Saturday, December 31, 2011

Super late fragments......

Well, I had wanted this post to be five points I will be making in my talk on Sunday, but since my talk is still unfinished.......    I know the direction and most of the points, I just am not sure I have them down well enough to explain them all.  Sooooo, first of all I will wish a very Happy New Year to all of you!!!  I love having a new point in time to start over or fresh or just to change anything that doesn't seem to be working for me.  I hope all of you are making time to evaluate where life is going and if you are happy and what you can do within the framework of the gospel to change those things that aren't working!  After all, that's what it is all about right??!!  Change for the better!!

Number 2:  We are celebrating a birthday today!!!  Happy Birthday!!!  At our house, we open presents in the morning.  I hate making the kids wait until the end of the day to open their presents.  So we get up early, before school, work and sometimes before seminary and sing Happy Birthday and they open their presents.  Well, with a new baby and on the heels of Christmas, I didn't get the presents ready or here.  So my little birthday boy is being such a great sport!  I told him that his presents wouldn't be here today and because no mail is coming for the next two days, they wouldn't be here until Tuesday, the earliest!  He is totally OK with long as they are really coming!!  I had to laugh!!  I am so very grateful for the flexibility of children!!   Love you Buddy!

Number 3:  My talk is on the 'spirit of prophecy'.  Numbers 11:25-29,
25 And the Lord came down in a acloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy belders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they cprophesied, and did not cease.
 26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
 27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
 28 And aJoshua the son of bNun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
 29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were aprophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
Revelation 19:10---.................. for the dtestimony of Jesus is the spirit of eprophecy.

I think I will save the details for next Friday.........just know this is where my brain is today and tomorrow.......

Number 4:  I LOVED talking to our missionaries on Christmas day.  It is so very fun to hear of their adventures and to see how they Lord is molding them and helping them to grow through their service.  They are becoming amazing men..........I cannot wait to see the finished products :-)

Number 5:  My little family is crying for breakfast.  So I have to sign off.  How annoying for them to demand that I do my job!!  (Or wake up one of the big boys to do it for me!  hahaha!!)  Have an enjoyable three day weekend!!

PS Heather, in my studies for my talk, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, makes this statement, "Of all the women in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene is preeminent save only Mary, the Lord's mother.  Mary Magdalene is the one alone who is named as having traveled with Jesus and the Twelve as they went on their missionary journeys in all the villages and cities of Galilee........" (Doctrines of the Restoration, edited and arranged by Mark McConkie, p. 119)  Do you have a post about Mary Magdalene??  Just wondering.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I have a certain member of my family we'll call Ebenezer.  Eb and I have known each other for a lot of years.  We are both adults.  My relationship with Eb is estranged, at best.  Eb is a grouchy, miserable, person.  He is emotionally draining because he is constantly attacking you.  He is hurt.  He is angry.  He has been for a long time and he won't let you forget it!

Once or twice a year, I make a token gesture of friendship toward him because he is family.  Almost every time I do, he reminds me of my failings to the relationship because he is upset that our relationship is not better.  Now mind you, in all of the years (decades) I have known Eb, he has visited me once, never (that I recall) initiated a phone call, or sent a note, or letter.  But I continue to periodically reach out because he is family.  If I go and visit (which I do not do often), I always call and invite him over or go and see him.  I continue because I hope to one day find that he has changed, that he is different than remember.  I do not do more because one person can only handle so much poison before it cankers their own soul.

I truly wish in my heart, things were different between Eb and I.  I wish we could talk, really talk--without nasty comments ever flying and speak heart to heart.  I wish we were close.  I really love Eb.  I am sad that he is lonely.  Other people love Eb, but he is so angry and hurt that those feelings come out directed at whomever he is interacting with.  It is almost as if he continues to hurt you, you won't have the opportunity to hurt him (again), so he spews this poison on you and then he wonders why you don't come around any more....?  I know it seems ridiculous, but I kid you not, it happens over and over to the point that I can only manage my periodic token gestures toward friendship.  I shield my children from Eb---they don't need his poison.  It is difficult enough for me to manage.

I was talking to my girlfriend about this the other day.  I feel the need to continue to reach out to Eb, to offer love, support, and friendship, to give the opportunity to change.  But I do not need to subject myself to abuse.

When Eb 'zings' me in a conversation, I am always stunned.  I can never think of exactly what I want to say at the moment.  But I always do I am pondering the hurt I feel from his zing.  It is kind of like the scene in "You've Got Mail", with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.  I love what Tom says to Meg.  Paraphrasing---when you finally say exactly what you want to at exactly the right moment, inevitably regret follows.  Of all the things I wish I could have said to Eb, none of them were nice.  None of them would help to build a relationship.  So perhaps it is best that I did not, and do not, say them.  Instead I just sit there and take it, get off the phone, bathe my soul in spiritually uplifting messages and try to process why I let Eb's comments bother me so much, especially when I know they are not true.

I have learned that I cannot change Eb.  I can only control my reaction and my exposure to Eb.  I do not have to allow Eb's comments to hurt me, which is easier said than done.....but I know it is possible.  I can choose my feelings, my attitude and my behavior.  I do not have to react with the natural man within.  I can be above that.  So I continue to reach out.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Green-eyed Monster

I received a magazine in the mail this week and on the cover was a college dorm-mate.  The article inside was filled with her many successes.  She had graduated in my major, from my school, completed the advanced degree I wanted and had been having the career I dreamed of.  Instead of being happy for her, I struggled all day with that ugly green-eyed monster----ENVY.

How was she able to do all that?  I questioned.  And here I am 'just a mother.'  That was my call to reality.  I HATE that phrase.  I am not, nor have I ever been 'just a mother'.  I am Mother!  (cue the theme music).  I may as well run around with a cape and a giant M monogrammed on my spit-up stained T-shirts.  I can leap tall laundry piles in a single bound, heal sibling relationships with a piercing glance, conquer Calculus problems with Dr. Kahn's Math Academy..........ah, but I digress.

I had fallen into the trap!  I was comparing.......comparing her 'magazine worthy moments' with my 'still in my pajamas at lunch time' morning.  Why do we DO that?  Why do we compare someone's best with our worst?  Why can't we just be happy for the other person's successes?  Why does it immediately translate to "I am not good enough"?

We have been having similar issues with people who live by us.  Somehow (I guess I know how after it happened to me this week) the way we live our life is threatening to them.  They cannot be satisfied unless they can find a way to drag our family through the MUD.  I wish they could just leave us out of it.  But I guess I understand it a little better.

Now I just have to learn how to react well in both circumstances.  In the first:  Congratulations to my friend and her family!!!  YOU ARE AMAZING!  In some ways, I wish I could be like you.  Congratulations to me!!!  I have a great life and a great family.  I am happy and I live as I believe.  In the second:  I am sorry you feel threatened by how I live.  I think you have a great family and are doing much good in the world.  But I do not want to be like you.  And I would assume you would not like to be like me.  So can we just be kind to each other and agree to disagree???!  After all, that IS what we believe, right?  (Article of Faith #11:   We claim the aprivilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the bdictates of our own cconscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them dworship how, where, or what they may.)

Good-bye green-eyed monster....I will not be in your trap today!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Emotionally High Maintenance People...

5 reasons why I love them:

I find their attitude hilarious!!  No, seriously---they make me laugh.  If you really listen to why they are upset, their reasons are valid and I can TOTALLY relate to why they are upset.  But mostly it is a matter of their perspective and not taking into account the other circumstances or people involved in a given situation.

They keep me on my toes!!  They are so bright....very smart people.  It takes a lot of intellectual and emotional work to bring them to a point of mutual understanding.

Nurturing them is a challenge for me.  I have plenty of flaws---but I am really good at nurturing people...figuring out what they need to fluff their emotions.  I just read them well.  The high maintenance ones make me work.  I find the challenge exhilarating and exhausting!!

I have several of them.  I'll just illustrate with the littlest one.  He needs to have his needs met NOW!!  I know, I know, you are thinking "All babies are like that."  No--this one is different (and I have had a few...).  He will scream at the top of his lungs, bang his head against you, lunge into nursing position because he is tired and wants to go to sleep.  If you put him down during the process, he will scream until he vomits.  At night, I have to stop anything I am doing @ 6 p.m., lay down with him, and nurse him/sing to him until he falls asleep.  If he doesn't get to bed when he is ready, he gets all keyed up and he won't sleep for hours.  That is NOT an enjoyable evening!  Done it a few times....  I hope he is not quite so demanding as he gets older.  We shall see.

Secretly, I think I may be one....enough said.

Here are Heather's five things.

Friday, December 9, 2011

21 years ago...

Five Reasons why I am Grateful for Modern Medicine. 

Rather than enumerating them, suffice it to say, five people in our home would have died without the intervention of modern medicine, including me.  Instead of going into each one individually, I'll just share the earliest and most soul wrenching one.  This week, I was reminded of our experience by hearing a woman in my ward recount her trial with a young son, reading Allisa's current story, and reading Stephanie's memories.  Here is our story.....

Twenty-one years ago, this month, our oldest was born.  He was a normal baby in every way.  He came on his due date, took FOREVER to deliver, and was amazing in the way every first baby is.  We traveled for the Christmas holidays.  He was about a month old.  He seemed pretty fussy the night we arrived home.  I just assumed it was the traveling. 

He was inconsolable throughout the night.  I held him, sang to him, slept with him....anything I could think of.  By the time the morning rolled around, I could tell something was terribly wrong and we needed to get him to the doctor.  He was pale and lethargic.

We were able to get the first appointment with the pediatrician.  He took one look at the baby, listened to his abdomen, asked me if he had spit up any green bile (which Kyle did right then), and proceeded to order and administer a spinal tap.  The doctor told us that he believed Kyle had a blocked bowel and that we needed to get him to the hospital right away.  Our pediatrician was also our stake president.  My husband asked him if he would help us give our baby a blessing.  Our stake president said, not to make light of the priesthood, but you don't have time.  Get him to the hospital right now and give him a blessing there, which we did.

They started an IV right away and took x-rays.  Within an hour or so, they told us that Kyle had perforated one of his bowels, that stool and air were all throughout his abdomen and he would need emergency surgery right away.  They told us there was a 50% chance, he would die in surgery or not come out of the anesthetic.  We had not given him a name and blessing and asked if that was something we should go ahead and do.  Yes, we should.  We made the necessary phone calls and blessed Kyle right there in the pediatric ICU unit in his little hospital husband and his best friend.  Then he was taken to surgery.

We waited for news from the O.R. for six hours.  Finally, a doctor came out, introduced himself, and said that our baby was now stabilized.  They had a few more hours of work, but he would be alright.  At the time, I did not take in that Kyle being 'now stable' meant that at one time, he was not.  We would later learn that they lost Kyle on the operating table and that if that particular doctor had not been in the hospital, Kyle would have died.  A nurse who had been in the room, moved into our ward several months later and told us the story. 

Because the doctor who saved his life was the director of newborn ICU, he wanted Kyle up where he could keep an eye on him instead of in the pediatric ward.  (If a baby leaves the hospital and then is readmitted, policy dictated that they went to the peds ward.)  Kyle remained in the NICU for a month.  He had a colostomy (where they pull out the intestine onto the stomach wall and provide a bag for the waste to accumulate in).  It was a week before I could nurse him.  We have a Polaroid of him with all of his tubes, ng, iv, respirator, etc...but I don't have a digital copy.  I well up in tears every time I look at it.

Over the next 2 and 1/2 years, our little boy had three more major surgeries and seven minor ones.  Every night and morning for seven weeks, we had to manually stretch his rectum to get it ready to be reconnected.  As I am remembering a lot of the things we went through, it all seems like just some very horrible dream.  It was so very difficult, but I learned so much.  I had many, many spiritual experiences during that time...all of them gave me new information in how to live better.

Kyle had Hirschsprung's disease.  They believe it is hereditary.  It is more prevalent in boys than girls.  If you have a child with Hirschsprung's disease, you have a 1 in 7 chance of having another child with the disorder.  Being that we have so many boys, I wonder every single time if we are going to have to do it again.  When I read stories like Allisa's, I am reminded of the feelings I had during that time.  They come right back. My throat gets tight.  My eyes start to water.  I have a small knowledge of some of what they might be feeling.  I completely lose it when I visit a NICU and see those tiny babies fighting for their lives.  I feel for their parents and those who love them.  I do not want to do it again.  But I am so very grateful for the things I learned during that time, as difficult as it was.

And today?  Today my little boy is 21 years old and serving a mission in Brazil.  He has no permanent problems except for the scars than cover his abdomen.  I thank Heavenly Father that I got to keep him for a little while and that I get to continue to watch him grow and develop......thanks for our not so little miracle....and my heart and prayers go out to those who have similar experiences and maybe a different outcome.  We could have easily been one of those families, five times, and one day, may be anyway.

Here are Heather's Five Things for Friday

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why I Believe!

No, today's blog is not about Santa....that is another post entirely!

I was inspired today by THESE remarks, partially shared by President Monson in his November BYU Devotional.  As I read, the truths he shared permeated my heart.  I agreed with all of them.  Then I pondered....why do I believe?

Growing up, my family was not generally a very happy place to be.  I kept myself very busy so I did not have to be at home.  It didn't make my parents happy, but I was happier.

Participation at church was part of our lives.  I usually had good feelings at church activities and services.  Part of that participation for teenagers was early morning seminary.  We all met at the church about 6:20 a.m., Mon-Fri, to study our scriptures.  My junior year, we were studying the Book of Mormon and our teacher informed us that we would not pass the class if we did not read the book.  Having never failed a class, I wasn't about to fail an optional religion class.  I read the book.

The last prophet to write in the book, Moroni, admonishes the reader to ask God (verse 4) if their writings are true and promises that if you do so with a sincere heart and real intent God will answer you.  One night, as I was going to bed, I knelt to say my prayers.  I told my Father in Heaven that I had read the book.  I believed it, but I wanted to know if it was true.  Did it really happen?

A great warmth entered my heart and filled my entire being.  I knew it was true....and I still know it today.  That was the beginning.

Many times since then, the truths of this gospel have been confirmed to me.  Everyday in my family and through my responsibilities at church, I have the opportunity to practice Christian principles that require me to become a better person.  It is not easy!  Change is hard---but it doesn't have to be slow.  I don't want to just talk about better....I WANT TO BE better.

There are amazing stories all around us and in the scriptures of forgiveness, repentance, perseverance, hope, courage, loyalty, fidelity, humility, charity, etc...  I want to become like them.  Those stories inspire me and encourage me to make changes.  That's kind of what this blog is dedicated to...changing the negative parts of me, becoming more like who I want to be and helping my children become who they should be, drop by drop, act by act, here a little and there a little....(sometimes a lot!).

I believe because everyday as I practice I can see growth and improvement.  Some days I wonder, but if I look back far enough, it is there.  I am not as thin, beautiful, or fit as I once was.  But I am more kind, less judgmental, slower to anger, a little wiser, quicker to serve and slower to insist.  Today's Carin is better than yesterday's.  And so I continue to believe.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Today's Top 5 Inspirations!

1 THIS POST on THIS BLOG  OH Wow!  Definitely helping me to appreciate my role and assignment more than I did before I read it.  Thank you so very much for the story.  Every day I need to remind myself of who I am serving.  Most days I really love my job and appreciate my people.  But it is time to be reminded again.

2 Elder Holland's Talk is my very favorite talk of young motherhood.  Being that I have re-entered the frenzy....I loved being reminded of the promises and Heavenly Father's perspective.

3 Grocery Shopping.....DONE!!  CHECK!!  Love having that finished and off of my list so the week can flow smoothly with menus and meal preparation.  Hooray!!

4 My little daughter staying home sick.  I relish when I get just a little one on one time with each child.  Today she had to share with two brothers.....but still time.

5  And of course, my favorite little baby, who doesn't let anyone help except his mother, sleeping with his brother.  D has been able to get him to sleep three times!!! Once was last night so I could attend the RS Christmas dinner.  Thanks D!!  Love you!

Link up to Heather's Fab Five Here

Thursday, December 1, 2011


WARNING: The layout of this blog will be changing :-)

Sitting here in my little hamster wheel, I had an epiphany... I AM HAPPY!  A deep down, sincere, felt in my heart happy.  I have a lot of experience raising children.  I am good at applying the gospel to my life and helping my children apply it to theirs.  I am not responsible for others' emotions or feelings.  I am good at what I do and I have a lot to offer.

Those feelings are contrary to the emotions I have been sifting through for the past 13 months.  I wouldn't say that I wasn't happy.... BUT I Wasn't Happy!  I have been really struggling because my life wasn't going where I expected it to and I was really having difficulty with the change in direction.

I had plans!  (I always have plans....usually with a capital P.)  My life had taken a turn that was not a part of THE PLAN.  (My life always has those turns in it---the ones where the Lord says, "I want you going in THIS direction, 180 degrees from the way you are facing.")  I kick!  I scream!  I whine!.....No Good.  I was "lifted up in the pride of my heart" as Jacob would say.

Finally, I reluctantly cave.  I do what I know is right, but I refuse to give my heart to the process.  I will obey, but I will not be happy about it.  (Moroni 7:For behold, if a man being aevil giveth a gift, he doeth it bgrudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.)   [Doesn't sound like obedience without heart is very helpful....]

Then I spend the next (insert a long period of time here) going through the motions but not with a happy heart.  Somewhere after wandering my 40 days in the wilderness, I come to accept the new direction and a little while after that, my heart again learns to sing that sweet song----I am Happy.  (I am reminded of Dori the Fish here ....just keep swimming!)

I have a concrete example:
I LOVE serving the youth----my favorite assignments are with the teenagers.  Somewhere about 2004, I had been serving with them for about 2 years.  Without warning, I was released and asked to teach in the Primary (18 month to 11).  I was not happy.  Fine.  I will teach.  No heart accompanied my assignment.  Every time I taught, I was just going through the motions.  I longed to be with the youth.  I always wanted to know what they were doing and how everyone was managing.

Time Passed.

About a year into my Primary calling, I dropped my youth aged children off at a fireside.  As I drove away, I realized for the first time in a year, I wasn't longing to be inside with the youth.  I consciously recognized that I had not been invested in my current assignment.  I vowed to myself and committed to my Father in Heaven that I would change.  (Alma 5:14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye aspiritually been bborn of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty cchange in your hearts?)

The following Sunday, I was released from Primary and called back into serve with the youth.  It would seem the Lord was just waiting for me to hand over my heart.  (Mosiah 2:And these are the words which he aspake and caused to be written, saying: My brethren, all ye that have assembled yourselves together, you that can hear my words which I shall speak unto you this day; for I have not commanded you to come up hither to btrifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should chearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your dhearts that ye may understand, and your eminds that the fmysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.)

So here I am again....doing my duty without a heart.  No more.  I have had that mighty change of heart in this circumstance.  I am back!  I feel it deep inside....true happiness.

How do you initiate that mighty change of heart the Lord requires?  How do you emotionally mange difficult situations that you cannot change?  How can you help yourself and others to accept unchangeable circumstances and choose to be genuinely happy?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fabulous Five Friday

Five Fabulous Reasons why my Husband is AMAZING!:

5. A Good Outlook on Life.  No matter what the situation is, Drew changes what needs to be changed and accepts what cannot be changed.  He works long and hard at helping us to be where we need to be as a family to live the gospel as fully as possible.
4. Thoughtful and Kind.  Drew often thinks of what I would want and asks me how I want to do something.  He seeks out my opinion, even though I have trouble giving him one, many times.  He is always respectful in how he discusses things with me, especially if the topic is sensitive.
3.  Patient. Living life with me and nine children, you would have to develop patience if you did not already possess it.  Luckily for all of us, Drew is so very patient with our weaknesses and shortcomings.  Thanks Dear....we all need it!
2. A Testimony of the Gospel and a Firm Faith in Christ. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the leadership Drew continuously showers upon our family.  Our children understand the gospel.  They have a testimony of Jesus Christ and are learning how to apply His principles in their lives.  They are becoming wonderful and amazing people who are not afraid of sharing their talents and their testimony.  They are learning how to lead.  Most of that knowledge comes from their father.  Thank you for being their father and so very concerned with who they are and where they are going!!

And the #1 reason my husband is AMAZING:
He is my bestest friend in the whole, wide world!!  I could not do what I do without you.  You are my rock, my friend, my confidant, my sweetheart.  Thank you for always being there!  Love you always!!  ME!  

Five Things for Friday...Women in the Scriptures 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Teenagers with AMAZING music choices!!

Jacob has amazing music choices.  I love, love, love all of the music Jacob brings home....listen to his most recent music choices:
See??? Amazing!  I love having a teenager who loves, really loves and appreciates AWESOME music!  Way to go Jacob!  (He first introduced me to Michael Buble!!)


Check this out:
This has been on our white board for three days.  I THOUGHT Darren was helping Jacob with his math.  Instead he was just doing some of his own homework on the board.  But I am so grateful for boys who can do math!!  But truth be told, both Darren and Johnathan are math brainiacs!  They have been able to help tutor those kids who are beyond the things I can remember.  I can't wait until Jacob takes over as math braniac #1.  (And I am so very glad that I do not have to remember Calculus!!  Because I cannot even remember trig.)  But I can still do Algebra. :-) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Missionaries!!

I am grateful to have two full-time worthy sons who are serving faithfully!!
Yes...the one with the funny face is mine.  They are amazing and I love them very much!!  Way to go guys!

6 PM!!

What can I say???  My baby goes to bed every night by about 6 p.m.  Before the time change it was 7.  Now it is 6.  He nurses, falls asleep, and I put him down.  Usually he wakes up about 10-20 minutes later.  Nurses again and is out for the night.....well, until midnight.  But from 6 p.m. on, he sleeps and nurses and sleeps and nurses.  Of course, that does mean that he is usually up by 5:30 a.m. and never later than 6.  But after 12 difficult hours without being able to put him down, for the most part, I get a few hours in the evening and decent sleep all night.  Will that continue when the teeth come in??  That remains to be seen.
And I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the Mohawk!  Love it!

I am Grateful Hair Grows

Smiley's teacher gave him a pair of scissors for his very own.  He was so excited!!  This was his first project:
Luckily, a razor can do wonders....but we still have to wait a little for things to grow in:


My girlfriend has been posting something she is grateful for everyday this month!  It is a fabulous idea and I know she has had a particularly difficult week.  So with the tone of the previous post, I decided that I also needed to "Count my many Blessings"!!  So, I don't know if I will post them all at one time or just a few here and there.  But I came up with lots just last night....  Here is my starter:
I thought I put up 22 pints of applesauce....all from free apples.  I was so very, very excited.  Well, only 4 of the jars sealed.  The rest had to be thrown away because by the time I found them, they had fermented.  Why am I grateful for that??  Because I found them before they exploded in the cupboard!!  That would have been so ugly and disgusting.  I just had to dump them down the drain....  Next time, I'll just freeze them.  PS The last four are in the fridge.....just in case!

Struggling. . . . . . .

This is where I am right now in so very many aspects of my life.  Every once in a while I think I finally have a handle on things.  Then I am quickly reminded that I am nowhere near close.  I think that is one of the reasons we have had another baby.  I was finally getting to the place where my house was mostly clean, most of the time; the children were all reading, almost all bike riding, mostly swimming.  I could always shower.  The laundry was caught up.  I even would make the children clean their rooms once in a while and scrub mold out of windows and off of walls.  And on very few occasions, I was even out in the garden and doing yard work.  All of that is out of the window and I am constantly struggling.  Spencer reminds me that he asked me to wash his socks two days ago because he doesn’t have any clean.  The breakfast dishes don’t get done until I am trying to cook dinner.  Part of my brain fog this week is that I am sick….but still plugging on.  I do not take enough time to process my emotions because I am so busy trying to run our household.  At these moments I just think, why??  Why??  Why do I have to be back in this place??  Didn’t I do a good enough job the first time?  Haven’t I done this enough?  Why do I have to do it again?  I thought this was over.

Well, in the very quiet moments, I know why.  It is because only in this place do I really turn my entire self to God.  It is because I really, truly cannot manage this on my own and I plead for help and I plead for strength and I beg for release.  Because it is only when there is too much for me to manage, too much for me to stuff, too much of everyone and everything that I really open my heart and rely on the Atonement.  Having a baby puts me there.  It is the sheer physical exhaustion and the demand it creates when I just don’t have the energy to stuff it all inside, put my head down and keep working.

The REAL question is WHY do I have to be in this place BEFORE I turn it all over.  WHY don’t I do it sooner?  I am so very arrogant sometimes to feel so in control.  I am a CONTROL FREAK!!  And now I need to go and take care of some of those beautiful little people the Lord has sent to remind me that I am not in control… or ever!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

Phineas & Ferb!!

Daniel had on a black cloak & green face paint....but we didn't get a photo.

And the little baby who will only nap on his mother's lap!!
That is going to have to change!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A day early....BUT.....

I'm guessing on the number of candles :-) but this is a shout out to my very dear friend who no longer lives close to us!! are amazing and I miss you a ton!!!
L-Lovely, in every sense of the word!
I-Incredibly sensitive to others
N-Nice & Organized (need I say anything about tupperware???)
Z-Zaney and full of life!
Y-Yearning for Knowledge (always from the right sources)

I hope all is going well in your neck of the woods!!  Kiss and hug all those boys for me!!  Love you!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy TWO Months Spike, Spike!!

Who me??  OH YA! 

Dear Spike, Spike......
How fun it is to have you at our house!!  It is more fun when you are not screaming.  We have had a rough start, but every day gets a little easier and we trust each other a little more and figure out  more about each other.  I'm sorry for all of the times I have eaten something that has bothered you or kept you awake.  I wish I could make it all better.  You have just started smiling and talking to us.  It is so enjoyable to listen to you and so very rewarding to see you smile......worth most of the screaming!  I cannot wait to see what the next year has to hold for all of us!!  This is a shot of your 'wild man' hair....Scuff thought it needed to be documented!!  And of is the great smile we were talking about!  Love you!  Mom

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Precious Moments.....

Well, as I sit here, alone, the house is quiet, the baby is sleeping, the children are at a friend's and I have a very few moments of me time, I wonder what shall I do??  The thought is BLOG.  Just a quick update of life with an infant.

The baby is amazing...truly.  I am so very blessed with the opportunity to have a new spirit in our home.  He reminds me daily of the precious process of mortality.  We are so very fragile when we get here---so very dependent upon all of those around us we have to rely on to have our needs met---just basic needs--to be fed, changed, burped, held, loved, cherished.  How much trust we must have.  How much trust God is placing in us by sending them to our homes!!  I do not have that same kind of faith and trust in humanity, yet. 

The roller coaster of emotion is very alive and well at our house.  It vacillates from elation and wonder (like the above paragraph) to frustration and sadness at not knowing how best to help little people and just stop the screaming and induce sleep.  Yes, we are no different than any other home with a newborn.  Two days ago the baby screamed most of the day and was not consolable.  There are a few nights of not sleeping and plenty of tears to go along.  But then there are other days when I just marvel at the entire process and offer consistent gratitude and praise for being allowed to participate, again and again.

I have a painting on my wall in the bedroom.  It is a picture of Mary holding her infant, in a room made of stone, gazing up into the morning sun or coming moonlight--I'm not sure which.  We see her from the back.  The scene is peaceful with blue tones and hues, only changed by the light from hole in the wall.  My cousin once told me, "Only a mother knows that look."  I know that look.  To me it says, "Help me!  Help me to raise this child in a manner pleasing to Thee.  Help me know what he needs, when to give it to him and when to withhold it.  Help me to be strong enough, wise enough, patient me to just BE enough...whatever that is." and "Thank you.  Thank you for this precious gift!  These precious moments that will only last for a few short months!  Thank you."  There is nothing like the feelings you have with a sleeping infant snuggled into your chest and silence all around as you take in that sacred air and offer your heart and soul in raising this child of Heaven.  Indeed it is good that you have offered that, for that is what is required.  But in the end, you receive not only what you gave but the increase of another heart and soul who calls you Mother.

I dearly love you Ryan!!!  Thanks for joining the party!  And welcome home!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So very much to BLOG about!!!

First and foremost:

Ryan was born on Saturday.  I am completely in love with this baby and cannot believe how incredibly easy it is to love something so precious and small.  I should have known the feelings would come.
He is adorable and sweet, and has a very peaceful disposition.  I will save you the details of labor....but it was a little scary at the beginning.  We were talking about doing an emergency C-section, in fact, we were planning on it.  We had to wait a little while before we went that way and as we waited, things settled down, and we were able to have a normal labor.  Ryan was 6 pounds 7 ounces, 19 inches long, at delivery.  He is loved and doted on by all of his siblings.  We are so very grateful to have him join our family.

Second, on Sunday, they called Drew to be the Bishop of our ward.  We have done it before.  It will be plenty of work and the phone began ringing on Sunday night and hasn't stopped.  My husband is truly amazing.  The calling took both of us by surprise.

Third, Johnathan leaves on Wednesday morning for the MTC (Missionary Training Center).   He will be there for two and half weeks and then he heads off to Florida for his mission.

So, it has been and will continue to be a very emotional couple of weeks.  I forget all the hormones that accompany the birth of a child and all of the adjustment that comes with it.  We are still in the honeymoon period of the process.  As we move into the full swing of things, I am sure there will be more stress and adjustment, but for now, I am completely happy and in awe of the entire process.  And for those of you who are wondering.....check out this hair:
It is a frosty blonde color.  Most of my babies have very little black hair....but not Ryan....lots and lots of yummy frosting on top of my cute little cupcake.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

12 days and counting!!

Yep....we are down to the wire...for Johnathan and our new addition (still no name).  I went in yesterday for an ultrasound.  Very little boy, who sucks his thumb and has a round face.  The crib is set up.  The clothes are washed.  The diapers are here.  It is really setting in that he is coming and soon.  I imagine that after he gets here there will be less and less time for blogging until I adjust to having a new little person in our home.  I am getting a little excited to welcome him home.

And feeling a little sad for sending Johnathan off.  It has been so fun to have him home for these last few months.  (Although the food bill is higher and all of the leftovers are gone!)  I know he will be a marvelous missionary!!  I cannot believe we will have two missionaries out in the field and a new baby.  I did feel a little better about the whole thing when I learned that Elder Maxwell's mother had a baby while he was serving his mission and President Monson's mother had a baby three weeks before he was married, after he had graduated from college, been engaged for a year and also had an older sister.  I decided maybe it was OK to have a baby this old.

Well.....that is my quick update.  Hopefully everything will go well with this delivery.  Wish me luck!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

This Photo is for you, Diana!!

Sorry the quality isn't so hot.  I guess that's what you get when you try to pull photos off of your phone!!  Johnathan received his endowments last weekend.  So here he is, our prospective missionary and his very pregnant mother.

I read THIS article the other day and thought it was amazing and have been pondering it ever since.

There are wonderful things about having a new baby---but there are difficult things too.  I recognized recently that I have been sad about the timing of this baby.  I have been so excited about the possibilities of working with the youth, which I have done a little over the last six years and which is hard to do with an infant.  Our new baby will make this possibility difficult to say the least.

The timing of our baby is completely the Lord's choice.  This year, my attitude and disappointment about not serving with the youth is a weed in the garden of my life.  (Refer to the above article for a frame of reference for this comment.)  It will interfere in my growth and development as a mother and my ability to bond with this baby.  For whatever reasons, the Lord in His infinite wisdom and love has sent this child to us and we have the blessing to embrace the opportunity and completely welcome him into our home and our hearts.

How often do we look at the gifts our Father in Heaven has given us as stones and serpents because they are not what we want or they do not look like we think they should or they do not happen when we think they should?  Do we not remember that the Lord only gives bread and fish??? [Read HERE--vs. 8-11, to understand this analogy.]  He doesn't give stones and serpents....only good gifts, bread and fish.  The negative aspects of some undesired events or circumstances in our lives may be more a product of our attitude and view point than is truly the case. 

Difficult circumstances and events are usually tailored to us individually and minister to our growth and development, our understanding and compassion, our faith and hope.  We cannot avoid negative experiences..they happen to all of us.  [more on this topic HERE--another GREAT article!]

What experiences have you had that you originally thought of as negative, but later came to realize were a blessing or helped you learn??

There is no doubt in my mind that I will learn a lot.  I already have, even though I have not fully appreciated the lessons, at this point.  I hope I can open my heart more to the process so that I can truly learn the lessons the Lord is choosing to put before me.

Monday, June 6, 2011

One more change.

So I was released as RS President yesterday.  I'm not too sad, just wondering if I did everything I was supposed to do in my calling.  Did I do all that the Lord needed and expected of me?? 

I always look forward to my new assignment, but I have the feeling that won't be coming until after I have this baby.  And then I wonder, is delivery and recovery going to be so bad that I wouldn't be able to manage another calling until there has been some adjustment time??  Just more questions and more changes.  OY!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Well, that is my least favorite topic.  I have learned that I really do not like change.  I like things to stay comfortable.  I love knowing what to expect and how to plan my emotions accordingly....silly, huh?

We have a lot of changes on the horizon.  Not necessarily bad ones, just different ones, taking my life in a direction I didn't necessarily want to go.  Nothing life changing.  We are not moving.  Drew isn't changing jobs.  Even expected changes, though, aren't welcome.

Our principal is retiring this year.  He has been amazing.  I have loved having our children at his school.  His staff is happy.  The other children are happy.  He is a master at nurturing people and giving praise and solving problems.  I'm sure our new principal will also be wonderful.  I know her.  And I really, really like her.  I just don't want to let go of our current one.  Of course, her move, means we will have a new, unnamed principal at Joshua's school.

Our seminary teacher was released on Sunday.  She is amazing!  The teenagers absolutely love her.  The adults absolutely love her.  She is exciting and exuberant about the gospel and the lives of her students.  She isn't even my teacher and I am sad for her to go.....even though that is the way of the gospel.  We all have callings and don't always know when we will be released from them or who will take over after our turn is up.

I am not going to Girls' Camp this year.  That is a lot of sadness.  The hardest part of the entire process is that I was called, cleared by my doctor, and given my favorite responsibility at Girls' Camp this year.  But my body has been telling me that attending camp this pregnant is not a good idea and the Spirit confirmed that thought.  But I just really, really want to I want to every year.

We are homeschooling Daniel in the fall.  That brings a whole dimension of newness.  I have never home schooled any of the children.  Will I be able to manage the curriculum?  Will we be disciplined enough to work on school at the times we need to without letting life get too in the way?  How am I supposed to do that with a new baby?  Will Daniel be OK missing out on the social environment he is beginning to thrive in?  What about his music?  A lot of unanswered questions.  I know it is the right decision.  I just really wonder if I am up to the task...?

Other changes....Tammy is attending UVU!!!  Hooray for her.....sad for me.  I am totally happy for her and so very grateful she is there to learn and grow.  And I miss her a ton.  She was over here a lot before she left.  But we still communicate and I'm sure we always will.  We just have that kind of a relationship.  Our stake presidency is changing at the end of June.  We are having a new baby in August and Johnathan is leaving for his mission in August.  Johnathan's departure and the baby's arrival are supposed to happen on the same day.  We will see how those things go.  But just more changes.....

And of course, with pregnancy and age, my body is changing every day and it is nothing like I have experienced with the other pregnancies.  I cannot do as much, at all.  Not just because I am pregnant, but because of my age.  It takes me two hours to grocery shop now when it used to take one.  I am not doing any of the dishes.  Even my cooking and laundry have been scaled down.  The kids are learning to pick up the slack, but some things are just being left undone. (I am very, very grateful I spent so much time teaching Joshua to read before I got pregnant......I have hardly worked with him since then.  But he is fine and his reading is better than anyone else at the end of kindergarten.)

So.......I guess for everything there is a time and a season.  But it is so very frustrating not being capable of  what I have done in the past.  I guess this is the part of growing old that I probably will not face so well.

I suppose at some point I will embrace the change and recognize and see that all of those things were for the better and contributed to my growth and development.....But today, just for today (well--according to this blog post not only for today but for the rest of tomorrows :-) I would really like things to just stay the same.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Florida, Orlando!!! English speaking! heard it!!  Johnathan opened his mission call today and is to report to the Provo MTC on August 3rd......  Our baby is due on the 10th, but the doctor said he would not let me go past the 3rd of August.  So I guess Johnathan gets his wish and most likely, he will be here to see the baby born and into the MTC before the Fall semester begins.  (So that when he returns he can jump right back into school!) 

We are very excited for him and know this is a call from the Lord which will provide the growth and development Johnathan needs and the people who he needs to touch.  Congratulations Johnathan!!  We are very proud of you!  (And we are so very grateful Kyle was able to call in when we opened up the letter!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mission Papers-----CHECK!

Johnathan's papers are in!  Now the wait for that magical, large, white envelope that will tell Johnathan where he will spend the next two years in the service of the Lord.

Stay tuned for the next update :-)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


So again, things are kind of crazy here!!  Two weeks ago, I broke my right thumb, which makes typing, cooking, laundry, shopping, dishes, writing or signing my name all very interesting.  I have a new found respect for those with minor disabilities!  Oh! Did you want to know HOW I broke it??  Well don't laugh!  I was playing basketball with the young men after mutual one night...since three of them were mine.  And yes, I know I'm pregnant...but I have played with each pregnancy.  I try to be careful and not to play too hard.  Apparently I am still fast enough on defense to get my hands on the ball, but too old to do it fast enough to turn it the right way!

I had stopped Jacob at the top of the key.  He was passing the ball to his teammate at the bottom of the key and I stuck my hand into the pass at just the right time to receive the full force of the pass into my thumb.  So blogging has been a little difficult.

We did baptize Spencer!!  Hooray!!  Darren did a marvelous job and the program was wonderful.  We also ordained Daniel that evening and had Grandma and Grandpa there for the visit.
Johnathan should have his mission papers in.....we are still waiting to hear from him that they really are in!!  And he gets home in a little less than three weeks.........but........
Here is the big news you are waiting for........we are having a BOY!!  Can you believe it?!  Me either!!  I guess I am destined to spend the rest of my days in the scouting program and raising priesthood men!  No name yet....still working on that :-)

I am getting a little more excited that we are really having a baby.  I know once he is placed in my arms....I will melt, just like I have with each and every one as I marvel at the entire process!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Finally Posting!

Dear Friends and Family,

I'm sure you are wondering where we have been!  Well, let me tell you...things have been kind of wild at our house.  But the biggest reason we haven't posted in so long is because we are going to have a baby in August!  Yes, you heard right.  No, we were not expecting this.  We are all in shock and disbelief but the children are very, very excited.  We are only about 3 1/2 weeks away from knowing if our baby is pink or blue.  Morning sickness if finally over.  I have a little more energy and a lot fewer clothes.  No pictures with this post, because I do not have a cute little pregnant belly.  After this many children, it is rather large :-)  But just know that we feel very honored and blessed that the Lord would chose to send us another little person to join the party.  I truly thought we were all done.  But as usual, the Lord's plan is always very, very different from mine.  I really cannot wait to see how this new personality will blend with those already here.  Always an adventure at the Lund house.

For the rest of us, Daniel turns 12 this week!  He is excited to get out of primary.  Spencer will be baptized at the end of March, and he'll receive his first set of scriptures.  And Johnathan is in the middle of filling out his mission papers.  All in all, we have a lot of exciting things coming up....stay tuned!  We'll write more often now :-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Have we really been married for 21 years??  Is that even possible?  Monday Drew and I celebrated our 21st---yes!!  Our 21st anniversary.  21 years is a lot of life to live together.  So much has happened to us in that time.....we have shared so many memories, joys, heartbreaks, trials, blessings.  He truly is my bestest friend in the whole wide world.  I really don't know what I would do without him.  When I say that to him, his response is, "Live a happy, normal life...."  But the truth be told, Drew, it would be so very difficult for me.  You are my emotional stability.  You bring me down to earth when I am flying away with all the things I want to do and accomplish.  You build me up when I just don't think I can continue to face the world and all I feel it expects of me.  You love me when I'm obnoxious, hold me when I cry, tease me when I'm annoyed, and correct me when I'm out of line.  No, Drew, life wouldn't be happy or normal without you in it.

Thank you for being such a wonderful father, a magnificent husband, and just for being my very, very best friend.  I appreciate you more than you know.  And I cannot wait to see what the next 21 years holds for us!!

All my love!