The Beginning

Every day, 97 things happen that I am sure someone would get a good laugh at. I may or may not be laughing at them. I had three adorable, manageable kids, then I had Brock, who is now the cutest, most loving 3 year old in the world, at select moments. Brock has a little brother named Blake, in the BTP, (Brockstar Training Program). I am 34 years old, have been married for 13 years, have 5 kids and sing now and then. I like to create, NOT COOK or CLEAN, which is turning out to be a great challenge since I am in charge of a house with 7 PEOPLE! I do love the people, though. Here for you all to laugh at me and with me, is a record of my funny life, the mistakes I make, and the lessons I learn while trying to earn, MY BIG GIRL PANTS.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

All That Really Matters

Well, I have been having an adventure these past few weeks and it was called, "Thyroid Cancer".  This is the incision where they took my thyroid out. My kids say it looks like an old lady's mouth. Because this was a shot to get a good laugh out of all this, I drew the face of my alter-ego, "Grandma Cybil", who is a chain smoker from New Jersey.

Also, Grandma Cybil is a man's lady. I'm sure you got that.

I have had a lot of cool experiences the last few weeks. Among them is the sure knowledge that our Heavenly Father lives and loves us more than we can know here. Rather than muddy that message, I won't talk about anything else, it's all that really matters.

This is How it Goes Down

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Keys to the Wild Side

I have a problem and its name is "I can't find my keys for three days". I usually lose my keys three times a day, but never once for three days. I have looked everywhere and after several heart-felt prayers, with really good life or death reasons about why I need help finding my keys, I have come to the conclusion that the Lord is not going to enable my habit of careless key-keeping anymore. I think he is letting me feel the consequences of irresponsibility. That, or Brock and Blake have magically disappeared them, and not even divine intervention can help me now.

Because losing my keys is a daily occurrence, I have found them in strange places before, like the storage room downstairs, and in the bathroom cupboard with the central vacuum hose. They have been  in the laundry basket and once while being buried in the back yard. But I have gutted and cleaned the entire house. And nothing.

Ok, here is what you are thinking, "Doesn't she have an extra set?" No. I lost it 8 years ago when I first got the dang car and because I had another set I didn't worry about finding them. Plus also I'm dangerous, a rebel. I like living with the thrill of knowing if I lose my keys, it means I don't drive anymore.

But, while I was putting on Brock's jams tonight, I got a lead.  I asked him if he knew where my keys got lost and he said in the berry bush. Then Blake agreed. So I went outside to the berry bush he pointed to and he pantomimed Blake holding the keys over the giant, overgrown bush of some kind and did Blake starting to fall then dropping them in the bush! Knowing I could believe Brock because he is now 4 and trustworthy, at 11:00pm we put the truck lights on the shrub, and I set to work chopping down the bush to find the keys (which will cost $160 to have re-made)!

Now I have an ugly stump in my front yard. And no keys.

What got chopped off.

What is left.

Update: The keys were located this morning in a basket buried in folded little boy pajamas.  I'm sorry, berry bush.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fight-Music of Mine

I was asked to write a song for our Stake Women's Conference on unity and not judging each other. I had been working on a song but I just couldn't get it right. Then one Sunday, I was walking down the hall at church when I passed a woman. My smile was met by her scowl. 
I had heard about this lady from other people. I had heard about how bad her kids were, how they were always in trouble, and about how her life was a mess. As I took in the hateful look she had just given me, I started to say to myself, "What a jerk", but in an instant, before I could even finish the thought, the Spirit whispered to me gently, "What do you think she has been through, to act like that?" And I suddenly knew her life had been very different from mine. I understood that she had been hurt, and hated and that she had not been taught love and kindness the way I had. 

And yet, here she was, at church.

Sister Hinkley once said, "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Amen, Sister Hinkley. We are! 

My testimony is strengthened by the many people who fight their battle with faith. They show up every Sunday, to whatever church they may go to, sick, tired, scared, confused, and hurting, but they show up.

Now, this is what I call a "Bathroom Recording", meaning it sounds like it was recorded in the bathroom, on Garageband, which it was. I hope it's ok anyway.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Gift to Change

A few years ago, I was talking to an older friend about my failings as a mother. I was telling her how I kept screwing up by saying things and acting out of impatience. I told her  how mad I was at myself for not being a better person and how I knew I couldn't go back later and fix things if I ruined someone. Yah, "RUIN SOMEONE!", that is my biggest fear. K, I hate to brag right now, but every one of my babies was an absolutely perfect angel when they got here. I am not kidding. I had THE BEST babies. And THE WORST 3 year olds. So I am pretty sure some of that is my fault.

Anyway, this friend said one of those profound things that I will never forget. She said, "The thing about kids, is they will let go of what you did yesterday. They forgive. So you just do better starting today. Today is when things change." And I said, "But I'm not perfect and I don't know if I can just start being perfect!" Then she said, "Well, if you screw up again, you start over again. Everyday. Until change happens." And that to me, is one of the greatest gifts of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The gift He gave us to change.

These are the scripture clips from the BOM index on CHANGE: Mosiah 5:7 hearts are changed through faith; 27:25 all mankind must be changed from fallen state, to state of righteousness; 5:2 Spirit has wrought mighty change in Benjamin's people; Alma 5:12-13 mighty change wrought in the hearts of Alma and his people; 5:14-26 have ye experience this mighty change in your hearts; 19:33 Lamoni and his household declare their hearts have been changed; Helaman 15:7 repentance brings change of heart; Ether 12:14 faith of Nephi and Lehi wrought change upon Lamanites.

From those references, we are given some great ideas on ways we can change:
1-We can change by having Faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ. Believing that He adores us, that He will take our mistakes if we give them to Him.
2-The Tenderness of the Spirit can change us, we just need to be in places where the Spirit dwells, or create a place where it can.
3-By having enough faith to trust and Obey the Living Prophet.
4-By wanting to change enough that we are willing to Repent, which means: a)We feel sorry, b)We ask the Lord for forgiveness and if serious enough, talk to a Bishop, c)Right the wrong, d)Stop what we were doing.
5-We can change Because of Another Person's Faith, Testimony and Love for us.

No matter how well we are doing, most of us would like to be better in different areas of our life. Some of us have major addictions or habits that are life-threatening. Some of us don't have control of our emotions and tempers. Some of us don't believe in ourselves and our potential. Some of us don't feel like we are contributing enough, or that we are needed. Some of us are selfish. Some of us hurt people's feelings, feel angry, hopeless, depressed, unloved or have no self-discipline. Some of us have made mistakes we are embarrassed of. And the one thing we all have in common, is that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, starting this second, We Can Change.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

True Story

Dear Mom,
'Member when you and Ri were painting that wall chocolate-brown in her room after church? 'Member when we all went upstair to eat dinner? 'Member how me and Bwakey were still in our church clothes with the vests and khaki pants and how your friend came over around then and you guys were talking and Bwakey and me went downstairs to Ri's room and got the CHOCOLATE-BROWN paint and dumped the WHOLE GALLON OUT? That was so cool how we painted the walls and the antique hope chest your mother gave you and the doors and all those clothes and the dresser and Ri's soccer jersey and that was awesome how we had enough paint to paint the carpet and then that was even COOLER when we walked out and made footprints all over! Yah. Fun. I loved how that fancy blue church vest was soaking wet with paint.  'Member how you had to file an insurance claim for $3,500? Oh, the memories. That was a good time, huh, Mom?


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don't Wait for Second Breakfast

Last week, I was in my room for a few minutes. (Yes, this is the beginning of a great story. It is how the egg story begins also.) I had just made some Bran Muffins, which I capitalized because I must say, they are phenomenal. My friend taught me to bake them with sugar on the top and now they are even better with a flaky butter and sugar crust on top.  Hold on, I just want to think about that for a minute.......................oh yeah.

So, the muffins were on the rack, I had eaten 7 while they were hot and they just fell apart like pieces of heaven. I left them out with the butter so when I came back to eat second breakfast it would be easy. Plus also I fed the boys. Actually, they don't eat the muffins. They eat the butter on top of the muffins then crumble them all over the table and on to the floor. I cry a little every time they do it.

I went into my room to stretch out so they would digest faster and I could eat more. (K, before you say, "WHY would she leave those boys out there alone with the butter?", I will tell you I didn't really go in to lay down, I did leave them out, but I got distracted by the 97 things I had to do and the boys had left the kitchen and were busy playing.)

Pretty soon, Brock, who was bathed and beautiful and ready for school, came in. I noticed the dark grease spots on his bum and the back of his shirt where he had been sitting first. Then I noticed the splotches on the the front of his shirt and the butter in his hair. I think it is fair to say he was saturated in saturated fatty margarine.

Of course, when I came out, Blake, who's outfit matched Brock's, also matched Brock's in saturation. Coincidentally, they were the same outfits they wore in the egg episode. The blue Osh Kosh shorts with the turquoise football shirts.  The brand new tub of butter was completely empty except for a few fingerprints. It was on 5 chairs, my curtains, the walls, the floor, the table and them.

This picture doesn't do it justice, I couldn't get everything in the frame. How do you clean up a tub of butter you ask? Dry bath towels my friend, which are probably ruined.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Falling Up, My Reluctant Ascension

In May, you may recall, I finally talked Mister Man into letting me get rid of our satellite.  I have been working on that for years. I talked him into it once and it lasted 2 weeks until he went into a serious depression without SportsCenter. It was so sad I caved. But this time we both felt like the TV was bringing junk into our house that we needed to get out. Even knowing that, I was still scared. It was like falling down the rabbit hole into a new world!

So, I guess this is a post from Wonderland! Which it is. Once I got here,  I kept waiting for some great disastrous fallout, but it never came. The children didn't even really ask for it, they just moved on. They didn't walk in the house, think about the 106 shows recorded on dvr, sit down and fall into the tv coma. They found other things to do.

They read more. They made popsicle stick houses. They played with friends. The little boys spent the entire summer outside with the hose or the baby pool or the bugs. They got out the board games, (or bored games).Then they learned to love playing. We had a tee pee built in the back yard for most of the summer, many leather ipod cases were sewn, and the stuffed animals in our house were better taken care of than any other animals in the world!

We did choose to keep our Netflix account. I have seriously considered getting rid of it though, because even with the parental controls on, you can still see all the categories and descriptions of the movies, which is horrifying in many cases. I just lack the faith that I need to not be able to pull up a Backyardigans episode in an emergency.

So, I locked everything down to PG and became even more of a Nazi about the computer. With a little guidance, they discovered the magic of Bill Cosby. They watched every season like 3 times! Those sneaky kids would slip in and watch the Cosby Show when I wasn't looking! And I loved it, because there is nothing like that anymore! It was real comedy. Not crude bodily function jokes. Not easy sexual-innuendo one-liners. It was creative, positive humor. And it was safe.

Another thing I did not miss about having the TV gone, was the noise. There is so much chaos in my house and life, and my soul needed less noise! There were always a bunch of loud, annoying people that came into our home everyday on the Disney channel and Nickelodeon. So with a wave of my magic wand, the annoying people were suddenly gone. AND I HAVE NOT MISSED THEM!

But I do have a problem. And its name is Football Season. And I fear being vacuumed back out my nice, quiet, safe, rabbit hole. You see,  Dallas Cowboy football is a family tradition here. Every week we have Cowboy treats when Dallas scores. We put up crayon Cowboy pictures on the windows. The kids put on their Cowboy jerseys (although one child is flirting with Cowboy apostasy). And when Dallas loses, just like when he was a boy, our dad has to go to his room, shut the door and shed a few tears.

Since I am not the only adult in the house, I have to give and take with the other adult, to make sure he continues to love me. So we are experimenting. He got one receiver, without tivo. It is a secret, and I have been assured that we can keep it that way. I am told we will take it out and discretely hook it up on game day, then it will slip back into the recesses of our room.  I must admit, it feels like opening that Jumanji game, where all the animals are going to flood out and ruin my world, but we will see!

The good thing is that I know I can live without TV now. And that I love it. Without satellite,  good things have happened in our home, like dad plays basketball with the kids (when its not 108). We are getting homework done easier, and my life it simplified. What that means is that I am making Wonderland my permanent home and I'm only climbing out of my rabbit hole for football season, and other special occasions. Like a Jazz game.

Oh, I am so scared! This is how it begins, isn't it? Falling up.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ode to the Honeysuckle Leaf

Honeysuckle Leaf, Oh Honeysuckle Leaf
I didn't know you could save me such grief
If one were to stop near thee and squat
You fill the need of a relieved, tiny tot

Virtuous, Lovely and of Good Report!

A few times in your life, you get to be a part of something extra-ordinary. We just got back from a Young Women girls' camp that was one of those events.

15 Pirate Girls + 10 Pirate Leaders = A Pirate Camp Miracle

Pirate Flags, Pirate Chests, Pirate Games, 12th Pirate Article of Faith, Pirate Shirts, Pirate Bags, Pirate Socks, Pirate Nails, Pirate Skits..........
Horseback Riding 
(thanks to this cute girl, her mom-the camp leader, and the recipe book fundraiser.)
The Ghost of Pirate Camp Present (Notice the gift bow on top)
Smells like.....Butterscotch? Bishop found the good stuff later, the "Gin" tree.
We found this lovely senorita digging holes on the beach and singing.
                                              If the log rolls over we will die, we will die.......
The Values Walk. 
The girls followed a treasure map where they found each leader who gave a 5 minute talk about a personal experience with a value, then they gave the girls a "treasure" for their booty bag. It was a highlight of the week, (because our leaders are NOT boring).
Leader Arm Wrestling Tournament. 
I did not win. One leader (El Presidente), was in her underwear. I almost had an accident.
 The scrappy baby beehive. I wanted to kiss her face off.
The oldest girl, (my dear, dear graduated Laurel), and the youngest girl, (my dear, dear daughter), sharing a boat-ride in the hammock. She promised me last summer she would come to camp (even though she graduated), so my daughter could be around her. She kept her promise. And I love her.

This was the most well put together girl's camp I have ever seen. There were so many events worthy of note, the Blind Walk, the Leader Skit, the Night Games, the Value Walk, the YW Skits, the Horseback Riding, the Bryce Canyon Hike, the Food.....I could write a post about each one. But the simple moment I will never forget, was the girls sitting at the tables practicing "Guardians of Virtue", a song they would sing Sunday in sacrament when they reported on camp. These fifteen teenagers left their ipods, cellphones, friends, boys and families to be where their Heavenly Father asked them to be.  As they were singing, the Spirit filled the camp like a blanket. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. "Through virtue we find the power divine, that can change the world! We are Guardians of Virtue, we stand for what is right. We are beacons of His love, pointing others to His light. Walking in the paths of holiness, we seek the temple's peace, and become who he wants us to be." 

The leaders were crying, the girls were crying, and I was sure, the angels were crying.

My sweet girls, Virtuous, Lovely, and of Good Report.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

36 Eggs


There really isn't anything to say, except I wish this was a scratch and sniff screen. By the end I was almost throwing up from the smell.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Warden Wanted

I am just not sure sure if I am going to make it.

Yesterday, Brock filled up the four-wheeler with water, again. The week before, he and Blake filled up the four-wheeler AND the lawnmower with the hose.

Today, we took the kids to Chili's. They were blowing straw wrappers at each other. Brock, who was standing next to me, picked an empty wrapper off the table, put it in his mouth, turned around, and spit in into the long curly dark hair of the young lady sitting in the booth behind me. In shame, I gasped, jumped around to wipe up the slobbery straw wrapper as it sludged down the back of her seat and her hair.

Earlier this month, I got to clean 36 eggs off the kitchen floor one day, then 7 more three days later.

The older kids are fighting. The little kids are crying. The house is a mess. It's 109 degrees outside, and some of the kids are running fevers.

This week, Whitley gave Blake a giant cup of grape juice, which he spilled all over the carpet when he tripped.

He also wiped an entire cube of butter on three of the chairs, the table and the floor.

Brock squeezed out the glitter glue on the den carpet, not in the form of a picture.

Blake was under water for a brief amount of time, under suspicious circumstances.

The top of Blake's pinky toe and entire toenail got scraped off outside. We don't know how, he didn't cry.

I hesitate to tell any more stories, lest anyone think I am raising a herd of feral children, and call the authorities.

I still have 6 weeks of summer, which is great, except...........

I just don't know if I am going to make it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bugs, Sunburns and Heaven

I am the "Finder" of the Rollie Pollies, you are the "Getter", got it? I don't want to touch the bugs. I have to touch enough stuff I don't want to.

Do you think we will be held accountable for all the Rollie Pollie lives that have been lost at your hands? As I was digging up the rocks during our hunt today, I thought a lot about that. But the value of the time you consume collecting them made me justify the possibility, so the hunts will continue.

I am not as worried about the loss of the lives of the ants, however. I figure if you don't kill them with the hammer, Bill the Bugman will spray them anyway. Either way, they will die.

My favorite quote by you this week was when you were in your boots and cowboy hat, standing next to the toilet and said,"Someone poisoned the waterhole!"

I was wondering if you and Blake could just keep some kind of clothes on so the neighbors don't yell at you again. Everyday, 4, 5, pair of shorts all over the lawn next to the baby pool. You're going to get a sunburn on your (wee-nis).

And next time we drive past the house you just walked in where the guy was screaming, "GET OUT! GET OUT OF HERE!" and you came running home in a panic, crying, let me know so I can apologize.

I loved laying on the grass with you today, snuggling and laughing after our bug hunt while you told me about the world as you know it. I love your snake lisp where your tongue comes all the way out past your teeth when you talk. I love how you love me SOOO much, and how you want me to do everything with you. I am so lucky to be your mom.

Last night at the table, you told us all how Heavenly Father lives in the clouds and you get to pet the lion cubs there. You asked me once if you could go there and see them. I told you one day you could, but for now, I needed you here with me. You are just the little boy I wanted.

I love you bubby.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day Poem/Idea

I know it's a little late to post this idea for a Father's Day lesson, but I will anyway, in case you run last minute like I do! I was asked to write something for something some year......this was it.

North Star
Loni Stookey

When a Father teaches, Sometimes it seems,
the little one has quite different dreams,
But when His young one goes afar,
The Father's Lessons are his child's North Star.

I think our ward had giant star shapes cookies made to hand out to the men in the ward with this tied to the top. You could buy big wood stars and have kids paint them then write the things they love about their dad on them.  Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sometimes Tatoos Might Be OK

My 9 year old son came home from Jumping Jacks (indoor bounce houses), yesterday with a giant tatoo of a skull, snakes, swords and other annoying things surrounding it. It was huge and I was not a fan. I asked him to work on getting it off. This morning he came in to my room in his robe and said, "Look Mom, It's almost off." He had been working on scratching it off all night and this morning. He is a good boy, isn't he? I said "Oh, thank you Trevor, You are such a good kid." When Trevor was baptized, I explained to him that the reason we get baptized is that we are joining Jesus' team. We devote our life to Him, serve Him and do what He asks us to do. We talked about this again and then Trev said, "Yah.......I think if I get a real tatoo," and he motioned down the length of his arm from shoulder to wrist to show me where the real tatoo would go, "it will say something like, 'I know my Savior lives' or  'Choose the Right'." After thinking about this for a few minutes, I have decided to consent to said tatoos, just so he never forgets either one of those two things.

PS. If I ever get a tatoo, it will be on my forehead, and it will say, "Not the Maid."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rollie Pollie Respect

As I was wiping up the dis-membered Rollie Pollie from my kitchen counter today, I thought about a story a friend told me this week about his child-hood housekeeper who found a tupperware of grasshoppers he had put in the fridge as a small boy. She opened the lid and screamed as they tried to jump out. His mother came running, and he went hiding. As he snuck closer to find out how much trouble he was going to be in, he heard her say to the housekeeper, "Well, isn't that the sweetest thing!"

My friend went on to say that his mother was always on his side. She always believed in him, supported him and cheered him on. That was a great lesson for me this week. I get upset with my older kids when they make a mistake because I think they should know better. A lot of the time, I am more worried about what the world around us will think or how that mistake has put me out. But if my kids grow up and don't feel loved and respected and accepted, I really won't care what anyone else thinks, I'll just regret not loving them more.

So, this is what I am going to work on: A) Making sure my kids know I believe in them, and that I am on their side and  B) I'm trying really hard to not talk to them with a "that was stupid" tone in my voice, which is so disrespectful, and so easy to do.

Yep, that was a good lesson for me.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Leave It Alone - Lessons on Forgiveness

Elder Ballard recently told a story in conference about a doctor who delivered a baby, saving the life of the mother and child. The overworked doctor had been spread thin through the country-side, and had been beckoned from the home of a diseased patient, arriving just in time. Mother and baby were thought to be safe. A few days later, however, the mother contracted the disease of the person whose home the doctor had come from, the young mother died.

Full of hate and anger, the husband vowed to put the doctor out of practice, seeking justice for his loss. A wise Stake President came to the man and said, "John, Leave it alone. Nothing you do about it will bring her back. Anything you do will make it worse."

Elder Ballard talked about how if this happened today, the man would have been pushed to file a mal-practice lawsuit, but following the council of his spiritual leader, he dropped action against the man. Elder Ballard said it wasn't until the man became old that he could finally see the other side of the situation. A poor doctor, overworked and under paid, had been strung from house to house, and had been fervently trying to save life wherever he could.

In May of 1978, just 18 months after I entered the world, my little sister, LaVonne, was born. My mother says she had thick, dark hair and had been beautiful. On that same day, she died.

I used to think about her almost every day. We were dear friends in my mind. When I pictured her, she looked just like Lyndsi Housekeeper and was just as sweet. I would ask Heavenly Father to tell her "Hi" when I would say my prayers, and every May 4th, I still wish she was here.

One year, maybe on her birthday, I called my mom. We talked and she told me about LaVonne again. I asked her what happened, how come she didn't live. Mom told me the baby had developed abnormally. Her legs were joined together, her head was enlarged and she had internal problems. I asked if there was a diagnosis. She said the hospital did an autopsy of some kind and it was determined that at around 5 weeks after conception, something had happened to effect the growth of the fetus.

Mom went on to tell me how early in the pregnancy, she had gotten sick and couldn't get in to see her doctor. An appointment was made to see a different doctor. The young man was just out of school. He had come to town and joined the practice. She told him she was pretty sure she was pregnant. He prescribed some medicine for her illness and she left.

I asked mom how come she didn't sue the doctor. I think I said something classy like, "We could have been rich!" My wise mother replied, "I didn't care about being rich. That wouldn't have brought her back, and it would have ruined his life. He was a young father with a young family, and I couldn't hurt him. It was an accident."

I don't think the doctor has any idea about my family's loss or the sacrifice offered when my parents chose to forgive him. I didn't even know who he was until one day when I got very sick and went in to see someone. A sweet aged man gently checked me over. He lovingly listened to me, took some tests, and said, "You are one sick girl." I was so sick, and needed to feel taken care of. Like no other doctor has, he did. He gave me some anti-biotics, then proudly introduced me to his beautiful medical assistant, who happened to be his daughter. She was sweet and sympathetic and I thought about how he must be a great dad.

When I called my mom later that day and told her I had been to the doctor, she told me he was the young man she had seen all those years before. I think perhaps the Lord was allowing me to see the fruit of my parent's forgiveness. How many lives had been blessed by this kind man?

I don't know the effect a lawsuit would have had on a small town doctor in 1978, but I know my parents thought it could have ruined his career, so they chose to "Leave it alone." My parents, who were only the age I am now, buried their baby. And while they grieved and struggled, they silently allowed his family to be blessed.

In "Standing for Something", President Hinckley talks about our litigious society. Even outside of court, we hold each other to the fire for mistakes we make. I am often an idiot, I offend people all the time by accident, (and impatience). It is a terrible feeling and I am so grateful when someone has the grace to forgive me.

In Young Women's this week we were asked how you let someone know how you feel about them. We brought up the point that sometimes, you don't. Ultimately, our goal is to have Christlike love for everyone. Perhaps instead of telling someone the bad things we don't like about them, we should be praying to be able to see some good things we can love about them, and we should ask for help to forgive them.

It seems like everyday I find myself with the need to be forgiven and in a position to give forgiveness. One of my Big Girl Pants goals is to master the principle of forgiveness. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior said, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you."

The Atonement allows us to hand our hurt over to the the Lord, even when someone isn't asking for forgiveness and even when they aren't sorry. When the offender or the offended wont participate, our partner in forgiveness has to be the Savior. We will have justice, those who have not sought forgiveness in this world will feel the pain of their actions in the next. But we can find peace now.  The Savior has paid to take our sins and our pain and provided a way for us to be free, move on, and "Leave It Alone."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Loving Rilee

When I was first married, I had a friend who told me when her daughter was three, she didn't like her. I had never had a 3 year old daughter, but I knew everything about everything and was shocked. What a horrible thing for her to say!

Soon after, I had my first child. A beautiful, perfect, happy girl. I can say without batting an eye, that I was the best mother of one child below the age of three that there has ever been.

Then two things happened:  I had my second child, and my daughter turned three. My perfection soon fell down around my neck, and it choked me, and I have never thought I was a perfect mother since.

Heavenly Father has a good sense of humor, doesn't he? I often find myself having experiences that I once judged someone else for. This was one of those.

For the first time in my life, I had a very strong willed, creative, smart, difficult 3 year old, and I was having a hard time. She will tell you a sad story about me slapping her face once when she was three. Don't call the police, but I did. She was freaking out, screaming hysterically, and I, the once perfect mother of one baby, had been consoling and bribing and soothing her (I can't remember the cause of the fit), for a half hour while she flipped and flopped and screamed in my face. Finally I just slapped her to shock her out of it. I know better now, today, I would just take her to her room, shut the door, and wait until she calmed down. But at that point, the whole world revolved around her and separation didn't even occur to me. Those days were stressful, I just didn't know what to do.

I remember thinking one day, that if I poured enough love on her, my heart and her heart would have to change.  I think that was one of those moments of inspiration that if you trust and follow, everything changes. I started having dates with her very young. I taught her how to bat and throw a ball. I pitched to her on our front lawn every day for months. If she hit the ball over the neighbors low wall, it was a home-run and she would sprint around the baseball diamond of shoes while I clapped and cheered. It really was a "Fake it Till you Make it" situation. We learned the alphabet and sounds by stacking ABC blocks, and I read a billion books to her.

Looking back, I think that was one of the hardest times of my life as a mother, having a new baby and a three year old, for the first time. Your hormones are changing, you are getting into a groove with the new baby, and you have a three year old, who understands what you say, but has no desire to DO what you say.

That inspiration to pour more love on her was the trick. Once we had that fun, one on one relationship, she was more likely to do what I asked her to do. I have to keep that in check with everyone of my kids still.

Today, my Rilee is one of the most amazing people I know. Without a doubt, we were best friends in heaven and asked the Father to come here together. We are from the same mold, she is more like me than anyone I know, but better.

This morning, on our way to school she told me she was not eating at the school BBQ. I asked her if she packed a lunch. She said no. Then she told me she was hungry because she hadn't eaten breakfast either, "What?" I said, "You can't go clear to the end of school without eating!" Then I remembered her little friend that is in Primary Children's Hospital waiting for a new heart. "Are you fasting?" I asked, she just nodded. She has never fasted before.

We have had some hard times, that girl and I, but we hold hands and go through them together. There may come a time when she lets go, but I am going to follow her around, throwing love dust on her head, until she reaches back for me again. Remind me of that later, ok?

I trust her. I respect her. I ask her advice. I admire her. I need her, and I am strengthened by her. Being Rilee's mother has been one of the great privileges of my life.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Letter of Resignation - Warning, Graphic Mental Images

Dear Brock,
There is a really good chance one of us is not going to make it today. Can you tell me what could be so much fun about poo that you felt like you needed to take the Witch skiing in it? And why you wanted to walk through it and track it all over the deck? Can you tell me what the motivation was behind the poo frosting you put on the two airports and jumbo plane?

When I put you in the tub, I had to scrape it out of your toe nails. Blake was carrying a felt horse when you both came in, I just threw away. Then I had to put him in the tub with you because your poop was all over his hands and on his face. It is just more than I can take.

I got you out, and went to clean the deck. It wasn't as bad as I expected, until you showed me where the actual scene of the crime was. It was caked in the deep wood grain, smashed between the planks, and wiped on the screen door. After the scrubbing, I was on my way back inside and noticed you also got the big window, again. I just don't understand. Is it art?

Also, did you HAVE to give Radar the Dog a lotion bath today? Why? Why would you do that?

As if this wasn't enough, you ran all the way down to the turtles, twice. One time you took Blake, one time you were completely naked. The weenie bird is going to get you if you are not careful. I am tired of hiking down after you Brock, therefore, I am giving my notice.

I quit as the poop checker and the turtle toddler retriever. You are going to have to find someone else.  I'm staying on as your mom, that is my favorite job EVER, but I am am rewriting my job description.

Ironically, during your 3 prayers at dinner tonight, you said, "Bless that mom and daddy won't run away," "Bless that mom and dad be nice," and "Bless that we'll have a good time." Heavenly Father hears you Brock, you are definitely having a good time.

Your Tired Mother

PS. On a good note, thanks for the big smiles, being the happiest guy ever and telling me you "love me more." You are a good boy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"How Did a Nice Girl Like Me Get Into a Mess Like This?"

I have a handout from a YW lesson sitting in my kitchen. It is a quote by President Bensen that says, "Some of the greatest battles you will ever face will be fought within the silent chambers of your own soul." One of those battles for me is that I am extremely hard on myself. This week I have had this really mean list of all things I am failing at repeating through my mind. Because I am creative, it gets longer every day. I just added Brock's cavity to my list. 

The adversary knows me well. He knows if he can get me discouraged enough, it will slow me down. Sometimes it has worked, because I couldn't see where these feelings were coming from. But you all know, I have made a resolve to fight back, so I pulled up all of Jeffrey R. Holland's conference videos, looked for some good music, and found the words of Sister Marjorie Hinkley. I just wanted to share a few things I found, in case you need a lift also.

This is one of my favorite performances, ever: 

And you for sure need to hear this:

I was so grateful to find these quotes compiled by from Sister Marjorie Hinkley. She just makes you feel ok about not being perfect:

"How did a nice girl like me get into a mess like this?"
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautiful tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk's lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my nails from helping weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheek and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived. " 
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” - Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley (Small and Simple Things)

"The thing about growing old is that when you wake up with a new pain, you can just about count on it becoming a permanent part of your life!"
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"The trouble with the world and the trouble with you and me is that we don't love each other enough. And if we do, we don't bother to show it, or we don't bother to say it. If the world is to know love, it has to be in your heart and in mine."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley (Small and Simple Things)

"With intellectual curiosity the world will always be full of magic and wonder."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"Just Save the Relationship"
Sis's Hinckley's advice to her grandaughter when she needed to know what to do about the fits her daughter was throwing.
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!"
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"Home is where you are loved the most and act the worst."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

 "The trick is to enjoy life. 
Don't wish away your days,
waiting for better ones ahead.
The grand and the simple.
They are equally wonderful."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"We are all in this together. We need each other. Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young, and hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old...We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other. These friendships are a necessary source of sustenance. We need to renew our faith every day. We need to lock arms and help build the kingdom so that it will roll forth and fill the whole earth."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"I know it is hard for you young mothers to believe that almost before you can turn around the children will be gone and you will be alone with your husband. You had better be sure you are developing the kind of love and friendship that will be delightful and enduring. Let the children learn from your attitude that he is important. Encourage him. Be kind. It is a rough world, and he, like everyone else, is fighting to survive. Be cheerful. Don't be a whiner."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley (Small and Simple Things)

"Be a Mother who is committed to loving her children into standing on higher ground than the enviroment surrounding them.
Mother's are endowed with a love that is unlike any other love on the face of the earth."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have
to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is
comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying
to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"As we got closer to marriage, I felt completely confident that Gordon loved me. But I also knew somehow that I would never come first with him. I knew I was going to be second in his life and that the Lord was going to be first. And that was okay. It seemed to me that if you understood the gospel and the purpose of our being here, you would want a husband who put the Lord first."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"...the beautiful thing--perhaps the thing I love most about the gospel-- is that everything we learn we can use and take with us and use it again. No bit of knowledge goes wasted. Everything you are learning now is preparing you for something else. Did you know that? What a concept!"
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley (Small and Simple Things)

"There are some years in our lives that we would not want to live again. But even these years will pass away, and the lessons learned will be a future blessing."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"Think about your particular assignment at this time in your life. It may be to get an education, it may be to rear children, it may be to be a grandparent, it may be to care for an relieve the suffering of someone you love, it may be to do a job in the most excellent way possible, it may be to support someone who has a difficult assignment of their own. Our assignments are varied and they change from time to time. Don't take them lightly. Give them your full heart and energy. Do them with enthusiasm. Do whatever you have to do this week with your whole heart and soul. To do less than this will leave you with an empty feeling."
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley (Small and Simple Things)

Have a great week, let's all just keep trying!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Other Mother

Sometimes, I am a really big cruise ship-size brat. Like, a dinosaur size brat. If I am hungry I don't even notice if I hurt your feelings. Or if I am hot or people are publicly waiting for me. Or if your business has really bad customer service. I am learning to have more composure in stressful situations, but I am still growing up, and can sometimes act 14.

Perhaps the person I have been the biggest brat to, is now one of my most favorite people in the world.  My Other Mother, ie. my Mother-in-Law.

When Bob and I were first married, my Mother-in-Law was, competition, I guess. Bob would talk to her several times a day and it made me crazy.

When I had my first baby, she came to our little condo to help. I was so mad! Our perfect little family turned into my husband becoming her son again, and her wanting to take my new baby so I could sleep. How dare she?! This is all so embarrassing to admit. All I could see was how she was trying to take over everything. I'm sure I was perfectly unbearable.

Later on, if we ever left our kids with her, I would type out four pages on "The Proper Care and Feeding of My Children". I am sure she tried to follow all my instructions, even though she had four children, seven other grand children, tons of nephews and nieces, and knew how to feed and bathe everyone of them!  How wretched I must have been.

In my mind, I came up with a list of her "Mother Faults".  If Bob did something wrong or annoying, I blamed her for raising him wrong. I looked for things to be irritated by, excuses for me to not like her. (This is still embarrassing.)

But through all my judging and complaint compiling, she was always serving me, accepting me, trying to figure out how to love me, and giving me room to make mistakes while I was growing up as a mother and a daughter.

That was a gift I will never be able to repay her for. She never talked about me to others, even though she could have made me out to be the worst Daughter-In-Law EVER! I never felt like she and her three daughters were complaining or gossiping about me. At family gatherings, which I didn't want to go to, I  didn't ever feel like the aunts, uncles or cousins were judging me because of things they had been told. They loved me, because they thought she loved me!

Bob's mom gave me an environment where I was free to make mistakes, learn and grow-up. Because of how she handled me, I didn't have a reputation I had to fight when my heart started to change. I was free to become different than I was. She parented her children with respect, and trusted that they would do the right things. She also parented me that way.

It honestly was like 10 years of constant, unwavering love and service. I don't know how she had the will to keep spending time with me! But she stayed her course. And eventually, my feelings toward her started to change.

Bob's mom has that quality where each one of her grandchildren is pretty sure that they are her favorite. They would each have a really good case if it came to a debate. She is 78 and going through Chemotherapy right now. But Friday, she had her chemo treatment, got in the car, drove to Payson, picked up Bob's sister, then drove to St. George so she could spend the weekend watching my kids play soccer. They took the babies to the park and to the pond to feed the ducks, went to two soccer games, and played all day. Bob's mom and sister won't even go shopping or play with me while they are here, they just want to spend every second they are here with the kids. While Grandma Stookey is here, she folds clothes, cleans up the kitchen, and runs circles around me. And I have grown to adore her.

12 years have passed since I had that first baby. When I go out of town, I won't go until she and Bob's amazing sister, (who cries when she has to leave my kids), can watch them. (I don't leave instructions anymore.) They never make me feel like I am putting them out. His whole family makes all of my 5 kids feel loved and welcome  no, wanted. They are never a burden, and that is such a blessing to me.  When my mother-in-law got cancer this year, I started thinking, "Oh no! What have I done? I have wasted all these years when I should have been learning from her."

Like Ruth Loved Naomi, I have learned to love Barbara.  She is the strongest person I know. She has the gift of forgiveness. She has the gift of love. She doesn't judge, and when I have no one else I can talk to, I can confide in her.

In the early years, the one thing that would cause bad feelings between Bob and I were where we were going to spend holidays. When holidays come now, I want to be with Bob's family as much as he does. I love talking to his mom on the phone. I want my kids to spend time with her and to be taught by her. I see that most of the great qualities I love about my husband came from her. She is one of my dearest friends.

This Mother's Day, I am celebrating two mother's. My first dear mother, Rosalin, who made me so smart, and My Other Mother, Barbara, who made me smart-er. How I love them both.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Poo", A word I would NEVER say before I had kids.

"Mom! Mom! Mahhhhhhhhm!" (Yelling, finally he slaps my leg)
"Brock! Don't hit me! That hurts!"(Angry Eyes by me)
"Mom! Go get in you bed! I want to hold you and you tho comfortable! I want to thnuggle you! My tummy is tho thleepy and I want to take a nap!"
Well, I'm not going to walk away from an opportunity like that, so I take something  to the office and make my way back to my room where Brock is standing with his arms and legs apart blocking the entrance to the living room, hurding me like a cow into my room.
"Go, Go! I want to take a nap!"
So here we are, Thnuggling.

Blake graduated to level 3 of the Brockstar Training Program this month. I found him, alone, on my kitchen counter naked. I had just gotten him out of the tub, he had pooped on the counter, and was cutting it up with my knives.

He has an obsession with markers right now.  Some how, he keeps finding them. Today, his face and hands are Oompa Loompa orange. Two nights ago he realized he could climb out of his crib. The world as I know it is about to start spinning faster, I'm afraid. We let him hang in the room and whine for until he fell asleep. When we checked on him in the morning, he had found a blue marker. This is what happens:

Trevor just came in to my Thnuggling party and said, "Mom, did you know Brock smeared poo on the window?" No, I did not know that. Unfortunately, I just washed ALL the windows two days ago and it's only an annual event.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Help! Help!

My life is pretty much consumed right now by my children. So are my prayers! Each child has such different struggles we are trying to help them with. Sometimes we just have no idea what to do for them, so we are quickly learning to go to the one who does. I can't tell you how many times I have said, "Father, you made them, tell me what to do!" and I can't tell you how many times I have been given simple answers, in quiet ways, that made the difference.

For the last month I have been pretty worried about one of my kids. I have prayed more than I ever have for a child, asking for insights and ways to help them. Last week, I was trying to find an answer in the scriptures, needing one of "those" moments, when "D&C" popped in my head and I thought, "That's funny, I don't really like D&C and I am probably making that up, but I'll turn just in case." So I just flipped to the back of my quad. Immediately, babies woke up, started their daily destruction and wanted food. I read two verses quick, had no idea what they said and went to shut the book when that so still voice in my mind said, "Wait, what if the answer really is right here?" So I sat back down and started reading from some verse Bob had highlighted in his scriptures. As I took the time to concentrate, my Heavenly Father was able to teach me and help me parent. I cried off and on the entire day.

We are all facing the same problem as we raise our kids in this world, being slammed by the influence of the adversary. We don't listen to a lot of popular music at our house because there is so much sexual innuendo in everything. But my kids come home singing the songs because they play them on the bus to school. We are fighting inappropriate internet ads, even if we have filters. So many commercials are offensive to the spirit and even some of the shows on Disney and Nickelodeon have 12 year olds dating and kissing.  Trevor keeps saying, "Mom! How come they have Thor on the kid's meal when it is PG 13 and kids aren't even supposed to watch it?!" The world it blurring out all the lines of propriety. We are so flooded by images of violence and suggestive material, we can't see how wrong they are anymore, we don't even notice them.

But the Lord is aware of what is going on here. This is part of what I read that (tearful!) morning last week:

"And now, Holy Father, we ask thee to assist us, thy people, with thy grace...that thy glory may rest down upon thy people, and upon this thy house, which we now dedicate to thee, that it may be sanctified and consecrated to be holy, and that thy holy presence may be continually in this house: And that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord's house may feel constrained to acknowledge that thou hast sanctified it, and it is thy house....and that they may grow up in thee, and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost...and no unclean thing shall be permitted to come into thy house to pollute it...And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them...that no weapon formed against them shall prosper....That no combination of wickedness shall have power to rise up and prevail over thy people...and if they shall smite this people thou wilt smite them: thou wilt fight for thy people as thou didst in the day of battle, that they may be delivered from the hands of all their enemies."

This is part of section 109, the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. How many times have we been told our homes and bodies are temples also? I have to be honest, when my kids go to bed, Bob and I stay up and watch shows, on regular networks, that we would NEVER let our kids watch. Because we think we can handle them. I had a bishop tell us there is no way we should let the spirit of those shows into our homes, even if the kids are not watching them. The adversary is just too real.

Rats! I feel like that's a lot to give up! But I was singing Saturday at our Stake Women's conference and when it was over, the Stake RS presidency brought me a frame that said, "The Stookey House" at the top. Then it says, "A house of Prayer, a house of Fasting, a house of Faith, a house of Learning, a house of Glory, a house of Order, a house of God. D&C 109.8. And I cried again because I know my Heavenly Father is paying attention to me. I think He knows I will try to do whatever He asks me to do.  For us, I think He means we need to get rid of the TV for now.

HELP! HELP! It's almost summer and I have 5 kids and I'm getting rid of my TV!  But last night I walked in and the kids were watching a discovery channel type show about a girl that got kidnapped, raped and murdered!


I guess He is, isn't He?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Things I am Not Going to Miss -Part 2 (and some that I will)

More complaining.......spills, purposeful dumping, hitting each other, take home reading books, science fair projects, people dragging food through the house, all my furniture slimed all the time (wait, when I get my own web cast, that is going to be the title, "Slimed All the Time".  Everything is gross, the walls, the furniture, the fridge, the floor, the table, the door jams, the windows, my clothes, the light switches, the door handles, the glass panes on my hutch, the toilet seat, the side of the tub, the tv, the vcr, the carpet, the toys, the car.....Slimed All the Time.)

I am not going to miss everyone's junk in my room, or Brock dumping out the laundry soap, the chocolate milk mix, or the garlic salt. I'm not going to miss changing diapers or feeding people or kids throwing the pillows and cushions off the couch. And I am ready for the bed wetting to stop.

But I am going to miss the minute I get my 2 year old out of bed when his face is hot and he smells like lotion and baby morning breath. Oh, it's like Christmas every day for one minute. I kiss his squishy cheeks, and when I say kiss, I mean I bury my whole face in one of his cheeks and I kiss and kiss and kiss him and close my eyes while I inhale him. I know, sounds a little creepy. He does this funny thing where he pulls his jaw forward so his teeth are straight up and down and he makes this hilarious strained face, then he closes his eyes and puts one of them on my nose. I don't know why. But we both love it and melt into each other. I feel bad for everyone else in the world. Yah, I'm going to miss that. 

I'm also going to miss watching them play 
soccer, volleyball, tennis, golf, dancing, singing and playing the cello. I'm going to miss how they all climb on my lap still. I am going to miss sitting around the table talking at dinner (I won't miss cooking the dinner or the dinner fights over chairs, though). I am going to miss being the most important person in the world to 5 people. Nobody in the world is loved more than I am. I am going to miss being the first one they want to tell about all the great things in their lives and the first one they want when something bad happens. I will miss Bob making no-bake cookies and them jumping up every 2 minutes to see if they are set up yet. I'm going to miss the screams coming from my room during Sunday Night Wrestling with Dad. I'm going to miss their little voices and that innocent way they look at things they have never seen before with wonder and awe. I'm going to miss Lenny the Leprechaun, Easter baskets, Christmas Eve and having my 
very own monsters on Halloween. I am going to miss Brock climbing into my bed while it is still dark and falling back asleep while he is laying on me. I am going to miss Whitley's confident little laugh and wit and how her feet turn in and she runs so cute. I am going to miss Trevor's innocence and naive goodness and how purely beautiful he is. I am going to miss Rilee calling me every day from school to chat it up and how she puts flowers next to my bed everyday after school. I am going to miss watching them all play at the river, and Rilee figuring out how to skimboard. I'll miss their little kid giggles and how they are positive I make the best Snicker Doodles in the world. I am going to miss watching them barrel down the giant water slide and when they laugh with each other. I am going to miss round squishy faces, button noses and long eyelashes. I'm going to cry when Brock stops the "I love you more" battles, he really thinks he does! I am going to miss playing "Down By the Bank" after we have family scriptures and prayers. 

 I am going to miss them.

But I am NOT going to miss making them clean the house.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

You Can't Be a Beauty Queen Forever

Once upon a time, I was a princess. A real princess, as in the Washington City Princess. It's ok if you didn't know, I don't wear my crown anymore. And I guess I thought for that reason I was going to be something really special, and different and maybe famous. Which by most standards, I am not. I am a stay at home Mormon Mom in Utah, like every other girl (Yes, GIRL) in my neighborhood.  But alas, here I am in the sweats I went running in this morning, dishes on the counter, toast and gum wrappers on the floor, being Not Famous. Instead, I chose BABIES!

I love babies and I am really GOOD at babies. Even my first one was easy like cake for me. Three year olds, not so much.  But those first years of motherhood and wife-ness were really hard for me for other reasons. A cute young friend of ours was over the other day with her two little boys and I spun back to that time in my life.

I remember being at a softball tournament watching Bob when my oldest daughter was just a baby. I had spent the entire day watching him play softball, and probably the night before, and probably the thursday before for league night and also that tuesday before for co-ed. We were walking behind one of the fields in between games that night and I was crying and said, "What am I doing here? My life has completely changed. I dropped out of college, left my performing group, quit as Miss SUU, gave up my scholarship, moved into YOUR condo, left my friends at college and gave up everything I had to get married!" Poor Bob. I'm sure he had no idea what to do for me.  But he didn't understand because he had the same job, the same friends, the same house, the same hobbies and the only thing that had changed in his life was I was conveniently located in his condo  and spent his money (and all his trophies had been taken out of his bedroom.) Suddenly, I wasn't special anymore, and I had no idea what I was doing!

My life had become this new blank canvas with only a baby and a husband painted on it, and I had to figure out what else to add. But most of the things that were on my old canvas couldn't be put on my new one. So I got creative in my search for paint. I tried selling Mary Kay to see if that was my calling. For 6 months I was going to be a millionaire.  I started a band. I tried sewing. I taught kids modeling classes.  I built a house. I decorated it. I had more kids. I learned how to play the piano. I built some more stuff. I jumped into a hundred church projects. I took night classes.  I had more kids. I started writing music. I taught my kids to read. I sold baby stuff at the Dicken's Festival. I taught tiny kids dance. I took guitar lessons. I volunteered with the Foster Care Citizen Review Board and Heart Gallery.  I tried working out (and hate it). I taught some girls how to walk on stage. I did the PTA. I became the "Director of Fun" at Staheli Farm. I played co-ed softball. I started getting asked to do firesides. And before long, I realized I was becoming.......Me.  Not the Me I was before I got married where everything I did was for myself, but the Me I was trying to become all along. And I would never have been able to find this Me if I had stayed where I was.

I sympathized with this cute girl who had quit her career to become the best mom ever.  She has more stress and less money than she ever has before. I'm sure she is seriously missing her old life. But what I know that she doesn't, is that motherhood and these years are the refiner's fire. And though she feels lost in a new world right now, she is becoming the person Heavenly Father meant her to be. She is being strengthened and trained and all those things she loved before gave her vital experience and will find a way to help her in her new life.

When I had my first two kids and I was figuring things out, I was asked to sing for a Young Women activity. They gave me the song they wanted. The final hook says, "Will I Want to Be the Person I've Become, When All is Said and Done." I wrote that on a paper and put in by the door so I saw it when I was doing laundry and walking out to my car. It became a part of my prayers everyday, "Make me who you want me to be."

Now there are a million more things I want to try adding to my canvas. Heavenly Father and I are not finished with the Me paining yet, but I am getting a better idea of who I am going to be. I am not sparkly or very pretty anymore, but I'm strong and solid, and that was always more important to me.

Man am I glad I decided not to try and be a Beauty Queen forever. I'd be like, the oldest, most wrinkled city princess EVER.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Fencing" by Brock

K Folks. We're gonna have a quick "How To" session here on Fencing: While Your Mom is Home.  In just three easy steps, you can be flinging swords at another child in no time.
Step 1 - Choose the Right Time: The first and most important step is to find the right opportunity when  the Mom is distracted and there is another child around to impale. Laundry and cleaning are good options, but the best time for sword fighting is when mom is really wrapped up in a project, like painting a room or writing music. A good fencer will study his or her mom's habits to find what she loves to do, and will therefore be the most distracted.
Step 2 - Obtaining Swords: This step has to be done quickly and quietly. If you are able to potty on the big boy, you are too big to fight with plastic swords, butter knives or sticks which are easy to get and for 1 year olds. This lesson is for the serious Fencer, who is ready for serrated metal blades. To begin, place a chair next to where your mom thinks she has hid her knife block. Placing the chair must be done earlier in the day so she doesn't hear the chair slide across the floor when you are ready to fight. You MUST avoid the temptation to climb on it right then. She will see you, take you off, and return the chair to the table. When a golden opportunity arises, climb quickly, open the cupboard and pull all the knives out. Set them on the counter, pick out FOUR of the biggest, most dangerous knives. I prefer CUTCO brand. They are guaranteed to be sharp enough to cut an aluminum can. Climb back down, leave the noisy chair where it is. Hand two knives to your little brother, or whomever you intend to play with, and take two for yourself.
Step 3 - Fighting Quietly: If your little brother is a big baby, this is difficult. Try to find a playmate that doesn't cry every time he gets stabbed, but take whoever you can get, because anyone is better than no one. With a "sword" in each hand, begin swinging blades. The longer you hit blades instead of each other, the longer you can get away with this game. If your  opponent gets hit and starts to cry, you have to hurry and put your arm around him and talk to him in a baby voice so he will stop. I say "Bwakey, it'th ok. Thee? It tho funny, BONK!" Then I bonk my head with my fist and waddle it side to side until he laughs, then we start back fighting. 

Well, there you have it friends. Good luck and don't forget to have fun! Join me next time when I share the Secrets of My Escape, a comprehensive "How To" guide for anyone wanting to get in a locked door, out a locked door, out a locked window or through a door with a child safety handle on it. Until then, this is Brock the Rock saying, Don't Fence Me In.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fighting Back

I read an article on Yahoo that caught my eye because it said something like, "Parents Who Hate Being Parents: The New Trend".  It incorporated stats about how people with children always talk about the joy of parenting, but they aren't really happier, according to the "statics", (which we must not ever argue with).  But I'm going to.

Are they really trying to compare the joy you get from spoiling yourself with vacations, cars or fine art to the joy you get from a child? Did they put electrodes on the peoples' brains to measure the difference in the joy of a nice apartment with glass nick knacks on the coffee table vs. the joy a mother has when her baby is laid in her arms? Are we comparing a week in Hawaii with watching our kids on the soccer or football field?  What about when a child crawls on your lap and snuggles into your chest to calm down?  How can you even compare the two worlds? I can say without reservation, that there is no career, fame, vacation or house that would give me more joy than my children have. Compared to a 34 year old without children, I am sure I have more frustration. I think I have more stress. I probably cry more. This is hard stuff! And I am sure the "statics" recorded that part, because We Are At War. 

Satan doesn't like the power of families.
Families = Power
Families = Security
Families = Love

He is attacking families. Have you noticed the amount of mothers around us giving up their husbands and sometimes children, because they want "more"?  Most of the time, I see them on the outside of what they left, wishing they could get back in. Most of the time it is too late, and Satan is laughing at them for believing him. (Yes, we do need to get away from men that are dangerous.)

Every once in a while, I get in a rut. Like, I'm really ornery for a few weeks, and my kids are terrible (a reflection of me, for sure).  I remember being in this place when my oldest daughter was about 6.  I had my third baby and Trevor was 3, the hardest age for me. I must have been pretty terrible, because one day, while I was doing Rilee's hair she said to me, "When I grow up I'm not going to have kids." Shocked, I asked her why. She said something like, "I don't want to be a mom. It makes you mad." I cried for two days, but it changed my whole perspective. I had gotten so swallowed up in a pity party about me not getting to do what I wanted, that forgot that THIS was what I wanted. I chose to have each child. THEY were exactly what I wanted.

Satan is so crafty. He is really good at getting us to focus on what we don't have. He is really good at getting us to focus a what is wrong with our husbands. This is how he destroys families. And we contribute to one side or the other. We help those around us see the good, or we help them see the junk, like the author of that article. How many people read it and decided to agree that having children was a curse?  What would it be like to be the child that was treated like she ruined her parents' lives? The great destroyer wants us to do his work. He wants us to convince each other that families are too much unnecessary work.

Well girls, let's fight back.
Let's get the good stuff out there.
Let's support each other in making our marriages stronger.
Let's help each other with great ideas about making our families tight, and let's NOT judge each other when we are not perfect.
Post your ideas here and on your blogs. On FB and in emails.
Build your sisters up while you walk.
When you see a young struggling mom, notice what she is doing right, and tell her.
Let's Fight Back.