Finally got the garden all planted yesterday. It feels so good to get the yard cleaned up (still tons to do) and everything finally in the ground. I harvested about a gallon of rhubarb the other day and got in the mood to bake a pie yesterday. We ate half of it last night and it looks like we'll have enough for an after-dinner treat.
With all the end-of-the-school-year and graduation activities and the time spent in the yard this week, it was nice to do a little bit of drawing today. There are so many things to look forward to this summer. Regular time in the studio, fun outings with the kids, eating our meals outdoors, early morning runs followed by that quiet time in the garden that I love, impromptu and planned picnics like we'll enjoy tomorrow with my extended family.
And last but not least, look who got a haircut! Yes, our girl has been planning this big change for quite some time. She wanted to wait until after graduation and excitedly left for the salon with her friend James right after our family celebration dinner out. One of the main reasons for the haircut (besides her desire for change after having long hair all her life) was to be able to donate all twelve inches to Locks of Love in the hopes that this gift would make a difference for another.
She absolutely loves her new look and so do I. I told her that I wasn't sure if I could handle these two life changes all in one day, that she's "not her hair", that it might take me a while to get used to the idea of this older, sophisticated, leaving-the-nest girl of mine, And I'll keep on reminding myself that change is good and change is part of life, (that CHANGE is LIFE!) and try to savor every moment that's mine.
And just like that, she's all grown up...
You've given it your all and then some.
Read some, studied some.
Served some, worked some,
and loved some, too
Here's to a bright and glorious future.
Spread your wings and soar sky high.
With my daughter Eliza's permission, I share with you her Last Lecture essay she recently wrote and shared with her high school Socratic Seminar class. This touches my heart deeply and I hope it will touch yours, too.
The culminating achievement of my high school career was not a title, a position, or an award. It was not a scholarship or a university acceptance letter. It was a single line in my yearbook. No name accompanies those small, unassuming letters, which form three simple words: “thanks for caring.”
There have been countless occasions throughout high school that would have been easier had I just not cared. I could have skipped the entire Holocaust unit in Dowdle’s Socratic class and saved myself the daily nausea. I could have avoided befriending the exchange students every year so I wouldn’t have to deal with the sadness when they leave. I could have refused to join the HOPE Squad to keep the heaviness from my heart. I could have turned down the offer to help start MPA Cares and spared my soul the ache that comes with awareness. None of these “could have”s are “should have”s. In each situation, I got hurt - but what I gained from these experiences was worth the cost.
Out in the “real world,” people will advise you to not get emotionally invested. They say attachment clouds your judgement and causes you to make rash decisions. Many view caring deeply as unprofessional, even weak. I say the opposite. Caring takes courage and strength. You can tell so much about a person’s character by what they care about, how they show their love, and the lengths they’re willing to go for it.
Sometimes it’s tempting to numb yourself from feeling. You naturally want to protect yourself from the pain that comes with caring, but when you do this, the shields you put up block out the good things too. Let yourself feel. It requires you to open yourself up to the possibility of loss and learn to accept your own vulnerability to pain. Recognize the beauty in that vulnerability. Find the meaning in sacrifice and the value in experiencing heartache over something you’re passionate about.
Care about your life. Care about school, your hobbies, and the world you live in. Care about yourself - your needs and your dreams, your deepest desires. Care about other people - your family and friends, of course, as well as the ones you interact with each day here at Maeser. Care about your teachers, the kids in your classes, the faces you pass by in the hallway. Let people know how much you love them. Care fiercely and unashamedly. Let the tears (and the hugs) come freely when they need to come. Never apologize for feeling deeply.
You will have times when you feel like you care too much. You’ll make cookies for birthdays, leave nice notes in lockers, do service after service, and get nothing in return. You’ll feel foolish for efforts gone unnoticed and unappreciated, or even misunderstood. It will seem like you’re always the one who does more, feels more, loves more. You’ll lie exhausted on your bed, gazing up at your ceiling with salt dried on your cheeks, wondering why you still try. When you reach this point, I beg you: don’t give up. Don’t stop serving. Don’t stop loving. You will find reasons to keep going along the way - moments that make it all worth it:
When someone you care deeply about comes to you with his hands trembling, voice shaking, and opens up to you the innermost parts of his heart, trusting completely that you will pour your love into the cracks.
When you sit on the floor of a bathroom stall, wedged between a toilet bowl and your best friend. She lies, broken by the deeds of another, on the cold white tiles. Your hands, wet with her tears, smooth strands of hair back from her face and you hope that maybe a few of your words will coax the air back into her shuddering lungs.
When you read that single line on a page in your yearbook, and at last you feel a glimmer of light, a hope that it wasn’t all in vain. All those conversations you started, all those hugs you gave, all those letters you wrote. All the tears you shed over another person’s sorrow. The homework you didn’t do because you chose to spend the time with a loved one instead. The nights you stayed up on the phone so your friend could hear your laugh and forget their own pain. You regret none of it, because you find your long sought-after peace in those three words: “thanks for caring.”
:: warm and sunny running mornings.
:: beautiful peonies (my very favorite) in a jug.
:: taking Isaac to lunch and him holding my hand while we walk through the store.
:: pausing to really look at him and seeing how tall he's grown, how he's turning from a child to a young man.
:: building a habit of drinking a quart of lemon water first thing.
:: sipping warm "golden milk" (turmeric, cinnamon, soy milk, vanilla, and honey blended) from my favorite mug.
:: leftovers for dinner means more time to read Pope Joan. (second time through, so good.)
:: my own (much needed) massage to look forward to this weekend. This pain in the neck is becoming a real pain in the neck!)
:: the comfort of bed.
:: we all decide that homemade veg sushi is the best.
:: spending a beautiful monring weeding my parents yard. That brought a lot of happiness.
:: so glad to be sending the bee drawing off (a first-time milestone as an artist!).
:: this potted lavender plant on the coffee table giving off such a pleasant fragrance.
:: easing into a more relaxed schedule that comes with this new season.
:: making plans for summer fun with Isaac ... hikes, picnics, bike rides, outings, museums, cooking lessons (with me), art lessons (with Eliza).
:: getting the front porch and back deck all set up for summer.
:: giving and receiving love-note texts from this wonderful daughter-friend.
In honor of both Mother's Day and our 26th wedding anniversary this week, Keith surprised me with new his and her bikes. A fun, simple, and enjoyable activity for both of us to do together (he called it an "investment"). A very good thing, too, as we grow older and want to keep moving. We really are blessed to live in a beautiful area with so many accessible biking trails and gorgeous scenery.
Today we decided to take the day off from Saturday chores and go on our first little adventure. A nice drive up Provo Canyon, we headed toward Midway and Heber City. The happiest place of my childhood was spent in this valley.
We hopped on our bikes and found a paved trail connecting the two little towns.
Here's where I went to elementary school. I think I need to sketch it one day.
Hi, I'm Emily!
I welcome and thank you for visiting. Through this blog, I invite you, friends or strangers, to come and abide with me as I open my heart and home to you in understanding, honesty, discovery, and reflection. It is my hope that you will join me in my quest for a simple, joyful, meaningful life.