Monday, July 29, 2013

Mom and Dad--simple enough for a two-year-old.

My little two-year-old loves Blue's Clues.  If you don't know what that is, just google it.  It is no longer on the air, so we rent the videos from the library so he can watch them.  (As a side note, I am extremely picky about what my children watch on TV...some people think I am crazy and that is OK.  I only let them watch shows that I think are educational in some way.  I love the ones that are educational and entertaining, and Blue's Clues is certainly that.  Teaching my little ones to think is highest on my list, so shows that especially teach logic and reasoning are my very favorite.)

Blue's Clues has several characters on their show.  Two are Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper.  As you can see, they literally are the salt and pepper shakers in the kitchen, who talk, of course, and have two children, Paprika and Cinnamon (they are also shakers).  Spike Spike has been watching Blue's Clues for about four months now.  He is familiar with the show and the characters and the format.  Yesterday, while he was watching the rented Blue's Clues video for probably the 20th time, he pointed to Mrs. Pepper (which he can say) and he said, "Mom."
I was impressed.  I was more impressed when we were standing in the doorway to the chapel as sacrament meeting was ending and a man with unkempt hair, jeans, tennis shoes and a T-shirt, walked in the front door and removed his hat.  My little two-year-old pointed to him and said, "Dad."  Now, he did not confuse this man for his dad.  He was simply stating, he is a dad.  I'm sure it was because he is a man.  But I realized that in the two hours I had spent with my little man, he knew that women are mothers, or Mom, and men are fathers, or Dad.  A Mom and a Dad, and each child deserves both, because mothers and fathers are different in how they view children and the unique gifts each of them bring to the table of child-rearing and family.

When we debate in the public square and the courts the merits of same-sex 'marriage' and family status, we are debating the merits in terms of adults.  Most of the time, we are neglecting the voices of the children, who have no one to speak for them, except adults.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.  The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Children have a RIGHT to be reared by a mother and a father, both, not one, not two mothers, not two fathers.  Two parents of same gender is not the issue, it is two parents of opposite gender.  Children, each and every child, are ENTITLED to a mother AND a father.  Both.  Period.

Now, we all know that is not possible in each and every situation.  That may be the reality, but that is not how God intended it to be.  Why do you think it takes one of each, a man and a woman to actually bring a child into the world.  Before our advances in modern technology, it wasn't possible for a woman to conceive without ever being with a man.  There was a stigma against mothers who had children out of wedlock.  Regardless of the changes in our modern society, it was always intended that a child would have a mother and a father, even if during their life times that may change due to death, illness, war, etc...

I was deeply moved recently by this video.  Professor Lopez  I tried to embed the video here, but I can't seem to find the right title for the video to upload it.  Watch it.  It will only take you 8 minutes.  Professor Lopez was raised by a lesbian couple.  He aspired to be a homosexual (his own words).  Then he fell in love with a woman, and had a child.  Now his perspective has changed.  He believes children have a right to a mother and a father.  I really appreciated his comments and his willingness to share experiences deeply personal to him.

We must consider the needs of the children in our discussions of what adults want.  We need to build our society around what is best for children and strive to reach for the ideal for each and every child, knowing that we will fall short.  The more we strive for the ideal, however, the more children will have their rights available.  The more we think about the rights of the children and as adults, stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves, the healthier and happier our society will be. 

Its simple enough that even a two-year-old understands.  Happy Monday.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Family First Friday Post #2--Spike, Spike turns two!

Spike Spike turned two on Tuesday!!  I cannot believe he is two already.  On Monday, I was reviewing how difficult his pregnancy, birth, and first year were for me.  I am glad that is behind me.  I love this little two-year old.  He is the most difficult child to date.  Each of the other children's 'most difficult quality' he has---all in one person!

Slim--anaphylactic nut allergy---which runs in a triangle and means you are probably also allergic to shellfish and legumes on some level.  Spike Spike has this allergy along with a host of others, some known, some unknown.

Spanky---biting.  Although Spike Spike does not bite, he does throw things at you from close range (and he has an arm), hit you (in the face or anywhere else), and head butt with force.  He can be a brute.

Scuff--not sleeping.  Scuff is allergic to corn, corn meal, corn starch, corn flour, corn oil, corn syrup, etc...  Whenever he had something with corn, he would not sleep.  That was for the first two years.  Then his allergic reaction changed.  Instead of not sleeping, his behavior became unruly.  He would hit, scream, yell, bite, kick, be disobedient, unable/unwilling to reason, argumentative---it was ugly.  Spike, Spike does not sleep when he eats something he is allergic to.  We went to Tammy's potluck on Saturday and that little boy did not go to sleep until after 1 a.m that morning.  That was after I gave him Benadryl at midnight.  I am still not sure what he ate that did that.  It was awful.

Sport--picky, picky, picky.  Spike Spike is so finicky!!  He has to have THIS cup (the green one).  It cannot be wet or even have condensation on the outside.  If he is teething, he will not eat.  He picks his own clothes and will not wear things he doesn't like.  (This changes from day to day.)  The only consistent article of clothing he will wear, dirty or clean, is his 'Uperman shirt'.  If he ate something yesterday, he probably won't eat it today.
Speedy--super emotional.  Spike Spike also reads social cues.  That should be a good thing right?  Well, Spike Spike gets his feelings hurt when he recognizes that you are not happy with him and then, there is little you can do to console him.  The other night, he would not rest.  At 2 a.m., we are laying in my bed.  I am trying to get him to go back to sleep.  "Milk?......"    "Milk?......."   "Milk?........"   " Milk?........."  Frustrated, after many sleepless nights, I finally said, "FINE! We'll get your milk," and scooped him up rather abruptly.  At this point he started crying, head in hands and all.  I headed down the stairs, and into the kitchen.  I got the GREEN cup and filled it with milk, dried it off, and handed it to him.  He threw it onto the floor and started really screaming.  Not exactly a conducive situation to have a non-emotional and reasonable dialogue with a two-year-old.  It took more time to control my temper, soften my voice and smooth his feelings than it did for him to actually fall back asleep in his own bed.  SHEESH!

Sun---drama.  See the above example.  That's all I am going to say.

Shorty--blood sugar issues.  Shorty will just get busy and not eat because he is playing or doesn't like what we are eating.  Then he is super emotional and obnoxious because his blood sugar is too low.  I had to teach him that when he chose not to feed himself, it was like asking his car to work without putting gas into it.  He needed food.  So when he was emotional and obnoxious, instead of disciplining him, I would have him recount what he had eaten.  He always needed food.  Spike Spike is like that.  He just won't eat if he doesn't like it or has another agenda (or is teething).  I usually have to sit and feed him or assign someone else to do it to ensure he is eating enough.

Smiley---attitude.  I am the baby.  I am the king.  My way or the highway!  Serious, serious attitude issues in our littlest boy.

There he is, in a nutshell.  On the positive end, he is bright!  Wow!  And fun!  He has the best faces I have ever seen in a little person.  You can read his thoughts by the expressions on his face (sometimes that is not good, other times it is hilarious!).  He says 'please' and 'thank you' appropriately.  He loves books!  And he loves Jesus.  Mom kisses make every booboo better.  His favorite song is Book of Mormon Stories, which he chooses to sing every Family Home Evening.  His favorite show is Blue's Clues which we have to rent from the library.  His allergies---food, pollen, grasses---are horrible and he already has asthma issues.  But he has that great Norwegian, stand-up, blonde, curly hair and bright blue eyes.  He gets completely frustrated when we do not understand what he needs/wants, but he has gotten much better as his language skills have improved.  His vocabulary has exploded in the last four months.

Now it is time for him to meet his missionary brother.  Spike Spike was born just 10 days before Spanky entered the MTC and the day before his father was set-apart as the Bishop for the second time.  Two very busy years!!

We love you Spike Spike!!  Happy Two Year Mark!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Winding down and Rev-ving up

Here we are, down to the wire for Tammy.  We finished her party on Saturday night.  It was so very cute.  She had brown table cloths with cut-out shapes of Wisconsin with her address in them for her guests to take.  For the center pieces, she had chalk board painted small frames that could stand independently and written favorite scriptures and sayings on them.  Yesterday she finished her talks in both wards.  Today is washing day and packing day and setting apart day.  Tomorrow she flies away.  Wednesday is MTC day.

I have loved having her home.  We have really enjoyed our time together and getting things ready for her to serve.  I know you will be amazing Tammy!!  You can do it!  We even got her missionary plaque on the wall.  Her plaque looks like this (since my camera is dead, I don't have a photo of hers....):
She used this photo:
Isn't she beautiful??

We purchase our plaques from:
Awards by Navajo (ABN)
2364 Fletcher Parkway
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 465-2881

My friend Melinda's family runs the business.  They do amazing should check them out.

We are also revving up for Spanky's return:  Our Orlando, Florida missionary comes home in a week!!  It will fun to have him home and to hear all of his stories and help him get ready to reintegrate into life and school.  He will only be home for a month, but that is OK with us!!!

Two plaques go up (we just put up Scuff's plaque this weekend too), and one comes down!!  Woohoo!!  It really makes life busy here, but I love the changing of the guard because it means that we are learning and growing.  Like I said, there is never a dull moment!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


My beautiful daughter is away at Girls' Camp this week!  (In the United States, our Young Women 12-18 attend a week of girls' camp, where they learn outdoor skills, build unity and friendship and increase their testimonies of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  For me, I gained most of my testimony from my experiences at girls' camp.  I LOVE IT!! --even as an adult!  But this year, she is there without me...that is a post for another day.)  The point is, that since she is gone, I can share this story.

One of my sons was having difficulty in his relationship with his sister.  She was trying to play and he was not in the mood.  He got hurt and snapped at her, verbally, and hard.  It really hurt her feelings. 

In talking to him about it and how he should have responded, he told me that he didn't have to be nice, it wasn't in his job description.  You can imagine how well that comment went over with me as his mother.  Being that he holds the Priesthood, I called him on it immediately.

"Wrong!  Do you hold the Priesthood?"
"Then you represent the Savior, especially in your interactions with others.  Being kind is in your job description.  Man-up, and do your job!"

He was not very happy, but the message was received.

Earlier in the week, I had an experience where I was particularly emotional, which is unusual for me.  As I was relating the experience to my sweetheart, I said, "I think that is why I have a difficult time with touchy-feely women.  I think of it as a weakness.  I am one, it drives me crazy, and I do not like that characteristic about myself.  Real- women should just man-up."  Real women should husband thought that comment was really funny.

Not a particularly glowing report of myself.  A dear friend reminded me that the part I do not like about myself, being emotional and particularly sensitive of negative comments, looks, etc.. is exactly what makes me who I am: compassionate and cognizant of others feelings and emotions.  If I wasn't that way myself, I wouldn't be able to be as nurturing as I am.  Her comments helped me to frame my character in a different light.  I still do not yet embrace the idea, as evidenced by my previous comment, but I am working on it.  I recognize the truth in her words.  Now I have to learn to apply the information and change my attitude.  Repentance, anyone?!

That concept, that things we don't like in other people are sometimes reflective of our own personalities is actually a concept in psychology.  It is called Projection....where we project some of our flaws onto others.  So I am not really projecting, because that also implies that it is really not a part of the other person's character.  But I do recognize a characteristic in others, complain about it and see it as a weakness, when in reality, it is a part, a large part, I might add, of who I am.  Now I need to recognize it for the strength it can be.

What parts of your personality do you not like and want to change?  What are you doing about changing it?   Do you blame others for that part of you?  Is it really a strength in disguise?

I think I should learn to embrace that part of my woman-hood and not feel the need to Man-up!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Missionary Prep

Our sweet Tammy girl is only about a week away from departing for the Missionary Training Center!!  We have spent the last month getting her ready to go!  We are down to the wire and our list is manageable.  Yea!!

Here is a photo of dear friends who took us to lunch at a build your own bowl Mongolian grill.  It was so fun!  You pile all your food into a bowl and whatever you can fit in the bowl is fair game.  Then you wait in line and watch the cook grill it for you.  They then put it into another bowl and hand it back to you.  We had a great time.

Yesterday we finished off Tammy's dental work.  She was such a trooper!  She had to have some deep cleaning done.  Usually they do one half of your mouth at one appointment and then schedule another appointment to do the other half.  Because her time is so short, she did it all in one appointment.   Her entire mouth and tongue were numb.  Now her jaw is sore and her gums are tender.  She is such a brave woman---25 shots in her mouth!!  Yuck!

This next Saturday we'll have her 'Tammy is going on a Mission' party.  Next Sunday she will speak in both wards.  Then sometime Sunday or Monday she'll be set-apart as a missionary and Tuesday she'll take off and enter the MTC on Wednesday.

Here are my notes to remember Tams:
  • You are stronger than you think.  (from Pooh Bear's Grand Adventure)
  • You were saved for this day and time....these are you days!
  • You have an amazing testimony, born of much struggle and sacrifice.  You know the Lord watches over you and is there for you.  He will be right by your side through this new journey.
  • Trust your heart and follow the Spirit.  You have a great heart and you genuinely love and care for people.  Some of them will let you down, but most of them will rise to the occasion.  
  • When they let you down, turn to the Lord.  He will comfort you and He will always be there.  You can trust that.
  • Study, study, study....many new insights and inspiration will come to you as you study the scriptures and words of the prophets.
  • Pray, pray, already know why to do that.  Remember when you feel alone or frustrated or disappointed, we are praying for you!
  • Communicate verbally to express your needs to your companion and other missionaries and your mission president.  This will be a new experience for you.  Be honest in your feelings and your needs and expressing those to others.  This will probably be one of the most difficult things you do.
  • Go forth with faith.  You will make some mistakes, simply because you do not know how to do it all yet.  You will have to learn and mistakes will be made as you learn.  Remember, that's what a permit is for. :-)
  • Remember our favorite girlie movie, Pride and Prejudice....sometimes things are not as we think.
  • When you are tempted to act in frustration or anger, remember you represent the Lord Jesus Christ.  You bear His name.  What would He do and how would He handle it?
  • Most of are loved and you can do this!!
We will see you in 18 months!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dear, sweet Family I met at the Dentist's Office:

I didn't take the opportunity to speak with you very much yesterday at the dentist's office but I observed a few things about your family and if I had the opportunity to speak with you again, there are some things I know that you should know.

First, I could tell that you love your husband, he loves you, and the both of you dearly love the children and they feel that love.  That love that you have for one another is natural and beautiful and sacred, and it comes because you treat each other in Christ-like ways.  It is born out of sacrifice, sacrifice of self in order for the benefit and welfare of the others.  It also comes from obedience, obedience to eternal laws, laws that govern the heart as well as behavior.  Most of those principles can be found in this document:  The Family, A Proclamation to the World.

I am sure there are many principles in that document that may be new to you.  Ponder about them, think on them and pray to know if they are true.  God, our Heavenly Father loves you and your husband and your children.  You are all His children also.  As much as you and your sweet husband love your children, God loves us that much more.  He desires each of us to be eternally happy and to have all of the blessings that would bring that happiness to us.  But He also knows that to just give them to us without effort on our part would not be what will teach us the most and help us to change and become like Him. We must obey His laws to receive those blessings. (See here for scriptural references that back up this truth.)

Though many churches teach some of these principles, Jesus Christ set up His church that teaches all of these principles.  It is the same church He organized when He was on the earth.  He gave those prophets power and authority, His power and authority to do those things that He would do, so that all of us would know what God expects of us.  When the apostles who lived with the Savior all died, that authority was lost.  But it has been restored in our day, by the Savior, through those ancient apostles.  (You can read more about that by clicking this LINK.)  

It all began when a young boy, Joseph Smith, at the age of 14 was wondering which church he should join.  He knew God loved him and he knew God would have a specific church.  He just was unsure which one it was, so he asked God through prayer which was His church.  (You can learn more about him here and read his personal testimony and experience here.)

In the Joseph Smith History, linked above, verse 34 reads:
34 He said there was a abook deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the bfulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;

The book to which he is referring today is commonly known as The Book of Mormon, and it does contain the fulness of the everlasting gospel.  I have read this book many times.  I love it.  Through its study, my family comes closer to Jesus Christ.  I know the book testifies of Him and witnesses of His gospel and His love for each of us.  The principles taught in this book, through the stories and histories of its people, are the same principles taught in the Bible.  Together, these two books testify of Jesus Christ and the principles, or laws that if we chose to live by will bring us the peace and the happiness God intends for each of us to have.   (You can read more about the Book of Mormon and its relationship to the Bible and Jesus Christ here.)  

This is a lot to take in.  Think on some of those things.  Pray about them.  Read the book.  Then ask God if these things are true.  These things have changed my life and these principles guide my family and bring us closer to each other and Jesus Christ.  I know they will do the same for you.  I wish you many blessings as you read these things and try them out for yourself!!  If you have any questions, I would love to talk to you and I will make sure you get a free copy of the Book of Mormon, if you want one.  You can email me at carin[dot]buildingeternity[at]gmail[dot]com.

You have a beautiful family!

If you would like to know more, look for these people:
Look for the name tag.  They can answer your questions too :-)!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Catch the Wave
Last week, we watched the Missionary Broadcast.  The enthusiasm for the progression of the work was evident in the speakers and the emphasis on what members can do to help further the work along.  That Sunday we also had stake conference where the mission president over our area came and spoke to us.  He also bubbled with enthusiasm for spreading the gospel and missionary work.

Later that week, we had the two sets of sisters in our area over for dinner, on two different evenings.  Two of the four sister missionaries recently left the MTC to enter the mission field.  They are both very excited about the work.

Now for my confessions.  I usually struggle with missionary work.  I feel like I share and share and share the gospel or aspects of it in my life.  I am what you would call a 'seed flinger'.  I fling seeds of the gospel truth far and wide, but I rarely am around to see if any grow or even take root.  Since I tend to want to see the growth in order to measure how well I have done, I often feel like I am not doing my part or doing it well enough because, other than the children in my family, I never seem to be able to see the fruit of my efforts.  (I really have to get over that!) 

As I spoke with one of the sister missionaries, I expressed my frustrations and I said, here is the issue and why I think we are struggling with the work.  She validated me and said that is exactly what Preach My Gospel says.  Basically, the idea is that if you are not applying the Atonement in your life so that you have felt the blessings of repentance and are feeling them, you do not have an essential part necessary for sharing the doctrines of the gospel because you are not experiencing them in your own life.  Read the story of Enos.  (It is really short and it will only take you about 5 minutes, even if you read slowly!)  The sequence of his story is that he thinks deeply on the words of his father (doctrines of the gospel).  They sink into his heart (Enos applies the principles).  He recognizes that he needs to change and repent (more application).  He prays to be forgiven (still application).  After significant spiritual and emotional effort (he prays all day and all night).  He receives forgiveness for his sins (revelation).  And after he has this amazing experience where he knows his life is right before God, then he seeks and prays for the welfare of his brothers and he wants all men (and women) to know and feel that they can be clean before God too (he wants to share it).  Feeling repentant and participating in the process properly is essential in testifying of the redeeming power of our Savior and bringing people to Christ.  When we have done that, we will also have a great love for others and our fellow men and we will want them to have that experience too.  (It goes without saying that this is a life-time effort, not a one time experience.)  As we continue to change and apply the Atonement, our love and willingness to serve will grow.

I have been a little hesitant to believe this wave of enthusiasm for the gospel can happen here.  I loved the stories shared by the ward mission leader in the missionary broadcast.  I have read many articles in the church magazines sharing the stories of the growth of the gospel in their wards and areas of the world.  I felt the Spirit testify of the truths of the stories they were sharing.  But I couldn't see it happening.  I struggled with these personal thoughts for a couple of weeks, but really didn't say anything to anyone, other than my discussion with the sister missionary.

Then two days ago, for my scripture study, I was directed to Alma 5. Here, Alma the Younger, is trying to persuade the people to repentance.  He reminds them of being subjects of King Noah and how the believers were delivered out of the hands of this wicked king.  Then they were in bondage to the Lamanites and once again, were not free.  They were heavily taxed.  But in time, the Lord delivers them out of this situation as well.  Alma pleads for the people to remember how good God has been to them by delivering them and their families from these situations:

 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, you that belong to this church, have you sufficiently retained in aremembrance the captivity of your fathers? Yea, and have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them? And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has bdelivered their souls from hell?

 Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word; yea, they were encircled about by the abands of death, and the bchains of hell, and an everlasting destruction did await them.

Then he calls them all to repentance and asks them to change their lives and their hearts.

As I pondered about these verses, I realized, Alma the Elder was the only priest who listened to the prophet Abinadi.  Abinadi's words, changed his heart.  Alma then taught Abinadi's words to any who would listen.  He ends up baptizing hundreds in the waters of Mormon.  Alma, through his teaching and the Spirit of the doctrines he taught, changes the hearts of these people.  It is their children and maybe some of them to whom Alma the Younger is speaking.  I realized I should not underestimate the power of the Spirit and the gospel to change the hearts of the people, any people.  I too, should , Catch the Wave, as Elder Nelson suggested this last General Conference.

Dear brothers and sisters, I add my voice to that of President Thomas S. Monson and others in praising those who have responded to a prophet’s call for more worthy missionaries. Now an unprecedented wave of enthusiasm for missionary work is sweeping the entire earth. Since President Monson’s historic announcement last October, thousands of elders, sisters, and couples have been called, and many more are preparing.1 Now we get questions like “What are you going to do with all these missionaries?” The answer is simple. They will do what missionaries have always done. They will preach the gospel! They will bless the children of Almighty God!....

Together, members and missionaries invite all to learn of God, of Jesus Christ, and of His gospel. Each inquiring individual should seek earnestly and pray fervently for the assurance that these things are true. The truth will be manifest by the power of the Holy Ghost.33

I thank God and His Son, Jesus Christ, for the Restoration and its power to propel a magnificent wave of truth and righteousness across the earth. May we catch this wave and fulfill the Lord’s command to take the gospel “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,”34 I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Are you Catching the Wave??!!