when will morning come?

Apr 2, 2013 by

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame

This is how my nights are playing out the last few days. The tigers, the demons, the whatever you want to call them are here. They are whispering to me all the lies I have ever believed and some new ones I have never entertained before. They are filling my soul with pain and blackness. I feel like my light, my life-giving energy is being squeezed right out of me.

And it hurts.

The sun is shining in my window and giving me hope that I can reach out to the source of truth and light one more time.

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trying again

Apr 1, 2013 by

After two really hard days fighting the you-are-hopeless demons, I am up and going this morning and willing to try again. I can’t really say determined to try again, but I am willing and I am trying and we are having a pretty normal school day.

I had a good talk with my big girls last night and told them how sorry I am for being impossible the last two days. I told them how much I love them and how I have decided to try again to be their mama. We all cried a bit.

This morning was another story though. Deciding to do something and actually following through are two different things.

But I AM following through. We did have morning devotional. We have done math. We have memorized a poem. We have done our temple of the day. I haven’t said anything mean. I am trying again, especially with that teenager that is so hard for me to understand.

I woke up to a pile of balloons all over my door with “I love you” and “You rock!” and “Thank you for all you do for us” messages all over them. Completely unexpected and super sweet.

I still have a ways to go with my sword of truth, but I am getting there. Our Easter services were really wonderful yesterday and I had a good 45 minute sob-fest in the hallway at church with some lovely ladies who gave me good advice, huge hugs, and a bit of humor. Yesterday afternoon Jessica brought me some of her delicious homemade peanut butter cups and invited our whole family to go on a walk by the river. I didn’t want to go and I was not good company, but the sunshine, sounds of trickling water, and watching my children have a grand time and say adorable things did give my soul some healing.

I need to spend more time in my current read, Through His Eyes: Rethinking What You Believe About Yourself and I think I will refocus on my word study of “Promise” throughout the scriptures. I need some truth, some love, and a lot of hugs.

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they’re back

Mar 31, 2013 by

I am plauged by demons. They have been with me a long time, but they don’t rear their ugly heads that often anymore.

During our first three years of marriage they were a constant companion. They whispered in my mind that I would never, ever be good enough for Richard, that I could never be saved by the Savior, that I was deluding myself into thinking I could live a righteous life and be worthy of my temple blessings.

Sometimes I listened to them. Sometimes I fought them off with swords of truth. Sometimes I felt completely insane. Sometimes I knew God was winning the battle for my soul.

Always my husband loved me. Always he believed in me. Always he taught me who God is and how much I am loved by the Father of us all.

After Blythe was born, the demons lost much of their power. I knew my purpose as a mother and my value to my Heavenly Father. I knew and experienced the blessings of being a daughter of God. I settled into my role of mother and wife and sister and friend and gave my whole heart to my children. I came to depend more and more on my Savior and to love His plan for my life. I learned to trust Him and to love Him.

But lately, the demons have been visiting again. They are coming more and more frequently and I am finding it nearly impossible to vanquish them. Today they are here in full force.

Today, on Easter Sunday of all days, I woke up feeling completely bereft of any hope. I am so tired of trying. I am so tired of failing in my role of mother. I am so tired of being so inept at loving these precious beings God has sent to me.

And the demons are winning.

I know the Savior rose again. I know He is THE source of truth, light, and healing. I know only He can give me peace. I know He wants me to return to Father.

But today I don’t know that I can. I don’t know that I have any hope. I don’t know that I will ever be able to figure out how to mother my teenager in love and peace and truth.

Today I am broken. Today I am convinced that I will never deserve my husband, that I am ruining my children, that I am failing at motherhood, that I will never, ever learn how to speak the universal language of Christ’s love and that my family will be better off without me. These are the messages the demons have been sending for years. But today I am listening. Today I don’t have the strength to fight them off.

I need Jesus.

He is the only one who can fix this and win this battle for my soul.

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the answer came

Mar 17, 2013 by

I love my Blythe so much.

So, so much.

But sometimes I forget how much.

Sometimes I treat her like my enemy.

Sometimes I want to give up on being her mama.

Sometimes I want to run away and scream and cry and rage because I cannot figure out how to show her I love her and treat her like I love her and be with her like I love her.

Sometimes I want to cry.

And sometimes I do.

Today at church I cried while I partook of the Sacrament. I poured my heart out to God and asked Him to please help me mother her. To please help me remember how much I love her. To please help me treat her like I love her. To please help me see her as He sees her.

Please, I pleaded. Please.

Then tonight I was working on my genealogy like I normally do on Sunday nights and was playing one of my favorite CD’s, Women of Destiny Volume 2 (Volume 1 is also fabulous) and a song came on that I have probably heard one hundred times.

But tonight I listened. Tonight it reached into my soul and said “This is your answer. This is how I will help you to treat her like you love her.”

And I cried some more.

It shouldn’t be this hard to treat another human being, especially my own daughter, as a child of God. And yet, it is. It is nearly impossible for me to stay in a place of love with her.

But tonight God spoke to me and told me to listen to this song. So I am going to pay attention.

I think I will listen every day.

Some Other Time

By Tyler Castleton

Do you remember when you used to hold her?
How nothing seemed to matter when you held her in your arms?
The memory is fading in the rush of here and now.
It all gets lost somehow.

Do you remember just how much you love her?
How you could hardly bear to see her all alone?
The silent bedtime stories and forgotten nursery rhymes.
Moments you’re sure you’ll find, some other time.

Every chance to love her you save for other days.
The promises you make a child will never go away.

You watch her slowly growing older.
You see her taking footsteps you thought were years away.
And every day you’re farther from what really matters most.
When all you’ll ever need is little arms to hold you close.

Will you learn what love’s about?
Can you still remember now?
You will find this truth somehow.

Some other time is now.

I have such a short time left with her in my home. I must remember how much I love her and what a gift she is to my life. I must treat her as the precious child of God she is. I want to see her as God sees her and help her see that divine creation as well.

Thank you Heavenly Father for answering my heartfelt prayer and giving me a custom-designed answer. It is just what I needed.

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roller coaster

Jan 22, 2013 by

Oy. My emotions are all over the place. I feel like I am on a roller coaster, up-down, all-around. I want this ride to stop.

Yesterday we had a good learning day. I was feeling stronger and more cheerful and the kids are certainly ready for me to be learning alongside them again. Annesley and I read books, played Go To The Dump and Addition Memory, talked about her future life as a mom (hilarious by the way), and had great fun. Fisher and I did math and read and did some geography stuff – he is currently obsessed with mastering all the states, which is perfect since next week he starts taking a class at iFamily all about the fifty states. We talked about decimal points and polar bears and marine turtles. Lots of things. So fun.

Then I had Keziah pull out some of our amazing books from the book box. Throughout the fall I collected some books to spruce up our winter learning. I bought some through Jessica’s book co-op and some from Book Closeouts. I gave some for Christmas gifts, but I kept a stack of them to pull out on bleak January and February morning or to sneak them into each child’s school bin to discover all on their own. Yesterday I decided it was time to pull out the first book, We’re Sailing To Galapagos. They loved it. We all loved it. The artwork, the story, the rhyming, the animal descriptions, the detailed information in the back. All of it is fantabulous. Annesley sang the sing-songy poem for the rest of the day.

So, we read another. One Moose, Twenty Mice by one of my favorite author/illustrators, Clare Beaton. I love what this woman does with felt. We grouped by fives, we counted by twos, we giggled and discovered and had so much fun snuggled up in my bed.

So, we read another by Clare, Zoe and Her Zebra. This is an alphabet book with a child for each letter being eaten or chased or something by an animal starting with the same letter. The children were able to guess most of the animals, but some were tricky and we had to flip to the back to find out the names. Umbrella bird? Never heard of that one.

Again, so much fun. And my heart was full of gratitude for my life as a homeschooling mother. Grateful for my body that could snuggle my children and learn all about animals and islands and seven + eight. Grateful for children who love me and want to be with me. Grateful for my warm blankets. Grateful for books that open up the world to us. Grateful for Blythe’s mentors who have put an amazing play together and brought out the best in their acting students. Grateful for so many things.

Then I fell apart. Again. The falling apart is kind of long…bear with me.

Keziah reminded me that I have GOT TO BUY A PRINTER so she can get her lesson plans printed for her iFamily classes, print out the paper she wrote yesterday, print out my genealogy stuff, and I need to DO IT NOW. I agree with her. Completely agree. But I have this problem where I must know all the ins and outs and pros and cons and every minute detail about a product before I buy it. It is a good thing. It is also a bad thing. A very bad thing. I researched cloth diapers for a full six months, every single day, before I decided on a brand. Same with a car seat. Same with our recently purchased and then crashed to smithereens Subaru. So, I want to make to sure I buy the “right” printer – as if there is one right or best printer…I am deluding myself, here. So, I hopped online to make a final decision on the whole printer thing. I read. I compared. I called Brother International and sat on hold for 20 minutes. I continuously got dropped off my internet service, because we have craptastic internet service, and I got more and more frustrated. Then I decided the printer issue was going to have to wait. I was going to once and for all conquer the internet problem. So, I started searching for a reasonably priced ISP in my area. More frustration. The prices, contracts, and unhelpful customer service people were enough to make me scream.

Sidenote: On Saturday, I had also tried to solve the internet problem and decided perhaps my problem is with my router and not my ISP. Richard’s laptop and our Kindle were no longer able to connect to our wi-fi and so maybe, I thought, the router was dying. I first spent 45 minutes on the phone with Amazon and was asked a gazillion questions about my router that I couldn’t answer because I couldn’t physically get to my router or to my computer where all the information is. I kept explaining that the Kindle was connecting just fine a few weeks ago, but now it is not, but still the cheerful, but unhelpful Amazon rep was unable to help me until I answered gobs of questions I had no way of getting answers to unless I could get out of bed and into my basement. So I decided to call my router company. I got on to Netgear’s website and read all about issues with my router model and finally decided I just needed to talk to someone and explain what was going on and have them tell me if it sounded like an ISP problem or a router problem. So I called Netgear’s “World Class Gearhead Service” and received anything but world class service. I got David, a man who could barely speak English and the English he did speak was so accented I could understand hardly anything he said. David, spoke with a syrupy, condescending tone and provided no service at all. He asked for my serial number, but since I couldn’t understand him and only grasped that he was asking for a number of some kind, gave him the model number. To which he curtly responded, “SERIAL, S-E-R-I-A-L.” Restraining myself from biting his head off, I told him I would call back when I had it. I called to Keziah and explained what I needed and she went and wrote it down for me. I called back and somehow got David on the other end of the line again. I gave him the serial number. He said that wasn’t right either and told me to pick up my router and look on the bottom and find the word serial and read him the number. I explained that I couldn’t do that because I am in bed and I would have my daugher get the correct number and then call back. Once again, I explained to Keziah what I needed and she went and wrote it down for me. By this point, I was done with David. I called Richard and ranted about the whole thing and gave up on solving the router problem that day. When Richard got home, he called the absolutely-not-world-class-service center and got you know who, David, again. He gave him the correct serial number and was informed our router was past its Service Plan and that if we would like to purchase a $99 Service Plan he would be glad to answer questions.

ARGH. Of course we don’t want to buy a $99 Service Plan. We could just buy a new router for that kind of money. We just want to know if we need to buy a new router!!!

End of sidenote, back to Monday.

So, I decided to call some ISPs and get some answers. I finally talked to a lovely man in the tech division of a company that is merging with my company and he explained why my internet signal has been so horrible and gave me lots of information (which I LOVE!) about how it will be improving. He listened to the whole story of connection problems and told me how to do a factory reset on my router and how to figure out if it is a router problem or an ISP problem (I think it is some of both). I wanted to take him to dinner for all his wonderfulness.

At this point, I decided I was going to have to walk downstairs and do the factory reset on the router myself. I hobbled down the stairs and was doing pretty well. I reset the router, unplugged everything, waited 30 seconds and plugged cord one back in, waited another 30 seconds and plugged cord two back in. Tested the Kindle again. Still no connection. ARGH!

I decided since I was already in the basement, I would get onto my computer and figure out my router settings for the list of questions from Amazon. I sat on my kneeling chair and got to work figuring out MAC filtering, access points, and broadcast signals. I started feeling awful. My back started spasming, my left kidney started throbbing (it has been flaring up since the passing out began), and my head felt as if I’d been hit by a sledgehammer. I gave up on the whole fix-the-router plan and hobbled back to my bed.

Once there, I started crying at the pain. I am so, so tired of hurting. My whole body is worn out and at times like this I want to give up and never get out of bed again. Keziah came in to check on me and saw my face clenched up in pain and gave me a lecture on how I should not have gotten out of bed and I should not have tried to sit at the computer. I know she meant well, but it was the last straw. How did I become so debilitated that I cannot even sit on a specially configured kneeling chair? Why has my body betrayed me? When will I stop hurting?

Full on pity party ensued and I cried and ranted to myself and tried to relax and help my back stop spasming. I was so, so frustrated with the technical difficulties of my gadgets, the phone calls from State Farm about the accident, the fact that I only have one week to be back on my feet before iFamily starts, and the lack of money and brainpower and time and control to solve all these problems. Then I put my head back on and told myself that all those thoughts aren’t at all helpful and I am blessed and so loved and I could be much worse off and sitting isn’t all its cracked up to be anyway and surely there are powerful lessons in all of this and my job is to learn them and grow in my relationship with God and stop feeling sorry for myself.

Then I called my techie brother, Cameron, and winced in pain as I laid out the whole story. He thought it sounded like my router is dying and recommended a few options. He told me I should have called him before I did all the above nonsense and he is right. I should have and would have saved myself hours of pain last night.

I didn’t get much sleep because I hurt so bad all night long, but now it is a new day and I going to try to be cheerful and positive and calm. Fortunately for Blythe and unfortunately for me it is her first day of performance in The Canterville Ghost, the play she has been preparing for since October. Richard and the other children will go to all the performances and I am hoping to be strong enough to go by Friday. Today I will miss this important moment in her life and it is frustrating me beyond belief. Last night’s jaunt downstairs showed me I should not try to go tonight. Today I want to scream. Today I want to pound the walls. But instead, I will read to my children, teach them some math, and try to spread the love of my heart into their souls.

When will this roller coaster ride end? I want to stay in a place of peace, but I keep getting spun around into fear and pain and anger and grief and hopelessness.

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a new writer?

Jan 20, 2013 by

I spent today listening to inspirational talks, doing genealogy, and reading to my family. I am feeling much better tonight. I can see that I am not an utter failure and that there are many things I am succeeding at. I will probably never be a stellar homemaker and maybe I need to make peace with that while also trying to implement small things to help me function better in that role. Something to ponder during these hours I am lying in bed.

One success is in the learning of my children. Sometimes I wonder if they are learning anything. Most of the time I am amazed at all they are learning. I don’t stress about writing too much around here. I write a lot and my children see me writing. I read to them from wonderful classics and we discuss them. A lot. But I have never assigned them writing. Around the age of 13, Blythe started writing. Constantly. She takes a notebook with her everywhere she goes and writes and writes and writes. She has many stories she has created along with all of the illustrations, the character sketches, the maps, and anything else that is needed for the story. Quite Tolkien like, that one.

We have grown used to her obsession with writing, but it hasn’t spread to anyone else yet. Until now. Two weeks ago, Keziah asked me to start assigning her a paper every week. I about died of shock. But with a straight face, I promised her I would. Today she asked me to assign a new topic every three days and she asked me if I would assign her to write about different authors. Once again, I promised her I would. Then, she came back and said “Mom, we need a new printer so I can type all my papers out and make them into a book. I want a book of authors that I create. Will you get a new printer?” I told her the printer was on a long list of things on my “to-get-soon” list.

Inside I was shrieking with joy. This girl has never seemed all that interested in writing down her thoughts and yet, now something has shifted. Now she wants to make a book.

So I will help her.

That is the beauty of homeschooling.

Tomorrow is a new day in this journey. Let it come so I can begin anew.

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that awful place

Jan 20, 2013 by

Last night I fell apart. I traveled to the dangerous land of Everything-Is-Awful-And-You-Will-Never-Measure-Up. Have you been to that place? It isn’t on any tourist guides’ maps because no one wants to admit it exists. But it does. It is real. And sometimes I go there. Usually only on the day before my period starts and my progesterone levels are plummeting, which was the case last night, but sometimes I visit for no obvious reason at all.

Well, last night I did more than visit. I bought a house and applied for full-on citizenship.

I tried to convince Richard that I am a complete and total failure as a wife, a mother, a teacher, a homemaker, a meal cooker, a laundry washer, a goal setter, a disciple of Christ, and a body owner. I told him over and over and OVER again how terrible I am doing at EVERYTHING and how I am ready to leave so he can get someone in here who will do a better job. I knew he would say he wouldn’t marry anyone else, that he adores me, that there is no one else he would ever or could ever want, that I am wonderful and amazing and yada, yada, yada. So I preempted him by saying I could just leave and then he would HAVE to replace me. He would have to hire someone to teach our children and cook our food and clean our house and wash our laundry because he loves our children too much to not have someone take care of them. I told him I don’t have the skills or the knowledge or the brains or the SOMETHING to succeed at this motherhood thing and it is just too hard. I need to be my grandma, to have her skills and knowledge and ability to love, but I don’t have any of it and I am so tired of trying to figure it out and failing over and over again.

Then I really fell apart (is it possible to fall apart more?) and said I hated being me. I hate my broken body and my stupid ideas and I am SO DONE with trying to improve and trying to make changes and insisting that tomorrow will be better and I will be better and I will do what I set my mind to do and then failing again. I told him I am ONLY a burden to him, only a liability, that I give nothing good to anyone, and especially not to him. That my stupid body takes all of his money and all of his time and all of his emotions and I can’t handle being a burden to him or anyone else anymore. I cried and cried and cried.

It was a doozy.

This morning I tried to revoke my residency and citizenship in that awful land, but it wouldn’t give me my traveling papers and allow me to leave. Two more hours of nonsense this morning. Two more hours of tears. Two more hours of me hating being in bed for another day and having people take care of me again. AGAIN. I am so tired of all of this.

Then, I decided to listen to this talk by Sheri Dew. I sensed I needed her straight-shooting words and absolute reliance on Jesus Christ.

And it worked. She somehow worked her magic and got me released from the before-mentioned land and back into the land of gratitude and growth and love and peace. She talked about how when she was made President of Deseret Book she felt completely overwhelmed and that after several years she went to President Hinckley and told him she needed to be replaced by someone with the skills and knowledge and acumen that she didn’t have. She presented her case very logically (just like I did) and was sure he would see her point and replace her. But he didn’t. He called her back and said “Sheri, you will figure it out.” Just like Richard said to me. And she did. And maybe I will too.

Richard thinks I am doing a great job. He loves me. He believes in me. He understands how crazy-making this whole being-in-bed thing is. He understands how scared I am. He truly believes I am a smart cookie. He helps me catch of a vision of how God sees me.

Today I am going to immerse myself in that vision and rely on my Savior to keep me far away from that land where I will never be good enough and never know peace.

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inner voices

Jan 17, 2013 by

Just read this article and am now bawling. Read it. Let it sink in.

My children certainly have been suffering from my comments lately. This is a wonderful reminder to me of who I really want to be and what I really want them to hear.

I shudder to think of the things I have said that could be playing on their inner tape recorder.

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my quest – an unexpected journey

Dec 16, 2012 by

Last night Richard and I went on a real life date! We have been planning for at least one year to go see The Hobbit on opening night. Well, we didn’t make it on opening night, but the third night isn’t too shabby for these once-a-year-movie-people.

Having just finished reading the book (check out this lovely hardcover edition for $8.66!) to my family on Thursday I knew the story and was pretty disappointed at all the changes made in the screen version. The movie stretches even the most creative imagination and puts forth several completely implausible scenarios that in my mind diminish the power of the message that a small band of people can work together and change the world…because any thinking person can see that this small band of people (dwarves, really) did not change the world in any believable way, the events are far too incredulous to apply to one’s own reality.

Having said that, I still loved the movie. I loved it for the powerful lines. I loved it for Gandalf’s vision, Bilbo’s courage and simple goodness, Thorin’s determination and leadership, Fili’s and Kili’s open hearts, Balin’s loyalty, Galadriel’s depth of soul, Elrond’s wisdom, and so much more.

Jackson added some scenes to the movie that Tolkien didn’t create in the book and while I know some people didn’t like the additions, I loved them. I think they added a great deal to the story and paint a broader picture for the events of Middle Earth. I loved seeing Dain in all its glory. I loved seeing the evidences of the Necromancer in Mirkwood.

How many times can I say “loved” in this post? Hmmm, I will try to come up with a different word. No guarantees though…my brain is running on fumes at the moment.

One line that jumped out at me was in the beginning of the film when the dwarves and Gandalf are making their plans and trying to get Bilbo to join them. Bilbo listens to the plans with their accompanying dangers and says “You’ve got the wrong Hobbit.”

Boy, did that jump out at me. I cannot tell you how many times I have said, “You’ve got the wrong wife.” That sentiment usually comes up when I am overwhelmed with a task in front of me or with regret over a behavior behind me. Sometimes I just *know* that I am not up to this life of wife-ing and mothering. Sometimes I am scared to give it my best shot because what if I give it my all and fail. Sometimes the whole thing seems so daunting, this raising up of souls, that I want to run away and do something else with my life because I *know* I can’t do it. I never planned on being a mother. I especially never planned on being a stay-at-home mother. I really, really, really never planned on being a homeschooling mother who cares about every bite her children eat, every song they listen to, every book they read, and every life they touch. I never planned this. I never wanted it. I still don’t know if I am up to it.

And that is when I say, “You’ve got the wrong wife.”

Richard chuckles and wraps me in his arms and tells me he absolutely has the right wife and he can’t imagine any better wife for him or mother for his children. I usually respond with a long list of traits that would serve this family better or a long list of people that would make him a much better wife, but he just holds me and encourages me and reassures me that I am doing a great work in a great cause for a great purpose.

And then I wake up and try again another day. Because not only do I know God has called me to this life, I love being a wife and mother.

I think he did pick the right wife, if only because I need him so desperately to be my companion and to teach me about Christlike love, humility, patience, and forgiveness.

Ultimately Bilbo decides to join the dwarf company and aid them on their quest. On the journey he discovers what he is made of and is changed into a new Hobbit. My hope is that just like Bilbo I am changing into a better, wiser, stronger, surer, deeper, humbler woman on my journey. For that is my quest.

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