Quotes to uplift and inspire

I was window shopping online at my favoirite jewelery site and found a line of jewlery that had inspirational quotes carved on their earrings and pendants. The first quote I saw made me think of Bo's situation (Sister Morgan's son), and I then I kept finding quotes that I thought Sister Morgan would like or appreciate. So, here they are:
“Not all who wander are lost.”
“May you live all the days of your life.”
“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.”
“Treasure yesterday, dream of tomorrow, but live today.”
“After all, tomorrow is another day.”
“Wisdom begins in wonder.”
“Peace is the only battle worth waging.”
“Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.”
“When you have faith, anything is possible.”
“Peace comes from within.”
“Let your heart see what your eyes cannot.”
“Act as if what you do makes a difference: it does.”
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”
“Live the life you have imagined.”
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”



My Happy Ending

I don't know what I am going to write about. We'll just be honest up front.

Today I have a pain right near the center of my chest where my the fourth chamber of my heart is. (I think). It hurts to breath. Do you think that means I might be having a heart attack?

My mother doesn't understand me. I am sure that this is not the first, or the last time in my life that this will happen. But in my head she has always been the picture of understanding. Right now, I don't feel that that is the case. I try and explain to her my fears of life ranging from what is going to happen next week to what is going to happen in three years. I feel kind of like she is just grazing over my fears. Almost like she doesn't have enough time to listen to them anymore. She probably doesn't. She probably shouldn't have to. I just feel like she should.

That makes me feel alone. This is not the first time that this has happened either. But that's what it is. Loneliness. And that is what scares me about three years from now. Loneliness. David will be working 120 hour work weeks with residency, if we are lucky. Most residents are not allowed to report their hours because they work so much. Should I not worry about this right now? Probably not. Right now I should enjoy the time that I have. But I wish people would stop talking to me about this phantom called residency that sucks the life and joy out of every marriage. Jeez. I thought you were suppose to feel refreshed after your visiting teachers came. I just feel drained for them and scared for my own mental functioning.

I was asked to direct a road show next month. A road show. I thought that they got rid of those things. My mother in law told me that she finally believed that the church was true when they did get rid of them in her stake. But they still do them here. And get this. I have to write a play for it. A script for 9 minutes. So here is everyone's new assignment. Supply me with ideas for this road show and the winner will get a lot of chocolate shipped directly from Hershey. I'm not even kidding. Here's the theme that the road show has to center around: "My Happy Ending." Quaint and appropriate isn't it? I really think that they got the wrong girl for this job. But please, please give me ideas. Perhaps I should have put this paragraph first. Oh well. Help!!!


No Worries

I sit here in our living room and stare at the coaster from Outback Steakhouse that Lance so proudly posted on our wall that says “No Worries,” and I think of that and my mind goes to little Baby Howie, and I think of the time Lance and I first met, and the time he came out to visit for the first time after his mission, and the day we moved into our first apartment, and those moments in the car where I look over at him and it just takes my breath away. Then I think of the way he rubs my growing tummy, and the way he still looks at me just like he did when we were sixteen with that youthful glimmer in his eyes. Life. The winding road of it all—it’s so beautiful. I don’t even know how to express everything I am feeling (and with all those hormones runnin’ amuck in there with Baby Howie…you get the picture) except for what Lance has so wonderfully and unknowingly made the theme of our home—No Worries.

(And don't worry, we're not really naming the baby Howie.)


time is a dirty thief

I am not afraid of death. I’m not, I promise. Just now I was thinking about death and dying. Not the morbid emo thoughts of death, but in-the-whole-scheme-of-things-death. I remember hearing once that death is just a long sleep, but I view it as quite the contrary. I think it will be a grand awakening and in some ways we will be more alive than ever. All these empty holes in our lives will be filled up once again. The pain of life will ebb and we will be made whole, left only to our joys. Obviously our eternities won’t be just sitting around singing praises to God, although I do like to sing. I personally can't wait until I die. It's a selfish thought, I know. I am not afraid to die, but what terrifies me is losing others to death.

My Father is getting old. His head has long been crowned with the snow of experience, contrasted by his ever red complexion. When I was younger, it was funny to think about how my Dad was as old as my friend's grandpa, but now it’s becoming something I don't like to talk about. To see how his body is wearing from time makes me dread April. Sometimes in dreams, I find myself on a clear blue day in the early summer. As I look up through the Oak leaves into the glory of day and lean up on the grey bark, I know that it’s him against my back. He has always been my anchor and my support. There were days when a three-lined email from him, cured my anxieties and propped me back up through the storm. He has lived up to his calling of a guide, a provider, and protector and I owe him everything for it. I’m going to really miss him when he leaves me.


The Scent of Ink

Saturday the Chinese Cultural Association had a calligraphy activity that I decided would be fun to attend. It was fun, but the thing that struck me was the familiar smell of ink that they use to do Chinese calligraphy. This was a smell that I had known very well in the basement of my art teacher during my 4th to 7th grade years. It was the smell of thick dark ink.

I remember my teacher standing by the sink in the mini kitchen. It would always be dark by that sink; he would never turn on the light, but would store all of his inks and various paints in the dark by the sink. I remember him telling me in Chinese that when the ink dried on the heavy clay bowl, all it took was a little bit of water and a bit of blending with an ink tablet to revive the ink.

I remember telling that to my Mother, and hearing her tell me that it finally made sense why her father would be annoyed at her when she would wash the bowl for him. I imagine my Mother, a ten year old girl, tip-toed to a sink washing a bowl of the ink it contained. I see her with careful, deliberate motions rubbing the ink off and letting it flow down the sink. I see her washing in that dutiful, adoring way that my Mother would. My Mother loved my Grandfather, more than I can ever really know. I never knew the man, but I think he really must have been an amazing person to command that kind of love from my Mother. I can't imagine the kind of art he must have created from all the talent that I knew he possessed.

For me this is all a journey back to a skill I forgot. My hand was not steady as it grasped the brush. My hand wasn't shaking; it just did not feel comfortable to hold a brush in my hand, and I was afraid of the page. It was almost ten years since I had last held a brush and even thought about painting again. As I stared down at the yellow practice paper, I remembered how unforgiving the paper was because it would absorb everything so quickly, how unforgiving the ink was because it would shout your mistakes back at you accusingly, and how important it was to get the right strokes the first time because if you didn't the strokes would mock you for trying to do something more than you were capable of. Chinese art is not Western art. There is no going back to fix mistakes.

The crisp crunch of the brushes bristles was familiar as it dipped into the ink. There was no bowl this time, just a paper dixie cup. I stroked the point of the brush carefully on a scrap piece of paper to straighten the end of the brush: it was important to have a sharp point on the brush to create the right strokes while painting.

In ten years the only thing I can still paint is bamboo. I decided to paint the bamboo instead of try to do the calligraphy that everyone else in the room was doing. I started with the straight vertical strokes that ran down the paper. I then had to wash my brush and dry it before dipping it into the ink again to put down the alternating smiles and frowns that joined the vertical segments of the bamboo; these smiles had to be a different shade of black than the bamboo. The rest of the painting followed: branches, then leaves (a different shade of course from the bamboo as well) and finally some grass to make it look like there was some kind of ground where these bamboo grew.

I then wrote my name in Chinese with the brush. It was no expert writing and the script looked like a bad attempt of an unexperienced hand writing complicated Chinese writing. It was there on the page though, my name. Maybe Grandfather watched me as I did all this. I wondered if he would be proud of me, or if he would merely grunt in approval of my art.

Hours later, the journey was complete, and time it seemed came to a concluding point. The painting was on my desk, and I was placing the red stamp of my seal below my name on the painting. I held the stamp on the paper longer than was necessary, perhaps to enjoy the moment. As a child painting in my teacher's basement, I would look at the rapid, fluid strokes he employed, and gape in awe when he would place his seal on the page as the crowning event. When he removed the seal and the red ink of it glimmered from the paper, it signified that it was complete.

I removed the seal from the paper. The red glimmered at me; I had come full circle.


Shouted from the rooftops? That's a good thing, at least Kaitlin says...

...Regarding my loud and large personality. An interesting thing to think about. I should post some of my "I hate my Bruce" essays sometime.

I borrowed my girlfriend's car last night. It was five 'til curfew, and I've promised God I'll get in on time. If she took me home, she'd be late herself, so I just took her car. She called me at 9 this morning (ugh.... too early...) to wake me up and tell me I could bring her the Civic. I went outside into the brisk and noticed how large the pile of snow-plow ice still was in my parking lot. I chanced a glance (tee hee) onto the ground and saw this quarter that I'm not sure is still legal currency. It appears to have been hidden under the ice all winter, and only in the recent thaw has it revealed itself.

It's almost completely covered in brown rust, and what isn't covered is green. I can't read what state it is, but it's a 2007 minting and if anyone is from "The Evergreen State" and sees jumping fish when they are home, let me know.

I just wonder how many treasures are hidden in the snow, and how many things in life are similarly hidden. Today Kaitlin asked me if I ever wondered who my friends would end up with. Honestly, I haven't really thought like that. I mean, I've thought about it for me, but that's concerning enough to myself and I don't worry about the eventual prospects of near-strangers. Point is, it made me think about how many individuals there are around us and how deep everyone is. Yeah, we can't all be "deep like the ocean" (so deep we're unfathomable,) but every person is an individual and has a life full of stories we can learn from. It's like hidden treasure all around us that lives and breathes and steps in line before me so it takes me longer to get my lunch. You know that guy handing out flyers for an event you won't attend? He actually has an
entire life he's lived.

It's like those dinosaurs on top of the stairs going from the Hinckley parking lot to Aspen Village. Sometime last semester, someone got several toy dinosaurs, wrote names on their sides, and placed them in a cute diorama by a tree. When winter came, they were hidden by the snow, but now spring has revealed their persistence and they are still there. Neat things like that, I love it.
Just funny how stupid things like ugly coins make you think.


Another walking story.

I notice things a lot when I'm walking to and from somewhere.

This morning, my Elders Quorum went to the temple for a 6am session. I really wanted to go- we have a temple so close (literally a five minute walk,) and so many have sacrificed over the years for us to enjoy that blessing. The least I can do is get there as much as is reasonably possible to show gratitude and provide someone else the blessings I have.

I woke up at 5:15, and realized my cold hadn't gone away. I thought about it for a minute, then decided it would be better to sleep of my sickness so I can be more productive and disciple-y during the day. I woke up again at 9, and my room mate was in the shower. I pulled my comforter up to my head and fell into a warm and gentle sleep again.

I woke up again at 10. I have work at 10:10 on Wednesdays. It takes 10 minutes to walk to work. I would be late. I hustled through my apartment, trying to care as much as I could to combat the apathy of illness. Throwing a few pills down my throat, I rushed out the door and began my powerwalk to minimal tardiness.

Sometimes in life, you see trials coming, and you try to hurry past them, but in trying to avoid them, you make it worse. I saw a group of people crawl out of the construction area behind the MC. A suited man with glasses wore a cowboy had, and another in stereotypical construction gear carried what looked like blueprints under his arm. They looked like pretty important people. The ten or so of them turned the corner into my path, and slowly strolled forward. I had tried to hurry so I could be in front of them, but I ended up being right on their tails. Even worse. They were spread out as to block the entire sidewalk for anyone trying to pass. I was incredibly frustrated; I was late, I was in a hurry, and I didn't want to be trapped by middle aged businessmen on their way to talk about some snooty proposal to make the construction last even longer. Suddenly, the words of a poet came into my mind:
"And I ain't got no worries, 'cause I ain't in no hurry at all...." ("Black Water," by Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers.)
Then it hit me. Yeah, I'm going to be late, but so what? What difference is an extra minute and half walking slower behind these people going to make? I once had a teacher encourage us to walk slower when we went somewhere. He said we, as a society, are so rushed, and if we take the time to walk slowly and deliberately, we will be more peaceful and less stressed. Those feelings washed over me as I deliberately kept a slow pace with those people.

Of course, when the opportunity first presented itself, I made a fast break and hurried to work. A good lesson, though. We rush everywhere- why? If you're one minute late, being two minutes late won't make a difference, and you'll at least feel better when you get there. It's the little things like slow walking that make life better.

Sis. Morgan I'm not encouraging tardiness I promise.



Have you ever stopped to wonder which stalls in a public bathroom are used the most? I think about it every time I have to use one. I never go to the first stall--it's the closest--so surely most lazy people go there. And I don't use the last stall because certainly people who think the first stall is used the most go to the last stall. But then what about those two or three stalls in between the first and last stall? I personally always either go to the second or third. But what if other people think the same way I do and therefore choose those same stalls? Disgusting. The whole thing is disgusting. Which stall do you think is used the most?

(Just look at me: I've only been in the public school system for seven days and already I think like a middle schooler. I'm doomed.)


Greetings from Camp Striker in Baghdad, Iraq

Dear Sister Morgan,
I've been in Iraq now for almost a month. And I thought going to Slovenia was like stepping into another world. Right now I am a platoon leader for 22 soldiers. Most are young, many are married, and all have had previous combat experience--some on their fourth tour. One sergeant has spent most of his young adult life on deployment.
I'm sorry I haven't been writing on the blog page. In order for me to access the website I have to get the blog approved. Too many soldiers have blogged and released sensitive information that they shouldn't have. this is just a way for the army to monitor what information is being shared.

All is going pretty well. I have a lot to learn and almost no time to learn it in. It seems that each day presents me with a new experience that I've never dealt with before and suddenly I find myself in the driver's seat calling the shots.

I don't have much time to write, but once I get my computer I plan on writing down some thoughts I've had lately and either submitting them on the blog or sending them to you if that's OK.
Have a great day and I hope that all is going well. Thank you for your prayers.


Worst Sick Person Award

I have a hard time recognizing when I'm ill. Two weeks ago my first clue was that I couldn’t get dressed without sweating and couldn’t stay out of the bathroom long enough to find car keys.
Next day I try again; same scenario. Do I accept whatever leech is in my system and stay down ‘till it leaves? No. Of course not. My mother ruined me forever from considering an afternoon nap. Resting of any kind during the day would surely bring forth ancestors from graves to scold and beat the “laziness” out of us. My mother always worked hard, and so did we.
But Tuesday, I feel better— well enough to make it to seminar, yet I go home early—mostly because annoying Kaitlin comes around 10:00 and gets pushy. Next day, am I better? No. In fact, now I have a huge knot in my throat where I used to swallow food. It’s like a different part of my body malfunctions each day, along with a constant blinding headache. And I go downhill from there. But . . . this is a virus that’ll run its course (I can hear a doctor say this exact sentence after he/she has shot me full of needles). Thursday and Friday, I’m really down. I try to drink more water, aware of dehydration. But, around 5:00 on Friday I finally realize, I’m in trouble. Brilliant, huh? I mean it’s been over two weeks; I should be better, but instead I’m daydreaming of Jami singing at MY funeral. Why can't I see what’s wrong with this picture? My head feels like thick mud; my muscles throb clear through to my bones, and I finally realize I need to go to the emergency room. (I’m often amazed at my own luminous intellect.) But I’m not able to climb the stairs to get clothes. I consider driving in my nightgown and red Chinese robe, but fall back into a semi-sleep before I can act (thank heavens). I vaguely try to remember if Chan has a phone # or where I put my assistant’s list, but fall again back to sleep. In a dream, I see Megan and Beau (my children in SLC). They’re very happy, and they’re talking to nurses, helping me change into a backless gown, wiping away blood from an IV, —the blood is very red—and they deal with the doctor. It’s a wonderful heavenly dream.
Then someone walks through the backdoor who looks like Beau. He says, “Hi Mom, we came to help you.” I’m sure I hear a voice, but it’s dark. I watch as this dream figure unlocks the front door, and Meg & Ben spill through it, carrying groceries, overnight bags, etc. This is one intense dream. But then Meg is shoving Chicken soup in front of me, bugging me about going to a doctor, and I want the dream to dissolve like the Wicked Witch of the North ( or is it South?). Meg sits on the couch arm and plays with my hair. “Mother,” she purrs. “I’ll comb your hair and get you the new Jesse James video if you go to the emergency room with me” (what a manipulator). They help me upstairs. I don’t understand why my legs and hands are crimped into tight knots. Meg has to put on my shoes for me.
I’m too sick to care and turn everything over to her—this little daughter whom I have driven to the hospital a hundred times. But now everything’s reversed. Something wrong with this reversal. I suddenly see our future. I see growing older and understand this reversal of roles will happen—no way out of it—but I’m uncomfortable. This is too soon.
On the drive to the hospital, I try to show her my new “Once” CD, but have to drop my head against the door. Megan does not stop at stop signs. She rolls through them, and I make a mental note to warn her about these bored Idaho police. She drops me off in front of the emergency doors and says to wait, but I turn and push the door open. After all, geez, I am the mother here and can do whatever I darn well please. But the desk looks at least two miles away. Finally the intake person is in front of me, wearing a bright red blouse that hurts my eyes because it’s too red against all this white and Lysol chrome. I don’t remember what she says, but I hear my own voice like I’m talking through thick marshmallows: “I don’t know what’s wrong. Just flu. . . . But never mind; I just want to go home.” I fall in to a chair and hold my head up with my hands before it falls and rolls across the floor to hit the shoes of the boy who won’t stop staring. I stare back and mentally telegraph: “What is your problem, you little Twerp.” (I'm very classy and empathetic when I'm ill.)
Logically, I know the gurney is hard, but it feels like sinking in to the softest feather bed. I just want to sleep. Megan is talking to the nurses; she helps me into a puke-green backless gown, then she wipes away blood from an IV they stick in my hand. The blood is so bright: it’s almost orange. After x-rays, and two+ liters of phentamine and electrolytes, I’m moving beyond a serious dehydration, while she talks to a doctor, gets prescriptions, and handles the paperwork. Finally, after two or three hours, I look around and realize my daughter has driven from Salt Lake. I have proof. She’s right here beside me. I listen to the click click sound of some monitor and watch her face lost in a half- sleep. She’s curled up in a hard chair, not twisted and cramped, but gracefully, like a ballet dancer. This is not a dream. And Megan glows—like a guardian angel. And I realize the Lord is close and aware and sends angels when we can’t help ourselves. He sends family—those who love us. He sends old friends like Kam and Haylie. “No, you cannot bring me dinner tonight. Stay away. I’m recovering, but still ill. Some other time. Thanks, but DO NOT COME NEAR THIS FLU.”
“OK,” Kam texts. “Expect us around 7:00. We’ll leave it on the step and ring the doorbell.” I text back: “Kam, you’re so stubborn.”
But I don’t have any extra energy to fight all these angels.