Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 222, August 20

Today would have been Carla and her sweet husband Rolf's 41st wedding anniversary.  I say "would have been," yet that is inaccurate.  It is still their wedding anniversary, still a day to celebrate their love.  For that loves continues.

I picture them in heaven, doing the things they did not have the opportunitiy to do here on earth because  circumstances--health, caring for elderly parents, jobs--did not permit.  I imagine them taking ballroom dance lessons, serving a mission, raising their daughter Kathy, and I rejoice for them.

Joy for today:  celebrating a love affair that is never-ending.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 221, August 19

"Be the living expression of God's kindness.  Kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting."  Mother Theresa

Not surprisingly, I found this quote in a book that two kind friends gave me for my birthday, A HEART LIKE HIS.  My friends epitomize kindness in their concern for me, for others, for people they don't know.  One friend volunteers at The House of Neighborly Service where food, clothes, and other goods are offered free to anyone in need.  The other friend makes a point of visiting a lady in our ward who can't get out.  These are but a few of the giving things these special women do.

I have many other friends who also live kindness.  They inspire me to do better, inspire me to pull out of myself when I want to wrap myself in my grief.

Joy for today:  having friends who live kindness.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Day 220, August 18

"Sameness is to be found most among the most 'natural' men, not among those who surrender to Christ.  How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been; how gloriously diferent are the saints."--C.S. Lewis.

I had to read the above words several times to absorb them.  And then, as though the proverbial ligiht bulb went off in my head, I got it.  Those who choose to align themselves, to surrender themselves to Christ, are different.  They are different in how they love, in how they perceive others.  Those who choose not to align themselves, to surrender themselves to Christ, are alike in that they will always value power and appearance over substance, they will always find ways to bully others.

Joy for today:  being gloriously different.  Or trying to.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day 219, August 17

It's been almost four weeks since my sister died.  So many things remind me of her.  I see a Subaru car, and I think, "That looks like Carla's."  I watch a show on TV and think, "Carla would have laughed with me at the antics of the characters."  I hear a hymn that she loved and think, "Carla should be hearing this with me."

And so on.

Then I realize that Carla knows my thoughts, knows that I miss her, knows that I love her still.  My heart is gladdened to know that she is never far away.

Another part of my heart, that part which is still grieving, which will always grieve, longs to hold her, to share with her thoughts and feelings, to call her up and laugh over silly things.  It is a heart divided.

Joy for today:  remembering Carla.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day 218, August 16

Recently I read of some scientists at BYU (Brigham Young University) who are using tree mapping (studying the rings of trees) to better predict and understand current draught conditions in Utah.  By doing so, they hope to help people prepare for and work within water limitations.

Isn't that great?  By studying the past, we can help understand and better our present and future.  The writer in me sees a parallel between this and family history work.  If I come to know my ancestors, their trials, and struggles, I can understand myself and my family more, to prepare us for our own "draught" conditions.

And we will all face draught conditions.  Whether it be the death of a loved one, unemployment, a child who strays from the faith, whatever, we will face them because we live in a telestial world, where sorrow and pain are inevitable.

I've faced my own draught recently, trying to come to grips with it and at the same time go on at the loss of my sister.  When I read of my grandfather who left his wife and little family to serve not one but two missions to a faraway land, I am strengthened.  When I read of my grandmother who carried on after the death of her husband, raising nine children on her own, I am strengthened once again.

Joy for today:  learning from the past.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 217, August 15

Today is Larry's birthday.

Larry and I met 45 years ago at Brigham Young University at what was then called "Meet Your Bishop" night.  He came up to me and said, "You've got good-looking legs."  Alas, that that were only so today.

We started dating.  The following summer, Larry left for a two year mission for our church.  We wrote continuously, and I sent him care packages.  (Incidentally, one of his mission companions was Rolf Berger, who, when he came home from his mission, met my sister.  But that's a story for another day.)

The spring after Larry returned, we were married.  Things got bumpy right away.  By bumpy, I mean a pregnancy bump and a bunch of other little bumps.  But we persevered.  Forty-one years, five children, grandchildren, and a cat who thinks of us as staff later, we are still persevering.

Larry has stuck by me through depression, the ups and downs of writing, losing my parents and sister, and a host of other things.

As I said, things haven't always been easy, but we love each other and love the Lord.  In the end, that's what really matters.  In the end, that's all that matters.

Joy for today:  being married to the man I love.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day 216, August 14

Today is our grandson Brigham's 10th birthday.  Brigham is filled with mischief and curiosity, energy and love.  When he smiles, his whole face lights up into one big dimple.

I sometimes tease him, telling him that he can't show those dimples (for which he is justifiably famous) for one hour.  He lasts, at the most, one minute before the dimples break out again.

Can you tell that I love those dimples?

Joy for today:  loving Brigham.  And his dimples.