Sunday, September 30, 2012

You Know What This Means

No worries though...we have this:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Solitude and San Francisco


We got back yesterday from a little jaunt to Yosemite/San Francisco. With our long cruise coming up in a few weeks, I felt a little guilty, like I didn't really deserve a fun trip, but with a lot crowding my mind it was a much needed break--not to think about everything but to not have to think about anything for a few days.

The wilderness was refreshing. Down in the valley things were a bit crowded, but when Austin and I got above it all we found the peace and quiet we love about the wilderness. (That's me in the picture above!!). Along with the massive scenery we also saw some unique wildlife--a bear (almost hit it with our car), a "mountain lion," and a "small peasant." I suspect the last two items may have actually been a stray dog and a small bird respectively, but I guess I'll have to take Austin's word for it that a ferocious wildcat and petite Russian √©migr√© were both wandering around by the road.

The city was energizing and exhausting at the same time. Austin was conferencing during the day, so I explored by myself most of the time. I always have to gear myself up to go out in cities because the sounds and smells and people and general hubbub can be overwhelming. You've got to have your wits about you. But once I'm out, I love trotting about briskly being a part of the glorious wash of humanity. I made several good discoveries, including the fortune cookie factory and cream puff shop, perfected the art of not looking dumb when you are lost in the city, (Halfway down the block, when you realize you are going the wrong direction, pause, gaze pensively at the store window in front of you, wait until people right behind you have moved past, then turn around) and generally enjoyed myself people-watching. My favorite find was the guy decked out head to toe in camo, accessorizing with a pink Hello Kitty bag. Sometimes in the city it can be hard to differentiate between ironic fashion statements and mental illness.

I will share one last memorable moment, filed under A for "Awkward." On one of our cab rides our driver decided to chit-chat and asked us the standard question: "Where are you from?" Me: "We're from Utah." Driver: "Are you English?" Me: "" And that was pretty much the end of all conversation for the rest of the 30 minute drive.  

All in all a successful trip. It's hard to go wrong with a combo of granite cliffs and luxury hotels.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Have the Courage to Claim Your Gifts

This post started out as a recap of our Mt. Timp hike on Saturday. I guess I can still do that. It was hard. It was pretty. Enoch was sick as a dog but still beat us off the mountain. I like hiking. Here are a few pictures:


And now turning to the topic on my mind. I've been doing a lot of reading lately about women in history, women in religion, and women and parenting. I was lent some focus for this post when my sister-in-law blogged slightly apologetically about having a job--presumably because she also has a child. In my culture (the people I know, associate with, read,) there seems to be a hierarchy of jobs for mom, with voluntary full-time working mom of small children being the most looked down upon and mom with part-time job from home (preferably something interesting or crafty) being the most desirable--in this day and age trumping mom with no job other than raising human beings. (For some diabolical reason referred to as "I don't work. I stay at home with our kids.")

To me the ideal as a mother seems to be having a part-time job or hobby that takes you outside your home and away from your adorable offspring for at least a little while each week. Trying to work at home with kids underfoot or in your precious evening relaxation time sounds very frustrating. (Yet more economically viable, I know.) I still can't figure out the what and when of this myself, so take my opinion for what it's worth. I'm still trying to "have the courage to claim [my] gifts," especially the gift of writing. Blogging has been a small result of that. As a mom my day is full of accomplishments that are immediately destroyed and thus hard to take a lot of pride in. Whatever your hobby or job, I would say do something you see a lasting end product of. It will bring you joy.

And now for the quote section, (most of which I thought applied to my husband as well as myself) and some finishing thoughts:

"Woman can best re-find herself by losing herself in some kind of creative activity of her own" -Ann Morrow Lindbergh

"Sisters, find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children..." -M. Russell Ballard

"We believe that women are useful, not only to sweep houses, wash dishes, make beds, and raise babies, but that they should stay behind the counter, study law or physic, or become good bookkeepers and be able to do the business in any counting house, and all this to enlarge their sphere of usefulness for the benefit of society at large." -Brigham Young

"I like the idea of having both a vocation and an avocation—a trade and a love. For women, homemaking must be at least our vocation (for some, it might be an avocation as well). We might also prepare for another vocation, but in addition, we should cultivate as many avocations as we would like. Women who have an avocation of music seem to be particularly blessed, and their families are blessed, too. I have seen women enrich their families with their abilities in art, science, mathematics, gardening, sewing, cooking, interior decorating, carpentry, sports, shopping, nursing—there are as many possibilities as there are women." -Petrea Kelly

Finishing thoughts: I have tried to write this paragraph over and over. How do I communicate the fact that I have become less judgmental of our work/hobby choices as women yet more cognizant of the duty placed upon us when we become mothers? How do I convey that the minutia of motherhood and especially being caretakers of young children involves time and effort to find grace in and that as I wonder that so many moms go back to work full-time when their babies are just a few months old I don't wonder that they want to? I really like this topic. So much potential for offending people! So much effort not to that we never think about what we think about it! I think these real life issues really wake up our brains and force us to stretch.