Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy to Call Happy Valley My Home

Provo's Mayor Curtis linked to an article about Provo on his own blog, and I am here to echo his thoughts.  Our family moved to Provo nine years and 13 days ago.  We've loved it here.  It's a good city and we have wonderful neighbors and friends here.


Kent and I have recently noticed how delightful Provo's downtown is becoming.  I'll give a shout-out here to our dads who have each been influential in making this a great place to live.  Kent's dad, Steve White, was one of the Utah County Commissioners for several years, and played a big part in getting the County Convention Center, which just opened this summer.  My dad, Paul Glauser, is the director of Provo City's Redevelopment Agency, and has done a lot to revitalize the city's older neighbors and downtown.  Just a few weekends ago, Kent and I enjoyed a rooftop concert (following a tip from my dad), and it was great to see so many people out dining and walking the streets of our beautiful city.  My favorite part was the lack of drunk college students spilling their beer on me in the press to the stage.  It was just good ol' fun with good music.  I would even take my kids to these concerts.

It's nice to see someone else bragging about my kids' hometown, too.  Check out the article by Stephen C. Fehr who writes for The Pew Center and is former editor of the Washington Post.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ch, ch, ch, Changes

Our lives, recently, have been full of changes.

#1  Hair

I cut mine.  Kent grew his--on his face.

#2  The House

A year after realizing that I really could get rid of the clutter, the bare walls, and the pink carpet of our master bedroom, the project is complete...almost--I still have some decor to change up a bit.

#3  Health

After taking most of the summer off, I'm getting back into exercising with the stake aerobics group.  This has given me positive energy; but it also complicated the sciatica I've had on and off for seven weeks now.  It's to the point that most mornings I can't stand up straight until I've done a few yoga poses.  I'm usually fine for the rest of the day, but it's not a fun start.  I also finally went in for a annual checkup--six years after my last one--and found out...(I'll come back to this one, just to build suspense.)

#4  Five Kids in School All Day

I thought that being a stay-at-home mom with no kids at home for seven hours of the day would open my life to free time.  I've looked forward to this day as a time that I could finally get organized, keep a clean house, and write a novel.  Instead, I follow the kids to school once a week to help out in their classrooms.  I also had job opportunities land in my lap this summer that have taken all my free time.  So my house is worse than it was with children at home, and I am buried under a pile of late paperwork.

#5  Work

At the end of August, one of my kids asked me, "So Mom, how many jobs do you have?"  Being forced to count them, I totaled up four part-time jobs: piano teacher, Volunteer Coordinator for A Child's Hope Foundation, bookkeeper for a friend's new company, and beta tester for a new cell phone service provider.
This is the phone I got to use for free for two months.  Kent says I don't have to use my brain anymore because this smartphone will remember everything for me.  He's right!  I love it!  It even reads my book club books to me.

#6  Spirituality

All these changes have brought a lot of stress into my life as the demands on my time ask more and more of me.  Subsequently, my spirit has suffered.  Our family devotionals and scripture study became too easy to skip.  My already-infrequent meditation exercises became a thing of the past.  And my personal prayers were rattled off in less than 60 seconds each evening.  As I evaluated my relationship with God each Sunday, I knew I was found lacking and that the Lord was just waiting on me to reinvest in our relationship.

I have stayed committed to my personal reading of the Book of Mormon.  My goal was to read the whole book this summer with my two oldest girls, and then treat them to lunch for a mom-and-daughter book club discussion.  None of us finished before school started, so we reset our lunch date for sometime during winter break.  This week I discovered that I can bring the scripture to the floor each morning as I stretch out the muscles around my sciatic nerve.  Two birds with one stone there, baby!

This morning, I felt to pray and had a relatively long one-way conversation with Heavenly Father.  I told Him that I felt like I was trying to do so much good for my family that it was killing me with stress.  I told Him that my efforts have changed from trying to keep everything in balance to just trying not to be pulled over the edge.  I told Him my desires to add household income to start eroding our mortgage, or at least keep up with rising gasoline and food prices; to stay involved with my children at school and have fun with them at home; to keep a clean house and a pantry full of food from the garden and up-to-date food storage; to have more time for my church callings.  I prayed for our country, that good, thoughtful, but busy people would at least take the time to see the choices we are facing this political season and that we not have our minds confused with political spinning.  I want our citizenry to be informed with truth when we vote so each of our votes reflects what we truly value.  My entire prayer was a plea for help with prioritizing the good things I am trying to do.

Today was one of those times that part of the answer came quickly, and in quite an unexpected way, which also introduces more changes:

#7  Work

I cleared my calendar and headed up to Draper this morning thinking I was going to a meeting to help my friend make some bookkeeping updates and discuss how he could streamline and better control his company's expenditures.  Instead, I found out I was being replaced.  My first thought was, "Now I might have time to put my household in order.  This is an answer to prayer."  I admit that my second and third thoughts were more along the lines of disappointment, anger at being rejected, and worry about our finances.  However, I can see that this change is for the better, both for his business that needs a full-time bookkeeper, and for me and my family.

Dropping the bookkeeping will also give me more time to work on my newest business: being a social services member for Solavei.  I've been impressed with the beta testing phase, and now that the company has launched nationwide, I'll be signing up anyone who wants $49 cell phone service with unlimited data, text, and voice with no contract to sign.  Yes, I'm advertising.  I will avoid writing about it again on my blog, but it will probably show up occasionally on Facebook.  This is a service I feel good about promoting, and this one-minute video explains why:


#8  Health

...I found out that I'm still healthy and that I should be taking a calcium supplement.  Shout out to all you ladies in your mid-30s: add calcium to your daily regimen, and get a baseline bone density test and mammogram so your doctor can track that information as you age.


#9  The House

The master bedroom may be redone, but it is currently a storage area for everything that will go back in the playroom-soon-to-be-bedroom.  Look what we're doing!  (More pics to follow.)

#10  Our Hair

I had wanted short hair before I had white hair and had the same hairstyle as everyone else.  I guess I cut it just in time, because I've already pulled out three white hairs this month!  Kent changed his facial hair back to zero when it affected our kissing too much.  I liked how it looked, but two weeks' growth never got soft enough.

Isn't it funny how many changes bring us full circle in a spiral of improvement?  I find myself in high-stress phases of adulthood, but they are centered around good things that bring me joy.  And having joy is the whole point of life.