Thursday, October 29, 2009


Last Friday #1 and I were lucky enough to come across an available culture pass at the library. It was for the Phoenix Children's Museum. {Culture pass = free admission for four to any of 13 cultural venues of Phoenix, museums, zoos, botanical gardens. You have 7 days to use it. They are awesome. If you can get them.} {Phoenix Children's Museum=very expensive}

For the past several days I've used our impending trip to the museum to stop fights, get homework done, get chores done, and enforce general obedience.

Yesterday was the big day. As most moms know, things like this don't happen easily. You have to plan your entire day around it, from the time you get up, down to the nitty gritty details like how you're going to do your hair. (Am I the only freak?)

1:20 pick up #1. Wednesday is #1's early release day, the only day we could go in our 7 day window of opportunity.

1:35 drop off J, our carpool buddy.

1:40 'quick' stop at home to use the bathroom and get #1 out of her uniform.

1:50 on the road. Right on schedule!

2:20 arrive at museum. Kids are hyped up. Their excitement is bordering annoying. But I can't blame them. This museum is awesome!

2:25 smugly present my culture pass to the lady at the counter, feeling clever to have sidestepped the $36 it would have cost us.

2:27 lady returns with a frown on her face

2:27:15 lady tells me I've got the wrong culture pass

2:27:19 I'm incredulous, WHAT?!?

2:27:20 lady proves my stupidity by pointing to the words on the pass. Oh, it's for the other children's museum, 45 minutes away that closes at 4:00.

2:27:30 with deep, sinking, feeling I turn to give the shameful news to my poor kids who are already halfway into the first 'exhibit' - which is really just a 3 story playground.

2:26:35 the crying begins and I can't blame them. It's all my fault.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

To sleep, perchance to dream

A few weeks ago I came across an article that impressed me so much that it has stayed on my mind. And, you know, this blog and you readers are the receptacle whenever my mind starts to move meaningfully. Here is the article. Go read it and come back to finish my post.

Ok. Fine. You can keep reading even if you didn't read it right now.

This article, written by a dream expert, is about the importance of dreams. Not just the healthfulness of sleep and dreaming, but the spiritual importance of dreams. Dreams with a capital "D" - ones that come from God. This paragraph is what hooked my interest:

"It can be difficult to know which dreams to ignore and which to pay heed to, but our current standard for dismissing most or all dreams cannot be what God intended when He built the dream mechanism into our very biology. Dreams have become a kind of “dead letter office”: a lot of attempted deliveries, but few messages received. If dreams are one method of receiving divine revelation, they are underutilized."

The hair on my arms stood up when I read this. Think of the possibilities this suggests!

I have always been fascinated by the untapped human potential. I love hearing stories of people who suddenly, in a crisis, have superhuman strength. I feel empowered knowing that millions of Jews did not die in concentration camps despite the horrible, animal conditions they lived in. I am amazed by survival stories, and stories where humans seem to do the impossible. Somehow I feel my strength and worth more knowing that other mortals did these things.

I had these same feelings when I read this article. I have never taken my dreams seriously and had always assumed that only a prophet or someone with real significance could have a revelatory dream. But this article suggests that dreams are a gift, available to all, that can connect us directly with God. Like all spiritual gifts, it requires refinement and practice and a living a life worthy for the spirit's companionship.

The author suggests writing dreams down, including names, places and other details; over the weeks and years pay attention to patterns; pray about the interpretation of dreams; talk to the people involved in your dreams.

The article is full of personal experiences that people have shared with the author over the years of her research. Some of the stories are very simple but some are amazing. Like this one:

"Sometimes people receive dreams for the specific purpose of helping others. Several years ago my former college roommate, a nurse by profession, had a visitation dream of a labor and delivery doctor who had died suddenly of lymphoma in his early fifties. They had worked together professionally and he was her favorite doctor to assist. In her dream Cyndi sees him standing by the elevator in his running shorts and says, “What are you doing here?” She thinks but does not say, “You’re dead.” He said to her, “I need a wedding, a phone call and a delivery.” Cyndi recalled feeling overjoyed to see him, and happy when she awoke, but puzzled. The metaphorical message of the dream confused her, yet it was vivid enough she could not dismiss it. She called me to help her make sense of the dream, and I said, “Sometimes when dead people come to visit in dreams, they need something from you.” Although the dream provided no clear instructions, Cyndi took an empty notebook around to all the people on the labor and delivery unit and said, “I’ll take care of your patients while you write something about Dr. Skidmore.” When the book was full of warm, personal, funny love letters about a beloved doctor and friend, Cyndi called and arranged to leave it in the Skidmore mailbox. A few days later, Mrs. Skidmore called Cyndi and said, “I wanted to hear about my husband’s work life, but he never talked about it. I thought when the children were grown I would have the chance to hear that important piece, and then he died so suddenly that I didn’t get to know him as a doctor. I felt that loss deeply. It helped me to hear from other people who loved him and missed him. You have given me the one thing I thought I could never have.”

I have no expectations of having significant dreams like this one. But since reading this article and subsequently paying more attention to my dreams I have thought back to several dreams I've had in my life and reevaluated their meanings.

Growing up sharing a bed with my older sister we were in a habit of sharing our dreams with each other. We found it uncanny that we both often dreamed of our younger brother Brother Brig in situations where he was fighting and defending a sibling or our family. Years later, in a conversation with my mother, I discovered that she had been having similar dreams. Frequent readers of this blog know that Brother Brig ended up in the special forces of the army, and fighting in Afghanistan.

If I hadn't been thinking about dreams lately, I probably would not have paid attention a dream I had yesterday while, ahem, napping, that helped me be sensitive to Spouse when he came home from work after, what I found out later was, an especially horrible day. If I hadn't heeded that dream I probably would have complained about him coming home so late, got after him about his sneaky itunes purchase, insisted that he help me with the dishes, pestered him about putting his clothes away and begged him for a back massage. Any one of those things could have sparked bad feelings, possibly a disagreement and for sure would have prevented my feelings of compassion and sympathy for the rotten-ness he experienced at work.

Feed my fascination. Have you ever had a prophetic dream? A dream that changed your course of action? A dream that you have never forgotten? Have you ever lifted a car with one arm with adrenaline pulsing through your veins? (or something like that)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What we did for fall break

It's fall break. Fall break is time off school when it isn't painfully hot and you are actually happy to be alive. #1's school gives two weeks of fall break. We just wrapped up week one.

I love having #1 around. Her spirit is an asset in our home. She plays great with #2 and #3, and helps me around the house. But the best part of having her home is that she makes all sorts of creative projects like this one:

the fine print: COME to my room; 10/29 2009

fine print: dace (dance); not scary, not sad, yes happy, yes fun

She posted these signs all around the house advertising a dance she will be hosting on October 29th. Some of the signs included rules on how to behave while attending her dance.

The climax of week one of fall break was our camping trip. Our family's first. Spouse has taken #2 camping for Father's and Sons and of course last year Spouse, #1 and I backpacked into the Sawtooths for four days. But our little family has never camped alone and all together.

I always wanted us to be a camping family but living in AZ has really put an damper on those expectations. My version of camping requires pine trees, tall mountains, cold nights and fires to keep warm; not heat, not cacti, not scorpions, not palo verde trees. This is a tall order living in the desert.

Looking at our state parks online I discovered that if we drove north enough we could get pretty darn close to my ideal camping. We camped near Upper Lake Mary in the Coconino National Forest. Since it is the middle of October and the last weekend the campground was open we had the place to ourselves. Hallelujah!

Camping with children is an adventure; so many inconveniences. Like using the bathroom in the night, spilling food all over their only change of clothing, and keeping them safe around the fire. But there were other exciting times too. Like the swarm of bees that descended onto our campsite on the second day. We had to pack up in a flash and get outta there! Or like crossing paths with this beast:

Or watching a three foot tall (6-7 foot wing span) eagle fly away from our picnic table with our entire loaf of wheat bread clutched in his beak. This was all that was left of what was to be our lunch:

The children were so happy to be camping and I was so happy to watch them enjoy their freedom to explore, be silly and get dirty. I also was entertained by Spouse's excitement at getting to use his knife for a truly manly purpose.

We were cozy in our tent and I'm proud to report that the children slept like logs. On the other hand, it was a very long, uncomfortable night for Spouse and I. I've never been so excited for the sun to appear! Note to self: next time bring sleeping pads, or cots, or a queen size mattress.

Our cute little campsite

my cute little camper

the children and I at Lake Mary

Spouse getting our fire going

Spouse and children enjoying the roaring fire that kept us warm