Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Our family member in the hospital passed away so I am off to the funeral to mourn with my sweet family the loss of their wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend.  I will be back when the weekend is over and after I have reconnected with my kiddos will be back to blogging.

In the mean time, do me a favor.  Go to this website and consider donating.

I have been reading about the World Congress of the Family for about a decade now.  It is really scary some of the organizations who present themselves to the Congress and express that their views represent those of our entire society.  (Mandatory preschools, expecting all women to work and institutionalized childcare....scary stuff.)  It is scary enough, that I have continued to follow whatever I can find about subsequent Congresses.

This year, the Congress is being held in Sydney Australia and Angela Fallentine has the opportunity to go but not the funding.  Angela is one of us, a mom and someone who feels deeply about the family and the doctrinal importance the traditional family provides to the stability of our society and the health of individuals, especially children.  Please help her attend!!  Time is growing short, only two weeks left!! 

Send out the information far and wide, post it on your facebook, tweet, blog, whatever you do!!  Send out the call.  I didn't want to hone in on anyone's parade so I haven't posted  about this yet.  But I am feeling the necessity to ask for your help.  Donate whatever you feel you can.  If we each give a little, we can know that our voices are heard and our position represented in the Congress!

Angela and her husband already testified to the New Zealand Parliament (Read about it here).
Please do what you can to help!!!   See you when I get home.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Real life is happening here.

photo credit:  bbc.co.uk

Sorry I have been a little absent in the blog-sphere.  This week has been super crazy.  I have been painting the man cave and hoping to have it finished before my college boys arrived home.  It wasn't but I am over that now.  We have a family member in the hospital, extended family, and our concern and prayers are with her family.  Several of my friends have been having difficulties and I have been helping out and I have two college boys home.  So we have been kinda busy over here.

I have lots of emotional managing going on for myself and plenty of stories/applications to share, but they are going to have to wait until I have more time to think and ponder and can put them together in a blog post that is worthy of being read.  (Plus my baby has been sick....lots and lots of real life happening right now.)

I am imagining that I will be able to get a post or two together soon.  Until then, please check in and see if I have been able to get it together :-)  Keep blogging :-)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review!!

Stephanie Sorenson, of Diapers and Divinity is the author of this amazing book.  It explores many characteristics of the Savior and how mothers, by sharing in those same responsibilities emulates Christ.  I especially loved this paragraph:

"As we go through the daily details of our mothering, the small things are more meaningful than we recognize.  Like signs and tokens of our covenant relationship with Christ, the simple emulation of His attributes binds us to Him and makes us like Him.  Piece by piece, we build a life and a home and a family based on the doctrines of Jesus Christ; we create in slow motion."

Even though I have been a mother of earthly children for a little over 23 years now, the principles expressed in Stephanie's book have given me a greater insight into my role.  I love motherhood.  I have a testimony of its importance and significance.  I love my roll and teaching my children and helping to mold and shape their soul.  It is personal and spiritual and sacred to me.  But I have to tell you, this new and unexpected event in our lives over the last almost three years now, has tried my soul.  After six years of not having little, little people in the house, to return to diapers, teething, sleepless nights and now the joys of toddler-hood, especially his favorite past-time of emptying the entire contents of my new face powder onto the bathroom floor, Oy!  I am tired.  And sometimes I feel weary......definitely weary in well-doing.

Covenant Motherhood has reminded me that my service is not forgotten to the Lord, that there truly is 'divinity in each new life' and my job as mother is just as significant and important to the molding of this little soul, as it has been to the eight before him.  I especially needed the reminder that God's work is just like motherhood: developing souls, teaching, training, loving, supporting, extending the arm of mercy, and occasionally dispensing justice.  (I just thought I was past the early part of it.....)  But God does not get tired of his work.  He loves it, because He loves us.

I would not have chosen to have this many souls come to my house.  It was not in my plan.  But the Lord knows I will be obedient.  He knows I have a testimony of motherhood.  He knows I love people.  And He knows that love is never exhausted, it grows and grows and grows with each individual and each willing act of service.  He knows that as I just go through the process of mothering, again and again, my love will grow and my heart will be knit with each and every person He sends, even if they dump out all of the diapers, use my eye-liner to write on the wall, draw on my new couch with crayola marker, and dump cinnamon-sugar all over the kitchen table, chairs, and floor.  My love will grow, even then, and I will become more like Christ.  Thanks for the reminder, Stephanie.  I needed it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Emotional Journey (Part 3)

I promised some spiritual insights after reading about my emotional roller-coaster (here,and,here).  So this is what I have observed (I am sure there is more, there is always more....but this is what I have so far):
  • I received information that led me to believe we would be following a certain course of action (we were moving).
  • If I did not believe this was the case, I would never have emotionally invested myself in the process.
  • Being emotionally invested is what actually allowed me to explore the emotions I was stuffing.  They would have never come to the surface if I didn't ever believe we were actually moving, mostly because I would just have kept myself busy with the normal things of daily life.
  • Although it appears I received conflicting information (we were moving when we actually didn't), it really is an evidence of the Lord's love for me.  It was never about moving or not moving.  It was about my emotional growth and development, my growth as a person or my spiritual development.  The Lord knows me well enough that He knew I wasn't expressing or paying attention to my feelings in a certain area.  He knew that wasn't healthy for me and He knew why I was doing it.  He allowed me an opportunity to explore my feelings in the only way I would really do it.  Then He put those circumstances in place.
  • He knew me well enough to know that if I knew why I was pursuing a certain course and I had an option between my choice and the Lord's choice, I would chose His direction instead of following my own desire.  (That is generally my nature........my favorite scripture is 1st Nephi 3:7---I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save He shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.  Link here.  Obedience is a key factor and deserves a post all on its own.)
Think of your own children.  When you know a child is struggling in a particular area, don't you go out of your way to help them learn to master that area--or at least learn the next concept along that path?  I will give you a personal example.

One of my little ones struggles with honesty.  Last fast Sunday (Once a month, we practice the law of the fast, where we go without food and water for 24 hours and use the money we would have spent on those meals and donate it through fast offerings to the church to be used to help those with less.  In our home, we start fasting for one meal from 8-11, then two meals 12-18 and help them work up to a full fast.), I was getting ready for church, and he called to me while I was doing my hair in the bathroom.

"Mom, can the baby have a chip?"

"Yea.....sure"  [Wait a minute, why does he have chips?  I told him it is fast Sunday]  "Are you eating chips?  It's fast Sunday"

Now he appears in the doorway, chips in hand.  Picture a guilty look across his face.  "Well, I haven't actually eaten any chips yet."

"Then why do you have them?  If you have chosen not to fast for breakfast, then you will need to fast for lunch."

"Since I haven't actually eaten any, I can still fast for breakfast."

"You haven't eaten ANY???"  [knowing this child, I found that hard to believe, but was willing]


"Then why do you have crumbs all over your shirt?  What are those from?  And why do you keep doing that thing with your eyes?"  [My husband was not happy that I was giving away how I knew this son's honesty was in question.]

"Well, actually, I forgot it was fast Sunday and I did eat crackers and an orange, but I haven't had any chips."

Oh, there it is.  "Well, sweetie, you can eat chips if you like, but you will need to fast for lunch."

Knowing that honesty and fasting is an issue for this little soul, I would do him no favors if I let him get away with his plan.  It helps him grow to have to do something that is difficult for him, but not beyond his ability.  As his parent, and one interested in his growth and development, I put circumstances in place to help him learn that honesty is important and he still has responsibilities and things that I want him to learn.

Our Father in Heaven is a better parent than I am.  He is more concerned about my growth and development and yours.  He puts circumstances in place to help us learn things that may be difficult for us but not beyond our ability.  He loves us.

I loved this talk from Elder Scott about finding joy and happiness.

Can you think of a time in your life where things have not turned out as you hoped, but you learned something significant from the process??

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Emotional Journey (Part 2)

photo credit:  best-beaches.com
Early in February, my  husband received a job announcement from an anonymous source in his email at work.  The announcement was for his current position in a larger court, closer to his parents.  We were intrigued.  The general announcement for the position didn't come to the human resources office until 10 days later.  We discussed the possibility of applying.

As I seriously pondered and prayed about the option, I told Heavenly Father that I did not see any way we realistically could go.  The cost of living was higher there.  We would need two reliable cars.  (We have been surviving for almost a year with one car [2000] and five seat-belts---but that is a story for another day.)  Sport is getting ready to begin his Senior year.  Even though the salary would be higher because of the cost of living issues, we would receive a drop our take-home pay.  We are finally in a home where the landlord won't just decide to kick us out (which has happened in three rentals we have lived in)!  As I expressed all of my reasons for not pursuing the option, I heard these words, "Counsel me not".  O-Kay!!  Maybe He wants us to go.....

I started getting purging promptings.  'Get rid of this.  Get rid of that.  Make packing easier.  Do it today!'  I kept getting information that led me to believe we were going to get this job and make the move.  We made the decision to apply and the promptings increased.  I began praying that we would know the Lord's will.  I kept receiving moving information and I became attached to the idea.  I wanted it! 

I began praying for it--that we would get the job and things would work so we could move.  I had been told not to talk to anyone about the possibility.  My sweetheart was willing to participate in the process, but he didn't ever believe it would be wise to take the job, even if they offered it to us.  I knew my husband well enough to know that even if he didn't think it was wise, if the Lord told him to do something, he would do it.  I just figured the Lord would let him know when it was time, so I didn't worry too much that he kept telling me he didn't think we would be moving.

In mid-March, Drew received the phone call inviting him to the interview mid-April.  Yea!!  Things were headed in the right direction!  I became more emotionally attached to moving.

As we periodically discussed the possibility and began looking for homes and at schools, finding where the church buildings were located and checking the ward boundaries, I got excited!  (I hate leaving the people I love behind, but I also really love meeting new people.  I always find kindred spirits wherever I go.  I pick up new and dear friends with each move, even though I really hate moving!)

My husband could see that I really, really wanted to go and he asked me about it.  I had to really think about my desires.  I came to several conclusions:  I didn't feel like the work I was doing in my ward was significant, most of my kindred spirit friends had moved away or were busy, and I was lonely.  These reasons were all new to me.  I didn't realize that I felt that way.  It wasn't until I explored the possibility of leaving that I allowed those emotions to reach the surface of my consciousness.  I had subconsciously buried those negative emotions.  Crazy.

About a week before General Conference, my husband asked me to consider not attending the interview and to include it as one of my conference questions.  I started to panic just a little.  Then I reasoned, "Sure, I would include it" but I knew we were moving and in order to move, we would have to have a job.  No brainer---we were going to the interview.

I pondered my husband's thoughts over the next few days.  Two days before conference, I knew if we attended the interview, we would get the job, and we could move, if that is what I wanted to do.  But the Spirit also let me know, that it wasn't necessarily what the Lord wanted, it was what I wanted.  He would allow it, but I needed to understand my motivations for wanting it and pursuing the process.  Ugh!

As I reviewed my reasoning and whether or not moving and a new job was a wise decision for my family, I already knew the answer.  I hadn't thought it was wise at the beginning---but now I was emotionally attached to the idea.  I WANTED it!  But could I really ask my family to make all of those sacrifices simply because I was unhappy and wanted something else??  No, that would be ridiculous and unfair.  I knew before conference that we shouldn't move and if we weren't going to take the job, we shouldn't attend the interview either.

During conference, it was confirmed.  The Lord has things for us to do here.  The work I am doing in my ward (my callings) is important and is making a difference even if I cannot see how.  Drew sent his letter to withdraw from the interview Tuesday after conference.

Drew's interview was suppose to be yesterday @ 2:00 p.m.

My next post will discuss some of my spiritual insights into my process and this experience.

Stay tuned!

"You are here on earth for a divine purpose.  It is not to be endlessly entertained or to be constantly in pursuit of pleasure.  You are here to be tried, to prove yourself so that you can receive the additional blessings God has for you.  The tempering effect of patience is required."  Elder Richard G. Scott (Finding Joy in Life)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Emotional Journey (Part 1)

When President Uchtdorf shared this story (about Jane, 4 paragraphs down) in General Conference, I could relate.  Now, just at the outset, I was never physically or sexually abused in the home where I grew up.  Emotional abuse was readily available.  But to be fair----I do not believe it was doled out maliciously.  It was more of a product of one parent's up bringing and probably generations of mistreatment of others coupled with alcohol abuse.  I reacted similarly to Jane---I quit feeling to steel myself against the pain and hurt that seemed to happen all the time.  It was a mostly unconscious decision.  I say mostly because I can remember one instance where I made a choice to stop feeling---but only one.  (A story for another post.)

Over the last 10 years, slowly, and piece by piece, I have been emotionally learning about myself, and recognizing how unconsciously I revert to 'not feeling,' when something unpleasant is happening.  I have to choose to feel.  I'll explain that more in a moment.

As I came to the point of recognizing how I unconsciously ten to manage pain and sorrow, I heard these words in my mind, "Your choice to respond this way has been a blessing and has protected you so far.  From here on, your choice to respond this way will interfere in your spiritual development."  Interesting.  I wasn't really sure what to do with that information---but as time went on, I was instructed there also.

I learned there were some behaviors that 'clued me in' that I had unconsciously chosen not to feel again----'tells,' if you will.  I'll just share one.  I wouldn't control my eating.  Intellectually I had an eating plan to drop weight.  I knew what to do.  But after three or four days of not doing it, I would wonder what was wrong with me.  You know, getting up in the morning and saying 'I am going to eat this way.'  Then at every turn, choosing not to do it and wondering why I couldn't seem to get it together.  Then I would finally recognize:  Wait!  I have been saying this, but not doing it for three days!  I must be stuffing (my word for the process) my feelings.  I must be sad.  What am I  sad about??  Then I would intellectually walk back to the point I quit controlling my food choices, revisit my experiences and emotions, and find the 'trigger' point where I experienced sadness or hurt.  "Oh.................I'm really sad about [this]."  At that point, I would have to make time to go to my room, think about what happened and my feelings and allow myself time out to feel and cry about the incident.

Now, just for clarity's sake, I am a very busy person with plenty of other people's emotions to manage.  I can be busy FOREVER if I choose---never taking any time to process my own emotions.  This is how I have chosen to manage for the first 30 years or so, just too busy care-taking to think about myself and do my emotional work.  Admirable?  Maybe.  Healthy?  NOT!  I have had to learn and recognize that my emotions are just as valid as anyone else and so am I.  I need to give myself time and space too.  Time to cry.  Time to be non-fuctional (not in an unhealthy way but a 'I-am-not-so-important-that-the-world-cannot-function-without-me' kind of way).  I and my emotions are important and deserve my time---just like I would take time to listen to a sad or hurt friend.  So I take time out of my life to listen to myself.  Crazy process, huh?

Since I have been practicing over the last five years or so, I actually have times now when the emotion wells up in the moment and I can cry in 'real' time instead of eating for three days before I recognize my feelings.  All of this is background for tomorrow's post, so stay tuned!  To be continued.....

Please remember those families in Boston in your prayers.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Sunshine!!

Our little Sun turns 12 today!  12!!  My how the time flies.  She gets to attend Young Women's and girls' camp!!  Hooray!!  Those are two of my very favorite places and things!

Here are some of my favorite memories:
Blessing dress made by my favorite auntie!  Thanks Janelle!
First (and only, so far) Easter Bonnet
The beginning of 'the looks'!

When she still actually liked him :-)
Typical, happy Sun!
When you were four, we were sitting on the couch, you with your head in my lap.  I told you how glad I was to be your mother.  You said, "I'm glad you are my mother too.  I always wanted you to be my mother, but I didn't know if you were going to be able to be my mother."

When you were 18 months old, I pulled a dress out of the closet for you to wear to church.  You scowled at it.  I said, "Don't you want to wear this dress?  It is so cute!"  You shook your head 'No' and then picked out your own.  It was my first experience with girls having their own opinion.  They boys would still let me dress them if I would do it.  But I won't...so that is that.  Your opinion has always been different than mine in the fashion department.  I try to let you do your own thing and not interfere, which is hard for me :-) as you know.

You LOVE nail polish, hair stuff, dresses and dolls....most of which I have never had a use for.  But I love that you are phoofy and it makes me smile.

When I was expecting you, I told the Lord that I could probably have more children, but if he sent me another boy, I would draw the line after the baby arrived and be finished having children.  I didn't think any family should have six sons...that was too many.  Two things about this:  It shows that the Lord has a sense of humor.  He made sure we didn't have six sons.  Now we have eight.  Two:  Your father is sure I have extorted the Lord to get what I wanted.  I just tell him that a Father and daughter had a frank conversation and we both knew what the other needed.  We made an agreement.

You make me smile, now and forever!  I love having a daughter!  You bring some stability to all the testosterone running around in our home.  Yea for some kind of balance :-)  We love you Sunshine!!  Have a fabulous special day!

Love Mom

Friday, April 12, 2013

Formula for Happiness

I have been struggling emotionally a bit.  I mentioned in a previous post that we had been considering a major life change (moving and a new job).  I realized my major reason for pursuing these things was because I was unhappy where I live.  The largest factor in my unhappiness:  most of my friends have moved away.  I was ready to move away and make new friends.

The Spirit has helped me to recognize my motivations for desiring change and my husband has helped me to recognize that starting a new job, leaving our home, and changing everything for the children and us simply because my social life wasn't what I wanted it to be probably wasn't very realistic or fair to the rest of the family.  (How much time does a mother of nine really have to socialize anyway??!)  As the opportunity to move passed, I felt the weight of sadness settle in.

I recognized several things, which are all 'triggers' for me:
  • Food.  I have been eating stuff (milk mostly....ice cream, cheese, butter) I am allergic to, but I LOVE!  (I even splurged and bought a jar of basil pesto because for the recipe I wanted needed 1 tablespoon.  But I bought a 22 ounce jar---44 tablespoons!--and ate a little every day!)  This is one of my coping mechanisms---comfort food, food I love but should not be eating!  I justify it because I am sad and it makes me feel better.
  • Staying up late and sleeping in.  I can't do this everyday.  But occasionally I stay up later than I should watching something entertaining because I want to feel better emotionally.  I sleep in later than I should (which causes a bad start to an already busy day).  I justify this behavior because I am tired, or I think I'm getting sick, or the baby was up in the middle of the night.  The truth is, if I had gotten up when I should have, regardless of why I didn't, the day would have gone better.
  • Scripture study and prayer.  I am a schedule person.  I do better with a consistent schedule.  My very best scripture reading time is first thing in the morning.  If I get up late, or the children are already up, or the baby is awake, or I'm running behind schedule, I justify not reading right now and tell myself I will get to it later.  I NEVER consistently 'get to it later'.  I know that.  I have to take time in the morning.  I need to be in the standard works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Conference addresses) a little each day.
  • Exercise.  Just a little bit of physical activity does wonders for me emotionally.  When I am emotionally struggling, I usually quit exercising as well.  I need those 'feel good' endorphins that come from physical activity, even if it is just a quick walk around the block!
  • Service.  Service has to be a part of the happiness equation.  This is never lacking for me because I am a mother with children at home.  But if you do not have consistent opportunities for service, then you need to find ways that you can help lift and serve other people.
The Spirit has let me know most of my emotional struggle is because I have not been diligent in the food, schedule, exercise, and scripture study departments.  These are the areas the adversary uses to keep me off balance and interferes in my ability to receive personal revelation.  Yes my friends have moved.  Yes I am sad.  But I would be managing it all better if I were also diligent in those areas and I would have peace and happiness, even though I miss my friends.

So..................I am climbing back on the wagon, a little at a time.  First things first.  Scriptures and prayers every morning regardless of time, even if I only read one verse.  I am eliminating milk (easier said than done---but I do it all the time!  Guess I'll give away the rest of the pesto and not buy anymore!)  Exercise and schedules I'll look at correcting in the next week or so, but let's make the more significant changes first.  Let's face it, I know where my strength comes from.  If I am trying to develop a healthy body, would I quit eating?  So when I am trying to develop a healthy spirit (strong and happy), should I stop nourishing it?  Absolutely not!  This is where my strength to persist comes from!  This is the most significant and necessary change to have in place!

Oh, and I'm almost done painting the 'man cave' (family room) which is helping my mood A LOT, too!  (And planting pretty flowers----a girl's gotta' have flowers, right?)

Chin up, move forward!  Come on little camper, we can do this!! (This is my positive self-talk :-)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

General Conference--Awesome as Ever!

photo credit: lds.org
What a fabulous weekend!!  I love General Conference!!!!  I have been watching 10 hours of General Conference (for us women, if you include the General Young Women's Meeting in April and the General Relief Society Meeting in October) for the last 25 years.  It is never a disappointment.  In fact, they are the weekends I live for.  You may believe watching that many speakers would be tiresome, but for me, it uplifts and heals my soul.  It gives me information and direction for the coming six months and this conference was no different.

We have always wanted to make Conference Weekend something special at our house so our children would look forward to it.  In the beginning, we just bought everyone a new coloring book and new crayons or markers, so they would have something quiet to do for the time allotted.  As our traditions grew, we added having pizza in between Saturday's sessions.  Then we began inviting the missionaries over to have pizza with us.  Saturday evening we usually have something light for dinner and make cookies.  For Sunday, we have sandwiches and chips in between sessions.  They broadcast some amazing videos and other information in between the sessions.  For a while I could hardly pull myself away, but I did want the little ones to go outside and run around in the sunshine for a bit.

Even though we have these fabulous traditions (they are fabulous to me), the best part about General Conference is the spiritual uplift I receive.  Probably for the last 15 years, I have been bringing questions to conference---ANY questions, and any number of them.  One year I wanted to know what to do with our old, dead suburban.  Was I suppose to fix it ($3,000 of repair which we did not have)?  Was I suppose to get a new car (we couldn't afford a car payment)?  And if we weren't going to repair it, how was I to dispose of it?  Now do you think ANY of the brethren or sisters who spoke directly addressed this question for me?  Nope, not one.  But as I listened, I heard the Spirit whisper to me.  I knew we needed to get rid of the suburban.  It would not be worth our money to fix it and we did not have it.  I went forward in faith.  Just so you know the end of the story, we borrowed a friend's van for several weeks.  Then one of the people I love in my ward, came to us and offered to sell us their van because they were leaving on a mission and their children couldn't use it.  We explained our finances and told them we would love to, but didn't know how we could afford it.  They didn't care.  They made arrangements we could manage, and brought over the van and title.  I wept, and wept.  The Lord knows our needs and He will take care of us.

Another time, I had a question about something I read in the scriptures, a particular passage and phrase.  I had looked it up, cross-referenced it, and read everything I could find about it.  Nothing.  I prayed to know what it meant.  I took the question to conference.  During the conference, Elder Oaks quoted the scripture I had in question, and then said, "This means....."  I about fell off my chair.  A direct question, a direct answer!  I had not had that happen before or since.  But I know the Lord knew my question, heard my prayer, and inspired an apostle to explain the meaning.

Sometimes my questions are about temporal things, sometimes they are about spiritual things.  Always they are unique to me, because they are my questions.  I have taught the children to come to conference with questions, to sit, literally, at the feet of the Apostles and to drink from the Spirit that presides at that meeting, to receive answers, inspiration, healing and direction.  When you have that direct of a link to the Spirit of the Lord, why would you be or do anything else?  I cannot.  I need that information and healing, that direction.  I spiritually need it.

I have noticed something else.  The earlier I began preparing my questions, the earlier I receive the answers.  I try to have my questions ready the week before General Conference, so I have them when I listen to the General YW meeting or the General RS meeting.  This year was no different.  I started receiving answers, in one case, even before I knew there was a question.  Little bits and pieces of information started trickling in.  I held onto them.  Realized I had a question.  Asked the question, and almost immediately received answers.  Then during conference, I received reasons, sacred reasons for some very serious and hear-rending questions for me.

And I will add one more example.  When I was sealed in the temple, we were waiting in a sealing room before the ceremony began.  I had a question about the endowment.  I asked Drew.  He didn't know the answer and told me that it wasn't important.  But I really, really wanted to know.  As we were waiting, our sealer (the man performing the ceremony) approached us.  He said he had felt impressed to explain something to us.  He then went on to answer my question, verbatim, without me ever asking him.  The Lord knew my question.  From the time I have been asking questions, He has been answering them.  He will do the same for you.

Now, I know there are a few principles that need to be in place.
  • I do my very best to do the things I know the Lord has asked of me.  Obedience is a key in receiving personal revelation.  I am not perfect and I make mistakes, but I always try to do what I know He wants me to. 
  • I have been baptized in His church, through the proper authority.  Part of this ordinance, gives me the gift of the Holy Ghost, or the promise from my Father in Heaven, that if I am obedient, I have the right to the companionship of this member of the Godhead.  It is his responsibility to reveal truth.  You do not need to be baptized to receive revelation, but it certainly helps because there is a difference between the gift of the Holy Ghost given at baptism and the Light of Christ given to all men (that is a different post, to be written later).
  • I do not ask very many 'why' questions.  I do not think they are very helpful.  I do wonder why sometimes, but more often than not, I try to phrase my questions more into things I need to do.  What am I to learn from this circumstance?  How do I manage this situation?  I guess I should rephrase that a little.  Why in terms of 'why do we do things in the church this way,' or 'why is this doctrine in place or important'---those are good 'why' questions.  But 'why is this happening to me' or 'why do I have to go through this'---those are not good 'why' questions.  Although I think the answers to these questions are important, I am usually not ready for the answers when I am asking those questions.  I find that as I go on in life, the answers to those questions come or I can later see what I learned from that experience or situation.  But in the moment of the learning, those questions impede my progress and do not aid in my spiritual journey.
So there it is in a blog post.  Make sure the next time you come to General Conference with your questions, you bring a pencil and paper to write down the answers.  What experiences do you have with receiving answers from the Lord?

Saturday, April 6, 2013


We are an allergy ridden family.  Our allergies range from mild and annoying to severe and life-threatening.  I have had a little of a reprieve because our most severe allergies are had by the three oldest boys.  Having them as little people was quite stressful because it was easy for them to get into things they were allergic to without knowing how severe their allergies were.
photo credit: library.thinkquest.org

My oldest has an anaphylactic allergy to nuts.  An anaphylactic allergy means that each time the individual is exposed to the allergen, the allergic reaction increases until it eventually shuts down the respiratory system and the individual cannot breath.  Luckily, when we were figuring all of this out, I had a BYU professor who had friends whose children had a similar condition.  She alerted me to the dangers of this allergy as well as insisting I speak with my doctors about having an epi-pen, which is a single dose injection of epinephrine.  It is designed to keep you alive after exposure to the allergen, until you can arrive at the hospital and get further treatment.  (Yes, the allergy is that severe.)  When Slim was an infant, the last time he had been exposed, it took 3 shots of different medications before the allergy was under control.  Since he has been an adult and in charge of his own food and exposures, we have visited the emergency room more times than I can count because he ate something before realizing it had nuts or nut oils in the food.  It is not pretty and it takes several hours, not to mention the money.  Yuck!

My third doesn't have an anaphylactic allergy, but he is severely allergic to corn and all corn products, corn meal, corn oil, corn starch, corn flour, corn sugar, etc....and in the United States, corn is in everything--even crazy things like baking powder and ketchup!  Nuts, no corn!  His allergy doesn't affect his breathing, it affects his behavior.  When he is exposed, you would think he has ADHD.  He is super obnoxious, will not listen, is mean, hits, screams, bites, yells, it is very, very ugly.  Luckily for us, we figured out his allergy when he was about six weeks old.  (I am reminded that this was not luck.)  I prayed and prayed for answers because as an infant, he would never sleep.  I knew something was wrong and kept taking him to the doctor.  They would tell me he was fine, but I knew something wasn't right, and I knew the Lord knew what it was.  I plead and plead for the answer.  One night I craved a turkey dinner and we had corn bread stuffing, corn on the cob, and corn in the gravy and rolls--before I was a bread maker.  Scuff was up all night long that night.  I started suspecting corn as the culprit and I began my scientific research.  I eliminated as much corn as possible from my diet.  Remember I was a nursing mother and Scuff was only 6 weeks old.  When the baby wouldn't sleep, I would read all the ingredients of everything I had eaten and I always found corn!  Benadryl is my dear friend in this process.  It won't take away the reaction, but it surely tempers it.

Here are some interesting allergy thoughts (no scientific proof, only my own experience):
  • It takes about four days for the allergy reaction to leave the little person's system completely.
  • It only takes about 20 minutes before the allergy manifests itself after exposure, less time for the anaphylactic allergies.
  • Benadryl does work, even for headaches, if the headache is due to an allergy and it will start to temper the reaction immediately, even though the full effect isn't for about 20 minutes.
  • Everything you eat as a nursing mother, is transferred to your infant through your breast milk and they will react to it if they are allergic to it.
  • Allergic reactions can be manifest as behavior, skin reactions, through your breathing, headaches, and others I am sure I do not know...these are what happens at our house.  (Even though the breathing ones are most life-threatening, I think the behavior ones are the worst and the most difficult to diagnose and figure out.)
Most of the rest of us are allergic to milk and milk products.  This is just an annoying allergy.  (I'm not addressing the hay-fever, animal allergies, and asthma---we have all of that here too.)  Most of the children get eczema, some have congestion issues as a manifestation of this allergy.  For me, it messes up how my body processes carbohydrates---that is a post for another day.  For my husband, he gets severe headaches, but only after significant and continued exposure.

photo credit: saltroommellinia.net
 So all of this background is necessary because last night we validated (accidentally) that my little one also has an anaphylactic allergy to nuts.  I have been suspecting that he is allergic to peanut butter because of the way he acted the only time I gave it to him. He wouldn't eat it and he kind of cried an whimpered about it on his plate.  I have not been feeding it to him because of my suspicion.  Yesterday, my sweetheart brought home some cookies from work.  I shared them with the children.  About half an hour after we ate the cookies, my baby started getting really agitated and grumpy.  He kept sticking his tongue out, which he does when there is something on it.  I asked him if there was something on his tongue, and he said no.  Then about 45-50 minutes after we ate them, he just started crying and crying and crying and would not stop.  I noticed his little eczema patches on his feet were getting really red and I thought they were just bothering him, so I put some itchy cream on them. That made the situation worse and he was more upset.  I gave him ibuprofen, thinking his  teeth were bothering him---still crying, and crying and crying, and more agitated and upset.  My husband suggested that maybe he needed some Benadryl.  I agreed that I was getting to that point and sent someone to get it.  It was then that I saw the nuts (in my mind) in the oatmeal cookies.  Oh my goodness!!!  Yes, get the Benadryl!  As soon as it hit his tongue, he started to settle down, not completely, but I could tell just the contact of the liquid Benadryl on his tongue tempered his reaction.  I think maybe his tongue was tingling and probably swelling.  It was then that I noticed his ears and face were turning red.  I started scratching his entire body, not hard, just to comfort him.  Because it was past bedtime, and we were worried about the reaction, we kept him up for about half an hour to make sure we had given him enough Benadryl to stop the reaction.  We did, and within 20 minutes, he was almost back to normal.  Poor little guy.

We have medication allergies as well.

Here is the last thought:  With all of our allergies, one of our doctors told me that the nut allergy is actually a triangle allergy.  Nuts, legumes, and shellfish are the three angles of the triangle.  Usually, if an individual is severely allergic to one end of the triangle, they are also allergic to the other ends of it, just maybe not as severely.  Our oldest has started manifesting allergy to peas, and green beans but not dried beans, like pintos or other beans.  We just avoid shellfish altogether because I am a chicken, epi-pen or not.  The baby hasn't been willing to eat peas either.  I think he knows his body doesn't like them.

In our house, we don't force our children to eat anything....even as little people.  I recognize that even though they may not be able to communicate it with me, they know their body and they recognize that they do not feel right when they eat certain things.  I err on the side of caution.  I also have a friend whose little one is allergic to eggs.  She throws up whenever she eats them, and it isn't just because she doesn't like them.  She does like them, which makes the allergy more difficult :-)

Anyway, if you want to have any allergy conversations, let me know.  Leave a comment with your email and we can do it personally instead of on the blog.  Allergies and little people are not fun.  They aren't so great for us big people either!

PS  Enjoy Conference!!!  It is almost time :-)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Five for Friday--emotional edition

This has been a super emotional week for me.  I have been totally ecstatic and completely sad.  It is so very strange to be on both emotional ends of life.  Just as a side note, I am typically very even keeled.  I do not have big mood swings and I keep things under wraps pretty well (more than I should, the Lord is helping me to learn).  So here are the highlights:

1.  My first guest post aired this week on Chocolate on my Cranium!!  It was so exciting for me!!  Not that I think everyone should read what I blog about, but it was really nice and uplifting to publish something well read and have positive feedback--not to mention all the extra traffic my blog received!  Woohoo!!  I can't wait to do it again sometime or just keep linking in so more great readers like you come back to check out what's going on here @ Building Eternity.  I like people!  What can I say??

2.   My big boys have needed significant help this week.  We have been figuring out plans for coming home from college, buying plane tickets, fixing tax issues, applying for college classes (for our missionary), setting up housing, applying for jobs and coordinating all of those things and all of those people, and also taking extra exams for high school entrance, and playing catch up in the homeschooling department because of weeks of sickness and extra people at home.  Whew!  There has just been a.lot.to.do.

3.  My husband and I have been considering a major change in our lives.  As I have pondered the situation and the decision before us, I have had some very stark emotional realizations.  The changes are not wise financially or temporally.  They will cause a lot of stress.  But I have wanted to make the changes because I am sad.  Now, I know I have this same relationship with food when I am sad, but I had no idea I would be willing to make other major changes because I was unhappy.  (Not depressed, mind you, just not super happy.)  So this entire week, I have been seriously pondering, praying, crying, feeling my emotions that I have been stuffing for weeks, and weeks, and weeks.  Wow!  I had no idea that stuff was in there.  Now that I have exhausted those emotions and figured out where I really am emotionally and why I am there, I am ready to move on.  I am going to make some small changes that can be managed financially and temporally.  I am finally going to paint the 'man cave.'  Yes!  Starting today :-)  Wait for the photos.

My awesome new curtains in the man cave
And new light sconces!!!  Instead of these:

4.  My baby has really started talking!!!  This week he started saying: 'bubbles,' 'Blue's Clues,' 'eggs,' and yelling for his Dad and asking for hugs.  He holds his arms out and says, 'a hug?'.  It is so cute!!

5.  And finally, I am so very grateful this weekend is General Conference, where I have the opportunity to listen to the prophets speak and have my sad soul uplifted and rejuvenated. Then I can kick myself back into gear and continue the work of the kingdom instead of being weary in well-doing.  Time to pull it together :-)  The words of the prophets are the exact thing to do it!!  If you want to listen too, you can join us HERE!!

Have a great weekend!  I know I will :-)


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Teaching Children Morality

Check out my guest post today over at Chocolate on my Cranium
Thank you so much to Cocoa for allowing me to participate.  Enjoy the rest of her series on building a home :-)