Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Walking into a hug...

LOVE -- what a Happy word!
That simple word can bring so many feelings, stir so many emotions, bring to remembrance such tender memories, can inspire within us the desire to create magical moments in our lives.
Love comes in various forms; the love we have for our spouse, the love we feel as a mother, the love we possess for friends, for extended family.
I feel a great urgency to focus on the sweet children in my life, to nurture within myself the love that I, as a mother, have for our children; to strengthen and renew the relationships I have with each of them. This is an ever challenging battle (especially if you are Momma to teenagers). I say that with a smile in my heart, because I truly feel blessed knowing that my kids and I are close, everything is not perfect (I’d be lying to you if I said it were, but it’s pretty darn close and I am pleased to say that!)
Even with that little comment, I can see where I have a lot of room for growth, for improvement. My goal would be that my kids NEVER doubted my love and devotion to them. That they always felt they were of upmost importance in my world. That they could FEEL the love I hold in my heart for each of them. I would hope that they would always feel that they were walking right into a hug as they approach me. I know that I fail at this more often than I’d care to admit.
Being the Mom is not as easy as I had once imagined it might be…
the flip side...it is more rewarding than I had ever dreamed possible
!
With the choice we’ve made to have our kids home with us instead of away at the local school…we spend practically every waking moment in their presence. BUT, if you are anything like me, life is full and we can tend to “be there” without “being available” to them.
Do you light up when your son walks into the room, do you stop to listen to your little girl as she shows off her latest work of creativity? Do you quickly and happily pay attention when the prodding from a little person calls for you, or do you hush them asking for just another minute before you get to them?
The past few weeks have taught me some very powerful lessons. I have been found very guilty of putting my kids off until I have a moment for them, my little one came to me the other day with a desperate sort of tone in her voice; apparently she had been trying to speak to me and I was in my own little world…this was not acceptable to her! Yes, she does believe she should be the center of my universe and I will not disagree, but at this moment my thoughts were anywhere but where they should have been focused. I was grateful for the not-so-gentle reminder that I was unavailable as the Momma at that point and time.
Unfortunately, not all children will remind us in such a way…some may just give up and find the challenge of obtaining our attention a useless cause. I am recognizing this in some of my kiddos and am determined to make sure they know that I am available for them, that they are a priority in my world, that other things can wait and they don’t need to.
During this lovely month of February, my goal is to provide an environment in which my children really will feel as though they’ve walked into a hug as they approach me…I want them to feel all warm and fuzzy inside…I want them to take those feelings with them, to be strengthened by the comfort that comes with knowing you are loved.

(Written as President Message for DHSA-Feb.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Saying Goodbye...

As I prepare to give my final goodbye to our home this week, I find myself longing for what was, for what we had there, I find that I keep wishing to continue making more beautiful memories there.

Just Monday, all my boys and I were there and as I walked around the yard checking to make sure we had things picked up and taken care of, I could picture so many incredible times we had enjoyed.
I saw our tents pitched in the backyard as we did our campouts,
I saw our million little chairs all gathered around the firepit,
I saw my boys jumping their bikes over the jumps,
I saw my little girls playing on the playset and sliding down the slide,
I saw boys hanging from tree limbs,
I saw my sweet hubby fishing in the back creek and forever working on fixing our irrigation pump,
I saw Danielle and her horses doing laps around the property...

I saw my life...

I recalled laying out under the trees with my kids watching the clouds roll past
or laughing as our eyes tried to keep up with the busy squirrels jumping from one branch to another.
It seemed as though every spot my eyes would rest upon held another memory.

I remembered the wonder of my little children each time a new little batch of babies would arrive at our home...
whether they be kittens or baby birds,
the little calves we bottle fed,
or the chickens that we raised...
baby kittens were the most exciting and taught us some big lessons about life and love and loss.
It was with the chickens that I saw how our children feel about being restrained...they refused to make them stay in their coop, feeling it was unfair for them to not be allowed to explore the world.  So needless to say, we rarely enjoyed any eggs, BUT we did have happy kids and happy chickens and not a single bug!

Chad saw me wandering around out back and came to my rescue...he really doesn't like to see me cry and always does his best to help make it stop.  :0)  I so love his care and his humor and his positive outlook!  As he wiped away my tears he reminded me that it was okay, that this is not the end of the world, not the end of our life, just a new chapter and one that he is excited to start.  I keep hoping to have his same excitement...it's coming, I can feel it, I don't dread the thought of starting over in a new place nearly as much as I did.  It still frightens me and I still long to be surrounded with the people I love in Middleton, BUT I am not too far from them...so time to start on this new chapter with a smile on my face.

Just last night, I found a journal entry from Bathsheba Smith, as she prepared to leave her home and her belongings in Nauvoo.
This is what she wrote...
"We left a comfortable home, the accumulations of four years of labor and thrift and took away with us only a few much needed articles of clothing, bedding, and provisions.  We left everything else behind us for our enemies.  My last act in that precious spot was to tidy the rooms, sweep up the floor, and set the broom in its accustomed place behind the door.  Then with emotions in my heart which I could not now pen and which I then strove with success to conceal, I gently closed the door and faced an unknown future, faced a new life, a greater destiny as I well knew, but I faced it with faith in God...I was going into the wilderness, but I was going with the man I loved dearer than my life.  I had my little children.  I had heard a voice, so I stepped into the wagon with a certain degree of serenity."  (In Their Own Words:  Women and the Story of Nauvoo, 213)

What a beautiful example she is for me.
Many think I should just walk away and not worry about tidying up or cleaning anything, BUT that was MY PRECIOUS SPOT and I want to leave it as I would have had it when I was there.
At one point I felt I was leaving it to our enemies...
the bank...
but in all actuality, the bank won't live in my home,
another family will and they will deserve to walk into something that in nice and tidy and ready for them and for their kiddos.
I do wish that I could conceal with success the emotions I feel in my heart, as she did, but I fail at that and I think it is okay.
I feel as though I have had to mourn the loss of something great...
at times I have felt that was silly, it is not, it is real and it hurts but we can heal and move on.
 
Today I will go and finish my work and do my tidying and give my goodbyes while it is still mine, before the bank takes it all away.
I will walk away gracefully and without anger, I will gently close that door behind me and I will look forward to an amazing new chapter.  "Then with emotions in my heart which I could not now pen and which I then strove with success to conceal, I gently closed the door and faced an unknown future, faced a new life, a greater destiny as I well knew, but I faced it with faith in God...I was going into the wilderness, but I was going with the man I loved dearer than my life.  I had my little children."


I realize that my comparison is a wretched one...her situation was so dreadful against mine, but her words brought peace to my heart.  She was able to focus on the things that mattered most and leave what mattered least behind.  I am grateful for her words and for her example of faith.

I have MY man and MY little children...
so I will walk away and leave my home and I will face what lies ahead of us with Faith...
I know there is a plan for us...
I know we are blessed, we do not have to endure going into the wilderness,
we simply had to move 30 minutes away
and I have with me the most precious of all things...my family!


Goodbye my sweet home...thank you for the beautiful memories...you will always be missed!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dang It...My Charity Faileth Again!

"We tend to define charity as something we do or feel, but in our Father's vernacular, charity means much more. It is the word He uses to describe the character, the nature, the very essence of His Son.
Charity is not an emotion or an action.  It is not something we feel or do.  Charity is who the Savior is.  It is His most defining and dominant attribute.  It is what enabled Him to endure the Garden and the cross for you and me.  It is one of the things that makes Him God.  Thus, when we plead for the gift of charity, we aren't asking for lovely feelings toward someone who bugs us or someone who has injured or wounded us.  We are actually pleading for our very natures to be changed, for our character and disposition to become more and more like the Savior's, so that we literally feel as He would feel and thus do what He would do."  
(If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard - Sherry Dew)

Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try to just be happy,
be good,
love everyone around you,
accept everyone and all their "stuff",
not be offended by little things,
look beyond moments that hurt,
get over yucky junk that makes you feel less than you are...etc., etc., etc.,
You know when you try to have that Pure Love of Christ...
CHARITY...in your heart..
that you FAIL
and not just a little fail,
but a great big giant flopping fail???  
Yep, I know you know what I mean...
We all, every one of us, feel this same dreadful feeling!
Our Charity Faileth AGAIN and again and again!
Dang IT!!!


I absolutely love what George Q. Cannon taught, he said,
"Have I imperfections?
I am full of them.
What is my duty?
To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections.
If I am an angry man,
it is my duty to pray for charity, which suffereth long and is kind.
Am I an envious man?
It is my duty to seek for charity,
which envieth not...
No man ought to say, 'Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.'
He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them..."

Do you ever feel imperfect, angry, envious???

I have and I do and I don't like it one bit!!!
It makes me feel ugly and down right yucky inside.
I love the reminder that is MY DUTY to seek for Charity, to ask for it, to pray earnestly for it...and THEN He will give it to me.
I wish for my character and for my disposition to be lovely...to be like my Savior...I wish to have Charity and I wish for it to never Fail again...I know it will...I am so very far from perfect and I let little things in that fester and get bigger and uglier, instead of just praying for that strength when I need it...He has gifts to give me if I will just ask.  He can help me to feel as He would and to act as He would.

Why don't we (maybe YOU do), perhaps I should ask why don't "I"... ask to be filled with the pure love of Christ?  Why don't I drop to my knees the moment those ugly feelings of insecurity or resentment or fear or jealousy or envy or anger or hurt or loneliness enter into my heart?  I could save myself such sorrow and torment IF only I would plead for, knowing he would deliver, that peace that comes from HIS pure love?  

"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet.  Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped.  Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us.  Charity is expecting the best of each other."  Marvin J. Ashton - Ensign June 2004:  Visiting Teaching Message

When I look at Charity in this light, I can do it, I needn't fail!
I LOVE this quote and think if we all lived by it, what a happier world this would be!
So TODAY it will start with ME...


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wyatt...

Is that not the perfect name for a perfect boy?
Okay...as perfect as a boy can be?!

Today marked 11 years that I have been blessed to be Momma to this sweet little man.
I remember the day we had him...
he was the tiniest, weakest, frailest little person I had ever touched.  
And he was mine...I was so determined he would be okay...I just knew he would grow and become healthy and strong.  He just had to, I held him and loved him and nurtured him.
It is still so vivid in my mind ~  
His little body looked more like a little Raggedy Ann or Andy doll than a real little person.  
If you held his little body out in front of you to gaze at just how adorable he was,
his little arms and legs would just flop back...
no muscle tone, no umph to him...
he struggled for the first few days and for many years I worried that he'd be frail and tender, but thanks to being the 5th child and the younger of 2 big ornery brothers, he has become anything but frail and without muscle tone...I'm certain in no time at all, I'll be looking up when I wish to speak with him!  Those legs that were so much smaller than my thumb now run and jump and play and never seem to tire!

I loved when I asked him what he'd most like to have for his birthday, his reply was sweet and simple...he didn't ask for grand items, he simply wished for a belt with a cool buckle and maybe some headphones and a cherry pie.

I baked my heart out for this sweet little guy today...5 pies...I might add that they were mighty tasty!!!!  He is a typical boy and LOVES it when I cook what he loves to eat...I think there may be some serious truth in the thought that the way to a boys heart is through his stomach...seems to do the trick around here more often than not!

Happy Birthday to you, my sweet Wyatt...I love you more than words could ever express...thank you for lighting up my world with your smile!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The WORST Asthma ATTACK ever!!!

I've had my fair share of asthma attacks...most during the daytime hours, many during the nighttime hours (especially over the past couple of years)  Some worse than others, most manageable and not too frightening.

But last night, while deep in sleep, I awoke struggling to take a breath...no air could come in...I felt as though my bronchial tubes were nothing more than a small, weak straw that had been bent in half and was being pinched off at the bending.
My husband was beginning to panic, he didn't know what was happening and I could not speak, I could not breath, I was just making a most horrible noise as I gasped and strained to get a little bit of air into my lungs.  He went on the run to get my inhaler from my purse (I now take it with me EVERYWHERE I go).

The last I remember was leaning against the wall desperately trying to get air, I felt dizzy and weak and although the light had been turned on, everything seemed very dark around me.  I made it into the bathroom and began coughing uncontrollably (I think this was a lifesaver, literally)  The cough forced air in and out of my lungs as I sank to the floor.  My husband arrived with my inhaler and I started puffing away...within just a few more moments, I was okay.

It was then that I looked up at my husband who had been standing by watching me...his face looked drained and washed over with deep concern.  He came to me and just held me for the longest time.  That was the scariest of all experiences I think I have had.  I've had many instances where I struggled to breathe, but none as horrifying as this.

We made it back to bed and I found myself afraid of falling back asleep, what if it happened again?  My chest hurt, I felt a little panicky, but one thing I know about asthma is that you MUST remain calm, you must breathe calmly and deeply, even when there is no air available to breathe.  The more you panic, the more it seems your lungs panic and your bronchial tubes going into a massive spasm attack...not good!

My sweet husband was right by my side throughout the remainder of the night, I just needed to feel his presence, needed his hand wrapped around me, comforting me, protecting me...I fell back asleep.  Hooray!

Morning came too soon, as I awoke I felt as though my little girls had enjoyed a night of Just Dance on my chest.  It is amazing how a body reacts...so today, I am spending my morning in my jammies and robe, doing a little research on how to help strengthen my lungs and what I can do to prevent these sorts of awful experiences from happening again.

What seems so ironic to me is that I possess most of what helps my body to feel good...yet, I have been unable to find it after our mass exodus from our home in Middleton...today I will round up all my goodies and I will treat my body with the ultimate care it deserves.  I have not been taking care of me, I've been so busy trying to take care of everyone else and all their struggles with our moving and settling.  Last night was a wake up call (QUITE LITERALLY!) that I must again become a priority.

I cannot express how your focus changes when faced with a moment of wondering if you will be able to take another breath or not...had it been my last breath, would I be pleased with the way I left this world?  Would I be able to look back with a smile?  Would I be able to say that I left my kiddos with the best me there is?  Would I be able to say that those who are most important in my world know they are?  Did I tell them?  Did I treat them as though they were?  Did I live a life that expressed who I am and what I believe?  I would hope that I would have no regrets, a life with no regrets, a life well lived, a life that lifted ALL those around me...

Just yesterday morning I vowed to myself that I would only be happy, that I would find JOY in each day, that I would be strong for my kids and for my husband, that I would get over my little pity party that I've been deep in the midst of, that I would no longer mourn the loss of the moon out my bedroom window ~ but that I would rejoice in the sunset of each day.  Life is too precious to be walking around hum-drum and unhappy...we must treasure each and every blessing we have and each and every trial we have...for it is those moments that make up our life...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Little White Picket Fence Days...

This morning as I awoke to start a new day, I found myself happy, I can smile, I am finding Joy.
I do miss something, it may seem insignificant to others, and in all actuality it may be.  It is a material object that in and of itself is meaningless, but it is what it represents that is full of measure and worth. 

I left behind my little white picket fence.


Seems silly...who misses a fence?
I do...
I long for what it meant to me, I can not bring it along on our new adventure so I have instead placed this little fence in my heart and in my memories.
When you think of a fence, it may seem like little more than a sweet yard adornment...
but for me, that little fence, that little gate represented a safe life wherein I could protect my family,
I could be the gatekeeper
(that is after all what we are as mothers, the gatekeeper of our family) 
Within the parameters of that little white picket fence was a life that was simple, beautiful, pure and without the world...I had to allow the world to enter in...I had to invite it in.  As I have driven away from that little white treasure I have felt sorrow, I wanted to pick it up out of the ground and drag it with me anywhere, everywhere...

There has always been, and I'm sure will always be something alluring about that little white picket fence...women love them...they bring a smile across our face.  Again, I think they represent that little safe haven where we as Mommas can huddle our little clan together and watch over them.

With or without the actual fence surrounding my home, I am now standing by as the Momma, watching my children growing and going beyond that "fence"; my heart skips a beat...I find myself longing to drag them back in, keep them within those gates, protect them from all that lies "out there".  We all know that is not a possibility...and that is why Mothers who know do what they feel is best to remain close to their families, to keep out some of the yucky part of the world, to keep in as much of the beauty and wonder that comes of being a child.
 
This morning as I was doing a little quiet time for myself, I came upon this quote (again):


"Mothers who know do less.
They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally.
They allow less media in their homes,
less distraction,
less activity that draws their children away from their home.
Mothers who know
are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods
in order to spend more time with their children—
more time eating together,
more time working together,
more time reading together,
more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying.
These mothers choose carefully
and do not try to choose it all.
Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world"   ~Sister Julie B. Beck~

As I continue to try to understand the reasons we have just gone through a life-altering change in our family;
I find myself looking for the good reasons...
what reasons are we supposed to be in this new home?
What reasons are my children supposed to be taking the classes they are taking?
What do I need to be focusing on to make sure that I am a Mother who knows???
What have I to learn from these changes?
Quite possibly, I am to learn to slow down a little,
to not try to choose it all,
to wrap myself around the thought of doing less.

I am certain of just a couple things:
I can continue to be the gatekeeper of my home,
with or without that wonderful little white picket fence. 
And I can find Joy in being me and being the Mom of all these wonderful kiddos.
And I also know that time does heal, it does wonders for us...
with just the little bit of time we've been here I can say this is starting to feel like home
(and maybe in a short while, I'll find a perfect spot to have a little white picket fence again)
 
Have a Terrific Tuesday!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Thoughts...

It is time to start thinking happy thoughts...

I firmly believe we are in control of our happiness ~ I need to put it out there that happy thoughts are freely flowing...

One of our sweet daughters brought this little gem to my attention yesterday -- take a peek!


Even during our most difficult trials...there are still so many beautiful things to be smiling about!

I feel disappointed in myself that I didn't keep this as a focus over the past couple of weeks.  I was a little too busy feeling sorry for myself and dwelling on the "what if's" and the "life's not fair" thoughts.

No more...it is time to move past all of that!  I have far too many blessings to be walking about all sober and frowny!
I have an amazing husband who adores me and dances with me every single day!  I have a whole slew of sensational kids ~ each of them bring so much to my life...not a day goes by that I am not surprised by "something".  How grateful I am for this!  I am so lucky to be a mom, to have a warm home to have our family in, to have food to cook and enjoy, to have the luxuries that we are blessed with in this country.

I have been such an ungrateful little brat...I think I needed to be for a little bit of time...it was my way of dealing with the loss of our home.  It was hard, it was sad (still is) BUT I am going to look forward and not back.  Okay, I may look back, but I will do it with a smile and with thankfulness for such beautiful memories.

I am so grateful for the time that I sneak in to write my thoughts, to dump my feelings, to find myself when I am feeling lost.

I intend to KEEP SMILING because LIFE is a BEAUTIFUL THING and there is so much to be happy about!
Happy thoughts...happy thoughts....happy thoughts...  

When others aren't as they seem...

What a hard lesson for a person to go through...
to find that someone they trusted and believed in is a fake...

What do you do when others are not as they seem?  When you feel betrayed by who you thought they were, by who they made themselves out to be?

As if we haven't had enough to deal with lately, we have been faced with the emotions and the grief that others cause.  It would be one thing if I was the only one to have to deal with these feelings, BUT when you bring my kids into it...that takes it to another level.  I am angry and have actually found myself wishing to cause pain and injury to this person.  This is not something I typically ever have to experience.  I float through life rather happily and without any true feelings of aggression, that is until the Momma Bear in me comes out!

Upon visiting with my bishop about the situation, I walked away with a feeling of gratitude...in the midst of a bunch of yuckiness, I can once again see where the Atonement can work in my life.
I don't have to be the one in the wrong to be blessed by the atonement.
All I have to do is be hurting,
to feel like the load I am carrying is more than I can bear...
IF I am willing to take this to Him and lay it at His feet, He can help to take it away, help me to understand, help me to forgive, help me to try to "get it", help me to continue being me and not be hardened by the actions of others.
The latter of these is the one I am really struggling with...
I do not wish to become hardened, to be less sensitive to others, to be mistrusting, to be doubting...
I wish to still see the best in others, I wish to still reach out to those I see that may be in need of a friend.  I don't want to walk away from this experience a calloused, broken person.  I want to believe that people are who they seem to be.  I want to believe that this is an isolated experience, that this is not the norm.  I NEED to believe these things, or I will not be me.

I feel saddened that we cannot believe that ALL people wish to be good...
As I have looked further into the life of this person, I am shocked, I am full of disbelief...how could a person that portrays one thing be the complete opposite?  How could that person not have the integrity to know right from wrong and to follow it?  How could they put another person (a child) through such a nasty hard lesson?  Why can't people just be good?

I struggle with understanding this...
I have never in my life wished to be anything but good.
That does not mean that I have been perfect, far from it, BUT I have never knowingly done anything that would cause harm or pain to another person.  I have never done things that I would be embarrassed of or that would need serious repenting of...
I am who I am...
I am who I say I am...
I do not hide the "real me" behind a mask...

Why do some do this?

I've come to one very sad conclusion...
I always worried that the people who look scary were the ones we needed to be frightened of...
how very, very wrong I was...
those people are real...they aren't out to impress anyone.
They are who they are, and they are not afraid for all to see.
My guess is that they are most likely harmless and would never do anything to hurt another person...maybe they look scary just to keep others away, maybe they are afraid of letting anyone close, afraid of letting anyone in their little bubble???  Don't really know...

But what I do know...Is that we need to be fearful of the ones who seem normal, or who seem lonely, or who seem too interested, who seem too willing to reach out...

There I go again...this is exactly what I don't want to be doing, I don't want to be doubting the goodness of others, BUT I am worried that I will now be so fearful of  trusting others.

I don't want my kids hurt like this ever again!  I don't want to have to sit by a child's bedside and convince them that they did nothing wrong, that there are just people in this world who make bad choices, who aren't as real as we believed them to be, who aren't as they seem...

I pray that things like this will serve to strengthen our children; I pray that they will become closer in their relationship with God, that they will lean on Him for peace and understanding and compassion.

And I even pray that this person, as angry as I feel with him, as let down as I am, as shocked and disgusted with the person he really is inside; I pray that he will figure out what is important in this life and that he will learn that others have feelings, that girls and women are not objects, but that they possess hearts that break.  I pray that one day he will use the atonement of Christ and that he will turn his life around and become the person that he puts out there...because that person is one worth being friends with...while the one deep inside that hides behind the mask is not...