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?