Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Starlight, starbright

"The night is dark, it seems starless, but I know it’s not. Sometimes, it’s just the cloud cover that blocks my ability to see the small twinkles of light that dot the night sky."
Click here to read my sister-in-law's most recent post at Segullah. It is lovely and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Only human

Sunday promised to be a warm day. And it was warm. And windy. Dirt-in-your-eye windy. The Texas wind is a plains wind. It swept across empty, unplanted fields and tossed loose, rusty dirt into the sky.

We were safe in our car.

A man on the corner held a very large, wooden cross announcing, "Jesus Loves You!" Behind him, the sky was angry, a choking peachy-brown. One driver honked his horn in support as he zipped through the intersection. "Beep Beep! I agree!" But that's about as friendly as it got. Unforunately, the only ones to read the sign were people who were already devoted enough to get their butts out of bed and go to....wait for it....Church.

Most of us were thinking, "Yyyep. And He'll still love you if you call it day. He made the wind and the dirt in your eye. Go home. Testify on a less blustery day."

I said, "I'm not as devoted as that guy." And I'm not. Long-suffering is not a personal strength. Nor did I think to bring him a hot chocolate or...something. That's sad considering I had just come from...wait for it again...Church. And it's not really comforting to note that you didn't stop either.

Well, maybe it is. Sometimes I think it does help to remember that I'm not the only human being who is only human.

I have a friend who is expecting a baby. It's wonderful. And terrible. She's very sick. My friend went to Target the other day to make a quick return. Exhausted by building a placenta or tiny toes, she just couldn't hack the long walk from the nether regions of the parking lot. Plus, those empty spaces were just too far from the morning-sickness-accommodating public restrooms she might possibly need to rush to. So, she swiped a handicapped space. There is more to this story, but the point is, she felt guilty.

{By the way, I don't know how to fix that sentence. It "might possibly" be redundant ending with a "to?" }

In conclusion (because I know you haven't followed me):

We do things inefficiently (testifying to ourselves in a windstorm.) We aren't always committed enough to make sacrifices for a great cause (witnessing in a windstorm, even if the only one who really witnesses it is the Creator of said windstorm.) We don't stop to shield another from the windstorm (or at least bring a restorative cup of joe, I mean, cocoa.) We make jokes about coffee when we've promised to abstain AND to avoid the appearance of evil. We don't know how not to...end a sentence with a preposition. And we must call attention to our faults and/or grammatical errors before someone else does. We are simply mortal; sometimes sick, sometimes weary, and never able to foretell the future. And sometimes we take things that don't belong to us.

Sometimes, there are valid reasons for taking things that don't belong to us. And sometimes, even the most valid of reasons are not valid enough to satisfy the demands of our own conscience.

The lessons I'll be learning until I die
The antidotes to this mortal quandary: Flexibility in the face of unforeseen circumstances, giving and receiving mercy, and laughter and friendship -->thus, hopefully increasing my own personal devotion.

P.S. This post does not speak for my friend.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In the leafy treetops, the birds sing, "Good Morning!"

"They're first to see the sun; they must tell everyone!
In the leafy treetops, the birds sing, "Good Morning."

This summer my brother and Birdie got married. They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. Later that evening, in the late afternoon summer shade, they exchanged rings before family and friends. As she looked out over assorted --even mismatched-- loved-ones, Birdie smiled contentedly and said, "This is exactly how I pictured it."

This morning as I was getting ready for the day, I was thinking about Birdie, who I'll see in a couple of hours and give thanks with on this holy Thanksgiving Day (holy in all it's grateful-turkey-football-familyness) and I remembered her quiet happiness. And I wished it for me, and I wish it for you, and I wish it for our little ones, parents, and for Birdie today: that Thanksgiving will be exactly how you pictured it.

With love,

P.S. L. had a birthday. Photos haven't been developed. (No, we haven't joined the digital age.) I'll post-post about it. It Rocked.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

To be sung with Scottish Brogue:

I would walk 500 miles,
And I would 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles to fall down at your door.

Da da da da!

And if you seriously can't sing along with me (how sad):


So, my birthday is coming up. And this one's not just any birthday. It's the Big 3-0. I remember when my parents were in their thirties. They were grown-ups.

As a birthday present to myself, I'm setting a goal to walk, not 500, but 100 miles by the happy occasion.

This isn't a weight loss goal, although that'd be nice. Nor will this excuse me from gym time. And I'm not counting the walks I take around Walmart...you know, that purposefully, poorly designed store that sucks you in and only spits you out until after you've spent 3 hours and 3 times as much money as you'd planned. (Aaaaaanyway...)

Walking 100 miles will not be difficult. But it will take a concerted effort to getter-done. (Yes, I did just use the words "getter done" and "concerted effort" in the same sentence. I'm conflicted.)

In order to accomplish this goal, I will need to walk an average of 11.1111111 miles per week.

So, will you help me? You don't have to walk a mile in my shoes, you can just walk a mile beside them.

It'll be the cheapest birthday present you ever bought.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

7 months old today

Words fail.

The Great Pumpkin


Here are our pics from Halloween.
L.'s a construction worker, not Bob the Builder. P.'s the fattest little puppy you ever saw.

Things you might have overheard their dorky mom saying:

"Dat puppy needs to be put on a diet! Oh, it's a baby? Well, he's perfect then."


"Say, 'I Love This Old House!'" (He said it! hee hee.)

I know he needs a haircut. BUT ANYWAY, we love "the fixin' guys" at our house. (This Old House, PBS) And that vest was made by yours truly out of a paper grocery sack. Just call me Martha.

The dalmation costume was made by me too. I'm freakin' amazing. Just call me...Target...3 years ago. (Little P.'s costume inheriting has officially begun. Next year: tigger. The year after that: Luke Skywalker...oh, wait.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Because this is how church callings are supposed to work

What Christmas songs will the Primary kids sing in Sacrament Meeting?


When Joseph Went to Bethlehem
Away In A Manger (hymn version)
Silent Night (possibly with ASL)
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (think a Charlie Brown Christmas, v.1 only)
Santa Baby?!

Yes, I will pray about it.

But, seriously, any requests?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Walmart 911

As I loaded up the cart with apples, I believed that L. was drooling over the donuts. He wasn't. I turned around. I turned back around. He. was. gone. I looked and looked. I looked long enough that I asked for help. I closed my eyes right where I was standing, in the middle of Produce, and prayed. Then I asked the guy in the navy blue vest with the button name tag.

When we found L (on his way in to the arcade) I grabbed his little grey Texas Tech hoodie with one hand and covered my face with the other and BAWLED. You know, that heaving, silent cry. Then, surrounded by 5 or 6 Walmart employees, I knelt down, still crying, but able to speak.

"I was so frightened. I thought someone might have taken you away from me and never given you back. I was worried you were kidnapped. Please stay close to me. Don't wander away. I thought I might have lost you...."

Midflow, he said, "But I thought you might have been mama-grabbed."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

TV Land

Me: I think you watch too much t.v.
L: No way! My brain's still workin'.

He'll be 4 in 2 weeks.

Monday, October 27, 2008

L's mosaic

Again, these photos are all from Flickr. See My Mosaic (two posts back) for instructions.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

B's mosaic

1. first name
2. favorite food-Chinese
3. high school-Davis High. He must remember these mornings: dark, cold, snowy, and wishing you were still in bed.
4. favorite color-purple
5. celebrity crush-Marlon Brando. Okay, so he doesn't actually have a crush on Marlon Brando, but I just couldn't bring myself to post a picture of Marissa Tomei.
6. favorite drink-coke. Read what that wall says! "Delicious & Refreshing; Coca Cola relieves fatigue."
7. dream vacation-Lake Powell (Aerosmith: "DREAM ON, DREAM ON!)
8. favorite dessert-cafeteria style peanut butter bars
9. When you grow up, you want to be...-a professor
10. What do you love most in this life? The Lord.
11. One word to describe you: persistent.
12. Free Space: MOUNTAINS. He loves them; he craves them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Mosaic

To make your own picture mosaic, type your response to each of the following questions into the flickr search engine, choose a picture from the first page that comes up, then post the URL's into the mosaic maker. Thank you, my friend S. for doing this in your blog. (It was beautiful.) And do you see how many links I just did?! (Freakin' amazing.) Guilty conscience speaking: I bent the rules a tiny bit. But, rules are made to be....bent.

Q & Answers ala Moi:

1. What is your first name? Carrie [Originally, I was going to go with a Carrie Caye photo, but this picture reminded me of a beautiful and dream I had before I met Brando. And yes, I wrote Brando on purpose. It's his preferred nickname. (Smoooooooch!)]

2. What's your favorite kind of food? Italian food (But this french cafe reminded me of B. and our many explorations and happy restaurant discoveries and I like French food, too. Who doesn't?)

3. Where did you attend high school? Davis High, rah! rah! This pic was taken in the mountains above my home town. And, yes, when you arrive, you too will see things through a magical blue-green lens.

4. What is your favorite color? blue and green and.... (This image came up when I search "blue, green, white, pink.")

5. Celebrity crush? James MacAvoy (I can't help it. I loved him in Penelope. I'll get over him when I see another movie that I love.)

6. What is your favorite drink? Lemonade.

7. What is your dream vacation? Europe.

8. What is your favorite dessert? Chocolate mousse cake, carrot cake, and strawberry shortcake (The carrot cake picture won.) And since seeing S.'s apple pie picture, that's my favorite too.

9. When you grow up, you want to be.....? Brave. (But I found this picture by searching "perfect.")

10. What do you love most in your life? My husband and sons.

11. What's one word to describe you? kindergarten teacher (oh, that's 2 words. But this picture fills my heart with JOY.)

12. Peonies! I love their heavy heads. I don't remember what you're supposed to do for #12. I considered it to be optional.

photo description

1. Carrie's" Apartment, 2. http://www.flickr.com/photos/44548980@N00/176294592/">Bar le Baltard, Marais District, Paris, 3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/spoiler_3/1217864505/">Great Salt Lake Morning View, 4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/shantaya/986017605/">A Berry Good Day, 5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ediehats/2301575380/">James MacAvoy, 6. http://www.flickr.com/photos/laffy4k/203627108/">Simply Lemonade, 7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/visbeek/2618425424/">Meeting the pregnant princess of the forest, 8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/28439449@N02/2733478263/">Carrot Cake, 9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/visbeek/2646265221/">You travel far to discover home., 10. http://www.flickr.com/photos/beija-flor/45414696/">A Child is Born - XII, 11. http://www.flickr.com/photos/willowpoppy/2108050388/">project central, 12. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jstalusphotographs/2355382535/">Peonies in a Vase

Saturday, October 18, 2008


With the advent cooler days, I've felt my spirit drooping. I am anticipating the bare branches, the dry brown grass, the creeping vines to replace their blossoms with prickly thistles. Mostly I'm remembering the wind, sometimes biting and sometimes filling the once blue sky with brown dust clouds. Winter's coming. Winter's coming.

With each spin of the earth, a new day dawns. The leaves soak in the sunlight, the roots gather nutrients. Everything is growing, working, producing in the day. Then night comes and even the trees rest. They do not soak in the sun. Inhale. Exhale. They rest.

In the Spring, seeds shoot roots down, shoot stems up, and the tendrils creep and gather nutrients, Sun. Summer flowers sprout, bees pollinate, fruit plumps. So much Summer bounty and sunshine and produce. Then Indian Summer sunshine and cool nights. Then Harvest and Blessings and Gathering.

Late Fall. We gather, give thanks.

And then it is the cold Solstice and the earth is still spinning but she rests. Peaceful snow-slumber night. And in the night, we read by the fireplace The Story and see the black sky and the pinpoint stars and the one star and the One. And we rest. And we rejoice.

And we endure. The winter drudges on. But then little by little the seeds shoot and the tendrils creep and find sun and earth.


And application. Produce! Carrie. Plant and sow and let your tendrils creep toward light and food, and produce! Then rest like Mother Earth in her season, in your night, in your winter. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe and rest...and rejoice.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven... (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

So Dad, do you feel OLD?

In the car today, our little historian commented, "In 1849, Papa jumped out of airplanes."

Did you say, "1849??"

"Uh-huh. In 1849, Papa jumped out of airplanes. He doesn't do that anymore. Papa told me that."

(Papa is my dad --his grandfather-- not his great-great-great...you get the picture.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing..."

"He chastens and hastens His will to be known."

This is not a sermon; it's a personal reminder on which you are invited to eavesdrop. I have been filled with happiness today. I think Elder Holland's talk is lingering longest. It was unexpected and beautiful. (Saturday) And feel free to skip ahead to day 2. It was a bit more entertaining at our house.

These are the highlights of my Conference experience today.
1. I love staying home with B. xoxox
2. L. was exceptional for...L. Puzzles, blocks, some climbing (on me), raisins.
3. Now THE highlights:

blue - RE-READ (bold.)
green - work to improve
red - answers to prayers (STOP! NOTICE.)
purple - personal insight/prompting/revelation
gold-Opening a new world to me AMAZING or takes my breath away AMAZING.

day 1

President Thomas S. Monson

A temple in Rome. Pray for opening of areas for the preaching of the gospel.

L. Tom Perry
A Simplified Lifestyle.
The spirit and body are the soul of man.
Word of Wisdom
Live within your income. Thrift, industry, economy, frugality.

Sylvia H. Allred
She and her sister raced to read the Book of Mormon.

Neil A. Anderson
"Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision." (a confirmation of personal reflection)

Dallin H. Oaks
"We are seated before the meeting begins." HELLO, CARRIE!!

President Deiter F. Uchtdorf
"Hope is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered."

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
Laugh. "The next time you want to groan, you might think to laugh." It makes the lives of others happier. "Put your trust in the Lord. Do your best. Then leave the rest to Him." (B.'s article, job search)

Jeffrey R. Holland

Angels. {Pray for angels to attend your loved ones and to attend you.} He will fight our battles, our children's battle's, our children's children's battles.

Elder Bednar

Prayer. Meaningful morning prayer is part of the spiritual creation of a new day. Morning and evening prayers are not individual instances, but should be linked together; a continued conversation. I felt like he was giving us a glimpse of a higher spiritual plane. It was conceptually new to me. Enlightening.

Heavenly Father lives and He hears and answers every earnest prayer.

day 2

Written in black for a reason. The reason is almost 4 years old and wasn't quite as cooperative as he was yesterday. He had to apologize multiple times today for various things, one of which was cutting the string holding the blinds together into the cutest little...SHREDS. (And I was sitting right there and didn't even notice. Classic.) Our conversation was as follows:

me: Do you think that was a good choice or a bad choice?

him: Bad choice.

me: When you were cutting, did you think Mommy would be happy or not happy?

him: (putting his hand out flat in front of him, head shaking left to right) But I did not think about that.

me: When Daddy sees this, do you think he will be happy or crazy-mad?

him: Crazy-mad.

postscript: He wasn't crazy-mad.

And so, I just don't remember as much of Conference from today.

But, Pres. Monson's was beautiful. The constancy of change. The little ones will grow up. Toys strewn all over the house. Piles of laundry. I cried because he said "piles of laundry" like he had actually seen piles of laundry.

At breakfast, Bubba talked about seaMOUSES. They live in the water and then when spring comes, they go to the forest to eat leaves. At dinner, he talked about pirates. On some pirate ships, there are good people. And the pirates say, "Well fellows, are you going to be pirates or walk the plank and go 'plash into the water?"

This is me immersed in motherhood.

P.S. And the baby fell off the couch today...this is you feeling like an awesome parent.

P.P.S. He's fine.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"Are ya hOn-gry?"

Those might be the most saintly words ever spoken.

Two Saturday evenings ago, we had dinner with the H's...where have you both been my whole Lubbock Life?!

Bro. H is a surfer (no kiddin') from Southern California. Sis. H is from El Salvador. When they married, he already had 6 children from a previous marriage. While single, a friend of his told him, "Bro. H, you're a pretty good looking guy. But with six kids, you're not that good lookin."

Lucky for him, Sis. H fell in love with his kids first. She would take them to the Latino swapmeets. She said she was the black mama duck with six white baby ducks following behind.

Our evening went a little like this:

Bubba 1 followed her to the grill. He followed her to the dumpster out back. He followed her to the freezer for ice cream. He had a banana split. Bubba 1 was happy.

But not happy enough to give up Bubba 2.

With El Salvadorian accent, holding 5 month old Bubba 2,
Sis. H: "Ooooh, my baby! You can stay here tonight. Your new name is Bubba H."
Then resting her hand on her chest, "Mama H."

Bubba 1: No, he's my baby.

Sis. H: My Baby!

Bubba 1: Mine.


Reluctantly putting Bubba #2 in his carseat to go home, I said, (tearing up, which I'm prone to do--oh brother) "I really loved being here." And Sister H leaned over, put her arm around my shoulder and said, "This is your home." It was like I had my grandmother back from the abyss of Alzheimer's. Thank you, Mama H.

jamerivergirl and Grandma P.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Inspired by Nie

In honor of and inspired by NieNie
Five reasons I choose to be HAPPY today:
more than 6 inches in one day.
wonderful wet miracle.
the mayor declared a state of emergency...it's pretty dry this morning.
see above.
fat blonde babies
2 teeth
he's handling it so well.
and because I choose and I finally remembered that this morning.
Why do you choose?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Musing on a name.

Who am I, really?

I decided to go by jamesrivergirl. BUT, I'm not. I don't live there. I don't even SWIM. I'm a poser!


So, who am I really?

Girl. Woman. Wife. The boys' mommy.

I'm good at storytime. I'm bad at playing. I'm good at tickling. I'm good at verbal and physical affection. I'm also good at flipping on PBS and at raising my voice. So I'm a great or lazy mother depending on the time of...day. But my boys love me. Like, they are in love with me.

Which leads me to the next piece of my identity. I am LUCKY. See, I was stupid and didn't realize I'd hit the jackpot when I married Mr. Right.

Then I was on the pill and I forgot or something...and the fertility goddess smiled on me. Voila: the best mistake we ever made--Bubba 1. Which led (eventually) to the best decision we ever made: Bubba 2. And now, I'm a stay-at-home-mom who, ahem, likes it.

So, here are the nuts and bolts:

wife, mother, currently residing in Lubbock, West Texas (yes, that should be a state of the Union), yoga novice, getting my cable-fix elyptical training, Latter-day Saint, but not always Christian, socially inept yet sometimes friendly, alien-feeling, 29 year old who wishes and waits for her permanent residence in Virginia or near the Oregon coast or some other beautiful locale yet to be discovered, but would like to transplant a couple hundred-thousand West Texans amongst the trees.

Plus, I love to read. I neglect housekeeping and my children to do so.

Once upon a time, I was a teacher with a (tiny) paycheck (but worth my weight in gold.) I was somewhat of an Early Childhood officianado...until I actually had to live with young children.

And I love the ferry. And I love seafood. And lately, I LOVE brownies. And I like to cook. And I like my house to be clean. (hah, hah, hah, hah, hah...you don't think that's funny?) And I love to have friends over. And I love to not feel the need to rehearse every conversation I have with you, but that's usually not to be.

And I love seeing new places with my fellow-explorer/bungler/spouse. And I love watching movies with said spouse. And we love dark, cozy restaurants.

And I love early morning light and hate getting out of bed. And I like co-sleeping and sleeping with my spouse who hates co-sleeping.

So, can you name me, please?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Preemptive, considering I haven't learned how to upload photos.