I don’t actually know what “Holy McGillicuddy” means. I figure it’s Irish. All I know is that it was one of my Mom’s favorite expressions that seems apropos right about now.
Checking this blog, I was reminded that I haven’t posted anything since September 1, which for me is a long time, unless I am on an intentional hiatus. This time, I’ve just been swamped.
Mind you, I’m not overwhelmed with problems and trials – just the opposite. Life has been full of good things that seem to fill every waking moment, (At least the moments that aren’t filled with the mandatory things like chores, work, sleep, etc.) Not a lot of time to ponder or write, and before you know it, half-a-month has flown by.
It hit full speed last month when my son Dan, and my new bonus daughter, Kailey, got married, and hasn’t slowed down since. We’ve been to a family get-together in California, a wedding in New Mexico, and this weekend I attended the ANWA writers conference here in Gilbert.
I figure nobody wants to read about my day-to-day (including me), but there are a few high points and thoughts worth mentioning.
• We attended the wedding for my niece in New Mexico. It was miraculous in its own way. She has suffered some real hardship, not the least of all a failed marriage and significant health troubles for herself and her children. She shared with us that for years she had begged the Lord to send her someone who could love her and help share the load. He did. A good man came into her life who loves her, guards her heart, and has embraced her children. We couldn’t be happier for her.
• After the cake was cut, and the party was dying down, I found a quiet place and pondered. Not really. I managed to catch the 2nd overtime where BYU beat Tennessee. Talk about blessing upon blessings.
• This week I attended and taught at the ANWA writers conference. I was part of a panel on writing humor – if that’s not pressure, I don’t know what is. A roomful of people looking at you and daring you to say something funny can be a bit intimidating.
Some of the best things I have learned by attending writing conferences have little to do with writing.
- Everyone has a story to tell, even when they think they don’t.
- Even the most-confident seeming people are riddled with self-doubt and fear.
- Friendships that are established and maintained online can be as real and satisfying as those in real life. (Can be.)
- Friendships that are only fostered for a few days a year can endure and still bring happiness.
- If you can find a group of people who are more focused on support, rather than competition, your life will be better for it.
This afternoon, Chrissie and I attended church and spent 2nd hour sitting in the choir seats with our Primary class as they prepared for the Program. They are singing a song called “Miracle” that gets me choked up every time. Here’s a link.
Also, on Friday the 13th I celebrated a birthday. 58. It seems perilously close to 60, and I’m already concerned that if I then refer to myself as a sexagenarian, people will take it wrong.
It spent most of my birthday at the conference, and ended the night with a costume party. By the way, I don’t DO costume parties. But I made an exception this year.
Yes, that’s me as Pacha from The Emporer’s New Groove, and Dennis Gaunt, as Wreck-it Ralph. Boys will be boys.
Saturday afternoon, I took a break from the conference to find a quiet moment to ponder. Not really. I went to the grocery store. When I came out I found myself sitting alone in my car for a half-hour thinking deep thoughts. Not really. I was watching BYU beat USC n overtime on my phone, while a dust storm rolled in. More blessings amidst the storm.
One thing that stuck in my head during this busy time is that as I interacted with so many people, I was constantly reminded that behind the good works, fun and friendship, people struggle. Some are open about it, some keep it to themselves, but everyone has their own set of challenges and hardships. When I remember this, it helps me be kinder, and even gentler with souls that may be fragile.
Lastly, I had the opportunity to give a priesthood blessing which is always a humbling experience, and a reminder that the way through challenges and hardships is through the Savior.
Life is good. It can be hard and busy, but still good.
But I am glad to finally have some peace and quiet. Oh, wait! We do have a wedding reception on Saturday. At our house. You’re all invited.