Saturday, December 12, 2009

School of Life

I watch the students at the University as they arrive, fresh-faced, scared, some maybe crying a bit at leaving their home behind. Taking baby steps as they learn to navigate in their new world.

I see some of them plunge whole heartedly into everything that campus life has to offer. They challenge themselves with classes of substance and do everything to earn top marks, they join clubs, they find and cultivate new relationships. They get the most out of being in college.

Then I see some students who sign up for the easiest classes they can find, and maybe only 1 or 2 of those. They sleep til noon, watch tv or play video games and rarely leave their apartments, even to attend class.

And some students go through the motions. They take on a full academic load and then put forth the least amount of effort possible to earn a barely passable grade. Some of these will panic as the semester draws to a close and beg the faculty for "mercy" and show "death-bed repentance" as they realize they are falling short.

I see all these things every semester.

A parable of life.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New York, New York

Andy has been waiting almost 19 years for the letter he received yesterday. A letter to change his life. As a young boy he would say that he hoped the letter would tell him he was going to New Zealand. Why New Zealand? "Because there aren't any snakes in New Zealand." I don't know if that's true, but it always made me smile.

Andy has taken Seminary for 4 years, Sunday School for 16, scripture study, (although that could have been better)and good clean living for his whole life. He was preparing to go serve the Lord, help people in need, and spread the good word.

He was very anxious waiting for THE letter, the one telling him where he was called to serve.

Yesterday it came. Last night the family gathered together to watch him open it up.
He started to read,
"Dear Elder Mitchell:

"You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the New York New York South Mission." Basically all of New York City except Manhattan.

When I heard where he was called I immediately thought, "of course, yes that is where he should go." He leaves Feb. 10. and will be gone for 24 months. It will be a tremendous growing experience for him. Kind of like the "right of passage" to manhood. He will pay his own way, work 6 days a week, and only call home 4 times for the entire mission. We hope he will forget himself and grow to love serving those around him. I'm so happy for him.

How exciting.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Humbug

It's December.
time for twinkling lights
Bing Crosby on the radio
the smell of pine in my living room

and I'm just going through the motions.
I'm just not feeling it.


How can I catch that elusive "Christmas Spirit" when all I'm feeling is a "Christmas Schlump"?

I've tried to become more aware of what makes me feel all warm and jolly and I've come up with a short list:

1. Attend Christmas Productions.

The Nutcracker Ballet was definitely a booster, not a schlumper. I will be attending the Messiah sing-along on Sunday and will embarrass myself whole heartedly, but I'll feel it again I'm sure.

2. Decorate the House for the Holidays.
I'm still only about half decorated. The tree is in my living room, but alas, totally bare. I briefly considered leaving it that way and just enjoying the sweet scent of pine, but I know my kids and grandkids would think I was "lame".

3. Make a Gift.
There is definitely nothing that sparks the Christmas spirit more than making a gift with your own two hands. It brings out the inner elf in you. I did a lot of my Christmas shopping online (another plus I think) but am making a couple of the gifts. I can't say what they are because the recipient might read this, but when I'm working on it I feel like whistling "Jingle Bells" or "12 Days of Christmas". And when the recipient shows up unexpectedly I scramble to hide it. Great fun.

That's it. I can't say much more than that is putting me in the mood. The snow outside is frightful, not holiday-ish. When the high temp doesn't get out of the single digits and the low is always in the negatives it feels more like January than Christmas.

I need help. What puts YOU in the Holiday Spirit?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November Gifts

~ My sidewalk is done and I love it! The first day after they took off the tarps I just kept going out there and walking it. It's exactly what I envisioned. I'm so glad Mike let me draw it out the way I wanted. Thanks Honey!

~ That my podiatrist is really helping me with my foot pain. First of the month I couldn't take a step without pain, now I am virtually pain free. I'm thankful for modern medicine.

~ That Andy received his Patriarchal Blessing. It was a special day, and he received some wonderful promises.

~ That Andy's mission papers were sent to SLC. We are waiting to hear where he'll be going. It's exciting and kind of scary.

~ That David and Emily's family were okay after they were in a car accident that demolished their car. What a blessing!

~ That I love my job. I truly feel appreciated and like a contributing member of a valuable team. They are the greatest people to work with.

~ That I went to the movies 3 times! I can go a year without going to the movies, but for some reason this month we just went. It was pretty fun, too. I went with Joni and Abby twice and once with Andy and Mike. When I went with Mike the manager loaded us up with pop and popcorn for free. Sometimes it pays to be married to Mr. Social Butterfly. He has friends where ever we go.

~ I'm blessed to have a warm house, yummy food, a cuddle puppy, 2 feline friends, and so much more. It's been a pretty good month.

Love is in the Air

Recipe for love:
Take a bunch of hormonally-charged young adults.
Immerse their brains in school work.
Overload them with projects, readings, 10-page papers that are due tomorrow.
Squeeze out all spare minutes, make sure they don't have time to hang out at their apartments, go to movies, or chill (after all this is a hot dish).
Intensely mix with other Geology students who are in the same pot of hot water.

...and watch the sproutings of love pop up here and there and every which where.

Maybe its ionic bonding.
Maybe its a magnetic pulling.
Maybe its the theory of "misery likes company".

These are science students, after all.