Thursday, December 15, 2011

Memories Stirred

I had two memories come up to my mind as I've gone about my Christmas shopping. The first really doesn't have anything to do with Christmas but I still wanted to write it down.  I bought a little headband for my little Coco bean yesterday, along with two bows that can be changed out of the headband. I was so excited about this buy to match her Christmas outfits perfectly. The funny thing is that I couldn't understand why this was such a big deal to me. Then a memory of two shoe strings hanging on a bathroom wall next to a sink came to me. Attached to the shoe strings were matching barrettes of every different color you could think of, and they weren't plain barrettes. They had round ruffles with bows in the middle of them. They were so girlie and cute, and they perfectly accessorized all my childhood friend's clothes. Her name was Tanya and I do believe that I coveted all those cute bows. My hair was always unruly as a child and I know my Mom tried occasionally to put ribbon in my hair but for the most part she was happy sticking it in dog ears without any adornment. Looking back I was cute even without bows, but I fear my poor daughter will have many hair bows in her life :)

The second memory or maybe I should say realization about myself was that over the years gift giving from me has taken a certain track when it comes to my children. I was looking at the gifts that I've bought my children so far, and I discovered they were all learning presents and presents that will promote growth either socially or talent wise. They will receive fun gifts too, but the majority of the gifts are aimed to edify not entertain. Yes even that alien science lab was meant to encourage my son in his love of science and experimentation. I do believe that he concoted many solutions with that kit, lol. And in the picture below, those are music instruments, not weapons, as it appears by the picture they believed (rolling my eyes). I hope someday they realize that those gifts were more a reflection of my love than any of the ones that I bought that they asked for. Like Heavenly Father, I wish for my children to succeed and make the most of what has been given to them, so I search for things that will profit them in strength.

I am counting my blessings this morning that I have been able to type this up before my little ones have stirred. Merry Christmas everybody! Just in case I don't have a chance to blog again before the big day ;)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This Years Blessings

I have found myself dwelling upon my adversities and what I feel is limbo for us. I realize that this doesn't need to be so. I need to be moving forward as always even if that doesn't equate to physically moving forward as I desire it to be. So instead I will recount my blessings and set new goals and redouble my efforts to meet short term and long term goals and stop "waiting for my ship to come in".

First I am so grateful and blessed to have a husband that even in the midst of one of his biggest trials and stressful times in his life, still finds the time to make sure that I feel appreciated and to help me with the children and house.
Secondly, I have been blessed with THE prettiest little girl I could never imagine ;)
I say this because I never imagined having a child born with so much hair, lol. And it looks like it might be auburn. I truly have a wide variety of looks when it comes to my children. We call her our little coco bean. It has been difficult to learn to manage three. Indeed, I haven't mastered it by a long shot, but I'm told the first two years are the hardest. Hmmmm...that means I only have a year and 11 months :S
Back to blessings :)
Third, I have the cutest and sweetest boys. I love that they all gravitate to me and need their time to snuggle. Even the teenagers.
Fourth, I have a fabulous mother that has made being separated from my teen age boys bearable. Knowing that she is a daily influence in their life makes me breathe a great deal easier and knowing that she is getting them to seminary for a daily dose of Heavenly Father in their life is what makes me be able to let go.
Fifth, I have been blessed during the trials of the past months to grow closer to an awesome friend. And I have a feeling that it will be one of those lifetime friendships that never fizzle out.
Sixth, I have been blessed with great health this year. I made it through my last pregnancy with barely any hiccups and no bed rest. No shingle out breaks and my allergies have barely given a showing. Which was a HUGE blessing, seeing how my worst allergies are usually right when I was due to have our little Coco Bean. This means I would have had sleepless nights and had a hard time keeping from coming down with an infection because I rely a great deal on being able to physically exercise in a major way to keep up my natural antihistimines, and that is limited during pregnancy.
Seventh, a working car and a beautiful home.
Eighth, being able to stay close with friends that I've developed close friendships with over the year and to be able to spend time with them and much of my family.
I could go on but I might begin to sound like I'm bragging, lol. So I'll have to continue in my journal.
Time to make new goals and move forward spiritually and step out of the limbo I have put myself in. Afterall, I wasn't given these blessings to sit upon a shelf :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Beginning Seeds through Experience

I have pondered much on the talks from our church's General Conference addresses that had to do with why even the righteous go through much hardship in life and why we have the experiences we do. (reference talks by Quentin Cook and Robert D. Hales, both of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles)
My thoughts turned to the beginnings of my own testimony. When did my personal testimony begin to solidify and not piggy back off of that of my parents and other leaders? Which led me to the memory of one of the most signifying events of my life at the age of 17, my senior year of high school, and Christmas Eve.
I had gone with my Dad to work to be able to do some last minute Christmas shopping after he took care of  a couple of things at the office. I remember feeling very tired and kind of sick and closing my eyes in the car while I waited for him and telling him I didn't feel good when he got back in the car. I must have gone to sleep. When I awoke, it was to excruciating pain. I didn't remember that it was Christmas Eve. All I could think about the pain and the non stop vomiting that was resulting. My parents later told me that my skin was literally a shade of green. I remember our home teacher coming over to assist my Dad in adminstering a blessing. I know that I was assured of my Father in Heaven's love for me and that they would be able to figure out what was wrong with me, then my parents rushed me to the emergency room. I was diagnosed with accute gastroneuritis. Really bad gas. My parents knew something more serious was going on, but all they could do was pray. On Christmas morning a nurse came to do a routine check and discovered that I had a burst appendix. She was responsible for taking the measures to get me as quickly as possible into surgery. Since it had already burst, they had to do two surgeries one to open me up and drain me and then after most of the infection causing puss had drained they stapled me back up and sent me home. However, the doctor failed to prescribe me antibiotics and I had to go back into the hospital to go through the same process again. Only my monthly menstrual cycle had started after I had been released and the doctors knew I would need a blood transfusion or I wouldn't survive the operation. My Dad and another church member went to donate blood for me. The blood bank lost the other persons blood and so my only hope became my Dad's that was iron rich and really  thick. I was dehydrated and my veins kept rolling and the nurses couldn't get the blood to go in. They had only minutes before the blood would go bad. My Dad gave me a priesthood blessing and the blood flowed in with seconds to spare. So twice my life was spared through priesthood blessings.
Now what was going on with me on the inside. During this time period of my life, I had started to stray from the straight and narrow. Because of this I didn't know if I was worthy of these blessings and I was afraid to die because I knew I needed to repent. There were times that I did wish to die because of the pain, but mostly I was afraid of that possibility.
What I took away from the experience were three eternal truths that would see me through many a future trial and hardship. 1) My Heavenly Father loved me unconditionally. 2) That there truly is power in the priesthood and can be exercised through righteous priesthood holders. 3) My Heavenly Father had a purpose and a plan for me and I was being given a chance to realize that purpose. I also learned a temporal truth and that was that I had parents that would always be there for me. My Mom stayed with me the entire time at the hospital. My Dad was constantly there and as afore mentioned doing everything in his power to save his daughter.
Now I'd like to say that from that day forward that I began to be the model daughter and teenager of exemplary character. But alas, I chose the hard road. I did begin to try harder and those truths were deeply imbedded in me at that time and led to me eventually grasping an even firmer grip on my testimony.
As I've pondered this experience, I've realized that there were other eternal truths to be learned through this experience if I choose to look a little deeper, just as the Isrealites could learn deeper truths from their experience with being bitten by the snakes and being saved just by looking to the snake on the cross that Moses held up to them. So these are the things that I have learned by taking a deeper look at the experience. It was my Father's blood that saved me from dying. Just so it is my Savior's blood that ransoms me and saves me from spiritual death and permanent temporal death. It is not the "arm of the flesh" that we should trust in. I know that nurses and doctors did their part in bringing about my recovery, but ultimately it was through God's inspiration and power that I was restored to health.
My Dad shared with me multiple times how this experience strengthened his testimony. I know it would have surprised him just how deeply the experience blessed me. So if we are the sum of our experiences, I would add to that that we are the sum of how we react to our experiences. Just as Laman and Lemuel had a great deal of the same experiences as Nephi in The Book of Mormon, they chose to react to those experiences in different manners. Nephi focused on his blessings in the midst of trials and his brothers chose to focus on the hardships. Nephi sought for the spirit for guidance and Laman and Lemuel trusted to what they could see and continually failed to exercise faith. Nephi's strength therefore came from his belief in God's love and his courage to exercise that faith in his belief. I'm so grateful for all of my experiences that have led me to this juncture in my life. Especially these that led to the beginning seeds of my Testimony.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Prayers Unanswered?

by Vector Graphic
Approximately a month ago, I asked Heavenly Father for confirmation that we were supposed to move and that he supported us in it and that it was going to happen. I got that confirmation. I won't go into more detail because it was definitely a sacred experience for me, but I did get it. I am 15-30 days out from my due date and starting to question whether or not that meant the move would happen before the baby is born. Also I have been among those praying and even fasting (in a nontraditional way, afterall I am pregnant), for rain for Texas. The fires that have raged in Bastrop have destroyed my In-law's home. My mother, brother, two teenage boys, and grandmother have been threatened from all sides by fire. Closer to home, water mains are breaking left and right which not only threatens water pressure but reserves and we have been on stage 2 water restrictions for weeks. I know we aren't the only ones suffering. I look at the flooding in the East and empathize because in the past that would be us and right now we would definitely take some of that rain from them. House structures, foundations, roads, plants are all being destroyed by the lack of rain. Not a great time to be trying to sell a home. I know many of us wondering why our prayers are seemingly going unanswered. As I've pondered this thoughts of the early pioneers came to mind. They were really good people, but they went through some unbelievable trials. From persecution to traveling thru some mighty harsh weather and sickness as well. I know some of them wondered why God didn't atleast make the weather unseasonably beautiful for traveling if they had to be driven from their homes, or couldn't he keep sickness from their midst or or or...
I know all of us have these feelings at one time or another. So here is what I reminded myself. I chose to come here to get a body in the premortal exsistance. I knew it would be hard that this was a proving ground. The pioneers had to go through the refiners fire to strengthen their testimonies and strengthen them in their unity. I think that's what is going on now. Texans are known for our generosity and for our belief in Christian values. Living in Texas and it's contrary weather has always made for attracting those that can endure. But I think that we are being asked to endure just a little more, and to stretch and grow that our testimonies in God might be strengthened and that our humility and charity might be tested. Which means that he is preparing us in a big way to continue to be a strength to this nation. What a great blessing ! Doesn't feel like it now, but I know that we will look back and see it as that if we continue being faithful. So then I changed my pondering to what do I need to do to combat the feelings of doubt stirred by the adversary and I thought, oh yeah, count my blessings that I can see now! Duh! So here they are...
1. I have never been put on bedrest and have had a relatively healthy pregnancy and the strength to handle my challenges physically through it.
2.My in-laws have wonderful sons and daughters that have all stepped up to the plate to help them
3.My family including my 2 sons have been kept out of harms way.
4.I have been able to find multiple ways to serve
5. I have had the pleasure of deepening relationships with friends from my church that have come to serve me and help me with keeping up my house for showings
6. My husband and I have strengthened in our communication skills with each other
7. I have a supportive husband who has strived to uplift me and keep me cheerful through out these external pressures
8. My Mom has been able to continue taking my boys to seminary
9. I have a bigger appreciation for anything green :)
10. Most importantly I am thankful for the blessing of happy moments through out like in my new blog picture. Moments that we find to have a good time and enjoy each other even if it's just to take a walk with each other. We have many of those moments all the time. Why is it the most important to me? Because man is that he might have joy. I know Heavenly Father doesn't want us to be miserable, so I need to focus on those little moments, so when I read our no rain forcast I won't start bawling again. I will be able to say,  'okay I guess I need to pray a little harder and endure a little longer'
Afterall, prayers don't go unanswered. Sometimes it's 'yes' and sometimes it's 'no', and sometimes it's 'be patient and this will work out for your good'

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sharing A Slice of Life: Beautiful Me

picture from""

So my sister's prompt this week is to write what is good and wonderful about ourselves for family history. I hate this, why is it so hard to think of unshallow stuff when put on the spot. So I asked my teenagers what was great about Mom to get me started. Never ask two teenage boys a question like that, lol. "Well Mom, your nice and kind." Geez! Could you be more specific?!? Arghhhhh!
But I am nice and kind. I love looking for ways to show random kindnesses, to find ways to sustain my fellow church leaders, to look for ways to express my love to those close to me. I was thinking about people that start malicious gossip or do things to intentionally hurt others, and I just don't get it. I think there is only one person that I ever prayed that God would curse them and it was a mean bill collector that was super ugly to me and I was pregnant and hormonal, that's my excuse ;)
I'm also very forgiving. I think I've been very blessed to be able to learn how to let go of hurt feelings, to try and see the other side of things, and even when I don't receive the apology that I know I deserve (wink wink), with a little prayer and a bit of a struggle I can look at it eternally and forgive and move on.
I'm a very positive person. Some might accuse me of being Pollyanna. And I don't have a problem with that. Even Pollyanna had her moment of clouds but for the most part she radiated sunshine. That's me, I hate seeing somebody down and will quickly look for ways to uplift. I have developed a great appreciation for nature. I don't think I always noticed anything beyond the sky till these past years with my new husband. Except maybe bodies of water. But now I notice the green of the grass, the trees rustling in the breeze. The dust devils being kicked up by the wind, the way the mocking bird imitates walkers' cell phones ;)
I have always loved jewelry but have just begun to enjoy learning the ability to create beautiful pieces to give as gifts or to uplift myself. I love matching the different colored beads and textures to create an original unique piece. I keep a clean house. My husband might argue that point at times, lol. But I've been in and out of many houses and apartments of Mom's with young kids, and whatever he says, I know that I keep a very clean house :p
I am not afraid of sharing my testimony. I struggle with knowing how to share the gospel in a way that will move beyond planting seeds, but I keep trying. Which I guess leads me to one of my best assets. I do not know the meaning of giving up. It has been my saving grace. I have made many mistakes and had to make many painful decisions in my life. I know some might say that I quit on my first marriage, but they couldn't be more wrong. I never stopped hoping that my ex would turn his life around. I may have been angry at him multiple times and had many stretching and growing moments in learning how to communicate better with him to enable better relations. We now have a tenative friendship. My husband and I have served him and he has served us. We have had forgiving conversations and I have hopes that one day for the sake of our boys and his happiness that he will come more fully into the gospel. But my decision to leave him was for my safety and was a difficult decision. It was not because I quit. Otherwise I would have no real communication or relation with him now. I know my ability to not give up comes from a strong testimony of my Father in Heaven's love for me. From my desire to show my love to the Savior for all that he sacrificed for me. Knowing that I am a divine daughter of my Heavenly Father has given me much strength in my life even when I haven't felt worthy of such an appointment because it didn't matter whether or not I was worthy. It's just a fact. God doesn't disown us when we make a mistake, he reaches out to us to help us dust ourselves off and to do better and that's what I've become very good at :)
"picture from"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Baby! And Changes Changes!

So I haven't been posting lately due to finishing remodel on our house and putting it up for sale. That has taken a great deal of my time and energy and then add to the mix that I am also pregnant with our last baby and you could say that I have been overwhelmed! I am excited about the fact that the baby is a girl and at the same time incredibly nervous about the change in dynamics that will occurr. Having only boys has had it's advantages. My two teenagers decided to go live with their Dad this year and go to school out there. My Mom lives out there too and has been making sure they make it to seminary everyday. It means that she is less available for me, but I am so appreciative. I love hearing her stories about their trips in the morning and it makes me so jealous. And yet I know that it wouldn't be the same if I was taking them every morning. I'm so grateful that she is making these memories with them. I know that it will sustain and support them in the years to come and that this is going to make this year especially special for them. I miss my two older ones but I have been trying to count my blessings. So here are all the ones that I have counted as a result of this change.
1. I spend less in gas. ( I no longer have to drop or pick up anyone from school or run to lessons of any sort)
2. I have more time to focus on teaching the younger ones and meeting their needs
3. As I am now seen less, the older boys are quicker to show affection and I get their good sides instead of the constant teenager complaints :)
4. I now get more weekends which means the older boys get more church. I will also get the majority of the summer which will make for more variety in vacations.
5. They both have phones which means I can still keep in touch on a fairly frequent basis and they can always call me if they need me right away.
6. As we have had the house on the market, it has actually made it easier to keep the house clean. One less bathroom to clean on an ongoing basis and one bedroom that always stays clean makes a difference
7. dinner is more simple
8. less laundry
9. They get to be closer to their grandma and build that relationship. I also don't think my younger son would have been doing seminary if it wasn't for the situation.
10. Last but not least, I don't have to get up for seminary, lol.
Not that I wouldn't give up a number of these for the blessing of having them in my home just about everyday, but I will just have to keep counting the blessings, praying for them, and trusting in God to make up the difference when I can't be there. I think based on what I've seen, that is exactly what he's done :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sharing a Slice of Life: The All Nighter

The only all nighter that came to my mind is staying up late to finish a research paper that I had procrastinated on in I think 8th grade. I guess it really sticks in my mind because I probably wouldn't have had to pull an all nighter if the darn computer hadn't crashed and erased my paper and I had to stay up inputting it all over again. Back then we didn't have auto correct and I wasn't as fast at typing. Not to mention it was a Comodore 64 word type program and as a teenager all the settings were foreign to me. I remember how quiet the rest of the house was as my then 4 siblings slept in peace. I don't think my mother's sixth had come along by that time. I remember my Mom coming in to check and see how I was doing somewhere around 2 am. I don't think I went to bed till 4am. My sons have done that to me once or twice now and now I know that my Mom was probably not sleeping, but laying in bed wanting to go do it for me, so it could be done but knowing that I needed to learn a lesson on procrastination. Motherhood is definitely hard in that way. Pulling back and letting our children learn from their consequences is sometimes harder for us than it is for them, although they won't know it till they have their own children ;)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Slice of Life #34 Pets "The Parade"

Okay I know I've skipped a few posts but I'm doing the best that I can ;)
My pet that I want to post about was my parents before he was min. I actually had a long line of doges from them or so it seemed. I always had a hard time sleeping while I was single and my Dad thought I might feel safer with a dog, so they kept giving me their rejects. Well one was of my choosing and while she was sweet dog, she was an energetic dog and not a match for a family that was hardly home. Our sweet Angel kept getting into trouble and knocking the boys down when they would venture outside. We adopted a little wienie dog mutt that the boys found at the bus stop. But he followed us out at Halloween and apparently got adopted by another family. My oldest son found that out for sure later on. We had another one for a very short stint, I can't even remember his name, but I told my Dad that he had to come get him. A-bear was the last in this parade of dogs. Dad had named him such b/c he looked like a little bear cub when he ran. He was mostly blue heeler, but was very burly unlike the sleek looking True bloods. Dad probably would have rather kept him but a different dog of my brothers was bullying him and Dad thought maybe the sweet disposition of A-bear might work for me better. He was so right. A-Bear had been taught to shake hands somewhere down the line and would always greet you. He hardly barked which was fabulous. But I also bonded with him when I developed CFS and as on medical leave for three months. He would walk with me or run with me if I biked, back and forth to one of my best friends houses. He was such a trooper. I would talk to him and he'd just look at me with those sad eyes and his tongue lolling and wait to be petted. I'm not an overly affectionate animal owner. It's just hard for me to bond with them. I think they are great for other people and I love petting other people's pets, but I'm not one to be overly emotional if the fish dies or if an animal doesn't work out. When our family dog died, when I was a teenager, I wasn't that upset. He'd had a long life and passed away quietly in the sun. I remember trying to make my sisters laugh b/c they were crying and I guess I didn't know what else to do. They thought I was so insensitive and I guess I was, but I just felt it was his time and it didn't upset me. But when A-bear lay dying, I didn't know what to do, I didn't want to go to work. I asked my brother to give him a blessing. I couldn't stand knowing he'd given me so much and I couldn't give him half as much. He was the BEST dog ever. And I had my brother bury him under my pear tree. I cried and cried and when the boys turned around and wanted another pet right away, I rebelled. My Dad was ready to give me another dog and I wouldn't have it. No dog could have taken A-Bear's place. There wasn't a dog good enough. As I cast my mind around for a solution, I remembered as a kid I had preferred cats to dogs. I had a vet friend take me to a farm that was giving away kittens and I found one that would let me hold her. I named her, Ruth, because she gave me comfort in my time of sorrow. She has been a sweet pet. She plays tag with me and lets the little boys pull her tail. She's been with us now for about 6 years and has been through many family changes. I have to say the only time she really drives me crazy is when she is about her crazy night time escapades and accidentally makes something crash which isn't that often so for the most part she's the cat's meow. Even people that say they don't like cats have a tendency to like her. She's just that sweet. So there you have it. We have had a fish and a turtle too. But that was in the very beginning and another story for another day ;)