Monday, May 9, 2011

going private

if i already had your email on file, i've sent you an invitation to be a reader of this blog. if you didn't receive an invitation, send me a note with your email and i'll add you to the private reader list. i'll make it official in the next week or so.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

the reason for my day

my boys

my baby

i had no idea david even knew what a double-boiler was, much less how to use one for melting chocolate to hand-dip strawberries to surprise me for mother's day. where did he hide this stuff?! yes, that's a camcorder! you will most likely watch baby videos posted on this blog in the future.


(david wanted me to clarify--they are about to hug in this photo...)

july 2001: david called me from a payphone the day he entered the mtc. we had randomly become pen pals before we served missions for the church, and he was calling to say hello for the first time, and goodbye before we separately entered our missions (he went to illinois, and i went to brazil). when he called, he was in utah, and i was in maryland. it was 5am his time, 7am mine. when i asked him what in the world he was doing, he said his mom woke up with him and agreed to take him to a payphone so he could call a girl he had never met in person.

june 2004: david and i were sealed in the washington d.c. temple. when david and i told his parents we were getting married, they asked, "which temple?"

david was baptized into the LDS church when he was 17. i have never known my in-laws to "subscribe" to a particular faith/religious institution, and here was their only son--their only child--joining a faith that is more than church on sundays. it is a way of life, a change of life, a different culture than mainstream america. i wasn't there when he asked his parents permission to be baptized; i wasn't there when he started going to early morning seminary; i wasn't there when he wanted to go to church on sundays instead of the family camping trip on the weekend. i imagine it was hard to watch their only child become a person other than who they thought he was.

two years later he left the house to serve a mission for this new faith. they may not have understood his reasons for wanting/needing to go, they may not have recognized the young man who was leaving, or the young man who would return two years later, but they supported him because they loved him as their son. i imagine it was hard to take their only child to the airport not fully understanding what a mission entailed, where he would be, who and why he would teach, how testifying was so crucial to his own spiritual development.

one year after returning from his mission, david and i were married. when david and i told his parents we were getting married, they asked, "which temple?" knowing full-well they would not be permitted to enter the temple and witness their only son be sealed for time and all eternity across an altar. knowing they would wait outside on the temple grounds. knowing they would travel hundreds or thousands of miles to watch us walk out of the temple as a married couple. i imagine it was hard to simply ask, "which temple?"

david has enriched my life, softened my edges, buoyed my heart, completed me. i imagine it was hard to let your son go so freely--but i thank you for him.

this woman needs no title...she *is* the title

as my mom doesn't like blogs, i am not going to name any names. and i tried to find photos that were slightly older, so she maybe wouldn't be as recognizable when compared with her current self, but that's near impossible. my mom has hardly aged--she's found the fountain of youth and is as gorgeous now as then. the only thing that's different is the hair. and maybe the clothes.

(this one is my favorite)

i can't express what my mom has taught me. or tried to teach me. or continues to teach me. here is a woman who worked hard to get the education she has, works hard as a very intelligent career woman, works hard to save every penny she makes. and what does she do with it? for herself: shops at thrift stores, buys groceries only when they are on sale, eats every meal at home. i don't want to give you the wrong impression--she isn't a "ragbag" lady. she loves to cook (and therefore has yummy, healthy ingredients in her cupboards), makes top-notch pies, dresses very stylishly (i used to leave little notes on her bed asking her if i could borrow a particular shirt to wear to school the next day), the list goes on. my mom is courageous, kind, always looks out for the other person, is constantly seeking to improve herself, and delights in the Lord. she is also the last person who would want public recognition, but i want to publicly thank you, mom, for being more than the "requisite" mom.

here's what she lives for: her children. she fills our pantries/cupboards hundreds of dollars over, takes us on shopping sprees, sends us fun "care packages," helps us buy our first homes (she still rents), helps us with our school loans, takes us on awesome vacations. she says she wants to make up for what she couldn't do for us when we were growing up, but i don't think she realizes there's no way to replace what she *did* do for us growing up.

because of my mom,
i know who i am
i know where i came from
i know where i am going
i know i'm a good mom.

before we get too dramatic, my mom has also made me laugh. a lot. my favorite # 1 all-time laugh: i think this happened after watching the never-ending story and seeing gmork lurking in the shadows of that cave--hello, scary!!

i couldn't fall asleep one night because gmork was under my bed (as well as gremlins and jaws). my mom spent probably an hour with each of us individually tucking us in at night. she would sing us lullabys, rub our backs, talk with us about the day. this continued well into my teens, and i can neither confirm nor deny how old my brothers were when my mom stopped tucking them in at night. looking back, i now realize the hours of tucking in probably postponed the hours of homework/studying she had to do each night. back to the story--so i couldn't sleep, and even started to cry because i had worked myself up to really see gmork under my bed. my mom came in, and reminded me that we had watched america's funniest home videos that night. we had all laughed at a video of a very (cough, cough) healthy baton-twirling girl. my mom said, "honey, a hungry wolf is not going to want to eat your skinny little bones, he's going to eat that baton-twirler!" i burst out laughing, and my tears turned to laughing tears. on a side-note, i am sure that baton-twirler grew up to be miss america or something.

thanks for scaring away all the wolves, mom.

**addendum: i have since received permission to post a recent photo:

woman of pure gold

everyone loves their grandma. here is mine, claire edel zeleny:

my grandma is beautiful, classy, has great taste, and is full of the perfect manners that only grandmas have. most of all, though, my grandma radiates the pure love of Christ. she is constant in patience, love, and her faith.

she taught me how to conduct music, 3:4 and 4:4 as they were the easiest for my 8 year-old hands. if i got lost?--no problem! "just go down at the bar." i have never forgotten that advice, and cannot tell you how many times i have gotten lost or missed a beat or got off rhythm...and it was no problem! i could just start fresh at the bar of the new measure. i led music in relief society today, and smiled to myself as i got ahead of the beat; i thought of my grandma and started fresh at the new measure. it really works!

at her 80th birthday party we listened to her life lessons at the end of the meal. the very first thing she started with? bearing her testimony. every lesson she shared she tied to a scripture. in that moment, sitting with the group of family and friends of various faiths and religious backgrounds, my grandma became more to me
than the grandma who played memory with me,
who took the cousins out to the smorgasbord restaurant,
who kept a dress-ups box for us,
who had the best mr. men book collection,
who split her beautiful costume jewelry with one of my cousins and me,
who shared her cracked glass colored vases with us,
who willingly sent us home each summer with bags and bags of frozen blackberries, raspberries, and peaches--
my grandma became a woman of strength, integrity, loving kindness, and fearlessness as she declared her allegiance to and love for her Savior.

man of iron

(photos by steve ruark, from the following article)

Explore Baltimore County: Man of Iron: Metalworking tradition lives on at blacksmith's forge in Perry Hall

i remember driving there every summer, passed the farmer's fruit and vegetable stands and through the corn fields, "deep" into the countryside for this suburban girl; i remember the 3 or 4 different kinds of lunch meat, the smell of rye bread, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, and pickles for lunch sandwiches; i remember "exploring" the basement, eating dried peaches and playing hide-and-seek in between the rows of shelves full of treasures to our 5 year-old eyes; the summer breeze perfumed with bursting blackberries and raspberries; the tree swing next to the shop, glazed with freedom; i remember the smell of his clothes, laced with iron shavings; the smell of his shop--fire, smelting, iron, wood; his no-nonsense stride as he made his way to the forge, unchanged in 30 years.

this is my grandpa. raymond alois zeleny.