blog

thankful thursdays 11/8/18

Nov 8, 2018 in thankful thursdays | 0 comments

I taught a lesson this week at my GRIT class on being grateful. I read my students The Quiltmaker’s Gift and then we played Gratitude Pictionary. I hope the power of gratitude really got into their souls. It has made all the difference in my life. In my bullet journal, I tak time almost every night to jot down the tender mercies of the Lord, the things I am grateful for that day. It changes my heart that day by helping me remember the goodness and over the course of the year, I am able to flip through it and quickly see piles of blessings in my life. Gratitude is one of the most important things for my sanity.

  • DRUM ROLL! Today we got a new couch! I’ve been saving up pennies for a looooonnnnnggggg time to get new furniture and today was the day. It is so exiting! We now have more seating for our expanding family and I can seat 14 people comfortably at my monthly book discussion groups. WAHOOOOOO!!! I’m incredibly grateful for the blessing of this couch and I’m already savoring the many memories we are going to make as we snuggle up together and read delightful stories. First read-aloud on our new piece of heaven will be happening tonight!
  • I like to help my children start their own businesses and Annesley has decided she’d like to try her hand at a sourdough bread baking business. Today was her first day making bread. We had a lot of mishaps. Dough flying out of the mixer, running out of accessible wheat when we needed a bit more flour to get the dough to the not-sticky stage, having an oven full of burnt stuff that made our house stink when we turned it on to preheat. There was a bit of frustration and a few tears, but she stuck with it. I’m so grateful to be able to teach my daughter how to make bread. Sharing these moments with her in the kitchen is magical…and messy…and oh, so worth it.
  • Strong kiddos. My kiddos have some serious muscles. I’m grateful they have them since they are incredibly important with our Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Aside from that, they can lift and move all the heavy things in our house. They are lifesavers!
  • I’m currently reading The Book of Mormon in about 85 days and marking all the verses that talk about Christ. It is not easy for me to develop an every day routine, but I am trying hard to make this a priority in my mornings and I am really loving my time alone in the scriptures. The peace and calm it gives my day is a beautiful thing.
  • My husband warms up my middle section of the bed every night. He lies in my spot and gets it all toasty for me and then when I come into bed he moves over onto his side and the sheets which are freezing cold. So, so thoughtful and something I take for granted all too often.
  • My boy is sometimes grumpy. But sometimes he is super sweet. Last week he earned a candy bar in one of his classes and he saved it all day long to give to me because he knew I would love it. It may have been a small thing, but it gave me enormous piles of hope for our relationship.

I know I won’t, but I always want to remember this moment. My girl is in the kitchen in her fleece zebra sweats and Irish Dance leotard taking her bread out of the oven for the first time. Priceless.

p.s. It’s delicious.

circle vs. mountain

Nov 7, 2018 in my life as me | 0 comments

Life is such a beautiful mess. Seriously, every single day is a mix of peace and gratitude and frustration and pain and wonder and laughter. Every day. My friend, Lawson, wrote an analogy this week about life being a circle instead of the mountain climb we so often picture it as. He is serving a mission for our church right now and his thoughts have helped this week to face the sameness with more hope and determination. He said,

I realized a mission isn’t like this mountain, where it climbs and climbs and then there’s the top, and it’s over. It’s like a circle. You do the same things day in and day out. You teach the same lessons, say the same things, and promise the same blessings. You plead for the same charity, you experience the same heart wrenching disappointment, and you feel the same exhaustion. And most of all, you feel the same love, day in and day out. Every night going before God and telling him of all the things you did wrong that day, all the times you weren’t the best missionary possible. And you know and feel those failures, yet you feel the guilt and shame and regret washed away. You quite literally feel the power of Christ’s atonement, every single night. And that gives you strength to get up the next morning and tell people they can have the same thing! that they can feel the same peace, know the same love, and receive the same strength. It really is a message of joy, and good tidings. And it’s the greatest, scariest, most stressful, most joyful thing in the world to be entrusted with delivering that message.

I feel like every day I face the same frustrations and experience the same beautiful moments. And sometimes I just want it to be done. My spontaneous soul is ready for something different. Something far more interesting and exiting than the sameness. Or even something just different. I don’t want to do the sameness anymore. I want to reach the top of my mountain and be done. Be done with the laundry and meals and bills and sadness and upset children and math lessons and teaching classes and answering emails and dislocating joints and pain and tiredness. Just be done. I think, “surely I have climbed this mountain long enough. Surely there is something else, anything else.”

Somehow Lawson’s words touched my heart helped me remember that in the sameness, I am growing. I am making a difference. I am becoming who God created me to be. There is power in this sameness.

So, I will keep washing those clothes and making those grocery lists and teaching these precious souls God has entrusted to me and dealing with the pain and learning to love better and more fully.

Becoming me.

thankful thursdays 10/25

Oct 25, 2018 in thankful thursdays | Comments Off on thankful thursdays 10/25

Today I’m breathing in the sunshine and the richness of my life. I’m trying to let it permeate every cell of my body. This afternoon we went to the lake to play with friends and it was so, so lovely to get out and breathe in the crisp fall air. I haven’t been outside nearly as much as I would like to be this fall and my soul is suffering for it. After a summer spent on the water and on my bike, I’m feeling all sorts of cooped up and need to make sure I get outside at least once a day. Truth be told there are many days I don’t leave my family room at all and that is not working for me.

So today Annes and I went and played for a few hours and drank in the goodness. And my heart is filled up with gratitude.

  • I’m thankful for parsley-pineapple smoothies. It’s like sunshine and happiness in a glass. I love it.
  • Good friends who travel this journey of motherhood and homeschooling with me.
  • Right now not a single joint in my body is braced or taped and that is an amazing feeling. I’m trying to get in a good exercise routine to build muscles during this time of no-massive-injuries.
  • Prayer. Opening my heart and mind to God is sooooo good for me. And not super easy for my mind that jumps all over the place. This week I had a small impression to pray for something specific for our dear Dallin who is serving a mission for our church and later found out it was something he was struggling with – experiences like this remind me that Heavenly Father is walking with each of His children.
  • Laughter. Tonight I could not stop laughing during our family prayer. And then we were all laughing and full of love for each other. And then I peed all over the kitchen floor and we laughed some more. Oh, it so good for my soul to laugh with my family.
  • Today I’m focused on gratitude for my mama. Some dear friends lost their mama this past week and she is the same age as my mom. As I have prayed for them, I have felt their heartache and pain and grief. I’m grateful for who my mom is and the relationship we have. We talk multiple times every day. We laugh and cry together. We help each other. We forgive each other. We love. It’s a beautiful thing.
  • Today I was doing family history work and I found my 3rd and 4th Great-Grandmothers! I have been looking for my 2nd Great-Grandma’s parents and family for the past 6 1/2 years and today I found them! I cannot even tell you how excited I am and how grateful I am that God asked me to do this work for my family.
  • When I was a teen and didn’t have a date on Friday nights, a group of us girls would get together and watch Man From Snowy River and Return to Snowy River. Annesley found one of the DVDs at grandma’s last week and brought it home and has been begging to watch it so the last few days we have been working our way through the two movies. We finished tonight. Ahhhh, sooooo good to share Jim Craig and his rock-solid character with my girl.
  • Taking time to soak in the goodness of my life is just what I needed today. Life is good. Really good.

25 years

Oct 15, 2018 in family | Comments Off on 25 years

Twenty-five years ago this morning I knelt down at an altar in the Salt Lake Temple and made sacred covenants with God and Richard which enable us to be sealed together as husband and wife forever. This weekend, Richard and I went back to that temple and did endowments and sealing work for my ancestors and it was glorious to walk the same halls and do the same ordinances with twenty-five years of love between us.

Oh my, this man. He fills my soul up with joy in indescribable ways. He sees me as a kind, dedicated, passion-driven woman and so, he helps me become that person. He sees me as trying my best. He firmly believes I am fantastic and adorable and capable and delightful. And because he believes it so thoroughly, he helps it become a reality. Oh, his goodness and gentleness and stableness are such balms for my windswept soul.

This weekend we took one of our very few couple trips – we definitely need to do more! I think this may have been our 2nd trip alone? We went away for a night on his 40th birthday and maybe there was one other trip at some point, but I can’t remember for sure. We were able to snag a Priceline deal for $79 and the man at the front desk was soooo nice – when he found out it was our 25th anniversary, he upgraded us to a fancier king-size room and gave us free parking. WAHOO! It was simply amazing to be alone with my sweetheart and not feel the pressure to make food, do laundry, teach math or history or problem solving or ANYTHING, or to even make any of the five gazillion decisions a mother makes every single day. Truth be told, I realized just how tired I am and how much the duties of motherhood weigh on me. And it felt glorious to let it all go for a few days.

We stopped at one of our favorite restaurants from the early days of our marriage. When Blythe was a baby, we would often go to Senior Iguanas for a $10 meal before we did our weekly grocery shopping. We had Starving Student cards with Buy 1/Get 1 free meals. Richard always got the two foot burrito and I always ordered the chicken and cream cheese enchiladas. With tax and tip, it came out to right around ten bucks. It was such a fantastic deal and we always had leftovers for the next day so we went there pretty much every week. It seemed only fitting to go there again after so many years and get our favorite dishes, though Richard went for the one foot burrito instead of the two and we still had leftovers for Saturday.

On Saturday we went to the temple. Oh my, it was soooo wonderful. We had the same sealer who did Blythe’s sealing in April and he is so fantastic. What a treat to be with him again! Then we drove up the canyon to go hiking. But we took the wrong road and almost ran out of gas. I guess 68 miles of gas goes pretty fast when you are climbing a mountain – we went through it in about 15 miles. We turned around at the 4 mile gas range mark and coasted down the mountain and to a gas station. Then we took the right road and 9 miles later arrived at our destination. What we didn’t plan on was the snow. We had climbed in elevation so much that there was quite a bit of snow on the ground and we were in shorts and Chacos. We did have jackets, so we bundled up and went as far as we could before we decided to be wise and pay attention to the snow and the wind and the setting sun. It was a glorious mile of walking through the woods.

Being outside surrounded by trees and rugged cliffs does something magical for my soul. It gives me strength and courage and hope. And that is just what happened. As we walked hand in hand up the mountain, I realized that trek is a lot like our life together. It has been steep and left me out of breath. It has been full of joyous moments and harsh realities and miles of beauty. We have helped each other over the tough parts and picked each other up when we have stumbled. We have taken lots of wrong turns. We have loved each other first and best and always and learned to love each other better.

That night we went to three different restaurants and shared an appetizer, salad, or dessert at each one. So fun! Sunday morning we attended the most loving, exuberantly joy-filled ward I have ever been in and soaked in the goodness and realness of the people who were gathered together from all over the world. Then home to our children with a renewed purpose to make our home a safe and soul-filling place to grow up.

He melted my heart on our trip. I asked him what he would change about the last twenty-five years and after thinking about it for a moment, he said, “Nothing. I wouldn’t change a thing. The lessons we have learned are worth it.” I pressed him with ideas of changing our financial situation or to change me into a wife that makes dinner every day and keeps a spotlessly clean house, but he insisted he would keep things just as have been because our experiences have made us who we are and he wouldn’t want to change what he has learned and become. After a lot more thought, he said, “I guess if I could change one thing, I would fix your body so you wouldn’t have had to go through all the EDS challenges.” And I thought about it and decided I wouldn’t change the EDS. I would be thrilled to be healed right now, but I wouldn’t take away the past 6+ years of injury and pain and heartache. I have learned to trust God and to rely on Him in sacred ways and I wouldn’t want to lose that. I have also learned of the deep goodness in this world and the rock-solid stability of my husband. Those lessons are too precious to wish away to get rid of the hardness of these EDS years.

These twenty-five years have been such a beautiful gift. I didn’t know if we would make it this far. Deep down in my soul I felt this was forever, but the stark realities of my life showed me that marriages don’t last and certainly don’t function in happiness. I love him more now than I did on that long ago day. I’m so grateful for the real, tangible, connected happiness we have been blessed with and the foundations of trust, forgiveness, support, and faith we have built upon.

Our marriage brings me joy. So much joy. Oh, how I love him and us and what we have created. Here is to the next 25. And the 25 after that. And then infinity and beyond!

thankful thursdays 9/13

Sep 13, 2018 in thankful thursdays | 2 comments

I have been saying for 3+ years, “I really want to start regularly blogging again.” But I haven’t done it. I haven’t figured out how to add this practice back in to my life after letting it go and filling that space with other things.

And that makes me sad. There have been countless experiences, insights, and adventures I wish I had blogged about. There are things I have needed to process through writing. There are lives I have needed to touch with my words.

Speaking of lives being touched, check out The Hundred Hearts Project. I will do a whole post on it soon (promise, promise, promise), but for now I will say that the experiences I have had in the past few weeks with Jenny Loughmiller and her amazing project are why I am super determined to start sharing in this space again.

Eons ago, I regularly wrote a Thankful Thursdays post. In an effort to start blogging again, I thought I would start back with something I know. So here goes, the first of many to come!

  • I’m thankful for working hands. For two long years, I could not use my hands very well at all. I couldn’t write or type or mouse. I have been out of my splints for about a year now and they are regaining their functions. I still can’t type for a super long time and I have to hold my pen a bit skeewampus, but I can write without pain!
  • My children’s growth is making my heart burst with joy right now. They are learning and progressing and making decisions to do hard things. Ahhhh, the harvest is sweet.
  • I have kayaked all summer long and my soul has been fed by the water, the paddling, and the connections with friends. Oh my goodness, I love kayaking. I’ve done the Snake six times this year and each time it has worked its magic and given me nourishment. We’ve also done the Teton, Wade Lake, Buffalo, Green River Lakes, and Henry’s Fork. A day on the water helps me see more clearly and gives me strength to go forth.
  • After 13 years of being unable to sit on an upright bike, my hip has healed enough that with the right bike geometry and a comfort seat, I can do it! I bought a bike in February to celebrate the six year journey with injuries and seizures and have been riding it ever since. HALLELUJAH! Some day, somehow, I’m determined to get back on my beloved recumbent again, but for now, I am soooooo loving riding my Felt Verza Cruz with my family.
  • I’m so grateful for time in my Levitat. My life is full to the brim with wonderfulness and a good afternoon relaxation session in my hammock is the perfect gift to help me stay centered. I look up through my trees to the blue sky beyond and drink in nature for a few minutes. And sometimes I take a nap. That is always good too!
  • Stem cells!!!! They are amazing and are healing my body in countless ways. Such a gift! I travel to Mexico next week for my next round of cells and am so excited to see the progress they give me.
  • Life, oh, how grateful I am to be alive and living and experiencing and learning and loving and making mistakes and crying and facing challenges and soaking in goodness. What a blessing it is to be alive and be able to connect with other souls! What a blessing to love and be loved. What a blessing to suffer and triumph and laugh and learn. I’m so very grateful for this opportunity to be here, right now, and be able to LIVE.

It’s time to focus on learning time with my kiddos, so I’ll stop for now. But I’m coming back. I’m showing up here at Wet Oatmeal Kisses. I’m ready to make this a priority in my life again. Thank you for joining me.

sweet & sour chicken

Jun 14, 2018 in food we love, recipes | Comments Off on sweet & sour chicken

I used to make this meal all the time. Then when I was injured in 2012 and stopped cooking on an even less regular basis than I usually do, it was forgotten. But it was one of Blythe’s favorite meals and today I was thinking about her all grown up and decided to make it and see if my other kiddos liked it as well.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

  • 3-4 TB. oil (I use coconut)
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 C. pineapple tidbits with juice drained off and saved for later
  • 2 C. chicken broth
  • 4 TB. Bragg’s Amino Acids
  • 6 TB. vinegar
  • 1/2 C. honey
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 TB. cornstarch
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 2 C. cooked chicken, diced or shredded
  • 6-8 C. brown rice

Cook rice. Drain pineapple and savie juice. In large skillet saute green pepper, green onion, and pineapple in hot oil for 3-4 minutes. Add pineapple juice, broth, Bragg’s, honey, and salt. Stir cornstarch into water, then add to pan. Cook and stir gently until thickened. Add chicken and heat through. Serve over hot rice. Serves 12.

I hope you like it! I think I’ll make another batch up and put it in the freezer to take on our next camping trip.

goodness, i’m exhausted

Apr 2, 2018 in my life as me | Comments Off on goodness, i’m exhausted

I’ve been on a pretty insane schedule even for someone with a full pocket of spoons…and we all know my spoon level is not ideal. I am tired. More than tired.

And it isn’t going to get better for another month. In the past month, I have had four trips, with another one this week. Fisher is in a Shakespeare play at the end of the month and his rehearsals are on the increase. On top of that, I have been dealing with another blasted knee injury, a head injury, a rib dislocation, and quite a few passing out episodes. Somehow, in between the trips, injuries, and daily life, I’m working on my daughter’s wedding which is less than three weeks from today.

I still haven’t found a dress to wear to the wedding (oh, the tears and body shaming I’ve been trying to fight), nor finalized the bridesmaid’s dresses, bought the food for the wedding, got the sign-in book, or figured out a zillion other details. The truth is, I have no idea what I am doing. I have an amazing group of friends who are saving me from complete failure, but it is really challenging for me to show up, day after day, in the wedding planning work. I just want to go to bed.

So today I did. After a morning of homeschooling and a bit of family history work, I took a long bath, read a soul-soothing book, and then fell asleep for several hours. It was just what I needed.

I think I need about fifty more long soaks and longer naps. I plan to sleep from May 11 – June 3. Surely that will work?

If I can just make it to May 11, then I can rest. In the meantime, I’m going to need as many naps as I can get.

this day will always be sacred to me

Mar 27, 2018 in the hip | Comments Off on this day will always be sacred to me

On March 27, 2012, my dear Jessica’s father laid his hands on my head and gave me a priesthood blessing. It was not the blessing I expected or desired. It was far more powerful than any blessing I had ever received in my life. It felt HUGE and full of peace and goodness and His power all at the same time.

God asked me to find my ancestors and to do their temple work for them. I have been dedicated to this work since then (though it took me two weeks to get started). This is big. Really big. I don’t usually stick with anything for very long at all. The fact that I have spent thousands of hours, enlisted hundreds of people in my temple army, and stuck with it week after week shows what a powerful message God gave to me that day. It was a message with staying power, a message that changed me in a way I cannot describe.

I am so, so grateful for that blessing, for that invitation from my Father to find my father’s family and allow them to experience the joy of building a relationship with Jesus Christ founded in temple ordinances.

This past Friday, we had a group of 22 dear friends meet in the temple to do 106 sealings to commemorate the 6th anniversary of my priesthood blessing. It was sacred and joy-filled and glorious.

God knew the healing I needed was far more than the physical blessing I was seeking that day. He knew my soul needed the buttressing of my ancestors to make it through the physical and emotional challenges of the past six years. He knew I needed their love and protection and joy. He knew I needed more of Him and His son. Through family history work, He has blessed me with all of these things. God is good and He is in the details of our lives. Hallelujah forever and always to the God I love.

losing patience and finding love

Mar 8, 2018 in mothering, the hip | Comments Off on losing patience and finding love

My boy has been grumpy. Grumpy isn’t even the right word for it as it is SO FAR beyond grumpy. Full of mountains of rage? Obstinate beyond all conception? Having never raised a teenage boy before, I really have no idea what is normal. I have wondered if this is some crazy, anger-filled period that all boys go through (and if so, how on earth have generations of mothers survived it?) or if something is going on inside of him that is outside the bounds of normal.

Today is the umpteenth day of the grumps and I almost lost my cool completely and screamed at him for his refusal to do his math and his angry words and dagger eyes. But I didn’t. I calmly explained his lesson to him again and again and again. When he still refused to even try, I told him he could choose to do housework or math. After folding laundry and doing dishes, he finally lashed out at me.

“How many other kids have to have a mom who can’t ride bikes with them? How many other kids have a mom who can’t really do anything with them?”

Oh my. Big feelings right there.

I was a bit tempted to lash right back at him and say “I JUST bought a bike and we WILL be riding together and STOP your whining about how hard your life is and do your math. For heaven’s sakes, you have parents who love you and food to eat and hundreds of Legos and gobs of books and clothes to wear and you live in America and are not in a war zone!”

But I didn’t. I responded with a soft voice and said, “Oh buddy, I know. I know it is hard to have a mama who can’t do all the things you wish she could.”

At some point, I did remind him that I will be bike riding with him as soon as the snow melts and that we are going to have some epic adventures. And then he started crying and said, “What chance is there that you won’t get hurt again when you ride your bike and you will be in bed for another two years? Not very big!”

So fear and sadness are at the bottom of this grumpiness. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but it sure does give me a window into his soul.

I know my broken body is not the worst thing in the world, not by a long ways. I know our lives are full of blessings and rich with beautiful friendships and awesome adventures. But today I saw for a brief moment how very heartbreaking it is for my tender little boy to have a mama whose body doesn’t work like normal. More love, more patience, more nurturing, that is what this boy on the cusp of manhood needs from me.

sometimes mothering is hard

Mar 6, 2018 in mothering | Comments Off on sometimes mothering is hard

Mothering is getting the best of me lately. All these vastly different people with different needs, challenges, and personalities living under one roof is hard. Really hard.

We have still not adjusted to having Blythe back in our home after her mission. It has been almost a year and parenting an adult child is still something I haven’t mastered. There are lots of wonderful moments. And there are lots of hard moments. I love this girl of mine so fiercely, so deeply. Yet, it is hard for me to have a pleasant conversation with her.

Sidebar: This girl is doing amazing things. She came home from her mission, started school two weeks later, started at a college of massage therapy program a week after that, and excelled in her classes. She graduated in December, took her boards last week, passed them on the first try, and is ready to start looking for a job in the massage therapy field. She is engaged to a young man and getting married in April. So many good things going on in her life and I’m so, so proud of her.

And yet, it is still hard for us to understand each other. And it breaks my heart.

Then there are the daily ups and downs with homeschooling. My boy who doesn’t want to do math EVER and at the same time giggles while I read our latest read-aloud, Wee Free Men. The girl who wants to create and build and invent and paint and makes messes all over the place every single day. The teenager we rarely see because her schedule is so tightly packed with gobs of good things. The stomachs that are hungry and the hearts that need to be soothed – it all takes so much of me. It is exhausting and soul-filling all at the same time.

I love mothering. I really, really do. I never thought I would, but I have given my brain and my heart to raising these children well and loving them fully.

But I’m not all that good at it. I’m not a natural and it takes serious effort for me to love and serve and give.

After a rough morning with my boy and two rough days in a row with Blythe, I’m tempted to throw in the towel. To give in and give up and say, enough, I am done.

Instead, I am going to dig deep into the marrow of my soul and remember who I am and who God is and who they are and I’m going to keep on trying to mother them.