Sunday, January 31, 2010

A tribute to Mosiah

We live in a day and time in which there are wars, rumors of wars, disasters in diverse places, and wickedness all around us. My patriarchal blessing tells me that I will live in a time such as this, and that as I stand in holy places, that I will be kept safe. It is easy to see, as I look about my world, that the forces of good and evil, corruption and incorruption, greed and charity, pride and obedience, are raging on every hand. In a time such as this, we have need of good leaders, men and women who are led by the Lord, and who are not afraid to stand up for His laws and His wisdom.

I am inspired as I read Mosiah, and learn of him, that there are always good men, whether they are kings, prophets or bishops, who will listen to the enticings of the Lord, and lead us in His ways.

King Mosiah was a righteous king. In Mosiah 29:13 and 14 it says,
13 Therefore, aif it were possible that you could have bjust men to be your kings, who would establish the claws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do even as my father dBenjamin did for this people—I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you.
14 And even I myself have labored with all the power and faculties which I have possessed, to teach you the commandments of God, and to establish peace throughout the land, that there should be no wars nor contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity;
In teaching his people the commandments, and setting the example for his subjects, Mosiah had given them a chance to see the best in earthly governance. He had labored with them, he had worshiped with them. Mosiah had judged his people righteously, and he had allowed all of his sons, after their own powerful conversions, to leave his kingdom to teach the Lamanites who were the sworn enemies of Mosiah's people. He truly followed the Lord, and loved Him, and in so doing he taught his people to love the Lord as well.

Even more importantly for all of the posterity of the Nephites, he taught them why a king is not expedient for the Lord's people. He explained how much wickedness a wicked king can cause among his people. (For a detailed explanation read Mosiah 29:20-24.) He urged his people to instead choose judges, and a system of direct government that would allow the people to remove corrupt judges. His arguments were persuasive to his people, and they elected Alma the Younger, a righteous man, as their first chief judge.

More importantly, Mosiah explained the burdens of kings, and how unfair it is to the king to be responsible for all of the iniquities of his subjects. He explained the trials and troubles of a king, "all the travails of soul for their people, and also all the murmurings of the people to their king;" and he then invited then to take responsibility for their own actions. He was persuasive, and in verse 38 we read,
38 Therefore they relinquished their desires for a king, and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal achance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins.

In teaching his people how to be accountable for their own actions, and giving them the chance to govern themselves, he allowed them to become more profitable servants unto the Lord. That left them with a great responsibility, as is explained in verses 26 and 27,
26 Now it is not common that the avoice of the people desireth anything bcontrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the cpeople to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.
27 And aif the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.
He left them to be able to choose for themselves, and able to know that they had the choice to stand in holy places. His explanations, and trust in his people allowed it to be said in verse 47, "And this ended the reign of the kings over the people of Nephi." It did not mean that wicked men would never again try to rule the Nephites. It did mean that Mosiah had given all of the Nephites the agency to choose their leaders, and the direction of their government.

We have been learning about the Fall and the Atonement in Sunday School. If we understand that the Fall was necessary for us to be able to have choices, to be able to experience joy and pain, to be able to have experiences that are required for us to return to Heavenly Father, then we understand how precious it is to be able to choose. King Mosiah did not just give his people the gift of a new kind of government, he gave them the gift of being accountable, and having the blessings and challenges that come from the choices that we make, both individually and as a country.

I am grateful for Mosiah, and for what he taught not only his own people, in his day, but what he taught me, and will continue to teach me and my posterity in the years to come. Thank you Mosiah, a thousand times over.

My husband's awesome talk!

My husband is talking in church today, and he shared his talk on his blog. You can find it here.

It is great to have a righteous husband!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Loving my Savior - Thoughts on Obedience and Judgment

I recognize that if I want to me able to claim the blessings of the atonement, that I must learn more about it, and about how the Savior can bless and change my life, and the lives of those I love. I know that turning away from the pride that comes as part of the natural man, and instead learning to be obedient is a huge part of becoming more like my Savior.

Joseph Smith taught that obedience to the commandments leads to blessings from God. He said: "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated" (D&C 130:20–21).

I have been thinking about what this means in my life. Sometimes it can be tempting to think that this means that when something bad happens to someone, that it means that they are not following a law, and it is therefor their fault if bad things happen in their lives . The temptation to think that people who have lots of money are following God's laws, and those who are poor are somehow less obedient to the Lord. This is a fallacy though. The blessings we obtain from God are not just temporal. There are lessons that we learn, and gifts that we earn that cannot be seen on a bank statement or a shelf in our homes. While we can expect that the Lord will provide a way for us to have the basic necessities of life, we are not promised that we will have the riches of the world. We are promised that we can have the blessings of the gospel in our lives, if we are worthy of them. That does not mean that we will ever be rich in anything but the gospel.

If it seems that I have talked in a circle, I have a little bit. But it is the circle that the Lord teaches us. We should be following the Lord's laws. We should be humbly grateful for the blessings we have. We should not judge others, whether it is judging them based on their physical blessings or judging them based on the lack of physical blessings that we may discern. In the same ways, we need to be careful that we are not comparing ourselves to other people. All of us start in a unique place, with certain talents and blessings which come from our "accident of birth." Some people are born into families with many resources, both monetary and spiritually. Some people are born into families which have generations of challenges, be they genetic or learn behaviors.

The Lord does not judge us on a individual day or event in our lives. As human beings, who do not easily see things in an eternal perspective, we are not qualified to stand as a judge of anyone besides ourselves. Those who are called to be judges in Israel are not judging those who they serve by themselves, rather they are sensitive to the Spirit of the Lord, and rely on Him to share His judgment of a situation. All of us can have the discerning spirit of the Lord in our lives, but it is unrighteous for us to judge others.

I think that Satan works on us in trying to convince us that we have the right to judge other people. It can come in many forms, but essentially, when we judge other people, we are letting our pride convince us that either we know better than Christ what should happen to a person, or that Christ is telling us that we can judge others, without being given the calling and authority to do so. Pride tells us that we don't need to rely on the Lord, and that we can insert our judgment for His.

I have a friend who told me once that he had an experience where he was able to see beyond the veil of earthly eyes, and to see someone as the Lord sees them. She was a young woman who was struggling with a lot of problems, including some made through her own sinful choices. She was in the process of coming back to full activity in the church. When he looked at her, he was able to see just how beautiful she was to the Lord, and how much potential she had.

I have several times looked at someone and seen beyond their physical bodies, seeing something that is marvelous, and beyond what I would normally be able to discern with my senses. I have found it even easier to love my husband, because of one of those experiences. I know that my Heavenly Father sees me, and everyone on the earth, in a much clearer manner. He sees out divine potential. He sees the small and large hurts that we struggle with and against every day. He sees the small steps, and the huge leaps forward in our progress. He knows where we started, and He can see how far we have come. His glory is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man, and He is thrilled when we move forward.

If we are truly trying to become more Christlike, more worthy of the atonement, and more obedient, then there is no room for us to judge others. Instead, we must find ways to love more, to see the potential in those whom we are tempted to judge. We must recognize that the fact that we are uncomfortable in a situation says more about who we are than the person that we would like to blame for our discomfort. Even more, we need to find the lesson in the discomforts in our lives.

As I have tried to look within myself, and find the growth that I want to have happen in my life, I have discovered that most of the time when I feel hurt or angry, that someone has decided that they can judge in Christ's place. When it is me that is being judgmental, I need to go back and find the good in the person who I am judging. I need to pray for understanding and love, and then turn my feels of unrighteous judgment away.

When I am the one being judged, I need to make sure that I am rejecting the judgment. That is not to say that I shouldn't pray to see if there is some lesson I need to learn, but I need to recognize that the judgment is not from the Lord, but from Satan. Satan wants us to feel useless, unworthy and broken. He wants to create rifts between families and friends. If he can convince us that judging someone is loving them, and that when they don't accept our unrighteous judgment that they are somehow rejecting us, he can destroy relationships that could be a comfort and strength.

So, each day I try to see those around me as the Lord sees them, and as I know He sees me. He knows my innermost thoughts, and the desires of my heart. He knows my deepest hurts, and my most transcendent joys. He knows me, loves me, and He wants me to know and love those around me in the same ways. I am grateful for His patience and love as I learn to be more like Him.

The onion curse

It has been months since I have had an onion exposure. As someone who has an onion allergy, I am used to be ultra-careful. When we go out to eat, I have the server as the chef what they can make for me that won't have onions, green onions, onion powder, shallots, etc. I then remind the server when I order that I have an onion allergy. Oftentimes I have to send something back when I can see the onions in the dish. When I am shopping I read labels, religiously, to avoid things with onions in them. I make a lot of our meals from scratch, especially soups and sauces, so that I know exactly what is in the food we are eating.
Despite my almost-obsession with keeping onions out of my food, they still occasionally slip in. I don't usually know how, but my body's reaction make it unmistakably cleat that they did. So, tonight I am admitting that the onions won this round, but tomorrow is another day. I will continue the good fight, and hope for an onion free day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

The trust of my funny friends

So, in my previous post, I asked my friends to share some of their secrets. None of them did it on my blog, but several emailed me their secrets.

I am not going to expose secrets that they didn't want to post here, but I did think it interesting that they trusted me with their secrets, but not all of the rest of the world. I was slightly discouraged at first, but it is nice to know that all of you love me, and trust me.

I love and trust you too!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What don't I know?

I was talking to a friend on facebook chat tonight. We have never met in person, but I enjoy talking with her, and getting to know her, and finding out about what is going on in her life. Tonight when we were talking I asked her if she ever had a hard time falling asleep, and what she did when it happened. She told me that in the summer she likes to go outside and listen to the frogs and see all the stars. She lives far enough out in the country that if she turns off the lights at her house, she literally can't see any lights except the moon and stars. In the year she and I have been chatting, I never thought to ask if she lived in the city or country. Most of our conversations revolve around out families and kids, and it was fun to learn this surprising fact about her.

So, I thought about what I would about me might be surprising to my friends and family members, if I had to think of something that no one would really know. Certainly close friends and family members that I spend a lot of time with will know a lot more about me than I know about my facebook friend, but there are some things that I just don't talk about a lot, and I was wondering which of those things I would be willing to share.

So, after thinking about it, I decided I would share this secret. For years I bit my fingernails, sometimes to the point where I would have to put band-aids on them so that they could stop bleeding and heal. When I finally decided that I wanted to stop biting them, when I was about 14, I had to find something to replace biting them. I did fine with chewing gum when I was awake, and I would suck on my fingers instead of biting them. For the first few months I also bought Fun Dips and would lick my fingers, and then put them in the sugar so that there was some flavor. Even with that, I still missed how the fingernails "crunched" when I was chewing on them.

So, I made a deal with myself. I wouldn't chew my fingernails until after I cut them. A couple of times I month I would cut my fingernails, and then after they were cut, then I would chew on them. It allowed me to tell my brain, everytime it wanted to chew on my fingernails, that I would do it later, after they were cut, but that I wasn't going to do it now because I wanted my nails to look nice. I know that you are supposed to be able to create a new habit in a month or two, but it took me almost a year to entirely stop biting my nails. And still, when I am really stressed, I will often go cut one of my fingernails, and chew on it.

So, what is something I don't know about you? It doesn't have to be a deep, dark secret, it can be funny, or gross or just something you have never told me. I can't wait to get to know everyone better!

(Okay, all my FB friends, this is your chance to learn one of my secrets, and I hope you will share one of your own. Especially my FB friends who I have never met, I want to learn more about you. I will send cards to all of my FB who respond and leave a comment on my blog or here. Just make sure to send me an email with your address. Help me send out cards all over the world!!)

Things I am thankful for...

In the concentration camps in WWII, the inmates were thankful for lice, because it kept their guards farther away from them. This is a version of the story that I found on the internet:

"At Auschwitz, one of the Nazi concentration camps which imprisoned the Jews during World War II, there was a barracks which had a particularly scathing outbreak of lice. Of course all of the barracks were infested but not to this degree. The inmates in this barracks were suffering anyhow but doubly so with this added burden. The itching and discomfort was becoming unbearable. They would wail and complain to God and pray for his mercy.

There was a wise, old rabbi among them and he would try to console them but nothing was working. They would frequently beg him to ask God for help, thinking the rabbi had God's ear, and he did pray for relief but to no avail.

The guards came to the different barracks regularly to harass, beat, and drag some of the inmates off to the ovens. All day and night screams could be heard throughout the camp and became a horrifying part of life there.
One night as they were preparing to say their prayers the rabbi announced, "Tonight we will thank God for the lice." The inmates looked at him like he was insane. How could he ask them to do such a thing as thank God for the very affliction which was almost driving THEM insane? They discussed it among themselves and decided they had nothing to lose and nothing else had worked.

Out of desperation (and trust and respect for the rabbi) they complied.
They began to notice the guards' visits were becoming less frequent and eventually stopped altogether, although they could hear the screams and beatings in the other barracks. They repeated the prayer every day in the coming months. The lice stayed with them without letting up until the Allies finally came and liberated the camp on that wonderful day.

They realized that God responded to their prayers of thanks by allowing that affliction of lice to spare them. The guards had avoided all contact with that barracks out of revulsion for the lice and fear of stepping foot in such a contaminated place and touching such loathsome people."

Trials can look pretty grim, if we don't try to look on the "grateful side" of things.

I am going to try to make a list of things I am thankful for each week. The lists will have between 5 and 10 items, it just depends on what I am grateful for that day. Hopefully they will help me, and my readers, think about looking at life a little differently. I am hoping to find the gratitude in my "lice."
1. I am grateful for my onion allergy. I am more aware of what is in my food, and I can make soups and sauces from scratch without too much extra thought or energy.

2. I am grateful for having PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). It has forced me to be more reliant on the Lord. I am more aware of my body, and more grateful for each of my children because I know that they are all literally miracles.

3. I am grateful for vacuum cleaners. They not only clean up floors, but they are a great distraction when I need Maddy to leave something alone. I can pull the vacuum out of the closet and she comes crawling over.
4. I am grateful for losing my keys (or calendar, or whatever it is that I lost this time) because it reminds me to pray, rely on my Heavenly Father. It gives me a moment to ask for help, and then to express pure gratitude to my Father in Heaven.
5. Maddy's smiles make my day, but her hiccups truly crack me up. Maddy knows that I often laugh at her, and today when I got the hiccups, she giggled with glee at me for several minutes. She thought it was hilarious that I was trying to stop hiccuping. Who knew that hiccups were something to be grateful for?

6. I am grateful for all the batches of yeast bread that didn't turn out. There have been a lot of them over the years, and at one point I had completely given up on any recipe that involved yeast. Those failures make it so much sweeter, now that I have figured out simple yeast recipes.

That is my list for tonight, but more will come....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Occupational Therapy Adventures

Maddy had her official occupational therapy (OT) evaluation today. There will be more testing as we go along, but we got a baseline of where Maddy is now, and what issues are most concerning and have the most impact on her life. If nothing else, Maddy clearly demonstrated her wide variety of texture issues, and how they impact her eating and clothing choices. She also did a great job of showing off all of her favorite tricks.

Maddy was great at showing off her choking/throwing up trick, and was even kind enough to wait until she had tried most of the things Tosha (the OT) wanted her to try before throwing up all over the high chair and floor. We are going to be limiting her eating to long pretzels and freeze dried yogurt for at least another month, and hoping that as we work on other texture issues that her aversions to blended things may fade. The long pretzels will help to move her gag reflex back some, and the freeze dried yogurt should be a fairly "thick" liquid to swallow by the time it is going down her throat.

We will also be trying to build on her "naked time" by having smaller amounts of it more times during the day. That coupled with the brushing protocol may help her in the long run, and if they don't then it will help us with labeling her more accurately for long-term services. I will be teaching Michael, Anna (Maddy's favorite babysitter) and probably my parents, how to do the brushing protocol. We will start it after Maddy is over her cold, since it is not going to be pleasant for her, and it needs to be done approximately ever 90-120 minutes, during her daytime hours. The hope is that Maddy's nervous system will start to integrate more through the protocol, and that by the time the two weeks are done, that Maddy will tolerate more time without being fully covered by clothing. It may or may not help with the texture issues with her mouth, but occasionally it has helped some, so that would be a bonus!

In the "good news" category, Maddy is most definitely WAY ahead in almost all of her skills, as long as they are not eating related. She test at close to 19 months with many of her verbal and recognition skills. Her fine motor and gross motor skills are anywhere from 3-9 months ahead of her gestationally adjusted age. (Since she is still under a year old and was born more than 3 weeks early, they still do a gestational age, although they said she was way ahead even without doing that adjustment.) She was able to demonstrate every skill on the list for a child her age (she demonstrated the eating skills, but only to the extent that she refused them or gagged/threw up while doing them) and all but one on the list for a 1 year-old. She had almost half of the 18 month-old skills already, and Tosha was truly impressed. She even had one 2 year-old skill. I hadn't realized that the way she interacts with herself in the mirror was unusual, but apparently it is one of her most advanced "tricks." Who knew?

By the end of the visit, Maddy was exhausted. Having a cold and being congested didn't help any either. She fell asleep in my arms on the way down to the van, and only woke up a few miles from the house, when she heard a Taylor Swift song on the radio. I am still amazed at how much she loves music in general, and Taylor Swift in particular. I guess we are going to have to get her a Taylor Swift CD for her birthday. (If anyone has one they aren't using or have gotten tired of it, I would be happy to buy it from you.) I guess I can be grateful that it isn't Iron Maiden.

It was good to get the information and know a little more about where Maddy is at. Tosha says it is going to be more of a struggle getting Maddy to change some of her habits and preferences because she is so darn smart. I am going to include in my prayers every morning and every night a request that the Lord help Maddy to be more flexible, and that He help me to be patient and open to His inspiration on how to help her. I would be grateful to anyone else you would like to join me in petitioning the Lord for those things.

While there will be lots of joy with Maddy, this area of our lives may be an uphill struggle for all of us. That makes me even more grateful that Maddy is doing so well in other areas!

(Thanks for letting me do a little bragging about Maddy in this post. I know that every child is special to their parents, and all children have their own pace in developing different skills and talents. I try not to compare Maddy to other children, because she is unique, and I don't want to become too proud when I think of the ways she is ahead, or too depressed when I think about the areas that she struggles in. I know that Maddy is simply herself, and as her mother I need to support her in the ways she is super-fantastic, and help her move forward in the areas she struggles. All of that said, it is really nice to hear that even though she needs most of her food through a feeding tube, and she throws up regularly when we try to feed her, she is also a SUPER STAR in other areas. It makes my day a little easier too.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Maddy with HER bunny!

Bunny kisses, or at least Maddy is trying.

Maddy with both of her bunnies!

The bunny bringing Maddy her box, what a trick!

Maddy must smell like something yummy!

Taking a play break! It is hard work to be so in love!!

This is part of why Maddy loves going to Anna's house. She gets to play with her bunnies almost every time she goes there!

Thanks for taking all the great pics Anna!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Men are that they might have joy....

I believe it is true, that we are here on earth to find joy. Not the fleeting happiness that comes through consumption or greediness, but the joy that comes from serving others. I have found that no matter how difficult my life might look from my perspective, that when I step outside myself, and ask what Christ would be doing if He were in my shoes, I always find a way to create moments of joy.

I will give you my example from today. I had a difficult night last night. Maddy was fussy, I had a nightmare that is one of my scariest, and I was having a hard time seeing beyond the chronic pain that flares up sometimes. I read my scriptures for about half an hour, and then prayed (I have no idea how long the prayer was), asking the Lord to help me find my way to peaceful sleep and to find the Lord's perspective on my life.

I woke up tired, but with the clear thought in my mind that I needed to make cinnamon rolls. As I said my morning prayers the thought was even clearer that instead of making a crock pot dinner, I needed to make cinnamon rolls. It wasn't the first time that the inspiration had come, I had been prompted for at least two days before to make them. So, I got up, and started making cinnamon rolls.

I made a triple batch, which turned out to be 80 cinnamon rolls. We took the last batch out of the oven about 5 minutes before we left for church. They all got loaded up in the back of Michael's car, and became the main dessert for the potluck the ward had after church. It was great to see so many new ward members enjoying the fruits of my baking endeavor, and it was gratifying to have so many compliments on them. I even had a young man, who was clear that he only ate cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon, tell me that he thought the cinnamon rolls were great.

If the blessings of the day had stopped there, it would have been a good day, with a wonderful memory. However, there were other blessings that came too. While I was kneading the dough, I noticed that the pain wasn't as bad as it had been the day before, and that the ache in my muscles from the night before was less. While I was busy getting all of the cinnamon rolls made, and thinking of others, I felt the cloud that can oftentimes linger after a particularly bad nightmare, lift. Sometimes the nightmares don't go away for quite some time, so I am grateful to have its effects lift so quickly.

The last blessing is one that is harder to define, but one that is no less real. As I was holding Maddy in the foyer, we were looking at the pictures of Christ. I thought of how we are commanded to become like Christ, to take his image in my countenance. I knew that as I was serving those in my ward, even if making cinnamon rolls was a small thing to do. I could almost feel the hand of the Savior on my shoulder, letting me know that I was doing what He would have done, if He had been here.

I am a deeply flawed woman, like most people on the earth. Moments when I feel of great worth are the most precious, and joyous that I have in my life. When the Lord says that He will make great things happen through small and simple things, I believe He is talking about moments like mine today. He is talking about times when we simply obey, in the small things that are not complicated to do, and receive great rewards for that obedience. I am grateful for His love, and for His willingness to bring me joy. I loved making cinnamon rolls for Christ, since He had other things to do today.

Gotta love bunnies....

Maddy loves bunnies. She gets to play with live ones when she goes to Anna's house, and she has truly fallen in love. She is gentle with them, has learned not to scare them by yelling, so they will come close to her. She is never happier than when she has "caught" a bunny and can snuggle her face into its fur.

Since we do not have bunnies at home, we have had to find some alternatives when Maddy needs her "bubububu fix." So, when she starts asking for bubububus, we go to google and look at pictures of bunnies. Lately, that hasn't quite satisfied, so now we are moving to YouTube videos of bunnies. Here are a few of Maddy's favorites:

BTW, you can check out Josh's latest blog post here. He did a great job on his talk at church today!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Just say Bahhhh to colds

This won't be a long post. I have several funny things to write about when my head is a little less stuffy, but for tonight I simply want to share my brief thoughts on head colds.

Why in the world does your nose run, while your head feels all stuffed up? I sometimes think that for a nose which won't stop running and a head that can't seem to get the congested pressure out, that it is ironic that we take decongestants for it, which only seem to make my nose run more.

So, anyone with a brilliant idea on how to decrease the sinus pressure? I have tried steam in the bathroom, and benadryl and nasal sprays. I am sure there must be a way to get the pressure to go away, but I am not sure what.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Night, Night

Now I lay me down to sleep
This days promises to keep
A hug, a snuggle, a moment of peace
Given to those I love.

Now I lay you down for bed
Kiss your cheek and stroke your head
All the days troubles are gone and fled
So that you can dream.

Now I read a page or two
Finding strength to make it through
From the scriptures for me and you
God's gift to all of us.

I know, it is kind of hokey, but I was singing to Maddy and the poem kind of came to me. Not my finest work, but the sentiment rings true.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


There are some things we have control over in our lives; our choices in food we eat, the clothes that we put on each morning, our attitude about the scriptures, and many other things. While we can make a significant impact on our lives, and the lives of those around us, by our choices, there are many things over which we have no control. Many times we think that having no control is a bad thing, that it is an indication of our powerlessness, and so we try to deny that there is anything that we can't control.

I think that many times the fear of being out of control is much worse than the fact that things happen that we can't change. Our fears of the challenges that other people have can make us blame them for those challenges, because we are afraid that if we admit it was out of their control, then we would admit that the scary thing could happen to us. I have found that the more something seems "random" the more people want to assign blame to the person who it happened to. If a number of things happen at the same time, the tendency to blame the person experiencing the difficulties seems to be even more reflexive.

Job is maybe the best example of this from the scriptures. His friends blamed him for the string of challenges and trials that the Lord allowed to happen in Job's life. They kept asking Job what sins he had committed, and tried to find ways to make the deaths of his family members, cattle, and the loss of his material possessions, Job's fault. While Job was understandably sad about the loss of so many people who were dear to him, he did not lose faith in the Lord, and he became spiritually stronger through the process. Eventually all that he lost was restored to him and more, but what he gained spiritually was even more important than the things of this world.

The last few years have felt a little like a Job trial. We lost a significant amount of money selling a home we could no longer afford, my husband's former employer froze wages and laid off workers a number of times. The medical problems associated with my pregnancy were only a precursor to the medical problems that Maddy and I had after she was born. The cost of both the pregnancy and mine and Maddy's challenges since her birth have led to massive amounts of debt. We needed to move in with my parents to be able to pay our bills and keep our family from being homeless.

I have been surprised at how many people have blamed me for all of our family's problems. From accusing me of somehow tricking doctors into giving me medical care that Maddy and I don't need, to blaming me for having a child who is "too expensive." I have been told that what is happening isn't real, and that I am simply "making it up" to get attention. In some ways it is almost laughable to think that a doctor would do a medical procedure that isn't needed to a child, or even to an adult. I know it happens occasionally, but after fighting hard to get insurance companies to just cover the things that are medically necessary, I can't imagine wasting the energy to try to get something covered that isn't needed.

All of the conflict that has resulted from the "blame game" has led me to think about why someone would choose to blame someone for unfortunate circumstances, rather than being supportive and "mourning with those that mourn" as the Lord has encouraged. I don't pretend to know all of the reasons that an individual would feel the need to judge someone else, and I am trying hard not to be judgmental myself. However, I do think that it is important to not let myself be pulled down emotionally by people who are not being supportive, and who are trying to convince me that all of my problems are of my own making.

I know that there are plenty of mistakes I have made in my life, but I also know that repentance is real, and that when we repent, the Lord really does remember those sins no more. I also know that the Lord gives us difficult experiences, not as punishment, but as an opportunity for us to learn and grow. Job would not have been able to be as compassionate with others, or to understand Christ as well, if he had never been tested or tried. I would not be able to help other people, or understand those who are struggling, if I hadn't had opportunities to struggle as well. There are struggles in my life that I never would have chosen, but I know that the Lord has taught me many lessons during the last few years that have brought me closer to Him than I ever thought I would be.

I don't need to defend myself to others who judge me. Christ is the only one who I need to make sure understands, and He knows me better than I know myself. He gives me experiences to bring me closer to Him, and that includes giving me the chance to forgive those who are judgmental. My challenge is to "Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)" Part of forgiving them is making sure that I am not judging those around me, but learning to see them as Christ does, and loving them as He does. It isn't always easy, and there are times when the best I can do is step away from a problematic relationship, but even that doesn't stop my obligation to love my neighbors.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Live After the Manner of Happiness

Okay, so I am cheating and using things that I find interesting from my own scripture study as the lessons at FHE. They don't come with cute flannel cut-outs, and they oftentimes don't even have an exciting activity. However, we do have family home evening regularly, and the kids are learning something, at least most of the time.

Tonight we focused on 2 Nephi, Chapter 5, verses 10-18 and 26-27. In it Nephi explains what the early Nephites did to establish peace and prosperity. He teaches them how to be industrious, and how to build, both physical buildings like their homes and the temple (fashioned after Solomon's temple in Jerusalem) and how to build their lives, based on the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He also taught them that they were not just to reach towards obedience to the law for the sake of the law, but so that they can find happiness in this life, and the life to come.

President Gordon B. Hinkley said that "The Lord wants us to be happy. Nephi said a great thing: 'And...we lived after the manner of happiness.' (2 Nephi 5:27) What a wonderful things. I want my children to be happy. I want them to do well. I want them to live well and live rightly, properly; and, in the same way, except that my Father in Heaven's love reaches beyond any power of love that I have. I think He wants His sons and daughters to be happy. Happiness comes of righteousness. 'Wickedness never was happiness.' (Alma 41:10) Sin never was happiness. Selfishness never was happiness. Greed never was happiness. Happiness lies in living the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

As we talked with the children about what selfishness and greed were, and why people might think that selfishness and greed would leave to happiness, it was good to hear the kids be able to go beyond just saying that they needed to follow the commandments. They were able give examples of what they can do to "live rightly" and how that would help them to be happy.

So, our family will continue to try to live after the manner of happiness, one day at a time, one action at a time, one lesson at a time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thinking and wishing....

I have been thinking about how incomprehensible the atonement is, but how important it is to understand it to become closer to Christ. As I was reading 2 Nephi, I was thinking about how important it is to become as much like Christ as we can, and that can only happen as we understand Him, and follow His example.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that we can be like Christ. He was perfect, sinless, and endlessly understanding. I, on the other hand, am imperfect, make mistakes, and struggle to be forgiving and compassionate. It is easy to believe that I deserve to be judged harshly for my mistakes, and certainly there are people in my life who believe that they have the right to judge me, and who find me unworthy of their love or understanding. If those people, who are imperfect like me judge me harshly, it is easy to fall into the feeling that Christ, who knows me better than anyone, will judge me unworthy as well.

As I was reading 2 Nephi, verse 20, I was struck with the inspiration that only Christ can judge us righteously, and that if we believe that anyone else can find us unworthy, then we are listening to Satan, and not Christ. Part of verse 20 says,
"let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off,"

What a powerful thing to be told. We are not cast off. None of us here on this earth are cast off by Christ, it is only by our choices to walk away from Him that we lose our place by Him. As long as we are moving towards Him, following His example as best we can, and repenting of our sins, Christ wants us with Him. He wants us to admit our mistakes, admit we make mistakes, and then move forward. Moving forward means recognizing our mistakes, trying to understand ourselves and why we make those mistakes, asking forgiveness of those we have offended, and doing our best to not make the same mistakes again. That is what Christ expects of us. He also expects us to be loving and understanding of others as they are learning about themselves, and learning how to come closer to Christ.

I believe that Christ has forgiven me for my mistakes, and that He will continue to forgive me in the future, as long as I rely on Him, and do my very best. That especially includes being gentle and understanding with those who have hurt me. It means that I need to not judge those who may judge me, but instead simply do my best every day, and be as loving as possible to all of those in my life. I am doing my best to remember Him, lay aside my sins, and keep my head high. I know that I have not been cast off. I am a choice daughter of our Heavenly Father, and He wants me to come home. My elder brother, Jesus Christ is beckoning me to walk with Him, and to learn to be more like Him every day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Anybody out there?

Sometimes I wonder how many people read any given blog post, so for this one, I am asking you to leave a comment, even if it is just "I read it." For everyone who leaves a comment, I will send you a handwritten card. If I don't already have your address, please email me at, or leave it in your comment. If you would rather I send a card to one of your kids, or someone else who you think needs a little pick-me-up, please email me their name, address and enough info about them so that I have something to say in their card.

Looking forward to seeing who is reading, where you are from, and sending you a card so you know someone is thinking about you too!!

Isaiah.....trying to apply it.....

I have been reading 2 Nephi, and while there are many plain and precious truths, there are also the Isaiah chapters, which can be hard to get through sometimes. It occurred to me though as I was reading them, that Nephi found Isaiah so inspiring that he couldn't take the chance that what he wrote might be changed in our bible, and so he felt compelled to include it in the pure form that he had. The are several places where he talks about the fact that Isaiah saw not only the Jews in the middle east, but also the Lehi and his descendants.

As I have been reading the Isaiah chapters this time, I also see so much of our days in them. Certainly it talks about Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel, but it doesn't stop there. So, I am reading more carefully. Instead of just "trying to get through" the Isaiah chapters, I am looking for ways that they apply to my life. I guess I am finally growing up as a scripture reader. Today my goal is to read with an eye towards applying Isaiah to my life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Growth Spurt?

I am almost afraid to use the words "growth spurt" and "Maddy" in the same paragraph. I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, or jinx it for that matter, but Maddy seems to be bonking her head on the table, missing steps, and generally showing the signs that babies sometimes do when their bodies are outgrowing their current abilities.

I don't know who these boys are, but Maddy has looked a lot like them three times already this morning. She went down for a second nap early, and it was mostly because she was so cranky after her last head bonk into the table. Sleep well little one....

Ultimate luxury

This may not sound like much to most people, but I have an entire day where I get to stay at home. I may have to run to the store to pick up a prescription, but that doesn't have a time frame in which I have to do it, so I am not counting it. So, there are no doctor's appointments, no meetings, no medical tests, nothing that I have to get myself to outside my home.

That doesn't mean I don't have anything to do. I already have cinnamon roll dough rising in a bowl on the counter, and I have Anna and her boys coming over after school for a play date. The kids will make cinnamon rolls and play, and Anna and I will get to talk. I have laundry to get done, and several calls to insurance and doctor's offices. I also have several thank you cards that I need to write.

I am finding time for "me" though, and it feels good to know that I can switch my schedule around as much as I want. Maddy can take her naps when she is tired, and not when we are in between things. I have already gotten a couple of chapters of scriptures read, and I am hoping to get through several more before bedtime. I don't know that I will have all the laundry caught up, but everyone will have clean clothes in all their drawers.

I am someone who enjoys being busy, so I don't want to sound like I am complaining about having a life that is less than sedentary. However, it is a certain kind of bliss to have a day like this; luxury in the extreme!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Sometimes I don't want to be an adult. I want to throw a tantrum when someone hurts my feelings, or tell them exactly how immature they are and how much it hurts me. Sometimes I want to be like Job's friends, and assume that bad things happen to bad people, and wish bad things on those that hurt me. Sometimes I want to sit in a corner and rock myself to sleep, keeping an eye out for anyone who might hurt me, and going deeper into the corner if a threat comes near. Sometimes I want to just cry, letting the feelings of hurt wash over me in waves, wishing that the crying would make them go away.

If I was four I might be able to get away with the tantrum, and the yelling, and the rocking. If I didn't believe in the gospel, I might give into the temptation to curse those who hurt me. I might even find a voodoo doll to stick pins in. If I believed that crying would fix the diseases that can come from deep emotional wounds, I might try it for an hour or so. However, I am an adult, and I know that crying just brings puffy eyes, and while it may cleanse the wound some, it doesn't fix the infection that only the Great Physician can heal.

And so, instead of doing any of those things, I say my prayers, read my scriptures, contemplate the changes I can personally make, and try to let the rest go. As I read I learn that the scriptures bring the directions for how to lance the boil of hurt feelings, turning them over to the Savior. My prayers bring the healing salve of the Spirit, reminding me that only in letting my own wounds heal, can I hope to have the wounds that I have inflicted on others be healed for them. As I think about what I can do, I am reminded that I am asked to turn the other cheek by my Savior, but I am not asked to invite another slap. Instead I am expected to set healthy boundaries, showing my children how to be both Christlike and self reliant.

So, this is my prayer for tonight. Father, let me be as forgiving and my temper as short-lived as a child. Let me be as patient as Job, and never doubt that the Lord loves me, even when those around me treat me as less than human. Let me give away the pride and selfishness that are a part of mortality, and instead recognize that I am a spiritual daughter of God, having a tough physical experience here on earth. And Father, help me to want to be an adult, even when it is hard, even when those around me seem to resemble four year-olds some of the time. Father, help me to be more like my Savior.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Superfluous post

Okay, this is really just an excuse to plug my mom and sister's blog, called The Skinny.

I am not nearly as motivated as they are to lose weight this year, although I am working out twice a week with my mom as her exercise buddy. I am not a super home baker, or a walking or running guru, so mostly I am just trying to be a supportive commenter, so that they know someone is reading the blog and wants them to succeed.

However, one of my suggestions did make the blog today. I knew watching Rachel Ray while I was pumping milk for Maddy had to pay off someday. lol In this case it paid off in having an idea how to make chocolate cake healthier. You replace the eggs and oil with pumpkin! YEAH!!

So, if you are feeling a need for some inspiration, head on over to their blog. You can grab a "button" which says you read The Skinny, and Katie is promising a contest sometime soon for loyal readers. Katie is super crafty and has a wonderful eye for putting fabrics together, so you know that whatever she gives away will be wonderful. If you want to check out some of her craft ideas, you can see one of her other blogs at Notes From a Very Red Kitchen.

Friday, January 8, 2010


We have my step-daughter and granddaughter visiting this weekend.
It is fun to watch Kaitlyn (our granddaughter) and Maddy play together.
Here are some of our favorite pictures from today.

Above is Grandma Julia with Kaitlyn......
She has been a very good snuggler and for the most part has been
happy to play with me!

Kaitlyn and Maddy taking a bath, with my head partially in the way. :-)

Kaitlyn giving Maddy a "kiss."

Maddy smiling for the camera.

Traffic jam with both girls trying to go around the table, but in different decisions.

This is Christina, Maddy and Kaitlyn playing with glow worm. We got Maddy a glow worm because Christina loved hers so much when she was little. Kaitlyn has been "borrowing" glow worm at night, and may end up taking it home with her. Maddy now has a glow seahorse, so she hasn't been using glow worm much.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Studying the Book of Mormon

This year for Christmas, Michael and I gave each other the study guides for the Book of Mormon. It is the book they use for teaching Book of Mormon in Institute. While I remember a fair amount of my seminary lessons on the Book of Mormon, that was my freshman year, which was nineteen years ago now. It seemed like a good time to have a year devoted to the more in depth study of the "cornerstone of our religion."

I am really enjoying all of the information, as well as the study suggestions and questions that come with it. I have been reading the study guide, then reading the Book of Mormon chapters, then going back and rereading the study guide. I am still at the beginning of 1 Nephi, but am finding that I am having insights that are helping my daily life, and teaching me things I didn't know before. Considering how many times I have read these chapters in my life, that is pretty exciting for me.

So, my thought for tonight is, Am I ready to follow the Lord's commands? Do I KNOW that He will not give me a commandment without already having a way prepared for me to do it? Am I ready to GO and DO?

I hope so, and I hope that I am in tune enough, that I will hear the promptings when they come, and that I will follow them without fear! I am on the lookout for those opportunities, and I know that Lord will send me His most choice experiences as I accept His challenges!

Would you like a little cheese with that whine?

The kids are whining a lot today. So much so that they barged into my room to tell me how mean their siblings are, and woke up Maddy with their yelling. Now Maddy is cranking from not getting a long enough nap, and the older kids are still cranky from whatever is in the water they had to drink. I of course did not get a nap since Maddy didn't, which makes me a little cranky too.

Sigh......I think it all comes down to we all need more sleep!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First workout.....

I got to Curves for my first workout today. I was way out of breath, but I got through the whole workout, and was at 95% of my workout rate before I got sick.

I also had to do a weight in and measure, and it was kind of depressing to realize that I had gained 15 pounds while I was sick. I had actually gained 19, but I have lost the first 4 pounds of that. I know that a lot of the reason for the weight gain was all of the steroids I had to take when I was having all the breathing problems, but it is still weight I need to lose to be healthy!

I am glad that I get tomorrow off and then I will get back on Friday to workout early with my mom. I think it will be easier to have a buddy there. It was kind of lonely when I went. There were several women who were there with a friend, and they seemed to be having more fun!

Love in liquid form.....

I have always enjoyed taking a shower or a bath. I like feeling clean, and I like the chance for my hair to "reset." My hair never really dries the same way, although since my pregnancies my part at least seems to be about the same every time. I also like to be able to shave my legs and have them feel smooth. (Michael likes this part of me showering too. lol) It just feels great to walk out of a shower and feel like your body is ready for whatever clothes or exercise you might throw at it. I know a shower doesn't make me any skinnier, or more in shape, but my attitude is definitely skinner and more in shape! ;-)

This morning I was feeling gritty, a little cranky, and Maddy was clingy. I was afraid it was going to be another showerless day. My friend Anna, who watches Maddy at her house for me sometimes, agreed to come play with her for half an hour at our house, while I got a shower. She stayed for herbal tea and some homemade bread afterward, and to Maddy's disgust, we even had an adult conversation for another half an hour. It was pure heaven.

Now, for the commercial announcement: This shower was made possible my Mark fixing the drain on the bathtub last weekend, Costco carrying the razors that I like so that I could shave my legs, Anna and Maddy by playing together, and Heavenly Father who seperated water and earth. I may have forgotten someone, and if so, leave a comment, and I will rectify my oversight!

Happy Bathing Everyone!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I believe....

Yes, I have decided that sleep deprivation is torture. It is a sweet, loving, and unintentional torture when your kids do it to you, but it is still torture. I am cranky, out of sorts, and trying not to be, but 3 hours of sleep is just not enough.

So, any other moms or dads out there have any ideas about how to get sleep when your kids decide to stay up most night? Any way, besides caffeine, to try to stay awake when your body is really dragging? I have been eating some sugar things today, but it isn't what I really want to do. (Of course what I really want is a LONG nap!)

I hope tonight I get more sleep. I need it to be a good momma, and a good wife!

(I apologize if this post is a little disjointed, not very funny, or has a typo/spello or two. I find that fighting to stay awake takes some of the "cleverness" out of my thinking, and leaves me just trying to react to the important stuff.)