Run the Night Away

01 May 2017

up on the main road, about 4 miles from my house  


I did something tonight that I haven't done in awhile.  Probably, longer than a year ago.  And for those of you that have known me for a long time, you are going to fall off your chair when you find out, because it will not compute in your brain that I have not been doing this all along.

I went for an evening run.

I need not explain to my friends and roommates that date back to my years of single womanhood, because I went for an evening run every single night.  And sometimes not just one.  Sometimes two.  And not just little jaunts around the block.  Miles upon miles.  Hours upon hours.  I was many things back then, but I was mostly a Runner.

If a line graph were presented of my running mileage history, you would see the decline when Ryan and I began entering the serious zone of dating.  And once married, and now baby, the line is like one dot every couple of weeks.  Not because I'm lazy or demotivated, but because I never feel like I can soak up enough time with Ryan.   I just want to be with him, especially in the evenings, so I switched up my fitness to morning workouts and afternoon boxing classes. 

Except tonight.  Tonight was incredible.

I went to boxing class and gave a real solid, panting effort.  And then afterwards, I peeled myself away from my family and put on my ragged running shoes.  I estimate that I ran 7 miles.  And man, does it feel good.  I forgot what this feeeels like.  Talk about mentally rewarding.  While I run, my mind just wanders as it pleases, always a pleasure for me.  And something about the evenings bears the beauty of nostalgia.  Perhaps being surrounded by the setting sun and then the unwinding of the day.  Many times my runs have extended into the blackness of night, and I feel moved beyond everything in front of me and into the deeper nourishment of my soul.

That's why evening runs are so special to me.  As I run, I think about all sorts of times in my life - all these people and hilarious times and meaningful events.  And I feel generously wrapped up in blessings.  All fresh and content.  And sweaty and stiff ;)

I see it as a very great benefit that I have an outlet that makes so happy.  Because.... I need it.  Life, no matter how great, perhaps always needs a plug of endorphins for something or another.  And for me these days, try as I may to find a sense of belonging and tribalhood in my new life of mommydom, there are roadblocks that I'm still hurdling.  I've been on this uphill course for awhile, slowly wiggling my way into budding friendships.  Curse you shyness!  And the slow process you require of building friendships.  And also my conflicting, sensitive heart that craves real deep relationships real fast, but also, has trust issues and hurt and walls. 

But after this run, I feel like I am in my right mind again.  I see the blessings of forming relationships, the love of loyal old friends, and I'm also feeling the boisterous confidence that comes from a good, long, hard run.   Life feels millions of miles better when you enjoy yourself and the life you had and have and are headed for.

Ah Running, thank you old friend.  You prove yourself trustworthy and reliable time and time again.

Upward and onward,






* Random post-script.  In boxing class today, one strand of hair from my ponytail somehow got stuck to the end of my punching glove (lots of sticky sweat).  So when I went to swiftly punch the boxing bag, the one single strand of my hair went with the force of my glove and was ferociously ripped right out of my head.  Ahhh ow ow OW!  As people around me are training to be punched in the face in a boxing ring (or hopefully not punched, if they are good), I'm all freaking out because one hair was aggressively plucked from my head.  Haha!



 

Little spaces and places

Bath time for Miss Char!  Right after we shared my green smoothie breakfast :)  

(haha, this girl!!!)



Charlotte loves her little bath and splashing all around.  Meanwhile, I kneel beside her on the soft rug, while we listen to Amos Lee in the ambiant bathroom lighting.  Love these little moments. 

"Mom! I'm bathing!" 

Besides hanging out on the bathroom floor, these are some other scenes where Charlotte and I hang out.

Charlotte's library with some toys down below.  We read and rattle and eat the books.  (she does).

I love this little space!  I feel so much joy every time I open the door.
  

Charlotte's rocking chair.  With the most incredible fox quilt that my friend Emily sewed for her. 

  

And Ryan and I's favorite lately, the teething tablets pedastool!

 

All the little spaces and little places with Miss Char.

Upward and onward,


A first time for the two of us

Well, there is a first time for everything for a child.  But it's really special when you get to experience a first with your baby.  And on Saturday, Charlotte and I got to put on our snow gear and mow the lawn.  At the end of April.  (I say snow gear, but no, I did not go attempt to mow my grass under a sheet of snow.  It was just cold enough that we needed our eskimo outfits).


When I put on Charlotte's snow gear, she was wiggling all her little limbs but could not move.  It was so funny!  I could not stop laughing as she just laid in this position on the ground, staring happily at me:


 
HAHAHA!  Oh this kills me every time.


Upward and onward,

The Joy to be Sealed

28 April 2017



Ryan and I woke up early to go to a temple sealing this morning for my former roommate, Julie.  Ready for another puzzle?  Julie is my friend who introduced Ryan and I, and she ended up marrying the younger brother of Ryan's childhood best friend, whose mom is Ryan's mom's best friend.  It has all been very fun.  And very confusing for me.

I've heard stories of Ryan's best friend "Stuart" since the dawn of our relationship.  And lo and behold, on the way to the temple, another Stuart memory came into our conversation - about eight year old Stuart wanting to find another way he could fast, so he decided to refrain from going to the bathroom for 24 hours.  Hahaha!  Ryan hasn't seen Stuart since he moved away when he was nine years old, so it was fun for Ryan to see him again and for me to finally meet this character.  Stuart's wife said the exact same thing to Ryan when she met him, saying she hears stories all the time too, ha!  And it was fun to watch Ryan and Stuart have a reunion and eavesdrop on them catching up through the last couple decades, as we followed the bride and groom through the chilling April snow.

And what was even more special for me was sitting through the temple sealing with Ryan.  First of all, I love being in the temple so much, because you feel so much love for all people.  I really feel the kinship and heavenly family ties for every person in the room, and I just feel so much divine love that I can't wait for the next life when we will be more connected and knowing of each other! 

And also to hear the words of the sealing ordinance again and to remember how special it is that I have that with Ryan.  There is so much meaning and joy in marriage, and it is exciting to watch a new couple make that covenant.  I love it!  I loved feeling Ryan's warm presence next to me and reminiscing back on our big day and how perfect it was!  When Julie and Sam first kneeled across the altar, I remembered when Ryan and I did the same.  I saw Julie wink at Sam, and I remember smiling at Ryan and his eyes were all watery.  And now....


We have a house and a silly baby and so many blessings!  I felt today in the temple that life gets sweeter as it goes, and I believe that is true.

And because today, I have not stopped reminiscing on our wedding day, a few pictures!

 
 

Upward and onward,

Dancing with A Star

27 April 2017

 A little family hello while I was away at boxing class!



Ryan and I have taken it upon ourselves to slowly give every reality tv show a fair critique.  Okay actually that's me.  But Ryan will watch whatever show I'm currently into. 

Recently, we have been looking forward to watching an episode of Dancing With the Stars each week. 

This show is actually really good.  I'm kicking myself for not watching it sooner.  A show is "really good" when you can enjoy it and make fun of it at the same time.

So we streamed the latest episode last night and afterwards, like I do each week, I start begging, "Ryan, dance with me!"  And we act as if we know the differences between the samba and the mambo and the rumba.

But last night, I forgot to request a dance before we locked up and shut down our house for the night.  As we were both standing in our walk-in closet getting ready for bed, I remembered that I needed a dance.

So, Ryan and I slow-danced in our little closet, half in our pajamas and half in our regular clothes.  There was just enough space to spin and slow dance.  Not really enough room for a waltz.  We laughed and laughed, and it was such a sweet time.

Marriage just gets better and better as time goes on.  I always think about this, but after being married to Ryan and learning more about him and who and how he is, I only like him more, and we just get along so well and so easily.  I'm really grateful for Ryan and our companionship and all our sweet moments at day's end.


Upward and onward,

Double the Rolls, Double the Fun

26 April 2017

Well, this week, some new things have been happening.

Like, realizing for the first time how inconvenient it is to have an itch in the middle of boxing class when you are strapped into huge boxing gloves.  And worse, getting an itch on the unreachable part of one's back.  Luckily, I was near the back so I could freely perform somewhat of a circus act as I unsuccessfully clawed at my back and then settled for shimmying against the wall.

But mostly this week, I have been taking care of TWO babies.


 It has been such a sweet week - full of fuzzy blankets and kicking feet and big grins.

Charlotte and I's new friend is named Janie.  Ready for a puzzle?  Janie is the daughter of Ryan's former roommate, whose wife was unexpectedly called back into work and felt a prompting to contact me to care for Janie, even though we have only met once at Ryan and I's wedding reception, coupled with some interactions over social media, but she felt strongly inclined towards me when thinking of someone she could trust with her daughter.

So I have been having a great time snuggling the babies into their naps, holding two warm babies and bottles at once, and listening to some nice classical music.  And I've been grateful to get to know Karla better in the mornings and Trevor in the afternoons when they drop Janie off and pick her up.

One morning, I was on the floor playing with both the babies, and I stood up to grab my phone off the couch behind them.  I turned around and saw this:



Hahahaha!  Their two little sets of eyes. <3  Both craning their necks to still see me. <3 I have a fan club.  Haha, this was seriously one of my favorite moments ever.  So cute!



Upward and onward,




Nom Nom Nom

25 April 2017


Charlotte has taken to solid foods like a champ.  She loudly gulps her bites as fast as she can and comes back for more, with her neck craned as far forward as it will go, and her lips protruding all the way out.  Anything to shorten the distance between her mouth and the spoon.  Her hands stay up in the air, quivering in excitement.  Ryan and I just laugh and laugh!  This little thing. 

Every morning lately, Ryan and I have been making green smoothies.  One morning, after feeding Charlotte, I sat down next to her with my smoothie.  She leaned forward with her lips all pooched out, trying to get a taste of my breakfast too.  So I poured some in her mouth.  She kept wanting more, so I ended up giving her most of my smoothie.  And since we were sitting on the carpet, I'd use my finger to mop up her face before it dripped, and then I'd lick my fingers.  I thought of how baby birds are fed by their mom regurgitating food into their mouths.  I guess it's the opposite in our house.


Everyone is fed and happy here!

Upward and onward,


The Tree of Life

14 April 2017



Charlotte and I went to the library on a beautiful spring afternoon this week.  I picked up a book titled, "Following the Light of Christ into His Presence."

Anything with the word "light" is a guarantee that I'll connect with it.  That's my favorite word.

Also, this book is written by John Pontius who also wrote "Visions of Glory," which is a fascinating read.  Before my good friend Becky moved away, we stayed up late on many occasions talking about that book.

So, I figured this was a good find.

I have barely begun the first chapter, and I want to pause to write my thoughts.  All the writing I have done lately has been about the Atonement or Jesus Christ in some way.  I am just really bonded to this doctrine lately, and it's been really special.

The author is talking about Nephi's vision with the tree of life.  Nephi is shown the tree, and Nephi's like, "Cool.  What's this about?"  So then he is shown Mary, Mother of Jesus, and promptly asked, "Knowest thou the condescension of God?"  Nephi is like, "um, I know God loves all His children."  Then he is shown a vision of baby Jesus. And then it seems that something of a lightening bolt has struck Nephi's brain.  He's asked the meaning of the tree of life again, and this time, Nephi knows.

"It is the love of God."

Not a lot is said about what is going on Nephi's mind between these visions and these questions and how he arrives at his answer, but John Pontius says this, "In seeing the nativity of our Lord, Nephi undoubtedly was filled with an understanding of the tremendous love required on the Lord's part to cause Him to leave His throne (condescend) to be born in the flesh. Further, Nephi was taught how this love spreads abroad in the hearts of the children of men.  He undoubtedly felt that love, felt the power and majesty of it, felt the soul-refining fire it is, felt the eternal worth of souls, and felt the deep compassion it engenders within the recipient.  His whole being was filled with such unspeakable joy that he could only exclaim, 'It is the most desirable above all things!' "

Powerful.

Thus, "the tree of life represents the love of God.  Not the celestial kingdom, not eternal life, not calling and election, or any other spiritual gift or reward.  It represents only the love of God."

And the whole big meaning of the tree of life vision is showing the means and pursuit of people trying to get to this tree.  We are all meant to travel towards God's love.  That is our powerful.  Our pursuit here is only to find the love of God and fill ourselves with it.  All else will fall into line: our characters, our obedience, our pains, our questions - all these things that I "work" on.  I devote so much energy to those things.  When really, my focus needs to be pivoted just a bit, set my mind more towards, "Did I find God's love today?  Do I feel how much He loves me?"  Then I will be naturally obedient; I will be improving as a person; I will get more of the answers and the peace that I seek.  I LOVE that!

Also, back to Nephi's vision and his epiphany.  Before when I read this passage in 1 Nephi 11, I always felt a disconnect of thought - "God loves His Children.  Oh, Christ as a baby!  Oh, now back to the tree of life, what we were talking about in the first place."  Like I'm eaves dropping on a conversation between people that is not connecting.  I'm grateful for John Pontius's thoughts in this book, for teaching me that there's more happening in Nephi's mind that isn't written, and pausing to step into his thoughts is where we find the depth of meaning.  Just in that teeny tiny passage of scripture in the Book of Mormon.

Nephi must have understood the peace and majesty and joy of Christ up in the spiritual world.  It is a good life there.  And for Him to come down to this life in the flesh, to give up such a wonderful place, and enter of world of pain and injustice and fear, it's a huge condescension.  And in that is found a HUGE amount of love.

Last night, I briefly saw a news clip of families in Syria, right after Assad dropped chemical acid on them, and parents were frantically trying to get the clothing off of their writhing children.  It was mortifying to me.  It made me instantly sad, so so sad, and I felt like running to my bed.  Seeing innocent people suffering is so painful.  Thinking about the fear of those children, wondering what is going through their minds as their fearful eyes look up at their parents, wondering why their skin is burning, why their parents are so frantic.  And the pain is not any less for the parents.  Whose focus in life is to give their little ones the best of all they can, going about their business with this great desire in their hearts.  And then acid rains on them from the sky!  It's horrible!

And Christ's condescension is like a man turning from his joyful, happy, peaceful life and saying, "I'm buying a plane ticket over to Syria right now, and I will live with these families for the rest of my life.  I'll give up everything I have to go over to just that one family on the tv screen and help them however I can."

It was no small change of scenery for Christ.  A surplus of sacrifice.  And an overwhelming amount of empathy in His heart for wanting to enter into our state of suffering and do all He could to help alleviate it.  And so Nephi actually sees Him arrive here in the flesh and he's like, "Oh wow.  He bought the plane ticket. He has come!"  And then he felt Christ's immense love.

So then the author says, "If an angel of the Lord appeared to you and emphatically informed you that something was the most desirable and precious thing that could be attained in this life, and that it was readily available, would you not pursue that thing with great vigor and determination?  It is possible to read such promising words, such wonderfully potent language, and ignore its message?  The effect that charity has upon the soul is the greatest of all feelings in this life; it is the loveliest, the most joyful, and the most delightful.  There is nothing to compare with its joyous effect upon the human soul."

And feeling that love He has for us is the ultimate goal and focus of our existence. That's what our daily reach is for.

How humbling and loving and even exciting.  Because it's so incredible to feel that love, so to be given a purpose that results in that level of happiness is really exciting to me.  What a sweet existence that God wants for us.

This love is charity.

"Charity is the love of God for us, not the other way around."

So when we are told to fill ourselves with faith, hope, and charity, the greatest of these being charity - that isn't meaning a "serviceable spirit," or filling myself with love for others, it is filling myself with Christ's love for me!  Reaching out for the tree of life daily.  Letting myself be reminded of Christ's condescension for me.  And then my best self comes out, and I am my best for others.  Everyone wins.

I love the idea of the tree of life as my daily focus and reaching for that love.



Upward and onward,







a little review from my dear friend Allie on her Instagram about this blog post!



image source

Charlotte Snuggles

02 April 2017




The other night, I got up in the middle of the night to feed Charlotte.  She was sitting in my lap after she was done eating, and she leaned up against my body and just rested there, falling back asleep.  She's not a snuggly baby, so it was such a sweet moment.  I could have sat there with her for the rest of the night if I didn't need my own sleep.

Then a later night, Ryan got up with me to feed her.  We fed her in our bed, and then he was holding her afterwards to burp.  She leaned her head against his chest and just rested there, falling back asleep.  Ryan whispered to me, "she's laying her head on me."  I looked up at her little fuzzy bald head and round little body limp against Ryan.  It was so sweet!

Upward and onward,



Friday Link Pack

31 March 2017



Hi my friends!  What are you up to this weekend?  We are going to dinner tonight with my aunt and uncle who are in town.  Also, General Conference!!!!!!!  Also, I have to read about 400 pages of our book club novel by Monday, because I am leading the discussion in a couple weeks, but the book is due back to the library on Monday and I don't get any renewals!  So, maybe we can divide and conquer by each reading a portion of the cliff notes. ;)

I've picked out some links I want to share with you this week!


Categorizing our meltdowns and how to best pull out of each one.  Love it.  Aimed at children's tantrums, but I see application for adults as well.

Ryan and I watched this on Sunday and gave it all our thumbs up - intimacy talks!  Start young, keep it an open and normal topic of discussion, and also, the fruit comparisons - golden!

Peg board wall.  Yep.  Gonna find a wall to do this on.

"Hurry hurry!" The most dangerous enemy of joy.




Last time, I said to have a SUNNY weekend, and it rained all weekend.  So... we're not doing that again!

Upward and onward,



I Believe You

30 March 2017

 

Lately, I've been saying a phrase that has quickly revealed to me its power.  Perhaps this phrase has had the most powerful effects of anything I've spoke before:

I believe you.

It's so validating, connecting, and unifying.  I've used it in my marriage and my work; I've even said it in my mind after reading an article online.  Even if I fall on a completely different line of thinking and principle.  But I still walk away every time feeling peace and even love.

Even if we don't stand on the same political line, the same religious beliefs, or we don't understand someone's emotions, choices, or experiences, it ain't no matter, because we can still agree that someone's reality is in fact their true reality.  And that's sooo nice for people to feel that space honored for them.

I believe them.

I believe YOU.

Upward and onward,






image source

Friday Link Pack

24 March 2017



I'm going to post some fun links from around the internet more often.  Because I've been collecting articles and pictures I've loved in a folder on my web browser, and they are getting digitally dusty.  So I'll post them here over time and share them with all of yooooouu!  :)   And keep emailing me your good finds too!  I love seeing what you are reading, listening to, and liking.


Cutest gif ever.  (Based off the live news video when a professor was interrupted by his little family).


I'm all about phone boundaries.  (do you agree with the slot machines and social medial creating the same ludic loop?  Interesting, huh?)


I could use one of these - Bouncer for my brain.


**Curiosity vs. passion.  Elizabeth Gilbert could drop a mic after everything she writes. 


An "almost" sleepover party invitation.  This is my kind of party!


Have a great SUNNY weekend!

Upward and onward,








image source

The Auther who finishes our stories

19 March 2017




I found this post buried in my drafts today.  I re-read it, and my thoughts are exactly what I needed to hear today, exactly one month later.

-----

Written February 19.

During church, I had a flow of thoughts within me that wasn't synced with any talk or lesson I heard that day.  Something my consciousness has been mulling over lately.  And as Charlotte and I each occupied a chair in the mother's lounge.  She in one, and I in the other, facing each other, with my boots pressed up on her chair, rocking us both, I let my mind wander into this flow.  (Charlotte was busy wondering why her crib was not packed with all the other hundred items we brought to church with us).

I thought about how a lot of our greatest pains are largely gut-wrenching because they leave unwritten stories.  A loose thread that is left unwoven.  A spare wire that is exposed.  A protruding nerve that is very, very vulnerable.  It's the open-endedness of our stories that can cause so much hurt year after year.  Still waiting.  Still wanting.  Still needing.  It's an open orbit - circling and circling around us, never having a launch pad to finally retire, gear down, and power off .  So the embers of old wounds stay smouldering for a long, long time.  

Several weeks ago in a BYU devotional speech, the presenter said boldly:  "Take hold of your life and order yourself to be valiant."  And I heard, "You're the accountable one for you!  So take control of yourself and be better.  And refrain from codependently projecting onto anyone or anything."  Love that!  So I jotted that quote down on a sticky note and added it to the collection pile of influential sticky notes in the drawer of my desk, which come to recall when I need them. 

Then several days ago, I thought back on this quote, relating it to the side of ourselves that is weighed down with grief.  Instead of a motivated declaration: "Take hold of your life and order yourself to be valiant,"  it became a hopeful, comforting plea: "Take hold of your mind and write a new story."  Once again, calling myself to accountability; this time for my sorrows.  Self, you can take control and find a new way to see things.

We have the power to rewrite any story we please.  Every circumstance has a hundred vantage points.  If our vantage point is dissatisfying, we can pick up our feet and move to a new one.  If we dislike how one of our life stories turned out, we can pick up our feet and lay hold to a new ending. 

So I thought today about the reason the Gospel bears so much hope and light for us is because it helps us either finish writing our unwritten stories or re-write a past story from a better vantage point.  The curtain hasn't fully closed on any part of our lives, because we haven't returned to our Maker and wrapped anything up yet.  But, we get hung up on pains and sadness that keep orbiting around us, and we just keep seeing the same sad tale over and over.  Truth be told, we aren't very good playwrites sometimes.  So Heavenly Father sent Christ down here to us, because we all need a co-author. 

Christ helps us finish the story.

He promises that we will receive the love we want - or that acceptance, or that child, or that health, or that security.  We will get the lost piece to our story.  His promise is so sure that we can rewrite our story now with His ending.  In a way, we yield our pen to faith, to what will come, and our stories can balm themselves now.  We can land our orbiting places of grief.

Now when my sadness rises to an open-ended story, I remind myself that this story was rewritten.  The story is sealed with His pen.  Remember, self, what Christ has told me that ending is?  The joy and love and blessings in celestial life are going to be beyond any of my best imaginings.  My story is re-written and closed with faith of what is to come.

I take hold of my mind and allow myself to be healed with faith.


Upward and onward,






image source

Scenes from our Sabbath



Snapshots that Ryan received of his two princesses enjoying their Sabbath:



Two little ladies all ready for church.

 Nothing like the weight of a dozing babe in your arms.

 Gotta love a teeny baby neck. <3

A winter baby finally getting naked in front of the sun.


Upward and onward,