet moments because several people told us so. I know you catch my drift.

I will miss your voice and how you used to read stories to the kids. I will miss you whistling Becca's tune to let her know that it was you. I will miss how you included her in everything the other kids got to do. I will miss all of the random, surprising things you found at NPS and shared with us all the time. Oh, that honey wheat bread! I will miss your funny stories and jokes and how your daughters would prompt you to tell them over and over. I will miss how you and your wife were such a duo. Doing so much together. Coordinating trips down to Utah County almost as much as your really big tour trips so that everything fit in and everything got done and everyone got visited. Reminding each other of things. How she always knew just where the thing is that you needed for the job you were doing at the moment. I helped her try to find something in the garage the other day and I know you would have been able to tell her exactly where it was within inches if you had been there. I miss you a lot. You take care up there... or over there... or wherever Heaven is exactly. And save me a hug for when I get to where you are. Because no matter what I do in this life, it had better lead me to the same place that you are or else it wouldn't be Heaven to me. I love You.

Love Forever,

Link to Geoff's Blog Post