Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Life is busy. I feel like there is never enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want to do.
I want to shop like crazy for my house so that it doesn't feel like we are living inside a gray box.
I want to build an art table and a light table and a hanging swing to stimulate my children's minds. Providing stimulating activities for my kids....there's a subject I never tire of. I recently found this amazing website that has such amazing ideas. I'm hopeful that once the weather warms up and school slows down I'll be able to get my workshop set up in the garage so these things will have a greater possibility of success.
I want to get all caught up on my scrapbooking for my kids.
I want to get myself in shape. It has been awhile since I've worked out regularly. I've been pushing myself to do it every night though lately, and I've dropped sugar and treats from my diet (with the ability to indulge once a week). I was so proud of myself for not eating the delicious looking cookies and cookie dough my mom brought over last night. I know that bodies change through pregnancies and having kids. And it is a small price to pay. Most of the time, I don't worry about it. That hasn't been the case lately :) I'm looking to tone up and see what is actually possible when it comes to my separated stomach muscles. Jillian Michaels and I are starting to become good friends.
I want to find Carston another piano teacher, start Avery with lessons, sign my girls up for gymnastics, get all the kids into soccer, get Avery into sewing lessons.....How in the world would all those lessons fit in?
I want to set up a new cleaning system. Things were all organized in our old house. Moving has thrown everything out of whack. It is something I definitely need to do because there is a whole lot more of house that needs cleaning.
I want to get together with a landscape architect so that we can transform our dirt yard into the amazing space it was meant to be. I want to preferably do that sooner rather than later so we can enjoy it this coming spring and summer. Anyone know a landscape architect?
I want to stain Carston's bed so he isn't sleeping with his mattress on the floor.
I want to organize the garage.
I want to vacuum out the car again after the long trip to California.
I want to.....
Okay, now it is turning into my to-do list.

It is hard to find a balance for me. There is so much I want to accomplish and do, and yet I know that it isn't all possible right now. Before having kids, I would take on a list like this and go crazy until it was done. Actually, I don't think the list would have even become so lengthy :) Now, it is almost impossible to find 10 minutes free of interuption. How do you stain and build when you have to quit every 5 minutes? And scheduling appointments? That stresses me out. It seems crazy to try and squeeze something else into the day. Let alone get babysitters. Anyway, balancing out my lengthy list of things I want to do with my desire to savor and enjoy my children is sometimes a balancing act :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Son's Tender Heart

Tonight, all the kids were in bed and I was trying to get some stuff done. After awhile my 8 year old son came out sobbing. He was crying so hard that he couldn't even tell me what was wrong. Everytime he opened his mouth to tell me, his words would become muffled in his crying. I held him and waited, wondering what was causing him to feel so sad. I'd never seen him so upset. After awhile, he was able to tell me that he missed Grandpa Dick and Grandma Gladys. Grandpa Dick and Grandma Gladys are MY grandparents (his greats). Grandpa died when he was 6 and Grandma died when he was 4. They were amazing people and we were close to them. They lived in our home since the time I was 12, my family of 3 lived there when Carston was a little boy, and when we left we still tried to see them a couple times a week. Since Carston was pretty young when they died, I was surprised he was feeling their absense so strongly. We had a really sweet hour as we talked about them and cried together. We talked about all the things we loved to do with them. We looked at pictures and talked about their lives. We talked about eternal life and the despair we would feel without it. We talked about how pleased they would be with all the good things he is doing in life. He said that everytime he thinks about not seeing them for a long time it just makes him cry harder. And he did. He wanted to know if he could watch videos of them when he woke up in the morning. And he went to sleep reading the book that was filled with pictures and stories of my sweet Grandma Gladys.
Death is hard. I bawled with my son and now I'm bawling by myself.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What will they say....

I attended a funeral yesterday. It was for a young man, 22, who had died because of someone else's poor decisions. It was a very sad occasion. It has made me think a lot about my life, the person I am, what I want to achieve.
The thing that this young man was remembered for most was the way he treated other people. They talked a lot about how he made everyone feel like his best friend. He rejoiced in their good times and sorrowed for their struggles. I don't know that he was the model man for daily scripture study and prayer, he didn't serve a mission, he had tattoos. He had weaknesses. But he lived a life of love. He expressed often to his parents his love and gratitude for them. He put his arm around his friends and rallied for them. He always jumped in to help the underdog. He was remembered for the way he loved others. That was the tribute they paid to this young man who life was taken before anyone dreamed possible.
It got me thinking about my own life. It is not uncommon for people to think and wonder, or even pose the question: what do you want people to remember you for? But this is the first time it has stayed with me for awhile and hopefully made a lasting change. I thought about what I would be remembered for. I got scared that if I died right now I'd be remembered for my diligence. I'm very good at being diligent when it comes to habits. From the time I was a young teenager until the day I got married, I wrote in my journal EVERY SINGLE DAY. I didn't miss a day for over 5 years. Not a single day. I also read my scripture EVERY SINGLE DAY during the time. It didn't matter if I was going to bed at 3 or 4 in the morning, it didn't matter if I was sleeping somewhere else, I did it. That same trait has followed into my marriage and my family. John and I read scriptures and pray together. We do family prayers and scripture study as a family, as well as FHE. I can't say that it has been every single day, but we are pretty consistent.
I'm not knocking those things. I know there is great power in scripture study and prayer. I know blessings come when those things are done individually, as a couple, and as a family. I know those things are important. But as I've pondered this young man's death and my own life, I've had some personal insights. The purpose in life is not to get all those boxes checked off. When I die and go to heaven, God isn't going to pull out my chart and see how many days I missed. These things are not an end in themselves. Checking those boxes off each day are meant to pull us closer toward a greater purpose. We do these things for a reason. What is the why behind all the boxes I try meticulously to check off?
To be like Christ. That is what really matters. We read our scriptures and say our prayers and do all those things we are told to do so that we as individuals and as families will think, act, and BE like the Savior. And the chief characteristic of the Savior is love. Pure, unconditional love. What good does it do me to check off my boxes each day if I fail to love those around me? Really love them. Actively love them. Reach out to them without concern for myself.
Diligence or Charity? I want charity. When my time on this earth is done, I want to be remembered for loving people. I want to be remembered as someone who made you feel loved and valued and important. It is too easy for me to get distracted by all the boxes I feel I need to check off.
God has said that if we will turn to him, He can make our weaknesses into strengths. This is an area where I am weak. But I desperately want to change. I don't want this to be a nice idea that passes through my mind before the week is through. I want my nature to seriously be changed. I want to be filled with charity. I want it not to be something I do, but something that I am.

10 years of bliss

My husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. There is little else in this world that can bring you greater joy or greater despair than marriage. I always say to my husband, "When things are good between us, everything is okay in the world." When we are close to each other, it doesn't matter what comes our way, we feel like everything will be okay and we can get through anything. But when we aren't close, when there is tension, or hurt feelings (mostly on my part :) it clouds the rest of our worlds. Tiny problems can throw us into bad moods, we are dissatisfied with life and other get the picture.
Our marriage is not perfect. There are definitely those times when we struggle to understand each other. But we have made tremendous progress in our journey through the last ten years. When we were engaged, I'm sure we were like most couples. We thought we had marriage all figured out, we thought there was little else to learn about each other, we thought that there would be little difficulties in our marriage. In essence, we were naive in our presumptions.
I had no idea how marriage would open my mind to every single weakness I have. Some of them are big. Some of them are small. Some have had serious impacts on our marriage while others barely scratch the surface. And I'll be forever grateful for the enlightenment. How in the world can I work to overcome my weaknesses if my eyes are blind to them? So many qualities I thought I had mastered...patience, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, good communication....through marriage, it wasn't hard to see that my work in those areas was far from done. Some people say that marriage can be a real eye-opener. I agree. My marriage has truly opened my eyes as to who I really am.
And I've learned more about who my husband really is. I knew he possessed patience, determination, forgiveness, commitment, etc. I just didn't know how deeply those traits ran. I didn't know how often the quality of our marriage would depend on his ability to exercise those qualities. I didn't realize to the full extent what an amazing man I was marrying. And how could I? Did I know what was in store for us as we started our lives together? Did I know all the challenges and joys we would face together? I had no idea. Neither of us did. And we could hypothesize all we wanted about how we would behave in situations...but neither of us truly knew how we would act. We knew how we'd want to behave, but that didn't mean it would all play out like we hoped. Neither of us knew the strength we possessed until we were forced to use it.
I love my husband. I thank God every day that I get to share my life with him. I am so grateful that he is always in my corner. He sees my weaknesses up close and personal-more than anyone else on this earth-and he still loves me. He helps me and encourages me to be better. He is honest with me even if the truth is not what I'm looking to hear. He has stood by me through dark and trying times. He has carried me when I was crippled with despair. He is the keeper of my most private thoughts. He is gentle and tender when wading through my insecurities. He is thoughtful and kind. He is steady and calm when I'm crashing around. He is my partner in the greatest work we will ever do, raising our children. He is supportive of all my endeavors whether they be building furniture, fulfilling my church callings, creating family traditions, teaching our children, or strengthening myself. He has forgiven me for repeated offenses. He knows that I am a work in progress. I would not be who I am without him by my side.
Yesterday we were talking about how easy it is to get distracted from what is most important in life. I pray that I will never be distracted from loving you, from appreciating you, from enjoying your company. I love you Babe. Thank you for your love and all the ways that you have made me better.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lessons in Letting Go

I feel like I'm on the verge of something. These past few weeks, I find myself crying alot. And sometimes I don't really know why. I had a really embarrassing meltdown the other day in front of my mom, sister, and brother. I could not stop crying. I couldn't talk or I knew I'd burst into hysterical sobs. So I attempted to distract myself, cleaning the toy room, while tears wouldn't stop falling down my face. Needless to say, I was mortified. My poor brother...I think I seriously scared him. One minute we're having a nice discussion, and the next minute his sister can't stop crying. It was fun.
I guess I've been under a lot of stress with our big project we've been working on. Our house that we are supposedly was supposed to be done now. We were supposed to have moved in already. It hasn't even started. Week after week of problems and delays with the builder. Week after week of disappointment and lack of control. I felt like I was handling it okay. I've come to peace with a lot of the things that aren't going to happen. I realize how great it will be when it is done. I know that God has a plan for us and that He is a part of the timing of this event. I REALLY know that. I kept getting the feeling that there is an important reason why things haven't happened yet. I think we will probably understand everything better in a year or so.
I'm realizing though that I have a bit of a subconscious problem. We are in a situation where I have just about zero control. I am completely at the mercy of other people. I'm realizing that being in this situation has made me a little bit crazy. I find myself turning to areas I do have control relationship with my kids, the routines in our house, the amount of sugar our family consumes, the amount of media we have in our house, where John and I stand with each other, etc. And I go a little crazy. I feel like I have to be "perfect" in each of these areas. The only problem....what exactly does "perfect" mean? I'd like to think that it is clear and definable, but it really isn't. Perfect in each of those areas depends on the day. I set the standard of 30 minutes of media each day. Well, what about those days when my kids are tired and whiney and won't nap? What about when John has had a long day and wants to unwind? See what I'm saying? Perfection in each of these areas is dependent on the day and what works. I miss that though. I need to let go of this way of thinking and this way of coping with stressful circumstances I have no control over. I'm not exactly sure how to do that though. My inital approach would be to figure out a plan, a plan for perfectly letting go of my demand for perfection..... See how that doesn't really work? So what should I do? What should I do with myself? I don't know how to really let go of this destructive part of my personality. I've always been a pusher of myself. I feel like people usually fall into the category of either needing a kick in the butt, or needing a tug to slow them down. I'm in the later category. I always want to push myself and those around me harder. But then I miss out on life. I get so focused on working to achieve my goal that I miss the enjoyment of where I'm at. My brother said I just need to take some pills :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I give unto men weakness...

Sometimes I get to a point in life where I think I'm doing pretty good. I think I'm learning to be afraid of those times. Because what it really signifies is the calm before the storm. These times usually come after I've felt like I've accomplished some work in my journey to perfection. But really, it is just a little act of mercy from God so I can gear up for more lessons in humility.

Last night, I attempted to talk to someone about behaviors I disagreed with. It didn't go so well. I didn't want to even bring anything up because I already knew that my heart wasn't in a good place. I wasn't filled with charity or compassion or understanding. I was filled with all those other emotions it pains me to admit. I was filled with resentment, anger....all those fun ones. I knew that my heart was in the wrong. I knew it. And yet I felt like I was getting nowhere in trying to change it.

Events happened, things were said, and I ended up sitting on the floor in my dark bathroom with tears running down my face. I felt awful about myself. I knew that I was making judgments about this person, I wanted to be filled with good feelings in my heart, it pained me to know that I had hurt this person's feelings...but my heart remained unchanged.

I'm trying to understand myself better. My husband talked with me about how out of character it was for me to be so harsh in my judgments with this particular person. For the most part, I tend to fall on the other side of the fence, I try to gain understanding and give them a break. So it pains me so much to see this in myself. To know that my heart is in the wrong. And to be unable to change it. I keep trying to grasp at things that will help me. What can I do? What are the actions and behaviors I can modify in order to modify my hard heart?

I've been noticing some patterns in my life. I have a fear of making other people feel bad. I also, surprisingly considering what has been written so far, have a desire not to judge others (I know that sounds like complete hypocrisy). So most of the time, if I disagree with what people are doing, I'm too chicken to say anything at the time being because I don't want to hurt their feelings. So what do I do? Instead I take the much better approach of harboring all those thoughts and feelings, letting them fester inside of me until I can't take it anymore, and then I proceed to vomit this huge load of negativity on the person. So in my attempt to not hurt someone's feelings, I end up being much more hurtful than if I'd just be honest with people in the moment. I know. I'm super proud of myself. Why can't I just make a simple comment instead of building everything up into this huge ordeal. I've learned enough about myself to know that things have to come out. I don't even care so much if the other person ends up agreeing with me, but if I don't know that they have heard my viewpoint and know how their behavior makes me feel, I CANNOT GET OVER IT!

I so do not enjoy these times when I am so thoroughly disappointed in myself. But I have to fight not to go down that road. It is the cowardly thing to wallow in my misery and self-pity. That is what I wanted to do last night. The last thing in the world that I wanted to do was leave my room and go back out to face the people out there. Because I am so ashamed of myself. I am ashamed of my pride. I am ashamed with how far away my heart is from where it should be. I am ashamed of my weaknesses.

But I knew I had to do go out there. I bit my lip, dried my eyes, prayed deeply for courage, and walked down the hall. I apologized. I allowed them to respond to me and agreed as they called out my shortcomings. And then I put on my happy face for the night (although I did whisper to my husband that once everyone left I'd probably have a meltdown).

It is hard sometimes. I feel like my mind is in the right place. As hard as I try to feel otherwise, I think my thoughts about this person's behavior are right. But that doesn't mean anything if my heart is not where it should be. My heart is wrong. Hopefully it will change as I continue to seek that change the next few days.

I am grateful though. The person with whom I share this experience has a good heart. He is willing to forgive me. He is willing to be understanding. He is willing to continue to work with me on improving the way we communicate with each other. He has strengths to compensate for my weaknesses.

Wish me luck as I struggle to not abandon myself to self-loathing and pursue the path of change instead.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Lately I've been filled with gratitude for all the blessings of God in my life. When it comes down to it, love is what life is all about. We need to be loved and we need the opportunity to love others. I love my husband, and he loves me. We have been through some tough times together. There are ups and downs to our relationship. There have been times when it hurt because I loved him so much. There have also been some dark days, days where we clung to the hope that we'd find a way back to each other. And we did. He has been there in the best of times and the worst of times. He's got my back. He might not always know the best way to cushion my fall, but he tries his hardest and falling continues to be less and less painful. He is strong, reliable, funny, amazing, selfless, and steady. I love him. He has become a part of me.
And then there are my kids. They wrap their little arms around my neck and won't let go. They snuggle onto my lap as much as possible. They hold my face in their pudgy hands to tell me they love me. They forgive me when I falter. They think the best thing in the world is "Special Time" when they get me all to themselves. I love them so much. My love for them has changed me. It has strengthened me and led me to be a better person. My love for them pushes me to heights I never knew I could reach.
It doesn't end there. I have a mother who is the best example for me. She always made me feel special growing up. She threw me parties and celebrated my birthday every year even though it was 2 days after Christmas. She stayed up and waited for me to get back from dates. She sacrificed pretty much everything for her kids. She brought joy into my life and I didn't appreciate it as much as I could have. She gives ME mother's day presents. She is amazing. And my dad. My dad was always there. Recording, filming, supporting... He comes over every Saturday to bring my kids donuts. He lets me come over with my whole brood, and the dog, and sleep over :) You know, my mom was always the one more in the foreground when it came to being there for me. But my dad...he was there right behind her ready to catch me should it be needed. I love my dad.
I also have great siblings. I love my sisters and brothers so much. I can't imagine my life without them. I talk to my sisters on the phone all the time, and when they come to visit, everything else is put on hold so we can just hang out with each other. They are always supportive of me and uplifting. I love them. I love my brothers too. I love spending time with them. I love how sweet they are to my kids. I love my brothers and sisters.
I could keep going. It just seems like everyday I've been crying because something reminds me of how blessed I am to have so much love in my life and in my heart. Nothing really else matters.