Wednesday, July 30, 2014

more celiac for us


There have been many times in my life where I've received a knowing. A real knowing. Where wisdom, insight, answers, comfort, and guidance have come to me. Time when it's been crucial or urgent to know, or to act. But other times, the knowing has come just as a simple understanding, change, or idea that would or could impact my everyday life, or the life of one of my children.

I strongly believe in a woman's intuition. A mother's intuition. I have seen this gift manifested in other women, especially in my own mother.

Most of the time, this quiet, yet powerful, understanding comes when I'm alone, or when it's quiet.

When I'm still.

Sometimes, these understandings or answers 
come in dreams. Or sometimes they come in the middle of the night around three or four o'clock in the morning, when I think about it. Where I'll suddenly wake up and poignant thoughts and feelings quietly distill upon my soul; sometimes forceful and piercing enough to make me close pay attention.

This kind of thing happened to me last Wednesday morning. I had taken Jane to her doctor appointment the day before as a follow up to her endoscopy/colonoscopy. With her diagnosis of celiac disease-- a life long illness that tends to run in families and though one's genes-- her physician advised me to have each member of our family have the blood test done.

And when I woke up last Wednesday at four o'clock in the morning, I began to put all the puzzle pieces together, and everything started to make sense about Sam and his health from the time he was a little boy. And it came to me in such a powerful, knowing way that this child, too, has celiac disease.

So the next morning, he and I both went to the hospital for blood tests. Mine came back negative, but no surprise to me, 
his came back positive. And it was a miracle that the following day, yesterday, he was able to get right in for his own endoscopy, followed by nine vials of blood drawn to detect other possible food allergies. Three hospital visits in one week, and then a trip scheduled to the doctor this coming Friday. Grateful that even though his case is more severe than Jane's, his symptoms aren't.

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if there are others in the family who may also be diagnosed. Which means we'll have to repeat all these medical procedures and implement all these dietary changes over again.

In many ways, I can't believe this is happening to our family. And with tears in my eyes, I told Sam I would gladly trade places with him; me being the one to have to deal with this.  It hurts me to know that he and Jane and perhaps others in our family have to go through this; how this disease will impact the rest of their lives.

How it's just one more hardship we've faced this summer, and right when we are in the thick of this busy, almost overwhelming time of preparing Sam to head out on his church mission in just three weeks time.

How can we do this? I ask.

But through it all, I can see so many tender mercies. And I feel so incredibly humbled and grateful to have been given this spiritual prompting at such a crucial time in Sam's life. The relief we feel that he can still go and do what he's planned and hoped for all of his life. That his mission is not going be somewhere half way around the world, but right close in a neighboring state, where there will be good medical care, resources, and good people who will be willing and able to accommodate him. That this journey into the world of celiac and gluten-free has now become a family affair; a hardship to be shared, and not just suffered by one alone. Knowing that we are in this, together.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

spring city bits, and thoughts on a sunday night

These photos could have been included with yesterday's away to the cabin post, but I think there were enough and worthy of their own post. 

This little village of Spring City is one of my favorite places to visit. It takes awhile to get there from where we live, but since we were in the nearby vicinity Friday, how could I resist. Those times we've been able to spend at the cabin, it seems like I always want to take the time for a visit, but we've never done it until now. 

One of the biggest draws for me is Joseph Bennion's Horseshoe Mountain Pottery. Joe taught at the University when I was there as an art student. I had a little crush on him and always admired his style. I've built up a little collection over the years. I'd love all my dishes to be pottery. I greatly appreciate and value this art form and the potters that put their heart and souls into the pieces I daily hold in my hands and bring to my lips. (I think I've mentioned this beforeThere's a beautiful intimacy in this.

Anyway, we left with a mug and a delicately beautiful tea bowl. I will enjoy them so much.

We drove around this farming community of Spring City, and I got out of the car a few times and clicked away. The whole town is listed as a National Historic District. It was settled in the late 1800's by Danish and English Mormon immigrants, and many of these old pioneer homes still stand and have been beautifully restored. The place has become an artist colony of sorts recently. Eliza and I took in an artist/historic home tour and antique show a few years ago. So quaint, and right up our artsy alley. We were disappointed that the older couple that advertised their "farm fresh eggs" had sold out that morning. 

I could have wandered around a lot longer (I think sometimes my kids get impatient with me, but I think they're getting used to my photography needs and ways), and so we decided to head back before it got too late for me to start supper. On the way back up the mountain, I couldn't resist stopping a few times. The light had this golden glow to it from a blazing forest fire on the horizon. I had them let me out of the car the last 100 yards or so and took my time getting back to the cabin; walking slowly up the dirt road and into the meadow as the sun was slowly setting. 

Speaking of walking, I've been walking to church these past few weeks. (Don't ask me why we all don't do that every week.) Only a brisk five minute walk, but it makes me feel really good to be able to do even that. I've learned to not even take going on a walk for granted. I'm grateful.

As Isaac was sitting on my lap late this afternoon, (he soon fell asleep with my arms around him.) he asked for pancakes for dinner. "I'm just not in the mood for savory, Mom." So I sprinkled some with blueberries, some I left without. They were so pretty, those bubbling pancakes. I should have followed my urge to grab the camera. Live and learn, I guess.

I felt more like a big salad tonight. But first, a trip out to the garden. It's amazing how much things can change in just a few days time. The squashes are as big as boats. And the tomatoes are definitely coming on. I sliced a ripe, red one on some chopped up lettuce, sliced a perfectly tasty cucumber, and topped it all with a half of an avocado. A little guilt over eating that half of an avocado all by myself, but for crying out loud Emily, there are worse things to feel guilty about. 

Just now, I glanced out the window next to me and spied a little hummingbird hovering over a geranium blossom. She quickly darted in for a sweet sip and dashed away. That brief moment was a gift for the both of us, I think. Gratitude and happiness washing over me. How that simple action and decision of planting and placing that flower pot could bless this little creature's life, even if only for that fraction-of-a-second moment in time. 

And the gift of how I was able to witness it.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

away to the cabin (with a little video!)

we spent a couple days and nights at my sister and brother-in-law's beautiful mountain cabin this week.
my dad and two of our dear, young friends came, too.
having them join us was the highlight
of the whole experience. 
i think this little trip was just what we all needed.
a change of scenery. a change of pace. a change of routine.
laughter. storytelling. games. naps. 
books. drawing. journaling.
heart-to-heart conversation. star gazing 
(that milky way! oh, my.)
movies. old family photo slideshows. hikes.
late nights and late mornings. 
spaghetti and taco dinners and peanut butter brownies.
"reuben coyote potatoes" for breakfast.
a late afternoon jaunt to a neighboring village. 
joe's pottery. historical pioneer homes. 
(i'll share more of that next time)
and the absolute treat it was to have their folk music
fiddle and banjo (and a little piano mixed in here and there) and their sweet singing angel voices.

just so good to drop it all and get away.

hoping your weekend
is a beautiful one, too, my friend,


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

summertime, and the living is easy...

Just living is not enough, said the butterfly.
One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
~ Hans Christian Anderson

I'll be honest. My summer hasn't felt too summer-y to me this year. Much of my focus, time, and energies have been spent at doctor appointments, dealing with the stress of ongoing illness and injury, driving kids here and there, and adjusting to the dynamics and  needs of each of these children who are all living at home this summer. Preparing, within the next month, to also send Sam off for his two year church mission.

There's been a lot going on in my life and in our home. Days that have been hard, stressful, and disappointing. Through it all, I've felt strung out and stretched thin.

The summer that I had anticipated and planned for just didn't materialize. I longed for a vacation. I longed for relaxation and rejuvenation. I longed for carefree mornings and afternoons. I longed for healthy, whole bodies for me and my daughter. Days without the pressure of crossing off to-do lists.

As I'm starting to realize that there's really only one month left of summer before school and routine start up again, I'm kind of panicking with this tug of war between the pressures of the to-do list versus the desire and need for rejuvenation and ease. I'm trying to let go of some of my summertime expectations of the past and especially of the now, and just be able to find contentment and beauty in the moments that we have been able to experience this year.

What I've finally come to realize is that for me, summertime really is a state of mind. That for me to be truly happy and at peace, I must search for the the joys that already surround me. The simple pleasures of this season. The beauty in the quiet, everyday moments of my life. It's a conscious decision; one that I needs a mantra of sorts to remind, review, and repeat to myself to help me get through this next month:

I choose love.
I choose beauty.
I choose ease.
I choose joy.

P.S Jane and I secretly agree that our summertime will officially start when everyone heads back to school!

I'm posting these old photos more for my sake than anything. So good for me to see the fun and simple moments of those summer days we spent in years past....

Here are some things that make my summer soul sing:

paddle a canoe

play lawn games or night games with your friends

go barefoot

light sparklers when it gets dark

bring the flowers indoors and make beautiful arrangements to fill the house

go on bike rides

sit around a camp fire, sing songs, tell stories,
and make s'mores

eat corn on the cob

eat our meals outside

go to a cabin in the mountains, watch the clouds go by, and star gaze at night

enjoy a vegetable garden 

go to a lake or the seaside

pick some berries

go out for ice cream

have some fun and thrills at an amusement park

make a trip to the library and immerse yourself in a good book on a hot afternoon

enjoy the smell of a newly mowed lawn

explore nature and go on a hike

plant some geraniums, sit on the porch, and sip a cool glass of lemonade

Don't hurry, don't worry, you're only here for a short visit. 
So be sure to stop and smell the flowers.
~ Walter C. Hagen

Sunday, July 20, 2014

little and big

this post got me thinking. the times when i feel small and those times i feel large. the littleness and bigness of me. i can see so many contradictions and opposites in my nature. the essense that is me.

at first glance it might be that a person is either one way or the other. but i've found that if i'm living true to my nature, there's bound to be huge contrasts and variations in every aspect of my life. this play of opposites is what makes a person interesting and even beautiful, i've decided. it's what makes us each human.

so here's what i've discovered about the little and big in me:

i like little things. i pay attention to the little, tiny, quiet details in life. those things that often go unnoticed to the common eye. sometimes i seem to focus or get caught up more on the details than the bigger picture. it's something, for example, that i can see in myself by the way i take a photograph. i like those little details i create that make my life and other's lives special, meaningful, beautiful, comfortable, cozy, and memorable. i like the subtle, little nuances in people and things. the little glances, the little touch on the shoulder, the little twinkle in an eye. the way two sets of eyes can catch in a briefly fleeting look of quiet understanding and connection. i like the littleness of that.

i have felt small when i've been teased, ignored, or when others have laughed at me. feeling the smallness that comes when i've allowed my feelings to be hurt, or those times i've felt humiliated or belittled. or the times i've felt so small that i want to disappear after saying or doing something that has caused pain to another. i feel little when turn around and walk the other direction, pretending i don't see someone i know at the grocery store. the smallness i feel when i'd rather be alone or those times i'm craving solitude. i often find comfort in this, though, and have discovered, in recent years, i'd rather have a small group of close friends than feel lost and disconnected in a crowd of many. i like the littleness when i can go under the radar and be invisible. i'm little when i want to say no and say yes instead. small, depleted and exhausted when, more often than not, i put other's needs before my own. i've felt pain and smallness many times as a woman in the culture, traditions, treatment, and history of this imperfect world. my patience is often small when it comes to long lines, heavy traffic, and just getting to the point of things.

i like big, powerful things. the beating rhythm and heavy pulse of music when it is turned up loud, or the crashing pound and unleashed power that i can actually feel within my body when there's a thunderstorm. sometimes i dream that i live in a big house. a house so big with rooms upon rooms to wander and  discover and inhabit. probably a subconscious need of mine for freedom, newness, discovery, and change.

i go big when i make a grand production of things. things like dinners and parties and events i plan and host. i want to impress and execute in a perfectly big way. my laugh bursts out big and cackling, my kids tease. i'm big in my movement, my quick, long walking strides, the way i rush about or run up the stairs two steps at a time. the need i have to do things in the fastest, most efficient way i can. i'd rather just get it done, than do it right. the big way of mine of not being able to express myself without using my hands. the need i have for deep, long, and vast soul-to-soul conversations. i need to see the real and sincere side of a person and i don't appreciate pretentiousness in any way. and the absolute hugeness that came to my body in childbearing with that ripe, round belly and those full breasts. the grandness and larger than life feeling it was to cross the marathon finish line, and the unforgettable grandness when i held up my arms in v for victory. my feelings are heavy and all-consuming. i feel things so big, so deeply. sometimes i think i feel things too much. when i feel anger, joy, sadness, passion, or injustice, you will know it. i guess you could call me intense, or even demanding. i love and am attracted to deep, rich colors, textures, and chunky jewelry. my appetite has always been rather enormous, and my mom said i wasn't satisfied if the meals weren't "substantial" enough. and of course, to this day i am always the first one done at the dinner table. i live life large and i live life loud.

Friday, July 18, 2014


enjoying:: this gorgeous bouquet (leftovers from a wedding the night before) Jane brought home today after meeting with a wedding planner and reception center people. No, not her own wedding. Tagging along with her friend Sarah who will wed in November. Jane will get to be a bridesmaid for the first time.

thanking:: for a miraculous, wondrous gift of kindness and generosity. for the relief and outcome of my sister's surgery yesterday. for friends, new and old. for Jane's second interview for a job at DoTerra (their brand new, beautiful campus is just down the road from us) going so well. Keeping our fingers crossed that she'll get the job.

feeling:: the contrast of slow and busy. Seeing how I have a real need for plenty of margin in my days and feeling so grateful that I can find solitude and a sense of freedom through my time at the pool and on my morning bike rides, then, coming home and heading out to weed in the garden. All of this before most people are up. 

Then taking time in the late afternoon to go up to my bedroom, close the door, read, or lay down and take a nap. Or sitting in the dark on the porch swing late Sunday night like we did, just talking with Gary and Eliza. Him whipping out his iPhone and snapping a selfie of us. So fun and rewarding how our relationship is expanding as they are becoming adults.

How I love all these times. How I need this to balance and keep me sane with all the needs, schedules, demands, and dynamics of each of the children. I find myself playing the roll of taxi driver very often most days. Taking Jane today for more blood labs, then again to the doctor on Monday, Isaac last week to get his stitches removed. Shopping outings for and with Sam in preparation to send him on his own mission. (He leaves August 20). 

I'm tired of all the running around. Drained with all the demands and responsibilities of my motherhood. But at the same time, happier than I've felt in a long time. 

going:: I've been feeling like Isaac has been a little neglected this summer with much of my focus and energies being on the big kids. So yesterday I announced to him that it would be our special day together. A trip to the library, lunch at Mountain West Burrito, and later in the afternoon, two games of bowling and a stop for ice cream. He is still hugging me today for that memory. 

Today, in between picking up Sam and dropping off Gary, these boys convinced me to stop for another round of Mountain West Burrito. Good, even the second day in a row and fun doing things like that together. Even without anything really vacation-y happening this summer, it's things like this that make the days special and memorable.

eating:: with the brown bananas calling me, how could I not resist baking some banana bread. Gluten-free/vegan and everything. We've had pretty good luck with our experiments so far.

making:: a huge list of all I have to get done from now until mid-August. Not so overwhelming getting all those thoughts out of my mind and seeing it all on paper. I work like that.

reading:: big stack. All at the same time: (click on each title for an Amazon summary)

The Kite Runner 
The Giver
Rawsome Vegan Baking
The Gluten-Free Vegan
The Gluten-Free Vegan Comfort Food

wearing:: brown leather sandals, brown pants, leopard print T-shirt. Necklace, earrings, bracelets like I do everyday. A new habit this year that makes me feel good.

listening:: loving this song lately. Especially good when I crank it up loud when I'm by myself in the car. Fleetwood Mac, always a familiar favorite.