let the lower lights be burning.

we had slipped in to a nice routine at our swanky waterfront beach resort. this was our second time tagging along on christian’s california work trip. staying in pretty much the same spot – the weather was warmer than last time and asher was a few months older – all making our stay idyllic.

while christian sat through all day conferences asher and i ate breakfast on our balcony, visited the koi pond, and splashed at the pool. we’d walk over the bridge down to the beach where he squealed and crawled toward the sea-foam. we shared egg and avocado sandwiches downtown. we would walk to the little neighborhood wal-mart for supplies and we ran along the boardwalk.

in between adventures we would say hi to christian on his breaks in the hotel lobby.  his coworkers soon recognized us and would stop to say hi.

before we even arrived in huntington beach, i had my heart set on one thing. and one thing only. the food truck round-up at the fairgrounds. i read about all the trucks and had a plan of attack for what we should eat.

sadly, this is not a story of food truck dreams realized but rather one of poorly made decisions and more importantly, not listening to my own misgivings.

scoping out things on my phone i discovered a trader joe’s not too far away. i figured we could run there, get some food, and enjoy more of the pacific coast boardwalk. i surely must have factored in the distance (nearly seven miles). i also must have taken in to consideration the fact that my recovery from childbirth had prevented me from running until just recently. but knowing how this adventure ends, i am positive i did neither of those two things.

and so, we set out, wholly unprepared.

it was warm as we ran south toward newport, the landscape changed and the sun heated up. i watched for the major cross streets, thinking brookhurst wasn’t too far off. when we arrived at that traffic light, i acknowledged we still had a way to go, even though i somehow didn’t quite comprehend how far. i continually criss- crossed that thoroughfare in an attempt to chase the shade.

somewhere along that road, parked under a palm tree against a cinder block fence, i checked on asher. i gave him some water, and i began to realize my folly. peering down at my phone i tried to make out where we were on the route despite the glare from the sun on my screen. we were many blocks away – but the distance back to the hotel seemed equally daunting. despite the distinct thought to turn around i pushed on in that blistering sun. pursuing the siren call of trader joe’s.

the city blocks we now entered were very different from the calming beach. it was loud and busy. for some reason this change scared me. with each slowing step of my pace i knew i had a made a mistake. i frequently stopped to splash some water on asher.

the mecca of trader joe’s seemed more like a mirage, offering only temporary relief with its air conditioning. i was not eager for the rest of the journey but i knew there was no other way.

i was horrified to realize our return trip would place asher in the direct sun light. i didn’t have a blanket. i didn’t have sunblock. i cried on the side of a residential street, angry my bad decisions would now have an adverse affect on him. i whispered a weak prayer. i asked for help. i pleaded he’d be safe. even though i didn’t think i could run another step, i wanted to get him to safety quicker so i pushed myself to run.

i navigated the streets doing my best to make sure we would only have to run directly in to the sun for a short amount of time. in the middle of that last sunny stretch along atlanta avenue, when my heart was breaking due to my stupidity, i saw a beautiful green lawn up on the left. i knew, immediately, it was one of my chapels.

that beautiful chapel was a symbol of safety.

i cried again, but this time out of gratitude. we found shelter from the sun on the porch. i took a sweaty little whopper out of the stroller and let him crawl on the grass. a cool breeze embraced us and in that moment, i knew a loving heavenly father had protected us despite my stubbornness.

back at the hotel i paid dearly for the deafness of my ears that day. a migraine leveled me and there would be no food truck round up for us that night.


october 8, 2014; the lawn of the lds chapel on atlanta avenue in huntington beach, california

brightly beams our father’s mercy


Filed under asher, faith

one is the loneliest.

i’m not sure when the newness of a baby shifts so that people around you are comfortable inquiring about other babies. or the next one. or a sibling.

sometimes it is small talk not meant at all to distress. often it is a follow-up question to an introduction with a stranger. many times it is offered as hopeful encouragement.

do you have others?

is he your only?

it’s just him?

at first i wanted to explain away why we don’t have others and it is just him as our only.

that defensiveness soon transitioned into a declaration of how very happy i was to finally have just him even if he would be our only.

and from the beginning he was happy. so very happy. and so interested in people and other children. especially older children. on sundays we sat in front of friends with seven (now eight) kids. asher luckily inherited six older brothers and one older sister who were very eager to pass him down the pew. i could feel how much he longed to be surrounded by other children. he was drawn to them. and that personality trait made me ache knowing he wouldn’t ever experience a big family like that.

when asher was very small i resolved i would not make him feel less for being the only. i braced myself against an unknown future and prepared myself mentally and emotionally as if one little whopper were it for us.

i wanted to make sure i enjoyed all the little things. all his firsts, that could be my lasts.

we were anxious to see if more siblings were in store after only a few months but there were complications with my recovery and i was disheartened to essentially have to wait another year. and then january arrived. and with it the discovery that 10 people who had babies asher’s age were all expecting. it was a dark month. i know another’s joy and happiness should not and does not diminish mine, but i let it. i faltered. i despaired.

and then i shook myself.

no matter what i feel i lack – it could never obscure what i have. and that feeling, that overwhelming feeling of gratitude makes me almost not even dare to ask for more.

but i hope.

this past week the two of us took a roadtrip filled with friends i hadn’t seen in so long. for two it had been many years. it was a perfect weekend with people i admire, and respect and appreciate.

at the ditto’s idyllic rockwellian home near manito park in spokane, i watched asher slip right in with the three youngest brothers. henry, the five year old, was protective of him. emmett, the three year old, found in him a play buddy. and four month old hyrum luckily wasn’t smothered each time asher tried to lay next to him. seeing him so happy to play with those boys i knew he would be just fine.

one isn’t a lonely number. one is possibilities.

one; three dog night


Filed under agnes, asher

who rides upon the stormy sky and calms the roaring sea.

when running errands i try to find a nearby activity to do with asher. sometimes it ends up just being a loop around the grocery store. but for him, eating that bakery cookie and hoarding entirely too many blueberry samples from the produce section, it is heavenly.

without realizing it i have developed an extra sense of all things little whopper. we investigate construction sounds at the park, we chase down garbage trucks on our runs or we visit friends with dogs unannounced.

a few weeks ago as we drove slowly through a different neighborhood, i scanned the side streets hoping to find a little park. i wound my way from one neighborhood to the next. neighborhoods i’d never driven through in almost four years of living here. i decided we’d just drive to ravensdale park. christian plays soccer there every saturday and we hadn’t been yet. i picked up my speed a bit and was about to exit to the main road when i glimpsed a park structure to my left.

there’s a park, i should stop. i thought, quickly followed by, no let’s just head to ravensdale.

i was now passed the street of the park, but something, forcibly, made me turn my steering wheel. it was a bizarre sensation as i made that u-turn.

once out of the car, asher immediately began scooping up the gravel in handfuls and relocating it to the very wet unused slide.

i noted there were three moms there with various boys playing some kind of tackle tag. two moms seemed to be together and were seated on a park bench. the other was off a ways, with a toddler about asher’s age. i kept looking at her. i felt a need to talk to her but she was on her phone. once the bench moms left, i felt prompted more urgently to talk to the third mother.

though she seemed familiar i did not know her. asher helped make the introduction by attempting to carry off her son’s tricycle. we chatted while my son chased hers into the woods behind the park. and then her son innocently shared a private detail about their family.

i’m so sorry, i quickly said. and then i asked if she was lds. and she was.

we visited for an hour before parting ways. i packed asher into our car and we drove away from that park i had initially overlooked.

i realized after the fact that the series of events which brought me to that spot, at that exact time were not random but orchestrated by the Spirit.

the Spirit who takes directions from a Loving Father, who knows us individually and hears our broken cries, and sometimes sends us to comfort, or listen, or rescue… even when we almost miss the turn.

come, we that love the lord

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78 weeks.

what would you do, if you could do anything? christian asked. would you go back to school?

my heartbeat quickened.

i don’t know. i muttered, a little embarrassed. a nervousness filled me that hasn’t abated.

hearing you can do anything with a communications degree is just about as helpful as being told you can do anything with a law degree. in 2007. when christian started a very difficult, many year job search.

while i appreciate my communications background, my emphasis was broadcast journalism. my studies were prior to so much that shapes the industry now. with the explosion of the internet, blog reporting, 24-hour news stations and camera phones, my tv experience, now eight years in the past, is very outdated.

what would you do, if you could do anything?

that question has nagged, no, haunted me all day, each day since he first asked it.

what would i do?

nutrition and public health interest me, but my undergrad was lacking in science and mathematics. my heart has always been with international development but we don’t live in the right area for those kinds of jobs. i dream of being a real baker but worry if it were a profession i would lose my desire for recreational baking.

and then there is writing.

despite my lack of posts this year  – i am always composing something in my mind. the beginnings of so many stories, partial ideas, drafts… they all wait for me.  they wait for me to devote time to them. the kind of time that lets me flesh out what i really want to say. time that focuses on what those moments have taught me.

they need time without a little whopper climbing on my lap, pushing me aside, attempting to type on the keyboard.

this week i asked christian to give me a blessing of comfort to help with the demands of my position at church. i was impressed that at the end he spoke, not of my religious duties – but of my maternal ones. he spoke about being the mother that asher needs.

i have had 78 weeks with my little whopper. 1.28.15i am grateful that i have the ability to be with him so fully. i am very much aware what a luxury that time is.

i’m still not sure what i will do professionally in the future, but for now, i will let that crazy little boy steal my iphone and watch for the zillioneth time as he makes multiple password attempts and disables my phone in seconds.


Filed under asher, church, faith, la vida, work

oh baby, telephone.

i hadn’t planned on giving asher much for his first birthday. he already had plenty of toys and household objects to keep his attention. besides, one year olds think cardboard and wooden spoons are amazing.

one day in september we were leisurely cruising through costco. he loves riding in shopping carts as well as eating the little whopper sized samples. that day he was feasting on toast with jam and indian curry.

we’d made our way to the book display, and that’s when it happened. he was beyond excited. he spotted a book with a green tractor on the front. he was making so much noise and motioning for it that people around us stopped to watch and laugh. i couldn’t ignore his enthusiasm. i was coerced by my child to make a purchase.

amid all the christmas frenzy i walked up and down the toy aisles with asher in the shopping cart. i wanted to see what caught his eye. i already planned on a very minimal christmas with bath fizzies at the top of the list. hearing him gasp at all the fun things made me almost want to buy up things willy nilly. but he was a fickle toy lover, as most toddlers tend to be. as soon as he had a beanie baby in his clutches, he discarded it for go go police car which quickly fell to the wayside for a thomas the train.

it has been incredible to watch his preferences take shape.

early on it was clocks, lights, watches, tags, balls and steam.

soon dogs became his favorite. daily he watches our neighbor’s dog out our back windows.

he loves anything that goes vroom; garbage trucks, semis, tractors, buses, cars. he hears every airplane that flies overhead, even while we are inside the house. he shows me a modified version of the airplane sign and adds a sound effect.

he picks out every bird, no matter how high up in the sky, and snaps his fingers against his thumb.

lately he fancies light switches (especially the one that turns on the bathroom fan), kitchen utensils, our slippers (worn on his hands), earbuds and all remote controls.

around nine months i casually began introducing a few signs, but i wasn’t consistent and didn’t pick it back up until several months later. somewhere in there he started showing us a sign in earnest. he’d hold one hand out while rubbing his pointer finger across his palm. we were puzzled. we didn’t recognize it at all. frustrated that we weren’t understanding him, he’d get a little overzealous with the rubbing. frantically trying to communicate with us.

after some speculation we realized he had invented his very own sign… for our iphones.

christmas loot 2014our reluctance to let him play with the desired phones has not deterred his requests. sometimes, first thing in the morning, he eagerly asks for it. or during church when he sees someone on an ipad. or at a restaurant when someone nearby is texting.

this kid is cuckoo for electronics.

needless to say, santa will not be bringing little whopper a smart phone this christmas.

hello! ma baby; howard and emerson

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i believe.

this summer, sitting in a cushioned chair at the paramount, i realized i was ashamed of a decision i had made.

we had been curious.

i admit i find occasional south park episodes amusing and harmless. i understood the show’s content would be potentially questionable yet i was still interested in seeing it for myself. i wanted to understand better how it portrayed my faith which is a huge part of me. i felt that seeing the thing would equip me to better discuss it with others.

i realize now how flawed that logic is. i didn’t need to experiment to be able to just say no just like i don’t need to touch fire to know i’ll be burned.

and so we sat in the orchestra, feeling like spies among the theater goers.

it began, and i laughed through most of the first act. it used a quirky inside humor about our religious culture. i was surprised those seated near us were laughing so hard. i thought the lds specific jokes would have been lost on them.

and then the second act happened.

it was crude and vulgar and shockingly offensive in a way that any morally inclined, god-fearing spectator would have been offended. i didn’t laugh the rest of the show. i hunched over in my seat, ashamed.

the one dim little light in that entire dark night was the number, i believe.

i was familiar with that song from youtube and found it to be beautifully powerful. however, i was physically shocked when the audience laughed at the repeated phrase, a mormon just believes. i felt personally wounded by their laughter. i hadn’t taken those lyrics as comical. i took them to mean we are faithful despite what life throws our way. when faced with the unknown we have faith. we trust in god. we believe. 

we quickly exited the theater. walking up pine and then pike we talked about the evening. the show. our mistake. and our belief.

looking back on that ride home i recall our disappointment – but surprisingly what stands out to me the most is the undeniable spirit we felt. the spirit that admonishes, prompts, teaches and guides us. the spirit that testifies of Him.

tonight i helped a little boy, on the verge of walking, open his little people nativity. i watched him as he moved the animals, held the angel and tossed the wise men. i held my breath as he braced himself with one arm and reached the other out to grab ornaments off the tree.

and then i thought about faith.

how it is born fragile, needing to be held, and rocked, and fed.

eventually it wants to be independent, but it still needs to be supported.

until, miraculously, it takes several steps unassisted.

through trial and error, through trust, through action, that faith becomes belief.

i believe.

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we’re up all night.

what is your favorite thing about the munchkin? i asked.

when i’m holding him and he rests his head on my shoulder and takes a deep breath right before falling asleep. he said.

there are entirely too many favorites. each day is filled with them.

this week it was watching him lay flat on his tummy in the bath for the first time. he sang loudly while his little legs kept busy kicking behind.

it was me growling while i crawl-chased him and now he has the best gravelly growl ever. (even if he unleashes it during sacrament meeting).

it was throwing him all his little socks while i folded the laundry. he likes socks, but this time i saw recognition as he bent forward and touched the sock to his toes.

it was understanding his cute little voice saying thank you.

it was watching him turn anything into a phone and have a conversation.

hello? can you hear me now?

hello? can you hear me now?

it was hearing very loud crunching after discovering little whopper on the kitchen floor, feasting on pirate’s booty that he looted from a drawer.

it was laughing so hard each time he pointed to his chest and said proudly dada! despite repeated lessons pointing to each of us and saying the appropriate name.

it was walking into a mall decked out with christmas and seeing him excitedly point to all the lights.

it was having christian work from home today and not being able to keep the baby downstairs. every chance he got he made a break for the office, making it all the way up the stairs, down the hall, and banging on the door repeatedly.

and like it’s been since he was less a little boy and more a little baby – it is dancing. he’s loved everything our turntable has spun. he especially loves a made up beat christian busts out frequently.

it’s in the middle of those living room dance parties that is my very favorite.

i am thankful for a husband who is not a dancer, but becomes one for our little boy.

get lucky by daft punk

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