Friday, April 29, 2011

Mary and Martha

My friend Vickie and I get together one day a week to lift each other up. We never have a lack of things to talk about and it really doesn't matter where we meet. Back in Temecula when we started our "Tuesdays Together", we met at the Barnes and Noble bookstore after I got off work. We are grateful to continue the special days and meet at various places, but always end up talking on a personal nature and a spiritual one as well.



This week we started out realizing we both have a little OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). To us this means that we get very anxious if our homes are not clean, and our daily lists are not completed, although because of their length it becomes very difficult to ever complete them.


Our discussion went to the scripture story of Mary and Martha, who were two sisters, who were apparently very good friends of Jesus Christ during the time of his ministry here on earth.




I love this picture of the event. You can see the familiarity of the key figures, they seem real, like us. So it is easy to put ourselves into the story as it unfolds in just four short verses in Luke.




Luke 10:38-42, “Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His Word.But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Vickie and I in discussing this scripture story had to realize we had alot of Martha in us. Having had several events that I had to prepare for in my family and in church callings, I can imagine just exactly how Martha felt. Frustrated. We only really hear about Jesus being in the home, but we know Lazarus was Martha and Mary's brother so we can safely assume he was there as well as the Disciples, who were always in the Lord's company during this period. We know Jesus taught, so we can imagine there might have even been more people following.

Can you imagine Martha fulfilling the woman's role in that day of staying in the background and serving. She probably had a great deal to prepare to feed all those visiting, setting the table up, and cleaning to make things perfect. I'm sure much of it was done particularly for Jesus to serve him. I can just picture Martha sending chilling daggers to Mary who just sat at the Saviors feet with no regard to Martha's looks and probable hand signals to assist. It is apparent her level of frustration became overwhelming when she actually approached Jesus asking Him to tell Mary to help. Being the oldest of many brothers and sisters I can see this as not only tattling, but a way to draw attention to herself and her efforts.

Poor Martha, her ploy certainly backfired. Christ did indicate that He was aware of Martha's actions, but He did not praise her. Instead he chastised and rebuked her for being distracted. He indicates that Mary had chosen the correct behavior. She was hearing, learning, and worshiping at His feet.

Hmmmm. As Vickie and I discussed this we became aware that our character includes parts of Martha (the OCDness) and gratefully our spirits are tender and we want to hear and learn from our Savior so we might some day be at His feet ourselves.

I think the world finds itself kind of in a Martha syndrome, we are too worried about appearances. There is no doubt there are things that need to be done. The Lord's house is a house of order, but there is a balance to it. If we get to the point of doing it for the wrong reasons then we have gone overboard. I'm talking in terms of homemaking for two reasons: one, that was Martha's issue, and secondly, that is my issue. But, we can insert any other "works" here. All important, but not to the point that God and Godliness don't exceed them in importance. Martha is a person of action. We can see her action is good works, helping others and that isn't bad. She was serving the Lord and others.

If Christ was in my home I can imagine that my first thoughts might be the dust on the floor, or the fact that I didn't have enough "good" food to serve Him. No, no I'm wrong. I really can't believe those would be my first actions. I will want to fall at His feet and worship Him, thank Him, cry into His lap, or crawl into His lap to be embraced. There is no need to worry about feeding all the neighbors that would gather around, afterall, He can feed thousands with so little. Martha didn't have time to realize that because she was too busy with the niceties.

Do I have to wait until Christ walks into my living room to learn from Martha and Mary? No I can change now. One of my OCD things is my list. I have to write a list every day to get the things from rattling round in my brain continually. The top of my list says Martha and Mary. Under my Martha list are a few things that I need to get done to keep an orderly home. Under my Mary list are things that will draw me closer to God, after all we are told "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." That tells me, if I be a Mary first, then all the Martha things will come too.

I kind of see the Martha things (from my point of view) are those things that might be my "image" concerns. The Mary things would be prayer, scriptures, reading in good books, listening to good music, meditation, contemplation, charity, church callings, being in touch with loved ones. My comfort zone is being busy in my house, so those are the things I always find myself doing first. That means the other things fall second. That is definitely not what the Savior said to Martha, or in so many other areas of the Scriptures.

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." — Mark 12:30

I am not a scriptorian but I don't recall a 43rd or 45th commandment saying "Thou shalt make your bed every day" or "thy mirrors MUST be free of all fingerprints". So I am going to try, try, try to put aside my OCDness and my Martha-ness in favor of all that I have learned from her.

Wondering what Martha did after Christ rebuked her? We don't really know but maybe we get a hint from the story where her brother Lazarus died. Jesus was coming and Martha ran out to meet Him, to challenge Him because she knew He could do anything. Mary instead was at home probably praying, and waited until Martha returned to tell her Christ was asking for her. I'm sure Martha tried, but still this shows she was a woman of action, who wanted to get things done in her timing. Mary was more contemplative, waiting on a call from her Lord. Mary puts a spiritual response ahead of a physical response.

It is obvious these two women were both very important to Jesus, and they were both good women. But we can learn from them, from their responses, and from the few words the Lord said to them, and to us. We need to try to keep a Mary mindset in a Martha world.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reconnecting

Okay, it has already been established that I am a blessed woman. Lately one of the ways that I have truly counted blessings is in my reconnection to special people in my life. I was just laying in bed this morning amazed and I began to process the enormity of that at this particular time.

My mom has always kept in touch with old friends and family members, including cousins once, twice removed. I think it's one of the things that keeps her young. She not only enjoys the relationships, but she feels somewhat responsible for them as well. We are preparing for a Johnson family reunion next month and she has been in touch with many of her nieces and nephews to give them a personal invitation and encourage them to come. She is the only one from her generation remaining. All of her brothers and sisters and their spouses have passed away, so they all look to mom as their surrogate parent. She does a good job of making them all feel special.

She set a good example in my life, and I embraced it. My sister, Lynette, described this to me as my talent. She said I gather friends like a bouquet and it is a beautiful one. The good thing about my friend bouquet is that they never wilt. Some blooms may get lost for awhile, and others get more attention but they are always there. Many have come back into my life in the past few weeks in a remarkable burst of color. Let me tell you about some of them.

Lyn, is a foxglove. She stands tall, so tall. No, I'm really not saying that because my sister is soooo much taller than me. It's because she has a strong stem, that holds a myriad of blooms. She plays so many roles and has so many talents and does them all with strength and beauty.

Vickie is a rose. I met her in Temecula when Bud and I started having a rough road. Not in our marriage yet, but in life. Vickie was so immediately in tune with me that she knew it before I did and was there to catch my fall. She moved to Utah a few years ago, and now I'm here. We celebrate our friendship, encourage and mirror each others positive traits, every Tuesday. It's a day we try to work the rest of our life around because we build each other up. She seems to bloom more beautifully each time I see her.

Lisa is a gazania. She has faced way too many challenges, health and otherwise in the past decade. She came back into my life all the way from Arkansas. We have had the opportunity to have several long discussions over facebook and on the phone. She is a gazania because she is laying close the the ground grabbing on to the good soil wherever it is and sinking her roots in.

Samuel. I hesitate to name Sam's likeness as a flower, he just wouldn't have it. Sam was Scott's best man at his wedding so it is obvious that he has been a part of my life continually, but there has been a reconnection and a sweet new connection lately. A month or so ago I had a strong feeling that I needed to be in touch with him. There wasn't a particularly positive or negative reason, but it was strong that we needed to talk. We did, it was a nice reconnection, but neither of us could figure out the urgency of my feelings. We met in person in the next couple of weeks as we were all hanging on together with faith, as our friend Ian fought and lost his battle for life. The family, including Sam, sat in Scott's and Cynthia's family room and built strength together. What a blessing that was. I have had the opportunity to be a part of Sam's life more regularly, more intensely, and more sweetly since then.
His sweet Jeanette is a sweet pea and she and Sam intertwine with each other and with others along their path.

Elaine is a carnation. She was my friend in Sun City and moved here a few years ago. We agree we had a special connection, but maybe one that was realized even more after she moved. We have loved reconnecting. Elaine fills a bouquet like a carnation. She makes it purpose and goal to enrich lives. She doesn't give up easily either, well maybe not at all. Carnatons have that sweet, but kind of spicy fragrance and that kind of describes her as well. Sweet and spicy.

Tomoe just has to be a cherry blossom. She was a foreign exchange student maybe 25+ years ago. We had alot of them, but Tomoe was the first. She along with Mikiko really attached themselves to our family and we to them. Tomoe has kept in touch very well over the years, but we kind of lost track of each other in the past 5 years or so. The earthquake wasn't close to where we last knew her to be, but Jimmy kept having concern, so I started my investigation to find her. Gratefully she is well, but concerned for her country and the people. She said that the one good thing about the earthquake is that we are connected again. She struggles to translate my notes to Japanese, and hers to English. But she is so intrigued with catching up with everyone. Unlike the cherry blossom our friendship will make it through all seasons.

Thank goodness for internet and Facebook. Last night, very late, I found two old friends from Ashburn, VA. It wasn't easy, I kind of had to become a sleuth to find them. I went to bed hardly able to sleep because I reconnected with sisters Michelle and Eileen. It is tantalizing to imagine all we have to talk about to catch up. We'll call them petunias because they are the annuals that just pop up in a garden and a bouquet when you least expect them, but you can definitely count on them.

This blog would be so lengthy if I touched on each of the other wonderful friends I connected with here in Utah since moving in January, so I will call them "babies breath". They fill in my bouquet with their amazing heavenly beauty. They have made this move and transition in my life easy, but more than that. Thank you Christine, Molly, Michelle, Jan, Tim, Jennifer, Beth, Alicia, Andrea, Cindy, Valerie, Eileen, Danny, Joe, Brenda, Candice, Ray, Shea, Barbara, and all my future "old friends" that I get to reconnect with very soon. I look forward to the spring and summer renewal of blossoming. (I know this metaphor is getting kinda corny--but it is true! C'mon, give a girl a break)

I love it. I love my friends and my beautiful friend bouquet. I don't know if this is really my talent as Lynette said, or if it is truly one of God's blessings to help me through the spots filled with manure! Love you all!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Favorite Son

I spent some time this weekend with my little Leah. Marque and Sarah went up to the cabin with some friends. When Leah fell asleep on the family room floor just before they got home I took the opportunity to catch up on Facebook. I closed the site down but later that evening a post appeared on my site declaring Marque to be my favorite son. I can't imagine how that happened, but the fact is, it's the truth. I thought I need to declare it to the world, and here are just some of the reasons. Of course I love Marque the most. He was my first born. The excitement and miracle of it all. We struggled as parents learning everything anew. But, Marque was born older and wiser than everyone in the family. Even his Dad and I, maybe even especially his Dad and I. He has always advised us. When he was 4 years old and I smacked him for hitting his brother he asked me "Howcum you hit me if you tell me not to hit?" When he was 8 we took him to buy a new bed. We were excited to get him a Captain's Bed because it had storage underneath and he was always so neat. The salesman was aghast when ready to make the sale Markie told us "I don't know why you need to buy me a new bed, my old one is just fine."


Wise beyond his years, and feeling the responsibility of the oldest child Marque has always taken care of his family. Every one of us feel his love and concern for us. We all know he is our "go to" guy when things need to be accomplished, or advise is needed.


He is so much like my father. I know my dad's spirit lives on through Marque. He is charismatic, affable, has great character traits of loyalty, integrity, and kindness. He brought himself to success without a formal education. He sets goals and masters them. Another thing that reminds me of my dad is that he wears cologne well.


Marque honors his family. What a husband and father. It is apparent to everyone that Marque feels blessed to have Sarah as his wife and Leah as his daughter. He respects his mom and dad even though we might have disappointed him along the way. He never focuses on failures, but on our successes in life and in the family. He extends that to his brothers, their wives and to his nieces. They all know they are important to Marque and they are willing to follow any advice or counsel he gives.


The extended family is massively important to him. He keeps in contact with Grandma and Herb appreciating their energy and example. Never misses a family reunion. He doesn't want to wait until he's beyond the veil to know his cousins and their families.


He touches others. It is obvious that he is not only respected but loved by those who work under him in his employment and in other capacities. He loves his neighbors and they love and admire him. I'm always proud to say I'm his mum.


There is not a week that goes by that he isn't checking on me to see if there is anything I need. What a nice safety net to have. I never expected to need that safety net, but I'm oh so glad it was there. Yep Marque is my favorite. Or is it Jim? Marque and Scott have always claimed to be the favorite, Jim always claimed they were too. He teased(?) me about that for almost his whole life. But Jim is my favorite and here are the reasons: Jim was my middle child. He came 19 months later...we were so wise by the time he came along that it was a breeze. Not really. When he was a baby he was ill. He didn't grow very much. He had lots of tests, the Dr's. were concerned and then finally when they had no answer they became unconcerned and tried to make me feel that way too. Finally we changed Dr's and he was diagnosed. Poor little guy. But he was a fighter. I'm glad he was because it served him well in his life.


Jim makes me laugh. He is a comedian. He has the timing and the jokes. He is quick witted. He makes me laugh at myself. It is really fun to see things through Jimmy's eyes. He is a bit of a pessimist too. He told me that the other day as if I didn't already know. But, even though I'm an optimist and don't know how he managed to get by that Pollyanna attitude of mine, I do see that he has to be stronger to get over that natural tendency in himself. So he fights it.


He makes goals and conquers them. He is a success too, built on a GED from high school and no college education. Self made man. He manages people who love him and his management style. He governs from within the circle of his employees not above them. They know they can joke with him and he with them. He uses this humor with his kids as well. They know they can joke with Dad, but he makes it very easy to see when he means business and that joking is not appropriate. He is so serious about his role as husband and father. He is a romantic guy (I think he gets that from his grandfather) especially on their anniversary. His goal is to make Samantha feel like a queen on their special day. His girls are definitely princesses although they are frequently given healthy doses of sarcasm for a reality check.


He has his serious side for sure. Jim isn't too proud to say that he is a sensitive man. He is an armchair psychologist, especially helping those who struggle in the same ways he did, or helping their parents. He is definitely paying it forward all the time.


Jim calls me everyday. Sometimes we get personal and talk about our own needs. I've used Jim's armchair psychology as well. And I've learned so much from him. But, usually we laugh because our lengthy conversations have a tendency to wander and it always amazes us how varied our topics are. It can start with politics, go to theology, family, then back to a spiritual vein, then on to psychology and back again. Never a dull moment.


Recently when I left he hugged me tight and said "You just can't leave me can you?" He was teasing, but his hold on me and mine on him told us both that he was my favorite. No really it's Scott. He came a four and half years after Jim. I wasn't supposed to be able to have any more children so he is our miracle. Scott is the baby, always will be. He has been told he better plan on that for his whole life. One of the things I love most about Scott is that he accepts that.


When he got two lifesaving awards through his job as a policeman I was there. As he took the stage I shouted "That's my boy!" Everyone in the room was shocked. Except Scott. I think he almost expected it. I felt bad afterward that I might have caused him embarrassment but he just shrugged it off with a smile saying that he just told people "Now you know why I'm the way I am is because of my mom." That's my boy.


Scott was never one of those kids who expected me to drop him off a block or two from school. He was never ashamed to kiss his mom goodbye right in front of school. He always admitted to being a Mama's boy, even if he didn't have any of the signs or characteristics that come with that title...except with his mom.


I do believe Scott and I had a soul to soul connection. Sometimes it went beyond parent-child. He seemed to know me better than anyone else. I remember one time Bud came home from a meeting where they described people by colors. He told me that he and everyone who knew me decided I was a red. Red is a good thing, no doubt, but to me it didn't describe me at all. Powerful, in charge, leader, go-getter etc. I was really hurt that no one really knew me, particularly my husband. When I asked Scott what color he thought described me, he said I was blue with a little yellow. Blue is basically loyal, true, and yellow is fun. Exactly the way I would describe myself. It meant alot to me.


I so appreciated that Scott was not embarrassed about his mom, but even seemed to be proud of me. He has told me several incidents that he passed on his "mom's wise advise" or cliche's to someone who was in trouble. He reminds me of positive things I have done in my life that I would have forgotten otherwise.


Scott is honest to the highest degree. I hope he always will stay that way. It is really a great trait for a police officer to have. He is a straight shooter, but he always looks at people with optimism of who they could be, and he tries to guide them in that direction.


Family is vital to him, not just important. He waited to find a bride that felt exactly the same way. He was never going to throw his family under the bus for love or money. He and Cynthia will carry their love and respect for family on to their own family. They even bought a house that they could raise a large family in without moving to give them stability It is easy to see why Scott is my favorite!


To summarize: Marque is my favorite because he helps me find humility and understand the power of success is the capability to make the lives of others better. Jim is my favorite because he helps me find humor in life and he is sensitive to others lives because he overcame his own challenges. Scott is my favorite because he not only accepts but loves me as I am, and loves each person in the world because of who they are. I must be God's favorite because he gave me these three incredible sons. Thank you Heavenly Father with all my heart.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

E.Grieg Peer Gynt Suite no.1, Op 46 no.1, Morning Mood

An Evening with Grieg, Brahms, and Racmaninoff

"The hills were alive with the sound of music." The hills were located in Alpine, Utah and music was incredibly produced by the brand new Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra, with John Pew as the conductor and founder of the fledgling orchestra. I saw a flyer posted at a local business and two phrases drew my attention: Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, and Free! I am not a person who likes to go out alone on a Friday or Saturday evening, maybe it's because I don't want to appear to be friendless, but nothing was going to keep me from this entertainment. Well I won't say I was that determined. As a matter of fact last night all it took was a couple conversations on Facebook to keep me in front of the computer instead of in the audience at the premier performance of the Orchestra. But not tonight, even though I noticed how my house could use some of my time. I uttered outloud, "Oh pish posh it can wait", and then into my chest in Brick-ish (The Middle Sit-com) manner "It can wait". Grabbing my GPS to navigate my way through this new community I was off for an incredible evening. The performance was held at Timberline High School Auditorium and I really didn't expect a huge turnout so I didn't allow myself much lead time. As I drove up the street I was hugely excited and worried at the same time because there was a large number of cars parked on the street. It was great to see many were there to a cultural event. Luckily I found a parking place relatively quickly and hurried inside. Indeed the venue was crowded and I was directed to a far and high corner, but one of the benefits of being a single is the opportunity to find a lonely seat closer to the stage. I did. I'm pausing in writing this wondering if I should take this blog through my whole evening or just the serene pleasure of the music. Since the "mind talk" and the music seemed to combine into one thought pattern I will include it all.

I went down to the 4th row and there was a nice young man with his date about 4 seats in. There was a purse on the ground between the 1st and 2nd seat. When I asked the young man if the seats were being saved, he said he wasn't sure, because an old lady sat on the aisle seat earlier and that was her purse. He didn't know if the other seats were being saved by her. I was very un-Leslie like because I moved in and took one of the seats saying "I'm sure if she meant to save them all, she would have asked you to", and "I'll move if she needs them all". It was perfect timing because as I sat down the orchestra ceased their tuning and the director came to the microphone. His name is John Pew. From his emotional introduction to the evening, his biography in the program and mostly from his vibrant and expressive conducting style, I was able to recognize his passion for music and for this new orchestra. He had me ready to support, applaud, and encourage, but what a treat it was that the orchestra doesn't need me to be absolutely fabulous. They were so perfect in their response to their conductor that they just lead me right into my trance-like reverence to the music and the composers. It is probably not necessary to explain that I am not an expert. I don't know a concerto from an opus. I wonder what is in that makes a symphony a symphony. No education or knowledge of music at all, but I do know that I was given a gift to enjoy the talents of others. So as I write of these things it is from a very layman's point of view. First up was the Sabre Dance by Aram Khachaturian. As soon as they started performing this piece I recognized it. Frequently it is music played for trapeze artists, fire eaters or others who are doing something terribly courageous. It has soft parts in it as well and I found that even through the staccato my stress was melting. There is just nothing like classical music from a live orchestra that can touch my soul so quickly. Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg was the next portion. Our music director told us that this was a familiar piece that was even used in some cartoons. I did immediately recognize "Morning Mood" and the rest of my tension liquified around my feet as I listened. But in the back of my mind I still wondered "Where was the "old lady" whose purse was still on the floor beside me?" Was she in a restroom ill? Should I go check on her? I don't know anything about her and I certainly wasn't going to ask the people around me in the middle of this performance. "Oh, Grieg it's impossible to stay worried when your music is being played so smoothly and sweetly." Concerned, yet simulataneously promising myself to become more immersed in the classics. It was an interesting internal conversation while enjoying the ebbs and flows of Griegs "Aase's Death", "Anitra's Dance", and the very familiar and strident "In the Hall of the Mountain King". Grieg has a sweet melody flow through his music. I really felt the conflict of worrying about the poor missing "old lady" through the Johannes Brahms selections. Brahms rocked my babies to sleep. I was very familiar with Brahms lullabye but not too much otherwise. I was quite surprised when we were told that Brahms was considered one of the best in his time along with the two other "B" named composers, Beethoven and Bach. How intimidating would that be? We did not hear the Lullabye we heard variations on a theme that Haydn wrote. I love to consider perspective in life. It is always interesting to see what different people see in the same piece of art, or even current events. Brahms really treated us to a lot of different perspectives of this same theme. It was recognizable, yet hardly so, as we heard eight variations of the same music. Sometimes the music was in the back of my head as my concern about the missing woman moved to alarm and then even dread. "Okay we are two thirds of the way through with the concert, even if she found another seat, why would she have not returned for her purse? I haven't heard any sirens or seen any other cause for emergency, so she must still be here somewhere. Boy if we were any where else I might really wonder about a purse left with no sign of its owner. Eeeek! What if it was a bomb or something. There are alot of people from the area here. Even the Mayor is attending. What if it is something? I shouldn't just be sitting here getting lost in the music I should alert someone. Who? Even if I went out and told someone what would they do, stop the orchestra and ask for the lady to claim her purse. Maybe she just found friends on the other side of the theater and will return at intermission. That's it. Now just relax into the music. Maybe I should just pick up the purse and set it on the seat. I could take it out to someone in the lobby at intermission. Yah, that's if I'm still here at intermission. Maybe it's set to go off at a particular time in the music....like at the cannon booms in the 1812 overture. I sure wish I knew when there was drama ahead of time in Brahms work. How can I be so concerned, yet so relaxed at the same time. Well I guess if there's a bomb in that purse then I'll definitely be gone. Oh well. No better way to go than listening to this great orchestra, I guess." "Oh no. If I'm gone then my kids and others will see how messy my house is. I KNEW I should have cleaned it. But if I had then I wouldn't be here listening to this fantastic music. Then there wouldn't be "the purse" to even worry about. But I am here, maybe I should be the one to do something. Oh, Leslie, you are so silly. This is American Fork, UT. Nothing is going to happen here. Just relax and enjoy." I got lost in the rest of Grieg's variations and in watching the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the violinists sitting directly in front of me. They created such beautiful tones as they drew their bows across the strings. I especially love the surprises that come in the minor notes. I notice a fluitist sitting in the middle so patiently waiting for her turn to play the flute. After looking at the program I see there are actually four fluitists (are they called floutists) but from my seat only the one is visible. I love the flute, but it does take a secondary place in an orchestra allowing the stringed instuments to be the stars. The very recognizable "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is hard to sit still to. I find myself tapping my foot. Then, it's over. The applause is almost like the end of the entire event. But there is a promise of more to come. It's intermission. Turning to the gentleman to my left I stated the obvious, "The lady never came." Duh. I headed out to see if I could find anyone to share my concern, fear, obligation to the lady. After locating an usher he told me that if after intermission it was still there to bring him the purse. Well there, anyway I told someone so if a bomb blows us all up at least I wasn't the only one who knew. Besides I was just being crazy. I returned to my seat half expecting the purse to be gone along with the owner to the other side of the theater. But no, it was still there, but also there was another gentleman who joined a group behind me. I grabbed my jacket and headed up a row or two to a perfect location for the next selection. I sat down wishing that I had someone I could share my appreciation of the orchestra as a whole and each individual talent that made up the orchestra. But then again I could comfortably sit in my seat without feeling like I was taking too much space from my neighbor, and I could even overflow onto the next seat with my jacket and purse. I knew this was a prime spot to enjoy the piano soloist. I could enjoy every stroke of the ebony and ivory. To top it off it was Rachmaninoff who has been one of my favorites from way back when. The director told us some very interesting information about Rachmaninoff, about his size, 6 foot 6 inches, and his bouts of depression and overcoming it to write this concerto. He told us also that this was the favorite piece of classical music next to Beethoven's 9th. I wouldn't even have known how to vote on that because I don't know the names of the selections. I do always say that Rachmaninoff is one of my favorites for the variety and passion in his music, and that I love Vivaldi for his sweetness. That's the thing about classical music it can take you to places that are so sweet and tender and then to powerful and foreboding places that might be recognizable to those parts of us that are tormented. The music chosen for this occasion though was powerful but more in attitude than in darkness. I was grateful for this because probably the bomb would have definitely gone off in my mind. Once I was settled into my new seat I just forgot the "Old Lady", the purse, and the bomb. I was exactly where Rachmaninoff, Conductor Pew, and pianist Shumway wanted me to be. I was putty in their hands. What excruciatingly beautiful talent they possess. Shumway was powerful in his keystrokes. I couldn't believe the trills and runs up the piano. Rachmaninoff had huge hands, but Shumways had great magic as they performed with agility the nimble moves this piece required. He didn't have much time for his hands to rest but I noticed when he did he dropped them to his sides. He occasionally would shake them to possibly get the blood to flow? Jeffrey Shumway is most likely younger than myself, but I thought about the joints, muscles and nerves in my own hands, and wondered if these things were a challenge to him. If they were the only possible evidence was that momentary drop to the side because his talent was magical. He and the conductor were in sync with their signals to one another and I'm sure there were many practices and rehearsals. They were rewarded with a wild standing ovation that gave them the opportunity to come back for well deserved multiple bows. I was swept away and it was only as I was driving away that I remembered the poor little old lady who didn't have her purse. I will definitely be at the orchestra's next appearance on June 4th at the American Fork Auditorium. In the meantime I am going to start reading up on my favorite composers and start listening a little more to Grieg and Brahms than to Oprah and Ellen. Thank you!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Love You!

I was looking into the mirror today and found myself grinning at the image I saw, and then I impulsively said "I Love You!" Surprised that I said this to me, I took a moment, then said even more surely "Yep, I love you Leslie Trosper!"


There is a chance that by modern standards there wasn't a lot to love....or maybe too much to love, but that didn't matter. I wasn't looking at the large, round face with the eyebrows too far apart, and the hair too thin. My love wasn't declared because of super white teeth, or a perfect complexion. It was said to the person others seem to see, that God sees. I finally caught a glimpse of that person.


Have to admit I have been stalking her for a while. Trying to catch the me that others said was there. Every once in a while I would get a glimpse as she rounded the corner, but it was always me staring back in the mirror.


Several years ago I asked someone why people saw me differently than I saw myself, and was told; "Others see you as you have the potential of becoming." "Oooooh" I replied not understanding at all. But I tried to accept compliments without denial or apologies. I would simply tell myself that I had something to live into. If they said I was wise, then I had to learn to be wise. If I was praised for my writing, then I would need to learn to write more and better.

The other day I was invited to be in a Toastmasters Club. I thought that might be really good for the person in me who wants to write and speak, and maybe I might even meet a few people who would help me move toward publishing. My friend gushed to the invitor, "Leslie could teach that class!" Thinking to myself "No way, Jose. Are you kidding me?" I replied out loud; "Thank you for the compliment", and gave myself a challenge to live into what she was already declaring to be true.


Another thing is that I just returned from a trip to California. My family and many friends made me feel so special. My friends shower me with compliments and fighting for time. They tell me they miss me, that they need me to bolster courage, give them hope, and have fun. My family teases the heck out of me. They tell me I have T-rex arms, smile funny, embarrass them, and spend entirely too much time with strangers, but I know, KNOW how much love they tease with. So with compliments or teasing I feel very unique, and loved. Also, the apostles speaking at conference were telling me what the Lord believes too. It's even convincing me...even if just for the moment.


So this morning when I looked in that mirror, I caught that Leslie that everyone else seems to know for just a moment....and she is pretty awesome. I love you Leslie Trosper.


Think to keep this feeling going for awhile I will avoid all mirrors and all pictures. I will choose to see the me that God and my dear ones see.