ANOTHER AGING VENTILATION

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ANOTHER AGING VENTILATION

Elizabeth Willis Barrett…………..March 2014

 

The other day Brad and I drove separate cars to a detailing shop so Brad could leave his car there to be detailed.  There was a slight problem owing to the fact that  Brad hadn’t brought the shop’s address or phone number and thought he could just find it.  But he couldn’t.  It was sort of my fault that he couldn’t find it because there was heavy traffic on Baseline.  Because Brad knows how much I hate to turn left when there is even a moderate amount of cars whizzing and honking by, he turned right which was very thoughtful since I was following him.  But that put him in unfamiliar territory as far as the detail shop was concerned and he couldn’t remember if it was closer to Broadway or Southern.  The lack of knowing made for several turns and backtracking.

Finally I called him (thank goodness, he remembered to bring his phone which isn’t always a given) and said I would just park somewhere and he could tell me where to find him after he knew exactly where he was going.  Trying to follow him in tight circles behind the wheel of a potential weapon didn’t seem like a very safe thing in my opinion.

“No,”  he said.  “It’s here somewhere.”

Finally he did find the detailer after stopping a couple of times and squinting at the road sign to see if it said Broadway or Southern.  And, by the way, which comes first—Broadway or Southern?  It’s funny how things like that escape your mind at times.  Again, I will take some of the responsibility for getting lost.  No, I will take a whole bunch of the responsibility, since my left turn phobia made him come at the shop from a different angle.  What’s a little more guilt added to the great weight of guilt that I insist on carrying everywhere I go?

When he finally left his car with the attendant and got into mine he was very frustrated.

“I don’t want to be old,” he said.  “That’s what an old man does: wanders aimlessly and slowly and shuffle-y looking for things.   I don’t want to act like that.”

“Neither do I,”  I said as I pawed through my purse, forgetting what the object of the pawing was.

“See,” he said.  “That’s what your mother used to do.”

“What?” I asked.

“The rummaging.  The rifling through your purse. That’s what your mother used to do.”

He was right.  I felt just like her as I pawed with seemingly no purpose.  A definite sign of aging.  What a pair we are, Brad and me!

“Aaaaaaaaaaa!

The drawbacks of the aging process  hit me once in a while and I just have to vent.  I feel like Diane Keaton’s character in the movie And So It Goes when she splays her arms and says with an emphatic grimace, “I’m sixty-five.  Uuuuuuuuuu!!!”

I do not like growing old.  There must be a better way.  I know, I should be glad to still be here on this fabulous earth and I should enjoy every minute and relish the now.  But aging is a big deterrent to relishing the now.

The other day I found a hair on my chin.  A dark hair!!! What was that doing there?  I have always been blond.  How long had it been growing?  How many people saw it before I finally did?  What would make a hair grow on a chin that has never had a hair before?  Weird things happen as you grow old.

Another sign of my own aging happened when I bent over to pick up something off the carpet.  I couldn’t tell what it was and I turned it over and over until I felt my mother slipping into me again.  She had done that action often in her old age, turning something over and over in slow motion trying to determine what treasure was indicated by a scrap found on the carpet.

Slow motion is becoming more of a companion to me and not an amiable one.  What happened to my drive, my focus, my hitting the deck running?  And weight that used to roll off without much trouble has become attached to my middle and it seems to delight in giving me a backache.  Arthritic thumbs add to my annoyance.

If age was honored and respected and not snickered at, it would help a little.  This might be a good time to move to old-people-loving China.  Hopefully, Brad will go with me.

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE??

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NAPOLEON DYNAMITE??

Elizabeth Willis Barrett………..January 21, 2015

The first time I saw the movie Napoleon Dynamite was in Rexburg, Idaho, with my husband Brad, and my two youngest—Kyle and Allison—who were in Rexburg going to school.  We had traveled all the way from Arizona for a short visit and had some hours to kill.  And they were definitely killed in my opinion.  Shot through.  Kyle and Alli had seen the movie already and couldn’t wait to watch it with us.  There had been so much hype about it that I was ready to have a great experience with half my family.

It turned out to be a very slow day at the movie theater.  We got in our seats after the film had started and since we were the only ones in that particular theater, they started it all over again just for us.  Kind.  If they had started from the ending and played the whole thing backwards, it would have had the same effect on me.  I was completely unimpressed and once again my lack of humor sense was made manifest.  That was truly the dumbest movie I had ever seen—up to that point.  I think Nacho Libre would create a very close race if the two should run a 1/2 marathon together.

Kyle and Allison kept looking at us to see our reaction to this very unorthodox film.  Most of the time they could hear Brad’s reaction because he was laughing uncontrollably.  If there had been anyone else in the theater they might have asked him to keep it down.   But I must have seemed like a matronly Queen of Hearts at a quilting bee.  Not a guffaw, not a snicker, not a smile escaped my pierced lips.  I think my left eye brow was raised during the whole pitiful showing.  The movie wasn’t funny.

Again, as I have been made very aware of on many occasions, I was most likely in the minority.  I think I am in a perpetual minority.  I would be standing practically alone in a group of 1000 people if we were to choose sides of a room according to our likes and personalities in a variety of categories.

“All those who like chocolate go to the right side of the room.”  I’d be left alone on the left.

“All those who prefer Barbra Streisand to blue grass music go to the right side of the room.”  I’d be left alone on the left.

“All those who love to stand outside and chat rather than clean out a closet, go to the right side of the room.”  Again, I’d be left on the left.

This would not be a good thing to do on a boat.  The weight wouldn’t be balanced.

As we came out of the theater at the end of N.D., the sweet girl at the candy counter asked how we’d liked the movie.  In answer, I turned around and waved a bemused hand at Brad.  He could barely walk because he was bent over in hysterics with Kyle and Allison laughing, too, mostly at him.  He loved Napoleon Dynamite.

When attributes were being handed out in the pre-earth life, I believe Brad was first in line at the Sense of Humor counter.  He can roll into a belly laugh quicker than anyone I know and at the slightest provocation.  I was probably queuing up for other qualities (I’m not sure which, at the moment) and totally missed out on the Humor distribution.  My Dad and sister are wonderful at seeing the funny side of things.  They must have been in that humor line.  You’d think they would have let me have cuts or something since I probably wasn’t patient enough to wait behind 4,376,000 other humor wanna-haves.

I wish now I had put in more effort to obtain a sense of humor because laughter can imbue the soul.  Maybe a little humor blew off the counter in my direction, though, because I do love to laugh with friends and family.  And even though Napoleon Dynamite did nothing for me, I once laughed right out loud in Three Amigos.

GET OUT OF MY MORNING!

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Elizabeth Willis Barrett………….January 13, 2015

I love mornings.  Not that I have gotten up early enough lately to claim their full benefits.  When I’ve had to catch a very early flight to Seattle or Salt Lake or take someone to a 5:00 am job appointment, I realize how much I am missing by not getting up at 5:00 every morning.  Getting to bed in a timely manner to allow a 5:00 am reveille hasn’t happened for a while.  But it really is a shame to miss those early hours when the sun is beginning to stretch and blaze its promise across the sky.  It is so beautiful and renewing.  To me, morning is when the vital doings of the day must be done. As the day moves along toward sunset, it seems to collapse and press down on all the remaining minutes leaving them rather unproductive.

If I had my way, I would wake up to an empty house with all other occupants hard at work somewhere else.  I wouldn’t need to help anyone find a missing phone or satchel or point out that the peanut butter is right where it has been for at least the last 10 years.  I wouldn’t hear the radio blaring out heart deflating accounts of kidnappings and murders and political sniveling.  My psyche is so fragile that an overheard bit of bad news acts like a stiff scrubbing brush to my good humor and sense of well being.  And although I really love to hear new insights on religion and the way of the country gained by deep spousal study, morning is not the time to pour any new found truths into my brain.  In the morning, the mixer of my cerebrum is whirring with other ingredients and extra bits and pieces are likely to get flung aside, my congeniality with them.

In the morning, I’m trying to concentrate on my weekly list.  It is a very long to-do list that I usually write out during Church on Sunday. I want to get on with the day and that list without any interruptions.  That is probably a very selfish desire.  But I’m just trying to put on my own breathing mask first so I can help others put on their breathing masks, so to speak.  And to me, that means getting certain things done in the morning.

For instance, if I don’t “stretch with Jane” before 8:00 am, the opportunity for that particular get-it-done item will be gone for the day. Without this stretching (which I have tried to do every morning for about 30 years since I discovered the wonderful DVD of Jane Fonda called “Start Up”) my aging body will just quit moving all together, and what help would I be to anyone then?

Next, I need to be totally ready for the day—showered, dressed, blown, curled, contacted, made up.  It is very deflating to look in the mirror at mid-day and realize that several of these points didn’t get addressed.  Of course, by then even the addressed items must be re-addressed.  If someone wants me to do something—after my morning, of course—I want to be ready.

There are about ten things I really want to get done each day and morning is the best time to do them.  Without distractions, I could easily get them all done by ten or eleven and then I would be eager to get on with the interaction and saving of others.  Not that anyone will need saving by then or want to interact either.

Again I find that I am not only thinking outside the box but outside the universe of my family and friends who are ready to engage way before I am.  Maybe they’ve already secured their own breathing masks and they are trying to help me with mine.  As usual, I could use some help. That universe has tried for years to teach me that warm, wonderful people are far more important than crossing items off my lists. So, come back into my mornings and my days and my nights and I will try to be more discreet as I’m making a list and checking it twice.

CHRISTMAS—–AGAIN!

Christmas Nativity

Elizabeth Willis Barrett…………December 9, 2014

Well, it happened again. Christmas arrived before I did with it’s carols and lights and trees and store hype while I am still back in flags and fireworks and patriotism.  Christmas just seems to be on a faster track than I am.  I need time to allow the great Spirit of Christmas to seep in slowly so I can adjust and clear my head of incidentals like bill paying and house dejunking and family crises and Church callings.  But Christmas doesn’t tip toe in quietly and slowly raise the blinds until you can get used to the light.  No, it jerks you awake with a thunderbolt of hoopla which I never seem to be prepared for.

Part of the problem, perhaps the biggest part, is that Thanksgiving came a week late this year.  A whole week!  There should be a law against that.  Why can’t Thanksgiving be on the 3rd Thursday of November, not the fourth?  That would help immensely.  Then as soon as Thanksgiving is over we could be more attuned to Christmas and its incredible hustle and bustle. Actually, I think we’re all trying to do the H & B all year long and just accelerate the moves in December.

Last year I made a great attempt to be ready spiritually and physically for Christmas, trying to do something every day in its honor.  I was inspired by Scrooge’s classic sentence, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”  I sort of petered out by June but I was more ready for the season when it came barreling down the calendar and blasted into December—or rather, October.

But this year I can’t gather the warm blanket of Christmas wishes around me tight enough and I’m rather hanging out of the season’s joy.  Here it is December 9th.  Many of my neighbors’ lights are twinkling like little Christmas giggles and their trees are triumphant in their showcasing windows.  But our house stands in unlit shame and the Christmas tree still needs to be dragged from its year long cardboard entombment across the dry grass of the back yard and into the house that has just been scrubbed clean by the God-sent cleaners.

The many “So, are you all ready for Christmas?” inquiries made by well-meaning OCD individuals, who are just looking for conversation, embellish the problem.  They make you feel that if you are haven’t lit, hung, decorated, bought, wrapped, baked, read, visited, photoed, written and sent by the day after Thanksgiving, you might as well not bother.

This is about when my yearly mantra chimes in, “I will just make it through this year’s celebration and do better next year.”

But wait.  I can change that.  I can fling that sentence out of my head’s storage of useless jabber.  The years are thinning out for me and to miss the full joy of even one irretrievable Christmas would be counter to a life well spent.  So ready or not, it will not be hard to fill my mind and my soul with these sentences instead.  They can bring peace not only to me but to all:

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

What else matters?  Merry Christmas!

A LITTLE SAMPLER OF LIFE

 

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Elizabeth Willis Barrett………October 19, 2014

When I was little, I went to Primary—faithfully.  I usually walked.  Once I called my Aunt Mona and asked her to take me but she said no.  It wasn’t that far and she knew I could easily walk it in about seven minutes.  Mom was at work or I certainly wouldn’t have asked Aunt Mona.  She would have felt really badly if I had been kidnapped on the way.  I think.  I never tried the Aunt Mona avenue of travel again.  I loved Primary.  We’d have opening exercises and then go into classes.

Do you think that in the hereafter we will get our full memories back?  Because right now I can’t remember sitting in class.  I easily remember that one of my Primary teachers was killed in a terrible car accident.  I can still feel a deep sorrow with that memory.  That was the first time I learned that someone in MY church could die unexpectedly.  I was pretty sheltered.  Anyway it was a terrible blow to her family and to all of us who knew her.  It shook my faith.  So God doesn’t always protect you even when you pray every day, “…….and let no harm or accident befall us”?

I just read on the Internet (and how could that ever be wrong?) that nine, ten and eleven year old Primary girls became LiHoMas.  And all this long while, I thought we were called Liahonas, named after the golden instrument of direction found by Lehi in the desert in the Book of Mormon.  But nope!  I guess we were LiHoMas which stood for Little Home Makers.  Whew!  I like Liahonas much better!

To be more specific, the nine year old girls were named Larks, the ten year old girls were named Bluebirds and the eleven year old girls were named Seagulls.  The most significant thing from Primary that I remember is making a sampler.  I really need to find mine so I can scan it and let you see it.  It is a real work of art.  I still remember what was so carefully stitched onto that sampler in cross stitch of various colors:

Greet the Day With a Song

Make Others Happy

Serve Gladly

My friend Louise and I used to work on our samplers together once in awhile.  I was a very tall LiHoMa and she was a small one.  Once she wanted to work on our samplers in a top cupboard in their guest room.  Why?  I don’t know!  But my body didn’t quite fold as well as hers did and that experience might have added to my extreme claustrophobia.

I am proud of myself for getting my sampler completed at all since many craft projects like that never make it to finé. Maybe the finishing of it gave me an extra doodad on my bandlo which I thought was called a bandalo—a felt thing you wore around your neck like a long collar.   Neither of those words is in the dictionary, by the way.  Interesting what you can learn on the internet.  My whole childhood could be changed if I’m not careful of what I look up.

Anyway, aren’t those wonderful words?  The words on my sampler, I mean.

Tomorrow I’m going to try to put them into practice and see what happens.

IN DEFENSE OF SARAH’S MOM

TemplepillsLisa Ling

Elizabeth Willis Barrett…………Oct 14, 2014

The other day I watched “This is Life with Lisa Ling: Inside Utah’s Struggle with Drug Abuse.”  She showed that even though Mormons have a strict health guide, they are still falling in high numbers to the addiction of pain pills.  I felt that she was very compassionate in her interviews.  She attended a Mormon Addiction Recovery Program meeting, spoke with a Mormon Bishop and in addition to others, met with a very candid girl named Sarah.

I didn’t learn about the danger of prescription pills until my son was in high school.  He went to a friend of mine who worked in the school’s bookstore and asked her for one of her pain pills.   Very responsibly, this friend called me before giving him one.  She told me that Jeffrey had come to her saying that his back really hurt.  As a football player, Jeffrey had many reasons to have a hurting back.  I told her it was OK to give him one of her pills.  Unbelievable, I know.  Looking back, I am astounded at my naiveté.  I had no idea that I had just given my consent to an addiction that would become so full blown that we wouldn’t see the end of it for fifteen years.  I knew nothing about addictions and, of course, nothing about the role pills play in dependency.

Drugs were so out of my realm of consciousness.  I had five nearly perfect children.  It was very interesting to watch the Ling program because it stressed the obsession we as Mormons tend to have with perfection.  We don’t want anyone to know that our family might be having problems, so disasters like drug addiction can be swept under the rug of denial for years.  Although that’s probably not solely a Mormon dilemma.

Lisa showed how easy it is to get addicted.  Many start innocently with prescription pills given by a well-meaning doctor.  When pills get too scarce or expensive many turn to heroin and other illegal drugs.  Addicts need their next hit just like everyone needs their next breath of oxygen and they’ll do about anything to get it.

When Lisa Ling was interviewing Sarah—a full blown heroin addict—she asked her if she wanted to quit.  “More than you’ll know,” said Sarah.  Lisa also asked Sarah what she wanted.  Sarah’s answer was that she just wanted a hug from her Mom.

Sarah’s Mom, who was never named, might have sounded like an unfeeling woman, one who wouldn’t even hug her daughter.  But not to me.  I have been that mom to some degree and I praise her for her courage.  It takes a lot of courage to divorce your addicted child and let her determine on her own that she is ready to pay the price for sobriety.  I would guess that Sarah’s Mom has already spent years hugging and encouraging and saving Sarah from the consequences of her disastrous choices.  After all, she is raising Sarah’s child which is a difficult thing to do after raising your own children.  I would also assume that Sarah’s Mom has been lied to and stolen from because that is what addicts do—they lie and they steal.  Enough is enough.

Brad and I have had many couples sitting in our living room trying to absorb any advice we can give them about dealing with their own addicted children.  We tell them all the same thing that a recovered addict told us:  “There is nothing you as a parent can do or say that will change your child.  They are the ones who have to decide when they are really ready to walk the difficult path of recovery.”  We also tell them of helps that are available to parents and meetings that would strengthen their resolve.  Most parents don’t like our advice.

I am assuming that Sarah’s Mom finally arrived at the point we all must come to: we are not helping our children by enabling them.  We are not helping our children by giving them a nice place to live and driving them places and paying for their needs.  They will never recover until it is harder to be an addict than it is to be sober.  When we make life easy for them,  addicted children continue farther down that destructive path and there is no retrieving them.  Our son wasn’t willing to get ultimate help until he had been homeless for about a year—living behind dumpsters and on the canal bank in a bush, panhandling for money to get more drugs.  We couldn’t coddle him anymore.  We couldn’t bring him home.  We had to go on with our lives and let him go on with his even though his path might lead to death.

So to Sarah’s Mom I would say that there are many imperfect Mormon Moms who are behind you right now, wishing you the best and saying, “Hang in there, Sarah’s Mom.  You are doing the right thing.  The only right thing!”

I wish I could tell Sarah that although she wants to be clean she didn’t sound like she was quite ready to throw herself into a program where she’d have to give her all into getting well.  With the nation watching, I imagine that many would step up to help her into a rehab if she had said that she was ready and willing to go right now.  But when she is done, truly done with her addiction, there is help for her.

Our son finally got the help he needed in a 24 month program that changed his thinking and his life.  It is called the John Volken Academy . It was started by a wonderful philanthropist and costs next to nothing. Two years seems like a very long time to be in a program, but the many expensive thirty day and three month programs worked only for a little while and then the addiction returned.  When you are deep into addiction, a few months isn’t going to pull you out. Thanks to John Volken we have our son back—our wonderful son.

And one day, Sarah, if you are willing to make recovery your first and only priority, your Mom will get you back .  And, I promise, the hugs won’t stop.

Public Outcry for Public Schools

Gilbert School bus

I hate politics.  I fade out when they come up in discussion or I leave if possible.  I definitely find another place to be when Brad is listening to the political pundits on TV.  (I just looked up the word pundit.  I thought it meant someone who likes to hash things over, but my computer dictionary says that “pundit” means “expert.” Well, there you go.  I am definitely not a pundit.)  I can’t hold up my end when politics get shoved into conversation and I try to talk about other things.  Politics are depressing to me.  They always seem to make someone angry or unhappy.

So….I should totally avoid the subject that I am compelled to write about right now, but I’d like to get out some of my feelings before November 4th when an important election is happening in my beloved town of Gilbert.  It’s the School Board election.  The whole talk of School Boards is a gloomy subject to me.  Since I live with Mr. Public Education, I have heard lots about school boards through the years even though my first instinct is to put my fingers in my ears while loudly shouting “la, la, la, la, la” and pretend that School Boards are made up of intelligent, calm, easy to get along with, get-out-of-your-way-and-let-you-do-your-job people.  They used to be.  At least the School Boards and School Administrators I was acquainted with used to be.  They worked together to make Gilbert Public Schools one of the finest districts in the nation.  It was where you wanted your kids to go to school.  It was where you wanted to work.  There was a congenial feeling.  People got along.

Something happened.   Some of the problem has been going on for a long time.   School Boards were set up to develop policy and the School Administration was organized to administer that policy.  The School Board’s job is to tell the Administration what they want to have happen.  The job of the Administration is to decide how to make those things happen.  The School Board is the what.  The Administration is the how. The School System works best when each tend to their own roles.  The Administration does not need to be micro-managed by School Board members.  No one likes to be micro-managed.  A while ago a candidate for the School Board said that she planned on being a thorn in the side of the Administration.  Why would you ever choose to be a thorn?  And who could ever accomplish anything worthwhile with a nasty thorn pricking away at one’s side?

Here are some things I have gathered on a variety of occasions before I could get out of the way of the political ping-ponging that has punctuated nearly every casual gathering of friends and fellow Gilbertites.   Citizens are concerned about our once fabulous school district.

I’m just going to write down concerns I’ve heard or had myself.  You are welcome to rebut them if you can do it kindly and without animosity.  We are all entitled to our opinions, right?

—The atmosphere in the district is toxic.  That toxicity has been caused by a School Board that is difficult to work with and seems to enjoy drama.

—Many beloved teachers and administrators have quit.

—False accusations have been flying, causing some of the best educators in the state to go to other districts.

—Some wonderful leaders have been hurt, possibly irrevocably.

—One of our dearest friends and an accomplished administrator was told by her doctor to quit her job because it was badly affecting her health.  Others had to get out before their health, too,  was threatened.

—A very amiable and highly credentialed educator outside the district was asked to be on the committee to choose another Superintendent.  He had to quit the post, stating that this board was impossible to work with.

—It has been said that a member of this School Board personally went door knocking to encourage citizens to vote against the School Bond Override which would provide for more teachers and smaller classroom sizes. A School Board member who was for Public Education would never do that.

—This School Board seems to favor Charter Schools. Why would someone run for a Public School Board if he didn’t believe in Public Schools??????

Which brings up some questions about Charter Schools:

—Charter Schools are sprouting up everywhere!  Where do they get their funding?  Is that money that has been taken away from Public Schools?

—Is it true that anyone can start a Charter School and that those who start Charter Schools get to keep the buildings that have been funded by the state?

—Is it true that Charter Schools don’t have to follow the same rules as do the Public Schools—such as employing accredited teachers?

—Is it true that some of our state politicians profit from Charter Schools and therefore make laws to favor them?

—Has this diverted money to Charter Schools raised the academics of our students in general?

—Good Public Schools are vital for a healthy community.

—When the Public School system deteriorates, how can it help but take down our community with it?

—A fear is that schools will again become segregated, leaving only those with Special Needs— who are not provided for at Charter Schools—and the underprivileged—whose parents can’t drive them to Charter Schools— to attend Public Schools.

—All should feel that their educational needs are being met, but the vast number of Charter Schools has fragmented not only State Educational funds but the emotional support and camaraderie of our community.

—So many have worked so hard and for so long to create an educational system where all can learn and grow together.  We cannot allow a divisive School Board that doesn’t even believe in Public Education to ruin our great School District.

Get out and vote on November 4th.  Let’s elect a compassionate, intelligent School Board that is pleasant to work with.  Above all, let’s elect members that have a passion for Public Education and are capable of creating a workable strategic plan. They also must have the wisdom to choose capable leaders and the faith in those leaders to allow them to carry out the plan without the nitpicking and micromanaging of the School Board.

MATCHY, MATCHY

zebras

In breaking my writing hiatus, I should probably think of something positive to write about in order to possibly gain back my following.  This has been a season of distraction wherein I have lost sight of my writing goals and lost sight of my readers.  You can’t retain readers if you don’t give them something to read.

But just to get it out of my head, I have a need to write about something that might be controversial to some.  I hope it won’t be offensive.  It might be.  Sorry.  At least it won’t be as controversial as another subject I have been musing on which is School Boards.  I hope I find enough energy to tackle that topic some day.

For now, I want to talk about stripes.  I hope you are all tough and don’t get offended easily but I have to say it:  Stripes have to match! With all these stripy skirts and shirts walking around, the scene would be so much lovelier if the stripes matched.

I know, I am hardly the one to be talking about a fashion faux pas since I make many myself daily. I am rather fashion un-conscious. But maybe if we each spoke out about one or two things that really bug us, the rest of us could become more aware and make some important changes.

When I was doing my student teaching in Orem, Utah, as a Home Ec Ed student, out of all the things I learned from the very kind Home Ec teacher at Lincoln Junior High, the only thing I remember is this:  “When sewing, make sure you always match your stripes.  And never buy an article of clothing if the stripes don’t match.” (I also learned that I never wanted to teach Home Ec which was a little late since I was in my very last semester of college.)

I was in Kohl’s the other day and should have nonchalantly whipped out my phone and taken a picture to show you what I mean.  There were some potentially cute skirts displayed right at the front door where they couldn’t be missed.  Long.  Knit. White and navy blue.  Wide striped.  You see that style everywhere.  And the stripes didn’t match.  They would have been so much cuter if they had.  They were probably cut from an enormous stack of fabric of all different patterns and then whipped together by seamstresses oblivious to equivalency. Prices have to be kept down, of course.  But I have seen the same shoddiness in skirts sold at boutiques.

Look around you sometime.  Pay attention.  Unmatched stripes down the side of a shirt or skirt look like someone didn’t take extra care in putting the piece together.  And unmatched stripes across a hefty backside looks like someone didn’t own a rear view mirror.

This is my own personal and I know, inconsequential, crusade.  Let’s put some effort into matching stripes.  Maybe if we could match in this minor detail we could work up to matching things that really matter—like minds and hearts.

INHIBITED

Livvi in hat

Inhibited
Elizabeth Willis Barrett………..May 2014

“No thanks, Carolyn,” I say as I dash into the Greenfield Barn Boutique ready for my shift.

“You have to wear it,” Carolyn presses. She is holding a big black witch’s hat. “All the cashiers have to wear hats. How ‘bout a pumpkin one? Would you like that better? We have those, too.” I feel her impatience. “It adds to the ambience,” she continues when I don’t rally, “you know—the holiday feel.”

I look at her with widened eyes and a bit of green in my face which would have gone great with the witch’s hat.

“I can’t!” I hang on to my calm like an unneeded warm sweater. “I can’t wear a hat.” I almost turn to gather up all my beautiful matted quotes that are going to bring me at least $800 at this very popular boutique. If wearing a witch’s hat is required for placement—I’m outta here!

Carolyn turns in disgust and thrusts the hat on a more willing boutique-er. With chagrin as my unwelcome partner, I sit down and ring up my first customer—hat-less.

Inhibited—that’s me! Are some people “hibited” or just “un?” I’m inhibited in many areas. In high school when everyone was saying “boss” and “cool head” and kissing everyone in Student Council, I was still into “Hey, that’s neat!” That was about my only descriptive word. And I definitely wasn’t into kissing—anybody.

I’ve never been able to say the words that are in at the moment. Sometimes it’s because I don’t want to be a follower, a bandwagon rider. “Fannnnntastik!” never made it to my vocabulary and neither did “Awesome!” which is really a shame because those are awesome and fannnntastik words. Other things I can’t say are “end of story,” “easy-peazy,” “bazillion,” “honey,” “darlin’,” “pops” or “let’s partaay!” just to name a few.

At my wedding reception, to each guest I would introduce Brad as “Brad”—I couldn’t say “this is my husband.” He almost determined not to be over that slight inhibition of mine.

And besides not being able to wear silly hats, I can’t put my sunglasses on top of my head or put a pencil behind my ear. Inhibition has eaten into convenience.

And finally, I could never, ever put “LOL” on a Facebook entry.

So, there you have it—inhibition at its finest. LOL!

PRAYER?

Clouds

Elizabeth Willis Barrett

I heard the other day that a very determined woman pointed her shaking finger at a school group demanding that prayer be allowed in the schools.  I used to feel that it was a huge mistake when prayer was deleted from public forums but I have a different feeling now.

I‘m for prayer, but I’d want the prayer to be my kind of prayer.  I wouldn’t like it very much if I were required to kneel to the east several times a day because the one in charge worshiped in that way.  And I don’t suppose those of the Jewish faith would like to be prayed for in the name of Jesus Christ at every secular meeting they go to.  I love the Savior.  I wish every religion accepted, loved and worshipped Him.  But they don’t and we can’t assume that He is in everyone’s life.

Once our family made some people very uncomfortable by insisting that they pray like we pray.  We had associated with a born again Christian group for some time because they were trying to help one of our children, for which we were very grateful.  In the process, we had been preached to and prayed for and blessed over and over by them as they waved their hands in the air and quoted scripture and treated us as lost souls who needed much spiritual guidance.  Since we feel that we have quite a good grasp of scripture and spiritual things ourselves, we were a little resentful.

So, when we had them in our home, Brad thought he would return the favor by having them pray like we do for a change.  We all knelt in a circle and Brad offered a prayer.  That is how we have family prayer in our home.   I feel that it made them uneasy and I’m sorry we were so adamant about them joining us.  Brad just wanted them to know that prayer was not foreign to us and that we definitely loved and worshipped Heavenly Father, too.

Prayer is a very personal thing.  Those people in our home loved God.  They had dedicated their lives to His service.  We didn’t have the right to make them worship in our way.  And we don’t have that right in the schools either.  There is so much diversity, so many ways to talk to God.  Maybe a moment of silence would be more appropriate where each could reflect or pray in his or her own way.  Our kids certainly could use some spiritual help.  We all could.

I rejoice when friends of other faiths say they’ll pray for me or for one of our kids.  Those prayers are so welcomed, heard and felt even if they have a different way of reaching Heaven.

As I went to a Mormon Temple dedication with a wonderful Catholic friend, she said in reference to the numerous religions, “We’re all trying to go to the same place; we’re just driving different cars.”

If we want someone to ride in our car, we’d do better with kind invitations.   We ought to make sure that our car is driven by and filled with happy, loving and accepting people.  Or who would want to join us?  Those with angry pointing fingers will have no passengers no matter how much they promote prayer.