Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lessons From Nie

I never regularly read NieNie's blog. I first heard about it from Aleatha, when I was planning to have Elisheva at home (which sadly did not happen - although I did have a great experience at the hospital). I read a few of her entries, but I'm very much a blah blah blah blogger, being interpreted as one who writes and also reads others who write in very long sentences with lots and lots to say et cetera (and don't forget my love of parentheses, which is why my blog was shortly named (Parenthetical) Dialogues. {Of course I want to rename my blog right now, but I'm just fickle like that}).

Until Stephanie and Neilson were in a private plane crash, and then suddenly, like many other women, I couldn't stop thinking about them. I kept on looking at her blog, trying to understand. What I was trying to understand, I can't quite say. Life? How one comes to this point? Why trials happen?

I began reading her blog from the beginning; three and a half years ago, when she actually wrote a different blog called Gracie J. Brunswick. I read clear through to the end, which took me about a week, and now I can positivily say that... I still don't know why trials happen.

But I did learn several lessons along the way.

1. Take pictures. Lots of pictures. Life, even messy, sometimes-out-of-focus-self-portraits-cut-off life is beautiful.

Avram sleeping today after church. He's so hard working. Yesterday after working all day, he came home and loaded our belongings into a trailer all evening. (I may or may not have asked him to do this although he was already weary). I'm showing my new dedication to posting odd pictures I would normally not show to anyone.

2. Do I sound as positive about my family as Nie does about hers? I love my husband, and I really love my children, Lydia and Elisheva. Just so you know.

3. Along with this, have I ever told you how much I love my job as a homemaker? It's my most favorite thing I've ever done. I love all aspects; being a mother, designing and decorating and improving my home (I'm particularly excited about this right now, since we'll be in our new home on Friday evening), home "business" managing with the bills and budgets, being a secretary with all the paperwork, being a wife.

Nie continously mentioned how she loved her role in life - the same role that I have, and I really appreciated it. Sometimes I think we as moms tend to talk about the diapers and seemingly overwhelming housecleaning and forget to dwell on the actual important and rewarding parts of our life. I liked how she talked about her handsome husband, and darling children, because I could tell she meant it. She had four children, was under thirty, and was proud of it. I'd like to be like that; I love having children. I'd like to have a large family.

4. I never knew there was a real, non magazine family out there that was that healthy. They had oatmeal for breakfast most days of the week, and are vegetarians, and hence eat tons and tons of veggies (as well as lots of yummy, homemade desserts, because didn't you know? Those are healthy too - at least I think so). I'd like to think that Avram and I are fairly healthy; when I din't babysit full time I made homemade whole wheat bread every week with flour that I ground myself (with an electric grinder; it took all of five minutes - I'm not that amazing). And even when we buy bread we've always bought 100% whole wheat bread - or whole meal bread in England. We also eat vegetables, although more one, maybe two servings a day, instead of the full amount. But I've realized that there's a lot more we can do, and I've become very lazy on our healthy eating ideals during this latest pregnancy and baby. Like I've always wanted to be a family that had oatmeal every morning, and now I've decided that this is actually a realistic goal.

5. I started reading thinking "Well, of course Nie's positive about her life! She lives near family, she has a great home she redecorated herself, and stuff." Then I started reading from the beginning, when she lived in New Jersey across the nation from all family, and then when they did move to Arizona they lived with Christian's parents for 10 months before a house they bid on finally went through and they had their own home again. Sometimes I think that I'm the only other person who isn't living in her own home - and it was good for me to realize that not having the ideal living arrangements doesn't excuse me from being a loving happy person. (Also, it was nice to realize that someone else misses living in Utah as much as I do).

I'd like to formally apologize here, because I feel like I've been a little negative over this summer, because I've often been frustrated that my entire physical belongings are made up of boxes, or that I've been dislocated from settling down for a year and a half, or that I can't decorate my own home, and as much as I love Avram's family, and as gracious and open they have been to our family letting us stay here in between Provo and England and then England and Ohio, I've really struggled to feel happy about my interim life. I know that I'm going to have my own apartment (let's just call it a townhome, since it is a townhome style apartment - doesn't that sound fancier?) soon, but I know that there are other things I struggle with coming to acceptance to, so this can apply to things to come as well.

I could tell that Nie wanted her own home a lot too over those posts for 10 months, but she remained a lot more positive about it than I have.

6. This brings me to number 6: be positive. Nie was very positive about life. I'm a positive person; I've never been depressed, really. But sometimes, maybe even a lot of the time, I've realized I like to complain. Not because I'm not enjoying myself over all, but just because I want Avram, or my family or whomever to be aware that although I'm being giving or kind, that it is a sacrifice for me, or hard. {Avram interjected here and asked me what was taking me so long to write? I told him I had a lot to say. Then he looked at me, and said, "Are you being positive?" I couldn't help but laugh. We had talked about me being positive lately, and working on being more positive in my outlook. See how relevent number six is to my life?}.

7. Spend more time with Lydia and Elisheva; write more about them (this'll make my Mom happy). Do family projects. Have family time. Don't let being on the computer interfere with family time.

8. And finally, be creative with my house. Don't get stuck in the beiges and grays that are so prevelant in current decorating. I don't have her same style at all; I'm more World Travelor/Eclectic than Vintage (I like to buy things wherever I go. I have an ornate iron candle lamp from Syria, Handstiched quilted pillowtops (I hung as pictures) from the Tentmaker's Souk in Egypt, a Wedgewood bowl from England, and Mortars and Pestles from everywhere, because they are my most favorite things ever). So it's not that I just want to become Nie, but more that she reminded me to live a little in decorating, and how fun it can be to explore styles and likes through my physical surroundings.

and finally

9. What a wonderful record a blog can be of a life. I know that they're recovering, although it'll take months, but even if they hadn't (God Forbid), she has touched thousands with her life, her blog, her example. She touched me. I don't know how many I've touched, or inspired ever, whether family, friends, or "strangers." (Once people read my blog, they're not really strangers anymore; then they're friends, so there are no strangers out there, just potential friends. And Stalkers. Which none of you are, so we're all right.) And that's okay. My life doesn't need to be large. If I can go back over my year and a half of writing, and learn from it for myself and for my children so that they can know me, than that's enough. I've wondered before if I'm sort of wasting my time with writing a blog, although I love having one and reading them. I do think I can spend to much time at it, but I also know how often reading others' lives of faith and daily workings toward Zion inspire me (and make me laugh) (in a good way).

While reading her blog, Avram was confused why I was doing this; so now he can know. Summed up, being inspired to be a better Mother, Homemaker, Wife, and Blogger.

P.S. Did you notice the self portrait? I took, and posted it, and didn't analyze how good I looked in it, or whether the background looked nice.


  1. And, we're online at the same time! Good luck with your trip.

  2. Thanks for posting this! I've been thinking also about lessons I've learned from Nie. I took away some of the same lessons as you. . . And hope to incorporate them into my life. I think about them every day and have started where I feel strongest: with my husband.

    It is truly amazing that one life, one blog could have this much impact, is it not?

  3. Thanks for these reflections. I can relate to so many of them. They are great reminders.

    And I love your loooong posts. I used to be embarrassed that I would write such long ones, until I realized that nobody HAD to read them. And I am incapable of writing short ones. And I was going to do a poll in my sidebar asking if people who read my blog have ever known anyone who used as many parenthesis! We're so alike!

  4. Wow. Thank you so much for passing on that inspiration. I love what a force for good our blogs can be if we choose to use them that way.

  5. Lovely thoughts. I'm so happy to see more of you and your family.

    I hope you still come and visit me even though I'm grumpy sometimes. At least I'm not a stalker. :)

  6. Of course I'll visit you, Jami. Although I realized that I don't actually even know what part of the nation you're in. you should email me (my email is in my profile) and tell me.). Because I also am not a stalker.

    Thanks for the other comments too; I love meeting people through blogs. Now if only all of you lived on my street....

  7. Thanks for your blog, information and encouragement, I love good blogs.

  8. I had never heard of Nie's blog before reading this post, and so I looked it up. Then on Sunday at testimony meeting one of the sisters talked about lessons she had learned and inspiration she had taken from it, and then a day or so ago I saw an article online about the response by people across the nation to her blog and her story. What amazing impact one person sharing efforts at a righteous life can make!

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