Monday, May 7, 2012

I love my kids.  Short and sweet of it.  I love this shot of Hyrum and Savvy.  Please don't mind Savannah's lack of clothing.  She is now an expert and taking off her clothes and not so good at putting them back on!  This picture was taken on Phoebe's angel day.  There is something about having my earthly kids that allows me to still feel her close.  The relationship that my kids have together makes all those "hard" days worth it. 

My mom came to help me after a surgery and it was so wonderful.  As much as my family takes care of me, there is nothing like having your own mom there.  I loved the time that she was able to spend with me, when I was not in a percocet induced sleep, and the time she spent with her grand kids.  I would lay in bed listening to her interact with my youngest.  So so so sweet.
Ammon participated in Destination Imagination at his middle school.  He really enjoyed the team he worked with.  I am not sure all the specifics, but they had to create a structure made out of wood and glue that wasn't to exceed a certain weight that would allow a golf ball into it, as well as hold weight.  They also had to come up with a play to go along with it.  It was fun to watch them compete.  They didn't do as well as they had hoped they would but I was proud!  :)  He has matured in so many ways.  I am really proud of the way that he has stepped up.  It's amazing how quickly boys become young men. 
Tyler turned 11.  Yikes.  My kids are growing up too quickly!  Granted, I am grateful that Tyler no longer plays in toilet water, and that we can now stock crayons, markers, and glue in the house again, as well as keep kitchen knives on the counter instead of hidden from his view, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this boy will be grown before I know it. I am so proud of him.  If I could write the feelings that come into my heart when I thing of this boy it would be a miracle, but let me name a few.  Tender-hearted.  Obedient.  Strong.  Helpful. Desires to do good continually.  Fantastic brother.  I could go on and on.  So so so so glad to have Tyler in our family.  LOVE YOU!!  3!  ;)
Aaron turned 9 and Savannah turned 2 a day apart from each other.  Aaron has made so much growth in the last year and not just in clothe sizes!  I have been so amazed by the amount of courage that he has shown in choosing the right and mastering some things that get him feeling down.  He is so much help to me and his siblings and is HILARIOUS!  His quick quiet wit catches me off guard sometimes.  Love you Bo Baron! 

And Savannah.  What a blessing she is.  Not just to me but everyone who meets her.  It's not just her dimples that gets you, but her personality is to die for.  She has filled such a sweet spot in me that I am so grateful for.  She is so conscientious to details and likes everything just so.  She is so stinkin smart too.  Like, too smart.  :)  She brings me and the rest of my family so much happiness. 

Em J.  I am constantly amazed at the spunkiness of this girl!  She often throws caution to the wind and breaks loose.  She still fits the phrase that I have given her since she was really little... A girlie girl tom boy.  She took gymnastics in the fall and is about to start up again.  I am so impressed with many things she can do, but especially her upper body strength.  That is my achilles heel so it's fun to see her have so much strength.  Ask her to whip out 20 boy push-ups and she could do it no problem.  Another things that makes me so proud of her is her preparing for her baptism.  She often will come to me with questions or thoughts that she has concerning it, as well as her feeling the Spirit.  Almost 8.  Excited for her, but it makes my heart ache!  I don't want her to grow up! 
Hyrumba.  He is so super dooper cute.  What can I say about him that would adequately describe the whirlwind he is.  His sense of humor and wit, the way he picks up on things, the sweet way he treats your baby sister, and of course, his sass, all makes him one fun kid to be around (most of the time... ha!)  I am going to miss him so much when he goes off to Kindergarten.  The mad skills he has in any sport he tries makes me want to wear full body protection when I play with him! 

Whew.  If you have read this far, I am impressed.  I do write in an actual paper journal.  I have found that I am too often not able to finish handwriting about each of my kids due to interruptions etc, so I figured this would be a good venue to catch up.  Thanks for hanging in there.  :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Growing Pains

Do you ever feel like people can see things about yourself that you don't only to find out later that they were right?  I kinda feel like a chump when that happens.

It makes me wonder what would have happened had I embraced those observations instead of explain them away.  Fast forward a year or so and I see those things said to me realized.  But here is the difference.  It was the Spirit that whispered the words to me.  Almost as if I needed that second or third witness to what had already been spoken to me by those who love me.  The vehicle that was used this time was music.  A song I have sung a million times and that has affected me in different ways several times.  This time it was these words:
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell —
All is well! All is well!
Let's just put in on the record that I have had plenty to mourn about.  Plenty of things that are classified as "hard". Even that word doesn't seem to encapsulate what I have been through these last four years.  I have had to rely on too many people. Something that I think is really hard for most people.  No one likes to be in a position where there is no other option than to open your uplifted hand and say "Help."  I, like most, much prefer to be the one to offer to help and strengthen the feeble knees.

The constant battering of life's trials has brought me so low that I thought there was to be no escape.  That I had been called to do more than I could.  But tender mercy upon tender mercy and line upon line and small moments here and there led me a step at a time.  Sometimes it was people constantly opening there homes to my children who were also having a hard time.  Sometimes it was an email from a random ward member after a day where I questioned... A lot. Sometimes Most times it was from unfailing friends who took me (and sometimes my kids) at my worst and wrapped their arms around me anyway.  The same who refused to talk bad, harsh, judgmental things about me or my family behind my back.  People who decided that love, even without all the details, is the best way to handle a situation that you are not privy to.

I loved what President Uchtdorf said in this last conference.  He spoke of many things that I had wished to tell some people but really, it chagrined me enough to take some of the growing pains I am currently experiencing with a more open heart.  He said:

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
Stop it!
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?
Why is it so hard to "Stop"?  We all do it.  Most times, I have noticed when I judge the harshest, those end up being when I needed to love the most. 

So.  Taking all of this in stride.  Being on the judging end and also desperately trying to weather through being judged.  I am working on changing my nature.  It's not easy.  I keep failing, but I also succeed. 

Growing is hard.  Sometimes I get apathetic because it is so dog gone it hard.  I really start to wonder what's the point.  It's too hard to fight back.  And then the same words come back to mind, 
"Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake; And soon we'll have this tale to tell — All is well! All is well!"

I have been asked several times what keeps me going with all that I have on my plate.  And it is this.  My eye is on eternity.  The things that I am learning for me and my family are things that can effect my eternal happiness.  All is well.  I don't have to wait for heaven to feel that.  

And THAT is what I am working on.  All IS well. I can thank those that have helped me to this point, but you know what?  It's time for me to do more.  To stand a little taller.  To be a little kinder.  To try a little harder.  

Wish me luck.