Thursday, December 4, 2014

morning happiness along with whatever else is on my mind

Morning happiness is when you hear the kids' bedroom door and big brother comes out and beelines it out for little sister.  Straightaway he says, "Good morning Sissy," and gives her the sweetest and biggest hug.

I've felt super spacey today.  I'm having a hard time focusing and holding on to thoughts.  I should probably just go to bed.  But there are a few things I'd like to remember and write about now because if I don't then they'll be gone.

I made a select few Christmas cards this year to send out.  After I addressed them, I was sad I didn't have one for my Gma and Gpa Clark.  I have one for all the other gparents (greats to our kids), but not one for them.  Every time I drive up Center Street in Orem, I feel the same way.  I miss them.  It's strange knowing I won't ever sit on their couch again or venture down into the basement with its vibrant green carpet.  I miss their smiles and their hugs.

E is lots of fun.  He built various creations with our tissue boxes about a month ago.  Yesterday when I was prepping dinner, he asked if he could play with the spice carousel.  I set it on the table for him and he went right to work getting creative.  Such joy.
please to be noticing Strongbad fitting in the wooden spatula's hole

We had a great time hanging out with PNTHK while they were here.  E and H were fast friends and got crazy together pretty quickly, as young boys are wont to do.  I loved seeing them hold hands as they sang "Jingle Bells" on Temple Square.  H was singing the Batman version while E kept repeating this line over and over: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, all the way to Bethlehem."

We rode frontrunner up to see the lights.  It was such a warm night that I was in shock.  It was really crowded but we still had a good time.

Well, I better get to bed.  Merry Christmastime.  It's getting more and more fun each year to decorate and anticipate holidays with the kids.  E and H have loved the lights on our tree and have loved "decorating" our home for Christmas.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

it's only 7:30 a.m.

but because of daylight savings I've been up since 5:30.  I really don't understand this time change thing.  I get up when the kids do and yet now it's an hour earlier.  I do like it being light outside earlier in the morning, but it seems it really doesn't last too long anyway because winter descends coldly and darkly.  I really don't like how dark it will be at 5:30 tonight.  Aargh.

Anyway, the greatest thing about this morning was when E woke up.  Hattie had already been up for an hour, but when Eamon came bounding out his door, he bee-lined for Hattie.  He gave her a kiss right on the lips and asked if she wanted to play ring-around-the-rosies.  His eyes hadn't fully opened from the effects of sleep and yet here he was, holding Hattie's hands and spinning around so happily.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


This season of life I'm in doesn't really feel like a season to me.  More like: one long day after another.  With some rather long nights peppered in there for extra seasoning.

But these days!  These nights!  And these days!  Even if I could trade them for anything, I would not.

"Nothing gold can stay."  I remember my ninth grade English teacher quoting this poem to us.  A decade and a half later, my baby brother stands taller than me and will turn 16 in a week.  So they do grow up.  Or at least begin to.  These children.  These babies.

At 17 months H invented a new game today.  I call this game Baby.  I hold her in my arms.  She looks at me and says, "Baby," about five times.  She then falls limp so I will cradle her.  I rock her and say, "Baby, baby, baby.  I love you."  She closes her eyes, opens them, and looks at me.  She sits up and smacks her lips to share a kiss with me.  It's so ironic to me.  My baby playing baby.

And this boy who is now closer to four than three, is also such a delight.  His stories, creations, and sweetness leave me wordlessly astounded.  "I'm this many pounds tall, Mom," he said as stretched himself to stand up as straight as he could.  I love his imagination and seeing it work.

I know I'll probably be kicking myself for letting the dishes in the sink remain there overnight, but we took a drive up the canyon to visit Andrew's grandparents.  It felt so nice to give and receive hugs.  We even got to see Andrew's uncle.  Instead of dishes we chose relationships tonight.  And I'm choosing further to write some words because my soul feels starved for writing of late.  I would love to write about all the many countless moments that leave me with a pure sense of wonderment and peace, but it's in the everyday.  And I haven't yet found the time to write every day.

I'm not sure if I agree wholeheartedly in Frost's sentiment that nothing gold can stay because this is how I'm sustained.  These peaceful and heavenly moments help me move onward and upward.  They stay.  They rest within the memories of my heart and mind, and, truly, I feel them each time I share a genuine hug.

 20 September 2014
Summit of Mount Timpanogos

 20 September 2014
en route from Aspen Grove to Stewart Falls

Monday, August 11, 2014

my rays of sunshine

We were all wearing yellow this morning (except for Andrew).  I had my Minnesota Gophers shirt on, so the three of us were yellow delights.  This is Eamon's cheesy cheeseball face.  Oh I love these two so much.  We had a nice Sunday stroll with cousin Asher to the duck pond.  We might just make this a Sunday tradition; we enjoyed it last Sunday as well.  I don't know if we'll venture out with heaps of snow on the ground, but for now it's a great outing to get some wiggles out before church.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"bird by bird"

I've been reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Life and Writing by Anne Lamott.  It's helping me have some desire to write again.  I feel so out of practice in the writing realm, and I could give a million excuses, but that would be so dull.  Well, perhaps I'll be a tad bit dull.  One excuse: I get discouraged with my lack of "free time."  And when I do have some spare moments, I usually feel too tired to pull together any coherent thoughts.  But writing on here makes me feel like I'm actually working on something and I can type much faster than I can long-handedly string sentences together.

So we'll try out a little session tonight and hope to spark some consecutive nights of writing, though I do prefer ink and paper.  I won't always type everything up on here.

Today Hattie saw a bird for the first time.  Sure, it wasn't her very first encounter with a bird, but she looked up, unblinking as the bird hopped from fence to tree.  She pointed and squawked to get me to look as well.  Her eyes shone happier than her mouth.  Those blues with an inner ring of golden yellow.  Oh, how I love those eyes.

And the boy, that Eamon boy.  These kids of mine fill up my days, and sometimes my nights, to the brim.  Laughter, impatience, smiles, frustration, hugs, wrestlings, peace.  I watch him as he falls asleep.  He turns onto his right side and puts his hands together in a prayer-like position.  I fake yawn sometimes just to hear him echo his own in response.  He picks his nose slowly and then slower and slower, and his eyes remain lightly closed.

There's some from the present.  How 'bout a little from the past.

Summertime.  We'd go to the library with mom.  We each had our own library card and we'd go down into the basement of the Provo library to get our fill.  I would check out at least 15 books and try to impress the librarian checking out my books.  I don't know how impressive Sweet Valley High or Babysitter's Club really are or were or ever have been, but I was reading.  I was a reader.  Upon arriving home, we would drag out a few of mom's huge quilts into the shade of the willow trees.  And read.  Mom always made it fun by fixing a special treat.  Popcorn, maybe?  I honestly have no recollection.  I do remember, though, the feel of the grass through the blanket on my legs and elbows.  I remember the thrill of reading for hours.  The joy and the peace that came from escaping into a place different and away.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

old photos

oh my goodness. i don't have words to express how nostalgic i become while looking at these pictures. i could go on and on and on.  what a lucky and blessed girl i am to have gone on such a marvelous trip with my family five years ago.  it's crazy how much our lives have changed and how our families have grown since then.  add four grandchildren to the mix now.  

these are just a few of the pictures i've spent the last several minutes looking through on my parents' computer.  what great memories. oh how i love my family.  riding bikes to mont st. michel.  josh so TINY.  maybe he's just gigantic now.  but he really is baby josh here. so so so many good times.

Monday, March 24, 2014

leaden echo, golden echo

I've been wanting to write about this for two weeks now, and after a few false-starts think I might actually finish.  I'm waiting to do a skype interview for a teaching job and I'm nervous.  I hope writing can help relax me a bit.

We attended Sarah's memorial service a few weeks ago; it was such a beautiful tribute to an amazing woman.  Many emotions rolled through me that morning as I listened, felt, and watched.  I could only sob as  her two youngest kids walk out of the chapel with their arms around each other, the last ones of the family to exit.  I try to banish the feeling of helplessness that begins to well up within me with sights like that.  I hope my hugs to them, given later, portrayed at least a portion of the love and hope I have for them.

During the service many beautiful lines of literature were shared, from C. S. Lewis to Marilynne Robinson.  Sarah's father, Sterling Van Wagenen, read a stunning poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins.  I had never heard it before and he breathed the words so movingly that I was in awe.  I wanted to stand up and applaud; it was that beautiful.  I got home and looked it up and found a reading of it by Richard Burton.  If you have three minutes and four seconds, read the poem while you listen.

I'm grateful for these words and how they were shared with such deep feeling.  I'm eternally grateful to have known Sarah for the year I did.  She inspires me to become better in many ways.

I'm so grateful for heavenly goodness.  Despair takes over my heart easily, but as long as I turn to my Savior I can be uplifted and find comfort, peace, and rest.

Take courage.  Our God will never us forsake.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

here i go, reading old emails again

From February 2008:
Little moments like the one I just had make me thankful and bring a smile to my face.  I'm in the process of grading my last stack (of the day) of writer's notebooks.   We read The Chosen long ago during first term; it wasn't the best experience for me.  I love that book, but I felt like we trudged and grumbled our way through it.  I felt hardly anyone enjoyed it.  But hark, what's here?  A surprise.  A clever student still remembers Mr. Savo and one of his favorite words--cockeyed.  I quote from her writer's notebook:

"In my opinion, texting is stupid.  It is of the devil.  Adolescents in this day and age are so consumed in their technological gadgets that they never stop to look at the wonders that surround them.  Example: There is a teenager at the bus stop, waiting for his ride.  He is extremely bored.  Heaven forbid he stoops down to examine a butterfly's intricate wings or ponder the meaning of life.  :)  Nooo, he would just whip out his cell phone and start texting!!!!  As Mr. Savo would say: 'Cockeyed world.'"

Anyhow, it just made me happy to read that and realize that at least one thing has stuck in at least one student's mind.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

be not dismayed

Why do I laugh?
Really I should be crying all day long and on throughout the night.

I'd like a wailing wall like May's.

Write up my troubles.
Write up all the troubles of the world.

All day long and on throughout the night.

Days and nights and nights and days.
On throughout all time.

Write everything.
Scraps of paper covered with my scribbles.
Cram them in.
Let the rocks crush out the terribleness of it all.

What else is there to do?
A pool of cleansing water?
A soulful song of lamentation?
A flower rolled flat between my thumb and finger?

Why do I laugh?
How do I smile?

When my heart aches as sharp as weary bones,
I picture myself falling asleep
Beneath the orchard's blossoming branches.

The pink petals soothe my eyelids to close.
I hear them whisper as the breeze rustles through.
I pillow my head with the grass.

My midday repose ends as I yawn myself awake.
The smile from dreaming remains as I breathe deeply;
Gaze focused skyward, I stand.

The stones hold the heat of the day.
I curl my toes round them,
Jumping off when I can't stand the warmth any longer.
The dandelion fluff dances high with my landing.

I cannot.
I cannot cry throughout all time.

So I
Take pause,
Land again,

Build those smiles together to fashion true laughter.

Monday, March 3, 2014

almost two years

Yesterday was one of those days when my soul simultaneously soared and sank.  

How to explain?  How to enumerate?  How to attach words to feelings experienced so powerfully?  

In mulling it over, my husband gave me a word to begin to describe how the death of a friend affects us: cumulative.  It's a cumulative loss; that's how he put it more or less.  

So when I think of Sarah gone from our ward family.  When I cry because I won't see her smile again in this life.  When I fret and cry and lament her children's and parents' aching hearts.  When I mourn her too-soon departure, my mind and heart tick back to the three most recent funerals I've attended: Zoe's, Grandpa's, and Tawna's.  The most fresh, the most recent adding to the absences of the others gone before.

And yet for all the dark clouds pressing in, the sun shines above.  

Sinking and soaring.  I miss Grandpa saying, "See ya in the funny papers."  I ache for Zoe's parents who lost her on Christmas.  I wish Tawna could be here, holding my babies, her grandbabies.  I miss Sarah's sincere gaze.  And yet.  

Their goodness inspires.

From the Latin, inspire means to breathe upon or into.  

Their goodness inspires.  They invite me to live more fully, to use all the breath I have to meet them again at Jesus' feet. 

They are spires.  I lift my eyes and heart because of their lives, because of their deaths.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Instead of writing or reading (or cleaning) of late, I've been using a lot of my spare time to cut, glue, and attempt to manipulate felt.  It's been fun and hopefully will continue to be fun.  I made some finger puppets for the boy and some hair clips for our ward's youth camp fundraiser.  We'll see if they sell.  My mom made felt finger puppets once upon a time and I doubt mine are as good as hers (not fishing for compliments here because Marmee is a domestic goddess; it's true).

Monday, February 3, 2014

the luckiest

"It looks like a beautiful day.  The sun is coming up and you said you wanted to go running."

I don't remember his exact words but I'm grateful for how he said them because that's what I remember more than the words themselves.  They helped me remember I did indeed want to run this morning.  They helped me want to greet the day happily.  He said these words encouragingly, sincerely, and kindly.

So this might be what you might call a mushy post.  But let it be known, I love my Andrew Clyde.  My manly man.  My dearest dearly darling.

Our fourth anniversary is in a few days and we've been celebrating the six days of February around here.  This was something I started for our first anniversary.  Now it's something I look forward to as the holidays come to a close.  Andrew has been so creative this time around.  He gives me a clue in the morning and then a hint later in the day as to where to find a little gift.  I am spoiled.  I am blessed.  I am loved.

And now I'm going to listen to this song again.

Monday, January 27, 2014

a new hobby?

Made some hair bows/clips over the last week.  They're very elementary, but I had fun making them and look forward to making some more.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

this is why I write

It's so easy for me to forget moments, conversations, and interactions.  Sometimes I like to search for and read old emails.  Some of my very favorite emails are those exchanged between my sister and me.  Boy do we make me laugh, even five years after the fact.

I was indulging in this pastime tonight, missing her, and thinking about her, when I came across a paragraph I wrote about someone.  Sadly, I can't even remember what Oleg looked like, but I do remember speaking with him, in Russian, and smiling all the while.

I share it here because all the unrest in Ukraine, and so many other parts of the world, is breaking my heart right now.

We have to keep reasons around to smile, no?

Backstory: I was helping out my dad with some Ukrainians who were visiting UVU in the summer of 2009.  This is what I wrote Natty because she was out of country (meeting the love of her life) in Mexico.

Wednesday I took the Ukrainians swimming.  One guy, Oleg, was super funny.  We were waiting for the others to get changed into their swim attire.  He lifted up his shirt to reveal his hairy chest and says (in Russian, of course) "No one in America has hair like this, do they?"  

He was pretty hairy and yet I had to say, "No, people do have hair like that.  My dad has hair like that."  

So then he pulls down the back neck of his tee shirt to expose even the hairiness of his back.  "What about this?" he asked.  

"Um, yeah, my dad has hair just like that."  

He replies, "People with hair like this are good people.  Your dad is a good guy.  I'm a good guy too.  I met your dad last night and he really is a good guy."  

I was just smiling and said, "Yeah, yeah."  It was pretty funny.  He's quite the gregarious kid. 

Oleg, wherever you are, I hope you're still smiling.  Thanks for brightening up my life at least twice now.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

the Skabelund love language of food

We've been home for almost a week now, but certain items in my fridge, freezer, and pantry remind me of the home-where-I-grew-up, or at least where I did much of my growing up.  I still have a fair bit of growing up to do.  

The food I am enjoying of late:

  • peach preserves from Becky
  • elk, thanks to Joli's tag, Dad's harvesting, and everyone's hands to break it all down
  • blue cheese dressing made by Dad
  • squash grown by Dad
  • jars of peaches, pears, apricots, jam, applesauce, and sauerkraut canned by my parents
I often feel like Anton Ego or Marcel Proust when I eat any of this.  A bite of canned pear takes me back to Sundays after church when our standard lunch or snack would be cheese toast with canned fruit.  The elk evokes many fond memories of time spent on both a snowy mountain and in my parents' kitchen with my cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Above all, as I partake I feel loved.  I am blessed.