Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Giggly Goop!

Today was the second attempt at correcting my sweet little Stephanie’s tiny little mouth.  Since she was two we knew that we would have to do it.  Her upper jaw is too tiny to line up with her lower jaw.  Last week they struggled to get the device in that stretches her jaw only for it to fall out the next day like it had never been in there to begin with.  Just Steph’s luck.  Today they decided to make a whole new mold of her mouth because the appliance wasn’t fitting right and that’s why it fell out in the first place.  Four tries.  That’s right, it took four tries before they got a perfect impression of her mouth.  What did she do by the fourth try?  Laugh.  She giggled like it was the funniest thing in the world all the while teasing that it tasted like chalk!  Now that is my Stephanie for you.  Always cheerful and completely able to find the sunny side of everything.  The hygienist told Stephanie that she was her best patient, even better than some eighteen year olds that just gag and complain.

It’s been a joy watching Stephanie grow up.  She struggles at school, the hard pregnancy took a toll on her which also made her the cute little shrimp that she is.  Tiny and petite and always a fight to get anywhere in the world, whether it’s struggling to catch up in reading, trying to get her little itty bitty mouth to open up wide enough for the dentist, or just being tall enough to reach anything, but she just smiles her way through it all.  I can’t imagine what kind of a teenager she will be, hopefully just as wonderful and cheerful and every bit as determined to never give up no matter what.  Just think of the blessing that she will be to her own kids someday.

Now I know that Heavenly Father made families so that we could find joy in this earth and help each other through our struggles, but I think He made Stephanie for our family because she would bless us, not us her.  I honestly cannot think of a time when she hasn’t been sweet as sweet can be.  Even as a baby when she cried, which was very rare, it was as if she was apologizing for making such a commotion but had no other way to voice her needs.

How often do I giggle about my lips being stretched to kingdom come so that someone can shove goop that tastes like chalk into my mouth four different times all the while I am sitting in the dentist chair?  How often do I complain about stupid things that I should really just choose to giggle about?  Ah, as a mother I still have so much to learn.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Toffee" Days

Ever stand over a pot of caramel, boiling ever so slowly, patiently waiting for it to be just right, only to turn your back literally for sixty seconds and have the whole batch of caramel overcooked?  Well I have and I just did.  Now I could choose to stew over the whole entire hour of watching the pot boil being wasted or I could make “Lemonade,” so to say, or in this case toffee.  In fact not only am I going to make toffee I am going to say that that was my original intent in the first place, because hey, this is my kitchen and I have that right.  My kids will come home from school and they will see the fresh Christmas toffee and they will be thrilled all the while never knowing that I had ever intended to make Caramels. 

                Isn’t that how most of life seems to be?  A long list of failures that if looked at correctly can be chalked up to successes if we see what we have learned and if we choose them to be.  So here is to more toffee days when things turn out differently than planned but every bit as nicely as hoped.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Twilight Tradition

The weather is cold outside and the sky is a little overcast and cloudy.  I can smell the sweet wisps of pine from a neighbor’s wood burning stove.  Almost time for Christmas music and the quiet whisperings of Christ’s love that comes with the Christmas season, and I can’t wait.

Last night I went with my daughters, my daughter’s friend and her awesome mom, my wonderful mother, and of course my twilight buddy Sally Jones to see the final installment of the Twilight Saga.  Silly thing to be grateful for, perhaps, but I was and I am.  That tradition that started several years ago is something I look forward to more than watching the movies themselves.  I’m kind of sad to see them come to an end, but Sally made me aware that The Host, also by Stephanie Meyers, comes out in March and we can start the tradition all over again.

I know that as far as eternity is concerned a silly little movie tradition really has no bearing, but those moments with my daughters and with my mother and friends creates those memories that can change the gloom that sometimes the world tries to tack onto us and in that reality a little movie tradition is possibly even necessary to my eternal progression.

One of my visiting teachers came this morning.  Her companion was sick and not able to join her.  I love my visiting teachers.  They never forget me and they always bring the sweetest spirit of sisterhood with them.  We took the time this morning to get to know one another a little deeper and in the process our testimonies were shared and a little more sweeter side of each of us was revealed.  It led to gratitude and both of our feelings of it and helped to set a very peaceful start to my day.

November is the month of gratitude and reading Facebook this month has allowed me to see so many different things my Facebook friends are grateful for.  I cannot help but be thinking all day of everything that the Lord has given me when everywhere I turn I am being reminded.  It’s hard not to feel loved when you are open to all of the blessing that our Father has given us, given me.  It’s equally as hard not to feel joy when you think of that love that you feel.

Yesterday in my travels handing out invitations to our Young Women in Excellence on Sunday I had a couple of opportunities to be invited into sisters’ homes to chat.  In both instances I learned a little more about some amazing young women in our ward and the hardships that they have had to endure.  Both cases very different from each other but insanely hard beyond what I can even imagine.  Both cases the mother figures in their homes talked about the blessings and goodness that has come and that they see in people all around them.  I wonder if my spirit can possible be as strong as theirs and if I can possibly be one of the many people that are blessing their lives.

Each of us in our small ways that we go about living and doing things in our lives have very real opportunities to share Christ’s love, his charity, in what may seem the tiniest of mercies that add up to be some of his greatest blessings.  Who have you lifted today?  Who have I?  What little smile did I send their way that might change the loneliness that they feel?  How many times have Christ’s human angels been the blessing that I needed to bring the peace to my day?  Thousands? Perhaps millions or billions?  I dare to venture possibly in the Trillions when I think of the kind words or shared experiences, the listening ear or consoling hug, even the quick smiles that I have received over the years that lightens my load in my journey home.

Gratitude is something that I am just learning to understand.  I think the importance of it is perhaps one of the greatest blessings that changes the very soul of who we are and leads us back to Christ.  I think perhaps in our gratitude we honor our Savior in a most sacred way, and our administration of it pulls us more towards him and opens our connection to the spirit perhaps greater than anything else possibly can.  When you read the scriptures the spirit speaks, but when you show true gratitude for those scriptures and the amazing servants of God that brought them to you the spirit can sing.  When we love our Savior he can soften our hearts, but when we show gratitude for our Savior and the uncountable blessings that he has given us, he can change our hearts.

What greater gift in this world is our Savior’s love?  The very heavens and earth were created by it and the very possibility of Salvation comes from it.

Christ lives, he loves us, he loves me, and he loves you!  My knowledge of this is first on my list of gratitude.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


So here is where I have the opportunity to be very sad, maybe even very mad, but most definitely discouraged if I wanted to be.  I have a very good excuse to sit and mope today, but I won’t because life goes on and I am so blessed that it would be wrong of me not to feel gratitude and joy despite it all. 

            Every four years another presidential election comes on and every four years a good portion of Americans have the opportunity to be sad or mad or discouraged if they want to be, because one of the candidates has to loose and their followers therefore feel like they lost right along with them.  Now this is where I, who voted and hoped and wanted Mitt Romney to win so very badly, choose to say, “I am an American and I will support America and the President whomever he (or she) may be.”  I’ve said it in the past and I will say it again, as Americans it is our responsibility to vote, to voice our opinions and have a say in the people and the laws that govern our land, but when all is said and done I am patriotic and this is my country and I will stand by it no matter what.  Showing respect for the new President, (all be it not the one I voted for), is part of that patriotism.
           What a great land we live in that we even have the opportunity to even voice our say, that we even have the opportunity to be sad and mad and discouraged at all about the Presidential race.  What a great country that we live in that we even had the chance to have a LDS President let alone that we are able to practice the beliefs and live the religion that is ours as so many others in so many different religions get to also.  And not just now in our modern world, but since this country began.  It’s not some newfangled freedom that has come to us, but yes, it has always been since the country was founded, fought for and defended for by our ancestors with the deliverance of our God.  How can we not be patriotic and grateful?  http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/statement-on-election-result

Now, on to lighter things.  Stephanie would be embarrassed, but since this is my journal and the only way therefore that I have to remember those cute things that she says, that they all do, I’m going to write it anyway.  Besides she doesn’t read my blog so she will never know.  Last night as we were all in the suburban on the way to several things, (voting, Young Women’s, the store), either Luke or Jason, can’t remember which, somehow got on the subject of teasing Stephanie about kissing boys and that he had heard she had been.  Now, Stephanie is only nine and the sweetest little peanut that you have ever seen, so I am quite certain that we are still several years from any concern on this point but she was giggly, yet defensive, all at the same time.

            She said back, “There is this candyhapped boy at school that sometimes grabs my hand and tries to kiss it, but I don’t let him.”

            It took me moment to comprehend what she was trying to say.  Candyhapped, handicapped!  J  If that didn’t require a smile and a little laughing I don’t know what else did.  I am however very pleased with my little girl and really all of the children at my kids’ elementary school because they have quite a few handicapped children that go to their school and they show so much respect and kindness toward them.  My children are constantly talking about the cute little down syndrome girl on the bus and how much they love her and she them or the little autistic boy in Steph’s grade that all of her classmates watch out for and help.  And it is not just my children but most all of the children at that school who treat those special kids with respect and kindness.  I admire their parents for teaching them so and for our teachers who obviously know how to teach our children to love and show compassion toward one another.

            Oh how I love childhood and oh how sad am I that my children seem to rather quickly be growing up and soon out of it, but boy am I proud of the big kids and even soon grownups that they are becoming.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Whoa! What happened to the Kitchen?

My day started relatively busy as it always does.  Five kids to get off to school, one kid off to work, and a husband on his way pushing at the grind stone.  Nan walked upstairs when it was time for scripture study and said, “Whoa!  What happened to the kitchen?  It wasn’t this dirty when I went to bed.”  “You tell me,” was all that I replied followed by Jenny only moments later running up the stairs then stopping dead still.  Laughing she said, “What happened here?  Wasn’t this bad when I went to sleep.”  All of which were looking at me accusingly.  “Don’t look at me.  It was clean when I went to bed.”

Not that I am pointing fingers at my redheaded, all grown up, master of destruction son, but since his father went to bed with me I believe he is the only one who can claim the demo, that is unless some other little boy of mine got up in the middle of the night, though I highly doubt that.  J

Yesterday for family home evening we decorated pumpkins as we do every Monday before Halloween.  This year they donned on Mister Potato Head faces.  All the way from my youngest to my oldest happily got involved.  Quite possibly this could be our last year with everyone here to do so.  Where did the time go?

Nan's looks like a snork with that dart on top.
Suzy's looks like a country bumpkin "Rollie Pollie Ollie!"

Yesterday morning I was able to go to the temple with my Father and Step Mom.  They leave today for the long flight to the Philippines.  It was amazing to be in that beautiful place with my father’s arms wrapped around me.  I will miss them, my kids will miss them, but I couldn’t be prouder or more grateful for their example.

A million things to do today, but I took the time for a spiritual fill up as I said my prayers and wrote in my blog.  My life is pretty typical, and my days filled endlessly with pretty random stuff, but every day I wake up grateful to face my day.  Some days, like today, my heart is so overwhelmed with the feeling of joy that I just want to shout at the top of my lungs, “Be happy World, God loves you.”  Silly, cliché?  Don’t care, that’s how I feel.  Everything speaks of him, and everything calls to his love.  Mt. Timpanogos was so beautiful with the first sprinklings of snow on her yesterday.  The new curtains in the front room freshly hemmed by me so that they just brush the top of our carpet fold down so perfectly to a freshly vacuumed floor.  Six oversized pumpkins spread out safe from a cold night frost on the wood floor in our front room look up at me quizzically.  The dishes are stacked and clean drying in my large stainless steel sink.  On the bed is the purple mess of mesh waiting to become a princess costume for my little redheaded pixie.  And all of it makes me happy.

I love being who I am, imperfections, many that they are, and all.  I know that I am God’s daughter and therefore my value ten trillion times that of gold.  I know that Christ not only died for me but lived for me and continues to live for me still.  I know that I matter even if no one else does, (which very luckily for me I have amazing family that tell me that every day).  Why sometimes is it so hard for us to see that?  You are loved.  No matter what, you are loved.  And no matter what, that is what matters.  Smile, for someone up there knows you better than even you know you.  And He loves you, and His Son loves you!  Smile!

Now time for costume making, dentist little girl taking, picture frame spray painting, downstairs cleaning, laundry washing, back door frame painting, bread making, dinner designing, Stake Young Men and Young Women dance setting up and playing and then followed by husband snuggling as I fall fast asleep completely happy with my busy day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012



I’ve put off writing this week, I don’t know why.  Usually I have so much to share that I can’t wait to sit down.  My hands and my heart feel more at home at the computer than anywhere else.  In reality this is the time that I should have been overwhelmed with the need to express.  Luke is home.  Need I say more?  When he walked off that plane in his army fatigues, his hair high and tight, his Uncle Kevin waving to us to hold the banners up, my heart was racing.

                                                                       Uncle Kevin
                                              Sam in the army greens that Luke bought him.

 And now, already, he is off to work and to his full time job.  School started without him and he cannot enter the program partway through, but he is working for a dear friend Clint at CR Doors and Mouldings and he is tasting a bit of the real world.  Though I think that maybe he feels like he is in limbo until he can do something more.  Working toward a Mission next fall after some more Army training that he signed up for is done is perhaps not as easy as he would have assumed.  How do you open up to your child the testimony that is in your heart when you know that he has to gain one of his own?  I am proud of his work in the army and the son he is and I am proud of his decision to serve a Mission.  I only hope he can feel it more than just a duty but an honor and a blessing.
My father and my stepmother left yesterday to fulfill an eighteen month mission in the Phillipines.  I had the opportunity to go with my brother Bryan to take them to the MTC.  It didn’t feel real.  The missionaries came to our house when I was a little girl.  A year younger than my Sam.  My parents had been searching for something more and my father found a Mormon Ad in the Reader’s Digest.  He called the missionaries.  At first us children were not invited in.  My parents wanted to make sure it wasn’t some weird cult before letting us in on the lessons.  I remember that first night almost like a dream.  It was a warm night in the summer as I recall.  The pine trees next to our farm house were covered in fireflies and I remember catching them all night, not really concerned about what was going on inside, but my brothers and my sister were speculating about the two strange boys dressed in suits and carrying briefcases that went in to talk to my parents. 
I remember later sitting at their knees and watching filmstrips on the wall of our family room.   I remember the feeling of familiarity and asking my mother if this wasn’t what we already believed and my mom telling me that it wasn’t.  My little heart recognized the truth instantly.  Perhaps I was not too many years past from stepping through the veil.  I spent the next 31 years with truth around me.  I don’t have to wonder who I am, I know.  If there is a question that I need answered I have the scriptures to turn to and my knees to fall on.
And now, that father of mine that blessed all of our lives with the gospel is on a mission himself.  Most married missionaries, retired and with added time to serve, have already been on a mission once when in their youth.  Not so for my father.  Two young men brought that gospel to us, to him, and now finally he will feel the excitement, the fear, and the desire that they once felt teaching us.


Crazy hair day at the elementary school today for red ribbon week.  I put Stephanie’s red hair up in a gazillion little buns and when the neighbor girl who is just a year older than her showed up to walk to the bus with my kids her hair was done exactly the same.  Of course both were more than willing to pose for a picture.  Don’t you love childhood?

Sam Guillory came home from the hospital today after two months.  My sweet young women decorated her yard along with some of Sam’s friends from school and her sister and brother in law.  I had to take a picture, as camera happy as I am, because my young women didn’t get to see it all done.  They were in school when she came home, but Darlene, and Whitney, and I got to run over when we got the text that she was on her way and scatter their sweet notes all over the yard.  I cried reading them.  I wish all of you could experience my Young Women.  There is a light that shines from every one of them.  And guess what…I get to experience that glow all of the time.  That is a little taste of Heaven if anything is.
Well the neighbor girl just rang the doorbell with a plate full of pumpkin cookies in her hands, two of which without chocolate just for me. She has informed me that I have been “BOOed.” If she only knew just how much I have “boobed” this whole week for the gifts of this beautiful life that I have been given. She is just one more topping on that already super sweet sunday that I am eating. Time to get ready for young women’s, add another bit of caramel to that ice cream for me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

See How Much I Love You

See how much I love you.  That thought seems to keep going through my head.  General Conference.  Bryce Canyon.  Both experiences these past few days that have opened my eyes to God’s love.  Surrounded by nature’s beauty I have never been more awed.  We live here in one of God’s most beautiful places and I have never been to Bryce Canyon.  Jason has tried to get our family to go for years and finally this weekend we went.  It was so beautiful it almost seemed unreal.  At one point we saw a rock on the very top of a very tall formation and the way the sun hit it lit it almost to glowing.  Through the camera’s lens it seemed to have an unearthly glow.  The kids started calling it the “Holy Rock.”  We got to talking about all the people that came from all over the world to see Bryce Canyon.  At one point my little girl teasingly talked about all the religions that had come to the “Holy Rock.”  She mentioned Baptist and Catholics and Mormons and Christians.  At first I giggled and then I explained that Mormons are Christians, that anyone who believed and worshipped Christ was a Christian.
Isn’t it amazing how little moments bring big teaching moments?  Isn’t it amazing that nature seems to bring the spirit and with it those moments?  I feel peace so strongly when I am in nature almost saying to me, “See how much I love you.”

Luke comes home this Friday.  I know it has only been four months but that has felt as though it has been a lifetime.  When did I get so old?  My heart still feels young but I have a grown man now for a son.  But I can honestly say that I love the age that I am at and I so look forward to the years as they golden more.  I’m excited for the prospect of grandbabies and someday I pray that Jason and I will be healthy enough as we age to go on a mission.  When Luke comes home on Friday he will be at where I was nineteen years ago when I married my most amazing husband.  The choices that I made then determined the life that I have now and the eternity that I will live later.  Luke is so young, but then again I guess so was I.  Thank Heaven Heavenly Father had such a wonderful plan for me and thank Heaven that I was close enough to the spirit in my very young and naive youth to follow it.  I only pray that Luke can do so also.
                My mother went with us to Bryce.  It was so much fun to watch the kids with her. 

The first day we hiked down a steep canyon and at the bottom we could look straight up encircled by those tall red rock formations.  It was cool and slightly damp and shadowed from the sun.  Hundreds of people went ahead of us and hundreds behind, so many speaking languages that we didn’t recognize. 
Nan helped Stephanie down the narrow path turning her toward the inside around each curve, careful that she didn’t fall and launch herself down the steep ravine.  I held onto Sam, crazy Sam who so often in his hurry to get somewhere manages to trip and fall.
Jenny and Suzy in fashion to their free natured personalities rushed on ahead and my mother as the protective angel that she has always been followed us all to make sure that we were all safe.
 Which left Jason, several ledges above us, so that he could photograph every perfect memory. 
I worried that Jenny and Suzy would wander too far ahead and we would lose them as sometimes I do in life.  I rejoiced as I watched Nan protect her little sister as she seems to always do and I held on for dear life to my little Sam’s hands as he was so certain that he was big enough to do it on his own.
  And behind me was my mom encouraging me the whole way and above us all Jason making sure that every moment was happening and being remembered.

“See how much I love you.”
When the spirit talks whether it’s in those quiet moments that we take away from our crazy lives or the sweet whisperings through General Conference talks how can we not know that these are the times that God is trying to say “I love you!”  Just watching President’s Monson’s face light up as he speaks to us is a reflection of God’s love or watching President Uchtdorf’s beautiful accent roll of his tongue as he testifies of the truths that our Prophet speaks and prophets of old, calls my heart to know that God loves me.
President Uchtdorf said something that I hurried to write down that seemed to bring meaning to all that I have been feeling.  “Resolve to find happiness regardless of our circumstances,” he said in his Saturday morning talk and then he spoke of all the good all around us to find joy in.  We are meant to be happy because like a good parent God wants us to be happy as we want our own children to be.  Even in sorrow we can find joy if we look and I promise if we are observant it isn’t hard at all to find something, even a little something, to find joy in.
“See how much I love you.”  I don’t hear those words as a question anymore as I had so many years ago in the past but as a command.  I think now I am beginning to understand just what those words whispered in my head means.  God, my Heavenly Father, and Christ his son, my brother, are asking me to see just how much they love me.  And I am going to strive every day to do just that, see how much they love me.
“See how much I love you.”  Not a question but a statement in the beauty of every moment of our amazingly ordinary lives.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Halloween Town

Our town seems to be lighting up with the thrill of Halloween and I am loving it.  A few years back some business owners started the tradition of “Halloween Town” and every year it just seems to grow and grow.  The kids love it, and well this parent does too.  Each store decorated and in Halloween style!

Luke comes home in a week.  Finally we have his flight plans and now the real countdown begins.  Four months should have flown by, but they just seemed to drag and drag, especially the last month and a half.  After Jenny and I’s visit to see Luke in Missouri it has just taken forever to get him home.  He already has great plans for his future and it seems to me as a mom that there is nothing better than watching your child take charge of his own life.
In November we are going to California with some friends of ours.  That’s right while it is cold and cloudy in good old Utah we will be basking on the lazy beach eating our Thanksgiving Dinner.  There would have been a time not so many years ago when this would have almost seemed  like sac-relig to me, but when Clint came up to Jason and said that he wanted to go somewhere with a beach for Thanksgiving I think that I jumped on the band wagon so quickly that no one else had time to say anything. 
Who cares that someone else will be making the turkey this year?  Not me.  No messy clean up and I will be watching my kids playing with their siblings and some of their best friends in the California sun.  Could it be better?  Not that I can think of.
The family got together last night at my father and step-mom’s house.  They are preparing to leave for a mission to the Philippines in a little over two weeks.  My Aunt Kathy and Uncle Scott came over to visit them from California one last time before they leave.  It was so nice seeing all of the cousins together and being able to share our little ones with Kathy and Scott, though I am certain that the noise of all of us had to have felt crazy to them never having had children of their own.  They took it all in stride though and made our children feel very loved and completely welcome.  I can only imagine if those siblings of mine that live out of state had been there with their families just how crazy the scene would have been.  Man I miss them!
Jason called yesterday at lunch as he always does and asked “what’s up?”  My reply as usual was, “nothing.”  Then I went on to tell him that nothing beyond normal usually is.  Laundry, washing floors, cleaning toilets, washing dishes, etc. etc. etc.  But the crazy thing is that as typical and boring as my life may seem I love it more than I can even begin to try to express.  I have the most typically boring and the most perfectly amazing life ever.  I wouldn’t change it for anything and as I watch my kids get older and know that someday little grandkids will be added into the mix I can’t wait!  Then I will have the most typical boringly wonderful grandmotherly life possible.

Jason and my little Suzy, (who is twelve today and not really so “little” anymore), both have their birthdays today.  Twelve years with a sweet little girl that is so determined and sometimes so bullheaded but beautiful and smart and talented and silly has been absolutely amazing.  Next Sunday she gets to come to Young Women’s with me!  This Sunday is General Conference so she will have to wait a week.  There is a tradition in our Young Women’s started by my second counselor that just got released and now carried on by my new counselor and her advisors that they pull the new Beehive girl out of primary a week early in front of everyone and bring her into the Beehive’s class.  It was so neat to see the response on my daughter as she got home from church this week and told me all about it.  How amazing is it that God put me into Young Women’s right now when I can have three of my four girls with me.  I will forever be grateful for that gift.  Jenny and I at times don’t always see eye to eye and although I think that she worried about me being in with her, it has softened our relationship and made it easier for us to communicate.  The chemistry there still isn't perfect and I am sure I still drive her absolutely bonkers, but we like each other a lot more and laugh together all of the time.  Thank you Heavenly Father.
Jason… now he and I have been together more than we have been apart and I cannot imagine life without him.  When I think of eternity together I don’t know how to adequately thank my Father for the perfection that is my life.  Jason calls me a million times a day because he misses me.  He comes home and worries about me and my comforts long before his own.  He works harder than any man ever should because he wants what is best for me and our kids, and he looks at me every moment of every second like I am some super model and he can’t believe that I am his.  He makes my pretty normal life and sometimes trying one a thing out of a fairy tale.  Can you really have that kind of a happily ever after that fairy tales are made of?  I do, waking up every morning next to him.
Well time to get back to my wonderfully typical life.  I’ve got two birthday parties to get ready for this evening and a house to get spotless so my boy can come home to something beautiful.  Today should be wonderful!!  I hope yours is too!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Crooked Laugh

Rushed back from three kids at the dentist.  Nice two and a half hours out of my day.  I’m beginning to think that we live at the dentist’s office, but they informed me today that they enjoyed my company so that’s all right.  Jason says that we will be paying for the new wing of the dentist office.  And no…for my Nephi friends they are not adding on to the dentist office, at least I don’t think so, that was just Jason’s little joke.  Jenny came out with her whole mouth numb laughing which only made me laugh more.  One side of her mouth couldn’t move as she smiled.  So funny.  She was nice enough to let me take a picture and when I told her that it was going on my blog she just laughed.  “That’s okay with me.  It’s funny, Mom.”

Last week was a week full of testimony touching moments for me.  I never cease to marvel at the goodness of people around me. 
Let me start with my Laurel girls.  Now I know I talk about my Young Women’s girls a lot, but much of my time right now is that and much of my spiritual growth comes from them.  Wednesday evening we went up to see Sam Guillory.  Five Laurels, Sam’s little sister Kaitlin, my Laurel advisor Whitney Wall, and myself.  The drive to the hospital is probably about an hour and a half and there was not one moment in that hour and a half that the girls weren’t talking and giggling and thoroughly excited about seeing Sam.  When we got to the hospital the girls helped me find a parking spot and they knew the way right to Sam’s room because they had all been visiting her already.  I just stood back with Whitney and Sam’s dad Bob and watched as the girls talked and laughed and were so happy to see all that Sam could do.  And Sam, well, let’s just say that she is amazing.  How can one girl who has gone through so much be so heroic, because that’s what she is, heroic?.
And so when the time came for us to go home I wished that I didn’t have to pull the girls away, that we had the time to stay a little longer.  Sam was so thrilled to have the company and the girls as a group were so happy to be together.  We walked down the long hallway in the hospital with the girls talking and remembering the conversations with Sam that had just gone on moments before.  The trip home equally wonderful.  I look at them sometimes, those girls, and I wonder if they know just how amazing they are.  Can they possibly understand how beautiful they are?  Each of them so completely different but so beautiful like out of a fairy tale.
Friday Nan and I played a dance at BYU.  Helaman Halls to be exact.  Now I love BYU.  It has become kind of a second home for our family and we have had some pretty amazing experiences there and met some pretty amazing people there also.  So normally there would have been nowhere that I would have rather had been then there, but this particular day was a benefit dance for Sam Guillory’s family.  I went to BYU so that Jason could set up large sound and lights and our green screen photo booth back at home at the high school.  The SBO’s at the school took money and had invited the rival team that Juab was playing in football that day to the dance.  Jason kept texting me to keep me in the loop about the turn out.  Amazing.  Nephi really supports our community.  And even more Spanish Fork stayed after the game to support Sam too.  Even bringing a check in the sum of $1200.00.  Our rivals in sports but our brothers and sisters in compassion. 

Can you see how my testimony would grow?  So much good all of the time.  I know that I am on the bandwagon to find good in every day.  Quite possibly it might be getting old to hear, but this is my journey, one that I have been on for a long time and plan to never end in this life.  This blog, it’s a system of checks and balances for me to remind me where my heart needs to be and help to open me to all the peace that the Lord is constantly trying to give me but Satan would take away if he could.  Hope.  Perhaps that is the greatest gift that this blog brings me.  I look for good so that I can put it here and when you look for good, well…that is exactly what you find.

The world is a beautiful place.  Whether it’s in the smiles of my beautiful Laurel girls or on the crooked laugh of my teenage daughter still numb from the dentist, it doesn’t matter.  God’s love is everywhere and once you open your eyes to see it you cannot help but find it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

You Are AMAZING!!!

For a woman so full of words I cannot see why they seem to be hiding from me.  I’m struggling to write the novel that I am working on.  Writers block?  Maybe.  But writers block usually follows after someone is stuck, frozen in the moment and not able to envision the story beyond.  Not me.  Not now anyways.  I know completely what comes next and then next beyond that.  In fact I have every aspect of the story set.  Maybe I am not satisfied with the story I’ve outlined you ask.  Not true either.  I am excited with writing it.  I can’t wait to see it ended and I can’t wait for my vision to be, my characters to live.  So, why am I struggling?
I think in the past whenever I have lost my words it’s been Satan’s way of keeping me sedimentary and the sad thing about it is that I usually let him, for a while until something sets me back on course.  Well, perhaps this time that something has to be me.  Perhaps it is time for me to take responsibility for my laziness before God will help me back on course.
So then, why am I still here, lost without words? 
I’ve had a lot of time to reflect lately on who I am and what my testimony is.  Even as a little girl I knew who God was and never doubted his existence.  To this day I do not doubt him.  At times I doubt myself but never him.  I’ve had conversations as of late with fellow sisters who are struggling to understand themselves and their role in God’s world, some asking how I can be so confident in who I am.  The word lucky comes up a lot.  Sometimes even blessed, which that I am, but I need to stress here that although I know  that knowing who I am and knowing how much I can shine in a world that seems to take shiny things and tarnish them is most definitely a blessing, one of my greatest blessings, it didn’t come without years of very hard work.  Some of the most heartbreaking work that I have ever done.
As a child I was bubbly and happy and never had a problem making friends.  Confident.  Then my parents moved to a new town in a new state and for a time, what seemed like forever to me as a child, I was completely on the outside.  No one wanted an outsider.   Now I don’t blame that little town we moved to, I don’t even blame those kids, unfortunately it was just human nature to make fun of the one who doesn’t belong.  In fact I so don’t blame any of them that when the chance came for my husband and I to move back we jumped on it as quickly as we could.
It wasn’t forever that I was on the outside.  Only a few years, but it was enough to form my little impressionable brain around.  My high school years were filled with lots of good friends and lots of good memories.  In fact I grew up in such a good grade that it should have been easy for me to love myself because I had great kids around me every day, but by that point the damage was already done.  Needless to say I had a hard time believing that I mattered and I wondered how God could love me so much, but I knew that he did because I knew that the gospel of Jesus Christ was true.  So if he loved me so much how come I couldn’t love myself?  And even more how great of a sinner was I for not believing that I mattered.
I was a good girl.  Very mindful of others feelings, but the first one to throw aside my own.  So how did that change, you ask.  Well, it started with a plea from a very amazing brother.  In fact he doesn’t even remember saying it to me but he changed my life that day none the less.  When Ken left on his mission, just a day or so before, he asked me to be happy.  He said, “Happiness is a choice and if you choice it often enough it becomes a habit.  Will you choose it for me?”
Easier said than done.  But I did it all the same.  Every day every time a sad thought, mostly about my pitiful self, popped into my head I chose to put a happy one in there instead.  Took me forever.  Whoever said that creating new habits only took a few weeks or months or even a few years was a totally lying!  But with a constant effort I made that choice day in and day out year after year.  When I stumbled, very lucky me had a very amazing hubby who would not let me say or even think one horrible thought about myself.  That started twenty years ago.
Now most people who know me think of me as confident, easy going, happy, the glass half full kind of gal, and they are very surprised when I tell them the struggle, especially in my teenage years, that I had with depression.  When I think of that girl I used to be I hardly can believe that it was me either, while at the same time I am sad at all the joy that that girl missed out on.  I’ve learned to create joy and to love myself whether or not anyone else does.  I’ve learned that I am beautiful and can look at myself in the mirror and smile because I like the face that is smiling back at me.  I’ve learned that even when I am at my ugliest, my hair wild from crazy sleep or twenty extra pounds to loose from a new baby, I am still amazing and most of all that I matter.
A couple years back as I was on my knees having a very heartfelt gratitude prayer and I asked my Heavenly Father how I could share what I had learned with everyone.  Every daughter who has forgotten who she is.  Every woman who doesn’t know how she can shine.  You see, the joy I feel sometimes is so overwhelming that my heart feels like it can’t contain it all, and the journey it took for me to get here was so long and so painful that I want everyone to have what I have.  Everyone to understand just how much God loves them.  When I see even the smallest glimpse into his love for me I am overwhelmed.  Do you know what I know?  Do you know that you are amazing?  Do you know you can be happy just by choosing it even when you don’t think that you can?
Sure a new dress or those sexy pair of 4 inch heels can make you feel like you shine.  Heck I love getting all decked out, but when those outer sparkles come off do you still shine, because you should.  You are beautiful!
Now look how easily those words came.  Funny because some years ago I would have laughed if you would have told me that I could write the very things that I have.  God loves me.  I am amazing and so are you!!
Now if only I can fill the pages of my book that easily.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Millions of Little Things

Here I am yet once again writing in my blog, watching the world around me and wondering what might happen this week.  It’s hard not to feel hopeless after all, by the actions of such few we see what conflicts can fall upon so many.  When have we become such a hard people that we cannot respect other’s beliefs and religion?  I know that was not the voice of the whole world, in fact just so very few, but in reality so many more were destroyed and set to unrest because of their bitterness.  And for what?  The desire for entertainment?
Then I have to ask, how are we, as a world that is, so angry that we can let the wickedness and bitterness of a few people who think they have the right to defame another’s beliefs through what they call art, set us into such a fury that we forget the sacredness of life.  Every day I read online the unrest that continues.  Can you imagine the fear and the pain that those innocents are facing right now.  I can almost feel the anger like a heavy dose of adrenaline running through the crowds as I look at the pictures.  All in the name of free speech and religion.  One wrong, horrendous as it may be, is never made right by another.

Now in this light it would be so easy for me to be sad, downright depressed even, but there is so much good that goes on about me every day that I would be showing very little gratitude to my Heavenly Father if I didn’t find joy in his world that he made for me and all of us.
Nan, yes sweet little Nan that I spent most my last blog about, has taken it upon herself to teach Sam how to play football.  Luke is off in the military and I think that Nan has seen how much Sam is missing out on not having his older brother around.  Now Nan has not always been my most coordinated one, but somehow she has managed to find the way that makes the most sense to her brother and has really taught Sam a thing or two.  It is great fun for me as a mother to watch her teach him how to kick a ball, usually barefooted even.  When he gets frustrated and says he will never be able to do it, most often flopping on the ground forlorn, Nan is beyond patient and gets him right back up.  Huge improvement has come and now the whole family is involved.  Sunday night everyone was on the front lawn, Jason and me included though I mostly watched, throwing the football and tossing the Frisbee.  Now if that isn’t something to find joy in I don’t know what is.

The house is a little quiet with everyone at school and I think that perhaps I could be a little sad with that too, but there seems to be plenty to take up my time and by the time the kids come rushing through the door at the end of the day I am happy and ready to see them.

Yesterday I was able to help in Jenny’s class at the high school.  They were doing a botany lesson and needed someone to drive them around.  Something I wouldn’t have been able to do before when I had little ones running to and from school all day long but now that they are all in full time school I have the freedom to do a little more.  It was amazing watching Jenny with her class and watching them all interact.  It was good getting to know the boys that road in our Suburban and watch their politeness and as a mother be grateful that such good kids are around Jenny every day.  And it was fun to watch the kids as their teacher Mr. Baird taught them about the native plants and weeds around them and how they produce and what people and animals can use them for.  Not to mention spending some time with one of Jenny’s friend’s mom who also helped drive, a friend of mine I don’t have the chance to talk to very often.  Another simple something for me to find joy in.

I think if we look it isn’t hard to find a million things in just one day to be happy with.  My yard and the fruit trees getting so big, finally producing enough fruit to can.  My house and my new kitchen that I have been saving for since we moved into this house.  A clean bedroom across the hall that I didn’t even have to get on my little girls to clean this morning.  Breakfast that went smooth and scripture time with only a few little whispers which in themselves was something to smile about.  How about the beautiful weather and the changing leaves.  A four wheeler ride through the mountains with my amazing hubby and all only minutes from our cozy home.  The view out my front door.  Nebo on the left and the Red Cliffs on the right.  Someone’s little kids cutting through my yard to rush to the bus stop, laughing and giggling on the way.
Easy to see the sad in the world?  Most definitely.  Too much bad goes on every day.  But even easier to see the good every day, absolutely.  God loves me.  This I know, and if everything else fails around me, that would be enough.