Saturday, May 30, 2009

The things we do for love

Today was a rough day for my son...Toader looked like it was croaking and NOT the way you would expect a toad to do...it appeared to my expert eye that he was dying. My poor son was CRUSHED....big ole' alligator tears falling down his cheeks and his wee lil heart breaking right in front of me. Then it came...a prompting to find the cricket receipt from yesterday and have him call PetSmart and see if Bob, the ToadMaster, was in...guess what, he was!

We race Toader off to see the ToadMaster and sadly I fear the news isn't great...and then who should walk into the very same store but one of their OWN Vets (she's the EXPERT expert) off duty. Bob informs me later, after she's given Toader a complimentary exam, that the OTHER Vet knows dogs and cats and stuff and that's about it...THIS Vet, the one who examined Toader, knows about "exotic" animals and Bob said if she said Toader is just bloated and gassy well then it's probably just that and he'll be fine. YAY!!!! Baby Boy's broken heart mended, at least for the time being anyway.

As if all this drama with Toader wasn't enough, my girls come chirping in my ear "oh please Mommy can we get a fish today please please please?" I begrudgingly agree and Jack and Bubby, the beta fishes, have joined our family. And, YES they have separate bowls.

Depending on the time of day, I now dwell with 3 monkies (who sometimes are often pigs and elephants too), two fish, a dozen or so crickets, and one bloated toad. Did I mention I don't even LIKE animals?!?!?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Garbage Colored Glasses

I'm the only one that wears them right? You know those glasses that are colored in such a way it skews what you think of what you see in a negative way...particularly when you're looking at your own reflection. Well, at the TOFW workshop I attended two weeks ago Kim Nelson, author and counselor, counseled us to take them off.

He began talking about how can can REALLY know if God loves us...he said to really understand that we need to do 4 things. First we need to know and understand WHY we came to Earth, second we MUST understand and realize Heavenly Father's love and affection for us, third we must understand and recognize Satan's commitment to destroy is and fourth we need to find joy where we are. He goes on to talk about how when we're teaching our kids to ride their bikes for the first time how they take off on their own and often inevitably fall where we rush to their side. He says as parents we're often the first to the wreck and so is Heavenly Father when we wreck our lives, hearts, emotions, or whatever.

That was all good, it REALLY was...but what hit me most was when he said he was gonna ask us a question we'd hate him for later. He asked us to consider what we'd think if we saw a woman treating her daughter the way we treat ourselves....WOW. My knee-jerk reaction was "that she should be arrested for child abuse." Kim says it's important to take off the "garbage colored glasses" and learn to see ourselves as Heavenly Father does...before we were ANYTHING else (let's face it as women we are a lot of different things to a lot of different people...wife, mom, taxi driver, shrink, medic, maid, teacher, well you get the point) we were FIRST a daughter of God and God loves us simply because we are HIS. Not for any other reason...

So, since then, I've been trying to take those garbage colored glasses off more and more...it's difficult I'll admit, but I'm getting better.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bring me your poor

I've frequently found myself lamenting over all the things I want to give my children and can't. Ex Knight pays child support when he feels like it, and as much or as little as he feels like paying (yes in COMPLETE defiance of court orders) and my home based business provides an income that is...that is...what's a good word...meager I suppose, at best. Often I've laid awake crying and praying over what to do and how to make ends come close let alone meet, and sometimes my Minis have seen my tears and felt the side effects of my frustration.

At first getting a job outside my home could potentially risk our safety so I couldn't even consider it. Then, given I had no wheels and no childcare getting a job outside my home, became somewhat more of a challenge. The hours I can work are limited, as is my experience because raising a family doesn't translate into any verifiable skill even though as mom's we do so much. My family, however, continues to struggle in the mean time.

One day, during an exceptionally difficult time, my children tapped into their divinity and seemed to pull wisdom straight out of heaven as they assured me they didn't need more stuff they needed me. That it was ok because they had everything they needed and with a little saving and careful planning they could get most of what they wanted too and what they wanted and needed most was to know I loved them, to know I cared, and to be here for them no matter what. In other words, they wanted my love and my time...both of which I can freely give.

Over and over each child took their turn telling me that the little sacrifices they make are trivial in comparison to having me home. They basically said they'd rather be poor and homeless with me present and accounted for than to have me work outside my home and barely ever see me...

You know what I'm gonna say here don't you...out of the mouths of babes right?!?! And so, since you can't take it with you anyway, I've decided that for the present time, my kids need ME more than they need what I can give them and I've abandoned the thought of getting an additional job outside my home; it's been one of the best decisions I've made.

My children are learning about saving for things, they're learning about staying out of debt, they're learning to make careful choices about the things they want, they're learning that people have way more value than possessions, they're learning to take better care of the things they do have, they're learning a lot about service and are eager to serve as a result. They're learning that the best memories are moments we've spent together versus time spent doing the same THING together and they're learning that their Mom values them above any worldly possession. They are building their testimonies of Heavenly Father's love and ability to make up for our lack when we give Him our best. They are learning the value of sacrificing for what really counts and I feel so blessed to be their mom.

By the world's standard, we aren't just poor, we're living in poverty. In fact, well below the "poverty line" actually, but that's if you judge worth by worldly possessions or standards...when you gauge it on eternal principles and standards, I'm sure my Minis would tell you we're millionaires.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What if the fruits of your labor

is not who your children become, but who you become by having had them? That's what Emily Watts asked this weekend at TOFW. She, as you may recall, also said it's important we learn to react on the principle and not the emotion. She is a mother of 5 and a Senior Editor at Deseret Book. Being as entertained as I was, and the book lover I am, I bought her book "Being the Mom: 10 Coping Strategies I learned by Accident Because I Had Children on Purpose"...let me share with you some of the chapter I read today.

In Chapter 5, Know When To Holler For Help, she comically re-tells the story of how her neighbor helped her take her baby's temperature rectally more than 20 years ago and goes on to say ""blessed was I because I was compelled to be humble in that case, how much more blessed would I be if I could be humble without being compelled? I have witnessed over and over again the amazing way in which doors are opened and bonds created when I'm willing to lay aside my pride and confess that there's something I can't do...sometimes we forgot that in order for service to be rendered there must be a 'servee' as well as a server. It's a grand scheme that provides for some to be given one lift and some another, that all may be profited thereby (See D&C 46:11-12)."

She concludes this chapter talking about her son trying to put his own jammies on and how he couldn't do it despite his best effort. She says "I see myself from time to time as that little boy, struggling and fighting with some situation in my life and making a twisted mess of things, unwilling to surrender control to One who could easily help me resolve the problem and send me happily on my way...He knows our needs stands ready to help us fulfill them, but we have to ask. May pride never keep us from acknowledging our deficiencies to Him. May we stand ready to help one another, and to accept each others gifts of love and service. Most of all, may we acknowledge and accept the sacrifice of our Savior, who truly did for us what we could not do for ourselves," and it got me thinking about the person my children have helped me to become...how having them is an opportunity to serve and be served.

What if Emily is right, what if the fruit of our parenting labor is who WE become instead. Maybe we don't turn into grown ups to teach kids how to be grown, maybe children are born to remind us to be childlike. I mean the good book says "except ye become as little children" right? I suspect that one of the many reasons Heavenly Father gives us children, and all the lessons and reminders that come with them, is to help us be who He wants us to be. Now when facing a difficult time with my kids I'll try to ask "what do I need to learn from this" to myself and my Father FIRST and then maybe I won't need to wonder on earth my children were thinking, or maybe getting through such a time will be easier. I think the next chapter I read will be "If It Can be Vauumed Up, Wiped off, or Washed Out, Don't worry about it".

I Toaduhlee Love You Son, Love Mommy

Whilst I was taking a TOFW and crying my fake lashes right off, my son went camping with the boys for the father son camp-out. How great to have such a wonderful an amazing home teacher that steps in when we need to borrow a "father" for various occasions...well at least I used to think he was wonderful anyway...

As I'm driving back from getting the girls, Home Teacher calls and says "I'm sorry the adoption papers didn't go through." I laugh and inform him I'm on my way and he can bring Mister Mister home in about twenty minutes. I was really looking forward to it actually, Mister is a self-proclaim/admitted Mommy's boy and Mommy is pretty into him too. This was his first camping experience that I can remember (and NO there weren't any pictures dang it Home Teacher) and I was anxious to see what he thought about it. Of course, I already knew...I mean he IS a boy afterall so can't imagine what there would be for HIM not to like about sleeping with bugs, peeing in the woods, building a campfire, getting dirty and smelling and no one nagging to take a bath and I was right....HE LOVED IT! I personally CAN camp, I just DO NOT enjoy it so hopefully these yearly events will work for both of us.

We get home, Mister Mister arrives about 10 minutes later and he comes bursting through the door...."Hey Mommy, I caught a toad." Now you see why I don't think Home Teacher is so wonderful don't ya...he didn't even WARN me when he called or anything.

"You caught a what...honey that's great (I was in my office emailing Hilary and Kris and checking email and stuff)." "Do you want to see it Mommmy?" WHAT, do I want to see it...you mean you actually KEPT it not just caught it and let it go...oh of all the horrible icky NON girly and Mommy friendly things my son could bring...a TOAD. And then this happened...

Through his tear brimmed eyes he looks at me and pleads "Mommy please please please can I keep it." At that very moment I realized every little boy needs a frog/toad/turtle/snake/lizard/etc like every little girl needs lip gloss and nail polish and so I said "Well son, it's too late to go get supplies tonight cuz we gotta go to the pet store and by the time we get there it'll be closed. Tomorrow is Sunday and you know we don't shop on Sunday so if your frog (he interupts with "it's a toad Mommy") lives till Monday, I'll pick you up after school and we'll get it what it needs and yes you can keep it," secretly hoping the thing would croak. Not the noise it makes by default, but croak CROAK, as in one of the many euphemisms for die. Yes I know it's terrible cuz toads are Heavenly Father's creations too, but I much prefer nail polish and lip gloss what with being a girl and all.

Toader (that's his name) lived till Monday, despite my son's "torment" or "playing" with him all weekend and after school on Monday we were off to PetSmart where we found Bob, icky boy pet expert. Bob is Masked Marauder's new BFF (scoot over Ms Hilary) because he got my son everything he needed to make a happy toad environment for CHEAP. I do cheap so well...it's next in line as my favorite price, right after FREE.

So now I am the proud (at least I am trying to be proud) grandmother of a not so lovely creature named Toader and while I could personally do without the frog or toad or whatever, my son came to me yesterday and said "I love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love you so much. Thank you for buying me all the stuff for my toad. Thank you so much mommy I think this is the best thing you've ever done for me." He then placed his arms around me and gave me the biggest hug (you're thinking awwwwwww aren't you....it's ok cuz yeah it was an awwww moment for sure) and I knew letting him keep it, much to my dismay, was the right thing to do.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sometimes even Mommy needs a time out


If you're reading this blog or lucky enough to be a friend on one of those social networking sites that we're all addicted to, then you know that I've recently had the opportunity to attend a women's conference called Time Out For Women. Yes ladies and gentlemen (John you are reading this right?!?!?) even Mommies need a time out now and again.

I've been wanting to attend this retreat for more than a year but it wasn't close enough until this last weekend. Single parenting is often more difficult than people give it credit for and I was about 45 minutes late to the opening night (dang Gloria what did I miss...I shudder to think) but what I DID get was so incredible it'd be a crime not to share it with you all. Wait crime is the wrong word...not a crime I mean let's face it I'm not gonna be arrested for "failure to blog" or "refusing to share" but it MIGHT border on being a sin so let's not take chances....here goes.

I came in on the tale end of Sister Nelson's talk (her first two names escape me and I'm not going to take the time to look it up right now sorry...readers can post a comment with the missing information if they like...) and what I caught was this...take 1 question to the scriptures a day for 30 days and see if it doesn't change your life. And, yes of course, she encouraged us to keep a journal of the experience. Hmm I wonder if blogging counts as journaling and if so these people need to get with the times and call it what it is...BLOGGING. Oh wait I still journal TOO so nevermind...

So yeah she says that God will give us what we need, we simply need to go to Him and ask. I wonder what question I'll ask today...what question will you ask? I'd love to read them (this requires you leave a comment with your question...yes I'm fishing for all my readers to become commenters - is that even a word -...are you taking the bait?) and see what's on your heart and mind.

Then, after Sister Nelson spoke, I was blown away by the amazing violin talent of Jenny Oaks Baker. I LOVE violin...I used to play it when I was in third grade...not very well though...I remember my family's reactions when I'd practice. Oh well we can't be good at everything right and at least I tried though...certainly that has gotta account for something even if only an E for effort!!!!! Jenny plays BEYOND well and all the stress of getting kids all the places they needed to be, driving roads I've never traveled, being late, anxiety over finding the crew I was hanging out with and etc were erased from my spirit by about the 5th note...I didn't count but her violin soothed my restless soul that's for sure.

During the intermission, my good buddy we'll call M Squared came up to me and sang music to my ears...."we saved you a spot and we're like about 8 rows back or so" ok no that's not EXACTLY what she said so it didn't really need the quotes but we'll pretend (hey if Hilary can pretend I can too right?). So, I introduce myself to my new buddy Kris Belcher and her good buddy introduces himself to me so now me and Kim Nelson are good buddies too. Oh wait did I forget to tell you that these people are all famous in our LDS community...accomplished authors, musicians, etc. Sort of like LDS celebrities I guess. So I explain to Kris that I'm good friends with Oliva, the girl with red lipstick, who met Hilary Weeks (the Faith Hill of LDS Music I think) at Costco and Kris offers to introduce me....when she does, Hilary sweetly states "oh great now I'm really being stalked."...ha ha ha I LOVE her already! Music and humor what more could a person want right...

So I pose for a not so great picture of me and complete great picture of Hilary, taken by Kim and it's time to sit down for the rest of the show. Sheri Dew...head cheese at Deseret Book is the keynote speaker...I've read one of her books...but beyond that didn't know her from Adam or Martha for that matter. She's funny...oh man I like that lady too! Her and Sister Something Something Nelson (Elder Nelson's wife) were a hoot on stage together...they were talking about destiny sort of. Sheri said something about how the Lord knows precisely what we need to fulfill our mission. He knows who we are, He knows where we are, and He knows what we need. I guess I missed Sister SS Nelson's statement about having a pre-mortal "To-Do" list. And then Sheri showed a slide with a quote...brace yourself, this is powerful....

"We have the responsibility to serve as though the entire future of the church depends upon you or upon me." by yup you guessed it T.S. Monson my favorite General Authority...what pray tell you ask is he the authority of...well, as the only living Prophet on the Earth today - EVERYTHING. We don't have to agree if he's a prophet or not, we really don't, because I know he is and this is my blog so what I say on my blog goes....laugh I'm trying to keep it light cuz my intention is NOT to preach...I'll save that for another time and location.

And now back to the story...Sheri offered a solution to prevent Satan from disrupting our mission (remember pre-mortal to do list...I bet laundry was on mine). She said it's critical we realize who we are and what it means to be here at this time. Sorry John but the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of women. We are POWERFUL and we have GREAT influence...Sheri said "do you think Heavenly Father would risk the outcome of the world by sending in some mamby pamby women?" Ha ha ha no...I testify to you I KNOW that I've been sent to this earth at this time because I'm among the most valiant and noble of all the souls of heaven...are you convinced? I'm not either but I'm trying to be because it's true....you know what they say about saving the best for last....

Additionally, she says to combat Satan's ability to influence our mission we need to come to find out what the Savior REALLY did for us and lastly learn to hear the voice of the Spirit. She says we should pray for the Lord to teach us.

Let's examine that....I've been taught a lot of things by a lot of people. Some of them I've asked someone to teach me, others I've learned from by simple observation and other things I've taught myself or learned by trial and error but NEVER (at least not that I can recall) have I ever asked God to TEACH me...I've asked him to help me learn...but I'm not feeling like that's the same thing. To be humble is to be teachable right...why NOT ask God to teach you...I'll be doing that more often...I hope you will too.

Later S. Michael Wilcox said everything good in his life came from a woman...SEE John, we ROCK!!! Of course though, seeings how you love and adore the women in your life (myself included), I know YOU know that! Too bad more men in this world didn't...digressing sorry.

S Michael Wilcox said obedience is not perfection, obedience is trying. Say it aloud a few times...obedience is NOT perfection, obedience is trying. WOW you mean I don't have to be perfect to be obedient...talk about relieving the pressure sheesh. Emily Watts says our outer appearance is often a sign of our inner commitment (separate blog about Emily coming later she was one of my favorites). She also said it's important we learn to react on a principle not an emotion....there you go guys...the secret to us emotional women just revealed. We react to the EMOTION not the principle. It's not what you DO, it's what we FEEL about what you did.

Kim Nelson and his doily clad table with plastic grapes (yes he gets his own post too) taught that it's important we remove the garbage colored glasses and see ourselves as God does. Kris Belcher (remember she has super powers) was our concluding speaker and she told us her story and MAN what a story....she said we must give our will to Heavenly Father so He can do more with it than we ever could. Hmmm...I'm VERY willfully independent...with this statement I began thinking maybe it's time I become WILLfully dependent on my Lord. Told you, Kris got SUPER powers!

She also said when people say how God will never give you more than you can handle it's a complete lie...when I first heard this I was like WHAT how dare you be so blasphemous I've got the scripture to prove it's TRUE...and then she qualified it. God will never give us more than we can handle with Jesus at our side...that's called grace. WOW think about that for a minute....maybe the reason we feel overwhelmed and unqualfied is simply because we miss one key component of this concept....the "with Jesus" part.

There is SOOOOOOOO much more I could share but isn't this entry long enough...smile and nod because you KNOW you agree! So, here's what I'll do...once I can get my notes transcribed, I'll post them as a PDF for you to use as you will, but please don't use it to line your bird cages - that's just rude! When I post my notes, I will also include more information about Kim, Kris, Michael, Sheri, SS Nelson, and Emily (hope I didn't leave anyone out)...they were just as powerful as Jenny and Hilary and deserve the same props, but there's only so much one blog entry can contain.

So see...sometimes even Mommy needs a time out...I wonder when I put my children in time out if they have as much to think about as I do after having put myself in one?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Note to self: Waterproof adhesive

I guess technically this post could also have been done at To Stir Your Soul but I'm choosing to put it here instead.

I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of attending Time Out For Women, an event sponsored by Deseret Book, since returning, my words have pretty much failed me. I seriously lack the words to describe (with any amount of justice) what I am presently thinking and feeling. My words ALWAYS come back (though some people probably wish they wouldn't LOL) and when they do I'll blog on the experience in general, but I wanted to share one of the most profound moments I had while there with all of you right now.

As you all know from reading my Over You post,...WHAT!!!! You didn't read it...go now, I'll wait.






OK
there so NOW that you've read my Over You post, you know that I am audio powered. Because of this, it's VERY seldom music can move me to tears...I mean I listen to so much music (all genres and types), that it's rare I cry over songs anymore. Daughtry was the last person to make me do it but he only did it once. Hilary Weeks, accomplished LDS musician, had me crying ALL day, EVERY time she performed. And, while I often exaggerate, this is not one of those times...not even a little bit.

I'd like to say I've followed her career and been a fan for years, but I didn't know SHE was the one who sang "He Came for Me" (one of my FAVORITE songs from the CD Women at the Well) until I heard it on HER album The Collection and was otherwise in the dark when it came to her talent. I gotta tell you...out of such a lil gal comes a FIERCELY huge sound, but that's beside the point...let me take you back to the story.

So Hilary was our opening entertainment on Saturday and sang to us between speakers too. This allowed us to hear several of her songs the way music is meant to be enjoyed....LIVE woo hoo! She sang to my heart in a way NO ONE has ever done before - sorry Daughtry you just got beat by a girl! In fact, I was so moved and tearful I cried my fake lashes right off.

The song is "You Give" off her album If I Only Had Today and while it's not one she personally wrote, her performance of it hugged my heart in my Father's embrace. I know it hardly seems possible right...but yeah that's EXACTLY what it did. Here are the lyrics...

You give me sight
When I can't see
You give me breath
When I can't breathe
And You give me love
And You give me peace
And You always seem to give
Just what I need

You take my doubt
And replace it with truth
You take my fear
So all I see is You
You take me as I am
And You take me by the hand
You see to my soul and You take
just what I need

CHORUS: You give and take away
And refine me day by day
As You lead me through the bitter and sweet
I am trusting You to make me complete
Though You see the heartache
You're sending Your sweet grace
As You give
And You take

You give me strength
And You give me life
You give me hope
And you give me light
You take my pain
And You take my shame
You bless me to see the give and take
Is just what I need

CHORUS

Please send Your perfect grace
as You give
and You take

Over the last year or two I've been reminded of all the things Ex Knight has taken from my family. It's VERY hard for me to think about that word "take" without thinking about everything I've had taken from me and then I heard this song...it gave me a TOTALLY different perspective on the word. I'd like to share with you some of what I penned (formatted to fit this blog) after telling a glimpse of my story to Hilary and I hope that she'll understand my tears conveyed everything my mouth could not...

5/16/2009

It's about noon on Saturday and I'm in attendance at TOFW - I find myself completely ill prepared for this experience. I've needed this for so very long, but in being here, I've realized I needed it even more than I originally thought.

The speakers have been amazing and I've taken pages and pages and pages of notes but the music - oh my, the music is moving me in ways I didn't expect. From the amazing violin of Jenny Oaks Baker to Hilary Weeks to even the intermission music - all of it really but especially a Hilary Weeks song called "You Give" - she didn't write it, but oh how she sang it.

"You give me breath when I can't breathe." WOW! Get this though "you take my doubt and replace it with truth, you take my fear so all I see is you...you take me as I am and you take me by the hand." Take...wow that's such an ever present word in my life - usually with every negative connotation you can imagine.

Ex Knight took so much from me. My identity was taken, my home was taken, my family was taken, my faith, to some degree, was taken. My friends were taken, my hope was taken, my dreams were taken, and my children's innocence was taken; yes the list could go on and on.

And then comes this soul stirring song written by Tyler Castleton and Stacie Peters (Hilary please thank them for me) and sung by Hilary Weeks. Why have I NEVER considered this fresh perspective of the word take? Why have I not ever previously considered asking the Lord to take my pain, heartache, and fear? How refreshing it is to learn this now - every single day I can ask my Heavenly Father to take from me that which I lack the ability to handle alone.

My new prayer or goal is to allow Heavenly Father to freely give and take to and from my life and the next time I get to see Hilary Weeks in person I've got to remember to use waterproof adhesive.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This woman has SUPER powers...

I'm sure if you asked her she'd say that they come from on high but I've got proof that my new friend Kris Belcher (love you girl) has super powers...

Here's why....5 years ago plus or minus a few days or months or whatever Kris lost what remaining eyesight she had. She is totally blind and yet somehow, with ZERO coaching from me or Kim, she managed to pull this off...


I could COMPLETELY do without my appearance in this photo and I'm sure Kim would find something witty to say regarding his too but, of all my pictures from TOFW...this one is nearest and dearest to my heart.

Kris, this is concrete proof that YOU my friend have super powers...or maybe your are just downright super through and through. Either way, I am so honored to know you. Thanks for being you so I could learn to be a better me and PLEASE do tell where do those super powers of yours come from and how do I get some of them?

Friday, May 15, 2009

WOW typing DOES count....

After my last post, I actually decided to look up how many calories typing burns....check out what I found at this link....

Calories burned with Typing


Electric, Manual, or Computer

102 calories per hour

Assuming a body weight of: 150 lbs

Round is no longer a shape I enjoy being

I'm honestly not one of those people that has ever obsessed about the freshman 15, sophomore 20 or whatever. I didn't get depressed when I had babies and didn't spring back into my my pre-pregnant shape immediately after pushing the kid out, nor did I much worry about the weight I gained in my marriage....I mean seriously who cares...round is a shape, therefore I'm in shape right....

Until NOW....I'm getting rounder and rounder by the second it seems. I've recently become painfully aware of how much my sedentary lifestyle is not always a good thing...I guess having a chocolate-raspberry bliss addiction and working in front of your computer isn't always a good combination....who knew chocolate makes you fat....maybe that explains it.

Actually, inactivity makes you fat and most days the most active thing about me is my fingers and my brain....hmmmmm I wonder how many calories typing as fast as I do burns....

Anyway....so I've decided I need to shed some pounds...how many I'm not sure. I'm not even obsessing about it...I just figure if I get a little more activity in my routine maybe I can lose enough to feel comfortable in my clothes again and stop having to buy bigger ones sigh.

In my lil spot there's a FANTABULOUS park....I mean really it is simply marvelous...it has a one mile walking trail and increments are marked at the quarter. It's a concrete path and this time of year it's an amazing journey....painful but amazing. Tuesday marked my first walk....today I may be able to take another (I spent Wed recovering and yesterday bike riding...I much prefer walking lol). I noticed with the first walk how much I REALLY wished I'd have had some convenient way to carry a water bottle....check out what I found at Wal-Mart for less than TEN dollars!!!

I'm sure it's SUPPOSED to be a fanny back but when your fanny is as big as mine has gotten it is more like a belly bag....either way, It has room for not ONE but TWO 20 ounce plastic water bottles (which cuz they're refillable is a little more environmentally friendly) plus convenient pouches to hold your camera, id, keys, money, whatever else you need with you on your walk. The only thing I'd like about it more is if it were purple instead of blue, but blue is becoming a favorite color too. You know you want one, so scoot on over to Wal-Mart and get yours today!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Over You (get your cuppa and get comfortable)

Recently I created a quiz on Facebook about how well people know me. One of the questions was what song altered a course I was on and who is it sung by...

It was a nice summer afternoon and I was hard at work in my office...ok I'll admit I was just at work lol. I was somewhat distracted by some disturbing thoughts. It was a few weeks, maybe a month after I had asked Ex Knight for a divorce and I was OFTEN plagued with thoughts of inferiority and despair. Often consumed by doubting my coping ability, questioning did I really have it in me to endure the death of my family...or at least the death of my family as I knew it, contemplating whether or not I thought I could handle single parenting and coming to terms with the knowledge I'd soo be an "ex-wife" and the list of adjusments goes on.

On this particular afteroon, I was sort-of-not-really listening to the radio. Being audio powered FIRST (solar powered second), I have music streaming almost ALL the time no matter what I'm doing....on comes this song and by the second verse I was absoluetely in tears for reasons I can't even begin to explain. Lucky me I looked up at the satelite display just in time to see the artist and title...Over You by Daughtry. This song forever changed how I viewed my circumstances.

I just told you I was audio powered right? Not only do I pick up song lyrics like some people pick up stray animals, I also pay attention to the quality of the vocalist...what's their range, what octive do they sound strongest in, do they use "with you" or "witchu" when singing (something my Julliard trained choir teacher taught me YEARS ago). In short, I pay attention to HOW the song is sung, not just the lyrics and the score but also the intonation I guess.

After discovering song-title and artist, I immediately began searching the net for more information. Downloaded the track, found the lyrics and after about the 3rd or 4th listen had the song memorized....those of you know anything about my journey the last few years will understand COMPLETELY why the lyrics hit me....

Here's the first verse:

Now that it's all said and done,
I can't believe you were the one
To build me up and tear me down,
Like an old abandoned house.
What you said when you left
Just left me cold and out of breath.
I fell too far, was in way too deep.
Guess I let you get the best of me

OH MY GOSH are you KIDDING me....that right there said it all. Build me up and tear me down is EXACTLY what Ex Knight would do...and you should have HEARD how he tore me down the last few days of our relationship....I'll spare you that story. Well maybe it's more sparing myself the memory of the story. Yes I found myself quite literally cold and out of breath when our final words were said...in fact, even though I am the one that called it what it was...OVER, I spent the first 10 days or more crying over the loss. Whoever said getting divorced is often worse than mourning a death was DEAD ON and my divorce was actually pretty uneventful and a blessing in disquise.

I believe that in every relationship there is a time when one person loves the other just a little bit more....harmony or "The Notebook" kind of love then (in my opinion at least) is achieved when both people love each other exactly the same...why did Noah and Ally work so well....cuz she loved him the same way he loved her....anyway this isn't about them. I fell hard and fast and my entire world was wrapped up in being Ex Knight's wife and the Minis' Mommy....and, when I started looking back to discover when and where I was at my best...go figure I was BEST without Ex Knight....I honestly let him "get the best of me" often without realizing it and soon realized it wasn't him I loved or even fell for...it was the "him" I thought I could inspire, motivate or guilt into becoming....who he CHOOSES to be leaves a little...aww who am I kidding, it leaves a LOT to be desired...at least a lot to be desired by me anyway.

And now the chorus....this has to be my favorite part of this song! It left me feeling empowered from the first time I heard it.

Well, I never saw it coming.
I should've started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I'd doubt you,
I'm better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I'm slowly getting closure.
I guess it's really over.
I'm finally getting better.
And now I'm picking up the pieces.
I'm spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
'Cause the day I thought I'd never get through,
I got over you.

Yes you guessed it...this particular afternoon I was feeling broken. Thinking I'd never get through this and maybe I should just stop the process...the first part of this chorus...."I should have started running a long long time ago," that was a kidney punch...I was journaling 5 months into my marriage how I thought I made a mistake, that I was afraid he'd kill me or my kids and yes I should have ran very far very fast at that very moment. God has a plan though...if I had run five months in, I'd not have Minis 2-4 and I'm very little without my children (even when they drive me crazy). I'm glad I didn't run at the 5 month mark because I got my youngest three however I SHOULD have...(a few more lines) and then Chris sings...."I'm FINALLY getting better"....emphasis on finally. Later it's "'cause the day I thought I'd never get through...(an interruption of sorts) I got over you. Those lines are sung ummmmmmm what's the best word to say....deliberate I guess. The music slows a little bit, the words are sung with more intensity, and the last line..."I got over you" interupts the holding of "ough" on "through"....it's fabulous... I continue listening with a careful ear....

Second verse NOT same as the first....

You took a hammer to these walls,
Dragged the memories down the hall,
Packed your bags and walked away.
There was nothing I could say.
And when you slammed the front door shut,
A lot of others opened up,
So did my eyes so I could see
That you never were the best for me.

Oh man...this was MY verse...if EVER one single verse of song (aside from spiritual ones) spoke to me this one did. Chris is using "hammer to these walls" figuratively however Ex Knight did this quite literally. The hammer being his fists....I can't even count how many holes he's punched in the walls of the homes we've lived in while together....not on all my fingers and all my toes plus those of all my kids, and all their classmates and all their parents and....yeah it was a LOT. My favorite part of this verse though is "and when you slammed the front door shut, a lot of others opened up, so did my eyes so I could see, that you never were the best for me."

NO JOKE folks....just a few days before I heard this song I was having a conversation with a good friend and I told her this same thing almost exactly. I remember telling her that once I took off the rose colored glasses and could see Ex Knight for who he WAS and not who I wanted him to be I could freely admit he wasn't good for me. Over the last 10 years of my life, the times I was at my BEST were times he and I were separated or he was deployed. We also discussed how so many doors had opened since removing him from my home...I was discovering joy finally and people noticed it as much as I felt it. The chorus then repeats a few times with emphasis all the places I needed it most and I was HOOKED.

No, I DID NOT see Daughtry on Idol....yes, I really had no idea who he was when I heard this song. I do now however....when a new artist has me loving everything they do, I study them. I discovered Daughtry was going to be at the State Fair for a concert the following month...I HAD to go....I just HAD to. My amazing Visiting Teacher kept the kids for me and away I went. It was worth EVERY cent I paid and more....and he and his wife even waived to me when his tour bus left the fairgrounds.

This song was divinely inspired for me. It came at the PRECISE moment (ain't it amazing how perfectly calibrated God has our lives) I needed it and was or is what I believe Elder Bednar would call a "tender mercy" from the Lord, and though he doesn't know me from Adam, I think Chris was inspired to write this song for me and me alone. And now, here is a short clip of Chris Daughtry singing my divinely inspired song at the concert...unfortunately I didn't have enough juice in my camera to record the whole thing, nor did I think to start recording at the beginning but....


video

Over You became my power music for a very long time...any time I KNEW I was gonna have to deal with Ex Knight I listened to it on repeat till I felt like I had what it took to deal....any time I saw or heard from Ex Knight unexpectedly I listened to this song...and when I had temporary lapses in my judgement and considered staying with him, I listened to this song....haven't listened to it in MONTHS but yes, it's still empowering for me, even now as I listen and enter this blog.

Ex Knight I'm so glad I got Over You! Thanks Daughtry for writing/recording a song that helped me do it! To see the Over You video, please click here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Is it possible



that a love like this can still be found? Anyone who's read the post about Sweetheart knows that "The Notebook" is one of my all time favorite movies. I saw this video clip this morning and just HAD to share it. This is, in my opinion, how it's supposed to be. This is why I'm not sure I'll ever get married again...I want my own Noah, nothing more, nothing less. His name can be Michael, or David, or James or whatever, but he must indeed be a real life Noah. This is how I want to love and be loved...it's how I've always wanted to love and be loved....Ex Knight fell short and had me believing it was because I didn't deserve anything more...now I know better and will NEVER EVER settle again.

I've been fortunate enough to see love like this in the lives of those around me and I know it used to exist...if it still does, when Heavenly Father graces me with my own "Noah" it will be me screaming "I want to go out with you" and letting the magic happen from there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In all the land

were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. ~~~ Job 42:15

Nearly 25 years ago I was initiated into the International Order of Jobs Daughters (now known as Jobs Daughters International). A girls' organization for young ladies 11-20 (now girls 10-20 can join) who are related to Master Masons (I'm sure you've heard of Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children right?!?!?) in good standing, or who are daughters of a Majority Member of Jobs Daughters. I honestly didn't even know what Jobs Daughters was at this time...it was just something my mom made me do because she thought I'd be good at it. Shortly after I turned eleven I was initiated and I got HOOKED immediately.

Soon I was "the Jobie"....that near photographic memory I have allowed me to master every part I was ever asked to serve in my Bethel, along with some of those I wanted to do and didn't; I set my sites on the Honored Queen position from the beginning! Now, not because I was girlie and she gets to wear a crown, but simply because she is THE BOSS in the Bethel and I've been known to be a little bossy in my life. I never did get that chance because life held other plans; however, I rediscovered my love for my Masonic bodies a few years ago, joining Amaranth and having Mini1 initiated into Jobs Daughters. Life is taking Mini1 away from this amazing organization but I am returning to it once again...last night I had to put my neurotic/tired behind to bed because I drove 180 miles round trip to watch Mini2 get initiated into this beloved order I have cherished since having joined it myself so many years ago.

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy. They were taken with Pinky, my new camera, on the low light setting...still need to figure out how to eliminate the red eye with this setting but...







Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nature Adventure

Though having been a member of the church for more than half my life, I had never seen a "regular" Family Home Evening prior to having one of my own. I don't think I've honestly seen too many period to be quite frank...because of this, it's something I really struggle with doing for my own family.

***For my non-LDS readers, Family Home Evening is a program endorsed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's "scheduled" to be Monday nights (no church meetings or events take place on this night, most temples are closed, etc); however, we as parents, can modify that to meet our needs. The purpose of this dedicated night is to spend time together strengthening our testimonies AND our family. For more information on Family Home Evening (you don't HAVE to be LDS to do it), please click here.***

So anyway, my sister T is REALLY good at FHE...me not so much. And, I seem paralyzed if I don't have a program, a perfectly planned lesson (thankfully I get those emailed to me each week from LDS Living), refreshments, and the like...I'm not good at "winging" FHE at all. This is one area I'm striving to improve on because it seriously needs work.

So last week, I get this impromptu idea to combine two of the things we like doing most (taking walks and scrapbooking) and attempt to "wing" FHE, but the weather didn't cooperate. We were going to go on a Nature Adventure...sounds so much better than walking around the park doesn't it? Anyway...

The point of the walk was for the kids to collect 10 things that remind them of things they are thankful to Heavenly Father for giving them...they collected a bunch stuff, will pick their ten favorites and then we'll put them in an album for them to cherish. This week we only accomplished getting the walk done...I'll post pictures of their albums when they're done but I have to brag about the amazing children I have....

While at the park, I picked up a fairly straight stick and asked "does this remind you of anything you're thankful for?" Mini2 promptly said "yes Mommy it's the Iron Rod" and Mini3 chimes in "that's the word of God." And then of course we had to sing the song...the iron rod is the word of God, tis strong and bright and true....something like that anyway.

Here are a few pictures from our adventure:

Someone lost their shoe at the park...judging by the size that someone was pretty little. The kids asked could I photograph it because a shoe wouldn't fit in their books but they were thankful Heavenly Father allowed shoes to be created.

They are thankful for ponds that attract ducks because ducks are fun to feed and "please Mommy can we come back with bread next time in case there are ducks here again?"

This was my choice...I'm thankful for nature because it's beautiful.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm in love again

and his name is Pinky...he's my new camera! My old one was dying a slow painful death...after some very not nice zoo photos on my youngest daughter's field trip I decided to put my camera out of my misery and get a new one. I'm LOVIN it...it's like hmmmmmmmmmmmmm what can I photograph next. I've not tried them out yet, but Pinky has a bunch of settings, including a low light one that should make photos of the next assembly/talent show/program so much better. I can hardly wait...being a scrapbooker, pictures excite me.

Here's a picture from the zoo field trip taken with the old camera...


Here's a picture I took yesterday in the same light (a bright sunshiny day) with the new camera


Just a little improvement right....I think we're gonna have to go to the zoo again just so I can get better pictures!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Meet Jazz

Here are a few pictures of 3 of the 4 Masked Marauder Minis and Mr. Jazz. Since the boys in the family are severely outnumbered, we decided to make Jazz a boy car to help even things out.


If ever a perfect day existed...

yesterday was it! It marked the anniversary of something pretty significant in my life (yes I know so of you may be curious but it doesn't matter so curious you must remain) and normally this day comes and goes every year with a lot of disappointment. That is until now at least....

It all began at shortly after Midnight on Friday night, which actually is really Saturday morning now that I think about it. Someone's extremely thoughtful gesture made me cry both happy and sad tears and then I began to ponder over the recent events of my life and that made me cry some more sad tears. Why...well because I was just feeling sorry for myself....Ex Knight lost something he didn't care even care about (me and the kids) while we've lost EVERYTHING more or less everything (both big and small things) and my mind was consumed over a few of the biggest losses and the tears just kept steady streaming.

Then I did what the donkey did in one of my favorite motivational stories and I shook it off and stepped up determining that yesterday would be great no matter what it took...and oh my gosh was I completely NOT prepared for this determination to come to fruition...if ever a perfect day existed, yesterday was it.

Several loved ones who remembered what a significant day yesterday is for my family called or emailed warm thoughts and then I purchased my family a vehicle yesterday too. See told you it is turning around nicely isn't it...???

After not having had wheels of my own for more than a year and living in a location without reliable or frequent public transit, this new car was like chocolate manna from heaven almost! Anyway so yeah I take possession of my new car (yes I'll send pictures later...his name is Jazz) around noon...and that's when my determination to have a GREAT day really payed off.

Wait let me remind a smidge....before Jazz came to live with us, the mail lady brought some WONDERFUL information to my mailbox and my mood was steady climbing....day was getting pretty dang good and I KNEW great was on the horizon. So now, after running some errands we were able to take in a film...GO SEE THE SOLOIST PEOPLE (who knew Jamie Fox could be a Rainman of sorts)....seriously it was PHENOMENAL. Digressing sorry....so yeah we ran some errands, did some shopping, and then hit the theater and tootled around some more just because we could.

We had lunch out and I decided we'd do the unthinkable and eat ice cream cake for a very late dinner; it was BLISS! I'm sure my children must have thought "what on Earth has come over Mom she doesn't even let us eat dessert without REAL food first let alone eating dessert for dinner...." ha ha ha. Since we were celebrating in grand style, my children decided to perform for me and even got the oldest of the Minis in on the deal...it was absolutely incredible!

We return to our humble abode for the night at like 9pm...now, given I'd pulled an all-nighter (adrenaline is not always a good thing I assure you) you would THINK I'd have fallen down dead asleep but nope....I was so high on life (wait maybe it was just the sugar from my dinner) the kids and I settled in to watch one of our FAVORITE family movies....Enchanted. Man I love that movie.

We've seen it so many times we have the lines to just about EVERY characer memorized and yes all the songs too...tonight's viewing was the best we've ever had. Using whatever we could find to dub as a mic (anyone know where we can get echo/toy mics...we need 5), we danced around the living room singing each song at the top of our lungs (badly too I might add) and laughed and laughed and laughed. We watched our favorite parts over and over and over....(apple, oh no thank you, it's good, oh ok....chokes grabs throat and croaks.....LOVE that part). As the day came to an official end, we closed it with a pillow fight and hugs and kisses!

I heard somewhere once something about life isn't measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away and yesterday was full of moments such as these and I am so grateful.