Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Whole New World-sung Ariel-Style

I've been having a bit of a day. You know the days where you call one place and they can't help you and it involves thousands of dollars you'll have to lose. Then you get an email saying that things you thought you had taken care of somehow didn't get completed by people you trusted to finish them. Then you find out that your son's teacher only this week for the first time all year realized that he has a sense of humor, which really emphasizes, once again, that this teacher doesn't know or understand your child in the least.

Well, there are a lot of other things for that list, but I just wanted to post this picture. But the background was: having a not-great day, but there's something about preschoolers dancing on the kitchen table that just lifts my spirits :)
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bit of a Dream Come True

I have always loved to sing. My family made fun of me for singing in the bathroom when I was tiny. My chorus class in Junior High was by far my most memorable class, especially when we had Mr. Honnaker who was as tough as a drill sergeant with us. In High School the stoner girls in the locker room asked me why I was always singing or humming. Even in college, when I visited my Nana and Papa, Nana had to remind me that it is not polite to hum during dinner (I really hadn't noticed.)

Unfortunately I don't have a great or a strong voice, and I really have a terrible ear. But because I love it so much I have tried to be in choirs wherever I can. And one of the things I have always enjoyed was singing around the piano. Then I married Tom. who has a better ear for music and the ability to remember whatever he heard just once. But he never felt like he could sing well and had really never tried. So he felt self-concious at his few efforts to sing parts and generally slid by with the least amount of singing he could get away with. (This is NOT including ditties he makes up himself for the kids, or me, for that matter.) Well, whenever I really get to hear his voice I realize what I am missing by not hearing him sing. So when Tyra started trying to sing songs from the hymnbook with me and then Tom started in, I was very excited. And now we have sung many nights together, hammering out parts as necessary, and tonight saw we three: Tyra singing soprano, me with alto, and Tom on bass singing acapella. If You Could Hie to Kolob, All Creatures of Our God and King, For the Beauty of the Earth, and I Heard the Bells. Not very exciting, I know, but I always dreamed about (okay, maybe not asleep kind of dream, but the forward-imagining kind) singing with my own little family around my piano.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Not putting "blog more" on my resolution list

I simply can't. It's just not important enough to me. I've got a lot more basic things to work on here. I mean really. The ones that are right above eat, drink, sleep. Though I believe those basic things will lead me towards live, laugh, love. Which is where we want to be. So why am I blogging if it's not that important to me right now?

Ever since I came home from Thanksgiving vacation at Tom's brother's house I have been thinking about the great thing the influences of those around us can be. And specifically after extended periods of time spent with others I have noticed how I have been changed, if only nearly imperceptibly. Here's what I mean.

Most noticeably: My nothing-to-me or sister-in-law-in-law Angela. She'd be so easy to hate, if it weren't so impossible to not like her! She is a ballerina by hobby and graceful and thin as one by profession. But that's the easy-to-hate part :) So she opened her home to our family of 6, Tom's sister's family of 3, and their close friend's family of 4 all for the same week of Thanksgiving. I was amazed as we ate muffins she had baked and frozen ahead of time, ate nothing but the most perfect of gourmet meals for every dinner, with everything cooked to perfection. I was amazed and nearly appalled when I realized that she had 3 timers, not including Janine's watch, going for the Thanksgiving dinner. I tend to cook by smell: Oh! Quick! That smells done!!! or overdone, you know what I mean. I also tend to cut as many corners as I possibly can when I cook, and I have been amazed at the precision with which Angela can execute each detail in the Cook's Illustrated recipes (if you've cooked with them, you know what I mean!) This was one thing I could not get over, and the other was that she was a tireless cleaning machine! She was sweeping or wiping or doing something almost the entire time we were there. Her home looks like a magazine, even with 2 small children around. Now here's the thing, of course I'm thinking "That will never be me" and it won't, for many reasons. But when we came home I started cooking with real recipes instead of just any old ingredients I happened to find, or more like: boxes of Kraft mac n cheese. And, strangest of all: I started using my timer almost without thinking about it. And I swept my floor in the middle of the day, even though I know Tyra or Thomas would be half-heartedly doing it in the evening. May not seem like much, comparatively, but it's a start that would not be there without the influence.

This got me thinking about how my extended time with women often brings me to slow changes for the better, especially when the influence is strong. My mother-in-law, LindaMom is who next came to mind. She is a devoted nutritionist, reading up constantly on the latest research on vitamins and oils and different foods and their importance in the diet. She is really a walking Dietary Encyclopedia. And of course I thing "That will never be me" and it won't, for many reasons. But pretty much each and every time I am around her I come away automatically crushing my garlic first so it can release whatever it is that makes it so much better nutritionally before I start to cook it in my recipe, and I was looking for transfats before they were listed on the front of foods. I pop berries thinking of their antioxidants, and while I may forget much of the reasoning behind the things she has explained during our cooking during her visits, the changes slowly happen. I don't stop using the microwave, but I contemplate the least amount of time necessary to warm the food, and try to avoid the plastics to a small degree. It always amazes me how I change when I haven't made the least conscious decision to. If anything at the moment I may be deciding I may NEVER bother to do such and such or eat so and so. But there I am, sort of automatically influenced for the better.

Well, it was easy to see this with all my favorite women I hang out with for long stretches. So that includes my own Mom. Generally speaking, my mom will refer to our Heavenly Father, or the church, or the gospel, or the scriptures, or something related in every conversation at least once. When I gave her money for a birthday she called to tell me she was so excited that she'd just found some obscure Hugh Nibley book probably the only one she didn't already own. She talks about the Spirit more than your average missionary on an average day, but without noticing she's doing it. I will probably never be this constantly-aware of the most important part of life, but I know that after being around her I find myself paying attention an awful lot more, and remembering to "fall to my knees" at least a little more often.

Janine, Lisa, and Anne, your paragraphs may come later, I'm trying to post all my drafts of the last year.