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To Mormons, With Love
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Book Review! (Catch-up post to follow soon.)

The past two months have been busy -- I'll write about "what I did on my summer vacation" soon -- but I'm interrupting my unplanned blogging hiatus to share a review of to Mormons, with LOVE that appeared on the Association for Mormon Letters website. You can read the review here.

Sounds silly, but I couldn't wait to show my mom and dad.

More to come...


Hello JELL-O!

Redmond (6) and I were cruising the aisles of Costco recently. He asked for the giant above-ground swimming pool, I told him no. He thought the 10-person tent would be perfect for our family, again I said no. The outdoor play house (too tiny, actually) and playset (assembly required) were reasonable requests. I'm sorry, honey, but we have plenty of things to play with at home.

He felt denied and mildly disappointed. I don't believe he expected me to purchase any of those dreamy items, but summer's nearly here and the merchandising at Costco is heady.

Then I spotted her. A sample lady...and she had Jell-O.

We waited in a line as long and intense as one at the Magic Kingdom entrance gates. Frazzled mothers with handfuls of kids, whining, grabbing, the frustrated sample lady asking unattended kids where their mother was and informing them that she needed a parent's permission to give a sample, self-restraint evident in her voice and eyes.

Finally, our turn. Redmond didn't know what we were waiting for. "A special treat," I told him.

"Would you like green or red?" the sample lady asked him.

He surveyed the little white cups, each with a tablespoon or two of jiggly goodness, then looked at me confused.

"It's Jell-O," I said.

"What's Jell-O?"

The entire store silenced. I think. All of the moms and kids behind us gasped. A young voice said, "I'll take his!"

I grabbed a green and headed toward the eggs—the Kirkland Organic Brown Eggs (Cage-free!).

Parke and Duke have had Jell-O. I don't know how Redmond missed this experience. I don't care for the *food* myself, so it's not a treat in our house, but to live almost seven years and not even know what Jell-O is...

He hesitantly tried the sample. "I like Jell-O," he said. "Can we buy some?"



Meditating With Mary, Gorillas, and David Blaine

The research is strong. Quieting the mind, praying, engaging in prayerful thought, slipping into the space between thoughts—the gap as they say, meditating...are all habits and practices that contribute to peace of mind and overall brain health.

I can talk to God, I'm able to inhale deeply and feel Mother Nature's divine intelligence, I can problem-solve to the point of pulverizing, and I can spin a thought in so many directions that everyone around me is dizzy and irritated. But to truly be still, to quiet the mind, is a habit I need to cultivate. I've experienced the head cleansing benefits of meditation on some of my runs over the years...focused on my breathing, the sound of my feet hitting the road or trail, no thoughts, no words, just present in the moment. Mindfulness. But, I also enjoy running with friends; it's a convenient way to socialize and stay connected. A daily meditation-while-running habit isn't realistic for me. Once or twice a week? Yes.

When Chris and I were younger—before kids—we fiddled with meditating. Sitting. I can't say that either one of us mastered the practice. But we listened to a lot of tapes, visualized desires and hurts in bubbles and gently blew them towards the sky...we also went on long zen-like mountain bike rides, and experienced euphoria via our teachers, Beer and Pizza.

In addition to pursuing mindfulness as a way of life, I'm trying to establish a daily meditation habit—to quietly sit—for ten minutes, or more when I'm able. Sometimes I successfully detach from my thoughts, and other times Chatty Cathy appears:

I'm sitting. I'm fairly comfortable. Posture is good. Did I silence the phone? Better check. ... I'm sitting. Comfortable. Good posture. I am peaceful. I am peaceful. I am peaceful. ... Maybe I need a new mantra. ... I am peaceful. ... I can totally see through my eyelids. Mary (the dog) just walked in front of me. I see her and my eyes are closed. I must have freakishly thin eyelids. I wonder if a laser treatment would stimulate collagen production and thicken my lids. That's probably why I have trouble sleeping. Closing my eyes isn't enough. I should buy a sleep mask. Maybe there's one in the bag of trash and trinkets Mom brings the boys. ... I am peaceful. I am peaceful. ... I wonder if a gorilla can meditate. I bet they can. There aren't as many thoughts to quiet. Maybe they're in a constant meditative state, except when they charge each other and fight. ... I am peaceful. I am peaceful. ... I'll just peek at the clock. Maybe I can see it with my eyes closed. ... Nope. ... Three minutes. Feels longer. Maybe that's good enough. ... I am peaceful. I am peaceful. I am peaceful. ... If I breathe any deeper I'm going to hyperventilate. Why can't I do this? There goes Mary again. ... I bet David Blaine has thin eyelids. He makes me believe in magic. If he tried to levitate in front of me, I'd break every plane around him. Magnets. In his shoes, planted in the levitation area before he arrives—by a team. That's gotta be how he does it. Bet he can't levitate a gorilla. Or Mary. ... I am peaceful. I am peaceful. ... I think I'm done.

 I'll stick with the habit. I'm getting better...and so is Mary.

But I catch her looking at the clock sometimes...

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