Wednesday, June 29, 2011


So I have these four rather amazing kids. They drive me batty occasionally (sometimes it seems that families exist primarily to teach us patience), but they're happy and well-behaved (most of the time) and they love me and each other and are a whole lot of fun.

And I have marvelous friends. This week I've got to spend quite a bit of time with some key friends, people I couldn't imagine loving more or being more comfortable and open with. They've been the greatest blessing of our time spent here in Lindsay--living in the pressure cooker with us, understanding of our flaws while still helping us to become our best selves. I couldn't have asked for anyone better.

And then back to family. Family, wherein I have been so absurdly fortunate. Most people love my family, and with good reason. If you don't know them, trust me, you would love at least a few of them, and likely all of them. My parents are supportive, encouraging, demanding and forgiving. My siblings are hilarious and devoted and fun. They all married wonderful people, and are raising gaggles of wonderful, unique kids. My sisters have been great examples and friends to me--you know how younger siblings reach that age where they're not cute anymore and they're just annoying? I'm sure I must've hit that stage with my sisters, but to their credit, I never knew it. They always included me and often let me tag along or hang out with them when they were with their friends. I always felt like they liked having me around, which meant the world to me, because I thought they were about the coolest girls to ever walk the planet. My brothers were always coming up with some grand adventure or scheme, and their creativity added a lot of excitement (and, in my more sensible moments, fear) to my life. And, being the baby, I never had to deal with what a lot of youngest children do in being seen forever as the baby. As we grew up, they let me grow up, too, and now we're all friends. Pretty fabulous, right?

But then I got Doug's family. I had no idea what I was getting--I didn't meet a single member of his family until a week or two before we got married, and at first it was totally overwhelming for me. They were so different than my own relatively low-key clan: loud, outspoken, emotional. They occasionally would randomly start singing songs together (now that I've been in on a few rounds of that with Billy Joel or Kingston Trio songs, I'm so glad that they do that). It took some adjustments and some learning, but now his sisters are some of my closest friends and I can't imagine my life without them. They're so terribly much fun. They're my sisters. Rachel and Chuck, whose personality types are much more familiar to me, fell into such a natural place as my other dad and my baby sister after Chuck and Katy got married and Doug and I moved here from Hawaii.

All told, there are four people in my life that I think of very explicitly as my parents, and 18 people run through my mind when I picture "brothers and sisters". Those are people that love me and consider me some of their closest family. And that's before I even start counting faithful friends.

And, of course, there is my husband. If I had spent as much time with any other person in the world as I have with him the last six months, it may have ended with me smothering the other person or myself. But I don't feel that way at all--I find myself wishing we could figure out a way to be self-employed so that we could have him at home this much all the time. I think I'll miss him when he has to go back to being at work 8-10 hours every day, and I know his littlest girls will miss him.

Part of the reason I haven't written much the last several months is that in all the stress and fear of the unknown and emotional difficulties swirling around us, I just don't feel much like sharing. Who knows who reads this besides my close friends? It feels strange to me just putting personal things out there into the universe unless there is some universal principle, some lesson, that can be drawn from it. But the other reason is that every time I sit down to write, the words escape me. I can't think or feel anything other than a literally overwhelming gratitude for the people in my life and the great love that surrounds me. Thank you, all of you, for being you and for everything that you are to me. Its hard to imagine a person more blessed than myself.

I consider myself twice blessed, in that I'm happy--and I know it.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Isn't it a blast?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Almost a decade

Today is the kids' last day of school. As we were making our way home in the sunshine, I was feeling a little lost, as there wasn't a Sam, a Stephen, a bonfire, a creek, or marshmallow to be seen. It's been 9 years since I've had a last day of school like that, yet I still have that feeling every June. I wonder how many more years til that feeling wears off.

Of course, I don't think I'll ever not miss Sam and Stephen. Life was fun with those two. Really fun.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


So, it seems like I've missed 1,000 things lately. . .and I have. I've remembered to scribble a few things down here and there but it occurred to me that since starting this blog a couple of years ago, I've gotten quite horrible about journaling. I hope I haven't lost anything important in the busyness while I neglected to blog.

Keira Clark was blessed on Easter Sunday, April 24th, 2011 in the Lindsay Ward of the Porterville California Stake. She was blessed by her daddy, Douglas Clark, with Brad Clark, Paul West and Nate McDonald (uncles), Christopher Clark, Charles Winter (grandpas), and Kindon Meik and Clint Ashcraft (family friends) all standing in.

Seeing any baby blessed, especially my own, always makes me feel joyful. I was particularly grateful at Keira's blessing, however. With everything that has been going on of late and the emotional exhaustion that has resulted from all that, seeing my little girl in that big circle of faithful Priesthood holders and knowing that she was coming to a place and family where she was already so tremendously loved reminded me how blessed we are. It was a striking visual and spiritual reminder that I have in my life many, strong loving arms surrounding me and supporting me. For every difficulty in my life, there are at least a dozen blessings, usually in the form of friends and loved ones. To be loved by and bound to so many good people is truly a supernal joy--there are no words.

Keira was blessed that she would be able to know right from wrong, and blossom into the kind of young women that her Father in Heaven will be pleased with. She was told that she has been blessed with many gifts that would reveal themselves over time. She was blessed that she would be able to feel the love of her family, as she has been born to a home and family where there is a great deal of love and affection; that she would have the ability to be a peacemaker and someone that her siblings love to be around; that she would be motivated to serve others and have the health and strength she would need to do so.

I've learned to pay close attention to baby blessings--I used to think of them as a nice thing we do, but not being an ordinance otherwise not very important. But it has been fun to go back and read my older childrens' blessings as they've grown a little and I've gotten to know them better and see how they fit in our little family.

In Keilana's blessing, we heard that she would have a keen heart and strong testimony, with the ability to bring the Spirit into her home and into the lives of those around her, to be a comfort to me and set an example of for her siblings as they came, and that she would know the Savior's love for her. I've often said to Doug and a few others that is amazes how natural and almost instinctive her understanding of the Gospel is-its always wonderful to see how much she "gets" it and understands for someone her age. I've never worried much about her-something's always told me, this one will figure it out. And she lights people up-everywhere she goes, she collects fan clubs because she's got so much love to give.

And Dylan. Oh, Dylan. He was blessed that he'd continue to have a good disposition and a good relationship with his sister, and that he would have the spiritual fortitude to face his challenges, because he would have some that were unique to him. When I heard that and he was only six weeks old, it threw me for a bit of a loop, "What does that mean?" Now that I've watched him grow a little, I have a much better understanding of what that meant. I don't always know what to do with him, but he delights me with all off his little strangenesses.

When Kylie was blessed, I remember thinking, "OK, I've got this one pegged." Her blessing said exactly what I expected, which is funny, since hers was the longest of any of our babies. She was told that she was one of the Lord's chosen daughters and would have His spirit with her, that she would be a stalwart and faithful member of the Church. She was told that she would be a steadying influence in her family and a support and friend to her siblings, as well as to many others. She was blessed that she would love and learn to embrace the Gospel and be baptized and learn the virtues taught in YW so that she could start an eternal family of her own, that she would be a light in her mother's eyes and quick to smile. As little as she is, so much of that has already been fulfilled, and I'm sure will continue to be. With a lot of intense personality coming before her, she's our little even keel, our little charmer.

My point is, I got some good ones. The way things go around here, I suspect that we were friends long before we were officially organized into this little family unit. I know that a lot of mothers struggle to feel like they're doing the best they can with and for their kids but the truth is, as frightening as the responsibilities of parenting can be, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it or kicking myself. That's not because of any tremendous confidence in myself; it because of confidence in my children, in the inherent good in them. I've been here longer and so there's a lot I can offer them because they haven't figured a lot of things out yet, and I try to be consistent and to teach them and hope that they'll forgive the times/areas where I fall short, but at the end of the day I know that they are remarkable souls and that they'll do just fine in the long run. I think of how much my mom means to me and how much she's given me, and its hard to imagine ever being able to bless my children as much as they've blessed me. Even with all the madness and stress that's gone around the last several months, our home has been filled with laughter and play every day. There's been a lot of wrestling and reading with Daddy, and Family Home Evenings where I'm sure Dylan heard nothing but did cover every square inch of our living room with his wiggling, and horsey rides on the carpet and jump ropes flying everywhere. I'm glad that Doug and I found each other and that we were sent these little people that we got, because we're having a whole lot of fun, the six of us.