Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Missing Bucket

It wasn't as if the day was any sort of a special day.  Sometimes special things happen on seemingly ordinary days.  That is how Bob saw today.  It was as if he completed his daily tasks day after day in a half stupor, barely recognizing his consciousness.  It might have gone on forever if it wasn't for one slight change.
"My bucket is gone!" Bob cried in a panic.  To a six year old, it was the worst thing that could happen.  "Mum!"
Every day he had got his bucket from in front of his house where he kept it, and filled up the water for breakfast and cleanup.  He was very careful to put it back every day.  It had always been there, and there was nothing that could pull him out of his dreary routine than an upset such as this.
He stormed inside looking anxiously for his mother.  "Mom, did you take my bucket?"  His tiny voice was frantic, not sure what he was going to do.
"Of course not, Bobby,"  His mother calmly replied.  "Are you sure that is where you left it?"
"I always do, mother," he answered, annoyed, his eyes darting around, as if searching for the bucket inside, " Where did it go?!?"
"Now dear, I'm sure it will turn up.  Go next door to Carby's and see if you could borrow theirs.  Hurry up now, so breakfast won't be late."
"Yes, mum."  He replied, defeated.  It wasn't as if there weren't enough buckets to go around in the neighborhood, but he wanted his.  It wasn't just any normal bucket.  He had gotten it just after his father had died, he had helped a neighbor harvest and was paid with the broken bucket.  When he repaired it, however, he added to it.  He shaved the handle so it fit his hand perfectly, and created a lid so he wouldn't spill when he carried it.  This way, not only did he take fewer trips, he also stayed much drier than others.  Many people had laughed the first few times Bob had brought it out, but the snickers quickly died down when they realized how nice it would be to stay as dry as him in the wintertime.
How could his mother be so calm when his bucket, the one he had worked so hard on had turned up missing?  But there was nothing else for him to do.  "Perhaps," he thought, "I will find it on the way to the stream."  And he set out to the Carby's house to borrow a bucket.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Spirit of Gratitude

I am thankful for many things, but most of all for the spirit of gratitude.  Have you ever met someone that you do something nice for, even just a small smile, and you see the gratitude in their eyes?  That is a truly happy person, and to those who may do a small service to them, come away feeling like it was a service to themselves.  What a beautiful gift is gratitude!

Often gratitude for something only comes when there is an absence of it, or when we receive something needed in dire circumstances.  But it needn't always be so.  What if we were to imagine waking up one day when the sun didn't rise?  How many days go by that we don't even think how grateful we are for this, until all at once, it isn't there anymore.  Likewise, imagine being without loved ones, and I don't mean only the hard times, but all the happy times that come with them too.  How much more grateful would we be if we realized how great our life is for every little thing that we have.  We truly have so much to be grateful for! 

I have found through my own experience, when I feel that gratitude deep within, it seems like there is nothing that goes wrong.  I guess it is something like positive thinking, yet it is so much more than positive.  It seems that happiness is just an inevitable side effect of gratitude.  Sounds good to me all around.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Learning About My Mother

I think this is one of those things that if you've had the ability, you've taken it for granted, and if you haven't, you've yearned for the opportunity. I speak about learning about my mother. I fall into the latter category, for almost two decades ago, my mother died in a fatal car accident. I was only a teenager at the time, and up until that very moment I learned of her death, I was one who took for granted all the things I could have learned about, or learned from, my mother. That all changed in an instant, and I went from an ingrate to one who still wishes that she could ask her mom just one question. I am discovering that all is not lost. For my mother, imperfect as she may have been, left clues about her in every memory, every item she created, and even me.

Now a mother of five myself, little things come trickling to my mind. It is as if I sit on the fence, seeing my parents point of view because I now am in their shoes, at the same time seeing my children's point of view, reflections of my childhood. It begins with closing off the master bedroom as off limits to the kids. My parents did that. I remember thinking of that room with great interest as a child, it was one of the few places we would rarely, if ever, be allowed. As I send my children out of my room, my room is now not just my bedroom, but a sanctuary, the one sole place in the house that I can block out the rest of life. As I do this, I put myself in my mother's shoes, and think what I feel is the same things she might have been thinking: sanity, just five minutes away, just a little peace for a moment.

My mother seemed to have a hand for doing anything and everything crafty. She would sew, crochet, macrame, or knit, without patterns, and create beautiful life-like paintings. She created new verse to a song, wrote poems and even her letters seemed profoundly worded. Then she would turn around and create a work of art through calligraphy, art in leather, or through burning wood. I felt I gained some, not nearly all, the talent in creating works that she did. I suppose in the years since her death, some of the reasons I have tried to learn or do better on my talents was to learn a little more about her.

So, it's Christmas coming up again, and although I don't fancy myself a real seamstress, my family has put up with my attempts at clothing and bedding that may not be straight, or square. The good news is, that practice is actually making me better. I also have one of those mathematically thinking minds, that given enough information, I'm dangerous. So, I'm going to attempt to get three quilts done by Christmas, partly because we need bedding. It's not my first, or even my second, so newness isn't the problem. But I am going to be working with scraps and material I already have, without buying any new, and that's where it gets tricky. So I try to wrap my brain around how I'm going to put it together. First, I wanted to get the right size, and funny enough, located a blanket my mother had sewn for me several decades ago.

I look at the stitches tenderly. They are not all straight, there is a small permanent fold in the fabric where the stitching went awry, but all in all not terribly bad. I see the ways she got around splicing fabric, making the end product look nice, and even saving on batting. I never noticed any of those things on my beloved blanket when I was young, and perhaps it is because it isn't a big deal. However, the most amazing thing about it all, is that I, too, improvise and settle for less than perfect. I also do cool things that are way over my head for the oldest few and then rethink as I realize how many kids I'm going to have to do it for. This leads me to simplify and even cut out things for the younger ones. I want my children to have all that I can give them, but I get tired, and reach my limitations. Suddenly I feel for my mother, who even had more children than I, and pray someday my children will understand my good intentions, even though things don't work as nicely as I wish.

Through this stage of life called parenting, I often think on my own childhood, my thoughts, my tender feelings, my stupid behaviors, and mostly on my parents. Watching my children mimic my childhood causes me to wish that I had been more of an angel, that I would have been easier on my parents. And yet, my mother still loves me, as I do my own silly kids. Even though I may not be able to ask my mother that question, I think I already know what she would say. You see, I may not have seen it in my teens, but my mother and I are not that different, and someday, when I see her again, I think I will know her a lot better than I ever would had she been around. She is here, helping me realize I do not have to be perfect to be good, in all my faint memories, in the items she left, and even in me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New President

A new election and a new president. Where does our country go from here? In the past, I would just have shrugged and said, 'Well, we'll see what happens in the next four years', but this time it's different. I heard a statement on the radio as I was driving to vote, and it hit me hard.

"There is nothing set in stone that says America is going to be a republic forever."

True as the statement is, was I the only one naive enough to think that it would be like this forever? I love our country, and love everything it has always offered us. Would it be the same if it becomes different? I don't know much about different countries and the way they are ruled, but they work and their people can be happy, too, right?

But there is something else. I'm delving into the history of the Roman Empire. Great, grand era, lots of opportunity, wealth abounded. Then came wars, and Julius Caesar, who carefully lifted a republic out of being a republic. The sad thing is, who did it? The people did. One could argue about the details of why and the situation they were in and such, but the bottom line came down to suddenly Rome was ruled by a dictator. The only ones who saw a problem to it had no power to change it, except to assassinate him. We can see where that led. Unfortunately, the people of whom decided to allow dictator rule were the same people whom, only a generation back, were vehemently fighting against having a king. Within years, this republic became an empire. Decades of growth led to a division to be able to properly handle the new empire, and then came the fall of Rome, and the dark ages.

I am told that history repeats itself. Our country began with many parties, not just two. Many will say that we still have more than just two parties. However, as I went to the polls it was to my surprise that in all my research about those that were running for President not one thing was turned up about the independent or other party choices that suddenly were on my ballot. And, I will ask, why are they never invited now to the debates? It appears to me that the two strong parties are limiting our choices. When I was talking politics to a friend and mentioned that I didn't approve of either candidate for president, I was told if I wrote in, I'd be wasting my vote.

It's MY VOTE... It's who I WANT to be president. So, is it that many people in our beloved country feel that way, that if not Rep or Dem they are 'wasting' their vote? So how many are getting sucked into voting for one or the other when they might pull together and elect a completely different person, if they didn't feel that vote would be 'wasted'. One may say I wasted my vote, but I used it to show the ideals that I want represented.

Speaking of votes, how many thousands, nay, millions of us are there that are not in these so called battleground states that are treated as if our vote doesn't really matter? How many of us walk up to the polls and mark based on party, because everyone else will be voting that way, or our senators are already marked for whom they are behind?

Is it possible that slowly, ever so slowly, there comes a decline in the amount our votes matter? That we are all getting out to vote and feeling all good about ourselves just to be herded like cattle to a dictatorship or other like government?

Some may argue whether or not Rome even fell, but the truth is that the republic or empire whichever it may be, exists as it had no more. Our beloved United States is not set in stone to be a republic, or even united, forever. It will take a whole country of people wanting it to be to keep us here. I hope we can, and keep the freedom of our republic around for much, much longer than the Romans kept theirs.

There was a Dream...

I've always dreamt of being a writer. When I was very young, I wrote my stories with great pride and vigor. It didn't change as I grew older; in my late teens I began the first journey into writing a full fledged novel. I was excited about it, and reveled in its words and pages as they came to life. As many writers have experienced, I encountered a several blocks where I knew what was going to happen, but the words weren't coming out right. Along with that, there was this funny thing called "life" and since I wasn't in any position to be finished or making money on my writing, I had to deal with it as well, slowing my progression. I also had graduated from High School, and entered college, and looking back on my previous writing from this point, I scrapped it and began again. Not that the story didn't warrant a voice, but that my voice had increased in eloquency in the several years since it began and I knew I could do better.

Then, during my second rewrite, I sent in my papers and served a mission for the LDS Church, (also known as the 'Mormons'). For roughly 2 years I was focused on that, and my book was set aside, albeit never forgotten. Shortly after I returned home, I found myself engaged and later happily married and beginning a family. This in no way ruined my book, but expanded it to no end. Finally I perceived the end of the book, but at the same time, my life was writing a sequel. I had too much information to organize and life with five little ones was very busy.

Not that that has changed much. I still have five young ones running around, ages 3-9 and have taken on the responsibility of their education as well. However, there have been a select few people, most of them related to me in one way or another, others that I worked closely with during my years at Arctic Circle, that I shared the first several chapters of my book as they were written. Perhaps I chose my audience wisely, perhaps I'm a very engaging reader, or perhaps it is because my writing isn't half bad, that I never got a negative response. Well, that's not entirely the case - none of them liked it that it wasn't finished. And so here I am, 18 years past since I first played the Scattergories game and decided to write a book entitled 'Still From the Awakening Dawn', that I have had several of the aforementioned people ask me how it was going. And again, from a special Women's Broadcast this year, I was also prompted by Elder Uchdorf to begin my creation again, and so yes, family and friends, this book will get done!

I'm writing this blog, because my heroes for novel writing are the likes of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. I know I am far below their capabilities, and even as I begin my journey into the world of novel writing, I would like feedback about my writing. What do you perceive as my strengths and my weaknesses, because in all of this, I can only become better. Obviously, I am not going to change at every whisper of comment, for everyone has their own idea about the way things 'should be', but I want to know what everyone is thinking!

I'm not sure exactly what kind of items I will write about, but I do know there often will be rants and raves about certain situations and life as we know it. I am writing from my knowledge alone, as anyone does, and I'll be the first to admit I know very little about far too many things. I am a mathematician in heart, so if you see a flaw in any of my reasoning or a piece of information that might change my view, please comment it! Any accurate knowledge is welcome. That being said, hope you enjoy this blog!