What is this body I find slumped on my Mother's couch every morning? Its gray, crepe paper face is tinged with yellow and a dead give away--a liver that can't keep up with all the poison entering this body. It is the shell. The physical body that once housed my brother Steven. This shell that steals our valuables makes us feel afraid, turning us into locked doors and mistrust.
I look in his eyes and only see the emptiness he has carved out feeding his addiction. Those eyes are gray like his face and hungry with need.
Where are you Steven? Are you inside there somewhere, drowning in your pool of shame? The pool we have emptied buckets of liquid anger and disappointment into? Now, we cannot fashion the rope to rescue you, your family who loves you with this sharp sorrow.
The steps out of this pool are there on the side. Don't you remember how to see them? We point to them with our desperate sadness. We hope you reach the first one and keep on climbing. Save yourself because we are the onlookers and cannot do it for you. Our hands our tied with the chords of your agency.
But our hearts.
Our hearts love you. They miss you. Our hearts wait for you and our hearts do not give up hope.
Monday, July 27, 2009
We are currently enjoying the fruits of our labors. Before we built our house, a neighbor gave me some raspberry starts. I planted them, tended them, and loved them for six years. This year, I have finally achieved my dream.
60 cups of raspberry jam.
There is nothing better than a sun warmed, ripe raspberry. Perfection.
Today has been crazy getting ready for a last minute trip to Arizona. I can't wait to see my family. I've missed them like an addict misses his fix. And Mr. Coleman will enjoy a little break from us, I suspect.
Here's my get-ready-for-the-trip-to-do list, all done today(except the ironing, still procrastinating that one):
pick weeds in herb garden
buy new ink cartridge
plan primary music for august
find a substitute
re-schedule piano lessons
pick up book at library
wash 8(!) loads of dirty laundry
clean house (thank you kids + Mr. Coleman. You are appreciated.)
music to primary pianist
buy activity books for road trip
download new songs onto i-pod
charge camera battery
call angela to schedule haircut
design ColemanXcavation softball t-shirts and order from screen printers
post on my blog
catch up on So You Think You Can Dance (while I'm ironing)
Tomorrow: pack, teach piano Master Class, hit the road.
Posted by Rachel+Co at 10:07 PM
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
It's no secret that I'm getting older. Physically, my body is aging, and I think I am okay with that. Mostly because I'm counting on getting a perfect one when I'm resurrected. I know this sagginess and wrinkling are only temporary.
There are other signs, too. My daughter bought her first training bra. I found my first gray hair. I heard the music I liked in high school referred to as "oldies" by my little brother. I refuse to take part in a lot of the fashion trends because I already did it once. 80's fashion. **shudder** (I can't say it enough. Skinny jeans really don't look good on any body shape unless your thigh is smaller than your calf. Sorry, I'm just sayin'.)
Over the weekend, Mr. Coleman and I went to see Jack's Mannequin in concert. They opened for The Fray at Usana—a really cool outdoor concert venue. Our tickets were GA Pit, which means we got standing room up close and personal. I loved JM. It was fun to sing along, dance, and bounce up and down. Their lead singer is geeky cool and I have a special place carved in my heart for a piano playing man. Especially one who performs in flip flops and jumps on his piano and can do the splits. Really rad.
A group of teenagers moved in right next to us. The pit was not crowded. There was plenty of room for everyone to stand around without smashing up against each other. Also, The Fray isn't really mosh pit type music. Very mellow. However, this group of teenagers included one about-sixteen-year-old girl who thought it would be awesome to continuously jump into me. [Picture in your mind that behind her was about 20 feet of OPEN space. Plenty of room for us all. Oh, and it was 104° outside. Toasty.]
I tried to hint that she was crowding me by elbowing her very politely in a smooth dance move. Didn't work. So then I mentioned to her that I didn't appreciate her jumping on top of me. Her reply?
"This is called the pit. If you don't want me jumping on you, you should go sit on the chairs with all the old people."
Which I found strange, since as far back as I can remember I never liked random strangers rubbing their boob up and down my arm. No, never. Even way back when I was 16. That has nothing to do with age.
We ended up leaving a bit early, more because we didn't love The Fray in concert and we were hot and tired of standing for three hours on cement. Part of me wanted to stay just to spite my young new friend. But in the end we found we could care less what she thought of us. I guess we are just getting old.
Posted by Rachel+Co at 12:00 PM
Monday, July 20, 2009
How is it possible I never put a review of this book on my blog before? I hope you all get a chance to read this sometime in your lifetime. I am not afraid of a long book. Actually, I think I generally enjoy them more, because there is more time to get to know the characters and to watch them develop. This is a very long book, and the first in an excellent series, so just be aware of that before you get started.
As much as I hate to build up a book too much, I just can't help myself with this one. It really is that good. Buy it now or go check it out from your library.
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier is a retelling of The Six Swans that felt like the original telling. This story comes as close to perfect as a novel can get, for my tastes. A lovely heroine who grows, learns and changes over time; beautiful, poetic writing; epic plot; emotional depth; themes of sacrifice, family bonds, struggle, determination, and romance—all these elements add up to one of the greatest stories ever written. I loved all the characters and was haunted by the ones who never got their happily-ever-afters. I found it utterly enchanting. Beautiful and an absolute favorite.
Friday, July 17, 2009
About six or seven years ago I was an emotional wreck. My life was headed in the opposite direction that I wanted it to. It felt like I was living in the middle of a thick, dark, black hole. I had lost hope in the future, lost my trust in others, and lost myself in the process. I hung on to my sanity and faith with clawed fingers.
But I didn't give up. And I refused to settle. I knew life could be better. So I prayed. Oh, how I prayed. I prayed lying on the floor with my whole soul. I asked for help from the only person I felt like I could trust 100%. I kept asking. And waiting for an answer.
I suffered. I learned. I read: If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise. Slowly, as I was ready for them, the answers began to come. The only person you can change is yourself. Be an attraction. Light is more powerful than darkness. Happiness is a choice. There is a reason to hope.
And one day, in the quiet moment after I was done with a particularly desperate prayer, Heavenly Father gave me a list. I love lists! I used them to study, to stay organized, and to get things done. And here was one from Him who loves and knows me best. The list was an answer to my prayers. I knew that my anxiety had become a stumbling block (Jacob 4:18). I wanted to help to overcome it. And there were only three things I needed to do:
1. Read my scriptures
2. Attend the temple
So simple, yet life saving for me. It wasn't as if I hadn't already experienced the blessings of doing these things. But here was a list of things I could do. Things I was in control of. A perfect mix of three things just for me.
It really works. When I am doing all three things, I feel empowered. I am an attraction. It's only when I am missing part of the three that I start to slip back towards that black hole of depression.
Can you see why I am a little emotional about running? I believe it literally saved my life. It works better than any medication or counseling session has. I love it. Even when it is hard (and it usually is).
My running playlist over three hours long. The type of music I listen to when running is mostly different from the music I like to listen to otherwise. Running music has to be perfect: the right tempo, peppy, and inspiring. Here is a condensed version—some of the most motivational of the group. I hope you find something here that helps you reach your next mile, or extra minute of exercise.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
On the 4th of July, we celebrated our traditional way by spending the day in the mountains. This year, we hiked to Stewart Falls. The hike is about 3.7 miles round trip and really easy—flat a lot of the way and a lot of shade. The falls are about 200 feet tall and more beautiful than I could capture in a picture.
What a fantastic way to spend the day, right?
I knew things were looking bad when we spotted the trail head in the parking lot and Micah started crying.
"This is really hard, Mom," he wailed. "How much longer?"
"Well, dear," I replied lovingly and patiently and kindly, "we haven't even started yet, so stop your whining and enjoy yourself. Hiking is fun. It's beautiful out here." Take a guess by looking at the picture of Micah if he took my advice.
Actually, take a look at these pictures too. It seemed we were destined for unhappiness. We had whiners and criers the whole way to the falls. [Yes, including Mr. Coleman, who I love, but who was also a big, fat, whining hiker that day.] I think we took about 30 or 40 minutes to hike there. So, crying the whole way. And also fighting. Fun stuff. A day to remember.
Once we reached the falls, everyone seemed to perk up. Mr. Coleman even took a picture of me. If you're wondering where you could get a rad Nathan Hale Elementary "Hale Heroes" shirt like mine I have some unfortunate news. I stole mine from my brother Daniel about 8 years ago. I don't think they are available anymore.
Also, if you are looking at me and thinking wow, how does she stay so fit and young and hip with all those children and all those advancing years creeping up on her? I don't have an answer for you. But clearly, it's a gift, as I'm sure you can tell from this picture.
A rare smiling shot of the girls. Mr. Coleman and Steve [who is our next door neighbor, renter, Coleman Excavation employee, very tan, and looking very buff in his tank top. Sorry ladies, I cropped off most of his muscular bicep.]
Throwing rocks into the water made Lucas very happy, afterwhich he fell fast asleep and was carried the whole way back by Mr. Coleman [who was then quickly forgiven for being grumpy on the way there].
Overall, really beautiful scenery, easyish hike, great destination, but not quite the marvelous day I thought it would be. I like this picture though, because seriously, look how gorgeous it is. It looks like the back drop to a fairy tale, or a musical. Sadly, no one in our party was amused when I burst out into my own rendition of: "Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, till you find your dream!"
Still chasing that dream.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
I'll post later on what we did yesterday to celebrate. Fun stuff.
For now, I am re-reading a favorite patriotic read: John Adams by David McCullough. Here is John Adams in a letter to his wife, Abigail:
The object is great which we have in view, and we must expect a great expense of blood to obtain it. But we should remember that a free constitution of civil government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate, as there is nothing on this side of Jerusalem of equal importance to mankind.
And also, speaking of Independence Day, he predicted that it:
...will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.
If you are an American who likes to read, I cannot recommend McCullogh's John Adams or 1776 highly enough. I am so grateful to our founding fathers for the blessing of liberty that I enjoy due to their sacrifices. Add them to my list of people I can't wait to meet in heaven.
Posted by Rachel+Co at 10:50 PM