#47 - Instant Oatmeal

Why is everyone in such a hurry? It wasn't that long ago that the oatmeal that came out of a box and only took 5 minutes to cook was "Instant Oatmeal." Now, you can make a bowl of mush that was probably once actually oats in less than a minute in the microwave. And even then, people stand next to it, wishing it would be done already so they can eat and run.

The other day, I was hurtling down the freeway at 70 mph, next to a bunch of other people who were also hurtling down the freeway at 70 mph, and the insanity of it all just hit me. Maybe the reason life speeds up when we grow older is because /we/ speed up. As a kid, we did a lot of walking. Then, it turned to bikes, and finally, to cars, and, not long after, to flying at speeds well in excess of the speed limit.

Everything we've invented to make our lives easier is actually making them harder. Stop and think about it - we invent washing machines, and then we counter-invent owning hundreds of items of clothing and washing them after 1 wear with no regard to whether they're actually dirty or not. We invent cars, and then we counter-invent working an hour's drive away from our homes. We invent computers, and then we counter-invent so many programs to run on them that everything is constantly crashing, and we're constantly having to upgrade them. We invent the internet, only to counter-invent billions of websites, blogs, email programs, etc. that can literally keep us chained to our desks for 24 hours a day. And all of these things take us away from actually spending time with our families, friends, etc.

I just wish everything would slow down a little bit. We need to take time to breathe, enjoy the moment, treasure life.

A little boy was run over and killed yesterday in Saratoga Springs while his mother was standing there, waving good-bye to her other children at the bus stop. I've been thinking a lot lately about the subject above, but this tragedy really hit me and made me determined to slow down and treasure life. It isn't going to last forever.

While your oatmeal is cooking for 30 seconds in the microwave, turn around and talk to your kids instead of standing there, impatiently waiting for it to be done so you can rush off to the next thing. Better yet, get one of those tubs of old-fashioned rolled oats and take 5 whole minutes to savor life.

# 46 - Life-Sucking Projects

There are times when my whole life gets sucked into a project like a snail in a vortex.

Right now, we're finishing our basement. All of my writing and most of my reading time has disappeared into the ether of the project. (I did manage to read Breaking Dawn, though, so I guess if the snail is determined enough...) :)

We hired a company to come in and do all the work, and the project is getting done in an amazing amount of time because we have big crews of people coming in and out of our house all day. So, why is it sucking all of my time away? I guess partly because the crews are getting things done so fast. It's made us have to make a lot of decisions fast, and that takes a lot of time.

But it's also sucking up a lot of mental and emotional energy. I'm constantly thinking about what phase of the project we're in and how much longer it's going to take and chewing over the decisions we have to make in the back of my head.

It's amazing how easily my energy gets sapped when other things are going on. It's not like I've been doing all that much stuff to get the basement done. Granted, up until the work started, we had to do a lot of work getting everything out of the basement. But for the last couple of weeks, that's been completely behind us, and I still feel drained all the time.

I need to practice some good meditation exercises or something - psych myself up and get back into a normal rhythm of life. I need to learn to let these kind of things take care of themselves and not let them suck my life up so easily.

#45 - Faith

We talked about faith in Relief Society yesterday and then later in the evening, I came across some of my old things my kids had pulled off the shelf. Among them were a series of poems I wrote years ago when I was in Young Women's. Each poem was on one of the Young Women values.

As I read through them, two things struck me. One is that they're not necessarily great poetry. But the other is that I like them still. So I thought, what the hey, why don't I post them on my blog? :D

So, over the next I-don't-know-how-long, I'll be posting my poems at random intervals. Watch for future installments. :)


I walk through a storm,
Blinded by rain.
Thunder rolls by,
Shaking the Earth.
Lightning strikes,
Coursing through air,
Sending brilliant light
For one split second.

Alone and lost
I stumble through
The blinding rain
And wonder -
Where do I turn?
I look around;
There's somewhere to go -
A way to my Home.

I fall to my knees.
Which way do I go?
Where do I turn?
No answer,
Only cold despair.
He must surely have
Deserted me.

Then I see a light
Far off in the East
Faintly, at first,
A candle.
It brightens
I cannot look upon it
As its brilliance
Grows stronger.

I move toward it.
Closer, closer.
The light surrounds me
Until I am overtaken
By a power
Much greater than any
I had ever felt

So strong I search
To find the source.
I feel his arms
Around me
And hear the comforting words
Welcome Home,
My daughter.


One thing that strikes me about the poem on Faith is that it's written in a totally different style than the rest. All my other poems rhyme and are written in a pretty classic iambic pentameter style. They seem more childish, but also more normal. I'm not really sure why I wrote Faith differently. I wish I'd changed it up a little bit with the rest of the poems as well. Or that I'd written all of them the same. ;) Oh, well. It is what it is.

Maybe I'll write a new series of poems on the values and publish those on here someday as well. I'm still not a great poet, though, so I don't know if I could do any better. :) We'll see. If nothing else, it would be a good exercise in improving my poetry-writing abilities. If I write something I feel is significantly better, I'll post it.

#44 - I have regrets

I didn't want to have any regrets when I looked back on raising my kids. I've heard people refer to their oldest child as their "practice baby" or something like that, and it made me so sad! I wanted to be a great mom to all my kids.

So I read tons of books and talked to people and prepared myself in every way I could. But I look back now and I have so many regrets! I tried to do my best with what I knew at the time, but the truth is, I didn't do as well as I could have, even after taking the fact that I didn't know as much as I do now into consideration.

My oldest child is so afraid of the water. She's also afraid of a lot of other things, like sliding down slides, and forget about ever getting her to go on a roller-coaster. Yeah, that'll never happen. Maybe when she's fully grown, but I even have my doubts about that.

Okay, so I have my baby in the mommy-baby swimming class at the local rec center. The first few days, she was so scared to go under water. She's only 2 1/2 and when my oldest was that age, I never in a million years would have pushed her to do something she was scared to do. But the teacher seemed confident that it would be good for them to practice going under even if they were scared about it. So I tried a couple of times, and she came up sputtering and crying, and I was so sad. But then she would wipe her face off and be okay. She clung to me and said she didn't want to do it again, but when her older siblings asked her if she had fun at swimming lessons, she said yes.

On the fourth day, she actually said yes when I asked if she was ready to dive under water. So I did it and she cried and sputtered a little and didn't want to do it again, but a minute later when I asked if she would do it one more time, she said okay.

Fast-forward to today (which was only the 5th day, by the way) and she was jumping into the water off the side of the pool over and over, begging to do it again "just one more time" every time she jumped in. We would practice kicking our feet and she'd do it for one minute and then beg to jump off the side again. Every time she jumped in, I caught her, but I'd let her face go under. And she kept begging to do it again.

So now I feel terrible about my oldest child. If I'd pushed her just a little bit and told her she was okay instead of acting just as scared as she was, would she be scared of the water now? I did take her to the pool a lot when she was 2 and 3, etc. so I thought I'd done everything I could. I thought if I let her go at her own pace, she'd get better at it as time went on.

But, I'm a logical person and I like to look at things from all sides. So I have to ask myself, if I had done what I'm doing with my baby and she was still afraid now, would I regret pushing her just as I regret not pushing her now? Would I think her fears were my fault?

Maybe there's no way to get out of regretting our parenting and second-guessing our methods. There are probably some people whose kids are just awesome and they don't really have any problems, and those people probably think it was all because of their awesome parenting, instead of thinking it was just dumb luck, which is what it probably was. :D

I just look at my sweet big girl, who's still more afraid of the water than my baby after only 5 days of swimming lessons, and I feel so terrible. I don't want her to be so fearful. But it's easy to see things differently in retrospect. There are probably things I'm doing even now that "seem like a good idea at the time" but that I'll look back on with regrets in the future.

How do you get around regrets? How do you deal with knowing that you could have done better? How do you look at any problems and challenges your kids are going through, knowing that you could have helped if you'd only done things differently?