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!
:)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Potholes and Be donk a donks!



Growing up our road looked a lot like this one, minus the snow of course. Actually, the pot hole black topped portion of the road was the good part. Once you got to the last half before you got to our house, the second to the last on the long country road, was a dirt or dust road. And when it rained there were washboards and pot holes galore until one of the neighbors that had the right tools got out and grated the road. My Mom can clarify why, but all I remember was that their was politics surrounding why the county wouldn't maintain the road. I remember some of our funniest memories growing up was voting on who had the craziest driving skills trying to miss potholes. Mom or Dad? Personally, I think Dad missed the most but was the craziest of the drivers. He'd yell at Mom, "watch out", when a particularly large one would come looming out from around a curve and Mom would swerve almost landing us in a tree to miss it. There was no ditch. If you were going to fast on the washboards the car would do more than rattle. And if it was really muddy we felt like we were in a 4 wheeler slish sloshing around. People were constantly heckling my Dad, writing on the back window of our van, "wash me!". My poor Dad did wash it constantly, but it was a hopeless cause. If it was dry the van or car or truck would be covered in a layer of dust. If it was wet a layer of mud. I hated it when it would rain as a teenager because invariably some part of my clothing would accidentally brush up against some muddy portion messing up my clothes. Which was catastrophic to a teenage girl.
This last year in the area surrounding our old neighborhood many roads developed potholes with the heat expanding the concrete in the roads. Our neighborhood had also put in speed bumps to keep down the speeders cutting through our neighborhood in the morning. As we would drive around my husband would keep the kids in stitches by yelling, "wait for it, wait for it..." and as we went over the bump or pothole, "be donk a donk". Every time we venture back for a visit, we invariably end up playing the same game.
As I pondered these experiences, I thought about how we deal with the potholes in our own lives. Like the road I grew up on as a child, life is riddled with potholes. We can't make it through life without hitting a couple. But do we try to miss them or aim for them? It is obviously much better for our bones and the shocks of our car for us to avoid such pitfalls. So it is in life. But what if we can't avoid a pothole or we land in one anyway. Well I think our attitudes make a huge a difference as to whether or not we will make it through to the other side or sit and bemoan the damage. If we keep going and come unto Christ we can repair the damage of potholes in our lives. So we have great reason to have joy. And maybe when we are on the other  side of it we can yell out, "Be donk a donk!". Taking note that we've grown and learned and our ready to move on!
By the way, I am thankful to live in a newer neighborhood that has no speed bumps and no potholes. For the time being, life is a bit smoother :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Music Ringing in my House

I have always wanted to be able to have music be a talent within my family. I have been blessed by a wonderful husband that sees the blessing of this as well. The second year of our marriage on my birthday he bought me an upright piano. He continued supporting my older boys in there guitar lessons. And when I wanted to practice the piano would keep the little ones away.
When we moved, we had to sell the piano because it would have been ruined as it would out of necessity been stored in non climate controlled storage trailer. So we sold it and he bought me a pretty baby grande. It's not new and trying to play softly on the keys can be annoying sometimes as the keys can be temperamental. But it still plays lovely, and what's more he approached me and said that I should find someone to give me lessons. I'm in Heaven! I look forward to my practice time. And a couple of weeks ago I even played the music for family home evening. So cool! But the best blessing of music has been my little ones. Last night as I was working on my fall decorations, Lil Red came through the door of the kitchen singing "Nephi's Courage". Right behind him was Jamie, who didn't know that song, but realized it was a church song. So following his brother's lead, he was singing his favorite song, The Wise Man and The Foolish Man. It was a sweet moment. One of those that you hold onto forever.
My Dad is at the heart of my love for music. Although, my Mom deserves credit as well. My Mom taught me the fun that can be had and the uplift that comes from listening to good music. But my Dad taught me to appreciate classical and to desire to develop my musical talent. His favorite Christmas song, 'Oh Holy Night' became my favorite as year after year when we would find ourselves for a quiet moment in the car together, would sing that song together and yearn to master it so that we could sing it in Church and share our love of the song. We never did. But the moments of shared desire and peace as we sang together bring much more joy than a performance ever would.
Thank you, my Heavenly Father for blessing me with so many people in my life to bring me the joy of music and to nurture music within my own talents.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

GLADLY

I love that our children are sometimes are greatest teachers. There is nothing like it to bring us back into the depths of humility. Last night, after a family home evening on the outline of Heavenly Father's Plan or logistics of it and some swimming in the pool as are fun activity, we had settled down to watch America's Got Talent off of the DVR. I know I love that feature! Anyways, my sweet husband got me a bowl of ice cream, so I could keep my adventurous girl in check while we watched. I was done and being a bit lazy (I'll admit), I asked Lil Red, who is 4 1/2 now if he would take my bowl to the kitchen for me. "Yes Mother, I will gladly do that for you". My mouth fell open a little before the smile stretched across my face. I must admit that I made a huge deal of this. But it wasn't, "sure" or "okay" or a quiet aquiescence to my being older and him younger so he had to. He said he would 'gladly do that for me'. Nothing makes a Mother feel more appreciated than having her children gladly serve her. Usually it only happens on Mothers Day. The fact that family home evening hadn't been on service either didn't fail to escape me. What a lesson to me! If it made me feel that much more loved and appreciated, how much would that do for those that I serve if I would add just that one word..."gladly."? For those who read this and have to listen to me bear my testimony next time, I apologize but this one will be shared. The impact of one small word. How it can change everything, even when just taking an empty bowl a short distance. Makes a small act of service huge. Thank you Lil Red. Thank you for being such a little Nephi. I hope I can become more like you my sweet boy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Can Change in Less Than a Year

I can't believe what has happened in less than a years time. This time last year I wondered if we would ever move. If we would ever have the space that we needed for our growing family and if my husband would ever truly relax again. I'm not sure if I'll have time today to even touch on a quarter of the blessings that have occurred. There have been some heart aches but those have definitely been overshadowed as the windows of heaven have opened up for us and showered us. I think one of the reasons that I haven't posted about all of this on here is the fear that I might be seen as bragging. I really do pinch myself sometimes to make sure it's not a dream. But then my wondrous Sunshine girl will get poop on the rug after having a blow out, and I'll know, yeah this isn't a dream, lol. This weekend though as I contemplated beginning to blog again, I realized that I did need to blog about these blessings and changes. Not just to give thanks for them which we've already been doing, but to show maybe just one person that might be feeling as desperate as I was last year to hold on and don't lose hope. Continue faithfully and things do change and in the blink of an eye. I know some blessings take longer than others and some blessings aren't meant to be. Maybe, I'll blog about that one next time, but right now I'm enjoying the many and letting go of the one that hasn't come :)
So I'll start with the big one. We sold our house. After years and hours upon hours of remodel. We sold it! We then started looking for a house. Which at this point I will interject that Big Red had changed where I was looking to a neighborhood that I had never heard of. The community and house that we ended up in surpassed my dreams. It is so exciting for me to continue our love for outdoor exploration with our kids. To have so many church members within our neighborhood that I can walk to do my visiting teaching. To have neighbors, not of our same faith, that are friendly enough to bring us pies to welcome us. (That's right more than one was so thoughtful, blew me away).
Lil  Red and I had such a special relationship with our old neighbor and her dog Hera. I will never forget our tearful goodbye. But we have been blessed to have new neighbors that also have a big dog and Lil Red has been quick to bond with them. My morning walks have been filled with smiling faces and pleasant greetings. And no I don't live in Pleasantville :P
Another huge blessing was that in the process of trying to rebuild for my in-laws house which was lost in one of the many wildfires last year, they decided they wanted to live near us. They now live within walking distance and I have already reaped many wonderful blessings from that. It has been fun for the kids to ask to go spend sometime making cookies with Grandma and gives me a couple of hours to do an errand or spend time with just Sunshine girl. A couple of weeks ago, she walked them back to my house to deliver my two urchins to me. Laughingly she said, "they probably need a bath and Jamie might need a diaper change." They had dug up dirt in her back yard, turned on the hose, made mud pies and then proceeded to throw them at the side of her house. I'm so glad they have a loving Grandma and Papa near by to help nurture them.
So one of the pluses of this house for us is that it has a pool in the back yard. This has definitely been a huge blessing to my husband. He has spent night after night with the boys teaching them to swim, so we don't worry about them, but also going and relaxing himself. Sitting in the back and contemplating. We have a nature preserve behind us, so he can stare into the trees and foliage and let go of the day's stress.
We still have tiffs, but the dynamics are so much less stressful. One of my favorite parts of our home has been my new office/playroom/ schoolroom.
I love having the space for the kids to decorate, but also having the ability to decorate in a way that will influence them positively and in a deep way. I have already broken out my beads and let my creative juices flow into new pieces. And I've been blessed to find two like minded mothers to form a co op preschool group and that has been so much fun already.

I have my own printer, so I am printing coupons again. With space to organize, we are using all of the learning tools that we own. And I'm feeling like I'm moving forward again and not just treading water. Today as we were cuddled on the couch, my sweet blue eyed boy said to me,"this is a nice house". I hope we never stop marveling. I hope we never fail to thank God for any of our blessings. And I promise that my next post won't be long in coming :)