Thursday, October 31, 2013

So far, so good

Midterms posted last week.

CRNSubjectCourseSectionCourse TitleCampusMidterm GradeCreditsLevel
71183BIOH20101Human Anat Phys INorth CampusA
72890BIOH20211Anatomy & Physiology I LabNorth CampusA-
70032M12103College AlgebraSouth CampusA
Technical (Highlands College)
70015NUTR25801Fundamentals of NutritionNorth CampusA
72929SOCI101W2Intro To Sociology-OnlineNorth CampusA

Something that I realize is very annoying about me to a lot of people is that that A- really drives me completely crazy.  There are certain areas where I have a perfectionist streak.  But that grade should go up.  A full half of the first lab practical was tissue slides.  I hate tissue slides.  Well, that's not entirely true--I do just fine with muscle, neural, and connective tissue slides.  But epithelia tissue is my kryptonite.  The second lab practical this semester is on skeletal muscle and nervous systems.  Shouldn't be a problem.

And later, I'll post photos of my kids today in the costumes that I made them.  Yes, I made all four costumes this year (none of them are very complicated or difficult).  Last night, after we got home from the ward Halloween party, I did nothing.  Sure, I could've taken my sociology quiz, or read another chapter for bio, or worked on some math, but I decided to do nothing.  And I was super excited about it.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

On Scars

I had my first baby three weeks before I turned 20.  Just before I got pregnant, I was in the best shape of my life.  The year previous to carrying my first baby, I was running 4-6 miles a day most days and lifting 3-5 times a week.  My skin was smooth and soft (God bless that moist Hawaii air), my muscles were taut, my clothes fit great and I was happy.  So to lose that smooth, pretty belly by 20 wasn't easy.  If I said I immediately loved my post-baby body, I'd be lying.  I hated that even after I was back to my pre-baby size and weight, my belly was covered with these weird, shriveled wrinkles where my skin had literally stretched to its breaking point.  I didn't have a lot of time to dwell on it, since I was pregnant again by the time that baby was 1, and then pregnant again by the time the next baby was 2, and then pregnant again before the next baby was 1 1/2.  There were times over those years when I felt like my body was not my own (and drowsy nighttime feedings where, for a few desperate, fatigued moments, I was convinced it never would be again).

But now that my babies are a little bigger, now that its been a full two years that I haven't been pregnant, I can honestly say that I love the stretch marks across my belly.  Its not that I'm OK with them, or that I can appreciate them, I love them.  When I run my fingers across those weird, shriveled wrinkles, I feel nothing but gratitude and joy.  I am no more ashamed of them than a marathoner is of her legs.  I earned those stretch marks, and while they are a reminder of great discomfort and even pain, they are a constant reminder of my greatest, constant joy.

When I was a child, I was always a little perplexed by being told that when we were resurrected our bodies would be perfect, that we wouldn't have any scars, and then also being told that when the resurrected Christ showed himself to his disciples, one way he convinced them of who he was, was by showing them his scars.  Why would a perfected being have scars?  As a mom, with the evidence of broken flesh striped across my midsection, I get it.  I get why he kept the scars.  He told his disciples, "I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands," to remind them that he would not, he could not, forget them or forsake them.  It is notable, I think, that he proceeds that reassurance by comparing his love to a mother's for her child: "Can a woman forget her sucking child?"  My body was not ruined by my sacrifice--and the scars it left behind--any more than the Savior's body is ruined by the nail prints in his palms, wrists and feet.  They are the physical manifestation of his greatest work, and his tremendous love.

I love my stretch marks, as the physical manifestation of the greatest sacrifice I have been asked to make, a sacrifice that is ongoing, and the one thing that brings me my greatest joy: the bearing and nurturing of my children.  My scars are a bodily manifestation of the integral part I am privileged to play in his plan.  "Behold," he says, "this is my work and my glory: to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."  The Lord's work and glory is the redemption and exaltation of his children.  His scars manifest the tremendous personal sacrifice he was willing to make to serve and bless God's children.  His work cannot progress without the willingness of women to bear children and be mothers.  My work is the bearing, teaching and nurturing of my children.  And even after they have grown up and left home, those scars will be there to remind me of what I have given, and of what I have received.  Those scars remind me what matters most and that, in the end, that's all that matters.

So when I see my shiny little scars, I see my children's faces, I feel the love and joy that they have brought to my world.  And I also see the nail prints, and hear "this is my work and my glory": I am reminded of another's flesh, broken for me, that that joy might be possible now and forever.  I remember that the soul is spirit and flesh, united, complete and splendid, and I won't mind at all if my celestial body still has shiny, wrinkly stretch marks scattered across it. I will look fondly on such eternal scars, just as I look with overwhelming gratitude on the eternal scars of the resurrected Savior.  Both are evidence of God's love, and the role we each play in His eternal plan.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall Fun

Its been beautiful the last few days,
 Low 60s, sunshine, leaves
So we're soaking up the sunshine
 And having some fun with our buddies
Because on Monday,
the high is supposed to be 28.
I love fall.
I wish it would stick around a little longer.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Little Moment of Mercy

Things are busy around here.  Granted, not as busy as they'll be next year, but busy nonetheless.  None of my kids wanted to be something for Halloween that I could just go buy a costume for, so on top of normal home/kid stuff, I've got Halloween costumes to make, homework to do, tests to study for, and volleyball practice and games to fit into the schedule.

Yesterday was long.  Its Keilana's week for dishes, and since she had a volleyball game from 5-6, we didn't eat dinner until almost 7 (my kids are usually in bed by 7:30), and she was so very, very grumpy that before we even ate dinner, I had threatened to send her to bed--hungry.  When she looked at me with her big pathetic eyes as we finished dinner and asked, "Do I have to do dishes tonight?" I just couldn't.  We were both so tired, I knew one or both of us would end up yelling, and possibly crying, so I told her to just help me finish rinsing and stacking them and we'd do them in the morning.

Well, I ended up getting a headache not long before I went to bed last night, and it lasted all night.  I finally got up at 6 and took some medicine, and it still didn't go away.  It was a grumpy morning.  Chores didn't get done. I was exhausted and still in pain, and kids needed to get to school.  Probably wouldn't be a big deal, but far too often, various kids' chores don't get done because I'm not on top of things.  I was feeling really lousy when I drove Dylan to school, "Dropped the ball again, chica, good goin'".

Suddenly, as I was sitting there mentally beating myself up, Elder Scott's remark from this last conference popped into my head, "When the Lord speaks of weakness, it is always with mercy."  All the things I got done--and that the kids got done because of or with me--yesterday started flooding my mind.  I finished two tutus and two minion shirts, two creature power gloves, and fed everybody a healthy lunch.  I loaded up the van completely full (including some mattresses--because we got a second set of bunkbeds, with mattresses! Yay!) and dropped a bunch of stuff at the thrift store and a bunch of stuff at the post office, and then went to the laundromat (our washer is on the fritz at the moment) and washed, dried and folded six loads of laundry, working on homework or costume stuff the whole time.  Then I went home, rinsed some dishes and made a list of a few things I needed for dinner, picked up the older kids and made a quick store stop, then went home in time to get Kylie off the bus and get as much of dinner prepared as I could before leaving for Keilana's game, while simultaneously getting kids to clean the family room.  After the game, I finished dinner, fed everyone, helped Keilana clean up the table and got the little girls in their PJs, read everyone a story, put them to bed, and then went downstairs and spent the rest of the evening cutting out pattern pieces for Keilana's costume.  I was too tired to deal with my tired daughter doing the dishes.

And I was in too much pain to deal with making her do it this morning--in fact, I completely forgot.

But I had let that failure make me forget everything I did succeed in accomplishing.  As I relived the day in my mind, I heard a little whisper:  "Up until the last 10 minutes of the day, you did all of that patiently, happily and efficiently.  Yesterday is done.  Today can be just as good, or better."

Too often I let a rough start or a rough end have too much control over how I feel about an entire day.  At exactly the moment I needed it, I felt that bit of love and patience that I needed to face my day a little differently.  I'm thankful for that today.

And I'm thankful that about that time, the Excederin kicked in, too.