Monday, January 28, 2013

My son, the Hero of the Blizzard

Yesterday we all got ready to attend church in the rain, and even though it was Brogurt's naptime, he and I managed to make it through the sacrament before he fell apart.  Muad'Dib and I had planned for this, so Brogurt and I hopped in the van and drove home in the hail storm, leaving Muad'Dib to follow with the other children after church.

Brogurt was ever so sleepy, and we fell asleep to the soft sound of hailstones on the windows and roof.  When I awoke 45 minutes later - Brogurt still sleeping peacefully - I came down the stairs and what should I see out the front windows but a good 3 inches of snow and flakes the size of my thumb falling from the sky!

I laughed out loud, marveled at the beauty for a moment and set to have lunch and watch Downton Abbey.

I went on about my afternoon, knowing that at 2 the rest of my family would come home.  With light heart I cleaned up a bit, checked my blog, read a little Atlas Shrugged, and cared for Brogurt when he woke up.  He just wanted to snuggle and watch an episode of Blue's Clues, so I left him to it, finally wondering where my family was.  It was 2:15.

I check my phone, which I had left on silent and there was a message from Muad'Dib:  the last hour of church had been cancelled due to the snow.  And he had not been able to make it up the hill to our home - even with 4 wheel drive! - so he was riding out the storm with Lemur and Rivuelt at Desertbound and The Rock's house. 

I was truly surprised!  Even more so when a lady from the ward called and told me all about the bus which had attempted the drive up the hill and slid so far - and backwards! - that it blocked the entire road of 450 E, and no one could get up at all!

Well, Brogurt and I went about our day.  He was an angel.  I curled and styled my hair most prettily (in the fashion of Importance of Being Earnest, which I am directing) as Brogurt played in a warm bath.

Then there was a knock at the door!  Tristan and Nicole had come for dinner after all!  It had not truly occured to me that they would be able to make it, but neither had I called to find out.  Honestly, I had been having such fun, such a peaceful Sabbath afternoon, that I'd not thought much about it....  But I was glad to see them for many reasons, the greatest which you will see shortly.

We began making a dinner of homemade pizza, and Tristan volunteered to clear the driveway.  I had called Stoffers and learned that Muad'Dib was on his way home....or rather he had left about 5 minutes ago.  The minutes ticked by.  The Rock showed up, said he had "followed" Muad'Dib up here.  But there was no Muad'Dib....  The Rock went home.  Tristan continued shoveling.

Then, who burst through the door but my Lemur, dressed in only his Sunday clothes, covered head to toe in snow.  His hair and shoulders were wet, he had snow up to his shins and although cold and tired I can safely say he looked absolutely marvelous.  I wish I had taken a picture, for although it will be forever branded on my mind - I wish I could show him how magnificent he was:  the picture of a boy having burst through a rite of passage into young man-hood who now stood aglow and dripping in my kitchen.  Here is the tale he brought me and shared with passionate urgency:

"Mom!  Dad and Rivulet are stuck a street down.  Dad says  he can't come up and can't leave Rivulet.  You need to bring salt and a shovel and come dig them out.  I ran all the way here to tell you that!"

Muad'Dib had apparently made it as far as the street just below us before finally getting stuck, and had tried to get momentum by rocking the car back and forth, but to no avail.  He told Lemur that he had to come get me, to bring the supplies and save them.  Lemur braved the blizzard in sunday shoes with nothing but the shirt on his back.  He says he knew he was cold, but felt warm.  He just kept thinking, "I'm going to get home." 

He was obviously confused by what happened next:  I went to him, with tears in my eyes and gobbled him up in my arms.  "Mom, I'm wet!" he shouted.  "You have to go save Rivulet and Dad!"

Tristan drove down in his magnificent all-wheel Kia and brought Muad'Dib and Rivulet home, and I thank him ever so much.  We were all so grateful that they had come despite the storm, as they offered the kind of help my little van would not have been capable of.  Yet I hope he will forgive me...

Because in my mind it will always be my very handsome, brave and strong Lemur who saved them. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Awarded a Badge of Honor

Once upon a time, a girl and a guy were sitting outside of a theater during a rehearsal, just talking about the future - possibly together, young though they were.  As they talked, the moon rose over the mountains and the sun began to set.  He put her hair behind her ear and looking past her, saw something in the flower bed behind them.  In the fading light he bent to pick up the treasure: a sterling silver bracelet of dolphins strung nose to tail in a delicate round. 

Another young woman, a dear friend, came outside at just that moment and shared in the wonder of the find.  He attempted to fix the bracelet onto the wrist of his girl, but to the disappointment of all, it broke into two pieces. 

The 3 friends went back inside, he held the door for his them and whispered to his girl as she passed, "I'm glad it broke; I wanted you to have it."  He knew his girl was fond of fixing things and handed her the pieces, sure that the other girl had no further interest.  She could not see possibility of treasure in broken things, but his girl was known for it.

The girl sought every which way to fix the bracelet, broken into two strings of dolphins - a section of seven and a section of three - but to no avail.  The workmanship of the bangle had been delicate, with no extraneous links.  There were only those made into the shape of the dolphins - one at the snout and one at the tail - which held it all together.  And the link at the tail of the 3 was gone.  They had asked if the bracelet belonged to anyone at the theater, but no one claimed it. 

The guy inquired at the end of rehearsal, as he drove her home, just what she would do with the dolphins.  They had discussed how friendly and smart the creatures were, how lovely the bracelet was, how her most favorite number was 3 because of it's attachment to fairy tales and magic. And they had imaginatively wondered at how it had come to the flower bed of an abandoned bank near a theater.  She experienced no small thrill remembering the feel of his fingers on her wrist as he had tried to attach the bracelet before it broke.  He had joked, "And if this were a ring, it would be like we were getting engaged!"

So that night, she found a way to keep it.  She attached a stray link from another bit of broken jewelry to the snout of the three and turned it into a pendant.  She particularly loved that attached to the snout of the 3 was a silver heart.  All put together and hanging about her neck, it was a lovely bit, and seemed to her deeply romantic and sentimental.

For the next two years she wore that charm and she and the boy grew closer and closer.  He often commented on the dolphins she wore and after a short time they both understood the meaning of the charm. The day the girl and the guy broke apart was difficult for her....but she did not stop wearing the charm from time to time. They remained close friends, and she still imbued the 3 dolphins with a sense of romance, connection and memory, feeling every so often the need to recall the guy and what they had once meant to each other. 

But they day she severed her life-path from his, she put the dolphins away and determined to never wear them again; not ever.  There must have been something that whispered to her the depth of her bitterness, pride and shame remembering her dealings with a dear friend.  It was that shame that held on to the dolphins, for they no longer held feelings of warmth or friendship for her. 

Then one day - nearly 12 years later, she decided to sell some jewelry.  She had moved over the dolphins numerous times in the past, thinking to throw out or give away or sell, and though she had never been able to do it before, this time was different.  She took the charm down with all the others, and as the buyer went over the silver with a magnet, she was surprised at her relief when the link she had added set off the magnet, making it un-sell-able.  She returned it to her purse, and felt a small warmth in her heart.

That same month, she resolved - as you may recall - to make peace with and restitution to the guy.  She sought to never more have any cause to call herself in private thought a liar.

On New Year's Eve, she made a gift to the guy, her friend of so many years, and they talked for a while.  She had forgotten the ease with which they spoke, the basic respect for and enjoyment of each other.  No, she remembered, it was the respect that had been lacking back in the day - the days when it counted. That was why she had separated their life-paths and instead chosen the wonderful, beloved, amazing man that she had married.  She left her friend, feeling entirely that all was well.  That night, she was forgiven by him.  She prayed for the power of the Atonement and felt surely that it was there and ready for her to accept.  She felt cleaner. 

And then, a few days later as she was cleaning out her wallet, she found the dolphins.  She smiled largely.  The dolphins reminded her of a space in time, but held no power of romance or possibility. In fact they seemed to speak to her of her children, her three wildly intelligent, kind, playful children.  Ha!  Three had always been her lucky number after all!

No, indeed, she may not have felt romance, but neither did she feel shame.  She strung them on a silver chain and put them about her neck - admiring the loveliness that had made them a favorite with all her friends in years past - and she knew they were more now. She was more now.

She could now completely say that she was honest. She had repented, she had been forgiven.  She would wear the dolphins as a reminder that she was now worthy to do so, no longer sullied by her lie to the friend who had made them a gift. 

Of course you see by now, that this story is true.  So when you see me wearing a string of 3 dolphins on a silver chain, you may know as I do that they are a Badge of Honor proclaiming that I am honest. 

And congratulations to me for my 300th post!  Huzzah!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Changing my tune

These were the thoughts in my head this morning:

"No one ever cared if I should live or die.  Surely time will prove these bitter memories...
All the years of useless work have finally reached an end; loneliness and emptyness will be my
only friend..."

And, "Talking to myself and feeling old; sometimes I'd like to quit.  Nothing ever seems to fit. Nothin' is really wrong. Feelin' like I don't belong."

Of course it all sounded much nicer set to music, the music of The Carpenters, actually.  *the italicized words are those which had been twisted from the original lyrics, which I didn't know until I looked them up this morning...

But I've learned more, so I was able to see more.  First off: yikes.  I have been listening to this music literally my entire life.   Last summer a kid gave me - as a director's gift - a gift card to iTunes.  One of my major purchases with that card was all the Carpenters music I had loved as a kid and teenager.  Every song that stirred up slightly sepia images of family, Idaho, childhood friends and childhood love. 

I recently took all Carpenters songs off my ipod list simply because I felt "down" whenever they came on.

And now, over a month later I can see why.  I woke up with these words in my head: "No one ever cared if I should live or die," and "I'd like to quit; nothing ever seems to fit."

Oh how easy it must have been for negative spirits and enemies unseen to foster feelings of worthlessness, unloveable-ness, fear, depression and despair when I was pumping my head full of it all on my own?  I was literally SINGING THAT TUNE.  And then how easy it must have been for them to pull up those thoughts just - ya know - whenever; because they were not new to me.  I had them memorized. 

I had indoctrinated myself with self-depricating despair-speak.  With music.

Let's stop for a moment and take that in. 

I had a friend years ago who had been a child of golden heart.  He was amazing; kind, gentle, brave and open.  I loved him.  Granted, we were children, but I have a great capacity for love, and he had earned it time and time again with his sweetness.  He was abused.  His family split up; his father was the abuser.  Still for many years he remained with that open, pure quality which even as a child I found amazing given his circumstances.  And I continued to love him. 
Then one summer I went up to their house in Idaho.  He was drastically changed.  From the boy I knew at 12 to the teen I met at 17....  He was of course taller.  He was crazy attractive, muscular - no, ripped - from head to toe, with a man's voice and bearing.  But the largest difference was that he was so angry. 

Apparently, in therapy he had been advised to find music that expressed his feelings and then listen to it whenever he felt those feelings.  He would then work out or excersise to what he called his "Angry Music."  He would smoke pot to his "Alone Music" and fall asleep at night to his "Dying Music." 

I am in awe of this recognition.  We are stewards of our bodies.  We are stewards of our minds.  I don't care if you believe these things were given to you by a higher power or not, fact is you have them.  They are yours to do with as you see fit.  And this dear friend, whom a part of me still loves, chose to slowly destroy familiar tunes.

Just as I in so many solitary moments of my life sought to depress or "express" myself to music.  It makes sense now why my other friend would have been worried about me - at age 17 - when I started to listen to harder, more angry music. 

So here I am at the age of 31.5 FINALLY getting the picture that the prophets and apostles have been trying to impress upon us all for ever so many years.  I guess I just didn't have enough evidence; but I sure do now. 

I said this before:  "Music releases emotion and Silence releases thought."  Why is that?  Because music stirs emotion within us.  It is one of the reasons Hymns are a delightful addition to any church service; those selections of music stir our hearts, lift our souls and help us feel what heaven was like and will be like again. 

All music has that power.  And you know what, I don't even need to preach about the power of music.  Prophets, Apostles and smart people througout the ages have done that already - better than I. 

I'm just adding my experience to the chorus of evidence of the fact that we must protect our minds; be aware of what you are memorizing, what you encourage your chidren to memorize through song.  Because all those words, phrases and feelings are stored somewhere in your mind.  And will be forever. 

Better late than never mentioned

I have twenty minutes to share some thoughts regarding an experience that took place almost exactly a year ago. 

In November of 2011, I was singing at the piano with my Muad'Dib some songs that I didn't know very well.  And these songs also were special because every time I tried to sing them, I got emotional and couldn't sing through it.  Anyone who really knows me will understand how odd that is.  I might get emotional, but as a performer I can always sing through it. 

And then Muad'Dib says, "You should do this in the ward."  I ask the Relief Society if they'd be interested in me heading up a musical program that could be done for an activity.  They agree, shocked, really that anyone would be willing to take on such a task, and I set to work.

It has been my experience as a member of the LDS church that talented people tend to hide or disregard their talent in the name of "humility." 

So I sent around sign up sheets to gage interest in the ward: who would want to perform.  I need soloists.  When I mentioned the program to people, they all referred me to one person in the ward.  ONE singer.  ONE known soloist. 

I sent around those sign up sheets for four weeks.  I never had more names on it than in the first week and easily had half the willing participants I needed.  I prayed and prayed for opportunities to mention singing, music and sharing talents in any lesson or venue possible.  And finally came the day I had set aside for "auditions," where those who were interested in solos would come forward in a group and sing indiviually whereafter I would decide what song they would sing. 

I'm not going to lie, I was surprised by who came, and only slightly surprised at the level of their vocalization.  Every one of them declared clearly - though with self-deprecating humor - that they were not good singers.  And had I taken them at their word, we would have had no program at all. 

I am grateful that Heavenly Father gave me the opportunity to hear their voices beyond their words, that I might use my talents to bring theirs out. 

It took courage and trust for them to sing for me that first time.  I applaude each of them for coming.  And after hearing each of them sing, I was confident that the program was going to be beautiful.

Fast forward past a montage of Sunday afternoon and Friday morning rehearsals with a bunch of women - a group that finally swelled to over 20 - who were willing to try.  Yes, we reviewed the same songs and the same few measures per song OVER and OVER.  And we laughed.  We cried. 
I taught them some physical warm ups. 
There were a few of my expressions that made it into full-fledged sayings.  Such as, "If you're going to mess up, do it loudly so I can hear you!"  and "Everyone has a choir voice." 

In May, by the time we performed the program (and the encore, since men weren't invited to the first one, being as it was a Relief Society Program), I had 8 soloists and a well trained women's choir that sounded heavenly

Now, I have been party to choirs that had heavenly help at the end because they needed it, as in they would have sounded horrible without the heavenly help.  But this was not the case with this choir.  Any heavenly help afforded was a lifting of the talents they had already worked so hard to cultivate.  It was angels singing with them, not for them.  It was amazing.  Because these women who didn't think they had it in them....did. 

I cried every time.  The trust, the fun....  The result.  The sharing.  Every moment was worthwhile.  And I just wanted to say "thank you" to the women.  I don't know how; and writing is what I do.  So at least now it's finally out there.

And I would like to add to this record the incredible gratitude to Heavenly Father for my calling in my ward.  Since the Women at the Well program, the Ward Choir has grown even more.  And during the last two and a half years, I have been able to perform a job that serves others that makes me happy.  It is perfect.  And I am grateful, so, so, SO grateful.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I was finally able to listen to the "Building a Mind of Steel" CD set by Kirk Duncan.  

It basically talks about what I talked about in the previous post: identifying the endless stream of negative comments being made by a peanut gallery of unseen hecklers and how to keep myself safe from their constant onslaught of crap.

This was the CD set he had suggested to me a few posts ago when he advised "Fix mom first," when I was asking how to help my kids. 

Well, so I was listening to it as I drove the kids to school ("I don't want to lose my place," I told them), and they happened to hear a bit of it.  The bit about what Kirk calls the "Dot People."  As the CD went on, Lemur was listening....and then listening intently.  He would look at me every so often as if to ask, "Is this for real?" but never actually said the words. 

Then he got out to go to school.  I asked him what he thought about it when he came home.  He looked directly at me and said, "Fine." 

I have mentioned it in passing a bit over the last few days, but did not push further.  Mostly I talked of it with Fedaykin when he came to visit (YAY!!). 

On the way home from rehearsal I was listening to the CD again and was on step 1:  basically doing what I did in the previous post.  I was driving but instantly felt a very powerful push and heard, "Do it!  Do it now!" 
"I'm driving!" I answered out loud.
"It's important, do it NOW!"

Now don't turn me in, because obviously everything is fine, but I pulled out a sheet of paper, turned off the CD for a moment and wrote down the "Top 10 Negative Comments."   

I finished writing, set the paper down and rolled down the window to spit out my gum.  The paper blew away.  I didn't know if it had escaped out the window or what, because I couldn't find it anywhere, even when I searched the car at home.

So I wrote the previous post.  Then I found the original list.  And holy buckets.  I was utterly shocked to see these comments in my handwriting; because not only were they terrible lies, but I could honestly say I'd heard them before....many times.....and some I'd actually started to believe. 

Comments as terrible as "You've already lost Rivuleta."  "You've already ruined Lemur."  "You aren't what Muad'Dib needs." and so forth. 

But instead of feeling scared or beaten I felt cleaner.  THOSE THOUGHTS AREN'T MINE!!!!  They were being fed to me by a bunch of butt-heads, negative spirits ("Dot People") who have nothing better to do then be jerks. 

Anyway:  then last night I had a dream about Rivuleta.  The dream was that I had left Rivuleta somewhere and then saw a man carrying her.  She didn't seem to mind, but I knew something was wrong.  I cried out and ran after him.  My mother - in the dream - said, "Oh he's just like Uncle So&So;it's no big deal."  But I was still scared and angry.  I finally caught up to the man, took my daughter back and he laughed at me. 
"Why did you take her?" I demanded.
"I didn't take her.  No one was with her.  She came with me."

So then Rivuleta says she has to go to the bathroom.  I take her and then say, "Wait here just a minute; I"ll be right back." and take off to yell at the guy some more.  I find him in a huge room, people coming in and it felt like he was about to teach them. 
I yelled at him; told him he had no right to take my child; how dare he!  What was he teaching her?
"I was teaching her to lie," he answered, laughing. 
"It was easy; she's so afraid of you that all I had to do was show her she was safer if she just hid and didn't tell the truth."
"What else?!"
"I was teaching her that she is worthless.  She is easily forgotten and not beautiful.  That you are lying when you say she is and when you say you love her."
In the dream I remember being speechless for a moment before ranting again.... When my indignation was at it's peak - and he kept laughing all the time - I finally asked, "This isn't funny!  What are you laughing at?!"
"You're here yelling at me for showing attention to your daughter...but where is she now?"
I turned and ran from the room.  I realized I was angry and screamed in the annex - I didn't want Rivuleta to see me like that.  But I was still angry, so I screamed until I lost my voice in the hallway.   I felt better having gotten all of it out.  So I went to find her. 
After searching and searching, I saw a man who looked remarkably like Grandpa Lee sitting in a wooden chair, leaning back on two legs, "Looking for something?" he asked.
"My daughter.  Have you seen her?"
"Do you mean that beautiful, sprightly thing that prances when other people would walk?"
"That's her!"
"You haven't lost her, I've been keeping an eye out.  Turn around." 
And there she was.  Through the rest of the dream we held hands and I could feel her aging.  She aged to college right through the dream, always with her hand in mine.  Until she told me to let go. 

Wow, right? 

Well, then there's this:
Lemur comes to me tonight before bed and says, "I forgot to tell you my dream last night.  There were Dot People all around, screaming at me lots of horrible stuff that might be true but I knew wasn't true and then there was a guy.  His name was Confidence.  He got them all to back off.  He told me great things about myself and taught me how to shoot an arrow through the middle of another arrow.  He wasn't a Dot Person."
"Sounds like you've got yourself a Guardian, Lemur.  That's great!!  What's his name?"
"I told you his name.  It's Confidence.  It's the name he picked so I would know who he was."

To many of my readers, this particular post will mean next to nothing, and for that I apologize only that you don't know Kirk and therefore can't share in the relief I feel knowing how to better raise and protect my children - and myself.

But there are also a few of you who totally get what I'm talking about.  And that's why I shared it. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

La, la, la....I'm not listening!!!

Well, that didn't take long. 

How unfortunate that one day I can think great thoughts even long enough to write them - infused with joy and wonder and self-praise - and then not three days later feel utterly and completely like - ... wait.

Okay.  Thoughts  - -> Emotion.  Emotion --> Action.  Action = Results.

If I am feeling terrible and making terrible choices, then I must be thinking terrible thoughts.  What thoughts have accosted my mind and now hold it hostage?

Ah....they ALL relate to the new play I'm directing.  I seem to recall that each time I undertake direction of a play, I have a time of doubt. Now, this time is a little different because I have more evidence to base them on.... HEY!

Does that give the thoughts the right to take over?! 


I'm going to build my mind of steel beginning with identifying the negative comments:

* You can't do this.        
* You aren't respected.
* You are too intense.
* You are alone.
*  No one will respect you because you are fat.
* You are abandoning your children.
* You don't keep a clean house.
* You are going to fail.
*  Everyone will remember your failure.
* You will ruin the theater.

And now, as Kirk suggests, I will combat them with the perfect opposite AND an extra positive, just to be sure my brain get's the picture:

1.  I CAN do this AND I have a good vision for the play.
2.  I can earn respect AND am worthy of respect.
3.  I am intense enough to lead AND I am a good leader.
4.  I have a solid support system AND I am well loved.
5.  I am awesome regardless of my size AND I sparkle.
6.  My children know I love them AND they love their Dad-time.
7.  I keep a clean house AND I make home a welcome place for my family.
8.  I will succeed with flying colors AND I will have fun.
9.  I will remember my stint as director of The Importance of Being Earnest as a time of personal strength and grace AND I will laugh a lot.
10.  I will add to the startup success of the theater AND set a good precedent for the future.

Now I just need to declare these declarations about 20 more times before rehearsal tonight. 

All my past evidence proves that I will direct actors; 80% will like me and the way I direct, 5% won't care and 15% will have a pretty strong aversion to me.

All my past evidence proves that I will direct to performance; The audience will respond positively.  The producers will appreciate my work and my view.

I can do this.  I have done it.  I've done it half a dozen times, all with great success.  So what am I going to do?
Remove flaxen chords.  Say my new directly-combative positive declarations.  And go do the work.

And if I hit a wall - I think that's happening right now - and it becomes impossible to go forward, I must go vertical. 

To quote: "Move forward....hit a wall....let go of emotion....Go level. OR Move forward....hit a wall....take steps backwards and stand there in the emotion that came up and let it take you over. You choose.

Hint: The emotion was already inside before you hit the wall. The obstacle is not the is the emotion that you don't want to let go of that keeps you heavy and hurting inside. Let it go....lighten your load."

Makes me cry every time I read it.  "Sayyadina, lighten your feels better. :)"

I'm going to go do some jumping jacks.  I have a feeling it will help.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Open spaces

Remember 2 posts ago when I mentioned that I had cleared empty spaces in my mind and were afraid of those spaces?

Yesterday I took down and put away all vestiges of Christmas. It had been a good Christmas. Then I moved the furniture around a little bit to return the house to the way it had been before Thanksgiving.

Then I got tired and didn't bring the computer desk/office area upstairs. Muad'Dib found me sitting in the recliner and said, "I kind of like it like this. It's open..."

"Yeah, but what should we put here?" I asked.

He seemed puzzled, "Why do we have to put anything here?"

WHAT?! The idea never occured to me, let alone what he said next, "It could just be open space. Like play space."


So it's been a day and a half and that space in my living room is still {I almost said empty} open.  It is open. 

It feels weird, just as the cleaner spaces in my mind, heart and soul feel weird.  And I am remembering how long it took me to get over a similar revelation over 11 years ago. 

See, I deeply believed I was unloveable.  I don't believe that now.  But there were those years - between the revelation that I was loveable and my accepting it, followed by the time it took me to believe it and then LIVE like I believed it - where I had to grapple for a feeling of security every lucid moment of the day.

Holy crap, I fear I may be about to go through that again.  Because I done cleared out a whole mess of space.  Already it is easier to tell the truth, and harder to eat garbage.  There are still habits that say, "Eat it before anyone catches you!" but the belief system of self punishment and shame is for all intents and purposes gone. 

So not only do I find myself in need of maintenence on one front, but also of retraining on another. 

Yet I smile to know that I'd rather be in this place than the place I was even three months ago. 

*sigh*  I do love to be productive.  I will now produce a comfortable feeling when looking at those newly opened spaces in my self.  And instead of filling them again, I will simply downsize.  I have much less to carry now; I don't need such a big container.