Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I got up at 4 this morning to take my mom to the airport. We've spent the last three days being outside in the sunshine, soaking up our Yaya time. As my mom walked away from the car to the airport, I thought about not seeing her again for a few months and I was overcome with gratitude for the fact that I have a mother I love spending time with, that my kids adore, and that is so worth missing when she's gone.

I always knew I had a good mom. Seriously--for as long as I can remember, I knew that she loved me, I felt safe with her and I've had fun with her. I never even went through that phase that most teenagers go through where they're embarrassed by their parents. How could I be embarrassed by someone who was so universally loved by my friends? When I was teenager, my mom was very much one of my best friends, and I always knew I was lucky in that.

But as I've grown up, I've come to appreciate her even more. Not just because as we become parents ourselves we have a better appreciation for the sacrifices that parents generally make, but because I've become more and more aware of parents so unlike my own. By the time I hit the last few years of elementary school I realized that I had a much more stable home than many, if not most, of my peers. But as an adult, I've come to understand much better, through some of those I love, the pain of having a parent you can't turn to or rely on, or even talk to. I understand the bitterness of knowing that a grandparent is missing from your child's life because they're simply too toxic to be a part of yours--the sadness of knowing that these precious little people who are a part of you don't even know the person who raised you (or should've but failed to). Its a strange disconnect.

My heart was a little divided the last few days as I watched my three little redheads play with their wonderful grandma and bask in the glow of being with her. I was filled with excitement to watch my uber-shy 15 month old pick up a book and walk up to Yaya and asked to be picked up and read to. I couldn't help but giggle as I saw my 4 and 5 year old running wildly toward the airport terminal yelling, "Yaya!!!" with smiles a mile wide. I laughed as my daughter spent the entire day before her grandma's arrival absolutely bouncing off the walls because she just couldn't contain her excitement. I grinned at the grandparental indulgence when my daughter and mother emerged from Target (where they had supposedly been looking for sunglasses) with a brand new Disney DVD (well, she didn't have Snow White in her Princess movie collection yet, after all).

All that joy and happiness and gratitude was bubbling over, while simultaneously feeling little tugs on my heart for the people I love who lack that blessing in their lives. My gratitude for my mother isn't just a way of expressing appreciation for her, its also a way of acknowledging and remembering those of you who don't have that joy with your parent, or maybe never did. It somehow feels that it would be unfair to all of you if I didn't soak up every little bit of joy and gratitude and wonder at this marvelous blessing in my life. You are never far from my heart in these moments when I recognize my blessings. You are wonderful parents to your little ones--keep focusing on them. Many of you have already become the parent you wish you'd had, and if you stay on the track you're on, you'll be that grandparent pushing your grandson on a swing at the beach or blowing raspberries on your grandbaby's belly, and that little wild thing you have at home now will be that young parent standing to the side and smiling a mile wide, grateful for your presence in their life and in their children's lives. Know that your struggles and heart aches are not unnoticed or forgotten, and live with hope. I love you all.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ah, lucky me

We're picking my mom up from the airport soon (yay!) and tomorrow morning we're headed to the beach. Keilana wanted to take a swimsuit in case she decides to get in, but she's way outgrown her suit from last year and we hadn't bought a new one yet. Enter Amanda. I love hand-me-downs! She had two of Taylor's old swimsuits in great condition for Keilana to take home (in addition to several pairs of shorts, capris, pants and skirts--her summer wardrobe is complete).

We were having headaches with car rental companies this morning trying to get a car big enough for all of us to ride together in to the coast, so Christa and Paul agreed to let us take their Suburban for the day, even though it means that they can't fit their whole family into one vehicle.

How can you not love in-laws like that? They rock!

Friday, March 26, 2010

One Person

If ever you doubt that one person can make a difference in the world by just humbly doing what they do, look around long enough and there will be something that restores your faith.

Early this morning, a woman who had taught at the HS I went to passed away. Its only been about 8 or 9 hours since news of her death broke and there is already a Facebook memorial page in her honor with 100 members (at this tiny-little-village HS, there are only about 150 students enrolled at any given time). Dozens of comments from students spanning a three-decade career, sharing their memories and affection. Some have been out of HS for 20 years or more, but have taken the time today to express their gratitude for her service to them. A mother and teacher, who spent nearly all of her life living in western Montana teaching teenagers at a tiny, rural school. It matters that she was here. What she did mattered. Remember that when your life seems perhaps a bit mundane or unimportant.
Writers block officially gone.
Thoughts, ideas flowing maddeningly fast
from one subject to another,
all intertwined.
No time to sit and write.
November 2007

In June of 2006, this building was nothing more than an idea in Scot's mind and a vague picture in Doug's head. A year and a half later, there it was, going up. A year after that it was almost complete with rock wall, giant tree, zip line, soccer fields, fitness center, Flow Rider, etc, etc.

Its been an amazing journey.

Very quickly after I met Doug, I knew he'd do amazing things. I was shocked to see that impression realized so soon. All along the way I've been grateful to be a little part of it, but thoroughly convinced I'd never want to do it again. Well. I said I'd never get married before I finished college--I've been married almost 7 years with college still unfinished. I swore I'd never have a redhead. The Lord has sent me three so far. I swore I'd never have a December baby--didn't mean to, but here she is. Swore I'd never live in California, but here I am. Since God seems determined to prove to me who's really in charge of my life, I've learned to never say "never". Only Heaven knows what adventures await us still. I've learned to welcome the adventures with open arms. Usually.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One really good reason

to stick around Lindsay for a good while:
i'd love to keep watching this trio of blue-eyed girls grow together.

Monday, March 22, 2010


When I was in the biology program at BYU-H, there were quite a few students there from western European countries who planned to go on to med school after they finished their biology degree. None of them had any plans of returning to their native countries to practice medicine because, as one good-natured redhead from England put it, "I'm not putting in the time, effort and expense of going to medical school so that I can go home to be over-worked, poorly paid and constantly doing paperwork." If he stayed on track, he should be finishing up his training about now.

I'm wondering how he feels about his adopted country this morning.

Friday, March 19, 2010


This little lady:
Always picks out her own clothes. She believes that every challenge can be won and every obstacle overcome, and she loves facing fears and getting stronger and braver. She seems to think that life has hurdles only to add more jumping--and she loves jumping! She has her moments--intense, insane, emotional moments--but on her better days, she's like living with bottled sunshine. She believes that grass is for bare-foot running, sunshine is for dancing and cameras are for posing.
She's all girl. She loves to get dirty (to climb trees, make sandcastles, catch bugs and tromp through the water), just like any kid, but she prefers dresses to jeans and people to things. She's a social butterfly, always at her happiest when she's surrounded by people to talk to, dance with, play and laugh with. There's so much personality to fit into such a little body, that sometimes a squeal just slips out almost unintentionally. She loves to talk and will just yak, yak, yak at you as long as you let her. If you take the time to verbally walk her through what you want or expect of her, you'll almost never get any opposition. She wants to be your friend, and she wants to see you smile. She LOVES babies, and she is one of the best big sisters around.
She thinks her little brother is pretty fun most of the time, and that her baby sister is the coolest thing since Oreos. She loves to make her sister laugh and loves to play tag and go hill rolling with her brother. Kylie is a pretty big fan of Keilana, too. Its nice to have someone that looks a bit like you, who'll give you a hand when you need it and always loves you, even when you're cranky and even though you smell funny sometimes. Our little Keila Bug. Or, as she would correct me, Princess Keila Bug. We love our little royal.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Refining Thoughts

On the way home from Mimi's today (we went over to see the twins--so cute!), we had the windows rolled down, music blaring, sun shining, and Kylie all smiles as she waved her head in the wind and tried to boogie as much as possible (its tricky when you're strapped into a toddler seat). Cut from a good cloth, that one. :)

But I got distracted. That's not why I'm here. I was actually going to post my talk from Sacrament Meeting last Sunday. I've had a few people request a copy of it, and thought that directing people here from now on might be a bit easier than sending emails.

I was asked to speak on “The Power of Refining Our Thoughts”. That’s a big and tricky subject for me, and thankfully the Bishopric, in giving me my speaking assignment, directed me to a talk by Bishop H. David Burton from last October’s General Conference, entitled “Let Virtue Garnish thy Thoughts”.

I have to admit that I don’t think I’ve ever had such a hard time getting started with a talk before—trying to figure out what to say and where to go with the subject. A love of words is one of the gifts that the Lord has blessed me with, and putting words on paper has never been very difficult for me. So as I struggled to figure out what to say, I started to doubt myself and waver a bit in the faith that I could accomplish successfully the task that had been given to me. I didn’t know where to start. Gratefully, in the midst of my insecurities and doubts, I had a moment of clarity where the thought came to me, start there: words and doubts.

The phrase “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts” comes from a revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants and was actually the theme for the youth a few years ago when I was serving in the the YW program. We talked a lot about the importance of being aware of and in control of our thoughts, as our thoughts become words, our words become actions, our actions become our habits and our habits become our character. We talked a lot about what kinds of things our thoughts should focus and on some things they probably shouldn’t, and that’s a great start. But as I thought more about the word “garnish” in that scripture, I thought it was important not to stop there with a list of good things to think about and bad things to think about.

When we use the word garnish, for most of us it brings to mind images of a nice dinner plate with a few sprigs of parsley around the edges—a bit a decoration. And virtue does indeed beautify our thoughts in many ways. But “garnish” actually come from a root that means to warn or guard. In this scripture, the Lord essentially commands us to ensure that virtue beautifies and guards our thoughts. Its not just about what we think, but rather how we think.

For example, as I struggled to get started on my talk, there was nothing inherently wrong with
what I was thinking about and in fact, I was thinking about very good things. But I was thinking about them in a manner that was doubtful and lacking faith. When we are not careful about guarding the manner in which we think, it is easy for the temptations of the world and the works of the adversary to slip into our minds. One of Satan’s most effective tools is to deepen our doubts. Doubting thoughts about good subjects are often what keep us from doing that which will make us happiest. In fact, it is often those doubts that lead us to take action in self-destructive ways when we do not instead take immediate action to change the course of our thoughts. Virtue is not a list of subjects, it is state of being. The Lord gave us minds and He expects us to use them, but to use them in a responsible and righteous way. He has told us get to know Him and His doctrines—to ask for ourselves if they are true.

Too often, we use that exhortation as an excuse to act as petulant, rebellious teenagers trying to prove our parents wrong, rather than as the Lord intended: asking questions in a faithful, obedient manner; asking not to undermine the Lord’s will and doctrine, but rather asking questions in order to understand.

In his talk, Bishop Burton said, “Virtuous traits form the foundation of a Christian life and are the outward manifestation of the inner man. The spelling in English of many individual virtues concludes with the letters ity: integrity, humility, charity, spirituality, accountability, civility, fidelity, and the list goes on and on”.

As I have pondered what to say, three particular virtues and how they influence the way we think kept coming back to me, and I’d like to briefly address each one.

The first is humility. It matters very little how much study we do or how much Gospel knowledge we gain, how much time we spend thinking about things of eternal importance, if our thoughts about such things are not marked by humility. When we are prideful in our thinking, pondering Gospel subjects almost always becomes an exercise in self-justification, rather than self-improvement. If you find yourself spending much of your time quoting the scriptures and the prophets in order to point out what others around you need to change, rather than applying those messages to yourself and your own behavior, it is time to cleanse your mind and realign your thoughts. So many of us spend so much time trying to keep our homes clean—scrubbing floors and filing papers and throwing out the clutter; doing all we can to beautify with paint and flowers and decorations, in order to create a beautiful space where the Spirit can linger, and we absolutely should do those things. But how many of us put that same effort into organizing, cleansing and beautifying our thoughts in order to invite the Spirit there? If it is difficult to feel the spirit in a messy, unclean home, how much harder must it be for the Spirit to dwell in a mind that is muddled and prideful. We must have the humility to take the time to sort our thoughts, to dust off the good stuff and throw out that clutter. For me, that often means sitting down with a notebook and pen. For you, it may mean a long walk or drive by yourself, or a good conversation with your spouse. Whatever the method, we must have the humility to recognize and let go of thoughts that are holding us back or hurting those we love.

Next, I wish to address selflessness. If you’ll excuse the personal chatter, I think I can best illustrate the benefits of this trait through a couple of personal experiences. The first happened when I was a youth, about 16 or 17. As many teenagers do, I struggled with a lot of insecurity and self-consciousness. I worried often that other people were saying unkind things about me, or at least thinking them. I worried that people were judging my appearance or my personality harshly. Finally, it occurred to me how deeply arrogant and selfish--and ultimately unfair to those around me--my insecurities were. Not only was I assuming that people were constantly thinking and talking about
me, but I was also assuming that they were unkind enough that all the things they were thinking or saying about me were negative. I was thinking so much about myself and assuming the worst about everyone else. I realized at that moment the utter ridiculousness of my self-consciousness and was able to let go of most of it and found myself free to think much more about others, to observe other more closely and consequently serve them better, because I wasn’t thinking about myself all the time.

The next experience happened much more recently. I’d been running on very little sleep for a few weeks. I had been sick, my kids had been sick and there had been a lot going on. I was exhausted and just wanted a break. I sat down at the computer to read and kind of swatted my little kids away, complaining that I just wanted five minutes to myself. I sat down to read a blog that I enjoy, and was caught very off guard as I read this poem:

I saw a young mother with eyes full of laughter
And five little shadows came following after.
Wherever she moved, they were always right there--
Holding onto her skirts, hanging onto her chair,
Before her, behind her--an adhesive pair.

"Don't you ever get weary as day after day
Your five little tagalongs get in your way?"

She smiled as she shook her pretty young head,
And I'll always remember the words that she said:
"Its good to have shadows that run when you run,
That laugh when you're happy and hum when you hum--
For you only have shadows
When your life's filled with sun."

I was deeply humbled as I was reminded of this perspective on child-rearing and realized the terrible selfishness of my thinking. For weeks I had thought about almost nothing but my children (certainly very good things to think about), yet I had been thinking of them as burdens to be carried or trials to be endured, rather than as precious blessings to be treasured and enjoyed. My children’s behavior didn’t change. We didn’t all magically become healthy. There were still pages of “to-do” lists to tackle. All that changed was how I was thinking, and that changed everything. I stopped selfishly worrying about my tiredness, my lack of “free time”, the things I thought I wanted to do. Instead, I thought about how I could better teach my children and how I could better serve them. The Spirit in our home changed dramatically.

It is often difficult to be honest with ourselves about our own selfishness. But there’s an easy way to check yourself: if you hurt or upset someone, whether intentionally or not, does it upset you because you care about them and don’t want to cause undue pain or stress to another, or does it upset you because you don’t want negative feelings directed at you? Do other people matter to you because of what they can do for and how their feelings affect your life, or do they matter to you simply because they are children of the same Father, your brother or sister, and therefore deserving of your love and service? Answering that question honestly is sometimes difficult and painful, but absolutely necessary for refining our thoughts.

Lastly, I’d like to talk about hope. As I said before, doubtful thoughts and cynical thoughts are some of the most destructive powers in life. Yet we make so many mistakes. We watch people we love make mistakes, sometimes horrible ones and sometimes the same ones over and over and we start to lose a bit of hope—we start to wonder if anything or anyone can really ever change. There are so many trials in this life, and so many over which we have so little control that it can be extraordinarily challenging at times to maintain hopeful thoughts.

Our Father sent us here knowing it would be hard and that we would make mistakes, so he provided an Atonement. Whatever hardships we face, or sins we commit, or ways that we see loved ones falter, we must always, always,
always keep at the forefront of our thoughts the fact that the Atonement is real, that it is infinite and it is eternal. The Savior stepped forward with selflessness and humility and said, “Here am I, send me”, and then again, "Not my will, but Thine," and so gave us all hope. He prayed, He suffered and He came off conquerer. We must view ourselves, those around us and the circumstances in which we may find ourselves, through that fact and the hope that it provides. Thoughts of doubt and cynicism lead us to make mistakes in our own lives and to judge the character and fate of those around us unfairly and incompletely. The Plan of Salvation shows us so clearly what a loving, patient and tremendously merciful Father we have. The happiest people on earth are the people that remember that always. The Savior commanded us to “be of good cheer”. He knew how hard life is, but He also knew that in His life and Atonement he bore the possibility and means of cultivating a cheerful temperament. “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” He said, “but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” In Proverbs it says, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is He.” Those who have a light in their eyes and a smile on their faces are those who have a solid testimony in their hearts of the Atonement and think through the prism of that truth. Those who find the most joy in this life don’t just think about hopeful things, they think about all things in a hopeful way. They follow the admonition of the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants to “Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not, fear not.”

Just as the Lord has blessed us with wonderful bodies that we can use to run, play, build things, comfort others and create new life, He has also endowed us with marvelous powers of mind that enable us to explore all kinds of fascinating subjects, to connect to one another, and yes, sometimes even to create something new. And so we are just as accountable to Him for what we do with the miraculous powers of our minds as we are for what we do with the miraculous capacities of our mortal bodies.

Bishop Burton said, “We need to stand tall and be firmly fixed in perpetuating Christlike virtues in our everyday lives.” Who we are, how we treat others, and what we accomplish is all determined by how we think. I bear my testimony that as we strive to refine our thoughts and become more Christlike, the Lord does add more light and truth to our understanding, increasing our capacities. I am certain that as we strive to think in a more virtuous manner, He will fulfill his promise that, in the end, we will be able to stand even in His presence with great confidence. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Half-conscious thoughts

As I drifted off to sleep in Doug's arms the other night, somewhere in that twilight between awake and asleep, I found myself enjoying a beautiful Montana summer evening--near perfection. The warm (but never hot), crisp air inviting against bare skin (arms and legs free after a cold, bundled winter), the soft grass heavenly on little bare feet. Running under willow trees and darting around cotton woods, kids screaming with delight while playing "No bears out tonight". Seemingly unlimited space to run wild in, flowers blooming everywhere, with impossibly long days ending with twilights that seem to last nearly forever.

Life is good.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This little man:
is all about order, structure, and systems. Since he was knee-high to a grasshopper he has been obsessed with cars. But cars have always needed roads or tracks. If he couldn't find one, he'd make one--out of Legos, ties, whatever was handy. Seriously, since he was a babe of 12 months. This is how he rolls with everything in life. He likes to make sure he's in control of his world. He has to either be the engineer of the track or the driver of the car, if you will. If you take that control away from him, he's as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. He understands fairly abstract concepts and picks them up from the strangest places. I'm worried that I won't be able to keep up with him, or know how to properly channel his obsessive behaviors. But I ask a lot for help and strive to patient with myself with him. Things will be done his way. He only likes crackers, pizza, chicken nuggets granola bars, cereal and peanut butter. If he can't have any of those things, he will--with very little fanfare or drama--starve himself. Seriously, he's gone a full 36 hours with no food before. Because it wasn't what he wanted and he'll gag on anything else. He loves his daddy and is sure that he's helping whenever there's a project to be done and he drags out his little plastic tools. He is all boy and there isn't often a lot of gentleness about him, but he loves his sisters and becomes a little mush pot when playing with "my baby sister", as he calls her. When he's happy, he's hilarious, with an off-the-wall sense of humor (and a bit off-the-wall everything else). He doesn't have a shy bone in his body, but either he's all about the socialness or he doesn't care that people are around at all--he can very quickly retreat into his own world. Dylan is different. He keeps me on my toes, and he makes me laugh. Seriously: laugh and laugh and laugh. . . .


Some days being a parent is great, and your children do all kinds of adorable things that make you giggle and sigh.

And then other days, you walk into your toddler's room after her nap, to find her standing in her crib completely naked (except for her Baby Legs NotSox), screaming and looking in horror at the poop on her fingers, as she has removed her shirt, dress and messy diaper. And you silently think, "Tell me again why I chose to reproduce?"

Yeah, that's kind of been the day we've had around here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

They're here!

Christa and Paul's twins arrived at about 1:30 this morning. No c-section! They're beautiful.
The big guy: Frederick Duncan West 5lb 1 oz, 20 inches long
I'll probably be calling him "Freddie"

The little brother: Sebastian Wilde West 4lb, 6oz, 20 in

Mostly I'll call him "Baz", but I'll be sure to slip in an occasional
"Sea Bass"

Now hopefully Christa won't see this and point out I memorized who was who but got it backwards. I'm pretty sure that I've got it right though: Frederick in blue blankie, Sebastian in brown.

Wish them luck!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Guess what?

Kylie, in all her runny-nosed, goopy-eyed, mouth-breathing misery, took a super long nap today. So I busted my butt while she snoozed. Then there may have been some big sister bribery and some extra computer time (OK, a lot of extra computer time) involved for Dylan, but (drum roll. . . . .):

my house is clean as a whistle (or at least as tidy as a flute)

both of my lessons are prepared

my talk is written (I need to go over it a few times)

the last two loads of laundry are in the washer and dryer

the kids are happily in bed

Boo-yah, cold and flu season. Take that!

Here we go. . .

Back from a trip to Disneyland with the two older kids. Pictures, stories to come later. Had a really great time. Back to reality.

5 loads of laundry to do

4 messy rooms to clean

3 kids to keep fed and out of my hair

2 lessons to prepare

1 talk to write
1 tired, cranky, miserable little snot faucet who constantly wants to be held while I'm trying to accomplish everything else.

Its going to be a long couple of days.

See you on the other side.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Belated Birthday Present

Last week, one of my blogging buddies--who I happen to be lucky enough to know in the real, non-cyber world--had a birthday. My belated present to her (in reality, a gift to all of you) is to tell you to check out her blog.

You won't be disappointed. She's been through a heck of a lot the last few years, and she's still going strong with fabulous perspective and an awesome sense of humor. Check her out, add her blog to your list, stalk her. Its worth your time. She'll make you laugh a lot, occasionally might make you tear up a bit or at least wax hopefully melancholy, and delight you with the impossible adorableness of her little munchkins. Go. Read.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Its Saturday night. My house is kind of a mess, but I've been on my feet all day, so I really have little energy left. I can't ever relax until its clean, though, so I imagine I'll get to it. I stupidly went to bed sometime just before 2 last night, knowing that I had an extra kid, a Primary activity, and several large tasks to get done today.

In the mean time, I haven't yet started my lesson for tomorrow morning, either of my lessons for next week (I switched weeks I teach RS this month to accommodate my mom's upcoming visit), the talk I'm supposed to give next week, or this month's newsletter. I should get to some of that.

On the other hand, my patio now has three less bushes, two severely trimmed and ready to be removed trees, and my husband and son are at Lowe's or Home Depot picking out garden wall stone, and various other supplies (planters, pavers, etc.) Finally gonna start living in our house instead of just kind of hanging out here until The Next Step.

*happy sigh*

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beautiful Day

Its been beautiful here all week. And yesterday was totally gorgeous. To get a sense of just how glorious an afternoon it was, I should say that these photos were taken with my phone. While driving. Seriously. It was that incredible out there. And to get the full effect of just how happy I was, you need to know that while I took them, the car was full of happy kids chattering away, the windows were down with the wind in everyone's hair, and Jack Johnson was playing on the stereo. Not bad for a Thursday afternoon.


The whole Prop 8 California gay marriage debate has caused a lot of headaches and a lot of heartbreaks. I made phone calls and such in support of the amendment, which constitutionally defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

I get the other side of the argument. Believe me, I do. I've had gay friends (most of whom I have, admittedly, lost touch with over the years). My husband currently has a few gay co-workers who are amazing people. There's a part of me that, knowing these good-hearted individuals who have been generous and kind to me, wants to just say, "What's the big deal?" and let it be. I understand all their arguments and feelings, and I see why it all makes so much sense from that side of the issue. We've had a few moments with some of those we love that have been horribly hard. Nevertheless, I have firm thoughts and beliefs on why, in the long run, that would be an unwise and unhealthy choice for our society, both spiritually and sociologically, so my mind isn't going to be changed, heartaches and difficulties aside. Yes, I realize that makes me sound narrow and hard-hearted to many. I also know that those who know me personally know that I am not narrow or hard-hearted at all, so they remain puzzled, but usually not angry.

But something that has driven me absolutely bonkers is the argument that straight people have been destroying marriage for a long time, so its hypocritical to try to say this shouldn't be OK because it tarnishes the sanctity of marriage. Would it be hypocritical for a thrice-divorced guy who cheated on a few wives to go on diatribes about gay marriage ruining the sanctity of marriage? Yeah, probably.

But that's not who I am either. I take marriage very seriously--mine and other peoples. With my husband, I work very hard on our relationship. That means communicating, compromising, sacrificing and always putting that relationship before all others to ensure its health and longevity--because nothing else, even our very, very precious children, matters as much in the long run as that relationship with each other. Our kids are the only priority that comes close to our marriage, and they benefit tremendously every day from the emphasis that we put on our marriage. I stay out of other people's marriages; there have been times when I've been invited in momentarily to help facilitate communication and I've done that with love for both people involved and quietly and quickly excused myself when my help was no longer needed. To become who we should be, we need that companion who fights our battles, celebrates our victories and completes our happiness. The person who challenges us to, with them, reach our full potential. As Shakespeare so beautifully put it, "He is the half part of a blessed man/Left to be finished by such as she/And she a fair divided excellence/Whose fullness of perfection lies in him."

So don't tell me that because straight people get divorced and make a mockery of marriage, I am a hypocrite for trying to maintain its sanctity. Yes, I'm against no-fault divorce (though not divorce under any circumstances--I do think that there are rare times when that is, sadly, the only real option left). I'm against pre-nuptial agreements (if you're going in with an escape plan for failure, you're not going in the way that you should). And I'm very much against junk food like The Bachelor. You don't just conveniently walk away from marriage because you "outgrew each other" or "just don't feel in love anymore"; you don't head into marriage thinking it'll probably end anyway, so lets have a plan; and you don't turn courting and marriage into a game show for the entertainment of others. Its sacred, its personal, and it deserves to be respected and cherished--not torn apart or exploited.

If you respect the sanctity of marriage, respect it in its entirety, not just when compelled to by legal issues. Sure, the invite we got last year to a gay wedding puts us in an awkward position, trying to reconcile our love for an individual with the proper action to support our principles. But it didn't make me angry. I admit, though, that casual divorce and marriage-as-public-entertainment make me very angry, so don't throw them at me as an example of something I excuse or support in order to label me a hypocrite.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oldie but a goodie

The Montana folk out there might recognize those rocks. This was taken in July 2005, when Michael and Christa took Doug and I up to Jocko Falls with some of the older kids while Mom watched the littlest swimmers. He started to dive, then thought, "Hmmm. . .maybe not a good idea to go in head first from this height." So he tried to correct. So he belly flopped. In that cold, cold water (I know that theoretically water is supposed to freeze at 32*, but I'm pretty sure that that water never gets warmer than about 15*--even in July). Given the way he hit and the pain afterward, we suspect he may have cracked a rib and may have had a minor concussion. And the next morning, he went hiking. In the Missions. With my brothers. It was a rough vacation. Side that caused him pain every time he coughed, sneezed, laughed, turned or breathed too deeply. Knees that revolted against the steepness of the Missions and pretty much stopped working for him. But at least we got a photo of him looking like a black-clad Superman.


Sorry that I haven't been commenting much on anybody's blogs. The majority of my computer time recently has actually been on my phone, which means navigating Facebook is still pretty easy, but Blogger is not my friend. I can read blogs on my phone just fine, but when it comes to commenting, I have to sign in and there's no mobile page so it takes 49 hours to load and then freezes. . . .

Becky+iPhone+Blogger comments=unhappy love triangle.

I'm enjoying reading your blogs and I'm not ignoring you!!! :)