Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tomorrow Melissa goes in to be induced. The 5th member of our little family is going to be joining us in the world! We've decided on Miles Daniel Blair for his name, and both of us are decidedly ready to see how little Miles looks. I for one hope he looks like his mommy. :)

Will he have the mischievous grin like Hyrum? Will he have the cute little nose and full lips of Mommy? One thing is for sure, he will inherit the exuberance and over abundance of energy of daddy. Both of our kids now inherited it, Miles is slated to be no exception. That is unless Heavenly Father wants us to have another...He could give us a mellow child. Oh who am I fooling. I will take them and love them any way they want to come.

Seriously though, the anticipation is killing me. Melissa and I both express it in different ways. Melissa worries a lot, and I clean a lot. Between the two of us, there is not a speck of dirt in the house, or a scenario that hasn't been puzzled out.

It isn't like we haven't done this before--this is baby number three, and should feel like old hat. But for some reason it doesn't. Perhaps it's the fact that for once, the parents are outnumbered by the children. Perhaps it's the idea that we'll not be able to feed, clothe, and shelter them all sufficiently. Perhaps it's the fact that every pregnancy is different, every opportunity to bring a new soul into the world a new unique moment.

And so we worry. And we clean. Antacid and cleaning rags are at a premium in the Blair household these days.

Miles Daniel Blair. It has a certain ring to it. He'll be named for his Great Grandpa Miles Stephens (and also his Grandpa Lynn Miles Stephens), and his middle name is going to be after my bigger-than-me younger brother Daniel Bruce Blair. He was going to be Miles Teancum Blair, middle name after one of my heroes from The Book of Mormon, who was a champion of liberty, but this naming of him after my younger bro just feels right. My brother is one of those people who when you meet him, you immediately like him. He is honest and open, has a gift for talking with people, and has one of the most giving hearts I have ever known (Dan never reads my blog, so I am no laying this on thick at all). He is one of my favorite people to be with (when I am not deciding to follow my true taciturn nature), and is truly on of my best friends (I really only have a mere handful--Melissa, he and Lynn).

Naming children is an extra special thing to me, and I know Melissa feels the same way. We are quite lucky, I suppose, in the way that we're mutually able to come to a name as easily as we do--Hyrum and Maddy and Miles' names all came in ways that are pretty special (not going to really talk about it here on this medium). Each time I hug them I know they are amazing little souls. I have such great hopes for each of them!

I'm here at work, whiling away the hours till tomorrow when we get to go to the hospital. Things have really come together for us in regards to insurance, I found out on Friday that I did have an option to elect coverage, including pregnancy, within the current time frame. It post dates a bit, so money will be tight for a month or two, but the major lump of the expense will be covered by the insurance. Truly amazing to me, and in the nick of time.

So, I'm excited and ready for little Miles Daniel to arrive. All the newborn stuff that was packed away has been re-opened and is ready for use. His bassinet is ready in our room, the car with a 3rd row of seating is in our driveway, and a little white tuxedo for his blessing has been laid out on the shelf by mommy's side of the bed. It's time to step out into the unknown and have a little faith in Heavenly Father. Time to let the family grow...

-Jay

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I aint perfect but I gotta keep tryin
I really mean it, ya know I'm not lyin
These days 'round me seem so blessed so real
fancy ribbons twisting how I should feel

Wonder where we'd be if everyone's self saw
those hidden bits 'bout us really aint flaws
nuthin nuthin but the best of us do,
ready-able to discuss somethin true

So baby baby don't you do no more sighin'
it's part of livin', that's what love is for, flyin'
rollin' and rockin' on a sunny ol' path
'times the failures add to justify the math

Just strech your hand out and take hold o' mine
hey baby baby, all around us be fine
the mortgage's creepin and the dr. is due
ain't nuthin' wrong with this shade o' blue

Let's toast a new one, 'cuz it's you and it's me
we got the babies and we really are free
life ain't 'bout the stuff that we could have get
it's 'bout gettin' happy to spite the lurkin' regret

So keep on kickin' while the bull is behind you
you got a red flag, but a cape and some tricks too
we togther gonna make it, and soon we be flyin'
I really mean it, ya know I'm not lyin

-Jay

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Last night the house shook. We'd had a storm front roll in. It had started with the cold autumn rain, but developed into fat wet snowflakes as the temerature dropped. And before I knew it, my intermittent peeks through the banks of windows at work spoke of the potential yield of a winter wonderland sneaking past fall's visage.

That was still during daylight.

I do recall the sounds of the storm buffeting the house through the night. Still with me are the small sounds--gusts popping on the eaves, sporadic shreiks of wind in the swampcooler, the thump of our metal pumpkin door hanging. But not much prepared me for the paradigm that followed when the door opened to the morning after.

Melissa and I sat together and ate warm cereal for breakfast--she had oatmeal, I grits, our feet stacked up on one another. She summed my feelings perfectly in one succinct sentence. "I'm not ready for winter yet" she'd said. I chuckled and nodded and we ate in the odd morning light streaming through the window, a trillion prisims in our back yard.

I drove in to work, gawking at the transfiguration. The snow had caught most trees unawares, the unwitting still had their leaves, pregnant with fall expectations. They now stooped heavilly and were painfully bent under their load. The tame places so deliberately carved by people were now wild--trimmed trees were overgrown, shrubs now hairy, once gardens now grottoes for sprites. Sidewalks, the classic footprint of man, peeked through the new jungle of growth above them, their fragments of pavement little oases in the creeeping sweep of branches. I pulled into the parking lot of work and gawked. The three closest aisles of parking stalls to the building were at an impasse. Three aisles worth of trees were too stooped with snow to allow my Suburban to park. A few inventive compact drivers had found haven between brances, stalls be damned, but I reversed, and parked several stalls away (it is my usual style anyway). I made my way, still rubbernecking the entire time, an arrow to the glass double-doors and the badge reader that would let me in.

I felt a little juvenile, and smiled at the thought, as I detoured to stoop under the perfect stillness of the loaded-down trees. Their wild tresses swept the ground, and the canopy of leaves felt a cathedral--buttressed, frosted, holy. I stared a moment, under the transfigured fronds. A momentary transmogrifcation, as if the proximity came and took me within it's sanctuary, screen, shelter.

Gifts, I decided then and there, come at us in unexpected ways. They can be quiet, like a still morning of warm cereal and stacked feet. They can be holy, like a moment under a canopy of God's flags and branches. They may even be borne to us on a shreiking wind. But they always seem to require a little detour on our part. A little effort by us to check our speed and stop to really see what God is trying to tell us. Because then He'll speak to us in the most unusual ways.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I have been hiding my talent under a bushel.

"What?" you might say aloud, your brow furrowing in confusion. The strangeness of the idea of me hiding anything, especially if you think it while visualizing me telling some crazy-stupid story and laughing out loud at it all by myself just won't allow it. "Jay has nothing to worry you might think he has an odd sense of humor, but he is a hard worker, moderately sucessful, and the last person who could be considered a bushel-hiding-talent-monger" (I love long hypeny words, me using them would make my 6th grade teacher Mrs Furner proud). And so you'd find yourself speaking aloud again, even though you are all by your lonesome. "What do you mean?"

Well , let me first tell you that wrinkling your forehead like that is only going to encourage age lines to start forming on that lovely head of yours, so just stop it. Right now. That's better. Have a seat on my leather psychiatrists chair, take off your shoes, muss up your hair and relax. The doctor is in.

When I was a small boy, wedged sometime after climbing that ladder up to the roof and finding myself tethered to a tree in the front yard, and the seventh grade, I realized that something was amiss. I realized that some folks just didn't appreciate the various talents God gave us. Mine were anything that involved skinning my knees, scraping a few more contusions on odd places on myself while lcimbing in and around and through things, and scavenging the fridge and pantry for food after my two teenage brothers had been there (let me tell you sometime about getting inventive and making ketchup cheese and wheatbread pizzas in the oven).

Yup, some talents just never get appreciated. True, this tale isn't sad, for if you know me, you find that God has blessed me in ways that I never expected. I was an Eagle Scout (love you Mom!), I got pretty good grades in school, I didn't kill myself those half dozen times I dove off/blew up/wrecked, I married an amazing woman (who I feel must be under some complex bewitchment, I am truly astounded she chose me and I got to choose her), I have two-point-nine amazing kids, a well-paying job, and I get to do things. Most guys can't claim to do and be half the stuff I can.

Yet I still feel like I am a person who doesn't share his talents. Nope, not very oten, sometimes not at all. Particularly the ones that I hold the closest in my heart, the closest in my dreams. Mostly, it's because of the same lil ol Jay and the same ol lil feelings. Back then that I didn't have the cool acid washed/pegged Levis and a Gap shirt. I ddin't have the cool pump-up Reeboks, or Nikes. I had the hand me downs, the on-sales, the conscious efforts of a dad and mom who were worried about trying to provide a home and food for seven kids on a steelworkers wages. Add to that that dad wasn't too savvy with the pocketbook, you get the picture. Truth be told, I am not the best at keeping ahold of my money, but experience has been a patient teacher if there ever was one, and I have been learning these past 15 years.

Rewind to seventh grade and Nephi, UT. Back then, Nephi was a very backwater place--think Smallville with no Superman, Arcadia without Zeus. And we moved in and stirred the pot a bit if you will with going to school there for a semester, then being bungee'd out to homeschool. It was like being cast to the fringes. I became a member of the mildly-despised, non-school attending few. It was not fun. I knew all the kids who lived around me--what kid doesn't grow up in a childhood neighborhood of their own where they can walk the streets blindfolded, and point out their schoolmates houses purely by smell (try and do that as an adult for a laugh sometime). Torry lived in the house with the blue siding, down the street with the creek running past it, next door to one of the two city mail carriers. My best friend lived next door. His house also had blue siding. I should have known from the siding he'd be trouble (just kidding Louis, if you ever read this). My best friend was a really giving kid. He and I were nearly inseperable over the next couple of years till public school began for me again (highschool), and I'd proven myself to mom that I was ready to go back and get some good grades. Still, I don't think his mom thought I'd ammount to much, especially after I'd thrown a rock from my hand made leather sling straight at a bird, yet missed the bird and whacked her new beautiful blue siding (hey it was 1993, give the color choice a break, it matched the custom van they had--pastel blue siding, pastel pink van).

So, all the rambling aside, what is the point? Trauma. Silly trauma. Thankfully there were moments in my growing up that I've come to find defined me. That eagle scout award I got two weeks after I'd turned thirteen. The day I got my leterman jacket before anyone else in my enighborhood. Singing a solo at the regional finals when I forgot all the words, then got all fired up and when we performed again ten minutes later, our small-group won. The way that new friends seemed to come out of the woodwork when I decided to forget being worried. Moving back to Orem and working at Storehouse Markets. Dating, working hard, paying for my own bills, trying to get ahead by my own hard work.

So all this business of even caring about being ashamed and hiding my damned candle under a fruit basket is wrong. I am not the kind of person who does that. It only leads to short-sighted self pity. It leads to missed opportunities. And so, leaving you at the end of this long-winded rant, I conclude with a statement.

Life's too short to keep lighting the wick of that candle and hiding it under a fruit basket. Next time I feel mlike it, I am going to break out my brother's halogen construction lamps and light up the night. If the light is too bright, then ya'll can go sit in the basement. Because I'm here to stay.

-Jay

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I just finished reading the tenth book in The Sword of Truth series. I could say so many things about these books, instead I will merely touch on a few of the themes. There's the juxstaposition of the horrors in them with the ideas of reason and goodness, the concept of doing good for goods-sake alone, and the idea that we choose who we are and define and defend that idea daily. Phantom, the latest (until Nov 13th, when Confessor is released) installment in the series is starting to tie up some of the loose strings. I wonder how Mr Goodkind will finish it. I'll suppose I'll find out in November. He has created some fine characters.

I heard some sad news. Some of you may know that I have been reading a book series called The Wheel of Time. I was intruduced to the series by a colleague back in late 1997, and have read it numeous times. I have intruduced others to it, and followed the progress of the series through the years (I remember seeing it be read by a friend Stephanie Nelson back in 1992 in 6th grade). The sad news I heard is that Mr Robert Jordan, the author, passed away after fighting with cardiac amlyodiosis. His work, has affected fantasy writing on many levels. Much of what people believe to be terms used interchangeably in the genre were his brainchild. I still mourn the passing of a great literary mind. He died Sept 16th.

Not much else to say at the moment. Work is going well, I am learning (with a little help from Above) a whole lot at work. I am enjoying sucess at it. My family is prospering. My family is growing. Life is good. Now is a time for me to re-focus and strengthen, to re-evaluate and look to fortifying. And for that I am thankful.

-Jay

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

For James Lowry at work, here is an excuse for me to post up all the books I've completed since my last reading post:

Island of Ghosts by Gillian Bradshaw (would make a damn fine movie)
The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley Holland
Master and Commander by Patrick OBrian
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
Faith of the Fallen by Terry Goodkind
At the Crossing Places by Kevin Crossley Holland
King of the Middle March by Kevin Crossley Holland
The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind
Naked Empire by Terry Goodkind
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Debt of Bones by Terry Goodkind
Chainfire by Terry Goodkind

Hmmm...this list does seem a bit small. Certanly smaller when I sum them up in a mere nod here. Overall, the books have been very good. Each has held some nice suprises, Holland's books are decidedly for juveniles yet quite meaty, Mull's could be categorized the same. Bradshaw is a gem. Read her works and you'll not be dissapointed.

Anyways, post up the books you have been reading!

Jay