Monday, October 10, 2016

Of Lazy Cats, Laundry, and Stinkin' Adorable Cousins

Dear Everyone,
I've been struggling to find a common theme in my week other than naps with my marathon-status napping cat, who has become my napping buddy. He wins our 'longest nap' competition every time. It's so great to have a sleepy cat!
This week has been an eclectic collection of experiences! There are so many moving pieces. If I had to characterize my week with one phrase, I think it would have to do with watching.

Everyone in my family seems so similar to how they were when I left, but they've all changed subtly, growing brighter as they work to help their talents become refined. My little sister has discovered within herself a proclivity for the dramatic and a great love for dance. The dramatic part wasn't a surprise (at all), but the dance part was! I've watched her practice in astonishment. She's a very talented, very expressive dancer, complete with on-point facial expressions. Since when does Claire dance?! Apparently since I left.

Almost every day feels like another preparation day (which feels bizarre) other than the part where I can watch t.v. again (which is even a little more bizarre). I've been enjoying the BBC series Sherlock. It makes my thinking brain happy! (:

Pop quiz: What do missionaries feverishly do every preparation day?

What is: Laundry!
Old habits die hard, I guess; each day when I arise and prepare without donning a classy skirt as part of my outfit, I feel a compelling urge to do laundry. It's been cracking me up. I'm pleased to report that the laundry room is now roughly four loads short of empty! Good thing everyone in my family has been too busy to do their own laundry lately. I might be a little bit lost otherwise. XD

A general health update: I feel well on a more consistent basis when I take naps every day! I still have my dizzy and shaky spells, but they happen less frequently now which is good. Last Monday was my first doctor's appointment since being home, and it quickly became apparent that they're hungry for data! They looked at the information we already had and then ordered a ton of new tests. They still have no idea what's going on. My return appointment (I love using that phrase! Missionary status for life.) is about a week from today, and the physician's assistant said that we should have enough data at that point to decide where to look next. From what I gather, they're deciding between sending me to a gastrointestinal specialist, an allergist, a nutritionist, a neurologist, and a rheumatologist. Fun, fun. I watched the phlebotomist gather my blood for more tests as the PA handed a box of vials to my mom with the request that I go home and gather samples of my exhaled breath for yet another test.

Hmmm. Are these doctors dementors, or vampires? I'll let you know when I decide which.
Okay, now for the highlight of my week!!!!
Aunt Holli (my look-alike Auntie)
 My sweet Aunt Holli reached out to me and asked if I wanted to come hang out with her, my uncle, and their three kiddos for a couple of days. Sure thing! My Aunt Holli is a little ray of sunshine and my cousins are most aptly described as pleasantly precocious and downright adorable. I can hold children again! I sat on their living-room couch last night and watched sweet baby Felicity on my lap. She bobbled back and forth, a little off balance as her little muscles worked overtime to keep her steady. No surprises! If I had eyes that big, I think I would have trouble holding my head up straight too!! (:
It got me thinking about the scripture in Alma about how very small and simple means are often the way that great things are brought to pass (I think it's Alma 37:5-6). There were times when Felicity was so off-balance that she wriggled like a fish (a really cute fish) and got really hard to hold on to! Her tiny major muscle groups are still learning their roles, and sometimes they over-correct or don't engage on time, making it necessary for her stabilizer muscles to engage in order to keep her upright. Stabilizer muscles are so small, but so essential to help a body remain steady! I got thinking about all of the small and simple things that I do in my life that may seem to the untrained eye to make no difference. For example, reading my scriptures each day or smiling often at random people or brushing my teeth each morning and evening (you got me - you only need a nose to detect the difference there). Despite the low visibility, the simple things are truly so important in helping me (and everyone around me who has a nose) stay healthy and happy!

The moral of the story? Small muscles and simple daily actions are often the most important factors in keeping a body upright.
Anyway, I love y'all!!
Hope you have a fabulous week and sunshine in your souls! (:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Hellooooo, Everybody!

It's Monday. It's Monday, and I don't know what to do with my little non-missionary adult self yet. 

Open scene.

It's Wednesday. 

You trip out of the airplane, too excited to remember not to step on the hem of your skirt. You are, after all, still a missionary. You're still wearing a skirt. Right. 

You walk out and look for your companion in a momentary panic (where did she go? President is going to kill me!) before you realize that you're not actually a missionary for much longer; you flew home alone, and you don't have a companion to keep tabs on anymore. Right. 

You wonder whether you should text your family and let them know where you are. You realize you don't have a phone. You wonder why it doesn't bother you that you don't have a phone, then you remember! You were the designated driver the last two transfers, you companion always had the phone. Right. 

Carefully you proceed alone and without a phone into a crowd of strangers. They all had to pass airport security to get in here, right? They can't be that dangerous. You look both ways more carefully than you ever did when you were jay-walking in the streets of Baltimore. Oh, the irony. An airport in the Sunny Valley, more threatening than Baltimore? Yep, definitely pre-post-missionary confusion. 

Remember, you're still a missionary. It's not post-missionary confusion yet. 

You look past the tall guy with the flowery travel pillow around his neck and notice the signs pointing to the Celestial Kingdom? No, just the baggage claim. Sounds like heaven to me, heaven is wherever my family is. 

Note to self: you really need to sleep when you get home so that you can read words properly again. 

That flight was so long, but the flight was done in no time compared to the excruciatingly slow descent down the escalator. You see your family for a split second before they spot you. They spot you, and you quickly remember why you're the quietest one in your family. Your mom scoops you up almost before you get off of the escalator, who knows where your luggage went and who cares?! Hopefully one of your siblings took it, and not the guy with the flowery neck pillow.

There is a hurricane in the Salt Lake City Airport, and you are in the eye of it, the world moving so quickly around you that you can barely keep track of it all. You get the best hugs and you feel a pang that your dad isn't there to hug you too and you grin and laugh as your 6'1" little brother sweeps you clean off of your feet into a bear hug and you try to be happy that your little sister is taller than you (you are now the runt of the family), and you feel a crazy combination of elated, exhausted, ecstatic, and homesick, because your heart is held very much captive by the beautiful people at the departure end of that 747 you just disembarked. Home will never be just one place again.

One thing they don't tell you about is how tired you will be. Your legs tremble to support your weary frame as you embrace the last uncle. Your fingers fail to grasp strongly the hand of your stake president as he thanks you for your service and tells you to take off your name tag by midnight. 

Close scene.

I still feel like I'm walking in a dream.

I don't know that I have many helpful thoughts to share this week. 'Don't die' is always a worthy admonition! We'll go with that.

When I got home, I didn't know how to deal with life. Still don't. What I can't tell you could be formed into a list so exhaustive that I don't know anyone who would read it. 

What I can tell you is this, that God looks out for us and wants us to experience joy. 

General Conference was this weekend (#ldsconf), and I heard no more frequent message than "you are loved, it will all be okay," and "you can have joy in the now no matter how hard the now is."

Anyway, food for thought. It's a good day to be happy! (:

Love you all,