Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Questionnaire

I know some people don't like these, but I think they're fun, so I'm doing it!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Hot Chocolate, but DH LOVES eggnog (bleh... I don't like rum flavoring!)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

When I was growing up, my parents set out our presents unwrapped. In the past, I've carried on the tradition, (Out of laziness! It's great NOT to have to wrap everything!) even though we don't really "do" Santa. Our kids get presents marked from Santa, but they all know where they really come from.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

White lights on evergreen garlands outside around the door and big window, white mini-lights on the house and tree.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

YES!!! We hang a big, artificial bunch over the arch between our kitchen and living room-- just like my mom always did! My 11yo son is TERRIFIED of being caught underneath it! And DH and I find ourselves under it quite often...

5. When do you put up your decorations?

Thanksgiving Day, or the day after! Dh is really not wanting to put up the outside lights this year, so we'll see if that happens this year.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?

Snacky-type foods like mixed nuts, Chex mix (a tradition in DH's family), crackers and cheeseballs, etc.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:

When I was growing up, we lived less than a mile from my maternal grandparents. My mom was one of eight children, and everyone who could come (which was most of them!) would gather at Grandma's house on Christmas Eve. Grandma and Grandpa would pass out presents to the adults, and then to all the grandkids. Each family would perform some kind of talent (my favorite was the year my mom, siblings and I sang and signed "Silent Night") and then Grandpa would read the Nativity story while the grandkids acted out the parts. My grandma had costumes ready-made for each part, and whoever was the newest baby born (boy or girl) played baby Jesus. I still miss the noise, the chaos, the closeness, and the love of those Christmas eves!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

Just after my 8th birthday, I caught a peek at my parents setting out the presents. My mom pulled me aside later and told me the truth. I felt so all-important and grownup, that I told my cousin who was 9 months younger than me and got in BIG trouble!

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

Yes! My mom, an excellent seamstress, usually makes PJ's for everybody, and we wear them to bed on Christmas eve. My Dh's family opens their presents to each other (the kids) on that night, too, so we also incorporate that tradition.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?

As a girl, I used to have dreams of decorating a huge, elegant, glorious tree when I became a grownup, but I've discovered that the construction paper nativity and popsicle-stick ornaments my kids make are much more precious to me than anything really fancy. My mother also still carries on the tradition of giving each one of her children a new ornament each Christmas, so I have lots from my childhood, as well as from recent years.

11. Snow: Love it or Hate it?

I grew up in the wintry north, and have NEVER liked it! I don't miss it one bit!

12. Can you ice skate?

When I was a teenager, I had fun going ice skating with friends. I wouldn't dare attempt it now! (And I can't ski worth a darn! See why snow has no appeal?!)

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

One year, my Aunt Linda's family had our family for our gift exchange, and she had made me a beautiful cloth baby doll (plastic head and hands), complete with the most beautiful dresses and layette. (She was an amazing seamstress, too!) I still remember what that doll smelled like. I was sure that no real baby could smell sweeter!

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

The euphoric feeling in the air, the way people smile at each other more, the bell-ringers and how every person hands them SOMETHING, the heaping donation boxes, the songs and how everyone knows every word and melody of them all. To me, every part together adds up to the Spirit of Christ, and I think it permeates the entire season. I LOVE CHRISTMASTIME!!!

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

Divinity-- my grandmother's is, well, DIVINE! Unfortunately, I've never been able to get mine to work right!  

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

The first year we were married, my Grandma gave us a Christmas devotional booklet she had put together in RS. It begins on December first, and each date has a song to sing, a scripture to read, and then is followed by the story of the day. We use it every night, every year, and we never get tired of hearing the stories! It includes things like "The Gift of the Magi," and other great tales from sources like "Especially for Mormons" and "Out of the Best Books." My Dh also reads aloud "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" to all the kids, and I read aloud "A Christmas Carol." (Not all in the same night, obviously!) We love stories at our house!

17. What tops your tree?

Used to be an angel, but now we have a golden star that is lit with tiny lights.

18. Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving?

When I was a kid, it was receiving, of course. But now, I love to find the absolute perfect gift for someone, and know that they adore it! Seeing my children open their gifts Christmas morning is my favorite gift!

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?

"Candlelight Carol" is gorgeous. I love singing it in a women's quartet. "Lo, How A Rose 'Ere Blooming" is beautiful when a full choir performs it. (The Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Renee Fleming is the BEST!) And I believe every Christmas program should end with "Silent Night." Someday, I'd love to sing it with a guitar accompaniment, just as they did the first Christmas it was used. Oh, and Christmas just isn't right without "The Messiah!"

20. Do you like candy canes?

Yes, especially if they're a variety of flavors. Cinnamon is my favorite! But mint ones are best for stirring into hot cocoa. Yum!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Moving Moments

We are moving THIS weekend. I am thrilled to be moving back to one of my favorite places, and I love our new house, but I am completely over-whelmed at all I still need to do! I have been thinking about one of one of my favorite sayings, "Anyone can eat an elephant one bite at a time." So here's my plan: I will work one emptying one room at a time. The bedrooms shouldn't be too bad, since I worked them over pretty thoroughly so we could show the house. I need to cut the toys down to one or two each child, and allow them to keep one coloring book out each, as well as the crayons. I think that and the movies should keep them entertained sufficiently for the week. (Thank heavens we got rid of all the DVD cases and put all the disks in a HUGE CD cover. It will be a cinch to move!) As for clothes, I do have the kids clothes in suitcases, but I need to do the laundry again, and pack up the remaining excess.

Here's one of my biggest dilemmas: how do I pack up all my pots and pans when I still need to cook? I have not found a satifactory answer for this yet. Even if I pre-cooked everything or made freezer meals, I still need something to warm things up in. I hesitate to go the frozen, packaged food route, but maybe now would be a good time to consider it. I don't know if that's something our budget can handle, at present.

My other big worry is all the PAPERS I have everywhere. I don't have time to go through them, yet I hate the idea of transferring clutter from one house to the next. Maybe my perfectionism is getting in the way. Bleh! Alright, I will suck it up, and just start filling boxes, junk and all. (Don't do today what you can put off until tomorrow???)

Well, I realize this isn't an inspiring entry, but it's helping me sort things out in my stressed and cluttered brain, so it was worth it to write!

By-the-by, the above picture is of our new home. We are calling it "Nestlewood." The kids are ecstatic about the yard and trees.
Just five days to go!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Just Venting...

I had a sad epiphany today. I realized that I am always looking for the "next thing" to make me happy.

I spend time online I should be spending with my kids. (See, here I sit... :p )

I thought when I could buy a house, I'd be happy. Then I thought a bigger house would do it. Now I'm wondering if I'm just looking for something new and exciting again by moving.

What is it about *actually* LIVING life that scares me? I can't put my finger on why I'm so down! My DH is devoted to me, is a good man, supports us well. My kids are healthy, good kids, though a bit messy-- a.k.a. NORMAL.

I just can't seem to shake this mood lately. Maybe I'm pregnant...? *sigh*

I'm sorry. I guess I'm just venting. For some reason my perfectionism is keeping me from doing the things I know I should do that will make me happy-- like exercise, prayer, singing with my kids, laughing, reading aloud, de-cluttering my bedroom...

Maybe I just needed to write these feelings out so I'll do the above.

I'll report back later.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sometimes God's Answers are Unexpected...


Sometimes the answer to our prayers is "Not yet."

We are NOT moving to our hometown, we are staying put. My dear husband got a job yesterday, and it is a GOOD thing, because he will stay at the same high salary as his last job. However, he will be commuting for an hour each way, and that will take some adjusting to.

So what about our answer to "go home?" Well, we just feel it has been postponed. This contract job will provide the means for us to catch up on our bills, and prepare to "go home" sometime in the future.

Actually, we were so blessed by this last period of unemployment. We got into some more debt, but we did not struggle at all, and we were able to be with family for nearly the entire month of July. My mother and I really needed each other right then, and God was gracious enough to give us that time together. He really did have a plan for us, all along. I am so glad I never worried. All I felt through my many prayers was PEACE. I knew that everything would be alright.

With public-schooled children starting back to school here this week, my mind is turning to our educational goals and plans for this year. I am browsing through my various homeschool catalogues, while praying and pondering. I am tweaking our "Master Plan," which includes the goals and plans I feel the Lord has for myself and my children. For example, my eldest daughter needs some more structure, as she is moving into Scholar Phase-- what an exciting, yet scary time! And I have now-- OFFICIALLY-- been accepted to George Wythe College's Distance Studies program. (I am thrilled and terrified at the same time.) I will be working even more on setting a good example, and it will be a blessing for our entire family, though certainly not easy!

No matter what answers I get, I know that God's plan for me is the right one. Putting my hand in His and trusting Him like a child is really all He is asking of me. In my experience, in doing so, things always work out better than I could ever have imagined!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Big Changes for Our Family!

Because of the promptings of the Spirit, as well as the Lord closing doors of job opportunities for my husband, we know that it's time to go back to our "home state." We were both raised in Idaho, and now feel that the Lord is telling us to "go home." I must admit that I'm excited. We are sending an offer TODAY on a 4 bd. 2 ba. home built in 1913 on an acre of land in a small town between where both of our parents live.

I am sad to leave the TJEd organization I helped to build here, but I know that they'll continue to do wonderful things whether I'm here or not. And my calling as Relief Society assistant secretary will be sad to leave. (I'm not looking forward to telling the Relief Society President, I can tell you that!) BUT, despite all this, I am experiencing a great deal of peace. I received a Priesthood blessing yesterday, and it helped calm me down quite a bit. I have so much work to do! I really should not be sitting down right now, but I have greatly neglected my blog, and I just need to put these positive vibes out in the Universe today.

God is good, all is right with the world. The future is in the dark right now, but with God at the helm, I know that we cannot go wrong.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Debate Rages On...

It seems that everywhere I go, the debate of having children goes on and on. Even among members of the LDS Church, who since its inception, have valued children. Are we members of the Church now buying into the consumerist, worldly view so well that we cannot see the illogical conclusions the anti-family movement is coming to?!

Here's my response to a rather heated debate going on at an LDS, homeschooling message board I frequent:
The crux of the matter is the willingness to be obedient. Whether that means two children or ten. And NO, President Hinkley has NEVER come out and said that families should not have many children in order to avoid welfare. (If you have a source, quote it. Anything else is simple hearsay.) I DO remember when a letter was read in sacrament meeting about 3 years ago stating that members of the Church should not judge each other with regards to the size of their families, be they large or small.
I look at Europe and see their birthrate. It is literally KILLING their culture and their future. The replacement rate for the guarantee of a stable population is an average of 2.1 children per couple. And Europe is currently at 1.5. According to the book The Empty Cradle, (which is not an LDS book, btw) if the birthrate doesn't rise by 2020, there will be a projected 88 million fewer Europeans at the end of the century. That's simple MATH.
The above effect is what President Packer was addressing in his Women's Conference talk. I still have yet to understand WHY society no longer values children. It is sad, and confusing. And absolutely illogical.
In the Proclamation on the Family, it states "We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force." It is in the best interest of mankind for children to be born.
BTW, I have eight children (and we WILL have more, in case you were wondering), my husband is one of eleven children, and one of my best friends in the world has thirteen children. To imply that we must be on welfare to support our families is rude and insensitive-- and ridiculous. All of us have raised our families on ONE income-- and rather well, thank you. When the Lord says He will provide for those that obey His commandments, HE IS TELLING THE TRUTH.
Brigham Young said that the road to apostacy begins when we criticize our bishops. I can't even begin to IMAGINE how one can justify criticizing one of the Lord's own twelve apostles.
If you can't tell, I am sick of the debate members of the Church keep having on this issue. DO IT OR DON'T, BUT QUIT TAKING THE CULTURE OF THE WORLD AS THE GOSPEL TRUTH.
I am done today. If you would like Brigham Young's direct quote, I can give it to you. It can be easily found in the B.Y. Teachings of the Prophet manual.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Why do so many women reject motherhood?

Today I read an article that is really disconcerting to me: (see below),2933,196367,00.html
"' If you're choosing contraception, then there's not a lot of point to having periods,' says Dr. Leslie Miller, a University of Washington-Seattle researcher and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology..."

"According to Miller, modern women endure up to nine times more periods than their great-grandmothers, who began menstruating later, married young and naturally suppressed periods for years while they were pregnant or breast-feeding. Today's women may have about 450 periods. "

This makes me so sad! :-( It's not that I think having a period is such a wonderful experience, but it is a natural process every woman should go through, to remind her that she is a woman, a future mother. It just makes my heart ache to see another example of women rejecting motherhood for the sake of convenience and frivolity.

Just last week, at a RS Humanitarian Night, some of the women were talking about Michelle Duggar and her family, and said how shocked they were that she still would want more. :( Our family is literally the largest in the ward, and though I know they weren't trying to be offensive, it hurt. How must Heavenly Father and His waiting children feel to hear women say such things? I feel it is a priviledge to be a mother, and I now wish I had stood up and said something... :-(

To my mind, it is a terribly tragic trend-- especially since so many women in the Church are subscribing to these philosophies. :-( Is our eternal perspective so narrow that we think only of today and our own convenience? Selfishness has become a virtue...

And besides the spiritual ramifications, what will the physical consequences be??? That is frightening to me, as well! What happens to our bodies when they cannot purge themselves?

I gladly welcome all the spirits that the Lord has for me to raise. I consider them jewels in my crown. Is it easy? Of course not. But that does not give me a reason to tell the Lord that my plan is better than His!

Another angle on this subject was written as an editorial in USA Today back in March.

So who will raise the children of the future? Only those who choose to have children. Those who embrace motherhood! And what will we teach OUR children? I am teaching my daughters that motherhood is the sweetest reward a woman can have. What about the women who reject motherhood? Who will they pass their teachings on to?

It seems the future may be on our side after all...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Back in the Swing of Things!

I spent this past weekend at the Thomas Jefferson Education Convention in Cedar City, and had my cup filled to overflowing! There was very little I hadn't heard the GWC folks say before-- however, the Spirit gave me lots of answers and insights I needed to hear!

I have known for the past two years, in my heart of hearts, that I need to apply for Distance Learning from GWC. While at the Convention, I committed to Dan Ralphs that I will send in my application before the magic date of JULY5th, this year!

Are we nervous?


Is it the correct thing for me to do right now?


Oh, My!

Other things that happened at the Convention:
  • Reporting to my mentor, Diann Jeppson, as to my progress on the recent assignments she has given me with regards to my TJEd group here in my home state. She liked my Vision!
  • Taking suggestions from Diann for new material to put on our website, which included getting a document signed by Dr. DeMille, giving us permission to use his material on the site, as well as receiving an assignment from Diann for Russell and I to read "The Tipping Point" together.
  • Dr. Julie Earley mentioned our website over the podium at the Convention! I about fell down with surprise! Unfortunately, Russell missed it, and I had to fill him in!
  • I got to meet and visit with some wonderful friends I've known for years online at the Pastry Pub. Very cool! Babies and pictures everywhere!
  • Visiting, talking, networking-- did I mention talking? Of sleeping, there was very little, but the trip, though rushed, was so worth it!
My only regret is that I did not take more pictures!!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Today I'm Unravelling...

It's not been a stellar day for me.

I was reading my last post and began to wonder if I'm that same person. Today is just... blah.

My husband is camping alone in the mountains right now, so I guess I'm just lonesome.

So who cheers the cheerleader when she's down...?


I think I'll add an amusing picture to this post, and quote Scarlet O'Hara -- who, because of my Southern heritage, sometimes is the voice of my alter-ego :

"Tomorrow is another day!"

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Finding Balance

The Responsible Woman by James C. Christensen

Lately, I've been overwhelmed with the many roles I am playing. (And I don't mean on the stage-- I wish!)

Wife, Mother, Teacher, R.S. Secretary, TJEd mentor, AzLAF President, Writer, Visiting Teacher, Daughter, Sister, and Friend. I've been a jumbled mess, trying to fit it all in, but not succeeding at anything. Last weekend, I finally just "broke." I postponed thinking about anything but the absolutely vital. It was actually very healing for me, and I was able to hear the Spirit as he reminded me of some things that I had been prompted to do, but had put off.

Now that I have stepped back a bit, I am trying desperately to prioritize the many things in my life. I recognize that *I* am the only one who put myself in this dilemma, and so it's my responsibility to "fix it." Most of the things I am involved in, are things that I CANNOT quit. I cannot-- and would not-- walk away from my calling, my family, my mission, my education, homeschooling, my TJEd organization...

I am thinking that there are too many "my's" in the above sentence.

My heart is beginning to help me see that my focus should be on the Savior, Jesus Christ. What HE would have me do. What are the things that truly help Him build His kingdom?

I will be pondering much more on this in the coming days...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Flashes of Inspiration-- Part 2: UPDATE

"Well, I did it! I have finally finished arranging the hymn I was working on, and it feels great! (Except for the fact that my house is mess because of all the time I've spent working on my music!) We'll see how people react when it is performed tonight at my ward's Relief Society Enrichment Night."
"It's an arrangement of 'As Sisters in Zion' using three part women's vocals, with violin and piano accompanying. I'll update this post later tonight!"


I'm late. Oops...

I recieved many compliments on the song, and I was very pleased with how it turned out. However, I can also now recognize where it needs improvement, and I hope to tackle the rough spots soon. The harmony was not as straightforward as it should have been, and the vocalization did not have the levels of interest I had hoped it would. Despite the problems, I am grateful for the inspiration I feel truly came from the Lord. Someday the piece will live up to its potential!

I have been pondering lately about the tendency I have to expect things to be finished and "good enough" the first time I try something. For example, I have a cousin who once got me really excited about rubberstamping and scrapbooking. She and I would create cards and page layouts, but when I was ready to finish, she would continue on, tweaking and changing things until she felt it was "just right." I shook my head in wonder, thinking, "C'mon, it's good enough! On to the next thing!" But when she would show me her finished project, I was so impressed with the beauty her determined efforts had produced.

The past year or two, I have tried my hand at writing fiction-- something I've never been truly successful doing. I have a notebook of story ideas, but nothing finished. I've been so terrified that I might work my heart out on a story, only to have it turn out to be-- well, a complete failure. Badly conceived, badly written. I even joined an e-mail writing group, where each person shared some of their writing and then each participant gave an honest critique. THAT was discouraging! I was not an experienced enough writer to realize that their ideas were worth considering. It just hurt a whole lot! After conversing with some other writers, and stretching my efforts on my blog and my website, I'm learning that just because my first draft was "bad," does not mean that the story is not worth renewed efforts.

As a person, I am not a "finished product." I need lot of work, being refined and changed, until I reach my full potential. I may never arrive at that place in this life-- however, I am worth working on! I definitely could use a good editing session now and then! But that does not mean that my efforts should be cast aside and given up. I have a work here to do on this earth, and God can help me become the woman He knows I can be.

What better Editor can any of us have?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Flashes of Inspiration-- Part 2

Well, I did it! I have finally finished arranging the hymn I was working on, and it feels great! (Except for the fact that my house is mess because of all the time I've spent working on my music!) We'll see how people react when it is performed tonight at my ward's Relief Society Enrichment Night.

It's an arrangement of "As Sisters in Zion" using three part women's vocals, with violin and piano accompanying. I'll update this post later tonight!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Flashes of Inspiration

I LOVE music!

One of the things that brings me the most joy in this life, is to lift up my voice in song. It is really my bliss, my passion! I have worked on this talent for years and years, and used to perform quite a bit. Now I have retired from the stage in order to hum lullabies. (Hence my alias! ;) ) In my past, I also took piano for more than 10 years, but I did not work on that talent as I should have. I have always hoped to write some music, but my lack of technical skills has always held me back.

Then, last night, as I tried to drift off to sleep, I began thinking about a musical number I volunteered to organize for our Relief Society birthday party. I was asked to put together a group of ladies to sing "As Sisters in Zion," and so I thought I'd just add a couple of notes for harmony, and leave it at that. But then, last night, I couldn't sleep because a beautiful rendition of the song came clearly into my mind and spirit. I can still hear it at this moment.

SO... today I decided to sit at the piano, and give it a try. Something amazing is happening to me. For some reason, I feel that God is in this song-- that He wants me to write it, to contribute this beautiful arrangement to the world. I keep silently asking Him why He hasn't given this song to someone more talented. He just seems to smile and tells me I can do it-- it is mine to share.

I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

I will update my progress. More on this later...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Our ORIGINAL Family Crest

My husband and I have been creating our very own original family crest for YEARS! We finally finished it a few weeks ago, and I just turned it into digital format TODAY!

Our family motto, which will go underneath it when I finish the entire drawing, is
"Dominus Illuminatio Mea" which means, "The Lord is my Light."


The blue background stands for loyalty-- to God, to each other, to the truth.

The white tree represents our family: the roots acknowledge our ancestors, those who came before us; the trunk represents my husband and I and our eternal marriage; the branches represent our children, and the acorns are a manifestation of the the sweet fruit our efforts in raising our children will bear.

The tree is a mighty oak tree, and also signifies the leadership education going on in our home. The growth of the oak may seem slow, but that is because the roots are growing strong and spreading out, deep and wide. When the tree grows to its full height it will withstand all the storms of life.

The battlement division of the top represents our steadfastness through trials and hardship.

The ermine background of the top signifies our noble heritage, as children of God.

The five red losenges (diamond shapes) were taken from the ancient Keppner crest from Germany. Lined up in this manner, they represent noble blood, reminding us to never forget that God is our Father.

"Dominus Illuminatio Mea"

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Being an Overweight Lady

Today, on an LDS discussion board, I read through a thread about a study done in which LDS people were said to be fatter than many other groups of people. The thread headed in many directions, with some people saying that fat people just need to eat better, and there were some people airing their frustrations about gaining weight. I admit, I'm in the second camp! I wrote a heartfelt reply, and thought it would be good to record it here...
Confession time:

I have struggled terribly with my weight since I hit puberty. Overnight I suddenly had to kill myself exercising just so I could stay the "overweight friend" in school. I once read a book by an LDS author who stated that any overweight young lady who was fat, was obviously not keeping the Word of Wisdom. It literally crushed me! :( I worked much harder than any of my skinny, cute, junk-eating friends, yet I never looked like they did, and now I was "less worthy" and "less righteous" than them as well!
Now, 8 kids later, and many sizes bigger, I am eating healthier than I have EVER eaten in my life! (In high school I went on a 1,000 calorie diet, though most days I only ate about 600 calories a day! [Eek!] ) NO processed foods, no sugar, whole grain wheat and grains, lots of organic produce, etc., etc. My DH and I keep a combined effort to stay healthy, yet we remain plump. With this last pregnancy, when my midwife would check my blood pressure each month, she would go on and on about how amazingly healthy I am. She even told me that my body is "made to make babies!" :D (ya think?!)
I have come to the conclusion that FAT does NOT equal "UNHEALTHY." The Lord NEVER stated that we should weigh within certain limits. You can't tell me that the person who has gastric bypass surgery is healthier than me, just because they're now thin! But I am doing lots of things to be healthy!
Being a fat person stinks. I hate being judged and ignored because I don't look perfect on the outside. People just look right past me and ignore me, until they hear my comments about something, or get to know me better. Then it's like they've finally noticed I exist. It hurts, but I know that it is simply human nature. We DO judge people based on appearance. I just wish I knew what I could do differently to change mine. I have wasted years in the past obsessing and crying over every pound, and I'm not going to do that any more. I'm just grateful my DH thinks I'm a voluptuous babe! :D
I've heard it said that fat people show their weaknesses externally. I have, after many years, decided that this is just one of my trials in life. It is something I have to bear on this earth, but look out-- in the resurrection, I'm gonna be gorgeous! ;)
In the meantime, I'm so grateful for the internet, so now I can have a voice without having to help people get past my appearance. I am NOT less righteous because I am fat. I just get to wear one of my trials on my body, for all to see.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Winter Blahs

Today was not a stellar day for me. It was one of those days where I feel exhausted, but my house is a mess, and nothing was accomplished but the daily meals. (And I really should be working on dinner right now...)

I'm blaming the overcast day with no rain for most of my "yucks," but there's hormones going on, as well.

Is this a sorry excuse for today's journal entry? Maybe. But hopefully by recording "blah" days such as this, other days will seem brighter.

THEN... I read a message on the Mentoring Our Own list that inspired me. I think this would be a good place to record it! (Posted to the "Mentoring Our Own" list by Deborah.)

Winter stress busters; what kind of stress am I feeling?

1. Overwhelmed? Focus on your leader self, rally to the big picture, use universal principles.
2. Bored? Focus on romantic self, serve spouse.
3. Tired? Exhausted? Burned out? Focus on vision, inventory built on vision.
4. Lonely? Under attack? Figure out what you don't want to do and stop doing it!
5. Anxiety? Worry? Focus on your manager self, capitalize on others' strengths, details.
6. None of the above? Reach out to others that are experiencing 1-5  
And last but not least; TRUST YOURSELF!!!!
(Taken from a LEMI call with Dr. Oliver DeMille-- 2006)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families"

I recently rediscovered this amazing book, and I have seen some of the most beautiful changes in myself, my family, and the feeling in our home! It is written by Steven R. Covey, who has a warm tone to his writing, and really makes me feel that "I can do this!" Some of the things that really spoke to me are:

Habit #1-- Be Proactive

He speaks of a quote he read while on a Hawaiian sabbatical that says, "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness."

I have decided to memorize this quote, because I have a real problem just immediately reacting to things my kids do. I never used to take the time to think and choose a response. I know that my kids were not being given help, real discipline, or a good example when I would fly off the handle. I have since made a conscious effort to improve, and the results have been astounding to me. My children now listen and obey more often than in the past. I find that I am hugging them more, and losing my temper less. When things get crazy, all I have to do is close my eyes, and think, "Between stimulus and response, there is a space..." In that instant, I can step back and trule analyze the situation and check myself. If all I got out of Dr. Covey's book was this one concept, it would be worth its weight in gold!

A Family Mission Statement

We have worked on a family mission statement in the past, but have never had one "stick." This is something that continues to evolve and change over time, with our family. In his book, Dr. Covey states, "For the most part, families don't have the kind of mission statement so critical to organizational success. Yet family is the most important, fundamental organization in the world."

I definitely agree with him, that the family IS the most important organization in the world. In reading further in the chapter, I found that he believes that the mission statement can come in many forms, like a song, a poem, or a piece of artwork. I then realized that my grandmother knew what she was doing when she chose a "family song" years and years ago. I have sung it with my amazing extended family time and time again over the years, and it still reminds me of who I am, and what I want out of life. Everytime I hear it or sing it, I am inspired to stand a little taller and be a little better.

In our own immediate family, we have finally-- after years of trying-- created our unique family crest. I have done years of study in the art of heraldry, and we have finally come up with something that speaks to us, and represents what our family is all about.

Dr. Covey says this about a family mission statement: "The mission statement itself has given us a clear, shared vision of the destination where we as a family want to go." This thought has impacted me tremendously. I am now examining what my goals are for my family. Where do I see my kids is the next five, ten, or even twenty years? What kind of "beautiful family culture" do my kids need in order to meet those goals and the vision we all have for our futures? He has some great tips and ideas on how to create a family mission statement in his book.

We CAN Be Successful

Lastly, I love this quote in his book, which was originally given by Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

We are all, truly, destined for great things, as are our husbands, and our children. We can be a light to them, and to our friends, associates, and the world. I want to be the woman that God believes I have the potential to be. I know I can do it, with His divine help.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Running Errands

Maybe I am just weird, but I just loathe running errands. Today I need to go to the dreaded Wal-Mart. Ugh. I have some rolls of film that should have been developed a week ago. (My sister-in-law is waiting on us so that she can finish the family calendar. Oops...) And there's the various and sundry gifts that need to be returned. Oh, and I want to get my baby's first photo session done. I really do try to squeeze too much into my shopping trips, because I don't want to go out again any time soon!

One thing that irks me about going out during the day, is that it's no fun to drive my fifteen-seater van with just me and the baby in tow. My 12 year old daughter is a very capable babysitter-- thank heavens-- and since I carry a cell phone now, I am just a phone call away. (What DID we do before we had cell phones, anyway?!) So I can be thankful that I don't need to fight all eight kids whenever I need to do some running around.

The kids LOVE it when I go out. They get to watch a movie or two-- depending on how long my errands take-- and that's not an everyday occurrence! (anymore! ;) )

SIGH! Here I go, off to brave the small town crowd that's already gathered in the only Wal-Mart for miles. I shall come back victorious!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Poison of "Perfectionism"

1950's Homemaking Ideal

I am a perfectionist.

I hate it when things don't go the way I think they should. I get so angry at myself, and the self-loathing starts. Then I can't seem to do anything "right." So I do nothing. My kids suffer, my house suffers, my poor husband suffers, and I suffer.

So I am trying to look at things in my life in a more reasonable way. I am not perfect now, and will never be in this life-- perfection is for the next life.

Tuesday morning I woke up early with a panic attack about some little matter that I had not resolved. Luckily, I was able to get back to sleep while nursing my baby. But when I woke up at about 7am, the black cloud engulfed me. "I can't do anything right. Why did I think I could get -- accomplished? Why did I volunteer to help with---? I always mess things up."

On and on these dark thoughts battered me. I thought of the sink of dirty dishes I had left undone, the laundry I had forgotten about, the reading I didn't accomplish, the weight I need to lose, etc. I began to cry. My wonderful husband-- heaven bless him-- comforted me. He found some essential oils to help me emotionally, and proceeded to rub my feet. The heady perfume of "Joy," the bright scent of lemon, the woodsy smell of "Valor." I began to feel a bit better. The black cloud lifted slightly, and I could see a ray of light peeking through!

Then I asked my true love to give me a priesthood blessing, and the Lord spoke beautiful words through him. I was reminded that my Father in Heaven loves me, and does not expect perfection of me. He knows I have great potential and infinite worth, and that I should never forget that. I was also told that the adversary desires to have me, and bringing me down in the depths of despair is one way that he can get to me.

My home is never going to be 100% clean for more than a brief instant. The laundry will never be "done," and I will never spend all the time I wish I could studying. It's okay! Only today will my toddler grasp my neck and say "I wuzsch you, Mama!" Only today will my daughter have her first mutual activity. Only now will my ten-year-old son ask me what new book on the shelf he should read next, my baby to smile big enough to show her dimples, my little artist to beg for some space on the fridge, my four-year-old to grin mischieviously, my son to make "Silly Putty" in the kitchen, and my five-year-old to ask for help with his paper airplane.

LIFE IS GOOD! And "good" does not have to be "perfect" to bring me JOY.

What a relief...