Friday, November 6, 2015

Running out of kids

I'm heading straight into concert season, but I am not even breaking a sweat. That's right, this isn't the hectic juggling act it used to be. For the concert last week, I had two kids in the same college orchestra (bobo was one of two high school students participating). This song was my favorite because it featured bobo in the cello section and benny in the bass section!

I was babysitting that night so Baby Noah got to go to the concert with us. I thought that an orchestra concert might be a little tough on a not-yet-two-year-old so I asked Naji to take him out at intermission. Apparently that was not what Baby Noah wanted, he insisted on coming back in and watching the concert in total.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

It could have turned out differently

The second half of my life has begun with a period of reflection. Which of my life choices were good? Which do I regret? Don't get the idea that I am older than I am, but my life has spanned two millennia, and it seems that it has been much easier to make informed decisions this millennia than last.

For example, back in the 1900's when I had just graduated from high school, I made the decision to go to University and study music. I was accepted at BYU and soon learned that despite my 12 years of piano study, I was not competitive with the other pianists at the Y. Despite my love of music, I switched to French, where surprisingly I held my own agains the army of returned French language missionaries.

It never occurred to me to stay in music, but switch my instrument to organ. The only organ related thought I recall from that time was the regret that the space allotted to my student ward did not have an organ, therefore I played the piano for sacrament (my calling). I missed playing the organ.

Little did I know, but BYU had four practice pipe organs on campus and a great organ department that was so hurting for students that they handed out scholarships to anyone with an interest in studying. (Thank you internet). Had I known, I would have stayed at BYU and graduated in a degree that, in the LDS Church Culture, offered little chance of employment (5 positions per 15 million people). But, you know, maybe that wouldn't have mattered. I could have married someone with a great career prospect and been a stay at home mom who gave organ lessons on the side.

Instead I took the road less traveled, and there has been some pain along the way. Could that one choice have avoided all the pain? Could I have had an easier life? This past month has truly erased any "could-have-beens" from my mind. I wouldn't change my choices, my life, or my situation. I have been blessed with the bestest-neatest-coolest kids in the world. They have made my life an "E" class ride!

And because of their unique cultural background, talents and gifts each week is a surprise of service mixed with unending awe of all the cool things I get to witness and participate in...from the Multicultural Celebration at Dixie State University where the Little Girls Band (my kids) sang a traditional veteran's song and Wounded Knee (my son Mason) performed his original song "Nakota Calling"..

To the Paradise (Spanish Speaking) Branch's generous offer to include us in their Multicultural Night where the Little Girls Band sang a trick song for Naji (who danced himself sick).

Not only was this enjoyable to me, but it was enjoyable to my kids who loved the representations from each Latino nation -- and the food that was cooked from each nation by hands who wanted to share their culture.

I look forward with hope and happiness for all that is to come!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Girl in the Pearl Necklace

Last month I was in New York City and I found myself in a jewelry shop in Little China. I've been wanting a string of pearls ever since I lost the string my son Sammy gave me. The shop I was in had native salt water pearls. I've never had anything but cultured or fresh water pearls. I bought a small string of heavy uneven pearls. Several of the pearls were misshaped. I fell in love with the strand because of its imperfections. As a strand, the necklace is not noticeably malformed. It works well enough for my youngest daughter to want to borrow it.

Today is the International Day of the Girl. Its a day to celebrate #GirlHero and #GirlPossible and #OurGirlsMatter. Its a day to turn the phrase "like a girl" from something negative into something positive.

I have two girls. In a household of seven children, those two girls are as precious and rare as a pearl in the mouth of an oyster.

Raising my precious daughters has opened my eyes.

We were supposed to be making the world a better place for our daughters. We were supposed to have fought and won for their right to be what they wanted and compete as equals. I wonder sometimes if we as women still hold ourselves back. The technical conference I attended in New York (monolithic NAND memory recovery) was attended by forty or fifty forensic professionals. I was one of two women in attendance.

My youngest daughter (the one in the pearl necklace) was selected to be in the Washington County School District Honor Jazz Band. Out of 20 students, 4 were girls.

My oldest daughter is in digital film. On her film shoot this weekend, she was the only girl on the crew (she's the one taking this behind-the-scenes photo). This is typical for her.

I am proud of my girls. I know they are fighting an uphill battle...fighting to be taken seriously...fighting shyness....fighting isolation....fighting cultural stereotypes.

And I am grateful. I am grateful they continue the fight. I am grateful they are allowed to fight. I am grateful that they love what they do and that they choose to dance through life! #GirlHeros

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Inappropriateness of Us

Thailand is stairs. Usually I don't mind, but this year my knees are going out. I have one bad knee and one worse knee. I wasn't going to climb to the top of the temple because of my hobbling one step at a time gate, but then I did. People can go around, right?

As I climbed the stairs, I heard and older woman behind me say, "I wasn't going to go up, but she is. And she takes stairs the same way I do."

On another side note, I was asked to give a closing prayer at church Sunday. We had just completed a lesson on cheerfulness and gratitude through our adversities, so I was a little choked up - ok, I might have cried. After the prayer a woman told me how wonderful she thought I was. In an apparent effort to console me, she said every time she feels down, she looks at me playing the organ and raising my seven children, and she feels better about her situation. My mother is quick to quote Job. "I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all." (Job 16:2)

Today I am laughing about my ability to make others feel better about themselves. Even though it sometimes makes me feel bad to hear that others think I have it so bad, life is good. The cool thing about my family is that we do what we want. The sad thing is that our choices may not be what others expect...

In other words, I don't think we have it worse than others. I just think that because we make non-standard choices we get out of step with the mainstream. At certain times, our actions may even be interpreted as inappropriate. (Sometimes we notice that after the fact and then we are so glad for a large family because we can all laugh together). I have some video examples of this.

We were asked to provide some entertainment for the dinner honoring graduating Native American students from our local school district. Because it would be a mostly Native American audience, the boys decided to sing a song with a Native American theme. So here they are singing Rocky Point.

They were asked to do an encore. They sang the Peter LaForge classic "Drums" because of its message regarding education and how not all education can be found in a book.

Post performance, maybe it wasn't the best pick for the audience. A misstep due to the Inappropriateness of Us. And so we smile and carry on.

This weekend we were asked to perform at a Ukulele Festival. We missed the Bach festival this year, even though we had an idea of what we wanted to perform. So we decided that we would play our Bach piece at the Ukulele Festival.

Bobo is amazing with her quick finger picking on this Cello suite. The rest of us tried to keep up with chording underneath. As always, we did better in rehearsal, but we didn't not start and finish it here. We finished up with some ukulele circle classics.

Which I suppose wouldn't have been so bad if all the other performers hadn't done the one guy, one uke hipster schtick. Totally out of step with the evening again. So in the end, all we can do is laugh at the Inappropriateness of Us.