11.24.2015

I've given up Facebook for 2 whole days now. And it's killing me. Slowly.

I knew it would be a habit breaker. But I had no idea how addicted I was to checking that little blue square all. day. long.

I can't imagine what it must feel like to try to break from a truly awful addiction such as smoking. Or drugs.

I find replacement habits for when I am bored: texting a friend, looking at Instagram, and checking my email. They all end in the same non uplifting and non-productive realm of sucking away time I could be using for something productive and meaningful. Even if just allowing myself a tech-free moment of boredom.

I have loads of relatives or friends I could call and talk to. I could make lunch plans. Or visit a friend in person. Do a chore. Read a book. The ones on paper make my eyes feel better.

It turns out I look to FB many times a day to fill gaps of time. Waiting in parent pick up. Waiting for a conversation to start. Waiting for the eggs to cook. Waiting for the light to turn green. All this waiting could be spent in my own mind. Or smiling at other people, especially the ones I care for daily. Allowing myself to be bored and not constantly look to my device allows more nonsense conversation with my family that usually leads to relationship strengthening. And that always fills me up. Whereas FB normally leaves me feeling empty and unfulfilled. So why do I allow myself the constant habit?

In the masses of time I have found myself drawn to it, there have been positives. Correspondence with my father before he passed was the most important one for me. Sharing humor is next. And occasionally there are articles shared worth reading and even sharing. Relatives far away (only 2 families) and friends like family that live far away all share photos of their kids growing. It's such a one-sided experience, though, that I know they cannot hear or see the smiles and joy it brings me to see their children.

So the task to me is to break myself of the poor habit that brings little fulfillment. What direction do I go to strengthen the relationships at a distance that matter most? Skype? Phone calls? Will  they answer? Or remain in the solitude of one sided Facebook dumping of life stories I don't get to hear or respond live to?

9.24.2015

An Open Letter to Lana Del Rey



Dear Lana,

Can I call you that? I mean, I know it's not your real name because Lana Del Rey is more sexy and marketable than the name your were born with. But can I still refer to you as Lana for the sake of this letter? 

I'm not a big fan of yours simply because, well, it's rare in my motherhood gig to devote tons of time to being a fan of hardly anyone outside of my family and friends. But I know some of your more popular songs and one kept repeating in my head today. It was the one about 'will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful." 

It's a fair question to ask. And I've realized it's easy for you to answer that question in your song while you actually ARE still young and beautiful. I guess I wanted to write this letter to let you know the age it all goes away. It's 38. 

38 is the age! Weird, right? If I had to guess I may have picked late 40's or early 50's, Nope. It's right now. At 38. I genuinely wonder if and how a not young and not beautiful woman could be loved. And why that is. 

The truth is I like myself so much better and find I'm not nearly as naive, absent minded, and selfish as I was when I was young and beautiful. I watch one of you in spin class and wonder if she wins on looks alone under all circumstances. Like even if she's an idiot, is it cute because her outsides are voluptuous, firm, and her skin is smooth and tight? Does she win even if she's a liar and murders kittens and hates children? Under what circumstances would the young and beautiful be less loved if given the option against the older and less beautiful despite the knowledge, strengths, and character if lined up on a chart? My bets would be the lesser impressive chart would still win because it comes in a package that's more enjoyable on the eyes. 

After all, this is why people have successful jobs in advertising and marketing fields, right?  Because appealing looks always win. We are buying tap water in a pretty bottle because it has the word SMART on it in a cool font. For real- we do this. It's so DUMB. 

I am embarrassed of the things I said and the way I acted when I was young while also considering myself  beautiful. I knew so much less about the world, other people, myself, compassion, and wisdom. I was full of (at times) empty confidence that people believed! Now,  I fear, I am turning invisible just as I've started to learn valuable and useful things. But to gain access to stand successfully on an ideal platform I'd have to lose 20 pounds, whiten my teeth, fix my boobs, and seriously consult with a fashion and make-up consultant. Is my cause worth it?    

"Fighting aging is like the War on Drugs. It's expensive, does more harm than good, and has been proven to never end." - Amy Poehler

So, Lana. You're probably working with a much different budget than the rest of us along with your access to experts to help you maintain your beauty and youth long past your late 30's. And we hope he still loves you no matter what. But more importantly, I hope you love yourself more than ever when you are 38. It's harder than I imagined. 


"Stop whining about getting old. It's a privilege. A lot of people who are dead wish they were still alive." - Amy Poehler

9.09.2015

tiny bubbles

Today I got some rare 1 on 1 time with one of my kids. I planned ahead and brought a basketball because the universe spread clouds all over the sky, giving us a nice day for once. You can't have anything nice in Arizona. So! While I fished out the basketball I noticed a lonesome party favor of bubbles in the car door. I grabbed those, too, and we ventured over to a couple of concrete squares to play our own version of two square.

Rules changed often, score was forgotten, smiles were wide, and laughter was easy. This little hour was one of my favorites of the day. Week? Possibly. Especially because this is the child that connects most easily with my husband. They are best friends. And that happens in families, some personalities click more easily. I've accepted this and try to sneak in special time with this child intentionally to close the gap between us. Sometimes it feels like we are on opposite sides of The Grand Canyon. Today it didn't.

Today, I accidentally impressed by being 'so good' at 2 square. My tricks were smooth. Until I caught the ball with the tip of my finger. And it hurt. A lot. I didn't cry, but I wanted to. I wanted to swear it hurt so bad. But I also didn't want to ruin the moment.

We sat on the bench together, me hating that I was ruining our magical time together by being a complete wuss with a jammed finger. SO LAME. Then I caught a glimpse of the bubbles. I just started to send them into the air, uncertain of what the response would be. At what age do they decide bubbles are only for babies?

"Mom, I love the way these bubbles look. They are especially pretty because you are blowing them."

6.13.2015

terracotta

In 2008 I read a comment thread on a popular blog related to things that gave people the creeps. My favorite answer was from some guy named Matt. His reply was one word: terracotta. Naturally, a few dozen questions popped into my head and I had to have those answers. After brief research on his then-published blog I tossed my questions into his inbox all those years ago. He replied. Here is the Q/A.

From: 9/25/08



LF - Hey Matt- thanks for letting me interview you about the important 
topic of terracotta. And a whole bunch of random things, too. Because 
one day when I grow up (er, I mean my kids) I might actually be a 
reporter. If I feel like it. People just need to hear answers to the 
questions in my head. Okay here goes. Have some fun along with me- 
fully aware it's going to be posted on my blog. Which essentially gets 
posted on CNN every week and sometimes the New York Times, naturally. 
MP - My pleasure, Liz. Pleased (and guardedly flattered) to be of 
help. Can I just say that I feel completely weird being interviewed 
like this, for what was basically a single word comment on a blog, but 
that said, I can’t help but dive in and give my all. The question is, 
can you handle it? The answer is probably “yes”, which kind of 
deflates the question, but there you go.


LF - Okay so first memory of encounter with terracotta?
MP – Difficult to say. My parents had a nice garden, with fruit trees, 
and a small patio area with a couple of pots - possibly terracotta. I 
don’t remember being rubbed against them. My earliest memory was 
jumping from a stile and landing in a nettle patch, but the terracotta 
had nothing to do with that.


LF - Tell us specifically what it is you hate about it- help us feel the hate.
MP - Just the texture of it. I don’t like the way fingernails or dry 
skin drag against it. Like flaking fingernails on a used blackboard. A 
hangnail dragged across brickwork or a nylon sheet. Teeth chewing on 
foil. A knitting needle held close to the eye. A spider scuttling 
across the bedclothes. Hate is such a strong word, though. More like 
“don’t like much”. 

 
LF - Why do you think you hate it?
MP – One connection I can think of goes back to Xmas 1978. My sister 
got the double LP of Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The 
Worlds. It’s fantastic rock opera album with ominous narration, some 
wonderful songs, and very creepy bits. I still have that copy in my 
collection. At the beginning the first Martian cylinder, lying in its 
crater, is slowly unscrewing. The sound it makes sounded like a 
terracotta pot being dragged slowly across concrete, in fact according 
to this page (http://www.war-ofthe-worlds.co.uk/music_mars_2.htm) 
ceramics were involved. 


LF - Is it anything made of the material, or just the pots?
MP - The material itself, in its rough unfinished form. I like the 
color of it, and the rustic feel it gives. I like varnished tiles made 
of it. 


LF - So in AZ there are stores on the side of the road (no joke) of 
people selling all sorts of variation of this stuff. If one of your 
friends blindfolded you as a joke and left you inside, what level of 
heebie jeebies would it create (1-10, 10 is shiver & shake).
MP - Blindfolded and not touching anything, I would be fine. Not 
blindfolded and not touching anything, fine. If they held me down and 
forced me to drag my fingernails or my teeth over it, then it would be 
a 5. But then I would have to bury them in the desert for their 
transgression. It’s not so terrifying an ordeal really. I am a 
supporter of Arizona cottage industries. I could live with terracotta. 
I have learned to live with terracotta. I have published a book called 
‘Learning To Live With Terracotta’. That last one was a lie. 


LF - What did you think when you read my post about you hating 
terracotta? I personally loved the party bit, how did that whole 
imaginary scene go over with you?
MP – I felt a bit strange, and surprised that such a small thing could 
spark someone’s imagination. Butterfly effect, I guess. The wonders of 
the web!
The party scenarios would be amusing, I think. The terracotta thing 
isn’t really debilitating, so I would probably fetch the ice, and then 
later slip something into the guy’s drink and film the results. 


LF - Do you say "cheers" instead of goodbye?
MP - I often say “Cheers”, as well as “Cheerio”. Also, “Goodbye”, 
“Bye”, “B’bye”, and “TTFN”. I also say “Same to you”, “that’s what 
your Mum said”, and “Up yer arse” depending on the situation and dress 
code. 


 LF - Have you ever watched The Changing of The Guard in London? Or do 
you think that's lame?
MP - I have seen the Changing Of The Guard, a long time ago on a 
childhood trip to London. I was more excited about seeing the Natural 
History Museum with its dinosaurs and the Science Museum, though. And 
the Planetarium. The display of royal pageantry was great to see, but 
now as a republican (in the UK sense – look it up) it’s a nice display 
for the tourists which hides in plain sight a side of the UK I’m not 
keen on.  


 LF - What are your top 5 (or 10) favorite bands of all time.
MP – Erm, in no order… New Order, Talking Heads, Underworld, Pet Shop 
Boys, Orbital, The Human League, Pulp, The Cars, Front 242, The Who, 
The Future Sound Of London, Big Audio Dynamite, Hawkwind, The Frogs. 
Take your pick. 


LF - What is your least favorite British band and / or song of all 
time. (Can I guess? Is it Queen?)
MP – One that always makes me grimace is ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis. The 
band were big with pub-and-football types, and this song especially 
was hollered drunkenly at the drop of a hat, because it sounds like it 
has some deep meaning, which it doesn’t. When it gets played now, I'm 
very aware of who is enjoying it, and those of us that don't bond over 
it. Queen occupy that kind of niche that the Beatles are in. They just 
existed, and I think it’s a bit strange to say “I’m a Queen fan”. 
They’re in the national consciousness, everyone knows their songs, 
likes some of them, but only in the background. I heard a joke about 
how if you leave a cassette* in a car long enough, it will always 
metamorphasize into Queen’s Greatest Hits.
* that dates me. 


LF - What do you think is strange about Americans?
MP – Too much to list. The USA is an amazing country. People sometimes 
comment on how many/few Americans have passports. But with a country 
so vast and stunningly varied, one can understand why many don’t. You 
guys swapped the red and blue meanings for conservative and democrat, 
which is totally confusing. In the UK, a ‘True Blue’ area is usually 
wealthy and traditional, and guess which way they vote? At the same 
time this huge variation means areas can be so different that two 
lifestyles in the same country can be completely alien. But then the 
idea comes along that one lifestyle is the “real” America, and then 
you’ve got trouble, division and conflict. There, that’s all the 
problems solved. Don’t thank me. It’s sad how the USA was founded on 
freedom of religion, but it doesn’t necessarily mean freedom _from_ 
religion. A strange twist. As the Euston Manifesto says, America has a 
“vibrant culture that is the pleasure, the source-book and the envy of 
millions”. I agree. 


 LF - What do you miss most about England [besides Nobbs]?
MP – This is a tricky one. By Nobbs, so you mean David Nobbs, one of 
the greatest comedy writers ever? Or Hobnobs, one of the greatest 
chocolate biscuits ever? Both of those I miss a lot. If you mean 
penises (or nobs), there’s no shortage over here, not that I crave 
them. I obviously miss my friends very much, and I hope they’ll come 
and visit me soon. I’ve been rotten at staying in contact, so I hope 
they remember who I am. I miss my old dog. I miss level-headed 
newsreaders, interviewers who ask proper questions, Radio 4, satire, 
shitty weather, public transport. I miss the marginalization of 
religious emphasis in state affairs. I miss scowling waitresses, bad 
drivers, small cars, narrow streets. I miss politeness and rudeness. 


LF - Who was your childhood hero?
MP – Douglas Adams



LF - What was your favorite American Sitcom (if any) while growing up?
MP – I liked ‘Cheers’ at lot, and ‘Moonlighting’ before it went all 
shit with the love story and writers’ strike and all (although that’s 
not really a sitcom). ‘The Munsters’ was shown in the UK, and ‘Taxi’ 
was a hit with my family. 


LF - Best British movie in your opinion and why.
MP – Brazil. Funny, terrifying, prescient, and for once the theatrical 
version had the downbeat ending. So many characters, great actors, 
great effects, design, music. 


LF - And British Show.
MP – TV show? Here’s a few in genres. News – Newsnight. Music – Later 
with Jools Holland, Top Of The Pops. Comedy – Father Ted, Black Books, 
The Young Ones, The Day Today, I’m Alan Partridge. David Attenborough. 
Armando Iannucci. Jeremy Paxman, Stephen Fry, I’m getting carried away 
now. 


LF - What were people like where you lived that like The Cure? I am 
curious if it was a strictly gothic crowd or a mix of that plus normal 
people or simply everyone.
MP – In my home town (Bedford, Bedfordshire) there were state schools, 
and private schools. I went to a state school. The Cure seemed to be 
more popular in the private schools, for some reason. Cure fans 
weren’t always full-blown Goths, more like trendy kids with spiky 
(yes, sometimes dyed black) hair, or floppy collapsed quiffs. The real 
Goths liked Sisters Of Mercy (Temple of Love is a great tune), Fields 
of the Nephilim ("The Neff") and so on. 


LF - Also, are you a fan? If so- top 5 favorite songs please.
MP – No, I’m not. I did like that one song ‘In Between Days’ though. 
‘The Walk’ was OK. ‘Lovecats’ annoyed the shit out of me, and 
‘Lullaby’ was tedious. Sorry. 


LF - Man, this interview is really going to be boring if you hate 
music. Sure hope you are into music. At least a little. And not Queen. 
jk.
MP – No problem, I love music. Although I can feel my tastes 
calcifying with age. 


LF - Favorite band in the early 90s?
MP - New Order 


LF - Favorite band today?
MP – Wow, tough one. Not necessarily my favorite bands, but currently 
in my car’s creaking CD player are Ladytron, Nick Cave, The Burning Of 
Rome.
If I set my iPod to Shuffle Songs, the first 5 bands that come up are 
as follows (honest): Spiritualized, The Primitives, Depeche Mode, 
Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Richard Hawley. That was pretty 
representative, so here’s the next five, to show I’m not ashamed: 
Hawkwind, New Order, David Bowie, Howard Jones, OMD.
And just for luck, the next five: Boards of Canada, Jane’s Addiction, 
Kraftwerk, Schmoof, William Orbit. Take yer pick. 


 LF - First concert
MP – I’ve never been a big concert-goer, which is something I truly 
regret, and which I am working on changing. It’s Nick Cave in San 
Diego next week. My first concert was 1990, Inspiral Carpets, Brixton 
Academy. 


 LF - What would your reaction be if I mailed you a wild, rare, million 
dollar plant (what? they totally exist.) nestled inside of a 
terracotta pot? Would you transfer it into something else and risk its 
death or try to overcome The Terracotta?
MP – I would be cool with transferring it to another pot. Or I would 
leave it. I would just have to be careful. Like I said, this thing 
isn’t debilitating. Please go ahead with the sending, thanks. 

 LF - Do people really eat beans for breakfast often in England?
MP - Yes they do, as part of the de-licious, nu-tricious (said in Slim 
Pickens accent) Full English Breakfast, which in my favorite 
heart-stopping incarnation consists of bacon (juicy UK style), 
sausage, toast, fried eggs, baked beans in tomato sauce, and thick 
chips. All with lots of ketchup and HP sauce. But it’s up to you – add 
black pudding, fried bread, white pudding (Scottish or Irish), fried 
tomatoes, fried mushrooms, whatever you like. Don’t listen to people 
who claim there’s a “real” Full English Breakfast, or to people who 
claim there’s a “real” England or a “real” America. Sorry, carping on 
again. 


 LF - Someone tried to run me over when I was visiting London. When my 
husband tried to fight him, he (the other guy) kept saying in his 
British accent "I am going to eff you in the ass". (although he didn't 
say 'eff' he said the real F). Is this a normal expression of anger(?)?
MP – No it’s not, but the sort of person who gets angry and violent 
when they are called out for attempted murder are not really a good 
barometer of language trends. 


LF - If you could tell my readers the best places to visit in the UK 
where would you suggest they visit?
MP – I wish I was more qualified to answer this. I have friends who 
enjoy hiking and walking – they could probably tell you more.
* London obviously. Do all the tourist stuff, it’s great. But also try 
to find the smaller stuff – there’s so much going on, and so much to 
see. I regret not doing more when I was there.
* The Peak District
* The Lake District
* The north-east coast.
* The south-west coast. The small fishing/tourist seaside towns are beautiful.
* Avoid Peterborough. Seriously. 

 LF - Link me to your favorite blog post of your own.
MP – In the absence of a better idea, this one: 
http://petty.me.uk/wordpress/?p=162
Other than that, have look around. The old theatre stuff is quite fun, 
as I blogged the run of a show. The site’s in a bit of a state after a 
problematic upgrade, so just have a wander. 


LF - What are you top 5 favorite blogs to read?
MP - I read a lot, and my favorites change from day to day, but here 
are some that I grab as soon as they’re up.
Both Bars On – music and gig reviews from author and lecturer, UCL’s 
Dr James Kneale (http://books.google.com/books?id=KaFmL7zMcDgC) 
(cheers James, say Hi to Shiv)
Lifehacker – they go off-topic a lot, but I like the stuff they post. 
Aspirational geekiness.
Vespastics – Just started up again after a hiatus, but some great 
scooter run photos up there already. Cheers, Zom-B.
Flesh Is Grass – excellent political and local stuff.
The Achewood webcomic has a blog for each of the main characters.
Of course, Sarah Brown’s Que Sera Sera is always great, but she’s been 
a bit me me me recently. Anyone would think she’d written a book and 
it was a top seller in more than one Amazon category or something. 


 LF - Favorite concert ever- who/ where?
MP – Jarvis Cocker, London Astoria, February 2007. The man’s a star. 


LF - What did you think of the movie 28 Days Later?
MP – The first half was great, deserted London, sudden shocks, David 
Schneider as a vivisectionist (something I can now cross off the 
wishlist). The second half was a disappointment. It suddenly reduced 
the scale of the film. Christopher Eccleston was great, of course, in 
his saliva spraying madness, but I wanted to see the whole country in 
decay, not just one small group. I like seeing large-scale shots of 
devastation and chaos. 


LF - What was Manchester scene like in the 90s when you were in school there?
MP - Ha, well, you’re asking the wrong person really. I got into 
college there, and arrived in September 1990. I wasn’t really equipped 
to cope with studying and looking after myself. Planning my time, 
getting up, all that stuff. I wasn’t ready. Add to that the fact that 
it was a huge buzzing place that everyone was talking about, and I 
think I got out of my depth. That’s not to say that I partied all the 
time. In fact, when I failed my exams and left after the second year, 
it was just because I didn’t study. I don’t have much in the way of 
happy memories from that time. A shame. 


 LF - I saw on your blog you are into theatre. Favorite show and why.
MP – My favorite show was The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, in which I 
played the eponymous lead. Great play, great director. Hi Mike!
http://www.carltondrama.org.uk/productions/arturoui/arturoui_index.php 


LF - There is really a place called TOOTING on London? Is this funny 
to anyone else besides me? Sorry, I joke about tooting with my 1 and 4 
year old every single day. We need to know more about this place. We 
hope people there appreciate how awesome it is to be there.
MP – Some people do. It’s a really mixed place, with lovely small 
terraced houses, some kept nicely, some not. “Partially gentrified 
multi-ethnic” is how it’s been described. It was made famous in the 
1970’s by the (pretty bad in retrospect) ‘Citizen Smith’, a TV sitcom 
about a hapless Che Guevara-t-shirt-wearing Marxist revolutionary 
wannabe and his group, the Tooting Popular Front. The intro had him 
walking past Tooting Broadway tube station, then stopping, raising his 
fist and yelling, “Power to the people!”. Probably on YouTube 
somewhere. He lived with a right-wing security guard, with hilarious 
results. Tooting Bec Common is a lovely park, with the huge (cold) Lido.
Visit Tooting! Less snobby and expensive than Balham to the north, 
less of a total shithole than Mitcham to the south! 


LF - Thoughts on San Diego so far?
MP - Warm, dry, good food, good dog beach. Still collating. 


LF - Biggest regret / disappointment album purchased? (mine = Sublime)
MP – You mean which album do I regret buying the most? Good one. 
Recently, Spiritualized, Songs in A&E. Ever? Dunno. 


LF - Favorite Wonder Stuff album?
MP - I was never really a Stuffies fan, but I like ‘Eight-Legged 
Groove Machine’ the best – great fun, simple songs. They got all 
showbiz and circussy after that. Plaid suits and violins, yeuchhh. For 
a while, Miles Hunt was his own Cockney Rhyming Slang, until James 
Blunt came along. That said, ‘On The Ropes’ from ‘Construction for the 
Modern Idiot’ is one of my favorite songs ever. 


LF - If you could pull together your ideal concert summer series who 
would you put in the line-up (old and current bands alike).
MP - Wow, blimey, that’s gonna take some work. Can I get back to you 
on that? Perhaps a gathering of all the old political dub-rock 
festival groups from the early 80’s. Or perhaps not.



Thanks Matt- you were a good sport and hilarious!
Liz

5.12.2015

right here

(6/2013)

10, 7 and 5. That's how old they are now. It crept up on me and I can't say when it happened, but I'm really enjoying motherhood more than I ever have before. I know them each so well and find humor in our daily interactions because of who they are and the things they say and do. We share humor in different ways as each of their personalities shine from within. These kids crack me up and amaze me every single day.

No one else sees them like their father and I see them. No one else smiles at their successes like we do. Because no one else has been there for the tears, their fears, their tantrums, their diaper blow-outs like we have. No one else has loved them so closely through thick and thin. 10 hour layovers. Longs nights with high fevers. Grumpy days and weeks while they have each worked through the process (and still do) of learning to use their words to express their emotions. We are their biggest fans.

The early years were different. Sheer mental exhaustion and illness almost took me from them forever. This Mother's Day I reflected on how lucky I am to be here with them. To see them through those harder years and to enjoy a little landing pad we call space and time: the now. It, too, will change quickly and new challenges will be folded in along with new joys.

How great it is to be with them in present tense with all of our collective rights and wrongs and jokes and farts. Every bit of laughter leaks out a little louder and every hug I hold a little longer.

One will finally admit when an assignment is overwhelming. And I get to guide and lead, then step away and watch it through completion.

Another will push and pull the Mommy role in public with a brief head on my shoulder or a holding of my hand while I stand near, patient and ready for the independence or comfort needed on that one's own timetable.

And one will clutch tightly, letting go with wobbly social skills and a scowl at my correcting. Only to watch from a distance my effort taking shape and the training wheels of motherhood slowly falling off as they each learn and grow near me.

They are each showing me who they are and I am slowing down and listening a little better with each passing year. I'm so glad to be here for it all. Appreciating the right here, the right now.

1.11.2015

So long, Redwood, and thanks for all the fish.

Dear New Family,

I wish I could convey to you all the goodbyes in my heart so you could know of this sacred space you've come to purchase. I know it probably doesn't feel that way to you, not yet anyway. But know that we have been praying for you to find this home. Even my little children took to their knees with us to ask Him to help the right family find our home. Sure, the double mortgage we were swinging with 2 homes wasn't a blast, but it was most important to me that the right family move into the home we were letting go of.

The last time I walked through to leave the keys on the counter for you, I flashed through so many special moments that took place within the walls of that space. We grew a lot as individuals at Redwood Place; and as a family unit. My oldest was an overwhelming and angry preschooler who had trouble just standing in a line for a short amount of time when we moved in. He made the most progress of all of us in the years we lived there. Miracles occurred you wouldn't believe in regard to the talented therapists that were part of our lives. In that home they taught all of us how to understand this boy that was such a complex mystery to us. He's 10, now, and an untrained eye would never know he has healed so much from the harsh affects of High Functioning Autism.

My middle guy was barely walking and loved to hang from the hem of my shorts as I stood cooking dinner in that gorgeous kitchen. I can still see his bright blue saucers for eyes looking up at me and giving the baby sign for milk. Sorry the cabinet stoppers are missing, it was his favorite thing to pick them off and eat them. If he wasn't hanging from my shorts, I knew it was time to fish a rubber stopper from his mouth. This week he just wrapped up a strong baseball season as a tough 7 year old.

This was the home we brought a brand new baby girl to when she was born. We all gathered in the kitchen to watch her sleep in her car seat on the table that first day home. She learned to walk on those smooth tiled floors with her little toes slightly pointed in. Always smiling, always happy and social. Now 5, she skips and runs and rides a two-wheeler without training wheels.

The hardest part of leaving is the great neighbors we will miss. I wish I could tell you about every family and the kindness we received getting to know many of them. I wish I could show you the miracles of my health and Mike's health that occurred within the walls of Redwood Place and the support system we had living among us. I wish I had a window that allowed you to look into my heart and see what I feel when I think of your new home and the lovely people around you. It's a special place that was tough to leave. But my mother heart knew it was time and He guided us to a new place we're learning to make our own with new memories and new friends.

I know you'll take good care of what was our first home because I have no doubt it's where He wanted you to be at this time in your life. For reasons you may not know or see until many years later.  

All our love,

Former Redwood Placers



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Today I got to teach Sunday School to the 15 year old boys and girls at church. We talked about times we knew The Lord's hand was in our lives despite hardship. I am grateful for two reminders in my life when I knew that to be true. One was a near accident with a car when I was running in Brooklyn many years ago. I felt arms holding me back keeping me from stepping into a speeding car. Yet no one was behind me or anywhere near in proximity. I was protected in that moment in ways that may not make complete sense to me until I am on the other side of the veil.

Another time was Mike's fluke visit to the ER for a sore neck that ended up being the way he learned of his brain tumor(s). The Lord guided him there in ways we may not fully understand until the other side of the veil. But I have no doubt He had a hand in both guiding Mike to health experts whom could find it and also comforting our family with peace during such scary weeks and months.

Much like Henry B. Eyring says in his talk linked below, these experiences are not just for us. They are for us to share with others so our testimonies can grow and teach. He kept a journal so his posterity could learn from them as well.

I challenged the youth today to keep a journal for 2 weeks on how The Lord's hand is in their lives daily and I welcome you to do the same.

Watch or read his talk here:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/o-remember-remember?lang=eng
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