Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hello Good Bye

Said good bye to best friend Michelle tonight.


 

I'm sad.

I think I'll go to the beach for a week...


Thanks for everything, Michelle. You are one of those friends I will keep forever, no matter where on earth we live. I love you. You are SO much fun, and so amazingly thoughtful.  I love how brave you are. I love how much we think in sync, how we never have to apologize when we say what we really are thinking or feeling, because the other person already understands.You have made the last two years in DC so memorable. And there are many good times to come!


See you sometime before December. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Patience

From the Preach My Gospel manual (I don't know why I love this so much but I do! I've read it over and over again throughout my days and weeks):


Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God's will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith-- you must wait for the Lord's promised blessings to be fulfilled.


You need patience in your everyday experiences and relationships, especially with your companion. You must be patient with all people, yourself included, as you work to overcome faults and weaknesses.


Rose window in the cathedral in Strasbourg, Germany. 14th century High Gothic. The earth tones make it one of the most unique rose windows in the world, and my personal favorite.
Rose and Driftwood. Ansel Adams. 1902. Gelatin silver plate.

A Celebration of Ann

I am thankful for the opportunity to pray for my mom today, as part of my "assignment" given to me by my Relief Society teacher. I have been praying for her much more since I've lived out here in DC, but I intend to unleash some really FUN prayers this week on her behalf. I understand her and empathize with her experiences, her pain, her hopes, and her faith so much more when I talk to Heavenly Father about her. Heavenly Father absolutely adores her.

So do I. I have always been a mama's girl. There are people in the world who are meant to be mothers, and my mom was one of those people. You can't imagine what it was like to be raised by such a selfless, imaginative, thoughtful person. I just want to stand up and lead an audience in applause for you, Ann. You did it!!!!!!!!! I can officially say that this week because Katie, our youngest sister, has just graduated high school and will fly the coop in a few weeks. My mom will have finished a large and probably the most physically taxing stage of motherhood. And what an Amazing
Incredible
Inspired
Thoughtful
Sweet
Tender
Courageous 
Effective
job she did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is it prideful of me to say she was effective? I say no. My brothers and sisters and I have all gone to college or will shortly, we are as close-knit as they come, and I think they are all pretty cool, sweet, funny, devoted, brave young adults. Mom wins!

Thank you, Mom. You are so beautiful. Let's keep living life together, shall we? One step at a time...

Baby me and mom, at the National Gallery of Art ca. 1987
Ok this isn't even her kid, but it shows how warm she is and how she instantly forms bonds with little people.
I kiss my mother with that mouth, yep.
 Love you mom. Love you, all my friends who are moms. Thanks doesn't really cut it for all the work you do, but thanks nevertheless!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

{dragonflies draw flame}

Loving this girl's posts. Feeling like her in many ways. Ironically, only a few weeks after I wrote about being in a place of calm assurance from which perch I benignly assuaged the worries of my friends, I myself have been assaulted with that familiar discomfort that means Heavenly Father wants me to change something about my life, though I don't know what and I don't know when. Just trying to get ready for it, sound out my options. If you are an adult who graduated from college you probably know what I'm talking about. Yeehaw! The following verse went up on Hil's blog this week and it pretty much is how I feel right now (though I am NOT, by any means, into poetry, I like to think I really got the emotions behind this):

BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.


I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.


And because I keep playing these songs over and over to feel a little bit of stability, you can listen too (I'm taking my turn at being like DJ Milan!):



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sensei Cobb

The sweetest thing happened in a stake church meeting today. The visiting general authority spoke of unappreciated blessings in our own backyards, and then, with a happy smile, asked all the primary kids in the audience of 3,000 to stand up. Then he asked them to wave. Parents everywhere hoisted their kids onto their laps or their chairs as they waved to the rest of us. The GA let them wave to us for about 30 seconds or so, eventually inviting the young women and young men of the stake to also stand and wave. He asserted to us adults that we were seeing our own most precious natural resource. I absolutely teared up while watching the sea of little, exuberant hands;  I remember as a little girl being so happy and excited whenever grown-ups would give a shout-out to kids in church. I was always very aware and honored by the idea that I, a child, mattered. In fact, my favorite scripture (the only one I memorized before the required 100 scripture masteries of high-school seminary) was Matthew 18:1-4,

 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the agreatest in the kingdom of heaven?
 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little achildren, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 Whosoever therefore shall ahumble himself as this little bchild, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Cute little twins walking ahead of me
at the Ghana Embassy this weekend.
I felt the weight of the responsibility to be a good girl, to believe in Jesus and God and to trust them, and to love the people around me: parents, siblings, ward members, etc. Today I was so happy that the kids in my stake could have a moment of recognition and honor, and perhaps come to more fully feel their value.

I passed my one-year "nanniversary" with Cobb in March, and he continues to be a wonderful light in my life. However, I'm starting to covet jobs that actually constitute a career move. Eight more months until the long-awaited Master's degree is in my hand (I'm still hammering out the details of my two and five year plans. No, I'm not going on a mission... but travelling and learning languages is a large, and favorite, part of the plan).

Today I wanted to take a moment to document all of the wisdom I have gleaned fromCobb this year. What a wonderful, brave, kind little soul he is. He's taught me so many things I never would have known if I had been saddled into a desk job and thinking about myself and my own dumb stuff all the time.
Cobb + White House

And so, I present my list of Cobb-born Truths:

- Men are the same whether they are two or thirty-two. They just need hugs, kisses, food, and toys.

- Coming to work in a bad mood is like playing a very, very dangerous game of baby Russian roulette. Little kids have the intuitive ability when faced with cranky grown-ups to either morph into perfectly sweet angels that make your day, or to devolve into tiny monsters who mirror your murky mood and mire you in misery (Neal Maxwell himself couldn't have pieced together a better alliteration! Somewhere, he is so proud of me). Reveal your anger to a toddler at your own risk.

- You do NOT need to be rich to raise a great kid!!!!*

- When in doubt, dispense a snack.

Cobb climbing over the fountains at NMAI
- If you are not a kid person, just remember that even little people are incredibly moved when you show them empathy. This includes getting excited about things that they love (the cartoon on their shoe, the toy in their hand) and crying emphatically with them when the things they love most are taken away (parent, bottle, Curious George,  etc).

- Positive communication/discipline is not only possible, it really does work! Better! Instead of reacting to the bad in Cobb's behavior, I seek hourly to encourage him to do something right and praise the heck out of him when he does. His trust in me has been multiplied many times as a result.

- Afternoon naps are one of the greatest things that you can possibly do with your one o'clock hour.

- When you are in a fight, it's ok to take five and go outside on the porch to practice some very enthusiastic yoga breathing.

- Every day  you have a chance to start over. At least with little kids. Forgiveness is quick and beautiful with them.

-Patience, patience, patience. With kids you have to look at the long run. He might not pick up the word/food/behavior I want him to appreciate and understand right now, but I am laying a great foundation, day in and day out, over years' time. And it's worth it, to make a great little boy into a great young man.

- Don't freak out, talk it out. That's Cobb's parents' motto, and they practice it wholeheartedly as a family. I am so moved by the time they take to talk to me, every day, about their son, my worries, their plans, etc. I want to be as gracious a person to people I associate with/employ as they are to me.

-Finally, this one is just for me and Cobb: I have learned to recognize a glimmer in his eyes, a certain special grin that appears on his face multiple times a day while in the midst of playing. I must stop what I'm doing, sit down on the floor, and he will run at me full-speed and bowl me over with a giant hug. He loves me and wants to show me he loves me and that he is happy. These moments constitute the most precious parts of my week. I'm grateful for the opportunity to hang out with such a sweet little person. I believe Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he dropped this job into my lap.

 Cobb and I having fun last summer.

*I AM partial to two expensive baby toys that make my life soo much easier: the BoB running stroller and the baby monitors with cameras in them. Take note, all my preggo friends. Also, one thing my boss says she wishes she HADN'T dropped a ton of money on is the baby carrier/car seat. The cheap target one gets the job done just as well as the designer moneybags one.

** This just made me laugh. For any mom out there who feels her education is taking a hit while she takes care of baby... here's a way to learn while you play!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

From a sweet story in the Art History Newsletter:

Every good art historian has to know something about museums because that’s where the art is. They used to ask the bank robber, Willie Sutton, why he robbed banks and he said ‘because that’s where the money is stupid!’ And it’s true…There’s a group of art historians today that believe that theory is their province and that they shouldn’t have to deal with things and quite frankly that’s an attitude that has come into graduate schools and it’s just as wrong as wrong can be.

I just want to go on record, AGAIN, by stating how much I HATE working in theory (the writer can put me securely on the list of people who will survive graduate school in love with museums). Give me objects, give me artworks with a past, a present, and a price, every time, for the rest of my career. That's where I work, that's what I love. And guess what, theory-draped art historians out there in your dusty university offices?? Objecthood is the lens through which 98% of humanity discovers interesting and alluring aspects in our precious artworks. Objecthood and stories. It all goes back to these universal, easy-to-understand qualities.

In their pedagogy ('scuse me- in their attempt to create environments of learning) museums are places of empathy. To what degree each institution actually feels and fulfills its capability to be empathetic is a topic of eternal study and debate (and in today's cuthroat non-profit world, it can be a topic of controversy). But in the potential for empathy lies the gradiose possibilities of the public art museum. We all know it. Or at least we should.

A record was broken yesterday when Sotheby's sold a pastel version of Edvard Munch's The Scream  for $119,000,000. Where are these art historians that don't believe art should be spoken of as a thing, again??

MONEY!