Monday, April 29, 2013

I must be getting old. . .

Because these have become really popular,
especially among Mormon mommies,
and I see it and think,
"Nice! A fitted tank I can wear
under sheer layers/sweaters,
that, unlike a cami,
will completely cover my g's.
But apparently a lot of other mommas
see it and think,
"Cool! A fitted tank I can wear with my g's!
No layering required!"

And I think, "Um . . .

I may officially be turning into an old lady.
I mean I am almost *gulp*

Well, one more year.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Lucky Me

My boys:)

My girls!

My baby:)

The sun was shining,
it was 68*,
there were swings to swing,
slides to slide,
monkey bars to dangle from,
trees to climb,
and there may have been some bare feet
in the creek.
Oh, spring seems to really have arrived.

That sinking feeling. . .

I found out this morning that the young son of a girl I met last week was pulled out of a pool, unconscious, given CPR and life-flighted to an area hospital yesterday.

As soon as I saw the post, my heart sank down into my stomach.  Even when I found out that it looks like he's probably going to be OK in the long run, my heart just kept sitting there, at the bottom of my stomach.

It doesn't happen very often any more, but every once in a while something happens that just throws me, emotionally, right back into where I was on that afternoon 6 years ago:  some strange, horrible combination of panicked, horribly sad, sick to my stomach, blurry with tears, and yet somehow in disbelief.  A pressing feeling that I have to do something--I can't possibly be this helpless, powerless, resigned to this fate.  Trying to accept all over again that there are some things I cannot stop, cannot change, and just live with that knowledge and try our best to move on together.

A little jab at my heart that reminds me that some thoughts will always bring tears, and some heart breaks never entirely heal in this world.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ups and downs

This little lady is 2.  Can you believe that?  This photo was taken almost exactly 2 years ago.  Tonight, when I put my little girls to bed and asked what song they wanted me to sing, she excitedly answered, "Teach me light!"  I've never had a baby turn 2 and not already had another baby or been pregnant.  Doug and I got married 3 weeks after my 19th birthday, I was pregnant a month and a half later, and haven't yet gone a full, consecutive 12 months not pregnant or nursing.  The longest gap between pregnancies was exactly 24 months, and 15 of those months I was breastfeeding.  Part of me is quite heartsick that there are no immediate plans for another baby--I love anticipating a newborn and snuggling with a baby, and watching those first crawls and steps--but the part of me that knows that of the 117 months I've been married, I've been gestating or nursing a baby for 85 of them, is a little relieved.  Essentially my entire adult life, I've been sharing my body with other people (with all the attendant, constant hormonal fluctuations), so I'm kind of glad to finally be hitting a point where I feel like I'm in control of my own body again.  

But then, I see this picture and. . . .heart flutters.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Whale of Mercy

During the lesson in Relief Society this week, we were discussing Jonah, and I remembered an incident a few years ago that had really bothered me.

An acquaintance had done something rather obnoxious to me.  I don't think it was terribly malicious, but it was also uncalled for and unnecessary and made me uncomfortable.  I was completely unprepared for it and didn't know how to respond, so mostly I just didn't.  I tried to be polite and move on as quickly as possible.

A short while later, that individual pulled me aside to "apologize".  What she actually did was explain to me that she didn't do what everyone who observed the behavior thought she did.  As that person spoke, I felt miserably sick through my entire body, and the message from the Spirit was clear:  this is a lie.

It bothered me because it was so petty.  You have done something wrong.  It wasn't a huge deal, but everyone saw through your charade and knows that you have done something wrong.  It would be so simple to just acknowledge that and move past it and forget about it, so why compound the wrong by justifying yourself and lying, thus doubling down on the original offense, ensuring that the frustration level would rise and everyone would remember it?  Why lie about such a little thing?  Why not just admit the wrong-doing and move on?

When I expressed that thought to a friend, she articulated the obvious (in retrospect) reason that I had been unable to put my finger on:  this individual had serious challenges in life and in all her relationships because she was deeply dishonest with herself about the intentions and affects of her actions, and even about what her actions were.  Admitting this wrong-doing, however small, opened the possibility that she was wrong about other things--it opened the possibility that other blatant misdeeds were, in fact, her own fault.  That must've been a crushing feeling that constantly hung at the edges, just outside of conscious thought.

So, back to Jonah.  Jonah was commanded to go to Nineveh and preach repentance.  Let's have some sympathy for Jonah--it was a tough assignment:  he was pretty sure that the mostly wicked citizens of Nineveh weren't going to receive him kindly.  I'd be scared and reluctant, too.  Jonah shrunk from the command, and tried to flee in a ship going the opposite direction.  In other words, overwhelmed and frightened by the task assigned to him, Jonah disobeyed a direct commandment from the Lord.  While he was on the ship, a terrible tempest arose, and the sailors (themselves heathens and unfamiliar with the teachings and workings of the Lord) feared for their lives.  Instead of hiding in embarrassment, afraid to tell them this was his fault and just hunkering down and hoping for the best, Jonah confessed to the sailors that it was his fault:  he had displeased the Lord.  He knew the happiness, security and very lives of others were at stake because of his disobedience.  In that moment, I imagine that Jonah, generally good and righteous man that he was, realized that that was exactly the reason the Lord wanted him to go to Nineveh: the lives and happiness, in an eternal sense, of many others were at stake. So, Jonah confessed to the sailors that the storm was his fault, that he had disobeyed God, and should be thrown overboard.  He would meet his doom, he assumed, but the Lord would be pacified and the lives of the sailors would be saved.

That is what true repentance looks like:  a willingness to admit wrong-doing to those we have harmed (or put in harm's way), and to accept any and all consequences that may result from that, up to and including, in Jonah's case, death.  Often, we avoid sincere repentance because we are more embarrassed than ashamed:  we are still petty enough in our hearts that we fear being "found out", we fear temporal, social consequences--be they emotional, financial or physical--more than we feel shame for having disappointed and disobeyed the Lord.  Until our love for God and our deep sorrow for having separated ourselves from him through our unrighteous actions is greater than our fear of embarrassment or reprisal before our fellow men, true repentance won't happen.  We have to be willing to accept fully the consequences of our actions, in order to put ourselves aright with both God and our brethren.

That is not the end of Jonah's story, however.  When he finally came forward, admitted his wrong-doing, and was prepared to be lost to the sea to make penance for his disobedience (and the harm that that disobedience had caused others), he was indeed thrown overboard by the others on the ship--but God did not abandon him.  Jonah found himself swallowed up by a whale.  I'm sure it was not a terribly pleasant place to be, but it was a big step up from drowning in a tempestuous sea.  He had three days entirely alone with his thoughts and his God, with nothing to do but think about the trouble his action had caused, both for himself and for innocent souls, and to figure out how he was going to do things differently moving forward, if he ever got out of that whale alive.  His life was spared, he found himself on dry ground three days later, and, here's the kicker: he was able to fulfill his original assignment, with tremendous success.  Many of those in Nineveh came to believe what Jonah taught, and were themselves beneficiaries of the Lord's mercy.

Jonah discovered a wonderful truth:  when we finally let go of our fear of the mortal consequences of our sins and mistakes, when we admit our wrongdoings and are willing to accept the consequences, the Lord is far more merciful than we expect.  Trusting in that mercy, feeling that godly sorrow for having disappointed the one soul who loves us unfailingly, can give us the necessary courage to repent of even very serious sins.  Even if worst comes to worst and you get thrown overboard after all, remember that the Lord sent a whale of mercy for Jonah--he can do as much for you, and will, if you trust in Him more than in man.  The Lord wants us to succeed, but we damn our selves when we fail to honestly admit failures.  Trust that his mercy is great enough to deliver you from failure, that his love is stronger than even the most vile derision of men.  We must learn to truly trust that even if the Lord is the only friend we have left, he will be enough.  And trusting in that, I think we will find that most of the people we know are more forgiving and kind than we expected, as well.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Late night (early morning?) gratitude

I haven't been able to get to sleep, as my mind seems intent on reliving the entire last five years tonight.

But so many memories that have flashed in my head tonight have reminded me of one the very best things in life:  I have some of the most amazing, generous and fun sisters and sisters-in-law that a girl could ask for.

Talking til 5am during a holiday vacation, finding that the treat you'd mused on Facebook that it'd be nice to have shows up at the door two days later, getting a mid-day phone call just to laugh about the misadventures of a pescatarian, a well-timed gift card arriving in the mail that gives you breathing room at exactly the right moment, a Christmas present you couldn't afford but desperately wanted to get being purchased for your little girl to make her holiday magical, crying over losses together, finding your joys more enjoyable for having shared them with her, putting my baby to bed each night wrapped up in hand-made blankets, the always-happy-to-babysit or even I'm-taking-your-kids-enjoy disposition, the hand-me-downs on all my kids that remind me of other mothers and kids in my life, and so many other things.  My sisters and sisters-in-law have made my life so much better, so much more enjoyable, and so much easier than it would've otherwise been.

As I watch my little girls grow up together, I hope that they will be as good to each other as my sisters have been to me.  Its truly astounding how often my sisters have made my burdens lighter and my blessings more enjoyable. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Just putting it out there

If, God forbid, anyone I love were ever to do something completely insane or terrible, please don't judge me if I don't get on camera to either justify or condemn them, or if I disable my Facebook account and make my blog private, lock down my house and hide from the world for a while.

Because, I'm telling you right now, if I were ever to have to deal with such a thing, until I have had some time to process all the powerful, raw emotions that must surely come with the territory, the last thing I'm gonna want to do is talk with a bunch of strangers, so that they can broadcast it to a bunch of other strangers.

No matter how much people "want to know" or "need to know", I don't begrudge a family member hiding away to deal with their reactions/emotions privately.  I know its what I'd want to do.

Better late than never!

Last month, our St. Patty's Day baby turned 2!
Its been a crazy two years for our family, 
and she has been a delight all the way through.  
She is generally easy-going 
and nearly always happy, 
but also confident and assertive.  
She's playful and clever,
sweet and observant.
She already has a quick sense of humor
and talks like crazy
(started in on clear, three-word sentences this week).
She is the apple of her daddy's eye,
and a steadying personality at home,
somewhat balancing the boisterousness
of her siblings' fun personalities.
She loves to cuddle,
but not be coddled.
She tries to dress (and undress) herself
and pour her own juice 
out of the one gallon pitcher (eek!).
Despite the fact that she's the youngest
and has lot of people 
that want to take care of her, 
independence is her schtick.
Her most-oft used phrases tend to be
"I do it" "I made it" and "I got it, mom".
And she loves to giggle.

She makes me smile.
So much.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Did I Mention?

That Paco is pretty excited

because he finally started losing teeth?
Two in the last couple of weeks.
The first one was really loose,
so he had his big sister pull it.
She was more than happy to do it.
Maybe a little too happy.

Love this guy.
Finally (!) got his new glasses, too,
and he's pretty excited to have them again.

 On an unrelated note,
this is what I came to bed to the other night:
This one sure loves her daddy.
And her affection is amply rewarded.
He's a total sucker for this one.
And she knows it.
But its cool.  
So far, she doesn't seem too inclined
to abuse the privilege.

Beauty and Raising Girls

I have quite a few friends who share a lot of online articles about body-image, beauty, appreciating your body, etc.  I know that this is a struggle for a lot of women, all of the articles are well-intentioned, and most of them are well-written.  But I have realized something the last few months: they bore me terribly.  I don't need them.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like seeing pictures of myself.  I have recently started fresh at trying to get in shape and be more healthy, and its going well, but I am -way- overweight right now, and don't care much for seeing pictures that remind me of that fact.  Not because it makes me self-conscious of my appearance or how others perceive me, but because I dislike the reminder of the lack of self-discipline that I have struggled with in so many areas of my life in recent years.  The fact is, in most ways, I am the most personally confident I've ever been in my life.  I put myself together reasonably well any time I leave the house and try to look my best in every way (hair, makeup, clothes), and then scarcely think about my looks at all.  I try hard to be a good, and outwardly focused person.  I have a good marriage, to a man who is consistently attracted to me, and who recognizes and appreciates a lot of things about me other than my appearance, as well.  Most importantly, I have a solid testimony, and a strong relationship with a loving Father.  If I am self-conscious around people, it is nearly always due to my behavior: I shouldn't have said that, I should've said this, I should've been kinder or more patient about that.  How I look or the size or shape of my body just isn't that high in the hierarchy of my thoughts--how I treat people and what I'm getting done (or not) consumes most of my focus.

But that wasn't always true for me--there were times when it was far, far different.  And remembering that, and seeing a lot of women my age and older still struggling with it, makes me rather conscious of how I raise my daughters, the things I say to them, the things I emphasize. There is a school of thought that you shouldn't tell your girls that they're pretty all the time, lest they begin to think that their value rests primarily in being "pretty".  For the vast majority of good and decent parents and daughters, I say "hogwash".  I tell my daughters that they are beautiful, pretty and cute, and I do it often.  So does my husband.  And we mean it every time.  Every little girl should have someone in her life who thinks she's beautiful and tells her so.  The world will be unkind soon enough and often.  We live in a fallen world: I will be unable to prevent others from judging her to some degree on her appearance, and she will likely be judged more kindly if she is confident and takes good care of herself.  She is more likely to do those things, but not go overboard in them, if she is told that she is beautiful by someone who sincerely believes it.

But I also compliment my girls on many other things, just as, if not more often.  In our house, we are careful to recognize and express appreciation for helpfulness, bravery, creativity, hard work and generosity.  There are rewards and praise for good grades at school, hard work at practice, uncomplainingly doing chores, helping or sharing with siblings, and being patient and selfless.  We very much try to nurture the individual talents, interests and strengths of each of our children, whether that's a love for writing and drawing, or wrestling and designing, or dancing and building.  We enforce unpleasant consequences for self-centeredness, laziness, unkindness and arrogance (and, actually, sometimes we don't have to impose any consequences at all, since those are behaviors that tend to be self-punishing).

Most importantly, we try hard to teach our kids, in a spirit of love and truth, that they are children of God.  That they have a loving Father, who watches over them even when mom and dad can't be there, who always, always, always loves them and knows that they are beautiful.  We try to help them believe and remember that everyone else is a child of God, too:  that everyone else they meet is their brother or sister, that their Heavenly Father expects them to treat their brothers and sisters nicely, even when its hard.  He can see the beauty in each of his children, and he wants us to try to see it, too.  

Its a lot easier to love and see the beauty in others when you feel loved and know that someone sees the beauty in you.  So I will continue to compliment those beautiful blue eyes and praise her for giving her little sister half of the last brownie.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pre School

I registered Kylie for Head Start today.  When I became a mother, I never had any intention of putting any of my kids in preschool of any kind.  I chose to be a stay-at-home mom so that I could teach them, so that I could play with them and watch them grow.  But when we were living in California and planning to put our oldest (still very, very shy) child in all day, dual immersion Spanish Kindergarten, it seemed like too much to ask of her to go from being at home with me all day to being with strangers speaking a foreign language all day, so we gave her that almost-3-hours a day transitional stepping stone.  After watching Keilana enjoy it so much, Dylan really wanted to go, and though I didn't have the same concerns with Dylan as I'd had with his sister, we figured that with some of his unique language challenges, interpersonal habits, and difficulties with changes in order or routine, the socialization and structure might be good for him.  And it was.

Then we got to Kylie.  She is bright and social and precocious.  While she can be shy at first, it never lasts long, and she spends a lot of time with friends and cousins.  Kindergarten would be in English, a breeze.  I saw no reason for her to go to pre-school.  But I will be in school three days a week next fall, and while two of those days I will only be gone for afternoons, the schedule for half-day preschool works out just weirdly enough that doing half-day would be quite a headache, logistically.  So she is going to be in school from 9:30-3:30 Monday through Friday.  Part of me was just dreading that.

I only get 5 years.  Five years, where they're all mine.  I get to spend all my time playing with them, reading with them, telling stories, dancing, playing dress up, going on little adventures when the weather is good.  Five years where I get to be the single biggest influence in their lives, before they start spending 35 hours a week with other people.  So far, I've been grateful that as my older ones have reached that stage, they have found good friends and had wonderful teachers and coaches, and I hope that stays the case as they get older.  But that time goes by so fast, and the world creeps into our bubble so quickly, I am loathe to give it up any sooner than I have to (and, yes, I realize I don't have to at school age, but for the time being I'm still convinced that public school, and not homeschool, is the right choice for our family.  That could change, but it is what it is right now).  I'm OK with my babies growing up and becoming kids and my kids growing up and becoming teenagers, and I don't think anyone could credibly accuse me of hampering my kids' independence.  (And if you met my children, you'd see that, even if someone were consciously trying, it would be hard to make them anything but independent in most ways).  But I'm also in no great rush to hurry it along any.  Childhood is short.  There's lots of time to be out in the world, negotiating its joys and pitfalls.  There's a lot of time to enjoy the increasing independence and self-sufficiency of my kids.  There's not a lot of time to enjoy mid-morning snuggles and afternoon dance sessions and trips to the park.  I'm in no hurry to be done with that stage of parenting.  There are a lot of things about the babies and toddlers stage of parenting that is difficult and exhausting, but I love it.  I love my babies and little ones.  Doug pointed out the other day that, theoretically, we are half-way "done" with our time with Keilana at home.  She turns 9 this summer, and graduates from high school in 9 years.  It made my heart leap into my throat.

But taking Kylie to preschool and watching her light up over and over again at all the different parts of her classroom (the play kitchen! the garden center! the "reading deck"! it was all so exciting) made me feel better.  Meeting some of the wonderful women who would be her teachers and administrators made me feel even better.  She's going to be in good hands, and she will be happy.

But I came home feeling even more grateful that I'll only be away from Keira about 15 hours a week.  I feel very strongly that I'm making the right choice for my family as well as for myself, but I am constantly reminded, by how quickly the days and years with my kids fly by, that nothing is more valuable to me than time.

Monday, April 15, 2013


It seems like things like this are happening with increasing frequency.  The prophecies that I believe in would indicate that that is so.  But still, every time it shocks us.  And it should.  It frightens us, it angers us.  How should we respond?  How should we feel?

I am one for turning to the Savior's example.  I often think of his reaction when he arrived at the home of Mary and Martha, and found that one friend was dead and the rest were mourning.  He didn't immediately remove the source of their pain.  He didn't tell them it would be OK.  He simply wept with them.  They had lost a most precious thing--their brother--and had every right to cry and be hurt, and he let them know that he hurt with them.

Its also important to remember his counsel to his Apostles just before he left his earthly ministry, knowing that they would be rejected, tortured and killed:  "In the world, ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world. . . .my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

So what do we do?  We do everything we can to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.  We embrace those that need a hug, we cry with those who shed tears, we donate blood and wrap cold souls in blankets and give whatever time we can to help make people whole.

And then we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep living our lives remembering that, even if it seems like it gains points in skirmishes here and there, evil ultimately loses.  We refuse to let our lives, our hearts, be ruled by fear or anger or hatred.  In the end good always wins, because in the ugly face of evil's brutality, good refuses to quit being good.  There is much ugliness and horror, yes, but if you pay attention you will see that there is even more selflessness, generosity, patience, humility and courage.  Every where there are neighbors and strangers reaching out to help others, with no thought of the cost or effort.  Life is full of heroes, who offer selfless deeds with tremendous love.  Be one of them.  That's what you do.

I'm getting things done, I swear!

I feel like I've barely moved from my chair today.  I've accomplished quite a lot, but its not my favorite sort of things-to-get-done.  But I really have gotten some important things done.  (Well, and my new shoes came today, so I had to take a break to text Amanda a photo of them and then call to talk about shoes and other such important things.  I had to.)  It feels good to have some big stuff checked off my list, but still, I wish I'd had more chance to get up and move around today.

Or maybe its good it worked out this way.  Last night, I got lost in family history (my dad's family is almost entirely Scottish and German, and my mom's is almost entirely English, save for my Swedish great-great grandmother [and one of my personal heroes], which really explains quite a lot) and went to bed much later than I planned.  Then, I had trouble getting to sleep, thinking about leaving my little ones while I go off to school.  So I had to go get Keira and put her in bed with us so I could get to sleep.  That plan was foiled, however, when I got slammed with some sort of monstrous combination of migraine and sinus headache.  The migraine is gone now (Excederin Migraine is a miracle drug--please don't tell me what's in it, I'm sure I don't want to know), but the sinus headache has hung on all day, just enough to compound the lack-of-sleep fatigue.

So a sitting around kind of productivity was probably best today.  And I got to talk to Amanda.  If only I didn't have to make dinner.  Or figure out when/how to get my van fixed.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Its been a long week around here.

I've been making and receiving phone calls and emails, trying to figure out what will and won't transfer from my BYUH transcripts to the program I'm trying to work into at Montana Tech and how to structure my fall course load;  Doug has been sick with some sort of respiratory yuckiness all week, and even stayed home from work on Tuesday (which, it turns out, was a good thing, since he had to go to a City Council meeting at 6 that evening--from which he returned at 10:30pm.  Yeah);  Keira has had an upset tummy for a few days, and Kylie still hasn't kicked the cold she picked up last week;  I had just enough sinus congestion (a leftover from the barely-existent cold I had last week) to make me a bit tired and cranky;  and I had to get the house/laundry/organization caught up from our trip to Mission.

And we got report cards late last week.  One was very, very good.  One was a steady decrease in almost everything, surely a result of the fact that the kid can't keep their darned mouth shut in class.  Received disciplinary warnings 4 out of 5 days this week--and I'm pretty sure the one day off was mostly because their class had a sub that day.  And the child who is doing extraordinarily well in all things school-related (including behavior) has been a bossy, whiny tyrant at home recently.

Several privileges have been lost this week.  Several more will follow shortly if we don't see improvements in behavior.

But, this afternoon, we went to the park and played in the sunshine (well, except for the kid who pulled a card today and had to spend the first 25 minutes we were there just sitting there watching other kids play), and then came home to do chores and get ready for our Friday night family movie, and as I watched them all play, together and happily for the most part, and then observed them doing chores when we got home--cleaning and changing litter boxes with out complaint, chattering and laughing happily as they helped me fold laundry, cheerfully changing diapers and taking them out to the trash--I was really grateful for the good attitudes they displayed.  I was grateful for how much my older two love and pay attention to my younger two.  I was grateful to be reminded (not that I ever truly forgot, but we all need  a little demonstration now and again) that, even if they've had a rough couple of weeks, they are good kids.  They're fun kids.  I love that they're so imaginative and open and independent-minded and creative.

Even if it does mean that, on occasion, I accidentally cook a purse while preheating the oven for dinner.  Creativity has its collateral damage now and then.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring. . .

After I put the kids to bed, I spent the rest of the evening working in our backyard (such as it is) and tiny gardens.  I saw something I had not yet seen in this yard:  hope, in the form of tiny green blades.  There are tufts of soft green grass here and there, and still-short-but-healthy-looking tulip leaves poking up.  There are other plants popping up here and there that are so small I have not yet identified them.

When we moved in last September, the backyard was a mess of tall, yellow grass, overgrown roses that had taken over virtually the entire yard, weeds that were knee high, and almost no healthy grass or plants of any kind.  I spent hours pulling weeds and digging out net-rooted rose bushes, raking what were once gardens, trying to unbury the soil from layers and layers of matted leaves and weeds.  I didn't think it likely that it was worth the time, but I am, by both nature and training, incapable of leaving such places entirely unworked if I have the ability to do anything about it.  Its not going to be Eden this summer, but if I can find a truck to borrow for a day to get rid of clippings and pulled weeds and all the junk the previous tenants left behind, it might be a decent place to BBQ, at least.  Six months ago, I wouldn't have thought even that was possible.

I'm feeling pretty hopeful about most things in life, though.  In fact, I feel the most hopeful and confident than I have in a long, long time.  There are so many things I want to do and learn, and not in a general it-would-be-nice-to-do-this sort of way, but in a I have-a-plan-and-the-tools-and-I'm-gonna-kick-this-in-the-butt kind of way.  It will have to be done at a reasonable pace (I'm going back to school this fall--application and transcripts in, financial aid arranged, academic advisor talked to, just need to register for classes and figure out scheduling/childcare logistics), but I've never been more confident in my capabilities and focus, in the support system around me, or had a clearer vision in my mind of where I want to go and what I want to do.  Winter is melting away, there are good things on the horizon.

Monday, April 8, 2013


The house is clean, dinner is over, the kids are all playing happily together, with the dog and cat acting out parts in their pretend games.

My 2-year-old was busily hitting a mixing bowl, into which she'd placed a dish towel, with a spoon.  She then removed the dishtowel and placed it in the oven, telling me, "Mmmm. Pie. Cookin'"  I asked if her if she was going to share her pie with me.  She replied, "No, 'dem", pointing to her older siblings.  When her brother suddenly came running through the kitchen at top speed, she shouted, confidently and angrily, "PIE!! HOT! HOT!" while stamping her foot at him.  Apparently, a safe cooking environment is important to her.

I love these moments like this, of which I usually have quite a few each day.

Of course, there are also moments like yesterday, where Dylan was once again finding everything to do  except help his sisters clean up the mess they'd all made of the family room, and I heard Kylie holler tauntingly from across the room, "Hey Dylan! Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider, girls go to college to get more knowledge!"  Yes, my four-year-old.  When this upset Dylan more than seemed reasonable to me, Kylie just raised her eyebrows, drew down her jaw and said, quite authoritatively, "Dylan, I am saying that to you because you aren't helping us clean up."  That seemed reasonable to me.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


There are a lot of women out there who feel unhappy and unfulfilled.  I've seen quite a few headlines in the last few years about more and more Gen X and Millennial women coming to the conclusion that women can't "have it all":  they're trying, and its not working, and consequently every area of their lives are suffering.  Many of them, having come to that conclusion, don't know what they should choose, and just feel as though they're in something of a fog.

I've no doubt that the major thrust of the Adversary's plan is to do all that he can to destroy the family:  something he is forever denied, something that inherently contains more possibility for earthly and eternal joy than anything else.  Attacking motherhood is a logical and all too effective part of that plan.  Its been happening in our broader society for a long time, and has been quite devastating to our communities.

Unfortunately, its happening within the Church, too.  But with women of faith, the strategy has been different.  It is not to malign motherhood outright, but simply to imply that it isn't enough:  that your power, your authority is somehow not as meaningful.

Ironically, it is my personal belief that this strategy is itself evidence that the adversary knows all too well just how powerful is womanhood and motherhood.  The brethren, so long as they are living worthily, can use the authority of the Priesthood to command Satan to depart and he must go;  it is my belief that, just as the most skilled hunter doesn't want to get between a mother bear and her cubs, the Adversary is loathe to take on mothers and motherhood directly, because, even if some women misunderstand and take it for granted, he knows exactly how powerful women are through the eternal role assigned to us .  He wants us to believe that we are not, to make attacking that power easier.  Best to disarm or discourage your enemy first.

Remember, sisters, that it was Eve who first recognized the Father of Lies for what he was.  It was she who first recognized the wisdom and necessity of our Father's plan for her and Adam.  Our first mother left us a tremendous legacy of wisdom and courage.  Do not be deceived now.  We are powerful, we are strong, and Satan knows it.  Do not underestimate the authority and power of the roles we have and ought to cherish.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Across generations. . .

The world is so full of treasures, if we are just looking for the right things.  I've been up to my elbows in treasures lately.

I never knew my Grandpa Pierce, my mom's dad.  He died as the result of a horse-training accident when my mom was only 18.  But I was so close to my grandma, and my grandpa was such a family legend by the time I came around that I've always felt a bit like I knew him.

Recently, I had the unexpected pleasure of reading some words he'd scribbled in a notebook during WWII.  I first came across this brief description:  "In our lives there are moments we would like to prolong, and places we hate to leave.  When I climbed the series of ladders and finally stood out in the fresh ocean breeze off the flight deck, and saw the waves softly lapping the light sands of Waikiki beach with the tropical city of Honolulu in the distance backed by beautiful highlands, I was conscious of such a moment and such a place.  Aloha Hawaii.  Monday, November 5, 1945."

On the very next page, he wrote the following brief poem:

"As I sit with your picture
before me
My mind wanders aimlessly
To the times that we've
spent together
And wish dear that I could come back.

Yes I'm wishing that I could
come back dear
To the sweetheart of all of my
To the land of the lakes
and the mountains,
and the beautiful tumbling streams.

Its not just the lakes and
the mountains
That make me want to return
but the girl I left in the valley,
for you dear my heart always yearns"

I remember that feeling so often in Hawaii--wanting the moment to last, it was so beautiful.  But my longing for Montana never went away.  Montana always had my heart.

The differences meant more to me than the similarities, though.  My grandpa was there as a seaman, in the midst of a brutal war.  I was there as a single college student.  He left his family behind.  He had five small children at home, and seeing his affection for my grandmother makes my heart smile.  My mom wasn't yet born at the time the poem was written.  It makes me mindful that I am who I am, where I am, because he made it home to that lovely girl.  It makes me grateful that they found each other, and loved each other.


I honestly believe that one of the worst feelings in the world is when someone angrily calls you on your own bad behavior and they're right.  That moment when you've realized that you screwed up and you can't undo it is such a heavy, miserable feeling.  The spiritual equivalent of seeing flashing lights in your rear view mirror when you know you've been speeding.

One of the most popular phrases in the world is "It's not fair".  Often, this phrase is spoken by children and teenagers, and adults are famous for responding, "Life's not fair".  When I was a child, I was as guilty as anyone of resenting that response, but as an adult, more and more all the time, when I hear the phrase, "Life's not fair", my internal response is, "And thank God for that".

No one needs to hear a list of my sins, least of all me, but they are there and plentiful.  Most of the people in my life are kind and forgiving enough that my bad behavior comes to my attention only on the schedule I impose upon myself.  But every once in awhile, someone, either out of love and concern or out of hurt and frustration, points out a glaring blind spot.  As painful as that can be, in the long run I always find myself feeling quite grateful toward those souls.  Because once I am aware of it and honest about it, I can apologize sincerely, ask for forgiveness, and then place that burden--the burden of carrying what I cannot undo--on the Savior.  If someone doesn't forgive me, it makes me sad and it eats at me, because I hate for anyone to feel anger or hurt because of my actions, but I don't hold that refusal to forgive against them, and it doesn't paralyze me.  I can rely on the Savior to bear the brunt of that, for which I am very grateful.

Life is indeed unfair.  Someone else steps in to carry the burden I justly deserve.  That means more to me with every passing year.  The hope and peace I find in that thought makes me a better person, a better mother and wife and friend, and makes me grateful that there are so many people in my life that exhibit that type of Christlike mercy in their own lives.  I am quite certain that I am forgiven more often than I even realize that I'm wrong.

Monday, April 1, 2013

It's a. . . .


Come late summer,
Keira will no longer be the youngest grand baby.
My sister is expecting her fifth baby,
grandchild #23,
and, at long last,
poor Azia-Rain,
with one older brother and two younger ones,
will finally have a sister.
The gender reveal ideas
always seemed silly to me,
when I'd see pictures of just the couple
standing there with their cake
or balloons
or paint.
But when you have 20 kids
running around
throwing pink paint all over each other
it really doesn't seem like joy is complete
until its shared.
This little girl is going to be very fortunate:
she's coming to a place
where there are already
all kinds of people
who love her
and are excited to know her.