Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chasing the Rain on a Sunday Afternoon in Provo

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A writing exercise:

Sunday was unbearably hot. The air in our house was sticky and heavy, filled with busy flies swirling around our bodies. The children continually broke into choruses of cries caused by siblings and boredom both. The swamp cooler smelled like swamp.

"It must be raining somewhere close to us," I said as I fanned myself with my hands, sprawled on the ottoman barely able to move.

And then it occurred to me that I should put the kids in the car and go chase the rain.

We didn't even bother with shoes, we climbed into the car with anticipation and sweat.

We started at the top of the mountain to get a full view of the entire surface of our valley. The clouds were dripping at the far end of the lake, directly west of us.

We set out on Center Street--passing the craftsmans lining the road, through a quiet downtown with red, white and blue flags flying straight on the buildings and rooftops. Then to the rural part of our town--fields of corn and an occasional snoozy horse or two. And just as we entered the Utah Lake State Park our windshield was hit with drops.

Drop. Drop. Drop.

And then a downpour. Dousing the fisherman on the dock, drowning the boaters in bay, splattering the choppy, gray waves as they roared in the wind.

And then it was over. The storm left us behind on a determined pathway to the east. At the end of the rocky shoreline we exited the car barefooted and liberated. The rocks smelled like rain, minerals and earth. And yellow gnats zipped around our heads.

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My phone beeped. A message from Christopher.

"Come home, it looks like it's about to rain."

And so we turned around and chased it back, passing the sopping horses, the thick corn fields, the empty downtown with the flapping American flags, up towards the craftsmans on Center and home.

Just in time to catch the first drop.

Drop. Drop. Drop.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Dear C. Jane, What's that Returned Missionary Guide for Sisters book?

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Q. I thought I recall you mentioning a book a friend of yours wrote or compiled that was a great read for return missionaries trying to re-adjust to post missionary life.... If so, what is the name of it?  My sister comes home from her mission in two weeks and I wanted to buy it for her.

A. Nicole, you were not dreaming this book really exists. It's called Tell Me About It, Sister: A Guide for Returned Sister Missionaries written by my friend  Andrea Faulkner Williams.
(Sister to your favorite craftster The Alison Show)

This refreshing book is oozing with personality--written in a fun, familiar voice. It covers everything from depression to relationships and wardrobe encouragement. Why wasn't this written when I came home? I had to bumble about making really awful choices.

Hint: unless you're certain you REALLY like him, DON'T MAKE OUT WITH YOUR FORMER DISTRICT LEADER OK? Yikes, learned that one the hard way.
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You can buy them online at Amazon AND the BYU Bookstore! Online here or in-store.
Go get 'em Cougars! Grab some chocolate-covered cinnamon bears while you're at it.

p.s. I was honored to write the forward of the book. Only, after getting my first copy I realized my ending was a little weak. So if you buy this book for the RM Sisters in your lives (and I think you should) before wrapping it up in a little bow will you edit my last line please? Like this:

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Happy Reading!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dance Love!

Happy Friday! I can't believe I posted 4 times this week! I must be coming back into my body. Does that sound weird? That's how it feels to me.

I wanted to share this video with you, it's DANCE LOVE by the Millennial Youth Pirates featuring Mindy Gledhill and the dancing luger Kate Hansen. WARNING: it's a catchy little number and you might be listening to it all day. Also WARNING: I have a dancing cameo with Mayor Curtis. ANOTHER WARNING: There is a shot where I am NOT dancing because I am trying to control my bladder.

But you'll be happy to know that as I come back into my body I have more bladder control. Oh my gosh why do I share these insights into my life? I guess I have dignity-insensitivity?

Anyway, enjoy:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cool Summer of '14

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Our summer so far looks like:

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1. On the first day of summer I decided to become a plus-sized thirtysomething postpartum fashion instagrammer. Because WHY NOT? It's an underrepresented conglomerate. And people were so kind to me! The response was very encouraging. So encouraging that I sorta became self-conscious. It only lasted a week. Maybe a plus-sized thirtysomething postpartum fashion instagrammer just isn't in the cards afterall. And listen Fashion Instagrammers of the World, I am sorry I ever thought your work was easy, that was harder than coming up with things to blog about. And posing is really awkward. And finding new places to shoot at home is really taxing. And self-timers are tricky. I bow down to you, my friends.
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Also p.s. I don't think my work here is finished. 

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2. As per my "taking special care of myself in my postpartumness" I am working out with a trainer. Her name is Sara. She's also my Relief Society President. Does your Relief Society President come to your house and stretch the hell right out of you? Mine does. She's helping me understand that it's pretty important to strength train when you're a mom with four young children. My life is very physically taxing and energy-draining. Lots of pushing, pulling, carrying, wiping, running, folding, holding and let's face it, loving. I think you get a work out just nursing a newborn every two hours. Anyway, Sara is both a great trainer and RS Pres AND FRIEND!

p.s. She's taking more clients, email me if you're interested.

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3. Also I am in a relationship with a dietician. It's a client/dietician relationship but it's still hot. She's teaching me HOW to eat. I missed that human skill somehow. Anyway, currently I am taking a photo of everything I eat and answering this question: WHY AM I EATING THIS? And yes, sometimes the answer is BECAUSE I AM LONELY AND THIS RITZ CRACKER LOOKS LIKE A GREAT FRIEND. In all caps. Of course.

p.s. I am lonely because my Christopher works a lot out of state and sometimes I just miss the fellow and lots of times all the cookies in the world aren't enough to replace "us" you know?

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3. We're listening to this very beautiful, haunting, philosophical album. Adam Klopp's voice actually crawls out of the music and dances on your heart until it cracks in little tiny lines which eventually shatters and leaves you in a daze of the sublime. Go here and try CABIN FOUR.

p.s. Adam is my friend. But that has nothing to do with how much I like this album.

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4.  In an attempt to prepare him for kindergarten, Anson has been working with a tutor named Melany who we would like to adopt into our family if she'll have us. If not, at least we found a tutoring situation that works for us--in our house, with a state certified teacher my son loves! So dreamy. We found Melany through Academic Achievement and BRING ON KINDERGARTEN!

p.s. Academic Achievement also does nationwide online tutoring. Find out more here.

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5. We're getting ready for this by watching a lot of CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP viral videos. This one is our favorite, partly because, well, people are flying bikes into a pond. We're also listening to House of Lewis. This one we listen to daily.

p.s. Mimi Knowles is also a heart throb.

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6. Six years we've lived in this house and never discovered until this year how nice it is to have dinner in the backyard when it's shady and the mountains are stained by the sunset. We're done with having lunch in the direct-sun dining room with a blowing swamp cooler producing the feeling of eating in a full fish bowl.

p.s.  I am SO SO SO grateful for that swamp cooler and a shady backyard. Are you hot too?

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7. I added to my Provo Temple art collection with a Kirsten Sparenborg print. I love it. I especially love that she included that looming Rock Canyon profile in the background. Now I need to find a great frame for it. If you like temples, (AND WHO DOESN'T?) I recommend you check out her incredible collection of watercolors.

p.s. If they ever change the Provo Temple I will hurt deeply. I love the unique 60s architecture. THIS is symbol of Provo to me. DON'T CHANGE THE PROVO TEMPLE. I am starting a campaign.

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8. The Provo Rec Center Pool. Can't get enough and why would you want to?

p.s. I love running to readers at the pool. Thank you for saying hello. Thank you lady last week who touched my shoulder and whispered, I LOVE YOU and then turned off to chase a toddler. I felt your love.

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9. My new goal in life is to do something vulnerable everyday. This is my duckface.

p.s. I can now add that to my pile with "wore a bikini to the community pool" and "wrote a public post about my feelings on female ordination" I am going to be SHAME FREE in NO TIME!

10. We do a lot of this.
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And this.
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And tons of this.
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And in general massive adoration of this:
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p.s. How is your summer going?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Letters to a Young Mormon

I wanted to say thank you to those who wrote such sweet, supportive comments here yesterday. I felt very safe and loved. Thank you for your respect. I feel privileged that you'd spend even a few of your moments here on my blog. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And now!...A SHORT BOOK REVIEW:

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I was sent this book by the great Blair Hodges late last year. I read it in maybe two days and then urged my husband to read it as soon as possible so we could discuss.

But he hasn't.

I found it on his side of the bed where I put it last. (And modeled it down below)(Do I make a good book model?)(You like it don't you?)

So, will you read it so we can discuss?

It's a compilation of letters written by Adam S. Miller to his children about Mormonism. There are twelve letters with twelve subjects ranging from science to sin. It's philosophical, generous and tastes like C. S. Lewis. Although the intended audience is youth, I felt it was pretty advanced in theory--and perhaps better read by parents of youth. However, I wouldn't think twice about giving this book to the teenagers in my life for discussion and debate. I do think it's more elevated than most of the church-related materials they are given presently. And for some, that's a good thing.

On Faith:

"Faith isn't a way of going to sleep. It's the work of waking up. And, in order to wake up, you'll need both great faith and great doubt. In itself, doubt is neither good or bad. Its value depends on what you do with it."

On Sin:

"Shame and guilt are life's way of protesting against the constriction of the too-tight story you're busy telling about it."

On Hunger:

"Living the gospel means learning how to live. It means learning to eat and sleep. Plant yourself in your hunger and let your life grow out of it."

After almost every chapter I had a deep urge to cry at the beauty of what I read. It's a great feast for thinkers. It eases my anxiety that the marriage of intellect and belief in my head will never be reconciled. This book was like a mediator between the two. And when my intellect and my beliefs get along I feel deep joy.

And the chapter on sex is phenomenal. It's remarkable. Indelible.

The book is published by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and you can get it here. Put it on your shelf next to The God Who Weeps. That's a great start to a solid collection.

Can't wait to hear what you think...

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(Purple glasses.)