Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh the Anticipation

My youngest is preparing to turn a year older this week. She's been waiting for this day since her father's birthday back near the beginning of the year. Upon discovering there were several more birthdays (including a few extended relations), the thought of her birthday finally arriving was beginning to look like an unachieveable dream.

With some not-so-subtle hinting from her big sister, Miss A. at last decided she wanted a Tinkerbell birthday cake, and basically stuck to that decision...until yesterday. As we were flipping through the little book of ways to make sugar overloads even more fun by painting them colors and putting on toys so we can charge you more...

Wait, where was I?

Oh yeah. As we were flipping through the book we came upon a new and far MORE delightful cake decoration: a little Tiana and Naveen (from "The Princess and the Frog) picture with a toy ring. I have no doubt both toys will be relegated with great speed to the bottom of the toy box within the first 24 hours. But it's all to make the little princess happy on her birthday, right? Right.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Love/Hate Relationship

I absolutely, without a doubt hate cleaning the bathroom. I would rather do laundry than clean the bathroom, even though the constant buildup of dirty clothes would keep me working for hours after the dreaded bathroom would be done. That's how much I detest this particular household chore.

However, there is something to be said for the moment the bathtub is no longer covered in soap scum, the toilet is free of everything toilet related, every shadow of toothpaste has been removed from the sink, and the floor is water-mark free. For those few minutes I can look upon our tiny bathroom and think, just for a moment, it was worth the grossness.

Too bad it never lasts. The inevitable cry of "I have to go to the bathroom" explodes from the mouth of each and every child, and for some reason the very short walk from the living room to the bathroom manages to cover them with dust, mud, spaghetti sauce, chocolate syrup, and jam. Maybe it's because they have to pass the front door and the kitchen to get to the bathroom. I'm not sure yet. All I know is by the time they're all done in my freshly cleaned chore of a room, it's dirty again.

Ah well. At least I have a week off until it's time to clean it again!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Beauty We See

I've been enjoying some fairly awesome roses the last few days. They have been in full bloom and the scent is just heavenly. I was thinking about the beauty we see in nature, not only flowers but trees, streams, lakes, butterflies, ladybugs, and other marvels. Each and every one of these things was created by our Lord. We are hardpressed to look at them and think anything bad of them.

Well, except maybe when we see spiders (shiver).

Yet when it comes to ourselves, the pinnacle of God's creations, we are so apt to be critical. We wish we were skinnier, more toned, had more muscle, had less freckles, had different color eyes, or a better head of hair. We look at ourselves and instead of seeing the beauty, we look for the imperfections.

What if we were to do the same thing to the above flower. When one takes a really close look one can see imperfections as well. What if the flower could speak, and criticized itself as we do to ourselves? One of my petals is ripped, I don't like my color, there are too many leaves on my stem, these petals are curling too much, and some are starting to wilt.

Does it sound a bit silly? Especially when we can only see how absolutely gorgeous it is?

We are the most beloved creations of our God. Take some time to look at and recognize the beauty in yourself. Make a list of ten things you love about the way you look, or gifts you might have. Add to this list as time goes by. Ask friends to add to the list as well. Then when you feel apt to think the worst about yourself, you can come back to this list and see the truth!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Inspirations June 13, 2010

Thursday morning my husband kissed me goodbye as he left for a few days. He had the opportunity to attend a Stake Youth Conference with the young people of our ward. Needless to say, but I'll do it anyway, we missed him terribly here at home. My husband, on the other hand, had a wonderful experience. This did my heart an awful lot of good as he has seemed quite burdened lately with hardships at church, work, and even here at home.

The conference was held up at a popular Utah attraction called This is the Place Heritage Park. The youth, ages 14-18, were given the chance to go on a handcart trek. You see, in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormon Church) members were forced to go west in order to find peace from those who opposed them.

Many groups did not have access to horses and wagons, and put all their earthly belongings in a handcart which they proceeded to pull across the vast expanse of the United States until reaching a place Brigham Young, then president of the Church, declard as their new home. The second day at the conference, the youth and leaders were given a chance to recreate one small portion of this trek.

Those who were able to find the necessary items were asked to dress in period clothes, to help get into character. Each "family", consisting of a "mother", a "father", and several "brothers" and "sisters" were given one handcart. Back in the time of the original trek these carts might hold up to 500 pounds. For the purposes of this trek there was no where near that much, but still a good bit of weight was piled in.

Along the journey one family member would get sick and need to climb in to the handcart to be pulled by the other members of the family. They would occasionally be stopped by a member of the Park who tell them stories of real people who had made trek so many years before, recounting experiences, feelings, and difficulties.

The part of the trek that hit the members of the trek more than any other was a time when the men and brothers were asked to come with one of the guides. You see, while on the trek the government came to the members of the Church to ask for volunteers for an army. Many of the men and boys accepted, as they'd be compensated for their time and service, and most of these families had no money to their names. This meant there were mothers, grandmothers, young women and children left to make their way alone.

One of the last parts of the trek included a rather steep hill. The "fathers and sons" were lined up on either side of the hill and told they were not allowed to help the women, nor were they even allowed to speak to the women, for the men were not really there during this time. Instead they were asked to simply watch, to think about their own mothers and sisters, and what it might be like for them to watch their families do this part of the trek with no help.

There was not a dry eye by the time the last handcart finally made it to the top of the hill. Each and every man there ached as they watched these incredible women work tirelessly to make this part of the journey on their own. Though I was not there to witness it I'm certain more than one hand reached out, more than one leg itched to step forward.

We cannot know what it is like to endure the trials of others without walking a mile - or in this case five miles - in their shoes. Each and every one of those youth, as well as the leaders, came out of the experience with a renewed respect and love for what the early members of our Church endured in an effort to find a place where they might not be tormented for practicing a religion they believed to be true.

I cannot thank those who put together the trek enough, both those in our stake as well as those at Heritage Park. It was an experience none of those who were given the chance to participate will forget.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Saying I'm Sorry

It looks like I opened my cyber mouth and put my cyber foot in it. I'm not one to sweep my mistakes under the rug and try to pretend they never happened, and I won't do that here by deleting my last post. I would like to clarify a few things, though.

This friend of mine has been a friend for several years. We met through the site of an author we both love. Over time we've developed a strong relationship and have shared much. This is something I did not explain in the previous post.

I also did not put out there that she respects honesty, and will give it as well as she expects it back. If I'm being a dork, she'll let me know. If she's being an idiot, she wants to hear it. This is why I wasn't worried about posting about the recent weirdness in our friendship. For those who were concerned, she did read my post. My friend didn't realize how her actions were affecting me, we've sorted things out, and we're good again.

I am sorry to those I may have hurt. I don't know if the things I wrote were personally offensive, or if there was some form of misunderstanding, but I am terribly sorry. I have never intended, nor do I ever intend, to use this forum as a way to backbite or slither around issues. I take my writing very seriously. If I sounded rude or mean, I apologize, and can only hope you will forgive me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Do You Ever Get the Feeling?

Do you ever get the feeling someone really doesn't like you? Well, maybe that's going a little too far. Let me explain.

I have a person in my life whom I know primarily over e-mails and Facebook. She has been going through a VERY difficult time the last year - things I cannot possibly even begin to empathize with as I have (thankfully) never had to deal with them myself. The thing is, she refuses acknowledge anything might possibly be wrong. I hear most of what's really going on through her family.

This...friend...for some reason needs everyone in her world to believe life is just perfect. Yet when one takes a close look at her letters and such, one can see the sadness hiding therein. Perhaps it's because I've read "between the lines" a few times too many and tried to get her to open up, but recently she seems to have placed a good, solid, concrete wall between us.

"I'm just fine," she says. "I don't know what you're talking about," she'll write. It gets frustrating for me for one simple reason: nobody's life is perfect. Everyone - even the happiest of us all - have things not going as well as we'd like. So to say there is nothing wrong, especially when her writing is telling me different, feels a little like a slap upside the head.

Obviously today I'm just feeling frustrated, but I do find hope in the fact I felt like sitting down and writing about it. Writing has not felt like something I've wanted to do in too long (part of the depression my counselor says). I just can't help thinking that someone cannot feel truly connected to the people around him/her if he/she is not willing to open up and be themselves, good and bad included.

Of course I realize people protect themselves from getting hurt and most often have a billion wonderful reasons to keep to themselves. But when you start coming off as fake, when I can see the heartache behind the "I'm just fine," well, what am I supposed to do? Do I leave her to wallow in the misery she won't acknowledge, or do I continue to stand in front of the concrete wall hoping one day it will start crumbling down?

Knowing me...I'll still be standing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Inspirations June 6, 2010

Several months ago I was asked by my friend to crochet a baby blanket, hat and booties for a very dear friend of mine who had just found out she was pregnant once again. She'd struggled with her previous pregnancies, as well as with her health, and is many years older than me. Well, I had my last baby at 30, and I thought it might be the end of me. And that was a few years ago!

My friend and I had bonded about the time I gave birth to, then lost, our little D. We've had discussions of a spiritual nature that have opened my eyes to what an extraordinary woman she is, and I have always counted myself as honored to be numbered among her loved ones.

Of course I said yes to the project and immediately set to work picking out just the right patterns. The only thing my friend requested was for the colors to be red and white. OH how I wish I'd thought to take pictures. I even thought about it as I handed the bag over for the baby shower. But perhaps it's okay that there were no pictures taken. After all, this was a special gift for a very special friend.

I received a call this morning from this friend. I did not answer the phone as I was too sick to get out of bed at the time, but was greeted later this morning with a most beautiful message. You see, she had asked me to put together this little layette as a special gift for the baby blessing today in her ward (local congregation). As she bathed and dressed her little man in the things I'd made with love, she had to stop and give me a call to express her own love.

Oh how my heart was touched. Oh how I ached to be there to see the wonderful event. Yet it was enough to know a little something I had done, with a gift my Heavenly Father had granted me, was there with them today.

A friend wrote to me today and left me with the words: As you show kindness and love, that love is amplified to you an hundredfold.

I think if our Savior were to ask us to send out a message at this time, one that could help heal many a shattered heart during these trying times, it would be to show increased love. We have all been granted gifts, given with a purpose, to help bring forth His kingdom. Let us all find a way to use them in love, and I can promise you'll find yourself feeling more loved in return.