Friday, June 17, 2005

Learning to Swim

(A poem by someone (me) who doesn't claim to be a poet.)

When I was a young girl,
my mother tried to teach me to swim.

She held me in her arms
and helped me to float on the water.
Then she told me she would let go.

Well, I knew better than to let her do that.
My earthly experience with water had taught me
that if you don’t have something holding you up,
you sink.

I tried to explain this to her,
but my mother didn’t seem to understand this fact.
She told me to just be still and relax,
and I would float.

I felt the support of her arms leaving me,
and I kicked and struggled to stay above the water.
“See,” I told her. “You sink.”

“Just be still,” she told me. “The water will hold you up
if you let it. I have been swimming for many years
and I know these things. If you are still,
you will float.”

Eventually I tried it.
And the funny thing was, I did float.

Sometimes I remember this now,
when I don’t like the trials that come to me in this life.
(This happens often.)
Sometimes I kick and struggle to get out of them,
or at least argue that they should not be happening.
My earthly experience has taught me
that my trials are not a good situation.

But God has been God
for much longer than I have been me.
And I must have faith.
It isn't always easy.
Usually it is very hard.
But we are here to learn to walk by faith
and to trust in Someone we don't even see
but who knows that if we will,
we can float.

Be still, and know that I am God.

All material copyright 2005 Katie Parker

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Vacation in Paradise

We just spent the last several days in Madison, Wisconsin, which is about three hours away from where we live in Eau Claire. Since we are new to Wisconsin, we'd never been there before. We weren't too sure what we'd find. Madison is one of those cities you learn in fifth grade when you memorize the states and capitals, but it isn't one you hear of much as a tourist spot or big-league city. In fact, every time I asked friends in Eau Claire what there was to do in Madison, the response was pretty much, "Uh..."

I've come to the conclusion that Madison doesn't have many big attractions that tourists must see the way Disneyland or Washington D.C. does. But Madison's a pretty cool place. It's got an atmosphere all its own. State Street starts downtown and ends up at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and it's closed to cars, so it's a great place to go walking. And walking is one of my favorite things to do. There are lots of interesting stores (the travel guide we read called them "funky") and tons of restaurants with all types of cuisine and open-air seating right on the sidewalk. (This, of course, would not be nearly so much fun in the wintertime.) After dinner, you keep walking up State Street and end up at the university's student union. Get some really yummy ice cream inside and then go outside on the terrace, which is directly on Lake Mendota, and watch the sunset and chat with the people you love. How cool is that?

We also travelled down to Janesville and went on a tour of the GM factory there. Then we visited the LDS bookstore there, Line Upon Line Books. What a neat little store! I am amazed that there is an LDS bookstore in the area at all, since there aren't tons of Latter-day Saints or a temple nearby. But there it is, and the owner is a neat lady who loves LDS books. I remember growing up in our little branch in Oklahoma and feeling so disconnected from other Latter-day Saints in general, but when we had the rare opportunity to visit the LDS bookstore in Dallas it was almost like coming home. There were books and music there that spoke specifically to me and my needs and beliefs. People in the Janesville area or who visit are very lucky to have this gem in their midst.

I think that one reason we remember the places we vacation so fondly is because everything is just right when we go. Usually we don't have to worry about work, homework, school, bills, housework, laundry, making dinner, or any of that stuff. We can just relax with our loved ones and have a great time. So I will remember Madison and Janesville very fondly. I've got that sunset etched in my mind forever.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Random Thoughts

I have no brilliant thoughts popping into my mind today. And I looked through my journal entries for the past week and learned that I've had no brilliant thoughts for about a week. (Well, one could argue that I've NEVER had any brilliant thoughts, but that's another story.) Anyway, so here are some random things going on with me.

  • Today's my son's last day of school. He is very excited. Yesterday he told me he was bored already.
  • We saw Star Wars Episode III not too long ago. I wish they would have cut down on the battle scenes and spent more time on plot and character development, but overall it was a pretty good ending to the saga. I thought Palpatine was particularly convincing as he twisted the truth in order to lure Anakin to the dark side. Pretty scary, isn't it, how the dark side and the Evil One work just like this in our own lives--making bad things appealing with half-truths and shreds of goodness.
  • My dog sometimes meows like a cat. Go figure.

Enjoy the summer!

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