Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A prayer in my heart

We had to drive 50 miles to get to the airport to fly out to California. We left at 4:30 in the morning, after digging our cars out of the driveway from the foot of snow. The freeway had been fairly well plowed, so for the first half of the drive, the road was clean and mostly dry. In the 36 hours before we left, we got a foot of snow. I had prayed the night before that they would be able to get the roads plowed, and the airport plowed, and that we would be able to get to the airport safely.

I hate travelling. It always stresses me out. I always worry about all the things that could possibly go wrong. I also hate inconveniencing people, so you can just imagine what traveling with a toddler does to me. And there we were, on the freeway driving along and I was praying the whole way that everything would be okay. I asked GeekBoy, "What's the difference between always having a prayer in your heart and just being a nag?" He answered with the parable of the unjust judge. We started talking about the difference in attitude and trust between the two behaviors when we hit ice. Luckily, my husband had seen it coming so we were fine, but the road conditions started getting worse, and then it started to snow, and get very windy.

Right as the snow started, a car pulled onto the freeway in front of us. The whole way through the snow and wind, the last 25 miles to the airport, that car stayed right in front of us. We had tail lights to guide us through, to alert us to bad patches of road, to allow us to see the changes in the terrain, and to blow the drifting snow off of the freeway in front of us. When that car left with just a few miles to the airport, another one pulled in front of us to take its place. The road was really bad. At one point my husband, who does not worry, leaned over and said, "Now would be the time to start nagging." But we were guided through that whole stretch of dangerous road.

And about five miles into those treacherous conditions, my prayers turned from a nagging, "please keep us safe, please keep us safe, please keep us safe" to a simple "I trust in your care, Father, for my family." And with that change, I felt a change in me. My tension melted away. That's the difference between a prayer in your heart and nagging. Heavenly Father doesn't want us to die in a car crash any more than I do, so me bugging him about it isn't going to change things. Me going to Him for comfort in a time of stress, and allowing myself to remember the constant care I have always received from Him, and putting myself back in that care is the essence of a prayer in my heart. We had done the things we knew to do to prepare us for the situation we were in. Now we could honestly trust in Heavenly Father to let us know if there was something else we needed to do to keep ourselves safe.

Now if I can just remember that the next time I have to drive through a snowstorm.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back from radio silence

We're back from Christmas with my family in California. We barely made it to the airport in time. We ended up having to dig our car out of the snow at 4:30 in the morning to leave, and then had to deal with wind and snow on the way to the airport. We made it through security just in time to hear the boarding call for our flight as we were putting our shoes back on. Other than that, it was an easy trip.

It was great to see almost all of the family. My brother's family wasn't there because she is 35 weeks pregnant with twins, and not allowed to travel. Other than that, and one of my nieces, we were all there. It was loud and crazy and wonderful. Cooper toddled all over, and Grandpa loved walking down the hall with Cooper holding on to one finger. It was great getting to hear my Dad sing the same songs to Cooper that he used to sing to me.

We've also started planning my parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary for two years from now. My brothers don't seem too keen on the idea of telling the story of their life together through interpretive dance. I told them I would spring for the coordinating unitards, but still no dice. Dan said he would do it if he could dance as Sprockets, but I'm not exactly sure what part of my parents life together that would be depicting.

Lots of stories from the last week to catch up on, and some photos to post, but that's enough for now.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It's a quarter to midnight. I just finished grading and entering grades. As far as I can tell, maybe three of my students actually used the study guide I made for the final exam.


Grading bad exams makes me want to drink. Heavily.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New favoritest Christmas memory

We finally put up the Christmas tree tonight. We have a fake tree, and it's pre-lit with 1000 lights, so after we wrestled it into place and got all the cords plugged into each other, we turned it on. Cooper looked up at this eight foot tall fir covered in little white lights, said "Wow!" and started to applaud.

A few minutes later, he found the button that turns all the lights on and off. After clicking the button on and off enough times to trigger a migraine in a normal person, he clicked them off. And from the dark, I heard a tiny, whispered, "wow."

Yep, Christmas with you, Cooper, is definitely wow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Life with a toddler

I think I can officially say that I am now living with a toddler. Our physical therapist warned us that we were going to spend an awful lot of energy to get Cooper to walk, and at least once a week we would wonder why in the world we ever wanted the kid to be mobile. It's amazing the things he can get into now.

His favorite place: on top of the kitchen table.

He's also figured out that he can scoot chairs and get to the knobs on the stove, the crock of cooking utensils on the kitchen counter, and the answering machine on the phone.

Also, he will let me know when I am done watching TV. He just walks over and turns it off.

He walks. And walks. From room to room. From place to place. Back and forth. And when he's done walking, he drops down on his bottom and says, "Boom."

Cooper walks.

And all the mess, and rearranging, and kidproofing is totally worth it to be working at the computer and to see my baby walk into the office and say, "Hi!"

Friday, December 12, 2008


Job application is in. Now the waiting starts.

I kind of want to throw up.

Friday, December 5, 2008


The banana bread lesson has stuck around this week. There are lots of things for which to be grateful.
  • Really good banana bread.
  • Wednesday morning I got in the car to go to school and GeekBoy had left fresh flowers in the passenger seat. They are in a vase on the kitchen table and I smile every time I see them.
  • Cooper got to a stand in the middle of the living room floor with no support for the first time last night.
  • I made a breakthrough on my dissertation which means (I think) that I have more done than I thought I did. I have to go back and look at it again today, but if I'm correct, then I have about half of it in draft form now. I can see actually finishing this thing.
  • Grandma is recuperating from her surgery. She's a feisty lady. It looks like she is going to pull through.
  • My Christmas shopping is done. I'm really glad I got it done before the paycut kicked in, but even if there hadn't been a paycut, I'd still be glad it's done.
Little blessings, big blessings, but all blessings in my life.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The lesson of the banana bread

I've been feeling sorry for myself the last little bit. It has felt like our little family has just been having a hard time. GeekBoy (my affectionate blog nickname for my husband) works in the mortgage industry, and his company has gone through round after round of layoffs in the last year or two. A few weeks ago they went through another round, and he kept his job. His department is now down to two people, including him. Last week, they announced a "temporary" 20% pay decrease across the board for all employees. It's supposed to just be for December, but we'll see. We found out about this the day before Thanksgiving.

There was the whole poison control incident, and then yesterday Cooper woke up covered in vomit, and when I put him in the tub to get the barf out of his hair he pooed in the tub, and when I got him out of the tub to put him in clean jammies he peed all over the carpet. And then I went to teach and the copier jammed so I was late to class, and it just felt like one little thing after another. And then I got home and my mom called and said Grandma had fallen and broken her leg in multiple places. The bones were coming up through the skin. She was heading into surgery, but with her poor health, they were calling to prepare us just in case she didn't make it through surgery or the post-op recovery.

Combined with all these minor inconveniences and major traumas was the seeming disparity of good things happening for all those around us. New loves, new babies, heck, even a new dress. It seemed that the old phrase about poop rolling downhill was true, and I was at the bottom of the hill, covered (sometimes literally) in poop.

Then this morning I made banana bread. One of the concepts I'm writing about right now in my dissertation is radical inequality, and as I was turning those old bananas into bread, I realized that I am making bread because I have too much food. The bananas weren't inedible in the form they were in. They were just past the point that I prefer to eat them. To many people they would have been perfect. To a great many people in the world, they would have been lifesaving nutrition. And I was turning them into banana bread because I have the option about being picky about what I eat, and of buying enough food at the grocery store that the bananas can sit out long enough to go past optimal ripeness.

I then had to decide what kind of chocolate chips to put in the bread. I had thought about adding pecans, because I had extra pecans from Thanksgiving, but I wanted Cooper to be able to eat the bread, so I went for chocolate instead. I have multiple types of chocolate chips in the house because 1)I love to bake, and 2) that's what the women in my family do. I know some people put wheat in their food storage, but I have a feeling that if it ever comes to the point where people are living off of their food storage, I can trade six ounces of good chocolate for a few pounds of wheat to any woman in a 25 mile radius.

So, my warm house with plenty of food and a darling child smells of cinnamon and nutmeg as chocolate chip banana bread bakes in the oven. Cooper is starting to spend as much time toddling around the house as crawling. My husband is at his job. I'm going to go write some more on my dissertation with a new perspective on radical inequality. And then, I'm going to go eat some banana bread, and kiss my baby, and thank my Heavenly Father for all the blessing He pours out upon me daily, that I do not take the time to see.

Sometimes, the most important lessons in life are taught by a mushy banana.
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