Friday, December 14, 2012

SAD

          S.A.D. stands for seasonal affect disorder. I tend to struggle with SAD quite a bit during the winter if I don't make efforts, and strides to combat the disorder. If your not familiar with SAD, it is also referred to as the winter blues. Basically winter time depression. So I am use to feeling sad at this time of year, but there have been a couple of things the last couple of days that have made me really sad, and wondering why it feels like the world is spiraling down fast.
          The first thing was the announcement of "wear pants to church" for feminist-Mormon women. Am I sad that they are going to wear pants to church on Sunday? No. I could really care less about what they wear to church. There is no guidelines set out by the church about what to wear except that it be your best. If that is their best, then by all means wear it. What was sad to me is that they are protesting the fact that they feel like they are inferior to men, and that the church culture is to blame for it. I am sad that that they don't have a testimony of womanhood.
           I have to admit that I was one of they women. I grew up with four older brothers whom I looked up to fiercely. I loved them and wanted to be just like them. I remember one day, as I was on a walk with my mom, asking my mother if she ever wished that she had been born a boy. She quickly said that she was glad that she was a woman, and never wanted to be a boy. I was surprised  I thought that every girl had gotten the short end of the stick. I went on a mission still wondering why I had to be a girl. It was on my mission that I gained a strong testimony of womanhood. I had been praying to understand why God had made a "lesser sex," and why I had to be one of them.
         The answer came when I was teaching a woman named Leah. She asked why women weren't allowed to hold the priesthood. Without thinking, the words were given to me, and I asked her, "who comforted you when you were sick?" She answered that her mother did. I explained that the priesthood allowed men to also have power to comfort their children in time of need by giving them a priesthood blessing. The idea had never occurred to me that the priesthood made men equal to women!
           Shortly after that discussion I attended the yearly General Relief Society broadcast. James E. Faust spoke of what womanhood means. In his talk he stated, "As daughters of God, you cannot imagine the divine potential within each of you. Surely the secret citadel of women’s inner strength is spirituality. In this you equal and even surpass men, as you do in faith, morality, and commitment when truly converted to the gospel. You have “more trust in the Lord [and] more hope in his word.” 15 This inner spiritual sense seems to give you a certain resilience to cope with sorrow, trouble, and uncertainty."  And he also said, " In His infinite wisdom, the Lord requires worthy brethren to wear the mantle of the priesthood in order to enter the temple, but He permits the sisters to enter solely by virtue of their personal worthiness."
          To quote a famous lady, "“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” 
                                               ― Marilyn Monroe
          I don't look up to Marilyn Monroe but I do like this quote. We shouldn't try to be equal to men, for that is setting our sights too low! There isn't a "place for us" in Gods church--it would cease to exist without us! I am not bashing on men. I feel that God loves us both in our separate callings in this world. We all have a part to play, and it isn't the same part! I believe that femininity is beautiful to God. I believe that he rejoices in women that love who they are, and glory in womanhood.  I just hope that some of these ladies who are hurt can find that testimony. 
          Of course the second thing that mad me sad was the shootings in Connecticut today. I don't have a lot to say on it. It is just plain sad. Yet I found a lot of comfort in this image by David Bowman. 
 
            I also found solace in the beloved Christmas hymn: "    
‎"And in despair I bowed my head: 
'There is no peace on earth,' I said. 
'For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men.'
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: 
'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; 
the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men."   
         I find a lot of peace in knowing that there will be peace on earth again. I love my Savior. I am thankful that He is there with open arms, welcoming those children into His rest. I am grateful for the reminder that to hug my children tight and kiss them a little longer. My heart is aching for all of those parents. 
         So even though I may be sad, I rejoice in the Lord! I am grateful that He can offer peace even through trial. I am so thankful that I have this knowledge.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What my mission means to me

           My great-grandmother served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a young sister missionary when young sister missionaries were rare. My grandmother served a mission as a young sister when young sister missionaries were uncommon. I served a mission for my church when it was a lot more common, but still the exception. I saw a video of a gathering of young sister missionaries today that have been called to serve all over the world! I read missionary updates from Elders serving from our ward that reported that the number of sister missionaries in their mission will be close to the number of Elders! We have entered into a new era—one where serving a mission for a young single sister will be common place. COMMON PLACE!!!
The sisters from my zone at Glacier National Park! Loving a little P-day!
          It has caused me to reflect a little today on what my mission has meant to me. I have spent some time looking at my mission album and thinking of my experiences. It is hard to think of ones experiences from ones mission and not reflect on how it has changed them. I am so thankful for my mission.
How many sisters can you put in a shower--that is randomly standing in the middle of the basement?
  

          I love the people in Wyoming and Montana that taught me how to love, serve, and care about those around you. I learned how really little a person needs to be happy. I learned that there are angels around us all the time helping us. I learned that the atonement is real. I learned that the adversary is real. I learned how precious the gospel of Jesus Christ is.
Martian's Cove

          I learned that I am happiest when I am serving others. I learned that I love to be with other people. I learned that I am a child of God and so is EVERYONE! I learned that there are good people in all different walks of life. I grew closer to the Savior and my Father in Heaven. I learned that the hardest trials in life are the ones you watch other people go through. I learned that life is hard, and it brings you to your knees—a lot. I learned how to place my burdens at the feet of my Savior. I learned how to feel deep gratitude, even in the depths of sorrow.
Pretty much sums up Montana

          I KNOW that I am a better wife and mother than I would have been without my mission. I am not saying that I am a better wife and mother than those that didn’t serve, but I am better than I would have been without it. There was a quote that I had on my fridge during my mission, it said: “Today many sisters are being called to serve. Many more are preparing to serve. Not because they aren't married or don't have anything else to do, but they have the desire to serve. One reason that the Lord wants more sisters to serve is because within the next generation He will send His priesthood army to the earth. He wants to send choice spirit children to mothers who have been prepared, properly trained, and taught in the gospel. What better schooling can a mother have than the experience and growth she gains through serving a mission.”--President Gordon B. Hinckley
One of the girls I taught--a year later she was sealed to her husband and new baby!

          Although I can’t find the source for this quote, and often have wondered if it was real, I see this more today than I did 6 months ago. If there are any sisters reading this that are wondering if they should go, I say GO! You will never regret it! It was an easy decision for me. I wanted to go since I was a little girl. I didn’t struggle with this decision at all. I had a week or so that I took the time to really pray, fast and ponder—just to make sure that it was really the right thing to do. Yet, my answer came clear and I have never doubted it. It was the biggest growth experience (next to becoming a mom) I have ever had—and I met some of the coolest people on this PLANET—that are still dear friends today!
Some of the greatest girls you will ever meet!

I learned a lot of valuable skills on my mission--like how to butcher a deer!

Wyoming is the place to be!!


Riverton district


Right in the midst of pioneer contry!



Nothing like a branding day in Montana!!
>Here is the video! I started crying when the sister mentioned she was going to Montana Billings Mission!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

If I had one wish . . .



               We are currently reading Farmer Boy with my kids right now. It is a darling book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It is about her husband growing up. I absolutely love books about homesteading and farming families. I love to read about the chores, food, and entertainment of these families. I love that they are often told from the children’s point of view. The enjoyment that these children get out of simpleness is moving. The amount of hard physical labor the people preform is inspiring. And the knowledge that these homemakers have to make something out of nothing is motivating. I want to crawl into these books and live there. 
           There aren't fancy vacations, days of leisure, or convenience foods. There aren't play rooms or movies or washers and dryers! There isn't pinterest, FB, or gmail. I am sure these mothers went all week without “talking to another grown-up all day.” Although the father was usually home and came in for lunch. It is just so amazing to me that they could be so happy. I think that a simple, yet hardworking, lifestyle made it easier to be happy. My grandma once told me that depression was unheard of while she was growing up. They didn't get electricity until she was 12.
               Is it wrong for me to feel like I am living in the wrong era? Yes, most days I feel like I would rather live when you had to churn your own butter! I long to live in the days when children were raised to respect their parents, and parents knew the importance of turning out a good child. Where the family sat together and told stories and played instruments after supper instead of flipping on a TV. I often think that a world where a man’s handshake meant something would have been a nice world to live in.
              
              I am not totally na├»ve. I realize that there were very hard things about living so long ago—a lot more death, illness, and dependence on weather just to name a few. If you did happen to marry a man that lived a state away from your family, you wouldn't get to see them every year. You defiantly wouldn't get to call a couple of times a month, and pictures of your far away nieces and nephews would be non-existent. So I can rejoice that I was born in these days, days were I have to power to choose my life.
               Recently I have really wanted to find a plot of land, some water and a little cottage, and make a life there. I long for a simpler way of life. I have noticed how people have been thirsting for knowledge lately on the old homesteading ways of life. I got “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” a few years ago for mother’s day. I have wanted chickens for a couple of years, I have made strides to grow a better garden every year. Yet recently something snapped and I have felt an urgency that I have never felt before. I know I am not alone.  All I have to do is go on pinterst and see all of the emergency preparedness and natural remedy pins that have been popping up lately. It seems to be even greater lately. Sometimes I think that if I had that plot of land and knew how to work it, I wouldn't be worried about an impending financial crisis for my family would at least have food.
               Yet, more than the physical threat that a lot of us feel is coming, there is a spiritual threat that is present every day. I long for a day when “black” didn't seem so far different from “white.” A good friend of mine mentioned to me yesterday, “when we were growing up, we could go along with the crowd because the crowd, for the most part, was making good choices. It isn't like that anymore.” I agree. I feel like there is a huge divide in our country right now.
               If the divide had geographical boundaries, I am afraid there would be another civil war. Some people may just dismiss the differences as political variances, yet to me it is moral. Freedoms are being taken away, and they seem to be based on moral ideals. For example, businesses have to provide the morning after and week after pill for their employees—women all over and championing this as a win for women. They say that it is good for a woman to have the right to choose.  What about a company’s right to choose to not pay for something that they feel is morally wrong? Women had the right to choose before. Their first choice was to have sex, second choice to not use protection, and third choice was still to use the pill, they just had to pay for it themselves before. You know a day when people had to pay for their own mistakes, not expect others to do it for them.
               On that subject, we now have to now have health insurance or we will get fined. Health insurance is great, who doesn't want it? Yet WHY is it okay for the government to FORCE me to have it? Public schools all over the country are adding over 300 hours to the school year, which means less time for those children to be with their families. Just to name a couple of things that I really don’t think is right.
               Okay, this seems like a random post with a lot of crazy tangents. I am sure I would fail if I turned this in for a writing assignment but since it is my blog—I can publish what I want—some benefits of the 1st amendments that are still intact! I guess what I am trying to say is that while we feel this urgency to prepare physically—let us not neglect the need to prepare spiritually. There isn't any waiting to see which side you are going to be on. There is such urgency in the Lord’s work. I believe that God will win—it just might take a long haul, deep in the trenches before we see the tide of the battle turn. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

So thankful for all the good there is in this world!

I have been sick this week. I have been just a big pile of mush!!I haven't accomplished much which has in turn helped me to take time to concentrate on things that I am thankful for!

 14. This beautiful earth! I absolutely love this beautiful earth. I have a creek that runs through my backyard that I get to listen to most of the year. I have huge mountains out my front door that are so beautiful all year round, from their green hills and valley's of spring to the orange and read patchwork of fall to their snow capped majesty of winter. There is so much beauty in this world that I would like to see, but at least I get part of it everyday. 

 15. Time. I am so thankful that I have 24 hours a day. Some days it doesn't feel like enough, but I am so sure that if I just used my time a little better, and didn't stress out about things not done, I would find that it was plenty!! 

16. Meals with family. I am so thankful that I get to spend most Sunday dinners with my in-laws. They are so amazing to invite us over every week. They are out of town this week and we are having dinner with just our 6. I love that it has been a priority for our family to have dinner together. That was modeled by our parents. We love it! 

 17. I am so thankful for a warm home! I love our furnace, and programmable thermostat! I feel so lucky to live in a day and age where I can be warm! 

 18. Last on today's list is that I am so thankful for all of the amazing people in this world! I know that the world is filled with bad, but I believe that it is also filled with so much good!! Don't believe me? Take a look at this video!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thankful for great literature

I am so thankful for good books today! I haven't been feeling great today and I loved cuddling with my kiddos and reading to them and spending a lot of time in bed reading. I am especially thankful that I recently got a group of girls together to make a book club. I am excited about the books that are going to challenge me over the next 6+ months!

Monday, November 12, 2012

So Thankful

I am a lot behind on my gratitude journal for the month. Honestly, I have been reading everyone's posts on Facebook and it started seeming like a brag fest to me. I was having a hard time with it all and then I just had a tender moment at church yesterday when I realized that I truly had so much to be thankful for and I needed to praise God for it. So to catch up
1. Running water! I mean how awesome is it that I can turn on the faucet and there is water in a variety of temps. It is safe to drink. I have a drain that takes away the dirty water. I cook with it, I clean with it, I bathe in it. It really is awesome stuff!
2. My stash of material. I love my little stash of material scraps and future projects. I look at my material shelf and just smile.
3. My domestic goddessness (spell check says I just made that up!) And the women whom taught me the skills! I was able to bottle over 40 bottles of food last week.--putting away food at extremely low prices. My mom taught me the basics of canning and friends have helped to teach me more! I was also able to make myself a skirt and Max a pair of pajamas without a pattern. My mom and Shelly Gould taught me how to sew (years of sewing lessons!) There were many years where I didn't use those skills but they have become necessary and even fun the last little while (with our growing family.)
4. The internet. I can learn so much with just a quick search of the internet. There is so much knowledge on almost anything I am interested in! This is where I had help with making things without patterns. I am learning so much!
5. Today being Veteran's day (observed) I would be completely ungrateful if I didn't mention that I am so thankful for Veteran's and all our service men and women. I have two brothers that are veterans of Iraqi Freedom. My father served in the military and my grandfather is also a veteran. I feel very honored to be related to these brave men. I love and appreciate all soldiers who sacrificed so much in order to protect our freedoms. I am humbled by their valor, and honor their courage. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So thankful for amazing friends

          Making friends is not a strength for me. I am pretty shy until you get to know me. If I have a "wing manwoman" then it is a lot easier for me to talk to others. Yet, luckily for me, I was blessed to grow up in an amazing town with some AMAZING girls. I honestly don't know how I got so lucky to have been blessed to grow up with the girls I did. I was blessed in college to meet some amazing kindred spirits and the blessings didn't cease when I went on my mission. The sisters that went to Montana were some of the best ladies in the world. Working after college, and now even this place we have chosen as home has delivered some of the finest women into my life. I am a collector of fine people and kindred spirits. My collection of friends are among the finest.



           I feel lucky to live in a world where communication, or at least keeping in contact with others, is easy. With Facebook I can instantly be connected with my friends all over the country--and even world.  Last night I was upset by the outcome of the election. I went to Facebook and saw some of my dear friends rejoicing, and I was happy for them. The majority of my friends were upset. The messages shared, and especially the jokes made helped me to understand that I was not alone.
          My dear friend shared a scripture with me. She said "Tiff I'm in (referring to my proposition to move to Montana and start a hippie compound) and to share a scripture I just saw... For you Tiff, hel. 5:12. I looked up Heleman 5:12 and took great comfort in the words: "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." I had a huge smile and I was grateful for wonderful friend that would share such comforting words. I went back to leave her a message and she had posted: "I meant 5:2." I went back and read 5:2 "For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted." 
         I was so grateful for the typo, for it strengthened me and reminded me of where I need to put my faith and trust. If it can't be in the government, it sure can be in God. I am not saying that those who voted for Obama are evil. I know people have very valid reasons to have voted for him. Yet this morning Turner came in and asked who won the election and I told him President Obama did. His reply? "Not Mitt Rom-a-ny?" "Nope not Rom-a-ny." "DAMN IT!" he exclaimed! I couldn't even get mad. The debt that had accumulated in the past four years alone will take more than his lifetime to repay. I guess that is what I am most upset about. I think it just sucks for our children. 
         So thank you friends! Thank you for loving me, and encouraging me. I went to sleep last night (finally) thinking of the great blessing my friends are to me. 
* Pictures are just ones that I had in a file. I am blessed to have many great friends and amazing experiences. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thankful for my country

          I don't have very many friends that live outside the United States of America. In fact I have only ever been across the boarder to Mexico and Canada--as in I could still see the USA if I turned around. I dream of visiting the world. I can't think of a single place in this world I wouldn't like to see. In fact I had to go to the county building today and we passed the place where you apply for a passport and I almost filled one out, just because I really want to see the world.
          I have no idea the adventures and people I would meet along my travels. I love the variety of all of God's children. I have studied and learned about other cultures and can only imagine that my love would be intensified by actually meeting and spending time with others. My husband has had the opportunity to live in a foreign country for a couple of years. I love the stories he shares of the great people of the Philippines.
          Yet I do love the country that I live in. I love the heritage I have been given by those who established this country. I am deeply indebted to those who gave their lives to make mine better. I love that I can vote. I love that there are options of great men to vote for. Today I cast my ballot. My son was completely upset that there was nothing for him to do while were at the school voting. He thought that it was a waste of time and that we shouldn't have done it. I then got to spend the walk home explaining about all of the people that died so I could go cast my vote. I explained of all the women that protested so that I could cast my vote. I am thankful for those great men and women. I am thankful for the founding fathers. I am thankful for my country. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Growing up Thomson



           When I first got home from serving an 18-month LDS mission to Montana, I had no idea how life had been changed forever. I spent all of a week-and-a-half at home before I headed back to Utah to go back to school. I came home right before Christmas so I was busy with family, holidays, and repacking. I got to Utah and I was busy with unpacking, getting my schedule to work out, and finding a job. My second day or so in Utah I sat down to make a list of everything I needed to accomplish that day. I looked at the list and started crying. Everything on that list was to benefit me. After spending a year-and-a-half serving other people, it felt wrong to only be serving myself.
           I went down to the preschool that I had worked at before my mission to see if they had any openings. They didn't but expressed that they would love to put me on the substitute list. I agreed and then left, depressed, to go to my friend Jacqui's house. Jacqui and I had meet while working at the preschool and she hadn't been happy there and encouraged me not to work there. She suggested looking in the paper to see what else there could be. I only had experience with kids. I didn't know how to do anything else. We looked over all of the options when one particular ad jumped out at me. It was an ad for an aide working with a family that had two children with special needs. The pay was better than at the preschool, so I was excited.
          I called the number right there and was asked if I could come that night for an interview. I went to the interview in Alpine which was about 25 minutes away. I met an amazing woman and had a great interview. She told me about her oldest daughter that had a condition called Rett Syndrome. I had never heard of the disorder. She explained that her daughter was born and developed very typical for about a year. She then started losing some of the skills that she had acquired  Her daughter was 19 but was developmentally a year old. She was blessed that she retained the ability to walk, and she could say a couple of words.  I was then asked it I thought I could change a poopy diaper on a young woman. Everything inside of me was screaming to say no. I did not think that I could do that. Somehow out of my mouth came a yes, and my life has always been blessed ever since.
          I was hired on the spot and had the chance to work with this amazing family for about a year. They had another daughter that had been diagnosed with severe ADHD but I have since wondered if it was really Aspergers syndrome. I loved the whole family and really felt blessed to work for them. I was most of all happy that not everything on my to do list was directly related to me. I had the chance to take my wonderful young woman on trips, to the singles ward, and spent a lot of time with her. In some ways she really was still an infant. She only said a few words, threw tantrums when she was upset, and had low fine and gross motor skills. Yet ins some ways she was a young lady. She really enjoyed the singles ward, she could swim all by herself, she would flirt with my friend Alden, and she had a thing for Vegas.
          Since I have had my own children, the thought has crossed my mind "I don't ever want you to grow up! I want you to stay ____ age forever!" Yet yesterday as my oldest "fixed" breakfast for all of the kids, I realized how lucky I am that he is growing up. I love who my children are, and who they are becoming. I thought back on my Rett Syndrome friend and had a glimpse of if my kids really didn't ever grow up. Although I know I would love/do love my children with their own special needs, I realize what a blessing it is to be able to see my kids growing up. So today I am thankful that my kids are growing up. Now if I could just make time slow down--just a little bit!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Family time

Life gets busy and crazy. We get caught up with the work of life. Today was a beautiful Saturday and the house was a mess. We woke up and started in on the Saturday chores. I looked outside and got really sad. It was an amazingly beautiful day. I declared that we needed to spend some time outside. So we hurried and finished our jobs and went to the zoo. After the zoo, on the way home I had Josh stop and a new hiking trail the kids and I had explored earlier in the week. It was a beautiful day, we got to spend time together as a family and my heart was full of the tender mercies of the Lord.




“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Friday, November 2, 2012

Breaking up is hard to do

I recently learned why I was so bad with breaking up! I didn't really get into the dating game until I was 22 a lot of my friends dated way sooner and some were even married by the time I ever "really kissed" anyone. The problem is, when you are a teenager and go through your bad boyfriend stage, your parents are there to help guide you through. I on the other hand had roommates that didn't know how to tell you that the guy you were dating was a complete . . . dead end!

See, my problem lies in that I don't have the ability to see people for who they really are, I see them for who I want them to be. I use to think that I saw them for who they had the potential to become, but realized that that potential was completely based on what I wanted for their life, therefore I see people for what I want them to become.

The guy who got sent home from his mission for making out with a girl in his area--yeah I thought I could get him to be faithful to me (even though he couldn't be faithful to God.) The med student that went to Yale, but had NO personality. The guy that was really cool but didn't want to spend a lot of time together. The guy who could cook--oh could he cook! But he also had a little problem with the truth, like the fact that he told me he was friends with Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Steve Young and he hosted a charity auction with Pamela Anderson! But he could cook!

This latter guy is actually the only guy I broke up with. I was living in Provo, UT and we dated for a few weeks and then I went to AZ to take care of my mom while she was recovering from a knee replacement. We were apart for six weeks, which was much longer than we ever dated. While I was in AZ I realized that we were two different people that wanted different things. Yet when I went back to UT I had the hardest time telling him that it wouldn't work out! I actually kept talking to him on the phone for years!

Recently I had been watching Pscyh on Netflix while I was canning, working out, sewing etc... I realized that the last episode was coming up and I was upset. I didn't watch the last episode thinking that when I finally did, the end would be easier to take. I waited weeks before I allowed myself to watch the last episode. I figured that I had moved on and was ready. A couple of days ago I watched it. Instead of being able to move on, I realized why I love the show. Nothing would ever take its place. The sadness still came.

Luckily for me, they put season 6 on there yesterday. That gives me 16 more episodes until I finally have to break up. Oh happy day!

Today I am thankful for clarity/wisdom that comes with age. And Netflix--I do love Netflix.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spreading {Almond} Joy and Loaves and Fishes


               Last night I got to take my kids trick-or-treating. It was very interesting. Max was an eager beaver running up to houses long before I could get the tiny legs of the twins to catch up. I constantly had to remind him to wait up. Amelia and Cooper were more interested in just being out for a walk. Cooper often had no inclination to walk up to a door. He was more content to see if he could pick up the fire hydrant or push back the curb. Amelia loved seeing everyone else out and dressed up. She got excited over seeing the dogs and people she knew. And Turner discovered Almond Joys. After we had gone down a street the kids asked if they could have a piece of candy. I told them they could and Turner picked out an Almond Joy. He got so excited. He told me that they were the best thing he had ever eaten and got so excited at every door that had Almond Joys.
               What surprised me was that he loved them so much that he started giving them out to people. We had to make a bathroom stop at my in-laws and he wanted GG and Crapa to try them. He wanted me to try one. He wanted his brothers and sister to try one. He wanted his dad to try one.  Today for school we sorted, counted and grafted the candy he got last night.  9 Almond Joys survived. It was by far the most of any one kind of candy he got. I just loved that he found something that brought him joy and he wanted to share it with the world!
               I hope people don’t get offended by how much I share my faith and religion on my blog.  I feel much the same way about my Savior. I am happy and feel joy when I am following His teachings. I just want to share my feelings with all of you!!

            

         This month is such a special one—it is THANKSGIVING! Last year I tried and tried and tried to post something I was thankful for every day in November. I have to admit that I struggled with it.  I had a hard time actually feeling grateful. I knew how important gratitude was; I just couldn’t make myself really feel it. I had 1,000 things that I was thankful for, it was just the actual FEELING that was missing. Does this make sense to anyone? Well, this year my heart has been brimming with gratitude lately. I am excited to try again this year to post something I am thankful for everyday this month. I have learned a lot about gratitude and I would love to share some of what I have learned with those who care to keep reading.
               So today in school we were reading in Matthew when Christ feeds the 4,000+ women and children. In Matt. 15:36 Christ asks the disciples to gather the food and they find there are 7 loaves and a few little fishes. Christ then gathers the food and he thanks God for it. He passes out the food and 7 large baskets of leftovers are gathered up. 7 loaves and a few fishes probably didn’t seem like it would be enough food. Yet he thanks God for it.
               How many things in my life feel like it isn’t enough? My time, talents, money—yes, yes, yes. I have spent my life feeling like the talents that I had been given were not enough. They weren’t real talents because they didn’t compare to people who really had those talents like musical instruments, singing, acting, art etc . . . yet in reality it doesn’t matter how big my portion is, it just matters how I use it. I guess that takes us to another parable for another day.
               So today I am thankful for my talents. If I compare them to others, I won’t feel all that great about myself. But if I use them for good, to bless others’ lives, and to do the work of God then, it will always be enough!  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! I had fun doing Halloween costumes last week! My mother-in-law did Max's (tin man) hat and shoe covers and helped design Turner's (scarecrow) costume. I was particularly proud of myself because I didn't have a pattern for Amelia's or Max's and did button holes for the first time in a LONG time! I was even so inspired I created a skirt for me and installed a zipper for the first time in 20 years. I love Halloween! I am not a big scary monster bloody gory kind of person but give me any excuse to dress up!
My crazy 4!

Scarecrow

Dorthy

Tinman

Lion

All these cute kids with my amazing grandma!

Mummy dogs
We had mummy dogs for lunch! Happy Halloween to one and all!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Max Max Max Max Max Max Max

In the Book of Mormon, the first family that we encounter is Lehi's family. Nephi, the fourth son, is the narrator.  He talks a lot of his pain in the neck brothers Laman and Lemuel and briefly mentions his closest brother, Sam. Sam was a good kid. He didn't ask for a lot of attention, he went about doing good and following the good example of Nephi. I would imagine that if we could read Sam's account of the journey into the wilderness, there would be praise for his God, Father, and Nephi. I think Sam was a guy who went about doing good in a quiet way. He probably wasn't a problem for his parents and was a good friend to his brothers.

My Max is much like a Sam. He is a good kid whom is easily entertained. He is a good friend to his siblings and has become a good helper to me. Max is a great artist. He is kind to those around him. Max is friends with EVERYONE! He makes friends with older people as well as younger people very well. Max doesn't ask for attention.

Consequently he doesn't get it as often as he should. I was much the same way as a child from what I understand. One time I ran away and no one even noticed--so I came home. I often felt ignored but, in reality I was 5 of 7 kids. If you didn't squeak, you didn't get the oil! It would just bottle up inside of me until I had a major melt down at absurd times over seemingly stupid things. Yet here I am with a child much the same, and I am constantly struggling to give him enough attention.

Yet, this heart of mine is SO THANKFUL for a little guy who is just happy to be alive. I am thankful that there are people in this world that quietly go about doing good. If there is a battle of good and evil raging in this world (which I believe there is) then Max is a stealth-sniper type for the good guys. He is a power to be reckoned with and no one even knows all the good that he does in the world everyday! He is an amazing kid/person, and I just feel blessed to be his mom. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Many hands make light work!

Some days I get completely overwhelmed by how little I think my contribution to the world is. I wish I could do more or be more or change the world somehow. I was very comforted by M. Russell Ballard's talk in conference. We all have a part in God's plan. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may seem. The only problem is--now I feel extremely  guilty when I spread honey on my morning toast!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I don't normally do politics.


I don’t really like to get involved in politics. I know I should. I know I need to stand up for what I believe in. My biggest problem is that I can see it from both sides. I, for the most part, can understand where people are coming from and why they would vote one way or another. Honestly, when it comes to politics I have been on both sides of the fence—not to mention a big long stay on top of the fence. I don’t like picking sides in an argument; I just want everyone to get along!
I grew up in a very conservative home. My mother didn’t openly talk a lot about politics but my dad did. He was an avid CNN watcher and Daily Courier reader. He often talked about current events and didn’t hold back on the personal commentary. My dad served on the school board, even serving as president while I was attending public school.  I naturally agreed with his opinions and views. The instant I turned 18 I registered to vote, and didn’t even hesitate as I declared that I was a republican.
Yet as an 18 year-old I went off to college. I met people from various walks of life. I lived with a Vampire, Lesbian, a foster kid, Californians, a Mexican, Korean, and a CANADIAN! I had rich roommates, poor roommates, and pretty much everything in between. I served a mission to Montana where everyone was a gun toting member of the NRA. I saw different walks of life and for the most part LOVED THEM ALL! I love the richness of culture in general. 
After my mission I decided for sure on a degree in Social Work for I felt that helping others was the Lord’s work. The school I went to had a Behavioral Science degree with an emphasis in Social Work. I loved the hybrid mix of Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology as it pertained to Social Work. It was here though that my conservative mindset started to change. I truly wanted to help everyone! I looked at the republican and the democrat views and decided that I was not a republican because they didn’t want to help anyone.  They focused on an ideal world and not reality—in my eyes. I felt like the real work was out there helping PEOPLE—not business.  I knew that if Jesus was alive then he would be a democrat. 
The very next time I moved, I changed my party affiliation. The shock and scandal for some family members was entertaining to me. They thought that I had gone off of the deep end. My sweet Grandma Anderson told me that her dad had been a democrat, and so it was okay with her.  If it was okay with her then I felt like that was good enough! When I met my husband, he teased me about it and said that our votes just cancelled each other out. I explained that I didn’t vote straight ticket but would vote for whomever I thought was the best person for the job. 
Then I had kids. It wasn’t the actual fact that I had kids that changed my mind but the fact that I stayed home all day and watched WAY too much day time TV. It happened to be that one day as I was watching the View, John Stossel was on the show that day. He was reporting on a new study that he had done. I don’t really even remember what it was completely about, but I remember that they were looking at who gave more to charity—democrats or republican. Democrats I blurted out to the TV! Of course democrats would give more—we believed in HELPING people.  John changed my life that day when he reported that it was republicans that gave more. 
It turns out that it is republicans because democrats desire for the government to do the helping. I thought that this was a little extreme but it got me thinking. When I pay my taxes, do I get the feeling that I am helping people? Do I get the same warm feeling that I get when I help my neighbor? Do I think of all the good this money is going to do in the world? Maybe some of you do. I just know that when I am in the moment with a person in need, I feel compassion, understanding, and love. The same as what the Savior felt as he helped people.  
Maybe Jesus didn’t give money to big business so they could hire more people, but he surely didn’t give it to the government in hopes that they would go out and feed the 5,000. I think that is where good-honest God loving people can be on opposite ends of the debates. Both want to help people they just have different views of how it should be done. I believe that I think it should be done person to person, heart to heart. 
I have been that agent of the government that you all paid for with your taxes. I have helped families that needed help. I have protected children. I have (hopefully) stopped kids from doing drugs or alcohol. I spent my days helping those in the community that didn’t know where to turn. I honestly think those programs are wonderful, and needed. Yet I don’t think I saw the same miracles as when I served at my (okay mostly my parents) cost as a missionary.  The difference was in the recipient. When you are acting as an agent of the government, a lot of times people take you for granted. They feel entitled to your help. They also see you as the government that is MAKING them do something. 
My parents served an LDS mission in Austria. Austria is a socialized country. They loved the people and the beautiful country that they lived in. The one thing that they had a hard time with was that there wasn’t as many opportunities to serve others. The government takes care of everything. Their neighbor fell and broke her hip. The government fixed it, put her in a care facility, when she returned home they sent someone to clean for her and bring her meals. This sounds wonderful, except that the human feeling of helping someone in need is gone. Also, they can’t afford to take care of everyone. So the Austrian government is selling all of their mountains and roads to foreigners to pay for all of the socialization.  
So for this reason I have changed my party affiliation back to republican. Although I don’t love everything about Mitt Romney, I do love that he believes in the founding father’s vision. I love that he is a man of faith. I believe that he can help this country get back on its feet. And by his life, I know that he is a man that believes in helping others. 
There you have it folks, my one political post. Now I will go back to the pretend world I live in where everyone gets along!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Three windows

You can't tell from the picture, but the crack goes all the way to the bottom and to the top!

Three windows now! My oldest son has broken THREE windows! The first one happened on Max’s third birthday. Turner at the time was four. He was outside patiently waiting for my parents to arrive for the party. I don‘t remember why my parents were in town, probably for conference, but they were bringing my grandma over for the celebration. He got bored and started throwing rocks. He ended up throwing a rock at our large kitchen window. The spider web started small but quickly spread. The fact that my mother and grandmother were here was probably the only thing that saved his life that day. My husband was upset but my mom and grandma reminded him that he is only a little boy, and accidents happen. It would be almost two years until that window could get replaced. At one point the cracks got covered with blue painters tape. We were officially the most red neck house in the neighborhood!   Not long after the first incident, the same little boy was throwing rocks again—this time at the front door. Again he broke the window on the door. It still is cracked to this day.

Our beautiful front door crack.
 My little guy grew and we hoped he had learned his lesson. When we finally replaced the kitchen window, we had all of the windows replaced, and felt it a good investment to buy windows with a lifetime guarantee.  No matter what happens, even if my kids break the window, it will be replaced at no charge. We felt that we were safe! That is until today.
I was making lunch when Turner ran into the house and started heading downstairs. I should have clued into the fact that something was wrong because he never goes downstairs by himself. My main concern though was that he had left the front door open for flies and two-year-olds to roam freely in and out of my house. I asked him to go get his brother and sister, bring them inside, and shut the door.  He got really flustered and muttered something under his breath.  I could have sworn it was something to the effect of “I just broke a window at the neighbor’s house.” I said a quick prayer that I had heard him wrong and asked him to repeat himself.  Sure enough he confirmed that I had understood his mumbling. He started screaming and ranting. I could tell that my little guy who struggles with his temper was losing it. I attempted to calm him down and explain that we needed to apologize and make it right. He was too scared which came out in the form of anger. 
During my attempts to calm him down, there was a knock on my kitchen door. There is only one person that uses that door, and it is my neighbor whom just had her window broken. The part of the neighborhood that I live in is mostly older widows and widowers. These particular neighbors are still both alive but retired, older, and struggle with some health problems. They have been the best neighbors, always so thankful for taking their garbage out or bringing in the empty cans. I feel bad because we hardly qualify for any blessings since they are always giving us gift cards, letting us use their snow blower, giving my kids cookies and treats.  They are such a joy to live by. 
Anyway—I guess what happened is that her great-grandson was over and he had a tee for t-ball. Her great-grandson had shown Turner how to use it and told him to hit the ball softly (Turner has never hit a baseball before in his life) he gave it a good smack and it went right into the ground to ceiling, huge-widow beside the front door.  
As I answered the door and apologized that we hadn’t come back over yet and she simply said, I want to talk to Turner. He was standing behind me, visibly upset. As soon as she saw him she said, “Oh Turner, I’m not mad at you. It was an accident, it is okay. Mr. Miller* isn’t mad at you either, we understand, it is okay.” I saw the look of terror slowly melt from his face. I reached my arm out and drew him under to give him the assurance that everything would be fine.  Then he had the courage to apologize for his mistake. 
I was so touched that our sweet neighbor would go out of her way to extend an arm of forgiveness before an apology was even issued. She didn’t wait to hear “I’m sorry,” she freely forgave. Her offering of forgiveness gave a little boy the courage to apologize and attempt to make things right. 
I of course offered to pay for the window. Later Turner was frustrated that I had offered to pay for the window, assuming that he would have to pay for the whole window himself. I explained that Dad and I would talk about it and decide what we were going to do but that it was an expensive window and there is no way that he would be able to pay for it by himself. I then had a chance to explain grace.
I went to my curio cabinet and pulled out a lladro. This particular lladro is very precious to me. I showed him the delicate statue of a little girl with pigtails, holding a doll, and putting on her mother’s lipstick. I then told him the story of how I had broken this precious statue when I was a little girl. I showed him how one of the pigtails was missing and the lipstick and broken off. I showed him her neck where she had been decapitated and glued back together. I told him that I had broken this, a wood carving, a wood carved table, an expensive grandfather clock, and several cars—just to name the expensive things. My parents had offered me grace. I never once remember getting in trouble for breaking anything. My nickname had been “The destroying angel” growing up. (Yes, the same nickname given to Satan.)
Most of all I am thankful for my Savior whom offers me grace every day. I can’t possibly right all of my wrongs, I can’t fix everything. I don’t have enough patience, money, talents, skills, or resources to do the things I need to do. I don’t have enough hours in the day, yet He offers me His grace. He promises that it is sufficient for all if we will but ask. 
I hope I can be like my sweet dear neighbor and offer forgiveness, even before the apology. What a great world we would live in if were all a little bit kinder, forgiving, and remembered that the Lord offers us, and those whom offend us, His grace. 
*names have been changed for internet privacy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Internet knowledge

         When I first became a mother, we were strapped financially. I was staying home and Josh was going to school full time and working full time. We were looking for ways to save money as best we could. We looked at our budget over and over again and found that cutting out internet was one of the only things we could do. It seemed extreme but, "if we can't afford it, we can't have it" has been a motto we have tried to live by during our marriage. I knew that staying home with my baby was more important to us than having the internet in our home. I don't know how long we lived like this. It seemed long at the time, yet doesn't seem like it was that long now.  I know if we needed to do that again, we would. We recently switched from having a super convenient smart-phone to having just a regular cell phone because some financial goals changed. It has been harder than I thought it would!
         The things I didn't think I would miss has been just being able to check the weather whenever I wanted to, looking up a scripture no matter where I was, being able to google my son's 1,000 questions a day from anywhere. Yet sometime I wonder if those conveniences are really all that important. I do still have the internet at home and there are things that I LOVE about it. I would say staying close to my family, but I really don't hear much from my family via the internet. Sometimes I think we would be closer without it. Maybe we would make more of an effort to be in each other's lives otherwise. Yet I do love being in contact with friends and acquaintances. I love idea sharing. I love blogging. I love being able to look anything up that I want!
          I may be a little TOO addicted to this last one. Today I was reading in Alma. Alma was giving advice to all of his children during this, he discussed in length the after life with his son Corianton. Corianton had spent his time chasing after a naughty girl named Isabel. He had behaved inappropriately, and his father wanted to help him make better choices. He explained to him the purpose of this life and emphasized why he really should shape up! He discussed what happens after this life and how his choices in this life affect the happiness he will have in the life hereafter. As I was reading this, I was astounded by Alma's insight. I found myself wondering where he learned all of this. It isn't like this was the first time I had read this particular segment but the depth and breath of his knowledge really hit me this time. 
          Alma, as prophet, would have access to some scriptures. He didn't have other text or the internet to help him find answers to his questions though! He received revelation. He didn't just seek revelation as to the affairs of his family, or if he should grow corn this season. He wanted to know the mysteries of God. 
           We are accustomed to the easiness of information today that we forget, that with a little effort, God is willing to direct ALL our paths! He can not only help with the special needs of my family, he will let me in on His secrets--if I ask! He is available anytime, anywhere. It may not be as easy as pulling out a smart phone whenever I need and answer, but I know that when the answers come--they are probably more reliable! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lesson from my amazing son!



It has been one of those mornings! I knew it would be bad when my oldest was out of bed before I was! I usually wake up at least an hour before the kiddos get up. I sent him back to bed and went on with my routine of shower, scriptures, and making breakfast. I don’t know what it was with me today but every shriek, scream, and whine were grating on my nerves like fingernails on a chalk board.
After Turner (my 6-year-old) and I had finished our breakfast, we went into his room so I could help him reach a t-shirt. All of the boy’s clothes are in the closet so something has to be out of reach, it just so happens to be his t-shirts. I was thinking how ahead of the game I was going to be with him already dressed. Then as he slipped on a pair of jeans, for the first time since spring, I realized that none of his pants were going to fit. Before I decided to accept the fact that he needed all new pants, I had him try on several pair. Frustrated at the financial ramifications, I found 3 pair that would still pass.
As we were in the middle of our flood fashion show, my four-year-old, Max, came into the room and wanted to also get dressed. As he was dressing he mentioned that the side of his leg hurt. I asked to see where it hurt, and discovered a huge-infected bug bite on his haunches. The red circle must have been at least as large as a quarter. I asked him to lay on my lap so I could inspect the wound and analyze if I needed to take him to the doctor or if this was something I could handle. As I started prodding around the wound, it erupted. The fount ‘o puss splattered in my hair and in my face. A putrid odor accompanied the white and red swirled splatter. By now Max was livid! He started kicking, screaming, hitting, and declaring that he didn’t love me anymore. As I sent Turner off for tissue and ointment I knew I was pushing it to try to continue to drain the infection but, I didn’t feel like I could leave this in my little boy. I gave it a go with all my might and out popped a more solid form of the stinky blood-filled goop. I dressed the wound, and apologized for having to hurt him. I tried to explain that it was a hurt that was going to make his owie better.
By this time I realized that the twins were still in their high-chairs, and I could tell by the sound that they were not happy about it. I went into the dining room, only to realize that they had decided to create a Jackson Pollock with their soggy cereal and orange juice. I felt frustrated and defeated. I grabbed a wash cloth, rag, broom and mop and got to work. After I had cleaned off the children, I went to work on the dining room. Cooper could tell I was sad so he of course wanted some reassurance that I still loved him, as two-year-olds do. He kept trying to traipse through his masterpiece while crying and reaching for me.
I looked at him and started crying myself. I explained to my room full of children that I was frustrated and needed to get this mess cleaned up. What I needed them to do was to stay out of my way. I realize that it would have been a better teaching opportunity if I would have made my two, two-year-old, artists help clean up the mess but I was frazzled. I went into the kitchen to rinse out my rag, and when I came back, the children were gone. I heard them all in the big boy’s room.
Turner, without being asked, had taken all four of them into his room, closed the door and was playing quietly with all of the kids. I lost is at this point and broke down with love, pride and gratitude for a 6-year-old whom wanted to help his mommy. I finished my task, and with a humble heart I went into his room and expressed my love and appreciation for him. Max asked me why I was crying. I explained that sometimes a mommy’s heart is so full of love—it has to come out of their eyes. The thing was—I realized how God must feel when we help his children.  My child, helped my other children, it in turn helped me (immensely!!)  It wasn't a big thing for my helpful little boy, but it was a huge thing for me. I hope today to find some way to help one of my fellow brothers and sisters, so I may serve my Father in Heaven.