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the weekend round up: earthquake, Seattle lessons, gravestone marker, the bubble that we live in

May 2, 2011

I’m driving home from work on Monday evening. Guess that means it’s time for the weekend round up. This was a good weekend overall, it seems pretty busy but when I think back about it was it didn’t seem like there’s a whole lot actually dead.

Saturday the weekend started off with an earthquake. At 9 AM, I participated in answer earthquake preparedness drill that was coordinated by my church. Ashley was gone all day at a conference for women so it was me and my three daughters and at 9 AM the earthquake struck and so we practice what to do. It made me realize that I wasn’t quite sure exactly what I should do during an earthquake. I seem to recall that you should find a doorway and stand in it, so that’s what we did. My daughters also showed me how to get under a table and hold onto a leg of the table and then cover your pattern neck with your other and . And they also showed me that I should point away from the closest window so that the blast doesn’t fall and get me. After the earthquake my assignment was to visit at least three families that were in my list. The list contains all the members of our ward, which is another name for congregation in the Mormon church, and to determine how long it would take to make contact with each of those families to make sure that they’re okay and then report back to the unit heater. So me and my three daughters, them on their bicycles and me walking, walk through the neighborhood and visited five houses and then locked about a mile over to the unit leaders house to report how long it took us to do that. This is a similar system that was used by the members of the Mormon church in Japan during the recent earthquake, and it allows the church leaders to know very quickly, sometimes a matter of hours for about a day at the longest, the status of each of the members in the congregation.

As a sidenote, I lived for Japan in two years from 1996 to 1998 as a missionary. I served in the exact location where that earthquake just hit, in Sendai and the surrounding areas. Maybe I’ll talk more about that later.

So getting back to the earthquake drill, after we reported our results and made the check back to our house we took care of some stuff at home, doing some chores and cleaning. I cleaned my car on the inside and out with the help of my five year old daughter. She really enjoyed helping me, and it was fun to spend time with her. We also played basketball together afterwards. Because she’s only five, shooting baskets isn’t really an option for her Soulive practice dribbling and passing. I tell her perhaps one of her most important lessons in basketball, and that is quote when dad open, pass the ball to him so he can shoot!”

ASSA played the piano for a little bit on Saturday, it had a good discussion with my 10 -year-old daughter about playing the piano. She’s taken Seattle lessons right now, and as with most kids she is not too thrilled about practicing everyday. She is supposed to practice for 30 min. every day, and every day it’s like pulling teeth to get her practice. Ashley and I both took piano lessons when we were young, and we both stopped taking care lessons and we both regret that our parents allowed us to stop taking camera lessons. Therefore, not wanting to repeat the mistakes of past generations we’ve decided that we will for sorry kids to take piano lessons. At least as long as we can stand making them do it. The sad thing is that she’s actually very get him playing piano, and picks it up very quickly. But since she’s such a perfectionist she gets frustrated with the process, and she’s also used to having things come to her easily so having to work to learn to play the piano is an experience in frustration for her. The that’s also another reason that we feel that it’s worth it to force her to play – because she tends to want to give up on things that don’t come naturally to her, we want her to learn to move outside of her comfort zone and challenge yourself a little bit. We know that she can accomplish an amazing things if she’ll just be willing to do that.

As any other parents out there no, this can be a very fine line to walk. Push them too much and they will reason you and make your life miserable. Don’t push them enough and they don’t get to see their true potential and the satisfaction enjoy that reaching that potential can create for them. Especially with our 10 year old, this seems like it’s going to be an ongoing challenge for us as she grows up.

On Saturday I also spent some time attempting to design the gravestone marker for Ian’s grave. It’s a challenging thing, because it’s such a permanent thing and also such an emotional thing to do. As members of the Mormon faith, we believe very strongly that we will see you again, that families are forever, and that doing this time well where you are a part that Ian is performing an important work on the other side of the bail. So I find myself struggling as I attempt to decide what to put on the grave marker, and what I say hi that also includes Ashley. It seems to us that there are two directions that we can take with the gravestone marker.

We can either present an image of a a baby or an intense with the theme of Jesus Christ taking care of him while we’re apart. One of Ashley’s friends sent us a picture frame after he died that said, quote” safe in his hands. Forever in our hearts.” That was a phrase that really struck a chord with us and that we really like. On the other hand, if we believe that the reason they was taken from us before he was even alive on this earth, it is so that he can perform work on the other side of the veil. And that image if Ian is a very mature spirit, even a missionary that is maybe 19 or or 20 years old. And so that becomes a very different image to Petraeus VA on the grave marker. Taking say that message we are considering using the image of a missionary name tag. So we found it difficult to balance between these two different views of you in his absence. Right now we picture him as a child and as an infant that we so wish that we could hold in her hands and in our arms in how gym and be parents to him. That we also believe that he is actively at work helping the Lord on the other side of the Vail, which again, gives us hope that his death wasn’t just a tragedy but something that Is part of a larger plan that will someday understand. I will say, right now it is difficult to see the big picture and understand why this tragedy happened. I guess that’s what’s faces for.

These entries always take longer than I think they will. You may have noticed that I have to get distracted and go off on tangents as things come to my mind. But, I guess without the ability to go back and edit this becomes a stream of conscience Merredith of what is coming to my mind. So the rest of my weekend… Saturday night we went to Ashley’s parents for dinner because it was her sister’s birthday. After dinner her parents kept our three daughters to spend the night there so Ashley and I got to hang out without the kids and spend the night together. That was a funny sentence I just said. We just came back home and watch the movie on Netflix. Relax salt, which I thought was pretty good.

Sunday morning since we didn’t have any kids, we were able to lay in bed for a while and talk a little more about the grave marker, then we got up and got ready and went for a walk. It was actually sunny on Sunday – I think the only day this past week that was sent sunny. It was actually really good to go on a walk together and talk. And Ashley’s conference that she attended over the weekend she heard some talks by some women from Africa haven’t really touched her. It reminded us of the bubble that we live in here in suburbia United States, where we think that everything in the world is going along just fine and we’re not cognizance of all the tragedies that are happening elsewhere in the world. This was a woman who was number 10 in line to be Raped and then have her limbs cut off. Her sister was number five in line, and it happened to her but it’s between five and 10 the soldiers came and stops the revels from carrying out their plans. This is a woman who had never slept in a bed until she was 18 years old, who shared a humanitarian aid kit that our church had provided to Africa they can team shampoo and toothpaste and other essential items the that we completely take for granted, with 25 other women. So we talked a lot about what we can do to help people like this throughout the world that have so little when we are so blessed. This is something that I’ve thought about quite a bit also over the last couple of years, and we decided that we want to start doing something, however small at first. The challenge will be to carry through with those desires and she not forget about it and be caught up in everyday life and all of our minor inconveniences and challenges that seems so important to us when there are people – millions of people – we’re just trying to figure out how to survive in what they’re going to eat.

I think I’ll go ahead and wrap this up overall it was a good weekend. I enjoyed spending time with my family, and especially the time that I spent with Ashley.

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