Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stolen Thoughts

A few things running through my mind today:

It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. O my soul's joy,
If after every tempest come such calms. . .
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.

I'm so very grateful for the blessing of loving companionship. Whatever any given day may bring, I always end the day in the presence of my best friend. Its nothing grand, nothing extraordinary, but its real, its reliable and its everything I need. I sometimes think how wonderfully content Adam and Eve must have been with each other to be able to live so long with the presence and companionship of only each other. What wonderful friends they must have been.

Turn me loose, set me free
somewhere in the middle of Montana
~Merle Haggard

Its not always feasible, but sometimes I wish I could--just for a moment--disappear to the Missions, to the wide, open space, somewhere far from here. Just run away, take a deep breath of fresh air and be away from people.

We will have disappointments and discouragement--that is part of life. But if we will have faith, our setbacks will be but a moment, and success will come out of seeming failures. Our Heavenly Father can accomplish miracles through each of us if we will but place our confidence and trust in Him.
~Ezra Taft Benson

Life is hard. It often feels like opposition is everywhere. But some sources of strength truly are endless. The Lord promises happy endings, and he delivers--its just that we sometimes see an "ending" where in reality there is merely a plot twist. Be patient. Be obedient. The Lord will make it alright in the end. If its not alright, its not the end. The Lord's timetable is eternal. Ours tends to be weekly. We are loved, more deeply, purely and completely than we can possibly understand right now.

Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine affliction shall be but a small moment. . .thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.
~D&C 121:7,9

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Be of a good courage

Joshua the prophet had a big job. After Moses died, he had a huge pair of shoes to fill: he had to lead the Israelites to the promised land, fight some very literal battles, and help to build a new nation. The Lord knew there would be troubles, and he knew the adversary would be hard at work, and so he commanded Joshua, "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

The harder we try to do good, to actively discover and apply the Lord's will, the harder the adversary will press down on us. The Lord has told us that contention is of the Devil, and so it is that sometimes the adversary pursues his purposes through the bullying acts of other people: threats, intimidation, lies and anger. We needn't strike back in his way. We need only stand courageously for truth and the Lord is on our side.

When you find yourself weighed down by the stress of opposing forces, simply ask yourself, "Have I tried to do the right thing? Have I been striving to be faithful and obedient?" If the answer is "yes", the Lord's promise is as true for you as it was for Joshua. Do not be intimidated by the tactics of the adversary; be strong and of a good courage, because the Lord blesses and protects those who serve him faithfully.

"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid." ~Ronald Reagan

Friday, October 15, 2010

Grandma Lessons

Valerie Umphrey, Lettie Gilbert, Keilana Clark, Becky Clark
August 2004

Been thinking about my grandma a lot lately. She'll have been gone six years next month. She could always calm me down when life was stressful--probably because she was a woman who had lived through a lot of stresses and managed to find a lot of calm in the middle of it all. And because no one in life has ever seemed to love me as effortlessly and completely as she did. And that's saying a lot, because I've been blessed to be well-loved by a lot of good people in life. But nobody can love quite the same way as a grandma. Some things I learned from watching her.

Sure, life is tough. But you're tougher. Whining or complaining is a waste of time. If you've got food in your belly, clothes on your back and a warm place to sleep, you aren't poor; you should always be grateful for what you have, otherwise you're wasting your blessings. Someday you'll laugh about this; the sooner, the better. You are responsible for your actions and the consequences that follow them. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever more important than family. Refuse to be taken advantage of. Love unconditionally, but hold people accountable. Everything is more fun with a few kids in tow. There's always someone who could use your help, so look around, figure out what needs to be done, and get to work. Your husband should be your best friend and someone you respect and have fun with. Discipline is more about consistency and clear expectations than about punishment. But when you've failed to meet the clear expectations, punishment will be fair and swift. Hard work is worth doing, and it always comes before playing. But playing is pretty important, too. A good lightening storm or the Northern Lights are far more important than a warm bed and a little lost sleep. Traveling is one of life's great pleasures, but the most important part of any trip is coming home to the Missions. A good fire makes any home cozier. There are few things better than knowing you got a great deal. An organ is a perfectly reasonable thing to buy at a yard sale. Disneyland is pretty great and you should go if you get a chance, but the happiest place on earth is anywhere that a grandma is surrounded by her grandkids. Patience brings peace. A woman can never have too many shoes. Poking a hole in the bottom of a chocolate is the best way to figure out what the filling is. Never be wasteful-yogurt cups make pretty good kiddy cups and old butter tubs are great for sorting your knickknacks and whatnots. Moms love having things like their little girls' eyeglasses from 5th grade--even if that little girl is over 60. Meat should always be well done, and a little half and half or gravy can make just about anything better. Memorial Day decorations must be left on graves the Saturday before Memorial Day, so that when everyone else comes to decorate graves, yours will already be there looking beautiful. Lilacs and peonies make great bouquets. Walking and flower picking are two of life's great pleasures. Children should be free to explore, so long as they check in now and then. There's nothing wrong with letting the horse hang out in the front yard with you for the afternoon--he's a pet, after all. Tuna fish sandwiches and red Kool-Aid make a fine summer afternoon lunch. Christmas is the best holiday. Halloween is a close second. Grandkids are for spoiling.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh, put me in my place

So I have to get a TB skin test done so that I can volunteer at Dylan's school, but the office in town isn't able to do it because I'm pregnant. So I had to get a lab slip from my midwife, and the lab next door to her office isn't able to do it either, so after driving to Visalia to her office I then had to hop on 198 and drive across to Visalia to a clinic I've never been to, in an area I'm not familiar with. I should also mention that I am tremendously bad at navigating and am quite easily turned around and lost.

So I'm getting irritated and frustrated about having to do this running around for something so simple to begin with, and then on top of that, the last direction on my iPhone didn't make sense and I'm not seeing the lab. Dylan tried to ask me for something (I'm pretty sure it had something to do with McDonald's) and I snapped, "Dylan, be quiet for a minute! I can't find the freaking office!!"

So when I looked at the map and finally figured out that the phone hadn't told me which direction to turn and consequently I had gone the wrong way down the street, I found it quite easily. As I turned into the parking lot, Dylan asked cheerfully, "Mom, is this the Freaking Office?"


I guess I should just be grateful that my six-year-old daughter thinks that "freaking/frickin", "dangit", "heck" and "oh my gosh" are bad words. At least I trained one well. My impulse control isn't great when I'm pregnant.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So far today I have:
cleaned my whole house
(picked everything up,
mopped floors
unpacked and put away everything
from our weekend trip)
sorted all the laundry
and have the first load done
and two more in the machines,
fed three kids breakfast
and two kids lunch,
took Dylan to school,
downloaded the photos from our quick trip,
bathed my stinky, dirty dog,
put Kylie down for a nap
and called my grandma,
who seems to be doing pretty well
considering the month she's had.
Now if only I could muster the energy
to sort and edit and post pictures.
We'll see if I get there.
But I'm taking a break
while the monster sleeps!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Just so you know. . .

I've had a pretty fabulous weekend. Yesterday, just as I dropped Dylan off for preschool and was thus down to one child for a few hours, a good friend texted me and said they were meeting some of our other good friends for lunch and asked if we wanted to come along. So the six of us spent two hours hanging out and eating delicious pizza and laughing at our toddlers. You have no idea how awesome my friends are--you would love them. I know you would, because everyone loves them. I'm just very grateful that they love me. It was a great "break" and I needed the conversation.

After I picked up the older two from school, we made a Target run, and who doesn't love Target? I mostly just had to pick up a few essentials, but I also scored a pair of great shoes for $9, and I so needed shoes.

The kids and I spent the evening playing hard at McDermont with some friends, so that everyone was good and worn out by the time we got our customary Friday night slushies.

This morning we headed out and did a little bit of geo-cacheing close to home. We bought the kids delicious, unhealthy junk for lunch and found a couple of caches out at Kaweah Oaks Preserve. I think Keilana has found a new passion, and her daddy is very glad--I see many cacheing adventures in our future. But let me tell you, geo cacheing at Kaweah Oaks with three kids 6 & under is like combining a jungle adventure with a treasure hunt--in other words, pure magic. We had to do a bit of bush whacking to get to the first one we found, but for Keilana and Kylie that seemed to just add to the fun (and it didn't slow Dylan much).

But what actually struck me about all this as I watched Doug and Keilana race back to the car this afternoon (she kicked his booty in that race, by the way), was how very un-extraordinary all of this was. Enjoying the company of great people, watching my kids run and jump and squeal with wild abandon, soaking in the wonderfulness of my husband playing with them, giggling with them, sharing their excitement--that's just my every day life. Its a good one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Its been a while

but we're still here. We're quite busy, and we're having lots of fun, dancing:

and playing:

and posing:

(Yes, I know Dylan's hair is atrocious. I cut it this morning.)