using the Sunday china

Ah, you caught me. I pushed ‘publish’ rather than save on my blog the other day, and despite noting my mistake almost immediately, my rather grumpy Monday post landed in Google reader. I love you for your concern and kindness, but I also know some words are better left unsaid. I will probably struggle with my father’s actions for the rest of my life, but I’ve learned explanation usually brings more criticism than understanding. Happily, simply typing the words alleviates the pain– like rolling up a message in a bottle and sending it out to sea….

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I have so many gorgeous Gabe/Mary/Zoeythebunny photos from Mother’s Day, I’ll be working them into several posts.

If you know me, you know I feel guilty any time I’m unhappy. Life is so good and glorious and fleeting. My children are around me for a few short years I don’t want to waste a single day. Still, none of us can truly appreciate the people we love every moment they are with us. We just can’t; but I try.

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May is a month of beauty, but also busyness and emotion. The school year is winding up for everyone– full of performances and field trips, final projects and class parties. Suddenly, the yard needs attention (but responds beautifully to the slightest effort). Gabe and Mary roll like puppies on the floor, while Hans and Xander (finished with testing) watch science videos and solve 4×4 and 5×5 Rubik’s cubes. Ben landed his dream job teaching Italian to new missionaries at the MTC where he spots Stefan several times a week.

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And Stefan is happy, so happy. He’s studying thirteen hours a day, cracking jokes and making friends.

For once, I’ve balanced my photography with my life– I’ve taken just enough jobs to keep me happy, but not so many I’m overwhelmed.

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I should be completely and blissfully satisfied, but I seem to need a ‘handle with care’ sticker on my forehead. Likely it’s the lack of my usual runner’s high since a miserable injury has pushed me off the road and into a ten pound weight gain. Perhaps it’s the backlash from my extraordinary April? My sister believes every May is hard because it’s the month we watched our mother die.

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But as the ‘leg-whisperer’ said as she massaged my damaged muscles and tendons, “You need to give in to the injury. Stop trying to do everything. Be especially kind to yourself.”

So I have. Navigating our busy days, but slipping in small pleasures wherever I find them.

Leaving the kitchen a mess and chasing the bunny around the yard with the kids. Riding my bike up Millcreek Canyon and trying not to miss my running buddies’ chatter. Turning up the music loud, loud, LOUD! With Erik out of town, falling asleep to the sound of Gabe and Mary giggling in my bed, drinking in their laughter. Calling Ben every day to chat– just because I can. Resting on the couch while Xander plays his new viola piece. One night, with the boys gone, Mary and I spent thirty minutes videotaping bubbles popping on the grass. Today, I’m eating a lunch entirely of strawberries and milk in my great-great grandmother’s teacup.

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We gain happiness through gratitude and service, yes? But drinking in every good thing around me helps too.

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May 18, 2013
May 24, 2013



  1. Tasha

    May 23, 2013

    Love this post and all of its beauty. I feel like I always need a “handle with care” sticker – the slightest thing can set me off on a bad day. But I’m having more good days than bad days, and I count that as progress.

    Hope your injury heals soon!

  2. Jeanelle

    May 23, 2013

    Such beautiful photos and words! xoxo

  3. Cath

    May 24, 2013

    Tearful as I read this. You are drinking it in fully. Miss our “chatter” so much. Praying a full recovery soon. Continue being gentle with yourself. I love you.

  4. Lisa

    May 24, 2013

    Oh your photos are so dreamy and your writing is an inspiration to my soul!

  5. Grandma Honey

    May 24, 2013

    I’ve been thinking about your original post (the one you meant to save) ever since I read it a few days back. I could relate to it on so many levels. I want to thank you for writing it, even though you didn’t mean to press publish in it’s rawer form.

    I just want to share one little thing I learned from my therapist after the death of my husband several years ago. Years after his death, even after I was very happily married to my 2nd husband, I would get depressed every single November. I didn’t understand it….if I’m happy why does this month that my first husband died still haunt me? My therapist explained that our brains work like a computer. We put data in, and data comes on the screen. The smells and sights of November took me emotionally back to those very dark days….without my realizing it was happening! The leaves falling, the crisp Fall air, the Pilgrim figures in stores….all about brought me to my knees without my even understand what was happening. Perhaps the same thing is happening to you in May. Perhaps the month of May brings back your mother’s suffering and your tremendous loss….but not logically, but rather emotionally from the signals your brain is picking up. Maybe it’s post traumatic syndrome….I don’t know what to call it exactly, but I know it’s real, and it’s hard. It did help me some when my therapist explained what was going on.

    I wish I could take it all away for you.

  6. Tracy

    May 24, 2013

    So beautiful, my friend. I needed this – on this crazy May day. xo

  7. mysentimentaljamboreeblogspot Jen

    May 27, 2013

    Your words are lovely and important. The photos, FANTASTIC as usual! I’m a big fan!

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