Maeve Paisley Grace

 This past week Ellery and I babysat horses (5 head down from 12) at Dub and Linda's for several days.  It gives them a chance to go spend time with granddaughters without worrying about troughs, stalls and feeding time--and me a chance to pretend I'm a cowgirl. When we got home, Soren petted the dogs and said "You are filthy!  That means you had a great time out there."  It has been a few weeks since Glory went to his new owner in New Mexico along with Furlough.  A few days ago was the first time I thought I saw him in the stall.  It's weird how the mind gets so used to a certain reality and then when things change it still wants to think the way it used to be.  I miss him.

 But I'm having a great time with Grace.  She is Buddy and Princess's baby so she has his hair and face and WALK in a more petite package.  She is like a pencil skirt--doesn't look like much on the hanger, but when you put her on she's a knockout.  She's a shake and gait girl!  It's harder for an older gaited horse to learn to canter--we are working on it using rollers on her outside leg in the round pen.  She's willing to learn and has a great forward attitude.  I like her a lot.  Something amazing happened--I had been experiencing chest pain from the anxiety I have been carrying around for the past few weeks--after riding twice, the pain was gone.  I'm so thankful to have riding as a healthy outlet--I have gained a great community as a result as well--Ivins, Feltners, McGillis, and the strong single professional women who run their own places-Carol Camp, Gwen Gerloffs, Chris Broxson, Val Delana, JeanMarie Degville.  They are inspirational to me and have been so generous with their advice and encouragement.

Linda had this fun vintage Betty Crocker cookbook. I tried to find a date on it unsuccessfully but it had to be from the late 50-60's. I read it. And then I found a blog called Jen but never Jenn where she tries to live like a 1950's housewife. It is a riot. She talks about how every dish has a sauce and how she fresh squeezes juice every morning.  What was the fascination with moulding meat into all sorts of contortionist aspics?  At any rate, it lit a fire in me (the cookbook, not the aspic)-this summer I haven't been cooking very much--too hot, too busy? When I got home I cooked. Yesterday was Peach Pork Chops, and today was Reuben Sandwiches/Apple Slaw, Eggnog pie. I garnished, I used my apron, I made up a beverage:  mix orange juice concentrate w/ Bengal spice ice tea.  Ellery said dinner today was "drooping" with flavor. Football has started so the walking vaccuum that is my son is happy to have good food around.  Me, I must jog tomorrow. 
One of my friends had boxes from a recent move and I just asked her "Can I have those? Maybe if I bring them home, God will see that I'm ready to let our house sell." Within a month, we got an offer. So we have a contract pending on our house.  We applied for a rental house but were too late in the process so I went over to another friend's house to try the boxes magic thing again.  The next week we put in an application for a rental home in the kids' school district and it was accepted.  We are going over there tomorrow to check it out again and give the deposit.  This week, I will be madly getting ready for school to start, working, and editing my possessions to fit into 2400sq ft.  There is virtually no laundry room so that will be a challenge since I basically live in the laundry room.  Instead of decorating with a theme in mind, I have decided to decorate based on how I want to feel in each room.  So for now, I want to channel Christine Lagarde (music/office)-worldly/effortlessly chic/smart minimalism, Queen Maeve (master bdr)-apparently the woman had a healthy "appetite", and Janis Joplin (kitchen)-quirk/casual denim, paisley and funkyjunk. 


Corpus and other bodies

 My harp is strung and I have resumed work on Debussy's "First Arabesque."  The world is actually returning to its axis.  When people experience a faith crisis, nothing feels safe.  I was questioning everything-whether it was real, imagined, a product of my miseducation or personal flaws.  I am again feeling like ground is solid beneath me flaws and all.  So while Cyler was in CA working, I decided to take the kids to the beach like I try to do every year.  This time, to prove I could, we camped.  Sans the master camper of the family.  Hubris you say?  Soren, Ellery and I put up the tent, the canopy, blew up the mattress, got the dogs situated, built fires, loaded and unloaded the wood box, lit the lantern, made the fire, broke camp (that's when I REALLY missed Cyler) etc. The kids were brilliant helpers. It was a good confidence builder for me although it is much more fun (and less work) with Cyler there.  We missed him. 
 But I got my ocean/sand/seaweed fix.  I try to get one annually if possible.  The noise, smell, feel, taste is healing to me.  Padre Island was different-never been there before. We were able to drive on the sand to find a place just right. Then, I just laid on the shore bellydown, digging my hands in the mud.  The little tiny shells would move to bury themselves back in the sand. They were so tiny-and alive and marvelous.  I thought about Abraham and having children that numbered like the sands on the seashore. I love my 3 specks of sand.
 Camp was hot.  At one point I laid outside on a sleeping bag and consciously let myself melt.  Sauna-like.  No mosquitoes--we had ants and flies instead.  Cyler sent us with a portable A/C which saved our bacon in the tent at night. 
I would swim out in the lake and turn around to find Bodhi swimming diligently to catch up.  When he would finally get to me, I would dip the boogie board under him so he could climb on.  We would float in the middle of the lake like that with him standing proud on the boogieboard.  I know if he could talk, he would say "I'm the King of the World!"
 We carved soap, swam in the lake, chopped up dead fish (Soren), told scary stories, roasted marshmallows. Ellery played with our neighbors.  Three girls with their grandparents in their travel trailer.  I think they felt sorry for us in their cushy digs.  The adults were oldschool Texas and invited us in the trailer for tea--complained about how their liberal son didn't like it when they joked about "the Asians, or the Mexicans."  It was entertaining to talk with them as I bit my tongue and poked Soren to do the same--the sweet tea was manna from heaven in the heat.  The dogs were in heaven no matter where we were--under our feet at our side every moment day and night. They were thrilled to sleep in the tent with us.
I had planned to make lots of fun tinfoil meals in the fire.  I had recipes called Hillbilly Trash Breakfast and Hobo Adobo.  Don't those sound fun!  But alas it was so hot--we ended up eating lots of fresh fruit/vegs, cheese/lunchmeat/tuna, crackers, yogurt, cereal, PBJ sandwiches.  No-fire-required foods.  I let the kids have candy and soda-they weren't sure where their mom went and who this alien substitute was that was letting them consume red Fanta and SourPatch kids.

Today in Homechurch, Cyler described a person who sounded freakish--it ended up being Einstein.  Soren's talk compared jewish/muslim/christian concepts of hell.  Ellery spoke about sharing and how gossiping was not a good way to share.  I explored the concept of egalitarianism--used Numbers 11 and Matt 23/compared Camelot,strict hierarchy, hybrids like LDS church/asked "are men really created equal?"/looked at difference between forced economic equality vs Berkman's idea of equal opportunity which implies freedom, not the necessity of quantifiable economic equality.

I am enjoying our family retreat.  Focusing inward is helping me to avoid being overly porous which is natural for me.  My parents are worried, feel betrayed, scared my kids will devolve into homeless heroin junkies forever bereft of celestial glory (ok I exaggerate) if I don't take them to a brick/mortar church, want me to change and just do it their way.  It bothers me that our searching hurts them but I need to find my own way to do religion that is healthy for our family.  I am not a rank 'n file, pray/pay/obey mormon.  I don't know how my religious life will look yet.  But going back to status quo ante is not an option.  We need to get our private religion aligned with God before we can find a fit in public religion.  Internet sources are helping me, not to make a decision since I'm on retreat from making a final decision about religion, but to know I'm not alone in this.  My specifically mormon list of helpful sites/people:

Claudia Bushman
Jana Reiss
Lisa Butterworth
Zelophehad's Daughters (blog)
MormonStories and John Dehlin (podcasts), John you are a Godsend.
Lowell Bennion
Eugene England
J Bonner Ritchie

Mostly though, I am still commited to only 2 thoughts.  Love God and Be Quiet.  For 2 more precious weeks I get to be off the ritualistic/legalistic hamster wheel and function solely on Love God and Be Quiet. It feels luxurious.



Matt 18:20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Today at homechurch we talked about prayer and meditation.  We also listened to a message about giving with willingness and the kids updated us on their individual charitable projects.  Then Ellery gave a talk about how nice it was to not worry that what she would say wouldn't be what the "Church" wanted her to say and that she doesn't feel like a freak anymore.  Ellery came up with the idea to have each of us write 4 topics of personal interest and then over the next few weeks we would all give talks.  The list reads:

1. Overview basic beliefs of a variety of religions
2.  God
3.  Historical accounts of people's contact with the Divine.
4. Hell?

1.  Patience
2.  What is egalitarianism
3.  What is social justice
4.  My personal faith journey (Childhood to present)

1.  Faith
2.  On "feeling like a freak"
3.  Divine intervention
4.  Truth

1.  How Africa does church
2.  Drinking
3.  Tattoos
4.  Love

I am so excited I can't stand it.  I am feeling more myself everyday.  It is slow progress--no harp yet and yesterday I stress ate.  Those will be the next two things to pack in my little handcart of faith--harp and healthy eating.  I am getting more vision of what our family's journey could look like free of religious label and walls.  I found hope today in our little rickety church.


Packing the Handcart

This post is dedicated to the September 6, those intellectual pioneers that were made to leave their covered wagons in the middle of the trek.

Pioneers follow truth.

"I felt earnestly that this was what God had prepared me to do, to present these problem areas in a context that allowed for faith and still acknowledged what the anti-Mormons or the critics would bring up, but to say: "Yeah? So what? These are human beings." God works with fallible human beings, whether they're your parents or your prophets. This is a way of understanding it and maintaining faith."  --D Michael Quinn

"Elder Packer said, 'I have a hard time with historians, because historians idolize the truth."   --D Michael Quinn


How am I to proceed?

 Soren highadventure Colorado 2012
 Cyler and Soren highadventure Colorado 2012

Ellery Saratoga Springs NY
 Times Square NY NY
 Buddha face Heather
 Broadway Book of Mormon production
 Subway NY NY
 Boston after the Freedom Trail
Where the revolutionary war turned from embryo to fetus

What do I do now?

I consider the year 2000 to be the time when I became intellectually independent.  I have gladly ridden the mental/spiritual rollercoasters I either built for myself or those that others invited me to join with them on.  I enjoy debate, observation, experimentation, thinking, reading, making up new questions, turning the answers upside down to see if they still ring with truth.  I can see where capitalism is great and where it fails.  I can see where communism is great and where it fails.  I see how great that we are not all Democrats, I see how great that we are not all Republicans.  I could argue benefits of all sorts of family structures.  I can argue for or against many types of segregation, revolution, cultural movement, governmental policy. 

 I love that:
The legalist finds equality and happiness in the rule of law
The fundmentalist stays on the literal, unmovable, unchangable rock
The conservative orthodox has the confidence that they are right and their way makes things better
The liberal progressive is comfortable and excited with change to make things better
The agnostic is honest in saying "I don't really know"
The non-theist takes full responsibility for action and knows (s)he has one chance to make it count.
The anarchist finds equality and happiness in acting without being compelled

Which one am I?  How am I to proceed if I have internalized them all?  Why do I use labels when I hate them?  Where is God?

July 2012 I am tired of the heart/mind rollercoaster and want to get off.  How do I proceed with no questions, no quest, no opening myself to another's view, no establishing a view only to dash it against the wall tomorrow, no wondering whether or not a certain outlook is 'true."  No trying on different definitions of what truth is.  No wondering, for example, if JSmith read Emmanuel Swedenborg and if he did, why wasn't I taught that the idea of a tripartite heaven originated in his visions that commenced April 6 1744.  Just tell me the whole truth--I can handle it.  I have wanted to know, to believe.  I have lots of faith.  I have lost of faith.  I don't want to have faith in things that won't benefit my kids when they walk out of my house as adults in a few years. I love god and my fellow men.  Do I show it enough?  Jesus's teachings--is that enough?  I have no idea why scapegoatism has to be an eternal principle where living things have inside them the ability to self-heal.  Can I say that out loud?  Why can't I be like so-and-so and not ask or care about this stuff.  For the past 12 years I have woken up to the many of the same questions that I lay down at night only to pick them up again the next morning. And while I have tried to raise my kids, stuff seeps in.  My dad  breaks my heart with an honest response.  Confidants judge-(why don't you do it my way, Heather).  I lose balance. I make mistakes.  My kids say things reflecting attitudes that curl my toenails.  Stuff I struggle against but maybe I'm doing so in vain?  Give my liberty away for something I can't tell anymore is valuable enough to merit the sacrifice.  God, I'm tired.  Am I allowed to say that?  This would be one crazy testimony at the pulpit.

Faith journeys have to include crisis.  Maybe all learning does.  I have tried to do mine in public thinking it helps.  Have I learned?  From what my family members have said, I feel like I'm running out of time.  I can't control what they believe.  How do I proceed from here?  I am retreating from learning--ideas, questions, critical analysis, others' opinions of truth or of how they think we should proceed and especially me telling others my opinions and how I think they should proceed.  For a few weeks my family is going to live with 2 ideas.  We love.  We want quiet.  I am now ready to proceed.  I retreat.


I Hear They Comin' for Me

Sometimes living and blogging about living are mutually exclusive tasks. This fun day was my bday present from Becky. We saw JP Gaultier's museum exhibit in Dallas. (Sorry JP for slobbering on your tartan ball gown.) It showed how creative impulses start so young and reside in us if we let it for our whole life. Those bullet bras he made for Madonna he had made them for his bear as a young child. Then we went to Dick's Last Resort where they like to ruff up the customer. It was FUN!
Mother of five, brilliant right leaning fixer of many technological apparati with a hat that says "I miss my old job." The stick figure is a pole dancer in a rain of $$. Hilarious!! Thank you for making my 42nd year one to laugh at. (although I thought all last year I was 42. Numbers slay me.)
I had a job interview in Austin and we took the kids to Lost Pines Hyatt. Guys golfed, and Ell and I had spa stuff. Ellery also did a donkey scavenger hunt, made leather goods and buttons, we rode bikes. So fun.
I am working now for real. Billable hours and a task list, part time consultant to build corporate online education programs. I am actually working under the auspices of Cyler's former boss AMS. I feel fortunate to have this work that enables me to work from home. I am determined to make it work along with home family, primary singing time, working out, and riding. I am sure a lot of juggling will occur. Yay. Hence today's title- a line from one of two inspirational songs I use to pump me up: "I'm the Best" by NickiMinaj (clean version of course*wink)
and I love Cake's "Short Skirt/Long Jacket."
For a Christmas present, Cyler took Soren hunting with the pool guy. That night I asked Ellery to make dinner together. I love cooking with all of us in the kitchen. She yelled "Let's make eggrolls." "Uhmm ok" I say knowing full well I was an eggroll virgin.
We got it done. Ate some. Saved some for the hunters. And froze some for SuperBowl weekend.
A good quick asian dip: Shrimp cocktail sauce, Bragg's Aminos, grape jelly, some minced ginger. Easy.
Candlelight with my girl. Yes I ate 5 eggrolls--this was pre-get on the wagon with my eating plan.