I am home from Charlotte CKC, two acronyms down and one (CPR) left to go for August. But nearly 2 weeks home is a good thing!

Most of the classes I taught in Charlotte were sessions of a journaling class sponsored by Shutterfly. I added to the presentation a bit (the CKC classes are developed by the CK Education team and then taught by different teachers through the year), and had everyone write down a couple of quotes in the notebooks we covered as the class project.

Here’s my favorite:

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky, and want, more than all the world, your return.

-Mary Jean Irion

This poem illustrated a couple of the concepts we talked about in class (including the parallel construction in the 2nd line), and it is just exactly what I wanted to say to encourage everyone to start today writing things down.

In the spirit of this, and as so often happens with me, two or even more totally different things appear at the same time to teach me a concept, or reinforce it. So the poem is one.

Last week at CKU, my beautiful friend Ana gave me a book, The Last Lecture. I had actually downloaded the audiobook version of this, but then hadn’t taken time to listen to it. I read most of it on the way home from Utah last week, and then finished it up this weekend. It’s a beautiful, short, wonderful reminder to savor our moments and work hard for our dreams. It’s totally unsentimental, poignant only because reading it, I knew that the author had already passed away about 6 weeks ago. 

It’s not the first time an author has invited us to look at our lives as though we were at the end, reviewing it - it’s so cool to be reminded, though, that each day - no matter how boring or ordinary it might seem (or how kind of dizzy and headachey you might feel - that’s me today), is a gift and a wonder to be treasured.

So today, Rowen and I made a storybook. Her drawing skills have improved dramatically in the past couple of months. I need to share her artwork from last week’s gymnastics camp, which she came home and finished with plenty of Tuck Royce:

On the left is Wall-E, complete with scratches and dings, and green treads, a neck and his two sweet binocular eyes, and on the right is Eve, white with her blue eyes. They are dancing in space. This masterpiece (especially the coloring of every square inch of space) consumed Rowen for a full hour after she got going.

This is beautiful evidence to me. Part of the delight of parenthood to me is watching the independence and personality of my children emerge - having conversations with them, listening to the ideas and songs and chatter, answering the constant barrage of questions, being swept along in the current of delight at each new thing or experience. And I (headache and all) get to be part of this. What a blessing!

Here’s one more funny & cute:

I made chicken and mozarella ravioli with alfredo sauce for dinner. Seriously, you might ask? Well, yes, the ravioli was from frozen, and the parmesan cheese didn’t quite melt in the sauce (any tips on this are welcome - I can’t ever get the cheese to melt completely!), but Jared (bless him) was praising the meal (it actually tasted pretty good), and Rowen said,

“Maybe mama can become a cooker when she gets done making lots and lots of scrapbook pages.”

It was a sweet vote of confidence, but also kind of a telling statement about my life as it is right now, unmelted parmesan and all.

I so needed to learn and re-learn and hear all these things this weekend. I needed to hang out with scrapbookers, and hear their stories, and encourage myself even as I encouraged them to start writing things down. It’s too easy to forget. Too easy for it to get put off for self-consciousness or tiredness or mismatched priorities. And yet, stories and storytelling are a huge part of life - keeping us connected, grounded, focused, reminded, grateful, and aware. In one sense, it’s nothing more than the art of paying attention.