28 May 2013

Who I Was Remembering

My Father's mother is an amazing woman. She is the lovely Judy Garland-esque lady on the left.

When I was young I thought she was kind of surly. She always made us really neat gifts, and would smile when we came, but she didn't have the warm fuzzy kind of personality that I was used to from my other grandma. But she loved us a lot.

As I grew up, and learned her story, I understood how it would have been difficult for her to come across any other way. She was stoic, not surly. Okay, maybe a tiny bit surly, but mostly stoic. She had to learn to be that way for her children.

Grandfather was in the military serving in Vietnam. Dad was 3 years old, his younger brother was 3 months old,and there were also three older children in the family.  One day grandpa went out on a reconnaissance mission, and never made it back to base. The plane just vanished. He and the other men with him were just gone.

My grandma Jeanie never heard from or about her husband again. She had just had a baby, had four other children, and was in her early thirties. She never remarried. She hoped for a really long time. It was possible that he could reappear. She was alone for over 40 years.

When I was old enough to understand this story, my heart broke for her. 

When we were cleaning up her house after she died I found one of the first editions of the military size Books of Mormon tucked away in a closet or drawer.  Weeks later the pages on the inside cover started to peel apart. I saw writing there, and finished separating them. Inside was a love letter she had written to my Grandfather before she had sent the book overseas. It had come back to her, and she had glued those pages shut, so she wouldn't have to see it, but so the book could still be used. 

I can't imagine that kind or degree of pain. She was an amazing woman. She raised five children on her own, and did a pretty darn good job. Even if she did throw rocks at them when they climbed trees to avoid well earned punishments. I think it is a parenting tactic I might adopt.

So, yesterday, I was remembering them. A grandfather who gave it all in the service of his country, and a grandmother who gave even more.

Proof of what? That Uncle Bob was a cute baby once...?

 Isn't she lovely?

Who were you remembering?

23 May 2013

This Book: Chapter Three

This chapter was titled "Humbleness of Mind", which is something in which I need much personal practice. There is a lot here, but, again, it is marvelous and enlightening. 

I want to emphasize,once again, that this is different from my normal posts, but it was something that because personally important to me. We will return to light heartedness tomorrow :)

Original post and explanation of this book here.

"Meekness of mind is essential, salvationally. It is likewise vital if we are to experience true intellectual growth and to heighten our understanding of the great realities of the universe. Such meekness is a friend to, not a foe of, true education."

If we look only at the outside things, we will miss what the scriptures tell us of the process of deepening discipleship."

"The meek make way for divine data even when these can be both dislocating of pride and startling to the intellect."

"...Great stress must be placed upon the need for intellectual meekens --'humbleness of mind.' Meekness is not a passive attribute that merely deflects discourtesty. Instead, it involves intellectual activism."

"Alas, most are quite content with a superficial understanding or a general awareness of spiritual things.(Alma 10:5-6) This condition may reflect either laziness or the busyness incident to the pressing cares of the world."

"Great knowledge in response to the great questions will alter how we view both great and small things, if we are intellectually honest."

"[Jesus] was meekly and spiritually submissive because He had first been intellectually submissive. Having first made room for great knowledge and great understanding, He later made room for greater responsibilities and awesome burdens. Unlike Him, some of us run from the implications and responsibilities of the doctrines in which we believe. Even when 'the judgments of God stare [us] in the face' (Helaman 4:23), some of us 'spurn at the doings of the Lord'(3 Nephi 29:4)."

"Thus meekness is so vital -- not only to introduce us to new knowledge but also to put down pride, which could keep us from facing and submitting to the implications of that knowledge, especially when responsibilities previously agreed to and understood must be finally me and endured will to the end"

"Intellectual meekness is a particular challenge, Without it, we are not intellectually open to things we 'never had supposed'". 

"Some wish to be neither shaken nor expanded by new spiritual data. It is quite a step, for instance, to move from passive belief in an immaterial, impersonal life-force god to a belief in a God who is indeed our Heavenly Father and in whose image we have been created. This latter God, the only true and living God, behaves just like a Perfect Father, loving us, reproving us, stretching us, teaching us, and, yes, making demands of us.

"It is also a major move from using one's doubts as a cover for errant behavior to having those doubts taken away by truth with the resultant need to humbly alter one's behavior."

"Meekness emancipates us from the prison of the secular mind, the proud mind."

"Those who are proud of mind demand extrinsic evidence...On the other hand, those who are humble and meek seek, by faith, to understand truth. They are comfortable with intrinsic as well as extrinsic evidence. They know that 'faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen' (Hebrews 11:1)."

If you made it through all of that, I would love to start a conversation with all of your thoughts on meekness and what it really means.

21 May 2013

Still haven't tried cheese on toast

But I do love this song.

I love that it is a breakup song that isn't bitter or all about putting on a tough facade while you implode inwardly. or being so mad that you vandalize your ex's apartment or car so badly that you could be arrested for it, but are obviously totally justified. Whyyyyy? 

Love songs and break up song are on one end or the other. I am so in love with you after meeting you an hour ago that I am taking you home with me tonight, or we just had a bitter break up after dating for two weeks, and I am never going to have any meaning in my life eveeeeeeeeeeer!

There isn't much out there that talks about love or heartbreak in a realistic way that can help people deal with in real life. I love what this song says. I liked you. I know you liked me. You dont' anymore, but I learned some cool stuff from you, and I am going to be okay. 

I dealt with all of my breakups in this very composed manner (no I didn't). I am sure glad I never have to experience a break up again, but this song has still made it on to our morningly dance play list.

20 May 2013

Weekend Wisdom (whenever walking wear weathered....sneakers?)

Ah, the satisfying feeling of using alliteration. Never gets old. Anyway.

wisdom begotten:

It is possible to whip up 2 quarts of rice pudding from the milk that is going to expire today, and eat all of it yourself in about 48 hours. Rice pudding and I have been having quite the affair for years now. 

Prayer works. It just does. It works with the biggest and smallest (like your child really really needing to fall asleep) things.

Having your home up on Skype in the background for four hours is definitely not excessive, and can make you feel like you are actually hanging out with your family.

My affection for Star Trek has not let me down. May it live long and prosper. (too much?) Also, this is the cause of my next item.

Benedict Cumberbatch. He needs no explanation.

This beautiful weather and these green landscapes are stealing my heart. 

17 May 2013

Bedtime Conversations: On humor and my inability to understand the male mind.

Me: I can't believe television shows are still using the same innuendos and inappropriate contexts to be funny. Its obscene. Haven't all of the nasty jokes been told by now? How do people still think its funny? It is completely unoriginal.

C: Its like watching Home Alone. No matter how many times you watch it it will still make you laugh even though you have seen it a bajillion times. It is still funny.

Me: Did you just compare an endearing holiday classic of our childhoods to unintelligent dirty humor? 

C: Yep. 

*insert my perturbed face

16 May 2013


Fist Pumps

I had an appointment in the next town over today. I got home without using my GPS. This is a particularly significant accomplishment for me considering I had to use GPS to get to my grandmother's house even after being there about 43 times.

We got M a new car seat, and it is chevron. I didn't even get to pick the pattern myself, so I was very delighted to see that it was more than acceptable to look upon.

A friend and I walked for about an hour and a half this morning. There were some hills even. The best part was being in good company with good conversation. It made the time spent seem not even half that long. Legs were feeling done by the end, but I would do it again tomorrow.

Face Palms

That drive that I did without my GPS....only has two turns involved. But hey, it was still about 20 miles of unfamiliar road traversed.

While I installed aforementioned attractive car seat, I put Mav in the front on the passenger side floor, so he could play with the radio dials and such. Installing a car seat is a very engrossing business. Two or three minutes elapsed and I realized I hadn't looked up to check on M. I managed to catch him just as his head was colliding with the asphalt. He had climbed over the middle console, and out the driver-side door. All was well. He was rescued the exact second before there would have been injury.

Before leaving for my walk I had the (obviously inspired) thought to put on basketball shorts and my tennis shoes. I ignored it, and put on some jeans and reg-lur shoes.  It has been duly noted that jeans do not breath as well as bb-shorts, no matter how happy you are to be wearing them.

and...its thursday, so Mav and I have been throwin' it back to when photobooth was the only cool way to take photos.

14 May 2013

Not to stereotype...

But husband and I recently had a conversation of which the catalyst was this statement:

"I could have been the trench coat kid." 

Let me rewind. We had been on a walk a few weeks earlier into a part of town we hadn't walked before. We didn't see anyone the entire time until we were just around the corner from our street, and about a block ahead of us was a teenage boy in a trench coat that looked like he was carrying a bag of books. There are kids that look just like this in every town, just as surely as there is the kid with the flat brimmed hat, and the really loud bass in his car.

I told Ches that if I was that boy, and there had been people walking behind me for a few blocks, I would totally think that I was being deliberately followed, and was in danger (I may or may not think this when the same car is behind me for more than five minutes on the road). 

As soon as I finished saying the word danger, the kid started running. He kept running. We didn't see him stop running because we turned off on to our own street. I laughed hard, and then I started thinking about the trench coat kid.

We all know the kids in high school that were still into pokemon and anime and twenty book fantasy series. There is nothing wrong with liking anime. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a fantasy book. There is nothing wrong with feeling dapper in a trench coat(I think David Tennant proved that rather successfully). So, where did this whole persona come from? 

This is how the conversation was going. And then I stopped, looked at Chesley, and said,"I could have been the trench coat kid."

I realized that it is all about enjoying imagination and fantasy and other worlds, which we all do to some extent when it comes to entertainment. The trench coat kid happens when their reality is bad enough, that they refuse to completely leave the fantasy world behind. 

Sometimes the negative in their reality is something they see only because they are a teenager. But, most of the time, these kids have it so much rougher than we realize. Home is not a happy place. They have more responsibility than someone their age ever should. There is no way for us to know for sure. 

The only reason I wasn't a trench coat kid is because the reality I came back into after I spent time in these other worlds was good. It grounded me. 

Point, smile kindly at the kid with the trench coat. Try not to make him think that his lovely afternoon walk to return his library books has taken a sour, potentially life threatening turn.

11 May 2013

Hop on Over

Take another cyber hop over to For All Momkind

They are doing a wonderful series this week on how motherhood has made us appreciate, well, motherhood. I was lucky enough to be able to write another post for them.

Here it is. That is two guest posts under my belt. I am feeling really cool by now. 

08 May 2013

5 Things

I've found myself doing since beginning my posterity, that I never imagined I'd do:

1. I pick someone else's boogers. I know this is old news to moms, but THINK about it. Imagine doing that for another grown person. Pleh.

2. I have frequent and long conversations with a person who doesn't care what I am talking about as long as I keep going. I normally struggle with flowing conversation. It is a good arrangement in which to learn about myself. However, I do sometimes just sing "This is the Song That Never Ends" for a very long time.

3. I let another human poop into my hand. Don't judge. I didn't want it in the bath water. Yes, I thought about holding him over the toilet, but it was not soon enough in the chain of events.

4. I share my plate at meals. What is the big deal, you ask? Listen people, I don't share my food. Its mine. At the Donovan household, eating from someone else's plate is just as heinous as reading their diary. Which I did do to my sister once. I took it to a sleep over and read it with my friends. I wonder if this is why she no longer journals....? Point, I like my child enough to share my food. Big deal.

5. I let my parents cyber-sit sometimes when I have to go potty, or start the laundry. It is a marvelous arrangement. Also, I know I am a good mom because when my son wants to each wood chips from the flower bed, I hand him the bigs ones so he can't swallow them. Word.

07 May 2013

This Book : 2

The chapter that I read for this week was titled "Leading in Meekness". As a person who has very rarely been in a leading position,it was harder for me to connect with, but it was still full of amazing things. I suggest you read the full chapter. He says some wonderful things about Churchill and some other leaders.

When I grow up, I am going to speak like Elder Maxwell.

"The pattern of having 'a form of godliness, but [denying] the power thereof' (2 Timothy 3:5) is sometimes expressed in weak faith or in a commitment to a passive god. Form Survives, but some will have nothing to do with religion as a force."

"The exercise of power requires an especially sharp and sensitive conscience, not a dull one."

Talking about Moroni's furious letter to Pahoran for not sending reinforcements at a difficult time in the war. (Moroni 60 & 61) :

"Pahoran's was not a resentful rejoinder lamenting the fact that Moroni was foolish without the facts. Pahoran did not engage in sarcasm or bitterness by lamenting that things were at least as rough for him as they were for Moroni and the army. He could have been sarcastic, saying he no longer had any throne to sit upon 'in a state of thoughtless stupor.' He could have justifiably boiled over at the accusation of his being a traitor, telling Moroni to do his job as chief captain and that Pahoran would do his job as governor. Instead, this exchange permitted these two leaders to rally themselves an their forces to retake the city." 

"Where individuals have said too much with too little data, meekness plays a very crucial, correcting role in what follows." 

Sidenote: Don't we wish people understood that last one when it came to politics?! And Doctor Who.

"Truly great individuals are not anxious to have themselves elevated."

"...Pride not only 'goeth before...a fall' (Proverbs 16:18), but pride also precedes a failure to ascend, spiritually."

"Leadership can call forth bossiness instead of meekness in a leader, if he is not careful."

"Perhaps, therefore, some who run away from discipleship do not do it out of badness but because of the impending demands of goodness."

"Nor does the meek leader forget the purpose of the Lord's work: to save, not count , souls. Did he who proposed to proceed so that 'one soul shall not be lost' hope to impress?(Moses 4:1)"

Chapter 1 Quotes Here

03 May 2013

Being a mom was hard today.

Hard because m. d. was pretty determined to be unhappy. (Teeth? Is it you again?)

Hard as in I just found a partially eaten puff treat stuck to my arm and have no idea when it got there.

Hard because I don't have anywhere to go, but would like to get out.

But you know what? I will do hard again any day.

02 May 2013


It is no secret that I am an awkward person. I am dripping with it. I breath it. If you have talked to me, you could probably see it spewing from my mouth. 

That is just how I am. I'm awkward. I am learning to accept it.

I have mentioned some of my awkward mannerisms before.

The one part of this that I haven't learned to deal with very well, is watching awkward or tense things happen. 

I can't do it. I can't watch.  It makes me SO uncomfortable.

I am not just talking about watching that girl walk down the street thinking that everyone is checking her out, when really she has a trail of toilet paper fluttering behind her. Yes I turn my head aside and cringe. But I am talking about movies, T.V., books. 

I can't even handle awkwardness in non-reality.

I really enjoyed The Office for a while until I realized I spent more time "getting a drink" when Michael Scott was doing something abominable, than actually watching the show. 

I actually get anxiety. I can feel the anxious juices start flooding into all of the corners of my body. (I don't mean that to sound gross. Attaching "juice" to something seems to make it a little on the gross side. Beg your pardon.) I leave the room, close the book, tell husband to inform me when I can watch again. 

I think I may have coping issues. 

01 May 2013

This Book

Is one that I have started multiple times. I am not sure how or why I have never been all the way through it because it isn't long, and it is so...good. 

It is the only book that I have had the urge to highlight more than is left unhighlighted. If the reader really takes to heart what good ol' Neal A. is trying to say, it can be transformational. 

As in, your life can change. 

Elder Maxwell had a way of putting things that requires a lot of dictionary use for me. He is so eloquent and thorough. 

To help myself not let this get put on the back burner again, every week I am going to share here some highlights from each chapter. I know this is a heavier topic than I usually blog about, but it is so personally important, that I would feel I was cheating if I didn't share.

.   .   .   .   .

Chapter One

"This is still the 'great queston' for mortals. Anciently, it was whether there shall be an atoning Jesus Christ. Now it is whether there was an atoning Christ who lived and who still lives. Other questions are insignificant by comparison, since an affirmative answer to the 'great question' eliminates the need even to ask certain lesser questions." 

"It is ironical even to write of the virtue of meekness, especially in a world so much taken up with assertiveness, aggressiveness, and selfish, insensitive individualism. This virtue will seem anachronistic in the world, which, ironically, is failing for want of it whether in high political places or in marriages and families." 

"It is not simply a matter of our having received mild encouragement to become meek and lowly. Rather, meekness is at the center of an astonishing invitation and commandment."

"Furthermore, in the exchange between Jesus and a righteous young man, we can see how one missing quality cannot be fully compensated for by other qualities, however praiseworthy."

"What the unmeek actually do is refuse to enter the realm of their own spiritual possibilities."

Speaking about Amulek in the Book of Mormon, "He is a classic case of an essentially good man being out of touch with the great spiritual realities; he resisted the things of the Spirit because, though he was basically good, he was preoccupied with the cares of the world."

"{This} is the Lord's church, and those who are too eager to steady it and too quick to focus upon a single issue or concern will fail to comprehend the important undergirding function of meekness that includes trust in the Lord."

"Meekness is neither alarmist nor shoulder-shrugging unconcern. It involves shoulder-squaring self-discipline, and what follows is the special composure that meekness brings."