Monday, December 23, 2013

Once Upon A Time


Once Upon a Time…isn’t that how all fairy tales begin?  Well at least all of the good ones?  This story does too, but I have a secret, you see, this story isn’t a fairy tale.  Well not truly for all of it is based on fact and all fairy tales are based on fiction, that is except this one.  Maybe that is why it is the most wonderful fairy tale of all time.

It goes something like this…

Once Upon a Time in a land so distant called Jerusalem a tiny baby was born in circumstances so low and in a time so desperate that all of the world quietly watched for Him.  For you see, He was their king, the one prophesied to save them all.  This tiny baby was God’s son, and not how you and I and all mankind are God’s sons and daughters, but in the flesh and blood the Only Begotten.  And although there were a few, very select few that knew and watched and recognized the signs of His birth the heaven’s knew and the angels rejoiced.
 
They were some, perhaps most, who could not understand that someone so poor, born under circumstances so meek, could be their king sent to save them.  And even though His whole life was lived in service to them and in teaching to them, so many could not understand who He was.  How could their king come from something so low?

But what they didn’t understand, was although He didn’t ride in on a flaming chariot and although He wasn’t raised in golden courts and spectacular castles, He really was the King, the very son of God come to save them all, not with a flaming sword and wild armies, but with peace and kindness and redemption that only He could bring, and that only He can still bring.  Raised from the dead three days past, resurrected so that someday we might be, and bearing and feeling, understanding all of our sins, weaknesses, and heartaches.  Was it any wonder the heavens sang on the night that He was born?

I have had a whole lifetime really to contemplate just what that means to me and for me and it is impossible to put into words and impossible for me to understand how they could reject Him then and how our world can reject Him now.  How can the very being that brings peace, that is peace, not be the very thing that the whole world would strive to believe?  How can we reject Him still?

I’ve had time as of late to feel His love and to see His blessings in my life and my heart has been filled with love and with peace and I wish I could give this to all.  But how can you when you don’t quite understand it yourself? 

I’ve known of a few friends and neighbors who have felt the pain of loneliness or disappointment this Holiday Season and although I want to say that I understand, I know in reality that I don’t and I have no idea how to sooth their pain.  But I know of one who knows it all, who has felt it all.  He’s that king from that perfect fairy tale.  He came to this world just for that, to understand every emotion, joy or sadness, that we would ever feel.  He came to be the Great Healer, the Lonely Man’s King, the Bringer of Peace and the Savior of All.  He is God’s son and He knows when no one else might, and He listens when no one else can hear, and He will bring peace when the rest may pass you by, because He loves you like no one else can.  Because every fairy tale, fictional or true, ends with one great phrase no matter the pain or the circumstances that may have come along the way…And They Lived Happily Ever After.

                                                             Christ is our Happily Ever After.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Who is Jesus?


Shouldn’t that really be the question that is in our hearts right now?  I say this as I just got done making almost 20 dozen cupcakes for my neighbor gifts.  It’s easy to get caught up in the gift giving and the memory making of Christmas and forget the whole “Reason for the Season” as they say.  I’m just as guilty as anyone else.

“Are you all ready for Christmas?” I’ve been asked a hundred times already this month and I in return have probably asked a hundred people that same question.  Well, yes I am I can gladly say.  Every gift is bought and child’s friend gift will be officially made today including our neighbor gifts.  Is this something that I should be proud of?  I’m asking that of you because I really want to know, and I am honestly proud of myself for doing so.  Over all the joy of this Christmas has been sweet.  I’ve had more time to make things happen so to say, and every day I have done something “Christmasy” with the exception of two days when I was absolutely desperately ill with a stomach bug.  But in all that “Christmasy” how much of it really was about Christ?

Today I listened to Conference talks as I sat baking a gazillion cupcakes and I felt happy, not at all overwhelmed as I should have felt.  Quite literally that is an insane amount of cupcakes to make in one day and be on my feet for the whole of it, but all I felt was joy and peace and gladness about the task I was at.  “Why,” I asked myself.  Shouldn’t I be wishing the day was done?  Shouldn’t I be exhausted?  In reality it has been a wonderful exhilarating day.  Why?

Because in the background of all my “Christmasy” preparation were the sweet words that spoke of Christ.  How could I not feel the real “Reason for the Season” when his words and his servants were speaking them right to my ear.

So today after school as my children came in from the bus, or their carpool ride, whichever depending on the child, I gave them each a blank paper and asked them to tell me who they thought Jesus was.  “Why,” they asked.  And I said, “Because it’s Christmas and we should be thinking about him.”  I won’t quote what they said, that’s personal and something only our family will share together tomorrow as the last week of school ends and the break for both Jason and the kids begin, but I will say this that all of their thoughts  had a common thread…He was sent here to help us and that He loves us.  That He is Heavenly Father’s son.

So who is Jesus you might ask.  Can I answer with the innocence and the absolute truth of a child?...He’s Heavenly Father’s son and He loves you and He was sent here to help you!  Need I say anything more?
Jason and me on our trip Monday to Temple Square.  Can I just say that it was sooo cold...and due to missing a train we had to wait for over an hour to meet our connecting train in Salt Lake to get back to Provo to grab our suburban.  Thank heaven's for the bus station that was so warm for all of the other cold people who missed their train too.  If only tracks had been on the schedule it was supposed to be on none of us would have froze, but as Angie said, (Jason's sister Angie, not me) "Just think of the story we'll have to tell.  Just think of the memories that we are making."
 
 
 

 
Five of our kids and Brooke and Megan our sweet neighbor girls.  The rest of their family was elsewhere on Temple Square and Jason's sister and brother and their families wondering somewhere else looking at lights too, but there were a bunch of us that had a brilliant time, even if we did freeze absolutely to death...and I assure you I am not exaggerating.  The only reason any of us are alive is because the bus station revived us oh and City Creek Mall before that...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Heaven on Earth


Why does it feel so hard at times to put words to paper?  Most days as I am going about doing all that a mother of six crazy kids does I think of what I might next write here.  When I hear Suzy in the other room singing at the top of her lungs trying so desperately to sound as beautiful as her sisters, and she does by the way, or Stephanie at the computer typing out her spelling words each in a different font and color trying to please her teacher and learn a little at the same time, or Sam, silly serious Sam coming up with one crazy idea after another I have a million thoughts on what I might write the next day.  But then the next day comes and I watch a million other things go by and write out the things in my head that I might say and yet again I don’t put it to paper.

So, on that note, today while I was folding towels and listening to conference talks as the thoughts came to me I decided to do better and write them down.  After all this isn’t just my journal of my crazy mundane life, it’s a journal of my testimony and I would be pretty ungrateful if I didn’t share it.

When school started back in this fall for my children and for Jason too, no he isn’t going back to school but rather he works at a University, I decided I needed to change a few things around the house to take some of the stress off.  Two girls in high school, one a freshman and just getting used to the high school scene, and the other a junior and trying to juggle work and school and family all at once, my brand new middleschooler and all that means, man I hated middle school… kids are so nasty, and two little ones sad to give up the carefree days of summer.  Jason was coming home from work stressed.  Start of school for him means new college students who have no clue what is going on and chaos on the technology front, hence my feeling of need to bring some peace to the home.

My solution, keep the house ridiculously clean.  Now I’m not saying you can look into my closets, because let’s face it, keeping a closet spotless is pretty close to impossible unless you’re a little psycho, which I am just not about closet maintenance.  So the first week was crazy and I was tired but once you get the house into perfection, maintaining it isn’t so hard. 

Whala!!  It worked.  Suddenly the kids were fighting less and Jason was coming home and able to relax and even I, crazy mommy that was keeping up that perfection, was feeling all together peaceful and delighted with life.

Zoom forward a couple of months.  Is the peace still in our home, you ask?  Definitely.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t still hear my children fighting like Suzy and Steph did this morning, but it is less often and less severe.  I’ve been attributing it to the cleanliness that is in our home, and don’t get me wrong I believe that is very much part of it, but as I have been listening to conference talks while I work, on the encouragement of the Relief Society Presidency, my mind has thought on a few things that have changed in our home, the spotless nature of it being only one of them, and I have come up with the following conclusion.

While I am busy working I listen to conference or to the scriptures thus bringing the spirit into my home.  I have struggled like many of us to find the time and a quiet place to study and most of the time I have done a pretty decent job, but the time to really delve into the scriptures hasn’t been there.  My sister in law’s mother told me at the start of the summer that she listens to the scriptures as she cleans and I decided that was just what I needed to do.  She happens to also be the stake Young Women’s President and I try to brown nose whenever I get the chance so of course I thought this was a great opportunity.  And presto chango, that is what crept into the home while I was keeping a spotless house, the spirit, the word of God.

I remember as a little girl my mother reading to me and encouraging my talent and imagination.  I remember feeling like she loved me more than anything, a very important way for a child to feel, but more importantly I remember as I got older and school was hard, and the pressure of feeling like I fit in was overwhelming and the need to come home and leave the world completely behind was so important that I walked into a house that radiated peace.  My father was off at work and only my mother had been there all day, but I knew that she was there.  I could smell something like fresh baked bread in the air and feel the warmth of a clean warm house, but what I felt most was the presence of my Savior’s love radiating in that quiet house.

Jason and I have talked off and on as the kids were little whether or not I should go to work when they were all in school and Jason has always said, “They needed a mother home.”  I agreed, after all who would drive them to piano or pack their lunches for them when school lunch just seems too gross?  Who would bring them their homework when they forgot it at home or pick them up from school half way through the day when their tummy hurts or Nan or Suzy gets one of their dreaded migraines.  It all made perfect sense to me that the home was where I was needed, but that crazy world crept in about the time Sam went to first grade and question after question of, “What are you going to do now that all your kids are in school?  Are you gonna get a job or go back to school?” seemed to follow me everywhere I went.

I began to wonder if I was being lazy and sitting around doing…well nothing very important.  What was wrong with me?  Why wasn’t I being productive and adding to the family income?  I would talk to Jason about this and he would always say it was my choice, do whatever I thought best, but he strongly felt that I needed to be home, that our kids needed me more now than they ever have.  After all aren’t the teenage years the hardest and most heartbreaking?  Don’t they need me more now than ever?

This year I finally got it.  I finally understood just exactly what he was saying and just exactly what Satan was trying to do, take me out of the home where my greatest work should be.  I think it is no great secret that my oldest son, as awesome as he is, has always struggled and been the one that has most been in our prayers, sometimes at great exasperation on my part.  He is still searching for his testimony and need to live life in a more holy attitude and I have great faith that he will find that, but as I have talked with him, now that he is a grown man, he mentioned just how important it was that I was home, and how important it was that he was raised with the gospel in that home.  He has told me that he would have had no hope without those things growing up.

So now as I look around me at this very clean house, only a few dishes that need to be washed and one loud of laundry to be cleaned, I hear the thoughts of the scriptures and the prophets and the Christian music in the background strumming across my little kitchen speakers and I know the real importance of this clean home.  It’s that I am here and I am living in this house while the kids and Jason are gone, bringing in the spirit and light of Christ, so that when those kids come home from a busy day at school (and work too for my Jenny) and the world and Satan trying to crush them down and Jason comes in from insane busyness with a million college kids and over an hour of driving home on a crazy busy highway, they walk through that door and feel the peace that a mother spent all day building just for them.  Because you see, that’s my job, helping the home become a heaven on earth.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hope


Hope…what does hope mean.  The dictionary says,the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” I think that hope is so much more.  Hope is knowing that Christ lives and loves and knows me and even in my darkest hour I am not alone.  Hope is knowing that even at times when we have given up that He will never give up.  Hope is knowing that when I cannot help my child, when I know that I have nothing left that I can offer him that will soften his heart, that God does.  Hope is knowing that when I don’t know what my child needs He knows exactly what he needs.  And hope is knowing that even when my son is away, doing whatever he does, with his heart angry and unforgiving, that God will send him what he needs even if it is hardship.

Hope is having joy and being able to smile even when you need to cry and not feeling guilt for being happy even when you are sad too.  Hope is peace and love and quiet whisperings of the spirit.  Hope is prayer and knowing God hears and loves me.  Hope is perhaps one of the greatest gifts in this life and ever so much more than the dictionary answer of the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best, because even when I may know that what I want can’t be had or I fear that events won’t turn out for the best, I still shine with hope and I still smile with joy.

I wish there was a way you could give every feeling and emotion that burns within your heart to your child.  I know that if I could, if they all could feel what I feel for them and for their father their hearts would be softened, and if they could feel my love for my Savior they would believe no matter what.  But that is not how it works and they have to gain their testimony for themselves just like I did.

Today I started reading about Alma the older in the scriptures, someone who began as a priest for King Noah, doing wickedly and perverting the ways of the Lord.  I think perhaps there were many, if not all, who thought that he would never grasp hold to the truth of the gospel, that his heart would never be softened.  Abinadi taught even until death and something in what he spoke softened Alma’s heart.  Alma’s own son growing up under a prophet went on to destroy God’s church but the angel softened his heart in answer to so many’s prayers.  That is hope.  When others gave up and others had tried so hard without success, something or someone came along to soften them, to open their hearts to their Savior.

My Father and Step Mother are on their mission in the Philippines, and unless you have served there you cannot know the hardships that the Philippine people go through or how hard of a mission that it is.  I know that I don’t even know even with a brother who served, a father who is serving, and most of all a husband who served there, but I have learned some and wondered how people can live such a sad life in such severe poverty and still find joy.  Now their land has been devastated and so many thousands dead I wonder will they ever be able to find hope again?  How do you lose your whole family and still find the strength to go on?

Hope.  Hope in Christ.  I know of no other way. 

I guess in our struggles in life we think we really have it hard, and maybe even we do, but I cannot in anyway imagine the pain that they are suffering now.  I want to cry for my own sorrows and fears, but how can I when I so many are suffering over there? 

I guess that is the greatest aspect of hope.  Hope tells me that when Christ is worrying and working for so many others who need him so much more he still has the ability to worry and work for me and for my son as he struggles to find himself.  Hope is the knowledge of this love, that Christ can love and care for all of his children all of the time.

Now how do you teach that to someone else, how to you give the great gift of this knowledge to them?  You can’t.  You can lead and teach and love and set the best example that you can and then you can only leave it on Him, the great Redeemer of the world.  Moses 1:39-For behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. 

The Savior’s very purpose in this life is my Hope, because I know that even to the very last minutes, even seconds of my life he will be working for me and never giving up on me.
That is my hope.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Austenland


So my Hungarian twin Agi (that's cute Agi and her awesome husband Aaron in the pic to the side) and I went and saw the movie Austenland yesterday.  
 

 
 
 
 
 


 
 Let me just say Jennifer Coolidge.  Need I say more?  Laughed my pants off.  And part of what was so funny was watching Agi laugh.  Both of us to tears.  Sorry to the ladies behind us but we just couldn’t keep it in.  The movie started out a little slow and in reality the whole thing was pretty cheezy but the moment Jennifer Coolidge stepped onto the screen I couldn’t hold it in.  I had the best time and I am so thrilled my friend is here for several months from Hungary.  Now if she could just get her car to work.  She’s had the worst of luck but it gives me an excuse to chauffer her back and forth to the mechanics. 

Love having my friend back for a little while.

Oh and can I just say that my hubby is just like Mr. Darcy.  All you girls who ooh and aww over Mr. Darcy, Jason is the dark brooding protective and total teddy bear of a man when no one else is looking type, totally wrapped up in me and I am the luckiest of women. 

                                                                                  
                                                                    That is all!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

“Thank You For Loving Me…”


“Thank You For Loving Me…” playing from my bedroom speakers as I walked into my room after church today.  I’ve had a full day of gratitude. 

This morning started out with the opportunity to take part in Sacrament Meeting at the care center across the street from our ward building.  It was fifth Sunday and the High Priests and Elders asked the Young Men and Young Women to take over.  Only a half hour out of my day but one that brought me such a spirit of gratitude especially as I watched my daughter Jenny stand and give a little talk.  When I asked her earlier in the week if she would be willing instantly she said yes and never complained.  I am so grateful to her and to the relationship that we are developing.

Just before our church services started I had a temple recommend interview with Brother Wickel.  I couldn’t help but feel gratitude that I was there and I was worthy and whenever I want there are temples all around for me to attend.  Not everyone can so as much.  When I was a little girl we had to travel from little old Genoa Illinois all the way to big Washington D.C. to be sealed as a family.  Grateful for that memory and opportunity and grateful for temples that continue to be built for us to worship in.

Then in our Sacrament Meeting it was the Primary Program.  Sam very seriously said his part every line perfectly memorized as typical to him.  Jenny leaned over and mentioned as he stood there waiting for the rest of his class to do their lines that he was so serious and never even blinked once.  Sweet little Stephanie read her lines perfectly and then she instantly turned to me to see my response which was a big thumbs up on my part rewarded by a huge smile for me on her part.  Grateful  Momma.  Jenny and Nan sang a little part with the primary kids along with Brother and Sister Izatt and their voices sounded so sweet and made me feel as though I was sitting in Heaven itself.

Young Women’s brought about a new sister, awesome sister, to fill the place of an amazing councilor that I will forever miss.  And seeing Sister Blackham’s smiling face and listening to the girls welcome her brought those amazing warm tingles from head to toe.  Can you even begin to understand just how blessed I am to be surrounded by such wonderful Young Women?  Gratitude doesn’t begin to cover it.

Then last but not even least I went to the stake offices to receive the last signature on my temple recommend.  There I met with President Ludlow who used to be our Bishop Ludlow and had the most uplifting interview that I have perhaps ever had.  He is someone who is blessed with the ability perhaps stronger than anyone that I have ever known to portray to you the Savior’s love for you.  I came home high on that love and on gratitude for my Savior only to find the very last thing, though the day isn’t over yet and I am thoroughly expecting it to be a continued day of gratitude. 

Plopping my bag down on the bed and running to my bathroom to relieve the potty dance that I was doing, I heard very quietly and sweetly playing on my stereo “Thank You For Loving Me,” by Bon Jovi.  You see, Jason went to Sacrament Meeting with us but then had to leave after the Primary Program to fly to Nevada for work until Thursday Night and that was his little gift for me.  I wish you could feel the amount of love that I feel from him.  He’s not perfect, and once in a while I even think that I might strangle him, (in his defense there are certainly moments when he must feel the same toward me), but he really is the most wonderful man who loves me with a love that I think must be incomprehensible to the rest of the world.  I certainly hope it isn’t, I hope you all have the great blessing of being with someone so full of love as I am.

Yes, there has been a lot for me to be grateful for today.  And it isn’t even 5:00 p.m. yet.  On to a family party for my sweet niece Maizy who just turned one a few days ago.  See more things already to be grateful for.  Look up, look around you, open your eyes.  Blessings sometimes come in the most simple but the most wonderful ways.

 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Did You Miss Me?


Where have I been all of this time, you are probably wondering.  Well let’s see…months of town celebrations with our business and family reunions on both sides of the family, youth conference and girl’s camp and two nephews’ weddings and a brother in law’s to boot.  A little boy’s baptism, can you believe my Sam is so old, oh and sending a boy off to college, can you believe I am so old.  Soccer games and two weeks of canning all along with back to school gigs at BYU for those same two weeks.

I have felt the guilt that I should be doing a lot of things.  I should have kept up the garden and the flower beds better this summer, for that matter I should have mowed the lawn, good grief it looks like a jungle out there.  I should have kept up with the house and did more projects with my girls and played ball with my little boy and oh, yeah, I should have blogged more.  Oh, the guilt has been there and as I finished washing dishes and mopping floors this afternoon it has been tugging at me that I should get back to writing.  So here I am.  I don’t know if you have missed me, but I sure have missed you.  From all over the world you read, I know, cause I check my audience page to see.  Almost every country now except for China and North Korea, oh and Syria, Iran and Iraq.  That’s a lot of places and it sure has been a lot of fun to see where all of you come from.  I wonder…do all of you live the same kind of blissful normal ordinary life that I live that keeps you wonderfully happily insanely busy and exhausted in the most wonderful way all of the time like I do?

This week things have slowed for a bit.  The kids had a half day of school today so the happy sounds of children came a little earlier today.  Sam asked me this morning, “you were sad when we went back to school, weren’t you.  I could hear it in your voice when we left.”  Of course I was, but boy was I ready for the normal routine to start again.

Motherhood continues to be the one thing that brings me the most joy but seems to be the one thing I just haven’t gotten to be a pro at yet.  Every child is so different and just when you think you’ve got them down they change and grow a little bigger and have a little more grown up of problems, and gosh darn it I’m still trying to figure out my own problems yet.

I do however feel like I am becoming close to pro in some other things.  I am really good at washing floors and scrubbing down those sticky granite counters, I’ve almost got the fly problem under control, and oh, yes, my food storage is almost back to full capacity only two years after living off of it solely for 18 months.  Yes, almost no one is a better food deal shopper than me.  Two years to fill up completely demolished food storage for 8 people all the while still feeding those 8 people on around $400.00 a month.  And I am here to tell you, we eat really well too!  I’m a pretty great cook.  Not bad I must say.

So I guess I could either gloat over how great I am on those few things or I could focus on how lousy I am on the others, but in reality I think I am like everyone else.  Stumbling and failing and learning and soaring all at the same time, and oh yeah, that fly problem, maybe I’ve not got that quite as under control as I thought.  The same stupid fly has been buzzing my head now for the last few minutes.

I’ve said this in days past and I told my awesome Laurel’s this yesterday at church, God loves us and he didn’t put us on this earth to fail.  He wants us back.  So, knowing this I think I will gloat a little over the things that I can do and the other failures well maybe I will pick one to feel guilty enough about to improve and grow and the others can wait on the back burner until I become pro at the first one.  Until then I won’t feel guilty or like I am hopeless, like that stupid fly that keeps buzzing my head, I will get to them, and I will perfect them in a normal time with normal setbacks along the way, because God wants me home and he’s gonna help me improve and get back to him.  And oh, yeah, that fly… I just clapped the darn thing between my fingers and he is lying quite peacefully dead on my bedroom floor.  Check that one off of my list of failures.  See I’m improving as we speak!

 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

So help me if you touch that TV I will smack you!


So how long has it been since I have written.  Do we really even want to go into that?  What can I say life has been crazy, a whirl wind of a million awesome things!  First of all, my amazing nephew Bryan got married.  The first one of the cousins on either side of the family.  We went to his wife’s bridal shower, my sister in laws and my mom and me.  It was fun having the girls together, just wish that my sisters could have been there too.  Afterward on the way home, Annalee and I took my mother who is in her mid-sixties to get her ears pierced.  All these years and she has never gotten it done.  Can I just say that it was awesome!!  I use that word a lot, awesome, but it was.  And of course I have the pictures to prove it.  The lady doing her ears must have thought us insane at first because the three of us together get a little hyper, always have, but by the time we were done she was giggling right along with us and thrilled to death to be part of the fun and the pictures too.

“So help me if you touch that TV. I will smack you,” just came through the front door right now as my little boy who had been sent outside to pick up his bag of weeds that he left on the back lawn from weeding this morning came in.  Oh, a mother’s life.



Byan’s wedding was sweet and it was at the Salt Lake Temple.  Crazy but Jason and I have never been past the front doors.  We never could make it there together and we had promised each other that we wouldn’t go unless we went together.  Work was crazy and one of the ladies that works under Jason had been gone all week taking care of a divorce that she was sadly going through and it didn’t look like she would be back on Friday for Jason to go.  I didn’t want to break our promise not to go without the other but I couldn’t miss my nephew’s wedding.

God knew this.  Silly little thing but he knew by my prayers how important that was to me.  Long and behold I got really sick the day before and could barely hold myself upright.  Not that you would think that God would work by bringing me illness, but he did and what a wonderful time to be sick.  I was taking my nephew’s wedding pics at the temple the next day.  But that next morning I was completely well, and could go to the wedding but I was like a limp noodle from being so ill the day before.  Jason called the lady at work and told her the dilemma and she being the sweet person that she is said she would be to work so Jason could help me take the pictures.  See, God knew what he was doing when he made me sick and even neater, when we were waiting for Bryan and Karen to come out of the temple afterward, Dallin H. Oaks was there waiting too for his grandson and new granddaughter in law to come out.  Kinda cool, huh?



The Fourth of July came and went.  What fun that always is.  Our little tiny town gets together, the whole of it and half of the world that moved away too, and throw a little carnival for the kids.  The proceeds go to the Scouting program and the Young Women.  It was so much fun seeing people that I only see at the Fourth of July.  It was a nice year having the kids finally old enough to run and play on their own.  Jason does sound for them every year and this year I was busy with our photo booth that they had there.  My ward’s young women were in charge of the rock climbing wall and even though I was busy with photo booth so I couldn’t help my leaders, like the amazing women that they are, just took over and with the cute young women took charge.  Everyone working together makes wonderful things happen.

 
Then this last Saturday, my cute, very serious, little boy Sam got baptized.  It was a very special thing for me to be able to sit in on his interview and watch as Sam answered all the questions to Brother Wright.  I was amazed at how perfectly clear everything seemed to be to him.  He knows who he is, why he is here, and the way to get back home.  Sam has some of the strongest faith that I have ever witnessed in a child.  We tease that if we need our prayers answered to have Sam do the praying because he has a very special connection to God and he always believes, never doubting.  When he walked into those waters, dressed in white, he knew exactly what he was doing and why.



Not that he is a perfect child, obviously not or he would not have been coming into the house yelling that he was going to smack someone if they had unpaused his TV. show while he went outside for a second.  What can I say, he’s still a kid, but I was sure proud of him.

Tomorrow is our family reunion on Jason’s side of the family and I am really looking forward to it and the craziness of it all.  Isn’t that how it always is when big families get together?  I can’t wait to sit around with my sister in laws and talk around the campfire while all the cousins giggle and play.  Life couldn’t be sweeter.  Next week is girl’s camp and chaos to get ready, but I know it will be one of those times when I will be overflowing with gratitude and basking in the light that seems to shine blinding off of my young women.

Summer will fly by before I know it, but hey my memories will be here for me to look back on and school will soon be here with that many more memories to share.
I know this picture doesn't really have anything to do with this post but doesn't it make Jenny's arm look ridiculously huge?  Who knew that my daughter was a body builder!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Miracle of Miracles


I’ve never had my bed call to me more than it did at 3:30 a.m. on Thursday morning and I’ve never had the alarm sound more like a blaring siren then it did three and a half hours later.  That started Youth Conference for me and Jason and my girls.  If you don’t know what Youth Conference is…in the LDS church the youth 14 to 18, boys and girls, from the area get together with their leaders and spend several days doing faith promoting and friendship building experiences.  I’m the Young Women’s President in our Ward so I already was planning on going but Jason got called special for Youth Conference to do sound for them.

Well the day before it all we did sound for Ryan Innes at the Nibley concert for their town celebration.  Nibley is close to Logan which is almost three hours away from our house.  Thus the reason we didn’t go to bed until 3:30 Thursday morning.  Cuss, throw things, yell, oh yes, all those thoughts were going through my head when the alarm went off that morning.  I will admit that I had been dreading Youth Conference all month.  Somehow we were supposed to fit in all of Jason’s crazy town celebration’s and BYU activities that Jason does during the summer and still make this happen.

I wish that I could say that we went into it all at least a little bit excited and that we didn’t murmur at all, but I can’t.    And I really was afraid that we wouldn’t survive, but somehow we did, and quite miraculously, even despite my murmuring, I still managed to feel the Holy Ghost.  I think from the very first reenactment that we did I was drawn right in.  It’s harder to feel the excitement that the crowd feels at anything we do, whether if it’s a concert in the park or a dance with three thousand screaming kids, or even a Youth Conference, because we know all the ins and outs and technical crap that went into it and it kind of takes away the magic of it all, but when President Bailey stood on that ridiculously tall tower in the middle of that field and spoke as if he was King Benjamin from the Book of Mormon I was head and toes prickles.  What a good man who really had spent his whole life serving the Lord standing there playing the part of an ancient king who had served the people and his Savior all of his days.

The Youth were amazing as they always are and watching them play games in the field all 200+ of them getting along and giggling was an amazing sight to behold.  When Captain Moroni rode in on his beautiful horse all decked out in his fighting armor, I barely thought about the time I had spent with him and his wife the hour before teaching them how to hook up his wireless mic, he was just fantastic.  My Young Women spoke later about him and how much they loved that he had written his speech himself and it was directed just to them as if someone from the scriptures knew about their day and their trials and spoke with all his heart for them.  What they didn’t know and what he told me just the hour before was his concern that he could hold his emotions together so that they could feel the spirit.  Sunday at church when we recapped the experience his speech was one of the first things that they mentioned that helped to build their testimony of the gospel and of Jesus Christ.

Friday afternoon Jason left to head back to BYU and I stayed to do that evening’s sound and then spent the time after with my ward around the campfire as our Bishop spoke with the kids.  I crawled into bed sometime after 10:30 but without Jason there I couldn’t go to sleep.  At about 12:00 I heard a truck pull up but when no one came into the trailer I assumed it wasn’t Jason and managed to fall asleep anyways.  Long and behold it was actually him, but before he went to sleep he went back out to that ridiculously tall tower and set up speakers, ten tops and for subs, around the bottom of it for the 4 a.m. morning reenactment.  He wandered into the trailer sometime around 1:30 and then he and I stayed awake for another hour trying to get just the right mix to go with the sound track that the Stake had provided to give it just a little more umph.  We got a whole whopping hour sleep before once again that darn alarm sounded waking us up and pulling us out of bed to that field. 

A full moon was out making it crazy easy to get the generators to run to get the sound up and going and to set the direction of our spotlight at the top of the tower, but it was definitely not the pitch dark that the Stake had envisioned when planning for the reenactment of the Savior’s visit to the Nephites in ancient America after his crucifixion.  4 a.m. hit and it was time to queue the sound of mass destruction on the massive sound that Jason brought but all that we got was a horrible squeaking sound from the generators and the power sending the completely wrong signal through the sound system.  Didn’t matter what cords Jason switched or what knobs he adjusted no hope and still too much moon to make anyone happy. 

What do you do at this point?  I did what I always do when I know so much is riding on us, I folded my arms and offered a silent prayer and so did so many others from the stake who were out there that morning in that field I am certain.  And of course what did I find upon saying amen???  That’s right, the speakers went silent and Jason pushed play and horrible music blared and sounds of destruction rumbled up the hill to those 200+ plus sleeping kids to wake them to the reality of what they had only ever read in the scriptures.  Upon asking Jason what he had done to make it work he said, “I don’t know.  It just did.”

It wasn’t long until ward after ward wandered in, kids tired and startled, wrapped in jackets and thick blankets, their camp chairs in hand to stumble into that lazy field, the moon lighting their way, when Jason came up and wrapped his arms around me and said, “look at the moon.”  It was starting to dip low and in front of my very eyes I saw in response to the Stake’s prayer that morning, the moon set in lightening speed before my eyes.

Pleasant story, you say?  Sweet.  Sure and if that were all that it was it would be good enough for me to tell it, but I know differently.  When Christ stood that morning, the actor portraying him lit from head to toe with the spot light and the lift that he was in towering forever above the trees hid because the moon had set so swiftly, I knew then that it was a miracle and if I didn’t bare testimony of it I would be most hard and inconsiderate.  If those kids don’t know now that God loves them and is mindful of them than I don’t know what further witness could give them that knowledge.  He loved them enough that even though there are billions of people in this world God sent 200+ kids that miracle and that witness of him in the very wee hours of that morning in the most humble and insignificant little field tucked in that tiny little valley beneath the Red Cliffs.

Miracle of Miracles, God never forgets his children, we just have to seek him.

 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Horrible Monster the Stomach Flu


That moment when you wake up from your dreams having dreamt that you had died, some horrible stomach tumor or appendix rupture only to realize that you are in horrible, mind blowing, earth shattering pain, which after a few moments of foggy realization you run lickety split to the bathroom.  And that is how the debilitating bite of the horrible monster the stomach flu starts.

 
Yup.  Need I say more?  I guess lots of fluids, plenty of down time and tomorrow I will start back into things.  I did however, even in the wet noodle like state that my body feels like it is in, mow my section of the lawn that I don’t let the kids do.  The front of course.  That needs my kind of perfection for every car to see on the Sunday afternoon parade route that is my street.  This week most likely they will be highly disappointed, because I don’t care how badly the flowerbeds need edging I am much too weak to give a flying rats bum-cheek and if it wasn’t for the fact that we (both Jason and I and our two oldest girls) have youth conference next week and will miss mow day, no matter how sick I am I cannot let my lawn go that long.  I know, ocd, but we all need something other than ourselves to be obsessed with.

I guess I could look at the pins and needles, or rather swords and cemetars, being jabbed into my tummy right now as something to feel horribly sorry for myself about.  In fact a few minutes ago when I told my daughter Suzy, “Thank you so much for giving me your plague,” I was in reality expecting an, “I’m so sorry, Mom,” but in truth only got, “I told you it was horrible.  Now do you believe me?” kind of reply when I wanted to pout a little.

I’m going to choose however to look at the glorious gift this is beyond the awfulness, I get to spend a whole day in bed, reading a book or writing on my laptop and I don’t even have to feel guilty about it like I normally do all those other days.  In fact I will probably, out of concern for my family’s wellbeing of course, let my beautiful daughters trouble themselves with making dinner so that I don’t contaminate the rest of the family.

You see?  Everything has andupside!  Well time to go, the shining throne in my bathroom is calling me.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Twenty Freakin Years!


I’ve been told that you can’t write about something that you don’t know.  The one thing that I  know completely is love. Almost twenty years ago, just ten more days in fact, I will have been married to Jason, the most amazing compassionate teddy bear of a great big man that I have ever met.  Sometimes I look back on our life and I smile other times I admit I cry a little, because you see, when you have something as amazing as I have part of you is always afraid of losing it.  I just finished reading a book, something that I used to always do but haven’t taken the time to do in quite a while.  It was ridiculously long and endlessly slow but something about it was so beautiful that I couldn’t put it down.  “The Shoemaker’s Wife,” is all about love and loss and part of me when it ended at her husband’s death knew that I would feel just as she did if my Jason every passed away, completely happy in the world and desperately lonely in her big bed at night.

I have a special gift about me.  Somehow I can most often find happiness.  Sometimes the world is hard and I want to cry but somewhere happiness always seems to hold me.  Tomorrow if my perfect little piece of heaven ended I would still find happiness, but I know part of me would be looking through the world in a big bubble, enjoying my time, my children, my God, but always holding on to the time that our eternity would begin.

You see, this is why I don’t read sad books or watch sad movies.  If a character that I will love in them is going to die I cannot read them or watch them because they haunt me for weeks and as my Jenny would say put me into a little bit of a depression.  I think perhaps this is the writer side of me, I imagine everything the whole world as it may be as if it were happening to me.  So if you kill off a beloved character most certainly something of the same sort will happen to my own life.  Hence, the pining away I have for Jason right at this moment who happens to be away at Graduation for the college that he works for.

Last Saturday Jason and I left for California for a few days of alone time.  Youth Conference which we both are going to would interrupt our Anniversary week and the rest of the summer just gets busier so we took the time at the beginning of the month.  It was glorious and well earned.  Twenty years after all is definitely something to celebrate.

Let me paint you a sweet little picture of my married life.  Imagine a girl, now of course she has to be beautiful because that’s how all stories should be, who grew up her whole life dreaming about fairy tales.  Now imagine if everything that little girl could possibly dream could actually come true, because you see one of the best things about that girl is that she can imagine anything into reality.  That little girl was me.  Now, I’m not so sure if I was beautiful, but in my memories I make certain that I am and Jason, well you see he is that prince that shows up in every fairy tale to tell the little girl just how beautiful that she is.  And his arms really are stronger than anyone else’s and he really does protect me and fill my world with wonderful amazing things and bring me more joy than anyone should ever be allowed to have and could ever possible contain.  Every time that he looks at me I am Cinderella, or Belle, or Sleeping Beauty and I really am the most amazing person that anyone has ever seen because even after twenty years he still looks at me that way and somehow, despite the ancient thirty eight years that my kids think I carry I still feel young and light and like anything is possible because I have him, and our California trip only reminded me of that even more.



Our two oldest daughters, Jenny and Nan, have a cute little tradition that they started a few years ago.  Every time that they go anywhere and they see a statue of a big animal we have to stop the car and let them get out to take a picture of it with them next to it and of course every trip they are hoping to top the last one in what animal they might find.  So imagine our delight when just a few miles away we found a metal statue of a great big dinosaur.  Ha!  Top that Jenny and Nan.  Of course the next day we found a few more and had to send them some awesome pictures of just how brilliant their parents were, because we are.

 
 
 
 
 
Ah…California was…well…freaking awesome, and twenty years really is freakin amazing and I am looking forward to another freakin ridiculous twenty years more.
 

video
 
So of course Jason, the av/computer/d.j. guy that he is had is go pro camera on his head at absolutely the most perfect time on our vacation and got a glorious shot of my bodacious wipeout.  The waves were amazing that day and my body a little battered and bruised for it all, but heck, it was righteous dude!!

 

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Ridiculous Game of Life


It’s blog time.  It’s blog time.  My children tease me that I take pictures of everything.  It used to be that I was some crazy tourist, now however, it is because I must be putting it on my blog.  How can they complain?  They will have a complete journal of their lives because their mother found it fun to blog.  Blogging has got me thinking every week of what I might write here next which has kept my mind open to the simple things that bring me joy and the simple things that remind me of my Savior’s love for me.

For mother’s day my absolutely awesome husband got me a smoker/grill combo.  I watch this show, it has become a wicked addiction, called Dinners Drive Ins and Dives.  How can you not watch something that shows week in and week out all the glorious creations made in a smoker and not want to have one yourself?  And for someone like me who adores cooking, it was a definite must have.  Last weekend as I was struggling to get the coals started and the wood caught in my impatience I poured lighter fluid on coals that I did not realize had started a small blaze brewing in one corner.  What happened?  That’s right…cabloosh!  Let’s just say that I will be growing the hair back on my arm for the next month or so and that I couldn’t get enough cold water on my hand for several hours after without feeling like I was going to go up in flames.  My fingers never blistered and my skin only looked sunburned for a few days but it got me thinking of all of my clumsiness.  In fact my family teases me that I should never handle a cheese grater because perhaps I would grate more skin than cheese.

 
There...have I made you hungry with all my pictures? 
                    Now you want a smoker too!
                         You know that you do!
 
 All my life I have been clumsy and when I was a kid I used to think of that as one more major defect about me, but now I kinda find it enduring.  Strange I know, but it has taught me how to laugh and never take life too seriously and I really like that about myself.  Clumsiness seems to run in my family.  I won’t point out which siblings of mine are clumsy like me, but they know who they are and let’s just say that there is more of us than not.  My mother…the ultimate klutz and I laugh about it a lot.  Her father, my grandpa Hoklas was the king of them all and something about that makes me love him more, because you see, that makes me like him and I loved him so very much and he loved all of us so very much too.

All of us have things about us that perhaps are impossible to change.  Does that make us defective?  Should we be returned for an upgrade?  Absolutely not!  That’s what makes you unique and that’s what helps you see others with kinder eyes.  If earth life was perfection than those that were not would have absolutely no hope and the greatest gift that Christ has given us is hope.

Luke broke his collar bone this week and got a concussion in an accident with his motorcycle.  It kept him asking the same questions over and over only seconds apart for a good five plus hours and the next day it was every ten minutes or so. I worried that maybe his brain would never be right and I tried to laugh at the repetition instead of cry like I wanted to do.  His brain is back to the brilliance that is him but his happiness not so much.  Sometimes I feel like the choices that he makes seems to lead from one negative to another and part of me worries that he’ll have a hard time remembering that we love him and that God does too.  It’s never fun to be the parent when a child is hurting and you have to remind him the consequences that come.  Summer spent without a dirt bike or his skateboard as he gives his head time to heal and his mind time to grow up and become the awesome man that I know someday he will become.  I wish there was a way to let him in my head for one little moment so that he could see just exactly how much I love him and how much I worry about him.  I wish he could feel the love that I feel.  I guess maybe that is what God is thinking when we forget him, or trials come, or he has to remind us to take the better course.  Maybe he wishes that we could see inside his heart and understand how much he loves us.  Maybe he wishes that we could feel what he feels towards us.

My niece Molly had her first birthday party yesterday.  She was all smiles and cheers as she opened her presents and ate her cake and all I could help think was that I was so lucky to have her in my life.  I want my family home…all of them and Cullen, Annalee, Connor, Dallin, and sweet little Molly are finally home.  Oh how I have missed them when they were living in Texas.  The other day Cullen was talking with me on the phone and mentioned that he was having a guy’s night with my brother Brad and I teasingly said, “That’s not fair.  I have no sisters here for a girl’s night.  I should get to come too!”  Of course I was teasing and of course I was so happy that he was spending some quality time with one of my brothers but part of me was really sad too.  I never really got the chance to know my sisters very well.  Kari is much older than me and Jill so much younger and they live so very far away and part of me knows that Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to lose those relationships that maybe we never really had in the first place. 

Well, Jill is at this very second on her way here for a visit.  It has been two years since I have seen her and I haven’t even met my nephew Liam except in pictures and I guess I should just thank Heavenly Father that he is giving us this chance to connect, one of his many tender mercies, but part of me is sad too because I know that it will come to an end.  Time to find a way to get my Jilly Bean home for good.  I miss the chances that she and I have yet to have.

Saturday the girls and I and Sam finished weeding the lawn and mowing it and planting the garden.  Jason spent the night in Price playing a gig and didn’t come home until late morning.  Then we ran up north and got Suzy a new swimsuit for her pool party at school tomorrow and Nan a new dress for promotional from eighth grade on Thursday and ran some other errands.  When we came home I went in the house to get dinner ready and the kids played outside.  When I came out they were all laughing and giggling in the front yard, Jason included, as they took the bat and a plastic ball and played a completely crazy game of baseball with the ball going all lopsided in the air.  Safe from killing a car window, a house window, or a flower bed, and making the game utterly ridiculous and I couldn’t help but think that that was what life is all about.  Old and new, klutzy and happy, hurting and learning, new relationships and cementing old ones, and family all tied up into one crazy lopsided game of life with home base leading back to our Heavenly Father.  It’s a ridiculous game at times, and sometimes very painful too, but it’s worth every strike if in the end we hit a home run.