What matters most…

Sometimes the only way to know what really matters most in our lives is have it taken away.

A few weeks ago my youngest son was hurt on the football field. He was running the ball and ended up being tackled by two defenders. Like a pinball machine, he ricocheted off the impacts, having no control over how his body struck the ground. His right arm took the brunt of the impact and he cried out in a way he never has before—a sound that scared me to death.

I rushed to the sidelines where the trainer and coaches had gathered. All the while he keep saying, “I can’t feel my hand. I can’t feel my hand.”

My heart stopped at that statement. The trainer did a good job of getting him to calm down, and finally figured out it was a “stinger” he had experienced not a broken arm.

“It’s in a weird place,” the trainer said, “but if he keeps trying to move his fingers, the numbness should wear off.”

Another parent who stood close by said, “Oh that’s good, he’ll still be able to play football next week.”

I could have cared less. His fingers weren’t moving. If the feeling never came back, would he still be able to play the piano?

Right then, I knew if it came down to it, I would rather he play the piano than ever play a sport again. Not that I’ll ever be able to convince him to stop. He was thankful that after three days his fingers could grip the ball tight again. I was thankful that after three days of struggling through piano practice, his fingers found their full range of motion on the keys again.

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Our youngest – stealing “thunder” everywhere he goes.

My oldest son is an oddity. I’ve never met anyone who is more gracious and aware of others, even when no one would blame him for being a little selfish.

This week my son received a call to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is something he has been working toward for several months, having to go through physical therapy just to get his injured arm healthy enough to submit his papers.

On Tuesday, the fateful day came. I’ve never seen him more excited as we all stood around listening to him read the letter. He hadn’t read very far when my youngest son, who sat next to him, blurted out, “Columbia,” the location of where he would be serving.

Sadly, our youngest is known for doing things like this. He’s blown out other people’s candles on birthday cakes. He’s told people what they are getting for presents, even after he’s been told to keep it a secret. He steals the “thunder” of moments all the time, and this was my oldest son’s biggest one to date.

He didn’t say a word, just rubbed the top of his head like he was a little rascal, and kept reading.

At the end my youngest said, “I don’t think I like this mission call, it too far away.”

I figure this at least means he realizes how special his big brother is. There isn’t a person in the world that would put up with his antics in such a kind, easygoing way. Maybe my youngest will finally give his brother an opportunity to experience some “thunder” when he comes home in two years.

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Ooo those siblings…

Mark Twain once wrote, “Familiarity breeds contempt—and children.”  Unfortunately, sometimes this is true, being part of a family can be difficult.

In a family with six siblings, including myself, bickering was a daily issue.  We fought over toys, chores, T.V. shows, games, and even fought over whom we would play with.  By the time I reached my high school years, there were moments when cutting my family ties seemed like a good idea.  After all, who needs them?  They’re little spies who stole my clothes, and left the room I just cleaned ten minutes before a disaster.

Now older, with children of my own, I’ve come to realize the importance of family.  No, it’s not because my siblings and I can now sit around “Kumbaya-ing”.  With six very different personalities, we seldom agree, but they are the shelter from the weathering storms of life.  The safety net I fall into when disappointment knocks me off-balance.  The support beams holding up the foundation of who I am.  They know all of me, in a way the outside world never will.  Even though sometimes it might be easier to strangle rather than hug my brothers and sisters, I love them in a way the word falls short of expressing.

Before you slam the door on that little sibling peeking in your room again, remember this.  Friends are nice—I have had many—unfortunately, most will be fleeting, and not because you don’t like them anymore.  Their path in life simply took them away from you.  But that sibling driving you crazy right now, will always be your family.  The most exclusive club you’ll ever be apart of, no matter how many miles separate you.

Posted in Blasts from my pasts (popular re-posts) | Leave a comment

Worth the read: The Theory of Insanity

I haven’t recommended a book in a long time, but Theory of Insanity by Rick Newberry is worth talking about. This adult fiction starts out with the main character dying, but it is far from the end of the story for Brooks.

The survival of heaven depends on him changing one cataclysmic event or the whole system will fail. He’s already been sent back eight times before, but the window of opportunity is closing. With only one more chance to get it right, he decides to stop playing by the rules.

This fast-paced read will keep you on the edge of your seat from start finish. I’ve attached a link below for either the paper or ebook version. I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Click on the book

 

 

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Clueless and not ashamed to admit it

I spoke to a room full of girls over the weekend. My focus was on the importance of recognized that everyone you meet has something they can teach you.

I shared with them an experience I recently had with a teenage boy about sixteen-years-old. We were trying to connect a phone to an outdoor speaker to play music for a large area. The cord I brought to connect the two wasn’t working.

The young man said, “It’s okay, the speaker is Bluetooth ready, we can connect it that way instead.”

“But won’t that use too much of your data?” I had always thought that being connected wirelessly to devices doubled the data usage.

He gave me the-old-woman-can’t-be-serious look I’ve been getting more and more often lately. “Connecting to devices wirelessly doesn’t use your data, only the music or videos you stream use the data.”

“Really?” I said, not even minding that he laughed at me. “Well I just learned something new.”

The young girls in the room seemed shocked that I would share such a story, but I only smiled more. “There’s nothing wrong with not knowing everything. That’s why I said everyone you meet has something they can teach you, even someone younger.”

A lack of knowledge is nothing to be embarrassed about—it’s the whole point of life—to learn new things every day. So if you don’t feel dumb at least once every day, maybe you need to reconsider stepping out of your comfort zone and look for new things to learn.

Posted in Things I wish I would have known when I was 15. | Leave a comment

Relationship 101: Are they willing to climb back in?

Along this road of blogging I’ve given relationship advice many times, but finding the right kind of boy for you can be a tricky trial and error for any girl to navigate. A few weeks ago my husband reminded me of another trait you’ll want to look for when finding your “right” match.

As I posted recently, we went to Lava Hot Springs on a family vacation. At my brother’s house in Grace, Idaho, we decided to do a local pastime where you float through a tunnel in a nearby mountain called “Last Chance.” My brother had never floated this canal before so none of us knew what we were really in for, but it sounded fun.

We climbed over a fence to get beyond a small building that sits over the diverted river. Inside this building they strain the water to draw out the moss to keep the water as clean as possible for the irrigation used for the valley farms of Grace. The water is pushed out on the other end at a pretty high rate of speed. I’m looking at the tumultuous water wondering if this is such a good idea, but my brother had already climbed down into the water. He could easily stand in the rolling water, the level of the water only being at about to his thighs, so I let all the kids climb in too. My husband and I are the last to go.

The float through the tunnel was amazing. It only grew deep enough that I had to swim a few short times. And the flashlights we held, helped us see the hand-chiseled marks in the ceiling of the lava rock. Coming out the other end is when things started to get scary.

The water crosses high over a canyon in an open, semicircle pipe they call a flume. Over the top of this pipe are metal bars that jut across above your head every ten feet or so, bracing this semi-circled flume all the way over the canyon. On the other side of this flume the water is loud, like it’s churning, but inside the canal it’s hard to see why, all you can hear is the noise.

By the time I reach the end of the mountain tunnel my brother has already pulled our two smallest kids out of the water. They are sitting on those metal bars overhead. With that loud churning at the end of the flume, everyone is trying to get out of the water and onto those metal brackets overhead. My husband catches up to help get the other kids out. With the only two grown men in the water helping the teenage kids, there’s no one left to help me.

I spring out of the water, but the fast moving water makes me miscalculate my jump and I smack my right wrist on the metal bracket I tried to grab. I slip farther down the flume and try again for another bracket, but my hurt wrist won’t carry any weight. I make a third attempt at the next bracket I get to, using only my left hand. I managed to also hook my leg around the metal bracket but realize there is no way I can pull myself up without my other hand, or help from someone else. I look back to see that everyone else had managed to get out, but they were so far from me, no help would be coming. Exhausted, I drop back into the flume, deciding I had no other choice than to ride this out until I found a place easier for me climb out. The churning water on the other side of the flume is now really loud in my ears. Is it a waterfall?

I quickly shift my weight, making sure to keep my feet forward, figuring it would be better to drop on my feet than my head. The drop ends up not being very big at all, maybe a foot, and the water opens up to this wide canal that slows down immensely. The flume at the end was acting like a megaphone, magnifying the sound of the churning water.

About ten feet down this large and now slow moving canal is a ladder anchored in the cement on the left. I barely reach its rungs when out pops my husband from the flume.

“You climbed back in?” The last time I saw him he was safe on a metal bracket helping kids out.

“Well, yeah. I had to go after you.” I swam over to where I stood.

“But the roaring water—it could have been something really bad.”

He gave a push to help me up the ladder. “So what? I’ll always risk it all for you.”

Thankfully, most times in our marriage it’s not about life and death, but his willingness to care more about me than himself is an amazing gift. It gives me confidence to be bold and try scary things, because he always has my back. It is a trait that every girl would be wise to look for in their “right” match for them.

 

 

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A blip of unplanned fun

Did you miss my post last week? Nope, it didn’t magically disappear. I did something I’ve never done before. I took my family on an unplanned vacation—and it was awesome!

My oldest son came home and told us he didn’t have to work on Labor Day. That unexpected surprise sparked something in me. I didn’t want to stay home for what might be the last three-day weekend we would have as a family before my oldest son left home.

We ended up bumming at my brother’s house. He lives in Idaho, close to Lava Hot Springs. We played in rivers, floated across flumes, swung from bridges and dropped into water. It was spontaneous and super fun the entire time.

There is something to be said about living in the moment. You don’t have to worry about a plan going awry—you have no plan to begin with. Boy, does it lower the stress level of vacationing. If you’ve never tried it, you might find out, just like I did, that flying by the seat-of-your-pants isn’t a bad way to vacation.

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