Wanderings in the Frontier of the Mind...

The western frontier in American History intrigues me. I like to think I would have been among the first to settle those wild, untamed lands. I still dream of finding my own five or ten small acres to explore and settle my family on. Until then, I have an unending frontier inside my own mind to wander and explore...

Name:
Location: Pacific Northwest, United States

I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, confidant, citizen and church member among other things...all in no particular order of importance. I love to study people and why they do things. This has led me to read a lot about disturbing events in history including the Holocaust and the treatment of American Indians during the infancy of the United States. I love the simple things in life- my family, working in my yard, friends, reading and thinking. I dislike chaos and disorganization, but they seem to rule in my home for now and somehow that is ok. In the right time, the right season order will come. I am a deeply religious woman, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The LDS Church or The Mormons). Many of my entries will reflect these views as my faith is deeply intertwined in my life, as it should be. Right now I am working on enjoying the different roles in my life a bit more and finding a better balance between seriousness and responsibility and joy and relaxation.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fear, Does it Show?

It has been a long time since I posted. I have been through a lot during this time and I was actually quiet scard to post again. Why? Because the things I truly want to post about are extremely personal and evoke deep emotions in me. I want to shout from the rooftops just how I feel right now, but I can't. Why? Because I am afraid that I might hurt someone, or make someone uncomfortable. I am afraid to take care of myself before others. I am afraid that anything I write will lead to those feelings because they are so deep right now. Maybe I should create another anonymous blog...but then, what if my identity were somehow discovered?

Why does fear become so paralyzing?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fevers

The night before last my 18 month old son woke up with a fever. I took his underarm temp, added the degree and it came to 101 degrees F. About two months ago he had strep throat and his fever had climed to 104.6 (at the Dr.'s office) so I immediately suspected strep again. I dosed him up with ibuprofen so both he and I could sleep better for a few more hours. In the morning I checked his throat and, sure enough, his tonsils were quite swollen. I couldn't get a very good look with my flashlight and the back end of a butter knife, so I thought I ought to get an appointment to have his throat swabbed. Later in the day his temp. climbed to 103.2 and I was sure my diagnosis would be right. No one else had been sick, but that was the case with his previous strep. I gave him some more ibuprofen to keep his temp down and took him into the doctor that afternoon. Although his tonsils were quite enlarged, they weren't very red so the doctor didn't think he had strep but he did a throat culture anyway. Ears and lungs were clear. Today I got the preliminary results of the culture and they were negative.

My mom has been really sick over the past few weeks. First, a virus has had hold of her for about two weeks. Fever, malaise, headaches. Her doctor thinks it could be West Nile but since she doesn't have insurance and the treatment would be the same, she didn't get the blood test. Just as she was getting over this she went in to get a tooth fixed that had been hurting. There was infection deep down and she ended up with an infection in her face and neck and has been extremely ill. It is at least 90 degrees in her neck of the woods and she is in long sleeves and a blanket. She typically runs a low body temperature so it takes a lot for a true fever to come on.

All of this has me thinking about the nature of fevers and each individual body's reaction to them. It is all quite interesting to me. So many parents are scared of even a 99 degree fever and dose their kids up quickly. I say, let that fever work! Without it the bugs can survive and thrive. It is a wonderful defense reaction of the body. But then there are some, like my mom, who have a hard time working up that fever and so they tend to stay sick longer. Why is that? And why do some doctor's ignore a lower body temperature and how it affects their patient's health?

I just wish I knew exactly what bug my kids fever is fighting. Can some scientist come up with a way to scan a part of the body, like they do in Star Trek, so we could detect foreign viruses and bacteria? Don't you think that would be great? What a cool mom tool...just run the handheld device around the face or neck, like those new fangled thermometers, and poof! There it is, the culprit of the fever! Then we would know- take the child in and get a prescription...hey...let's get even more techno...we could email the results to the doctors office and if needed, they could email a prescription into our favorite pharmacy. No need to even see the kid! (For certain minor childhood illnesses that is). I think that would be the coolest new invention!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Book Meme

My sister Ami of The Granola Rules tagged me with a book meme. I have to say that I have given this one a lot of thought, especially because I haven't read near as much in the past few years as I would like to have. But I really love books and have loads of them at my house...or boxes and shelves I should say. My husband also likes to read, but seldom does he read fiction- his genre is history and political science...you know the books that a lot of people look at and wonder who would bother reading such a book cover to cover? Yup those are the ones he reads. I find them interesting enough, but I like to add a story to the history. My kids also love to read and we have a whole huge book shelf of books for them ranging from baby board books to Amelia Bedelia to Harry Potter. Anyhow....guess I should stop rambling and plunge on in...Just as a note, I have decided to put in here only fiction. I could honestly use The Book of Mormon as the answer to many of these questions (#1, 2, 3, 5, 9) as this book has taught me more than any other book I have read and I am more thankful for this book than for any other. In an effort make me think a little harder, I decided to use only fiction.

1. One book that changed your life? The Diary of Anne Frank. Ok, so I lied. This one is not fiction, but it is a story of the life of one extraordinary girl. I read this in elementary school and have reread it several times, each one taught me something new about myself. The fresh perspective, the unpolluted honesty and the gravity of her situation cannot even closely be copied by fiction. An absolute must read.

2. One book you have read more than once? Sheesh. I hate to watch or read things more than once and there are only a few books I have read more than once, both of which I have mentioned. I am certain that I have read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen two or three times. This is a classic tale that society would do well to take more than a cursory glance at (on the screen no less).

3. One book you would want on a desert island? Hawaii by James Michener. Or maybe Centennial by James Michener or Saints by Orson Scott Card. Why? These are all great historical novels that are really long. Also, Saints shows an entirely different side of Orson Scott Card and is an amazing tale.

4. One book that made you laugh? Amelia Bedelia. Ok, so this one was a long time ago...but my daughter recently read it and it made me laugh again. She is such a quirky person. Gotta love that not everyone is the same. Some people just take things very literally. Love it!

5. One book that made you cry? Centennial by James Michener- a part in it where the American Indian were driven down the trail of tears. There are also many books I have read on the Holocaust that evoke the same emotion. I fail to understand how humans can be so cruel to other humans. It is completely beyond my comprehension and I think that is why I have studied these things so much...to somehow try to understand how people can so blindly follow a leader that they do horrible things. The travesty of today is that there are those spreading rumors that such events in history never happened and are propaganda made to make certain others look bad. I guess there are also those that think the Bible is nothing more than a fairy tale as well. It is very sad indeed when history is reduced to such dribble by overeducated minds that can't explain something so then conclude it must be made up.

6. One book that you wish were written? A book that would explain the nature of the world and the life on it. Wait, isn't there such a book? Oh, yeah...see above...it wouldn't/isn't believed anyway. Wow am I sounding pessimistic today!

7. One book you wish were never written? I don't even remember what is was called, but a friend's mom gave me a romance book to read when I was a teenager. A- it was poorly written B- the characters were shallow and C- it was full of smut and not only embarassed me but educated me to a woman't fantasy world. Personally I call it female pornography. I never did finish the book and I assume that most of those steamy romance novels you see on the shelves would fit into this same description. And the fact that they sell so well is a sad commentary in and of itself.

8. One book you are reading now? Well, just finished anyway...The DaVinci Code. It was a fun and interesting read but quite frankly had a weak ending. Honestly, the controversy of it all (Jesus was married to Mary Magdeline) doesn't bother me one bit. Maybe I'll go into all that in a later post. It is all very interesting to ponder, but really not necessary to personal salvation.

9. One book you have been meaning to read? Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. My son got it and read it last summer and I just haven't found the time to get into it. Although I read the previous 5 in a matter of months. Soon....

10 . Now tag 5 people? Yeah, right! Ami took two of my tags. I don't get around the blog rolls much, not enough to comment and build relationships anyway. Hmmm...Marie if she reads this...and...maybe I'll tag a few friends via email...we'll see...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Nature Deficit Disorder?

Wow... read this article http://dir.salon.com/story/mwt/feature/2005/06/02/Louv/index.html?pn=1

The article is about a new book entitled ""Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder" by Richard Louv. The conclusions he comes to after much thought and study really speak to my soul. I have long thought that kids are happiest when outside and when parents aren't constantly paranoid over every step. I have always let my children play outside and get dirty and I tend to not worry as much as other mothers my age. For a long time I have felt like I have neglected my children by not having more structured activities for them. Not to say that there is no place for structured activities, but I feel a little better now how I have chosen to raise my children. I have nothing to apologize for in having stained play clothes and sticks all over my yard. My kids have fun and enjoy themselves and are learning to be quite independent. I am proud of them and their accomplishments...even if it is a mud pie or a frog habitat. Some like to climb trees more than others and that's ok too. Nature has a way of allowing kids to come into their own without judgement. I think that more parents need to be aware and not afraid of truly interacting with nature...choose a home with a bigger yard if possible. Grow a vegetable or flower garden and let the kids help, even if it is not perfect. Let your kids climb trees, take them to the mountains or the ocean. And best of all, the outdoors are free (although some that don't have a yard may have to spend the gas money to get there...but isn't it worth it?).

What is a post worth?

About a week ago I had prepared quite an interesting (well, to me) post about a story regarding a vision that George Washington had. It is quite interesting to read...just google it and you will find a few different versions but the original from 1831 is the most historically accurate. There is no way in this life to know if the story is true, but it is an interesting read and gets the mind going. Anyhow, I had created a rather lengthy post and was about to publish the post when I needed to attend to my youngest (18 mos). While I was gone from the computer my oldest (almost 9) closed out the window and got onto lego.com. I came back, sat down and noticed the window had been closed. Immediately I felt a surge of frustration and my first impulse was to snap at my son about just leaving things alone. Luckily, somehow, I maintained control and had the impression that my relationship with my son was much more important than some incidental post onto a blog. How many times do we inadvertantly put lower priorities on top of what we would consider our highest priorities? How often do we get on our children for getting in the way and acting like children? Just a thought...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tag Post: Groups of Four

So I got tagged by my sister, Ami. I have done several of these via email...and one I had to do on her blog. Now that I have my own blog, I guess I will plunge in...

Four jobs I’ve had:
Office Assistant for the City of Salem Housing Authority
Office Manager for a temporary staffing service (where I used to be a temporary through)
Temporary employee
Clerk at Euphoria Chocolate Company (about the best job I ever had...turned me into a chocolate snob)

Four movies I could watch over and over:
The Quiet Man
Sheesh this one is hard...
I don't like to watch things over and over
Gone With the Wind...but I can only handle that every 5 years or so...
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Historical Dramas

Four places I’ve lived:
Shelton, Washington
Salem, Oregon
Provo, Utah
Meridian, Idaho

Four TV shows I love to watch:
Lost
ER
20/20
The Amazing Race

Four places I’ve gone on vacation: (My favorites)
Yellowstone
Crater Lake
Tahiti
Moab

Four websites I visit daily:
Umm...I don't necessarily get online daily...
Google
lds.org
blogs of people I know

Four people I need to tag.
The only other person I know that has a blog besides my sister is my new brother Michael Drews (oh, Ami and Keri did you know you have a baby brother a year younger than Keri? I've adopted him and I think mom concurs...) But I am not sure if he can update his own blog now since he is on a mission, so I will email him and then I can update his blog for him. But I want my mom and my little sister Keri to start a blog too...so I will let them know they are tagged as well...I think I will tag my best friend Marie too....she should start a blog too....pressure's on girls...

The Spider Web

Have you ever seen a large spider web first thing in the morning? I picture the web of a large garden variety spider spread from one tomato plant to the other frosted with dew and glimmering in the morning light. During this time the outline of a web is most apparent and the fragile strength of each connecting piece of webbing can be seen. I hate spiders but the sight of a beautiful web amazes me. I have thought a lot about how a web is made, how each section is vital to the balance, strength and success of the web.

Lives that touch another are like those sections of a spider's web. Each act of kindness, each word of encouragement and each selfless thought move along the web and spreads to another. Unfortunately the opposite is true as well. Each thoughtless word, malicious act or selfish thought can travel the threads of the web. Think about it...if someone sends you a thank you note and you get it in the mail on a day that you have otherwise been frustrated, doesn't your day change? Suddenly you become a little more patient with your children, a smile creeps onto your face and you engage in a game of peekaboo with your toddler which sends you both into fits of laughter...then your other children come in to see what's happening and you all end up in one happy, laughing, rolling ball of family love. Then the next thing you know your daughter is unloading the dishwasher without asking and you call to apologize to your husband for a misunderstanding which makes him more patient with the client he is dealing with. We all make choices in our lives on how we react to things and if we want to be happy. But I do know that how we treat one another travels around the threads of our web of family and friends and affects each section accordingly. It is much easier to be kind and joyful when those around us treat us in the same way...so maybe we can all take a moment to start the chain reaction around our own web. Improve your life by improving the lives of those around you first. Be selfless instead of selfish. Show true charity by forgiving before being asked for forgiveness, by choosing not to be offended by the outspoken neighbor down the street, by saying a simple "thanks and have a nice day" to the grouchy grocery clerk or by showing love in so many other ways.

I know this seems so simple, but aren't most things in life if you just stop and think?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Culturally Speaking

I recently watched an amazing PBS documentary about the risks taken by artists and museum curators during the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan. These men risked their lives by hiding film negatives to protect them from being burned with the film prints. Some painted over works of art in watercolors in order to keep them from destruction. Others hid or disguised other artifacts. When asked why they would take such risks one man stated "A country without culture has no history." Wow. I have often thought about the "culture" of the United States. As a melting pot, does the U.S. have a true culture? Is our culture one of political correctness to the degree that we are afraid to label anything with distinctive markers so as not to potentially offend anyone? Is our culture an attitude of selfishness, overconfidence and abrupt sarcasm and rudeness? Is our culture one full of lavish luxuries and bling? Do we consider art anything created by one who calls him or herself an artist? If not, then why are these things portrayed so often in our media? True, we have many foods, inventions, sports, dances and hobbies created in the U.S., but is there one that stands out as distinctively the artistic culture of the U.S.? In my opinion, sports are in their own category. I am talking about a type of music and dance handed down from generation to generation. A certain style that most Americans can relate to. Indeed, I think that the only thing most Americans can agree on is that most Americans have very individual likes and dislikes. Perhaps therein lies the culture of the United States: individuality...

Finding Time

As a busy mother of five (yes that is five and yes I am busy!) children, I have finally found time to start a blog. I have to wonder if I really have the time or if I am simply pushing something else aside and making the time. Does it really matter? As long as my family is fed, the house is clean and all are happy I figure I can take a little time to do something I want to do. The question is, will my family ever be completely fed, the house clean and is it possible for the whole family to be happy at the same time? Probably not for a long time, if ever. So, here goes...let my brain wander and the thoughts come...it's now or never.