30 June 2014

Some random things

Thought I liked doing this...tuns out, I don't
Last week has been a tad busier than expected and it precluded me from sitting down in the Den and giving it the proper attention that it deserves. My bad. That said, I'll share just a few random things and thoughts from the last week of the month. That's right, people, we are halfway through yet another year. How does this keep happening? And why must it speed by faster and faster each year? Why? Why? Why? I'll stop now. Here we go:

  • I thought I liked mowing the lawn. Turns out, I don't. With The Boy gone to university, my longtime live-in lawn service is gone, gone, gone. So I mowed the lawn this past Saturday for the first time since moving to Connecticutistan. It was not pleasant. Since I refuse to part with my cash for a lawn service, I will, allegedly, learn to like mowing the lawn again.
  • Since we are the meanest parents on the planet and haven't let our kids have a car during their first year of college (this is what happens when the father, in this case, me, had a car his freshmen year and it didn't end well), the family Taurus needed a cleansing after a few years with The Boy at the helm. I also undertook this event this past Saturday. Suffice to say, I may have found the origin of the Ebola virus. Let's not speak of it again.
  • The Boy during his first week at school managed to hike to the "Y" in the middle of the night, fling himself off a bridge in a perfect double back flip into the Provo River, and got an inflatable swimming pool into the dorm room next to his, filled it with water, and the shenanigans began. I've never been prouder.
  • Yellow cards. Flopping. Draws. Penalty kicks. Endless debate over the beautiful game. Wicked envy that I'm not in Brasil. Week two of World Cup has been wonderful. 
  • This whole empty nest thing, yeah, I think it's going to work out for us. In a moment of sheer silliness this past weekend, we wound up at a Sonic where our skating waitress brought us our shakes in a scene straight out of  'Grease.' Let me clarify, in a scene straight out of  'Grease' if the beautiful girl were dating a gray-haired guy who probably needs to buy his shirts at Georgia Tent and Awning, all to the soundtrack of Sirius XM 80's on 8, because said guy can't stop listening to the music that defined his train-wreck teen-age years. Yeah, I wouldn't watch that version either, but I don't have to watch it, since it is the life I live. Good thing the beautiful girl still puts up with me.
So there you have it, a few random things as June draws to a close.

21 June 2014

It made me reflect

Earlier this week, in news that didn't matter to most, the LDS Church announced that it was shuttering the adoption services it has offered for decades through LDS Family Services. The reasons behind it make sense - lower teen pregnancy rates, fewer birth mothers willing to give their child up for adoption - but the announcement struck me as it hit close to home. As I've written about before, I am an adoptee and was adopted through LDS Family Services. So simple logic dictates that were it not for their services, I would not be where I am today and that's why the news of the closure of their adoption services struck a chord with me.

It's not that I fear my records are gone forever. That's never been an issue because A) it's not important to me and 2) as an adoptee born in Arizona, a closed record state, my records are sealed up tighter than a Kardashian's grip on tawdry fame or someone else's cash-stuffed wallet. That's saying something. No, more than anything, it made me think about how grateful I am for services that the agency rendered to my parents all those years ago. I was placed with the people who were my parents and I've had an amazing life as a result. The closure made me feel sad for those people who will now have to seek other routes to adopting a child and it made me sad for those children who may not have the same kind of experience I did.

Adoption is the greatest thing that happened to me that I almost never thought about until this week. Weird, huh? It's been an interesting week to reflect on the blessings that I have had. I don't spend time thinking about what might have been had I been raised differently. The life I've had through my family was the one I was intended to have. I'm grateful. I'm glad so many have been blessed by adoption. May adoptions carry on and bring blessings to those who still want so badly to have a child. I'm forever blessed for having been one of those who was adopted.

20 June 2014


Really? 800 posts? Really?
DCCC - that's how you refer to the year 800 in the tragically forgotten Gregorian calendar. It is not, however, the way you would remember today's fairly momentous post.

Momentous, you say. Why, you ask? Because this is post #800. 800 posts. That's right. The 800th post here in the Den. That's 800 times I've posted an inane observation, over-confident opinion, ridiculous story, or even the occasional heartfelt moment. And it's all been snatched from the real world that is my life and the people who make my life better.

Rather than chronicling some of the little stats associated with the readership (seriously, why the popularity of the blog in Russia?) of the blog and what get's people (and by people, I mean all four of you who read it with any regularity) here, I'll just say record my thanks. Thank you for taking seat on the virtual sofa that fills the Den and sitting back, getting comfortable, and taking in what I overshare. Thanks for the comments. I appreciate it.

So here's to the 800th post! Let's see how long it takes to get 800 more. Maybe by then I can figure out why this thing plays so well in Russia...

15 June 2014

Father's Day

I'm a father; that's what matters most. Nothing matters more. - Gordon Brown

Say what you will about Mr Brown, the former, and not especially fondly remembered, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but he was dead on in his summation of fatherhood and I think it is a most worthy quote for this Father's Day. This dad thing is the most important thing I've ever done. It has brought me the greatest joys of my life. I'm so glad that I've done it with the greatest partner/companion/confidante one could ever ask for, my wife, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML. Parenting our three children has been such an incredible adventure! So glad we've ridden it out together.

We are on the cusp of a trial run at empty nesting as we celebrate Father's Day today. I have been thinking about my dad and what thoughts filled his mind as he and my mom moved into the same stage. Come to think of it, they moved to the Philippines to live in the shadow of an erupting volcano and lead 180 19 to 21 year old missionaries for three years as they became empty nesters. What does that say about raising me, my sister and brother? I'd love to pick up the phone and ask my dad what his thoughts were then but it's almost five years now since he died. On days like these, I feel his absence more acutely. It's been almost 22 years since SML lost her dad too. I know she feels his absence today too.

We were both blessed with great fathers, who like Mr Brown, knew that fatherhood mattered most. They loved their children and they loved their wives and left an incredible legacy. I've been richly blessed by what my dad and father-in-law taught me. I'm a better father because of them. I'm glad to honor them today. I'm a bit lucky that the Chief Pilot, SML's step-father and grandfather/great grandfather extraordinaire to our children and the Baby Awesome, is a part of our lives. His example makes me a better dad and grandpa as well.

It's been a good day. I'm glad to be a dad. Happy Father's Day!

14 June 2014

Winding down

The Boy has just two days of high school and when he walks out of the hallowed halls of his little high school this Tuesday, our nineteen year run of having children in public school will end. We've supported the public school systems in four different states, and I would opine that all three of our children have turned out just fine. This year will end with little fanfare since The Boy is skipping graduation in order to start his summer fiesta, I mean term, at BYU. Even though his graduation ceremony promised to be short, I guess I'm a little bummed to not see him in his cap and gown.

The end of his high school experience has me recalling my own. By and large, my memories of high school aren't great. One need only take a look at my freshman photo to ascertain why, and my senior picture didn't reflect much progress, frankly. That said, one of the more memorable moments of my high school career came with our baccalaureate service. What service, you ask?

A baccalaureate service was/is a non-denominational service in which graduating seniors are honored. I had no idea what one was either until a few weeks before graduation. Sitting in class one hot May afternoon, I was wishing I was anywhere but there when the idyll was broken by the disembodied voice that made the occasional ominous appearance, inviting/demanding that a student make their way to the office stat. The voice requested that I head to the Principal's office immediately. One obeyed the Voice, so I made my way to the office. Making my way there, my thoughts were racing, wondering what I'd done to have face our principal, a rather formidable woman, and I couldn't come up with a thing (for the most part).

The answer came quickly, once I was seated across from her. She asked me if I knew what a baccalaureate service was and I said no. She quickly explained it and I said ok, still not knowing why I was being stared down by this woman. 'Mr. Lyons,' she said, 'your peers have nominated you to speak at the service. They feel you are a good example of living your religion.' I was shocked and immediately racked with guilt for every time I hadn't been that good example. I mumbled my acceptance and left, wondering what I would say at the service. More so, I was struck by what the Principal had said about my peers. My mother had been right. She'd warned me to always remember who I was and what I represented because people notice those things.

That lesson from thirty years ago still resonates with me. I've not been perfect, nor will I be, but I've tried to remember what I was taught as my high school career wound down. 'Remember who you are and what you represent.' I think all my children have been better at that than I was. For that, I am grateful.

08 June 2014

It's been a blur

Life's been a bit of a blur of late
In the week since The Boy opened his mission call and learned of his assignment to the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission, and our lives have been a bit of a blur. Life has suddenly become a torrent of information, things to do, deadlines to meet, peppered with the overwhelming desire to spend as much free time with The Boy as we can before he embarks on his summer term at university and then his two year missionary service.

There is so, so much to do to get The Boy ready for these significant milestones. We've been awash in paperwork, more visa photos, and requesting records, etc., than we had ever anticipated. Man, there's a lot to do to get him ready to go. We've watched videos on how to best get him packed (gracias, YouTube). The stunningly patient and mighty fine SML has immersed herself in several blogs of missionaries who have served, or are serving in Tuxtla, and this has brought her a measure of comfort. She has also tapped into a network of mothers of missionaries serving in Mexico and Tuxtla specifically. Again, a shout out to the Interwebs. It's been said by a brilliant and very funny comedian, one Mike Birbiglia, that 'the internet is an infinite well of nothing' and he's dead on right (Example A: this blog), but it has proven itself on a couple of occasions to be of great use. Being able to connect with other mothers who have walked down this path has been, and will be, a source of comfort in strength over the next two years for SML.

I suspect that this blurry state we are currently in is going to stick around for a little while. Big changes, even when you know they are right and good, can blur your perspective for a time. All the changes we are looking at here in the Den are for the good. I take comfort in something a good friend of mine said throughout the course of his son's missionary service, 'You will not believe how your family will be blessed.'

I'm counting on it.