Friday, March 29, 2013

He lives!

We watched this movie all the time growing up. I showed to to my kids yesterday. I was surprised that I still knew most of the words! I love the message of hope and peace. So many people I know and love have lost someone very near and dear to them. I am so thankful for the knowledge that this life isn't the end. He lives, and we will all live again someday. Happy good Friday!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

If I could turn back time...

8 years ago today my boy toy proposed to me via an Easter egg. He came over to my house early Easter morning and gave me an Easter basket. After I looked through all of the lovely things he gave me, he pulled one last final Easter egg out of his pocket. The romantic in me wants to paint a beautiful picture of how he had brought me to a beautiful spring location, or how he gave me the egg as he got down on one knee, but that just wouldn't be true ladies. He did sit beside me on the couch in my living room, trembling like a leaf. 
There were four eggs stacked inside each other. The outside egg said, "Tiffany." The second egg said, "will." The third egg said, "you." The fourth egg was blank. when I opened that tiny egg, there was the most beautiful ring. The ring looked antique with filigree carving. It was white gold and had tiny little diamonds all over with one center diamond. I started crying, but managed to squeak out, "will I what?" He said "Marry me of course!" I said yes. 
We left for church. His ward at the time met at 8 a.m. We arrived and sat with his parents. We were kinda excited and couldn't keep quiet. An older gentleman that was sitting in front of us asked us to be quiet. I was so embarrassed! Here I was 26-years old and I had to be asked to keep quiet!!
Easter was so symbolic. For reasons that aren't mine to share, Josh couldn't take me to the temple to be married. I had struggled with the decision to marry him, but felt like if he was doing his best to make everything right with the Lord, who was I to reject him? It was because of Easter that everything would be okay. It was because of Easter that We would be a forever family someday. (3 1/2 years later we were sealed to our two boys.)

Marring Josh has been the best decision that I have ever made. He has helped me to grow in so many ways. Marriage really is a refiners fire. I have grown so much through this one decision. I joke often that it would be so much easier if I had married a girl. And honestly it probably would have been easier for me, but it wouldn't have helped me to grown, learn and become the person I am today. I also don't believe it would have been easier for my kids. 

So I am pro-traditional marriage. It isn't a shock to anyone who reads this blog. I know that makes me very un-politically correct.
  A family, to me, isn’t about sexual attraction. Although my husband is cute, that isn’t what makes us a family. What we provide for each other, and for our children, is what makes us a family. Most of the gay guys I know would make AWESOME dads. Yet they wouldn’t be a mom. The lesbian women that I know would make marvelous moms. Yet they wouldn’t be a dad. Genderless marriage breaks down the roles and responsibilities of parents. This I am passionate about. I believe that in an ideal situation a child needs both a mother and a father.
               Here is an excerpt of an article that I read that explains it a little better than I can. “By traditional definition, marriage is the protective sanctuary that allows children to have a relationship with both father and mother. That relationship provides them with the stable and long-term care and nurturance they deserve. “Without this public purpose,” Dr. Morse explains, “marriage would cease to exist as a distinct social institution.”

Naturally, these protections regarding procreation cannot be extended to a homosexual union because that union cannot procreate. The solution to the problem cannot be to add protections to a power that does not exist. The only way that these non-procreative unions can become legally equal is to remove several biological protections—protections that that the law extends to the procreative unions found in traditional marriage.

Thus, the invention of genderless marriage has the potential to affect the nature of traditional relationships more than the nature of gay relationships. According to this new definition of equality, court judgments are already being handed down that strip biological distinctions and hence ignore biological rights.

States that have ratified homosexual marriage have done so by removing gender from the law, stripping rights from children and fathers and, in some cases, from biological mothers. For example, Illinois effectively instituted gay marriage by removing any reference to gender from their marriage laws. Likewise, Massachusetts’ marriage certificates recognize not bride and groom, but Party A and Party B.

Whose Rights are Threatened by Genderless Marriage?

The first casualty in the gender battle is the primary and essential purpose of marriage, which is, according to Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, ‘to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.’”
               So now you may understand why I am pro-traditional marriage.  I may have also just made a rambling fool of myself. Either way these two articles by gay men have helped me understand why I feel we are trying to make an apple into an orange. Check them out here: and here .
       Yet above all, I would hope that those that disagree with me would not hate me as I don’t hate those who feel differently. Christ set the perfect example of love towards one another.  I have listen and empathized with many gay friends as they are trying to sort through their feelings and emotions.  I have a pretty strong feeling that the Supreme Court is going to rule in favor of gay marriage. Yet I just felt like I needed to sort out my feelings about the whole thing. And I do that best through writing. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Young Tiffany gives me some advice.

The other day we were straightening up the bookshelves. The little tasks like this so rarely happen, and I don't remember why it was happening that day (most likely one of the littles dumped a bookshelf upon the ground.) While we were busy, one of my boys brought me a red leather book. An old journal of sorts. I usually carry around a notebook to jot down things--anything, a budget, a conversation, an idea, a grocery list and so forth. I had this book around the time Josh and I were engaged--so about 8 years ago. I enjoyed flipping through the pages. I saw notes from meetings that I had had with clients, both photography and social work. I saw a list of monthly expenditures  and wished I still had the same amount of money left over after all the bills are paid and food is bought now. The thing that struck me most though was the wisdom I had. 

I am glad that my pre-child brain had left me some good advice for the future. The little thought that I had written down was something to the effect of, "I am constantly thinking that I need 'more.' More clients, more money, more education, more time with Josh, more time with friends etc . . . but really all I need more of is gratitude. 

Today I am trying to be more grateful for the things in my life that ARE good, that DO work. I am down with severe back pain. Yet I am so glad that I have kids that are old enough to fend for themselves, and help their younger brother and sister. 

I am so thankful that the rest of my body does work. I am thankful that I can type, chat on the phone, and boss my kids around, all from the (relative) comfort of my couch. 

I am so thankful for the heated back massager that we picked up from BB&B this weekend. When it is running, I can feel very little pain at all!

I am so thankful that my mother-in-law is going to come over and watch the kids so that I can go to the doctor.

I am thankful that I can still peel oranges for my little two-year olds, and watch their faces get more excited with every chunk of peel I manage to rip off. 

It is amazing how awesome life can still be, even from the couch!

Friday, March 22, 2013

I KID you not!!

This is absolutely one of my favorite pictures of all time.
So I wasn't going to post anymore about our week of "Stories of Jesus" but I couldn't resist sharing about today! So I was so excited to tell my kids about the story where Jesus blesses the children. I know they had heard it before, but I thought that they would really identify, and get excited about Christ telling His disciples to let the children come unto him. Well, we don't really do "school" on Friday so I gathered my children around after my super sophisticated lunch of hard boiled eggs and a fruit and veggie smoothie. They were a little hyper, but I figured I could handle it. I should have know that this wasn't going to go my way when I started singing "I'm trying to be like Jesus" and no one really took note. All week we had been learning this song before our stories (I mean what is the point of learning the stories if we don't also learn that we need to follow his example.)
I am sitting on the floor in front of the couch, Cooper and Max are playing on the couch next to me, Turner is sitting on the couch across from me, and Amelia is dancing in the middle of the floor. I start to tell the story. I emphasize to my kids that the children are "your age." I bring out the picture that I had, (not the one above) and Turner says, "Those kids are older than me." So I recognized that and brought out another picture, one of Christ with children from all over the world. Meanwhile Max is beside me driving a Hot Wheels motorcycle up the Little People slide, and making crashing noises when it crashes at the bottom of the slide. Cooper is now bringing me orange after orange asking me to peel them for them, and Amelia has started to try to climb up the front of me. 
I decided that I was losing them fast. I quickly finished the story, telling them that in order to get to heaven, we need to be like little children. Cooper has now taken one of the oranges and starts throwing it at me, thinking that if I didn't respond to him shoving it in my face, I will now respond to it being pelted at my arm. So I decided to sing "A Child's Prayer" to salvage a little bit of the message. I began by saying, "we can always go to Christ in prayer." As soon as I start singing Amelia decides that she can climb all the way up and over me and onto the couch behind me. She then grabs large chunks of my hair and yanks my head backward, and pulls as hard as she can. Turner likes the tune I'm singing but instead of joining along with words, he joins along with tooting noises. Max, my little saving grace, was in his own little world of fiery crashes with his motorcycle on the couch beside me.
So there you have it folks--If you want to get to heaven, just act like my kids!! (Just don't do it around me, I might have a mental breakdown.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Learning more

            Today, while talking about Jesus' life, we combined my favorite "sea stories."  I realized that I should have started the stories of Jesus at the beginning of the month. There are so many great stories!! So to fit a little more in, I combined my favorite three stories. They are when Jesus told Simon to cast his net into the sea. Simon told Jesus that they had been fishing ALL NIGHT and hadn't caught a single fish. He cast his net in and pull up enough fish to fill TWO boats!! The second story is when Christ and his disciples were on the stormy sea. They were frightened and afraid. They woke up the Savior to explain their fears. He asked they why they had so little faith. He rebuked the winds and the sea became calm. Even his disciples were astonished. 
          It made me think a little. Why didn't they have faith in Him? They were His disciples. Then I remembered that they didn't have the scriptures to tell them all about His great power. They didn't have the examples of His life. I learned "more!" I learned how GRATEFUL I am for the scriptures!
          The third story I shared was when Christ walked on the water. The thing that really struck me this time was Peter's part of the story. When the apostles saw Christ walking on the water, they first thought it was a ghost. He called out to them to not be afraid, it was Him. Peter then called, (I paraphrasing of course.) "If i t is you, then ask me to come to you." Peter then gets out of the boat and he WALKS ON THE WATER. Folks, he really did it!! This is the part that struck me this time. Even when I googled images to find one for this post of Peter walking on water, there were only two with him actually walking on the water. The other one was of black Jesus and black Peter. Yet there were hundreds of different images of Peter falling into the water. Including a really awesome Lego one. No one really remembers that Peter really DID it!!
           Now the story is true, Peter was out on the water, walking towards the Savior, and he got scared. Peter looked at the circumstances. Instead of focusing on the fact that Peter was doing it, and that he was headed toward the Savior, he started noticing that the wind was pretty crazy. Instead of thinking, Hey, I am doing this even with the crazy wind, he doubted. 
           How many times in our lives do we not focus on our successes, but focus on all the reasons why we should fail? You mean it is just me? I do it all the time. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Prepping for . . . Easter

           I am going to admit something to you real quick, I HATE the Easter Bunny. I know, I know I know . . . send me to the stocks! It wasn't a big deal at my house growing up. My parents didn't put a lot of emphasis on the mythical-overgrown cottontail. Maybe that is part of the reason that I loath the lore. I guess the whole Santa thing is okay for me since I feel like he has a spiritual tie to the day, but the bunny? I mean spring, with all of it's newness is so symbolic of the resurrection of Christ. Yet the bunny itself, just isn't to me. With that said, Easter is probably my favorite holiday. 
          First off, I suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder pretty hard. February is ALWAYS the darkest time for me. I honestly can say that I barely function that month. I have said it a thousand times, and I will say it again, God made February the shortest month of the year out of sheer mercy towards me. So sorry for any of you that love it! So spring is such a welcome relief to me! I literally spend the first part of spring in tears of gratitude every time I see the sun shining. I feel the transformation of spring in my soul, along with feeling it on my skin. 
            I love the message of spring, it will all be okay. Even through the death of the trees, flowers, bushes, it all comes back. Even the darkest times of our lives will get better. The sun will shine again tomorrow! (Or at least sometime in March.) It is so symbolic of the triumph of Easter. Christ triumphed death! We will live again, even after we die! That is such an amazing promise to anyone that has lost a loved one. 
           Yet even more is the promise that we can all be made whole again spiritually. Christ really did triumph over sin. He really did take upon Him all of your and my sins. How glorious to any of us who have committed sin. (And we all have, I just have happened to have committed A LOT!)
           So how do you get your kids excited about celebrating the real meaning of Easter when the commercialism of the holiday is all around you? (No for reals, that isn't a rhetorical question.) I think my kids get excited about things that they talk about. If we never stepped foot inside of a Walmart, would my kids even know that Easter was on it's way? YES!! Well first of all, Easter is on Max's birthday this year, so he has been talking about Easter for a while now. But second is that these two weeks leading up to Easter, we are talking everyday about what it REALLY means. 
          We are memorizing John 14:15 currently. This week we are also telling a "story of Jesus" every day. I am telling some of the highlights of his ministry and life on the earth. I can't believe all of the learning that comes along with it! Yesterday we talked about when Christ was found in the temple teaching the teachers. Today we talked about his baptism. It was so fun to talk about why we are baptized and even why making covenants with our Father in Heaven is important. We will be talking about Christ walking on water, feeding the 5,000, blessing the children, and healing the sick. 
           Next week we will be memorizing John 3:16, and everyday will will discuss what happened to Jesus on those last days of his life. I think by doing this, whatever little secular traditions we happen to humor won't be as big of a deal. I do happen to love some new Easter clothes!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reaching for something more

     Yesterday I was that proud mamma. It rarely happens for me, usually I am the mom that thinks that she is messing up her kids. They are often rowdy at the most inappropriate times, they forget their manners, they often respond in ways that make me cringe. They aren't bad kids, just kids.
      Yesterday Max had been asked to say the scripture in primary. Max had struggled with speaking in front of an audience before. Last time he had an assignment, he wouldn't even repeat after me. This time we memorized it and practiced it over and over and over again. He got up to give his scripture and kind of froze. I went to the front of the room, hoping and PRAYING that he would at least repeat after me. I whispered the first word in his ear and he loudly, clearly, and confidently quoted the whole scripture from memory. I was impressed, and yes, even a little proud--okay a lot proud, there were even a few tears shed. 
     I am am so in love with my little Max. He has such a creative mind. He is always coming up with some amazing stories, scenarios, and sometimes, the most off the wall questions. He often tells me that the world is really on the back of a giant turtle or he tells me that we are really all inside of a bear's belly. I think it is his way of trying to make sense of there being something bigger out there. I think he can sense that we are tiny in the scheme of things. He seems to be reaching for something more. 
     I have been inspired by both of my big boys. Turner memorized the scripture right along with Max. We are going to memorize a scripture a week. Right now we are preparing for the week before Easter by studying the stories of Jesus. Next week we will learn everyday about what happened in the last week of Christ's life. So our scripture this week is John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Short, sweet, easy for the kids to memorize, and perfect to remember how we can honor the Savior at this time of year, and always. (And it doesn't hurt to hope that it might rub off, and they will remember to be obedient to their parents too!)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It won't cost much . . . Just your voice!

I love a good classic Disney movie. I still remember going to the theater when The Little Mermaid came out. Of course, at the time, the theater was the only way in which I even got to see a movie since my family didn't even own a VCR. Okay, that might not be entirely true, we may have gotten a VCR around the same time. Anyway, I remember thinking how magical the movie was. I loved the story of this mermaid, and how in love she was with her prince. As the queen of pre-teen unrequited love, I just knew Ariel and I were kindred spirits. I never did understand though, how she thought she would be able to get a man without her voice. I am a girl, and was a little too naïve to understand that Ariel left very little to a boy's imagination with those sea shells.

Anyway, My little Max has been a little . . . obsessed with The Little Mermaid. I probably should be concerned. I have The Little Mermaid little golden book and he carries it around with him. Okay, I have to admit, as I type this, I am getting a little worried about my, almost, 5 year-old.
The other day we all sat down and watched the movie together. I cringed as we got to the bargaining scene. I dearly was hoping that THIS time she wasn't so stupid! Ariel has got the most amazing voice. Since I have always been jealous of this talent, it kills me to watch her give it away.
The cunning of Ursula as she paints a beautiful picture of what her life could be like on land. She fuels Ariel's dream of becoming a human. She convinces Ariel that she just wants to help her. And it won't cost much, just her voice.  Of course all of us think the little girl/mermaid is CRAZY!! Yet this last time, as I was watching, I realized that a lot of us pay for things with the loss of our voice. Sometimes it is the price we pay to fit into a group that doesn't share our same values. We think that if we speak up for what we believe then others won't like us. Sometimes it is the price to pay to be "P.C." Now don't get me wrong, I believe that it is important to respect other people's values and feelings. I don't think we should use derogatory language or off color jokes. Those kinds of P.C. are great in my opinion.
I have found that I pay for my fear with my voice. Crazy, I don't want fear, and I do want my voice so why would I give up my voice for the price of fear? Just crazy I know! Yet I fear what others will think of me, I fear that I might offend someone, I fear that people won't like me if they get to know the real me. So instead, I remain silent. My voice is silent while the voices in my head do a good job of assuming what people will think about me.
I have been blessed with the gift of a few good friends that have known me longer than I cared what people thought of me. I can be around them and not worry about what comes out of my mouth, they love me anyway. I want to feel that way around everyone. I know that what I really need to do is only care what God thinks. I often times feel prompted to write something on this blog. I stop myself though because I worry about what people will think. Will they think that I am pompous and know everything? Will people think that I am trying to tell them what to do? Will people see that I REALLY am CRAZY? Will they judge my spelling/grammar/writing errors? Will anyone read it anyway? Then I just give my voice up. I let my fear have it. No longer I tell ya! At least I hope to make some baby-steps. (Baby stepping out of the office, baby stepping to push publish, baby stepping to post on FB, baby stepping until I am sailing!!) (And if you get that reference, you get an A+ in the good movie department.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

My obituary

                Forgive me for a moment, as this is going to sound a little morbid, I love funerals. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t love people dying. I love celebrating their lives, and honoring all the ways they blessed, and enriched our lives. I honestly feel, when someone has lived a great life, that their funerals can be every bit as motivating, and inspiring as a LDS conference talk. And heaven always seems to be so close. Plus there is always the bonus of seeing so many friends and loved ones!
                Wednesday we buried my cousin Cherie. Her funeral was exactly like this. The talks given were inspiring and uplifting. The songs sung were touching and poignant. I couldn't believe how well everyone held it together. My amazing cousin Julie (Cherie’s older sister) had to sing, give the life sketch, then sing again. My uncle sang “Turn Around” and stated that it was a lullaby for Cherie, and we could listen if we wanted to.  He added a third verse about turning around and your little girl is eternity bound. Oh, it was heart breaking for me.
                Her three sisters sang “Consider The Lilies.” I had never really listened to the words of that song. It is now one of my favorites. At the end of the song, one of her sisters (I think it was Kim) let out a big sigh and triumphantly whispered “we did it!” I couldn’t believe it the courage everyone displayed. My favorite part was probably when her husband spoke, and talked about how they met. He talked about winning the jackpot in wives, and how much she improved his life. I want to be a wife like that. Of course, how much she loved her children was paramount in everything that was presented. I want to be a mother like that. 
                Being inspired doesn’t mean a whole lot if you don’t take home part of the message, and let it change your heart. Cherie’s funeral was a reflective experience that caused me to meditate a great deal on my own life. What kind of legacy would I leave? What would people say about me at my funeral? What songs would they sing? What would my obituary say? When all that is left is the memories, what will those memories be?
                The thing is, it could all be over for any of us at any given moment. Those that may be terminally ill or elderly, have a clue that they may be near the end. The fact of the matter is that it might be all over for me today. I might not make it home from church today. Every moment might be my last. I can’t walk around with the outlook that every time I see someone, it will be my last moment—I would be a constant-melty mess! Yet I can work harder to appreciate the gift that every day is.
                I want to be a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend, and mostly a better daughter of God. (And I want "One More Angel in Heaven" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat sung at my funeral in full twang!) 

Friday, March 1, 2013

My dear cousin

*Disclaimer, I took these pictures off of her FB page, and my email. I think most of these pictures are the work of the wonderful Claudine Cable.*

I started this yesterday, but had a hard time finishing it. . .I am sitting here as tears trickle down my face. This isn’t the first time I have cried today, or this week, really there have been many tears shed for the last several weeks.  Almost 6 weeks ago I got a late night phone call from my parents. You know, the “oh no what happened” late night phone calls. My dad tearfully explained that my cousin, Cherie, whom had been battling cancer for four years, was told by the medical professionals that there was nothing else they could do for her. She asked if she had a year left, they told her no. She asked if she had months left, they told her no. She asked if she had weeks left, and they told her if she was lucky.
Here she is, this past summer, with her youngest daughter.

For those 6 weeks my family and I have been sick. There was no way I was going to expose her to any germs that might take any days away from the time she had left with her family. So I cried as I sent an email, not knowing what to say. I wonder if she ever got it.
Right in front, life of the party!!

Finally we are getting over all of our illnesses so yesterday I ventured to my grandma’s and visited with my grandma and aunt.  My aunt told me that Cherie was sleeping most of the day. She didn’t think it would be much longer. She did mention that the younger you are, the longer you tend to hold on.
As I was getting ready for the day today I thought about that. I wondered if you hold on when you are young because you are scared, because you have a life left unfinished. I can imagine a young child being okay with a new adventure more than a mid-life adult. I cried again as I wondered who would be waiting there for her. I knew my grandpa would, and I am sure that her grandparents on the other side would welcome her back as well.

Cherie and my amazing aunt (her mom) both breast cancer warriors. I have another aunt and cousin whom have been inspirations as they battled as well.

Cherie died this afternoon. I sat and reflected on the memories that I have of my amazing, wonderful and loving cousin. Cherie is the one that always came up to me at family gatherings and made sure that I felt welcome. My cousins all grew up around each other, my family lived out of state. I loved it when I moved to Utah and got to know my Utah cousins better. Yet sometimes I felt left out. Sometimes I didn’t feel like I fit in. Cherie always came up and talked to me. She and I related on so many levels. She was older, wiser, more beautiful, and just had a lot to share with me.

I love this picture! She is talking with her niece. Always interested in everyone's life, and always ready to hand out great advice.

One of my most precious memories of Cherie was when my grandpa was near the end of his life. He was at a care facility and I found myself there as much as possible. There were a lot of others that came often also, but I almost always found Cherie there. I loved visiting with her. There was one particular moment near the very end when my grandma was lovingly caring for my grandfather. She whispered, in that quiet sacred moment. "Look at that. They have taken care of each other for most of their lives." The room became a very sacred space. Heaven was close
I am sure that Cherie’s room was quiet the same way near the end of her life. I feel sorry for myself that I couldn’t be a part of it. I know that whenever I think of her, for the rest of my life, I will offer a little prayer of gratitude up to heaven—grateful that I got to know her, and be mentored by her. I was mentored in the art of motherhood. She is an amazing mother. I know she will continue to be an amazing mother on the other side. Her children might not see her, but I know they will be influenced by her. She offered so many tips on parenting. I’m sure it was natural to her, and she didn’t know that I felt like I was being taught by the master.
Cherie mentored me in the art of being a wife. Cherie and I both married in our later 20’s and married men that had some similar attributes. The way she spoke about her husband was always uplifting and encouraging. She taught me so much about how to be a good wife. I will always be thankful for her advice to never talk bad about your husband to your friends and family. You might get over what you were feeling at that time, but people will always remember what you had said about your spouse.

I LOVE this picture. I love that you can almost hear her infectious laugh. But most of all, that you can see her husband looking at her in adoration! 
I love her so much! I know my grandpa was waiting for her, ready to put her to work. And if all dogs go to heaven, I know her little dog Copper was too!!
I know some say she lost her battle with cancer, I say she just got it right before a lot of us do. She got to graduate from this life a little earlier than some. From what I know of this amazing woman, she passed with flying colors!