Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blackberries and Sisters

This morning Mark and I went out to do battle with the blackberries, and we have scars to prove that they were vicious opponents! There was a big patch growing behind what used to be the barn, more in a couple of the apple trees and a couple of the cherry trees, and still more growing up into the arbor vitae.

I don't know how to capture in words the fun we had working together. We made stupid jokes about the huge clumps that we had to yank and yank to get free--all their long tentacles like giant squid, and the way a vine would almost wrap itself around us as we tried to get it into the truck. We worked together and figured out a good system. Mark would pull a section and I would use the loppers to cut it off when he couldn't pull any more. The sun was shining, and we got hot and sweaty and filthy together, and it just felt so good to work hard together.

I love having a body that is (sort of) fit and strong. I love doing hard work, especially outdoors. I love working alongside my sweetheart. And as my family knows, I always love taking a trip to the dump--it is SO cathartic to get rid of messes!

So it was a good morning. We came home from the dump, scratched and bloody, but nothing that a hot shower couldn't take care of.

This evening was the General Relief Society broadcast. I love the thought of all my girls sitting together to hear the inspired messages, even though we live far apart. Ashley wasn't able to attend tonight because Blake has a cold, but as far as I know, the rest of my girls were there. Julia and Maleena were with me in Oregon City, Holly in Idaho, Kendra and Katie in Utah, Polly and Angela in the Bay Area, and Hillary in southern California.

I wish my mother were a member of Relief Society. If she lived closer, I could at least invite her to come with me.

I don't have any sisters of my own. I have one brother, and we might have had another sibling--maybe it would have been a sister--but my mother miscarried, and then she and my father decided not to have any more children. As my daughters have grown, I have admired their sister relationships, and wondered what it would be like to have a sister relationship in my own life.

Sitting in the chapel tonight, and seeing scenes from the broadcast of the vast audience, and thinking of my girls scattered in various states, all of us surrounded by sisters from our own wards and stakes, I was moved to tears to think of sisters, and how grateful I am for the many sisters I have in my life.

I am so happy to be a woman alive on the earth, so grateful for my family and the gospel in my life, so moved by inspired prophets and leaders who bring me closer to Christ.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I want to take better care of myself, and I have realized that to do that, I need to be more kind to myself.

One thing I've (finally) figured out is that being a perfectionist is toxic. It's fine to have a commitment to doing good work, producing useful ideas/documents/lessons/etc, but insisting on perfection is prideful and controlling. It's unkind. I'm trying to let that go.

I am also taking more opportunities to relax. I'm still using my little yoga book to practice yoga poses every day. When I finish, I feel stretched, strengthened, and more relaxed. I notice that I've been sleeping a LOT better since I started practicing yoga. My favorite yoga to do is a series of 18 poses called the "strengthening series" in this book. Other places I've heard it called the "sun salutation."  (I found a cool little animated guy doing the sun salutation here. The series I am currently practicing actually has a several additional poses added in to it. It took me a couple of weeks just to memorize the sequence of poses, but now I can go through all 18 without looking at the book.)

Another way I have found to relax recently is to help myself fall asleep by counting grandbabies. If I'm awake in the middle of the night, I imagine each one in his or her bed and how he or she might look asleep. If it's an afternoon nap, I imagine each one at play or schoolwork. The other day I had a tension headache and went upstairs to take a nap. I was going through each of the little ones, starting with Julia's kids, and then down through each of my children in order, and I only made it as far as Rebecca before I was asleep! I had to count the rest of the grandchildren when I woke up--headache free--20 minutes later.

I am also being more kind to myself by honoring more of my own wishes, ones that I have so often decided weren't important. They are little things, but they make me feel more loved and cared for, even if I myself am the one doing the loving and caring! Taking time to rub my feet with lotion when they are tired and sore. Stopping by Dairy Queen for a Dilly Bar on my way to a meeting at the district office. Buying a new pair of pants for myself that actually fit and feel comfortable, when the ones in the closet have gotten too tight (what's up with that?). Buying a yoga book on the play day Mark and I took out to the coast.

Mark and I have scheduled a play day on one Saturday a month. The play days are on the calendar, and we are committed to not scheduling other things on those days. We tell others (or ourselves), "Sorry, I'm not available that day. I have a previous commitment." On our September play day we went out to the coast for the day. We haven't decided yet what we will do on our October play day, but we're hoping to make it an overnighter. These play days are actually dates - just for Mark and me - to stay connected with each other and with our playful selves.

It's just another way to be kind.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hello Olivia!

Here is darling Olivia--in my lap! We are here in Utah for Mimi Haynie's wedding tomorrow (Mimi is Mark's niece), and bonus! We get to spend time with Olivia and Katie & Bryan, and Abbi & Charlie and Kendra and Chris. What a treat. We will be here until Sunday evening.
We really enjoyed our time with Olivia. (Can you tell it was "spirit day" at Oregon City HS today? We went straight from work to the airport. A busy day, but we are very glad to be here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ethan's baby blessing

These posts are out of order, but things have been a little crazy with school starting up, and I'm trying to get the blog caught up.

Last weekend Mark and I flew to Los Angeles for Ethan's baby blessing. Ethan is the son of Joshua (Mark's oldest son) and Hillary Haynie. Nate and Ashley drove down from Oregon with Blake to meet their new nephew, and Angela flew down from the Bay Area. (Tim kept the twins at home.)

We had a lovely time. We stayed with Hillary's parents, and it was so nice to get to know them better--without the stress of a wedding going on! (They taught us a fun new card game--"Monopoly Deal"--which we've now purchased to play here at home.) It was fun to have all three of Mark's kids together. The weather was a little on the warm side, but very pleasant.

It was wonderful to spend time with Josh and Hillary. We wish we didn't live so far apart, and that we could see them more often!

Ethan's baby blessing

Play Day at the Coast with Mark

Sleeping Bag Yoga

I bought this little book at the Tillamook Forest Center the other day when Mark and I were there on our play day. I've been practicing the yoga poses in it for the last two nights. Boy, was I surprised to wake up sore this morning! I hadn't really trusted that the yoga poses could be that much work, I guess. There are a couple of them I can't even begin to do, but for the most part, I'm finding this to be a useful little book. I want to keep practicing the poses. I thought they would be good centering stretches, but maybe they'll help me to build some strength, too!

Thursday, September 3, 2009