Monday, September 19, 2016

The Parable of the Two Under-shepherds

There were once two under-shepherds, who helped to tend the flocks owned by a kind shepherd. One day, the kind shepherd told his under-shepherds that he needed to travel to the city to buy more provisions for them and the sheep. "While I am gone," said the shepherd. "I want you to divide the flocks between the two of you and care for them. Take them out every morning and bring them in every night. Keep our sheep safe, and I will return in a fortnight."

The first under-shepherd was determined to please his master. Every day, he took the sheep out as soon as the sun peeked out from behind the hillside, determining that this was exactly morning. He brought the sheep back into their pen just as the first star started shining, for this must be night. While he was out in the fields with the flock, he patrolled the edges of the meadow all day. He made sure to guide any sheep that got close to the forest's edge back to the flock. He walked around and the around his little group of sheep.

The second under-shepherd also wanted to do his job well. Every morning, he lead his part of the flock to a meadow to graze. He wasn't very good at singing, as other shepherds are, but he loved to dance, and he would dance for his sheep. He bandaged the legs of sheep who cut themselves on rocks or fallen branches. He took the sheep to a delicious stream fed from a mountain spring.

Finally, the shepherd returned from the city. He called his under-shepherds to him to report on how they cared for the sheep.

The first under-shepherd said, "I did exactly what you asked. Every morning, I lead the sheep out of their pen just as the sun came up. Every night, I gathered the sheep into their pen just as the first star shone. I patrolled the meadow while the flock grazed, and I kept the sheep safe."

The second under-shepherd said, "I didn't know exactly what you wanted, but I knew that you love our sheep. So I danced for the sheep. I bandaged their wounds. I took them to drink in a sweet mountain stream."

And which did the shepherd praise more at the end of the day?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Kids at the Park: Field Notes

Children at the park are, perhaps, God's greatest invention. Or at least his most entertaining.

1. Five kids, plus their mom. You can tell the two-year-old adores her older sister. She follows her to the bathroom and chants her name (something like "Ken-ne-dy") while the older sister pees.

2. Kennedy, who's 4 or 5, discovers the drinking fountain. She punches the button in rapid succession, making the water jump in rhythmic spurts. "mom Mom MOm MOM MMOOOOOMMMMM" she yells until her breast-feeding mother looks over. "Wow, Sweetie, it's like it's dancing."

3. Packing up time. "Everyone has to grab everything that they brought. Mommy can't carry it all." The two-year-old patters around the table, loaded down with her "purse" and Hello Kitty backpack, which swings around like a furry shield. She forgets one shoe, and comes back.

4. Two sisters in dresses struggle to climb onto the swings. The younger one clambers up, flashing the  entire neighborhood. The older one's dress is not so flappable.

5. A blonde girl rides up on her purple ten speed. She looks at the sisters, then at me, sitting on a bench by the bathrooms. "Are you their mom?"
"No."

6. The blonde biker decides to help the older sister. "How old are you?" First question. The sister: "I'm 8, how old are you?" The biker: "I'm 10. Are you 5?" The younger sister, swinging hard and grinning: "6!"

7. The biker sits next to me. She is wearing a striped shirt and plaid shorts.
"It's hot out here," she says. She fans herself.
"Yep." Pause. "How did you know their mom wasn't here?" I look at the moms around the park.
"I know them from school." She scoots closer. "Their older sister always walks ahead and leaves them. I don't think that's very nice."
"It seems like you like to take care of people."
"Yeah. There's a lot of babies in my family."
"So you're the oldest?"
"No. The babies are two cousins and a nephew."
"Oh." Pause. "So you all live together?"
"No, they live in Indiana."
She talks so easily to strangers. "Do you always make friends when you come to the park?"
"Yes. I'm here everyday. Unless there's no one here. Then it's boring and I go home."
"Cool."
Pause

8. The blonde biker and the sisters explore the park together. They ask the maintenance workers if they can use the workers' spray hose. The workers say no. The girls play tag instead.

9. A young boy with shoulder-length blonde hair is crying; he has to wait his turn on the swings. He finds a stick and stops crying. He pings the stick against the metal swingset and then proceeds to whack the wood chips, which spray in the air. Eventually he settles for throwing wood chips at his dad's behind, yelling, "I hit your butt!" every time.

10. This family also uses the bathroom, the father taking his son into the women's side. "Daddy is this the boys' bathroom?"
"Yes, Frankie it is. Now go pee."
I decide not to correct him. After all, he did have wood chips thrown at his butt.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My Alternate Life

In my alternate life, I am a comic book artist. Calvin and Hobbes quality, but about sibling superheroes or a girl who thinks in math and science. All of my jokes are hilarious, and it's never hard to come up with a storyline. I never get bored. Also, I don't burn my food, I wear cool socks everyday and my feet don't get hot, and I ride to work on a pega-uni-sus-corn.

Yeah, my other life is pretty sweeeeeeet.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Life, for reals

I was sitting in the Provo Temple last week and thinking about my life (my faaaavorite pastime), when I had this curious insight:
Hint: click on it to read the tiny words
I had definitely been seeing truth, and finding the right path for my life, the first way (think, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone magical obstacle course). But maybe it's more like hiking Rock Canyon: you set your feet and discover miracles along the way.

(P.S. Day 8 of writing challenge! I've been off and on, like a bad relationship, so I'll try harder this week and maybe y'all will get another writing sample.)
Image result for harry potter gif i love magic

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Doing something about it

Ahoy! I have made a decision. In order to decide whether or not a want to be a writer, I have decided to write everyday for the next 30 days. Some of it will likely end up on here, some of it won't. But I will keep you updated!

Here is an excerpt from day 1. It's a story I was writing before, about a girl that is trying (and failing) to write a love scene when, naturally who should appear but her childhood friend she secretly loves!!! Egads! (Remember! If you are morally opposed to scrolls bars, as I am, you are under no obligation to read it!)

Tess felt the urge to jump up and hug his skinny body, but she and Kit had never been huggers really. Her computer weighed on her lap.
“I’m doing well. And,” he stood straighter, smoothing his polo shirt, “it’s Jeffery.”
“What’s Jeffery?”
“I’m Jeffery.”
“No, you’re not.” Tess wanted laugh, but he looked so serious. She grinned instead.
“Christopher Jeffery. I started going by my middle name in college.”
“Oh.” Of course. At Haar-vaard. Tess looked at Kit/Jeffery. She didn’t like the new name. It didn’t suit him at all. He was her Kit, the one who let her french braid his hair during lunch, who always complained when she punched him in the arm. Her Kit who hadn’t so much as texted her in nine months. Tess felt awkward, the space of those nine months expanding between them. “Speaking of, how is, you know, that?”
“How is what?”
“College of course.”
“Oh, right. Well you know, it’s, um...well, it’s great.” Kit adjusted his glasses in a gesture that was so unmistakably him, the time that separated them seemed to contract, and Tess had the urge to kiss him. Wait, what?
Kit was looking at her, expectant, although still aloof. “Huh?” Tess said.
“I said, how is college for you?”
“Um, it’s good.” Ha, as though you care about my 100 level bio class at the community college. You’re just happy you got out of this town.
“That’s good.” Kit looked towards the street and adjusted his glasses again. Tess realized how weird it was to have a conversation with a standing person when you’re sitting in a hammock. Top Ten Reasons Why Tess Brogdan is Awkward.
He broke the silence. “How’s Dennis?”
“Dennis...well, uh, he’s good. I think. I’m not really sure. We, uh, broke up.” Tess’ eyes wandered across her screen and the blinking cursor, around the tree and back to Kit’s face.
“I’m sorry to hear that.” Kit’s voice was somber.
“I’m not.” The words ran for their lives away from Tess’ mouth.
Kit looked at her. Then he laughed.