Sunday, October 24, 2010

Playing Hooky

My hubby and I are, for the most part, those individuals you can trust to be where they need to be. For example, church meetings. We try to make it to all of them when possible. If we don't, you can bet it's for a very good reason.

The month of October has been especially busy for the both of us. We've had more going on than usual, and it's taken a toll on our sweet children. When my youngest is begging me not to leave just for a few minutes on a Saturday morning, we know it's time to play hooky.

This weekend was our stake conference, a time when extra meetings occur. My husband did his duty to the priesthood meeting, but we made the decision to take the rest of the evening, and most of today, and spend it with our children. It wasn't an easy choice to make, I'll be very honest about that. Yet it was the right one.

I wanted to share with you some of the pictures of today's adventures enjoying some of God's most beautiful creations. We started up one of our favorite canyons, intending to drive along Guardsman Pass through to our home. Here are a few pics from a few stops we made along the way.

Picking leaves and throwing rocks in a stream.

Isn't this a beauty? I love the intense colors of Autumn in the changing leaves.

I tried to capture the incredible colors of our surroundings in this and the next, but the pictures were mere echoes to what we saw in real life.

We finally found the turn off for Guardsman Pass, traveled up a ways only to find...


The kids had some fun throwing snowballs at eachother and Mom and Dad.

View of a nearby mountain top.

A few minutes later in our drive and we realized there was no way we'd be making it through this weather, so we carefully turned the car around and headed back.

Before going home we figured it would be nice to stop in at our favorite area, Silver Lake up by Brighton Ski Resort. There was a good bit of snow up here too.

Mr. B began to freeze. Of course, he's the one who threw the most snowballs, fell and slipped in the slush, and didn't bring a jacket along. Silly boy.

Daddy finally took pity on this poor, shivering boy and draped his coat over him.

Isn't this pretty? The color of the stems were almost as pretty as the leaves themselves.

Here's our last look in black and white. We headed home after this, all the kids wrapped up in blankets in the car, Dad and I wishing we could open the windows just a smidge due to the heater being turned up high. The moment we got home I took out our hot cocoa maker (thank you Errin!!!) and soon we were warming up inside and out.
My husband and I were grateful we took the morning off, especially as we ended up doing hospital visits to a few ward members that had us gone most of the evening. Each and every one of our kids told us how much fun they had today, how nice it was to have daddy with us, and how they hoped we could do it again soon.
As I lay with my youngest, listening to her ramblings just before she fell asleep, I knew we'd done the right thing for our family. We might get in trouble with certain people for not being where we were supposed to be, but that's okay. There was no doubt in our minds our choice placed us where we needed to be.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The baby is named Cullen. He's our little buddy who comes to play twice a week. When all the kids were off of school last Friday each of them had a chance to feed their new favorite baby
which was, apparently, awesome in ways they cannot begin to explain.
I normally don't accept ongoing babysitting jobs, but this time around I couldn't resist the little man being proffered nor my darling friend (one of the young women I used to teach) who asked the favor of me. And I have not regretted it.
Little Miss A gets jealous a little more than I'd prefer, but when baby Cullen is sleeping I make sure to give her extra love. I've found in this job a little bit of me filled - a little bit I didn't know required filling. It's wonderful to hold a tiny baby again, to make him laugh, to comfort him when he's crying. Changing stinky diapers is definitely something I don't love, nor the smell of formula all over my clothes, but being able to cuddle his tiny form in my arms and have his minuscule fingers clutch my own as he eats from the bottle centers me in a way I haven't been able to do in some time.
I really do think babies remind us to slow down, to experience life in the moment. They teach us to look for the simple joys in life, like the wonderment of having someone truly happy to see us, or the ability to make another of God's special children feel safe in a sometimes scary world.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to babysit little baby Cullen, for he has brought an awful lot of joy into this home of ours. I am also grateful for the change in my own attitude, my thoughts, and my ways of approaching life that allow me the chance to enjoy this little boy, to see my own children respond to having another "little brother" in the family. Even if it is only twice a week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I am a Mormon, a Wife, a Mother, and a Daughter of God

When I first began this blog - how many years ago? - I did so due to many different spiritual nudgings that now was the time. I didn't really know what this would evolve in to. Well, to be frank I still don't know what this is supposed to be all about, and perhaps that's okay. I don't gear this toward any one thing: cooking, crafts, art, politics, religion, etc. Somewhere deep inside me there was this burgeoning hope of it including a little bit of everything to help those who are not familiar with the Mormons and their beliefs/ways of life might get an insight through my own eyes.

I never thought it would include so many different aspects of my life, from silly little daily happenings to my struggles with depression. I also never thought anyone outside of my little circle of friends and family would be interested in reading the inconsequential (to me, that is) things I would have to say.

There are not too many out there who know this, but I feel as though the Spirit is indicating to me it's time to impart something special with those who share this blog with me. It was either right before or right after I started it that I received a message, peculiar in it's origin yet geared directly to my heart. I was told, in essence: people will read what you have to write.

I took this to be both a promise and a warning. The thought that my words might go out there and touch the life of someone I may never meet in this lifetime seems almost impossible...and exciting. At the same time I knew it was necessary to choose my words carefully. It's one thing to write about silly or even sad or interesting or opinionated subjects. It's entirely different to delve into religion.

The Monday after our semi-yearly General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I looked at my visitor's map and found myself stunned to see so many visits from states and countries who had never appeared before. It didn't take long for me to realize many of these visitors were probably looking in to just about anything they could find on the Mormons after Boyd K. Packer's talk - both truths and lies having been circulated. At that moment I knew, more than I had ever known before, why my Savior directed me to title this blog as I did.

Because people would come to find out precisely how a Mormon mother would respond to almost everything in this life.

We are all too prone to lump people into stereotypes, whether they be correct or mistaken. You bring up certain words and images flow into our minds: rodeo, the Bible Belt, beaches, skiing, housewife, alcoholic, Harry Potter, etc. We each bring with us the experiences we have gleaned throughout this life, as well as the impressions placed before our eyes and in our ears by those things we choose to watch and listen to. All of these combined give us images in our heads and feelings in our hearts, whether or not they be accurate.

Let me say this. The things we learn of in this world will not always be accurate. The more we, as human beings, learn and grow to understand how life works - the intricacies of bugs and flowers to atoms and cancer cells - the better our grasp on the big picture becomes. It is my belief the more we learn about this amazing experience called life, the more we can grasp God's handiwork in it. We can know for ourselves the vitally important fact that He is in charge, He knows and understands our hesitations and questions, and He believes in us, even during those times we choose not to believe in Him.

We are all extraordinary children of God, the Father. Whether we be African, English, Indian, Polynesian, Canadian, Mexican or American. Whether we be Jewish, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Hindu, Buddhist, or even Athiest. Whether we be rich, poor, selfish, selfless, or somewhere in between, He loves us all. This I can promise you Mormons believe.

So think to yourself, when I say the word Mormon, what comes to mind? Ask yourself if the things you feel, remember, imagine are things you've experienced for yourself or have come to you through others. Have you paused long enough to go to our Father to ask Him if what you think and feel are accurate? It's okay to question the beliefs of the Mormon faith, just as it's okay to question the belief of any faith. Yet we need to kneel down and ask the one being who will be honest with us, no matter how we may like - or not like - the answers. Just remember to come to Him with a humble heart and a contrite spirit, with the desire to know His truth. Not our truth. Not my truth. Not the world's truth. Just His.

I am a Mormon. I am the wife of a bishop in this church. I am a mother to five beautiful children. I love the youth with all my heart. I enjoy serving others, and being at home with my kiddies. I am a writer. I am a dabbler in hobbies. I am an avid reader. I am an avid learner. I am a listener. I am a song leader. I am a computer game player. I am a Facebook junkie. I am a daughter. I am a sister.

But first and foremost, I am a daughter of God. And that is the role I cherish most.

I would invite you all to remember you, too, are children of a most loving Father in Heaven. Spend some time thinking and pondering what this truly means. Read the Savior's words as given in the Holy Bible. Read another testament of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon. Spend some honest to goodness time in this hectic, crazy world to rediscover your spiritual roots.

I would invite you to feel free to learn more about the Mormons, otherwise known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


A week ago I declared on my Facebook status I was going into "hiding" for a few days. Well, a few days turned into a bit longer than that.

By the time last Sunday rolled around I'd been feeling more than just a little frantic with life, and began to recognize some of the "warning signs" my counselor and I had discussed during our very last session together. I was feeling overwhelmed, overdrawn, and overdone. It wasn't to a horribly bad point, but I could see the warning signs coming and knew if I didn't do something quick, I'd be heading down the depression road once again.

So I decided to be proactive and remove myself from typical daily activities and get some things done around the house to shake me out of my normal routine. I stayed off of the computer for several days. I spent my mornings reading or crocheting while sitting with my youngest (she was in absolute heaven!).

I tried cleaning the house and doing laundry at the beginning of the week to give myself a chance to get through my jam-packed weekend without feeling harried. I even washed down the hallway walls - something that honestly hasn't been done in FOREVER!!!

Over the last several days I've slowly been reintegrating myself into life outside of my home, including all of my friends on the Internet. I'm still trying to keep things on the down-low, just so I don't back pedal right to where I was before.

During yesterday's afternoon session of General Conference, President Uchtdorf spoke about simplifying our lives when we begin to feel lost, or overwhelmed. It was as if he was telling me I did the right thing in backing off for a bit. He spoke of it being okay to slow down, and not feeling a bit guilty about it. We live in a fast-paced world where the quicker we can get things done, get to where we're going, or make things happen the better. Being able to accomplish a lot is definitely a wonderful thing, yet these bodies of ours - like any machine - need a chance to rest.

When we're going at full speed, we cannot focus on the slow and simple beauties of our lives, of this world, and of the people around us. We are too busy to listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We forget to stop long enough to learn the lessons our Lord would have us learn.

My husband came home from a VERY long weekend at work. He is a chef who, with a wonderful crew, works to feed everyone involved with General Conference. This poor man was beyond exhausted today. Still, as he sat down with his family for the first time in several days to enjoy a dinner I actually cooked he couldn't stop saying how grateful he was - for the food, for his family, for this wonderful home we have created together. He was made to go at full speed all weekend long, but was able to slow down this evening and enjoy something as simple as a homemade chocolate cake shared with five crazy people whom he loves beyond words.

Of course, he will have to pick right back up with the fast pace of work tomorrow, and I will need to start getting ready to paint that hallway of ours, but we both learned to appreciate the blessing of slowing down, and/or going into hiding. Even if it was just a few hours for my hubby.