Sunday, July 20, 2014

Grandma's House

I'm off to visit my Grandma today. The nursing home she lives in just moved her to a different area because she keeps falling and isn't being able to get around much anymore. I'm afraid since she's not conveniently 'close', I have let the days that I've been out to see her be far and few in between. It was my daughters response to her when we hosted a birthday party for her and her twin, my great aunt, at our house this past May that made me realize how remiss I've been. I taught my kids to sing a song for her and they haven't stopped singing it. As a matter of fact, they request it for bedtime sometimes and sometimes I just come across them singing it for fun. My daughter, who is only 2 and a half, is always reminding me that she loves her MeMe Maw. It amazes me that they feel such a strong love for her. I haven't fostered this love like I should have. Not that we haven't been out to visit, just the visits have been few. And I think on all those visits and because my kids are a little stir crazy, the visits have not been that long. So I have to wonder at those ties that they feel to her.
Is it possible that they recognize her spirit? I have to wonder. She has always been a fun a person. I've written before that she is the reason that I love crafts. That I believe that it's never to late to learn or develop a talent. My grandmother was also responsible for a lot of the positive self esteem that I had. I had lot's of negative from school friends and teachers. So I am thankful for Grandma that always had something nice to say about me. It started with her always telling me what an angel I was. Even if I did act like a stinker at times. She also always told me what a good organizer I was. Which has helped me be a house keeper. She always took pictures of me and told me how beautiful I was. Eventually I believed it, but it was through her continued praise and love that I could eventually see it. In short my Grandma believed in me. She new I could go far. And while I may not be champion figure skater (we always loved watching that together), or president of the country ;)   I know she knows that I've done well as her granddaughter and a daughter of God. I can see it in the way she looks at my kids and the way she talks to me now. I hate what her illness did to her quick mind, but I'm grateful to know that after we are resurrected that she will be that vivacious eager to have new experiences person that I knew growing up.
And I'm thankful that I still have time to make the most of her time left on earth and that my children do feel a connection to her. However, that has come about. So like little Red, the children and I are off to visit Grandma today. Glad to know that there are no forests to cross on the way ;)
 Her most recent visit to our house on her birthday with her sister.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Baptism

This is a picture of me the day of my baptism back in 1982. We talked about baptism and what it means to us at church today. I started pondering and realized how grateful I am for this ordinance. I know that their are some people out there that don't believe that it is necessary that it is an insignificant ordinance as long as they are keeping the commandments and that they  believe in Christ. But I believe a loving Heavenly Father knows us better than we know ourselves. In the old testament it talks about how Heavenly Father wants us to be a covenant keeping people. Why would that be important? We could just keep the commandments, right? But I think it was important to show us the importance of integrity and also to show us that Heavenly Father always holds up his end of his promises. Baptism is essential. It shows us that narrow way that we must travel to get back to Heavenly Father with our Brother and Savior Jesus Christ. Christ himself was baptized to show us this. I don't think we realize the magnitude of the blessings that come from making and keeping sacred covenants. Baptism teaches us from the age of eight when we reach the age of accountability that we need to be responsible for our choices that they have eternal significance. It teaches us who to follow. Our Savior. And it teaches us who we can look to for guidance, the holy spirit. I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father and his perfect plan for us. I know sometimes that it may not seem so perfect as we pass through sorrows and heartache, but I know that we agreed to it, with this knowledge. It is just as necessary for us to go through the sorrow to be able to know happiness. And that the atonement helps to heal all those sorrows and pains and turn them to our good. I know because I've experienced it in my own life.
I remember feeling so special and being so excited at the prospect of being 'perfectly clean' the day of my baptism. I was baptized in our new chapel in Magnolia. There were three other kids from my primary class getting baptized that day and one of them, a boy named John, had to be dunked a handful of times because his toe kept coming up, so he wasn't completely submerged. Again, some would be say, 'well so what?'. We teach that just as Jesus was submerged in baptism that we need to be too. This has symbolic symbolism for us. "Immersion is symbolic of the death of a person’s sinful life and the rebirth into a spiritual life, dedicated to the service of God and His children. It is also symbolic of death and resurrection. " Mormon.org
I am thankful for the opportunity that baptism gives us to show Heavenly Father our willingness to keep his commandments. To be a committed person, makes me more focused on goals that bring happiness in my life and the will eventually lead me to life eternal with my Heavenly Father.
Just a few more memories that were fun ones of that day. I remember being nervous that my Mom would forget my extra dry underwear to change into because she did that to my older sister, and I remember that afterwards we went to eat at this 50's hamburger joint afterwards because I wanted to celebrate with a chocolate malt, which I love above shakes :) Yep Eight is great!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Eternal Families


On June 23, 2014, my husband and I got to go not just on any family vacation, but a strengthening of our family vacation. This beautiful family below is my brothers and they have had the opportunity to adopt a sibling group this past year. Now obviously the three youngest are mine, lol. They have had a lot of heartache as a couple in trying to realize their dream to become parents, so it was a big blessing to be able to travel up to the Nauvoo temple in Illinois to see them sealed together as a family forever. For those that might read this blog that don't belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and aren't sure what I'm talking about, I'll fill you in a bit. We believe in families that are tied together through the eternities, not just till death do us part. We also believe that Christ restored the priesthood keys to do this sealing to Joseph Smith in the 1800's, when he thought to ask the question, "Which church should I join?".  Those priesthood keys and the ordinances that are performed in the temple to bless and seal our families in the eternities were very necessary to help us make it back to Heavenly Father.


  It was super exciting for us to be there for their sealing as they had been to our sealing with our kids back in May of 2010, almost exactly 4 years earlier at the Houston Temple. We have loved getting to know each of their new children. And it had been funny at how quickly the cousins have bonded. They have been quick to find similarities and to enjoy memories and moments together. It really has been hard to believe that it's only been a year since we first met them. We already have such a stock pile of memories of them that it seems as though they've always been a part of our family. They have added such new dimensions to the family gathering that they haven't been just a blessing to my brother and sister-in-law, but a great blessing to the entire family. The temple that they chose to be sealed in is a special one to our church because it was rebuilt in memory of people that realized the importance of forever families and built such a beautiful temple even though they were a people of little means. They chose to be industrious and to make this temple building a priority because of the blessings that it would bring to their families.
We had lots of fun exploring the area, and reviewing church history. We happened to be there on the week of the anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith at Carthage Jail. So it was a special and reverent experience to walk in those areas and review those events. My children loved learning about the ways of life back then and learning little spiritual messages that went with the life skill that the missionaries serving there would share. For example, of favorite of mine was when they were teaching the kids how to make a rope. At the end the elderly man helping them told them  that he could have made the rope by himself, but having lots of others to help made it much more fun. And that families are like that. And before he handed them the rope they made, he made them promise that the next time they were asked to pitch in and help to remember that. That helping and working together brings us closer together and can make the work fun.
We loved the oxcart ride. The boys were super  impressed at how the oxen could poop and still keep walking, lol. We learned why they were preferred to horses and we also learned that it was probably preferred to walk than to ride with how bumpy it was in the cart. We thought about the sick that had to ride in the carts and how miserable it would be. It again made us count our many blessings for the day and age that we have been blessed to live in.



 This is a picture of the black smith shop where the kids get a prairie diamond ring at the end of the presentation. This is a favorite stop for most families as the ring is a coveted memento, and the processes explained are pretty fascinating for most of us. Little Lexi loved her ring and went around the next few days twisting her ring upon her finger and saying, "I wish, I wish, my wish would come true". After stating it that way several times, I asked her what her wish was. She then said, "I wish, I wish, I wish my lipstick would come true." She then opened her eyes and said..."hey this ring doesn't work!". Lol! I hope that it works better at bringing beloved memories of

a week that helped unite our families. She is definitely a hoot. Here is a picture of her at the games center. The kids got to dress up and pretend to be pioneers. They also had lots of fun games to play. I loved the iron hoop and stick game. The kids absolutely loved role playing. They could have come there several days in a row and not gotten tired of these activities. Not once did they say they were bored.





My little James ringing the kids back to school.



Can you believe she loved sweeping the floors?!? I'll have to remind her when she's older, lol.



 My cute hams! Don't let John fool you. He was having a blast. He was just tired of Mom and Dad interrupting his play time with pictures.
  These sweet kids were also a part of strengthening our families. These are my older sister's kids and we hadn't seen them in 5 years since my Dad died. We hadn't even met the youngest and they had only met John, and he was only a year old the last time they saw him. So it was super exciting for my kids to meet and play with these cousins that we talked about and saw pictures of on facebook, but had never met. It was exciting at how quickly they all had fun together. James was super quick to attach to their high energy kid, and John is always up for some new pals.
 We did some other fun things as a family coming back, but one of my favorites was stopping off at this little park in Arkansas to see this natural wonder. It's a natural bridge. It was so beautiful! It brought  to my mind what our whole vacation had been about. Strengthening our family. Both extended and our immediate. Our sealing back in 2010 tied my boys from my previous marriage, Douglas's kids from his previous marriage, and our new children to us. It helped unify us and help us to be more at one with another. I felt the same thing as we witnessed my brother's family get sealed. I love the blessings of temples and the bridge that they form for our families to help us get back together after this life.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day is a Special Day!

As this Father's Day has approached, I've been enveloped with memories of my own father and thoughts of thankfulness for my sweet husband and the great dad that he is. I would like to share those thoughts in that order to celebrate these great men and the difference that they have made in my life.
My dad was a great story teller. Whenever, I picture him in my mind, I never think of him as he was at the end of his life. His body taken over by cancer. I always remember his eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled, showing his silver tooth on the bottom. His silver hair mussed up a bit  and his eyes lively, and his hands and body animated as he related one of his beloved Bandit stories. That dog was definitely a close friend to my dad. I don't think he loved any of his other dogs as much. Even his favorite joke was tailored to be real by adding Bandit to it and one of our old family friends, Judy Miller. He told that joke so often that I have it memorized and have retold it myself many times to friends and acquaintances. It's always fun at the end when they realize the story isn't real and that they've been 'had'. I have always been grateful to my Dad for being worthy to hold the Priesthood. He saved my life while I was in the hospital dying from lack of blood by wielding that priesthood and giving me a blessing that allowed the blood to finally flow through the tubes and into my body just before the blood went bad and they would have to throw it away. He also gave me countless father's blessings that allowed me to have a glimpse of my Father in Heaven's love for me. And I know that I have overcome the challenges I have and succeeded much in life as a result of his belief in me. My dad has influenced me so much and I'm thankful for the friendship that I was able to develop with him as a young single mother when I worked with him as his accounting clerk. He will forever be one of my greatest hero's. This is a picture of him at a pool party for Isaac's birthday.
My own husband, became a great man in my eyes from the beginning of our romance. As we changed from friends into embarking on our great love, he told me, "I want to take care of you and your boys", as we stood under the big oak tree on the front of my lawn. That moment is forever etched in my mind. I don't think he realized how important those words were. How much those words spoke of his character. I just recently learned that there was a boy from my childhood whose parents would have loved for him to date me that responded to their information that I was available back then, "but she has two boys". There were several men that I dated that just weren't sure if they could take on the responsibility of two children that didn't have their genes. So when my husband, said that to me I knew he was the one. Not because I thought he was the only one that would ever commit to our family, but because he was sincere in that desire. Because we had already been friends and I knew that he understood what he was saying and that it wasn't said lightly to win me over. I had a witness in that moment that he would grow with me and that we could be real partners in this life of struggles helping each other to overcome and be the parents that our children would need. He hasn't always been perfect as a step dad, but I haven't always been a perfect mother or them perfect sons ;)
The point is that we have stepped into those roles and given it our 'all'. And we are a work in progress. And 'progress' is the key word. I love him beyond belief for never settling for the status quot. He inspires me everyday to work harder and improve myself. The boys made him cards this year, and the cards asked questions about their dad that they had to answer themselves. One of the questions was, "what does your dad do?". Little Red answered, "go to work". And Blueberry boy answered, "fixes things". Most people would think that means he's a work-a-holic. Because he does work. You could never accuse him of being lazy. He likes to get things done. But when he's done, he's taught the boys, it's time to have fun. I love that they see a balance. He knows how to relax. He knows how to have fun and he's taught me to relax and have fun too. Which is something I lost for awhile around my kids when I was single. This is a pic of us having fun at Disney World.
 I am so blessed to have a chance to learn from some great dad's in my life.
 Thank you to my Father and thank you to my Sweetheart for your loving influences in my life and my childrens'





Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Passing of a Great Mother

My dear  Grandmother passed away on Thanksgiving day. She was 93 years old. I have thought about writing this post almost every day since, but I haven't been ready till now. My Grandmother was responsible for many things in my life and I am very grateful for the life lessons that she taught me not only through word but also through example. I'm going to share some of my memories on here to express my love for her.
When I was little my parents would send me for the occasional visit during the summer. I loved going to her house. We didn't have central air, so it was nice in the Texas heat to want to burrow under the covers, although she had these two clown pictures hanging up in the guest bedroom that totally creeped me out, so needless to say it wasn't just comfort that had me loving those visits. I know this will sound weird, but she taught me how to properly make my bed and how to maintain a house through scheduling. My personality loved these things. Scheduling dusting! Who knew!? There was also the coveted shopping trips to the mall. I love shopping and I loved hearing about Grandmother's experiences of working at Foleys and J.C. Pennys. In fact when I started working for Foleys during my divorce and worked my way up through the ranks to an area sales manager, providing for myself and my kids and even obtaining a house and a car through my own credit and hard work, I felt nobody's pride more than my Grandmother's. I remember her making a point to tell me how proud she was of me pulling my life together. And because she knew the rigors of what I was doing; I knew she understood just how hard I had had to work to get there. Back to shopping :) My Grandmother would always buy me one thing while out shopping. I remember one time the visit was during Christmas break and she bought me this beautiful spiderweb ornament with a spider on it that glittered in gold. It was my favorite ornament to put on the tree because I picked it out and it was from our shared experience. Another time, when I was 13, my Dad had told me that when I turned 13 it would be my choice as to whether or not I got my ears pierced because he didn't believe I should. I didn't see any reason not too, as it meant not getting headaches when I pinched my ears with clips. Well apparently I missunderstood because I got my Grandmother in trouble. But I asked her if she would take me to get my ears pierced. She not only did that, but made it memorable by taking me out to eat at Neiman Marcus and then over to get my ears done. On the way back through, Macy's, I lost my lunch due to nerves. Poor Grandmother! However, it was a memorable event, lol. Grandmother also had a way of giving such wonderful gifts. Two of my favorites were first, the birthday party she planned for me with a crown and pink girly cake. I had told her how I hated Halloween and always getting stupid halloween birthday cards. She listened and made a special trip out to our family farm to have a girly party for me, although she did slip up and embarass me by buying me panties as a present, if I remember right, lol, but the pink Happy Birthday Crown way out weighed the other. The second was a plaid tafetta Christmas dress from Foleys buried underneath the mounds of tissue in a perfectly wrapped box with a beautiful bow. All that time in retail had taught Grandmother that wrapping could be just as important as the gift. And she was right. I loved that she took the time to teach me a thing or two about that as well.
My Aunt said that her passing on Thanksgiving was appropriate and I told her that I totally agreed. It will make celebrating Thanksgiving every year a little more special, but also entertaining was her specialty. Our family has so many memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas and 4th of July potluck dinners at Grandmother's with fine china and always two kinds of olives. The first time I hosted at my apartment she brought me a pretty little hostess gift. Grandmother was big on instilling proper manners in each of us, but even more than that, I think she was teaching us that the little things matter. Whether it is remembering someone's birthday or that special touch on a present, or dusting the furniture, all those things come around to caring, and she cared a great deal. I always loved her phone calls and her characteristic..."What you know". She loved being called Great mother instead of Great Grandmother and I think it was appropriate, because I know she was a great Mom, a great Mom-in-law, a great Grandmother, so if you totaled all the Motherly totals together she definitely came out Great and then some :)
                                          (This is her coming for a visit after Jame's birth)
 (These next two shots were her modeling a clothes line at her assisted living home. She never stopped doing and her mind was strong till the day she died.)
I love you Great Mother! Till We Meet Again, I promise to remember your many life lessons and to apply then in my life. Thank you for a beautiful legacy.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Exciting News

Today President Monson announced that all able boys 18 years and older that have graduated High school, are eligible to serve missions. When he started talking, I felt impressed that he was about to make an important announcement and called up to Amadeus to make sure he was listening as he was watching from the banister. How exciting! My brother called to say that maybe this was why Amadeus has had such a hard time deciding where he was going to college. I told him that this will help prepare him for college in away that nothing else can. I have felt all my life that it was a great blessing to be able to raise boys in this day and age. I've felt a great affinity to those Mothers of the Helaman's stripling warriors. These boys are being raised to hold out a banner of hope and love in a spiritual war zone. It's scary stuff for a mother and for these young men too. And yet I am not afraid for him to go or my future sons. I'm excited that they will have this added advantage and blessing in life. It energizes me as a parent to help them in all I can to prepare them.The Lord gives us nothing we can't do. He always prepares away. Lil Red's favorite song right now is "Nephi's Courage" and right now it rings loudly in my ears...."I will go! I will do! the thing the Lord commands! I know the Lord provides away. He wants me to obey!"
Totally blown away! Awesome!
:)