A few good gems

Hello! I'm a little giddy today--my spring break starts at the end of the day and I'm looking forward to a week with family and friends. (Never mind that it will feel more like *winter* break--I'll take it!) What do you have brewing for the weekend?

Here are a few gems I've collected from the internet recently. Enjoy!

How great is this By The Sea painting by Lisa Congdon?!

Joanna Goddard recently featured a terrific selection of insights and epiphanies on parenting teens. Read the 286 (!) comments, too; there are some winners there! 

Why are more teens than ever suffering from severe anxiety?

A great Traders Joe's breakfast hack for your Saturday morning enjoyment (yum!)

Are you watching the Netflix series of David Letterman interviews, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction? I've missed him! I loved the ones so far: Obama and George Clooney. Next up: Malala! 

I love this idea of Overlooked, "a history project recalling the lives of those who, for whatever reason, were left out of The Times’s obit pages." Like Charlotte Bronte! Ida B Wells! Read about it here and watch for more great updates/entries here and nominate someone to be included here. (Thanks to my friend Deirdre for sending this along.) 

One of my favorite magazines in Australia was Dumbo Feather, with its wonderfully thoughtful conversations with doers, thinkers, and creatives: June Factor on the importance of play, Brene Brown on vulnerability and being brave, Parker Palmer on living the questions, Krista Tippett on belief, the list goes on and on. 

This week's BYU devotional by Mechanical Engineering professor Julie Crockett was delightful

The Mothers Before instagram account collects photos and shares the stories of mothers before they became mothers, submitted by their children. Charming and surprisingly moving. 

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Have a great weekend! 

Friendship down through the years

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Back somewhere around 1999 or 2000 (give or take), I spent my days caring for my three little girls (my only son to be born in 2001). What did I do then? How did I spend my days? When I think back, I mostly picture a whirlwind. There was so much going on, and I was sort of a clueless traveler lost in that raging storm. Without an umbrella. Or proper footwear.

Maybe because my life was flying around me so helter skelter, I find it difficult now to line it up in a neat narrative titled, The Days When My Kids Were Young -- And How I Survived. I just recall pieces and snippets and middle of the night awakenings. I remember lining my three girls up on kitchen bar stools to do their hair each morning. I remember drives to preschool and unruly cardboard projects leaking glitter in their wake. I remember rounds of sickness moving through my family in waves, barely getting one kid well before the next succumbed. I remember family dinners, Saturday sports, birthday parties, spelling homework, reading logs, bedtime avoidance. In the between times of parenting, I sandwiched in conversations with friends, book clubs, dinner clubs, late night Sonic runs. My friends and I showed up en masse to McDonald's, talking for hours while our kids took over the playplace, a tiny gang of tyrants ruling over their plastic kingdom. 

Lucky for me, by some stroke of good luck or maternal magic, I have a portal to that past world (and a wise bridge into my current life). Each year, I gather with four women who were witnesses to my years with littles. We catch up on what our kids are doing. We bemoan our issues and rejoice in our triumphs. We've talked through junior high and teenage years and college and missions and even weddings. We've solved the world's troubles several times over. And slowly, over twenty years, we've amassed an amazing friendship that is interwoven with our collective histories. Each year we tell new stories. And sometimes we revisit the old ones. All of it feels intensely therapeutic.

 The Utah kids (plus one husband and one boyfriend). Between the four of us there are 24 kids total!

The Utah kids (plus one husband and one boyfriend). Between the four of us there are 24 kids total!

My point is not SCHEDULE A GIRLS' TRIP RIGHT NOW. Although, it's not such a bad idea. My point is that all is not lost. Even as those babies march out the door and into their own lives, even when it feels like your old life is slipping through your fingers, there are things to be gained, to be remembered, to be shared.

I haven't quite wrapped my arms around the big idea of a collective history just yet. I've only recently been old enough to watch entire childhoods unfold. But I think there is something powerful in longevity and steadfastness and in a conscientious tradition of caring. So, maybe call up your old friends. Create a group text. Remind your people of your stories. Read someone's blog for years on end. Let's mark time with each other.

 

 

 

 

A few good gems

Happy, happy Friday! I'm in Utah this weekend on an annual friends' trip with some lovely ladies I met long ago when our children were very small. I think this is our eighth year to meet up (maybe ninth?), and it's always a restorative (if not entirely restful) time to connect with great women and hear about their lives. We mostly talk and eat the entire time. It's heavenly.

But while I'm friending, I wanted you to have a few good gems for your weekend reading . . .

  • I found this article on how to achieve more with less super interesting. Plus, the author is faculty at my new workplace. Perhaps I'll stalk him. (Note to human resources: just kidding!)
  • My next Smitten Kitchen cooking adventure: Broken Pasta with Pork Ragu.
 image via  smittenkitchen

image via smittenkitchen

  • And while I'm Smitten Kitchening, I made these Bake Sale Winning-est Gooey Oat Bars last weekend. They are fab. The recipe is actually in her new cookbook, but it's also at the end of this post (for your baking pleasure).
  • I'm ready to buy a smart speaker. This article makes me think the Apple HomePod isn't the way to go. Any advice?
  • I love pegboards. Once upon a time I tried to talk Sterling into a pegboard business. That was a no-go. But look what's on Etsy
 image via  littleanana

image via littleanana

Okay folks! Here's to stretching out the weekend and bulking up on carbs!! See you next week!

Should you find yourself in Charleston

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Driving down to Charleston from Virginia last weekend we laughed about our "getaway." I mean...getaway from what, exactly? It was the first anniversary weekend away in 24 years when we weren't getting away from the demands of parenting, busy Saturday mornings filled with birthday parties, sports practices and games, youth activities and the like. This time we weren't escaping those things. We were getting away from one place where we could spend all our time together to pay to go to another place to spend all our time together, ha! But no matter what your circumstances, a change of scenery, a road trip, a break from the chores and responsibilities of home is a good thing for a marriage.

Charleston was a dream. We stayed in a delightful VRBO spot (linked below) right downtown on North Market Street across from the famous Charleston Market. (Fun fact: it was an apartment directly above the Ben & Jerry's!) If I summed up our few days there it would be this: walk, walk, eat, walk, walk, eat, read, walk, eat, sleep. Repeat three days. Charleston's the perfect walkaround town--every street is charming and there are so many cafes, museums, shops to pop into when the mood strikes. 

On Sunday (at our friendly waiter's suggestion) we drove over to Sullivans Island--historic for both Fort Moultrie, which guarded the harbor from 1776-1945 in the Revolution, Civil, and World Wars. It was also, soberingly, the site of slavery's version of Ellis Island.  According to National Parks Traveler "About 40 percent of African-Americans alive today can trace their ancestral roots to West Africa through the Sullivan’s Island/Charleston gateway. This is, oddly enough, about the same percentage of white Americans whose ancestors were processed through Ellis Island."  

After taking in the history of Fort Moultrie we walked along the Sullivan Island beach and spent the afternoon sitting in the warm sun, talking and enjoying the ocean breeze and view. Two dolphins came close to the shore and cavorted for a good 20 minutes or so in front of us. We decided it was an anniversary blessing from them--hey isn't 28 years the dolphin anniversary?


Stay:

  • We loved the location and amenities in our VRBO rental apartment. (And the sheets were to die for!) Terri and Carl were welcoming and fantastic to work with. Honestly there are many great listings through VRBO and small boutique hotels that looked divine, too. The main suggestion we would make is that you book something near all the charm of Old Charleston: French Quarter, South of Broad, neighborhoods near Meeting Street and Market Streets.

Eat:

  • Magnolias: the book of Pat Conroy essays I was reading mentioned that Magnolias was his favorite Charleston restaurant. The guest book in our apartment also raved about it so we booked a reservation (even though the only one we could get was at 4:45!). It definitely lived up to its reputation: exceptionally delicious Southern fare and great service. We caved in to the swan song of the pecan pie to cap off the meal and did not regret it a bit.
  • Henriettas at the Dewberry; we had our official "anniversary dinner" here and it was very good. 
  • 1 Broad: we went here twice! Really great breakfast fare and bakery items. Plus live music.
  • Another Broken Egg Cafe: Good, filling Southern breakfast. I had the lobster omelet, G had shrimp and grits. Both were rich and satisfying--and we didn't want to eat again for 8 hours!

See/Do:

 

 

We're all friends here, right?

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Last Saturday I tried something new. My sister and I went door-to-door, clutching our clipboards, approaching our unsuspecting neighbors about the 2018 Senatorial campaign. (It was sort of scary.) At one door we met a lovely woman who had emigrated from Bosnia. Unlike most of the people we met, who didn't want to talk politics with us, she seemed desperate for change. She told us that she'd come to this country for freedom, but what she found "wasn't freedom." 

She also said, "I usually don't like to talk about politics."

And that line has been running through my head ever since.

I definitely avoid talking about politics at work.

Most of my friends don't want to discuss politics.

Annie and I have discussed the perils inherent in going political on this blog.

But what I think we all really mean is, "We don't want to fight." 

What I wish, more than anything, is that we could talk about the political currents that are tugging (fiercely) at the undercurrent of our lives and seek for understanding and compromise. I still believe that's possible. I still believe that we can be smart, and kind, and passionate and COMpassionate. 

In order to have these civil discourses and in order to understand the multiple points of view that comprise our political landscape, I think first and foremost, we have to pay attention. We need to have a decent grasp of the issues. We need to understand what's happening in Washington. We need to follow how our representatives are voting. 

Thanks to ye olde Internet, staying informed is easy (and super interesting). Here are a few places to get started (chime in if you have something to add):

  • Twitter - I know that a lot of folks my age don't use Twitter. I use it almost exclusively as a news feed, and boy howdy does it get me up-to-date in a hurry. Follow reputable news sources, political figures, activists, historical scholars and people you think speak well on the issues. With a 5-10 minute scan every morning, I know what issues are on the forefront.
  • Subscribe to some online newspapers.  I enjoy the daily briefing they offer via email. Again, this is a quick snapshot of what is going on. Plus, I'm in the know on lots of cool cultural and human interest stories. I'm a sucker for human interest stories.
  • Countable -- This app notifies you when your representatives vote. It does a great job of explaining the bill at hand AND why someone might vote for or against the measure. (I have to admit this one is not super fun for me because my reps NEVER vote the way I want them to.)
  • Talk to activists in your area. I wasn't surprised when folks didn't want to talk to me while I was out canvassing. But I do think they missed out on an easy way to get some good information. I was ready to tell them what my guy stood for -- no ugly talk, no judgment. It's always a good idea to see what the other side is up to. They can have good ideas too!