Sunday, July 11, 2010

Me Again

Yesterday was Kenny’s 9th birthday. Mom and Dad were able to make it over and we had a houseful of boys and chaos and cupcakes for a few hours. Unlike my fabulous friend Nikki, who throws parties that put professionals to shame, I am rendered useless in the bright light of an oncoming birthday. I just want my kid to have fun and then, for it to be over. Is that so wrong? Of course it is.

Thank goodness I’ve got some very cool next door neighbors (truth be told, I have a number of very cool neighbors—the 1300 block of Kimball Avenue is legendary). These particular neighbors have a lovely pool and they’ve been quite generous with the invites. And since last summer they’ve let the kids have swim parties on their birthdays. Since our first one last year I’ve come to realize that when it’s over 100 degrees and you have a pool, you don’t need games, goody bags, or even a piƱata. You’re golden.

This birthday was even easier because my parents were here and my parents make everything easier. My plan was hotdogs but Dad fired up the grill and cooked hotdogs, burgers, brats, and homemade sausages. Homemade, I tell you! I invited the Pollicks down to join us and before they left, Dad had dinner, an impromptu party, planned for us and the Pollicks and their houseguests. My smoker perfumed the neighborhood all afternoon. In the evening we gorged on barbecued ribs, chicken, corn on the cob, potato salad, coleslaw, etc. Dad can throw a party with one hand tied behind his back.

Well anyway, it was good and it’s over. Until next month.

Have I mentioned how warm it is? Is it humid? I don’t know. Not like the humidity I remember from living back East. But my bedroom is w-a-r-m. Two fans pointed at me only produce a sort of warm wind. Man, I sure miss that crazy cool June.

How are you? Well, I hope. It’s been too long and I really should write more often. But when? Who knows.

Have I mentioned that I like a blank book? When I see one, I’m generally tempted to make a purchase. Still, I’m not fantastic about actually using them. I do have one I haul out for General Conference and that sort of thing and I pulled it out tonight for the fireside at church. It only has a few pages filled but I added a few more this evening. The topic was, broadly speaking, missionary work but there was a lot said about teaching our children. A reminder that they learn the most at home and how crucial the short time we have with them is.

I know. I know, I know, I know. It was the small kick in the pants that I need every now and again. A reminder that in general, turning a deaf ear to the complaining, whining, carrying on, and foolishness, pays big dividends. That it’s the (seemingly) little things we either do or neglect to do each day that have a cumulative effect one way or the other.

“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” Doctrine and Covenants 64:33

Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Not that it’s easy or anything. Just easier, right? We listened to a talk by Elder David A. Bednar entitled “More Diligent and Concerned at Home” and it was about just that. Something he touched on was damage done by hypocrisy in our lives.

“A public statement of love when the private actions of love are absent at home is hypocrisy—and weakens the foundation of a great work. Publicly declaring testimony when faithfulness and obedience are missing within our own homes is hypocrisy—and undermines the foundation of a great work. The commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16) applies most pointedly to the hypocrite in each of us. We need to be and become more consistent. “But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).”

I’m not ashamed to admit I have work to do in this area. Clearly, I should be but nonetheless, there it is. It’s something I’ve mulled over long and hard—long before this meeting and even longer, before I read Elder Bednar’s talk. I remember once sitting in the basement, folding clothes and watching TV. One of my not-so-guilty pleasures. I have Oprah set to record each day on the Tivo but most of the time the topic is of little interest and I push ‘delete’. On this particular day it was one of those in-depth deals with Lisa Ling and she was going to hang out with The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They’ve experienced a flood of young women interested in becoming nuns. In fact, at the time, the average age of these sisters was 26 and the average age of one of the postulants was 21. Lisa Ling interviewed several, asking pointed questions about what they’d left behind and what they felt they’d received in the bargain. I remember clearly, one sister talking about how amazing it was to live what she referred to as an “integrated life”. Each day, what she said and did was in accordance with what she believed. It got me thinking. Bridging that distance, no, reducing or even eliminating that distance between what we believe and what we do, must be the key to something real, and true, and important.

Well, on that note, let me leave you with two thoughts: a) I still miss chatting at you quite a bit and b) tonight I wish I could sleep in an igloo.