Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Today the rain is falling all around, finally.  We have had the driest winter I can remember.  The weather has been gorgeous, to say the least.  (Sorry to all you people who are in that cold, arctic ice winter.)  We have been having gorgeous sun and heat, which doesn't happen here.  It has been hard to pray for rain.  We all know we need it, but none of us really enjoy the gray, wet, winter days that go on and on and on 6 month's worth.

Today I am also taking down the Christmas tree.  Yes, I said that today on January 29th.  You didn't read it wrong and yes, I realize what day it is.  It is the day after Sport's 18th birthday.  His request was that the tree stay up until his birthday.  I tried to take it down yesterday, but got called out by my sweetheart, who said, "At least wait until his birthday is over, Carin."

The rain kind of mirrors my mood.  My political science husband just had to listen to the State of the Union address last night, and wanted my company.  I really cannot stand to listen to the man who is currently serving as our president.  Every time he speaks, this is what I hear, "Lies, lies, lies, and more lies."  I know, I know, some of you are thinking that it must be because I am a conservative Republican.  But the truth be told, I hate political parties.  I think they are evil.  I choose not to align myself with either party because I cannot completely embrace everything either party says.  So I choose to stay away from them all.

I think that is probably why I struggle with politics in general.  I like things to be honest, upfront.  I don't pretend and I don't 'play' political games, even in my ordinary everyday life.  It is hard for me to believe that others have ulterior motives because I really care about people and I really want them to be happy and I am not willing to lie, steal or cheat to get ahead.  Being ahead isn't important to me.  Being happy is important to me, and having others be happy and healthy is what matters and when I help other to be happy, I make the world a better place.

I find a lot of problems, personally, come from lies, especially lies to ourselves about our behaviors, thoughts, or intents.  I spend a lot of time evaluating my motives behind my behavior and actions and then adjusting them so they are more in line with the principles of the gospel.  It takes a lot of work.  Most often, I find that honesty with myself is what will truly bring my soul back into harmony with my beliefs.  When my beliefs, actions and words are all in harmony with each other, then is when I have peace and feel whole.

I also spend a lot of time listening to friends and helping them to bring their actions, thoughts, and words back into harmony with their beliefs.  The adversary would want us to change our beliefs to justify our behaviors.  But that is backward and will not bring peace or happiness.  Happiness comes when we change our behaviors or adjust our beliefs so they are in line with gospel truths.  Because the truth be told, sometimes, we believe the wrong things.

That is why God gives us prophets.  We can look to the prophets and live, in peace and harmony.  If we read something from the prophets that we do not believe, instead of throwing it away, we can just put it on the shelf.  It can be something we take down and look at every so often as we take time to ponder and come to a knowledge that what they have said is true.  You should try it sometime.

Truth can be known, like taste, touch, smell, sight.  It is a feeling deep within our soul.  For me, when I hear truth and am feeling it, I want to cry, my heart feels warm, and full.  This feeling is what we members of the Church call the Holy Ghost or the Spirit.  It doesn't feel like that for everyone.  But it is a spiritual sense and you can learn how it feels and how it works for you.  It is the gift Heavenly Father has given to us so we can know truth when we hear it.  Every person born into the world has is called the Light of Christ.  Some people refer to it as your conscience, that innate knowledge of right and wrong.  After we are baptized, we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the right to have the Spirit with you all the time, pending our worthiness.

Once you learn to recognize it, then you can measure the things you hear and see against the words of the prophets and that feeling inside.  Between those two points, you can draw the straight line and know the truth.  I love knowing that.  There are so many winds of opinion blowing and so many sources crying out for our attention and patronage, that it makes it so very challenging to know who to listen to and what is right.  But knowing the prophets speak for God and always have and then knowing how the Light of Christ, conscience, Gift of the Holy Ghost or the Spirit all work, we can know truth and bring our beliefs and actions into harmony with that truth and feel peace, knowing our lives our in line.

Back to our President.  He may believe the stuff he is spouting to our country.  He may honestly feel like he is doing what is best for our country and our people, which is why he is pushing his agenda so hard and so fast with so little appreciation for our governmental processes.  But internally, I do not believe his agenda is what is good or right for our country.
So there, now you have heard my political ranting.  And I have to go because my visiting teachers are on their way over and instead of picking up my house, taking down my tree, and showering, I've spent the morning blogging.  But you'll just have to decided for yourself if what I have said it true, or not.  Because you CAN know, if you are willing to put in the time, honestly evaluate your feelings, and measure your behaviors and thoughts against the words of the prophets. :-)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Sport!

I cannot believe our fourth child is now 18 years old!  I know it keeps happening and they just keep growing, but what all of that means is I am getting old!

Sport has some fabulous stories!

When we first moved here, Sport wasn't quite three.  A few months later, he had figured out the differences between boys and girls.  The 1st Counselor in the Bishopric had invited us over for dinner.  They still had 2 teenaged daughters at home.  We were all sitting around their table, getting ready to say the blessing for the dinner, when Sport piped up.  He went around the entire table, "Penis, no penis, penis, penis, penis, no penis, no penis, penis, penis...."etc.  It was so embarrassing.  Drew and I and the other parents were all trying, without much success, to stifle our laughter.  The girls were mortified, and of course, our boys, who were all of 8, 6& 1/2, 4&  1/2, 3, and brand new, thought it was just hilarious.  To this day, we still laugh about that dinner appointment.

Sport has always had a very unique and specific taste in attire.  My personal favorite outfit was this one:
In my mind, it is always combined with this one:
His favorite shirt was the batman one.  We could hardly ever get him out of it.  And his favorite shorts were the ones he is wearing in the photo.  That old photo doesn't really do justice to the colors, but his shirt is black and purple, his shorts turquoise and pink, then the boots just kill me.  He loved to have his blanket tied around his neck like a cape and pretend he was a super hero.  That poor blanket.  My mother made it.  It was patch work on the top and had flannel Porky Pigs on the back.  The flannel shredded and had to be replaced.  I looked everywhere for the Porky Pig material but could not find it.  Sport would not let me replace it with anything until I convinced him that one of the materials I had was the pattern of dinosaur footprints.  That was the only one good enough for his blanket.  He loved dinosaurs!

That boy could tell you the name of every dinosaur, at three.  Once, on vacation at Grandma's house, he drew a giant T-rex, in chalk on the driveway, eating our family members and then showed them going through the digestive tract all the way to the end.  It was so funny to watch him explain his drawing to his Grandfather, who got such a kick out of his ability to understand what happens to things when we eat them and to understand that if the T-rex ate us, that is what would happen.  To this day we still have his giant tub of plastic dinos.

He was my pickiest person, until we had Spike.  Sport never would take a bottle, ever.  I had to pray every night that I would make enough milk for that baby.  I have tried with other babies and it has never worked.  They have been willing to take a bottle and I didn't ever produce enough milk for them.

Today he is still extremely particular.  His clothes have to fit just right.  His art tools have to be just right.  His art has to be just right.  And he will only eat certain things.

For all of his peculiarity, he is an amazing young man.  He loves his Father in Heaven.  He knows the truth.  He lives the truth.  He loves the truth.  He is kind, but still needs to learn to become nurturing.  He loves to play the piano and composes things regularly.  And his timing is always spot on, which makes his music that much better.

I, personally, LOVE his music tastes.  Sport comes home with the most amazing music and it fills my soul.  He has been a huge blessing in our lives, and mine in particular.  When I was so overwhelmed with the stresses of young motherhood and found out I was pregnant, yet again, with three little boys who were 4, 2 & 1/2, and under 1.....I prayed and prayed, and told my Father in Heaven if He was serious about sending this baby, I could not handle another baby who had health problems, like the first two, or severe allergies like all three of them did.  I wanted a baby who made me laugh, who slept, and lightened the load I was feeling.  He sent me Sport, who was definitely an answer to that prayer.  He has kept me laughing ever since.  His one-liners are amazing and hilarious!

Happy Birthday Sport!  We love you!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Silly Children

I decided it had been a while since I had down-loaded the photos off of my phone.  I remembered some, but also found some random ones the children obviously took.  I thought they were kind of funny.  So here they are to share.

The shirt Spike is wearing is a 6-9 month these are kind of old 2 years old.  I also found these:

Same shirt :-)
And everyone needs a random shot of the toilet, right?
Silly children.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Family First Friday #4

Today I was made aware of the death of one of my children's classmates.  One of our little fourth graders passed away on Monday from a long battle with cancer.  Our school is honoring him today.  I do not know the family personally, but as a parent who has had a sick child and tinkered at the edge of death, my heart goes out to them.  I pray that their hearts will be healed in time and they will be able to appreciate the beautiful life that was a part of theirs, even if just for a short time.

Take time today to love those near you.  We just really never know how long their time in mortality will last.  We assume they will be here tomorrow.  But we never really know.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Aligned Against the Cosmos

Have you ever had one of those Sundays where the cosmos seems to conspire against you?  Four days ago was like that for me.

As the 2nd Counselor in my ward's primary organization, I didn't have any specific responsibilities this month.  Because we were down two teachers, it was decided that I would substitute for one of our missing teachers.  Previously we had been surviving by combining two classes, but it was quickly becoming apparent that strategy was going to burn out our teacher.  I was going to be able to step in and relieve a little of the stress as we figured out what to do.

I had read my lesson once or twice, but because of our crazy week, I hadn't really sat down and studied it.  No big deal---we have late church now, so I'd have Sunday morning to pull it together.

Saturday evening, our teacher called.  He was sick.  Looks like I would have the combo class.  Our teacher's been doing this for two weeks.  I could do this for him.

Sunday morning one drama erupted into another and though most of us were dressed two hours before church, I still had not had time to pull the lesson together.  As I sat in the living room (not a good choice, I understand, but when only one parent is home and drama is running high, it is sometimes necessary) trying to read my lesson, I was continually interrupted by the ever increasing drama.

My interruptions were interrupted by a phone call.  Our missionaries needed a ride for their investigators.  They had called several people but still didn't have help.  Now, remember, I live within walking distance from the building, so it is like already being at church, then leaving to pick them up and going back to the building.  They had four people to pick up.  My car could only manage three.  So they were going to have to call someone else anyway.

I arrived at the building 45 minutes early to try and set up my classroom before church.  There were no chairs in the classroom.  Before I could hunt them down, I finished off a visual aid, threw a table cloth on the table and noticed that if I didn't leave right away, I would be late for my meeting with the missionaries.  So I left.

When I got there, our people came out and the missionaries introduced us an mentioned that I would be taking only two of the investigators because they had someone else who also needed a ride.  (Thanks for asking......)   I managed to rearrange the carpool so the other car could pick up the remaining person (because remember during all of this, my children are getting themselves to church).

We arrived at church, got the investigators settled and I went off to find chairs for my classroom and two pictures from the library since I had printed my lesson off the net.  I managed to sit down with my family just as my husband stood up to conduct the meeting.

Sacrament meeting wasn't too eventful except for the family who sat behind us.  Their mother was home sick and their father was one of the speakers.  During his talk, we had quite a bit of interaction between benches and had to rearrange seating a number of times.  Their three-year-old was struggling with their 12-year-old and I invited him to sit with me and he did.  That didn't make my two-year-old very happy.  As one adult across three benches of children, I was grateful when their father finished speaking and resumed sitting with his family.

When it was time to head to Primary, I needed to find the investigators to direct them to where they needed to go and change my baby's diaper before nursery.  Needless to say----all the children beat me to class and were impatiently waiting when I arrived.  As a bonus, when I was walking into the classroom, the Primary President caught me, "I just wanted you to have a head's up.  The chorister called this morning and she isn't coming.  I need you to take care of singing time (20 minutes during the third hour)."

"You've got to be kidding!" I thought.  I'm sure you could read those words on my face.  Luckily the pianist came to my aid, "Do you want me to pull something out of the closet?"

"Ya----anything where the kids pick something.  We'll figure out what they are singing later."

The class went well until about half way through when one of my missing students showed up.  He did not want to be there, thought it was boring, and really just wanted attention from the girls----so there was a lot of flirting and disruption.

I made it through class and jumped right into singing time.  The pianist had put together a tree with leaves.  Whenever a student picked one, I just said whatever song came to my head.  Yea for the pianist!!  She just went with it and it worked.

Then there was a part of sharing time I needed to help out with because some of the other people didn't show up, so there was more improvising there, and of course, returning the investigators to their homes.

By the time I arrived home I was completely DONE managing children.  I went to my room, laid on my bed and just tried to cry.  My two-year-old destroyed a couple of things in my bedroom and I didn't even care.  I think we didn't even get dinner finished and on the table until 7 (we usually do that about 5:30).

When my husband arrived home and found my lying on our bed in the dark, he asked how my day was.  "Horrible!"

I related the entire story, to which my husband wisely replied, "Aren't you so glad that you are capable of that?"  I was glad, even if I was exhausted.

And the truth be told, it wasn't horrible.  Heavenly Father gave me a few gemstones for the ride.  During our singing time, the five-year-old investigator was trying so hard to sing the songs, she was bouncing.  Our primary teacher was singing in her ear.  She had never heard the song before but was so touched by what she felt that she couldn't sit still.  I was so moved that in the middle of the chorus of Nephi's Courage, I just started crying, but kept waving my arm.  I'd regain my composure, catch a glimpse of her in my peripheral vision and choke up again.  It probably didn't help that Nephi's Courage is one of my favorite songs.

Then on the way home, the 18-year-old investigator said she really appreciated them (the YW presidency) teaching her that "women are suppose to be emotional.  The [world and] people around me just say 'stop being so emotional. But that is a part of who I am." 

I could tell that was new information for her and it solidified something she knew internally but had zero validation for.

Was my effort and headache worth it?  If just for those two girls and what they leaned and felt that day---the Lord would say, "I'm sorry that was hard for you---but just look at what it did for them.  Don't you think it was worth it?"

Each of us has a part to play.  Each of our roles will be difficult for us, because each of our paths is designed by our loving Father in Heaven who has our eternal growth and development in His agenda.  That growth is hard and usually painful, but it is worth it.  I'm glad this Sunday is stake conference!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Family First Friday #3--Illness. (This is how we felt).
Have you ever considered illness to be a blessing?  I usually don't either.  But this week, illness has blessed our family.  Our schedule was crazy!

Monday:  Basketball practice (2), 5:50 -6:50 and 7-8:30.
Tuesday:  Basketball game 5-7; Board Meeting 7-8:30
Wednesday: Class 4:15-5:30; Basketball game 5-7; typical mutual stuff 6:45-8:30;
                           Priesthood Preview 6:30-7:30, Basketball practice 8-9.
Thursday:  Concert 5-8
Friday:  Family Home Evening.

Sickness in our family this week eliminated all the activities with a line through them.  It made our week of absolute craziness manageable.  It was a gift.

We are feeling a little better.  Most of us are well.  We have just two I think who didn't get sick.  We'll cross our fingers that they won't.

About a week or so ago, Chocolate on my Cranium (I tried to link to the actual post, but it isn't working!) posted about being sick and how it all functions at her house.  At our house, it is kind of similar.  Sick people are pampered.  They sleep on the couch in their pajamas where they can watch TV and just chill or read a book.  They eat sick food, which consists of crackers, white bread, Sprite, and sometimes homemade chicken noodle soup (carried over from our poor college days where I just boiled some spaghetti noodles in chicken broth---this is now the preferred chicken noodle soup at our house.  If I actually put vegetables and chicken in it, most of the children will not eat it.  So strange!)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One Stinky Merit Badge!

THIS one!
I took Sport to the scouting office yesterday to get his Eagle Scout paperwork finished off so he can turn it in since his 18th birthday is two weeks away.  Sport finished his project in December.  All of his merit badges were finished.  His dad has been on him about finishing up the paperwork but it was Christmas and his brothers were home and Grandma and Grandpa were here.  Paperwork can wait, right??

Well, not apparently for Sport.  Or at least he should have heeded that little voice, or the big booming one from his father.  But Sport has just a little stubborn streak that came back yesterday to bite him and bite him hard.

As we were printing off his awards that the scouting office has records of, the guy behind the desk says, rather nonchalantly, "And you know that as of January 1st, 2014 the cooking merit badge is now required, right?"

I thought he was kidding.  Seriously--the COOKING merit badge??

He was not.  Then he started printing out the new requirements for the newly required merit badge.  Sport and I just looked at each other.   Knowing my son and how close he has been to exploding lately with the requirements of other people, I looked at him and said, "Take deep breaths, Sport.  In and out all the way down to your toes."  It didn't help that yesterday he also had to appear before the school board to appeal to their mercy and allow him to take 12 credit hours this semester as a concurrently enrolled student instead of the 11 unit cap.

When we got to the car, he exploded, just a little.  It was a stressful day.

I remember being where he is.  I was almost finished with my Young Womanhood Recognition award.  But I was also a Senior and I didn't care about it or want to finish it.  My parents didn't care and didn't have any idea I was even working on it.  My adviser for Young Women was all over my case about finishing it.  She drove me crazy.  Batty.  I finally finished it just to get her off my back.  That was the only reason I finished it.

Now, as an adult, if I saw her, I would run up and hug her and tell her how grateful I was that she pushed me.  I was not grateful at the time.  In fact, with my attitude, I was extremely annoyed.  But today I am so very grateful I finished it.  It means more to me as an adult than it ever did as a teenager.  Hopefully Sport will feel that way a few years.  Certainly not in the next two weeks as we push to get it all done and turned in.  Poor guy.  I feel so bad for him.

On the positive side of things, the board approved his credit hours.  Guess he really will graduate with his AA in the Spring.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Patience with those who don't know it all yet.

The basketball season is in full swing here at our house.  We have two boys playing community ball and one playing school ball.  Four games a week, minimum.  This weekend Shorty had a fifth grade tournament.  It was very exciting.  His team actually won the tournament!  I have photos, but they are on my phone, so I don't have them right now to post.

Because of the season, we are needing to move Family Home Evening to a different night during the week.  With one car, we are also having to make a lot of other adjustments.  I love basketball season!  The adjustments are kind of driving me crazy.  But we do have some other fun perks.

At the tournament last weekend, one of the grandmas sat down by me on the front row.  We were watching the game before ours.  As one team was trying to use the clock to their advantage, they rolled the ball across the floor from the baseline toward their basket.  His teammate didn't pick it up until it crossed the half court line.

Two families behind us were talking:
"Dad, why did he do that?" (roll the ball across the floor)
"Well, he was probably worried that he wouldn't catch it, so he rolled it."

I don't remember what other reason was given, but the other family's father said, "No actually it has to do with the clock."

For those of you who do not know basketball, the clock doesn't start until someone in bounds touches the ball.  So he rolled the ball across the floor to save time on the clock so they had more time to score.  But while the ball is rolling across the floor, the time they have to pass the ball in without turning it over is still ticking.  (They get five seconds.)  The team who rolled the ball wasn't able to capitalize on their strategy.  In other words, they didn't score any more points.

As the families in the crowd left the stands, the grandmother and I moved into their spots.  She said to me, "Can you believe that??!!  Two grown men not knowing the game enough to know what is going on??!!"  She was appalled!   It was pretty funny.

But here is how that situation applies to life:

Often, we are at different levels in our understanding of something we are trying to participate in.  We are there.  We show up.  We do what we think is expected of us.  This father was attending his son's basketball game.  He brought his daughter to support her brother.  But basketball was obviously not his game or a language he was comfortable speaking.  But he was there, making an effort to participate.

The grandmother was irritated and frustrated, dumb-founded is a better word, that he would be there and not know enough or have had enough experience to know what he was watching or to understand it.  Luckily, she was kind and did not say those things to him directly.  However, her frustration level would probably have risen if she had been asked to work with him teaching basketball to children, especially if he was in charge and she was his assistant or counselor.  In life, and in the work place, the majority of the time, position favors the experienced and knowledgeable.  At church, it often doesn't.

Contrary to worldly knowledge, the Lord often allows those lacking in knowledge and experience to learn from their experience.  He asks us to do things we are not familiar with and to work in areas that require our growth and development.  If those of us in the supporting staff do not have an attitude of service and learning, it can create quite a nasty environment for trying to do the Lord's work. 

We all need to be kind.  We need to be patient.  Periodically, people we work with, are going to make mistakes because of their lack of experience or knowledge.  Sometimes their mistakes will affect us or our children directly and negatively.  In these instances, our hurt and anger will not help the situation.  But if we seek the Spirit and share our hurt and sorrow with our Father in Heaven, He will guide us as to what our part in the interaction needs to be.

I am not pretending that I always handle things well, far from it, just ask my family.  But I have had two such instances where after significant prayer and thought, I think I handled things properly, eventually.  The first, you have already read about (here).  The second was where a church leader said something about my husband, that was not true, to my children and in front of other youth in the stake.  I was very angry.  The information really confused my son, enough so that he sought other counsel from other priesthood leaders.  For a long time, I could not even talk to the individual.  I quit giving any kind of information about anything I thought or felt to the person or anything about my family.  I was not mean in our interactions, but it was definitely could feel it.

For a long time, I just tried to stay close to the Spirit, to read my scriptures, to say my prayers, to continue to attend my meetings even though he would be there.  I prayed to know how to handle my frustrations and how to be supportive of the individual even though I was so hurt by his behavior.  Finally the Spirit directed me to this scripture:

3rd Nephi 12:

22 But I say unto you, that whosoever is aangry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

 23 Therefore, aif ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—

 24 Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be areconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full bpurpose of heart, and I will receive you.

I did not expect reconciliation, but was directed that I needed to go and speak with him and to let him know why I was so upset at his behavior.  It took me three weeks to put myself into a place where I felt like I could honestly communicate my feelings to him without blowing up in his face.  It had been more than six months since the incident.  (Now, I'm sure you have read between the lines.  It wasn't a one time incident, but the one time incident is what sent me over that line that I have......)

I went to him.  I spoke with him.  I expressed to him why I felt his behavior was inappropriate and how it had hurt my family.  I was not really interested in why he felt it necessary to do what he did.  In some situations, that information has been helpful.  In this situation, it was not, because regardless of his feelings about my husband or his behavior, it is not something that you should tell to youth and their friends, especially his own children!  To have a priesthood leader undermine a youth's parent to the youth's face is not appropriate in any situation.
As I left, I knew I had done the right thing and spoken in truth.  I did not result to anger.  I did not really resolve anything.  He knew why I was upset and why our relationship was struggling.  He did not agree with me, obviously.  I do not know what our interaction did for him.  I only know what it did for me.  I no longer had to carry around the frustration and irritation for his behavior.  I could let it go.  And I did.

I guess the point of it all is that we are all in differing levels of understanding and development.  We do not love any of our children more or less because one's development is farther along the path than another's development.  We want all of our children to succeed equally.  We want them to learn and grow as much as possible.  So does our Father in Heaven.  He loves us equally.  He hopes that through our experience and interactions with each other, we will learn the lessons we need to.  He recognizes that growth comes just as much from making mistakes as it does from having to forgive mistakes or to appeal to the atonement to heal from our mistakes or the mistakes of others.  When we are kind and treat others as the Savior would, we are acting appropriately, even if that is different than what the world would teach.

The Savior's way is the right way.  That means all of us participating in whatever capacity we are capable of and the rest of us being patient in the learning and development of others and ourselves.  Sometimes we need time to put our hearts in the right place, and that is OK.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy Anniversary to Me!!! Family First Friday 2014 #2

Drew and I have been married 24 years today!!!  Hip hip hooray!!!  I have learned so very, very much!  Here are some snip-its, 24 snip-its in fact:
  1. Marriage is hard work.  
  2. It takes time.
  3. It takes two.
  4. Drew is my very best friend, still.  Sometimes I have forgotten that.
  5. Home IS where the heart is.  I have to work to keep it here.
  6. When I do the work and put in the time, it is the most rewarding relationship I enjoy.
  7. When I do not, life is really difficult.
  8. The adversary will put in time and effort to destroy my relationships, especially the one with my spouse.
  9. The Spirit will help me to work out issues and difficulties in my relationship.  Elder Eyring:  It is only with the companionship of the Holy Ghost that we can hope to be equally yoked in a marriage free from discord. I have seen how that companionship is crucial for felicity in a marriage. The miracle of becoming one requires the help of heaven, and it takes time. Our goal is to live together forever in the presence of Heavenly Father and our Savior.  (To My Grandchildren, General Conference, October 2013.) 
  10. Unkind words, spoken in the heat of the moment are often not true.
  11. The best work of marriage is the change of self required.  Most of the issues in my relationship are not due to my spouse.  They are because of me.  Even when I have justifiable reasons and my spouse has weaknesses, my reaction to those weaknesses is a major player in our discord.
  12. Learning to trust my spouse and share my heart with him is essential.
  13. I am not good at either.
  14. Intimacy between married partners is a gift.  It should be treated that way.
  15. Children deserve parents who are willing to give of self and work out their differences.  Once children have arrived, their needs and what is best for them should outweigh desires to act on marital unhappiness.  In fact, children often do not even know the parents are unhappy.  And unhappily married people who have chosen to remain together are often measured at a greater degree of happiness five years later.  In other words, marriage is a cycle.  It has ups and downs.  If you are not happy today, it does not mean that you will be unhappy in five or ten years.  The choice to leave even because of years of unhappiness is not a guarantee or a sign that things will never improve.  You may not be giving your relationship enough time or effort.  (This is not to say that divorce is never justified....however when only 2% of the people are an exception, 75% of the people will believe they are the exception.  I just decided I was not going to be an exception.  To be honest, so did my spouse, refer to #3.)
  16. Humor is a must in any relationship and certainly helps in marriage and parenting.  Many, many stresses can be relieved by viewing them through the lenses of humor.  This usually takes time, see #2.
  17. Learning about myself has changed my relationship for the better when I have been willing to change.
  18. It is important to find things to do together that the two of you enjoy.  That may mean letting go of things you enjoyed when you were single and learning to do new things as a couple.
  19. Sometime #18 is true of friends also.
  20. Some things should not be discussed outside of the marital relationship, especially those things that are not so important to you but are really important to your spouse.  If you do not yet know what they are, you should probably find out.
  21. Prayer is vital!  When you cannot or you should not talk to others, you can always talk to your Father in Heaven.  He will give you comfort and peace and with enough obedience and patience, He will give you answers.
  22. Even when you talk to someone who should be safe, it may come back to bite you.  Therefore, before talking to anyone about your marital issues, you should talk to Heavenly Father first and obey His counsel and advice, even if, at the time, it seems contrary to logical thinking.  He does actually know what is going on in your spouse's head and heart, and the hearts of others you may seek to confide in.  Just because it is safe and seems logical, does not mean it is right and will not cause problems.
  23. After all of these years of living together, the ups and downs, the trials and sorrows, the joy, the children......24 years of together.......why would I want to start over with someone else??  What would be the point?  To learn all of this over again?  I don't think so.
  24. Our Father in Heaven wants our marriages to succeed even more than we do.  He knows if it is possible.  He knows what we need to do to turn sorrow and tragedy into success and happiness and peace.
  25. One more for the coming year: Love grows, it does not happen to you.  You do not fall into or out of love.  There is a formula that works:  Time together, going places and doing things.  Communicating from your heart and in kindness.  Sacrificing for your spouse (yes, this means you----putting your spouse first).  Putting away our weapons of war in our relationship (Refer to Alma 24: 17 - 19).  Seeking out spiritual growth and development.  Patience.  Pretty much you can sum it up in this document:  The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.
Have a great day!!  I will :-)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fun Christmas Things

We don't have amazing family Christmas traditions, they are just simple.  Each child gets one gift.  We eat a fancy dinner on fancy dishes.  I wish we all dressed for dinner, but we don't.  Our desire to have dinner on china dishes was to help our children learn to eat in a formal setting, so as they got older that was not intimidating to them.  Aside from the fact that we are already cooking lots of food and extra dishes are extra work, the children really enjoy this tradition.  We do it for Thanksgiving and Easter too.

But one thing that is truly unique in our home is making homemade pizza.  I have always liked it.  When I was younger, I worked in a pizza parlor.  I love being able to choose which toppings I want and how many of each.  After I learned the art of bread making, pizza making became that much yummier!  (I can't believe spell check didn't call me on that last word!)  Now when we make pizza, everyone wants to participate.  With the college boys home for Christmas, the kitchen was even busier.  But the coolest thing about it is I don't have to be there.  We have done it so much and so often now, the children can do it all without my help and they love it!

So funny!!  The other thing we did was celebrate a birthday with Grandma!

Poor Grandpa....he was sick his entire visit.  He missed all our fun!

Sorry I didn't get any photos of Christmas morning.  Sport may have some on his camera.  I'll check.  We got up Christmas morning, ate all the candy and fruit in our stockings, read the Christmas story in Luke, opened our gifts, one of which was my favorite Christmas story:  How the Grinch stole Christmas, then we read it!  It was such a beautiful morning.  I love my family!!  I love having them around!