Monday, September 29, 2008

School Fundraisers

A.k.a. The bane of my existance!!!

I loathe school fundraisers. Let me rephrase that. I loathe feeling like I need to go panhandling to family, friends, and close neighbors begging for them to purchase things I don't even believe in. Especially when I have to figure out which kid I'll let harrass which potential sucker...uh, buyer.

My greatest foe comes in the form of a book. Do you know the one I'm talking about? It's so colorful with many fantastic looking coupons, ready and willing for you to take a chance that you really will save more than the $20 it costs you to buy the book in the first place.

The only problem is, the coupons are typically for things you don't want in the first place! I don't care if I can get a family of four into Disneyland for practically no money at all. I have a family of six! I've never wanted a Ranch Burger and probably still won't want one even after the discount. Thank you very much. Not to mention most of the places are either so far north or so far south of where I live, by the time I drive there and back I've spent all the money I saved.


We have a new principal at the kids' school this year. He's been great, all the teacher's say so. But he seems really gung-ho about fundraisers. No sooner did we send back the empty book packets than a new fundraiser has started. Granted this one I can sink my teeth into. It's still difficult to try and tell the kids I can only buy one thing of cookie dough from each of them. Of course, it's cookie dough, and I love it. But it's a bit hard on the pocketbook, especially as I normally refuse to let the kids bug anyone else to buy some.

Why normally, do you ask? I've decided to let the kids loose this year, and give those of you who are smart enough to read this blog fair warning. So don't be surprised if you get a phone call asking if you'd like to buy some White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip. Feel free to say no. I'm just tired of being the bad guy in all this.

Of course, if you'd like to jump ahead and volunteer to buy some, I won't decline ;)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Inspirations Sept. 21, 2008

I received today's inspiration last night during the General Women's Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don't know how many of you noticed one of the theme's that seemed to run throughout most of the talks. Perhaps I noticed it simply because it's something that's not only been on my mind a lot lately, but in my heart as well.

For me this particular theme was best illustrated in President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk, wherein he told of the difference between men and women through the example of making dinner.

His wife, he tells us, puts together a grand meal. The food is delicious to the taste, and she will often cook something from one of the many countries they've visited. Even the presentation of the dinner is remarkable to behold. Regardless of how wonderful the meal turns out to be, no matter how much those who had the pleasure of partaking say how much they enjoyed the meal, this sweet woman could always find a little something she should have done better.

"I really think this dish could have used a bit more curry," she might say. Or perhaps, "I might try putting in some cinnamon next time."

Then President Uchtdorf went on to describe how he prepares a meal. According to his wife his best dish is, "fried eggs...sunny side up." He also told us how he prepares his favorite dish. He slices a few pieces of french bread, then browns them on both sides.

"It doesn't matter that the eggs are a bit greasy, or if the toast is a bit burnt," he claims. He laughingly proclaims he feels himself a hero for having cooked anything at all!

Did anything click for those of you who saw the conference? All throughout the talks I heard snippets of, "Nothing we do seems to be good enough." This quickly translated to, "I don't seem to be good enough."

I'm thinking in particular of the women of this Church. Often it has seemed to me we place so much more pressure on ourselves to be more than perfect, because we have the restored gospel in place. We take too much upon ourselves until we're suffocating. We do something beautiful and then tell everyone what's wrong with it. We undermine ourselves when our Heavenly Father is ready and willing to tell us how wonderful we are.

We find too many things wrong with everything we do right.

Yet this is not God's view of us. We are creators by birth. We are God's children, the same God who created us in the first place. He have unto us two of His greatest traits: the desire to create, and extraordinary compassion.

This desire and ability to create comes so easily to some. I am one of those, because of the gifts my Heavenly Father has blessed me with. I take to things easily, I can pick up a new hobby as easily as I pick up my babies. I tinker at the piano, I've crocheted many an afgan, I can bake a mean cookie, I can draw a little, and take a few pictures.

Others don't necessarily understand that to create something goes far beyond what we can see and hear. It involves more than a beautiful voice or how well someone handles a paintbrush.

I know a woman who can create the sense of safety. I know another who can create a loving home, no matter who resides there. I know a woman who can create motivation in others. I know one who can create a smile in every person she meets. I know so many women who have the power to create magical things, though they rarely understand what they've accomplished.

Yesterday as I prayed before beginning my fast, a few words popped out I didn't expect. "Father," I said, kneeling next to by bed, "I- I-...I want to understand." That was it. I didn't know what it was I wanted to understand, I just knew I did.

A sister in the ward (local congregation) later dropped off a book, saying she felt greatly inspired that I needed to read it. Last night I went through the first four chapters and couldn't stop the tears from flowing. It was all about understanding. I hope to be able to share more about it soon.

Remember, the more you trust and rely on the Holy Spirit, the more your capacity to create will increase. It's when we trust too much in our weak, mortal selves that we loose sight of the extraordinary beings God has created.

Today my hope for all of you is to find the little things you create. Whether it be happy, healthy, well-loved children, a quilt you've been working hard on, answering a need you feel greatly inspired to follow, it doesn't matter. Just rejoice in the opportunity to create, to be like our Heavenly Father.

Rejoice in being a woman.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Book Review: Why I Believe the Book of Mormon

This book caught my eye one morning as I did my weekly grocery shopping at Walmart. I didn't recognize the name of the author, Tony Decker, but thought it might be worth looking at.

He claimed to have over 300 evidences of the validity of the Book of Mormon, classifying these into internal, expternal, and spiritual categories. After a short preface indicating these categories he goes right into things he's termed as evidence.

He starts at the beginning, 1 Nephi, and prints certain scriptures that mean something to him, then gives little comments underneath. There are no chapters, nor does he follow any sequence of events other than the timeline of the Book of Mormon. Early on I knew if I were going to make any semblance of the scattered evidences, I'd need to find a system of my own.

So I did. Grabbing my trusty Post-Its tags I began placing them on pages where I felt there were viable evidences, ones that those who'd never read the book before would have a hard time explaining away.

By the time I finished the book I almost had 40. Out of "more than 300."

I realize these are all external evidences. I focused mainly on these because this is where my own studies are taking me right now.

This is not to demean Mr. Decker's other evidences. After reading through most of his book I came to realize if one all ready has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, most of what he'd given would only help to strengthen one's testimony if studied and pondered with the influence of the Holy Spirit. They could and even would come to be internal and spiritual evidences, just as he indicated.

I did find his occasional references to what Joseph Smith could have possibly known or not known to become a bit tiresome. The flow of his book would have run smoother without his obviously biased opinions in some points. After all, though these evidences were a strong witness to him, as can be seen by his enthusiasm, it would not be to someone else. Especially if they had never read the Book of Mormon themselves.

I also wished he'd given more references to where he'd found some of his external evidences. While he did give references to some (such as John A. Tvedtnes,'s "Book of Mormon Names Attested In Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies), and others are easy to research online (like Chiasmus, a form of Hebrew poetry), most of his external evidences were left without the sources of the information he obtained.

About 1/4 into the book I began to wonder who this man was. Did he teach religion at a university? Was he a member of the Quorum of the Seventy? Is there anything beyond being an avid supporter of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon that qualifies him to write this book? I still don't have an answer to that, but perhaps it doesn't really matter.

There are some genuinely concrete evidences in there, ones which I've marked and plan to study up on. Beyond that if would I recommend the book? Perhaps. If one all ready has a testimony of the truth of the Book of Mormon, loves to read, and wants to see what another member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints feels about the book. Otherwise I'd say, save your money for something a bit more organized and referenced.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's the Little Things That Get You

They're certainly getting to me. In the last few weeks I've begun to pull out of the depression, and I've been blessed with many spiritual upliftings, but little things around the house are falling apart which gets to be pretty frustrating.

First there was the bathroom sink. I could tell it was clogged with an actual something down in the P-trap (I love that I know it's called a P-trap), so I pulled the pipe off, became incredibly grossed out at the horror held within, and put the pipe back on.

The only problem was when I turned on the water to see how well it would now flow, a good majority of the water ended up in the bucket under the sink. The pipe had corroded. I didn't realize how bad until I'd picked up a new part and took the rest of the P-trap out of the pipe leading into the wall. Giant chunks of pipe fell out.

Not a good thing.

It took some doing, and my husband's smart thinking, but we eventually got things running smoothly and I could stand tall and say I'd just finished my first ever plumbing job. That and it only cost us about $4 to fix (better than the last plumbing job that cost us over $400 earlier this year).

We weren't done, however. The next thing to give us a bit of trouble was two outlets located on the kitchen wall (this wall adjoins the bathroom). The outlet in the bathroom seemed fine. No problems. Unfortunately I used the other two in the kitchen to plug in several appliances.

My intelligent husband thought we might just need to replace the outlets as we'd recently painted. He took one while I took the other. With bated breath I waited until he flipped the switch in the power no avail. Now, I wasn't feeling so good last night, so the thought of not having power for little things like the toaster and the microwave didn't go over well.

It's a good thing my darling spouse doesn't give up so easily. As strange as it seemed to me, he went into the bathroom to play with the outlet in there. In mere minutes the case was solved and I can now nuke things to my heart's content, and all for about a dollar.

The kicker was when my hubbs called this morning to let me know the furnace wasn't working. I thought my frozen toes were simply due to fever chills. Okay they were. Still, I knew this wasn't something we could easily fix ourselves.

So even as I sit here complaining about life's little problems I should be off the line so the guy can call and tell me he'll be here somewhere between ten and next week. I know this isn't going to go be fixed for under a hundred dollars.

Lately it feels like my husband's checks are being spent before he's even done earning them. Never fear. My indomitable optimistic outlook on life will soon blossom, and I'll be telling you how all of these things have actually been a blessing, especially since we're getting them taken care of before something worse happens.

I'd still appreciate a prayer or two. Or twenty three thousand.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Inspirations September 21, 2008

There are some Sundays when there seems to be a theme running through each meeting. This is never done on purpose, but rather seems to be within the designs of a loving God who manages these sorts of things from the other side.

Today was certainly one of those days. It was my turn to teach the Young Women, and the lesson was on repentance, in particular on the happiness it can bring to our lives. I can't begin to tell you just how intense the feeling of the Holy Spirit was for me during that time. Of course I can't speak for the girls, but my own testimony was strengthened.

As we began to speak on repentance and happiness in Sunday School as well, I though for certain this was the message I needed to continue to share...until one woman raised her hand.

"I've spoken of this before," she began. "I have a sister who is incredibly wealthy. She has opportunities opening up for her right and left. She travels, she has a big house and has chosen not to live the gospel. As far as I can see, she is happy."

Though the words were not uttered, we could all hear her continue on to say, "Happier than I am, and here I am at Church."

The teacher opened the discussion up to those of us in the class. Many beautiful testimonies were born, than Sis. A, who is a most remarkable woman, took a deep breath. I think all of us knew we were about to hear something we all needed.

"Please know I'm about to talk to you with all the love in my heart," she said. "I do not ask these questions to offend, but to bring things into perspective. Do you love your husband?"

She quickly nodded her head. Sis. A. turned to the husband and asked, "Do you love your wife?" He also nodded.

Turning back to the sister our teacher asked, "Do you love your children?" We all chuckled as she jokingly hemmed and hawed, knowing her little kiddies have proved to be a bit difficult. Still, when it came down to it, she said, "Yes."

The next question was, "Do you love your parents?" We all started laughing here. Her parents, recently returned missionaries, had decided to begin attending our ward in an effort to reactivate her daughter. I have no doubt this at times did not feel like an act of love, but rather of Mom and Dad still telling her how to live her life. Though it took a few seconds, and a lot more joking, she did eventually say, "Yes."

Then came the the words we all felt to the core of our beings. "You know, your mother gave you the answer earlier. The things of this world are in your face. They're loud. You can't think over the noise, you can't see past the the riches and money. They're there to distract you.

"The things of the Spirit are normally found in the quiet moments. It is the things of the Spirit that will bring us true and lasting happiness."

I felt the truth of this message so strongly I had to write it down in my scripture journal. I knew without a doubt she was right. I'd been teaching around the message to the young women for many months now, but she hit the nail right on the head.

Television, movies, computer games, Playstation, earning enough money, traveling, expensive jewelry, big houses, expensive cars, fancy clothes, etc. These things often bring temporary pleasure, but tend to distract us from what can truly bring us joy.

Too much lately I've heard others echoing the cries of friends, family and acquaintances that no matter how hard they work, they're simply not happy. No matter how much money they earn they are not fulfilled. Now matter how much time they spend taking their kids from soccer practice to piano lessons to everything else that keeps them busy, they never feel as though they've done enough.

But that is not where you find true happiness. It is in the quiet moments of life. The minute or two just after you've woken up, before it's time to get the kids going, or to get ready for work. The times you find yourself surrounded by silence. When the television and radio have been turned off, and you actually hear yourself think. It is in knowing you've spent your day in the service of your Lord, through His daily inspirations.

As our teacher joked, sometimes it might take putting on a blindfold, locking ourselves in the bathroom, and putting in the ear plugs to be able to hear these inspirations. There will be times life does become so hectic we actually have to carve out a few minutes to ourselves, but it's vital to our entire well being to make it happen.

Allow me to end with this. We as the children of God are fighting a daily battle. The distractions of Satan work to keep us from what will make us truly happy, from that which will carry us through the hard times. Even seemingly harmless things can bring about dire results if not dealt with immediately. We must try to be vigilant in finding the quiet moments so as to keep ourselves anchored in that which will bring us true happiness.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Gift of Time

I'd made plans to go back to school this year. Having attended the school orientation and experienced a (rather unsatisfactory) visit with the academic advisor, I was all set to go. Then my depression became overwhelming and I was forced to take a step back. It was too much. It was too soon.

My Heavenly Father basically told me to chill. While I still need to get back into school, I don't have to do it NOW! This is rather hard for me, seeing as how I love to learn and looked forward to getting into some classes.

Our Heavenly Father knows us so well. He knows what we can handle, He knows what we can't. He has promised to never put more on our shoulders than we can carry. Too bad it doesn't stop us from doing the same to ourselves.

I'm notorious for not being able to say no. I'm a people pleaser and want so very much to help others, to make them happy. While in many ways this is an admirable trait, it can also lead me into turbulant waters, and I constantly find myself drowning in an ocean of good intentions. Over the years I've not only had to learn to (occasionally) say no, but I've had to learn it's okay to be listless every once in a while.

Once I decided school was not meant to happen immediately I felt a great weight taken from me, but it's left me with an awful lot of free time. This was my own doing, thinking I'd be filling it up with studying and homework and whatnot. So I've had to figure out what to do with this time.

Here's what I've discovered: sometimes Heavenly Father gives us the gift of time so that we might do things we normally couldn't get to. I've focused more on my children in the last month than I did all summer. I've been reading a lot of serious books that have been shelved for months now, because I didn't have the time or the brain power to read them. I was able to go through the kids' rooms and started throwing things out (soooo much easier to do when they're at school and can't see the horror!). I've even read a few books just for the pleasure.

I'm back to creative writing, which I've put on hold with this blog as well as the blog with LDS Blogs. It took a few challenges at Faith Writer's, but I've also discovered something else - I don't want to write to win any more. I want to write for the sake of bringing about stories and poems others can enjoy. I've even been toying with the idea of a blog for this express purpose, to share with others my creative side. I think this could certainly fill up some of my extra hours.

So here's my challenge to all of you who are struggling to fill in unexpected free time. Look for something you've been meaning to do for a long time, have wanted to do for a long time, or have thought about starting up, AND DO IT! Don't worry if it seems silly, or useless, or isn't something others are interested in. Have some fun. Do something that's just for you. Be grateful for the gift you've been given. If you're not sure how to handle the extra time pray for what your Heavenly Father would ask you to do with it.

Odds are if He's given you the gift, He has a purpose behind it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Karate Kids!!

Tonight was the next big graduation, where the fate of three children was held in the balance. Would they be asked to remain in the realm of yellow belts, a happy color to be sure, but not where they wanted to be? Or after months of hard work, dedication, and repeated turning of Mom into "crazy-karate-lady", would these three, young, starry-eyed kidlets be allowed to continue on to the new and (apparently hectic) world of orange belts.

To be honest I wasn't sure. During the test I found myself wandering the halls with the baby trying to keep her out of everyone's hair. Every time I passed by the glass doors, I caught sight of one of the kids doing something wrong. I haven't cringed that often in one night in a loooong time. Obviously they did an awful lot more right :) (Can you see the lesson in that? I just figured out my next post on!)

I'll let the pictures say it all.

Monday, September 15, 2008


A sweet friend told me I don't have enough pictures (Ms. Brittney, this is for you, babe!). Looking on others blogs, I know she's right. My brain was flying along the same lines. So here goes. We went to Sugarhouse Park yesterday after our meeting for a picnic (we usually do that after Stake Conference). Most of the pics will be of the kids there. And yes, I do have a thing for taking black and whites!

I call this one, "I'm Helping." It features J, who is working hard to pick up A, so we can head home and give her a nap. Yeah, I might be difficult too :)

Did you notice the awesome socks J is sporting?

Here's a close up of M

I really like this one. I'm thinking of calling it, "Catching Air." If only there'd been a shadow of a basketball near the hoop, it could have been, "Shadow Ball."

Here's M and A together. I didn't want A in the water, so M had to carry her back to me.

I realized I didn't have any close ups of B yesterday, so I pulled one out of the files. Isn't he precious? (Don't tell him I said that.)

I'm working on doing up some more pictures, and will post as they become available.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Inspirations Sept. 14, 2008

Here in the Salt Lake Valley we had a regional Stake Conference meeting. Our stake happened to be one asked to come to the Conference Center down town. My first thought upon hearing this was, "How on earth are we going to entertain a 2 year old for two whole hours?" My second thought was, "If we go, we'll be blessed. So let's go!"

And blessed we were. At first I worried we'd never make it past security with a mini version of my "Church Bag." Laden with coloring books, individual boxes of crayons, my scripture journal, and various pens I watched it searched, hoping nothing undesirable would suddenly pop out, then heaved a sigh of relief when it was promptly returned.

The meeting didn't start until ten. Naturally this meant we were in our seats by 9. ARGH! Do you know what it's like trying to convince children it's a good idea to sit quietly even before the meeting officially starts? Fortunately no one else seemed to mind our noisy family, as they were looking for family members or ward members of their own. My hubs took everyone to the bathroom shortly before the meeting was to start, and once the opening prayer was done out came the brand new coloring books! I'd say it entertained them for a good 45 minutes or so. Not too shabby :)

The only way to keep Anna happy was to sneak in a baggy of fish crackers. I don't know what we would have done with that child without the fish crackers. They kept her nicely entertained for a little over an hour. No, the crackers didn't run out by then. Instead the (hushed) moaning and (quiet) wailing of the children was at last diminished by the magical appearance of their own baggies full of Mike & Ikes. I had those stuffed in my skirt pockets.

The candy only took up a good twenty minutes or so of time. Good thing I had one last coloring kit in my magical bag, which seemed to keep them entertained until the meeting was almost done.

Even amid all this organized chaos, I got a lot out of the meeting that I'd be happy to share with you today.

Cheryl Lant, the current General Primary President, spoke on protecting our homes and our families from the influence of Satan. In particular she mentioned that Satan cannot come into our homes if we do not invite him. What sorts of things invite Satan's influence? Bickering, pornography, suggestive movies/music/television, etc. Too many things, yet if we become ever aware of what brings this dark influence into our homes we can work harder toward keeping it out.

How? By securing ourselves in the basics, such as faith, repentance, baptism, church attendance, prayer, scripture reading, family prayer, and family home evening, among others. In doing these basics we can strengthen our families.

We need to evaluate where we spend our time and our resources. We tend to over-spend, over-schedule, over-work, over-everything in an attempt to get ahead. Instead of feeling loved and secure our children grow up thinking money, power, skills, and material wealth is vastly more important.

And we need to make and keep sacred covenants with the Lord. We need to show our children why these covenants are so important, that they can be kept even in an increasingly evil world, and if we slip that it's possible to truly repent and come back.

Next we heard from Elder M. Russel Ballard. I think his talk spoke to me the most. He talked of promptings in our lives. He said, "If you receive a prompting from the Lord, follow it.... Live so that you are worthy to receive these promptings."

He gave a quote by President Monson which said, "No truth has ever come into the heart of man except it be through the Holy Ghost." This was followed up by the encouragement to discover the truth of anything through our own study, our own pondering, and our own prayer. This is vital in anything regarding the Lord's Church and our own personal revelations and promptings.

We have been taught that we are all entitled to have the Holy Spirit to be with us. There is a catch, however. In order for this guiding influence to be with us, we must be making choices that will allow it to be with us. If we're making wrong choices, the Holy Ghost cannot stay. We must work from today to shun evil. As we make righteous choices, the Holy Ghost will guide our thoughts.

I think there are few greater blessings than to have the Holy Spirit always with us, prompting us in the choices that will bless our lives. These blessings, ones which help to build our testimonies, are truly born of the Spirit and can changes lives.

Lastly we heard from President Monson, who spoke much on building up our temples. He referred specifically to D&C 88:119, and mentioned temples are not just beautiful buildings, but refer to our bodies as well. This chapter in the D&C acts as a blueprint:
"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house,
even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of
learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."

How often do we take the necessary time out of our days to pray, to fast, to enrich our faith, to learn, to glory in our Lord, to put things in order? If our temporal temples (our bodies) are not in order, the workings and influence of the Lord will be greatly diminished.

He pointed out something great, however. If we're trying our best in the Lord's work, He will help us. He will help us!!! How magnificent. How loving. How perfect.

I want to leave you with two thoughts shared by President Gordon B. Hinckley's son, who conducted the meeting today (I'm terribly sorry for not recalling his name). President Hinckley and much of his family were gathered in the temple to witness the sealing of the 24th of his 25 grandchildren. As he spoke, which those who perform the ceremony often do, he paused.

Then, almost to himself, he said, "It has just occurred to me I have sealed all five of my children, and 24 of my married grand children here in this temple. I think that is the finest thing I've done in my life."

Again, just before he died, as the family was once again gathered near he said that the greatest accomplishment of his life was to have bound his family together for eternity.

With all this extraordinary man accomplished in his life, in all the callings he'd held, in all the years he'd led this Church, having his family sealed to him has been his greatest accomplishment.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Horse of a Different Color

Drumming to his own beat. Wearing purple in an all pink parade. No matter how you describe him, B has his own remarkable way of handling life, and it's come blazing out in these last few days.

First a little back story.

Last year he was in a district sponsored pre-school. It was the first (and last) year they attempted to have the kids there all day. This was difficult for me, to say the least. B's been my little home buddy for many years now. Being a lover of all things home this was a strain on his composure as well. As the year went on we both got used to him being gone all day. He really flourished in pre-school. Because of his sweet and gentle nature he made lots of friends and was quite often the one others wanted to play with, often at the exclusion of anyone else.

I'm not saying this in a "Mom's bragging again" sort of way. After all, he came to me from heaven all sorted out. It simply helps illustrate the contrast to this year.

About two weeks ago I asked him, "Who did you play with today?", to which my B answered, "I didn't play with anybody." He said it so matter-of-fact, as though we were simply talking about the weather, except he's often far more excited about the weather.

"You didn't play with your friends?" I asked. "I don't have any friends," he said in the same way he might say, "I'd like a sandwich for lunch today."

I became increasingly concerned. My boy who was used to all sorts of friends last year doesn't have one thus far? Did he sense my concern? Maybe, for he said, "It's okay, Mom. I really like walking around the playground by myself."

I'm thinking, "Yeah right," but didn't make more of a deal of it, just said, "If it ever starts to bother you, let me know."

Fast forward to earlier this week. My hubby tells me he brought it up to B when they had a little one-on-one time together. B tells him, "It's okay Dad. I really like to be by myself. I can think better when no one's talking to me."


The third incident occurred yesterday as we came out of school. B's teacher allows them to bring water bottles to class (it keeps them from constantly asking to go get a drink of water). I bought B a water bottle. It's small, like his big brother's, and stands at about five inches high. B's only in school 3 1/2 hours. Why would he need anything bigger?

"_______ made fun of my water bottle today when we were in line," B said. "He said it looks like a baby cup."

"Did you tell the teacher?" I asked.


We kept walking along until he mentions another kid made fun of it too. "It looks like a kid's sippy cup," the boy said.

Again I ask, "Did you let the teacher know they were teasing?"

"No. It's okay. It doesn't bother me when other kids are teasing me."

WHOA! How many kids would say that? Not to mention it used to bother him to no end when kids teased him just a year or so ago.

The last happened last night. B comes in every night just before he's ready to go to sleep so I will help him say his prayers. As he's leaving I told him if kids are teasing or making fun of him to let his teacher know, because it's not something they should be doing. This one stunned me more than the others combined.

"Mom, I didn't want to get them in trouble. Sometimes kids tell on other kids when they didn't even do anything, and that's not right. I just don't want to get anyone in trouble."

All kids are special, but there's something about B that simply boggles my mind. If more adults acted the way this little boy acts, what a remarkable world this would be. It certainly brings to mind the ideas of becoming child-like and a child shall lead them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

If You Need a Good Laugh

Pocket Taser Stun Gun, a great gift for the wife.

A guy who purchased his lovely wife a pocket Taser for their anniversary submitted this:

Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her an adequate time to retreat to safety....WAY TOO COOL!

Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the bluearc of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. AWESOME!!! Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Julie what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-A batteries, right? There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target.

I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, and the taser in the another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.

All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5' long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-A batteries thinking to myself, 'no possible way!'

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best..I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as if to say, "don't do it dipstick," reasoning that a one second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad. I decided to give myself a one second burst just for heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and . . . . . I SAW THE LIGHT!!!!!!!!!!! WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION . . . WHAT THE HECK??!!

I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs.

The cat was making meowing sounds I had never heard before, clinging to a picture frame hanging above the fireplace, obviously in an attempt to avoid getting slammed by my body flopping all over the living room.

Note: If you ever feel compelled to 'mug' yourself with a taser, a bit of caution. There is no such thing as a one second burst when you zap yourself! You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative. IT HURT LIKE HECK!!! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape.

My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. The recliner was upside down and about 8 feet or so from where it originally was. My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I had no control over the drooling. Apparently I pooped myself, but was too numb to know for sure and my sense of smell was gone. I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head which I believe came from my hair. I'm still looking for my family jewels and I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return!!

P.S. My wife loved the gift, and now regularly threatens me with it.

'If you think education is difficult, try being stupid."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Inspirations September 7, 2008

Like last Sunday, today was not the Sunday I expected. Unlike last Sunday, I had a fun time at church. That's right. I said fun.

Because of her calling (position) in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church), my friend Errin rarely gets a chance to attend her regular Sunday meetings. Often she's out visiting other wards in our stake. This is definitely the case for the next month, so she came to all the meetings at our own ward today.

Though I had to leave church early (M has a migraine), we had a lovely time chatting, giggling, and being the naughty kids at the back of the class. Obviously I shouldn't be allowed to sit at the back of the class any more.

Even with all the disruption (thank you Errin), I did manage to have several things impressed upon me. The first was, I should really pay attention in class. Okay just kidding. It was more about the blessing being at church can be. I find I miss it terribly if I've been unable to attend for a week or two. There is something uplifting about being in a place where the Holy Spirit resides, but more importantly I appreciate people who have the Spirit so fully within themselves.

The really big inspiration to me came in the form of a friend. Within our Relief Society (women's organization) there is a lovely young woman by the name of Bobbi. She's mentally handicapped, and the sweetest woman I've ever met. She has the most extraordinary testimony and is never afraid to give it. Even if we don't always understand her words, the intent behind them is so powerful there's no denying she's a personal friend of Christ.

Bobbi's job every Sunday is to put the hymn books back after the Relief Society meeting. She takes this job very seriously, and can become irritated when others try to do it for her. For some reason, however, she's allowed me the chance to be her special helper. While she positions the books in their proper place on the appropriate shelf, I get to go around and collect them. Every time I do this she gives me the biggest hug and says so sweetly, "Thank you for being my helper."

When our meetings switched to Sunday School she was the first to eagerly put up her hand in response to, "Who would like to say the opening prayer?" This little fireball couldn't wait for the chance to talk with her Heavenly Father. To this the teacher said, "We should all have that same enthusiasm."

Though I didn't get to stay today to listen to the testimonies of my ward members, I don't feel as though I lost out. Normally I might have. Because of Bobbi, I witnessed the most sincere testimony of my life.

Today Bobbi is my inspiration. She bears her testimony with love. She eagerly awaits the chance to say a prayer. She does her job with gusto, and says thank you to her helpers. What if we all spent just one day this week being like Bobbi?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Don't Even GET Me Started (A Shamelessly Opinionated Rant)

It happened again last night. Hubs and I turned on the television to rewatch some repeats when BOOM - something else was on. Something that irritates the hud out of me. Something that gets my dander up and clears the room the moment I start venting.

Actors were asking me for money.

Me. Who had to tell my kids no treats at the store this week because we're trying to cinch up the money belt until the next paycheck.

Me. Who watches as my husband works his tail off at two jobs, while trying to attend all church meetings besides, just so we can get by.

Me. Who endures the hated dial-up connection and no caller-id, no cable or cell phones, because we don't feel comfortable shelling out the money that could go for more important keeping our kids from running around naked.

Stars are asking ME to donate.

Is the cause worthy? Indubitably. Might I contribute in some other format? Maybe. Do I hope they raise millions of dollars even while I sit here griping? Yes, yes, and triple yes! Does it drive me nuts when people who make $100,000 per episode, or a few million per movie, who live in their five-million dollar mansions, ask for money they could simply donate themselves?

Uh - yeah!

I'm not talking about all actors. I understand most make several thousand per episode, and by the time they've paid agents, lawyers, and whoever, they don't bring a whole lot home.

In a recent T.V. Guide, the salaries of some of our most "popular" actors were given. I have to be honest, it felt like a slap in the face. My husband brings home less than 50k a year, and we manage to house, clothe and feed a family of six, and even put a little away in savings for those summer months when the second job doesn't exist.

I don't begrudge those who make a lot of money. I really don't. There are so many who contribute hugely to those in need, in essence, "using their powers for good." Do I think a six million dollar house is necessary for one or two people? No. I think that money could be used in so many better ways.

I feel our value system on who is paid what happens to be fantastically skewed. I think it's great that men and women who are great at sports can make money at it, but why are they paid so much more than the coaches who got them there? I love that actors are able to read and portray some moving or comical stories. I just hate that the drama and English teachers who helped them learn to read and act rarely make a decent amount of money.

Have you all left the blog by now?

I think money is a good thing. I know we'd be homeless, naked, and much skinnier without it. It would just be nice of those who get on television to ask us for all our spare change could be a little less hypocritical, stop demanding huge paychecks that take away from everyone else, and live within modest means.

(Big breath, Laurie.)

Then I might take them seriously.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Listening Ear

A woman called our home yesterday, hoping to speak with my husband about possibly receiving some welfare. Her story was so desperately sad I myself was in tears due to the intensity of her heartache.

There wasn't a whole lot I could do for her, but she didn't seem to mind. Her thanks to me boiled down to one simple thing: I gave her a listening ear.

It didn't feel like enough, but it had to be. As I've pondered over this, I've been reminded about how so many feel when they sit there listening to me vent and moan and get everything off my shoulders. They may not have any idea what it means to me to be able to talk to another adult about my problems, and to have them taken seriously. For me, it is often enough to have someone lend me a listening ear.

Someone to listen. Someone to recognize that our problems may not seem like a big deal to them, but it is a big deal to us.

At times it's so easy to brush off another's difficulties just because they're not a problem for us. I especially think about this with kids. Sure as adults we know another good friend will come along, or that the boy who's being mean today might ignore you tomorrow, or even that it's not such a big thing if we don't have hot dogs for dinner tonight even if we always have hot dogs on a Monday. To our tender hearted children, these things can mean everything.

I have had a lot of listening ears lately, for which I give many thanks. I can only pray my own ears will be open to bless others in the same way.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Unwanted Attentions

My daughter, M, has a suitor. An unwanted suitor. She's had them before, but never one quite so persistant.

They've known one another since preschool. They're now in 5th grade. I don't think it would be so much of an issue if he were well liked by other kids, but this little boy is often the butt of nasty rumors and jokes. It breaks my heart.

Of course I don't know what he's really like at school. I haven't seen the kid beyond an occasional hello over the years. M says he's disgusting, but most boys are disgusting at that age. I think her perceptions are formed largely around what her friends think, and none of them like him.

That makes me sad, but again, I don't know what he's really like at school. I can tell she wishes there was some sort of magic answer to make the problem go away. All I could tell her was to pray about it, that Heavenly Father would tell her heart what to do when the time was right.

Last night, almost as if he knew M had been talking about him earlier, he stopped at our front door with freshly picked flowers in hand (I think only one of them was from our own yard, lol). I knew he wanted to see M, just as I knew she was cowering on the couch unwilling to come to the door.

I told him the truth - she was ready for bed. Which she was. I promised to give her the flowers, and he walked off, unable to see the girl who's somehow captured his fragile little heart.

I think a part of M appreciated the thought. She wanted to put the flowers in a vase, but we couldn't find one. So they're currently wilting on the top of my sink.