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contortions

Apr 24, 2014 in the hip | 0 comments

It seems my crazy collagen is awfully fragile. A few days ago I was rubbing my right foot (the currently injured/sprained/continually moving out of place one) against my left foot during scripture study. Somehow that gentle pressure moved the talus on my left foot out of place! Oh my goodness! It hurt like heck and when I went in to the amazing Mr. Jeremy, he found the talus shifted all skeewampus.

Well.

I am a foot-contorting, curl my toes underneath my feet kind of gal and it seems I am stretching out those feet ligaments on a continual basis with all those contorting movements I mindlessly do when I am say, going to the bathroom (curl my toes underneath me) or reading scriptures (curl my feet around each other) or lying in bed (put my feet between Richard’s legs). So Jeremy wants me to wear shoes 24/7…high top ankle restricting shoes. I told him no way on buying ANOTHER pair of shoes since a high top pair is so far out of my realm of fashion sense, but I am dutifully wearing my trusty Danskos in bed and everywhere else to try to cut down on the contorting my feet can accomplish while my mind is elsewhere.

On the upside, I have permission to ride my awesome Elliptigo for three minutes a day! Hip, hip, hoorah! I am so excited to be able to be back at building muscles…at least a teensy bit. On the building muscles theme, Jessica, Jenn, and I went swimming last week. Jess is determined to find a lap swimming pool she loves and we wanted to see how my body would do in a pool. I really thought swimming would be fabulous for me. I was wrong. I couldn’t swim without major issues. Crawl stroke popped my shoulders out of place. Breast stroke popped my hip out of place and flutter kicks killed my foot and sent spasms up my legs. So, within about two minutes I ascertained that lap swimming is out and decided to jog in place instead while focusing on keeping my feet flexed. It felt great! Afterwards I was sore and worked from neck to feet, but good-sore, not bad-sore and I started trying to figure out how to incorporate water therapy into my life.

I asked Jeremy about it this week and he said “Swimming for you is DANGEROUS! Water therapy would be great.” He quickly explained all the dislocation risks I had discovered on my maiden pool trip and encouraged me to try it out, be cautious, and be wise. So today I am going to go try again and basically just walk around the pool and work on balancing on one foot at a time.

Teensy bits of progress!

math=life lessons

Apr 21, 2014 in children, homeschooling, math & science | 0 comments

Our little man has what I lovingly call the “leave me alone and let me build things and find bugs and for heaven’s sake, don’t make me sit still and do workbooks syndrome.” He does love me to read to him and he will sit for hours while I do so. He also sits still whenever he is focused on something of his own choosing. Lately it has been learning to draw bugs, race cars, and space ships.

He is really good at math. His minds gets math. I love watching the wheels turn in his mind as he ponders something and figures it out. But he doesn’t really like doing math. He especially doesn’t like to be cheerful as he does it. I was about to pull out my hair with all his grumpiness and flat out refused to help him whenever he turned into a whiney mess of “I can’t do it, I hate math, why can’t I go outside?” Richard talked to him. I talked to him. But nothing really helped for more than a day at a time. I thought about it. I prayed about it. Then I put a plan into action.

About four weeks ago I made him a deal. I told him if he could cheerfully do math with me and get done with his current math book and the next math book by the end of April, I would buy him the remote control rat he had been dreaming about since last fall. He had me count up all the pages in both books and help him figure out a schedule of four pages a day, three days a week.

But then I went to California with my dad…and then my mom and sister came…and we got behind on his schedule. We had to revamp it to seven pages a day, four days a week. And he cheerfully worked hard and learned a gob of new information and increased his skills and wowed me with how smart his little mind is. Somedays he got through eight pages, sometimes nine, but usually seven tuckered him out.

This morning he woke up and came and snuggled in bed with me and asked “How many more pages do I have in my math book?” I said “I don’t know, let’s count them up.” Well, he had 28 more pages so I said “You are doing great buddy! You are going to make it to your goal, I am so proud of you!”

He thought about it for a few minutes and then asked ever so sweetly, “Mom, can we do all 28 pages today? I want to finish today.”

“Of course! I will help you out and put in the time if you are willing to put in the time.” And so we started.

Nearly five hours later we finished. He was exhausted, but quite pleased with himself. He almost gave up a few times, but he stuck it out and pushed himself to do hard things. When he finished the last page, he gave me a heartfelt look with his big blue eyes and red eyelashes and said “Mom, thank you for helping me.”

He immediately called his papa and told him the good news and asked him to go pick up the rat. We found out a few hours later that the rat was only available at Halloween time and had been gone from the store for months. The poor boy! He was so disappointed. I found one online and offered to get it for him and have it arrive sometime next week, but in the end he decided to get a little lego set he found on clearance at our local variety store with his papa tonight.

I don’t believe in bribing children. I DO believe in helping them learn better skills and behaviors by occasionally creating a plan with them that involves a tangible reward. Fisher didn’t have to do x and then he got y. He had to overcome his desire to complain about his math book for weeks on end, treat me respectfully, learn a lot of really tough stuff, and stick with it day after day. In my mind, that is totally worth $14.

wired for joy

Apr 21, 2014 in blessings, the hip | 1 comment

Today is the day! I ordered Wired For Joy a few months ago and today I finally have some reading time to open it up and dig in. This gem of a book is going to teach me how to calm down my nervous system response and reprogram my brain for well-being instead of the stress response.

I’ll let you know my progress and results as I progress through the book and start implementing the techniques and tools.

I am thinking about a few other things to incorporate into myu life as part of my healing journey…water therapy, working diligently on taking my supplements and proper nutrients, spending focused time with the Lord each day, and living with my whole heart once again. I feel like I have been working so hard to protect my body from getting injured that I have somehow closed off my heart from loving deeply…as if protecting myself from all hurts is the answer! Not so, my friends. I am passionate and loud and spontaneous and giving and loving and I must find some way to incorporate these parts of my personality into this life of careful body care or I may shrivel up and die. I have felt like I am dying for months…that the real parts of me are withering away and all that is left is an empty shell of a person that I don’t want to be.

I am also working on developing a new business called Raise Your Joys. I can’t put much time into it until iFamily and Keziah’s play are over, but be watching for some big announcements soon.

full to the brim

Apr 20, 2014 in blessings, children, the hip | 1 comment

Have you ever felt full to the brim with gratitude? With joy? Right in this moment I am…and I want to savor it and soak it in like those warm August days of summer that we like to take into our souls to get us through the long months of winter cold and dreariness.

Right this moment, the sun is shining through my window, casting a warm, yellow glow through the trees of our yard. The sky is a beautiful deep blue. My children are happily talking and laughing with one another while they hold the squeaking puppies.

Yesterday I was blessed to make a dream come true for my oldest daughters. Two years ago when Hale Centre Theatre announced they were doing Les Miserables in 2014 I promised them I would take them. Of course we had no idea what these two years would be like and didn’t know how hard of a promise it would be to keep. We especially didn’t know that nine weeks ago my foot would be so badly injured and make it very difficult for me to drive or do much of anything. But yesterday the blessings poured down upon me and I was able to take my girls and two of their friends on a lovely adventure. We had so much fun laughing and singing and loving together. My girls have been taking care of me for the past two years, but especially the last two months and it has been really, really taxing on their spirits. They see me as the taskmaster bossing them around from my bedroom which has been pretty challenging for our relationships. We haven’t had any girl fun for quite a while and it was wonderful for all of us to get away from laundry and dishes and schoolwork and broken bodies for awhile.

The girls and their friends were able to explore Gardner Village, chase snakes at the pond, ride the Ferris wheel at Scheels, eat lots of cookies, eat a delicious meal at our favorite place, Old Spaghetti Factory, get some awesome ballons from Matthew the Balloon Guy, AND thoroughly enjoy Les Mis. I was the chaffeur for the day and though my foot was throbbing by the time I pulled in to our driveway at 1:00 a.m., it was totally worth it to have such a memorable day with my daughters and their friends.

While we were gone, a friend snuck into our home and left a check for a month of physical therapy for me. Oh my, there is so much goodness in this world! This foot injury has set me back so far and I have worried and wondered how to make my Moola For Muscles funds stretch far enough to make it through this year that is supposed to be focused on muscle building, not foot healing. God keeps sending angels to help me keep going to therapy and getting put back together.

This morning I took some time to write a letter to each of our children a letter about Jesus, His death and resurrection, and shared some of my thoughts about their lives. We have never done Easter baskets or egg hunts or anything like that, but yesterday I felt prompted to get each of them a little present to help them in their spiritual walk with Christ. Then I called them into my room individually and had a resurrection talk with each of them with lots of hugs and kisses and gave them their present.

Today at church we sang “Christ The Lord is Risen Today” two times! It is my favorite Easter hymn and I love to belt it out at the top of my lungs. I felt sorry for the young couple sitting in front of us! I don’t have a very good singing voice and when I sing lying down in my zero gravity chair it is even worse, but I couldn’t restrain my joy at singing those words I love so much. Charles Wesley, the son of Susannah Annesley, wrote those words and everytime I sing it I fall in love with Miss Susannah all over again.

Life is full of bounteous blessings – good people surround me, rich experiences teach and sustain me, and my precious family is always here for me. Most of all, God lives with His arm outstretched to me in love and because of His love I can be both resurrected and redeemed. And so can you.

it’s not all showers

Apr 16, 2014 in blessings, the hip | 0 comments

Lest you think my life is full of dreariness and tears, it is not. It is full of frienships and hugs and laughter and learning and blessings and joy AND injury and pain and frustration.

Today in Annesley’s “I Have Character” class, she was transformed into a clown complete with blue eyebrows, white cheeks, red nose, and juggling balls. She LOVED it. I so wish I had my camera with me because she was the cutest clown I have ever seen. They read Tomie de Paulo’s The Clown of God and learned about love.

Meanwhile, Fisher carried around his bugs in his giant pretzel bin and guarded them with his life. Since spring-like weather has hit the past few days, he is back to constant bug finding mode. He cracks me up with how much he loves his little grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders.

I was able to teach my WUBA students about six keys of personal influence: example, service, oral persuasion, written persuasion, prayer, and the arts. We had a beautiful discussion and I realized once again how much I love teaching and touching the souls of these youth.

My life is rich beyond measure. I am surrounded by an amazing community of families, heaps and heaps of love, my four precious children, and a deeply compassionate husband who strives each day to lighten my heart.

I am grateful for all of these things and am grateful to be in this situation of learning and growth. God is with me. He loves me and is teaching me beautiful lessons.

p.s. I am hatching up some big 40th birthday celebrations!

sprain, sprain, go away, don’t come another day

Apr 16, 2014 in the hip | 3 comments

Hmmm. Nine weeks ago today a young boy on a hippity-hop ball landed on my right foot which moved twelve bones way out of place and stretched the ligaments to Kalamazoo. The next morning all the bones were put back into place and we started the healing process.

It should have taken a few days or a week.

But here we are. 63 days later and I am still taped up. Still in pain. Still unable to walk very far or stay up on it for very long.

It is beyond discouraging.

I had a disappointing appointment with Jeremy this morning when he found the talus shifted all skeewampus again. AGAIN it is shifted out of place. I begged for any answers, ANYTHING I can do to help my foot heal so we can get back to work on my hip.

And the answers are depressing: an MRI to check for torn ligaments, Prolozone injections, and time. The MRI isn’t really a possibility and wouldn’t help heal my foot, only provide information. I can’t do the Prolozone because of my allergy to local anesthetics which are used in the injections, and time sounds so incredibly long. I have exercised great restraint with this foot injury and have tried my darndest to protect it, rest it, nourish it, and give it the time it needs to heal. I have kept a pretty positive attitude and sent lots of love and patience to my foot. I have tried so, so hard.

And it isn’t enough.

More time is needed. More patience. More love. More waiting on the Lord. More nutrients. I don’t want to give it more time. I want my foot to be better so I can grow some muscles in the rest of me. I want to be stop hurting. I want to stop being taped and wearing special shoes. I want to be able to stand without pain coursing up my leg. I want to heal.

I want, I want, I want. Man, I sound like a broken record.

Some little piles of tears have been shed today. And I can feel more need to come out, but it is so hard for me to let them. I think they need to pour out of me into a giant waterfall of sadness and despair so I can let it all go and get back to a mindset of hope and healing.

Will you please pray for this foot? Pray for the ligaments to hold the bones in place. Pray for the muscles to relax. Pray for me to have the will to keep walking the road of healing with hope, faith, and trust.

play, puppies, prom, and hmmm, i can’t think of another p word

Apr 11, 2014 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

Disclaimer: I’m sorry my posting has been so erratic lately. Between my family’s needs and wants and my own body’s needs, posting keeps falling by the wayside. I find when I do take the time to post I dump out an entire novel and this post is certainly novel length…at least in blog land. I finally uploaded some pics and now after months of no photos whatsoever, you get to be hammered by a gazillion.

Spring is in the air which means sunshine, wind, and lots and lots of activities! In the past two weeks, we have had our big night at the temple, Homeschool Prom for Blythe, a week of rehearsals for two different plays, a week of performances for Blythe’s play with ACTivate and the Youth Symphony, colloquia, puppies born, music lessons, FHE with our friends who just returned from a humanitarian trip to Ecuador, board meetings for iFamily with elections coming up on Monday, all the usual stuff that normally fills our lives, and not much sleep at all. Thank goodness I have found my camera, my memory card, and my memory card reader so that I have been able to both snap photos and upload them of all our fun.

Whew! We made it. I almost passed out on Monday at board meeting so I forced myself to be very, very conservative this week with all the performances and stay put in my chair. I did not vacuum or sweep or sell concessions or do any of the things I normally do. I limited myself to one hour of being upright at a time and two hours a day total and I stayed true to those guidelines except on Friday when I went over a bit, but I was still good about taking care of myself. Big pat on the back for me – I did not want any of this exciting week for Blythe to be dampened by a passing out episode and my carefulness paid off. The best part is today I can still walk, so YIPPEE! If I can keep this up for another week, I should be back to exercising at my next appointment!

The puppies…oh, my they are so precious. The children adore them and spend time every day toting them around and loving on them. They squeak nearly 24 hours a day and none of us are getting very good sleep with all the noise, especially Keziah who has set up Sadie and her seven pups in a wading pool in her room.

They were born the night of April 2 and morning of April 3 over a period of about eight hours. Sadie will NOT give birth without Keziah sitting right by her, so it was a long night of dog doulaing for my girlie. There are four tan puppies, two chocolate, and one black. Please excuse the blurriness, trying to get a puppy to hold still is difficult, trying to get a child holding a puppy to hold still is nearly impossible!

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Here is Blythe in her Prom attire. My sister, Mikelle, was here and helped Blythe turn her naturally curly hair into lovely ringlets that would stay put all night. Blythe and over 100 of her friends had a fabulous time dancing the night away.

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I wasn’t able to get any pictures of Blythe during the play…no flash photography allowed and pictures in a dark theater don’t turn out. Here is a super silly one of Blythe with her stage make-up and costume and her crazy sister.

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Character shot.

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Both the character shots and headshots were on display in the lobby for guests to look at as they entered the theater – that way they could see what each actor really looks like and compare that to the character shot. Here is her headshot. I think it is my all-time favorite picture of her.

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Crazy cast photo…man I LOVE these youth!

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Last night we had the big end-of-the-year Youth Symphony performance. It was amazing! Three of the pieces were from Tchaikovsky and I fell in love the the March Slave – what a soul-stirring piece! They also played the Violin Concerto in D with an amazing violin soloist and the 1812 Overture with real cannons firing. The harp solo was light and magical – it almost made me want to become a harpist!

You can see Blythe warming-up in front of the big drum in the back. She still has her hairdo from the play she performed in a couple hours previous.

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The whole Youth Symphony! Lots of musicians squished onto the stage.

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In the midst of all the activities for the big girls, I try to keep life for my littles as calm as possible. They generally spend their mornings with me doing learning time. Fisher has set a goal to finish one entire math book during the month of April, so we are spending lots of time working together so he can accomplish his goal and earn a radio-control rat he has had his eyes on for months. Annesley is learning how to read and it is so much fun! Her words she has learned so far are me, meet, I, am, Sam, Mat, Ann, Nan, Mit, in, on, at, sat, sit, the, is, this, that, cat, hat, and mat. She has started noticing these words all over the place and is one happy little sounding out girl. They have been having fun with Annesley’s birthday puzzle.

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Our recent 10″ snowstorm dumped gobs of snow in one night, but by the next day it was almost all melted away. They built these snowmen before all the snow disappeared.

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Now it is time to get ready for Passover and then gear up for another week of Blythe’s play at the end of the month, the end of WUBA for the year, Keziah’s play in four short weeks, and my 40th birthday.

gc fills me up

Apr 6, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ahhhh, I love General Conference. We have spent the past two days camped out in front of our computer watching and listening to the leaders of our church teach us about living Christlike lives, giving our hearts to our Savior, family life, repentance, forgiveness, hope, courage, covenants, and love, most of all, love.

I usually take my children and several of their friends to Salt Lake for Conference, but my body has not permitted me to have such a big adventure the last few conferences. I can’t walk as far as is required to make it through the building and I don’t dare try to sit anywhere without having Richard with me to rescue me if I pass out. So, I stayed home and tried to create some memorable experiences with conference donuts, bingo cards with M & M’s, coloring pages, conference crowns, paper dolls, and lots of snuggles.

Today, in between conference sessions, we celebrated Jesus’ birthday with creamed eggs, ice cream, and gifts for Jesus. Having a birthday party for Jesus is one of my favorite family traditions. We usually have cake with a huge pile of candles we all blow out together, but my foot was so worn out on Friday and Saturday that I couldn’t bring myself to stand on it for more than thirty seconds at a time, so we had ice cream instead. Everyone writes down a present they want to give Jesus, then we share a little message about His life, sing to Him, and then eat the party fare.

This conference seemed to be custom-made just for me. I’m sure it touched other people’s hearts as well, but so many of the talks seemed to be written specifically for my benefit that my heart welled up with gratitude for a loving Father in Heaven who is aware of my heartaches and questions and poured out His answers to me in abundance. Now prepare yourself for the longest post ever. It is far too long for a blog post, but bear with me. Someday my children will read these words and know I loved them, God loved them, and there mother’s mothering prayers were answered with guidance on how to teach them.

Conference Top Ten

1. Elder Holland’s talk inspired me to live more courageously for truth AND to love more deeply, passionately, and purely those around me and to spread that love as far and wide as I can. Some notable quotes:

“You may wonder if it is worth it to take a courageous moral stand in high school, or to go on a mission only to have your most cherished beliefs reviled, or to strive against much in society that sometimes ridicules a life of religious devotion,” he said. “Yes, it is worth it, because the alternative is to have our ‘houses’ left unto us ‘desolate’ — desolate individuals, desolate families, desolate neighborhoods and desolate nations … (see Matthew 23:37-38).

His “comfortable Gods” section hit home with me…cosmic humanism has lots of good things that resonate with me, but loving others and becoming aligned with our inner selves isn’t all that is needed in this life, those things aren’t enough to save us and believing in a comfortable God that requires nothing from us doesn’t ring true to me.

“Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods and smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds. Talk about man creating God in his own image! Sometimes — and this seems the greatest irony of all — these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of ‘comfortable’ God. Really?”

Loved his section on love changing the world.

“Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this plane in part because pure Christlike love was always supposed to accompany it.”

“Pure, Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world.”

Then he said something with such power I felt his words leap into my soul. He spoke of the Priesthood keys and then testified with these words,

I am more certain that those keys have been restored and that those ordinances are once again available through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than I am certain I stand before you at this pulpt and you sit before me in this conference.

Oh, his whole talk was wonderful, I loved it!

2. I loved President Eyring’s talk on choices, following the Spirit, and putting our family and family lines first in our lives.

Every day and every hour, you can choose to make or keep a covenant with God.

Words of scriptures and hymns will stay with our children. Fill their hearts when they are young.

3. Russell M. Nelson’s talk on letting our faith show…typing those words makes me burst into the new hit song from Frozen with a teensy change, “Let it show, Let it show!”

50,000,000 people CAN be wrong.

This really drove home the point to me that right and wrong are not defined by us as individuals, nor by popular majority. They are defined by God.

4. Richard G. Scott’s talk on focusing on the atonement of Jesus Christ as we teach our children about God and His plan for us sunk deep in my heart. The atonement is our everything and far too often I think we can get distracted from the central tenet of our faith. I remember in Little Men when Jo is teaching Nat about Jesus in such a beautiful way that Nat falls right in love with Him. This is what I strive for with my own children and his talk helped remind me to focus on teaching from a solid, personal, doctrinal foundation.

As a companion to that love, trust them. In some cases, it may seem difficult to trust, but find some way to trust them. The children of Father in Heaven can do amazing things when they feel trusted. Every child of God in mortality chose the Savior’s plan. Trust that given the opportunity, they will do so again.

Your personal testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is a powerful tool….there is no doctrine more fundamental to our work than the Atonement of Jesus Christ. At every appropriate opportunity, testify of the Savior and the power of His Atoning sacrifice. Use scriptures that teach of Him and why He is the perfect pattern for everyone in life. You will need to study diligently. Do not become so absorbed in trivial things that you miss learning the doctrine and teachings of the Lord. With a solid, personal, doctrinal foundation, you will be a powerful source for sharing vital truths with others who desperately need them.

As I retyped those words, I realize he is speaking of sharing the gospel broadly, but while I was listening, I only heart him speaking of sharing it with our children. All of my thoughts were centered on teaching my children and nurturing their faith in their Savior.

5. Quentin L. Cook’s talk on family history work and temple work was beautiful. I love researching my ancestor’s lives and lines – it fills my soul on a deep, incomprehensible level. I find my feelings surrounding temple work to be almost impossible to describe – the profound peace and joy must be experienced for one to understand.

We need to be connected to our roots and branches. The thought of being associated in the eternal realm is indeed glorious.

We finally have the doctrine, the temples, and the technology for families to accomplish this glorious work of salvation.

5. President Uchtdorf’s talk, ahhhhh. Breathe, read, ponder, breathe some more. Oh, how I love that man. His words bring great calm to my soul and hope to my heart. His ability to connect with the humanness and the divine in each of us is soothing, lifting, and beautiful.

I have had the sacred opportunity to meet with many people whose sorrows seem to reach the very depths of their soul…Often their grief is caused by what seems to them an ending. Some are facing the end of a cherished relationship, such as the death of a loved one or estrangement from a family member. Other feel they are facing the end of hope – the hope of being married or bearing children or overcoming an illness. Others may be facing the end of their faith, as confusing and conflicting voices in the world tempt them to question, even abandon, what they once knew to be true. Sooner or later, I believe that all of us experience times when the very fabric of our world tears at the seams, leaving us feeling alone, frustrated, and adrift. It can happen to anyone. No one is immune. Everyone’s situation is different and the details of each life are unique. Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives. There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious.

We can be grateful!

It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach? Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances – whatever they may be.

This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer. When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.

Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges. This is not a gratitude of the lips, but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind.

There are some days I am able to be grateful in this situation. There are many days I am grateful for. There are many days I am full of grief and lacking hope. On those days, I am going to turn to these words and let God teach me to be grateful in.

6. Sister Stevens shared a lovely reminder of our Heavenly Father’s deep and abiding love for each of His children.

Our Heavenly Father reaches out to each of us with His infinite love.

I learned you can feel peace in the midst of turmoil.

And she shared this quote from C.S. Lewis, my favorite author, from Shadowlands,

I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I am helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.

7. “It’s the load.” I need to write this on my wall so I see it every single day. These words may very well become my new mantra that helps me see more clearly and get through hard times. Elder Bednar shared a story of a man who got helplessly stuck in the snow while going to cut wood up in the mountains. He loaded his truckbed with hundreds of pounds of firewood and the weight of the wood allowed him to get unstuck.

It was the load. It was the load of wood that provided the traction necessary for him to get out of the snow, to get back on the road, and to move forward. It was the load that enabled him to return to his family and his home.

Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints. Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load: ‘Is the load I am carrying producing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the strait and narrow path and avoid getting stuck? Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?’

Sometimes we mistakenly believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness.

Because our individual load needs to generate spiritual traction, we should be careful to not haul around in our lives so many nice but unnecessary things that we are distracted and diverted from the things that truly matter most.

Oh my goodness. I needed those words. I can feel the load I am carrying changing my soul. I can feel Christ transforming me, every so slowly, I am being changed. But, some days I don’t want to be changed. Some days I want to go back in time a few years to when I had a working body and could go, go, go and do, do, do. And these words “it’s the load” are going to be a source of connection for me. Connecting me to Christ. Connecting me to Father. Connecting me to their plans and purposes and desires. I can remember those three little words and allow them to work in me a softening of my heart and a greater desire and willingness to share my load with my Savior whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.

8. Elder Packer’s talk was bittersweet. He looked so old and fragile, yet his words were powerful and full of hope.

Many things cannot be taught, but can be learned.

Everything done is done in Christ’s name.

9. Elder William R. Walker’s talk kindled in me a greater desire to teach my children their personal church history story – their ancestor’s conversion stories. I know that the stories of faith, courage, and sacrifice I grew up hearing of my Rollins ancestors tied me to the Lord and gave me strength and hope when my own nuclear family fell apart. My children need those same stories. They need the stories of all their ancestor lines. And after this talk, I am determined to find those stories and share them with my children often so that they to can be strengthened by a legacy of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The more connected we are to our righteous forefathers (and I would add foremothers), the more likely we are to make wise and righteous choices.

10. Elder Oaks’ talk in the Priesthood Session on keys, authority, and women has given me much to ponder. I feel God’s plan for his sons and daughters is glorious. I trust that, deep, down in the marrow of my soul, I know He is a God of love and right. Whatever He does is right, is good, is best. I don’t understand all the ins and outs of what is going on with His daughters (or His sons for that matter) in this day and age or even in this life, but I have great faith that someday we will be taught and will understand how His kingdom operates. And at that time, I feel I will be at peace with His plans and purposes for His daughters. I am not always at peace with them now, but I feel an absolute peace that I will have peace when it is all revealed.

I felt this conference was full of messages my soul deeply needed to hear. Now, I need to spend time pondering, writing, praying, and listening as God continues to teach me from these messages.

the merry-go-round

Mar 31, 2014 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Gratitude. Frustration. Spirit-filled. Tears of pain. Tears of joy. Grumpiness. Lack of compassion for those I love. Receiver of compassion from those who love. Desire to whack myself over the head. So, so tired of being whacked over the head with well-meaning advice by others. So much love given to me. SO MUCH JOY at the temple. SO MUCH JOY with my family. SO MUCH JOY…and yet, ARGH, I am still grumpy. I feel like I am on a merry-go-round with each spin around the circle bringing me a whole new wave of emotions.

I have been with extended family members for the past 2 1/2 weeks and my heart is full of a myriad of emotions – love and regret and gratitude and peace and joy and pain and forgiveness and sorrow and so much more. I feel spent…like I have done a triathlon without any training and need to spend the next long while recovering.

Thursday evening was spent in the temple with many of my dearest friends and family. It was a beautiful night full of tender mercies and blankets of love. I need to write a whole post about the loveliness of it all. Oh, the JOY!

Friday my foot was doing fabulously well. I was up and actually helping at gymnastics for the first time in six weeks! Hallelujah! My hopes of healing and getting back to building muscles were coming to fruition….and then ANOTHER accident happened. A one-second action of catching my falling Annesley that sprained a new ligament in my foot. ARGH. I really could scream, in fact, I think I need to scream or cry or something, but I haven’t let myself fall apart over it yet. I spent most of Saturday in bed with muscle spasms and soreness and frustration that my body was this injured over something so, so small. Meanwhile my mama cleaned and cooked and took care of all of us…such a nice break for Keziah, but boy, howdy, that dear woman did a lot of work!

Then, I put on my courage and smile and went to the first ever worldwide Women’s Meeting of my church and it was fabulous – I cried and rejoiced and cried some more. Then Sunday we attended church and my foot hurt and I was grumpy as all get out and was mean to my dear Richard and impatient with my dear Blythe and pretty much a porcupine to be around. This new pain brought up so much fear – fear of needing to spend my life in a bubble. Fear of not knowing how to care for my body. Fear of never healing. Fear of living in a wheelchair or worse, a bed. And then the guilt for letting fear in and acting on it. Oh my, I know better. I know God loves me. I know I am in His hands. I know my body can be healed. So, why do I let myself give in to fear?

Today was PT and more pain – the talus was in the wrong position, the ligament damaged and the muscle pulled. More time to heal this poor foot…time I want to be putting towards muscle building and can’t because it is taking so long for the ligaments to recover from the hippity-hop ball accident back in February.

I am so tired of this whole thing – and I need to NOT be tired. I need to gird up my loins and fresh courage take. I need to remember the bounteous blessings and tender mercies of the Lord. I need to remember this is a long-term issue without short-term solutions and dedicate my work for the long-haul: nutrition, muscles, energy work, and most of all, becoming a loving, courageous, obedient disciple of Christ in whatever circumstance I am in.

My mama played this song for me today and I sat there and tried to let my heart soften enough to cry and feel, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t let all the emotions of sadness and regret and fear and frustration come out. It takes a lot for me to cry…usually only happens the day or two before my period…and it has to build for quite a bit before the flood of emotions explodes out of me and the tears finally gush forth.

But, I need to let these words in to my heart and let them change me. I am so grateful for those around me who speak life to me…their words have given me light when I couldn’t see through the darkness, hope when I didn’t dare reach again, and courage when I didn’t have any of my own left. I want to speak life to those around me each day, especially my family members. They have all heard words of mine devoid of any encouragement, patience, or love when I really want to wrap them up in my arms and share the piles of love I have for each of them…and the love their Father in Heaven has for them. I think I will spend some time listening to this song every morning to help me remember to speak life to the hearts of those I love…and remember my Father and Savior who speak life to me.

Speak Life
by Mercy River on the album Come Alive

Somedays life feels perfect
Other days it just ain’t workin
The good, the bad, the right, the wrong
And everything in between

Though it’s crazy, amazing
We can turn our hearts with the words we say
Mountains crumble with every syllable
Hope can live or die

So speak life, speak life
Through the deadest darkest night
Speak life, speak life
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope
You speak love, you speak…?You speak life, you speak life

Some days the tongue gets twisted
Other days my thoughts just fall apart
I do, I don’t, I will, I won’t
It’s like I’m drowning in the deep
Well it crazy to imagine
Words from our lips as the arms of compassion
Mountains crumble with every syllable
Hope can live or die

So speak life, speak life
Through the deadest darkest night
Speak life, speak life
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope
You speak love, you speak…?You speak life, you speak life

Lift your head a little higher
Spread the love like fire
Hope will fall like rain
When you speak life with the words you say

Raise your thoughts a little higher
Use your words to inspire
Trouble falls like rain
When you speak life with the things you say

Lift your head a little higher
Spread the love like fire
Hope will fall like rain
When you speak life with the words you say

So speak life, speak life
Through the deadest darkest night
Speak life, speak life
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope
You speak love, you speak…
You speak life, you speak life

You speak life, you speak life

Somedays life feels perfect

two years of genealogy

Mar 27, 2014 in blessings, genealogy, the hip | 1 comment

Today is the day I have been waiting for – the two year anniversary of my priesthood blessing when God asked me to do the ordinance work for my ancestors. Blessed day!

I will spend today in the temple with friends and family. Together we will serve my ancestors and provide a way for hundreds of them to be family units forever. Oh, the joy!

My heart is bursting with love and peace and gratitude. I am so grateful my Heavenly Father has asked me to participate in the work of redemption of my ancestors. I have been thinking a lot about redemption lately…about the atonement of Jesus Christ, the breaking of chains, the humbling of hearts, the transformation of souls. The power of Christ to save us, to bring God’s children out of captivity and into light and hope, takes my breath away.

Last night I attended Les Miserables at Hale Centre Theatre with my sweetie. It was our birthday celebration (we like to celebrate our birthdays on April 6, the midpoint of our two birthdays, but yesterday was the only day we could get tickets, so I made peace with the lopsided mathematical equation) and we were able to spend the whole day together! Throughout the play, the word redemption played on the screen of my mind. Poor Javert believes in serving God and enacting justice, but he doesn’t grasp the majesty of God’s love to change lives. I know God changes lives. He has changed mine. He changed Valjean’s. He changed Moses’, Abraham’s, Paul’s, Alma’s, Corrie ten Boom’s, and millions more. I passionately believe in a God of miracles who can help His children find lost contacts and keys, bring wonderful people into our lives, guide us to truth, heal our bodies, inspire us to serve and bless and love one another and a million other delightful acts of love. But more important than all of those wonderful, life-changing acts, I believe he can and will and does redeem His children from sin, pain, death, and fear through the atonement of His son. He releases us from the chains that bind each one of us. Chains of addiction, fear, hate, indifference, hopelessness, loneliness, and revenge are all able to be removed by our Savior. He is THE way. THE truth. THE light.

And not only does God pour out the miracle of the atonement in my life, I have the blessed privilege of helping my ancestors develop faith in the atonement for them as well. Many, many times I am prompted to pray for one of them and often the message is one of hope and trust and faith in the atonement. Our lives can be transformed if we will allow Christ’s love for us to break our chains.

So, I have been thinking of designing a necklace for myself. I want it to say 24601 on one side and something like “Let Him break the chains and forge the links.” Then I want another piece to say “I believe in a God of miracles.” and the other side to have our children’s names or our anniversary date or their birthdates or something. Then another piece of metal to say “To love another person is to see the face of God.” I am playing around with various options, so I don’t know what I will end up with, but I feel a need to have this message of miraculous redemption made into something tangible I can look at each day. If I have it made, I will be sure to share it here.

It is time to rise and shine and get ready for a day in the House of The Lord, communing with Him, and giving more of my heart to these ancestors I have come to love so dearly. I hope my feet and my hip hold up well!